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wiped his venerable eye; at yonder gate I turned, he waved his hand, God Almighty bless you; you will come again; forget not your friends, your ancient friend.' If I do, said my heart, may my right hand forget its cunning. But I forgot thee, good old man, too long I forgot thee! and now that I am at last returned, thou art not here to bid me, in the politest, that is in the sincerest manner, welcome.
'Mrs. P- approached; she lifted up her hands and eyes in speechless anguish, seated herself, changed color—no matter-the worst is past. I have visited the meeting-house reared by his hand for the worship of his God. It is embosomed in a grove of stately oaks, all trimmed and in beautiful order-under this shade reposcth the man, by whom the house was raised, by whom the grove was planted. I beheld his grave; it was not a marble, a hard marble that informed me whose dust lay there, it was a feeling mechanic, who, having experienced much kindness from the deceased, wept when he told me that spot contained the dead.—I carefully examined the grave, to see if any weeds grew there.-No, no, they had no business there. I could not pluck a noxious nettle from his grave: there grew upon it a few wild flowers, emblematic of the mind that once inhabited this insensate clay. At the foot of the grave stands the most majestic and flourishing of all the oaks which surround the grave; it was once on the point of falling a sacrifice to the axe-man, but my friend solicited for its continuance, pronouncing that it would fish when he should sleep beside it; and having thus rescued er, ded my informant, he has since paid it particular attention, which is the reason of its so far surpassing the other trees.
'Peace, peace to thy spirit, thou friendly, feeling, faithful man; thy dust is laid up to rest, near the house thou didst build for God, but thy spirit rests with God in the house built by him for thee, and though our dust may not meet again, our spirits will meet and rejoice together, in those regions of blessedness, where pain can find no entrance, where death can no more usurp dominion, where no tear of sorrow shall ever dim the joy-brightened eye, for we shall part no more forever. I said there was no nettle on this grave: one thing, however, was very remarkable; a gourd had crept along until it came to, and spread over his grave, mixing its foliage with the swee -s ented flowers that grew thereon.
'Never was place better calculated for melancholy musing than this spot, so thick the grove around; the little neat grave-yard at the end, the shutters of the house for public worship all closed up, the lonely situation inviting the birds, their music serves to mellow the scene; all, all, is most truly for solemn meditation fit.
'By the following article in the will of my deceased friend, this house of worship becomes my property.
"The house built by me for the worship of God, it is my will that God be worshipped in it still, and for this purpose I will that my ever dear friend, Mr. John Murray, preacher of the gospel shall possess it, having the sole direction, disposal and management of
said house, and one acre of land upon which it stands, and by which it is surrounded."
'In this house of worship I have once more preached. It is full two years since divine service has been performed there. I selected for my subject, 1 Corinthians vi. 20; ‘For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.'
At the close of this sermon Mr. Murray reverted in the following terms to the character of Mr. Potter:
Through yonder open casement, I behold the grave of a man, the recollection of whom swells my heart with gratitude, and fills my eyes with tears. There sleeps the sacred dust of him who well understood the advantages resulting from the public worship of the true God. There rests the ashes of him who glorified God in his body, and in his spirit, which he well knew were the Lord's. He believed he was bought with a price, and therefore he declared that all he was, and had, were righteously due to the God who had created, and purchased him with a price, all price beyond. There rests the precious dust of the friend of strangers, whose hospitable doors were ever open to the destitute, and him who had none to relieve his sufferings. I myself was once thrown on these shores a desolate stranger, this Christian man brought me to his habitation. God, (said he,) hath blessed me, he has given me more than a competency, and he has given me a heart to devote myself and all that I have, to him. I have built a place for his name and worship; I would, continued the faithful man, erect this temple myself, with what God had given me. My neighbors would have lent their aid, but I refused assistance from any one. I would myself build the house, that God might be worshipped without contention, without interruption, that he might be worshipped by all whom he hould vouchsafe to send.
'This elegant house, my friends, the first friends who hailed my arrival in this country, this elegant house, with its adjoining grove, is yours. The faithful founder bequeathed it to me, that none of you may be deprived of it. His dust reposes close to this monument of his piety; he showed you by his life, what it was to glorify God in body and spirit; and he has left you this house that you may assemble here together, listen to the voice, and unite to chant the praises of the God who crcated, who has bought you with a price, and who will preserve you.
'Dear faithful man, when last I stood in this place, he was present among the assembly of the people. I marked his glistening eye; it always glistened at the emphatic rame of Jesus.-Even now I behold in imagination his venerable countenance; benignity is seated on his brow, his mind is apparently open and confiding; tranquillity reposeth upon his features, and the expression of each varying emotion evinceth that faith which is the parent of enduring peace, of that peace which passeth understanding.
'Let us, my friends, imitate his philanthropy, his piety, his charity. I may never again meet you, until we unite to swell the loud hallelujahs before the throne of God. But to hear of your faith, of your perseverance, of your brotherly love, of your works of charity, will heighten my enjoyments, and soothe my sorrows, even to the verge of my mortal pilgrimage. Accept my prayers in your behalf, and let us unite to supplicate our common God and Father, for the mighty blessing of his protection.' T. W.]
And now a large number of Mr. Murray's first friends in Gloucester were numbered with the dead. He had himself again become the head of a family. The times were oppressive, and he considered it his duty to provide for those of whom he had taken charge. The Bostonians were solicitous to hail the preacher as their settled pastor: and it was certain his usefulness would, in the metropolis, be more extensive. A partial separation from the Gloucesterians was, by mutual consent, effectuated. It was however stipulated, that Mr. Murray should occasionally visit them, and that they should be allowed to command his presence, upon every distressing or important exigence; and the distance being no more than an easy ride of a few hours, the adjustment was accomplished without much difficulty. Yet did the preacher continue dissatisfied, until the establishment of his successor, in the midst of his long-loved and early friends.
The Rev. Mr. Thomas Jones, a native of Wales, whom he had induced, by his representations, to unite with him in his American mission, is a gentleman of great respectability, of the purest morals and high in the ranks of integrity. Mr. Jones was educated at the college, established by the Countess of Huntington; in which connexion he continued, until his attachment to the doctrines of the gospel, in their most unlimited inport, became the signal for his exclusion. The installation of Mr. Jones, in Gloucester, gladdened the heart of the philanthropic preacher, and his satisfaction was complete. The Gloucesterians love and respect their pastor, and their unanimity is unbroken. They have erected a new and elegant house of worship. In Salem also, and in Portsmouth and Charlestown, in New York and in Philadelphia, commodious buildings are reared to the honor of GOD OUR SAVIOUr.
On Wednesday, 23d of October, 1793, the installation of Mr. Murray took place in the Universal meeting-house in Boston; the Presiding Deacon, (Oliver W. Lane,) addressed the church and congregation:
Brethren, it having pleased the Father of mercies to unite in bonds of Christian love and affection the hearts of the people, usually worshipping in this place, in the choice of Mr. John Murray for their Pastor and Teacher, We have accordingly assembled together at this time and place, for the solemn purpose of ratifying here below, what we humbly trust is already recorded in heaven. It is the duty of all men, at all times, and in all places, humbly to
implore the direction of the great Head of the Church, in all their lawful undertakings.' (Then followed an appropriate prayer by Mr. Murray.) After which, the Deacon demanded of the church and congregation, as they had heretofore expressed their desire that Mr. Murray should become their Pastor and Teacher, if, at this time they continued of that mind, they would publicly confirın it,
vote--which was unanimous. He then requested Mr. Murray's answer, which being given in the affirmative, he concluded his address: I, therefore, in the name and behalf of this church and congregation-supported by the constitution of this commonwealth, declare you, John Murray, to be the Pastor and Teacher of this First Universal Church in Boston; and in their name I present unto you the Sacred Volume, as the rule of your faith and practice, and as containing a perfect and complete revelation of the perfections and will of God; and I furthermore declare unto you, that so long as you continue to preach the gospel, as delineated in these sacred pages, which is glad tidings of great joy to every creature, as the purchase of the blood of Immanuel, so long you shall be considered as our Pastor, and no longer. And now, dearly beloved Sir, 'I charge thee, therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His Appearing, and His Kingdom; to Preach the Word, be instant in Season, out of Season; Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort, with all long Suffering, and Doctrine. In all things showing thyself a Pattern of Good Works: In Doctrine showing Uncorruptness, Gravity, Sincerity, Sound Speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part, may be Ashamed, having no Evil thing to say of you. A Workman that needeth not to be Ashamed, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.' And now, sir, commending you with the Church and Congregation, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you Overseer, to the care and protection of Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,' earnestly beseeching Him to build us all up in unity of the One Spirit and in the bond of peace. Now unto Him who is abundantly able to perform all these things for us, and to present us ALL faultless before the throne of an Infinite Majesty, be all honor, glory, dominion and power, throughout the ages of time, and a wasteless eternity. Ainen.'
Mr. Murray's reply was animated and replete with affection; after which, a hymn was performed by the choir of singers, accompanied by the organ. Next, an excellent discourse by Mr. Murray, from 1 Cor. ix. 14: For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, wo is unto me if I preach not the Gospel.' A collection for the distressed inhabitants of Philadelphia succeeded the sermon, and an anthem suited to the solemnities of the occasion was most admirably chanted. The whole was conducted with strict decorum, to the satisfaction of a very numerous, respectable, and attentive audience.
Perhaps no congregation were ever more unanimous, and more perfectly satisfied with the pastor of their election, than were the
people worshipping in the Church in Bennet Street; and perhaps no minister was ever more unfeignedly attached to the people of his charge, than was the long wandering preacher. Both the minister and congregation might truly be said to worship the Most High in the beauty of holiness. The ordinance of the Lord's supper was administered agreeably to their ideas of its genuine import. Parents brought their children into the great congregation, standing in the broad aisle, in the presence of the worshippers of God; the father received the babe from the hands of the mother, and presented it to the servant of God; who, deriving his authority for this practice from the example of his Redeemer, who says, 'Suffer little children to come unto me,' &c. &c., pronounced aloud the name of the child, and received it as a member of the mystical body of Him, who is the second Adam, the Redeemer of Men. How often has his paternal heart throbbed with rapture, as he has most devoutly repeated, 'We dedicate thee to Him, to whom thou properly belongest, to be baptized with His own baptism, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and we pronounce upon thee that blessing, which He commanded his ministers, Moses, Aaron, and his Sons, to pronounce upon his people, saying, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; The Lord muke His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.' *
* Mr. Murray rejected the practice of infant sprinkling. To him is to be attributed the ceremony of dedication which has obtained so generally in the Universalist church. His sentiments on this subject will be found scattered through his 'Letters and Sketches.' The following is a slight conversation concerning ordinances which passed between Mr. Murray and Rev. Elhanan Winchester, shortly after their first in
`I have had some conversation with Mr. W. on the subject of ordi
W. You do not use water baptism, 1 think, Mr. M.
M. No, sir; we listen to the baptist, and we hear him say: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who cometh after me is mightier than 1; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire; we know that John the baptist pointed in this passage to the Redeemer, and we prefer his baptism to that of his harbinger; nor can we advocate a plurality of baptisms, when we hear the Apostle say, there is but one Lord, and one baptism.
W. And the Lord's supper, you lay that aside also.
M. No, sir, we esteem this as a divine privilege; which, while life is lent, we shall religiously maintain, and that too in the way our Lord directed his disciples to use it. 'As oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, do it in the remembrance of me.' In the symbolic elements we behold the gathering together the many in one.
W. Aye, aye, I have seen all that can be said on that subject in a piece written by a lady. Had you no hand in that performance?
M. No, sir, not a single letter, not a point, either directly or indirectly, ever was furnished by me.