Samuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) Worcester.

The life and Labors of Rev. Samuel Worcester, D.D.; former pastor of the Tabernacle church, Salem, Mass online

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Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterThe life and Labors of Rev. Samuel Worcester, D.D.; former pastor of the Tabernacle church, Salem, Mass → online text (page 13 of 42)
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even before you can use their language ; but you will
give yourselves wholly to your work, and use all care
that you * run not in vain, neither labor in vain.' The
deplorable ignorance of the poor heathen will con-
stantly be in your minds, and deeply affect your hearts.
To them you are to make known the ' words by which
they and their children may be saved.' To them you
are to teach, not the commandments, or the dogmas
of men ; but the pure doctrines of the gospel, drawn
directly from the Scriptures of truth. You will most
religiously beware of that ' philosophy, and vain deceit,
which is after the tradition of men, after the rudiments
of the world, and not after Christ; and avoid questions
and strifes of words, whereof come envy, strife, revil-
ings, evil surmises, and perverse disputings of men of
corrupt minds.'

In teaching the Gentiles, it will be your business,
not vehemently to declaim against their superstitions,
but in the meekness and gentleness of Christ, to bring
them as directly as possible to the knowledge of di-
vine truth. It is the truth, the truth as it is in Jesus,
which is mighty through God to the pulling down of


strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every
high thing, which exalteth itself against the knowledge
of God ; and bringing every thought into captivity to
the obedience of Christ.' So far as the truth has ac-
cess so as to produce its effect, the errors, and super-
stitions, and vices of Paganism will fall of course.
You will beware of the rock on which Missionaries
have too often split ; and not at once advance upon
the uninstructed with things beyond their power to
understand. Beginning with the ' first principles ' of
the doctrine of Christ, you will proceed in your in-
structions gradually, with patience and wisdom ; feed-
ing the people with milk, until they have strength to
bear meat. And for their good unto salvation, it will
be your delight, as it will be your duty, to be * instant
in season, and out of season ; to be their servants for
Jesus' sake, and to spend and be spent.'

10. If God, in his infinite grace, prosper your la-
bors, and give you the happiness to see converts to the
truth, you will proceed in regard to them, at once with
charity and caution. You will allow sufficient time
for trial, and for the reality of conversion to be attested
by its fruits ; that, as far as possible, the scandal of
apostasy may be prevented. You will admit none as
members of the church of Christ, but such as give
credible evidence that they are true believers ; and none
to the ordinance of baptism, but credible believers and
their households. The discipline of Christ's house you
will charitably and faithfully observe.

11. As in Christian lands, so in all lands, the hope
of the church is principally from the rising generation.
Youth and children, therefore, will be objects of your
very particular solicitude and attention; and no pains
will be spared either by yourselves, or by our dear
sisters, your wives, for their Christian education.

12. It will be your desire, as it is ours, to lighten
as much as possible the expenses of the Mission ; that
by the pious liberalities of this country, your establish-
m:ent may be enlarged, and other missions supported.
So far, therefore, as you can consistently with your

VOL. n. *13


missionary duties, you will apply yourselves to the
most eligible ways and means of procuring a support
for yourselves and families, agreeably to the example
of European missionaries, and even of the apostles.

Dearly beloved hrethren,

You cannot but be sensible of the vast responsibility
under which you are to act. You are made a spec-
tacle to God, to angels and to men. The eyes of the
friends, and of the enemies, of Christ and his cause
will be upon you. You are the objects of the prayers,
and of the hopes, and of the liberalities, of many. On
your conduct in your mission, incalculable consequen-
ces, both to the Christian and to the Pagan world,
are depending. ' Be strong in the Lord, and be faith-
ful. Count not even your lives dear unto yourselves,
so that you may finish your course with joy, and the
ministry which you have received of the Lord Jesus,
to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.' With fer-
vent prayers for your safety, your welfare, and your
success, we commend you, dear brethren, to God, and
to the word of his grace.

A true copy from the Records of the Prudential

Attest, Samuel Worcester."

" Since their departure," says the Keport of the Com-
mittee, in Sept. 1812, " no intelligence has been re-
ceived from the missionaries. As they were commend-
ed to the grace of God, with many prayers and tears,
they will not cease to be so commended ; and to Him,
under whose signal auspices they went out, and whose
own glory is the ultimate object of all sincere attempts
to spread the gospel and to save the heathen, the whole
disposal of the mission may be safely referred. And
it becomes all who feel an interest in it, to hold them-
selves prepared devoutly to bless his name, whether he
crown it with success answerable to their hopes, or in


his inscrutable wisdom disappoint their expectations,
and make it a subject of severe trial to their faith.

The instructions given to the missionaries were ne-
cessarily drawn up in great haste : but they will be
submitted, with leave, to the consideration and for the
revision of the Board."


" The Christian mourning with Hope." " Female Love to Christ." Revi-
val, 1810. Salem Bible Society. Objections to " Bible News." " The
Messiah of the Scriptures." " The Knowledge of Jesus Chri!.t supreme-
ly important." " Revealed and Secret Things." " God, a Rewarder."
" The Foundation of God sure and sealed." The Dorchester Contro-
versy. Political affairs, 1811. Secretary of the Mass. Miss. Society.
Council at Mollis. The War. " Calamity, Danger, and Hope."
♦' Courage and success to the Good." Meeting of A. B. C. F. M., 1812.
Concert of Prayer. Letters to Missionaries. First intelligence from the
Missionaries. " The Kingdom of the Messiah." Massachusetts T-emper-
ance Society. " The Drunkard a Destroyer." Meeting of A. B. C. F. M ,
1813. " Christian Psalmody." «' The Christian's Confidence." Danger-
ous sickness. A thrilling incident. Meeting of A. B. C. F. M . 1814.
Thanksgiving, Dec. 1, 1814. " The goodness and enduring mercy of the

But all things that are reproved, are made manifest by. the light. * * *
See then that ye walk circumspectly. =* * * Redeeming the time, be-
cause the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding
what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is
excess ; but be filled with the Spirit ; speaking to yourselves in psalms, and
hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the
Lord, giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

E/Cv. Joseph Emerson, whose early interest in the
cause of missions has been noticed in the preceding
chapter, was one of the most intimate friends of Dr.
Worcester. They were acquainted from their child-


hood, and, though quite different, had mutual affinities
and attractions, which qualified them to enjoy each
other's society and confidence, in an eminent degree.
They had a kindred sympathy in every good enter-
prise. Mr. Emerson's second wife had taught school
in Salem. She was universally beloved. Dr. Wor-
cester had great respect for " the superior endowments
of her mind; her quick and clear intelligence, her
brilliant imagination, her animating vivacity, her in-
genuous disposition, and her engaging social quali-
ties. She was admirably formed to enliven and im-
prove society, and to diffuse a useful and benign in-
fluence extensively around her. * * * Of the charac-
ter of a Christian, after she professed it, she was never
ashamed ; a character which she aimed with uncom-
mon felicity and success, in every place to maintain."

She lived about three years and a half, after her
marriage. Her death, following so soon the very af-
flictive bereavement of her husband, in June 1804,*
awakened the tenderest sensibilities of numerous and
very dear friends.

Dr. Worcester's Sermon, occasioned by her death,
and delivered Nov. 14, 1808, was from the words in
1 Thess. iv. 13 : But I would not have you to be
ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep,
that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
These words of the apostle were interpreted, as " clear-
ly affording this interesting doctrine, viz. Relating to
the death of christian friends^ there are important and

* The second Mrs. Emerson, while Miss Eleanor Read, had become
greatly interested in the first, who, before her marriage, was known as Miss
Nancy Eaton ; and for a time " resided in Mr. Worcester's family, that she
might improve in knowledge and love of God ; and also gain something of
that information, which is peculiarly needful to the wife of a minister." —
Memoirs of Mrs. Eleanor Emerson, p. 43.


peculiar considerations^ suited to console the pious and
mourning survivorsJ^

" 1. To mouraing survivors, it must be a consoling
consideration, that their christian friends did not die,
until life's great purpose, in respect to themselves was
answered. * * * n. To pious mourning survivors,
it must be a consoling consideration, that their de-
ceased christian friends did not die, until they had
done some good in the world. * * * HI. It is a con-
soling consideration, that deceased christian friends
did not die, until it was best for them, and best for
their pious survivors, that they should depart. * * *
IV. It may be consoling to pious survivors to con-
sider, that the death of their deceased christian friends
was an event of deep interest to all benevolent beings.
* * * V. Pious survivors may consolingly consider,
that their deceased christian friends are happier and
more useful than they could be in this world. * * *
VI. The death of christian friends is calculated to
promote the best good of their pious survivors. * * *
Once more. Though committed to the dreary tomb,
there to moulder into dust ; yet the bodies of christian
friends will erelong be raised, with renovated and im-
mortal life and beauty. * * *

1. It clearly results, that it is a great thing to be a
Christian. * * * 2. How different from that of the
Christian is the case of the sinner 1***3. There
is abundant reason, why those who mourn the loss of
christian friends, should not indulge in immoderate

In the Sermon throughout, the preacher must have
had the entire sympathies of the mourning assembly;
and in the concluding addresses, every eye must have
been an answering witness of his " tenderness of
friendship and christian affection."

His high estimation of the christian character in
woman, had an expression in a very popular " Dis-


course, before the Salem Female Charitable Society,
Sept. 27, 1809." The subject was " Female Love to
Christ ;" as suggested by Matt, xxvii. 55 : And many
women were there, beholding afar off, which followed
Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him.

" This sacred passage introduces us at once to the
most affecting scene ever exhibited on earth. The
agonies of Gethsemane are past ; the solemn mockery
of the trial at the bar of Pilate has closed ; the sen-
tence of unrighteous condemnation has been pro-
nounced ; and the scene now before us is laid upon
Calvary, out of the western gate of Jerusalem. First
in view is the Son of God, the Savior of men, bowing
under the guilt of the world, and dying between two
malefactors on the cross. Near him are the Roman
centurion and soldiers, to whom the execution of the
awlul sentence was committed, parting his raiment
and casting lots for his vesture. At no great remove,
in a conspicuous situation, are the Jewish rulers and
priests, the instigators of his death, insulting his ago-
nies by every expression of malignant joy. Around
on all sides are vast multitudes of people, from Jerusa-
lem, and the different parts of the land of Israel, w^ho
regard the stupendous tragedy with various sensations.
And at a distance, apart by themselves, are a com-
pany of women, who, from love to the holy Sufferer,
are present to testify how sincerely they love him.

If, my respected hearers, there was never exhibited
on earth a more affecting scene than this; so never
were women beheld in a more interesting situation
than these.

Jesus, while he was engaged in the benevolent work,
for which he came into the world, and went about
doing good, had neither house, nor home, nor silver,
nor gold of his own; but held himself dependant on
others for his daily sustenance and accommodation. —
* Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became
poor.' This afforded his friends opportunity to testify
their love to him, by contributing to the supply of his


necessities ; nor were there wanting those, by whom
the opportunity was embraced with grateful ardor.
Of this number were the women now in view. These
women, among whom are Mary Magdalene, and Mary,
the mother of James and Joses, and Salome, the mother
of Zebedee's children, followed Jesus from Galilee ;
not merely for the sake of attending upon his instruc-
tions, but also for the purpose of affording him chari-
table assistance. They accompanied him in his last
journeyings, and came with him to Jerusalem. They
have rendered him every assistance, which their affec-
tionate liberality could supply; they have sympathized
with him in all the indignities and sufferings, with
which he has been overwhelmed ; and now with a
courage inspired by tenderness, and peculiar to the
sex, they have followed him out to the scene of his
last agonies, and, standing at a distance, are weeping,
while they behold him dying. It is all they can now
do ; and when they shall have brought the sweet
spices, and carried them to his sepulchre, their offices
of affectionate kindness, personally to him, will be

Admirable example of female goodness ! When,
since the fatal event in Paradise, did woman ever ap-
pear more lovely, than these women appear ? When
was the female character ever seen in a more interest-
ing light, than this in which we now ? Who
of the sex would not wish to show the same love to
the Savior, which these women show, and, like them,
to render affectionate service and assistance to him ?

But do you ask, my fair auditors, how you shall
imitate the amiable example, which, with so tender a
sensibility and so much delight, you here contemplate ?
The Savior, it is true, is no longer personally upon
the earth. The days of his humiliation are past ; and
he is now exalted above the heavens, angels, princi-
palities and powers being made subject to him, and
subservient to his pleasure. You cannot now see
him, as these women of Galilee have seen him ; nor
have you, as they have had, opportunity to minister
to his personal necessities. The same love to him,


however, which they have shown, you may also show,
and affectionate service to him, equal to that which
they have rendered, you may also render ; and with
this interesting sentiment, while we spend an hour
here so near to his cross, it shall be my endeavor ten-
derly to impress your minds.

In pursuance of my design, I hope, first, to assist
you to see how women may testify their love to the
Savior, and render him important service and assist-
ance ; and then, in the second place, effectively to
engage your minds, by several persuasives to this pur-

In the FIRST PLACE, then, it is obvious to observe,
in the general, that women may testify their love to
Christ, and render him important service and assist-
ance, by showing themselves his sincere disciples."

After a general view of the manner in which
" women may testify their love to Christ," it is shown
more particularly, that they may "render him service
and assistance, by making it their care that their chil-
dren should be his ;" — " by exerting their influence to
win their friends, their associates, and others, to him
and his cause ;" — and " by contributing to the relief of
the proper objects of charity around them."

In applying the subject, " attention was solicited to
several considerations as motives " to such " love and
service," as had been illustrated.

" 1. The love and service of Christ are peculiarly
suited to the noblest ideas of female excellence. —
It has often and justly been remarked, that Christian-
ity has done more than every thing beside, to elevate
woman to her proper rank and dignity. But how has
this been effected ? The Gospel, it is obvious, places
womaQ on an equal footing with man, in regard to
God and the blessings of his kingdom. It breathes
a spirit of pure and exalted benevolence ; and incul-
cates reciprocal kindness and regard, and all the en-


dearing and improving charities and offices of the do-
mestic and social state. Nor is this all. The princi-
ples of Christianity, cordially embraced and practised,
impart an elevation of sentiment and character, to
which otherwise our fallen nature can never attain.
This has been perceived and felt ; and particularly in
regard to the tender sex. Inspired by the Gospel,
women have risen to sublime intrinsic excellence.
They have struck with confusion that spirit of pride,
or of sensuality, which would regard them as merely
subservient to the whims or the passions of men ; and
have showed themselves beings of the noblest endow-
ments, impressed with the stamp of immortality, and
formed for exalted purity, felicity, and glory.

Look at the women present at the crucifixion, who
followed the Son of God from Galilee, and ministered
unto him. Are these mere forms of earth, made only
for the purposes of soft amusement, or voluptuous
pleasure ? No ; they stand acknowledged, beings of
an exalted rank, allied to angelic natures, and destined
to ascend the scale of immortal perfection. Others of
the sex have been seen in the same dignified light :
and in proportion as women have been inspired with
the love of God our Savior, and influenced in their
practice by the uncorrupted principles of the Gospel,
they have been raised from the debasement of sensual
degradation, to the dignity of intellectual and moral
excellence. Even the most arduous virtues of the
christian character women have displayed, in their
highest perfection ; and in scenes of martyrdom for
the name of Jesus, have shown a constancy and a
courage, which have never been transcended by the
most renowned heroes on the field of battle.

It is thus that Christianity has improved the condi-
tion of the sex. It has imparted to them intrinsic and
exalted worth ; it has shown them in the unfading
charms of moral beauty; it has inspired them with a
dignity and adorned them with virtues, which can
never fail to be regarded with esteem, with respect,
with admiration.

VOL. II. 14


Purity, tenderness, loveliness ; are these the distin-
guished attributes of female excellence ? They are
also the distinguished attributes of Christianity?
"What more pure, more tender, more lovely, than true
love to Christ? And when it holds its empire in the
female breast, what should be expected, but the most
delightful and admirable display of all that is most
amiable and excellent ? It is indeed the genuine re-
ligion of the Gospel only, which gives perfection to
the character of woman. It is the love of the Savior,
glowing in the heart, and imparting its influence to
every action, which gives substance and life to all,
which constitutes female excellence, which adds the
highest and purest lustre to female graces and charms,
and which only can render woman truly " angelic."

It is no splendid fiction, which I here exhibit. It is
a substantial reality ; a reality which has been most
extensively felt and acknowledged. Not in the Scrip-
tures only, but in history, in poetry, and even in novels,
corrupt as in general they are, piety is recognized as
essential to the finished female character. Men who
have no religion themselves, do homage to it in the
female form, and are shocked at the idea of a woman
destitute of religious principle.

2. The love and service of Christ are essentially
conducive to female usefulness. — -Woman was design-
ed by Heaven to bless this lower world: and when
she is employed in promoting improvement and hap-
piness around her, she appears in her proper province.
But when, or how, can she do more for improvement
or for happiness, than when most devotedly employed
in the service of her Savior ? Shall she pay her de-
voirs to the idol of fashion ? Shall she devote her
time to fashionable amusements, to parties and routs
and assemblies ? Shall she make it her study to ac-
quire all the graces and accomplishments which fash-
ionable life can confer ? — If she be destitute of the
love of Christ ; if she neglect the pious education of
her children ; if she employ her accomplishments and
her influence, not in favor of the Gospel, but against
it ; if she turn away the poor and needy from her door,


and make it no part of her care to feed the hungry,
to clothe the naked, to relieve the widow and the or-
phan, or to wipe away the tear from affliction's eye :
What does she do for the real benefit of mankind?
Instead of shedding on individuals and society, a be-
nign and genial influence, does she not rather shine
with a baleful glare ?

I ask again, when does woman do more to answer
the beneficent design of her creation, than when most
she evinces her love to the Savior? It is then that
the heart of her husband may safely trust in her. It is
then that her children, educated for virtue, for useful-
ness, and for glory, will rise up and call her blessed.
It is then that her resistless influence is employed to
win all around her to the love and practice of what-
soever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of
good report. It is then that she imparts cheerfulness
to the labor, and sweetness to the repose of the honest
and industrious poor; supplies the lamp of grateful
hope for the widow and the orphan ; and pours the
consoling balm into the bosom of affliction. It is then,
in fine, that she exhibits a model of female excellence,
of moral beauty, of active and diffusive goodness,
which ennobles her sex, which improves society, and
which blesses mankind."

It was further said ; " 3. By the love and service of
the Savior, women render themselves pleasing to God.
* * * 4. The love and service of Christ afford the purest
and highest happiness in the present life, and will be
crowned with the most glorious rewards in eternity.*

* " The names of the affectionate Mary and her faithful companions will
be had in glorious remembrance with God, when the proudest monuments
of earllily renown shall have passed away with, the ruins of the world.—
Yes. it is when woman appears truly devoted to her Savior, that the benefi-
cent Father of all looks down upon her, from his throne in the heavens, with
infinite complacency and love. It is then that he recognizes, with ineffa-
ble delight, his last and loveliest workmanship, as truly a help meet for man ;
and with smiles of everlasting approbation and favor, gives charge to his an-
gels to protect her through life, and then to conduct her to glory."


* * * 5. The love which Christ has shown to them is
instead of a thousand reasons, why women should
sacredly devote themselves to him."

" Let me ask you to look once more, my beloved
sisters, and view the affecting scene, to which I have
here introduced you. Behold a sight, on which the
sun refuses to look, and at which all nature shudders.
Behold the Son of God dying on the cross I Well
may those women from Galilee weep; and well may
you also weep; for he dies for them and he dies for
you ! Yes, he bears their sins, and he bears your
sins, in his own body on the tree. Here is love;
love which astonishes the universe ; love worthy of a

It is not, indeed, for your sakes only, that this grace
is displayed. It deserves to be remembered, however,
that ' Adam was not deceived ; but the woman being
deceived was in the transgression.' As woman was
first in the fall, so she has been eminently distinguish-
ed in the recovery. The first designation of the Sa-

Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Melancthon) WorcesterThe life and Labors of Rev. Samuel Worcester, D.D.; former pastor of the Tabernacle church, Salem, Mass → online text (page 13 of 42)