Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

With this spirit he was ready, when it could be effected without compromising his own principles, to confederate with the members of other denominations, in advancing the cause of the Gospel. He was from first to last a zealous patron of the American Bible and Tract Societies, and of the Sunday. School Union. With this representation of the mind and action of Mr. McGuire, in the exercise of his ministry—and for it, all we have, without any design of his, the vouching in his own hand-writing—no one need be at a loss for the secret of his success; and there are few, especially among the younger clergy, who may not profit by his excellent example.

In Bishop Meade's " Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Virginia," the following allusion to Mr. McGuire may be found. The reference is, for the reason assigned, restrained, but therefore all the more expressive :

"As it has been a rule observed by me in these notices, to avoid all praises or censures of the living, and in the fewest possible words refer to the acts and successes of my oldest friends, therefore to Mr. Slaughter's account of the revival of the church in this parish, during the thirty-three years of Mr. McGuire's ministry, to which must now be added twelve more, I refer my readers for a full view of the subject. Suffice it to say that, from that time, & succession of revivals, or rather a continued one, under faithful evangelical preaching, has added great numbers to the church; that two new churches, each increasing in size and expense, have been called for; that several young ministers have issued from the parish. Among them the Rev. Launcelot Minor, whose remains are on the African shore, along side of those of Mrs. Susan Savage, the devoted missionary whose spiritual birthplace was St. George's Church, as Fredericksburg was her native city."

Mr. McGuire was too actively engaged in ministerial work to contribute much to the press. He did, however, publish a volume on “The Religious Opinions and Character of Washington,” and occasional sermons. He had on hand, but never completed, a work on the religious opinions of the prominent men of the American Revolution. Many of the reports on the state of the Church, as they appear in the journals of his Diocese, were drafted by him. In the conventions he did not speak often or long, but his opinions were always received with deference on account of his great experience, established integrity, and careful judgement.

The honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by the authorities of Kenyon College in 1839.

On the sixteenth of April, 1816, he was married to Miss Judith C. Lewis, " one of the first of those who were added to the church by the Lord," after the commencement of his ministry. She was indeed a helpmeet to him in his arduous and responsible duties, and after animating him in his services, and sustaining and solacing him in his trials, she survived to mourn, but in blessed hope, her sore bereavement. Eight children were given to them, four of them now living, two of whom are in the ministry to which their father was devoted.

Dr. McGuire's feebleness during the services in his church in June last has been mentioned. His state of health was regarded with such anxiety by his physicians, that they insisted on an immediate intermission of his duties, and a tour to the mountains, in which he reluctantly acquiesced. To relieve him both in mind and body, his congregation obtained for him the assistance of an estimable young gentleman, one of the graduates of the Theological Seminary of Virginia

On Dr. McGuire's return from his excursion, it was supposed he would be able to resume his duties in part, and that his valuable life might be prolonged. On Sunday, October 3d, he preached, as was his custom, the anniversary sermon, and administered the communion. He and his people were much affected, and both seemed impressed with the thought that it was, in all probability, his last public service. From the church he went to the residence of an honored and beloved parishioner, who had been long confined to her house, that he might afford to her in her chamber, the sacramental privileges which her health prevented her from receiving in the sanctuary. That afternoon he passed much exhausted, lying on the sofa, silent, meditative, calm, the tears at times on his cheeknot tears of distressno, but holy, happy tears, which none who knew and loved him could wish to wipe away.

The week passed on, with nothing in his case to attract particular notice. During the night he was occasionally sleepless, and then his speech was not of his infirmities and languor, but of the heavenly family, and their blessedness. On Friday, October 8th, after breakfasting with his family, he expressed his intention to visit some of his parishioners, and retired to a

room to arrange his dress. A noise as if something had fallen, arrested the attention of a domestic. On opening the door, he was found lying on the floor speechless. He had just shaved, adjusted his dress, and was turning to go forth on his purposed mission of mercy, when the voice he had long waited for with desire fell on his ear: “Come up hither," “ Your work on earth is done, receive the crown of righteousness, and rest for ever with the Lord.” And so he finished his course in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and just after he had entered the forty-sixth of his ministry.

That he had long desired this call is apparent from the following record, which is given entire, with two of the stanzas which he had annexed :

July 3, 1841.—"Have a realizing sense of the brevity of human life. Feel that it is rapidly bastening to a close with me. Very joyful am I, in the glorious prospect of that eternal weight of glory, which I believe awaits me in my Father's kingdom.

"Oh! when shall I wake, and find me there ?!

"The hour draws near.

"What joy while thus I view the day,
That warns my thirsting soul away,

What transports fill my breast!
For lo, my great Redeemer's power
Unfolds the everlasting door,

And leads me to His rest.

"The festal morn, my God, is come,
That calls me to the hallowed dome,

Thy presence to adore;
My feet the summons shall attend,
With willing steps Thy courts ascend,

And tread the ethereal floor.'

On the eleventh of October the funeral procession, formed by a vast concourse, moved from the parsonage to St. George's Church. The bier was carried by the vestrymen, and the pall was supported by the clergy. After the customary services in the church, and an address by Bishop Johns, the mortal remains of our beloved brother were committed to the ground in the adjacent yard—“ earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust

to dust, looking for the general resurrection, and the life of the world to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

"They that be wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.”

COMMUNICATIONS.

(FOR articles falling under this head, and which appear under the name of the Writers, the Editors are not responsible.]

THE MISSOURI VALLEY, AND HOW TO

CHRISTIANIZE IT.

BY FRANCIS WHARTON.

The Missouri valley is in many respects the most important missionary field to which American Christians can now turn. Its rivers, its towns, and its prairies have each a population at once marked with strongly distinguished peculiarities, and impressed with elements of specific activity and influence. It is the diversity of these peculiarities which leads to the great variety in the reports of travellers by whom that valley has been visited. The mere excursionist views and judges from the steamboat and its passengers, and from the trains of emigrants by whom the ferries are crossed. The business man, and perhaps the more pertinacious tourist, visits and speaks of the towns. The pioneer farmer, the hunter, the itinerant mi. nister, and the rural colporteur, draw their opinion from the prairies. These several classes I now propose to consider, first in reference to their social relations, and then to their religious wants.

- Steamboating, on the Missouri as well as on the Mississippi, creates its own population; what this is, numerically, it is difficult to estimate, though from the number of craft employed on the Missouri, I have no hesitation in saying that the waterpopulation which floats up and down by Nebraska and Kansas is nearly as numerous as that of the land. First comes the steamboat with its hundred hands, and sometimes its two hundred passengers. In July, 1857, twenty-three regular packet-boats were employed, with an aggregate tonnage of twenty-nine thousand three hundred tons, valued at $1,269,000. Besides this, there are a number of transient boats which are engaged during the season. In one issue of the St. Louis Republican I find no less than eight first-class steamboats advertised as having arrived in the space of two days. Their trips average ten days, and this would make forty packet-boats on the river.

Next to these come the ferry-boats. A ferry may be met with almost once in every ten miles, in the eight hundred between St. Louis and Council Bluffs. Then come the rafts with their immediate and subsidiary population, which, in the Mississippi, particularly, is'immense. To these may be added that portion of the inhabitants of the river-banks which is employed in cutting wood for the boats.

The traveller who contents himself with looking around among the crews and officers as well as among the passengers of the steamboats on these rivers, may be well excused if he take an exaggerated view of the recklessness of western life. Profanity is the steamboat patois ; card-playing, sandwiched in between layers of eating and sleeping, its occupation. There are, it is true, exceptions which vary in number with the character and destination of the boat. At one time you may find yourselves among a body of passengers as respectable as any on the Eastern waters. Take, however, another scene. The officers and sub-officers who are to be found in almost every point about the boat, know not how to make up a sentence without a parenthesis of profanity. Speculators and adventurers come next, and with them a party of French Canadians, partially engaged in trading, partially in lumbering.

« ElőzőTovább »