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adapted. His exhaustless fund of anecdote, his abounding humour, his quaint expressions, and a peculiar manner of delivery, rendered him acceptable to the public, and effective as a speaker.
While his health and strength were continued, he considered his work was not finished. He therefore persevered in the use of varied means to win souls to Christ, and urge the servants of God to zeal and holiness, and he had the satisfaction of knowing that he did not labour in vain.
No one will suppose that our beloved brother was in all things perfect. No one could be so fully acquainted with the wanderings of his heart as himself; these he confessed ; over them he mourned. To the cross he carried them, and there he found peace, comfort, and joy. In seasons of difficulty, discouragement, trial, and bereavement, he went to the Divine treasury, and obtained a supply proportionate to his day. The active and regular duties of the sacred calling having been brought to a close, Mr. Atkinson took up his residence in the neighbourhood of Hunslet. Here he went in and out before the people, cultivating the spirit of kindliness, humility, and charity. His counsels were peaceful, his example worthy of imitation.
His failing energies were employed in friendly visits, and devout attendance on the varied means of grace.
Thus year after year glided on; advancing age brought increased weakness, until he was unable to take his accustomed walks, or to attend the sanctuary.
He now became the prisoner of the Lord, deprived of the precious ordinances of God's house, and confined to his own house. Here he was employed reading some works calculated to draw his affections toward the things which are heavenly. He enjoyed and appreciated the visits of his ministerial brethren, and seldom did any of them come into the neighbourbood but they were anxious to see him once more in the flesh, and thus to assure him of their affection.
For some time before his death he was very helpless. But his wants were not only attended to, but often anticipated by his highly valued housekeeper. He frequently anticipated and sometimes longed for the day when the bonds of mortality would be severed, and his spirit mount to its home in the “house not made with hands." He waited for its dawn, he waited long; and at last it arrived. He had confidence that the God who had been his guide and support through so long a pilgrimage, would be with him as he passed through the valley of the shadow of death. And when he lay on his dying bed, and the last days of life were gliding away, he was surrounded by his children, gathered together to take their last farewell, as he quitted the shores of time for an eternity of rest and blessedness. He now longed for the appearance of his Saviour. He was heard saying
“ Come, Lord ! the drooping sinner cheer,
Nor let thy chariot-wheels delay;
My God, my Saviour, come away.”
“Now to the God, whose power can do
His mind was thus occupied while lingering in the house of clay. On the last Sabbath which he spent on earth, he was asked by his daughter, Mrs. Wood, “ Is it light in the valley, father ?" To which he replied, “Oh, yes, happy, happy.” While in this state of mind, he called his children around him, and blessed them. Amongst the words which he then uttered were these :-“O Lord, how long ? Gracious Master, seal my peace, and take me to thy breast.” He requested his daughters to sing
"Oh, that each from his Lord may receive the glad word,
Well and faithfully done; enter into my jay and sit down
On my throne."
He died on Tuesday evening, May 15th, 1866, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, and the fifty-eighth of his ministry.
He was interred in Woodhouse Cemetery, Leeds. The service was conducted by the Revs. T. Scattergood and C. Hibbert, in the presence of a number of ministers and other friends. His death was improved in Hunslet Road Chapel by the writer.
“ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. Even so, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them."
Tbeology and General Literature.
POPERY VIEWED IN THE LIGHT OF
HISTORY. Few suhjects can be named of greater importance than that of Popery. If the time shall ever come—as we believe it will—when its power shall be broken, when the splendours of the triple crown shall have vanished, and the Church and the world be freed from the mysterious influence of the “ Man of Sin,” in that brighter and better era, Popery and its deeds will be remembered with wonder and awe; and even the recollection of what it was and what it did for so long a period, might almost cast a shadow over the glories of the Millennium. The subject is far from being a pleasing one. It is such a subject as one of John Martin's pictures might fitly represent: a picture full of gloomy grandeur; kingly figures and beautiful forms, clad in scarlet, and purple, and gold, occupying the foreground ; deep shadows, however, filling up the canvas, peopled with ghastly forms, and made lurid with martyrs' fires. A system professing to be the Church of God, having existed already more than a thousand years in the most enlightened and civilized portions of the globe ; which bas exerted a powerful influence on the most important affairs of the world in that time, and which, even in its old age, contends with wonderful skill, and holds out with wonderful persistence against all attempts to destroy or enfeeble it, is, even on these accounts, worthy of study, as a subject of general interest; but, looked at as a perversion of the Gospel of Christ, as the most mature and masterly
invention of Satan for robbing that Gospel of its power, arresting its progress, and turning it into an instrument of iniquity, it claims the anxious attention of all who love the Gospel, and regard it as a duty to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints."
The shape in which we propose to offer our remarks in a paper or two on the subject, is that of several counts or charges to which we regard Popery as being liable, and which we shall endeavour, in a brief and condensed form, to substantiate.
First, then, Popery is unsupported by history. History is regarded by the supporters of the Papacy as one of its chief strongholds of defence. But to be a witness in favour of Popery, history should prove it to have been what it now is, as a system, from the first.
Its claims to unity, infallibility, and supremacy should be shown to date from its birth, as the apostolic form of Christianity. But the merest reference to dates proves abundantly that Popery is a novelty, an innovation, a corruption. Let us look at facts. For a lengthened period the Christian Church, even in Rome, retained her purity, and exerted a corresponding power. She had the dew of her youth, and even the first of the leading features of Popery was centuries before it made its distinct appearance. The Bishop of Rome was first recognized as supreme in spiritual matters in the year 533, when John, the Roman Pontiff
, was recognized by the Emperor Justinian as head of all the holy churches.
The still higher title of Universal Bishop was not conceded until the year
when it was bestowed by the Emperor Phocas upon Boniface III. His predecessor, Gregory the Great, had censured John, Archbishop of Constantinople, in the severest terms for assuming this title. “Priests,” he says, “who ought to lie weeping upon the pavement, and in ashes, desire titles of vanity, and do glory in new and profane titles ;” and he denounces the title as foolishly arrogated” and “blasphemous.” Mosheim speaks of the Emperor Phocas, who conferred the title, as “that abominable tyrant who waded to the imperial throne through the blood of the Emperor Maxentius;" and states that the disputes about pre-eminence between the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople proceeded, in this century, to such violent lengths, as to lead eventually to the schism which separated the Greek and Latin Churches.
Transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the mass, and the worship of the host, are essentially Popish inventions and ceremonials. These organically related parts of the grand system of superstition took their rise in the eighth century, but were finally confirmed only in the thirteenth, when they were made articles of faith by the Fourth Lateran Council. The belief in purgatory, and the related practice of praying for the dead, seems to have sprung up in the seventh century. Purgatory was positively affirmed about 1140, but took its final form as an article of faith only by the decree of the Council of Trent.
The truly Papal doctrine of works of supererogation, based on that of merit, appears to have been adopted only at the end of the twelfth century. A little earlier the power of priestly absolution and excommunication was claimed ; and then appeared that almost incredible system of barter, known as the sale of indulgences. Ecclesiastical history shows that the power of granting these was not claimed by the Popes before the twelfth century. Auricular confession, another grand step in the development of the system, was first officially enjoined so late as the thirteenth century, by the Fourth Lateran Council. The celibacy of the clergy, universal and compulsory, was the act of Gregory VII., the fiery and relentless Hildebrand, about 1074 of the Christian era. That there are seven sacraments was first contended for by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century, but was made a matter of faith several centuries later by the decision of the Council of Trent. The doctrine of priestly intention, another important element of the power of Popery, was fully adopted by the Council of Florence only in the fifteenth century.
From this brief sketch, it is evident that Popery will not bear the light of history. The well-known question of the Jesuit to a Protestant, “Where was your religion before Luther ?” received as its answer,
“ Where your religion never was—in the written Word of God.” And it was also open to the retort, " Where was your religion before the Council of Trent?” This celebrated council, with Pope Pius IV., made several new articles of faith. The creed which takes the name of this Pope, indeed, contains twelve new articles, in addition to the Nicene Creed. “Surely,” it has been justly said, “ the twelve new articles were not a part of the old faith ; for if they had been, they would form a part of the old creed.” History, then, clearly shows Popery to be not the Christian system as it was left by Christ and his apostles, but a novelty, a thing of human invention, the patchwork of Popes and the manufacture of councils. It is not the glorious temple of our original Christianity, but a vast and gloomy structure of composite architecture, with some stately rooms, some long-drawn cathedral aisles and fretted vaults,
" With storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light;" but also with many dark crypts and gloomy prison cells; a structure not reared at once from a plan perfect at the first, but the accretion of many centuries, a wing added in this century and a cell in that, its final form being comparatively but of recent date.
History, to be a valid witness for any cause, should be genuine ; but a large part of the history on which Popery has based its pretensions has been spurious. Sheridan said, with regard to some one to whose speech in Parliament he was replying, that he had drawn upon his imagination for his facts-a statement which is true of Popish biographers and historians to an extraordinary degree.
The foundation-stone of the whole Papal structure is the supremacy of Peter, and it assumes two things : First, that Peter was head and prince of the apostles; and, secondly, that having been Bishop of Rome, his headship or supremacy has been transmitted to and through the Romish bishops who sit as Popes in the chair of Peter. Now, in proportion to the power claimed by Popery, should be the weight of evidence brought forward in support of its claims; the propositions just mentioned should be supported by proofs amounting to moral certainty, making the grand foundation-truth clear as the sun at noonday. Instead of proofs, however, we have an
astounding series of assumptions, the fibrous threads of supposition for the cables of demonstration, and the testimony of the fathers instead of that of the apostles. "Expounding Scripture by the fathers," says Luther, "is like straining milk through a coal-sack.” Of what value, then, is their evidence as to facts not only wanting in the Scripture narrative, but refuted by it? It would be impossible here to enter into the details of the argument, but one may show how entirely fictitious is the first of these assumptions, by a quotation from Barnes's Introduction to his Notes on the Epistle to the Romans. “ The Roman Catholic Church have maintained that it (the Church at Rome) was founded by Peter, and have thence drawn an argument for their high claims and infallibility. On this subject they make a confident appeal to some of the fathers. There is strong evidence to be derived from this epistle itself and from the Acts, that Paul did not regard Peter as having any such primacy and ascendancy in the Roman Church as are claimed for him by the Papists. (1) In this whole epistle there is no mention of Peter at all. It is not suggested that he had been, or was then, at Rome. If he had been, and the Church had been founded by him, it is incredible that Paul did not make mention of that fact. This is the more striking, as it was done in other cases where churches had been founded by other men; see 1 Cor. i. 12, 13, 14, 15. Especially is Peter, or Cephas, mentioned repeatedly by the Apostle Paul in his other epistles (1 Cor. iii. 22; ix. 5 ; xv. 5; Gal. ii. 9 ; i. 18; ii. 7, 8, 14). In these places Peter is mentioned in connection with the Churches at Corinth and Galatia ; yet never there as appealing to his authority, but, in regard to the latter, expressly calling it in question. Now, it is incredible that if Peter had been then at Rome, and had founded the Church there, and was regarded as invested with any peculiar authority over it, that Paul should never once have even suggested his name. (2) It is clear that Peter was not there when Paul wrote this epistle. If he had been, he could not have failed to send him a salutation amid the numbers he saluted in the sixteenth chapter. (3) In the Acts of the Apostles there is no mention of Peter having been at Rome, but the presumption from that history is almost conclusive that he had not been. (4) Peter was at Jerusalem still in the ninth or tenth year of the reign of Claudius (although the fathers say that he came to Rome in this reign), Acts xv. 6.
Nor is there any mention made then of his having been at Rome. (5) Paul went to Rome about A.D. 60. There is no mention made then of Peter's being with him or being there ; if he had been, it could hardly have failed of being recorded. Especially is this remarkable when Paul's meeting with the brethren is expressly inentioned (Acts xxviii. 14, 15), and when it is recorded that he met the Jews, and abode with them, and spent at Rome no less than two years. If Peter had been there, such a fact could not fail to have been recorded or alluded to, either in the Acts or the Epistle to the Romans. (6) The Epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, to Philemon, and the Second Epistle to Timothy (Lardner, vi. 235) were written from Rome during the residence of Paul as a prisoner, and the Epistle to the Hebrews probably, also, while he was still in Italy. In none of these epistles is there any hint that Peter was then, or had been, at Rome