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kingdom have been spreading Substance. « Men are turned for about forty years, and have from darkness to light, and from been stigmatized with the ope the power of Satan to God." probrious terms of weakness and Multitudes are reformed, and enthusiasm, are in reality the lead holy lives, wherever these religion of the apostles and principles prevail.“ I frankly primitive Christians. And a avow that the recommendation little candid examination will con- of these principles was the devince any reasonable man, that sign of this publication. Let it they are no other than those only be allowed, that there is which the Reformers in Germa- such a thing as a divinely reveal
a ny and England professed, and ed religion, that the knowledge on which the Church of England and power of it are of infinite is founded. The decline has been importance, and then if any one so deep with us, and scepticism, will still fastidiously refuse these profaneness, and an illegitimate principles an hearing, let him and unscriptural charity have ask himself, where, and among been propagated in so general a what sort of persons he can exmanner, that the revival of these pect to find the real Christian principles subjects men to the religion ? If he is not quite buricensure of introducing some ed in profaneness and pride, he strange sectarian ideas, though will scarce look for it among they contain nothing new, noth- Arians and Socinians. What! ing particular, nothing different is the Spirit of God with those from the creed of the wisest who degrade the essential digni. and most intelligent Christians ty of the Saviour, or despise the of all ages, nor from the genuine operations of the Holy Ghost, or doctrine of the church. Much explain away the only hope of a pains has been taken to suppress sinner-the atonement of the them ; persecution has been tri- Son of God? Will he look for ed, but the spirit of the times, the Christian religion among the and the lenity of government common professors of orthohave ever rendered it ineffectual. doxy? This will, in our days, The most indecent publications, comprehend a very large part; on the plan of wit and raillery, about forty years ago, it comprehave been attempted ; nor has hended almost the whole of the the more reasonable mode of ar- established clergy. But what gument been neglected. Yet signature of divine life can be these principles live and flourish; traced among them? Is there and every lover of truth will re- not an evident want of zeal with joice to find, that many of the respect to religion ? not to say established clergy are opening among many a want of any plan their eyes more and more, and or system of ideas at all? Is there entering into the spirit of the the least spiritual good apparent New Testament with increas- among them? Do any in hearing ing ardour. The hand of God discourses from the pulpit, ever also has evidently been with obtain, or expect to obtain any them. Mr. Howard's case, tho' benefit? Can a single instance somewhat singular in circum- be produced, in the course of stances, is by no means so in twenty or thirty years, of a sin
gle person reclaimed from vice, in consequence of this religion? "He must then, if truly serious for his soul, look for the religion of Christ among those who, under God, have of late years been the instruments of the revival already mentioned. And may he look to good purpose! May the dawn of gospel light, the very best symptom of divine favour which this kingdom, amidst all its alarming evils, can boast, break out into open day! I would not despair but that even some of the Dignitaries of the church may not only view with more friendly eyes, as they lately have done, but themselves also, with honest zeal, espouse and support the precious peculiarities of Christianity. Devoutly should we pray, that that "God, who alone worketh great marvels, would send down upon our bish ops and curates, and all congregations committed to their charge, the healthful spirit of his grace."
"Let me be permitted to suggest to my brethren of the clergy, that they have taken upon them a weighty charge indeed, the feeding of precious souls, whose blood will be required at their hands, if they be found unfaithful; and that a life of mere indolence and pleasure, or spent in the pursuit of preferment and attendance on the great, or even in the fairer and more creditable attention to matters of learning and taste, or worldly business, is by no means calculated to qualify them for the right discharge of the task which they have undertaken. "With whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness?" is a very awful inquiry, which at the last judgment
day will be made of every pastor; and it behoves us to consid er what answer we can return to it. To have been useful in promoting the salvation of only a few souls, will one day be found more noble, as it is certainly a more solid achievement, than to have amassed all the treasures of learning and philosophy, or to have outstripped all their equals in ecclesiastical preferment."
SKETCH OF THE REV. THOMAS DOOLITTLE.
THOMAS DOOLITTLE, M. A. of Pembroke-Hall, Cambridge, was born of religious parents in 1630. He early discovered an inclination to learning. Some of his friends would have had him brought up to the law, and he was actually placed with an attorney upon trial; but being set to copy some writings on the Lord's day, he resolved against that profession, and determined on the ministry; in which he had Mr. Baxter's encouragement, whose discourses on the Saints' Rest were blessed for his saving conversion. He was an experienced Christian, before he was a minister; and, as he improved in learning, he also grew in grace.
When he left the University, he came to London, where he was soon noticed for his warm and affectionate preaching; and the Parish of St. Alphage called him to be their pastor. He accepted the office with great diffidence, and applied himself to his work with all his might; and the hand of the Lord was eminently with him. In this place he continued
nine years, viz. till the Bartholomew Act passed; when, having carefully studied the terms required, and prayed for Divine direction, he thought it his duty to be a Nonconformist, cheerfully casting himself and family upon Providence; whose concern for him he soon experienced; for the day after he preached his farewell sermon, one of his parishioners presented him 20 pounds, saying, "there was something to buy bread for his children, as an encouragement to his future trust." He then set up a boarding school in Moorfields; and so many were desirous to have their children with him, that he soon had occasion for a larger house.
therefore could not promise to desist. The next Saturday a messenger of the king, with a company of the train bands, came at midnight to seize Mr. Doolittle in his house, but he made his escape. He purposed to have preached the next morning, but was persuaded to forbear. Another person readily undertook to preach for him; and, while in sermon, a company of soldiers came in, and the officer called aloud to him, "I command you in the king's name, to come down." He answered, "I command you in the name of the King of kings, not to disturb his worship." On which the officer bid his men fire. The minister, undaunted, clapping his hand on his breast, said,
Shoot, if you please, you can only kill the body." The people, upon this, being in an uproar, he escaped in the crowd unhurt. After this, Mr. Doolittle was absent from home some weeks, and on Lord's day, guards were set before the meeting-house. At length the justices came, and had the pulpit pulled down, and the doors fastened, with the king's broad arrow set upon them.
Upon a licence, granted by king Charles in 1672, Mr. Doolittle resumed his place, and set up an Academy at Islington, where he educated several young men for the ministry. When the Oxford Act passed, he removed to Wimbleton, and several of his pupils attended his lectures privately. While he resided here, he experienced a remarkable providence. As he was one day riding out with a friend, he was met by a military officer, who took hold of his horse. Mr. Doolittle asking
Upon the breaking out of the plague, he called his friends together, to seek the Divine direction; and, according to their advice (on account of the youth under his care) he removed to Woodford bridge, leaving Mr. T. Vincent in his house. In this village his family continued healthy, and many resorted to his house for the worship of God. After the plague, he returned to London; and, having counted the cost, he opened a meeting house, though against law, near his own; which proving too small, he erected a large and commodious one in Morkwell street, where he preached to a numerous auditory, and had many seals to his ministry. Here Mr. Vincent assisted him; and the Lord Mayor, sending for them both, endeavoured to dissuade them from preaching on account of the danger they were in. They told his lordship, "that they were satisfied of their
call to preach the gospel, and him, what he meant by stopping
him on the king's highway, he Mr. Doolittle made religion looked earnestly at him, but not his business, and was best please being certain who he was, let him ed when taken up in the exergo, and went away threatening cises of it. Scarcely any one
that he would know who that spent more time in his study, the black devil was, before he was advantages of which appeared in three days older.” Some of Mr. his own improvement, and in his Doolittle's friends were much preparations for the pulpit ; not concerned for him ; but on the satisfying himself to offer to God third day a person brought him or his people that which cost him word, that the captain was chok- nothing - In his latter years he ed at his table with a bit of bread. was more than once brought near After this he removed to Batter- the grave; but, on his people's sea, where his goods were seized fervent prayers, he was wonderand sold. In several other pla- fully restored. A life prolonged ces his house was rifled, and his beyond his usefulness he feared, person often in danger ; but as the greatest trial ; and God Providence so favoured bis es- graciously prevented it. For the cape, that he was never impris. Lord's day before his death he oned. At length the toleration preached and catechised with gave him an opportunity of re- great vigour, and was confined turning to his place and people but two days to his bed. In the in London, where he continued valley of the shadow of death he as long as he lived, preaching had such a sense of the divine twice every Lord's day. He had presence, as proved a powerful also a lecture on Wednesdays, cordial for his support. He died at which he delivered his Expo- in May, 1707, aged 77, and was sition of the Assembly's Cate- the last of the ejected ministers chism. He had great delight in in London. After his death, was catechising, and urged ministers found a solemn and very particuto it, as having a special tendency lar form of covenanting with to propagate knowledge, to es. God, which may be seen in the tablish young persons in the memoirs of his life, prefixed to truth, and to prepare them to his Body of Divinity, whence the read and hear sermons with ad- above account is extracted. vantage.
OF NEW ENGLAND
been already accomplished. For we cannot mention prevailing
disorders, without making it (Concluded from p. 412.)
manifest, in every instance, what To suggest those things which the welfare of Zion requires. are necessary to the prosperity If the want of Christian piety in of our churches, was specified as church members ; if the decline one design of this SURVEY. of gospel discipline ; if the inThis design has, in a measure, difference of churches respecto
ing the character and theological opinions of ministers; if the neglect or abuse of catechetical instruction, and the growing contempt of creeds, are all evils of alarming magnitude, and of destructive tendency; then their removal is highly important to the good of the churches. The welfare of Zion requires, that the character of nominal Christians, in general, be reformed, and that more care be used for the future in the admission of church members; that faithful discipline in its various branches be revived; that churches exercise proper vigilance respect ing the religious character and sentiments of their ministers, and be strictly attentive to the duty of catechising; and, final. ly, that confessions of faith be restored to that use, which is agreeable to Christian wisdom, and which experience has shown to be so advantageous to the cause of truth.
Without anticipating the arguments, by which I design to recommend this important measure, I cannot forbear to express wonder, that any objection should ever be raised against it. To say the least, what can be more unexceptionable, than for a number of gospel ministers, from different associations through the Commonwealth, to assemble, annually, for the purpose of inquiring into the state of the churches; of devising means for the promotion of religion; of contributing to each other's improve ment, and animating each other to duty?
But there is one thing, which seems to claim a more distinct consideration, that is, a comprehensive plan, designed to forward all wise and promising measures for the common interest of Christianity, especially for the good of the churches in this Commonwealth. What I tend is a a GENERAL ASSOCIATION OF CONGREGATIONAL
MINISTERS IN MASSACHUSETTS. The nature of ministerial associations is so far understood by the bulk of people, that there is no need of minute description. At present it is sufficient to observe, that the object of the proposed association is, by joint consultation and mutual assistance to promote the cause of Christian truth and holiness.
But it is my design to state several distinct arguments in fayour of a GENERAL ASSOCIATION in Massachusetts. As we proceed, the nature of the proposed association will more fully ap pear.
practice of men. The disciples of Christ have always been disposed to form associations, for the purpose of promoting the interests of religion. They have found from age to age that, in their individual, unassociated state, they have not had that ininfluence, which union would give them. Perceiving the advantage of combining their counsels and efforts, they have at every period united themselves in larger or smaller societies, as circumstances have seemed to require. Thus they have secured the benefit of joint wisdom and reciprocal aid, and have doubled their power to withstand their adversaries, and to defend their own righteous cause. Time would fail, should I attempt to
My first argument in favour of a GENERAL ASSOCIATION will be derived from the common