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ing at a time when her health was feeble, proved too much for her delicate constitution. Both body and mind seemed to sink under the overwhelming pressure; and for a time, it was doubtful whether either would recover from the shock. Though a kind providence did preserve her, and eventually restore her health and spirits, yet it will at once be seen that her circumstances then must have been peculiarly trying to her aged father, meeting him as they did in the midst of his own heavy afflictions. But in all these trials he was not only composed and submissive, but uniformly cheerful and apparently happy. He was accustomed to notice ihe hand of God in all the events of his life, and appeared to rejoice in his goodness in the day of adversity, as well as in the day of prosperity.
On the eighteenth day of September, 1831, he was married to Mrs. ABIGAIL M. Mills, the widow of the late Rev. Edmund Mills, of Sutton. This lady now survives him. To the care with which she watched over him, as the infirmities of age continued to multiply, and to the constancy and kindness with vhich she attended to all his wants, was he much indebted for the quietness and comfort of his last days.
HIS VISIT TO NEW YORK.
GRADUAL DECLINE.—SICKNESS AND
Dr. Emmons always loved home. The retirement and quietness of his own dwelling were more congenial to his studious disposition and habits, than any scenes abroad that are attended with the noise and confusion of the multitude. As he advanced in life, his indisposition to go from home evidently increased; after he retired from the active duties of his office, he had much time at his own disposal, and his health was sufficiently firm and vigorous to enable him to perform a journey of almost any length, without injury. But social as was his disposition, and much as he enjoyed the society of his friends, he still preferred his study and his books to the enjoyments of the most inviting scenes abroad. He did, however, at the earnest solicitation of his friends, make a number of journeys, of considerable length, after he was ninety years old. In the spring of 1835, he received a very polite invitation from Messrs. George Douglas, and EDWARD A. Russell, of the city of New York, then entire strangers to him, to visit the city at the time of the anniversaries, and to make their houses his home. These gentlemen having read his works with great satisfaction, and heard much of him from the lips of his friends, were exceedingly desirous of seeing him, and paying him the personal respect which they felt for his character and works. They accordingly wrote him a joint letter, inviting him, with such of his friends as he might wish to have accompany him, to visit the city, the week previous to the anniversaries, and to remain with them as long as he could make it convenient and pleasant to stay.
At first, he seemed to have no idea that he could go so far from home; and said, humorously, that the thought of it proved that he was so far superannuated as to need to be taken care of. But after receiving the advice of his friends on the subject, he concluded to go; and returned an affirmative answer to the invitation which he had received. Messrs. Douglas and Russell immediately sent him another letter, in which they expressed their high satisfaction at his acceptance of their offer, and enclosed one hundred dollars which they begged him to accept, as the means of relieving him from the expenses of his intended journey. On his arrival at New York, the gentlemen who had solicited the favor of his visit to the city, were waiting for him upon the wharf. After an introduction to them, he was conducted to the house of Mr. Douglas, which he made his home for several days, and then removed to Mr. Russell's. At each of these places, he was treated with marked attention and respect. The above named gentlemen and their families spared no pains or expense to render his visit to the city pleasant to him, and to those who accompanied him. They were taken to the different parts of the city, and shown the various objects of interest and curiosity which this great emporium presents to the stranger. They were introduced to many individuals and families of distinction; and wherever they went, it was gratifying to perceive with what cordiality and respect this aged divine was received. His great age, his extraordinary activity both of body and mind, and especially the antiquated form of his costume, would naturally excite the attention and curiosity of the multitude. But among the more intelligent, especially of the friends of religious truth, it was apparent that his eminence as a divine, was the great source both of the curiosity and respect with which he was every where beheld.
He attended the meetings of most of the benevolent societies which were held in the day time, and appeared to enjoy these exercises highly. He was earnestly solicited to take some part in the exercises at these public meetings, but always declined on account of his age, except in a single instance. He did consent to act as President pro tem. at the business ineeting of the Anti-Slavery Society. He was influenced in this case to deviate from his purpose, formed many years before, never again to appear before the public, on the ground that the circumstances in which he was then placed would speak an important language. He was himself a decided abolitionist. The flame of liberty which was kindled in our Revolutionary struggle, and increased by all the efforts, in which he bore a part, to establish and maintain our Federal government; still burned with fervency in his aged breast. In the great city which he now visited for the first time in his life, and which he had no expectation of ever seeing again, he knew the sacred cause of freedom bad recently been assailed by a lawless mob; and its comparatively few friends were now struggling not only with the deadly hostility of slaveholders, but with the influence of that unnatural sympathy and countenance given to their oppression by many professed friends of liberty. It was interesting to see the workings of his noble and patriotic mind, when he received the invitation to attend this Anti-Slavery meeting. Some of his friends who were present, advised him to accept, and others to decline the invitation. He heard them both with candor and kindness, but made no decisive reply until one of the party said to him, " This may be the last public act of your life. He then immediately arose and said, " I must go."
He found in the city many of his former acquaintances, both of ministers and laymen, the meeting of whorn gave him great pleasure; and there he had opportunity to see and converse with many of his own profession from abroad, who were known to him only by report, and who but for this interview must have been personal strangers through life. Fears were entertained by his friends, that the exciting circumstances in which he was there placed might prove too much for his strength. But in the midst of them all he appeared to be well, cheerful, and happy. And he actually returned home in as good health and spirits as any of his friends who attended him. He often spoke of his visit to New York with great apparent interest and satisfaction; and never did he forget the peculiar kindness, respect, and attention which he received from those with whom this movement originated.
This visit so far from injuring him, evidently did him good. He had afterwards more courage than before to venture from home, and several times yielded to the solicitations of his friends at a distance to visit them. Some time in 1937, when ninety-two years old, at the urgent solicitation of his son, Hon. William I have no doubt that, through Jesus Christ, I shall be saved." He often spoke of Christ as the only foundation of his hope, and the satisfaction which he felt at the thought of being saved through him alone.
Though a stranger might suppose from the cheerfulness and pleasantry of his conversation with those who occasionally called upon him, that he thought but little of death; yet so constantly was this great subject before him, that he seldom let an interview with a particular friend pass without introducing it. Every attack of disease, although but slight, he would take as an intimation that the time of his departure drew nigh. He literally looked and waited for the coming of his Lord. He often expressed surprise that God spared him so long; and although he uniformly appeared to be patient with the continuance of life, and often expressed his conviction that long life was a blessing; yet there were times when he evidently desired to depart. Some time before his last sickness, he was suddenly taken severely ill, and fears were entertained by his friends that he would not recover. While one of them was conversing with him in the evening, he said, “I hope I shall be permitted to go, if it may be the will of God, before morning." But during the night he revived, and in the morning was much better. He said to the same individual, “I am sensibly relieved, and I may be spared some time longer, but I cannot help feeling disappointed.”
In his last sickness he was able to say but little. About the time when it was apparent that he could not recover, his throat began to fill up to such a degree that he could not distinctly articulate. Though he appeared for the greater part of the time to have his reason perfectly, yet it was seldom that he said any thing which could be understood. Several times he seemed very desirous of communicating something to those who stood by him, and made a great effort so to speak that they might understand. But it was only now and then that his meaning could be ascertained. A few hours before he died, be turned his eyes upon one who sat by his bed, and addressed him with great earnestness for some time. But no one present could get the meaning of a word. It was peculiarly painful to see a dying man striving in vain to make himself understood, and no small disappointment to his friends not to know what he would say in his departing moments. But he had left nothing to be done in a dying hour. He had given his friends and the world entire satisfaction in regard to his own preparation for heaven. And the instruction which he was able to impart for their benefit, he had taken a more favorable opportunity to give. They had repeatedly heard from his
that he was an old man, that death stood at the door, and that he was about to give up his account to God, was the subject of his constant thought and frequent conversation. To his younger brethren in the ministry who occasionally visited him, he would often say, “I am about to die, but you will live. You my be faithful, and do a great deal of good in the world." To a friend who called upon him about two years before bis death, he expressed himself substantially in the following manner. " It is a great thing to die. The thought of it is very solemn and almost overwhelming. I have now a great deal of time to think, and I do constantly think of the change that is before me. I sit here and think of the disembodied spirit, the nature of that change which the soul undergoes at death, and the condition of those who have entered the eternal world."
In conversation with a connection of his family, respecting his great age and the probability of his speedy departure, he once said, “I want to go to heaven. It is an inexpressibly glorious place. The more I think of it, the more delightful it appears." After alluding to the developement of God's perfections in heaven, and expressing his desire to behold this exhibition of divine glory, he added, “ And I want to see who is there; I want to see brother Sanford, and brother Niles, and brother Spring, and Dr. Hopkins, and Dr. West, and a great many other ministers with whom I have been associated in this world, but who have gone before me. I believe I shall meet them in heaven, and it seems to me our meeting there must be peculiarly interesting.” He then added, “I want to see too the old prophets and the apostles. What a society there will be in heaven! There we shall see such men as Moses, and Isaiah, and Elijah, and Daniel, and Paul.' I want to see Paul more than any other man I can think of." At this time his mind seemed to be filled with anticipations of heaven. He dwelt upon it with intense interest, and said much of its glory and blessedness. In connection with what he said on this occasion about heaven, he expressed more fully than was usual for him, his feelings respecting the gospel. With great apparent emotion he said, “I do love the gospel. It appears to me more and more wonderful and glorious every day. I think I now understand something about the gospel; but I expect, if I ever get to heaven, to understand a great deal more.” The question in some form or other, was suggested, Whether he was certain of obtaining salvation ? He replied, “I cannot say, I am certain that I shall be saved; but I have no doubt on the subject.” He then added, " I have an assurance of faith. I can say, I do know that the doctrines which I have preached are true. And I can almost say, I have an assurance of hope.