Thomas Jackson.

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good principles into their children.


(3.) With patience ; being gentle to all men ,
in meekness instructing those that oppose them-
selves ; bearing with their dulness, rudeness, and
disrespectfulness ; waiting for their repentance.

(4.) With all faithfulness ; giving no occa-
sion of offence, that our ministry be not blamed.

(5.) With zeal ; as Apollos fervent in spirit,
teaching diligently the things of the Lord.

(6.) With plainness ; not betraying their souls
to hell, and ours with them, for want of faith-
fulness and closeness in our dealing with them ;
it being not sufficient in general that no drunk-
ard, Slc, shall inherit the kingdom of heaven ;
but telling them plainly, and particularly, Such
is your looseness, your ignorance, that I fear
you are in an unconverted state.

(7.) With authority ; dealing with them in
the power and demonstration of the Spirit.

(8.) With humility ; not lording it over God's
heritage, but condescending to men of low es-
tate ; nor disdaining to go into the houses of
the meanest.

The sort of directions are more special, re-
specting the several sorts of our people, who
may be ranked into four heads ; the ignorant,
profane, formal, godly.

First, for the ignorant. Our work with them
will be, —

1. To convince them that they are ignorant,
which may be done by showing their inability
to answer some plain familiar questions.

2. To show them the dangerous, yea, the
damnable, nature of ignorance.


3. To press them, with all possible earnest-
ness, to labour after knowledge.

4. To answer their carnal pleas for their
ignorance, when wilful.

Secondly, for the profane. It would be ne-
cessary to deal with them convincingly, showing
the certain damnation they are running upon.

Thirdly, for the formal. With these we must
deal searchingly, and show them, —

1 . How easily men may mistake the form of
godliness for the power.

2. The danger of resting in being almost a

3. The most distinguishing differences be-
tween a hypocrite and a sincere Christian.

Fourthly, for the godly. To these we must
draw forth the breasts of the promises, opening
to them the riches and fulness of Christ, in-
quiring into their growth in grace, quickening
them to be steadfast in the faith, patient in
suffering, diligent in doing the will of Christ,
zealous of good works, always abounding more
and more.

There is one thing more, in which his self-
denial, and other graces, were very exemplary;
namely, his faithfulness in reproving the mis-
carriages of professors, sparing none, whether
high or low, whether ministers or private Chris-
tians ; yea, although they had been never so
dear in his affections, and never so obliging in
their carriage to him, yet if he found in them
anything that was reprovable and blameworthy,


he would deal with them faithfully and plainly
about it, whatsoever the issue and event were.

One time when he was going about such a
work, he said to a Christian friend, with whom
he was very intimate and familiar, " Well, I am
going about that which is likely to make a very
dear and obliging friend to become an enemy.
But, however, it cannot be omitted ; it is better
to lose man's favour than God's." But God
was pleased (then, as well as divers other
times, when he went about business of this
nature) to order things for him better than he
could have expected, and so to dispose of the
heart of the person with whom he had to deal,
that he was so far from becoming his enemy
for his conscientious faithfulness to him, that
he loved him the better ever after as long as he

As to his judgment about the Arminian con-
troversies, as far as I can perceive, who have
discoursed with him about them, it was much-
what the same with Doctor Davenant's and
Mr. Baxter's.

He was a man of a very calm and peaceable
spirit, one that loathed all tumultuous carriages
and proceedings ; he was far from having any
other design in his preaching than the advance-
ment of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, by the
conversion and salvation of souls. This was the
mark that he had in his eye ; this was that for
which he laboured, and ventured, and suffered,
and for which he thought he could never lay out
himself enough.


Though he were but a young juan, yet in his
carriage he was exceedingly serious and grave,
and withal very humble, couricous, and aMible,
condescending to discourse with the poorest
and meanest persons, for their spiritual good, as
soon as with the greatest and richest.

And indeed so unblamable and convincing
was he in the whole of his conversation, that
there were very few religious and sober persons
that knew him, either in town or country, either
ministers or people, (yea, though some of them
ditiering in judgment from him,) but did highly
approve of him. And for his brethren in the
ministry in these parts, such was his holy and
discreet deportment among them, that he had
as great an influence upon them as few others

He was full of holy projects, often bethinking
himself by what ways and means he might more
eflTectually promote the honour of Christ, and the
benefit of souls ; and whatsoever he apprehend-
ed to be conducing to these highest ends, he
would prosecute with that wisdom and vigour,
that he seldom failed of bringing it to a com-
fortable and successful issue.

Of his projects, one I shall here insert;
Having considered how much the conscien-
tious and frequent performance of the duty of
self-examination might tend to the bringing
down of sin, and furtherance of holiness, both
in heart and life, he did earnestly press the
duty on his hearers in his preaching, directing
them in the performance ; and not only so, but


dealt with them also in private about it, and got
a promise from the most of them, that they would
every night, before they took their rest, set about
this duty; and spend some time in secret, on
purpose to call themselves to an account, how
they had acted that day, by proposing several
questions to their own hearts ; which questions
he had referred to several heads, and drawn up
for them in writing.

And not a few of them have acknowledged,
that they have cause to bless God, who stirred
him up to put them upon this practice, which
they have found very helpful to them in their
daily Christian walk.


" Commune with your hearts upon your beds," Psalm iv, 4.

Every evening before you sleep (unless you
find some other time in the day more for your
advantage in this work) sequester yourself from
the world ; and having set your heart in the
presence of the Lord, charge it before God to
answer to these interrogatories.


Q. 1. Did not God find me on my bed, when
he looked for me on my knees? Job i, 5 ; Psalm
V, 3.

Q. 2. Have not I prayed to no purpose, or
suflfered wandering thoughts to eat out my du-
ties ? Matt. XV, 8, 9 ; Jer. xii, 2.

Q. 3. Have not I neglected, or been very


careless in, the reading God's holy word? Deut.
xvii, 19; Josh, i, 7, 8.

Q. 4. Have I digested the sermon I heard
last ? Have I repeated it over ? and prayed it
over ? Luke ii, 19, 51 ; Psalm i, 2 ; cxix, 5, 11,

Q. 5. Was there not more of custom and
fashion in my family duties, than of conscience?
Psalm ci, 2 ; Jer. xxx, 21 .

Q. 6. Wherein have I denied myself this day
for God ? Luke ix, 23.

Q. 7. Have I redeemed my time from too long
or needless visits, idle imaginations, fruitless
discourse, unnecessary sleep, more than needs
of the world ? Ephes. v, 16; Col. iv, 5.

Q. 8. Have I done any thing more than ordi-
nary for the church of God, in this time extra-
ordinary? 2 Cor. xi, 28; Isa. Ixii, 6.

Q. 9. Have I taken care of my company?
Prov. xiii, 20; Psalm cxix, 63.

Q. 10. Have not I neglected, or done some-
thing against, the duties of my relations as a
master, servant, husband, wife, parent, cliild,
&c. ? Ephes. y, 22 ; vi, 9 ; Col. iii, 18 ; iv, 2.


Q. 1. Doth not sin sit light? Psalm xxxviii,
4 ; Rom. vii, 24.

Q. 2. Am I a mourner for the sins of the
land ? Ezek. ix, 4 ; Jer. ix, 1-3.

Q. 3. Do I live in nothing that I know or fear
to be a sin? Psalm cxix, 101, 104.



Q. 1. Have I been much in holy ejaculations?
Neh. ii, 4, 5.

Q. 2. Hath not God been out of mind? heaven
out of sight ? Psalm xvi, 8 ; Jer. ii, 32 ; Phil,
iii, 20.

Q. 3. Have I been often looking into mine
own heart, and made conscience of vain
thoughts? Prov. iv, 23; Psa. cxix, 113.

Q. 4. Have not I given way to the workings
of pride or passion ? 2 Chron. xxx, 26 ; James
iv, 5-7.


Q. 1. Hare I bridled my tongue, and forced
it in ? James i, 26 ; iii, 2-4 ; Psa. xxxix, 1.

Q. 2. Have I spoken evil of no man ? Titus
iii, 2 ; James iv, 11.

Q. 3. Hath the law of the Lord been in my
mouth as I sat in my house, went by the Avay,
was lying down, and rising up ? Deut. vi, 6, 7.

Q. 4. Have I come into no company where
I have not dropped something of God, and
left some good savour behind ? Col. iv, 6 ;
Eph. iv, 29.


Q. 1. Did not I sit down with a higher end
than a beast, merely to please my appetite ?
Did I eat, drink, for the glory of God ? 1 Cor.
X, 31.

Q. 2. Was not mine appetite too hard for me ?
Jude 12:2 Peter i, 6.


Q. 3. Did not I arise from the table without
dropping any thing of God there ? Luke vii, 36,
Slc. ; xiv, 1, &,c. ; John vi.

Q, 4. Did not I mock with God when I pre-
tended to crave a blessing, and return thanks ?
Acts xxvii, 35, 36 ; Matt, xv, 36 ; Col. iii, 17, 23.


Q. 1. Have I been diligent in the duties of
my calling ? Eccles. ix ; 1 Cor. vii, 17, 20, 24.

Q. 2. Have I defrauded no man ? 1 Thess.
iv, 6 ; 1 Cor. vi, 8.

Q. 3. Have I dropped never a lie in my shop
or trade ? Prov. xxi, 6 ; Eph. iv, 25.

Q. 4. Did not I rashly make, nor falsely break,
some promise ? Psa. cvi, 33 ; Josh, ix, 14, &c. ;
Psa, XV, 4.


Direct. 1. If through necessity or careless-
ness you have omitted the reading and weigh-
ing of these questions in the evening, be sure
to do it now.

D. 2. Ask yourself, What sin have I com-
mitted ? What duty have I omitted ? Against
which of these rules have I offended, in the
day foregoing? and renew your repentance,
and double your watch.

D. 3. Examine whether God were last in
your thoughts when you went to sleep, and first
when you awoke.

D. 4. Inquire whether your care for your
heart and ways doth increase upon your constant


using of this course for self-examination, or
whether it doth abate, and you grow more

D. 5. Impose a task of some good medita-
tions upon yourselves, while you are making
ready either to go over these rules in your
thoughts, or the heads of some sermon you
heard last, or the holy meditations for this pur-
pose in " The Practice of Piety," or Sender's
" Daily Walk."

D. 6. Set your ends right for all that day.

D. 7. Set your watch especially against
those sins and temptations that you are likely
to be most incident to that day.



Before the Act for Uniformity came forth,
my husband was very earnest day and night
with God, that his way might be made plain to
him, that he might not desist from such advan-
tages of saving souls, with any scruple upon his
spirit ; in which, when he saw those clauses -of
assent and consent, and renouncing the cove-
nant, he was fully satisfied. But he seemed
so moderate before, that both myself and others
thought he would have conformed ; he often
saying, that he would not leave his work for
small and dubious matters. But seeing his way
so plain for quitting the public station that he


held, and being thoroughly persuaded of this,
that the ejection of the ministers out of their
places did not disoblige them from preaching
the gospel, he presently took up a firm resolu-
tion to go on with his work in private, both of
preaching and visiting from house to house, till
he should be carried to prison or banishment,
which he counted upon, the Lord assisting him.
And this resolution, without delay, he prose-
cuted ; for the Thursday after he appointed a
solemn day of humiliation, when he preached to
as many as would adventure themselves with
Jiim at our own house. But it being then a
•strange thing to the most professors to suffer,
they seemed much affrighted at the threatenings
of adversaries ; so that there was not such an
appearance at such opportunities as my husband
expected : whereupon he made it his work to
converse much with those he perceived to be
most timorous, and to satisfy the scruples that
were on many among us ; so that the Lord was
pleased in a short time to give him such success
that his own people waxed bold for the Lord
and his gospel ; and multitudes flocked into the
meetings, at whatsoever season they were,
either by day or night ; which was a great en-
couragement to my husband, that he went on
with much vigour and affection in his work,
both of preaching, and visiting and catechising
from house to house.

He went also frequently into the villages and
places about the towns where their ministers
were gone, as most of them did fly, or at the


least desist for a considerable time after Bar-
tholomew day. Wherever he went, the Lord
was pleased to give him great success ; many-
were converted ; and the generality of those
were animated to cleave to the Lord and his

By this the justices' rage was much height-
ened against him, and he was often threatened
and sought for ; but by the power of God, whose
work he was delighted in, he was preserved
much longer out of their hands than he expected ;
for he would often say, that if it pleased the Lord
to grant him three months' liberty before he went
to prison, he should account himself favoured
by him, and should with more cheerfulness go,
when he had done some work ; at which time
we sold off all our goods, preparing for a jail,
or banishment, where he was desirous I should
attend him, as I was willing to do, it always
having been more grievous to me to think of
being absent from him than to suffer with him.

He also resolved, when they would suffer
him no longer to stay in England, he would go
to China, or some remote part of the world,
and publish the gospel there.

It pleased the Lord to indulge him, that he
went on in his work from Bartholomew day
till May 26th after. Though often threatened,
yet he was never interrupted, though the peo-
ple both of the town and country were grown
so resolute that they came in great multitudes,
at whatever season the meeting was appointed,
very seldom missing twice a Sabbath, and often


in the week. I know that he hath preached
Iburteen times in cin^ht days, and ten often, and
six or seven ordinarily in these months, at home
and abroad, besides his trequent converse with
souls ; he then laying aside all other studies
which he formerly so much delighted in, because
he accounted his time would be but short. And
the Lord (as he often told me) made his work
in his ministry far more easy to him, by the
supplies of his Spirit, both in gifts and grace,
as did evidently appear both in his doctrine and
life ; he appearing to be more spiritual, and hea-
venly, and afleclionate than before, to all that
heard him, or conversed with him.

He was, upon a Saturday evening, about six
o'clock, seized on by an officer of our town,
who had rather been otherwise employed, as
he hath often said ; but that he was forced to a
speedy execution of the warrant, by a justice's
clerk, who was sent on purpose with it to see
it executed, because he feared that none of the
town would have done it.

The warrant was in the name of three jus-
tices, to summon him to appear forthw ith at one
of their houses, which was about two miles from
the town ; but he desired liberty to stay and sup
with his family first, supposing his entertain-
ment there would be such as would require
some refreshment. This would not be granted,
till one of the chief of the town was bound for
his speedy appearance. His supper being pre-
pared, he sat down, eating very heartily, and
was very cheerful, but full of holy and gracious


expressions, suitable to his and our present state.
After supper, having prayed with us, he with
the officer, and two or three friends accompa-
nying him, repaired to the justice's house, where
they lay to his charge, that he had broken the
Act of Uniformity by his preaching ; which he
denied, saying, that he had preached neither in
any church, nor chapel, nor place of public
worship, since the 24th of August ; and what
he did was in his own family, with those others
that came there to hear him.

Here, as elsewhere, he was a careful re-
deemer of his time ; his constant practice was,
early to begin the day with God, rising about
four o'clock, and spending a considerable part
of the morning in meditation and prayer, and
then falling close to his study, in some corner
or other of the prison, where he could be private.
At times, he would spend nearly the whole night
in these exercises, not putting off his clothes at
all, only taking the repose of an hour or two in
his night-gown upon the bed, and so rising up
again. When any came to visit him, he did not
entertain them with needless, impertinent dis-
course, but that which was serious, profitable,
and edifying; in which he was careful to apply
himself to them, according to their several capa-
cities, whether elder or younger ; exhorting them
to those gracious practices which, by reason of
their age or temper, calling or condition, he ap-
prehended they might be most defective in, and
dehorting them from those evils they might be
most prone and liable unto. He rejoiced that


he was accounted worthy to suffer for the work
of Christ; and he would labour to encourage
the timorous and faint-hearted, by his own and
others' experience of the mercy and goodness
of God in prison, which was far beyond what
they could have thought or expected. He was
a careful observer of that rule of the Lord Jesus,
Matt. V, 44 : " Love your enemies; bless them
that curse you ; do good to them that hate you;
and pray for them that despitefuUy use you and
persecute you." It was none of his practice to
exclaim against those that were the greatest in-
struments of his sufferings.

In all his imprisonment, at present, I could not
discern his health to be the least impaired, not-
withstanding his abundant labours; yet cannot
but suspect, as the physicians judged, that he
had laid the foundation ibr that weakness which
suddenly after surprised him, and was his death.

At his return from the prison, he was far more
earnest in his work than before ; yet willing to
preserve his liberty among his people, who had
no minister that had the oversight of them,
though some came and preached while he was
absent. And the people flocked so greatly after
him, that he judged it best to divide the com-
pany into four, and resolved to preach four times
each fSabbath to them. But tinding sensibly
that would be too hard for him, his strength
much decaying, he forbore that course, and
preached only twice a Sabbath, as formerly,
and often on week-days at home and in the
country; and spent what time he had else from


his Studying, in private converse with God, as
formerly he had done ; pressing all that feared
the Lord, especially those that were of a more
weak and timorous spirit, to a life of courage
and activity for God, and to be much in helping
one another by their converses, now that minis-
ters were withdrawn; and to be much in the
work of praise and thanksgiving to God, re-
joicing and delighting themselves in him ; and
with cheerfulness and readiness denying them-
selves for him, and resigning themselves and all
that they enjoyed to him ; letting the world know
that they could live comfortably on God alone,
on his attributes and promises, though they
should have nothing else left.

But it pleased the all-wise God to take him
off from the eager pursuit of his work and de-
signs for him, by visiting him in the latter end
of August with much weakness, so that he had
not above three months' time after he came out
of prison. Going about sixteen miles, at the
request of a society whose pastor was not able
to come among them to preach, and to adminis-
ter a more solemn ordinance, he was so disabled
that he was not able to perform the great and
chief work, though he adventured to preach,
but with much injury to himself, because he
would not wholly disappoint the people, who
came so far as many of them did. With much
difficulty, after three or four days, I made way
to get iiim home to Taunton, where we then
sojourned, and presently had the best advice that
the most able physicians, both in and around the


town, could give ; who advised together, and all
judged it to be from his abundant labours, and
the preaching too soon after his meals, as he did
when he preached four times a Sabbath, where-
by he had so abated the natural heat of his sto-
mach, that no food would digest, nor oftentimes
keep within him. He would assure us, he was
in no pain, but a constant discomposure in his
stomach, and a faihng of his appetite ; that he
could not for many weeks bear the smell of any
flesh-meat, nor retain any liquors or broths ; so
that he consumed so fast that his life seemed to
draw to an end. But the Lord did so bless the
means, that he recovered out of this distemper,
after two months' time ; but so lost the use of
his arms from October till April, that he could
not put off' nor on his clothes, nor often write
either his notes or any letters ; but I wrote for
him, as he dictated to me. He was by all phy-
sicians, and by my earnest beseechings, often
dissuaded from preaching, but would not be pre-
vailed with, but did go on once, and sometimes
twice a Sabbath, and in his private visiting, all
that winter. In the spring the use of his arms
returned, for which he was exceedingly thank-
ful to the Lord ; and we had great hopes of his
recovering ; and making use of farther remedies,
he was able to go on with more freedom in his
work. And the summer following, by the use
of mineral waters in Wiltshire, near the De-
vizes, where he was born, his strength was
much increased ; he finding great and sensible
good by them.


But he venturiPxg too much on what he had
ootained, his weakness returned frequently upon
him the next winter, and more in the spring
following, being seized as he was at the lirst.
But it continued not long at a time, so that he
preached often to his utmost strength, (nay, I
may say, much beyond the strength he had,)
both at home and abroad ; going into some re-
mote parts of the country, where had been no
meetings kept all that time the ministers had
been out, which was two years : and there he
engaged several of his brethren to go and take
their turns, which they did with great success.

He had also agreed with two of his brethren
to go into Wales with them, to spread the gos-
pel there ; but w'as prevented in that, by his
w^eakness increasing upon him. It was much
that he did, but much more that he desired
to do.

He was in this time much threatened, and
warrants were often out for him ; yet he was so
far from being disturbed, that he rejoiced that
when he could do but little for God, because of
his distempers, God would so far honour him,
that he should go and suffer for him in a prison.
He would often with cheerfulness say, that they
could not do him a greater kindness. But the
Lord was yet pleased to preserve him from their
rage, seeing him not then fit for the inconve-
niences of a prison.

The Five Mile Act coming in force, he re-
moved to a place called Wellington, which is
reckoned five miles from Taunton, to a dier's


house, in a very obscure place, where he preach-
ed on the Lord's days, as he was able. But
the vicrilant eyes ol" his old adversaries were so
watchful over him that they soon found him out,

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Online LibraryThomas JacksonChristian biography .. → online text (page 9 of 18)