« ZurückWeiter »
agreeably to a previous agreement, he married Miss Mary Blair, daughter of the Rev. Samuel Blair, late of New Londonderry, Pennsylvania. Thence he returned to Virginia, with a view to take the charge of a congregation in North Carolina; but by a number of unforeseen events, in the course of providence, that design was frustrated. God appoints to us the bounds of our habitativn, and a very little, or a number of very little seeiningly trilling and accidental things, hare frequently extensive influence on our whole lives. He stopped with a congregation in Virginia, which had been formerly under the pastoral care of Mr. Davies. Here, aster few months, he was with the usual solemnities ordained to the work of the ministry, and had that congregation committed to his pastoral inspection. “At this time I was not so fully satisfied as to my possèssing some of the qualifications essentially necessary for a gospel minister, and consequently undertook the pastoral office with some degree of reluctance; but I considered that I was not my own but the Lord's,-that I had in the sincerity of my heart given myself up to him to be devoted to that work—that I had seen much of his care and kind. ness in bringing me thus far--and that as faithful labourers were few I might be of benefit to mankind."
He laboured there for four or five years, not without success, though he thought his success was greater among the blacks than among the whites.--How much has this unhappy class of our race been neglected! His prospects of usefulness were considerable, but alas! they were soon blasted. An old dispute in the congregation, which had taken its rise in Mr Davies' time,
was stirred up afresh, which so disjointed the society, as to convince them that they were not able to afford him that pecuniary aid which was necessary for his temporal support; and having no other means of subsistence, he wrote to Presbytery to dissolve the connection between him and them, which was accordingly done.
What a world of mischief have "perverse disputes” done to the church of the living God? How necessary is it for christians both in public and private life to leave off contentions before they be meddled with. How highly ought christians to value a stated dispensation of gospel ordinances while it is enjoyed. Even the great Mr. Davies' congregation, whose praise is in all the churches, and whose sermons will instruct as long as the English language is known, even this man's congreg knew not the value of a gospel ministry. They sacri. ficed this great inestimable blessing for the gratification of some private, some sinful feeling.
No person who has not in holy providence been in a similar situation can have any adequate conception of the state of mind in which Mr. Rice left these the people of his first charge. He was leaving those with whom he had expected to be connected by the most endearing ties during life. Nay, he was leaving those with whom and with whose children he had expected to have spent an eternity. He was leaving immortal beings to whom he had not been the savour of life unto life, but the savour of death unto death. And he was leaving them from dire necessity, because they had actually put the gospel of God's salvation from them.
In this day of distress, as well as in many subsequent days, he found that "having found a wife he had found a good thing, and obtained favour of the Lord.” Mrs. Rice was a woman of uncommon strength of mind, and being the daughter of a clergyman, she had given her hand and her heart to another clergyman, with a full view of the inconveniences and privations to which the family of a clergyman is exposed, which has little or no other source of support but what depends upon popular opinion. She most cheerfully, therefore, on this as well as on many other occasions, brought the resources of her mind into vigorous action. And the beart of her husband did safely trust in her, so that he had no need of spoil. She did him good and not evil all the days of her life. She literally sought out wool and fax, and wrought willingly with her hands. And to her economy and prudence, and cheerful and pious temper, the long and useful life of father Rice is in a great measure to be attributed,
Nor was Mrs. Rice merely an help meet for him with respect to this world. In the great concerns of eternity she was in her sphere equally active and equally successful. On silent Sabbaths, which, from Mr. Rice having several charges, were frequent, a portion of each day was spent in catechising her children and servants, and in prayer with them. Having herself enjoyed a full and systematic religious education, and being blest with a considerable genius, a taste for reading, and a mind habituated to reflection, she had acquired a knowledge of the doctrines and the duties of christianity beyond many. Hence she was enabled to discharge the duties of a christian instructor to her family with a good degree of propriety.
She had her set hours of devotion, which were not to be disturbed by any ordinary occurrence. And a portion of every night after the family had retired to bed was allotted as a season of prayer exclusively her children,
In her interview with her neighbours she possessed a talent which she often used for introducing with a great degree of facility serious conversation. Nor did she confine herself to her family alone, or to personal interviews. When she thought she had influence, and could do it with propriety, she wrote letters to her acquaintances on the necessity and importance of religion, and there are not wanting instances of persons who have given evidence of sound conversion, who have referred their first serious impressions to these letters.
Her labours and her prayers in her family were particularly blest. She raised eleven children. Nine of them have become the fathers and mothers of families, and all of them have given evidence that they are the sons and daughters of Abraham, to whom the promise was made that he should be heir of the world. And in one instance the blessing was bestowed after the son had left his father's roof, and had no other means of bringing pious instruction to his remembrance but a Bible which his another had, unknown to him, packed up with his clothes. “As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put into thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouths of thy seed,
por out of the mouths of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth even forever.”
HIS COMFORT AND SUCCESS AMONG THE
PEAKS OF OTTER,
The general commission is, “go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"-and while a variety of circumstances may forbid this or the other servant of the cross to preach the gospel in this or the other city or district, the call may be very express from some other quarter, “come over and help us." It was so with father Rice.-.He left the people of his first charge with great reluctance. He was at least two or three years before he could see very distinctly in what particular region his Master would be again pleased to employ him. He was, however, during that period of suspense, employed in his Master's work as opportunity offered; and at last he found that souls were to be saved, and the church of the living God edified, even by his labours.
Bedford county, Virginia, was then a frontier. The inhabitants were a mixed race, from nearly all parts of the world, and of nearly all religious denominations. NO messenger
of salvation had as yet settled among