Page images

With blended emotions, of gratitude, respect, and attachmént, believe me to be, Rev. and Dear Sir, very cordially, and faithfully, and obediently, yours,




It has been the design of the preceding chapters to exhibit Doctor GRIFFIN's general course through life, in connexion with such extracts from his private journal as seemed best adapted to illustrate the various stages of his christian experience. It only remains to present some of the more prominent features of his character a little in detail, and to attempt some general estimate of the extended and diversified influence of his life.

Doctor GRIFFIN was remarkable in his physical conformation. He measured six feet and nearly three inches from the ground, and his frame was every way well proportioned. His gigantic and noble form attracted the attention of strangers as he walked the streets; and when he rose in a great assembly, he towered so much above the rest as to throw around men of ordinary stature an air of insignificance. His countenance was peculiar—expressive both of strong thought and strong feeling ; and those who knew him will recognize a faithful delineation, both of his features and his expression, in the engraved portrait prefixed to this memoir. Though he was somewhat feeble in his early childhood, he ultimately developed a fine constitution, and during much the greater part of his life possessed an uncommon share of physical vigor. It may also be mentioned in this connexion, that he was remarkable, even to the last day of his life, for his habits of personal neatness. 66 The last sun that shone upon him,” says a member of his family, “found him brushing his teeth as thoroughly as he ever did, and his regular shaving and change of apparel were never intermitted.”

It is hardly necessary to say that Doctor GRIFFIN was quite as extraordinary in his intellectual character as in his physical powers and proportions. It would perhaps be difficult to say whether the imagination or the reasoning faculty constituted the predominating feature of his mind; for he was one of the rare instances of pre-eminence in both. He seemed equally at home in the heights and in the depths : if his mind was prolific of the most magnificent and burning conceptions, it was also capable of pushing the most abstract subject of inquiry to the farthest limit of human investigation. But while his imagination soared high, and his reasoning faculty penetrated far, neither the one nor the other was particularly rapid in its operations. The movements of his mind all partook more of the majesty of the thunder-storm than the impetuosity of the whirlwind.

His intellectual habits were substantially those of every thoroughly disciplined mind. He had no time to devote to useless employments, and his faculties never became rusty from inaction. A domestic in his family testifies that she never entered his room without finding him engaged in writing, reading, or prayer. He was also in all things, the smallest as well as the greatest, remarkably attentive to system; and he was never satisfied unless every thing around him occupied its appropriate place, and every thing devolving upon him was done at the proper time. And to these qualities may be added a spirit of uncommon perseverance; a fixed purpose to do well whatever he undertook ; to get to the bottom of every subject which he attempted to investigate. During the last year of his life he copied out a little book of hymns, as correctly as if they had been designed for the press; and within a sabbath or two previous to his death, as he was reading some missionary journal, he requested his daughter to hand him his atlas that he might find certain places mentioned in it, and he bent over the map with untiring interest until he had traced the whole course.

Dr. GRIFFIN's dispositions and feelings were so far moulded by the influence of religion, that it was not easy always to distinguish between the man and the christian ;-between the elements of nature and the graces of the Spirit. There was, however, a tenderness and generosity and magnanimity about him, which every one felt to be instinctive. He was also naturally of a social turn, and accommodated himself with great felicity to persons of different ages and capacities. . In almost every circle into which he was thrown, he was sure to lead the conversation ; and yet not in

VOL. 1.


a way that seemed officious or obtrusive, but because he was put forward by the united consent of those who felt his superiority.

It would appear from the journal that he kept of his private religious exercises, that the leading element of his christian character was a deep sense of his own corruptions and of his entire dependance on the sovereign grace of God in Christ; and hence he was always peculiarly jealous for the divine glory :-always ready to buckle on his armor for conflict when he saw any movements in the theological world, which looked hostile to the sovereignty of God or the dignity of his Son. In the early part of his christian course, his mind seems to have been occupied more with the severer truths of God's word, especially the nature and obligations of his law; but in his later days he was much more disposed to dwell



grace and glory of the gospel—the fulness of its provisions and the freeness of its offers; and hence his piety, as he advanced toward the end of his course, became increasingly cheerful and attractive. Those who had the opportunity of enjoying his society in the last months of his life, felt that his eye was turned directly and habitually upon the sun of Righteousness; and that every desire of his heart was swallowed


in this—that God's will might be done, and God's name glorified.

Doctor GRIFFIN was remarkable for his strict adherence to truth. He had no sympathy with those lax notions on this subject which have been so lamentably common in these later years, among many

« PreviousContinue »