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Nor have we been more fuccefsful in our inquiries refpecting Mr. Thomas Mitchell, the next in fucceffion, and therefore are obliged to pafs him likewife in filence, with only obferving, that he was fettled in the paftoral office in September, 1713, and died the 9th of September, 1720.
Having been deftitute for about two years, the church, on the 25th of November 1722, chofe Mr. John Hubbard, who was a refpectable man, and tutor of the Diffenting Academy, fituated, we believe, in that neighbourhood; but dying the 13th of July, 1743, he was fucceeded by Mr. Brewer, after an interval of three years, during which the church was deftitute of a paftor.
To whatever cause it may be attributed, it is evident the church had been on the decline. It was not now, what it had been in Mr. Mead's time, in refpect to numbers: Nor did the long intermiffions of the paftoral charge indicate perfect unanimity. But there was ftill a holy feed: For among the little remnant were found fome wrestlers with God, who earnestly importuned him to remember the years of old, and put his hand the fecond time to the work. Their fervent prayers availed much. Mr. Brewer foon raised its declining intereft, and after labouring among them ufefully for near fifty years, during which time many, very many called under his miniftry, went before him to glory, he left between two and three hundred members, though, at his first coming, there were only thirty-two.
The prefence of the Lord, which he eminently enjoyed, and the bleffings which accompanied his faithful miniftrations, were the beft, if not the only proofs, that he was occupying that station which his Mafter had affigned him. But we cannot suppress a story of a very fingular nature, which he related frequently to his friends: The predeceffor of Mr. Hubbard, when on his death-bed, called afoud, Mr. Hubbard! Mr. Hubbard! Mr. Hubbard !-The perfon who attended him, afked if he wanted Mr. Hubbard; but he fpake no more. Mr. Hubbard, juft as he was expiring, called out in the fame manner, Mr. Brewer! Mr. Brewer! Mr. Brewer !—and he spake no more; his lips being inftantly fealed up in death. The fame perfon, who had attended them both, related thefe circumftances to Mr. Brewer.
Impreffed with the importance of the office he fuftained; he began to devife how he might beft feed and increase the little flock, over which the Holy Ghost had made him overfeer; and fo intent was he on their improvement, that it
might, with the ftricteft veracity, be faid, he made his duty his delight. Suppofing, as was natural enough for a judgment uncorrected by experience, that occafional difcourfes from neighbouring minifters would certainly be productive of happy effects, he fent to Mr. Andrews, who was paftor of the church now meeting in White-row, and with whom he was exceedingly intimate, to change pulpits with him for one fabbath. But Mr. Andrews, who looked on him as fent to Stepney to revive the caufe of God in that place, pofitively refufed, and acquainted him with the reafons why he ought to keep at home, and attend to his own proper work. He took the hint, and was hardly ever abfent from his own pulpit, but on fome very extraordinary occafion; and both he and his people reaped the beneft of his inviolable conftancy. Their mutual attachment was great, and their affection increased with his years. No one wifhed to be abfent, because all knew Mr. Brewer would be there to feek their good; and ftrangers, who heard of his rifing abilities, and withed to hear him preach, went to Stepney, and were not difappointed. Like punctuality in payment, it foon begat confidence, till, in procefs of time, multitudes gladly placed themfelves under his care, perfuaded that he would not defert them, but faithfully watch Over the interefts of their fouls.
The trifling accomplishments on which fome pride themfelves, he nobly renounced. Ornaments of ftile were, in his esteem, light as air, and empty as those who generally admire them moft. He ftudied his Bible; and, believing the truths it reveals, was indifferent to the applaufe or cenfure of fellow-worms, but careful to approve himfelf in the fight of God, and to be free from the blood of all men. His general ftrain of preaching was plain, experimental, and pathetic; and fometimes it was enlivened with anecdote. His voice was ftrong and harmonious; his fpirits lively; his delivery animated; and his difcourfes, which were remarkably ferious, affectionate, and evangelical, were attended with a pleafing degree of energy and fweetnefs. He always aimed at the heart, in every fermon addreffing himfelf both to faints and finners; and through his whole miniftry the Lord favoured him with much acceptance and fuccefs.
The rifing generation foon prefented to his obferving eye an object of the firft importance. Senfible of the benefits he derived from his father's care, he was firmly perfuaded that the young people of his flock, who were very nume
rous, exhibited a field too extenfive and promifing to be neglected. He therefore introduced, what ought to be engraven on the memory of every creature, old or young, that bears the Chriftian name, the Affembly's Shorter Catechism; and frequently examined the progrefs they made, putting queftions to them, as their minds expanded, to fee if they understood it. At these feafons he talked with them in a manner fo peculiarly pleafing and affectionate, that many children efteemed it preferable to a holiday to go and be catechized by Mr. Brewer: And fucceffive numbers of them, as they joined the church, afcribed their firft ferious impreffions to the bleffing of God on these instructions.
His engaging and impreffive method of addreffing young perfons drew a vaft affembly to hear his May-day fermons; and fo anxious were parents to bring their children from all parts of London to hear, that multitudes crowded the doors long before the fervice commenced.
On these occafions, he frequently faid fomething uncommonly ftriking Of which the following anecdote may ferve as a fpecimen to thofe who never had an opportunity of attending him. He related it about twenty years ago, as an introduction to his own fermon.
"A godly faithful minifter of the laft century*, having finished prayer, and looking round upon the congregation, obferved a young gentleman juft fhut into one of the pews, who difcovered much uneafiness in that fituation, and seemed to wish to go out again. The minifter, feeling a peculiar defire to detain him, hit upon the following expedient. Turning towards one of the members of his church, who fat in the gallery, he afked him this queftion aloud," Brother, do you repent of your coming to Chrift?" "No, Sir," he replied, "I never was happy till then; I only repent that I did not come to him fooner." The minifter then turned towards the oppofite gallery, and addressed himself to an aged member in the fame manner, "Brother, do you repent that you came to Chrift?" "No, Sir," faid he, "I have known the Lord from my youth up."
He then looked down upon the young man, whofe attention was fully engaged, and, fixing his eyes upon him, said, Young man, are you willing to come to Chrift?" This unexpected address from the pulpit, exciting the observation of all the people, fo affected him, that he fat down and hid his face, The perfon who fat next him encouraged him to rife,
* We think he said, it was Mr. Doolittle,
and answer the queftion. The minifter repeated it, "Young man, are you willing to come to Chrift?"With a tremulous voice, he replied, "Yes, Sir." "But WHEN, Sir?" added the minifter, in a folemn and loud tone. He mildly anfwered, "Now, Sir." "Then ftay," faid he, "and hear the word of God, which you will find in 2 Cor. vi. 2." "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of falvation."
By this fermon God touched his heart. He came into the veftry, after fervice, diffolved in tears. That unwillingnefs to ftay, which he had difcovered, was occafioned by the ftrict injunction of his father, who threatened, that if ever he went to hear the fanatics, he would turn him out of doors. Having now heard, and unable to conceal the feelings of his mind, he was afraid to meet his father. The minifter fat down, and wrote an affectionate letter to him, which had fo good an effect, that both father and mother came to hear for themfelves. The Lord graciously met with them both; and father, mother, and fon were together received with univerfal joy into that church."
Mr. Brewer then looking round, with peculiar affection, on his numerous auditory, faid, My dear young friends, are you willing to come to Chrift? If you are, I will addrefs you in the fame words, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of falvation."
Wherever he preached, he was fure to attract a large audience; nor had he been long in the miniftry before he was chofen one of the preachers of a Tuesday morning lecture, which fome of our readers, perhaps, may remember to have been carried on at the late Dr. Earl's, Hanover-street, Longacre. He was likewife one of the four Sabbath evening lecturers at the late Mr. Hitchin's meeting, firft in Artillerylane, and then in White-row, where he preached to a very crowded auditory till his health obliged him to refign; and for upwards of the last thirty-five years of his life, he was one of the fix preachers of the Merchants' Tuesday morning lecture, originally at Pinners'-hall, but of late removed to Broadftreet. In all thefe places his labours were highly acceptable, and there is reafon to hope they were equally ufeful.
But not only publicly, but even from houfe to house, he ceafed not to teach and preach the Lord Jefus. He lived like a father among his people, who, knowing his amiable temper, and his fpiritual, engaging converfation, rejoiced to fee him enter their doors. Even their children flocked around him, fecure of his smiles, and liftened with delight to the VOL. V.
gracious words that dropped from his lips. In all their ficknefs and diftrefs he was fure to favour them with frequent vifits, adminiftering, like a true Barnabas, the moft falutary confolation.
That fuch a man fhould be highly efteemed for his work fake, is by no means furprifing; and it must be acknowledged, great honour of his congregation, that they were never backward in giving the most indubitable teftimony of their fincere love and attachment, both to his perfon and miniftry.
Among other proofs of their affection, they amply fupplied him with the means of doing good; that his vifits to the fick and afflicted might be profitable to their bodies, as well as to their fouls. One lady, in particular, enabled him to relieve whatever diftreiled objects be pleafed, but efpecially to communicate affiftance to indigent ministers: And fo pleafed was the with his faithful and prudent application of her bounty, that in her laft illnefs, which happened about 1760, the intimated to him her defign immediately to alter her will, and leave her fortune, amounting to fourteen thousand pounds, at his difpofal, in preference to her relations. This he nobly refifted; and urged fo forcibly the impropriety of the meature, as reconciled her mind to the will as it ftood, and procured him a prefent of £50 from the executor as an acknowledgment of the fervice he had done to the family.
At his firft fettlement, the emolument he received did not exceed twelve pounds a quarter; and the meeting-house standing in need of expenfive alterations and repairs, he generously fubfcribed a hundred pounds himself, the congregation being then inadequate to the expenditure. But the growing kindnefs of his people was not lefs fingular than this inftance of his own liberality; for his falary gradually increafed in proportion as his labours were bleffed, till, for many years before his death, it amounted to feveral hundred pounds per ann. Confiderable fums were likewife raifed by them for fuch purpofes as he recommended. They fupported a few of their poor members in the decline of life, for whofe better accommodation the old wooden houfe was taken down, and the prefent almshouses erected; and about the year 1785, the adjoining charity-school, for the cloathing and educating forty boys, was founded, and has ever fince been supported by their voluntary fubfcriptions.
Though he deferved no enemies, yet he was not entirely without them, and fome from a quarter where they might leaft be expected. And whoever is defirous of knowing the reafon,