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PHILIP DODDRIDGE, D. D.
HIS ANCESTRY AND EARLY YEARS.
AT a remote period, the Doddridge family occupied a prominent position in Devonshire. Sir John Doddridge distinguished himself by his learning, his ability as a jurist, and as an author, and occupied with credit the high positions to which he was elevated by James the First. The nephew and heir of this gentleman, and bearing the same name, was Recorder of the ancient city of Bristol, and for many years a prominent member of the Long Parliament. His cousin, the Rev. John Doddridge of Shepperton, in Middlesex, a learned and acceptable preacher, voluntarily deprived himself and his large family of a living worth about two hundred pounds a year, equivalent to more than twice that amount at the present day, rather than submit to the tyrannical requisitions of the Act of Uniformity, in 1662. An enlightened conscience, and not sordid interest, was his guide. This worthy man had only two sons who survived him, Daniel and Philip: the latter was bred to the legal profession; the former became a merchant, and acquired some property in London, but deserves especially to be mentioned as the father of the distinguished subject of this memoir.
The mother of Philip Doddridge was the orphan daughter of a worthy Bohemian refugee, the Rev. John Baumann, who fled from Prague in consequence of the persecution suffered by those who held the Protestant faith. At the sacrifice of early associations, the friendships of youth, the charms of his native country, and a considerable estate which he was just beginning to enjoy, this young and godly pastor, in the disguise of a peasant, on the emergency of the moment, was compelled to leave his home, with no other means of travel and of subsistence than a hundred pieces of gold, stitched into a leathern girdle for safe keeping. Besides this sum of money, the only possession which he could carry with him, and which he valued above all things, was a copy of the Bible in Luther's translation,
This worthy minister seems to have been a man of uncommonly profound habits of thought, rendering him less careful than most men of matters connected with external comfort. We are told that, on one of the first nights of his journey, having slept at an obscure inn, and rising very early to pursue his way, in the hurry of the moment he forgot to buckle on the belt, and remained unconscious of the loss until the shades of evening again encouraged him to seek a second place of refuge, when he found himself without the means of sustenance, and consequently without the hope of escape.
Even at the peril of being taken by his pursuers he at once began to retrace, under cover of the night, his weary steps to his last lodging-place, where he learned from the domestic servant that she had thrown the old belt away, supposing it to be of no value. Upon his offering a reward she made search, and found it under a staircase where useless articles were ordinarily thrown. The joy at its recovery inspired lasting gratitude to God, and greatly animated him in his subsequent journeys.
Having spent some time in Saxony, and in states adjacent, he proceeded to England in 1646, and became master of the grammar-school at Kingston upon Thames. In 1688 he died, leaving one daughter, who subsequently married Daniel Doddridge, the Lonlon shopkeeper before referred to, and became the honored mother of Philip Doddridge.
It is worthy of remark that the German Bible, the companion and solace of Pastor Baumann's exile, is still preserved in the Doddridge family, forming two volumes in black morocco, deeply indented with gilt ornaments. Upon the fly-leaf of the first volume, Dr. Doddridge wrote:
“P. Doddridge, 1724. "These Bibles my honored grandfather Mr. John Baumann brought with him from Germany his native country, when he fled on foot from the persecution there on account of the Protestant religion. For
he had respect to the recompense of reward. Heb. 11: 26. "The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver.' Psa. 119:72. "Be ye followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.' Heb. 6:12."
The day of the birth of Philip Doddridge, which occurred in London on June 26, 1702, seemed for a while likely to prove also the day of his death; for the evidences of animation were so slight, and the anxious care which the mother required was so absorbing, that the infant was laid aside as dead; but, soon afterwards, one of the attendants was providentially led to a closer examination, when a very slight heaving of the chest being observed, efforts at resuscitation were earnestly pursued; and thus was saved to the world a life which proved of incalculable value.
He was his mother's twentieth child, all the others but one, and that a feeble daughter, having died early. Raised himself as from the grave, and expected, probably, to add another at no distant day to the sad instances of early death in the family, this only son was naturally regarded by his pious parents with especial solicitude and love. We are therefore not surprised to learn that he was most carefully trained up in the knowledge and service of Christ. Dr. Doddridge, in one of his letters, thus relates this beautiful incident connected with the period of his childhood: "I was brought up in the early knowledge of religion by my pious parents, who were in their character very worthy of their birth and education; and I well remember that my mother taught me the history of the Old and New Testaments before I could read, by the assistance of some blue Dutch tiles in the chimney-place of the room where we commonly sat; and the wise and pious reflections she made upon these stories were the means of enforcing such good impressions on my heart as never afterwards
A valuable lesson of maternal wisdom and affection is conveyed in this incident; and with gratitude should it be considered that the means of interesting and of instructing childhood in recent years are immeasurably superior to these rude pictures, which proved so serviceable in the case of young Philip Doddridge.
Having gained an elementary knowledge of the learned languages at the private school of the Rev. Mr. Scott, a pious minister in London, he was sent, at the age of ten, in 1712, to the grammar-school at Kingston upon Thames, formerly under the charge of his grandfather Baumann. Here, in the formation of his character, and in the confirmation of the religious impressions received under the paternal roof, he was greatly indebted to the kind regard and pious counsels of the Rev. Mr. Mayo, whose ministry he attended.
Having been connected with the school in Kingston only three years, his filial love was severely tried by the death of his worthy father. The reflections which he placed on record at the time, show the resignation with which the trial was endured: "God is an immortal Father; my soul rejoiceth in him: he