Imágenes de páginas




MR. DANIEL NEAL was born in the city of London, on the 14th of December, 1678. When he was very young, his parents were removed by death, and left him, their only surviving child, in the hands of a maternal uncle: whose care of his health and education was faithful and affectionate, and was often mentioned by his nephew with gratitude.

He received his classical education at Merchant Tailors' school; to which he was sent when he was seven or eight years of age, and where he staid till he was head scholar. In his youthful period he gave a proof of the serious and conscientious principles by which he was governed. For an exhibition of St John's college in Oxford being offered to him, out of a foundation belonging to that school, he declined it; and chose an education for the ministry amongst the protestant dissenters

About the year 1696, or 1697, he removed from this seminary to a dissenting academy, under the direction of the Reverend Thomas Rowe; under whose tuition several eminent characters were, in part, formed. To this gentleman Dr. Watts addressed his animated ode, called "Free Philosophy," which may, in this view, be considered as an honorable testimonial to the candid and liberal spirit with which Mr. Rowe conducted the studies of his pupils.

*The Editor embraces this opportunity of recording his most cordial acknowledgments to Dr. Toulmin, for permission to republish his excellent Memoir of Neal; and the polite and friendly manner in which that permission was communicated.

Mr. Neal's thirst after knowledge was not to be satisfied by the limited advantages of one seminary : but prompted him to seek further improvement in foreign universities. Having spent three years with Mr. Rowe, he removed to Holland; where he prosecuted his studies, for two years, under the celebrated professors D'Uries, Grævius, and Burman, at Utrecht; and then one year at Leyden.

About the middle or latter end of 1703, he returned to England, in company with Mr. Martin Tomkins and Mr. (afterwards the eminent Dr.) Lardner, and soon after appeared in the pulpit.

It was not long before his furniture and abilities attracted notice. And, in the next year, he was chosen assistant to Dr. John Singleton, in the service of an independent congregation, in Aldersgatestreet; and on the doctor's death, in 1706, he was elected their pastor. In this relation he continued for thirty-six years, till about five months before his decease. When he accepted the pastoral office, the church, though some persons of considerable fortune and character belonged to it, was very small, as to numbers; but such acceptance did his ministry meet with, that the place of worship became, in a few years, too streight to accommodate the numbers that desired to attend on Mr. Neal's preaching; which obliged them to remove to a larger house in Jewin-street.

He fulfilled the duties of his character with attention and diligence: statedly preaching twice every Lord's day, till the three or four last years of his life; and usually devoting two or three afternoons in a week, to visiting his people. He pursued his studies with so close an application, as to reserve little or no time for exercise; though he was assiduous in his preparations for the pulpit, he gave himself some scope in his literary pursuits, and particularly indulged in the study of history, to

which his natural genius strongly led him. "He "still," observes Dr. Jennings, "kept his character "and profession in view, as a christian divine and "minister."


The first fruits of his literary labours appeared in 1720, under the title of "The History of New"England; being an impartial account of the civil "and ecclesiastical affairs of the country, with a new accurate Map thereof: to which is added, an "Appendix, containing their present charter, their "ecclesiastical discipline, and their municipal laws." In two volumes 8vo. This work contains an entertaining and instructive narrative of the first planting of the gospel in a foreign heathen land: and, besides exhibiting the rise of a new commonwealth, struggling in its infant state with a thousand diffi culties, and triumphing over them all, it includes biographical memoirs of the principal persons in church and state. It was well received in NewEngland; and the next year their university honoured the author with the degree of Master of Arts, the highest academical title they had power

to confer.

[ocr errors]

In the same year there came from Mr. Neal's pen, "A letter to the Rev. Dr. Francis Hare, "dean of Worcester, occasioned by his reflections "on the dissenters, in his late visitation sermon and "postscript." 8vo.

In 1721, he published "The Christian's Duty and "Interest in a time of public danger; from Ezekiel ❝ix. 4. A sermon preached at the Rev. Mr. Jen"ning's meeting-place in Wapping, on Friday, "October 27, being a time of solemn prayer on "account of the plague." This discourse is preserved in the library of Queen's college, Cambridge.

Mr. Neal gave to the public, in 1722, "A Nar"rative of the method and success of inoculating,



"the small-pox in New-England, by Mr. Benja-
"min Colman ; with a reply to the objections made
"against it from principles of conscience, in a
"letter from a minister at Boston. To which is
"now prefixed, an historical introduction." On
the appearance of this piece, her Royal Highness
Caroline, princess of Wales, sent for him to wait
on her, that she might receive from him further
satisfaction concerning the practice of inoculation.
He was introduced by a physician of the royal
family, and received by the princess in her closet ;
whom he found reading "Fox's Martyrology."-
Her highness did him the honour of entering into a
free conversation with him for near an hour, on the
subject of inoculation: and afterwards on other
subjects, particularly the state of the dissenting
interest in England, and of religion in New-
England. After some time the Prince of Wales,
afterwards George II. came into the room, and
condescended to take a part in the conversation
for above a quarter of an hour. Mr. Neal had the
honour of kissing the hands of both the royal per-

In 1722, he published, at request, a sermon
preached to the societies for reformation of manners,
at Salter's-hall, on Monday, June 25. This dis-
course, grounded on Psalm xciv. 16, is to be met
with in the library mentioned before.

In the beginning of the next year the request of
the managers of the charity-school in Gravel-lane,
Southwark, procured from him the publication of a
sermon, preached January 1, for the benefit of
that institution, on Job xxix. 12, 13, entitled, "The
"Method of Education in the charity-schools of
"protestant dissenters; with the advantages that
"arise to the public from them."

After this, nothing of Mr. Neal's appeared from
the press for several years, till in 1726, the death of

« AnteriorContinuar »