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grace of the Redeemer, was his most delightful employment; in which he exhibited an example of the greatest diligence and zeal, not only among that people with whom he was more immediately connected as their pastor, but throughout an extensive district of country in every part of which he was often employed in these pious labours. He was, indeed, incessant and indefatigable in the service of his divine master, till, at length, he wore down to a slender thread a constitution originally vigorous; and his death, at last, which took place in the midst of the most active discharge of his duties, was not the effect of any particular disease, but of the gradual waste of nature occasioned by continual and excessive exertions.
Dr. Smith, shortly after his settlement at Pequea, founded a grammar school designed chiefly for the instruction of youth in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, in which, by his great assiduity both in study and in teaching, he had made himself an eminent proficient. In this school he always employed the most respectable teachers; and its celebrity soon made it the resort of a large number of young men from various parts of the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland, who here received their classic education, and have since filled many of the most honourable stations in church and s tate Along with their literary studies, he took uncommon pains to infuse into their minds the principles of a pure, warm, and rational piety; and he often enjoyed the consolation of seeing his pious endeavours remarkably blessed. With very few exceptions, all who received the elements of their education under his direction have ever proved serious, steady, and uniform friends of religion; and the church still continues to bless his memory for the great number of faithful and successful pastors who have been reared under his care. For many of his classical pupils, as well as others, returned to him from the college to complete their theological studies under his direction, in whom they were sure to find an able instructor and an excellent model of practical preaching. In the pulpit, he opened to them with skill the treasures of the scriptures; he illustrated with clearness the speculative doctrines of religion. But his great excellence as a preacher lay in strong and convincing appeals to the consciences of sinners, in the various knowledge which he discovered in the workings of the human heart, and in the tenderness with which he led the convinced and penitent soul to its true rest and hope in Jesus Christ. Vice he ever reproved with seriousness and dignity, without austerity; and the pleasures and the hopes of religion he recommended to believers with that glow of sentiment and
oxpression, which could only proceed from a heart filled with the grandeur and consolations of its subject. Beloved and esteemed by all the pious throughout that extensive sphere which he had especially marked out for his ministerial labours, the spiritual father and instructor of many of the clergy, distinguished for his faithfulness, his ability, and unceasing activity in his sacred functions, he was, during a long course of years, regarded with uncommon veneration in the churches. His whole soul was in his duty; and, when fatigued and worn down with active service, as he often was towards the close of life, if a new opportunity of doing good presented itself, the ardour of his mind reinvigorated his debilitated system, and, in an instant, he forgot his weakness. This character of activity and zeal in fulfilling whatever he conceived to be his duty, accompanied him with undiminished vigour to the utmost period of his mortal course. The last act of his life was attending a meeting of the board of trustees of the college of New-Jersey, at the distance of one hundred miles from home, when his constitution was now wasted to a shadow. On his return, in which he suffered extremely both from debility and pain, when he had nearly reached his own church, in which he was about once more to perform a duty ever dearest to his heart, he stopped at the house of a friend* to recruit a little his exhausted nature, He met the family with all that placid serenity which was his custom, and which the habitual spirit and hopes of the gospel alone are calculated to inspire. He requested permission to retire a little to rest, and in a few minutes, without a struggle, calmly and sweetly breathed away his soul, in the act of meditating new services to his Redeemer. And the same smile with which he entered the house seemed to be only fixed upon his countenance by the hand of death.
Such was the end of this excellent man, in the sixty-third year of his age. A rare example of pious activity, and the power of combining numerous duties in perfect order, and in the shortest compass of time. It is difficult, at this distance of time, to give dates with precision, or enter into minute particulars, in the history of a man whose modesty never suffered him to keep, or leave any memoirs of so useful a life. It is of more importance to know, that he hardly ever suffered any of his moments to go to waste. He was a faithful attendant on the judicatories of the church. He was often abroad among vacant churches, and societies of people destitute of the stated ordinances of religion, for the purpose of preaching to them the gospel of salvation which
* Robert Hunter, Esq. of Brandywine.
was at once the labour and the pleasure of his life. When at home, he slept little, he rose early, and after spending the mornings in his study, and his closet, he appeared to be almost always in the pulpit, among the families of his charge comforting and encouraging them with his pious advice, and instructing their children in the principles of the gospel; or in the midst of his school assisting his teachers, and superintending the progress of his pupils; or animating and directing his theological students. Often he embraced all these duties in the same day; yet with such perfect order and despatch, that they never seemed to interfere with one another. When apparently exhausted, the evening devotions of the family exhilarated and refreshed him again. Devotion, and the service of his Redeemer, appeared to be to him, if I may use the expression, the elixir of life. When he was weak, it evidently repaired his strength; when he was exhausted, it restored his spirits. The character of his devotion was, at once, fervent and rational, humble and serene; it mingled the deepest sense of human imperfection with the confidence of faith; the humblest penitence, with the cheerfulness of hope. Never, during the period of a long ministry, was he withheld by sickness from entering the pulpit on the sabbath, except once. And then, although confined to his chamber by a fever, having assembled the principal members of his church, and being placed in an easy chair, he spoke to them with his usual energy on the comforts, the duties, and the joys of religion.
He was certainly among the most able theologians, the most profound casuists, and the most convincing and successful preachers of his age. He died as he lived, beloved and revered by all who had the happiness intimately to know him; and his memory will long be precious in the western churches.
THE LIFE OF SIMON PETER, THE APOSTLE.
We now enter on the last sad night of our Redeemer's sufferings. Even then, the contest for greatness appears to have been revived among the apostles. In vain had a child been held up as a pattern to them. They required that the same instruction should be placed in a new light, and enforced with peculiar energy in the person of the Son of God. Jesus girded himself with a towel, and began to wash the feet of his astonished disciples, not excepting those of the traitor who sold him. Simon Peter could neither suppress nor
conceal his emotions at the sight. But when our Lord came to perform upon him this humiliating office, he exclaimed, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Language could express no more; and the man who shares St. Peter's feelings is ready to conclude, that humanity could say no less. But the passions, though designed as a source of enjoyment, and to give energy to action, are not the safest guides of life. In the present instance, they prevented St. Peter from attending to the dictates of good sense and piety, and hurried him into the use of expressions disrespectful to his Master. Even after Christ had mildly reproved his self-will, Peter persisted in his refusal, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Our Saviour, without showing any warmth at Peter's ill-timed perverseness, calmly addressed to him an argument as tender as it was forcible, Unless I wash thee, thou hast no part in me. To this Simon replied, in the same spirit of ardent but misguided affection, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith, He that is washed by me, needest not save to wash his feet; but is clean every whit. May every Christian, but chiefly the ministers of the sanctuary, meditate on this instructive incident: and may all who admire the humility of Jesus, in thus washing the feet of his disciples with water, recollect that they themselves must perish, unless he wash them from their sins in his precious blood!
No sooner were the apostles seated, than a general alarm was excited by the declaration of our Lord, that one of them should betray him. Each anxiously inquired, Lord, is it I? and St. Peter, too confident of his own integrity, and impatient to ascertain the traitor, made a sign to the beloved disciple to put a question, which was answered by Jesus in such a manner, as gave the rest of the apostles no immediate information on the subject. On the retreat of Judas, however, our Lord, freed from the presence of his faithless servant, began to glorify God, and to speak of his approaching sufferings. Having told them, Whither I go, ye cannot come; the zealous Peter asked, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Not satisfied with this gracious and honourable assurance, the presumptuous apostle replied Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thee. To this confident profession, our Lord opposed his own infallible knowledge, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. That Jesus should suppose him capable of so base an action could not fail to distress St. Peter, but he remained unconvinced of his weakness, and obstinately confiding in his own. strength of mind, gave the lie to the wisdom and veracity of his Master.
After concluding an address and prayer, admirably calculated to comfort and support his disciples, our Lord retired with them to the Mount of Olives, and there testified, All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered. Then, turning to Peter, as to the one most exposed to danger, he said, Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired to have thee, that he may sift thee as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. With his usual self-confidence, Peter answered, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. Although all my brethren shall be offended, yet will not I. To this Jesus replied, I tell thee, Peter, a rock as I have called thee, the cock shall not crow this day, before thou shalt thrice deny that ihou knowest me. But Peter spake more vehemently, If I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee in any wise. The other disciples also, misled perhaps by his example, and conceiving it a point of honour, not to yield to Peter in their expressions of attachment, made similar protestations.
Jesus then retired into the garden of Gethsemane, and leaving the other disciples, took with him only Peter, James, and John, to to be the witnesses of his passion. And having directed them to watch while he prayed, he went to a little distance and poured out the sorrows of his overburdened spirit to God. But when he returned to his disciples, he found them asleep, notwithstanding the warmth of their professions. To St. Peter he addressed a mild reproof, and then admonishing them to watch and pray, lest they should fall into temptation, though at that moment the sins and sorrows of the world pressed on his soul, and his person was bathed in a bloody sweat, he added, with more than human candour, the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. A second and a third time he prayed; a second and a third time they slept. How striking is the contrast between a deceitful confidence in ourselves, and a lively faith in God! The one negligently slumbers like Peter, the other watches and prays like Christ.
The Captain of our salvation, being now armed at all points, rouses his slumbering followers, and summons them to attend him to the field. He advances as a sheep goeth to the slaughter; meekly receives the kiss of his betrayer; and delivers himself up to the officers, a willing victim. But here our rash apostle interposed to prevent the sacrifice; and in order to make good his protestations, attacked the officers with a sword. At his Master's command, however, he sheathed the sword, and perceiving that Jesus declined the services of an arm of flesh, his courage failed,