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Church of England Magazine.
MEMOIR OF WILLIAM BURKITT, M. A.
SOMETIME VICAR OF DEDHAM, AND COMMENTATOR ON THE NEW
This faithful servant of Christ thy name, O Lord, that this sickwas born at Hitcham in Nor- ness should, by the blessing of thy thamptonshire, July 25, 1650. Holy Spirit, open my blind eyes, His father, the Rey. Miles Bur: which hath shut and closed the kitt, was one of the ministers who
eyes of so many in death and darksuffered by the Act of Uniformity ness. O happy sickness, that ends in 1662, a circumstance which
in the soul's recovery.' makes the son's adherence to the At the
age of fourteen, he was Established Church the more re
admitted" at Pembroke-hall, in markable. His mother was of the that university. During his resifamily of Sparrow, who lived at dence there, Cambridge was visReed, in Suffolk..
ited, in 1666 with the plague. In his childhood he was endowed Most of the students retired into with a very tenacious memory, the couvtry. I, with two which, combined with a religious three more, (he says) continued education, was the means of early locked up in the college, and could, storing his mind with divine truths, my chamber-window, behold After being sent to school at the dead bodies of infected (perBilston and at Stowmarket, he was sons) carried forth to burial. Which placed at an academy in Cam- solemn spectacles, together with bridge, where it pleased God to the doleful condition of the town awaken his mind, by visiting him and nation, wrought my soul to an with the small-pox, a disorder holy seriousness.' which then often proved fatal. He He entered very early into the thus commemorates the event in ministry, being ordained by the his own memorials. 66 While I pious bishop Reynolds, who if he continued at school in Cambridge, had lived, would have had reason it pleased God to visit me with the to rejoice over him. His first small-pox, but very favourably, employment was as domestic chapand, as I hope, in great mercy,
lain at Bilston-hall,* and his next laying the foundation of my spiri- at Milden, where he remained suctual health in that sickness, working, as I hope, a prevailing tho
* There is a confusion in this part of rough change in the very frame his life by Parkhurst, which would repre
sent him as chaplain before he was orand disposition of my soul. May
dained, and the error, (for such it must my soul, and all within me, bless
be) has been copied by others. APRIL 1838.
cessively as Curate and Rector for Christian imitation, and to mourn twenty-one years, from 1671 to more passionately that you are so 1692.
unlike him ; than that you have at It was his practice to preach present lost him ; that all your twice a day, though only one ser- long converses with him should no
was then enjoined by usage more assimilate you to his own and canonical regulation. He likeness.' soon found, that the people among
The remarks on the mind sub. whom he was called to labour, duing policy of the Church of were all illiterate, and therefore he Rome, in the following passage, endeavoured to suit his sermons to appears new, and is extremely the meanest capacities, preaching forcible. very plainly, as well as practically • The best of ministers being and affectionately. Being chal- but men at best, therefore their lenged by an Anabaptist minister, people's imitation of them and as a preacher of unscriptural doc- their example, must not be an unitrine, because he had maintained versal, but a limited imitation; with the lawfulness and utility of infant this just caution, the great apostle baptism, he was induced to publish St. Paul propounded his own ex• An Argumentative and Practical ample to the Corinthians' view; Discourse' on that subject, which ye
followers of me, as I also was of great service in that neigh- am of Christ; as if he had said, bourhood. In 1679 he preached If at any time you find me, your a funeral sermon on the death of spiritual guide, stepping aside, and the Rev. William Gurnall, Min- walking unanswerable to that uniister of Lavenham, in Suffolk,* en- form pattern of obedience, which titled, The people's zeal pro- the holy Jesus set before both me voked to a holy emulation, by and you in his own holy and imthe pious and instructive example
maculate life, take heed that you of their dead minister,' from Heb. decline my example, and follow xiji. 7.
not my footsteps. This sermon was published at Indeed, the doctors of the the request of the parishioners,t Romish synagogue do peremptoand contains many striking and rily oblige their followers to beuseful remarks, some of which lieve whatever they (as infallible may very fitly be inserted in this dictators) propound to them, be place.
it never so unreasonable; and to • If sorrow be sanctified, it can- practise also whatever they set an not hurt the heart, or prejudice example before them, be it never the soul.
so ridiculous and absurd. Verily It is a poor and low evidence they impose the same ignominious of your respects to him, should
terms upon the people of their you go with Mary to your dear communion, which Nahash offered friend's sepulchre, and there bedew to the men of Jabesh-gilead,* that bis coffin with your tears : the every one shall put out his right highest demonstration of your ar- eye, that so they may be the more dent love to him, and of your
tit for their blind devotion ; yea, unbounded and inexpressible grati
if the church command tude to God for hi is to take it; the eye of sense too must at up his exemplary graces by a
least be disbelieved, otherwise that
grand affront to human nature, the * Author of the Christian's Complete doctrine of transubstantiation had Armour. He died October 12, 1679,
never obtained credence in the aged 63. ☆ It is republished in Wood's Funeral
world. Sermons of eminent English divines, 1831.
* 1 Sam. xi, 2.
Heb. xi, tells us of Noah, verse 7, warn you of your danger, if you that he condemned the world, try not both our doctrine and our which no doubt he did by his manners,* by the infallible touch- practice, as well as by his preachstone of the Holy Scriptures, be- ing; indeed he preached by his fore you
believe the one, or imi- hand, as well as by bis tongue; his tate the other.'
building the ark was a daily visible Pursuing this subject more in sermon to that unreclaimed genedetail, he says,
ration. It ought to be a regular and Your highest commendations uniform imitation; you are not to and praises of them, (your minisfollow him universally in all his ters) without a Christian endeaactions, but in the impartial exer- to exemplify and imitate cise of all his graces ; this counsel whatever you observed praiseworthe holy apostle gives, Phil. iv. thy in them, is but an unprofitable 8. " Whatsoever things are pure, compliment of no more fragrance whatsoever things are lovely, than a handful of flowers which whatsoever things are of good re
the innocent child strews upon its port; if there be any virtue, praise, parent's grave, which make the or comeliness” in his actions, those corpse
smell not at all the sweeter. things you must think upon. Re- Precepts may be dark and member to follow your spiritual obscure, but precepts exemplified guide in that even path of piety, are plain and facile:* the holy exwherein he hath uprightly followed ample of departed saints affords the captain of your salvation. Hy- us a double belp in running our pocrisy singles out one grace and
Christian race. shuns another, but sincerity disco- Oh, how highly are we (minvers itself by an uniform care and isters) all concerned to oblige ourendeavour to transcribe all, and selves to an eminent and exemplary doth nothing by partiality. piety of conversation. The reason
• God's great design in sending is obvious, because the eyes of all his messengers amongst a people our flock not only are, but ought is, that by the holiness of their to be upon us : our mistakes then, example, as well as the purity of are not like the errors of a pockettheir doctrine, they may win souls watch, which mislead only a single to a love of righteousness : this is person, but like those of a townthe duty which Timothy is ex- clock, which misguide a multihorted to, when the apostle bids tude. him hold forth the word of life; • A heterodox conversation that is, the purity of it in bis doc- will carry an orthodox judgment to trine, and the power of it in his hell. conversation : t from hence, no • Though like a cracked bell, doubt, it is that Christ compares he (the minister) may be instruhis apostles to lights, “ Ye are the mental to ring others to heaven, light of the world : 1 an allusion, yet for himself there is no remedy, (as may be probably conjectured,) but to the fire he must go, either to torches held out in a dark night, for his refining or his condemto direct passengers their way, or nation.t to fires upon a beacon near the sea • The throne and the pulpit coast, to prevent the bewildered above all places call for holiness; mariners splitting upon rocks, and the prince and the preacher, above suffering shipwreck. • St. Paul, in his famous funeral
* He does not say refining, in allusion oration for the saints departed,
to the Romish purgatory, but in accord* Morals. of Conduct. Matt. v. 14. ance witb Isaiah iv. 3, 4.