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PETTY-FRANCE-Particular Baptist, Extinct.
soul ? He told me, that he blessed God all was well. And all along he was very easy with respect to life or death. He had for a great while sat so loose to this world, that he had no such desires of life as should imbitter his death, or such fears of death, as should render his life uncomfortable. For when a minister, with whom he was very intimate, took notice of his weakness, and apprehending him in danger, sáid to him, “Sir, I hope you are not afraid to die;" he answered, with great presence of mind, and a cheerful countenance, I bless God, I have not been afraid to die these in forty years.—He was, during his illness, much inclined to sleep; so that he seldom spoke unless he was pressed to it. We were sometimes ready to flatter ourselves with the expectation of his recovery, but a few days put an end to our hopes, and his valuable life."*-He died October the 30th, 1702, when he must have been somewhat advanced in life, though we are not told his exact age. His intimate friend, Mr. John Piggott, preached a funeral discourse upon his death, from Job xiv. 14. All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. This was afterwards printed, and may be found in the collection of Mr. Piggott's sermons.
Nehemiah Cox, D. D. whom Crosby styles, " á very excellent, learned and judicious Divine,”+ is supposed to have been related to Mr. Benjamin Cox, son to a bishop of that name in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who was imprisoned at Coventry, in 1643, for disputing against infant baptism. Dr. Cox came originally from Bedford, where he was a member of the church of which the celebrated Mr. John Bunyan was pastor. He was solemnly called to the work of the ministry by that church, October 21, 1671.
Mr. Piggott's Sermons, p. 279–284. + Crosby's History of the English Baptists, vol. iv. p: 263, 'Vol. II.
In April, 1673, he received a call to the pastoral office at
Hitchin, but did not settle there. In the following year, - he was called before the church (at Bedford), and admo
nished for some misconduct, as appears by an extract from the church-book : “ 7th of the 3d month (May), 1674. At Cotton-End, Brother Cox did publicly make an acknowledgment of several miscarriages by him comniitted, and declared his repentance for the same as follows: “Whereas several words and practices have been uttered and performed by me, that might justly be censured to have a tendency to make rents and divisions in the congregation, I do declare myself unfeignedly repentant and sorry for the same.” Mr. Cox afterwards settled with a Baptist congregation at Cranfield, in Bedfordshire, where he appears to have been brought into trouble for his opinions. From thence he removed to London, where he was ordained joint-elder with Mr. William Collins, in Petty-France, on the 21st of July, 1675. In this situation he continued till his death, which happened about the time of the Revolution, in 1688. Dr. Cox published a Discourse on the Covenants, in reply to Mr. Whiston's Defence of Infant-Baptism, which was written against Mr. Delaune, 1684.—Also a sermon, at the ordination of an elder and deacons, in a baptized congregation in London.—He appears, from his writings, to have been a man of learning, moderation, and piety. On a blank leaf, at the beginning of a copy of his Discourse on the Covenants, in the possession of Mr. Sutcliff, the following anecdote is recorded in manuscript. “ The author lived at Cranfield, where he followed the business of a cordwainer, and during his residence there, was imprisoned for preaching the gospel. When he came upon his trial at Bedford assizes, he first pleaded in Greek, and then in Hebrew ; upon which the judge calling for the indictment, wherein he was styled, Nehemiah Cox, cordwainer, expressed his surprise, and declared, that none there could answer him. And upon Mr. Cox arguing, that it was but fair he should plead in what
PETTY.FRANCE — Particular Baptist, Extinct.
language he pleased, he was dismissed.”—Mr. Sutcliff says, he has various times heard the above anecdote repeated in conversation, in the town and neighbourhood of Bedford, and particularly with this addition, that the judge should say to the counsellors, “ Well, the cordwainer has wound you all up, gentlemen.” How far this tradition may be depended upon must be left to the judgment of the reader.*
Thomas HARRISON, an excellent young minister of the Antipædo-baptist denomination, was born in London, about the year 1667. His early years were devoted to religion, and he commenced an early profession by uniting, at twelve years of age, with the Particular Baptist church in Petty-France, under the ministry of those excellent and judicious Divines, Mr. William Collins, and Dr. Nehemiah Cox. His parents designed him for a secular employment; but were induced to forego their intentions, in consequence of that eager thirst for intellectual knowledge which he discovered in his youth. Accordingly, at a proper age, he was placed under the care of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, with whom he went through a course of studies for the Christian ministry. His excellent qualifications being discovered by the church with which he was in communion, he received a regular call to the work of the ministry, in the month of June, 1689 ; and shortly after, was chosen assistant to his pastor, Mr. Collins, upon a vacancy in the elder's office, occasioned by the death of Dr. Cox. In this connexion he laboured about ten years; but, in 1699, accepted an invitation to become pastor of a newly-formed church at Lorimers'-Hal. There, his services were continued not quite three years; being cut off by an untimely death.
His removal was sudden; but to him it was no surprise.
• Mr. Sutcliff's Appendix to Dr. Ryland's Sermon, on the Death of the Rev.
Joshua Symonds, p. 53-4.
PETTY-FRANCE.- Particular Baptist, Extinct.
For he lived in constant expectation of it, as may be collected from an expression he used, more than once, in family-prayer, a little before his decease. He begged of God, “ That the tottering of his frail tabernacle might always put him in mind of its falling down.” And at the beginning of his last illness, he told a near relation, “ le should study no more.” A little after, he said, “ O how sweet will rest be to me after my weary labour !" At another time, he expressed himself thus : “God is my God, and I have bis gracious presence with me. O how precious is the blood of Christ, and how excellent the union betwixt Christ and believers ! for 'tis indissoluble.” At another time, after taking some refreshment, he exclaimed, “ O how refreshing will be the streams of the river of God!" But his distemper affecting his head, he soon grew delirious, and a few days put an end to his excellent and valuable life. He died the 14th of August, 1702, aged only 35 years. His intimate friend, the Rev. John Piggott, preached a sermon upon his death, from 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8; and afterwards published it.
Mr. Harrison was a young minister well qualified for his work. Reading, and close application to study, had stored his mind with a large stock of human knowledge, which he applied to the most useful purposes; and he had a clear apprehension of the fundamental articles of our holy religion. He was a person of great integrity; very serious in the whole of his deportment; and so greatly concerned for the honour of his profession, that he would deny himself in things that were innocent in their own nature, rather than lay a stumblingblock before the openly profane. His close study, and constant preaching, (frequently three times a-day,) greatly exhausted his animal spirits, and enfeebled his strength. Yet, to the last, he discovered a becoming zeal for God, and an ardent concern for the salvation of his fellow-men. In dispensing the word of life, bis aim was rather to improve the understanding, than to please the fancy. Christ crucified
NEW BROAD-STREET, PETTY.FRANCE.--- Presbyterian, Extinct.
was the sum of his preaching. He took care to deliver the great and important truths of the gospel, in sound, as well as acceptable words; and delivered himself in a strong and correct style. His life was in every respect agreeable to his profession; and he exhibited in the whole of his conduct the several graces that adorn the Christian character. *
The Presbyterian congregation formerly meeting in New Broad-street, Petty-France, assembled originally in a large meeting-house, in Hand-alley, on the east side of Bishopsgate-street, just without the gate. It was erected in the early part of the reign of Charles the Second, for the laborious Mr. Thomas Vincent, famous for his disinterested labours in London, during the time of the great plague. The devastation occasioned by the dreadful fire that immediately succeeded, having deprived many ministers of their parish churches, the loss was made up to some of them, by the plunder of their nonconformist brethren. Several meetinghouses were violently seized, and converted into tabernacles for the conforming clergy; and the robbery was sanctioned by law. Mr. Vincent's meeting-house was among the number that shared this fate ; but he afterwards recovered it, and preached there till bis death. The society founded
• Mr. Piggott's Sermons, p. 199–194.