Doolittle, Thomas

, an eminent nonconformist, was born at Kidderminster in Worcestershire, in 1730. Having discovered an early inclination to learning, he was sent to Cambridge, and admitted of Pembroke-hall, where he studied with a view to the church, or rather to the meeting, as the church was then under the controul of the republican party. His first destination, however, was to the law, and he wont for some time to receive instructions in an attorney’s office; but his master having employed him to copy some writings on a | Sunday, he relinquished the business. It appears to have been after this that he went to the university, and having taken his degrees in arts, became a preacher. His first settlement was at St. Alphage, London-wall. This living being then vacant, Mr. Doolittle appeared as a candidate, with several others, and the parishioners preferring him, he became their pastor in 1654, and remained a very popular preacher, until 1662, when he was ejected for nonconformity. From this he removed to Moorfields, and opened a kind of boarding-school, in which he was so successful as to be obliged to hire a larger house in Bunhillfields, where he continued until the great plague, and then he removed to Woodford. After the plague abated, he returned to London, and saw it laid in ashes by the great fire. On this occasion he and some other nonconformists resumed their preaching, and were for some time unmolested. Mr. Doolittle has the credit of projecting the first meeting-house, which was a hired place in Bunhillfields, but that proving toe small, when the city began to be rebuilt, he erected a more commodious place of worship in Mugwell, or Monkwell-street, Cripplegate, which remains until this day. Here, however, he was occasionally interrupted by the magistrates, who put the laws in execution; but in 1672 he obtained a licence from Charles II. which is still suspended in the vestry-room of the meeting, and for some time continued to preach, and likewise kept an academy at Islington for the education of young men intended for the ministry among the nonconformists. On the corporation-act being passed, when his licence became useless, he was again obliged to leave London, and resided partly at Wimbledon, and partly at Battersea, where, although his house was rifled, he escaped imprisonment. At the revolution he was enabled to resume his ministry in Monkwell-street, and here he closed the public labours of fifty-three years, on May 24, 1707^ the seventyseventh year of his age. Much of this time was spent in writing his various works, many of which attained a high degree of popularity; as, 1. “A Treatise concerning the Lord’s Supper,1665, 12mo, which has perhaps been oftener prii ted than almost any book on that subject. 2. “Directions how to live after a wasting plague” (that of London), 1666, 8vo. 3. “A Rebuke for Sin, by God’s burning anger” (alluding to the great Fire). 4. “The Young Man’s Instructor, and the Old Man’s | Remembrancer,” 1673, 8vo. 5. “A Call to delaying Sinners,1683, 12mo, of which there have been many editions. 6. “A Complete Body of Practical Divinity,” fol. 1723, &c. &c. His son, Samuel, was settled as a dissenting minister at Reading, where-he died in 1717. 1


Calamy. Funeral Sermon by Williams, and Funeral Sermon on his son by Waters. Memoirs prefixed to his Body of Practical Divinity.