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NEW COURT, CAREY-STREET.-Independent
The Rev. JACOB FOWLER,
Son of Richard Fowler, Citizen and Grocer, of London,
JOSEPH PITTS.-Mr. Bradbury's next assistant was the Rev. Joseph Pitts, who, before his settlement in the ministry, was a member of Mr. Bradbury's church in Fetter-lane, and went off with his pastor to New-court. From thence, in 1729, he was dismissed to Hitchin, where he was ordained and continued about nine years. In 1738, he removed to Braintree, but was obliged to leave that place in 1742, on account of some uneasiness amongst the people. He then returned to London, and renewed his communion at New-court. Mr. Fowler resigning the ministry in November, 1743, Mr. Pitts was requested to preach in his room, and in the December following, was placed in the office of assistant to Mr. Bradbury. He continued in this situation till the year. 1759, when he accepted a call from the Independent church in Horsleydown, Back-street, where he closed his ministry. Under that article we shall have occasion to make further mention of him.
RICHARD WINTER, B. D.-This venerable minister was born in the year 1720, in the city of London. From his own account it appears, that at nine years of age he became the subject of religious impressions; and from that time bore an honourable testimony to the power of the gospel. His friends intended him originally for a secular employment, but were diverted from their design by his strong propensity to study, and to engage in the ministerial profession. In furtherance of his wishes, after a suitable course of preparatory education, they placed him under the care of the learned Mr. John Eames.
Mr. Winter began to preach at nineteen years of age, being then a student. His testimonials, signed by Doctors 3 2
Guyse, Jennings, &c. bear the date of 1742, when he had left the academy. His first labours in the ministry were at Bradford, in Wiltshire, where he preached about a twelvemonth, and received an unanimous call to the pastoral office. But this he declined, and preached afterwards at Stepney, where he received a similar invitation, upon the vacancy occasioned by the death of Mr. Hubbard; but he considered that place too large for his constitution, which was never strong. About the year 1745, he was chosen assistant to Mr. Thomas Hall, pastor of an Independent congregation, upon the Pavement, Moorfields. In this situation he continued above fourteen years; and during the greater part of that time, was afternoon-preacher at the meeting-house in Lower-street, Islington. Mr. Hall growing aged and infirm, Mr. Winter was invited, in 1759, to the co-pastoral charge, which he declined in favour of a similar call from the church at New-court. He was ordained copastor with Mr. Bradbury, on the 14th of June, 1759. Mr. Hall delivered the introductory discourse, on Luke x. 23. the church then recognized their call, of which Mr. Winter declared his acceptance, and recited his confession of faith; this was followed by a discourse on imposition of hands, from 1 Tim. iv. 14. by Mr. Bradbury; Mr. Winter was then solemnly set apart with prayer and imposition of hands; Mr. Brewer prayed; Mr. Olding preached from 1 Tim. iii. 15. Mr. Conder gave the charge from Jer. xxiii. 28. and Mr. Winter concluded the service with prayer.
Mr. Bradbury dying about three months after Mr. Winter's ordination, he succeeded to the whole pastoral charge, which he sustained with great respectability for about forty years, till his death. In the year 1762, he was chosen one of the Tuesday lecturers at Pinners'-Hall, in the room of Mr. Hall. About eight years previous to his ordination, he married Sarah, third daughter of the late eminently pious Mr. Joseph Williams, of Kidderminster. She, also, was a
truly excellent woman, and finished her course with joy, in the year 1778. Her funeral sermon was preached by Mr. Barber. By this lady Mr. Winter had three children. Martha, the eldest, was married to Mr. Frederic Hamilton, her father's assistant, and died happily a few years since, at Brighton. The second, Sarah, married Mr. Samuel Addington, son to Dr. Addington, of Miles's-lane, and died in the year 1781. Joseph, Mr. Winter's third son, died at the age of 22 years, in the year 1784. Mr. Winter's life was lengthened out to a good old age; and his death, though expected for some days, was not preceded by a tiresome sickness. Above four years previous to his decease, as he was walking from his own house, in Tooke's-court, to his meeting-house in Carey-street, he slipped down and broke his thigh bone; but notwithstanding his advanced age, he recovered from the effects of this alarming accident. On Lord's-day, March 17, 1799, after preaching with peculiar animation, he was seized with an oppression of the breath, and other complaints, to which he was previously subject. These continued to grow worse, till his dismission from the body twelve days afterwards. In the whole of his conversation during this period, he discovered a desire to depart and to be with Jesus. In one instance he said to a friend, "A man who knows he must, in a few days, be put in possession of an inheritance which he cannot be dispossessed of, don't you think he would be impatient? But I am too impatient." A friend calling one day to see him, in hope, from the report of his housekeeper, of finding him better, he replied, "They are very kind, but they know not my feelings. I know assuredly I shall not live many days. I have had many warnings, but this is the summons to call me home, nor does it, in the least, dismay me. For I know my foundation stands sure, and that I shall soon be at the right hand of God, as certainly as that I now exist. O, to be free from siu, perfect in holiness, and immediately to pass into glory! my heart rejoices at such a
NEW-COURT, CAREY-STREET.— Independent.
transition." In the last visit which Mr. Barber made him just before his death, he said, "I am near my home." To which Mr. Barber answered, "And a blessed home it is indeed!"-"Yes," replied he, " to be with Christ is far better than being here. I desire to depart that I may be with him, not so much to be delivered from pain and trouble, for I don't mind that, as from sin." On the night on which he died he took an affectionate leave of his daughter, telling her, he parted with her in the road to heaven. Between twelve and one o'clock in the morning, he said to his housekeeper, he thought he should be easier sitting up, if she would sit up with him, as the disorder lay wholly in his heart. (s) But soon afterwards, he desired to be led to the bed again, that he might lie down and give up the ghost; which he did, with composure and silence, about five o'clock in the morning of the 29th of March, 1799, in the 79th year of his age. His remains were interred in BunhillFields; Mr. Humphrys delivered the address at his grave; and Mr. Barber preached his funeral sermon, from Phil. i. 23. For I am in a strait betwixt two, &e.
Mr. Winter was favoured with good natural abilities, which were improved by education, reading, observation, and experience. He was a diligent student all his days, and by the divine blessing upon his studies, he treasured up a large stock of useful knowledge. He took particular delight in searching the sacred scriptures, which he read in the original languages, and with a critical eye. As a consequence of this, he frequently delivered many pertinent and useful remarks, which escaped the notice of less attentive observers. There was great variety and pertinence, as well as a truly devotional spirit, discoverable in his prayers. His preaching was truly excellent, being judicious, experimental, and practical. He dwelt much on the person of Christ, and on his work and offices. With the doctrine of salvation by
(s) He had not been in bed, nor was he confined to it an hour, till the circumstance here recorded.
NEW-COURT, CAREY-STREET.—. Independent.
grace, he coupled the necessity of maintaining good works. His sermons were well studied, and united conciseness with perspicuity. His language was neat, yet plain and intelligible; and though there was something of a roughness in his voice, yet he managed it so well, and spoke so distinctly, that he could be heard well, and command the attention of his hearers. He was a Christian of no common attainments, as was manifested by the holiness and exemplariness of his life. His principal failing was a certain irritableness of temper, of which he was very sensible, and often lamented it in strong terms. His conversation with his friends was serious, pleasant, and useful. He possessed a happy facility at introducing religious conversation, which he seldom omitted when in company, if a suitable opportunity offered. He discovered great patience and submission under the afflicting hand of God, and often dilated on the use and benefit of affliction.
Mr. Winter's publications consist of a Confession of Faith at his Ordination, 1759; a Sermon on the death of the Rev. Thomas Bradbury, 1759; another on the death of the Rev. Thomas Hall, 1762; a funeral Sermon for his brother, John Winter, Esq. 1776; another for his son, Joseph Winter, 1784; a volume of Sermons on Daniel's Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, 1777; four Sermons preached at New-court, from Psalm li. 11. and Matt. xv. 25. 1787; and some other sermons, upon fast and thanksgiving occasions. In 1762, he superintended the printing of three volumes of Mr. Bradbury's sermons; and after his own death, an octavo volume of his posthumous discourses was published by subscription, under the revision of his nephews, the Rev. John Winter, of Newbury, and the Rev. Robert Winter, of London.*
Upon Mr. Winter's tomb-stone, in Bunbill-Fields, is the following inscription:
Mr. Barber's Sermon on the death of Mr. Winter,-Winter's posthumous Sermons,-and Evangelical Mag. for Sept. 1799.