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lication of his memoir, with some of his sermons annexed, those means will be sacredly applied to assist her in the education and happiness of those who have been deprived of a father's counsels, and a father's resources, for the performance of this parental obligation.
As the will of the deceased, alluding to the memoir of himself, which he had prepared, expressly provides that it be published" with such additions as may appear necessary to” the person selected to perform this trust; and as he says therein, “ I earnestly enjoin upon such person or persons, to say nothing of me by way of eulogy; but simply to state facts, and ascribe whatever success may have attended my ministry, to the power and grace of God," it will be the object of the compiler of the following pages to present whatever may be inserted, as far as consistent, in the words of the deceased: and also that the volume may contain as literal a memoir of him as possible, and thus avoid that objectionable feature to too many works of this nature, in which the author of the volume is prominently seen, instead of its subject.
GustavUS FELLOWES Davis was born in the city of Boston, on the 17th day of March, A. D. 1797.—The account of himself from his birth up to the period when he received the approbation of the Church, of which he was then a member, to preach the gospel, is thus written by himself.
"My parents were Mr. Isaac and Mrs. Elizabeth Davis. When I was five or six years of age my father died, * and my mother removed to Roxbury, an adjoining town, where, at the expiration of one year, she united in marriage with Mr. Adin Ayres. By him I was sent to Dedham, and placed under the instruction of Rev. Mr. White, who taught a private school in his own house. I boarded in the family of Major Reuben Newhall, and with gratitude acknowledge, that I was treated by them with the utmost kindness.
* At Hartford, Connecticut, very suddenly.
How long I continued boarding at Maj. Newhall's, and attending the school of Mr. White, I do not remember; but I was at length called home, and attended school in Roxbury, under the tuition of Dr. James Prentiss.
I now began to think on the subject of religion; but my ideas were vague and preposterous. After I was eight years old, my parents having owned the covenant, or come under what was called the half-way covenant, the Rev. Dr. Porter, minister of the First Congregational Society, sprinkled (but said he baptized) me. My mother had learned me to say my prayers ;
I abstained from profaneness and many other vices, exhorted my companions and playmates to do the same, and began to think myself a very pious little boy. So I understood the minister considered me; and I really had it in contemplation to request of him permission to offer the first prayer on the Sabbath, in the morning service. I started once or twice for that purpose, but my heart failed me when I reached the gate to his house.
About this time my grandmother Davis died, and I was dressed in a full suit of black. Looking, as I thought, like a minister, I began to imitate him, and to think that at some future period I should in reality be
one. When my parents had left me to take charge of the
younger children during the hours of public worshp, I frequently went through the usual formalities of reading, singing, praying, and preaching; and was much pleased with my supposed goodness. Still as I before observed, my religious views were very absurd. For instance, my exposition of our Saviour's declaration to Nicodemus, “ Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," was, except a man die, and be born into another world, he cannot enter heaven. I did not duly consider the Saviour's own exposition : " That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit.” O how certain it is, that “ The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
When I was between nine and ten years old, I removed with my parents to Jonesborough, then called Chandler's River, or Plantation No. 22, in Maine.
Here we continued four years. During this time I did not go to school one day, nor do I recollect to have heard more than two or three sermons. There were no schools within three or four miles of our house, and no stated meeting for public worship within nine miles ! When my grandfather Ayres, who was found dead in the pasture, was buried, no prayer was made at his funeral !! The neighbors sang Old Hundred, and conveyed him to the grave.
Our dwelling-house having been consumed by fire, after a temporary residence in the store, (which was fitted up for that purpose, we removed from Jonesborough to Addison, where we continued about two years, and had a few more privileges. We had several neighbors within a mile ;* I had opportunity to attend school six weeks, and occasionally (perhaps once in six months) heard a sermon from some Missionary, or travelling preacher.
About this time I endeavoured to believe and advocate universal salvation. The passage on which I principally relied as affording proof of this doctrine, is 1 Cor. xv. 22, “ For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” That which most obviously refers to the death and resurrection of the body, I applied to the spiritual death, and eternal life of the soul. I have often wondered how the words which immediately follow, could have failed to convince me of my mistake, “But every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming." As the legitimate consequences of this doctrine. I associated with wicked youths and became more and more hardened in heart, and contracted vicious habits in life. Indeed for several months, my conduct was absolutely immoral.
In the summer before I was sixteen, we removed from Addison to Boston, and having spent a few weeks in preparation, again removed to New Braintree, Massachusetts.
Here my mind became more deeply impressed, under the evangelical preaching of Rev. Mr. Fisk, with the importance of religion ; but still I conceived that I must“ do and live." Accordingly I abstained from the
* In Jonesborough, the nearest settler lived more than two miles from our house, and to him there was no public road. If it be asked, how we could have customers at the store, I reply, they came on the river in boats.
grosser vices of youth, prayed night and morning, and at evening read a chapter in the Bible. If at any time I had forgotten to read my chapter, until I had retired to bed, I arose and performed this service, because I çould not quietly sleep without having done it. The imperfection of my services however often spoiled my peace. For instance I prayed in the morning to be kept from the vanities of the world, then went to school, and, being of an exceedingly volatile spirit, indulged in excessive lightness, sometimes in roguery; at night I mourned, and asked forgiveness.;; but the next day pursyed the same course. Again, if any one came within hearing of my prayers, I had not moral courage to go on. These defects, and some others, rendered my righteousness unsatisfactory to myself, and sometimes filled my mind with anxiety.
Having reached the sixteenth year of my age, I thought it would be better for me to learn a trade than to continue at home; and having obtained the consent of my parents, I went to Worcester, and began the business of chaise-making with Mr. Benjamin Goddard.
Baptişt preaching had just been introduced into this town, and I had the curiosity to go to the Hall and hear the Rev. William Bently preach a lecture. This sermon had a more powerful effect on my mind than any I had ever heard. I went home burdened, and from this time began in good earnest to cry for mercy. . Still I endeavoured to rest a little on my self-righteousness, especially my negative holiness. This was the last thing, though I had so often seen its inefficacy, that I was brought to give up. One day I mentioned to a Baptist Church member, who wrought at the same occupation with me and with whom I was accustomed