Page images

of four years.

and be spent. At Barnard Castle he and encompassed with difficulties, did laboured with his beloved and venerable Mr. Jackson prosecute his ministry with colleague, as a son with a father, with great patience and devotedness, and won the most perfect harmony, for a period for himself the esteem and affection of a

There he was highly large circle of friends. respected by a numerous circle of friends, During his residence at Walsall, his who fully appreciated his excellences, attention was directed by a beloved and who to this day cherish a fervent ministerial friend, then in Nova Scotia, regard for his memory.

to the Colonies, as a very inviting and By the united labours of these two urgent sphere of usefulness. This, for servants of Christ, a congregation and a time, laid hold of the sympathies, and church of our order were established in possessed the heart, of our friend; and the important village of Staindrop; and steps were taken by a church in Nova as soon as the friends of the infant Scotia to secure his services. But events cause there were able to invite the ser- occurring over which he had no convices of a settled pastor, Mr. Jackson trol, he was led to relinquish the idea was urged to take the oversight of them of going to the Colonies, and decided to in the Lord. He accepted their call, remain in his native land. In these and laboured amongst them with great circumstances, having, with a view of ability, wisdom, and usefulness. “The going abroad, resigned his charge at hand of the Lord was with them, and Walsall, and his health being consider. many believed and turned to the Lord;" ably impaired, he went to reside amongst and some who had lived to a very ad his friends in Sheffield. The people of vanced age, became monuments of God's Mount Zion Chapel in that town, being converting grace, and were gathered in need of supplies for their pulpit, ininto the church; and pastor and people vited Mr. Jackson to preach for them. were led, in adoring wonder and grati. This led to a desire for his permanent tude, to exclaim, “ Are not these brands services; and in June, 1845, he entered plucked out of the burning ?" And in upon his duties as the pastor of that that village, to this day, not a few who people; and there, until December, 1847, were brought to God through his minis- he continued to discharge those duties try, and others who by his means were with zeal, fidelity, and devotedness. confirmed and strengthened in the faith, He was subsequently invited to take think and speak of him with the liveliest charge of the Congregational church of gratitude.

Northallerton, and commenced his laSoon after his settlement at Staindrop, bours there, with cheering prospects of our beloved friend was united in mar success, in April, 1848. riage to Miss Law, of Sheffield, who His ministry at Northallerton, though proved to him a most devoted and in- but of short duration, was by no means valuable partner. She still survives to the least interesting part of his useful mourn the loss of the best of husbands; | lise. He was peculiarly fitted to enter and her present position-left with eight upon a sphere which hitherto had been fatherless children, the major part of anything but prosperous. His solid whom have to be sustained by her own judgment and winning manners, bis efforts-presents a strong claim to the profound acquaintance with human nasympathy and aid of the friends of the ture, and his rich experience in Divine widow and the fatherless.

things, his manly method of dealing The next sphere of labour undertaken with every subject, his urbanity and by our departed friend, was Walsall, in decision, gave him an influence that Staffordshire. There, in connexion with enabled him to guide and govern the a cause somewhat low and depressed, people at his own pleasure. They will

ingly yielded to their spiritual ruler, ( to die. His work was done. From henceand became a remarkably harmonious, forth, sickness and suffering were his united, and devoted people. The cause portion, though the painful result was had begun to revive, and gave promise not suspected. Medical skill was equally of much increase; for his influence and blinded and baffled. Hopes of his reworth were felt and acknowledged covery were entertained till within a few throughout the town and neighbour- hours of his death, which occurred Fehood; so that, had his valuable life been bruary 20th, 1849. It was a severe stroke, spared, the likelihood is, that through and only mitigated from the fact, that as his instrumentality a great change would he had lived so he died. The conflict have been effected in favour of those was sharp, but the issue blessed. He principles which were especially dear to gazed one momenton a distressed family, his heart. But all came to an abrupt and a sorrowing flock-the next moment close. His last month of labour was he was a glorified spirit. fraught with the deepest interest. In The melancholy event excited much December, 1848, he went to Sheffield, interest. A widow with eight fatherless to vote in the interest of Sir Culling children, all under seventeen years of Eardley. On his return, he spent three age, furnished a subject of appeal to the days with one of his earliest and most sympathy of the church which could attached friends, near Halifax, for whom, not be withheld. Prompt and liberal on the Sabbath, he preached twice. The was the response. His own people and following Sabbath he preached on be the surrounding neighbourhood acted half of the Sunday-schools at the Inde nobly; whilst from Birmingham, Walpendent chapel, Thirsk. During that sall, Sheffield, Durham, Staindrop, Barweek he attended several public meet- nard Castle, Sunderland, Newcastle, &c., ings. In the following week he laid the substantial proof was given of the estifoundation-stone of a new Independent mation in which this man of God was chapel, and delivered an address at | beld. Thus far the bereaved family Gainford, into which village he had in- have been sustained; and proof is not troduced the gospel twenty years before. wanting that his prayers, instructions, He had several other public engage- and example will live in those who shall ments before him, but he returned home call their father's God blessed.


(To the Editor of the EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE.) Sir,—No attentive observer of what | blown Popery, or pass into the other is going on in the religious world, can extreme of scepticism, and utter rejecfail to be struck with the rapid transition of the word of truth; and grief, to tions of opinion which are daily taking behold many, of whom better things place; and if he be a really Christian might reasonably have been expected, observer, astonishment and grief will thus led away. be the prevailing emotions of his mind; Such an observer, deeply interested astonishment at the infatuation which in the vindication of truth, is led to possesses those who, wilfully departing ask, How can these things be? How from the truth, and taking up with the is it possible, that men of deep thought, puerile inanities of Tractarianism, well-stored minds—and many of them, mergo, by a natural sequence, into full as far as human observation can pene

trate, apparently men of earnest devo. science by disowning, on the one hand, tion-become thus deluded to believe a the doctrines to which these formularies lie, and lay hold upon that as truth obviously point, and by defending, on which is utterly repugnant to the word the other, the formularies themselves : of truth itself, mixing up with it their this is tampering both with truth and own conceits, and eventually rejecting with conscience; and how can any but it altogether?

the most disastrous consequences arise By what strange mental process is from such a system of sophistry and all this brought about? I believe the equivocation? Need we be surprised whole may be summed up in one very at the way in which they are continudistinct answer - Departure from the ally developing themselves, in the desimplicity that is in Christ.

fection of so many of the members of This was the first step towards the the Church of England to that of Rome? great apostasy even in the apostolic Well may we be warned how we tamper period; it worked with deadly effect in with the principles of Divine truth, after ages, until darkness covered the even in those things which appear to earth, and gross darkness the people; be of minor importance; for such things and it has been the fruitful source of assume an importance which, until the various hindrances to the progress these days of sifting, did not appear to of the Reformation in this country. attach to them. Something of man's invention, left or Now, the mind of man is naturally added here and there, with the view to given to that which is imposing in exconciliate prejudice, or to adorn that terior; and every false system of reliwhich commends itself to every right gion employs some kind of machinery of mind, solely by its own beautiful sim- this character, to work upon the imaplicity, and utter absence of all art or gination, either in the way of gorgeous effort at effect ;-this has served as a show, ceremonial, austere observanco, nucleus for error and superstition to or self-inflicted penance; but are any gather round, and engender amongst of these characteristic of the religion the reformed, fresh departures from of the Saviour? Under the Old Testatruth.

ment dispensation, God was 'pleased to The Gospel of the Grace of God typify the purity and glory of His kingstands alone, like the Saviour's charac. dom by a ceremonial law and ritual, ter, “ majestic in its own simplicity;" adapted specially to that purpose: but and he who attempts to encumber it when He came who was in Himself the with the vain devices of man, receives fulfilment of all that had gone before, his reward as they do, who, sowing to an end was at once and for ever put to the flesh, of the flesh reap corruption; all external display, and henceforth the and the very attempts which such a man kingdom of God was not a matter of is perpetually called upon to make to de observation, nor was it meat and drink, fend that which is indefensible upon nor was it of this world.

“ The kingany principle of the New Testament, dom of God," said the Saviour,“ is have a delusive effect upon his mind, within your" it is “ righteousness, and rendering him less disposed to receive peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," the truth, in the love of it, and more -the progressive development of His and more accessible to error. This own beautiful and blessed character in peculiarly the case with those who, the human heart; beholding, as in a while they are tied down by subscrip- glass, the glory of the Lord, His people tion to certain formularies, from the are to be changed into the same image, spirit of which, in their consciences they from glory to glory. differ, are compelled to violate con- Now, let those who really profess and

[ocr errors]

call themselves Christians (I mean fol- / gered, if not irreparably injured ? Do lowers of the Lord Jesus Christ) at the we not see in the pursuits and amusepresent day, look at this picture; and ments which too many follow, much with the fact before them, that in no which the word of truth condenins, and single instance did the Saviour or His little which distinguishes them from apostles give the slightest encourage the absolutely worldly? Can we, upon ment to vain display, but, on the con- Christian principle, looking at the extrary, constantly promulgated the oppo- travagant pitch to which (what is called) site principle, that “ all that is in the mediæval architecture in places of worworld, the lust of the flesh, and the lust ship has been carried in the Church of of the eye, and the pride of life, is not England, and knowing the spirit which of the Father, but of the world,” let has given rise to it, say, that this inthem put this question to themselves dicates a satisfactory state of things in candidly, and with a sincere desire to that church in which so large a number be led by the truth-Is all we see of her ministers are exhiting a tendency around

us, in what is called the religious to Popish dogma and ceremonial—wbich world, of a character which answers to is daily sending over new subjects to the impressions we should imbibe of the “Roman obedience?” Can we then, what our Lord and His apostles meant? with a single eye to the glory of God, Supposing we had no preconceived no the exaltation of the Saviour, the extions to mislead the judgment, should tension of His kingdom, and our own we, with the New Testament alone as lowliness of heart, simplicity, and godly our guide, say that the practice of the sincerity, and eventual meetness for great body of professing Christians at the heavenly inheritance, advocate or this time is consistent with that of holy encourage the ostentatious display in men of old, as therein described ? The matters connected with Christian worgeneral habits of numbers who profess ship, and the preaching of the gospel, vital Christianity, their style of living, which now seems so much to occupy dress, amusements, and conversation ; the attention of the religious world?

the books they read, and the pursuits Is it right that those who make Scrip

which they follow ;-in all these particu- | ture their guide, and profess to have no lars do they not sail much nearer to the other, should thus exhibit tendencies world than to the precepts and ex which the New Testament not only amples we find in the New Testament? | does not encourage, but everywhere conIs there not a feeling of rivalry in demns? We are fallen upon times in matters of outward appearance, which which surely it is needful for those who seems to be dąily taking possession of profess a pure and unadulterated Chrispeople's minds, and which, destructive | tianity, to exhibit it to the world in all as it is of spirituality of mind as regards its own intrinsic truth, majesty, and temporal things, is infinitely more so in purity. Why, then, should those bodies relation to Christian practice ?

of Christians, which profess to abhor Can we defend, upon any Christian the practices of Rome, and dissent from principle, the vain-glorious show and those of the Church of England, idenostentation of a large portion of the tify themselves with practices which professing Christian community, living degrade their profession of the gospel, too frequently beyond their means, and by disclosing their own want of configoing out of their depth in worldly dence in its power and efficacy to mainspeculation, to their own shame and the tain its position and pursue its course, ruin of others; while, even supposing unaided by those arts which Popery all goes right in temporal matters, their invented, and the handmaid of Popery own spiritual state is greatly endan. is imitating, and endeavouring to per

petuate, in this Protestant country ? | sion in spirituality will follow ? and if Why, at this crisis, when the people of our old Christians and old ministers God are more than ever called upon should, by the grace of God, escape this, to maintain the simplicity of His word are not our young people in great danof truth, should Dissenters be found ger of imbibing a spirit which is invying with each other to produce the compatible with the growth of the word best specimens of ecclesiastical edifices? of truth in their hearts? We may, as How is it that the Dissenting journals some have imagined, maintain our hold teem with reports of splendid buildings, upon the opulent and influential, by in terms scarcely distinguishable from indulging their taste for the beautiful those we meet with in Tractarian pub- and sublime (though I much doubt lications, while all around us questions whether it will not act as a preparative are agitated about the propriety or im- for higher views on these subjects, and propriety of steeples, bells, painted win- send them into higher places to seek for dows, and other mediæval decorations, that which is still more beautiful and vestments, &c., &c. ? while the general more sublime); but, should we succeed argument appears to be-that if we keep in retaining them on such terms, let us clear of symbolism, and avoid the em consider at what cost it is likely to be, bodiment of any wrong principle or if, instead of vital godliness, we have corrupt practice, such movements are substituted love of the vanities of the not only perfectly safe, but right, as world, and consequent indifference cultivating a taste for the beautiful and about the truth, which we are surely sublime. Some say that, if Christians experienced enough by this time to see have beautifully furnished drawing has ever followed, in a greater or less rooms, they surely ought to beautify degree, an undue solicitude about the their places of worship; and others have externals of religion. gone so far as to advocate the use of It has been my endeavour, in the bells ; one advantage of which would be foregoing remarks, to sketch out some to “gall the clergy,” and “alarm the of what I conceive to be the influences Church!'

which are acting banefully upon the reNow, I had always thought that the ligious world, and as likely to be still sublimity of our religion consisted in more prejudicial, if encouragement is its beautiful simplicity, and entire re given to that which is corrupt in prinjection of all external aid. Our Lord ciple, and inexpedient in practice. It and His apostles placed it on this foot- may be said, “Why cavil about matters ing; and our own observation (if we have which are of very little importance ? considered well the Church's history what does it signify what our buildings down to the present time) will surely are like, or where we worship--whether convince us, that not only are such in a barn or a theatre--provided we do things useless, but, worse than that, they so in spirit and in truth?" It may not are hindrances to the progress of Divine matter where we worship, I grant, if the truth; taking up time, money, energy, heart be with God; but it does very talents; all that should subserve the much matter what example we set. ore great object of distributing the Small things become matters of imbread of life to a perishing world; and, portance in times like the present, whilst, besides all this, engendering a vain-glo- twenty years ago, they were little thought rious spirit of ambitious rivalry, which of. Let us not despise the day of small it is too evident, from the language fre- things. This is equally applicable to the quently employed, lies at the root of spread of error as to that of truth. If all this display, in too many instances; we look through the sad history of the and is it not to be feared that declen| Church, from the earliest ages down to the

« PreviousContinue »