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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bates, William 1625-1699

After a suitable school education William Bates was sent to Cambridge, where he was admitted to Emanuel College, from which he removed to King's College, in sixteen hundred and forty-four. At the age of twenty-two he commenced Bachelor of Arts, and in sixteen hundred and sixty was admitted Doctor in Divinity, a theological distinction not often better deserved, and never better graced.
He began to preach early, probably in the twenty-second year of his age, and soon became one of the most popular preachers of the day. Nor is it to be wondered at, since there was a happy and unusual combination of circumstances to render him so. His person was handsome and elegant - his countenance mild yet dignified, his voice peculiarly sweet - his style inimitably polite for the age in which he lived: his subjects were plain, pious, and practical, flowing from a heart glowing with ardour in the sacred cause of heaven, and tremblingly alive to the best interests of his fellow men - a fine vein of wit - considerable erudition - a ready elocution - all resting on the basis of an irreproachably holy life and conversation. But the breath of popular applause did not, as it too often does, inflate him with pride. Deep humility led him to lay all the honors he received at the feet of his Master, Jesus Christ. Amidst almost unbounded popularity, to find so much humility, how amiable, but how rare!
Dr. Bates was among those ministers who took an active part in the restoration of Charles II and was soon afterwards made one of his Majesty's chaplains in ordinary. The Deanery of Coventry and Litchfield was subsequently offered him, which from scruples of conscience, he refused. So high did his character stand, that it is said, he might have had any Bishopric in the kingdom, would he have conformed to all the canons, rites and ceremonies of the establishment; but inviolably faithful to the principles he had embraced, he withstood temptations which would have borne down a man of principles less inflexible.
At the celebrated Savoy conference, Dr. Bates was a conspicuous character. This conference consisted of an equal number of bishops and their assistants; and presbyterian ministers; constituted commissioners by his Majesty's declaration of October twenty-fifth, sixteen hundred and sixty. Their object was 'To review the book of common prayer, comparing it with the most ancient and purest liturgies; and to take into their serious and grave considerations the several directions and rules, forms of prayer, and things in the said book of common prayer contained, and to advise and consult upon the same, and the several objections and exceptions, which shall now be raised against the same; and if occasion be to make such reasonable and necessary alterations, corrections and amendments, as shall be agreed upon to be needful and expedient for giving satisfaction to tender consciences, and the restoring and continuance of peace and unity in the churches under his Majesty's government and direction.'- They met at the Bishop of London's lodgings in the Savoy, hence it was called the Savoy conference. The result of the conference is too well known, to make it necessary to state it in this place.
Though he was never cast into prison, which was the lot of numbers of his brethren, he had once a very narrow escape. A Mrs. Beale being near death, several pious persons were solicited to meet in her room and pray for her, Dr. Bates and Mr. Baxter were to be of the number, of which information being given, two justices of peace with the parliament sergeant-at-arms, came at the appointed time to apprehend them and lay them in prison. Providence preserved them, for they did not attend, though ignorant of the design of their persecutors. The justices and sergeant-at-arms rushed into the room, where the gentlewoman lay ready to die, but missing their prey returned greatly disappointed. 'What a joy,' observes Mr. Baxter on this occasion, 'would it have been to them that reproached us as Presbyterian seditious schismatics to have found but such an occasion as praying with a dying woman to have laid us up in prison!
At this time Dr. Bates was pastor of a dissenting congregation at Hackney, near London, assembling in a large and ancient, but irregular edifice situated in Mare-street, where he exercised his ministry with great success; and at the same time was one of the Tuesday lecturers at Salter's Hall, in London, where his popular talents as a preacher, drew immense crowds.
The accession of James II to the throne of England, produced no amelioration in the persecuted condition of the dissenters. The parliament presented an address to the King, desiring him to issue his royal proclamation, to cause the penal laws to be put in execution against dissenters from the church of England. This brought down the storm, and one of the first who felt its fury, was the pious Baxter, who had already endured no small degree of persecution. The following anecdote presents a pleasing view of Dr. Bates' fortitude and inviolable faithfulness to his friendships. Mr. Baxter was seized and committed to the King's Bench.- Laboring under a severe indisposition, he moved by his counsel for time, but Judge Jefferies of infamous celebrity, said he would not give him a minute's time, no, not to save his life, adding, 'Yonder stands Oates in the pillory, and if Mr. Baxter stood on the other side, I would say, two of the greatest rogues in England stood there.' When he was brought to his trial, Dr. Bates attended and stood by him at the bar, though fully aware of the odium he should incur. Jefferies noticed it, and in his abusive, insolent manner, exclaimed, "Richard, Richard, don't thou think we will hear thee poison the court. Richard, thou art an old fellow, and an old knave; thou hast written books enough to load a cart, every one as full of sedition, I might say of treason, as an egg is full of meat: hadst thou been whipt out of thy writing trade forty years ago, it had been happy. Thou pretendest to be a preacher of the gospel of peace, and thou hast one foot in the grave, it is time for thee to begin to think, what account thou intendest to give; but leave thee to thyself, and I see thou wilt go on as thou hast begun; but by the grace of God I will look after thee. I know thou hast a mighty party, and I see a great many of the brotherhood in corners, waiting to see what will become of their Don, and a Doctor of the party, Dr. Bates at your elbow, but by the grace of Almighty God, I will crush you all."
Happier days for the dissenters were about to commence. James abdicated the throne, and William and Mary ascended it. On this happy occasion, the dissenting ministers in London and the neighbourhood, with Dr. Bates at their head, waited on their Majesties with an address of congratulation, when he made the following speech.
As a minister, he was a wise master-builder. His sermons were chiefly practical; always breathing a devotional spirit, enriched with happy and appropriate allusions. 'His eloquence, which like that of the ancient classics, has not become antiquated by the lapse of more than a century, must to his contemporaries have been singularly fascinating.'His candour was great, too great for the bigots of his own denomination. It was engrained in his mind, and while others were ever uttering the war-whoop of a party, he was for peace and unity; and unmoved by the clamours of the illiberal and uncandid he vigorously pursued his design of promoting union among Christians, so long as there was any hope of accomplishing it. Amiable man! would to God the church of Christ abounded with ministers like-minded! Such may we be disposed to imitate, to emulate, and if possible to excel; and with such, after the toils and sorrows of this state shall come to a final close, may it be our felicity to spend the long and ever-lengthening ages of eternity.
By Rev. W.Farmer
The whole works of the Rev. W. Bates, Volume 1 1815
Memoir of the Author
Treatise on the Existence of God
Immortality of the Soul
Divinity of the Christian Religion
The Harmony of the Divine Attributes
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The whole works of the Rev. W. Bates, Volume 2 1815
Sermons on the Forgiveness of Sins
The Sure Trial of Uprightness
The Great Duty of Resignation
The Danger of Prosperity
Spiritual Perfection Unfolded and Enforced
The whole works of the Rev. W. Bates, Volume 3 1815
The Everlasting Rest of the Saints in Heaven
On Divine Meditation
On the Fear of God
The Four Last Thiungs: viz. Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, Practically Considered and Applied in Several Discourses
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The whole works of the Rev. W. Bates, Volume 4 1815
Sermons on Various Subjects
Dr. Bates' Funeral Sermon
A Table of Such Scriptures as are Illustrated in the Work
General Index
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Select Practical Works of Rev. John Howe and Dr. William Bates - 1830
Dr. William Bates here but beginning on page 317 (PDF Download)
The Four Last Things: Namely: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell, practically considered and applied: in several discourses.
The harmony of the divine attributes in the contrivance and accomplishment of man's redemption; (1831)
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The Harmony of The Divine Attributes, in the contrivance and accomplishment of Man's Redemption. - 1832
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The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, practically considered and applied. To which is added. The Great Duty of Resignation to the Divine Will in Times of Affliction. - 1838
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The Attributes of God - 1835
On the Attributes of God, &c. &c. by William Bates, D.D. (here) begins on page 145 (PDF Download)
Man's Original Conformity to God (page 147)
Man's Fall (page 151)
Divine Wisdom in Redemption (page 157)
Excellence of the Gospel (page 168)
Mercy of God in Redemption (page 181)
The Greatness of Redeeming Love (page 186)
Justice and Mercy concur in Redemption (page 202)
The Holiness of God Glorified (page 211)
The Power of God Glorified (page 218)
Biographical Collections: or Lives and Characters, from the Works of Reverend Mr. Baxter, and Dr. Bates, etc. Together with Abstracts of their Funeral Sermons, Volume 1 - 1766.
Lives and Characters, &c. collected from Dr. Bates' Work (here) begin on page 171. (PDF Download)
Memoirs of the Life and Character of Queen Mary, who deceased December 28, 1694 (page 173)
Memoirs of the Life and Character of Thomas Manton, D.D. (page 199)
The Works of the Late Reverend and Learned William Bates, D.D. - 1700
1. - Discourses on the Existence of God; the Immortality of the Soul; and the Divinity of the Christian Religion.
2. - The Harmony of the Divine Attributes.
3. - The Great Duty of Resignation. (Matthew 26:39)
4. - The Danger of Prosperity. (Proverbs 1:32)
5. - Sermons of the Forgiveness of Sins. (Psalm 130:4)
6. - The Sure Trial of Uprightness. (Psalm 18:23)
7. - The Four Last Things: viz. Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell: (In which his Book called, The Final Happiness of Man, is included.
8. - Spiritual Perfection. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
9. - Eleven Sermons on Several Occasions.
a. Sermon #1 - God Is (Hebrews 11:6)
b. Sermon #2 - Sin the Most Formidable Evil (Genesis 39:9)
c. Sermon #3 - How Can I Do this Great Wickedness and Sin Against God? (Genesis 39:9)
d. Sermon #4 - By This We Know We Are Children of God, If We Love God, and Keep His Commandments (1 John 5:2)
e. Sermon #5 - How to Bear Afflictions (Hebrews 12:5)
f. Sermon #6 - How to Bear Afflictions Continued (Hebrews 12:5)
g. Sermon #7 - The Lord Said to the Servant, Compel Them to Come In, that My House May Be Full (Luke 14:23)
h. Sermon #8 - The Lord Said to the Servant, Compel Them to Come In, that My House May Be Full Continued (Luke 14:23)
i. Sermon #9 - The Lord Said to the Servant, Compel Them to Come In, that My House May be Full Continued ((Luke 14:23)
j. Sermon #10 - The Lord Said to the Servant, Compel Them to Come In, that My House May be Full Continued (Luke 14:23)
k. Sermon #11 - The Lord Said to the Servant, Compel Them to Come In, that My House May be Full Continued (Luke 14:23)
10. - A Sermon upon the Death of Queen Mary. (Psalm 102:26-27)
11. - A Funeral Sermon on Dr. Thomas Manton. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
12. - A Funeral Sermon on Dr. Thomas Jacomb. (John 12:26)
13. - A Funeral Sermon on Mr. Richard Baxter: With His Life. (Luke 23:46)
14. - A Funeral Sermon on Mr. David Clarkson. (John 14:1)
15. - A Funeral Sermon on Mr. Benjamin Ashurst. (Revelation 22:12)
To Which are added, Two Discourses never before Published; viz.
1. - On Divine Meditation. (Psalm 119:97)
2. - On the Fear of God, &c. (Job 28:28)
Also some account of the Author's Life and Character, in a Funeral Sermon (John 11:16) Publish'd by the Reverend Mr. Howe.
With an Alphabetical Table to the Whole.

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