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unknown before. One thing, which has been greatly blessed to us, is, having family prayer, at noon, as well as morning and evening. It showed us how far we often get from God, during the day, even when we begin and close it with him. In some families, this would be impossible; and then half an hour spent alone would answer the purpose as well. I find it requires almost constant rubbing and chafing, to make the blood circulate, in such frozen souls as ours; and, after all, it avails nothing, if the Sun of Righteousness does not shine."
Dr. Payson was the father of eight children, two of whom, a son and a daughter, he followed to the grave. Six survive him, two daughters and four sons.
Many persons were honored with a large share of Dr. Payson's confidence; but it is very doubtful whether he ever poured out all the feelings of his bosom to any, beyond his nearest relations, if, indeed, he did to any besides his God. It required a reach of sympathy, beyond what man is ordinarily capable of exercising, to enter deeply into his experience. He could not bring himself to tell of the peculiar agonies or raptures, which by turns tortured and blessed him, to any heart, that could not send back a response. And where, almost, could that heart be found? And in this, the writer, while tracing his religious experience, has often thought he was justified by the example of Paul, after his rapture. Still, while there were secrets in his own bosom of too sacred a character to be made common by participation, his intercourse with his flock, individually, was that of a highly endearing, tender, and confidential friendship. "If there were ever
a minister"-these are his own words-" blessed with a kind and faithful people, I am. If I were not so often sick, I should be too happy. When I come into my congregation, I feel as a father, surrounded by his children. I do not feel as though there were an ill-disposed person among them. I can throw off my armor, without fearing that an enemy is there with a dagger ready to stab me.' Their affection was most fully and faithfully reciprocated. Never did a minister more ardently love his charge, or enter with greater facility into all their interests and feel
ings. When any of them were visited with calamity, he
"Beside the bed, where parting life was laid,
he was, at once, faithful and tender; and if
"Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul,"
it was because it had been pointed to the 'smitten Rock,' to the "Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world."
"Comfort came down, the trembling wretch to raise ;
He was eminently susceptible of gratitude. A favor, which would be received with a very summary acknowledgment by many, would make his "shoulders ache under the load of obligation that was laid upon them." And if he 'bore it pretty well, it was because nothing renders a man so careless about increasing his debts, as the consciousness that he shall never be able to pay.'
Economy was a very noticeable feature in his character. It was a principle with him to spend nothing merely for ornament. The money which came into his possession he regarded as a talent, for which he was accountable; and so scrupulous was he, as to the disposition which he made of it, that he is thought to have regarded some things as forbidden luxuries, which would have been for his welfare. In his furniture, in his apparel, and that of his household, and in the provisions of his table, there was a plainness and a simplicity, well becoming a man professing and teaching Godliness. Connected with this quality was a noble generosity of soul. He did not save to hoard, but to bless others. He did not love money for its own sake; and so obvious to all was his disinterestedness, that, so far as is known, he never fell under the charge or even the suspicion of being avaricious. If the temporal or spiritual necessities of his fellow creatures demanded relief, his money was as free for their use, as a cup of cold water. He had declined purchasing an article of
convenience for the family, one morning, because, as it was not absolutely necessary, he thought they could not afford it. The same day he gave ten dollars to a woman in reduced circumstances, who called at his house. At another time, he said to his church, who had handed in their contribution of fifty or sixty dollars, for foreign missions—“ I am ashamed to send so small a sum, and shall forward one hundred dollars, as your contribution; and you may act your pleasure about indemnifying me." These are only instances out of a multitude; the same liberality characterized him as long as he lived. He continued to give, till after he was unable to put his name to a subscription paper. It was with reluctance that he received from his people what they were forward to give as a compensation for his services. He never would have possessed a dwelling house in fee, if his people had waited for his consent. Acting according to the impulse of their own liberality, and their convictions of what was due to him, they purchased, and secured to him by deed a house more spacious than he would have chosen; and this was all his property, beyond actual expenditures, which he did not give away.
In this connection a document will be introduced, containing a request, such as it would be equally honorable to ministers and people, if there were more frequent occa sion for.
"To the members of the Second Parish in Portland, in parish meeting assembled
"It is a circumstance, which claims my thankful acknowledgements, and of which I hope ever to retain a grateful recollection, that, while many ministers are constrained to ask, and perhaps ask in vain, for an increase of salary, the only request relative to a support, which I have ever had occasion to present to you, is, that my salary may be diminished. Such a request, you will recollect, I made through the medium of one of the parish at your last annual meeting; but your kindness and liberality prevented you from complying with it. I now repeat that request in writing. The salary, which you voted
me at the time of my settlement, is amply sufficient for my support; and more than this I am unwilling to receive, for I can never consent to acquire wealth by preaching the gospel of Christ. Permit me then, respectfully, but earnestly to request that the addition which you have so generously made to my salary, the last two years, may be discontinued.
"That the Master, whom I serve, may repay all your kindness to his servant, is the first wish and most earnest prayer of
Your deeply indebted and grateful pastor,
Portland, April 27, 1821.
In the same spirit, after his last sickness had made such inroads upon his strength, as almost wholly to disqualify him for exertion, he dictated the following communication:
"April 27, 1827. "To the members of the Second Congregational Church in Portland, in parish meeting assembled
"Brethren and Friends,
"Of the kindness and generosity with which you have invariably treated me, ever since I became your pastor, and especially since the commencement of my present indisposition, I am deeply sensible. Nor have you given me the smallest reason to suppose, that your kindness is exhausted, or even diminished. But I must not allow myself to encroach upon it too far. It is my indispensable duty to prefer your spiritual welfare to every personal consideration. If I have reason to believe that your religious interests would be promoted by a dissolution of the connection between us, it is incumbent on me to request, that it may be dissolved; and to retire from a station, the duties of which I am no longer able to perform. And have I not reason to believe, that such is the fact? With the present state of my health, you are sufficiently acquainted. It has already occasioned you much trouble and expense. You have waited a reasonable time for its restoration; and the probability that it will ever be
restored, is by no means great. It is highly important that such a Society as this should enjoy the services of a minister, who possesses a vigorous constitution, firm health and ministerial qualifications of the first order; and the salary which it gives, entitles it to expect, and will enable it to command the services of such a minister. In view of these circumstances I feel a prevailing persuasion, that it is my duty to propose a dissolution of the connection between us, and to request you to unite with me in calling a council for the purpose of dissolving it. Such a proposition and request I now submit to you.
"That on this and every other occasion you may be guided by that wisdom which is from above, and led to the adoption of such measures, as shall be most conducive to the glory of God, and your own best interests, is the prayer of
Your affectionate friend and pastor,
This request was received and treated in a manner most honorable to the parish. Their reply to it expressed the most 'deep and affectionate sympathy with their much esteemed pastor, and a sense of their high obligations for the very valuable services, which a kind Providence had permitted and enabled him to perform for a long course of years; and appreciating his present services, much as they were interrupted and curtailed by sickness, of paramount value and interest to them, they did respectfully solicit that he would be pleased to withdraw his request; and thus permit them to hope, that, whatever might be the state of his health in future, they should enjoy the benefit of his counsel and prayers, till he was called to receive the reward prepared for the faithful servants of Christ.'With these wishes, so affectionately and gratefully expressed, he complied; and continued, in such ways as he could, to advance their spiritual interests, till removed by the undoubted will of God.
But there are, in the lives of eminently faithful minis ters, events of another character, which it is painful to narrate, and yet which ought not to be passed over in silence. The hostility which they sometimes experience, illustrates the depravity of mankind, and confirms the au