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THE REV. TIMOTHY JOLLIE,
Formerly Pastor of a Church of Christ at ShcGisld.
It may justly excite surprize, that one so superior and eminent in his day, in the character of a Christian minister and a learned tutor, as was the subject of this Memoir, should not have had his memory preserved by a full and regular piece pf biography. Had such a desideratum been executed by any of his contemporaries with suitable attention and ability, it could not have failed to be a work highly entertaining and instructive :— it would have ranked, in point of information, utility, and interest, with that admired piece of Christian History, the Life of Mr. Philip Henry. But now, a century has nearly elapsed since the estimable Mr. Joilie ceased to inhabit this valley of conflicts and tears; his contemporaries are removed with" him into the land of Silence; and tiie traditional notices which have hitherto preserved, in some measure, the preciousness of his memory, are rapidly sliding into irretrievable oblivion. On these accounts it i& the object of the present Memoir to preserve such particulars as the writer has been able to collect, relative to a truly great and eminently good , man.
Mr. Timothy Jollie was born about 1660. His father was the Rev. Thomas Jollie, a minister of Christ, distinguished for his personal holiness, his eminent talents, and his abni dant labours and sufferings. He was ejected by the Act o Uniformity in 1662, from Althome, in Lancashire *. We must regret the want of any particulars of the early life of his son, the subjectof this Memoir. In the sermon pieached on his death, by his frieud and assistant Mr. John de la Rose, we are in
• See a very interesting account of the character and sufferings of this excellent confessor for truth and conscience, in Mr-P^lawr'* Nonconformist's Memorial, the new and enlarged edition.
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formed, that " his sense of religion and love of holiness were early and deep. God sanctified all his powers in his tender years, and so made him shine with a double lustre: and this solemn regard to piety and the good ways of God, lived with him, and grew all along, and was not a little apparent in the whole tenor of his conversation."
It is not known where Mr. Jollie had his academical learning, except that it was in one of those private seminaries which were established among the Nonconformists, after they were excluded from the English Universities. Undoubtedly, he had signal advantages for improvement, both in holy graces and in literary acquirements, from his valuable father, who was of Trinity College, Cambridge; and as, before his settlement at Sheffield, he was a member of a church in London, under Mr. Grirlyth (ejected from the Charter-Houte) it seem* probable that he w.is a student under some one of the celebrated Nonconformist divines; most likely Mr. Doolittle, or Mr. Morton.
A church of the congregational order had been gathered at Sheffield, by the exemplary and useful Mr. James Fisher, who was ejected from the vicarage of that town in io'u2; and, after long imprisonments, with some uncommon circumstances of cruel treatment, died at Hatfield, near Doncaster, in l66fl. He was succeeded by Mr. Robert Lhirant, ejected from Crowle, in Lincolnshire,, who died great!) beloved and lamented, even by Conformists, in 1678. Some of the dying words of this venerable man were, " The Lord has made good this his promise to me; he hath satisfied me with length of life, and given me to see his salvation *."
Such were the predecessors of Mr. Jollie in the great work of Christ; and he'was a follower of their faith, and a close imitator of their conversation. He was solemnly set apart to the pastoral office over the church at Sheffield, April '28, 1681. As it may be interesting to observe the mode adopted in those memorable days for the ordination of ministers, this event Will be related more particularly.
The ministers assembled in the house of Mr. Abel Yates, eaily on Wednesday morning, the 27th of April. Though a convenient place of worship had been erected for Mr. Durant, yet such was the danger and distress of the times, that this important service was obliged to be held in a private house. Mr. Oliver Hey wood, the ejected minister of Coley, whose memory and whose praise are still precious in the churches, was chosen Moderator. The people assembled, and the public service began at ten o'clock. The Moderator spent an hour in prayer. Mr. Jollie then preached his trial-sermon, from Isaiah lix. 1,2.: after which the congregation was dismissed. The ministers then examined the candidate in languages, Jo«jic,
• Psalm xcj. ;f>.
philosophy, and divinity; in which they spent three hours. Through an oversight, no subject for a Latin Thesis had been assigned to Mr. Jollie; but, instead thereof, he maintained an ex tempore disputation: An iRj'untes omnes Baptizuturum, etti scaudalizantiam, sirtt Baptizandit i. e. " Whether Baptism is to be administered to all the Infants of baptized Persons, evea though the Parents he scandalous Characters r" At Mx o'clock the examination and disputation were ended; and the meeting adjourned to the next morning at seven.
On Thursday morning the ministers, church, and spectators being again assembled, Mr. Hancock, ejected from Brad field; and Mr. Bloom, ejected from Slieffield, .both engaged in prayer. The Moderator proposed suitable and important questions to Mr. Jollie; which he answered so as to give great satisfaction. His excellent father then gave him up to the Lord, in a most pathetic prayer, for the work and service of the sanctuary, as he had before given him up in holy baptism. The ordination-prayer followed; which was very solemnly and affectionately offered up by the Moderator, with imposition of hands by the ministers present. The Moderator then gave the charge, from 1 Tim. iv. 15; and concluded with prayer. The spectators were desired to withdraw; and one of the ruling elders read Mr. Jollie's dismission from Mr. Giiffyth's church to that at Sheffield, and expressed, in the name of the people, their call of Mr. Jollie to the pastoral office; to which they signified assent by lifting up their hands. Mr. Jollie declared his acceptance of this charge ove* them in the Lord. His venerable father then preached a discourse on the mutual duties of pastors and people; and the newly ordained minister himself concluded the whole solemn work by a judicious and moving prayer. The service closed at eight o'clock at night, having continued the whole day with no other intermission to the church and ministers than about half an hour.
In the following year Mr. Jollie became the victim of persecution. Under the inhuman acts of lfie legislature of Charles If. he had his goods distrained for a penalty; and was thrown into rigorous confinement in the castle of York. "He took a prison joyfully," says Mr. Pe la Rose, " for the cause of Christ, though the manner of his abode there endangered and impaired his constitution, and threatened his death. Even the bloom of his youth and prime of his days, in which he was capable of the highest gust for the whole circle of inoffensive enjoyments that this world could afford him, he readily, he joyfully, submitted to spend in a gloomy and noisome confinement. Though thereby both his righteous soui was greatly afflicted, hearing so much of the language of Hell there, the dreadful oaths and curses of the criminals round about him; and the lile of his body, by more circumstances than one,ren
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