Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

To the Editor of the Christian Herald.

New-York, Dec. 8th, 1820. Dear Sir-You remember (for who that was present can forget ?) the two sermons preached some time ago in the Mariner's Church, in this city, by Dr. Eur of Philadelphia :-sermons so intrinsically good, so peculiarly appropriate, as well in phraseology as in sentiment, and delivered with so much of his characteristic plainness, promptitude, and pleasantry; as roused up the attention and admiration of all who heard him, and, it is trusted, contributed to the advantage of some of his sinful auditory.

The following lines from his pen, for the sailors in Philadelphia, deserve to meet the eyes of all who are visited by the Christian Herald ; and to be printed in the form of a ţract for the scamen Your friend,

X.

of this port.

POOR JACK; OR THE MARINER'S SUDDEN DEATH. A Hymn sung by the Seamen assembled for Divine Worship in

Mr. Dunton's Sail Loft in Philadelphia. The sinner's like a ship at sca,

In vain his ship-mates cast the rope, When out of sight of land ;

And cheer his wasting breath; The winds are asi, and ever free,

The billows dash away his hope, Whatever course he stand.

And down he sinks in death, Onward he glides, with streamers gay, " Poor Jack! he was a jolly tar," And oft the canvass wets ; *

Is all that Praise can say;
His passions are like winds that play, But now, from home and Heaven afar,
When every sail he sets.

To hell he's driven away.
He fears no storms, he dreads no rocks, Sailors, and shall it e'er be said,
And spins out skeins of wit ;

God's warnings plead in vain?
The thoughts of death and hell he mocks, Will you, by sudden death, be laid,
And jeers at Holy Writ.

Deep in the gulf of pain? But crash! there comes a sudden flaw; Ye mariners, whose hearts are stout, The mast goes by the deck :

Forsake your ways of sín, And Jack wash'd over like a straw, And let us keep a good look-out, Strives to egain the wreck.

The port of Heaven to win. * When seamen wish the bosom of their sails to be more full, or to contain more wind, they throw water upon them: and thus, by moistening their clay with their grog, they hasten their passage through life.

TO READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. lo answer to the frequent inquiries " Why do you not publish the Account of the State of Religion within the bounds of the Synod of New-York and New Jersey ?" we can only say, that we have made application for a copy of it, and are informed that it is not prepared for publication. As soon as it can be procured we shall take pleasure in giving it an early insertion.

Several articles prepared for this number, are unavoidably deferred to our next.

ERRATA. In the list of contributions inserted in our last number, p. 480, for “ Mrs. Gerhard, ditto, 50 dolls.read “ Mrs. Gerhard, ditto, 50 cents."

In the obituary of the Rev. Mr. Larned, it is stated that he was a graduate of l William's College," it should have been Middlebury College.

[blocks in formation]

Died at New Orleans, August 31st, of the yellow fever, the Rev. SYLVESTER LARNED, aged 24 years, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in that place.

The unusual interest which the death of Mr. L. has excited in various parts of our country, seems to demand that some brief sketch of his life and character should be given to the public. He was born in Pittsfield, (Mass.) and was the son of the late Col. Larned, who is known as having been extensively engaged in public life. In early life he was remarkable for sprightliness and gaiety of temper, and as soon as his mind began to develope itself, he gave decisive indications of a superior genius. He was graduated at Middlebury College with great reputation, in the year 1813, at the early age of 17. It was during the last year of his college life, that he became deeply impressed with the importance of religion, and gave evidence of having experienced its power in his own soul. His college friends who were with him during this interesting period, have often borne ibeir testimony to the deep and awful pungency of his convictions, and to the delightful change which succeeded, and seemed to pervade his whole character.-From this time, the great purposes of his life were changed, and he determined to devote himself to God, in the ministry of the gospel. In any profession, he might have risen to a station of eminence, and at the bar particularly, his talents might have secured to him the highest reputation : but to preach the religion of Jesus, and to be instrumental in converting souls to God, he considered the most honourable and delightful of all employments. Accordingly, soon after he left college, he commenced his preparation for the ministry in the Theological Institution at Andover ; but was induced, from some local considerations, at an early period of his course, to transfer his relation to the sister seminary at Princeton. It was here that the writer of this article had the happiness to form an acquaintance with him, which, at the time, was a source of the liveliest satisfaction, and now that he is dead, is associated with the most lender and melancholy recollections.

During the period of his connexion with the seminary, he exVol. VII.

3 T

hibited marks of intellectual greatness, which left no doubt, that if his life was spared, he would fill some station of distinguished usefulness in the church. At the same time, it was often remarked by those who were his most intimate companions, and who had known him from the period of his first religious impressions, that the evidence of his Christian character daily became brighter and more unquestionable. The part which he often took in the private religious exercises of the students, showed that his heart was powerfully impressed with the great realities of religion, and particularly with the magnitude and responsibility of the ministerial office.

In the summer of 1817, having completed a regular course of theological study, he was licensed to preach the gospel. From the first impression which was made on the public mind by his appearance in the pulpit, it was evident that he would be distinguished in his profession. His name was very soon associated with the highest powers of pulpit eloquence, and wherever he went, the intelligence that he was to preach, became the signal for an overwhelming congregation. Within a few weeks after his licensure, he was ordained by the Presbytery of NewYork, with reference to a mission, which he had' for some time been contemplating, through the western states to New-Orleans. The deplorable immorality and licentiousness for which that city had long been so remarkable, awakened his interest and compassion, and induced a resolution to make an effort for their moral and religious improvement.--He seemed to have been convinced, from a diligent attention to the indications of Providence, that this was the sphere in which his exertions were most demanded, and to which his duty plainly directed him.

In the succeeding autumn, he set out on his intended mission, and after travelling through most of the western states, he reached the place of his destination early in the winter. On his first arrival at New Orleans, a general and unprecedented interest was awakened by his preaching, and every thing seemed to indicate that Providence had sent him thither to effect a great revolution in the character of that city. The uncommon majesty with which he exhibited the truths of the gospel, the almost magic power by which he entranced and rivetted his hearers, drew after him a multitude composed of all classes, from the highest to the lowest in society. li soon became an object with some of the most respectable and influential gentlemen in the city, to secure his permanent settlement among them, and measures were accordingly taken to accomplish the design. Mr. L. listened to their proposals, and as soon as was convenient formed a Presbyterian church, of which he consented to become the pastor. In the spring of 1818, he made a visit to this part of the country, with a view not only to escape the sickly climate of New-Orleans during the summer, but to negotiate for the building of a house

of worship for the use of his congregation. During this visit, which was the last that he ever made to his native region, he preached in most of our northern cities, and left an impression of his solemn and overwhelming eloquence, which it is believed will not soon be forgotten. Early in the succeeding autumn he returned to New Orleans, where he was received by his congregation with expressions of increased affection, and resumed his ministerial labours among them with renewed zeal and alacrity. By his persevering exertions, he succeeded in obtaining the amount necessary for the erection of a large and elegant church, which was opened in the summer of 1819.

In the course of the summer, Mr. L. left the city and retired for two or three months a considerable distance into the country. After the ravages of the fever had gone by, he returned to his congregation, and never afterwards left them for any considerable time, till his labours were terminated by death. in the autumn of this year he was married to Miss Wyer, an amiable and respectable lady, formerly of Newburyport, (Mass.)

In the course of the last winter, he received a call to settle in the First Presbyterian Church in Baltimore; but though there were many circumstances which rendered it extremely desirable to him to leave New Orleans, he negatived the invitation from a conviction that the interests of the church required him to remain. On the return of the warm season, contrary to the expectations and wishes of his distant friends, he determined to make the bold experiment of remaining in the city during the sickly months. We cannot but think that he misjudged in regard to his duty; and yet we have the fullest conviction that his motives were such as became a devoted minister of Christ. His conduct in leaving the city the preceding year, had been unjustly censured by some in his congregation, and he wished to convince them that he was really devoted to their interests, and the world, that he shrunk from no sacrifice which the cause of his Master was supposed to demand. Till near the close of August, he was flattered with the expectation that the city would escape in a great degree, the distressing calamity by which it had usually been visited; but at that time the fever suddenly appeared with almost unprecedented malignity, and seemed to threaten the destruction of the whole population. On the last Sabbath in August, Mr. L. appointed a day to be observed by his church as a season of humiliation and prayer, that God would avert the distressing judgment which was then hanging over their city. On the evening of the same day, he was himself seized with the fever, but in the early stage of it, strong hopes were entertained that it would take a favourable turn, and he would speedily be restored. But after two or three days, it was found that his symptoms were growing more alarming, and very soon, that his disease was too obstinate to yield to the power of medicine. When this distressing fact came to be

realized, it was a moment of the deepest concern, and the intelligence seemed to cast an additional shade of gloom over that devoted city. During the four or five days that his sickness continued, his reason for the most part remained unimpaired, and he was enabled to leave his dying testimony to the excellence of that religion, which it had been his delightful employment to preach to others. As he approached the final conflict, he was calm and collected, and left the world with a prospect of entering on an exceeding great reward. The excellence of his character in the various relations which he sustained, receive a striking testimony, from the anguish of his afflicted widow, the tears and lamenta. tions of a large circle of friends, and the barsting hearts of a whole congregation.

It is not designed to give a full length portrait of Mr. Larned's character: all that will be attempted is the exhibition of a few of the most prominent traits. His intellect was unusually bold and vigorous, and fitted to grasp a mighty subject with the greatest advantage. The operations of his mind were also exceedingly rapid, and the facility with which he investigated a difficult subject, or acquired knowledge of any kind, would seem almost incredible. But the most prominent feature of his mind, and that which 'so often threw an air of magic around his public performances, was an eloquent and powerful imagination. Hardly any subject could be introduced but he would gather about it at pleasure a throng of the most brilliant and fascinating images. We are willing to admit that this was one secret of the prodigious effect which was produced by his preaching. His mind was so fertile in beautiful images, that almost every subject which he touched, received a deep tinge from his imagination.

The style of Mr. Larned's eloquence was strikingly bold, and yet was happily conformed to the most refined and elegant models. It parlook more of the French than of the English manner; and if it was faulty in any respect, we believe it was this ;-that there might sometimes be danger of its making a stronger impression on the imagination than the heart. His sentences were unusually majestic and harmonious, his gestures and attitudes pertinent and commanding, and his voice susceptible of all the vari. ations from the most awful tone of severity or majesty, down to the most gentle note of persuasion. Though we do not think it safe for most persons to aim at this kind of oratory, which Mr. L. exemplified, we have no hesitation in saying, that so far as our knowledge extends, he was, in this style of eloquence, without a rival. We do not, however, decide whether this kind of speaking is, on the whole, the best, when we say that no other man, of whom we have any knowledge, has the same power which Mr. L. possessed, of rousing and melting his congregation at pleasure. The eagerness with which he was inquired for when he visited our cities, the crowds which followed in all directions to

« AnteriorContinuar »