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SKETCH OF THE REV. THOMAS
gle person reclaimed from vice, day will be made of eve in consequence of this religion ? tor; and it behoves us to
“ He must then, if truly serious er what answer we can re for his soul, look for the relig- it. To have been useful il proion of Christ among those who, moting the salvation of only a under God, have of late years few souls, will one day be found been the instruments of the revi- . more noble, as it is certainly a val already mentioned. And more solid achievement, than to may she look to good purpose ! have amassed all the treasures of May the dawn of gospel light, learning and philosophy, or to the very best symptom of divine have outstripped all their equals favour which this kingdom, a. in ecclesiastical preferment." midst 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 al- THOMAS DOOLITTLE, M.A. so, with honest zeal, espouse and of Pembroke-Hall, Cambridge, support the precious peculiarities was born of religious parents in of Christianity. Devoutly should 1630. He early discovered an we pray, that that “God, who inclination to learning. Some alone worketh great marvels, of his friends would have had would send down upon our bish- him brought up to the law, and ops and curates, and all con- he was actually placed with an gregations committed to their attorney upon trial; but being charge, the healthful spirit of set to copy some writings on the his grace.”
Lord's day, he resolved against “Let me be permitted to sug- that profession, and determined gest to my brethren of the clergy, on the ministry ; in which he that they have taken upon them had Mr. Baster's encouragea weighty charge indeed, the ment, whose discourses on the feeding of precious souls, whose Saints' Rest were blessed for his blood will be required at their saving, conversion. He was an hands, if they be found unfaith- experienced Christian, before he ful; and that a life of mere in- was a minister ; and, as he imdolence and pleasure, or spent in proved in learning, he also grew the pursuit of preferment and in grace. attendance on the great, or even
When he left the University, in the fairer and more creditable he came to London, where he was attention to matters of learning soon noticed for his warn and and taste, or worldly business, is affectionate preaching; and the by no means calculated to quali- Parish of St. Alphage called him fy them for the right discharge to be their pastor. He accepted of the task which they have un- the office with great diffidence, dertaken. “With whom hast and applied himself to his work thou left those few sheep in the with all his might; and the hand wilderness ?" is'a very awful in- of the Lord was eminently with quiry, which at the last judgment him. In this place he continued nine years, viz. till the Bartholo- therefore could not promise to de. mew Act passed ; when, having sist. The next Saturday a mes. carefully studied the terms 're- senger of the king, with a comquired, and prayed for Divine pany of the train bands, came at direction, he thought it his duty midnight to seize Mr. Doolittle in to be a Nonconformist, cheerfully his house, but he made his escape. casting himself and family upon
He purposed to have preached Providence ; whose concern for the next morning, but was perhim he soon experienced ; for suaded to forbear. Another perthe day after he preached his
son readily undertook to preach farewell sermon, one of his for him; and, while in sermon, parishioners presented him 20 a company of soldiers came in, pounds, saying, “there was some
and the officer called aloud to thing to buy bread for his chil- him, “ I command you in the dren, as an encouragement to
king's name, to come down." his future trust.” He then set
He answered, “I command you up a boarding school in Moor- in the name of the King of kings, fields ; and so many were desi- not to disturb his worship.” On rous to have their children with which the officer bid his men fire. him, that he soon had occasion
The minister, undaunted, clapfor a larger house.
ping his hand on his breast, said, Upon the breaking out of the
* Shoot, if you please, you can plague, he called his friends to only kill the body.” The people, gether, to seek the Divine direc- upon this, being in an uproar, he tion; and, according to their ad- escaped in the crowd unhurt. vice (on account of the youth After this, Mr. Doolittle was abunder his care) he removed to
sent from home some weeks, and Woodford bridge, leaving Mr. on Lord's day, guards were set T. Vincent in his house. In this before the meeting-house. At village his family continued heal- length the justices came, and had thy, and many resorted to his the pulpit pulled down, and the house for the worship of God. doors fastened, with the king's After the plague, he returned to
broad arrow set upon them. London; and, having counted
Upon a licence, granted by the cost, he opened a meeting king Charles in 1672, Mr. house, though against law, near
Doolittle resumed his place, and his own; which proving too
set up an Academy at Islington, small, he erected a large and
where he educated several young commodious one in Morkwell men for the ministry. When street, where he preached to a
the Oxford Act passed, he renumerous auditory, and had ma. moved to Wimbleton, and severny seals to his ministry. Here al of his pupils attended his lecMr. Vincent assisted him; and tures privately. While he residthe Lord Mayor, sending fored here, he experienced a rethem both, endeavoured to dis- markable providence. As he suade them from preaching on was one day riding out with a account of the danger they were friend, he was met by a military
They told his lordship, officer, who took hold of his " that they were satisfied of their horse. Mr. Doolittle asking 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 pleasbeing 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 his 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 respect
ing the character and theologic. Without anticipating the argual opinions of ministers ; if the ments, by which I design to recneglect or abuse of catechetical ommend this important meainstruction, and the growing sure, I cannot forbear to express contempt of creeds, are all evils wonder, that any objection of alarming magnitude, and of should ever be raised against it. destructive tendency; then their To say the least, what can be removal is highly important to more unexceptionable, than for a the good of the churches. The number of gospel ministers, from welfare of Zion requires, that different associations through the the character of nominal Chris. Commonwealth, to assemble, antians, in general, be reformed, nually, for the purpose of inquirand that more care be used for ing into the state of the church. the future in the admission of es ; of devising means for the church members; that faithful promotion of religion ; of contrib. discipline in its various branches uting to each other's improvebe revived ; that churches ex- ment, and animating each other to ercise proper vigilance respect- duty ? ing the religious character and But it is my design to state sentiments of their ministers, several distinct arguments in faand be strictly attentive to the vour of a GENERAL ASSOCIATION duty of catechising ; and, final. in Massachusetts. As we proly, that confessions of faith be ceed, the nature of the proposed restored to that use, which is association will more fully apagreeable to Christian wisdom, pear. and which experience has shown My first argument in favour 10 be so advantageous to the of a GENERAL ASSOCIATION will cause of truth.
be derived from the common But there is one thing, which practice of men. The disciples seems to claim a more distinct of Christ have always been disconsideration, that is, a compre- posed to form associations, for hensive plan, designed to forward the purpose of promoting the all wise and promising measures interests of religion. They have for the common interest of found from age to age that, in Christianity, especially for the their individual, unassociated good of the churches in this state, they have not had that inCommonwealth. What I in- fluence, which union would give tend is a a GENERAL ASSOCIA- them. Perceiving the advantage TION CONGREGATIONAL of combining their counsels and MINISTERS IN MASSACHUSETTS. efforts, they have at every period The nature of ministerial asso- united themselves in larger or ciations is so far understood by smaller societies, as circumthe bulk of people, that there is stances have seemed to require. no need of minute description. Thus they have secured the At present it is sufficient io ob- benefit of joint wisdom and reserve, that the object of the pro- ciprocal aid, and have doubled posed association is, by joint their power to withstand their consultation and mutual assist- adversaries, and to defend their ance to promote the cause of own righteous cause. Tine Christian truth and holiness. would fail, -should I attempt to
recount the numerous associa- advocating. But I shall place tions of Christian ministers, them, as arguments on the othwhich have taken place in differ- er side. The friends of error ent ages, or the multiplied ad- would not have been so fond of vantages which have resulted forming themselves into sociefrom them. What efficacious ties, had they not known the resistance has ever been made peculiar advantages of union. against the rising power of In order to execute their plans Christ's enemies, or what great more readily, and to secure those reformation has ever been set advantages, which they have forward and completed, without deemed necessary to their trisuch a measure as we now reco' umph, they have joined them. ommend.
selves together in an unnatural Notice might here be taken of league. By acting in union, they the general assembly of Presby- have vastly increased their influterian ministers in the United ence. The enemies of ChristianStates; of the general associa- ity have for many years seemed tion in Connecticut ; of the gen- peculiarly sensible of the imporeral convention in Vermont; tance of combination. The unand of other forms of general common boldness which they union among Episcopalians, Bap- display, and the strength and tists, Moravians, Methodists, success, which they have ob&c. who all secure their respec- tained, are in a great measure tability and perpetuate their ex- consequences of their union. istence by similar means. On Though they differ in many recareful inquiry it will appear, spects ; yea, though they have that the Congregational ministers no natural bond of amity ; yet in this Commonwealth are in a they are so wise, as to lay aside state of singular disunion. There their differences, and to combine are, indeed, smaller associations, together for the advantage of which are held in esteem in ev- their cause. Nor is there any ery part. But every argument, way, in which we can effectualwhich favours these, may be ly oppose their influence, but by urged in support of a general zealous co-operation. Their association. If it be suitable, union calls for union in us. A that a small number of minis- holy confederacy among ministers in the same circle should ters and Christians would soon meet to deliberate on the great weaken their growing power. concerns of religion ; why is it If the Congregational clergy in not suitable, that a larger num- this state would form themselves ber, belonging to different cir- into a harmonious body, their cles, should meet for the same influence would be sensibly felt. purpose ?
Their adversaries dread the Popish councils, assemblies, light, which would shine forth consistories, &c. which have from an assembly of faithful contributed so much to the ministers convened for consultapropagation of error and the in- tion and prayer. The Christian jury of the true church, are cause has a remarkable superiormentioned as objections against ity over the cause of impiety. such associations, as we are now For whereas there necessarily No. 11. Vol. II.