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Juvenile Department.*

VISIT TO THE PARISH OF OLDCASTLE,

IN MONMOUTHSHIRE.

BEING a few months since in South Wales, and hearing that the place where the justly-famed ancient Briton, Sir John Oldcastle, formerly resided, was but eight miles from Abergavenny, I went, accompanied by a friend, to the village, which is still known by the name of that distinguished servant | of the Lord Jesus Christ; who, nearly one hundred years before the rise of Luther, risisted the encroachments, and exposed the unscriptural pretensions, of the Bishop of Rome. As we approached this sequestered village, situate under the Black Mountain, and rendered very difficult of access by the lanes having become almost impassable, I felt an unusual gratification from the recollection of what had been there accomplished, for the furtherance of the cause of pure and undefiled religion, by the excellent men whom Sir John Oldcastle employed as transcribers of Wickliffe's Translations of the Bible, when almost all the world were wandering after the Beast, and were exclaiming, " Who is like unto the Beast?"

Looking around the adjacent country, called up to my recollection the circumstance of Sir John being secreted and secured for four years, by his tenantry, after he escaped from the Tower, in 1413. I felt indignant that any base wretches should, for the sake of money, enable Lord Powys, a bigotted Papist, to apprehend, and give up to the cruelty of his persecutors, a nobleman who had deserved so well from his country, and who was so useful in the church of Christ.

We at length entered the farmyard adjoining the parish church of Oldcastle. On the appearing of the

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farmer, I said, "Can you tell me where it was the mansion of Sir John Oldcastle formerly stood?" "This is the very place-this is Oldcastle Court!" I felt as if standing on consecrated ground. "From this spot," said.. 66 . I, the light of truth emanated more than 400 years since: that light which is now covering the whole earth." I could easily account for the spirit which impelled superstitious persons to undertake pilgrimages to places considered sacred; and though not conscious of any feeling of a superstitious kind, I was delighted to have the privilege of being where the Lord's hidden ones had been employed in carrying on the holy war against the Prince of Darkness, by the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.

The mansion, I understood, had been taken down about forty years, but the site was still visible, and part of the moat, by which it was surrounded, still remaining. It is conjectured, too, by Mr. Griffiths, that the present farm-house is built upon part of the former walls. The church is very small, and the eastern wall, gone to decay, is falling down. The oldest inscription I could find, was not more than 200 years past; but every thing indicates that it stood long before the period of Sir John's death, and was doubtless used by him, his family, and domestics, for the worship of God. This is one of the sacred buildings where God was worshipped in spirit and in truth, when all others of our parish churches, (excepting those where Wickliffe's sentiments were professed,) were desecrated by abominable idolatries. Its present meanness is almost indescribable: it is scarcely decent. The seats would probably hold twenty persons, and the whole church may be able to contain one hundred; but it is not often there are enough present to

* We are disappointed in our regular Article for the Juvenile Department this month.

fill even the seats. I understood | is the same stream from which Sir

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that this was by no means a solitary instance of the parish churches being forsaken the great bulk of the people, who publicly worship God in Wales, do so among the dissenters; and there are not wanting instances where the clergyman returns without performing duty, because there are none at church but himself and the clerk.

On entering the farmer's house, I was pleased to observe the patriarchal simplicity, and the old English hospitality, which prevailed. The venerable couple, with their children and grand-children, were a family of seventeen persons; and though, I suppose, but in humble circus ...stances, they pressed us to partake of whatever the house would afford, remarking, “There are none who call here, whether rich or poor, but what they have victuals and drink, if they will accept of it."

Finding that Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths were religious persons, I asked them, if they would object to my preaching in their house to their family and neighbours. They instantly signified their approbation; and the farmer, addressing one of his sons, said, "Go into the field, and tell them to leave off ploughing; and go round the village, and ask all you can find to come in, and hear a sermon." We soon had a congregation, and, after singing and prayer, I addressed them from John, i. 16, And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. The sentiment which John the Baptist applied to himself, and all the servants of God, who lived before the coming of Christ, I endeavoured to improve, in reference to Sir John Oldcastle, and the disciples of Wickliffe, who, four centuries before, had received abundance of grace from the fulness of Christ, to enable them to labour, to suffer, and to die in his cause; and that we, who were believers now, were receiving from the same fulness still.-I shall not soon forget how the good old people looked when I said, “ That brook of water that is running through your grounds, and which supplies your family every day with the means of purity and refreshment,

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John drank, and his numerous family: but it is flowing still, and as plentifully as it did then. So the grace of Christ is a fulness of mercy still, and will continue to supply all his people, to give them strength to live by, and to die by. It was this grace that gave Sir John strength to die a martyr, by being hung and Toasted at Tyburn; and that will be sufficient for all who trust in his righteousness, and hope in his mercy." I told the little children not to forget what I had said of the good nobleman who used to inhabit Oldcastle; and, after we had concluded by singing and prayer, the old grandmother, (who had been converted many years since in London, by the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Romaine,) said, "Hear, sir, what one of the little ones is saying: --she says, Mother, we must never forget what the gentleman has been saying.' The energy with which this old pilgrim expressed herself, indicated the desires she felt for the salvation of her descendants, that they also might receive from the fulness of Christ, and grace for grace. May the whole of this hospitable family find mercy of the Lord in that day!" and may succeeding generations inhabit Oldcastle Court, who shall be like its former illustrious inhabitant, "shining as lights in a dark place," and be indeed " the salt of the earth."

46

IOTA.

AMERICAN LIBERALITY.

OUR readers will recollect, that in the month of November last, the town of St. John's, Newfoundland, was nearly destroyed by two dreadful fires, which occurred in quick succession. The property consumed was estimated at 900,000l. sterling; and as this great calamity took place just at the coinmencement of winter, during which season, the harbours of the island are frozen up, there seemed too much reason to fear that the wretched inhabitants would have to endure all the horrors of famine, in addition to the loss of their property,

following case possesses sufficient
importance and novelty to interest
your readers, by giving it an early
admission into your Magazine, you
will oblige

Yours, very respectfully,
JOSEPH FREESTONE.

Hinckley, July, 1818.

sion, is, in a great measure, grounded

and the usual rigours of the season. | From this dreadful prospect, however, they were relieved by the prompt and generous kindness of the citizens of Boston. As soon as the news of their distress reached that city, a liberal subscription was set on foot, a quantity of provisions purchased, and a vessel freighted to convey it, as speedily as possible, to "The opposition, (says Mr. Newfoundland. Such was the ala-Richards,) to the practice of immercrity displayed, by all ranks, in this munificent undertaking, that the vessel was loaded in about twelve hours; and the very labourers, who were employed, refused any compensation for their trouble. The vessel performed the passage, already become dangerous, with expedition and safety; and so ample was the supply, thus generously furished, that it was expected each family, among the numerous sufferers, would receive from four to five cwt. for its own share.

IMMERSION

D.

Not Dangerous to Health.

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To the Editors of the Baptist Magazine.

THE "remarkable appearance of •Providence, at Baptism," in the case of Mrs. Dechamp's, communicated by Mr. Ivimey, and inserted in your last Number, brought to my recollection another case, equally remarkable. It is related by my old and respected friend, the Rev. Mr. Richards, of Lynn, and may be met with in his third Reply to Mr. Carter, on the subject of Baptism, entitled, "The History of Antichrist; or, Free Thoughts on the Corruptions of Christianity, &c.-Letter 5th, p. 99 to 102. I know of none who have written more ably on the subject of Adult Baptism, than my friend has; and, of course, I hold his treatises on that subject in high estimation, and deem them worthy the perusal of such of your readers as have not met with them.* If you think the

About the year 1780, or 1781, a controversy commenced, on the subject of

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upon two objections :--1. That it is indecent ; but this is mere pretence and cant. Immersion is certainly, in itself, no less decent than sprinkling; nor is it conducted, among the Baptists, with less decency than the other rite is among the Independents, and other sprinklers. It must be, surely, very odd, that the wonderfully delicate patrons of this objection, should never find any fault with the Jewish bathings, and circumcision. The other objection I referred to, is,-2. That immersion is dangerous to health, especially in cold climates: but this contradicts the express declarations of the most eminent physicians, as well as universal experience. Is not immersion commonly practised throughout the vast Russian empire, which comprehends

some of the coldest climates in the world? and is it not practised there too, in the coldest season of the year, and that without any bad consequence at all to the health of the subjects?In this country also, (which, though

Baptism, betwixt Mr. Richards and Mr. Carter, an Independent minister. The latter published a piece, on Infant Bap tism. Mr. Richards published a "Review" of it, in three Letters to a friend. Mr. Carter replied to that "Review," in a pamphlet, entitled "The Reviewer Reviewed." Mr. Richards then published a second piece, entitled, "Observations &c." in a series of Letters to the author. on Infant Sprinkling; or, an Answer, This was afterwards succeeded by a third, entitled, "The History of Antichrist, &c, in a Series of Letters, to the Author of the Reviewer Reviewed, and other late Publications." Here, I believe, the controversy terminated. Mr. Richards has published other pieces on Baptism, both in Welsh and English; one, on the "Nature and Design of Christian Baptism," in English, is particularly valuable.

not nearly as cold as Russia, is yet, by no means, a warm region,) immersion has been practised in some of the severest winters ever known, and that in large rivers, after the ice had been, with much difficulty, broken and removed. All this, I say, has been done in our own country, abundance of times, and always without any injury to the health of the baptized. Nay, many tender and infirm people have declared that their health became much better, after their immersion, than it had been for a long time before.-A remarkable instance of this kind occurred, in this county, some years ago, | which I shall take the liberty to mention, for the purpose of corroborating my position, that immersion is NOT dangerous to health, even in cold climates, and in the coldest seasons of the year; and also, to oblige some of my friends, who have particularly desired me to make it public. The instance I have in view, relates to a Mrs. Temple, who lived in the neigh- | bourhood of North Walsham. She had been convinced, by reading the New Testament, that the Christian ordinance of Baptism, is the immersion in water, in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of a person professing faith in the Son of God; and she purposed to act soon agreeably to that conviction, but, being shortly after seized with that dreadful, and commonly fatal disorder, the cancer, it was thought proper to defer it. During this illness, Mr. Faircloth, surgeon, of North Walsham, attended her for a considerable time; but, all his efforts proving fruitless, he at last pronounced her incurable. Upon this, she sent for Mr. Culley, minister of the Baptist church, at Worstead, where she usually attended, when

her without it, he went to North Walsham, and related the whole affair to the surgeon, who advised him, by all means, to make haste and baptize her, because she had but a very short time to live: And as she must soon die,' said he, whether she be immersed or not, none can reflect upon you; and I will take care to vindicate your character. Upon his return, she was carried to the river side, where they usually baptized; and, after the ice was broke, (for there had been a great frost for some time before,) they went down both into the water, and he immersed her, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. She was then carried home, and put in bed; where, after ordering the things to be taken away from her breast, (that being the part where the disorder lay,) and addressing the Deity in a short prayer, she composed herself to die; but, to the great astonishment of all who knew her case, she had no more pain in her breast, and the part affected got perfectly well, in two or three days. This happened in the year 1724. The good woman continued well till the year 1727, when she died of the small pox. Her son, Abraham Temple, is still living, at North Walsham; [1784, the year when this account was published,] upon whose testimony, and that of Mr. Trivett, an ancient worthy minister, and pastor of the Baptist church, at Worstead, I publish this narration."

On this extraordinary case, the truth of which, there appears not the slightest ground to suspect, the reader is left to his own reflections. J. F.

in health, and requested him to bap- A REMARKABLE INSTANCE

tize her; declaring, at the same time, that she depended not upon that ordinance for salvation, but relied alone upon the merits of Christ.Mr. Culley told her, that such a step, possibly, might be dangerous in her case; at least, though the surgeon had given her over, yet that the enemies of Baptism would not scruple to say, that it was the cause of her death, &c. &c. But as he could not satisfy

OF THE

POWER OF CONSCIENCE.

A SERVANT, travelling with his master, a jeweller, in a private. place, murdered him, and retired to a considerable distance; and, with his property, entered into business, prospered, was respected, and be

came Chief Magistrate. Sitting on the bench one day with some of his brethren, a criminal was brought before him, who was charged with murdering his master. When he should have pronounced the sentence of condemnation, he was in great agitation of mind. He quitted the bench, and went and placed himself just by the unfortunate man at the bar. He made a full confession of his aggravated guilt, and said, "You see before you a striking instance of the just awards of hea

ven, which this day, after thirty years' concealment, present to you a greater criminal than the man just now found guilty. Nor can I feel any relief from the agonies of an awakened conscience, but by requiring that justice be forthwith done against me, in the most public and solemn manner:" which was done-and, it is added, he died with all the symptoms of a penitent mind.

Encyclopædia Britannica, Under the word Gonscience.

Obituary.

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"IN the midst of life we are in death." Blessed and happy are they who attend to our Lord's exhortation," Be ye also ready," and stand with " oil in their vessels," their lamps trimmed and bright, their loins girded, and themselves ready, at a moment's warning, to obey the solemn summons.

In the latter end of the year 1807, she again entered into the marriage state, with the writer of this article; and, shortly after, she became a member of the church under the care of Mr. Wm. Shenstone. Here

she continued until the settlement of her husband as pastor of the church at Highgate, when she was dismissed to that communion. In both societies, her conduct was consistent and exemplary. Her first minister always testified the highest regard for her, and when she had to sustain the important character of a pastor's wife, through divine assistance, she so discharged its duties, as greatly to adorn the doctrine of God her Saviour; most cheerfully making every sacrifice of domestic comfort which the difficulties connected with a newly-raised society demanded.

The deceased was born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and resided there till she married and came to London. There she drank deep of the cup of affliction, for, in the course of a few years, she had to mourn She was a woman of a very deover the loss of three children and votional spirit-a diligent reader of an affectionate husband. But these the scriptures, and much attached trials were sanctified: they induced to the public means of grace, as the her to attend upon a gospel minis- remarks made in her diary abuntry at Sion Chapel, where she re- dantly shew; and although surceived the truth as it is in Jesus. rounded with a young family, At this place of worship she attend- (whose wants demanded, and reed upwards of six years, walkingceived her constant attention, and with God-making progress in knowledge and in holiness, and enjoying the comforts which are connected with a diligent attention to the duties of religion.

who now very sensibly feel her loss,) yet she was enabled to "set her affections on things above," and to manifest a holy indifference to the world. She felt that she was a

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