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with almost every individual on the subject of religion. In performing this useful and laborious service he proceeded systematically. In the morning he formed his plan, designated the families which he purposed to visit, and limited the time which he was to spend in each house; and during the day he usually accomplished all that he expected. His uniform topic of conversation on these excursions was religion. When he called on a family he would often tell how much time he had allotted for the visit, and propose religion as the first subject, on which to converse. Usually this subject would occupy all the moments appropriated for the visit, and the listening household were seldom desirous of having it changed, seldom weary of the persuasive earnestness, with which their visitor urged them to attend to "the things which belonged to their peace.” In these private interviews he was ever solemn, faithful, familiar, affectionate; and he failed not to leave the impression that he was a man of God.
Respecting the fruits of his labors no definite statements can be made. Under his unwearied ministrations numbers were awaked from their sleep of sin, and brought, it is hoped, into the kingdom of Christ. There prevailed throughout the congregagation which he addressed, general seriousness and earnest attention. A remarkable spirit of inquiry respecting divine truth was also excited,--all seemed anxious to hear, and know the truth.
An individual from that town, speaking of the happy effect of Mr. Fisk's exertions while there, observes:-“Were I to state my impressions respecting the most visible and salutary result of his labors, I should say, it was the restoration, in a good degree, of peace and harmony in the society, and a revival of piety in the church. To the people of God it was peculiarly a 'time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. I am persuaded that many of them look back upon it as one of their most precious
seasons of spiritual enjoyment,-a season in which they made rich acquisitions of scriptural knowledge. During his residence there he established a Sabbath school, and, if I mistake not, it was on a subsequent visit that he organized a Ladies' and Gentlemen's Missionary Association. He was extremely popular; but he had grace and good sense enough to prevent his sustaining any injury from it."
În view of the fact that he was so acceptable and successful in this commencement of his ministerial labors, the inquiry may arise in the minds of some, why did he relinquish his work after a few inonths service, and conclude to spend three years more in professional studies at a Theological Seminary?-. In reply to such a question it may be stated, that it was his settled determination, before he left college, to avail himself of the important advantages of a public Theological education: And for this purpose nothing prevented his proceeding directly to Andover, but the necessity of earning the means to defray some arrearage expenses which his education incurred. In doing this he sought a situation where he might be useful to others, while helping himself. As he had already devoted considerable attention to theological subjects, and particularly to the study of the Scriptures, and had become familiar with the routine of occasional religious meetings, in which he had been useful, he concluded to apply, after some further study, for license to preach the Gospel. With reference to a temporary season of ministerial labor he was authorized, as has been stated, to preach as a domestic missionary, or to some vacant parish. When he went to Wilmington, he engaged for a limited time to labor with them, though not as a candidate for settlement. He
gave them no reason to expect he would consent to remain long with them.
Towards the close of Mr. Fisk's first engagement with the people of W., his services were so accept-,
able, and so highly useful, that a renewed application was made to him to continue with them longer, than at first he contemplated. He was willing to stay till near the time, when he purposed to enter the Theological Seminary. Lest, however, his assent to such a proposal, together with a growing mutual attachment, might lead some still to cherish the hope that he would be prevailed on to settle with them in the ministry, he made it a condition, that such expectations should be laid aside, and that they should regard him only as a sojourner among them. Again he assured them that it was his fixed intention to resume his theological studies, to qualify himself for the work of a missionary to the heathen. From this object, which became dearer to him the more it was contemplated, nothing could divert his mind.
FROM THE COMMENCEMENT TO THE TERMINATION OF
HIS PROFESSIONAL STUDIES AT THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, ANDOVER, MASS.
In November 1815 Mr. Fisk became a member of the Theological Seminary, and was admitted, after a few weeks, to the benefits of the charityfund. The studies, employments, and scenes, to which he was introduced at this time, were peculiarly congenial to his feelings, and awakened his mind to a high pitch of excitement. ciated the valuable privileges with which he was favored, and resolved to profit by them. With an ardent thirst for sacred knowledge he entered the rich fields which opened to his view, and which furnished powerful inducements for laborious research. Here he found materials for the feast of reason," though he had been but moderately interested with the enchantments of classic groundt.
Lest, however, the richness of the intellectual banquet might impair his relish for devotion and holy living, he united with diligent and close attention to study habits of active piety.
In respect to his intellectual features nothing very brilliant or striking was developed. The creations of a fertile and glowing imagination were not found among the productions of his mind. Nor was he distinguished for boldness and vividness of conception. The power of analysis he possessed in a high degree; and his talents in general were solid, rather than splendid. With soundness of judgment he united quickness of perception, and acute discrimination. His compositions, though destitute of ornament, were characterized by plainness, point, and perspicuity. He evinced a more than ordinary degree of mental power, and, as will hereafter appear, a capacity for rapid improvement.
In respect to his theological attainments no more can be said, perhaps, than is true of many others, who in subsequent life move in a humbler sphere of ministerial labor, and never rise above the ordinary degree of distinction.—To the prescribed course of studies he devoted careful and punctual attention, and at the usual examinations acquitted himself with respectability.--He studied the Scriptures with great care and deep interest, select portions of which he committed daily to memory, and was accustomed to introduce with great effect for illustration or proof in his extemporaneous exercises.
It was in the art of holy living, and in devising and executing plans of usefulness, that Mr. F. excelled. Here we see him in his strength, and here we discover the secret of that influence which he afterwards exerted in the world. In these respects his fellow students were soon prepared to feel, and acknowledge, that he was before them. In his intercourse with the members of his class and with
individuals of other classes, it was his uniform endeavor to exert an influence favorable to their piety, and to enlist their feelings in objects of benevolence. He loved to converse on the subject of religious experience, and would often inquire of those with whom he was most intimate, respecting the present state of their own hearts, their present views and feelings, their hopes, fears, difficulties, and trials.
An extract or two from his journal will introduce him in this profitable connexion with his brethren.
“Feb. 20, 1816. I have had this evening a most delightful interview with two of the brethren, H. and T.-0 the happy, the blessed communion of kindred souls! I felt my heart united to theirs by the tenderest ties. I love them most cordially. We conversed upon our alarming stupidity in the service of God, on the evidences of our piety, on intercourse with God. We kneeled down together and attempted to pray. In such seasons how do hearts unite, and souls melt and mingle into union.
“Feb. 28. Last Sabbath eve I met with six of my dear brethren, and had a free and profitable conversation on the state of our hearts, and the low state of religious feeling in the Seminary. The season was precious, and may it prove a prelude to better times. This evening I have been again engaged most sweetly with a few of my brethren in mingling souls. O how I love such seasons! They are rich in spiritual good and pleasures.Would God, I were worthy to live in such society as I now enjoy.
“March 1. Had an interview with my classmate, B. We conversed respecting our own religious experience. A very precious time. The Lord grant, that I may have a better relish for spiritual discourse.”
If a fellow Christian was laboring under trials of mind, he was one of the first to attend to his