Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

lated to his life and times. On a blank page in his Bible were found two remarkable passages, written with his own hand in Latin, of which the following is a translation : “ Dec. 26, 89. After that I had long, seriously, and repeatedly thought with myself, that besides a full and undoubted assent to the objects of faith, a vivifying savoury taste and relish of them was also necessary, that with

stronger

count:

transgress dangerously, by preferring that which is less, though never so coufidently thought to be divine, before that which is greater, or separately from its true end. You greatly prevaricate, if you are more zealously intent to promote independency than Christianity, presbytery than Christianity, prelacy than Christianity, as any of these are the interest of a party, and not considered in subserviency to the Christian interest, por designed for promoting the edification and salvation of your own soul. But ibat being your design, living religion will keep your eye upon your end, and make you steady, and constantly true to that and to your rule, without which you can never bope to reach your end.

Now bereupon such as conform to the public establishment, and they that dissent from it, may differ from each other upon a twofold ac

Either, 1. as judging the contrary way to be simply unlawful: Or, 2. as judging it to be no less edifying. 'Tis not the business of this paper to discuss who berein judge aright, and who wrong: But, supposiug their judgment to remain as it is, (which they themselves howa ever should examine, and, if it be wrong, rectify,) I shall say somewhat to each of these cases.

“ To the former, while your judgment continues as it is, it is true you cannot join in worship with the contrary minded : But nothing forbids but you can be kind, conversible, courteous towards them; and your common Christian profession (besides the rules of humanity) obliges you so to be: Yea, and even to converse with them as occasion invites, more intimately as Christians, the visible marks of serious Christianity appearing in them.

" To the latter sort, it is acknowledged, you cannot constantly join in worship with those of the contrary way, because you ought ordinarily to worship God in that way which you judge to be best and most agreeable to the divine rule, (though you are not obliged utterly to abandon any for its imperfections and corruptions, that is not corrupt in the very essentials,) and you ought most frequently to attend to that which you find to be most edifying to your own soul, as that should be your more ordinary diet that best agrees with you. That way, therefore, you must most constantly adhere to, which is most grateful and sayoury to you, because you cannot so much edify by what you less relish. But your judgment and latitude will well allow you sometimes to frequent the assemblies with which you hold not constant cominu. nion. And if it will allow, it will also direct you thereto for a valuable end; as that you may signify, you ordinarily decline them not as no Christians, or their worship as 'no worship, but as more defective, or less edifying, and that you may maintain love, and both express and beget a disposition to nearer union. And if our rulers sball judge such intercourses conducing to so desirable an end, they may perhaps in due time think it reasonable to put things into that state, that ministers of both sorts inay be capable of inviting one another occasionally to the brotherly offices of mutual assistance in each other's congregations. For which, and all things that tend to make us an happy people, we must wait upon Him in whose hands their hearts are."

[ocr errors]

stronger force and more powerful energy, they might penetrate into the most inward centre of my heart, and there being most deeply fixed and rooted, govern my life; and that there could be no other sure ground whereon to conclude and pass a sound judgment on my good estate Godward; and after I had in my course of preaching been largely insisting on ? Cor i. 12. This very morning I awoke out of a most ravishing and delightful dream, that a wonderful and copious stream of celestial rays, from the lofty throne of the divine Majesty, seemed to dart into my expanded breast. I have often since, with great complacency, reflected on that very signal pledge of special divine favour vouchsafed to me on that noted memorable day, and have with repeated fresh pleasure tasted the delights thereof.” “ But what (on Oct. 22, 1704,) of the same kind I sensibly felt, through the admirable bounty of my God, and the most pleasant comforting influence of the Holy Spirit, far surpassed the most expressive words my thoughts can suggest. I then experienced an inexpressibly pleasant melting of heart, tears gushing out of mine eyes, for joy that God should shed abroad his love abundantly through the hearts of men, and that for this very purpose mine own should be so signally possessed of and by his blessed Spirit. Rom. v. 5."

His person was tall and graceful. He had a piercing but pleasant eye; and had that in his aspect which indicated something uncommonly great, and tended to excite veneration. To those who are at all acquainted with his writings, his intellectual accomplishments need no commendation. Even Mr. Anthony Wood passes an high encomium upon him, and, which is very extraordinary, upon his style, which is least to be admired of any thing in his performances. His ministerial qualifications were singular. He could preach off-hand with as great exactness as many others upon the closest study. His sermons, which he always delivered without notes, were often of uncommon depth, especially at the beginning, but were plain in the sequel, and towards the close generally came home with great pungency to the consciences of the hearers. He had great copiousness and fluency in prayer. To hear him pray upon sudden emergencies might have abated the prepossession of those who venture to cavil at free prayer. He was a person of remarkable prudence, and laid great stress upon it in others; and was very courteous to strangers, never thinking religion inconsistent with good-breeding. He knew how to address himself suitably to the

greatest

greatest persons, without the least mixture of meanness, and yet could condescend to the meanest.

He was very affable to young ministers, and ever ready to offer them the kindest advice. He had a truly great soul, and seemed to be born to support generous principles, a truly catholic spirit, and an extensive charity : And in this respect he has been compared to the excellent Martin Bucer. In many cases he discovered a remarkable sagacity, particularly in regard to public affairs and political maneuvres. In conversation he was often very facetious. Some of his sudden repartées deserve to be recorded. Being at dinner with some persons of fashion, a gentleman expatiated largely in praise of Charles I. and made some disagreeabie reflections upon others. Mr. Howe, observing that he mixed many horrid oaths with his discourse, told him, that in his humble opinion he had omitted one great excellence in the character of that prince; wbich, when the gentleman had pressed him to mention, and waited with impatience to hear it, he told him it was this: “ That he was never heard to swear an oath in common conversation.” The gentleman took the reproof, and promised to break off the practice. Another time he passed two persons of quality, who were talking with great eagerness, and damned each other repeatedly. Upon which, taking off his hat, he said to them, “I pray Gop save you both;" for which they both gave him their thanks. At the time when the occasional conformity bill was debated in parliament, he passed a noble Lord in a chair in St. James's Park, who sent his footman to call him, desiring to speak with him upon this subject. In the conversation, speaking of the opponents of the dissenters, he said, “Damn these wretches, for they are mad,' &c. Mr. Howe, who was no stranger to the nobleman, expressed great satisfaction in the thought that there is a God who governs the world, who will finally make retribution to all according to their present character. “ And he, my Lord, (says he) has declared, he will make a difference between him that sweareth and him that feareth an oath.The nobleman was struck with the hint, and said, " I thank you, Sir, for your treedom: I take your meaning, and shall endeavour to make a good use of it.' Mr. Howe replied, “ My Lord, 'I have more reason to thank your Lordship for saving me the most difficult part of a discourse, which is the application."

His Works are: I. “A Sermon on Man's Creation in an holy, but mutable State, from Eccles. vii. 29.” It is to be met with in the Morning Exercise methodized, printed

לל

in 1660. II. “A Treatise on the Blessedness of the Righteous, from Psal. xvii. 15.” being sermons preached while he was at Torrington. Printed 1668. III. “ The Vanity of this Mortal Life, or of Man, considered only in this present Mortal State, from Psal. Ixxxix. 47, 48." (which discourse is usually bound up with his “ Blessedness of the Righteous.”] There is an epistle before this sermon, dated from Antrim in 1671. IV. - A Treatise of delighting in God. 1674. V.“ The living Temple of God, octavo, 1675.” This, with its second part, published in 1702, is esteemed his master-piece. VI. A tract, entitled, “ The Reconcileableness of God's Prescience of the Sins of Men, with the Wisdom and Sincerity of his Counsels and Exhortations, and whatever other Means he uses to prevent them, octavo. 1677.” VII. A pamphlet, entitled, “ A Letter out of the Country to a Person of Quality in the City, who took OfTence at the late Sermon of Dr. Stillingfleet, Dean of St. Paul's, before the Lord Mayor.” 1680. VIII. “ Thoughtfulness for the Morrow, with an Appendix, concerning the immoderate Desire of foreknowing Things to come," octavo. To which is added, “ A Discourse of Charity, in reference to other Men's Sins, from 1 Cor. xiii. 6. 1681." IX. “ A Funeral Ser: mon on the Death of Mrs. Margaret Baxter, from 2 Cor. v. 8. 1681.” X.“ Of the Name of God in Prayer, from Jerem. xiv. 21. octavo. 1682.” XI. “ A Discourse on Self-Dedication. duod. 1682." XII. " A Funeral Sermon on the Death of Mr. Richard Fairclough, from Matth. xxv, 21. 1682.” This year he drew up those " Annotations on the three Epistles of St. John," which are in the second volume, or continuation of Mr. Pool. XIII.“ A Sermon upon Colos. ii. 2. upon this question, What may most lopefully be attempted to allay Animosities among Protestants, that our Divisions may not be our Ruin? 1683." He afterwards (1701) wrote “ Some Consideration of a Preface to an Enquiry concerning the occasional Conformity of Dissenters;" which may serve as an appendix to this sermon. XIV. “A Treatise on Luke xix. 41, 42. entitled, The Redeemer's Tears wept over lost Souls; with an Appendix concerning the Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, and how God is said to will the Salvation of them that perish. 1684.” XV. “A Sermon from Job v. 42. directing what we are to do after strict Enquiry, whether or no we truly love God. 1688." XVI. “ Two Sermons on Rom. vi. 13. Vield yourselves to God. 1688.” XVII. “ A l'uneral Sermon on the Death

of

of Mrs. J. Hammond. 1689." XVIII. “ The Carnality of Christian Contention, in two Sermons preached at the Merchants' Lecture in Broad Street. 1693.” XIX. At his first Turn at the new Lecture at Salter's Hall, “ A Sermon from Isa. lxiv. 7. 1694.” XX. “ A calm and sober Enquiry Concerning the Possibility of a Trinity in the Godhead, in a Letter to a Person of worth. 1694." To which were added, some “ Letters formerly written to Dr. Wallis on the same Subject.” In the same year be published “ A Letter to a Friend concerning "Á Postscript to the Defence of Dr. Sherlock's Notion of the Trinity in Unity,' in which his “ Calm and sober Enquiry" was reflected upon.” After this came out • Some Considerations on the Explications of the Doctrine of the Trinity, in a Letter to H. H.' And Mr. Howe being concerned in it, he published “ A View of those Considerations, in a Letter to the former Friend. 1695.” XXI. “A Funeral Sermon on the Deatlı of Mrs. Esther Sampson, from Luke xiii. 16. 1689.” XXII. “A Funeral Sermon on the Death of Queen Mary. 1695.” XXIII.“ A Sermon preached on the Day of Thanksgiving, Dec. 2, 1697." And another, “ To the Societies for Reformation of Manners, from Rom. xiii. 4. 1697.” XXIV. “A Funeral Sermon on the Death of the Reverend Richard Adams, A. M. 1697-8." XXV. - A Funeral Sermon on the Death of the Reverend Mr. Matthew Mead. 1699." XXVI. " A Funeral Sermon on the Death of John Hoghton, Esq. concerning the Redeemer's Dominion over the invisible World, and the Entrance thereinto by Death. 1699.” XXVII. « On the Death of the Reverend Dr. William Bates. 1699." XXVIII. "A Discourse on Man's Enmity against God, and Reconciliation between GoD and Man, from Col. i. 21. 1701." XXIX. In 1702 he published “A second part of the Living Temple, containing animadversions on Spinosa, and a French writer pretending to confute him; with a recapitulation of the part, and an account of the destitution and restitution of God's temple amongst men.

XXX. 6 A Funeral Sera mon on the Death of the Reverend Peter Vink, B. D. 1702." XXXI. “ A Sermon on Col. i. 13. preached on the 5th of November 1703." XXXII. “ The last thing he published, was “ A Discourse on Patience, relating to the expectation of future Blessedness,” to which there was afterwards added “ An Appendix,” which came out in 1705. Since his death, his Works have been collected and published in two volumes, folio.

Besides

« НазадПродовжити »