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never be felt, some of whom at present take only one copy, and others, it is to be feared, no copy at all.
2. There are many congregations in which few copies of the “Messenger” circulate. In such cases Ministers might do much for us (vide page 540). But without taxing the time of Ministers, might not some zealous individual take it up ? Might not some energetic Deacon institute a canvass ; or is it presuming too much to ask the systematic aid of Deacons' Courts ? Or failing such agency, is there no kind lady who will befriend the poor “Messenger,” and ask her neighbours singly, or in clubs, to take it in ? We are emboldened in our urgency, because we believe that without a periodical to diffuse its Missionary Intelligence, and to keep up a mutual acquaintance among its congregations, our Church cannot much progress. And, therefore, just as we record contributions to the Schemes of our Church, so should any Correspondents, before the 20th of the present month (December), favour us with an account of their exertions in our behalf, we shall, in next number, briefly record the result. We would only add, that, as far as practicable, it is best to order the “Messenger” through a local bookseller.
The circulation of the “ Messenger” has materially increased ; but it is still scarcely large enough to pay the cost of paper and printing,—to say nothing of re-imbursement to those friends who advanced the capital for its first establishment. And, therefore, its originators, who have given their money, and its present Editors, who give to it a considerable amount of time and thought, feel the more freedom in entreating the good offices of their brethren. An immediate and simultaneous effort to augment our Magazine's efficiency, by multiplying its readers, is the favour we entreat, and we trust we shall not entreat in vain.
December 2, 1850.
THE ENGLISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER OF THE OLDEN TIME :
BY THE REV, JAMES HAMILTON, REGENT-SQUARE.
On the spot where the mansions of Sir | Chamber had already been avenged on Robert Peel, the Duke of Buccleugh, and the persecuting Primate; and now, the others of our most sumptuous aristocracy perfidies and constitutional treasons of now stand, there grew a goodly orchard many years were to be terribly visited on in the reign of the First Charles. On the the misguided monarch; and though his one side it skirted Whitehall Palace, on faithful retainer did not desert his post at the other it was bounded by the Thames; the water-gate till his master's son reand there was an iron postern and a stair turned to reign, for many years the by which the august occupants were wont keeper's residence in Whitehall gardens to reach their barge of state when they was a lodge in the wilderness. took pleasaunce on the river, or went to ! But it was in 1631, and in the palmy visit their neighbour at Lambeth, or their days of absolutism that John Henry's son royal selves at Greenwich. John Henry, I was born. The Countess of Salisbury, the Welsh gardener, derived a consider the Earl of Carlisle, and Philip, Earl of able portion of his income from the Pembroke, stood sponsors to the babe. gratuities of distinguished visitors who The little Philip grew up, as befitted went and came by the gate of which he such a birth-place and such godsires, a was official guardian; an ingenious graceful and fair-spoken child. The arrangement which once obtained in great Princes, Charles and James, were about houses, and in virtue of which every post his own age, and he used often to share was expected to keep its keeper. But at their sports. They presented him with last the emoluments of office ceased. The books and pictures, and told him what voice of harpers and musicians was no great preferment he should have at court more heard in the banquet-hall, and the as soon as he was old enough ; and had young princes no longer romped through he cared to follow up his early advantages, the Bird-cage walks and the avenues of he might soon have been called the son box and privet. Ship-money had ripened of Pharaoh's daughter. into civil war ; and one winter-day as he But he had a pious mother, who sought looked from his lodge in the leafless for him first of all the kingdom of heaven. orchard, the loyal Church-of-England man. She taught him to her best ability the was appalled by the sight of a scaffold, on elements of saving knowledge; and when which no thoughtful citizen could gaze he went to be a scholar at Westminster unmoved. The tortures of the Star- School, she begged old Dr. Busby that he No. 19.–New Series.
would allow her son to attend her favourite case of conscience; he was interrogated Puritan preachers. Of these the chief was as to the authors whom he had read; his Stephen Marshall,-a man mighty in the skill in the interpretation of Scripture was Gospel ; and his clear and forceful exposi- tested by his being required off-hand to tions lit up in the mind of the young explain a difficult passage ; and, finally, scholar the hope full of immortality. he was obliged in good earnest to defend From that period religion became with his Latin thesis, which several of the this school-boy his main business and his ministers vigorously impugned. And pleasure. The Westminster Assembly when he had acquitted himself in all these was sitting, and in London were concen exercises to the satisfaction of the Prestrated the nation's best divines. Every bytery, he was ordained minister of morning there was a lecture in the Abbey, Worthenbury. from six to eight, and once a month the This was a small rural parish, and even House of Commons held a fast in St. with accessions of hearers, who soon Margaret's Church, where, from eight in resorted from the neighbourhood, Mr. the morning till four in the afternoon, the Henry's audience was never very large. most fervent ministers kept up the solemn | He had not forty communicants at first, exercise. To all these services, as well nor were they more than doubled at the as Mr. Case's Thursday lecture, young last. But in preparing sermons for this Henry resorted, and in notes, voluminous little country congregation, their pastor and neat, he preserved the massy theology was as conscientious and painstaking as and discriminate casuistry and ingenious if he wrote them with an eye to an intelliexposition to which he was then allowed gent and large assembly. “He wrote to listen,-a memorial of London's great the notes of his sermons pretty full, and spiritual festival, and a magazine from always very legible. But even when he which he drew rich supplies for his future had put his last hand to them, he comministry.
monly left many imperfect hints, which From Westminster School, Philip gave room for enlargement in preaching, Henry removed to Christ Church, Oxford. wherein he had great felicity."* Of these The Parliamentary forces were rough sermon notes we once saw a specimen. visitors, but they did more for the efficient | It was in the study of Dr. Chalmers, and reform of Oxford than any Royal commis- amongst many things discussed in a long, sion. Mr. Henry "would often mention and to the writer important, interview, was with thankfulness to God, what great the question of read discourses: You helps and advantages he then had in the know I always read my sermons, and when University, not only for learning, but for I preach I usually have the feeling as if the religion and piety. Serious godliness was people were attentive; and I think the reain reputation, and besides the public son is, because I am as sincere in what I read opportunities they had, many of the as other ministers are in what they recite." scholars met together for prayer and This led to some remarks on the practice of Christian conference, to the great confirm the Puritans, and, asking if we would like to ing of one another's hearts in the fear see a sermon of Matthew Henry, he rose and love of God, and the preparing of and opened one of the quaint lockers them for the service of the Church in their in which he kept his treasures, and brought generation.” Nor was it the least advan- out a little foolscap manuscript, closely tage of the rising ministry there that every written, but neatly margined, very minute Sabbath they heard the two preachers in and clear, and to the last tittle sustaining England most renowned, the one for that continuous trimness which bespeaks learning, and the other for sanctified the love of order and the sense of leisure. genius, Dr. John Owen, and Dr. Thomas To our remembrance the sermon of the Goodwin.
father had not quite the same gem-like At the age of twenty-six he was ap- neatness and typographical distinctness; pointed minister of Worthenbury, a small but still there was that deliberate air as parish in Flintshire. He applied for when men are fond of their employment ordination to the Presbytery of Bradford and take time to do it well. North, in Shropshire. After inquiry 1 When he first came to his parish he concerning his "experience of the work found many adults very ignorant; but by of grace in his heart,” he was examined explaining to them the Catechism and on the subjects still usual on such occa- patiently instructing them, he brought sions, with some interesting additions. them up to such a level of Christian intelliFor instance, he was asked to resolve al gence that afterwards he confined his catechising to young persons under sconced in his well-furnished library, eighteen years of age. is He also kept transcribing into his folio common-place up a monthly conference in private, from book choice sentences from Cicero and house to house, in which he met with the Seneca, Augustine and Ambrose, Calvin more knowing and judicious of the parish; and Beza, Baxter and Caryl, or writing and they discoursed familiarly together of out courses of sermons which he jet the things of God, after the manner of the hoped to preach; the industrious divinë apostles, who taught from house to house. improved his abundant leisure. And By this means he came better to under- | whilst his partner looked well to the ways stand the state of his flock, and so knew of her household, the thriving fields and the better how to preach to them; and tasteful garden proclaimed their united pray for them, and they to pray for one husbandry. Standing hospitably by the another. If they were in doubt about way-side, their house received frequent anything relating to their souls, that was visits from the most renowned and godly an opportunity of getting satisfaction. It men in that vicinity, visits to which their was likewise a means of increasing know- children looked forward with veneration ledge and love and other graces; and and joy, and which left their long impresthus it abounded to a good account.” * sion on youthful memories. And on all From the hope of doing good not only to the inmates of the family, the morning themselves, but their relatives, he was and evening worship told with hallowing very assiduous in his visits to the sick; power. Seldom has this ordinance been and "in order to plough when the soil is observed so sacredly, or rendered so desoft," he preached a funeral sermon for lightfül. Alluding to the words chalked every one who died within the bounds of on plague-stricken houses, Philip Henry his little parish, whether rich or poor, would say, 'If the worship of God be not young or old, or little children. And within, write “Lord, have mercy upon us” although the restoration of Episcopacy on the door; for a plague, a curse is soon brought his labours to an end, a there,' And as he deemed it so importpastorate so affectionate and assiduous ant, hé laboured to make it instructive could scarcely fail to result in the salva- and engaging to all. In the morning he tion of many souls.
| arranged it so that the bustle of the day Whilst he was still minister of Wor should not infringe on it, and in the thenbury, Mr. Henry sought in mar- evening so early that no little girl should riage the only daughter and heiress of Mr. be nodding at the chapter, nor any drowsy Matthews, of Broad Oak. There was servant yawning through the prayer. somê demur on the part of her father; he Better one away than all sleepy,' he allowed that Mr. Henry was a gentle would say, if occasionally obliged to begin man, a scholar, and an excellent preacher, before some absentee returned; but so but he was a stranger, and they did not much did the fear of God and affection even know where he came from. "True;' for the head of the household reign, that said Miss Matthews, but I know where none were wilfully missing. And with he is going, and I should like to go with this “hem around it the business of him and she went. There is little each successive day was effectually kept recorded of her, except that she was very from 'ravelling. It was his custom to kind-hearted, devout, and charitable, expound a portion of Scripture, and he
and always well satisfied with whatever encouraged his children to write notes of God and her friends did for her.' Five these familiar explanations. Before they of their six children grew up; and when quitted the paternal roof each of them Bartholomew-day banished Philip Henry had in this way secured in manuscript a from his pulpit and his people, his wife's copious commentary on the Bible, which inheritance of Broad Oak' furnished an they treasured up as a precious memorial asylum for the remainder of his life, and of their happy early days, and their a better home than was found by the heavenly-minded father. In the hands families of most ejected ministers. of his only son these simple notes became
Seldom has a scene of purer domestic the germ of the most popular English happiness been witnessed than the love of Commentary.' God and one another created there. En | How the Act of Indulgence enabled
| him to resume his favourite employment * Matthew Henry's Life of his Father. of preaching, and how the glorious RevoEdited by Sir J. B. Williams. Page 41. | lution, without removing him from Broad Oak, restored him to the full exercise of the grand climacteric, and died on Midhis ministry, is fully told in that precious summer-day, 1696, a noble specimen of biography which records his weighty that full theology and Bible scholarship, sayings, and which describes so fondly and studious industry and pastoral disihis whole manner of life.* He passed gence, as well as domestic piety and per
sonal holiness, which were so often com* There has also rece “ Nelson's Puritan, Divines," a well-written
in bined in the old English Presbyterian
ministry. and very interesting “ Life and Times of Philip Henry."
INFANT BAPTISM EXPOUNDED.
BY THE REV. HORATIUS BONAR, KELSO.
From the time that God, by calling fully declared by a like unconsciousness Abraham, began to gather out for him- of transmission. self a Church in the earth, a peculiar peo- ! To declare this oneness in blessing, beple, he set up an ordinance, having special tween the believer and his children God reference to the infant children of these instituted circumcision. Thus did he gathered ones. Under that ordinance declare how ready he was to bless; how the seed of Abraham grew up; and be- ready to recognise the link between cause of it were treated as a people on parent and child, as one through which whom God had openly set his seal,-a he could communicate blessing, nay, to seal received in unconscious infancy, but sanctify that link, so as to make it the owned of God all the life long,-a seal legitimate, the acknowledged, the standdrawing after it heavy responsibilities, ing transmitter of blessing. Not that a seal so set round about with privileges, circumcision was the actual conveyer of that when the apostle puts the question, the blessing,—as if with it there must be “ What profit is there in circumcision;" blessing, and without it none ;-but it he answers it himself, “ much every way," was God's recognition of the identity beπολύ, κατά πάντα τρόπον.
tween parent and chiid as the channel That seal was circumcision. Like all through which he meant to pour in his seals and ceremonies it was, in itself, but an love, as the footing upon which he is outward thing, the act of human hands. willing to deal with a believer's offspring, Yet, unlike all Jewish rites, it was a according to the riches of his grace. parental not a priestly act. It was a This Old Testament seal was connected thing linked to the natural and abiding with spiritual, not with temporal blessings. relationships of the race, not to the It was not God's seal of the covenant for typical peculiarities of a nation. It took the land; for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for its basis a great and universal truth, never inherited the land. Besides, Ishwhich God was thus taking means to mael was circumcised, and what had he make known and confirm, the oneness be- to do with the land? The stranger and tween parent and child,-nay, the closer, the servant were circumcised, and what deeper, and more solemn oneness be- had they to do with the land ? No. The tween the believing parent and his child. | Apostle Paul distinctly affirms that it was
A oneness for evil had hitherto been “a seal of the righteousness of the faith exhibited between Adam and his seed, which he (Abraham) had yet being unthat men might surely see how “ sin circumcised.” (Rom. iv. 11.) Nay, furabounded;" but now was come God's ther, this seal of his justification was time for drawing forth the contrast, given him, in order " that he might be viz., the oneness for good between the the father of all them that believe, though children of the second Adam and their they be not circumcised.” It was God's offspring, that men might as truly know public, outward, visible recognition of him how “grace did much more abound." as a justified man;—God's seal set to the The sad fatality of the curse in the uncon covenant by which he had received the sciousness of its transmission had been justification. It had to do with spiritual, sufficiently shown forth; the benignant not with temporal blessings. It had to potency of the blessing was now to be as I do with Abraham the justified sinner,