« AnteriorContinuar »
DISMISSION FROM RUTLAND.
It was a sage remark of Rev. Robert Hall, "that the Christian ministry is in danger of losing something of its energy and sanctity by embarking on the stormy element of political debate." In the most interesting period of the life of Mr. Haynes, there was an interruption of the blessed effects of his ministerial labours through the influence of violent political controversy. The impression made throughout the United States by the late war with Great Britain was such, that nearly every freeman was identified with one or the other of the two great parties which then divided the nation.
It will be remembered that in early life Mr. Haynes took the field as a common soldier in defence of his country. A mind like his, which had been imbued with the spirit of the American revolution, could not easily rest in neutrality while great and conflicting interests were apparently rending asunder the nation for which he had fought. In principle he was a disciple of Washington. The State of Vermont was early agitated by the measures of the national government. The spirit of party rapidly ripened into a spirit of deeply-rooted and unquenchable rancour. Mr. Haynes was invited to preach on political occasions, and in some instances to give his sermons to the public through the medium of the press. He talked sometimes about politics, and probably with a keenness and sarcasm which were felt.
His talents and influence he consecrated to sustain the views of the immortal Washington; and the keenness of his satire often fell upon unprincipled parasites, whatever might be their political creed.
In one of his published discourses he has the following paragraph:—" A dissembler is one proud of applause—will advertise himself for office—dazzle the public mind with high pretences, like aspiring Absalom, 'Oh that I were made judge in the land, that erery man that hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!' Such devotees to applause and hypocrisy will, even when the destinies of their country are at stake, be to a commonwealth what Arnold was to American freedom, or Robespierre to a French Republic."
Political excitement interrupted the harmony which had subsisted between pastor and people in West Rutland. In some instances Mr. Haynes experienced unkindness, and even abuse, from unprincipled men. From such trials, however, it was always his felicity to come forth as "gold tried in the fire." An unprincipled man, overtaking him in the highway, accosted him in the style of rude impertinence and abuse, as follows;— "Mr. Haynes, have you heard the scandalous reports that are abroad about you ?"—" I have heard nothing," replied Mr. Haynes, very calmly.
The man proceeded to state the evil reports, alleging that they were true, using profane and abusive language. "You see," continued he, "what a disgrace they have brought upon your character!" Mr. Haynes, in the spirit of his Master, "when he was reviled, reviled not again—when he suffered, threatened not." He passed on silently till he reached the gate of his own house, when he turned to the persecutor and said to him—
"Well, Mr. , you see what disgrace my conduct
has brought upon me, according to your account. I want you to take warning from me to forsake your evil course, and thus save your own character from disgrace." Thus they parted. The next day he came to him with humble acknowledgments, saying, "I was wrong! I was wrong! I ask your forgiveness."
The trials which ministers are often called to experience are ordered in wisdom, and designed to brighten their Christian graces. Hence, said the apostle, "We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed."
If the subject of this memoir, at a season of great party excitement and political phrensy, was wounded in his feelings or his good name, it was only to shed a lustre around his Christian character.
"He loved the world that hated him; the tear
Mr. Haynes was a discreet observer of "the signs of the times," While reasons of weight pleaded for his continuance with his beloved church in West Rutland, others of greater weight seemed to call for his removal. Upon prayerful deliberation, he felt himself governed by the indications of Providence in requesting a dismission from his pastoral charge.
Accordingly, on the 29th of April, 1818, a council was convened, and the pastoral relation by mutual congent was dissolved, The result of council closes with the following ample testimonial:—" We do cheerfully recommend the Reverend Lemuel Haynes as a tried and faithful minister of Jesus Christ."
The parting scene was deeply painful, both to the pastor and many of the people. He had taken them by the hand in their infancy, and laboured day and night with tears to promote their highest interests for both worlds. He had met them in the sanctuary, the prayermeeting, and the conference-room, and with great fidelity directed them in the way of salvation. He had been their comforter in the chambers of sickness and of death, and in processions to "the field of graves." In seasons the most deeply impressive and interesting, when the people were moved by the Holy Ghost "as the trees of the wood are moved by the wind," he was to them "the messenger of the Lord of hosts." A great part of the church were his spiritual children. He had gathered more than three hundred into the church under his pastoral care, and had seen the parish rise under his influence and labours to a state of high respectability.
Rutland, 20th May, 1818.
Attended with some infirmity of body, I now sit down at my table to write a few lines. You have doubtless heard of the event which has taken place with respect to myself. On the 29th of last month I was dismissed from the people of my charge, with whom I have laboured more than thirty years. I think I gave you a hint in a former letter that I expected it would be the case. It was by mutual agreement. No impeachment of my moral or ministerial character was pretended. I fully acquiesce in the event. I have many calls to labour elsewhere. I am now preparing a farewell sermon, to be delivered next Sabbath, from Acts xx., 24. Never was a greater degree of stupidity discovered among us; but the Lord reigns. * * I almost hope once more to see Granville; but I am old, and the time of my departure is at hand. Pray write as often as you can, and don't forget me at the throne of grace.
LETTER II. TO THE PASTOR OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN GRANVILLE.
Rutland, 20th May, 1818. REV. AND DEAR SlR,
Your kind letter and book by Mr. R. were thankfully accepted. An encouragement of another of your labours on an interesting subject was given; if it is out, perhaps I may receive it by the bearer. It would be gratefully accepted. On the 29th day of last month, by an ecclesiastical council, I was dismissed from my pastoral and ministerial relation to the church and people in this place. It was by mutual agreement. The council gave me a higher recommend than I deserve. Such are the events of Divine providence. My work, I find, is not quite done. I have many calls abroad, and have not ceased preaching a single Sabbath, The Lord reigns. I am now preparing a valedictory discourse to deliver next Sabbath. Association meet at my house next Tuesday, and I am preparing a "concio ad cleruxn," and so have only a moment's time to write to you.
I have just had news from Manchester, that a good work has begun there.
President Bates has come to Middlebury. We are greatly pleased with his singular talents and piety. I hope he will be a great blessing to the seminary. My heart is often at G. I cannot be wholly weaned from the place of my childhood and youth. * * * May