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20

The

L

I

F

E

of

the

L

t

B.

I,

laughter, and perfwaded them that he underftood not

the

very Subitantial

Articles,

of

Chriftianity

;

that he

frequented

Alehoufes,

and had

fometimes been

drunk;

that

he

tamed the

Table Alter

-wife, &c.

with more

filch

as

this.

The

Vicar had a

Curate

under him

in

the

Town

whom they

alto accufed ;

and

a

Curate at

a

Chap-

pel in the Parifh,

a

common

Tippler

and aDrunkard,

a

railing Quarreller;

an

ig-

norant

infufficient

Man, who

(as

I

found

by Examining him) underftood

not the

common Points

of

the Childrens Catechifm, but

laid

Come

good words

to them

fometimes

out

of

Mufcules's CommonPlaces

in

Englifh

, which

was

almoll the only

Book

he

had; and

his

Trade

in theWeek

-days was

unlawful Marriages.

The

Peo-

ple

put their Petition

into the

Hands

of

Sir

Henry Herbert

Burgefs

for

Bewdley,

a

Town

two

miles

dillant.

The

Vicar knowing

his

infufftciency

,

and hearing

how

two

others

in

his Cafe had fped, defired

tocompound the

Bufsnefs

with them

;

and

by the mediation

of

Sir

Henry Herbert,

and others,

it

was

broughtto

this,

That

he

fhould inflead

of

his

prefent

Curate in the Town,

allow 6o

I.

per

Annum

to

a

Prea-

t:her

whom fourteen

of

them nominated,

fhould

choofe

;

and

that

he fhould

net

hinder

this

Preacher from preaching whenever he pleafed,and

that

he himfelf fhould

read Common Prayer, and

do all

elfe

that

was

to

be

done

:

and

fo they preferred

not

their Petition againft him, nor againft

his Curates,

but

he

kept

his

Place, which

was

worth to

him near zoo

I. per

Ann.

allowingthat

6o

1.

out of

it

to

their Lecturer.

To

perform this he

gave a Bond

of

soo

1.

Thefe things being

thus finifhed, fòme

of

them

defired

old

Mr.

Lapthorn

(a

fa-

mous

Man,

tuned

from Nonconformity by

King

gamer

)

to

come and

preach

with them on

trial to be their Lecturer

:

Mr.

Laptborn's

roughnefs

and great imme-

thodicalnefs, and digrefltons, fo offended

the intelligentleading Parry, that

they

rejeóted

him fomewhatuncivilly,

to

his

great difpleafure.

Hereupon they invited

me

to

them from

Bridgnortb

:

The

Bailiff

of

the

Town,

and

all

the

Feoffees defired me

to

preach

with

them,

in order to a

full

determinati-

on.

My mind

was

much to the place

as

foon

as

it

was defcribed

to

me;

becaufe

it

was a full

Congregation, and molt convenient Temple

;

an ignorant, rude and

revelling People

for the greater part, who

had need

of

preaching

;

and yet had

a-

mong them

a

(Mall

Company

of

Converts,

who

were humble,

godly,

and

of good

Converfations,

and

not much

hated by the reft

,

and

therefore the fitter

to

aft

their

Teacher;

but above

all, becaufe

they had hardly ever

had any lively, ferious

preaching among them

:

For

Bridgnortb

had made me refolve

that

I

would never

more

go

among

a

People

that

had been hardened

in

unprofitablenefs

under an

a-

wakening

Mind-try

;

but

either to

filch

as

never had any convincing Preacher,

or

to

filch

as

had profited by him.

As

foon

as

I

came to

Kiderminfter,

and

had

preach-

ed there oneday, I

was

chofen

Nemine eentradicente,

(

for though fourteen

only

had the power

of

choofing, they defired

to

pleafe

the

refs).

And

thus

I

was

brought

by

the

gracions Providence

of God,

to that

place

which

had the chiefeft

of

my Labours,

and

yielded me the greateft Fruits

of Comfort. And

I

noted

the

mercy

of God in

this,

that

I

never

went to any

place

in

my

Life

,

among

all

my

Changes, which

I

had

beforedefired,

deigned

or thought of

(

much

lets

looght)

;

but

only to thole

that

I

never thought

of,

till the fudden

Invitation did furprize

me.

4

3o.

When

I

had been here a while, in the beginning

of

yary,

the two

Fami-

lies

which

I

had lati

lived

in,

at

Dudley

and

Bridgnortb,

were at once

vifited

with

Sicknefs,

and they both

fent

for

me

(

upon

a

conceit of my

skill

in

Phyfick

)

,

but

being

from home I

went to neither of

them

;

and

it

proved

a

molt

contagious ma-

lignantFever next the

Plague

;

Mrs.

Foley

and fome

of

her Family died: and

Mr.

Madéitard,

his

Wife, and a

Gentlewoman that

lived

with them,

died

within

a

day

or two

each

of

other. Being

with my

old

Friend Mr.

William Rowley,

the

fad

Meffage

came to

us

(Mr.

Maclellan'

being

his

Kinfman)

and

I

went with him

to

the Funeral, and preached

his

Funeral Sermon

in fo

deep

a fenfe

of the

mifery

of

that

unprofitable People, and the deep groans which

I

have

heard from their faith-

ful

Pallor,

for

their obduratenefs,

that I

could

not forbear to tell them my

fears

of

tome heavy

Judgment

to

come upon

that

place,

which

they

were more capa-

ble

of

laying to

heart than their Paftor's death.

I

had

never

before

(nor

ever

did

I

lince) pretume

upon

fuch kind

of

Predictions,

(nor

did

I'

fpeak

that

with

any

pretence

of Prophefe)

.

but the

expreffion

of

that

fear

I

could

not

then

fúpprefs :

My

Text

was Ezek.

33. 33.

And

when

thee cometb to

pa/

(loe

it

well

come)

then flask

they

bow

that a

Prophet

barb

been

among them.

And when the War

was

begun

, the

Town (being

againft

the Parliament)

was a

Garrifon

for

the King, kept

by

the

Neighbour Gentlemen

of

the Country

;

who

fortified

the Caille, and when

the

Par-