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 36 of 42)
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Just before going to Washington, he heard of Cath-
arine Brown's severe trial, in being called to accom-


pany some of her family to Arkansas. A letter from
her to the missionaries at Brainerd, was forwarded to
him by Rev. Ard Hoyt. " I thank you most sincerely
for Catharine's Letter. It is a precious testimonial
and will do much good. Dear lamb. The Great
Shepherd will encircle her in his arms and carry her
in his bosom ; and will not suffer her to be lost in the
wilderness. Had I time, I would write to her, and
assure her that she is every day remembered most af-
fectionately at the throne of grace by owe, and no
doubt by many by whom she has never been seen."

To the Rev. Allen Graves^ Mahim, near Bombay^ India,

" Salem June 1, 1819.
Rev. and dear Sir, —

Since the joint journal of yourself and Mr. Nichols,
and your letter of March 27th of the last year ; both of
which came in the Malabar, and were acknowledged
in my letter of September, I have received no commu-
nications separately from you. A letter, however, of
later date, from Mrs. Graves, to a female friend, came
through the P. O. to a woman of the same name in
this town, (Salem, Mass., instead of Salem, N. Y.,)
and after being read, was kindly handed to me. As
it was open and came from one whom I delighted to
consider as belonging to my family^ I thought it not
wrong to read it, before sealing it and sending it to
its proper place. Mrs. G. has no reason to regret, that
her letter was opened here. Though it fell at first into
the hands of persons, not particularly friendly to mis-
sions, and was read by many, the impression upon all
was extremely favorable. To me it aflbrds high satis-
faction, as an evidence of the true missionary spirit
and qualifications, and by the account which it gave
of your situation, employments, and progress. * * *

Our gracious Master, though in doing and suffering
all his will we are but unprofitable servants, yet will
never let us suffer or labor for his sake, and with the



true spirit of his disciples, without an ample reward.
* Be thou faithful unto death,' he says, ' and I will give
thee a crown of life.' Is not the pleasure indeed of
serving' him, of doing any thing for him who hath
loved us, and given himself for us, of itself an ample
reward ? And do you not at times almost wish that
you could labor and suffer for him, with the prospect
of no other? But his claims upon our gratitude will
be continually increasing forever; and millions of ages
hence, we shall not have thanked him enough, for the
privilege of being employed in spreading abroad the
savor of his name, among our fellow beings, in dark-
ness and wretchedness and guilt May you ever be
inspired with this sentiment, in all its tenderness and
in all its richness. — Dear Mrs. Graves shares with you
in my high and affectionate esteem.

Yours, sincerely, S. Worcester."

Mev. Benjamin C. Meigs and Daniel Poor, Ceylon.

" Salem, June 5, 1819,
Dearly beloved Brethren, —

It is with mingled emotions of sorrow knd joy, and
with deep felt sentiments of condolence and congratu-
lation, that I now address you. The hand of the Lord
has been heavy upon the endeared mission at Jaffna.
Of the last scenes on earth of one of your compan-
ions and fellow laborers, we have received certain and
particular accounts. Our latest intelligence concern-
ing another, which was from himself, just as he was
embarking at the Cape for Madras, left us little hope
that he would ever return to you, and none that he
would survive many months. Brothers Warren and
Richards were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and
death could divide them but a little. Probably, ere
this day, their spirits are more closely united, than
ever they were on earth, in the presence of Him whose
servants they were and still are ; and who hath loved
and washed them in his own blood, and made them
kings and priests unto God and his Father.

VOL. II. 36*


The manner in which Mr. Warren finished his
course, and left this world, is doubtless known to you.
As he lived, so he died, — to the Lord. Heaven was
near the place where he lay : and to him it was in-
deed, a Cape of Good Hope, — of hope full of immor-
tality. The same sovereign grace which was so af-
fectingly glorified in him, appears to have wTought
with equal effect in his dear friend and brother who
witnessed his departure, expecting soon to follow him.

You have mourned indeed, and still mourn their
early removal from their labors with you. But you
must have been comforted and animated and filled
with holy joy and confidence in God our Savior, by
the signal manifestations towards them of his truth,
and faithfulness, and all sufficient grace. * * * It is
happiness and honor and glory enough for sinful men,
to labor and suffer for his cause on earth, in the places
and scenes which he sees fit to appoint, as long as he
shall please to continue us in them: and then to die
in Him and go and dwell with him forever.

* * m * . # *

We rejoic.e the more in your being able to obtain
children to be under your immediate and entire care and
management^ as your brethren at Bombay have been
disappointed in this respect, and funds appropriated
for the education of children in their families, must be
transferred to your stations. As a very particular and
growing interest is felt in this object, it will be of im-
portance, that we should be informed, as soon as pos-
sible, what number of children you can take in this
way, provided that means for their support be sup-
- ■" * * * * * *

"'Dear Mrs. Richards will be assured, that she is re-
membered by me, by the members of the Prudential
Committee and of the Board, and by many, with the
tenderest sympathy. If, however, she be a widow, we
are sure that the widow's God will be found a very
present help in Ceylon, as well as in America; and
are fully persuaded that he will be her God, and be


very gracious to her, and to her fatherless children.
His promises are sure and most precious. Let her
put her trust in Him, and He will be her shield and
her exceeding great reward.

All the beloved sisters have a share in our affection-
ate remembrance and in our daily prayers. We re-
gard them as most important helpers of the work ; and
are not unmindful of their cares and labors and trials.
You are all on our hearts continually : and we rejoice
in the confidence, that you are continually also on the
heart of Everlasting Love. This is our hope, our con-
solation and our joy concerning you.

Dearest Brethren and Sisters, dwell in God, and
God will dwell in you ;. and his all-sufficiency will
evermore be present for every needful purpose. My
sincerest love to you all."

Can any wonder, that the missionaries loved him,
even as their own father? Levi Parsons, under date
Oct. 30, 1819, wrote to his parents, — "Dr. Worcester
has been a father to us ; the Lord reward him! * * *
His house is a divinity school." And when Mr.
Spaulding, of the Ceylon reinforcement, was taking
leave, it was as a son, bidding farewell to a father,
whose face he should see no more. " And what shall
we do," — he inquired from his swelling heart, " if when
we get upon heathen ground, we shall find every thing
dark around us ; and we have none to advise us ; and
the churches at home shall seem not to remember us?"
— " Think of me I I will never forget you .'"

Or can any wonder, that in general, the missiona-
ries had unlimited confidence in his decisions upon
the questions, which they referred to him ? He was
always deliberate, so as to be sure. Sometimes he
reserved a question, as when asked by the missionaries
at Brainerd, what should be done in cases ivhere the
convei't had more than one luife. " He should be re-


quired," the answer was, " to separate himself from all
but the first. It is, however, a tender subject, and
should be tenderly treated. All hastiness and harsh-
ness should be most religiously avoided. Let them
be instructed in the nature and design of marriage, the
original institution, and the law of Christ, that they
may act with an enlightened conviction of duty. If
God has winked at their ignorance, yet when they
come to know his will, they cannot disobey it without
guilt. But not only should your treatment of such
cases be most prudent and kind ; but prudent and
kind also must be the convert's treatment of the wife
or wives, that he puts away." But in a note it was
said, — " Since writing this paragraph, a question has
arisen in my mind,— and I wish to hold the subject
under consideration."

" Concerning such as are converted in a state of ig-
norance, your views, as stated in your letter, are in
perfect agreement with those of the Prudential Com-
mittee. Our missionaries in India are particularly in-
structed to the same effect. It was the practice of the
pfiraitive times to pay very particular attention to the
catechumens^ and not to admit them to the ordinances
of Christ's house, until competently instructed in the
principles of his religion. The practice must com-
mend itself to every enlightened mind ; and is of high
importance to the good of the individuals and to the
credit and prosperity of the general cause. * * *

The little Osage girl should by all means be bap-
tized, and brought up in the nurture and admonition
of the Lord. * * *

- We had a most solemn and interestins: season at
the ordination last Wednesday, in this town, of Messrs.
Fisk, Spaulding, Winslow, and Woodward, as mis-
sionaries. Mr. Fisk is appointed with Mr. Parsons,
for the Holy Land ; the otht^r three for Cejdon. We
have two, Messrs. Washburn and Finney, (who have


received ordination,) ready for the Western service,
God has been with you, and I doubt not is still with
you. Encourage yourselves in him, and be strong.
My love to all the brethren and sisters, and to the

At the Installation of Mr. Cornelius, as Associate
Pastor of the Tabernacle Church, 21st of July, 1819,
the sermon was preached by Lyman Beecher, D. D.
The Charge by Dr. Worcester drew many tears from
the crowded auditory ; while he who received it wept,
as if " his head were waters." It is remembered by
all who survive, as the most tender and solemn ad-
dress, which they ever heard from his lips. — And some
have not yet departed, who have blessed God for that
hour, as the hour when they could no longer have
peace, until they found it in Christ.

Dr. Worcester had been extremely solicitous to se-
cure for an Associate, that beloved young brother, to
whom he said — " My Brother, you will be a ' true
yoke fellow.' This heart confides in you ; and holds
most dear the reciprocated confidence, of which it is
assured. This mutual and affectionate confidence
must be preserved inviolate, as a perpetual security
against any other strife than of love and good works."
And so indeed it was, most truly and happily.

The Senior pastor had believed, that, in every way,
he could be more useful, by retaining his connection
with the people of his charge. And it " was question-
able," as remarked by Mr. Cornelius, when lamenting
his death, — " whether his usefulness among them was
ever more sensibly felt, than after this arrangement was
made. At the same time, the good influence which
he had long exerted in the religious community, was
not in the least impaired, but rather increased. Being



in some respects, more free from care, he could, with
more ease than before, devote a portion of his time to
those public interests, which were continually pressing
upon his attention."

This testimony, it was designed to confirm by par-
ticular references and statements, in regard to preach-
ing, as at Manchester, in a time of deplorable division
and declension, — to attendance in Councils, as at Lit-
tleton and Abington,* — and to other services in which
he was employed, though often " in weariness and

^''Hartford, Monday morn.^ Sept 27, 1819.

My dear Wife,—

I left Boston, 7 o'clock A. M., Friday, and arrived
at Providence, about 3 P. M. Intended to do some-
thing there for the Sandwich Islands; but the weather
being rainy, and my health not good, I only called on
Rev. Mr. Preston and one or two others, for the pur-
pose of putting them in motion. Not a missionary
place. Left Providence, on Saturday morning about
5, and arrived in this city, between 9 and 10 in the
evening. For the last twelve or fifteen miles was
vomiting all the way ; — had a very ill night. Kept
my chamber all day yesterday, — sick, excessively lan-
guid, and in considerable pain, — fearful of dysentery.
Good Dr. Coggswell very kindly attentive. The rain
has ceased, the clouds are dispersed, the morning is
bright and mild, and cheering; — lam comparatively
well, hope to reach Goshen by chaise, to-day.

It is trying indeed to have to attend to business of
Buch importance and responsibility, requiring the vig-
orous exercise of all the faculties, — in so much weak-
ness and so much haste. My spirits sometimes sink.
But it is the ordering of sovereign Goodness. To that

* At Littleton, in a case connected with Unitarianism., At Abington, the
pastor, Rev. Mr. Weeks, and a classmate of Dr. W. bad embraced tiie doc-
trines of Swedenborg.


Goodness, I am infinitely indebted ; and among my
obligations, it is not the least, that I am compelled to
attempt something for the cause of the Lord Jesus,
and for the salvation of men. In no case could it be
more clear, that the glory belongs not to the instru-
ment, but to the Supreme Agent, who chooses his own
ways and means with unerring wisdom." * * *

In the reinforcement of missions, and especially in
sending out new missions. Dr. Worcester appeared to
his friends, as if every new occasion opened in his
heart some new seal of his inexhaustible missionary
spirit. Thus was it w^hen he addressed Rev. Messrs.
Fisk, Spaulding, Winslow, and Woodward, who were
ordained at the Tabernacle, November 5th, 1818. The
three last were joined by Dr. Scudder, — " the beloved
physician," as he was denominated by Dr. W., who
accounted his consecration to the missionary work, an
answer to his own prayers that some one of the pro
fession would so offer himself, — as directly and re-
markably, as if an angel from heaven had borne the

At the ordination of Rev. Messrs. Bingham and
Thurston, September 29, 1819,f at Goshen, Conn. ; in

* At the time of their sailing- from Boston, June Stli, 1S19, in the brig- In-
dus, a considerable company of friends assembled on the wharf, and Dr. W.
led in prayer. He stood upon the rack of a stage coach, and the scene was
solemn and thrilling-. He went out a few miles with the brethren, and they
saw his face no more.

\ Dr. Humphrey preached the Sermon, and the aged Mr. Mills, of Tor-
ringford; ("father of the Rev. S. J. Mills, who fell a sacrifice to his zeal ia
the cause of Africa,*') made the Introductory Prayer. At Salem, Nov. 5^
1818, the late lamented Prof Stuart preached the Sermon. — At the embark-
ation of the missionaries, with the Hawaiian youth, &c., for the Sandwich
Islands, Dr. W. conducted the devotional services. And when the boat
bore him from the Thaddeus to the wharf, — " I remember," says Mr. Bing-
ham, " as I leaned over the side, to follow him as long as I could see his
face,— and I can never forget that affectionate farewell expression of his



the organization of the Mission Church, at Boston,
October 15th ; in the administration of the Lord's
Supper to this Church, at Park Street, Sabbath, the
17th ; at the embarkation, on the 23d ; — and in all the
preparatory movements of Messrs. Parsons and Fisk,
of the Palestine Mission, the Corresponding Secretary
must have had no common measures of divine assist-
ance. His " Instructions " to those respective compa-
nies, were heard with unmeasured wonder and delight.
In those to Messrs. Parsons and Fisk, Mr. Evarts
thought that he " exceeded himself." " I cannot con-
ceive," he said, " when he found time to write them. He
must have sat up nearly all the night previous, at my
house ; or I do not know when it was that he did the
work. It seems as if he was inspired for the occa-

To Mr. Cornelius, Dr. W. said in a line from " Boston,
Oct. 19, — I thank you for your care in regard to
Thomas [Hopu,] and for your good letter ; and rejoice
in the good hand of God that was with you on Sab-
bath evening. Precious day and precious evening; —
He was present at Salem, and present at Boston. We
had a season of tenderness and refreshing, which will
be remembered with immortal thanksgivings before
the throne of God and the Lamb. It was the first
communion of the American churches with the church
of Owhyhee, — a communion of fervent love, of hea-
venly joy, of glorious anticipation."

June 8, 1820, he wrote to Messrs. Bingham and
Thurston, and other members of the Sandwich Islands
Mission ; — " Never while memory remains will the
sacred and interesting scenes at Goshen and at Boston
preparatory to your departure, be effaced from my
mind. Those divine movements of the soul — those



feelings and intercourse of heavenly friendship — those
solemn vows and sacred engagements — fervent prayers
and anticipations, are never to be forgotten. Every
day the Mission to the Sandwich Islands has been
upon my heart, and I am sure upon the hearts of
thousands," * And an exceedingly interesting letter
to Messrs. Fisk and Parsons, April 22, 1820, begins :
" Dearly beloved Brethren, — Scarcely have I known a
richer joy than on opening your letter of Jan. 21, writ-
ten upon the spot [Smyrna,] where w^as delivered from
the FIRST and the LAST, who was dead and is alive
^-the monitory message — Fear none of those things,


The expenditures of the Board, in 1819, were so
greatly increased, and the receipts were so far behind,
that early in 1820, Mr. Evarts, the Treasurer, had be-
come very much disheartened, and thought that there
was evidence of a real decline of the missionary spirit
in the churches. Dr. Worcester addressed an appeal
for the cause, March, 22d, which was one of the
greatest efforts of the kind, among all which he had
found occasion to make. A single paragraph only can
be cited.

" Thus, respected and beloved friends, with simpli-
city of purpose have we made our statement and our
appeal. Not for ourselves — not for any private object
have we done it. It was a duty — indispensable. In

* Among those deeply interested was tkat philanthropic scholar, John
Pickering, L. L. D., of Salem. Oct. 19, he communicated to Mr. Bing-
ham his views of the importance, and an outline of his proposed method,
of reducing the language of the Islands to writing. Mr Pickering's system
has been carried into effect, with admirable success, by the Missionaries of
the A. B. C. F. M , at those Islands ; also in Africa^ in the Choctaw nation,
and in nine other Indian tribes.

VOL. II. 37


the providence of the Redeemer and Sovereign of the
world, a trust has been committed to us, to which we
must be faithful. — We present an object that should
go home to every bosom. We plead a cause, which
more than any other, is to be regarded as the cause of
every person on earth. Had we a pen to write, or a
tongue to speak, in a manner and with a force equal
to the subject, this whole community should be moved
as the heart of one man. May we not hope that —
such as it is — this address will be read a second time,
by every person to whom it comes; and be pondered,
until — under the divine influence which we devoutly
invoke to attend it — the heart burns with the subject,
and hastens to communicate the sacred flame to

During the summer, Mr. Cornelius, during a recess
of six weeks, earnestly labored to establish a suffi-
cient fund for the support of the Corresponding Sec-
retary. Writing from Pittsfield to Dr. W., he said, —
" I think I can see through the business. * * It is
your privilege and happiness, my dear and honored
Sir, to enjoy a degree of public confidence, which is in-
valuable, and must not be lost. This fund must be
raised, and now is the time.'^ — He carried with him a
statement and an appeal from Dr. W., — ^in regard
to the office for which a permanent fund was desired,
— which could admit of no negative to the inquiries,
— " What office can be named of weightier care, — of
more arduous labor, — of more appalling responsibil-
ity? What office more urgently demands the undi-
vided and unembarrassed attention of a person of the
highest intellectual and moral qualifications ? What
office or object, presents stronger claims upon Chris-
tian liberality, for adequate and permanent support ? "

During the absence of the Junior pastor, a new and
commodious vestry of the Tabernacle Church was de-


dicated. Dr. Worcester had much pleasure in seeing
this edifice completed. And in his Address, at the
dedication, it was made manifest beyond a question,
that his love for the Church of God throughout the
world, had increased rather than lessened his strong
affection for the church and people, in whose behalf
he was then officiating. His Sermons, from Sabbath
to Sabbath, were heard at this season, with very no-
ticeable attentiveness. He had preached but little, for
several months before the absence of his Associate. It
was quite a common remark, — " Dr. Worcester has
renewed his youth." But those who thus spoke, did
not know that his very life had been infused into those
discourses, at the Tabernacle, in the summer of 1820.

The time was now approaching, when he must pre-
pare another Annual Report of the Prudential Com-
mittee. His health was rapidly declining. There had
never been so much, that it seemed important to com-
municate. The documents at command were many,
and some of them were of great length and value. It
would, moreover, be the tenth Heport An occasion
was suggested, if no exigency had required, that there
should be a review of the operations of the Board from
the beginning-

The work had advanced, beyond all expectation.
The reinforcements of the earlier missions, the addi-
tion of new missions, particularly what might be
called THE GREAT MISSION to the Sandwich Islands,
had drawn upon the treasury much faster, than the
current receipts supplied means of honoring the drafts.
It was needful to satisfy the friends of the cause, that
the Committee had proceeded with due discretion, and
with a just interpretation of the will of Providence.
Never had the field appeared so white to the harvest ;


—never had more laborers, of the right spirit, been
ready to go forth ; — and yet never, since the resohition
of the Prudential Committee to send out the first mis-
sionaries, — had any such anxiety been awakened or
realized, in regard to the requisite pecuniary means.

Earlier, than usual. Dr. "Worcester began the prepar-
ation of that memorable tenth Report, — the last of his
labors in this department of service. In a transfer of
portions of letters from missionaries, and of other doc-
uments, to the pages of the Report, there was, of
course, much work in copying ; and for nearly three
weeks, the most of the time between morning and
evening, his eldest son and daughter were thus em-
ployed. Most of the original matter he first wrote on
a slate, or on separate pieces of paper, which were
copied by one or the other.* Different parts of the
Report were in progress, simultaneously.

It was not, indeed, the first time, that his labor had
been thus relieved ; and that they who were called
to the task had the privilege of witnessing, so far as
could be w^itnessed, the manner in which their beloved
parent performed such work for Christ and the Church.
But there was now an experience and enjoyment of
his society and character, which filial love embalmed
in their memory, with the richest of sweet odors.
There was a sympathy which they felt, in an unwont-
ed degree of solicitude for the issue of such arduous
toils; but there was also an inexpressibly soothing and
endearing influence from the affectionate spirit which
spoke in every word and motion, as he guided them,
and the calm glow of inward and involuntary delight

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 36 of 42)