« IndietroContinua »
Of Br. Gilbert it may emphatically be said, he was an able minister of the New Testament; he was familiarly ac. quainted with the doctrines of the gospel, and had a peculiarly happy talent in bringing the truth to bear upon the con. sciences of his hearers. His voice was loud, his articulation clear and distinct, and his manner pathetic, and at times full of energy. As a pastor, his labors among his people were abundant: nor were there many whose talents equaled him in this department of his duties. He also felt a lively interest in the welfare of the churches around him; and, not regarding his own ease, he labored much to build them up by visiting and preaching among them.
In all the benevolent movements of the day his heart beat in unison with the most liberal. During the last two years of his life he entered with his whole soul into the labors of protracted meetings; and it is confidently believed that hundreds of precious souls who were converted to God in the meetings he attended, will at last appear as the seals of his ministry. The winter before his death a most interesting protracted meeting was held in Syracuse, in which it was judged upwards of one hundred obtained mercy. Of these Br. Gilbert had the privilege of baptizing ninety-six, who were added to the church. This was the most interesting period of his ministry; yet his humility remained peculiarly manifest. Thus he lived and labored, until the very day before he was called to join the company of the redeemed in glory.
On Lord's day, July 22, 1832, the day before he died, he preached four times, from the following texts, viz. :
“ Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.(Matt. v. 16.) “ Because I have called and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded, but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamities ; I will mock when your fear cometh." (Proverbs vi. 24–26.) “Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind; be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter i. 13.) “ But fear thou God." (Ecc. v. 7.) For a few days previous he had been attended with a bowel complaint, but the night following the day of
this extraordinary labor he had but little rest, while he was the subject of great anxiety in consequence of the illness of his wife, who had exhibited some of the premonitory symptoms of cholera. On the following morning he called on a physician to visit his wife, and on his return home he entered his study, and was diligently employed with a subject he had been investigating. Soon after one of his brethren called, and was greatly alarmed at his appearance; but Br. Gilbert said he was not much unwell. A very few moments after the physician arrived, who immediately told him that his countenance indicated that he had the cholera ; to which he replied he thought not. Almost immediately after he spoke of a strange sensation in one of his feet; it was the cramp, connected with the collapsed state of the cholera. He then retired to his room, and the spasms commenced, and increased, soon reaching his bowels. He suffered the most excruciating pains, but he endured them with great patience and resignation to the will of God. To a friend who stood by him he remarked, “ I little thought, yesterday, that I should be in this situation to-day, but God has done perfectly right.” Towards noon some faint hopes were cherished that he might recover ; but in the afternoon his symptoms became more alarming, and ere the midnight hour arrived, the painful intelligence was announced that Eld. Gilbert was no more. Many were the hearts that were wrung with sorrow, not only in Syracuse, but in the towns adjacent, as the tidings fell upon their ears ; saying, “ A great man has fallen in Israel.”
Thus, in the forty-seventh year of his age, and the twentyfifth year of his ministry, in full hope of a glorious immor. tality, Br. Gilbert left this vale of tears, to enjoy the sweet embraces of his Redeemer in those mansions prepared for the people of God. By the death of Br. Gilbert, his widow, who was raised as from the borders of the grave, mourns the loss of a most affectionate husband ; the two sons a tender and indulgent father; the church a most faithful and efficient pastor ; and the ministry one of their most lovely and endeared associates.
Eld. Roswel BECKWITH was born in Lyme, New London Co., Conn., Oct. 21, 1753. He became early the subject of religious impressions, through the kind and faithful instructions of a pious mother. At the age of seven he was often impressed with a sense of his sins, but not till he had entered on his thirteenth year
did he find deliverance from the power and dominion of sin through the blood and righteousness of Christ. About the same time a brother, younger than himself, obtained a hope in the Savior, and, together, engaged in the work of the Lord. Though babes in Christ, they went forth from house to house, and pointed sinners to the Lamb of God. Their invitations were heeded, and by the blessing of God a glorious ingathering of souls into his kingdom fol. lowed. A day of darkness with him ensued: it was long and dreary. At the
age of twenty-seven he was married to Lydia Dorr, of Lyme, Conn., a worthy person, who shared his joys and sorrows until the year 1834, when she fell asleep in Jesus. He resolved never to head the family-circle without erecting the altar of prayer. This he did, though darkness encom. passed him. In the discharge of this duty he found some peace; yet his deliverance was not complete until he was thirty-three years of age. At this time he united with a separate Congregational church. Soon he became satisfied that the Lord had called him to blow the trumpet of the gospel, and he received fellowship of the church to that effect.
At the age of forty-seven he removed from thence to Coeymans, Albany Co., N. Y. Here his labors become more abundant.
A people that had desecrated the Sabbath soon were brought to enjoy its privileges, and very many to hallow it, through his instrumentality. A church was soon formed—the fruits of a revival under his ministry—to which he continued to preach. During this revival he was request. ed to deliver a sermon on infant baptism. This he promised to do, so soon as he could investigate and arrange the subject. He resorted to the law and testimony" for proof upon this “heaven-born doctrine," as he then considered it. But he applied to the wrong source for evidence; and not being disposed to seek it from others, he relinquisheď the doctrine as having no foundation but in the fruitful inventions of men. This led him to a close examination of the institutions of the gospel, which resulted in a union with the regular Baptists. Soon a church was formed, of which he became the pastor, and was ordained in April, 1801. In 1805 he removed to Cazenovia, Mad. Co., N. Y. He united with the first church in Nelson, and labored with them about eight years. He then joined the church in Peterboro, where he preached most of the time for seven years. When age and infirmity had closed upon him, he united with the Baptist church in Cazenovia, and remained a member, until he, with other disciples, formed a separate church in Cazenovia Village, A. D. 1820. Truly it may be said the temporal and spirit. ual interests of this church were greatly promoted through his vigilance and care.
Eld. Beckwith was a man of integrity and firmness. His resolutions were prosecuted with a zeal characteristic of his age. He was a veteran of '76. In the field of battle, and in prison, he showed a devotion to his country and to the cause of freedom worthy of imitation by every friend of free institutions. These characteristics have been most clearly exemplified in his Christian career. Was he devoted to his country?-he was more so to his Redeemer. Was he ready to be sacrificed on the altar of liberty ?-he was more so upon the altar of his God. In evil as well as in good report he was the same ardent and unwavering friend of the Savior.
As a minister, like Moses, he was slow in speech, yet possessed an inventive mind. He was sound in the faith, and, had clear conceptions of gospel truth, At the fireside he excelled. His instructions were well-timed, and most interesting in kind. Here he was often eloquent. The listener always felt himself in the presence of a superior man, and a bold and decided Christian. He was emphatically a peace. maker, and seldom engaged in settling a difficulty between brethren without effecting a reconciliation. He was constant at the house of prayer, even when the infirmities of age might have plead an exemption. Thus he continued until within a few weeks of his death, which took place Feb., 1836,
in the 83d year of his age. In his last sickness he said to a friend, “ The Lord hath built this tabernacle, and often repaired it; and as he is now about to take it down, I am will. ing he should do it in his own time and way;” and added, “He will do it just right, and will raise it up at the last day.” He also added, “I have no wish to live or to die; I am will. ing to leave all with my blessed Savior ; and as I lay here upon my bed, he hands me texts of scripture just as I need them for my comfort and consolation."
His last hours were peculiarly calm and peaceful, and in him was exemplified the sentiment of the Psalmist, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.”
Dea. SQUIRE MANRO was born in Rehoboth, Mass., June 27, 1757. He was the oldest son of Nathan Manro. His grand-father, William, with his great-grand-father, John, em. igrated from Scotland in the early settlement of America. His grand-mother was the grand-daughter of Col. Benjamin Clark, the distinguished officer in King Philip's war. At the commencement of the revolutionary war he entered the service of his country, at the age of eighteen, and continued in the army
three years, during which time he was constantly exposed to dangers and hardships, being located directly on the sea-board. In this school he took so deep an interest in the welfare of his country, that the principles of civil and religious liberty were firmly rooted in his political sentiments at an early period of his life. He had intended to live a ma. ratime life, and his studies had been directed accordingly ; but the war frustrated his design.
At the age of twenty-two he was married to Miss Mary, daughter of John Daggett, who is still living, and by whom he had ten children, six of whom survive him, and all entertain a hope in the mercy of God. He took a farm on shares to support his little family in that place, but soon found that this method would yield him an insufficient income, as his family was increasing. Therefore, in about three years, he