A Sketch of Covenant Truth and Its Witnesses
By: John E. Hazelton
“Hold fast the form of sound words” (2 Tim 1:13)
“An everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure” (2 Sam 23:5)
The following pages are but a slight sketch of a vital subject; they aim in a simple way to show the continuity through the centuries of the testimony to “the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). The Author has, so far as possible, given interesting quotations, bearing upon present-day perils, so that it may be said of each Witness referred to…
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”—Ephesians 2:8,9
In the crowded synagogue of Capernaum the Lord Jesus Christ, addressing many who had eagerly followed Him because of His miracles, declared, “Therefore said I unto you, that no man can some unto Me, except it were given him of My Father.” Immediately the enmity to the truth of God which is latent in every unrenewed hearted was deeply stirred; for, “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.” “Will ye also go away?” was the piercing question put to the twelve. “Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the…
On Friday, 21st March 2014, Dr. Matthew Hyde delivered the annual lecture for the Strict Baptist Historical Society at Bethesda Chapel. After the lecture, he and I shared a brief exchange on the subject of high-calvinism and nineteenth-century Strict Baptist pastors. Since one of these pastors, John Hazelton, had been connected with the church that I pastor, his name naturally came up. Subsequent to our chat, Dr. Hyde graciously gave me one of his copies of William Styles’, “John Hazelton: A Memoir”.
I believe Baptists should be familiar with the life and ministry of John Hazelton for three reasons:
First, the life and ministry of John Hazelton is worth knowing because he was one of the leading Baptist ministers in the city of London during the nineteenth-century.
Second, the life and ministry of John Hazelton is worth knowing because he is among a gallant group of Baptist ministers who tenaciously subscribed to a high view of Sovereign Grace.
Third, the life and ministry of John Hazelton is worth knowing because he has much to teach this generation of professing Christians who like to call themselves Reformed Baptists.
The following chapters have been mainly compiled from materials supplied to the Author from various sources. His task has, therefore, to a great extent, resembled that of one who binds together into a bouquet, a number of flowers, chosen and culled by others.
His special acknowledgments are due to Mr. J. E. Hazelton, without whose laborious and indefatigable help, this Memoir of his beloved father could not have been prepared.
To the Rev. C. T. Bust, LL.B., of Westerfield, Ipswich, and the Rev. E. Spurrier, of Colchester, he is under great obligations. His respected ministerial brethren, W. Barnes, of Walshamle-Willows…
“I desire to follow providence, not to force it.”—Dr. Doddridge
“Happy the man who sees a God employed
In all the good and ill that chequer life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.”
The county of Suffolk will ever he regarded with interest by those to whom the Gospel is precious and important. Here pure and undefiled religion has long found illustrious exemplifications. In thousands of its cottage homes God has been honoured and His precepts obeyed. Its places of worship have often been associated with deeds of truest heroism, and with patient and prolonged efforts for the salvation of men, that were grand in their tenderness and…
“Along my earthly way
How many clouds are spread!
Darkness, with scarce one cheerful ray,
Seems gathering o’er my head.
Yet, Saviour, Thou art love;
Oh, hide not from my view!
But when I look in prayer above,
Appear in mercy through.
And, O! from that bright throne,
I shall look back and see—
The path I went, and that alone
Was the right path for me.”
“Our lives through various scenes are drawn.” So writes the great poet of the sanctuary; and his words find exemplification in the narrative we are relating; the next scene of which is laid in the heart of the Fens of the Eastern Counties.
This district was originally one of those immense forests which abounded in our land, broken at intervals by spaces which had been cleared, in which were farmhouses, surrounded by land either under tillage or pasturage. In course of time, however, the aspect of the country was changed. Storms which raged from the East raised the sea to…
“He that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isa. 28:19)
“Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
O lead me by Thine own right hand
Choose Thou the path for me.
Smooth let it be, or rough
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight it matters not,
It leads me to Thy rest.
I dare not choose my lot,
I would not if I might:
But choose Thou for me, O my God.
So shall I walk aright.”
Our narrative brings us to the year 1852. A curious lull followed the closing of the Great Exhibition of 1851, which some had considered as the pioneer of the reign of anti-christ, and others as the harbinger of the millennium, but dreams of universal and unbroken peace were soon rudely interrupted by the fierce conflicts of contending politicians…
“‘Tis not a cause of small import
The Pastor’s care demands.”—Doddridge.
“Preaching administ’ring in every work
Of his sublime vocation, in the walks
Of worldly intercourse ‘twixt man, and man,
And in his humble dwelling, he appears
A labourer with moral virtue girt,
With spiritual graces like a glory crowned.”
The settlement of a pastor over a Church is an important event in the history of religion. It is intimately connected with the glory of God, and the welfare of souls, and is to the individual himself, and to the people of his charge, the commencement of…
“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.”—Proverbs 4:28
“There stands the messenger of truth! there stands
The legate of the skies! His theme divine,
His office sacred, his credentials clear.
By him the violated law speaks out
Its thunders; and by him, in strains as sweet
As angels use, the gospel whispers peace.”—Cowper
Chadwell-Street is in the heart of a densely populated district in the north of London, and was in 1858 one of the most advantageous positions for a dissenting chapel that could have been found in the whole of the metropolis. Many changes have occurred in recent years. Old Smithfield, which was then an institution, has disappeared. Clerkenwell was the home of…
“We can do nothing against the truth but for the truth.”—2 Corinthians 13:6
“Should all the forms that men devise
Assault my faith with treach’rous art,
I’d call them vanity and lies,
And bind the Gospel to my heart.”
Attention is at this point claimed to a brief and cursory review of some of the more public religious events which transpired during the period to which this and the preceding chapter are devoted.
An accurate estimate of the character of a prominent Christian minister is impossible, unless we take into account the spiritual tendencies of his age, the currents of popular thought, the opinions which were then rising into…