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THREE CRANES, THAMES-STREET.
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nesses, yet these pleasing hopes very quickly subsided. But though the winds blew, and the storms beat upon his shattered bark, yet he possessed his soul in patience. His faith was firm without wavering, his confidence built upon that foundation he had proposed for the support of others, and armed with a full measure of Christian courage, he encountered, and triumphed over the last enemy. His death took place on the 8th of January, 1699-1700, when he could not have been much above forty years old, though his exact age is no where mentioned. His funeral sermon was preached at Pinners'-Hall by the Rev. John Nesbitt, from Eccles. vii. 2. The living will lay it to heart. This discourse was afterwards printed, and contains a very great character of the deceased, quite harmonious with the representation giveu of him by Dr. Watts, in a beautiful poem to
In the different relations he sustained, both as a minister, and as a Christian, the character of Mr. Gouge appears to very considerable advantage. He possessed an ardent thirst for learning, which he acquired in so eminent a degree as to be styled, “ A Living Library." His mind was penetrating and active, his fancy vigorous, and he possessed a tenacious memory. These, with the blessing of heaven upon Inis close industry, enabled him to appear with considerable reputation in his public character. But his chief ambition was to excel in a knowledge of those things that pertain to the gospel. His thoughts ran much upon Christ, the cornerstone, and only foundation of our religion. And though his strength was much impaired before he settled in London, yet his greatness of thought, and extent of knowledge, appeared very conspicuous in all his public discourses. In distinguishing and applying the practical truths of the gospel, he gave abundant evidence of his judgment and accuracy. Dr. Watts, who was no inconsiderable judge, observes, that the three greatest preachers in his younger time, were Mr. John Howe, whom he has celebrated in an ele
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gant lyric poem ; Mr. Thomas Gouge, whose strength lay in the illustration of scripture; and Mr. Joseph Stennett, who, in his preaching, was like a silver stream which run along without bush or stones to interrupt it.* In private life, the character of Mr. Gouge was equally amiable. Under the various trials with which he was exercised, his conduct was truly exemplary. And as he lived by the faith of the Son of God, so, like him, he died, begging forgiveness and salvation for those who had acted towards him with a most base and implacable spirit.† Something of the ill usage he met with, is hinted at by Dr. Watts, in his elegy upon Mr. Gouge.
Thomas RIDGLEY, D. D.-We greatly lament that it is not in our power to lay before the reader a more circumstantial account of so learned, and eminent a Divine as Dr. Ridgley, whose merits, both as a tutor, and as a writer, entitle him to the esteem of Dissenters, and claim a respectful mention in this work.
Dr. Ridgley was a native of London, and born about the year 1667. Respecting the condition of his parents, and the circumstances of his early life, we are unacquainted with any particulars. Being designed for the ministry, he was sent, at a proper age, to a private academy, in Wiltshire. The name of his tutor is not mentioned; but as there was a private seminary at Trowbridge, at this period, under the superintendance of a Mr. Davidson, it is not improbable but Dr. Ridgley was sometime under the care of that gentleman. At the close of his academical course, he returned to London, and, not long afterwards, in 1695, was chosen assistant to Mr. Thomas Gouge, near the Three Cranes. Mr. Gouge dying within four or five years from this period,
• Gibbons's Life of Watts, p. 154. + Mr, Nesbitt's Sermon on the Death of Mr. Gouge, p. 30–30.
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Mr. Ridgley succeeded to the pastoral charge. At the time of his undertaking this service, the congregation was in a low state, having been much diminished by the broils and disturbances before-mentioned. But by the blessing of God upon the ministry of Mr. Ridgley, things soon began to put on a better appearance; the differences were composed, and the congregation in a considerable degree revived.
Upon the death of Dr. Chauncey, in 1712, Mr. Ridgley, in conjunction with the learned Mr. John Eames, (K)
(K) John EAMES, F. R. S. As this learned person never undertook the pastoral office, and, therefore, will not come regularly under our notice, a brief account of him in this place, cannot prove unacceptable. Mr. Eames was a native of London, and received his classical learning at MerchantTaylors' School. He afterwards pursued a course of academical studies with a view to the Christian ministry : yet he never preached but one sermon, when he was so exceedingly agitated and confused, that he was scarcely able to proceed. There was, also, unhappily, a great defect in his organs of speech, and his pronunciation was exceedingly harsh, uncouth, and disagreeable. These circumstances discouraged him from renewing the attempt, so that quitting the pulpit entirely, he devoted himself to the instruction of young men, whose education for the ministry among Protestant Dissenters, was patronized and assisted by the Independent fund. His department included the languages, mathematics, moral and natural philosophy. On the death of Dr. Ridgley, who filled the divinity chair, in the same seminary, he was prevailed upon to add to his course on those subjects lectures in divinity, and to teach the oriental languages, assisted in the other branches by a learned colleague, Mr. Joseph Densham. Mr. Eames was a man of extensive learning, and a universal scholar. Dr. Watts once said to a pupil of bis, (Mr. Angus) “ Your tutor is the most learned man I ever knew." He excelled particularly in classical literature, and in a pro. found knowledge of mathematics, and natural philosophy. His scientific learning procured him the acquaintance and friendship of Sir Isaac Newton, to whom he was on some occasions singularly useful. Sir Isaac introduced him to the Royal Society, of which he tecame a member ; and he was employed, in conjunction with another gentleman, to prepare and publish . an abridgment of their transactions. With his great talents, Mr. Eames United a diffidence and bashfulness of temper, that very much concealed his merits. He was of a candid and liberal disposition, and a friend to free inquiry, which exposed him, as it is said, to much opposition and uneasiness from some narrow-minded persons. He was instrumental in training up
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was chosen to conduct a plan of academical education, supported by the Independent fund, in London, and the place where the lectures were delivered, is said to have been Tenter-alley, in Moorfields. The department assigned to Mr. Ridgley, was that of divinity tutor, and his qualifications for this office were very considerable. To solid learning, he united an accurate judgment, conciliating manners, and great aptitude at communicating instruction. In this
many persons of learning and worth ; and, among others, the eminent Archbishop Secker was some time under his care. His death took place June 29, 1744. “ What a change (said Dr. Watts, who dedicated to him his Treatise on Geography and Astronomy) did Mr. Eames experience! but a few hours between his lecturing to his pupils, and his learning the lectures of angels."-Monthly Mag. April, 1803,
Mr. RICHARD DENSHAM above-mentioned, was a pupil of Mr. Eames, whom he afterwards assisted in the academy. Such was his proficiency in the mathematics, and in classical, as well as theological learning, that upon Mr. Eames's death, Dr. Jennings, who succeeded to the office of principal tutor, made it a condition of his accepting that situation, that Mr. Densham should be his co-adjutor. But this he declined. Mr. Densham preached occasionally for a short time, but afterwards relinquished the ministry, and continued in various secular employments, till disabled by old age. Among his pupils were, Mr. Collins, of Bath, who bequeathed him his library; Dr. Savage, Dr. Price, and the benevolent Mr. Howard; all of whom left him some token of respect. Howard, in particular, before his last journey, gave him an unlimited order to draw upon his banker for whatever money he might want; but such was Mr. Densham's integrity, that, although at that time, possessed of no more than twelve or thirteen pounds a year, in the funds, he chose rather to sell out, and diminish the capital, than accept a discretionary offer, which he could not do conscientiously while he had any thing of bis own remaining. The late Mr. Whitbread hearing of bis disinterested conduct, begged his aceeptance of an annuity of iwenty pounds during life. This he aecepted, but to shew his gratitude, left Mr. Whitbread eighty pounds in' his will, by way of acknowledgment, It may be mentioned to the honour of the latter, that he relinquished the bequest to Mr. D.'s nearest relations. Mr. Densham died at his apartments in Kingsland Road, July 18, 1792, leaving behind him a pattern of integrity that has been but rarely equalled. He compiled Mi, Howard's first book on prisons, and was urged to draw up a life of that benevolent man; but his infirmities prevented.-Gont. Mag, August, 1799.
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station he was extremely useful, and had the honour of furnishing the Dissenting churches with many ministers, who distinguished themselves by their talents, and proved great blessings in their day and generation.
It was in the course of lecturing to his pupils, that he delivered anexposition of the Assemblies larger Catechism, which he published as a Body of Divinity, in two volumes, folio. The first edition, with the author's likeness prefixed, made its appearance in 1731, with a preface, giving an account of the author's design, and the nature of the work; as also an apology for having deviated in some instances from the common mode of interpretation. The long and respectable list of subscribers to this work, was a great encouragement to the author, who had the satisfaction, in a short space of time, of seeing the whole impression disposed of. The flattering testimonies of approbation which he received from various parts of the kingdom, extending to North Britain, connected with an increasing demand for the work, induced him to undertake a second edition, which made its appearance in 1734. It is the fate of some books, and we may add, books of considerable merit, to sink into oblivion with the memories of the writers; but this is far from being the case with the work we have been describing. A lapse of more than seventy years bas stampt its respectability, and merits ; and its nominal, as well as intrinsic value, is far from being depreciated by the injuries of time. His method of reasoning he has adapted to the capacities of those who are unacquainted with the abstruse terms made use of by metaphysicians and schoolmen, and when introduced into subjects of theology, have a tendency rather to perplex than to improve the mind. His scheme of divinity is evidently Calvinistic ; but then he has expiained his subjects with so much moderation and latitude, as to obviate many of the objections raised against the system of doctrines that passes under that name. Upon the whole, it is probable, that the English language does ot furnish a work of this nature, that, for perspicuity of