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where Samuel presided. Instead of recourse to arms, he seeks the advice and prayers of that man of God, who had assured him of the throne of Israel. Here the blood-hounds of Saul pursue and find him; but, behold the power of God! they are turned into lambs; for "when the messengers of Saul saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied." Surprizing change! It is good to "wait at Wisdom's gates, and watch at the posts of her doors," for there, frequently, "the Lord commands the blessing," even upon those led there by curiosity, yea, by malice. Hardened Saul, unconvinced, unsubdued, sends a second, and a third, set of messengers; the event is the same; they are restrained, and they also unite with the sacred college in sentiments of piety and praise. At length Saul, probably suspicious of the fidelity of his servants, or charging them with weakness and enthusiasm, undertakes the task himself; when, lo! before he reaches the place, he also begins to prophecy; strips off his royal, or military garb, and, prostrate on the ground for a whole day and a whole night, is constrained, by a supernatural ecstacy, to becoine a prophet too. Well might a proverbial phrase take its rise from this strange event! Is Saul also among the Prophets?
Too often, alas, the proverb is literally verified. Men, carnal and wicked as Saul, thrust themselves into the sacred office; perhaps obtain gifts, popularity, and success: they are changed, but not sanctified. But the use we would make of this striking story is this, It shews the power of God's Spirit over the spirits of men let them rage and threaten as much as they please, they are altogether at the Lord's disposal. "Their hearts are in his hand, and he turneth them, as the rivers of water, whitherso ever he will." He is at no loss to make the wrath of man to praise him, or to restrain it at his pleasure. Let us apply this to the present state of our threatened country, and let it be an argument for confidence in God.
ENQUIRY CONCERNING THE SAMARITANS.
THERE is a curious account, in "Lewis's Antiquities of the Hebrew republic," respecting the modern Samaritans. He has first given a confession of faith, sent by their high priest Eleazar, in the name of the Synagogue of Sichem, to the great Scaliger, about the year 590*. Mr. Jones, of Tewksbury, intimates, that they sent two letters to Scaliger +: but I would wish principally to excite the attention of the most curious of your readers, to a letter sent from the Samaritans of Sichem, about a century later, to their brethren in England ‡; by which
Lewis, vol. III. chap. xii. p. 57.
Mosem & Aaronem. chap. xiii. p. 60-65.
+ MS. Notæ in Goodwini Lewis has inserted the whole Letter, vol. III,
appears, that a number of Samaritans were then resident, and had a synagogue in London. This letter was sent by the hands of Dr. Huntingdon, who had visited Sichem; and gave the Samaritans an account of their English brethren. The former says, "That R. Huntingdon, an uncircumcised, is arrived here from Europe, and has acquainted us, that you are a great people, composed of men, pure and holy, like ourselves; and. that you have sent him to desire of us a Copy of the Law; to whom we would not give credit, till he had written before us some characters of the holy language, in order to assure you that we have the same Mosaic religion that you profess." Never having been able to get any farther information of these English Samaritans, nor to get the sight of Dr. Huntingdon's Letters, I should be much gratified if any of your correspondents can impart any information concerning them.
Are there any particulars concerning a synagogue of Samaritans meeting in London, towards the close of the seventeenth century? when did they come into England? and do any of them yet remain? Or, was it a mere artifice of Dr. Huntingdon, to obtain a copy of the Pentateuch from the Samaritans at Sichem, by intimating to them, that there were a people in England who worshipped the same God; and wished for a copy of their law? I lately began to suspect this may have been the case, though Lewis gives no intimation of the kind.
Dr. Huntingdon was made Bishop of Rapho, in Ireland; but died twelve days after his consecration, in the year 1701. He had been, in earlier life, chaplain at Aleppo, from 1670 to 1681, and travelled through Galilee and Samaria; at which time it was, I suppose, that he visited Sichem, and there obtained a copy of the Samaritan Pentateuch, and two other books, to be conveyed to their brethren in England; from whom they, in return, asked for a copy of the Book of Joshua. Lampe, in his Commentary on John, refers to Dr. Huntingdon's Letters, as published in 1704; and afterwards mentions the Letter of the Samaritans to their English Brethren . S. C. P. 735.
Vol. I. p. 710.
A PERSON meets another returning, after having heard a popular preacher, and says to him, " Well, I hope you have been highly gratified?" Indeed I have;' replied the other. Iwish I could have prevailed on you to hear him; 1 am sure you would never have relished any other preacher afterwards.' "Then," returned the wiser Christian, "I am determined I never will hear him; for I wish to hear such a preacher as will give me so high a relish and esteem for the word of God, that I shall receive it with greater eagerness and delight whenever it is delivered. J. B.
MR. B. STENNETT,
WAS born at Torling, in Essex, March 18, 1752. His father was a useful minister in that place; and descended from a family which, for near a century, had honourably supported the ministerial charac
His mother likewise was the daughter of a pious minister, at Colchester. Sprung from a family devoted to the service of the sanctuary, we cannot wonder that his parents wished to have trained him up for the same work; but the death of his worthy parent, who left a widow and three young children to lament his loss, frustrated this design. His son Benjamin was then only nine years old; but in the year 1762, Dr. Stennett and his sisters brought him to London, and put him to business.
Like most Christians who have been favoured with a religious education, he was the subject of early convictions. He was often, when quite a child, affected much under the word; but he soon relapsed into a state of indifference, and left a convincing proof that the word had as yet found no place in him. In his twenty-fourth year, intending a Sabbath-Day's pleasure, he hired a horse to go to Enfield: the horse was very spirited; but went well till he got to Tottenham, when he ran up to a carriage with such-violence, that his rider was very near having his leg broke. However, he threw it off the saddle, and stood in the other stirrup. While thus endeavouring to extricate himself, his spur struck the horse, who ran off, and dragged him for some yards with his head to the ground, when providentially his leg got loose. He was taken up much hurt; but a surgeon having dressed the wound, he was at last got to town. During this illness, he says, "My feelings, at the time of the accident, were brought to my recollection. The horse dragged me, my eyes striking fire: ~1
was on the brink of eternity. Had my wounds been fatal, I must have perished for ever. All this struck me so forcibly one night in bed, that I'wept sorely, and proposed to myself a new way of life. I read the Bible, and prayed constantly every night for a month; but all this was conviction only. I re. turned again to pleasure and vanity." Thus, as the messages of grace had been neglected, the ter rors of an immediate prospect of death were equally unsuccessful: nor was it till some time after he was married that he was brought in earnest to seek the God of his mercies. Of this, he speaks thus: "In July, 1780, my sister Susanna, came to town to assist my dear wife during her confinement. Os the first evening I read a chapter; when she immediately said, "What, brother, do you neglect prayer? This much affected me; and I had the most dreadful sight of my lost state. Soon, after, a dear friend came; and I opened my mind to her. She told me that the blood of Christ was sufficient to cleanse from all sin; and urged me not to give way to unbelief, to which the Tempter was persuading me. From that time I endeavoured to take courage, and began to find comfort from the words of peace in the gospel."
Since this period, he appears to have been deeply affected with the mercy of God; and regarded himself as such a miracle of grace, that he felt the utmost humility while taking encouragement from the promises of God. In August he joined the church in Little Wild Street, then under the care of Dr. Stennett. In this church he was a. worthy member for near twenty-one years, when some arrangements taking place which did not meet his views, he was dismissed to the church in Dean Street, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Button; where he continued highly respected till his des
On Wednesday, April 10, 1803, he had symptoms of a violent bilious complaint; but no immediate danger was apprehended till Monday. On Tuesday it was too evident to admit of doubt, that a mortification had taken place; and Mrs. Stennett was informed of it. About hoon she was enabled to tell him of it. He replied, "It is all well!" For you, my dear,' said she, it may; but for me,' He said, "Yes, my dear, for you too; and I trust you will be enabled to say so, and to put your trust in God, who will fulfil his promises. Remember, "thy Maker is thy hus band; the Lord of Hosts is his name." Yes; he will be a Father to my children, and a Husband to you!" Cat you,' said she, so easily resign us?' He sweetly answered, "Flesh and blood cannot do it; but I know in whom I have believed. I can leave you in the hands of a faithful God." He enquired, How long it was supposed he should continue? Being told that the apothecary thought twenty-four hours would determine, he said to Mrs. Stennett, "My dear, do not deceive yourself. My complaint is too near my heart :
I shall not live twelve." He then conversed with the greatest composure; and observed, that the calm he now felt arose from a full persuasion that he was interested in the atonement made by Christ for sinners. In the course of the afternoon, he spoke very affectionately to several friends, often repeating, He hath loved me, and washed me from my sins in his own blood." He was scarcely silent through the remainder of the day; — and when it was observed to him, That he had not been used to preach, tho' now, at his death, he was become a preacher, he replied, My time is short; and I wish to say all I can for God." He looked several times very earnestly at Mrs. Stennett, and said, “Oh, my dear, the last!" She said, The Lord will not leave you.' He replied, It is sometimes a hard struggle; but at even-tide it will be light."
Mr. Button called, conversed and prayed with him; and went away rejoicing on his account: and as he did not expect to see Mr.Button any more, he begged a friend to say that he wished him to improve the event, by preaching from 1 Johni. 7, "The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." In the evening, Mr. Brooksbank came in. Before he went to prayer, Mrs. Stennett asked the deceased, What he should pray for? looked earnestly at her, and said, "He can ask nothing for me but what I shall be in full possession of very soon; but let him pray, if it would please God, to grant me an easy dismission." Expressing much affection for Mr. Brooksbank, he afterwards requested that he might preach from Acts iv. 12, "Neither is there salvation in any other." Seeing Mrs. Stennett overwhelmed with grief, he said, “Pray, my love, endeavour to compose your spirits." She exclaimed, What a task!' He replied, "I wish it, my dear, for your own sake, and that of the dear children; but if that is not enough, pray do it for my sake! It would give me great pleasure," said he, "to see all my dear children before I die; but that cannot be*. The Lord's will be done!" He then addressed four of his children who were at home, in the most affectionate and solemn manner. - Mrs. Stennett left the room, while the youngest child was taken to him, a little boy, three years old, of whom he was passionately fond. He expressed a desire to see all the fainily; and spoke to them, individually, of the pleasures of religion, exhorting them to choose that good part which should never be taken from them.
He continued sensible till about one o'clock on Wednesday; and expired about twenty minutes afterwards, without a struggle or a groan, April 27, 1803, aged fitty
In his dying moments, he appears to have been peculiarly favoured. From some expressions, it would seem that he had very
His eldest son, Mr. S. Stennett, has for some time been in Dublin, preaching to the Baptist congregation meeting in Switt's Alley
clear manifestations of heavenly happiness. Once he was heard to whisper, with great earnestness, "I am coming, - I am coming!" When asked what he meant, he replied, "I thought I heard a voice, saying, Come up hither.” Yet, at the same time, he disco. vered the most perfect rationality, and knew all who spoke to him as well as in any part of his life.
Though he moved not in any public sphere, yet in private life, his character was marked with a good degree of respectability and usefulness. The strictest integrity was manifested in all his conduct, combined with the greatest generosity. His equanimity of mind in bearing troubles, was truly remarkable; especially as it was connected with that sympathetic benevolence which could weep with those that wept, and rejoice with those that rejoiced.
RECENT DEATHS OF MINISTERS. JULY 21, 1803, died at Trow bridge, the Rev Nic. Cross, in the seventy-second year of his age la the year 1780, he resigned his charge, through growing infirmi ties, after having been near thirty years Minister of the Independent congregation in that town. the 28th, his remains were interred in the family vault in the Meetinghouse Yard, his pall being borne by six ministers; and his funeral sermon was preached by his successor, from Heb. vi. 19.
Also, more recently, the Rev. and aged Mr. Allison, of Ponder's End. Also the Rev. Mr. Brown, of Harlow.
Nov. 3, died suddenly, the Rev. C. Parsons, Minister of the Gospel, at Kington, Warwickshire, aged sixty-eight. On the following Sa As a Christian, he was sincere turday, after attending his remains and consistent. His religion was to the grave, his death was im more real than ostentatious. With proved in a funeral-sermon, preachout the least tendency to enthued by Mr. Moody, of Warwick, siasm, he was zealously concerned for the spread of divine truth; and though not forward in obtruding his sentiments on others, yet when ever they were introduced, he spoke with such fervour as demonstrated the strength of his attachment to them, and his affectionate desire that others might become interested in the blessings of the gospel.
He had his failings; but few were more sensible of them than himself; and no one felt more of his own unworthiness at a throne of grace. He walked closely with God,-yet he had his fears; and perhaps many who had not half his piety, have boasted of greater confidence. He was both a Christian in heart and an exemplary Christian; for in every walk of life he adorned the doctrine of God his Saviour. How tender as a husband, how affectionate as a parent, the writer of this narrative, with the most pungent feelings can declare; and while he drops a tear at the memory of the guide of his youth, rejoices in bearing his testimony to that excellence which he has so often witnessed! : S. S.
The grief manifested by the whole village, but especially by the congregation, was nore than language can well express.
On Friday, Nov. 4, died the Rev. R. De Courcy, near thirty years Vicar of St. Alkmond's, Shrewsbury, where his ministerial labours have been abundantly blessed and owned among all sorts of people. His view of the Gospel was clear and evangelical; and he held forth the Word of Life with an energy and pathos which seldom failed to effect his congregation in the most sensible manner. - - His death is supposed to have been brought on by the bursting of a bloodvessel. His remains were interred at Shawbury, on the 9th, attended by a considerable number of his friends, who were anxious to render to his memory this last tri bute of respect.
Of several of the above ex
cellent men, we hope, in the course of the next year, to present our readers with interesting Memoirs; and shall be obliged to any of our Correspondents who may be able to assist us with materials.