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Their force united, Luther's pen assail'd,
And humbled both, than both more powerful far. Co, fabling Greece, and bid Alcides know,
His club, as Luther's pen, gave no such blow.
Luther was above the middle size, his body robust, and his eye so piercing, that few could -bear it, when he looked intently on them. His voice, though weak, was melodious; his appetite moderate; his diet plain. Though far from being rich, he ,was extremely liberal in proportion to his substance. His learning was chiefly theological; his writings are more forcible than elegant; his style often harsh and satirical. His mind was cast in a mould which gave it a form suited to the object to which it was to be directed. Acute, ardent, intrepid, persevering; vehement often to excess, confident, and sometimes arrogant ;
regardless of men or opinions, indiscriminate in his censures of those who differed from him, zealous in defending what he believed to be the cause of truth; he was qualified to elude the sophistry, to despise the calumnies, and to brave the opposition of his popish adversaries. His moral conduct was irreproachable; not only correct, but approaching to austerity, as became the character of a Reformer; his invariable sanctity adorned the doctrine which he delivered, and his disinterestedness illustrated the sincerity of his professions. Even by the impetuosity of his temper, which cannot indeed be justified, but which ap pears to us much more censurable than it was thought by his contemporaries, on account of the superior delicacy and external politeness of the age in which we live, he was fitted for accomplishing the great work which he undertook. The silent censure of men whose lives reproved the corruptions of the church, as well as the complaints of the injured, had long been disregarded; sunk in ignorance and superstition, the world, though groaning to be the bigotry of priestcraft, supdelivered, was held in chains by the bigotry of priestcraft, supported by the secular power. To effect a revolution, therefore, energy, nay violence was requisite; and had Luther been more amiable, and less vigorous, or more gentle and accommodating, like Melancthon, he must have failed in the glorious enterprise which he so successfully achieved, and have left the world more involved than ever in the gloom of corrupt opinions, and superstitious rites.
For the Panoplist.
MEMOIRS OF PRESIDENT
WERE the homage, so generally paid to brilliant intellectual endowments, transferred to virtue and religion, it would be well. Yet when genius and learning are sublimated by piety, and devoted with ardour to the best interests of mankind, they furnish a character equally venerable and lovely. Such a character was President DAVIES. To dwell on the talents, the virtues and the exertions of so eminent a man, is an employment at once pleasant and edifying in a high degree. The present memoirs lay claim to little of originality. Their principal object is to methodize and incorporate the distinct and independent accounts which are already before the public. Whatever additional information they contain, is either suggested by his works, or drawn from other sources of unquestionable authority.
He was born November 3, 1724. His father was a planter, in the county of Newcastle, on the Delaware, of great simplici, ty of manners, and of reputed piety. His mother, an eminent Christian, had earnestly besought him of Heaven; and consider ing him as given in answer to prayer, she named him Samuel, and with great solemnity, devot ed him to the Lord. "The event proved," says Dr. Finley, "that God accepted the consecrated boy, took him under his special care, furnished him for, and employed him in, the service of his church, prospered his labours with remarkable success,
and not only blessed him, but made himself a blessing."
The prayers and vows of this excellent woman were succeeded by active exertions. There being no school at hand, she took upon herself the task of teaching her son to read and her efforts were early rewarded in the uncommon proficiency of her pupil. He continued with his parents till about the age of ten. They had not the happiness, during this period, of observing any special impressions of religion made on his mind; but he behaved himself as is common for a sprightly, towardly child, under the influence of pious example and instruction. After this, he was sent to an English school, at some distance from home, where he continued two years, and made great progress in his studies. But failing of the pious instructions to which he had been accustomed, he became more careless of the things of religion, than before.
Yet even at this period, he habituated himself to secret prayer, especially in the evening. The reason for this punctuality," as stated in his diary, was, that "he feared lest he should perhaps die before morning." It is likewise remarkable, that, in his prayers, he supplicated nothing so ardently, as that he might be introduced into the gospel ministry.
The time was now come, when that God, to whom he had been solemnly dedicated, and who designed him as an eminent instrument of shewing forth his praise, would bring him home to himself. He was awakened to solemn and serious concern re
specting eternal things. In the light of divine truth, he was led to see himself a sinner, exposed to the awful displeasure of God, and to all its insupportable consequences. These impressions were full of anxiety and terror. In this distress, he was enabled to discern the necessity, the importance and all-sufficiency of the salvation revealed in the gospel. This divine system of mercy now appeared in a new light. It satisfied his anxious inquiries, and made provision for all his wants. In the blood and righteousness of the REDEEMER, he perceived a solid ground of hope, an unfailing source of consolation. Here he was enabled to place his whole reliance. Here he found a peace and satisfaction before unknown." Believing, he rejoiced with joy unspeakable, and full of glory." His religious comforts were, however, long intermingled with doubts and perplexities. But after some years of repeated and impartial self-examination, he attained a confidence respecting his state, which continued to the close of life. th
From this happy period, his. mind seemed almost entirely absorbed by heavenly things. His great concern was to keep his heart, and set a watch over every thought, word, and action. Animated with love to God, he felt stronger desires than ever, to serve him in the gospel of his Son. Having tasted the sweets of religion, he longed for nothing so much as to be instrumental in bringing his fellow sinners to know the same pure and substantial delights.
Inspired by these sublime objects, he engaged, with new ar
dour, in the pursuit of knowledge. His progress was impeded by a variety of obstacles. But the native vigour of his genius, united to an indefatigable assiduity, surmounted them all. Sooner than could have been rationally expected, he was found qualified for the gospel ministry He passed the usual previous trials with distinguished approbation, and consecrated all his faculties and acquirements to the service of the sanctuary.
Being now licensed to preach the gospel, he applied himself to unfold and enforce those precious truths, whose power he had happily experienced on his own heart. In the exercise of this sacred and delightful office, his fervent zeal and undissembled piety, his popular talents and engaging methods of address, soon excited general admiration, and acquired him a distinguished character. Scarce was there a congregation where he was known, but would have esteemed it a happiness to enjoy his stated ministrations. But how mysterious are the ways of Hea tacked with complaints, which ven! He was about this time atwere supposed consumptive, and which brought him apparently to the borders of the grave. In this enfeebled state, and without hope of recovery, he determined to spend the remainder of what he apprehended an almost exhausted life, in endeavouring to advance his Master's glory in the good of souls. Being among a people who were destitute of minister, he assiduously laboured, in season and out of season. While, by night, his hectic was so severe as to render him sometimes delirious, and make it ne
cessary that he should be attend- erful energy of the divine Spired by watchers, he still preached in the day. Nor did his indefatigable and heroic zeal go unrewarded ed. God gave him some precious first-fruits of his ministry, particularly, in the remarkable conversion of two gentlemen, who manifested in their future lives and conduct, that they were saints indeed.
In consequence of an earnest application, he removed, after a time, to some of the distant settlements of Virginia, where he undertook the charge of a dissenting congregation. Nothing but the purest motives of selfdenying benevolence could have dictated such a step. It separated him from the beloved society of his friends, and his brethren in the ministry; it plunged him into a sea of anxious, unremitted labours; while it exposed him to the bitter censures and resentments of many. Numbers of the inhabitants were but little removed from absolute heathenism. All the obstacles which could arise from blindness and prejudice, from profaneness and immorality, his preaching encountered. Yet his patience and perseverance, his magnanimity and piety, added to his evangelical and powerful ministrations, were not without success. The more he was known, the more was he esteemed. Contempt and aversion were gradually turned into reverence. Opposition yielded to the doctrines of the cross, and the pow
it. The wilderness, and the solitary places rejoiced, and blossomas the rose. A great number, both of whites aud blacks, were hopefully converted to the living God. In this success, the benevolent soul of Mr. Davies found a rich gratification. His tract of preaching was singularly extensive, his labours almost ineessant, and his pecuniary compensation small. But to be an instrument of spreading the Redeemer's triumphs, and of adding new subjects to his spiritual kingdom, though from among the despised and oppressed natives of Africa, was to him, the highest reward.
From this scene of toil and of enjoyment, the providence of God now summoned him away. He was chosen by the synod of New York, at the instance of the trustees of New Jersey college, to accompany the Rev. Mr. Gilbert Tennent to Great Britain and Ireland, in order to solicit benefactions for the college. This election evinced the confi dence both of the synod and corporation, in his superior abilities and popular talents; a confidence, which the issue of the affair no wise disappointed. A service in itself difficult and delicate, in its consequences precarious, and involving a temporary sacrifice of those domestic enjoyments, which were peculiarly dear to him, he cheerfully undertook, and executed with singular spirit and success. The benefactions he received from the patrons of religion and learning in Great Britain, were numerous and liberal, and such as placed the college in a prosperous condition.
Returning from his voyage, he entered anew on his beloved task of preaching the gospel to his people in Virginia. Here he continued till the year 1759. The unusual lustre of his piety and talents was now no longer to be confined to so remote a region. A vacancy being occasioned in the college of New Jersey by the decease of the em: inent President Edwards (who had occupied the place but a few days) Mr. Davies was elected by the Trustees to fill the important station. He received the news of this event not merely with concern, but with a kind of consternation. Though earnestly invited to accept the charge, it was with great difficulty he was brought to think it his duty. The province he occupied was important; and it was unspeakably distressing, both to him and his people, united by the strongest bonds of mutual affection, to think of a separation. Repeated applications, however, at length prevailed to shake his resolution. But to preclude all mistake in a case so important, he withheld his consent, until he had submitted the matter to the Rev. synod of New York and Philadelphia. They unanimously gave their opinion in favour of his acceptance. Thus, to use his own expressions, the evidence of his duty was so plain, that even his sceptical mind was satisfied; while his people saw the hand of Providence in it, and dared not oppose.
The period of his presidency was equally auspicious to the college, and honourable to himself. It was here that he gave the crowning evidence of the vigor and versatility of his geni
us. His previous situation had afforded little leisure and com paratively few means, for the cultivation of general science. He came likewise to the college at a time when its literary state and reputation had been much improved by the great and ac knowledged abilities of President Burr. It was natural, therefore, that even his friends should have some doubts of his complete preparation to fill and adorn so exalted a sphere. But it soon ap. peared that the force and activity of his mind had supplied every defect, and surmounted every obstacle. His official duties were discharged, from the first, with an ability which disappointed ev ery fear, and realized the brightest hopes.
The ample opportunities and demands which he found for the exercise of his talents, gave a new spring to his diligence. While his active labours were multiplied and arduous, his application to study was unusually intense. His exertions through the day seemed rather to dispose him for reading,than rest by night. Though he rose by break of day, he seldom retired till twelve o'clock, or a later hour. His success was proportionate. By the united efforts of his talents and industry, he left the college, at his death, in as high a state of literary excellence, as it had ever known since its institution. The few innovations which he introduced into the academical exer cises and plans of study, were confessedly improvements. He was particularly happy in inspir ing his pupils with a taste for composition and oratory, in which he himself so much excel led.