« AnteriorContinuar »
cruelly and unjustly condemned Messrs. Tennent and Stevens to stand one hour on the court met these gentlemen at Mr. house steps, with a paper on his Coxe's the morning before the breast, whereon was written, in trial was to come on. Mr. Coxe large letters, “ This is for wilful requested that they would bring and corrupt perjury;" which in their witnesses, that they might sentence was executed upon him. examine them previously to their
Messrs. Tennent and Stevens going into court. Mr. Tennent were summoned to appear at the answered, that he did not know next court; and attended accord- of any witnesses but God and his ingly, depending on the aid of own conscience. Mr. Coxe reMr. John Coxe, an eminent law- plied, “ If you have no witnessyer, who had been previously es, Sir, the trial must be put off
' ; employed to conduct their de- otherwise you most certainly fence. As Mr. Tennent was will be convicted. You well know wholly unacquainted with the na: the strong testimony that will ture of forensic litigation, and be brought against you, and the did not know of any person live exertions that are making to acing who could prove his inno- complish your ruin.” Mr. Tene cence, (all the persons who were nent replied, “ I am sensible of with him being indicted) his only all this, yet it never shall be said resource and consolation was to that I have delayed the trial, or commit himself to the Divine been afraid to meet the justice of will, and if he must suffer, to my country. I know my own take it as from the hand of God, innocence, and that God, whose I who, he well knew, could make am, and whom I serve, will neveven the wrath of man to praise er suffer me to fall by these him ;* and considering it as shares of the devil, or by the probable that he might suffer, he wicked machinations of his had prepared a sermon to be agents or servants. Therefore, preached from the pillory, if that gentlemen, go on to the trial.” should be his fate. On his arrive. Messrs. Smith and Kinsey, who al at Trenton, he found the fa- were both religious men, told mous Mr. Smith of New York, him that his confidence and trust father of the late chief justice of in God as a Christian minister of Canada, one of the ablest lawyers the gospel, was well founded, and in America, and of a religious before a heavenly tribunal would character, who had voluntarily be all-important to him ; but asattended to aid in his defence ; sured him it would not avail in also his brother Gilbert, who an earthly court, and urged his was now settled in the pastoral consent to put off the trial. Mr. charge of the second Presbyteri- Tennent continued inflexible in an church in Philadelphia, and his refusal ; on which Mr. Coxe who had brought Mr. John Kin- told him that, since he was desey, one of the first counsellors termined to go to trial, he had of that city, for the same purpose. the satisfaction of informing him, His affectionate congregation
that they had discovered a flaw felt deeply interested in his critical in the indictment, which might situation, and kept a day of fasting prove favourable to him on a des and prayer on the occasion.
murrer. He asked for an explanation, and on finding that it had lodged either at his house, was to admit the fact in a legal or in a house wherein he and his point of view, and rest on the wife had been servants, (it is not law arising from it, Mr. Ten- now certain which) at a particunent broke out with great vehe- lar time, which he named ; that mence, saying, that this was on the following day they had another spare of the devil, and heard Messrs. Tennent and before he would consent to it he Rowland preach; that some would suffer death. He assured nights before they left home, he his counsel, that his confidence and his wife waked out of a in God was so strong, and his as. sound sleep, and each told the surance that he would bring other a dream, which had just about his deliverance in some occurred, and which proved to way or other, was so great, that be the same in substance, to wit, he did not wish them to delay that he, Mr. Tennent, was at the trial for a moment.
Trenton, in the greatest possible Mr. Stevens, whose faith was distress, and that it was in their not of this description, and who power, and theirs only, to relieve was bowed down to the ground ' him. Considering it as a reunder the most gloomy appre- markable dream only, they again hensions of suffering, as his went to sleep, and it was twice neighbour Mr. Anderson had repeated precisely in the same done, eagerly seized the oppor. manner to both of them. This tunity of escape that was offered, made so deep an impression on and was afterwards discharged their minds, that they set off, on the exception.
and here they were, and would Mr. Cose still urged putting know of him what they were to off the trial, charging Mr. Ten- do. Mr. Tennent immediately nent with acting the part rather went with them to the court of a wild enthusiast, than of a house, and his counsel on exammeek and prudent Christian ; ining the man and his wife, and but he insisted that they should finding their testimony to be full proceed, and left them in aston- to the purpose, were, as they ishment, not knowing how to well might be, in perfect astonact, when the bell summoned ishment. Before the trial bethem to court.
gan, another person, of a low Mr. Tennent had not walked character, called on Mr. Tennent, far in the street, before he met a and told him that he was so haman and his wife, who stopped rassed in conscience, for the part him, and asked if his name was he had been acting in this prosenot Tennent. He answered in cution, that he could get no rest the affirmative, and begged to vill he had determined to come know if they had any business and make a full confession. He with him. The man replied, sent this man to his counsel also. “ You best know.” He told his Soon after, Mr. Stockton from name, and said that he was from Princeton appeared, and added a certain place (which he men- his testimony. In short, they tioned) in Pennsylvania or Ma- went to trial, and notwithstand. ryland ; that Messrs. Rowland, ing the utmost exertions of the Tennent, Anderson, and Stevens ablest counsel, who had been em: ployed to aid the attorney-gen- should we not rather say, such is eral against Mr: Tennent, ihe ad- the support which God somevocates on his side so traced eve- times affords to his people in the ry movement of the defendant time of their necessity, and such on the Saturday, Sunday, and the manner in which he leaves Monday in question, and satisfi- them to feel their own weakness ed the jury so perfectly on the when that necessicy is past, that subject, that they did not hesitate all the praise may be given where honourabiy to acquit Mr. Ten- alone it is due ? nent, by their unanimous verdict The writer sincerely rejoices, of not guiliy, to the great confu- that though a number of the exsion and mortification of his nu• traordinary incidents in the life merous opposers. Mr. Tennent of Mr. Tennent cannot be vouchassured the writer of this, that ed by public testimony and auduring the whole of this busi thentic documents, yet the sinness, his spirits never failed him, guler manner in which a graand that be contemplated the cious God did appear for this his possibility of his suffering so in- faithful servant in the time of famous a punishment, as stand that distress, which has just ing in the pillory, without dis, been noticed, is a matter of pub, may, and had made preparation, lic notoriety, and capable of beand was fully determined, to de- ing verified by the most unquesliver a sermon to the people in tionable testimony and records. that situation, if he should be This special instance of the placed in it.
interference of the righteous He went from Trenton to Judge of all the earth cught to Philadelphia with his brother, yield consolation to pious people and on his return, as he was ris- in seasons of great difficulty and ing the hill at the entrance of distress, where there is none Trenton, without reflecting on that seems able to deliver them. what had happened, he accident- Yet it ought to afford no enally cast his eyes on the pillory, couragement to the enthusiast, which suddenly so filled him who refuses to use the means of with horror, as completely to preservation and deliverance, uoman him, and it was with which God puts in his power. great difficulty that he kept him- True confidence in God is alself from falling from his horse. ways accompanied with the use He reached the tavern door in of all lawful means, and with the considerable danger, was obliged rejection of all tliat are unlawful. to be assisted to dismount, and it It consists in an unshaken belief, was some time before he could that while right means are used, so get the better of his fears and God will give that issue, which confusion, as to proceed on his shall be most for his glory and journey. Such is the constitu- his people's good. The extration of the human mind! It will ordinary occurrence here often resist, with unshaken firm- corded may also serve as a solness, the severest external pres- emn warning to the enemies of sure and violence; and some- God's people, and to the advctimes it yields without reason, cates of infidelity, not to strive when it has nothing to fear. Or, by wicked and deep laid machi
dations to oppose the success of not take a cut with them, not the gospel, nor to attempt to in- knowing that they were clergy. jure the persons and characters men. Mr. Tennent very pleasof those faithful servants of the antly answered, “ With all my Most High, whom sooner or la- heart, gentlemen, if you can conter he will vindicate to the un- vince us, that thereby we can speakable confusion of all, who serve our Master's cause, or have persecuted and traduced contribute any thing towards the them.
success of our mission.” This Mr. Tennent was a man of drew some smart reply from the the most scrupulous integrity, gentleman, when Mr. T. with and though of a very grave and solemnity added, “ We are minsolemn deportment, he had a re. isters of the gospel of Jesus markably cheerful disposition, Christ. We profess ourselves and generally communicated his his servants; we are sent on his instructions with so much ease business, which is to persuade and pleasantry, as greatly to mankind to repent of their sins, gain the confidence and affection to turn from them, and to accept of all with whom he conversed, of that happiness and salvation, especially of children and young which is offered in the gospel.” people. In all his intercourse This very unexpected reply, dewith strangers and men of the livered in a very tender, though world, he so managed his con- solemn manner, and with great versation, that, while he seldom apparent sincerity, so engaged neglected a proper opportunity the gentlemen's attention, that to impress the mind with serious the cards were laid aside, and an things, he always made them opportunity was afforded, and covet his company, rather than cheerfully embraced, for exavoid it; well knowing that plaining in a sociable conversathere is a time for all things, tion, during the rest of the ever and that even instruction and ing, some of the leading and reproof, to be useful, must be most important doctrines of prudently and seasonably given. the gospel, to the satisfaction
An instance of this disposi- and apparent edification of the tion occurred in Virginia. The hearers. late Rev. Mr. Samuel Blair and Resignation to the will of God Mr. Tennent were sent by the in all his dispensations, however synod on a mission into that dark and afflictive, was among province. They stopped one the excellent graces that adorned evening at a tavern for the night, the character of this man of God. where they found a number of He had been tried in the course guests, with whom they supped of God's providence in various in a common room. After the ways ; but domestic afflictions, table was cleared, our missiona- as yet, had not been laid upon ries withdrew from it. Cards him. The time, however, was were then called for, and the now come, when his character landlord brought in a pack and was to be brightened by a severe laid them on the table. One of test of his resignation and obethe gentlemen very politely ask- dience, a test attended with maed the missionaries if they would ny peculiarly distressing circum.
stances. His youngest son, who upon him. He seldom left the was one of the handsomest of side of his bed. For many days men, had just come into public the fever raged with unabated tu. life ; liad commenced the prac- ry; but the immediate distresses tice of physic; was married, and which it occasioned, were lost or had one child. To the great forgotten in the severer pains of distress of the parents, he dis. an awakened conscience. Such covered, though possessed of was the height to which his anthe sweetest temper, and most guish at last arose, that the bed agreeable manners, no regard to on which he lay was shaken by the things that belonged to his the violent and united convulsions eternal peace. Wholly negligent of mind and body. The parents of religion, he indulged without were touched to the quick; and restraint in the gaiety and follies their unqualified submission to of the world. The pious father God, as a sovereign God, was put was incessant at the throne of to the most rigorous proof. But grace in behalf of his dissipated in due time they came out of the son ; and was continually enter- furnace, as gold tried in the fire. taining hopes that God would, God, in his infinite and condeby the influences of his Spirit, ar- scending grace and mercy, was rest him in his career, and bring at last pleased, in some measure, him into the church of Christ, to hear the many prayers put up before his own summons should by the parents, and many pious arrive ; that he might die in friends, for the relief of the poor peace, under the consoling hope sufferer. His views of the lost of meeting this dear child in a
state of man by nature ; of the better world. God, however, had only means of salvation, through determined otherwise ; and the the death and sufferings of the 601, while engaged in inoculating Saviour; of the necessity of the a number of persons, in a house inward regenerating grace of the he had obtained for the purpose, Holy Spirit, became clear and Dear his father's neighbourhood, consistent, and the importance of was seized in an unus
a practical acquaintance with lent manner, with a raging fever these things was deeply and raWith the disorder, he was tionally impressed on his mind. brought to a sudden and alarming He now saw that salvation, which view of his lost condition by na- he had deemed almost or altoture, and the grievous transgres- gether hopeless to him, was possions of his past life. His sins sible. His mind became calm, were all set in dread array against and he attended to religious inhim. A horrible darkness, and struction and advice. In a short an awful dread of the eternal dis. time he began to give as much pleasure of Jehovah, fell on him, evidence of a change of heart as a so as to make him the dreadful death-bed repentance (rarely to example of a convinced siuner, be greatly relied on) can easily trembling under the confounding afford. He sent for his companpresence of an angry God. The ions in iniquity, and, notwithaffectionate and pious father was standing his disorder, exerted constantly in prayer and supplica- himself to the utmost to address tion, that God would have mercy them, which he did in the most Vol. II. No. 2.