Imágenes de páginas

in a considerable degree, is the character of a large proportion of those writings which appeared whilst the language was passing from the pointed style of the 17th to the round and nervous compositions of the 18th century.

The life of Mr. Shepherd furnishes a partial refutation of the excuse which is sometimes made for entering the Established Church, or continuing in it contrary to the dictates of conscience " that conformity is the surest path to usefulness." It is true, that every dissenting minister is not like Mr. Shepherd, the founder of a church, but every such minister, in addition to the advantage of an unrestrained exercise of his ministry, has a fairer prospect than his conforming brother, that the field which he has cultivated, will not run desert when he dies. If Mr. Shepherd had continued in the Established Church, after a few years all the effects of his labours would, most probably, have been gone; but, renouncing it, full proof of his ministry still lives in the large community of Christians which was called by his means. Mr. Shepherd's publications which have not been previously mentioned, are as follows: “ Five discourses on Zaccheus's Conversion"6 The Case of Infant Baptism made plain, a Dialogue”—A Guide to Charity, a Sermon, on 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2."-" Three Discourses on Christ's Agony in the Garden"_“The loving Penitent, or Magdalen's Repentance and Love illustrated, in several Sermons." They are founded on Luke vii. 37-50, a passage which Mr. Shepherd, in common with many others, gratuitously supposes to refer to Mary Magdala, and in a way equally gratuitous, concludes that the seven demons which we know did dwell in Mary of Mag'lala, were proofs of the previous atrocity of her character before conversion ; a view of the case to which he furnishes a sufficient answer in his Sermon on the Power of Devils in Bodily Distempers. “Do not eensure any that are handled in an extraordinary way, for the Lord Christ was in Satan's hand for a time : how did he hurry about the body of the Saviour from place to place ?” “A Sermon showing the mutual Helpfulness requisite in the Married State;" an admirable discourse, which, together with his “ Faithful Ministering," originally formed a small volume. “ The Life of Shadows. A Sermon principally handling this question, Why the Allwise God should put a soul into a body to stay in it no longer a time, as is the case of those who die in infancy ?" A very striking, and, to bereaved parents, a very consolatory discourse.

Mr. Shepherd was blessed with a family of hope. ful children, one of whom, Mr. Timothy Shepherd, by his early piety, and by his predilection for ministerial services, raised the expectations of his venerable parent. With a view to his sustaining the ministerial office, he was placed in the Academy of the Independent Fund Board, where, under those eminent tutors, Dr. Ridgley and Mr. Eames, he attained a highly respectable proficiency in his studies. In this excellent young man were combined many qualifications which might have been cursidered as predicting his future eminence in the Christian ministry. His natural talents were good, but he did not consider them as obviating the necessity of diligence and research. His temper was cheerful, and his conversation sprightly and engaging, but especially, his mind was deeply imbued with piety. His own inquiries confirmed him in the orthodox sentiments in which he had been educated, but his orthodoxy was attended by an amiable charity, which led him to maintain, and to “speak the truth in love."

When Mr. Shepherd came to appear in the capacity of a preacher of the Gospel, he discovered himself to be in earnest in his great work, and while he sought to please God, he secured the approbation of his hearers. But the hopes of his venerable father, and numerous friends, were quickly sunk; though Mr. S. was permitted to enter on the ministerial work, he does not appear to have engaged in the duties of a stated preacher. Bodily disorders, which seemed to have attacked him shortly after the completion of his preparatory studies, removed him from the pulpit, and, after a long period of suffering, brought him “ to the house appointed for all living." The young preacher was thus called to exemplify the influence of the truths which he had begun to preach, and divine grace enabled him to exemplify it, not merely by the silence of patience, and the language of resignation, but also by expressions of his firm faith in that Saviour whom he had preached to others. Relying on the grace of God in Jesus Christ, and supported through the valley of the shadow of death, he feared no evil; and, possessed of assurance of hope, he was not only willing to die, but desired to depart and to be with Christ.

His funeral sermon was preached at Braintree, May 22, 1733 ; and was delivered, at his request by his friend and fellow-student, the Rev. W. Ford, of Castle Hedingham, Mr. F. published the discourse, at the desire of the ministers present at its delivery, who, with one exception, were fellow-students with Mr. Shepherd, under Dr. Ridgley and Mr. Eames. The dedication of this discourse contains a testimony to the ministers and congregations of that neighbourhood, too gratifying to be overlooked. “Suffer me to take this occasion to express my great sense of the kind providence that has placed my lot in so agreeable a neighbourhood; and I take pleasure in telling the world, that whatever lesser differer.ces there may be in our sentiments, I believe no part of the kingdom can be found where there is a more hearty affection between neighbouring ministers and their congregations, than in these parts."'*



Selected from his Life, by Lord King, pp. 108–119. CIVIL.


1. The end of civil soci- 1. The end of religious ety, is civil peace and pros. society, is the attaining perity, or the preservation happiness after this life in of the society and every another world. member thereof, in a free and peaceable enjoyment of all the good things of this life that belong to each of them; but beyond the concernments of this life, THIS SOCIETY HATH NOTHING TO DO AT ALL. • Ford's Sermons, occasioned by the Death of the Rev. Timothy Shepherd + The italics are ours, as also the interpretations printed in italics and placed betweeu brackets,

2. The terms of commu. 2. The terms of communion with, or being a part nion or conditions of being of, this (civil) sociedy-is members of this (religious) promise of obedience to the society--is promise of obedi.. laws of it.

ence to the laws of it.

3. The proper matter, of 3. The proper matter of the laws of this society, are the laws of this (religious ) all things conducing to the society, are all things tend.. end above mentioned* viz, ing to the attainment of fucivil happiness; and are in ture bliss which are of three effect almost all moral and sorts :indifferent things, which yet a. Matters of faith and are not the proper matter of opinion, which terminate the laws of the society, till the in the understanding. doing or omitting of any of b. Matters of worship, them, come to have a tendency which contain both the TO THE END ABOVE-MEN ways of expressing our TIONED

honor and adoration of
the Deity, and of ad-
dress to him for the ob-
taining any good from
c. Matters of discipline, or
the right management of
our actions in respect of
ourselves and others.

4. The means to procure 4. The means to preserve obedience to the laws of this obedience to the laws of this (civil) society, and thereby (ecclesiastical) society, are preserve it, force or punish the hopes and fears of happiment:-i. e, the abridgment ness and misery in annother of any one's share of the world. good things of the worldB ut though the laws of within the reach of the soci. this society be in order to ety, and sometimes a total happiness in another world, deprivation, as in the case of and so the penalties annexed capital punishments,

to them are also of another And this, I think, is the world ; yet the society being whole end, latitude, and ex- in this world and to be content of CIVIL POWER AND tinued here, there are some SOCIETY.

means necessary for the preservation of the society here,

which is the expulsion of such *The proper ohject which they aim and are intended to secure.

« AnteriorContinuar »