Images de page

the far wider diffusion of nominal sentiments and our own by quoting profession, there is a much larger the passage. The error which he class of persons who have begun to deprecates is that which we have turn their minds, with more or less already, in this very Number, reseriousness, to religious inquiries; but marked upon, in the case of Dr. often with little judgment, with no Whately,—that of not drawing the solid basis of theological opinion, line boldly and unequivocally between and with a disposition to be warped those who serve God and those who and carried away by whatever may serve him not : or, to speak more appear most imposing, paradoxical, correctly, and to the exact point and stimulating. The extreme sys- at issue, between those who possess tem professes to give greater glory that spiritual renewal of heart, that to God, and greater privilege to renovation of soul after the image of man ; to rise to higher measures of God, which is the foundation of all love and joy; and to tread on matters true and acceptable service; and of duty and obligation as beggarly those who, whatever their character elements, which are not to impede in other respects, possess it not. the exalted fervours of the believer. Where this distinction is kept proThis spendid, but not solid, appearance minent—where regeneration, adopattracts the gaze of the young and tion, conversion, and sanctification are ardent inquirer ; and still more, per- really words that mean something ; haps, of those who in later life, after and not terms of course, or of no being sated with the world, turn to higher import than baptismal priviGod, with sincerity of intention, lege and the mere decencies of mobut with a love of excitement, and rality—the ministrations grounded with little knowledge of the bear- on this basis will be earnest and ings of Divine truth. Then, again, heart-searching, and, by the blessing while on the one hand the field for of the Holy Spirit, will lead men making converts is thus enlarged, really to “ examine themselves whethe facilities for proselyting are en- ther they are in the faith ;” to try larged also. Men and women of themselves ; not to be content with family and of fortune, and young the popular notion, that, all baptized clergymen of zeal and eloquence, persons being good Christians, nourge the exciting novelties of the thing is required but that they should system in parlour and pulpit; books, become better Christians, and go on, tracts, and periodical works are pro- building upon a self-righteous, sandy digally launched upon the world to foundation, which can sustain no support it; and even the annual con- solid structure of scriptural piety or ventions of our religious societies, immortal hope. On the other hand, where Christians should meet for where this distinction is not clearly better purposes than controversy, set forth, though there may be much are made schools for inculcating the that in the detail is truly stated, ultra opinions; while men of sobriety much even of scriptural doctrine shrink from the unequal contest in and precept, the whole will be a popular auditory, where, not that radically defective : it will be an inwhich is most sound and scriptural, verted pyramid, tottering on a point; but that which is most catching and neither fixed itself nor capable of susepigrammatic—the verbal ringing of taining any superincumbent edifice. a text, rather than its real sense- But let us hear Mr. Wilson, who will, be most likely to create effect, here, as before, keeps to the scripin the impatience of a half-hour's tural medium between the two danhurried address.

gerous delusions which he so justly Mr. Wilson touches, with great exposes. justice, upon a subject of vital mo

# The doctrine of the entire renewal ment in the Christian ministry ; on

and transformation of the heart of man

by a Divine birth, was the strong-hold of which we shall best state both his

our old divines. All our greatest authors,


from the Reformation downwards, call One passage more ; and it must this change by the name 'regeneration.' be our last. The author is addressBut, I fear, by our younger clergy this doctrine is less firmly grasped, and lessing his younger friends and fellowscripturally inculcated. There seems to labourers in the Gospel of Christ. me growing up a class of ministers who

“ It is not to the systematic divinity of are roused to some activity and pastoral Mr. Woodd that I would invite your atdiligence by various circumstances, but

tention. Here an ample field for minor who are working more by external ma- differences of judgment opens before us. chinery than by the doctrine of rege- Probably no two minds exactly, correneration, which alone God will bless to the real conversion of souls. I think, his lovely spirit, to his gentleness towards

spond; but it is to his practical divinity, to also, that, even amongst many of my others, that I would urge your regard. 1 younger brethren, who do feel the spiritual would guard you against the rash conclu, nature of Christianity, and who preach sions, the arguing from metaphorical and the fallen state of man, justification by doubtful texts, the use of familiar and faith only, and holiness of heart and flippant phrases with respect to the infilife, by the influences of the Spirit, there

nitely glorious Deity; the assumption of is a deficiency on this vital topic of the infallibility; the hazardous determination Divine birth. It is not fully brought of unfulfilled prophecy; and the overIt is not denied, indeed, nor alto

statements, even in the practical appeals, gether concealed, but it is not made pro- which, alas ! mark the Oxford discourse. minent; it is not urged fully, unequi- It is with pain, with reluctance, I say vocally, scripturally., . The tendency of this. I equally object, perhaps on the the least decline on this point is to lower whole I more object, to Dr. Burton's all the parts of practical religion; to

doctrines : they seem to me more deadenefface the fundamental distinction between ing and fatal than Mr. Bulteel's ; whose the spiritual and the natural man ; to break down the barriers between the church and inconsideration, and who appears to be

errors, I verily think, spring chietly from the world, and to check entirely any most sincere, most pious, most truly derevival of Christianity,

voted to God. But a sense of duty forces “ The offence of the cross,' if I mis

me to speak out.” p. 69. take not, turns chiefly, in the present day,

“ I am persuaded that a deeper religion, upon this topic, as it did at the Reform

a humbler religion, a more spiritual reation upon justification.

ligion, would prevent many of these evils. “ It is a painful reflection, that, both in If we were more personally and intensely Dr. Burton's statements and Mr. Bul- occupied with our own hearts, and the teel's, the doctrine of the new birth is by disorders and corruptions there ; with the opposite methods weakened and destroyed: infinite evil of sin; with the glory of the in the first, by its being confounded with Lord Christ in his incarnation, atonement, baptism ; in the second, by its being sunk righteousness, intercession; the all-imin a sort of imputed sanctification. portant work of the Holy Spirit in rege

“I allow that the term regeneration neration; the growth of a Christian in may not always have been used with a grace and love; the privileges of prayer, sufficient reference to that sacred ordi- meditation, communion with God, and nance which seals and signs its blessings similar capital points, there would be no -I think this has been the case_but this time, and, what is more, no taste, for is no palliation of the opposite and fatal novelties,over-statements, inventions. The error which I am endeavouring to point out. old religion would give full occupation, “ The charge brought against the clergy

abundant comfort, joyful anticipations of who are called Evangelical—that they

heaven. Nay, if this one point-the imdivide their congregations, though com

portance of adding souls to the Lord, the posed of professed Christians, into two

value of souls, the perishing state of souls, classes - is our glory. We avow the

the entreaty and commission given us to crime: we do it. We must forget the souls—filled the mind, there would be difference between spiritual life and spi.

more than enough to engage all the atritual death, not to do it. It is one of tention, and fix the whole heart." p. 70. our plainest and most vital obligations.

The study of the prophecies is in its If the Apostles made the distinction, place most edifying ; the new light which and called on men to examine themselves may be cast upon it as time rolls on, most whether they were in the faith, when the important; the fresh uses to which it may number of nominal believers was so few,

be applied, most salutary. What I dread shall not we follow their example, when

is the dogmatism, the excess as to attenthe merely external adherents to a na

tion, the rash propounding to our contional creed abound, and the vices and gregations, the erecting into tests of ignorance of an unconverted state are

discipleship the details of unknown prowell nigh overwhelming all the peculiar phecy. And so as to other doubtful doctrines and duties of Christianity itself?" points.” p. 71. pp. 42, 43.

Mr. Wilson, we fear, assumes no

grateful office in thus becoming a leading any yet unperverted to pause, Mentor to both parties; but he has or any already ensnared to consider acted honestly, faithfully, scriptu- their ways, it will not have 'been rally, and will receive the sincere penned in vain. Religion, the Bible, thanks of every sober-minded Chris- the soul, eternity, the coming of tian, and, we doubt not, the appro- Christ, and future judgment, are not bation of God. We live in perilous things to be trifled with—subjects times ; and not the least of these for paradox or vain speculations. perils is, that, the moment a person No : they are matters of serious becomes in earnest respecting his moment, to be weighed, apart from salvation, he is in danger of being human systems or human predilecsurrounded by those who would lead tions, in the balance of the sanctuary : him to doctrinal novelties and ex- and the general results of this solemn cesses, before he has well learned process, we feel confident, have been what are the first principles of the scripturally presented to us in this oracles of God. This is a snare to discourse, and in a spirit of faithfulbe guarded against from the first : it ness, yet meekness, which became is not easy to escape afterwards : their everlasting importance. May but if such a discourse as that now the blessing of God rest upon the before us, both in the doctrines it writer, and all his labours for the inculcates and the lovely character Divine glory, the promotion of the it pourtrays, should, by the blessing kingdom of Christ, and the eternal of God, be made the instrument of interests of mankind !



(Continued frum p. 255.) From Mr. Woodd's public ministrations, nel than mere worldly beneficence, and we next advert to his personal character, taught him to do good to the souls of men which was eminently worthy of the imi- while he relieved their bodily necessities. tation of every Christian minister. His His benignity, being thus grounded upon conduct was accordant with his principles; principle, was habitual and uniform: it his practice accredited his preaching : and, shone not less in the cottage of the poor, during a long and active life--muchof which or in a passing conversation with a beggar, was passed in the eyes of his fellow-men than in his intercourse with his most es-not a stain is known to have attached teemed and honoured friends. Even to a to his character. This long course of con- child he seemed to speak with an air of sistent deportment tended to shed lustre respect; and a pauper, receiving a tract on his religious profession; for even men from his hands, treasured it up as a meof the world “ took knowledge of him, mento of personal kindness. He inculthat he had been with Jesus,” and learned cated these habits of respect and courtesy to“ glorify his father which is in heaven.” in all the intercourses of life. Thus he It was impossible to meet him, in the says, for example, in his tractate on Marmost casual manner, without being at- riage, “ The honour which husband and tracted by his suavity and urbanity. He wife owe to each other, implies respect, was neither ruffled himself, nor ruffled attention, and preservation of authority others; and, in the midst of surrounding and influence. It is a mutual duty, and agitation, he would throw oil upon the of great importance. Unless respect is troubled waters, and assuage the tempest. conscientiously preserved and shewn, the

But this suavity was not a mere arti- intimacy even of married life may degeficial virtue, the smooth surface of var- nerate into that familiarity which breeds nished insincerity; it was true Christian contempt. Hence, that respect ought to courtesy, springing from a constant feeling be cultivated which has a salutary restraint of love to God and to man. Benevolence on the temper, the mode of expression, was his prominent characteristic: had he and the conduct. The laws of common not been a religious man, he would have civility enforce this in the general interbeen a philanthropist; but Christianity course of life; but, alas! the too general turned his philanthropy into a purer chans licence which is given to the temper and

behaviour within doors shews, that what is be clothed in the language of asperity, or commonly called politeness and good be- that a brother should be converted into haviour is merely assumed, and that there an enemy by irritating discussion. While is very little, or rather no principle in its others were admiring the cogency of the mixture. The frequent contentions and argument, or the wittiness of the invective, petulances of the domestic scene too often his first remark always was, that he disprove, that neither party is influenced by liked the spirit; and he would rather, he the love and fear of God. The fact is, said, that even truth should not be vindithat they are no longer under external re- cated, than vindicated in an evil temper. straint, and they have not sufficient reli- Yet, while he thus obeyed the injuncgious principle to restrain inwardly their tion, “ Study the things that make for own peevish humours.”

peace,” he did not forget the remainder of Wbat he thus inculcated he himself ex- the charge, “ and things whereby ye may emplified; and the consequent habits of edify one another :" for no man was more kindness and courtesy thence resulting firm where he considered principle at smoothed his passage through the aspe- stake; his mildness never degenerated into rities of daily life, and enabled him to ef- servile timidity; and many occasions might fect much good, with less of the wear and be mentioned, on which he vindicated his tear of irritating friction than is ordinarily views of Christian truth, under very disexperienced by a righteous man in a wicked couraging circumstances, with an honesty world. He had seldom any thing to unsay and boldness which proved that his aspect or undo: the chafings of others passed by of mildness by no means sprang from fear him unheeded; the passions did not cloud of the world. This conscientious firmthe reason, or chill the affections: and, ness, united with his conciliating spirit, though he might seem to lose ground some- effected much good in quarters where times by his easiness, he ever won it back, ruder passions would have repelled, or with additions, by his perseverance. given offence, to no beneficial purpose; For our friend was also a persevering so that some, who had the strongest pos

The habit of the present age is to sible dislike to his religious sentiments, form new plans, new societies, and to ne- avowed that their antipathies would, pracglect the old ; but Mr. Woodd always per- tically, be much softened, if all who held severed in what he had once undertaken, them exhibited the meekness and candour and thus often in the end succeeded where of Mr. Basil Woodd. more volatile spirits would have failed. The above features in our friend's chaThe difficulties which he sometimes met racter led him to be much appealed to as with, in keeping up his schools, re-esta- a peace-maker ; especially as he possessed blishing decaying institutions, or effect- a calm and sound judgment; and, though ing some valuable object, were such as not much versed in what is called a knowwould have soon wearied out an ardent, ledge of the world, he was usually right impatient mind; but in these cases he in his decisions in matters of importance, usually laboured on with quiet, unilinch- particularly those which respected his own ing perseverance, till he had attained his


sacred profession. By his kind advice he object. Few men have been more im- often succeeded in composing serious difposed upon, or met with greater discou- ferences, to the mutual satisfaction of the ragements in their benevolent efforts; yet contending parties. Some of our public he ever returned to his beloved employ- societies, as well as many private indiment as if nothing had happened ; and the viduals and families, are thus much inonly indication that all had not been right debted to his healing offices. Alas! how was, perhaps, a passing remark to the are such men needed in this day of rebuke effect that, in a world like this, we must and blasphemy; and, not least, in the look to principles, and not results,-must church of Christ itself, amidst the unbe prepared for vexation and disappoint- brotherly contentions wbich rend the ment; and that if, with much labour and mantle of the Redeemer, and expose the great sacrifice, we were the honoured in- common cause to the common enemy. struments of some little good, we ought to Mr. Woodd was also an humble man : feel ourselves abundantly rewarded. He for though few persons had been more was thus often led to espouse the cause of respected, almost to flattery, he evinced a persons whom every one else had well nigh constant spirit of self-abasement, both abandoned; for in such cases, if he could before God and before man; as those well discern any trace of contrition, he would know who have heard him speak of his not break the bruised reed, but endea- own ministrations, or of the state of his voured, and often, he believed, with suc- heart, or his spiritual deficiencies; or have cess, to repair past evils, and lead the of. bowed the knee with him before the fender to newness of life. He was, per- Throne of Divine Mercy ;-a throne, he haps, sometimes deceived; but he thought would say, and therefore demanding deep it the safer side to be defective in discri- humility in the worshipper, even though mination, rather than in charity ;-a prin- a Throne of Grace. If, indeed, further ciple which he carried into all things, and proof were wanted of his humility, it would not least into religious controversies; fre- be found throughout his daily intercourse, quently lamenting that truth should ever and especially in his condescension to men

of low estate ; for, many as are the mother, and afterwards to the influence of mourners around his tomb among the rich, true religion in his own heart, his mind they are far outnumbered by those among had never been debased and polluted by the poor.

the flippant and contaminating books It were easy to speak of the defects of which corrupt the tenderness of youth. this excellent man's character-for what From a child, as he had known, he had human being, what disciple of Christ, has loved the Holy Scriptures; he set the not defects as well as sins ?- but who Lord always before him; he early gave would have the heart to dwell upon the evidence of being born again, not only defects of one who was ever ready to cover emblematically in the waters of baptism, the defects of others? And in truth Mr. but spiritually by the regeneration of the Woodd's defects sprang very much out of Holy Ghost; and being justified by faith, those milder qualities of his nature which having peace with God, and enjoying the rendered him more prone to verge to the high behests of adoption and grace, he extreme of indulgence than of severity: he walked worthy—not meritoriously or unjudged, perhaps, too much of others by dividedly, or without much sin and imhimself; and his failings were the weak- perfection, but in the main truly, and with nesses of a good man, not the overflow- sincere purpose of heart—of God his Saings of ungodliness. But the strongest viour. His amiable deeds were the offproof of the general excellence of his cha- spring of a renewal of soul after the image racter was the universal tribute of respect of Christ; fruits not of nature's growth, and regard paid to it by all who knew but springing from a branch grafted into him. In the extensive and wealthy parish the Living Vine, and thence deriving supof Mary-le-bone, in which his chapel was port and nourishment for the holy and situated a parish equal to, or exceeding, amiable deeds of an exemplary and godly in riches and population our largest extra- life. metropolitan cities—he was so generally Among these deeds must be especially beloved and respected, that, after several enumerated, that which forms the next new parochial churches had been built, particular in the present notice-namely, and evening lectures opened in all of them, his connerion with religious and charitable which induced the vestry to withdraw the institutions. There is scarcely any species pecuniary assistance which they had ren- of benevolence which adorns our metrodered towards a third service at several of polis, in which, during the last forty years, the private chapels in the time of extreme the name of the Rev. Basil Woodd has exigency, Bentinck Chapel was made an not been conspicuous. But, not to dwell exception, on account of the general vene- upon all, which were tedious, allusion ration for Mr. Woodd's character and the shall be made only to his efforts in behalf important services he had long rendered of schools, and some of the chief religious to the best interests of the parish ; having societies. No one individual probably has been the first clergyman to institute an done so much for the general aggregate evening service many years ago, when of these institutions as Mr. Woodd; that scores of thousands of the inhabitants is, taking into account the length of his were wholly destitute of church accom- services for nearly half a century, and his modation. And when at length the ves- numberless charity sermons, and public try thought they could no longer with and private efforts in their behalf. As propriety support an evening service at long ago as the year 1786, his name apone private chapel, after the others had pears on the books of the Society for probeen closed by the withdrawing of their moting Christian Knowledge, the Board assistance, friends spontaneously stepped of which he unremittingly attended for forward, from their high respect for Mr. five-and-forty years, unless unavoidably Woodd, and contributed funds to support prevented; and he had the satisfaction the lecture in a manner most honourable of forming two or three district associato themselves and their beloved pastor. tions and considerably benefiting its funds.

It may be said that the foregoing ex- He was afterwards equally assiduous in cellencies sprang from a natural unstudied promoting the labours of the Society for loveliness of character ; and true it is, the Propagation of the Gospel, when its that under any circumstances Mr. Woodd claims became known to him; and it was would probably have exhibited much that with the greatest veneration that he ever was amiable and of good report among spoke of these two institutions as the oldest men; but it would be wholly unjust thus of our religious societies, and as honourto disparage the blessed effect of those ably engaged in prosecuting the work of sacred principles upon which his character Christian philanthropy, while all was was moulded. He had been early nur- darkness and coldness around. Nor, it is tured in the ways of God; his first lisp- trusted, will it be thought a blemish in his ings had been the language of prayer; his character, that he loved them the better first lesson his need of Christ as a Saviour from their being connected with the from his sins, and a pattern for his conduct; apostolic communion of the Established his first and bis last book was the Book of Church. Life: there were his doctrines, and there But it spake well for Mr. Woodd's his duties; and thanks to the care of a pious spirit of scriptural charity and expansive CuRisT ORSRRV No 3.53

2 R

« PrécédentContinuer »