Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 297
The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635, by Frederick Clifton Pierce (Chicago: 1895)
Transcribed by the Whitney Research Group, 1999.
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pleasure than to see assembled under his roof, and gathered around his bounteous board, the old and young of the large circle of his relatives and friends; and during the week of the "May Anniversary," when the clergy of New England assembled in Boston, he invariably gave all that he could a cordial invitation to make his house their home during their stay in the city; at that time it was generally filled, and the respect and attention he paid them, showed the reverence he felt for their sacred calling, and in what high estimation he held the self-chosen servants of his Master and his God. His benevolence and charity were strong and shining virtues. He contributed largely to the support of foreign missions, and to this day his name, in conjunction with his wife's, may be seen in the list of "Honorary Members" pub- lished annually by the "A. B. C. F. M." He gave freely of his substance to relieve the wants of the poor and needy. He was always ready to extend a helping hand to worthy young men, as he had opportunity, especially to those in his employ, who always found in him a wise counselor and a firm friend. His infirmity isolated him in no small measure from the society of his fellow-men, and at the same time, no doubt, operated in a considerable degree, to draw nearer to his God, to cause him to feel that utter dependence upon him for his life, his health, and for all things together with that reverence, that deathless devotion and loving gratitude toward Him, which was the crowning beauty of his life. And He, who "tempers the winds to the shorn lamb," and "suffers not a sparrow to fall to the ground without His notice," forgot not His servant, but everywhere, at all times, at home or abroad, in the busy mart or crowded thoroughfare, in open day or in the silent watches of the night, constantly and continually threw around him the powerful shield of His divine love and protection. His Bible he took, indeed, "as a lamp to his feet, and a light to his path;" from it he drew abundant sources of comfort and consolation; upon that sacred volume he rested his hope of salvation, through the atoning blood and merits of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He assembled his house- hold morning and evening for the reading of the Scriptures and the worship of God, and solemnly impressed upon all the great importance of true religion, to insure peace of mind and happiness here upon earth, and eternal happiness in the world to come. He bore the honored name of one of the most distinguished and devoted of Christ's apostles; like that "man of God," and faithful preacher of the "Word," he loved his Master's cause. Like that famed soldier of the Cross he fought well the good fight till he had finished his course; that he kept the faith, his dying words bear ample testimony. He was a kind husband; a fond, indulgent father; in discipline mild and gentle, yet singularly firm; beneath his stately and somewhat stern exterior there beat a strong, manly and noble heart, that ever throbbed with tender love for his wife and children. He was a beautiful and rapid penman, a chaste and elegant writer; his mind seemed to be teeming with beautiful thoughts which he was wont to express in the choicest flowers of language, called from the sublime and exquisite poetry of the Bible. His letters to me while at Hardwick, Andover and other places, and when on the eve of sailing for the East Indies, all of which were kindly sent to me by my sister are models of epistolary correspondence; they are replete with the kindest expressions of parental love and pious solicitude for my temporal and eternal welfare. They are of priceless value to me, and I wish to have them transmitted as a valuable souvenir to my children and their descendants in hominis memorium. That he was a worthy descendant of a race of godly men, a good man, a devout Christian, his life and death eloquently attest. How straight the paths his feet have trod. His record is above. He has passed away from earth, and the places that have once known him will know him no more. "The dust has returned to the earth as it was, and the spirit unto God who gave it," but his memory will be kept green and sacred in the hearts of his children. No more shall we hear that loved familiar voice in sonorous solemn tones, invoking upon our heads the choicest blessings of "Israel's God." "No more the watchman's voice shall bid us fear, repent, rejoice." He has gone where the deep song of his rejoicing is attuned to Celestial music; where the heavenly spheres roll in their eternal round on their majestic course har- monious strains of sweetest melody in their great Creator's praise; where the angelic hosts in glorious measure, in everlasting, sing loud their glad Hosannas to the Great Redeemer's praise. "Gone to thy Heavenly Father's rest. The Flowers of Eden round thee blowing, And on thy ear, the murmurs blest Of Siloam waters softly flowing.
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