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devout and praying frame, often the Sabbath, and on all other lifting up his heart to God for proper occasions.
He always divine influence and assistance in had eyes to see, and ears to hear, the duties before him; and very and a heart to feel, while God frequently, even hundreds of was speaking to him, or to oth. times, when he found himself in ers, by the voice of his Provi. a retired place, he would dis. dence. mount, fasten his horse, and His habitual intercourse and prostrate himself upon the earth communion with God disposed and pour out his heart to God in him to walk softly before him. fervent prayers and supplications He delighted to walk in the vale for himself and for others. He of obscurity, and to avoid every had his conversation in heaven, thing, that had the least tendenand conversed with God in all cy to enkindle pride in his heart. the smiles and frowns of provi. Though he possessed a sound dence. When he was in pain, judgment, a retentive memory, in sickness, or in want, he and a lively imagination, which would eye the hand of God in his would have enabled him to gain situation, and look to him for a considerable degree of literary comfort and relief. When he reputation; yet he never sought was in ease, in health, or pros. the honor that cometh from man, perity, he would gratefully ac. but that which cometh from God knowledge the goodness of God only. When he heard either towards him. When any of his old or young ministers preach, parishioners did acts of kindness he was apt to consider their a. and beneficence to him, or to
bilities and discourses as far su. any of his family, he would re- perior to his own. When he had cord them in his Diary, and pray conversed with ministers, or even for his benefactors in particular, private christians, upon experi. that God would amply reward mental religion, he was wont to them with both temporal and say, “O that I had as much re. spiritual blessings. When he ligion, as such a pious minister was reviled, he reviled pot again, or such a godly man." He lor. and instead of being overcome ed to be clothed with humility, with evil, he overcame evil with and to cherish the thought, that good, by praying for submission he was less than the least of all for hiinself, and forgiveness for saints. He was extremely afraid his enemies. He was no less at- of pride in every shape, and es. tentive to public than to private pecially of spiritual pride in re. calamities. He deeply lament. ligious duties. If at any time, ed wars, conflagrations, earth. he happened to enjoy peculiar quakes, pestilential diseases, and freedom in conversing, praying, all desolating judgments, by or preaching, he would watch which God punishes kingdoms, every motion of his heart, lest nations, and civil societies, for he should be lifted up, and think their ingratitude and disobedi. more highly of himself and of his ence. Such dispensations of provi. services, than be ought to think. dence he endeavored to improveto And after all, he was so far from his own benefit, and to the benefit thinking that he was very humof his people, in his discourses on ble that there was nothing hard ly, which he more frequently and that wept. In all their afflictions, grievously lamented before God he was afflicted. He could use in secret, than his want of humil. the language of the apostle with ity.
propriety. “Who is weak, and It is natural to expect, that I am vot weak ? Who is offend. such a humble and heavenly ed, and I burn not ?" His comminded minister would, like his passion was not in word, or in divine Master, deal prudently. tongue only; but in deed and in Accordingly, Mr. BEAN did uni. truth. Though he never abound. formly exhibit a beautiful exam. ed in property, yet he abounded ple of christian and 'ministerial in works of mercy. His doors, prudence, through the whole his hands, and his heart were al. course of his life. He was so ways open to those in want and well acquainted with human na. distress. If he met a poor crea. ture, that he was capable of ture on the road, whose case foreseeing and avoiding evil, and called for compassion and kind. of becoming all things to all men, ness, he would not wait to hear in a scripture seose. He always the history of his life, or his cries meant to please his people, so for charity, but would spontafar as he could do it consistently neously contribute to his rclief. with his duty ; but if he ever Like his divine Master, he dethought he had unnecessarily lighted to do good to the bodies wounded the feelings of any per
as well as to the souls of men. son, or even of any child, it Another beautiful trait in his pained him to the heart, and in character was a peculiar tender. the first moment of retirement, ness of conscience. he would lament his own con. his heart with all diligence, and duct, and pray for the person avoided every appearance of evil whom he feared he had injured. in all that he thought, and said, In the difficulties which happen and did. He was grievously af, ed to arise in the congregation fected, whenever he perceived, or in the church, he conducted that vain, or worldly, or any imwith so much meekness, conde. proper thoughts had crept into sension, and wisdom, that he his mind, while engaged in secret, very rarely gave offence; but, on private, or public devotions. the other hand, he frequently be. He set a watch before his mouth, came happily instrumental of and kept the door of his lips, lest preventing and of healing ani. at any time he should happen to mosities and contentions among drop an unadvised, unedifying, his people, who in consequence or inchristian expression ; and of his singular prudence, were if any such expression ever es. noted for their peace and harmo. caped from his lips, it was ny with their minister.
matter of serious regret and la. He possessed a very tender and mentation before God. He also benevolent spirit, which he ex. doubled his guard against temppressed in all suitable ways, and tation, when he happened to upon all proper occasions. He have company on the Sabbath, carried his people upon his heart, or when he was called to attend and mourned with them that places of public resort on pubmourned, and wept with them lic occasions. lle malle the
word of God his only rule of ing the day of his own birth, the practice, and conscientiously a. day of the birth of each of his voided a conformity to the world children, and the first day of the in many things, which christians year as a day of secret devo. and ministers in general consid. tion. On some of these occa. ered as ionocent, or, at least, ve. sions, be used to set himself to ry excusable.
recollect and write down the of. If any should now begin to fences he had committed, the da. think, that this portrait of Mr. ties he had neglected, and the BEAN is drawn in too vivid col. mercies he had received, during ours, they will probably alter the year, and sometimes during their opinion, when they seri. his life. When he had done ously consider his extraordinary this, he spread all these things DEVOTION. We must believe before God, with correspond. that few men have ever employed ing confessions, petitions, and more means than he constantly thanksgivings. These peculiar employed, to grow in grace, and seasons afforded him so much to live a holy and heavenly life, satisfaction and benefit, that, on if we may give credit to his pri. other important occasions, he set vate papers. In the morning he apart whole days for secret pray. usually spent an hour, an hour er and praise. and half, and sometimes more Such a devout, exemplary, and than two hours, in reading the useful life did not fail to raise Bible and other books ; in re- Mr. BEAN very high in the affec. newing covenant with God; in tion and confidence of his people, examining the state of his own and in the esteem and veneration mind ; and in praying for him. of his brethren in the ministry. self, his family, his friends, bis His friends (for he had do eneo people, the church of Christ, and mies) could find no fault in him, the whole world of mankind. except his injuring his health The same series of religious ex. and usefulness, by going beyond ercises he commonly performed his strength in his pastoral la. every evening, if his health and bors. But when he heard this circumstances would permit. If complaint, his usual reply was, “I he finished his discourses for the choose to wear out, rather than Sabbath, by Saturday noon, to rust out, in the service of which he endeavored to do, he Christ.” Accordingly he pur. then spent the remainder of the sued his beloved work, with his day, the evening, and the next usual zeal and diligence, until he morning till called to the house was obliged to relinquish it, by of God, in secret devotions. reason of his increasing infirmi. When he returned from public ties, which finally terminated in worship, he employed the rest of a languishment, of which he died, the day, in preaching to himself December 12, 1784, in the 66th what he had been preaching to year of his age, and 34th of his others, and in reading, medita. ministry. "The memory of the tion, self-examination, and pray- just is blessed." er. He made a practice of keep
REFLECTIONS ON THE EVIDENCES OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
The numerous objects that men have either lived without present themselves to the mind, any god, or have attributed to afford satisfactory evidence of their imaginary ones such charthe existence. of God. The acters, as would be wholly in. world, including its various ap- consistent with the great Crea. pendages, is manifestly an effect. tor. Why are men so inattentive No candid man can view it, to the brightest displays of wis. without ascribing it to an in. dom, power, and goodness, in telligent, designing, and power- the Supreme Cause; while they ful Cause. God must possess adopt notions, that are not only infinite perfection. We obtain without foundation, but repuga the knowledge of his attributes nant to all the principles of rea. in the same way, that we learn son and common sense ? Why his existence. He that could are such striking and seemingly create the world, must possess irresistible evidences of the be. unlimited power. He that could ing and perfections of God en. determine all things to their tirely overlooked by thousands present form, and adapt them to of our race; while such absurd their ases, 'must manifestly have opinions are readily imbibed, and an infinite knowledge of all pos. strenuously maintained, concern. sible combinations, and power ing the senseless deities, which to adopt any combination, and they have formed for themselves? assign its existence to any point Sioce men are rational creatures, of time, or space. The good. why do they not act rationally ness of God is likewise exhibited in this case ? Surely, it is owing in the abundant variety of means, neither to want of evidence, nor which conduce to the happiness to incapacity of perceiving it. of his creatures. We should re. God has not left himself with. gard it as a subject of praise, out witness, nor man without that man, placed as he is, with faculties. He has displayed him. his limited faculties, upon so self in all ages and countries, in small a spot of so vast an uni. all objects, and in every event, verse, should be enabled to ex. in a manner intelligible to comtend his view so far around him, mon capacity ; and therefore and permitted to trace so many men are without excuse for not striking marks of stupendous knowing him. How criminal is power, wisdom, and beneficence.' the ignorance of men, since the
The number and the nature of spacious and instructive book of the proofs of this fundamental nature is open before them ! doctrine, that God exists, clearly Though revelation greatly in. exhibit the blindness and stupid- creases the obligations and the ity of men. Where the light of guilt of men, yet the bare light of nature only has been enjoyed, nature leaves them inexcusable. Vol. II. New Series.
Again, if the existence of God but such as he determines. Το is manifested by every thing a. suppose the contrary, would be round us, then we should always to suppose that creatures can ex. be sensible of his presence. Ev- ist and act not only independent. ery mind, that duly reflects, must ly of their Creator, but in opsurely be impressed with solem- position to his, purpose. It is nity by the existence of that Be. no less conformable to the dic. ing whose wisdom contrived, tates of reason, than to the ex. whose power produced, and press declarations of scripture, whose energy constantly sus. that God does all his pleasure ; tains this mighty fabric. It is and that none of his creatures not a matter of indifference, can frustrate his plan. It is whether we regard the manifesa suitable therefore, that we be tations of divine existence. When solemnly sensible of the supre. God speaks, we are bound to macy of the great Jehovah and hear with the most reverential of our entire dependence on him. attention. If all the dignity of He will make us subservient to the human race were combined, his glory ; he will accomplish his it would not impress the mind own designs; and we are bound with half the awe, that the works by the strongest obligations to of God are suited to inspire. rejoice in his unlimited au. The aggregate wisdom and pow. thority over us. er of all men could not perhaps Finally, if God exists, then it effect any thing, that would sur. is of the utmost importance to pass our comprehension. But secure his favor ; and nothing God, in numberless instances, can be more dreadful, than to has formed things, which, either incur his displeasure. It must by their minuteness or magnitude, be in the power of that Being, elude the grasp of our minds. who formed all things, to bestow Men may surround us, and view the richest rewards, and to in. our external actions ; God not flict the most terrible punishonly does these, but he is within ments.
AIL rational beings, us; he witnesses all the exercises therefore, should feel most deepof our minds; and his unceasing ly concerned to learn and obey agency performs in us many his will. In comparison with wonderful and inexplicable op- this, all concerns, that relate erations. How deeply and con. merely to the present life, are stantly therefore ought we to be less than nothing and vanity." impressed with a sense of his being and presence; and how much worse than stupid and brutish are those, who neglect the great
REPENTANCE. Creator and Preserver of the world!
No one who assents to the Again, if God exists, then all truth of the Scriptures, can call his creatures are absolutely de. in question the indispensable pendent on him. Whether ani. and universal duty of repent. mate or inanimate, whether ra.
66 for all have sinned and tional or irrational, they can ex. come short of the glory of God.” ist in no form, node, or state, But as many mistake its nature,