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THE WORKS THE REV. ISAAC WATTS, D. D. HN NINE VOLUMES. VOL. L CONTAINING SERMONS. LONDON: PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, WORST, RFîS, ORME AND BROWN, PATERNOSTER. ROWS BAINES, ROEINSON AND SON, HARDCASTLE1 AND ¡IEATON, LEEDS, By Edward Raines, Leedc, 1812,
CONTENTS OF VOLUME T. PAGE. Memoirs of Dr. Watts Dedication xxv Preface xxix FORTY-THREE SERMONS ON VARIOUS OCCASIONS. SEEM. 1, 2, 3. The Inward Witness to Christianity, 1 John v. 10. 1, 13, 25 4 Flesh and Spirit; or, the Principles of Sin and j 45 Holiness, Rom. viii. 1. s ^ 5, 6 The Soal Drawing near to God in Prayer; Sins Z 64, 18 and Sorrowsspread before God, Job xxxiii. 3, 4. S '1, 8 A Hopeful Youth falling Short of Heaven, Mark x. 21. . 92, 9, 10 The Hidden Life ofa Christian, Col. iii. 3. 123, 141 11 Nearness to God, the Felicity of Creatures, Ps. lxv. 4. 160 72 The Scale of Blessedness : or, Blessed Saints, Blessed Saviour, 8f BlessedTrinity, Ps. lxv. 4. Ç " 172 13, 14 Appeerance before God here and hereafter, Ps. xlii. 2. 187, 199 14, 15, 16. ARational Defence of the Gospel ; Or, Courage / 211, 226, in Professing Christianity, Eom. i. 16. 18, 19 Faith the Way to Salvation, and none excluded 257 2 from Hope, Rom. i. I6. ... ... .. ... ç' 63 20, 21, 22. Christian Morality, viz. Truth, Sincerity, &c. t 276, 291 Phil. iv. 8. .. S 23 Christian Morality, viz. Gravity, Decency, &c. Phil. iv. 8. ... ... .. ... ... 5 818 24, 25 Christian Morality, viz. Justice, Equity, and 331, 344 26, 27 Christian Morality, viz. Justice, Purity, Tem- g57, 373 perance, Chastity, and Modesty, Phil. iv. 8. S 28 Christian Morality, viz. p Lovely Carriage, Re. s t 389 Phil. iv. 8 .... ... ... ... ... .. 29 ChristianMorality, viz. Things ofGood Report, t 399 Re. Phil. iv. 3 .... . ... ... ... ... ... . . 00 Christian Morality, viz. Courage and Honour, 2 413 Virtueand Praise, Phil. iv. 8. s 21, 32 Holy Fortitude, or Remedies against Fear, s 2 4g425, 439 33 The Universal Rule of Equity, Mat. vii. 12. 457 84, 35, 36. The Atonement of Christ, Rom. iii. 25. 472, 486, 503 37, 38 The Christian's Treasure, 1 Cor. iii. 21. 518, 532. 39 The Right Improvement of Life, 1 Cor. iii. 22. 547 40..............The Privilege of the Living above the Dead, s t 563 1 Cor. iii. 22 .... ... ... ... ... ... .. 41,.... . ........Death improved to our Advantage, 7 Cor. iii. 22 582 42 The Death of Kindred improved. I Cor. iii. 22 599 43 Death a Blessing to the Saints, 1 Cor, iii. 22 609
MEMOIRS Or DOCTOR EKa,17Lp71°S. ITwas a custom among the ancient Romans, to preserve in wax, the figures of those among their ancestors, whowere of noble birth ; or had been more nobly advanced to the chair of honour by their personal merits. Sallust relates "that Scipio and othergreat men, by beholding these likenesses, found enkindled in their 'breasts, so ardent a thirst after virtue, as could not be extin- guished, till, by the glory of their own actions, they had equalled the illus- trious objects of their emulation. But it is the happiness of Christians to possess truer notionsof virtue, and to be governed by infinitely higher views. We may, however, hence observe the force of example, which is peculiarly operative in those who sincerely love God. They no sooner reflect on the accounts given of such as have been eminent for their piety and zeal, than they become desirousof imbibingthe same spirit*. The advantages to be derived from theological biography, are too various to be enumerated ; andof suchobvious importance, as to supersedeall studied encomiums. The sacredscriptures abound with relations of extraordinary occurrences inthe lives of men, who were distinguished in their day by their virtues or their crimes: And, as if the Holy spirit designedto providefor our entertainment, and to gratify our curiosity ; there is not a beauty in this spe- cies of historicalwriting, of which we have not some interesting example, in the inspired volume. Each character is drawn by thehand of i npartiality and faithfulness ; so that we are in nodanger ofbeingdeceived by the influence ofany of those - passions, which so often degrade other relations of the same kind. While compassion tempers the hatred of sin, the love of truth corrects the ardor of private gratitude, the usual partiality of friendship,and the zeal of opinion. Here no excellence, which evidences them to be the Sons of God, is exalted above its intrinsicvalue; nor is any failing, common to them as the children of Adam, concealed or extenuated. Next to these divine records, our esteem is claimed by the manyvaluable literary monuments which have been raised in all succeeding-ages, by the labours of pietyand veneration, to the remembrance of those eminent names, whom the unerring Judge of trueexcellence has delighted to honour. The lives of men who have madethemselves famous in the cabinet, or in the field, may instructand animate survivorsof the same profession : the in- trigues of courts,the elevation and the fall of a statesman, the manoeuvres of generalship, the decision of a battle, are attended to with a lively avidityby m Reynolds. a
1c MEMOIRS OF DR. WATTS; thesanguine politician : Butif charactersand events in themselves little (if it all) adapted to thegreat purposesof intellectual and moral improvement, can create such an interest in theworldly mind,with what superior delight and ad- vantage may the subjects of thewisdom that is from above review the lives of those who (whatever inauspicious circumstances may have attached to their origin, or to their condition in life) have exemplified the beauties of unaffected devotion,and shewn the way to true, to substantial happiness, and immortal honour ! " Such a man, althoirgh the meanest mechanic, who employs his best affections upon the. Author of his life and salvation, who loves the good, compassionates the distressed, and breathes peace and good-will to all ; who abhors vice, and pities the vicious, who subdues and triumphs ovèr the unruly passions of his fallen nature ; such a man(however lowhis outward condition). is the best patriot, and has more just pretensions to heroism, than he who makes the most glaring figure in the eye of an injudicious world. He is like one of the fixed stars, which through theremoteness of its situation, may be thought very inconsiderable and obscure by unskilful beholders, yet is as truly great and glorious in itself; as those luminaries which, by being placed more commodiously for our view, shine Withmore distinguished lustree." The christian will here see the excellence of genuine religion, in its influ- ence upon the mind and conduct through every department of life. In the most afflicted state of the Saviour's empire, he will find some bright examples of decision, unshaken confidence, and undaunted zeal. His faith in the doc- trines of thegospel will be confirmed byobservingthe god-like tempers, and the varions lineaments of the divine character produced by the sovereign vir- tues of those doctrines. In such memoirs, he will learn moreperfectly to dis- tinguish between the realities and the shadows of devotion; and todecide more satisfactorilyon thestate of religion in his own mind; and while tracing themysterious operationsof providence, in advancing the servants of God to prosperity and happiness, by trivial and improbable means, new sources of admiration and pleasurewill continuallyopen to his view. Here in thetimeof difficulty, he may obtain well adapted directions for his conduct; he may meet with salutary cautionamidst the allurements of worldly enjoyment ; and in the prospect of suffering or dying, he may so far enter into the spirit of the characters he contemplates, as more effectually to secure the dignity of his own. From the memorials of distinguished men, the student, who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of knowledge; willrenew his strength, to surmount the hinderances incident to his labours, while he follows them, whose admired natural abilities have been cultivated to the highest attainable state of perfec- tion, or whose persevering application to the means of improvement has brought to light hidden powers of genius ; who were insensible to the baits of pleasure, the contagious example of indolence and vice, and the mostdiscou- raging difficulties ; who were superior to the obstinate prejudices which often persecute a low origin, the disadvantages of indigence, asickly constitution, natural impediments,and whatever a supine and grovelling mind would pro- nounce insuperable. While hekeeps sucha characterin sight, he will assume fresh courage in struggling to useful eminence ; and every day his success willbe less dubious. Theplans they adopted, the various helps ofwhich they availed themselves in their progress, their uniform perseverance, their acqui- a Seed.
MEllntas OF nit. vans. salons and theapplication they made of them tothe service ofthe church and of civil society, cannot fail to administer instruction. Every candidate fortlie work of the sanctuary, who feels as he ought the importance of his designa- tion, and who, having finishedhis preparatory obligations, will owe much of his best assistance to thelight reflectedupon him from these luminaries. Some, if not all, of these advantages, will be obtained from the life of Dr. Watts ; if perused with such dispositions, as gave that lifeall its lustre, What is said of another eminent man, will with equal truth apply to him : As anatomy discovers allthe curious contexture of our bodily fabric, so here are vivid representations of faith, love, and an heavenly mind; of humility, meekness, self - denial, entire resignation to thewill of God, in their first and continuedmotions ; with whatever parts and principles besides, compose the whole frame of the new creature. fiere it is as if we could perceive with our eyes, how the blood circulates in an human body through all theveins and arteries ; how theheart heats,the animalspirits fly to and fro, and how each nerve, tendon, fibre, andmuscle, performs itsseveral operations. Here it may be seen, howan heart touched from above, works and tends.thitherward: how It depresses itself inhumiliation, dilates itself in love, exalts itself in praise, submits itself under chastisement, and how it draws in its refreshments and succours as there is need. To many who have seen so amiable a course of life, howgrateful will it be to behold the secretmotions of those inwardlatent principles, from whence all proceed! Though others would look no further than the advantages (in externalrespects) that accrue from it. So some con- tent themselves, to know by a clock the hourof the day, or partake thebene- ficial use of some rarer engine; the more curious, especially any that design imitation, andfo compose something of the same kind, would bemuch more gratified, if throughsome pellucid enclosure, they couldbeholdall the inward work, and observe how every wheel,spring, or movement, perform their sere- KM partsand offices, towardsthat common use*. But to him whoseonly object is entertainment, the subsequent Memoirs will affordbut littlegratification. Extraordinary incidents, and curious anec- dotes, are not to be expected in the life of a man, whose excursions were bounded by a few miles in the neighbourhoodof the metropolis; who had formedno domestic relations ; whose bodily afflictions, often and for long sea- sons, incapacitated him for every duty, and for every pleasure, but such as were purely intellectual and spiritual ; and who, when in health, perhaps rather shunned social intercourse, as incompatible with his literary pursuits andhis ministerial obligations. But whoever is capable of appreciating the importanceof learning and philosophy, when sanctified by an ardentzeal for the glory of God, by gentleness, humility, and unremitted exertions for the best interestsof the world ; or whoever possesses the nobleambition of at- taining sucheminence in wisdom, piety, and usefulness, and of imbibing any degree of that elevation of mind, so conspicuous in this great man,may anti- cipate more substantial rarities, the zest of which he will never lose, while he needsthe aid of instruction,or theanimating influence of an example so full ofgrace and beauty. Iasse WATTS, the eldest of nine children, wasborn July 17, 1674, at Southampton. If his family connections did not possess the advantages of affluence, they were such as might have secured him against the prejudice a Howe
v MEMOIRS OF OR. WATTS. usually attached toa IoWorigin, by the prideof fashionable life. But had lib descended (as was reported) from a poor mechanic, had his parents lived in the utmost meanness, his name would be ,pronounced with reverence ; his characterand writings would be held in the same esteem and admirationby all who are capable of making a just estimate of what istruly valuable in the existence of man. As princely grandeur can never dignify ignorance and vice, so talents, learning, and piety, are not to bedegraded by any reverse.. His father presided over a boarding -school, at Southampton ; of good repu- tation. He was a man of lively devotion, and a decided non, conformist. But living under a reign, the profligacy of which, gave the stamp offashion to almost everyvice; a reign, the bigotry ofwhich, fixed the odium of fana- ticism, hypocrisy, and sedition, upon every avowal of attachment to the pure religion of the cross, he became a considerablesufferer, driven by the persecutingemissaries of the princeof darkness, from the comforts of domes- tic life, and the enjoyment of his religious privileges, he was doomedto the degradation andhardships of a jail. During his confinement, his wife would often sit on a stone at the door of the prison, with this child of promise at her breast, revolving in deep afflictionof mind, the horrors of that tyranny by which they were deprived of their chief earthly protection, and left alone to contend with the buffetings of adversity. In the morning of life, he gave themost promising indications of abright and usefuldays Before hehad well learned to speak, abook was his greatest pleasure, and every little present of money, received additional value in his esteem, as it applied to the gratification of this early propensity. When a child he began to act the part of maturer years, in attention to mental im- provement, and in preparation for the service and enjoyment of God, The true principlesof wisdom and spiritual understanding, which thus early began to bud, yielded, through every succeedingperiod of his earthly pilgrimage, a rich variety of fruit, pleasant to the sight, and good for food. Although naturally of a temper remarkablefor vivacity, he was a singular exception to the vanity of childhood and youth. The hoursdevoted by other children to play, he employed in reading, pr in composing little poems to gratify the.. fond expectations of his mother. In hisfourteenthyear, heentered upon the studiesofthe learned languages,. under the tuition of Mr. Pinhorn, a minister of the established church, and master of the free grammes- school at Southampton ; a. man of considerable reputation for learning and respectability of character. Here our young stu- dent discovered such avidity of application, and extent of capacity, and so distinguished himself by the ease and celerity of his progress, that all who knew him, anticipated with delight, the perfection be afterwards attained. Hiswhole deportment in this critical period of age, formed a happy contrast with the prevailing spirit of some modern fashionable seminaries, where the seeds of vice finda congenial soil, and often before the age of manhood, produce a copious harvest of personal and relative evils. To prepare him- self for usefulness in the world, -to secure the approbation of heaven, realize the hopes of bis friends, and to reward the labours of his preceptor, by his continual diligence in improving the advantages he enjoyed ; in thesepoints was all his ambition concentrated. Ili the twentieth year of his, age, he inscribed a latinode to Mr. Pinhorn, which is not more honourable, as a tri- buteofgratitude to the merit of themaster, than as a proof pfuncommon pro, âciency in the scholar. ,
MEMOIRS OF DR. WATTS, tÌÌ His unremitted diligence, and rapid progress at the grammarSchool, taere so conspicuous asto draw upon him the attentionofsome considerablecha- teeters in the town and neighbourhood, engagedbythe promising appearances which he made of future celebrity in learningand religion : And with a view to hisadoption into the established church, they proposed to support him at one of our English universities. But having studiedthe principlés of non- conformity, on which thesufferings ofhis father had probably given him some useful lessons ; and being,satisfied that these principles were most con, genial with a kingdom not of this world, he respectfully declined the flattering proposal, and declared his resolution to take his lot with the dissenters. Thus when youthful vanity and ambition are generally most alive to the allurements of emolument and elevation, he sacrificed the fairest pros- pests of earthly possessions in order to unite himself witha people, branded With every opprobrious epithet; a people with whom, in place of the ease, riches, and honours of clerical preferment, he must substitute labour for the salvationof souls, and estimate his gains only by his success. Thedate of his spiritual life cannot beascertained, but the fact was indu, bitable from a very early period; Surely the consideration, that such a Christian as Da. WATTS, could make no reference to the particular circum- stances of time, place, or means, connected with his first spiritual affections, ought to check the presumption of those, who would limitthe operations of grace, tothe contracted sphere of their ownpre- conceptions. Hewho con- descended to lay aside the scholar and the philosopher, todirect the hosannas of our children, and to provide systems of instruction adapted to their wants And capacities, was himself discriminated in his early childhood, by hatred pf evil and love to the ways of God. When only seven or eight years old, he composed some verses to gratify the wishes of his mother which, for clear views of scriptural truth, and fervour of devotion, would havedone honour to.far more advanced age. The natural vivacityof his youth was corrected and improved by a deep sense of religion ; convinced that no life can be pleasing to God, that is not useful to man, he sanctified his best days, by a lively and well- tempered zeal to do good. He soughtand enjoyed communion with God, in retirementfrom the world ; and displayed, in his uniform deportment, the inseparable connexion subsisting between strict religion and substantial pleasure. In thedepth of his humility, in the elevation of his affection, he was superior to most of his cotemporaries. Before he attained his twenty-second year, he had compo- sed the greater part of his hymns ; in comparison with which, most composi . tions of the some kind are frigid and lifeless. They may indeed in some instances, bethought too appropriatingandextatic -for our mixedassemblies, and for the general state Of our religions joys but such objections only con- fess the sublimity of his devotion ; and faithfully applied to the disparity of oar resemblance, will excite every sentiment of humility. As he advanced from Isis childhood inhis intimapywith heaven, and in bis rapidattainments of that knowledge, which too commonly inflates the mind with pride, he was still farther removed from the consciousness of his superiority; and in pro- portion as lie grew in favour with God, his meek and lowly temper rendered him daily a greater favourite with man. Decided in his views and experience of the doctrines of the gospel, the
tiii MEMOIRS OF Dn. WATTS. discipline of' the church, and in the choice of his religious connexion, he repaired to anacademy in London, in theyear 1690, where he prosecuted his studies under Mr. Thomas Rowe, at that time pastor of the independent church-meeting, at Haberdasher's-Hall. Three years afterward this church had the honour ofreceiving himas a member. At the academy Mr. Hughes, the poet, Dr. Hort, afterwards archbishop of Timm, and Mr. Say (the suc cesser of Mr. Ed. Calamy) were his fellow -students ; and, as appears by their subsequent correspondence, theyentertained a warm friendship for him. Here he appears to have laboured with incessant perseverance ; not merely to pass with credit through the routine ofacademical obligations, but to attain to eminent distinction in the soundest qualifications for future usefulness. Very few, by a much longer dourse of study, make any near approach to the extent of his acquirements. In diligence he had noequal ; in his attainments, he had no competitor ; and as his progress in the paths of learning was not dishonoured by an ostentatious vanity, he won the esteem and admiration of all who were connected with him in preparatory studies. From the first general incorporation of the dissenting interest, by the . rigid persecutions of the hierarchyafter the restoration of Charles II. the hody of non-conformists have always deemed it an important object, to provide a succession of ministers competently qualified with divine and human knowledge. Deprived of the splendid advantages of Oxford%%and Cambridge, they have endeavoured, and with no inconsiderable success, to supply the necessities oftheir churches, by seminaries ofa more private and humble kind. In everydissenting academy, founded on evangelical princi- ples, satisfactory evidenceis alwaysrequired, that the candidates for admission have experienced the powerof religion upon their hearts, that theyhave suit- abledispositions for the reception of knowledge, and that theyare possessed of qualifications adapted to the service of the church. During their acade- mical residence, vigilant attention is paid to maintaining inviolate the honours ofpractical godliness; and that residence would, in any instance, be terminat- ed by an act of immoral or scandalous conduct. In the whole coause of study, supreme homage is paid to the WORD of GOD; and languages and sciences are pursued with a constant reference to the increase of di- vine wisdom, and general usefulness. When theseadvantages are duly considered, dissenters have good reason to be thankfully reconciledtotheir exclusion from the noble endowments, the magnificent libraries, and the splendid honours of these universities. Oneof the best scholars and ablest writers Oxford has produced, has made the following candid remarks on this subject : " I believe it to have been a very happy circumstance for Mr. Seeker*, that he was educated in a dissenting accademy, and under so good atutor. I attribute much of bis future eminence to this circumstance, as well as to the connectionhe fortunately formed there, that purity, that dignity, thatdecen- cy of character, which enabled him to fill the great offices of the church with singular weight and efficacy. Educated ina dissenting persuasion, and under dissenting tutors, hehadpaid less attention to politeletters, and more to divinity, film is usually bestowed by students in the universities. Young men in Oxford and Cambridge, frequently arrive at an age for orders, and be- * Afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury.
titmoind OF OR. WATTS. rR some successful candidates for them, who have studied scarcely any other divinity, than such as is to be foetid in Ovid's Metamorphosis, and Tooke's Pantheon. Few regularly-bred divines, as they are termed, apply themselves to divinity at so early an age; and, indeed, through thedefect ofa knowledge, and of a taste for it, in youth, many, after obtaining orders, still continue to study, if they study at all, the theologyof Athens and Rome. Butthe dis- senters study divinityatan early age, and if they had united the study of the belles lettres with it indue proportion, I believetheir divines wouldhave made astill more honourable appearance than they have done, though they are, and ever have been, highly respectablet." What Mr. Watts was as a student, the testimony of his tutorsufficiently evinces : He never, Mr. Rowedeclared, gave him any occasion for reproof ; but was so exemplary, that he often proposed him as a pattern for the imita- tion of otherpupils. The great ends of his studies were fixed, and the sub- jectsof them were substantial, hewell knew the value of his opportunities, nor washe at any loss as to thebest means of improving them. Lvo time was given to vain amusemens, or to unnecessary indulgencies. The seasons of rest and exercise (so essential to health) were curtailed, and so passionately was he devoted to the increase of his knowledge, that he either laid the foun- dation of disorders, which imbittered his future life, or, if latent, armed them with the power which resisted all medical skill. The operationsof his own mind, his reading, his observation, and his social intercourse were all made subservient tothe great designs ofhis station. With thehands of a Midas, be had the art of turning whatever he touched into gold: the treasures of know- ledge, both philosophical and theological, opened to the world, so early after he left the academy, shew the intenseness of his application, and the capa- ciousness of his mind during his residence there. The mostimportant works in every science engaged his attention; andas be had no tedious hours to amuse, nor any fugitive curiosity to gratify, his reading uniformly promoted the increase of his mental riches. He did not rove about in the fields of science to gather withering flowers, but the precious fruits wherewith the rnoseer filleth his háud, and lie that bindetissheaves his bosom. To impress uponhis memorythe most importantand interestingparts of thebookshe read, it was his custom, to make judicious abridgements; and that be might com- poseand digest the sentiments and arguments of his authors, in order to ren- der each insuccessioninstrumental to the confirmation and enlargement ofhis views, his principal bookswere interleaved. The long silence of this excellent and accomplished youth, after he left tha academy, as to the primary object of all his studies, the preach- ing o ne gospel, affords considerable scope for conjecture: He was twenty ars old when he returned from London to. Southampton ; there he Tema.... -1 two years ; after which he went to reside in the family of Sir JohnIle 'opp, as tutor tohis son, where he continuedtwoyears longer. It is true le was but still a youth diffident of himselfand deeply affected with the imp 'tance of the ministry, under a sense of his insufficiency and trembling les lie should go to the altar of God uncalled. But after sixteen yearsspent in ,lassical studies, after uncommon proficiency in other parts of learning corn eted with the work of the ministry, with every qualification' t' Knox.
l DfEMOnis OF bR. WATTS. fot the Sacred dfiice living at a time when his public services were peculiarly neededand when be was known andspokenof as promising celebrity in what,. everprofession he might chime, that with all these advantages he should con- tinue inretirement, isa fact difficult toaccount for, andfor which only his ex- treme diffidencecan affordany apology. But whatever were his reasons for so long a silence, his time was wisely improved; he gave himself up to reading, meditation, and prayer ; and in the family of his patron, besides discharging the dutiesof a tutor, he was em- ployed in several ofhis most useful andpopular works, particularly his Logic, Astronomy andGeography. In the family of Sir John, he appears to have enjoyed, whatever was mostcongenial with hisviews in friendship and devotion: his testimony inhis sermon onthe death of SirJohn is highlyhonourable to his virtueand to the mingled respect, sorrow and gratitude ofthe preacher. While hewas increasing his mental treasures bÿ study, and familiarising the importance of these treasures to his pupil, he enjoyed opportunitiesof conversing with the wire, the learned, and the devout, here his thirst after knowledge increased daily and his ambition for usefulness. The advantages of his situation, like the beamsof light, fell upon an object capable of reflect- ing them; and to this part of bis life, may be ascribed much of that supe- riority,'by, which he was afterwards distinguished in the church ;. which still animates us in his writings, and which amidst all the caprice of taste, or the revolutions of opinions, will endear and perpetuate his' re- membrance. On his birth-day 1698, he preached his first sermon; " Probablyconsi- dering that as the day of a second "nativity, by which he entered into a new period of existence." Sometime in the course of this year he was chosen assistant toDr. Isaac Chauney, pastor of theIndependantchurch then meet- ing in Mark-lane, and such was bis acceptance and success, that in January 1701 -2, hesucceededDr: Chauncyinthe pastoraloffice. Theday onwhichhe accepted his invitationto this charge wasdistinguished by an event peculiarly interesting to the friends Of religious liberty. The death of KingWilliam III. brought a cloud over the prospects of the dissenters; which inthe close of thesucceeding reign, was ready to burst in showers of calamity, and which was only dispelled, by the critical interposition of divine providence in the death of queen Anne. Mr. IS'atts, who had not entered upon the service of God without duly counting the cost, was not to be discouraged by difficulties, nor deterred by opposition. He had " engaged in a sacred work, where the harvest is great, and the labourers arebut few ; while he hadleft the fieldof ambition, where the labourers are many, and the harvest not worth carrying away"" His viewswere directed to right objects, his principles invigorated his exertions, and the power with whichhe seas endowed from on high, enabled himtospeak with irresistiblewisdom. The same month in which he assented to the un- animouscall of the church, he was solemnly set apart to the important rela- tionship ; and never didany youngmanassume the pastoral officewithhigher qualifications, willsdeeper humility, or with more ardent desires for the eter- nalwelfare of men. ' His public declaration of acquiescence in the choice of * Goldsmith.
MEMOIRS OP DR. WATTS.. :tl the church (of which some abstracts are here subjoined) while it illustrates the truthof these observations, will gratify every readerof spiritual discernment. .a Brethren, " Youknow the constant aversion I have had to any proposalsof a pas- toral office for these three years. You know also, thatsince you have given me anunanimous call thereto, I have proposed several methods for your set- tlement without me, but your choice and youraffections seemed to be still unmoved. I haveobjectedmyown indisposition of body, and I have pointed to threedivines, members of this church, whose gifts might renderthemmore proper for instruction, and their age for government. These things I have urged till I have provoked you to sorrow and tears, and till I myselfhave been almost ashamed. But yourperseverance in your choice, your constant ,profession of edification bymy ministry, the great probability you shew me of building up this famous and decayed church of Christ, andyour prevailing fears of its dissolution, if I refuse, have given me ground to believe, that the voice of this church is thevoice of Christ ; and to answer this call, I have not consulted with flesh and blood: I have laid aside the thoughts of myself to servethe interestof ourLord. I give up myown ease for your spiritual profit and your increase. I submit my inclinations to my duty, and in hopes of being made an instrument tobuildup this ancient church, I return this solemn answer toyour call,that, witha great sense of my own inability in mind and, bodyto discharge the duties of so sacred an office, I do, in the strength of Christ, venture upon it, and in his name I acceptyour call, promising in the presence of God and his saints, my utmost diligence in all the duties of a pastor, so far as God shall enlighten and strengthen me ; and I leave this pro- mise in the hands of Christ our Mediator, to see itperformed byme unto you, through the assistance of his graceandSpirit." Theseprofessions and promises were followed by corresponding diligence and holy zeal. The number and variety of his writings, the frequency and excellence of his preaching, his exact attentihp to the)piritual affairs of bis flock by domestic visits, when not confined by illness,-shew the intenseness of his industry, and a laborious piety, as uncommon to others as they were ho- nourable to himself. The younger members of his church were peculiarly interested in his affection and zeal. For them he wasalways forming plans of religious improvement, andwhen he couldno longerbe useful to then in the pulpit, hewas solicitous for them in his afflicting confinement. To pro- mote their prosperity and happiness in the momentous concerns of a future world, he formeda society from this classof his charge, for prayer and spiri- tual conference. In thissociety the substance of his Guide to Prayer was originally delivered. In visitingthe families of his congregation, he was always careful to -leave a savour of divine truth upon their minds ; and as his own piety was cheerful, he endeavoured to diffuse its benign influences wherever he went : Walking or riding, in company or in retirement, he was either improving himself orothers. He wasnever somuch at homeas in his study, nor ever more in his element than when engaged in performing the works of mercy and the labours of c love. His temperswere such as became his character, and secured to him the veneration andesteem of those who most materially differed from, him inpoints von.; t. b
Ril ME MOttl9 OP b*. wArry of faith. To say he had his imperfections is only to assert, that he was man and not an angel. If his natural tempers were hasty, andheoccasion. ally expressed himself with a keenness bordering on resentment, lie was habi- tually meekand lowly. With a mind eminently susceptible of the emotions of friendship and gra- titude, he was superior to the contracted views, and the untempered zeal of thebigot. " It wasnot only in his book but in his mind that orthodoxy was united with charity." He knew how to sustain injurious treatment without retaliating. His meekness of opposition was remarkable, and the good he performed wasunclouded by pharisaical ostentation. Hispopularity was duly tempered byhis low opinionof himself, and his afflictions were sanctified by patientsubmission to the unerring will of heaven. The love of money in a minister of Christ, he looked on with contempt and detestation. A thirdpart of hisincome he devoted to the purposesof charity, and when he was incapa- ble of his public labours he refused to receive his salary. " Happy will be that reader whose mind is disposed, byhiswritings, to copy his benevolenceto man and his reverence to God. In company he assumed not superiority, nor could any wise and good man feel his superiority with other sentiments than suchas were mutually ho- nourable. His conversation betrayednone of the weakness of egotism, nor themalevolence ofdetraction. Hecould be entertaining without levity, and serious without austerity. With a natural easy flow of thought hecombined aptness, ptuity, and elegance of expression ; so affable and engaging was his deportment wherever he went, that the enquiring virtuousmind was always gratified, whilethe gayand thoughtless were fixed in attentive veneration, and so conspicuously were thebeauties of sincerity delineated in his"social charac- ter that hewas not moreadmired asa manof talents and learning, thanhewas sought, loved and trusted ás a faithful friend. As a preacher, Dr. Watts ranks with the most eminent: His published sermons afford a happy specimen of the spirit whichpervadedhit pulpit exer- cises. Here is no trimming, no disguise of sentiment, all is transparent and clear as crystal. He thoughtwith thehumility that becomes a fallibleman, but he spoke with all the perspicuity, decision, and boldness, of anhonestman. Whatis said of Mr. Philip Henry is not less applicableto him. He was ad- miredandloved, because, thoughso excellent a scholarand so polite anorator, hebecame so profitable and powerful a preacher, and so readily laid aside the enticing words of man's wisdom, which were so easy to him. While lie avoided whatsoever could disgust the learned and polite he was equally cau- tious not to soar above the illiterate. Inhis sermons dignity and simplicity are so conspicuous that everyone sees he only wished to gain access to the passion's through the mediumof the understanding. Sometimes he thought he descended too low in accommodating his style to ignorance and dulness of apprehension. Inhis discourseon Humility, representedin the characterof St. Paul, he makesthis apologyfor descending to familiar and low scenes of life. " I almost reprove myself .. here, and suspect my friends will reprove me too for introducingsuch low scenesof life, and such trivial occurrences intoa grave discourse. I have put the matter into the balancesaswellas Ican, and weighed the case,and the result is this : General and distant declamations seldom strike the conscience with suchconviction as particular representations do; and since this iniquity often betrays itself in these trivial instances, it is
=MOMS ,Or DR, WATTS, .Siü better perhaps to set them forth in their full and proper light, than that the guilty should never feel a reproof, who, by the very nature of their dis- temper, are unwilling to see or learn their ownfolly, unless itis set in a glar- ingview*. But as his great aimwas to be understood, and to supply his hearers with suitable matter for holy meditation in private ; as he watched for souls like one that was to give an account, a divine solemnity accompanied all he said. The frivolous,jocular dispositionof some modern pulpit orators, never degraded his character, never insulted the decency of public worship, Or mocked the expectations of the devout mind. Where is the expression that could raise the faintestblush upon the cheekof modesty, or irritate therisibi- lity of the most puerile ? In his personal appearance there was little that could interest the ad- mirers of external comeliness. He was low ofstature, and his bodily presence wsa weak; yet there was a certain dignitÿ in his countenance, and such piercing expression in his eyes, as commanded attention and awe. His man- nerwas animated ; but not boisterous ; the self-possession he enjoyed was igspircd.byconfidence in God ; and therefore, discoverednothing but respect and affection for his hearers. When Dr. Gibbons asked him, if he didnot fmd himselfsometimestoo much awedby his auditory, he replied, Thatwhen such a gentleman, of eminentabilities and learning, hascome into the assem- bly, and taken his eye, he felt somethinglike a momentary tremor, but that Ile recovered himself by remembering what God said to the Prophet Jeremiah, " $e not dismayed attheir faces, lest Ì eonfeund thee before them." In preparation for his ministry, he wrote and committed to memory, the leading features of his cursory sermons; the rest he trusted to his extemporary powers, and thepromised assistance of the Holy Spirit; andbe never failed to acquithimself with credit. " His reading hadmade him a full man, eon- ference aready man, writing an exact man¡," and his free access to the ful- ness. of Christ made him anessentially profitableman. At the conclusionof weighty sentences it was his custom to pause, thathe might quicken the atten- tion andmore solemnly impress the realities of the gospel upon themind. He had cultivated with care and singular success the graces of language. The correctness of his pronunciation, the elegance of his diction, and the grandeur of his sentiments, obtained him an uncommon share of popu- larity. I once mentioned, says Dr. Johnson, the reputation which Mr. Foster hnd gained by his proper delivery to my friend Mr. Hawkes- worth, who told me, that in the art of pronunciation he was far inferior to Dr., Watts. his ambition of usefulness was confined to no time or place , such was his love to the Head of thechurch, and his compassion for the fallen, children ofmen, that he was eager to seize every opportunity of glorifying him, and administeringthe word ofsalvation to them, as the subsequent anecdote, com- municatedby Mr. Kingsbury, ofSouthampton,to Dr. Gibbons, will testify: " Mr. Richard Ellcock was a servant in old Mr. Watts's family., Dr. Watts going to London after the last time ofhis visiting his father at ;,Iauthampton, Richard Ellcock was ordered to go withhim a day's journey. The Doctor entered into serious discourse with him, which made a deep and lastingim- pression on, his heart andwas the means of his sound and saving conversion. * Discourses on 'Humility: ', Bacon. `
XIV MEMOIRS OP DR. WATTS. After the Doctorcame to London, he wrote to his father, recommending the servant to his particular regard, fbr that he doubted not he would make an eminent christian, and no he lived and died, leaving an honourable character for piety and uprightnessbehind him." Soon afterhe had entered upon his pastoral labours, he was visited with illness, which threatened all the sanguine hopes of his people with an early period to hisusefulness. His confinement was long, his recovery slow, and his constitution considerably impaired. Under these circumstances, the Rev. Samuel Price was chosen to assist him in the dutiesof his office. However, Isis exertions were renewed with his strength, and his sufferings enabled him to preach more than everto the instruction and delight of his hearers. In the prosecution of his various plans of usefulness, he met with no material inter- ruption till September, 1712, when he was seized with a fever of such vio- lence, that it brought a debility upon his nerves, for which time afforded no remedy, and which entirely laid hint aside from the exercise of his ministry more than four years. How inscrutable are the dispensations of providence, when men who, for disseminating the doctrines of the cross, possess the first qualifications, are laid aside or cut oft' in the flower of their age, while others, far belowmediocrity, live till they become useless and burdensome 1 Of the affectionate solicitude ofhis peoplefor the restoration of bis health hewas honoured with the best evidence by their unceasingprayers to God for him in this season oftrouble. Particular days were set apart for this purpose, in which many of his brethren in the ministry united as mendeeply impressed with theimportanceof his life ; and their prayers were answered. Mr. Price, his assistant, was now, at Mr, Watts's own desire, elected to bejoint pastor with him ; and he was accordingly ordainedto this office, March 3, 1713. Between these two fellow-labourers there subsisted, till death, an inviolable friendship. Theamiable subject of our memoirs speaks of Mr. Price as his faithful friend and companion in the ministry ; and mentions a legacy that he leaves him, " as only a small testimony of his great affection for him, on account of his services of love during the many harmonious years- of their fellowship in the work of the gospel." When the preachers of religion, whether they sustain such immediate relationship or not, thus live superior to the meanness and guilt of depreciatingand envying each others reputation, talents, and services in the church ; when the despicable spiritof competition, and variance, of cold civility, and jealousy is absorbed in 'brotherly love, and in generous exertions the the just honour of each other, then they will furnish an effectual confutation to the ignorant clamours of infidelity against priest- craft, and as was the case with these two excellent men, the friendship they exercise will return seven-fold intò their own bosoms. The afflicting state to which Mr. Watts was reduced by this sickness, in- spired his friendswith a tender and beceming sympathy, and particularly engaged the benevolent attention of Sir Thos. Abney, at that time an alder- manof London, and afterwards one of its representatives in parliament: A man of eminent piety and zeal, á blessing to his ,country and the church of God. He died in the year 1722, deeply regretted by all the friends who were contemporary with him and acquainted with his worth, and no less re- spectfully remembered wherever the works of Dr. Watts arc read, by the monuments of his friendship for the author ; a friendship pureand uniform, without the usual pride ofpatronage, or the obsequiousness .of timid submis-
Mtnoms`eirDU. WA`tPS. xY 'sion. In this family he found an asylum fromthe anxiëties öfdeperidanne, and that stillmore endeared by the perception of reciprocal benefits. Here heexperienced all the tenderness and care that the languishing state of his health required. Whatever riches and munificence could supply, or respect and affection suggest to alleviate these painful vicissitudes, heenjoyed to thefull extent of his wishes, and , to the happy event of his introduction into this benevolent family may be ascribed the prolongation of a lifetho.value of which may be 'estimated by the many excellent works which he published, during his long residence with them. The saine respect and friendship shewn him by Sir Thomas Abney were perpetuated by his lady and their slaughter 'till his days were numbered and finished. Lady Abney died about a year after him. She was endowed with every virtue essential toan illustrious example. The following anecdote, communicated to the late Mr. Toplady by the Countess of Huntingdon, will serve toconfirmwhat is said of the happytens upon which lie lived with this house. The Countess beingon a visit to Dr. Watts at Stoke-Newington, was thus accosted by him : Your ladyshipis come to see me, on a very remarkable day. " Why is this day so remarkable ?" answered the Countess. " This very day thirty years," replied the Doctor, " I came to the house ofmy good friend Sir Thomas Abney, intending tospend but a single week under his friendly roof : and I have extendedmy visit to the length of thirty years : " Lady Abney who was present, immediately said, Sir what you t rhi a long thirty years visit I consider as the shortest visit my family ever redeived. His gratitude, in the review 'of his obligationsduring a thirty-sixyears residencewith her ladyship,, is strongly marked in apassage of Isis will, where he speaks of the generous and tender care sheave himby her ladyship and her family in his long illness, many years ago whenhe was capable of no service, and alsoher eminent friendship and goodness during his continuance in the family ever since. The various stories circulated of his strange nervous affections, or ra- ther it should besaid, ofhis intellectual derangement, appear tohave been the fabrications of the designing,and only tohave obtained belief with the credu-, lous. " I take upon me, and feel myself happy," says his biographer and friend, Dr. Gibbons, "-to aver, thatthese reports wereutterly false, and I do this froinmy own knowledge of him for several years, and some of them the years of his decay ; from the express declaration ofhis amanuensis, who was ever with him, and above all from that of Mrs. Elizabeth Abney,who livedin the same family with him thirty-six years." But his constitution was broken, and his nervous system considerably disordered and debilitated, by the frequent and heavy strokes of illness, and his intense exertions of mind, especially in Lis yoyrth*. Hewas for several * What he says in one of bis sermons chews towhat the corporeal afflic- tions of his later days maybe ascribed : Midnight studies are prejudicial to nature, and painful experience calls me to repent of the faults of myy younger years, and there are many beforeme have hadthe saine callto repent- ance. Wearing out the lightsome hours in sleep is an unnatural wasteof sun- beanms.. There is ao light as friendly to animal nature as that Of the Sun. Serrn. $x.
ävi MEMOIRS OF DR. WATTS. years together greatlydistressedwith insomnia,or continued wakefulness. Very often be could obtain no sleep for several nights successively except suchas was forced by medical preparations; and not unfrequently even opiates lost their virtue, and only served to aggravate his malady. It is wonderful how, with such a weak frame and so many shocks rapidlysucceeding each other, he was able to maintain such equanimity of temper, and vigour of intellect: The state of his mind through all the decays of nature, his humble confi- dence and his joy gave the decisive stampof reality to his hopes and exem- plified the sublime attainments of which we are capable in this vale of imper- fection and sorrow. His superiority to the pressures of sickness, and his tri- umphant assurance of the love of God are beautifully expressed in his own devout soliloquy which he entitlesThoughts and Meditations in a long nick. liess, 1712,-1713. Yet, gracious God, amidst these storms of nature, Thine eyes behold asweet and sacred calm Reign through the realmsof conscience. All within Liespeaceful, all compos'd. 'Tis wondrous grace Keeps off thy terrors from this humble bosom. Though stain'd with sins and follies, yet serene In penitential peace, and cheerful hope, Sprinkled and guarded with atoningblood. Thyvital smiles, amidst this desolation, Like heav'nly sun-beams hid behind the clouds, Break outin happymoments, with bright radiance Cleaving the gloom, the fair celestial light Softens and gilds the horrors of the storm, And richest cordials to the heart conveys. O glorioussolace of immense distress, A conscience and a God ! A friend at home, Andbetter friendonhigh ! This is my rock Of firm support, my shieldof sure defence Against infernal arrows. Rise, my soul, Put on thy courage. Here's the living spring, Of joysdivinely 'sweet and ever new. A peaceful conscience, anda smilingheav'n. The two universities of Edinburghand Aberdeen in the year 1728 seve- rally conferredon him unsolicited and without his knowledge, the degree of doctor in divinity. This academical honour was never better bestowedor received with less vanity ; andhappywould it havebeen forsuch seminarieshad titles of this sort never been disgraced by any thing mercenary in their source or by ignorance or superciliousness in their subjects. In this case the honour wasreciprocal, so far as a diploma may be allowed to bear anyproportion to poignancyof genius, highly cultivated understanding, the richest talentsof the bead, added to the most amiable virtues of the heart. Although a non -conformist from principles and uniformly such inprac- tice, he held a friendly correspondence with some of the first characters in the established church. Among thesewereSeeker, archbishopof Canterbury, Gibson, bishop of London; Hort, archbishop of Tusm, and many others
.MEMOIRS OF DR. WATTS. Evü of elevated rankand eminent literary reputation. Their letters* tohim are written inan uncommon strain of veneration and esteem, and although many expressions occur which bear too nearan affinity to the language of flattery, thosewhoknew the man and were benefited by his writings may be allowed some latitude beyond what is commonin such cases. If, while the deadly night shade of infidelity is diffusing its poison through our country, churchmen and dissenters, especially the clergy and thosewho entertain the same views of the faith that was once delivered tothe saints, couldagree thus 'to differ, and lay aside all intemperate zeal for and against the modes and forms of religion ; would they mutually cherish bro- therly love and unite as far as possible to aid each others exertions in the common cause ; what a mighty change would soon be produced in the state of religion, and what sources of pleasure theywould daily open to the advocates of the truth ? Mental light has no immediate or necessary dependance upon exterior circumstances, norcan it be confinedwithin the bounds of anydenomination, so like that glorious element its progress is irresistible, andmust beunbounded in its dominion. Here superstition has no influence, bigotry has no power ; and although we cannot accurately pronounce the Shibboleth and Sibboleth of different parties, wemay yet unite our prayers and our zeal where, as the candidates for eternal life, weare all one. As we often perceive in chemical experimentsthat two things the most hostile by nature, and most averse to unite, by the additionof a third become perfectlymiscible, so by a spiritof true piety and candour poured out uponboth, we should see conformists and non- conformists extend to each other the right hand of fellowship andunite in every officeof friendship and in all the obligations of their religiouscharac- ters. May the auspicious period soon dawn when Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and when Judah shall not vex Ephraim. Let us no more contend, nor blame Each other; blamed enough elsewhere, but strive, In offices of love, how we maylighten Each other'sburden in our share of woef . "Such characters as Dr.Watts still live and flourish in our churches (I adopt the words of a late acute writer). It would beeasy to givea long list of names from thedawn of the reformation to this day: but -I sacrificethe plea- sure of doing so to the modestyof myfriends. This however, I will ven- ture to say, and no man shall stop me of this boasting, we have in oüf churches now exact copies of our ancient models. The prophets, do they live for ever ? Yes they do. The spirit of Elijah rests upon Elisha ! The grave solidityof Cartwright and Jacob seemed to reside in our Owens and Goodwin and Gills. The vivacity of Watts and Bradbury and Earle lives in others, whom I dare not name. The patient laborious Fox, the silver Bates, the melting Baxter, the piercing Mead, the generousWilliams, the instructive Henry, the soft and candid Doddridge, Ridgley, and Gale, and Bunyan and Burgess, in all their variegated beauties yet flourish in our pulpits exercising their different talents for mutual edification. We have r.B'arnabas the sott of consolation, and Boanerges the thunderer, Letters published by Dr: Gibbons. f Milton.allisonlibrary.regent-college.edu