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them in 1687. He soon began to be taken notice of in the metropolis ; and some little singularities in his preaching, made him the more known and talked of. In a little time bis hearers becoming very numerous, and among them many persons of distinction, they formed themselves into a society, and engaged a meeting-house in Bridges-street, Coventgarden. This was the place where the celebrated Dr. Manton had formerly preached; but his congregation being dispersed at his death, many of them now united with Mr. Burgess.
Upon the turn of affairs in favour of the Dissenters, he was advised by a great man to take bis advantage against such persons in the country, as had prosecuted him beyond the law; but he said, “ No, he had freely forgiven them, and would never meditate revenge."
After some time, his congregation removed to another meeting-house, in Russel-court, Drury-lane. It being situated near the play-house, and the neighbourhood a loose sort of people, many persons who were scoffers at religion, especially at the Dissenters, would frequently come to hear Mr. Burgess for their diversion and sport. And as he was a man of ready parts, and a great deal of spirit, he would often address his discourse to them personally, in the most lively and striking images, (H) And God so blessed his en
(H) The following stories will serve as specimens of Mr. Burgess's style of preaching. In a sermon on a week-day, at Salters'-Hall, he tells his audience, that a servant who lived with one of Mr. Mayo's hearers, when Mr. Mayo had been to make a visit in that family, and was just departing out of the house, he addressed himself to the maiden, and tells her the advantages she enjoyed by living in a religious family, and what an account she had to give of herself at the great day, for that reason, with some other discourse of a serious nature : this occasional conversation was so set home upon her by the Spirit of God, that it proved the means of her conversion. From whence Mr. Burgess inferred, what a heavy reponsibility persons who attended on public worship at that place, had to account for. At another time, preaching to his people, and pressing them to secure their Vol. III.
deavours, that he was an instrument of converting many, who came with no other view than to deride and scoff at him.
The lease of his meeting-house expiring about 1705, the landlord turned him out, and it became a chapel of ease to St. Martin's in the Fields, which has been its condition ever since. Mr. Burgess being deprived of this place, a new meeting-house was erected for him in New-court, Lincoln'sinn-fields. But it unhappily fell out that soon after his removal, he had some difference with his people, which occasioned a considerable number to leave him, and join with Dr. Earle, in that neighbourhood. By this means a debt of seven or eight hundred pounds for building the meeting-house was left upon those who remained behind. And to add to this burden, in March, 1709, Dr. Sacheverell's mob broke all the windows, tore down the pulpit, and all the pews, and burnt them in Lincoln's-inn-fields; which damage amounted to 3001. or upwards. These misfortunes were such a discouragement, that the church never flourished during the remainder of Mr. Burgess's time; nor did it recover itself till after the celebrated Mr. Thomas Bradbury was chosen.
Mr. Burgess was a most zealous, popular, and useful minister, and particularly remarkable for communicating to his hearers pertinent and useful stories, such, perhaps, as we meet with in Bishop Latimer's sermons, by which means divine truths have been often effectually impressed on their minds. These were often turned to his reproach. But it is certain many particular stories were maliciously fathered upon him that were abominably false, and were raised by a
everlasting welfare, he tells them, if they wanted a suit for a year, they might go to Mr. Doyley ; if for life into Chancery : but if they would have one to last for ever, they should go to Jesus Christ, and get the robe of his righteousness to clothe them. In the reign of King William, he assigned a curious reason why the people of God, who descended from Jacob, were called Israelites.-It was because God did not choose that his people should be called Jacobites.
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lying spirit, only to obstruct his usefulness; and, in the general, he was industriously misrepresented by many, who, it is to be feared, in so doing, discovered no reverence for serious godliness. A gentleman once having the curiosity to go and hear him, at the conclusion of the service, could scarcely be made to believe it was Mr. Burgess ; for, said he, “ I never heard a better sermon in my life.” He often said, he chose rather to be a profitable than a fashionable preacher; that it cost him more pains to study plainness, than it did others who affected a more pompous style; and that he was willing to go out of the common way to meet with sinners, if there
Jikelihood of success in the end. " That's the best key,” says he, “that fits the lock, and opens the door, though it be not a silver or gold one." And many have acknowledged, that they went to hear him at first with no other view than to scoff at him, and make a jest of what he said, but went away
under such convictions about the concerns of their souls and another world, as, it was hoped, ended in a happy change of their spirits.
In his preaching, he insisted mostly upon the first and great principles of religion, which all good Christians are agreed in; and one, who was a very competent judge, said, “ that he thought he had as good a faculty in demonstrating them, and making them plain and evident, as most men he ever heard.” He much lamented, and' vigorously opposed, the growth of deism and infidelity; saying, he dreaded a Christless Christianity.” He meddled not with party matters, or points of doubtful disputation, but plainly made it his aim to bring people to believe in Jesus Christ, and to live in all godliness and honesty. He was particularly careful to explain the two covenants of works and grace, and to guard against the two rocks of presuniption and despair. He was observed to be very serious in prayer, and not to allow himself in that exercise, such liberties of expression as he sometimes took in preaching. He had a great dexterity in resolving cases of conscience, abundance of which
were brought to him from other congregations as well as his own.
He was a man of great moderation, and often said, be cared not for being distinguished by any denomination but that of a Christian of Antioch. He was a most agreeable man in conversation; his discourse being as ingenious and pleasant as it was instructive and edifying. He possessed a great fund of wit, as well as of useful learning, and knew how to use them aright. He was much respected by many considerable persons; and, like Paul, passed by honour and good report, as well as by dishonour and evil report. The excellent Dr. Bates had a particular kindness for him. His delight was much in his study, where he spent the chief part of the day; and was uneasy when interrupted, or called from it, unless to do some good office. He went from strength to strength in his work, and chose rather to wear away, than to rust away. It is well known, says Mr. Henry, he had many very sore trials in the latter end of his time, and some of them went very near him; the unkindness, at least it is apprehended, of some of his friends, much nearer than the insults of his enemies : “ Which yet,” says he, “ I have declined to express my feeling of to any friend, save Eloah Emmanuel only.'
During his last illness, which continued some months, and was purely a decay of nature, he had great composure of mind, and was very much in a heavenly frame. He expressed an entire submission to the divine will, and often repeating those words of David, If I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again to see the ark and his habitation ; but if not, here I am, let the Lord do with me as seemeth good in his eyes. He said, if he must work no more, he would rather be idle under ground, than idle above ground. His great weakness disabled him from speaking much, but most that he did say was heavenly and profitable. He once said, a little before his death, “ I thank God, I have been dying every day in the week. With God
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is terrible majesty, and that the guilty world will find ere long. Who can dispute an all-knowing God, or evade his charges ? But there is a Mediator, an Emmanuel ; O for a Christ, or else I die! O for that covenanting act to make him ours !”
The evening before bis death, a friend, who came to see him, speaking of public affairs, said, it was feared there would be a storm. He answered with cheerfulness, “ But God will house some of bis children first.” And when he was so weak that he could scarcely speak so as to be understood, he said, “ Well, here is all trouble at the gate, but when got through it, no more, no more.” When he seemed to be fainting away, which occasioned one of his near relations to cry out in a fright, he inquired upon his recovery, what was the meaning of that shriek ? “We thought you had been dying,” said they; " And what if I had,” replied he; “ what needed that confusion ?” Thus willingly, thus cheerfully, did he enter into the joy of his Lord. He died Jan. 26, 1713, in the sixty-seventh year of his age ; and was buried in the church of St. Clement Danes, January 31st. The excellent Mr. Matthew Henry preached his funeral sermon, on 2 Cor. iv. 7. We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. This discourse was afterwards published. (1)
(1) Works.--1. Soliloquies, printed in Ireland.-2. Mr. Noah Webb's Funeral Sermon, 1075, when he was in Wiltshire.-3. A Call to Sinners, written at the Request of Judge Rotherham, for the Use of condemned Criminals.-4. Three Questions plainly resolved.--5. A Discourse of the Lord's-Supper.-6. Counsel to the Rich, with an Address to King William.-7. Of Reconciliation to God.-8. Characters of a godly Man, more or less grown in Grace.-9. The Christian Decalogue. -10. Hastiness to Anger reproved.-11. The Golden Snuffers, the first Sermon preached to the Societies for the Reformation of Manners.--12. Holy Contention for the Faith.-13. Duties of Parents and Children.--14. Proofs of the Scripture's Divine Original.-15. Sure Way to Wealth.-16. Funeral Sermon for Mrs. Hook, Mr. Fleming, Dr. Rolls, and the Countess of Ranelagh.-17. A Sermon in the Morning Exercise, 1689, concerning