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kingdom ; and there is hardly anything in which your excellent mamma is not immediately concerned, which I so much desire, as that you may all live to bless the world many years after I have left it.” And never was there paid a tribute of paternal love, blended with submissive piety, more exquisitely tender and manly than that which Doddridge offered in his incomparable sermon on the death of his darling Elizabeth, in her fifth year, which is said to have been written, in part, upon the coffin which inclosed her remains.*
Some characters in the history of their social life shine with a forbidding grandeur. Their virtues are stern, awful, majestic. They seem to retire from us. They are fenced round with a superiority that keeps us at a distance. Their brilliant points are points of repulsion. Others beam with a mild, attractive light: their virtues are of the gentle cast: they seem to approach. The distance between us
* My venerable friend, the Rev. T. P. Bull, has in his possession the original MS. of this discourse, which he brought to show us at the Northampton meeting, when this memorial was presented. In Dr. Doddridge's private account-book, in the possession of Mr. Charles Reed, there occurs the following item, under the proper date :—"For funeral expenses, £12 78. 3d."
lessens the longer we look. Their goodness is magnetic. Before the former we uncover our heads, and kneel down; the latter we embrace as friends. We need not say to which class Doddridge belongs.
HIS SPIRITUAL LIFE.
Rich, ripe fruits of holy, Christ-like labour borne by Doddridge, plainly indicated the existence and vigour of a corresponding inward life. It is not necessary for our satisfaction respecting the vital grace of Christian character, that there should be disclosed to us the secret processes of the soul's experience, any more than that for us to know that a tree is living we should see its roots. But the penetralia of the inner man has been opened in the case of Doddridge, and the sacred things there disclosed are too precious to be passed by without some looks of lingering admiration. His private papers reveal the rise and progress of religion in his soul, like a river-course cleansing itself from its first impure admixtures, and swelling into a broad, deep flood of silvery splendour. As we turn
over his diary and letters, his growth in grace is manifest: from year to year he increases in Christian stature. He puts away childish things; he drops his boyish follies, and rises into the grave, earnest, strong-willed, consistent man of God. No man ever became what Doddridge was by accident. The methods he adopted for the growth and government of spiritual life are noteable. Taking God's written word as his Magna Charta law, he, like many other good men, and not unwisely, enacted for himself, in harmony with these, certain bye-laws for the better carrying out the spirit of his supreme obligations. He framed rules for the employment of time, the order of business, his reading, his prayers, his selfexamination, and the whole range of his daily
conduct. These were reduced to writing, and · in them were embodied the definite standard
he meant to aim at—the minute laws he meant to work by. If the ideal excellence proposed be not defined and lofty, and the rules adopted in its pursuits strict and exact, the actual excellence attained will be irregular and low. Material builders work by lines of mathematical correctness, and spiritual builders must work by lines of moral perfection. When we forget Divine rules, and go on building without reference to them, such faith and holiness as we so erect, soon become “ as a bowing wall and tottering fence.” Deviating from the perpendicular, the work falls down, and our labour is all lost. And never does the spiritual workman, any more than the mechanical one, in his happiest efforts attain to the ideal standard at which he aims; but it would be idle and foolish on that account, in either case, to throw aside the plumb-line, and say, aiming at perfect exactitude is useless. Rather, after failure, whatever its degree, should we not return to the reconstruction of our spiritual life task according to the original rule-persuaded that, though approximation to faultlessness is all we can expect to secure in this life, the standard of perfection must be kept in view, or even approximation will be impossible ? So did Doddridge. He aimed and strove, and when he failed, he sought forgiveness of the Divine Master under whom he worked, and returned to his work anew, according to the old rules. Many a lamentation do you find in his diary