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to our hearts to do it. Let the glory be rendered to him. If we find opposition, it is only when we ascend to the highest ecclesiastical authority of the Waldenses. For example, that authority has forbidden the consistories and the school-directors to let us speak in the churches or the school-houses, under pain of being turned out of their office. Until this prohibition, we had often preached in the churches and school-houses. But because the Rev. Mr. Gay, (a minister of the gospel, who for certain articles in faith had been deposed from his office,) had delivered several addresses to the people in churches destitute of pastors, this regulation was adopted. Mr. Gay is among us as a brother, and distributes the Lord's supper to us on the first Sabbath in each month. Notwithstanding this, he is not the pastor of our church on account of his manner of viewing some points, secondary in importance, but which are in direct opposition to our organization, which is, as I have said, established for the sole purpose of causing that religion to flourish again, for which our forefathers poured out their blood. We have often written to the ecclesiastical authority, and requested them to show wherein we are wrong, whether it regards the faith or the doctrine which was believed and practiced by our martyr-ancestors. Hitherto they have not taken the trouble, neither as a body, nor as individuals, to answer us on this point; without doubt, because they cannot do it.”
After giving an interesting account of their getting up a school for the instruction of the children of those who desire to have their children taught by a pious person, and of the difficulty which was encountered in effecting this important object, the writer continues :
“The Eternal will provide ; this is our confidence. The pastors, since the awakening, seem to preach a little more according to the analogy of faith. They speak a little more of Jesus Christ ; but the great fault of the preaching is, that it is addressed to people who are dead in trespasses and sins, just as if they had faith. If there be some change, in certain parishes, in the manner of preaching, the manners of the pastors and of the people are the same. They speak now little respecting us from the pulpit. They let us rest tranquilly. But they take but little interest in the religious awakening. They take no part in it. From this statement, dear brother, it will be easy for you to judge of the state of evangelical piety among the pastors and the people of the Waldenses.
“My dear brother, you tell me, that the people of the Waldenses interest you much, as well as many other christians in your country. I am not astonished at it. Our ancestors must have had great faith, for they did great things. But if any one persuade himself, that the modern Waldenses are what their ancestors were, he deceives himself greatly. They are as much departed, in mass, from the life of religion, as our ancestors were reproached for it. To persuade himself of this let a stranger who lives the life of a christian, come among us. If he content himself with asking of the pastors, what is the state of religion among the people, he might go away altogether satisfied. But if he examine for himself, if he seek for converted persons, if he examine the faith and the conduct of the people, he will not fail to perceive, that they are, like the rest of the children of Adam, spiritually dead, and in the conclusion he will be convinced, that the Waldenses live on the glory of their ancestors. Such is the remark which several foreign christians have made in visiting our valleys. On the other hand, glory to God, the awakening which manifests itself in our day, over all the earth, has also reached unto us. If you knew personally the instruments which God has employed to promote his work amongst us, you could not doubt, that it is the finger of God! It is His work. This awakening makes progress among the poor, little among the middle and higher classes. The most moderate in wealth do not fear, however, to make sacrifices to promote the cause of God, whether it be in the purchase and distribution of the word of God, religious tracts, or in any other way by which the interests of Christ's kingdom may be promoted."
The preceding extracts give a pretty fair account, we think, of the state and prospects of evangelical religion among the Waldenses at this time. If there be a fault in the communication of our correspondent, it consists, we have reason to believe, in drawing the picture in colors a little too dark, especially in what he says of the pastors. But two things are manifest from it. 1. That the state of evangelical religion is still very low among the Waldenses, taken in a mass. 2. That true religion is reviving among them, with the prospect of gradual and, ultimately, extended success.
Art. II.-LIFE AND DISCOURSES OF Rev. S. H. STEARNS.
Life and Select Discourses of Rev. S. H. Stearns. Boston:
Josiah A. Stearns, and Whipple & Damrell. 1838.
This is a valuable book. The part performed by the biographer has been executed with judgment and skill. The style in which the work has been printed and published, is worthy of commendation. The circle is numerous and highly respectable in this country, and beyond its limits, into which " the life and select discourses of the Rev. S. H. Stearns" will be a welcome visitant.
The subject of these memoirs did not, indeed, attain to advanced years; he did not present to the public many of the fruits of his literary studies; he did not long preach the gospel to any one people, nor did he leave behind him that view of man which had occupied so many of his solitary reflections. But there are young men in no small numbers, and of no trifling reputation, whose characters have been greatly affected by their intercourse with him. There are many, very many, who cherish a grateful remembrance of his kind offices. To such, the following remarks are devoted, and to such others as may chance to feel an interest in one of the brightest stars in our hemisphere, though, from its early setting, it could not be expected extensively to attract the attention of the public.
One of the most instructive chapters in the life of Mr. Stearns, is that which describes his early education. This brings to our remembrance not the least interesting among the admired traits in the character of our forefathers. Here was the source of his eminence as a scholar and a good man. “He used to say that the manner in which he was taught by his father to weed the garden, had influenced him in all his studies in after life. The maxim was—"a thing once well done, is twice done,” and this maxim observed on a farm, induced those habits of thoroughness which, being transferred to his intellectual and moral culture, made him a successful student of nature and of revelation. In science, literature, and theology he always felt the influence of that discipline of his powers which he acquired in his boyhood, under the parental roof. Especially did he ever feel the effects of that careful attention which his parents bestowed on his early religious education. Every incident in life was made the occasion of reminding him of that over-ruling providence, to whom we all owe reverence and obedience. Besides an exVol. X.
ample of faithful piety, he was blessed with the daily inculcation of the precepts of religion, and was constantly directed by parental lips to the throne of wisdom and grace. When Saturday night came, it brought with it a scene which reminds one of the “Saturday Night" of Burns, or of the puritan manners in their most religious state. The cares of the world were entirely forgotten. The family were called together for reading the scriptures and devotion, in both of which the exercises were more protracted than usual. · Then followed the retired duties of the closet, and so was preparation made for the calm beginning of holy time. When the Sabbath dawned, all was still and peaceful. No interruption occurred to private reading and devotion. The public services ensued, in which all the family were expected to participate, not as a formality or constraint, but as a privileged means of improving the heart and elevating and ennobling the mind.
But the most remarkable scene was that which occurred upon the return of the household from public worship. All were gathered together in one place. The bible was read in company, and at an unusual length. The texts of the sermons were repeated by the children, with such an account of their contents as they were able to give. Then the practical lessons were inculcated anew, and with more special application to those present. The conscience was addressed. Those who had begun to serve the Lord, were encouraged to go forward. Those who were remiss or negligent, were solemnly admonished to repent and reform. All were reminded, in the most feeling manner, of their early consecration to God, of the prayers by which the consecration had been followed, and of the awful doom which would await them if they should rush through such privileges as these, and make their bed in hell. These were times in which the instructions and admonitions, the prayers and praises of these Sabbath evening scenes were so solemn and affecting, as to be long remembered by such guests as were occasionally present. On the fainily they had, , of course, great influence. No one could write the biography of Samuel H. Stearns, without referring to the effect of these scenes on his youthful character, and the times most assuredly require, that such scenes of domestic pious instruction, living almost entirely in the past, should be faithfully recorded for the benefit of coming time. Before the vestiges are gone of such faithfulness in parental instruction, let us at least write them in a book, for possibly a more devoted race may come forward, who will be glad to read of them. We may have made great
advances in some other things, but in domestic religious education, our course is retrograde.
The mind of Mr. Stearns was of a high order, and the habits which he acquired of being thorough in every thing he undertook, were such as might have been anticipated from his early training. None who knew him intimately need to be told, that he called nothing knowledge which he did not comprehend with clearness and precision. Had he lived long in the enjoyment of health, with his inquisitive mind he would doubtless have been distinguished for the extent of his knowledge, but, as it was, he was distinguished for its accuracy. He was a careful student of his daily lessons—he was a careful thinker-he was a close observer and a careful describer of scenes and events -he was a careful reader of books; and whatever he expressed in language, on any subject, was put down with precision.
Mr. Stearns was equally distinguished for the completeness of his education. He wisely kept up the balance of his mind by cultivating all his powers in due proportion. There was no branch of knowledge to which he directed his attention, in which he did not excel. He was perfectly at home in the school of metaphysics, and in the anatomical chamber; he entered into the imagination of Homer, and was carried away with the eloquence of Demosthenes; he admired Locke and Edwards for their profound reasoning, and he was competent to write with taste a criticism on the works of Byron.
It is seldom, that we find the foundations of the literary character laid so thoroughly, and at the same time the superstructure finished with such beauty. Others of his age have written as tastefully—others have reasoned as well—but it is exceedingly rare, that we meet with one who has combined the two, as he did. All his productions resembled the earth from which he was taken, and whither his frail body has been returned ; solid and safe, and rich in material, yet delighting to deck itself in a beautiful dress of green.
There was a charming simplicity about his mind. His sermons, which are admired by the learned for their profound thought and good writing, were always received with pleasure by the most unlettered congregations. Perhaps as a preacher he was quite as impressive with the most ignorant, as with the finished scholar. He is a fair proof, that in order to enlighten and sway the cultivated mind, it is not necessary, that a preacher should soar above the comprehension of the weakest saint. No doubt it requires a long and patient discipline of the mind, to enable the speaker to attain such simplicity, without the sacri