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As Mr. Gill’s father, and himself, were of this denomination, it may be necessary for some persons to learn what is meant by a Particular Baptist. The Revelation Mr. Benjamin Stinton, who projected a plan of the Baptist History, and who was Mr. Gill’s predecessor in the pastoral office, will inform us : — ‘There have been two parties among the Antipaedobaptists in England, ever since the beginning of the Reformation; those who have followed the Calvinistic scheme of doctrines, from the principal point therein, personal election, have been termed Particular Baptists; and those who have professed the Arminian or Remonstrants’ tenets, have also from the chief of their doctrines, universal redemption, been called General Baptists.’ — Revelation Mr.
Stinton’s Manuscript, written in 1714.
In harmony with the above, but more at length, is the definition which is given in the Rules and Orders of the Particular Baptist Fund in London — it is as follows: ‘By Particular Baptists are intended those that have been solemnly immersed in water, upon a personal confession of faith; and who profess the doctrines of Three Divine Persons in the Godhead — eternal and personal election — original sin — particular redemption — efficacious grace in regeneration and sanctification — free justification, by the imputed righteousness of Christ — and the final perseverance of the saints — according to the Confession of Faith that was published [it should be re-published] in London, by the Calvinistic Baptists, in the year 1689.’ Written in 1800. This person, who was present when the Doctor preached his very first sermon at Kettering, more than fifty years after heard him also deliver his last in London. After his death she joined the church over which he had presided, relating, at some length, a truly interesting experience, which gave universal pleasure to the pastor, to the deacons, and to all the other communicants who heard it. By meekness and affection she honored her profession to the very last, and appeared to die as in the arms of Jesus. Her name was Mary Bayly; there was another aged member in the church of the same name, a woman of undaunted courage; but they were sometimes distinguished from each other, by the appellations of Mary the lion, and Mary the lamb. The first part of this MS. volume, mentioned before, was written by the Reverend Mr. Stinton; and the second part of it by Mr. Crosby, who published the History of the Baptists, in four volumes, 8vo. The lines above, which are printed in Italics, have been inserted by Dr.
Gill in the Declaration, since it was first drawn up; those especially in Article IV were introduced, in consequence of the Sabellian heresy, which, oftener than once, had perplexed the church — a heresy which he considered as aiming to sap the veryFOUNDATION of revealed religion, viz. the doctrine of a Trinity of three equally glorious Persons in the Unity of the ineffable essence of Jehovah. How nearly the Sabellian scheme is allied to the Socinian he well knew, and it may be seen in many theological writers of note, particularly in Dr. Waterland’s publications on the Trinity. This work seems to have been at the foundation of that intimacy which afterwards subsisted between Dr. Gill and Mr. Hervey; and of which the subsequent letter is a pleasant specimen, without the introduction of others: — ‘DEAR SIR, ‘My bookseller will soon send you a set of those books, the greatest part of which you were so kind as to peruse in manuscript. They are not yet published; but he tells me there is a great demand for them; and would advise me to send a new edition to the press, as soon as these are published. I should be extremely glad to have your remarks on the work before it is reprinted. If it may consist with your own more important labors, let me beg of you to run over it with your pen in hand, and to minute down whatever is unevangelical in doctrine; inconclusive in argument; obscure, ambiguous, or improper in expression. ‘Mr. Ryland tells me you are desirous of seeing the second volume of Vitringa. As soon as ever I receive your friendly animadversions, the second volume shall be sent. In the mean time, let me desire you to bestow these moments in correcting Theron and Aspasio, which you would otherwise employ in studying Vitringa. I owe you thanks for your sermons on the Ransom, on Faith, and on good Mr. Stewart’s death. They are all sweet to my taste, and I trust have been a blessing to my soul. May the Lord prolong your life, confirm your health, and make your labors a blessing not only to the present age, but to the children that are yet unborn. ‘I am, dear Sir, ‘Your truly affectionate, though very weak, brother in Christ, ‘Weston, January 18, 1755.’ ‘J. HERVEY.’ Of this piece Mr. Toplady thus writes: ‘I have given Dr. Gill’s tract on Justification another reading; not without much edification and comfort. I do think that this great man’s arguments for the proper eternity of this blessing, ex parte Dei, are unanswerable.’ Mr Toplady’s opinion seems to have been this, that justification on the part of God, being one of his immanent acts, must have been, as election certaintly is, eternal; but that ex parte nostri, as it respects his people, they can possess no evidence of their interest in this ineffable privilege, till, having been re-generated by the Holy Spirit, they are enable to receive the righteousness of Christ by faith. And this is all that many Divines intend, who maintain justification before faith, and also justification by faith. But a few additional hints on this subject may be requisite in a subsequent part of this Memoir. Uniti sunt Chrlsto — 1. In aeterno Dei decreto — 2. Unione confaederationis aeternae, qua Christus a Patre constitutus est caput omnium servandorum — 3. Vera et reali unione, sed quae ab ipsorum parte duntaxat passiva est, uniuntur Christo, quando Spiritus Christi eos primum occupat, et novae vitro principium infundit. — Porro quum fides sit actus ex principio Spiritualis vitae emanans, palam est, sano sensu dici posse, quod homo electus VERE et REALITER Christo unitus sit ANTE ACTUALEM FIDEM. — Wits. Iren. Animad. c. 6, sect. 1,2,3. Mr. Richard Taylor’s Scripture Doctrine of Justification. The Five Points in dispute between the Arminians and Calvinists, in what is called the Quinquarticular Controversy, are — eternal personal election, particular redemption, original sin, efficacious grace in conversion and sanctification, and the perseverance of the saints in holiness to everlasting felicity. These eight pages are not preserved in any edition of Dr. Gill’s works, since printed in quarto. These extracts are made from our author’s Exposition on John 5:40, and from his Cause of God and Truth, fourth edition, 4 to. page 69; to which numerous other quotations might be added from his publications. Dr. Gill’s Bod. Div. volume 1. p. 303, quarto edition. — From this incomparable work, and the rest of our author’s publications, other lines and sentences also introduced into this Memoir, all of which are not distinguished by inverted commas, as the quotation is above. Dr. Gill’s Memoir of Dr. Crisp, p. 9. This was written in October, 1809. Vitringa, Praefat. ad Comment. in Jesaiam, Volume 1, p. 5. Arius, mentioned before, only pretended to hold the Trinity, while he opposed eternal generation. Jenning’s Jewish Antiqu. Volume I. p. 136,138. This mention of the only surviving member of the old church, which had been under Dr. Gill’s care, was written in Devonshire, in September, 1809, where Dr. Rippon had been recommended for the benefit of his native air; having been laid aside, almost entirely, from his pastoral work, through the four summer months; the leisure parts of which should have been employed in preparing this sketch of the life of his honored predecessor for the public eye. But having been so long afflicted, and one while brought near the gates of death, he was prevented from writing such a Memoir as he wished, which might have been worthy of the name of GILL, and not in every respect unworthy of the public notice. But his state of convalescence, at length, allowing him to write an hour or more in a day, he has paid some attention to the subject. This is part of the Doctor’s letter inserted in the church-book; it is dated April 29, 1771, the year of the Doctor’s dissolution. This worthy minister, nephew of the Doctor, died at St. Albans, March 8, 1809, aged 79 years. He preached the Lord’s Day before he died nearly in his usual serious manner; and had been pastor above 50 years.