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sleep, and his regular attention to bodily exercise, notwithstanding the feebleness of his constitution, few students are capable of more close or more long continued application, than he was. monly spent thirteen hours, every day, in his study; and these hours were passed, not in perusing or treasuring up the thoughts of others, but in employments far more exhausting in the investigation of difficult subjects, in the origination and arrangement of thoughts, in the invention of arguments, and in the discovery of truths and principles. Nor was his exact method, in the distribution of his time, of less essential service. In consequence of his uniform regularity and self-denial, and the force of habit, the powers of his mind were always at his command, and would do their prescribed task in the time appointed. This enabled him to assign the preparation of his sermons, each week, to given days, and specific subjects of investigation to other given days; and except in cases of sickness, or journeying, or some other extraordinary interruption, it was rare, indeed, that he failed of accomplishiug every part of his weekly task, or that he was pressed for time in the accomplishment. So exact was the distribution of his time, and so perfect the command of his mental powers, that in addition to his preparation of two discourses in each week, his stated and occasional lectures, and his customary pastoral duties, he continued regularly his “ NOTES ON THE SCRIPTURES," his “ MisceLLANIES,” his “ TYPES OF THE MESSIAH," and a work which he soon commenced, entitled, “ PROPHECIES OF THE MESSIAH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, AND THEIR FULFILMENT.'
On the 28th of July, 1727, Mr. Edwards was married, at New Haven, to Miss Sarah PIERREPONT. Her paternal grandfather, John Pierrepont, Esq. who came from England and resided in Roxbury, Massachusetts, was a younger branch of a most distinguished family, in his own country. Her father, the Rev. JAMES PIERREPONT, was " an eminent, pious and useful minister, at New Haven.” He married Mary, the daughter of the Rev. SAMUEL HOOKER, of Farmington, who was the son of the Rev. THOMAS HOOKER, of Hartford, familiarly denominated the father of the Connecticut Churches,” and “ well known, in the Churches of England, for his distinguished talents and most ardent piety.” Mr. Pierrepont was one of the principal founders, and one of the Trustees of Yale College ; and, to help forward the infant seminary, read lectures to the students, for some considerable time, as Professor of Moral Philosophy. The Platform of the Connecticut Churches, established at Saybrook, in 1708, is ascribed to his pen. Miss Pierrepont was born on the 9th of January, 1710, and at the time of her marriage, was in the 18th
of her age. a young lady of uncommon beauty. Not only is this the language of tradition; but Dr. Hopkins, who first saw her when the mother of seven children, says she was more than ordinarily beautiful; and VOL. I.
lier portrait, taken by a respectable English painter,* while it presents a form and features not often rivalled, exhibits also that peculiar loveliness of expression, which is the combined result of intelligence, cheerfulness and benevolence. The native powers of her mind, were of a superior order ; and her parents being in easy circumstances, and of liberal views, provided for their children all the advantages of an enlightened and polished education. In her manners she was gentle and courteous, amiable in her behaviour, and the law of kindness appeared to govern all her conversation and conduct. She was also a rare example of early piety; having
. exhibited the life and power of religion, and that in a remarkable manner, when only five years of age;t and having also confirmed the hopes which her friends then cherished, by the uniform and increasing excellence of her character, in childhood and youth. So warm and animated were her religious feelings, in every period of life, that they might perhaps have been regarded as enthusiastic, had they not been under the control of true delicacy and sound discretion. Mr. Edwards had known her several years before their marriage, and from the following passage, written on a blank leaf, in 1723, it is obvious, that even then her uncommon piety, at least, had arrested his attention. They say there is a young lady in [New Haven] who is beloved of that Great Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this Great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for any thing, except to meditate on him—that she expects after a while to be received up where he is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that he loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from him always. There she is to dwell with him, and to be ravished with his love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her conduct; and you could not persuade her to do any thing wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest.she should offend this Great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness and universal benevolence of mind : especially after this Great God has manifested himself to her mind.
* The Rev. Dr. Eråkine, the warm friend and the correspondent of Mr. Edwards, being desirous of procuring a correct portrait, both of him and his wife, and hearing that a respectable English painter was in Boston, forwarded to his agent in that town, the sum requisite, not only for the portraits, but for the expenses of the journey. They were taken in 1740; and after the death of Dr. Erskine, were very kindly transmitted by his Executor, to Dr. Edwards.
+ Hopkins' Life of Edwards. Dr. H. resided in the family a considerable time.
She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly ; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have some one invisible always conversing with her.” After due allowance is made for animation of feeling, the reader will be convinced, that such a testimony, concerning a young lady of thirteen, could not have been given, by so competent a judge, had there not been something unusual in the purity and elevation of her mind, and the excellence of her life. Few persons, we are convinced, no older than she was at the time of her marriage, have made equal progress in holiness; and rare, very rare, is the instance, in which such a connexion results in a purer or more uninterrupted happiness. It was a union, founded on high personal esteem, and on a mutual affection, which continually grew, and ripened, and mellowed for the time of harvest. The station, which she was called to fill at this early age, is one of great delicacy, as well as responsibility, and is attended with many difficulties. She entered on the performance of the various duties to her family and the people, to which it summoned her, with a firm reliance on the guidance and support of God; and perhaps no stronger evidence can be given of her substantial worth, than that from the first she discharged them in such a manner, as to secure the high and increasing approbation of all who knew her.
The attention to religion, which has been mentioned, as commencing about the period of Mr. Edwards' ordination, though at no time extensive, continued about two years, and was followed by several years of inattention and indifference. His public labours were continued with faithfulness, but with no peculiar success; and he had reason to lament the too perceptible declension of his people, both in religion and morals.
On the 11th of February, 1729, his venerable colleague was removed from the scene of his earthly labours. This event was sincerely and tenderly lamented by the people of Northampton, as well as extensively throughout the Province. His funeral sermon was preached by his son-in-law, the Rev. William Williams, of Hatfield; and numerous clergymen, in their own desks, paid a similar tribute of respect to his memory.
In the spring of the same year, the health of Mr. Edwards, in consequence of too close application, so far failed him, that he was obliged to be absent from his people several months. Early in May, he was at New Haven, in company with Mrs. Edwards and their infant child, a daughter born Aug. 25th, 1728. In September, his father, in a letter to one of his daughters, expresses the hope that the health of his son is so far restored, as to enable him to resume his labours, and to preach twice on the Sabbath. The summer was probably passed, partly at Northampton, and partly in travelling.
His visit to Windsor, in September, gave him his last opportunity of seeing his sister Jerusha, whom he tenderly loved; and who a little while before, had passed a considerable time with her friends in Northampton. She was attacked with a malignant fever, in December, and, on the 22d of that month, died at her father's house. The uncommon strength and excellence of her character, rendered her peculiarly dear to all her relatives and friends; and from the testimonials of her father, of four of her sisters, and of a friend of the family at a distance, written soon after her death,* I have ascertained the following particulars. She was born in June, 1710, and, on the testimony of that friend, was a young lady of great sweetness of temper, of a fine understanding and of a beautiful countenance. She was devoted to reading from .childhood, and though fond of books of taste and amusement, she customarily preferred those which require close thought, and are fitted to strengthen and inform the mind. Like her sisters, she had received a thorough education, both English and classical, and by her proficiency, had justified the views of her father and sustained the honour and claims of her sex. In conversation, she was solid and instructive beyond her years, yet, at the same time, was sprightly and active, and had an uncommon share of native wit and humour. Her wit was always delicate and kind, and used merely for recreation. According to the rule she prescribed to another, it constituted “the sauce, and not the food, in the entertainment.” Being fond of retirement and meditation from early life, she passed much of her leisure time in solitary walks in the groves
behind her father's house ; and the richness of her mind, in moral reflection and philosophical remark, proved that these hours were not wasted in reverie, but occupied by solid thought and profitable contemplation. Habitually serene and cheerful, she was contented and happy; not envious of others, not desirous of admiration, not ambitious por aspiring: and while she valued highly the esteem of her friends an of the wise and good, she was firmly convinced that her happiness depended, chiefly and ultimately, on the state of her own mind. She appeared to have gained the entire government of her temper and her passions, discovered uncommon equanimity and firmness under trials, and while, in difficult cases, she sought the best advice, yet ultimately acted for herself. Her religious life began in childhood ; and from that time, meditation, prayer, and reading the sacred Scriptures, were not a prescribed task, but a coveted enjoyment. Her sisters, who knew how much of her time she daily passed alone, had the best reason to believe that no place was so pleasant to her as her own retirement, and no society so delightful as solitude with God.
* This last was published.
She read Theology, as a Science, with the deepest interest, and pursued the systematic study of the Scriptures, by the help of the best commentaries. Her observance of the Sabbath was exemplary, in solemnly preparing for it, in allotting to it the prescribed hours, and in devoting it only to sacred employments; and in the solemn and entire devotion of her mind to the duties of the sanctuary, she appeared, habitually, to feel with David, “Holiness becometh thine house forever." Few persons attend more closely to preaching, or judge more correctly concerning it, or have higher pleasure in that which is solid, pungent and practical. .She saw and conversed with God, in his works of creation and providence. Her religious joy was, at times, intense and elevated. After telling one of her sisters, on a particular occasion, that she could not describe it, she observed to her, that it seemed like a streak of light shining in a dark place; and reminded her of a line in Watt's Lyrics,
“And sudden, from the cleaving skies, a gleam of glory broke."
Her conscience was truly enlightened, and her conduct appeared to be governed by principle. She approved of the best things; ; discovered great reverence for religion, and strong attachment to the truly pious and conscientious; was severe in her estimate of herself, and charitable in judging of others; was not easily provoked, and usually tried to excuse the provocation ; was unapt to cherish prejudices, and lamented, and strove to conceal, the faults of christians.
On the testimony of those who knew her best, “ She was a remarkably loving, dutiful, obedient daughter, and a very kind and loving sister," ** very helpful and serviceable in the family, and willingly labouring with her own hands,” very“ kind and friendly to her neighbours," attentive to the sick, charitable to the poor, prone to sympathize with the afflicted, and merciful to the brutes; and at the same time, respectful to superiors, obliging to equals, condescending and affable to inferiors, and manifesting sincere good will to all mankind. Courteous and easy in her manners, she was also modest, unostentatious and retiring; and, while she uniformly respected herself, she commanded the respect of all who saw her. She was fond of all that was comely in dress, but averse to every thing gay and gaudy. She loved peace, and strove to reconcile those who were at variance; was delicately attentive to those of her sex, who were slighted by others; received reproofs with meekness, and told others of their faults, with so much sweetness and faithfulness, as to increase their esteem and affection for herself. She detested all guile, and management, and deception, all fattery and falsehood, and wholly refused to associate with those who exhibited this character. She was most careful and select in