« PreviousContinue »
ed, he was accustomed, on receiving his medicines, or any portion however small, of any liquid, to ejaculate a petition for the divine blessing. From his clear and impressive views of the perfections of Deity, and full confidence in the rectitude of His dispensations, proceeded a cordial submission to the divine will. He felt that he had ties, as numerous, and as strong, to this world, as most men 6 I am not,” he remarked, in a letter to the author of this memoir, dated July 1st, " indifferent to life. How can I be, with such a family, as I have ; so young, and so dependent on parental attention and guidance ? But the event is with God; and I hope, that I am willing it should be so. I am not very anxious as to the event. I hope it is my desire, that Christ may be honored, whether by my life or death.” In another letter written about a fortnight afterward, having mentioned some particulars, relative to his disorder, he thus proceeds. “ You see, my dear sir, that my prospects do not brighten, as to returning health. But God is holy, wise, and good. I am in his hands. What can I wish more? Jesus Christ has said, He that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live. Blessed words ! and blessed Saviour!” In an interview with a ministerial friend, after he began to consider his disease, as likely to prove fatal, on being asked, if he could submissively leave his family with God, he replied, “I have been the happiest man in the world in my domestic connexions : I have endeavoured faithfully to instruct my children, and they have conducted,80 as greatly to endear themselves to me. I shall leave them but little property, but they will be in the hands of Him, who made them. God has been uniformly good to me all my life, and it would now be very unreasonable for me to be unwilling to obey His summons." At a subsequent visit, the same friend baving inquired what had been the state of his mind, since he last saw him, “I have had lately,” he said, “ such views of God's character, as have made me feel very comfortable, very comfortable. But last night, after throwing up blood, I was somewhat discomposed, and found I could do nothing, but lie at the feet of a sovereign God.” From the window of his chamber he frequently looked at the College buildings. One day, while fixing his eye upon them, he exclaimed, “ Precious objects have ye
been to me; but I resign you all for my God." He often said, "God will do right; all is well. In health, he had been prone to indulge anxiety, and sometimes to a high degree in regard to the institution, over which he presided. But during his sickness, this solicitude gave place to a firm reliance on God's gracious protection. “God has taken care of the College," he would say, 66 and God will take care of it.”
In such a state of mind, as the facts that have been mentioned, indicate, he could not but feel happy; nor could he fail to cherish the hope of a blissful immortality. Throughout his illoess, he was, almost uniformly, free from distressing fears; and as death drew nigh, his bope ripened into assurance.
Of what nature was the felicity, that he anticipated, may be learned from the following circumstances. The inquiry was made, if he did not find something pleasant in the thought, that the happiness of heaven would never end. “Connect with it,” he replied, "the thought of perfect holiness, and it is a glorious thought indeed." At another time, after exclaiming, " Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive glory, and honor, and riches, and blessing,” he added, " there is joy in that song !"
About a week before his death, there was a return of hemorrhage. It occasioned extreme distress. It was feared by others, and by himself, that suffocation would take place. As the family stood around him, looking for the moment, when he would expire, he suddenly obtained relief; and his first words were, ut. tered in his own emphatic manner, s Good and upright is the Lord.” The day after, he called his children to him, and, with perfect composure, gave to each of them, separately, what he considered his dying counsel. He was apprehensive that the bleeding would return, and that he should ngt be able to survive it. Towards night, he requested to be raised a little in his bed, that he might see the setting sun. Having beheid it for a moment, he said, as he reclined his head upon the pillo:r,
66 Before it dawns again, I shall be in glory." This expectation was not realized, for he was continued a week longer. During the greater part of the last five days, his mind was somewhat disordered, and his thoughts were wandering. At times be appeared perfectly rational, and uttered many interesting expressions.
“I do not wish,” he remarked one day," that much should be said of me. This I think they may say, that I am a poor sinner, saved by Jesus Christ. But they need not put much to it.” The last day he was evidently much in prayer. With his petitions praises were mingled. “ Glory to God in the highest; the whole earth shall be filled with his glory.” At length, after a long and painful struggle with the last enemy, about eight in the evening, on the 12th of Nov. 1819, he fell asleep in Jesus.
The following is the inscription on his tomb stone.
Huic tumulo mandantur reliquiæ
MARITI DESIDERATISSIMI, PATRIS OPTIMI,
ALMAQUE NOSTRÆ ACADEMIÆ SECUNDI PRÆSIDIS.
Vir fuit ingenii acumine insignis, moribus
compositis, ac aspectu bcnigno
hac enim, quo homines audeant,
cognovit et tentavit. Integra fide, disciplinaque salutari,
res Academicas administravit,
ad quietem se contulit.
velint; ita mortuus est,
tamen voluit inscribi, se salutem sperasse in Jesu. Natus est Novemis die 17mo Anno Domini MDCCLXXII. Obitque Noven is die 12mo Anno Domini MDCCCXIX.
Senatus Academiæ Bowdoinensis
summa reverentia, hoc monumentum posuerunt.
The following is a list of publications which have proceeded from his pen. 1. Dedication Sermon at Hampton, N. H.
1797 2. Sermon at the ordination of Rev. Asa Rand, of Gorham
of Rev. Jonathan Cogswell, of Saco 1810 4. of Rev. Reuben Nason, wf Freeport
1810 5. of Rev. Benjamin Tappan, of Augusta
1811 6. Discourse on the death of Frederic Southgate
1813 7. Massachusetts Election Sermon
1814 8. Sermon delivered at Brunswick, on the day of a national Thanksgiving 1815 9. Sermon before the society of Bath and vicinity for the suppression of public vices
1816 10. Sermon at the ordination of Rev. Enos Merrill of Freeport
1816 11. Address before the Massachusetts Society for the suppression of intemperance
1816 12. Sermon before the Cumberland Society for the suppression of public vices
1816 13. Sermon before the American Board of commissioners for Foreign Missions
1817 14. Sermon at the formation of the Maine Education Society
1818 15. Addresses delivered at the annual commencements from 1808 to 1818,
8vo. Brunswick, 1820.
Note.---The Theological Lectures and Sermons, contained in this volume, were selected by Dr. Appleton himself, during his last sickness, and were committed for posthumous publication to the care of certain friends. Though it is much to be regretted, that they were not prepared for the press by his own hand, it may be confidently predicted, that they will not be found unworthy of the reputation of the author.
Necessity of Revelation. No person, opening the New Testament for the first time, could be insensible how much he was interested to ascerlain its claims. He would perceive immediately, that the subjects, of which he treats, have relation to the eternal destiny of man. We would perceive, that, if the writers of this book were not what they pretended, no language can express the boldness of their impiety; and that, if they were, all other publications become insignificant, when compared with their writings.
To exhibit a general view of the evidence, which supports christianity, will be attempted in following lectures. As a preparation for which, several will be employed in considering this question, whether the state of mankind were such, as to render necessary any light, in addition to that, which is reflected by the works and providence of God.
We are indeed extremely unqualified to determine a priori what measures would, under given circumstances, comport with divine wisdom and benevolence. Many parts of God's administration are evidently different from what, with our limited views, we should have expected. It would be presumptuous then to determine, with confidence, how much light the wisdom of God would incline him to impart, or wbat state of things would demand his interposition. Yet the probability of a revelation, on supposition, that mankind,