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relieved before I went after my family the next morning. And so it was from the first to the last; she would be better, and I could inform her mother so; and no sooner had my letter gone than she would be taken worse. Her mother was mercifully saved from a knowledge of her danger till she reached Williamstown, and I sustained the burden alone. But to return.
On sabbath morning, November 4th, while I sat by Ellen's bed, more anxious for her than for Louisa, I received a letter from Mrs. Griffin, begging me to come down immediately ere my child died, and to bring Ellen with me, and leave her at Dr. Coe's. As I arose from my chair, I said, unconsciously, "The Lord reigneth;" but recollecting myself, and fearing to alarm Ellen, I for the first and last time deceived my child. I assumed a smile, and kissed her, and left the room. I determined to stay and ask the prayers of the church, and go the next day. The Rev. Mr. Gridley said he could not bear to have me go alone and offered to accompany me. At Wadsworth's, where we dined, while I was pacing alone before the door, reviewing all my feelings about my poor child before birth and at the time of her birth, and my manner of praying for her, and bringing her up, I said, "And after all is she to die in this state of insensibility? Is this our covenant God?" Something seemed to say, "No," in a manner which soothed my anguish. About eight miles this side of Troy, a messenger met us, to hasten us to see her die. I remember saying to Mr. Gridley at that moment, "I can bear all this and a great deal more; but O that poor mother, and that immortal soul!" I spent the eight miles in praying for those two objects, and in language sometimes audible to my sympathizing friend. Mrs. Griffin had no knowledge that Ellen was sick, and I knew, was confidently expecting her. I had to bear those tidings to the afflicted mother. But God had mercifully ordered it so that I could, with entire sincerity, say, "I hope she is better." Mrs. G. met me on the stairs,-"Where is Ellen?" anxiously. "Why, my dear, she did not come "-carelessly. "Is she sick?"-alarmed. "Why, my dear, she hasn't been very well." "Is she dangerous?"-greatly agitated.
have been somewhat concerned about her, but we hope she is better." Mrs. G. disappeared. I went into the room where my poor child lay. I found her insensible-deaf, dumb, and perhaps blind. By shaking her violently I could make her open her eyes; but they would fall together as soon. I wished to pray with her without delay; and when I sought for Mrs. G. I found her in a dark room, leaning on Mrs. E. crying, ready to break her heart, and saying, "God is going to take away both of my children." That night I did not shed a tear, though apt to weep. I got the friends assembled in the room, and then stretched out my hands over the bed and commended to God our dying child. When I opened my eyes, I found Mrs. G. bent down under her sorrows. I therefore lifted my voice aloud and said, "What does it signify for God to reign if he may not govern the world? What does it signify for us to proclaim our joy that he governs, if we will not allow him to take from us our Josephs and our Benjamins as he pleases?" The words, I saw, went through the poor mother's heart, and from that moment she lifted up her head. She went to bed that night (she told me afterwards) under a great weight, but she awoke in the night, and all her burden was gone.
A change had taken place in the sick child that morning, between break of day and sunrise, which indicated that a decisive change would probably take place the next morning at the same hour, and many chances to one it would be for death. But I found I could not set up the interest of my child against the will of God. I felt a strange composure, for which I reproached myself. I said to a friend repeatedly that I appeared to myself to be stupid. I said to myself, "Do you love your child as you love yourself? Would you feel so little concern were there fifty chances to one that you would be beyond the reach of hope to-morrow?" And yet I could not feel that misery and tumult which the awful event, separated from the will of God, seemed calculated to produce. In the course of the evening Dr. B. told me that if she survived the next day she would be liable to be taken off every half hour for three
weeks. "Well then," said I to myself, "it is in vain to hope. I might as well hope if she had to run the gauntlet between a hundred soldiers, with all their guns pointed at her heart." At that moment it was powerfully impressed on my mind, "If it is the will of the Lord Jesus that she shall die, she will die; and if it is his will that she shall live, she will live, though she were to run the gauntlet through the world." That thought composed me, and I went to bed and slept quietly till morning. But I was up with the day. And instead of the chill of death coming upon her, she lifted up her eyes and knew me. Though I could not weep that night, the next day I could weep profusely, under a sense of the goodness of God.
On the 14th of November I was inaugurated to the office of president of Williams College.
On Tuesday, Dec. 11th, I went after my family, and brought them home on Thursday, the 13th, seven weeks wanting a day or two from the time we landed at Troy. The same day, Ellen was brought home; and a joyful meeting it was. I had longed that the family, if ever permitted to meet again, might live only to Him who had preserved them. But alas how have we forgotten his mercies! I am utterly confounded when I think of this.
This great mercy as relates to Louisa, and especially the scene at Wadsworth's, never appeared to me so affecting as since her hopeful conversion.
TO HIS DAUGHTER FRANCES LOUISA, WHILE AT SCHOOL AT SANDWICH.
Williamstown, March 17th, 1823.
As the church here have set apart to-morrow as a day of fasting and prayer for the effusions of the Spirit, and I expect to be with them, I shall have no time to write after this evening. The revival in college is at an awful stand. No instance of hopeful conversion for near a fortnight. In that time there has been much labor, and not a few impressions made of a weaker sort, which seem to come and go, in a way Vol. I.
to hold us between hope and fear, and I should be tempted to be discouraged were it not for the increasing earnestness, as I hope, of christians, both in the college and in the town. Amidst all my other anxieties, my poor children that have no God, lie daily upon my heart :-my poor children who have souls as valuable as they appeared to me when I was going to Troy in November, 1821, and when I bent over my insensible and apparently dying child, that evening. Oh Louisa, you have scenes yet to enter upon which no language can describe, and no mortal heart can conceive. My dear child, prepare, I beseech you, to meet your God. Oh let not your parents find you missing when they search for you among the redeemed host at the last day.
I am sorry that you said, or ever heard any thing about; because I am unwilling that a grudge should lie in your heart, or in mine, against a human being. I hope you will neither hear nor communicate any thing more against a single person on earth.
Your affectionate father,
E. D. GRIFFIN.
TO HIS DAUGHTER ELLEN MARIA.
Williams College, June 12th, 1824.
I had, my dear child, a distressing dream about
you last night. I dreamed that I was the presiding magistrate in a court which had condemned you to die for murder, and to be executed the next day. You besought for your life; but I told you that I could not help you, and entreated you to prepare to die. And when you appeared disposed to consume the few precious moments in prayer to me, I told you that you must not say another word about it. You obeyed, and was silent, and I awoke. And when I awoke, the thought of my poor suppliant child, condemned to death, and pleading with me for her life; and the thought that I might one day see you pleading for an eternal life, when I could not afford you relief; affected me so much that I could not help praying for you a considerable time, till I fell asleep again. Oh my dear child,
remember that no modification of the social affections, and of the outward deportment, will answer without a radical change of heart; that no habits of respect for religion will avail without a deep conviction of sin and ruin; that without thus feeling yourself sick unto death, you never will apply to the great physician, but will rather become the more self-righteous for your outward regularity; and that your prayers will not be heard unless they proceed from the very heart, but may, by sinking into a cold unmeaning form, become mockery, and "an abomination to the Lord." I beseech you, my darling child, to read over this paragraph morning and evening before you offer your prayers, for the rest of the winter, when something special does not prevent.
I have only time to add that, with da ly prayers for your sanctification, I am, your affectionate father,
E. D. GRIFFIN.
TO THE REV. M. TUCKER, OF NORTHAMPTON.
REV. AND DEAR SIR,
Your favor of June 28th, with the accompanying sermon, was duly received; and I sincerely thank you for both. I read the sermon immediately and with much interest. My time is so occupied at present in various ways that I shall not be able to pay that attention to the subjects of your letter which I could desire. You gratify me by your confidence, but you have laid out a hard piece of work for me; I mean difficult of accomplishment.
It does appear to me that the most important object of all, and which ought for the present to engross your whole attention, is to bring that immense congregation, by your preaching, prayers, and pastoral visits under the influence—the dissolving and transforming influence of powerful and repeated revivals of religion. As to scholarship, if it has not been attained before one has reached the age of thirty, and has entered on such a prodigious field of labor, it cannot be attained to any very high degree in connexion with such a conscience