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"The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning." In a remarkable degree this characteristic of wisdom was found in Mr. Haynes. Few of Christ's ministers have been called more frequently on funeral occasions to administer instruction and consolation; and few possessed a happier gift "to speak a word in season to him that is weary." His tender sensibility, his affectionate manner of address, his ardent and exalted piety, together with his severe training in the school of affliction, rendered him one of the best of comforters. In this connexion the following letters will be read with deep interest.
TO DEACON ATKINS.
Rutland, Oct. 10, 1814.
., • Very Dear Sir,
Yours of the 15th Sept. was received two days ago. It informed us of three deaths in rapid succession, among whom was the dear wife of your youth. You know that I esteemed her one of the best of friends. The long acquaintance, the innumerable favours I have received from her, can never be repeated, and, I trust, by me will never be forgotten. I can say with one, "The thing I greatly feared is come upon me." I was mentioning to one the day before I received the melancholy tidings, that I feared Mrs. A. would never recover. Mrs. Haynes was much agitated, in a dream, we think the night that she expired. She thought she saw great trouble in your house. But I pay but little attention to dreams. Sir, I hope you do not imbitter the affliction by murmuring or repining against God. You may think on the goodness of the Almighty in blessing you with such a companion—in preserving her so long, —and for the hope that she is among the blessed—and that you may hope shortly to meet her there. Above all, that the will of God is done. I trust I do not forget you at the throne of grace. You are much in my thoughts. I hope the Lord will be your support in a day of trouble. Read Prov. xxiv., 10; "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small." Whether I shall ever see you on this side of the grave is uncertain. Should it ever be my lot and portion, it seems that your house would, in some degree, be a gloomy mansion. But I would not add to the tide of grief that flows from your bleeding heart. Yet we may mourn with those that mourn. The week I received your letter, we were called to bury two of the sisters of our church, the one an adult, the other a youth. A brother of my wife died four weeks ago very suddenly. Thus we are all going. I thank you for the seasonable information you gave us of the mournful event.- Make our respects acceptable to Rev. Mr. B. and family. We greatly respect them, and shall never forget their hospitality. I trust I bless God that you have such a precious man among you. May he be continued. May the Lord sanctify his hand to all the bereaved. Your sincere friend in your trouble,
To The Pastor Of The First Church In Granville.
Rutland, January 13, 1806.
Rev. And Dear Sir,
* * * * It has been a remarkable time of health among us the year past. But four deaths in this society. The last was Charity Rowley, daughter of Mr. R. R., about thirteen years of age. She died Dec. 6th. Her disorder was in her head, which rendered her sickness very distressing, and for a great part of the time she was deprived of reason. I scarcely ever saw a more distressing scene. Every means was used for her recovery, but all in- vain. She was a most amiable child. But few children so much respected. All loved her. Her death is greatly lamented. Her parents and the family were almost overwhelmed by the stroke. She discovered great concern about a future state when in the exercise of reason. Would call on others to pray for her, and was often in prayer for herself. Many prayers were put up for her. But an all-wise God saw fit to call her away. We have great reason to hope' that she is gone to rest, and is now sharing the rewards of the righteous. She has left us many warnings to prepare for death. I hope they may make a deep impression on the minds of us who survive. If sweetness of temper, amiable conduct, love and esteem of friends could exempt from death, she would still have continued. But alas! there is no discharge in this war. It was a loud call to our youth. Oh! that it might not prove in vain.
I preached on the occasion of her funeral from 2 Kings iv., 19, 20; "And he said unto his father, My head, my head! And he said to a lad, carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died."
We have greatly to lament the low state of religion among us. How is it with you? I think we may say, in some sense, that it is neither day nor night. Yours sincerely,.
In 1808 he was severely afflicted by sickness, and on his recovery he thus wrote to a friend:—" I have only a moment's time to write. I am just raised up from the brink of the grave for some purpose. * * * Nothing very important has taken place of late. Wickedness reigns triumphant. There is an extraordinary work of God in Sudbury, twenty miles to the north of us. Eight or nine are hopefully converted in a week. Our missionary and evangelical societies in this state flourish; how is it with you?"
On the Sabbath, he selected a subject suited to the occasion of his restoration to his labours. The text was Rom. xiv., 8; "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." In this sermon his own thoughts and feelings seem to have been an affecting illustration of the sentiments of the apostle. "I might," said he, "I might, if it was not too much like preaching self, apply the subject to my own case. It has pleased God to bring me from the borders of the grave. Strange to reflect, that I stand this day in the midst of you, as one raised from the brink of death. I am convinced that a sick bed is no place for repentance. It was reliance on the merits of the Saviour that supported me. Had I a thousand souls, I would venture them on him. 'Tis for your sakes that I am spared. I have no desire to live for the sake of living to self. But to God would I devote all my life. 'Tis by your prayers that I am delivered to you, and 0 that you would pray that my spared life may be wholly devoted to his service."
It is not improbable that Mr. Haynes, during his ministry, preached as many as six hundred funeral sermons. His labours among the bereaved were often requested in neighbouring towns, especially on distinguished occasions. He was in the habit also of improving such dispensations of Providence for the benefit of his own people, by preaching on the occasion of the death of eminently useful men. The following sermon will present a specimen of his talents and aptness in this respect.
The substance of the Rev. Lemuel Haynes's sermon, delivered at Rutland (West Parish), Oct. 28th, 1804. Occasioned by the sudden and much lamented death of the late Rev. Job Swift, D. D.
2 Tim. iv., 6 :—" And the time of my departure is at hand."
Among the many sources of evil to men, there are few more hurtful than their inattention to future scenes: this subjects them to unavoidable troubles here, and ejidless sorrow hereafter. Men are generally disposed to crowd eternal realities from them, and put far away the evil day. Having the last week heard of the sudden death of the Rev. Dr. Swift, which I consider, speaking after the manner of men, a greater loss to the church than could have taken place in the death of a single individual in this state; and having lately had so agreeable an interview with him, it has fixed my mind so intensely on eternal realities that I found some difficulty in turning my attention on any other subject.
If ever the sentiment in my text was proclaimed in powerful and significant language, it is in this alarming dispensation of Divine providence. The time of my departure is at hand. • *> '. ,
St. Paul wrote this epistle after his last confinement at Rome, about nine years after the former, and a little before his death, as intimated in the text. Although the exact time of our death is fixed by the unalterable purpose of God, Job vii., 1; xiy., 5, yet this moment to us is uncertain. We are not to suppose that Paul understood this; but by what he could discern by the conduct and temper of his enemies, he concluded that his exit was near. Analuseoos, which is rendered departure, signifies "to return home; to weigh or loose anchor; to change our place. It is a metaphor taken from mariners, importing the sailing from one port to another. Death is, as it were, the unfolding the net, or breaking open the prison door by which the soul was