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hand writing-a few notes are added by way of explanation only.
A long life spent in indefatigable labors to promote the best interests of mankind, evinces that the prevailing desire of his heart was to be useful while he lived, and hereby (as also by his other writings) though dead he yet speaketh.
The early part of his life was before my time, but the account is so artless, and accords so well with the simplicity of manners which, it may be presumed, then and there prevailed, that it speaks for itself, and needs no comment....and from the well known character of the Reverend Author, the reader may rest assured that he is not perusing a fictitious tale, but a faithful narrative.
In several of the letters he appeals to me, as being well acquainted with the facts stated. It may be satisfactory to the reader, to be informed that I lived with him several years under his tuition, and before and after that period was well acquainted with his manner of life, and I can and do affirm to the best of my recollection that the facts for which he appeals to me, are faithfully and accurately stated.
Mr. Jarratt meddled very little with politics. He had enough to do to attend to the duties of his profession. He considered himself as an ambassador for Christ. His business was to call sinners to repentance, and teach mankind the way of Salvation without regard to parties or opinions. Had he been asked what countryman he was? In the spirit of universal philanthropy he might have answered like Socrates, the Athenian philosopher, "I am a citizen of the world." But when the rights of his country were invaded, or her interests endangered, the Amor Patrie that dwelt in his breast, would not permit him to be an unconcerned looker-on. Many circumstances took place during the revolution, and are well known in Virginia, which unite to evince his attachment to the interests of America.
When the governor of Virginia left the seat of government, and issued a proclamation for all the loyalists to join him, it was judged necessary to guard the sea-port towns from depredations. Many of his parishioners, and even his pupils, turned out as volunteers in defence of their country, and with his approbation. I remember the cir cumstances well, being out myself in 1776, and a fellow student of mine (Mr. Daniel Epps) read the declaration of independence to the army. During the contest between
England and America his dress was generally home-spun. By precept and example he encouraged economy, frugali ty and industry. I have often heard him recommend these virtues to his fellow citizens, and even to " go patch upon patch rather than suffer their just rights to be infringed.” As to his person he was a little below the middle stature in height, but lusty....he had a manly appearance....he was of a chearful temper, and though corpulent, active and lively... he was blest with a most retentive memory, a sound judgment, and a power of voice which few possess, over which he had entire command. In the reading desk and in the pulpit he was in his element. All that sat under his ministry can bear witness to his zeal and affection in dispensing the word of life. He was raised up by Divine Providence, and rendered a fit instrument to sound the gospel trumpet, which during a long life he continued to do with the utmost fidelity and diligence. His aim was not to amuse for the moment, but to convince his hearers of the necessity of experimental and practical religion. For his doctrine I refer the reader to his writings, particu larly his three volumes of sermons.
He was blest with a great share of health and domestic happiness...he was an affectionate husband, a kind master, and a sincere friend. His character accords well with the description St. Paul has given of a Christian Bishop. 1 Tim. 3, 2, &c.
He mentions the number of communicants he had, and expresses the great comfort and satisfaction he enjoyed, together with them, in the harmony and love that prevailed. During this happy period, these times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, which many never will forget, his labours were more abundant, and he was held in high estimation by all in his own parish and round about, who had any regard for religion. "Father Jarratt, that good man," was the indearing appellation by which he was distinguished; and so it continued until a spirit of division and party took place, the fatal effects of which he describes after that he met with unfriendly treatment, of which he complains, not without cause.
Some time before his death he was exercised in the school of affliction. The tumor on the side of his face which he mentions in several of the letters, proved a tedious and severe affliction, and terminated in his death.... but his faith and patience appeared never to fail him....he
expressed entire resignation to the divine will, and de parted this life on the 29th of January, 1801, in the 69th year of his age.
After the letters addressed to me, a few letters on important subjects in divinity, addressed to a friend, are added....they were all written by the same hand, and breathe the same spirit, and will not be unacceptable to the pious reader, in which I am persuaded all moderate Calvinists and Arminians will agree. Praying it may be rendered a blessing to you, I subscribe myself your friend, &c.
The owner is requested to correct the following Errata =
Page 23, line 10, instead of doings read doing so. 35, line 15, for sufferings read sufficiency. 98, line 19, for souls read seals. 103, line 13, add a between in and judgment. 124, line 19, instead of professions read professors. 201, line 19, read it final good. 205, line 22, before contradiction add a. do. line 21, read it involuntary.
And the following in Thoughts on Divinity:
Page 31, lines 14 and 23, for Cavinists read Calvinists.
37, line 6, for knew read new.
56, line 7, instead of or read of.