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My heart is weary of its own deep sin
Sinning, repenting, sinning still alway; When shall my soul thy glorious presence feel,
And find its guilt, dear Saviour, washed away?
Patience, poor soul; the Saviour's feet were worn;
The Saviour's heart and hands were weary too; His garments stained and travel-worn and old,
His sacred eyes blinded with tears for you.
Love thou the path of sorrow that he trod;
and wait in patience for thy rest;
THE PASTOR IN THE WOODS.
HE higher Christian life ” is felt to be a want
by many believers in the Lord Jesus. Where
privileges are so rich, and work for Christ so abundant, there ought to be a higher attainment of spiritual character in order fully to enjoy the advantages offered, and to discharge the spiritual duties required. Those who have lived up to their privileges have hitherto been most honoured in their Master's service. There are many examples to illustrate this in the history of the Church. Not a few of them have lived in the youth and early struggles of American Christianity.
We present a sketch of a “burning and shining light," who shone in the transatlantic Church--in whose brightness many rejoiced while he lived, and by which he, being dead, yet speaketh. WILLIAM TENNENT was the son of a worthy sire, who, with four of his sons, adorned the ministry in America during the eighteenth century. He was born in the county Antrim, Ireland, on the 3d January 1705, and went with his father to Philadelphia in 1718.
The Rev. William Tennent, senior, was a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, but never took a cure of souls in Ireland, on account of his conscientious scruples in reference to the terms imposed upon the clergy. He emigrated to America, where he thought to provide better for his sons, and enjoy greater liberty of conscience for himself. As soon as he landed, he applied to the Synod of Philadelphia to be received into the Presbyterian Church. After satisfying the Synod with regard to his reasons for renouncing the Episcopal Church, he was formally recognised as a minister. He preached at various places during the two succeeding years, but settled at Bensalem and Smithfield in Bucks county, Pensylvania, in 1721. He remained there till 1726, when he was invited to the church at Neshaminy, in the same county. He accepted the invitation, and continued to fulfil his ministry there until his death in 1746. His American biographer informs us that “
some time after his removal to Neshaminy, Mr. Tennent, being deeply impressed with the importance of a well-educated as well as pious ministry, resolved on establishing a school
which young men might acquire the requisite qualifications for the sacred office. He was admirably fitted to conduct such a school, being a fine general scholar, as well as a thoroughly read theologian; and with the Latin language he was so familiar, that he could write and speak it, not only with perfect ease but with remarkable elegance. He is said to have delivered a Latin oration before the Synod, not long after he was admitted a member, which was greatly praised for its correct and splendid diction, and which showed the more finished education, which, at that time, was obtained in the mother country
“Mr. Tennent, with a view to carry his benevolent purpose into effect, erected a humble building, within a few steps of his own dwelling, for the accommodation of those who might offer themselves as students. His kinsman, James Logan, had presented him, in 1728, with fifty acres of land, and on this lot stood the building referred to. His expectations were more than realized; for here, before many years had passed, had been educated a considerable number of the most distinguished Presbyterian ministers of their time. Among them were Tennent's own sons, Samuel and John Blair, William Robinson, &c. It may safely be said that the establishment of this institution, known as the 'Log College,' marked an epoch in the history of clerical education, at least in the Presbyterian Church in this country.”*
He was a man of fervent evangelical piety, and deeply interested in the work of the Lord, and therefore, with his scholarship, admirably qualified to direct the minds of aspirants to the holy ministry. He was one of the first to welcome the great evangelist WHITFIELD on his first visit to Philadelphia, and made a deep impression on his mind. Mr. Whitfield thus refers to this meeting in his journal, “At my return home (from visiting a family) was much comforted by the coming of one Mr. Tennent, an old grey-haired disciple and servant of Jesus Christ. He keeps an academy about twenty miles from Philadelphia, and has been blessed with four gracious sons, three of whom have been, and still continue to be, eminently use ful in the Church of Christ.” Mr. Whitfield paid a visit to his residence, and preached to about three thousand people who had assembled to hear him. He thus records his visit, “ After our exercises were over, we went to old Mr. Tennent's, who entertained us like one of the ancient patriarchs. His wife, to me, seemed like Elizabeth; and he, like Zachary; both so far as I can learn, walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. Though God was pleased to humble my soul, so that I was obliged to retire for a while, yet we had sweet communion with each other, and spent the evening in concerting what measures had best be taken for promoting our dear Lord's kingdom."
* Dr. Sprague's “Annals of the American Pulpit," vol. iii.
His son, William, the subject of this chapter, was early under serious impressions, and aspired to the Christian ministry, in which he had already three brothers. He, as well as they, had the advantage of the “Log College," and their close relationship to its preceptor, for the prosecution of their studies. He had a great thirst for knowledge, and made very respectable acquirements. Ere he entered upon the work of preaching, he went to New Brunswick, where his brother Gilbert was settled, that he might continue his theological studies under his brother's superintendence. “When he left home, his father, with his parting blessing, gave him a small sum of money, telling him, that if he behaved well, it would be all he would need; and if he did not behave well, it was more than he deserved.” While he was resident at his brother's, he was seized with fever, and, after an illness of six weeks, apparently died. His body was laid out, and preparations were made for his interment. But as he was being laid in the coffin, a young doctor_his particular friendaverred that he perceived a tremor in his flesh, and that he was not dead. No other entertained any hope of this, but as the young man's importunity was great, it was