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steady energies of a purifying faith, and the few and sluggish efforts, which fill up his own history,can hardly fail to reveal him to himself, as one 'weighed in the balance and found wanting.' He reads of exertions, which he never put forth; of humiliation and self-denial which he never practised; of confessions, which his heart never dictated; of exercises, which he never experienced; of hopes and prospects, by which his own bosom was never gladdened. In the character of the determined christian, he discerns a renunciation of self, and a godly jealousy over the workings of the heart naturally deceitful above all things, which are totally at war with his own self-confidence. He learns, that, under all varieties of outward condition, self-mortification is still an eminent characteristic of the follower of Christ; that no man, who warreth, entangleth himself with the affairs of this world; that the expectant of the crown of righteousness is no more exempted from the agonizing strife to obtain it, than he was in the days of primitive Christianity. In the modern believer, if his faith be not 'dead,' you identify the grand features of that religion, which sanctified, controlled, and supported apostles and martyrs.
The uses of religious biography extend further still. It is the means under God of attaching to the cause of Zion, men of great energy, and moral worth,-magnanimous in purpose, wise in counsel, vigorous and persevering in action. In how many, who have done valiantly for the truth, has the flame of holy zeal and enterprise been first kindled at the pages, which record the religious experience and evangelical labors of Baxter, Brainerd, Doddridge, Martyn, and others of a kindred spirit,-who, but for these memorials, would have been lost to the church of Christ, and perhaps have become her most determined foes. The children of this world' understand the influence of such writings, and wisely preserve every thing that is memorable in their heroes, philosophers, poets, and artists, that youth may emulate their enthusiasm, and act over their achievements. And though it may be true, that "modern biography has been too busily and curiously employed in enrolling and blazoning names, which will scarcely outlive the records of the grave-stone;" still, "it is not easy to estimate the loss, which is sustained by the
Christian community, when an example of eminent sanctity and heroic zeal is defrauded of its just honors, when a living epistle of apostolic piety is suffered to perish; or, to change the figure, when the lamp kindled by a holy life, which might have shone to posterity, is suffered to go out."
If christians in the ordinary walks of life, need the stimulus of such examples, much more does the minister of the cross. He has his full portion in the trials and discouragements, that are common to all believers; and his mind is also familiar with causes for "great heaviness and sorrow of heart," in which they can but feebly sympathise. In addition to his own personal security, he is in a manner responsible for that of his flock. Besides working out his own salvation, the care of others' souls bears upon him with a pressure, which none can conceive who has not felt its weight. And when he has toiled long and hard, with little or no visible success, and is tempted to exclaim-"it is a vain thing to serve the Lord!"—or, when, exhausted by continued labor, and racked by bodily infirmities, he is in danger of regarding himself as exempted from the obligation to make any further exertions; it may preserve him from sinking, and stimulate him to new action, to know that his fellow laborers in the kingdom and patience of Jesus, have then been most singularly blessed, when they thought themselves forsaken; have out of weakness been made strong, and, under the endurance of great physical debility and the most exquisite mental anguish, gained the most splendid trophies under the Captain of Salvation. Can the "cloud of witnesses" of this description be too much increased for the 'consideration' of those, who are 'wearied and faint in their minds? Can any, to whom God affords the opportunity, be excusable in neglecting to erect an additional monument in the "temple of Christianity," and to conduct thither the desponding, though uniformly faithful minister, where he may behold "the names, and the statues, and the recorded deeds, of the heroes of the church, and the spoils they have won in the battles of the Lord?"
It is with such views alone, that the present work is attempted. The hope, that good results will be realized, is not the less confident, because the materials to which ac
cess has been had, are of the least imposing pretensions. It promises little of incident, or adventure,-qualities, which with many constitute the principal attractions of a book. It is the history of a single mind, rather than of a community; of a pastor-whose sphere of labor was chiefly limited to his parochial charge-not a missionary, whose "field is the world ;" and who has traversed seas and continents, and associated his own history with that of different climates and governments, and opinions. The Christian hero will not here be presented in direct collision with the principalities and powers of this world, whether Pagan or Papal; but in an attitude not less generally instructive, that of one, "whose warfare is within," and who successfully applied the results of his agonizing and joyful experience in training,
by every rule
Of holy discipline, to glorious war,
The sacramental host of God's elect.
But he will shine with the brightness of one, who has turned many to righteousness, in that world, where the judgment of character, and the estimate of services, are according to truth, and not affected by what is dazzling in the stations or circumstances, in which men have acted.
EDWARD PAYSON was born at Rindge, New Hampshire, July 25th, 1783. His father was the Rev. Seth Payson, D. D. pastor of the church in Rindge, a man of piety and public spirit, distinguished as a clergyman and favorably known as an author. His mother, Grata Payson, was a distant relative of her husband, their lineage, after being traced back a few generations, meeting in the same stock. To the Christian fidelity of these parents there is the fullest testimony in the subsequent and repeated acknowledgements of their son, who habitually attributed his religious hopes, as well as his usefulness in life, under God, to their instructions, example, and prayers-especially those of his mother. She appears to have admitted him to the most intimate, unreserved, and confiding intercourse, which was yet so wisely conducted as to strengthen rather than diminish his filial reverence; to have cherished a remarkable inquisitiveness of mind, which early discovered itself
in him; and to have patiently heard and replied to the almost endless inquiries, which his early thirst for knowl
edge led him to propose. His father was not less really
and sincerely interested for the welfare of his son; but from the nature of the relation and the calls of official duty, his opportunities must have been less frequent and his instructions have partaken of a more set and formal character. With the mother, however, opportunities were always occurring, and she seems to have been blessed with the faculty and disposition to turn them to the best advantage. Edward's recollections of her extended back to very early childhood; and he has been heard to say, that though she was very solicitous, that he might be liberally educated, and receive every accomplishment, which would increase his respectability and influence in the world, yet he could distinctly see, that the supreme, the all-absorbing concern of her soul respecting him, was, that he might become a child of God. This manifested itself in her discipline, her counsels, expostulations, and prayers, which were followed up with a perseverance, that nothing could check. And they were not in vain. From the first developement of his moral powers, his mind was more or less affected by his condition and prospects as a sinner. It is among the accredited traditions of his family, that he was often known to weep under the preaching of the gospel, when only three years old. About this period too, he would frequently call his mother to his bed-side to converse on religion, and to answer numerous questions respecting his relations to God and the future world. How long this seriousness continued or to what interruptions it was subjected does not clearly appear, nor is much known as to the peculiar character of his exercises at that time. But that they were not mere transient impressions, seems highly probable from the fact, that, in subsequent years, his mother was inclined to the belief, that he was converted in childhood. There was some other cause than maternal partiality for this opinion, as she did not cherish it alone. Besides his intimate friends have reason for believing, that he never neglected secret prayer while a resident in his father's family. The evidences of his piety, however, were, at this period, far from being conclusive; he, at least, does not appear to have regarded them as such; neither were they
so regarded by his father, who on this account hesitated to send him to college for months, if not years, after his academical preparation was completed.
How far those mental qualities, which distinguished Dr. Payson's maturity, were apparent in his early days, cannot now be known; for though he died comparatively young, his parents had gone before him, and their surviving children were all younger than this son. Strictly speaking, therefore, no companion of his childhood survives. The very few incidents belonging to this period of his history, which have escaped oblivion, though not adequate to satisfy curiosity, are on the whole characteristic. about six years of age, he rode one horse, and led another at the same time, a distance of twenty miles-no trifling adventure for a child, and no doubtful indication that his well known energy, and perseverance had already dawned.
That he was a minute observer of nature, and highly susceptible of emotions from the grand and beautiful in the handy works of God, must be obvious to all, who have listened to his conversation or his preaching. His taste for the sublime very early discovered itself. During a tempest he might be seen exposed on the top of the fence or some other eminence, while the lightnings played and the thunders rolled around him, sitting in delightful composure, and enjoying the sublimity of the scene.*
He is said to have manifested an early predilection for arithmetic; and was a tolerable proficient in the art of reading at the age of four years—an art, which no man
* Beattie's MINSTREL, it seems, is not a mere creature of the imagination :
And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb,
What dreadful pleasure! there to stand sublime,
And view th' enormous waste of vapor, tost
Now scooped in gulfs, with mountains now emboss'd !
Flocks, heids, and waterfalls, along the hoar profound!
In truth he was a strange and wayward wight,