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268 Discourses on the Death of Henry Ware, Jr. [Nov.
are well known and widely circulated in the neighborhood. The discourse of Mr. Robbins, from Rev. xiv. 13, contains a very full account of all the principal incidents in the life of Mr. Ware, together with a sketch of his character, all true and glowing with the warmth of personal attachment and a deep interest in the subject. A large appendix preserves the papers that passed between Mr. Ware and the Committee of the Second Church at the period of the dissolution of his connexion with it, an account of his last sickness, a list of his writings, &c.
Mr. Gray's Sermon, founded on the words, “ Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his,” commemorates the character and services of the deceased in a style of seriousness and attractive simplicity.
From the discourse of Mr. Furness, (Heb. xii. 1,2,) known to but few in this part of the country, strongly marked by the best peculiarities of the author, we take a few of the closing paragraphs.
“We have need, my friends, as a religious denomination, as a certain portion of the household of faith, to cherish this mode of thinking (viz. considering the dead as `present witnesses, though unseen). Many of our brightest lights have just gone out, and our most eloquent voices have been hushed. It is a year, to-day, since the saintly Channing ceased from among us. While living, his bodily frame was so delicate and frail, it seemed so for years to be hovering upon the borders of the grave, that his voice sounded, even then, like a voice from another world. And it was a voice from the other world, even then. For every one, who knew him, felt deeply that he dwelt in constant communion with the invisible, in intimate fellowship with eternal principles, and that he lived chiefly to make the invisible felt, to bring the great truths of Christian Right and Christian Love, down into the actual world, into the hearts, and homes, and business of men. This was the object to which his life was sacred. He spoke out of a high spiritual state, and sought with that rare eloquence of his, to win men to the high principles which alone made life dear to him. If his influence ceased with his mortal breath, our loss was indeed very great. But no, though he departed in the full maturity of his powers, though these showed no symptom of infirmity, though his voice was growing more and more earnest as he pleaded with man for man, yet we may not call his death a loss. He has vanished from our sight, but a double sanctity invests his memory. The venerated idea of him is rendered thrice venerable. He has joined the great cloud of witnesses, and as we remember him with love and reverence, it is as if he were looking down, cheering us onward, and bidding us run the race that is set before us, with new animation.
“And now after a brief interval, Channing has been followed by Greenwood and Henry Ware. Separated as we are by our position from the great body of those with whom we most nearly sympathize in our religious views, you probably have little idea, my brethren, of
the estimation in which these two men were held in our churches, of the deep and devoted affection which they inspired. How well do I remember how Mr. Greenwood was wont to fascinate and chain his hearers by the simplicity of his manner, by the tone of his voice, so musical, so deep, and so touching, and the graces of a spirit of rare beauty and refinement. In all the relations of life, in public and in private there was an habitual artlessness in him that won respect and love. He was for some time before his death confined to his room, and there, in serenity and cheerfulness, he awaited the approach of the great change. In this season of weakness, in the spirit of Him who, at the approach of death, was found comforting his followers, he prepared for the press, and published a valuable volume of Sermons of Consolation, and used such little strength as he had, in carving out crucifixes from various rare kinds of wood, and these memorials of Jesus he gave to his friends as humble mementos also of himself.
“ It is but a few days since that the grave closed over the mortal remains of Henry Ware. There are some among us who knew him well, and dearly loved him. He was the beloved of a thousand hearts. As a preacher he was to a rare degree impressive and engaging. As the lover of truth and virtue, his activity was untiring. He was ready for every good word and work, and was continually devising new ways of doing good. It is wonderful how much he accomplished, and this too under a weight of bodily infirmities which would have prostrated most other men on their beds. I cannot trust myself to speak of him as I would, for those, who knew him not, could hardly understand me but as using the empty language of eulogy; and yet there is hardly anything I could say in his praise, which the hearts of those who knew him would not justify. They will tell you what a joy and delight it was to be in his presence, how the grasp of his hand, the sound of his voice, which always rung from his heart, was a privilege never to be forgotten! When the ear heard him, then it blessed him, and when the eye saw him, it gave witness to him! But the ear shall hear him, and the eye behold him no more. It is among my cherished remembrances, that at my ordination as the pastor of this church, nearly nineteen years ago, Henry Ware delivered the sermon, and I remember, as though it were yesterday, the eloquent fervor of his tone, when warning us all against uncharitableness he turned suddenly to me, and cried • My brother, watch against it, preach against it, pray against it!'
“He too has gone to join the great cloud of witnesses. And although we look in vain for those who shall fill the places thus made vacant by death, we trust in God, that the hallowed memories of the departed will long continue to exert a sanctifying power upon us, who survive them, and that in spirit they will encompass us about, and in death as in life, still speak. From the unseen world comes our best strength; and that world is brought nigh to us with new power, when the venerated and beloved have gone to share in the ministration of its influences."
A Sermon occasioned by the death of Washington Allston,
delivered in the Church of the Shepard Society, Cambridge, July 16, 1843. By John A. ALBRO, Pastor of the Church. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown. 1843.
Every word that shall be written, relating to the character or the works of Allston, will possess a deep interest. The country has produced very few who in either the walks of professional or private life, in the quiet pursuits of letters or of science, have laid so many claims upon the admiration and respect of the times in which they have lived. As an artist he is known universally, abroad as well as at home; and we suppose the best judgment to be that, in some of the highest departments of his art, particularly in the mysterious power of color and expression, he has had no superior since the great era of the 16th century. Throughout our own country, if not abroad, his name has long been cherished also, as one among our most imaginative poets, and
a writer of prose remarkable for its purity and exquisite finish. It has been less generally known perhaps, - for his life was one almost of entire seclusion, - how truly the perfection which he reached in painting, and in the use of language, was by him sought even more earnestly, and reached in an equal or greater degree, in the best virtues of the man and the sweetest graces of the Christian. He was a devoted lover of his chosen profession, and his days were given with a miserly exclusiveness to its labors. He rarely allowed himself the recreation of even a few hours to visit his friends. But he did not think it necessary,
like so many of his great predecessors, because he was thus the servant, almost the slave of art in his deep passion for it, to withhold either the outward conformity of his life, the homage of his strong mind, or the affections of his heart, from the claims of religion. He has not more commended art to the love of his countrymen by the charms he threw around it, than he has religion by the simple piety of his life. We cannot be sufficiently grateful that the influences, that shall flow from so great a name, will be distinctly religious influences, - that the head of art in our country, to whom so many of its younger votaries, in our day and hereafter, will look for the deepest principles of their practice, can never be dissociated in their minds, as they study him, from the image of an exalted Christian faith and virtue, nor from the idea, moreover, of one who found in religion, in the thoughts it creates and the prospects it unfolds, the truest sources of his inspiration.
But we have here no room for remarks of this nature. The Sermon of Mr. Albro is from the words in Revelation, -"I
heard a voice from Heaven, saying unto me, write, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors.” The discourse is an eloquent one; but it is more than that, and better, it is serious, and earnest, deeply religious in its spirit, and in its train of thought perfectly adapted to the occasion. We can neither present such an analysis of the discourse as we should be glad to do, had we more space at our command, nor make those extracts we had noted conveying in impressive language the best instructions of religion. We can do no more than present to the reader the concluding paragraphs containing the notice of Mr. Allston, - regretting that he who writes so well, should not have written more.
“ I am not about to discuss the life, character and works of Washington Allston. I leave that high task to those, who, together with a just appreciation of the highest mental and moral excellence, possess the ability to speak in fitting terms of the great master, whose pen and pencil were instruments of magic power, by which he realized the lofty conceptions of a soul filled with the spirit of truth and beauty.
“But while I pass by those beautiful and sublime works of his, which follow him, and render his name great among men, I may, and must be permitted to speak, in few words, of the glorious work which God wrought in him; and to describe the impression which his religious character, — a subject of far higher importance than his merits as a poet or an artist, - produced upon all who were so happy as to enjoy personal intercourse with him.
“ That he was a Christian in the gospel sense of that word, - a true believer in the doctrines of the cross, and a subject of renewing grace, was evident to every one who listened to his conversation, in those moments when he spoke freely of the ground of his hope, or witnessed the symmetry, the transparency, the purity, and the beauty of his daily life.
“I am aware that he was not known to many as an active Christian. His, in more than one respect, was a hidden life. His health, his temperament, and his studies, confined him much at home, and separated him in a great measure from the community. Beyond a devout, and habitual attendance upon the public ordinances of the gospel, of which this congregation, with whom he was so long associated as a member, are witnesses, he did not mingle much with the Christian world; and many, perhaps, thought of him only as an artist, whose whole life was devoted to works which could have, at best, only a temporary value, and whose religion was merely that of the imagination. But this was not true. In the highest, and best sense, he was an active Christian. He had an active faith, deep religious feelings, and a hope full of immortality. His piety was incorporated with his daily toil. He thought, and worked for the glory of God. His studio was a temple, filled not only with the beauty of his own works of art, but made sacred by pious and exhausting efforts to fulfil his high vocation as a Christian. His religion took deep root downwards in meditation and communion with
God, and manifested itself in the shining graces of the Christian life, in abundant labors, in fervent charity, in pure friendship, and in a faithful testimony for Christ and his cross. It was like the tree described by the apostle, which grew by the river of life, bearing twelve manner of fruit, and yielding its fruit every month.
“ His faith was characterized by great simplicity. It rested, not upon the wisdom of man, but upon the Word of God. Although abundantly able to speculate with the wisest and profoundest philosophies, he never speculated upon the great truths of the gospel. He received the kingdom of heaven as a little child, and made the written Word, in its plain and obvious sense, the man of his counsel, and his guide to heaven.
“ He was not ashamed of the cross. Christ crucified was to him the wisdom, and the power of God, and the doctrine of atonement, by his sufferings and death, was the foundation of all his hope and peace. Never shall I forget the manner in which he sometimes spoke of the effect which the first revelation of this fundamental doctrine produced upon his soul.
“With his lofty aspirations after the highest excellence in his profession, and with his deep views of the world, and its philosophy, there was united a singular humility and lowliness of spirit. Though he had a profound judgment, a brilliant intellect, and a reputation as wide as the civilized world, yet, to use the words of Jeremy Taylor, as if he knew nothing of it, he had a low opinion of himself; and like a fair taper, when he shined to all the room, yet round about his own station he had cast a shadow and a cloud, and he shined to everybody but himself.'
“ Towards the close of his life, there was a very visible and rapid development and growth of his religious character. He spoke more freely, and more frequently of his hopes as a Christian. He was more communicative of his feelings. He felt more deeply the value of those great doctrines, which were to him the ground of all true religion, and eternal life. And sometimes in these moments of deep communion with kindred spirits, he seemed rather like a seer than a mere speaker.
“ During that memorable evening in which he was — shall I say translated ? — he was more than ever earnest in the expression of his own feelings, and anxious that those around him should devote themselves to God, and make perfection in the divine life the great end of their efforts. He was evidently trimming his lamp as if dimly conscious that his Lord was near; and when the summons came, though it came suddenly and unexpectedly, he was, I doubt not, prepared to depart, and to enter upon the work of praise in the temple not made with hands.
“So passed away from among us a mind, beautiful by nature, and adorned by all that learning, wisdom, and taste could confer, but rendered still more beautiful and exalted by the indwelling of the spirit of Christ, and the manifestation of that faith which worketh by love, and purifieth the heart, and overcometh the world."