« AnteriorContinua »
aud, if I might offer one suggestion to his now sorrowing family, it would be-not to slacken in the race of virtue, to have a father's example ever present to their contemplation, and to be fully assured that the most grateful incense they can offer to his memory, will be to surpass him in the unostentatious and substantial usefulness of his life; like him, endeavouring, with all their strength, to render glory to God in the highest, to promote peace upon earth, and good-will towards
"To conclude:-although the death of such a man as John Hancock must always be felt as a severe loss to society, aud particularly to us who have known him and experienced his worth, yet let us be devoutly grateful to the Giver of every good gift, who has lent him to us so long as a shining light in the world, and that he was not prematurely cut off in the midst of his course, but, though not arrived at extreme old age, is come to the grave mature in years, and full of days and honour; and may God, of his bounty to mankind, grant many such men to arise, like him, to stem the tide of corruption, to advocate the cause of justice, to be the bulwarks of their country's independence, and the enlightened friends of the human race!""
November 14, aged 54 years, the Rev. BENJAMIN MARTEN, pastor of the General Baptist Church, Dover, Kent. Having undergone an operation in the metropolis for one of the severest maladies to which the bodily frame is subject, he survived it only a few days, leaving behind him a mournful relict, with twelve sorrowing children. May they hear the gracious voice of revelation-" Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widow trust in me." It is altogether a most afflictive providence, exercising the faith and patience of frail mortality.
He was interred at the General Baptist Chapel, Dover, on Sunday, November 23, by the Rev. James Gilchrist, who delivered a suitable and pathetic address on the occasion, from that very appropriate passage, Matt. xxvi. 39: "Ó my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." The chapel was crowded to excess, and all classes of persons, both Churchmen and Dissenters, seemed anxious to pay this last tribute of respect to his memory. The writer of this article also, who held him in high estimation, paid a tribute of regard to his talents and virtues, on the subsequent Sabbath, at Worship Street, from Heb. vi. 12:
"Be ye followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
His parents, Benjamin and Elizabeth Marten, were respectable, and resided at Canterbury. The son, born at Chilham, at an early age left his home, and devoted himself to agricultural pursuits, under the care of some relatives in the Weald of Kent. Of a serious and thoughtful disposition, he was fond of reading, especially the Bible, the only rule of faith, the alone regulator of practice. It is the fountain of all true theology. From a child he was partial to the exercises of social worship, according, as they do, with our best feelings, and being eminently calculated to promote the spirit of Christianity. It was soon discerned that he had talents for public instruction. Indeed, he was no ordinary man. Without the usual education for the pulpit, he excelled in the sacred profession. Study was his delight. From the few books he possessed, he derived constant improvement. The communication of religious knowledge yielded him an indescribable satisfaction.
April the 7th, 1793, he preached his first sermon, at Headcorn, from John i. 46: And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Naza. reth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see." About this time he left the Weald of Kent, and lived with that excellent man, the late Rev. Sampson Kingsford, of Sturry, near Canterbury, who encouraged him in the work of the ministry. He, indeed, wished him to go to the Aca demy, and preparation was made for it. But the late pious and liberal William Kingsford, Esq., of Barton Mills, frustrated his intentions, by rendering him more immediately useful in the connexion. This circumstance the deceased always regretted, for he was a warm friend to an education for the Christian ministry.
He preached at first occasionally, but soon settled at Dover, with an old and respectable General Baptist Congregation. Here he continued for near thirty years, conducting himself with the utmost propriety. His preaching, generally twice a-day, was most acceptable, and latterly he was assisted by the Rev. George Pound, who was trained for the ministry upon the General Baptist Education Society. Judicious in the choice, and happy in the elucidation of his subject, his discourses were subservient to improvement. His delivery, placid and deliberate, attracted attention. He had no charms for the multitude. His aim was, by enlightening the head, essentially to amend the heart.
Having seriously inquired after truth, he knew the value of truth. Aware of the difficulties of every system of faith,
he acquiesced in his own views with modesty. He was an Unitarian General Baptist, upon deliberate conviction. The Unity of God, and the doctrine of Universal Redemption, in connexion with the baptismal immersion of the body in water, he conceived to be in strict accordance with the New Testament. Airs of infallibility formed no parts of his charac ter. But having fixed his creed from a diligent perusal of the Scriptures, he steadily adhered to it. Not driven about by every wind of doctrine, he unfolded his own conceptions of the dispensations of God to man, through his Son Jesus Christ, with a manly intrepidity. You were never at a loss for his meaning. He was lucid and impressive. He gloried in the inculcation of practical religion.
Worship Street, London, he was seldom
After his return home, he sent me an interesting account of our mutual friend the Rev. William Moon, just deceased, and who for serious impressions was much indebted to his ministry. He made an allusion to his own grievous bodily affliction, hinting at the operation he intended to undergo, and his resignation to the will of heaven! And there is no donbt that had a wise and kind Providence been pleased to restore him to his accustomed ease and vigour, he would have persevered in the active, useful and honourable course for which his whole life had been distinguished. But the Supreme Being hath otherwise ordained it. In his dying moments, had his extreme debility permitted, he would have exclaimed: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which shall be given unto me, and not to me only, but to all who love his appearance.'
Latterly, this good man had his full
He resided at Barfrestone, the distance of eight miles from the scene of his ministerial labours, engaged in agricultural pursuits, to which he had been early accustomed. But though thus remote from his flock, he was always at his post on the Sabbath-day, and at all other intervals when his presence was needed. In season and out of season, he laboured faithfully in the vineyard of his Lord and Master. Throughout all weathers, summer and winter, he was prosecuting his duty, ardently wishing to promote the best interests of his people. When amongst his people, he was social and cheerful in the whole of his deportment. To him all classes were equally accessible, and his ambition was to do good. The young he cautioned, and the aged he consoled. The prosperous he warned, and the distressed he upheld. His instruction both from the pulpit and in the parlour he diffused amongst all. His flock loved and respected him. They recognized him as a parent, interested in their welfare. He was, indeed, the good shepherd, leading them in green paths and beside still waters to a haven of eternal rest. Of his desire to advance the welfare of the Church of Christ over which he presided, it may be mentioned that the last communication I ever received from him, was on the liquidation of the remainder of the debt incurred by the erection of a very neat and commodious chapel. This was not long previous to his dissolution. He urged the plea with that good sense and moderation, which characterised him on all occasions. He mentioned the generous contributions already made by his congregation, together with the liberal aids received from other quarters, adding, that the economy observed in the building of the chapel entitled it to the patronage of the religious world. From the General Assembly of the General Baptists, held annually on the Whitsun Tuesday, at
share of the cares and troubles of mor-
Be ye followers of them who through
tery, that “Men may live Unitarians, but Unitarians they cannot die."
On the 15th ult., at Kennissword, Kinrosshire, the Rev. JOHN Dunn. In the year 1771, he was ordained at Maryport, Minister of the Scots Church, where for 39 years he exercised his ministry. He possessed a mind naturally vigorous and comprehensive, disciplined by a liberal education, and richly stored with general knowledge. He was a diligent, faithful, and, it is believed, useful minister of He retired a few years divine truth. ago, almost superannuated, to a small patrimonial estate on the banks of Lock Leven. He now rests from his labours, and has entered on his reward.
In our obituary for Feb.last, we recorded the death of Mr. STREET, of Chichester; we have now the melancholy task of noticing that of his son, who, at the age of 31, was, on the 12th ult., removed from this transient state, after having borne, with true Christian resignation, a distressing illness for several months. Mr. STREET'S religious faith was not that which leads to worldly honour or emolument: which, with a feeling of spiritual pride, badly concealed under accents of pity towards those who dissent from it, would confine salvation to its own pale; which impels its votaries to give up intercourse with those who have different religious feelings, as though they were infested with moral pollution'; but his was a faith, under the influence of which he was inclined to love all mankind as brethren; which taught him to believe that salvation did not exclusively belong to one party, but that in every nation, and in every religious community, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him. His faith, resting on the bosom of a compassionate Deity, divested death of its sting, from the overwhelming conviction he had, that, however mysterious may be the proceedings of Providence, in taking from us useful lives, as in his own case, in the prime of life, still every thing is ordained in wisdom and in mercy; and afforded an unanswerable rebuke to those who, ignorant of the excellence of the Unitarian creed, proclaim with unblushing effrou
Lately, at Florence, JOHN KING, Esq., well known in the metropolis by the name of Jew King, on account of moneytransactions which were questioned in the courts of law. He was born of poor parents, and educated in the Jews' Charity School, But with few early advantages, he made his way in society by the force of his talents. He is said to have taken an active part in a Debating So. ciety, about the year 1782, of which some persons were members who have since risen into fame and honours. Soon after, he commenced author, and published "Thoughts on the Difficulties and Distresses in which the Peace of 1783 has involved the People of England, addressed to the Right Hon. Charles James Fox." In relation to his own legal troubles, he put out a pamphlet, entitled, "Oppression deemed no Injustice towards some Individuals." Another work shews the activity of his mind: “ An Essay, intended to shew an Universal System of Arithmetic." In 1817, he published a new edition of the late David Levi's "Dissertations on the Prophecies of the Old Testament," in 2 vols. 8vo. with a "Dedication" of 15 pages to Dr. Meldola, Chief Rabbi of the Great Synagogue of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews in England, and an Introduction of upwards of 60 pages. On a visit to Paris, some years ago, he became acquainted with, and married, the Dowager Lady Lanesborough, sister of the late Earl of Belvidere, who at the age of 87 survives him. By the death of her brother, this lady came into possession of the family estate.
2. Nov. 2. 3.
Exeter, Nov. 17, 1823.
The following is a list of the subjects relating to free inquiry and Christian doctrine, comprising a course of Sunday-Evening Lectures now delivering by Mr. Acton at the Unitarian Church in this place. 1. Oct. 26. Introductory Lecture. subjects of religion.
On the exercise of private judgment upon the
14. 15. Feb. 16.
7. Dec. 7. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the only God of Christians, and the only proper object of religious worship.
14. On the Scriptural names and titles of the Messiah.
21. That our Lord sustains all his sacred relations towards us as a man, not as God, and the advantages of always regarding him in this light.
28. On the oneness or union of Christ with the Father, and of all true believers with both.
Acton's Sunday-Evening Lectures at Exeter.
11. Jan. 4. On the new Creation by Jesus Christ.
Errors of judgment in religious belief not criminal.
The disputes and difficulties connected with religion form no solid objection to its truth and excellence.
16. On the inspiration of the Scripture Writers, and on the general authority and character of the books of the New Testament.
23. On mysteries in religion.
30. On certain strong presumptions in favour of Unitarian views of the
11. The Love and Honour due to Christ from his followers.
18. The worship of the Holy Spirit as a divine person, not warranted by the Scriptures.
25. Man not corrupt by nature, but able to do the will of God.
1. Men reconciled to God by the mediation of Christ.
8. The necessity of good works to ensure our final acceptance with God, consistent with the scripture doctrine of salvation by faith.
15. The connexion between belief in the strict personal unity of the God
head, and just views of the merciful and parental character of God.
22. Unitarian Christianity an adequate supply for all the spiritual wants of
29. The kingdom of Christ a kingdom of truth and righteousness, and its final triumph over error, sin and death. 20. Mar. 7. Concluding Lecture. Historical view of the corruption, revival and
progress of genuine Christian truth.
I also send the following paragraph extracted from "Besley's Exeter News and Devon County Chronicle," dated Nov. 2, by an occasional attendant. Others, likewise, not belonging to our Society, I have reason to believe were impressed with similar sentiments.
"The course of Lectures to be delivered by the Rev. H. Acton, during the ensuing winter months, commenced last Sunday evening at George's Meeting in this city, and was attended by a very numerous and respectable audience. The Lecturer in a bold, impressive strain of extemporaneous eloquence, in a discourse from the words of Christ, Luke xii. 57, Yea and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? urged the necessity and importance to all men of exercising 4 R
their private judgment upon the subjects of religion. Instead of listening to the unintelligible jargon, of receiving the absurd dogmas, of embracing the incomprehensible creeds of fallible, interested, or ignorant men, he earnestly pressed upon his hearers the reasonableness and advantage of searching the Scriptures and examining for themselves; that the Bible and the Bible only ought to be the religion of Protestants, and that by that standard alone they ought to regulate both their faith and practice. The writer of this remarked with peculiar pleasnre the spirit of urbauity and Christian candour which pervaded the discourse, and the dignified manner with which it was delivered; and anticipates from the well-known abilities of the
Lecturer, a more than ordinary degree of gratification and improvement from those Lectures which are to succeed it."
I would merely add to the above faithful and just tribute to our pastor, that the three Lectures given since the above was written, have likewise been extemporaneously delivered, to like numerous and respectable audiences, deeply attentive, and impressed with admiration of the rare abilities of the preacher, and acknowledging the justness of his conclusions.
known among their Calvinistic brethren, they were disowned by the Particular Baptist churches, and cut off from all intercourse with them. Thus they were left under a very heavy debt, without the least prospect of its being reduced. Soon after this, Mr. Vidler received and accepted an invitation from the ParliamentCourt Congregation to succeed Mr. Winchester.
A MEMBER OF the CongregaTION.
Opening of New Unitarian Chapel,
THE new Chapel at Hanley, in the
Manchester College, York.
We have much pleasure in noticing a residuary bequest to this institution, under the will of the late Mrs. Hannah Webb, of Barrington, in the county of Somerset, widow of the late Francis Webb, Esq., amounting to the sum of 1657. 128. 11d. This sum has been lately paid over to the Treasurer of the College by Samuel Sparkes, Esq., the executor of Mrs. Webb's will.
Case of the Unitarian Congregation at Battle, Sussex.
THE Unitarian congregation at Battle beg to call the attention of their Christian brethren to the following statement:
The Chapel in which they now assemble was built by Calvinist Baptists, in the year 1789, and cost 9607. Soon after the building was completed, Mr. Vidler, at that time minister of the congregation, embraced the views of Mr. Winchester, the fearless advocate of the doctrine of Universal Restoration. Mr. Vidler having publicly avowed his change of sentiment, much debate arose amongst the members respecting the propriety of his continuing with them, and it was resolved that he should state this new doctrine at a church meeting held for that purpose. He did this with so much mildness and ability, as to gain a large majority in his favour. When this became generally
Being deprived of the valuable services of their minister, and unable to procure another, two of the members were chosen to preach alternately. Their new sentiments tended in no small degree to sti
mulate them to inquiry on religious subjects; and, in the year 1807, several of the members discovered that they still maintained opinions which were unscriptural. About this time Mr. Vidler, their former pastor, being sent by the Unitariau Fund Society on a Missionary tour, visited Battle, and preached the Unitarian doctrine with much acceptance. Several of the old members, however, still cling ing to the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity, withdrew from the church; but those who remained were firmly attached to the doctrine of the Divine Unity. Having now joined the Unitarian body, they were enabled by the liberal assistance of their friends to clear off a con
siderable part of their debt. The Unitarian doctrine was preached with much success till the year 1817, when the system of the Freethinking Christians was embraced by many who had been active the following year, the minister of the and useful members in the Society. In congregation also adopted that system, and for some time public preaching, prayer and praise, were totally neglected. majority of the church, that public wor At last, however, it was resolved by a ship should be regularly practised in the chapel, and the persons who had embraced the opinions of the Freethinking Christians withdrew. In consequence of this division, the congregation was reduced to a very small number, and the persons composing it consisted chiefly of the poorer classes in society.
In the year 1822, Mr. Taplin, of Lewes, visited Battle, and thinking it an important situation for the spread of Unitarianism, recommended their case to the Unitarian Fund Committee, who very generously came forward to assist them in procuring more efficient ministerial services. They immediately sent an invitation to Mr. Taplin to settle among them, which he willingly accepted; and they have the satisfaction of saying that his labours have been crowned with snecess, As their cause is revived, and in