Philip Doddridge was grandson of one John Doddridge of England, the latter of whom had been ejected from the established church by the Act of Uniformity in 1662. His mother's father also suffered for conscience sake, these two being a treasured heritage by Philip. But for a concerned soul, the young life might have been snuffed out, for one biographer records: "At his birth, he shewed so little sign of life that he was laid aside as dead. But one of the attendants, thinking she perceived some motion, or breath, took that necessary care of him, on which, in those tender circumstances, the feeble frame of life depended, which was so near expiring as soon as it was kindled." The twentieth child of his mother, she taught him the history of the Old and New Testaments ere he could read, shaping his lifelong destiny, an act he oft encouraged others to model.
Though orphaned at an early age, we find a description of his early teens: "He was remarkable for his piety and diligent application to learning." From the orphanage, pursuit of further studies was dismal. Having received an offer of aid to study law, the lad sought the guidance of the heavenly Father; while he yet prayed, another offer came, providing for his aid in study of the ministry. He testified, "While I live, I shall always adore so seasonable an interposition."
This historical account is taken from the Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs hymnal, song 808, copyright 2018, all rights reserved.
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