Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER II.

HIS RESIDENCE AT NEW-HARTFORD.

Mr. GRIFFIN was ordained and installed pastor of the congregational church at New-Hartford, June 4, 1795, having supplied them for some months in the capacity of a candidate. Almost immediately after he commenced his labors, there was an increased attention to religion among his people, and a revival of considerable power succeeded, which resulted in the addition of about fifty persons to the church.

On the 17th of May, 1796, he was married to FRANCES HUNTINGTON, daughter of the Rev. Doctor JOSEPH HUNTINGTON, of Coventry, and niece and adopted daughter of Governor SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, of Norwich, Conn. formerly President of Congress, and one of the Signers of the Declaration of American Independence. Doctor H. and Governor H, were brothers, and married sisters. Governor H. had no children; and Mrs. GRIFFIN'S mother dying when she was two years old, gave her and her brother SAMUEL (afterwards Governor of Ohio,) to her sister and her sister's husband the Governor, who brought them up as their own children, and made them their heirs.

In the year 1797 he commenced a regular journal of his christian experience, which he continued, not however without frequent and sometimes protracted interruptions, till the close of life. Under date of July 12th of that year, he writes thus:

This day ever memorable to my soul for the commencement of these memoirs, has been set apart as a day of secret prayer and fasting. It has pleased God, I hope, to return to me after a painful absence of several months, and after I had almost despaired of so great a blessing. May I be humbly thankful all my days that the Lord, as I hope, has come to look up and bring home his long lost wandering sheep. May the pains of absence teach me to wander no more. Alas, how have new relations, and the new cares of a family state, drawn ту mind away

from God. There are more dangers in every pleasing earthly scene than the inexperienced are aware of. Adversity, I find, is a much safer state than prosperity. May adversities uninterrupted be my lot, if a humble dependance on God and sweet communion with him can be enjoyed on no easier terms. Sure I am that the possession of the whole world for the same space of time could not produce so much happiness, as the absence of God for fourteen months past has produced misery. The conclusion is, that all the world cannot countervail the loss of God. I have now lived in God's world more than twenty-seven years. It is just about six years since, I hope, he effectually turned my attention to religion; and yet (with regret I say it) I have never kept any journal of God's dealings with me before now. By this neglect I believe I have lost much. May God enable me to be more faithful in future. I find none of my own exercises committed to writing, except a covenant which contains sundry resolutions, bearing date April 20th, 1793, with a space left to insert new ones; all which, with some small alterations, I will transcribe, and now solemnly renew in the presence of God.

RESOLVED, in the strength of Christ, to lay aside vain conversation, puerile behavior, excessive levity, pride of life, improper exertions to please the world, the lusts of the flesh, reflections on things unlawful to speak or act, impatience or discontent at the dispensations of providence, gloom and dejection contrary to the direction “Rejoice evermore," slander, flattery and deceit, self-sufficient airs, authoritative or dogmatic assertions of my own opinion, and every thing opposed to an humble deportment; petulance, harshness, and impatient expressions in my family or elsewhere; want of attention to please and to interchange civilities from indolence, pride and sourness under the garb of deadness to the world, careless disregard of the minute principles of prudence and correct behaviour; waste of time, and whatever is inconsistent with the character of a disciple and follower of Jesus,-a minister of the everlasting gospel, -a guide and example of souls, to whom those are committed for whom Christ died: remembering that the eyes of a censorious world and of a holy God are upon me, and that for every breach of this covenant I must give an account.

RESOLVED at the close of every day to repeat the above resolutions, and compare my conduct through the day therewith.

RESOLVED that it is best ordinarily to mingle more praises and thanksgivings with our devotions than is usually done.

RESOLVED generally to close evening devotions with fixed contemplations on the glory of God, of Christ, of Heaven, on the vanity of the world, &c.

RESOLVED to devote a portion of time on every Sabbath morning to contemplations on God and Christ, and Heaven, and divine love, and the great things commemorated by the day; on the solemnity of divine worship on the importance of the place which I am to fill in the course of the day; on the worth of souls, and the weight of the charge committed to me, &c.

RESOLVED to devote a portion of time every Sabbath evening, to examine into the manner in which the duties of the day have been performed, -to apply the preaching to myself, and to enter into a fixed, full self-examination.

RESOLVED to confine myself generally to practical books on the Sabbath, and when possible, avoid writing sermons on that day.

The experience of more than four years has convinced me that he that trusteth to his own heart is a fool.” When these resolutions were written, they assumed the air of assurance that they would be kept. But alas, I find I have more reason to be diffident of my own heart than I was sensible of at that time. I would now, with dependance on the strength of Christ alone, form some new resolutions.

RESOLVED to set apart, as often as is convenient, days for private prayer and fasting.

RESOLVED to spend as much time as possible in making religious visits to my people, especially to the sick and afflicted, and to spend as little time as possible in visits where religious conversation cannot be introduced, and to attend as many religious meetings as are convenient out of season.

RESOLVED to pay particular attention to the religious instruction of the children, and to take measures to catechise them.

RESOLVED to be much in prayer for my people, to set good examples before them, and not conduct so as to grieve the Spirit of God away from us.

RESOLVED, as a husband, to avoid all petulancy and pretensions to authority and superiority,—to maintain a manly tenderness,-to be much in religious conversation with my wife,—to seek to help her onward in the divine life,-to pray for her,--to avoid idolatrous affections, and endeavor to support her, by benevolent sympathy, under the unavoidable trials of life.

RESOLVED, as the head of a family, to avoid harshness and severity of expression or discipline, to mingle decision with tenderness in order to unite in the minds of the children respectful fear and affectionate confidence; to reprove in a way to convict, to talk frequently with them on religion, and to

pray for them.

RESOLVED to avoid a stoical severity in my deportment, and to win, by a kind, affable address, the confidence and friendship of those whom it is my duty to serve.

RESOLVED to keep up an epistolary correspondence with a number of pious faithful friends, and not forget them in my prayers.

RESOLVED to avoid intimacies with the wicked.

RESOLVED to retire to rest by nine, to arise (unless it becomes necessary to have different hours in the winter) by five; to devote to reading and transcribing from the Bible and to devotion all the time until eight; exercise until nine; study until twelve; rest until two; study until five; exercise, rest or visit, until night; necessary visits and company excepted.

Resolved to begin early in the week to write my sermons, and to endeavor to keep some sermons beforehand.

All which resolutions may God, in his boundless mercy, enable me to keep unto the end, unless he shall convince me of the propriety of making some alterations in them. Amen.

Sabbath, July 16. I find that one great cause of coldness and barrenness in religion is the indulgence of vain, worldly, romantic thoughts. Therefore,

RESOLVED to employ my mind, when not engaged on other necessary subjects, in profitable contemplations.

How much more knowledge might I store up by a due observance of this rule one year, than I have gained in all my life. May God enable me to keep this resolution, for without him I have learned that I can do nothing. I find that my spiritual enemies will never be overcome without a most diligent watch kept up against them, and without a life of prayer. I would, therefore, though my own weakness is evident, wish to RESOLVE evermore to watch and pray that I enter not into temptation."

Wednesday, July 26th. Last night a young man came to converse with me, who I never knew was serious, but who has at turns been anxious for himself these several years, and

« PreviousContinue »