Category:

John Hazelton, Biography

On Friday, 21st March 2014, Dr. Matthew Hyde delivered the annual lecture for the Strict Baptist Historical Society at Bethesda Chapel.[1] 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,[2] 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.

Continue reading

Preface

5 Nov 2015, by

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…

Continue reading

Chapter 1

5 Nov 2015, by

“A time to be born.”—Ecclesiastes 3:2

Most of us have stood at eventide on some tall cliff that towered above the far-stretching ocean, glowing with the reflected tints of the setting sun; while each restless wave, as it rose and fell, caught the golden glory. Then, as fresh beauties struck us—as new effects of light and shade, harmony and contrast, successively claimed our admiration—we longed for the skill of an artist to depict the scene, for our delight in coming days. The wish, though natural, was vain. The radiance departed from the solemn west; the darkness crept on and hid the distant prospect; and as the evening bell warned us of the flight of time, we wended our homeward way, with faint and fast-fleeting recollections of a vision of grandeur and loveliness.

Somewhat similar has been the case with not a few of the worthies of the great King. They served their generation wisely and well. They won esteem and love. But none were found on earth able or willing…

Continue reading

Chapter 2

5 Nov 2015, by

Cowper, “The Task,” Book III.

I was a stricken deer that left the herd
Long since. With many an arrow deep infixed
My panting side was charged, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.
There was I found by One who had Himself
Been hurt by the archers. In His side He bore
And in His hands and feet the cruel scars.
With gentle force soliciting the darts,
He drew them forth, and healed, and bade me live.
Since then, with few associates, in remote
And silent woods I wander, far from those
My former partners of the peopled scene;
With few associates, and not wishing more.

The salvation of a sinner is the result of divine arrangements which were made before the foundation of the world. The chosen of the Father were ransomed by the blood of the Son; and the power of the Spirit is…

Continue reading

Chapter 3

5 Nov 2015, by

“Put thou thy trust in God,
In duty’s path go on;
Fix on His Word thy stedfast eye,
So shall thy work be done.”

The example of our Lord and Master not only gives to the scriptural rite of baptism by immersion its highest and most solemn sanction; but His sacred experience exemplifies the wonderful privileges often conferred upon Christians who loyally and lovingly follow His holy example. As He went straightway up out of the water the heavens opened, and the Spirit, like a dove, descended upon Him; and there came a voice from heaven saying, “Thou art My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” In like manner it not unfrequently happens…

Continue reading

Chapter 4

5 Nov 2015, by

“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.”
Cowper.

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…

Continue reading

Chapter 5

5 Nov 2015, by

“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…

Continue reading

Chapter 6

5 Nov 2015, by

“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…

Continue reading

Chapter 7

5 Nov 2015, by

“‘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.”
Wordsworth’s “Excursion.”

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…

Continue reading

Chapter 8

5 Nov 2015, by

“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…

Continue reading

Chapter 9

5 Nov 2015, by

“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…

Continue reading

Chapter 10

5 Nov 2015, by

The Student—A Retrospect

“Give me a Bible in my hand,
A heart to read and understand,
This sure unerring Word.
I’d urge no company to stay,
But sit alone from day to day
In converse with my Lord.”
—Susannah Harrison, altered by David Denham.

“A SELF-MADE MAN.” Popular as is this phrase, we regard it with great disfavour, judging it to obscure His prerogative who governs all events in heaven and earth according to His sovereign pleasure, and to claim for a creature a power with which his all-wise Creator has not been pleased to invest him, “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will.” “A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.” “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless, the…

Continue reading

Chapter 11

5 Nov 2015, by

“Patient continuance in well-doing.”—Romans 2:7

The inevitable result of the Norwich Chapel case, was to widen the already existing breach between the Strict and Particular Baptists, and the rest of their denomination. By the latter the issue of the celebrated suit was almost universally regarded as a victory of charity and candour over narrowness and bigotry. Nearly all the public references to the men who had dared the desperate venture expressed the utmost exultation that they had been worsted in the unequal fight. Few appeared to regard their self-denying heroism with any other sentiment than pitying contempt. Men who had secretly desired to introduce a similar innovation in other quarters, but had hitherto lacked the courage of their convictions, now began to wax bolder; and many hazarded the prediction, that before many years had expired, the practice of strict communion would be unknown in the…

Continue reading

Chapter 12

5 Nov 2015, by

“His character was marked by great caution and wisdom. Some deemed him too hesitating and slow. Still they generally found that at last he was right, and that the steps he had taken were safe. He was a prudent, and admitting our individual and characteristic infirmities, a truly wise man. He never involved himself in difficulty, or plunged into danger through his imprudence. He always thought much before he decided, and when he moved he felt that his ground was firm. He was cautious in abstaining from everything violent. He was no mere party-man; he never committed himself by any political demonstration, and studiously avoided the arena of warm and angry debate, of violent, of clamorous controversy, He strictly confined himself to his duties as a minister of the Gospel. and assiduously discharged them. He never, like many, stepped beyond his own province. He knew what he had to do, and did it. He was characterised by his sageness, which increasingly developed as he advanced in years.”—A Portraiture of William Jay.
By Rev. Thomas Wallace

This chapter will be devoted to a review of the last fifteen years of John Hazelton’s career, a period which was the least eventful, but in many respects the happiest and most useful of his life.

In 1873 many of our bravest standard-bearers had fallen, and not a few others had almost accomplished their warfare below. John Foreman and James Wells had fallen asleep; George Murrell had passed away after a long life of holy service: George Wright had finished his work, and was waiting for the open vision, while Philip Dickerson, William Palmer, and…

Continue reading

Chapter 13

5 Nov 2015, by

ANALYTICAL.—THE PREACHER.

I would describe him simple, grave, sincere,
In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain,
And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste,
And natural in gesture; much impressed
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge.
And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
May feel it too; affectionate in look,
And tender in address, as well becomes
A messenger of grace to guilty men.—Cowper.

Nothing was further from the character of John Hazelton than the common ambition to figure as “an all-round man.”

He had thoughts on politics, and deemed it right for a Christian to vote according to his convictions, but he attended no meetings that were not distinctly religious or philanthropical, and he was always silent in public on the questions of the day. He was well read: but he never delivered lectures or wrote articles on social or literary subjects. He possessed many of the qualifications of a commentator, but he penned no expositions, nor were any critical or exegetical notes found…

Continue reading

Copyright © 2019, The Association of Historic Baptists