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In the articles of his faith, Doctor Wheelock agreed with the puritans, who were the fathers of New England. He belonged to the school of Calvin. The doctrine of divine sovereignty; of human depravity; the moral impotence of the sinner; the necessity of regeneration; the divinity of Jesus Christ; the infinite merit and efficacy of the atonement; the doctrine of election; special grace in the conversion of a sinner; the immediate duty of repentance and faith; the necessity of holiness as evidence of justification, were the favorite themes of this good man.
Like the light of the sun, the benevolence of Dr. Wheelock shines in his active and useful services. His whole life demonstrates the goodness of his heart. No higher evidence of a benevolent mind can be given, than the arduous labors he performed; the many privations, which he endured; the immense sacrifices he made; the burdensome and complicated cares, which he voluntarily assumed. Love to God and the souls of men, was undoubtedly the animating motive of his active life. The college and school were founded to promote the glory of the Redeemer in the salvation of men; especially the unlettered and perishing Indians of North America. The supplies from Great Britain unexpectedly failing; the war considerably lessening the income from the school lands, and producing other embarrassments, the school became involved in debt. Dr. Wheelock advanced his own property to the amount of three thousand three hundred and thirty three dollars. This, in his last will, he gave to the institution, reserving only the annual payment of one hundred and sixty six dollars to his eldest son, who is an invalid, during his natural life. Other valuable legacies he left to the school.
To gain a just idea of his benevolent spirit, we must have witnessed his incessant labors, his painful watchings, his oppressive cares, his daily solicitude for the miserable pagans on our borders. The weary journeys, which he performed; his valuable patrimony, devoted to the cause of charity, evince the goodness of his heart. The forests of New Hampshire, under whose shade he travelled from river to river, across plains and mountains, to find a place for the infant school of the prophets; the verdant boughs, which sheltered him from the cold, the winds and storms of a dismal winter; the lofty groves which echoed his prayers and praises, these proclaim the glowing benevolence of Dr. Wheelock.
The government of Dr. Wheelock was parental. No father watches over his rising offspring with more tenderness, than he manifested to the school and college. Neither unfeeling authority, nor mercenary fines, ever alienated the affections, or hardened the hearts of his pupils. His temper and manners were mild and pleasant, and those under his care obeyed from affection and respect. But when the Indian boys or others, were guilty of any notorious fault, to give weight to discipline, he usually visited the school himself, and witnessed the punishment inflicted by the preceptor. At such times, though they seldom happened, he gave the offender the most serious and affectionate admonition. This treatment generally produced the desired effect. The children of the Indians are left by their parents to the impulse of untutored nature, and came to the school without an idea of subordination. In some instances they discovered a ferocious and cruel disposition, particularly in torturing animals. The Dr. employed patience, and kindness, and resolution, to civilize those little savages,
and render them obedient to the laws of the school. Yet when circumstances demanded it he appeared in majesty, and awed the offender into obedience.
On such occasions, the description of dicipline, represented as an ancient resident in the universities of England, might be applied to him:
"His gentle eye,
"Grew stern, and darted a severe rebuke;
Faithfulness, as a religious instructor, was a distinguished trait in the character of Doctor Wheelock. Religion entered into all his calculations, gave direction to all his plans, and seemed to dictate the most minute arrange nent. He was the same good man in the parlor, the college, and the pulpit. In conversation he had a remarkable talent of introducing religious subjects with ease and pleasantness. His manner had nothing of ostentation or formality; nothing which offended the careless or gay. He possessed a patriarchal hospitality, and the purity of his conversation, open and honest as the day, edified his friends, and gave dignity to his mild and endearing manners.
Anxiously concerned for the salvation of his children, his pupils and servants, he occasionly took them individually into his study, to enquire, with parental tenderness, into their spiritual state. With great plainness he gave them such advice and exhortations, as their respective cases rendered proper. Often God was pleased to bless these pious labors, and many of his pupils had cause to bless God for these seasons of religious
conference. In the great concerns of their salvation, his children and pupils frequently applied to him for instruction. During his presidency, as well as since, the university was a school of religion and human science.
As a minister of the gospel Dr. Wheelock was endowed with shining gifts. His sermons were animated, affectionate and persuasive. His talents as a preacher gave lustre to his name. frequent journeys through New England; his incessant labors in the great revival, near the middle of the last century, made him extensively known and beloved. Multitudes flocked to hear him; he was a star of the first order in the constellation of preachers, which in that day shone with such distinguished splendor. For a time he was like an angel flying through the heavens with the everlasting gospel. Yet so humble was his spirit, so exquisite his sensibility, that he seldom entered the pulpit without fear; often his frame trembled. This however generally subsided as he entered upon the public services.
Though a man of profound science, and a fine classic scholar, his preaching was in a stile easy and familiar. He was a tree whose bending branches offered its fruit to the feeblest child. To win the attention, and rouse the consciences of his hearers, he had a remarkable talent. Without factitious ornament, his language was perspicuous and forcible. His aim was to inform the understanding, before he attempted to move the passions. Usually he wrote only short notes, and sometimes his preaching was extemporaneous. Possessing a lively imagination, a warm -heart, and a deep concern for immortal souls, the impetuosity of his eloquence, often presented common and well known truths, with all the ir
resistable charms of novelty. When he proclaimed the curses of the law; when he warned sin ners of the approaching wrath of God, they seemed to stand on the base of Sinai; the pulpit was clothed in thunder; the coruscations of truth were as forked lightning, and with one voice they cried, "what shall we do to be saved?" When he addressed the humble saint, his voice was that of the angels, who welcome the spirits of the just to mansions not made with hands. The trembling penitent looked to the CROSS, to behold the Lamb of God; he was cheered with hope; he was filled with joy at his approaching glory.
As might be expected from his impassioned address and holy pathos, he was a remarkably successful preacher. Many aged christians in every part of New England consider him as their spiritual father. Whole churches have been gathered, apparently the fruit of his ministry. At one period he was known to say, that he had cha rity to address the body of his own people as real christians.
Undoubtedly there is a cause why such success is not more common. The persuasive and irresistable power of eloquence, has been handed down to us from the highest antiquity. From the time of Aaron, the high priest of Israel; from Nestor and Ulysses, military commanders of Greece, numerous public speeches, in different ages and countries, have displayed the commanding force of oratory. The thunder of Demosthenes overawed the Athenian multitude, and the pathos of Tully extorted a favorable sentence from the mighty Cæsar. Nor has the christian church been destitute of sacred orators, who have sometimes had more influence in society than kings or conquerors; who have given a new mo