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MR. SAMUEL FINLEY was providence to prepare him for born in the year 1715, in the those important stations, which county of Armagh in Ireland, he afterwards filled. He first and was one of seven sons, who heard a sermon when he was six were all esteemed pious : his years old ; and not long before parents possessed the same char- his death was heard to say, that acter. They gave him such an he well remembered the text, education as their circumstances and that from the day on which permitted, and, in a country he heard the sermon he conceive school at some distance from ed strong desires to be a minishome, he was early distinguish- ter; and accordingly, almost as ed for uncommon proficiency in soon as he was capable of formhis studies. He left his native ing any resolutions respecting country when he had attained on- himself, he determined to devote ly his 19th year, and arrived in himself to the service of the Philadelphia on the 28th of Sep- sanctuary. With this view he tember, 1734. It had pleased spent several years after his arGod to awaken and convert him rival in America in completing very early in life, and by many his studies, during which he was and various dispensations of his particularly attentive to theology.
* This is a very respectable periodical work, published at Philadel. phia, by William P. Farrand, the appointed Editor, under the patronage of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. It commenced with the year 1805. It is ably conducted. In sen. timent it is purely evangelical, according to the doctrines of the Reformation, and those contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Assem. bly's Catechisms. The intelligence it communicates is interesting to the religious publick. It is printed in a style of superior neatness, and the numbers are ornamented with the portraits of some of the most eminent divines of our country. We cordially recommend this work to the attention of our readers, as an able advocate for religious truth, and an honour to the literary character of our country.
Vol. I. No.7.
After a due course of Presby- Upon the death of President terial trials, he was licensed on Davies, the Trustees of the Colthe 5th of August, 1740, to lege of New Jersey elected Mr. preach the gospel, and was or. Finley as his successor in that dained on the 13th of October, important office. Great were the 1742, by the Rev. Presbytery of struggles of his mind on this ocNew-Brunswick. The first part casion. His love to his people, of his ministry was employed in and theirs to him, was of the long and fatiguing itinerations; most tender kind, having long and the records of several of the been nourished by the affectionchurches which he visited con- ate assiduities of uninterrupted tain honourable memorials of his friendship. But a prospect of diligence, fidelity and success. more extensive usefulness, and A little before this time a re- in that way in which Providence markable revival of religion had had already so remarkably succommenced, which still contin- ceeded his labours, inclined him ued: in this Mr. Finley was a to think it his duty to remove. coadjutor with Messrs. Tennent, He therefore accepted the inviWhitefield and others, and his tation given him by the Trustees, labours were remarkably blessed and removed to Princeton in Juat Deerfield, Greenwich, and ly, 1761. Upon this event the Cape May, in New-Jersey. He hopes of the well wishers to the preached likewise to great ac- College revived, and the clouds ceptance for six months, as a which had so long hung over that stated supply to a congregation nursery of religion and learning in Philadelphia, of which Mr. began to be dissipated. Raised Gilbert Tennent afterwards had expectations were formed by Mr. the pastoral charge. In June, Finley's friends, and they were 1744, he accepted a call to Not- not disappointed. Under his tingham, in Maryland, on the
care the College flourished and border of Pennsylvania, where he acquired additional reputation, continued near seventeen years, and his own fame became much faithfully discharging the duties more extensive. He was known of his sacred office, and had the in various parts of Europe, and pleasure to see the work of the corresponded with many eminent Lord prospering in his hands. men there, among whom was During his residence at Notting- Dr. Samuel Chandler, of Lonham he instituted an academy, don, who in all his letters evin. which acquired great reputation, ced the most sincere esteem for and attracted students even from this his distant friend. Such was distant parts. Mr. Finley was the opinion his friends in Scotjustly famed as a scholar, and land entertained of him, as a dieminently qualified as a teacher. vine and a scholar, that, without Under his instruction many, ve- his knowledge, they procured for ry many youths received the ru- him the degree of Doctor of Didiments of an education, and cor- vinity, from the University of rect moral sentiments, which Glasgow. He received his Diphave since placed them amongst loma in 1763. the most useful and ornamental Unremitted attention to the members of society.
duties of his station very sensibly
affected his health, and produced terwards appeared; for he ob a fixed obstruction in his liver. served to his friends, “ if my He repaired to Philadelphia for work is done I am ready. I do medical aid, where he died, on not desire to live a day longer the 17th of July, 1766, in the than I can work for God. But I 51st year of his age.
cannot think this is the case as He was twice married. His yet. God has much for me to first wife was Miss Sarah Hall, do before I depart hence." a lady of an amiable character, About a month before he died, who was truly an help meet for his physicians informed him that him; by her he had eight chil- his disease appeared to them indren, of whom one only is now curable ; upon which he expresliving She died in the year sed entire resignation to the di1760, and in 1761, Dr. Finley vine will, and from that time till married Miss Ann Clarkson, a his death, was employed in setdaughter of Mr. Matthew Clark. ting his house in order. On be. son, formerly an eminent mering told by one of his physicians, chant in the city of New York, that according to present apand a lineal descendant from Da- pearances he could live but a few vid Clarkson, B.D. who was ejec- days longer, he lifted up his ted for non conformity, in Eng- eyes, and exclaimed, “then wel. land, in 1671. This lady still come Lord Jesus." survives.
On the Sabbath preceding his Dr. Finley was in sentimenta death, his brother-in-law, Dr. Calvinist. He was a scribe instruc- Clarkson, one of his physicians, ted unto the kingdom of heaven. told him that he perceived a viHis sermons were not hasty pro- sible alteration, from which he ductions, but filled with solid appreitended his death was at good sense and well digested hand. “ Then,” said he, may sentiment, expressed in a style the Lord bring me near himself. pleasing to the man of science, I have been waiting with a Canayet perfectly intelligible by the an hunger for the promised land. more illiterate. They were cal. I have often wondered that God culated to inform the ignorant, suffered me to live ; I have more to alarm the careless and secure,
wondered, that ever he called me to comfort and edify the saint, to be a minister of his word, and to make the sinner in Zion He has often afforded me much tremble.
strength, which, though I have As a man he was remarkable abused, he has returned in merfor uncommon sweetness of tem- cy. O faithful are the promises per and polite behaviour ; given of God ! O that I could see him, to hospitality, charitable without as I have seen him heretofore in ostentation, diligent in the per- his sanctuary! Although I have formance of the relative duties earnestly desired death, as the of life, and in all things shewing hireling pants for the evening himself a pattern of good works. shade, yet will I wait all the days
When the Dr. first applied to of my appointed time. the physicians in Philadelphia, often struggled with principalihe had no apprehension that his ties and powers, and have been dissolution was so near, as it af. brought almost to despair. Lord,
let it suffice.” Here he sat up, loved it much. I have tried and closed his eyes, and prayed my Master's yoke, and will fervently, that God would shew never shrink my neck from it. him his glory before he should His yoke is easy and his burden depart hence; that he would light.” “You are more cheerenable him to endure patiently ful and vigorous, Sir," said one of to the end, and particularly, that the company ; “ Yes,” he replihe might be kept from dishon- ed," I rise or fall, as eternal rest ouring the ministry. Then he
seems nearer, or farther off.” It resumed his discourse, and spoke being observed to him, that he as follows ; “ I can truly say, always used the expression, that I have loved the service of “ dear Lord,” in his prayers, he God. I know not in what lan- answer
vered, “ O! he is very dear, guage to speak of my own un- very precious indeed! How deworthiness. I have been undu- sirable it is for a minister to die tiful. I have honestly endeav- on the Sabbath! I expect to oured to act for God, but with spend the remaining part of much weakness and corruption.” this Sabbath in heaven." One Here he lay down and continued of the company said to him, to speak in broken sentences, as “ You will soon be joined to a follows; “A Christian's death blessed society ; you will forevis the best part of his existence. er hold converse with Abraham, The Lord has made provision Isaac and Jacob, with the spirits for the whole way; provision of the just made perfect, with for the soul, and provision for old friends, and many old fashthe body. O that I could recol. ioned people.” “ Yes Sir," he lect Sabbath blessings. The replied with a smile, “but they Lord hath given me many souls, are a most polite people now." as crowns of my rejoicing. He expressed great gratitude to Blessed be God, eternal rest is at friends around him, and said, hand. Eternity is but long “may the Lord repay you for enough to enjoy my God. This, your tenderness to me ; may he this has animated me in my se- bless you abundantly, not only verest studies ; I was ashamed with temporal but with spiritual to take rest here. (that I blessings.”
Turning to his could be filled with the fulness wife, he said, “I expect my of God! That fulness which fills dear to see you shortly in glory.” heaven !" Being asked if it Then, addressing himself to the were in his choice, whether to whole company, he said, “O live or die, which he would that each of you may experience choose ; he replied, “ to die ;. what, blessed be God, I do, when though I cannot but say, I feel you come to die; may you have the same strait that St. Paul the pleasure in a dying hour toredid, that he knew not which to flect, that with faith and patience, choose ; for me to live is Christ, zeal and sincerity, you have enbut to die is great gain. But deavoured to serve the Lord ; should God by a miracle prolong and may each of you be impresmy life, I will still continue to sed, as I have been, with God's serve him. His service has ev- word ; looking upon it as suber been sweet to me. I have stantial, and not only fearing,
but being unwilling to offend commend my spirit; I do it with against it." Upon seeing a confidence ; I do it with full member of the second Presby- assurance. I know thou wilt terian church in Philadelphia, he keep that which I have commit. said, “I have often preached ted to thee. I have been dreamand prayed among you, my dear ing too fast of the time of my Sir, and the doctrines I preached departure, for I find it does not to you are now my support ; come ; but the Lord is faithful, and, blessed be God, they are and will not tarry beyond his without a flaw. May the Lord appointed time.” bless and preserve your church ; When one who attended him, he designs good for it yet, I told him that his pulse grew trust.” To person from weaker, he cried out,
" that is Princeton, he said, “ Give my well.” love to the people at Princeton, In the afternoon the Rev. Mr. and tell them that I am going to Spencer called to see hiin, and die, and that I am not afraid to told him ; “I have come, dear die.”-He sometimes cried out, Sir, to see you confirm, by facts, “The Lord Jesus, take care of the gospel you have been preachhis cause in the world !”
ing; pray how do you feel?” To Upon awaking the next morn- which he replied, “ full of triing, he exclaimed, “O! what a umph! I triumph through disappointment I have met with! Christ! Nothing clips my wings I expected this morning to have but the thoughts of my dissobeen in heaven !” Great weak- lution being delayed. O that it ness prevented his speaking were to-night! My very soul much this day, but what he did thirsts for eternal rest.” Mr. say was the language of tri- Spencer asked him, what he . umph.
saw in eternity to excite such On the following morning, vehement desires in his soul. with a pleasing smile on his He said, “I see the eternal love countenance, and with a strong and goodness of God; I see the voice, he cried out, “O I shall fulness of the Mediator ; I see triumph over every foe! The the love of Jesus ; 0! to be disLord hath given me the victory! solved and be with him! I long I exult! I triumph! O that I to be clothed with the complete could see untainted purity! righteousness of Christ.” He Now I know that it is impos- then desired Mr. Spencer to sible that faith should not tri- pray with him before they partumph over earth and hell: Ied, and told him," I have gained think I have nothing to do but to the victory over the devil; pray die; yet, perhaps I have :-Lord to God to preserve me from evil, shew me my task !” Aster ex- to keep me from dishonouring pressing some fears lest he did his great name in this critical not endeavour to preserve his hour, and to support me with his remaining life through eager- presence in my passage through ness to depart, and being told the valley of the shadow of that he did nothing inconsistent death." with self preservation, he said, He spent the remaining part of “Lord Jesus, into thy hands I the evening in bidding farewel to