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this kind so surprising as the present narrative hath set before us. The Rev. and worthy Dr. Colman of Boston, had given us some short intimations of it in his letters; and upon our request of a more large and particular account, Mr. Edwards, the happy and successful minister of Northampton, which was one of the chief scenes of these wonders, drew
this history in an epistle to Dr. Colman. There were some useful sermons of the venerable and aged Mr. Wm. Williams published late in New England, which were preached in that part of the country during this season of the glorious work of God in the conversion of men, to which Dr. Colman subjoined a most judicious and accurate abridgment of this epistle; and a little after, by Mr. Edwards’s request, he sent the original to our hands, to be communicated to the world under our care here in London. We are abundantly satisfied of the truth of this narrative, not only from the pious character of the writer, but from the concurrent testimony of many other persons in New England; for this thing was not done in a corner.”
The cheering facts which the “Narrative" records, form by no means an isolated instance of religious revival. The succeeding history of the western continent, furnishes us with similar plenteous communications of heavenly influence, producing a deep and general concern in behalf of spiritual and eternal things. In our own days such exhibitions of divine grace have been witnessed, and the testimonies of men the most intelligent, and widely removed from enthusiasm, have been forwarded to our shores, recounting what God hath wrought. It seems as though such occurrences were intended in the divine administration signally to own and bless the piety and devotedness of the early settlers. They were "some of the best people, of the best nation on the face of the earth, and in its best age”- they took joyfully “the spoiling of their goods” at home to promote the interests of true religion, and banished themselves beyond the bounds of civilisation,
rather than yield their consciences to the yoke of spiritual tyranny--and though many died of the hardships of exile, with no shelter but the forest, yet their "labour has not been in vain in the Lord.” The fruit has been gathered, the harvest has been reaped by their posterity; and the ark of liberty and religion, which they transported to a foreign soil to preserve inviolate, has been handed down to their children's children.
In January, 1738, Doddridge was in London, procuring subscriptions for his “Family Expositor;" and in February he paid a visit to Lady Abney and Dr. Watts at Newington. The latter was now engaged in preparing his discourses on “ The Holiness of Times, Places, and People,” which appeared in the month of May, which Doddridge mentions with approbation in a letter to his friend Dr. Clark of St. Albans.* In the summer he assisted at the ordination of the Rev. Samuel Spashall, at Stoke Newington, and gave the charge to the minister. Dr. Gibbons observes, “I well remember that the minister who prayed over Mr. Snashall, before the doctor gave the charge, made use of this expression, ‘Lord, we remember our faults this day.' The doctor took notice of it as falling from the lips of his reverend brother, and approved and adopted it into his preface to his charge in the easiest and happiest manner. Such was his ready and immediate command of thought and language.” “ The Holiness of Times, Places, and People," consists of five essays upon the following important topics : “The Perpetuity of the Sabbath, and the observation of the Lord's Day" — “Of the Time of Day for administering the Lord's Supper" — “ The Holiness of Places of Worship’ – “The Jewish Worship and the Christian compared" — “ The Holiness of the Jewish and Christian Churches considered and compared.”
The first essay originated with a discourse on the same
* Dated, “Newport Pagnel, June 23, 1738."
subject, printed in the Bury-street collection.* It considers the obligation of a sabbatical institution upon Christians, which it establishes by the same line of argument as is usually employed by divines. The seventh day was hallowed by divine appointment at the close of the creation; its sanctity was strongly marked, previous to the promulgation of the law, by suspending the supply of manna; it was afterwards embodied in that great epitome of religious and moral duty written upon the tables of stone; it formed a part of the political law of the people who recognised Jehovah as their politi. cal head; it was sanctified, when changed by apostolic authority to the first day of the week, in the practice of all the primitive churches; and these incidental circumstances, in the absence of an explicit injunction, are advanced as irresistibly determining in favour of the institute. The loose and incautious statements of episcopal writers upon this subject, the non-observation of the day of rest by the court in the time of the Stuarts, introduced a laxity of manners among the people, and led them to convert the sacred festival into a civil holi. day. Many of the nonconformist divines took up the pen to correct the mischievous errors of Heylin, and counteract the still lingering spirit of the Book of Sports; and their treatises still remain among the most valuable in the library of English theology, in defence of the perpetuity and sanctity of the sabbath. The second essay, on the time for administering the Lord's supper, was written about the year 1710 ;f and arose from some religious scruples which one of the hearers at Bury Street entertained, about receiving the communion at
*"The Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath. Gen. ii. 3.”
+ Two appendices are added to this essay. The first contains an extract from Lord King's "Inquiry into the Primitive Churches ;” and the second, some additional remarks, strengthening the inferential proof of the Sabbath being of divine obligation. This question has of late been set at rest by many excellent productions; and especially Dr. Wardlaw has most triumphantiy refuted the objections of the anti-sabbattarians, in his “Discourses on the Sabbath. 1832."
noon, according to the custom of many churches. He argues, that where the time of any duty has been expressly instituted, it ought to be punctually obeyed; but that it by no means follows, that every circumstance of time or place, which attended any part of worship in which the apostles or Christ himself engaged, must be observed also whenever we perform it. We are under as much obligation to partake of the Lord's supper only in a “city,” “ in a large upper room furnished," observing the Jewish posture of sitting at table, as to receive it in an evening. The practice of the primitive churches varied upon this point; sometimes the sacrament was celebrated “horis ante lucanis," before break of day; Paul at Troas “ broke bread” when it was past midnight ;t but the proper season for its performance is doubtless that which is most convenient to the parties engaged in it. I The third dissertation is the substance of a sermon preached at Wapping, Oct. 20th, 1737, at the opening of Mr. Jennings's meeting-house. The fourth and fifth contrast the economy and advantages of the Jewish and Christian churches. These essays contain a very valuable and practical exhibition of evangelical truth; they discover the writer's extensive acquaintance with the sacred page and both ancient and modern divinity; and the just remarks and happy illustrations with which the volume abounds, render its perusal pleasing and profitable, and add considerably to the reader's stock of theological knowledge.
We have seen Dr. Watts rejoicing in the spiritual prosper
* Mark, xiv. 15, 16. + Acts, xx. 7. # President Chauncey thought the Lord's Supper should be in an evening. In the records of Harvard college, there is the following memorandum:
“At a meeting of the Honourable and Reverend Overseers of the college, Mr. Mather and Mr. Norton were desired by the overseers of the college, to tender unto the Reverend Mr. Charles Chauncey the place of President, with the stipend of one hundred pounds per annum, to be paid out of the country treasury; and withal to signify to him, that it is expected and desired, that he forbear to dissemidate or publish any tenets concerning immersion in baptism, and celebration of the Lord's Supper at evening, or to expose the received doctrine therein.”
Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, x. 175.
ity of the American colonies: a striking change was now at hand in the moral and religious state of his own country. The Methodists were beginning to attract public notice by the holy lives and abundant labours of the Wesleys; the populace of the metropolis was flocking to Kennington Common and Moorfields, to be roused from its slumber by the powerful voice of Whitfield; and that glorious ministry was commencing in the “highways and hedges,” which, though opposed by the cold advocates of order, and scowled upon by selfish bigots, has proved such a signal blessing to the nation. Various representations have been given of the disposition of the dissenters towards the distinguished leaders of the rising sect. The ardour, the disinterestedness, the desire, and unremitting exertions to win souls displayed by them, commanded the admiration and won the love of such men as Watts, Doddridge, and others; but in many instances their co-operation was forfeited by the want of a conciliating spirit, and the good will they tendered was lost by causeless and imprudent reflections. When their churches were denounced as companies of banded formalists—when their ministry was proclaimed, as feeding the flock with husks instead of salutary food-it is not surprising if the majority kept aloof or retired disgusted by the exhibition of so much censoriousness. Whitfield, especially in middle age, saw the error into which he had been betrayed by youthful intemperance, and in the spirit of a Christian publicly acknowledged it. But notwithstanding such unhappy circumstances, Dr. Watts, Dr. Doddridge, Mr. Barker, and other eminent ministers, exemplified the charity that “hopeth all things," and witnessed with intense interest and joy the good that was accomplished, however imperfect they might deem the instruments. The latter in a private letter remarks, “ I have heard a little of Count Zinzindorf, but not a full and satisfactory account; but this I am sure of, that if Satan's kingdom falls, and that of our Lord rises, if the one lessens and the other extends,