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the Originator of all other existences. The series of antecedents and consequents is not endless or infinite; but in thought is traceable to a First Cause, or original cause of all that exists. The necessity for this conclusion is absolute. There is no escape from it but in atheism, and that is professedly excluded by Sir William Hamilton. Of the Deity alone is it essential for the mind to form the idea that he is uncaused, eternal, absolute, and infinite. To say that our apprehension of Him is not knowledge, because “the finite can not comprehend the infinite,” is to say that there is, and can be no knowledge of God in the universe ; for all God's creatures are finite, angels no less than men. Perfectly to know Him is of course impossible even to the highest created intelligence. But here, no less than in heaven, we may have such an assurance of His existence, and such an apprehension of His attributes, as excludes pantheism and atheism as alike degrading and delusive. We therefore declare for that philosophy which gives man assurance of the reality of Divine things, though he can not perfectly know them, in the philosophical sense, either in this world or the next. It is true that we shall then "know as we are known;" but being then finite as truly as now, it will be as true then as now, that “the finite can not (philosophically) comprehend the infinite."
SLIGHT FOOTPRINTS OF GOOD MEN.
Rev. GREGORY TOWNSEND BEDELL, D.D.
As I endeavor to recall some special memories of this dear friend of mine, and devoted servant of God, the images which rise before me, are both shadowy and ethereal; shadowy from distance of time and dimness of recollection; and ethereal, since there was about him such a noiseless tread, and languid eye, and quiet manner, and subdued and gentle spirit, that he seemed to walk amongst men, more as a denizen of a calmer and holier sphere, just on a short visit to our more tumnltuous abode, than as a partaker with us of the same flesh and blood, the same hopes and fears, the same joys and sorrows!
It strikes me, for instance, that, upon one of his summer excursions, in pursuit of relaxation and health, either in 1827 or 1828, he must have stolen noiselessly into the quiet of my humble parsonage, in Middlebury, Vt. Certain it is, either in consequence of my having been the favored guest of the Rev. Benjamin Allen, Rector of St. Paul's Church, Philadelphia, on occasion of the General Convention of 1826, or of the too favorable notice which had been drawn to my editorial labors, as conductor of a small monthly in Vermont, that, about this time we were drawn towards each other in that powerful manner which exercised, more than any other event in life, perhaps, the greatest influence over my future work and destiny.
Or, it might have been through letters only, that about this time he brought to my notice the case of a sailor-boy, a son of genius and a vatary of the muses, who, at the time, was winning the meed of some local and ephemeral applause on account of his poetical contributions to one of the Philadelphia secular papers, over the signature of “The Jersey Bard.” It furnished an attractive and beautiful instance of the dear Doctor's intense
interest in the struggles of genius and worth, under peculiar difficulties, and led, by partial pecuniary aid derived from St. Andrew's Church, to placing the young man at Middlebury College, and to his becoming one of the most highly-educated, accomplished, and useful ministers in a western diocese, where he is now superintending the erection of a second and very fine church edifice, in a place where, twenty years ago, he was the instrument of the erection of a much more humble and unpretending frame building.
But it was not until October, 1828, that becoming so inti. mately associated with this excellent man, I also became fully aware of the vastness of the work which had naturally fallen upon his hands, when the Rev. Benjamin Allen had yielded up his passionate and devoted life in the cause ; or which, subsequently, he had himself been induced or constrained to undertake. It was, indeed, to ease him of a portion of this insupportable burden, that the position, in part, had been wrought out, which I had been called from Vermont to occupy. Nearly the whole work of editing the Recorder was to fall upon me. For a portion of the year my Sunday night service at the little Grace Church, upon Eleventh street, was so almost exclusively attended by St. Andrew's people, as to subserve, in part, the purposes of a lecture for their benefit. And chiefly to add a considerable and needed item to my income, a Bible class was instituted and collected for me, par'tially, indeed, from nearly all the churches in the city, but chiefly from St. Andrew's, by whose bounty, not only was a liberal purse made up for me, but when designated to the sacred position which I now hold, the robes of office which I have worn for nearly twenty-seven years, and still wear, were presented to me.
Incidentally and gratefully I mention these things, chiefly for this purpose, however, to show the opportunities I enjoyed of judging how quietly and softly he glided along that elevated path of duty, dispensing precious gifts far and wide around him, when, at the same time, he was actually performing an amount of intellectual, social, and sacred labor, under which many strong men would have groaned, and many less elastic natures would sooner have given way.
The pulpit was his post of honor, and the inost polished and effective instrument of his power. The expectations of the people hung upon it, to such an extent, that he could hardly yield it, even for half a day, to another, without exciting remark, unless, indeed, the state of his health imperatively demanded relief. Already those fixtures had been prepared which enabled him, partly sitting and partly standing, to continue the discharge of his public duties, when, probably, he could not, unsupported, have sustained himself in a standing posture for an hour, even without speaking. Strangers were scarcely aware of the use of any such appliances : and as, at all times, the effect of his fascinating, impressive, and almost matchless delivery, depended chiefly upon the fire of his eye, the exquisite modulations of his musical voice, and a few very quiet but appropriate gestures, it was forgotten even by those aware of it.
Next, in point of importance and practical usefulness to his Lord's Day services in the church, were his week-day expositions in the Lecture-Room. Nor less thorough was his preparation for them; and if possible, his aptitudes were even greater. It was natural for him to sit; more simple, and, therefore, in more perfect harmony with his character to converse; and more allowable than to be alternately instructive, searching, persuasive, and tender. If possible, the modulations of his voice were more perfect when in a lower key. And then the music; it was all his own! Not that many voices did not unite in it; but he chose the tunes and raised them, and gave tone and character to the whole performance.
Several years afterwards, in a stage-coach in Kentucky, I met an intelligent person from Philadelphia, and our conversation turned, of course, upon our mutual experiences and acquaintance there. He asked me about Dr. Bedell's Thursday Evening Lecture; was it still kept up. “Did the Doctor still invariably commence with the same hymn, and the same tune?
'Far from my thoughts, vain world, be gone,
Let my religious hours alone;
“ for,” said he, “if he does, and I could hear him sing it once more, quiet Methodist though I am, and no friend to shouting, I do believe that for once I should turn a shouting Methodist. It is years since I heard him, and have since wandered far and long, but the memory of that man, of that scene, and of that music will never fade away!”
I am not sure that it was not this which led me to indulge in a little philosophizing upon the subject, to which I have sometimes been addicted. There is a certain charm-particularly with young persons, members of choirs, and a few others, in novelty. If there be considerably more merit in a new Hymn than is common-as, for example, in Heber's Missionary Hymn, and Dr. Muhlenberg's
"I would not live alway"
and the music, with which the words come almost invariably to be associated, many others feel the powerful working of the charm, and the success, of its kind, is perfect. Still, it is very different from the effect of Old Hundred and the Evening Hymn, with its usual tune as sung in England. Associations are stronger than ordinary delight in harmonies; and countless clustering memories more powerful and more precious than fine music. A thousand repetitions will effectually use up a showy performance, however at first it might have been attractive; but a really meritorious performance, repeated thousands and thousands of times, and thickly hung all over with the memories of an eventful life-time, is consecrated forever. Old Hundred and the Litany forever! extempore prayer and modern Church Music to the contrary notwithstanding. By the way, in that New Tune Book I seem to hear, away off in the dim recesses of two eternities—the past and the futurein the musical genius of the son and of the friend, the soft echoes of the heavenly music of that voice !
Whilst in this philosophic mood, I feel strongly inclined to link a few facts, long observed, together, and then to deduce certain inferences from them.
I can well remember, as quite prominent among the slight yet significant signs of a high-Churchman, his undisguised hor