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part, that they who were the most prejudiced against the Liturgy, did not scruple to coinmend Mr. Bull as a person that prayed by the 'spirit, though at the same time they railed at the Common Prayer as a beggarly element, and as a carnal performance.
A remarkable instance, of this happened while he was minister of St. George's, which, because it shews how valuable the Liturgy is in itself, and what unreasonable prejudices are sometimes taken up against it, our readers will excuse us for mentioning it. He was sent for to baptize the child of a Dissenter in his parish; upon which occasion he made use of the office of baptism as prescribed by the church of England, which he had got entirely by heart; and he went through it with so much readiness and freedom, and yet with so much gravity and devotion, and gave that life and spirit to all that he de livered, that the whole audience were extremely affected with his performance; and notwithstanding his using the siga of the cross, they were so ignorant of the church of. fices, that they did not discover it was the common prayer. When the whole was over the father of the child returned him many thanks, intimating at the same time with how much greater edification they prayed, who depended entirely on the Spirit of God for his assistance in their extempore effusions, than those did who tied themselves up to premeditated forms; and that if he had not made the sign of the cross, which was, as he termed it, a badge of Popery, nobody could have formed an objection to his excellent prayers. Upon this, Mr. Bull hoping to recover him from his ill-grounded prejudices, shewed him the office of baptism in the Liturgy, wherein was contained every prayer which he had made use of on that occasion; and this, with other arguments that he then urged, wrought so effectually upon the good man and his family, that they always after that time frequented the parish church, and never absented theinselves from Mr. Bull's communion.
While he remained minister of this parish, the Providence of God was pleased to appear wonderfully in his preservation. The lodgings he had taken in this place were contiguous to a powder-mill, the danger of which situation so affected his good friend Mr. Morgan, a gentleman of the parish, that he insisted upon his removing to his house. For some time he declined this kind offer, but at last he complied with it, and a few days after his removal the mill was blown up, and his apartment with B 2
it, the very hour that he used commonly to be in his study. During his being at St. George's, it was his custom to make a journey once a year to Oxford, where he remained two months to enjoy the advantage of the public libraries. In his way thither, as well as on his return, he always made a visit to Sir William Masters of Cirencester; and while there, usually preached for Mr. Alexander Gregory, incumbent of that place, whose daughter be married in 1658. She was a most excellent woman, and had so great an affection for her husband, that when he died she preferred residing at Brecknock to settling among her relations, because that his remains were interred in that place, by the side of which her own were deposited a few years after his death. By this marriage Mr. Bull had five sons and six daughters.
Ahout this time he was presented to the rectory of Suddingion St. Mary in Gloucestershire, by Lady Pool. No man was more zealous in promoting the royal cause than Mr. Bull; and several gentlemen in his neighbourhood had frequent meetings at his house, to consult how they might contribute their assistance towards the restoration of the king. When that happy event was accomplished, Mr. Bull used frequently to preach at Cirencester, where, by his judicious discour:es, he reconciled many to the church of England, and in his own parish he made a free use of the Liturgy a considerable time before it became re-established.
In 1662, at the request of bis diocesan, Bishop Nicholson, Mr. Bull was presented to the neighbouring vicarage of Suddington St. Peter, by the Earl of Clarendon, then lord chancellor; but the value of both united did not exceed one hundred pounds a year. The only Dissenters he had to disturb the peace of his parish were a few Quakers, who resisted all bis endeavours to bring them to the church, for they were as obstinate as they were ignorant. One of these, who was a noted preacher among them, once accostéd Mr: Bull in these words : “ George, as for human learning I set no value upon it; but if thou wilt talk scripture, have at thee." Upon which Mr. Bull, willing to lessen bis confidence, readily answered, “Come on then, friend!” So opening the bible, which lay before them, he fell upon the book of Proverbs. “ Seest thou, friend,” saith he, “ Solomon saith in one place, ' answer a fool according to bis folly; and in another place, 'answer not a fool according to his folly.
How dost thou reconcile these two texts of scripture ? " Why," said the Quaker, “ Solomon don't say so?” To which Mr. Bull replied, “ Aye, but he dotb;" and turning to the places, he soon convinced him. On which the Quaker, being inuch out of countenance, said, “why then Solomon's a fool;" which ended the controversy.
Mr. Ball was a most diligent pastor, and adhered scrupulously to all the prescriptions of the church; and though in his preaching he made but little use of notes, which was owing to the singular strength of his memory, and the clearness of his judgment, yet he never wandered into any mystical or enthusiastic flight. His discourses, though frequently doctrinal, and oftentimes profound, were in general plain and earnest exhortations to the practice of the Christian duties, as the only satisfactory evidence of righteousness. He was not content with the discharge of his public duty as a parish priest, but he attended with equal assiduity to the temporal necessities of his people. He had not the least tincture of covetousness in his temper; hospitable he was to all his neighbours, and they never wanted relief who were known to hiin to stand in need of it. When he visited any poor sick family, his prayers and alms went logether. He would send largely to poor housekeepers in the time of their distress, when they were visited with sickness, or had sustained any great loss. But the widows and orphans of Clergymen who were unprovided for, were the constant objects of his care and concern: he usually gave liberally bimself, and was very active in procuring charities from the gentry on such occasions, and his character was sach, that his solicitations for charitable purposes were never in vain. One particular method of his in doing good, was in keeping poor children at school: of the advantages attending religious education he was deeply sensible; and this made hiin particularly attentive to the children of the poor, many of whom at the last day will arise and call hiin blessed.
The only amusement he indulged in, besides that of cheerful conversation, was in his books. says the excellent writer of his Life, “was the scene of his most exquisite pleasure; and he would freely own with
great assurance, that he tasted the most refined satisfaction in the pursuit of knowledge that the present state of human nature was capable of; and that when his thoughts were lively, and lueky in his coin positions, 'he
“ His study,". found no reason to envy the most voluptuous epicure. In 1669 he printed that excellent work his Apostolical Harmony, or two dissertations concerning the doctrine of St. James on Justification, and a reconciliation between the sentiments of that apostle and those of St. Paul on that important subject. This work, which is in Latin, was dedicated to his friend and patron Bishop Nicholson, who had greatly encouraged him in the composition of it. Mr. Bull's aim herein was to settle the much agitated question of Justification by Faith or Works, which had produced the fiercest dissensions among Divines both at home and abroad. Though he leans more to the Arminian side than to the Calvinistic, he yet prudently avoids the extremes to which many partizans of the former scheme had carried their definitions and conditions. The grand object of his first dissertation is to shew,“That good works, which proceed from faith, and are joined with faith, are a necessary condition required from us by God, to the end that by the new and evangelical covenant obtained by and sealed in the blood of Christ the mediator of it, we may be justified according to his free and unmerited grace
. Thus it is evident, that though he holds that good works are a condition, yet, against both Papists and Pelagians, he renounces all plea of merit in those works. Of this great and evangelical principle, the second dissertation was no more than an elaborate illustration of defence. This performance attracted considerable notice, and was attacked by several writers, as well in as out of the church of England. The controversy lasted a long time, and was managed by some of Mr. Bull's opponents, particularly by Dr. Tully, with considerable ability and asperity. However, our author replied, and perhaps few impartial and competent readers will scruple to allow, that the advantage lay materially, if not wholly, on his side. At least thus much is certain, that in consequence of the publication of the Harmony, and the dispute attending ii, the high Calvinistic doctrines went rapidly down, and a more liberal and scriptural view of the doctrine of Man's Acceptance with God prevailed. In 1678, Mr. Bull's great merit recommended him to the patronage of the lord chancellor Fiach, afterwards Earl of Nottingham, who bestowed upon him a prebend in the cathedral of Glouces
a , ter. In 1685, our divine published the greatest of his works, his Defensio Fidci Nicena, concerning which he
had thrown out a hint in one of his former treatises, and which had of course excited general expectations. In this most profound and laboured performance, the “ Consubstantiality and Co-eternity of the son of God,” is irrefragably proved to have been the Catholic Faith before the council of Nice. Nothing could be more seasonable than this work at the time of its publication, for numerous pieces in favour of the Arian and Socinian heresies were arifully dispersed over England; and some learned divines, in their zeal to vindicate the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, had committed strange mistakes, and made concessions wbich were likely to be of dangerous consequence. This book was no sooner printed at Oxford, than it was received with universal applause; and the fame of it spread itself into foreign parts, where it was highly valued by the best judges of antiquity, and was noticed in a very distinguishing manner by the famous Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, between whom and our divine there was afterwards a friendly correspondence. The same year he was presented to the rectory of Avening in Gloucestershire; and the year following, archbishop Sancroft conferred on him the archdeaconry of Llandaff, about which time the university of Oxford conferred on him the degree of D.D. without fees. Soon after the revolution, he was put into the commission of the peace; the main induces ment to his acceptance of which,' says his biographer, was, " that he might have an opportunity to put the laws in execution against immorality and profaneness." And this we think will be a sufficient apology for a clergyman's acting in the same capacity.
In 1694, Dr. Bull published his Judicium Ecclesia Catholicæ, from the Oxford press; the design of which was to defend the anathema pronounced at the first council of Nice, against the exceptions of Episcopius.
The last treatise which he wrote was, the “ Primitive and Apostolical Tradition of the Doctrine received in the Catholic Church, concerning the Divinity of our Saviour Jesus Christ, asserted and evidently demonstrated against Daniel Zwicker, &c.;", but it did not appear till 1703, when it was published, with the rest of his works, by the learned Dr. Grabe.
In 1704-5, Dr. Bull was consecrated, though much against his own inclinations, bishop of St. David's, which extensive diocese he governed with great care and tender