Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

in a measure loft, and their hopes divine truth, it is thought, might, of usefulness in the miniitry great. in some instances, have been proly disappointed. This is an evil moted by a higher degree of resoso frequent, and of such extensive lution, and by measures more de. influence, that it calls for the at- cisive. It is doubted, whether he tention of every man, who hasany uniformly showed in what high elconcern in training up young men timation he held the diftinguishing for the ministry. And it is con- doctrines of the gospel. The senceived, that no man could do so Gibilities of his mature made him much towards curing this exten- very reluctant to adopt a measure, five evil, as a learned and pious or suggest an opinion, which did Profesor of Divinity. Connect- not meet the approbation of othed for several years with youth, ers. And, if he ever gave occawhen their minds are moit pliable, fion to say, that he did not express their temper most ingenuous, and the truths, which he embraced, their curiotity most easily excited, with sufficient perspicuity and fulhe might, through divine favour, ness; if he ever left room to querlead them to consider the weight tion, what his sentiments, on any of the gospel ministry, and the ne. important subjects were ; if, in ceffary qualifications. He might some instances, he was too careful do much to prevent them from to accommodate himself to opin. rally assuming an office, for ions, which he disapproved, and which they have no adequate fit- to prejudices, which he believed ness. He might direct and aid pernicious; it was no greater their inquiries after theological failing, than has, alas, been found knowledge, and help to fill the in the best of mortals. gospel vineyard with workmeli, During his profefforship he was who need not to be ashamed.* frequently invited to preach in the The late amiable Professor was neighbouring societies, and some. not insensible of the evil above de. times in diftant places. Wherev. scribed, nor wholly inattentive to er he preached, he was remarka. the means of removing it. But bly popular. There was not it admits a query, whether he uso wanting in his performances ed, for that purpose, all the influ- something to command the reence, which might have been de- spect of the immoral, to please the rived from his office, his talents, taste of the polished, and to reand the high place he possessed in fresh the souls of the pious. He the affeâion of ministers and Nu- willingly laboured in the ministry, dents. In some other ways, the even above his strength. It was energy of his character was exhib- his highest wish to serve God in ited to much greater advantage. the kingdom of his Son. He

His usefulness to the cause of gladly embraced every opportuni** The greatest good that any one

ty to preach the unsearchable can hope to do in this world, is upon

me riches of Christ, and to spread the young persons, who have not yet taken favour of pure religion. He was their ply, and are not fpoi ed with prej- indeed a burning and shining udices, and wrong notions. If mat- light. ters that are amiss can be mended or But that shining light is extin. set right, it must be by giving thole, guilhed. When his amiable charthat have not yet set out, and are not yet engaged, truer views and juster ide- acter had become generally as of things.” BURNET.

known ; when his prospect of use

fulness' was growing brighter ; too striking to be concealed, when the sphere of his influence When his wife, with unutterable was extending, and the energies tenderness, expressed some of the of his mind and heart were most feelings, which were excited by constantly and most intensely ex- the thought of parting with him, erted ; his prospect was suddenly he said ; If God is glorified, I am overfpread with clouds, and his made for ever. Can't you lay hold useful life closed. When minis. of that? Can't you lay hold of ters are the best qualified to do that ?" To his sons he expressed good in the world; then are they his sorrowful apprehension of the often most ripe for the kingdom of religious state of the college. On heaven. To replenish the heav- being told, that the students were enly mansions, the excellent ones' more attentive, than they had of the earth are taken away. been, to the bible, he replied ;

Let us then turn aside, and be- Well, the bible ever has been, and hold that scene, where the good ever will be the best guide for young man's character is tried. Though men.He charged his children doctor Tappan's sickness wasshort; to be very attentive to their mo. it was long enough to display his ther, adding ; " It is in the pow. humility and faith, to confirm the er of children to plant a thousand truths he had preached, and to daggers in the hearts of their paglorify the Saviour, in whom he rents.” In the same interview, had believed. The notice of ap- he said ; “I charge you to love proaching dissolution, though ve. God fupremely, and to love your ry sudden, did not discompofe neighbour, as yourselves. For him. With many expressions of without these, there is no true re. húmility and selfabasement inter- ligion.” mingled, he declared his hope in Doctor Tappan's death was no the infinite mercy of God through common calamity. To the sure the atonement of Christ. At the viving partner and children, and beginning of his fickness, his fpir. the other near connections, no itual prospect was clouded. He tongue can describe the greatness had such a sense of the evil of sin, of the affliction. Youthful geand of his own ill desert, that noth. nius and virtue mourned the deing could afford him the least cease of a friend and patron. hope of eternal life, but the all-fuf. The church and nation loft one ficient grace of the Redeemer. In who had fought and prayed for that he found reft to his soul their welfare. The university After such solemn and prayerful felt, that one of her pillars was examination of himself, as becom- fallen. Religion herself wept oeth a man haltening to the bar of ver the tomb of TAPPAN, who had eternal justice, he found reason to pleaded her cause, lived for her hope, that he was the subject of honour, and rejoiced in the hope saving religion. At the last, of her approaching triumph. It though he showed in a remarka. is rarely the case, that the death ble degree, the spirit of a penitent, of any man is so extenfively felt, he had strong consolation. so generally noticed, and so ten.

A full account of his dying ex- derly lamented. ercises will not be attempted. But there are a few particulars,

(To be continued.)

From the Christian Observer. Thews us, in the case of Antoninus, LIFE OF ST. IRENÆUS. how little the utmost extent of

[Continued from page go ] worldly wisdom can accomplish in The venerable Pothinus hav- rectifying the heart. He overing fallen a victim to the rage of rules also the wickedness of the his enemies, Irenæus, as was stat. wicked, to the accomplishment of ed in the last number, succeeded his own gracious purposes. to the episcopal charge of the Even the vicious pursuits of Comchurch at Lyons. This event modus are made the means of fetook place about the year of our curing the peace of the church : Lord 179,* while the persecution, and while the grave, the decowhich had commenced under rous, the philosophical, and, in Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, still some sense, the beneficent, Antoproceeded with undiminished vio- ninus, continues through life one lence. The patience, meekness, of her most inveterate enemies; and fortitude, displayed by Irenæus his licentious and abandoned son at this trying juncture, prove him ftems the tide of persecution, and to have been eminently qualified employs his power in her protecfor the station which he was call- tion. This remarkable fact, ed to fill. It pleased God, how. may, perhaps, serve to illustrate ever, soon after his appoint- that passage of fcripture, in which ment, to grant to the afflicted the publicans and harlots are repchurch a considerable interval of resented as more acceslible to the repose. In the year 180, Marcus force of truth, than the arrogant Aurelius dying was succeeded and selfsufficient Pharisees, the by his fon Commodus, who, Antonini of Judea. Inflated though one of the most profligate with pride, and with a conceit of characters that ever lived, revived their own superior fanctity ; fins those merciful edicts of his grand- peculiarly offensive to God, inasfather, by which the party accuf- much as they have a stronger tened of christianity was ordered to dency than perhaps any other to be acquitted, and the accuser lead men to count the blood of the made obnoxious to punishment. covenant a thing of no value, and te To this humane conduct Commo- do despite unto the spirit of grace : dus is said to have been determin- these men not only contemned the ed by the influence of a woman humbling doctrines of the gospel, named Marcia, one of the part- but hated them : and they teftiners in his guilty pleasures, who fied that hatred by persecuting to had been led by some unknown death the Lord of glory, as the circumstance to entertain a par. Roman emperour afterward did ticular partiality for the christian his faithful followers. The same name. We have, in this instance, fpirit seems to have actuated both. a Atriking exemplification of the The external peace, which was providential power and goodness thus unexpectedly granted to the of God. " He maketh foolish christians, continued with scarcely the wisdom of this world.” He any intermillion till the ninth Irenæus had no difficulties to con- unreasonableness of the argu. tend with. On the contrary, the ments which such perfons em-. dangers which threatened to un- ploy would be very evident, if dermine the church from withing we were only to consider, that the were scarcely less formidable, than multiplication and diversity of er. those which had allaulted her rour, instead of detracting from from without. Herelies of vario the importance of trutlı, ought ous descriptions, and of the most rather to enhance its value, and peitilent kind, had early begun to to excite them to diligence in its disfigure the fair proportions of purfuit, and to care and candout the christian church ; and in the in its investigation. But a blindtime of Irenæus, foitered perhaps ed and deceived heart turns men by the tranquillity that prevailed, afide ; otherwise they would disthey had reached a height which cover, in the very fact which excited the fears of the faithtul arms them against the belief or for her safety. Irenæus perceive the influence of christianity, a fated that little would be gained to isfactory confirmation of its divine the church by immunity from ex- original. “ It must needs be," ternal violence, if she thould be said our blessed Lord, “ that of. betrayed by her own fons. He fences come ;'* evidently meantherefore applied himself, withing thereby those impediments zeal and alliduity, to defeat the which are thrown in the way of machinations of her internal ene. men's falvation, either by the docmies, employing the utmost cir- trinal errours, or the unholy lives, cumspection and vigilance in de- of his professed followers. And tecting their designs and confut- with this saying of our Lord, the ing their errours, till their folly declaration of St. Paul perfectly and wickedness were made fully harmonizes, “For there must be manifest. To the unwearied ex. also heresies (or, as it is in the ertions of this holy man, in expos- margin, sects) among you, that ing the complicated absurdity and they which are approved may be blasphemy of the different systems made manifest among you.”+ by which hereticks and schismat- The prediction of St. Peter is still icks attempted to disturb the unity more explicit and particular. of the church, it may doubtless in “ But there were false prophets al. part be ascribed, under God, that so among the people, even as there none of those fystems, though shall be false teachers among you, some of them were afterward re- who privily shall bring in damnavived with various modifications, ble heresies, even denying the obtained at that time a perma- Lord that bought them, and nent footing, but either entirely disappeared, or gave place to oth • Matt. xviii. 7. er forms of erroneous doctrine.

year of the reign of Severus, in It may be proper to observe, that the year of our Lord 202. We Mr. Milner, places this event in the year 169: but Baronius, and the learn

are not, however, to suppose from ed Cave in his chronological table, af- this circumstance that, in the dif. lign to it the date meotioned above, charge of his episcopal functions,

+ 1 Cor. xi. 19. See also 1 Tim. iv. 1.

and 2 Tim iii. 1-9. A comparison of The heresies which have arisen ihisia

this last passage, particularly verse the in the christian church, and the fixth with the ninth chapter of the Fill various sects to which these have Book of the Treatise of Irenæus against given birth, have, in every age, herelies, will furnish the reader with a furnished the careless with an ex striking instance of the literal fulfilmens cule for their indifference, and of St. Paul's predictions on this subject.

This exprellion is peculiarly descrip infidels with a fruitful topick of tive of some of the herefies which pre declamation or ridicule. The vailed in the time of Irenæus, as well as

bring upon themselves swift de his own flock. The opportunity; Atruction. And many shall follow which he thus enjoyed of con. their pernicious ways, by rea- yersing with the leaders of differé ion of whom the way of truth ent sects, of perusing their works, thall be evil spoken of.”* But and of carefully examining such while such pallages sufficiently individuals as having been seduced establish the perverseness of those, by them from the faith were afwho would derive, from the di- terward brought back to the bos. vifions fubfilting in the christian om of the church, enabled him to church, an argument against the acquire a minute acquaintance truth of chriftianity; they no less with the precise nature and effects clearly point out the criminality, of the prevailing corruptions, and which attaches to the authors of qualified him for the task, which fuch divilions. May this consid- he was induced to undertake of cration have its due weight, and writing a treatise against heresies. may all, who call themselves by This elaborate work, the only the name of Christ feel, more work of Irenæus, which is now expowerfully than ever, the obliga- tant, sufficiently proves him to tion under which they are laid to have been a diligent inquirer, and " hold the faith,” as our excel- an acute reasoner, as well as a lent liturgy expresses it, “in uni- faithful servant of Christ, and a ty of spirit, in the bond of peace, zealous defender of evangelical and in righteousness of life.” truth. It was written between

The length of this digression the years 180 and 192. will, it is hoped, be pardoned, on The heresies, which Irenæus account of the importance of the chiefly opposes in this volume are discussion which it involves, and those of Valentinus, Basilides, which seemed to arise naturally Marcion, the Gnosticks, &c. In out of the narration. It is time reading it, one is almost tempted that we should now advert to the to regret, that he thould have bemeans, which Irenæus employed stowed so much time and labour to oppose the prevailing heresies. on the exposure and confutation He is said to have convened a of opinions, those particularly reprovincial fynod at Lyons, for specting the nature of God and the the purpose of authoritatively person of Christ, so absurd and condemning them ; but the truth monstrous, that they seem to reof this statement, though highly quire only to be Itated, in order probable in itself, relts on too to their being rejected, as utterly ilight evidence to be admitted. irreconcilable to reason and scripAbundant testimony, however, re- ture. We are very incompetent mains of the zeal with which he judges, however, of the effect, laboured, both by word and writ- which even such extravagant noing, to preserve the purity of tions, as were then industriously christian doctrine from the influx propagated, were calculated to of beresy and schism. These produce, on minds prepared for evils had made their way into his their reception by the debasing Teighbourhood and infected even superstition of pagan worship,

and the wild reveries of pagan of some which have corrupted the faith mythology. Nor do we perhaps, of Christ in more modern times. in estimating the value of Irenæ• 2 Peter ii. 1, 2.

us's labours, sufficiently appreo Vol. I. No. 4.

« AnteriorContinuar »