Imágenes de páginas







D. X.

MARTINI LUTHERE S. THEOLO- regardless of men or opinions, GIÆ D. CORPUS H. L. S. E. QUI indiscriminate in his censures of

those who differed from him, zealous in defending what he believed to be the cause of truth ; he was qualified to elude the sophistry, to despise the calumnies,

and to brave the opposition of In this place is interred the his popish adversaries. His body of MARTIN LUTHER, Doc- moral conduct was irreproachator of Divinity, who died at ble; not only correct, but apEisleben, the place of his nativi- proaching to austerity, as became ty, on the 18th of February, in the character of a Reformer ; the year 1546, when he had lived his invariable sanctity adorned 6.3 years, 3 months, and 10 days. the doctrine which he delivered,

Beza's Epigram on this illus- and his disinterestedness illustratrious reformer, may be thus ted the sincerity of his profestranslated.

sions. Even by the impetuosity Rome aw'd the world: the Pope o'er deed be justified, but which ap.

of his temper, which cannot inRome prevaild, With fraud'he conquerd, she with pears to us much more censura. arts of war ;

ble than it was thought by his Their force united, Luther's pen contemporaries, on account of assail'd,

the superior delicacy and exterAnd humbled both, than both more powerful fur.

nal politeness of the age in which Co, fabling Greece, and bid Alcides we live, he was fitted for accomknow,

plishing the great work which he His club, as Luther's pen, gave no undertook. The silent censure such blow.

of men whose lives reproved the Luther was above the middle corruptions of the church, as well size, his body robust, and his

as the complaints of the injured, eye so piercing, that few could had long been disregarded; sunk -bear it, when he looked intently in ignorance and superstition, on them. His voice, though the world, though groaning to be weak, was melodious; his appe

delivered, was held in chains by tite moderate; his diet plain. the bigotry of priestcraft, supThough far from being rich, he ported by the secular power. was extremely liberal in propor

To effect a revolution, therefore, tion to his substance. His learn. energy, nay violence was requiing was chiefly theological ; his

site ; and had Luther been more writings are more forcible than

amiable, and less vigorous, or elegant; his style often harsh more gentle and accommodating, and satirical. His mind was cast

like Melancthon, he must have in a mould which gave it a form

failed in the glorious enterprise suited to the object to which

which he so successfully achieve it was to be directed. Acute, ar

ed, and have left the world more dent, intrepid, persevering ;

involved than ever in the gloom vehement often to excess, confi. of corrupt opinions, and superstident, and sometimes arrogant ;

tious rites.

[ocr errors]

For the Panoplist. and not only blessed him, but

made bimself a blessing." MEMOIRS OF PRESIDENT

The prayers and vows of this DAVIES.

excellent woman were succeed. Were the homage, so gener- ed by active exertions. There ally paid to brilliant intellectual being no school at hand, she endowments, transferred to vir- took upon herself the task of tue and religion, it would be teaching her son to read : and well. Yet when genius and her efforts were early rewarded learning are sublimated by piety, in the uncommon proficiency of and devoted with ardour to the her pupil. He continued with best interests of mankind, they his parents till about the age of furnish a character equally ten. They had not the happivenerable and lovely. Such a ness, during this period, of obcharacter was President Davies. serving any special impressions To dwell on the talents, the vir- of religion made on his mind; tues and the exertions of so em- but he behaved himself as is inent a man, is an employment common for a sprightly, towardat once pleasant and edifying in ly child, under the influence of a high degree. The present me- pious example and instruction. moirs lay claim to little of orig. After this, he was sent to an inality. Their principal object English school, at some distance is to methodize and incorporate from home, where he continued the distinct and independent ac, two years, and made great prog. counts which are already before ress in his studies. But failing the public. Whatever additional of the pious instructions to which information they contain, is ei- he had been accustomed, he bether suggested by his works, or came more careless of the drawn from other sources of un- things of religion, than before. questionable authority.

Yet even at this period, he He was born November 3, habituated himself to secret 1724. His father was a planter, prayer, especially in the evening. in the county of Newcastle, on The reason for this punctuality, the Delaware, of great simplici- as stated in his diary, was, that ty of manners, and of reputed “he feared lest he should perpiety. His mother, an eminent haps die before morning.” It is Christian, had earnestly besought likewise remarkable, that, in his him of Heaven ; and considere prayers, he supplicated nothing ing him as given in answer to so ardently, as that he might be prayer, she named him Samuel, introduced into the gospel minand with great solemnity, devot: istry. ed him to the Lord. “The The time was now come, event proved,” says Dr. Finley, when that God, to whom he had " that God accepted the conse- been solemnly dedicated, and

crated boy, took him under his who designed him as an eminent · special care, furnished him for, instrument of shewing forth his

and employed him in, the ser- praise, would bring him home to vice of his church, prospered his himself. He was awakened to labours with remarkable success, solemn and serious concern re

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

specting eternal things. In the dour, in the pursuit of knowl. light of divine truth, he was led edge. His progress was impedto see himself a sinner, exposed ed by a variety of obstacles. to the awful displeasure of God, But the native vigour of his geand to all its insupportable con- nius, united to an indefatigable sequences. These impressions assiduity, surmounted them all. were full of anxiety and terror. Sooner than could have been ra. In this distress, he was enabled tionally expected, he was found to discern the necessity, the im- qualified for the gospel ministry. portance and all-sufficiency of He passed the usual previous the salvation revealed in the gos- trials with distinguished appropel.

This divine system of bation, and consecrated all his mercy now appeared in a new faculties and acquirements to the light. It satisfied his anxious service of the sanctuary. inquiries, and made provision for Being now licensed to preach all his wants. In the blood and the gospel, he applied himself to righteousness of the REDEEM- unfold and enforce those precious ER, he perceived a solid ground truths, whose power he had hapof hope, an unfailing source of pily experienced on his own consolation. Here he was ena- heart. In the exercise of this bled to place his whole reliance. sacred and delightful office, his Here he found a peace and satis. fervent zeal and undissembled faction before unknown. “ Be- piety, his popular talents and enlieving, he rejoiced with joy un- gaging methods of address, soon speakable, and full of glory." excited general admiration, and His religious comforts were, acquired him a distinguished however, long intermingled with character. Scarce was there a doubts and perplexities. But congregation where he was after some years of repeated and known, but would have esteemimpartial self-examination, heed it a happiness to enjoy his attained a confidence respecting stated ministrations. But how his state, which continued to the mysterious are the ways of Heaclose of life.

ven ! He was about this time atFrom this happy period, his. tacked with complaints, which mind seemed almost entirely ab- were supposed consumptive, and sorbed by heavenly things. His which brought him apparently great concern was to keep his to the borders of the grave. heart, and set a watch over every 'this enfeebled state, and without thought, word, and action. An- hope of recovery, he determined imated with love to God, he felt to spend the remainder of what stronger desires than ever, to he apprehended an almost exserve him in the gospel of his Son. hausted life, in endeavouring to Having tasted the sweets of re- advance his Master's glory in the ligion, he longed for nothing so good of souls. Being among a much as to be instrumental in people who were destitute of a bringing his fellow sinners to minister, he assiduously labourknow the same pure and sub- ed, in season and out of season, stantial delights.

While, by night, his hectic was Inspired by these sublime ob- so severe as to render him somejects, he engaged, with new ar- times delirious, and make it ne


cessary that he should be attend- erful energy of the divine Spired by watchers, he still preached it. The wilderness, and the soliin the day.* Nor did his indefati- tary places rejoiced, and blossomgable and heroic zeal gounreward- ed as the rose. A great number, ed. God gave him some precious both of whites aud blacks, were first-fruits of his ministry, par. hopefully converted to the living ticularly, in the remarkable con- God. In this success, the beversion of two gentlemen, who nevolent soul. of Mr. Davies manifested in their future found a rich gratification. His lives and conduct, that they were tract of preaching was singularly saints indeed.

extensive, his labours almost inIn consequence of an earnest eessant, and his pecuniary comapplication, he removed, after a pensation small. But to be an time, to some of the distant set. instrument of spreading the Retlements of Virginia, where he deemer's triumphs, and of addundertook the charge of a dis- ing new subjects to his spiritual senting congregation. Nothing kingdom, though from among but the purest motives of self- the despised and oppressed nadenying benevolence could have tives of Africa, was to him, the dictated such a step. It separat- highest reward. ed him from the beloved society From this scene of toil and of his friends, and his brethren of enjoyment, the providence of in the ministry ; it plunged him God now summoned him away. into a sea of anxious, unremit. He was chosen by the synod of ted labours ; while it exposed New York, at the instance of the him to the bitter censures and trustees of New Jersey college, resentments of many. Num- to accompany the Rev. Mr. Gil. bers of the inhabitants were but bert Tennent to Great Britain little removed from absolute hea- and Ireland, in order to solicit thenism. All the obstacles which benefactions for the college. could arise from blindness This election evinced the confi. and prejudice, from profaneness dence both of the synod and corand immorality, his preaching poration, in his superior abilities encountered. Yet his patience and popular talents ; a confiand perseverance, his magna- dence, which the issue of the afnimity and piety, added to his fair no wise disappointed. A evangelical and powerful minis- service in itself difficult and delitrations, were not without suc- cate, in its consequences precacess. The more he was known, rious, and involving a temporary the more was he esteemed. sacrifice of those domestic enContempt and aversion were joyments, which were peculiarly gradually turned into reverence. dear to him, he cheerfully unOpposition yielded to the doc- dertook, and executed with sintrines of the cross, and the pow- gular spirit and success. The

benefactions he received from These remarkable facts are re- the patrons of religion and learnlated on the authority of Dr. Gie. ing in Great Britain, were nuBONS of London, who, being an inti- merous and liberal, and such as mate friend of Mr. Davies, appears to have received them from his own placed the college in a prospermouth.

ous condition.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Returning from his voyage, us. His previous situation had he entered anew on his beloved afforded little leisure and com, task of preaching the gospel to paratively few means, for the his people in Virginia. Here cultivation of general science. he continued till the year 1759. He came likewise to the college The unusual lustre of his piety at a time when its literary state and talents was now no longer and reputation had been much to be confined to so remote a re- improved by the great and ac, gion. A vacancy being occa- knowledged abilities of President sioned in the college of New Burr. It was natural, therefore, Jersey by the decease of the em, that even his friends should have jnent' President Edwards (who some doubts of his complete prehad occupied the place but a few paration to fill and adorn so exdays) Mr. Davies was elected by alted a sphere. But it soon apthe Trustees to fill the important peared that the force and activity station. He received the news of of his mind had supplied every this event not merely with con- defect, and surmounted every cern, but with a kind of conster- obstacle. His official duties were nation. Though earnestly invited discharged, from the first, with to accept the charge, it was with an ability which disappointed ev. great difficulty he was brought ery fear, and realized the brightto think it his duty. The pro- est hopes. vince he occupied was impor- The ample opportunities and tant; and it was unspeakably demands which he found for the distressing, both to him and his exercise of his talents, gave a people, united by the strongest new spring to his diligence. bonds of mutual affection, to While his active labours were think of a separation. Repeated multiplied and arduous, his apapplications, however, at length plication to study was unusually prevailed to shake his resolution. intense. His exertions through But to preclude all mistake in a the day seemed rather to dispose case so important, he withheld him for reading,than rest by night. his consent, until he had sub- Though he rose by break of day, mitted the matter to the Rev. he seldom retired till twelve synod of New York and Phila- o'clock, or a later hour. His suc: delphia. They unanimously cess was proportionate. By the gave their opinion in favour of united efforts of his talents and his acceptance. Thus, to use industry, he left the college, at his own expressions, the evi: his death, in as high a state of dence of his duty was so plain, literary excellence, as it had ever that even his sceptical mind was known since its institution. The satisfied ; wbile his people saw few innovations which he introthe hand of Providence in it, duced into the academical exer. and dared not oppose.

cises and plans of study, were The period of his presidency confessedly improvements. He was equally auspicious to the was particularly happy in inspir. college, and honourable to him- ing his pupils with a taste for self. It was here that he gave composition and oratory, in the crowning evidence of the which he himself so much excel vigor and versatility of his geni- led.

« AnteriorContinuar »