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MEMOIR OF THE REV. AARON WICKENS, PASTOR OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, GREAT DUNMOW, essex.
The pen of biography is never '1770, he was ordained to the more suitably employed than in pastoral office. Mr. Angus, of delineating the character of dis- Bishop's Stortford, Mr. Davidson, tinguished individuals, who have of Bocking, and Mr. Towle, of been allowed to pass into eternity London, conducted the principal without a cotemporary record of parts of the service. This orditheir actions and their virtues. In nation took place on the day prethe number of such persous must ceding that of Mr. Fell at Thaxbe reckoned the subject of this ted, when the same ministers deli. memoir. The Rev. Aaron Wick- vered the several discourses, which ens was born in the year 1714, were published. at Tadley, near Whitchurch, in The life of Mr. Wickens, the Hampshire. His father was a greater part of which was spent in farmer, and is described as having the same town, and in the same been a worthy and respectable quiet though active discharge of man. He lived to a very ad. the duties of his profession, does vanced age, surviving his son, the not furnish many particulars on subject of this sketch, for a period which the pen of the biographer of several years.
can fix. But if the lives of perWith the means of Mr. Wick- sons whose race is run within a ens' first religious impressions the narrower limit are less entertainwriter is not acquainted; but, ing than the lives of such as from the circumstance of his hav- moved in a wider sphere, they are ing at the age of nineteen become more extensively imitable, and a candidate for the ministry among therefore more extensively useful. the Congregational Dissenters, it Nor does the life of a man so may be concluded that his atten- properly consist in a record of tion was directed to the concerns of whither he went and what he saw, eternity in his youth. Mr. Wickens as in an account of the way in received his education for the mi- which he thought and acted. The nistry in the Academy, formerly at life of Mr. Wickens does not even Mile End, but which in the year supply the variety which a series 1769 was removed to Humerton. of literary productions affords. A On the completion of his preparë. - single sermon is the only piece tory studies, which was in the same which he sent to the press. This year as the removal of the Aca. sermon is entitled, “ General Ilints demy, he was invited to the pas concerning the mutual Duties of toral charge of the Protestant Pastors and Churches,” It was Dissenting Church at Great Dun- preached at Chelmsford in 1776, mow. The invitation was accept- before the County Association of ed, and on the 23d of October, Dissenting Ministers, was pube
N.S. No. 27.
lished at their request, and is dis- standings; and he displayed the tinguished by a perspicuous ar- religion of Christ in all its beauties. rangement, a lucid style, and a He did not hesitate to employ succorrect acquaintance with the to- cessive hours in informing the mind, pics which the preacher discusses. or in removing the doubts, of a
Mr. Wickens did not confine day-labourer: a sacrifice of time his ministerial services, or his at- to a useful but unostentatious oftempts to do good, to the people fice, which none but a studious at Dunmow, but, agreeably to the man can fully appreciate command of the great Head of the During a considerable portion Church, “ went out into the high- of the life of Mr.Wickens, the conways and hedges to compel men gregation at Dunmow was in a to come in.” He established a flourishing condition; but an event week-day evening lecture at High took place, during the latter years Roding, which subsists till the of his ministry, by which his audipresent day. Assisted by the late tory was considerably diminished. excellent Mr. Thorogood, of Bock- This was the erection of a new ing, he maintained a Jord's-day meeting-house, and the formation and week-day evening lecture in of a church at Stebbing. This an old and nearly deserted meet- event has proved happy in the ex. ing-house at Stebbing. In this istence of two christian churches, village, long before the education prosperous in themselves, and of the poor was an object of much friendly to each other: but how attention, he paid for the instruc- far the separation was justifiable in tion of several poor children in a its commencement, the writer does day-school. He was accustomed not feel himself competeut to deto hold a religious meeting at cide. It must, however, be acknowStebbing Ford, where it was his ledged, that the separatists were plan to discuss a question, which not guilty of the great indiscretion had been proposed to him by some (to use the mildest term) of inof his auditory at the preceding viting a minister without possessmeeting. A few years since, the ing the means of supporting the writer received into the church worship. It is gratifying to add, over which he presides an aged that, for some time previous to the person, who attributed his abiding death of Mr. Wickens, the conreligious impressions to a dis- gregation at Dunmow gradually course delivered on one of these increased, and that, under the mioccasions.
nistry of his excellent successor, it Few men have possessed a has attained a degree of prosperity greater aptitude for the pastoral unequalled in any preceding period office, or have more diligently and of its history. successfully discharged its obligations, than the excellent subject Tradition reports, that the church now of this memoir. His conversa assembling at Dunmow originally met in tional talents were of the first this village ; from whence, on the close
of the tyranny of the Stuarts, it was reorder, and he consecrated them
osecrated them moved to the more public situation which to the duties of his station, and it now occupies. But whether this trathe service of his Master. In the dition be correct or not, the seclusion of instruction of the young and igno
a village, which is said to have contained
at the period referred to a large number of rant, in the encouragement of the
pions persons, and throngh which there hopeful, in the direction of the in- was forinerly do road, would constitute quiring, he spared no time, no a very eligible spot for the worship of the pains. He divested intricate points persecuted nonconformists. There is & of their difficulties, bringing them
Quakers' meeting-house in this village,
bearing in the brick-work the date of to the level of common under. 1672.
In the public concerps of the For several months before his dissenting body in the county decease, the health of Mr. Wickwhere he resided, Mr Wickens ens had been gradually declining; took a prominent part. For some but he contioued his public ser. years he was Secretary to the vices till within a few weeks of Associated Congregational Mini- his death. At length his dissters of Essex. To him, in con- order increased rapidly, and on junction with the late estimable April 30, 1799, he was numbered Mr. Parry, then of Little Baddow, with the dead. and afterwards of Wymondley, the A few years before his death, Benevolent Society for the Relief Mr. Wickens formed a matrimoof necessitous Widows and Chil- nial connection with a lady who dren of Protestant Dissenting Mi- for a considerable time survived nisters in the Counties of Essex her husband. Their family conand Hertford, is principally in- sisted, at his death, of two sons debted for its existence: and in and a daughter, of whom the him the Congregational Union, younger son only remains. To for promoting Christian Know- him the reader will be indebted ledge and Practice in the County for whatever instruction or pleaof Essex, had an able advocate sure he may receive in perusing and an enlightened counsellor. the extracts from Mr. Wickens'
The reputation which Mr.Wick- papers, which shall be inserted in ens had attained for wisdom and a subsequent number, uprightness, occasioned his advice Mr. Wickens was interred in to be frequently sought in cases of the burial-ground adjoining the difficulty. He was especially the meeting-house of his church. Mr. adviser of his younger brethren in Cooper, of Chelmsford, delivered the ministry, who, if they were an address at the grave; and Mr. possessed of the qualities which Thorogood, of Bocking, preached he deemed requisite to the due a funeral sermon from Heb, xiii. discharge of their work, ever 7, 8. found in him a friend, and in his
(To be continued.) house a home.
ORIGINAL ESSAYS, COMMUNICATIONS, &c.
ON PERNICIOUS PRINCIPLES. sary to the proper consideration of PART III. (continued.) the subject before us. These were,
1. That sin deserves some punishUniversal Restoration.
ment; 2. That God alone, the We enter again upon the con. Being of infinite holiness and jussideration of the profound and aw- tice, wisdom and goodness, is ful, yet most necessary and impor competent to determine what putant subject, the everlasting punish- nishment ought to be inflicted ment of the wicked in the future upon sin; and, 3. That the deworld. In the last paper, your atten- cision of God, made known to us tion, courteous reader, was called in his word, is our only sure and to three axioms, or fundamental certain ground of knowledge upon considerations, which are either this, as upon every other, doctrine self-evident, or capable of being of revelation. We then proceeded satisfactorily proved, and of which to consider the opinion of those the right apprehension and full who think that an eternal punishconviction are absolutely neces- ment of sin would not be just, and that, consequently, the wicked in gracious, kind, and merciful chasbell will survive their sufferings, tisement, which will, in due time, and arrive at a period when they have the effect of bringing all who will have endured all the punish- have died wicked and impenitent ment that justice requires, so that back to a state of perfect virtue they will be liberated as a matter and happiness. Upon this docof course. Upon this supposition trine we have offered to you our we remarked, 1st, That nothing first remark; viz. that, most clearcould make it credible but a posi- ly and incontrovertibly, it repretive declaration or promise from sents the condition of those who God: yei no such intimation from die under the guilt and dominion the supreme authority is even pre- of their sins, as a condition of tended : on the contrary, the word mercy, an unspeakable good, a of inspiration is not merely silent subjection to the greatest kindness, upon any such expectation, but it the highest and most valuable contains assertions which are di- blessing that is possible under all réctly contrary to it. 2dly, That the circumstances : for what is it, this opinion proceeds upon the but a most benevolent and effiassumption that the future punish- cacious method of conferring upon ment of the wicked will be an them the greatest good, that good arbitrary and external infliction of which all the means of divine mechanical pain, whereas its essen- grace and wisdom, in the present tial nature and its principal source life, had been unable to attain ? are the consciousness of guilt and But evidence was adduced, from a being given up to the unutter- the infallible word of truth, to able horrors which are the na- show that this undeniable infertural effects of that consciousness. ence from the sentiment under 3dly, That, upon this scheme, a consideration is a most direct and most astonishing contrariety of daring contradiction to the plainest state would finally be produced and strongest declaration of the in the regions of blessedness : one Most High God. party ascribing all their happiness We now pursue the train of to the infinite mercy and grace of considerations upon this solemn God, through the boundless con- subject, by submitting to you a descension of the Redeemer ; and second remark: another party, owing nothing to ii. Throughout the whole word divine goodness, not at all in- of God, whenever the pains and debted to grace and mercy, re- sufferings of any are referred to as ceiving no favour, and having no chastisements or corrective dispenacknowledgments to make. How sations, they are always described far this is reconcilable with the in a manner consistent with this inuniform doctrine of the Bible, tention : the language of kindness which every where teaches that is intermingled with that of rethe salvation and all the happi- proof, and intimations are continuness of sinful men will be owing ally given of support and encousolely to the forgiving mercy and ragement, alleviation and comfort. infinite love of God, is left for Such as the following, for inyou to judge. Our second object stance, is the style of the Scripof attention was the more gene- tures with regard to the heaviest rally received hypothesis, that the afflictions by God's chastising sufferings of the wicked, in the rod. “ The Lord will not cast off world to come, will not be of the for ever; but, though he cause pature of a punishment or penalty, grief, yet will he have compasbut will be nothing else than a sion, according to the multitude course of fatherly discipline, a of his mercies : for he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the the faintest ray of mitigation, or children of men. Behold! happy of subserviency to a merciful inis the man whom God correcteth. tention, pierce this blackness of Therefore, despise not thou the darkness. The scriptural descripchastening of the Almighty ; for tions of the unseen world of guilt he maketh sore, and he bindeth and punishinent are all in the very up; he woundeth, and his hands emphasis of misery and despera. make whole.-And, though the tion. The passages which were Lord give you the bread of ad- quoted in the last essuy, are full versity, and the water of affliction, and decisive to this purport; and yet-thine ears shall hear a word we could occupy all the rebehind thee ;-he will be very maining space allotted to this gracious unto thee, at the voice article, in the mere reciting of of thy cry.--Though briers and additional testimonies from the inthorns be with thee, and thou spired volume. All combine to dwell among scorpions, be not say, “ Woe unto the wicked ! it afraid.—He stayeth his rough shall be ill with him.- Is not de. wind in the day of his east wind : struction to the wicked, and a by this, therefore, shall the ini- strange punishment to the workers quity of Jacob be purged; and of iniquity ?” The distinction is, inthis is all the fruit, to take away deed, stated in the broadest terms: his sin, -He, being full of con- " The Lord trieth the righteous; passion, forgave their iniquity, but the wicked, his soul bateth : and destroyed them not,-and did upon the wicked he shall rain not stir up all his wrath.-I am snares, fire and brimstone, and a with thee, saith the Lord ;-I will horrible tempest: this shall be the not make a full end of thee; but portion of their cup.” Those who I will correct thee in measure, persevere to the end of their lives and will not leave thee wholly in rebellion against the law and unpunished.—Think it not strange the grace of God, are constantly concerning the fiery trial which is spoken of as abhorred, condemnto try you.-As many as I love, ed, cursed, cast off, rejected for I rebuke and chasten : be. zeal- ever; as stubble, chaff, and dross, ous, therefore, and repent.” things which are thrown away as
Thus we see, that when God totally worthless, and without the inflicts suffering as the means of smallest design of ever gathering chastisement, he always reveals his them again. Our gracious, compurpose of mercy; and, the more passionate, and tender-hearted readily and effectually to answer Redeemer, never once departs that purpose, he annexes precepts, from this terrible style of speakadmonitions, invitations, encou- ing. He represents the finally ragements, and precious promises, impenitent as the vilest and most all declaring the gracious object worthless part of a fisherman's to be, “to humble thee, and to draught, fit only to be cast away; prove thee, to do thee good at thy as tares, as fruitless branches, as latter end.” But, where do we barren trees, mere cumberers of find the slightest intimation of this the ground, and wbich sball be kind, in the frequent, numerous, cast into the fire. They shall be * and copious denunciations of the tormented in that flame which is divine vengeance against the un- unquenchable, and which knows godly in the future world? Is not not the smallest alleviation, not that always conveyed in the lan- even that, beyond expression inguage of unmixed, unmitigated, considerable, of a drop of water and absolutely hopeless perdition ? to cool the burning tongue. The INDEED IT is: and never does meek and lovely Jesus will himself