« AnteriorContinuar »
it was judged expedient wholly to drop the service. This event took place upwards of twenty years ago. The last lecturers were, Dr. Price, Dr. Kippis, Dr. Rice Harris, Dr. Rees, Mr. Tayler, and Mr. Worthington.
Another lecture at Salters'-Hall, which obtained considerable celebrity, was that on the evening of the Lord'sday. It took its rise in the reign of King William III. and has continued under different modifications to the present day. The first minister who conducted it was the Rev. Robert Bragge, an eminent Divine of the Independent persuasion, who being chosen pastor of a congregation in Lime-street, removed his lecture to that place, about 1698. After a few years the celebrated Mr. Thomas Bradbury undertook the lecture at this place, and supported it with an uncommon share of popularity, for upwards of twenty years. Upon bis resignation, in 1795, the Rev. Samuel Baker, afterwards a Presbyterian minister in Southwark, was chosen to fill up the vacancy, and preached at Salters'-Hall several years. Afterwards the lecture assumed a new form, and two ministers were chosen to conduct it. These were the Rev. Roger Pickering, of Silver-street; and Dr. William Prior, of Great Alie-street, Goodman's-fields. Upon the resignation of the former, about the year 1752, the learned and eminent Dr. Philip Furneaux, was chosen to fill up the vacancy, and supported the lecture in conjunction with Dr. Prior, for many years, with great reputation. Dr. Prior dying in 1774, was succeeded by Dr. Abraham Rees; and Dr. Furneaux being incapacitated through a severe affliction, in 1777, made way for the choice of the Rev. Hugh Worthington. Dr. Rees resigning after some years, his place was supplied by two ministers, the Rev. Thomas Morgan, and the Rev. James Lindsay, who preached alternately with Mr. Worthington for several years. After this, the lecture assumed a new form, and was conducted by four ministers, which is its present state. A new list is made out annually, and of late years, the preachers have been frequently changed.
It is deserving remark, that though this lecture has for many years lain under the odium of heterodoxy, yet the preachers have been selected without regard to religious sentiment. Thus, in some of the lists, we shall find a mixture of Calvinists and Arminians, Arians and Socinians. This lecture is now but indifferently attended, though formerly it was one of the most populous in London.-Besides the lecture on the Lord's-day evening, there is another, during the winter season, on a Wednesday evening. The preachers are the Rev. Hugh Worthington, and the Rev. John Evans, of the General Baptist denomination. This lecture, also, is but indifferently attended.
Another service conducted at this place, was a course of sermons against the principal errors of the Church of Rome. They were preached in the year 1735, a time when the nation was under a considerable alarm concerning the increase of Popery. Some of the most eminent ministers of that day, were selected for the service, and their labours, which gave great satisfaction, were given separately to the public, and afterwards collected into two volumes octavo. The ministers engaged were Mr. John Barker, Dr. Samuel Chandler, Mr. George Smyth, Dr. Samuel Wrigh , Dr. William Harris, Dr. Obadiah Hughes, Dr. Jeremiah Hunt, Mr. Joshua Bayes, Mr. John Newman, Dr. Jabez Earle, Mr. Moses Lowman, Dr. Benjamin Grosvenor, and Mr. Thomas Leavesley, of the Presbyterian denomination ; Mr. Joseph Burroughs, of the Anti-pædobaptist persuasion ; and Mr. Daniel Neal, an Independent.
Salters'-Hall, besides being fixed upon as a proper place for carrying on some important lectures, has been set apart for some other concerns of considerable magnitude ; and on a particular account, has obtained some celebrity in the ecclesiastical history of former times. Most Dissenters are acquainted with the transactions of the famous synod at Salters'-Hall, in the beginning of the last century. Though a particular account of its proceedings does not fall immedi
ately within the design of our work; yet sufficient has been said in some former pages to give the reader a general idea of their nature, and we shall have occasion, in some subsequent articles, to recur again to the subject. In this place it will be sufficient to observe, that Arianism having made some progress in the West of England, and many Dissenting ministers being suspected of having caught the infection, the good people at Exeter, and some other places, wrote to London for advice, as to the best mode of proceeding in this business. Several fruitless journies were made upon the occasion, and on the 19th of February, 1718-19, the general body of Dissenting ministers, in and about London, was convened together at Salters'-Hall, to consider of advices for peace, to be sent to their brethren at Exeter. But they soon began to fall out among themselves, upon the expediency of subscribing a test of their own orthodoxy. This met with considerable opposition; and the ministers, at length, dividing, there appeared 53 for a subscription, and 57 against it. The breach now grew wider and wider, and produced much recrimination on both sides. Each party sent their own advices to Exeter; but they had very little effect towards allaying the heats in that city. It is no part of our design to enter into the merits of the question which occasioned the above decision. The respectable characters of the ministers who appeared on both sides, prevents our impeaching their motives. The one thought that error would be more effectually checked by a declaration of their own faith in the Trinity; while the other considered that such a declaration would be an infringement of their Christian liberty. In times of abounding error, it certainly is not only lawful, but highly proper that all who have the interest of religion at heart, should exert themselves by every justifiable method to stem its progress; but how far it is right in such cases, to propose a test for general adoption, we must confess, we entertain considerable doubts. The progress and issue of ecclesiastical synods and councils in different ages of
the church, make us very suspicious of the propriety of such assemblies; at least, when they are called to decide upon matters of faith. The good they have done is very problematical--the evil certain, and incalculable. The ill temper discovered by both parties, at the Salters'-Hall synod, had a very ill aspect upon the cause of religion, especially of Nonconformity; and gave advantage to their enemies to speak all manner of evil against them. Numerous lampoons were issued forth by the high-church party, who laboured to place them in the most ridiculous light. One of the most singular of these productions was, “The Anatomy of the Heretical Synod of Dissenters at Salters’- Hall;" subjoined to an infamous high-flying book, called, “ The Scourge;" written by one Thomas Lewis, and accompanied by a satirical frontispiece.
The ministers of Salters'-Hall, from the earliest accounts that can be obtained, have been as follows:
As Pastors. As Assistants.
Richard Mayo, Nathaniel Taylor, William Tong, John Newman, Samuel Newman, Jeremiah Tidcomb, John Barker, Francis Spilsbury, Hugh Farmer, Hugh Worthington, Robert Jacomb, Robert Winter, John Saville,
16.. 1695 1695 1702 1688 1695 17031727 1716 1741 1696 1716
1735 1740 1741 1760 17421782
1761 1772 1782 18.. 1779 1782 1782 1792
1792 1802) 1805 18..
SALTERS'-HALL.-- English Presbyterian.
RICHARD MAY0.-This excellent Divine was born about the year 1631, but at what place we are no where informed. As he is wholly passed over by the Oxford historian, it is probable that lie received his education in the University of Cambridge. The instrument appointed by Providence for his first awakening, was the Rev. John Singleton, a gentleman well known in London for his great skill in the education of youth. Of the prudence and piety of this worthy person, he always spoke with a mixture of delight and thankfulness.*
Mr. Mayo being impressed with a strong sense of religion himself, was earnestly desirous to inculcate the same spirit in others. He, therefore, entered very young upon the ministerial office. With the sphere of his early labours we are entirely unacquainted. It appears, however, that in the different places of his abode, he left behind him a pleasing savour of those excellent talents with which Providence had favoured him. In process of time, he was fixed in the living of Kingston-upon-Thames, in the county of Surry, where he had a large opportunity for service, and his labours were crowned with abundant success. Here he continued many years; and though the circumstances of the times compelled him, at length, to quit the place, yet name and memory continued to live many years in the affectionate remembrance of his people. During his residence at Kingston, he preached for several years a weekly lecture at Whitechapel church, London, where multitudes flocked to hear him, isomuch that the place became literally thronged. The life and zeal he discovered upon these occasions, were more than ordinary; and he was the happy means of working a deep sense of religion in the people.+
At length, the fatal day arrived, when so many excellent
* Mr. N. Taylor's Sermon on the Death of the Rev. Richard Mayo, p. 85.
+ lid. Voj. IL