Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the darkness, and that light grew brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. And this is only a specimen of God's dealings with his people. He leads them by a path which they know not; and in the admirable combination of prosperity and calamity, of hopes fulfilled and hopes blasted, which compose their lot, he gives 'them sooner or later to see that his own kind hand has been constantly at work for the promotion of their highest interests. Let the Christian ponder this gracious arrangement of Providence, and rejoice in his darkest hours! Let. the church ponder it, and look fearlessly at the boldest array of opposition!

And finally, the preceding train of thought naturally leads us to consider how superior is the dignity which is conferred by character to that which is the result of mere circumstances. It will not be difficult to find in some of the highest places of earthly distinction men of feeble intellects, degraded morals, and perhaps malignant dispositions: the moral element in which they move is a withering selfishness or a black misanthropy; and yet they move in splendour, and multitudes render them a kind of homage, and they are well nigh lost in the bright visions of their own glory. But here is an individual coming up from the humblest walks of life, with his heart beating in vigorous and holy pulsations to be useful to his fellow-men; his character is formed after a model of superior excellence; he borrows no importance from the pride and circumstance of life, but moves about continually, as did the Master whom he serves, on errands of benevolence; and wherever the sound of his footsteps is heard, it is welcomed as the harbinger of heaven-born charity. Here is true dignity—the other deserves not the name. If the man who writes your epitaph can only say of you that you bore the image of your Master, and served your generation well, though your home on earth had been a hovel, he confers infinitely higher honour upon your memory than if he were simply to record that you had worn a crown and occupied a throne.

I have extended these remarks beyond what I had designed; and, in bringing them to a close, I have only to congratulate the reader that he is about entering a field in which, I am sure, he can hardly fail to be at once interested and improved. The memoir is written with the simplicity and perspicuity which characterize all the productions of my respected friend; and, from my knowledge of the venerable man who is the subject of it, I have reason to believe that the character is presented with great truth and fidelity. I shall feel much disappointed if the labours of Doctor Cooley in preparing this memoir do not secure to him the gratitude of every portion of the church in which it circulates, and if the character which he has so happily exhibited does not diffuse its savour of wisdom and piety beyond the present generation.

W. B. SPRAGUE.

Albany, Oct. 28, 1836.

c

LIFE AND CHARACTER

OF

THE REV. LEMUEL HAYNES, A. M.

CHAPTER I,

EARLY HISTORY OF MR. HAYNES.

It often occurs that useful men are found to have derived their origin from parents in an obscure condition. Many individuals in whom native talents were lodged, which by education might have blessed and even astonished the world, have passed on unnoticed to the grave, while others have been the ornaments of science, of religion, and of civil liberty. It is delightful to behold such men overcoming all the obstacles which encompass their path, and pressing their way onward through every form of opposition. The life of one who has risen to distinction by his own efforts, and has thought, and laboured, and suffered for the welfare of mankind, is worthy of being delineated for the entertainment and instruction of the world.

In various periods of time there have been Africans whose intellectual powers and attainments would be an ornament, to any age or country. Among warriors few have held a higher rank than Hanno and Hannibal. The poetic works of Terence were admired in the Augustan age, and have survived the devastations of two thousand years. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, whose memory is dear to all Christendom, and Augustine, bishop of Hippo, the successful defender of the church from Pelagius and his heresies, were sons of Africa.

It is believed that, could a full and faithful biography of the worthy subject of this memoir be furnished, it would do much to exemplify what unaided vigour of mind, even in unfavourable circumstances, can effect. It would place before the community an instance of unfeigned piety and sanctified genius. This is the manifest tendency of all the records which can now be procured respecting him, and of all the recollections of those who knew him, in the most interesting and trying situations in which he was placed. If these shall so exhibit the various parts of his life as to give the prominent features of his character, they can hardly fail to mitigate the unreasonable prejudices against the Africans in our land, to encourage those who, though beset by difficulties, are anxious to improve their minds and their hearts, and, finally, to exemplify the power of divine grace over the affections and lives of men.

Lemuel Haynes was born July 18th, 1753, at West Hartford, Connecticut. He was a partially coloured man, his father being of unmingled African extraction, and his mother a white woman of respectable ancestry in New-England. He bore up the name of neither father nor mother, but probably of the man under whose roof he received his birth. Tradition uays that his mother, in a fit of displeasure with her

« AnteriorContinuar »