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But, though he was not released from these engagements for some considerable period, his mind was giving itself up more and more to the conviction, that he ought to labour for the welfare of his kind in a way more directly spiritual. When he was converted it was impossible to say, as he never knew a time when he was destitute of serious impressions concerning religion ; and he could point to exceedingly early periods in his career, as times when he felt more than ordinary concern to be conformed in all things to the will of God. His conduct, during the whole term of his apprenticeship, adorned the doctrine of God his Saviour. He was used to retire, on stated occasions, for social prayer with two of his young friends, like-minded with himself ; documents connected with which engagements still remain to attest the intelligent piety of these young disciples. But, beyond this, he was led, by his convictions of duty, to join the Independent church at Scarborough, as a communicant, two or three years before his apprenticeship expired; and from that period, his views in relation to the ministry gained clearness and force. Of the conscientiousness which regulated all his views in regard to the medical profession, should he have been called to practise it, let the following sentences from a letter to his father, in 1814, bear witness:—
“I could not,” he writes, “as most young men in our line do, make professions of knowledge and abilities which they know they have not. Medical men are often so much in the place of God, that I was determined to make no profession of my ability, but to rest my claim to confidence wholly on the advantages of my education. I saw, too, more and more, how the poor frequently struggle through their illnesses without medical assistance; while the trifling or imaginary ailments of those whose pay is certain, occupy much of the medical man's time, But I feel, so
far, determined to neglect the whims of the rich for the wants of the poor.” After due consultation with the friends most interested in his own welfare, and in that of the church of God, he was admitted, in the year 1815, into the Theological Academy at Rotherham, then under the presidency of the Rev. Dr. Bennett, as a probationer for the Christian ministry. Here his conduct was as blameless as it had been hitherto. As a student, few of his contemporaries at college could surpass the subject of this memoir, for the systematic perseverance with which he prosecuted the acquisition of knowledge, securing several precious hours, before the morning meal, for this and for devotional purposes. During the whole term of his academic training, such was his uniform excellence of demeanour, that his tutor, writing to the church at Whitchurch, which was Mr. Kidd's first pastoral charge, says:—“I hope he will accept the call which you have agreed to give him; for I trust that he would prove a blessing to you ; as he has passed through the period of his studies here with an unblemished character, and with high credit as to talents and attainments." The only further notice of his collegiate life necessary, is the introduction of a few sentences in proof of the fact, that study, even for the ministry itself, was ever subordinate with him to the care of his own soul. In a memorandum, dated Scarborough, July 26, 1818, the year preceding his settlement as a minister, occurs the following statement :—“I find that in two things I have degenerated since I left Scarborough. 1. In the observance of the Sabbath; the confinement of my thoughts to spiritual things, and the abstaining from worldly and trifling conversation. “2. The other thing is, the degree in which I am influenced by the esteem or censure of others. When here, I used heartily to despise people's praise or blame; and it was my maxim to dare to be singularly good. Esteem has been given me, and I have felt it too much." At Whitchurch, Mr. Kidd's pastorate continued seven years; at the end of which time his health so completely broke down under his ministerial labours, and, above all, his critical and theological studies, that he was obliged to sever his connexion with the church, to their extreme regret. He published his letter of resignation in the form of a pamphlet; and, in the appendix to it, printed the germ of those views in regard to the Divine manifestations, which he has since expanded, at a great expenditure of labour and thought, into the posthumous volume called his “Christology.” Retiring, for his health's sake, to his old, familiar Scarborough, and there, at the end of some time, being invited to become assistant to his venerable pastor, Mr. Bottomley, he accepted the call to this lighter duty; and ultimately, on the decease of his aged colleague, succeeded to the vacant pastoral office. Mr. Kidd served with the good old man, as a son with his father; and when the sire was withdrawn, the young coadjutor, in taking the entire duty, preached the same gospel, studied the same divinity, and, till the day of his own death, made the chapel echo with no uncertain sound. That there may be no mistake made as to the kind of doctrine preached by either, it may be well to give a valuable letter of Mr. Bottomley's, presenting to a student the books he should make his constant study, hoping, besides, that the good sense and piety which pervade the whole epistle may prove of value to some young ministerial reader:— “Scarborough, Nov. 25th, 1789. “MY DEAR ANTHoNY, - It always gives me pleasure to hear of or from you. A multiplicity of other engagements, and not any want of affection, must be considered as the cause of my
long silence. Your increase in the knowledge of your own insufficiency, and of the vast and unbounded fulness of the Lord Jesus, I esteem an excellent preparative for the sacred ministry. Were I disposed to wish evil to a congregation of people, I know not how I could do it more effectually, than by wishing them united with a raw, ignorant, rash, conceited, affected, illiterate, and self-sufficient young man. That you may form a perfect contrast to the above character is my heart's desire, and, I trust, your daily endeavour. To me, one of the most unpleasant circumstances among us, at this day, as a body of Dissenters, is, that we have so few ministers going out, of real abilities. May the Lord of the harvest raise up and send forth many able ministers of the New Testament. Your present time is unspeakably precious; and I am thinking, not only of your good, but even of the good of those yet unborn, while I most earnestly press it upon you to buy up every moment. I am this day lamenting my lost time. Oh, that I may redeem that which is not yet illapsed “You wish me to mention some books that may be useful for you to peruse, which I shall do with pleasure, without fearing for the consequences. As expositors, I know of none that will do you more good than Pool, Henry, and Guyse. Anything that you find written by Drs. Owen, Goodwin, Manton, and Witsius, will be worth your reading. So will the books penned by Messrs. Flavel, Charnock, Joseph Allen, and Jonathan Edwards. You will find them all useful in their way. With respect to myself, I am particularly partial to the writings of the divines of the last century, almost in everything except their language; and Mr. Flavel, Dr. Bates, and some others, are far from being contemptible, even in this respect. I think I could wish you to read Robinson's translation of “Claude's Essay
on the Composition of a Sermon," as likewise Mr. Palmer's “Nonconformists' Memorial ;" also, Towgood's “Dissent from the Church of England fully justified." You will, in general, reap great advantage from the perusal of the lives of good men, such as Mr. Halyburton, Philip, and Matthew Henry, &c., &c. Many other books occur to my mind, but I will mention no more at this time, except the Book of books, the precious Bible. Let this always be a light to your feet. Appeal to it in all matters, both of doctrine, experience, and practice. It is the Word we have to preach, and of course the Word we ought to study. A thorough acquaintance with the Bible is an advantage to a minister which far exceeds anything I can say in its favour. Surely it is profitable for all purposes. I know your acquaintance with the Sacred Wolume is considerable for your years; and I can appeal to you that you have already found the profit thereof. I am only, therefore, meaning to drop you a word of caution, that no books whatsoever may divert your mind from that which is the most ancient, the most pure, and, in a word, every way infinitely the best. I hope your tutor continues in health, and that his great labours are abundantly blessed. Give my love to him, and any of my friends as they come in your way. “I subscribe myself, “What I really am, “Yours most affectionately, &c., “S. BottomLEY.” The healthy, hearty, Puritan theology recommended in this epistle, is that which has marked the teaching in the Independent chapel in Scarborough, since its foundation a hundred and fifty years ago; nor was there any abatement in its evangelical tone under the most recent occupant of the pulpit. “Christ and his cross” were all Mr. Kidd's “theme." Never, for one moment, did he swerve from the grand outlines of the truth as it is in Jesus,
throughout the whole course of his ministry. And the doctrine he preached to others sanctified his own nature, and imparted joy and peace in believing. His life was without a flaw; his conduct, in trouble and in prosperity, a pattern ; nor could his enemies, if he ever had any, detract from his character as a singularly good man. His devotional habits were well known, nor would he allow anything to interfere with his sacred seasons of retirement. His usual hour of rising was five o'clock, and he spent his first hour daily in the perusal of the Greek Testament and prayer. After a walk, he gathered the children in his study, and devoted a short season to reading and prayer with them; after which came the devotions of the family, breakfast, and the business of the day. This close attention to study was kept up to the last: the magnum opus to which his attention was given, besides his ministry, being the “Christology" already named. Of this volume, three parts were printed at the time of his unexpected decease, and the remainder left in a state of preparedness for the press. The printing of this portion is already nearly completed, and the whole will appear almost immediately. He has also left, besides a great variety of MSS. on other subjects, one volume ready for the press, “On the Gradual Development of Truth in Apostolic Teaching, illustrated from the Epistles to the Thessalonians." The beautiful catholicity of Mr. Kidd's spirit must not be overlooked, in even so brief a sketch of his life, it was so prominent a feature of his character. Though a decided Congregationalist by his convictions, and the pastor of an Independent church, he always appeared to regard himself as a member of the Universal Church, rather than of any section of it. He felt and acted thus, not from indifference to truth in relation to ecclesiastical matters, nor from an ostentatious liberality of sentiment, but from the amiableness of his disposition, and from a conviction that the state of the church at large called for healing rather than divisive measures,-a conviction on which there will, of course, be a wide difference of opinion. In him the Evangelical Alliance has lost a most attached and influential friend.
On retiring to rest on the evening of the 22nd of October, after a few days' previous indisposition, and expressing the hope of being up to breakfast next morning, the summons came most gently, and about midnight, almost without a groan, he departed to his eternal rest. So strikingly appropriate is Montgomery's Hymn, that it might have been composed for this occasion :
“Soldier of Christ, well done!
The battle fought—the victory won,
He woke and caught his Captain's eye;
His tent, at sunrise, on the ground
After sixteen years of Christian wedlock, he has left a widowed partner and five children, to bewail their irreparable bereavement. May the Lord Jehovah himself be to them instead of all they have lost l—a father to the fatherless, a husband to the widow, and a place of broad rivers and streams during their sojourn in the wilderness! When probation is over, and eternity begun, may He be their satisfying portion for ever!
O. T. D.
HUSS AND THE MARTYRS. No. II. “The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee."
Asd an illustrious host they were ! Stephen, the first. The last, who can tell? Amongst them, and perhaps the first of modern martyrs, stands that honoured individual, great and good, an early victim of the Roman power, whose name is mentioned above. While as yet the ashes of Wycklisse lay slumbering in the peaceful tomb at Lutterworth, the writings of that immortal man had winged their flight across the British Channel, and penetrated the Continental nations of the European world. It so happened, that, among many who had come from afar to study in the halls of Oxford, where it was impossible not to hear of the Reformer's fame, was a Bohemian gentleman of the name of Faulfisch, who probably had there contracted a taste for Wyckliffe's writings, and, on his return,
had carried some of them to his native land. The kingdom to which he belonged, though small, was of more importance at that period than it is now, being situated in nearly the middle of Europe, an independent monarchy, and governed by an elective sovereign, whose popularity and rule exerted an influence on nations around. Its celebrity at this time was at its height, and into the heart of that empire it was ordained, by an overruling Providence, that the writings and doctrines of the British Reformer should first be conveyed. He had cast the “precious seed" abroad in his native isle, little thinking that beyond it, in the centre of the Continent, it should so soon spring up. But so had the purposes of Heaven ordained; and in this, as to its locality, was verified the allusion of the sweet Psalmist of Israel in the seventy-second psalm. Bohemia is considered the most elevated part of Europe, no rivers running into it, but all flowing from or by it. So, says the predictive voice, “There shall be a handful of corn in the earth, upon the top of the mountains: the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon." It did. It sprang up. It rustled before the breeze. It scattered its fruits. And the plenteous harvest is waving, and diffusing its benefits still. John Huss had already become a man of eminence and renown in the Roman Church, and among his own nation. As a man of ability and eloquence, and highly esteemed for his general character, he had been promoted to one of the highest situations in the University of Prague, which was then in a flourishing condition; and by his genius and industry, his attainments and fidelity, had gained the admiration of all. About this time, also, he was nominated preacher of Bethlehem, and confessor to the Queen of Bohemia. Providence thus invested him with celebrity and influence, the more effectually to prepare the way for those truths which he was afterwards to proclaim, and to provide for their defence and propagation. At this period, and in these circumstances it was, that the writings of Wyckliffe fell in his way. His attention was arrested by them, but, at first, only to treat them with that disgust and contempt with which all the productions of so arch a heretic were viewed by the Church of Rome. At once all the prejudices of his soul were awakened. His zeal for the Pope and Popery was mightily offended, and would have prompted him to condemn the Reformer to prison, and his ashes to the flames, as the emissaries of the “Man of sin” shortly afterwards did. But reflection ensued. The Spirit of God set his seal to the work. One divine truth after another entered his mind, and “gave light" to his soul. He saw the enormities of Rome; the abominations
of the confessional; the perversion of the mass; the delusion of purgatory; the unscriptural and unchristian character of the doctrines of human merit, and of the substitution of the virtues of saints for the immaculate righteousness and atoning sacrifice of the Son of God. And now the energies of his entire nature were roused. He preached and wrote the faith which Rome sought to destroy. His heart received it, his life reflected it, and his tongue and his pen were employed to make it known. The false miracles of the apostate church, which at that time abounded; her gross and numerous abuses; and the vices of the clergy, which then had reached a most shameless height, were especially the themes on which his breathings, thoughts, and burning words were constrained to dwell. As with a fire pent up in his bones, he could no longer forbear. And though he saw not all the truth at once, he perceived enough to fill him with indignation against the prevarications and impositions of Rome, and to engage him, henceforth and for ever, to oppose a system which had done so much to rob mankind of the knowledge of “the only name given under heaven whereby they could be saved." The consequence was, that he felt that “a dispensation was committed to him" to oppose the authority, and denounce the errors, of that usurpation of priestcraft and iniquity which had spread its snares over Europe, and held the greater part of the Christian world in bondage. And with no mean ability or effect did he execute it. His eloquent tongue, and his powerful pen, were now perpetually engaged for the vindication of the gospel, and the condemnation of Rome. It was not to be expected that so distinguished an advocate of truth and exposer of error would long escape the censures of the hierarchy to which he belonged, or evade the malice or the machinations of its superior powers. Accordingly, he was soon marked out