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served, as well by discharging please and to instruct. As an relative duties in his love and instance of this, the following anfear, as by the more immediate ecdote is given, of the truth of acts of devotion. He clearly which the writer was a witness, perceived, that every duty had its Mr. Tennent was passing proper time and place, as well as through a town in the state of motive; that we had a right, and New Jersey, in which he was a were called of God, to eat and stranger, and had never preach. drink, and to be properly cloth- ed, and stopping at a friend's ed; and of course that care house to dine, was informed, that should be taken to procure those it was a day of fasting and prayer things, provided that all be done in the congregation, on account to the glory of God. In the du- of a very remarkable and severe ties of a gospel minister, how-drought, which threatened the ever, especially as they related to most dangerous consequences to his pastoral charge, he still enga- the fruits of the earth. His ged with the utmost zeal and friend had just returned from faithfulness; and was esteemed church, and the intermission was by all ranks and degrees, as far but half an hour. Mr. Tennent as his labours extended, as a fer- was requested to preach, and vent, useful, and successful with great difficulty consented, preacher of the gospel.
as he wished to proceed on his His judgment of mankind was journey. At church the people such, as to give him a marked were surprised to see a preacher, superiority, in this respect, over wholly unknown to them, and his contemporaries, and greatly entirely unexpected, ascend the aided him in his ministerial func- pulpit. His whole appearance, tions. He was scarcely ever being in a travelling dress, cover, mistaken in the character of a ed with dust, wearing an oldfash, man with whom he conversed, ioned large wig, discoloured like though it was but for a few hours. his clothes, and a long meagre He had an independent mind, visage, engaged their attention, which was seldom satisfied on and excited their curiosity. On important subjects without the his rising up, instead of begin. best evidence that was to be had. ning to pray, as was the usual His manner was remarkably im- practice, he looked around the pressive ; and his sermons, congregation, with a piercing although seldom polished, were eye and earnest attention, and af, generally delivered with such in- ter a minute's profound silence, describable power, that he was he addressed them with great truly an able and successful min- solemnity in the following words: ister of the New Testament. “My beloved brethren? I am He could say things from the told you have come here to-day pulpit, which, if said by almost to fast and pray; a very good any other man, would have been work indeed, provided you have thought a violation of propriety. come with a sincere desire to But by him they were delivered glorify God thereby. But if in a manner so peculiar to him- your design is merely to comply self, and so extremely impres. with a customary practice, or sive, that they seldom failed to with the 'wish of your church ofe
ficers, you are guilty of the great . While on this subject, we may est folly imaginable, as you had introduce another anecdote of much better have staid at home, this wonderful man, to show the and earned your three shillings . and six pence. But if your
considered as extraordinary and sin. minds are indeed impressed with
gularly striking. the solemnity of the occasion, “On the evening preceding public and you are really desirous of worship, which was to be attended the humbling yourselves before Al- next day, he selected a subject for
the discourse which was to be deliv. mighty God, your heavenly Fa
ered, and made some progress in his ther, come, join with me, and let
preparations. In the morning, he reus pray." This had an effect so sumed the same subject, with an inuncommon and extraordinary on tention to extend his thoughts further
on it, but was presently assaulted the congregation, that the ut
with a temptation that the Bible, most seriousness was universally
which he then held in his hand, was manifested. The prayer and the not of divine authority, but the inven. sermon added greatly to the im tion of man. He instantly endeapressions already made, and tend voured to repel the temptation by ed to rouse the attention, influ
prayer, but his endeavours proved
unavailing. The temptation continence the mind, command the af
ued, and fastened upon him with fections, and increase the tem greater strength, as the time advancper, which had been so happily ed for public service. He lost all the produced. Many had reason to
thoughts, which he had on his subbless God for this unexpected
ject the preceding evening. He tried
other subjects, but could get nothing visit, and to reckon this day one
for the people. The whole book of of the happiest of their lives. God, under that distressing state of
los 30 mind, was a sealed book to him ; and
to add to his affliction, he was, to use "At that time, the stated price for his own words, “shut up in prayer.' a day's labour.
A cloud, dark as that of Egypt, op-,
pressed his mind. The writer, having requested of “ Thus agonized in spirit, he prothe present Rev. Dr. William M. ceeded to the church, where he found Tennent a written account of an an- a large congregation assembled, and ecdote relative to his uncle, which he waiting to hear the word : and then it had once heard him repeat verbally, was, he observed, that he was more received in reply the following letter: deeply distressed than ever, and es.
pecially for the dishonour, which he & Abington, Fan. 11th, 1806. feared' would fall upon religion, «Sie,
through him, that day. He resolved, "The anecdote of my venerable however, to attempt the service. He relative, the Rev. William Tennent, introduced it by singing a psalm, dur. of Freehold, which you wished me to ing which time his agitations were send to you, is as follows:
increased to the highest degree. “During the greatrevival of religion, When the moment for prayer | which took place under the ministry of commenced, he arose, as one in the
Mr.Whitefield, and others distinguish. most perilous and painful situation, ed for their piety and zeal at that peri. and with arms extended to the heav. od, Mr. Tennent was laboriously ac. ens, began with this outcry, Lord, tive, and much engaged to help for.' have mercy upon me! Upon the ut. Fard the work; in the performance terance of this petition he was heard; of which he met with strong and the thick cloud instantly broke powerful temptations. The following away, and an unspeakably joyful light, is related, as received, in substance, shone in upon his soul, so that his from his own lips, and may be spirit seemed to be caught up to the
dealings of God with him, and him, or that he must perish unthe deep contemplations of his der a view of his incffable glory. mind. He was attending the du. When able to reflect on his sit, ties of the Lord's day in his own uation, he could not but abhor congregation as usual, where the himself as a weak and despicable custom was to have morning and worm, and seemed to be over. evening service with only a half come with astonishment, that a hour's intermission to relieve the creature so unworthy and insuf. attention. He had preached in ficient, had ever dared to attempt the morning, and in the inter- the instruction of his fellow-men mission had walked into the in the nature and attributes of woods for meditation, the wea- so glorious a Being. Overstay, ther being warm. He was re- ing his usual time, some of his flecting on the infinite wisdom elders went in search of him, of God, as manifested in all his and found him prostrate on the works, and particularly in the ground, unable to rise, and inca. wonderful method of salvation, pable of informing them of the through the death and sufferings cause. They raised him up, of his beloved Son. This sub- and after some time brought him ject suddenly opened on his to the church, and supported him mind with such a flood of light, to the pulpit, which he ascended that his views of the glory, and on his hands and knees, to the no the infinite majesty of Jehovah, small astonishment of the conwere so inexpressibly great, as gregation. He remained silent entirely to overwhelm him, and a considerable time, earnestly he fell, almost lifeless, to the supplicating Almighty God (as ground. When he had revived he told the writer) to hide him. a little, all he could do was to self from him, that he might be raise a fervent prayer, that God enabled to address his people, would withdraw himself from who were by this time lost in
wonder to know what had pro
duced this uncommon event. heavens, and he felt as though he saw. His prayers were heard, and he God, as Moses did on the mount, face became able to stand up, by hold. to face, and was carried forth to him, with an enlargement greater than he
ing the desk. He now began the had ever before experienced, and on most affecting and pathetic adevery page of the Scriptures saw his dress, that the congregation had divinity inscribed in brightest colours. ever received from him. He The result was a deep solemnity on the face of the whole congregation,
gave a surprising account of the and the house at the end of the pray views he had, of the infinite wis. er was a Bochim. He gave them the dom of God, and greatly depior subject of his evening meditations, ed his own incapacity to speak to which was brought to his full remem. them concerning a being so inbrance, with an overflowing abuna dance of other weighty and solemn finitely glorious beyond all his matter. The Lord blessed the dis- powers of description. , He atcourse, so that it proved the happy tempted to show something of means of the conversion of about what had been discovered to him thirty persons. This day he spoke of,
of the notonishing
of the astonishing wisdom of ever afterwards, as his harvest day."
iedom of “I am yours with esteem, Jehovah, of which it was impossi- .. "WILLIAM M. TENNEXT.". ble for human nature to form
adequate conceptions. He then particularly attentive, it being a broke out into so fervent and ex- favourite observation with him, pressive a prayer, as greatly to "that he loved a religion that a surprise the congregation, and man could live by." draw tears from every eye. A . Mr. Tennent carefully avoidsermon followed, that continued ed the discussion of controverthe solemn scene, and made very sial subjects, unless specially lasting impressions on all the called to it by particular circumhearers.
stances, and then he was ever The great increase of commu- ready to assign the reason of his nicants in his church was a good faith. The following occurs evidence of his pastoral care and rence will show the general state powerful preaching, as it exceed- of his mind and feelings in reed that of most churches in the gard to such subjects. A couple synod. But his labours were of young clergymen, visiting at not confined to the pulpit. He his house, entered into a dispute was indefatigable in his endea- on the question, at that time vours to communicate in private much controverted in New Eng. families à savour of the know- land, whether faith or repente ledge of spiritual and divine ance were first in order, in the things. In his parochial visits conversion of a sinner. Not behe used regularly to go through ing able to determine the point, his congregation in order, so as they agreed to make Mr. Tento carry the unsearchable riches nent their umpire, and to dispute of Christ to every house. He the subject at length before him. earnestly pressed it on the con- He accepted the proposal, and science of parents to instruct after a solemn debate for some their children at home by plain time, his opinion being asked, he and easy questions, so as gradu. very gravely took his pipe from ally to expand their young minds, his mouth, looked out of his and prepare them for the recep window, pointed to a man ploughtion of the more practical doc- ing on a hill at some distance, trines of the gospel. In this, Mr. and asked the young clergymen Tennent has presented an excel- if they knew that man : on their lent example to his brethren in answering in the negative, he
the ministry; for certain it is, told them it was one of his el· that more good may be done in a ders, who, to his full conviction,
congregation, by this domestic had been a sincere Christian for mode of instruction, than any one more than thirty years. “ Now," can imagine, who has not made said Mr. Tennent, “ ask him, the trial. Children and servants whether faith or repentance came are in this way prepared for the first, what do you think he would teachings of the sanctuary, and say?" They said they could not to reap the full benefit of the tell. “Then,” says he, “I will word publicly preached. He tell you: he would say that he made it a practice in all these cared not, which came first, but visits to enforce practical reli- that he had got them both. Now, gion on all, high and low, rich my friends,” he added, “ be careand poor, young and old, master ful that you have both a true and servant. To this he was faith, and a sincere repentance, Vol. II. No. 2.
and do not be greatly troubled, always made the faithful followwhich comes first.” It is not, ers of the Redeemer the obhowever, to be supposed by this, jects of his inveterate malice. that Mr. Tennent was unfriend. If the good man, of whom we \v to a deep and accurate exam- write, was greatly honoured by ination of all important theolo- peculiar communications from gical doctrines. There were on bigh, he was also very often few men more earnest than he the subject of the severe buffetto have young clergymen wellings of that malignant and fallen instructed and thoroughly fur- spirit. nished for their work. This in- The time of which we are deed was an object on which his now speaking was remarkable heart was much set, and which for a great revival of religion, * he exerted himself greatly to in which Mr. Tennent was conpromote.
siderably instrumental, and in Mr. Tennent was remarkably which a Mr. David Rowland, distinguished for a pointed at brought up with Mr. Tennent tention to the particular circum- at the Log-College, was also vestances and situation of the af- ry remarkable for his successful flicted, either in body or mind, preaching among all ranks of and would visit them with as people. Possessing a commandmuch care and attention as 'a ing eloquence, as well as other physician, and frequently indeed estimable qualities, he became proved an able one, to both soul very popular, and was much celand body. But his greatest tal ebrated throughout the country. ent was that of a peace-maker, His celebrity and success were which he possessed in so emi. subjects of very serious regret to nent a degree, that probably none many careless worldlings, who have exceeded, and very few placed all their happiness in the have equalled him in it. He enjoyment of temporal objects, was sent for, far and near, to set- and considered, and represented tle disputes, and heal difficulties, Mr. Rowland and his brethren as which arose in congregations ; fanatics and hypocrites. This and, happily for those concerned, was specially applicable to many he was generally successful. In- of the great men of the then deed, he seldom would relin province of New Jersey, and quish his object till he had ac- particularly to the chief justice, complished it.
who was well known for his disBut while this man of God was belief of Revelation. There was thus successful in promoting the at this time, prowling through best interests of his fellow-crea- the country, a noted man by the tures, and in advancing the glory name of Tom Bell, whose knowlof his Lord and Master, the edge and understanding were great enemy of mankind was not very considerable, and who greatlikely to observe the destruction ly excelled in low art and cunof his kingdom without making ning. His mind was totally dean effort to prevent it. As he based, and his whole conduct assailed our blessed Saviour in betrayed a soul capable of dethe days of his flesh with all his art and all his power, so has he * It was not far from A. . 1744.