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The following extract, from the life of the Rev. W. Tennent, is
one among the many attestations of living witnesses, to the reality of a spiritual world. The loss of recollection too, which he suffered, is an instance of the quiescence of the external memory, consequent upon the spiritual state, so often mention.
ed in the writings of E. S. A.C. 7112. The angels know not (says E. S.) what chaff, &c.
is. Such things were known to them, when they were in the
Presbyterian Church, at Freehold, in New-Jersey. WILLIAM TENNENT was born on the 3d day of June, 1705, in the county of Antrim, in Ireland, and was just turned of 13 years of age when he arrived in America. He applied himself with much zeal and industry to his studies, and made great proficiency in the languages, particularly in the Latin. Being early impressed with a deep sense of divine things, he soon determined to follow the example of his father and elder brother, by devoting himself to the service of God in the ministry of the gospel. He accordingly began the study of divinity under his brother, who was a Presbyterian minister, and had the pastoral charge of the church, at New-Brunswick, in New Jersey. His intense application affected his health, and brought on a pain in his breast and a slight hectic. He soon became emaciated, and at length was like a living skeleton. His life was now threatened. He grew worse and worse, till little hope of life was left. In this situation his spirits failed him, and he began to obtain doubts of his final happiness. He was conversing one morning with his brother, in Latin, on the state of his soul, when he fainted and died away. After the usual time, he was laid out on a board, accord. ing to the common practice of the country, and the neighbourhood were invited to attend his funeral, on the next day. In the evening his physician and friend returned from a ride into the country, and was afflicted beyond measure at the news of his death. He could not be persuaded that it was certain ; and on
being told that one of the persons who had assisted in laying out the body, thought he had observed a little tremor of the flesh, under the arm, although the body was cold and stiff, he endeavoured to ascertain the fact. He first put his'own hand into warm water, to make it as sensible as possible, and then felt under the arm and at the heart, and affirmed that he felt an unusual warmth, though no one else could. He had the body restored to a warm bed, and insisted that the people who had been invited to the funeral should be requested not to attend. To this the brother objected, as absurd ; the eyes being sunk, the lips discoloured, and the whole body cold and stiff. However, the doctor finally prevailed, and all probable means were used to discover symp. toms of returning life. But the third day arrived, and no hopes were entertained of success, but by the doctor, who never left him, night or day. The people were again invited, and assem. bled to attend the funeral. The doctor still objected, and at last confined his request for delay to one hour, then to half an hour, and finally to a quarter of an hour. He had discovered that the tongue was much swollen and threatened to crack. He was en. deavouring to soften it by some emollient ointment, put upon it with a feather ; when the brother came in, about the expiration of the last period, and mistaking what the doctor was doing for an attempt to feed him, manifested some resentment, and, in a spirited tone, said, “ It is shameful to be feeding a lifeless corpse;" and insisted, with earnestness, that the funeral should imme. diately proceed. At this critical and important moment, the hody, to the great alarm and astonishment of all present, opened its eyes, gave a dreadful groan, and sunk again into apparent death. This put an end to all thoughts of burying him; and every effort was again employed in hopes of bringing about a speedy resuscitation. In about an hour, the eyes opened, a hea. vy groan proceeded from the body, and again all appearance of animation vanished. In another hour, life seemed to return with more power, and a complete revival took place, to the great joy of the family and friends, and to the no small astonishment and conviction of very many who had been ridiculing the idea of restoring to life a dead body.
Mr. T. continued in so weak and low a state, for six weeks, that great doubts were entertained of his final recovery. After that period he recovered much faster, but it was about a twelve
month before he was completely restored. After he was able to walk the room, and to take notice of what passed around him, on a Sunday afternoon, his sister, who had staid from church to attend him, was reading in the Bible, when he took notice of it, and asked her what she had in her hand. She answered, that she was reading in the Bible. He replied, “ What is the Bible ? I know not what you mean.” This affected the sister so much, that she burst into tears, and informed him that he was once well acquainted with it. On her reporting this to the brother, when he returned, Mr. Tennent was found, upon examination, to be totally ignorant of every transaction of his life previous to his sickness. He could not read a single word; neither did he seem to have idea of what it meant. As soon as he became capable of attention, he was taught to read and write, as children are usually taught, and afterwards began to learn the Latin language, under the tuition of his brother. One day, as he was reciting a les. son in Cornelius Nepos, he suddenly started, clapped his hand to his head, as if something had hurt him, and made a pause. His brother asking him what was the matter, he said that he felt a sudden shock in bis head, and it now seemed to him as if he had read that book before. By degrees, his recollection was restored, and he could speak the Latin as fluently as before his sickness. His memory so completely revived, that he gained a perfect knowledge of the past transactions of his life, as if no difficulty had previously occurred.
The writer of these memoirs was greatly interested by these uncommon events; and, on a favourable occasion, earnestly pressed Mr. T. as to what his views and apprehensions were, while he lay in this extraordinary state of suspended animation. He discovered great reluctance to enter into any explanation of his perceptions and feelings at this time; but, being importunately urged to do it, he at length consented ; and proceeded, with a solemnity not to be described.
“ While I was conversing with my brother,” said he, “ on the state of my soul, and the fears I had entertained for my future welfare, I found myself, in an instant, in another state of existence, under the direction of a superior being, who ordered me to follow him. I was accordingly wafted along, I know not how, till I beheld at a distance an ineffable glory, the impression of which on my mind it is impossible to communicate to mortal man. I immediately reflected on my happy change, and thought, Well; blessed be God! I am safe at last, notwithstanding all my fears. I saw an innumerable host of happy beings, surrounding the inexpressible glory, in acts of adoration and joyous worship; but I did not see any bodily shape or representation in the glorious appearance. I heard things unutterable. I heard their songs and hallelujahs of thanksgiving and praise, with unspeakable rapture. I felt joy unutterable and full of glory. I then applied to my conductor, and requested leave to join the happy throng; on which he tapped me on the shoulder, and said, “ You must return to the earth. This seemed like a sword through my heart. In an instant, I recollect to have seen my brother standing before me, disputing with the doctor. The three days, during which I had appeared lifeless, seemed to me not more than ten or twenty minutes. The idea of returning to this world of sorrow and trou ble, gave me such a shock, that I fainted repeatedly.” He added, 6 Such was the effect on my mind of what I had seen and heard, that, if it be possible for a human being to live entirely above the world, and the things of it, for some time afterwards, I was that person. The ravishing sounds of the songs and hallelujahs that I heard, and the very words that were uttered, were not out of my ears, when awake, for at least three years. All the kingdoms of the earth were in my sight as nothing and vanity; and so great were my ideas of heavenly glory, that nothing, which did not in some measure relate to it, could command my serious attention." It is not surprising, that, after so affecting an account, strong soli, citude should bave been felt for further information as to the words, or at least the subjects of praise and adoration which Mr. T. had heard. But when he was requested to communicate these, he gave a decided negative, adding, “ You will know them, with many other particulars, hereafter, as you will find the whole among my papers;" alluding to his intention of leaving the writer hereof his executor, which precluded any further solicitation. The pious
* It was so ordered, in the course of divine providence, that the writer was sorely disappointed in his expectations of obtaining the papers here alluded to. Such, however, was the will of Heaven! Mr. Tennent's death happened during the revolutionary war, (8th March, 1777,) when the enemy separated the writer from him, so as to render it impracticable to attend hin on a dying bed; and, before it was possible to get to his house, after his death, (the writer being with the American army, at the Valley Forge,) his and candid reader is left to his own reflections on this very extraordinary occurrence. The facts have been stated, and they are unquestionable. The writer will only ask, whether it be contrary to revealed truth, or to reason, to believe, that, in every age of the world, instances like that which is here recorded have oco curred, to furnish living testimony of the reality of the invisible world, and of the infinite importance of eternal concerns ?
FOR THE NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH REPOSITORY.
REVIEW Of The Doctrine of Şalvation by Faith proved ; or, an answer to
the important question, “what must I do to be saved ?" by Adam Clarke, L. L. D. F. A. S.
The celebrity of Dr. Clarke as a theological writer, and as a Hebrew and Greek scholar, attaches an importance to his authority, amongst Christians of some particular sects, little short of infallibility. An intimate acquaintance with the original languages in which the Scriptures are written, is supposed to confer so wonderful an illumination, in regard to the true doctrines set forth in the Word of God, that the proficient in such classical learning is regarded as possessing a superior light to the rest of mankind. Of the delusion, however, of such vain presumptions, the experience of every day completely convinces us. 'For we see that the Jews, who are so well versed in the vernacular tongue of their forefathers, disclaim all agreement with Christians, in relation to the prophecies which have had their fulfilment in the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, whilst a vast portion of the inhabitants of Christendom, who can read the New Testament in Greek, totally deny the sanctity of that sacred volume. The truth is, that, upon the whole, the Bible is admirably well trans
son came from Charleston, and took his mother's and bis father's papers and property, and returned to Carolina. About fifty miles from Charleston, the son was suddenly taken sick, and died among entire strangers; and never since, though the writer was left executor to the son, could any trace of the father's papers be discovered by him.