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doctrine, in Connecticut, he resided in Woodstock, preaching alternately in several towns in that State, in Rhode-Island and Massachusetts.
In 1799, Mr. Barns came to Poland, in the State, (then District) of Maine, and was ordained over the united Societies of Norway, New Gloucester, Falmouth, and Gray; to whom, and to brethren in neighboring towns, he continued to preach alternately about sixteen years.
As a preacher, Mr. Barns was more instructive than eloquent; tho from the mild music of his voice, the simplicity of his manners, and christian candor, he was heard with patience and satisfaction. The general testimony of the aged people who once attended his ministry, is, that "he was a good man and a sound reasoner." He dwelt much upon the infinite perfections of Ged, the impartiality of his promises, the difference between the law and the gospel, or the first and second covenants, and certain accomplishment of God's original purpose, in the redemption of the human family. if he erred in his ministry, it was by bestowing too much labor upon those points, without warming the heart of the hearer by animated exhortations, engaging invitations, and suitable admonitions.
His conversation was sedate and profitable. And if he occasionally introduced an anecdote, it was done in a manner calculated to chastise error with the rod of pleasantry, or reprove immorality, tho mantled with a smile. In private argumentation he was peculiarly successful; and rarely failed of confounding, if he did not convince his antagonist.
Being one time attacked by a zealous Arminian preacher, Mr. Barns wielded the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, and cut him off upon every point; when, as a dernier resort, the preacher exclaimed, “Well, father Barns, I could fellowship you as a christian, if you were a praying man; but I am told you
do not attend to family prayer, nor ask a blessing on your daily food." "And you believe it, do you?" said the old gentleman. "Why yes," was the reply; "for what every body says must be true."-"Indeed, and does every body say I neglect prayer, according to the directions given in Matthew, chapter vi. 5th and 6th verses ?" After looking into his Bible and reading, "And when thou prayest thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are,"&c. the preacher again exclaimed, "But do you pray as there directed? do you pray in secret ?" "Ah,” said Mr. Barns, "you want to make me a hypocrite, do you, that you may fellowship me as a christian; for if I publish it on the house-top, will it any longer be a secret ?"
Mr. Barns was an industrious farmer, as well as preacher, and like Paul, labored with his own hands, to support himself and family. Being a man of sound judgement, unimpeachable habits, and a real lover of his country, he was several years in succession, chosen Representative to the Massachusetts Legislature; in which appointment he did himself honor, by the faithful discharge of his duties. Even those who opposed his religious sentiments, venerated the motives from which he acted in every department of life.
During the ministry of the late Francis Brown at North Yarmouth, (since President of Dartmouth College,) the venerable THOMAS BARNS was present at an Association of Congregational ministers, and at the request of Mr. Brown, was invited into the hall where the Council convened. After passing the usual civilities, and making some general remarks on the state of religion, Mr. Brown very affably observed-"Well, my good friend, I am told you are trying to persuade the people to believe that you and one or two more, are the only true servants of God, in the District of Maine, and that all the learned and pious ministers among us are false teachers. If you consider us men of any influence in society, I should suppose you would,
even on account of the number you now see convened, become rather disheartened in your undertaking, the you may imagine that the God we worship, is not so good or so powerful as yours."
"Indeed, Sir," replied Mr. Barns, "I am not ashamed to own that I consider myself a teacher of the truth, and of course all those learned and pious men, as you very modestly call them, who oppose this truth, are false teachers; but if you wish to dishearten me on account of my being alone among such an influential host of opposers, you might have succeeded as well, by refer ring to a passage in 1 Kings, 18th chapter, 17th verse and onward, and it would at once appear, not only that my prospects resemble his who said, "I, even I only remain a prophet of the Lord: but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men ;" but if there is any difference, sir, you perceive it would be in my favor, in proportion as forty or fifty learned men are not so influential in society, as four hundred and fifty."
Mr. Barns enjoyed a good degree of health, until the autumn of 1814, when he was attacked with the angina pectoris, which, however, was not so severe as to disable him from preaching, as usual. When the Faculty pronounced his case incurable, he met the information with calmness and fortitude. He was making arrangements for settling his worldly affairs, and the last discourse he delivered, seemed to bid them a solemn farewell: he was found dead in the barn, reclining on some straw which he had been thrashing. The verdict of the jury of inquest was, "Death occasioned by bodily disorder."
He left an aged wife, and several children and grandchildren to deplore his loss. Yes, the Rev. Thomas Barns, the upright and industrious man, the good citizen, the exemplary christian and faithful minister of Christ, died at the age of 67 years and 2 days; and as in life he was universally admired, so was his death as extensively lamented. "He being dead, yet speaketh."
As the history of this arch-impostor is but little known in this country, we have collected from various authorities, for the information of our readers, a brief, and, as we believe, authentic account of his eventful life, with a notice of the rise and progress of his system of religion. The authorities on which the statements are made, are the Abbe de Bouffers, Mr. Anderson, an American traveller, and an account of the life of Mahomet, prefixed to the tragedy that bears his name.
Mahomet, the son of a Pagan and a Jewess, was born in the year of our Lord 570, in Mecca, a city of Arabia. His parents were of the very dregs of the people, and their poverty prevented their supplying him with an education. His childhood was consequently neglected, and the only things he in all probability acquired-the fruits of wretchedness-were abstemiousness and vigor of body. While Mahomet was yet in his youth, his parents died, and he was placed under the guardianship of an uncle, who employed him to go with his caravans from Mecca to Damascus. The daily wants to which the poor are subject, ordinarily leave but little time for reflection; consequently there is not much food for the passions; notwithstanding every thing in active minds serves as a stimulant to inflame the feelings. A fortunate circumstance placed Mahomet in a rich Arabian merchant's house, and he dying, Mahomet, at the age of 28 years, married his widow. By this marriage he suddenly became possessor of immense wealth, which his master had left.
The seeds of ambition with which he had been born sprang up in his heart, on obtaining this unexpected fortune. At first he only proposed to aggrandize himself; but the spirit of conquest having seized him, he was chiefly anxious to fulfil this desire; however, they both
seemed to be worthy his pursuit, and he studied every way to accomplish his ends. Treason, perfidy, murders, sacrilege, and robbery of every description, excited in him no remorse. He viewed them as a greedy conquerer. He trampled upon justice and humanity, regarding them only as the offsprings of weak and timid minds, which not being capable of great or elevated undertakings, are sensible to pity only because they feel how they themselves need support. He put himself at the head of a band of robbers, by whose aid he ravaged Arabia; the expectation of booty increased his banditti, and daily his dominions enlarged; his success spread terror around, and very soon he became master of an immense extent of country. Mecca, and all the Jewish Arabs, were the first who experienced the cruel progress of the impostor's faith. In vanquishing all Arabia, twice he besieged the city of his birth-place, some years elapsing between the attacks. But arms alone were not sufficient for the preservation of his power over a people whom he had subdued through fear. He felt the necessity of adding imposture to tyranny, in order to strengthen his empire, and he suggested a system of religion that assured to him the blind obedience of the people whom he had conquered. To accomplish his purpose, he employed an heretical Jacobite, a true Nestorian Monk, and a Jew, to assist him in writing his Koran, a most extraordinary composition, full of absurd and sublime ideas, mixed together without order or method. By this disorder and irregularity, he flattered himself the divinity of his mission would be established. The prophetic enthusiasm― the obscurity of his writings-their want of connexionthe miracles with which this extraordinary compilation abounds, produced astonishment in the vulgar, and contributes to excite belief in the imposition, and presently to a firm reliance that the impostor himself was a Prophet, sent from the Most High, to declare to man the true worship he owed the Deity. No sooner was the suppo