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PREPARATORY STUDIES, ETC.
The incident respecting the Saturday night sermon, as stated in the preceding chapter, brought young Haynes very favourably into public notice. He had always been regarded as a youth of uncommon amiableness and ingenuity. From childhood he had been marked for his unspotted purity of character. When he entered a house upon an errand for his master, there was such retiring humility in his whole deportment as prepossessed all in his favour.
Now he began to be regarded in the neighbourhood as one raised up of God for more than common usefulness. It became known that he possessed uncommon gifts in prayer and exhortation; and, the parish being destitute of a minister, he was frequently called upon to read approved sermons, and to lead in the devotional exercises of the house of God. A report has gone abroad that, by invitation, he took the deacon's seat, and delivered his own original sermons on the Lord's day. Of this I can find no evidence except that of tradition.
It was now discovered by a discerning Christian community, that in this young man were the germes of usefulness. He was encouraged to look forward to the Christian ministry. On this subject a letter of his own furnishes the following remarks :—" I was solicited by some to obtain a collegiate education, with a view to the gospel ministry. A door was opened for it at Dartmouth College, but I shrunk at the thought. Reverend Mr. Smith encouraged me, with many others. I was at last persuaded to attend to studying the learned languages. I was invited (1779) by the Reverend Daniel Farrand, of Canaan, Connecticut, to visit him. I accordingly did; with whom I resided some time, studying the Latin language. He was a most pious and friendly man."
Mr. Farrand was a most extraordinary man, whose excellences and eccentricities were happily balanced. In him were blended the deepest piety and the most amusing wit. His memory was so tenacious, that, when he was abroad on the Sabbath, if he happened not to take the sermons with him which he chose to deliver, he could, by recollection, preach them with facility, without his notes. His great originality of thought and quickness in repartee were much celebrated among his contemporaries. He was a poor man, and seemed even to contemn worldly wealth. Not far from him resided a gentleman of a directly opposite character in this respect. While he possessed extensive arable lands and well-watered meadows, he was penurious to a proverb. One day he invited Mr. Farrand to a walk into his meadow, which stretched far in front of his dwelling. As he was pointing to the fertilizing creek that passed through it, and was boasting of the richness of the soil, Mr. Farrand rebuked his covetousness and pride with the following lines :—
"Though a broad stream, with golden sands, •
Through all his meadows roll,
Who wears a narrow soul!" •
Such was the structure of Mr. Haynes's mind, that lie readily caught the spirit and habits of his early instructor. Like him, he was imbued with a spirit of deep piety; and, like him, he had a disposition for amusing remark and keen retort, which rendered him at once the delight of his friends and the terror of his opponents. He was obliged, while with Mr. Farrand, to labour in the field, and thus to defray the expense of board and tuition. One day, being with his instructer, managing the planting of his garden, he gave him some seeds of rare quality, saying to him, "Plant them in the richest spot you can find." Haynes replied, "I shall plant them in the kitchen, then."
He used often, in after life, to rehte an incident which he had from the lips of his venerable instructor. Mr. Farrand, as he was riding in company with a young clergyman not distinguished for his humility, beheld, at a little distance from the highway, two or three Indians at their work; and turning, rode up and gave an affectionate salutation. After overtaking his fellow-traveller, he received a sharp rebuke for his attention to the Indians. Mr. Farrand replied, in his usual laconic style, "They always treat me with good manners when I meet them, and I should be ashamed to have it said that the minister of the parish hasn't as good manners as an Indian."
How long he enjoyed the instruction of Mr. Farrand is not ascertained. He studied principally the Latin language, devoting a part of his time to belles lettres and the writing of sermons. He composed a poem while here, which was surreptitiously taken from his desk; and he afterward heard of its being delivered at a certain college on the day of commencement.
He retained to the end of life a grateful remembrance of his friend and patron. The unfeigned and vivid piety, together with the propensity for satirical and humorous remark, so conspicuous in the instructer, seem to have been transfused into the very soul of the pupil.
Mr. Haynes often related the following instance of the faithfulness and ingenuity of his teacher. With much labour he had prepared a theme, in a style of great elegance, as he supposed. He had introduced many such terms as blue expanse—azure sky—and other richly embellished expressions. Mr. Farrand heard him through very patiently, and then remarked, in the language*of irony, "Mr. Haynes, you have been talking, it seems by your style, to the inhabitants of the upper world; what if you should come down to folks on the earth, so that we can understand you?" He felt mortified, but was thankful for the kind rebuke. It did him good.
Having mastered the Latin language, he felt a quenchless ardour to obtain a knowledge of the Greek also, that he might read the New Testament in the original. He had neither wealth nor friends to aid him. And while in perplexing doubt by what means he could effect so desirable an object, God, in his providence, raised him up a patron. The Reverend William Bradford was at this time preaching at Wintonbury, a small parish, composed, as its name imports, of a part of three towns, Windsor, Farmingtow, and Symsbury. Of him Mr. Haynes says, "He procured a school for me in Wintonbury, and generously offered to instruct me in the Greek language; and the expense of my board would be discharged by my school. I exerted myself to the utmost to instruct the children of my school, and found I gave general satisfaction. The proficiency I made in studying the Greek language I found greatly exceeded the expectations of my preceptor."
By intense study by night, while the school engaged his attention through the day, he in a few months became a thorough Greek scholar. As a critic on the Septuagint and Greek Testament, he possessed great skill. He had now laid up a valuable store of various learning, especially in theology, and by advice of many friends, both ministers and laymen, he made application for license to preach the gospel.
Nov. 29th, 1780, several ministers of high respectability "having examined him in the languages and sciences, and with respect to his knowledge of the doctrines of the gospel, and practical and experimental religion, recommended him as qualified to preach the gospel."
His credentials have the signatures of Rev. Daniel Farrand, Canaan, Rev. Jonathan Huntington, Worthington, and Rev. Joseph Huntington, D. D., Coventry.
His first sermon was preached at Wintonbury, of which a brief analysis is here given.
Psalm xcvi., 1. "The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice."
The absolute government of God affords just matter of rejoicing. Because
1. He has a perfect knowledge of all those events which ever took place in the whole universe. Prov. xv., 3.
2. All things are entirely dependant on God for their existence.