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defect in Mr. Simeon's life was an attempt to get the world to fall in love with the gospel, or so to state gospel truths, that they should not offend the worldly wise and prudent. Most certainly Mr. Simeon often succeeded in this, and seems to glory in it. Notwithstanding we do not class him with those who pretend to be his followers, and who imitate his defects, but utterly disregard that which was good in him. We most fully believe Mr. Simeon to have been a child of God, and and a minister of God, but his ministry seems to have been more adapted to the babes in Christ than to those who were more advanced in the knowledge of their God and Saviour. During the latter part of his life he reached the highest pinnacle of popularity, and this is a dizzy height that few can attain to without suffering from it, and from all that we can gather, we certainly conclude that the earthen vessel was much marred towards the close of life, but still not so marred as to hinder it from still conveying the heavenly treasure, to the comfort and refreshment of many of the Lord's pilgrims. It will probably be asked by some, “ Why do you thus find fault with Mr. Simeon, when you cannot but own him as a minister of God ?” To this we answer, not so much on account of Mr. Simeon, but because of that party of which he is considered the head, and by whom he is referred to as an infallible oracle, although we fully believe that Mr. Simeon would be most thoroughly ashamed of many of those who call themselves his followers. We have heard that Huntington once observed that he well knew that after his death a sect would arise called the Huntingtonians, but of many of whom he should be thoroughly ashamed. So also Simeon would be of the Simeonites. One great device of the devil, during these last hundred years, seems to have been to fritter away and dilute the gospel statement; and he certainly has most singularly succeeded, since the general professing church of the present day has scarcely a trace left of the family likeness of the professing church of the days of Toplady, Romaine, &c. Mr. Simeon often remarked that when he found a Calvinistic text he preached a Calvinistic sermon, but when he found an Arminian text he preached an Arminian ser
Now, though we can find no Arminian text in the Bible, yet we must allow that usually when Mr. Simeon took a Calvinistic text he did preach a Calvinistic sermon, except when he attempted to guard the gospel. But it is not so with his followers, for they either never manage to find a Calvinistie text, or when they do, they try to put the Arminian poison into it. We are reminded of another remark that we heard Mr. Simeon make use of, and in which we often thought there was much wisdom; viz., “There is abundance of meat in the word of God for the children of God to feed on, and there are plenty of bones for quarrelsome dogs to fight over." Now, as dogs are certainly almost universally Arminians, it is no marvel if they are ever looking out for a contentious bone. Difficult passages and dark sayings are scattered through the Bible, “ But,” says the Lord, “My words
are plain to him that understandeth.” But who understand except those to whom the Lord gives the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and the understanding heart. When these mercies are bestowed, then former difficulties are soon cleared up. That I have not overstrained Mr. Simeon's predeliction for Arminianism will appear by the following extract from a letter to the Bishop of Llandaff, May 10th, 1822:
My object in printing the sermon preached before the University is to give to Calvinisin, as an exclusive system, a blow which I am not aware it has ever yet received.” Again, from another letter in 1825 :-“ Here are two extremes, Calvinism and Arminianism (for you need not be told how long Calvin and Arminius lived before St. Paul) 'How do you move in reference to these, Paul ? golden mean ?' 'No.' 'In one extreme ? •No. How then ? To both extremes : to-day I am a strong Calvinist; to-morrow a strong Arminian.'
Well, well, Paul, I see thou art beside thyself; go to Aristotle, and learn the golden mean.' • But, my brother, I am unfortunate; I formerly read Aristotle, and liked him much ; I have since read Paul, and caught somewhat of his strange notions ossillating (not vacillating from pole to pole.) Sometimes I am a high Calvinist, at other times a low Arminian, so that if extremes will please you, I am your man; only remember it is not one extreme that we are to go to, but both extremes." We give an extract of a letter to his own bishop, in 1809 :-"Indeed, it appears to me, my lord, that the very same doctrines may
be useful or pernicious, according as they are stated in a way crude and rash, or qualified and cautious.” Did conversion depend upon the persuadible words of man's wisdom, then qualifications and cautions might be most needful, but conversion is the Lord's work alone, according to his own sovereign will and pleasure. We are to preach the gospel, according to the ability the Lord gives, but we should ever bear in mind it has been and ever must be foolishness to the worldly wise, and that none will ever fall in love with the gospel till the Lord has drawn them with the cords of love. (See 1 Cor. i and ii. throughout.) How often do we hear of missionaries being sent out to convert the Heathen, Jews, &c.; but how incorrect and unscriptural is such an assertion. We are to preach the gospel to men, and that is all we can do; but conversion is solely of the Lord. 6. Then will I teach transgressors thyways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee." We find Mr. Simeon falls into this mistake, especially with reference to his favourite subject the Jews.
Mr. Simeon was born at Reading, 1759, and was educated at Eton, where he was extravagant and thoughtless. He went to King's College, Cambridge, in January, 1779, and was informed soon after, that he was to attend the Lord's Supper in three weeks time. This led to serious inquiry, and a deep conviction of his own unworthiness insomuch that he said Satan was as fit to attend as he was. A work
of reformation was instantly coinmenced, but his convictions deepened until the week before Easter, when the gospel way of salvation burst on his view. “Whilst reading Bishop Wilson on the Lord's Supper, I met with an expression to this effect, “That the Jews knew what they did when they transferred their sin to the head of their offering.' The thought rushed into my mind, What! may I transfer all my guilt to another ? Has God provided an offering for me, that I may lay my sins on his head ? Then, God willing, I will not bear them on my own soul one moment longer. Accordingly, I sought to lay my sins upon the sacred head of Jesus ; and on the Wednesday began to have a hope of mercy; on the Thursday that hope increased ; on the Friday and Saturday it became more strong; and on the Suuday (Easterday, April 4th) I awoke early with these words upon my heart and lips, Jesus Christ is risen to-day ; Hallelujah! Hallelujah!'” During the time (the three years of his college life) Mr. Simeon did not become acquainted with any religious persons, and though there seems to have been a decided change wrought in him; yet in many particulars, such as concerts, &c., he conformed very much to the world. He mentions having read Hervey's works, whose views on the assurance of faith were a great stumbling-block to him, until he was brought to consider “Faith as a duty, but assurance a privilege.” This strange notion he continued to hold throughout his life, and we were somewhat surprised to find that he so strenuously advocated a duty faith. Shortly before his ordination he became acquainted with Mr. Venn, of Yelling, whose acquaintance seems to have been of the greatest advantage to Mr. Simeon, and his memory was ardently cherished by him to the last. He was presented to the living of Trinity Church, Cambridge, in 1782, and continued to minister there 54 years, till his death, which occurred in 1836. During the former part of this time he endured much opposition and persecution both from the parishioners and the members of the University, so that at times he had need of being guarded by constables; but during the latter years of his life the very reverse happened to him, for he was courted and caressed by all parties. However, we certainly must consider that in every way he flourished much more under the frowns than under the smiles of the world. In May, 1834, after a scvere illness, in which his life had been despaired of, we find him thus writing to a friend :-"I am, I feel I am, a brand plucked out of the burning. But, oh! what dreadful marks of the fire upon me to this hour! None but infinite power could ever fit it for a place in His temple. I do believe God's power sufficient; and I believe the whole plan which infinite wisdom has devised for the accomplishment of this great object is sufficient for the attainment of it. But I cannot forget what I am; I do not desire to forget what I am ; I am even, so to speak, satisfied with being what I am, that God may be the more glorified.” About the same time he writes thus to the Bishop of Calcutta :-"You will ask
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me, perhaps, what was my frame of mind during this state of nearness to the eternal world? And I am happy to say that I found my principles quite able to sustain me." We were certainly somewhat startled at the expression of his principles sustaining him. Hawker would have rather said, “I found my precious Jesus able to sustain me. However, Mr. Simeon proceeds :
“I have taught others that there is not so much as a sparrow that falls to the ground without our heavenly Father's special appointment, nor any one thing which shall not work for the good of His chosen people; and these things I was so enabled to realize, as to have my soul kept in perfect peace. Throughout the whole time, I was strengthened to rest on God as my Covenant God, and Father, and to believe that His covenant was ordered in all things and sure.'
As for the joyful anticipations of the blessedness of heaven, neither the habits of my mind, nor the state of my body, nor, indeed, the character of my religion (the religion of a sinner at the foot of the cross) led to them; to be kept in perfect peace was more in accordance with my wishes, and that mercy God richly vouchsafed unto me; and I hope that if restored to any measure of health and strength, I shall be enabled more than ever to live for God, and to the glory of his great name.
In a word, I felt, and do feel, that in God, and in God alone, I have all that I can need; and therefore my eyes are turned to Him always-Him exclusively-Him without a shadow of a doubt. Were I to look at him through the medium of my own experience, it would be like looking at the sun through the medium of the waters; the sun, in that case, would appear to move as the water undulates ; whereas, when viewed in Himself alone, He is uniformly and steadily the same, without any variableness or the shadow of turning."
From the above extracts, together with that we shall now give from his experience during his last illness in November, 1836, we conclude, without the shadow of a doubt, that Mr. Simeon was resting on the Rock of Ages, and therefore part of that building which is builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. wish to be alone with my God, and to lie before Him as a poor, wretched, hell-deserving sinner-yes, as a poor, hell-deserving sinner; (then very slowly and calmly) but I would also look to Him as my all-forgiving God-and as my all-sufficient God and as my allatoning God—and as my covenant-keeping God. There I would lie before him as the vilest of the vile, and the lowest of the low, and the poorest of the poor.
I look as the chief of sinners, for the mercy of God in Christ Jesus to life eternal; and I lie adoring the sovereignty of God in choosing such an one, and the mercy of God in pardoning such an one, and the patience of God in bearing with such an one, and the faithfulness of God in perfecting his work and performing all his promises to such an one.
Mr. Simeon was one of the chief movers in the formation of the
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different societies, but what he considered one of the most important employments of his life was the purchasing the Presentation of Livings. In this he spent much of his own fortune, and was also most materially assisted by many of his friends. With reference, however, to the appointment of persons to these benefices as they became vacant, many have very much doubted Mr. Simeon's wisdom and discernment. It seems, however, an undoubted fact that he inclined more to the Arminian than the Calvinistic school, but his trustees have done so much more decidedly. We never recollect hearing what would be called a high Calvinist in Mr. Simeon's pulpit, but we have heard many tremendously low Arminians. We believe that many
who call themseives of the Simeonite school would much rather admit a Socinian into their pulpits than one who takes a higher standard of doctrine than themselves.
We have dwelt longer upon this life than we should have done, on account of the very important position that Mr. Simeon occupied in the movements of the religious world, and because he is looked up to as a kind of infallible oracle by the professors of the day.
We shall conclude with Mr. Simeon's account of hearing Dr. Hawker, in 1807 :—"The Doctor read prayers well, though with some eccentric starts ; and he preached on 2 Cor. iii. 18. Mr. E-and myself were in perfect astonishment at his volubility of tongue and strength of voice. He dwelt much on the glory of Christ, and spoke many excellent things; but there was no particular order or affinity to the text, so that though we admired much that we heard, we could not carry much away. He observed that the Commandments were written on our altar-pieces in order to remind people that Christ was the end of the Law for righteousness unto them that believe. Being apprized that Mr. E and myself were intending to stay the evening service, he invited us to tea, and we had a profitable conversation with him." After describing the great peculiarities in his manner of conducting the evening service, Mr. Simeon adds :“ After all, there was more to admire in some respects, and to disapprove of in others, than I ever saw or heard before. His reading and preaching, if divested of eccentricity, would be excellent; and, at all events, he is well calculated to attract attention and to do good, though I fear he is the means of promoting a very bad spirit and not a little error amongst the greater portion of his hearers."