Immagini della pagina

saw his beloved children and grand-children bowing to the sceptre of mercy. On one occasion he had the unspeakable satisfaction of seeing one of his daughters and four of her children buried with Christ in baptism ; and from their subsequent conduct derived abundant evidence that they had risen in newness of life. But his cup was not entirely un. mingled. While, with the rapid increase and uninterrupted harmony of the church, as well as in the conversion of his own offspring, his soul was delighted, the laxity of habits, the want of liberality and punctuality in many of the professed disciples of Christ, often distressed him. He was also the subject of considerable bodily affliction.

At one time he was brought to the verge of the grave. All hope of his recovery was abandoned. He set his house in order, committed himself into the hands of God, and with great calmness of mind and firmness of hope waited for the signal of his departure. But just as he was about to wave a final adieu to all sublunary things, the Lord rebuked the disease, and bade him return to life and health. His respite from the pains of the flesh was not, however, of very long continuance. In February, 1824, he was attacked with a violent inflammation of the eyes, which rendered him a contin. ual sufferer during the remainder of his days. The tempo. ral interests of his numerous family, the youngest of whom was advancing toward manhood, rendered it expedient in his view to change his location, and in September following he removed to Gorham, Ontario Co., N. Y.

Of the subsequent scenes of his mortal life, the following account is furnished by his affectionate daughters :

“ The inflammation in his eyes increased till total blind. ness ensued. The change from a life of activity to confine. ment, together with the tendency of his disease, produced an extreme nervous affection, and a consequent depression of spirits. Aug., 1830, he was called to part with his dear companion, the solace of his declining years, who possessed a kindred spirit with his own. This was an unexpected trial, but he felt to say, “It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.' He expected soon to follow her, and realized the importance of being in actual readiness to receive the sum.

His situation seldom allowed of visiting the house of God, but he was occasionally favored with the preaching of the gospel in his own house.


“ To prevent his mind preying upon itself, and to dissipate the gloom in which it was enveloped by a seclusion from the pleasures of society, and from the light of day, he engaged in domestic labors, related Bible anecdotes to his little grandchildren, and employed them in reading to him the word of life. One of these little ones read the New Testament entirely through in his hearing six times. At intervals he enjoyed the Divine presence, but most of the time complained of darkness. He often expressed his gratitude to God that he was never left to despair.

“In Feb., 1832, during a protracted meeting, which he was enabled to attend a part of the time, many souls were hopefully brought to the knowledge of the Savior, among whom were his two youngest children, who soon united with the Baptist church in that place. The other ten had previously entertained a hope, and nine of them were professors. He then felt to adopt the language of Simeon, Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. From this time he enjoyed more of the presence of his Redeemer, and felt an unshaken reliance on the promises of God. From the commencement of the disease in his eyes, his bodily sufferings were severe, and continued to increase till they were terminated by death.

“ From the 15th of May, 1833, he was almost entirely confined to his bed, and gradually failed till Sept. 22, when he was attacked by the malady which closed his earthly

His last days were those of excessive suffering. But his patience was remarkable. He contemplated his approaching dissolution with perfect composure, and seemed fully conscious that his hope was well founded.”

His disease progressed rapidly, and on Sept. 27, 1833, he “ fell asleep." His funeral sermon was preached on the following day, by Eld. John Peck, of Cazenovia, an intimate friend of the bereaved family, and for many years a beloved fellow-laborer with the deceased. It was regarded by the afflicted relatives as a special favor of their heavenly Father, that a minister of Jesus Christ, so particularly acquainted with their departed sire, and so much endeared to him and to them, should have been providentially present on the sol. emn occasion, to bedew the death-bed of that venerable servant of God with generous tears, and place the kiss of affec.



tion upon his cold cheek-to assuage the grief of the mourn. ers by his tenderest sympathies, and to impart to them precious consolations from the word of life.

A father in Israel has fallen; but faithful memory will embalm him. He has left a numerous posterity to bewail

; but they mourn not as those who have no hope. He had an extensive circle of relatives who survive him, besides twelve children, seventy-two grand-children, and twenty-five great-grand-children ; total one hundred and nine. All his children, and twenty of his grand-children, cherish a hope of salvation through the blood of Christ; and all except one of these have publicly consecrated themselves to the service of God, in the Baptist communion. How unspeakable the blessing which that patriarch must have enjoyed, as the time of his exit approached. Just as he was about to close his eyes upon every terrestrial object, he saw his twelve children all embraced in the ark of safety, and cherished the fond hope of hailing them hereafter upon the banks of everlasting deliverance. How incomparably preferable such a privilege to that of leaving them in the possession of millions. Oh! let me not only “ die the death of the righteous,” but let my dying couch be moistened by the tears and hallowed by the prayers of pious children. We should do injustice to the claims of departed worth, as well as to those of surviving friends, and the Christian church, if we were not to give at least a brief sketch of the character of our lamented father in Zion.

His virtues were not few, nor were his faults numerous. In whatever relation or respect we contemplate him, we shall find many things to approve, somewhat to admire, and very little to deplore. As a man, he was above everything sordid, and “provided things honest in the sight of all men." His morality was pure, and his principles inflexible. He united consistency, energy, and stability of character. He was unaspiring and unpretending, yet independent and decided, in his opinions. As he was exceedingly careful not to tres. pass upon the rights of others, he was proportionably wounded by an encroachment upon his. But while he retained a deep sense of injuries received, and expressed the strongest disapprobation of the conduct of those by whom they were inflict. ed, he was far from indulging a spirit of retaliation. He

was remarkably grateful for favors, and always cherished the most kindly recollection of his benefactors. He was justly admired for his signal hospitality, and universally esteemed as a citizen and a neighbor.

Notwithstanding his early education was very limited, and his mind never highly cultivated, yet, being possessed of natural talents above mediocrity, and seeking information with more than common avidity, he acquired a very respect. able fund of knowledge. This was principally of a practical character, but not therefore the less valuable in its results. Entering the ministry at a period in life when he was encumbered with the expenses of a family, and receiving but a pittance for his public services, he was of necessity still a man of business. And, as such, he was a pattern of industry frugality, and economy. His original occupation was that of a mechanic. But the labors of the shop were exchanged for those of the field. He was systematic and energetic in all his movements.

Being uniformly accustomed to early rising, he found no occasion for toiling at unseasonable hours. He aimed at doing everything at the right time, and in the best manner. His rule of order was, “ A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Although a large portion of his active life was devoted to the duties of the ministry, while he com. municated and taught his children to communicate freely to the necessities of others, still, by his prudence and perseve. rance, the industry of his family, and the blessing of Heaven, he rose from poverty to a considerable degree of affluence, and left all his children in the possession of a competency of this world's goods, as well as spiritual treasures.

In speaking of the manner in which he discharged his rela. tive duties, it is but just to say that his fraternal, conjugal, and parental, relations, were all sustained with fidelity and tenderness. As a brother, his example, his counsel, and his kindness, greatly endeared him to his brethren, two of whom appear to have been awakened by his admonitions, and event. ually embraced a hope of salvation. As a husband, he was affectionate and faithful. He anticipated the wants and regarded the wishes of his companion. He identified her character, her interests, and her happiness, with his own. His absence was always a subject of regret, and his presence

ever an occasion of joy. As a father, he was kind and indulgent. To some his government might have appeared rigid, but its influence was kindly, and its happy results commend it to all. He was aware that the insubordination of children is ruin—that undue indulgence is so far from in. creasing their attachment to parents, that it saps the very foundation of filial respect and love. He watched over the conduct of his offspring with deep solicitude, and often car. ried them to the mercy-seat in the arms of faith and prayer. His timely instructions and admonitions were taken from lessons of experience and the word of God. The salutary habits, unsullied reputation, and animating prospects, of all his children, proved an ample reward of all his parental anxieties, labors, and prayers.

As a Christian, he had much decision of character, ardor of zeal, and perseverance of effort. The subject of religion was the principal theme of his conversation, and its promotion the paramount object of his pursuit. We have known but few who were more ready to sacrifice private interest to public good. He was emphatically a man of prayer ; and the burden of his supplications was, “ Thy kingdom come.' His attachment to the cause of Christ was inviolate and immutable. He could adopt the language of David, and say, “If I forget thee, Oh! Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” He was proverbial for his punctuality, both in the intercourse of business and the duties of religiona virtue which is as valuable as it is rare. He considered all the appointments of the church as sacred, and allowed no secular interest to interfere with them. We could most de. voutly wish that his example in this respect were more gen. erally copied by church-members. It would greatly encourage the heart and strengthen the hands of pastors, and equally promote the harmony, love, and the practical piety,of the churches.

As a deacon, he “magnified his office.” Instead of regar. ding it as merely nominal, as we have reason to fear many do, he was conscious that it involved high responsibilities and imposed most important duties. In that department he was vigilant, active, and extensively useful. He sought out and relieved the wants of the poor, administered comfort

« IndietroContinua »