Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

He would not do violence to his , in harmony with them; that, thereconscience by advocating doctrines fore, the admonition to him perof which he stood in doubt, but he sonally was unnecessary and irrele. would not gratify the wishes of the vant, and that if differences of captious and ill-disposed by breaking opinion existed amongst the ministhrough that reserve upon which he | ters of the church it was as much bad determined. Nor as he ex- the duty of others to see that they amined and studied afresh the argu agreed with him as it was his duty ment of the famous chapter, did he to see that he agreed with them. find it difficult to act upon this Upon this bold and spirited reply prudent and wise decision. The one of the Presbyters broke out into true rendering of the passage, he passionate declamation. He saw,' conceived, did not at all support the he said, the arts of the devil to doctrine of absolute and uncon disturb the peace of the church. ditional predestination. The apostle Some of the magistrates themselves was not discussing this subject, but had this object in view. It was of vindicating the doctrine of justifi. no use for Arminius to appeal to the cation by faith against the objections Confession and Catechism, since he of the Jews. These objections and had already explained two passages the refutation of them Arminius of Scripture against these standards. pointed out and enlarged upon in For his part, after hearing him in. several discourses. This was not terpret the seventh chapter of what his adversaries expected. But Romans he could never derive any they would not be deprived of their benefit from his discourses.' Το triumph. Not being able to get up this Arminius quietly replied that charges against the preacher on ac- by the help of God he would never count of what he had said, it seems be the instigator and author of they got up charges against him on strife, and he hoped better things account of what he had not said. It of the magistrates of the city. was a clear proof of the grossest Other subjects of a personal nature unsoundness in the faith that he were then introduced, the anger of did not deduce their favourite doc- the Presbytery expended itself, a trine from this well-known predes better feeling arose, and the meeting tinarian chapter. Besides Luther-was dismissed. ans, and even Anabaptists, and other But there were some who would heretics, approved the exposition. not on any consideration allow this What need of any further evidence ? | matter to rest. By their officious The cry of heresy was again raised. zeal fresh strife was soon stirred up. It waxed louder and louder, and The Presbytery again consulted to. came to the ears of the Presbytery. gether upon the subject. In the In the absence of Arminius from absence of Arminius, it was that august body, it was determined solved to call upon him to declare to warn him of his errors, and bind distinctly and without circumlohim over by a public pledge to cution his opinion on all the articles the doctrines commonly received of faith. Arminius asked for reason. amongst them. When, at a subse. able space for consideration. As quent sitting, the admonition was he was sitting in this ecclesiastical given, Arminius replied with some court, a short time afterwards, warmth, that he was branded with he was reminded tauntingly of the names of heretic, latitudinarian, his fate. Starting to his feet he Pelagian, and yet no man attempted challenged with loud voice to prove his heresy; that both in all his opponents, whoever they public and in private he had frankly were, to stand forth and state what affirmed again and again his fuil he had spoken in his discourses and complete acceptance of the Con- worthy of censure. No one rose. fession and Catechism as formularies But the insinuation was thrown out of faith; that he had always preached by some one that the testimony of

re

a

Obituary-William Twells.

137

[ocr errors]

Lutherans, Anabaptists, and other the third was explained by the words heretics, who gloried in his dis- of Paul, the blessed and only Potentate, courses on the ninth of Romans, was the King of kings and Lord of lords, sufficient proof against him. Ar- who only hath immortality.

As to minius denied the validity of the other points Arminius candidly argument, and demanded what he acknowledged that he received the had said that was at variance with several articles and doctrines of Scripture and the received formu- faith in the Confession and Catechism laries. It was suggested by another as they were everywhere received in that he had used ambiguous and the Reformed church, the only equivocal language, but no one scruple of which he was conscious undertook to substantiate thecharge. being as to the interpretation of the A few days after, Arminius repeated sixteenth article of the Confession, his challenge. One of the Pres. to the terms of which, however, he byters asked, "Where is Peter willingly adhered. Upon this the Planc ? He has questioned the Presbytery decided that there was orthodoxy of Arminius when Ar- so necessity for further discussion minius was absent; let him do so or strife, and that fraternal fellow. now Arminius is present. This is ship, should be cultivated with Arthe place, and this is the time to minius, in the hope that, by the speak.' Hard pressed by this sum. blessing of God and the interpretamons, Peter Planc came forward. tion of a general Synod, the true He repudiated the name of adver- and genaine sense of the article sary, and the substance of his ac- aforesaid would be more clearly cusation was that Arminius had made known. taught,-that no one is condemned So ended the troubles of Arminius except on account of sin, thereby ex- as minister of the Reformed church cluding all infants from condem- at Amsterdam. His exposition of nation; that too much cannot be as the epistle to the Romans, and of cribed to good works, nor can they the prophecies of Malachi now went be sufficiently commended, provided on without further interruption, no merit is attributed to them; and His popularity increased.

The city that angels are not immortal. This conferred distinction upon him by was all he had to charge against intrusting to him as the most judi. Arminius. A most pitiful case in- cious of her citizens, the work of deed. These were the infamous remodelling the public schools, and opinions of this great heretic. For complimented him upon the excel. months a huge mountain of scandal lent manner in which he fulfilled his had been in an agony of labour, and task. His indefatigable study of this paltry mouse of an indictment theology, his solid attainments in the was the ridiculous result.

liberal arts, his affability of disArminius briefly answered the three position and kindliness of nature charges. He admitted that he had won for him at Amsterdam almost made some such statements, but the universal regard as at once the orfirst was qualified so as not to exclude nament and grace of the church, original sin, the second was sup: the pride of the republic and people. ported by Scriptural arguments, and

Obituary.

WILLIAM TWELLS, late of Ilkeston, mournful event his revered parent the only son of his widowed mother, had fondly cherished the hope, that departed this life June 3rd, 1862, having reached the fulness of manly aged forty years. Prior to the prime, the early symptoms of a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

premature grave had passed away. I attendance on Sabbath duties had Reflecting on the trials and bereave gained the admiration and esteem of ments of the past, her prayer was, the brethren, and on April 28th, 1858, O my Father if it be possible, our late brother was unanimously spare to me one member of my chosen as a deacon of the church, family until I have walked the vale which office he held until his decease. of life; nevertheless, not my will, His natural diffidence induced a but Thine be done.' The genial and habit of quiet thought, and curbed trusting heart is quick to discern the freeness of his conversational and appropriate the incipient tokens powers. He was conscious of a life of a propitious Providence: 'tis well hid with Christ in God which lan. it is so. The soul chastened and guage failed to express. Musing subdued under the disappointments in the dark and silent hour on the of earth, rises into the higher and mighty themes of inspiration, he more blessed communion of heaven; would ask for the reading of that and the words of the prophet of grand old psalm of Moses, the man God come with power to our remem- of God, Iord, Thou hast been our brance; For my thoughts are not as dwelling-place, 8c. your thoughts, neither are my ways as Alluding to an early period of his your ways, saith the Lord.

life he said, “Had I died then I be. The subject of this notice being lieve I should have gone to heaven, the son of pious parents, and the and I have no doubt of it now if I child of many prayers, knew the keep my integrity.'. Unable to rise Holy Scriptures from his youth. in bed and recalling, his former The teaching, example, and disci. strength, he was heard to whisper, pline of home, prepared his mind Father, 'tis thus because Thy will and heart for the loftier ministries chooses and ordains it should be of Providence and grace in after years. His religious life was a His favourite hymn indicated his steady, quiet, and progressive readiness to depart and be with growth, giving a high tone to his Christ, as the following stranzas moral principles and an admirable will show. consistency to bis Christian char. acter in the varied departments of

“The hour of my departure's come, human endeavour. It was in the

I hear the voice that calls me home; chamber of affliction that

At last, O Lord, let trouble cease,

And let Thy servant die in peace.' lamented friend realized the first bright vision of a Saviour's dying 'I leave the world without a tear, love, and became a conscious par- Save for the friends I hold so dear; ticipant in His redeeming grace.

To heal their sorrows, Lord descend; Out of weakness he was made strong.

And to the friendless prove a friend.' He thought upon his ways and turned his feet to the Lord's testimonies.

Preparing his mind for the last When convalescent he hastened to painful trial of bidding adieu to his redeem the promise his soul in venerated mother, his devoted wife, secret made. Full of gratitude to and his infant son, he was heard to God and love to Christ he assumed repeat a few lines of that beautiful the Christian profession, entered hymn, the communion of the church, and became one of its most upright and

O sacred hope, O blissful hope,

Which Jesus's grace has given, conscientious members. This happy The hope when days and years are past event took place October 1st, 1848. We all shall meet in heaven.' The Sunday-school presented a field for usefulness, he at once responded With such thoughts, einotions, and to its claims and felt greatly attached anticipations, the good man of whom to its interests. It soon became I write, waited for the salvation of evident that his punctual and regular I God. The summons came, the

[ocr errors]

our

Correspondence- Last Words to Old Mortality.

139

6

spirit departed, and the visions of God's statutes, his faith reposed on earth receded before the realities of the One Mediator, and his hope beheaven. His death was improved came an anchor to his soul in the by one of his late ministers, from swellings of Jordan. Standing on the consoling words of the apostle, this side of the river, I saw his frail 1 Thess. iv. 14. For if we believe bark breasting the surging waves, that Jesus died, &c. Mark the perfect while his glad accents mingling man, and behold the upright ; for the with the tempest roar, fellin softened end of that man is peace.

cadences on my spirit: I am on C. S., H. the rock of ages.

• Christ is my

hope.' 'Heaven is my home.' With Thomas Hodgson, late of Hepton- these accredited passports in his stall, and only surviving brother of possession, the storm-beaten voyager Mr. James Hodgson, who departed crossed the narrow sea and entered this life November 30th, 1862, in the the celestial port. 78th year of his age. He became a His brother and he in death were member of the church at Hepton- not long divided. Faith now bestall Slack in 1807, and was one of holds them translated to the clime the first fruits of the sainted James of glory. Taylor's labours. Successive changes marked his pilgrimage through

*They stand upon the sea of glass, this mortal vale, amid which his

Amid the white robed throng; identity with the visible church

They walk the golden streets, and sing

The everlasting song.' ceased, but his heart was sound in

Correspondence.

LAST WORDS TO OLD redeemed his intellectual reputaMORTALITY.

tion he comes forth this time

lusty, frolicsome, epigrammatic, and To the Editor of the General Baptist resplendent as of yore-rejoicing as Magazine,

a strong man to run a race. I find

his brilliant volubility truly over, DEAR MR. EDITOR,—By your favour' whelming; and if I were persuaded I proceed to deliver myself, as that the strength and fortune of my briefly as possible, of what occurs cause depended materially upon my to me by way of answer to Old power to compete with his dazzling Mortality's second communication, display of gladiatorial rhetoric, I and so conclude my part in a con

must confess there would be no troversy of which I cannot but feel alternative left to me but at once to that your readers will soon become strike my colours and surrender my justly impatient, inasmuch as the sword. At present, however, I do disputants are inevitably led to not feel capitulation necessary. dwell largely on their personal Let me here premise that I decline, opinions and sympathies. Old by any further extended reference Mortality begins with congratula- to the congregation in which it is tion. I shall do the same. For his misfortune to worship’ to inif, as he seems to insinuate, I have crease that uncomfortable publicity been audacious enough to imply which this correspondence has atthat his first effusion is disfigured tracted to those who have for some by the peevish violence

of

a time been strenuously striving (and dimmed senility, I am now bound I venture to think with very fair to admit that he has completely i results) to raise the character of

their congregational psalmody. If faculty, a certain quantitative culture anything more needs to be offered of the collective powers ? I profess in their justification, I leave the not myself altogether unskilled in difficult duty to be undertaken by metaphysical discrimination, but I some one more directly interested, have a pretty firm belief that to and able to bring to the discussion define too sharply the inward atof the subject the superior resources tributes of human nature is more of personal musical knowledge and productive of confusion than of attainments. Should our nineteenth clearness, and that our nimblest century Puritan, however, still find mental analysts with their tabulated the gush of his devotion so cruelly lists of labelled faculties have chilled and sent back sorrowing simply reaped as their reward just into his lonely soul by this 'apostasy so many differing systems of from religion to artifice,' he will methodized pedantry, and no sub. perhaps pardon me for submitting stantial scientific revelation whatfor his earnest consideration the soever. Old Mortality distinguishes sensible suggestion of a member of elaborately, in balanced Macaulay. the Church of England, to whom like periods, between the religion I shewed his letter, viz. : that of conscience and the religion of he should betake himself to taste. I refuse to recognize any worship where when the minister such antagonistic classifications of says, "Praise ye the Lord,' the that supreme reality we call repeople are bound to answer with a ligion. " Genuine religion is (if I loud voice, The Lord's name be may so say) generic, and admits of no praised,' and where surely even the specific diversities. Does the good

faltering lips and stammering Spirit of God, I reverently wonder, tongue of poor Old Mortality'would hovering tenderly in the neighbourfind congenial and hearty occupa- hood of the sinful soul it loves, tion in the choral swell of general | vacillate and pause, debating by song, an

in the multitudinous which one of the many mystic responses.

gateways it shall seek entrance to Old Mortality repudiates paternal do the blessed work of conviction, interest and responsibility in the illumination, comfort ? So that he expression, religion of taste.' I receive itfaithfully-it matters little, did not intend to impute to him the as it seems to me-in what tone or actual manufacture of that par- | by what instrument the saving ticular phrase. I employed those message comes to man. If by the terms because they seemed to me charms of art, the influences of to be briefly indicative of his totality nature, the means of grace;' if of meaning. I thought that in so by music or sermon; if in the using them I did fairly. I think so cross-crowned minster with the still. He complains that his ob- beautiful symbolisms of its climbing servations on religion and taste have architecture, and its enchantment been misunderstood and misrepre- of soft shadow and solemn lights, sented. His own words are : 'It or in the lowly meeting-house, unmay perhaps be admitted (he is not pleasing, it may be, to the eye, but sure of it) that there is a strong hallowed and enriched through a affinity, if not an identity, between thousand immortal memories that moral goodness and moral beauty.' have made it a gate of heaven;' But if identical, how comes it that if by the reproachful innocence that in presenting it we appeal to two looks on us out of the untroubled entirely different principles of the depth and sweetness of a child's mind? Are conscience and taste'dcar eyes—a human spirit is divinely antithetical mental properties ? Is touched, and the far-wandering one taste a separate faculty at all? Does brought home to the close-folding it perform a special solitary function? arms of the Father, and restored to Is it not more a condition than a the kingdom of heaven, which is

6

« PreviousContinue »