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said in reply to it ; they consequently view the subject througt a partial and distorted medium.
But what should we say of a judge who examined no witnesses except those who were on the same side ?
We should have no hesitation in declaring that he perverted the administration of justice, and was unfit for his office; and yet precisely the same thing is practised every day in theological controversies. The great bane of our church," he observed, " is prejudice : many believe without evidence, and decide without inquiry. Still, the spirit of improvement is perceptible, and religion considerably on the increase.”
I asked him, “how we were to reconcile the increase of religion with the acknowledged growth of crime, as evinced in our courts of justice?" He answered—“ Both are true. are becoming worse, and good men better. The first are ripening for judgment, the latter for glory. The increase of wickedness is, in this respect, a proof of the increase of religion. "The devil is wroth, knowing that his time is short.'”
The reader will here probably wish to know what were his views of the Millennium ; and how far he concurred in some modern interpretations of prophecy. On this subject he had not come to any decided conclusion : he was merely accustomed to observe, that in the first four centuries, such a belief was known to have prevailed. He was generally of opinion, that the time of great judgments was at hand; and that all human institutions, both governments and churches, would have to undergo some great purifying process ;—that what was wrong in either must be rectified ; that much, probably, would be accomplished in the way of improvement, by the advancing spirit of the age ; and that when this spirit was resisted, a series of divine judgments (or God's controversy with the nations,) would level all abuses in the dust; when a new and better order of things would arise, and Christianity become a dispensation of universal holiness and peace.
Some other remarks deserve to be recorded.
“What is the mode of proceeding,” I said to him, “which is most likely to promote the best interests of our own church?”
“ That,” he replied, “which is least calculated to make Dissenters.”
“ And what will best answer that description ?" “ Preaching the Gospel."
Speaking on the subject of Sermons, “ some preachers,” he observed, are defective in one most essential part of a dis
They insist with much earnestness, on the necessity of holiness, of abstaining from sin, of loving God, and
keeping his commandments; but they never tell their people how all this is to be done. They leave out the characteristic feature of the Gospel, viz. the great end for which the Saviour came into the world, which was to raise man fallen creature ; to bring him into a state of peace and fel. lowship with God; and to impart to him new powers and faculties for his service. The doctrine of the atonement, and the operations of the Holy Spirit, are not clearly and prominently stated. i hey do not uníold the grand scheme of redemption in its sufficiency and fullness; its length, and breadth, and height, and depth. What is the consequence ? ple derive no benefit from this kind of preaching; and then ministers wonder that their parishes are entered by Methodists and Dissenters !” "How are they to be led.” I asked, “to see their error ?” They should suspect,” he replied that all is not right, when they thus see their flock deserting them ; and that a doctrine cannot be sound, which empties the Church and fills the Meeting House. A minister under these circumstances,
if he be sincere and truly conscientious, will pray to God with holy fervency to lead him to correct and just views of divine truth, and to open his mind and heart to receive them. And no one,” he continued, “ can be often on his bended knees, imploring the wisdou from above, without being taught of God; fur he has distinctly promised to give his Holy Spirit, to them that ask him.''
In the summer of 1826, Mr. Richmond attended the Norwich anniversaries; which were the last of his public labours ; and to which a brief allusion is made in the following letter to his son.
My ever dear H—,—The Jews' meeting was the largest and most interesting of all the three; and the accession of regard and approbation from a great many who had hitherto been less favourably disposed, was a gratifying event. I had on Saturday a most affecting sight of near eight hundred girls, and one hundred ladies to address. It crowned the whole. Yesterday I preached at Welbourn and Yaxhan. To-day we all dine at Mr. T.'s, to meet Miss C. G., and thus will end the delightful fellowship from and at E-m, for such indeed it has been to us all. Amongst the numerous parties which I have met with, on such occasions, never have I witnessed such a scene !"
As the son, to whom the above letter is addressed, was shortly about to enter at the University, with a view to the ministry, we avail ourselves of this mention of his name, to exhibit the paternal solicitude of Mr. Richmond, with reference to that
“ My very dear Son,-The time for your destination is not far off, and the word of counsel becomes the more appropriate and needful. From the day wherein you first communicated to me your thoughts and wishes about entering into the sacred ministry, my eye, my heart, my head, my conscience, my tenderest affections have been steadily fixed upon you, and your future prospects. Until that period, and while your dear brother's health permitted the hope of his becoming a minister, I had other thoughts and plans for you. Indeed I was not, until then, aware that your mind had received that impression, which now forms my most anxious hope and desire concerning you. For while I never would or could give encouragement to prospects of the ministry, unless I thought I discovered decided leadings and leanings of mind towards it, so I can truly say that my first wish for each ot' my sons in succession has been, frım their cradles, that God might fit them for that arduous, responsible, and eminent station, a minister of the Gospel of Christ, in deed and in truth. The coincidence of your making your wish known to me at the very period when the lamp of life and hope began to fade, as it concerned your brother, and his subsequent decease, struck me as indicative of God's will respecting you. From that time I have encouraged the prospect, and neglected nothing intentionally which might further your education for that sacred office ; ever at the same time watching attentively your general disposition towards Christian experience, knowledge, and conduct. For a man must first be a true Christian before he can be a true minister. It was with this view that I requested Mr. A. to give you a weekly religious exercise. From the day that a youth, on Christian principles, is devoted to the ministry, he ought to become a divinity student, and all his studies should bend to the one grand object. However valuable in their proper place and connexion, yet independently of that connexion, classical, mathematical, philosophical, moral, logical, and belles lettres, and literature, all sink to nothing, and only wean the mind from God and Christ. When the heart is right in divine matters, then all other things will become so likewise. The next thing to be considered in your case, was the usual connexion between the clerical office and a university residence and degree. This has presented a twofold difficulty to my consideration. The first is the doubt and fear, lest the atmosphere of a college life, so unpropitious, alike in its gay and its literary habits, to the formation and growth of Christian piety, might endanger the simplicity and stability of your Christian character. This is, however, in a measure overruled by the hope connected with the influence of good Mr. S- 's ministry, and the number of serious young men, from amongst whom, and amongst whom alone, I trust, a few confidential and profitable intimates would be chosen. Nothing would induce me to send you to college, if I did not rely on your maintaining, both outwardly and inwardly, a decidedly Christian walk and profession, regardless alike of the sneers of the scoffer, and the dissipated influence of undecided (however agreeable) compani ns. It should be observed that my name stands in a peculiar and somewhat conspicuous point of view ; and my son's name would be in several ways connected with the publicity of his father's character. On these subjects I should endeavour to give you hereafter more detailed advice, if you were to become a collegian. In that case I must commit you to the grace of God, and
you night and day to be preserved blameless and pure. The second difficulty connected with a college education has been its expense.
“Remember that your religious attainments are my first object, your literary my second. May both go safely hand in hand together.
“ And now, take my blessing. You are three sons in one to me.
Accept a triple blessing, and may the great Three in One confirm it. Your welfare lies
close my beart-your prospects in the ministry, if your life be spared, affect me greatly. I would far sooner hear you preach a gospel sermon from your heart, and visit the bed-side of a sick parishioner, with the language of experimental consolation, than see you senior wrangler and medallist, with a cold heart and unconverted soul. Think not that I undervalue useful or ornamental literature; for although I regret the monopoly of time and labour, which an artificial and very partial sort of literary acquirements occasion, in our collegiate courses ; and while I still more regret the neglect of a theological and religious education, as so prominent a blot in our university plans; yet I wish every clergyman to be a well-informed man, having a mind stored with useful literature, every particle of which should be consecrated to the study of the Bible and the souls of men. It is a great comfort that notwithstanding the paralyzing influence of sensuality and idleness on the one hand, and of mere human learning and books on the
other, God has a chosen people in the university, who are walking in the narrow way that leads to eternal life. If you should go to college, may you ever be found with such, and not with those who bring their fathers' gray hairs with sorrow to the grave; for such would soon be my lot, if you, my loved son, were to fall away from the earnest hopes wbich I have formed concerning you. Be much in prayer--constantly study your Bible. Read daily some experimental and devotional books.
Converse occasionally on the care and conduct of the soul. Remember the poor Christians, and when you can, visit and converse with them, as C. does. This is the true school of divinity. It was mine before you; may it be yours after me."
After the Norwich Anniversaries, Mr. Richmond proceeded to Cromer, a bathing place in Norfolk, for the benefit of his health. He had for some time laboured under an affection of the lungs, which no change of air or power of medicine had hitherto succeeded in removing; though he experienced a temporary revival of strength and spirits by his excursion, and returned home with improved health.
But the scenes of his former afflictions renewed the depression of his spirits. Amidst the affectionate welcomes of his family, he seemed to feel yet more keenly the absence of his departed son. He would say,
"No time nor succession of events can wean my affections from the chancel vault.” Though increased tenderness marked his intercourse with his remaining children, his heart still wept over his beloved Wilberforce. There was a visible change in his appearance, and his family felt cause for alarm. He said little, but his mind seemed to be greatly exercised. He sometimes repaired to the grave of his son; remaining long, absorbed in his own reflections. The silence and solitude of this hallowed spot soothed and comforted his mind : “ the waters of healing issued from the sanctuary," and he probably delighted to contemplate the blessedness of the eternal world, in such immediate connexion with his own dear
On one occasion, accompanied by his daughter, he sat nearly an hour in deep musing, without lifting his eyes from the stone that covered the beloved remains. At length rising, he exclaimed—“Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ !"
The writer of this Memoir was requested by his family to converse with him on the subject of his sorrows. After a few expressions of cordial sympathy, “My dear friend,” I said, " you are indulging a grief beyond its proper bounds, and con