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mand? And this notion of self-determination and self-dependence, tends to prevent, or enervate, all prayer to God for converting grace; for why should men earnestly cry to God for his grace, to determine their hearts to that, which they must be determined to of themselves. And indeed it destroys the very notion of conversion itself. There can properly be no such thing, or any thing akin to what the scripture speaks of conversion, renovation of the heart, regeneration, etc. if growing good, by a number of self-determined acts, are all that is required, or to be expected.
"Excuse me, Sir, for troubling you with so much on this head. I speak from the fulness of my heart. What I have long seen of the dreadful consequences of these prevalent notions every where, and what I am convinced will still be their consequences so long as they continue to prevail, tills me with concern. I therefore wish that the affair were more thoroughly looked into, and searched to the very bottom.
"I have reserved a copy of this letter, and also of my other to you, dated July 25, intending to send them to Mr. Burr, to be by him conveyed, by the way of New-York or Philadelphia. Looking on these letters as of special importance, I send duplicates, lest one copy should fail. The pacquet, in which I inclose this, I cover to Mr. Gillies, and send to Boston, to the care of Mr. Hyslop, to be conveyed to Mr. Gillies. But yet have desired him, if he has a more direct opportunity, to convey the pacquet to Edinburgh, by the way of London, then to put a wrapper over the whole, inscribed to you; and to write to you, desiring you to break open the pacquet, and take out the letters which belong to you.
"You will see, Sir, something of our sorrowful state, on this side of the water, by my letter to Mr. M'Culloch. O, Sir, pray for us; and pray in particular, for
"Your affectionate and obliged
"Friend and brother,
Death of President Burr.-His character.-Mr. Edwards chosen his successor.-Letters of Mrs. Burr,-To a gentleman in Scotland-To a gentleman in Boston-To her Mother.-Letter of Mr. Edwards, to the Trustees of the College.-Letter of Mrs. Burr, to her father.-Letter to Dr. Bellamy.-Council dismiss Mr. Edwards.-Inauguration as President.-First Sermon at Princeton.-Sickness.-Death.-Letter of Dr. Shippen.-Letters of Mrs. Edwards, and of her daughter, to Mrs. Burr.-Death of Mrs. Burr.-Death of Mrs. Edwards.
THE REV. Aaron Burr, President of the College at Princeton, and the son-in-law of Mr. Edwards, died, on the 24th of September, 1757, two days before the public Commencement. He was a native of Fairfield, Connecticut, was born in 1716, and was graduated at Yale College, in 1735. In 1738, he was ordained, as pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Newark. In 1748, he was unanimously elected President of the College, as successor to Mr. Dickinson. Though possessed of a slender and delicate constitution, he joined, to uncommon talents for the dispatch of business, a constancy of mind, that commonly secured to him success. The flourishing state of the College, at the time of his death, was chiefly owing to his great and assiduous exertions. Until the autumn of 1755, he discharged the duties, both of President and Pastor of the Church.* Mr. Burr was greatly respected, in every station and relation of life. He was a man of acknowledged talents, of sound, practical good sense, of unimpeachable integrity, and of ardent piety. Polished in his manners, he had uncommon powers in conversation, and possessed the happy art, of inspiring all around him with cheerfulness. As a reasoner, he was clear and solid; and as a preacher, animated, judicious, fervent and successful. He had warm affections, was greatly endeared to his family and friends, and was open, fair and honourable, in all his intercourse with mankind. During the period of his Presidency, he secured the high esteem and confidence of all, who were interested in the College. In the latter part of July, or the beginning of August, being in a low state of health, he made a rapid and exhausting vi
*In the autumn of 1756, or early in 1757, the College was removed to Princeton,
sit to Stockbridge, in a very hot, sultry season. He soon returned to Princeton, and went immediately to Elizabethtown; where, on the 19th of August, he made an attempt, before the Legislature, to procure the legal exemption of the students from military duty. On the 21st, at Newark, being much indisposed, he preached an extemporaneous funeral sermon, in consequence of a death in the family of his successor. He then returned to Princeton, and, in a few days, went to Philadelphia, on the business of the College. On the way, his disorder took the form of an intermittent fever. On his return, he learned that his friend, Governor Belcher, died at Elizabethtown, on the 31st of August, and that he had been designated, to preach the funeral sermon. His wife, perceiving his increasing illness, besought him to spare himself, and decline the undertaking; but he felt himself bound, if possible, to perform it. Having devoted the afternoon of Sept. 2d, to the task of preparing the sermon, in the midst of a high fever, which was succeeded by delirium in the night, he rode the next day to Elizabethtown, about forty miles, and, on the 4th, in a state of extreme languor and exhaustion, when it was obvious to every one, that he ought to have been confined to a sick bed, he with great difficulty preached the sermon. He returned to Princeton the following day; and his disorder immediately assumed the character of a fixed and violent fever, seated on the nerves. At the approach of death, that gospel, which he had preached to others, gave him unfailing support. He was patient and resigned, and cheered with the liveliest hope of a happy immortality.
The Corporation of the College met, two days after his death, and on the same day made choice of Mr. Edwards, as his successor. Some of the circumstances, connected with the sickness and death of her husband, are alluded to in the following letter from Mrs. Burr, to a gentleman in Scotland, written soon after Mr. Burr's decease.
"I flatter myself I shall not be thought intrusive, if I acknowledge, in a few lines, the receipt of your letter, dated in August, to my late dear husband, which reached me, after he was beyond the reach of all mortal things. The affectionate regard that you exfor one, press who was dearer to me than my own life, was extremely affecting to me; nor can I forgive myself, if I neglect to acknowledge it, in terms of lively gratitude. You, Sir, had a large share, with me, in that dear good man's heart, which he often expressed, with the warmest affection. I thought it might not be improper, to lay your letter before the Trustees, as they were then convened, and it chiefly concerned the College; and then I sent it to my honoured father, the Rev. Mr. Edwards, who is chosen to succeed my dear husband; which, I hope, will be grateful to the
friends of the College, in Scotland. I here inclose you, Sir, the last attempt, my dear husband made, to serve God in public, and to do good to his fellow-creatures-a Sermon, that he preached at the funeral of our late excellent Governor. You will not think it strange, if it has imperfections; when I tell you, that all he wrote on the subject, was done in a part of one afternoon and evening, when he had a violent fever on him, and the whole night after, he was irrational.
"Give me leave to beg an interest in your prayers, at the throne of Grace, for a poor, disconsolate widow, and two fatherless orphans. Please to present, with great respect, my kindest regard to your lady and daughters.
"I am, honoured Sir,
"Your most obliged and humble servant,
The two following extracts from letters, written soon after the death of Mr. Burr, will show the strength of her own feelings, as well as her religious sentiments, and the exercises of her heart. The first is from a letter to a near friend of the family, in Boston.
"Your most kind letter of condolence gave me inexpressible delight, and, at the same time, set open afresh all the avenues of grief, and again probed the deep wound death has given me. My loss-Shall I attempt to say, how great my loss is-God only can know-And to him alone, would I carry my complaint.-Indeed, Sir, I have lost all that was, or could be desirable, in a creature. -I have lost all, that ever I set my heart on in this world.-I need not enlarge, on the innumerable amiable qualities of my late dear husband, to one that was so well acquainted with him, as you were; however pleasing it is to me, to dwell on them.-Had not God supported me, by these two considerations; first, by showing the right he has to his own creatures, to dispose of them when, and in what manner he pleases; and secondly, by enabling me to follow him beyond the grave, into the eternal world, and there to view him, in unspeakable glory and happiness, freed from all sin and sorrow; I should, long before this, have been sunk among the dead, and been covered with the clods of the valley.-God has wise ends, in all that he doth. This thing did not come upon me by chance; and I rejoice, that I am in the hands of such a God."
The other is from a letter to her mother, dated at Princeton, Oct. 7, 1757. After giving some account of Mr. Burr's death, and representing the sense she had of the greatness of the loss, which she and her children had sustained; she writes in the following words:
"No doubt, dear madam, it will be some comfort to you to hear,
that God has not utterly forsaken, although he has cast down. I would speak it to the glory of God's name, that I think he has, in an uncommon degree, discovered himself to be an all-sufficient God, a full fountain of all good. Although all streams were cut off, yet the fountain is left full.-I think I have been enabled to cast my care upon him, and have found great peace and calmness in my mind, such as this world cannot give nor take.—I have had uncommon freedom, and nearness to the throne of grace. God has seemed sensibly near, in such a supporting and comfortable manner, that I think I have never experienced the like. God has helped me to review my past and present mercies, with some heart-affecting degree of thankfulness.
"I think God has given me such a sense of the vanity of the world, and uncertainty of all sublunary enjoyments, as I never had before. The world vanishes out of my sight! Heavenly and eternal things appear much more real and important, than ever before. I feel myself to be under much greater obligations to be the Lord's, than before this sore affliction.-The way of salvation, by faith in Jesus Christ, has appeared more clear and excellent; and I have been constrained to venture my all upon him; and have found great peace of soul, in what I hope have been the actings of faith. Some parts of the Psalms have been very comforting and refreshing to my soul.-I hope God has helped me to eye his hand, in this awful dispensation; and to see the infinite right he has to his own, and to dispose of them as he pleases.
"Thus, dear madam, I have given you some broken hints of the exercises and supports of my mind, since the death of him, whose memory and example will ever be precious to me as my own life. O, dear madam! I doubt not but I have your, and my honoured father's prayers, daily, for me; but, give me leave to entreat you both, to request earnestly of the Lord, that I may never despise his chastenings, nor faint under this his severe stroke; of which I am sensible there is great danger, if God should only deny me the supports, that he has hitherto graciously granted.
"O, I am afraid I shall conduct myself so, as to bring dishonour on my God, and the religion which I profess! No, rather let me die this moment, than be left to bring dishonour on God's holy name.—I am overcome-I must conclude, with once more begging, that, as my dear parents remember themselves, they would not forget their greatly afflicted daughter, (now a lonely widow,) nor her fatherless children. My duty to my ever dear and honoured parents, and love to my brothers and sisters.
"From, dear madam,
"Your dutiful and affectionate daughter,
"THE news of his appointment to the Presidency," says Dr.