Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

. 43 ing either “exalted to a station" in wbich he may be enabled “ to draw from the bank of ignorance and credulity, an affluent fortune,” (as the British Review remarks on the character of W. H ) or “to prophesy before thousands of silly beings ?” And, although I am no convert, or even great admirer of William Huntington and his works, yet, I cannot say with these critics that I have “waded with unspeakable disgust through the stories which he tells by hundreds in his Bank of Faith ;” rather with the candid author of “ the Sinner Saved,” or “ Memoirs of the late William Huntington, S. S.” &c. that as poverty was favourable to his piety, kept him dependent on the Father of Mercies, and led him to be grateful for what he thus obtained, yet, if " he has been censured for ascribing too much to the interposition of divine bounty, surely it is better to trace his Hand in every thing, than not to perceive it in any thing.” (p. 27.) Well did W. H. acknowledge “ these kind providences did wonderfully endear the Lord to me, and brought me to live by the faith of him for the supply of all my wants."

That this extraordinary minister of “ Providence Chapel,” might have been instrumental in awakening many sinners, I deny not; but that he turned any or many from “ the yain customs or fashions of the world, to the practices of primitive simplicity of manner of life and conversation, not one amongst his many disciples could I ever discern. They were rather (like myself at that time) bigoted, supersti. tious, and “ zealously affected, but not well.” Ah, my dear friends ! like some of his followers whom I know, I have now, at times, to lament and bewail

[ocr errors][merged small]

those apparent angry passions, or warinth-I wo'at say, “hell-fire zeal”-like the papists! abhorred be the thought: but in zealously contending for the truth, christian forbearance, charity, and love, was, not always predominant.

The writer of a brief account of the life of Wil. Jiam Huntington observes that “bis temper was na: turally inclined to be imperious," like priest, like people, "and could not always brook the restraints which religion had imposed.” (p. 10.) And, “ with much charitableness, however, he betrayed occasional symptoms of an avaricious kind.” But, houvever, W. H. could be attached towards the state,” and at the same time was " by no means so well-affected to the church,” (p. 11.) is not only uncharitable, but a mark of dissimulation and cowardice. Is not the church the darling offspring of the state ? are they not inseparably and essentially connected together? do they not receive the same sanctions ? are they not equally supported by the same authorities ? and do they not mutually depend on each other for their existence? Most certainly they do. And the inan who professes attachment to the one, and affects to disapprove of the other, may fairly be suspected of insincerity.

W. H.'s anathemas on the people of Thomas Ditton, who rejected his ministry, and contemned him on account of his following his employmeut as a coul-heaver, must indeed be determined by “ the omniscient Judge at the grand assize,” (as he has it .

in his epitaph, dictated by himself some time before his death); but surely, as the author of his life remarks, “such a spirit which consigns to illimitable reprobation, does not approximate to that Divine Being, who in the midst of judgment remembers mercy; and whose beneficence extends even to the unholy and the unfaithful !"

As to the “ occasional symptoms of avarice,” an explanation may be gathered from W. H.'s "vision,” in the early part of his ministry, to “prophecy upon the thick boughs,” which he believed by turning to Ezekiel xxxi. 3. 17. 23. to be confirmed, not only in preaching to a large congregation in Tichfield Street, but, as he says, “ the boughs grew too thick for the chapel to contain ;” and “ he lived also to see the erection of a second temple, after the first had been burned, luxuriantly filled with these prophetic boughs.” But if the following anecdote be true, it may serve to illustrate this matter a little.

6 The late William Huntington.--After the demolition of Huntington's chapel by fire, in Margaret Street, the richer part of his congregation met together, and resolved to build this eccentric preacher another chapel, in order to allay the good man's grief for the loss he had had, and to enable him to further the great work of faith !—At length the new temple was raised, at an expense of nearly nine thousand pounds, and a day was appointed for the solemn opening! But, lo! on the morning of that day, he is said gravely to have informed his selected friends, that he had been illuminated by a vision on the preceding night, which informed him that there would

be neither fuck nor grace attendant on their new spiritual establishment, if it was not made his owo personal freehold, before he should consécrate it with his holy éloquenée !«The tesult of this disin. terested information was, that each of the subscribers resigned bis share in favour of the pious mañ, and the chapel, as it might be imagined, prospered aé. cordingly!"

I am aware, I am treading on fender and peculiar ground! As soon as a man begins to “rake the ashes of the dead,” or “ ransack the monuments or tombs of the worthies,” there are not wanted those who in full cry exclaim

« Vile is the vengeance on the ashe's cold,
Aud euvy base that barks ai sleeping dust !"

Be this as it may, I shall not stop here to consider the many objections on the one hand, nor the many judicious and pious arguments in favour of remarks on memoirs, on the other; it is enough to know that “though dead, yet speak” they in their works. Surely they ought to be heard, if not answered.

That I have not exaggerated or misrepresented the principles of this extraordinary minister, I might refer my reader for evidences to the Evangelical Magazine, for sixth month, 1814; or more particularly to the learned and pious critics of the Theological and Biblical Magazine, who, in theit“ remarks corroborative, explanatory, and critical," on " Hantington's " Literary and Religious Curiosity,” (a well-known epistle, addressed to the editor above, in vindicatiòn of a “ gross mis-statement," in his Bank of Faith, (p. 29.-31), are not afraid to say “ he has no possible way of evading their testimony but by saying, either that his memory is the, weakest on earth, or that the guineas slipt through his fingers!" "The evidence, both direct and circumstantial, is complete and convincing. Must not H. have a brow of brass, a conscience seared as with a hot iron, and a heart of marble, to persist in denying a fact so fully attes. ted and confirmed ?” * So much for the fact, whick is as stubborn as the sturdiest oak in Wellwood, * and sterling as the guineas of St. Helen's !”+ (p. 355, for the year 1802.)

I certainly do not commend this minister of Tichfield Street Chapel, for giving himself the badge of his former occupation, being a coupled with his selfereated tịtle of parson," and gravely, or in derision calling himself, “ Parson Sack," * coal-heaver," &c. Well might the reviewer, in his serious and solema admonition, op W. H.'s preaching against the moral law of God, as a rule of obedience ; against his sera

* Where his farm was situated, which was given him as a residence, “by a good iady," it is said much against his will.

† Which were given him for preaching at seven o'clock, first day's morning lecture, which had been long established for the benefit of servants, who, by reason of their domestic employ. could not attend on the service of God at the usual times.

E. W.

« ПредишнаНапред »