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cers, viz.: Dering, Doughlass, Havens, Sherrill and Nicoll. The preacher rises in the sacred desk. He is elevated eight feet above the congregation, but he and they think it all right. It is significant of the exalted, heavenly nature of the minister and the office he fills. He announces the hymn, and directly a venerable form rises behind the little desk in front of the pulpit. It is the chorister. His hymn book is before him. He announces the tune, strikes his tuning fork on the desk, lifts it to his ear, and begins to sound a note or two. The 'pitch' thus obtained, a volume of melodious music fills the house. The dedication prayer is offered. Directly the preacher reads from the 126th Psalm: “The Lord hath done great things for us whereof we are glad.' It is the text. The sermon is a credit to the head and heart of its author and a fitting tribute to the memorial occasion. That was a jubilee to this people.”
And with these lofty words the honored preacher of the occasion consecrated the edifice “as an habitation of the God of Jacob,” namely: “Be it henceforth dedicated to God as an house of prayer in which His holy public worship in all its instituted branches shall be celebrated; in which not only supplications and the sacrifices of thanksgiving, repentance and prayer are to be offered up to the God of all grace—but the adorable name of the King of Zion is to be proclaimed in the preaching of the glorious gospel and the administration of the holy sacraments of the New Testament. May the incomprehensible Jehovah, whose name is thus recorded in this place, graciously condescend to take up His abode here, and liberally bestow upon His people the blessings of His grace and salvation, during not only the present but succeeding generations!"
While looking over some old church papers I came across the manuscript of the following hymn, which was composed especially for the service of dedication and sung at that time by the people. The author's name I have been unable to discover, though much inquiry has been made. It was certainly worthy of the writer and the occasion:
Be sacred this sequestered place,
These walls we consecrate to God,
Yet makes His churches His abode.
From contrite hearts, like incense, rise,
Prelude the musick of the Skies.
Here free from passion, toil and strife,
And every care that intervenes,
To meditate on future scenes.
Here may the gospels, Heaven taught page,
Be weekly opened and explained,
Imbibe its truths with love unfeigned.
While conscience heaves repentant sighs,
For sin against a Holy God,
Salvation in a Saviour's blood.
Long may this building be sustained,
A temple for the God of love,
For glory in the World above.
And now the Society was fully equipped for work. Organized and officered, housed in a new and noble edifice, blessed with quickening power, it began anew its activity in the service of Almighty God.
The same month in which the church was dedicated the women of the Society, always ready and always willing, organized themselves into a missionary society known in those days as “Female Cent Societies.” These societies were so called because each member pledged herself to give a penny a week towards the objects of the Society. The Society of the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church soon came into touch with other like societies, and shortly after its beginning received a congratulatory letter from the "Female Society of the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church,” of which the following is an extract: “To the Female Cent Society on Shelter Island: We have lately received the pleasing intelligence that a Female Cent Society was formed on Shelter Island. Permit us, dear sisters, to congratulate you on this auspicious event, and to assure you that we most cordially wish you success and prosperity. May your members be increased, your exertions encouraged, your graces invigorated, and every effort crowned with the divine bene. diction.” This was gracefully responded to by Ann Willett Nicoll, secretary of the Shelter Island Society, as follows:
“The Cent Society of Shelter Island receive and acknowledge, with sentiments of grateful emotion, the united congratulations of the Female Cent Society of Bridgehampton. Permit us still to solicit the continuance of your friendship and interest in our behalf. Actuated by motives which encourage our hopes and stimulate our exertions, we look beyond the present to that period which may witness the happy effects of the united endeavor of our present infant Society. Were our means now equal to our wishes, how cheering would be our prospects. Still, we rejoice and desire to be thankful in being made the humble instruments of promoting the cause of Christ, and advancing the glory of our Heavenly Father, who constantly surrounds us by the smiles of eternal love, and every moment brings renewed expressions of His goodness and mercy. Notwithstanding our privileges and distinguished blessings, both temporal and spiritual, few have been our charities, small indeed have been our exertions in doing good. We desire to feel humble. May we all have contrition in contemplating these lamentable facts. We rejoice to hear of the general establishment of Cent Societies in our native land. We indulge the hope that they will still increase, that greater exertions will continue to be made for the extension of the Redeemer's Kingdom. How animating the reflection that the time is not far distant when the spirit of Christ will reign in every heart ani all be united in the same glorious cause. It is a highly favored age in which we live. Even now the rays of the Sun of Righteousness are illuminating the remote corners of the earth, and subjects of the rich grace of God rapidly multiplying. How unceasing should be our praises, how expanded our gratitude, and may our benevolent efforts end only with existence. The Cent Society of Shelter Island was organized the ist of July, 1817. It consists of 34 members. In behalf of this Society,
“ANN WILLETT NICOLL,
This church and community has always been highly favored with noble-hearted, whole-souled, spiritually-fervent consecrated women, of some of whom we shall have occasion to speak later on. We regret that the roll of that first Society and its list of officers cannot be here inscribed, but with great pleasure give the foregoing correspondence a place in our work.
For a period of eight years after the death of Rev. Daniel Hall this church was without the services of a regularly installed pastor or resident preacher. Mr. Hall in his relations to this people was looked upon as their pastor, though never installed as such by proper authority. Still that was his relation to them, and is so recorded in the first book of records kept by the session, in which he is twice spoken of as pastor, one of these being the notice of his death, which is entered according to the following form: "Rev'd Daniel Hall, our pastor, aged 64, Jan’y 20, 1812." To him therefore may be rightly attributed the honor of being the first pastor of the Society now known as the Presbyterian Church of Shelter Island, the organization of which he effected and which stands as an enduring monument to his faithful and consecrated labors. During the eight years after his death the church was supplied with occasional preachers, some of whom served for several months at a time, as in the case of Rev. Mr. Tracey. Among these were the pastors of the neighboring churches, Rev. Dr. Woolworth of Bridgehampton, Rev. Ebenezer Phillips of Easthampton, Rev. J. M. Babbit of Southampton, Rev. J. D. Gardiner of Sag Harbor, Rev. Lathrop Thompson of Cutchogue.
One of these, who I cannot tell, perhaps the Rev. Mr. Tracy, was small in stature though tall in intellect, for in a letter written by a Shelter Island lady who had moved to Connecticut, from whence she wrote to friends on this island, occurs this sentence: “Do you keep that good little minister there yet? I have not heard a better sermon amongst all our ministers and preaching than he delivers.” And she had heard many in the Nutmeg State, having attended several of what was known as “Association Days,” when the ministers for a certain region would gather and hold several days of continued preaching. During a large portion of those eight years the conditions of things on this island were greatly disturbed by the war of 1812-15, as we have seen, and doubtless was the cause of the delay in getting a resident preacher as successor to Mr. Hall. Religious matters, however, were faithfully maintained by the elders of the church, who had promised upon their ordination to maintain public worship on the Sabbath when there should be no preaching. And here a fitting opportunity presents itself of paying tribute justly due to the memory of General Sylvester Dering, the first elder chosen and ordained over this church. A man whose life was such a blessing to this place and people that he is rightly esteemed, if not the best and noblest of all men who have lived on Shelter Island, at least second to none in these qualities of mind and heart.
General Sylvester Dering was the second son of Thomas Dering and Mary Sylvester, and was born in Newport, R. I., Nov. 27th, 1758. He moved to this island with his parents when but two years old. And here he continued to live save during the period of the Revolution, until the day of his death, Oct. 8th, 1820, in consequence of a fall from his horse fourteen days previous. The Hon. Ebenezer Sage, of Sag Harbor, who was personally and intimately acquainted with Mr. Dering, wrote the following beautiful obituary upon his decease: “Died on the 8th inst. at his residence on Shelter Island, after an illness of fourteen days, in consequence of a fall from his horse, Gen'l Sylvester Dering, in the 62d year of his age.
"Few instances of mortality have stronger claims upon the sympathies of surviving relations, friends, society and country than that of this worthy man. He lived not for himself, his heart was formed for the exercise of all charities of this life. In all the relations he bore to society, he cheerfully and conscientiously discharged the duties of a husband, parent, brother, friend, neighbor and citizen. His children and grandchildren will never forget the paternal care and tenderness with which he watched over them from their childhood, and their surviving parent will mourn the remainder of her life the loss of a kind husband and her best friend. His extensive circle of relations and friends will, whenever they reflect upon the constancy of his love and attachment, not refuse to his memory the tribute of a tear. The inhabitants of the island on which he lived will never be guilty of the great ingratitude of forgetting the innumerable acts of kindness that they have for more than thirty years received from him as a neighbor, friend and counsellor; more especially the poor and fatherless, and those laboring under afflictions of either body or mind. Were they on beds of sickness, he administered to them as a physician; spread their pillows and watched over them as a nurse; consoling them as a friend; opening his purse to their wants and kneeling at their bedside and devoutly asking from the Great Physician relief for their sufferings and consolation beyond the power of human aid. Under his hospitable roof the friend and the stranger were equally welcome, and the poor never departed empty. It may be said that Providence for wise purposes has removed from among us a truly good man. The writer of this has known him nearly forty years, in all which time he has lived his neighbor and in