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tion, till age and disease made it necessary to retire from the office. But he continued a member in much Christian love and esteem with all the brethren till his death. The church was in a very declined state when he joined it, and received but few additions, (chiefly of blacks.) of late, however, a happy revival has taken place, and within two years nearly a hundred members have been added. It is now in a good state of resuscitation and joyful in
He was called to the pastoral supply of several other churches, according to the custom in this part of the country, of having only one church-meeting in a month. In this relation he was engaged with the church in Elbert county,
He had been instrumental in gathering and constituting this church in the early part of his evangelical ministry; but when he moved down the country, Jeremiah Walker from Virginia became their pastor. He had been the subject of a most shameful apostacy; and professing restoration, he also professed a change of sentiment, and adopted certain unscriptural opinions. He was instrumental of drawing off a part of the members to his sentiments, and soon, (for his powers of argumentation were great), spread the defection into other churches, and succeeded, by the help of some other preachers, in effecting a division in the association. This division among the Baptists, (for at this time, there was only one Baptist association in Georgia), filled the state with controversy: In these severe conflicts, which tried men's souls, our beloved brother was much shaken. He was affectionately connected with several of the seceding party, and very much so with Mr Walker, which circumstance contributed not a little to his indecision and want of firmness. But it pleased the Lord, as he believed, to save him from this unsoundness of mind and more than ever to confirm his sentiments respecting the sovereign and free grace of God. In reference to this fact, only a little before his death, he wrote to a friend thus:-"My life is just gone—but had I a thousand lives and ten thousand tongues, I would willingly spend them all in the delightful work; in preaching the same doctrine, and in the same denomination—I say the same doctrine—for once, the great Jeremiah Walker had well nigh led me to embrace the Arminian sentiments. Had it not been for my experience, the works of Providence and grace, more especially the character and goodness of God, I should have embraced those delusive errors.” However, after his engagement with the regular part of this church, the death of Mr Walker occurred, and his influence died with him ; several of the disaffected members returned and sought union again with their deserted brethren; and better times ensued. He had the happiness of receiving sixty or seventy to baptism, and the fellowship of the church in the term of his service with them, which was about twenty-five years.
But the Meetinghouse being situated between Broad and Savannah rivers, and other churches being constituted in more commodious places contiguous, and the number of members diminishing by deaths and removals, the church was regularly dissolved, and ihe members united with the adjoining churches.
Our brother was early in his ministry engaged with the church
AT ROCKY SPRING.
This church was situated in Wilkes (now Lincoln) county, near the Savannah river. Here he labored with good effect and much harmony and Christian affection for thirty years. He enjoyed two precious revivals, and baptized many happy believers. His own account is, “That in one of these gracious seasons I baptized near by one hundred;" and it is a fair calculation that in the other, and at all other times, he did not receive less than one hundred. But we have no data at hand, which will precisely show how many. The veneration and Christian estimation in which he was held, both by church and people, fully appears in a letter and resolution he received from them on the occasion of his leaving.
He served the church, also, as a pastoral supply for twenty years or more,
This church lies in the north-east of Wilkes county, and here the labors of our brother were blessed with two precious revivals, in which he baptized more than a hundred, and saw the work of the Lord prosper in his hands. Here he labored, till afflictions, a few years before his death, made it necessary to retire from all his pastoral services.
In the same capacity, he also attended a church in S. Carolina,
In this church he had not the happiness to enjoy much success. He continued his labors for five years, baptized a few only, and declined his attendance. He then gave his services to the church
Here he enjoyed a good degree of success.
In the short time he was engaged with this church, he baptized about fifty. But some young ministers being raised up, after two years he left the church to their care and retired.
In the course of his ministry, which continued upwards of forty years, he aided in the constitution of five churches and in the ordination of twenty-one ministers, and was the instrument of much usefulness. He died in a good old age of seventy-three years, highly esteemed for his work's sake. In his civil and social life he was innocent, honorable and generous. As a Christian he was devoted and persevering. As a minister, in prayer, fervent-in exhortation, warm-in doctrine, clear-in all, ardent, zealous and indefatigable. He lived as he died, in the Lord. His views of himself
were very humble; he walked much in the vale of fears, and conversed much with his own heart. He often complained of his want of spiritual comforts, to his confidential
religious friends. Yet he was often on the mount enjoying the light of heaven and of God.
He was particularly anxious for the salvation of his children. He was zealous to " bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” He poured out his prayers and strong cries to God for them; yet he saw no lasting symptoms of permanent hope, till they were all grown, and chiefly settled in families. This gave him “great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart.” He made several unsuccessful efforts to have them all assembled together once before he died, that he might detail to them his own Christian experience and ground of hope; and address to them, as it were his dying admonitions. This he effected, in connexion with a meeting to be continued several days, held at the church near him, some time before his death. One evening, they all repaired to his house, together with several of his brethren in the ministry ; and having called the attention of all, he stated his earnest desire for their salvation, and his reasons for wishing them all together, and the design of his address. He then rehearsed at length, his religious experience and hope of salvation; and with much affection and earnestness exhorted them to flee from the wrath to come-to Jesus Christ the only Saviour. All was solemn, impressive and interesting.
It pleased God, a little before his decease, to bring his son, nained after himself, to the hope of the Gospel, and to incline his mind to the ministry. His daughters soon after became hopeful believers; and just before his death, another son made a declaration of his faith in Christ, and transmitted an account of his experience to his father, but it was not received by the family till it was too late.
Our beloved brother was the subject of severe and protracted afflictions, which he bore with patience and fortitude. In addition to many other infirmities he lost his hearing. This was truly an affliction to him, as it broke off, almost altogether, his social enjoyments and intercourse. But it was observed, that though he could not hear himself speak, he preached with more ardor and clearness than before. About two years before his decease he was sick, in the view of all his friends and of himself, unto death. happily sustained in his religious feelings. His beloved pastor, Rev. James Armstrong, visited him, to whom he said, “After my departure, I wish you, or my brother, Jesse Mercer-if he returns home in time, (for he was at New York, attending the General Convention), to deliver a discourse to my friends and brethren from 2 Cor. v. 8.” But it was the will of God to raise him up, and he afterwards enjoyed pretty good health ; and travelled and preached considerably. His last tour was to attend the General Association of Georgia; where he preached the closing sermon, under sensible indications, as was reported by them that heard him, that it was to be his last.
In his final sickness, he languished for many days. His faith was fixed and his soul serene. When prayer was about to be made,
he, perceiving it, said, “ Pray not for my recovery, for I wish to go." When almost past articulation, he said to his much beloved brother Mercer, in broken accents, “I believe I shall die of this disease.
“O, for some angel bands to bear
of long salvation roll, And glory never dies.” His pain in some measure ceased for sometime before his death, and he lay quite composed, waiting till his change should come; which occurred on the afternoon of June 5th, 1828. His remains were deposited in his own grave-yard, at his late residence. A short time after, his funeral sermon was preached by Mr Mercer, from the text of his choice,“ Willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
LESSONS FOR THE YOUNG.
(Translated from a work of Chancellor Niemeyer.)
No I. Every branch of knowledge that you acquire diligently at school, is adapted to increase your usefulness in life. But what stands higher than all science is the knowledge of God, of the destination of man, his duties and his hopes, according to the teaching of Him who is the light and the salvation of the world. To lead to this knowledge is the object of all religious instruction, to whatever age it may be imparted. Its essential purport remains constantly the same. It is needed by all; and it must be perceived and understood by all.
The simple instruction which our Lord and his apostles have given, soon became not only an object of more extended reflection, and comparison with what can by other means be known of God and his will, but also an occasion of searching and striving to investigate what is unsearchable. Upon the Scriptures which we possess written in foreign languages, we have all the helps that are used in judging and expounding other monuments of antiquity. And the society of the disciples of Christ, or the church, must, like every human community, be an object of historical research, in respect to its origin and its progress.
A more profound knowledge of the whole is to be expected in preachers and theologians. But to have a general acquaintance with these matters, may preserve from many an error and offence. And any one who would be thought well educated, should endeavor not to be ignorant on a subject so naturally interesting to all considerate men.
This compendium is designed to impart the requisite general knowledge to those who have already attended to the lower and intermediate steps of religious instruction. May it, in the hand of Divine Providence, be a durable instrument of awakening respect and love for religion, the holiest possession of man; and, especially, may it lead to a sanctifying knowledge of the truth.
What is to be presented, dear youths, is not all religion, by any means, in the highest and truest sense. It is connected with religion. But much of it is human opinion and historical knowledge. Especially is this true of the introduction to the Scriptures, and of the history of religion.
Let no one imagine that he can merely by such knowledge acquire the spirit and power of genuine Christian faith and feeling. Only he who learns in a better and more worthy manner, [through the Holy Spirit) to know and honor God and Him whom He has sent, he who cherishes in himself a feeling of dependence on Him in whom all life dwells, he who hearkens to the voice of his conscience, he who makes the temper of Christ his own, he who chooses the requisition of our sacred books for the rule of his life, he only is worthy of the high name of a Christian. From him the levity and seductions of the world will not tear away his faith. The superstition and fanaticism of the age will not darken the light of his mind. His religion will be truth, virtue, and love; its fruit, quietness, peace, and holiness. To no one does the letter of a dead knowledge give assurance of this; nor does mere philosophy, nor erudition. But it will, in the hands of one who has a right sense for what is holy and divine, be a means of giving him to perceive more and more of the excellency of Christianity.
Happy the youth who from his early years takes such a treasure into subsequent life. Happy the teacher who is enabled to awaken this relish for the highest good. Without it, all earthly happiness Joses its true purpose.
With it, one may safely calculate on a peaceful and blessed life beginning on earth, and, after this imperfect state has passed away, perfected and continuing forever.
The youth who, having passed the period of childhood, needs and can receive more extensive instruction on various subjects than formerly, will, it may be hoped, wish to become more extensively acquainted also with religion, the most important of all subjects.
Instruction thus adapted to the more advanced period of youth, presupposes the elementary knowledge, and only builds on the ground which that has laid. Without that, much of what follows must be unintelligible, or at least it must seem not much to the purpose. When we speak of religion, we understand generally the belief in God and the honoring of him by our thoughts and actions. The appropriate and higher religious instruction is occupied with the establishing and explaining of this belief and with a more extended representation of what pertains to our internal and to our external conduct.
Now the belief in religion as it is found among Christians, rests on the written documents which we receive as sacred. To lead to a more intimate knowledge and a more accurate judging of these docments, may therefore be regarded as a part of this higher instruc