Imágenes de páginas

the holy and devoted Flavel. Some course may be contemplated as a beaustriking coincideuces, in relation to the tiful manifestation. Many were the sadissolution of these two like-minded ser crifices which he cheerfully made for the vants of the Lord, ought not to pass | cause of Christ. The bearing of any unnoticed. Flavel died of an apoplectic transaction upon his own personal inseizure; so did the subject of this me terests was generally the last considerainoir. Flavel exchanged earth for heaven tion he entertained. after only a few hours' illness; so did | He was a man, too, of deep and tender our departed friend. Flavel finished his sympathy. Largely was be gifted with earthly course on the 26th of June; and the capacity of not only feeling for, but so did the venerated pastor whose loss with, his fellow-men. To a great extent we now deplore.

he was able to "rejoice with them that do The prominent features in the charac rejoice, and to weep with them that weep." ter of Mr. Stenner were such as must And who, of those who knew him, is have been readily perceived by those not aware of the benevolence by which who were favoured with the opportunity | our lamented friend was characterised? of intercourse with him, and especially Never was he happier than when emby those who were blessed with his ployed in helping others. The kindness friendship.

of his heart was also seen in the unwill. As a Christian, every one who knew ingness he always manifested to listen him must have recognised him as em- to evil reports concerning any one. How phatically “a good man,” and “ full of many a time has he subjected the bearer the Holy Ghost.” Of his genuine piety, of such reports to strict examination as and entire consecration to the Saviour, to their authority and origin! And how none could possibly doubt.

uniform was his disinclination to beRigid conscientiousness was stamped | liere anything unfavourable respecting upon everything that he said or did. | others, unless, by clear and satisfactory He acted, evidently, from a uniform re- evidence on the point, compelled! gard to what is right, without yielding Vr. Stenner was eminently a happy any homage whatever to the claims of Christian. Some professors of religion an imaginary expediency. Iu connexion are perpetually gloomy; supplying, by with this peculiarity, a high sense of their tones and aspect, materials by honour influenced him. Everything which the worldling frequently attempts verging upon meanness he utterly ab. to justify the libellous accusation, that horred. A phrenologist, who once heard | “religion is a melancholy thing;” but not him, remarked asterwards to a friend, so was it with him. He was ever cheer" That man is incapable of a dishonour- ful. The habitual smile upon his counable action." Whatever opinion may be tenance has been remarked by many. entertained as to the grounds on which, | Beneath the influence of this joyous in this particular instance, that judg feeling, he was generally disposed to ment was based-of the correctness of look at the bright side of things. And the judgment itself there cannot be a ' in the case of unfavourable occurrences question.

transpiring, instead of hopelessly broodOur departed brother was remarkable ing over them, he would immediately for his unsophisticated straight-forward. inquire after the practical means for ness. Nothing could exceed the aver procuring their alleviation or removal. sion with which he regarded craft and He was, most obviously, a man of double dealing. His own conduct was, prayer. This was the secret of his invariably, transparent as the light. strength, and peace, and joy; this was the

Great disinterestedness also marked element in which he breathed; this was his character. Of this quality his whole the region in which he felt at home.

He had power with God, and prevailed. , rich and to the poor, he proclaimed And the evidences of his communion with affection, but yet with unflinching with his Father were frequently well fidelity, the simple truth, let the pronigh as apparent, as was the heavenly clamation gratify or grieve. Well might glory which yet rested on the face of he have said, at the close of his career, “I Moses after he had descended from the am pure from the blood of all men; for mount of God.

I have not shunned to declare unto you As a minister of the Gospel, the sub- | all the counsel of God." ject of this sketch possessed many quali- It is a gratifying consideration that ties which inspired those who knew him these peculiarities marked his ministerial with admiration, confidence, and love. character from the very commencement

His preaching made evident the fact of his career to its close. A letter of of bis attachment to the doctrines of the kind sympathy, addressed to his afilicted glorious Gospel. He was no theorist. | widow, by that excellent minister alHe indulged not in speculation. He ready named-the Rev. Thomas Scales, allowed not the truth as it is in Jesus of Leeds-embodies such an interesting to be moulded or modified by the dogmas proof of this, that an extract or two may of a so-called philosophy, whether of be deemed appropriate. “Mr. Stenner home or of foreign growth. Christ crucial and I," writes Mr. Scales, “entered fied was his constant, pervading, central | Hoxton within a few days of each other, theme. Justification by faith, and the about the beginning of August, 1806, work of the Holy Spirit, were topics ) and for three years we lived together very dear to him, and on which he loved in uninterrupted and intimate fellowto expatiate. At the same time, whilst ship. I know not any one of my fellowrejoicing in proclaiming the rich grace students in whom I reposed so much of the Gospel, the claims of holiness, confidence, or to whom I could so freely which that Gospel so perpetually en- disclose the religious feelings and exerforces, he delighted to announce. His cises of my mind; and he was equally theology was what might have been an. frank and open and confiding as to his ticipated from an early and rather ex. | own spiritual exercises and conflicts. tensive acquaintance with the Puritan There was always much of earnestness divines, though somewhat modified, in and fervour, as well as deep and unafrecent years, by the study of later writers, fected humility, about his piety; and I such as Fuller, Wardlaw, and Payne, to still retain in pleasing remembrance the whose productions he was much at- | highly experimental character of his tached.

prayers. . . . . . I well reincmGreat simplicity of aim distinguished ber also his strong and ardent attach. the pulpit labours of our lamented friend. ment to the great and glorious truths of Never did he exhibit-either in style, or the Gospel, and the evangelical tone of delivery, or thought- any indication all his preparations for the pulpit, which whatever of a desire to shine. His one made him very acceptable to many of object was usefulness. He ever handled the more serious congregations which the great themes of religion, therefore, we supplied at the time. He would in a manner which clearly proved his have been a most suitable and congenial own sincerity, and the earnestness of successor to the pious and spiritual his solicitude that others should think Flavel, bad he been called at once to and feel as he did on these momentous follow him, for, in many respects, though matters.

separated by a long interval of time, His ministry was marked, too, by pe they were kindred minds, and enterculiar faithfulness. He knew not how tained, no doubt, kindred views and o flatter. To saint and to sinner, to the feelings. . . . . . It was, I am

persuaded, from the very first, his firm hallowed project, which, by sending out and resolute purpose to be faithful in tracts, or Bibles, or missionaries, aimed his ministry, and his cherished and fond at the world's salvation. When he first est desire to be made useful in it; for, went to Dartmouth, scarcely a single strongly did he feel the passion for society - if any existed, to help in saving souls;' and many, I trust, will ameliorating the misery, ignorance, and be his joy and crown of rejoicing." vice of man. But uot loug had he

The members of the church and con laboured there before he sought to in. gregation at Dartmouth know well | troduce improvement. And of most of enough what the subject of this memoir | the benevolent and religious institutions was-as a pastor. How diligently did which that town now possesses, he was he labour for their welfare! How af. either the joint or sole originator. The fectionate was he in his intercourse with Sabbath - school, the “Sick Child's them! How sympathising in their Frieud," the Benevolent Society, the trials ! How wise, and judicious, and Society for Civil and Religious Liberty, parental were his counsels ! How ab the School of Industry, the British School, sorbed was he in his great work-the the Bethel, the Religious Tract Society, salvation of his flock, and the glory of the Bible Society, the London Missionhis Master! To all this they and theirs ary Society, and others, all owed their can testify-as, indeed, they have done, existence and beneficial influence, more by their many tears!

or less, to his devoted zeal. Of several As a philanthropist, Mr. Stenner was of these institutions our departed friend eminently devoted, and eminently bless was secretary at the time of his death. ed. His benevolent solicitudes for the Nor ought the anxious and successful welfare of his fellow-men were most efforts to be forgotten, which, in 1841, active and untiring. And they were he dedicated to the erection of the beaumost expansive too. He sought the tiful and commodious chapel in which good, not merely of his own congregation, his congregation now assemble, -an but of the town. Hence the various | edifice which, as he most earnestly desocieties he founded, and assisted in sired, the God of Zion will, we devoutly founding, for the purposes of education, trust, still smile upon, making it a blessclothing, visiting in sickness, communi. | ing, not to this generation only, but to cating the Gospel to our mariners. His | generations yet unborn! influence, too, was felt most beneficially “I heard a voice from heaven saying throughout the neighbourhood, as is unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead abundantly evident in the neat little which die in the Lord from henceforth: edifices for worship erected at Dittisham, | Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest Stoke Fleming, and elsewhere. Nor was from their labours; and their works do his anxious zeal restricted to the neigh follow them." bourhood, -but, through an extensive portion of the county it was manifest. It will, doubtless, gratify the readers His brethren in the ministry well know of this sketch to know, that the beloved how actively and judiciously he co widow (sister of John Venning, Esq., of operated with them in the various plans Norwich), and the weeping flock are of the South Devon Congregational already comforted: God baving graciousUnion. Indeed—to measure aright the ly provided for the vacant pastorate, benevolence of his heart, it must be re. The Rev. John Flavel Stenner, Withycorded that the world's happiness was brooke, near Coventry—the only son of what he sought. Hence the readiness the late Rev. Thos. Stenner-has acwith which he aided, and induced his cepted an affectionate and pressing in. people to unite with him in aiding every vitation to become the successor of his

devoted father. As the names of those , bineid cxceller ces and successes charac. two honoured men,-his remote, and his | terise his course and ministry! immediate, predecessors,-Flavel, and

W.T. Stenner, meet in him, so may their com



where would be the perversion of taste? 1.-MAN'S SPIRITUAL NATURE.

| where would be the bondage of sin ? To the sensualist, it is misery to be

where would be the wail of misery? thwarted in the gratification of the ap

In such a nature we see the likeness of petites. To the intellectual, it is misery | God. Who could be its author, but He to be hindered in the pursuit of know

who knows all things, who is the original ledge. To the moral, it is misery to

of all Beauty, whicse Goodness is perneglect the doing of what is right. The

fect, and whose Blessedness is for evermerely sensual have no conception of

more? why should He create such a the habitudes of the intellectual. The

being as man knows himself to be, but merely intellectual have no conception

that he might be a partaker of the Divine of the habitudes of the moral. The

felicity, to irradiate the universe with moral are they who rise above the in

his Creator's glory? (Page 21.) tellectual, as the intellectual are they who rise above the sensual. Ile who

11.-SALVATION OF THE LORD. seeks his well-being according to the Leaving, then, all discussions which laws of his nature is not without the belong to the metaphysic rather than to lower appetites; but he keeps them in the theologic, we find no difficulty in their place by the guidance of his rea tracing the broad practical distinction son: neither is he without the intellect- | between that which is done by the Son, ual tendencies; but these, too, are kept and that which is done by the Spirit, in in their place by the authority of his the salvation of men, and however conscience. From this height, where conscious we may be of our inability to he fulfils the noblest functions of his determine matters lying far away from nature, he may rise to unmeasured de- | the present sphere of the human mind, grees of tbe sublimest good He loves we have no misgiving in our faith that himself. He loves his neighbour. He it is God, and God alone, who saves us. loves God above all. Then his own We read that the Father sends, gives, delight in the consciousness of fulfill- powrs out, the Spirit; and that the Son ing the law of his nature is enlarged sends the Spirit; and that the Spirit by the sympathy of all virtuous beings; “proceedeth from the Father;" but we and the love of God, which is unutter- | do not read that the Father proceedeth able, fills him full of joy.

from the Spirit, or that the Spirit gave Such is our spiritual nature. These his Son We read that through the Son are the "things of a man" which are we have access by one Spirit unto the known by the "spirit of a man which Father; but we do not read through the is in him." These are his capacities. | Spirit we have access by the Father to They belong to every man. Were the the Son; neither do we read that througlı law of this nature obeyed freely, heart. the Father we have access by the Son to ily, constantly, and universally, where | the Spirit. We read of being pardoned would be the darkness of ignorance ? for the sake of Christ. We do not read 512


of being pardoned for the sake of the worship is not the display of human Father, or for the sake of the Spirit. The tastes; the preaching of the gospel is same practical distinction, it is well not an effect of genius. The triumphs known, pervades the New Testament of religion are not gained by worldly (Page 83.)

influence. Whatever latitude may be

given to the consecration of rank, or 111.-—THE CHURCH A SPIRITUAL : wealth, or intellect, or imagination, or FELLOWSHIP.

of anything that man can be, or that By the coming together of separate man can hold to the service of God in spiritual men, the church is builded, a this world, it should be kept in perpetual living temple, a “habitation of God remembrance by Christians that nothing through the Spirit.” The church of God outuard is religious, unless it be the is not a human corporation, a visible manifestation of the inner life which is institution, or a kingdom of this world: nourished by the Holy Spirit. We know it is a spiritual organization, the handy. | how costly and how attractive the emwork of the Holy Ghost; only the spi. bodiment of men's ideas of religion have ritual can belong to it; only the spirit- / been. We dare not say that architect

al can discern it; only the spiritual ure, and music, and high eloquence, and can obey its laws, enjoy its immunities, solemn ceremonials have always beenor discharge its functions. From within or that they have never been—the outitself, by the power of the indwelling workings of a truly spiritual devotion. Spirit, guiding each member“according Nor dare we say that meagreness, and to the effectual working in the measure deformity, and meanness, and bad taste, of every part, maketh increase of the l are either proofs of superior spiritualism, body to the building up of itself in or signs of stinted service, or of defectlove," it“ grows up into a holy temple in ive reverence. It were well for all men the Lord," "a spiritual house, a holy to watch the drift and tendency of modes priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices of thinking on those subjects. That is acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." a far-reaching exhortation, that warns (Page 149.)

us “not to be conformed to this world,

but transformed by the renewing of our IV.-GRACE THE ESSENTIAL FEATURE OF

mind, that we may prove what is that CHRISTIANITY.

good and acceptable will of God; preOur deliberate belief is, that the es

senting our bodies a living sacrifice, sential characteristic of Christianity is— holy, acceptable to God, which is our Grace, through a Mediator, renewing reasonable worship." (Page 234.) man by the Holy Ghost. So we read the book. And it is among men who so

| VI.-THE FATHERS NOT AUTHORITIES IN read it, that we see Christianity standing

THE CHURCH. , out as a distinct power, a living reality, Instead of appealing to the most subduing, yet exalting; piercing, yet ancient documents, and the only authoricomforting; humbling man as nothing tative standards of Christian truth, the before God, yet making him mighty advocates for church notions are everagainst all evil, first within his own more appealing to the Fathers. Those bosom, and then in the wide world who are taught by the Spirit may well around him. (Page 199.)

demur to that authority, and refuse to

have such questions so determined. V.—THE CHURCH A DIVINE INSTITUTION. They may admit that the writers styled

The Church of Christ is not a society, Fathers are competent witnesses of facts nor a confederation of societies, in which coming under their own observation. the “will of man" has force. Divine | They can listen attentively to these be

« AnteriorContinuar »