« PreviousContinue »
vent, where the few English who reside here, bury their dead. At the grave I read some verses from Job xiv, Ps. xxxix, 1 Cor. xv, and Rev. xxi, xxii, and then made a short address, and closed with prayer. We then committed the dust to its kindred dust, there to await the archangel's trumpet.
“To me the stroke seems almost insupportable. Sometimes my heart rebels; and sometimes I hope it acquiesces in the will of God. I desire your prayers, that I may not faint when the Lord rebukes me.
“With a heart overflowing with grief, I subscribe myself yours affectionately,
“Feb. 10. Now that God in his righteous Providence has seen_fit suddenly to remove from me my dear brother Parsons, I recollect with melancholy satisfaction the many conversations I have had with him. In our intercourse last evening he said;MI hope God will spare your life to labor in this mission, till your head 'blossoms for the grave. We spoke of the employments of departed saints, as engaged with angels in praising God, and rejoicing perhaps with them in the conversion of sinners. We conversed of being conducted to glory by some ministering spirit, and for ought we know, by Abraham, or Moses, or Brainerd, or Martyn. "But be this as it may,' he said, 'if Christ receives us to himself, that will be enough.'
LETTER TO HIS FATHER RELATING TO THE
"Alexandria, Feb. 23, 1822. "My ever dear and honored Father,-You will doubtless before this reaches you, have heard, how it has pleased our heavenly Father to afflict and disappoint me, in taking to himself my beloved colleague and companion. Two long, solitary weeks have now passed since his death. I feel alone, though surrounded by a multitude of people. To me it is an exceedingly heavy affliction. It is the loss of my friend, and in a sense my dearest, my only friend. I sometimes feel as though I should sink under the stroke. O that I
to endure and improve my afflictions, so that I may be more useful while I live, and be at last well prepared to follow my departed brother.
“I should have written to you immediately respecting the death of Mr. Parsons, giving you an account of the melancholy event; but after writing to a number of his relatives, and to Mr. Evarts, felt a painful sensation in my breast, which seemed to render it necessary for me to lay aside my pen for a few days. I am at present in usual health, though I feel more than I ever did before, how brittle is the thread of human life, liable every moment to break. The scene of mourning, into which I have been called has given to the world an uncertain, gloomy aspect-an appearance of instability and transitoriness. It is all a dream-vanity of vanities and vexation of spirit. These changing scenes will soon be passed. Scarcely has the green grass time to grow over the grave of a departed friend, before one is made for another, or for ourselves. In this short life we have just time enough, with divine assistance, to prepare for death, before it come. Happy for us, if we may have grace to seize the mo
ments as they fly, and improve them in the necessary preparation, before it be too late, and the opportunity be gone.
“While watching by the bedside of my sick and dying brother, I had an unusual opportunity to learn, how a firm hope in Christ, and the lively exercise of religion, can tranquillize the mind and support it, even when death is seen to be approaching. He often spoke of it, as highly probable, that he should not recover, and as very possible that he might die soon. He anticipated the event with entire composure, and spoke of it with a serene tranquillity and cheerfulness, which I shall attempt in vain to describe. In a word, he died as he had lived-in faith, and comforted by the love of Christ.-I cannot mourn for him; though I am overwhelmed, whenever I think of myself, and of his absent friends, and of this mission in which he was so ardently engaged. But the Saviour lives. Nor is his cause weakened, though his servants die. He does not need our imperfect and feeble services. If one falls, he can raise up others to stand in his place. In him then let us trust even in the darkest day of affliction.
"I ought perhaps to give you some more particular notices of the death of Mr. P. The voyage from Smyrna to this place, which the physician recommended to him as being of use, was very boisterous, and proved injurious, rather than useful. I have reason to suppose, that we were deceived concerning his state while at Smyrna, and that his disorder had so impaired his constitution, that no means probably could have restored him to health. After our arrival here he continued ten or twelve days apparently in about the same state; perhaps he was growing weaker, though we were not sensible of it at the time. After that, as we thought, he began to recover. It is true he did not gain much strength, if any; but his bowel complaint abated,
and his symptoms were more favorable. His appetite was good. He took simple food, and.it did not seem to injure him; slept well through the night, had no cough, no pain in the chest, no night-sweats, and but little fever. Indeed, after he arrived at Smyrna from Syra, until the day before his death, he scarcely endured any pain. But his alarming symptoms were a weak and disordered state of the bowels, swollen feet and extreme debility. The Friday before his death the diarrhea returned. Saturday it became violent, attended with pain, and on Sabbath morning he closed his earthly exist
He expected to die; though I do not think he had any expectation of dying so soon. In a note which he left in his pocket-book, addressed to myself, he names the books and other articles, which he wished to have sent to his relatives, and thus closes;— To your respected and aged father, Edwards on the Affections. To your dear brother E., Owen on the 139th Psalm. To your afflicted sister T., Saint's Rest.'
“Your dutiful, though far distant son, Pliny."
- Feb. 24. Two weeks have now elapsed since the death of my dear brother. The bitterness of grief is in some measure abated, and my mind is returning to its usual habits; though I seem to be treading daily on the borders of my own grave. When I think of the mission in which I am engaged, I never felt more desirous to live.* When I give
A train of reflection here follows, corresponding with the feelings expressed by the poet at the grave of a much loved friend.
"Here take thy rest;-while I, than thou,
way to my feelings in thinking of my departed friend, I find in my bosom a half-formed wish, that my body may be laid by the side of his, and there await with him
the resurrection. For the present at least, my expectations of earthly happiness seem to be destroyed. O that I may feel habitually, that this is not my home.”
In the communication which is now to be introduced, will be found a particular account of Mr. Fisk's missionary labors in Egypt. It was addressed to the corresponding Secretary of the American Board of Foreign Missions.
Alexandria, Feb. 28, 1822. “Dear Sir,In consequence of the peculiar circumstances, in which it has pleased Providence to place me of late, I have not had opportunity to perform much missionary labor in this place. I will now attempt, however, to give you an account of what little I have been able to do. Instead of doing this in the form of a journal, I shall state all that relates to any one subject, or class of people by itself.
“Soon after we arrived here, Mr. Lee, the English consul, invited me to preach, on the Sabbath, at his house, so long as I should remain in the place. The congregation has consisted of from ten to fifteen persons, comprising the English who reside here, and the masters of vessels now in port. One Roman Catholic has attended twice.
In some instances, English travellers, who were in town, have attended.
“Maj. Gen. Sir John Malcolm, who was going from India to England, was with us two Sabbaths. With him, I had some interesting conversation respecting India and Persia, in which countries he has spent about 30 years of his life. He says the