Peter Smith.

Memorials of Peter Smith. Born, Brechin, Scotland, Sept. 21, 1802. Died, Andover, Mass., July 6, 1880 online

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Online LibraryPeter SmithMemorials of Peter Smith. Born, Brechin, Scotland, Sept. 21, 1802. Died, Andover, Mass., July 6, 1880 → online text (page 3 of 6)
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Now entered priests, bishops, and cardinals ;
then came the Pope, carried on the shoulders of
four men, in a large arm-chair, his subjects all

" In front of the high altar is a tabernacle, said
to contain the heads of the Apostles Peter and
Paul. After high mass was over, the people all
repaired to the front of the palace to receive the
Pope's blessing. He was carried to the front of
the balcony, where he offered a short prayer;
then he waved his hand to the multitude, as a
signal of his blessing, which was received amidst


the roar of cannon and the din of martial mu-
sic. The second day we drove to what is called
* Pincian Hill.' This is a beautiful place, well
laid out for promenades and drives, and is much
frequented, giving to those who ascend the hill
a partial view of the city. We took a drive
outside the walls, through the grounds of an
old Roman villa, which are much used by the
nobility for carriage drives, and are laid out in
fine taste. Roads and walks are kept in fine
order, and here one may drive in shade or sun-
shine, by fountain or statuary.

" We also visited St. Peter's church, and some
others celebrated for their fine paintings and
statuary ; also the Coliseum, that great pile of
brick and mortar, the larger part of which still
remains in good repair.

" The Triumphal Arch of Constantine stands
near this building, and in its day must have
been admired for its magnificence in architect-
ure and sculpture. All the figures are of the
most chaste character ; after the lapse of so
many centuries, with the all-destroying hand of
time upon them, they fill, even now, the mind of
the beholder with the greatest admiration.


" We visited a picture-gallery on this day, thus
mingling our sight-seeing with different objects
of interest. In order that the eye might not
become weary in looking at the ruins of the
past, we spent some time in studying the works
of modern genius as portrayed on the canvas.
On the holy Sabbath, a very wet day, we at-
tended service at the English chapel : as the
clergyman was about leaving his charge, he
preached a farewell sermon. While I sat there,
I thought of the closing chapter of the Acts of
the Apostles. May the Holy Ghost, as of old,
descend upon some faithful ministers of the
Word, who shall preach Christ and Him cruci-
fied as the only way of salvation for lost men.
The hearts of this people, are waxed gross ; it is
astonishing to see the papal darkness that envel-
ops the mind.

" On Monday, after visiting the Vatican, we
drove out to Villa Doria. This is a most beau-
tiful place, with fine gardens, in richness of foli-
age presenting to the eye the fancied picture
of the garden of Eden.

" I find that in making an attempt to describe


the beauties of nature or of art, in and around
this interesting city, it requires the pen to be
wielded by a master hand. One must see them
in order to draw in the inspiring influences
which this ancient city and its surroundings are
calculated to produce. Whether in the Forum
or the field, the history of the past covers this
place with scenes of interest. Here, in this city,
the Apostle Paul wrote some of those Epistles
which are so full of comfort and instruction to
the Christian disciple, as to the triumph over
the power of sin and of faith in Christ. He
could exclaim, ' God forbid that I should glory,
save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by
whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto
the world.' "

In the year 1865, a sad affliction came upon
Mr. Smith, as God called from that happy home
one of his dear children ; the first link in the
chain was broken.

His daughter Lucretia having been out of
health for some time, he resolved, after consult-
ing the physicians, to try the effect of a sea


voyage, hoping for a happy and successful re-


The following extracts from a journal, will tell
the sad history of the next six weeks :

December 6th. Left my home with two of
my daughters, Jennette and Lucretia, on a voy-
age to Europe. Sailed from Boston, in the
steamship China. All well and in good spir-
its, with the exception of Lucretia, who has
slight cold, with cough.

December i6th. Custom-house officers came
on board at daylight. After going through ex-
aminations we landed. Took the train for Edin-
burgh. Lucretia quite tired.

December i8th. Left in the early train for
Brechin. Found my friends all well. They
wanted me to make their house my home while
I stayed in Scotland. I shall never forget their

December 2ist. Called Dr. Outline to see
Lucretia. He said she was quite sick.

December 23d. Writing to America. Sent
a private note to my son that Lucretia was sick


with a fever ; but I was in hope she would get
over it. The latter part of the day she grew
much worse. Dr. Guthrie sent for. Very sad
thoughts concerning my dear child.

December 24th. Lucretia much worse, and
sinking fast. I seem to feel that the hand of
God is laid upon me in no common way. Far
from the home circle, who know not the bitter
cup my Heavenly Father gives me now to drink;
but blessed be His name that I am in the midst
of dear friends, whose attentions have been all
that could be desired ; whose prayers and sym-
pathies seem to impart to me new courage, to
strengthen my faith in all the purposes and deal-
ings of God with me and mine. How much has
He blessed me in time past! Why should I not
have faith in Him now ?

December 25th. Lucretia kept sinking, until
at twenty minutes before eight she breathed her
last. Farewell, dear child, until the morning of
the resurrection, when I hope to meet you, a
glorified spirit! The battle is fought, the vic-
tory won. Thou art relieved from all thy pain
and feebleness ! My heart is filled with the


deepest sorrow. We receive all the kind sym-
pathy of our friends; their Christian conversa-
tion and prayers are a great comfort to us in
this our time of need.

" Oh for an overcoming faith

To look within the veil,
And credit what my Saviour saith,
Whose word can never fail."

December 27th. Making preparation for re-
turn to America. The kindness of these
Brechin friends is beyond the power of language
to express. They seemed to take us up in the
arms of their Christian sympathy and affection,
and carry us through our sore trial with many
prayers, commending us to God. I took my
last farewell of my dear child's remains ; im-
pressed the last kiss on that lovely face, cold and
white as marble.

December 29th. Two weeks ago to-night we
arrived at Liverpool, all happy at the joyful
prospect before us. But, oh, how changed is
our condition! It is hard to realize, but so it is.
We are on our way back to a sorrowful home.
My tears are all dried up with grief. O my


God, help me to cast all my care on Thee, who
hath said that not a sparrow falleth to the ground
without thy notice !

January nth. At eleven in the morning a
New York pilot came on board. I was very
anxious to hear if the steamer had arrived
which had the letter containing the sad news.
On learning that it had not my feelings were

How can I go home to my family, and be the
bearer of such heavy tidings! Oh, the anguish
of my heart ! How can I do it ! May thy grace
be sufficient for me, for my strength faileth.

Five weeks later the precious remains arrived.
Appropriate services were held at the home, at
Forest Hill. Two years after, the family lot
at the cemetery was prepared according to Mr.
Smith's own taste and under his supervision.
A monument of Aberdeen granite was erected
to the memory of the beloved Lucretia.

Although traveling was always a delight to
Mr. Smith, whose keen appreciation of the
grand and the beautiful, the sublime and the


exquisite, enabled him to value privileges of this
nature to the highest degree, yet he never was
so happy as when among the heather-covered
hills of the land of his nativity. He never failed
to visit the Highlands of Scotland. He thus
describes a day spent in that region :

" We are enjoying the scenery in the north
of Scotland very much. We visited Staffa and
lona. The former is one of the most wonder-
ful works of God. It was on a fine day that we
sailed into the inside of Fingal's Cave ; there
were about one hundred persons present. While
in the cave they sang the tune of Old Hundred,
which had such an effect on the hearts of many
present that the tears were to be seen trickling
down their cheeks.

" While the voice was giving praise for His
greatness, the eye was looking with delight on
the evidence of His power."

The enjoyment of this trip was mingled with
sadness, on account of the associations of the
loved one now no more.


" I am sadly reminded," he writes, "of our
dear Lucretia in revisiting these places, in which
she took so much delight ; I am also .reminded
that these earthly lights will soon pass away.
While God, in His providence, permits us to
enjoy seen objects, may we be enabled to look
up to Him and 3ay, My Father made them all."

Notwithstanding the repeated trips which he
made across the water, he always enjoyed the
enthusiasm and interest of his children and
grandchildren, to whom foreign sights were a
novelty ; he entered as much into their excite-
ment as if a novice himself. It was a sweet and
sacred pleasure to him to recall the visits made
in former years, when the associations would
come to him so vividly, especially if connected
with those who had already passed on to the
better land.

On the thirty-second anniversary of his mar-
riage he was in Venice, but that event, though
he was among foreign scenes, did not escape
his mind.

In a retrospective glance at the past, of which
he is writing to his far-away wife, he says :


" God has very greatly blessed us in the things
of this world, filling our cup to overflowing with
plenty ; giving us a pleasant home, with all that
is needful for the life that now is. He has also
given us many dear friends to love, whose hap-
piness seems to be mingled with our own,
friends dear because they are the friends of the
Saviour, whom I trust we love and try to serve
from day to day.

" During these thirty-two years, many changes
have taken place in the circle of our acquaint-
ance. Just as they have occurred in time past,
they will occur in time to come ; nothing is sta-
tionary on earth. Some of those changes have
filled our hearts with great joy, some of them
with the deepest sorrow. Seven years ago to-
day, when in this city I wrote to you, our dear
Lucretia sat by my side. How I love to think
of her ways while here in the body ; to visit
those places where she loved to linger and feast
on the beauty of nature or of art ! They seem
to have an interest to me now which they did
not possess then. But what is the love of nat-
ure or of art to the love of the redeemed soul

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in glory ? ' Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man, the
things which God hath prepared for them that
love Him.' May it be the purpose of our
hearts to spend the few remaining days we may
have on earth in preparation for our heavenly
home, where the mysterious dealings of God,
in His providence, will be no longer veiled in

In all these years his heart was continually
going out to his Maker in gratitude for the bless-
ings which He bestowed upon him. " When I
look at the greatness of the works around me,"
referring to the grandeur of the scenery at
Interlaken, " and the greater kindness of His
providence which has been meted out to me
and mine, I have reason to say, ' Bless the Lord,
O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,'
whose loving kindness is new every morning
and repeated every night."

In 1876 he writes thus to his wife from Brechin
on the anniversary of his landing in Boston :

6 4

" Fifty-four years ago to-day since I first landed
in Boston ! In looking back over these years, I
see how many mercies my Heavenly Father has
been bestowing upon me. Now and then a dark
cloud has come over my earthly hopes and fan-
cied enjoyments, just as if it were to teach me
that here we have no continuing city nor abid-
ing place. The golden chain of love that bound
us has been broken ; link after link has dropped
out. While, with sorrowing hearts, we have
looked at each broken link, as we have laid it
away in the grave, have we not heard our Sav-
iour say, * I am the Resurrection and the Life ;
he that- believeth on me, though he were dead,
yet shall he live.' ....

" God has spanned the heavens with His bow
of promise, and planted Hope on its keystone,
and bids Faith look up, while He says, ' They
that trust in me shall not want any good thing.' "

With this feeling of gratitude came an over-
whelming sense of his own unworthiness :

" I feel myself unworthy to receive such man-
ifestations of His goodness to such a sinner as I
must appear in His sight, who is infinite in holi-


" My thoughts, for the two or three days that
are past, have been much engaged upon the
passing events of the year that is just drawing
to a close. In looking back, I can see many
things left undone which ought to have been
done, and much done which ought not to have
been done. It has been a year of great anxiety
to me as regards the business of this life : I have
been often perplexed to know what would be best
to do ; yet this has been the lot of all- business
men. But all men are not made to bear with
equal ease the burden. Some Christians need
more grace than others to help them in the path
of duty. Their passions are stronger, and their
wills more uncontrollable ; they need a larger
measure of divine influence to subdue and melt
them into the love of Christ. The Christian,
when reviewing the past with all its mistakes, is
encouraged to look forward to the future only
by laying hold on the promise, * My grace is suf-
ficient for thee.' This is all my hope, that the
remnant of my days may be spent more to the
glory of God than the time that is past. I shall
not be with you to-morrow, when you meet with


the Christian brothers and sisters at the table of
our Lord, but hope my spirit may be with you.
From henceforth may we have, a mutual quick-
ening, so that our hereafter may be like the ris-
ing sun, which 'shineth more and more unto the
perfect day.' "

Of all Mr. Smith's reminiscences, none were
more touching than those associated with
Brechin,and Plymouth.

Writing from Brechin, he says :
" I have just returned from the church where
I went with my parents when a child, and sat in
the same seat ; then a little boy, now an old man.
How many thoughts passed in rapid succession
before my mind, thoughts of those who once
filled those seats : they have all passed away !
There was not one present that I could remem-
ber having seen before. All my youthful asso-
ciates are gone, or have become so enfeebled by
age as not to be able to recognize me. It is a
mournful pleasure for me to walk the streets
of Brechin, and to remember the names of those
good men and women who have left their influ-

6 7

ence on the generations that have come after
them. I feel that I have been in some measure
a sharer of this influence, and often ask myself,
* Shall my influence for good descend upon those
I leave behind ? ' It is said that the memory
of the righteous shall be held in everlasting re-
membrance, but the memory of the wicked shall

Every year, a visit to Plymouth was one of
the plans for the summer. There he loved to
wander from street to street, and linger about
the spot, the sight of which carried him back
to his first experiences in America: he saw
himself again a stalwart fellow of twenty, as
he worked at his bench by the window. That
was a reality; the prosperous man of seventy
seemed a dream.

But in order to appreciate the character of this
noble man, he must be seen in his own home.
A man singularly fond of, and devoted to, his
family. The following extract from a letter,
written to one of his daughters during her school-
days away from home, will show his great desire


that his children should improve their advan-
tages for their own intellectual and spiritual de-
velopment, as well as for future usefulness in the
world ; also his anxiety to know frequently of
their welfare :

ANDOVER, February 13, 1852.

MY DEAR CHILD, I have been expecting a
letter from you for some time past. I cannot
believe that you have forgotten your father. I
am rather inclined to think that you do not like
to write letters. You had better try and over-
come that feeling ; three or four letters every
week would not be too much. Let your
thoughts be well chosen ; write only about
things that will be profitable to your own mind
to communicate, and for those with whom you
may correspond to receive.

I hope you are enjoying yourself, and im-
proving your time in mental and moral culture-
Your school-days are fast passing away ; the
opportunities you now have of cultivating your
intellectual powers will soon be gone.

As a Christian, the question ought to come
home to your heart, " Am I improving my

6 9

time and advantages that God may be glorified,
and others, who are less favored than myself,
be blessed by my influence and example ? "
My dear child, let it be the great object for
which you live, to be the means of doing good
to others ; for that is the great end which the
Christian ought to have in view, while in this
world of sin and . suffering. I hope you are
growing spiritually, improving all the opportu-
nities you have of obtaining a knowledge of your
duty to your God and Saviour, for that is the
height of all true knowledge. When you write,
please give me an account of your feelings,
and tell me how you are getting along in your

spiritual life

I hope you will take courage and pay up your
debt in letter-writing, before it gets to be so
large that you will be afraid to begin. From
your affectionate FATHER.

At another time he writes :

" It has always been my chief desire that my
children should feel an interest in one another,
and I hope that my labors have not been in



It was a severe trial when any inroads were
made upon his abundant share of daughters, that
new homes might be formed. A terrible strug-
gle, always, was waged within himself, before he
could give his consent to the breaking up of
the old home for the formation of new ones.

In a recent letter to one of his daughters, he
says :

" I go occasionally into the different rooms
and chambers, and think of those who used to
occupy them. Some have gone to the heavenly
home ; some have made themselves homes
among the children of men. How thankful I
am that they are all so pleasantly situated in
this life ; and much more so when I have the
evidence that they are united to those who have
given themselves to the service of the Lord
Jesus Christ ! I never shall cease to thank God,
every day of my life, for this unspeakable bless-
ing, and to hope that we shall all meet, an un-
broken family, in heaven."

During the latter part of his life, when all of
his loving band of twelve children, with one ex-

ception, had been taken from him either by mar-
riage or death, he looked forward to the period-
ical visits of the surviving ones with joy. Never
was he happier than when, with business set
aside, he sat in his easy-chair, in the quiet hours
of the evening, with the scattered members of
his family laughing and talking affectionately and
merrily together, either of the joys of the present,
the scenes of the past, or the hopes of the future.

On the festive days, when all members and
branches of the family came together, no coun-
tenance glowed so intensely, no eye sparkled so
brightly, no laugh was so hearty, as his, the
father and grandfather of the merry circle that
he so fondly loved.

With such deep, passionate affection, the giv-
ing up submissively of the dear ones whom the
Master had called to Himself was a sore trial ;
the conflict raged long and fiercely, but in
every instance he was, at last, enabled to say,
" Thy will be done."

The following extracts from letters written
to his wife, one on board the steamer Parthia,
the other from London, will show the strength


of his affection, the depth of his sorrow, and the
calm submission to the successive bereavements
in his home circle:

" How many thoughts come to mind in look-
ing over these years that are past! Our Heav-
enly Father has been pleased to give us much
health and strength; prospering us greatly in
the things of this life, also increasing us in
numbers, as Jacob of old; and for so many years
did suffer us to remain a happy and unbroken
circle. But this was not always to be so.

" The beloved Lucretia was the first to be
taken from us, the memory of whom has often
refreshed my weary spirit. Then our dear Jen-
nette, the first-born, who was like sunlight in the
family, ever ready to help when help was needed.
She made friends wherever she went, blessed of
God with those traits of character for which she
was loved at home and abroad ; whose spirit had
been disciplined by the trials through which
God, in His providence, called her to pass.
The next whom God was pleased to take was
our dear and youngest daughter, the pride and
joy of her father's heart. Often, when tired and


weary with the cares of the day or the week,
would she cheer my spirits with the melodies of
my native land. The next that followed was
our Annie, who, after a few years of wedded
life, was called to leave the pleasant home she
had made, with the words, * Simply to thy cross
I cling.' "

" LONDON, July 30, 1876.

. ..." I have just returned from Rev. Mr.
Spurgeon's church, where we had a fine sermon
from Genesis v. 22. 'And Enoch walked with
God, and he was not, for God took him.' His
illustrations were very fine : some of them took
strong hold of my feelings, as, for instance,
when he said that God was kind to those who
walked with Him ; like an earthly father walk-
ing with a child, who, when he comes to a bad
place in the road, takes it up in his arms and
carries it, so God carries His children along
in this life, when they come to places of temp-
tation and trial, and the deep gullies of af-
fliction. I was then reminded of our experi-
ence as a family, of the deep, deep gully He
carried us through, when He was pleased to


take from us our dear Lucretia. Oh, how sore
was the trial, and yet it was a Father's hand that
did it ! Then our dear Jennette, who was always
ready to do for others' good, was removed from
the sore trials which were the mixture of her
earthly cup to the world where there is no
mpre sorrow nor crying, and where all tears are
wiped from every eye.

" It seemed to us that this was enough, but it
did not seem so to God, for He was pleased
to lay the hand, of disease upon the fair flower.
God took her, and she was able to say, ' Yea,
though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death I will fear no evil ; for thou art with me.'
Then our dear Annie, who was so loving, and
had delight in everything that was lovely in
nature, one year ago began to realize that her
time on earth was to be short. With composure
she distributed her earthly goods, that she might
have nothing to clog her upward flight.

" These and many other scenes of my life
passed before my mind, and I could truly say,
God, my Heavenly Father, has taken my hand,
and led me over the hard places and through
the deep waters."




AFTER this notice of Mr. Smith's home life, it
seems natural to speak next of his connection
with the West Parish church and society. They
were dear and precious to him. Associated with
the church almost from its beginning, and as
one of its deacons, he constantly gave his tal-
ents, his energy, and his means toward promot-
ing its welfare. Whenever the ocean separated
him from his sanctuary, when surrounded by
the bustle and festivity of the Continental Sab-
bath, his thoughts were ever with the band of
disciples in the West Parish church. Many
times in his correspondence he mentions his
solicitude and anxiety lest the weekly prayer
meeting should diminish, in either numbers or
interest ; inquires affectionately for his pastor,
and any that may be stricken by disease or cast
down by sorrow.

The following testimonial of his valuable serv-
ices to the church, and of the estimation of
his Christian character, is from his pastor, Rev.

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Online LibraryPeter SmithMemorials of Peter Smith. Born, Brechin, Scotland, Sept. 21, 1802. Died, Andover, Mass., July 6, 1880 → online text (page 3 of 6)