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SUM M M
LIFE, WRITINGS, AND CHARACTER,
Of the late REVEREND and LEARNED
GILL, D. D.
R JOHN GILL was born at Kettering, in Northamptonshire, Nov. 23. O. S. 1697. his parents were EDWARD GILL and ELIZABETH his wife, whofe maiden name was WALKER. They were religious and pious perfons; whofe circumstances did not reach affluence, but were above contempt. His father was a Deacon of the Baptist church at Kettering; and was eminent for his grace, piety, and holy converfation. He first became a member of a congregation in the fame place, confifting of Prefbyterians, Independents and Baptifts: in which congregation, befides the Paftor of it, there was a teaching Elder of the Baptift denomination, Mr William Wallis, who was the adminiftrator of Baptifm by immersion, to fuch adult perfons as defired it. For fome time this mixed congregation continued in peace and harmony: but, at length, the Baptifts were rendered unealy and uncomfortable in their communion, through the oppofition made to them by fome particular perfons. This obliged them to feparate, together with their teacher, Mr Wallis. They foon formed themfelves into a church-state, and chofe Mr Wallis for their Paftor: which was the rife and foundation of the Baptist church at Kettering.
About the time of thefe troubles, Mr EDWARD GILL, who was one of thofe that had feparated, entered into the marriage-ftate and as thofe diffentions preffed him much, and he was often revolving within himself the condition and circumstances of this little intereft and new church-ftate, lately fet up, which
which had but a small beginning; and what must be the confequence of things; he had ftrong impreffions upon his mind, that the child, his wife now became pregnant with, would be a fon, and prove of eminent service in the Baptist intereft. He was even ftrongly perfuaded, that this child would be a Minifter of the word: and he always retained a firm belief of it, when things feemed to be unpromifing. He had other impulfes, relative to his fon, and to other perfons and things; which had their exact accomplishment: and this must be acknowledged by all who knew him, that he was not a man of a fanciful and melancholy difpofition, nor given to enthusiasm.
The morning this firft-born fon of his was brought into the world, one Chambers, a Woodinan, came to his houfe with a load of faggots for fuel: and, as he was unloading his faggots, Mr GILL came out of his houfe to him, and, with a great deal of joy, told him, that he had a fon born to him that morning. At that very moment, as the Woodman affirmed, a stranger paffed by whom he never faw before, nor fince, who added, "Yes, and he will be a Scholar too, "and all the world cannot binder it." This the Woodman, who was reckoned a man of fobriety, honefty, and veracity, conftantly and confidently affirmed at different times, without variation: and even years after when inquired of concerning it; nor could he have any finifter end to avail himself of, in contriving fuch a story, and perfifting in it. However, Mr GILL's fon, as foon as he was capable of inftruction, difcovered a very great aptitude for learning, and imbibed it in as fast as it could be given: fo that he was quickly out of the reach, and in no need of a common teacher of children. He was therefore fent to the grammar school, very early; which he attended with uncommon eagerness and diligence: infomuch that he, foon, not only tranfcended his co-vals, but distanced even greatly his feniors. Here he continued until he was about eleven. years of age: during which time, notwithstanding the tedious manner in which grammatical knowledge was then conveyed, and the drudgery boys were put to in learning so many unneceffary rules; he, befides going through the common. fchool-books, read several of the chief Latin claffics, and made a confiderable proficiency in the Greek: so that he began to be talked of as a youth of Learning; and was known by several of the neighbouring Clergy, by whom he was fometimes examined at a Bookfeller's fhop (which he conftantly frequented on market-days, when only it was opened); to which he fo regularly repaired, for the fake of confulting different authors, that it became an ufual affeveration with. the common people in the town, "fuch a thing is as fure as JOHN GILL is in "the Bookfeller's fhop "."
As the fame ftudious difpofition attended him through life, fo did nearly the fame remark concerning him. Nothing was more frequent, in the mouths of those who knew him, than to use this mode of affirmation, "As furely as Dr GILL is in his study."