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THE LATE REV. JOHN KINGDON,
[The former Part drawn rp by himself:]
Write thine own life for divine inspection, as well as hu
Before men read it, I shall know what the Lord says of it; and it is not he that commendeth himself that is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. I shall not affix my affidaviť to what I may write; and say, " This is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ;" though I should not object to doing it to the first and last of these assertions. John vii. 18 has for some time forbid my complying with the request of friends; as also, what was once said by a dying good man, in a despairing frame, to persons who told hiin that he would be greatly praised after his death :-"Ah! it is a poor consolation to think that I shall be praised where I am not, and tormented where I am!” I have nothing good in me, but what I have received ; and I have received nothing good, but what I have abused; and therefore I. can have nothing whereof to boast : and by the time the Lord has had all the honour which belongs to bin, out of all our perfornances, there will be very little honour left for us.
John Kingdon's father and mother, William and Ann King. don, were descended from reputable parents, both in a civil and religious sense. They comfortably brought up five sons and two daughters, viz. Samuel, William, John, Ann, Mary, Edmund, and Joseph, carrying on a good trade in the woollen line, at Silverton, in Devonshire. They were much respected ; an:l'attended the public worship of God, mostly among the Dissenters, at Silverton, Thorverton, and Exeter. Dissenting ministers and clergymen often visited them at their house at Silverton.
John Kingdon, the writer of this Memoir, was born at Silverton, December 6, 1750, 0. S. where he went to school, first to Mr. Beard, and afterwards to Mr. Taylor ; both of whoin ree garded the morals, as well as the instruction, of their scholars.
At about ten or eleven years of age, I was, for some minutes, supposed to be dead of the small-pox; and the report of my death was spread abroad : and about my fourteenth year, I was bitten by a large mad dog; and was supposed to be infected withı the canine disorder ; but Providence blessed the means used by Dr. Chamberlain, of our town, to my recovery.
About the year 1748, my father and Mr. Broadmead, another serge-maker, removed from Silverton, in Devon, on account of the frequent mobbing and combinations among the workmen there, to Milverton, in Somerset; by which means I had the great privilege of sitting under the valuable ministry of the Rev. Robt Day, of Wellington, about four miles from Milverton.
In 1751, as that branch of the clothing business carried on by my father, became unproductive; and several fiiends, particularly a Capt. Kenwood, of Topsham, recommended my entering upon a sca-faring life, I accordingly, after learning navigation, engaged with Capt. Roberts, of Exmouth, master of the brig Two Brothers, to go with him to Waterford, in Ireland, for passengers and provisions; and from thence to Little Persentia, in the outh-west part of Newfoundland, where we staid fron May to October, catching and curing cod-fish, which we carried to Spain. We then took in a freight of Barrilla wine, &c. for London, with which we arrived on the Cornish coast on Christmas-Eve; and, in a heavy gale, were in danger of being driven ashore in Mount's Bay; and, afterwards in going up the Channel, received so much damage, as rendered the vessel unfit for sea. In the next spring, 1752, I went another voyage to Carliz, Gibraltar, and Malaga, whence we brought a cargo of wine and fruit for Bristol ; where we arrived in October, finding, to our surprize, our countrymen reckoning eleven days before us, thro? the alteration of the style. In the following spring, 1753, I got a birth on board the snow Minerva, Capt. Woolcombe, of Topshum, bound with bale goods, worth upwards of 30,0001. to Genoii, Leghorn, Naples, and Messin:i; and after discharging cur cargo, we took in another of wheat at Leocatta, in Sicily, and carried it to Malaga ; from whence we carried a cargo of wine and fruit to Poole, in Dorsetshire; and after discharging it, we returned to Topslam, which closed my sen-faring life.
I have great reason for thankfulness to the God of my life for many remarkable deliverances in heavy gales of wind, wh'n on sea-shores, &e. ; and I have still greater reason for thanktulness for God's remaining goochuss in keeping me from the three easily besetting sins of scamen, especially in harbours, viz. cirunkenness, swearing, and uncleanness. With sincere gratitude I appeal to him, is knowing that during the whole of my scafaring lik, la fever let ne once, either to be intoxicated with ligner, or to utier a prolane oath, or to saluto a foreign Vonal; and for the honour of Guil's grace, and the manifestation of the truel, I now assert in my old age (in my seventy
econd ycar) that God has still withheld me from thus sinning
While at sea,
I had frequent convictions while at sea, especially when in estreme dangers, that I was not in the way of my dnty; and at the desire of my friends, I returned to live with my parents at Milverton, assisting them in their business, and attending the means of grace, under Mr. Robt. Day, of Wellington. I made conscience of secret prayer, reading, &c.; and of abstaining from what appeared to me to be sinful: and after leaving the sca, I attended statedly to prayer, with my sisters and other acquaintance; but I felt uncasy at not seeing how the Lord, consistently with his holiness and justice, could save me, an impure and guilty creature. At length, in reading Dr. Gill on Justification, the Lord, I trust; gave my mind comfortable satisfaction respecting that matter; and showed me, that in Christ, the Lord could be everlastingly glorified in saving the greatest sinner, who is willing to be saved in this way. My delight and thankfulness, at first discovering this admirable way of saving sinners, prevented sleep, and kept me from usual worldly company. It created a great indifference about carthily pleasures, led me to devout contemplations on the astonishing suba: ject, and endeared to me the word of God and all the means of grace.
I was baptized by Mr. Day, on July 7, 1753 (along with Mr. Pyne, who was afterwards minister at the Devizes) and joined his church. I there enjoyed the benefits and pleasures of religion till June, 1759, when the church called me to the work of the ministry; and soon afterwards recommended my going to Bristol. On August 1, in the same year, I went to the Academy; and pursued my studies under the instruction of Messrs. Ilugh and Caleb Evans. Soon after my admissio!, I supplied, with my fellow-students, various destitute churches. In August, 1760, Mr. Abraham Larwill, pastor of a Baptist Church at Frome, came to Bristol ; and as I had been acquainted with him, he affectionately wished nie divine assistance in my studies, and direction wliere to settle when they were endel; and about a month afterwards he himself diel, Sept. 6, 1760.
At the request of his church, I was called to supply his place the two following Lord's Days after his interment; and in a few months the church desired me to become their ininister when I should leave the Academy. I supplied them abont once a month; and! supplied for various pastors, who went to Frome to preach and Break bread for thicmn; but from obedience to my tutors and my own inclination, I could not consent to promise that I would comply with their request, as I hoped to stay at Bristol, at least, two years longer; yet I said nothing designedly discouraging to their written call.
In 1761, Dr. Gill came from Lon.lon to Bristol, with whuise company I was sometiines favoured. When he returned home he was consulted by the Baptist Church in Devonshirc Square, which was then destitute; and the Doctor wrote to my preceptor, by desire of that church, requesting that I might visit them for some Sabbaths, with a view to my settling with them. Ac, cordingly I went to London, and served that people five or six weeks; at the close of which time they gave me a call to become their pastor ; but I came back to the Academy without returning an answer to them. The church at Frome repeated their call also, and, toward the Autumn of 1762, after much prayer, consideration, and consultation with many ministers on the subject, whether I should go to Devonshire Square or to Frome, I retired to a private field in order to implore divine direction, and finally to determine the question ; and, though all my friends among the ministers, except one, advised me to go to London, and the church there propcsed a salary double. to that which was offered at Frome; yet, when imploring the Lord's direction, I felt a persuasion that I was more likely to be useful at Frome than in London ; and accordingly I fell in with this conviction. I went to reside at Frome in November 1962, and, on the 5th of April 1763, was chosen by the universal desire of the church, and ordained their pastor; nor have I to this time (March 1803) ever wished that I had settled elsewhere as a minister. At my ordination, the Rev. Caleb Evans began the service by reading and prayer ; the Rev. Mr. Tommas, of Bristol, succeeded in prayer ; ihe Rev. Ilugh Evans received me into the church as a member, by reading a dismission from the church at Wellington; the members of Frome church unanimously expressed their desire that I would become their pastor, by lifting up of hands; I signified my acceptance of their call, and Mr. Hugh Evans prayed the ordination prayer, which was attended with the laying of the hands of the elders of other churches; he then delivered the charge from 2 Tim. ii, 15, “Study to shew thyself approved,” &c. ; the Rev. R. Parsons prayed ; and the Rev. R. Day, of Wellington, preached to the people from 1 Thess. v. 15; the Rev. Mr. Fuller, of Devizes, closed in prayer." The Rev. Messrs. Neel of Brough. ton, Ilayncs of Bracitord, Clark of Crockerton, &c. joined in the service. Mr. Clark, the survivor of all these ministers, died on April 5, 1803, exactly forty years from the day of my ordi. nation; wiih whom I lived in Christian intimacy, and no un. kind word eyer passed between us all that time.
From April 5, 1763 to April 5, 1803, I baptized 339 persons, who were receivel into tellowship with the church at Frome; besides many more who joined other churches,
During my whole life I can reflect on no religious exercise which I have performed but with disapprobation and self-loath. ino I bave generally gone from my closet to my palpit pray. ing, and sometimes hoping for the Lord's presence and blessing ; Lui I hayo generally returned liome overwhelmed with shaiye