Imatges de pàgina

His resignation to the will of God, when most severely exercised, was remarkable. When he followed two of his excellent sons (preachers of the Gospel,) to their graves, he manifested such resignation, as caused all the spectators to acknowledge that he was divinely supported. He bore all his trials with admirable patience; and constantly aimed at having his will in complete subjection to that of his heavenly Father. By getting and keeping near to God, and by dwelling under the shadow of the Almighty, he contracted a greater sense of divine things than is usually possessed by the generality of Gospel believers.

The work of the ministry, in which Mr. Elliot was sincerely and heartily engaged for about the space of sixty years, he considered as no less dangerous than important, and attended with so many difficulties, temptations, and humiliations, that nothing short of a call from the Son of God, could have encouraged him to undertake it. He saw that flesh and blood could find it no pleasant matter in itself to take the oversight of a number of souls; that it would be no easy thing to feed them with knowledge and understanding; to bear their manners with patience, and to esteem them highly as a part of the flock which was purchased with the blood of Christ, notwithstanding their infirmities and miscarriages. It was his decided opinion, that they who faithfully discharge their duty, as ministers of the Gospel, shall be exposed to sufferings; and it was under a due sense of these things that he devoted himself to the sacred ministry. But difficult as that ministry is, he was well qualified for fulfilling its various and important duties. In addition to eminent piety, that first of qualifications for a minister of Christ, he possessed a considerable share of learning. He was an excellent grammarian, and had a thorough knowledge of the languages in which the Holy Scriptures were originally written. He formed little systems of the liberal arts, for the use of certain Indians, who manifested a more than ordinary capacity for, and desire of mental improvement. But above all, he was eminently skilled in the blessed science of divinity. His thorough acquaintance with scriptural theology, in addition to the spirit of power and of love by which he was influenced, enabled him to convince gainsayers, and on all occasions to shew himself a thorough divine, and a workman that needed not to be ashamed.

The apostle Paul, reciting the qualifications of a Gospel minister, requires, that he be the husband of one wife, and one that ru

leth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. With these requisitions, Mr. Elliot strictly and uniformly complied. That one wife, whom he received as from the Lord, he loved, prized, and cherished, with a kindness that represented the compassion which he taught his people to expect from the Lord Jesus Christ; and after he had lived with her for more than fifty years, he followed her to the grave with deep and unfeigned sorrow. His whole conversation with her, had been accompanied with such sweetness and gravity, as disposed all who were acquainted with the holy and happy pair, to call them Zacharias and Elizabeth. Family religion was maintained by Mr. Elliot in the most devout and exemplary manner. It was his constant practice, before daily prayers in his family, to read a part of the Holy Scriptures. In order to improve the minds of his young people, it was customary with him to make them choose a passage in the chapter which they had heard read, and give him some of their own observations upon it. By this method he induced them to think, and become acquainted with the progress they made in the knowledge of divine truth; thus did he endeavour to make them wise unto salvation. He was very strict in the education of his children, and more careful to remove any error in their hearts or lives, than he could have been to cure them of a bodily disease. He suffered no exhorbitancies or extravagancies to find place under his roof; nor was his house any other than a school of piety: there was to be seen there a perpetual mixture of a Spartan and a Christian discipline.

In all his sermons Mr. Elliot attended to the charge which Christ, in effect, gives to all his ministers, Feed my sheep, feed my Lambs. Hence his manner of preaching was so plain, as to be equally understood by both children and men in understanding. He did not attempt to entertain his hearers with empty or unprofitable speculations; but, with a mind well informed, his matter carefully arranged, and his heart glowing with holy zeal, he preached the Gospel of Salvation. His delivery was always graceful; and even when he lifted up his voice like a trumpet, and denounced the terrible threatenings contained in the Book of God, his earnestness was accompanied with decency of phrase and manner. In rebuking the earthly-mindedness of professing Christians, he manifested extraordinary fervour. He then spoke as it was said one of the ancients did, quot verba tot falmina, as many thunderbolts as words,

He always had much of Christ in his sermons; and hence, whatever subject he treated, his use of it, in the application, was to drive men to the Lord Jesus Christ. This excellent method, the usefulness of which he often witnessed in the course of his ministry, he earnestly and affectionately recommended to others. To young preachers he was in the habit of saying, Pray let there be much of Christ in your ministry; and when he heard such a sermon as he conceived to be properly evangelical, he would say, "O blessed be God, that we have Christ so much, and so well preached in poor New-England."

He relished no discourse that was not well studied; but such sermons as evinced that their authors were men of study and reading, he not only heard with pleasure, but highly commended. After a sermon of that description, Mr. Mather heard him address the preacher thus: "Brother, there was oil required for the service of the sanctuary; but it must be beaten oil! I praise God that I saw your oil so well beaten to day. The Lord help us always by good study to beat our oil, that there may be no knots in our sermons left undissolved; and that there may be a clear light thereby given in the house of God!" And yet he looked for something in a sermon, beside, and far beyond the study of man; he was for having the Spirit of God breathing in it, and with it so that the hearers might be compelled to say, The Spirit of God was here! He once said, "It is a sad thing, when a sermon shall have the one thing, the Spirit of God, wanting in it."

Mr. Elliot very justly considered the children of his people as an important part of his charge; and hence kept up the great ordinance of catechising, both publicly and privately. This excellent work occupied much of his time. "It would be incredible, (says Mr. Mather,) if I should relate what pains he took to keep up the echos of truth between himself and the young people of his congregation; and what prudence he used in suiting his catechisms to the age and strength of his little catechu


His regard for the welfare of the children under his care, he manifested by his activity in supporting a good school in the town where he resided. Whatever it might cost him, there he was determined always to have a grammar-school; and he importuned others to follow his example. God so blessed his endea vours, that Roxbury could not live quietly without a Free-school

in the town; and the issue of it was, that Roxbury produced more scholars, first for the college, and then for the public, than any town of its size in New England. For the support of this school Mr. Elliot bequeathed a considerable part of his


Hitherto we have considered Mr. Elliot as a Christian, and a minister of the Gospel, but we now come to view him in the character of a missionary. After he had signalized himself in that office, an honourable person, in a printed paper, styled him an Evangelist; to whom he wrote, "There is a redundancy where you put the title of Evangelist upon me; I beseech you to suppress all such things; let us do, and speak, and carry all things with humility; it is the Lord who hath done what is done."

It is not known that any beside the Holy Spirit of God, first moved him to the blessed work of evangelizing the Indians of New-England; it was that Holy Spirit which impressed upon his mind the idea of that which was afterwards affixed to the seal of the Massachusett colony, viz. a poor Indian, having a label going from his mouth, with the words, COME OVER and help us. It was the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ which inspired him with pity for the dark souls of the unhappy natives. But when his pity began to flame, all the good men in the country rejoiced in his undertaking: the ministers especially encouraged him, and those in the neighbourhood kindly supplied his place, and partly performed his work at Roxbury, while he was abroad, labouring among the heathen. After he had begun the good work, a liberal contribution was made among the pious people of England; by means of which, a considerable estate and income were entrusted to an honourable corporation, by whom they were to be employ ed in the Christian service.

The state of the Indians, previous to the English coming among them, was truly deplorable. They lived in a country filled with mines, but were not the owners of so much as a knife; and their name for an Englishman was, a knife-man. Stone was used instead of metal for their tools; and for their coin, they had only little beads, with holes in them, by which they strung them. in a bracelet, six of which passed for a penny. Their housing was nothing but a few mats, tied about poles fastened in the earth, where, in the coldest seasons, a good fire was their substitute for bed-clothes. From the skins of beasts, they obtained a

very partial covering through the day. An ordinary meal, with them, consisted of a spoonful of parched meal, with a spoonful of water. They occasionally ate the flesh of deer, bears, moose, and fish. It does not appear that the use of salt was known among them. The men were abominably slothful; making their wives plant, dress, bring in, beat their corn, and build their Wigwams for them. Hunting was the only employment in which they condescended to engage. No arts were understood among them, unless so far as was necessary to their brutish conversation, which was little more than is to be found among beavers. They believed in a plurality of gods, who made, and who own the several nations of the world; but that he whom they called their great god, resided in south-west regions. But, notwithstanding their believing thus, before they entered upon some weighty undertaking, they were in the habit of using certain diabolical rites. In short, they were notoriously wicked, being without hope, and without God in the world.

The first step which Mr. Elliot judged necessary to be taken in order to preach the Gospel to those outcasts of men, was to learn the Indian language; for he plainly saw them to be so stupid and senseless, that they would never so much as inquire after the religion of the strangers come into their country, much less lay aside their beastly mode of living, that they might be made partakers of any spiritual advantage from them, unless they could be first addressed in their own language. In order to acquire a thorough knowledge of this, he hired a very intelligent native, by the assistance of whom he soon became master of it. With laborious care, and exquisite skill, he composed a grammar of the Indian language, which he afterwards published. The length of many words in that language, independent of its bearing no affinity to any other, either written or spoken in Europe, presented no ordinary obstacle to his undertaking. The following two words may suffice for a specimen :



the first of which means our lusts, and the second, our loves. At the close of his grammar, he wrote, "Prayers and pains, through faith in Christ Jesus, will do any thing!"

(To be concluded in the next.)

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