« ПредишнаНапред »
was the preacher debarred the exercise of his sacred avocation; Mr. Adams requested he would officiate as their teacher, every Sunday, and accordingly the ship's company, and the passengers, were, upon this holy day, collected round him. His first subject was the third commandment. They united in their addresses to the throne of grace, and in hymning the praises of their God.
Again reaching the shores of this New World, the voice of exoneration and of FREEDOM bade him welcome; and the glad acclamations of joy resounded among his congratulating and most affectionate friends. A summons from the Governor to attend a select party at his house, met him on the day of his arrival, and every liberal mind partook the rational hilarity of the moment.
The Gloucesterians, determining no more to hazard invidious prosecution, and its train of evils, appointed a day, the Christmas of 1788, on which to renew the ordination of their pastor; and, after assembling, and effectuating their purpose, that they night bestow upon the solemn transaction all possible publicity, they procured its insertion in the Centinel of January 3d, 1789, from which paper we transcribe it verbatim:
'Last Thursday week, Mr. John Murray was ordained to the pastoral charge of the Independent Church of Christ in Glouces ter. After Mr. Murray had prayed, and one of the congregation had announced the intention of the meeting, and presented him, formally, with a call, Mr. Murray replied:
'Persuaded of the truth of the declaration, made by the compilers of the shorter catechism, that God's works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful, preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions; and having a full conviction that the affairs of the Church are, in an especial manner, under his immediate direction; and that you, my christian friends and brethren, are now as formerly, under the directing influence of that divine spirit, which, taking of the things of Jesus, and showing them unto me, constrained me to become a preacher of the everlasting Gospel, and directed you to set me apart, and ordain me, to be your Minister; I now again, with humble gratitude to my divine Master, and grateful affection for you, my long-tried and faithful christian friends and brethren, most cordially accept of this call.'
One of the Committee then read the vote of the Church: 'Resolved, that we, the proprietors of the Independent Meeting-House in Gloucester, the members of the church and congregation usually attending there for the purpose of divine worship, do, by virtue of that power vested in us by the great High Priest of our profession, the Bishop of our souls, and the Great and only Head of the Church; and according to the institutions of the first churches in New England, and in perfect conformity to the third article of the declaration of rights, in this public manner, solemnly elect and ordain, constitute and appoint Mr. John Murray, of said Glouces ter, clerk, to be our settled Minister, Pastor, and teaching Elder;
to preach the word of God, and to inculcate lessons and instructions of piety, religion, and morality, on the congregation; and to do, perform, and discharge all the duties and offices, which of right belong to any other minister of the Gospel, or public teacher of Piety, Religion, and Morality; and it is hereby intended, and understood, that the authority and rights hereby given to the said Mr. John Murray, to be our settled, ordained minister, and public teacher, are to remain in full force, so long as he shall continue to preach the word of God, and dispense instructions of piety, religion and morality, conformable to our opinions, and no longer.'
'The Committee then solemnly presented him the Bible, saying on its presentation: 'Dear sir, We present you these sacred scriptures as a solemn seal of your ordination to the ministry of the New Testament, and the sole directory of your faith and practice.' His acceptance was affecting; as what comes from the heart reaches the heart.
'With my full soul I thank our merciful God for this inestimable gift. With grateful transport I press it to my bosom: I receive it as the copy of my FATHER'S WILL, as the deed of an incorruptible inheritance; as the unerring guide to my feet, and lanthorn to my paths. Dear, precious treasure, thou hast been my constant support in every trying hour, and a never-failing source of true consolation. I thank you, most sincerely do I thank you, for this confirming seal, this sure directory; and I pray that the spirit which dictated these sacred pages, may enable me to make the best use thereof. A sermon by Mr. Murray, from Luke v. 2, succeeded, The harvest is great, but the laborers are few,' &c. &c.
'The solemnity, attention and christian demeanor that attended the whole transaction of the ordination, and every other occurrence of the day, gave universal satisfaction to a numerous audience.'
Days of tranquillity now succeeded; weeks, montlis, nay years rolled on, and harmony, unbroken harmony presided. Religion shed her balmy influence, her mind-irradiating, passion-subduing consolations; and we were ready to say, stability dwelleth even in our times. But alas! we too soon experienced that 'bliss, sublunary bliss,' was not the durable possession of mortality.
It was in this interval of most pleasant memory, that Mr. Murray, in the summer of the year 1790, then on a visit to his Pennsylvania, Jersey and New York connexions, was, by the Universalists convened in the city of Philadelphia, associated with Mr. William Eugene Imley, to present, an address to the immortal Washington, then President of the United States. We proceed to transcribe the address.
'TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
"The Address of the Convention of the Universal Church, assembled in Philadelphia.
'Permit us, in the name of the society which we represent, to concur in the numerous congratulations which have been offered to you, since your accession to the government of the United States.
'For an account of our principles, we beg leave to refer you to the pamphlet, which we have now the honor of putting into your hands. In this publication it will appear, that the peculiar doctrine which we hold, is not less friendly to the order and happiness of society, than it is essential to the perfection of the Deity. It is a singular circumstance in the history of this doctrine, that it has been preached and defended in every age since the first promulgation of the Gospel: but we represent the first society, professing this doctrine, that have formed themselves into an independent church. Posterity will hardly fail to connect this memorable event with the auspicious years of PEACE, LIBERTY, and free inquiry in the United States, which distinguished the administration of GENERAL WASHINGTON.
"We join, thus publicly, with our affectionate fellow-citizens, in thanks to Almighty God, for the last of his numerous signal acts of goodness to our country, in preserving your valuable life, in a late dangerous indisposition; and we assure you, Sir, that duty will not prompt us, more than affection, to pray that you may long continue the support and ornament of our country, and that you may hereafter fill a higher station, and enjoy the greater reward of being a king and priest to our God.
Signed in behalf, and by order of the convention.
WILLIAM EUGENE IMLEY.'
'To the Convention of the Universal Church lately assembled in Philadelphia.
"I thank you, cordially, for the congratulations which you offer on my appointment to the office I have the honor to hold in the government of the United States.
"It gives me the most sensible pleasure to find, that in our nation, however different are the sentiments of citizens on religious doctrines, they generally concur in one thing: for their political pro
fessions, and practices, are almost universally friendly to the order and happiness of our civil institutions. I am also happy in finding this disposition particularly evinced by your society. It is moreover my earnest desire, that the members of every association or community throughout the United States, may make such use of the auspicious years of peace, liberty and free inquiry with which they are now favored, as they shall hereafter find occasion to rejoice for having done.
With great satisfaction, I embrace this opportunity, to express my acknowledgments for the interest my affectionate fellow-citizens have taken in my recovery from a late dangerous indisposition. And I assure you, Gentlemen, that in mentioning my obligations for the effusions of your benevolent wishes on my behalf, I feel animated with new zeal, that my conduct may ever be worthy of your good opinion, as well as such as shall, in every respect, best comport with the character of an intelligent and accountable being. 'G. WASHINGTON.'
* *[I suppose this to have been the time at which Mr. Murray visited the grave of his 'earliest American friend,' Thomas Potter. His reflections at that event are recorded in his 'Letters and Sketches,' Vol. i. pp. 334-341. The circumstance deserves a place in his 'Life;' and would, in all probability, have been introduced by himself, had he been permitted to have filled up the narrative to the time of his sickness. He carried it forward only to the close of the year 1774-the remainder was written by his widow. We shall take the liberty to introduce the passages here.
'My ride to this place has been very disagreeable, the heat so intense and the sand so deep, and no hospitable friend P in view dear, honored friend, the first patron with which I was blessed in this new world, how indulgent wert thou to me, with how much benevolence didst thou cherish me, when a stranger in thy mansion, and how didst thou labor for my advancement.
'Many aged persons, who were in the habit of attending my labors, have visited me. They express their honest sensibility in a variety of ways; but all are overjoyed to see me; they are solicitous to pour into my ear the story of their accumulated sufferings; they imagine they shall reap pleasure from commiseration; yet what, alas! can helpless pity do? There is, however, much pleasure in communicating our sorrows to a sympathizing friend.
'I am now in the house that once belonged to the venerable P―, to my friend P. I am not however an occupant of the same apartment ich he fitted up for my use, and directed me to consider as my own; that apartment, and the greater part of the house, is devoted to those who loved not him, and knew not me. Alas! what is this world! how often we thus exclaim, thus ask, because we imagine it is not what it should be; were it under our direction it would be better managed; but it is not nor never will be-One thing is certain, on life there is little or no dependence
This dear man, this American 'MAN OF ROSS,' was suddenly snatched from the scenes of time, deprived instantly of reason, and in a few hours of life. His soul proud science never taught to stray.' But he was a gem of the first quality, and notwithstanding the crust, which from his birth enfolded him, yet by the rubs he suffered from the pebbles among which he was placed, this crust was so far broken, as to emit, upon almost every occasion, the native splendor of his intellect. Had this man in early life received the culture of nature's hand-maid, what a luminous figure he would have made! But the God of nature had stamped upon his soul the image of himself, unbounded benevolence.
'I reached this place yesterday evening, the sun was just setting and as I passed through the well-known fields, and saw them rich and flourishing in all the pride of nature. I felt an irrational kind of anger glow at my heart, that those fields should look so exceeding gay, when their master had taken an everlasting leave of every terrestrial scene. The depression upon my spirits, as I reached the house, was indescribable; I beheld one, and another, whose faces I had never before seen. An ugly mastiff growled at me as I passed; and this is the first time, said I, that I was ever growled at, in this place, by any of thy kind; but he was soon silenced by a lad, who was brought up by my friend. 'Lord bless me-Is not this Mr. Murray? Why, Matt. do you remember me? Remember you, Sir-remember Mr. Murray-yes, indeed, Sir.' This dog does not, Matt.! But he would if he ho dived in master's time; but he is a stranger.' They are all stigers, Matt., are they not? 'Indeed they are all, but my mistress and myself.' And where is your mistress, Matt.? 'I will call her, Sir.' No, my good lad, not yet; what have you for my horse? Nothing but grass.' Nothing at Mr. P- 's but grass? Ah! sir, it is not now the house of Mr. P- - True, true, true. Leave me, my good lad, leave
'I walked round the house, entered every avenue, looked at my garden; it was made for me; the trees, the flowering shrubs have run wild, and the whole surface of the spot is covered with weeds. This pleased me; just so I would have it.
This is the tree planted by my own hand; how flourishing! But where is the other, planted directly opposite at the same moment, by my friend? alas! like its planter, dead! On this very spot I first saw the philanthropist-Can you assist me, Sir? Yes, Sir. On what terms? I receive no payment, Sir. He who gave to me did not charge me any thing; you are welcome at the price.' Here our acquaintance commenced-but it is ended, at least in the present state. I shall see him no more on this side eternity. On this seat we sat, and there the tear of transport rolled down his furrowed cheek, when we conversed upon that redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Under that oak we have frequently sat, contemplating the shadow from the heat, the hiding place from the storm. At yonder gate he bid me farewell, and