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physical and mental adaptedness to labor, he was willing to give himself as a servant, a soldier, a follower, or a leader, to be used as the Lord should appoint in the field of the world.
This was the man with whom I became acquainted under circumstances of peculiar interest, and in a few days, from a stranger, he became a friend and brother beloved. He grew close to my heart. He was with me in times of trial and peril; in seasons of rich enjoyment; the wonders and glories of nature and art, in the course of a year's travel in Europe and the East, were shared together, and when he went out again into the foreign field to do a mighty work, and there died in the midst of his labors, I mourned his death as that of a brother, and cried with David over Jonathan, “I am distressed for thee, my brother: very pleasant hast thou been unto me, thy love to me was wonderful.”
And this tribute to his memory is but a feeble memorial of one of the purest, noblest young men it was ever my joy to know.
PARENTAGE, BIRTH, AND EARLY EDUCATION
CONVERSION AND RELIGIOUS EXERCISESREVIVAL IN SCHOOL.
He was born September 25, 1824, at Parsippany, in New Jersey. His estimable parents were among the most respectable people in the rich agricultural region of Morris County. His mother was eminently a devout woman, full of faith and prayer, and consecrating her children with all the ardor of a mother's love and the confidence of a firm belief in the promises, to the service of God.
All the children—there were two daughters and four sons—had the best opportunities of early education, and one of the sons studied a profession, and is a successful lawyer in the city of Newark, N. J.
Chester, in very early life, disclosed a fondness for books. Apt to learn, and ambitious of excelling, he made rapid attainments in learning. At the age of twelve he was sent from home to a classical school at Wantage, N. J., under the care of his uncle, Mr. E. A. Stiles, where he pursued
his studies with great success, and was fitted for college. One of his cousins, who was in the same family, has furnished me with a sketch of the character and progress of the boy, and it is so like the man that I must copy the portrait here: “Even then, when he was only twelve years old, were largely developed that fearless assurance and determined purpose which distinguished him in after life, and formed him for action in so wide a field. After a few months' study here, the school was suspended; Chester returned home and remained there two years and a half, and when his uncle, Mr. Stiles, resumed his school again at Wantage, Chester joined him, and remained under his instruction until he was pre pared to enter college.
“During the second year of this period of study, a series of religious meetings was held in the Clove Church, about a mile from the school, by the Rev. T. S. Ward. The pupils were allowed to attend the services, or to stay at home, as they preferred. Righter was one of the few who aitended them from the beginning regularly. The interest in the meetings increased. On the third evening all the teachers and pupils attended. The house was thronged, and the audience deeply solemn under the preaching of the word. Many were powerfully impressed by the truth and the Spirit. The next morning young Righter went
to his uncle with the great question 'What must I do to be saved ?' That night on retiring to his room, he found his brother, who was a teacher in the school, sitting at his table writing, and he exclaimed, O brother, how can you sit still and write while I am perishing in my sins ?' His brother invited him to repent of his sins and turn to Christ with all his heart. He bade him kneel with him and give himself up to the Lord Jesus Christ for time and eternity. They knelt, and prayed together; wrestled long and earnestly on their knees, till the awakened, anxious, convicted sinner submitted to God. Light broke in upon his soul. Peace was shed abroad in his heart. He arose a new creature in Christ Jesus.
“The next morning as he entered the parlor where family worship was to be held, his countenance reflected the calmness and joy of his soul. His teacher and uncle said to him at once:
“Chester, I trust you have found the Saviour.'
“Yes, uncle,' he replied, 'I have given myself away to be his for ever.'
“The interest of the whole school in the subject of religion was so great, it was thought best to suspend the usual studies and hold a prayer meeting in the parlor during the forenoon. Nearly all the pupils attended. Young Righter was called on to offer the first prayer. A mere boy of sixteen, in the midst of his companions, it
might have been feared that he would hesitate when thus suddenly summoned to stand up as a Christian. But he was ready. With equal modesty and decision he rose and began with humble confession of sin, grateful acknowledgment of his joy and gratitude on account of sins forgiven, and then he prayed that all his associates might come to Christ without delay and share in the blessings of salvation. His words were fluent, for he had ready command of language, and his prayer was heard with deep emotions by his companions, and, we may believe, in heaven also, for the work of grace went on and others were brought in. With them he organized a prayer meeting, which was held daily, at noon, behind a haystack, in the midst of the winter
If the daily noon prayer meetings were held earlier than this, I have not seen any account of them. These boys kept them up, interest, regardless of the weather; their young hearts being warm and their petitions earnest for more and more of the Holy Spirit. This was the beginning of our friend's Christian life. In March of the same year, 1841, with thirty others, he made a public profession of religion, uniting with the Clove' church, in that neighborhood. Now he was a professed follower of Christ, a soldier of the cross, young but strong in the Lord. His face was set toward heaven, and so was his heart.