Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and constancy, and to perform its duties with exactness, discretion, ability, and dignity.

The honour, and interest of the respectable Seminasy, over which he presided, were dear to his heart. To the promotion of these important objects he was assiduously and zealously devoted. To the accomplishment of these ends however, he used no means, but what were fair and honourable, and calculated to promote, not merely the temporary, but the permanent, reputation and advantage of the University. He was more ambitious to extend the knowledge, than to increase the number, of his pupils. Hence it was, that he was zealous to raise the terms of admission into the College ; a measure, which he lived to see adopted.* He was more solicitous to preserve order, and maintain proper subordination, among the students, than to acquire a spurious popularity by toleration of vice, or indecorum. Hence, while he aimed to make parental. authority the basis of his government ; in the execua tion of the laws of the University, and in the maintenance of discipline, he was vigilant, equable, exact, and inflexible. Such youths therefore, as were ingenuous in their temper, and regular in their habits, mingled affection with respect for their President ; those of a different character, however displeased with the author. ity, were constrained to venerate the man. His feelings toward his whole academical family were truly paternal; and, the more he was known to his pupils, the

• A new Law of admission, enacted November 16, 1803, and to take effect at the Commencement of 1805, requires, That each Candidate be thote oughly acquainted with, and strictly examined in the Grammar of the Greek and Latin languages, Dalzel's Collectanea Græca Minora, the Greek Testament, Virgil, Sallust, and Cicero's select Orations, the Rules of Arithmetic from Notation to the single Rule of Three inclusively, and a Compendium of Geography,

more certain was he of their filial respect and affection.

. But the just and impressive Eulogy, delivered yesterday in this desk, renders it unnecessary to enlarge on this part of his public character. During nearly twenty three years, * in which he was in the Presidency, ninę hundred and forty two students have been educated under his care, and received the honours of this University. Of that number, one hundred and thirty four have been ordained to the ministry of the gospel. How many of the residue have been distinguished in the other learned professions, and in stations of literary and political eminence! To them the remem. brance of their nursing father will be precious ; and they will not fail to lament his death, and to revere his memory. . His own acquirements were in the solid and useful branches of literature ; and these were the branches, which, in distinction from the light and unprofitable, he peculiarly encouraged in the University. În classical learning, and in the mathematical and astro, nomical sciences, he was eminently distinguished. In the two last branches, his essays before the publict furnish ample proof of his extensive attainments.

Though always averse to ostentation of learning, his literary merits were extensively known, and duly appreciated. Beside the honours, conferred on him by the Universities and respectable Societies in America, he received the highest tokens of respect from similar Institutions in Europe.

From his induction 19 December, 1781 ; to his death 25 September, 1804

+ See Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, i. 1-61; 70-80 ; 129-142.

$ In America, the University of Cambridge conferred on him the degree Doctor of Divinity ; and Yale College, the degree of Doctor of Laws He

His public character ought not to be concluded, without the notice of that punctuality, with which he attended all appointments for the transaction of busis ness, and every official duty ; nor without mention of that precision, with which he habitually performed, whatever he undertook ; properties of character, which, however apparently inconsiderable, are in truth of in, calculable importance in public officers,

As a minister of Christ, he was a scribe instructed to the kingdom of heaven Calling no man master on earth, he appeared to found the principles of his faith, and the doctrines of his ministry, on the basis of the ora, eles of God. What he believed to be the truths, which these oracles were designed to convey, he taugh and inculcated. His Discourses were replete with uses, ful instruction, adapted to inform the understanding, and to improve the heart. Foolish and unlearned quesa tions he studiously avoided. With all his critical knowl. edge of the Scriptures, he never indulged himself in dry or superfluous criticisms. When he had recourse, to the original, he stopped at that point, where illustration was complete. Learned discourses to a promis.. cuous assembly, his judgment allowed him not to ap. prove in others, his conscience allowed him not to deliver himself. He was always a practical preacher; and the poor, if it were not their own fault, might ever receive light and benefit from his instructions. He preached not for fame, but for the improvement of mankind in

was an original member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and, an elected member of the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia. He was President of the Massachusetts Congregational Charitable Society; and a member of the Society for propagating the Gospel among the Indians and others in North America, and of the Humane Society. In Europe, he was elected an honorary member of the Royal Society of Gottingen, and of the Medical Society of London.

Christian knowledge and piety, and for the promotion of their final salvation.

He believed the doctrines, which he preached. Sin, cerity in religious, as in all other concerns, appeared a prominent trait in his character. In his extreme and hazardous illness, six years since, he said to me, “No “ religion can equal the Christian, in sustaining us in ad fr versity";'and subjoined, “ I have uniformly believed, s it, whatever may have been my practice.” A consid... erable time after his recovery from that alarming sick ness, he explained to me more fully, what either his excruciating pain, or his extreme debility, would not not then permit. He said, in reference to his former declaration of his unwavering belief in the Christian religion, that, about the time when he became capable of judging for himself on religious subjects, he read Leland's View of the Deistiçal writers, which settled his mind in the belief of Christianity,

After his entrance on the Presidency, he occasion, ally performed ministerial services in the Churches, and assisted ordaining Councils, His judgment was highly fespected by ministers throughout the Commonwealth , and, on a very interesting subject, brought before the last annual Convention, where equal wisdom and cann. dour were found necessary for a proper decision, he was appointed Chairman of a select and very respecta: ble Committee for its consideration.

But the highest trait in the character of this estima, ble man remains to be drawn. While his intellectual powers, strong, capacious, and masculine, constituted, him, in the primary sense of the term, a wise man ; re, ligion completed his character for true wisdom. He: appeared habitually impressed with a sense of the im. portance of the trụths and duties of that divine religion,

[ocr errors]

which he professed, and taught; and, correspondently to such an impression, he was exemplary for virtue and piety. He carefully regulated his passions, and was temperate in all things. He was benevolent, kind, and generous. An original nobleness of soul was ren.. dered still more noble in him by the sublimating influ. ence of Christian principles. He thought, and acted, with a peculiar expansion of mind ; and was the liberal man, whose character it is, to devise liberal things, His integrity was as unsuspected, as it was inviolate. His piety was rational and steady, equally remote from the preciseness of superstition, and the wildness of enthusiasm. It was manifested by patient endurance of pain ; by calm resignation in affliction ; by a regular observance of the duties of devotion ; and by a sted, fast endeavour to promote the honour of God, and the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom,

In the scene of distress and torture, through which he was providentially called to pass at that memorable period, when all hope of his recovery was nearly aban. doned, it is difficult to say, which was most to be ad.' mired, the fortitude of his mind, or the elevation of his piety. When his severest paroxysms were past, I remarked to him with satisfaction, the patience, with which he sustained his sufferings. “I am thankful," he replied, “ that I have been preserved, by divine “ grace, from dishonouring God, through murmuring « or complaint."

If we may judge of the heart from his external course of life, he exercised himself to have always a conscience void of offence, toward God, and toward man.

As a citizen, he was highly respected and esteemed; and this neighbourhood and town will sincerely lament their loss.

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »