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—and as a sinner he saw Christ crucified for sin. From these it appears that graphic descriptions was a powerful weapon in his hand, in his early ministry, as well as in the time of his blindness. It was evidently a characteristic of his preaching through life and formed a part of the charm with which he held his audience in sweet captivity.
A miserly man, that used to hear him at Tinkling Spring, in giving an account of the influence of one of his powerful sermons, on the love of God, upon himself—said—u the snow flakes had been falling pretty freely around the house—but had any one told me that guineas lay as thick as the snow flakes, I could not have gone out to gather any till he was done.' The author of the British Spy was not the only man that had felt the power of his mellifluous tongue.
Says one, who knew him well, in describing his appearance —" He was tall, thin—spare,—very spare as he grew older,— had a long visage,—his forehead being high,—his nose and chin long,—his face thin,—his eyes a light blue—and his complexion fair. He wore long white top boots,—small clothes buckled at the knee—a long loose strait-bodied coat,—and a white wig. He was seldom vehement in delivery;—often excited, never boisterous,—often deeply pathetic in tone and manner,—very courtly in his manners,—and used much gesture with both hands." A very old lady in the Valley, speaking of him, in 1844, said she "went to hear Dr. Waddell at Tinkling Spring, being urged to do so by a young friend. When she arrived he was at prayer;—he spoke with a low, sweet voice, very distinct; and seemed to use great familiarity with God in prayer, often using the words 'do thou in reference to promises and desires which God only could fulfil. In preaching his voice was the same,—if the people were still, all could hear him. He used much gesture, with his right hand particularly."
One circumstance during his residence in Louisa caused him much perplexity. A widow lady in his neighbourhood, was, under some peculiar circumstances, permitted to teach his daughters minuets. A report was spread abroad, charging the Doctor with being an advocate of fashionable amusements. He repelled the charge, asserting that the members of his family never engaged in what were called fashionable amusements, though he thought it expedient to cultivate their manners to fit #them for enlightened genteel society. Still the report was spread, and much feeling was excited. The Doctor maintained his position, and did not hide his indignation at the injury done him by imputation of improprieties and actions derogatory to the minister and the Christian. His increasing infirmities had also prevented his regular attendance on the meetings of Presbytery. This failure in ministerial duty was misunderstood, and was used to give weight to the scandal, that all was not right with the protege of Davies, in his old age. Many consultations were held by the brethren of the Presbytery about the best method of bringing this matter to a favourable issue; a committee was appointed, and a paper issued from the pen of J. B. Smith: a number of letters passed; and the whole subject became more perplexing. Mr. Todd was understood as defending his old friend and co-presbyter, and consequently was involved in the same difficulties. It was determined at last to have a special interview with Dr. Waddell. During the sessions of the Presbytery in May 1794, at Hopewell, an adjourned meeting was held at the Doctor's house on Friday evening. The members present were all greatly the Doctor's juniors, but men of influence, and some, in after years, of notoriety. After supper the Presbytery was called to order, and the business frankly and respectfully introduced.
The following minute is on the Presbytery book, viz. "Dr. Waddell's, 7 o'clock, P. M.—The Presbytery had an interview with Dr. Waddell, and a conversation of a considerable length took place upon the charge against him, and the letter to this Presbytery, which by a resolution of July 26th, 1793, had been referred, for advice, to Synod. And having had a detail of his conduct, and the motives for such conduct, the Presbytery was of opinion that there was no ground for further process against him,—and that the minute making the reference be hereby revoked." Mr. Turner used to describe this meeting in his frank and humourous way, as one presenting the extremes of gravity and ridiculousness, of incensed dignity and anxious rashness: that he and some others had gone with expectation of compassionating the humiliation of an old man for a dereliction of duty; that he soon found that they were the objects of commiseration; and that he never was so glad to get clear of any thing in his life, and was very happy to get to bed. That Friday night, May 2d, 1794, was never forgotten by the company assembled at Dr. Waddell's.
Says one who well knew—" never were children more blessed in parents, than were we; and what was defective in one was supplied in the other. Our morals were carefully watched over by both, and to example there was added precept, inculcated with all the energy which affection could dictate. On Sabbath evenings we were assembled, and after being catechised, received an exhortation from my father which seldom failed of affecting us -deeply.
"I never left home for but I received a word of serious
exhortation from my father; and when at home my admonitions were repeated, and every advantage taken of place and circumstance to render them abiding. Remember—he would say— when I am dead and gone, and you will have none to advise you,—your father told you this,—or the other,—beside this gate,—or tree,—or whatever we were near,—so that almost every object served to remind me of his instructions."
His servants appeared greatly attached to him as a man and as a minister: and some of them were consistent members of the church. One of them, taken by a member of the family to Philadelphia was set free, in what appeared to be favourable circumstances. In a few years she found her way back to Virginia and sought a member of the family with whom to spend the remainder of her days in cheerful service, affectionate attachment, and the exercise of religious duties and privileges. In his will Dr. Waddell directed that his body should be taken to the chosen place of burial, by his servants. Faithful in life, they performed this last service with reverence and grief.
His last illness, the consequence of a severe cold, in the fall of 1803, was protracted to September, 1805. "His decline was very gradual and he anticipated his end with Christian serenity and joyful expectation of future happiness. He took great pains to prepare us all for the event, which I could not well realize; for I then, as well as in childhood, seemed to look upon my father as almost superior to death. But his end came; and his last words were those of the dying Stephen—Lord Jesus receive my spirit."
An affectionate tribute to the worth of the wife of Dr. Waddell will close this sketch.
"Dear Sir:—Our mother was the daughter of Colonel James Gordon of Lancaster county, Virginia, and called after her mother, Mary. Her mother was Mary Harrison, daughter of Nathaniel Harrison, of Surry, whose ancestor, as of the large connexion of that name in Virginia, was Benjamin Harrison, of Surry, who died in 1712, and whose tombstone may be seen w^ith its inscriptions at Cabin-Point, of that county. The Harrisons have been distinguished by the terms Berkeley and Brandon, two family seats on James River, the first in Charles City and the other in Prince George. Our mother was of the Brandon descent. She was born in 1752; married when sixteen years of age; was the mother of ten children; and died in 1813, at Staunton.
"Our grandmother, in the early period of her marriage was of the High Church of England, and very bigotted,—so much so, that she refused to hear Mr. Davies preach, although he was a favourite with her husband, Colonel Gordon. Being visited however with protracted illness, a sermon was preached in their house, by this distinguished minister, which she heard from her bed; our grandfather being represented as setting open the door of an adjoining room to afford this opportunity. This sermon was blessed to her awakening and conversion. She lived an exemplary Christian and good Presbyterian, and so died. This was before our father had become acquainted in Colonel Gordon's family, and is only mentioned to show the hand of Providence in preparing the way for that acquaintance and for his after marriage.
"At what time our mother became pious we have no means of ascertaining, probably soon after the event just mentioned, experiencing the Christian counsels of both parents. It is enough for her children to know, and with gratitude, that her life, character, example, counsels and prayers, were those of a meek, devoted, affectionate and pious mother. Her meekness and gentleness were characteristic. This writer never remembers to have seen her angry. Cheerfulness and contentment were depicted on her countenance; and when removed by sorrow or affliction, resignation would quickly take their place.
"The youngest of us remember well her careful reading of the Scriptures and strict observance of the Sabbath,—her place of private prayer,—her catechising hour for the children,—her tenderness and solicitude for them,—her mild and winning modes of addressing them,—and unwearied efforts for their comfort and happiness.
"Our mother was a great reader; the habit was increased during the blindness of our father, from her assiduity in administering to his comfort in this respect. She was low in stature. Expressive black eyes lit up a benignant and cheerful face. As she lived so she died. This is penned by her youngest living child, who has wept while the present duty has freshened his recollections of the best of mothers.
The infancy of the Presbyterian Church, in the United States, and particularly in Virginia, wTas the time of Log Colleges, and disabilities from government for conscience' sake, and exposure to the hard service of a frontier life. It was a healthy infancy; and before the church had reached the stature of youth, it had strangled some strong enemies of freedom of conscience,—and before manhood had come, it rejoiced, with the country at large, that in America the mind and conscience were as free as property and the body, all being under the protection of good laws administered by the legitimate authority, calling civil offences to a human tribunal, and referring purely religious ones to the bar of Almighty God.
In the year 1718, the ardent, devoted, and well instructed, William Tennent, an emigrant from the Episcopal Church in Ireland, joined the Synod of Philadelphia; and, after visiting a number of the inviting fields of missionary labour, settled on the JSTeshaminy not far from Philadelphia, and opened a famous school, wnich was generally known as the "Log College"—or "Tennent's Log College." For leaving the Established Church and joining the Presbyterian he gave the following strong reasons, viz.—
"1st. Their government by Bishops, Archbishops, Deacons, Archdeacons, Canons, Chapters, Chancellors, Vicars, wholly unscriptural.
"2d. Their discipline by Surrogates and Chancellors in their Courts Ecclesiastic without foundation in the word of God.
"3d. Their abuse of that supposed discipline by commutation.
"4th. A Diocesan Bishop cannot be founded jure divino upon those Epistles to Timothy or Titus, nor any where else in the word of God, and so is a mere human invention.
"5th. The usurped power of the Bishops at their yearly visitations, acting all of themselves, without consent of the brethren.
"6th. Plurality of benefices.
"Lastly. The churches conniving at the practice of Arminian doctrines inconsistent with the eternal purpose of God, and an encouragement of vice. Besides, I could not be satisfied with their ceremonial way of worship. These have so affected my conscience, that I could no longer abide in a church where the same are practised."
The reasons for the Log College were plain and forcible;—a pure and efficient church requires a learned ministry,—the ministry must be raised up, in, and by the church,—the church must educate her sons to be citizens of intelligence or society must deteriorate,—society can never educate the church, but the church must educate society,—and the standard of education in the church is the standard of education in society. He looked around among the settlements in the provinces of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, and saw no college or high-school for the instruction of youth in the languages and sciences, and his heart prompted him to build his Log College.