« AnteriorContinuar »
some other brethren, at Carrickfergus, by Venables; but though refusing to abandon the royal cause, he was soon after released. Sentence of banishment out of the kingdom was in the end of the same year pronounced against him. He succeeded, however, in eluding the searches repeatedly made for him by the republican party. The privations to which he and his brethren were now subjected, are thus described by one of their number:
“Those that staid in the country, though they could not exercise their ministry orderly as formerly; and though their stipends were sequestered, yet they, changing their apparel to the habit of countrymen, travelled in their own parishes frequently, and sometimes in other places, taking what opportunities they could to preach in the fields, or in barns and glens, &c. and were seldom in their own houses. They persuaded the people to constancy in the received doctrine, in opposition to the wild heresies that were then spreading; and reminded them of their duty to their lawful ma istrate, the king and parliament, in opposition to the usurpation of the times; and in their public prayers they always mentioned the lawful magistrate.-The Ministers of the Counties of Antrim and Doron) had frequent meetings amongst themselves, in order to strengthening one another, and consulting of their present carriage; and they drew up causes of fasts and bumiliations, to be kept among the. people in a private way, in several little societies, as the time permitted. Sometimes the Minister would, in his parish, call them all together, a part of the day, and preach and pray with them: and thereafter the people would repair to their several societies, for prayer, the rest of the day, the Minister always joining with one of these little societies after another."
From these privations they were greatly relieved, after Cromwell had dissolved the parliament, and declared himself Protector of the three kingdoms. They then received a stipend.of one hundred pounds each per annum, out of the treasury, unaccompanied with any restriction or engagement; and they were living in tolerable comfort and quiet at the time of his death, when they immediately declared for the exiled king.
For this devoted attachment to the constitution, and to the cause of Charles II. Mr. Kennedy, in common with his brethren in the three kingdoms, was repaid, after the Restoration, with deprivation and persecution. He was deposed, in the year 1661, from the office of Minister of Templepatrick, by the celebrated Dr. Jeremy Taylor, and forbidden, under pain of fine and imprisonment, to ex. ercise any of the functions of the ministerial office. But deriving his authority, as a pastor, from a higher source than human appointment, this prelatical interdict did. not induce him to abandon the sacred work to which he
had dedicated himself. He was now, however, compelled to labour in private, and to act with the utmost secrecy and caution. He taught from house to house, and frequently preached in the remote and mountain districts of the parish. Enjoying the protection of the Upton family, and no Episcopal Minister residing in the parish, be appears to have suffered less molestation than his brethren, who occupied more public and exposed stations. Owing to the difficulties inseparable from such a situation as this, we are prepared to expect, that his maintenance would neither be very ample, nor very punctually paid. In fact, had it not been for his own patrimony, he would not have been able to maintain his ground, and persevere in his work. The Presbytery were, indeed, very faithful in reminding the people of Templepatrick of their duty to their Minister, who had abided by them through the most trying periods. In the year 1674, we find the brethren examining minutely into the state of Mr. Kennedy's maintenance, which was found to be very defective. And again, in February, 1686, when nearly all the restraints on the public exercise of our worship and discipline were removed, they held a Visitation Presbytery af Temple. patrick Ten Ministers were present, and six absent. Mr. Kennedy, as was then customary, preached before the brethren. His text was, Matt. xxv. 35. The proceedings of the Presbytery are thus recorded :
“ The ordinary questions were 'put to Minister, session, and people, severally; and a satisfactory answer given to all. They were all encouraged, and the people advised to see that their Minister's hands be strengthened every way they can."
Having been above forty years in the uninterrupted discharge of bis pastoral duties to this congregation, and feeling the approach of the infirmities of old age, Mr. Kennedy, shortly after this meeting, supplicated the Presbytery, to receive his demission of the charge, or at least to permit him to take the aid of a pious young man, a native of the parish, as assistant in some parts of his work. It was in February, 1688, when the cause of Protestantism in these kingdoms was exposed to peculiar dangers, that he made this application to his brethren. The minute of the Presbytery on this subject, most pro, bably drawn up by himself, is a very interesting document, exhibiting a deep sense of the obligations of the ministerial office, a magnanimous disregard of persecation or of danger, and a fervent desire to spend and be spent in the faithful discharge of his duties. It runs thus:
“Whereas Mr. Anthony Kennedy hath supplicated this meeting, that in consideration of his age, and thereby his infirmity and weakness of body, whereby he is disabled from any part of his ministerial work, except it be to preach now and then as he is Izelped, and as he cannot catechise, visit families or the sick, as were necessary, he gives up the charge of his presont flock, first to Christ, and then to this Presbytery for their fu. ture supply; not that he fears persecution, or danger, or maintenance, (though he has spent a good part of his own patrimony in supplying that charge, which, if now to the fore, might be comfortable to his posterity;) but finding his own weakness disabling him from the needful work of such a charge, and the ingratitude of some who make no conscience to receive the Gospel, and subject themselves to it, he willingly and sincerely demits his charge of the people of Templepatrick; and, in the meantime, till further or better supply be provided, he desires that the meeting would enjoin Mr. M'Neilly (whom he knows to be both able and sound in judgment) to assist him in catechising and visiting the sick; and withal, that he would take him into the study of theology, in order to be put upon trials when the meeting may see fit; and for his encouragement, he will allow him a third part of his current stipend: all which he humbly submits to the meeting.”
With the occasional assistance of the Presbytery, however, he continued in his charge nearly ten years longer. Throughout the wars of the Revolution, he remained at his post, and lived to see the happy re-establishment of civil and religious freedom on the ruins of Popery and arbitrary power. He was present at the meeting of Synod which was held at Antrim, in June, 1697, but he did not long survive. He died on the eleventh of December following, and was buried beside his venerable predecessor, Welsh. His grave is covered by a tomb-stone, bearing the following Latin inscription, which presents a faithful outline of his character, and justly commemorates the firmness with which he continued at his post, in the worst of times :
TRANSLATIOX. Here, qnited to Christ, lie the happy remains of that venerable man of God, Mr. Anthony Ke:nedy, who, for about the uninterrupted space of fifty-three years, with equal fidelity and success, preached the Orthodox truth of the Gospel, maintained the purity of God's worship, and preserved the discipline and peace of the church : whom neither the violence nor intrigues of an ungodly multitude could induce to deviate from his integrity, or abandon his post : uotil, at length, having converted many souls to God, no less by his faithful preaching of Christ, than by his own Christian life, he resigned his soul, with joyful hope, to the great Father of spirits, on the 11th of December, 1697, in the 83d year of his age.
HISTORY OF THE METRICAL VERSION OF THE PSALMS
USED IN THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN. Sir,
I Trust it will not be unacceptable to your readers, to le furnished with a brief account of that metrical version of the Psalms which is used by the various sections of the Presbyterian Church in this country. To every Orthodox Presbyterian this version is full of deep interest. It has been so long used by his venerated forefathers;-he has been so early and constantly familiarized with it as an inseparable appendix to the Word of God;-it is so interwoven with all his recollections of early instruction, of a mother's tender solicitude, or a father's graver care to imbue his mind with the elevated piety of its simple strains;-it is so indispensable to the performance of his devotional exercises either in the sanctuary, or the family, or the closet; and so many tender and hallowed associa. tions link themselves to almost every verse, that it stands, in his estimation, as a part of the Bible itself, and is equally venerated with the prose original: As poetry, it has no doubt its defects. What work of man has not? But though, since its adoption by the Church of Scotland, many versions of the Book of Psalms have been published, and several of these by distinguished poets and critics, yet it is not too much to say, that, as a whole, it has never been exceededperhaps not even equalled. I am borne out in this opinion by the testimony of Dr. Beattie, himself an eminent poet. In his letter to Dr. Hugh Blair, on the improvement of Psalmody in Scotland, lately published, though printed fifty years ago, he thus speaks of this version :- Notwithstanding its many imperfections, I cannot help thinking it is the best. The numbers, it is true, are often harsh and incorrect; there are frequent obscurities and some ambiguities in the style; the Scottish idiom occurs in se. veral places, and the old Scottish pronunciation is sometimes necessary to make out the ri yme. Yet in this version there is a manly though severe simplicity without any affected refinement, and there are many passages so beautiful as to stand in need of no emendation,”
of the various metrical versions of the Psalms that are in use in Protestant Churches, .ours is both the most extensively adopted, and has had exclusive possession of the psalmody of the church for the longest period. The version by Sternhold and Hopkins, though of older date, has for a long time been very generally disused; and the other authorized version of the English Church is of a much later origin. How many thousand Presbyterian Churches in Scotland, England, Ireland, North America, the United States, &c. do, on every returning Sabbath, tender their united praises to Jehovah through the medium of this valued version! How many broken hearts are bound up-how many afflictive dispensations soothed -how many death-beds brightened by its simple and consoling strains! And now, for nigh two centuries, it has been employed throughout the church in these sanctifying ministrations. Our fathers sang its verses on the mountain-side, when hunted, like wild beasts, from the abodes of men, by their bloody persecutors. They carried it with them to the scaffold; and oftimes, in ihe very words in which our infant innocence lisped a Father's watchful care, did these men of God, of whom the world was not worthy, close their pilgrimage, and commit their souls 10 His keeping. What Bishop Horne says of the Book of Psalms in prose, in one of the most eloquent passages that can be found in our language, may, with equal propriety, be applied to it when versified :“ 'The fairest productions of human wit, after a few pe. rusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragrancy; but these unfading plants of paradise, become, as we are accustomed to them, still more and more beautiful; their bloom appears to be daily height. ened; fresh odours are emitted, and new sweets are extracted from them. He who bath once tasted their excellencies, will desire to taste them yet again; and he who lastes them oftenest, will relish them best."