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make the excellency of his own perfections appear, and secure all the glory to himself.”
The pious mind, who contemplates the holy spirit of Dr. Wheelock, and observes his humility, his gratitude for past blessings, and his unwavering hope of future interpositions of Providence in favor of the seminary, which he had founded, will not be surprised at its subsequent prosperity, the showers of divine influence, which have fallen upon it, and the many tokens of divine favor, it has enjoyed. The temple reared with such a heavenly spirit must be a dwelling place of the Most High.
The rock smitten by the hand of faith watered the camp, and sustained the church of God in her travels through the wilderness.
So this seminary, whose foundations were laid with so many prayers and sacrifices of christian faith, has diffused the light of science, and supported civil order, morality, and religion in very extensive regions of infant settlements, in our country. Knowledge and piety prevail where ignorance and irreligion must have covered the people with gross darkness.
In this imperfect portrait we ought to mark distinctly the winning address and endearing manners of Dr. Wheelock. This feature of character is more essential to a successful gospel minister than is generally supposed. The most salutary advice, the most precious doctrines, the most hoJy examples, are often lost, and more than lost, by the unpleasant manners of the christian pasHe ought to study the modes of access to the human heart, as carefully as he studies his sermon or his bible. Careless, rustic, indecorous, or indelicate manners, may destroy the best effects of the most evangelical labors. Endearing manners, united with other essential qualifi
cations, ensure a minister the hearts of his people; the longer he lives with them, the more cordial and confidential is their union; every year elevates their esteem and increases their affection; as he advances in life, instead of being weary of his services, the more indissoluble is their relation; many waters cannot quench their love.
The friends of Dr. Wheelock were bound to him as with bands of iron. He used to say, that he abhorred that religion, which was not marked with good manners. His influence among his people at Lebanon was remarkable. He taught them not only the essential doctrines of grace, and the necessary duties of a christian life, but he inculcated the importance of civility, a catholic temper, and amiable deportment. It was not long after his ordination, that a great revival of religion took place through the land. Whitefield, Tenant, and many others were employed by Providence, as the instruments of giving a mighty impulse to the public mind. An irresistible, surprizing influence accompanied their labors. Fashionable follies were suspended; long established habits were broken; customary immoralities vanished from society; vice was appalled in her mad career. Family religion, public worship, attendance on the sacraments, all the virtues of a christian life, were more generally, and more devoutly observed. At the close of this glorious day, when spiritual slumbers began to steal upon the church, the enemy sowed tares. A race of Separatists, of Anabaptists, and other sectaries, darkened the heavens with the smoke of their unhallowed fires. The foundations of
religious society were shaken. A spiritual tornado tore up the barren trees in the garden of the Lord; the most precious fruit was bruised,
and the enclosures in many places were thrown down; the laborers trembled for their own safety. They were called "hirelings, wolves in sheeps' clothing, formal legalists, destitute of the pow er of godliness, dumb dogs that could not bark. In this dismal tempest Dr. Wheelock stood se cure, like Moses on Sinai's fiery summit. He had not only been a useful preacher abroad, but remarkably successful at home among his own people. He had so taken heed to himself and his doctrine, as not only to save himself, but those who heard him. The aged and the young, parents and children, in general looked up to him as their spiritual father, and faithful guide. While in most of the towns of New England, separations took place, and many worthy clergymen endured trials of cruel mockings, all was harmony among the people of Dr. Wheelock, While in many other places the people neglected and despised their minister, his people were kind, loved and revered him. While in many places the people were heady, censorious, and puffed up with their own attainments; his were teachable, meek, and candid. While others separated from their own minister, or idolized a few of their own sort, disdaining all others, as unconverted; his retained a spirit of unity, and were ready to hear all the ministers of Christ, without any insidious distinctions. Happy is the minister, ordained by providence, to implant in the minds of his people such an amiable temper, such a heavenly spirit. He shall shine a star of glory in the kingdom of God forever and ever.
It scarcely needs to be added, that Dr. Wheelock was a man of uncommon industry. Ever active, ever exerting himself, he had no time for self indulgence, or that torpid indolence, too common in the world. It was his meat and
drink to do the will of his heavenly Father, and what he did he accomplished with all his force.
Were all youth trained to similar habits of diligence, essential advantage to them and a conspicuous change in society would be the result. Were all the shreds and fragments of time, the hours and minutes, which are daily thrown away in idleness or useless chat, employed in reading, or some serious exercise of the mind, the improvement would surpass calculation. Probably à saving of years might be made in the life of almost every man. In this way most people might study history, geography, and other liberal sciences. They might become learned in the things of God. Of all men living, ministers of the gospel have the most miserable apology for idleness, or those sauntering, lifeless movements, which often pass for labor, but are really idleness in disguise, a spirit of slumber, assuming the garb of weary exertion.
Have ye not, oh ye lights of Israel, have ye not many volumes, which may be reviewed with advantage? Are there not various portions of the sacred writings, which may yet be more critically examined, with vast profit to yourselves and your people? Are there not other studies, which have connexion with religion, that enlarge the mind, and improve the heart; that give just views of Providence, and of human nature? Do not certain subjects in theology call for serious investigation, before you discuss them anew? Have you not sermons, which ought to be copied, which need alterations, retrenchments, and additions? Do not the arrangement, the style, the spirit of the performance, admit vast improvement? Does not the importance of the subject demand a more lucid method, a more perspicuous arrangement, a more impressive manner, more ele
gance, more energy, more pathos ? A more childish frenzy never seized the mind of a slothful servant, than the opinion, that unstudied sermons, thoughts hastily huddled together, are more popular with an illiterate assembly, than discourses thoroughly digested, and expressed in a correct and finished style. The fact is, no assembly is so stupid, as not to feel the difference between a sermon, crude and disconnected, and one elaborately and judiciously prepared, and maturely adapted to their circumstances or characters. Though he may more precisely know in what the difference consists, yet no learned critic feels the differ ence more forcibly, nor is more disposed to do justice to the preacher, than a common auditory. Observation proves that when a minister is dili gent, and enters deeply into the nature and spirit of his subject; when his heart, his words, his appearance, are in unison with his doctrine, his people always discover it, and listen with corresponding attention. When he is dull, and listless, and unprepared, they ever catch the contagious spirit of slumber and moral death.