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that I need not enlarge on its excellency and usefulness, and the spirit of piety and love which breathes through the whole.*
*Happily he had finished the whole of the copy, in short hand, a few slight notes towards the conclusion excepted, and the larger part had been transcribed for the press. This was the case with all the fourth volume, the preface to which had been written by our author. In 1754, that volume was published, containing St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and his first and second Epistles to the Corinthians. The two remaining volumes, being the fifth and sixth, were published by Mr. Orton, in 1756, From the editor's advertisement, it appears, that Dr. Doddridge had himself transcribed for the press, the paraphrase, improvements and notes, of the fourth and fifth volumes, and the paraphrase and improvements of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the two first Epistles of St. John. The notes on these three Epistles, together with the paraphrase, improvements and notes, on the remaining Epistles, and the Revelation were carefully transcribed, either by Mr. Orton himself, or by some of the Doctor's pupils, and the transcription was compared several times with the short-hand copy. An accident, which, during the author's life, happened to part of the original manuscript, deserves to be recorded. In June, 1750, a fire broke out in his study, occasioned by a wax candle being left on his writing desk, and consumed many of his papers, and, in particular, part of one volume of the short-hand copy of the Family Expositor. The light of the fire being, however, providentially discovered by an opposite neighbour, who gave an immediate alarm, it was speedily extinguished. When the Doctor was informed of the accident, he seemed most anxious about the preservation of this manuscript; and when the flames were quenched, it appeared, to his great joy and surprise, that only that part of the volume which had been transcribed was destroyed; that the transcript lay in another place out of danger; and that all the untranscribed pages were perfectly legible, the edges of them only being singed. "Being an eye witness," says Mr. Orton, "of the danger and deliverance, I record this account of it, chiefly as it seems to denote a particular care of providence, in preserving this work, and a favourable omen, that God intends it for extensive and lasting usefulness." Those who may not carry their notions so far as Mr. Orton, will sympathise with Dr. Doddridge in the pleasure he received in having his manuscript preserved.
Of all our author's writings, the Family Expositor is the most important and valuable. It is the work in which he took the greatest pains, and on which his literary reputation principally depends. Many of his notes display a sagacious and judicious spirit of criticism, and the practical reflections are of general utility. How well this work has been received by the learned and pious world, is apparent from the continued demand for it down to the present time: nor is its popularity likely to decrease. It is the seventh edition which is now called for by the public; not to mention the separate impressions of it that have appeared in Scotland and Ireland. In passing a just encomium upon the Family Expositor, it will not be understood that there is any design of asserting, that it is a performance which is totally exempt from imperfections and errors. Such is not the character of the best human productions. Diversities of sentiment will occurr with regard to Dr. Doddridge's interpretations of particular passages, and his criticisms upon them. Perhaps likewise, in some instances, his paraphrases may be deemed rather too redundant. But no observations of this kind are inconsistent with allowing to the work, the praise of its contributing in a high degree to christian instruction and improvement. The proper inference to be drawn from any mistakes, into which the most successful elucidations of the scriptures have fallen, is not to depreciate their general merit, but to avoid placing an undue confidence on their authority. While we thankfully derive from them the assistance they are capable of affording us in our enquiries into the meaning of the sacred oracles, we should fully examine and impartially judge for ourselves. Dr. Doddridge thought it would contribute to the usefulness of his Expositor, to digest the history of the four Evangelists into one continued series, or, in other
It has been already observed, that his works have been much read and esteemed in these kingdoms and our colonies. I would add, that the most considerable of them have been translated into foreign languages and published abroad. His sermons on Regeneration, Salvation by Grace, on the Power and Grace of Christ, and his Letter on Family Prayer have been translated into Dutch; the Memoirs of Colonel Gardiner, into the Dutch, French and German languages: The Rise and Progress of Religion into Dutch, German, Danish and French. It is observable, that the translation of it into French, was undertaken by the particular encouragement of the late Prince and Princess of Orange, and many of the gentry in Holland. A protestant prince of the empire wrote to the undertaker of it, promising to recommend it to those about him. Many persons of quality and rich citizens in Germany and Switzerland were subscribers to it. A pious minister in Wales, translated it into the Welsh language, that it might be read by those of his congregation, who did not understand English; and it would have been printed, could sufficient encouragement have been procured.-Some learned men undertook to translate the former volumes of the Family Expositor into Gerinan; but an opposition was made to its publication by one of the Lutheran clergy, from an apprehension that his interpretation of particular passages and his reflections upon them, might not agree with their established principles or
words, to throw it into the order of an harmony. If such an harmony could be effectually and decisively ascertained, each story and discourse would be exhibited with all its concurrent circumstances, as recorded by the sacred penmen; frequent repetitions would be prevented; and a multitude of seeming oppositions be so evidently reconciled, as to supersede many objections. These undoubtedly are desirable objects, and the attainment of them is worthy of being sought for. We are indebted to the exertions of those gentlemen who have laboured in this field of theological literature. Where they have not sufficiently succeeded in the main point, they have by their researches been enabled to throw a new and beautiful light on many passages of the evangelical historians. That there is no small difficulty in the general subject, is manifest from the various systems that have been formed upon it by the ablest scholars, and the most judicious critics.
One part of Dr. Doddridge's Family Expositor, which must have cost him uncommon pains, was his having every where interwoven the text with the paraphrase, and carefully distinguished the former from the latter, by the italic character. By this method, it is impossible to read the paraphrase without the text, and every one may immediately see, not only the particular clause to which any explication answers, but also what are the words of the original, and what merely the sense of the commentator. Nor was our author content with barely inserting the old translation, but gave an entire new version of the whole Testament, the merit and usefulness of which, will in many respects be acknowledged. This translation was extracted from the paraphrase, and published in 1765, in two volumes, 12mo. with some alterations and improvements, by the editor, together with an introduction, and a number of very short notes.-K.
form of church government. Therefore the persons concerned in the translation, first published his sermons on Regeneration in that language; and the moderation and candour expressed in them quieted the opposition, and the work was completed. These writings thus translated and published, have been well received abroad, particularly in Holland, Germany and Switzerland, and, it is hoped, have been the means of spreading a spirit of piety and charity in those parts of the world.
Since the author's death a volume of his hymns hath been published, and his Theological Lectures, of which some account was given above. He intended, had God spared his life, to have published a new translation of the Minor Prophets with a Commentary on them; a Sermon to Children, some Sacramental Meditations, and a Dissertation on the Jewish Proselytes, defending that opinion concerning them, which he mentions in some of his notes upon the Acts of the Apostles. In this last tract he had made considerable progress, but it is too imperfect to appear in the world.
Besides his works above mentioned, he published a short account of the life of Mr. Thomas Steffe, one of his pupils, prefixed to some of his sermons, which were printed by the earnest desire of the congregation where he was settled; and a dedication of an abridgment of Mr. David Brainerd's Journal of his Mission among the Indians of New Jersey and Pensylvania, to the honourable society for promoting christian knowledge in the Highlands of Scotland, and in popish and infidel parts of the world; by which society Mr. Brainerd was employed in this work, and of which society, our author was one of the corresponding members. He also published a small piece of Mr. Some's concerning Inoculation for the Small Pox, which was written and published principally with a view to remove the common objection from a religious scruple.
In 1748, he revised the Expository Works and other remains of Archbishop Leighton, and translated his Latin Prelections; which were printed together in two volumes at Edinburgh. The preparing these volumes for the press took up some of his time for several months, in the intervals of other business. But he was far from repenting his labour. The delight and edification, which he found in the writings of this wonderful man, whom he calls an adept in true christianity, he esteemed a full equivalent for his pains; separate from all the prospect of that effect, which they might have upon others. He acknowledges in his preface, that he never spent a quarter of an hour in reviewing any of them, but, amidst the interruption which a critical ex
amination of the copy would naturally give, he felt some impressions, which he wished always to retain. He found in them such heart-affecting lessons of simplicity and humility, candour and benevolence, exalted piety without the least tincture of enthusiasm, and an entire mortification to every earthly interest without any mixture of splenetic resentment, as he thought could hardly be found any where else, but in the sacred oracles. He had a chearful hope, that God would make these pieces the means of promoting the interest of true christianity, and also that spirit of catholicism, for which the Archbishop was so remarkable, and extending it among various denominations of christians in the northern and southern parts of our Island. In this view he says, "If the sincerest language or actions can express the disposition of the heart, it will here be apparent, that a diversity of judgment with regard to episcopacy and several forms both of discipline and worship connected with it, have produced in my mind no alienation, no indifference towards Archbishop Leighton, nor prevented my delighting in his works and profiting by them. In this respect I trust my brethren in Scotland will, for their own sakes and that of religion in general, shew the like candour. On the other side, as I have observed, with great pleasure and thankfulness, how much many of the established clergy in this part of Britain, are advancing with moderation towards their dissenting brethren, I am fully assured they will not like these excellent pieces the worse, for having passed through my hands*."
In confirmation of what I have said, in this chapter, of Dr. Doddridge's literary character, I shall here subjoin a letter from Dr. Watts to Mr. David Longueville, minister of the English church at Amsterdam. Such an honourable testimony to Dr. Doddridge's merit, from so distinguished a person as Dr. Watts, especially as written without his knowledge, may very properly have a place in this work." Rev. Sir, It is a very agreeable employment, to which you call me, and a very sensible honour you put upon me, when you desire me to give you my sentiments of that reverend and learned writer Dr. Doddridge, to be prefixed to a translation of any of his works into the Dutch tongue. I have well known him many years, and
* Dr. Henry Miles, of Tooting, speaking of Archbishop Leighton's works, said in a letter to Dr. Doddridge, "I bless God I ever met with them. There is a spirit in them I never met in any human writings, nor can I read many lines in them without being affected; though you know all his works are imperfect and inaccurate." Scotland, in the middle of the last century, produced some divines who had imbibed in a wonderful manner, the genuine spirit of devotion, and the genuine spirit of christianity.
have enjoyed a constant intimacy and friendship with him, ever since the providence of God called him to be a professor of human sciences, and a teacher of sacred theology to young men amongst us, who are trained up for the ministry of the gospel. I have no need to give you a large account of his knowledge in the sciences, in which I confess him to be greatly my superior; and as to the doctrines of divinity and the gospel of Christ, I know not any man of greater skill than himself and hardly sufficient to be his second. As he hath a most exact acquaintance with the things of God and our holy religion, so far as we are let into the knowledge of them by the light of nature and the revelations of scripture, so he hath a most happy manner of teaching those who are younger. He hath a most skilful and condescending way of instruction; nor is there any person of my acquaintance, with whom I am more entirely agreed in all the sentiments of the doctrine of Christ. He is a most hearty believer of the great articles and important principles of the reformed church; a most affectionate preacher, and pathetic writer on the practical parts of religion; and in one word, since I am now advanced in age, beyond my seventieth year, if there were any man, to whom providence would permit me to commit a second part of my life and usefulness in the church of Christ, Dr. Doddridge should be the man. If you have read that excellent performance of his, the Rise and Progress, &c. you will be of my mind; his dedication to me is the only thing in that book, I could hardly permit myself to approve. Besides all this, he possesseth such a spirit of charity, love and goodness towards his fellow-christians, who may fall into some lesser differences of opinion, as becometh a follower of the blessed Jesus, his Master and mine. In the practical part of his labours and his ministry, he hath sufficiently shewn himself most happily furnished with all proper gifts and talents, to lead persons of all ranks and ages into serious piety and strict religion. I esteem it a considerable honour, which the providence of God hath done me, when it makes use of me, as an instrument in his hands, to promote the usefulness of this great man in any part of the world: And it is my hearty prayer, that our Lord Jesus, the head of the church, may bless all his labours with most glorious success, either read or heard, in my native language or in any other tongue. I am, Reverend Sir, with much sincerity, your faithful humble servant, and affectionate brother in the gospel of our common Lord,