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Provinces, and from several parts of Europe; more especie ally from England, Germany, and the Northern Countries. And
many of them come thither with the same views, that carry our young Gentlemen over; for completing the studies, which they had begun, and made some progress in, at universities nearer home. Whence it comes to pass, that there are many, who are not mere novices, but have made some considerable advances in knowledge: and the quality, especially from Germany, are usually attended by governors, who are well-bred Gentlemen, and are not only masters of the ancient learning, but well acquainted likewise with modern history, and the views and interests of the several courts of Europe.
Education in such a place of general resort is of great use: and acquaintance with men of different nations, and remote countries, who bring with them the knowledge they have gained in distant nurseries of learning, though that acquaintance should be slight and transient only, opens and enlarges the mind, renders men less impatient of contradiction, and less offended at the different opinions and manners of men, and lays the foundation of many other agreeable advantages to the person himself, and to those among whom his future lot is cast.
He also met with a competent number of his own countrymen, persons of good families, sober, well-disposed, studious: many of whom have since made a good figure in life, some in the ministry, some in other stations of honour and usefulness.
Moreover, Mr. Millan, the minister of the English church at Leyden, was a man eminent for piety, learning, and a just discernment of things : and his discourses on Lord's days in the forenoon were, as I have heard, as suitable and profitable for students, especially for students in divinity, as the professors'f lectures.
Mr. Millan's conversation likewise must have been of no
I once supposed, from what I had heard occasionally, that Mr. Millan delivered in those sermons a system of Jewish antiquities. But a gentleman, who was then at Leyden, represents the subject of them in this manner : • That Mr. Millan for many months together preached upon the genuineness . and authority of the scriptures of the Old Testament, as they appeared from • the Masorite doctors and Jewish writers, &c. which afforded much instruction • and entertainment to the English students. The gentleman, from whom I have this, was then very young. And it is easy to suppose, that his account is not complete. However it hence appears, that those discourses of Mr. Millan tended to lead his hearers into the knowledge of the scriptures, and Jewisla learning.
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small benefit to those English students who were so wise as to desire and value it: and so wise Mr. Hunt was, as will appear presently.
According to the best information I have been able to obtain, Mr. Hunt came to Leyden in August or September, 1699, and left it to return home some time in the year 1701.
Whilst he was there, he studied ecclesiastical history and sacred geography under the very celebrated Frederick Spanheim; and heard the lectures of the other professors on philosophy, civil law, and divinity; and particularly the very useful lectures of Perizonius upon universal hiştory, which held ten months, and were always well attended. • Here Mr. Hunt entered himself to be one of the few out • of a very numerous audience, who were to be publicly * examined every Saturday, concerning the lectures of the preceding part of the week. When he so acquitted himself, as to give entire satisfaction and much pleasure to the professor himself, and all the students in general.'
In the month of January in the year 1978 or thereabout, a Rabbi & from Lithuania opened a lecture for teaching Jewish learning. He was reckoned a man of virtue, and very knowing in his profession : and not long after he publicly embraced the christian religion. Five or six at least of the English students, beside others, had the curiosity to attend bis lecture; one of whom was Mr. Hunt: and Mr. Millan too was pleased to join himself to their number. The Rabbi having carried them through the Hebrew grammar proceeded to read and explain to them the Misna, the great repository of the ancient Jewish learning: but it was not long, before several of our young countrymen, disheartened by the difficulty of the study, gave out. Mr. Millan however, and Mr. Hunt, and perhaps another, were unwearied and persevered. Some there were, who could not but wonder at Mr. Hunt's extraordinary diligence in what they deemed a fruitless study: but he was unmoved, and has since declared, that from those lectures he had reaped
such pleasure and improvement as abundantly compen• sated all his past labour and toil.' For certain this was h a
8 • That Rabbi in the summer following publicly renounced Judaism, and . was baptized on a week-day in St. Peter's church at Leyden by professor
J. Trigland, (who probably was rector of the university at that time.) The • professor Trigland appeared to be his good friend, and had him often at his • house.' This information I have received from a gentleman who was then at Leyden. How that Rabbi behaved, and what became of him afterwards, I have not learned : except that another friend, who was at Leyden some time after this, tells me, he left that city, and went into Germany.
h St. Jerom had two Hebrew masters, first a converted Jew, afterwards
price put into the hand of one who knew how to make use of it, Prov. xvii. 16.
And thus Mr. Hunt, having good natural parts, and being inquisitive, and thirsting after knowledge, made all the improvement of these several advantages which his friends at home could wish or desire.
He began to preach while he was in Holland : the occasion I take to have been this; there was then a small English congregation at Amsterdam; being destitute of a pastor, they applied to the candidates for the ministry at Leyden for a supply. For any of them to undertake it, would have been too great an interruption in his studies, and an obstruction to future usefulness. However three of them consented to preach to them by turns for a while: one of whom was our friend.
And it is not unlikely, that this was the first occasion of his preaching without notes, that being the universal custom abroad: but I presume, that he did not then, any more than since, write out his sermons at length; but having with care and diligent examination made himself master of his text and subject, and well digested his thoughts, he clothed them in the language, which offered in the delivery: not neglecting however a due care in the preparation, as well as afterwards, to secure propriety and perspicuity of expression.
Which to me appears an excellent method, when there are sufficient abilities for it; I mean a stock of knowledge, readiness of thought, and a good memory: all which talents fell to the lot of our friend in a high degree of perfection. I have been told, that whilst he was preaching one of those his first sermons in Holland, he was by some means led into a mistaken computation of the time: and thinking he had not yet filled up the hour, he continued his discourse for some good while beyond his first intention, and the usual time, without any discernible confusion, or disagreeable tautology.
Upon his return to England le preached three years as assistant to a congregation at Tunstead, near Norwich ; where he was greatly esteemed, and earnestly importuned to settle with them: but there were some considerations, of another, who retained his Judaism. Ad quam edomandam, cuidam fratri, qui ex Hebræis crediderat, me in disciplinam tradidi. Ad Rust
. Ep. 95. al. 4. T. 4. p. 774. m. Hebræam linguam, quam ego ab adolescentia multo labore ac sudore ex parte didici.—Ad Eustoch. Ep. 86. al. 27. p. 686. m.
Veni rursum Jerosolymam et Bethleem. Quo labore, quo pretio Bar-aninam nocturnum habui præceptorem! Timebat enim Judæos, et mihi alterum exhibebat Nico. demum. Ep. 41. al. 65. ib. p. 342. f. Vid. et adv. Ruf. l. 1. p. 363.
no small moment, which prevented his complying with their request. However there are still some families in that place and its neighbourhood, which to this very day, as I am well assured,
have a most affectionate and respectful remembrance of him.
Not long after his coming up to London, in the year 1707, he was called to the pastoral office in this congregation, which he accepted, and has discharged with great reputation, through divine mercy, for about seven and thirty years, to the day of his death.
In the year 1729, the University of Edinburgh, out of a regard to his distinguished merit, complimented him with the highest honorary title in their gift: a piece of respect not to be slighted by any man of letters. Nevertheless, such was his modesty, I believe, it gave more satisfaction to his friends, than to himself.
His manner of preaching has been so remarkable, that I think myself obliged to remind you of it somewhat distinctly : for in the time of his laborious ministry among you, he has gone over the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles more than once. And once at least he has in a like manner explained and improved the epistles of the New Testament throughout, and in order ; and also the first three chapters of the book of the Revelation. Since that he has preached upon the more useful and practical parts of the Epistles in a way somewhat less continued. He preached over the whole book of Proverbs, making some passages in that book his subject every Lord's day morning for some of those years in which he preached twice in the day. And afterwards he began, and finished a course of sermons on the principles of religion and the main doctrines of the christian revelation, and their connection and influence on each other.
i I have likewise an authentic account of another set of sermons, preached not long after his settlement at Pinner's-hall. It is the copy of a letter sent by him to a judicious divine, with whom he had contracted a pleasing acquaintance during his stay in Norfolk. • Mr. Hunt sends his learned friend an ac
count of his preaching, to be approved or disapproved, and for him to let • him know what he disliked. He informs him, that he had proved a God,
and represented the grounds on which our faith in the scriptures is founded. • Then he treated on the attributes of God. He had considered also the go• vernment of our first parents, the fitness of their being tried by prohibiting • the eating a certain fruit, and the consequences of it. He had given a suc• cinct account of the religion before the flood, and the fitness of translating • Enoch. This had been the subject of his last discourse at the time of writing • this letter : at the conclusion of which he assures his friend, that he took all
the care he could to urge what is the last end of revealed truth, viz. divine • temper and life.
His great concern all along has manifestly been to attain the true sense of scripture, and faithfully to make known what he judged to be the will of God to those whom he had undertaken to instruct and admonish. This he did with great impartiality, remarkable disinterestedness, and inHexible integrity.
If at any time he exceeded himself, so far as I understand, it was, when he was explaining and improving that part of the apostolic history where mention is made of the leave which St. Paul took of the elders of the church of Ephesus, Acts xx. 17–35. In the course of those sermons there was so warm, so natural, so unaffected and solemn an appeal to his stated hearers, that he had in his own ministerial conduct uprightly endeavoured to copy after St. Paul, and follow the example which he there represents himself to have given; that though it is now many years since those sermons were preached, I find they do still make very lively and affecting impressions on some of you, and those of the best proficiency. I presume, they must be remembered by many: and I humbly hope, that few or none, who heard them, will ever forget them.k
Though he seldom committed his sermons to writing, they were not extempore effusions; but the fruit of serious study, and impartial examination : for he delighted in every part of his work, and in composing his sermons he consulted the original, and the ancient versions, not omitting to look into the most celebrated critics and commentators. And he carefully considered the words themselves, the connections, and the main scope of the writer. Then he endeavoured to choose the clearest and easiest method. After all this care it is not to be wondered, that his remarks were just, and his inferences pertinent; and that his sermons might be easily understood, and long remembered by all that were attentive: and indeed there are several ministers, as well as private christians, who have improved their judgment by only hearing him occasionally.
It was his constant care to represent the true sense of scripture, and the doctrine, which according to the best of his judgment was comformable to it: nor could he ever be induced to conceal or disguise what he thought to be the
k • At another season, in several discourses upon 2 Tim. iii. 10, “ But thou • hast fully known my doctrine,” &c. he in a summary and paraphrastical way • observed St. Paul's doctrine, as represented in the Acts of the Apostles, and . in his own epistles : and he showed the occasion, scope, and design of all • St. Paul's epistles.' Some of Dr. Hunt's hearers have a distinct remembrance of those discourses, and are very thankful for the instruction they received by them.