« PreviousContinue »
OR, LENOX AND TILDE: FOUNDATIO.
of love to the churches, gentle MEMOIR OF The Rev. W.W. SIMPSON.
among them even as a nurse that Not only are our sensibilities often cherisheth her children,* and who affected by the early death of many at the same time exhibited all that of the most promising and interest- force of character in the power of ing of the human race; but our the apostle, and in the courage of beclouded judgment frequently al- the martyr, which had been marked lows the harassing conjecture of in the infuriate enemy of the Cross! sceptical inquiry, and we ask why And thus it is that regret accomare they taken thus young, thus panies the survey, when we look happy, thus useful, as if to mark over the memorials of those in our more strongly the desert spots of own times, who have divided the our earth, which, as their youth talent of life in the service of this adorned, their maturity would have world and of that which is to come, enriched? And sometimes, too, and who have cast into the treasury when we vary the object of con- of the former much of the immeatemplation, we indulge the same surable value of their immortal unhallowed propensity to object energies. Yet to these complainagainst the dispensations of Him, ings over what we too proudly whose way is in the sea, whose path term the waste of human capacities, is in the deep waters. Now and the language of inspiration supplies then, perhaps, we observe a man at once a gentle and a severe reof vigorous intellect, of indefati- buke, who art thou, O man, that gable ardour, of acute sensibility, repliest against God? and, as the world would say, of These remarks have been sugsterling worth, left in the exercise gested by a review of the years of these talents, these graces of the that passed over the head of the natural character to the very me- good and venerable subject of this ridian of his day, before the only memoir, forty-two of which were light that can direct the native withheld from the service of that energy, can harmonize the power- great Master, to whom in advancing ful affections, or can sanctify the life, and even to hoary age, he gave liberalities of nature, is afforded; himself with a devout affection, an and we
say, Oh! that it had honest enthusiastic piety, which, dawned upon his morning hours. alas ! too frequently characterizes Thus when we turn even to the only the first religious fervours of great champion of the christian ordinary men. No very detailed faith, we almost dare to sigh over account therefore of his early life the tardy approach of the heavenly will be expected in a record, which vision, thinking for how long a is principally intended to preserve period the zeal of the persecutor a remembrance of him in his work had overflowed from the heart, and of faith, labour of love, and patience nerved the merciless grasp of him, of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. who was afterwards a messenger
* 1 Thessalonians, ii. 7. VOL. IV. 3d Series.
He was born of respectable pa- quently wishing I was like them, rents at Diss in Norfolk, on the 5th and sometimes entertaining secret of March, 1748. The unspeakable hopes that I should be so before I advantages of a strictly religious died." These transitory and almost education were not afforded to his oblivious anticipations were mercichildhood, the recollection of which fully realized. In the early part of deficiency awakened in his after the year 1789, a train of circumlife a constant solicitude for the stances, apparently contingent, led moral and religious culture of chil- him to hear the late excellent Mr. dren; not only his own, but of all Hall of Ipswich. The sermon which that most interesting portion of he heard on that occasion (founded human society. At an early age on John, xiv. 6.) produced a deep he was apprenticed to the wool and salutary influence on his mind, trade in Bury St. Edmond's, but a the vivid impression of which he strong predilection for an agricul- retained to the closing hours of his tural life induced him to relinquish life. A pious book, too, the this business and enter upon a farm, Scripture Characters” of Mrs. in which he was successfully en- Robinson, too well known to regaged for many years. In 1776quire eulogy in this place, became he was married to Miss Goldsmith, subservient to his best interests. a lady who, for nearly half a cen- A large comment on its heartfelt tury, contributed to the happiness value is found among his papers. of his domestic life, and the many After many alternations of mind virtues of whose conjugal character over different religious societies, will be long blended with the re- and a lingering preference for the membrance of his own. Shortly Wesleyan communion, with which after this union, he left his favourite he was associated for nearly four pursuits in the farm, and engaged years, an impulse was given to his in a large brewery, with a banking mind, that decided him fully in establishment, at Diss. At this favour of what is popularly termed period, it appears, from passages Calvinism, a scheme of doctrine to in his journal, that he entered with which he ever after most rigidly avidity into the dissipations of fa-adhered. In 1797 he became idenshionable life, not, however, without tified, by a public profession, with the conflicting emotions which arose the Baptist denomination. A short from a Jatent perception of the note, expressive of his religious beauty of that religion, which was joy, is appended to the date that sometimes presented to him in all notices this event. This year also the attractive influences of living was remarkable to him for a short christian character. The following but severe temporal reverse in his passage, from a MS. of corre- affairs, from which he was rescued, sponding date, so clearly states not merely without loss of reputhis part of his experience, that we tation, but with added testimonies cannot withhold it :-" I do not to the integrity of his character, remember that, in any period of and with such spiritual benefit, as my life, I could sin without some to prove indeed that light is sown convictions and remorse of con- for the righteous, and gladness for science, and though I was entirely the upright in heart. His own destitute, nay really ignorant, of affecting language, breathed, true religion, I always felt a kind we suppose, from his retirement in of veneration for those who ap- the day of trouble, is so expressive peared to me to be religious, fre- of devout simplicity, that we quote
it :-“ March 31, 1797. • The Lord their countrymen from the tyranny shall fight for you, and ye shall and oppression of Rome. It was hold your peace."
Blessed be the their godlike employment, by giving Lord for his goodness to me, the the people scriptural and evangeli. chief of sinners! I was in very cal instruction, to work the mine, great darkness and distress of soul which, at length exploding, demoon this day; it is therefore to be lished the strong fortress of the remembered with gratitude to the papal supremacy in this kingdom, dear Redeemer.”
which had stood for centuries, deBut this world and its affairs fying every attack and seeming to were progressively losing their hold say, “ I sit a queen and am no upon his heart, and, advanced as widow, and shall see no sorrow.”he was in the pilgrimage of life, he Rev. xviii. 7. felt an intense desire for the high Henry VIII. came to the throne calling of the Christian ministry. in 1509, at the age of eighteen. In 1801 he began to speak in his " The reign of this king,” saith Fox, great Master's name, and, at the “ continued with great nobleness age of fifty-three, his delight in and fame for the space of thirtypublishing the grace of the gospel eight years. During whose time was distinguished by an ardour and reign was great alteration of that, perhaps, rarely glows in the things as to the civil state of the bosom of the young. But we open realm, and especially to the state here on a new era of his existence, ecclesiastical and matters to the the developement of which we shall church appertaining. For by him leave to a future Number.
was exiled and abolished out of (To be continued. )
the realm the usurped power of the
Bishop of Rome; idolatry and suWORTUIES OP TuE REFORMATION. perstition somewhat repressed;
images and pilgrimages defaced ; William Tyndale.
abbeys and monasteries pulled Our pious and venerable Marty- down; sects of religion rooted out; rologist has given Tyndale the noble scriptures reduced to the knowledge designation of “ The APOSTLE or of the vulgar tongue; and the state ENGLAND IN THIS OUR LATTER of the church and religion reAge;" evidently considering him dressed.” as the principal instrument em It would be difficult to give a ployed by Divine Providence in correct picture of the degraded effecting the Reformation from Po- state, both as to intellect, learning, pery, nor
was any man better and morals, to which popery had qualified to form a correct opinion. reduced the kingdom; and espeThe history of Tyndale fully ex- cially as to the religious knowledge emplifies the propriety of his being which existed among the nobles so-considered : “ Other men” cer- and the mass of the people. Of the tainly, as Wickliffe, Oldcastle, former it might truly be said, Thorpe, and many besides,“ had " They have altogether broken the laboured,” but it was reserved for yoke and burst the bands;" of the Tyndale and his band of associate latter, " They have altogether remartyrs so to “ enter into their fused to receive correction; they labours," as not merely to lead the have made their faces harder than way to victory, but to complete the a rock; they have refused to regrand enterprize of emancipating turn." Speaking of the state of • Exodus, xiv. 14.
the popish clergy in England at
this period, Bishop Burnet says, numerous; that they wore a pe“The bishops were grossly igno- culiar habit; that they preached rant; they seldom resided in their in many churches and other places dioceses, except it had been to riot against the faith of the Church; and it at high festivals; and all the refused to submit to the government effect their residence could have of the Church.” The description was to corrupt others by their ill of Rienhar, a popish historian reexample. They followed the courts specting them, is more full: “The of princes, and aspired to the great- disciples of Wickliff are men of a est offices; the abbots and monks serious modest deportment, avoidwere wholly given up to luxury and ing all ostentation of dress, mixing idleness; and the unmarried state, little with the busy world, and comboth of the seculars and regulars, plaining of the debauchery of mangave infinite scandal to the world. kind. They maintain themselves The inferior clergy were no better: wholly by their own labour, and all ranks of churchmen were uni- despise wealth, being fully content versally despised and hated; the with bare necessaries. They are worship of God was so defiled with chaste and temperate, are gross superstition, that all men seen at taverns, or amused with the were convinced that the Church trifling gaieties of life, yet you find stood in great need of a reform- them always employed either in ation.”
learning or teaching. They are The reader will bear in mind, concise and devout in their prayers, that of the bishops referred to by blaming an unanimated prolixity. Dr. Burnet were Warham, Arch- They never swear, speak little, and bishop of Canterbury; Tonstal, in their public preaching lay the Bishop of London; Longland, Bi- principal stress on charity.” shop of Lincoln ; Wolsey was Car Richard Hunne, who was murdinal Legate and Lord Chancellor; dered in the Lollards' Tower in and the King such a bigot to the 1514, was one of these people. popish religion, as to have entered Fitz-James was then Bishop of the lists against Luther, and with London. The imprisonment of this such success as to obtain the title pious citizen, and the circumstances of “ Defender of the Faith." which attended and followed his
The principles of Wickliffe had, death, had a most powerful effect during the whole of the fifteenth in exhibiting the bishops and priests ceutury, been propagated by his in their true character: “ outwardly
disciples (commonly appearing in sheep's clothing, incalled Lollards), and had been wardly they were ravening wolves.” received and professed by great Amongst the pretended heresies numbers of our countrymen, so of Hunne, publicly denounced after that he is justly designated “ The his death at “ Paul's Cross,” the morning star of the Reformation.” twelfth and thirteenth are—" He Some idea may be formed of these damneth (condemneth] the Univerdissenters from popery, though not sity of Oxford, with all degrees formally separatists from the esta- and faculties in it, as Arts, Civil, blished church of England, from Canon, and Divinity, saying, that the preamble of a law made against they let [hinder) the true way to them in the reign of Richard II. In come to the knowledge of the this it is said, “ they were very laws of God and Holy Scriptures. * Abridged History of the Reformation, He defendeth the translation of
the Bible and Holy Scripture