« PreviousContinue »
the odium he should incur. Jefferies noticed it, and in his abusive, insolent manner, exclaimed, “ Richard, Richard, don't thou think we will hear thee poison the court. Richard, thou art an old fellow, and an old knave; thou hast written books enough to load a cart, every one as full of sedition, I might say of treason, as an egg is full of meat: hadst thou been whipt out of thy writing trade forty years ago, it had been happy. Thou pretendest to be a preacher of the gospel of peace, and thou hast one foot in the grave, it is time for thee to begin to think, what account thou intendest to give; but leave thee to thyself, and I see thou wilt go on as thou hast begun; but by the grace of God I will look after thee. I know thou hast a mighty party, and I see a great many of the brotherhood in corners, waiting to see what will become of their Don, and a Doctor of the party, Dr. Bates at your elbow, but by the grace of Almighty God, I will crush you all."
Happier days for the dissenters were about to commence. James abdicated the throne, and William and Mary ascended it. On this happy occasion, the dissenting ministers in London and the neighbourhood, with Dr. Bates at their head, waited on their Majesties with an address of congratulation, when he made the following speech.
Dr. Bates' speech to the King.
The series of successful events that has attended your glorious enterprize for the saving these kingdoms from so imminent and destructive evils has been so eminent and extraordinary, that it may force an acknowledgment of the Divine Providence from those who deny it, and cause admiration in all who believe and reverence it. The beauty and speed of this happy work are the bright signatures of his hand, who creates deliverance for his people: the
less of human power, the more of divine wisdom and goodness has been conspicuous in it. If the deliverance had been obtained by fierce and bloody battles, victory itself had been dejected and sad, and our joy had been mixed with afflicting bitterness ; but as the sun ascending the horizon dispels without noise the darkness of the night, so your serene presence has, without tumults and disorders, chased away the darkness that invaded us. In the sense of this astonishing deliverance, we desire with all possible ardency of affection, to magnify the glorious name of God, the author of it, by whose entire efficacy the means have been successful; and we cannot without a warm rapture of thankfulness recount our obligations to your Majesty ; the happy instrument of it. Your illustrious greatness of mind, in an undertaking of such vast expence, your heroic zeal in exposing your most precious life in such an adventurous expedition, your wise conduct, and unshaken resolution in prosecuting your great ends, are above the loftiest flights of language and exceed all praise. We owe to your Majesty the two greatest and most valuable blessings, that we can enjoy :The preservation of the true religion, our most sacred treasure; and the recovery of the falling state, and the establishing it upon just foundations. According to our duty, we promise unfeigned fidelity, and true allegiance to your Majesty's person and government. We are encouraged by your gracious promise upon our first address, humbly to desire and hope, that your Majesty will be pleased by your wisdom and authority, to establish a firm union of your protestant subjects in matters of religion, by making the rule of christianity to be the rule of conformity. Our blessed union in the purity and peace of the gospel will make this church a fair and lovely type of heaven, and terrible to our anti-christian enemies: this will make England the steady centre from whence a powerful influence will be derived for the support of reformed christianity
abroad. This will bring immortal honour to your name, above the trophies and triumphs of the most renowned conquerors.
We do assure your Majesty, that we shall cordially embrace the terms of union which the ruling wisdom of our Saviour has prescribed in his word. We shall not trespass further on your royal patience, but shall offer up our fervent prayers to the King of kings that he will please to direct your Majesty by his "unerring wisdom, and always incline your heart to his glory, and encompass your sacred person with his favour as with a shield, and make your government an universal blessing to these kingdoms.”
To which his Majesty replied, “ I take kindly your good wishes, and whatever is in my power shall be employed for obtaining such an union among you. I do assure you
my protection and kindness.
Dr. Bates also addressed the Queen in a similar strain, and her Majesty returned this answer:
“ I will use all endeavours for the obtaining an union that is necessary for the edifying of the church. I desire your prayers.” The Dr. stood high in the estimation of both their Majesties, and the Queen often entertained herself in her closet with his writings, a circumstance equally honourable to her Majesty and our author. If interest could have induced him to conform, he wanted not the strongest temptation. But integrity of principle was to him too valuable to be sacrificed for worldly emolument: and he maintained his integrity to the end of his Life.
It was another amiable trait in his character, that the interest he had with persons in elevated situations in life, was employed
more in the behalf of others than in his own. When Dr. Tillotson was Archbishop he used his interest with him in procuring a pardon for Dr. N. Crew, Bishop of Durham, who for his conduct in the ecclesiastical com
mission, had been excepted out of the act of indemnity, which passed in sixteen hundred and ninety.
On the death of the Queen, he preached a funeral sermon on the occasion, full of good sense and piety; and also presented to the bereaved Monarch the address of condolence from the dissenting ministers in London and its vicinity, which stands among his works as the production of his pen. The address will be found by the reader at the end of the funeral sermon, and is therefore not inserted in this place.
His being thus chosen on these great occasions to head his brethren, and be their spokesman, shows in how high estimation he was held by them.
The infirmities incident to advanced age, began now to multiply upon him; as did also the consolations of that gospel of which for so many years he had been so distinguished and successful a preacher. In an excellent funeral sermon, preached by him on the death of Dr. Jacomb, he thus expressed himself;—“ If it so pleased the wise and sovereign disposer of all things how much rather would I be an attentive hearer of that blessed servant of God who is now above, than preach his funeral sermon at this time. That my sad voice should be reserved for this mournful service, is both contrary to my desire and expectation. O frail and faithless life of man! who would have thought that Dr. Jacomb whose natural vigour and firm complexion promised a longer continuance here, should have a period put to his days, and that I should survive, whose life has been preserved for many years like the weak light of a lamp in the open
air ?" It had been his prayer, that he might not outlive his usefulness, and his prayer was answered, he finished his life and his work together. His growing heavenly-mindedness had been observed by all around him. The God of his salvation was maturing him for brighter scenes and higher enjoyments. On the fourteenth of July, sixteen hundred and ninety
nine, at the good old age of seventy-four, he died happy in Christ, and is now reaping the faithful servant's reward. Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.” In his person he was handsome.
His countenance was calm and dignified, indicative of the heavenly serenity that reigned in his mind. His natural and acquired endowments were much above the ordinary stamp. A quickness of apprehension was united with a solid judgment. His memory was remarkably tenacious, and is said never to have failed him, not even at the age of seventy-four. He was an unwearied reader, and read to purpose. A dignitary in the church once said, “Had 1 to collect a library I would as soon consult Dr. Bates as any man I know." He was himself a living library.But all his fine talents--all his stores of learning, were made subservient to his great work as a minister of the gospel-all were consecrated to the service of Jesus Christ, his divine Master; and all the honours resulting from them were laid at his feet. Great was his skill in the explication and application of the word of truth; and in the solution of cases of conscience, he was particularly expert and judicious. In his private conversation, he was interesting, entertaining and instructive, but never “ The rattle or harlequin of the room.” Into what transports of admiration and love of God-says the holy and excellent Howe, have I seen him break forth! when some things foreign, or not immediately relating to practical godliness had taken up a good part of our time. How easy a step did he make it from earth to heaven!
As a minister, he was a wise master-builder. His sermons were chiefly practical ; always breathing a devotional spirit, enriched with happy and appropriate allusions. “ His eloquence, which like that of the ancient classics, has not become antiquated by the lapse of more than a century, must to his contemporaries have been singularly fascinating.”