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their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.' Here I stopped with joy, and was filled with delight in that blessed covenant, well ordered in all things and sure. I saw that the Lord not only en. gaged to be all in all to his people, but resolved that they should be his people, and that he would accomplish his work in them, and bring them through. This I believe is the sealing of the holy Spirit of promise; and now my mind felt such a confidence in the unchanging love of God through Jesus Christ, in whom the promises are all ‘yea and amen,' that I thought if all the ministers in the world would unite in speaking against the perseverance of those who are united to Jesus, they could not shake my comfortable hope. I now no longer depended upon my frames and feeling for my hope of eternal happiness, but upon the unchangeable covenant of grace, wherein the Lord has promised never to leave nor forsake his people, and that he will put his fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from him; that sin shall not have dominion over them,' being not under the law but under grace;' and that where the Lord begins a good work, he will carry it on to perfection. Now for a long time I went on my way rejoicing, and was encouraged to unite with others in religious societies, and began one weekly in my father's house, led in prayer, and read sermons to the people, who filled the house every time. And when I could get ministers to come, I did, and was much encouraged to
Mr. Robert Smith, the minister at Pequea, who kept a grammar school, and was earnestly engaged to promote the cause of his blessed Master, sent me an invitation to come to his institution; promising to assist me in every way to obtain a classical education. I did earnestly entreat the Lord to direct me, and having a desire to be useful to my fellow-mortals, and hoping this was an opening, and the way to be more so than in private life, I immediately gave up my business and went. Now I thought no exertions could be too great to accomplish this object, and did study night and day, until I became so unwell that the most noted physician we had told me, if I did not quit my studies, and go to active business again, I would soon die. This was like a dagger to my heart; but I had good reason to believe it was so; and therefore had to give up, and attend to my business again; and now concluded I would attend religious societies, and do all I could in a private way."
Here Mr. Eastburn's narrative ends abruptly. He probably intended to continue it, but for some reason, which cannot now be discovered, did not execute his purpose. His subsequent life, however, was so fully known to some still living, and for the greater part of the time, to the writer of this memoir, that there is no lack of the information necessary for continuing his biography.
Remarks on Mr. Eastburn's narrative—his inarriage and
the character of his wife—his exile from and return to Philadelphia-his bearing arms-his son-is refused to be taken on trials for the gospel ministry, by the Synod of New-York and Philadelphia—his rebaptization.
The germs of future character are often distinctly seen in early life: and a careful consideration of the narrative before us will, it is believed, disclose the elements of those habits of feeling, thought, and action, by which its author was distinguished in his maturer years.
It is his own remark, that he was an example of the inspired declaration of Solomon, “ Train up a child in the way he should
and when he is old he will not depart from it.” But for that sensibility of conscience, and knowledge of his duty, which he derived from the pious instructions and admonitions of his parents, there is no probability that he would have torn bimself from his thoughtless companions, when going to the Schuylkill to profane the sabbath by skating on the ice, and have hastened back to attend a place of public worship. It is the want of such parental teaching and good example as he enjoyed, which is the radical cause that our cities now abound with crowds of noisy boys and thoughtless youth, who desecrate the day of sacred rest, and even disturb, in their own dwellings, the exercises of those who wish “ to keep holy the sabbath day.” To this cause indeed-to the neglect of parental duty-may be traced that shocking violation of the fourth command of the decalogue, which prevails throughout our country, and which threatens to bring down upon it the just judgments of Heaven. If heads of families, in general, were as faithful in the discharge of their duty as the parents of young Eastburn appear to have been, many, like him, would not only abstain from all open vicious practices, but, like him, would also feel the influence of that fear of God, which might lead to the diligent use of all the means of grace; and eventually, under the Divine blessing, to genuine and eminent piety.
In the vivid and impressive views which the subject of this memoir had of his guilt and misery, and of his exposure to the curse of the broken law of God, in his un. converted state, connected, as they were, with his awful apprehensions of the eternity of future punishment, we may doubtless find the origin of that earnest desire, which never forsook him, to be instrumental in plucking sinners as brands from the burning. He could not contemplate their fearful situation, without most anxiously wishing to convince them of it, and to engage them, if possible, to flee from the wrath to come. habitually and deeply sensible that an effectual care for the soul, is emphatically “the one thing needful;" and to do something to do every thing in his power--to promote the salvation of souls, he felt to be an obligation from which he could never be released,
In the long and sore conflicts which this good man ex. perienced, and the variety of exercises through which he passed, before he was comfortably established in the hope of the gospel, we may perceive the source of that lively sympathy which he always manifested with persons in mental distress, and inquiring what they should do to be saved; and of the peculiar qualifications which all who knew him admitted that he possessed, for instructing, counselling, and praying with individuals, who
had been brought into this interesting situation. He “ remembered his own affliction and misery—the wormwood and the gall;" he had been carried to the borders of despair, or rather, for a season, he seems to have passed those borders; and he had found, at last, a happy and complete deliverance. Hence his interested feelings for those who were experiencing, in any degree, the views and apprehensions of which he had known so much; and hence too his ability to give them advice, and to assist their labouring minds. They could scarcely speak of a fear or a discouragement, which he had not experimentally known. He had passed over the whole thorny path in which he found them travelling; he knew every inch of the ground, and every danger with which it was filled. He could make out, in his own case, a situation more deplorable than that of the most of those with whom he conversed; and, while he warned them faithfully of every false resting-place, he could guard them against utter despondency, and invite them to an immediate application to that precious Saviour, of whose readiness to receive the very chief of broken-hearted and believing sinners, he considered himself as a striking and memorable example. It appears that the apostle Paul often appealed to his own experience; and there is reason to believe that this was also frequently done by him whose narrative is before the reader. With the holy scriptures his familiarity was eminently great, and scriptural examples and scriptural doctrine were always the authorities, and the only ultimate authorities, on which he relied. Through the whole period of his protracted spiritual conflict, it appears that Mr. Eastbum diligently employed himself in his lawful calling, and that when his distress was the greatest of all, he sought
working hard at his trade” for the mitigation of his misery. This advice he was doubtless prepared to give to others. He was no friend to the neglect of relative duties, or any of the ordinary concerns of life, because the mind was deeply engaged on the subject of religion; and he was one of the best and safest advisers, for those whose mental exercises were mixed with morbid melancholy
The doctrines from which an individual first derives relief and comfort, after having suffered from gloomy forebodings in regard to his eternal destiny, he is usually disposed to cherish fondly, and maintain stedfastly, in subsequent life. This was remarkably verified in the subject of the present memoir. The all-sufficiency of Christ; his obedience and atonement, as constituting a righteousness, the imputation of which is the sole ground of the sinner's pardon, justification and acceptance with God; the necessity of the Holy Spirit's influence, to renew and sanctify the heart; faith, in the strictest sense, the gift of God; the union of the justified sinner with his Saviour indissoluble, and perseverance in grace the certain consequence; resting on the covenant of
in which every true believer is interested, and not on fluctuating frames and feelings, as the foundation of hope and confidence toward God.-Of these doctrines the outlines are conspicuous in the narrative of Mr. Eastburn; and of these he was tenacious to the end of his days. He nevertheless cherished a sincere affection for many who differed from him in regard to some of these doctrines, and could maintain a cordial Christian fellowship with them; provided he discerned in them a real love of holiness, a true reliance on the Saviour, and a devoted attachment to his cause. He was a strict Calvinist, of the old school, in his own creed; and could, for himself, not derive comfort from other views of Christian doctrine than those which that creed presents. But the peculiarities of the system he did not reckon among the essentials of religion; and he held his own opinions so meekly, that he was, in a remarkable degree, acceptable, in his visits and ministrations, among several Christian denominations, whose doctrinal tenets differed considerably from his own.
It appears from his narrative, that his parents early entertained the idea of his being educated for the gospel ministry, and that after his conversion, he, for a time, left his mechanical occupation, and applied to study, with the hope of being regularly introduced into the sacred office. Although disappointed in this, it is probable we may here discern the beginning of that desire to bear