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can justify such removal. In order that such a change may bring any gain to the church general, a minister must do much more good in his new situation, than he did in that which he left; for it will require much to balance the certain evils, inseparable from his removal. When a pastor is established in the affections and confidence of his flock, and is laboring with more than ordinary zeal and success, any interference from abroad, must be regarded as a hazardous experiment. There may be much of selfishness in the refusal of a people to give up their minister; but certainly not more than there is in those, who wish to obtain his services at their expense, and by whose solicitations their feelings are put to the trial. Else, why does the choice of rich churches never fall upon any but ministers of established popularity, or distinguished for their success; while many others, equal, perhaps superior in moral and intellectual worth, are placed over churches by whom their merits are not appreciated, and who only need a change of situation to take a rank among the most useful of Christ's ministers ? The "call" of a church to the pastor of a sister church, may be the call of God; and it may be the result of caprice, of partiality, of pride, or other selfish passions. Those calls are most entitled to consideration, which these feelings have the least concern in producing. The guardians of our public seminaries may be supposed, from their situation, to have no private feelings or partialities to gratify by their appointments. In ordinary cases, they can have little inducement to act for any other than the general good; and that will be a dark day for our land, when these institutions, the nurseries of learning and religion, whence her future pillars are to be obtained, shall be denied their claim to the most valuable men whom the church can furnish.
Much disquiet is often produced in a parish by the reported intentions and informal proposals of a society abroad, to " get away their minister;" even when this imprudent agitation of the subject does not issue in a formal invitation. The second church in Portland had much experience of this species of trial. When Park-street Church, in Boston, was left vacant by the removal of Dr. Griffin, Mr. Payson's charge had unpleasant apprehensions of losing their beloved pastor. It is in allusion to this
time, that he says in a letter-"We have been kept in a fever here, all this winter, by perpetual alarms from Bos. ton. Because I do not refuse before I am asked, and exclaim loudly against going, some of my people suspect I wish to go. I wish "Boston folks" would be content with being "full of notions" themselves, and not fill other people's heads with them."-It must greatly endear his memory to his surviving flock, to learn from another letter what were his secret feelings in relation to this matter :"My people-I never knew before how much they loved me. I am amazed to see what an interest God has given me in the affections of his people, and even of sinners. It would seem like tearing off limbs, to leave them Indeed I see not how it is possible, humanly speaking, to get away from them. I have not yet been put to the trial. No application has yet been made from B., though much has been said about it. It is very doubtful whether any will be made. I feel very easy about it myself, but the church are in great tribulation. Ever since it was first talked of, I have taken special care to avoid every thing which might tend, either directly or indirectly, to bring it about. If it comes, it shall be none of my seeking."
· Several years after this he did, with the full consent of his people, take up a temporary residence in Boston; and during the few weeks which he spent there preached to crowded assemblies, and not without apparent effect. Though the work, which his friends there laid out for him, was too much for his strength, he was wearied with solicitations and entreaties to visit and preach in the neighboring towns; so anxious were those, who had once heard him to secure for their friends and neighbors a participation in the same privilege; and so confident were their hopes that he would be the instrument of awakening a general concern for the soul, wherever he should address to men the message, with which he was entrusted.
In 1825, at the organization of the new church in Hanover-street, he was invited to take the pastoral charge of it. He referred the call to his own church, who decided, unanimously, that he ought not to accept it—a decision, to which he cheerfully acceded.
In January, 1826, he received a unanimous call from the Church in Cedar-street, New-York, to become their.
pastor. This call he promptly, fully, and unequivocally declined. The motives, by which he was actuated, may be seen from a letter to his mother, written a few days af terwards. All classes gave him full credit for disinterestedness in his conduct on this occasion.
"MY DEAR Mother,
"Portland, Jan. 25, 1826.
"Before you receive this, you will, probably, have heard that I have returned a negative answer to the invitation from the Cedar-street Church. After refusing to accept the call from Boston, I could not do otherwise. If I had gone to either place, I must have gone to Boston; for I think the prospect of usefulness there is greater, all things considered, than at New-York. Besides, I never would consent to become the pastor of any church, whose members had not heard me preach, and become personally acquainted with me. I have not the least doubt, that, had I complied with the Cedar-street invitation, the first emotions of the church and society, on hearing me, would have been those of bitter disappointment and regret. It is true that a removal to New-York, were I fit for the place, would, on many accounts, have been very gratifying. I felt no small inclination to go. I should like exceedingly to be near you and my other relations. I should also like a milder climate than this, and I have little doubt that it would be beneficial to my health. But a removal would be death to my reputation in this part of the country; I mean my Christian reputation; and what is far worse, it would bring great reproach upon religion. At present, my worst enemies, and the worst enemies of religion, seem disposed to allow, that I am sincere, upright, and uninfluenced by those motives which govern worldly minded men. But had I gone to Boston, and, much more should I now go to New-York, they would, at once, triumphantly exclaim, "Ah! they are all alike; all governed by worldly motives; they preach against the love of money, and the love of applause, but they will gratify either of those passions, when a fair opportunity offers." Now I had much rather die, than give them an occasion thus to speak reproachfully. It would be overthrowing all which I have been laboring to build up. Indeed I can see no reason
why God should suffer these repeated invitations to be sent to me, unless it be to give me an opportunity to shew the world that all ministers are not actuated by mercenary or ambitious views. I have already some reason to believe that my refusal to accept the two calls has done more to convince the enemies of religion, that there is a reality in it, than a thousand sermons would have done. However this may be, I have done what I thought to be duty. If I ever felt desirous to know the will of God, and willing to obey it, it has been in reference to these two cases. Could I have had reason to believe, that it was his will, I would very gladly have gone either to Boston, or to New-York. But at present, I believe that it was his will, that I should remain where I am. Not that I am of any use here; but though I can do no good, I would, if possible, avoid doing harm."
But little more than a month elapsed before the invitation of the Cedar-street Church was repeated. Some changes in his circumstances led him to deliberate, for a time, whether this second invitation might not be the call of Providence. He considered the obstacles, which had opposed his removal, as diminished. The church in Hanover-street, supposing, that he might possibly be deterred from complying with this invitation, by the fact that he had so recently declined a call from them,-passed a resolve with a view to remove any difficulties which that circumstance might have thrown in his way; and wrote a letter, urging him to act just as he should, if he had never received an invitation from them. This amounted very nearly to the expression of an opinion, that it was his duty to go. He was evidently much perplexed. On the one hand, he feared "doing wrong, and offending God, by running before he was sent." On the other hand, the circumstances attending his reception of the call, 'induced him to believe that it might, possibly, be the call of God; and he could not again decline it, until he had taken time for prayer and deliberation.' "I have ample reason," he writes to the commissioners who tendered the invitation, "to believe that God placed me in my present situation; and I must, therefore, be convinced that he calls me away, before I can consent to leave it. That he does call me
away, I am not yet convinced; though I admit it to be possible."
After having been long agitated by the perplexing ques tion, it was, at length, referred to a Council, mutually chosen by himself and his church. To the Council it proved almost as tedious and trying as it had to him. They were reluctant to decide against his removal, thinking it possible, that a change of climate and situation, together with the diminished necessity of study, might recruit the wasted energies of his body, and prolong for the benefit of the church his most valuable and useful life. On the other hand, they found difficulties in the way of recommending his removal, which they were not able to surmount, the principal of which was his want of a full and decided conviction of personal duty in the case. They could, therefore, only advise, that, if such should be his conviction, and he should make it known to his church, they would consent to part with him.
To this state his mind had nearly approached, when its progress towards conviction was arrested, and its purpose changed by increased illness. Symptoms of pulmonary affection, added to his other maladies, excited apprehensions, that his labors on earth were nearly terminated— apprehensions, which, alas! proved to be but too well founded. In May following, by the advice of friends and physicians, he tried very thoroughly the experiment of riding on horseback, by making a journey through the interior of Maine, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, to New-York city, and thence to the Springs, where his mind was disturbed by a third application to take the charge of Cedar-street Church, accompanied with most pressing letters and messages from clergymen and others. Though this was declined without much hesitation, yet in the excitable state of his nerves, and his universal weakness of body, it was injurious to his welfare, and, combined with other causes, prevented his deriving any benefit from his journey and an absence of two months.
"The peculiar trials of mind," writes the Rev. Mr. Whelpley, with whom he took lodgings," the peculiar trials of mind he had passed through, in consequence of the invitations, he received to New-York and Boston, well