Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

with you.

shall be renewed in brighter worlds ; never be forgotten, let us look steadily and that the happiness awaits you of at our real condition as deprived, by beholding your charge advancing ra- the wise dispensation of Providence, pidly in an interminable course of for a season, of the society in which knowledge, piety and virtue.

our souls delighted, to be prepared But it were vain to make the suppo- for an everlasting abode in the mansition, that you have yet ceased acutely sions of our Father's house, where not to feel a heavier loss, in which I seem a shade shall intercept the rays of his to have a peculiar claim to condole countenance, not a tear be shed for

It were useless for us to ourselves or others, no cares for the attempt to conceal from ourselves, that body interrupt the pursuits and enjoythere are wounds which time heals but ments of the mind. To be deeply tardily. Although the anguish of grief persuaded of this truth, is to enjoy a be passed, the heart long experiences perpetual feast. When the mind, rea vacancy, which inclines us to ex- tiring into itself, can enjoy this tranclaim with the poet, when he had lost sporting prospect, none of the cares an intimate friend,

and accidents of life can ruffle its se“ In vain to me the smiling mornings renity. Whatever wound is inflicted, shine,

the balm is always at hand: such is And reddening Phoebus lifts his golden the powerful efficacy of the Christian's fire,

hope. And it becomes us to place ourThe birds in vain their amorous descant selves in those circumstances in which join,

this hope may be most effectually cheOr cheerful fields resume their green rished. Adopt whatever methods your attire ;

own judgment shall direct, for keeping These ears, alas! for other notes repine, alive in the heart the impression of A different object do these eyes re- this rejoicing truth of which the daily quire,

business of life is too apt to render us My lonely anguish melts no heart but forgetful. If such methods are permine,

severed in, I am persuaded no other And in my breast th' i:nperfect joys traces of sorrow will remain upon our expire.”

minds, but a certain tenderness of GRAY.

spirit which, while it gives no interMy own persuasion is, that when ruption to our happiness, is highly we allow our spirits to sink greatly favourable to the cultivation of devout below their level, it is for want of hav- and benevolent affections. That such ing our minds stayed on that which may be your happy experience, is the is the main support of the afflicted earnest wish and prayer of, the hope founded on the merciful cha

My dear Sir, racter of the Deity, and the declara- Yours, with every sentiment of tions of the gospel, that the distressing sympathy and friendship, separation is only temporary, and will be succeeded by a happy meeting and an eternal re-union, which will be joy- [Letters III. and IV. in the next No.] ful in an incalculably greater degree, than the separation has been painful.

Liverpool, Other aids may be employed with ad- SIR,

Dec. 20, 1821. vantage and success when this is se- VOUR correspondent, Mr. Rutt, cured-business, exercise, company, (XVI. 643,) makes some remarks change of scene. But if this main on a pamphlet, by Dr. John Taylor, pillar be wanting, every other prop entitled, “The Scripture Account of must successively, sink under the Prayer,” published after his death, in weight which is laid upon it. 1761, which he thinks was written un

Let it be our business, therefore, der the influence of feelings not exact-my friend, to have this eternal and de- ly in unison with those displayed in lightful truth deeply wrought into our some of his other productions. That minds, that “all that are in their this publication originated under pegraves shall hear the voice of the Son culiar circumstances seems evident, of man, and they that hear shall live.” from remarks made by the learned Instead of attempting to obliterate author, which certainly prove the exwhat is indelible, to forget what can istence at the time, of some misunderstanding at least among his brother them, and of the introductory quesministers. In order in some degree tions that had been debated. It was to account for certain apparently illi- resolved to open a correspondence beral expressions in the work before with him on these subjects." us, as well as to trace the origin of The same question was again the congregation in Liverpool, referred brought forward for discussion at the to by Mr. Rutt, in his P. S., it is ne- provincial meeting, held at Manchescessary to go back to the year 1750, ter, 12th May, 1752, at which thirtyabout which period a number of the five ministers were present. The issue Lancashire Dissenting Ministers form. was, that a conviction seemed to exist ed themselves into a society for the of the expediency of a public form of purpose of occasionally meeting toge- Prayer for general use ; and a committher, "in order," as they express it, tee of eight ministers (among whom "to a full, impartial and public in- was Mr. John Brekell, of Liverpool) quiry into the state and conduct of was appointed “to consider the subpublic worship, and all affairs of reli- ject particularly, and to represent the gion amongst the Protestant Dissen- arguments on both sides the question, ters of that part of the kingdom where as fully as possible, as they shall occur we reside, and to consult upon and in reading or otherwise.” put into execution all methods which This committee had instructions to shall be judged expedient and condu- meet at Warrington, the second Tuescive to the general advantage and im- day in the following September. It provement of religion.”

was then ordered, That a letter of Their first meeting was held at War- thanks be returned to Mr. Chandler's rington, on the 3rd July, 1750, when letter, and that he be acquainted with several rules were agreed upon for the the business appointed for the comregulation of meetings, which, it was mittee ; and that he be desired to give decided, should take place three times his fullest thoughts on the subject; in each year, including the provincial and that he be pleased to direct us meeting. Certain questions were then to such farther correspondents as he proposed for discussion, and among might judge proper should be applied others was the following :-“ As to.”. Christian societies have a discretionary I have not been able to trace the power of conducting the public forms exact proceedings of this committee, of their worship in the manner which but there is no doubt that a full inthey apprehend most agreeable to quiry into the subject appointed for their own circumstances and the gene- their consideration took place; and two ral design of the Christian religion, MSS. which I have perused, written whether public forms might not be at this time, bear testimony to the introduced amongst the Dissenters earnestness with which the investigawith general advantage."

tion was pursued. One of these was The conversation on the foregoing from the pen of Mr. Job Orton, whose question took place at Preston, on the assistance was desired. It is of some Toth September, 1751, thirteen minis- length, and warmly in opposition to ters being present, when the result the proposed measure of a Liturgy. was, that the majority gare it as their About the same period, it is probable, opinion,-“That a proper variety of that Mr. Brekell first brought forward public devotional offices, well drawn the MS. referred to by Dr. Taylor, (p. up, in no respect to be imposed, and 35,) also against a prescribed Form to be altered at any time as circum- of Prayer, and which never appears to stances shall require, might be intro- have been published. duced amongst the Dissenters with The discussion on the subject of a general advantage."

public Liturgy seems to have been a On this occasion the following mic prolonged one, for in the year 1758, nute was made by the Secretary :- Mr. Brekell published his “ Remarks “In the course of the conversation, on a Letter to a Dissenting Minister, one of the ministers took occasion to concerning the Expediency of stated represent to the assembly the light in Forms of Prayer for Public Worship,” which the Rev. Mr. Chandler of Lon- ascribed by Dr. Taylor's Editor to the don, looked upon these meetings; Rev. Mr. Seddon, of Warrington. that he was pleased to approve of Nor did the affair end in barren speeulation; for in 1763 a chapel was impositions which, as Christians, you erected in Temple-Court, Liverpool, are bound in conscience to disdain and for the use of a number of individuals, reject; and may, in time, bring you principally from the congregations of into servitude to as haughty and exKaye Street and Ben's Garden, who travagant a tyranny as ever appeared had taken up the matter and resolved in the Christian church.” on using a Liturgy. Application had Notwithstanding the difference of been made to several of the neighbour- opinion which prevailed, “A Form ing ministers to assist in its compila- of Prayer and a new Collection of tion, and, among others, to Dr. Taylor, Psalms” was compiled, and brought who declined the overture, giving his into use in June, 1763, when the Ocreasons in his “ Scripture Account of tagon Chapel, Liverpool, was opened Prayer," addressed to the Dissenters for public worship, by Mr., afterwards in Lancashire, for opposing what he Dr., Nicholas Clayton, who had previconsidered an unauthorized and inju- ously been settled at Boston, in Linrious innovation, whether in reference colnshire. He remained pastor of to an individual congregation, or to a this church till its final dissolution in plan which he insinuates was contem- February, 1776, on which occasion he plated, of introducing a Liturgy, gene. preached a sermon, afterwards pubrally, into all the congregations. The lished, and which is pronounced by entire merits of the case can now only his friend Mr. Gilbert Wakefield, tó be but imperfectly known, but it is be “an excellent composition.” Duevident that this lengthened diseussion ring the greater part of the shorthad no very amicable termination; lived struggle for existence of the and Dr. Taylor calls upon the body of society at the Octagon, Dr. Clayton Dissenters to resist every attempt to was assisted by Mr. Hezekiah Kirke force upon them any measure not patrick, author of a volume of “ Sera strictly compatible with their religious mons on various Subjects, with an liberty. “I had it,” says he, (p. 72,) Account of the Principles of Protestant “ from a principal hand in the affair, Dissenters, their Mode of Worship,

that it was proposed to have a meet and Forms of Public Prayer, Baptisin ing of ministers every seventh year, and the Lord's Supper ;” published to review and adjust the orthodoxy of in 1785. Mr. Kirkpatrick afterwards the new Liturgy, and to reforın any removed to Park-Lane, near Wigan, faults therein that might from time to where he died, 19th September, 1799, time appear.' This would do, once in his 61st year. for all, in the hands of persons in- It does not appear that the Liturgy spired and infallible; but, as things which had been used at the Octagon, now are, it will be directly to set up Chapel was ever adopted in any other an ecclesiastical jurisdiction among congregation, though I believe it has you, over understanding and con- formed a part of one or two more science, lodged in the bands of falli- recent conipilations, particularly that ble men. Therefore, how well so ever still in use at Shrewsbury, in the very this may suit the ambition of inno- chapel once oecupied by Job Orton, vators, you cannot but be sensible it the determined opposer of prescribed will subject you, should you consent forms of public Prayer, to it, to an intolerable yoke of hond- On the dissolution of the society at age. A Septennial Synod of fallible the Octagon, proposals were made ministers will receive from you, or to the congregation of Ben's-Garden assume to themselves, authority to Chapel to join their body, which was. sit as judges, to determine and settle agreed to, and Dr. Clayton was assofor you matters of faith, doctrine and ciated there, as one of the ministers, worship. How do you relish this with the Rev. Robert Lewin. On the Can you digest it? It is the natural death of Dr. Aikin, in December, result of this wild scheme. You must 1780, Dr. Clayton succeeded bim as either incur the danger of using a cor- Divinity Tutor at the Warrington rupt Liturgy, or consent to establish Academy, and in this capacity he resome authority to revise and correct mained till its dissolution in 1783, it, as the case may require. This is when he went to Nottingham. He directly contrary to your own princi. returned to Liverpool shortly before ples, and to that freedom from hunan his death, which took place on the

his age.*

20th May, 1797, in the 66th year of On the death of the latter, July 22,

1744, he remained sole pastor, and died Soon after the society at the Octa- on the 28th Dec. 1769, aged 73 years. gon was broken up, the chapel, which was a handsome, substantial building, was disposed of, and came into the is now called St. Matthew's Church, urihands of the Establishment, under der the Establishment. the denomination of St. Catherine's what in error respecting the original

Your correspondent was likewise someChurch. It thus remained till the ministers of the congregation afterwards close of the year 1819, when it was assembling in Ben's Garden. Little doubt taken down, by the Corporation of exists as to the society having sprung Liverpool, to make way for some from Toxteth-Park Chapel, near Liverpublic improvements. On this occa- pool, as mentioned by Dr. Toulmin; an sion, the bodies which had been depo- ancient place of some note in the annals sited in the adjoining cemetery, were of Nonconformity. The first pastor of removed, and among other remains the new church formed in Liverpool, those of Dr. Clayton, to the burial seems to have been Mr. Christopher ground then recently annexed to the Richardson, an ejected minister, under Unitarian Chapel in Renshaw Street.

the Bartholomew Act in 1662, from KirkWith respect to Mr. Brekell's works, verpool soon after the Indulgence, as it

Heaton, in Yorkshire. He capie to Lia list of them (though a very imper- was called, of Charles II., in 1672, fect one) may be seen in Watt's Bi

“ where he preached once a-fortnight, bliotheca Britannica. Dr. Taylor and the intervening day at Toxteth Park. speaks of him as a learned man. In He died in December, 1698, aged about 1728, he became co-pastor with Mr. 80. He was mighty in the Scriptures, Christopher Bassnet, the first minis- 'being able, on a sudden, to analyse, exter of Kaye-street Chapel,t Liverpool. pound, and improve any chapter he read,

in the pious families which he visited."

(See Palmer's Nonconformists' Memorial, For a farther account of this esti- ill. 439, 2d ed.) Mr. Richardson most mable man, and of the society at the Oc- probably preached in the chapel erected tagon and their Liturgy, see Mon. Repos. in Castle-Hey, Liverpool (since called VIII. 625.

Harrington Street). His successor there + I may be allowed, in this place, to appears to have been Mr. Richard Holt, correct a mistake into which a late re- one of Mr. Frankland's pupils, entered spectable correspondent, Dr. Toulmin, 6th February, 1690-1. Mr. Holt con[IV. 657,) had fallen in reference to this tinued minister of Castle-Hey Chapel till chapel, which is erroneously represented his death in 1715, and was succeeded, in as having originally been an Independent 1717, by Mr., afterwards Dr., Henry place of worship. It was erected about Winder.' This gentleman had been eduthe year 1700, when Mr. Bassnett was cated at Dr. Dixon's Academy in Whitechosen minister, a pupil of the celebrated haven, where he was contemporary with Mr. Richard Frankland, at Rathmell, Dr. Caleb Rotheram and Dr. John Tay. Yorkshire, with whom he entered in lor. He afterwards studied at Dublin, 1696. He was a regular member of the under the care of the learned Mr. Boyse; Presbyterian Classis, of the Warrington and succeeded Mr. Edward Rothwell, at district, as appears by their records; and Tunley, near Wigan, in 1714. Iu 1727, a sermon on “ Church Officers and their a large new chapel was erected in Ben's Missions," which he published, (probably Garden, to which Dr. Winder removed on the ordination of Dr. Winder and with his congregation, where he died, 9th Mr. Mather, at St. Helens,) in 1717, suf- August, 1752, aged 59 years, bequeathing ficiently proves the high notions he en- his large and valuable library to the tertained of the efficacy of the hands of chapel. He was a man of learning, as the Presbyters. In 1714, he published, a appears by his “ History of Knowledge, small book, entitled, “ Zebulon's Bless- chiefly Religious,” in 2 vols. Ato., pubings opened, applied in Eight Sermons.” lished in 1745. A second edition of this It is dedicated to all that have friends work came out, I believe, about the year at, or deal to sea, merchants and others, 1756, with a Life of the Author prefixed, belonging to Leverpool,” and he alludes by Dr. George Benson. Little is said of to "the Dock," not then finished. The his theological opinions, but from his society remained in Kaye Street (or, as manuscripts there is reason to think they it is now called, Key Street) till the year were of a very liberal cast. 1791, when the present chapel in Paradise The Ben's Garden congregation reStreet was opened. The former building moved to their present place of worship He was succeeded by Mr. Philip Tay- nation, from the earliest ages to the lor, grandson to Dr. Taylor, who had present period, have, I believe, unibeen his assistant the last two years. formly attributed these books to the In an extract of a letter from the pen of Moses ; and this testimony is latter, now before me, he says, “Mr. indirectly confirmed by Christ and his Brekell’s congregation never distinctly apostles: nor does Mr. B. presume understood what his real sentiments to invalidate the historical testimony to were on doctrinal points, but I judged their authenticity. He rather grounds from his private conversation that he his conclusions on internal evidence was an Arian. My friend, Dr. Enfield, alone; but, surely, the internal eviwho, some years after his death, had dence is decidedly against him. For the access to his papers, however, told me same characteristic qualities, the same that from them he could ascertain him unvarnished simplicity, the same easy to have been, in fact, a Socinian. He and natural flow of sentiments and passed with his people as an orthodox language, varying only with the nature man;

and from an idea, then very of the subject, the same freedom from prevalent among free-thinking minis- that fiction and wildness which preters, he conceived it his duty not to vailed in the fabulous ages, the same endanger his usefulness ainong them unity of design and tendency of each by shocking their prejudices." succeeding incident to establish that

Mr. Brekell, in conjunction with design, namely, the evidence and goDr. Enfield, compiled, in 1764, “A vernment of one God ;-all these uneCollection of Psalms, proper forquivocally mark the Mosaic records, Christian Worship, in Three Parts," and lead us to consider them as the which, with subsequent additions, was productions of one and the same auused in both congregations till a very thor. The style and manner of Herecent period, and was well known rodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon and under the name of the Liverpool Col- Aristotle, are sufficiently peculiar; yet lection. It contained a few anonymous these inmortal writers by no means original compositions by him, but of supply a surer criterion of authenticity no remarkable merit.

than can be discovered in the books of H. TAYLOR. Moses. Where, then, is this internal

evidence to be discovered? In his acSIR,

count of the creation this divine author I

the Repository a few remarks on stage he styles him Jehovah Elohim ; a late Sermon of Mr. Belsham's. If in a third, Jehovah ; in a fourth, Elothe principles of that author were not him again. From these variations Mr. well known, I should suspect that the B. infers, that these several stages or discourse alluded to was the compo- portions must have been the writings sition of some enemy of revelation in of different authors. But surely no disguise. But this cannot be thought inference was ever so hasty and unof Mr. Belsham, whose talents have founded. If these several designations ever been pre-eminently employed in present any difficulty, this is cutting promoting the knowledge and sup- the knot instead of untying it; a soluporting the divine authority of the tion unworthy of an enlightened critic. Scriptures, and whose character is But they do not; and it remains to an ornament to his profession. His shew that Moses had an important end positions are, that the Pentateuch is to answer by these different appellanot the composition of Moses, but a tions. I do not here pretend to be compilation from more ancient docu- altogether original, but I am not above ments; that the Jewish lawgiver, in receiving information when I can get his account of the creation, while un- it. Essenus, a treatise on the first exceptionable as a theologian, so far three chapters of Genesis, ascribed to from being divinely inspired, is only a Mr. Jones, speaks to this effect :retailer of vulgar errors.

The Jewish “In all languages many words exist

which convey, under a plurality of in Renshaw Street, in October, 1811, form, a singular signification. Elohim since which time the former chapel has is one of that number, and for this been occupied by a society of Welsh Me. peculiarity a satisfactory reason can thodists.

be assigned. . Power, however abso.

« AnteriorContinuar »