« ZurückWeiter »
tired of such public life, and longed to retire. I have retired, and during the year and nine months which I have spent here, have been the most tranquil that ever was in any situation. Convinced by experience of the vanity and even torture of worldly distinction, I seem to have given up all desire for it. I am sure I would not exchange my present seclusion for any more public sphere that could be offered me. My trials, I trust, have not been in vain. For more than six years past, (the former part of which was the most trying period of my life,) I think I have been enabled to obtain an ascendancy over some of my constitutional sins. If I do not deceive myself, I have of late years become more conscientious in regulating my feelings towards my neighbors, in avoiding resentments when I am injured, and in studying the things which make for peace. I think I am more vigilant against the collisions of selfishness; less bigoted in favor of a party, and can more truly rejoice in the advancement of religion in other denominations around me. I have far less distressing conflicts than I had in former years. At the same time I have far less exalted ideas of my own sanctification. Some things are certainly improved within me, and yet I have a more steady sense of my general poverty and short coming.
Afternoon. I found a greater sweetness in secret prayer than I had felt for years, a tenderness and enlargement in praying for this people here, our sister congregation and its minister, my late church in Park-street, my friends and my enemies generally in Massachusetts. I found a new state of mind, and discovered that some displeasure at the past treatment I had received, though it had not awakened resentment, had hardened my heart against old acquaintance and caused me to find little pleasure in thinking of them. But now I felt the cloud all removed, and wished to visit them, and longed for their prosperity, as though they had been my flesh and blood ; and in regard to those who were near, my heart melted over them, and it was my earnest prayer that this day, when the christians of both congregations are in their respective closets, might break up forever whatever selfish jealousies and unkind
feelings may exist between the two sister churches. I feared that the rough treatment I had met with from the world, had soured my mind towards mankind, and that my love of retirement arose partly from this cause. I clearly perceived and felt that love would do away all feelings like never wishing to have any more connexion with a particular place. Never, never let me feel this again towards any place or any individual. How will love unite us to all and every one, as to our dearest child. Scarcely ever had I a cloud taken off from the whole world so suddenly and so sensibly. I felt a tender wish to write to acquaintances in different places, with whom I had for a considerable time wished to have no further intercourse. I found that love would cure at once all past troubles, and sweep them from the world as though they had never been; and that if I could continue to feel so, I should at once be restored to the bright skies of former years, before the storms
I perceived that the most effectual way to get the better over every injury was to forgive. I learned to prize more than ever these days of private devotion, for I found that this season had removed wrong impressions which had rested on my mind for two or three years, which, till I felt the change, I had not perceived were wrong. LET ME NOT FAIL TO KEEP THESE DAYS OF PRIVATE DEVOTION.
I was enabled heartily to forgive and pray for all men, even those who had wronged me most, and then I felt that the middle wall of partition which had been long between Christ and me, was taken away. I had forgiven all, and then he had, as it would seem, forgiven me. While I held them off, unwilling to have intercourse, he held me off, unwilling to have intercourse. I had not hated them as an enemy, and he had not hated me as an enemy. Just the measure which I meted to others, he meted to me. I never felt before the full amount, in this respect, of that petition, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” In the latter part of the afternoon my mind was unusually fixed and drawn out in prayer; and all my prayers were directed to Christ. The hymn, "Jesus, lover of my soul,” was more precious to me than ever it was, when I was not pressed down under the burden of guilt. Bless the Lord, O my soul, for his restoring mercy,—for removing that partition wall which I have felt for more than six years. O may I walk humbly and live near to him, and be wholly devoted to him the rest of my life.
During this second period of Doctor GRIFFIN'S residence at Newark, besides attending with exemplary fidelity to all the duties more immediately connected with his pastoral charge, he devoted himself with great zeal to the establishment and support of several of the leading benevolent institutions of the day. He was one of the original founders of the American Bible Society; and it is said that when their address to the public, which had been prepared by Doctor Mason, was first read in his hearing, he turned to a gentleman sitting next to him, and said with great emphasis, “ That, in my opinion is the finest specimen of English composition that has been produced since the days of Johnson.” He was also particularly active in the establishment of the United Foreign Missionary Society, and in promoting the interests of the school established by the Synod of New York and NewJersey for the education of Africans. To this latter institution perhaps he devoted himself with more zeal than to any other; and his celebrated “ Plea for Africa,” distinguished alike for learning and eloquence, shows that this was a theme to wake up his finest powers and his strongest sensibilities.
It was also during this period of his ministry, (1817) that he published his work on the extent of the atonement. As this is almost throughout a work of pure metaphysics, it were not to be expected that it should have gained so extensive a circulation as the more practical and popular of his productions; but it was evidently the result of great intellectual labor, and could never have been produced but by a mind trained to the highest efforts of abstraction.
In the spring of 1821, Dr. GRIFFIN received an invitation to the presidency of the college at Danville, Kentucky; and as his health at the time was somewhat enfeebled, he took a journey into that state, but ultimately declined the offer. On his return he visited Cincinnati in Ohio, and subsequently received an invitation to the same place in the college in that city, but this also he felt himself constrained to decline. About the same time he received a similar appointment at Williams College ; and owing chiefly to some unpropitious circumstances which had prevented the growth of his congregation and their ability to continue to him a competent support, he determined to accept this appointment.
HIS RESIDENCE AT WILLIAMSTOWN.
Having accepted of the Presidency of Williams College, Doctor GRIFFIN left Newark with his family for Williamstown about the 25th October, 1821. Of the interesting events which occurred in connection with the journey and subsequent to it, he committed to writing the following minute account in 1830.
Before we left Newark, my eldest daughter, Louisa, was unwell. In her passage up the river she became worse. We reached Troy on Friday morning, October 26th, 1827, where I left her with her mother at a boarding-house, and the same night reached Williamstown with my other daughter, Ellen. On Monday, October 29th, having obtained teams to bring out our furniture, I returned to Troy, and found an apprehension in the attending physicians that Louisa was exposed to the typhus fever. On my return to Williamstown on Wednesday, October 31st, I found Ellen quite sick. It proved that she had taken the measles; and before they could appear, a billious fever had taken possession of the system and kept the other down. And as the first yielded to medicine, the second, a hidden enemy that no one could understand, began to work. She was in a state of great fluctuation, but mostly of danger, till near the middle of December. On Monday, the 10th of December, my apprehensions rose the highest, but they were