Imágenes de páginas

common coincidence of circumstances. The hopes and fears of this honest man, so long in operation, yet he evinced great warmth of disposition, and was evidently tinctured with enthusiasm ; but, after making every allowance for these propensities, it could not be denied, that an over-ruling Power seemed to operate, in an unusual and remarkable manner. I could not forbear looking back upon the mistakes, made during our passage, even to the coming in to this particular inlet, where no vessel, of the size of the brig • Hand-inHand,' had ever before entered ; every circumstance contributed to bring me to this house. Mr. Potter's address on seeing me; his assurance, that he knew I was on board the vessel, when he saw her at a distance; all these considerations pressed with powerful conviction on my mind, and I was ready to say, If God Almighty has, in his providence, so ordered events, as to bring me into this country for the purpose of making manifest the savour of his name, and of bringing many to the knowledge of the truth; though I would infinitely prefer death, to entering into a character, which will subject me to what is infinitely worse than death ; yet, as the issues of life and death are not under my direction, am I not bound to submit to the dispensations of providence? I wished, however, to be convinced, that it was the will of God, that I should step forth in a character, which would be considered as obnoxious, as truly detestable. I was fully convinced, it was not by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of the world, nor by the will of the god of this world; all these were strongly opposed thereto. One moment, I felt my resolution give way; the path, pointed out, seemed to brighten upon me: but the next, the difficulties, from within and without, obscured the prospect, and I relapsed into a firm resolution to shelter myself, in solitude, from the hopes, and fears, and the various contentions of men.

While I thus balanced, the Sabbath advanced. I had ventured to implore the God, who had sometimes condescended to indulge individuals with tokens of his approbation, graciously to indulge me, upon this important occasion; and that, if it were his will, that I should obtain the desire of my soul, by passing through life in a private character. If it were not his will, that I should engage as a preacher of the ministry of reconciliation, he would vouchsafe to grant me such a wind, as might bear me from this shore, before the return of another Sabbath. I determined to take the changing of the wind for an answer; and, had the wind changed, it would have borne on its wings full conviction, because it would have corresponded with my wishes. But the wind changed not, and Saturday morning arrived. “Well,' said my anxious friend, now let me give notice to my neighbors. No, sir, not yet; should the wind change in the middle of the afternoon, I must depart. No tongue can tell

, nor heart conceive, how much I suffered this afternoon; but the evening come on, and it was necessary I should determine; and at last, with much fear and trembling, Í yielded a relactant consent. Mr. Potter then immediately dispatched his servants, on

horseback, to spread the intelligence far and wide, and they were to continue their information, until ten in the evening.

I had no rest through the night. What should I say, or how address the people? Yet I recollected the admonition of our Lord: Take no thought, what you shall say; it shall be given you, in that same hour, what you shall say:' Ay, but this promise was made to his disciples. Well, by this, I shall know if I am a disci. ple. If God, in his providence, is committing to ine a dispensation of the gospel, He will furnish me with matter, without my thought or care. If this thing be not of God, He will desert me, and this shall be another sign; on this, then, I rested. Sunday morning succeeded; my host was in transports. I was—I cannot describe how I was. I entered the house; it was neat and convenient, expressive of the character of the builder. There were no pews; the pulpit was rather in the Quaker mode; the seats were constructed with backs, roomy, and even elegant. I said there were no pew3; there was one large square pew, just before the pulpit; in this sat the venerable man and his family, particular friends, and visiting strangers. In this pew sat, upon this occasion, this happy man, and, surely, no man, upon this side of heaven was ever more completely happy. He looked up to the pulpit with eyes sparkling with pleasure; it appeared to him, as the fulhilment of a promise long deferred; and he reflected, with abundant consolation, on the strong faith, which he had cherished, while his associates would tauntingly question, 'Well, Potter, where is this minister, who is to be sent to you?' He is coming along, in God's own good time.' • And do you still believe any such preacher will visit you ?' '0 yes, assuredly.' He reflected upon all this, and tears of transport filled his eyes; he looked round upon the people, and every feature seemed to say, "There, what think you now?' When I returned to his house, he caught me in his arms, ' Now, now, I am willng to depart; Oh, my God! I will praise thee; thou hast granted me my desire. After this truth I have been seeking, but I have never found it, until now; I knew, that God, who put it into my heart to build a house for his worship, would send a servant of his own to proclaim his own gospel. I knew he would; 1 knew the time was coine, when I saw the vessel grounded; I knew you were the man, when I saw you approach iny door, and my heart leaped for joy. Visitors poured into the house; he took each by the hand. This is the happiest day of my life,' said the transported man: "There, neighbors

, there is the minister God promised to send me; how do you like God's minister;' I ran from the company, and prostrating myself before the throne of grace, besought my God to take me, and do with me whatever he pleased. I am, said I, I am, O Lord God, in thine hand, as clay in the hand of the potter. If thou, in thy providence, hast brought me into this new world to make known unto this people the grace and the blessings of the new covenant; if thou hast thought proper, by making choice of so weak an instrument, to confound the wise; if thou hast peen pleased to show to a babe, possessing neither wisdom nor prudence, what thou hast hid from the wise and prudent, -be it so, O Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight. But, O my merciful God! leave me not, I beseech thee, for a single moment; for without thee, I can do nothing. O, inake thy strength perfect in my weakness, that the world may see that thine is the power, and that, therefore, thine ought to be the glory. Thus my heart prayed, while supplicating tears bedewed my face.

I felt, however, relieved and tranquillized, for I had power given me to trust in the Lord; to stay upon the god of my salvation. Immediately upon my return to the company, my boatmen entered the house : *The wind is fair, sir."* Well, then, we will depart. It is late in the afternoon, but no matter, I will einbark directly ; I have been determined to embrace the first opportunity, well knowing the suspense the captain must be in, and the pain attendant thereon. Accordingly, as soon as matters could be adjusted, I set off; but not till my old friend, taking me by the brand, said : You are now going to New York; I am afraid you will, when there, forget the man, to whom your Master sent you. But I do beseech you, come back to me again as soon as possible.'

The tears gushed into his eyes, and, regarding me with a look, indicative of the strongest affection, he threw his arms around me, repeating his importunities, that I would not unnecessarily delay my return. I was greatly affected, reiterating the strongest assurances that I would conform to his wishes. Why should I not ? said I ; what is there to prevent me? I do not know an individual in New York ; no one knows me ; what should induce me to tarry there ? Ah, my friend,' said he, you will find many in New York, who will love and admire you, and they will wish to detain you in that city. But you have promised you will return, and I am sure you will perform your promise ; and in the mean time, may the God of heaven be with you.' Unable to reply, I hurried from his door; and on entering the vessel, I found the good old man had generously attended, to what had made no part of my care, by ma

* The Rev. A. C. Thomas, of Philadelphia, in an account published by him of a visit to this place in the fall of 1832, indulges in the following reflections :- Wera all these circumstances the result of chance ? No. The confidence of Potter that the vessel he saw enter the Inlet contained the minister of whose coming, in due season, he had not the shadow of doubt-his solemn conviction that Murray was the man, and that the wind would not change until the message from God was delivered—these things, considered in connexion with the result, firmly persuade me that the directing hand of Divine Providence is visible in the whole train of events. Let others believe differently, if they canI cannot.'

To this Mr. Thomas adds :-'I must not forget to mention, that sev. eral aged persons with whom I conversed, remembered having heard the circumstances related by Murray in his · Life'-but time was rap. idly defacing the impression.'

T. W.

tle voyage.

king ample provision, both for me and the boatinen, during our lit

I retired to the cabin ; I had leisure for serious reflections, and serious reflections crowded upon me. I was astonished, I was lost in wonder, in love and praise : I saw, as evidently as I could see any object visibly exhibited before me, that the good hand of God was in all these things. It is, I spontaneously exclaimed, it is the Lord's doings, and it is marvellous in my eyes. It appeared to me, that I could trace the hand of God, in bringing me, through a long chain of events, to such a place, to such a person, so evidently prepared for my reception ; and, while I acknowledged the will of God, manifested respecting my public character, I at the saine inoment distinguished the kindness of God evinced by his indulging me with a retirement so exactly suited to my wishes. The house was neat, the situation enchanting, it was on the margin of the deep, on the side of an extensive bay, which abounded with fish of every description, and a great variety of water-fowl. On the other side of this dwelling, after passing over a few fields, (which at that time stood thick with corn,) venerable woods, that seemed the coevals of time, presented a “scene for contemplation fit, towering, majestic, and filling the devotional mind with a religions awe. I reflected, therefore, with augmenting gratitude to my heavenly Father, upon the pressing invitation, he hud put into the heart of his faithful ser vant to give me; and I determined to hasten back to this delightful retreat, where nothing, but the graudeur of simple nature, exhibited in the surrounding objects, and the genuine operations of the divine spirit on the heart of the hospitable master, awaited my approach. *

* Cranberry Inlet,' says Mr. Thomas, in the account before referred to, 'was situated about 60 miles east of Philadelphia. I say was-for it was entirely filled up with sand many years ago, and the beach is now as high at that place as at any other in the vicinity, though not so wide.

"I visited the house in which Potter lived and died. It is situated less than half a mile east of Good Luck. An addition has been built to it, and the appearance of the whole exterior is changed, but the interior remains as it was in the days of Potter. It is a plain, substantial build. ing. I have been invited to make it my home when next I visit the neighborhood.

The meeting-house stands in the edge of a beautiful wood. The exterior presents an aged appearance; but the interior, constructed of the best cedar, manifests no signs of decay. The large square pew,' (of which Murray speaks ) long occupied by Potter and his family, was removed about a year ago, and plain benches substituted. The pulpit has been somewhat cut down at either end. In other respects the building remains in its original state. It was left by will to John Murray, for the use of all denominations. By the mismanagement of the executor, it became necessary to sell a part of the estate,

to pay certain demands against it—of the injustice of which, however, the heirs enter: tained no doubt. In disposing of the property contiguous to Good I had not the least idea of tarrying in New York a moment longer, than to see the captain, deliver up my charge, and receive my baggage, and I resolved to return, by the first opportunity, to my benevolent friend. And thus did I make up my inind : Well, if it be so, I am grateful to God, that the business is thus adjusted. If I must be a promulgator of these glad, these vast, yet obnoxious tidings, I shall however be sheltered in the boson of friendship, in the bosom of retirement. I will employ myself on the grounds of my friend, thus earning my own support

, and health will be a concomitant; while I will preach the glad tidings of salvation, free as the light of heaven. The business, thus arranged, I became reconciled to the will of the Almighty, and I commenced, with tolerable composure, another, and very important, stage of my various life.

Record continued from the September of 1770 to the winter of

"Armed with the sword of Jesse's youthful son,
Engaged with ardor in the freedom won
By Christ, the anointed God of earth and heaven,
Dare, nobly, Murray, tell the boon that is given.'

Motto by a Friend. Behold me now entering upon a new stage of the journey of life

, a professed preacher of the gospel. Of my inability for an undertaking so vast, I retained a continued and depressing sense; but I determined to be as consistent and as useful as possible; I would be an assistant to my new friend in his agricultural and fishing employments; and, upon every returning Sunday I would preach to him the truth as it is in Jesus. I had not the most remote idea of Luck, no reservation of the meeting-house was made in the deed. It was subsequently purchased by the Methodist society, who have it now in possession. Should they hereafter evince an exclusive spirit in relation to its occupancy, their title may justly be called in question.

Thomas Potter died nearly forty years ago. His grave, at the east end of the meeting-house, was pointed out to me by one of the oldest inhabi'ants in the neighborhood. Owing to inattention and the sandy nature of the soil, it was long ago levelled with the adjacent ground. It was enclosed soon after his burial--but the fence was broken down some twenty years ago—and two posts and a rail, very much decayed, are all that remain. The oak of which Murray 'speaks, (* Sketches, vol . i. p 336) no longer exists. I have obtained permission to re-inclose and erect a tomb-stone to his memory.'


T. W.


« AnteriorContinuar »