« VorigeDoorgaan »
ment and discipline, though consecrated by God as a channel of salva.. tion and edification to His beloved people, is not of any saving efficacy any further than as a sanctified conveyer of Apostolical truth. Any assistance which our brethren and friends can render us in this absolutely necessary undertaking, will be most gratefully received. Selections from the most excellent treatises of our Reformers will be inserted in our pages, as a striking contrast, to expose the false theology of the present day. It is also further intended, in a series of essays, to demonstrate the Scriptural correctness of all and every part of our formularies, against the ignorant and unsanctified attacks made upon them by the Church's enemies ; in doing which, each of the so-called objections or abused passages will receive a candid examination and refutation on scriptural principles. Praying that God may bless our labours and prosper our undertaking to the advancement of his own glory, in the confirmation of the wavering, enlightening the ignorant, confirming the feeble, reproving the obstinate, exposing the wicked, describing the pharisaical, calling in the elect; in one word, benefiting the Church of Christ ; we thus send forth our first number of the New Series of the Gospel Magazine or Church of England Advocate, leaving it to the Great Head of the Church to dispose of it according to the counsels of his sovereign will and good pleasure.
A SKETCH OF THE CHARACTER AND LIFE OF THE REV. AUGUSTUS
MONTAGUE TOPLADY, B.A., LATE VICAR OF BROAD HEMBURY, DEVON.
In commencing a new series of this Periodical, which has now had an existence of about seventy years duration, we judged that it would be an acceptable introduction to its general Readers and Friends, interested in the promulgation of Divine truth, to give a portrait and sketch of the life and character of one of its first Editors, the illustrious and learned Toplady. He was the boldest and most successful advocate and defender of the Church of England she ever possessed, from the vile slanders and jesuitical insinuations of the Wesleyan dissenters. He made a grand exhibition of Divine truth on the platform of Church of England orthodoxy, which all the Pelagian sophistry in the world cannot conceal from the enlightened eye. He evinced that the doctrines of our venerable Reformers were not only adverse to the religious faction which he opposed, but also strictly consonant with the veracity of Jehovah, as developed in Divine Revelation. He clearly demonstrated that the established formularies of Christ's Church in England embraced the whole circle of apostolical truth, as commonly denominated the “ Doctrines of Grace;” and also, with equal demonstration, he established the unscriptural basis and licentious tendency of Wesleyan Pelagianism. He was a learned, devout, eloquent, and devoted clergyman of Christ's Apostolical Church in these realms. His preaching was of a superior cast-argumentative, convincing, sublime, and most spiritual. Whenever he occupied the metropolitan pulpits, the multitude who flocked to hear was so dense,
that the churches could not accommodate the half of them. In his Christian character, he was of a bold and independent spirit. There was an apostolical honesty and dignity in his soul which elevated him above any artifice, and made him superior to any unbecoming mode of behaviour. When he beheld popular men, professing an extraordinary attachment to Christianity and the Church of England, opposing the doctrines they had subscribed, his sanctified spirit took fire, and with open rebuke and scriptural argument he treated them as opposers of Divine Revelation. In fact, his punctual regard for truth distinguished him in every relation, whether public or private. The principles of sound Christianity were established in him; and as they were not merely notional or speculative, but radical and experimental, they gave a lively colour and refreshing fragrancy to all his actions and expressions, which rendered his society delightful. In St. Paul we observe all the zeal and humility of a missionary, joined to the most polished manners. This was the case with Mr. Toplady, who displayed all the honest zeal of a Christian upon conviction, was constant in season and out of season, and would have suffered martyrdom rather than to have yielded a single particle of truth, either through fear or favour. But with all this, his manners were those of the most finished gentleman, which rendered him acceptable, as such, in all companies. His talents were of the fisrt order; and it is to be lamented that his abilities and learning did not meet with a inore equal opponent than John Wesley, whose want of knowledge and religion led him into conduct most reprehensible and unchristian, and for which he received nothing but justly-merited chastisement from Mr. Toplady. And of his followers it may still
be asserted, that they are the widest dissenters from the Church of England, both in discipline and doctrine, amongst the numerous sectaries of this sectarian age.
Augustus Montague Toplady was born at Farnham, in Surrey, on the 4th of November 1740, and was baptized by the name of Augustus Montague, out of respect to two gentlemen who stood as his sponsors, receiving the christian name of the one, and the surname of the other. His father was a Mr. Richard Toplady, who was a major in the army, and died at the siege of Carthagena, soon after the birth of his son. His mother's maiden name was Catherine Bate, member of a respectable family residing in the vicinity of London. Two of her brothers were ministers in the Church of England. One of them held the rectory of St. Paul's, Deptford, and by him her marriage was solemnized, in his own church.
Mr. Toplady was sent, at a very early period of his life, to Westminster School, where he made great proficiency, discovering from the first a vigorous intellect, and by an uncommon application to study he attained a knowledge of languages which raised him above his compeers. His mother, having some title to an estate in Ireland, found it necessary, in the prosecution of her claims, to remove into that kingdom. Thither she was accompanied by her son, who was shortly after admitted a student in Trinity College, Dublin, at which University he received academical 'honours, and took his degree of Bachelor of Arts. About the sixteenth year of his age he was converted to the faith of the Gospel. After much patient investigation
of the Word of God, and the best theological Divines, especially the English Reformers, he was prepared for entering into the Christian ministry, and was accordingly ordained Deacon on Trinity Sunday, the 6th of June 1762. Having subscribed the doctrines of the Church of England, ex animo, he was prepared to preach them with a zeal and earnestness corresponding to his firm conviction of their intrinsic truth and eternal importance. In the year 1768 he became vicar of Broad Hembury, near Honiton, in Devonshire. Here he lived on a small income of not more than £80 per annum. In this situation also he composed the greatest part of his writings. In the beginning of the year 1774 a religious pamphlet was printed, called the Gospel Magazine, of which Mr. Toplady became the editor, whereby its sale was increased considerably. At length, Mr. Toplady's health and strength being impaired, he was advised to remove to London, which took place in the year 1775. His friends obtained for him the French Reformed Church in Orange-street, where he continued to preach Christ till 1778, when he was caught up into glory on the 11th of August in the same year, in the thirty-eighth year of his age, and buried on the 17th of the same month, in Tottenham Court Chapel. His writings are contained in six octavo volumes, with manuscripts enough to form a seventh. They are most invaluable treasures to private Christians, and especially to clergymen, as containing the sound doctrinal views of the Church of England, and of our Reformers. The author of this imperfect sketch prays that Mr. Toplady's writings, when perused, may be attended with the Divine blessing, and prove the means of enlightening the erroneous, and of cheering and comforting the elect people of God.
.CRISP'S VIEW OF CHRIST AS THE LORD OUR
RIGHTEOUSNESS. “ The righteousness of Christ is such, that there is a complete fulness in it to serve for every purpose, to extend itself to the utmost of every transgression. There is not so large a spreading of sinfulness but this righteousness spreads itself perfectly over all, so that none of it appears. But all the difficulty still lies—what righteousness this is of Christ that is expressed to be so full, large, and pure? For answer to this, you know there are two distinct natures in Christ; he is perfect God and complete man, and, answerably, there are two distinct righteousnesses in Christ; there is the essential righteousness of Christ, inseparable from his Godhead, and there is also the righteousness of the humanity. Now, though it is true that in respect of the ineffable union of these two natures, both these are inseparable from the
person of Christ, yet it is as true there is no more confounding of them than there is of the natures in the person ; but we must consider as distinctly the one as the other.
“ Now, the question lieth mainly in this—which of them it is which pleads the discharge of a sinner, whether the righteousness of God, simply as God, or the righteousness of the human nature ? I answer, it is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Neither God, simply consi
dered, nor the human nature, is Christ; but it is God and man, ineffably united in one, that makes up Christ. Accordingly, I say, as Christ consists of God and man jointly, so the righteousness that becomes the righteousness of Christ's people is the righteousness of both united, and not of each severally. The simple righteousness of the humanity of Christ alone is too short and narrow to cover all the filth of all the sins of all the members of Christ, and the simple essential righteousness of the Godhead alone is not communicable to the persons of men; but it is a righteousness of God-man that carries the strength of plea for the discharge of a sinner, and something from both natures must necessarily concur to the discharge of sin.
“ The righteousness of the human nature of Christ consists of two things-1, active; 2, passive obedience, in doing the will of God commanded, and in suffering the will of God imposed upon him: this, I say, is the righteousness of his human nature. God, as he is simply considered, is not capable of either of these righteousnesses; he is not capable of obedience, because there is no supreme above him to whom he should yield it ; nor of passion-he is not subject to suffer; therefore this obedience and suffering are properly the actions and passions of the human nature; yet both concur necessarily towards the discharge of a believer from sin; his active obedience in doing, his passive obedience in suffering, the will of God. Compare these things together as they stand in Romans, v. 18, 19, you shall plainly perceive that the obedience, the doing the will of God, is one branch of righteousness requisite in Christ towards the discharge of persons from their sins. • As by the offence of one man judgment came upon all men to condemnation, saith the apostle, so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all to the justification of life.' Here is a comparison, or rather an opposition, set between Adam's offence and Christ's righteousness ; as the one brought judgment, so the other brings justification and life to us;-yea, but what is that righteousness that is there spoken of, will you say? The apostle will tell you plainly—' For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many are made righteous.' Observe it well; we are made righteous. How?--by the obedience of one,
and that one is Christ. Well, but what is this obedience?-It is an obedi. ence set in opposition to Adam's disobedience. What was Adani's disobedience ?- The breach of the law. What must Christ's obedience be, then, but the fulfilling of it. So it must be certainly true, it is directly against the Gospel of Christ to exclude the active obedience of Christ from the power and share to plead out the cause of those that believe. I say, the active obedience of Christ comes in to make the plea for this discharge; and as the active, so likewise the passive obedience of Christ too. The Scripture is more full in this than in the other, because it is the complement of all, the last thing Christ went through for the discharge of the sins of his people. You shall see there is no fruit that illustrates the discharge of a person from sin; hence it is appropriated unto Christ's sufferings. If you speak of reconciliation, which consists of God's acceptance of persons, and his agreeing with them in the death of all controversy between him and them ; for that is reconciliation, when persons that were at variance are now made friends, and all things that were objected between them
are answered, and no more for one to say against another ; I you speak of this reconciliation to God, it is appropriated to the blood of Christ, as in Romans, v. 10:- If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life?' So that reconciliation, you see, is attributed to the death of Christ, that being the last act of the Son of God for man. So, again--You, who were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Here you see the same thing in substance given unto the blood of Christ, though in other words; men that were afar off, that God was at controversy with, who were at great distance from him, by the blood of Christ are made nigh again. So likewise the satisfaction that God takes for the discharge of sin, which he hath acknowledged, is said to be the travail of the soul of Christ. • He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.' The apostle speaks in the general in his epistle to the Hebrews ; without blood there is no remission of sins : Christ entered with his blood once into the Holy of Holies, and thereby he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Infinite it were to quote Scripture for the illustration of this, that to the sufferings of Christ (which are, indeed, all summed
up in the shedding of his blood, because that was the last and chief of all) all blessings are attributed, as reconciliation, adoption, &c.
Again, beloved, though it is most true that the active and passive obedience of Christ's human nature must concur to make up a right, eousness, yet both these together are not enough ; there must be something more than all this. Let me tell you, beloved, what the Holy Ghost speaks of the righteousness whereby we come to be righteous and discharged from sin ; he speaks in a higher strain than to appro, priate it to the active and passive obedience of Christ's human nature only. In Romans, X. 3, when the apostle taxeth the Jews for going about to establish their own righteousness, he taxeth them also with this, that they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God.' In 2 Cor. v. 21, . He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' I say, therefore, beloved, that the righteousness by which we attain to our discharge from sin, and the pleading out that is the righteousness of God. The righteousness that gives the full discharge to persons from sin must have something that is proper to God himself added to the human righteousness of Christ, as giving dignity to it; I say, something proper to God, that must concur with the active and passive obedience of Christ to make up a complete righteousness for the discharge of a sinner.
“Now, beloved, that righteousness which must save a person harmless must have an extent in it that
reach as far as the transgression does. Take into your consideration the transgression committed against Divine Majesty ; take the active and passive obedience of Christ as it is acted by his human nature only, it is but a created finite thing; it cannot extend to such a height as to answer in proportion to the offence of the Divine Majesty. Beloved, let it not seem strange that the very Godhead itself must confer something of its own to the active and passive righteousness of Christ to make it complete. The Divine nature gives value and virtue to the obedience and sufferings of the human nature; it adds so much as to raise up that created