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Past and Present
Admonitory End of an Early Colleague

“We shall not there the fall lament,
Of a departed friend."

On descending from the pulpit one Sabbath morning in the city of-, one of our superannuated ministers met me at the foot of the stairs with the inquiry—“Did you know that - was dead?” “Dead!” said I, “where and how did he die?’

"Died in a tavern, in -, in a most awful state of mind!’

"Oh! what a sense of horror this intelligence produced in my mind!”—although it was such an end as I might have expected from what I knew of his history.

The character of my feelings will not surprise the reader when I inform him, that the individual alluded to was once an accredited and acceptable minister of our church in Canada "West; and once my own superintendent for a year; a man whom nature had favored with a vigorous, muscular body, commanding personal appearance, and possessed of two excellent pre-requisites in the character of an effective preacher, namely, good powers of annalysis and a pleasing elocution—including a strong musical voice. Yes, and I had known him to be very successful in the work of saving souls.

I remember well the first time I saw him—at a camp meeting on the old Yonge Street circuit, to which he had come over from an adjacent one on which he was then performing his first year’s itinerant labour. Three years after that, having myself in the mean time entered the itinerant work, I was appointed as his colleague on the-circuit, then made a "four weeks circuit” for the first time, A great revival of religion had crowned his labors, especially in the town, the preceding year; and a more happy and holy society than it then was I have never known. The extension of the work created the demand for a second preacher, which led to my appointment to labour with him.

Our journeys were often through the trackless forest, in which once in particular I lost my way and narrowly escaped one snowy night lodging in the woods ; yet the time passed upon the whole very pleasantly. For though I often thought he was inclined to be indolent and to “shirk” the performance of his work, a good part of which he contrived to put off upon me, still I loved my colleague, parted with him affectionately ; and ever after regarded him as a friend and correspondent, up to the fatal day at the Conference of 183’ when he withdrew from the body. He went off in a bad spirit; and I never met with him again, though I often^desired an interview to the day when j I heard of his death. I had often laeard of his bitterness against his former friends—I had heard of his offering, on more than one occasion, to fight!—I had heard of his becoming, ifj not a drunkard, at least a hard drinker—one who could pour I down raw spirits in a bar-room, an act which in this day must be confessed to evince a great depth of moral debasement. I say I had heard all this and more, and therefore was in some degree prepared to hear that he had died at a distance from his family—in a tavern, and in horror of mind. „

I heard that he carried a feeling of hatred against some of his former ministerial associates into the very jaws of death, saying, “if he thought they would get to heaven he did not want to go there.” No wonder his last exclamation should be, "0 my God, where am I going?”

It may be asked, what was the cause of his lamentable fall?

I answer, unfaithfulness to the grace bestowed on him, no doubt. But I think I observed several things, more or less remote or proximate, leading to this unhappy issue. These I will set down for the admonition of all whom they may concern, myself among the rest:—1. He had been, even by his own confession, a person of bad moral habits before his conversion. He had been a frequenter of low company. And it is no wonder that a love of stimulating liquors should follow the profuse use of tobacco to which he was addicted. His conversion and union with a pious and excellent young lady operated as a check on his downward tendencies, in this particular, for a time. 2. The loss by death of this priceless wife, who proved a sheet anchor to his way-ward soul in many a storm, that otherwise would have driven him from the true course of integrity, was an evil event that he deplored on his dying bed. He said, she while alive, kept him from quitting the ministry. 3. A departure from the work of God, to which no doubt he had been Divinely called—to a desire to leave which he had been impelled by a spirit of dissatisfaction with his circuits, which were generally very good, arising from a notion that he was qualified for better ones and that his talents were not appreciated—was the immediate inlet to apostacy and vice. No wonder he mourned the loss of his H-.

The case of this man should teach the young the importance of fostering good moral habits, as a means of giving permanency to their religious character ; and should warn those of us in the ministry from a spirit of distrust and discontent; while it should put all on their guard against giving any occasion for it. God in mercy fore-fend us against these evils!

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