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The history of the Christian Church and their names will ever be emis fraught with peculiar in terest to the balmed in our affections. statesman, the philosopher, and the Wieliffe, the morning star of the divine. Viewed in its connection with reformation, diffused light and life the operations of God's moral govern- through our country, during a period ment, it involves a fuller and sublimer of extreme ignorance and apathy. The discovery of his perfections, than the Reformers of the 15th and 16th cenvastest objects in the material uni- turies, curtailing the dominant power
• Herein He has abounded of papal Rome, still further prepared towards us, in all wisdom and pru- the way for the dissemination of truth, dence.” Notwithstanding the com
and the ultimate ascendency of probined opposition of earthly, and in- testant influence. The Puritan and fernal powers, divine truth has in nonconforming fathers introduced an every age been gradually, yet effec- epoch into the religious history of our tually, working out the renovation land. Refuting the dogmas which of the human family, and hastening had for ages blinded the nation, and the accomplishment of ancient pro- crippled its moral and spiritual enerphecy, when the world shall bow gies, they unfolded the rich treasures to the
supremacy of the King of of infinite mercy, and in the face of kings, and Lord of lords. Victories the most malignant hostility, labored more brilliant, and more pregnant with unquenchable ardour for the with benevolent results, might doubt- eternal welfare of men, enduring less have been achieved had the dis- hardship as good soldiers of Jesus ciples of Jesus been faithful to their Christ. It would have been well for trust. It is, however, impossible not England, if what these holy men to admire, how in the darkest eras, commenced, had been vigorously prothe wisdom of Heaven has been de- secuted, but for some time after their veloped in raising up men of ardent day, religion was suffered to languish, piety and high mental endowments, and vast portions of the empire were to maintain the purity of the faith, involved in the profoundest darkness. and protest against the encroachment The previous gloom had been so of error and superstition. We love dense, that the efforts of the Nonconto call to mind their intrepid zeal and formists, exposed as they were to conholy magnanimity. To them under stant fines and imprisonment, had but God we owe our dearest privileges, very partially dispelled it; and their Vol. 6.- N. S.
successors, not inheriting, with but difficulties. There are few events, few exceptions, their daurtless cour- perhaps, of modern times which more age, their varied learning, and untiring strikingly illustrate this remark, than zeal, the nation, as may be supposed, those associated with the history of relapsed into a state of awful igno- the Baptist denomination for the last rance and impiety. Pulpits from century. At the period to which we which had issued the sublimest truths, have referred, when the Wesleys were delivered with impassioned earnest- attacking the strongholds of the ness, became occupied by men deny- enemy throughout the nation, the ing the fundamental verities of the Particular Baptists were fast declinGospel. The Established Clergy ing under the withering influence of were given up to almost every species Antinomianism, and those who went of vice, and infidelity, and irreligion, under the designation of General were patronised by persons possessing Baptists, were approaching the verge from their position in society, great of death. They had forsaken the influence and authority. Those who Lord Jesus, and he had given them were endowed with distinguished pow- up to strong delusions to believe a ers, felt no compassion for this wretch- lie, and Ichabod was written on their ed condition of the country, but looked sanctuaries. The former section of upon the great bulk of the community, the denomination reclaimed as a course mass of living material, through the powerful labors of Anthe mere earthly substratum of hu- drew Fuller, originally the pastor of manity, unworthy of their notice, and a small and poor church in Cam“not to be accounted of in any com- bridgeshire, but a man of strong inparison, or even relation to what man tellect, and unconquerable energy. is in his higher style."
Suspecting that there was something A brighter day was now, however, wrong in the narrow and exclusive at hand. Men, eminently qualified sentiments entertained by a great for the posts of difficulty, and of number of Churches, and feeling himhonor they were to occupy, self fettered in the discharge of the raised up in different parts of the functions of his office, Mr. Fuller enkingdom; men, whose hearts were tered into a thorough investigation of touched with the most poignant grief, the subject. With the word of God in in the contemplation of the spiritual his hand, he read, and thought, and destitution of our population. Whit- prayed, and however we may differ field and Wesley, by the fervor of from him on some points, we believe their zeal, the pointed and pungent that he admirably succeeded in recharacter of their addresses, were in- moving the vast rubbish which had strumental in exciting a deep concern been introduced into the theological for eternal things, and arousing the creed of his body, and in exhibiting British Churches from their sinful the great truths of Christianity, in slumbers. All evangelical denomi- their beautiful proportions, and benations shaking themselves from the nevolent bearing on a world lying in dust, and mourning over past negli- wickedness. Nor was it long before gence, began to move on to possess the influence of these efforts was the land.
widely felt. Churches were brought It has ever struck us that heaven to weep over their supineness, chrisin carrying on its vast and glorious tian charity began looking over the purpose, as if to humble the pride of blue waves of the ocean, towards disman, has generally selected instru- tant and heathen lands, and to yearn ments unknown to fame, men dwell- over the miseries of dying men. ing in some obscure nooks, working Though instruments were raised up their way upward through a host of whose energies were brought to bear
on the old connexion of General Yorkshire, through the ministration Baptists, yet their labors were not of Mr. Dan Taylor. He had comequally successful with those of Mr. menced his religious career among Fuller's among his friends. The evil the Methodists, but experienced the against which they had to contend, same change in relation to the ordiwas of greater magnitude, and exerted nance of baptism, as the Church at a more fearful sway. A few churches, Barton. Becoming acquainted with it is true, were reclaimed, but these several Churches in the old Connexion had never been thoroughly corrupted. of General Baptists, he most laudably This failure led in the wise providence endeavoured to arouse them from of God, to the happiest result—the their slumbers, and bring them to a formation of the New Connexion of sense of their awful defection. These General Baptists, in the year 1770. attempts, however, failed. Hearing The leading churches which united at of the Churches in the County of this period, were principally in the Leicester, which now had become nuMidland Counties, and had been merous and respectable, it was not originated under circumstances the long before Mr. Taylor commenced a most peculiar; circumstances which fraternal correspondence with them, strikingly illustrate the truth, that which issued in the event to which events the most momentous frequently reference has been made—the formaspring from causes, which, according tion of our Connexion. The men who to human calculation, appear of no were engaged in the transactions of great importance. In the building up those days, were comparatively few in of the great spiritual temple, the ex- number and despised by the world; cellency of the power must ever be of the majority of them too, were plain, God, and not of man. A pious ser
persons, but they knew and vant of the late Lady Huntingdon, loved the truth, and felt an ardent defeels that a necessity is laid
him sire to make it known to others. The to warn his fellow-men to flee from most prominent, and certainly the the wrath to come. He visits the most intellectual among them, was small village of Ratby, in the County Dan Taylor. Considering the disadof Leicester ; an inhabitant of the vantages under which he labored in name of Samuel Deacon, hears him his earlier years, it cannot but be matproclaim the unsearchable riches of ter of wonder, that he acquired such Christ, and experiences the power of varied information and became so well the grace
of God. The truth be- versed in theological science. Not comes victorious over the hearts of many years elapsed before other men others. Barton, a village in the same of no mean mental stature, appeared county is visited, and notwithstanding in the Connexion. That they were the most violent opposition, a christ- not more generally known, was simian Church is ultimately formed. ply owing
to the comparative smallThis Church after passing through a ness and obscurity of the body to variety of changes, influenced by no which they consecrated their labors. party, but yielding to the authority of It is sufficient to mention John Taydivine revelation, gives up the dogma lor, William Felkin, Robert Smith, of infant sprinkling, and imbibes the Joseph Freestone, and Thomas Pickprinciples of immersionists. From ering. In addition to these, several Barton, the glad tidings of salvation who for a considerable period were are conveyed to Melbourne, Lough their contemporaries, some of whom borough, Kegworth, Castle Doning- have but recently left the Church on ton, and several other neighbouring earth—whilst others still remaintowns and villages. About the same may be noticed. We would wish it, period, similar events transpired in however, to be understood that we have no desire to offend the delicacy most prominent themes—prejudice is of the living. Joseph Jarrom, Thos. often stronger than ten thousand arStevenson, Joseph Goadby, Thomas guments. Another cause which must Rogers, and Richard Ingham, will have retarded our progress, was a ever be held in high esteem in the dearth of men qualified for the momenConnexion as faithful ministers of tous duties of the ministry. Many Jesus Christ. They were men differ- pulpits were but occasionally supplied, ing widely from each other, but yet and in some instances it is questionaall of them were men of varied ex- ble whether the supplies obtained did cellencies, and would have been orna- not counteract, by their feebleness and ments to any denomination of christ- inadequacy to the work, the good their ians. Belonging to the same dis- labors were intended to accomplish. tinguished class, though still left Among many, too, there existed the among us, may be mentioned the in- lowest views of the ministerial office. defatigable Secretary of the Foreign Churches blessed with wealth, suffered Mission, and the venerable William their pastors, during the week, to entanPickering, of Nottingham. This is gle themselves with the affairs of this not the time to pronounce their eulo- life, in order to be able to support their gium, or it might be easily done. Suf- families. We defy any man under fice it to say, that few men have been such circumstances, successfully to so deservedly esteemed, few men have prosecute his labours as a minister of been so eminently successful in the Christ. If congregations are to hear Lord's vineyard.
something beyond barren and dry For a considerable period after the generalities, the preacher must study ; Connexion was commenced, its pro- his mind and his heart must be filled gress was far from being rapid. In with divine truth in its harmony, ampthe year 1800, thirty years after its for- litude, and majesty. Though the Bible mation, it contained but 35 churches, in one sense is a plain book, yet its 25 pastors, and 3,400 members. In doctrines and precepts are so varied, 1810, the number of the associated so associated with everything that is Churches was 53, containing 5,322 mighty in conception, both in relation members. In 1820 there were 87 to human destiny, and the developChurches, 7,673 members. Though ment of the divine perfections, that there was a gradual increase, yet it they require the undivided and concenwas but small. It may be difficult to
trated energies of the mind to bring assign the various causes for this want them forth in their native simplicity of prosperity. Some of them, how- and grandeur. It may be further obever, may be hastily noticed. There served, that there was certainly a great was for some time a lurking suspicion want of public spirit amongst us, nor in the minds of many, that the new are we sure that this evil has been Connexion was not entirely free from entirely removed. Until recently few the heterodoxy of the old; and the attempts were made to introduce the effects of this leaven were so visible cause into large towns and populous throughout the kingdom, amongst districts. Such appear to us to have several denominations, that not a few been some of the causes of the dwarfish systematically kept aloof from a body character of our success for a long which still retained the distinctive appellation, of a sect eaten up with Happily, an improved state of things Socinianism. It was in vain that our has been superinduced. The success confession of faith asserted the purest of the last twenty years has far more principles, it was in vain that our best than equalled the success of the preministers made the Deity of Christ, ceding fifty years. The minutes of and the efficacy of his sacrifice, their the last Association report 17,076
series of years.
members, nearly 22,000 children are may be well stored with general inforregularly taught in Sabbath mation, that they may be advantageousSchools, and 3,518 teachers are en- ly employed in teaching men the way gaged in this momentous work. Nor to heaven. There are spheres in which ought it to be concealed, for it is a all may move, and promote the interest fact of vital importance, that the gene- of Zion, but there have been painful ral character of our ministry, has been instances in which this important considerably raised, not a few sustain- truth has been forgotten, and the coning the sacred office, are men of va- sequences have been disappointment ried information, and well-disciplined and heart-burning. minds. The unanimity of sentiment Our Academical Institution has been also predominating among the pastors removed to the Midland Counties, and of our Churches is highly pleasing. established, it is hoped, on a permanent There
may be shades of difference in basis. Having chosen a tutor emirelation to some mysterious points, nently adapted for his office, and who which elude the grasp of the mighti
can devote the whole of his time to est intellect: but all agree, that God its duties, there can be no doubt that is in Christ, reconciling the world unto the studies of our young brethren will himself, and all can, unfettered by embrace a wider range than they have metaphysical and speculative distinc- heretofore done. Indeed, we have tions, proclaim the atonement of our been credibly informed that the plan great Redeemer, as the foundation of pursued is every way excellent and human hope, and invite perisbing sin- effective. Will the churches now exners to the Lamb of God. As the ert themselves ? The future welfare of success of the cause must materially the Connexion demands their united efdepend on our ministry, it is earnestly forts. Amongst other sections of the hoped the Churches will pay peculiar Christian Church the importance of an attention to the training of those who educated ministry is more and more are looking forward to this important felt, and the most powerful efforts are office. The first qualification is, made. Shall we ever be in the rear doubtless, the possession of vital piety, of the army of the Lord as it marches but narrow and crude must be the no- onward to the conquest of the world ? tions of the man, who supposes that Another subject which calls for our biblical knowledge can be acquired prayerful attention is the Foreign without study, and that a person is Mission. According to the exertions qualified, in this enlightened age, to we have made, no mission has been sustain the heavy responsibilities of the more abundantly blessed. But we Gospel ministry, without previous pre- want more Missionaries, and more paration. The Apostles were taught money to support them. Are there at the feet of Jesus; and who teacheth
no young men in our Churches, in our like him? It has been the fashion in academy, that will consecrate themsome places to imagine that any one selves to this department of the Lord's who can talk, however rude and igno- service ? Oh it is a glorious service! rant, may safely ascend a pulpit. It the brightest spirits with which the is impossible to say what mischief has Church has ever been blessed have been occasioned to religion by such been engaged in it. Dastardly must persons. Let it not be thought from be the soul which trembles in the prosThese remarks, that we are opposed to pect of a few difficulties. Is there what is sometimes designated the not a crown at the end of our toils preaching of lay brethren. Churches -a crown which never fades. may contain men who have devoted Greater efforts must also be made so much of their time to the study of at home. Satan maintains an undisthe word of God, and whose minds turbed dominion over a fearful portion