Page images

Also I compiled both exhortations and prayers by his help. I diligently marked the difference of their grammar from ours; wben I found the way of them, I would pursue a word, a noun, a verb, through all the variations I could think of. And thus I came at it. We must not sit still and look for miracles. Up, and be doing, and the Lord will be with thee. Prayer and pains, through faith in Christ Jesus, will do any thing. Nil tam difficile quod non—I do believe and hope that the gospel shall be spread to all the ends of the earth, and dark corners of the world, by such a way, and by such instruments as the churches shall send forth for that end and purpose. Lord, basten those good days, and pour out that good spirit upon thy people. Amen."

We sometimes hear the inquiry made as to the correctness and value of Eliot's Grammar and Translation of the Bible. The best answer to this inquiry may be found in the words of one of the very few who are competent to form an opinion on the subject-the celebrated philologist, Duponceau:

“ This great and good man [Eliot] did not foresee, when he wrote his Indian Grammar, that it would be sought after and studied by the learned of all pations. The Augustine of New England had no object in view, but that which he expresses in his title page—the help of such as desired to learn the Indian language for the furtherance of the gospel among the natives.' But that worldly fame, which he did not seek, awaited bim at the end of two centuries; and his works, though devoted to religion alone, have become important sources of human learning

“ This Translation of the Bible by our venerable Eliot, is a rich and valuable mine of Indian philology. A complete grammar and dictionary might, with labour and perseverance, be extracted from it; for there is hardly a made or figure of speech, which is not to be found somewhere in the sacred writings. It has been of great use to me in the investigation of the character and structure of the American languages, and I hope to derive still further benefit from it. Every copy of it, that is yet extant, ought to be preserved with the greatest care, as it is hardly to be hoped that it will ever be entirely reprinted.”

Another eminent linguist, Mr. Pickering, says, “the Indian Grammar of this indefatigable man possesses great merit in many respects.”

“ His way of preaching,” says Matber, “ was very plain; so that the very lambs might wade into his discourses on those texts and themes wherein elephants might swim."

“ He that will write of Eliot,” says Mather, “must write of charity, or say nothing." He gave largely from his own income to the poor, and promoted all kinds of useful distributions, especially if he could serve the cause of religion. When bis age unfitted him for public employment, be refected that he did good as he had opportunity“ Alas!" said be, “I have lost every thing. My understanding leaves me, my memory fails me, my utterance fails me, but I thank God my charity holds out still." So great was his charity, that his salary was often distributed for the relief of his needy neighbours, so soon after the period at which he received it, that, before another period arrived, bis own family were straitened for the comforts of life. One day the parish treasurer, on paying the money for salary due, which he put into a handkerchief, in order to prevent Mr. Eliot from giving away his money before he got home, tied the ends of the handkerchief in as many bard knots as he could. The good wan received his handkerchief, and took leave of the treasurer. He immediately went to the house of a sick and necessitous family. On entering, he gave them bis blessing, and told them God bad sent them some relief. The sufferers, with tears of gratitude, welcomed their pious benefactor, who, with moistened eyes, began to untie the knots in his handkerchief. After many efforts to get at his money, and impatient at the perplexity and delay, he gave the handkerchief and all the money to the mother of the family, saying, with a trembling accent, “Here, my dear, take it; I believe the Lord designs it all for you.'

Eliot died in the year 1690, at the advanced age of 86. Few of his family were alive to lament his death; but he was lamented by the whole family of virtue, and by all the sincere friends of religion. The poor church at Natick, not only joined with those who dropped a tear upon his dust, but streams of sorrow flowed from the heart. Though he lived many years, they were filled with usefulness; succeeding generations mentioned his name with uncommon respect; his labours were applauded in Europe and America; and all who now contemplate his active services, his benevolent zeal, his prudence, his upright conduct, bis charity, are ready to declare his memory precious. Such a man will be handed down to future times, an object of admiration and love; and appear conspicuous in the historic page, when distant ages celebrate the worthies of NewEngland.

« If the dust of dead saints,” says Mather, “could give us any protection, we are not without it. Here is a spot of American soil, that will afford a rich crop of it at the resurrection of the just. Poor New-England has been, as Glastenbury of old was called, a burying-place of saints. But we cannot see a more terrible prognostic than tombs filling apace with such bones as those of the renowned Eliot's. The wbole building of this country trembles at the fall of such a pillar.”

The famous Richard Baxter, in a letter to Increase Mather, says, “I knew much of Mr. Eliot's opinions, by many letters which I had from him. There was no man on earth whom I honoured above him. It is his evangelical work that is the apostolical succession that I plead for.”

The Indian town of Natick was formed in 1651. A church was gathered in 1660. It was incorporated into an English district, in 1761, and into a town, in 1781. After Mr. Eliot's death, the Indian church dwindled away. The Rev. Mr. Gookin, of Sherburne, son of Gen. Gookin, however, bestowed his pious cares upon it. In 1674, the teachers

were Anthony and John Speen, grave and pious

The pastor of the church in 1687, was an Indian, named Daniel. In 1721, Mr. Peabody went to Natick as a missionary. He was ordained, Oct. 21, 1729. A church was gathered, partly of Indians and partly of English. When he went there, thirty-one years after the death of Eliot, he could find no records or traces of any thing referring to the former church. He laboured 29 years, and died Feb. 2, 1752. Mr. Badger was ordained March 27, 1753. He was in the ministry 46 years. He closed his public services, July, 1799, and died, Aug. 23, 1803. After Mr. Badger's death, the Indians had become so few in number that no provision was made for their particular instruction. Rev. Freeman Sears was ordained as minister of the town of Natick, Jan. 1, 1806. He died June 30, 1811. Rev. Martin Moore was ordained his successor, Feb. 16, 1814.

The church of the “South Congregational Society" is the fourth that has been erected on this ballowed spot. It was dedicated, Nov. 20, 1828. The Dedication Sermon


was preached by the Rev. Dr. Lowell, of Boston, from Haggai, ii. 9. “ In this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.As this is now a distinct parish, it has been suggested, that to commemorate the name of the Apostle to the Indians, It should be called Eliot, or Eliotville.

Hymn Composed by Mr. JOSIAH BIGLow of Natick, and sung at the

Ordination of the Rev. J. W. THOMPSON, Feb. 17, 1830.

Here, first, O Lord! the red men woke

Their wild, untutor'd song to Thee;
Their altar was the forest oak,

Their temple, heaven's high canopy.
And where the bearth, with cheerful blaze,

Welcomes a more enlighten'd throng,
The desert heard their simple praise,

And echo'd back their grateful song.
Oh, where is now that gathering band,

That met in olden time to pray?
And where that holy man, whose hand

First led them on their pilgrim way?
Peaceful they slumber, side by side,

Where they thy holy name avow'd;
The warrior's plume, the chieftain's pride,

Before a stranger-race are bow'd.
Rich in the fulness of his days,

That veteran of the cross is gone;
His spirit heard the toil-earn'd praise,

“ Thou servant of the Lord, well done!”

his sacred mantle be
To bim, our chosen shepherd, given,
His ardent, humble piety,

His zeal, to guide bis flock to heaven.

On Methodism.—No. 2. Discipline a cause of the success of Methodism, and Tyranny the

forerunner of ruin to the power of Conference. We spoke in the last Number, of one of the causes by which Methodism had made so rapid and so extensive a progress, as it has done within the last century. We now advert to another; the strictness of the discipline by which the body is governed. Wesley, the founder of Methodism, showed his knowledge of human nature, in calling to his aid the agency of the people. His followers were divided and subdivided, and divided and subdivided again and again; and over each larger and each smaller band was placed an officer to direct and govern. All, of course, could not be rulers; but the policy of Wesley was, to make as many rulers as the numbers in connexion with him would allow. By this means, not a few, but a multitude, having their vanity gratified, and their benevolence called into action, were concerned for the welfare of existing institutions; and others, not yet promoted to any official station, learned to obey, and were prompted to proselyte in the hope of finding rank in fresh accessions to the body. All who ruled, from the lowest grade up to the highest, had in turn to obey also—each to each in regular ascent, till you arrived at the supreme autocrat, the Pope of Methodism, Wesley. His will was law to the whole body, and no other will but his, had, in his lifetime, any independent influence. A laboured disquisition is not needful, to show that a system thus constructed was eminently fitted to make progress.

Here was the power of numbers, the power of union, directed by the effectiveness of one supreme will. Wesley's connexion was truly a Church militant. It resembled an army more than any

other thing. It was constructed like an army, with officers of every rank, and one general supreme over all. The discipline was administered with the severity of military rule. Not a murmur was tolerated—expulsion followed an act of insubordination difference of sentiment was disloyalty to the spiritual monarch, and met by the severest punishment. Wesley's church acted, therefore, with the effectiveness of an army. It bad large numbers—these troops were well officered—the officers knew how to obey, as well as to command—and the whole was wielded by an excellent commander-in-chief. It is no wonder, then, that Wesley went on conquering and to conquer, and gained trophies, and planted his banners in every part of the land.

The reader of history will not fail to have noticed, that despotic governments have made the most rapid and extensive conquests of all others. The vast plains of Asia

« PreviousContinue »