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YEARNING FOR SOULS.
"Nov. 23, Sabbath. Preached twice to-day. The weather was favorable, and the audience of moderate size. The afternoon sermon was particularly well received. But oh! the fruits! the fruits! God grant that I may soon see the fruits of my preaching!
"I long to enter the sanctuary again as an auditor, that I may enjoy the preaching of the word. It is in some respects a glorious and happy thing to be the preacher; but then the crushing weight of responsibility deprives me of ease and serene pleasure.
"Jan. 1, 1852. Another year, with all its joys and sorrows, its cares and labors, its sins and short-comings, has gone to join its predecessors in the gulf of the mighty Past. God has displayed nothing but his goodness to me through all its days and months. He has blessed me with almost uninterrupted health, prosperity and happiness. On the other hand what indifference I have manifested toward him! How cold have been my affections, how earthly my aims, how meager my attainments in holiness! Let this new year, if I am spared to see its close, witness greater faithfulness in the cause of Christ; more
earnest labors for the salvation of souls, more rapid advances in the divine life. O Lord, to thee I cheerfully commit myself, my dearest wife, and all our interests. Do thou guide us in the path of life, bless us with thy presence, sanctify us by thy Spirit, and prepare us equally for life or for death."
At this point Mr. Aitchison's Journal is abruptly broken off, and is not resumed for more than a year. Soon after the above record was made he left Kent; preached for a few Sabbaths in Woodstock, and other places; passed a part of the summer with his wife, at New Haven, where a daughter was given to them; but finally engaged, the fall of 1852, to preach for a year at Fitchville, a small manufacturing village seven miles from Norwich.
There was no church organization in this place; but Mr. Asa Fitch, the wealthy proprietor of a large cotton mill, having the sagacity and nobleness to appreciate the importance of religious influences in a community, had erected a very neat Gothic Chapel; made provision for the minister, and invited the people, of all denominations, and no denomination, to come in, and
freely occupy the house, and hear the preaching of the gospel.
Mr. Aitchison seemed to be just the man for this place. His catholic spirit, his great simplicity, and his true benevolence enabled him to win all hearts. God came also with his special blessing, and gave an entire year of deep religious solemnity, with a goodly number of hopeful conversions, as the reward of the diligent and judicious labors of his servant. And in all this, it was known that the heart of the minister greatly rejoiced. For a time also he had other comforts. Mr. Fitch, not only paid the minister's salary, which was liberal compared with those of neighboring parishes, but provided also a beautiful house as a parsonage. This was embowered in trees, surrounded with fruits and flowers, shrubs and plants, of almost every variety, both native and exotic; and there were shaded walks, and cooling fountains, skirted by a crystal stream and meadow lawn, with singing birds in leafy bowers, and ripe clusters of Eshcol from pendant vines-everything indeed to make the place as much like a little Paradise as it well could be.
His First Sorrow-Loneliness and Sadness-Revival-Spiritual Body-Remark of Chrysostom.
MR. AITCHISON, with his loving wife and an infant daughter, moved into this beautiful home in the fall of 1852. Both husband and wife were peculiarly fitted to enjoy all the sweets around them; both deeply interested in the works of nature and of art; both peculiarly fond of trees, birds, streams and flowers; and formed also as Mr. Aitchison was in an eminent degree, for domestic and social enjoyment, and at the same time with heart to work just as faithfully as possible for Christ, and Christ plainly blessing his work, his cup seemed entirely full. But, as if a voice from heaven had fallen in a clear sky, loud, distinct, stunning, it came, "Arise and depart, for this is not your rest.”
That lovely wife had entered into their new She saw but little, even from
abode an invalid.
HIS PARADISE LOST.
the first, of the out-door beauties of their delightful home. She went but once into company, and that only to join a few friends at dinner, with their patron, across the way. Her feebleness soon gave unmistakable signs of pulmonary disease; and her decline was so rapid that in less than four months she had completely withered, like the autumn leaves around her, and her mortal remains were carried back to New Haven for burial. Then fruits and flowers had lost all their sweetness to the afflicted survivor; and that beautiful embowered home, into which he had entered but as yesterday, with so much of hope and joy, was more like a prison than a paradise. Husband never mourned for wife more sincerely, more deeply, than he. Let us listen to some of the wailings of his poor, broken heart. We can hardly imagine anything more sad and touching than a large portion of his journal about this time. His burden seems greater than he can bear; and yet, like Job, he keeps his integrity.
"Feb. 25, 1853. My darling Mary has now been in heaven a little more than six weeks,-to me weeks of loneliness and desolation. Every day deepens my sense of bereavement, and adds