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but they conveyed more to my mind, than all the books I ever read. If you meditate upon them, perhaps they may convey something to yours. What strong confidence are they suited to inspire, if we realize their full import. How will they encourage us to ask and expect great things, notwithstanding our inexpressible unworthiness. Never before did the scheme of redemption, and the great mystery of God manifest in the flesh, appear so great and glorious. While meditating upon it, I was wonderfully struck with a reason, which never occured to me before, why God permitted Adam to fall. Had he stood, all his posterity would have been happy. He would, therefore, in one sense, have been their Saviour; and while they were enjoying the happiness of heaven, they would have exclaimed, "For all this we are indebted to our first parent." This would have been too great an honor for any finite being. It would have tempted Adam to pride, and us to idolatry. The honor, therefore, was reserved for God's own Son, the second Adam.-But perhaps this has occurred to you before; so I will not enlarge.
"Mr. R. is still in miserable health. He will take a journey in the Spring. If that does not help him, we shall think him irrecoverable. I fear he is too good to
stay long on earth.
"You must not, certainly, my dear mother, say one word, which even looks like an intimation that you think me advancing in grace. I cannot bear it. Every body here, whether friends or enemies, are conspiring to ruin me. Satan and my own heart, of course, will lend a hand; and if you join too, I fear all the cold water, which Christ can throw upon my pride, will not prevent it from breaking out into a destructive flame. As certainly as any body flatters and caresses me, my Father has to whip me for it; and an unspeakable mercy it is, that he condescends to do it. I can, it is true, easily muster a hundred good reasons, why I should not be proud; but pride won't mind reason, nor any thing else but a good drubbing. Even at this moment I feel it tingling in my fingers' ends, and seeking to guide my pen."
"April 4.-Spent the forenoon in writing. In the af
ternoon, attended the inquiry meeting, and was refreshed by seeing a number of new inquirers. The Spirit of God seemed to be present. In the evening attended another, and found one who had obtained comfort. Came home exceedingly fatigued, but rejoicing in God.
April 5--Had some sense of my own weakness, and some longing desires that God would meet with us. Had a most solemn, joyful, and refreshing season, and trust it was highly profitable to the church, but was myself exceedingly overcome.
April 6,-Was exceedingly happy all day. Enjoyed the peace of God, which passeth understanding.
April 8.-Miserably weak, both in body and mind, and exceedingly wretched, most of the day. The light of my soul was withdrawn from me. O, what a miserable wretch am I, when Christ is absent. It is, however, necessary that he should sometimes withdraw; and I was enabled to realize that it was love, which induced him to hide his face, and I submitted to it without one murmuring thought."
On the eighth of May, Mr. Payson was married to ANN LOUISA SHIPMAN, of New-Haven, Connecticut,—a woman of kindred piety, and whose energy and firmness of character, connected as they were with other estimable accomplishments, both natural and acquired, proved his best earthly support, and an abiding check upon his constitutional tendency to depression. Female affection and ingenuity could not have been better directed, or more signally honored and rewarded. In the acquisition of such a "help-meet," he justly considered himself as 'having obtained favor of the Lord.'
It has been alleged, perhaps without sufficient reason, that ministers, as a class, are chargeable beyond others, with failures in what relates to this most delicate and important connection. The truth is, their errors of this kind attract more notice, and are more injurious. But the fact, that the peace and welfare of so many, as well as his own usefulness, are materially affected by the character of a pastor's wife, deserves the consideration of all who are still in a situation to profit by it. A chapter
might be compiled from Mr. Payson's letters, which would be of great use to the clerical candidate for wedlock, who was anxious to know the best method of conducting the preliminary intercourse; but the favored object of his conjugal attachment still survives, and her right to the early avowals and precious testimonials of his faithful love is sole and exclusive. Still, an instructive exhibition of his views and of his practice may be made, without any indelicate infringement of this right.
He wholly avoided those " entangling alliances," in early youth, which have doomed many a man, either to take to his bosom one, whom, though once his equal, he had so far outstripped in the career of mental improvement as to produce a most mortifying disparity, and preclude the hope of ever finding in his wife a companion, fitted for rational intercourse ;- -or else, to desert the confiding female, whose affections he had gained,—an alternative, too base for an honorable minded man to adopt. Mr. Payson's circumspection is the more remarkable, when his ardent temperament is considered; and yet, as early as 1805, the following sober views are expressed in a letter to his sis
"When I was at home, I thought you appeared rather apprehensive, that I should form some connection, which,. to say the least, would be no help to my religious pursuits. But you may lay aside this fear. I have seen so much of my own proneness to turn aside, that it is, and I hope ever will be, my resolution, not to fetter myself with any voluntary inducements to stray. Besides, I think no precept in the Bible is plainer, than that which forbids us to yoke together with unbelievers. However, I think it probable enough, that this resolution may be the occasion of my dying a bachelor; but I am not at all anxious about it."
When his purpose was fixed, to live no longer " a bachelor," the course which he pursued, revealed the source from which he always took his lessons. It was as closely conformed to scriptural example, as that of any modern suitor, having little more of formality, than that of the patriarchs of the Old Testament. Still he did not court in sackcloth, as is evident from a note, written on returning
from his first visit, and addressed to his mother, whom, like a dutiful son, he had previously consulted:
"As I know the deep interest you take in every thing which concerns your good-for-nothing son, I will go no farther, before I inform you of the result of the business on which we conversed, while I was at home. I cannot, indeed, go into particulars; but it may be some gratification to you to know, that the business is concluded on, and nothing remains, but to fix the wedding day. On this point alone, we differed. The lady, forsooth, talks of a year, or so; but I imagine her year may, without much difficulty, be reduced to two or three months; and I shall make no more journeys, till I go to fetch her home, Providence permitting.
66 And now, my dearest mother, you must permit me to exult over you a little. When I used to talk of getting a wife, without losing any time about it, you laughed at the idea; and thought it preposterous, impracticable, and absurd. But you see, that, without going a mile purposely out of my way, or losing a single hour, I have found and courted, or rather Providence has found for me, a person, who bids fairer to render me happy, than any other woman I have seen. It is true many things may yet intervene, to prevent the contemplated connection; but, humanly speaking, it will take place. And if it does not, 1 trust that I shall be resigned, and feel satisfied that it is for the best. This, you will say, argues no great strength of attachment. It may be so; and yet, considering that my attachment is a babe of only a fortnight old, he is strong enough, in all conscience; and, I foresee, will give me trouble enough to manage him. The little urchin pleaded very hard to be allowed a longer stay at A- ; and because duty and reason said, no-he has been sulky all day, and rendered my ride by no means comfortable.—But I ask pardon for this lively strain, in speaking of a subject, which, after all, is a very serious one; as my worldly happiness, and, what is of infinitely more consequence, my usefulness, in a great measure depends upon it. At present, I see no reason to fear, that either will suffer. God
seems to have made my way prosperous; and I am more than ever persuaded, that the best way to succeed in any of our temporal concerns is to cast them upon him-have nothing to do with them-and devote ourselves entirely to the advancement of his cause. True, he only can excite us to adopt this course, but when he does, it is an almost infallible symptom of success."
His mother must have held a pen of rare and various powers-as piquant in satire, as it was judicious in counsel, and soothing in consolation. She might have thought him affectedly singular in his notions of matrimony, and directed her strokes accordingly. At any rate, he is seen smarting under her castigation, in the following letter, which, by the way, is a very serious one, and discloses a heart alive to the danger of being diverted, by creature attachments, from the Lord of his affections :
I am sorry you are never pleased with me, when I write on a certain subject. I fear this letter will appear as little pleasing as any of its predecessors. Since I wrote last, I have made another visit to A- Circumstances, which I could not foresee, rendered it indispensably necessary. I took care not to be absent, either on a Sabbath, or Lecture day; yet I felt very guilty in appropriating so much of my Master's time to my own use. seemed continually sounding in my ears- "What dost thou here, Elijah?" Had it not been for this, I verily believe Louisa and I should have taken a trip to Rindge. She did all but ask me to go; but I was obliged to be deaf to her hints; and though it was not a little painful at the time, I have been glad of it since. But the idea of forming new ties to bind myself to the world is dreadful. I thought, at the time, that I sincerely sought divine direction; but I have since been afraid that I did not. However, I know that the Lord reigns, and that he will take care of his glory; and this is enough for me. As to my happines here, it is nothing. I neither expect any happiness, nor wish for any, separate from that which arises from serving and enjoying God. It is but a day, an hour, a moment, and all will be over.
"But, my dearest Mother, how could you write as