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sovereignty of Jehovah, in the kingdoms of grace and providence, his soul was filled with profoundest humility and reverence. In defending the cause of Christ and his truth, he exhibited a zeal truly primitive and apostolic; a zeal enlightened, meek and affectionate; a zeal directed and restrained by Christian prudence. Courageous and inflexible in discharging his duties as a Christian, and a minister, he neither forgot the rights, nor intruded into the province of others. He was a man of a
genuinely quiet spirit. Such was his value for peace, that he could sacrifice every thing but truth and duty, for its preservation. He was a bright example of self denial, of abstraction from the world, of patience under the reproaches of men, and of resignation to the correcting rod of his heavenly Father.
darkest seasons of distress, he meekly bowed to the righteous sovereignty of the unerring Disposer. Nor did he think it enough, amid scenes like these, not to complain, He maintained a cheerful spirit. Perceiving by the eye of faith, the excellence, glory, and grace of Jehovah's government, beaming through the darkness which surrounded his throne, he rejoiced in the Lord, and triumphed in the God of his salvation.
The qualifications which constitute a faithful, indefatigable and useful pastor, were remarkably combined in Mr. Willard. His eminence in this character was acknowledged and celebrated throughout the churches.
his earlier years indeed, his station was fixed in an obscure part of the vineyard. But the same
all wise Being, who, from the first, designed him for extensive usefulness, and richly furnished him for it, prepared him a suitable sphere. The aspects of Providence seemed plainly to indicate his removal; and being fixed in the South Church in Boston, he became a great blessing, not only to his own congregation, and to the town, but to all New England.
His public discourses were uniformly elaborate, judicious and instructive. It is said that his common sermons were such as might have been pronounced with applause before an assembly of divines. The subjects which he discussed were various, well selected, and with much care and judgment adapted to the state and circumstances of his flock. He inculcated, not a system of mere natural religion, not the refinements of metaphysics, but the plain, peculiar, unadulterated doctrines of the gospel. On this foundation, he erected the whole fabric of practical religion. He made it appear that the doctrines of grace were not mere speculations, but so many powerful persuasives to love, to gratitude, to devotion, to all holiness of heart and life. And with the utmost vigilance and assiduity did he labour to guard them against that licentiousness to which they were sometimes perverted. His addresses were peculiarly pungent and powerful; calculated at once to solemnize, to humble, and win the hearer. His style was such as became the pulpit; simple, with dignity; and masculine, with ease. In his manner of delivery, there was always a seriousness and gravity which commanded attention;
and sometimes a tenderness and ardour almost irresistible.
To the insensible and secure, he was a son of thunder; and a son of consolation to the humble mourner in Zion. In his treatment of those under mental distress, he acted the part of a faithful and tender physician. He neither slightly healed the wound, nor willingly suffered it to rankle; but pointed the patient to the precious Balm in Gilead.
His public prayers were pertinent, pathetic, devout, and enriched with an unusual variety of thought.
He bore his flock with the utmost affection on his heart. Their joys, their sorrows, their perplexities he made his own. When any applied to him for information or advice in the concerns of religion, they were sure to be treated tenderly and faithfully, and to have the result of his maturest thoughts.
It ought to be recorded to the honour of Mr. WILLARD, that in one of the darkest seasons which New England ever experienced, he maintained a vigorous, though prudent opposition to the general infatuation. No man was more indefatigable, or more successful than he, in detecting and exposing those strange and lamentable delusions, which, for a time, not only affixed a foul stain on the character of the community, but threatened to deluge it with blood.
In a word, such was his devo. tion to his ministerial work, such his anxiety to redeem time, such his diligence in season and out of season, and such his exemplary fidelity, that with propriety he might have appealed to his people at his departure, that he was pure from the blood of all men.
He died suddenly, Sept. 12, 1707, at the age of 68. His removal was deeply lamented by the church and congregation under his care, and by the Universi ty, which had for several years enjoyed the benefit of his able and faithful superintendence. Indeed, it was considered as a se vere judgment of Heaven upon the whole community. An af fectionate tribute was paid to his distinguished worth, by his venerable colleague, Mr. PEM BERTON, in a funeral sermon, which has furnished the principal materials of the present memoir,
Mr. WILLARD was one of the most voluminous writers of his time. He published, during his life, a variety of sermons and oth er religious treatises, which were highly esteemed. His Exposition of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism may, however, be con sidered as his most important work. It is said to have been the first folio volume on Divinity, printed in New England. His exposition was originally deliver ed to the author's congregation in the form of monthly lectures; excepting that his sickness and death having preyented the completion of his design, several lectures are inserted which he had merely prepared for the desk, and a few of the last are supplied from a shorter exposition which he had delivered many years be fore, to the children of his flock. The work was published at the pressing solicitation of many of the most intelligent persons in Boston and its vicinity. And though it appears under some of the disadvantages usually attending posthumous publications, it must be allowed to pos
sess great merit.
Few systems of theoretic and practical divinity are to be found, even at the present day, exhibiting such variety of matter, such a compass and depth of thought, and such an intimate acquaintance with the word of God. It displays the great doctrines of Christianity in their evidence, their harmony, and practical use; it refutes the principal errors by which they have been opposed; it solves many of the Christian's perplexities; and all in a way calculated to impress the conscience, and interest the heart.* Even the style, though not polished accord ing to modern rules, partakes of the richness and energy of the author's mind. In a word, what ever minor inaccuracies, either of the logical or philosophical kind, may sometimes meet the critic's eye, these lectures will be perused by the serious Christian with equal profit and delight. Z.
SKETCH OF REV. WILLIAM
Mr. WILLIAM COOK, of St. Michael's Church in Chester, was educated under the famous Mr. John Ball. In his family there was a remarkable succession of piety from parents to children for several generations. He had great natural powers, a quick apprehension, and a strong memory. He was studious to a prodigy; and his proficiency, in whatever he applied his mind to, was astonishing. His skill in the oriental languages procured
On the subject of the decrees Mr. Willard's ideas were carried further than those of many Calvinists.
him respect from the learned Bishop Walton. Sir J. Burgoyne was his great friend and patron, and first assisted him in undertaking the work of the min, istry, which he began at Wroxal in Warwickshire; whence,by advice of the London ministers, he removed into Leicestershire. He was there ejected for refus ing the engagement, and afterward settled in Chester, where he was a useful minister, till he was ousted by the act of uniformity. He was a zealous royalist, and thought it his duty to join with Sir G. Booth, when he made an attempt to restore the king in 1639, and persuaded the citizens of Chester to deliver up their city to him. For this he was brought up a prisoner to London, and long confined in Lambeth house; and, had not the times turned, he would have been tried for his life. all this could not afterward procure him liberty to preach the gospel of Christ, without strict conformity. Nay, quickly after his being silenced, he was confined by the Mayor to the common jail of Chester for preaching in his own house. But he strictly adhered to his principles in all the changes of the times; suffering with great patience and meekness, and continued to his death in a pastoral relation to a society of many eminent Christians in that city; though during the heat of the five mile act, he was forced to withdraw to Pud
dington, where he constantly at tended the public ministry of the parish, and preached in the intervals.
He was a Christian of the primitive stamp; a man of a most godly, mortified life, and
unwearied labour; who could go in mean clothing, live on little, and travel on foot, trampling on this world as dirt. He was very indefatigable in his ministerial labours, in which he never sought any one's assistance, but would preach and pray almost the whole week, as he had opportunity, in season and out of season. While he had liberty, he constantly kept a public fast in his congregation every month; as also a private one in his own closet and family every week. He usually set apart one afternoon every week to visit the families of his congregation, to catechise their children and ser vants, and to discourse with them personally about spiritual affairs. His visits were short, but edifying. He managed them like one, who was a good husband of his time, and seldom parted without prayer. He governed his family with great strictness and prudence. Every morning, in his family worship, after he had briefly implored the divine assistance, a psalm was sung, then a chapter in the Old Testament (and in the evening one in the new) was read, which he expounded; pointing out the sev. eral parts, of which it consisted; then giving an account of the substance of it in as few words as possible; then explaining the chief difficulties in it; conclud ing with useful instructions. He then spent a quarter of an hour in prayer and praise, usual ly improving much of the chapter read, as matter for both. He was eminent in all the parts of prayer; but commonly abounded most in the confession of sin, in admiring all the divine excellencies, and in praising God for
all his benefits. On all occasions he was importunate for the church of God, and for the enlargement of the kingdom of Christ. His regard to justice was uncommonly exact; and his charity, considering his contracted circumstances, was stupendous. Having no child of his own, he freely took into his family three or four poor children, whom he boarded and clothed at his own expense, and instructed in literature and religion.
These and his servants he catechised twice a week, explaining every thing to them in the easiest manner.
When he could no longer exercise his ministry in the church, he performed most parts of it in his family, with the same care and diligence he was accustomed to use in public, though no other person was present. He was a strict observer of the Lord's day. His family constantly had their work done by 4 or 5 o'clock on Saturday afternoon. He then spent an hour and a half in explaining scripture, and in pray
After this, all retired to their apartments, to learn the cat. echism, and for devotion. At eight they supped, and then he dismissed his family as usual ev, ery other day. He always rose early on the Lord's day. Every one in his house read a chapter in the morning, and he spent an hour and a half in expounding and prayer. Then he and his family went to public worship, and upon their return, (after his being silenced) he prayed and repeated the sermon, and then prayed and preached, as he was wont to do in public. After dinner he went to church, and at his return performed the same, as
before. After supper each of the family gave an account of the sermon, and he concluded the day with singing a psalm, and with solemn prayer and praise. He went through all this labour with surprising vigour, cheerful. ness, and fervour of spirit. He was a great lover of peace; civ. il, courteous, and obliging, but a stranger to ceremoniousness. He was very free in reproving his relations and all his acquaintance, as occasion required; and was much concerned, when he heard of the prosperity of any of them, that they might be provided against the temptations of their condition; and he was an earnest intercessor for the afflicted. His abstinence and self denial, his strict watch over himself, and regard to divine Providence, in all instances, were very uncommon; as also was his humility. He fortified himself to an uncommon degree against every thing, he could suspect of having a tendency to tempt him even to a moderate conceit of himself.
Though he was not free to join in the common prayer, and bore his testimony against prelacy and the ceremonies of
the church with zeal, he manag ed his dissent with great candour and moderation. His great piety, integrity, and charity recommended him to the respect of many, who differed from him. He was a great scholar, and continued a hard student to the last. So far was he from entangling himself in the affairs of this life, that he knew not what he had, save the bread which he ate; nor was he very conversible about worldly concerns; but in discourse on the things of God none were more free and affable, He lived and died an eminent example of close walking with God, and of a heavenly conversation. When he lay on his death bed, an aged friend of his asking him, if he had not comfort in reflection on his labours in the cause of God, he replied, "I have nothing to boast of." He finished his course with joy, in 1684, aged 72. Though for some time before he died, such was the heat of persecution, that he durst not show his face in the city; many persons of consequence were forward to do him honour at his death.
SURVEY OF NEW ENGLAND CHURCHES.
Continued from page 23.
As we have undertaken to disclose some of the dangers of the churches with respect to the Christian faith; and as that faith includes several doctrines eminently profound and incompre
hensible; we beg leave, before proceeding, to present the following observations.
It is not unfrequently alleged, as an argument against preaching or otherwise exhibiting some of