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tions to be made in the phraseology of a paper, when it shall be deemed expedient'; and this liberty will always be supposed to be granted, unless expressly withheld. It is hoped also, that no apology will be required for declining to insert any paper, not strictly conformable with the plan of this publication. The conductors are determined to admit nothing harsh, or intemperate toward any sect of christians; nothing implying disaffection to the government; nothing which can have the remotest ten. dency, in their apprehension, to promote skepticism or infidelity, or to undermine the essential truths of christianity; and, though they will encourage discussions of the subordinate points, upon which real christians may differ, as long as such discussions are conducted with candour and charity, they cannot be considered, as adopting the particular sentiments of their correspon. dents upon these subjects, as their own.”
SKETCHES OF THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF REV. DAVID TAPPAN, D.D.
Born 21 April, A. D. 1752, died 27 August, A. D. 1803, aged 51. THE Creator, in whose hand it love of knowledge, and diligence is to make great, designed doctor in study ; for his blameless and sea Tappax for a very important sta- rious conduct ; for proficiency in tion, and imparted to him corres- learning, and dutiful regard to the pondent advantages. The talents laws and guides of the institution. which he inherited from nature, to Within less than three years afgether with his moral and literary ter he was graduated, he commenimprovements, qualified him forced the work of the ministry. extensive usefulness. He early Though very young, he could not discovered marks of a very docile, be charged with intruding himself, ative mind. His father, the Rev- unprepared, into the sacred office. erend Benjamin Tappan of Man- For, after leaving the University, chester, had the principal care of he assiduously devoted his mind, his first years, and taught him the more than two years, to the study elements of knowledge. Before of divinity, though he was occasionhis admission into the University; ally employed in teaching a school. he was placed, though not for a Indeed he had bestowedan uncomlong time, in Dummer Academy, mon share of attention on moral under the tuition of Mr. Samuel and religious subjects while at colMoody. At the age of fourteen lege, and from his earliest youth. years he was admitted into Har. Beside which it is to be remembertard College. There, rising above ed, that early maturity of underjuvenile follies and vices, he dili- standing was a remarkable trait in gently sought useful knowledge. his character. Accordingly, his He was not one, who considered it first performances in the desk disthe end of his collegiate studies, to played a large fund of theological sparkle and shine for a day. He information, procured him a high never courted popularity by com. place in the publick esteem, and Initting fashionable irregularities. fully indicated the eminence, which That applause, which is purchased he afterward attained. His hearat the expense of virtue, had no ers were surprised with the extent charms for young Tappan. He and pertinence of his thoughts, was considerate and soberminded. with his accurate and copious Extending his views into future style, with the animation and solife, he preferred those attainments lemnity of his utterance, and with which are solid and durable, before the fervour of his devotions. those which are showy orsplendid. A very harmonious church and He was distinguished for ardent society in Newbury soon invited
Vol. I. No. 1.
his ministerial labours. At the age that the revelation of mediatorial of twenty one he was ordained the mercy is the chosen instrument of pastor of that flock. In that place saving a ruined world ; that he he continued about eighteen years. was divinely commissioned to pub
DoctorTappan chose the sacred lish and enforce it for this end ; office from principle. It was his and that its final completion will deliberate judgment, that the gos- embrace the order, perfection, and pel ministry is, of all professions, happiness of the moral world, and the most important to mankind. the highest glory of its Author ; The design of that work, involving he dwelt upon the sublime subject the best interests of the universe, with eager and profound contemperfectly accorded with his ex- plation." Those doctrines, which panded benevolence. There is are the groundwork of revelation, reason to believe that he early im- were the groundwork of hispreach. bibed the excellent spirit of chris- ing. Scarcely a sermon came tianity. After much anxious con- from his lips, in which some of the ceļn respecting his everlasting peculiarities of evangelical truth welfare, and deep conviction of sin, were not found. Frequently, and he was, in the judgment of charity, in many different ways, he incul. renewed by grace. Embracing the cated the doctrines of man's fallen, allsufficient Saviourand submitting ruined state, the redeemirg love of to his will, he cherished the hopes God, the atonement of Christ, jusand consolations of the gospel. tification by grace, and the efficacy And he made it the delightful bu- of the divine Spirit in renewing siness of his life to recommend to sinners and preparing them for others that Saviour, whose pre- glory. The doctrine of redemption ciousness and glory had been re- by a crucified Saviour constituted, vealed to him. He had the pecu- in his view, the basis of the gospel, liaradvantage, which belongs to all the faith and glory of the christ. ministers who are called of God, ian church. To neglect this docthat whenever he preached the un- trine in its various connections he searchable riches of Christ, he considered, as neglecting the very shake what he knew, and testified essence of the gospel. . what he had seen. To this un. He was not only a doctrinal, but doubtedly must be ascribed, in a a very practical preacher. Every great measure, his impressive gospel doctrine, he insisted, has its manner of preaching. He spoke corresponding precept and duty. from the fulness of his heart. He Speaking of the doctrines of huwas sincere and in earnest. No man depravity, and salvation by hearer could doubt, that he felt the the mercy of God, the atonement reality and eternal importance of of Christ, and the sanctification of the truths he delivered.
the Spirit, he says ; “ from these As a preacher, he was decidedly doctrines immediately result the evangelical. The peculiar contents duties of evangelical repentance of the gospel were the principal and humility, faith and hope, grati. subiccts of his discourses. He de. tude and love, obedience and joy." termined to know nothing, save Ice Agreeably, when he preached the sus Chris: and him crucified. The doctrine of human depravity and gospel, is a revelation of grace to misery, his aim was, to show sinsinners, was the great subject, ners their dependence on God's which he studied and explained. mercy and their need of redempTo use his own words ; " sensible tion through the blood of atone
ment, and to lead them, with rather proclaiming the abundant thankfulness and joy to accept grace of Christ, and, from a heart profered salvation. When he captivated with his divine beauty, preached the allsufficient atone- crying out, unto him, who hath lovDent, he was careful to show its ed us, and washed us from our sins influence on the violated law of in his blood, be honour and glory for God, and on the guilty, deplorable ever. At the same time he took condition of man. In his hand it much pains to show, that such afwas the terror of the obstinate reb- fection to Christ is not only the el, but the hope and consolation of surest evidence of an upright humble, contrite souls. The doc- heart, but the most efficacious motrine of divine influence he aimed tive to a pious and useful life. to exhibit in such a light, as at But as a more particular display of once to humble the proud, and en- Doctor Tappan's theological sencourage the lowly in heart. Jus- timents is contemplated, it is not, tification by faith without the deeds in this place, necessary to enlarge. of the law he represented, as insep- Doctor Tappan was a plain and arably connected with a godly life; distinguishing preacher. Knowyea, as the spring of true gospel ing the gospel to be of everlasting obedience. He gave it as his importance to mankind, he enjudgment, “ that christian piety and deavoured to preach it in the most morality must rise or fall, as the doc- intelligible manner. He was haptrines of grace, which support and py in commanding a style, which crate them, are regarded or neglect. had charms for all. While the ed." By these sentiments he reg. refined hearer enjoyed its flowing ulated his preaching. Whenever elegance, the unrefined was edified he inculcated the duties of christ- with its plainness. He judged a ianity, whether the duties of re- close, distinguishing mode of pentance and faith, which immedi- preaching of vast consequence. ately respect men as sinners, or Deeply impressed himself with the the general duties of piety to God, necessity and worth of true relig. and benevolence to man; he failed ion, he laboured to describe it cornot to inculcate them chiefly by rectly, and to discriminate its savevangelical motives. And let it being exercises and fruits fromevery arded, whenever he undertook to deceitful imitation. To this work describe a good man, he described bis mind was early directed by the him as a character formed upon perusal of Edwards' treatise on gospel principles ; as a redeemed Religious Affections. By what he sinner, pardoned through Christ, wrote in the book when young, he regenerated by the Holy Spirit, a emphatically expressed his opinion penitent, a believer. He repre- of its inestimable value ; an opinsented his inward exercises and ion which, it is well known, he his whole practice, as having a con- never altered. It was often the stant respect to the great scheme drist of his discourses to point out of mediatorial grace. In his paint. the essential and eternal difference ing of virtue and religion you between the sanctified affections of Would not see the image of Seneca the believer, and the best exercises er Plato, but that of saint Paul. of the unrenewed heart. Under The christian of his describing you his most discriminating sermons, would not hear descanting, in cold, conscience could hardly sleep; uninteresting language, on the the sinner could not, without a beauty and dignity of virtue ; but great effort, deceive himself ; and
the humble believer could scarcely in his preaching. It was his opinfail of obtaining consolation. To ion, that a minister's usefulness is introduce again his own words ; it greatly abridged by confining himwas his serious endeavour « to lay self within a small circle of favour, open the human heart to the view ite speculations. He reasoned of mankind ; to trace its windings, thus, “ that as christian divinity is its disguises, its corruptions ; to one regular and immense whole, expand all its latentseeds of abom- so each part has its claim on the ination ; to pluck off its mask of evangelical instructor ; that by apparent virtue ; to unfold the se- duly attending to any one branch, cret principles of human conduct, he really befriends and enforces all and distinguish appearances from the rest, as connected with it ; realities ; to detect the various b', that he cannot do justice even to asses of selflove and selfdeceit ; to the doctrinal part without largely delineate every shape and form, explaining and urging its corres, which the unsanctified heart in va- ponding precepts ;" and that, conrious circumstances will assume ; sidering the unlimited variety of so that every sinner might see and christian subjects, it is altogether recognize himself in the draught, absurd to expect that the preacher and all classes of natural men, will interweave them all with eve. from the careless and profane to ry sermon. Accordingly he took the deeply convicted and distress- an extensive range, and aimed to ed, might so perceive their moral introduce that pleasing variety of diseases, as immediately to look topics, which the scriptures fure out for a suitable remedy.” nish ; though, after all, it was
He was a very affectionate manifest, that he made evangelicpreacher, When addressing his al religion the sum and centre of fellow immortals, his heart was his preaching. The variety in his often enlarged with benevolence, discourses was increased and renand melted in tenderness. In him dered still more agreeable, by his there appeared nothing overbear- method of adapting his performing, harsh, or uncivil. His coun- ances to particular occasions. In tenance, his voice, his gestures had this he discovered a remarkable all the natural marks of kind con- facility and pertinence. By the cern. His hearers, however re- instantaneous operation of a dis, proved and alarmed, were convinc- cerning taste, he readily entered ed that he spoke from love ; that into the spirit of every occasion, the mortifying reproof and the and said what was suitable and painful alarm he gave them, were impressive. Beside his appropri. meant for their good. They saw, ate performances on sacramental they felt, that the preacher was an and funeral occasions, he frequent, ardent friend to their souls, and ly noticed the great events of Prov. that he did not inflict the wound, idence in the natural, civil, and re. which faithfulness required him to ligious world, and made use of inflict, without reluctanceand grief. them to elucidate some interest. This procured him free access ing truth, or enforce some impor, to their consciences and hearts. tant duty. It gave him liberty to use With a view to give his preachgreat freedom and plainness of ing a diversified air, and to make speech, with a prospect of the it more popular and impressive, he most desirable effects.
sometimes adopted an expedient, Doctor TAPPAN studied variety which is thought liable to criticism.