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made a pause.
was reciting a lesson in Cornelius Nepos, he suddenly started, clapped his hand to his head, as if something had hurt him, and
His brother asking him what was the matter, he said, that he felt a sudden shock in his head ; and it now seemed to him as if he had read that book before. By degrees, his recollection was restored, and he could speak the Latin as fluently as before his sickness. His memory, so completely reviverl, that he gained a perfect knowledge of the past transactions of his life, as if no difficulty had previously occurred. This event made a considerable noise, and afforded, not only matter of serions contemplation to the devout Christian, but furnished a subject of deep investigation to the philosopher and anatoinist.
The writer of this memoir was greatly interested by these uncommon events; and, on a favourable occasion, earnestly pressed Mr. Tennent for an account of his views whilst in this extraordinary state of suspended animation. He discovered great reluctance to enter into any explanation; but, being importunely urged, he at length consente i, and proceeded with a solemnity not to be described.
“ While I was conversing with my brother,” said he, "on the state of my soul, and the fears I had entertained for my future welfare, I found myself, in an instant, in another state of existence, under the direction of a superior being, who ordered me to follow hiin. I was accordingly wafted along, I know not how, till I beheld at a distance an ineffable glory, the impression of which on my mind it is impossible to communicate to mortal man.
I immediately reflected on my happy change, and thonght, Wall, blessed be God! I am sa te at låst, notwithstanding all my fears. I sitw an innumerable host of happy beings, surrounding the inexpressible glory, in acts of adoration and joyouis worship; but I did not see any borlily shape or representation in the glorious appearance. I beard things unutterable. I heard their songs and hallelujahs of thanksgiving and praise, with unspeakable rapture. I felt joy unalterable and full of glory. I then applied to my conductor, and reqnested leave to join the happy throng. . On which le tapped me on the shoulder, ani! said, "You must return to the earih.' This scemed like a sword through my heart. in an instant I recollect to have seen my brother standing before me, disputing with the doctor. The three days, during which I had appeared lifeless, seemed to me not more than ten or twenty minutes. The idea of returning to this world of sorrow, gave me such a shock, that I fainted repeatedly." He added, 6 Such was the effect on my mind of what I had seen and beard, that if it be possible for a human being to live entirely above the world and the things of il, for some time afterwards I Was that person. The ravishing sounds of the songs and hallelu. jahıs that I heard, and the very words that were uiterel, were not ont of my ears when awake, for at least three ycars. All the kingdoms of the earth were in my sight as nothing and vanity;
and so great were my ideas of heavenly glory, that nothing, which did not, in some measure, relate to it, could command my serious attention."
It is not surprizing, that after so affecting an account, strong solicitude should have been felt for further information as to the words, or at least the subjects of praise and adoration, which Mr. T. had heard. But when he was requested to communicate these, he gave a decided negative, adding, “ You will know them, with many other particulars, hereafter, as you will find the whole among my papers ;" alluding to his intention of leaving the writer hereof his executor, which precluded any further solicitation. *
The pious and candid reader is left to his own reflections on this very extraordinary occurrence.
The facts have been stated, and they are unquestionable. The writer will only ask, whether it be contrary to revealed truth, or to reason, to believe, that, in every age of the world instances like that which is here recorded, have occurred, to furnish living testimony of the reality of the invisible world, and of the infinite importance of eternal con. cerns ? +
As soon as circumstances would permit, Mr. T. was licenced, and began to preach the everlasting gospel with great zeal and
The death of his brother John, minister of the church at Frechiold, left that congregation in a destitute state. They had experienced so much benefit from the indefatigable labours of this able minister of Christ, that they soon turned their attention to his brother, who was received on trial; and after one year, was found to be no unworthy successor to so excellent a prede. cessor. In October, 1733, Mr. T. was regularly ordained their pastor, and continuel so through the whole of a pretty long life.
His judgment of mankind was such, as to give him a marked superiority over his contemporaries, and greatly aided him in his ininisterial functions. He was scarcely ever mistaken in the character of a man with whom he conversed, though it was but for a few hours. He had an independent mind, which was seldom
* It was so ordered, in the course of Divine Providence, that the writer was sorely disappointed in his expectation of obtaining the papers here alluded to. Such, however, was the will of Heaven! Mr. Tennent's death happened during the revolutionary war, when the enemy separated the writer from him, so as to render it impracticable to attend him on a dying bed ; and before it was posssble to get to his house after his death (the writer being with the American army at Valley-Forge) his son came from Charleston, and took his mother, with his father's papers and property, and return. ed to Carolina. About 50 miles from Charleston, the son was suddenly taken sick, and died among entire strangers; and never since, though the writer was also left executor to the soul, could any trace of the father's papers be discovered by him.
+ With much diffidence, the person who transcribes this, would venture to ask, Is it not possible that Mr. Tennent's ideas of what he saw ard heard were the effect of delirium, immediately before this state of suspended aniination, or at the time he began to recover froin it?«
satisfied on important subjects without the best evidence that was to be had. His manner was remarkably impressive; and bis sermons, although seldom polished, were generally delivered with such indescribable power, that he was truly an able and successful minister of the New Testament. He could say things from the pulpit, which, if said by almost any other man, would have been thought a violation of propriety. But by him threy were delivered in a manner so peculiar to himself, and so extremely impressive, that they seldom failed to please and to instruct. As an instance of this, the following anecdote is given.
Mr. T. was passing through a town in the state of New Jersey, in which he was a stranger, and had never preached; and stopping at a friend's house to dine, was informed, that it was a day of fasting and prayer in the congregation, on account of a very severe drought, which threatened the most dangerous consequences to the fruits of the earth. His friend had just returned from church, and the intermission was but half an hour. Mr. T. was requested to preach, and with great dificulty consented, as he wished to proceed on his journey. At church, the people were surprized to see a preacher, wholly unknown to them, ascend the pulpit. His whole appearance, being in a travelling dress, covered with dust, wearing an old-fashioned large wis, discoloured like his clothes, and a long meagre visage, engaged their attention, and excited their curiosity. On bis rising up, instead of beginning to pray, as was the usual practice, he looked around the congregation with a piercing eye, and after a minute's profound silence, achilressed them with great solemnity in the following words: “ My beloved brethren! I am told you have come here to-day to fast and pray: a very good work in iecd, provided you have come with a sincere desire to glorify God thereby. But if yonr design is merely to comply with a customary practice, or with the wish of your church officers, you are guilty of the greatest folly imaginable, as you had much better have staid at home, and earned your three shillings and sixpence. But if your minds are indeed impressed with the solemnity of the occasion, and you are really desirous of humbling yourselves before All mighty God, your heavenly Father, come, join with me, and
This had an effect so extraordinary on the congregation, that the utmost seriousness was universally manitested. The prayer and the sermon added greatly to the impressions already ma:le, and tended to rouse the attention, command the affections, and increase the temper, which had been só happily produced. Many had reason to bless God for this unexpected visit, and to reckon this day one of the happiest of their lives. †
let iis pray.
+ The writer, having requested of the present Rev. Dr. W. M. Tennent a written account of an anecdole relative to his uncle, which he had ones ucard bin repeat verbally, received the following:
While on this subject, we may introduce another anecdote of this wonderful man, to show the dealings of God with him, and the deep contemplations of his mind. fle was attending the duties of the Lord's Day in his own congregation, as usual, where the custom was to have the morning and evening service with only half an hour's intermission to relieve the attention. He had preached in the morning, and in the intermission had walked into the woods før meditation, the weather being warm. He was reflecting on the infinite wisdom of God, as manifested in all his works, and particularly in the wonderful method of salvation, through the death and sufierings of his beloved Son. This subject suddenly opened on his mind with such a foot of light, that his views of the glory and the infinite majesty of Jehovah, were so inexpressibly great, as entirely to overwhelm him; and he sell, almost lifc
During the great revival of religion, which took place under the ministry of Mr.Whitefield, &c. Mr. T. was laboriously active, but met with strong and powerfal temptations. The following may be considered as extraordinary and singularly striking.
“ On the evening preceding public worship, he sclected a subject for the discourse which was to be delivered, and made some progress in his preparations. In the morning, he resumed the same subject, with an intention to extend his thoughts further on it, but was presently assaulted with a temptation that the Bible, which he then held in his band, was not of divine authority, but the invention of man. He instantly endeavoured to repel the temptation by prayer, but his endeavours proved unavailing. The temptation continned, and ía siened upon him with greater strength as the tine advanced for public service. He lost all the thoughts which he had on his subject the preceding evening. He tried other suljects, but could Eet nothing for the people. The whole book of God, under that distressa ' mg state of mind, was a sealed book to him ; and, to add to his a hliction, he was, to use his own words, “ shut up in prayer.” A cloud, dark as that of Egypt, oppresser his mind.
"Thas agonized in spirit, he proceeded to the church, where he found a large congregation assembled, and waiting to hear the word: and then it was, he observed, that he was more deeply distressed than ever, and especially for the dishonour which he feared woull fall upon religion, through hiin, that day. He resolved, however, to attempt the service. He introduced it by singing a psalm; during which time bis agitations were increased to the highest degree. When the moment for prayer commenced, he arose, as one in the most perilous and painful situation, and with arms extended to the heavens, began with this outcry, - Lord have mercy upon me! Upon the utterance of this petition he was heard; the thick cloud instantly broke away, and an unspeakably joyful light shone in upon his soul, so that his spirit seemed to be caught up to the heavens, and he felt as if he saw God, as Moses did on the mount, face to face, and was carried forth to him, with an enlargement greater than he had ever before experienced ; and on every page of the Scriptures saw his divinity inscribed in brightest colours. The result was a deep solemnity on the face of the whole congregation ; and the house at the end of the prayer was a Bochim. He gave them the subject of his evening meditalions, which was brought to his full remembrance, with an overflowing abundance of other weighty and solemn mal. ter. The Lord blessed the discourse, so that it proved the happy means of the conversion of about thirty persons. This day he spoke of, ever afterwärds, as his harvest-day,
less, to the ground. When he had revived a little, all he coidd do was to raise a fervent prayer, that God would withdraw himself from him, or that he must perish under a view of his ineffia ble glory. When able to reflect on his situation, he could not but abhor himself as a weak and despicable worm ; and seemed to be overcome with astonishment, that a creature so unworthy and insufficient, had ever dared to attempt the instruction of his fellowmen in the nature and attributes of so glorious a Being Overstaying his usual time, some of his elders went in search of him, and found him prostrate on the ground, unable to rise, and incapable of informing them of the cause. They raised him up, and, after some time, brought him to the church, and supported hiin in the pulpit, which he ascended on his hands and knees, to the no smal astonishment of the congregation. He remained silent a considerable time, carnesty supplicating Almighty God to hide himself from hin, that he might be enabled to address his people, who were by this time lost in wonder to know what had pro luced this uncommon event. His prayers were heard, and he became able to stand up, by holding the desk. He now began the most affecting and pathetic address that the congregation had ever received from bim. He gave a surprizing account of the views he had of the infinite wisdom of God; and greatly deplored his own incapacity to speak to them concerning a Being so infinitely glorious beyond all his powers of description. He attempted to show something of what has been discovered to him of the astonishing wisdom of Jehovah, of which it was impossible for human nature to form adequate conceptions. He then broke out into so fervent and expressive a prayer, as greatly to surprize the congregatio.), and draw tears from every eye. A sermon followed, which continued the solemn scene, and made very lasting impressions on all the hearers.
The great increase of communicants in his church was a good evidence of his pastoral care and powerful preaching, as it exceeded that of most churches in the synod; but his labours were not confined to the pulpit. He was indefatigable in his endeavours to communicate in private families a savour of the knowledge of spiritualand divine things. In his parochial visits he used regularly to go through his congregation in order. He earnestly pressed it on the conscience of parents to instruct their children at home, so as gradually to expand their minds, and prepare them for the reception of the more practical doctrines of the gospel. In this, Mr. T. bas presented an excellent example to his brethren in the ministry; for certain it is, that more good may be done in a congregation by this domestic mode of instruction, than any one can imagine who has not madle the trial.
[To be concluded in our next.]