Gregory Godolphin.

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Another one said," It has been a source of
vexation to me that we have to pay so much
to ministers. When I look at our church,
and see how many of us have to labor for our
bread, and how many hours each day those of
us work who are in the factories, I must say
it makes me feel unpleasantly to be compelled
to pay such a heavy salary." This man re-
ceived §400 a year, as an overseer in the fac-
tory, and pai(j five dollars a year towards the
salary ; while some of the females who worked

more faithful he will be ; consequently the only way
to make a minister wholly consecrated to his work,
is to deprive him entirely of money.


in his room, and received about three dollars
a week, paid $10, §15, and even $20 towards
it. Another said, " I think the salary is small
enough. Many ministers less worthy than our
devoted pastor receive much more. I would
with all my heart vote to raise the salary $50
more, and pay my part towards it ; but breth-
ren, I feel that I should act a mean and con-
temptible part, if I should vote to reduce it
$50." This man was a day laborer, and paid
$8 towards the salary. He studied his Bible
much, and said '■'-that taught him not to 'muz-
zle the mouth of the ox when he treadeth out
the corn.' "

Said another, "I believe our minister is a
man of God, and labors for the good of souls ;
and I have never thought that we paid him any
too much for his labors. I cannot conscien-
tiously vote for a reduction of the salary."

HovN^ever, the motion was carried by a
small majority, and a record made of it upon
the books of the church.

The next day Mrs. Clarendon said to her

husband, ^'I think it was too bad in the church

passing that vote last night. If I were you, I

would resign at once ; I would not stay with



such a church ; that I wouldn't." Mr. Claren-
don meekly replied, for he was a very pious
and humble man, "My dear, I think we had
belter take no notice of it at all ; we can get
along you know, for as good Oliver Heywood
used to say,

'When'cruise and barrel both are dry,
We still will trust in God most high.' "

Mrs. Clarendon was really a good woman,
and gave abundant evidence that she loved the
Saviour ; but she had considerable of that
which some call spirit, and others call spunk ;
and she tartly answered, '■'get along! — no, I
don't know that we can get along, I'm sure
we have had to set our wits at work to econo-
mize in every possible way, to get along on
what WT have had ; and now it is cut short ^50,
I don't see how we shall ^e^ aZono- at all. Be-
sides, you know I told you the other day we
must have a girl this summer, for sister and I
cannot do all the work any longer. I am
most dead now, and it won't take long to finish
me if I've got to work at this rate."

"I guess," answered her imperturbably


mild husband, ''the Lord will take care of us.
I do not feel much concerned about it."

" Concerned r^ retorted Mrs. C, with con-
siderable feeling, "I never saw any one like
you — concerned! why, you wouldn't be con-
cerned at anything. I don't believe you would
be concerned if the house was on fire." "Oh
yes I should, my dear," replied Mr. C, with
undisturbed equanimity. "I should at any
rate feel concerned to get you and the children
out, and also my library ; for poor as it is, I
cannot afford to lose it." "Well, at any
rate," said Mrs. C, "if I were you I would
not stay here. I wouldn't be treated so
shamefully. I wish you had more spirit, and
would let the people know you were not going
to be abused in this manner. Other ministers
W'Ouldn't bear it, and why must you .^"

Mr. Clarendon in this case did not follow
the advice of his wife, although he often did in
other cases. He kept along in his course just
as he had done, working for his Master with-
out saying a word about salary ; and the sequel
will show that he lost nothing, but rather
gained in temporal things, by this vote of the
church. Several of the more able brethren in


pecuniary matters felt so aggrieved, that they
made up a purse for him among themselves,
of ^135, and presented it to him in about three
weeks after the above mentioned vote was
carried. It seemed also providential, that
within a few weeks of this time, a gentleman
came on from New York, to take unto himself
his affianced wife, a daughter of one of the
church members, to whom he had been betrothed
some two years or more. This gentleman
was a wealthy merchant ; and being quite flush
of money just then, Mr. Clarendon received
as his marriage fee a $50 bill.

At the beginning of the year 1S39 the church
passed a vote to increase the salary of their
minister $100; consequently since that time
he has been receiving $700 a year ; and Mrs.
Clarendon says that "now? they are^ getting
along very well.^^




Scene. — A pastor's study. Rev^. Dennis
Blackenburn seated at his table, and busily en-
gaged in preparing a sermon upon the exciting
topics of the age, to preach in New York city,
before the , at the spring anniver-
saries. Enter Peter Farrington, a man about
forty years of age, who has been a member of
Mr. Blackenburn's church eleven years.

F. Excuse me for interrupting you, but I
feel so much interested in the subject we had
a few words about last evening at br. Smith's,
that I want to talk with you further about it, if
you can spare the time.

B. It is true I am somewhat busy, but yet
I am ready to hear what you have to say.

jP. I will come then to the point at once,
and ask you a question I have long wanted to
ask you ; and that is, do you, my dear pastor,
conscientiously think that your course in refer-


ence to the anti-slavery cause has been sucli
as God can approve ?

B. Certainly, certainly I do, or I should
have taken a different course.

F. It may be that I am wrong, but for a
long time I have felt that you were not acting
consistently as a minister of the gospel, in re-
ference to the poor, down-trodden slave.

B. General assertions, and unqualified re-
marks, you know, prove nothing, br. Farring-
ton. Now if I have erred in my course, the
only way for you to convince me of my error
is, to proceed to particulars ; and in the spirit
of Christian kindness to point out the ways in
which you think I have not acted consistently
in regard to this subject. My mind, I trust,
is open to conviction, and if you can show me
that I am wrong in my course, I will cheer-
fully and immediately alter it, and will be
grateful to you for assisting me in seeing my
duty more clearly, and acting more understand-

F. I admire the spirit you manifest, and
do believe you wish to do that which is right ;
and I also feel that my motives in seeking this
conversation with you are good ; and therefore,


according to your desire, I will point out
some ways in which I think you have not been
consistent. In the first place then, it seenas to
me very inconsistent in you as a minister, to
refuse to preach plainly against that aggravated
and abominable iniquity, slavery. I believe
the Bible denounces slavery ; and that it is as
much the duty of the watchmen on Zion's
walls to warn the people against this sin, as
any other.

B. Have I never preached against slavery ?
What was the subject of my discourse on
Fast day ?

F. I believe you did mention It then,
among the other sins of the nation ; but what I
mean is, preach whole sermons against it, and
let the people know that you are a strong abo-
litionist ; the same as Mr. Blarney, ofTrotland,

B. Mention it among other sins ! Why
the greater portion of the morning's sermon
was about the helnousness of slavery ; and I
expressed myself so strongly that many of our
people, as you are aware, thought I went too
far. Deacon Vuel was so offended, that he
said "if he had known that I was going to

24 THE UNltiUE.

meddle with the slavery question, he would
have staid at home ; and that if I preached in
that manner again, he would take his hat, and
leave the meeting-house."

F, Well, but deacon Vuel you know is a
regular pro-slavery man, dyed in the wool*
He is behind the age ; and isn't worth minding.
But why don't you preach like Mr. Blarney }
He comes out !

B, Stop a moment. Would you have
me do as he has done ? Like him keep bring-
ing the subject before the people till divisions
arise in the church, and a scene be enacted
here similar to that which has taken place in
Trotland ?

F. Perhaps br. Blarney has been impru-
dent, and sometimes pressed his point rather
too hard ; but I believe he is a praying man,
and has the cause of the poor slave deeply at
heart. I don't think I ever heard him pray
without remembering the slave in his chains.

B. Do not fly off in a tangent from the
question. You have not answered me. Do
you want me to pursue the same course here,
that he has at Trotland }


F. Why ! I don't want any trouble in the
church. I do not desire you to do exactly as
he has done, but I do wish you would preach
as heartily against slavery as he does.

B. Heartily ! Why I am sure I hate sla-
very from my heart, and when I preach
against it, I preach with all my heart. How
does Mr. Blarney preach }

F. Preach ! ! ! 1 wish you could hear
him once. His eyes flash fire ; and his very
soul burns with the wrongs of the poor, degra-
ded slaves. And the way he denounces
slave-holders. I tell you I should pity any
slaveholder that should happen to hear him.
He says they are '-'- robbers^ murderers^ cut-
throats^ pirates^ licentious brutes, incarnate
DEVILS, monsters in the shape of human be-
ings, reeking with human blood, and revelling
in the tears, and stripes, and groans, and wrongs,
and miseries of the wretched." Such plain
dealing you know excites the people, and leads
them to look into the subject of slavery.

B. Do you wish me to call slaveholders
such names }

F. I believe they deserve them.


B. But do you wish me to call them so
in the pulpit ?

F. As long as they deserve them, I do.

B. Do you think denouncing them in that
manner has any tendency to lead them to re*
nounce slavery ?

F. I cannot say as to that, but whether it
would or not, I think it would awaken an in-
terest among the people.

B. So do I. I think it would awaken
very much such an interest as there has been
at Trolland. You said you never heard Mr.
Blarney pray without remembering! the slave.
Do you think it was right for him invariably to
pray for the slave ?

F. To be sure I do. I shouldn't think it
right if he did not.

B. Did you ever hear him pray without
remembering the heathen ?

F, Oh yes ! many times.

B. Was thai right ^

F. Was what right ?

B. Was it right for him to pray and not
remember the wretched, idolatrous heathen?

F. He feels an interest for them. At th©
last concert — —


B. That is not the point. Is it right for
him to pray without remembering the heathen
nations ?

F. Perhaps he thinks as some others do,
that there are so many who pray for the hea-
then, that it is not necessary for him to remem-
ber them in every prayer. But he does plead
fervently for the slave when he prays.

B. I see you avoid answering my ques-
tion ; and now, my brother, look at it. There
are hundreds of heathen to one slave ; and how
is it that you can feel such a deep, all-absorb-
ing interest for our 3,000,000 slaves, and feel
comparatively so little interest for hundreds
of millions of idolaters, living in the grossest
spiritual darkness, sunken in every vice, and
exposed to all that is terrific in the wrath of an
offended God ? I confess I cannot under-
stand it.

F. I do feel for the wretched heathen ;
but you know there are multitudes to feel for
them, w^hile there are only a few who feel for
the slave in his bondage.

^B. I do not know that; I wish all Chris-
tians felt for both as they ought. Do you
think I feel for the slave ?


F. Some ; I suppose you would like to
have slav^ery abolished, but you do not take
that active stand against it which I think every
minister should.

B. What stand ought I to take ?

F. As I said before, preach more point-
edly against this sin — have an anti-slavery
monthly concert established in the church, and
urge the people to attend it.

B. Well, suppose I should; what w^ould
be the result ?

F. The people would be enlightened, and
would feel and ace for the slave ; an anti-slavery
society would be speedily formed, and vigorous
measures adopted to benefit the cause.

B. Well, what then ?

F. Why then — the — the society would
pass resolutions against slavery. Money would
be freely given to publish books and pamphlets,
and to aid lecturers in going about the country
to stir up the people. I should rejoice to
have such a society here, and see my honored
pastot the president of it.

Here this dialogue was interrupted ; and be-
fore Mr. Farrington had another opportunity
of calling upon his minister to finish it, and to


show him still further his inconsistency, he
heard of the death of his only brother, who had
been residing for several years in Georgia.
He, being sole heir to his estate, found it
necessary to repair immediately to the south.
Eight slaves were left by that brother. Mr.
Farrington, after duly and prayerfully consider-
ing what he should do in reference to them,
came at last to the conclusion that the poor
creatures were totally incapacitated to take
care of themselves ; and consequently out of
entire and generous charity towards them,
ICj^'SOLDci^^i them to a Christian master,
who by inquiries he learned had always treated
his slaves with remarkable kindness.

After 4iis return from Georgia, he did not
seem particularly desirous of resuming the
conversation with his pastor upon the subject
of slavery, but rather appeared to avoid it when
he two or three times incidentally adverted
to it.

He w^as heard to say ''that he thought Mr.
Blackenburn a most pious and excellent man ;
and, upon the whole, one of the most con-
sistent ministers of the gospel he had ever





In July 1837, an acquaintance commenced
with the Rev. Mr. Merton, the pastor of the
Baptist church in the populous and flourishing

town of , in the state of New York. He

had then been settled two years and seven
months. During the first year he had bap-
tized five ; in the second year nine ; and in the
last seven months twenty-one. It was said
that he was much beloved, both by his church
and congregation. The truth or falsity of this
remark we do not pretend to decide, but leave
each reader to receive his own impression
from the remainder of the narrative.

The church was quite large, consisting of
317 members, comprising many classes and
kinds of people. The salary was $700 per
annum, and with all his contriving and econo-
my, it cost Mr. Merton more than $800 to
support his family. Perhaps he was not as


skillful in managing his pecuniary concerns as
some ministers are ; but be that as it may, he
could not live on his salary. The church
were aware of this fact, and were able if they
pleased, to pay three times $700, and yet they
did not increase his salary.

Mr. Merton was a small man in body, but
capable of considerable physical endurance,
and always enjoyed good health. He was
about. four years on the wrong side of thirty;
of mild and pleasing address ; in talents, above
mediocrity, and of fair and solid attainments,
having passed through college and the theo-
logical seminary with much credit as a scholar.'
He was a godly man — preached with all his
heart, and labored hard in many ways to do
good to his church and congregation. He
was much engaged in his work, but evidently
thought too much of what the peo])le said
about him. He had a peculiar sort of sensitive-
ness^ which if a minister is so unfortunate as to
possess, he should resolutely strive to over-
come ; inasmuch as to some extent it stands in
the way of his usefulness. Mr. Merton
seemed to forget that it was impossible to
please all men, and was sorely afflicted if he


found tliat his public ministrations, or pastoral
labors, did not give entire satisfaction to every
individual. So very sensitive was he, that if
any of his members incidentally observed,
"Your sermon last Sabbath morning was not
equal to the one in the afternoon," or dropped
any similar remark, — as he expressed himself,
"It made him nervous all day long."

A friend of his says, "One time when I
called upon him, I was much amused at his
expense, seeing what a grievous trouble he
made out of a mere nothing. Said he, 'I
preached last Sabbath afternoon a sermon upon
the atonement, which occupied fifty minutes.
I had spent much time upon it, and had pre-
pared it with great care. As I w^as leaving
the meeting-house, deacon Woolvane said to
me, 'I liked your sermon, but you did not do
justice to your subject, because you did not
take time enough. If you had preached some
fifteen or twenty minutes more, you would
have done up the matter finely.' Now this
morning I was at brother Shifter's house ; and
in the course of conversation he referred to
that sermon, and said, 'I thought your views
were just, and I was pleased with your man-


ner of treating that important doctrine ; but you
preached too long to interest. I tell you
what, brother Merton, ministers make a mis-
take when they preach over forty minutes.
They had better fall below than go beyond
forty minutes.' '

'Now,' said he, w^ith quite a mournful
cast of countenance, and for the life of me I
could not help laughing as I looked upon it,
' what shall a poor fellow do, when he prepares
an occasional sermon with elaborate care,
hoping to benefit and satisfy his people, and
finds that one thinks it too long, and another
too short? — but w^hat are you laughing at.'*'
Why 1 cannot help laughing, said I, to see
w^hat a sorrowful look you put on, and what a
grievous affair your sensitiveness leads you to
imagine this is. Do you suppose that all your
sermons will please every hearer .'' If you do,
you will find yourself amazingly mistaken, I
assure you. The only way to get along com-
fortably is, to preach the truth as plainly and
forcibly as you can, and take no notice of any
such remarks people may make about your
discourses. As to pleasing all, if you under-
take to do it you will find yourself in the same


predicament with the poor man in the fable
who tried to please all ; sometimes riding on
his ass, then letting his son ride, then both
riding at once, and then again, neither riding;
but whichever way it was, some would find
fault. You will be compelled also to come to
the same conclusion with this man — that is, do
what you think is best, let the people say what
they please.

Now is not that right ? Is not that the
best way for you to do ? ' Why yes,' said he,
' I suppose it is, but my sensitiveness, as you
call it, is so great, that in spite of all that I can
do, these sort of things do plague me.'
Here our conversation was ended by a person
calling to request Mr. Merton to go immedi-
ately to see one of his parishioners, who had
met with a dangerous accident, and was not
expected to live.

Poor Mr. Merton ! his sensitiveness was
indeed distressingly acute, and was soon the
means of his leaving. How this happened
may be gathered from the following extract of
a letter w4iich we received from him soon after
his resignation.

"The expenses of living being very high


in 5 and receiving nothing but my salary

and some $30 or $40 a year from marriages, the
people not being in the habit of making pres-
ents to their minister, I found that each year I
was running in debt some $60 or $70. None
of my own relatives being able to help me,
my father having done all he possibly could do
in assisting me to obtain my education, I was
exceedingly distressed, and knew not what to
do. I consulted with a ministering brother,
who advised me to make known my case to
the church. I told him many of the members
already knew about my affairs. He said that
was not the thing ; and that I ought to make a
fair and open statement at sonrje full meeting
of the church.

'* After thinking the matter over a few days,
and in fact nights too, for it worried me so
much I could sleep but little, I concluded to
follow his advice. Accordingly, at our next
monthly church meeting I candidly stated just
iiow I was situated, and then left the vestry.
The next day deacon Woolvane called, and
informed me that the church had voted to
raise my salary to $800. This, of course,
considerably relieved my mind, especially as


deacon W. was very kind, and expressed
himself as highly gratified with the way in which
I had stated my circumstances before the
church. But the trial was to come. I soon
found that all the members were not like dea-
con W. I heard of many complaints. One
said, 'I shouldn't have thought our minister
VvOLild have Jiinted for an increase of salary.'
Another said, ' Mr. Merton is too extrava-
gant.'' A third said, ' his wife need not dress
so expensively.' A fourth, 'hemightlive in a
smaller house.' A fifth, 'it don't cost me
anything like $700 to support my family, and
it is larger than his.' And thus one said one
thing, and another another, till I was so fretted
and nervous I was almost afraid I should lose
my senses. Ob, how heartily did I wish I
had never opened my mouth about my pecu-
niary embarrassments. I talked with deacon
Woolvane about the matter, and he told me
not to mind anything that was said — to just
let it alone, and it would all soon blow over.
I tried to follow his advice, but I could not.
I summoned all my philosophy to my aid, and
determined that I would not let such trifling
matters harrass me. I denounced mvself as


foolish and weak for thinking and caring so
much for them. But it was in vain — all would
not avail, and I found no peace till my con-
nexion with the church was dissolved."

Mr. Merton is now the pastor of the church

in the wealthy farming town of P , where

his ministry is much blessed ; the fruits of it
already having been seen in a precious revival.
He has had the pleasure of baptizing forty-
seven converts, and of seeing many backsliders
return to their Father's house. His salary is
$600, which, with numerous presents, (such
as wealthy farmers of generous hearts often
give,) affords him a comfortable maintenance;
as the expenses of living are much less than

in . He has not entirely overcome his

SENSITIVENESS yet; but says he "don't care
half as much as he used to, what people say
about him."

It is due to the church in , to say that

they raised by subscription a sum of money
sufficient to liquidate the debts of Mr. Merton,
so that he left the place unembarrassed. They
have now settled the gifted Rev. Charles
Melville, and find no difficulty w^hatever in
payitjg liim a salary of $900.




Mr. Daniel Berkland was a Christian gen^
lleman of the legal profession, and was one of
the best hearted men in the world. He was
somewhat eminent as a lawyer, and had an ex-
tensive practice. His clients, as a general
thing, were a very honest class of men, be-
cause it was understood throughout the region,
that Squire Berkland resorted to no chicanery^
never took advantage of his clients by prolong-
ing their cases, or making them unnecessary-
trouble and expense; but always advised them
to let the law alone, when they could in any
practicable manner adjust their difficulties with-
out it ; for strange as it may seem to some —

" There are who, living by the legal pen,
Are held in honor — honorable men ;
Men who would starve, ere meanly deign to live
On what deception and chicanery give."

Squire Berkland was known, in repeated in-
stances, to interpose so successfully between


contending parties, as to lead them to a happy
and amicable settlement; so that instead of
going to law, they actually became strong
friends through his kind and Christian-like me-
diation ; when by fanning the flame a little, he

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Online LibraryGregory GodolphinThe unique, a book of its own kind: → online text (page 2 of 11)