Thursday, October 19, 2006

A.B. Taylor. II.

Alexander Barrie Taylor was, as we have said, brought up by pious parents who were members of the Secession Church. At that time most Scots were presbyterians, either of the Church of Scotland, the Secession Church, or the Reformed Presbyterian Church. There were however a few Baptists and Independents. In God's providence some of these Baptists lived close to the Taylor family, and in his childhood Taylor had discovered that they had not Baptized their baby. Like many, young Taylor was amazed to hear that, and said he was sorry that such parents should have children. His mother told him that the child was really no worse off for not being baptized.
That puzzled young Taylor. If a child was as well unbaptized as baptized, then what really was the point of Baptism? It is the sort of thing children sometimes say, and Mrs. Taylor was not really sure how to answer. That left her son with some suspicions that maybe these Baptists were right.
As often happens in paedobaptist churches, when young Aleck (as he was called) grew older, he was proposed for full Church membership by his father, a good man, but one who was disturbed by his son's doubts concerning the Baptism of infants. Perhaps he thought that Aleck ought to be thinking more about his own relationship with God and less about questions of Church order!
A. B. Taylor consented, and he was placed in the communicants' class to prepare him. At the time he was still a worldly man, and he preferred his shooting to the classes.
He was well taught, and as far as the examinations were a test of Bible knowledge he passed them. But the minister, John Jamieson, knew that, as Hart puts it,
True religion's more than notion,
Something must be Known and Felt.
"Did you ever feel any portion of God's Word to be a comfort to your heart as touching another world?" he asked.
Taylor was taken aback. To be refused full membership would distress his parents but, as he would write later, "Such an idea had never entered my head, let alone my heart." He was caught, and he took the path of least resistance - he lied. Jamieson had recently preached a series from the text 'Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out," and so Taylor repeated that text.
On the strength of that lie he was admitted to full Church membership and given a communion token. Not that he was irreligious. He was formal, serving the Lord in a natural way and living like the world. Before we judge Mr. Jamieson for his letting such a man into church membership, how many of our Evangelical Churches today would do the same? How many men are there in our churches who profess to serve Christ, yet live just like the world?

Next time, God willing, we shall continue with Taylor's life leading up to his conversion, and we shall see how he was brought out of his carnal security.



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