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TO THE EDITOR Of the concerning this useful and very
much beloved man of God.
He was the son of Edward and
Elizabeth Thurston, and was AS you propose annexing born in Newport, (2. I.) Nov. an engraved likeness of my late 14th, 1721. When he was but valuable uncle to the Magazine a small lad, some of his relatives of this month, I should be grati- in the country obtained him to fied to have it accompanied tarry with them for a season, with the following biographical where the aged and religious sketch, for which I am under were highly pleased to learn, obligation to the Rev. Joshua that their little visitant had such Bradley
a taste for devotion, that he was Your obedient servant,
known to exhort his young asJ. R.
sociates to remcmber their CreHartford, Nov. 1, 1808.
ator, and implore his aid when.
ever they formed any plan for Diemoirs of Rev. Gardner Thurs. enjoyment, and wished to be
successful. To press his ex
hortation powerfully upon their COMMUNICATED IN A LETTER. hearts, and satisfy his own con
science, he was seen in their little Dear and much esteemed friend, circles praying to God. The
to give you a sketch of the minds, believing it highly prolife of your venerable uncle, the bable that infinite wisdom had Rev. Gardner Thurston, pastor designed him to be an instruof the second Baptist church, ment of great good among manNewport, (R. I.) I most cheer- kind. fully inform you of what hath After he returned to Newport, come within my knowledge con- and had been some time under You. 1. No. 11.
the ministry of the Rev. Mr. the gospel of the Son of God Whitman, and his colleague, are still sounding in my ears ; Rev. Nicholas Eyers, he wrote yet great threatenings are out them the following letter : against sinners. The wrath of
God is revealed from hcaren * Dearly beloved Fathers irCrist, against all ungodliness ånd un
“ Through the wonderful mer. righteousness of men. cy of God, I am brought to see “ The impenitent unbeliever myself in a lost condition, and shall perish: the wicked be his word and my conscience tes- turned into hell, and all the tify that in such a state of nature, nations who forget God. ConI am a child of wraih.
sidering the way God hath “ Sirs, I consider that the gos- pleased to reveal himself to men, pel requires a positive change even by the messengers of in all who will be admitted into Christ, who are appointed of the kingdom of God ; and that him to instruct us in his will; this change is new-forming the and knowing the certainty of heart, and subjecting the whole death and judgment ; I think it man to the service of Christ; my indispensable duty, dear that he may be transplanted out Sirs, to come to you for guidanca of the kingdom of darkness, in- in the things of God, that I may to the kingdom of God's dear know and do the will of my Son. Knowing my own weak- heavenly Father, while the bles. ness and inability to deliver my sed Jesus is calling, and before self, I find that I cannot do any the season is over and the harvest thing pleasing to God of myself'; ended; wherefore I beg an inI cannot come to that true and terest in your prayers, that God saving faith in Jesus Christ, with would be pleased to deliver ins which remission of sins is con- from all hardness of heart, and nected ; neither can I make implant in me a living principle satisfaction for the least of my of faith, that I might be brought transgressions ; therefore, o savingly to know the only truc Sirs! I desire to depend wholly God and Jesus Christ whom ko and alone upon the free grace of hath sent. God, in Jesus Christ, for wis “ Thus, Rev. Fathers, dom, righteousness, sanctifica I close, and remain your tion and redemption. I am sen
unworthy child, sible that none but God alone “ GARDNER THURSTON." can form Christ in me the hope of glory. Though I have been Soon after he wrote to these awakened to a sense of these ministers who were over him in things, yet Oh! how have I the Lord, he obtained peace in risen up in opposition to his Spi- believing, and joy in the Holy rit, froin time to time, and gone Ghost: but did not make a pubon in a daily course of sin and lic profession of his faith in God, disobedience! By his rich grace, till April 4th, 1741. When this he is giving me time and oppor- day came, his mind was covered tunity to hear calls and warn- with darkness, and filled with ings, from one day and time to distressing thoughts that he had Another. Blessed invitations of rested short of the Rock of ages
as the foundation of his hope ; He was highly esteemed in and that he should inevitably be the church as a pious and proan hypocrite if he joined the mising youth, and took an active church. In this trying period part in their conference meetof his life, he endcavored to ings, till God was pleased to make God his refuge ; and pray- call him to declare more pub. ed for the light of his counte- licly the glad tidings of salvation. nance that he might be led un He had many solemn and derstandingly, to know and to do deep impressions upon his mind, his will. The time arrived, in that God had cailed him to which he was to be examined as preach, which he could not rea candidate for baptisın. But his linquish ; believing that fears concerning himself still opinion was agreeable to the continued, and multiplied to such scriptures, and corresponded an host against him, that when with the experience of all the he came to the meeting house true ministers of Jesus. door, he dared not enter, but He frequently observed in the turned and walked into a small time of my acquaintance with burying ground, and sat down him, that he could not assist upon a rock. This place, by the in the ordination of any, unless kind hand of God upon him. they had been born again, were was made, like the resting place clear in doctrine, and had a deep which Jacob found, as he jour- and satisfactory sense of being neyed from Beersheba to Padan-called of God, to preach his cvaram. About sixty years after- erlasting gospel, and that it was ward, walking in the same bury- their indispensable duty to obey ing ground, Mr. Thurston stop-Cod, and give themselves to the ped, putting his staff upon the work of the ministry, that their rock, said, “ There I sat down, profiting appear to all, and they overwhelmed with distress, while be workmen needing not to be the church were waiting for me ashamed, rightly dividing the to come in, to give them an ac- word of truth. Though he did count of the dealings of God not believe that they were called with my soul. Soon after I sat in this age of the world by midown, I was enabled through raculous evidence as the aposrich grace to give up myself, tles were; yet that they were deand all I had, into the hands of signed by the Almighty for the my blessed Jesus, who immedi-work of the ministry, and thereately dissipated the darkness fore a foundation was laid in which covered me-removed their temper and talents for this mydistress,-filled me with peace important work, which would and consolation, and gave me bc manifested to others when strength to declare what he had the Lord's time was come to done for my soul.”
put them into his vineyard, as He was received by the church, workers with and for him. and baptized by their pastor, the The gifts of nature, he conRev. Nicholas Eyers, and enjoy- sidered, with many who have ed great peace of mind, and written weil upon the subjectto establishment in the doctrine of be “ a sound judgment, a clear Christ.
understandin's, a retentive me,
mory and an aptness to teach."| preached part of the Lord's day Should any enter the ministry before. As Mr. Thurston was evidently deficient in these, we born, educated, experienced the may not expect much instruco eficacy of rich grace, joined tion from them, although they this church, was licensed by may have experienced a change them, preached among theni, of heart, and traveled through and by their united voice, all the customary courses of a ordained their pastor ; he was classical and a liberal education. not ignorant of their expecta
Also be held it as a great tions from him as their minister absurdity in any, to take encour- in Christ. agement from the promises He therefore determined to made to the apostles, when they give himself wholly to the all have no satisfactory evidence of important work of preaching being moved by the same spirit, the glorious gospel of Christ
, to preach and administer ordi- and to finish his course with joy. nances. For no nian taketh Consequently he left his for. this honor to himself, but he mer business, which was lucrathat is called of God.
tive, closed his accounts, and The church were well sat- entered into the vineyard of the isfied, after hearing his esperi- Lord with all his heart; pleadence of the operations of the ing the sweet promise which spirit upon his mind, concerning flowed from the Saviour's lips; the work of the ministry, and "Lo, I am with you always crea listening with pleasing atten-to the end of the world." tion a number of times to hear Mr. T. was endowed with an him declare the great truths of excellent disposition, and posthe Christian system. They sessed a good natural constitulicensed him to preach in 1748, rion, with a quick and brilliant and requested him to be an imagination. He was mill, reassistant to their pastor, the ligious, studious and amiable in Rev. Nicholas Eyers.
his family ; lively and engaMr. Thurston had to preach ging in all the social circles of generally once on Lord's day, real friendship ; tender, mell. and one lecture every week. Hising, solemn and devotional taste for information especial among the sons and daughters ly in divinity was considerable, of affliction ; casy and graceful and he had an opportunity above in all his public movements. many, to gratify this taste : for His voice was strong and melothe Rev. Nicholas Eyers, with dious, and his heart all alive in whom he was so intimately con- the great and arduous work of nected, was a man of good tal- the ministry of reconciliation. ents and learning: The church He generally, wrote the heads were so well satisfied with Mr, of his sermons, the quotations Thurston, that they were unwil- from scripture, and some of the ling he should leave them; and most interesting ideas which he on April 29, 1759, he was 'or- thought necessary for the clear dained their pastor, for Mr. illustration of his subject.Eyers departed this life on the These, he commonly committed 15th Feb,1759, siddenly, having ! to memory, and but seldom had