Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

וי

keenness and pertinacity with which they are on all occasions followed out; but a modern reader sighs to think of vivid talents spent, with life-long perseverance, on discussions which have tended so little

to benefit mankind.

WILLIAM WHISTON.

WILLIAM WHISTON (1667-1752) was an able but eccentric scholar, and so distinguished as a mathematician, that he was made deputy professor of mathematics in the university of Cambridge, and afterwards successor to Sir Isaac Newton, of whose principles he was one of the most successful expounders. Entering into holy orders, he became chaplain to the bishop of Norwich, rector of Lowestoffe, &c. He was also appointed Boyle lecturer in the university, but was at length expelled for promulgating Arian opinions. He then went to London, where a subscription was made for him, and he delivered a series of lectures on astronomy, which were patronised by Addison and Steele. Towards the close of his life, Whiston became a Baptist, and believed that the millennium was approaching, when the Jews would all be restored. Had he confined himself to mathematical studies, he would have earned a high name in science; but his time and attention were dissipated by his theological pursuits, in which he evinced more zeal than judgment. His works are numerous. Besides a Theory of the Earth, in defence of the Mosaic account of the creation, published in 1696, and some tracts on the Newtonian system, he wrote an Essay on the Revelation of St John (1706), Sermons on the Scripture Prophecies (1708), Primitive Christianity Revived, five volumes, (1712), Memoirs of his own Life, (1749-50), &c. An extract from the last mentioned book is subjoined :--

[Anecdote of the Discovery of the Newtonian Philosophy.]

fall downward, and which we call gravity! taking this postulatum, which had been thought of before, that such power might decrease in a duplicate propor tion of the distances from the earth's centre. Upon Sir Isaac's first trial, when he took a degree of a great circle on the earth's surface, whence a degree at the distance of the moon was to be determined also, to be sixty measured miles only, according to the gross measures then in use, he was in some degree disappointed; and the power that restrained the moon in her orbit, measured by the versed sines of that orbit, appeared not to be quite the same that was to be expected had it been the power of gravity alone by which the moon was there influenced. Upon this disappointment, which made Sir Isaac suspect that this power was partly that of gravity and partly that of Cartesius's vortices, he threw aside the paper of his calculation, and went to other studies. However, some time afterward, when Monsieur Picart had much more exactly measured the earth, and found that a degree of a great circle was sixty-nine and ahalf such miles, Sir Isaac, in turning over some of his former papers, lighted upon this old imperfect calcula tion, and, correcting his former error, discovered that this power, at the true correct distance of the moon from the earth, not only tended to the earth's centre, as did the common power of gravity with us, but was exactly of the right quantity; and that if a stone was carried up to the moon, or to sixty semi-diameters of the earth, and let fall downward by its gravity, and the moon's own menstrual motion was stopped, and she was let fall by that power which before retained her in her orbit, they would exactly fall towards the same point, and with the same velocity; which was therefore no other power than that of gravity. And since that power appeared to extend as far as the moon, at the distance of 240,000 miles, it was but natural, or rather necessary, to suppose it might reach twice, thrice, four times, &c., the same distance, with the same diminution, according to the squares of such distances perpetually: which noble discovery proved the happy occasion of the invention of the wonderful Newtonian philosophy.

DR PHILIP DODDRIDGE.

After I had taken holy orders, I returned to the college, and went on with my own studies there, particularly the mathematics and the Cartesian philosophy, which was alone in vogue with us at that time. But it was not long before I, with immense pains, but DR PHILIP DODDRIDGE, a distinguished nonconno assistance, set myself with the utmost zeal to the study of Sir Isaac Newton's wonderful discoveries in formist divine and author, was born in London, June his Philosophia Naturalis Principia Mathematica,' 26, 1702. His grandfather had been ejected from one or two of which lectures I had heard him read in the living of Shepperton, in Middlesex, by the act the public schools, though I understood them not at of uniformity in 1662; and his father, a man engaged all at that time-being indeed greatly excited thereto in mercantile pursuits in London, married the only by a paper of Dr Gregory's, when he was professor in daughter of a German, who had fled from Prague to Scotland, wherein he had given the most prodigious escape the persecution which raged in Bohemia, commendations to that work, as not only right in all after the expulsion of Frederick, the Elector Pala things, but in a manner the effect of a plainly divine tine, when to abjure or emigrate were the only altergenius, and had already caused several of his scholars natives. The pious parents of Doddridge early into keep acts, as we call them, upon several branches structed him in religious knowledge. I have heard of the Newtonian philosophy; while we at Cambridge, him relate,' says his biographer, Mr Job Orton, poor wretches, were ignominiously studying the fic-that his mother taught him the history of the Old titious hypotheses of the Cartesian, which Sir Isaac and New Testaments, before he could read, by the Newton had also himself done formerly, as I have assistance of some Dutch tiles in the chimney in the heard him say. What the occasion of Sir Isaac New-room where they commonly sat; and her wise and ton's leaving the Cartesian philosophy, and of discovering his amazing theory of gravity was, I have heard him long ago, soon after my first acquaintance with him, which was 1694, thus relate, and of which Dr Pemberton gives the like account, and somewhat more fully, in the preface to his explication of his philosophy. It was this: an inclination came into Sir Isaac's mind to try whether the same power did not keep the moon in her orbit, notwithstanding her projectile velocity, which he knew always tended to go along a straight line the tangent of that orbit, which makes stones and all heavy bodies with us

pious reflections upon the stories there represented were the means of making some good impressions upon his heart, which never wore out; and therefore this method of instruction he frequently recom mended to parents.' In 1712, Doddridge was sent to school at Kingston-upon-Thames; but both his parents dying within three years afterwards, he was removed to St Albans, and whilst there, was solemnly admitted, in his sixteenth year, a member of the nonconforming congregation. His religious impressions were ardent and sincere; and when, in 1718, the Duchess of Bedford made him an offer to

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

educate him for the ministry in the church of England, Doddridge declined, from conscientious scruples, to avail himself of this advantage. A generous friend, Dr Clarke of St Albans, now stepped forward to patronise the studious youth, and in 1719 he was placed at an academy established at Kibworth, Leicestershire, for the education of dissenters. Here he resided three years, pursuing his studies for the ministry, and cultivating a taste for elegant literature. To one of his fellow-pupils who had condoled with him on being buried alive, Doddridge writes in the following happy strain:- Here I stick close to those delightful studies which a favourable providence has made the business of my life. One day passeth away after another, and I only know that it passeth pleasantly with me. As for the world about me, I have very little concern with it. I live almost like a tortoise shut up in its shell, almost always in the same town, the same house, the same chamber; yet I live like a prince-not, indeed, in the pomp of greatness, but the pride of liberty; master of my books, master of my time, and, I hope I may add, master of myself. I can willingly give up the charms of London, the luxury, the company, the popularity of it, for the secret pleasures of rational employment and self-approbation; retired from applause and reproach, from envy and contempt, and the destructive baits of avarice and ambition. So that, instead of lamenting it as my misfortune, you should congratulate me upon it as my happiness, that I am confined in an obscure village, seeing it gives me so many valuable advantages to the most important purposes of devotion and philosophy, and, I hope I may add, usefulness too.' The obscure village had also further attractions. It appears from the correspondence of Doddridge (published by his great-grandson in 1829), that the young divine was of a susceptible temperament, and was generally in love with some fair one of the neighbourhood, with whom he kept up a constant and lively interchange of letters. The levity or gaiety of some of these epistles is remarkable in one of so staid and devout a public character. His style is always excellent-correct and playful like that of Cowper, and interesting from the very egotism and carelessness of the writer. To one of his female correspondents he thus describes his situation:

You know I love a country life, and here we have it in perfection. I am roused in the morning with the chirping of sparrows, the cooing of pigeons, the lowing of kine, the bleating of sheep, and, to complete the concert, the grunting of swine and neighing of horses. We have a mighty pleasant garden and orchard, and a fine arbour under some tall shady limes, that form a kind of lofty dome, of which, as a native of the great city, you may perhaps catch a glimmering idea, if I name the cupola of St Paul's. And then, on the other side of the house, there is a large space which we call a wilderness, and which, I fancy, would please you extremely. The ground is a dainty green sward; a brook runs sparkling through the middle, and there are two large fish-ponds at one end; both the ponds and the brook are surrounded with willows; and there are several shady walks under the trees, besides little knots of young willows interspersed at convenient distances. This is the nursery of our lambs and calves, with whom I have the honour to be intimately acquainted. Here I generally spend the evening, and pay my respects to the setting sun, when the variety and the beauty of the prospect inspire a pleasure that I know not how to express. I am sometimes so transported with these inanimate beauties, that I fancy I am like Adam in Paradise; and it is my only misfortune that I want an Eve,

and have none but the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field, for my companions.'

To another lady, whom he styles aunt,' he addressed the following complimentary effusion, more like the epistle of a cavalier poet than of a nonconformist preacher :

'You see, madam, I treat you with rustic simplicity, and perhaps talk more like an uncle than a nephew. But I think it is a necessary truth, that ought not to be concealed because it may possibly disoblige. In short, madam, I will tell you roundly, that if a lady of your character cannot bear to hear a word in her own commendation, she must rather resolve to go out of the world, or not attend to anything that is said in it. And if you are determined to indulge this unaccountable humour, depend upon it, that with a thousand excellent qualities and agreeable accomplishments, you will be one of the most unhappy creatures in the world. I assure you, madam, you will meet with affliction every day of your life. You frown when a home-bred unthinking boy tells you that he is extremely entertained with your letters. Surely you are in a downright rage whenever you converse with gentlemen of refined taste and solid judgment; for I am sure, let them be ever so much upon their guard, they cannot forbear tormenting you about an agreeable person, a fine air, a sparkling wit, steady prudence, and unaffected piety, and a thousand other things that I am afraid to name, although even I can dimly perceive them; or, if they have so much humility as not to talk of them to your face, you will be sure to hear of them at second hand. Poor aunt! I profess I pity you; and if I did but know any one circumstance of your character that was a little defective, I would be sure to expatiate upon it out of pure good nature.'

From his first sermon, delivered at the age of twenty, Doddridge became a marked preacher among the dissenters, and had calls to various congregations. In 1729 he settled at Northampton, and became celebrated for his abilities, diligence, and zeal. Here he undertook to receive pupils, and was so successful, that in a few years he engaged an assistant, to whom he assigned the care of the junior pupils, and the direction of the academy during his absence. He first appeared as an author in 1730, when he published a pamphlet on the Means of Reviving the Dissenting Interest. He afterwards applied himself to the composition of practical religious works. His Sermons on the Education of Children (1732), Sermons to Young People (1735), and Ten Sermons on the Power and Grace of Christ, and the Evidences of his Glorious Gospel (1736), were all well received by the public. In 1741 appeared his Practical Discourses on Regeneration, and in 1745 The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. The latter forms a body of practical divinity and Christian experience which has never been surpassed by any work of the same nature. In 1747 appeared his still popular work, Some Remarkable Passages in the Life of Colonel James Gardiner, who was slain by the Rebels at the Battle of Prestonpans, Sept. 21, 1745. Gardiner was a brave Scottish officer, who had served with distinction under Marlborough, and was aid-decamp to the Earl of Stair on his embassy to Paris. From a gay libertine life he was suddenly converted to one of the strictest piety, by what he conceived to be a supernatural interference, namely, a visible representation of Christ upon the cross, suspended in the air, amidst an unusual blaze of light, and accompanied by a declaration of the words, 'Oh, sinner! did I suffer this for thee, and are these the returns?' From the period of this vision till his death, twentysix years afterwards, Colonel Gardiner maintained

the life and character of a sincere and zealous Chris- which was attended with convulsions. No one, my dear, tian, united with that of an intrepid and active can judge so well as yourself what I must feel on such officer. Besides several single sermons and charges an occasion; yet I found, as I had just before done delivered at the ordination of some of his brethren, in my secret retirements, a most lively sense of the Dr Doddridge published an elaborate work, the re- love and care of God, and a calm sweet resignation to sult of many years' study, entitled The Family Expo- his will, though the surprise of the news was almost sitor, Containing a Version and Paraphrase of the New as great as if my child had been seized in full health; Testament, with Critical Notes, and a Practical Im- for everybody before told me she was quite in a safe provement of each Section. This compendium of and comfortable way. I had now no refuge but prayer, Scriptural knowledge was received with the greatest in which the countenances of my pupils, when I told approbation both at home and abroad, and was them the story, showed how much they were disposed translated into several languages. Doddridge con- to join with me. I had before me Mr Clark's book of tinued his useful and laborious life at Northampton the Promises; and though I had quite forgotten it, for many years; but his health failing, he was, yet so it happened that I had left off, the Sabbath in 1751, advised to remove to a warmer climate for before, in the middle of a section, and at the beginthe winter. The generosity of his friends supplied ning of the sixty-fifth page, so that the fresh words ample funds for his stay abroad, and in September which came in course to be read were Matt. xxi. 22, of the same year he sailed from Falmouth for Lisbon. And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, He arrived there on the 21st of October, but sur- believing, you shall receive; the next, If ye abide vived only five days, dying October 26, 1751. The in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what || solid learning, unquestioned piety, and truly Catholic | ye will, and it shall be done to you; then followed, liberality and benevolence of Dr Doddridge, secured Whatsoever ye shall ask my Father in my name, he for him the warm respect and admiration of his con- will give it you; Ask and receive, that your joy temporaries of all sects. He heartily wished and may be full Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name prayed for a greater union among Protestants, and that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the longed for the happy time when, to use his own words, Son; If ye ask anything in my name I will do it,' the question would be, not how much we may and at last, The prayer of faith shall save the sick, lawfully impose, and how much we may lawfully and the Lord shall raise him up.' These scriptures dispute, but on the one side what we may waive, and falling thus undesignedly and unexpectedly in my on the other what we may acquiesce in, from a prin- way, at that moment, and thus directly following each ciple of mutual tenderness and respect, without dis-other, in the order in which I have transcribed them, pleasing our common Lord, and injuring that great felt great encouragement earnestly to plead them in struck me and the whole family very sensibly; and I cause of original Christianity which he hath appointed us to guard.' As an author, the reputation prayer, with a very firm persuasion that, one way or of Doddridge depends chiefly on his Family Expo- another, God would make this a very teaching cir sitor, to which the only objection that has been cumstance to me and the family. Then Mr Bunyan urged, is the occasional redundance of some of his but I told him it was matter of conscience to me to came, and pleaded strongly against blistering her; paraphrases. His interpretation of particular texts follow the prescriptions of the doctor, though I left and passages may also be variously judged of; but the issue entirely to God, and felt a dependence in the solid learning and research of the author, his him alone. I then wrote you the hasty lines which I critical acuteness, and the persuasive earnestness of hope you received by the last post, and renewed my his practical reflections, render the work altogether applications to God in secret, reviewing the promises an honour to English theological literature. Dr which had so much astonished and revived me in the Doddridge was author of what Johnson calls one family, when those words, the prayer of faith shall of the finest epigrams in the English language.' save the sick,' came on my heart, as if it had been The subject is his family motto, Dum vivimus from the very mouth of God himself; so that I could vivamus, which, in its primary signification, is not not forbear replying, before I was well aware, then very suitable to a Christian divine, but he para- it shall and I was then enabled to pray with that phrased it thus:penetrating sense of God's almighty power, and with that confidence in his love, which I think I never had before in an equal degree; and I thought I then felt myself much more desirous that the child might be spared, if it were but a little while, and from this illness, as in answer to prayer, than on account of her recovery simply, and in itself, or of my own enjoy. ment of her. I lay open all my heart before you, my

[ocr errors]

Live while you live, the epicure would say,
And seize the pleasures of the present day.
Live while you live, the sacred preacher cries,
And give to God each moment as it flies.
Lord, in my views let both united be;
I live in pleasure when I live to thee.

Our specimens of Doddridge are exclusively from dear, because it seems to me something of a singular his letters.

[The Dangerous Illness of a Daughter.] [Written from Northampton, August 1740, to Mrs Doddridge.] When I came down to prayer on Lord's day morning, at eight o'clock, immediately after the short prayer with which you know we begin family worship, Mrs Wilson (who has indeed showed a most prudent and tender care of the children, and managed her trust very well during your absence) came to me in tears, and told me that Mr Knott wanted to speak with me: I immediately guessed his errand, especially when I saw he was so overwhelmed with grief that he could scarcely utter it. It was natural to ask if my child were dead! He told me she was yet alive, but that the doctor had hardly any hopes at all, for she was seized at two in the morning with a chilliness,

experience. While I was thus employed, with an ardour of soul which, had it long continued, would have weakened and exhausted my spirits extremely, I was told that a gentleman wanted me: this grieved me exceedingly, till I found it was Mr Hutton, now of the Moravian church, whose Christian exhortations and consolations were very reviving to me. He said, among other things, God's will concerning you is, that you should be happy at all times, and in all circumstances; and particularly now, in this circumstance; happy in your child's life, happy in its health, happy in its sickness, happy in its death, happy in its resurrection! He promised to go and pray for it, and said he had known great effects attending such a method.

So it was, that from that hour the child began to mend, as I wrote word to you by him that evening, and by Mr Offley yesterday morning. I cannot pre

tend to say that I am assured she will recover; but I am fully persuaded, that if she does not, God will make her death a blessing to us; and I think she will be spared.

He en

have neglected it so many days or hours: but when it contained nothing material, except an unkind insinuation, that you esteemed me a dishonest man, who, out of a design to please a party, had written what he did not believe, or, as you thought fit to express yourself, had 'trimmed it a little with the gospel of Christ,' I thought all that was necessary, after having fully satisfied my own conscience on that head, which, II bless God, I very easily did, was to forgive and pray for the mistaken brother who had done me the injury, and to endeavour to forget it, by turning my thoughts to some more pleasant, important, and useful subject. I imagined, sir, that for me to give you an assurance under my hand that I meant honestly, would signify very little, whether you did or did not already believe it; and as I had little particular to say on the doctrines to which you referred, I thought it would be of little use to send you a bare confession of my faith, and quite burdensome to enter into a long detail and examination of arguments which have on one side and the other been so often discussed, and of which the world has of late years been so thoroughly satiated.

[Happy Devotional Feelings of Doddridge.] [To Mrs Doddridge, from Northampton, October 1742.] I hope, my dear, you will not be offended when tell you that I am, what I hardly thought it possible, without a miracle, that I should have been, very easy and happy without you. My days begin, pass, and end in pleasure, and seem short because they are so delightful. It may seem strange to say it, but really so it is, I hardly feel that I want anything. I often think of you, and pray for you, and bless God on your account, and please myself with the hope of many comfortable days, and weeks, and years with you; yet I am not at all anxious about your return, or indeed about anything else. And the reason, the great and sufficient reason is, that I have more of the presence of God with me than I remember ever to have enjoyed in any one month of my life. ables me to live for him, and to live with him. When I awake in the morning, which is always before it is light, I address myself to him, and converse with him, speak to him while I am lighting my candle and putting on my clothes, and have often more delight before I come out of my chamber, though it be hardly a quarter of an hour after my awaking, than I have enjoyed for whole days, or, perhaps, weeks of my life. He meets me in my study, in secret, in family devotions. It is pleasant to read, pleasant to compose, pleasant to converse with my friends at home; pleasant to visit those abroad-the poor, the sick; pleasant to write letters of necessary business by which any good can be done; pleasant to go out and preach the gospel to poor souls, of which some are thirsting for it, and others dying without it; pleasant in the week day to think how near another Sabbath is; but, oh! much, much more pleasant, to think how near eternity is, and how short the journey through this wilderness, and that it is but a step from earth to heaven.

I cannot forbear, in these circumstances, pausing a little, and considering whence this happy scene just at this time arises, and whether it tends. Whether God is about to bring upon me any peculiar trial, for which this is to prepare me; whether he is shortly about to remove me from the earth, and so is giving me more sensible prelibations of heaven, to prepare me for it; or whether he intends to do some peculiar services by me just at this time, which many other circumstances lead me sometimes to hope; or whether it be that, in answer to your prayers, and in compassion to that distress which I must otherwise have felt in the absence and illness of her who has been so exceedingly dear to me, and was never more sensibly dear to me than now he is pleased to favour me with this teaching experience; in consequence of which, I freely own I am less afraid than ever of any event that can possibly arise, consistent with his nearness to my heart, and the tokens of his paternal and covenant love. I will muse no further on the cause. It is enough, the effect is so blessed.

[Vindication of Religious Opinions.] [Addressed, November 1742, to the Rev. Mr Bourne.] Had the letter which I received from you so many months ago been merely an address of common friendship, I hope no hurry of business would have led me to delay so long the answer which civility and gratitude would in that case have required; or had it been to request any service in my power to you, sir, or to any of your family or friends, I would not willingly

a

On this account, sir, I threw aside the beginning of long letter, which I had prepared in answer to yours, and with it your letter itself; and I believe I may safely say, several weeks and months have passed in which I have not once recollected anything relating to this affair. But I have since been certainly informed that you, interpreting my silence as an acknowledgment of the justice of your charge, have sent copies of your letter to several of your friends, who have been industrious to propagate them far and near! This is a fact which, had it not been exceedingly well attested, I should not have believed; but as I find it too evident to be questioned, you must excuse me, sir, if I take the liberty to expostulate with you upon it, which, in present circumstances, I apprehend to be not only justice to myself, but, on the whole, kindness and respect for you.

Though it was unkind readily to entertain the suspicions you express, I do not so much complain of your acquainting me with them; but on what imaginable humane or Christian principle could you communicate such a letter, and grant copies of it! With what purpose could it be done, but with a design of aspersing my character? and to what purpose could you desire my character to be reproached? Are you sure, sir, that I am not intending the honour of God and the good of souls, by my various labours of one kind and another-so sure of it, that you will venture to maintain at the bar of Christ, before the throne of God, that I was a person whom it was your duty to endeavour to discredit? for, considering me as a Christian, a minister, and a tutor, it could not be merely an indifferent action; nay, considering me as a man, if it was not a duty, it was a crime!

I will do you the justice, sir, to suppose you have really an ill opinion of me, and believe I mean otherwise than I write; but let me ask, what reason have you for that opinion? Is it because you cannot think me a downright fool, and conclude that every one who is not must be of your opinion, and is a knave if he does not declare that he is so? or is it from any. thing particular which you apprehend you know of my sentiments contrary to what my writings declare! He that searches my heart, is witness that what I wrote on the very passage you except against, I wrote as what appeared to me most agreeable to truth, and most subservient to the purposes of His glory and the edification of my readers; and I see no reason to alter it in a second edition, if I should reprint my Exposition, though I had infinitely rather the book should perish than advance anything contrary to the tenor of the gospel, and subversive to the souls of men. I guard against apprehending Christ to be a mere creature, or another God, inferior to the Father, or co

ordinate with him. And you will maintain that I believe him to be so; from whence, sir, does your evidence of that arise! If from my writings, I apprehend it must be in consequence of some inference you draw from them, of laying any just foundation for which I am not at present aware; nor did I ever intend, I am sure, to say or intimate anything of the kind. If from report, I must caution you against rashly believing such reports. I have heard some stories of me, echoed back from your neighbourhood,

which God knows to be as false as if I had been re

ported to have asserted the divine authority of the Alcoran! or to have written Hobbe's Leviathan; and I can account for them in no other way than by supposing, either that coming through several hands, every one mistook a little, or else that some people have such vivid dreams, that they cannot distinguish them from realities, and so report them as facts; though how to account for their propagating such reports so zealously, on any principles of Christianity or common humanity, especially considering how far I am from having offered them any personal injury, would amaze me, if I did not know how far party zeal debases the understandings of those who in other matters are wise and good. All I shall add with regard to such persons is, that I pray God this evil may not be laid to their charge.

I have seriously reflected with myself, whence it should come that such suspicions should arise of my being in what is generally called the Arian scheme, and the chief causes I can discover are these two my not seeing the arguments which some of my brethren have seen against it in some disputed texts, and my tenderness and regard to those who, I have reason to believe, do espouse it, and whom I dare not in conscience raise a popular cry against! Nor am I at all fond of urging the controversy, lest it should divide churches, and drive some who are wavering, as indeed I myself once was, to an extremity to which I should be sorry to see such worthy persons, as some of them are, reduced.

Permit me, sir, on so natural an occasion, to conclude with expressing the pleasure with which I have heard that you of late have turned your preaching from a controversial to a more practical and useful strain. I am persuaded, sir, it is a manner of using the great talents which God has given you, which will turn to the most valuable account with respect to yourself and your flock; and if you would please to add another labour of love, by endeavouring to convince some who may be more open to the conviction from you than from others, that Christian candour does not consist in judging the hearts of their brethren, or virulently declaring against their supposed bigotry, it would be a very important charity to them, and a favour to, reverend and dear sir, your very affectionate brother and humble servant,

P. DODDRIDGE.

P. S.-I heartily pray that God may confirm your health, and direct and prosper all your labours, for the honour of his name and the Gospel of his Son.

The multiplicity of my business has obliged me to write this with so many interruptions, that I hope you will excuse the inaccuracies it may contain. My meaning I am sure is good, and, I hope, intelligible;

and I am heartily willing that, with what measure I mete, it may be measured to me again.

DR WILLIAM NICOLSON-DR MATTHEW TINDAL—
DR HUMPHREY PRIDEAUX.

DR WILLIAM NICOLSON (1655-1727), successively bishop of Carlisle and Londonderry, and lastly archbishop of Cashel, was a learned antiquary and investigator of our early records. He published Historical Libraries of England, Scotland, and Ireland (collected into one volume, in 1776), being a detailed catalogue or list of books and manuscripts referring to the history of each nation. He also wrote An Essay on the Border Laws, A Treatise on the Laws of the Anglo-Saxons, and A Description of Poland and Denmark. The only professional works of Dr Nicolson are a preface to Chamberlayne's Polyglott of the Lord's Prayer, and some able pamphlets on the Bangorian controversy.

DR MATTHEW TINDAL (1657-1733) was a zealous controversialist, in times when controversy was pur sued with much keenness by men fitted for higher duties. His first attacks were directed against priestly power, but he ended in opposing Christianity itself; and Paine and other later writers against revelation, have drawn some of their wea pons from the armoury of Tindal. Like Dryden, and many others, Tindal embraced the Roman Catholic religion when it became fashionable in the court of James II.; but he abjured it in 1687, and afterwards became an advocate under William IIL, from whom he received a pension of £200 per || annum. He wrote several political and theological tracts, but the work by which he is chiefly known, is entitled Christianity as Old as the Creation, or the Gospel a Republication of the Religion of Nature. The tendency of this treatise is to discredit revealed religion: it was answered by Waterland; and Tindal replied by reiterating his former statements and arguments. He wrote a second volume to this work shortly before his death, but Dr Gibson, the bishop of London, interfered, and prevented its publication. Tindal left a legacy of £2000 to Eustace Budgell, one of the writers in the Spectator, and it was reported that Budgell had assisted in his friend's work against Christianity. Tindal's nephew was author of a continuation of Rapin's History of England.

DR HUMPHREY PRIDEAUX (1648–1724) was author of a still popular and valuable work, the Conneron of the History of the Old and New Testament, the first part of which was published in 1715, and the second in 1717. He wrote also a Life of Mahomet (1697), Directions to Churchwardens (1707), and 4 Treatise on Tithes (1710). Prideaux's Connexion' is a work of great research, connecting the Old with the New Testament by a luminous historical summary. Few books have had a greater circulation, and it is invaluable to all students of divinity. It author was highly respected for his learning and piety. He was archdeacon of Suffolk, and at one time Hebrew lecturer at Christ-church, Oxford His extensive library of oriental books has been preserved in Clare Hall, Cambridge, to which college it was presented by himself.

END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.

« AnteriorContinua »