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et Milden in Suffolk, at which place he was minister about twenty-one years, and which at this time is also happily favoured by the clear and lively preaching of evangelical truth. In 1692 be removed to Dedham in Essex.
Mr. Burkitt kept a diary, in which are recorded the history of divine providence towards him, and many remarkable deliverances vouchsafed to him. In this diary are also contained his thankful acknowledgments of divine assistance and success in his ministry, and the humble confessions of his sins and weaknesses, &c. As nothing so fully opens the interior of the soul as a person's diary, some passages from it, evincing the pious spirit of Mr. Burkitt, may be very acceptable and useful, especially to such who are conversant with his writings. " While I “ continued, says he, at school in Cambridge, it pleased
God to visit me with the small-pox, but very favour" ably, and, as I hope, in great mercy laying the foun66 dation of my spiritual health in that sickness; working, " as I hope, à prevailing thorough change in the very " frame and disposition of my soul. May my soul, and “ all that is within me bless thy nanie, O Lord, that this * sickness should, by the blessing of thine Holy Spirit, “ open my blind eyes, which hath closed the eyes of so “ many in darkness and death! O happy sickness, that 66 ends in the recovery of the soul to God!
“ In 1866, God visited the town of Cambridge with the " plague. The students in general fled into the country. “ I with two or three more continued shut up in the “ college, and from my chamber window I beheld the " dead bodies of persons, swept away by the infection, “ carried to their burial. These solemn spectacles, toge“ther with the melancholy condition of the town and * nation, brought my soul to a holy seriousness.
“ At Easter 1681, before my approach to the table of er the Lord, I took some fresh pains with my own heart, " to find out the state of my soul."
After this paragraph follow several indications of integrity and sincerity in religion, namely, “ A sight of the 5 deformity and sinfulness of sin, and of the superlative “ beauty and excellency of Christ. A love to the word
of God, not only to his promises, but his commands, " because of their purity and holiness. An apprehension « of danger in resting upon our own works and righte66 ousness. Finding it the hardest matter in the world to “ believe aright. Grief for want of more godly sorrow " for sin. Jealously lest hypocrisy should lie at the bot“ tom. To have a regard in our actions to the principle, " the motive, and the end. Solemn dedications of ouror selves to God. Watching and prayer against the sips “ to which we are most inclined, as seeking in religious « performances the praise and applause of men. Real " affliction for not loving God more. Due regard to “ the duties of the second table: such as, to owe no man “ any thing but love-rather to suffer than do wrong" to preserve the reputation of others to value others " by their real worth, and not by their regards to us. “ Valuing the image of our Lord and Saviour, in whom“ soever it appears, and esteeming them most who are “ most like him in holiness. Loving our enemies, pray“ ing for them, and doing them good.
“ Sept. 3, 1652, my neighbouring brother in the mi“ nistry, Mr. Thompson of Royden, after having preached “ on the Lord's Day, was surprized by an apoplexy, and “ died in a short time. Lord, who am I, that I should “ yet survive amidst the funerals of them who were 6 younger, stronger, better, and more useful than my“ self? O let me double my diligence in working out my “ own, and helping forward the salvation of others, wbile “ the day of patience lasts, for thou, Lord, comest in an “ hour of which we are not aware !
“ New-year's day, 1684, I was up soon after four o'clock, “ desiring earnestly to begin the year with God, to re“ new my covenant with him, and to engage myself in “ an holy vigilancy and circumspect walking with and be“ fore the Lord the day following and the year following. “ The Lord keep it in the purpose of my heart for ever 66 to continue faithful to him !
" July 25, 1686, being my birth-day, I engaged my-. 6 self to devote my first waking-time to God, and my “ dressing-time to fruitful meditation of the mercy of a “ night's rest, some spending their time in pain, some in prison, and some in bell.
About Midsummer 1687, I received a petition from 6 Ipswich, on behalf of the French protestant ministers, 66 and communicated the matter to several, whose hearts “ the Lord so graciously moved, that I collected for them “ above an hundred pounds. The Lord make me thankful, “ who gave me an heart to compassionate and help them.”
By his book of accounts it appears at large, that this his labour of love for the poor French exiles continued six years successively, namely, 1687, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92. In which time, though he lived but in a country village, he
so exerted himself far and near in this matter, as, by the mercitul hand of his God with him, as himself expresses it, to collect from private hands no less than two hundred and sixteen pounds seventeen shillings, which whole sum, with a little overplus, is in a most full and distinct manner set down as faithfully distributed by him towards the relief of the said French protestants in Suffolk and Essex, &c. Remarkable also were his care, pains, and prudent conduct in the distribution of this charity; for, as he gave some part of it in specie, as necessity required, so that he might lay out the rest in the most frugal manner for the furnishing them with clothes and provisions, he rode about the country to the cheapest markets, though he sometimes went a journey of near twenty miles for the purpose. It may not be improper to add the close, which he himself sets at the foot of his account.
“ All my charges, says he, in journeying from place to place, as also for the letters to and fro, both which articles were very considerable, and all my labour and pains I account as nothing, but look upon it as the greatest honour of my life, that God made me such an instrument for the relief of his persecuted members. Soli Deo gloria a servorum minimo, William Burkitt. That is, To God only be glory given by the least of his servants, William Burkitt.”
« August 24, 1698. I spent some considerable time in writing letters of advice to some young academics, and in prayer for a blessing thereupon both to myself and them.
66 December 1692. Upon undertaking the charge of Dedham, I resolved, by divine assistance, upon the following course for the benefit of my people, namely, lo pour out my soul to God every day in prayer for them, to preach constantly thrice in the week, to administer the Lord's Supper once in two months, to catechize the youth at church, and others at my house, and to go from house to house through the town, warning and directing.
“ Christmas, 1696, being a severe time for the poor, through the severity of the weather, and want of work by reason of the great scarcity of money, I exhorted my people to turn the feasting of the rich into feeding the poor, assuring them, that less at the table and more at the door would be better accepted; and accordingly feasting was universally laid aside, and the poor plentifully relieved. At this time, I met with a very unjust and unex. pected accusation from , whom I had faithfully VOL. IV.
served, and sought to oblige. The consciousness of my own innocence supported me; and I hope God will do me good by all. Some persons had never had a particular share in my prayers, but for the injuries they have done me. God honoured me sometimes in suffering his own enemies to declare themselves mine; however, he often convinced, and always restrained them, that they could not considerably hurt me. Blessed be my defence, and the God of my mercy!"
Atter having given these specimens of Mr. Burkitt's diary, which shew of what a devout, humble, benevolent, forgiving spirit this excellent minister was possessed, we now proceed to speak of his work in the ministry. Mr. Burkitt preached much, spared not himself at home or abroad, and delighted in his Master's work. In his preaching, he was clear and easy to be understood, calculating his discourses to profit his hearers. Beside bis heavenly matter and acceptable words, there was something of a charm in his voice, and it pleased God to crown his public labours with great success upon many of his hearers. He wanted not seals of his divine mission.* He used
* It is hardly possible to pass over the warm and faithful address which his reverend brother-in-law Mr. Parkhurst has given to his brethren of the clergy upon the occasion of Mr. Burkitt's death; and therefore I will present it to my readers without further apology. Some parts of it seem almost prophetic.
“We are ambassadors for Christ, and shepherds to our people, and set as watchmen over our several congregations. And,
"1. Let us receive the admonition (OD gave to the prophet in Ezek. xxxiii, 7, 8, 9. So thou son of man, &c. Let us warn the wicked from God's mouth, according to his word in the Holy Scriptures, of the evil and dangers of sin allowed and continued in, though secret, though counted little in the eye of the world, informing them that sin allowed is an offence to God, a slight put upon bis majesty and government, a breach of of his law and covenant, and must end in a dreadful loss and misery. This is the sum of the warning we should give. And we should deliver it in such a manner, that they that are warned by us may believe us in ear. nest, and that we think as we speak. And our warnings should be attend. ed with clear instructions to them concerning the credenda, agenda, and pelenda ; and with prayer in secret for direction in composing our sermons, as may best serve to awaken their consciences, and to prevail upon them to reform their hearts and lives. And as alluring them to comply with our solemn admonitjops, let us unfold to them their miserable condition by nature, the intinite mercies of God to sinners in the covenant of grace, the merits of Christ, the mighty favour of giving grace and a new heart, and not only accepting it.
ill. As a goad in our sides, to excite to great diligence in our minis. try, let us consider the peril attending negligence, the requiring the blood of perishing souls at our hands, and reputing us as the worst sort of mur. derers. AND THIS IS SO WEIGHTY A THING, AND RENDERS THE MINISTRY SO
the allowed liberty of prayer in his own words, and herein had divine matter, and solemn moving expressions, assisting the affection of such who joined in prayer with him. He administered the Lord's Supper with much solemnity, and his sermon and prayer before it were adapted to inspire deep devotion in the communicants. He found time to
AWFUL, THAT THE BEST PREFERMENT IN EUROPE IS NOT A SUFFICIENT TEMPTATION TO AN AWAKENED MIND TO UNDERTAKE THE OFFICE. But it may be said, How comes it then to pass that any engage in it?
• Answer 1. Some few, like primitive men, undertake it with noderstanding, and out of pure zeal for the service and glory of God, and ia love to souls ; but a child may write them.
( 2. The most of us, I fear, engage in it before we maturely consider. And when we come to some depth of considering, we find we cannot retire, having put our hand to the plough, and so we grow solicitous about managing the office with safety to our own souls, and then we feel that no Inaintenance is a recompence for our undertaking, and that only a desire to glorify God, and a love to souls, can sweeten the calling to us, that is attended with so much difficulty and peril. Were we only to perform the common offices, and preach so many times in a year, there were no great burden in this. But when conscience awakens, and a minister studies, preaches, and prays, and visits solicitously, in expectation of passing an account with God, then the mioistry is weighty indeed, and the minister had rather dig for a livelibood, if he might chuse, than be a pastor to get bread. And if it be said, others are in like danger, through care of souls incumbent on them, as parents and masters of families; I answer, It is true, and O that they would consider it! But our danger is not the less by this, but more accumulated, some ministers being also parents and masters. Now, in consideration of the hazard attending unfaithful. ness and negligence in our office, let us implore divine aid, and gird up the loin of our minds, put forth our strength in our ministrations : And if we so do, we shall find very little tiine for pleasures; and the little ambition of being reputed very ingenious men, will be buried and lost in an endeavour to be found faithful. .
• III. To diligence in our ministry, let us add an exemplary conversation, shiping as lights in a dark world, living in an agreement with what we read, and pray, and preach, For if this be wanting, though we could preach as angels, it will not profit us in the great day, as is evident from that passage in St. Matth. vii. 22, 23, fit to be engraven on the fronts of our studies, on our desks and pulpits, and much inore upon our hearts; Many will say to me in that day, Lord, we have prophesied in thy name ; then will I say to them, Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity. We should lead by example in the ways of righte. ousness, purity, meekness, charity, humility, devotion, and forgiving,
&c. And that we may be exemplary, let us imitate our blessed Lord and Redeemer. Many things in his management are for our imitation; and particularly his purity and zeal in reproving sin: None escaped his reproofs. He reproved the church of the Jews in general; the capital city, Jerusalem; the ecclesiastics, and the civil power, Scribes and Pha. risees, and Herod himself, Go tell that for. Now since we hope in his mercy, and wash in his blood, and depend on his merits, and glory in his name, let us tread in his steps.