Page images


I come now to say more about myself, And why should I write about myself, who am but dust and ashes, but to make known to dying sinners the love of a crucified Redeemer; to set myself forth as a living witness of the divine mercy; to testify that there is plenteous salvation through faith in Jesus, and also to induce others to close in with the gracious overtures of mercy ere it be forever too late; ere their earthly course is ended, and they find themselves in the place assigned to all apostate spirits, and those that die out of Christ; that die under the law; that die in their sins.

1 was the seventh child of my parents according to the order of Providence, which some would consider in itself as an omen of good; but whether it is worthy of any faith, I very much doubt, for with God all things are possible. I sometimes of late, have had it impressed on my mind, that as Jeremiah, the good Lord had separated me from my mother's womb for useful purposes under Him, to my fellow beings; to suffer for them in His name and to glorify Him.

My disposition from childhood was sedate and retiring, and somewhat romantic; imbibed probably from the wild scenery along the before-mentioned stream, on the banks of which 1 would often perambulate alone, and with others, and in canoes on the water, one of which, by foolishness, was upset at one time and the whole party, consisting of four, were plunged into the water, from which, after struggling awhile, the good Lord delivered us all, after having been repeatedly called upon, “God!” “God !" whenever my head was above water; which circumstance I find thus in a verse of a brief poem of my life:

• Thy love to me with shepherd's care,
In childhood in thine arms did'st bare,
And smile upon this humble frame;
As years advanced, thou still the same,
A God of Love and ever nigh,
To hear my moan and louder

God! O God!!" thou wast near to save,

And rescue me from a wat’ry grave.'
Thus in mercy I was spared; had it been otherwise, 1


might not have fared as well as l am now certain of doing when the Lord pleases to call me from this earthly stage; as I had no assurance of acceptance through the "beloved," and consequently, would have perished body and soul. O, the need of being at all times prepared, from even the cradle to the grave, for an exit out of this world! May I ever be thankful to my Holy Father for this deliverance, with all previous, and those since; for His encompassing me with His everlasting arms, both by sea and by land ; but above all,

; for salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

My education was that of a common country school ; reading, writing and arithmetic, all of which I could man age with considerable ease ; particularly the latter, in which I was considered an adept; having mastered two books by different authors, together with Boneycastle's mensuration, surveying and guaging. My genius developed itself in this way, and also in drawing with pencil and pen and ink, figures of various kinds-; the gift of painting, which I have since brought to great perfection, was therefore, inherent from childhood, and I may say I was born a painter, poet, and man of genius. Endowed by nature, or more properly intrusted by my Heavenly Father, with these brightest of talents, if wisely employed—therefore, I am also more responsible than many others, for “to whom much is given, from him shall be much required;" as per the ten talents to one, five to another, and one to a third, and their reward by the Lord accordingly. No one is, therefore, excusable for burying His precious gift, much less for misemploying it-the soul constitutes the man, yet every one need not be a painter or a poet to be a man, to be of elevated mind and refined soul, but by having delight in the exalted things from above and not in those from Satan, contrary to holiness, which he is required to shun and abhor.

As I hinted at already, at about the age of fifteen l attended the village church with many others, to be catechised ; during this period my mind was more serious, more abstracted from


things below, more wrought upon and exercised in those of a boundless eternity; of the Divinity of Heaven's awful holiness. I felt my heart elevated in love to the Saviour, who had undergone so much in love to mankind-to me, yes to me, one of the least; yet notwithstanding, I felt the efficacy of his love in the salvation of my soul, and had much peace, joy and happiness in believing, comfort in prayer and sweetness in meditation; but nothing to what I now experience. With delight and facility I could commit to memory the portion from time to time assigned me, which caused our minister to have a particular regard foronie, and induced him to speak frequently to my father and others of my abilities, and the delight I took in the exalted things of Heaven; which created a desire in one of my sisters that 1 should study for the ministry—at whose knees I was often, in previous years, enraptured at the glowing picture she would draw of the joy and delight of Heaven, of Paradise, of the Holy Angels and of the Saints, the redeemed of the Lord ; and while expatiating on the benevolence of our blessed Saviour, the love which he bore toward us, which constrained him to sojourn here below, which caused his passion in Gethsemane and his death on Mount Calvary, of his resurrection, appearance, to his disciples, ascension and second coming in transcendent glory with all the holy hosts from on high, and that he would then raise our bodies and glorify them, like unto the Angels, to live with and enjoy Him in the New Heavens and Earth forever and ever; in short, she would expound the meaning of the New Testament to me, and some times show me engravings of our blessed Saviour and of Holy Angels, which aided to elevate my soul and cause it to soar on high on Angels' wings; be charmed and enraptured with the blessedness of Heaven; the holiness and divine glory of our God and Father. May all young ladies do likewise, who have younger sisters and brothers; “as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined.” Verily, it is the duty of all parents to instruct and have their children

instructed in godliness ; in that which pertains to their eternal welfare, everlasting life and happiness. But then sometimes they are called out of this world of trouble, as my mother, when some of their children are yet in tender years, the very time to receive holy and lasting impressions ; then the duty devolves more directly upon the older members of the family; and O how lovely! how beautiful and Angelic!!

' virtue and holiness combined in the female character. At these seasons, at times when alone and looking over the fields, I could almost see with my natural eyes, the Saviour with His disciples passing along, my faith being so vivid, which caused my heart to leap within, and be filled with such heavenly emotions impossible to describe. The minister looked about to find one to pray in public on the day of confirmation, and selected me as the most suitable; the prayer, however, was not extempore, but committed to memory out of a book-in whieh duty I succeeded pretty well. I was confirmed with the others; denied the world, the devil, the lusts of the flesh; took the sacrament, and thus became a member of the Lutheran church; 1 had true comfort and sweet peace through Christ in God, but not such enraptured joy and rejoicing as I have experienced since, within late years; and probably not the perfect love which casts out all fear of death and judgment; " there is therefore now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus." I had now for some time much serenity of soul and peace of conscience, but by degrees it wore off and I became more worldly; the passions within became more turbulent and ungovernable, so that by the time of the next sacrament I absented myself, under the fear of not being able to discern the Lord's body, and thus drink damnation to myself; and so it was the time following. I did not live or indulge in any gross sin, but yet I would not deny myself to the extent I promis

1 ed at confimation, and therefore knew myself unworthy.

The time now arrived that I was to enter on a trade, and as the ministry, as I thought, required too much self-denial ; for I had a high and an exalted opinion of the ambassadors

[ocr errors]

of Christ-those that are true shepherds; so much so that 1 shrunk whenever they broached the subject, on account of the loftiness and responsibility of the office; nevertheless, to free my mind, I consulted the minister, who would not 'advise me either way, to undertake it or not; but said it was a high and desirable calling, and I should do according to the dictates of my conscience; pray to and obey the will of the Lord. 1 left him and went home, deeply exercised on the subject, revolving and re-revolving the matter in my mind, but could not at any time come to the conclusion that I could become qualified to discharge the duties of a faithful preacher; no doubt, lacking faith in Him who is the head of the Church, with whom all things are possible, and who could have been a mouth to me as he was to Moses. I have mentioned already that I was of a sedate and retired disposition, and therefore, as may be expected, of few words, or one who tells things briefly and not fund of a multitude of words without meaning; this might have been in my favor, as appropriate to a minister; as an approach even to Christ himself; but the devil made it a great stumbling-block, together with other things of more or less consequence; and I remained undecided whether the blessed Lord had really called me or not, and began to think of some other occupation, consulted with some of my relations, and concluded to study the art of printing. I went myself to Harrisburg and made an engagement with Mr. Wyeth, who agreed to take me on trial for a few months to see whether I liked the business, &c.; if so, I was to serve to the age of twenty-one.

c I, therefore, in the beginning of the winter of 1822–3, began my career with him, and after a short time was articled to stay until I was of age. The first day it was late when I got there, but I learned the cases and composed nearly half a column of matter, long primer, for the paper ; thus 1 progressed rapidly in the profession and he used to say I was a very good boy, and when my father wanted to purchase a bible for me he gave me one as a present-ie had a large book-store in connection with the printing esta olishment.


« PreviousContinue »