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GIRDLERS'-HALL.--- Independent, Extinct.
forth like gold purified by the fire. In 1683, he was implicated, together with Dr. Owen, Mr. Mead, and some others, in what was called the Rye-House Plot. Mr. Mead was summoned before the council, and gave such satisfactory answers to all questions, that the King himself ordered him to be discharged.* This sham plot was trumped up by the government for the purpose of sacrificing some of the best characters in the English nation. Among others, those brave patriots Lord Russel, and Algernon Sidney, lost their lives; but of the injustice of their sentence, the parliament at the Revolution was so sensible as to reverse the judgments.
Mr. Griffith was much followed in the former part of life for his great invention, and his devotion in prayer ; but when he grew old his congregation declined. He was a man of considerable learning and judgment, of an agreeable conversation, and much the gentleman. His moderation was very conspicuous, and he was one who heartily desired to heal the breaches among Protestants. The year of his death is not mentioned, but we conjecture it to have happened about 1694. There is a good painting of Mr. Griffith preserved in Dr. Williams's library, Redcross-street. There is also an engraved portrait of him by R. White, in quarto. This print, which is very scarce, is anonymous, but known by the following inscription :
“ Must gladly would I learn, and gladly teach." + Dr. Calamy makes no mention of any thing written by Mr. Griffith ; but Wood informs us, that he joined with Dr. Manton, and Mr. John Rowe, in a preface to “ Thirty-one select sermons, by the Rev. William Strong, late preacher in the Abbey church, Westminster. 1654."
JOSEPH TATE.Of this gentleman but little informa
• Neal's Puritans, vol. il. p. 733. + Calamy's Account, p. 51.
Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, vol. iii. p. 329.
& Wood's Athenæ, vol. ii. p. 597.
tion can be procured. Prior to his settlement in London, he was pastor of a congregation at Beccles, in Suffolk, where he succeeded Mr. Robert Ottee, in 1691. From thence, he removed to London, to succeed Mr. Griffith at Girdlers'Hall. In this situation he continued about twelve or thirteen years, when the congregation declining under his ministry, they dismissed him at his request, about the year 1707. After this the society continued together about three or four years, in expectation of procuring another pastor ; but scattering in the mean time into other communions, they were at length so far reduced, as to be compelled to dissolve their church state. This event took place in the year 1710. From this time we hear nothing further of Mr. Tate.*
National establishments of religion, however conve. nient upon the ground of state policy, or howsoever pure the principles upon which they may be founded, nevertheless, carry within them the seeds of their own dissolution. In process of time, the clergy become corrupt, discipline is relaxed, and a mere formal worship takes the place of devotion. Thus the church of Christ becomes a worldly sanctuary. This state of things is not pecular to the Church of England. The ecclesiastical establishment of Scotland, formerly denominated “ The purest kirk in the world,” has partaken of the common degeneracy. It is no wonder
• MS. penes me.
therefore, that there have been separations from her communion. Mr. John Glass led the way upwards of eighty years ago, and Dissenters in that country have been multiplying ever since. Within our own times, not only have the seeds of separation greatly extended themselves, but they have obtained a growth of that durable and respectable nature, as justly to command our attention. Among the Dissenters from the Church of Scotland, a new race has risen up of late years, under the auspices of two brothers of considerable property, as well as reputable character, and whose names are well known in the religious world. We allude to Messrs. Robert and James Alexander Haldane, whose zeal in behalf of primitive Christianity, and whose liberal exertions for its support, have rendered their names famous through the British empire, and been productive of the most important consequences. Meeting-houses of large dimensions have been erected in various places through their influence ; numerous congregations have attended ; and churches have been formed, agreeably to the plan of discipline which they have defended from the press. The prominent features of this plan are, the association of believers for their own edification, and for the conversion of sinners ; the importance of calling forth the gifts of the members, who at stated times exercise them before the church; the fellowship of the saints in weekly communion; prayer and exhortation by the brethren ; a plurality of elders; the importance of church discipline, &c. For the purpose of diffusing the knowledge of the gospel in different parts of our island, these benevolent gentlemen, with a zeal that is truly apostolical, have sent out numerous preachers, whom they maintain at their own expence; and who have been qualified for their employment by a regular course of studies. In order to keep up a constant supply, they have a number of students, who are fitted for the work of the ministry, under their immediate patronage. To name those Divines whom they have entrusted with this important employment, is to pronounce an eulogy upon
their discernment. The abilities of Mr. Bogue, of Gosport, and of Mr. Ewing, of Glasgow, in the work of tuition, are tov well established to need our commendation. (T)
About two years since, sereral persons in connexion with the Messrs. Haldanes, in Scotland, having settled in London, found the inconvenience of not having a place where the worship was conducted according to their own views. They, therefore, united together, and hired a room in the building that was formerly the Paul's-Head Tavern, in Cateaton-street. Here they were formed into a church, in the year 1806 ; and Mr. William Ballantine, formerly a student under Mr. Bogue, and who was several years at the University of Edinburgh, was commissioned by Mr. Haldane, to be their superintendent. As Mr. Ballantine is a gentleman of considerable classical knowledge, with which he uvites a critical acquaintance with the holy scriptures, and a large share of theological learning, his settlement in London was a considerable accession to this infant society, which prospered under his management, and additions were inade to the church and congregation. The simple and unadorned manner which attended the performance of divine worship, was not, indeed, calculated to interest persons who are attracted by pomp and splendour ; but besides curiosity, and the novelty of the thing, which might bring together some persons, others, doubtless, were drawn by more powerful, as well as laudable motives, and success seemed to smile upon the undertaking. But after about two years, this infant society was agitated by a controversy that proved greatly detrimental to its prosperity, and has nearly
(1) Of late, we believe, the Messrs. Haldanes have altered their views with respect to academical institutions. Considering every church as the proper nursery for its own pastors, they do not approve of educating young men for the ministry as a profession. Nevertheless, they do not discard the usefulness of human learning.
shattered it in pieces. The Messrs. Haldanes, and the societies in their connexion, were hitherto Pædobaptist. Several persons, however, suspecting that they were in an error upon this point, began to study the controversy; were convinced of their mistake ; and received baptism by jmmersion. This put the Messrs. Haldanes theinselves upon an examination of the subject, and the result was that they also became convinced, and were baptized, though at some interval from each other. The report of these changes reaching London, Mr. Ballantine was necessarily put upon a more careful examination of the subject, and the event was, that he also renounced his former sentiments, and was baptized by immersion. But this occasioned a convulsion in the society. Mr. Ballantine relinquished his station, and joined the Scotch Baptists in Redeross-street, as did several other persons afterwards from the church in Cateaton-street. The vacancy occasioned by Mr. Ballantine's withdrawment, was supplied, after some time, by Mr. James Mitchell, a respectable and intelligent young preacher, who did not continue long in London, but is now employed in itinerating through England, under the sanction of Mr. Haldane. Mr. Mitchell was succeeded in the care of the society at Cateaton-street, by Mr. Alexander Jamieson, who has since resigned; and they now conduct the worship among themselves. The attention excited by the first agitation of the controversy relating to baptism was so great, 'at most of the members of this church gradually renounced their former notions; and we believe they are now entirely Baptists. But they allow of mixed communion, and in this respect differ from all the other Particular Baptist churches in London. The manner of conducting public worship is by prayer, (in which the different members engage,) singing, expounding the scriptures, and preaching. They also attend to exhortation, and break bread always on the first day of the week. The members at present are very few.