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sed by the Holy Psalmist: He bowed the heavens also, and câme down, and darkness was under his feet: he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him, the thick clouds passed; hail-stones and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the highest gave his voice; hail-stones and coals of fire. Thus always instructive are the operations of his hand: If duly considered, always apt to inspire devotion and reverence for his divine majesty.
But we may usefully carry our reflections on this subject a step higher. We may well ask, is not a thunderstorm an emblem in miniature of the scene that shall pass in the last day, as described in the word of God; when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? When the trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend with a mighty shout of saints and angels, singing his praise: and when the lightning of his countenance shall veil the sun, and cause the earth to flee away that it be no more seen? In comparison with that mighty shout, the thunder which we now hear is but a feeble whisper; and with the lightning which shall set the world on fire, this which now we see is but the faint glimmer of the glow-worm. So tremendous shall be the exhibition of his power in that great day. When we consider how wonderful are the effects of this faint image of the earth's final doom; how the hardest oaks are shattered, the rocks rent, and the earth made to tremble, we may well conjecture that this material element shall be the instrument in God's hand, by which he will accomplish his great purpose, and cause that time shall be no more. How solemn the consideration! How instructive each cloud that arises! Let not then so apt an occasion ever pass by without being reminded of that awful hour, in which it will infinitely concern every one to be holy and clean in the sight of God. With these and such like reflections ever in mind, God will be glorified in his works, the passing season will be improved to the interest of piety and virtue, the plants of which, thus cultivated, will grow up to maturity, and bring forth an abundant crop in the autumn; and thus a a rich treasure will be laid up for time and eternity.
MEMOIRS OF MR. DAVID SANFORD.
AS you have frequently requested your correspondents to furnish you with biographical sketches of eminent persons, I send you the following Memoirs of a character, that, considering his years, as much deserves distinction as any that ever lived, David Sanford, who died at the foot of the Rapids of the Miami, October 11th, 1805, aged 22 years.
Mr. Sanford was son of John Sanford, Esq. of Newtown, Connecticut. At a very early period he discovered a studious and contemplative mind, which by his parents was stored with the first
principles of the Christian religion; and as it opened, it displayed so many amiable qualities, that they flattered themselves with the hope of much fruit from a blossom so promising. While quite a child he exhibited not only an attachment to literature in general, but an astonishing genius in mathematics, in which he would be found busily employed, while others of his age would be at play. His father did not send him from a common English school, until the age of 14. His rapid improvement excited the admiration of his instructors. In 1801 he entered the junior class in Yale College, and was soon noticed by the instructors and members of that institution for his piety, and deep knowledge in mathematics and astronomy. He took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1803.
After returning to his father, it became a very serious question with him in what profession he should be most useful to his fellow creatures. For several months he doubted; and in his daily devotions, which were remarkably regular, he always asked counsel of heaven to be directed in the way he should go. He finally determined to devote his time and talents at the Altar of the Protestant Episcopal Church, to which he had been uniformly attached from his childhood. Having injured his eyes by a too close application, he was advised to lay aside his books until he recovered his sight; during which time he accepted of the appointment of Deputy-Surveyor under Jared Mansfield, Surveyor-General of the United States.Accordingly he left home in July 1804, for Marietta in the State of Ohio; he safely arrived and soon commenced business, in which he continued until he died. He enjoyed good health until about two weeks before his dissolution, when he was visited with a slow intermittent fever. Being in the wilderness, and of course destitute of proper regimen and timely aid from physicians, he stopped at the rapids of the Miami of the lakes; being soon convinced that his case was desperate, he submitted with calmness, frequently requested the Holy Scriptures to be read to him (which with the book of common prayer he always carried with him) with an uncommon share of Christian resignation he never murmured, and died without a groan. Thus early at the age of twenty-two, died one of the most extraordinary young men of this age: But wisdom, not years, is the grey hair to man; and unspotted life is old age. The following tribute of respect from one of his classmates is worthy of being noticed in this place.
"Those who were acquainted with this young man, cannot but sensibly feel and long remember his untimely end. The friends of humanity and the lovers of literature will unite in deploring his departure. Few surpassed him, few equalled in natural endowments, and scientific attainments. His mind was peculiarly calculated for logical precision and clearness in the investigation of intricate subjects. In the various branches of mathematics, in astronomy, navigation and surveying, he particularly excelled. His talents were of the useful kind. He treasured up knowledge to apply it to useful purposes. This he did while he lived, and in the prosecution of this he died. His promised usefulness is now at an end. Although but partially known to the public, when he died, his death was deep
ly lamented. Those who knew him better, will be better able to appreciate his worth. His afflicted friends will find a numerous circle to sympathize with them on this occasion. His college acquaintance and classmates in particular, will mingle their tears and pay the tribute which is justly due to such deceased merit."
In addition to which the writer thinks proper to add the following paragraph from a funeral sermon, delivered at Newtown, to a numerous and deeply affected audience. "Although the family, the Church, the country, the arts and sciences, have sustained a heavy loss; yet their and our loss is of a temporal nature, while it is his spiritual gain; and by a faithful improvement will be conducive to the spiritual advantage of every one of us. And this may account, why a young man 22 years of age, amiable in his person and deportment; possessing a deep, thoughtful, retentive mind; capacious in its nature, enlarged by useful knowledge, and always influenced by religion; a heart guided by the precepts and institutions of the gospel; singularly pious towards God; filial to his parents, strictly attached to truth from his childhood; reserved in his manners; cautious of forming his opinion of persons and things; undeviating in his friendship; compassionate towards the poor and distressed, and ever seeking the happiness of mankind. Why such a promising blossom should so early fade, as only to raise the expectation to an eminence, from which to behold the whole blasted in a moment; so bright a sun to set in a morning cloud of obscure darkness; why so much worth, virtue and science, should all perish, and be buried in an obscure and distant grave, without an enemy in the world, and yet without a relative friend, to drop the tributary tear. And why
"By foreign hands his dying eyes be clos'd,
And all this while so many, worn out with age, and like a sheaf of corn fully ripe, waiting to be gathered into the garner of God, are spared? why, my fellow Christians, but that the youth and all should be thoroughly convinced of the uncertainty of life, and the transitory nature of all sublunary enjoyments? Be deeply and experimentally affected with the passage of scripture under consideration; Go to now, ye that say to-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell and get gain; whereas, ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live to do this or that.
In a consolatory address to the bereaved family, it was observed: "You devoted your son at an early period to God in baptism; you early instructed him in the first principles of Christianity; you early discovered his opening mind, thirsting for knowledge, divine, scientific and moral. Under God you were enabled to give him an early opportunity; his daily progress and growing years increased your raised expectations.
"We submitted to his late unhappy tour; we commended him to the holy keeping of Almighty God. He has taken him to himself,
whose will is more precious to us than thousands of worlds. then, fade lovely flower at his sovereign pleasure. He can cast away the richest gem without loss, or return it again with increased lustre. We part with thee then willingly, obediently and gratefully. We will entrust thy precious remains in the far distant and solitary grave, under the eye of that Jesus, who will hereafter cause his mortal to put on immortality. For a soul endowed with so many godlike qualities, can never perish. The body, although mouldering below the murmuring rapids of Miami, shall be reanimated, shall burst the walls of the dark prison that confines it, and, arrayed in robes of celestial glory, shall be ushered into everlasting day; and shall shine, not as the more distant and twinkling stars (on which he so much delighted to contemplate as part of the infinite works of God) but as a star of the first magnitude; where his capacious mind shall be forever filled with the hidden mysteries of God. Sorrow not then as those without hope. May Christian consolation abound in your hearts, and comfort you with the peace of God, that passeth all' understanding."
A few extracts from his epistolary communications, will enable the reader to see, as well as hear, of this excellent youth. A little before his death, in a letter to his parents, he concludes thus: "I have enjoyed very good health, and have a good prospect of its continuance: I have become inured to this manner of living, and naturalized to the country I am in, but still intend again to see Connecticut, and apply myself to study. My love and affection to my friends, acquaintances and relations. May our great benefactor bless them, with blessings better than temporal and earthly possessions, for the sake of the Redeemer of all men." Speaking of his future prospects, he observes, "I am not anxious whether I acquire fortune, honor, place, &c. or not: I shall endeavor to be contented; if I acquire property, I wish to acquire and retain with it a disposition to benevolent and useful purposes, rather than spend it in extravagance and folly. If I gain nothing in the pecuniary way, I hope to gain something in knowledge, and to return, with contentment, to my native place, to settle in an honest, useful and charitable employment; to live to acquire knowledge and virtue, and to die happily." Correspondent to these reflections, was his opinion of the shortness of human life. "Life" says he, "is too short to amass much science; it is barely sufficiently long to answer the purposes which God intended it, that of a school to eternity." He had the most exalted opinion of prayer; pressing this duty upon a young gentleman in college, he writes thus: "Prayer is the breath of the Christian soul."
I shall conclude these memoirs with the following, taken from a Cincinnati paper, supposed to be from the pen of the SurveyorGeneral.
"The death of this young gentleman is a subject of the deepest regret to his friends, and an irreparable loss to the world; as he possessed a genius and qualities which were calculated to render him an ornament to human nature. In many of the walks of literature and science he was pre-eminent; and his knowledge of chemistry, mechanics, optics, and natural philosophy in general, was vast and
astonishing, for one of his years. But that for which his faculties appeared best adapted, and with which they shone with resplendent lustre, was mathematics and astronomy. For these he may be said to have had a predilection from infancy. When a boy, put as usual, to school, to learn the elements of reading and writing, he was found engaged in the study of the Elements of Euclid. That immortal work, which, for more than two thousand years, has been the subject of admiration among men of the highest intellectual endowments, was, perhaps in a solitary instance, not beyond the comprehension of a child. At the age of 14, this extraordinary youth had made such proficiency in mathematics and astronomy, that he actually calculated, and delineated, with much precision and neatness, a number of eclipses of the sun and moon, and occultations of the stars. He continued to pursue with unremitting ardor and delight, the more profound researches of science, and particularly of the mathematics, in all the intervals of leisure, during the remainder of his short life; and had already struck out many new improvements and inventions, in the abstruse parts of geometry and fluxions. But mere intellectual improvement was not the only, or most valuable trait in the character of this uncommon person. He was pure and uncorrupted in his morals, virtuous and inoffensive in his conduct, and dutiful to his Maker. With every prospect of becoming great and eminent in this world, he endured the pains of sickness, and the pangs of departing life, with the fortitude of a christian martyr: not a murmur, sigh, or groan escaped him. He has regained his native seat among those pure and perfect intelligences, in a state, of which he had ever entertained the most exalted idea."
FOR THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINED.
Do you ever pray? Every one professing the hallowed name of Christian will undoubtedly reply, yes. I ask then why? To which you will perhaps reply, because I was taught in my childhood to say my prayers; I was told that God would bless those who do so, and I often hear the duty inculcated from the pulpit. It is very well, and you profit, it seems, of these instructions: but have you no other reasons to give? Certainly you will say, I find myself in want of many things, worldly comforts, success in business, prosperity and wealth; I want to be defended from disasters and calamities, and it is my duty to ask God for these favours. So then it seems you have a great deal of self-interest at bottom, urging you to the performance of this sacred service. And indeed so you may have in a measure; for such is the constitution of our nature, that we cannot, and ought not if we could, altogether disregard ourselves in any of our performances. But how stands the matter, if upon examination you find self to be the main or only motive? If you come unto God, merely as a beggar, to have your own wants satisfied, without any real love or reverence for his character? Are you not subject to St. James' reproof, Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may con◄