« EdellinenJatka »
the world." Thus was he led into the ministry, and a foundation laid for his eminent usefulness. He continued some months at St. Albans under the instructions of his generous friend, who furnished him with proper books, directed him in his studies, and laboured to cherish religious dispositions and views in his heart.
In October 1719 he was placed under the tuition of the reverend Mr. John Jennings, who kept an academy at Kibworth in Leicestershire, a gentleman of great learning, piety and usefulness; author of two Discourses on Preaching Christ and particular and experimental Preaching, first published in 1723*, and also a Genealogical Table of the Kings of England, Scotland, and France, for the space of 900 years. He was brother to Dr. David Jennings, lately an eminent minister and tutor in London. Dr. Doddridge always spoke with the highest veneration and respect of his tutor. During the course of his studies at Kibworth, he was noted for his diligent application to his proper business, serious spirit and extraordinary care to improve his time. As a specimen of his vigorous pursuit of knowledge, I find, from a paper in which he kept an account of what he read, that, besides attending and studying the Academical Lectures, and reading the particular parts of books, to which his tutor referred his pupils for the illustration of his lectures, he had in one half year read sixty books, and about as many more in the same proportion of time afterwards. Some of these were large volumes, viz. Patrick's Commentaries, Tillotson's Works, most of the sermons that had been preached at Boyle's Lecture, and all the rest were learned or useful treatises. Nor did he read these books in a hasty careless manner, but with great care and close study. Some of them he abridged; from others he made extracts in his Common-place-Book; and when he found in any of them a remarkable interpretation or illustration of a text of scripture, he inserted it in his interleaved Testament or Bible. Thus he laid up rich stores of knowledge; and it contributed greatly to his improvement, that Dr. Clark favoured him with his correspondence, through his academical course,
* These discourses were translated and published in the German language by order of the reverend Dr. Frank, professor of divinity in the university of Hall in Saxony. They were reprinted in London 1736, and there was added to them Dr. David Jennings's Translation of a Latin Letter from the professor's Father to a Friend, concerning the most Useful Way of Preaching. This is a Book that deserves the serious attention of every minister; and I have been informed, that at its first publication, two bishops of the church of England, with an amiable candour, publicly recommended it to the perusal of their clergy, at their visitations.
A new edition of this work is found in "The Christian Preacher," a work lately published by Dr. WILLIAMS.
and him his reflections and advices, grounded on the accounts Mr. Doddridge had sent him of his lectures, studies and particular circumstances. He applied himself in this period to the further study of the classics, especially the greek writers. I find, from his papers, that he read these with much attention, and wrote remarks upon them, for the illustration of the authors themselves or the scriptures; and selected such passages, as might be serviceable to him in his preparations for the pulpit. His remarks upon Homer in particular, would make a considerable volume. "Thus a foundation was laid for that solidity, strength and correctness, both of sentiment and style, which must seldom be expected, where those great originals are unknown or disregarded.”*
But he still kept the ministry in view and therefore made divinity his principal study, especially the scriptures and the best practical writers. He furnished himself with Clark's Annotations on the Old Testament, for the sake of many valuable interpretations, a judicious collection of parallel texts, and the conveniency of a large margin, on which to write his own remarks; and with an interleaved testament. In these he inserted illustrations of scripture which occurred to him in reading, conversation or reflection; together with practical remarks, which might be drawn from particular passages, their connection with others, or the general design of the sacred writers; especially those which might not, on a cursory reading, appear so obvious, but on that account might be more striking and useful. He laid it down as an inviolable rule (and herein he was an excellent model for students) to read some practical divinity every day. He laboured assiduously to attain an eminent degree of the gift of prayer. For this purpose he made a large collection of proper expressions of supplication and thanksgiving, on common. and special occasions, both from scripture and devotional writers, that he might be qualified to perform this part of public service, in a copious, pertinent, and edifying manner.
While he was thus pursuing his studies for the ministry, he was intent upon his work as a christian, and ambitious to improve in all the graces of the christian character. To this end
By forming his taste upon the great models of antiquity, to which he added an acquaintance with the polite writers of his own country, he acquired an ease and elegance of style which he would not otherwise have attained. His merit was the greater in this respect, as few of the Dissenters had hitherto cultivated the graces of composition, and perhaps not many of them had excelled even in the perspicuity and correctness of their langeage. It is desirable, that the cause of truth, piety, and virtue, should come recommended with every possible advantage.-K.
he spent much time in secret devotion, examining the state and workings of his own heart, and keeping alive an habitual sense of God, religion and eternity. I find under his hand a solemn form of covenant with God, written in this period, agreeable to the advice of many writers upon religious subjects. There he expresseth his views, purposes, and resolutions with regard to inward religion, and his whole behaviour; and devotes himself, his time and abilities to the service of God with the greatest solemnity and chearfulness. It so nearly resembles the form he recommends to others, in his Rise and Progress of Religion, chap. 17, that it need not be here inserted. At the close, he records his determination to read this covenantengagement over, once a month, as in the presence of God, to keep him in mind of his vows. It appears from his diary, that he did so, and generally the first Lord's-day of every month, and then made such additions, as in present circumstances seemed best calculated to answer the great end he proposed by it. He drew up some rules for the direction of his conduct, while a student, which he wrote at the beginning of his interleaved testament, that he might be often reminded of them and review them. I shall here insert them, as they may be useful to the rising generation, especially students. "1. Let my first thoughts be devout and thankful. Let me rise early, immediately return God more solemn thanks for the mercies of the night, devote myself to him, and beg his assistance in the intended business of the day. 2. In this and every other act of devotion, let me recollect my thoughts, speak directly to him, and never give way to any thing internal or external, that may divert my attention. 3. Let me set myself to read the scriptures every morning: In the first reading, let me endeavour to impress my heart with a practical sense of divine things, and then use the help of commentators; let these rules with proper alterations be observed every evening. 4. Never let me trifle with a book, with which. I have no present concern. In applying myself to any book, let me first recollect what I may learn by it and then beg suitable assistance from God, and let me continually endeavour to make all my studies subservient to practical religion and ministerial usefulness. 5. Never let me lose one minute of time, nor incur unnecessary expences, that I may have the more to spend for God. 6. When I am called abroad let me be desirous of doing good and receiving good. Let me always have in readiness some subject of contemplation, and endeavour to improve my time by good thoughts as I go along. Let me endeavour to render myself agreeable and useful to all about me by a tender
compassionate friendly behaviour, avoiding all trifling, impertinent stories; remembering that imprudence is sin. 7. Let me use great moderation at meals, and see that I am not hypocritical in prayers and thanksgivings at them. 8. Let me never delay any thing, unless I can prove, that another time will be more fit than the present, or that some other more important duty requires my immediate attendance. 9. Let me be often lifting up my heart to God in the intervals of secret worship, repeating those petitions, which are of the greatest importance, and a surrender of myself to his service. 10. Never let me enter into long schemes about future events, but in the general refer myself to God's care. 11. Let me labour after habitual gratitude and love to God and the Redeemer, practise self-denial, and never indulge any thing, that may prove a temptation to youthful lusts. Let me guard against pride and vain glory, remembering that I have all from God's hand and that I have deserved the severest punishment. 12. In all my studies let me remember, that the souls of men are immortal, and that Christ died to redeem them. 13. Let me consecrate my sleep and all my recreations to God, and seek them for his sake. 14. Let me frequently ask myself, what duty or what temptation is now before me? 15. Let me remember, that through the mercy of God in a Redeemer, I hope I am within a few days of heaven. 16. Let me be frequently surveying these rules, and my conduct as compared with them. 17. Let me frequently recollect, which of these rules I have present occasion to practise. 18. If I have grossly erred in any one of these particulars, let me not think it an excuse for erring in others.' Then follow some rules about the hours of rising and study, what part of the day to be dovoted to particular studies, &c.-Such pains did he take to train up himself for usefulness in the church!
I think it proper here to remind the reader, once for all, that, when such specimens as these are inserted of the rules he laid down and the resolutions he formed with respect to his conduct, they are to be considered chiefly, as suggesting hints, that may be useful to others in like circumstances; and not as testimonies to his character, or a proof that he, in every instance, acted up to such a standard. Yet on the other hand, it must be owned, that when a person frequently renews such pious resolutions, and examines himself by the rules he has laid down, it shews at least a deep concern about inward religion, and is a strong presumption that he has taken great pains with his own heart. That this was the case with Dr. Doddridge, I am well satisfied from the
perusal of his private papers, in which he has kept a very particular and exact account of the state of his mind, and from which it is easy to trace the evidences of his religious character. The extracts which I have made from his manuscripts in this work, when compared together, and taken in connection with his public character, will enable the reader to judge of this for himself, and will I believe convince him of the truth of what I have asserted. It may be proper in this connection, to repeat the caution already given in the preface to the young christian, into whose hands this book may fall, that he is not to be discouraged because he finds himself, after his sincere endeavours, fall short of the standard, which such rules hold forth. He should remember that the person, of whom he is reading, often saw reason, as will appear in the course of this work, to lament his neglect of some of his own rules, and his acting in some instances, inconsistently with his own best resolutions. The christian character is not formed at once; but those who are diligent in watching over themselves and using the means of grace, though their good resolutions be sometimes overcome, shall, through divine assistance, grow stronger and stronger, and at length inherit the reward of the faithful servant.
His Entrance on the Ministry and Settlement in Leicestershire.
IN 1722 his tutor, Mr. Jennings, removed from Kibworth to
-Hinkley, in the same county, and about a year after, viz. July 8, 1723, died in the prime of his days, to the great loss of the church and world. This his pupil, after a previous examination by a committee of ministers (who gave an ample testimonial to his qualifications for it) entered on the ministerial work, July 22, 1722, being then just twenty years old. In a letter to a friend he thus expresseth himself, I was struck with the date of your letter. July 22, was the anniversary of my entrance on the ministry. God has been with me and wonderfully supported me in the midst of almost incessant labours for the space of twenty-seven years. I esteem the ministry the most desirable. employment in the world; and find that delight in it, and those advantages from it, which I think hardly any other employment upon earth could give me. It would be one of the greatest satisfactions of my life to see my son deliberately chusing the ministry. But I