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gation, with great zeal, diligence, and success, to the time of his death, in the year 1727. For a serious, evangelical strain of preaching, for an unceasing attention to the duties of the pastoral charge, and for universal exemplariness of conduct, he was equalled by few ministers in his day. (G)
His son, Mr. Francis Spilsbury, was born at Kidderminster, in the year 1706. Under the roof of so excellent a father, he enjoyed considerable advantages for religious attainments, and his progressive improvement in knowledge aud piety, was very conspicuous. As he was intended for the ministry, agreeably to his own inclination, as well as the wishes of his father, after passing through the usual course of grammar-learning, he was placed for academical studies, under the tuition of that celebrated Professor, Dr. Ebenezer Latham, who presided over a respectable seminary at Findern, in Derbyshire. There he continued four years. At the end of that time, his father being desirous of giving him every possible encouragement, left it to his choice, either to spend a year in England, under the care of some aged minister, or to pass the same time in the Universities of Scotland, or Leyden. To the last place he objected, on account of a corruption of morals that was said to prevail there; and
(G) Dr. Latham, in his Sermon on the Death of the Rev. Matthew Brad. shaw, who married Mr. Spilsbury's daughter, and succeeded him in the pastoral office, at Kidderminster, recals the memory of his predecessor in the following emphatic language : “ You can never lose the idea of your former pastor, the late Rev. Mr. SPILSBURY, whose graceful and familiar address from the pulpit, and wise and prudent conduct out of it, gave him so much weight and influence in his place. Of his superior merit, we had the highest testimony from that great man, his uncle, Bishop Hall, Master of Pembroke College, in Oxford, and Margaret Professor ; who frequently resided in his family, and had the attendance of the Clergy there at the same time that his worthy nephew, as a Dissenting minister, officiated among you at the meeting. Could Mr. Spilsbury have satisfied himself in the times of conformity, every one must be sensible of the advantages his relative gave him for preferment; but when the good bishop could not serve him in that way, be gave him the last testimony of his affection and respect, in making him his executor."- -Page 31, 32,
occasioned most young people who went thither for education, to return back, wholly destitute of religion. He, therefore, determined for Glasgow, where he had the advantage of sitting under the last lectures of the venerable Professor Simpson. At that time, his knowledge of the Latin language was so perfect, that he could not only write, but speak it, with as much ease and fluency as the English.*
When Mr. Spilsbury returned from Scotland, he found his father, and two of his sisters dead. After residing some time at Kidderminster, in the capacity of an assistant to the Rev. Matthew Bradshaw, he undertook the pastoral care of a society at Bromsgrove, where he succeeded to an excellent minister, whose name was Thompson. Thence, in 1737, he removed to Worcester, to succeed the Rev. Chewning Blackmore, as pastor of the Presbyterian congregation; and remained in that connexion seven years. In both these places, he was very acceptable, popular, and useful ; nor was he ever known to mention either of them, without strongly expressing the happiness he there enjoyed. It must have been about this period, that Mr. Spilsbury had the offer of a very considerable living in the established church, at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in Loicestershire. But, though his circumstances, at that time, were not so independent, as in the latter part of his life, yet he steadily, and promptly rejected the proposal. Being a Nonconformist upon conviction, he was too consciencious to sacrifice his principles at the shrine of worldly advantage or lument.+
From Worcester, Mr. Spilsbury removed to London, to bé colleague with the Rev. John Barker, at Salter's-Hall. His introduction to that place was such as seemed to point
Mr. Worthington's Sermon on the Death of Rev. Francis Spilsbury,
p. 22, 23.
+ Ibid. p. 93, 24. Vol. II.
out the finger of Providence. Early in the year 1741, he received an invitation from that worthy minister, the Rev. John Newman, to make a friendly visit at his house. On his arrival in the metropolis, he found his friend not only seized with sickness, but actually in dying circumstances; and preaching for him two Lord's-days, his services on those occasions, opened the way for that long train of labours, to which he was afterwards called. It does not appear that Mr. Spilsbury had then any design of leaving his situation in the country, to which he was greatly attached. He, therefore, returned to Worcester, and continued there upwards of a year longer. Mr. Barker being chosen to succeed Mr. Newman, was employed some time in looking out for a colleague. At length, Mr. Spilsbury was persuaded to comply with the wishes of the people at Salters's Hall, and removed to London at the latter end of 1749. Mr. Worthington, in his funeral sermon for Mr. Spilsbury, observes," he is authorized to add, that the late Dr. William Harris, (author of the Fnneral Discourses,) confirmed the Society in their approbation of Mr. Spilsbury, and in their intention to invite him, urging it upon them in these remarkable words :-" Choose him, for he will wear well.”+ This, however, must be a mistake ; for Dr. Harris was dead upwards of a year before Mr. Newman. so that if the words, were said at all, they must have been spoken by some other person.
For about twenty years that Mr. Spilsbury laboured jointly with Mr. Barker, he preached constantly on the afternoon of the Lord's-day; but upon the resignation of the latter, in 1762, he transferred his services to the morning. About the same time, he was chosen into the Merchants' Lecture, on a Tuesday morning, at his own meeting-house. He was, also, elected into Mr. Coward's Friday Lecture, at Little St. Helen's. Mr. Spilsbury's life was prolonged
+ Mr. Worthington's Sermon, ubi supra, p. 24, 25.
to a good old age, and he remained in full possession of his faculties to the las But a day or two before his departure, he declared he had but one anxiety on his mind, and that was, a solicitude to know how far he had been usefulwhether he had been the means of saving one immortal soul : if he had, he could quit the world with delight!"* Such was the holy zeal of this faithful and venerable minister, in the prospect of dissolution. His death took place, March 3, 1782, in the 77th year of his age. The Rev. Hugh Worthington, who had been some time his assistant, delivered the oration at his interment in Bunhill-fields, and preached his funeral sermon, on Heb. xiii. 7. Remember them—who have spoken unto you the word of God, &c.
Mr. Spilsbury was a man of most amiable character, and his deportment throughout exemplary-such as became a minister and a Christian. Never so happy as when engaged in the duties of his ministerial station; so when prevented by sickness or infirmity, it was to him a source of inexpressible anxiety. His compositions for the pulpit were plain and simple; his method clear and unaffected; and they were enriched by many scriptural allusions and references. The subjects he selected were chiefly practical ; such as were calculated to instruct and edify. As his manner was somewhat feeble, and he possessed but little animation, he was not popular; but he recommended himself by an useful, evangelical strain of preaching. His sentiments upon doctrinal points were in no extreme. He was firmly attached to the doctrines of grace, and may properly be pronounced a Baxterian. He, however, never classed himself under any leader, but readily embraced all who loved our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. In his visits to the sick and dying, he was diligent and constant; and is thought to have excelled greatly in this part of his duty. He was of a very friendly disposition, and ever ready to the performance of
• Mr. Worthington's Sermon, p. 30.
kind offices. There was a degree of cheerfulness and good humour in his couversation, that rendered his company agreeable. In promoting the cause of the destitute, he was indefatigable; and greatly exerted himself for the relief of poor ministers, widows, and orphans. His piety to God was ardent, and unfeigned; and though he experienced some severe trials, he bore them with Christian fortitude. *
Upon Mr. Spilsbury's tomb-stone, in Bunhill-fields, is found the following inscription :
The Rev. FRANCIS SPILSBURY,
Died the 3d March, 1789, aged 76 years.
Daring a period of 40 years.
Ilis diligence in the Church of Christ,
(An example so truly worthy imitation)
Where shall I find him Angels, tell me where,
Hugh FARMER.–This justly celebrated Divine, who preached many years to a congregation of Dissenters at Walthamstow, in Essex, having an associate provided for him, relinquished the afternoon service in that place; and in 1761, accepted an invitation to become afternoon preacher at Salters'-Hall, upon the vacancy occasioned by Mr. Spilsbury being chosen to succeed Mr. Barker in the morning, as pastor of the Society. In this situation, Mr. Farmer's services proved highly acceptable, so that he had (with one exception), (h) the largest afternoon audience among the Presbyterians ; for such the congregation was denominated,
Worthington's Sermon, p. 25.-29.-and Privale Information.
(1) That at Monkwell-street, under Dr. James FORDYCE.