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separated from me for a little while, and I think I can rejoice in the belief that I have, that she has gone to the Father.”
Mr. Goodwin's health was gradually but deeply affected by this event, and it was feared that his constitution, not naturally strong, would sink under it. In the spring of 1833 be left Concord on a journey to the West, for the benefit of his health. He was absent five months, and went to St. Louis, Missouri. On this journey he wrote letters which were first published in the Old Colony Memorial, some of which were afterwards copied into the Christian Register. He returned in September. The following extract from the first sermon which he preached after his return, will exbibit some of the impressions made by bis travels, his feelings on coming back to his people, and the state of bis health at that time. The text is from Romans i. 16.
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
“ In appearing before you for the first time after an absence from the public services of this house of more than five months, there are many associations crowding on my mind which I find it difficult to express. As I look back upon the variety of scenes through which I have passed since I last had the privilege of addressing you; as I think of the chamber of sickness, and of how little I was called to suffer, compared with what I might have suffered ; when I think of the ordinary dangers and trials of a journey of near four thousand miles, and see to what degree I have been protected in the house as well as on the way, by land as well as by water, in the desert wilderness as well as in the crowded city; from the violence of the elements, from the imprudence or the passions of man, and from the scourge of the pestilence; when I think of the improved state of my health and spirits, to which you, my friends, have been instrumental in contributing much by the expressions of your Christian sympathy and kindness; when I think, above all, of the light and comfort and support I have derived from the great truths of our holy religion; when I think of the innumerable mercies with which I have been surrounded, – these rich tokens of the love of God, I feel that I should be unworthy of the name of a Christian, were I ashamed to utter the feelings of my heart. I can only express myself in the language of thanksgiving, and say, ' Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.'
Again, when I think of the opportunity which your indulgence and a kind Providence have afforded me of visiting a distant and most interesting portion of our native land, of beholding something of the vast resources of that great valley which is known to us as the West, the beauty and grandeur of its natural scenery, declaring, as it does, the glory and bounty and goodness of Heaven, and calling forth the soul to the purest worship of Him who has built this temple and garnished it himself; the opportunity of seeing there what nature has done and art is doing for our country; when I think what man may become there under the influence of pure religion, and of what he must become without that influence, I feel a new interest awakened in life, and a stronger reason than ever to say with the Apostle, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. For notwithstanding the prosperity of that distant portion of our land, notwithstanding the richness of its soil, the luxuriance of its vegetation, the mildness of its skies, the extent of its rivers, and the unparalleled growth of its cities and villages, I must say that I turn back with greater satisfaction than ever to the hills and rocks of New England. Its village spires, its Sabbath bells, its domestic, civil, literary, and religious institutions were never dearer to me than at this moment. For in an intellectual, a social, a moral and religious view, at present
• Man is the nobler growth our soil supplies,
And souls are ripened in these northern skies.' “And now, my people, let me express my gratitude, that I am permitted once more to behold you, and to speak to you. Having obtained help of God, I continue to this day. In regard to my health, I can say that it is decidedly and greatly improved since my absence. But whether it be sufficiently so to endure the changes of the coming season, is still doubtful, and time only can determine. While I shall endeavour to take that course which duty to you and myself shall require, I shall of necessity rely much upon your indulgence and advice, and shall endeavour to conform, as far as possible, to your wishes. Thus far, I am sensible, I have great reason for gratitude, and I fondly hope there is no event that can await me, which would diminish my trust or shake my confidence in God. I would give thanks to him for all past kindness to me and to you. Though since our separation some of us have been visited with sickness and sorrow, and have been called to part with near relatives and friends, still on the whole, as religious society, we have been highly favored in this respect. While, therefore, we express our sympathy for the bereaved, let us not fail to be thankful that death and disease have done so little to diminish our num Especially would I give thanks, that while I have been taken from the
duties of my office, you have been so situated as not to be deprived of the benefits of religious institutions, that he, to whose voice you have been accustomed to listen from your earliest years, has been blessed with strength sufficient unto his day. I rejoice that I am again permitted to unite with him in the services of this house, and at the table of our Christian solemnities. May we all express by this act, not only our gratitude, but our resolution to conform in all things, to the spirit of our Master. And while we hereby profess that we are not ashamed of Christ or his gospel, may we show by our lives, by purity, by piety, and by charity, that we are his disciples indeed. For though the ordinance before us is to be regarded and used as a means of religion, and a mode of expressing our faith and our attachment, still of this be assured, that religion itself consists not in these things; that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the holy ghost."
Mr. Goodwin's health now seemed to be established, and the fears, which were entertained by himself and friends, that disease was seated upon bis lungs, were removed. He continued in the discharge of his pastoral duties with his accustomed ardor and energy. In June, 1934, he was married to Miss Amelia Mackay of Boston, who survives to mourn bis loss; we are therefore only permitted to say, that this union contributed greatly to the happiness of the short remainder of his life. He continued 10 enjoy a good degree of bodily strength and a fair prospect of long usefulness, till October, 1935, when he went to Connecticut, to attend the sickness and death of a near connexion. He was much exposed to fatigue and watchfulness, and returned exhausted and asthmatic. From this time he found it necessary to keep at home in the evening, and to avoid meetings in close and beated rooms. He gave up attendance at the Lyceum except when he lectured bimself.' Nevertheless he attended very vigorously to the schools, which required many visits, preached regularly, and went to an ordination at Framingham, on the coldest day known for eighteen years, without apparently suffering injury. In March he delivered two lectures before the Lyceum, in the preparation of which he sat up late, which increased his asthma, and caused obstruction in ihe circulation. At the town meeting on the 4th of April, he read a long school report, spoke publicly, and seemed much exhausted. That night bis pulse was high and irregular, and never recovered its tone. He then declined being on the school committee, because it interfered with his more immediate parochial duties, and he found that to do all he wished for the parish and the schools wore upon his health. In April, decidedly alarming symptoms suddenly appeared, which induced bim to consult Dr. Jackson. His complaint was pronounced to be seated in the heart, and to render bim constantly liable to sudden death, though by a careful avoidance of excitement he might live several years. After a few weeks' stay in Boston he returned to Concord, and, by permission of his physician, preached once. Unfavorable symptoins, however, soon returned, and it was thought expedient that he should seek quiet and relaxation in his native town. During his stay in Plymouth, his health, though variable, was prevailingly better. On Thursday, July 7th, after having spent the day in riding, walking, and society, he retired apparently as well as usual; but during the night was suddenly seized with paralysis, and never afterwards spoke or opened his eyes. He remained insensible through the day, and died early on the morning of Saturday, the 9th.
Mr. Goodwin possessed a strong and active mind. He was capable of investigating with thoroughness and accuracy any subject in which he was interested, or to which it became necessary to direct bis attention. If any intellectual pursuit, unconnected with bis profession, can be said to have been peculiarly congenial to his mind, it was the study of the antiquities and history of New England. He was much interested in the historical memorials with which bis native town abounds, and in the history of the early settlement of the Old Colony, was well versed in the original authorities on that subject, and took pleasure in collecting books and pamphlets respecting it. He was not, after he became a settled minister, a systematic student. He was a practical and active pastor, and spent much of his time
among his people, in parochial business and duty. Yet he read much of the better portion of the current literature of the day, and was accustomed to improve every opportunity of making conversation the means of acquiring information. He had a strong memory to retain what he had thus acquired, and a natural tendency to systematize and arrange it, so that he was continually adding to his stock of available and useful knowledge. He was a careful observer of passing events, and was fond of discussing the great moral questions to which they gave rise. His opinions on such questions were always formed upon the highest principles. He ever maintained to the utmost the purest and most elevated conception of the true and the right.
Yet in practice he was wholly free from ultraism. Though ever faithful to his own idea, he did not expect all men to adopt it, and act in accordance with it at once. He aimed to bring them to it gradually, and was satisfied when he had led them towards it as far as they were capable, at the time, of going. Hence, in efforts to be useful, he did not occasion offence and distrust by appearing visionary, but was popular and successful. On the subject of temperance he differed from many with whom he was connected. He thought that the principle, on which abstinence from ardent spirits is urged, applied with equal force to wine and all intoxicating liquors, and that the arguments for taking the pledge would be of little avail with the poorer classes, unless the obligation of total abstinence was acknowledged by all. Accordingly he totally abstained himself.
He had great intellectual independence. He was jealously watchful against all undue influences which he suspected might bias him in the formation of his opinions, and examined all questions by the light of his own mind, before making up his decision upon them. He was by inquiry and conviction a Unitarian; but he was not hampered by the fetters of any party. He did not feel himself accountable for the opinions of those who were called by the same name with himsell, nor accountable to them for his own. On all subjects he pursued his speculations freely, and expressed thein fearlessly.
To the stranger who saw Mr. Goodwin for the first time, as well as to his most intimate friends, the trait which appeared most prominent, and gave a tone to his whole character, was his overflowing and unfailing goodness of heart. It was expressed in his countenance, and in the tone of his voice, which at once inspired a confidence in his kindness that was never disappointed. It was in no way exclusive. It was checked by po fastidiousness of intellect or taste. It flowed out freely to all persons of all conditions and characters. The ignorant and the cultivated, the rich and the poor, the young, the aged, the sick, the infirm, the sinful, all felt him to be their friend, spoke to him with freedom, received his consolation and advice with gladness, and were comforted and improved by his presence. It was shown in all the various ways in which Christian love can manifest itself;- in the hospitality with which he welcomed friends and visiters to his home, and entertained them with his uniformly cheerful and often humorous conversation ;- in his thoughtful attention to the welfare of every one about him;
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