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The Messengers from this our Church, and that with our Brother, H. Knollys, and from Mr. John Simpson and others, meeting at Blackfriars, wrote a large letter to you many weeks since, about a nearer communion, and provoking to pray for the pouring forth of the Spirit, and for furnishing ministry, magistracy, &c.; but we received no answer back, though you seem to say that you received that letter in your letter written by Mr. Thomas Tillam to Mr. Tombs, dated the 5th month 26, 1653.
To the Church of Christ meeting at Bitchburn, the 30th of the 7th month, John, your unworthy brother and companion in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, sendeth greeting, praying that faith, love, peace, truth, holiness, and all the fruits and gifts of the Divine Spirit, may be abundantly multiplied upon you, according to the good pleasure of him that hath called you by his grace to glory and virtue, that so ye might shine as lights in the world.
Dearly Beloved.-In my measure I can say in truth with that great man of God, the Apostle Paul," God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ," for your present flourishing in all goodness and virtue, in the truth and life thereof at present, and hereafter to be counted worthy to obtain a crown of immortal life and eternal glory. And this I pray that your love to Christ, his precious truth and ways, and to one another, (and to all his,) may abound more and more in true knowledge and sound judgment, that thereby ye may always be enabled to discern things that differ, and to approve the things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of
Dear Brethren, the cause of my writing is as follows: being disabled to come among you as formerly, through my age and great infirmities, yet notwithstanding my daily care and prayer is for your stability in the faith of Christ, his truth and holy ways may not slack or abate, nor yet be in formality and profession only, but to be vigorous in the true light, life, and power thereof. I have also found my heart much drawn out in frequent prayer to the holy gracions Lord for some years past, that he would please to increase grace, and bestow the gifts of his Holy Spirit upon whom he pleased among you, that might be useful instruments for his own glory, and your growth in grace, and in the truths of the blessed Gospel of the holy God; that if it be his good pleasure, he may continue a holy faithful people in these parts for ages and generations to come. And you know that when I was with you, I often pressed you to private meetings, wherein you might exhort one another, and to read and meditate on the Holy Scriptures, and communicate to one another what the Holy One might manifest
to any, for the edification of the rest. And since the Lord hath blessed such means and duties to your profit, you ought not to slack or give over, but persevere therein. For through the Lord's. blessing of such means, to my great joy and satisfaction, I have heard the Lord hath blessed three with proportionable abilities to preach the Gospel of Christ, (for which I praise his holy name,) to wit, the two Brothers, Blenkinsops, and Brother Whorton, besides those you had before. Now I beseech you brethren, be not negligent to improve and employ them in the work to which the Lord hath raised them up, lest you offend or displease the Holy One, who may deprive you of them, and you procure guilt for yourselves in after time. But call them to preach by course in your meetings; or as you may on some good grounds understand, to conduce most to the glory of God, and the promoting of his truth and holy ways. Moreover I have this to request of you, that you will more study the due order of the Gospel, as to keep up among you elders and deacons, since God has fitted some among you for both offices; and to that end call some one at least of your gifts to be ordained to the office of an Elder, which by serious solemn seeking of the Lord, you may be directed to think most fit. This church had formerly three Elders and three Deacons, and now but one of each; as for myself, I am become useless, and cannot serve you as formerly, though I long and pray for your orderly state and happiness when I am gone. beseech you be serious about it, in fervent prayer and waiting on the Lord for direction in so weighty a concern, Phil. iv. 6, 7. Use all endeavours not to live in the wilful neglect of your duty, lest you be grieved in after time, when you cannot attain what now the Lord hath blessed you with; let others' harms be your warnings. I have lived to see and hear of many churches fade away and come to nothing, for neglecting the due use of orderly means when God afforded it. Thus, brethren, I have given you some brief hints of what I desire of the Holy One for you; and also what I
desire you to be hearty and serious in, for your own good and comfortable being, and well-being both at present, and in time to come. Thus, brethren, I commend you to the protection and direction of the Almighty in these, and all things else that confers his glory, the honour and credit of the Gospel, your own growth in grace, and flourishing in all the parts and power of Christianity, to the honour, praise, and glory of God. Amen.
And ever abide your aged infirm brother and companion in the bonds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour,
Dear Brethren, I request your prayers for me and my dear afflicted consort, we are never a day free of trouble in the flesh, but God is good in all.
Calsefall, the 27th of the 7th month, 1711.
REPLY TO "NON-ACADEMICUS."
To the Editor of the New Eran. Magazine. the kingdom of Christ.
Scripture says nothing about these Institutions, yet they are not only approved of by the enlightened and pious, but prosper under the approbation and blessing of heaven. The same principles which have actuated the religious public in establishing these Institutions amongst us, which are the glory of the land, have induced them to form Societies for the purpose of educating men for the sacred work of the Christian Ministry. They have formed these Societies, not because they were commanded by the Great Head of the Church, but because they consider them, on the whole, means the best adapted to prepare those, whom God has gifted by nature and his Spirit, to serve in his sanctuary. That they are left to exercise their own discretion, is evident from the fact of the total silence of Scripture on the subject. And here I beg to remind "Non-Academicus" of the inconsistency of himself with his own professed principles-he avows himself to be a friend to an educated Ministry," but objects to our Seminaries because they are not Scriptural; and then recommends, should a young man stand in need of education, "to place him under the care of an experienced Pastor." But if your correspondent requires Scriptural authority for Academical instruction, surely it is equally necessary for private tuition. As the great Christian Lawgiver has not in his wisdom thought it necessary to legislate on this subject, we are certainly not bound to pursue any particular plan, except that which is best adapted to procure the good proposed. If, indeed, "Non-Academicus" can shew that our public Seminaries are productive of greater evil than good, then it behoves him to enlighten the minds of the public, and to warn them of their folly in supporting Institutions that prove curses to the church of Christ. But if, on the contrary, his remarks only prove that those excellent Institutions are too often abused, and sometimes become the innocent occasion of evil, he should not employ his pen in condemning them; but use his energies in exposing the evils which exist, and endeavour to improve human nature, which is so prone to abuse the best blessings of heaven.
I can truly say with NON-ACADEMICUS, "I have neither time nor disposition to carry on a controversy;" but having noticed his first communication, "On the utility of Academies," I beg to offer a few remarks on his "Reply" to the observations which I then made. Possibly the shrewdness of the "valuable friend" of your correspondent may be too great for me. I make no boast of the gifts which a gracious and sovereign Being has bestowed on me; it is my duty and privilege to occupy, faithfully, till my Lord come, knowing that it is required of a man according to that which he hath, and not according to that which he hath not. However, I thank your correspondent for informing me, through the medium of your truly excellent work, that his friend is a "shrewd" man, for certainly I knew it not before., "Non-Academicus" is either feignedly ignorant, or possesses very erroneous views of the principles by which the friends of the Redeemer are actuated, in advocating and supporting Academical Institutions. He seems to suppose that they claim Scriptural authority for their example, and therefore requires a proof that our Academies are of divine origin; and because I referred to the total silence of Scripture on this subject, he appears to triumph. But triumph over what, Sir? Over the defeat of an opponent created by his own imagination-or of the overthrow of an enemy, when in reality no one has appeared against him. I have never heard the most strenuous advocates of our Academies, (neither, I am persuaded has your correspondent) plead for them as Institutions established by Christ. Nor do they consider this at all necessary, nor even desirable, to prove their great utility in promoting the kingdom of Christ in the world. For we have no information given us in Scripture on any subject connected with the interests of religion, where that information is not necessary. And where Scripture is silent, I suppose, we can only be regulated in our conduct by the general principles of Christianity; which, when cordially embraced, will induce us to the performance of those acts of piety and be- "Non-Academicus" is greatly mistaken nevolence, that will tend to promote the when he says, that "the Academies would well-being of man, and the glory of God. silence all till they had been instruced by The influence of these principles on the the Doctors." The advocates of Acadeheart, I presume, led the men of the pre-mies have never yet attempted to prove sent generation to establish Bible and Missionary Societies, School Institutions, and many others intimately connected with VOL. X.
that they are essential to the promotion of Christianity in the world, they only consider them as important auxiliaries; 20
I am, Sir,
Your's, with respect,
A MEMBER OF A BAPTIST CHURCH.
Memoirs of the Rose: comprising Botanical, Poetical, and Miscellaneous Recollections of that celebrated Flower. In a Series of Letters to a Lady.
Harriet and her Scholars, a Sabbath School Story, 18mo. with a Plate.
In the Press.
neither do they maintain that learning it- | may do or say, for the cause he is opposing self, in whatever way it may be acquired, will certainly not suffer through him. It is an essential qualification of a Christian is easier, Sir, to find fault with others, Minister. They know how to appreciate than to suggest plans of improvement; the labours, and to revere the characters of this, I doubt not, your Correspondent worthy and devoted men engaged in the knows from experience. Ministry, who possess not human learning. But they cannot consider their ignorance as a proof of their excellence or as a reason of their respectability and usefulness. What is the intention of your correspondent in referring to the respectability and usefulness of some uneducated men in the Ministry, I know not. Had he not declared himself a friend to an educated ministry, I should have supposed he must have been advocating the cause of ignorance. And his referring to the conduct of Paul, in the connexion in which it stands, in renouncing human knowledge, seems almost to amount to the same thing. Paul did certainly renounce human learning, if by that "Non-Academicus" means that the apostle did not consider the cause he was advocating depended for its success on human accomplishments; for he knew it was the cause of God, and as such, must prosper. But this apostle was an inspired man, yet he did not scorn to make use of his classical learning when occasion required it: witness his conduct on Mars Hill, and read certain parts of his Epistles. Your Correspondent charges me with a want of proof where I asserted, that the most useful and respectable Ministers in our denomination acquired their knowledge and taste for constant study and improvement in our Academies. This position is very capable of proof; but " Non-Academicus" must be aware that it would not be very decorous in me to publish the names of Ministers, and to discuss their literary acquirements through the medium of your Magazine.
One word before I conclude, concerning some of the London Ministers. I neither intended to make "ungenerous remarks," nor throw out "unkind insinuations respecting them. With a few I am personally acquainted, and for whom I entertain the sincerest respect. I regard no Minister the less because he is not an Academic. But it is notorious to all, that some of the Ministers in the Metropolis labour under disadvantages from a deficiency in literary acquirements; which does not impute blame to them, but is a cause of regret to their friends.
You will oblige me, Mr. Editor, by the insertion of these remarks; I pledge you my word, not to trouble you again on this subject, whatever "Non-Academicus"
Death Bed Scenes, or the Christian's Companion on entering the Dark Valley. By the Author of the "Evangelical Ram
Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the late Rev. Edward Williams, D.D. with an Appendix, including Remarks on important parts of Theological Science. By JOSEPH GILBERT. 1 vol. 8vo.
Early Wisdom, or a few things very necessary to be known and practised by every little Boy and Girl, especially those belonging to Sabbath Schools. By the Author of " Harriet and her Scholars."
Mr. JOSEPH BELCHER, of Folkestone, has in the press, a 12mo. Volume, to be entitled, Interesting Narratives from the Sacred Volume, illustrated and improved; shewing the excellence of Divine Revelation, and the practical nature of True Religion. The Subjects are:-The Servant Expelled-The affectionate Father sacrificing his Son-The Affecting Funeral— The Patriarchal Wedding-The Dying Patriarch-The Foundling-The Wise Choice-The Affectionate Daughter in Law-The Happy Gleaner-The Joyful Reapers-The Youthful Hero-The Affectionate Friends-The Churlish Husband and Prudent Wife-The Faithful Prophet
The Widow in Distress-The Little Maid-The Liberal Hostess-The Humbled Tyrant-The Praying Courtier-The Pious Youths- The Terrified Monarch — The Martyred Baptist-The Home Missionary -The Penitent Malefactor-The Interesting Interview-The Useful FemaleThe Happy Martyr-The Persecutor Converted-The Prisoner Delivered-The Runaway Servant.
The Christian Father's Present to his Children. By J. A. JAMES, 2 vols. 12mo. pp. 452, pr. 9s. Westley.
It is always with feelings of peculiar interest, that we take up a work relating to the well-being of the rising generation. Our years are rapidly hasting away, and before many more are passed, we must be numbered with the dead. Our chil. dren are rising up to occupy our places; and the man must have a cold heart-a heart that disgraces him as a parent that does not most anxiously wish to guard his children from the errors of the world, and point them to the source of truth and happiness. When he has done this, he may lie down on his dying pillow with serenity, and depart from time to eternity with the pleasing hope, that having "trained up his children in the way they should go," they have imbibed too correct a taste, and possess too clear a view of the advantages of virtue, to suffer them to "depart from it."
We always read Mr. James's writings with pleasure. It is true we differ from him in matters of taste, and should occasionally prefer a little more solidity and neatness of style; but the bold independence of his mind, the importance of his subjects, the aptness of his illustrations, and his evident and anxious desire to promote the good of his readers, amply atone for his imperfections; and lead us to wish him long life and continued health, to favour us with more productions of his pen.
That Mr. James is a preacher of no ordinary stamp many of our readers well know; that he is a powerful writer we have seen on former occasions; and the volumes that now lie on our table waiting our critical examination, shew him in a very amiable light as a parent. Favoured indeed must the children be to whom a father can say
"You cannot doubt, my children, that your parents love you. We have, in all your recollections, a witness to this. We have, as you know, done every thing to promote your welfare, and, so far as was compatible with this object, your pleasure also. We have never denied you a gratification which our duty and ability allowed us to impart; and if at any time we
have been severe in reproof, even this was a more awful form of love. We have spared no expence in your education; in short, love, an intense love, of which you can at present form no adequate conception, has been the secret spring of all our conduct towards you; and as the strongest proof, and purest effort of our affection, we wish you to be partakers of true piety. Did we not cherish this anxiety, we should feel that, amidst every other expression of cruel and unnatural part. Genuine love regard, we were acting towards you a most desires, and seeks for the objects on which it is fixed, the greatest benefits of which they are capable; and as you have a capacity to serve, and enjoy, and glorify God by real religion, how can we love you in reality, if we do not covet for you this high and holy distinction? We should feel that our love had exhausted itself upon trifles, and had let go objects of immense, infinite, eternal consequence, if it were not to concentrate all its prayers, desires, and efforts, in your personal religion."
Influenced by these correct feelings as a parent and a Christian, Mr. James has written these volumes. that is here written," he tells us, been the subject of his personal converse with his children, and should God spare his life, will still continue to be the topics of his instruction." He very properly considers, that what is beneficial in his own family, might be no less useful to others, and has therefore presented these volumes to Christian parents, to be adopted as their own, and presented by them to their children, who may have advanced from childhood to youth; as the author does not consider the volumes fit for young persons of less than fourteen years of age. And certainly it would be difficult to select from the long catalogue of English literature, a work more generally worthy of their acceptance. It has its origin in the warmest affection; its object througheternal welfare; and its execution shews out is to promote their present and the man of deep reflection, of practical wisdom, and of anxious concern for the happiness of his own children, and of young persons in general.
The work commences with an address to Christian parents; urging upon them the responsibility of their station, and
the importance of communicating to their children, not education merely, but an education that shall constantly remind them that they are rational and immortal beings; and that they are depraved and guilty sinners that need the salvation which can only be obtained through the mediation of Jesus Christ. He then points out the most prevailing obstacles to success in the religious education of children. These are so important that we shall mention the heads of them. It is frequently too negligently and capriciously maintained, even where it is not totally omitted.The relaxation of domestic disciplineundue severity-the inconsistent conduct of parents-the wild conduct of an elder branch of the family, especially in the case of a dissipated son-bad companions-the schisms that sometimes arise in our churches, and embitter the minds of Christians against each other the neglect of young persons by our churches and pastors-the spirit of filial | independence. These topics suggest many important remarks, and generally we could have wished his illustrations longer than they are. No parent, however, can read this address without profit.
of young persons by our churches and their pastors, he thus proceeds
"This, however, does not so much appertain to parents in their separate capacity, as in their relation as members of a Christinn society; and even in this relation it belongs less to them than their pastors. There is a blank yet to be filled up in reference to the treatment of the As a dissenter, I object of course to the young, who are not in church communion. rite of Confirmation as practised in the Established Church; but we want something, I will not say like it, but in lieu of it. We want something that shall recognise the young, interest them, attract them, guard them."
We really hope that Mr. James wrote this passage in a dream, and that in the hurry of preparing his work for the press he forgot to look it over. For surely had he given it a second glance, it would have struck him as a reflection on the character of Christ as King in Zion, for not instituting some such ordinance as the one that Mr. James seems to wish introduced. Certainly confirmation is as scriptural as infant baptism; and we would earnestly advise him, if he cannot conscientiously practice the one, to reexamine if he has good authority for the administration of the other. For our own parts we have nothing to suggest to our author that will help him out of the difficulty, except it be to advise him to persevere in instructing the young by lectures, meeting them apart from the older persons in his congregation, and adapting his addresses to their stations and circumstances: a practice that we have heard Mr. James has long been engaged in, and give up all ideas of Infant Baptism and Confirmation, till he has a clear revelation of the will of Christ authorizing him to practise them.
A passage in this enumeration of topics included in the address to parents, will have suggested to the reader, that Mr. James has written his book principally for the use of Dissenters; and he will not proceed far in the volume, before he discovers that the work is designed for the juvenile classes among the Pædobaptists. We can forgive Mr. James, when, with his views of Infant Baptism, he says to his children: "You are the property of the church. It has a claim upon you. Will ye not own and discharge it? Must we see the walls of But our readers will begin to think the spiritual house mouldering away, that we have dwelt too long in the porch and you, the rightful materials with of the building, and have prevented them which it should be repaired, withheld?" from contemplating the interior. The This, we say, we will forgive in Mr. work is divided into twenty-five chapJames, though we hardly like unre- ters, the titles of which follow-On the generate persons being considered "the anxiety of a Christian Parent for the property of the church" of Christ, which spiritual welfare of his children.-On we have been accustomed to regard as the disposition with which we should altogether of a spiritual nature. But enter upon an enquiry into the nature what shall we think of his wishing to of religion.-On right sentiments of introduce a new ordinance into the church? religion.-On the nature of true religion. Not confirmation, but something "in-On the advantages and responsibility lieu of it." Our readers shall have the of a pious education.-On the most prepassage which has excited our fears. vailing obstacles which prevent young Having mentioned as an obstacle to the people from entering on a religious life. success of religious education, the neglect On the deceitfulness of the heart.-On