Rector of Trinity Church, San Francisco, California,
and formerly of St. Paul's Church, St. Croix, W.I.,
Died 5th August 1852;
THE REV. EDMUND RICHARDS, A.M.,
Rector of All Saints, St. Thomas, W.I.,
Died 3d September 1852;
THE REV. JOHN WADE, A.M.,
Rector of St. Paul's Church, St. Croix, W.I.,
Died 22d October 1852.
Rector of St. John's Church, St. Croix, W.I.
TO THE CONGREGATIONS OF
St. John's Church, Christiansted;
St. Paul's Church, Frederiksted;
All Saints' Church, St. Thomas.
You are aware of the circumstances under which the sermons from which the following extracts are taken were prepared--the first as I was recovering from a severe illness--the second and third when the duties of the bereaved parishes had devolved upon me, with an amount of sickness and mortality prevailing, much greater than I have known during my seven years' ministry among you. Amid the various duties that pressed upon me, they were necessarily prepared with haste, in the ordinary course of parochial labor, and with no expectation of their being requested for publication. But as I have been asked to allow it, as a tribute of respect to the memory of the lamented and honored dead, I feel constrained to overcome my own reluctance and to consent to the publication of which portions, as may meet the wishes of those who desire it as a memorial of respect and affection; with the fervent prayer that those of us who survive may be taught by those frequent "spectacles of mortality" to remember "how frail and uncertain our own condition is;--and so to number our days, that we may seriously apply our hearts to that holy and heavenly wisdom, whilst we live here, which may in the end bring us to life everlasting."
I am happy in being able to add the address by the Rev. Mr. KNOX, who, in the absence of a clergyman of the Church, kindly officiated at the funeral of the Rector of All Saints' in St. Thomas, using the Episcopal service, and also the extract from the Rev. Mr. DALZELL's first sermon in "All Saint's" on becoming its Rector.
Allow me dearly beloved, to inscribe this Memorial to you in token of the kindness and consideration, I have always received at your hands, both in my official and personal intercourse with you, and as a slight testimony of the sincere respect and affection, I have ever entertained for you all.
In faith and love,
your servant for Christ's sake,
F. J. HAWLEY.
IT is our painful duty to record this afternoon the death, from fever, in the 27th year of his age, of the Reverend EDMUND RICHARDS, Minister of the Episcopal Church in this Island, which melancholy event took place at his late residence on the morning of the 3rd instant. The Revd. gentleman was born in Virginia, U. S., and arrived in this Colony in the month of November last year, when he assumed the responsible functions of his ecclesiastical office, and much credit is due to the memory of the deceased for the affectionate and tender care of his flock, his watchful eye over his congregation and his zeal and patience in bringing sinners to God. As a Pastor, he was beloved, and as a Christian, respected and esteemed. The intelligence of his early demise in a foreign clime will be sad news to a dear and tender mother, and a kind and fond sister, whom he has left behind in his native land. His remains were taken to the Church last evening, and there laid out for the mournful satisfaction of those who wished to view his last, until this morning, when they were removed to their last resting place, accompanied by an immense concourse of all classes of the inhabitants,--"Blessed be the dead that die in the Lord."--St. Thomas Times, 4th. September 1852.
EXTRACT FROM A SERMON Preached on the 14th Sunday alter Trinity, 1852, in the Church
of St. John's, Christiansted, by the Rector; being the first Sunday
that he officiated after receiving intelligence of
THE DEATH OF THE REV. EDMUND RICHARDS A M., Rector of All Saints Church, St. Thomas ROMANS V. 17.
"For if by one man's offence, death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
It is with a sad and heavy heart, that I perform the most painful duty that has devolved on me during my ministry among you, that of announcing to you the death of a dear and honored Brother in the Ministry. It is now more than twenty years, since a Minister of one of the English Churches in the Danish West India Islands, entered into rest. The esteemed and zealous Minister of this Parish, the Rev. Joseph Buckley,-- a native of Connecticut in the United States, died here in 1830, and on the morning of the 3rd instant, the Rev. Edmund Richards, the zealous and beloved minister of All Saints' Parish, St. Thomas, departed this life in the 27th year of his age and the third year of his ministry.
It is but a few weeks since he paid a visit to this parish, and returned to the scene of his arduous and self-denying labors, with apparently improved health. But alas! for the uncertainty of [5/6] life, and the vanity of ail human hopes and aspirations! In two short weeks his Master's summons came and no one who knew him as well as we did, or who had listened to his eloquent and earnest advocacy of the Gospel of Christ, can doubt that though sudden and perhaps to him unexpected, it did not find him unprepared--"not without his loins girded silent and his light burning like unto men that wait for their Lord."
The two years of his ministry in his native country gave richest promise of future usefulness; and his brief ministry in the neighbouring island of St. Thomas did not disappoint these expectations. A rapidly increasing congregation--a large and prosperous Sunday school, to the increasing piety and growth of which, with indomitable resolve, he devoted every energy of his soul, time and no ordinary talents, and strength; and life itself; those are among the results of his ministry, which have enshrined him in the hearts and affections of his people. Great simplicity and the earnest piety of a saint, were conspicuous traits in his character. He was sincerity itself, and with him to conscientiously will a thing, was to dare to do it. We do not believe that you will find a dissentient voice among the pure minded and the good, as to the merits and christian character of one, who stood up nobly in the presence of rampant vice, and unblushing profligacy, and denounced them as enemies of true righteousness, and of pure and undefiled religion: of one, who with a noble forgetfulness of self, to promote the eternal well-being of his beloved people, cast himself into the breach--one mighty sacrifice; that others, those of us who remain, might reap the advantage of the "prodigal oblation."
To human sagacity and judgment, his removal in the midst of such faithful labors and usefulness, seems most melancholy and [6/7] greatly to be lamented. It is indeed one of those mysterious providences, the wisdom of which neither men nor angels can fathom. When, to all appearance, he was able to do the most for the Gospel of Christ, when his power of usefulness seemed most extended, then it is that God interposes and removes the visible instrumentality; not to impede the progress of the Gospel, but to carry it on. We dare not, Brethren, call in question its wisdom. We cannot but think that a great lesson is about to be given us, as to God's power of overruling evil for good. We are apt to think, that when a man is overtaken by death, or withdrawn from any cause from active duty, that his usefulness is at an end! We are ready to lament over what we deem a dark event, as the Romans may have done over the imprisonment of St. Paul, or as the timid disciples did at the crucifixion of their Master; yet out of these sad occurrences sprang the chief triumphs of Christianity. Weakness made perfect in strength; victories over enemies gained by suffering their assaults; and life itself reached through death. It was during St. Paul's sufferings and imprisonment at Rome--sufferings that he patiently endured for the Gospel's sake, and an imprisonment of two long years, cheer fully borne, when he could no longer deliver in the name of the living God, the Message of rebuke and the prophecy of vengeance, that the Gospel spread with the greatest rapidity there; they were overruled by the wisdom of God, rather to promote than prejudice the interests of his Church. And lest the Philippians should think otherwise, he assures them in these words: "I would have you understand, Brethren, that the things that have happened unto me, have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel, so that my bonds in Christ, are manifest in all the palace [7/8] and all other places." He had made converts everywhere, and numbers; in all the imperial palace of Nero. Thus it was not by his sermons, but by his sufferings for the sake of the Gospel, that attention was arrested, and men compelled to feel that where there was such noble intrepidity in meeting opposition, and obloquy, and suffering, there must be the consciousness of advocating truth. And who shall say, Brethren, that it shall not come to pass that the faithful minister preaches far more effectually from his death bed, than ever he did from his pulpit, especially when that death bed is known to have been surrounded by multiplied troubles and trials? The report which goes forth among his people, of his blameless life, of his devotion to duty, of his steadfast adherence to principle, even unto death, will do more to overcome their resistance of the Gospel, than all his efforts effected, whilst he gave himself night and day, to boldly wrestling with prevailing vices, and sought most diligently to tiring men to repentance. The dust of Martyrs and Confessors has ever been the seed whence, moral virtue sprang and the Church increased.
With respect to my loved and honored Brother, it certainly did seem as though his usefulness in his last sphere of labor, was about to be brought to a close A ('loud of difficulties and troubles seemed settling on his path almost too great to be borne. How deeply he felt these none can know bettor than myself, and I learn from a friend, that in the early part of his illness, he had made up his mind to return to his native land; and thus just as enemies seemed about to realize their wishes; God interposes and says, this shall not be. His bones shall be buried in the midst of his people, and like the unsepulchred bones of Joseph preach perpetually to them, the lessons, which with his dying breath he [8/9] labored to enforce--shall still repeat those solemn truths, which he strove so fatally to press on their attention. Though he can no longer warn and rebuke sinners with the voice of a living man--his tongue being mute in death--yet the Memory and the Grave of Richards shall become a perpetual preacher to the people, of the very truths he died in the effort to enforce. When the grave has closed upon a righteous man, the Bible declares what we cannot but feel to be true, that "he being dead yet speaketh." His memory admonishes, rebukes and encourages, and that too more powerfully than his living example.
Let us then, Dear Brethren, cherish his memory with affectionate regard, and let it be in all our prayers, that God will comfort his afflicted family, and his bereaved parish, and speedily raise up as his successor, one who will walk in his footsteps, as he has walked in Christ's.
It seems a remarkable circumstance that the subject of the two sermons which he preached from this place on his recent visit here, should have been death, and its antagonist life, and the power of the Gospel of Christ, to supplant death by a reign in life; and it is with reference to his dying admonitions to us, that I have chosen the text: "For, if by one man's offence, death reigned by one, much more they, which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." The Apostle is speaking of the ruin of mankind by the first Adam and of their recovery by Christ, the second. We have the evil introduced by Adam, death,--then the blessing introduced by Christ, life--the persons for whom this blessing is designed, and the certainty of their receiving it,--of their reigning in life. * * * *
ADDRESS OF The Rev. JOHN P. KNOX on the death of The Rev. EDMUND RICHARDS.
* * * A standard-bearer has fallen in Zion; a beloved Pastor is torn from his flock; the ministry of this place, few in numbers are weakened, and society has lost one of its most useful members. A son, too, is dead to a fond father and an affectionate mother; and he has fallen far from these, far from his home and his kindred;--strangers alone--but these weeping and loving strangers--to soothe him in his dying hours, and surround his cold remains. God has done it. "Clouds and darkness are round about him, but righteousness and judgement are the habitation of his throne." We hear his voice saying to us, "Be still, and know that I am God." We would not eulogize the dead; but grief loves to speak, when it can speak, of the dear departed one; and speak especially of that feature of his character which has left the strongest impression upon the mind. Need we say to you, that this feature of our brother, as a minister of Christ, was Faithfulness? He is embodied now to our fond memories, when we look back the past few months, as faithful in life to his principles and his mission, and faithful unto death. From the time he first came among us, up to the hour of his summons, how devoted to his preparation for the pulpit; how earnestly did he preach Jesus Christ and him crucified; how affectionate and persevering his labors for his Sabbath School; how ever by the side of the sick and the dying, ministering to their wants;--in a word, how absorbed with his work as an Ambassador for Christ. He thought, he meditated, he wrote, he prayed, he preached for the sanctification and salvation of the souls of his charge;--so instant in season and out of season were his labors, that, though often complaining of many bodily infirmities, he ever denied himself to answer every call of duty, however trying or arduous. We call this weeping congregation to witness if their departed minister was not what we represent him to have been--faithful in life, faithful unto death: And it was his desire to be more faithful in his work; for when we visited him a few days after he was [10/11] prostrated by disease, and expressed to him the hope that he would be spared to see many years of usefulness, he replied, "and years of more faithfulness." Did he err in his ministry (we do not say that he did err)? have any felt aggrieved at his ministrations?--the cause lay in earnest desire to sec the Church of Christ presented as a Bride, without spot to her Lord, and his uncompromising faithfulness to his vows as a minister of Christ He has fallen--but fallen harnessed for the battle--fallen like a true warrior with his back to earth, his face to Heaven, and his feet to the foe. He has fallen like a noble tree, with all his sap and verdure, with his extended branches and rich foliage, whilst many reposed beneath his shade and plucked his fruit. We might speak further of our dear Brother--of his piety as a Christian (whoever doubted it?)--of his social qualities as a friend--but the subject is too painful now. Let us improve his death. There is a loud voice in this deep bereavement, and it becomes us to listen and receive its lessons. God in mercy grant it may be sanctified to us--to all who hear me. To the entire community the lesson is. "Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh." Many are sick and dying around us--our atmosphere seems loaded with the seeds of death, and they are lodging fast in the frail receptacles of disease. But, alas! how differently we are affected; some are calm and indifferent, but their calmness is the calmness of insensibility--fearful condition! They regard not God, nor Death, nor the Judgement, for they have hardened their hearts. Others, too, are calm, but it is the triumph of faith;--like as it was with our departed Brother;--death to such has no fears, but rather the welcome messenger to call them home. With too many of us, painful distraction is the state of the soul. Professing to love God, and yet having the affections inordinately set upon this world-wishing to live and yet compelled to take reluctant and fearful glances of death, and the judgement and eternity--their souls are not at ease; and this is because Christianity disdains any compromise with the corrupt affections of the heart. When she is not seated on the throne of the heart, having dominion over the affections, she proves a troubler of the thoughts. But should such remain in this condition? Oh! let them rather become Christians indeed--let them reach unto that faith, which had its practical demonstration in our Brother, and which shall enable them to say, "for mo to live is Christ and to die is gain." Brethren in the ministry, what a lesson this bereavement is to us--a lesson to be faithful also, faithful unto death. With one of our little number gone to his reward, we should gird on our armour afresh, and put forth renewed efforts in behalf of that holy cause we profess to serve. The time is short and death [11/12] may be at the door. To this bereaved congregation, with whom we sympathize, there is a lesson in the death of your beloved Pastor, which it becomes you to lay to heart and improve. Have you been faithful in receiving his ministry, as he was in dispensing it to you? Oh! remember he has gone to render an account of that ministry, and to render in his account of the manner in which you have regarded it. Solemn and affecting are the duties in which we are engaged, but how much more solemn and affecting are those in which he is engaged before the throne of his God. We are employed with his mortal remains--he is employed with your immortal souls. Oh! then, humble yourselves in view of your past neglect, wherein you may have failed to receive the Gospel at his lips; and improve the present by that repentance and faith which will enable you to meet him with joy and triumph, with him in eternity. Though dead he yet speaketh. You remember his last sermon. It was from the text--"There remaineth therefore, a rest to the people of God." He thus, as it were, preached his own funeral sermon. He was of that "people," and has entered into his rest;--be ye also of that people, and the rest too shall be yours. Brother, farewell! thou wert faithful in life, righteous and faithful unto death; thou art now crowned with eternal glory. "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."
EXTRACT FROM THE FIRST SERMON Preached in All Saints Church, St. Thomas, after the death of the Rector The Rev. EDMUND RICHARDS, by the present Rector The Rev. W D. DICKENSON DALZELL A. M Job, xiv, 14. "If a man die shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come."
* * I have been induced thus to dwell upon this subject, because there seems to be a happy connection existing between it, and the much to be lamented death of your late beloved and devoted Pastor. This, I believe, is the first occasion on which you have had the privileges of a regular Ministry since it pleased God to call him away, and feelings solemn and deep, and full of sorrow, must naturally present themselves to your minds, in connection with the last time, on which you were privileged to hear his voice speaking to you from this sacred spot. How great then should be your, comfort, while you hear the "Ambassador" of Jesus [12/13] Christ declare the blessedness of such as die in the Lord, to know that he died in the "true and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life." I feel how inadequate are my powers to express as I would wish, all that I know can be said of that most devoted Minister of Jesus Christ. It was my happiness to know a little of him, my misfortune that I did not know more, but from personal experience during the short time I had the happiness of his acquaintance; and the unanimous testimony of such as had ample opportunity to judge of his character; I feel, I may with the greatest certainty that can attach to human knowledge, pronounce him to have been one of those who wait for the coming of their Lord, with their loins girded, and their lamps trimmed and burning brightly. Zealous and devoted as a Minister of the Cross; deeply pious and exemplary in his walk and conversation; in private life, he has gone to reap the reward of his well doing.
It perhaps does not come within my province to speak of the trials through which he passed but a short time previous to his death,--upon that subject therefore, I shall say nothing more than that those trials seem to have been appointed, to show more conspicuously the brightness of his virtues--his unconquerable desire to subdue and overcome rampant vice--and his willingness to die a martyr to the cause of his Lord and Master.
But while I point out to you the comfort to be felt in the death of such as he was, and now is, I must not omit to recall to your minds the many privileges you enjoyed under his Ministry. Reflect for a moment on his undaunted and open reproof of sin, together with his faithful and never tiring exertions to instruct all who were committed to his care, and you will allow with me that great were your privileges, and great has been your loss. Permit me then, brethren, in the most earnest manner, to ask each one of you, did you receive his teaching in the true spirit of Christian love, looking up to him as a flock should look up to their Pastor; and has the high and holy aim he had in view, been in any measure accomplished?
I know the Ministers of Jesus Christ are but sowers of the seed, and it remains with God to water the soil that it may give of its increase. But that seed must be welcomed by the soul; and you who hear, and are taught, must yourselves seek for the fructifying spirit of grace. Have you done this? Did you listen to his warnings with the conviction that he uttered truth, and had at heart the happiness of your souls? His reproofs--his rebukes--his exhortations--were these heeded and attended to? Oh, my brethren, I warn you, if such a Ministry as it pleased God to bless you with in his ability and faithfulness, was treated with indifference or neglect, fearful will be the account you will have to render for it. More tolerable shall it be for the land of [13/14] Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement, than for those who thus despise the Ministry of reconciliation.
I solemnly trust, however, it may be otherwise, and that in many cases, the seed sown in the heart by him, will yet spring up and bring forth fruit, in some thirty, in some sixty, in some an hundred fold; so, that in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming, ye may prove to be his joy and crown of rejoicing.
Finally, I should be but partially discharging the solemn duty I have undertaken, in speaking to you of him, if I did not call your attention to the warning you have all had in his death. The sacred Scriptures frequently, and solemnly warn us, of the shortness and uncertainty of life, and the frequent suddenness of death: and our own daily observation, affords the most convincing testimony to the truth of those warnings. Now such an instance has been presented to your notice in the death of your Pastor. A few days before his mortal remains were consigned to the grave, lie gave promise of a long and useful life, a few more and the body has returned to dust, and the spirit to God who gave it. What does this say to you? It enforces, with awful voice of warning, the exhortation of Scripture, "Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh." It says to each one of you, prepare to meet thy God, watch, and wait for your change that must so soon come.
EXTRACT FROM A FUNERAL SERMON Preached in St. Paul's Church, Frederiksted, on the 22d Sunday
after Trinity 1852, by the Rector of St. John's.
Psalms xlvi, 10. "Be still and know that I am God.''
The sad funeral emblems which surround us, your sanctuary shrouded in mourning, a spectacle so strange and unusual to us, indicate that you have suffered a public bereavement of no ordinary nature, and while they account for my presence here this morning, will also prepare you for what I have to say.
Bidden here to-day, to assist in paying a tribute of respect to the memory of your lamented Pastor, by an effort to improve the solemn dispensation to your spiritual edification--to do in fact for him, what a few days since, I had thought far more probable that he should have done for me; I feel almost awed into silence by the startling and appalling nature of this Providence. I seem to hear coming from the Heavens--issuing out from Jehovah's throne, the command "Be still and know that I am God," and gladly would I obey the voice--grief should be silent if it could. Jesus could weep at the grave of Lazarus, but he must still proclaim the resurrection and the life, and preach the Gospel of salvation by which alone they are secured, and his ambassadors, charged with the same message of glad tidings to sinful, dying men, must conquer nature, and minister comfort and consolation to others, when we have so much need ourselves.
It is marvellous Brethren, how prone we are to lose sight of the fact that we are mortal. We hear the death-bell toll, we [15/16] follow the ashes of a fellow mortal to the tomb, and perhaps breathe a sigh or shed a tear to human vanity; but we have not retained the impression to which the mournful scene has given rise. The cares or pleasures of life have again called for our whole attention, and we have again given it them. In one short day we have forgotten that man is mortal and his life vanity; we have forgotten that the same death-bell will shortly toll for us, and that our own bodies must soon be a tenant of the dark and silent grave. When old men die we almost forget why they die; we look on them as worn out, and regard their death as the natural termination of past years of labor and sorrow.
In compassion therefore to our thoughtless hearts, our Heavenly Father sometimes steps out of the track of his ordinary dealings with us, and by some sudden and awful stroke forces them upon our recollection--he makes his Providence preach them to us in a voice so loud that we all must hear it, and so plain that all must understand it. It is when the young, the robust, the strong man dies, that we are forced to remember what death really is. We cease then to talk of nature--the awful truth comes out--death is the work of sin. It is what the Bible calls its "wages."
Such a blow, Dear Brethren, has just been struck within your parish--yea, almost within this sanctuary. Your Pastor, God's devout and faithful servant, usually so full of life and health, of hope and joy, while reading the morning sacrifice of prayer, is stricken--the congregation is dismissed in haste--the strong hale man that was, is weakness now, and on trembling limbs he seeks his home, his chamber, his couch; only to be returned here again before another Sabbath dawned, a cold inanimate, putrifying corpse. Dear as that glowing countenance once was, you now gladly hasten to bury the loathsome object out of sight.
O my Brethren, how we ought to hate sin which has wrought such a change as this! O how I wonder that dying men, in a dying world can make so light of sin! And how precious is that Redeemer that offers us salvation from such a curse!
Yes Brethren, that dark and mysterious providence, which the mind neither of men nor of angels can penetrate, has sent death into your midst, in one of its most affecting forms; as a Parish your head baa been suddenly, unexpectedly removed; and you are impressively taught that "in the midst of life we are in death;" you are called upon to remember, that man in "his best estate is altogether vanity."
The sad particulars of this event are familiar to you all: I would feign believe they must have fastened themselves on every mind and deeply affected every heart. Of their consequences to your Parish we can know nothing. They are all hidden behind the veil of futurity, and no human sagacity can penetrate them. There may indeed be mercy in the afflictive dispensation, but as far as our feeble eyes can reach, we see nothing but judgement for the oft afflicted Parish of St. Paul's, in the stroke. May a merciful God grant that it may be otherwise!
This death has overtaken you with surprise, and disappointed your most sanguine hopes and wishes. Alas for the insecurity of life, and the frailty of all human hopes and aspirations! We believe our departed Brother had little expectation of so sudden a summons. But recently conversing with a friend, on the subject of old age, he spoke of the remarkable health which his Father had always enjoyed, and the age he had attained, and concluded [17/18] by saying that he "expected to live to be a very old man." Could we possibly have a more forcible illustration of the truth, "in the midst of life we are in death!"
And though his master's summons came sudden, and perhaps to him unexpected, yet it found him at Ids post, striving to do the work of God with all faithfulness and industry, with his loins girt about, and his light burning, like unto men that wait for their Lord "that when he cometh, and knocketh, they may open to him immediately."
It is to mo a source of extreme regret, that I am in possession of so few facts relating to the history of your late Pastor. I feel, that you may not unreasonably expect to be gratified, on an occasion like the present, with a brief sketch of his life. I have learned that the Rev. JOHN WADE, was born on the 22nd day of May 1808 in Ireland, but in what town or county even, is unknown to me. He was the son of a Captain in the Army, but in what part he was then stationed, I have been unable to learn. For his Father he seems to have ever entertained the most filial affection; I have often heard him speak of his "aged Father," in terms of most respectful veneration and love. And I do not doubt but many of you have heard the same. This venerated parent entered into rest, only a few months before him. He received his academical education, at Trinity College, Dublin, and at the conclusion of his course of collegiate studies, he was led to enter upon theological studies, and prepare for the ministry of the church, at the University. He took the degree of Master of Arts, and was ordained to the ministry, at Trinity College in 1832, so that at his death, he had labored in the ministry twenty years. He served as perpetual curate for fifteen years in [18/19] two parishes in Ireland, ten years in one parish and five years in the other, and received from each testimonials of affection and esteem. He officiated one year in England, and one in Demerara, from whence he came here in January 1850. Of the difficulties he encountered here, of the struggles he made to overcome them, of his multiplied labors, of these things Brethren, I have no need to speak to you. You know them well, and I am persuaded, will keep them in remembrance, and perhaps more vividly, now that he has been taken from you, than you expected. Yes dear Brethren, your beloved Pastor has gone before us to the haven of eternal rest. He cannot return to us, but we shall go to him. He has left here a widow, whom he tenderly and affectionately loved and two infant sons, the pledges of love, and he has left behind in his native land, a dear and aged mother, three kind and fond sisters, who are as yet ignorant of their loss; but to whom the intelligence of his sudden demise in a foreign land will be sad, heart-rending news!
Yes Beloved, your Pastor is gone. He has died, as it were among strangers, far from many at least, who were nearest and dearest to him. The new and endearing ties which were forming around him here, have been suddenly broken, and the fond expectations of his heart are blighted, for which he risked health and life itself. And this too when to all appearance, he was able to do most for the Gospel of Christ, when his power of usefulness seemed most extended, then it is that God interposes and removes him. O how loudly is the Almighty Jehovah calling us off from every earthly dependance by that solemn dispensation which has assembled us here to-day! You see that he has laid in the dust--your Pastor, your head, one who seemed [19/20] destined to be a blessing to your Parish. He seemed to have formed the instrument with peculiar care, and yet we have seen him dash it to the ground in an hour! "Be still and know that I am God" is the admonitory language that comes to you in this providence and comes from heaven. It is God himself that has bereaved you, through whatever second causes he has inflicted the blow. It is not the work of chance, It is the work of that God, without whom not a sparrow falls to the ground, much less a rational and immortal creature. He has the keys of death and never for a moment trusts them out of his hands--the door of the sepulchre is never unlocked but by himself. Every instance of mortality--for instance that solemn one which has assembled us here to-day, is a separate decision of infinite wisdom. He has done it for your good. He is a just and wise God, yea and merciful too, and doth not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. But this bereavement has been sent to warn you, to make you think and feel, to teach you lessons which from some cause, you had refused to learn. Be still therefore and know that he is God, who doeth his will among the armies of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth, nor allows any one to say unto him, What doest thou? Do not then Dear Brethren, contend with God.--Yield to his sovereign will--bow down before him with unqualified submission and find relief in acquiescence. Think of his unerring wisdom. He cannot mistake. He does nothing in haste--nothing in ignorance. He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. He fills every thing with the product of his all-wise mind--even your bitter cup of sorrow. "Verily he is a God that hideth himself;" but it is in the secret place of his infallible wisdom. "His judgments are a great deep;" but it is a depth of [20/21] unfathomable knowledge. There is some wise end to be answered in your bereavement. He may not and perhaps will not reveal it to us now, for reasons which he can justify; but if it were proper or possible for us to know it we should exclaim: Oh! the depth of the riches both of his wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out. If Brethren, you could see the wisdom of his plans, and it were then left to your choice, to take back your Pastor from the Grave, you would not dare do it. You would see that God is good as well as wise, and that his wisdom is employed for the good of his creatures. God, Brethren, is the best and only infallible teacher. "None teacheth like him." The Bible of course contains the fullest and clearest revelation of his will; but it is corroborated and illustrated by the works of nature, and the dispensations of Providence. Events are full of instruction. "Hence" saith the prophet, "the Lord's voice cometh unto the city: hear ye the rod and who hath appointed it." Yes, Brethren, every rod as well as every word has a voice, and it becomes us to listen to it. Open your eyes and read the lessons inscribed on the Grave of your Pastor. Desire to learn--be willing to learn; for there is much need of our learning, from the sorrowful scenes through which we have been and are still passing. Surely when God takes such methods to teach, we should be willing to learn. You have leaned on an arm of flesh and it has failed you, now turn to the arms of the omnipotent spirit. Say "thy will be done" and then draw his everlasting arms under you. The Pastor upon whom you leaned has gone over Jordan. Let another arm mightier than his sustain you. You are not alone; the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls,--Our Heavenly Pastor, the [21/22] "Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge." Oh for a firm unwavering faith! With this we may rejoice when our friends are taken from the stormy ocean to the peaceful haven,--from the weary wilderness to the happy home--from the field of conflict to the crown of victory. With this firm undoubting faith we may trace with holy courage, our own way through the same tribulations to the same glorious recompence of reward.
Let us, dear Brethren, think much and often of the blessedness of those whose removal we lament; of the certainty of the promise that "all things shall work together for good to them that love God." Of the rapid approach of that hour which will unite us eternally to those in Christ whom we love, of the danger of procrastination, and of the suffering life on earth of our glorious High Priest and Head; and his assurance that it is through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God. Be assured, my Brethren, if we are Christians, there is a glorious prospect before us. As much of the good things of this life, as an infinitely wise and kind Father sees to be good for us, and hereafter an eternity of unmingled, ineffable bliss!
Dear Brethren, there is one upon whom this desolating stroke has fallen with unmitigated force! What the church has lost in the death of your Pastor, in his unreserved consecration of himself to his work--his love to the poor--his fervent prayers; God knows: but what she has lost in that man of God, that amiable companion, that faithful friend, that prudent counsellor, that devoted husband: God only can tell. Here is a desolation that we can neither estimate nor conceive of. He who in relation to her, united the husband and pastor is removed. He whose love in her own house was her solace as a wife, and whose sermons in [22/23] this sanctuary were her comfort as a Christian, is gone for ever. She is truly now, the centre of that grief of which the congregation are the wide circle. When her husband, your Pastor died, the means of her support died with him. All her prospects have faded away--the sun of her prosperity has set upon his grave! Shall the surviving partner of your late lamented Pastor be neglected, and his children forsaken? In entering upon this part of our subject, we shall read a passage from the 4th chapter of 2d Kings, from 1-7 verses. * * * *
THE following is taken from the "St. Croix Avis," of 26th October 1852:--
DIED on Friday afternoon, the 22nd instant, of Fever, at the Parsonage, the Reverend John Wade, A. M., Rector of St. Paul's Church, Frideriksted. His remains were interred at the church on Saturday, attended by a very large concourse of sorrowful friends, parishioners and citizens. Mr. Wade was born in Ireland--came to this Island in January 1850--was aged 44--and had been in the ministry 20 years.
On Sunday morning at St. John's Church, the Rector, addressed the congregation in the following words:--
Dear Brethren,--The stern "king of terror's" death is very busy all around us; yea, in our very midst, teaching and enforcing the impressive lesson, that "in the midst of life we are in death." Another worthy Brother and zealous co-laborer in the ministry has fallen beneath his relentless stroke and entered into rest. It is very difficult even for the minds of those of us, who have been to the house of mourning and even assisted at the burial, to realise the startling fact, that the Rev. Mr. Wade, who seemed so full of health and the promise of a long life, is dead: but even so it is; his soul has passed into the spirit world--ascended to God who gave it, and the grave has closed over his mortal body. We, Brethren, shall see him no more, till the resurrection of the just. His memory and the fruits of his great services and unreserved labors, alone remain to us; in these services and labors, yon brethren, have participated. You can testify how promptly and faithfully he ministered to you for four months, without omitting any of the duties of his own parish--how unreservedly he gave himself and spent his great [23/24] strength--not in amassing wealth--not to gain the perishable, but to win souls to Christ. Equal zeal and self-devotion, combined with equal physical strength and energy are too seldom united. Scarcely a day passed that he was not visiting some part of his parish and mingling with all classes of his people. On the very day of the evening of the Commencement of his sickness, he had been visiting a poor sick laborer on a distant estate and passed several hours there. He added to the morning service an evening service on Sunday, with an evening service during the week. But what has seemed to me a greater marvel and often awakened my warm admiration of Mr. Wade was the readiness and efficiency with which he adapted himself to the difficulties and peculiarities of a voluntary congregation. Educated under the auspices of a richly endowed church; whose ministers are placed beyond dependance on their people for support, and for many years serving in that ministry--he entered energetically upon what was emphatically the great difficulty of his parish--a great difficulty in fact of all voluntary congregations, and carried it on with a success, that few, if any, who have been accustomed to the voluntary system could have surpassed, while we believe not one in a hundred of those brought up in an endowed church would have equalled. You must remember brethren, that God makes use of various instruments for the building up of his kingdom on earth and none of these are perfect. The zealous, resolute and stout-hearted Paul the impetuous and impatient Peter the mild, loving, lamb-like John. Each with infirmities peculiar to himself and incident to human nature. To say that our departed Brother may not have had infirmities would be to exalt him from a man and the infirmities of a man into the perfections of a God. He possessed in an eminent degree some of the first requisites of an efficient minister--firmness mingled with kindness--a disregard of the world's opinion--implying a strong and undoubting faith--and an entire and unreserved consecration of his talents and great strength to the winning of souls to Christ. I fear it will be long before his bereaved parish will find another Pastor to equal him in these virtues. But Brethren, my heart is too full--too sad indeed to do more this morning than pay this passing tribute--I attempt no sketch of his life at present, I only ask dear Brethren, What mean these sad, these unusual deaths of the Pastors of your Church? A Mines, a Richards, a Wade--Brother Ministers who seem but yesterday to have been standing in this pulpit where I now stand, have all been called home to that rest which remaineth for the people of God, in three consecutive months. I ask again Brethren, What mean these judgements beginning at the house of God? Are the righteous taken from the evil to come, and are we spared that we may endure more evil days, and more trying times? Be it our's Brethren to humble ourselves in prayer and self abasement under the mighty hand of God, and be still, [n health and strength, (for in sickness we see, that we shall have no time) let us prepare to meet our God.
EXTRACT FROM A FUNERAL SERMON Preached on the 24th Sunday after Trinity 1852 in St. Paul's
Church, Frederiksted, on the occasion of the death of its former
Pastor The Rev. FLAVEL S. MINES,
BY THE RECTOR OF ST. JOHN'S. Revelations, 14, 13,
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them."
Were a stranger to come into this Church this morning, and observe the sad symbols of grief and sorrow, the mourning with which your sanctuary is dressed, he would very naturally conclude, that death bad been at work in your midst, and as too often happens, had selected some high and shining mark for his arrow--he would probably think of some public benefactor called away, or what might seem more probable,--the Shepherd of the flock removed; and although in the last instance, he would have judged rightly, still he would be at fault; he would have surmised but half the truth. He would have no suspicion of the fact, that these sad funeral emblems signify a double sorrow, and indicate a double bereavement. [The congregation had heard of the death of the Rev. Mr. Mines, and had prepared to show their respect for him by dressing their Church in mourning; and had asked the Rev. Mr. Wade to notice his death in his sermon on the following Sunday. Mr. Wade was taken ill on Friday evening, and the dressing the church in black was deferred in consequence. On Sunday morning he was under the impression that it had been done, and rather than disappoint his people, he imprudently and against the advice of his physician ventured out to church. He broke down in the Morning Service and died on the following Friday--so that St. Paul's was dressed in mourning; for two Pastors at the same time. The Reading Desk, Pulpit, Chancel, the front of the Galleries, the Chandeliers, and Pillars of the Church were dressed with appropriate mourning for Rev. Mines, and to mark their respect for Rev. Wade, they dressed the Rector's pew with black, and laid the aisles throughout the church with black cloth.] Certainly it is a very remarkable fact, [25/26] well calculated to arrest your serious attention--a very extraordinary Providence, that has ordered your church into mourning, for two Pastors on the sane day, and no doubt it was and still is intended to convey to you an impressive lesson of the frailty and vanity of human life. Two weeks since, on the first occasion of your assembling for divine worship, since the death of the worthy Pastor, who died in your midst, we paid, as best we could, an imperfect tribute to his memory; and now as is fitting, we come here to-day, to remember with affection and gratitude the other. "Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead." The faithful and devout servant whose loss you now mourn, my Brethren, it was once your privilege to know, ns a Minister of God among you. For nearly six years, the Reverend Mr. Mines, ministered at this altar, and proclaimed from this pulpit, the resurrection and the life, and preached the Gospel of Reconciliation, by which alone they are secured; for nearly six years he is remembered as your highly esteemed, beloved and honored Pastor. It is no elicit proof, of the hold he had of your affections; of the esteem in which he was held among you, that years have not cooled your love, and that his services and labors have not been forgotten in love and esteem for his successors. That the respect and esteem cherished for one Pastor, should be transferred to another--his successor, is perfectly right and proper; but then, it generally happens, that this is so absolutely and effectually done, as to cause the absent to be quite forgotten, in respect and affection for the present. That this has not been the case with you Brethren, in the present instance, is highly creditable to you. You would not claim for him perfection or entire freedom from infirmities; but it is your [26/27] happiness to know, that he spent his life in the church, which he devoutly loved and fearlessly served, and that he died at last, faithfully ministering at her altars. Few Pastors have ever been more adoringly beloved, than the Reverend Mr. Mines was, by the whole of this then large congregation, during the greater part of his Ministry here. You certainly valued and loved his Ministry while he lived among you; and it did seem, as if he had prepared for himself an imperishable monument in every heart, and you, dear Brethren, have come here to-day to demonstrate, that he is still gratefully remembered by you, on whose hallowed recollections he has many and strong claims. Many of you were led by his faithful preaching, to seek an interest in the Saviour--were led to assume your Baptismal vows in Confirmation, and were admitted to the table of the Lord, to commemorate his death and passion--many were joined in the bands of holy wedlock--and many of the children of your Sunday School, were brought to the font and received at his hands the Baptism of Regeneration. And in grateful remembrance of all these privileges and blessings, you have called upon me, a Brother in the same ministry, whom he once sent to minister among you, for a short period, during a temporary absence, to assist in paying a tribute of respect, to his memory, by an attempt to improve the solemn dispensation of his death to your spiritual edification.
Whilst to discharge this duty is to me a labor of love, I cannot but feel conscious how inadequately it must necessarily be performed, for the want of that time and seclusion, which from the pressure of Parochial duties, I have been unable to command, but which would be necessary, in order to do justice to so able and talented a Divine. In your presence however, who knew [27/28] him so well, who have so often listened to his fervent eloquent advocacy of His Master's cause, I feel that this ability is the less necessary, and that your warm recollections will do much to supply the preacher's deficiencies.
The Rev. Flavel S. Mines died in San Francisco on the 5th of Aug. last, "and although his death had long been a familiar contemplation to himself, from the precariousness of his health, and of painful apprehension to his relations and friends, still it has overtaken us, at least, if not with surprise, yet with the disappointment of our hopes and wishes, and with a sorrow less keen indeed, but as tender and unfeigned, as if there had been no preparation for the sad event." Like your late pastor, he has died as it were, "in a strange land, far from many at least, who were nearest, and dearest to him, from the home of his childhood--the scenes of his youth and all the objects and associations of his later years. The new and endearing ties which were forming around him have been broken, and his fondest expectations blighted, and this too when his difficulties, trials and perplexities, were well nigh over, when his efforts, in a measure had been crowned with success, and he was just about to see the fruits of his labors in the church which he had planted" on the shores of the Pacific, and which God had graciously vouchsafed to bless.
The following sketch is from an obituary notice, which I find in the New York Churchman, and is believed to be written by the excellent Rector of Trinity Church, New York, the Rev. Dr. Berrian, being over the well-known initials, W. B.:--
"Flavel S. Mines was born in Virginia. He was the son of a Presbyterian clergyman, for whom he entertained not only the filial affection which is an instinct of our nature as well as our duty, but that honor and reverence which even overruled, for a time, the convictions of his conscience, and formed the chief obstacle to the adoption and avowal of the opinions and views, which, in later life lie so tenaciously held and ably defended. He received his Academical education at [28/29] Princeton College, and being devoutly disposed and anxious to consecrate his life to the glory of the Giver, at the conclusion of his course, he entered the Theological Seminary at that place, in order to prepare himself for the Presbyterian ministry. In what estimation he was held as a scholar, or what promise he gave of usefulness and distinction as a divine, the writer of this sketch is unable to state. But that he stood well in both respects, it is fair to infer, from the rapidity with which he rose in his profession, and from the position and influence which he attained in this great metropolis, at a very early period of his life.
He entered it is said upon the exercise of his ministry before he had reached the age of maturity, and in a very few years he had gained such a measure of popular favor and such an established reputation in the community at large, as to give no small degree of weight and importance to his opinions. The first expression of them in print, to which the writer's attention was drawn, was in a discourse on some of the questions which were then agitating intensely the Religious body, with which he was connected, and this was he sober in its tone, so Church-like in its spirit, and so conformable in many respects to our own views, as to inspire the hope at the time, though it was long deferred, that we should eventually be enabled to count him as our own.
It was perhaps indeed, the first outward indication of that struggle which for a long time had been going on in his mind, and which continued for years to harass and disquiet him, before he settled down in thorough conviction and unalterable peace. The motives by which he was led to change his opinions and views are set forth with great beauty and force, in a work which he published entitled, "A Presbyterian Clergyman looking for the Church," and no one perhaps who had not been nurtured in her bosom, was ever more thoroughly imbued with her spirit.
The change however, was attended with such struggles and sacrifices for conscience sake as are rarely made, having no promise at the time, and meeting with no fulfilment afterwards, of any other reward. He suffered of course in the estimation of those whom he left, and though he met in the Church very generally with a cordial welcome, yet he was wounded also in the house of his friends. The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy. From his meekness and forbearance, I doubt not, that he prayed for the forgiveness of those who aggravated the one, and from his warm and grateful feelings, invoked blessings on those who in any way ministered to the increase of the other.
In the outset of his ministry in the Church of his adoption, he was engaged for a while as an Assistant to the Rev. Dr. Milnor in St. George's Chapel, with entire satisfaction, as it believed to the Rector, and great acceptableness to the people. Indeed he had that fervid eloquence, that teeming imagination, that beauty of thought, and felicity of expression, and at the same time that earnestness of manner and entire absorption in the subject he was treating, which are so apt to carry away the mind of the hearer, and to disarm it at once both of prejudice and pride.
A short time after this temporary engagement, he received an invitation to a Parish at Santa Cruz, one of the Danish West India Islands, where he remained for several years. At his entrance upon his duties, he found it in a state of the utmost neglect and depression, calling for [29/30] all his activity, energy and zeal in order to revive it, and for the exercise of the greatest wisdom and discretion in the correction of the social abuses which had been hitherto kept up, in connection at least with the show of religion, though in violation of its fundamental precepts. [While Mr. MINES deserves all that is said of him, the writes says a little too much, about the state of neglect, and depression of St. Paul's the Parish had been faithfully served by his predecessor the Rev. B. LUCKOCK, who established the Sunday School and left it in a very prosperous state, and he also did much for the improvement of the morals of his people, to which Mr. MINES bore ample testimony in his first or second sermon after his arrival.] In the loose notions which had heretofore existed, to a considerable extent at least, on the subject of marriage, he brought about by his prudent & unremitted efforts such a reformation, as to conduce to the virtue and happiness of multitudes who had previously lived in a state of utter degradation."
Of his arrival here, in a state of health too feeble to enter upon the duties of the Parish for several weeks--of the severe attack of fever that was near terminating his life then; with these things, Brethren, you are well acquainted. The external improvements of the Parish during his ministry, were the enclosure of the grounds around the church,--the addition of the Northern Porch--the extension of the galleries--the repainting of the interior--the procuring of a bell, the organ,--the chandeliers and the Tablets containing the commandments &c., and best of all, an asylum for the poor and sick of the Parish.
His influence was exerted in the happiest manner over the intelligent and the refined, by his popular eloquence, by the urbanity of his manners and the overflowing kindness of his heart, but over the laboring population and the poor, his influence seemed absolutely unbounded. You Brethren, can testify how great was your attachment and that occasions were not wanting, when this feeling found a spontaneous, and sometimes rather tumultuous manifestation--such for instance, as his return to the Island, after a short absence. Under his care, the Sunday Schools of the Parish enjoyed a degree of prosperity never before equalled--the confirmations wove large, and I believe the number of communicants more than doubled.
But it was in the chamber of the sick, when ministering the consolations of our religion to the sick and the dying, that his presence was most welcome. You Brethren, who have seen him enter a sick room find witnessed the tenderness of his sympathising heart, the holy and consoling influence which his presence shed around, will not easily forgot the scene.
As time passed on in successful labors here, his children were progressing in years, without any suitable means in the Island for their education; and his own health, though greatly improved by his residence hero, required long seasons of relaxation.
From these circumstances he was induced to resign the charge of this parish and return to the North,--a charge that had been so much endeared to him, and in which his labors and services had been so signally blessed.
"In New York and its vicinity he remained without any settled views, or fixed position for a considerable time. At this very period, the new discovery of the West had been made, of a golden region which far exceeded the wonders of the past, and offered to human cupidity a vision of the future, in all its wildness. It awakened at once in his own mind a spiritual vision of greater brightness, and presented to his warm and enthusiastic imagination an enchanting reality, which he himself might be permitted to accomplish. His first thoughts on this subject were committed, as is believed, to the writer of this notice, and then communicated to several of his friends, who adopted them with earnestness and zeal, imparted them with warmth and interest unto others, and speedily reduced them to practical effect.
By stirring appeals to our people, an outfit was procured for his transmission to the scene of his labors, and an additional sum was provided for his support, till he could be conveniently sustained by those who whom he was sent. He set forth therefore, in all the confidence of faith and buoyancy of hope for the accomplishment of an object beset with difficulties, which might have driven other minds to despair, but roused his only to greater exertion. He was thwarted in the very outset by conflicting plans for the same benevolent purpose. He found society in a state of complete disorganization, piety in its just influences but little understood, morals debased and decorum itself almost unknown. But he labored faithfully amidst this incongruous mass, carefully [31/32] separated the ore from the dross, and finally gathered together a congregation comparatively precious in the sight of the Lord, who had freely of their substance built an house for His honor, who had provided abundantly for the support of His ministering servant, mid who had thus given to God the first fruits of their labors, and the encouraging promise in their lives themselves, of better things to came.
But at this very point, when long-baffled and fruitless efforts had been brought to a successful if sue, when hope was about to be realized, and desire fulfilled, and the last, great purpose of his being accomplished; his frail body gave way, and his spirit returned unto God who gave it. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them." W. B.
Yes Beloved Brethren, our lamented Brother's works will follow him. His labors in planting the first Church in San Francisco,--a Church that must become the metropolitan Church, of the metropolitan city of the Pacific,--are labors that will bear abundant fruit in future ages. It is from the shores of the Pacific that the hundreds of millions of heathen Asia are to be christianised, and this is the glorious vision that our Brother beheld. "It is westward the course of Empire takes its way:" and Christianity also. The course of the Christian religion has ever been from East to West, and already a commercial intercourse has sprung up, that is weakening the barriers that have for so many ages effectually shut out Christianity from the kingdoms of the Emperor of the San, and from the worshippers of Buddha. With what wonder and astonishment do the Christian nations of the Earth behold this new and strange sight,--a voluntary emigration from China. Attracted by the marvellous accounts of Gold a steady tide of emigration is setting from China to California, in spite of the threats and prohibitory decrees of the Emperor of the Sun; already thousands of Chinese,--50,000 it is said, are scattered through the cities and over the valleys of that rising state. Already a heathen temple is rising, built by these worshippers of Buddha, in the valley of the Sacramento, side by side of the [32/33] Christian Churches there. Here then is to be the great battle-field between Christianity and Heathenism. And can any one doubt for a moment, the result of a contest waged between truth and error, under the favorable auspices of a free government--free institutions--a free press, and equal freedom in religion,--with no arbitrary decrees to oppress and banish the teachers of Christianity, or to intimidate believers. Who can estimate the reflex influence upon Asia itself, of the thousand converted Christians that shall return to their homes and kindred, carrying with them the glad tidings of salvation.
Yes Dear Brethren, He whose manly voice once proclaimed within these walls, the distinct teachings of evangelical truth, who was once a familiar form moving about among us here, and whom we to-day gratefully remember, will be most fully appreciated and most gratefully remembered, in the glorious future of the inhabitants now peopling the shores of the Pacific. The labors of the Golddigger may perish, but the labors of the Missionary--the seed he has sown shall continue to bear fruit, not only through the ages of time, but, through the countless ages of eternity. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them."
Of the last hours of the Rev. Mr. Mines, the following extracts from two letters that have been published, is all that I know. The first service in his new church of the Trinity, San Francisco, was held on the third Sunday in January, of the present year. A letter published soon after says, "we worshipped in our New Church last Sunday, I assure you we are all greatly delighted; there seems to be very general satisfaction. We had [33/34] a most delightful service--the church was crowded--Mr. Mines preached on the occasion, a very long and earnest sermon; one that gave universal satisfaction, though it was very severe, and for once at least the people heard very plain truth." I have since been told that the effort he made that day was so great, that many feared that he would not survive through the night. His strength never returned again.--"He officiated only a few times afterwards.--He made many unsuccessful efforts and repeatedly fainted when attempting to read the service. Kneeling produced suffocation. He was extremely anxious to preach on Easter Sunday and used every precaution to husband his strength for the effort. He prepared his sermon--a brother clergyman road the service, Mr. Mines arose, his desire to again plead with his flock seeming about to be gratified; but his voice failed him, not a word could he utter. It was the last time he appeared before his people."
The following affecting account of his last hours, is contained in a letter from San Francisco, dated August 11.
"Our Rev. and beloved Brother, Flavel S. Mines, departed this life on Thursday evening, the 5th, at a little past 9 o'clock. His last sickness was protracted more than eight months, although from first to last without local pain. The consumption of his lungs was gradual and finally entire. A distressing cough and increasingly difficult breathing with large expectoration, were the prominent features of his illness; but both cough and expectoration diminished gradually as his end drew near, until shortness of breathing, daily and at length hourly admonished us of the final scene. He died without a struggle, or even a motion of the limbs. His breathing ceased, and he was gone. But when a brother dies, we always feel disposed to know HOW he died. Did he realize the consolation of faith?--In this it is my rare privilege to assure you, having enjoyed from the first the unrestricted intimacy of that sacred chamber of death, and an unreserved communication of his holiest and heartfelt emotions, until having knelt alone with him and his consort by his bedside, in the use of the "Prayer commendatory for a sick person at the point of departure," he died, as I uttered the works "PRESENTED PURE AND WITHOUT SPOT BEFORE THEE." You well know his clear perception of things, his calm demeanor under all circumstances, and his warm but ever chastened exhibition of mind and heart--so characterised were [34/35] all his spiritual expressions. He fully exemplified upon his death bed all he had inculcated of the consolations of faith from the pulpit, and taught us there how a Christian, and a minister of Christ should die. During many weeks he received the Holy Eucharist at my hands every Thursday morning, and those Communion seasons, I am free to say were the holiest and most precious I have ever witnessed or enjoyed--at every successive occasion, his aspiration rose higher, and appeared more holy, until it became manifest, that he had quite overcome the world and vanquished the king of terrors. On the day of his decease, as I entered in the morning for my usual Thursday's office, he took me warmly by the hand, and with a smile which I can never forget, drew me down (for he could speak only in a whisper) and said, "brother it is the last time." The solemn service over, he beckoned his little boy to him, and laid his hands upon his head, and prayed with and for him. It was indeed the blessing of a dying father.--But I am entering perhaps too minutely into a detail of the scenes of that sacred retreat, the holy chamber whence the good man's soul took its flight from earth. My mind reverts to that chamber by day and by night, and never, to my latest breath, can I forget those scenes; I love to dwell on them. They form an era in my life, a privilege rare beyond description. His mind was never more sound, healthy and clear than during all his last sickness; and without any ecstacies, calm, placid and serene, he stepped, without one fear or misgiving, from time into eternity, from earth to heaven. So let me die.
Of his labours, privations, and success in San Francisco, you will learn in detail hereafter. Suffice it for the present to say, he shrunk from no toil or privation in his Master's cause, evening, morning, and at noon day, until he had gathered around him a large congregation, not inferior in intelligence to any one I have ever seen; and had erected a fine, large church edifice, filled to overflowing, and entirely free from debt--in which he was allowed TO PREACH BUT ONCE before being prostrated on his bed of death. He died universally beloved and respected, and of course lamented. His funeral, which took place on Sunday last, was attended by an immense congregation of hearty mourners, and we laid him down under the chancel of his Church, to rest till the great resurrection in the last day."
Thus dear Brethren, died our beloved and honored Brother. And is there one heart here to-day that does not respond--in the language of inspiration--"Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." His death--so calm--so peaceful! He indeed "fell asleep.'' He tasted not the bitterness of death. He relied on the power and grace of that Saviour, in whom he had trusted through life, and the glory and efficacy of whose cross he had so anxiously labored to commend to others. He had lived by the faith and he died in the hope of the Gospel, [35/36] gently breathing out his spirit, without a struggle or a sigh, into the hands of the Chief Shepherd. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth.'' Precious and consolatory truth! "To depart" from the body "and to be with Christ is far better." Blessed assurance! How consonant, with the anxious wishes and hopes of all who look forward to a blessed immortality, that, to the saints--death is neither the interruption, nor even the suspension of life; but the beginning of a new and nobler life--a life of purity and happiness which shall have neither interruption nor end. They realise the truth of these solemn and consoling words, "I am the resurrection and the life."
In conclusion, Beloved Brethren, suffer from me a word of exhortation. Standing as it were by the side of the Graves of two of your Pastors, let me exhort you to unity and Christian love. If there have been divisions in your Parish--if there have been party feuds--if there have been heart burnings and unseemly strife--if there have been personal animosities and detraction--let them all descend into the grave of oblivion, with this day's service. These things belong not to the Christian. Who so ready to shew mercy as they who have obtained it? to bear with the offences of others and forgive them? and what could grieve the spirits of the departed dead more, than the consciousness that their infirmities or errors, were made the occasion of perpetuating divisions and animosities? Let me implore you for the sake of the souls of all around you--especially of the poor and the ignorant--for the sake of your own souls also, to exert each of you, your influence and time, talents and wealth for the prosperity of the Parish, and the schools connected with it. Let evil-speaking cease, and [36/37] study to be quiet and zealous in the discharge of the duties of your sphere--"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them."
Oh Brethren! "Happy are the people that are in such a case." Yea labor while this fleeting, transitory scene lasts, to possess the blessedness of so living, as to be prepared to die in the Lord!--of so living, as to escape the misery, of making your grave with the hopeless dead.
Appendix. English Churches in the Danish W. I. Colonies. Lord Bishop of Antigua, The Right Rev. Daniel Gateward Davis, D.D., Administering the Diocese. The Rev. Fletcher J. Hawley, A.M., Rector of St. John's St. Croix.
Vestrymen--James Brown, William Woods, Joseph Abbott, Charles Lucas, Adam Mc'Cutchin, William Beech, Esquires.
There are about 5000 Baptized Members and 1200 Communicants in the Parish.
200 Children in one o'clock school.
420 in the Infant schools.
209 in the Adult schools preparing for confirmation.
829 Total. The whole under the intstruction of 5 Superintendents & 94 Teachers.
The Hon. & Rev. Thomas P. Hodge, Student of Codrington College, Barbadoes--Rector of St. Paul's St Croix.
Vestrymen. George C. P. Woods, David B. Goold, Andrew Ferris, William Peebles, Esquires.
There are about 3000 Baptized Members and 600 Communicants in the Parish.
200 in the Children's school.
300 in the Adult school.
500. The whole under the instruction of 52 Teachers.
ST. THOMAS. The Rev. W. T. Dickinson Dalzell, Rector of All Saints' St. Thomas.
Vestrymen. John P. Wright, M.D., George Tucker, Richard Newton, Fredrick Whitmore, and William Emmerson, Esquires.
There are about 1500 Episcopalians in the Island: about 600 of whom are regular attendants on Public Worship and 417 are Communicants.
106 children in the Bible department.
95 children in the spelling department.
100 children in the Infant department.
50 Adults who are taught their catechism, &c. &c.
351 Total. The whole under the instruction of 39 Teachers.
N.B. These churches are without endowment, and rely entirely on pew rents and offerings for support.
Rectors of St. John's Parish, from the earliest records I can find, to the present time.
The Rev. Cecil Wray Goodchild from 1761 to 1786--died here.
The Rev. William Thomas from 1786 to 1789
The Rev. John Bowden D.D. from 1789 to 1792
The Rev. William Niles from 1792 to 1799
The Rev. Martin Weston from 1799 to 1802
The Rev. James Parsons from 1802 to 1811--died here.
The Rev. William Niles from 1811 to 1813--died here.
The Rev. John Hobson from 1813 to 1818
The Rev. Robert Adams from 1818 to 1820
Vacant from 1820 to 1823 supply from St. Paul's
The Rev. Nathaniel F. Bruce from 1823 to 1825
Vacant from 1825 to 1827 (Rev. N.M. MacLaughlin, Rev. John Toland, Rev. John R. Judge)
The Rev. William Joseph Buckley from 1827 to 1830--died here
The Rev. Benjamin Luckock from 1831 to 1840
The Rev. M. B. Johnson from 1840 to 1845
The Rev. F.J. Hawley from 1845 to --
Rectors of St. Paul's Parish.
Note. Prior to 1819 under the Rector of St. John's.
The Rev. W. Chaderton from 1819 to 1820
The Rev. W. Westerman from 1820 to 1821 died here
The Rev. John R. Judge from 1824 to 1827
Vacant from 1827 to 1831 supply from St. John's
The Rev. B. Luckock from 1831 to 1841
The Rev. Flavel S. Mines from 1842 to 1848
The Rev. W. Allman M.D. from 1848 to 1848
The Rev. J. D. L. M. Moore from 1848 to 1849
Vacant from 1849 to 1850 supply from St. John's
The Rev. John Wade from 1850 to 1852 died here
The Rev. T. P. Hodge from 1853 to --
The Rev. Nicholas McLaughlin from 1820 to 1838 died here
Vacant from 1838 to 1847 supply Rev. Bott, Rev. Johnson, Rev. Hawley
The Rev. J. J. Brandigee from 1847 to 1850
The Rev. G. D. Gittens from 1850 to 1851
The Rev. E. Richards from 1851 to 1852 died here
The Rev. W. T. D. Dalzell from 1852 to --