Thomas Hill, D. D.—This learned divine was born at Kington in Worcestershire, and educated in Emanuel coliege, Cambridge, where he was chosen fellow. He made great progress in learning, was a man of most exemplary piety, and exceedingly beloved and admired. Having finished his studies at the university, he sojourned some time, for his further improvement, with Mr. John Cotton, of Boston in Lincolnshire; the benefit of whose society, example, and instructions, he never lost to the day of his death. He afterwards returned to Cambridge, became an excellent tutor, and a very popular and useful preacher in the church of St. Andrews. When the plague raged in the place, and multitudes fled from their stations, he still continued in the work of the Lord. As the good shepherd of Christ's flock, he did not flee when danger approached. Upon his removal from the university, he \va» chosen pastor of the church of Tichmarch in Northamptonshire; where he continued a constant, faithful, and useful preacher about nine years. Here he was highly esteemed by the Earl of Warwick, in whose family he became acquainted with Mrs. Willford, governess to the earl's daughter, whom he afterwards married.
In the year 1640, when the committee of accommodation was appointed by the house of lords, to consider the innovations in religion, Dr. Hill, with several bishops and other learned divines, was chosen a member of the sub-committee, to prepare materials for their debate.t In 1(543, he was chosen one of the assembly of divines; he constantly attended; and, by his great learning and moderation, was particularly useful in all their deliberations. The year following he was chosen one of the committee for the examination and
• Wood'i Athena Oxon. Toi. i. p. 807.—Wilkin:'* Discourse on Preaching, p. 88,83. Edit. 1679.
t Kingdom's MS. Codec, p. 200, 201.
ordination of public preachers; and in 1645, when the committee of accommodation was revived by order of parliament, he was appointed one of its learned members.* He preached frequently before the house of parliament, and wa» chosen morning lecturer at the Abbey church, Westminster. He preached every Lord's day at St. MartinVin the Fields, "where," it is observed, "his labours were made a blessing to many thousands."* He was a divine universally celebrated for learning and ability; and therefore was appointed master of Emanuel college, Cambridge, and afterwards of Trinity college, in the same university. Here he employed all his talents and zeal in the advancement of sound learning and
fenuine piety, and in the observance of college exercises. Ir. Henry Oatland, afterwards one of the ejected ministers, who was one" of his pupils, observes, "that he derived unspeakable advantage from Dr. Hill's plain but excellent method of preaching Christ."$ He was twice chosen vicechancellor, and was particularly concerned to preserve the ■ honour and privileges of the university.
Dr. Hill was a divine sound in the faith, and firmly attached to the doctrinal articles of the church of England. He considered unconditional election, salvation by grace, justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ, and the final perseverance of believers, not as points of dry speculation or vain curiosity, but as prominent doctrines of scripture, and the very life of true christian faith. What he believed he constantly practised through life, and found its unspeakable comforts in truth. During his last sickness, being exceedingly afflicted with a quartan ague, he found much joy and Seace in believing. 1 he distinguishing love of God in Christ esus was the foundation of his confidence and happiness. Being asked, just before his departure, whether he enjoyed peace w ith God, he cheerfully replied, " Through the mercy of God in Christ my peace is made, and I quietly rest in it." He died much lamented, December 18, 1653. He was a divine eminent for humility and holiness, an excellent and useful preacher, and of great learning and moderation; but no friend to arminianism.$ He used to lay his hand upon his breast, and say, " Every true christian hath something here, that will frame an argument against arminianism."|| This learned and pious divine has not escaped the reproachful insinuations of Dr. Grey. Mr. Neal having specified hi* preferments, the doctor adds, " but how deserving this gentleman was of these preferments, his works sufficiently testify:' and theu, to prove what he insinuates, he cites Dr. Hill's words, delivered on public occasions, as follows:—" That we may have an incorrupt religion, without sinful, without guileful mixtures; not a linsey-woolsey religion: all new-born babes will desire word-milk, servnon-milk, without guile, without adulterating sophistication of it.—What pity it is that cathedral societies, which might have been colleges of learned presbyters for feeding and ruling of city churches, and petty academies to prepare pastors for neighbouring places, should be often sanctuaries for nonresidents, and be made nurseries to many such drones, who can neither preach, nor pray, otherwise than read, say, or sing their prayers, and in the mean time, truth must be observed in a non-edifying poinp of ceremonious services.—Behold, with weeping eyes, the many hundred congregations in the kingdom, where millions of souls are like to perish for want of vision. Truth is. sold from among them, either by soul-betrayiug nonresidents, soul-poisoning innovators, or soul-pining dry nurses. In many places the very image of jealousy, the idol of the mass, is set up; yea, the comedy of the mass is acted, because she wanteth the light of truth to discover the wickedness and folly of it. In many miles, not a minister that can preach and live sermons. I wish every parliament-man hadamapof the soul-misery of the most of the ten thousand churches and chapels in England.
• Papers of Accommodation, p. 13.
t Clark's "Lives annexed to Martyrologie, p. 230, 831.
t Calamy's Contin. vol. ii. p. 885. d Clark's Lives, p. 833.
jj Firmin'i Real Christian, p. 86. Edit. 1670.
"In the stead of the high commission," says he, " which was a soul-scourge to many godly and faithful ministers, we have an honourable committee, that turns the wheel upon such as are scandalous and unworthy. In the room of Jeroboam's priests, burning aud shining lights are multiplied in some dark places of the land, which were full of the habitations of cruelty. In the place of a long liturgy, we are n\ hopes of a pithy directory. lustead of prelatical rails about the table, we have the scripture rails of church discipline in great forwardness. Where popish altars and crucifixes did abound, we begin to see more of Christ crucified in the simplicity and purity of his ordinances. Instead of the prelates' oath, to establish their own exorbitant power, with appurtenances, we have a solemn league and covenant with God, engaging us to endeavour reformation, according to his word; yea, and the extirpation of popery and prelacy itself."* Wc, make no comment upon these expressions, but leave the pious reader to form his own opinion of the ungenerous insinuations of the zealous churchman. Dr. Hill was author of a number of pieces, chiefly sermons before the parliament.
* Crej's Eiara. of Neal, Toi. ii. p. 158, 159.
His Works.—1. The Trade of Truth Advanced, in a Sermon to the Honourable House of Commons, at their solemn Fast, July 27, 1642—1642—2. The Militant Church Triumphant over the Dragon and his Angels, preached to both Houses of Parliament, July 21, 1643—1643.—3. The Season for England's Self-Reflection, and Advancing Temple-Work, iu a Sermon before the Houses of Parliament, August 13, 1644, being an extraordinary Day of Humiliation, 1644.—4. The Right Separation Encouraged, preached to the House of Lords, November 27, 1644, being the Day of their monthly public Fast, 1644.