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firm in forming his own opinions, but respectful and conciliatory towards those with whom he acted. In all deliberative bodies to which he at any time belonged, the weight of his influence was felt, and the benefit of his counsels perceived. Few laymen in our country were better acquainted with ecclesiastical law; and none, perhaps, has exhibited more skill and address in the management of a perplexed and difficult cause.
But Mr. Haslett was still more distinguished by the qualities of his heart than his head. He was in an eminent degree susceptible of the emotions of sincere and constant friendship; and it was his felicity, during his life, to number in the list of his friends, many excellent and distinguished persons, both of the clergy and laity. No one seemed to set a higher value on genuine friendship, or to relish its pleasures more sensibly. To envy, vanity, and suspicion he seemed to be a stranger, and in his intercourse with friends, there was uniformly manifested such hearty good-will, so much sincerity, and so much innocent cheerfulness, that they were always fond of his society.
Mr. Haslett was peculiarly a domestic man. In the bosom of his family he was truly at home.— Blessed with a numerous, healthy, and promising family of children, who, like olive plants, encircled his board, he seemed when the business of the day was over, to find in this little circle, with the company of a few choice friends, exquisite pleasure. His attachment to his family was evidently strong: as a husband he was affectionate, as a father kind and indulgent.
The brightest trait in Mr. Haslett's character, however, was his deep and unaffected piety. He had received in his father's house a religious education, and before he became the subject of efficacious grace was moral and amiable in his deportment; but
when it pleased a gracious God to open his eyes, his conviction of his sinful and miserable condition was deep and severe. For some months he went mourning under a sense of his guilt, with his head bowed down like a bulrush; but when Christ was revealed, his deliverance was sudden and great. Of his conversion to God, he has written as follows: "Cranberry, May 3d, 1793.
"Joseph Nourse, Esquire,
"You expressed a desire of having some account of the Lord's dealings with me, when I was disposed to write on this subject, but a diffidence of my ability to do it in a becoming manner, especially, as self is so much concerned, has hitherto prevented me. However, as I was lately reflecting upon the time and circumstances of our first acquaintance, and was led to admire the goodness of God to me in this instance, the obligations your friendship had laid me under were also brought afresh to my recollection, and I felt myself chargable with ingratitude for withholding any thing which might afford you the least satisfaction. These reflections, together with the words of the Psalmist (Psalms 66, 16) and the apostle Peter's admonition, (1 Peter 3, 15) have at length overcome all difficulties with me. May the blessed Jesus, who, I trust, has redeemed your soul and mine from eternal misery, guide my heart and pen so that his name may be glorified, and your soul comforted by what I have to declare of his goodness.
"My disposition from my youth, as far as I can now trace it was rather averse than inclined to the grosser follies of the times; and as I enjoyed the advantages of a religious education and was kept under strict family government, I always found the commission of known sins attended with trouble of conscience to a greater or less degree. I looked up
on sin as an evil which I ought to avoid, but had no view of its evil nature, nor had I any idea of the corruption of my heart, and the necessity of an entire change. I had no knowledge of the gospel way of salvation, but did all I did upon legal principles, and often consoled myself with thinking if it were not well with me, what would become of multitudes I was acquainted with. I was early taught to pray, and I prayed frequently in private; for I thought God was under obligations to answer my prayers, according to Matt. vii. 7, and, I remember to have prayed often, in the immediate prospect of gratifying some evil propensity. As my father was an Arminian, (though called a Presbyterian) I was brought up in that belief; and was fully of opinion, that, if I did what I could, God would pardon the rest; for, I thought it would be injustice in God to require of me what I could not do. Thus I continued until the nineteenth year of my age, when I conceived a desire of coming to this country. I made it known to my parents, who were rather opposed to it, and advised me to think of getting into business at home. At the same time, my father made application to a gentleman engaged in the linen business, who wanted a young man to assist him. He agreed to take me, and the terms were agreed upon, only I was to have a week to consider the matter. Here I have frequently thought, the hand of Providence was visible in my favour; for almost every thing concurred to make me prefer my father's proposal. Only one objection remained with me, and that was, that the place where the gentleman lived was full of wickedness, and I thought I would be exposed to such temptations as I could not resist, and thereby bring a reproach upon myself and friends. I therefore determined (with my parents' consent) to prepare for America. Accordingly, in a somewhat feeling
manner, I laid before them my objections to what they had proposed, upon which they approved of my choice, and consented to my proposal.
"From my arrival in America to my settlement in this place, my conduet was much the same as formerly, with this difference, that as I had more liberty than when under my father's care, I could indulge myself in many things with more freedom than before. After being here some time, I began to consider it my duty to join in communion with the church; accordingly I made application for admission at the approaching sacrament, though with but little hope of success, for I was grossly ignorant, as well of the nature of the ordinance, as of the qualifications of a worthy partaker. However, as the minister was an easy man, and my outward conduct had been pretty good, I was readily admitted.Here I would just observe, that I think many poor souls are fatally deceived by an untimely admission to this ordinance, for, as they are taken into the number, and partake of the privileges of God's children, they hence conclude they must be in covenant with God; and thus they get a peace of their own making, and rest secure upon a false hope, which nothing but the mighty power of God can bring them off. They say "peace, peace, when there is no peace." Such, I believe to have been my condition, "but God, who is rich in mercy, &c."
"But to return:-As I had now made a public profession of religion, (for none are called professors of religion here, but those who come to the sacrament,) I concluded I had laid myself under additional obligations to live a holy life, and therefore resolved to abstain from every thing that might injure my character as a professor, and to try to act as other christians did; for although I had often found my resolutions like rotten flax, yet I always
thought the reason was because I had not done every thing I ought to make them good, and therefore would do better under the like circumstances again. Thus I continued for five years fighting against sin with carnal weapons, but to no purpose: I was, however, kept from any gross outbreakings in the eyes of the world, and as I was frequent in religious duties I was esteemed by many as a growing christian, though I firmly believe I was no more than a poor self-deceived hypocrite. One thing I remember gave me frequent uneasiness, viz. that I never had experienced those preparative works of the spirit which usually introduce faith into the souls of God's children, such as illumination, conviction, self despair, &c. and I have often been ready to look upon some of God's children as mere egotists for declaring what God had done for their souls, for thus saying they reproached me, and self you know cannot bear to be touched so long as it keeps the throne of the affections. I have often thought, when reading of the great sin of unbelief, I had reason to be thankful that I had always been a believer, but a time came when I was taught to think otherwise. In my religious exercises I frequently experienced much flowing of the affections, and would often shed tears in abundance, and I have often said to myself upon such occasions, O! what a good experience is this, sure I shall now be able to give a good account of the Lord's dealings with me to others. Here you see self was still the object in view. I would here just suggest to you what I believe to have been a great mean of strengthening me in my false confidence:-You know Christians when they meet are apt to talk upon a variety of religious subjects, and thereby edify and strengthen each other, and as I found myself grossly deficient when conversing on christian experience, I set too with all my might to ac