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what delightful intercourse was maintained among its members. But his attachment to his family bore the marks of sanctified affection. His love to them was evidently subordinate to his love of Christ. He always manisested a deep and lively interest in their welfare; but his interest in the cause of Christ was evidently greater than that which he took in any of his friends. It gave him great pleasure to gratify the wishes of his children. But they all knew that they could never be indulged in any thing which was contrary to the will of God.
Some who have formed their opinion of his character by looking at a few of the sternest features of his theology, have supposed that he must be cold, distant and unfeeling in his intercourse with his family and friends. But nothing is farther from the truth. He allowed his children to spend a little time with him every day in his study, when he would enter as fully as possible into their feelings; sometimes uniting with them in their childish sports, sometimes in conversing with them upon such topics as they chose to introduce, sometimes in telling them amusing anecdotes, and at others in discussing some more weighty and important topics. He always noticed what pleased them, took an interest in their companions, read their books, made remarks upon what they read, and gave them advice in regard to the best means of their improvement. He frequently made himself a companion for his children; and such was his familiarity with thern, that they would go to him not only with their more important concerns, but frequently with the little affairs with which they amused themselves. if they were innocent amusements, they knew that he would enjoy them as well as they.
He never acted as an instructer to his children to any extent in their literary pursuits, but intrusted this principally to others. But to their religious instruction he paid particular and personal attention. It was his practice to take them alone, and converse with them freely upon their character and condition as sinners, and upon the necessity and obligation of their immediate repentance and acceptance of Christ. This he did with them all from their early childhood, until they arrived at adult years. He kept a watchful eye over all that resided in his house, and sought both their temporal and spiritual good. A number of those who have lived in his family, now acknowledge bis faithful conversation with them in private as the means of their conversion. Others mention their preservation from destructive error as the effect of the same instrumentality.
The leisure which he enjoyed in his old age, rendered him in some respects more companionable than he was in the midst of the severe labors of his earlier years. He was more familiar with his grand-children than he ever was with his children. And so companionable and interesting did he make himself to them, that they calculated as much upon seeing him as each other, and enjoyed his society as highly as they did that of their young associates. He insisted upon frequent visits from those who were near him, and with those who were at a distance, he sometimes corresponded. From one of these, the following extracts from several letters addressed to her, and her sister now deceased, have been received. They are thrown into his Memoir as specimens of the artlessness, good sense, and genuine affection, which this venerable patriarch was accustomed to manifest towards his descendants, when nearly ninety years of age. They are arranged in the order in which they were written, accompanied with a word of explanation by her to whom the greater part of them were addressed.
“The first letter I received from my dear grand-father, was in answer to one I wrote to him requesting some good advice; part of it I will copy :
“FRANKLIN, MARCH 17, 1830. "I wish I were able to give you that good advice which you request me to give. But however, I will do as well as I can. In the first place I advise you to regard the advice, instructions, and even reproofs, of your dear mother and excellent grand-mother. They have a right to advise, instruct and admonish you; and you are under the most endearing obligations to regard their lessons of wisdom and piety. You have been devoted to God, whose you are and whom you are bound to serve in childhood, in youth, and through every period of your life and existence. Read the Bible every day, and make it your constant and infallible guide. * Acknowledge God in all your ways, and he will direct your paths.' True piety spreads a brighter glory around all the native beauties and acquired accomplishments in the female character than gold, or pearls, or costly array. Dress neatly and elegantly, but not extravagantly and vainly. Form no intimacy with the unprincipled and vicious. Make as many friends as you can without flattery or deception ; but make very few confidants. If any become your causeless enemies, forgive and watch them. Make no display of your talents or attainments; for every one will clearly see, admire, and acknowledge them, so long as you cover them with the beautiful vail of modesty. I wish to keep up our mutual correspondence. It may not be unprofitable to you, and it will certainly be amusing and gratifying to your aged, lonely, and almost forgotten grand-father.
“FRANKLIN, MAY 5, 1830. “ My Dear : I am glad you are so able and ready to write to me. I am very fond of your letters and examine them very criti
cally, and am highly gratified with every beauty and elegance. I discover in them
*. If your grand-father and grand-mother, and your dear mother, have set you good examples, they lay you under very strong and endearing obligations to imitate their virtues and excellences.* The more careful you are to tread in their steps, the more you will please them while they live, and the more you will honor them after they are dead. So long as you follow good example you will set good example. O how much good you may do your dear, young, sprightly little sisters, if you take them by the hand and lead them in the paths of virtue and piety. You have all been devoted to God in one of his sacred ordinances, and frequently been carried to the throne of divine grace by those whose hearts have been bound up in you. Dear if you could give it under your
hand and seal, in sincerity and truth, that you daily read the Bible, and daily give your heart to God, and commit yourself wholly and for ever to his disposal, it would be a great consolation to your affectionate grand-father.
“The following was written after he had heard that I entertained a hope in Christ :
“FRANKLIN, FEB. 5, 1832. “My Dear You are indeed my eldest grand-child, but it gives me greater joy to hope you are become a child of God. I will tell you that I have had peculiar and painful fears respecting your spiritual interests ever since you left us; for in one of the last times I conversed with you, I took notice of some expressions you let fall, which excited in my mind a strong suspicion that you were opposed to some of the most essential doctrines of the gospel, and leaning towards Unitarianism, or some other lax and dangerous errors. Under this impression, when I have daily carried all my grand-children to the throne of grace, I never failed to pray for you in particular. The moment, therefore, I read your letter, it darted into my mind that my particular petition for you had been graciously granted. But be that as it may, your account of your late views and exercises of heart, have given me great joy and consolation. If you have not mistaken and misrepresented the change you have experienced, I am ready to say that it looks like a genuine conversion. I wish however you would inform me how sudden your change was, and whether you were conscious of any extraordinary excitements of your natural passions, by any thing you heard or saw at the protracted meeting. If you are a real subject of grace and follower of Christ, you may be exposed to great trials from your former graceless intimates. They will neglect no opportunities, and stick at no alluring motives, to draw you astray from the path of duty.
I hope you will write as soon as you receive this, and fully answer the queries of your affectionate grand-father.
* “ This was in allusion to something I had said, expressing veneration for the character of these friends."
“The two following he wrote to my dear sister Ellen; the first dated :
“Franklin, April 29, 1830. “ My Dear E-: I thank you for your short, pretty, pertinent letter, and I hope you will send me another very soon, and give me a more particular account of your Sabbath schools, Bible classes, the schools you attend, and the studies you are pursuing. Now is the best season you will ever enjoy to get that learning which may make you reputable, useful, and happy in years to come. You are growing up in an evil day, when you will be exposed to all the vanities and snares which surround childhood and youth. Remember your Creator, and he will guide and guard you every day and every where. You ask for advice, and I will give you a little. Give yourself more to thinking than to reading, for reading without thinking will make you vain rather than knowing. Your teachers may give you words and ideas, but they cannot give you knowledge. You can derive real knowledge from no other source than from your own mental exertions. Learn to think steadily, closely and acutely upon every subject to which your instructers direct your attention. Do you seek knowledge while others cull flowers, for flowers will fade but knowledge will endure.
Oh E- if you and would only think how much pleasure your letters give me, you will not cease to write very frequently to your solitary grand-father.
FRANKLIN, JUNE 27, 1832. My Dear E-: I have long entertained the pleasing hope that you had become truly a child of God, and stood entitled to his gracious promise to pious youth: 'I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me.' This fond hope I am loath to give up, though the description which you have given of yourself, in your late letter, seems designed to weaken or destroy it. It is true, a false hope had better be given up than indulged. But it is very possible to give up a good hope, and young converts have often been led to give up such a hope. The reason is, they hope for too much at first. They are ready to imagine that they shall continue to enjoy their warm feelings and bright prospects, without any interruption or diminution. This they have no right to expect; for God has never promised to give them the constant light of his countenance and manifestation of his love. He often hides his face from them and plunges them in darkness and doubts, to try their faith, and the sincerity of their submission to his amiable and awful sovereignty. I want to know, therefore, why you have given up your hopes. If it is because you have lost a sense of danger, or a realizing sense of the divine presence, and of the great realities of the invisible world, your hopes may revive again; but if it be because you still love the world supremely, and cannot bear to take up the cross and to walk in the strait and narrow path to heaven, you ought to give up your hope, and immediately repent and give God the supreme affection of your heart.”
Dr. Emmons could say with Jeremiah, “I am the man that hath seen afflictions." The reader of his Autobiography has become familiar with the facts relative to the sickness and death of all the members of his first family, and the peculiar trials which he endured during the war of the Revolution.
A long period of domestic comfort, with peace and prosperity in his church and parish, succeeded. But at length ihe destroyer returned. With the exception of three children, who had settled abroad, all his family were again laid in the dust; while he live ed to endure the anguish of these painful separations, and the dreary solitude which followed. On the third day of June, 1813, his second daughter, Deliverance, died. The circumstances of her sickness and death were intensely interesting. A few of these, with the feelings of the afllicted father under them, may be gathered from the following remarks written by a sister, who was an eye witness of the whole scene.
“ In the sickness and death of this beloved daughter, my father was deeply affected. She had reached mature years without having given her heart to the Saviour. We never felt that our father had any favorites among his children, but that we all shared alike his paternal care and affection. Still it was evident that in his opinion this daughter partook very largely of his peculiar traits of character. He used sometimes to say, pleasantly, “She is the only child I have that has the misfortune to resemble me.” But to those who knew her best, it was evident that this resemblance was not in person or feature, but in the cast of her mind. She was distinguished for her wit, vivacity and discrimination. In the exercise of her social powers she was the delight not only of her youthful associates, but of her friends of every age. Her sickness was a scrofula consumption, long and distressing, continuing more than three years and a half. In the summer of each successive year her symptoms were less violent and would invite the hope of her restoration. But the return of winter would again confine her to her room, and nip those hopes which were so fondly cherished. All this while, my father' at the dreadful post of observation' was, in his own way, endeavoring to lead her to the Saviour. He conversed with and prayed for her. He put such books into her hands as he thought best suited to bring her mind to a decision. In the early part of the time he uniformly conversed with her alone, that she might disclose her feelings without embarrassment. During the latter part of her sickness the members of the family were present, and other Christian friends visiting us were invited to converse with her upon the subject of her spiritual state. For some time previous to her death the enmity of her heart appeared to be slain ; but light had not broken into her mind with sufficient clearness to allow her to indulge a hope of her acceptance with Christ. Never will a remark be forgotten made by her to an affectionate sister, who communicated to her her own change of views and hope in the Saviour. 'How is it that I rejoice that you are