« AnteriorContinuar »
REV. H. A. WALKER.
179 to go to Cambridge, though inclined to a graver Theology than that which prevails there. As I did no tenter the Theological School until the second year after my graduation at college, Mr. Walker and myself were in the same class. Our intimacy now became more close than ever. The condition of my own mind was not very different from that of my friend. I felt a disposition for something a little more grave than the Theology of Liberal Christianity. Still my mind, like his, was in a very undecided state in regard to the great questions in dispute among the different sects of Christians. My friend and myself were determined to preserve our minds as free as possible from all prejudice or partiality, to study the Scriptures in their original languages with care and earnestness, and to receive those doctrines as true which we should find taught, be they Trinitarian and Calvinistic, Unitarian and Arminian, or whatever different. For the space of three years we were in each other's company some part of almost every day. We studied together. We read to each other. We discussed more or less almost every difficult point in Theology. The more we investigated and reasoned, the more all tendencies to orthodoxy were checked within us, until at length we became firmly grounded in the priuciples of Liberal Christianity. We rejoiced in the liberty whereChrist had made us free.
As soon as we had finished the prescribed term of theological study, we took a tour in company
MEMOIR OF through the several States, visiting the Falls of Trenton and Niagara, Lake Erie, Pittsburg, the Allegany Mountains and Bedford Springs in the Southern part of Pennsylvania. As a travelling companion he was all one could desire, intelligent, curious, agreeable, persevering and never disturbed by trifes. This tour, of which it becomes me to speak cursorily and only so for as it is connected with the life of him whose remembrance should be cherished, was beneficial to Mr. Walker's health, as well as his mind. It gave him an opportunity of mingling more freely with mankind than he had been in the habit. After this he preached a few times and then prepared for a journey to Europe, in part for the benefit of his health and an acquaintance with the world, but especially for greater advancement in theological science. He was abroad nearly two years. He travelled in England, Scotland, France and Germany. In Germany he remained some time at the University in Berlin, devoting his time and strength to his favorite studies. He collected something of a library of German theological works, which he brought home with him. I have heard him converse upon the subject of his travels. He seemed to have turned them to a good account-having, treasured up much knowledge of men and things. Whatever he saw, heard, or learnt, he could describe with remarkable vividness and truth. He had accurately observed the characteristics of the different nations among which he travelled, and possess
REV. H. A. WALKER.
181 ing much discrimination and acuteness, he was scarcely surpassed in the skill and exactness with which he could severally represent them. Soon after his return from abroad he entered upon the duties of his profession, and wherever he labored in the vineyard of the Lord, he left a favorable impression of his character and capacity. His health, though improved by his foreign travels, was not firmly established, and it was not long before it began to falter under the pressure of the cares and responsibilities of the Christian Ministry. About this time some effort was made to procure his services in the preparation of a commentary upon the New Testament, and some arrangement would have been made by him had his health permitted. No one could be better qualified for the task than himself. He was an unprejudiced and faithful student, was blessed with a strong and accurate understanding, and I may say, for one of his age, was learned in the Scriptures. We have great reason to lament that he was not spared to accomplish this work. His health continued to decline. It became neces-sary for him to withdraw from the labors of his profession, and at length to give over all mental exertion whatsoever. For some time before he sailed for the West Indies he had been confined to the house, While he was in this failing state, the death of his father must have operated upon him unfavorably. I saw him from time to time when I visited C-n. but I could perceive no ground of encour
MEMOIR OF agement that he would ever entirely recover. There appeared to be no vigor in his constitution. He was obliged to take medicine constantly, and at length a cough, though not a very bad one, seized upon his vitals. I was unwilling to give up all hope, but the last time I saw him I felt that his fate was sealed. One of his physicians advised him, as the only chance of prolonging his existence, to resort to a warmer clime. When he informed me he had determined to go, I had, I confess, but little faith in its being of any ultimate benefit to him. Indeed it seemed to me there was but a bare possibility of his living to reach home again. As far as I could judge he had not much hope himself. Pale, emaciated, without strength, his bodily system out of order, and growing more so every day, depressed and almost discouraged in mind, when I hade him farewell I did it with a heavy heart, feeling that I should not see him more. He was to sail the next week, and when the time came, it is not difficult to conceive the many saddening feelings with which he must have left his home, so dear to him — his sick mother — his brothers and sisters who loved him and hoped, though against hope, that he would live to be an ornament to the church and an honor to his name. Circumstances were such that neither brother, nor sister — neither friend nor acquaintance could accompany him. His only companion was a servant and a stranger. From his last conversation with me it appeared he was satisfied,
REY. H. A. WALKER.
183 if his passage off the coast was bad, all would soon be over with him. He felt that he was running a great risk, but it was for his life ; and what will not not man do for his life ?
The voyage at first seemed to be beneficial, but during the latter part of it he relapsed, his lungs discharged blood freely, and the last four nights were very distressing to him. He told his servant once or twice he did not think he should live until morning; and the thought of dying on board and being thrown into the sea was dreadful to him. Every effort was made to dispel apprehension and to sustain his spirits. When at length the vessel was said to approach land he was much relieved and rejoiced. He reached the island of Santa Cruz on Wednesday, 14th of Feb. Dr. Stedman, who visited him, considered him a very sick man, and his situation called forth much sympathy from him and many others. On Friday he was able to walk about the apartment and entry of the house where he lodged. The warmth of the climate however prostrated his little remaining strength. On Saturday morning he spoke to his servant and told him he would try to get up. In the effort he was seized with a shivering and fainting turn, which produced utter senselessness for some minutes. The physician was called. He had already pronounced him consumptive as well as dyspeptic, and he now pronounced him beyond hope. After some persuasion he felt it his duty to inform him of his situation and that he had but little time to live. The infor