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have brought us bither, to mourn over our common bereavement this day. What, indeed, are most of the preceding delineations, but a biographical sketch of our departed friend? Who that was intimately acquainted with him, can doubt for a moment, that, like Joseph of Arimathea, Nathaniel Smith of Sunderland, was a good man and a just.
The beaten path of funeral panegyric, would lead me first, and chiefly, to speak of his birth place and respectable parentage-of the amiable boy and sober youth -of his social temper and domestic virtues—of the warmth of his friendship, the soundness of his judgment and the uprightness of all his dealings.
I might likewise dwell upon all those traits of character, by which he earned public confidence, and extol the enlightened practical wisdom and unbending fidelity, with which he discharged every public trust in the gift of the town, in the magistracy of the county, and in the General Court of the Commonwealth.
But I pass to worthier, more sacred reccollections. Mine be the delightful task, of paying a hasty tribute, (for I can do no more,) to the memory of Nathaniel Smith, as an enlightened, warm-hearted, benevolent, and consistent christian. As far as human judgment can decide, in such a case, he was a good man, in the most comprehensive sense of the term. That noble and venerable form, was animated by a warm heart and A reference to the most unquestionable testimonials would show, that he began early to learn the divine art of living for the glory of God, and the good of his fellow
He had been a member of the church of Christ, just forty six years on the day of his death; and with him a profession was not, as it is with too many, a mere
hadge of discipleship, to be worn on sacramental occasions, and then laid aside; but a visible symbol of christian character, wrought into the very texture of his every day example. With him religion was a principle of love and obedience, rather than a set of notions. The life of it was benevolent action. He had no communion of spirit with those men of wealth, in the church, who forget that they are stewards of the Lord's property ; and he could not comprehend the reasoning by which so many persuade themselves, that it will be soon enough to part with it for charitable purposes, when they can keep it no longer. The idea of appearing well in the Probate Office, seems never to have entered his mind. . Nathaniel Smith would as soon have thought of bequeathing his granary to a starving family, not to be given them till twenty years after his death, as of transferring his most important benefactions to his legal administrators. He wanted to see as much good as possible, done with his property, in his own life-time. He was the poor man's treasurer, the widow's friend, and a father to the fatherless.' As he loved the gates of Zion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob, so his free will-offerings greatly abounded for the support of the gospel, in this favored place of his nativity. He was not in word only, but in deed and in truth, the friend of education upon the most elevated christian principles. Considering that he belonged to a former age, and was not himself a liberally educated man, the interest which he felt in our higher seminaries of learning, was very remarkable. He rejoiced, exceedingly, in the rise and progress of all the great benevolent institutions of the day, and he contributed to sustain them all, with a liberality, which fully attested a growing interest in the salvation of the world.
Shall I attempt minutely to trace the foot-steps of our departed friend, along the paths in which he delighted to follow Him, who went about doing good ?' How many of those foot-steps were purposely so directed as to have no trace behind; and how many more have long been concealed by the luxuriant springing up of the charities, which were sown by his bountiful hand. Shall I then make out an estimate, of the various sums which he contributed for benevolent and religious purposes, with as much accuracy as the circumstances of the case will permit? I cannot allow myself to attempt it; for I am sure that could he speak from his last resting place, he would forbid it.
But some things were so prominent in his radiant course, and so evincive of the grace of God which was in him,' that I feel constrained to allude to them with a little more particularity. Who was one of the most distinguished founders and devoted friends of Amherst College? Who was the largest contributor to that charity fund, which was the infant soul of the institution—which has already aided so many young men in preparing for the ministry; and which, as we believe, will in the progress
and generations, help to confer incomparably greater blessings upon the church and the world? Who gave his most anxious thoughts, bis time, his prayers to the Seminary, when it was weak and ready to die, and many hearts failed? Whose mild and beaming countenance so often cheered us in our greatest despondency ? Whose name stands first on that subscription, which, when this child was scourged and driven away by its stepmother for daring to ask for bread, ---whose name, I say, stands first on that subscription which was to settle the question of life, or death, in a few months. To whom,
in one word, is Amherst College so much indebted for pecuniary aid, as to Nathaniel Smith ? *
And will you permit me, my friends to come still nearer to your own mournful and grateful recollections ? 'When
your beloved pastor was taken from you, and this pulpit was hung in sackloth, and your hearts trembled for the ark of the Lord in this place, who was it that thought of you and your children upon his bed, and voluntarily pledged his thousands to help support an able and evangelical ministry here forever? Of whose liberality are you reminded, as often as the sacramental table is spread in this house of prayer? His venerated name is safely embalmed in the memories of this whole church and congregation. +
* As nearly as can be ascertained, Mr. Smith, whose property it is presumed, never exceeded $30,000 at any one time, had contributed about $8,000 to the College before his death, and his will contained a legacy of $4,000 more! But as I have intimated above, it is not these princely donatiors and more than princely they were, considering his circumstances) it is not these, merely, or chiefly, which will endear his memory to the wise and good. It is the evidence that his whole soul was embarked in the enterprise of building up a new College, as a christian enterprise: and that he was actuated by a supreme regard to the glory of God in the salvation of a dying world. Never shall I forget, how from time to time, when all hearts were faint, I was prompted almost instinctively to look to him, as under Providence the father of the institution,-how affectionately he always received me -how patiently he listened to my statements-how unshaken was his confidence, that the Lord would provide,' or how much encouraged and refreshed I returned to my work, after uniting with him and his eminently pious wife, in commending all the great interests of education and religion to 'Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.'
+ Soon after the death of the Rev. James Taylor, i and in view of the feeble and desponding state of his bereaved people, Mr. Smith gave the society $3,000 to help constitute a permanent fund, for the support of the Gospel in Sunderland.
I hope I shall be excused if I add here, that many years ago, he gave
Now while we admit the possibility, that a man might do all this to gain the praise of men, or to purchase a reversion in the kingdom of heaven, the fair conclusion certainly is, that he was actuated by benevolent motives, unless the contrary appears, from facts, or circumstances of the most unequivocal character. Were we to see a hundred streams of sweet ard pure water issuing from a common fountain, we should infer, as a matter of course, that the fountain itself was pure. And we'always pronounce that tree to be good, which brings forth good fruit.
That Mr. Smith did not act a borrowed part in his abounding charities--that he neither courted human applause, nor placed the least reliance upon 'what he gave, for justification before God, we have the most satisfactory evidence which a long life of humble and consistent piety can furnish. I have rarely known a man estimate his best services so low, as he did. He uniformly spoke of himself, as an unprofitable servant. • He was jealous over himself with a godly jealousy.' 'I am afraid, he would often say, 'I am afraid that my motives are not right, for I find that my heart is amazingly deceitful. And yet, it seems to me, that if I take pleasure in any thing, it is in trying to promote the cause of Christ at home and abroad.' So great was his self-distrust, that I do not think he had so much religious enjoyment, as many other christians. He was found oftener in the
$500 at one time to the Hampshire Education Society—that at a still. earlier period he was an active director of the Hampshire Missionary Society, and contributed as largely as any other person to its fundsthat he made himself and his wife life members of most of the charitable societies, which sprang up so rapidly in the latter part of his life; and that at his death he bequeathed $500 to the A. Bible Society, $500 to the A. B. C. F. M. $ 400 to the A. E. S. $300 to the Domestic M. S. and $300 to the Tract Society.