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I have also many other things in hand, in fome of which I have made great progrefs, which I will not trouble you with an account of. Some of these things, if Divine Providence favour, I fhould be willing to attempt a publication of. So far as I myself am able to judge of what taleuts I have, for benefiting my fellow-creatures by word, I think I can write better than I can speak.
My heart is so much in these studies, that I cannot find it in my heart. to be willing to put myself into an incapacity to purfue them any more in the future part of my life, to fuch a degree as I muft, if I undertake to go through the fame courfe of employ, in the office of a prefident, that Mr Burr did, inftructing in all the languages, and taking the whole care of the inftruction of one of the claffes in all parts of learning, befides his other labours. If I fhould fee light to determine me to accept the place offered me, I fhould be willing to take upon me the work of a prefident, fo far as it confifts in the general infpection of the whole fociety, and. fubfervient to the fchool, as to their order and methods of study and inftruction, affifting myself in immediate inftruction in the arts and fciences, (as difcretion fhould direct and occafion serve, and the state of things require.) efpecially the fenior clafs; and added to all, fhould be willing to do the whole work of a profeffor of divinity, in public and private lectures, propofing questions to be answered, and fome to be difcuffed in writing and free converfation, in meetings of graduates and others, appointed in proper seasons for these ends. It would be now out of my way to spend time, in a conftant teaching of the languages, unless it be the Hebrew tongue, which I fhould be willing to improve myself in, by inftructing others.
On the whole, I am much at a lofs, with refpect to the way of my duty in this important affair: I am in doubt, whether, if I fhould engage in it, I fhould not do what both you and I would be forry for afterwards. Nevertheless, I think the greatnefs of the affair, and the regard due to fo worthy and venerable a body, as that of the truftees of Naffau Hall, requires my taking the matter into ferious confideration: and unless you fhould appear to be difcouraged by the things which I have now reprefented, as to any further expectation from me, fhail proceed to ask advice, of fuch as I efteem moft wife, friendly, and faithful: if after the mind of the commiffioners in Bofton is known, it appears, that they confent to leave me at liberty, with respect to the businefs they have employed me in here."
In this fufpence,he determined to ask the advice of a number of gentlemen in the miniftry, on whofe judgment and friendship he could rely, and to act accordingly, Who upon his, and his people's defire, met at Stockbridge, Jan. 4. 1758. And having heard Mr Edwards's reprefentation of the matter, and what his people had to fay by way of objection against his re
moval, determined it was his duty to accept of the invitation to the prefidency of the college.
When they publifhed their judgment and advice to Mr Edwards and his people, he appeared uncommonly moved and affected with it, and fell into tears on the occafion, which was very unufual for him in the prefence of others; and foon after faid to the gentlemen, who had given their advice, that it was matter of wonder to him, that they could fo eafily, as they appeared to do, get over the objections he had made against his removal, to be the head of a college, which appeared great and weighty to him. But as he thought it his duty to be directed by their advice, he fhould now endeavour cheerfully to undertake it, believing he was in the way of his duty.
Accordingly, having had, by the application of the trustees of the college, the confent of the commiffioners to refign their miffion, he girded up his loins, and fet off from Stockbridge for Princetown in January. He left his family at Stockbridge, not to be removed till fpring. He had two daughters at Princetown, Mrs Burr, the widow of the late Prefident Burr, and his oldest daughter that was unmarried.
His arrival at Princetown was to the great fatisfaction and joy of the college. And indeed all the greateft friends to the college, and to the intereft of religion, were highly satisfied and pleafed with the appointment of Mr Edwards to the prefidency of that college, and had their hopes and expectations greatly raised hereby. And his correfpondents, and friends, and well-wishers to the college in Scotland, greatly approved of it.
The corporation met as foon as could be with conveniency, after his arrival iu the college, when he was by them fixed in the prefident's chair.
While at Princetown, before his ficknefs, he preached in the college-hall Sabbath after Sabbath, to the great acceptance of the hearers; but did nothing as prefident, unless it was to give out fome queftions in divinity to the fenior clafs, to be anfwered before him; each one
having opportunity to ftudy and write what he thought proper upon them. When they came together to anfwer them, they found fo much entertainment and profit by it, efpecially by the light and inftruction Mr Edwards communicated in what he faid upon the queftions, when they had delivered what they had to say, that they fpoke of it with the greateft fatisfaction and wonder.
During this time, Mr Edwards feemed to enjoy an uncommon degree of the prefence of God. He told his daughters he had had great exercife, concern, and fear, relative to his engaging in that business; but fince it now appeared, fo far as he could fee, that he was called of God to that place and work, he did cheerfully devote himself to it, leaving himfelf and the event with God, to order what feemed to him good.
The small pox had now become very common in the country, and was then at Princetown, and likely to fpread. And as Mr Edwards had never had it, and inoculation was then practised with great fuccefs in those parts, he proposed to be inoculated, if the physicians fhould advife to it, and the corporation would give their confent.
Accordingly, by the advice of the phyfician, and confent of the corporation, he was inoculated February 13. He had it favourably, and it was thought all danger was over; but a fecondary fever fet in, and by reafon of a number of puftles in his throat, the obftruction was fuch, that the medicines neccffary to ftanch the fever, could not be administered. It therefore raged till it put an end to his life on the 22d of March 1758, in the fifty-fifth year of his age.
After he was fenfible that he would not furvive that fickness, a little before his death, he called his daughter to him, who attended him in his fickness, and addreffed her in a few words, which were immediately taken down in writing, as near as could be recollected, and are as follows:
"It seems to me to be the will of God that I muft fhortly leave you; therefore give my kindeft love to my dear wife, and tell her, that the uncommon union which has fo long fubfifted between us, has been of fuch a nature, as I truft is fpiritual, and therefore will continue forever: and I hope she "fhall be supported under fo great a trial, and fubmit cheerfully to the will of God. And as to my children, you are now likely to be left fatherlefs, which "I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a "Father who will never fail you. And as to my fu. "neral, I would have it to be like Mr Burr's; and any "additional fum of money that might be expected to be laid out that way, I would have it difpofed of to charitable uses."*
He said but very little in his fickness; but was an admirable inftance of patience and refignation to the laft. Juft at the clofe of his life, as fome perfons, who flood by, and expecting he would-breath his last in a few minutes, were lamenting his death, not only as a great frown on the college, but as having a dark afpect on the intereft of religion in general; to their furprife, not imagining that he heard, or ever would speak`another word, he said, " Truft in God, and ye need not fear." Thefe were his laft words. And what could have been more fuitable to the occafion! And what need of more! In these is as much matter of infruction and fupport, as if he had wrote a volume. This
* Prefident Burr ordered, on his death bed, that his funeral should not be attended with that pomp and ceft, by procuring and giving away a great number of coftly mourning-fcarfs, &c. and the confumption of a great quantity of fpirituous liquors; which is an extravagance that is become too customary in thofe parts, especially at the funerals of the great and the rich and that nothing fhould be expended but what was agrecable to the dictates of Chriftian decency. And that the fum which must be expended at a modifh funeral, over and above the neceffary cost of decent one, fhould be given to the poor out of his estate.
It is to be wifhed and hoped, that the laudable example of thefe two worthy prefidents, in which they bear their dying teftimony against a practice fo unchristian, and of fuch bad tendency so many ways, may Fve fome good effect,
This is the only confolation to his bereaved friends, who are sensible of the lofs they and the church of Chrift have fuftained in his death; God is all fuffi cient, and still has the care of his church.
He appeared to have the uninterrupted use of his reason to the last, and died with as much calmness and compofure, to all appearance, as that with which one goes to fleep.
The phyfician who inoculated and conftantly attended him in his fickness, has the following words in his letter to Mrs Edwards on this occafion : "Never "did any mortal man more fully & clearly evidence the "fincerity of all his profeffions, by one continued, u“niversal, calm, cheerful refignation and patient sub"miffion to the divine will, through every ftage of "his difeafe, than he. Not fo much as one difcon"tented expreffion, nor the leaft appearance of mur"muring through the whole. And never did any "perfon expire with more perfect freedom from pain: not fo much as one distorted hair, but in the moft "proper sense of the words, he really fell asleep."
Containing an Account of his MANUSCRIPTS, and the Books published by him.
R.-EDWARDS has left a great many volumes in
way on almost all fubjects in divinity; which he did, not with any defign they fhould ever be published in the form in which they are; but for the fatisfaction and improvement of his own mind, and that he might re