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animated, emphatic, glowing. He was fired himself, and never failed to fire his audience. Yet there was nothing of that overstepping the modesty of nature by which some popular speakers acquire their eminence. There was nothing disproportionate in his speaking ; of the truth of which, this is a proof; that young preachers, who studied under him, never gave the distorted features of his eloquence in disgusting imitation.
As he was a decided man, he was obliged, like all other decided men, in some parts of his life, to wade through the waters of opposition. His activity in politics acquired for him many enemies. Whether he was right in taking such a prominent stand on a subject not immediately connected with religion, we shall not say.
He shewed, at least, his decision. It is proper, however, to reveal the whole truth; in the latter part of his life, he wholly renounced all concern with political affairs. To a friend, who once spoke to him on the subject, he replied, “ Politics is like the variolous contagion, no man catches it a second time.”
With respect to the religious suspicion and obloquy, to which he was, for a time subjected, we may speak with more confidence. It arose from his independence of character; from his refusing to bow down to the popular idols of the day. He was a friend to religious liberty; he would have the human mind assailed by no arms but those of persuasion and truth. This makes his loss almost inestimable. In this age, wben some good men seem to have forgotten the purpose for which our fathers crossed the ocean, and
erected, with infinite hazard, these western churches, on principles as free as the spirit of benevolence itself,-his influence and example seem peculiarly necessary. He found the happy medium of mixing decision of sentiment, with candour to those who differed from him. In his mind, as in that of the great Watts, orthodoxy and charity were beautifully combined. The truths embraced by our fathers, he believed to be infinitely important to the happiness of man; yet he was cautious of judging of intentions. In declaring opinions, he spoke with confidence; but persons he left to the tribunal of God. *
He considered both the great parties which now divide our country as, in many respects, wrong ; yet he always boldly said that the genius of christianity resided with the orthodox. Unitarianism, in his mind, was a system, not without its plausible pretensions to a speculative mind. If man had no sins,
* To illustrate our manners, if ever this book should fall into the hands of a foreigner, let me mention in a note, a circumstance which is certainly unworthy of a place in the text. In Massachusetts, for a few years past, all ecclesiastical measures have been prepared in a certain conclave, nobody knows who they are, or where they are,-invisible beings,-congregational cardinals, to whose decrees every orthodox clergyman and church is expected to pay unlimited deference and submission. But as they are wholly destitute of power, they have found out a singular way of executing their laws. The clergyman, who hesitates, or dares to think, or act for himself, suddenly finds himself surrounded by the whisper, that he is becoming an Unitarian. It is not easy to conceive the horrour and dismay, that this suggestion occasions. It is caught from mouth to mouth, and whispered from ear to ear, and every ghastly relater increases the terrours of the tale. The poor, affrighted victim must either return to the bosom of the church,—the popular measure of the day,-or be denounced a heretic, worthy of all the flames that detraction can kindle : for, in this country, we burn heretics in no other. I will only add, that this state of society is rather amusing; to say nothing of the mag. Danimity of the great men, who condescend to use such weapons, it is singular enough to see to what useful purpose the Unitarians may be put; they not only serve as whetstones, on which staunch polemics may sharpen their weapons, but they make excellent bugbears to keep naughty boys in order. O the follies of the
no sorrows, neither sickness, nor death, he might sit down and admire the schemes of modern innovators, as the traveller admires the morning rays refracted around the ice and snow of some mountain's top; but these beams, though bright, awaken no vegetation; he considered this system as wholly inadequate to the wants and agonies of a mind really awake to eternal things. Faith wishes to repose on something more substantial. He always said, however, that the mode of opposing this system was not the best. Whilst it is a novelty, and whilst therefore its advocates can avail themselves of the ambiguous ground that lies between innovation and improvement, he said it might prevail. But it would soon become the old religion ; and have to drop its accidental pretensions, and encounter all the obstacles with which the old religion has now to contend, without any of its advantages. It could then no longer be said, “ See what improvement we are making ; see what old prejudices we are overthrowing.” Falsa satiabunt. The cloud is temporary, the sunshine eternal. Refrain from these men, and let them alone. Acts v. 38.
Dr. Parish was married to Miss Mary Hale, in 1796, by whom he has children ; three of whom survive him. In the year 1819, he was called to bury a very amiable daughter, a heavy affliction. This event was never spoken of afterward but with the deepest sympathy.
He was frequently called to preach on public occasions. Before the legislature in 1810, the Election sermon ; before the convention 1821. This last sermon will be found in this collection.
In his last sickness, he was seen by the writer of this biographical notice. His intellect was partially clouded, but not entirely lost. He was a sufferer, but patient, tranquil, serene. He had always, in his healthy days, expressed an opinion that death
event not to be trified with; and he doubted whether the indifference with which some good men professed to regard it, is not the result of ignorance rather than grace. He pronounced himself never to be above fear. Yet when he was asked, on the day before his expiration, what were his views, he replied, “For reasons which appear to me to be just, I rather wish to live; yet I leave the event with God. Not my will, but his be done." He died October 15th, 1825; and was followed to the grave by the esteem of his friends, and the tears of his people.
Besides occasional sermons, the works by which he has already appeared before the public, are: The Gazetteer of the Eastern continent, the History of New England, Modern Geography, and Gazetteer of the Bible.
These discourses are now presented to the public, to pass that wider test of criticism, which results from a general perusal. In the vicinity of the author's ministrations, they have been heard with great approbation and delight. It was always an exhilaration to an audience of taste, to see the author of these discourses enter the pulpit. Expectation was highly raised, and seldom disappointed. It was remarked, in several places, where some of these longest sermons were preached, that the hour was almost anni
hilated in the interest it excited. It is true, in different spheres, an author meets with different competitors, and is therefore estimated in a different
How this volume will be received by the world, we cannot say; but we should feel little solicitude, if its reception should be according to its merits.