« AnteriorContinua »
for further information as to the Tennent had heard. But when he words, or at least the subjects of was requested to communicate praise and adoration, which Mr. these, he gave a decided negative,
adding, “ You will know them,'
with many other particulars hereatterable.” Here he paused, as tho' after, as you will find the whole unable to find words to express his views, let his bridle fall, and lifting up
among my papers;" alluding his hands, proceeded, 'I can say, as
to his intention of leaving the St. Paul did, I heard and I saw things writer hereof his executor, which all unutterable! I saw a great multi- precluded any further solicitatude before this glory, apparently in tion.* the height of bliss, singing most melodiously. I was transported with my
The pious and candid reader own situation, viewing all my troubles is left to his own reflections on ended, and my rest and glory begun, this very extraordinary occur. and was about to join the great and
The facts have been stahappy multitude, when one came to me, Inoked me full in the face, laid ted, and they are unquestionable, his hand upon my shoulder, and said,
The writer will only ask, wheth* You must go back. These words
er it be contrary to revealed went through me; nothing couid have truth, or to reason, to believe, shocked me more ; I cried out, Lord, must I go back! With this shock I instances like that which is here
that in every age of the world opened my eyes in this world. When I saw I was in the world, I fainted, recorded, have occurred, to furthen came to, and fainted for several nish living testimony of the reali. times, as one probably would natu- ty of the invisible world, and of sally have done in so weak a situa
the infinite importance of eternal tion.' “Mr. Tennent further informed
concerns? me, that he had so entirely lost the
as circumstances Tecollection of his past life, and the would permit, Mr. Tennent was benefit of his former studies, that he licensed, and began to preach the could neither understand what was spoken to him, nor write, nor read
everlasting gospel with great his own name. That he had to begin all anew, and did not recollect that It was so ordered, in the course he had ever read before, until he had of Divine Providence, that the writer gain learned his letters, and was was sorely disappointed in his expec. able to pronounce the monosyllables, tation of obtaining the papers here such as thee and thou. But, that as
alluded to. Such, however, was the his strength returned, which was very
will of Heaven ! Mr. Tennent's death slowly, his memory also returned. happened during the revolutionary Yet, notwithstanding the extreme fee- war, when the enemy separated the bleness of his situation, his recollec- writer from him, so as to render it tion of what he saw and heard while impracticable to attend him on a dying in heaven, as he supposed, and the bed; and before it was possible to sense of divine things, which he there get to his house after his death, (the obtained, continued all the time in writer being with the American ar.. their full strength, so that he was my at the Valley-Forge) bis son came continually in something like an ec- from Charleston, and took his mother, Stasy of mind. And,' said he, "for and his father's papers and property, three years the sense of divine things and returned to Carolina. About šó continued so great, and every thing miles from Charleston, the son was else appeared so completely vain, suddenly taken sick, and died among a hea coinpared to heaven, that could entire strangers ; and never since, I have had the world for stooping though the writer was also left execudown for it, I believe I should not tor to the son, could any trace of the Lave thought of doing it.'”
father's papers be discovered by him,
zeal and success. The death of confidence. After a short time his brother John,t who had been he found his worldly affairs were some time settled as minister of becoming embarrassed. His the Presbyterian church at Free- steward reported to him that he hold, in the county of Monmouth, was in debt to the merchant be. New-Jersey, left that congrega- tween 201. and 301. and he knew tion in a destitute state. They of no means of payment, as the had experienced so much spirit- crops had fallen short. Mr. ual benefit from the indefatigable Tennent mentioned this to an labours, and pious zeal of this intimate friend, a merchant of able minister of Jesus Christ, New York, who was on a visit at that they soon turned their atten. his house. His friend told him, tion to his brother, who was re- that this mode of life would not ceived on trial, and after one do, that he must get a wife, to year, was found to be no unwore attend to his temporal affairs, and thy successor to so excellent a to comfort his leisure hours by predecessor. In October, 1733, conjugal endearments. He smil. Mr. Tennent was regularly or. ed at the idea, and assured him, dained their pastor, and contin, it never could be the case, unless ued so through the whole of a some friend would provide one pretty long life ; one of the best for him, for he knew not how to proofs of ministerial fidelity. go about it. His friend told him
Although his salary was small, he was ready to undertake the (it is thought under 1001.) yet business; that he had a sister-inthe glebc belonging to the law, an excellent woman, of church was an excellent planta, great piety, a widow, of his own tion, on which he lived, and age, and one peculiarly suited in which, with care and good farm. all respects to his character and ing, was capable of maintaining a circumstances. In short, that family with comfort. But his she was every thing he ought to inattention to the things of this look forand if he would go world was so great, that he left with him to New York the next the management of his temporal day, he would settle the negociaconcerns wholly to a faithful sertion for him, To this he soon vant, in whom he placed great assented. The next evening
found him in that city, and before
noon, the day after, he was intro. + The following entry in the re. duced to Mrs. Noble. He was cords of the church at Freehold, shows the opinion of that church with regard much pleased with her appear, to Mr. John Tennent's usefulness. ance ; and, when left alone with
“ Lord's day, April 23d, 1732. her, abruptly told her, that he The Reverend and dear Mr. John supposed her brother had informTennent departed this life between ed her of his errand ; that neitheight and nine o'clock this morning. A mournful providence, and cause of er his time nor inclination would great humiliation to this poor con
suffer him to use much ceremogregation, to be bereaved in the flow- ny; but that if she approved the er of youth, of the most laborious, measure he would attend his successful, well qualified, pious pas charge on the next sabbath, and youth of 25 years, 5 months and ii return on Monday, be married days of age."
and immediately take her home.
The lady, with some hesitation public worship. The design of and difficulty, at last consented, the walk was for religious inedibeing convinced that his situation tation. As he went along, acciand circumstances rendered it dentally casting his eye on the proper. Thus, in one week, she child, a thought suddenly struck found herself mistress of his him, and he asked himself this house. She proved a most in. question : “Should God in his valuable treasure to him, more providence take me hence, what than answering every thing said would become of this child and of ber by an affectionate brother. its mother, for whom I have neve She took the care of his tempo- er taken any personal care to ral concerns upon her, extricated make provision? How can I an. him from debt, and, by a happy swer this negligence to God and union of prudence and economy, to them ?” The impropriety of so managed all his worldly busi. his inattention to the relative duDess, that in a few years his ties of life, which God had called circumstances became easy and him to ; and the consideration of comfortable. In a word, in her the sacred declaration, “that he was literally fulfilled the declara. who does not provide for his own tion of Solomon, that " a virtuous household, has denied the faith, woman is a crown to her hus- and is worse than an infidel," band, and that her price is far had such an impressive effect on above rubies." Besides several his mind, that it almost deprived children who died in infancy, he him of his senses. He saw his had by her three sons, who attain. conduct, which before he ed the age of manhood; John, thought arose entirely from a who studied physic, and died in deep sense of divine things, in a the West Indies when about point of light in which he never thirty three years of age; Wil. before had viewed it. He liam, a man of superior charac- immediately attempted to return ter, and minister of the Independ- home, but so great was his disent church in Charleston, South- tress, that it was with difficulty Carolina, who died the latter end he could get along ; till, all at of September or beginning of once, he was relieved by as sudOctober, A. D. 1777, about thirty- denly recurring to that text of seven years old ; and Gilbert, Scripture, whicli came into his who also practised physic, and mind with extraordinary force, died at Freehold before his fa. “But unto the tribe of Levi ther, aged twenty-eight years. Moses gave not any inheritance, Few parents could boast three the Lord God of Israel was their sons of a more manly or hand- inheritance." Such, however, some appearance ; and the father was the effect of this unexpected gave them the most liberal scene on Mr. Tennent's mind education that the country could and judgment, that ever afterafford.
wards he prudently attended to Mr. Tennent's inattention to the temporal business of life, still, earthly things continued till his however, in perfect subordinaeldest son was about three years tion to the great things of eterniold, when he led him out into ty, and became fully convinced the fields on a Lord's day after that God was to be faithfully
served, as well by discharging please and to instruct. As ar relative duties in his love and instance of this, the following an, fear, as by the more immediate ecdote is given, of the truth of acts of devotion. He clearly which the writer was a witness, perceived, that every duty had its
Mr. Tennent was passing proper time and place, as well as through a town in the state of motive ; that we had a right, and New Jersey, in which he was a were called of God, to eat and stranger, and had never preach, drink, and to be properly cloth-ed, and stopping at a friend's ed; and of course that care house to dine, was informed, that should be taken to procure those it was a day of fasting and prayer things, provided that all be done in the congregation, on account to the glory of God. In the du- of a very remarkable and severe ties of a gospel minister, how- drought, which threatened the ever, especially as they related to most dangerous consequences to his pastoral charge, he still enga- the fruits of the earth. His ged with the utmost zeal and friend had just returned from faithfulness; and was esteemed church, and the intermission was by all ranks and degrees, as far but half an hour. Mr. Tennent as his labours extended, as a fer- was requested to preach, and vent, useful, and successful with great difficulty consented, preacher of the gospel.
as he wished to proceed on his His judgment of mankind was journey: At church the people such, as to give him a marked were surprised to see a preacher, superiority, in this respect, over wholly unknown to them, and his contemporaries, and greatly entirely unexpected, ascend the aided him in his ministerial func- pulpit. His whole appearance, tions. He was scarcely ever being in a travelling dress, cover, mistaken in the character of a ed with dust, wearing an oldfashman with whom he conversed, ioned large wig, discoloured like though it was but for a few hours. his clothes, and a long meagre He had an independent mind, visage, engaged their attention, which was seldom satisfied on and excited their curiosity. On important subjects without the his rising up, instead of begin. best evidence that was to be had. ning to pray, as was the usual His manner was remarkably im- practice, he looked around the pressive ; and his sermons, congregation, with a piercing although seldom polished, were eye and earnest attention, and af, generally delivered with such in- ter a minute's profound silence, describable power, that he was
he addressed them with great truly an able and successful min- solemnity in the following words: ister of the New Testament. My beloved brethren! I am He could say things from the told you have come here to-day pulpit, which, if said by almost to fast and pray; a very good any other man, would have been work indeed, provided you have thought a violation of propriety. come with a sincere desire to But by him they were delivered glorify God thereby. But if in a manner so peculiar to him- your design is merely to comply sell, and so extremely impres- with a customary practice, or sive, that they seldom failed to with the wish of your church of ficers, you are guilty of the great
While on this subject, we may est folly imaginable, as you had introduce another anecdote of much better have staid at home, this wonderful man, to show the and earned your three shillings and six pence.* But if your considered as extraordinary and sinminds are indeed impressed with
gularly striking the solemnity of the occasion, “On the evening preceding public and you are really desirous of worship, which was to be attended the humbling yourselves before Al- next day, he selected a subject for mighty God, your heavenly Fa- ered, and made some progress in his
the discourse which was to be deliv. ther, come, join with me, and let preparations. In the morning, he reas pray.” This had an effect so sumed the same subject, with an in. uncommon and extraordinary on tention to extend his thoughts further the congregation, that the ut- on it, but was presently assaulted most seriousness was universally which he then held in his hand, was
with a temptation that the Bible, manifested. The prayer and the not of divine authority, but the invensermon added greatly to the im- tion of man. . He instantly endeapressions already made, and tend-voured to repel the temptation by ed to rouse the attention, influ- prayer; but his endeavours proved ence the midd, command the af- ued, and fastened upon him with
unavailing. The temptation continfections, and increase the tem- greater strength, as the time advancper, which had been so happily ed for public service. He lost all the produced. Many bad reason to thoughts, which he had on his subbless God for this unexpected
ject the preceding evening. He tried visit, and to reckon this day one
other subjects, but could get nothing.
for the people. The whole book of of the happiest of their lives.t God, under that distressing state of
mind, was a sealed book to him ; and
to add to his affliction, he was, to use * At that time, the stated price for his own words, “ shut up in prayer.' a day's labour.
A cloud, dark as that of Egypt, op
pressed his mind. ✓ The writer, having requested of
“ Thus agonized in spirit, he prothe present Rev. Dr. William M. ceeded to the church, where he found Tennent a written account of an an- a large congregation assembled, and cedote relative to his uncle, which he waiting to hear the word: and then it had once heard him repeat verbally,' was, he observed, that he was more received in reply the following letter: deeply distressed than ever, and es
pecially for the dishonour, which he " Abington, Jan. 11th, 1806. feared' would fall upon religion,
through him, that day. He resolved, “The anecdote of my venerable however, to attempt the service. He relative, the Rer. William Tennent, introduced it by singing a psalm, dur. of Freehold, which you wished me to ing which time his agitations were send to you, is as follows:
increased to the highest degree. "During the greatrevivalof religion, When the which took place under the ministry of commenced, he arose, as one in the Mr.Whitefield, and others distinguish- most perilous and painful situation, ed for their piety and zcal at that peri- and with arms extended to the heave od, Mr. Tennent was laboriously ac- ens, began with this outcry, 'Loril, tive, and much engaged to help for- have mercy upon me." Upon the utward the work; in the performance terance of this petition he was heard ; of which he met with strong and the thick cloud instantly broke powerful temptations. The following away, and an unspeakably joyful light is related, as received, in substance, shone in upon his soul, so that his from his own lips, and may be spirit seemed to be caught up to ihe