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REV. PLINY FISK.

19

watch over his heart, that no apparent check was given to the ardor of his piety. A letter, which he wrote at this time, will show the state of his religious feelings.

Plainfield, Sept. 8, 1810. “Dear Brother-We have publicly renounced the world, and avouched the Lord to be our God. Do we feel the importance of living according to our holy profession? hat will it avail us, that we have been with Christians here, that we have set down with them at the table of the Lord, unless our hearts are true to the Redeemer's cause? If we would be disciples of Christ, we must deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow him. We cannot serve Mammon, and at the same time render acceptable service to God. Our great business must be, to act for God;-—we must pray without ceasing, watch and persevere, “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run, wrestle, and fight with patience. O let us take heed that the curse, denounced against Meroz, fall not upon us—let us lovę Christ not in word only, but in deed and in truth-let us frequent the closet, attend to the Scriptures, meditate much on heavenly things, feel as if we were pilgrims and strangers here below, and seek 'a city, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.'

"The friends of missions here met last week and paid over their subscription, amounting to between fifty and sixty dollars. The Rev. Mr. H. of C. who left us this morning, mentioned an individual in his church, who, in addition to an annual subscription of six dollars, paid at one time $100, and said, if the missionary chest were empty, he would give more. O my dear brother, while some give their money and others their time to God, let us not keep back from our duty.

Your brother, P. FISK."

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· The last paragraph in the above extract shows, that Mr. Fisk began at an early period to feel an interest in the missionary cause. It was about this time that a Foreign mission was first proposed to the American churches. The subject arrested his attention, engaged his feelings, and led him to determine, should he become qualified, to go 'far hence to the Gentiles.' His aged father has said, since the death of his son, that before he left the paternal roof to prepare himself for the service of the church, he had in view a Foreign mission-an object on which he steadily kept his eye, and with reference to which he carefully disciplined both mind and body. Possessed, as he was, of ardent piety, vigor of mind, unyielding fortitude, and a physical constitution naturally robust, and rendered more so by the healthful breezes of his native mountains, his carly decision to become a missionary may be regarded, as the result of sound judgment and enlightened zeal. To this early fixedness of purpose respecting the object of pursuit he was indebted under God for no small share of the singular excellences which belonged to him as a missionary to the heathen. His great object lay constantly before him, and it was his unceasing prayer to God that he might be fitted for it.

Having completed his preparatory studies, he offered himself in 1811 for admission to Middlebury College, Vermont: he went unaccompanied by friend or acquaintance, and was admitted on examination to an advanced standing.

CHAPTER II.

FROM HIS ADMISSION TO COLLEGE, TILL HE JOINED

THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, ANDOVER, MASS.

The review of Mr. Fisk's collegiate course, furnishes few occurrences of very special interest

than great.

It does not appear, that he was ambitious to be distinguished among his associates by literary honors. His ruling passion was rather to be good

His standing as a scholar will be learnt from a communication prepared by a gentleman then connected with the faculty of the college of which he was a member.

“His talents," this gentleman observes, “were highly respectable; though as a scholar he never greatly distinguished himself. He had an aversion to the study of the ancient languages. Owing to his reluctance to apply himself closely to the investigation of difficult passages, the knowledge he acquired of these languages, was somewhat imperfect. The branches of science which belonged to my department—the mathematics and natural philosophy-he pursued with more eagerness and greater success. But even here he was good, rather than excellent."

His early taste for mathematical studies has been mentioned. He became more and more deeply interested in this department of science, the farther he pursued it. Had he applied himself to the extent of his powers, he would doubtless have excelled. But he feared the influence which intense application to the sciences might have on his piety: his primary object was to grow in the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. The spirit with which he pursued his studies may be learned from his correspondence. In a letter to one of his brothers, after giving an abstract of a philosophical lecture which he had just heard, he thus concludes: “In contemplating the subject, I found many wonders connected with it, which I cannot comprehend. It gives me adoring views of God, and humbling views of the knowledge and power of man-especially of myself. Dear brother, let us remember, these material forms will soon decay. These spirits of ours will soon pass into eternity. Time is short, yet

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much depends on its improvement. Let us spend it well as it passes, continually doing or getting good.

of our

"Count that day lost, whose low descending sun

Sees from thy hand no worthy action done. “Some part of our time should be spent in secret prayer and self-examination. I hope you will be faithful to yourself, and act the Christian in your intercourse with others. And may the grace Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

It is a fact, which we have thought proper not to conceal, that Mr. Fisk's classical education was imperfect. His deficiences, however, were by no means to be attributed to want of intellectual power: but partly to embarrassments under which he labored, and partly to the mistaken notion that vigorous and persevering application to the sciences was necessarily unfavorable to the cultivation of the religious affections. There can be but little if any doubt, that on this subject he erred. He became, at last, convinced of this, when subjected to the disadvantages occasioned by his early neglect of classical studies. It was the experience of these disadvantages, that led him to say to the Society of Inquiry respecting Missions, at Andover, soon after he arrived at Smyrna,—“I beg leave to submit to you one remark, which seems to me important, respecting the qualifications of a missionary. It is this; More knowledge of languages should be acquired. Í say more knowledge of languages, rather than a knowledge of more languages. To have such an acquaintance with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, as will enable you not only to read them with familiarity, but to speak and write them, would be of very great utility in this country, and I presume, in any part of Asia; probably in any part of the world. And let me add, that it would be well, if the wife of a missionary were to know Italian, French, and Latin."

These remarks show how important he considered literary attainments, after he had become engaged in his work. And when we read the history of such nien as Edwards, and Scott, and Martyn, we have evidence that intense and laborious study is not incompatible with ardent and active piety.

While it is admitted that Mr. Fisk did not at first distinguish himself as a scholar, it may be said, that, as a Christian, he was surpassed by very few. The gentleman, alluded to above, has made this additional statement:-"He brought with him to the college a religious character of inestimable value. His piety was of no ordinary stamp. It was strikingly operative. It never slumbered nor slept. It was not a flame that dazzled for a moment, and then flickered and died away. Like the vestal fire, it was always alive, always bright. In forwarding his Master's work he was ever active and energetic.

“In the year 1812, the hearts of Christians were cheered with a revival of religion in the college. It was not so powerful as has, at some other times, been experienced, still it was enough so to warm the hearts, and engage the energies of all the officers and students who loved to witness the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom. In this happy company Mr. Fisk stood in the foremost rank. The influence he exerted on his fellow students was most salutary. The pious were animated, and stimulated to duty by his example. Sinners, even the vilest, listened to his pathetic admonitions, for they all believed

"That he was honest in the sacred cause.' “It is not unlikely that, at the final reckoning, anumber of the young men, who were then members of the institution, will

declare to his everlasting rejoicing, that he was the instrument in the hand of God of turning them from sin to holiness."

In this sketch of his collegiate course, given by one who watched with paternal interest the de

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