Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

one

and reflectively.

Comprehensive spare, he would surely find something to do, ness is the one word which gives the key to some information to obtain for his work, a his mental structure and stores. He had donation to secure, some former parishioner, more breadth of view, he saw more sides or unknown and neglected perhaps by others, to phases of a subject, than most of us; and he seek out and comfort. Wherever he was disciplined himself to hold his mind in poise wanted he was sure to go, ‘his trunk always till the material for a right decision came packed' (I quote the words of an eminent more fully before him. His mind was evi- gentleman, his pupil at Brunswick, and subdently of the independent order, as sequently his parishioner at Augusta), ready planted on his individuality, responsible as a for every good word and work. Always in person, not so ready a participant of the heat motion, always at work; writing or preachand rashness which is sometimes witnessed ing, teaching or learning, praying or doing.” in the mass meeting, and which comes of an “Every day of his sunny, protracted life,” aggregation of speech and counsels. He was says Mr. Webb, not more filially than truly, evidently built on the maxim, In medio was a blessing to somebody.” tutissimus.'

“Those faculties of the mind we have A very graphic picture has Mr. McKendescribed,” adds Prof. Shepard, “were per

zie also drawn: petually kept under the regency of love; and

“He was more remarkable for nothing than the love, the benevolence, like the intellect,

for his industry. He worked diligently, and was broad, deep, comprehensive; the admi

enjoyed working. You would see him at rable symmetry in the structure of the man

home busy among his papers, sending letters we have spoken of also linking these two, the department of mind, and the department night, early in the morning, visiting some

far and wide, reading and writing late at of heart. His highest glory lay in this, the

old friend, coming to the prayer meeting with perennial flow of his beneficent life; and his

his word of Christian counsel and his fervent highest joy in the grand felicity of his time of living, when these majestic agencies for

prayer, hunting up some destitute Church

where he could preach on the Sabbath, or perthe world's saving and civilizing were form

haps going among the soldiers in the hospital ing and extending on the stage; for he was

to speak the word of life and hope; and in ever in close sympathy with them, and helped

the midst of all this work making his home them by labor, money, influence, sacrifice, in

very bright by his presence. Or you would whatever way he could.”

find him in some remote village, consulting What Dr. Adams calls “his marvellous

with a handful of praying men and women

about their feeble Church, strengthening the energy of work ” perhaps needs no fur

heart of a struggling minister, or preaching ther illustration.

with interest to the scattered hearers who “I asked a brother in our Church, a day or

had been gathered at his suggestion. Or he two since, who had long known Dr. Tappan, ing a minister, forming a Church, dedicating

would be bearing a prominent part in ordain"what were his chief characteristics. The instant answer was, ‘His sincere piety, and

a meeting-house; or perhaps would be giving his immense industry and energy.' Who

to the college or the seminary the benefit of that knew the man would give a different

his shrewd and trustworthy judgment. Or

he would be hastening from town to town answer? If there are ‘laboring men'in dis

with his mind upon the needy treasury of his tinction from other men, Dr. Tappan was one of them till he died. Not from an outward

society, or to give his aid in the sessions of

successive religious conferences. · Summer necessity, - to gain a livelihood. No neces

heat did not frighten him, nor winter's cold. sity was upon him, but the necessity of his own nature, and the same 'necessity' of grace

Wrapped in his rough fur coat, with his silken

hair almost as white as the driven snow, he that was upon Paul, “constraint' of love to

would breast the storm which kept younger Christ and to men. Work came so easy to him, that to careless observers he hardly seemed a

men beside their fires. Always busy, plan. worker. I heard the playful remark thirty ning, striving, stimulating, sowing, and reap

ing, yet seldom in a hurry.” years ago, from one who knew him best, * There is not a lazy bone in his body; he is Both Mr. McKenzie and Prof. Shepard never idle an instant;' and we have been speak of his “ unofficial” labors of love. proving the truth of it ever since. If he passed through a place, and had but a half-hour to “It was interesting," says the latter, " to

[ocr errors]

see how his heart would yearn after any he almost to a fault, has been so apparent for
supposed might need his help; to witness his half a century; yet not ostentatiously, but
painstaking in order to confer a neighborly quietly, and almost unconsciously to himself.
favor. I have been travelling with him when In all my familiar intercourse with him for
he would go miles out of his way upon his thirty-five years, I do not remember ever to
hearing of any one, an old friend, former have heard him speak of his gifts. And yet
parishioner, any disciple in trouble, whom I have always known that he was giving,
he might comfort and strengthen on their and now I hear it spoken of everywhere,
pilgrimage. For these single, separate, scat- giving to his power, if not beyond his power;
tered ministries, in the house and by the way- not to a few favorite objects merely, but to
side, in his parish and all over the State, he all deserving ones.”
was an example to us all. Few so faithful as
he in the retired, the hidden sphere; so quick A letter to his sister, dated January 5,
and skilful in putting out a word that he 1813, shows that he cultivated the giving
might catch a soul. And the great day may disposition from the outset, when he had
reveal that he won as many to the new life
by the private as the public appeal.

no resources but his salary:
“Dr. Tappan was a fine example also in

“ You caution me against being too genermatters of speech, in the social range or

ous and liberal. I see no reason for such a sphere. It was always with deliberation, al

caution. Soon after I was settled, I deterways with frankness and sincerity : when you heard his word, you knew what he thought.

mined to employ a certain portion of my

income for charitable purposes. Including His was a speech singularly free from the criminative and the injurious. I have been

what I spent on David's account, I rather

exceeded the sum which I had resolved to with him in all the secrecies and all the spontaneities, and I never heard the first ill. spend the last year, and I do not at all regret advised phrase or censorious remark; not a

it. Money is of little worth for any other

use than the doing of good.”
word touching human character and reputa-
tion that the world might not hear.”
“The missionaries," adds Mr. Webb, “re-

It was a peculiar providence of God, vered him as a father, but loved him as a

we may believe, which brought to visit brother. His sense of responsibility to God friends at Augusta, the summer after Mr. left no place in his heart for ambition or love Tappan was ordained, Miss Winthrop of power. He was self-forgetful, eminently of Boston, Elizabeth Bowdoin Temple guileless and humble. And he never did any Winthrop, — who two years afterwards thing to be seen of men.”

became his wife ; and who, by the gentleSays Dr. Adams,

ness and sweetness of her character as a

woman and a Christian, by her prayer“How greatly Dr. Tappan's usefulness was fulness and participation with him in increased by the kindliness of his disposition,

Christian efforts, and by bringing to him and the polish and courtesy and true Chris

a large increase of pecuniary resources, tian gentlemanliness of his manners, we have all observed. How blandly did he greet us!

and uniting with him in consecrating all How readily did he enter into our griefs and to Christ, contributed so largely to his sorrows! With what tenderness of tone and usefulness and happiness. word did he pour out his heart for us, at the She was the eldest child of Hon. family altar, when we were in trouble !

Thomas L. Winthrop. A remarkable “An important thing in regard to his effi

train of circumstances had issued in her ciency for doing good was that he did not suffer himself-(to use an abused but good

conversion some years before. Not then phrase) – 'to fall behind the age.' Living satisfied with the ministrations of Dr. in three generations, he belonged always to Gardiner, of the Episcopal Church, with the generation in which he was living; hold

which her family were connected, drawn ing firmly all that was good and true in the

somewhat for a time to Dr. Channing as a past, yet ready, equally with the youngest, to

more devoted man, but not finding him a accept all that was new and yet true. “How liberal in his giving, it is not neces

dispenser of the full gospel as her heart sary to mention here, where his generosity,

craved it, she had come to make the Old

[ocr errors]

South her spiritual home, and to be on succession guest followed guest. It intimate terms with Mr. and Mrs. Hun- always seemed a real pleasure to him tington. She had also associated herself when some new candidate appeared for with Mrs. Waters, Mrs. Mason, and the hospitalities of his dwelling. Prof. others, who composed the memorable Shepard, in his characteristic way, speaks praying-circle that met from week to of “that capacious heart which seemed week in times when there were compar- ever ready to take the whole State into atively few to pray. Mr. Tappan became his house.” He questions also whether, acquainted with Miss Winthrop during in respect to the quantity and variety her visit at Augusta. As he wrote after of strangers entertained, there can be - her death in 1860,

found a parallel in all New England.”

His hospitality is thus described by “She was singularly beautiful and lovely Mr. Webb: in her appearance, deportment, and spirit; modest, simple in dress and manners, but “His large house was always open, and it intelligent and social; of decided piety, and might be added with but little exaggeration eminently spiritual.”

of the truth, always full. His hospitality was

another form of his cheerful, Christian benev. He saw her afterward at President olence. No amount of company disturbed Appleton's at the College Commence- his equanimity, neither was any visit considment, and again in Boston in October, ered unseasonable. He could allow himself but did not ask her hand until February, to be called from his study on Saturday after

noon, when in the midst of his sabbath morn1814. They were married on the 7th ing's sermon, to entertain for three long hours day of the following June.

some brother minister and his wife who They lived at first in their "own hired needed rest and refreshment in their jourhouse." Afterward they built one for ney; and neither these guests, nor any memthemselves, of which they took posses- word or sign that this interruption was not

ber of his household, could discern by any sion in 1816. Here six of their seven

considered a providential favor. He was a children were born to them; and after

Christian nobleman in his hospitality. His many years of happy family life, they benignant face was perfectly radiant with left it only for the mansion above. They pleasure when his dining-room table was exdid not, however, count the dwelling in tended to its utmost capacity, and three or

four children driven to an extempore sidethe supreme sense their own. They

board against the wall." remembered the injunction to show hospitality without grudging. With her Young men were received, also, gratretiring nature, our mother would doubt- uitously into the family, to be fitted for less have preferred less company, espe- college or the ministry. Several teachcially during the earlier years of their ers in succession of a private school in married life; a less public home, so to town, of whom the present Secretary of speak. But she ever received kindly the Massachusetts Sabbath School Socithose who came, and did everything that ety was one, found a home there; men lay in her power for their comfort. The whom Dr. Tappan was active in procursociety of some she greatly enjoyed. ing, and who, he took care as far as It was impossible that there should not possible, should be men of decidedly be those also whom he was specially Christian character. glad to entertain beneath his roof. Early after his own settlement at But he was cordial to all. No mem- Augusta, he induced his eldest brother, ber of his family ever saw an ungra- Enoch, to settle there also, as a physicious expression upon his face, or heard cian. The latter was never married ; him utter an impatient word, no matter was for several years an inmate of his who came, or how many, or in what quick brother's house; and, until his death in

1847, was daily with him more or less. his intrinsic exellence of character, with A sore throat, which disabled the minis- feelings almost if not quite reverential. ter for a couple of sabbaths in February, In his own household he established 1813, called the physician's professional and enforced family law, but was an affecskill into requisition ; but he had few tionate father. In our younger years, other occasions to avail himself of it in his children as well as others stood somehis own person. His brother's society, what in awe of him. He was not in the however, constantly did him good like a habit of conversing as familiarly with us medicine, - - was a tonic often of the hap- as some fathers do with their children. piest sort. There was strong attachment He used to say that he had not the and sympathy between them. Both were power. But at times he unbent, and men of culture ; both Cambridge men; sported gayly with us, hearty and wholeboth men of strong common sense ; both souled in this as in everything. He men of accuracy in their scholarship. shared our mother's desires for our The older was more literary in his turn conversion ; instructed us faithfully and of mind, more mirthful. He was some- jointly with her in the many indescribawhat versed in several of the tongues of ble methods of conscious and unconscious both Northern and Southern Europe. influences; made the ineffaceable impresDon Quixote and Molière were among sion upon our minds, that religion is the his favorite books. No one could tell a supreme thing. As we grew older, he story better. No one could write a more became more our companion. It was a easy, sprightly, and entertaining letter. great joy to him to see one after another No one could describe things, as he had of his children professedly entering the seen them, more happily. The daily narrow way, till, several years before his society of such a brother contributed death, all had come to be in the Christian greatly to Dr. Tappan's enjoyment, and Church. One of his daughters, after a to his mental health and freshness. sickness, years in duration, died in 1848, Through this brother, also, he could daily at the age of twenty-four. He was a feel, in more senses than one, the pulse model of thoughtful and gentle kindness of the place. After the lapse of some in his treatment of her, as also, at a later years also, to his great joy, his brother period, of the wife of his youth, in the became a decidedly Christian man, an feeble health of her last years. officer of the Church, and a valuable He was a man of a buoyant temperhelper in Christian efforts. Soon after ament. He bore large burdens without his conversion, the two brothers per- seeming to feel their weight. He seldom suaded their mother and sister to remove had an absent, abstracted air, unless to Augusta, where they remained while directly engaged in reading or writing, they lived; the former dying in 1831, and when he showed often a power of abthe latter in 1858. Dr. Tappan was a straction quite remarkable. But in his man of warm family affections, was assid- family — in social intercourse generally uous in all filial and fraternal offices, and - he was genial ; he laughed heartily had his reward in the affection of which when his brother or any one else told as a son and brother he was the object. a good story; he took part in all that From an early period of his life, the hopes was going on. He talked a good deal of the whole family seem to have cen- himself, though never exactly a forward tred very much in him. They found him talker. In the latter years of his life, a strong staff to lean upon, and he out- it was his evident desire to have a genial lived them all. The older brother and atmosphere around him, — to entertain the sister appeared to regard him, not his children and others with pleasant simply for his kindness to them, but for conversation.

He greatly enjoyed music. His wife even in his days of busiest out-of-door achad been taught it by the best masters; tivity, a diligent reader, if not in the highest and, even in her later years, could run

sense of the word a student. He kept up

remarkably with the literature of the day. over the keys of a piano-forte with a

Abroad as well as at home, in the stagerapidity, grace,

and “cleanness” of coach, in the rail-car, everywhere, he was touch, not possible to every young lady. reading. At my own house, I have often left Her voice also had been cultivated. His him at night reading, and found him reading

in the morning. The Bible he studied; its musical advantages had been fewer. He

facts, its sentiments, its identical words, the read the musical score with less ease.

various explanations of distinguished bibliBut he had a musical ear and a noble cal scholars on difficult passages, most abunvoice. He loved to sing. He loved to dantly stored up in his most retentive and sing with his wife. They sang together ever-ready memory.” after the guests were gone — their

He was the head of his household till own wedding hymn. Some of my most

he died; not so much in the sense of hallowed remembrances go back to the

authority as of moral and spiritual hymns they sang together before yet headship. The palm of energy, of courtheir children had learned to sing with

age, them. As the children came to mingle to him. He was the earliest riser, the

of wisdom, was cheerfully conceded their voices with the parents', of course

hardest worker; the last to agitate the he enjoyed the songs of Zion all the more, question whether that could be done and had them make a part of the daily which needed to be done, no matter how family worship. Often he led the singing unpropitious the circumstances or great of the conference meeting; and not infre

the obstacles. Says Mr. Webb, quently his voice would be heard mingling somewhat prominently with the “Dr. Tappan possessed a perfect physical singing of the sanctuary, and of the organism; and, living temperately and regumore public religious occasions at which larly, enjoyed almost uninterrupted health. he was present.

He was able to perform an amount of daily

labor, physical and intellectual, and to endure He was fond of reading aloud. His

a degree of exposure and privation, which reading in private, as also his public would break down almost any of our young reading of the Scriptures and of hymns, men in a single year. Even up to seventy was often very happy. He had quick years ‘his eye was not dim, nor his natural appreciation of the sublime portions of force abated. It was interesting to see with

what a smile of conscious strength he would the Bible, of the sweeter and nobler

hear the restraining arguments of his family, hymns, and of the finer passages in

and still continue the preparations to meet secular literature.

his appointment, or commence his journey. In his study, for his instruction and He had, too, a kind of sympathy with the entertainment, he surrounded himself elements; never allowing summer's rain nor with books. The leading religious news

winter's snow to detain him at home, or

daunt his purpose." papers and magazines he always took, and read attentively. He had a keen Yet one of the beautiful things about interest in looking through even the him was that he never made his own lighter and more ephemeral volumes power of working, or conscience of work, which excited popular attention. This a rule for others. In this respect he was was one way in which he kept up with one of the most considerate and indulthe times: and the profounder works, ap- gert of fathers, or, it may be added, of pearing now and then, he knew how to bishops. master; the best he thoroughly digested. Though no man ever loved his home

better, no one ever enjoyed temporary “He did not cease to be,” says Dr. Adams, absences and journeyings more.

« VorigeDoorgaan »