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'it pleased a sovereign God to call him effectually from his natural alienation, to the knowledge and love of himself, to take a powerful possession of his heart, and seize all the faculties of his active and capacious soul for his service. Upon finishing therefore the course of his preparatory studies, he entered into the sacred employment of the gospel-ministry, and solemnly dedicated himself, with all his superior talents, to the work of the sanctuary.
“ In the exercise of this sacred office, his fervent zeal and undissembled piety, his popular talents and engaging methods of address, soon acquired him a distinguished character, and general admiration. Scarce was he known as a public preacher but he was sent, on the earnest application of the people, to some of the distant settlements of Virginia, where many of the inhabitants, in respect of religion, were but a small remove from the darkness and ignorance of uncultivated heathenism, and where the religion of Jesus, which he endeavoured to propagate, had to encounter with all the blindness, prejudice, and enmity, that are natural to · the heart of the most depraved sinner. Yet under all apparent disadvantages, his labours were attended with such remarkable success, that all opposition quitted the unequal combat, and gave way to the powerful energy of the divine Spirit, which was graciously pleased by his ministry to add many new subjects to the spiritual kingdom of our glorious Immanuel.
“ The work of the ministry was Mr. Davies's great delight; and for it he was admirably furnished with every valuable qualification of nature and grace. Divinity was a favourite study, in which he made a proficiency uncommon for his years, and yet he generally preferred the most necessary and practical branches of it, to the dark mazes of endless controversy and intricate disputes; aiming chiefly at the conversion of sinners, and to change the hearts and lives of men by an affecting representation of the plain, but most important, interesting truths of the law and the gospel. His talent at composition, especially for the pulpit, was equalled by few, and perhaps exceeded by none. His taste was judicious, elegant, and polite, and yet his discourses were plain and pungent, peculiarly adapted to pierce the conscience and affect the heart. His diction was surpassingly beautiful and comprehensive, tending to make the most stupid hearer sensibly feel, as well as clearly understand. Sublimity and elegance, plainness and perspicuity, and all the force and energy that the language of mortals could convey, were the ingredients of almost every composition. His manner of delivery, as to pronunciation, gesture, and modulation of voice, seemed to be a perfect model of the most moving and striking oratory.
“ Whenever he ascended the sacred desk, he seemed to have not only the attention, but all the various passions of his auditory entirely at his command. And as his personal appearance was august and venerable, yet benevolent and mild, so he could speak with the most commanding authority, or melting tenderness, acoording to the variation of his subject. With what majesty and grandeur, with what energy and striking solemnity, with what powerful and almost irresistible eloquence would he illustrate the truths, and inculcate the duties of christianity! Mount Sinai seemed to thunder from his lips, when he denounced the tremendous curses of the law, and sounded the dreadful alarm to guilty, secure, impenitent sinners. The solemn scenes of the last judgment seemed to rise in view, when he arraigned, tried, and convicted self-deceivers, and formal hypocrites. And how did the balm of Gilead distil from his lips, when he exhibited a bleeding, dying Saviour to sinful mortals, as a sovereign remedy for the wounded heart, and anguished conscience! In a word, whatever subject he undertook, persuasive eloquence dwelt upon his tongue; and his audience was all attention. He spoke as on the borders of eternity, and as viewing the glories and terrors of an unseen world, and conveyed the most grand and affecting ideas of these important realities; realities which he then firmly believed, and which he now sees in the clearest light of intuitive demonstration.
“ The unusual lustre with which he shone could not long be confined to that remote corner of the world, but soon attracted the notice and pleasing admiration of men of genius, learning, or piety, far and near: and therefore, on a vacancy at the college of New-Jersey, occasioned by the decease of the two former presidents,* in a close and awful succession, he was elected to that important office in the year 1759.
“ Distressing as it was both to him and his people, united in the strongest bonds of mutual affection, to think of a separation, yet a conviction of absolute duty, resulting from the importance of the station, from the various concurring providences, and lastly, from the unanimous advice of his reverend brethren convened in synod, determined him to accept the proposal. Great and pleasing were the expectations with which we beheld him enter into that exalted sphere of service; yet I may boldly say that they were vastly exceeded in every respect by the reputable manner
• The Rev. Mr. Aaron Burr, in 1757, and the Rev. Mr. Jonathan Edwards, who suceeeded lijm, ad died the winter following:
in which he discharged the arduous trust. The progress he made in all the branches of science, with his capacity and diligence to acquire new improvements, enabled him to conduct the youth with great advantage through the several stages of useful and polite literature. And, while he endeavoured to improve the minds, he was not less solicitous to reform the hearts and lives of his pupils, to make them good as well as great, and fit them for both worlds. He knew that religion was the brightest ornament of the human, and the fairest image of the divine nature, that all true benevolence to men must have its foundation laid in a supreme love to God, and that undissembled piety in the heart was the best security for usefulness in every character of life. It was therefore his constant endeavour to promote the eternal as well as the temporal good of the youth entrusted to his tuition, not only by his fervent preaching and exemplary life, but by inculcating at the proper seasons the worth of their souls, and the vast, the inexpressible importance of their everlasting interests.
“ In the government of the college, he had the peculiar art of mingling authority and lenity in such a due proportion, as seldom or never failed of the desired success. Hence he was revered and loved by every member of that collected family over which he presided. His performances at public anniversary commencements, as they never failed to do honour to the institution, so they always surprised his friends themselves by exceeding, far exceeding, their most sanguine expectations. His poetical compositions, and his elegant taste for cultivating the Muses, gave additional embellishments to those performances, and greatly heightened the pleasure of his crowded auditors.
“ His acquaintance with mankind, his easy and polite behaviour, his affability and condescension, his modesty and candour, his engaging manner of address, with his sprightly and entertaining conversation, all the genuine fruits of a most benevolent heart, rendered him greatly beloved through the large circle of his acquaintance, and as greatly admired even by strangers, whose occasional excursions gave them only the opportunity of a transient interview.
“ His natural temper, amiable in itself, and sweetened with all the charms of divine grace, rendered him peculiarly dear in all the relative characters of social life, whether as an husband, a father, a tutor, or a friend."
SERIES OF LIVES.
THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL.
[Continued from page 287.] On the following day Paul was examined before the Chief Priests and the Council; but when he prefaced his defence by declaring, that he had lived in all good conscience before God until that day, the High Priest commanded him to be smitten on the mouth. Upon this violation of public justice and decency, the apostle was transported to unbecoming warmth, and he sternly answered, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall. For sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest thou me to be smitten contrary to the law? But when they who stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest? instantly recalling a christian temper, he answered calmly, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest ; for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. How happily is this error corrected, and how needful is the admonition to respect the magistracy, even when it is degraded by him who is placed in it, lest we should poison the public mind, and sever those bonds which are essential to social order! The weakness of human nature considered, it is not surprising that good men, particularly if misled by false zeal, should lose their temper in even a greater degree than St. Paul did; but that, in the hour of recollection, they should approve and vindicate such a spirit, may Well excite a doubt whether they have indeed acquired the mind of Christ.
After Paul had made his defence, perceiving the council to be divided, and that the Pharisees were inclined to judge hin favourably, he seized the critical moment, and appealed to them, saying, Men and brethren, I am a pharisee, the son of a piharisce. Of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question : Thus, with equal truth and judgment, resting his cause on the resurrection of Jesus; while, with admirable address, he interested the pharisees in his behalf, by shewing the question in debate to be closely connected with the grand truths which they vindicated against the Sadducees. For the Sadducees say, there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit; but the pharisecs confess both. This appeal had the desired effect; for the Scribes, which were of The fiharisees part, arose and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man; but if an angel or spirit hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God. A conflict so fierce and tumultuous now arose beVOL. II.
tireen the hostile sects, that Lysias fearing that Paul would have been torn in pieces among them, rescued him with an armed force, and secured him in the castle, until being informed of a conspiracy against the life of his prisoner, he sent him by night, under a strong guard, to Felix, at Cesarea. Thither he was followed by the high priest and elders, and accused to the governor, who referred the cause to a second hearing, when he should have acquired some satisfactory information from the chief captain. In the meanwhile Paul was remanded to the care of a centurion, with permission to see his friends, and to preach in his own house. Among the curious inquirers into the principles of the new religion were Felix and his wife Drusilla, a Jewess, who sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felir trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient seacon, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money would have been given him of Paul that he might loose him; wherefore he sent for him the ofiener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix's room, and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
Paul's sermon to Felix instructs every minister in the duty of adapting his discourse to the auditory, and instead of indulging in mere common-place, or displaying his skill in curious and elaborate disquisitions, to call the attention of his hearers to things of everlasting concern; forcibly impressing the guilty conscience, and speaking to the hopes and fears of the soul, by an unequivocal and energetic declaration of those solemn sanctions, which give life to the moral law, and interest to the promises of the gospel. Let us all also be warned, by the example of Felix, to shun procrastination; and while the terrors of the Lord are deeply affecting our spirits, let us humble them before God, and continue in prayer, till our weary souls obtain liberty and peace. From Paul's declining to purchase his liberation by a bribe, that valuable rule, not to do evil that good may come, is exemplified and recommended. To buy what justice should give, is to feed vice, to render it bold and daring, and to diminish to the poor the means of redress. Besides, evil is deceitful and progressive; if we buy justice to-day, we may buy injustice tomorrow, and what we learn to buy, we shall perhaps be equally disposed to sell. It is also worthy of observation, that while Paul could not with safety preach the gospel at Jerusalem, nor, perhaps, in any city of Judea, he was, for two years, under the protection of the magistrate, in the second city of the province, in the court of the procolisul; and there had an oppor