« НазадПродовжити »
BIOGRAPHY OF TIMOTHY ROGERS, M.A.
[With a Portrait.] Toe worthy minister, whose portrait | pious father paid particular attention to accompanies this number of our Ma- his education, and had the happiness gazine, is pretty generally known in the of seeing the fruits of his labour and of Dissenting community, as the author of his prayers, in the piety of his son, a volume which has been thrice pub- of which the symptoms began early to lished, entitled, “A Discourse con- be manifested, to the great joy of his cerning trouble of mind, and the parent's heart. “In those times of disease of Melancholy-written for the heavy persecution," says the Memoir use of such as are, or have been exer- | above referred to, “when the excellent cised by the same : by one who was of the earth, who could not sadjust) long afflicted with both." His father, their consciences to the standard of the the Rev. John Rogers, was many years royal faith, were denied the common an eminent minister at Barnard Castle, rights of hospitality, and hunted from in the diocese of Durham; a living place to place, like sojourners in a which he was obliged to resign at the foreign country, debarred from those time of the Restoration, when he re-common privileges which a bountiful moved to Croglin, in Cumberland, Father hath bestowed freely upon all; where he continued till he was ejected it was the lot of young Rogers to spend by the Act of Uniformity, on Barthothe early and most important part of his lomew-day, 1662. It is of this ex-life. The difficulties he must have excellent man, that those remarkable cir-perienced in his education may easily cumstances are recorded, in which Sir be imagined; and, it was only by great Richard Cradock, a justice of the peace, perseverance and industry, that he and violent persecutor of the Dissen- could hope to surmount them. Having ters, had so large a share. The par- availed himself of those advantages for ticulars will be found circumstantially acquiring the rudiments of learning, detailed in the Memoir of his son, pre- which were afforded in his native place, fixed to the volume above-mentioned; he was, at a proper age, sent to one of and, also, in Mr. Wilson's History of the Scotch Universities, where he proDissenting Churches, Vol. II. p. 322— secuted his studies for the ministry, 6. The story certainly partakes much and, having passed through the usual of the marvellous in some parts; but forms, he took the degree of Master of the reader is at liberty to exercise his Arts." own judgment on its credibility.
Previous to his entering upon the Timothy Rogers, the subject of this work of the ministry, Mr. Rogers Memoir, was born at Barnard Castle, passed some time under the roof of but in what year is not known. His Mr. Edward Veal, a learned NonconVOL. VIII.
formist, who resided in Wapping, having It is a melancholy reflection, that several pupils under his care. To the some of the brightest geniuses that patronage and comsel of this gentle- have adorned the world, have been the man, he owed so much, that he con- subject of this terrible calamity, in one tinued through life forward to testify form or other. The case of another of his ohligations. His first stated em- our finest poets is generally known, ployment in the work of the ministry, viz. that of Collins. Speaking of him, appears to have been in conducting an the late Dr. Johnson has the following evening lecture, in conjunction with striking remarks. “How little can we Mr. Thomas Kentish, in Crosby Square, venture to exult in any intellectual Bishopsgate Street. The lecture was powers, or literary attainments, when supported by several merchants, and we consider the condition of poor other persons of respectability, and Collins. I knew him a few years ago Mr. Rogers acquired considerable repu- full of hopes, and full of projects, versed tation by the discourses which he there in human languages, high in fancy, and delivered. His personal appearance in strong in retention. This busy and the pulpit was commanding, bis elocu- forcible mind is now under the governtion pleasing, and his manner of address ment of those, who lately could not highly interesting.
have been able to comprehend the least In 1682, he made his first appearance and most narrow of bis designs.-I as an author, in a funeral sermon, on have often been near his state, and Eccles. xii. 1. occasioned by the death therefore have it in great commisera. of Mr. R. Linegar, a student for the tion.-The moralists all talk of the unministry, under the care of the ve-certainty of fortune, and the transinerable Edward Veal, who prefixed to it toriness of beauty: but, it is yet more a recommendatory Preface.' Some time dreadful to consider, that the powers of after this, he fell into a deep and settled the mind are equally liable to changemelancholy, in which he continued that understanding may make its apnearly two years; and this was the par-pearance and depart—that it may blaze ticular dispensation of Providence, that and expire.” Boswell's Life of Johnson, occasioned his drawing up his valuable / Vol. I. But, to return to Mr. Rogers: discourse on Trouble of Mind. The After passing two years in this medescription which he has given in that lancholy state, it pleased God to dispel work, of his mental suffering and dis- the clouds from his mind, and restore tress, is sufficient to excite one's tender- him to health and cheerfulness, so that est compassion. He paints his state as he was enabled to resume his services a land of darkness, on which the sun in the Lord's vineyard. About the year never seemed to shine! To consolation 1690, he resumed his lectureship, on of every kind he was an utter stranger, I doing which, he offered up his grateful being given up a prey to the most dis- | acknowledgments to the divine goodtressing fears and anxieties. In the ness for his wonderful restoration. He agonies of his mind he was tempted to also delivered a course of Sermons conclude, that he was forsaken of God, founded upon the affecting circumand he was doomed to realize the stances in which he had been placed. dreadful horrors of despair. Poor These were subsequently published CowPER, who was himself the subject under the title of “ Practical Discourses of this constitutional malady, well knew on Sickness and Recovery.". In the by experience what it was, and he has following year, he gave to the public bis described it to the life, in his poem on valuable discourse on Trouble of Mind, Retirement, with his own magic pencil. / and the Disease of Melancholy; in
which he experimentally prescribes ex“ Tis not, as heads that never ache, suppoge, cellent remedies for the relief and re
Forgery of fancy, and a dream of woey; · Man is a harp, whose cords elude the sight,
covery of those unhappy persons who Each yielding harınon y dispos'd aright;
may be in similar circumstances. The screws revers'd (a task which, if he please, God in a moment executes with ease)
Soon after his restoration, Mr. Rogers Ten thousand thousand strings at once go loose, was chosen colleague to Mr. Shower, Lost, till he tune them, all tbeir power and whose church then assembled in Jewin use.
Street, but afterwards removed to a
larger and more convenient meetingNo wonnds like those, a wounded spirit feels, No cure for such, till God, who makes them,
house in the Old Jewry. In this conheals."
nexion he continued for several years, preaching with great acceptance and I ON JUSTIFICATION. success. He enjoyed a large share of
ISAIAU XLV. 25. the aifections of his people, and was highly esteemed by Mr. Shower; nor,
shower ; nor: “ In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be was he wanting in suitable returns of esteem and regard for his colleague.
| justified, and shall glory.” Mr. Rogers ingratiated himself, not. It is the solemn declaration of the only by his powerful method of preach | inspired writer of the Psalms, that “The ing, but also by his pious and exem- Lord looked down from heaven upon plary deportment. He was, from his the children of men, to see if there earliest years, distinguished for deep were any that did understand and seek and serious piety-for a remarkable God." tenderness of conscience-and an un. When this survey of the sons of common modesty of temper. But, his Adam was made, by the All-sceing Jeconstitutional malady was never ef-hovah, it appears, that all flesh had corfectually eradicated—it was the great rupted its way upon the earth; there burden of his life-and, though he was not a just man upon the earth that struggled with it for years, he was con- did good, and sinned not; they had all tinually subject to an unhappy dejection gone aside; they were altogether beof mind, which rendered him burden come filthy--there was none that did some to himself, and much impeded good, no, not one. In such a state as bis usefulness. His infirmities, at this, what question can possibly carry length, increasing, he found himselt in in it so much importance as, “ How competent to the discharge of the duties shall man be justified with God?” “How of his office; and, he accordingly re- shall he be clean that is born of a signed his charge at the Old Jewry, in woman?” “Wherewithal shall I come 1707, and retired into the country. The before the Lord, and bow myself before congregation, which was large and the high God?"" wealthy, retained such an affectionate In this awful dilemma, the heart, remembrance of his useful labours, that which is deceitful above all things, and they settled a handsome allowance upon desperately wicked, is ready to suggest him for life. He died about the year i innumerable remedies, which, how 17 29, when he must have attained much-soever they may lull to sleep the nearly the age of seventy.
fears of the awakened conscience, for a He is said to have been by no means time, will be found unavailing in that deficient in those external accomplish- day when God shall judge the world in ments, which attract attention, and righteousness, and be swept away as reconfer weight in the scale of society. fuges of lies. A liberal education enabled him to From this state of extreme perplexity, treasure up a stock of useful know- of danger, and dismay, the gospel proledge. He had acquired a critical ac- claims immediate and effectual deliquaintance with the languages; nor, verance. “Hearken unto me, ye stoutwas he deficient in polite literature. hearted, that are far from righteousBut he wisely valued his attainments ness; I bring mear my righteousness, only as they were subservient to his it shall not be far off, and my salvation usefulness in the great cause in which shall not tarry. Look unto me, and be he was engaged-that of holding forth ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for, the word of life. In short, the many I am God, and there is none else. I amiable qualities with which he was have sworn by myself, the word is gone endowed, rendered him a distinguished out of my mouth in righteousness, and ornament to his profession, and recom-shall not return; that, unto me, every mended him to the friendship and knee shall bow, every tongue shall esteem of all who enjoyed his ac- swear. Surely, shall one say, in the quaintance.
Lord have I righteousness and strength; Mr. Rogers, besides the works al- even to him shall men come; and all ready mentioned, was the author of se that are incensed against him, shall be veral single Sermons, of which a list | ashamed. In the Lord shall all the may be found in the publications to seed of Israel be justified, and shall. which we have been indebted for this glory.” . short account of him; and to which we Scriptural views of the highly imporbave already referred.
tant doctrine of Justification, involve in
them somuch of our real enjoyment as God through the ignorance that is in Christians; our present and everlasting it; because it is enmity itself against felicity so much depend on our rightly God; because it is sold under sin, deunderstanding the ground of a sinner's voted to rebellion against the blessed acceptance with God; and the professing God. Hence, when we see men enworld abounds with so many mistakes deavouring to establish a righteousness upon the subject, that no apology can be of their own, it is because they are igdeemed necessary for directing the norant of the righteousness of God; if reader's attention to it in the present in | they suppose that they are rich, and instance.
creased with goods, and have need of 1. Let us endeavour to ascertain the nothing; it is only because they are scriptural import of the term Justifi- wretched, and miserable, and poor, and cation. And, here I would observe, blind, and naked. When we find men that, wherever we find the term used in comparing themselves among themthe sacred writings, it seems obviously selves, and measuring themselves by to imply a charge of guilt. This charge themselves, and commending themis represented as universal; as adduced selves, and one another, on the supagainst the human race without one ex-posed excellence of their moral chaception; as preferred by the Omniscient racter, and the near approaches they Jehovah, on the ground of their 'having make to the perfection of their nature, violated the tenour of his law, which is it is because they view things through holy, and just, and good, and thereby a different medium from that by which rendered themselves liable to the pu. the vision of David was assisted, when nishment which it denounces on every he said," I have seen an end of all transgressor. This doctrine, I conceive, perfection; but thy commandment is is clearly established by numerous de- exceeding broad." clarations of Scripture; the spirit and Moreover, it is a truth which ought scope of which may be seen in the fol- to make every son and daughter of lowing very remarkable declaration of Adam to tremble; that, however, men the apostle Pau!. After having proved may, in this life, succeed in imposing on that there is no difference between the themselves, and on one another; when Jews and the Gentiles, inasmuch as all the spirituality of that law, which dehave sinned, and come short of the clares every mouth to be stopped, shall glory of God, he adds—" Now we know be displayed from the throne of the that, what things soever the law saith, Eternal in the final destinies of manit saith to them who are under the law: kind; their own fancied excellence, on that every mouth may be stopped, and the strength of which they ventured on all the world may become guilty before eternity, will prove the very ground on God."
which they will stand speechless before It is not my intention to enter into a the Judge. But, detail of the numerous attempts that 2. The term Justification implies, the have been, and still are made, to set complete removal of this charge of aside the plain and obvious meaning of guilt. The language used by the sacred this overwhelming declaration of the writers, when speaking of this, is not universal depravity of human nature; less consolotary than it is explicit. Well but, it may be useful to remind you, may the proclamation of the mercy of that their very existence furnishes the heaven be denominated, “glad tidings strongest proof of the truth of the of great joy to all people.” It must be doctrine which they are intended to a joyful sound, surely, to men under destroy. Whence comes it, that the condemnation; to men shut up in human mind refuses to be subject to prison-under the curse of heaven the law of God? One might be ready having the wrath of the Almighty to suppose, from the high-sounding abiding on them, and in danger of being epithets which we sometimes hear banished with everlasting destruction bestowed on human nature, that this from his presence, and from the glory insubordination arose from the injus- of his power to hear the sovereign tice of the charge of total depravity Lord of heaven and earth declare, which the holy law of God presses home “There is now no condemnation to them on the conscience: but this is not the who are in Christ Jesus.” case ;-it is because the mind is carnal; And here, I remark, that the Spirit because it is alienated from the life of of God, anticipating the unbelief of the
human mind respecting this immen- 1 justified, in the name of the Lord surable gift of the love of God, has Jesus : clothed with the garments of used every argument that divine wisdom salvation; and, in those robes of fine could devise, to repel objections, and to linen, clean and white, which are the banish fears. Thus, when the Scrip- righteousness of the saints, and which tures speak of Justification, they do not they have washed in the blood of the merely intimate to us, that our sins are Lamb;-it is thus they are introduced forgiven. This, indeed, would, of itself, to stand with acceptance before the be an amazing blessing, especially when throne of God, and serve him day and we consider the very extensive meaning | night in his temple. Hence, also, we of the word in Scripture, where, to shew see how it is that he, to whom alone we the perfection of the act, metaphors, are accountable for our conduct, besuch as the following, are introduced. comes the just God, and, at the same God is represented as casting our sins time, the justifier of him who believeth behind his back, in opposition to placing in Jesus : and, it is on this ground, that them in the piercing light of his counte we are enabled to adopt the triumphant nance; he is said to blot them out of his language of the apostle, and to exclaim; remembrance; to cast them into the “Who shall lay any thing to the charge depths of the sea, so that, when they are of God's elect? It is God that justisought for, they shall not be found ; and, fieth: Who is he that condemneth? it to remove them from us, as far as the is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is east is distant from the west,
| risen again, who is even at the right Now, high as this language may ap- hand of God, who also maketh intercespear, it only, after all, conveys to our sion for us." minds a negative view of the subject. 3. In turning over the pages of divine For, we are informed, that there is not revelation, for the purpose of ascertainonly the non-imputation of iniquity, but ing the truth on this important subject, the actual imputation of righteousness. we find a variety of language made use This idea is beautifully and strikingly of by the inspired writers, but it is illustrated in the figuratire description easily reconcileable with itself, and the of the Atonement of Jesus, which will same doctrine is taught in all. Somebe found in the third chapter of the times we are informed, that it is God prophecy of Zechariah. Joshua, the who justifies; at other times, we are High Priest, is there represented as said to be justified by the knowledge of clothed with; filthy garments, and the the Messiah, the righteous servant of adversary of souls standing at his right Jehovah ;-again, it is declared, that hand to resist him. The command of we are justified by faith-and again, Jehovah is given to take away the filthy that we are justified freely by the grace garments from Joshua, to clothe him of God. Justification is said to be the with a change of raiment, and to set a free gift of God; and yet, it is ascribed fair mitre upon his head; for, saith the to the resurrection of Christ from the Lord of Hosts, I have caused thine dead; but, all these, and many others iniquity to pass away. It is impossible that might be mentioned, are only to contemplate this scene without at different forms of expressing the same once recognising in the principal cha- thing; they are so many rays of light racter, the Great High Priest of the converging to one point. In confirmaChristian profession, on whom God laid tion of this, it may be remarked, that the iniquity of us all; who, in his own the words of the prophet Isaiah, xlv. 25. body, on the tree, bore our sins; who as well as many other passages of was delivered for our offences; and Scripture, expressly limit the justificaraised again for our justification; and tion of men to the work of Jesus Christ. who, as the reward of his sufferings It is a circumstance which we ought to unto death, is now crowned with glory take for granted in all our enquiries and honour. Nor is it less difficult to after divine truth, that the Scriptures separate from this, the great end to be hare, in all things, consistent with themaccomplished ; namely, the salvation of selves; but, it must surely be highly sinners from the reign of sin, and their gratifying to every Christian mind to restoration to the image of God.. see, as it proceeds in its researches, the
It is thus that men, whose very most undeniable proofs of this rising righteousness is as filthy rags before to view on every side. God, are washed, and sanctified, and! And this will be found to be the case