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day of his death, the tender solicitude of a father who would often take him alone into the woods, and of a mother who no less frequently would retire with him to a private apartment, to exhort him with tears, and to entreat him by all the anguish of a parent's heart to be reconciled to God. These faithful admonitions would often awaken him to temporary seriousness and prayer; and though they did not at once produce an abiding effect, they were not lost.
himself on the ground, looking for the earth to open and swallow him up.
Thus the seed of truth, which had been planted by a father's care, and watered by a mother's tears, was preparing to shoot.
After spending two or three years in Carolina, he took leave of his mother, to pursue his education under the direction of his guardian. At first he was entered in a private school in a small hamlet in Delaware, which has since grown to a village by the name of Newark. Thence he was removed to a public school at West-Nottingham, Ce
care of the Rev. Mr. Finley, af-
In February, 1748, when he was in his 14th year, he was deprived of his excellent father, who at his death left four child-cil county, Maryland, under the ren, all of whom were so many proofs of the happy effects of parental faithfulness. The three eldest being already settled in North Carolina, their mother, in the following autumn, removed into that State, accompanied by Alexander, who left his paternal estate, in Delaware, under the care of a guardian. Here first commenced his permanent religious impressions, under a sermon preached by Mr. John Brown, (one of those evangelical preachers who in that day were called New Lights,) from Ps. vii. 12. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow and made it ready. An arrow of a different nature reached his heart. The horrors of guilt, and the terrors of eternal judgment, from that moment assailed him, and for near three years filled him with indescribable distress. He used daily to repair to a copse of pines, near his brother's house, where he resided; and there, to use his own expressive words, would dash
Having continued two years in that school, in May, 1756, being in his 22d year, he joined the junior class in the college which was then in Newark. Thus he began his public career in science in the very place which was destined to be the scene of his future usefulness. The ground on which his youthful feet trod was reserved to be the resting place of his weary limbs, after the labours of more than half a century.
It was already determined to remove the college to Princeton; on which account President Burr's pastoral relation to the church in Newark had the
year before been dissolved. In October of this year the college was removed, and Mr. Macwhorter belonged to the first class which graduated at Princeton. He took his degree in the autumn of 1757, a few days after the lamented death of Mr. Burr.
Having thus completed his academical studies, he was on the point of returning to North Carolina, to take his mother's counsel in regard to the future course of his life, when he received the afflicting news of her death. This changed his purpose, and he entered upon the study of divinity, under the instruction of the Rev. William Tennent, the pious and justly celebrated minister of Freehold, in New Jersey.
In August following, (1758) he was licensed to preach by the presbytery of New Brunswick, which sat at Princeton; and in October was married to Mary Cumming, daughter of Robert Cumming, Esq. of Freehold, a respectable merchant, and high sheriff of the county of Monmouth. By this marriage he was introduced into a family connexion with his revered instructor, Mr. Tennent.
The congregation of Newark, after the dismission of Mr. Burr, fell into a state of unhappy division, which continued near four years. In the collision of interests and passions, too common on such occasions, the people were long divided between different candidates, until Mr. Macwhorter, on the 28th day of June, 1759, preached his first sermon to them. At once they fixed their eyes on him as the object of their united choice.
Mr. Macwhorter had been appointed by the synod of NewYork and Philadelphia to a mission among his friends in North Carolina; and with that view he was ordained by his presbytery, at Cranberry, on the 4th day of July. But Providence had formed other designs concerning him. At that very meeting of presbytery, commissioners from Newark appeared, and by their solicitations, seconded by the influence of Mr. Tennent, obtained him for a supply. The people were so well satisfied with his ministerial qualifications, that they harmoniously agreed to present him a call, and he was installed the same summer, at the age of 25, within two years after he had graduated.
In the course of his ministry, he bore an important part in all the leading measures, which for near half a century, have been adopted, to promote the order and interest of the Presbyterian church in the United States.
He was among the first subscribers to the Widow's Fund, which was established in 1761; and in later life was for many years a director of that benevolent institution.
In 1764, the synod renewed his appointment to the mission into North Carolina; which gave him an opportunity to revisit his family friends, from whom he had been separated more than 12 years, But this mission came near costing him his life. While in Carolina, he was seized with the bilious fever incident to the climate, which left him with a hectic, accompanied with expectoration of blood, that for two years threatened to put an
early period to his usefulness. Yet in this scene of affliction, it pleased God, in the winter of 1764, 5, to encourage him with a revival of religion in his congregation. In the following summer, he received a call from the united congregations of Center and Poplar Tent, in North Carolina; which, though it presented him an opportunity to settle among the children and descendants of his father, he thought it his duty to reject. In 1766, the state of his health became so critical, that he was induced to try the experiment of a northern journey; and a tour, which he made to Boston in the autumn of this year, proved the means of his sudden and complete restoration. From his first settlement at Newark, he had been regularly subject to an attack of the pleurisy once or twice a year; but after this return of health, he experienced no recurrence of the disorder, as long as he lived. Except a few short periods of illness, and a paralytic affection in his hands, which he inherited from his father, and which grew upon him as he advanced in years, he enjoyed vigorous health even to old age.
Soon after his return from Boston, the congregation in that town, which had three years before become vacant by the death of Mr. Cumming, his brother-inJaw, proposed to him to take a dismission from his people, preparatory to receiving a call. from them; as they had conscientious scruples about calling a settled minister. This preliminary step he refused to take, and the business went no further.
In 1772, he was elected a trustee of the college of New-Jersey, and continued a very important member of that board till a few months before his death.
The same year commenced the second revival of religion under his ministry, which proved more extensive than the former, and continued about two years.
Mr. Macwhorter was an active friend of his country, and partook with his afflicted congregation in the hardships and perils of the revolution. This same year, (1775) he was appointed by Congress to visit that district of North Carolina in which he had been before, to employ his influence to bring over the enemies of the revolution to the American interest. But whatever zeal and abilities were exerted in this enterprise, it issu ed, agreeably to his prediction to Doct. Franklin, with little suc
In 1776, he was honoured with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by the corporation of Yale College.
In the summer of 1778, at the solicitation of his friend General Knox, he accepted the chaplainship of his brigade, which lay then with the main army at White Plains. During the few months that he held this station, Washington was frequently his auditor, and he was often Washington's guest.
In the autumn of the same year, he received a call from the Congregational church in the city of Charleston, in South Carolina. On this occasion it was suggested to him, that the friends of the college at Princeton had fixed their eyes on him
as the future successor of President Witherspoon: but notwithstanding this, his mind still inclined towards Charleston. He had the call under consideration till February; but found at Jast that the state of his family, and the critical situation of Charleston, threatened at that time with an invasion, presented difficulties which it was impossible to surmount.
In the following summer, (1779) he received a call from the congregation of Charlotte, Mecklenburg county, North
Carolina, accompanied with an invitation from the trustees of Charlotte academy to accept the presidency of that institution.
This was an infant seminary, which promised, under the fostering care of such a president, to become an important seat of learning. It was situated in the midst of his relatives, and in a part of the country where he might hope to be removed from the alarms of war. His congregation too had become much deranged by the calamities of the revolution, and his salary was deemed insufficient for his support. All these things consider ed, he judged it to be his duty to accept the call and his friends in the congregation, under existing circumstances, did not oppose his removal. His pastoral relation to this church was accordingly dissolved; and in October he took his leave of Newark, furnished, by the liberality of his afflicted people, with every article needful for his journey.
Scarcely was he settled in his new abode, when the troubles of the war found him there. The army of Cornwallis, scouring the
country, entered Charlotte. The Doctor with his family fled. Upon his return, he found that he had lost his library and furniture, with almost every thing that he possessed. He remained in Charlotte about a month after this calamity; but apprehending new inroads from the enemy, he quitted the place in the autumn of 1780, and returned to Abington, in Pennsylvania, where he engaged to preach for the winter. The people of Newark, hearing of his misfortunes, and influenced by the mingled emotions of sympathy and respect, invited him to make them a visit. This he did in February, 1781. They soon after sent him a regular call; in consequence of which he returned in April with his family; and though he was never reinstalled, he was considered the pastor of the congregation, and acted as such, till his death.
In the autumn of 1783, just at the close of the war, the trustees of Washington academy, in Somerset county, Maryland, ignorant that Doct. Macwhorter was permanently settled, offered him the presidency of that insti tution, with a liberal salary. But though the principal object of the institution was the education of pious youth for the gospel ministry, and though the neighbouring country opened an extensive field for his ministerial labours, his attachment to a congregation, which had recently given him such ingenuous proofs of affection, rendered it impossible for him to accept this invitation.
The termination of the war was an event not less happy for
the pastor, than for the congregation. No where was the effect more sensible than in Newark, which from that time commenced its rapid growth from a few dispersed ranges of farm-houses, to a large, beautiful, manufacturing town. The following year, (1784,) the long troubles of the pastor and congregation were succeeded by a glorious revival of religion, which continued for two years. In no period of the Doctor's ministry was he observed to be so deeply laden with a sense of everlasting things, and so ardent in his desire to win souls to Christ. Besides his labours on the Sabbath, he preached several times in the week, and spent a part of almost every day in catechising, exhorting from house to house, or attending religious societies. In this precious season, more than a hundred souls were added to the church.
Doctor Macwhorter was one of those great and good men, who, in 1788, had principal influence in settling The Confession of Faith, and framing the Constitution of the Presbyterian church in the United States; and in transferring the authority of the highest judicatory from the synod to a General Assembly, which met first in May, 1789. Ten years afterwards, when a board of trustees for the General Assembly was incorporated by the legislature of Pennsylvania, at their session in the winter of 1798, 9, he was named in the charter as one of the board, and continued to hold this trust, until the growing infirmities of age induced him, in 1803, to resign it.
In 1796, he was blessed with another revival of religion in the congregation, by means of which 30 or 40 new members were added to the church. In 1802 the fifth and last revival under his ministry commenced. This continued two years; and in that period, 140 new members, besides those received from other churches, were added to that under his care; of whom 113 were received in the course of 12 months.
In former years, Doct. Macwhorter had been employed by the trustees of New Jersey college to obtain subsciptions in Newark for the benefit of that Seminary: and when by the late disastrous conflagration the College edifice was consumed, they appointed him, in the spring of 1802, to solicit benefactions in New-England, to aid in the erection of a new college. Advanced as he was in years, his public spirit would not suffer him to shrink from the task; and in the issue he brought more than 7000 dollars into the college funds. On very many less important occasions, his singular skill and public spirit were called forth in a similar way.
On the evening of the 25th of December last, he received an injury from a fall, from which he never recovered. He went to the house of God no more. In the first stages of his illness, he said little which discovered the state of his mind, except the of ten repeated sentence, It is the Lord, and he does that which is perfectly right. In February, when the dissolution of his aged consort was manifestly approaching, and his own nature was