Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tion of very narrow side galleries. It is but ill planned, and supposed not capable of containing so many people as either the Methodist or Baptist chapels.

" 5. Baptist Chapel. This also is situated in Broad-street, and not far from that of the Presbyterians. It has been lately rebuilt, and is a neat handsome place, about forty-six feet by twenty-six feet, with deep galleries in the front and at both ends. The dissenters of this denomination are not of so long standing at Lynn as those treated of under the two last articles. They were gathered and formed into a society here in the reign of James II., by the ministry of the worthy and memorable Thomas Grantham, who was indefatigable in his endeavours to enlighten and reform his countrymen, and establish them in what he deemed to be scriptural christianity. Till a proper place of worship could be procured, it is understood that he was allowed to preach in the Town-ball; and he appears to have been treated here with much respect, owing perhaps to his respectable connections, the Granthams being then one of the first families in Lincolnshire. He was what is called a general Baptist, and therefore not what was then, or would be now, deemed orthodox. He never settled here, but went inostly about, as an apostle or reformer, to promote what he conceived to be the pure religion of the New Testament. He succeeded in gathering and establishing many congregations in different parts of the country, but chiefly in Lincolnshire

and Norfolk. The latter part of his time he resided mostly at Norwich, where he gathered a congregation, in spite of the intolerance and bitter enmity to dissenters, which continued to rage there, even after the revolution : and there he died, at the beginning of 1692, at the age of 58. In the White Friars Yard Chapel, at Norwich, where he used to preach, a monumental inscription in memory of him was set up long after his death, by his grandson, the late Grantham Killingworth, Esq., the chief part of which is as follows.- A memorial dedicated to the singular merits of a faithful confessor, and laborious servant of Christ, who, with true christian fortitude, endured persecution through many perils, the loss of friends and substance, and ten imprisonments for conscience sake - the Rev. Mr. THOMAS GRANTHAM, a learned Messenger of the Baptized Churches, and pious founder of this church of believers baptized, who delivered to king Charles the Second our Declaration of Faith, and afterwards presented to him a Remonstrance against Persecution : both were kindly received, and redress of grievances promised. He died, January 17, 1692, aged 58 years: and to prevent the indecencies threatened to his corpse, was interred before the west doors, in the middle aisle of St. Stephen's Church, in this city, through the interest and much to the credit of the Rev. Mr. John Connould, by whom, with many sighs and tears, the burial service was solemnly read to a crowded audience: when at closing the book, he added, “ this day has a very

great man fallen in Israel.” For, after their epistolary dispute, in sixty letters ended, that very learned vicar retained the highest esteem and friendship for him whilst living, and was, by his own desire, buried by him.'-About that time, or a few months earlier, the congregation at Lynn became the objects of persecution from the ruling powers here. They were proceeded against upon the Conventicle act, although both their place of worship and their minister had been regularly licensed. How long the congregation was enabled to withstand this persecution we have not been able to ascertain. Perhaps it was soon after borne down and crushed. We are assured that it had become extinct long before the denomination was again revived here about the commencement of the present reign, by the ministry of Mr. Chesterton. The society then formed was calvinistic, and so more orthodox than the former, and so it still continues. It was dis. solved about the time of Mr. Chesterton's death, but again revived and reorganized about the year 1777; (this was Mr. Richards' church,) since which time it has been kept up, though not always without some difficulty. Their present minister is a person of good report, and it is hoped he will be long comfortable, and very useful in his situation.

“ 6. METHODIST Chapel, This place, situated in the North Clough-lane, is very well contrived and neatly fitted up. It is about forty-two feet by thirty, with very deep galleries in front and at both ends. It is so constructed as to be capable of ac

180

commodating, perhaps, a greater number of hearers than any of our other chapels; yet such has been the late increase of Methodisin liere, that it is now become too small for the audience; and therefore, for their better accommodation, a new and very capacious, as well as elegant and splendid place is now about to be erected. The present writer remembers the Methodists a persecuted sect, classed among the heretics of the day, and much spoken against every where. They were then meek and passive, and not apt to brand those of other denominations with bad names, or fix upon them the odium of heresy. The case is greatly altered since: they were then weak, but are now powerful; they were then few, now they are numerous, and their numbers daily and rapidly increasing. They consequently assume a high tone, and join in the cry of heresy, as loudly as any of our persecuting sects-especially against anti-trinitarians, or unitarians, and universalists: and yet it is certain that the public mind, or national opinion, is no more inimical to persons of those denominations at present, than it was to the Methodists fifty years ago. Let the Methodists think of this, and learn a becoming measure of moderation and good neighbourhood. What has happened to themselves. may also happen, in a course of time, to those whom they now so very bitterly and violently decry, and so unmercifully stigmatize and anathematize.

“ 7. SALEM.Chapel. This is a new place of worship, erected the latter part of last year.,

(1811), in consequence of the dismission of Mr. Finch from the pastoral office in the Baptist congregation, on account of some difference of opinion about satanic influence, and some other speculative and abstruse points. The place is about fifty feet by thirty; and larger than any of the other chapels here: and when galleries are erected, (a measure already in contemplation), it will be capable of containing a larger audience than any of them. It is at present well attended, and supposed likely to continue so.—Mr. Finch's dismission from his late situation in the Baptist chapel, and especially the manner in which it was transacted, being disapproved by many of the hearers, who were much attached to his ministry, measures were soon adopted to retain him still in the town, by erecting for him a new chapèl, where things should be conducted on a more liberal plan, and in the true spirit of protestantism, to the exclusion of all human creeds and formulas, and the admission of the scripture as the only religious directory, or sole rule of faith and practice. In a society so formed, the essence of christianity, it was hoped, would be exbibited as consisting in the imitation of Jesus of Nazareth, a submission to his authority, and reliance on him, arising from the firm persuasion or belief of his Messiahship, or that he is indeed the Christ; the Son of God of which the New Testament affords such clear and ample evidence. Whether or not that hope will be realized, must be left for time to determine. The persons chiefly concerned

« AnteriorContinuar »