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May the God of truth bless, accept, and support you, and all you do and bear for its sake.
“I have only just room to return my most hearty thanks to yourself and Mr. Price, for the respect you have shown to my recommendation of the case of Berwick, unless I would make you pay more than as much again as they deserve. I am to him and you, therefore, without adding a word more, Reverend Sir, a most faithful and most humble servant.
DEATH OF GEORGE THE FIRST.
DEATH OF THE KING:- SERMON AT BURY-STREET. - CORONATION OF GEORGE II. - PREVALENCE OF SUICIDE:- PUBLICATION OF THE “ DEFENCE." - SERMON BY MATTHEW HENRY. DEATH OF MATTHEW CLARKE:- HIS CHARACTER.- DR. MATHER BYLES:- POEM.- THIRD VOLUME OF “SERMONS."-ASSOCIATION OF DISSENTING MINISTERS: -MINUTES OF MEETING.-DIPLOMA :-VERSES BY DR. EARLE.--"ESSAY ON CHARITY SCHOOLS.”-ORIGIN OF GRAVEL-LANE SCHOOL. — - THE SCHOOLS OF THE ESTABLISHMENT.- DR. GIBSON.
-SOUTHAMPTON AFFAIRS.-INSTITUTION OF DODDRIDGE'S ACADEMY._"CATECHISMS.» - TREATISE BY REYNOLDS-“CAVEAT AGAINST INFIDELITY."-DEISTICAL CONTROVERSY.-TAE DUNCIAD:-REMONSTRANCE WITH POPETREATISE ON THE “PASSIONS.” — “SCRIPTURE HISTORY." - DODDRIDGE.-HARVEY-BROADAURST-COUNTESS OF HERTFORD.--CORRESPONDENCE.
By the death of George I. in the year 1727, on his journey to Hanover, the dissenters lost a firm friend and benefactor ; but happily the liberal and, at the same time, vigorous policy he had adopted, was pursued by his successor. The disputes between the Hanoverians and the Jacobites, which had distracted the nation in his reign, began now gradually to subside; the fall and banishment of Atterbury had paved the way for the overthrow of high-church principles; and churchman and dissenter, Watts and Secker, Doddridge and Warburton, were frequently seen engaged in literary and Christian intercourse. The decease of the late monarch and the accession of his son, were improved by Watts at Bury-Street, June 18th, from Isaiah, v. 12: “And the harp and the viol, the tabret and pipe,
and wine are in their feasts : but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.” This sermon was printed at the request of the congregation, under the title of “The Religious Improvement of Public Events." If the eulogy pronounced upon the first George cannot be maintained from his private character, it was at least richly merited by his public conduct. The preacher referred his people to former times, when they had to apprehend the dominance of popish darkness and tyranny upon the death of many of their princes; and he congratulated them upon “the peaceful and regular succession of a protestant heir to his Father's throne - a blessing," said he, “as hath not been known in Great Britain for a hundred years past."* There was occasion then for the “harp and the viol” to be in their “ feasts;" but he cautioned them against the crime of the Jews, who allowed festivity to supersede devotion, and forgot the providence of God in their hours of joy. The coronation of George II., October 11, of the same year, drew from the pen of Watts a commemorative ode, which has, however, little besides its loyalty to recommend it. “Wednesday, Oct. 11," says Calamy, “the king and queen were crowned at Westminster in great pomp and state; the procession to and from the abbey upon that occasion, of which I was a spectator, was very magnificent. Dr. Potter, Bishop of Oxford, preached the coronation sermon from 2 Chron. ix. 8."I The dissenting ministers in the metropolis were introduced to the royal presence by the Vice Chamberlain Earl Stanhope; and a congratulatory address upon the occasion was read by Mr. afterwards Dr. John Evans.
A painful subject had presented itself to the attention of
* The last instance of this kind, he observes, was when Charles I. succeeded his father James I.; and indeed was the only one except when Edward VI, came to the crown. + Miscel. No. 71.
Cal. Life and Times, ii. 500.
Watts during the preceding year, and drawn him away from his ordinary studies — the practice of suicide, of which
many melancholy instances had occurred. The ruin and distress with which most parts of the kingdom had been visited in consequence of the South-Sea delusion, largely contributed to the increase of this fearful crime; for the bills of mortality for 1725 report fifty-nine cases in the metropolis, besides seventy-four persons drowned, and forty-three found dead, the cause of whose fate was uncertain. The topic was sufficiently important and distressing to awaken the solicitude of the friends of religion throughout the nation; and in the early part of the year 1726, “A Defence against the Temptation to Self-murder," by Mr. Watts, made its appearance, dated “London, January 28.” The principal arguments of this treatise were originally drawn up in a private letter ; and an unhappy individual who contemplated suicide, being diverted from it by its perusal, the writer was induced to make it public in the hope of profiting others. He investigates the causes in general of such fatal occurrences - dissipation, pride, and gambling; and endeavours to present suitable dissuasives to arrest the tempted victim in his career. The volume is divided into six sections, viz.—the unlawfulness of self-murder displayed the folly and danger of it - the motives to it examined and answered — means of security against the temptation-admonitions to those who have been rescued from it- and cautions against all approaches to it, as intemperance, duelling, &c. The increase of commercial speculation, and in consequence the more frequent occurrence of blighted hopes and changing fortunes, have of late years alarmingly multiplied this crime; and it may be doubted whether the charity of modern juries is serviceable to the public morals, in attributing to temporary insanity what might often be more correctly traced to mortified pride and disappointed ambition. In Paris, owing in a great measure to the impunity which attends this practice, the number of persons taken out of the Seine
amounts to a frightful sum; and it is a singular instance of taste, that the average number in summer far exceeds that in the winter, on account of the warmer temperature of the stream. “The supreme Governor of all things,” says Cicero, “ forbids us to depart hence without his order; and though when the divine providence does itself offer us a just occasion of leaving this world, a wise man will then depart joyfully, yet he will not be in such haste as to break his prison contrary to law, but will go as a prisoner when dismissed by the magistrate or lawful power."'*
A sermon of the excellent Matthew Henry's, edited by Watts, was published in 1726, entitled “Separation without Rebellion.” It was preached at the opening of the new meeting-house in Crook Lane, Chester, August 8, 1700, from Joshua, xxii. 22, 23: “The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods he knoweth, and Israel he shall know, if it be in rebellion or if in transgression against the Lord — that we have built us an altar.” Mr. Henry evidently intended this sermon for publication, as he kept a copy of it "fairly transcribed,”+ which was found among his manuscripts. The reason why its appearance was delayed during his life, Mr. Palmer conjecturest to be “his great solicitude to avoid giving offence to any members of the established church” in the city where he ministered. Mr. Watts wrote a commendatory preface to this interesting relic of his friend. The sermon may be found in Henry's Miscellaneous Works; and furnishes a “fair specimen of the writer's candour, ability, and moderation, and is well calculated not only to instruct
• Tusc. Quest. lib. i.
+ “It cannot be said of Mr. Henry,” says his biographer, “as of Caspar Barthius, that on account of the neatness of his hand the first copy required no transcript; both he and the printer might rather have adopted such Calligraphic regrets as those expressed by Dr. Parr.” See the characters of the late J. C. Fox, i. p. 9. William's Life of Henry, Note 0.
Palmer's Mem. of Henry p. 13.