Imágenes de páginas

deceased friend. But although others might be easily selected, more capable of duly appreciating his merit, and of delineating his character in its genuine features, I must be allowed to say, that no one could have been found, who, after an acquaintance of many years, entertained a higher opinion of the mental and moral endowments of the Rev. George Walker than myself. Accordingly, it has been my ambition, by inviting his mourning relatives to the spot on which we now stand, to preserve my own name from oblivion by being attached to his, and by having his remains deposited in that mansion, whither in the course of nature my own must soon be conveyed.

This, however, I am well apprised, is not the proper place for pronouncing a panegyric on the dead. It is the scene of the humiliation of our species. The ground we tread is formed of the dust of human kind. We are surrounded by the trophies of death :by the monuments and mementos of his apparent triumph over beauty and strength

2 A 2


[ocr errors]

talents and learning-virtue and moral excellence. In surveying these mansions of the dead, we discern tokens of human degeneracy and mortality :-We learn how frail we are:--We are reminded, that it is appointed for all men once to die ;-that there is no discharge in this warfaré ;-and that no distinction of accomplishments or of character can evade the assault of the king of terrors. The lesson is humbling and áwful; and to impress it upon the heart is more suitable to the solemnities of the present occasion, than to pronounce an eulogy on the deceased, whatever may be his claims, or our inclination and wishes.

To the talents and virtues of our venerable friend, the tribute of deserved commendation will not te wanting. There are other modes of doing justice to his charactér, which will not be disregarded by those who are eminently qualified for the office ;-and the records of his death will be accompanied with the regret and the applause of survivors.

[ocr errors]

It is therefore the less necessary, that we should detain you in this place by any attempt to sketch out the natural and acquired endowments by which he was distinguished. To those who are now present, they were well known:--they are competent to form a just estimate of them; and they will retain them in long and lively remembrance..

I cannot forbear, however, availing myself of the present occasion for paying him the spontaneous tribute of respect and esteem. His natural talents were of the superior kind; and his acquired literature was various and extensive. But I refer it to the pen

of his biographer, (nor will such be wanting,) to delineate what he was, as a mathematician, a philosopher, a classical scholar, and a divine; to point out the honourable rank to which his contemporaries advanced him in the department of literature and science ; and to state with what assiduity and reputation he discharged the various offices of and public instruction. Of those 2 A 3



who enjoyed the benefit of his early tuition, there are many who are occupying, with credit to themselves and advantage to the public, important and conspicuous stations ; and who will never forget the ability, with which he conducted their youthful studies, and the attention, which he manifested to their improvement in general knowledge.

The extent of his own erudition qualified him, in an eminent degree, for the various departments of instruction, which he occupied in some of the principal seminaries that have subsisted amongst those with whom he was immediately connected.

But of all his numerous endowments, both mental and moral, that which formed the most prominent and conspicuous feature of his character was integritij. Whilst he exercised a discriminating judgment in adopting his sentiments, political and religious, he maintained them with all the energy of argument and with all the consistency and steadiness of invincible honesty. - No deference to authority, nor even to friendship;


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

no consideration of worldly honour or advantage, could ever induce him to disguise, much less to surrender, those principles of a political or religious nature, which he was so well able to defend, and which he thought to be of primary importance. But though he was tenacions of his own opinions, and ardent in maintaining them, he was candid in his judgment of those who differed from him, and lived in habits of intimate friendship and intercourse with many, whose sentiments in politics and theology he could not approve.

Of the great interests of civil and religious liberty he was a zealous advocate. These subjects, whenever they occurred, roused all his powers and feelings; and he was eminently eloquent, both in conversation and writing, whenever he had occasion for adverting to them.

Over his lifeless remains, it behoves us to recollect, and we cannot but recollect with peculiar satisfaction, that to his faith as a Christian, and to his profession as a protestant


« AnteriorContinuar »