« VorigeDoorgaan »
of that period, it has fulfilled its function-St. George's, Hanover Square ; but his ferthe world needs something fresh, something vent preaching brought a mob of people to older or something newer, something which that fashionable place of worship, and on our immediate predecessors have not com- the charge of having vulgarized the congremon-placed. Still, it is an excellent treat-gation and overcrowded the church, the recise, a clear and engaging summary of prac- tor removed him. He was popularly elected tical divinity, and it did much good when to the Evening Lectureship of St. Dunstan's; new. Some instances came to Venn's own but the rector there took possession of the knowledge. Soon after its publication he pulpit in the time of prayer, so as to exwas sitting at the window of an inn in the clude the fanatic. Lord Mansfield decided west of England. A man was driving some that after seven in the evening Mr. Romaine refractory pigs, and one of the waiters helped was entitled to the use of the church ; so, him, while the rest looked on and shouted till the clock struck seven, the church-warwith laughter. Mr. Venn, pleased with this dens kept the doors firm shut, and by benevolent trait, promised to send him a drenching them in rain and freezing them book, and sent him his own. Many years in frost, hoped to weary out the crowd. after, a gentleman staying at an inn in the Failing in this, they refused to light the same part of England, on Saturday night Church, and Mr. Romaine often preachasked one of the servants if they ever went ed to his vast auditory with no light except to a place of worship on Sunday. He was the solitary candle which he held in his surprised to find that they were all required hand. But“ like another Cocles"--a comto go at least once a day, and that the mas- parison already fairly applied to him-“he ter of the house not only never failed to at- was resolved to keep the pass, and if the tend, but maintained constant family prayer. bridge fell to leap into the Tiber.” Though It turned out that he was the waiter who for years his stipend was only eighteen had helped the pig-driver—that he had pounds, he wore home-spun cloth and lived so married his former master's daughter, and plainly that they could not starve him out. that he, his wife, and some of their children, And though they repeatedly dragged him to owed all their happiness to the “ Complete the courts of law they could not force him out. Duty of Man.” The gentleman told the And though they sought occasion against landlord that he knew Mr. Vem, and soon him in regard to the canons, they could not intended to visit him, and in the joy of his get the Bishop to turn him out. He held heart the host charged him with a letter de his post till, with much ado, he gained the tailing all his happy history. And once at pulpit of Blackfriars, and preached with unHelvoetsluys, when waiting for a fair wind quenched fire till past four-score, the Life, to carry him to England, he accosted on the the Walk, the Triumph of Faith. For a shore a gentleman whom he took for an great while he was one of the sights of LonEnglishman; he was a Swede, but having don, and people who came from Ireland and lived long in England, knew the language elsewhere to see Garrick act, went to hear well. He turned out to be a pious man, Romaine discourse; and many blessed the and asked Mr. Venn to sup with him. Af- day which first drew their thoughtless steps ter much interesting conversation, he open- to St. Dunstan's br St. Ann's. And in his ed his portmanteau, and brought out the more tranquil evening there was a cluster of book to which he said that he owned all his pious citizens about Ludgate Hill and St. religious impressions. Mr. Venn recognis-Paul's Churchyard, who exceedingly revered ed his own book, and it needed all his hu- the abrupt old man. Of all the churches mility not to bewray the author.
in the capital, his was the one towards WILLIAM ROMAINE* began his course as which most home-feeling flowed: It shed Gresham Professor of Astronomy, and ed. a sabbatic air through its environs, and the itor of the four folios of Calasio's Hebrew dingy lanes around it seemed to brighten in Concordance. But after he caught the evan- its religion of life and hope. Full of sober gelical fire he burned and shone for nearly hearers and joyful worshippers, it was a fifty years—so far as the Establishment is source of substantial service to the neighconcerned—the light of London. It needed borhood in times of need; and whilst the all his strength of character to hold his warm focus to which provincial piety and ground and conquer opposition. He was travelled worth most readily repaired, it appointed Assistant Morning Lecturer at was the spot endeared to many a thankful
memory as the Peniel where first they be* Born 1714. Died 1795.
held that great sight, CHRIST CRUCIFIED.
Beside the London Mansion House there Being let go, they went to their own is a Church with two truncated square company."" This brings up Hannah More towers—the stumps of amputated steeples, and her book on the “Manners of the Great;" suggesting St. Mary Woolnoth, and St. and the minister expresses his high opinion Mary Wool-Church-Haw. What is trans- of Miss More. Some of the party do not acted in it now we cannot tell ; but could know who she is, and he tells them that she the reader have visited it fifty years ago, is a gifted lady who used to be the intimate he would have seen in the heavy pulpit a friend of Johnson, Horace Walpole, and Sir somewhat heavy old man. With little Joshua Reynolds, the idol of the West-end warmth he muttered through a pious ser- grandees, and the writer of plays for Drury mon-texts and trite remarks till now and Lane; but who has lately come out with then some bright fancy or earnest feeling some faithful appeals to her aristocratic acmade a stiff animation overrun his seamy quaintances on the subject of heart-religion, countenance, and rush out at his kind and and which are making a great sensation. beaming eyes. From the Lombard Street " Aweel,” says a Scotch elder from Swalbankers and powdered merchants who lolled low Street, “ Miss Moore is very .
tawlented, serenely at the end of various pews, it was and I hope has got the root of the matter ; evident that he was not deemed a Metho- but I misdoubt if there be not a laygal dist. From the thin North country visage twang in her still.” And in this remark which peered at him through catechetic spec. he is heartily seconded by the spectacled tacles, and waited for something wonderful Calvinist from Lesmahago, who has been which would not come, it was likely that he present all the time, but has not ventured was a Calvinist, and that his fame had cross- to speak till he found in front this Ajax ed the Tweed. And from the fond up- with his Westminster shield. And the milooking affection with which many of his nister smiles quaintly in acknowledgment hearers eyed him, you would have inferred that they are more than half right, but rethat himself must be more interesting than peats his admiration and his hope for the his sermon. Go next Friday evening to accomplished authoress. And then he opens No. 8, Coleman Street Buildings; and his Bible, and after singing one of the Olney there in a dusky parlor with some twenty hymns, reads the eighteenth chapter of the people at tea, you will meet again the Acts. “You see that Apollos met with two preacher. He has doffed the cassock, and candid people in the Church ; they neither in a sailor's blue jacket, on a three-legged ran away because he was legal, nor were stool, sits in solitary state at his own little carried away because he was eloquent.” · table. The tea is done, and the pipe is And after a short but fervent prayer, cathosmoked, and the Bible is placed where the lic, comprehensive, and experimental, and tea-cup was. The guests draw nearer the turning into devotion the substance of their oracular tripod, and the feast of wisdom and colloquy, it is as late as nine o'clock, and the flow of soul begin. He inquires if any the little party begins to separate. Some one has got a question to ask; for these re- are evidently constant visitors. The taci. unions are meetings for business as well as turn gentleman who never spoke a word, for friendship. And two or three have but who, at every significant sentence, come with their questions cut and dry. A smacked his lips as if they were clasping a retired old lady asks, “How far a Chris- casket over a gem, and meant to keep it, tian may conform to the world ?" And the occupied a prescriptive chair, and so did the old sailor says many good things to guide invalid lady who has ordered her sedan to her scrupulous conscience, unless, indeed, Bedford Row. In leave-taking the host has she asked it for the sake of the young gen- a kind word for every one, and has a great tleman with the blue coat and frilled wrist- deal to say to his north-country visitor. “I bands across the table. " When a Chris- I was a wild beast on the coast of Africa ; tian goes into the world because he sees but the Lord caught me and tamed me, and it is his call, yet while he feels it also now you come to see me as people go to look his cross, it will not hurt him." Then at the lions in the Tower." Never was guiding his discourse towards some of his lion so entirely tamed as John Newton.* City friends : “ A Christian in the world is Commencing life as a desperado and dreadlike a man transacting business in the rain; naught, and scaring his companions by his he will not suddenly leave his client because peerless profanity and heaven-daring wickedit rains; but the moment the business is done he is gone ; as it is said in the Acts,
* Born 1725. Died 1807.
ness, and then by his remarkable recovery his own friend Cowper, who was not a prosignalizing the riches of God's grace, you fessed divine, no letters of that stiff centumight have expected a Boanerges to come ry read so free, and none have preserved out of the converted Buccanier. But never the writer's heart so well. was transformation more complete. Except We might have noticed others. We the blue jacket at the fireside, and a few would gladly bave found a place for the Hon. sea-faring habits-except the lion's hide, and Rev. W. B. Cadogan, a name still dear nothing survived of the African lion. The to Reading, and another illustrious excepPuritans would have said that the lion was tion to the
noble.” We should slain, and that honey was found in its car- have sketched John William Fletcher, that case. Affable and easy of access, his house saintly man and seraphic minister. And it was the resort of those who sought a skilful would have been right to record the services spiritual counsellor, and knowing it to be of Joseph Milner at Hull, and his brother the form of service for which he was best Isaac at Cambridge. It was by his Church fitted, instead of fretting at the constant in- History that the former served the cause of terruption, or nervously absconding to some the Gospel; and it was a great service to write calm retreat, his consulting-room, in Lon- the first history not of Popes and Councils, don's most trodden thoroughfare, was always but vital Christianity, and write it so well. open. And though he was sometimes dis- Isaac brought to the defence of the Gospel appointed in those of whom his confiding na- a name which was itself a tower of strength. ture hoped too soon, his hopefulness was the The “Incomparble” Senior Wrangler, and very reason why others turned out so well. gifted with a colossal intellect, he was nerThere was a time when Christian principle vous and indolent. In the Cathedral was a smoking flax in Claudius Buchanan of Carlisle he preached from time to time and William Wilberforce ; but on Newton's powerful sermons, which made a great imhearth, and under the afflatus of God's pression, and the known identification of Spirit, it soon burst forth in flame. And if the Vice-Chancellor with the evangelical his conversation effected much, his corres-cause, lent it a lofty sanction in Simeon's pondence accomplished more. His narra- university. But he was remiss and shy, and tive is wonderful, and his hymns are very seldom came out publicly. He ought to sweet ; but his letters make him eminent. have been a Pharos ; but he was a lighthouse Our theology supplies nothing that can rival with the shutters closed. A splendid illuthem; and it is when we recollect how mination it was for his niece and Dr. Jowmany quires of these epistles were yearly ett, and a few favored friends in the lightissuing from his study, that we perceive keeper's parlor; but his talents and princiwhat an influential and useful man the rec- ples together ought to have been the light tor of St. Mary's was. Many volumes are of the world. Nor bave we enumerated in print, and we have read others in manu- the conspicuous names in Wesleyanism, and script. All are fresh and various, and all the old English Dissent, and the Countdistinguished by the same playful sincerity, css of Huntingdon's Connexion--any one and easy wisdom, and transfusive warmth. of which would have supplied a list as long, All are rich in experimental piety, and all and in some respects as remarkable as that radiant with gracious vivacity. The whole now given. Nor have we specified the sercollection is a “Cardiphonia.” They are vices of eminent minds among the laityall the utterance of the heart. And they such as Cowper, who secured for evangelism will stand comparison with the happiest ef- an exalted place in English literature; and forts of the most famous pens. For exam- Wilberforce, who introduced it into Parliaple, take up the Life and Correspondence of ment; and Hannah More, who obtained an Hannah More, and how artificial does every audience for it in the most sumptuous thing appear alongside of John Newton drawing-rooms, and by her tracts pioneered Here is one of her own bests pecimens, re- its entrance into countless cottages. These ligious and sparkling, a jet of spiritual cham-all fulfilled a function. Cowper was the pagne. And there is the effusion of some first to show how purest taste and finest laudatory bishop, slow and sweet, like a genius should co-exist with warmest love cascade of treacle or a fall of honey. But to Jesus Christ. His Task, and Hymns, here, midst labor and painful art, is the and Letters, were the several arches of well of water surrounded with its native a bridge, which has since been traversed by moss ; nature, grace, wisdom, goodness--Foster, Hall, and other pilgrims, who showed John Newton and nothing more. Except plainly inspiration in their steps and heaven in their eye. Wilberforce, by the combined | ly become his curate, and serve him gratis." movements for the Reformation of Morals Soon after this purpose had been passing and the Abolition of Slavery, set the ex- through his mind, through the influence of ample to the great philanthropic institu- his father he found himself minister of tions of our day; and the ascendency won Trinity Church, one of the largest places by his personal worth and enchanting elo- of worship in Cambridge, and where, for quence, supplied the nucleus round which upwards of fifty years, he proclaimed the Bible and other Societies were easily gather- salvation which he himself had found. The ed. And the moralist of Barley Wood, by career of opposition and obloquy which he the sensible tone of her “ Cheap Reposi- ran passing off into universal esteem and tory," and her educational victories among homage, from the time that a gownsman the young savages of Cheddar, gave an ac- would blush to cross the quadrangle in his tive and useful direction to feminine pięty. company, till bishops were calling on him, Besides all which, her clever and pointed three together, and till that bleak Novemessays helped to expose hollow profession, ber day, when the mourning University and turn on evangelical motives in channels bore him to his tomb, beneath the stately of self-denying industry. The connecting roof of King Henry's Chapel—the triumph isthmus betwixt the old “ Duty of Man,” of faith and energy over long hostility, and Romaine's “ Life of Faith,” may be may encourage other witnesses for obnoxfound in the “ Practical Piety” of Hannah ious truth, and is amply detailed in Mr. More.
Carus’ bulky volume. "We only wish to inIt was on the close of a century thus pre- dicate the particular work which we believe pared, and in the University in fullest con- that Mr. Simeon did. Filling, and eventtact with English mind, that God raised up ually with great ascendency, that commandCharles Simeon.* The son of a Berk- ing pulpit, for more than half a century, shire squire, and educated at Eton, he was and meeting in his own house weekly scores sent to King's College. Being warned that of candidates for the Church of England he would be expected to communicate on ministry—we do not hesitate to say, that the first Sabbath after his arrival in the l of all men Simeon did the most to mould University, and shocked at his own obvious the recent and existing evangelism of the unfitness, he instantly purchased “The Southern Establishment. And in his first Duty of Man,” and strove to prepare him-'and most fervent days—untrammelled, beself. With little success. But subsequent-, cause persecuted and unflattered, he did a ly an expression of Bishop Wilson, in his noble work. The impulse which he then book on the Lord's Supper—“the Jews gave was purely evangelistic, and men like knew what they did when they transferred | Thomason, and Henry Martyn, and Daniel their sin to the head of their offering,” sug- Wilson, were the product. But as he got gested to his mind the possibility of trans- older and more honored, when he found ferring guilt to another. The idea grew in that in the persons of his friends and puhis mind till the hope of mercy became pils, and through his writings, he had bestrong, and on Easter Sunday he awoke come an important integral of the Eswith the words,-“ Jesus Christ is risen tablished Church, if he did not become less to-day; Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” After evangelical he became more hierarchical. this vivid dawn, the hope of salvation con- He still loved the Gospel ; but the Church tinued strong within him ; but he was three was growing kind, and he was coaxed into years without finding a single friend like a more ardent episcopacy and more exact minded. On the eve of his ordination, he conformity. The Church was actually imhad serious thoughts of putting in the proved, and personal acquaintances mountpapers an advertisement, " That a young ing the bench put a still more friendly face clergyman, who felt himself an undone sin- on it. He began to hope that evangelism ner, and who looked to the Lord Jesus would prevail among the clergy, and that Christ alone for salvation, and desired to they might prove, if not the sole, the most live only to make him known, was persuad- successful agency for diffusing the Gospel. ed that there must be some persons in the And strong in this belief, he began to blush world whose views and feelings accorded at the excesses of his youthful zeal, and inwith his own; and that, if there were any culcate on his student-friends reverence for minister of that description, he would glad- the Rubric and obedience to the Bishop.
He bought patronages and presentations, * Born 1758. Died 1806.
and bestirred all his energies to form a
ministry evangelical but regular, episcopal s however vigorous or affecting they might be but earnest. Volunteering his services and when Simeon himself lived in them, they accepted by the under-graduates, he became are now too many and exceeding dry. virtual Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral As presiding over a school of the proTheology to the University of Cambridge. phets, Simeon's great defects were a want
In fulfilment of this task, he inspired no of grandeur in his views, and the absence grand ideas. His mind was not telescopic. of a gravitation-centre for his creed. His He did not look to the Church universal's pupils might come forth sincere and painslong future, nor to the position of his own taking parsons; but, overladen with truism Church relatively to Christendom. But he and shackled by routine, they were not looked to England as it then was, and as he likely to prove venturesome missionaries or assumed that it ever would be ; and he look- bold and original evangelists. His own ed out for new Bishops and advowsons in the propensity was for well-divided market and present openings for an Evan- sermons than for a theology newly inspired gelical clergy—the painstaking overseer of and anew adapted to the times. He loved his own repairs, but not prophetic enough to to open texts; and it was rather to the foretell the alterations that would be even- sermon-fishery than to the field of battle tually needed, nor creative enough to suggest that he sent his young divines. His outfitthem. The minds of his respectful listeners present was not a sword but an oysterwere not stimulated by the proposal of great knife; and if the “evangelicals” whom Arschemes and noble purposes; even as they nold met were Simeonites, we do not wonder were not invigorated by fresh and sublime that they failed to command his reverence. presentations of familiar truth. And he One thing must not be forgotten as taught no system. He loved every text and shedding lustre on his Christian memory. dreaded none, and gloried in laying on each He had continual heaviness, and great sosuccessively an equal stress. According licitude for Israel ; and as he mightily to his text, a hearer might imagine him helped to awaken throughout the evaneither Calvinist or Arminian, High Church-gelical Church a missionary zeal on their beman or Low, To evade no text and exag- half, so in his dying thoughts, like the gerate none was his object; and this was Lord himself, he earnestly remembered well: but we rather suspect that the Bible them still. And in the recollectedness contains pervasive principles, prepollent and and deep humility of that dying scene, over-mastering truths, and that a firm hold there is something greater and more solema of these is very needful for the interpretation than any obituary which we have read for of the individual texts. And of this we are many days. During his long and active very sure, that no energetic ministry nor life-disinterested, peremptory, and singlewide reformation has ever arisen without eyed, he approved himself a faithful servant one or other of these cardinal truths as its of his blessed Master. But the greatest watchword and rallying-cry. In Simeon's good which he effected, we are disposed to Theology there was nothing equivalent to think, is what he did directly, and still Luther's Jehovah-Tsidkenu, or Wesley's more what he did early. To our judgment golden sentence, “God is Love."
he is not one of those men who can be But if not grand he was earnest, and if widely or long transmitted. Already is not comprehensive he was orderly and me- all that was impulsive in him dying out, thodical. A man of routine rather than of and we fear that some who exceedingly system, he was a pattern of punctuality admired him once are forgetting what he and neatness in his person, and a model of taught them. And his own last days, we clear and accurate arrangement in his fear, were not quite so impulsive as his
He liked to see work well done, first. An ancient University and a hierarand was therefore tempted to do too much chical Establishment are to a fervent Evanhimself. To ensure the preaching of a gelism like those Transatlantic lakes which good sermon, whatever the text might be, are lined with attractive gravel. A stout he actually printed for the guidance of arm, starting in deep water, may row a ministers twenty dense volumes of Helps to goodly distance ; but as it nears the banks Composition. Only think of it! and only or skims the shallows, the boat will be think of the parishes which get these slowed or arrested by the spell in the spectral Helps as regular sermons! This water. It would appear that even Simeon Homiletic Bone-house contains no fewer at last felt to some extent the influence of than twenty-five hundred “ skeletons," and this magnetic mud.