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The will of Mr. Hulse opens in a strain of fervent and undissembled piety, and refers in a mingled tone of gratitude and resignation to the mercies and miseries of a lengthened life. It speaks the undisguised language of his heart, as if he were already in the presence of his Maker, and places his dependence for resurrection and joy, where alone the solid and reasonable confidence of a sinner can be placed, on the merits and mediation of a blessed Redeemer. begins:
Amen. I, JOHN
"In the name of God, HULSE, of Elworth, in the county and diocese of Chester, clerk, and once a member of the College of Saint John the Evangelist, in Cambridge, though at this time in a very infirm state of health, and for many years past afflicted with the stone, and the most acute and extreme pain, yet of sound mind, memory and understanding (praised be the great and gracious Author of my being for this and for all his other undeserved mercies), on a due consideration of the certainty of death, and the uncertain time thereof, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following. And first, I desire, with the deepest reverence and submission, to resign my soul into the hands of Almighty God, the greatest and best of beings, whenever his all-wise providence shall
call for it, humbly relying (through the gracious influence of his Holy Spirit) on the merits, mediation and satisfaction, of his blessed Son Jesus Christ, our only Saviour and Redeemer, for the forgiveness of my sins, and a glorious immortality: And my body I commend to the grave, to be interred in such manner as I shall by a note under my hand, in writing, direct, and for want thereof, in a decent but private manner, at the discretion of my executors. And as to such worldly estate as it has pleased the divine goodness so graciously of late years to bless me with, I do order and dispose of the same in the following manner."
Having thus poured out and relieved the feelings of his mind before God, he proceeds to devise his estates to various persons and purposes; but that with which alone I am at present concerned is the part in which he speaks of the foundation and labours of the Christian Preacher, which he thus solemnly and seriously introduces to our notice, as a plan which he had long anu maturely meditated:
“It was always,” says he, “my humble and
It is not, perhaps, unworthy of remark, that Mr. Hulse cancelled several legacies, because the individuals to whom they were bequeathed, had afterwards fallen into immoral habits.
earnest desire and intention, that the following donation and devise should be founded, as much as possible, upon the plan of that profoundly learned and successful inquirer into Nature, and most religious adorer of Nature's God, I mean the truly great and good (as well as honourable) Robert Boyle, esquire, who has added so much lustre and done equal service, both by his learning and his life, to his native country and human nature, and to the cause of Christianity and truth."
No example more useful or excellent could possibly have been selected by any one for his imitation, than that of the sincere Christian and sound philosopher whom Mr. Hulse has here placed before our view; nor could he have employed terms of more unpretending piety to mark the heartfelt seriousness of his own intentions in the same venerable cause.
"To the promoting," therefore, "in some degree a design so worthy of every reasonable creature," he proceeds to the appropriation of certain rents, for the appointment, under certain conditions, of a clergyman and graduate of the University of Cambridge, to deliver and to print
Those conditions are, that he shall be a Master of Arts and under forty years of age.
twenty Sermons every year, either upon the evidences of Christianity, or the difficulties of Holy Scripture, or both. But, perhaps, it will be better, first of all, to transcribe the Founder's own words, and then add a few remarks upon the utility of the plan they prescribe.
"To shew the evidence for revealed religion, and to demonstrate, in the most convincing and persuasive manner, the truth and excellence of Christianity, so as to include, not only the prophecies and miracles, general and particular, but also any other proper or useful arguments, whether the same be direct or collateral proofs of the Christian religion, which he may think fittest to discourse upon, either in general or particular, especially the collateral arguments, or else any particular article or branch thereof; and chiefly against notorious infidels, whether atheists or deists, not descending to any particular sects or controversies, so much to be lamented amongst Christians themselves, except some new or dangerous error, either of superstition or enthusiasm, as of Popery or Methodism shall arise; in which case, only, it may be necessary, for that time, to write and preach against the same." Such are the liberal
Ten are to be delivered in April, May, and June. The remaining ten, in September October, and November.
and comprehensive terms in which the Founder has described one portion of the duties of the Christian Preacher. With regard to the other, he is equally judicious, and directs, that he "shall take for his subject, some of the most difficult texts or obscure parts of Holy Scripture, such, I mean, as may appear to be more generally useful or ne cessary to be explained, and which may best admit of such a comment or explanation, without presuming to pry too far into the profound secrets or awful mysteries of the Almighty."
The first observation which we are unavoidably led to make upon this sketch is an expression of approbation, at the free and extended range of inquiry which it leaves to the Preacher's choice. It does not confine his labours to any one particular branch of theology, but leaves the whole science open to his investigation, and thus gives full scope for the exertion of every individual's understanding, upon that subject, with which hé is best acquainted, or which he may find it most congenial to his feelings to pursue. To convince men of the truth of their religion, is the primary end of all our endeavours. A second and not less important object, is, to instruct them clearly and thoroughly in its nature and obligations. Both these ends are here amply provided for; the former, by directing our attention to a statement of the proofs of Revelation; the latter, by requiring