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Broad-street until the time of his death, a period of nearly forty years. He was blessed with a remarkable share of health and spirits, which continued with him till nearly the close of life. About June, 1799, he was exercised with frequent spasms in his stomach, attended with violent pain ; and these frequently returning, greatly interrupted his public labours. He preached his last sermon, October the 6th, and was abroad for the last time, November the 10th, to administer the Lord’s-supper; when in the most impressive manner, he solemuly, and with many tears, resigned himself, and people, into the Lord's hand, to receive prosperity or affliction, chastening or consolation, life or death, at his pleasure ; and earnestly prayed, that if no more permitted to meet together on earth, they might all meet around the Redeemer's throne in heaven. About a month before his decease, upon an inquiry respecting the state of his mind, in the view of his departure, he answered, “ I have been favoured for so many years, with an habitual readiness for death, that I never expected to meet with much difficulty in it. I find the same faith, the same hope, the same trust, the same precious promises to support me,—that I have not one trouble on my mind, either respecting this world, or that to come.” A few days before his death, he was overheard saying, “ So shall I be ever, ever, ever, with the Lord.” To the last he was perfectly sensible and resigned, waiting for his great change, which took place about two o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, the 22d of February, 1800, in the 72d year of his age.* Dr. Fisher preached his funeral sermon, from Isaiah xxviii. 16. Behold I lay in Ziontried stone.
Mr. Barber, who delivered the address at Dr. Stafford's interment, gives the following account of his character and last moments : “ From a long acquaintance with our de
Dr. Fisher's Sermon, ubi supre.
NEW BROAD-STREET.- Independent,
ceased brother, I have esteemed him as a true believer in the Son of God; a man of real religion, and an able and faithful minister of the gospel. He possessed an habitual seriousness of spirit, and his general walk and conversation was becoming the gospel he preached unto others. What he was as a minister, a Divine, his printed works, especially his sermon on the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, sufficiently shew. Whoever reads those discourses with understanding and attention, must acknowledge that the author was a man of considerable abilities, and great judgment in the things of God; a workman that needed not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. He was a truly evangelical, spiritual and practical preacher. Many of you know, and I wish others to know, that his end was remarkably peaceful. His last illness was lingering ; and death made its advances by slow degrees; and it was apparent that he suffered a vast deal of pain in his body, but was all along very happy in his soul. Whilst the outward man decayed, the inward man was renewed day by day. I visited him several times in his affliction, and always found him quite calm, and resigned to the will of God. At my first visit he was in his bed, and said, “ Here I lie, waiting to know the pleasure of my Lord. If he has any more work for me to do, I know he will raise me up again ; but, if not, he will take me to himself; and this will make way for some other person, who will be capable of doing him active service.” At another time he said, “ I now leave the Lord to choose for me, whether it be for life or death. I have sometimes chosen for myself, and have made a wrong choice; but as to this, I leave it entirely with him, because I know it is impossible for him to err."*
Dr. Stafford's first publication was, “ The Scripture Doctrine of Sin and Grace considered, in Twenty-five plain and practical Discourses on the Whole seventh Chapter of
+ Dr. Fisher's Sermon, ubi supra, p. 04-36.
the Epistle to the Romans.”. 8vo. 1772. . In the following year it came to a second edition, in duodecimo. His next, and last publication, was, a Funeral Sermon for his eldest daughter, Elizabeth Stafford, who died March 29, 1774, in the 15th year of her age ; containing a particular account of her last illness, and religious character.
Upon his tomb-stone, in Bunhill-fields, are the following inscriptions; from whence it appears that he was some way related to the Rev. Benjamin Robinson, mentioned in the first volume of this work.
In Memory of
Ob. 29 Nov. 1728, ,
Ob. April 2011, 1773.
Meeting in New Broad-street.
Mrs. HANNAH STAFFORT),
Dr. STAFFORD's Five Children,
March 29, 1774, Æt. 13.
October 4, 1778.
Sept. 12, 1779.
April 28, 1784.
PINNERS'-ITALL.--- Independent, Extinct.
BENJAMIN Gaffee, the present minister at New Broad-street, was educated at Homerton, and ordained over this church, December 31, 1800. Mr. Brooksbank began with prayer; Dr. Fisher stated the business of the day, asked the usual questions, and received the confession of faith ; Mr. Nathanael Child, one of the deacons, related the principal steps the church had taken since the death of their late venerable pastor, and particularly as it respected Mr. Gaffee; Mr. Gaffee, of Hatfield-Broad-Oak, Essex, uncle to him ordained, offered the ordination prayer ; Mr. Goode gave the charge, from Acts xvii. 24, 25 ; Mr. Barber prayed; Mr. James Knight preached to the church ; Mr. Ford, of Stepney, concluded the business of the day with prayer.
PINNERS'-Hall, situated in Pinners'-Hall-Court, Old Broad-street, sustained, for more than the period of a century, the reputation of one of the most celebrated places of worship among the Dissenters. This celebrity was attained chiefly in consequence of a lecture, set on foot in the reign of Charles the Second, and conducted here upon a Tuesday morning, during the whole of that period, by some of the most distinguished preachers, among the Protestant VOL. II.
PINNERS'JALL.- Independent, Extinct.
Dissenters. It was during the operation of King Charles's declaration for Indulgence, in 1672, when the Noncouformists had some rest, that the Presbyterians and Independents, to show their agreement among themselves, as well as to support the doctrines of the Reformation, against the prevailing errors of the day, resolved to establish this weekly lecture, under the encouragement and patronage of the principal merchants and tradesmen, of their persuasion, in the city of London. Four Presbyterians were joined by two Independents, to preach by turns; and to give it the greater reputation, the principal ministers for learning and popularity, were chosen as lecturers. These were Dr. Bates, Dr. MANTON, Dr. Owen, Mr. BAXTER, Mr. Collins, and Mr. JENKIN.- Dr. Manton opened the lecture. The labours of these illustrious men, in this extra service, met with uncommon acceptance, as well as great success; and they went on for some years, with tolerable unaninity. At their first setting out, indeed, there were some little bickerings about some high points of Calvinism; occasioned by one of Mr. Baxter's first sermons. The words he preached upon were these : And ye will not come unto me that ye might have life ; from which he took occasion fully to justify the great God, and lay the blame of man's destruction upon himself. In order to do away any misrepresentation which might attach to him from the preceding discourse, he preached in his next turn upon these words : Without me ye can do nothing. Mr. Baxter being much censured on account of what he had advanced, published a sheet upon the occasion, which he called, “ An Appeal to the Light.” The clamour continuing, he complained to Dr. Manton, who, on his next turn, at the close of his sermon, pretty sharply rebuked the people for their rash mistakes, and unbecoming reflections upon so worthy and useful a person.* The Doctor managed his reproof
• Harris's Life of Dr. Manton, p. 43, 44.