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Calvary. And this was an object one article in the system of Chrisof such paramount importance in tian doctrines, is the spirit of error his estimation, that it may with more prevalent than on that of truth be affirmed, he never lost faith. Ask the generality of sight of it; never degraded it preachers “what is faith ?" the from the prominent station which reply will be—“It is a principle of it was entitled to hold ; nor ever grace implanted in the heart, at allowed any other object to claim regeneration, &c. &c.” but of this the precedence of it. From the mysterious principle no definite first Sermon that the writer of this or distinct idea can be formed, for was privileged in hearing from his it is supposed to exist where no lips, to the very last that he de- sentiment is conveyed to the mind, livered, he can testify, that the nor any light to the understand. incessant burden of his preaching ing. We are sometimes very was “ Jesus Christ and him cruci- gravely told from the pulpit, that fied”—which he undeviatingly ex- this « principle of grace," may hibited as the alone ground of be implanted in the heart, without hope to the guilty aod perishing the subject knowing any thing in children of men. And his public the world about it, and that it ministrations were characterised may remain there, like seed buried by this excellence, that you might, under the clods of the valley, for in all his Sermons, constantly trace twenty years, 'ere it spring up and an unity of design,one object fructify! Such is the vile jargon whicb he had ever in view, namely, we are often destined to hear from to lead the minds of his hearers to many a famed divine in the preChrist, “in whom it hath pleased sent day. But the moment we the Father that all fulness should open the scriptures and attend to dwell” and that for the supply them, we are struck with the of all their spiritual wants-for incongruity of the modern docpardon, peace, and joy eternal. trine respecting faith, and that In truth, nothing short of the infallible standard. Both progrossest stupidity could account phets and apostles appear to have for any of his hearers mistaking studied the greatest plainness of him on this head.
speech on this subject--sometimes 2. Another prominent trait in exhibiting it under the idea of the ministry of Mr. Austin was crediting a report, as in Isaiah his simple view of faith. No liii. 1. Rom. &. 16. sometimes as attentive reader of the scriptures the belief of a witness or testi'needs to be told that much is mony, 1 John v. 9. and then it is therein said respecting the efficacy equivalent to a conviction, or conof faith, in the whole affair of our fident persuasion of the truth of * salvation. We are said to be jus- what is testified or promised, Heb. tified by faith-to be sanctified xi. 1, 11. Rom. iv. 21. and at by faith to live by faith-to walk other times it is even described as by faith-to overeome the world synonymous with knowledge, See by faith-and in short, we are said | Ps. lxxxix. 15. Is. liii. 11. John to be saved by grace through xvii. 3.-yea, with hearing God . faith. No wonder, therefore, that speaking to us in his own word : the subject of faith should have Is. lv. 3. And thus instead of given rise to so much discussion in holding up the “ one faith” to us the Christian church. It is in- as a mysterious, indescribable deed of the bighest importance to something, inexplicable by luman a minister to have his views re- language, there is nothing more gulated by the word of God on simple and intelligible than the this particular point; for oir no faith of the gospel, as it lies in the
holy scriptures. Mr. Austin was I be ye saved, &c.” Thus to “hold perfectly aware of the truth of all forth the word of life" to men of this, and he was deeply solicitous every rank, with the promise of to guard his hearers from the salvation to him that believeth, he leaven of the Pharisees on this always regarded as "the great point. He very properly con. affair" (an expression which he sidered that, as the work finished often used concerning it) and by the Son of God on Mount whatever was the subject of dis. Calvary is the only meritorious course, he rarely, if ever closed it, ground of a sinner's acceptance, without bringing the matter to so all the benefit of that work is this point. And this leads us to conveyed to men, by means of the remark another peculiarity in his divine Testimony, or report con- preaching, namely, cerning it-for Christ's righteous. 3. His views of the calls and ness is “ unto and upon all that invitations of the gospel.* In this believe, without difference.” Rom. last particular, Mr. Austin's preachiii. 22. ch. X. 4-17. The great | ing formed a perfect contrast to thing with him, consequently, that of numbers of his brethren, was, to hold up to the view of who have adopted the scheme perishing sinners, “ the word of of Hyper-Calvinism contained in the truth of the gospel”- to state the writings of Drs. Crisp and its importance and excellency--to Gill, Mr. Brine and others; but illustrate its import--and exhibit in our opinion, it constituted the the divine evidence by, which it crowning excellence of his minisis supported, and to urge men, by try, and therefore deserves to be every argument and motive which particularly mentioned. reason, conscience, and revelation We remember to have been could suggest, to believe it to the struck with the pertinency of a saving of the soul. It was a rare remark we have somewhere seen thing with him to notice any of respecting the great Dr. Gill, the controversies that exist in the namely, that he appears to have world about the nature of faith; been extremely jealous lest one more but he was very anxious to present than the elect should be saved! And to the view of the sinner what he to avoid splitting on that rock, he was to believe ; and if at any time was led to reject all the calls and inhe found it necessary to explain vitations, with which the scriptures what he meant by believing, the abound, as inducements to sinmode of speech which he generally ners to repent and believe the gosadopted, and with which he was 'pel, as, in his view, savouring of best pleased, as being least liable Arminian legality! This takes its to mistake or abuse, was that of rise from a miserably defective having “ the eye of the mind view of “the glorious gospel of turned to Christ"--a phraseology the blessed God," and Mr. Auswhich he evidently borrowed from tin was fully aware of its unscripIs. xlv. 22. “ Look unto me and tural bearing, which is to becloud
* We cannot help remarking in this place, that the peculiarity above mentioned is happily described by the writer of the “ Elegy on Mr. Austin's death,” inserted p. 9, 10. of this volume, in the following lines
“ No Sectarian zeal could bind him, wa mitin To with-hold the gospel call:
His enlarged views inclin'd him, ni ?3
Freely to encourage all.' We could not, however, refrain from smiling, when we noticed that, by some accident this Stanza is wanting in the copy of the Elegy inserted in the Baptist Magazine, January 1817. Query! Was the Editor apprehensive it might be construed into a reflection on the conduct of his ministering brethren, and consequently that it might give offence ?
the riches and freeness of divine | be one, or two, or more, who have grace, and its immediate nearness never thought at all about their to the chief of sinners. He not immortal souls, or the things that only considered the gospel as re- relate to their eternal peace. Your vealing the way of salvation, chief concern is, “ What shall we through the mediation of the Son eat, or what shall we drink, or of God; but he also regarded it in wherewithall shall we be cloathed.” the light of A FEAST, provided by But, oh, do consider that you are the Majesty of heaven, to which mortal beings, that you are the all the sons of wretchedness and subjects of sin, and in a state of misery are graciously invited to condemnation—that death stands come and partake of its choicest ready to arrest you and hurry you blessings without money and with away to the bar of judgment, out price. Isaiah lv. 1-3. Matt. there to give an account of all xxii, 1-10. Luke xiv. 16–24. your actions to God! If you go And though he was fully aware on in this state until death overthat nothing short of almighty take you, what becomes of you for power could prevail on sinners to eternity? Well; remember, that comply with the gracious invita- | now is the accepted time and day tions and kind entreaties of the of salvation. The gospel addresses master of the feast, yet he did not you in the most kind and endearconsider this as making the slight. ing language-tells you of a finishest difference with regard to his ed salvation-sets before you "a duty in urging, entreating, and feast of fat things,” comprising all beseeching sinners to be recon. that is necessary to make you ciled unto God, 2 Cor. v. 19-21. happy in this life and in that And here his excellence as a which is to come; and invites you preacher of the gospel eminently to partake without money and appeared, at least in our estima. without price—“The Spirit and tion. For though it has certainly the bride say, come; and let him fallen to our lot to hear a great that heareth say, come; and variety of ministers of the word whosoever will, let him come and during the last thirty-five years, take of the waters of life freely.” we can truly declare that we never But, ah, my dear hearer, if you heard one who surpassed the sub- put these things from you, giving a ject of this Memoir, in the instance preference to the pleasures of sin, we are now mentioning, and very and casting the fear of God befew that have equalled him. hind your back, how will you
There was a peculiarity, we had answer for such conduct in the almost said an unrivalled felicity, great day of account! Remember, in his manner of bringing home once more, that he that believeth to the hearts and consciences of on the Son of God hath everlast. his hearers, the great subjects of ing life; but he that believeth not his ministration. His method the Son, shall not see life, for the was his own, but it was admira- wrath of God abideth on him." ble; and no verbal description This is an imperfect sketch of can fully do justice to it. “And the style of his addresses, which he now, my dear hearers," he would always contrived to introduce in say, when he came to wind up his an easy, natural, and pleasing discourse and bring it to a close, manner; and though the phrase"you have been bearing of matters ology might be varied, the sentiof vast concern to all the human ment was always substantially the race-permit me seriously to ask same. you what you think of them. In this ! We have oftener than once large'assembly there may possibly heard it remarked of Mr. Austin,
in reference to the scriptural order propriated to that purpose. With of Christ's house, that “ he knew these meetings he has often exmore than he practised,” and to his pressed his cordial satisfaction; praise be it recorded, that this is I enjoy them exceedingly," he the strongest censure we ever has often said to the writer of this, heard passed upon his character. “ and find them very refreshing But even admitting this to be true, to my own mind.” On these occawe fear it is only what may be said sions he always presided, wlien of hundreds of other ministers, not prevented from attending ; he and of churches also, which boast | began by reading a chapter from much of their apostolic purity. one of the apostolic epistles, and
- Video meliora, proboque, gave out a hymn; then called Deteriora sequor
upon one of the brethren to pray: is a maxim that has been current after which two or three of them for ages, and happy they who can spake to exhortation and having plead an exemption from the sang another hynin, he himself charge. It is not our business, concluded by a short prayer, in however, to vindicate what is amiss which he always ad verted to the in any man, and Mr. Austin's leading topics that had formed the character stands in need of no subject-matter of exhortation, imsuch weapons of defence. That ploring the divine blessing “ to there were several things in the follow the important things that order of the church which appear had been said unto them, and the ed to bimself capable of improve truths of which they lrad then ment, we never doubted; and had been reminded by their dear he been privileged, at the time he brethren.” What Mr. Austin's took the pastoral charge of it, sentiments were, respecting a pluwith the wisdom and experience rality of Elders, Pastors, or which he had acquired at the time Bishops, in every church where he quitted it, we can readily believe they can be obtained, we are not that he would have instituted a competent to speak; but, we different order. But when a church greatly question if there be any has once set out wrong, and pro- one thing from which the churches ceeded for a course of years in an of the present day suffer more unscriptural way, it is no easy I painful consequences than they do matter to draw them out of the from their culpable neglect of the beaten track, and lead them into a mind of Christ, in reference to new path, especially when they this matter; and the existing state are to be the first to innovate. Mr. of the church in Fetter-lane, since Austin approved of weekly com- the death of Mr. Austin, is one, munion; and could he have among innumerable other proofs brought the church into one mind of its truth. Whether that church upon the subject, we doubt not possesses wisdom and virtue enough but it would have afforded him to profit by its present afflicted the sincerest pleasure; but he was state, is a question which a little aware that the object could not time will decide; but one cannot be attained without great sacri. \help figuring to one's-self, how fices, and he had not nerve for vastly different had been its conthe undertaking. That, brethren, dition during the last six months, who have gifts for discharging the had it possessed a presbytery, after duty to edification, should exhort the pattern of the first churches. one another and the body at large, Titus i. 5. Phil. i. 1. Acts xiv. 23. when publicly assembled together, ch. xv. 4. ch. xx. 17. We anticiniet his cordial approbation, and pate the objection that will be one evening each week was ap« 'instantaneously started, "How sball a church, that has no affluently great, and which, we can truly members, provide the means of say, often excited our admiration, support for more than one pas- His deportment in the church tor?" but the objection weighs not was strongly characterised by the a feather with us--Let them select amiable qualities of meekness, one at least, who is in a situation gentleness, patience and humility. to support himself--for if he be with the strictest truth may it be a man at all fitted for the office, it said, that he “ was with them in will be far more agreeable to him weakness, and in fear, and in much to do that, than to receive support trembling;” and with equal profrom others. Acts xx. 35. 1 Pet. priety it may be added, that is he v. 2-4. And these remarks are was gentle among them, even as a equally applicable to the rest of nurse cherisheth her children." the Baptist churches!
Every member shared his affection But whatever may be said of and his prayers; and few ministhe radical defects in the constitu- ters could with more consistency tion and order of the church, it appropriate the words of the will not be denied by any one, apostle, “Who is weak and I am that, in discharging the duties of not weakm-who is offended and his official station, Mr. Austin was I burn not ?" Though very averse very exemplary. In his public to a gossiping style of visiting, doctrine he exhibited “a pattern the moment he heard of indisposiof uneorruptness, gravity, sin- tion or distress in the family of cerity-sound speech which could any of his friends, his attentions not be condemned:” and in this res were prompt, and his sympathy pect, too, be formed a striking con- unfeigned. He mixed very little trast to many of his brethren in the with the world, but devoted himministry. Deeply impressed with self most unreservedly to the disthe importance of the message he charge of the duties which debad to deliver, there was no dis-volved upon him from the station play of greatness about him, no in which the exalted head of the effort to shine; the first object of church had placed him, “ pursuhis regard was to present to the ing the noiseless tenour of his minds of his hearers, the doctrine way,” amidst a variety of difficul. of the everlasting gospel, in lan- ties, both from within and from guage the most plain and easy of without, but encouraged by the comprehension that he could select, success with which his ministry without obtruding his own impor- was crowned, and cheered with tant self on their consideration. the animating prospect of being He was indeed well content to be enabled through grace, to render nothing, that “ Christ might be all in his account with joy, to the in all." Yet his discourses were Chief Shepherd and Bishop of never common-place effusions; far souls. The duties which he enless were they crude and incohe forced upon others he was always rent rhapsodies: but the result of solicitous to exemplify in his own a diligent study of the holy scrip- conduct; and though a most tures, and consequently they always strenuous advocate for the doccommanded the attention of his trine of the free justification of the audience; and there was this sin- ungodly though faith in the gularity attending them, that we blood of the Lamb, no man could do not remember to have ever contend more pointedly for the wished them shorter. He rarely holy influence of the gospel. It descended below his own standard was his constant prayer, as he told in preaching, but he sometimes the writer of this Memoir, that rose to things that were uncommon. God would rather take him out of