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were equally remarkable. He exhibited in his earliest years the evidence of that benevolence and liberality which were so prominent in his mature character, and which literally scattered through his whole life, for the good of others, as fast as he was able to gather. Before he could speak with plainness, when the poor presented themselves at the door of his father's house, he would run to them with his little hands filled with articles of food, and unsolicited, press upon them its acceptance. So eager was this desire, that he could not be pacified unless he were supplied from the house, with the food which he sought, and his offering was received by those to whom it was made. His forgiveness of spirit was equal to his liberality. The same unwillingness to repeat the ill that he knew or heard of others, which marked him at all times as a man, distinguished him also as a child. This temper was beautifully displayed on one occasion, when he was very young, which is remembered by his family. One of his companions, in the hastiness of ungoverned anger at some small offence which he had received from him, ran into a blacksmith's shop, and seized a shovel of hot coals, which he threw down the back of this little child in the spirit of revenge. His dress was low in the neck, and the fire easily fell beneath it upon his flesh, and having to run a considerable distance to his home, his back was exceedingly burned, and many months passed before it was entirely healed. Yet when his father and friends made arrangements
to punish the boy who had so cruelly injured him, he entreated with earnestness that he might be forgiven ; and his friends could satisfy his perseverance only by a reluctant consent. His strict adherence to truth, under all circumstances, became a general subject of remark at home and at school, and
preserved him through many difficulties which he was obliged to encounter.
In all these traits of character, he stands forth as a beautiful example of excellence in childhood, well worthy the consideration both of parents and children. The Spirit of God seems to have early guided him in the attainment and exhibition of such a character, as in its ultimate fruits highly adorned the Gospel of which he became a minister. The only son of a mother adapted in every respect, both in power of intellect and piety of heart, to direct his youthful mind into paths of peace and excellence, he had great advantages for the early formation of valuable principles of character. And though in his subsequent youth, he was comparatively thoughtless, but never immoral, when we connect together his early sweetness of mind and temper, with his final course of usefulness to men, we cannot but feel the conviction, that the Lord was early sowing the seeds of spiritual life in his heart. We cannot indeed say distinctly how much he was indebted to this excellent mother, who was so soon removed from him, nor feel authorized actually to add his name to that long list which stands in the history of the Church, as witnesses to the worth and influence of maternal piety. But we ought not to notice the remarkable connexion between his early and later life, under the circumstances in which he was placed, without gathering the encouragement to fidelity in duty which they may gain from it, to whom God has been pleased to give, both children to be guided to himself, and a real desire that they may become his children in eternal glory. A mother's instructions in the things of the Lord, and a mother's prayers for the spiritual blessing of the Lord, form the most valuable privilege and treasure which can be bestowed upon a child. “ The promise is to us, and to our children.”
In the year 1802, this valued mother was taken to her rest, leaving an animating example of piety to bless this only son, with whom she is now rejoicing in “a city not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” He was left to the charge of his elder sisters, of whom it is not too much to say, that in tenderness, affection and usefulness, they filled up to him a mother's place.
Not long after his mother's departure, his father failed in business, and the family was in consequence reduced to very narrow circumstances in life. This unexpected change in their condition gave them peculiar distress on account of this muchloved child. They had nursed and cherished him with united affection, and had watched over the talents which he displayed, and the promise which he gave of future usefulness, with the deepest interest; and
they were particularly anxious that he should be properly educated to be ultimately useful in the world. The hope of accomplishing this favourite purpose, appeared for the present to be frustrated. But that God who had appointed for him his future work, led him to the attainment of a preparation for it, in ways that he knew not; and it is truly instructive to see, how in all his course of life, the same hand was secretly, but surely directing him, to his final point of labour and usefulness.
God directed the heart of one, who had but little to spare of the goods of this world, to minister of her small substance to his present necessities. An aunt of his mother, a maiden lady, who was particularly attached to her, requested that he might be sent, at her expense, to the Episcopal academy at Cheshire, in Connecticut. The object in this choice was not only the benefit of an education in that valuable school, then under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Smith, but also to separate him from the temptations so incident to the circumstances of a popular boy in a large city. At Cheshire he became an universal favourite, and his father received great delight from the accounts of his correct deportment and improvement in study. Even at this period of his life, his name seems to have become connected with the ministry of the Gospel, and Dr. Smith used to say of him in reference to his excellence as a scholar, and his purity of character and conduct, that he would be the Bishop Bedell of America, in allusion to the
celebrated Bishop Bedell of Ireland,* a man as remarkable for personal excellence of character, as he was distinguished in ecclesiastical station. The points of resemblance in his character to this illustrious man in subsequent life, although the providence of God never exalted him to a similar station in the Church, were not a little remarkable.
While Bedell was at Cheshire, an incident occurred
The following account of this distinguished man, is taken from Lempriere's Biographical Dictionary :
“ In this high station, (Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh,) Bedell behaved with that strong sense of propriety which his private manners so much promised. He exhorted his clergy to exemplary conduct and residence; and to show them his own moderation, he resigned the bishopric of Ardagh. His ordinations were public and solemn. Example was made to go hand in hand with profession in the great business of religion, and in a synod of his clergy which he convened for reformation, some canons were enacted, excellent and conciliatory. A strong advocate for the Church, he always abhorred the persecution of the papists, and supported the justice and rights of his cause, by the arms of meek persuasion, not of virulent compulsion. The liturgy, as well as the Bible, was translated into Irish, and every method pursued which might inform and enlighten the minds of a rough and uncivilized peasantry. So much exemplary meekness did not go unapplauded. When the country was torn by rebellion in 1641, the Bishop's palace was the only habitation in the county of Cavan that remained unviolated. Malice, however, prevailed ; the rebels who declared that the prelate should be the last Englishman driven from the country, demanded the expulsion of the unfortunate men who had filed to his roof for refuge, and when he continued firm to his refusal, he and his family were seized and sent prisoners to the Castle of Cloughboughter. The horrors of confinement, and more particularly the misfortunes of his country, however, broke his heart; he expired on the 7th of February, 1641, in the house of Dennis Sheridan, a Protestant, to whose care he had been intrusted. His memory received unusual honours from the rebels, who in a large body accompanied his remains, and fired over his grave in the Church-yard of Kilmore, with all the homage due to a worthy man, a pious Christian, and an exemplary prelate.”