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M E MO I R
IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND.
DR. SAMUEL HOPkins, whose death was mentioned in a former Magazine,
was one of the most celebrated Divines which perhaps America has ever produced ; we feel happy, therefore, in being able to lay before our readers an ample and authentic account of him, for the greater part in his own words, though necessarily abridged from the original, of which, we believe, very few copies have reached this side of the Atlantic. Some Sketches of my past Life, which I am induced to recollect, and commit to writing for my own benifit, and for the grati. fication, and, perhaps, advantage of those of my particular friends and relatives who shall survire me ; being now in the setenty-fifth year of my age.
I was born at Waterbury, in Connecticut, on the Lord's Day, September 17th, 1721. My parents were professors of religion, and I descended from Christian ancestors, both by my father and mother, as far back as I have been able to trace my descent. I conclude, I and my ancestors descended from those called Puritans, in the days of Queen Elizabeth, above two hundred years ago, and have continued to bear that denomination since, and were the first settlers of New England. This I have considered to be the most honourable and happy descent, to spring from ancestors who have been professors of religion, with. out interruption, during the course of two hundred years and more; and many of them, if not all, real Christians. .
As soon as I was capable of understanding and attending to it, I was told that my father, when he was informed that he had a son born to him, said, if the child should live, he would give him a public education, that he might be a minister, or a Sabbath-Day man, alluding to my being born on the Sabbath.
I have considered it as a great favour of God that I was born and educated in a religious family, and among a people, in a XIV.
country town, where a regard to religion and morality was com. non and prevalent; and the education of children and youth was generally practistul in such a degret', that young people were generally orderly in their behaviour, and abstained from those open vices, which were then too common in sca-port and populous places. I do not recollect that I ever heard a profane word from the cliedren and youth with whom I was conversant, while I lived with my parents, which was till I was in my fifteenth year.'
I froin my youth was not volatile and wild, but rather of a sober and steady make, and was not guilty of external irregularities, such as disobedience to parents, profanation of the Sabbath, lying, foolish jesting, quarrellins, passion and anger, or rash and profane words; and was disposed to be diligent and faithful in whatever business I was employed; so that, as I advanced in age, I gained the notice, estrem, and respect of the neighbourhood. I was, in gmeral, greatly careless about all invisible ihings; but was often plotting for something, which then appearod to me good and great in this life; and often indulged and pleased myself with vain and foolish imaginations of what I should be and do in this world. And sometimes, though rarely, had some serious thoughts of God, and about my soul and a future world of happiness and misery. And I once had a dream of the fature judgment, in some measure agreeable to the representation made of it by Christ himself in the xxvth chapter of Matthew. I dreamed that I and a brother of mine, who was about two years younger than me, were sentenced to cverlasting misery, and driven down to llell, with the rest of the wicked. This greatly impressed my mind for a long time after. And the impression then made, has not wholly worn off to this day
As my father was a farmer, I was employed in labouring on the farm; with which business I was pleased, and made pro. ficiency in it. I was frequently told, and often thought of the declaration of my father on the day on which I was born, that he would bring me up at college,' as the phrase then was, for a public education. But I felt no particular inclination to this; but was rather inclined to labour on a farm : but what always turned my mind agaiust going to college, was the years of absence from my parents and their family, which were involved in it. I · But in the winter after I was fourteen years old, I retired much to a clamber in my father's house, and opent considerable time in reading, but more especially the Bible; and began to ter? more inclination to learning, and less to working on a farm. When m v tither perceived this, he told me, if I was inclined' to go to kearning, he would pnt me to a place where I might be fitted for the college. To which I readily conseutel. Accordingly I was pot noder ille care kod tuition of the Rev. Jolin Graham, of Woodbury, his meeting-liouse being about ten miles from my bainer's house. Here I was fitted for college, with a muinber of i
others; and was examined and admitted a member of college in September, 1737, being sixwen years old on the sevcuteenth cay of that month.
While a member of the college, I believe, I had the character of a sober, studious youth, and of a better scholar than the bigger half of the members of that society; and had the approbation of the governors of the college. In the eighte nth or nineteenth year of my age, I cannot now certainly determine which, I made a profession of religion, and joined the cliurch to which my parents belongerl, in Waterbury. I was serious, and was thought to be a pious youth; and I had this thouglat and hope of myself. I was constant in reading the Bible, and in attending on public and secret religion. And sometimes at night, in my retirement and devotion, when I thought of confessing the sins I had been guilty of that day, and asking pardon, I could not recollect that I had committed one sin that day.
While I was in this state and situation of mind, Mr. White field came into New England; and after he had preached ja Boston, and other places, came to New Haven, in bis way to Vew York. The attention of people in general was greatly awakened upon hearing the fame of him, that there was a remarkable preacher froin England travelling through the country, The people flocked to hear him when lie came to New Haven. Some travelled twenty iniles out of the country to hear him. The assemblies were crowded and remarkably attentive; and people appeared generally to approve; and their conversation turned chiefly about him and his preaching. Some disapproved of several things which he advanced; which occasioned consider, able disputé. I heard him when he preached in public, and when he expounded in private in the evening; and bighly approved of him; and was somewhat impressed by what he said in public and in private ; but did not in the least call in question my own good estate, that I remember. He preached against mixed dancing and frolicing of males and females together: which practice was then very common in New England. This offended some, especially young people. But I remember I justified him in this in my own mind, and in conversation with those who were disposed to con lemn him. This was in October, 1740, when I had entered on my last year in college.
During that tall and the succeeding winter, there appeared to be much more attention to religion than before, among peo, le in general: and a number of ministers in New England wen aroused, and preached ottener than they had done, and appeared much more engaged and zealous than before; and several came to New llaven and preached in a manner so different from wha! had been usual, that people in general appeared to be, in soms measure, awakened, and more thoughiful on religious subjects than they had beep before.
ate; but hiemember. cutes togethe
Early in the next spring (in March) Mr. Gilbert Tennent, who had been itinerating in New England, in Boston, and other places in the winter, came to New Hlaven from Boston, in his way to the southward. He was a plain and rousing preacher ; and a remarkable awakening had been produced by his preaching, and many hopeful conversions, had taken place under his preaching, where he bad itinerated. On his coming to New Haven, the people appeared to be almost universally aroused, and flocked to hear him. He stayed about a week in New Haven, and preached seventeen sermons, most of them in the mecting-house; two or three in the college hall. His preaching appeared to be attended with a remarkable and mighty power. Thousands, I believe, were awakened ; and many cried out with distress and horror of mind, under a conviction of God's anger, and their constant exposedness to fall into endless destruction. The members of college appeared to be universally awakened. A small number thought themselves Christaius before they came to college, and I believe they were so. Several of these appeared with an extraordinary zeal and concern for the members of college; and without paying regard to the distinctions of higher and lower classes, they visited every room in college, and discoursed freely and with the greatest plainness with each other; especially such whom they considered to be in an unconverted state, and who acknowledged themselves to be so, setting before them their danger, and exhorting them to repent, &c. The consciences of all seemed to be so far awakened, as to lead them to hang their heads, and to pay at least a silent regard to their reprovers. The persons above mentioned, who thus distinguished themselves in zeal, were, two of them my class-mates, Buell and Youngs. The other was David Brainard. I attended to the whole, and approved of all they said and did; but retained my hope that I was a Christian, and had little or no conversation with these zealous men. At length Brainerd came into my room, I being there alone. I was not at a loss with respect to his design in making me a visit then ; determining that he came to satisfy himself whether I were a Christian or not; and I resolved to keep him in the dark, and, if possible, prevent his getting any knowledge of my state or religion. ! was, therefore, wholly on the reserve, being conscious that I had po religious experiences or affections to tell of. In his conversation with me, he observed that he believed it impossible for a person to be converted, and to be a real Christian, without feeling his heart sometimes, at least, sensibly and greatly affected with the character of Christ, and strongly going out after him; or to that purpose. This observation struck conviction into my mind. I verily believed it to be true, and at the same time, was conscious that I had never experienced any thing of this kind ; and that I was a stranger to the exercise of real Christianity. I then determined that no one should know from me, or any other way, if I could
anheir danger, a' to be so fareast a sile