Page images

On the Lord's day next preceding his death, a number of young people, returning from public worship, made him a visit. He received them with attention, and addressed them in the following manner :

"You see, my friends, the situation which I am in. A few days ago, I was in health like you. By a sudden accident I am confined to my bed, and probably shall soon be laid in my grave. None of you know, how soon you may be in a condition like mine. You see in me the necessity of being early prepared for death." I advise you to think seriously of the uncertainty of life, and to prepare for death immediately. Delay not such a work any longer; no; not one single hour. You may as well attend to it now, as hereafter: There can be no advantage in delay. If ever you begin religion, you must bring the matter to a point. You must make it a present business.

"I particularly advise you to reverence the Sabbath and the house of God. There are some young people who are too vain in their talk on the Sabbath, and too light and inattentive in their appearance in the time of worship. Avoid these evils. They will cause you to mourn at the last, when your flesh and your body are consumed, and to say, How have we hated instruction, and our hearts despised reproof Never use profane language. This is a sin, which young people too often practise. I have sometimes heard it with grief. Remember that for every profane, yea, for every idle word you must give an account. Obey and honour your parents, and treat all elderly people with respect; ask counsel and instruction from them, that you may grow in wisdom, and in favour with God and men. Read the Scriptures, that you may learn the way of salvation and may turn your feet into that way. Get an acquaintance with yourselves, that you may see your need of a Saviour; and get an ac, quaintance with your Saviour, that you may trust in him. You must go to him, that you may have life. You are dependent on the grace of God; but you must seek, if you hope to cb. tain it. Seek unto God betimes, Seek him, while he may be found. You think religion is important to me, because I am soon to die. It is as

[merged small][ocr errors]


"I am faint and weak. I cannot say much to you. I entreat you to remember the little I can say. O my friends; I see you now in tears. You think, you will follow my advice. hope you will. But I fear, you will soon forget it. You will not always feel as you do now, while you are looking on my dying body, and hearing my feeble voice. But that you may bring my advice to your mind, go sometimes to the place, where my body will soon be laid. Perhaps a sight of the clods which cover it will remind you of my advice, and awaken your resolution to follow it. Soon your bodies may be laid by mine. May our souls meet in that world, where is no pain nor death.”

This is the substance of the young man's advice to his fellow youths, as it was related, the next morning, by his father to the minister of the par ish, who visited the family.

The father is a respectable man, and has ever appeared a friend to re. ligion; but, on professed scruples, had delayed to attend on the Lord's supper. The minister thought he might profit by the present occasion in renewing former advice. He therefore spake to him in the following


"I am grieved in your affliction, and am refreshed in your consolation. I admire your son's counsel to the young. The concluding part of it strikes me with peculiar force. He advised them to visit his grave, that they might better remember and more deeply feel his dying exhortation. This is so similar to the dying command of Christ, that I cannot forbear to remark to you the similitude. The Saviour, when he was on earth, spent the greatest part of his ministry in giving good instructions to as many as would hear him. When the time of his death drew near, his instructions were more frequent and affectionate; and he enforced them by the solemn and impressive circumstance of his approaching death, He

[ocr errors]

well knew, that good counsels were easily forgotten. He therefore recommended the frequent remem brance of his death, as a mean to impress his words more deeply and indelibly on the heart. The place of his burial could not be visited by his disciples in all ages and in all parts of the world. And if the place could be visited, his body would not be there, for it was soon to rise. He therefore instituted a particular ordinance to be the representation and memorial of his death; and he commanded, that this should be frequently observed and attended in remembrance of him, to shew forth his death until his second coming. The end for which he appointed this ordinance was, that we might remember the words which he spake, the death which he suffered, and the benefits which it procured.

"Now, Sir, you certainly think, that your son gave his companions good advice, when he recommended their visiting his tomb, that they might revive the remembrance, and renew the impression of his instructions; and you wish they would comply with it. And ought not we, much rather, to regard the dying command of the Saviour, who has required you, and me, and all, to come to the place, where he is set forth, as crucified for us, and there to awaken the recollection of his instructions, and our resolution to obey them? Their attention to your son's counsel is expedient; our obedience to the Saviour's command is indispensable."

The address had a happy effect. At the next communion he was present, as an interested spectator; and at the next following, he was present as a devout communicant.


Pastor of the second church in Barnstable, who died Feb. 11, 1807, in the 71st year of his age, and 47th of his ministry.

IT is not for erring mortals to de cide upon the character and cternal state of their departed fellow creatures. This, no doubt, is often done with too little consideration. There are, however, cases, in which a regard to the good of the living, and to the honour of divine grace, requires us to use our endeavours to perpetuate

a respectful and affectionate remembrance of the virtuous dead, especially those, who have filled any public station, either in church or state.

In the character of the late Mr. Shaw, as a minister of Christ, there were some distinguishing excellencies, which ought to be had in everlasting remembrance by those who come after him. Among these, may be mentioned his devotedness to the peculiar duties of his profession; his intimate acquaintance with the holy scriptures; his affectionate concern for the eternal welfare of the people of his charge; his honest zeal in what he called, to use a favourite phrase of his own, "the cause of evangelical truth;" and the peculiar fervour and solemnity of his manner, both in praying and preaching. This was such as to be particularly remarked, and will not easily be forgotten by those, who have heard him, His remarkable readiness to officiate in the duties of his office, on all public occasions, when a number of his brethren in the ministry were present, was a feature in his character which ought also to be remembered to his honour. Though naturally modest and unassuming, it is believed he was never known to decline public duty on such an occasion, without the most obvious and satisfactory reasons.

In regard to his devotedness to the duties of his profession, it was almost literally true, that he gave himself wholly to these things. He was remarkable for visiting his people both in sickness and in health, and besides his public preaching on the Sabbath, he not unfrequently preached in private houses in remote parts of his parish, on other days. Of sermons he had probably written a greater number than any other minister now living in New England, if not in the world. So intimate was his acquaintance with the sacred scriptures, that it was scarcely possible for any one to misquote a passage, in his pres ence, without being immediately corrected by him. His affectionate concern for the eternal welfare of the people of his charge was evidenced by his fondness for seasoning his common conversation with them, with religious anecdotes and reflections as well as by the remarkable solemnity and fervour of his manner, both in his

devotional and didactic exercises in the pulpit. Here he spake as a dying man to dying men."

In his religious sentiments, he was strictly and zealously evangelical; but at the same time, remarkably catholic toward those, who seemed to differ from him. The evangelical sentiments of which he was so fond, and for which he so honestly and earnestly contended, he believed to exist at feast as much in the heart, as in the head. He had no confidence in the efficacy of any religious sentiments, however good and true, separate from a good life or evangelical holiness. By evangelical sentiments, he meant the plain, simple, unadorned and un. disguised doctrines of revealed truth, as expressed in the language of the Holy Ghost. But what he meant by evangelical sentiments and evangeli. cal preaching may be best learned from his own expressions, in a public charge to one of his younger brethren* in the ministry, on the day of his ordination.

"We charge you," says he,...." be very solicitous, and let it deeply occupy your mind, that it be in truth, the very gospel you preach,....not the novel invented plans of uninspired men, nor those latitudinarian doctrines, which may well enough comport with a boasted age of reason, and correspond to the taste of men totally depraved. But preach the good old doctrines of the gospel, the precious doctrines of grace, the doctrines of the reformation; for it is a matter of notoriety, that when awakenings, convictions and conversions prevail, and a serious sense of religion takes place, in any remarkable degree, it is always under the influence of the peculiar doctrines of grace, which presuppose men's natural alienation from God, and enmity against him, and, of consequence, that they are totally depraved antecedent to a divine power to renew and sanctify them; that they are lost, perishing, and utterly ruined in themselves.


trust you will be cordial for this, and will not hesitate to hold it forth with clearness, and with a zeal becoming the vast moment of the subject,

"We charge and exhort you to be lively, full and strong, in preaching the

Rev. Mr. Holmes of Dennis.

great doctrines of the cross....We wish you to preach the Deity, the eternal divinity of Him, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,...who is the wonder of angels, the admiration of saints, and the astonishment of the powers of darkness....We wish you to be full and explicit in preaching his great atonement, his perfect mediatorial righteousness, for the justification before God of all repenting sinners, and the power of his Spirit and grace for their sanctification.

"We charge you to inculcate holi ness of life, as connected with holiness of heart. We wish you to be full and explicit in preaching the doctrines of divine sovereignty in the communica. tion of mercy, the absolute necessity of regeneration, the victorious power of grace in the new and heavenly birth, his distinguishing love in giving any repentance unto life, and faith in Christ, with benevolent affection of heart and life, as necessary to qualify for the pure joys and glory of heaven. You are, on a gospel foundation, to urge it upon all those, who have professed to believe in God, to be careful to maintain good works."

Such were the ideas which this venerable servant of Christ entertain. ed of evangelical sentiments and preaching; and such were the sentiments, which he himself uniformly preached, through his long ministerial


This charge, which was delivered with a solemnity and earnestness, which seemed to intimate that he had a presentiment of his approaching dissolution, and that it would be the last he should deliver, should it escape the ravages of time, will remain a pleasing and respectable specimen of Christian eloquence, as long as the gospel of Christ shall be loved and respected in the world.

These evangelical doctrines, as he called them, were his comfort and support in his last sickness, in which he exhibited an edifying example of Christian humility, patience, and resignation, to those who had opportuni. ty of seeing and conversing with him; and we doubt not but these doctrines continued to comfort and support him while passing through the valley of the shadow of death, to the heas enly Canaan.

The writer of this account had the satisfaction of several pleasing interviews with him during his declining state, both before and after he was confined to his house.

In my first visit to him after he was confined to his chamber, which to me was one of the most pleasant and edifying I ever made him, I thought I discovered more of the amiable meekness, humble dignity and perfect resignation of the Christian than I had ever before discovered in him. It appeared to me that if any state on this side heaven can be truly enviable, it is that of an humble Christian, gently taking his departure out of time into eternity; who, as he outwardly decays and grows weaker and weaker, is inwardly renewed and grows stronger and stronger; to whom as outward prospects darken, the prospect of a brighter world be yond the grave grows clearer. This appeared to be remarkably the case with this precious man. This interview, the impression of which, I trust, will never be erased from my mind, forcibly brought to my recollection those lines in Dr. Young.

"The chamber where the good man meets his fate,

Is privileg'd beyond the common walk

Of virtuous life, quite on the verge

of heaven," &c.

When I asked him how he did, he replied, with one of the most expres sive smiles, I ever observed on his countenance, "I am a poor creature sinking under the decays of nature, but I am not without comforts. I have many things to be thankful for yet. I am now depending on that foundation which I have always been endeavouring to establish in my preaching, the mercy of God in Christ, and which I believe to be the only foundation, on which any one can stand with safety. I do not profess to have attained to full assurance, but I have such a hope as raises me above all distressing fears of death. I am habitually looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. If there is any thing more for me to do, I am willing to stay and do it in my poor way, but if not, if I know my own heart, I am entirely resigned to go."

He discovered much affectionate concern respecting the people of his charge, and the resettlement of a gospel minister among them. He was, however, remarkably cheerful and pleasant.

Before morning prayers, he desired me to read the 23d and the 147th Psalms, a part of the latter of which, be considered as predicting the future prosperity of the church, in the contemplation of which, he observed, he had derived great consolation, during his declining state.

A little before I took my leave, among several other questions, which I proposed, as thinking it very doubtful whether I should ever see him again in this world, I asked him, supposing we were to confine our preaching principally to one point, what that point should be. He immediately replied, "to impenitent sinners, we must preach their totally lost and ruined condition by nature, or the fall, (I forget which) and the utter impossibility of their ever being saved, except by the free grace of God in Christ." Thus did this venerable minister of Christ, who watched for souls as one that must give account, bear his dying testimony to the truth and importance of those doctrines, which he had preached through life. The words of dying men are suppos ed to possess peculiar weight, and to deserve peculiar consideration. May these words of a dying Christian, and a Christian minister, be so regarded, by all who shall read them.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Feb. 19, 1807.


The celebrated MALLET, author of many celebrated works on the Antiquities of Northern Europe, lately died at Geneva, in the 77th year of his age. He was the author of the history of Denmark down to the close of the 18th century.

An history of Hesse down to the 17th century.

An history of the House of Brunswick, from its accession to the throne of England.

An history of Switzerland.

An history of the Hanseatic League.

His Northern Antiquities, which we believe to be the only part of bis

[blocks in formation]

THE apprehensions of Philologos are probably removed, and his wishes fulfilled, by the appearance of his 10th Number.

The admission of Candidus, in reply to our remarks on his strictures upon the Extract from Sennebier, relative to Calvin's treatment of Servetus, would necessarily lead into too wide a field of discussion, on a subject, neither very intelligible nor useful to a large portion of our readers. We repeat our high respect for this learned correspondent; and we presume he will readily perceive, that a learned, critical, and laboured examination of a transaction, not in itself of great importance, and of which different contemporary authors of respectability have given different views, does not comport with the design of our work. We had intended to publish the life of Calvin soon after the conclusion of that of Luther; but a wish to obtain some information not in our possession, has hitherto delayed the publication. We shall now wait to receive the sketches of the lives of Calvin and Servetus, promised by Candidus; when these are in our possession, he shall not have reason to complain that we are partial or unjust to the character or conduct of either. A proper opportunity will offer, in the life of Calvin, to introduce all that is necessary to exhibit in its true light the transaction in question.

We have received Mr. Webster's remarks on the eclectic review of his Dictionary; and though they will fill a greater number of our pages, than we would wish ordinarily to devote to such subjects, we shall readily comply with his request, when the Number of the review, to which he refers, is received.

Leighton will accept our thanks for his valuable communications.

W. is informed that we shall speedily enter on the review of the American edition of Ree's Cyclopedia. We think with him, that the cause of religion as well, as of literature requires this at our hands.

Our biographical correspondents are reminded of their engagements.

« PreviousContinue »