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Eminent as was the piety of Mr. Walker, he did not escape those evil suggestions of the enemy of man's peace, which are occasionally permitted to ruffle the holy calm of a believer's acquiescence in all the revealed purposes of God. At times, as has been before mentioned, he felt a want of full consent to the sentence denounced against sin, and painful hesitation as to the perfect goodness of the supreme being; but their ultimate effect was only to lead him to right views of divine things; so that, like the forest tree, whose roots are forced deeper into earth by the tempest which agitates its branches, he became more firmly established in faith. When thus tried he said, "I must seek more light," and it soon broke forth in his bosom "like the morning," and his spiritual health, to use the beautiful language of the promises, "sprung forth speedily." Right reflection discovered to him the impossibility of man's reasoning on his Maker's will, as if he were a creature; and that all the fundamental propositions he might lay down with truth of a finite, would probably be wrong when applied to an infinite Being. We cannot fully understand a single attribute of Jehovah, nor form any more comprehensive idea of that vast system he is pleased to carry on in the universe, from the small portion of it before us, than we could of the immensity of our globe, from a single blade of grass gathered from its surface. In this our imperfect state, we have only to receive what is in mercy made known to us, and to remember, that as a reluctant will must obey the commands of God, so a reluctant reason must receive his revelation, not because of the matter but of the author, whose in
scrutable designs will be developed to the new faculties of our glorified souls, when the glass through which we now see darkly shall be withdrawn, and heaven's pure light shed upon the mysteries of godliness, become to our admiring eyes, the interpreter of its own designs. With views such as these Mr. Walker wisely observed, "Were I incapable of answering ten thousand objections which do not affect the main doctrines of Scripture, I should not doubt the truth of them." He also found his faith greatly strengthened by reflecting on the applicability of the gospel to his own wants: "I see," he remarked, "such discoveries of God respecting him to me, as just that very Being I would desire him to be." Such were the springs of his faith, and of his daily works of love: thus he polished his breast plate, sharpened his sword, and strengthened his buckler, and came forth, in the shining panoply of a Christian, to "endure hardness" as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and to wage a successful warfare against all that was opposed to the honour of his Master, and the best interests of his fellow men.
INTERCOURSE WITH DISSENTERS. DEATH AND FUNERAL OF MR. VOWLER, CURATE OF ST. AGNES.
The star in the west.
INSTRUCTIVE as the ministry and private experience of Mr. Walker may have appeared in the preceding chapters, it will now be shewn, that in his liberality towards those who differed from him in opinion, he was not less an example of the spirit which ever must be manifested by the true Christian. He united firmness of principle with an excellent benevolence of feeling; for the grace of God had so expanded his affections, that there was a place in them for every brother, who loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth. One of the most interesting friendships upon record, was that which subsisted between him and the pious Risdon Darracott, of Wellington, in Somersetshire, whose light shone in the midst of darkness with such a heavenly brightness, that Whitfield, a man not given to compliments, after a visit to the scene of his labours, called him the "Star in the West."
Like his tutor Doddridge, this guileless nonconformist could rejoice to look upon the crystal stream of life flowing in channels not his own; nor did he and his associates desire any other result, than the
fertilizing irrigation of a dry and barren world. The hearts of Doddridge and Darracott were as warm as their gifts and graces were brilliant; and the sound of Zion's trumpet in the church made them exult in a hope, that it would rouse from the sleep of death many slumberers, who had long been beyond the reach of its awakening voice. When writing to his friend at Wellington, Mr. Walker observes, "I have not your warm heart; Doddridge was not my tutor;" and in a letter to a Cornwall correspondent, he remarks, “O! what an excellent spirit was that of Dr. Doddridge! No writings are like living epistles.” When the Curate of Truro and the Independent minister of Wellington came together, their only design was to burnish into a brighter lustre the living image of Christ in their hearts; in their letters,1 they wrote only to encourage each other in the true faith, to tell of souls rescued from Satan's bondage, and brought into the liberty of the gospel, or to lament their own deficiencies and falls, and obduracy among their people. Mr. Walker congratulated Mr. Darracotton the piety of dissenters at Wellington; and the latter expressed his joy at receiving tidings of good among churchmen at Truro. They had only one subject of emulation-who should be the most faithful servant of the Redeemer, and who might count most trophies of victory over the spiritual enemies of God and man; and this not in envy, but with true pleasure in each at the greater success of his brother. After a visit
1 Vid. An interesting series of letters in Bennett's Life of Risdon Darracott. London, 1815.
to Wellington, Mr. Walker wrote to Mr. Darracott, "Well, I hope I got a little spark among you, and that something like zeal is enkindled in the coldest heart in the world;" and yet he never once deviated from that "regular course," on which he said he perceived the "divine blessing eminently rested."
In general the friendships existing between the most active conformists and their dissenting brethren, in the days of religious revival in this country, were of a very interesting and truly scriptural character, and did honour to the principles, piety, and sincerity of both. A constant remembrance of our own liability to err, should make us view with leniency what we consider to be the mistakes of others, especially when the various paths we tread meet in the same end. Inferior differences among men may be of little estimate in the infinite mind of the Supreme Being, if a pure desire of truth has conducted to them. The remark of Lord Bacon on this subject, is worthy of being deeply impressed on every reflecting mind-" a man that is of judgment and understanding, shall sometimes hear ignorant men differ, and know well within himself that those which so differ, mean one thing, and yet themselves would never agree. And if it come to pass in that distance of judgment which is between man and man, shall we not think that God above, that knows the heart, doth discern that frail men in some of their contradictions intend the same thing, and accepteth both?" An entire unity of thought is no proof of great illumination, because all colours agree in the dark, when there is no sun to impart to them their proper hues; but in days of much light, the