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body and mind. I have not enjoyed a well day since I saw you in Mr. Bowen's office, about the 24th or 25th of September, 1822, which was caused by my taking a bad cold the day after Convention, on my way to Bos ton. I have experienced but little pain during my sick ness, and my mind has been very calm and clear, and my judgement and memory remain unimpaired. By a long and happy experience, I find the sentiment I embra ced more than forty years ago, which was in the meridian of my life, (being now in my eighty-first year,) to be a good sentiment to live by, as it is a faith which works by love and purifies the heart; and causes the subject to put his trust in God. Which sentiment I obtained by a persevering and prayerful search of the scriptures, which I was induced to, by the different and contradictory systems that were taught in the world. It was my heart's desire and prayer to God, that the truth might be made clear to my understanding. This was all previous to my having any human aid. I think that the writings of Shippe Townshend of Boston, and a book written by James Relly, were among the first on the subject which I read, and which proved very instructive to my mind. I think it was not many years afterwards when I formed an acquaintance with yourself; and in a short time our acquaintane became very intimate, and from your preachin and private conversation, I have received much truction and edification. I am constrained to mak' tion of this from sincere and humble gratitude to God, for so great favors bestowed on me through your instrumentality. I find it is not only a good principle to live by, but also to die by, as it has been a great Source of comfort in my old age, and bed of sickness. My meditations have been very sweet and comfortable, free from any fearful apprehensions of an hereafter. I view myself now very near my end, and if I could receive a consolatory letter from you before I depart, informing me of your health and enjoyment, and such
other matter as you should think proper, it would be very gratefully received.
If it should be considered, that the substance of this letter should be worthy a place in your Magazine, it is my desire that it may be inserted soon, or in the fifth volume of the same. This letter being written verbatim from my own words, I wish to have it read in the same way and manner, as tho I had written it myself. And so I remain your sincere and loving Brother, SALMON DUTTON.
Boston, May 11, 1824.
Venerable Sir, and Dear Brother,
I return my sincere thanks for your favor of the 7th inst. Altho it gives me to understand that there is no probability of my ever having the satisfaction of seeing you again in this transitory world, yet it presents me with your dying testimony in honor of that blessed faith, which you long since sought and found, and which you have ever esteemed as a most precious treasure.
The opposers of this faith have often said, that it would do to live by, but that it would fail of giving consolation in death. You, dear brother, are enabled to assure your friends and the world, that the doctrine which embraces the whole human family, as heirs of immortality and eternal life, which are brought to light through the gospel, has been a constant source of comfort in life, and is now at its close, the staff on which you recline in peace. As you have been enabled to defend the truth by your life and conversation in the world, and also by several valuable publications, so it seems to be the will of God, that you should add to your dying testimony to all your past efforts to defend and support the truth. Thanks be to God for his good
Brother Dutton, should this reach you while living, be assured that I feel desirous of presenting you with my dying testimony in accordance, and in unison with your own; for tho I may have years yet to live in this world, yet this communication is, no doubt,my last to you ; and, in a sense, is the same as if it were my last to the world. We have travelled in mind in great harmony; we have seen wonders wrought in advancing our precious faith, and we have reason to rejoice with suitable triumph in the name of him to whom every knee shall bow, and whom every tongue shall confess to be Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
My health, which was much reduced in consequence of a greater pressure of business, and more incessant labor after 1 came to this city, than even a good natural constitution was able to sustain without damage, has been, on the whole, improving for more than two years, and is now better than it has been for several years past. I have likewise the satisfaction of witnessing a truly wonderful increase of rational religion and liberal principles. Even Orthodoxy itself begins to borrow some features from liberal sentiments, not only to hide some of her native defects, but that she may attract attention by charms which are not her own.-You, my venerable father in Israel, can with fullest confidence say, as did Simeon of old, when in his withered arms he held the blessed Savior; "Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy words; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." So may it please God, that your last moments may be as tranquil as the unruffled lake, when the soft beams of the setting sun are reflected from its bosom, and leave a promise of a glorious morning to come.
From the Christian Intelligencer.
A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF REV. THOMAS BARNS.
THOMAS BARNS was born at Merrimac, N.H. October 4, 1749. He lived with his father to the age of six years, when he went to his grandfather's, Thomas Barritt, of Chelmsford; soon after which his grandfather died, and he was under the care and tuition of his grandmother and an uncle for about thirteen years. The old lady was a professor of religion, and one of the most pious women in the world. She gave him the common advantages of school education, and with unwearied diligence instilled into his mind the principles of religion. Her intentions were to train up Thomas in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Still he confessed himself ignorant of spiritual things, till twenty-two years of age, when God, who is rich in mercy, brought him from darkness to a degree of light, and caused him feelingly to say, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; he crowneth us with loving kindness and tender mercies, and satisfieth us with the desire of every living thing." He was baptized, and received into communion with a Calvinistic Baptist church, where he sometimes took a part in exhortation and prayer.
Mr. Barns was married, 1772, to Miss MARY FLETCHER, of Westford, Mass. a young woman of amiable disposition, and excellent talents, who was also a member of the Baptist society. For about ten years they regularly attended the Baptist meeting, tho not at all times so highly edified as was desirable, did not think of disputing the doctrine of partial election and reprobation. The idea of a universal redemption had never been held forth at the meetings, which Mr. Barns attended, and he knew nothing of the doctrine, tho so fully revealed in the scriptures, till he heard it from the lips of a Mr. Rich, a Universalist, whom curiosity led him to hear in 1782. The subject was so candidly and fully
explained, and the scripture evidences for it, so express and numerous, that Mr. Barns could not but consider the doctrine entitled to some attention. He searched the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so; and soon became convinced that his former opinions were erroneous. At length he disclosed the new discovered truth to his wife, who was much alarmed on his account, and expostulated with him, with much earnestness, that he should adventure the eternal welfare of his soul, by hearing such a dangerous doctrine. But with calmness and moderation, having succeeded in showing her, that if the doctrine of eternal election to everlasting life, was true, none of the elect would be finally lost, let them attend to what meetings they would, and that if he was a reprobate he could not be saved, tho a member of a Calvinist church. He then proposed for her consideration, this solemn question; "Can you, my dear Mary, set bounds to the love of God, in the plan of salvation ?" This weighty question proceeding from a heart imbued with the love of Jesus, revolved in her mind for some time, while she continued in prayer to God, that he would lead her by his spirit into all truth. Nor was her solicitation ineffectual: for to the astonishment of her soul, she beheld a deep and boundless fountain open, for the purification of Jews and Gentiles. To the inexpressible joy of her husband, she informed him with rapture-beating heart, that she saw, in the rich promises of God, an incorruptible inheritance for the whole posterity of Adam. It is unnecessary to relate the severe persecutions, unjust revilings, and fiery trials to which they both patiently submitted, without a wish to return evil for evil.
Mr. Barns began to preach in the ministry of universal grace, about the year 1784 or 5, at which time he resided in the State of Vermont. Four years after that, he removed to Oxford, Mass. where he remained two years; then having an invitation to labor in word and