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MEMOIR OF REV. JOSHUA SYMONDS.
AMONGST the articles of neg- the subject. In the case of Mr. lected Biography may be noticed Symonds, Sen. it had no such that of the late Rev. Joshua Sy- disgusting effect; his children, monds, many years pastor of the two sons and three daughters, church assembling at the Old were like their parents eminent Meeting-house, Bedford : a re- for piety, and even spoke with mote successor of John Bunyan, gratitude and affection of those and the intimate friend and cor- who thus led them in early life to respondent of Newton, Scott, serve and fear the Lord. Howard, Ryland, Sutcliff, and Joshua, the subject of the preFuller, and an indefatigable la sent Memoir, commenced in his bourer in the Lord's vineyard at youthful days a record of his reBedford twenty-one years.
ligious experience, which he Mr.Symonds was born at Kid- continued till within a few weeks derminster, (the nursery of piety of his death, and many very at that day) on January 23, heart-searching views of his own 1739. His father was an apo- mind he has noted down ; thecary, and a man eminent for which no doubt from the comgodliness, as his ancestors had mencement of this practice led been for time immemorial. The to a serious and correspondent late Mr. Joseph Williams speaks deportment,influencing his friends of him in his diary as one of the to a decision in concluding hé most eminent christians of his one who ought to qualify day. He was remarkably strict himself for the christian ministry. in the education of his children, It was originally intended he training them up in the fear of should be a farmer, and for this the Lord; and he was especially purpose he resided from the age careful that the whole of the Sab- of fourteen to twenty-one with va. bath should be spent in the exer- rious agriculturists in Shropshire, cises of religion, either public, Herefordshire, and Worcestersocial, or private. He did not shire, in order to improve him. adopt the neutralizing opinion too self in farming. Whilst in the prevalent amongst professors of neighbourhood of Bromsgrove, the present day, that such a strict Worcestershire, he joined the observance of the Sabbath only church in that town, (under the tends to disgust young people; pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. an opinion it is to be feared too Jenkins,) when about eighteen often adapted as an excuse for years of age. Whilst he was octhe parents own indifference on cupied in agricultural pursuits, VOL. XV.
be experienced several remark- this matter, entreating of the able deliverances when his life Lord it might be prevented was in danger; all of which made if not according to his will, a suitable and abiding impression or otherwise that he would on his mind.
I powerfully incline and bend my The late Rev. Gervas Wilde, heart in it. I also applied to my then an Independent Minister of pastor, the Rev. Mr. Jenkins, for Cumsham, Birmingham, appears advice, and had a great deal of to be the person who first parti- talk with my dear and honoured cularly pressed upon Mr.Symonds father about it.” All this brought the duty of turning his mind to on the good old way of doing serious views of the ministry. things, for Mr. Symonds goes on April 21, 1760, Mr. Symonds to state; “ At last we concluded writes, “ About a fortnight ago Ifor some of my christian friends was in company with that pious to meet at West Bromwich, and and valuable servant of Christ, there unite together in beseeching the Rev. G. Wilde; after we had the Lord to show his will conbeen conversing together some cerning me. Accordingly, last little time, he moved a matter to Wednesday, the Rev. G. Wilde, me, wbich for some time I had Messrs. Walker and Horton of not the least thought of. "I Bromwich, my father and myself, think (observed Mr. Wilde) you met at Mr. Walker's, to commend should go to London, there to the affair to an all-wise and graprepare yourself by academicalcious God, and blessed be his studies to enter upon the work of name it was a time of love to my the ministry. Being somewhat soul-my heart was exceedingly surprised, I asked him how he affected, (I hope by the Divine could think of it, stating at the Spirit,) especially when I engaged same time I was so conscious of in prayer. -We thus left the matmy unfitness for it, I could not ter to Divine direction, in a way think of undertaking that great of earnest supplication.”—Two work. However, he still pressed more special prayer - meetings the subject, and answered some were held on the occasion; one objections I made to it, observing at Bromsgrove, and another at also how my way was shut up as West Bromwich-whilst many an to the employment of husbandry, ardent supplication rose in secret my strength not being sufficient from his own heart, accompanied for the labour required; that as with very humbling views of his to my usefulness, I must look to insufficiency for the work. The God to prepare me for the work; result of all was the decided conthat he should not urge me to it viction of his friends that he if I thought myself sufficient as of should engage in the work of the myself. I still paid little regard ministry, and the preparatory to what he said till the morrow steps taken to obtain bis admismorning, when the thing was sion as a student in the academy deeply impressed on my mind, at Mile Eod, under the superinand as I was returning home to tendance at that time of Dr. Kidderminster I burst into a Conder, &c. flood of tears at the consideration Sept. 1, 1760, was the day apof what had occurred; I was pointed for his examination before much enlarged that morning in ibe Committee of the King's-head begging Divine direction about Society; in reference to this be
writes, “ But O, my soul, how and with delight to those engaged unequal am I to the awful, ardu- on the occasion. During his reous work! Ah, where is my suffi- sidence at the Academy, he was ciency? O not in myself, but not only diligent in the acquisi. blessed be God there is a suffi. tion of knowledge, but was anxi. ciency, yea, all-sufficiency, in ous that increase of learning Jesus Christ, the great Head of should produce increased sancti. the church, who holds his minis
“ Last night he was conversed with ters in his right hand, and walks by six of the Society; I went into the in the midst of the golden candle room just as they had finished the consticks; I humbly hope he is my withdrawn they told me they had not all in all; to him therefore let me
received such pleasure and satisfacapply, upon him depend, and tion in conversing with any young man expect all from him that I stand proposed a long while. He gave such in need of. O for the teachings a solid, judicious, and entertaining acof the Holy Spirit! for it is no
count of himself, that he prevented matter how weak the learner, if there was so much modesty and humi
their asking him many questions; and he is the teacher."-Previons to lity ran through his account, that they his leaving home for London, were highly delighted with him. One other prayer-meetings were held
of the gentlemen, a man of considera
ble judgment in the best things, was so on his account, and his own mind pleased, that he said, “This young was exercised with much anxious man has given us a sermon; I dare solicitude in reference to the path say when he comes out into the minis. of duty. All this is
try he will preach without notes.' I
do assure teristic of the seriousness with
you, my good friend, I was
so affected with their pleasing opinion which christians of that day en. of him, that I could not forbear tears. gaged in the important concerns
-After this conversation, the report of the sanctuary.
was made immediately to the Society,
who were assembled in another room, September, 1759, he arrived in upon which they were all so pleased London, and passed his examina- that he was unanimously voted into tion,* with miich credit to himself the Academy for three months, for trial
of his abilities; then he was called in * On this occasion, the late Rev. and addressed by Mr. Webb the mi. and pious Richard Winter wrote to his nister, (who was the chairman for the father, Mr. John Symonds of Kidder- night, and one who examined him,) in minster, the following satisfactory a short religious speech, and so disepistle.
missed. I suppose your son will send London, Cursitor-street, you other particulars, but I could not
Sept. 10, 1760. help writing these things, because you DEAR SIR, – I received yours by your have an answer to prayer in this matson, and return you thanks for your ter, and great reason to rejoice in a kind wishes. It is a pleasure to me
covenant God. I think I now see tears to be doing good, that God may be glo- of joy trickling down your cheeks, and rified. With respect to what you hint a strong desire in your heart to hasten at the close of your letter, I am per into some retired place, to return suaded, as far as I am able to judge, praise to God for this his goodness to there will be no unbecoming freedom you and yours. I cannot but add, taken'with your son. I cannot help your son, the first days he has been in observing, what I have often observed my house, has behaved so well that he before, that the word jesting, in Eph. has endeared himself to me and mine. v. 4, might better be rendered scurri. Please to inform Mr. Fawcett of these lity, for there is such a thing as a law. things, and as many more christian ful, just, and innocent pleasantry. friends as you please, that they may However, this I can say, that I know join in thanksgiving to God. Our hearty of nothing at the Academy that will respects to yourself and family. be an hindrance; but there are many
I am, dear Sir, things that are likely to prove helps to
Yours very affectionately, him.
fication of beart, and was more rance* sets about analyzing these careful than ever to walk closely expressions of Deity, he says, with God, examining constantly “Where is the promise of his the state of his beart, with a coming? for since the fathers watchful jealousy, mourning over fell asleep, all things continue as the first symptoms of declension, they were from the beginning of and not ceasing to wrestle in the creation.” 2 Pet. iii. 4. prayer, till the love of God was A second mode of speaking in renewed with vigour in bis soul. the style of Deity is adverted to (To be continued.)
by the Apostle Paul when he says that God “ calleth those things
which are not as though they The Range of the Figurative were.” Rom. iv. 17. This defiLanguage of Scripture con-vious application to the prophecy
nition was furnished from its obtinued.
the Apostle had just quoted: There is something so great father of many nations." For
namely, “ I have made thee a in all that God does, that we can
with God a future event is held only glance at a single point, to be as certain as if it had alleaving a boundless infinitude unseen and unknown: and, in a
ready taken place; and that cergeneral way, our heavenly Father tainty is powerfully exhibited by has been pleased to condescend
the use of a past tense. Hence to this narrowness of our con
the import of the passage in ceptions in the communication of question may be thus expressed : Divine truth. In order, however,
Neither death, nor life, nor anto veil certain facts for a time? gels, nor principalities, truths have sometimes been powers, nor things present, nor transmitted to us through a me
things to come, shall frustrate or dium that has accorded more
alter my purpose : and therefore, with Divine knowledge than with Abraham, thou mayest consider the feeble intellects of mortals. thyself as already surrounded Thus our Lord spoke in the style the stars of heaven, or countless as
with an offspring as numerous as of Deity when he said, “Behold, the sands upon the shores of the I come QUICKLY; and my reward is with me, to give every | God there is no contingency.
wide-extended ocean. Thus with man according as his work shall before him every thing wears the be.” Rev. xxii. 12.
With our narrow views, indeed, we should aspect of infallibility. Therefore have called two or three thou.
he can justly and wisely promulsand years a long time instead of gate a decree on any particular a SHORT time: but “ with the day, and call that very day the Lord a thousand years are but as
day of its accomplishment, though ONE DAY” To Him before hundreds of years may elapse
before the accomplishment really whom all eternity lies open, it is but an instant that elapses from God said to David, “ Thou art
takes place. On this principle his communication of the Apoca. lypse till he shall sit on " the my son, THIS DAY have I con
stituted thee mine heir,” Ps. ii. 7. great white throne,”
" to give for the Sacred Writers of the New every man as his work shall be.” | Testament have shown that this But when vain man with his fleshly mind and wilful igno
* See 2 Pet. iii. 5.
passage was a prediction of God's feet. For the first assertion was producing (or raising] from among verified in Adam's own person, ihe dead an heir to the boundless the second was verified in Noah, universe, and that he who thus a remote descendant,t! and the burst the barriers of the tomb third assertion was verified in the was Jesus “the FIRST-BORN Messiah, who was, “according from the dead."* When, there to the flesh," a still more remote fore, it was said to David, “THIS descendant. In this way, Adam DAY have I constituted thee and every other ancestor of the mine heir,” the real import' seems Messiah had the most uncontrolrather to have been, “THIS DAY led “ dominion over the works of do I divulge an unalterable decree God's hands.” Ps. viii. 6. For .to make thee mine heir."-So such is the dominion of the Mes. when God said to Adam, “ IN siah their descendant, “ who was THE DAY thou eatest thereof made a litile lower than the angels thou shalt surely die,”+ that so- for the suffering of death, and lemn declaration did not really crowned with glory and honour.” mean that Adam's life would ter- Heb. ii. 9.-On such a principle, minate on the day of his trans. Then, David was identified with gression, but that ON THAT the Messiah ; and hence the pasDAY he would become mortal, as sage already quoted from Ps. ii. 7, an irrevocable sentence of death receives additional modifications, would be passed on him. so that the real meaning may be
That sentence, however, which unfolded in the following lanmade Adam virtually a dead man, guage: Thou art the ancestor of affected also the countless millions my Son. This day do I divulge of his posterity: for “IN ADAM an unalterable decree to raise thy ALL DIE," 1 Cor. xv. 22. Thus we descendant from the dead to the are led to the consideration of a heirship-even to take possession third mode of speaking that seems of my vast dominions, and to exert to rise above the style of mortals. Omnipotence, and Omniscience, -We are accustomed to look at and all the attributes of Deity, in men in their individual character; executing my purposes. but by Him who knows our frame, Moreover, it is apparent that the most distant generations can, genealogical identification was at a glance, be identified with their primitive ancestor, and the
+ The introduction of Noah's name
serves to illustrate the principle in whole world can be included in
question. But it is in reference to the the word THOU addressed to Messiah that such mysterious language Adam. Hence to Divine com- is generally used. Yet some traces of prehension a long genealogical it may be seen in the genealogies reseries forms no barrier to the con
corded in the scriptures. For instance,
in Matt. i. 8, we read “ Asa was the nexion of the first and the last progenitor of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshalioks of the mysterious chain. On phat was the progenitor of Jehoram, this principle it might have been and. Jehoram was the progenitor of said to Adam THOU shalt live Uzziah.” Now the definite genealogy
in this case may be thus expressed : 930 years, THOU shalt build an
“ Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, ark, and all things in heaven and Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram, on earth shall be put under THY and Jehoram was the father of Ahaziah
who was the great grandfather of Uz. * See Acts xii. 33—Heb. i. 5-Heb. the father of Joash, Joash was the fa
ziah.” In other words, Ahaziah was 5-Rev. i. 5, and Col. i. 18.
ther of Amaziah, and Amaziah was the + See Gen, ii. 17.
father of Uzziah.