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SKETCH OF FATHER PECK'S LAST SICKNESS. *
[John Mason Peck]
By Rev B. M. Hill
      Elder Peck arrived in the city of New-York for the purpose of making his annual collections for the Home Mission Society, on the ninth of November, 1849, at which time his health appeared to be as good as usual. At the invitation of Mr. Griffith Thomas and lady, who reside nearly opposite the American Baptist Home Mission Booms, in Broome street, he became their guest for the period of his visit, and received from them the most affectionate and assiduous attentions. On the last Lord's day in November (25th,) he preached at the Mariners' church, where, to gratify an old friend who is considerably deaf, he exerted himself to be heard; but complained afterwards that the exertion was too great. and that he had injured himself by it. On the first of December, while sitting in the Home Mission Rooms, he complained of chills and faintness, and retired to his lodgings, where, by the speedy application of remedies, he soon obtained relief, and was able on the following day, (Sunday,) to preach with more than his accustomed vigor, and during the week, was active in the duties of his agency, until Saturday the 8th, when he returned from the upper part of the city, where he had passed the night, and complained of pains and chills, and thought he had taken cold, but believed he should be able to preach on the following day. He was induced to remain in his room, and received the visit of his physician, and attentions of the family; but he was unable to meet his engagements on the Sabbath, and a substitute was provided. From this period, he very gradually failed; but nothing immediately alarming appeared in his case, until Thursday, the 13th, when it was deemed advisable, to provide watchers for the night. His slumbers were calm and sweet except when occasionally interrupted by paroxysms of coughing, during which, he suffered much pain. About four o'clock A. M. of the 14th, a paroxysm of great severity occurred,after which it was evident an unfavorable change had taken place. Of this, he himself seemed conscious, and when able to speak, he repeated to his friend, then in attendance, that sweet passage of Scripture: "My heart and my flesh faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."

      On Saturday morning (l5th) at about one o'clock, the family were aroused by the friend who was in attendance, by the occurrence of alarming
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*This interesting Sketch of Father Peck's last sickness, was kindly prepared by Bro. Hill, the Secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, who was an eye witness of the closing scene.


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symptoms. His physician, the Secretary of the Home Mission Society, and Rev. L. Covell, were immediately summoned, and soon arrived, when it was evident to all, that his end was at hand. His throat was filled, and the fearful death-rattle the thread-like flickering pulse, and cold extremities, told that his moments were but few. From this state he rallied, however, and occasionally conversed with those near him, until about a quarter past nine o'clock, when he asked for water. As it was presented, he requested the physician to raise him up. This being done, he drank, and seemed refreshed; but scarcely had the tumbler been replaced on the table, when his breathing became faint, his pulse imperceptible, and in about fifteen minutes. without the slightest apparent suffering, without even the least distortion of a muscle, his happy spirit departed to its rest.

      It has been represented, that his disease was inflammation of the lungs. This is a mistake. His physician, Dr. Taylor, whom he had always consulted when in the city, considered it a clearly marked case of consumption. It had long existed; but, very gradually developed itself, until recently. On the doctor's first visit, he ascertained that the upper portion of the left lung was entirely consumed. The pulpit effort of the 23rd November, and exposure to a damp and chilly atmosphere on the 7th December, hastened the fatal issue.

      During the visit of Elder Peck, many circumstances conduced to his happiness, and produced unusual cheerfulness in his mind, until his sickness. With the exception of several deaths, which had occurred in the circle of his friends, to which he often feelingly alluded, he found them generally in health and prospering, and was received by them with increased affection and respect. To these, he very cheerfully adverted on the evening of the 6th December, being then seated with the family of Brother Thomas, and received some donations which had been left for him during the day, when he remarked with great gratification of manner, that his visit to the city was among the pleasantest he had ever enjoyed: he had been more successful in his business, and that day, had been especially so. It was the most successful day he had ever experienced.

     Great composure of mind, and reconciliation during his sickness were strikingly prominent. In the early part of the evening of the 13th, he requested that his son, in Hudson, might be written to, and be requested to visit him for the purpose of transacting some business, which no other person understood; but he betrayed no emotion in making the request. The letter being read to him, he composed himself to sleep. Once during that night his mind seemed slightly wandering; but with that exception, was and serene, and with uncomplaining patience, he seemed to acquiesce


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entirely with the Divine will, in the experience of every pang, and the ordering of every circumstance. He remarked to Mr. Thomas, that all his sufferings were just and right, and he could not wish one of them to be removed. In conversation with a friend on Thursday evening the 13th. he was asked what his views were of his present sickness, when. after a moment's hesitation he replied, ''The Lord has often repaired and plastered up the walls of this frail tabernacle of mine; but I think he is now about to take them down." The inquiry was then made, how he felt under such an expectation, when he answered: "I don't enjoy such animated views, as I have sometimes had; but I can still put my trust in the Lord." To the inquiry, whether his own soul found repose in the doctrines he had preached to others, he said, "yes! O, yes," and when asked if he had his life to live over again, and commence with all his present knowledge, whether he thought he could devote so large a portion of it to an agency for the Home Mission Society! He said, "yes, I see nothing to alter in that respect, I have always endeavored to do what seemed to be duty, as I went along."

     His son had not arrived, which, however, he seemed much to desire. About seven o'clock, when relieved much of pain, he enquired of one present, how long the doctor thought he might survive, and was answered that it was considered uncertain, but possibly he might through the day. The announcement seemed somewhat unexpected, and produced a faint and transient start, but he immediately recovered, and lifting both hands, and raising his voice as if in an extacy of feeling, ho exclaimed, "The will of the Lord be done! the will of the Lord be done." Soon after. he gave a few directions to the Secretary of the Home Mission Society, concerning some private affairs, and also concerning his funeral desiring to be interred beside his wife in the churcn-yard at New Woodstock.

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[From Enoch Hutchinson, editor, The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Record, Volume 10, 1851, pp. 122-124. Transcribed by Jim Duvall.]



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