Imágenes de página


and as

On the 5th of April, 1819, Mr. Ashmun was engaged in preparations for his final departure from Maine. His Journal of this date, shows how deeply and painfully he realized the circumstances connected with this event. He describes him. self as "unusually depressed; as undecided and irresolute;

as without any earthly friend near him; 'as having no definite scheme of future labours or settled prospect be'fore him, to fix his attention and direct his efforts; finally, as weak in faith and disinclined to the duty of prayer, having by the neglect of this duty, greatly multiplied, and foolishly retained his burdens."

In the afternoon of the 5th, he left Hampden; and on the 6th of April, arrived at Bucksport; from which place, on the 9th, he took passage for New York. The following extracts from his Journal, of the 6th, 7th, and 8th of that month, develope his thoughts and feelings at this time :

April 6th.-Reading Mather to-day, I was deeply impressed with the subject of the first chapter, which is the im


[ocr errors]


portance of living like dying men continually. The next, rekindled in my breast a desire to make God's glory my supreme pursuit in life. I saw and felt the importance of immediately reforming in relation to two besetting.sins. I am sorely borne down occasionally, but derive some support from the Throne of God. In reading Colonel Gardiner's Life ' lately, I found good desires and good resolutions considerably strengthened in my mind."

"April 7th.-This evening I was invited out to tea with Mr. and Mrs. B. and a few of the villagers. I found my patience and humility severely tried by the coolness and pointed neglect or dislike with which I was treated. May I submit myself under the mighty hand of God, and be silent. Why should a living man complain-a man for the punishment of his sins? I know I deserve it from God, and if all my guilt were known, should also from my fellow-men.”

April 8th.— I spent the day very agreeably and profitably ( with the Rev. Mr. B. Reading Witsius on Election, Ef

fectual Calling and Faith— Poole on Revelation-Recorder 6 --several articles in Jeremiah Taylor's Casuistry—and Dr. * Lynn and Colonel Dunham's Eulogies of Washington; I sadly neglected to cultivate intercourse and communion with God, and wanted the comforts of His spirit.”

The weather during the earliest days of the voyage, was rough; yet, Mr. Ashmun, while amid winds and waves which at one time threatened the destruction of the vessel, and much afflicted with sea-sickness, found time for reflection, and to record the following observations:

"I know not that I have gained much as a Theologian, or 6a Christian. 'Tis wrong to live so unprofitably. I am relieved that I have left my connexions in Maine; almost every object there, brings a painful association. Still I feel con'cerned at the uncertainty of my future condition in life. I go forth, I hardly know where, or to what work, with a desponding mind, and a bleeding character. I fear, I shall for


the first reason, be unable to act to much effect; and for the second, be unfit for usefulness in the Church of God. Still "I have not ceased to hope in the arm of the Lord of hosts."

Alluding to the severe sickness, which confined him for one whole day to his birth, he exclaims: "Ah! what was

life to me now ! I found for some reason which I have not yet scrutinized, that during my sickness, my conscience wrought more powerfully than is customary, and my whole past life seemed in duration a dream—and the world a mere "show-box of vanities. I was in agony, that amidst so many enormous sins, I had done so little in obedience to God, or in the service of the Redeemer. O! how unprepared to die! • I greatly needed supports which I did not possess. That greatest of all temporal afflictions, beset me during my sufferings with overpowering severity. I ought to have learnt, " that if we watch not, to keep the word of our Saviour's pa

tience in seasons of health and exemption from trials, He I will leave us to burn alone in the midst of the furnace.

Though not in despair, perhaps on account of my presump- tion and stupidity; yet, during months past, I have been much in doubt of my good estate, and am now far from the possession of a comfortable evidence. And did I ever need it more?

To what am Ito attribute so serious a calamity, as a state of uncertainty, relative to my eternal well-being ?

"First, and chiefly. To my neglect of prayer, meditation, self-examination, and the reading of the Scriptures. Under the general term neglect, I include remissness in the above named duties.

"Secondly. To my unsteady mode of life, which has in part, caused those neglects since September last.

“Thirdly. To the slight attention bestowed on other and relative duties.

"Fourthly. To the commission of sins of uncommon, if not of unprecedented heinousness.


"And lastly. To the want of humiliation on account of them."

The remarkable talent of Mr. Ashmun for observation, and the acquisition of knowledge, in all circumstances, is strongly illustrated by the Journal from which the preceding sentences are quoted. We find not only a record of his religious views, but of the books read by him, with his opinions of them; as also notes of the courses of the wind and vessel, as well as accounts of the Capes, Islands, Light-houses, and principal Towns passed by; their distances from each other, with every interesting fact that could be ascertained in regard to their condition and history.

No affliction rendered Mr. Ashmun, when in health, incapable of exertion; and neither his regret for the past, nor his apprehensions for the future, ever caused him to neglect the advantages and duties of the present moment. His faith in Providence was deep and settled; and though the waves might dash over his bark, nor sun nor star for many days appear, he still firmly grasped the helm, with eyes raised towards Him whom he knew both the winds and seas obey. The activity and versatility of his mind, as well as his religious sensibilities during this voyage, will be very clearly exhibited in select passages, which we here copy, from his Journal.

April 13th, 1819. “Saurin's Sermons. These Sermons are fascinating: The vivacity of sentiment and expression, with which they sparkle, kindling at times into a chastened and affecting 'glow of eloquence, certainly present a model of sermonizing "highly worthy of imitation. But Saurin, though often just, ' and seldom dangerously erroneous in his expositions of Scripture, is very general in his views of all doctrinal subjects. I can easily conceive, that under such a Pastor, error might creep into a flock undetected, and produce considerable ravages, before the evil would create alarm. “The style of Saurin's preaching marks, I have supposed,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the declining period of the Flemish Churches. Saurin's impassioned eloquence might fan the dying embers of vital piety into a temporary blaze; but his Sermons could not administer that substantial fuel which was necessary to perpetuate and increase its warmth.

"I can conceive of Saurin's animated addresses, and urgent exhortations, given without due discrimination, as of the -spirited encouragements of a brave General, which, indeed, "might quicken the movements of his troops, and apparently "sharpen the combat, while their manæuvres are regulated by no system, their shots directed at random, and their intrench

ments in the ardour and hurry of the fight, quite overleaped. • We would commend the bravery of the General, and might admire the courage and gallantry of his men, but should probably see the better disciplined enemy, in the end, master 6 of the field.”

April 14th. “This morning at six, I found on rising, that we had made * the round shoals of Nantucket, the light bearing about south

west, three leagues distant, wind east, light, and weather pleasant.

«The Town of Nantucket, is situated on the north-western part of the Island, and is full in view as we sail down the channel. There appeared about thirty small sail, at anchor before the Town, which the Captain said are fishermen and whalers principally, and owned by the Islanders.

“The soil of this Island is more productive than that of Cape Cod, and the face of it about equally uneven, and the surface equally elevated.

"Most of the inhabitants are either Quakers, or the descen• dants of Quakers—unite fishing with agriculture, and are generally industrious, thriving and moral. The distance from shore to shore, at Nantucket, is six or eight leagues.· From Nantucket light, to that of Holme's Hole, Martha's • Vineyard, is thirty miles.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »