by James Culross, from The Northamptonshire Nonconformist, July 1897
REYNOLD HOGG appears to have been born in the vicinity of London in 1752. He attended school at Mr. Browns, Wandsworth Common. He says, “Till about the age of fourteen I was nearly as ignorant as the brutal part of creation. I wandered in mazes of ignorance, folly, and sin; a stranger to prayer and to everything of a devotional kind dead in trespasses and sins. The first strong impressions of religion on his mind were occasioned by reading “Alleines Alarm to the Unconverted.” A very marked change then took place in his mind; he began to pray, to read the Scriptures, and to listen earnestly to the preaching of the Word. He and some of his schoolfellows held meetings for prayer and were truly converted to God. From that period he longed to be engaged in his future life in the minis-try of the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. On leaving school he was bound apprentice to his cousin, Mr. P. Hogg, a wholesale linen draper. All the seven years of his apprentice ship his inclination still carried him towards the Christian ministry.
When his apprenticeship was ended, he proceeded to an academy at Heckmondwike, under Mr. Scott, to prepare for the ministry. It was a happy time to him, and he enjoyed a high degree of satisfaction, joy, and peace. He found Mr. Scott, his tutor, very kind and indulgent, and he had a good deal of practice in preaching, with some acceptance. After a time lie was invited to settle at Holmfirth, near Huddersfield. While still in the academy he used to preach all round the country, in workhouses, in private houses, in chapels, in barns, in streets, and the open air. He preached with great earnestness and with some good effect by the blessing of God accompanying the word. From the academy lie went by Mr. Scotts advice to Oulton, in Norfolk, facing the storms from the German Ocean. Here he settled at the pressing and unanimous invitation of the Church and congregation. Here he continued six years and had the joy of seeing many conversions and additions to the church. But indifferent health and some unpleasant occurrences in the church led him to remove to Oundle, in the county of Northampton. Oundle, on the north side of the Nene, was then a neat market town almost surrounded by the river which here makes a horseshoe bond. It contained an almshouse and free Grammar School, erected and endowed by the beneficence of Sir William Laxton, a native of the place, and Lord Mayor of London. There was also a charity school, founded and endowed by Nicholas Latham, and a guild for the reception of sixteen aged women, who received a weekly allowance for their support. The population was close on 2,000 in Hoggs day and the church was small. He continued in Oundle about three years. At the end of three years he removed to Stourport, in Worcestershire, intending to supply there for a short time only, but his stay was considerably prolonged beyond his intentions. At Stourport, invitations reached him from Thrapston, to which place he at length removed, where he ministered seventeen years. He was “minister” of the Thrapston church when the Missionary Society was formed and in 1798 he was settled as their first pastor. The population of the village was then under 700.
The Act of Uniformity, 1662, had deprived Thrapston of its rector. But some time after, a house was registered for Nonconformist worship, in which it is known that Dr. Ryland sometimes preached. In 1787 a chapel was opened bearing this inscription on its front
THIS PLACE OF WOR5HIP WA5 BUILT BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION A D 1787 FOR THE PROMULGATION OF THE GO5PEL OF JESUS CHRIST.
A curious printed document, something in the nature of a brief, preserved among the Church records, was issued in March, 1788 (it is dated March 27th, 1788), on behalf of the “Protestant Dissenting Congregation at Thrapston.” “Three or four years ago,” it says, “a person of fortune dying at Thrapston left by will duly executed a legacy of fifty pounds towards building a meeting for publick worship. To this another offered to add fifty more, and a third agreed to fund a considerable sum, the annual produce of which was to he paid toward the support of several churches, of which Thrapston was to be one, if a minister and a settlement could be procured. Emboldened by such unexpected encouragement, and fully persuaded of the justice and goodness of the undertaking, the Thrapston dissenters agreed to form themselves into a christian church according to their best notions of the new testament economy, and they subscribed a hundred and fifty pounds towards erecting a place of worship, with a view to improve and perfect the plan, which their pious predecessors had been obliged through the intolerance of the times to leave incomplete. In pursuance of their design they have, by the advice and assistance of friends both in town and country, purchased a close, and a house for a minister, and erected a meeting, which was opened this day by Mr. Robinson of Cambridge in the presence of a large assembly, and many ministers, and they trust with a reasonable prospect of success. They disallow all human authority in matters of religion. They think the government of conscience a prerogative of God. They hold the new testament a perfect rule of faith and practice, the guide of life, and the ground of hope. They expect the affection and prayers of their fellow christians, and they resolve, by the grace of their heavenly Father, to honour all men, to love the brotherhood, to fear God, to honour the king, and to follow the steps of Jesus Christ, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.”
Fifteen Nonconformist leaders endorsed the Thrapston Broad sheet. “As the Subscription above mentioned falls short of the expense (in which however we discover no imprudence) and as of course the trustees for the house at Thrapston are obliged to solicit the assistance of their fellow christians. We the undersigned, knowing the premises to be true, do earnestly recommend this case as one most deserving of encouragement.”
Robt. Robinson, Chesterton, Camb. Will. Bull, Newport Pagnell, Bucks. Sam. Bacon, Ashley, Northampton. Andrew Fuller, Kettering, Northampton. Joshua Nickolls, Kimbolton, Hunt. George Birley, St. Ives, Hunt. John Curwen, Fenstanton, Hunt. Alexander Payne, Walgrave, Northampton. John West, Carlton, Bedford. Reynold Hogg. Oundle, Northampton. Tho. Thomas, Wellingborough, Northamp. — Edwards, Northampton. John Horsey, Northampton. Abraham Greenwood, Oakham, Rutland. Tho. N. Toller, Kettering, Northampton.
It was long after this – not until March 13th, 1797, that the Church was formed. On that day eight persons, of whom Reynold Hogg and his devoted wife were two, “gave themselves to each other and to the Lord in Church fellowship.”The entry in the Church book is as follows:
“Thrapston 13th March 1797
“After many and earnest prayers to God, and many meetings for Consultation and en-treating direction from above; receiving also the advice and concurrence of those members of the Society met together with us at a Vestry Meeting. We whose unworthy names are underwritten, have agreed to unite together in the Bonds of the Gospel, hoping that we are actuated by the spirit and love of God; desirous of walking in all the Ordinances and Commands of the Lord, having a particular regard both to the will and the glory of the great Head of the Church.
“We thus solemnly give up ourselves to one another as we hope we have first given our selves up to the Lord himself, affectionately uniting together as loving members we hope of Jesus Christ the living head; upon whom alone we depend for every needful supply of grace, whose gracious presence we entreat among us, and from whose dear hands we humbly expect to receive the crown of eternal life. Into his hands we commit ourselves to be continually kept by Him. Signed by the following:
Reynold Hogg John Joseph Stevenson Anne Hogge Isaac Sutcliffe Alice Palmer her mark X William Collier Robert Bateman Sarah Barfield.”
Directly afterwards, at the same gathering, twenty-three articles of faith and worship were adopted by the Church, and signed by the same eight members.
What Hoggs special qualifications were for being chosen as treasurer of the Missionary Society I do not know, but wealth was not ono of them. His income from the Church was £40 per annum; with which income he laboured for seventeen years with constancy and regularity and considerable success. Both Oundle and Thrapston became centres of evangelisation from which the word of God “sounded out.” In a book on “Personal Religion” (1819) dedicated to the Inhabitants of the Town and Neighbourhood of Thrapston, where he resided twenty years, viz. seventeen years at Thrapston and three at Oundle, and more especially to each of the Churches and congregations to which he has ministered, he “reflects with gratitude on the mercy that has enabled him for upwards of forty years with some degree of faithfulness, yet in much weakness, to proclaim the Everlasting Gospel, though sometimes in the midst of considerable difficulties and in the face of much opposition; and having obtained help of God, to continue to the present day. . . With no small satisfaction he looks back on his long, affectionate, and, he trusts, not unprofitable connection with his friends both at Thrapston and Oundle. With peculiar pleasure, he retraces by recollection, the many excursions he made into the villages round Thrapston, and more especially to one on the borders of Huntingdonshire, where he first introduced the Gospel by preaching in a barn, and afterwards in a private house; but where a neat chapel has since been erected and a Church formed.”
He proved his deep interest in the Missionary Society by contributing two guineas out of his small income, and was appointed by his brethren to deliver the address to the Leicester Church at the designation of Carey and Thomas as missionaries. He continued to retain his pastorate at Thrapston till 1807, when he wrote the following characteristic letter:
To the Church,
“Dear Brethren and Sisters,
“For various reasons and under some very painful feelings I have long wished to leave Thrapston. I had some thoughts of mentioning this at the last church meeting, but I was fearful, if the report had been propagated, as it soon would, I should have found it difficult to dispose of my house to my mind. I can only say at present, that for nearly 17 years, I have been earnestly labouring to promote the cause of God among you, and this has been no small part of my life. The future prospects here, from a variety of circumstances, appear so gloomy in my apprehension, as to induce me, after much earnest prayer to God, on this account, to give you notice that I intend, if my life is spared till then, to relinquish my charge in this place, at Lady Day next.
“I am, yours sincerely, “Thrapstone, “Reynold Hogg.” “Oct. 30, 1807.”
“I might just add, this resolution of mine has been formed in the most serious, deliberate way, and after even years of earnest prayer to God for direction.”
From Thrapston he moved to Ryegate in Surrey, where he laboured for five years amidst violent persecution. There was little evidence of good being wrought. He was heartily glad at length to leave the place, “in consequence of some remarkable circumstances in providence.”
Being quite unsettled he was induced by a friends advice to purchase a house at Stonely, near Kimbolton, where he assisted Mr. Nickols two years. It was while here that he published a small volume on “Personal Religion,” which passed through three editions, 1819, 1821, and 1838. Here too he issued vol. i. of “Short and Familiar Sermons on the Person and Offices of our blessed Redeemer” and “Supports for the Timorous Christian in the Prospect of Death,” which passed through two editions. A posthumous volume of select sermons was afterwards published, entitled “A Farewell Voice from the Tomb.” These works do not indicate much compass or depth of thought, but they are plain, devout, earnest, and unpretending, and doubtless would he acceptable at the time. ” Lately I have been preaching at Keysoe, in consequence of the death of my dear brother Brown; here I have been employed nearly two years, but now am laid aside by bodily weakness and infirmities, and am forbidden, at present, to engage in public service, except in an occasional way.” When the Jubilee of the Baptist Missionary Society was celebrated in 1842, at Kettering, he was 90 years of age; but, though feeble and ill, he was wheeled on to the platform, the sole survivor of those who had been present at the formation of the Mission. Eleven months afterwards, he passed away and was buried in the chapel at Thrapston in the aisle by the pulpit steps. A tablet is erected with this inscription
This Tablet is erected by a beloved wife in remembrance of The Rev. Reynold Hogg the first Pastor of the Church in this place whose earthly remains are deposited in the vault beneath. With clear and consistent views of the Divine Truth united with simplicity and affection in enforcing them as well as by a holy and benevolent life he recommended those truths with considerable acceptance and success during a pastorate of 17 years. He was the first treasurer of the Baptist Missionary Society formed at Kettering in 1792. Ho was zealous in promoting its interests and by his liberality contributed to its prosperity. After a long and exemplary life, he died in the faith and hope of the Gospel, September 14th 1843; aged 91 years. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. O Death where is thy sting? O Grave where is thy victory Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory! through our Lord Jesus Christ. Also the remains of Ann Hogg, the affectionate relict of the Rev. Reynold Hogg who died August 9th, 1849; in the 80th year of her age. Precious in the sight of the Lord is death of his Saints. They die in Jesus, and are blessd How sweet their slumbers are; From sufferings and from sins, released, And free from every snare.
His interest in the Mission was deep and lively to the close. In 1810, he gave a donation of £50 to its funds, and left a legacy of £90 to it at his death.