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Let us turn to a tender scene ; contemplate him as the kind friend and warm sympathizer in affliction. We has become an old man. He is about to put off the burdens of the pastoral office. IIe has preached on many great public occasions. He has now reached the last.
Dr. Payson Williston, who had been the affectionate pastor of the church in Easthampton for forty-four years, and had dwelt as a revered father among them for nearly twentythree years longer, died Jan. 30, 1856, aged ninety-two. He had been licensed to preach the very year of Dr. Woodbridge's birth, and about four years afterwards had been settled in the ministry within little more than three miles of the paternal home of the latter. They had been associated in ministerial labors for more than twenty years, living only about eight miles apart; and had enjoyed the kindest ministerial intercourse till death had separated them. It was fitting that Dr. Woodbridge should preach his funeral ser
IIe chose for his text, Prov. xiii. 22: “A good man leareth an inheritance to his children's children.” In the opening he describes the good man whom Solomon brings before
TIe is not the man of mere impulsive goodness, but of goodness grounded in principle. Ile is not one who follows alone his personal interest or the dictates of self-love in any of its insidious forms; but one who “is actuated by principles of evangelical obedience ;” “is reconciled to God by hearty repentance and faith in the atonement and righteousness of the Redeemer;" whose "native selfishness has been subdued,” and who “has been taught to love God on account of the excellency and glory of his nature with supreme aflection.” Such a good man resembling Christ in disinterested love and holy sacrifice, leaves an inheritance to his children and to his children's children. What is this inheritance? It is something far better than large possessions or family distinction. It is " an unblemished reputation ; " "wise coun : sels and faithful instruction ; " "a Christian example ; ”
PAYSON WILLISTON, D.D.
“many prayers ;” and “invaluable friendships. For his friends are the excellent of the earth, and they become " the friends of his children." Angels, too, look with peculiar commiseration and kindness on the orphan children of the saints."
Ile then pays a deserved tribute to "the good man” who had just rounded out his long life of ninety-two years, whose example among his people for more than seventy years had been always blameless; whose gentle spirit had ever diffused the atmosphere of peace; who was ever patient, judicious, careful in parochial measures; affable and cheerful in intercourse, yet sedate and serious as became the man of God; never guilty of indiscretions or the inconsiderate remark which had better not been spoken; always gentlemanly in bearing, and polite to all, even familiar with the humblest; a wise counsellor ; a kind and faithful pastor; a father to his people whom he had often borne on his heart before the mercy-seat; whose aflictions he had lightened by his sympathy, and who had now gathered to embalm his remains with their tears.
He closes with a valedictory apostrophe to his revered brother whom all had so long recognized as Father, “FAREWELL. May your example and your removal from these scenes of earth excite us, who yet remain, to watchfulness, prayer, and unwearied labors for Christ, till, having done and suffered all his will below, we shall be permitted to meet and mingle our praises with those of all faithful ministers, in the presence of the enthroned Lamb. TO HIM BE GLORY EVERLASTING.” Fitting words for one standing himself on the verge
The Great IIEREAFTER.” A few short years hastened on their way, and he joined his venerable friend ; and what is unspeakably glorious — both mingled their praises with
MISCELLANEOUS EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY.
The Journal begins March 15, 1849.
“I am now sixty-four years of age, and am reminded by the number of days I have lived, my infirmities, and the changes made by death all around me, that the time of my departure cannot be far distant. Surely it becomes me to use the greatest diligence to do good to my fellowmen, and make my own calling and election sure. O, my heavenly Father, be thou my constant Guide and my ererlasting Friend!
“0, for stronger faith, deeper humility, greater meekness, and more disinterested benevolence to God and man. I often fear that I have never yet begun to know experimentally the blessedness of a holy life. Yet, unless I am greatly deceived, I long for holiness more than for any temporal good. I think also, that Christ, in his character and offices, is my chief dependence, and precious to my soul.”
“ Saturday Ereniny, March 17. — The evening is pleasant, with a brilliant Aurora Borealis; the evening star glitters in its fairest lustre, and the heavens emphatically declare the glory of God. If the visible firmament be so beautiful, what must be that world where the brightest, holiest intelligences are collected together, to receive their everlasting reward!”
“ March 18. — A beautiful Sabbath morning. I am expecting to preach this day on Jesus Christ as the hope of his people. May I feel the precious theme; and may his people be interested and fed by the word. Lord, assist and bless me in every duty, and be gracious to all thy ministers, by making them faithful and successful. Let the whole earth be filled with thy glory. Amen. Let faith and love possess and rule this heart of mine. Amen.
“ P. M. After the close of the public services. The attendance has been good, and many have appeared to listen with interest to the word. I had some affecting views of God and the Redeemer. I was enabled to preach with some freedom; and think I was not without some gracious assistance in prayer. Alas! my unbelief, my inconstancy! Do I not feel sin to be a burden? Do I not long for deliverance from its power? O Lord, thou knowest. Have mercy upon me, upon my
family, upon the afflicted, upon all my people, upon my country, upon the whole militant church, and upon the world of mankind. Amen."
“ March 30.—I have had this morning some inward trials from the weakness of my faith. I need wisdom for conducting aright my common worldly concerns. May I trust in God, in the way of duty, for the supply of my temporal as well as spiritual wants. Self-denial for myself, and benevolence towards others, are the principles by which I should regulate my life. I ought to avoid needless expense, to be prudent in the employment of means in my possession, and at the same time to feel that nothing is more sordid than avarice, or habitual selfindulgence of any kind. Conscious of numerous imperfections and sins, I think I desire to be more like Christ in meekness, benevolence, and every virtue. Veni Salvator."
“ March 31.—The clouds are in a considerable degree dispersed this morning; the sun occasionally appears, and there is the prospect of fair weather after the storm. So it is ever in this life; and it is doubtless true that all the tempests by which the creation is agitated and darkened, are but preparatory to the brighter manifestation of the divine glory. No events are casual or useless; all are but links in that golden chain of benevolence, which reaches from heaven to earth and embraces the universe. Had, before I arose, some just sense, I trust, of my entire dependence on God; and some sweet views of redemption, through the divine and incarnate Saviour.
• Redemption ! 'twas creation more sublime;
Redemption! 'twas the labor of the skies.' May all I see of God animate me to faith and duty.
“ P. M. I have read the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of John's gospel in the original. How sweetly wonderful the account of the condescension of Jesus, in washing the feet of his disciples, and the instruction he grounded on that act! His conduct and his words appear to me truly divine. Lord, am I mistaken, when I think that I contemplate thee with a love at once adoring and tender, — that, sinful and unworthy as I am, I desire to tread in thy footsteps, and would fain dwell forever in thy blissful and holy presence? Is it not my sincere prayer,- O that the world might know thine excellency?"
" April 1, P. M. - I have preached all day from 1 John, v. 10, on the inward witness to the truth and divinity of the gospel. I had some satisfaction in the exercises. The gospel is truly a glorious gospel."
“ April 2.-When lying awake in the night, I was too anxious, as I am apt to be, with respect to my worldly circumstances. The illustrations of Christ, from God's care of the lilies and the fowls, were peculiarly affecting to my mind, after these disquietudes. They toil not, neither do they spin.' Will God feed the very birds, and will he not take care of his children who rely upon his care and faithfulness? I
know, Lord, whatever may become of me and mine, that thou wilt direct all events in a manner becoming thy blessed self.
• Thy love in times past
Forbids me to think,
In sorrow to sink.' Teach me to do my duty in all relations, and then cheerfully submit myself, and all my concerns, to thy wise and benevolent disposal. How foolish, as well as sinful, is a discontented, worldly mind!"
“ April 16. — My wife, frequently of late, expresses fears that she is not a real Christian. She finds it difficult to embrace with strong faith the glorious Redeemer. Lord, enlighten the eyes of her mind, and grant her solid peace in thee. As we advance in years, may we be making progress toward heaven, and may we at last attain to a perfect union of holiness and blessedness in thy kingdom. For myself, I need far clearer evidences of my adoption, that I may be prepared with comfort to pass over Jordan. My very deceitful heart will destroy me, unless sovereign, infinite grace prevent. I see the amplitude of the provisions of the gospel, and the freeness of its invitations, and, at times, it seems to me that it is very precious in my eyes; and still I continue to live at a poor dying rate. How feeble is my sense of the infinite odiousness of sin, committed against the holy and glorious God! How languid my efforts in religion! I wonder how they, who, seeing their own hearts, deny divine sovereignty and electing love, can have any hope of their final salvation."
April 18. — I hope have had some sense this morning of God, as a most gracious Father, and the exhaustless Fountain of love. But, 0, how low, how inadequate are my highest conceptions of his excellency and glory! I spent most of the morning after nine o'clock, and not far from an hour in the afternoon, in writing for the pulpit.
“In the evening I preached a lecture from Matthew v. 5, showing the character of the meek, and the promise made to them in the text. It is a rainy, dark evening, and the attendance was unusually thin. Indeed few have been present at these meetings during the winter. I doubt the expediency of continuing them, while such stupidity prevails in the church and among the people at large. I trust it is not an unwillingness to labor for Christ, which occasions this doubt in my mind. I habitually attend a prayer-meeting during the week, in addition to the lecture on Wednesday evening. Lord, teach me, and dispose me to do, in reference to this matter, what will be pleasing to thee, and most for the good of thy people.”
“ April 19, half past 1 o'clock. — I have written about three hours, and finished my third lecture on James.
“ After writing the above, I walked for exercise about three miles around the third street; and on my return called on Mr. J. S., and there