« НазадПродовжити »
Review of Orme's Memoirs of the Life, I Owen was appointed to preach before Writings, $c. of John Owen, D.D. the parliament, on the day after the ex(Continued from page 18.]
ecution of the king; and the discourse
which he then delivered, although silent In preparing his Memoirs of Owen, on the transactions of the preceding Mr. Orme steadily adheres to what day, and containing the most solemn appears to us to have formed one leading warnings against “ oppression, self-seekprinciple in his original design,-namely, ing, and contrivances for persecution," with to free religion from the unjust slanders a faithful declaration, “ that much of that have been heaped upon it in con- | the evil which had come upon the sequence of the improper conduct of country, had originated within the walls some of its pretended friends. It was of the House of Parliament,” has been not likely that the circumstance of im- strangely misrepresented. Several atputing to the Independents the horrid tacks were made on Owen's character, denomination of "Regicides” should in consequence of this discourse; but escape his notice. To the question the most infamous and malignant of respecting the execution of Charles I. these, was that of Vernon, a Glocester. he has done ample justice within the shire rector. This anonymous libeller, limits of a few pages; and has proved, who was followed in his abuse and deto the satisfaction of all reasonable men, traction by others as unprincipled as not only that the Independents, as a himself, designatės Owen, as “ The body, had no hand in that event, but prince, the oracle, the metropolitan of that no religious sect whatever can be Independency; the Ahitophel of Cromjustly charged with the crime of putting well; a blasphemer, and perjured perthe king to death. On this subject, we son, and a libeller of authority, after do not for a moment hesitate to declare, the restoration of Charles II." He that the mind must be either inexcu-accuses him, of " having praised God sably ignorant, or incurably sceptical, for shedding the blood of Christian which remains dissatisfied with the evi- kings, and of being guilty of reiterated dence by which Mr. Orme supports his perjuries against that God, whom he opinion. « The parties immediately confidently aftirmed to be the inspirer concerned in this tragical scene were, of all his prayers; and finally, invokes the army, the parliament, and the high the state to take vengeance upon a miscourt of justice. The army was a col- crcant, whose crimes deserved the highlection of all the fierce republican spi- est punishment the laws could inflict." rits which had been produced by the This affair is more particularly deservanarchy, the excitement, and the suc ing of notice, as it seems to have opecess of the preceding years.” “ The rated after the lapse of thirty four years, parliament, by the numerous changes in drawing forth from the University of it had undergone, was reduced to a Oxford, such an expression of cowardly mere caput mortuum by the army.” revenge, as will for ever disgrace the "The high court of justice, being com- memory of those who were then at the posed chiefly of officers of the army, head of that institution. On the and menibers of the commons, partook twenty-first of July, 1683, this sermon of their respective characters; few of was burnt in the school quadrangle, by the individuals who composed it ever the marshal, before the members of the ranked under the banner of the congre- University, because its positions were gational body.” It is no easy matter," pernicious and damnable." This, Mr. however, to divest the mind of preju- Orme informs us, took place within a dice which appearances seem to justify. month of the doctor's death; and justly
observes, “ It was well their power was never to have meddled with him, but in then feebler than their inclinations, or the way of self-defence. Whatever they would probably have substituted were his reasons, Baxter seldom omitted the author in the place of his writings." || an opportunity of hitting a blot in
The effect of this scrmon on parlia Owen's conduct or writings; and not ment was such, that Owen was appoint- content with wrangling during his life, ed, within three months, to preach be- left a legacy of reproach on the memory fore the house again. On this occasion of his brother, which should continue he produced his celebrated discourse, to operate long after his death." But on the “Shaking and Translation of the whatever Owen's exertions effected Heavens and the Earth.” This seems to during his residence in Ireland, they have led to his acquaintance with Crom were not confined to that period. On well, who beard him then, probably, his return to England, in a sermon befor the first time. Oliver's acuteness fore the parliament, he made a most sooti discovered Owen's abilities; he powerful.and effectual appeal in behalf fixed on him immediately to acconipany of that destitute island, which discohim to Ireland; and notwithstanding vered the deep interest he took in its Owen's ohjections, and those of the welfare. church at Coggelshall, to this proposal, In consequence of Owen's represenCromwell's authority succeeded when tations on this subject, an ordinance argument was exhausted :-"lle told was passed, for the encouragement of them, he inust and should go."
religion and learning in Ireland. “By This was a most important step, and this act, certain lands were devoted to was followed with very important con- | the support of Trinity College, and the sequences to Owen. To enter on an endowment of its professors; for erectenquiry into the character of Cromwell, ing another college in Dublin, and would be foreign to our purpose. The maintaining its teachers; and for the opinions entertained respecting that ex- erection of a Free School, and the suptraordinary man are various: doubtless port of the master and scholars.” Owen must have viewed him in a very After this, Owen, with much appadifferent light from that of an accom- rent reluctance, accompanied Cromwell plished hypocrite; - “the strangest to Scotland, where he remained about compound of villany and virtue, base- the space of six months. Nothing ness and magnanimity, absı!rdity and very particular is stated respecting good sense, that we find upon record in Owen's labours in Scotland; but the the annals of mankind," as Smollet has reader will perceive that Mr. Orme, in represented him. We would direct the referring to his visit, introduces some attention of the reader to Mr. Orme's valuable and interesting information, remarks on the subject, at p. 114, respecting the very low state of religion which, for their candour, justice, and in Scotland, for some time previous to coniprehensiveness, are entitled to par- the English invasion, and the striking ticular regard.
alteration that took place afterwards, The station which Owen filled under under the rule of the Commonwealth. the Protectór, was that of chaplain; to It must not, however, here be conwhich he was appointed by commission cealed, that Owen, in his sermon before from parliament. How Owen was occu-parliament, on the thanksgiving-day pied during his residence in Ireland, for the destruction of the Scotch army does not very clearly appear; the osten- at Worcester--Oliver's “crowning mer. sible purpose of his going thither, was cy'-strangely underrates the Scotch to assist Cromwell in regulating the Presbyterians, in representing them as affairs of Trinity College, Dublin. His pleading a necessity from an oath of stay in Ireland was only for a few God, to most desperate undertakings months, during which time little could against God, Mr. Orme apologizes for. possibly be effected; and what was Owen on this occasion, by remarking done is unrecorded. But it is obvious that his views on this subject were inhe was not idle. It was while in Dub-Auenced by the persons with whom he lin that he commenced his controver- generally acted. This was, no doubt, sies with Richard Baxter; respecting the case; but notwithstanding all that which Mr. Orme observes,-“ Justice Mr. Orme mentions respecting the proobligés me to state, that Baxter was in- voking nature of the conduct of the variably the aggressor; as Owen seems Scotch leaders, we cannot help wishing,
that Owen had, by the firmness and But the most conspicuous light in candour of his own conduct, exerted, wbich we are now called to contemplate as their spiritual instructor, a little the character of Owen, is that of Vicemore influence over them.
Chancellor of the University of Oxford. • It is far from being with any invidious Cromwell, who was Chancellor of Oxview that we make the remark, but our ford, being mostly in Scotland with the readers must know, that the discourse army, and finding it inconvenient to here alluded to, was the first that the attend to the affairs of the University, Doctor delivered before parliament, nominated Owen to be Vice-Chancellor; after they had passed an order that he and he was accordingly chosen by the should be raised to the Deanery of unanimous suffrage of the senate. Christ Church. Owen now began to During the civil wars, the affairs of the rise rapidly, and to move in the highest University had fallen into the most destations which his profession would ad-plorable state imaginable. “ The colmit of his filling; while every mark of leges and halls had gone to ruin: five honour and respect was readily conferred of them were perfectly deserted ; some on him, which his superior talents and of them were converted into magazines, unwearied exertions merited. Within and the rest were in a most shattered the short space of two years, we find | state; while the chambers were filled the Dean of Christ Church made Vice with officers and soldiers, or let out to Chancellor of the University of Oxford, | townsmen. There was little or no educreated Doctor in Divinity, and elected cation; poverty, desolation, and plunMember of Parliament for the Univer- | der-the effects of war-were to be seen sity of Oxford. What a load for a in every corner; the bursaries were minister of the gospel to carry! We emptied of the public money, the plate confess, we should not like the task of melted down for the king's service, and attempting to reconcile all this with the the colleges involved in debts which principles of Independency, much less they were not able to discharge. Such with those of the New Testament. Mr. was the wretched state of the UniverOrme has done bis utmost in this re sity, when Oxford fell into the hands of spect; and although we cannot expect the parliament, in 1646.” From the that all his readers will feel perfectly very interesting extracts from the satisfied with his defence of the Doctor, speeches of Owen, which Mr. Orme has at must be allowed that his remarks are given in Chap. VII. of the work, it hoth just and ingenious, and produce a would appear that this office was entered favourable impression on the mind. As on with much fear and trembling. But migbt have been expected, Owen did there was no man, in that period, better not long remain in the quiet possession qualified to do justice to its arduous and of his newly acquired honours and numerous duties, than John Owen. emoluments. His seat in parliament His first attempts at reformation, were was held but for a very short period, in directed towards the moral conduct of consequence of his election being ques the students. On a public occasion an tioned by the committee of privileges. event occurred, which, as it at once exTheir objections were founded on his hibits the degraded state of religion and being in the ministry; and bis enemies morals among them, the firmness and took occasion from this circumstance, authority requisite to preserve order and ito affirm, that " when he was chosen a subjection, and affords a fine specimen parliament-man, he refused to answer whe of the Doctor's general character, we ther he was a minister, or not." The only shall, for the sake of those who may ground on which we think this infamous not have access to the work itself, insert assertion deserved the least attention at length. “At a public Act, when a from Owen, was its being rested on the student of Trinity College was Terre public rumour of Oxford. As to Caw- filius, the Doctor, before he began, told idry, the author of it, he was a kind of him, that he should have liberty to say religious blackguard, who styled, him- what he pleased, provided he would ab-self “ Preacher of the word, at Billing- stain from profaneness, obscenity, and magn, Northamptonshire;" whose very personalities. The Terræ filius began, element was contradiction, and who | but soon transgressed all the rules seemed to live for the sole purpose of which had been prescribed to him. abusing those whose virtues he could The Doctor several times desired him not even emulate.
to forbear, but still he went on; till at last, seeing him obstinate, he sent the | in the place of Owen, and Manton, a beadles to pull him down. On this the Presbyterian, prayed. Cromwell's death scholars interposed, and would not soon followed ; and when his son suffer them to come near him. The Richard succeeded him as Chancellor, Doctor determined to pull him down Owen was dismissed, and a Presbytehimself; and though his friends near rian, of the name of Manton, appointed him dissuaded him, lest the scholars in his stead. Do not these circumshould do him some mischief,—'I will stances clearly evince the truth of not see authority trampled on, in this Owen's repeated declarations, that he manner,' said he,-and actually pulled entered on these high stations with rehim down, and sent him to Bocardo, luctance? And do they not also shew, (the common prison); the scholars stand that he preserved his disinterested and ing off, surprised at his resolution." manly spirit to the very last?
During the Vice-Chancellorship of We must now proceed to take some Owen, the affairs of the University notice of the numerous writings of Dr. underwent a thorough reformation; and | Owen; but our readers must excuse us before he resigned his office, it Aou- from éven attempting to give the titles rished with a great number of excellent of them all; this they will find done in scholars :-men who were truly eminent chronological order, at the end of Mr. in every departinent of literature; whose Ormc's narrative. While filling the exemplary conduct was an honour to high station of Vice-Chancellor of Oxtheir country; and whose names, many ford-discharging his duties as Dean of of them at least, are immortalized, by Christ Church and attending numethe signal services which they rendered rous meetings, and despatching various to religion, philosophy, and general and urgent public business, Owen never literature. Let the reader only run lost sight of the grand and original obover the copious list of names which ject of his pursuit: his mind was set Mr. Orme has given, of men of cele- for the defence and confirmation of the brity in Oxford and its University, gospel; and the times in which he during that period, and we are persuaded lived afforded him ample scope, and he will freely admit the truth of his re-room enough for the exercise of his mark:-“ It may be doubted, whether talents as a scribe, in this department that University ever enjoyed a greater of Theology. It appears, that at this number of persons, eminent in their re- time the prevalence of the Socinian spective professions, or more distin- tenets excited much alarm in England: guished for character, talents, and in consequence of which," the Provinlearning. They afford indubitable evia cial Assembly of London issued partidence of the truth of Thurloe's account cular instructions for the education and of Cromwell,--that he sought out men catechising of youth; and the Council for places, and not places for men;' a of State, conceiving that some more remark by no means generally appli- complete exposure of Socinianism was cable to the kings of the earth.” It necessary, laid its commands on Dr. would be doing injustice to the charac- Owen, to undertake this important ter of Owen, not to mention particularly | task.” the part he took in opposing the ambi- Owen was the very man to undertake tion of the Protector, when he aspired this task; and instantly he brought all to the crown. Although his name was his erudition to bear upon the subject; not affixed to the petition, which he and, in the course of one year, brought drew up at the request of Colonel Pride, into the field no fewer than seven hunand Desborough, there can be no doubt dred quarto pages, to meet the catechism but that Cromwell knew the part he of John Biddle, M.A., and the united acted in this affair. This, indeed, was forces of Smalcius and Moscorovius, the evident, from his conduct towards authors of the notorious Racovian CateOwen from that time till the day of chism; and, indeed, to contend with all his death; and we are much mistaken the Socinians that had written previif it did not form the ground of his dis- ously to his day. Respecting this conmissal from the Vice-Chancellorship. troversy, we do not hesitate fearlessly From the time that Cromwell's designs to declare, that we think Owen successwere blasted, Owen was seldom seen fully overthrew the arguments of his with him; and when the inauguration antagonists; but we are sorry to ob took place, Lockyer preached, no doubt serve, that the Doctor appears to have fallen into the common weakness too ciety that offer less attraction than that often observable in writers on this sub- of the editor of a Magazine-the humble ject, namely, warmth of temper. Mr. drudge, who is beset from month to Orme attempts to soften down this month with dull essays in prose, and still circumstance considerably, by allusions more tiresome effusions in the form of to the spirit of the times, and particu- verse, which he is expected to read larly of the individuals who opposed through carefully, and to report imparOwen. We are far, however, from tially to the world at large. We know, charging him, as some journalists have by painful experience, the irksomeness done, with advancing this as an excuse of such a post, and have fetched over it for the Doctor. This he certainly does many a heart-felt sigh. Yet even this not do. We would, however, just notice situation, which nothing but a regard it, as a hint to those who are called to for the public good could induce us to enter on this controversy, either from occupy for another month, is not withthe pulpit or the press, how seldom it out its alloy. In wading through the has been conducted in the spirit of heaps of trash, of one sort or other, which neekness. But a few years ago, we re- come before us, we are now and then member hearing a good Independent overtaken by the most agreeable surminister say, in the way of apologizing prise, in meeting with a work of genius to his audience for having betrayed an and talent, in which important truths undue degree of keenness in combating are stated, discussed, and illustrated some of the Socinian sentiments, “ If with the ability which they merit. UnJesus had been where I have sometimes der such circumstances, we feel combeen, und heard such things as I have pensated for much of our past toil and heard said, derogatory to his character, he weariness; we return thanks to “ the would have been angry too."
Father of lights, from whom cometh That this controversy may be con-down every good and perfect gift," and ducted, as well as any other, in the true are encouraged to proceed with our laspirit of Christianity, which, while it bours. Precisely such was the case, and enforces earnestness in contending for | similar were our feelings, on the first the faith, equally enjoins meekness, reading of Mr. Godwin's Discourse on gentleness, and patience, in the servant | the Signs of the Times. We took it up of the Lord, is abundantly evident, immediately after dinner, not exactly from the masterly productions of Dr.
with the view of laying it under contriWardlaw on the subject.
bution as the means of procuring a nap
a stratagem to which our brother Jour[To be concluded in our next.]
| nalists are said to have recourse occasionally--but certainly without the small
est intention of doing more than glancing A Discourse on the Signs of the Times : at a paragraph or two, in order to satisfy delivered at the Buckinghamshire Asso
ourselves as to what kind of stuff it was ciation of Baptist Churches, held at
composed of. But, happening to begin Waddesdon Hill, May 231, 1821, and
with the title page and proceeding republished at their request. By B. God
gularly onwards, we found it impossible win, Great Missenden, Bucks. Lon- |
to lay it down till we had read every don, Cox and Son; and Simpkin and
page, and then, ardently thirsted for Marshall, 56 pages, 8vo. pr. 1s. 6d.
more of it! Nor shall we speedily for1822.
get the pleasing reverie into which the
| reading of it threw us--but we must It is an old and trite remark, that wave the detail, and proceed to furnish there is scarcely any situation in human our readers with some account of the life, however irksome and laborious, contents of Mr. Godwin's Discourse.. which has not some advantages attached Adopting for his text our Lord's words, to it, and that tend, in some measure, at Matt. xvi. 3.“ Can ye not discern the signs least, to countervail its inconveniences. of the times ?” he introduces his subject This is wisely ordered by Providence, by a glance at the existing state of things who hath set the day of prosperity among the Jews at the time of the Saagainst the day of adversity, to the end viour's appearing; the violent aniinosithat man should find nothing after him. ties and frequent contentions which took We believe that, to the generality of place between the Pharisees and Saddureaders, there are few stations in so- cees, who, though greatly opposed to