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and be spent. At Barnard Castle he laboured with his beloved and venerable colleague, as a son with a father, with the most perfect harmony, for a period of four years. There he was highly respected by a numerous circle of friends, who fully appreciated his excellences, and who to this day cherish a fervent regard for his memory. By the united labours of these two servants of Christ, a congregation and church of our order were established in the important village of Staindrop; and as soon as the friends of the infant cause there were able to invite the services of a settled pastor, Mr. Jackson was urged to take the oversight of them in the Lord. He accepted their call, and laboured amongst them with great ability, wisdom, and usefulness. “The hand of the Lord was with them, and many believed and turned to the Lord;" and some who had lived to a very advanced age, became monuments of God's converting grace, and were gathered into the church; and pastor and people were led, in adoring wonder and gratitude, to exclaim, “Are not these brands plucked out of the burning?” And in that village, to this day, not a few who were brought to God through his ministry, and others who by his means were confirmed and strengthened in the faith, think and speak of him with the liveliest gratitude. Soon after his settlement at Staindrop, our beloved friend was united in marriage to Miss Law, of Sheffield, who proved to him a most devoted and invaluable partner. She still survives to mourn the loss of the best of husbands; and her present position—left with eight fatherless children, the major part of whom have to be sustained by her own efforts—presents a strong claim to the sympathy and aid of the friends of the widow and the fatherless. The next sphere of labour undertaken by our departed friend, was Walsall, in Staffordshire. There, in connexion with a cause somewhat low and depressed,
and encompassed with difficulties, did Mr. Jackson prosecute his ministry with great patience and devotedness, and won for himself the esteem and affection of a large circle of friends. During his residence at Walsall, his attention was directed by a beloved ministerial friend, then in Nova Scotia, to the Colonies, as a very inviting and urgent sphere of usefulness. This, for a time, laid hold of the sympathies, and possessed the heart, of our friend; and steps were taken by a church in Nova Scotia to secure his services. But events occurring over which he had no control, he was led to relinquish the idea of going to the Colonies, and decided to remain in his native land. In these circumstances, having, with a view of going abroad, resigned his charge at Walsall, and his health being consider. ably impaired, he went to reside amongst his friends in Sheffield. The people of Mount Zion Chapel in that town, being in need of supplies for their pulpit, invited Mr. Jackson to preach for them. This led to a desire for his permanent services; and in June, 1845, he entered upon his duties as the pastor of that people; and there, until December, 1847, he continued to discharge those duties with zeal, fidelity, and devotedness. He was subsequently invited to take charge of the Congregational church of Northallerton, and commenced his labours there, with cheering prospects of success, in April, 1848. His ministry at Northallerton, though but of short duration, was by no means the least interesting part of his useful life. He was peculiarly fitted to enter upon a sphere which hitherto had been anything but prosperous. His solid judgment and winning manners, his profound acquaintance with human nature, and his rich experience in Divine things, his manly method of dealing with every subject, his urbanity and decision, gave him an influence that enabled him to guide and govern the people at his own pleasure. They willingly yielded to their spiritual ruler, and became a remarkably harmonious, united, and devoted people. The cause had begun to revive, and gave promise of much increase; for his influence and worth were felt and acknowledged throughout the town and neighbourhood; so that, had his valuable life been spared, the likelihood is, that through his instrumentality a great change would have been effected in favour of those principles which were especially dear to his heart. But all came to an abrupt close. His last month of labour was fraught with the deepest interest. In December, 1848, he went to Sheffield, to vote in the interest of Sir Culling Eardley. On his return, he spent three days with one of his earliest and most attached friends, near Halifax, for whom, on the Sabbath, he preached twice. The following Sabbath he preached on behalf of the Sunday-schools at the Independent chapel, Thirsk. During that week he attended several public meetings. In the following week he laid the foundation-stone of a new Independent chapel, and delivered an address at Gainford, into which village he had introduced the gospel twenty years before. He had several other public engagements before him, but he returned home
to die. His work was done. From henceforth, sickness and suffering were his portion, though the painful result was not suspected. Medical skill was equally blinded and baffled. Hopes of his recovery were entertained till within a few hours of his death, which occurred February 20th, 1849. It was a severe stroke, and only mitigated from the fact, that as he had lived so he died. The conflict was sharp, but the issue blessed. He gazed one moment on a distressed family, and a sorrowing flock—the next moment he was a glorified spirit. The melancholy event excited much interest. A widow with eight fatherless children, all under seventeen years of age, furnished a subject of appeal to the sympathy of the church which could not be withheld. Prompt and liberal was the response. His own people and the surrounding neighbourhood acted nobly; whilst from Birmingham, Walsall, Sheffield, Durham, Staindrop, Barnard Castle, Sunderland, Newcastle, &c., substantial proof was given of the estimation in which this man of God was held. Thus far the bereaved family have been sustained; and proof is not wanting that his prayers, instructions, and example will live in those who shall call their father's God blessed.
HINTS TO CHRISTIANS AT THE PRESENT CRISIS.
(To the Editor of the EvangelicAL MAGAZINE.)
SIR,-No attentive observer of what is going on in the religious world, can fail to be struck with the rapid transi. tions of opinion which are daily taking place; and if he be a really Christian observer, astonishment and grief will be the prevailing emotions of his mind; astonishment at the infatuation which possesses those who, wilfully departing from the truth, and taking up with the puerile inanities of Tractarianism, merge, by a natural sequence, into full
blown Popery, or pass into the other extreme of scepticism, and utter rejection of the word of truth; and grief, to behold many, of whom better things might reasonably have been expected, thus led away. Such an observer, deeply interested in the vindication of truth, is led to ask, How can these things be? How is it possible, that men of deep thought, well-stored minds—and many of them, as far as human observation can penetrate, apparently men of earnest devotion—become thus deluded to believe a lie, and lay hold upon that as truth which is utterly repugnant to the word of truth itself, mixing up with it their own conceits, and eventually rejecting it altogether? By what strange mental process is all this brought about? I believe the whole may be summed up in one very distinct answer — Departure from the simplicity that is in Christ. This was the first step towards the great apostasy even in the apostolic period; it worked with deadly effect in after ages, until darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people; and it has been the fruitful source of the various hindrances to the progress of the Reformation in this country. Something of man's invention, left or added here and there, with the view to conciliate prejudice, or to adorn that which commends itself to every right mind, solely by its own beautiful simplicity, and utter absence of all art or effort at effect;-this has served as a nucleus for error and superstition to gather round, and engender amongst the reformed, fresh departures from truth. The Gospel of the Grace of God stands alone, like the Saviour's character, “majestic in its own simplicity;” and he who attempts to encumber it with the vain devices of man, receives his reward as they do, who, sowing to the flesh, of the flesh reap corruption ; and the very attempts which such a man is perpetually called upon to make to defend that which is indefensible upon any principle of the New Testament, have a delusive effect upon his mind, rendering him less disposed to receive the truth, in the love of it, and more and more accessible to error. This is peculiarly the case with those who, while they are tied down by subscription to certain formularies, from the spirit of which, in their consciences they differ, are compelled to violate con
science by disowning, on the one hand, the doctrines to which these formularies obviously point, and by defending, on the other, the formularies themselves: this is tampering both with truth and with conscience; and how can any but the most disastrous consequences arise from such a system of sophistry and equivocation? Need we be surprised at the way in which they are continually developing themselves, in the defection of so many of the members of the Church of England to that of Rome? Well may we be warned how we tamper with the principles of Divine truth, even in those things which appear to be of minor importance; for such things assume an importance which, until these days of sifting, did not appear to attach to them. Now, the mind of man is naturally given to that which is imposing in exterior; and every false system of religion employs some kind of machinery of this character, to work upon the imagination, either in the way of gorgeous show, ceremonial, austere observance, or self-inflicted penance; but are any of these characteristic of the religion of the Saviour? Under the Old Testament dispensation, God was "pleased to typify the purity and glory of His kingdom by a ceremonial law and ritual, adapted specially to that purpose: but when He came who was in Himself the fulfilment of all that had gone before, an end was at once and for ever put to all external display, and henceforth the kingdom of God was not a matter of observation, nor was it meat and drink, nor was it of this world. “The kingdom of God,” said the Saviour, “is within you:" it is “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," —the progressive development of His own beautiful and blessed character in the human heart; beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, His people are to be changed into the same image, from glory to glory. Now, let those who really profess and
call themselves Christians (I mean fol. lowers of the Lord Jesus Christ) at the present day, look at this picture; and with the fact before them, that in no single instance did the Saviour or His apostles give the slightest encouragement to vain display, but, on the contrary, constantly promulgated the opposite principle, that “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world,” let them put this question to themselves candidly, and with a sincere desire to be led by the truth—Is all we see around us, in what is called the religious world, of a character which answers to the impressions we should imbibe of what our Lord and His apostles meant? Supposing we had no preconceived notions to mislead the judgment, should we, with the New Testament alone as our guide, say that the practice of the great body of professing Christians at this time is consistent with that of holy men of old, as therein described 2 The general habits of numbers who profess vital Christianity, their style of living, dress, amusements, and conversation; the books they read, and the pursuits which they follow ;-in all these particulars do they not sail much nearer to the world than to the precepts and examples we find in the New Testament? Is there not a feeling of rivalry in matters of outward appearance, which seems to be daily taking possession of people's minds, and which, destructive as it is of spirituality of mind as regards temporal things, is infinitely more so in relation to Christian practice? Can we defend, upon any Christian principle, the vain-glorious show and ostentation of a large portion of the professing Christian community, living too frequently beyond their means, and going out of their depth in worldly speculation, to their own shame and the ruin of others; while, even supposing all goes right in temporal matters, their own spiritual state is greatly endan
gered, if not irreparably injured? Do we not see in the pursuits and amusements which too many follow, much which the word of truth condemns, and little which distinguishes them from the absolutely worldly 2 Can we, upon Christian principle, looking at the extravagant pitch to which (what is called) mediaeval architecture in places of worship has been carried in the Church of England, and knowing the spirit which has given rise to it, say, that this indicates a satisfactory state of things in that church in which so large a number of her ministers are exhiting a tendency to Popish dogma and ceremonial—which is daily sending over new subjects to the “Roman obedience?" Can we then, with a single eye to the glory of God, the exaltation of the Saviour, the extension of His kingdom, and our own lowliness of heart, simplicity, and godly sincerity, and eventual meetness for the heavenly inheritance, advocate or encourage the ostentatious display in matters connected with Christian worship, and the preaching of the gospel, which now seems so much to occupy the attention of the religious world 2
Is it right that those who make Scripture their guide, and profess to have no other, should thus exhibit tendencies which the New Testament not only does not encourage, but everywhere condemns? We are fallen upon times in which surely it is needful for those who profess a pure and unadulterated Christianity, to exhibit it to the world in all its own intrinsic truth, majesty, and purity. Why, then, should those bodies of Christians, which profess to abhor the practices of Rome, and dissent from those of the Church of England, identify themselves with practices which degrade their profession of the gospel, by disclosing their own want of confidence in its power and efficacy to maintain its position and pursue its course, unaided by those arts which Popery invented, and the handmaid of Popery is imitating, and endeavouring to perpetuate, in this Protestant country? Why, at this crisis, when the people of God are more than ever called upon to maintain the simplicity of His word of truth, should Dissenters be found vying with each other to produce the best specimens of ecclesiastical edifices? How is it that the Dissenting journals teem with reports of splendid buildings, in terms scarcely distinguishable from those we meet with in Tractarian publications, while all around us questions are agitated about the propriety or impropriety of steeples, bells, painted windows, and other mediaeval decorations, vestments, &c., &c. 2 while the general argument appears to be—that if we keep clear of symbolism, and avoid the embodiment of any wrong principle or corrupt practice, such movements are not only perfectly safe, but right, as cultivating a taste for the beautiful and sublime. Some say that, if Christians have beautifully furnished drawingrooms, they surely ought to beautify their places of worship; and others have gone so far as to advocate the use of bells ; one advantage of which would be to “gall the clergy," and “alarm the Church.” Now, I had always thought that the sublimity of our religion consisted in its beautiful simplicity, and entire rejection of all external aid. Our Lord and His apostles placed it on this footing; and our own observation (if we have considered well the Church's history down to the present time) will surely convince us, that not only are such things useless, but, worse than that, they are hindrances to the progress of Divine truth; taking up time, money, energy, talents; all that should subserve the one great object of distributing the bread of life to a perishing world; and, besides all this, engendering a vain-glorious spirit of ambitious rivalry, which it is too evident, from the language frequently employed, lies at the root of all this display, in too many instances; and is it not to be feared that declen
sion in spirituality will follow 2 and if our old Christians and old ministers should, by the grace of God, escape this, are not our young people in great danger of imbibing a spirit which is incompatible with the growth of the word of truth in their hearts? We may, as some have imagined, maintain our hold upon the opulent and influential, by indulging their taste for the beautiful and sublime (though I much doubt whether it will not act as a preparative for higher views on these subjects, and send them into higher places to seek for that which is still more beautiful and more sublime); but, should we succeed in retaining them on such terms, let us consider at what cost it is likely to be, if, instead of vital godliness, we have substituted love of the vanities of the world, and consequent indifference about the truth, which we are surely experienced enough by this time to see has ever followed, in a greater or less degree, an undue solicitude about the externals of religion. It has been my endeavour, in the foregoing remarks, to sketch out some of what I conceive to be the influences which are acting banefully upon the religious world, and as likely to be still more prejudicial, if encouragement is given to that which is corrupt in principle, and inexpedient in practice. It may be said, “Why cavil about matters which are of very little importance? what does it signify what our buildings are like, or where we worship—whether in a barn or a theatre—provided we do so in spirit and in truth?" It may not matter where we worship, I grant, if the heart be with God; but it does very much matter what eacample we set. Small things become matters of importance in times like the present, whilst, twenty years ago, they were little thought of. Let us not despise the day of small things. This is equally applicable to the spread of error as to that of truth. If we look through the sad history of the Church, from the earliest ages down to the