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parties. Controversy is unfriendly to the interests of religion ; it has too often lost its humble and unobtrusive character when brought upon the theatre of debate; and not unfrequently a conscientious difference of opinion has engendered private feuds and personal altercation. Between Watts and Bradbury an intimate friendship was formed soon after their settlement in the metropolis: to Bradbury he addressed a poem, entitled “Paradise,” in 1708, and during the same year he invited him to preach at the opening of the Bury-Street meeting-house. But the character of this popular preacher by no means synchronised with that of Watts: his temperament was ardent and impetuous; he was fond of witticisms in the pulpit; and loved to meet error, not with the legitimate weapons of reason and scripture, but with stinging irony and cutting lampoons. A manuscript account of the London ministers, laments that he had not “as much judgment as quickness of wit, and as much temper as zeal.” Honest and fearless in advocating the cause of truth, he was the dread of tories and jacobites ;* an unyielding champion for the divinity of his Master during the arian controversies; but unfortunately his zeal was unaccompanied with suavity of manner, and his irresistible inclination to satirise frequently involved him in disputes with his brethren.

It is well known, that in several sermons at Bury-Street, as well as in various publications, which will hereafter be noticed, Watts indulged his fancy in explaining the doctrine of the trinity in a way which gave offence to the orthodox. The meetings at Salter's Hall upon the arian controversy, had given rise to no little animosity among the dissenting ministers; and the rigid zeal for orthodoxy which Bradbury displayed upon

* Queen Anne is said to have attempted to silence “bold Bradbury” by the offer of a bishopric. Mr. Secretary Harley was the negociator; but the mitre could not tempt the sturdy dissenter from his principles. A scheme for his assassination which failed, was planned by the Jacobites. When going up with a congratulatory address to George I., a nobleman, referring to the cloaks which the ministers wore, accosted him with, “Pray, Sir, is this a funeral ?” “Yes, my Lord," replied Bradbury; “it is the funeral of the Schism Bill, and the resurrection of Liberty."

that occasion, roused him to oppose the views of his friend. At Salter's Hall both Watts and his colleague, Mr. Price, refused to divide with his party; and this circumstance might contribute to embitter his mind against them. But his mode of attack was exceedingly injudicious: the pulpit at Pinners' Hall was made the vehicle of ill-timed railing; and the friend of his early years was represented as a traitor to the faith, and a disciple of Socinus. Such treatment was calculated to ruffle and to excite the mind of Watts; and it is not to be wondered at, if in the correspondence which ensued he employed soine strong and severe expressions. It is readily acknowledged, that he had laid himself open to animadversion; but there was no foundation for the charge of his opponent, that he designed “to have the divinity of his Saviour

evaporate into an attribute, and his humanity to be different from the nature that he represented."* Had Mr. Bradbury in a serious and candid manner opposed what he considered unscriptural in the views of his friend, without descending to personal invective, the church might have been spared the painful spectacle of beholding two of its brightest ornaments engaged in angry disputation.

The correspondence is too lengthy and too personal to find a place in these pages,

but
some extracts may

be adduced to show its general tenor. In a letter dated Lime-Street, Nov. 1, 1725, Watts observes, “On Friday night last, my worthy friend and neighbour, Mr. Caleb Wroe,t called on me at Theobalds, and desired me to convey the inclosed papers to you, with his humble thanks for the share you have given him in the late legacy entrusted with you; and he entreats that you would be pleased to pay it into the hands of this mes

* Letter to Brad.

+ Mr. Wroe was a member of Chews's Coffee House Club, in Bow-lane, a society of ministers, who met on a Thursday, and formed a design of composing a concordance to the scriptures. Dr. Obadiah Hughes, Dr. Jer. Hunt, and Dr. Lardner were also members.

senger, that I may return it to him; and I cannot but join my unfeigned thanks with his that you are pleased to remember so valuable and pious a man in your distributions, whose circumstances are by no means above the receipt of such charitable bequests, though his modesty is so great as to prevent him from sueing for an interest in them. But while I am acknowledging your unexpected goodness to my friend, permit me, Sir, to inquire into the reason of your conduct toward myself in so different a manner. It is true I live much in the country, but I am not unacquainted with what passes in town. I would now look no further backward than your letter to the board at Lime-Street, about six months ago, where I was present: I cannot imagine what occasion I had given to such sort of censures, as you pass upon me there, among others which you are pleased to cast upon our worthy brethren: nor can I think how a more pious and Christian return could have been made by that board at that time, than to vote a silence and burial of all past contests, and even of this last letter of yours, and to desire your company amongst us as in times past.* As a brother I entreat you to consider, whether all this wrath of man can work the righteousness of God. Let me entreat you to ask yourself, what degrees of passion and personal resentment may join and mingle themselves with your supposed zeal for the gospel. Jesus the Searcher of Hearts knows with what daily labour and study, and with what constant addresses to the throne of grace, I seek to support the doctrine of his deity as well as you, and to defend it in the best manner I am capable of; and shall I tell you also that it was your urgent request among many

* Mr. Bradbury seems to have doubted this fact; but in a subsequent letter he is assured, “if you do not believe that there was a vote passed at the board, that your company should be desired as in times past, and that all these late contests should be buried, ask your good friend, Mr. Horrocks, who came immediately from the board into our house, and conversed freely with me about it, acknowledging that the greatest part of hands were held up for that question, and remarking one or two that were not held up."

others, that engaged me so much further in this study than I at first intended. If I am fallen into mistakes, your private and friendly notice had done much more toward the correction of them than public reproaches.”

To this letter Bradbury sent a rejoinder, dated CharterHouse, Dec. 23, 1725: “I was in great hopes to have prevented both you and myself the trouble we may find in an answer to your letter, by conveying my thoughts in a free discourse with your brother (Richard Watts, M.D.], which

yesterday I had an opportunity of doing. I read him part of your letter, and assured him as I went along that I was far from deserving the hard opinion you had conceived of me. But he was pleased, in a language which I thought it below both him to give and me to take, to convince me, that he was no proper messenger of my vindication to you.” He goes on reiterating his charge of heresy: “I heard and saw the holy Sir John Hartopp, with tears running down his cheeks, lament your opposition to Dr. Owen, which he imputed to an instability in your temper, and a fondness for your own inventions." The heavy accusation implied in this passage was keenly felt by Watts; hence, he observes, in a letter dated Lime-Street, March 15, 1726, “as for my attempts to maintain the new and essential deity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, I have often examined my own heart, and am not conscious to myself, that the pride and fondness, of novelty has led me into any particular train of thoughts; and I beg earnestly that he that knows all things would search and try me in this respect. My only aim has been to guard this doctrine against the objections and cavils of men, and to set it in the most defensible light; and if I can see that done in any other form, I shall rejoice to bury all my papers in oblivion, or, if you please, to burn them all. My weaknesses of nature are so many, and perpetually recurring, that I am often called to look into the other world, and would not dare to write any thing that might derogate from the divine

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senger, that I may return it to him; and I cannot but join my unfeigned thanks with his that you are pleased to remember so valuable and pious a man in your distributions, whose circumstances are by no means above the receipt of such charitable bequests, though his modesty is so great as to prevent him from sueing for an interest in them. But while I am acknowledging your unexpected goodness to my friend, permit me, Sir, to inquire into the reason of your conduct toward myself in so different a manner. It is true I live much in the country, but I am not unacquainted with what passes in town. I would now look no further backward than your letter to the board at Lime-Street, about six months ago, where I was present: I cannot imagine what occasion I had given to such sort of censures, as you pass upon me there, among others which you are pleased to cast upon our worthy brethren: nor can I think how a more pious and Christian return could have been made by that board at that time, than to vote a silence and burial of all past contests, and even of this last letter of yours, and to desire your company amongst us as in times past. * As a brother I entreat you to consider, whether all this wrath of man can work the righteousness of God. Let me entreat you to ask yourself, what degrees of passion and personal resentment may join and mingle themselves with your supposed zeal for the gospel. Jesus the Searcher of Hearts knows with what daily labour and study, and with what constant addresses to the throne of grace, I seek to support the doctrine of his deity as well as you, and to defend it in the best manner I am capable of; and shall I tell you also that it was your urgent request among many

Mr. Bradbury seems to bave doubted this fact; but in a subsequent letter he is assured, “if you do not believe that there was a vote passed at the board, that your company should be desired as in times past, and that all these late contests should be buried, ask your good friend, Mr. Horrocks, who came immediately from the board into our house, and conversed freely with me about it, acknowledgiog that the greatest part of bands were held up for that question, and remarking one or two that were not held up."

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