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LONDON WALL-Scotch Presbylerian.
born at Dalkeith, near Edinburgh, and received the early part of his education at a school in his native town, under Mr. Christison, now Professor of Humanity in the University of Edinburgh. From under the tuition of this gentleman he passed to the College at Edinburgh, where he closed his academical course. Being licensed to preach the gospel, he officiated for about twelve months at Berwick-upon-Tweed, from whence he removed to London, upon a call from the Scots church, London Wall. He was ordained in that place Aug. 31, 1803. The service was opened by Mr. Smith, of Camberwell, who prayed and read suitable portions of scripture; Dr. Rutledge preached from Acts xx. 28. and Mr. Nicol concluded the service. Upon the settlement of Dr. Young, a division took place in the church, in favour of Dr. Brichan, who had supplied the congregation during the vacancy, Those who espoused his preaching went off to Artillerystreet, and formed a separate congregation under his care, but they have since dissolved.
Within two or three years after his settlement at London Wall, Dr. Young was honoured, upon a public occasion, by the presence of a royal auditor.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, at the head of his regiment of Loyal North Britons, attended divine worship at his meeting-house upon the first day of February, 1806. This was, most probably, the first time that royalty graced a conventicle, at least in a public manner. The circumstance is no otherwise of importance than as it serves to show that the paltry prejudices which formerly subsisted among the professors of Christianity are fast wearing away; and that what would have been shunned as a dangerous leprosy, has assumed a form perfectly harmless. Dr. Young is chaplain to the above regiment. Since his settlement in London, he has presented the public with two sermons, preached at his own meeting-house, upon public occasions. The first a Thanksgiving sermon, for the battle of Trafalgar; VOL. II.
preached before the Loyal North Britons; Dec. 5, 1805. 1 Chron. xxix. 13, 14. 4to.-The second, entitled, “ The African Stranger,” preached January 17, 1808, for the benefit of the African and Asiatic Society. Job xxxi. 32. 8vo.
Girdlers'-Hall is a handsome brick-building, situated on the east side, and towards the north end of Basinghallstreet. The company was incorporated August 6, 1448, and the hall built in the year 1681. It was a small building, with only one gallery, and was used, for many years, by the nonconformists, as a meeting-house. Previous to the Revolution it was occupied by two congregations of Independents, who held it jointly for a considerable number of years, one assembling there in the morning, the other in the afternoon of the Lord's-day. The former of these exists to the present day, at Haberdashers'-Hall; but the latter has long since become extinct. It is familiar to many of our readers, that, at the time of the Restoration, a congregation of Independents assembled for divine worship in Westminster Abbey, under the pastoral care of Mr. John Rowe, who was turned out upon the re-ascendancy of episcopal government. His church, however, still continued to meet privately, in different places of obscurity, till his son, the celebrated Mr. Thomas Rowe, at length fixed at Girdlers'-Hall, which he occupied in the morning only
The congregation that assembled at Girdlers'-Hall on the
other part of the day, was collected by the Rev. George Griffith, a noted Independent, who set up his meeting at the same time as Mr. Caryl, and some other ministers, after the fire of London. It does not appear in what place his people first assembled for divine worship ; but during the latter part of his life, they met at Girdlers'-Hall. It was at this place, about the year 1682, that the celebrated Mr. Matthew Clarke, joined in communion with Mr. Griffith. This venerable confessor survived the Revolution, and was succeeded in the pastoral office by a Mr. Joseph Tate, under whose ministry the church declined; so that he left them in 1707, and after continuing together without a pastor, for about three years, they scattered into other societies. Many of them joined in communion with the church under the care of the celebrated Dr. Isaac Watts. This event hap pened in the year 1710.
After the dissolution of this church, the morning congregation occupied the place on both parts of the day. In 1710, Mr. (afterwards the celebrated Dr.) David Jennings, was chosen to conduct the afternoon service. After his removal to Gravel-lane, in 1718, Mr. Henry Francis supplied his place till 1723, when he removed to New-court. The afteruoon service was then dropped till 1726, when Mr. (afterwards the famous Dr.) Guyse, being invited from Hertford, to take charge of a part of Mr. Jollie's people, preached to them at Girdlers'-Hall till 1728, when a meeting-house was erected for him in New Broad-street. Upon Mr. Guyse's removal, the Rev. Richard Paine, brought his congregation to Girdlers'-Hall, and preached to them in that place for about a twelvemonth, when he removed to Petticoat-lane. Upon Mr. Paine's removal, the afternoon service was dropped. Mr. Robert Wright, pastor of the morning congregation, continued to occupy Girdlers'-Hall, till 1734, when he removed his people to Haberdashers’Hall, where the church still exists under the pastoral care of the Rev. Joseph Brooksbank.
We now proceed to the congregation that met at Girdlers'-Hall in the afternoon, and to record some few biographical particulars of the two ininisters above-mentioned.
George Griffith, M. A. concerning whom very little account can be obtained, was a celebrated preacher among the Independents during the interregnum. It appears from Bishop Kennet, that he was of Emanuel College, in Cambridge.* On the 6th of June, 1648, he was appointed preacher at the Charter-house, and had a patent during life. His wife was the first lady permitted to reside within the hospital; but this indulgence was not suffered to be a precedent. The restriction, however, has of late years been abolished.+ During this period. Mr. Griffith had, also, a weekly lecture at St. Bartholomew's, behind the Exchange. I In 1654, he was added to the number of those Divines who were appointed commissioners for the approbation, or rejection of ministers, and who were distinguished by the name of Triers. He was a principal manager in the synod held by the Independents at the Savoy, in 1658, and was appointed scribe to that assembly:ll At the Restoration, he lost such preferments as he had in the church, and gathered a separate congregation upon the Independent plan. His successor at the Charter-house was Dr. Timothy Shircross, whose appointment bears date November 9, 1661.** The
* Kennett's Chronicle, p. 933, 934. + Smythe's Historical Account of the Charter-house, p. 239, 240. Calamy's Account, p. 51. & Neal's Puritans, vol. ii. p. 445.
lidl. p. 508. ** Smythe's Hist. Acc. ubi supra,
GIRDLERS'-HALL. - Independent, Extinct.
latter gentleman was succeeded by the learned Dr. John Patrick, the well known author of a version of the book of Psalms, formerly sung in many Dissenting congregations.
Of the rebellion of Venner, quickly after the Restoration, an ample account has been given in some preceding pages. As many unjust reflections were cast upon the nonconformists on this occasion, the Independents, Baptists, and Quakers, thought fit publicly to disown all connexion with him, and addressed the King separately to that effect. Among the names affixed to the declaration published by the Independents, occurs that of Mr. George Griffith. Our Divine appears to have been in good repute among the Presbyterian ministers, no less than among those of his own denomination. Mr. Baxter having drawn up a plan of accommodation between both parties, says in his Life,
“ Since prelacy was restored, there hath been no opportunity to debate these matters; only I put these papers into Mr. Griffith's hands, who speaketh much for reconciliation." And afterwards, mentioning the liberty which the ejected ministers took in preaching, after the fire of London, he says, “ The Independents also set up their meetings more openly than before, especially Mr. Griffith, Mr. Brook, Mr. Caryl, &c.”+ As a proof of his respectability, it may be mentioned, that he concurred with Dr. Owen, in a letter of advice to the church in Tyler's-street, Hitchin, Herts, upon an affair in which they had applied for direction. A copy of this letter may be seen in the last edition of the Nonconformists' Memorial. I
During the perilous times of which we are writing, the vessel of nonconformity was riding in a storm. To be an advocate for pure and unadulterated Christianity, was to become a confessor. Mr. Griffith, in common with his brethren, underwent the fiery trial of persecution, but he came
Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, part ii. p. 193. + Ilid. part iii. p. 19.
Noncon. Mem, vol. i, p. 102.