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It" does not appear that he was favoured with any advantages of education in his youth, beyond the ordinary routine of a country grammar school; but whatever deficiencies he might be subjected to in this respect, were abundantly supplied by his continued application to study, which ultimately raised him to a critical acquaintance with the Greek New Testament, and qualified him for instructing many of his junior brethren who were intended for the Christian ministry, in that and various other branches of useful knowledge. He seems to have been, at an early period of life, exercised respecting the things which concerned his eternal peace; and when about the age of twenty, we find him engaged with the Wesleyan Methodists, actively employed in visiting their sick, and conducting prayer-meetings among that people. His zeal in these exercises soon began to manifest itself, and the abilities which he displayed pointed him out to his friends as one destined to occupy a more public station than he had hitherto done. His labours of love were so acceptable, that he was urged to attempt the task of preaching; and, yielding to the wishes of his friends, he delivered his first sermon in a private house at Hipperholme, in the vicinity of Halifax, in the month of September, 1761, which is more than fifty years ago. His occasional addresses met with suitable, encouragement from his religious associates, who now importuned him to visit Mr. Wesley, and take the proper steps for being regularly entered as a travelling preacher in that connection. It seems probable, however, that by this time, Mr. Taylor's mind had attained sufficient vigour to enable him to think for himself on subjects that came before him; for he soon began to evince considerable dissatisfaction with many things he
found among them both in doctrine and discipline. He therefore declined forming any closer engagements, and about midsummer, 1762, entirely relinquished all further connection with the Methodists.
About the time that Mr. Taylor seceded from the Methodist connection, four or five other persons in the neighbourhood also withdrew from them for similar reasons. These individuals knowing Mr. Taylor's state of mind, evinced a disposition to unite with him in the open profession of the gospel, and with a view to that union, invited him to preach to them, which he did during the summer months of that year, in the open air, under a tree, at a place termed The Nook, in the township of Wadsworth, at the distance of about a mile from Heptonstall. Though the prospect was far from encouraging, the country excessively wild, and the inhabitants very rough and unpolished, the short trial that he was enabled to make, so far succeeded as to determine him to attempt the stated ministry of the word among them, and, accordingly, at Michaelmas, 1762, he took up his residence at Wadsworth. The winter, however, having arrived, it became necessary to provide a more commodious place of worship than the open air; a house was therefore taken in Wadsworth-lane, and fitted up for the purposes of public worship, Mr. Taylor occupying it during the week as a schoolroom. The success which he met with in the capacity of schoolmaster, enabled him not only to support himself, but to assist the infant cause in which they had embarked; for his few associates, though affectionate and zealous, were not in circumstances to contribute much towards his support. Hitherto Mr, T. and his friends had been so absorbed in laying the basis of their public profession, that the formation of any system of doctrines and practices had scarcely occurred to them; but, in a little time, these important enquiries -were forced upon them, and, among other things, the will of Christ respecting the ordinance of baptism, became the topic of discussion. Mr. Taylor examined the scriptures carefully, in order to learn the mind of his Divine Master respecting this branch of christian duty. He also consulted the ablest writers on each side of the controversy: and the result was a full conviction of mind, that the immersion of believers, on a profession of faith and repentance, was the appointment of Christ, and the practice of his inspired apostles. One of his friends (John Slater)adopted similar views, and several others inclined to that way of thinking.
Mr. Taylor immediately resolved, without further delay, to obey what he considered to be the Saviour's command, with a view to which he applied to several ministers of the Particular Baptist denomination in his neighbourhood: but though they doubted not his Christianity, and were even well satisfied with his call to the work ef the ministry, none of them saw their way clear to baptize him, on account of his Arminian prin. ciples. It is, indeed, rather remarkable that they should have extended their charity so far as to admit the possibility of his being a real christian while holding such tenets. We have known ministers of the Particular Baptist denomination who would have strenuously demurred to this; and who, had he lain upon a dying bed, and been "rejoicing in hope of the glory of God, with a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory," would have refused to pray with him, or for him, under any other character, than that of his belonging to "the world that lieth in the wicked one!" We, ourselves,
have no doubt of the doctrines of sovereign, electing, distinguishing grace; and are persuaded that it is an error to extend the divine purpose concerning the death of Christ, in election and redemption, beyond the number of those "many tons" whom the blessed God shall actually bring to the possession of eternal glory; yet our minds revolt at the thought of dooming to eternal misery all who fall into that error. If the salvation of men depends upon their being able, upon every occasion, to put two ideas together, and their never losing their way in an argument, fearful indeed must be the state of many Baptist ministers who now carry their heads aloft on account of the soundness of their speculative creed! Blessed be God for a high-priest, who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.
One of the ministers to whom Mr. Taylor applied for baptism, kindly informed him of a society of Baptists at Boston, in Lincolnshire, under the pastoral care of a Mr. Thompson, who held sentiments similar to bis own; and though the distance was not less than 120 miles, and many serious obstacles presented themselves, he set off, accompanied by his friend, Mr. Slater, on the 11th of February, 1763, in search of Mr. Thompson and his friends. Prosecuting their journey, and at this inclement season of the year too, they travelled till night overtook them, when they found themselves in a field surrounded with water, and, unable to explore their way out of it, they providentially descried a hayrick, under which they took shelter; and having commended themselves to the protection of their heavenly Father, they laid down and slept securely till morning arrived. They then arose refreshed, and by the following evening reached a place about eight miles beyond Gamston, in Nottinghamshire, where they stopped for refreshment. Here they learned that there existed a society of General Baptists at Gamston, and as the following was the Lord's day, they returned thither just as the morning service was concluding. A Mr. Jeffries was pastor of the church at Gamston, and with him they spent the three following days. They opened their minds to him, and when he had received full sa. tisfaction respecting their character and views, he baptized Mr. Taylor in a river near the town. Mr. S., his companion, preferred being baptized by himself after his return home, which took place accordingly.
Having returned to Wadsworth, Mr. Taylor prosecuted the work of the ministry with increased zeal and success. In May, 1768, he attended an Association of the General Baptist ministers, which was held at Lincoln, and there formed an acquaintance with them. Mr. Thompson, of Boston, accompanied him home to Wadsworth, where he baptized several persons, and formed fourteen of them into a church state. In the autumn of the same year, Mr. Taylor took the pastoral charge of this small society, which constituted the first General Baptist church in Yorkshire. The number of hearers encreased, the place soon became too small to accommodate them, and in the following year, 1764, a new meeting was erected, which obtained the name of Birchcliff—a name afterwards transferred to the church which assembled in it.
From this period, until the year 1783, Mr. Taylor continued his pastoral labours over the church of Birchcliff; but his exertions for spreading abroad the savour of the knowledge of Christ, were not restricted to the vineyard in which lie was more immediately placed. Animated by the concurring zeal
of his brethren, he was anxious to carry the lamp of heavenly light into the towns and villages which, on every side of them, were immersed in darkness, and his labours to accomplish it were almost incredible. All the energies of a mind naturally vigorous and enterprising were called into action; and the happy result was, that, through the divine blessing on his instrumentality, in a great measure, in the short space of fifteen years he saw the fruit of his labours in the establishment of four General Baptist churches, and several acceptable ministers raised up to labour among them in the word and doctrine. The places in which these churches were planted, are, Halifax, Queenshead, Shore, and Wadsworth. The society at Birchcliff, under the pastoral care of Mr. Taylor, during this period, enjoyed much peace, and encreased exceedingly in numbers: but in the year 1783, an application was made to them by the society at Halifax, which had then become a distinct church, to permit Mr. Taylor to come and settle among them as their pastor. Halifax was a populous and genteel town, where there were other dissenting interests, and the friends pleaded how desirable it was that the General Baptist cause in that town, should enjoy every possible advantage. Mr. Taylor was the most able and experienced minister in those parts, and the best qualified to defend and explain the distinguishing tenets of the denomination; it was therefore for the good of the general cause that he should leave Birchcliff, and settle atHalifax! This gave rise to warm discussions, which, however, terminated in Mr. Taylor's removal to Halifax, much to the regret of the people at Birchcliff, who, to use their own simple but expressive language, declared, "This was one of the greatest troubles we ever experienced. We did all that we could do, with a good conscience to prevent it; but ail in vain." The church had, by this time, encreased to about one hundred and twenty members.
How far the conduct of the brethren at Halifax was justifiable in the circumstance above recorded, is a case of casuistry on which it is not our province hastily to pronounce judgment. We certainly have our doubts respecting it, and those of no ordinary magnitude. True, indeed, the "instance is not a solitary one; but this proves no. thing. If we set ourselves to follow tbe multitude, it will be no easy matter for us to avoid doing evil! The people at Halifax exulted when, on October 8, 1783, Mr. Taylor was set apart to the pastoral office over that small society. Every heart bounded with satisfaction, and each eye sparkled with delight; but they were little aware at the moment, that the measure they had meted towards their brethren at Birchcliff, wae, 'ere long, to be measured out to themselves from another quarter. Tbe ancient society of General Baptists, assembling in Churchlane, Whitechapel, London, were at this time looking out <br an assistant to their aged pastor, Mr. John Brittain, and their eye was soon turned towards Mr. Dan Taylor, as a person well qualified to serve them. They consequently applied to the church at Halifax, requesting them to resign him. The proposition spread consternation throughout all the societies in Yorkshire: the brethren in Halifax were thunderstruck, and some of the principal members were so disgusted at the proceedings of their London brethren, that they declined taking any part in the discussions that ensued. The subject was, nevertheless, fully and freely canvassed, and those of the church in Halifax, who resisted t Mr. Taylor's removal, had now the mortification t° see their own wea
pons turned against themselves. Every argument drawn from the comparative importance of the two stations, the opportunities of usefulness, or the general advantage to the common cause, which had been brought forward to prove the expediency of his removal from Birchcliff to Halifax, was now urged, with increased effect, in favour of his leaving Halifax for London. The mouths of the clamourous among the Halifax people were silenced; several of the friends in other societies perceived this, and, with commendable consistency, seconded the claims of London. The affair was ultimately taken up by the association that was held at Boston, in 1785, and after a full investigation of the question, that assembly decided in favour of Mr. Taylor's removal to the metropolis. The decision was final, and he and his family set out for London in the middle of July 1785, leaving the church at Halifax, which then consisted of fifty-six members, again destitute of a pastor. ( To be concluded in another number.)
THE GLORIES OF THE REDEEMER IN HIS WORK AND REWARD.
"Jescs Christ, the faithful witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the Kings of the earth: Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen. Behold, lie cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him, even so, Amen." Rev. i. 5—7.
These verses comprise a part of the apostle John's salutation to the seven churches of Asia, together with a doxology, in both of which his enraptured soul is carried out into such glowing and elevated delineations of Christ and the work which he hath accomplished in behalf of his people,
as clearly exhibit him to be the source of grace and peace to his church; and as infinitely worthy of the highest glory and dominion, and of the most grateful ascriptions of them, in the religious adoration of all the redeemed company. Having mentioned Jesus as the author of grace and peace, and the medium through which they are communicated to us in the economy of redemption, his soul takes fire, and he launches out into such a -detail of his character and what he hath done for sinners, as naturally draws forth the most grateful adoration in ascriptions of glory and dominion, and which leads him to look forward with joy and triumph to his coming again in the clouds of heaven, to punish his adversaries and reward all his faithful followers.
This sublime portion of holy writ naturally divides itself into three parts; each of which we shall endeavour briefly to illustrate; namely, The official characters here given to Christ as the source of grace and peace to his people—What he hath done, and will yet do for them—And the glory and dominion which are due to him on account of the redemption that he has effected, and which is, with gratitude, joy, and adoration, ascribed to him by all the redeemed company.
1. Among the official characters here ascribed to the Son of God, as the source of grace and peace to his people, the apostle places foremost in the list, that He is the faithful witness. This has a respect to his prophetical office. He came a light into the world, John xii. 46. He is the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom, or secret counsels of the Father, and who hath declared his name, his purposes, his love, and will to the children of men, John i. 18. ch. iii. 16. and xvii. 26. He indeed bare witness respecting his own character, mission, and kingdom,
John viii. 18. ch. xviii. 37. which testimony he confirmed by miracles and sealed it with his blood. He is called the faithful witness to teach us that it is impossible for him to lie; and that, consequently, all that he testifies or promiseth may be implicitly relied on with absolute certainty. See this same title applied to Christ, Rev. iii. 14. 2. He is the first begotten of the dead. This is the same expression, in the original, which the apostle Paul uses in Col. i. 18. where it is translated "the firstborn from the dead," and it implies—that he was in the state of the dead—that he was the first who rose from the dead to inherit immortal life—and that in his risen state he is invested with supreme power and dignity, as Jehovah's first-born, and, consesequently, heir of all things. This sets him forth in his priestly cha* racier: for it was in that capacity he offered up himself as a sacrifice for our sins and poured out bis soul unto death—it was in that capacity he was brought again from the dead, by the God of peace, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, in testimony of his acceptance of his sacrifice for our justification—and in this capacity he entered into "the holiest of all" with his own blood to present it unto God, to appear in his presence, and to make continual intercession for us; and thus he is constituted an highpriest after the power of an endless life—made higher than the heavens, and able to save to the very uttermost all that come unto God by him, Heb. vii. In the vision which the writer of the ApocaIpyse had of him (See ch. i. 18.) in his priestly robes, Jesus describes himself in a correspondency with the foregoing particulars. "I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and of death," expressions which include