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ble doctrines of the Bible.” President intrenched in his mind was the convicAppleton's influence was in the same tion that man has a holy God to deal direction. How far he directly put him with; that he can be saved, even under self under it, theologically, conversing the gospel, only on “certain conditions ;” with President Appleton on the great that these conditions are nothing less than subjects he was investigating, getting that radical, thorough change of charachim to guide and help his studies, is not ter denominated repentance, regeneraknown. But he could not be near such ation, becoming new creatures, etc.; that a man, he could not hear him preach and "such a change is no trifling thing;” lecture, without feeling his influence. "something more than the effect of a He learned, as all who knew President naturally amiable temper, the exercise of Appleton did, to look up to him with which may have no more of true virtue great reverence. He enjoyed his friend in it than the gratification of any instinct ; ship as long as President Appleton lived. something more than occasional devoHe was with him in his last sickness; tional feelings, as emotions are someand, at the request of the Boards of the times called in reference to God, very College, preached the sermon at his much like those excited in reference to funeral. Mr. Tappan sometimes half some magnanimous hero of a novel, lamented, as these years of his tutorship being only a transient enthusiasm excited were passing, that he had not gone to by some unusual eloquence, or perhaps Andover. In later life, he sometimes occasioned by some view of God as our expressed a regret that his education for particular benefactor; whereas all genthe ministry had not been more syste- uine love must be founded in a percepmatic and complete. But it may be tion of the excellence of its object." doubted whether he would have been These sentences are very characteristic willing to exchange the privilege which of him who wrote them, of his mode of his tutorship brought him, of intimate thinking and preaching through life. knowledge of President Appleton, for He was brought up to think not very that of sitting at the feet of any other favorably of Hopkinsianism. His father, man. How much of really formative while at West Newbury, had broken a influence President Appleton exerted lance with Dr. Samuel Spring, of Newupon his theological views, is another buryport. In his letters, he speaks of question. The truth seems to be, that Dr. Woods, of Andover, and of his fellowthe formative influences were earlier. , tutor the second year, Mr. Winthrop He was, in a manner, brought up theo- Bailey, afterward settled in the ministry logically. His training and turn of mind at Brunswick, in terms indicating that, prepared him to appreciate and sympa- as Hopkinsians, they were of another thize with President Appleton's cautious, school. But no Hopkinsian could mainall-sided way of looking at things. tain such points as those just adverted
As to the conclusions he reached, on to with more explicitness than he. In some points, at least, they had great dis- after-life, he cared little for names and tinctness. The deity of Christ he had schools, espousing the general type of maintained some years before, in an argu- New England theology, but standing ment which would have done credit to 'rather on the platform of the Bible than an older head, in a letter to one of his on any human system. brothers. The Atonement was the sub- Some time during the first year, it ject of a sermou he wrote during his first would seem, of his abode at Brunswick, year at Brunswick, presenting the evan- he became a member of the Congregagelical view of that great truth. His tional Church there. The records of the letters to his sister show how deeply church, not having been very well kept
at the time, do not give the precise ing been mentioned with favor” (as he date.
says in his Half-century Sermon) by his Whether he had fixed upon two years “ revered and beloved friend President as the utmost period he would spend in Appleton,” he had been invited to preach the tutorship, is not known. It has during the winter vacation at Augusta, already been seen, that, from his early then without a minister. His preference years, he had looked upon the ministry would have been (as he writes his sister) as his vocation in life, and it is presumed to preach " at the Westward;” but, no he had no intention of long delaying his overtures being made from that quarter, entrance upon the work. Before the he went to Augusta, preaching there five close of the second term, he was agitat- sabbaths in January and February, and ing the question, whether “ to apply for seven more in April, May, and June. approbation,” which he thought he might There was at that time but one orgando “either in the spring or summer ized religious society in the place. The vacation.” He deferred it till Septem- whole population did not much exceed ber 11, 1810, when he received “ appro- 1800. The town had some importance bation,” as a candidate for the ministry, as the head of navigation of the Kennefrom the Association of Salem and vicin- bec for coasting vessels, as also the shire ity; Daniel Fuller, Moderator; Abiel town of the county. It has always been Abbot, Scribe. They met at the time regarded as one of the most beautiful in Manchester, in the very room (he towns in Maine, in point of natural sitthought) which was his grandfather's . uation. Some of its citizens were enterstudy. They speak of him as having prising men of business. There were " exhibited a theological discourse [on quite a number of high intelligence and the Atonement] to their satisfaction,” cultivation. Rev. Daniel Stone, the minand express their “entire approbation ister from October, 1794, to June, 1809, of him as a person well qualified” for was a man of great excellence of private the ministry.
character, but held and preached ArHe began his career as a preacher the minian views. The Half-way Covenant next day, delivering a Preparatory obtained in the Church. A portion of the Lecture' at Beverly, the place of Dr. members had come in by that door, not Abbot's residence the text, “ When I necessarily giving evidence of true Chrisam weak, then am I strong." It was tian character; and the Church, it would the second sermon written by him. The · seem, had never agitated the question of first that he wrote was on the words, adopting a different course. Many of “ My kingdom is not of this world,” and the people were inclined, if not fully comwas delivered (apparently in the sermon mitted, to so-called liberal views; though form) before the Theological Society, “the majority” (according to Mr. TapCambridge, as early as April 24, 1806. pan's letters) would not have been The sabbath following his approbation, “suited ” with “ a gentleman of Boston September 16, 1810, he preached at divinity." Mr. Norton had been one of Ipswich; the next sabbath, part of the the candidates, without receiving a call. day in Cambridge, and part of the day “ Many” also “would be strongly prefor Mr. Channing in Boston. Return-" judiced against an Andover man." ing to Brunswick, he preached five times Mr. Tappan probably owed the favor during the fall term, Thanksgiving Day he found among them, in some degree, being one of them. The last sabbath to the fact, that, both personally and but one of the year, he preached at hereditarily, he stood between these two Bath.
parties. But, from the outset, it was no Before this, however, his name “hav- diluted gospel which he dispensed. He
did not cover up the truth. He did not he should be glad to have it stated.” try to make it palatable to the worldly “I said no more,” Mr. T. adds, “ in oppomind. It was not in him to do this. sition to his arguments, but admired the His early sermons, like those of preach- high motives which led him to prefer ers generally, differ from his later in not Augusta to Boston.” having the same closeness and pungency of application. But he preached the
“My talents and acquisitions,” he writes truth as he believed it: he preached it
his sister, are not such as to put me on a
level with the clergy of that place, neither plainly and fully. His views of minis
are my sentiments suited to that meridian.” terial obligation, as disclosed in his letters to his sister, were very solemn; and, His mother gave her consent, if he from the first, he preached, not as pleas- thought it his duty, to accept the call. ing men, but God, who trieth the hearts. Dr. Dana wrote in favor of his doing so. God set his seal upon his preaching by Judge Parsons (who held a court at causing it to awaken some of his hearers. Augusta while he was preaching there) When the parish had their meeting to con- advised him to accept the call, but causider the question of giving him a call, tioned him against preaching the docthe vote was in his favor by a majority trines of Calvinism. The only serious of only one; and the person who threw difficulty he seems to have felt related this deciding vote was understood to be to the Half-way Covenant. He gave influenced rather by the wishes of his special attention to this subject after children, who were earnest members of receiving his call. Dr. Dana, in reply to the Church, than by his own prefer- a letter inquiring his views, wrote at
The Church concurred without a length, rather in advocacy of the Halfdissenting voice.
way Covenant, quoting the Cambridge The call was given in June; but Mr. Platform of 1642, and expressing the Tappan did not reply till August. Ile opinion that justice had not been done had come to feel a good deal of interest to those who put it forth and who inin the place and the people ; he thought dorsed it. But here the younger man that there was an important work to be found himself unable to adopt the done there: but his friends at first were views of the older. He made up his averse to his being settled so far from mind that no one could rightfully be them. Maine seemed to Massachusetts admitted to a Christian Church, and people, then, a long way off; a sort of come to the Lord's Table, unless posbarbarous country; if it does not seem sessing and giving evidence that he was so still.
in heart one of Christ's disciples. He His respected kinsman before men- thought it only honorable and right to tioned, Mr. John Tappan, wrote, depre- apprise the people at Augusta of the cating his burying his talents in Maine, ground he took, before signifying his and urging him to visit Boston, where acceptance of the call. On the first a pulpit was vacant, which he thought sabbath of August, he preached two he might be invited to fill. But he sermons on “ The Nature and Import of made up his mind finally to accept the the Duty of confessing Christ before invitation to Augusta. His reply to Mr. Men,” in which he defined his position John Tappan, as Mr. T. gives it, was, at large; not indeed directly attacking " that some ministers must go there, the Half-way Covenant, but showing where there was a great field of useful- plainly enough where he stood. ness, and he thought he had a call to His answer to the call cast in his lot among them; and, if I August 11th. It was in the affirmaknew any good reason to the contrary, tive; but to give the people, even now,
opportunity to recede, if they chose, he The interval (after the college cominserted the words, –
mencement which terminated his tutor
ship) he spent in visiting his friends, “It will, of course, be understood that I
preaching at Portsmouth, Newburyport, retain those principles and views which I Salem, Marblehead, Beverley, Boston, have publicly expressed, and shall feel under obligation practically to conform to them." Ipswich, West Newbury, and Saco. The
sabbath before his ordination, for some This declaration, together with the reason, he chose to spend at Augusta ; discourses which preceded it, awakened exchanging with the Dresden minister, some misgivings; and there was who was on the council, the sabbath understanding that the Committees of after. Church and Parish, consisting of five The council took its complexion somegentlemen each, of whom the former what from the character of the Church pastor was one, appointed to call the and Society inviting it. The orthodoxy ordaining council, might proceed or of more than one of its members was not, as they should deem expedientdoubtful. The nearest ministers, Mr. after full conference with the pastor Gillett of Hallowell, and Mr. Thurselect. A discussion took place in the ton of Winthrop, were not invited. committee several hours in duration. Mr. Channing came from Boston, with The majority decided in favor of pro- Jonathan Phillips, Esq., as his delegate. ceeding. The grounds of this decision Dr. Dana was to have been present, but are not known by the present writer: the sickness of a daughter prevented. whether the majority came really to President Appleton preached the seradopt the views of the pastor elect; or mon, from John ix. 93: whether the interests of the society, on the whole, were deemed to require his
“And Jesus said, For judgment I am come
into this world, that they which see not settlement; or whether the matter in might see, and that they which see might be question was not one, after all, to which made blind.” great importance was attached. There is no evidence that the pastor elect
Dr. Jenks, who is the only surviving receded at all from his ground. It is
member of the council, offered the not unlikely that he gave them to under- ordaining prayer; Dr. Packard, of Wisstand, in some way, that he did not pro
casset, gave the charge to the pastor ; pose to meddle with the existing com
and Mr. Parker, of Dresden, the right position of the Church, as he never did.
hand of fellowship. But, in regard to the admission of mem
Some interest will be felt, perhaps, in bers, he would seem to have insisted reading the following Confession of that he must be allowed to act accord- Faith, which has been found among Dr. ing to the convictions which he had Tappan's papers, and is supposed to have expressed; to which the committees
been drawn up for this occasion; or poswould seem to have given their consent, sibly presented both to this council, tacitly if not formally; with an implied and to the body from whom he received understanding also, perhaps, that the
" approbation." Church, with whom, of course, the power “I believe that there is one God, a Being of receiving members was lodged, would possessing every natural and moral perfecrespect those convictions, and do noth- tion, the Creator of heaven and earth, and ing, so far as this matter was concerned, the only proper object of religious homage; in opposition to his wishes. Arrange- Testament were given by his inspiration,
that the Scriptures of the Old and New ments were made, eventually, for the
and are the only sufficient rule of faith and ordination to take place October 16th.
practice; that man was originally created in
the image of God, which consisteth in right. It may have been so. Nothing, howeousness and true holiness; that, since the
ever, has been observed, indicative of apostasy of our first parents, mankind universally have been in a state of moral degra
the fact, in the papers he has left, unless dation; that Jesus Christ, who, being man,
in the one just quoted. There is a letis also God over all, blessed forever, has
ter of Dr. Dana's, written February 18, made atonement for the sins of the world, 1811, on the subject of the Trinity; but and thus rendered it consistent with divine there is nothing in it showing that he justice to bestow the blessings of pardon and regarded Mr. Tappan's mind in special eternal life upon those who believe; that perplexity on that point. If he was not faith is the assent of the understanding to religious truth, accompanied by feelings fully established in the belief of that suited to the nature of the truth contem- doctrine and the others mentioned, there plated; that, previously to the renewing was in him (as Mr. Thurston says) operations of the Spirit, all men are alien- preparedness to receive the truth in ated from God, opposed to his law, and love. He was a progressive man. He obnoxious to his wrath; that divine influence is requisite to produce that change of grew in knowledge of truth and duty, heart, without which none are qualified for
and in grace, from the time of his ordithe service and enjoyment of God; that nation till his decease.” although they are encouraged to use the means of grace, yet no assurances are given
"Thus,” he remarks in his Half-century that any efforts of the impenitent will secure
Sermon, October, 1861, “ by prayer and the that influence; that true believers do, by laying-on of hands, was I consecrated in this patient continuance in the ways of well
house, fifty years ago, to the work of the doing, seek for, and finally attain, glory,
Christian ministry, and to the office of pastor honor, and immortality; that all men will
and teacher of this people. Young and inexstand before the judgment-seat of Christ; perienced, being not quite twenty-three years that the wicked will go away into everlast
of age, having but little knowledge of God, ing punishment, and the righteous into life
my fellow-creatures, or myself, I was but ill eternal."
prepared for such a position. If I had then
known as much as I have since learned of the A Confession of Faith like this, pre- responsibilities and trials of the sacred office, pared for an association or council,
and of my own insufficiency to sustain and
encounter them, I could scarcely have vendoes not always express a man's full
tured to assume such weighty obligations." belief. It is sometimes written hastily. Points of importance are inadvertently
It is indeed remarkable, both that the omitted. The candidate understands people, in all the circumstances of the that it can be corrected or supplemented, case, should have been willing to comif necessary, by verbal statements. It mit themselves to his pastoral care, and will be observed that this confession is that he should have been willing to take not explicit on the subject of the Trinity, just such a charge. It was like him, howon the divine decrees, and on some ever, to undertake fearlessly whatever other points. But one of these points work he believed God had laid upon is the Church, its nature, the qual- him. The union of the people impressed ifications for membership, etc.; on which his own mind at the time. Only two it is certain that Mr. Tappan had very days before the ordination, he received decided views, which he had openly and the following note, signed by the wives decidedly expressed. Rev. David Thurs- of three of the most influential citizens ton, now a truly revered man, in his of the place : eighty-seventh year, expresses the opinion, that “on some important points of
“The ladies of Augusta, feeling the same
union of sentiment toward Mr. Tappan evangelical religion, particularly on the
which has influenced the gentlemen to invite Trinity, personal election, and the like,” him to the care of the Church and Society, his views • were not fully established.” and solicitous to express it, request his ac