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in a measure loft, and their hopes of usefulness in the ministry greatly difappointed. This is an evil fo frequent, and of fuch extenfive influence, that it calls for the attention of every man, who has any concern in training up young men for the ministry. And it is conceived, that no man could do fo much towards curing this extenfive evil, as a learned and pious Profeffor of Divinity. Connected for several years with youth, when their minds are moit pliable, their temper moft ingenuous, and their curiofity moft eafily excited, he might, through divine favour, lead them to confider the weight of the gospel miniftry, and the neceffary qualifications. He might do much to prevent them from rafhly affuming an office, for which they have no adequate fitnefs. He might direct and aid their inquiries after theological knowledge, and help to fill the gofpel vineyard with workmen, who need not to be afhamed." The late amiable Profeffor was not infenfible of the evil above defcribed, nor wholly inattentive to the means of removing it. But it admits a query, whether he ufed, for that purpose, all the influence, which might have been derived from his office, his talents, and the high place he poffeffed in the affection of minifters and ftudents. In fome other ways, the energy of his character was exhibited to much greater advantage. His usefulness to the caufe of
divine truth, it is thought, might, in fome inftances, have been promoted by a higher degree of refolution, and by measures more decifive. It is doubted, whether he uniformly fhowed in what high ef timation he held the distinguishing doctrines of the gofpel. The fenfibilities of his nature made him very reluctant to adopt a measure, or fuggeft an opinion, which did not meet the approbation of others. And, if he ever gave occafion to fay, that he did not express the truths, which he embraced, with fufficient perfpicuity and fulnefs; if he ever left room to queftion, what his fentiments, on any important fubjects were; if, in fome inftances, he was too careful to accommodate himself to opinions, which he difapproved, and to prejudices, which he believed pernicious; it was no greater failing, than has, alas, been found in the best of mortals.
"The greatest good that any one can hope to do in this world, is upon young perfons, who have not yet taken their ply, and are not fpoi ed with prej udices, and wrong notions. If matters that are amifs can be mended or fet right, it must be by giving those, that have not yet fet out, and are not yet engaged, truer views and jufter ide as of things." BURNET.
During his profefforship he was frequently invited to preach in the neighbouring focieties, and fometimes in diftant places. Wherever he preached, he was remarkably popular. There was not wanting in his performances fomething to command the refpect of the immoral, to please the tafte of the polifhed, and to refresh the fouls of the pious. He willingly laboured in the ministry, even above his ftrength. It was his highest wish to ferve God in the kingdom of his Son. He gladly embraced every opportunity to preach the unfearchable riches of Christ, and to spread the favour of pure religion. He was indeed a burning and fhining light.
But that fhining light is extin guifhed. When his amiable character had become generally known; when his profpect of use
fulness was growing brighter; when the sphere of his influence was extending, and the energies of his mind and heart were moft constantly and most intenfely exerted; his profpect was fuddenly overfpread with clouds, and his ufeful life closed. When minifters are the best qualified to do good in the world; then are they often most ripe for the kingdom of heaven. To replenish the heavenly mansions, the excellent ones of the earth are taken away.
Let us then turn aside, and behold that scene, where the good man's character is tried. Though doctor Tappan's fickness was short; it was long enough to difplay his humility and faith, to confirm the truths he had preached, and to glorify the Saviour, in whom he had believed. The notice of approaching diffolution, though very fudden, did not difcompofe him. With many expreffions of humility and felfabasement intermingled, he declared his hope in the infinite mercy of God through the atonement of Christ. At the beginning of his fickness, his fpiritual profpect was clouded. He had such a sense of the evil of fin, and of his own ill defert, that nothing could afford him the leaft hope of eternal life, but the all-fufficient grace of the Redeemer. In that he found reft to his foul After fuch folemn and prayerful examination of himself, as becometh a man haftening to the bar of eternal justice, he found reason to hope, that he was the fubject of faving religion. At the laft, though he showed in a remarkable degree, the spirit of a penitent, he had strong confolation.
A full account of his dying exercifes will not be attempted. But there are a few particulars,
too ftriking to be concealed, When his wife, with unutterable tendernefs, expreffed fome of the feelings, which were excited by the thought of parting with him, he faid; "If God is glorified, I am made for ever. Can't you lay hold of that? Can't you lay hold of that?" To his fons he expressed his forrowful apprehenfion of the religious ftate of the college. On being told, that the students were more attentive, than they had been, to the bible, he replied; "Well, the bible ever has been, and ever will be the beft guide for young men. He charged his children to be very attentive to their mo ther, adding; "It is in the pow er of children to plant a thousand daggers in the hearts of their paIn the fame interview, he faid; "I charge you to love God fupremely, and to love your neighbour, as yourselves. For without thefe, there is no true religion."
Doctor Tappan's death was no common calamity. To the furviving partner and children, and the other near connections, no tongue can defcribe the greatness of the affliction. Youthful genius and virtue mourned the deceafe of a friend and patron. The church and nation loft one who had fought and prayed for their welfare. The univerfity felt, that one of her pillars was fallen. Religion herfelf wept over the tomb of TAPPAN, who had pleaded her caufe, lived for her honour, and rejoiced in the hope of her approaching triumph. It is rarely the cafe, that the death of any man is fo extenfively felt, fo generally noticed, and fo tenderly lamented.
(To be continued.)
From the Christian Observer. LIFE OF ST. IRENÆUS. [Continued from page 96 ] THE venerable Pothinus having fallen a victim to the rage of his enemies, Irenæus, as was ftated in the last number, fucceeded to the epifcopal charge of the church at Lyons. This event took place about the year of our Lord 179,* while the perfecution, which had commenced under Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, ftill proceeded with undiminished violence. The patience, meekness, and fortitude, difplayed by Irenæus at this trying juncture, prove him to have been eminently qualified for the ftation which he was called to fill. It pleafed God, however, foon after his appointment, to grant to the afflicted church a confiderable interval of repofe. In the year 180, Marcus Aurelius dying was fucceeded by his fon Commodus, who, though one of the most profligate characters that ever lived, revived thofe merciful edicts of his grandfather, by which the party accufed of christianity was ordered to be acquitted, and the accufer made obnoxious to punishment. To this humane conduct Commodus is faid to have been determined by the influence of a woman named Marcia, one of the partners in his guilty pleasures, who had been led by fome unknown circumstance to entertain a particular partiality for the christian name. We have, in this inftance, a ftriking exemplification of the providential power and goodnefs of God. "He maketh foolish the wisdom of this world." He
It may be proper to obferve, that Mr. Milner, places this event in the year 169: but Baronius, and the learned Cave in his chronological table, affign to it the date mentioned above,
fhews us, in the cafe of Antoninus, how little the utmost extent of worldly wisdom can accomplish in rectifying the heart. He overrules alfo the wickedness of the wicked, to the accomplishment of his own gracious purposes. Even the vicious purfuits of Commodus are made the means of securing the peace of the church : and while the grave, the decorous, the philofophical, and, in fome fenfe, the beneficent, Antoninus, continues through life one of her most inveterate enemies; his licentious and abandoned fon ftems the tide of perfecution, and employs his power in her protection. This remarkable fact, may, perhaps, ferve to illuftrate that paffage of fcripture, in which the publicans and harlots are reprefented as more acceffible to the force of truth, than the arrogant and felfsufficient Pharifees, the Antonini of Judea. Inflated with pride, and with a conceit of their own fuperior fanctity; fins peculiarly offenfive to God, inasmuch as they have a stronger tendency than perhaps any other to lead men to count the blood of the covenant a thing of no value, and to do defpite unto the spirit of grace: thefe men not only contemned the humbling doctrines of the gospel, but hated them and they teftified that hatred by perfecuting to death the Lord of glory, as the Roman emperour afterward did his faithful followers. The fame fpirit seems to have actuated both.
The external peace, which was thus unexpectedly granted to the chriftians, continued with scarcely any intermiffion till the ninth year of the reign of Severus, in the year of our Lord 202. We are not, however, to fuppofe from this circumftance that, in the difcharge of his epifcopal functions,
Irenæus had no difficulties to con- unreasonableness of the argutend with. On the contrary, the ments which fuch perfons em-. dangers which threatened to un- ploy would be very evident, if dermine the church from within, we were only to confider, that the were scarcely lefs formidable, than multiplication and diverfity of erthofe which had affaulted her rour, instead of detracting from from without. Herelies of vari- the importance of truth, 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 candour the chriftian church; and in the in its investigation. But a blindtime of Irenæus, fottered perhaps ed and deceived heart turns men by the tranquillity that prevailed, afide; otherwife they would difthey had reached a height which cover, in the very fact which excited the fears of the faithful arms them against the belief or for her fafety. Irenæus perceiv- 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 the fhould be faid our bleffed Lord, "that of betrayed by her own fons. He fences come;"* evidently meantherefore applied himself, with ing thereby thofe impediments zeal and affiduity, 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, cumfpection and vigilance in de- of his profeffed followers. And tecting their defigns and confut- with this faying 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 manifeft. To the unwearied ex- alfo herefies (or, as it is in the ertions of this holy man, in expof- margin, fects) among you, that ing the complicated abfurdity and they which are approved may be blafphemy of the different fyftems made manifest among you."t by which hereticks and fchifmat- The prediction of St. Peter is fill icks attempted to disturb the unity more explicit and particular. of the church, it may doubtless in "But there were falfe prophets alpart be afcribed, under God, that fo among the people, even as there none of thofe fyftems, though fhall be falfe teachers among you, fome of them were afterward re- who privily fhall bring in damnavived with various modifications, ble herefies, even denying the obtained at that time a perma- Lord that bought them, and nent footing, but either entirely difappeared, or gave place to other forms of erroneous doctrine.
The herefies which have arifen in the christian church, and the various fects to which these have given birth, have, in every age, furnished the careless with an excufe for their indifference, and infidels with a fruitful topick of declamation or ridicule. The
* Matt. xviii. 7.
t1 Cor. xi. 19. See alfo 1 Tim. iv. 1. and 2 Tim iii. 1-9. A comparison of this laft paffage, particularly verfe the fixth with the ninth chapter of the First Book of the Treatife of Irenæus against herefies, will furnish the reader with a ftriking inftance of the literal fulfilment of St. Paul's predictions on this fubject.
This expreffionis peculiarly defcrip tive of fome of the herefies which prewailed in the time of Irenæus, as well as
bring upon themfelves fwift deftruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reafon of whom the way of truth thall be evil spoken of." But while fuch paffages fufficiently cftablish the perverfeness of those, who would derive, from the divifions fubfifting in the chriftian church, an argument against the truth of christianity; they no lefs clearly point out the criminality, which attaches to the authors of fuch divifions. May this confideration have its due weight, and may all, who call themselves by the name of Chrift feel, more powerfully than ever, the obligation under which they are laid to "hold the faith," as our excellent liturgy expreffes it, "in unity of fpirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life."
The length of this digreffion will, it is hoped, be pardoned, on account of the importance of the difcuffion which it involves, and which feemed to arife naturally out of the narration. It is time that we should now advert to the means, which Irenæus employed to oppofe the prevailing herefies. He is faid to have convened a provincial fynod at Lyons, for the purpose of authoritatively condemning them; but the truth of this statement, though highly probable in itself, refts on too light evidence to be admitted. Abundant teftimony, however, remains of the zeal with which he laboured, both by word and writing, to preferve the purity of chriftian doctrine from the influx of herefy and fchifm. Thefe evils had made their way into his neighbourhood and infected even
his own flock. The opportunity, which he thus enjoyed of converfing with the leaders of differ ent fects, of perufing their works,' and of carefully examining fuch individuals as having been feduced by them from the faith were afterward brought back to the bofom of the church, enabled him to acquire a minute acquaintance with the precife nature and effects of the prevailing corruptions, and qualified him for the talk, which he was induced to undertake of writing a treatise against herefies. This elaborate work, the only work of Irenæus, which is now extant, fufficiently proves him to have been a diligent inquirer, and an acute reafoner, as well as a faithful fervant of Chrift, and a zealous defender of evangelical truth. It was written between the years 180 and 192.
The herefies, which Irenæus chiefly opposes in this volume are thofe of Valentinus, Bafilides, Marcion, the Gnofticks, &c. In reading it, one is almoft tempted to regret, that he should have beftowed fo much time and labour on the expofure and confutation of opinions, thofe particularly refpecting the nature of God and the perfon of Chrift, fo abfurd and monftrous, that they feem to require only to be ftated, in order to their being rejected, as utterly irreconcilable to reafon and fcripture. We are very incompetent judges, however, of the effect, which even fuch extravagant notions, as were then induftriously propagated, were calculated to produce, on minds prepared for their reception by the debafing fuperftition of pagan worfhip, and the wild reveries of pagan mythology. Nor do we perhaps, in eftimating the value of Irenæus's labours, fufficiently appre