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And such he was. The world hath ample cause
To prize his virtues and to mourn his loss.' But we are to speak of him in a higher character. His piety was deep and ardent. It never seemed to have grown up after his character was formed, and to have been fastened to it by violent effort, but was interwoven with the whole frame and texture of his soul, and was in truth a part of himself. It was the piety of the lowly publican, subduing, bumbling, sanctifying; and it shed a rich and solemu lustre over the evening of his days. One might see it rising, as it were, incidentally and without design, to the surface of his heart, and imparting a most deep and impressive effect to his expressions. He had a fixed aversion to
. every thing like noisy and ostentatious piety, and could not endure the offensive tone of triumph and exultation, with which soine Christians speak of their experiences and religious comforts. With bim religion was a vast and solemn concern; it was a principle, not a passion. He would not substitute a gaudy painting for a beautiful original,--the trappings and outside ornaments for the essence and felt presence of religion. His piety did not dwell on the countenance nor the tongue, nor did it consist in loud cries and extravagant self-reproaches; but it was the sober, earnest, and prostrating intercourse of the creature with the Creator. It wrought with bumbling influence upon a soul of great powers, and presented it, in the spirit of contrition and the feeling of helplessness, to the throne of grace. He had always a humble trust, but no proud assurance. He looked to his God and his Saviour with that well grounded hope, which is as 'an anchor to the soul sure and stedsast;' and no one cauld witness the operation of religion in him, without feeling deeply that it has a real power, equally remote from the cold indifference of the speculative Christian, and the fanaticism of the enthusiast. He never wished to bring to any human test the attainments of others in piety and holiness; but if he saw the evidences of their having imbibed the spirit of the Saviour, and having formed their lives according to the Gospel, he was satisfied without the application of the arbitrary standards invented by men. He was willing to leave his fellow-christians --where he left himself,to the mercy of God through the Saviour.
· His religious opinions were those, which are usually denominated moderately orthodox. He was, however, unwilling to bind himself to any buman formulary of faith, and his views with regard to some points of belief were doubtless modified and chang. ed, as he advanced in life, He valued and cherished the doc. trines which he believed, and enforced them with power and energy. But to his praise it should be remembered, that he did not multiply essentials, nor make all his own doctrines fundamental doctrines. No part of his religious character was more striking, than his freedom from every thing that wore the semblance of bigotry, his love of free inquiry, and his magnanimous and christian charity for those who differed from him. He certainly was not indifferent as to the great points of controversy in agitation at the present day; but he had none of that littleness of soul, which makes difference of opinion an insuperable boundaryline of kindness and regard. He was in the best sense of the words, catholic and liberal. In one of his sermons published but a few years before his death, it is admirably said, -- Each of 118 ought to think and judge for himself, using the reason, which God has given us, in searching and studying his revealed will, A mind thus independent, an understanding thus unfettered, and unawed by uninspired names, is honorable to a christian, especially to a minister of Christ. From this unrestricted freedom, variety of opinion may be expected to follow. Principles may be adopted by some, which in the judgment of others may seem to sully the glory of the Gospel. Under the influence of other principles, however, held in common by both parties, their
hearts and lives may be conformed to the precepts of Christ. In this case, there can be no excusable pretence for either parly's excluding the other from christian or mini-terial fellowship. It is certain, the spirit of Christ is not confined to any one sect, party, or denomination of his professed followers. We sometimes see it adorning the lives of those, whose peculiar opinions and modes of worship may seem unfavourable to its growth; and we often, alas! find it wanting, deplorably wanting, where it might be expected to shine with superior strength and lustre. Instead therefore of limiting our charity to persons of our own persuasion, let us learn to extend it to all who bear the image of our heavenly Master, and show their love to him by keeping his commands. By their fruits shall ye know them, not by their doctrines, nor by their professions, '*
It is refreshing, in these times of acrimony and party zeal, when men are shutting each other out from communion and charity, to have from so venerable an authority such noble sentiments. These were the principles, which uniformly governed his own conduct; and more than one occasion is remembered, on which he resisted indignantly the exclusive and unsparing attempts of bigots and partizans. Societies for sectarian purposes under the garb of religion received no favour from him. He carried with him through life an ardent love of religious liberty, and dreaded every approach to ecclesiastical usurpation, or to whatever might infringe upon the independency of our churches. It is well known, that he manifested this spirit, whenever he was called to act, in cases where the religious rights of christians were concerned. He wished every christian to act on his responsibility to God, and on no other responsibility. There are med, even at the present day, who are absolutely certain that they are right, and that every one else is wrong, and who therefore behave as if they suppose they have a charter from heaven to vilify and put down those, whom they deem hereticks. But never could you trace the faintest resemblance to such a character in Dr. Osgood. He appealed to the Scriptures, and to the Scriptures alone, for the rule of faith and practice, and saw with pain any indication of that spirit, which would make speculative opinions of more importance than practical piety. He never thought zeal for any particular set of doctrines to be the same thing as zeal for religion ; nor could he imagine it to be the best way, in which men can prove that they are christians, to deny that name to those, who are so unfortunate as to bave a different faith. With large and noble views of the great and solemn objects of the religion of Jesus, he loved not those angry discussions, by which the robe of the church is so often rent, and the ark of God so often shaken ; and no one can doubt, it was his predominant sentiment, that, as has been well observed, the true unity of Christians does not consist in the unity of opinion in the bond of ignorance, nor unity of practice in the bond of hypocrisy, but in the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.'
* Sermon at the ordination of Rev. C. Francis, Watertown.
As a theologian and preacher, Dr. Osgood must be allowed hy all to bave stood iu the first rank. The studies connected with his sacred office and duties were ever dear to him. He read much, but he thought more. His mind was an instrument, that wrought powerfully on every object presented to it, and all his learning seemed to act but as an excitement to his own pow. ers, and to furnish them with food and employment. He was extensively conversant with ancient authors, and studied thoroughly the original languages of the Bible. He had made bimself well acquainted with metaphysical theology, and was particularly fond of the sound, moderate, evangelical writers, like Doddridge, among the English divines. He drew upon bis resources with ease for striking illustrations, and was frequently very happy in his quotations. For several years before his death, he had been accustomed to read on the Sabbath, generally as an extra service, a chapter from the Old Testament, accompanied with such comments, explanations, and practical remarks, as the portion might suggest. He began with Genesis, and at the sime
of his death had, we believe, reached as far as the book of Proverbs. lo this course of observations on Scripture were displayed some of his best talents ; and to his people they must have been highly instructive and useful. He could scarcely be said to have any useless or idle learning, any that bung loose upon his mind, or was acquired merely to gratify curiosity or to consume time. He turned his knowledge to the best account, and bound it to his thoughts by strong and permanent associations.
Of Dr. Osgood, as a preacher, it is difficult to speak in terms faithful to his merits. It is necessary to have been familiar with the exhibition of his talents in this part of the christian minister's duty, in order to have a just conception of the power with which he appeared in the pulpit. There he stood forth in the strength of that energetic and hallowed eloquence, with which it is meet, that the living truths of the living God should be borne to immortal beings. Who, that has ever listened to bis glowing accents, proclaiming the truths of Jesus with the un. borrowed dignity of an apostolic manner, and with the authority which rests upon the boary head that is a crown of glory, -has not felt bis soul awe-struck and subdued, and found himself hanging breathless on the lips of the aged preacher, who seemed already to be standing amidst the awful realities of another world. Time bad given to his form the meet and honorable ornaments of old age, but had left his mind untouched in its freshness and vigour,--so that we were at the same time affected by the reverence due to years and wisdom, and warmed by the ardour and energy of younger days. His eloquence was fashioned by no rules and shaped by no model. It was all his own,-the natural overflowing of a soul full of its subject; and whatever faults the rhetorician might discover, it was evident that any attempt at fancied improvement would have ruined its effect. As he grew warm in his subject, his audience grew Farm with bim, and felt themselves carried on as by the motion of a strong and steady stream. The characteristics of his preaching were boldness and strength, powerful statements, heart searching appeals, elevating descriptions. He had the talent of making his hearers realize a subject in all its dimensions and relations, in all its solemnity and grandeur. His sermons did not stand unconnected with the text, but grew out of it, as it was his opinion a sermon always should, • like a tree branching from its root, or a plant unfolding and spreading from its seed.' His divisions were usually suggested by the passage, on which the discourse was founded, arranged in a clear and natural order,-and the mind followed bim with the consciousness that it was continually making progress in the subject. He
never attempted to impart heat without light; be never store to produce that unnatural and disproportionate excitement, under the influence of which the mind continually swings from one extreme to another. He dwelt much on the attributes of the Deity in relation to man, on the character and offices of the Sa. viour, on the practical duties of the christian, and on the overwhelming realities of a future world. And he shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God. No fear of man ever sealed his lips, or made them utter less than he thought ought to be spoken. He waged war with sin in all its strong holds, and vice trembled and fainted at his rebuke. He spoke peace to the troubled, and the consolations of the Gospel came from him with a holy and soothing force. He had the power of calling away the heart, for a while at least, from the polluting passions, cares, and anxieties of life, and placing it in a purer and calmer region. When he portrayed the mercy of God in the redemption by Christ, and entreated the sinner to come to the fountain of healing and purifying opened in the Gospel, be poured out his soul with his voice, and seemed to be lifted above the things of earth, and to lift the hearts of those around him above them too. He appeared, in truth, like an ambassador in Christ's stead, beseeching men to be reconciled to God.
By him the violated law spoke ont
As angels use, the gospel whisper'd peace.' The prayers of Dr. Osgood were, in a very uncommon degrec, solemn and fervent. They had that effect, which devotional exercises should always have,-they left the soul no liberty to wander, but consecrated its attention to the holy of fice of intercourse with God.
It is not easy to estimate the good influences exerted on the community by a long life thus spent, and by a powerful mind thus employed. We believe Dr. Osgood did much to stay the progress of an uncharitable and exclusive spirit, to strengthen à sense of the value of our religious privileges, and of the respect we owe each other, as disciples of Jesus. He had a weight of character, which made his influence felt in a remarkable degree in society; and if he erred in the zeal, with which at times he entered into political discussions, it was an error resulting from a strong sense of duty. With regard to the direct effects of his ministry, he had the satisfaction which must belong to a good and faithful servant of Christ. Bet he set up no fallacious standard of ministerial success; nor did he count any man a useless labourer in the vineyard, merely because he had not been able to stir up a spiritual commo