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to expect to hear the sound of her voice, unless a question were asked her. These things are so unusual now-a-days, that their singularity excites surprise and deserves to be mentioned.
could be found to do! Mr. Austin on this occasion wrote to the ministers who formed the Baptistboard in London, who gave him the best legal advice that they could procure, and, after a vigorous and long continued contest, by paying some few costs or a trifling fine, he escaped.
But the great head of the church was now paving the way for his removal to London, where a sphere of
more extensive usefulness awaited him; but where, at least for many years, his situation was not more enviable than it was at Sutton Coldfield. About the year 1780 he was in the practice of preaching occasionally at the large and populous town of Birmingham, to which place some of his friends from Sutton had removed. In a little time a neat and commodious chapel was built there, principally by the exertions of a Mr. Joseph Green, who was among the first fruits of Mr. Austin's ministry and one of his best friends. To assist in reducing the debt that had been incurred by the erection of the building at Birmingham, Mr. Austin took a journey to Lon-don, collecting for it on his way, and while here he received an invitation from the congregation at Fetter-lane, which terminated in his settlement among them in the year 1785, at which time he was about thirty five years of age.
Notwithstanding the opposition that was raised in Sutton Coldfield against Mr. Austin's ministry, the Lord owned and blessed it. The place in which the congregation met was found insufficient to accommodate them, and they were devising means for procuring a larger, when a person of some considerable property in the town, who had been among the foremost of their persecutors, made them an offer to erect a more spacious one for their use, which they accepted and what was more remarkable still, he afterwards frequently came to hear Mr. Austin during the time that he continued to preach there, which was about nine years. The increase of the Baptist profession in Sutton Coldfield proved exceedingly galling to the high church party. Mr. Ryland was a man who would sometimes go out into the fields and high-ways, and invite sinners to come to Christ; but he had removed to Birmingham, and his successor was no friend to dissenters. The writer of this remembers to have heard Mr. Austin give a most affecting detail of the harrassing measures that were re. sorted to, with a view to annoy him, and render his situation un- Mr. Austin's removal to Loncomfortable, by forcing him to don, formed a new era in the hisserve the offices of church-warden, tory of his life. He was now in overseer of the poor, &c. &c. as a the meridian of his days, and conpunishment for his nonconformity.sequently capable of as great A justice of the peace who resid- exertion as at any period of his ed in the neighbourhood, and pos- mortal career; but there are persessed of overwhelming influence, sons now living who remember took the lead in all this; and what what he then was as minister of was singular, he openly declared the word, and what he lived to be. that his sole reason for wishing to They marked his progress in the impose these burdensome offices knowledge of the scriptures, and upon Mr. Austin was, a conviction they can testify that, unlike many that he would discharge the duties who have entered upon the minisof them with integrity and faith-terial office, he did not settle upon fulness, a thing which no one else his lees, by adopting the foolish
the means of ascertaining. It may be correct that he denied the proper deity of the Saviour-and it may be that he only denied the eternal generation scheme; that is, that the Son of God was begotten in pure deity! Whatever there might be in this, 'tis certain that the church in Fetter-lane were stigmatized as Arians, and lay under a load of opprobrium on that account. We do not however believe that Mr. Austin ever held Arian sentiments, though he had too much good sense to hold the doctrine of eternal generation. He nevertheless accepted the pastoral office, and was ordained over them in the month of February, 1786.
conceit that there was nothing to be attained beyond what he was already in the possession of. "It was my great mercy," said he to the writer of this only a few days before his death, never to have been shackled with human systems and creeds. I formed my own system upon a diligent study of the word of God, without troubling myself about what was held by this or that great writer." Happy they who imitate him in this respect, without regarding what Dr. Crisp or Dr. Gill, or any renowned doctor has held. A mind open to conviction, and sufficiently independent to follow truth wherever that shall lead, is a high state of privilege, but it falls Of the circumstances attending to the lot of few; and hence the the destruction of the chapel by present wretchedly degraded con- fire, which took place Dec. 4th. dition of the churches around us 1788, the vicissitudes and incon→ in regard to religious knowledge. veniences to which it necessarily Forming an estimate upon a com- exposed both pastor and people prehensive scale, it may confi- until the present building was dently be questioned whether we erected-the difficulties that arose are not rather going backward in consequence of the imprudent than forward. But this is a topic conduct of those who had taken so prolific of remark that we must the management of the building, not pursue it. We have briefly and a vast variety of other ciradverted to it for the sake of ac- cumstances connected with this counting for the unpopularity which subject, we have not room to attended Mr. Austin for many speak. The reader who wishes to years after his settlement in Lon- know them, we beg leave to refer don, but which gradually subsided to the Baptist Magazine for Nov. though it was never entirely re- 1816. where they may find all the moved. The congregation in particulars given with commendaFetter-lane was small, and the ble accuracy and sufficient minutechurch consisted of not more than ness of detail. Reserving for thirty members, when Mr. Austin another article, a view of Mr. settled among them; and there is Austin's doctrinal sentiments after reason to believe that several of his judgment in divine things bethem at that time did not hold the came matured, and of his character proper and essential Deity of the as a Christian and the pastor of a Son of God. Mr. Ebenezer Smith, Christian church, we shall bring who had lately had the pastoral the present towards a close by a charge of them, had been assistant rapid glance at the success of his preacher to Dr. Gifford at Eagle labours during the thirty years he street, but is said to have left that held forth the word of life at church in consequence of his Fetter-lane, until his removal to having embraced the Arian the mansions of eternal rest, where notion of the person of Christ."we confidently trust he is " ever What Mr. Smith's sentiments on with the Lord." this point really were, we have not
We believe it has not often
thought him very heretical about the Sonship of Christ, and some have suspected him of being tinctured with Sandemanianism, because of his simple view of faith! even to the present day we believe that these foolish notions are prevalent among the dissenters in the metropolis respecting the church in Fetter-lane. We remember within the last three years to have heard an Independent minister, who came to supply for Mr. Austin on a Sabbath evening, preach a discourse from Heb. i. 3. from which he undertook to prove the Divinity of the Saviour, and his eternal existence as a divine person, with such vociferation and laborious bodily exertion, as were really terrible to the congregation, and which could only be accounted for upon the principle that he supposed they all denied that doctrine, and that he was determined to convince them of their error; whereas the real truth is, that they believe that doctrine as firmly as himself! But such is the influence of prejudice upon the human mind even among our leading dissenting ministers.
fallen to the lot of an individual in our day to prosecute his ministry under circumstances that more imperiously called for the exercise of patience, self-denial, and confidence in God, than those under which Mr. Austin laboured. With a family that gradually encreased to thirteen children, five of whom survive to bewail the removal of a most indulgent father, his income from the church was only a scanty pittance--for several years not more than a guinea a week, and for a much longer time not exceeding a guinea and a half; though during all this period he devoted himself unreservedly to the duties of his office, preaching three times on the Lord's day, and once or more during the week. The state of the church also at the time he took the oversight of it was calculated to harrass and distress them. 'Tis probable he was not at the moment aware of the extent to which the leaven of false doctrine had spread, and how far it had corrupted the mass, for had that been the case, wisdom would have suggested the propriety of dissolving the union that subsisted among them, and of forming the church anew. But this was not done, and for several years it subjected him to a painful conflict in rooting out the abettors of strange doctrines. His own delicate frame and nervous complaints were little calculated to arm him for the conflict, and had he not been privileged with a source of support and consolation out of himself, we can scarcely conceive the possibility of his persevering as he did, and ultimately surmounting all difficulties. The ministers of the Baptist denomination for many years stood aloof from him; suspecting him to be not quite sound in the faith; and he was consequently a speckled bird among them. Some doubted if he were orthodox respecting the Trinity-others the Monthly Lecture. Mr. Mar
Conscious in the rectitude of his own conduct, and that what he delivered to others as the doctrine of Christ was the truth of God, Mr. Austin gave himself very little concern about these calumnies, or took much pains to refute them. When he had been some years in London, and the church under his pastoral care was found to prosper, his Baptist brethren condescended to think him worthy of a little notice. Mr. Booth and Mr. Martin at different periods interrogated him respecting his views of truth; the former was so fully satisfied, that he made a very favourable report to the board, which tended much to remove their prejudices, and he afterwards became one of their number, and a stated preacher of
tin questioned him closely upon | rejoicing in the day of the Lord his Arianism, and when Mr. Aus- Jesus.
tin had disclosed his whole mind,
[To be concluded in a future Number.]
Then all his energies
Our Portrait of Mr. Austin, which accompanies this Memoir, exhibits him in the attitude of preaching, and at a moment, well The church at the time of Mr. remembered by those that attendAustin's death consisted of nearly ed his ministry, viz. when, having two hundred members-of whom discussed his subject, he came to only four remain that belonged make the application of it to the to it when he took the pastoral hearts and consciences of his charge. We have heard him re-hearers. mark, too, that about two hundred had died, or were removed to other places, who had been connected with the church during the time he presided over them. His ministry therefore may fairly be considered as a successful one. But independent of his success in gathering a church, thousands of others have from his mouth heard of the way of salvation-they have been pointed to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world-and warned to flee from the wrath to come. Let us indulge the pleasing hope that many of these will be his joy and crown of
were collected, the fore finger pointed as in the print, and the voice and manner always indicated his solicitude to impress them with the vast importance of divine truth. If it be found to differ in some respects from the print given in the Baptist Magazine, we are persuaded that every unprejudiced mind will admit that the difference is all in our favour! The painting was executed by his highly esteemed friend and brother, Mr. W. Stephens, formerly of Prescotstreet, now of Manchester, who appears to us eminently to excell in the correctness of his likenesses.
ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF THE REV. ABRAHAM AUSTIN.
[By a member of the church late under his pastoral care.]
STRIKE the harp; tho' grief surrounding
Strains harmonious softly sounding,
Fond remembrance hovers o'er thee,
No strain'd eulogy, to raise thee
Yet would friendship's aid, combining
Whilst his worth we would pourtray.
Peaceful, mild, discreet, and feeling,
Zealously his efforts lending,
Those who sat beneath his teaching,
Evermore on Christ relying,
For his spirit and his grace,
To the ransom'd sinner's case.
Christian excellence adorn'd him;
Left the cross, the crown he's wearing,
[It has been suggested to the Editor, by some ministers whose judgment he highly respects, that the utility of this work would be greatly encreased by devoting a certain portion of each number to the insertion of short Essays or Discourses particularly adapted to be read by such individuals or families on the Lord's day, as have it not in their power conveniently to purchase larger works. He therefore purposes, during the present year, to make the experiment, by giving in each number, one paper of a doctrinal, and another of a practical tendency, and the two that follow may be regarded as a specimen. As he cannot always spare room to quote the texts of scripture at full length, it is extremely desirable that the reader should have a Bible beside him, and that he would never pass over a text that is referred to, without turning to it.]
THE IMPORT OF THE RESUR
RECTION OF CHRIST.
"And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all." Acts iv. 33.
To testify of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, was one of the important
and leading objects of the Apostolic ministry. It was in reference to this part of their office, that when the hour of his dreadful and accumulated sufferings drew near, Jesus said unto them, "Ye also shall bear witness because ye have been with me from the beginning." John xv. 27. To these chosen wit