August llth 1978 marks the bicentenary of Topladys death.
TOPLADY AND HIS MINISTRY*
I should think no account of English religion in the eighteenth century complete which did not supply some information about Augustus M. Toplady. In some respects, I am bold to say, not one of his contemporaries surpassed him, and hardly any equalled him. He was a man of rare grace and gifts, and one who left his mark very deeply on his own generation. For soundness in the faith, singleness of eye, and devotedness of life, he deserves to be ranked with Whitefield, or Grimshaw, or Romaine. Yet with all this, he was a man in whom there was a most extraordinary mixture of grace and infirmity. Hundreds, unhappily, know much of his infirmities who know little of his graces. I shall endeavour in the following pages to supply a few materials for forming a just estimate of his character.
Augustus Montague Toplady was born at Farnham, in Surrey, on the 4th of November 1740. He was the only son of Major Richard Toplady, who died at the siege of Carthagena shortly after his birth, so that he never saw his father. His mother’s maiden name was Catherine Bates, of whom nothing is known except that she had a brother who was rector of St. Paul’s, Deptford.
Few spiritual heroes of the last century, I must freely confess, have suffered more from the want of a good biographer than Toplady. Be the cause what it may, a real life of the man was never written. The only memoir of him is as meagre a production as can possibly be conceived. It is perhaps only fair to remember that he was an only child, and that he died unmarried; so that he had neither brother, sister, son nor daughter, to gather up his remains. Moreover, he was one who lived much in his study and among his books, spent much time in private communion with God, and went very little into society. Like Romaine, he was not what the world would call a genial manÂ—had very few intimate friendsÂ—and was, probably, more feared and admired than loved. But be the reasons what they may, the fact is undeniable that there is no good biography of Toplady. The result is, that there is hardly any man of his calibre in the eighteenth century of whom so very little is known.
The principal facts of Toplady’s life are few, and soon told. He was brought up by his widowed mother with the utmost care and tenderness, and retained throughout life a deep and grateful sense of his obligations to her. For some reason, which we do not know now, she appears to have settled at Exeter after her husband’s death; and to this circumstance we may probably trace her son’s subsequent ministerial appointments in Devonshire.
Young Toplady was sent at an early age to Westminster School, and showed considerable ability there. After passing through
Westminster, he was entered as a student of Trinity College, Dublin, and took his degree there as Bachelor of Arts. He was ordained a clergyman in the year 1762; but I am unable to ascertain where, or by what bishop he was ordained. Shortly after his ordination he was appointed to the living of Blagdon, in Somersetshire, but did not hold it long. He was then appointed to Fenn-Ottery, with Harpford, in Devonshire, a small parish near Sidmouth. This post he finally exchanged in 1768, for the rural parish of Broad Hembury, near Honiton, in Devonshire, a position which he retained until his death. In the year 1775 he was compelled, by the state of his health, to remove from Devonshire to London, and became for a short time preacher at a Chapel in Orange Street, Leicester Square. He seems, however, to have derived no material benefit from the change of climate; and at last died of decline, like Walker and Hervey, in the year 1778, at the early age of thirty-eight.
The story of Toplady’s inner life and religious history is simple and short; but it presents some features of great interest. The work of God seems to have begun in his heart, when he was only sixteen years old, under the following circumstances. He was staying at a place called Codymain, in Ireland, and was there led by God’s providence to hear a layman named Morris preach in a barn. The textÂ—Ephesians 2.13, “Ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ”Â—and the address founded on it came home to young Toplady’s conscience with such power, that from that time
he became a new man, and a thorough-going professor of vital Christianity. This was in August 1756.
He himself in after-life referred frequently to the circumstance of his conversion with special thankfulness. He says in 1768; “Strange that I, who had so long sat under the means of grace in England, should be brought nigh to God in an obscure part of Ireland, amidst a handful of God’s people met together in a barn, and under the ministry of one who could hardly spell his name! Surely it was the Lord’s doing, and is marvellous! The excellency of such power must be of God, and cannot be of man. The regenerating Spirit breathes not only on whom; but likewise when, where, and as He listeth.”
Although converted and made a new creature in Christ Jesus, Toplady does not seem to have come to a full knowledge of the gospel in all its perfection for at least two years. Like most of God’s children, he had to fight his way into full light through many defective opinions, and was only by slow degrees brought to complete establishment in the faith. His experience in this matter, be it remembered, is only that of the vast majority of true Christians. Like infants, when they are born into the world. God’s children are not born again in the full possession of all their spiritual faculties; and it is well and wisely ordered that it is so. What we win easily, we seldom value sufficiently. The very fact that believers have to struggle and fight hard before they get hold of real soundness in the faith, helps to make them prize it more when they have attained it.The truths that cost us a battle are precisely those which we grasp most firmly, and never let go.
Toplady’s own account of his early experience on this point is distinct and explicit. He says: “Though awakened in 1756, I was not led into a clear and full view of all the doctrines of grace till the year 1758, when, through the great goodness of God, my Arminian prejudices received an effectual shock in reading Dr. Manton’s sermons on the seventeenth chapter of the gospel of John. I shall remember the years 1756 and 1758 with gratitude and joy in the heaven of heavens to all eternity.”
In the year 1774, Toplady gave the following curious account of his experience at this period of his life:Â—”It pleased God to deliver me from the Arminian snare before I was quite eighteen. Up to that period there was not (I confess it with abasement) a more haughty and violent free-willer within the compass of the four seas. One instance of my warm and ignorant zeal occurs now to my memory. About a year before divine goodness gave me eyes to discern and a heart to embrace the truth, I was haranguing one day in company on the universality of grace and the power of free agency. A good old gentleman, now with God, rose from his chair, and coming to me, held me by one of my coat-buttons, while he mildly said:Â—’My dear sir, there are marks of spirituality in your conversation, though tinged with an unhappy mixture of pride and self-righteousness. You have been speaking largely in favour of free will, but from arguments let us come to experience. Do let me ask you one question. How was it with you when the Lord laid hold on you in effectual calling? Had you any hand in obtaining that grace? Nay, would you not have resisted and baffled it if God’s Spirit had left you alone in the hand of your own counsel?’Â—I felt the conclusiveness of these simple but forcible interrogations more strongly than I was then willing to acknowledge. But, blessed be God, I have since been enabled to acknowledge the freeness of his grace, and to sing, what I trust will be my everlasting song, ‘Not unto me. Lord, not unto me; but unto thy name give the glory.'”
From this time to the end of his life, a period of twenty years, Toplady held right onward in his Christian course, and never seems to have swerved or turned aside for a single day. His attachment to Calvinistic views of theology grew with his growth, and strengthened with his strength.
From one cause or another he appears always to have stood alone, and to have had little intercourse with his fellow-men. The result was, that throughout life he appears to have been little known and little understood, but most loved where he was most known.
One would like much to hear what young Toplady was doing between the date of his conversion in 1756, and his ordination in 1762. We can only guess, from the fact that he studied Manton on the seventeenth of John before he was eighteen, that he was probably reading hard, and storing his mind with knowledge, which he turned to good account in after life. But there is an utter dearth of all information about our hero at this period of his life. We only know that he took upon himself the office of a minister, not only as scholar, and as an outward professor of religion, but as an honest man. He
says himself, that “he subscribed the articles and liturgy from principle; and that he did not believe them merely because he subscribed them, but subscribed them because he believed them.”
One would like, furthermore, to know exactly where he began his ministry, and in what parish he was first heard as a preacher of the gospel. But I can find out nothing about these points. One interesting fact about his early preaching I gather from a letter which he wrote to Lady Huntingdon in 1774. In that letter he says: “As to the doctrines of special and discriminating grace, I have thus much to observe. For the first four years after I was in orders, I dwelt chiefly on the general outlines of the gospel in this remote corner of my public ministry. I preached of little else but of justification by faith only, in the righteousness and atonement of Christ, and of that personal holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. My reasons for thus narrowing the truths of God were these two (I speak it with humiliation and repentance):Â—1. I thought these points were sufficient to convey as clear an idea as was absolutely necessary of salvation; 2. And secondly, I was partly afraid to go any further.
God himself (for none but He could do it) gradually freed me from that fear. And as He never at any time permitted me to deliver, or even insinuate anything contradictory to His truth, so has He been graciously pleased, for seven or eight years past, to open my mouth to make known the entire mystery of the gospel, as far as His Spirit has enlightened me into it. The consequence of my first plan of operations was, that the generality of my hearers were pleased, but only few were converted. The result of my latter deliverance from worldly wisdom and worldly fear is, that multitudes have been very angry; but the conversions which God has given me reason to hope He has wrought, have been at least three for one before. Thus I can testify, so far as I have been concerned, the usefulness of preaching predestination; or, in other words, of tracing salvation and redemption to their first source.”
The manner of Toplady’s life, during the fifteen or sixteen years of his short ministry may be gathered from a diary which he wrote in 1768, and kept up for about a year. This diary is a far more interesting record of a good man’s life than such documents ordinarily are, and gives a very favourable impression of the writer’s character and habits. It leaves the impression that he was eminently a man of one thing, and entirely engrossed with his Master’s businessÂ—much alone, keeping little company, and always either preaching, visiting his people, reading, writing, or praying. If it had been kept up for a few years longer, it would have thrown immense light on many things in Toplady’s ministerial history. But even in its present state it is the most valuable record we possess about him, and there seems no reason to doubt that it is a tolerably accurate picture of his mode of living from the time of his ordination to his death.
So little is known of the particular events of the last fifteen years of Toplady’s life, that it is impossible to do more than give a general sketch of his proceedings. He seems to have attained a high reputation at a very early date as a thorough -going supporter of
Calvinistic opinions, and a leading opponent of Arminianism. His correspondence shows that he was on intimate terms with Lady Huntingdon, Sir R. Hill, Whitefield, Romaine, Berridge, Dr. Gill, Ambrose Serle, and other eminent Christians of those times. But how and when he formed acquaintance with them, we have no information. His pen was constantly employed in defence of evangelical religion from the time of his removal to Broad Hembury in 1768. His early habits of study were kept up with unabated diligence. No man among the spiritual heroes of the eighteenth century seems to have read more than he did, or to have had a more extensive knowledge of divinity. His bitterest adversaries in controversy could never deny that he was a scholar, and a ripe one. Indeed, it admits of grave question whether he did not shorten his life by his habits of constant study. He says himself, in a letter to a relative, dated March 19, 1775:Â—”Though I cannot entirely agree with you in supposing that extreme study has been the cause of my late indisposition, I must yet confess that the hill of science, like that of virtue, is in some instances climbed with labour. But when we get a little way up, the lovely prospects which open to the eye make infinite amends for the steepness of the ascent. In short, I am wedded to these pursuits, as a man stipulates to take his wife; viz, for better, for worse, until death us do part. My thirst for knowledge is literally inextinguishable. And if I thus drink myself into a superior world, I cannot help it.”
One feature in Toplady’s character, I may here remark, can hardly fail to strike an attentive reader of his remains. That feature is the eminent spirituality of the tone of his religion. There can be no greater mistake than to regard him as a mere student and deep reader, or as a hard and dry controversial divine. Such an estimate of him is thoroughly unjust. His letters and remains supply abundant evidence that he was one who lived in very close communion with God, and had very deep experience of divine things. Living much alone, seldom going into society, and possessing few friends, he was a man little understood by many, who only knew him by his controversial writings, and specially by his unflinching advocacy of Calvinism. Yet really, if the truth be spoken, I hardly find any man of the last century who seems to have soared so high and aimed so loftily, in his personal dealings with his Saviour, as Toplady. There is an unction and savour about some of his remains which few of his contemporaries equalled, and none surpassed. I grant freely that he left behind him many things which cannot be much commended. But he left behind him some things which will live, as long as English is spoken, in the hearts of all true Christians. His writings contain “thoughts that breathe and words that burn.” And it never ought to be forgotten, that the man who penned them was lying in his grave before he was thirty-nine!
The last three years of Toplady’s life were spent in London. He removed there by medical advice in the year 1775, under the idea that the moist air of Broad Hembury was injurious to his health. Whether the advice was sound or not may now, perhaps, admit of question. At
any rate, the change of climate did him no good. Little by little the insidious disease of the chest, under which he laboured, made progress, and wasted his strength. He was certainly able to preach at Orange Street Chapel in the years 1776 and 1777; but it is equally certain that throughout this period he was gradually drawing near to his end. He was never, perhaps, more thoroughly appreciated than he was during these last three years of his ministry. A picked London congregation such as he had, was able to value gifts and powers which were completely thrown away on a rural parish in Devonshire. His stores of theological reading and distinct doctrinal statement were rightly appraised by his metropolitan hearers. In short, if he had lived longer he might, humanly speaking, have done a mighty work in London. But He who holds the stars in His right hand, and knows best what is good for His Church, saw fit to withdraw him soon from his new sphere of usefulness. He seemed as if he came to London only to be known and highly valued, and then to die.
The closing scene of the good man’s life was singularly beautiful, and at the same time singularly characteristic. He died as he had lived, in the full hope and peace of the gospel, and with an unwavering confidence in the truth of the doctrines which he had for fifteen years advocated both with his tongue and with his pen. About two months before his death he was greatly pained by hearing that he was reported to have receded from his Calvinistic opinions, and to have expressed a desire to recant them in the presence of Mr. John Wesley. So much was he moved by this rumour, that he resolved to appear before his congregation once more, and to give a public denial to it before he died. His physician in vain remonstrated with him. He was told that it would be dangerous to make the attempt, and that he might probaby die in the pulpit. But the vicar of Broad Hembury was not a man to be influenced by such considerations. He replied that “he would rather die in the harness than die in the stall.” He actually carried his resolution into effect. On Sunday, June 14th, in the last stage of consumption, and only two months before he died, he ascended his pulpit in Orange Street Chapel after his assistant had preached, to the astonishment of his people, and gave a short but affecting exhortation founded on 2 Pet. 1.13,14: “I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” He then closed his address with the following remarkable declaration:Â—
“It having been industriously circulated by some malicious and unprincipled persons that during my present long and severe illness I expressed a strong desire of seeing Mr. John Wesley before I die, and revoking some particulars relative to him which occur in my writings,Â—Now I do publicly and most solemnly aver that I have not nor ever had any such intention or desire;…. So certain and so satisfied am I of the truth of all that I have ever written, that were I now sitting up in my dying bed with a pen and ink in my hand, and all the religious and controversial writings I ever published, especially those relating to Mr. John Wesley and the Arminian controversy, whether respecting fact or doctrine, could be at once displayed to my
view, I should not strike out a single line relative to him or them.”
The last days of Toplady’s life were spent in great peace. He went down the valley of the shadow of death with abounding consolations, and was enabled to say many edifying things to all around him. The following recollections, jotted down by friends who ministered to him, and communicated to his biographer, can hardly fail to be interesting to a Christian reader.
One friend observes:Â—”A remarkable jealousy was apparent in his whole conduct as he drew near his end, for fear of receiving any part of that honour which is due to Christ alone. He desired to be nothing, and that Jesus might be all and in all. His feelings were so very tender upon this subject, that I once undesignedly put him almost in an agony by remarking the great loss which the Church of Christ would sustain by his death at this particular juncture. The utmost distress was immediately visible in his countenance, and he exclaimed, ‘What! by my death? No, no! Jesus Christ is able, and will, by proper instruments, defend His own truths. And with regard to what little I have been enabled to do in this way, not to me, not to me, but to His own name, and to that only, be the glory.’
The more his bodily strength was impaired the more vigorous, lively, and rejoicing his mind seemed to be. From the whole turn of his conversation during our interview, he appeared not merely placid and serene, but he evidently possessed the fullest assurance of the most triumphant faith. He repeatedly told me that he had not had the least shadow of a doubt respecting his eternal salvation for near two years past. It is no wonder, therefore, that he so earnestly longed to be dissolved and to be with Christ. His soul seemed to be constantly panting heavenward, and his desire increased the nearer his dissolution approached. A short time before his death, at his request, I felt his pulse, and he desired to know what I thought of it. I told him that his heart and arteries evidently beat almost every day weaker and weaker. He replied immediately, with the sweetest smile on his countenance, ‘Why, that is a good sign that my death is fast approaching; and, blessed be God, I can add that my heart beats every day stronger and stronger for glory.’
A few days before his dissolution I found him sitting up in his armchair, but scarcely able to move or speak. I addressed him very softly, and asked if his consolations continued to abound as they had hitherto done. He quickly replied, ‘O my dear sir, it is impossible to describe how good God is to me. Since I have been sitting in this chair this afternoon I have enjoyed such a season, such sweet communion with God, and such delightful manifestation of His presence with and love to my soul, that it is impossible for words or any language to express them. I have had peace and joy unutterable, and I fear not but that God’s consolation and support will continue.’ But he immediately recollected himself, and added, ‘What have I said? God may, to be sure, as a sovereign, hide His face and His smiles from me;
however, I believe He will not; and if He should, yet will I trust Him. I know I am safe and secure, for His love and His covenant are everlasting!'”
To another friend, speaking about his dying avowal in the pulpit of his church in Orange Street, he said: “My dear friend, these great and glorious truths which the Lord in rich mercy has given me to believe, and which He has enabled me (though very feebly) to defend, are not, as those who oppose them say, dry doctrines or mere speculative points. No! being brought into practical and heartfelt experience, they are the very joy and support of my soul; and the consolations flowing from them carry me far above the things of time and sense. So far as I know my own heart, I have no desire but to be entirely passive, to live, to die, to be, to do, to suffer whatever is God’s blessed will concerning me, being perfectly satisfied that as He ever has, so He ever will do that which is best concerning me, and that He deals out in number, weight, and measure, whatever will conduce most to His own glory and to the good of His people.”
Another of his friends mentioning the report that was spread abroad of his recanting his former principles, he said with some vehemence and emotion, “I recant my former principles! God forbid that I should be so vile an apostate!” To which he presently added, with great apparent humility, “And yet that apostate I should soon be, if I were left to myself.”
Within an hour of his death, he called his friends and his servant to him, and asked them if they could give him up. Upon their answering that they could, since it pleased the Lord to be so gracious to him, he replied: “Oh, what a blessing it is that you are made willing to give me up into the hands of my dear Redeemer, and to part with me! It will not be long before God takes me; for no mortal man can live, after the glories which God has manifested to my soul.” Soon after this he closed his eyes, and quietly fell asleep in Christ on Tuesday, August 11, 1778, in the thirty-eighth year of his age.
He was buried in Tottenham Court Chapel, under the gallery, opposite the pulpit, in the presence of thousands of people, who came together from all parts of London to do him honour. His high reputation as a champion of truth, the unjust misrepresentations circulated about his change of opinion, his effectiveness as a preacher, and his comparative youthfulness, combined to draw forth a more than ordinary expression of sympathy. “Devout men carried him to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.” Foremost among the mourners was one at that time young in the ministry, who lived long enough to be a connecting link between the last century and the presentÂ—the well-known and eccentric Rowland Hill. Before the burial service commenced, he could not refrain from transgressing one of Toplady’s last requests, that no funeral sermon should be preached for him, and affectionately declared to the vast assembly that love and veneration he felt for the deceased, and the high sense he entertained of his graces, gifts, and usefulness. And thus, amidst the tears and thanksgivings of true-hearted mourners, the much-abused vicar of Broad Hembury was gathered to his people.
The following passage from Toplady’s last will, made and signed six months before his decease, is so remarkable and characteristic,
that I cannot refrain from giving it to my readers; “I most humbly commit my soul to Almighty God, whom I honour, and have long experienced to be my ever gracious and infinitely merciful Father. Nor have I the least doubt of my election, justification, and eternal happiness, through the riches of His everlasting and unchangeable kindness to me in Christ Jesus, His co-equal Son, my only, my assured, and my all-sufficient Saviour; washed in whose propitiatory blood, and clothed with whose imputed righteousness, I trust to stand perfect, sinless, and complete; and do verily believe that I most certainly shall so stand, in the hour of death, and in the kingdom of heaven, and at the last judgment, and in the ultimate state of endless glory. Neither can I write this my last will without rendering the deepest, the most solemn, and the most ardent thanks to the adorable Trinity in Unity, for their eternal, unmerited, irreversible, and inexhaustible love to me a sinner. I bless God the Father for having written from everlasting my unworthy name in the book of lifeÂ—even for appointing me to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ my Lord. I adore God the Son for having vouchsafed to redeem me by His own most precious death, and for having obeyed the whole law for my justification. I admire and revere the gracious benignity of God the Holy Ghost, who converted me to the saving knowledge of Christ more than twenty-two years ago, and whose enlightening, supporting, comforting, and sanctifying agency is, and (I doubt not) will be my strength and song in the hours of my earthly pilgrimage.”
Having now traced Toplady’s history from his cradle to his grave, it only remains for me to offer some general estimate of his worth and attainments. To do this, I frankly confess, is no easy task. Not only is his biography a miserably deficient oneÂ—this alone is bad enoughÂ—but his literary remains have been edited in such a slovenly, careless, ignorant manner, without order or arrangement, that they do not fairly represent the author’s merits. Certainly the reputation of great writers and ministers may suffer sadly from the treatment of injudicious friends. If ever there was a man who fell into the hands of the Philistines after his death, that man, so far as I can judge, was Augustus Toplady. I shall do the best I can with the materials at my disposal; but I trust my readers will remember that they are exceedingly scanty.
1. As a preacher, I should be disposed to assign to Toplady a very high place among the second-class men of the eighteenth century. His constitutional delicacy and weakness of lungs, in all probability, made it impossible for him to do the things that Whitefield and Berridge did. Constant open-air addresses, impassioned extempore appeals to thousands of hearers, were a style of thing entirely out of his line. Yet there is pretty good evidence that he had no mean reputation as a pulpit orator, and possessed no mean powers. The mere fact that Lady Huntingdon occasionally selected him to preach in her chapels at Bath and Brighton, of itself speaks volumes. The additional fact that at one of the great Methodist gatherings at Trevecca he was put forward as one of the leading preachers, is enough to show that his sermons possessed high merit. The following
notes about preaching, which he records in his diary, as having received them from an old friend, will probably throw much light on the general turn of his ministrations:Â—(1.) Preach Christ crucified, and dwell chiefly on the blessings resulting from his righteousness, atonement, and intercession. (2.) Avoid all needless controversies in the pulpit; except it be when your subject necessarily requires it, or when the truths of God are likely to suffer by your silence. (3.) When you ascend the pulpit, leave your learning behind you: endeavour to preach more to the hearts of your people than to their heads. (4.) Do not affect much oratory. Seek rather to profit than to be admired.
Specimens of Toplady’s ordinary preaching are unfortunately very rare. There are but ten sermons in the collection of his works, and out of these the great majority were preached on special occasions, and cannot, therefore, be regarded as fair samples of his pulpit work. The three following extracts may perhaps give some idea of what Toplady was in the pulpit of Orange Street Chapel. Of his ministry in Broad Hembury, I suspect we know next to nothing at all.
The first extract forms the conclusion of a sermon preached before the Lord’s supper in 1774 at the Lock Chapel, entitled Good News from Heaven:Â—”I doubt not many of you mean to present yourselves at that throne of grace which God has mercifully erected through the righteousness and sufferings of His co-equal Son. Oh, beware of coming with one sentiment on your lips and another in your hearts! Take heed of saying with your mouths, ‘We do not come to this Thy table, O Lord, trusting in our own righteousness,’ while perhaps you have in reality some secret reserves in favour of that very self-righteousness which you profess to renounce, and are thinking that Christ’s merits alone will not save you unless you add something or other to make it effectual. Oh, be not so deceived! God will not thus be mocked, nor will Christ be insulted with impunity. Call your works what you willÂ—whether terms, causes, conditions, or supplementsÂ—the matter comes to the same point, and Christ is equally thrust out of His mediatorial throne by these or any similar views of human obedience. If you do not wholly depend on Jesus as the Lord your righteousnessÂ—if you mix your faith in Him with anything elseÂ—if the finished work of the crucified God be not alone your acknowledged anchor and foundation of acceptance with the Father, both here and everÂ—come to His table and receive the symbols of His body and blood at your peril! Leave your own righteousness behind you, or you have no business here. You are without the wedding garment, and God will say to you, ‘Friend, how earnest thou here?’ If you go on, moreover, to live and die in this state of unbelief, you will be found speechless and excuseless in the day of judgment; and the slighted Saviour will say to His angels concerning you, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness,.. .for many are called, but few are chosen.’ ”
My second extract is from a sermon on Free Will, preached at St. Anne’s, Blackfriars, in 1774:Â—”I know it is growing very fashionable to talk against spiritual feelings. But I dare not join the cry On the contrary, I adopt the apostle’s prayer that our love to God and the
manifestation of His love to us may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all feeling. And it is no enthusiastic wish in behalf of you and myself, that we may be of the number of those godly persons who, as our Church justly expresses it, ‘feel in themselves the workings of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and drawing up their minds to high and heavenly things.’ Indeed, the great business of God’s Spirit is to draw up and to bring downÂ—to draw up our affections to Christ, and to bring down the un