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ceived from that body a license to preach the Gospel. In reference to the new and responsible business, in which he was commissioned to engage, he records this prayer: “Almighty Saviour, to thee I look for assistance in discharging the important duties which now devolve upon me. Thou knowest my weakness, ignorance, want of experience, and the temptations to which I shall be exposed. Do thou strengthen, instruct, and support me. I pray for assistance in the choice of texts, in studying and preparing sermons. Teach me the true meaning of thy word. Let me never adopt sentiments, or form determinations hastily. Enable me to resist the influence of all unhallowed motives; give me a spirit of devotion; make me studious and faithful. May I be prudent and zealous, humble and decided, conciliatory and consistent. Give me health of body and soundness of mind. Let my preaching be solemn and interesting, doctrinal, experimental, or practical, as the occasion may require. O my God, enable me to preach 'in demonstration of the spirit, and with power, and wilt thou give the word an efficient influence, that it may reach the hearts
After a painful review of his deficiencies and sins, which he speaks of in a manner, evincing deep contrition and self-abhorrence, he continues the record of his feelings:"I will throw myself on divine mercy, and hope and wait for the consolations of religion. A ray of light enters my benighted soul. Though heavy laden with guilt, Jesus appears mighty to save. My soul again leaps for joy to see my Redeemer. O my Saviour, do I not love thee, and long to be conformed to thy image? Do I not sincerely mourn my levity, my stupidity, and my unfaithfulness? Lord, thou knowest my heart,-is not sin the burden, and holiness the delight of my soul? Let me see thy glory, and my own vileness-be delivered from the power of sin, and assimilated to thee, and it is enough; I have all things.”
About the first of March following, Mr. Fisk was invited to preach in Wilmington, Vermont; and he went immediately to that place, where he continued his labors not far from eight months. He found that the minds of the people there had been unhappily agitated, and party animosities excited in consequence of the dismission of their pastor. These unpleasant circumstances appeared rather forbidding; and the field of labor, into which he was sent to make his first ministerial efforts, did not promise much success. But as he was a stranger, he determined to know no party, and take no interest in the controversy which had been in agitation. He went directly about his appropriate business. His labors were blessed, and the attention of the people was soon directed to religious subjects. Party jealousies and strife were forgotten, while religion became the topic of general inquiry and interest. Meetings for prayer and conference were frequent, and well attended throughout the town; and it was evident that the Holy Spirit had come down with power to revive his work.
The cheering prospect of a revival of religion, it may well be supposed, produced no ordinary effect upon a mind like Mr. Fisk's. "His spirit was stirred in him," and his best powers were brought into vigorous exercise. Under the conviction, that the present was a momentous crisis with the people, on the termination of which everlasting consequences depended, he was abundant in labors. He felt his responsibility, and while the field was white to harvest, he resolved to spare himself neither strength nor toil. Many in that place are ready to witness, show he kept back nothing that was profitable unto them; but shewed them and taught them publicly and from house to house, testifying to them repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.” As soon as practicable he visited most of the families in the town, and conversed personally
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 peeple 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 inter'ested with the enchantments of classic ground,