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While, as a matter of duty, I freely place myself, for your sakes, in a situation, which does not promise freedom, from worldly cares ; which may produce many trying perplexities of a pecuniary nature, which may help to keep in view pennyless children, and a closing period of painful dependance, when infirmity or disease, or hoary locks, shall have called from the care of the flock the shepherd, worn out by labour and watchings, and shall have dissolved your present obligations; allow me to indulge the hope that deficiencies in the things of this world will be forgotten in the bestowment of what is unspeakably more valuable—your warm and unfeigned regard ; your remembrance that you and your minister have one common interest, and are one common family: above all, your steady support in every arduous duty, and your unceasing prayers before the throne of grace. “While I deal plainly and faithfully with you, and preach the distinguishing doctrines of grace, believe me your friend, and the friend of your children; if I cease to do this, consider me your enemy. To the blessing of the great Head of the church, brethren, I commend you. May he prosper you. May he delight to build up Zion in the midst of you, and make you and your children after you, a people to the praise and glory of his grace.” The installation of Mr. Gray took place on the 16th of July. His appearance before the ecclesiastical council was highly gratifying. To behold this breach in the walls of our spiritual Jerusalem thus repaired, was a source of much satisfaction to all the friends of truth and of gospel order in the vicinity. But alas ! how frail, how uncertain are the best hopes of man. While it was expected that this servant of God would be continued a rich blessing to his people and to their children; at a time when his life was deemed peculiarly important to them, and to his family, he was arrested by the hand of death, and all the ties which bound him to the world, were dissolved. The last Sabbath in June terminated his labours in the ministry. On the day following he was violently attacked with a pleurisy. After a few days of severe indisposition, his disorder seemed to yield to the force of medicine, and to afford hopes of a speedy recovery. But such was not the will of his heavenly Father: it shortly returned, and, fastening on the seat of life, with a force which set all medical skill at defiance, in a short time brought him down to the grave. To his bereaved charge, to his afflicted, destitute family, the tender Condolence of the christian community is que. May He who once led his people like a flock, who styles himself the God of the widow and the Father of the fatherless,
be their protector, their husband, their father, their unceasing friend. During Mr. Gray’s residence at Stafford, his deportment was marked with sound discretion and prudence. So far as is known, he possessed the universal confidence and respect of his people. To mamy of them it is a tribute of praise most justly due, to state, that they evidently esteemed him rery highly in love for his work's sake; that hence they performed many acts of kindness to him and to his family. It is pleasing to know, that this people, though greatly reduced in numbers, and feeble as to the means of supporting the gospel ministry, are still resolved to seek its speedy re-establishment. It is earnestly hoped, that those societies in this commonwealth, which are in more favoured circumstances, will not withhold from them that charitable assistance, without which this resolution cannot be carried into effect. With regard to the general character of him who is the subject of this memoir, a few remarks from one who had been long and intimately conversant with him, may not be uninteresting. As a man, Mr. Gray possessed a mind considerably above the ordinary stamp. While a member of college, his standing as a scholar was such as to rank him among the first in his class. The most distinguishing feature in his intellect was a sound and discriminating judgment. He could not be said to excel in conversation. His talents were rather solid than brilliant; though he was not essentially wanting with regard to imagination. Though his fancy was not often indulged, and was not the most sparkling and excursive, it was evidently capable of forming images which were both happy and original. He was qualified for patient investigation, and for considerable research. His results were more remarkable for their accuracy, than for the rapidity, with which they were formed : they were never adopted without deliberation, and, as might be expected, were rarely altered. By those who knew him, his opinions were highly respected, and the most highly by those who knew him best. But the most interesting part of the character of every individual, who sustains the sacred office, is that which belongs to him as a christian, a theologian, and a minister of Christ. As a christian, Mr. Gray was characterized by a deep and humbling sense of the native pollution of his heart, and of his own ill-desert at the hand of God. On these topics his friends were accustomed to hear him speak often, and with strong feeling. The only ground on which he ever professed to place the least reliance, was the mercy of God in Christ. The most distinguishing properties of his christian character were uniformity and consistency. It is believed that he was, in a great measure, free from rapture and from despondency. In him was seen not the sudden glare of the comet, but the uniform and steady lustre of the sun. From the whole tenor of his conduct it seemed strongly impressed on his mind, that he was bound to live only for the glory of God, and was forming a character for etermitv. It is natural to inquire what were the feelings and the views of those who have left the world, in the near prospect of etermity. If such inquiries are made, with a principal design to form a judgment with what character these persons have appeared in the presence of God, and what reward they are receiving at his hands, they ought not to be too far indulged. It is by the conduct of men in their days of health that we must principally regulate our opinion, as to the estimation in which they are held by the Judge of all. In this view the sentiment expressed by the lamented President Dwight, on his death-bed, is unquestionably correct:- that the expressions of a dwing man are of but little importance. With regard to Mr. Gray, it is sufficient to state, that in the last stages of his disorder, so far as could be learned from the few expressions which the violence of his disease allowed him to utter, his mind was, in a good degree, tranquil and serene ; was in such a state as every rational creature ought to desire his mind to be in, when expecting soon to appear before God. He manifested a willingness to leave the dear people of his charge, and the church in general, in the hands of Him who is King in Zion. Through faith in him, who has said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,” he contemplated with composure the prospect, that his wife must soon become a widow and his children orphans. Through his distressing sickness no expressions of complaint, of uneasiness, or of anxiety were heard from him. To one of his brethren in the ministry he declared, that he enjoyed, in good measure, the presence of God. He evidently felt, that his “everlasting arms” were underneath him ; that his rod and his staff comforted him. As a theologian and a minister of Christ, Mr. Gray has left to his survivors an example of sound and correct opinions respecting christian doctrine, and of great fidelity in his Master's service. In all his inquiries after religious truth, he manifested a decided determination to appeal to the Holy Scriptures as the only standard of faith. Hence his views of the doctrines of christianity were strictly evangelical and discriminating. No man thought more highly of what are styled the doctrines of grace ; no one was accustomed to make more clear and accurate distinction,
between truth and error, and between him who serveth God, and him who serveth him not ; no one was disposed to contend more earnestly “for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” His public religious instructions were such as might be expected from the truths which formed his creed. The principal object aimed at in his sermons was, to reach the heart and the conscience of his hearers. His uniform endeavour was to unioki the character of the sinner to himself: to strip him of all his refuges of lies: to destroy his hiding places; to cause him to view himself as “guilty belore Gol” He was a bold and fearless assertor of those truths which are most offensive to the carnal heart, and which are often misrepresented and opposed. No one could give suitable attention to his discourses without learning from them, that men are naturally “dead in trespasses and sins: that they must be renewed by the special and discriminating grace of the Holy Spirit; that, before they can be admitted to the kingdom of heaven, they must posses that “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Mr. Gray could not be styled a popular reacher. His manner of writing was tter adapted for discussion than for Jeclamation ; better suited to inform and convince the understanding, than to awaken the feelings, or to touch the heart. His manner in the pulpit was also void of that vivacity, that vehemence and force, which give every public speaker great advantage, and which are essential to the highest eloquence. Still, however, his appearance in the desk and his delivery were grave and solemn ; were characteristic of a man deeply impressed with the sense of the weight and importance of the message which he had to deliver, and realizing that his preaching was intimately connerted with the eternal interests of himself and of his hearers. He was assiduous and constant in the discharge of his ministerial duties; instant in season and out of season: willing to spend and be spent in his Master's service; never disposed to value his own strength or efforts, if he might do any thing for the advancement of the Redeem. er’s cause, and the salvation of perishing men. Though during the short period of his ministry at Stafford, no very signal succes attended his labours, yet he had the bappiness to gather numbers into the church, who had previously been made subjects of grace, and to see his faithful efforts to maintain christian discipline in the family of Christ, attended with encouraging tokens for good. There is also ground to believe, that the seed sown amot; that people by his hand, has taken root in some hearts, and begun to bring forth fruit which will be forever to the praise of rich and sovereign grace. That Mr. Gray had imperfections and faults cannot be doubted ; but of these it is presumed no one was more fully sensible than himself. That he had violent struggles with his remaining corruptions, and strong desires to become more like his Father in heaven, was evident both from his frequent declarations, and from the uniform tenor of his conduct. With application to him it is believed by his brethren in the ministry, who feel themselves painfully bereaved by his death, and also by his other friends,that the language of inspiration may now be adopted ; “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth : yea, saith the Spirit,that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” N. A.
Durd, at the residence of the Rev. Dr. Lewis, in Greenwich, November 20, 1821, Miss Eliza BETH Stillson, a native of Bethlem, Litchfield County. This Lady, through a natural sweetness of temper, was ever alive to all the tender sympathies of humanity, benevolent and affectionate to her friends and acquaintances. She possessed an active and distinguishing mind, an ardent thirst for literary improvement, which rendered her capable of the highest attainments in science. When in early life, she left the common school, she was enabled by the assistance of friends, for several seasons, to attend a school of a higher order. Here she made rapid advances in knowledge, which only served to increase her desires for still greater advantages. These, she enjoyed and improved in the most industrious manner, and ever after during her life, a deep conviction of the worth of time was fastened upon her mind. For these last advantages, she was wholly indebted to her own personal exertions, and defrayed the expenses, by engaging in the business of instructing youth. For this employment, she was eminently qualified, and in performing the arduous duties of an Instructor, spent a considerable part of the last three years of her life. While thus occupied, she had the satisfaction of seeing her pupils making daily advances in their various studies, and in those attainments, which enrich and adorn the mind. Her discipline was strict, yet managed with such wisdom and prudence, as always to secure to her the strong attachment of her scholars and the love of her employers.
But although her mind was furnished with abundant stores of the most useful knowledge, and her faculties uncommonly brilliant, so great was her . that none knew her many accomplishments, but those who were capable of appreciating them, and were also her intimate friends.
Still the most amiable trait of Miss Stillson's character remains to be noticed. It was her sincere o: In early life, and more than six years before her death, she became the subject of renewing grace. Her convictions of her ruined, lost state, and of the evil of her many sins, were deep and pungent. She said, and felt that she was justly deserving of God's everlasting displeasure; and that nothing but his sovereign grace, through the merits of Jesus Christ, could rescue her from final perdition. At this time her distress was inexpressibly great. But after some weeks, it pleased God to renew her heart—to give her a sweet sense of the loveliness of his character—the glories of Christ, and the infinite fulness of his merits. These views inspired confidence in the Saviour, which issued in a humble hope of her interest in the blessings of the new covenant. Notwithstanding the consolation which this hope gave her, so great was her jealousy of herself, and so deep her conviction of the solemn obligations of professing Christians, that it was near two years before she presumed to offer herself as a candidate for communion with the visible church. Nor did she do this, without long and rigid self-examination, and fer. vent prayer to God, for direction and assistance. Her exercises on this occasion are minutely detailed in her journal, now in the hands of a surviving }. Having thus publickly devoted herself to the service of her God and Saviour, she continued to adorn the christian profession until her death. Always modest and humble, she ever avoided all ostentation in religion: but on proper occasions, showed how much it engrossed all the affections of her soul. A few female christian friends, with whom she united in weekly meetings for prayer, and religious conversation, can attest the fervour of her devotions, and her zeal for the revival and extension of true religion. For the promotion of the last mentioned object, she was a liberal contributor. In her school the Scriptures were daily read, and prayer attended. Her pupils are witnesses of her unwearied exertions, not only to promote their improvement in science, but to impress on their minds, a sense of the infinite importance of remembering their Creator, in the days of their youth. But although possessed of talents, native and acquired, which fitted her for distinguished usefulness; and a heart to improve them all to the divine glory, and the best good of her fellow beings, yet it leased a holy, and all wise God to call |. to himself, at the early age of twentyfour years. . In her last sickness, which continued for twelve weeks, she complained, at some seasons, of darkness—of a want of clear views of spiritual things, and of sensible communion with her Re
deemer. In this state of mind, she commenced a strict and diligent self-examination, relative to her repentance, faith, humility, hatred of sin, and submission to the divine will. This she accompanied with ardent prayer that God would discover her true character to her, and if consistent with his holy will, lift on her the light of his countenance. The result was a removal of every cloud, and a clear Inanifestation of the love of God to her soul. Her concern for the advancement of religion, and particularly for the spiritual ood of her relatives, was in a very af. ecting manner exhibited, on the following occasion. Some of these she was called to part with, a few weeks before her death. The fact that they had never prayed together, as a family, was to her a source of deep regret, and she felt as though she could not part with them, for the last time, without commending them all to a merciful God. By her request, they accordingly knee. led around her bed, while she invoked the blessing of Heaven upon them, and earnestly prayed that her death might be sanctified to them. They were sensibly affected, and continued kneeling some time after her prayer was ended. She manifested a great desire, that the disPensations of Providence towards her, might be sanctified to her pupils, and when any called to see her, at a time she was able to converse, she always addressed them with great tenderness and enery, on the importance of preparing for eath, while they were in health ; and earnestly exhorted them not to delay repentance till a dying hour. Her affecting and impressive addresses, it is hoped, wiii be long remembered by them. Patience under distressing pains, and gratitude to those who attended her, was manifested through all her sickness. She often thanked them most affectionately, and servently prayed that God would reward them, with the best of temporal and spiritual blessings. As her life drew nearer its close, her consolations greatly increased. On Sabbath morning previous to her death, every cloud of darkness was dispersed, and she called upon all who were present, to bless God for his great goodness toward her. “I can now say,”
said she, “my Sariour and my King.” She adopted the 281st hymn in the Hartford selection, entitled, “Celestial Prospects, and 229th, and 262d hymns of Dwight's collection, as expressive of her own views and feelings. After a friend had read to her the last of these hymns, she repeated in an impressive manner,
“O the transporting rapturous scene, “That rises to my sight !
“Sweet fields arrayed in living green, “And rivers of delight !”
In the same interesting and impressive manner, she repeated the last verse of the dying Christian to his soul. A short time before her death, a member of the family who was tenderly attached to her, asked “what is your last advice to me?' She replied with great emphasis, “work while the day lasts—prepare for death—live near to God.” After death had evidently begun his work, an intimate friend, read to her the 23d Psalm, and enquired if she could adopt the language of the Psalmist, and say, “ though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” She replied, “I have been endeavouring to fortify my mind, by the exercise of faith in my Redeemer, and I think I can truly say, I fear no evil. The adversary my assault me, but the great Shepherd of Israel is able, and I trust ever will protect me, who am a lamb of his flock, and bring me into the sold of everlasting rest.”
A few minutes before she ceased to breathe, the same member of the family above alluded to, said te ber, “the conflict is almost over." She replied, “I can hardly believe that this is death, it has come in so gentle a form ; it appears that God is adding this to the innumerable mercies, which he has bestowed upon me.” These were the last words spoken by her, which could be distinctly under stood. In a very few minutes, without the distortion of a single feature, or the least motion of a limb she expired.
Thus lived and died this amiable youth. A volume might be written on her exem: plary life, and peaceful death. These hints are given, in hope that they may be useful to all survivors, and especially to the young.
onguerg to torrespontentá.
1'. T. D–n; has been received.
224, 280, 336, 504,560, 616, 668
Asia, printing establishment in 386
-Catholicism, the grounds of, examined 337-
instance of - - 85
Converse, Ann H., obituary notice of 280
Cuba, statistics of - - - 491
Institutions 52, 106, 165, 221, 278,
329, 390, 443, 502, 558, 612, 660
of - - - - - 222
Travels - - - - 576
Ecclesiastical Discipline, on questions
of - - - - - 28t
Great Britain - 54, 167,222, 503, 646