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dressed to him a series of letters, eral esteem and admiration, Docwhich in 1777, were published in tor Tappan was uniformly moda duodecimo volume. In these est and humble.* He seemed anx. letters he exposes with vigour and ious to elude publick notice and perspicuity, yet with candour and applause. And when concealmoderation, the rague assertions ment became impossible ; when and loose reasonings, the singular the acknowledged eminence of his mixture of piety and wit, error and talents rendered their frequent exwisdom, of this paradoxical, popu- ercise necessary ; he was still las, and in some respects valuable delicate and unassuming, ever atwriter. The Doctor's last publi- tentive to the claims of others, evcation is a volume of sermons, er ready to sacrifice his own. It which has been well received by may be mentioned as a striking the pablick.
proof of his humility, that his un
common popularity did not excite SKETCHES OF THE LIFE AND CHARAC envy. He discovered so little de TER OF REV. DAVID TAPPAN, D. D.
sire of praise, and was so little ea (Continued from page 5.]
lated by its bestowment, that it AITER the outlines already was impossible for any man eidrawn of Doctor Tappan, as a ther generous or just, not to repreacher ; an attempt will be made joice that he possessed it. In his to describe bim in other particu- humility, let it be carefiilly observer lars of the pastoral and christian ed, there was nothing of baseness character.
or timidity. It sprung from evanIt is seldom that we find in the gelical views. His soul was cast christian pastor so much to be ad- in the humbling mould of chrismired and imitated, and so little tianity. “ His spiritual senses," to be regretted, as in Doctor to use his own mode of expression, Tappan. His virtues and exer- “ were peculiarly nice and tender tions, as a minister, seemed evi- in discerning and feeling his own dently to result from his personal defects and transgressions.” His piety. This gave beauty, unifor- habitual sense of these produced a mity, and usefulness to his whole very lowly spirit. He relished the ministerial character. What he condescending and selfdenying dudid for the promotion of religion, ties of his office, taking pleasure, he did, not because his office and as he expressed it, “ in instructreputation, as a minister, required ing, reproving, and comforting the it, but because he had an operative, lowest forms of human nature. abiding conviction, that religion On the altar of christian humility was unspeakably amiable in itself, he sacrified that fondness for huand above a! things interesting to man applause or mental luxury, men. In the discharge of his sa- that pride of literary, ministerial, cred duties, be only acted out the or moral eminence, and that unbenevolence, the humility, the feeling neglect of the common meekness, and the devotion, which people, which superior station, divine grace had wrought in his knowledge, and fame, assisted by own heart. In order, therefore, human corruption, are apt to into judge correctly of his pastoral spire." character, we must view it in connection with his personal virtues.
• Here, and in several other places, the
writer has availed himself of expressions, With powers of mind and qual- which are found. either wholly or partly, in ities of beart, which attracted gen-, published.
biogr.iphical sketches of Dr. Tappali adres dy
His meekness was as conspicu- others he chiefly intrusted the care ous as his humility. His sacred of his temporal interests. Supeoffice, giving him intercourse with rior to fretfulness and anxiety rehuman nature in its most unlove- specting his earthly state, he acly as well, as in its most engaging cepted without murmuring, a salforms, called for the frequent ex- ary quite inadequate to his comercise of christian meekness. fortable support, humbly confiding When tried by the ignorance and in the bounty of Providence, and stupidity, or by the perverseness in the generosity of affectionate and injustice of men, he was calm individuals. His moral taste was and collected. The irritation of so refined, he felt and acted upon others did not irritate him. Their such a devout plan, that it was his injuries excited no revenge in his deliberate choice to live at the bosom. In a happy degree he greatest distance from luxury and ruled his own spirit. Several in- show. What he possessed of this stances might be mentioned, in world's goods, he valued chiefly as which he quietly suffered his the means, not of private gratifirights to be infringed, rather than cation, but of promoting the welsecure them by contention. And fare of others. His silver and his his intimate friends well know gold were the most precious in his what candour of judgment, what eyes, when he had opportunity tenderness of feeling, and what to use them for the relief of the fervour of prayer he showed for afflicted, and for the encouragesome, who had treated him with ment of humble virtue. the most painful unkindness. For Free in a good measure from their conduct he invented the most the incumbrance of worldly cares charitable excuses, and not only and pursuits, Doctor Tappan conrose above resentment, but sought secrated his talents to sacred duto do for them acts of pious be- ties. While he sustained the pasnevolence.
toral office, he devoted a great He was remarkably free from a portion of his time to study. The worldly spirit. For earthly riches best writers on speculative and and grandeur he had no relish. practical divinity he read with Far nobler objects occupied his great care. His acquaintance thoughts, attracted his love, and with the old English authors, such roused his exertions. The riches as Owen, Howe, Goodwin, Bates, of religion, the attainment of Baxter, &c. was extensive. The knowledge and holiness, the spread rich treasures of truth contained of evangelical truth, the display of in those authors raised them in divine perfection, the salvation of his estimation far above the greatmen ; these were the great ob- er part of more polished moderns. jects, which commanded his mind, The best models of refined comand his heart. His soul seemed position he, nevertheless, studied to be exalted above those atten- with diligence, and imitated with tions, contrivances, and cares, success. What the old authors which are necessary to the acqui- wanted in point of elegance, he sition of wealth. His insatiable , aimed to supply from accomplishthirst for knowledge, and his sed- ed moderns. And what most of ulous attention to pastoral duties the moderns want in point of solleft him little opportunity, and less id information, he supplied from inclination for worldly concerns. the old authors. In the old auTo the prudence and fidelity of thors he found the body of divine
truth ; in the new, its more come. mong his most edifying and imly and engaging dress.
pressive performances. Though his abilities might have For the delights and duties of raised him to eminence in the friendship he was peculiarly form. great circle of liberal arts and sci- ed. Moral excellence was sure ences; he wisely chose to limit to attract and rivet his warmest his attention principally to those regard. His religion disposed branches of knowledge, which are him to sympathy, tenderness, and most nearly allied to theology, love.
Kind affection lighted up and have the most promising in his countenance, gave a delightful Anence on ministerial usefulness. glow to his conversation, and In the learned languages he did cheerfulness to every beneficent not greatly excel ; though his act he performed. Though he knowledge of them was sufficient possessed nothing of that affectato be of essential service in all tion of refinement, or that exces. theological inquiries. His serious sive show of esteem, which deaim was, to be destitute of no spe- stroys the confidence of friendship cies of literature, which was nec- and the pure pleasures of society ; essary to adorn the station he fill- yet he possessed true christian poed, or to furnish him for exten- liteness. In him gentleness and sive gsefulness as a minister of suavity of manners were not the Christ. This being his object, he substitute, but the spontaneous exdid not sacrifice to ambition or pression of sincere kindness. So taste the regular duties of his of- mild and obliging was his disposifice. First of all he attended to tion, that it would have cost him the work of the ministry. His an effort to refuse even an impropstated sermons he composed with er request, or in any way to give much study and accuracy. He the least pain to the hearts of others. carefully furnished himself for ev. In the whole intercourse of social ery common as well, as for every life he was studious to please, special occasion. Though his cautious of offending, and slow to head was clear, his apprehension be offended. His deportment and quick, and his invention fertile ; conversation bespoke an unsuspiand though he had a remarkable cious simplicity of heart, a facility in fixing his attention, and dignified sense of propriety, upin discriminating, arranging, and rightness of intention, and serious expressing his thoughts ; yet he regard to moral and religious obdid not allow himself to enter the ligation. Though far from every desk without thorough prepara- degree of levity, he constantly tion. For several years after he maintained a chaste and sober entered the ministry, he wrote his cheerfulness, thus exhibiting subdiscourses at full length. But af- stantial evidence that religion is a terward his increasing employ- productive source of the best enments and avocations frequently joyments. permitted him to write only the Although so cheerful and enplan, and leading sentiments; and tertaining in company, he gave sometimes he preached wholly himself to habitual and deep conextempore. His unpremeditated templation. Feeling a peculiar indiscourses, together with his sol. terest in the events of Providence, emn and pious effusions at burials and in the truths of revelation, he were, to the bulk of people, a devoted to them a great portion of his thoughts, and often dwelt upon fruits of divine grace. In his view them, till his mind was wholly ab- a time of general reformation was sorbed in profound and pious med. infinitely desirable. With great itation. Such were his habits of satisfaction he read accounts of inattention to the objects of sense, what God hath recently done in and of profound reflection on the many parts of this land. He remost interesting sulj cts, that he joiced to observe the deep religfrequently lost himself in a kind ious impressions, which usually of devout or intellectual reverie. take place where God pours out
He was a very affectionate pas- his Spirit. To promote such im. tor. His people always found in pressions among his own people, him a friend, a brother, a father. particularly in the latter years of He was a guide to inexperienced his pastoral work, he was instant youth, a pious comforter to old in season, and out of season. He age, a counsellor in difficulties, a endeavoured to preserve and insupport to the afflicted. In the crease the solemn concern and chamber of sickness he was a se conviction, which began to appear rious, tender, and prayerful visit- in his society, not only by the statant. While he delighted to par- ed services of the Sabbath, but al. ticipate and soothe the troubles of so by weekly lectures, and meethis people, he was no less readyings for religious conference. As to rejoice in their prosperity, and the fruit of his labours, he had to esteem their happiness a part the happiness to see a consideraof his own. And if words and ac- ble number of hopeful converts tions are the index of the heart, added to his church, whom he es. he felt for them the same ardour teemed his glory and joy. He and tenderness of affection after showed the same satisfaction in he was separated from them, as religious revivals in other places. while he continued with them. In a neighbouring society, where Love seemed to be the ruling divine truth was very deeply and principle of his pastoral conduct. extensively impressed on the Even when he administered pri- minds of the people, Doctor Tapvate reproof to any of his flock, a pan, with several other respectatask the least of all congenial to ble ministers, attended a lecture. his feelings, he gave them plain On that special occasion the pubevidence, that their reprover was lick exercises were extended far their friend ; that, while he la- beyond their usual length. Docmented and abhorred their crimes, tor Tappan heard the performhe loved their souls.
ances, and witnessed the stillness, The cause of vital, experimental the solemnity, and the tenderness religion, was dear to his heart. of the congregation. Just before Looking with concern and grief the close, he asked liberty to speak. upon thoughtless mortals, rushing He told the audience, that he was unprepared into eternity, he la- 'unwilling to leave them, without boured to rouse them to consider- bearing testimony in favour of the ation, and to repentance. He was great and good work, which God an ardent friend to revivals of re- appeared to be carrying on among ligion. Amid the lamented disor- them ; adding some pious reders, which ignorance, and error, marks and directions suited to the and misguided zeal have some- circumstances of the people. times introduced into revivals, he To show still more clearly what clearly distinguished the genuine a zealous advocate Doctor Tappan
was for revivals of religion, the the cause of the publick, he warm. following fact is recorded. After ly espoused the principles of those some general reports had been men, whom he considered as honspread abroad of the uncommon est patriots. In conformity to seriousness, which prevailed a few those principles, he vindicated the years since at Yale College ; he rights, unfolded the dangers, and obtained a particular and well at- inculcated the duties of his coun. tested account of it, the substance try, without entering into the vioof wbich account was published in lence of party spirit, or detracting the Connecticut Evangelical Mag- from the dignity of his station or czine. That account he prudent. thecharitable nature of his religion. ly used to relieve the minds of He possessed an uncommon clergymen and others, who had degree of christian canduur. If entertained groundless prejudices candour consist in thinking all reagainst revivals of religion ; ask- ligious opinions equally good, or ing them, after they had read, or in professing, total indifference beard it, what objections could be with respect to the sentiments of made against such a revival, and men ; or if candour consist in insisting on the infinite importance thinking all men naturally virtuof it at our university, and in all ous, favourites of heaven, and our societies.
hopeful candidates for glory ; or But let it be remembered, that if it consist in believing that manhis attachment to religious revi- kind need no essential renovation vals included fondness for the by the Spirit of God; or, finally, irregularities, which have some- if it consist in forming the most times accompanied them. All favourable judgment of those, who ostentation and noise, rapturous are lax in sentiment and remiss impressions, enthusiastick flights, in morals, and in the least favourall disorderly conduct, every thing able of those, who strictly adhere to contrary to christian decorum he the scripture standard of truth and disapproved and lamented. At duty ; if candour consist in any the same time he believed that or all of these, it is granted, that. some such appearances mightcon- Doctor Tappan was not candid. sist with the saving work of the But if candour is the operation of Spirit
, though by no means to be an enlarged and judicious mind, numbered among its fruits. and of a benevolent, gentle heart ;
Doctor Tappan was well few characters bave a better claim kreun and very ardent friend to his to it, iban he. His candour did country. The struggle, which not consist in words ; he was reseparated us from Great Britain, ally candid in his feelings. He interested all his patriotick and pi- was an equitable judge of the ous sensibilities. In his publick characters, and a mild interpreter prayers and discourses he amply of the actions of men. Toward noticed the state of our country, them, who differed from him in and constantly directed the eyes belief, he cherished a very kind of his people to the alldirecting and generous affection. Indeed hand of Providence, which was so he did not hesitate to judge any visibly active in our publick affairs. thing erroneous in the sentiments Neither at that time nor since or practice of others, which recould he look with indifference on ally appeared so to him. Believe the course of political events. U. ing himself to be in the right, he nited by the strongest affection to believed thein, whu differed from
Vol. I. No.2.