A complete biography of the subject of the present memoir would embrace a history of the Baptist denomination in Central and Western New-York, from its feeblest beginnings up to its present condition of vigorous and expanding prosperity. In reviewing the events of his eminently useful life, we have been struck with the fact, that in almost every public enterprise originated and prosecuted for the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, in connection with the Baptists of New-York during the present century, he bore a prominent and leading part; and that in all, without exception, his counsels were wise and judicious, his labors unremitted and efficient, and his influence pervading and salutary in the highest degree.
He entered upon his ministry about the beginning of the century. in the centre of this great State, and was permitted by a gracious Providence to continue his labors, with scarcely an interruption, for fifty years. Though for thirty-one years the devoted and beloved pastor of a church whose history under his pastorate is marked by frequent and powerful revivals., his labors and influence from the beginning had no merely local character ; but by occasional missionary services, and as a conspicuous actor and officer in various religious enterprises set on foot for the promotion of evangelical truth and piety, were spread more or less over the whole State.
For the last fifteen years of his life, as the General Agent of the State Convention, and then of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, he was enabled to exert a wider and more diffusive influence over the churches, and upon the interests of the denomination generally, than perhaps any other single individual. The life of such a man is intimately and inseparably interwoven with the history of the denomination within the sphere of his personal labors, and cannot be fully exhibited except in connection with a general view of the leading events of the latter, of which it forms an essential part. It is not, however, our purpose in this memoir - which must necessarily be confined to a few pages - to attempt so grave and responsible a task as the history of the Baptist denomination in the State of New-York for the last half century, with a view to a full exhibition of the life of father John Peck.
Our purpose is much more humble. It is to give a brief sketch of the more prominent events of his life, and the features of his character, to accompany the portrait which graces the present number of the "Memorial" An extended biography of this "good man" and "faithful minister," is however an important.desideratum in our denominational literature, and, if properly executed, would be a work of great interest and public utility. It is hoped that, in due time, such a work - embracing, as it would, a narrative of the great events and movements which mark the history of the denomination in the State of New-York within the present century - will be forthcoming. We know of no man whose character in all his relations, private and public, more deserves to be "had in everlasting remembrance," and whose example as a man, a Christian, a preacher, a pastor, and an agent in our great religious and denominational enterprises, is more worthy of study and imitation. No one in our ministry of the present time has been called from the conflicts of the church militant to the praises of the church triumphant, to whom the inspired eulogium may with more justice be applied, - "He was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith, and much people was added unto the Lord." To give to the denomination in a permanent form, fit for preservation and transmission to the coming generation, a full and accurate portraiture of the life. character. labors. and influence of John Peck, would require peculiar qualifications in the author, and he might appropriately exclaim, in commencing the work -
"Some angel guide my pencil while I draw
What nothing else than angel can exceed -
A man on earth devoted to the skies;
Like ships at sea - while in, above the world."
Or, more appropriately, might he pray to be aided and directed by the blessed Spirit of truth and grace, whose work shone so conspicuously in the gracious affections, the godly life, the abundant labors, and the lovely example of the man whose portrait he was attempting to give in all truthfulness and fidelity.
The subject of this sketch was born in the town of Milan, Dutchess County, Sept. 11, 1780. He appears at a very early age to have been the subject of deep religious impressions, though until his eighth year he had never enjoyed the privilege of attending a religious meeting or of ever seeing a preacher of the gospel. He was however favored with the highest of all earthly blessings - a pious mother, who instructed his infant mind in regard to the character of God, and how to pray to him. In his eighth year, his father having removed to Stanford, in the same
county, he heard the gospel preached by that eminent servant of God, Dr. Stephen Gano, whose ministrations at that time to the people of Stanford were accompanied "with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." The conversion and baptism of an elder sister wrought powerfully upon his mind, and he was brought at this tender ago to a saving knowledge of the Saviour, though for years after he did not suppose himself to be the subject of converting grace. His habitual exercises, however, from this time to his public profession of his Saviour in his eighteenth year, as detailed in his simple autobiography, leave no doubt upon the mind of ihe reader, that from this early period he was a true child of God. Worldly amusements, which have such a charm for unconverted youth, were distasteful to him; and when drawn into them by the enticements of companions, his soul would be filled with anguish and deep humiliation before God. On the other hand, the reading of the Scriptures, secret prayer, and devout meditation, were the aliment and delight of his soul.
In the year 1794, when fourteen years of age, his father removed to Sherburne, and, soon after, to North Norwich, in Chenango County. At this time the country was a comparative wilderness. and the religious privileges of the inhabitants consequently few, being visited only occasionally by a passing preacher of the gospel. Sabbath meetings were held at North Norwich, and attended by the few faithful ones; but the place of meeting was so far from the residence of Bro. Peck's father, that he scarcely ever attended. Nevertheless we find him, instead of spending his Sabbaths as other boys around him, in plays. hunting, fishing, and the like, far retired on these days for holy rest, in the deep forest, alone with his Bible and his God, and in such sweet enjoyment of soul, that he could adopt sincerely the language of the pious poet -
"Be earth, with all her scenes, withdrawn;
Let noise and vanity begone:
In secret silence of the mind,
My heaven, and there my God I find."
He longed to enjoy the preached gospel, and be instructed by some experienced servant of the Lord, in the way of salvation. These are not the exercises and feelings of a heart alienated from God, though the subject of them, from humility and self-distrust, and the deprivation of an experienced spiritual instructor, might not recognize in them evidences of a gracious state. In the year 1798, after suffering deeply through nearly the whole of the previous year in conflicts with the spirit of infidelity - sorely tempting him to disbelieve the Bible and even
the existence of God, making "a dreary spot in his experience," - he was brought fully into the liberty wherewith "Christ makes free;" and, no longer doubting as to the character of his exercises, or his duty publicly to magnify the grace which had wrought his deliverance, he offered himself to the little band of disciples constituted a short time previous into a church, in North Norwich, and was baptized by Elder Peter P. Roots, Aug. 25th, in the eighteenth year of his age.
CALL TO THE MINISTRY AND PASTORATE.
It is a cardinal doctrine of the Baptist creed, that it is the peculiar prerogative of the Lord Jesus Christ, to call men to the ministry of his Gospel, and to give them by the teachings of his word and his Spirit, the essential qualifications for the sacred work. A divine call, therefore, is held to constitute the only rightful authority in any one to assume and exercise the awful functions of an ambassador of Christ to sinful men. The appropriate business of a church after having attentively heard, and marked the peculiar exercises, of the brother whose mind is laboring with reference to his duty to preach, is to judge by the evidence furnished in the character of the exercises, whether he has indeed been moved by the Holy Ghost, and to accord, or withhold their sanction and fellowship, as their judgment shall be favorable or otherwise. The exercises of a brother, in respect to the subject under consideration, are invested with a deep interest, and in regard to one who has proved himself by a long life of the most successful labors in winning souls to Christ, and in edifying the saints, a true minister, they desire special note and consideration.
It will be seen in the foregoing remarks, that father Peck was evidently a subject of renewing grace in his early boyhood, though he did not profess Christ publicly, or even think himself a Christian, until years subsequent. Almost contemporaneously with his early decided religious impressions, he was led to think much of the character, office and work of a Gospel minister, and to feel a strong desire to have the privilege of being one. He dared not, however, with his deep sense of unworthiness and insignificance, indulge the expectation of ever being so highly honored. Still the subject frequently employed, and at times engrossed his thoughts by day and night. In his 13th year, he had two remarkable dreams, which are worthy to have been dreamed by John Bunyan the "prince of dreamers." We give them in his own simple and graphic language, as indicating the state of his mind at the time, with reference to preaching. While we do not put much confidence in dreams generally, there is a class interesting and worthy of
attention, on account of the indication they furnish of the natural thoughts and feelings of the waking mind. The following are of this class "One night in my sleep, I imagined myself in a beautiful meadow in the neighborhood, and it was filled with the most awful looking people. They were black, and deformed in every part, and appeared most wretched. I thought I was commanded to preach to them; but I hesitated, not knowing what to say. The command was imperative, and I concluded to make the attempt, and as I opened my mouth words flowed so freely, that I was not at a loss what to say. As I began to speak, the blackness began to leave some of them - their limbs came into their proper places, and they became some of the most beautiful and happy people I ever saw. As I witnessed the effect, I was filled with delight, for I felt a great sympathy for them. This animated my feelings, and I exerted myself to such a degree that I awoke in a state of great excitement. What it meant I could not tell; but it had a great effect upon my mind."
"A short time afterwards I dreamed I was in a certain wood in the neighborhood, and it was on a beautiful Sabbath morning. The sun shone brightly - I looked forward, and saw a man walking towards me. His face and clothing were whito as snow, and he had a book in his hand. As he approached, he reached me the book that was in his hand. As I had always been very fond of books, I readily took it, and as I received it, he spoke with authority saying, 'Go, publish that book to the world.' - I looked into the book; but did not understand it, and what to do I could not tell - how to publish the contents when I was ignorant of them, created a difficulty which filled me with distress. But I dared not disobey such a command.' I knew not what to do - my soul was in anguish and horror. In this state of mind I awoke." The prophetic intimation of these dreams as to the future destiny of the boy Peck, has been abundantly realized by 50 years of successful labor in proclaiming that life giving and transforming word, which, through the Spirit, changes the deep blackness, hideous deformity, and abject wretchedness of depraved sinners, into purity, beauty, and felicity of sanctified children of God.
Immediately on making a public profession of religion, he was pressed in spirit to make special efforts for the salvation of sinners, and especially of the youth around him. The duty of trying to preach Christ crucified, pressed constantly and heavily upon his mind; but a profound sense of his unfitness, restrained him from making known his feelings. At length he ventured to disclose them to a young companion, a member of the same church with himself. He found he was exercised in the like
manner, and they agreed together to pray in secret over the subject of their duty. They became so far satisfied, that they both attempted to preach occasionally through the year. This was in 1800. The companion was Elder Jonathan Ferris, who long since went to receive the reward of the faithful steward. The following year, under the temptation that his talent was so small that he could never be useful in the ministry, he suspended all public efforts, bought a small farm, married and settled down, with the hope of obtaining wealth by the blessing of God, and the labor of his hands, that he might honor his Redeemer. and promote his cause by his 'substance.' He married Miss Sarah Ferris, the daughter of Deacon Israel Ferris, who proved to be a help meet indeed to him in the Gospel. He was soon made to feel by personal trials, and by the expressions of his brethren that this was not the way of his duty. The Lord needed him as a chosen vessel to bear his precious name to the perishing, and as if to rebuke him for his distrust, and recreancy to his higher call, he laid him upon his bed with a sudden and severe illness, and the words, 'This year thou shalt die,' came with great distinctness and force to his mind, and deeply affected him. Though ho recovered from that illness, the words 'This year thou shalt die' continued to ring in his ears. The world with its interests faded from his view, and death was over before him. He sold his farm, and removed to Sherburne early in the yeat 1803, and made a temporary arrangement, by renting a farm for one year. He was resolved fully in the strength of the Lord, to devote himself to preaching the Gospel, and do with his might what his hands found to do, whether his days should be many or few. He at once received a call to preach half the time to the church in North Norwich, and the other in an irreligious neighborhood in a part of Sherburne. The Lord graciously owned and accepted the labors of his now whole-hearted and devoted servant, and sealed his ministry by giving him "Souls for his hire." The year passed away, and though the words were not verified in his natural death, they were in a higher and more sacred sense by a death unto worldly interests and calculation, and a renewed and complete consecration to the high vocation wherewith lie was called. He ever after remained true and steadfast to his sacred vows.
On the 1st of January, 1804, being twenty-four years old, he received a unanimous call from the First churoh in Cafcenovia, (New Woodstock,) to succeed the venerable James Bacon, as their pastor. After much prayer and deliberation, with much fear and trembling he accepted the
call, and removed thither in the following March. We have been intensely interested in the contemplation of Father Peck in his relation as pastor; but we postpone any special remarks upon the subject, until our closing reflections upon the various interesting parts of his character, and shall proceed directly with the simple narrative. During his pastorate of 31 years, the church enjoyed eight special revivals, mainly under his own special labors, assisted by faithful brethren of the church. These revivals were not brief and transient in their influence, but in most of the cases continued with more or less power for months and even years.
At the commencement of his connection with the church, it was small and much divided by an unhappy difficulty. This was a source of much anxiety and distress to him; but doubtless, the trial contributed to give him that practical experience and tact in adjusting church difficulties which, with his peace-loving spirit, made his counsels and personal influence so much sought after in such matters, by other churches during his whole life. In 1806, the church became united and enjoyed spiritual comfort and prosperity.
On the 11th of June in this year he was ordained, and soon after the Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon the church. This refreshing shower of grace continued through the following year, and many were added to the Lord. and the church "walking in the peace of God and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were edified."
In the beginning of 1808, a still more powerful work of grace, gave the testimony and seal of God to the faithful labors of his servant. This revival spread to adjoining towns. and during its continuance, the pastor, in connection with Bro. Coley, then a licentiate of his church, a ' true yoke,fellow in the Gospel1 was engaged incessantly in ranging over the extended territory on which the precious shower was falling, traveling over exceedingly bad roads, alike through storm and sunshine, cold and heat, night and day. The work' continued nearly two years. and resulted in the addition of over 100 to the church. This was a large ingathering considering the newness of the country, and the sparseness of the population. Nearly every habitation throughout the wide field over which the divine influence spread, received a portion.
In 1812, that venerable father in Israel, Elder James Bacon, who had been the 1st pastor of the church, and honored pioneer in planting the standard of a pure Gospel in this new territory, died at the advanced age of 84, and a hearty and touching tribute to his great worth and services, was paid by his youthful successor in an appropriate funeral discourse from 2 Tim. 4:6-8.
During this year the 'Female Missionary Mite Society' was formed in the Church, and has continued in successful operation ever since, making its annual contributions to the Missionary Treasury. For two years subsequent, though there was no special outpouring of the Spirit, there was much spiritual life and prosperity in the church, as we find that during this period, there was added to the church under the ordinary means of grace, forty-one.
In 1815, the foundation was laid for the present meeting house of the Church. A blessing followed this pious labor, and during the time of its building, a precious reviving of the Spirit was enjoyed. so that when it was ready for the occupation of the church, the Lord accompanied theui from their old consecrated spot, and immediately filled and sanctified the new place with his presence, and signal manifestations of his power to save. The fruits of this revival, which continued for two years, were 180 added to the church, four of whom subsequently became ministers of the Gospel. After this long and precious season of special refreshing, the church continued to enjoy the smiles of the Saviour, and in the next two years 66 were added to its numbers.
In 1820, the church having now become numerous and strong, and there existing a manifest and growing demand for a church in Cazenovia village, a portion of its members were amicably dismissed to form the new body. The measure was cordially and unanimously approved, though it took away ninety of the strength of the old body. It appeared clearly to bo a call of God, and all cheerfully acquiesced and joined in promoting the Divine will. Bro. Peck continued his pastoral labors to both bodies with equal devotion and affection, until 1822, when the new church called Elder David Poon to become their pastor, - Bro. Peck choosing to remain with the mother church.
In the year 1821, he performed an important service in behalf of the "Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society," by a visit to Washington City, with a view to obtain aid from the Government of the United States in sustaining the Mission and school at the Oneida Station. His agency in the business was crowned with happy success; but on returning to his people, his affectionate heart was pierced with grief to find that a 'root of bitterness' had sprung up in his absence, and the church so long united and moving on in delightful harmony, were suffering the affliction of fraternal dissension. He spent many sleepless nights, and suffered much anguish of spirit during the continuance of the difficulty; but by the blessing of the spirit of love and peaca upon his wise and judicious management and gentle though faithful dealing, it was finalty adjusted, and adjusted in a right way, and well pleasing to the Lord, for we find not
only that a blessed union was restored to the Church, but a shower of divine grace followed, in which 23 souls were added. Both pastor and people were greatly refreshed, and while deeply humbled in retrospect of the past, "thanked God and took courage" for the future. From the year 1824 to 1830, the church enjoyed a happy re-union, and often "sat together in heavenly places in Christ," though there was no special revival; but in 1831 the Lord made displays of his grace, transcending all that had been before witnessed by pastor or people. An uncommon measure of the spirit of grace and supplication was poured upon the church, members were greatly quickened in their spiritual affections, and the standard of piety in their body generally much elevated as a consequence, the convicting and converting power of the Most High was signally manifested, and crowds of anxious sinners for days in succession, continually pressed their way to the mercy seat. During the spring and summer the happy pastor baptized seventy-nine rejoicing converts into the fellowship of the Church. Among these were his son Philetus, and Elisha Abbott; the well known and beloved Missionary among the Karens, whom with his daughter Mary and six others, he had the unspeakable pleasure of burying in the baptismal stream in one day. He speaks of this as being one of the happiest years in his ministry, as it was among the most fruitful in precious results. Every year subsequently until the dissolution of his pastoral relation in 1835, the Church was blessed with revival influences, so that within these four years 167 were added to the church, 132 being added by baptism.
In the year 1835, though the strongest mutual attachment, as might well be supposed, existed between pastor and people, having been united together for more than thirty years, and the greater portion of the body being his own spiritual children, he was induced by a solemn sense of duty to a world of perishing sinners, and the earnest and pressing solicitation of his brethren in every part of the state. to give up his pastoral charge, and devote his whole time as an agent of the Baptist Missionary Convention. He preached his farewell sermon to his beloved people on the first Lord's day in January, 1835, and at the same time wrote a letter to the Editor of the Baptist Register, which was published. As this letter discloses the state of the feelings of this remarkable man of God, on one of the most interesting and affecting occasions in his life, and contains some most important reflections useful to ministers and people, it seems to demand an insertion here as an essential part of the present memoir: -
New Woodstock, January 4th, 1835.
Dear Brother Beebee: -
This day finishes my labors with the Church in Cazenovia as their pastor, an office I have held for thirty-one years, though unworthy.
By examining the records, I find there have been added to the church under my ministry, about 765.
I have baptized into the fellowship of the church 640, and 422 have been dismissed, from whom six churches have been chiefly organized. Fifty-five have been excluded, and about one-fifth of them have been restored again to the fellowship of the church. Seventy-two have died, and I trust are sleeping in Jesus. Twenty-one believe they have been called to preach the Gospel fifteen of them have been ordained, and most of them are settled in different churches, as pastors. The present number of members is 336.
I have been called to attend 809 funerals, and of this number six were ministers of the Gospel, viz: - Elder Alvan Wales of Smithfield, Elder Ashbel Hosmer of Hamilton, Elder James Bacon, my worthy predecessor, Elder Paul Maine of Lenox, Elder Nathaniel Cole of Fenner, and Elder Caleb Douglass. These were faithful servants of Christ and their praise is still in the churches.
I did and do still consider it a great mercy that he suffered me to live where he had so many of his chosen, and at a time when it was his pleasure to bring them into his fold, and give me the privilege of looking on, and being a witness to his work in the salvation of precious souls.
The church enjoys a delightful union, and for twenty-nine years has not passed over a communion, and has been blessed with eight special revivals of religion.
It is the greatest trial I ever experienced, to separate myself from this flock as their pastor. It has caused my heart to bleed. 1 have passed through joyful and trying scenes with the aged members, and both have tended to increase our union. The younger members of the church have been born into the world since I commenced my labors here - many of their parents and grandparents who are now dead I have had sweet communion with in the house of God. They were my counsellors - I visited them and prayed with them on their death-beds - attended their funerals, and followed them to their graves, and now to see their children and their grand-children with other of the dear youth bowing to the sceptre of Jesus, engaged in the work of the Lord, and valiant for the truth, I cannot help but associate them in my mind together, and seemingly to witness their parents and grand parents as living in them their dear children, and the consideration endears them to my heart with unspeakable tenderness. And now to leave them, is a great trial to me. My heart is poured out like water, and I cannot help weeping while I write. Such has been the union of affection between them and me, that I trust no events in time, and I hope none in eternity will dissolve it. I may appear childish to those whe possess stronger powers of mind than myself, but so it is with me.
I have had much comfort in a few days past in reading the Memoirs of Andrew Fuller, particularly when relating his trials, occasioned by leaving the
church at Oldham to remove to Kittery. He expressed the feelings of my heart.
How other ministers feel in leaving their people I know not, as "every heart knows its own bitterness;" but it seems to me that it is a great thing for a minister to take charge of a church of Christ as an under shepherd, and trifles ought not to cause his removal.
I fear this subject is not realized in all its bearings, in all cases of separation between pastor and people, as it ought to be. I am sure I could not have left this people to become the pastor of any other Church without clear demonstrations that it was the mind of Christ.
But when I look at a world lying in wickedness, and see vice and error of every description increasing and spreading their baleful influences, and call to mind the millions on our own continent destitute of the Gospel, and ignorant of the Lord Jesus Christ, perishing for the lack of knowledge, and believing that God has designed the American churches to be prominent instruments in the reformation of the world, and that every soul converted to God, adds new strength in effecting the work, and believing it to be my duty and the duty of every church and minister, to double our exertions in supplying the destitute of our own country, (not neglecting, however, other parts of the globe,) and as it is the judgment of our brethren in this State, that it is my duty to devote my whole time to the agency of the State Convention, which holds such an important connection with the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and with a humble confidence that by the blessing of God, I may be instrumental in doing a little to aid in sending the bread and water of life to those who are perishing for want of it - in view of all this I cheerfully take the parting hand with my dear people, and in the strength of the Lord, buckle on the harness and go into the field.
Notwithstanding my unworthiness I feel as though God was with me and has called me to this labor, and to make this sacrifice for his glory, and the good of immortal souls, and so is saying to me, "Fear not, I will uphold thee with the r.ight hand of my righteousness." This is my strength and consolation, my dear brother, to feel that God is with me.
Therefore as long as my breath will admit, and duty appears plain, by the help of the Lord I shall do what I can in promoting the blessed object.
I desire an interest in your prayers, and in the prayers of all God's people. Wishing you grace, mercy, and peace,
I subscribe myself,
Your brother in the Lord,
Memoir of Rev. John Peck - No. II
By Rev. George Eaton, D. D.,
MISSIONARY LABORS AND PUBLIC SERVICES.
We are now to contemplate the subject of our sketch in his more general relations to the cause of Christ at large. We have seen that his labors as a pastor were attended with eminent success, and had he done nothing more for the cause of his Master than what he accomplished in the circumscribed locality of his pastorate, he would have deserved a most honorable place among the worthies, "whose memory is blest:" but to the denomination generally, his life is peculiarly interesting and instructive, from the extent of his labors beyond the sphere of his pastoral functions. His groat heart extended its sympathies to the destitute beyond his particular 'fold,' and like the great apostle, "he longed to preach the Gospel': in the regions beyond." His own sad experience in being deprived of Gospel privileges in his early years, made him feel more deeply and tenderly for those in like circumstances, and accordingly, we find him, as became the pastor of the church in Cazenovia; specially reserving one-fourth of his time to labor in the destitute settlements in the vicinity. These voluntary missionary labors were performed gratuitously, though at great personal inconvenience, those to whom he "ministered in spiritual things," not being in circumstances to contribute to him of their "temporal things." He sought and found his reward alone in the blessed result of his labors, in drawing wretched sinners to Jesus, in reclaiming backsliders, in rejoicing the hearts of the poor saints, and in planting the standard of the cross, and gathering little churches around it in the wilderness.
In 1807, his heart was greatly rejoiced by the formation of the ''Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society," of which he was appointed one of the directors. At this time, Central and Western New-York was emphatically a missionary field. Beyond the Genesee River, there was not a church or settled minister to be found. The whole region was rapidly filling up with an enterprising population, and their spiritual wants were far beyond the means of supply. It is a circumstance calling for the most devout thanks, perhaps, to God, on the part of the Baptists of this State, for to it they owe much of their present character and prosperity, that at this early and forming period they had such men in the ministry for pioneers as the Bacons, the Hosmers, the Lawtons, the Roots, the
Mortons, the Butlers, the Pecks, and others of like stamp. These were "nature's noblemen," enlightened, redeemed, and sanctified by the "truth, as it is in Jesus."
Such were the men whose enlarged views, and practical wisdom "in the things of the kingdom," comprehended the importance of concert among the children of God. in providing for the spiritual wants, and in giving proper direction to the religious connections of the new and rapidly increasing settlements in Central and Western New-York.
The result of their sanctified sagacity and holy zeal, may now be seen in the condition of the Baptist cause in these portions of our State. The formation of the Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society at this early period, contained the germ of that noble tree, "the State Convention" whose leaves have been for the healing of so many, and in whose grateful shade, the Baptists of the State have so often enjoyed "sweet counsel together."
Brother Peck continued his voluntary missionary labors among the destitute in his more immediate vicinity, until January 1810. when he received an appointment from the Society above-mentioned, as a Missionary to the Genesee Valley, and Holland Purchase, which were then considered the "remote West." In the performance of this mission, though of a few weeks duration, he scattered much precious seed, which he had the joy to behold taking root, springing up, and bearing fruit to the praise and glory of Divine grace. In 1811 he performed several missionary tours in the Owego and Susquohannah regions, with like results. The year 1812 was marked by the almost irreparable loss at this time, to the ministry, the church and the cause of domestic missions, of Elder Hosmer, the venerated pastor of the Church in Hamilton, and the President of the Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society, He was truly a "father in Israel," at whose feet his more youthful brethren in the ministry, often sat and listened to the 'gracious words' of heavenly wisdom which flowed from his lips. Elder Hosmer, and Ora Butler, (who had died the year previous,) stood in the front rank of the ministry at this time west of Albany.
Bro. Peck was selected to preach Elder Hosmer's funeral sermon, and could most sincerely adopt the language of his text, "My father, my father," &c. The funeral was an occasion of deep interest and solemnity. A great concourse was present, among whom were nine ministers, thus evincing the great reverence and affection in which the deceased was held in all the region round about. The deaths of these two distinguished and influential ministers of Christ, had the effect greatly to depress the heart of Brother Peck. He felt for the bleeding cause of Zion, and feared that now as the principal leaders were cut off, the cause
would be left to languish. His grief was so great that it impaired his health, and prostrated him upon a bed of sickness. We mention this circumstance, as showing how entirely his soul was at this time set upon the prosperity of Zion. He was soon, however, made to realize that though the under-shepherds were taken away, the Great Shepherd of Israel still lived, and would take care of His flock, and "gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom." He speaks of another "severe trial" which he experienced this year, and this was his appointment to succeed Elder Hosmer, in the responsible office of President of the "Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society." The unanimous voice of his brethren in this important appointment, showed their implicit confidence in him, while the trial to his own feelings in view of his acceptance, exhibited his characteristic humility and sense of unworthiness. He held the office for eleven years - a period in which the Society was greatly prospered in its efforts to extend the Gospel to the destitute, and in prosecuting measures to reclaim from the darkness of heathenism, the aborigines within the borders of the State.
The most distinguished among his active fellow-laborers in tho Missionary cause, at this time,were Elders John Lawton, Peter P. Roots, Solomon Morton, Jonathan Ferris, Alfred Bennett, Nathan Baker, Daniel Hascall, Joseph Coley, John Uphold and Rufus Freeman, most of whom have rested from their labors, and are singing their songs of praise before the throne.
In the year subsequent to his appointment as President of the H. B. M. Society, the Missionary spirit was much increased among the churches, and the Board was greatly encouraged by very cheering reports from the missionaries in their employ. There was now beginning to be felt, a want of a religious periodical, to diffuse intelligence among the churches. of the progress of the Redeemer's kingdom, and by this means to enlarge their views, quicken their zeal, and effect a more general concert of feeling and action. The only means of religious intelligence at this time, consisted in two hundred and fifty copies of the 'Boston Magazine,' which Mr. Peck received from Dr. Thomas Baldwin, and distributed among the churches, but this was now found to be insufficient to meet the growing demand for this kind of information. Several resolutions in reference to the establishment of a periodical for the benefit of the denomination had been passed by the Otsego Association, but no efficient measures bad been taken to carry out the object of the resolutions, until April of 1814, when Bro. Peck, in company witli Elders P. P. Roots, John Lawton and Daniel Hascall undertook upon their own responsibility, the publication of a periodical called the "Vehicle," afterwards "The Western Baptist Magazine." In September following, the proprietors of the "Magazine" offered it to the Society
at its annual meeting. The offer was unanimously accepted, and the Society then appointed Elders John Peck, John Lawton and Daniel Hascall, Editors, and the first named General Agent. This double appointment devolved upon him arduous service and great responsibility. The publication continued through four volumes, comprising forty-five numbers, when at the union of the society of which it was the organ, with the Convention, it was merged in the "New-York Baptist Register."
During the autumn of this year, Bro. Peck traveled extensively as a missionary in different parts of the State. The counties of Cortland, Broome, Tompkins, Seneca, Yates, Steuben, Alleghany, Genesee and Ontario, all shared in his faithful and acceptable labors. He found everywhere great destitution of the preached Gospel, and readiness to listen to the word of salvation. We find in the "Vehicle" very interesting accounts of his missionary labors during this autumn, particularly of his tour through the western portion of the State. At the annual meeting of the H. B. M. Society in 1815, Elder John Peck appeared as an agent. to solicit aid for the Board of Foreign Missions. The Baptists of this country had, through one of those remarkable providences which often in the history of the church, mark the commencement of great changes and great epochs, been roused to the subject and claims of Foreign Missions. This was the change of views on the subject ot baptism of Mr. and Mrs. Judson, and Luther Rice on their way to Burmah, whereby they were thrown for support as Missionaries to the far off heathen, upon the Baptists in this country. Luther Rice had returned, and was awakening throughout the denomination, the liveliest interest by his powerful and timely appeals in behalf of Foreign Missions. The General Convention had just been formed for the purpose of securing concert and efficiency of aotion in the denomination, in support of the cause. Bro. Peck, with other brethren, promptly responded to the call, and entered with enlightened and fervent zeal into measures for cooperation with the General Convention. They formed themselves into a Foreign Mission Association, called "The Madison Society, Auxiliary to the Baptist Convention of the United States for Foreign Missions." Brother Peck was appointed a delegate from the Madison Society to the two succeeding meetings of the Convention held in Philadelphia, and was present at nearly all the subsequent meetings of this body. In the object and operations of the Convention, he ever manifested the liveliest concern, though his large soul lost none of its devotion to the home field; nay, his zeal was quickened and his efforts became more energetic if possible, in promoting the cause of Home Missions. He clearly perceived the close and vital relation between the two causes, and felt that he could labor more effectively for the benefit of the Foreign, by direct labors in the cultivation of the Home field.
The Baptist Education Society of the State of New-York, was formed at Hamilton in the year 1817. He appreciated at once the great importance of this movement, and from the first, was among the most cordial of its friends. This Society, which established the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution, (now Madison University,) and though it bas been for a quarter of a century a fountain of the richest blessings to the churches at home, in giving them an enlightened ministry, and to tha heathen abroad, in giving them devoted missionaries, shared not only his sympathies and his substance, but hig personal services at intervals, as agent in presenting its claims to the churches. He was truly a warm and enlightened friend of ministerial education, and of the Institution at Hamilton which has been made under the favor of the Great Head, a most powerful engine in advancing the cause, and it is proper and pertinent to add, was, like the venerated and sainted Kendrick, entirely opposed to the removal of the Institution from its present consecrated locality. He was from the first, strong in the conviction that the measure was wrong, and ill-advised, and we are sure he would desire that this fact should be recorded iu his memoir. His two noble sons, Philetus and Linus, both received their preparation for the ministry at the Hamilton Institution, and this circumstance, doubtless, added much to the strength of the attachment which he always manifested towards it.
In the year 1820, the Board of the Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society, under a deep sense of the obligations resting upon Christians, to attend to the spiritual wants of the aborigines, widened the scope of their operations and took in the subject of Indian reform. We here ' will give a paragraph or two, from the report of this year to the Society. " After our appointment, we began to feel impressed with respect to the duty we owed to the Indians in this State, as well as to our own people; to accomplish which, we found it necessary to adopt means to increase our funds. With that view, we appointed Elder John Peck an agent to visit the several female societies, to encourage them and organize measures and to increase the missionary spirit in the public mind. His exertions were crowned with unexpected success."
We have already alluded to Bro. Peck's successful mission to the eity of Washington in the year 1821, in behalf of the Hamilton Missionary Society, for the purpose of procuring aid from the general government in promoting Indian reform He was favorably and courteously received by the public authorities, and his object was promptly aided by an annual appropriation from the Government of three hundred and fifty dollars. On his way to and from the Capital, he presented his object to brethren in the cities of New-York and Philadelphia, and returned
within six weeks from the time of his departure with collections and appropriations, amounting in all to one thousand two hundred and eighty-two dollars, twenty-one cents. This successful agency, greatly encouraged the Board of the Society, and they addressed themselves with increased energy to their work. And from this time, until it was merged in the State Convention, the Society continued to enlarge its operations, and to increase its efficiency, both in respect to Indian reform and domestic missions.
In August, 1824, the Board received a proposal through Elder Silvanus Haynes, and Deacon Munro of Elbridge, from a body organized in 1821, by delegates from five or six Associations, under the name of the New-York State Convention, for the purpose of combining and concentrating the efforts of various small missionary societies, existing in different parts of the State, to the effect that the "Hamilton Baptist Missionary Society" would relinquish its identity and unite with it, in order to have one general organization for the whole State. The Hamilton Society had now become so strong and influential, and had extended its operations so widely, that it was seen that its separate existence, and independent action would render impracticable the general and comprehensive design. The Board at once appreciated the importance and desirableness of realizing this plan for the united action of the whole denomination in its missionary operations, and appointed Elders Peck, Lawton, Purinton and Bennett, a committee to attend the next meeting of the Convention, in October following. At this meeting, while the committee strenuously advocated the principles of the Hamilton Society as expressed in its Constitution, and expressed their determination to adhere to those principles upon which the Society had so long been acting in harmony and efficiency, they were nevertheless desirous to add to it the elements of increased power, which the contemplated union promised. The Committee of the Convention finally agreed to recommend the adoption of the Constitution of the Hamilton Society, with an alteration of the name, and an additional number of Directors. Their report was unanimously adopted by the Convention. At a special meeting of the Hamilton Society in November, the union was partially arranged, and was finally consummated in the following May, when the two bodies were completely merged into one, under the name of the "Baptist Missionary Convention of The State Of NewYork."
At the meeting of the Convention, in October, 1824, Brother Peck was appointed its General Agent. This was an appointment involving great responsibility, as it depended mainly upon the fidelity, labors,
spirit, and influence of the agent to bring the whole denomination in the State to act in harmony and concert in its missionary operations under the direction of the Convention. Though clearly appreciating, and deeply feeling these responsibilities, Brother Peck felt it his duty to yield to the voice of his brethren and the indications of Divine Providence, and immediately entered upon the duties of his new agency. The whole State was now the field of his labors, and his first object was to secure the combination of the entire denomination in the State, in carrying out the great object of the Convention. To effect this he traveled from Long Island to Lake Erie, and from the Pennsylvania lino to Lake Ontario, visiting churches, societies and associations, and explaining and enforcing the object and claims of the Convention. and soliciting co-operation and contributions. The result was, that the whole denomination, almost without exception, was brought cordially to adopt and support the Convention as its great ally in home evangelization. This blessed union of Home Missionary effort, under the direction of the Convention, has been undoubtedly among the most powerful elements of the present prosperity and strength of the denomination in the State, and it is emi nently due to the faithful, and indefatigable labors, and gracious influence of Brother Peck. In the year 1835, the increasing duties and responsibilities of his agency, rendered it necessary for him to be entirely relieved of his pastoral charge. This was a severe trial to him, and to his dear people, with whom. as we have seen, he had labored in happy harmony and eminent success for thirty-one years. The field had now become so extensive, and the demands for labor so great, that the whole time and undivided energies of one man devoted to the agency, was found insufficient, and Brother Lewis Leonard, a brother eminently worthy to be associated with Brother Peck, was appointed by the Convention as his co-laborer. Such two brethren could not but work in the most delightful harmony, and with greatly increased efficiency to the operations of the Convention. At the meeting of the Convention in 1836, a resolution was unanimously passed, "That brethren J. Peck and J. Lawton, be requested to draw up a succinct and consecutive account of the origin and progress of this Convention for publication, under the direction of the Board." In executing this work, it was deemed necessary in order to do it justice, to include an account of the early history and growth of the denomination in Central and Western New-York. It was finished, and published a few weeks previous to the death of Elder Lawton, who at the advanced age of four score, entered into the everlasting joy of his Lord. This 'History of the Convention,' possesses the highest authenticity, and is an invaluable contribution to our denominational history. It is written
in a simple, clear, and perspicuous style, and should be in the library of every Baptist minister in the State.
Brother Peck labored fifteen years in the service of the Convention, as its general agent, and it may truly be said, that few religions bodies ever enjoyed a higher degree of delightful harmony, or of uninterrupted prosperity, than did the Convention during this period. As his abundant labors in different parts of the State, during his agency, are so well known to the denomination, we do not deem it necessary to go into any detailed statements, in order to illustrate this memoir. His praise is in all the churches, and the perfect satisfaction with his labors on the part of the Convention, and the fervent attachment felt to his person, are affectingly shown in a document, tendered to him by the Board, on his leaving the service of the "American Baptist Home Mission Society."
This took place at tho annual meeting of the Convention at Saratoga Springs in October, 1839. He had received the appointment of general agent of the Home Mission Society in the May previous, and after much prayer and consultation with brethren, had decided to accept; though as usual on every trust committed to him by his brethren, be was greatly oppressed in view of the increased responsibilities imposed upon him. The appointment runs as follows:The terms of the above appointment, and the nature and extent of the service indicated, imply the highest confidence on the part of the Committee in the individual appointed. He took an affectionate leave of the Convention at its deeply interesting session at Saratoga as above noticed, and received in return from his brethren, the most expressive testimonial of their warm and grateful appreciation of his
New-York, May 20, 1839.
At a regular meeting of the Executive Committee of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, held this day, Elder John Peck was appointed an agent, to have the general interests of the Society in view.
In this character, he will be expected to visit Suite Conventions, Associations, Missionary Societies, Churches and individuals, to, solicit their co-operation, obtain funds, confer with local agents, ascertain the amount of Home Mission effort of the denomination in the United States, and adopt from time to time, as he has strength and opportunity, such measures as he shall deem best calculated to increase the means, and extend the usefulness of the Society, and report the success of his labors to this Committee ; and he is most affectionately commended to the kind regard of the friends of our Zion, and to the protecting care ol our Father who is in Heaven.
In behalf of the Committee. (Signed) Spencer H. Cone, Ch'n.
invaluable services in its behalf, and of their unqualified esteem and affection for him personally. Their mutual sorrow on parting with him, after fifteen years of faithful service, and the most uninterrupted harmony of fraternal intercourse, was deep and tender; but it was greatly relieved by the anticipations of his more extended usefulness, in a larger field, of extraordinary promise. Upon this new and promising field, he immediately entered, and gave to it the undivided energies of his soul and body, until he heard his Heavenly Master's call from on high, saying "Come up hither, and receive your crown." This blessed call reached him when on the high field of duty, and found him all ready to obey the summons. How faithfully aud successfully he discharged the duties of this last great trust, committed to him by his brethren, may be seen from the following summary, taken from a Retrospect, which he penned himself, of a period included between Nov. 1839 and Feb. 1st, 1847.
"I have been enabled by the blessing of God, to travel twenty=six thousand eight hundred and forty miles, in eighteen of the United States; mostly in the Northern - have delivered one thousand four hundred and forty-one sermons and public addresses, and collected for the Home Mission Society, thirty-two thousand, four hundred and seventy-eight dollars twenty-seven cents : also for the New-York State Convention, four thousand one hundred and fifty-eight dollars seventeen cents, in all for Home Mission and Convention, thirty-six thousand six hundred and thirty-six dollars forty-four cents. For this amount I have the receipts of the Treasurers of those Societies.
"I have also, besides the special duties of my agency, been called in various parts of the country, to the performance of Missionary and pastoral labors, in visiting the sick and afflicted, settling difficulties and healing divisions among churches and individual brethren, and assisting pastors in revivals of religion. I trust the Lord has owned my imperfect labors for his glory and the good of Zion, in these departments of Christian effort.
"My health has been feeble; but God has been very kind in sustaining me under all my infirmities, both of body and soul; also in giving the object of my agency favor in sight of His children, so that I have been kindly greeted, and aided by them wherever I have traveled. This under God procured the success which has attended my feeble labors ; and to His precious name be all the glory."
"How few, we may exclaim, among God's servants of the present day, have been enabled to make such a record as the above, and this record comprises but a little more than eight years of his eventful life. For nearly two years after the date of the foregoing record, Father Peck continued to
labor in his agency, and was finally arrested in the midst of his work by the fatal disease which terminated his long and eminently useful life on Saturday, the 15th day of Dec. 1849, at the house of Mr. Griffith Thomas, in the city of New-York, after an illness of about seven days, in the 5'0th year of his age. His remains were brought to his home in New Woodstock. Madison County, and the solemn occasion improved by an exceedingly interesting and appropriate discourse from Elder Alfred, Bennett from Acts xiii: 36. "For David, after lie had served his own generation, by the will of God fell on sleep." In this scene were clustered circumstances of extraordinary interest. Here lay beneath the pulpit, in which he had for many years ministered to a deeply at tached people, the venerable man of God, sweetly asleep in Jesus, surrounded by many of his weeping spiritual children, while with impressive power and pathos, his venerated coeval, who had for a generation walked hand in hand with him in the ministry of reconciliation, and the work of saving souls and extending the kingdom of a common Saviour, poured forth the sentiments and emotions of his deeply moved soul, to a very large and profoundly interested congregation, among whom there were some twenty ministers of the Gospel, called together from different quarters by their veneration and affection for the deceased. The death of one so widely known and universally beloved, produced a deep sensation throughout the churches, and the occasion was thought worthy to be improved by funeral discourses in many pulpits. Who among the servants of God, could pass away from the living, and be more missed than Father Peck? Our simple narrative has clearly shown the truth of a remark made in the outset, that in "almost every public enterprise, originated and prosecuted for the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom in connection with the Baptists of New-York, he bore a prominent and leading part," and in all was his influence felt to be of the happiest kind. "It was the influence of sanctified wisdom in the things of the kingdom," and of a spirit glowing with love to Christ and his precious cause. And this gracious influence continued to widen as by concentric circles to the very close of his life. We have seen him commencing his ministry in his youth, as the pastor of a feeble flock, in the een tre of the State, then almost a wilderness. But even then, while faithful to his charge, we find him extending his regards beyond his particular locality, and preaching the Gospel to the destitute, who had none but him to care for their souls. Soon we see him as the Missionary of a Society he was active and efficient in originating, sowing the seeds of Gospel truth through the Central and Western parts of the State; then, as General Agent of the Convention his influence pervaded the churches
throughout the State. Finally, as the Agent of the Home Mission Society, his influence was diffused over the greater portion of the Union. His coming in every place was truly "as the coming of Titus." Where was Father Peck not welcomed as an agent of mercy? and where did he not leave a blessing, and grateful remembrance of his gracious visits? We had designed in this memoir of Father Peck, to dwell with some speciality upon events of a more strictly personal nature, adapted to illustrate his character as a man and a private Christian, but our limits will not allow, and we must defer views of this kind to a future opportunity. Especially did we desire to call the attention of the Christian public to the wonderful power of Divine grace, as evinced in his conduct under the unparalleled domestic affliction which, within the short space of a fortnight, took from him his beloved wife, with whom he had lived in the enjoyment of great domestic happiness, for more than forty-six years, and his two noble sons Philetus and Linus. This strange dispensation to one so familiarly known, and revered, and loved as was Father Peck, struck his brethren almost dumb with astonishment. But a part of the design of God, in this, was doubtless to furnish to his people in one so well known to them, an impressive illustration of the triumphant power of His grace to sustain and comfort his faithful servant in the severest and most overwhelming afflictions. And such an illustration did this man of God furnish in this awful trial. He bore himself through the whole as none could do, who could not feel that the 'Everlasting arms' were beneath him. The writer speaks from his own observation, when he says he never saw so sublime an exhibition of the Christian's faith as in the subject of this memoir. in the circumstances under consideration. And a grateful task it would be to go somewhat minutely into detail in describing some of the striking incidents in this scene of uncommon affliction, as well as several other points illustrative of the Christian character of Elder Peck. But we must not protract this memoir beyond reasonable limits. We have endeavored to give a simple and faithful narrative of the leading events in the life of John Peck, that though dead he might continue to speak through them, to the present and coming generations. None can feel more vividly than the writer, how inadequately he has executed his task, and he leaves what little he has done so imperfectly, to be used as hints, to some one with more ability and leisure, who he earnestly hopes may undertake the work of preparing a full and minute biography of this distinguished servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
SKETCH OF FATHER PECK'S LAST SICKNESS *
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
*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.
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
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 church-yard at New Woodstock.
[From The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Record, 1851, pp. 43-53; 111-121; 122-124. Document from Google Books On-linedowling. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
A Link to his book.
An Historical Sketch of the Baptist Missionary Association of the State of New York
By John Peck and John Lawton, 1837
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