« AnteriorContinuar »
Toleration Act, and for supplying the defects thereof," the justicés, at the General Session are required to tender and administer the oaths, &c. to such minister, upon his offering himself to make the same, and thereof to keep a register.”
It has been doubted whether- an exemption from certain burdens was ever intended by the statute, except to persons who are really ministers of separate congregations. The words in the
Act of Toleration are, " That every teacher or preacher in * Holy orders, or pretended holy orders, that is a minister, preacher,
or teacher of a congregation * ; but the words in the statute of 19 Geo. III. c. 44, are, Every person in holy orders, or pretended holy orders, or pretending to holy orders, BEING a preacher or teacher of any congregation,” &c. From hence, some conclude that the act was not intended to relieve any persons who are not “ prcacha ors or teachers of congregations;" that is, as they interpret tke words, « preachers or teachers chosen by, or resident among, particular congregations,” in opposition to occasional or itinerant teachers ; but, in answer to this, it may be observed, that the clause just quoted from the 19th of Geo. III. refers, it should seem, exclusively to those who scruple to subscribe thc 39 Articles; for the preamble of that act states, that it is “ for the giving ease to scrupulous persons," – persons who scrupled to subseribe the Articles; and that for every such (scrupulous) person, pretending to holy orders, being a teacher of any congregation, the declaration before quoted is to be admitted, instead of a subscription to the Articles. Nothing of consequence can be argued from the differ*ence of the words, that is a minister of,' and being a minister #."
Perhaps, under present circumstances, and to prevent the future abuse of the Toleration Act, it is only needful to distinguiska
* It should, however, he oligerved that, by the 10th Ann, c. 2, 4 Any preacher, duly qualified, shall be allowed to officiate in any congregation, although the same be pot in the county wherein he was so qualified, proi vided that the said congregation, or place of meetin?, hath been duly certitied," &e. : but the preacher, if required, must produe his certificate.
+ A few years ago, a member of the House of Commons prrjected a bill, which, baving in view the abolition of village preaching, was intended to subject the labours of Dissenling and Methodist Teachers to the controul of neighbouring magistrales. The pulse of the publie was felt upon this occasion. It was insinuated, in order to render the proposed bril palatable, that it was not intended to operate against regular. Disa Henters; but it was understood to be the scuse of the whole body that, in suca a case, a distinction between Digsenters and Methodists could not be admitted,- that it was one common cause, the cause of religious liberty: and tòat the Dissenters made no distinction between a right to preach to their own appropriate congregations, and that of publishing the glad tidings of salvation in villages where they apprehended the joyful sound had. never been heard. Such was the substance of a communication made by one of their leading ministers to an honourable member of the house; and such were the sentiments avowed by another eminent preacher, in a friendly conversation with a late venerable prelate at his own table. The proa jected bill was, at that time, abandoned. See Zealkwithout. Bigotry, wi 44.
between Protection and Privilege. I conceive that every preacher, qualified or unqualified, should be permitted to take out a licence, and thereby be put under the protection of the law. It is far better that a few unqualified persons should be allowed to teach, than that it should be in the power of magis. trates, who may not always be proper judges, to refuse a licence to a qualified person. The magistrate, it is presumed, has no right to prevent any man from teaching, who gives proper security to the state for his acting as a peaceable subject." Talent, like water, will find its own level. Fools only will hear fools. Men destitute of talents for preaching, will soon fall into contempt and be deserted ; and, wbatever inconvenience may attend this freedom, it will be small indeed, compared with the mischief which cannot but ensue, by making the magistrate the judge of religious matters. Let every man, who wishes it, obtain a licence and let him be protected by it from persecution : but it is quite another thing to excuse every man who chuses to preach from serving on the militia, when his country demands his assistance, or to relieve him from parochial duties, by which he may essentially benefit his neighbours. These privileges were certainly intended by the Legislature for stated ministers of congregations, whose time was required for study, visiting the sick, with other duties of the pastoral office; - but persons who preach only occasionally, and have no pastoral charge, and especially those who carry on business for their support, do not appear to be entitled to the same privileges.
If, therefore, the distinction between protection and privilege be duly observed, there will be no great difficulty in avoiding the evil complained of, and, at the same time, preserving the Act of Toleration in violate. Let all preachers be protected in their religious exercises from injury and insult; but let the exemptions be made, Ist, in behalf of stated ministers; 2d, of those who have been such, but are now disabled ; and, 3d, of students, who are preparing for the work of the ministry *
Whether it be the wish of certain persons to restrain itinerant ministers within narrow limits, and prevent their disinterested efforts to do good to the souls of men, remains to be discovered. - For the sake of peace and religion, it is devoutly to be wished that no such attempt should be made; but, if it be, the Methodists and the Dissenters will console themselves with the recollection of his Majesty's promise, in his first speech to pare liament, Nov. 18, 1760, and in which his faithful subjects have the utmost reason to confide, ..." I will maintain the Toleration inviolable."
EUSEBIUS.' * These are merely hints thrown out for discussion. * Probably, the readers of this work may suggest something better. A respectful attention will be paid to them,
by which they were distinguished, MRS. STAPLETON, widow of the was animated by many a sanguine late Dr. Stapleton, of Colchester, expectation of sceing them occupy died in Bristol, on the 20th of Janu. sume important stations in society. ary, aged 53. Many of the last These fond hopes, however, were, years of the life of this excellent by a sad series of events, blasted ; woman were peculiarly afflictive, for, within the space of three years, and, indeed, her whole history, these four amiable young women were it recorded, would appear to were the victims of a fatal con. have been highly eventful. She sumption. Though under these was the daughter of the late Mr. trying circumstances their mother William Dicks, of the city of Ches. was much supported by the conso. ter, a man eminent for piety, sin. lations of the gospel, it will not be cerely attached to the doctrines of thought strange that such repeated grace, and a decided, but liberal shocks should have made very Dissenter. He was a member of strong impressions upon a consti. the church formerly under the pas. tution at best but delicate; nor that toral care of the venerable Matthew she should now feel but little in Henry; but on the majority of that terest in a world which, in her view, society departing from the truth, was so strongly marked with vicis Mr. Dicks, with a few others, with. Situde and sorrow. In the year drew, and invited' neighbouring 1806, she visited Dublin, where ministers, of evangelical sentiments, she had a sister *; and in that city to visit them, and to preach upto she remaiged till May, 1808, when them the gospel of Christ. This she returned to England, intending procedure was sanctioned by tbe to reside in Bristol, in the neighdivine blessiag, and laid the found. bourbood of which place an eligible ation of the present Independent situation had been obtained for her Charch in the city of Chester. son. Her health had been for some
At what period Mrs. S. became time on the decline; and some of experimentally, acquainted with her friends began to entertain disdivine truth, we are not informed; couraging fears respecting the but her piety was unquestionable. event. In the year 1780, she married the On her becoming a resident in late Dr. Stapleton, of Colchester, Bristol, she attended the ministry and, during an union of 17 years, of the Rev. Mr. Lowell, became a they lived in the exercise of strong communicant in his church, and, and mutual affection, and were very for two or three months, was one honourable members of the church of his family. In the course of the of which the late Mr. Hobbs was summer she visited Devonshire : the pastor. By a mysterious and but, prior to her return, requestod affecting dispensation, Dr. S. died, that apartments might be proin consequence of a paralytical cured for her near the meeting. seizure, in the year 1797; and thus, house, being apprehensive that, un. at little more than 40 years of age, less the distance was very short, she our deceased friend became a should not be able to attend public widow, having four daughters, and worship, to which she was most a son who was only between five devoutly attached. A situation and six years old. She saw her suited to her wishes was fouad ; but daughters in quick succession rise on her arrival, though her spirits to the stature of women; and, by were comparatively good, all her the superior mental powers they friends were much struck with her possessed, and the accomplishments emaciated appearance. She had
* Mrs. Hutton, the wife of John Hutton, Esq. brother to the late pious and benevolent Alderman Hutton.
long been apprehensive that she Mrs. S. was well knows, te e was consuinplive, and frequently numerous circle of friends, as a very pemarked, that it would be impos distinguished and interesting characsible for her ever to fall into the ter. She possessed strony mental fond mistake which persons in that powers, had the wvantages of a complaint have to frequently adopt. superior education, and combined ed; for, having (as she said, so the elegancies of polished manners minutely marked the progress of with the superior charins of (n. the disease in Her four daughters, affected piety. It was, however, and being so perfectly aware of the in the Christian charactor that sbe manger in which its subjects were applared io the greatest advantage. 80 often deceived, she was effec- Amidst her almost unparalleled ually guarded against any such trials, her spirit was serene, her misconception. About six weeks, carriage mild, and her sabmission however, prior to her dissolution, exemplary. She was ordinarily she formed a most decided opinion cheerful, but never overcome by that ber case had been completely undignised levity; truly serious mislaken, not only by herself, but without yielding to the iniluence of by all the medical gentlemen she despondency ; and strictly conscihad consulted, some of whom were entivus, without the ostentation of among the most distinguisaed of pharisaical parade. the profession. So powerfully did On the Lord's Day evening after this sentiment operate upon her her iotermeni, a sermon was demind, that, though she was appre- livered by Mr. Lowell, not excluhensive that the termination of her sively in reference to the deatu of pilgrimage was at no very remote Mrs. Stapleton, but in relation also distance, she seemed to consider it to Samuel Tilleit, a poor man, a as absolutely certain that she was member of his church, wha, a few apeedily recovering from her pre. days before, left the world in the sent indiapositiva. Tois opinion did triumph of faith. The service was Bot appear to have any unfavour- thug rendered doubly interestiug ; able effect upon her mind, in refcr- and the text selected upon tbe ocence to divine things. “Death,' as casion was, “Blessed are the dead she herself expressed it, was far which die in the Lord.' That every from being a subject of dread to reader of this little narrative way her.' She had, under a inost hum-' 'die the death of the righteous,' is Bling sense of unworthiness, solemnly the affectionate and cordial prayer committed her soul into the hands of him that writes it; and who, of the blessed Redeemer, boilt her amidst all the losses sustaized by immortal hopes upon his aloring the removal of Christian frieods, is sacrifice, and was thug always en consoled with the hope ibat be may, couraged to think and speak of her through the exceeding riches of dissolution with the utmost con- divine grace, be permitted to em: placuncy, and sometimes with evi- brace them in another and a better dent delight. The last time sie worid !' united in worship, with the church ou earii, was on the first Sabbath
MISS SARAH MEEN. in last November, when she also sat down at the table of the Lord. It? MAY 23, 1809, died, aged 24 appears to have been to her a years, Miss Saran Meen, of Wether. meinorable period; and repealedly den, in the county of Suffolk. She did she speak in a most affectionate was in infancy deprived of an affec. manner of the sweet solemnity of tionate mother ; but enjoyed the spirit, and of the holy joy which advantage' of religious instruction, she experienced on that day. The under the inspection of her survivo frame of her mind, indeed, thence- ing parent. Her teinper and disa forward appeared tranquil, sub position being naturally lively, as missive, and happy; and thus she her years advanced; she eagerij continued till she quietly and in- sought those fascinating pleasures sensibly fell aslcep.
which a gay and dissipated world readily presents to thoughtless uppermost in her heart, it did not youth.
take off ner attention from domestie Her first religious imipressions of duties, beiag‘not slothfulin business, an abiding kiad, were received under yet fervent in spirit, serving the a sermou preached by the Rev. C. Lord.'. She was of a delicate con, Atkinson, of Ipswich, where she stitution, and the subject of many was then on a visit. Tliese im bodily affi ctions ; but, ia such pressions were followed by a train seaso:18, her consolations abounded. of serious riflections, which pro. As she thus lived and walked near duced a deep conviction of her to God, so the work of grace made fallen state as a sinner, and the need rapid progress in her soul. From of a better maleousness than her the time she first put on the Christ own for justification. She began ian armour will she undressed for to see with new eyes, to hear with the grave, a period somethiog short new cars, and to understand with a of five years, she seems to have canew heart to feel delight ini divine joyed an encreasing delight in com. ordinances, in readiaza indiation; mụnion with God, and an happy and prayer. Her worldly com- anticipation of future and perfect panions were forsaken, and her felicity. maind received a new biàs, which Toe disorder that ended her days engaged all its energies;--hier desire was an inflammation in the brain, now was to win Christ, and be found which occasioned the most exquisite in him. This renovation of soul pain; bui, under this severe afflic., produced an outward change, which tion, she manifested the utmost could not be concealed. Her for patience and resiguation. - To one, mer levity and gaiety of disposition who was synpathizing with her sor. gave way to hábitudes of serious, rows, she said, "My sufferinys are yet cheerful piety.
great, but they are mingled with . In a few months she made a pub so much mercy, that I cannot comlic profession of her faith, and was plain: admitted, with great satisfaction; & On the Saturday preceding her meniber of the Congregational departure, she conversed freely on Church at Wattesfield; under the the probability of an approaching care of the Rev. W. Hickman, where change, and said to one of the her family statedly worshipped, and family, My dear brother, Do you binder whose ministry her soul was not think that death is come ? On greatly replenished. Situátod, how. being answered there were some ever, at a distance of several miles fears of it; she cheerfully replied, from the house wi God, she was "I am glad of it ; ior I have a desire deprived of that intercourse with to depart and to be with Christ, her fellow-members wlieh it was which is far better. Pray for my her desire to have enjoyed; but she death, for I long to be with Jesus ! found, in the retired residence of
Jesus can make a dying bed her father's house, swort intercourse
Feel soft as downy pillows are.' with Heaven. She spent many hours in devotional exercises, on I have done with the world now, which, she conceived, the life of with its pleasures, its cares, and its religion much depended. The in- sorrows! Come, Lord Jesus! take fluence of religiou appeared very me from this body of siu and death i conspicuous in her temper, her con- O, Death! where is thy stingi - 0, vcrsation, and her correspondence ; Grave ! where now is thy victory yet her religion was neither vision. Thanks be unto God, who giveth ary por enthusiastic on iho one us the victory through our Lord hand, nor bigolted or presumptuous Jesus Christ! on the other ; but what she pro- On the Lord's Day inorning, she fessed and enjoyed was a steady, said, 'On this day I hope to ex. scriptural, evangelical hope, loving change earth for Heaven, and to all who loved Ohrisi, and those best begin an eternal Sai bath! To who possessed iront of his Spirit. younger sister, for whose salvation Though a sense of divine things was she bad long been earnestly wresta