Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

dealings of God with him, and him, or that he must perish unthe deep contemplations of his der a view of his ineffable glory. mind. He was attending the du. When able to reflect on his sitries of the Lord's day in his own uation, he could not but abhor congregation as usual, where the himself as a weak and despicable, custom was to have morning and worm, and seemed to be overevening service with only a half come with astonishment, that a hour's intermission to relieve the creature so unworthy and insufattention. He had preached in ficient, had ever dared to attempt the morning, and in the inter- the instruction of his fellow-men mission had walked into the in the nature and attributes of woods for meditation, the wea- so glorious a Being. Overstayther being warm. He was re- ing his usual time, some of his flecting on the infinite wisdom elders went in search of him, of God, as manifested in all his and found him prostrate on the works, and particularly in the' ground, unable to rise, and incawonderful method of salvation, pable of informing them of the through the death and sufferings cause. They raised him up, of his beloved Son. This sub- and after some time brought him ject suddenly opened on hiš to the church, and supported him mind with such a flood of light, to the pulpit, which he ascended that his views of the glory, and on his hands and knees, to the no the infinite majesty of Jehovah, small astonishment of the conwere so inexpressibly great, as gregation. He remained silent entirely to overwhelm him, and a considerable time, earnestly he fell, almost lifeless, to the supplicating Almighty God (as ground. When he had revived he told the writer) to hide hima little, all he could do was to self from him, that he might be raise a fervent prayer, that God enabled to address his people, would withdraw himself from who were by this time lost in

wonder to know what had pro

duced this uncommon event. heavens, and he felt as though he saw His prayers were heard, and he God, as Moses did on the mount, face became able to stand up, by holdto face, and was carried forth to him, with an enlargement greater than he ing the desk. He now began the had ever before experienced, and on most affecting and pathetic adovery page of the Scripturcs saw his dress, that the congregation had divinity inscribed in brightest colours. The result was a dcep solemnity on

ever received from him.

He the face of the whole congregation, gave a surprising account of the and the house at the end of the pray

views he had, of the infinite wiser was a Bochim. He gave them the dom of God, and greatly deplorsubject of his evening meditations, ed his own incapacity to speak to which was brought to his full remem

them concerning a being so inbrance, with an overflowing abundance of other weighty and solemn finitely glorious beyond all his matter. The Lord blessed the dis. powers of description. He atcurse, so that it proved the happy tempted to show something of means of the conversion of about what had been discovered to him thirty persons. This day he spoke of, of the astonishing wisdom of ever afterwards, as his harvest day. “I am yours with esteem,

Jehovah, of which it was impossi“WILLIAN M. TENNEXT." ble for human nature to form

adequate conceptions. He then particularly attentive, it being a broke out into so fervent and ex- favourite observation with him, pressive a prayer, as greatly to " that he loved a religion that a surprise the congregation, and man could live by." draw tears from every eye. A Mr. Tennent carefully avoidsermon followed, that continued ed the discussion of controver the solemn scene, and made very sial subjects, unless specially lasting impressions on all the called to it by particular circumhearers.

stances, and then he was ever The great increase of commu- ready to assign the reason of his nicants in his church was a good faith. The following occur. evidence of his pastoral care and rence will show the general state powerful preaching, as it exceed- of his mind and feelings in reed that of most churches in the gard to such subjects. A couple synod. But his labours were of young clergymen, visiting at not confined to the pulpit. He his house, entered into a dispute was indefatigable in his endea- on the question, at that time vours to communicate in private much controverted in New Engfamilies a savour of the know- land, whether faith or repentledge of spiritual and divine ance were first in order, in the things. In his parochial visits conversion of a sinner. Not behe used regularly to go through ing able to determine the point, his congregation in order, so as they agreed to make Mr. Tento carry the unsearchable riches nent their umpire, and to dispute of Christ to every house. He the subject at length before him. earnestly pressed it on the con- He accepted the proposal, and science of parents to instruct after a solemn debate for some their children at home by plain time, his opinion being asked, he and easy questions, so as gradu. very gravely took his pipe from ally to expand their young minds, his mouth, looked out of his and prepare them for the recep- window, pointed to a man ploughtion of the more practical doc- ing on a hill at some distance, trines of the gospel. In this, Mr. and asked the young clergymen Tennent has presented an excel. if they knew that man : on their lent example to his brethren in answering in the negative, he the ministry ; for certain it is, told them it was one of his elthat more good may be done in a ders, who, to his full conviction, congregation, by this domestic had been a sincere Christian for mode of instruction, than any one more than thirty years. can imagine, who has not made said Mr. Tennent, “ ask him, the trial. Children and servants whether faith or repentance came are in this way prepared for the first, what do you think he would teachings of the sanctuary, and say?” They said they could not to reap the full benefit of the tell. Then,” says he, “I will word publicly preached. He tell you : he would say that he made it a practice in all these cared not, which came first, but visits to enforce practical reli- that he had got them both. Now, gion on all, high and low, rich my friends," he added, “ be careand poor, young and old, masterful that you have both a true and servant. To this he was faith, and a sincere repentance, Vol. II, No. 2.

I

6 Now," and do not be greatly troubled, always made the faithful followwhich comes first.” It is not, ers of the Redeemer the obhowever, to be supposed by this, jects of his inveterate malice. that Mr. Tennent was unfriend. If the good man, of whom we ly to a deep and accurate exam- write,' was greatly honoured by ination of all important theolo- peculiar communications from gical doctrines. There were on high, he was also very ofien few men more earnest than he the subject of the severe buffetto have young clergy men wellings of that malignant and fallen instructed and thoroughly fur- spirit. pished for their work. This in- The time of which we are deed was an object on which his now speaking was remarkable heart was much set, and which for a great revival of religion, he exerted himself greatly to in which Mr. Tennent was conpromote.

siderably instrumental, and in Ir. Tennent was remarkably which a Mr. David Rowland, distinguished for a pointed at brought up with Mr. Tennent tention to the particular circum- at the Log-College, was also vestances and situation of the af- ry remarkable for his successful flicted, either in body or mind, preaching among all ranks of and would visit them with as people. Possessing a commandmuch care and attention as a ing eloquence, as well as other physician, and frequently indeed estimable qualities, he became proved an able one, to both soul very popular, and was much celand body. But his greatest tal- ebrated throughout the country, ent was that of a peace-maker, His celebrity and success were which he possessed in so emic subjects of very serious regret to nent a degree, that probably none many careless worldlings, who have exceeded, and very few placed all their happiness in the have equalled him in it. He enjoyment of temporal objects, was sent for, far and near, to set- and considered, and represented tle disputes, and heal difficulties, Mr. Rowland and his brethren as which arose in congregations ; fanatics and hypocrites. This and, happily for those concerned, was specially applicable to many he was generally successful. In- of the great men of the then deed, he seldom would relin- province of New Jersey, and quish his object till he had ac- particularly to the chief justice, complished it.

who was well known for his disBut while this man of God was belief of Revelation. There was thus successful in promoting the at this time, prowling through best interests of his fellow-crea- the country, a noted man by the tures, and in advancing the glory name of Tom Bell, whose knowlof his Lord and Master, the edge and understanding were great enemy of mankind was not very considerable, and who greatlikely to observe the destruction ly excelled in low art and cunof his kingdom without making ning. His mind was totally dean effort to prevent it. As he based, and his whole conduct assailed our blessed Saviour in betrayed a soul capable of dethe days of his flesh with all his art and all his power, so has he * It was not far from A. D. 1744.

scending to every species of spend the week; and begged iniquity. In all the arts of theft, him, as the people were without robbery, fraud, deception, and a minister, to preach for them on defamation, he was so deeply the next Sabbath, to which Bell skilled, and so thoroughly practis- agreed, and notice was accorded, that it is believed, he never ingly given to the neighbourhood. had his equal in this country. The impostor was treated with He had been indicted in almost every mark of attention and reevery one of the middle colo- spect ; and a private room was nies; but his ingenuity and cun- assigned to him, as a study, to ning always enabled him to es- prepare for the Sabbath. The cape punishment. This man sacred day arrived, and he was unhappily resembled Mr. Row- invited to ride to church with the land in his external appearance, ladies in the family waggon, and so as hardly to be known from the master of the house accomhim, without the most careful panied them on an elegant horse. examination.

When they had arrived near the It so happened, that Tom Bell church, Bell on a sudden discovarrived one evening, at a tavern, ered, that he had left his notes in in Princeton, dressed in a dark, his study, and proposed to ride Parson's gray frock. On his back for them on the fine horse, entering the tavern about dusk, by which means he should be the late John Stockton, Esq. of able to return in time for the serthat town, a pious and respecta- vice. This proposal was instant, ble man, to whom Mr. Rowland ly agreed to, and Bell mounted was well known, went up to Bell, the horse, returned to the house, and addressed him as Mr. Row- rifled the desk of his host, and Jand, and was inviting him to go made off with the horse. Wherhome with him. Bell assured ever he stopped, he called him him of his mistake. It was with self the Rev. David Rowland. some difficulty that Mr. Stockton At the time this event took acknowledged his error, and place, Messrs. Tennent and Rowthen informed Bell, that it had land had gone into Pennsylvania arisen from his great resem- or Maryland, with Mr. Joshua blance to Mr. Rowland. This Anderson and Mr. Benjamin hint was sufficient for the prolif- Stevens, (both members of a ic genius of that notorious im- church contiguous to that where postor. The next day, Bell went Bell had practised his fraud) on into the county of Hunterdon, business of a religious nature. and stopped in a congregation Soon after their return, Mr. where Mr. Rowland had former- Rowland was charged with the ly preached once or twice, but above robbery ; he gave bonds to where he was not intimately appear at the court at Trenton, known. Here he met with a and the affair made a great noise member of the congregation, to throughout the colony. At the whom he introduced himself as court of oyer and terminer, the the Rex. Mr. Rowland, who had judge charged the grand jury on preached to them some time be- the subject with great severity. fore. This gentleman immedi- After long consideration, the juately invited him to his house, to ry returned into court without finding a bill. The judge re- seen Tom Bell personating Mr. proved them, in an angry man- Rowland, using his name, and in ner, and ordered them out again. possession of the horse. These They again returned without sons of Belial had been able, affinding , bill, and were again ter great industry used for the sent out with threatenings of se- purpose, to collect a mass of vere punishment if they persisted evidence of this kind, which they in their refusal. At last they considered as _establishing the agreed, and brought in a bill for fact ; but Mr. Rowland was now the alleged crime. On the trial, out of their power by the verdict Messrs. Tennent, Anderson, and of not guilty. Their vengeance, Stevens appeared as witnesses, therefore, was directed against and fully proved an alibi in fa- the witnesses, by whose testimovour of Mr. Rowland, by swear. ny he had been cleared ; and, ing, that on the very day on they were accordingly arraigned which the robbery was commit- for perjury before a court of ted, they were with Mr. Row- quarter sessions in the county ; land, and heard him preach, in and the grand jury received a Pennsylvania or Maryland. The strict charge, the plain import of jury, accordingly, acquitted him which was, that these good men without hesitation, to the great ought to be indicted. After an disappointment and mortification examination of the testimony on of his prosecutors, and of many one side only, as is the custom in other enemies to the great revi- such cases, the grand jury did acval of religion that had recently cordingly find bills of indictment taken place ; but to the great joy against Messrs. Tennent, Anderof the serious and well dispo- son and Stevens, for wilful and sed.

corrupt perjury. Their eneThe spirits hostile to the mies, and the enemies of the spread of the gospel were not, gospel, now began to triumph. however, so easily overcome. They gloried in the belief, that In their view, an opportunity an indelible stain would be fixed was now presented, favourable on the prefessors of religion, for inflicting a deep wound on and of consequence on religion the cause of Christianity ; and, itself; and that this new-light, as if urged on by the malice of by which they denominated all man's great enemy, they resolv- appearance of piety, would soon ed that no means should be left be extinguished forever. untried, no arts unemployed, for These indictments were rethe destruction of these distin- moved to the supreme court ; guished servaits of God. Many and poor Mr. Anderson, living and various were the circum- in the county, and conscious of stances which still contributed his entire innocence, could not to inspire them with hopes of brook the idea of lying under success. The testimony of the the odium of the hateful crime person who had been robbed was of perjury, and demanded a trial positive that Mr. Rowland was at the first court of oyer and terthe robber; and this testimony miner. This proved most seriwas corroborated by that of a ously injurious to 'him, for he number of individuals, who had was pronounced guilty, and most

« AnteriorContinuar »