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When he left the university he came to London, where he was soon taken notice of for his warm and affectionate preaching ; and the parish of St. Alphage being vacant, called him to be their pastor, He accepted the office with great diffidence, and applied himself to his work with all his inight; and the hand of the Lord was eminently with him so that to old age he was wont to recollect, with thankful ness, the divine power that attended his first ministrations. He continued in this place nine years, viz. till the Bartho. lomew-act passed; when, having carefully studied the terms required, and prayed for the divine direction, he thought it his duty to be a Nonconformist, chearfully casting himself and his family upon providence. And he soon experienced its concern for him; for the day after he preached his fare: well-sermon, one of his parishioners presented him with twenty pounds, saying, “ there was something to buy bread for his children, as an encouragement to his future trust." He then set up a boarding-school in Moor fields; and so many were desirous to have their children with him, that he soon had occasion for a larger house.
Upon the breaking out of the plague, he called his friends together, to seek the divine direction ; and, according to their advice, (on account of the youth under his caie) he removed to Woodford-bridge near Chigwell, leaving Mr. T. Vincent in his house. In this village his family continued healthful, and many resorted to his house for the worship of God. After the sickness, he returned to London ; and have ing counted the cost, he opened a ineeting-house, though against the law, near, his own, at Bunhill-fields: and that proving too strait, he erected a large and commodious one in Monkwell-street, where he preached to a numerous audio tory, and had many seals to his ministry. Here Mr. T: Vincent assisted him. The lord mayor sent for thein both, and endeavoured to dissuade them from preaching, on account of the danger they were in. They told his lordship, That they were satisfied of their call to preach the gospel, and therefore could not promise to desist. The Saturday following, a king's messenger, with a company of the train-bands, came at midnight to seize Mr. Doolittle in his house, but he made his escape. He purposed to have preached the next morning, but was prevailed upon to forbear. Another person, however, readily undertook to preach for him. While he was in his serinon, a company of soldiers came into the place, and the officer called aloud to him, “I command you
in the king's name, to come down." He answered, “I command you, in the name of the King of kings, not to disturb his worship, but let me go on.” Upon which, the officer bid his men fire. The minister, undaunted, clapped his hand upon his breast, and said, “ Shoot, if you please, you can only kill the body.” The people, upon this, being all in an uproar, he got away in the crowd unhurt. Mr. Doolittle, after this affair, was absent from home for some weeks, and on Lord's days, guards were set before the meeting-house. At length the justices came, and had the pulpit pulled down, and the doors fastened, with the king's broad arrow set upon them. The place being convenient, was soon after used as a chapel for the lord mayor, without any allowance to the owner. .
Upon a licence* granted by K. Charles in 1672, Mr. Doolittle resuined his place, and set up an academy at Islington, where he educated several young men for the ministry, and among the rest his own son, who was inany years pastor of a church at Reading in Berkshire. When the Oxford-act passed, Mr. Doolittle removed to Wimbleton, and several of his pupils taking lodgings in the neighbourhood, attended his lectures privately. While he resided here, he met with a remarkable providence. As he was one day riding out with a friend, he was met by a military officer who took hold of his horse. Mr. Doolittle asking hiin what he meant by stopping him on the king's highway, he looked earnestly at him, but not being certain who he was, let him go, and went away threatening “ that he would know who that black devil was before he was three days older.” Some of Mr. Doolittle's friends were much concerned for him ; but on the third day a person brought him word that the captain was choaked at his table with a bit of bread. After this he removed to Battersea, where his goods were seized and sold. In several other places his house was rifled, and his person often in danger, but providence fayoured his escape, so that he was never imprisoned. At length the Toleration gave him an opportunity of returning to his place and people in Monkwell-strect, where he con. tinued as long as he livedl, preaching twice every Lord'sday. He had also a lecture there on Wednesdays, at which
. * This is still preserved in the vestry in Monkwell-street; the place where the celebrated Dr. Fordyce preached many years, after the death of Dr. Lawrence, to whom Mr. Tho. Toller was assistant.
he delivered his Exposition of the Assembly's catechism. He had a great delight in Catechising, and urged ministers to it, as having a special tendency to propagate knowledge, to establish young persons in the truth, and to prepare them to read and hear sermons with advantage.
Mr. Doolittle was a man who made religion his business, and was best pleased when taken up in the exercises of ita Scarcely any one spent more time in his study, the advantage of which appeared in his own improvement, and the preparations he made for the pulpit ; not satisfying himself to offer to God or his people that which cost him nothing.-In his latter years he was greatly afflicted with the stone, and by that and other disorders, more than once brought near the grave; but on his people's fervent prayers, he was wonderfully restored. And he was careful to answer the purposes of divine grace in prolonging his life, under the quickening apprehension of its approaching end. A life prolonged beyond his usefulness was the greatest trial he feared, and God graciously prevented it; for the Lord's day before his death he preached and catechized with great vigour, and was confined but two days to his bed. In the valley of the shadow of death he had such a sense of the divine presence as proved a powerful cordial for his support. He died May, 24, 1707, aged 77, and was the last of the ejected ministers in London. He was buried at Bunhill, and Dr. Williams preached his funeral serinon from 2 Cor. i. 12. After his death was found a solemn and very particular fotin of covenanting with God, which may be seen in the Meinoirs of his life prefixed to his Body of Divinity, from whence the above account is extracted.
WORKS. A spiritual antidote against sinful contagion in dying times.—Treatise of the Lord's supper.-Directions how to live after a wasting plague.-Rebuke for sin after God's burning anger.—Young man's instructor and old man's remembrancer.-Captives bound in chains made free by Christ their surety.—The Lord's last sufferings.--Call to delaying sinners.-Scheme of the principles of christ. relig.–Swearer silenced.—Love to Christ necessary to escape the curse at his coming.-Earthquakes explained and improved.--Mourner's directory, Coccasioned by the death of his wife.]-Plain method of catechizing.-Saints convoy to heaven. Four sermons in Morn. Ex.-Since his death: A compleat body of divinity, on the Assemb. catech. fol.
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