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plants, and an Apollos waters, but God gives the increase. We are always at a great loss, when left to ourselves. We may talk an hour or two, but if Christ be not with us, by his Spirit, to dictate, bring to our remembrance, and open unto us the Scriptures, it is but an useless, empty sound, and an unprofitable beating of the air. There are three things that should be considered as essential ingredients in preaching, the Spirit, the word, and the power; the Spirit as the principal efficient; the word as the ordinary instrument; and the power as the efficacious applicant. Where there is a concentrication of these, Satan falls like lightning; the strong man armed is turned out of possession; bloody crucifiers are pricked to the heart, and barbarous persecutors cry out, What shall we do to be saved?— -The Lord keep you, and all his faithful, unto the death, which is the prayer of
"Your poor and unworthy brother in the Lord's work,
18th of the Sixth Month, 1692."
In the Fifth Month, 1693, he took a house in St. John's-court, so called, in the parish of Clerkenwell, and dwelt there; but removed the next year to George's-court, in the same parish, where he lived, and kept a grammar-school, for several years.
On the 20th day of the Fifth Month, 1693, he was married among the Baptists, in their meetinghouse, at the Bagnio in Newgate-street, London, to his third wife, Mary Tomkins, daughter of Edward Tomkins, late of Abingdon, in the county of Berks, maltster, deceased. She was a member of a Baptist congregation, then meeting at Joiners' Hall, London. A certificate of their marriage was signed by several substantial witnesses present thereat.
He continued preacher to the Baptist congregation, at the Bagnio aforesaid, upwards of two years; and then desiring to be dismissed, the said meeting gave him an ample recommendation, signed by
Robert Steed, their elder, and eleven brethren, members of the said meeting, in the name, and by the consent of the same, dated the 31st of the First Month, 1695.
After this, he preached frequently in one or other of the Baptists' meetings, in or about the city, refusing to be any more limited to a particular assembly, though requested thereunto; for on the 16th day of the Fifth Month, 1695, several brethren, of the Baptist church, meeting at Virginia-street, came to his house, with this message, namely, That the church having considered the great need they were in of an elder, and having sought the Lord both in public and private, to direct them to one that might go in and out before them, the Lord had directed them to him, and the church did unanimously call him to that work, and they were sent as messengers from the church to acquaint him therewith, and to desire him to accept thereof.
His answer was, That he thanked God in the first place, that had given him a room in their hearts and prayers; and secondly, them for their call. But the work being exceeding weighty, and he very unfit for it, he desired the thing might be left to the Lord, to see what he would do in it; but that he found in himself, at present, no inclination to it. He desired they would not construe this as a slight compliment, or answer of course, but to take it, as it was, for the real sense of his soul in the case.
On the 23d of the Sixth Month, the same messengers came again, and in the name of the said church, gave him a second call to eldership; but his answer was, That he had sought the Lord in the case, and seriously examined himself, but could neither
find inclination in his heart to accept, nor fitness in himself for so great a work. That it was the desire of his soul, to serve Christ and his people, but he did not see his way clear, to do it in the station they desired him. They had some discourse about elders, and their call; about ministers' maintenance, and note-preaching; he told them his opinion, that a church's call was not sufficient, and that bargain and contract, and note-preaching, were contrary to the Holy Scriptures.
On the 15th of October following, came two of the members of that church, as private brethren, earnestly entreating him to accept the church's call; and if not so, by all means to take his communion with them. His answer was, He could not; and that the Lord had shown unto him, that the very foundations of the Baptist churches were out of course, and that there was an higher dispensation than what they were under. Their dispensation was that of John, a lower dispensation, which was to vanish; but the dispensation of the Spirit, which is to continue, was higher. Here God teaches his people himself.
He, notwithstanding, preached at times in their meetings, some months longer; and the last sermon that he preached among the Baptists, was on the 15th of the First Month, 1695, at John Malden's meeting in Goodman's-fields, upon Amos, iii. 2. You only have I known, of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."
While he continued in communion with the Baptists, he wrote and published,
1. A Preface to John Norcott's Baptism discovered plainly and fully, &c. written by Richard
Claridge, and subscribed by William Kiffin and him, 1694.
2. An Appendix to the same, 1694.
3. A Preface to Hercules Collins's Sandy Foundation of Infant-Baptism Shaken, 1695.
4. An Appendix to the same, 1695.
He also wrote, while a Baptist, an Answer to Richard Allen's Essay, Vindication and Appendix, to prove that singing psalms, with conjoined voices, is a Christian duty, 1696. Part of which was afterwards published by the Baptists, in the year
We find also among his manuscripts, the following hymn, which, expressing a pious fervour of spirit, we here insert.
"The gracious Soul's experience in Duty.”
"1. COME, Holy Spirit, and divine
Beams to my soul impart;
Come, come, O come with heavenly flames,
I find great coldness in myself,
"2. My soul is willing, many times
But ah! a dullness then doth seize,
And those spiritual motions,
With carnal thoughts o'errules.
"3. I would sometimes with Paul be rapt,
And in my duty to my God,
With dove-like motion move.
I would be quite unearth'd, O Lord,
My soul thy gracious presence meets,
"4. But, ah! what sudden damps arise,
What earthly interposals oft
Do cloud thy face divine!
And then, in darkness my poor soul
Till Christ the Sun of Righteousness
"5. He doth dispel those darksome fogs,
And with fresh visits glad my soul,—
And penetrates into that place,
Above the starry sky.
"6. From whence she would not lured be,
She values none but Jesus Christ,—
O! none but him she'd know.
Here let my soul upon this rock,
Of thy salvation stay;
Christ hath my refuge hither been,
And shall be so alway."
" 16th of Eighth Month, 1693."
SOON after Richard Claridge had declined preaching among the Baptists, he began by degrees to withdraw from their communion. For though, as