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much depends on its improvement. Let us spend it well as it passes, continually doing or getting good.
‘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
of our 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 men 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, a nuinber 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
velopement, not only of his intellectual faculties, but of his Christian virtues, we have a valuable testimonial, showing the excellence of his character, and the motive that urged him onward in his course; a motive that grew stronger and stronger, as he advanced-love for souls. This was the main spring of his movements, the secret of his success in the cause of Christian benevolence.
The following additional testimony comes from a class-mate of his who now occupies an important station in the Church. “As a Christian, he was distinguished for decision and zeal, and a promptitude in seizing opportunities for promoting the spiritual interests of others. His deportment was uniformly amiable, and it was manifest, that the love of God had, in no ordinary degree, been shed abroad in his heart. Never shall I forget the readiness and the solemnity with which, when unexpectedly requested at the time, he addressed our class, as we were assembled around the grave of one of our number, who had died in a neighboring town."
Such was his character, while pursuing study as a member of college. By his Christian example and exhortations, he made a deep impression on the minds of many, an impression that some will never forget. ; One, who is now a useful minister of the Gospel, stated to the compiler, that it was in consequence of a faithful admonition received from Fisk, that he was roused from sinful stupidity, and led, as he trusts, to seek religion, and take a stand on the Lord's side. Others, perhaps, might be found, who could testify to the same thing, in respect to themselves. Such an example of Christian zeal and fidelity, is worthy the attention of every pious student. It evinces that much good may be done, even while preparing for a more extended sphere of benevolent labors.
Without disparagement to Mr. F., or reflection upon his friends, it may be stated, that his energy
was put to the test, and his faith occasionally tried by struggles with pecuniary embarrassment. Expensive and protracted sickness in his father's family frustrated the prospect of assistance from paternal resources. No Education Societies then existed to proffer their patronage to the indigent, but pious youth, whose longing eye was turned towards the ministry of the Gospel. When he commenced his collegiate course, little encouragement of support, beyond his own limited means, was presented. His main dependence was upon his exertions, in connexion with a rational reliance on divine Providence. IIe adopted a course of rigid economy, and during the vacation was employed in the instruction of common English schools. These means, however, could not enable him to meet all the expenses necessarily incurred. But though perplexed he was not in despair. Under embarrassing circumstances he used, to the best advantage in his power, the means he had to extricate himself, and then committed his way to God. Having, as he humbly hoped, a sincere desire to be employed in the vineyard of his Master, he cherished the sweet confidence that his Lord, if he had a service for him to perform, would enable him to prepare for it.
Experience has often taught the children of God, that "the Lord delivereth his servants, that trusted in him,” that "they which trust in him shall be as mount Zion that cannot be moved.” So his experience instructed him. He found that his "confidence was not misplaced, nor disappointed. Friends were raised up from unexpected quarters, from whom such assistance was occasionally received, as enabled him to prosecute, with little interruption, his classical studies. At a certain time, when pressed for want of funds to meet present demands, and not knowing whither to look for aid in this emergency, he unexpectedly received thirty dollars, a donation
from a merchant in Boston.* In acknowledging the receipt of this sum, which came so opportunely to his relief, he remarks;—“So Providence provides for me."
At the close of his collegiate course he would have gone directly to some Theological Seminary; but from this he was detained a year in consequence of debts which had accumulated, notwithstanding his economy, the avails of his own industry, and some assistance from benevolent individuals. But it was a year rendered useful to others, as well as profitable to himself, as will hereafter appear.
Alluding to the difficulties above mentioned, one, who was well acquainted with him while in college, thus observes; I have often contemplated him, as affording a remarkable illustration of the fact, that a student, surrounded by many discouraging circumstances, and not distinguished at first as a scholar, may in a few years, by well directed and persevering diligence, outstrip those who once were before him, and leave them far behind both in intellectual attainments and real usefulness."
Mr. Fisk received his first degree, in August, 1814. On the following September he commenced the study of Theology under the direction of his pastor, Rev. Dr. Packard, boarding at the same time with his father. The following are some of his reflections in prospect of being soon engaged in the work of the ministry. “The work seems great, difficult, and responsible. I feel that I am very inadequate to sustain its labors. Young, inexperienced, weak in faith, inclined to sin, how can I think of engaging in a work of such magnitude, How can I fulfil a task, under which Gabriel, without special aid, must sink. My help must come . from God."
In January, 1815, he was examined by the Franklin Association of congregational ministers, and re
* Mr. Henry Homes.