Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

his friends, and exhorting such of his children as were with him. He frequently cried out, "Why move the tardy hours so slow?"

The next day, July 16, terminated his conflict. His speech failed him; although he made many efforts to speak, he could seldom do it so distinctly as to be understood. A friend desired him to give some token whereby his friends might know, whether he still continued to triumph; whereupon he lifted up his hand, and said, "Yes." In the afternoon he spake several sentences, but little could be collected from them. Some of the last words he spake concerning himself were, "after one or two engagements more, the conflict will be over." In the evening, about 9 o'clock, he fell into a sound sleep, and appeared to be much more free from pain than he had been for many days before. He continued to sleep without changing his position, till about one o'clock, when he expired without a sigh or a groan.

During his whole sickness, he was not heard to utter a repining word; and in all the farewels he bid his friends and relations, he was never seen to shed a single tear, or exhibit any mark of

ed and loved. Eight of them carried the corpse to the grave; and a sermon suited to the occásion was preached by the Rev. Richard Treat of Abingdon.

A Tomb Stone, with an Eng lish inscription, covers his grave in Philadelphia; and at Princeton, the Trustees of the College of New-Jersey have erected a Cenotaph to his memory, with an inscription in Latin.

sorrow.

He was interred in the second Presbyterian church in the city of Philadelphia, adjoining his once intimate friend, the Rev. Gilbert Tennent. The excessive heat prevented his being removed to Princeton, where the dust of his predecessors lay, but many of the students came from thence to pay the last tribute of respect to the remains of him, whom living, they admir

BRIEF MEMOIRS OF LADY HESRIETTA HOPE.

(From a Supplement to Dr. Gillies Historical Collections.)

the

In the list of those, who, in present century, have not only proved grace in the reality of its existence, but have also shown it forth in the evidence of its operation, LADY HENRIETTA HOPE justly claims the privilege of enrolment: she was third daughter of John Earl of Hopetoun.

There can hardly be a stron. ger, and certainly not so amiable, a criterion of a person's worth and good qualities, as their being the object of general affection and esteem in the particular place of their habitual residence. Estimating by this rule, Lady Henrietta Hope possessed indisputable pretensions to the most favourable representation; for she was universally beloved by all around her where she resided. This affection, from superiors and inferiors, is a circumstance always honourable, and rendered peculiarly so in some situations.

Lady Henrietta Hope, by nature, was formed for eminence. Possessed of a strong, clear un

derstanding and sound judgment; much improved by reading, conversation, deep thought, and observation, she gave early presages of proving highly useful and ornamental to society, if. permitted to see those years necessary for maturing the powers of the human mind; and the great expectations formed by her friends were not disappointed. She possessed the nicest moral sense, a heart for friendship, a keen sensibility of human pain, with an unceasing desire to relieve, or at least alleviate, in every possible way, the variegated distresses of her fellowcreatures. Yet, though favoured with a mind thus enriched with every virtue of the moral character, united to the most amiable dispositions and engaging manners, it was not till her twentyfifth year, that Lady Henrietta Hope began to inquire about the great realities of eternity. At that time, an impression concerning the one thing needful was made upon her mind, which never after was effaced. Her own words upon this subject, at that memorable period, are, "O to grace how great a debtor! Called at first out of nothing; and, after twenty-five years obstinacy and rebellion, awakened from a state of sin, misery, and death, and brought to the light of the glorious gospel, to the knowledge of Jesus Christ revealed therein, and (though by slow degrees, through various mazes, manifold temptations and sundry trials, may I not, in all humility say) to good hopes through grace; how shall I praise the riches of that grace, which has abounded towards

me!"

Being thus brought from darkness to light, and her mind relieved from anxiety respecting her own state, the language of her heart was that of the Royal Psalmist: "What shall I render unto the Lord?" Believing it her duty, and viewing it as her privilege, she made an entire dedication of herself, with all she had, or ever should stand possessed of, to that great and gracious Being, who had dealt so bountifully with her. Nor did she ever breathe a wish to recal the solemn deed: no; the residue of her life, by its uniform tenor, proved the sacrifice, not only sincere, but universal, in so far as her situation would permit.

The deepest humility marked Lady Henrietta Hope's character, almost to excess. From principle, she courted the shade, though her mind, formed by natural and acquired abilities, fitted her for shining as a bright example of the transforming power of sovereign grace, united to every requisite for filling the most useful station in the Christian line. From this excess of the most amiable virtue, the publick eye discovered but a few of the numerous instances of her generous and judicious exertions for the cause of religion in particular, and the general good of her fellow-creatures at large, as she generally acted through the medium of others, who, she believed, (from overrating their abilities as she depreciated her own) were better qualified to appear on the stage of life, as the witnesses of Jesus; but, though unknown to many, they are all noted in the divine records, and will, ere long, be read aloud before an assembled world. Suf

fice it to say, Lady Henrietta Hope, on many occasions, united with others, and gave largely, both of judicious counsel and pecuniary aid, towards erecting chapels, building schools, and endowing them, together with extensive, both occasional and stated, provision for the poor and distressed of every description; while she used her influence with those in the higher walks of life, to gain them over to the interests of vital, experimental religion; for which she was well qualified, not only as holding forth by example the word of life in the most amiable light, but also from a thorough acquaintance with the doctrinal and preceptive parts of the holy religion she professed, together with no inconsiderable degree of elocution and command of her pen. Availing herself of these advantages, with a single eye to the glory of God, and with that extreme modesty and winning 3oftness peculiar to her, she of ten carried captive the minds of those she addressed, at least so far as to gain approbation. Nothing short of the interposition of a Divine Agent can produce in the human mind, that belief of the important truths of the gospel, termed by the apostle, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Yet the divine blessing often renders effectual the feeble attempts of Christians to effect this great purpose; and there is reason to believe this eminent servant of God did not labour in vain. If, to what is already said of this amiable lady, we add, her unwearied attention

every relative duty, her faith

ful discharge of every trust reposed in her, we must say, the portrait is pleasing, the character exemplary.

But as no degree of moral excellence, or strength of grace, can procure the Christian an exemption from trials, Lady Henrietta Hope, though possessed of the favour of her God, the esteem of the world, the affection of her relations, and the love of her Christian friends, yet suffered much in the last years of her life, from a very delicate frame, which gave rise to many distressing complaints, all which she endured with that calm fortitude and unbroken resignation, that nothing but true religion can inspire.

In autumn, 1785, Lady Henrietta Hope went to Bristol Hotwells, where, after every medical exertion proving ineffectual, and the medicinal virtue of the wells yielding no relief, she meekly rendered up her ransomed soul into the hands of her gracious God, who called her home to receive her great reward, eternal life, the free gift of the Most High, upon the 1st day of January, 1786, leaving behind her a fair copy of every thing praise-worthy, and of good report. A considerable part of her fortune she left for pious and charitable purposes.

Of humble spirit, though of taste refin'd,

Her feelings tender, though her will Call'd, by affliction, every grace ts resign'd;

prove,

In patience perfect, and complete in love;

O'er death victorious, through her
She reigns triumphant with the
Saviour's might,
saints in light.

Religious Communications.

For the Panoplist.

LETTER IV.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF DECISION.

Dear Brother,

You well describe the moral feelings of many, when you say, that it is impossible for you to come to any fixed conclusion, as to the true system of religion, and that almost every subject is involved in obscurity. In another part of your letter, you disclose one occasion of your uncertainty. "Amid the various denominations of Christians, and the clashing of opposite sentiments, how shall I know what is truth, and what is erTor?" This uncertainty in religious concerns is one of the characteristics of the present generation. At some periods, people in general have been governed by superstition. other times, through the influence of bigotry, it has been accounted a crime, to call in question a single point of common belief. Yea, the same certainty and importance have been attached to the subordinate parts of revelation, and even to trifles of human invention, as to the sublimest and most essential truths of God. But now the multitude have gone to the opposite extreme. Their minds are greatly, and, in many instances, totally unsettled. They know not what sentiment to embrace, nor what to reject. They are altogether doubtful, what religion is.

At

That you, my brother, have caught the general spirit of the Vol. I. No. 7. O

times, is nothing strange; espe cially considering the circle, in which you have moved, the preaching you have heard, and the sentiments and characters, which have been constantly applauded in your ears. It is the object of this letter, not so much to reprehend you, as to afford you some brotherly aid in extricating yourself from those difficulties, which you so frankly lay open, and in discovering the plain path of truth and duty.

Why, my dear brother, do you allow yourself to be so perplexed with the diversity of opinions, which mankind entertain respecting religion? Are you thus perplexed with the different sentiments which they embrace on any subject of a civil nature? Do you feel a total uncertainty respecting the Newtonian philosophy, because it has been a subject of warm dispute among the learned? Do you embarrass your inquiries on other important subjects with considerations, which do not belong to them? Do you darken the evidence of truth, and debar yourself from the comfort of rational decision, by pondering upon all the doubts which ignorance has bred, or upon the sophistical objections, which learned prejudice has raised?

You may say, it is natural to expect that new discoveries will be subjects of controversy, where ignorance and prejudice prevail. But is it not still more natural to expect that men, in their present moral state, will be divided on religious subjects? Being governed by corrupt inclination, will

they not be backward to receive for truth that, which forbids their pleasures, or humbles their pride? Corrupt inclination, operating in various ways, accounts in a great measure for the resolute opposition, which is kept up against the truth, and for the astonishing variety of errors propagated in the world. Now if this is the source of the various unscriptural opinions, which have prevailed in Christian countries; can their prevalence just ly have such weight in your mind, as to render you doubtful concerning the truths of religion?

But waving these considerations, let us, my brother, repair to the Bible. The Bible is our guide, said our excellent father, whose life and death proved its worth. I seldom speak of the Bible, without recalling his honoured name and pious instructions. How happy am I to observe, that young as you were, those instructions were not wholly lost upon you, but that you still manifest a solemn reverence for the word of God. May infinite mercy erase the wrong impressions, which have been made on your mind by intercourse with the vain world, and dispose you to use the Bible, as your only guide. Be determined, be constant in this, and your gloomy doubts will soon give place to the clear, light of revelation, and to a happy certainty respecting the great truths of religion.

instructions of revelation are: The Bible was intended for common use. Therefore the wisdom of God took care, that it should be intelligible to common people. The instruction it gives respecting divine things is easy to be understood. None can mistake its meaning, except through the influence of bad passions. We are told by truth itself, that, if any man will do God's will, he shall understand his doctrine. To an honest, obedient heart the Bible is plain. Even those instructions, which respect the character and government of God, and the scheme of redemption, are as plain as they can be consistently with truth. They must be incomprehensible, in order to be true. They must be incomprehensible, or they would have no just claim to be lief. Still those inspired truths, which relate to the sublimest and most incomprehensible subjects, are expressed in such simple terms, and with so much plainness and precision, as to be intelligible to the most unlearned. "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple."

If you would be fully convinced of the unsuitableness and criminality of such a doubtful, unseuled state of mind, as you manifest, I beg you to consider, in the first place, how plain the

Consider secondly, the fulness of scripture. It contains a complete system of religious truth. As it teaches us what to believe, it is a perfect rule of faith. As it teaches us what to do, it is a perfect rule of practice. How exactly it is adapted to the various characters and situations of men. It rises with the king on the throne, and teaches him how to reign. It goes with the judge to the bench, and teaches his heart, and his lips. It enters the domestic scene, and instructs the husband and the wife, the

« AnteriorContinuar »