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reader's possessing the most vivid conception of the author's utterance and character, we shall prefix to them a short account of his life. We write not a biography, but a sketch.
Elijah Parish was born in Lebanon, Con. Nov. 7, 1762. His parentage was respectable; but like most other scholars in New-England, he was obliged to struggle with difficulties in obtaining a classical education. In political history, it has long been observed, that the founder of a dynasty may be distinguished, by his superiour vigour of mind, from one born in the purple and inheriting a throne. The same is true of two classes of scholars. The superiority is always found among those who have acquired energy, by conquering difficulties. Man must be goaded to exertion by the scourge of necessity. He was graduated at Dartmouth College, 1785. He chose the study of divinity for his pursuit. It is probable at this time, that religion had made an impression, salutary and lasting, on his mind and heart. On this subject he was remarkably unostentatious. He laid claim to no vivid hopes or powerful excitements. The story therefore of his progress in personal religion is now unknown. But we need not lament the loss. The only piety which he taught, or professed to prize, was such as could be attested by the fruits.*
In his youth there were no Theological Seminaries in this country. He pursued his studies under the direction of Rev. Ephraim Judson, of Taunton, Mass.
* Since writing the above, testimonies have been received from Mr. Pemberton, his ear instructer, and Rev. Mr. Kellogg, of Portland, to his early piety and scholarship.
If Dr. Parish rose to eminence in his profession, his merit can never be appreciated, unless we consider the obstacles of the times, in which he came forward. Young theologians can have no conception of those difficulties, as they are now taught in richly endowed seminaries, partaking of the prosperity of the country. In his youth, war, confusion, national distraction and poverty disturbed the seats of science, and opposed the young candidate's progress both in the paths of learning and religion. In the year 1787, Dr. Parish was settled in Byfield, a parish in the town of Newbury, Mass. His early settlement affords probable evidence of his youthful popularity.
The life of a humble preacher of truth, placed in a peaceful village and engaged in a circle of duties, which, though arduous, are still similar, cannot be supposed to be crowded with events which sparkle in narrative. The calling of Dr. Parish was honourable ; he made it laborious ; and he appears to have experienced in his ministry that blessing, which is prayed for in the formula of the English church, that God would pour upon his people the continual dew of his blessing. It was not his aim in preaching to make an impression on his people, which should adorn a narrative in a newspaper. He was a gradual builder, but his materials were solid stone. The continual dew of a divine blessing is an expression, which best deseribes the effect of his instruction. Yet twice in his ministry a peculiar solemnity pervaded his parish. In the earlier part of his life, he encountered difficulties among his people, when he died, there was not a more united parish in the state. He was indeed a
man peculiarly fitted to act in those scenes which try men's souls. Decided in his views and firm in his spirit, he walked in the path of danger with an undaunted heart. It is a rare event in modern times that a clergyman is called to give such specimens of Christian courage.--He boldly took his stand on the pedestal of duty, nor was it the threats, or sneers of an opposing world, that would induce him to leave it. This was courage of the noblest kind; it is the very resolution which a minister's profession requires.Thousands, who have faced the dangers of battle, have been timid here. The teachers of religion, if they mean to fill their station, must copy our departed father, and to a holy heart add an independent mind.
He was a diligent and successful student. Judging from effects, we should conclude that Dr. Parish was a man that seldom found an idle hour. He had a mind which was uncommonly vigorous, and he was uncommonly diligent to cultivate it. He was not one of those ministers who close their books when they leave the college, and who, if they can satisfy their people, are satisfied themselves. His learning, as was to be expected, was of the last age rather than this; yet as a student, few were ever more industrious. Many of his works are before the public, and of these it is not necessary to speak. His most striking quality was his eloquence. In his happiest efforts, few equalled, and none could surpass him. Without those thrilling tones, which sometimes make sound supply the deficiencies of thought, and the most flimsy performances pass for excellence, he led the intelligent
ear from sentence to sentence, in which religion was recommended by beauty, and instruction increased by delight. He riveted attention to his theme; the friends of truth were confirmed in their views, and those who rejected his arguments, acknowledged his power. His style was vivid ; abounding in expressions which sunk on the memory, and illustrations, which reached the heart. Every object of usefulness, or sublimity, which he presented, was more than recognized, it was seen and felt. Nothing was cold-nothing languid. He was an orator in the highest sense of the word. The impression which he made on the hearers in public, was repeated on the reader in his closet. He came nearer to Massilon than to Whitefield. He could not have melted the colliers of Bristol ; nor arrested the attention of the commonalty of Scotland ; but in a refined auditory, few could speak to more acceptance, or leave a deeper impression on the heart.
But he is gone-that eloquent tongue shall speak to us no more-or rather he speaks to us in another language. He tells us in the dialect of the dead, that gifts are nothing without graces—that in the world, to which he has departed, they ask not what talents a mortal has possessed, but how he has used them.
This venerable and departed man was a faithful minister--the best evidence, in his profession, of his being a true Christian; and let me add, that he formed an extensive conception of what faithful preaching is. He left no part of duty untouched, no sin uncensured. He endeavoured to occupy the whole ground, displayed in the bible; and to make his in
structions as extensive as the wants of man. Though belonging in his youth, and perhaps in his age, to a theological school, which has been charged with dwelling too exclusively on a few favourite points, he was not a narrow preacher. He could reason and feel; comfort the Christian or alarm the sinner; inculcate faith, or insist on good works. His mind was replenished with the fulness of the gospel. In this respect I hardly know his equal. If the narrowness of controversial divinity makes this mode of preaching almost an experiment in religion, we may say the experiment was peculiarly happy. Dr. Parish was the instrument of turning many to righteousness.
In his person, he was below the middle stature. His eye was keen and piercing; and left on the observer, at the first interview, an impression of sarcasm and severity. It is true, no man could give a quicker reply, or had a repartee more at command, than Dr. Parish. He could be severe, when severity was necessary; yet in friendly intercourse he always softened into an intelligent and agreeable companion. In his conversation, there was opposition enough to call forth conflicting opinions; and urbanity enough to make the conflict not unpleasant.
When he mounted the pulpit to speak, he so far resembled Ulysses, as to awaken no high expectation in the mind of the stranger. His commencing utterance appeared rather monotonous; and, in the first verse of the hymn, or the first sentence of the discourse, there was a tone which sayoured of senility. But as he proceeded, warmed by his subject, every vestige of this fault vanished he became