can recollect his boyhood, of his college classmates, of his professional brethren, of his family relatives, of any who have joined the circle which always assembled around his domestic hearth,—and, if they can give utterance to their emotions, they will bear the testimony, more to be prized than any other, to his rare and unsurpassed personal, domestic, and social virtues. His home might well be supposed to be an abode of happiness; but how much his presence, and the influence of his example, contributed to make it happy, let no friend beyond its precincts attempt to describe. Wherever he went, the warmest greeting awaited him; for "none knew him but to love him;" and, once a friend," he was a friend till death" of all the wise and good of his acquaintance. His contemporary for a half century will tell you that the virtues which scattered such a profusion of fruits and flowers along his path through life, budded, and were "admired of all beholders" in his youth; that the ingenuous boy was the type of the honest man, and that the graces and charms which clustered in his character were never acquired, but always belonged to him.


To refer to their cause the effects which were manifest in the important acts of his life, and the striking traits of his character, it is only necessary to add that Leverett Saltonstall was a CHRISTIAN. His nature was peculiarly adapted to the development of the religious sentiment; and, under the most favorable influence of parental culture, it germinated in his childhood, "grew with his growth, and strengthened with his strength." No intellect ever grasped the truth of the Bible with a clearer apprehension, and no heart embraced it with a warmer faith. The uncorrupted Christianity of the Bible-"built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone" comprehending every doctrine which Jesus taught, and rejecting the “ mandments of men" the Christianity divinely revealed and attested, and not of human inspiration - it was this in


[ocr errors]


which he believed, and hoped, and trusted, as long as he lived, and in his dying hour. In an interview with the 'writer, during his sickness, he stated the interesting fact that he had recently reviewed the grounds of his religious opinions by a careful study of the Scriptures, and that his faith had been delightfully refreshed and immovably strengthened.

His interest in religion was constantly manifest in his support of its institutions. As he loved the Bible, he loved the Sabbath and the church. Never can he be forgotten by his fellow-worshippers, as, joining in the songs of the sanctuary, he "made melody in his heart to the Lord," and, by his regular attendance upon all the ordinances, constantly proved how much he felt the obligations which he had professed. The teachers and scholars of the Sunday school of which for many years he was the superintendent, will long remember what they owed to his services and example; and the various religious associations of which he was a member will still derive encouragement from the enduring proofs of his cooperation in their proceedings.

His private life-the only sufficient test-bore ample evidence of the efficacy of his religious faith. In the discharge of his ordinary duties; in the execution of many important trusts; amidst all his social relations; as a son, de voted to aged parents; as a brother, proving himself even more than a brother where it was important that he should be so; as a husband and a father, and the head of a household; as a friend and neighbor; as a benefactor to the poor, who will testify how much he did for Christ, by simply recounting what he did for them; - in short, in every station which he occupied, in every office which he filled, in his daily walk, wherever he could be observed, it was distinctly to be seen that he recognized his religious obligations, and that he seldom failed in fulfilling them.

The faith which he had cherished, and the life which he led, prepared him, of course, for a Christian death. The symptoms of a fatal disease gave previous notice that the

event was approaching. Without a murmur or a sigh, with unruffled composure, with almost unvarying cheerfulness, he bore the trials of a painful sickness, and, in a spirit of calm resignation, he approached the grave. Lingering on its brink, he meekly performed the last offices of pious affection; and, uttering at intervals, as long as he could speak, delightful assurances of his gratitude for the past, and his hope for the future, he exhibited in his placid countenance the silent but expressive testimony that he felt within him, to the end,

"A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience."

In connection with his religious character and death, it should not be forgotten that our departed friend was a true lover of nature. How many can remember him, as, in his early morning walks, he went forth with a light step and a cheerful countenance, gazing with rapture upon the varied landscape, charmed with the brilliancy and fragrance of the flowers, listening with a responsive heart to the grateful music of the birds, and imparting, to all whom he accompanied or met, the animating glow of his ardent emotions! Who that can sympathize in his poetic and devout admiration of the beauties of nature, will not love to remember that upon his dying bed he prized an opening rose-bud as a choice symbol of the goodness of God? and who that can feel how much he felt "the sacred inspiration of the morning hour," will fail to be struck with the fitness of the moment of his death, occurring as it did at the very break of day, while the stillness of the external scene corresponded with his inward serenity, just as the "glimmering dawn" betokened the light of immortality which was beaming upon his spirit, and at the instant the birds had begun to chant his requiem?


The Blind Preacher. WIRT.

It was one Sunday, as I travelled through the county of Orange, that my eye was caught by a cluster of horses tied near a ruinous, old, wooden house, in the forest, not far from the road side. Having frequently seen such objects before, in travelling through these states, I had no difficulty in understanding that this was a place of religious worship.

Devotion alone should have stopped me, to join in the duties of the congregation; but I must confess, that curiosity to hear the preacher of such a wilderness was not the least of my motives. On entering, I was struck with his preternatural appearance. He was a tall and very spare old man. His head, which was covered with a white linen cap, his shrivelled hands, and his voice, were all shaking under the influence of a palsy; and a few moments ascertained to me that he was perfectly blind.

The first emotions which touched my breast were those of mingled pity and veneration. But how soon were all my feelings changed! The lips of Plato were never more worthy of a prognostic swarm of bees, than were the lips of this holy man! It was a day of the administration of the sacrament; and his subject, of course, was the passion of our Savior. I had heard the subject handled a thousand times: I had thought it exhausted long ago. Little did I suppose that in the wild woods of America I was to meet with a man whose eloquence would give to this topic a new and more sublime pathos than I had ever before witnessed.

As he descended from the pulpit, to distribute the mystic symbols, there was a peculiar, a more than human solemnity in his air and manner, which made my blood run cold, and my whole frame shiver.

He then drew a picture of the sufferings of our Savior; his

[ocr errors]

trial before Pilate; his ascent up Calvary; his crucifixion; and his death. I knew the whole history; but never, until then, had I heard the circumstances so selected, so arranged, so colored! It was all new; and I seemed to have heard it for the first time in my life. His enunciation was so deliberate, that his voice trembled on every syllable; and every heart in the assembly trembled in unison. Ilis peculiar phrases had that force of description that the original scene appeared to be, at that moment, acting before our eyes. We saw the very faces of the Jews; the staring, frightful distortions of malice and rage. We saw the buffet: my soul kindled with a flame of indignation; and my hands were involuntarily and convulsively clinched.

But when he came to touch on the patience, the forgiving meekness of our Savior; when he drew, to the life, his blessed eyes streaming in tears to heaven, his voice breathing to God a soft and gentle prayer of pardon on his enemies, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" the voice of the preacher, which had all along faltered, grew fainter and fainter, until, his utterance being entirely obstructed by the force of his feelings, he raised his handkerchief to his eyes, and burst into a loud and irrepressible flood of grief. The effect is inconceivable. The whole house resounded with the mingled groans, and sobs, and shrieks, of the congregation.

It was some time before the tumult had subsided so far as to permit him to proceed. Indeed, judging by the usual, but fallacious standard of my own weakness, I began to be very uneasy for the situation of the preacher. For I could not conceive how he would be able to let his audience down from the height to which he had wound them, without impairing the solemnity and dignity of his subject, or perhaps shocking them by the abruptness of the fall. But no: the descent was as beautiful and sublime as the elevation had been rapid and enthusiastic.

The first sentence, with which he broke the awful silence,

« VorigeDoorgaan »