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Latin, on the state of his sonl, when he fainted, and apparently died away. After the usual time, he was laid out on a board, according to the custom of the country, and the neighbourhood were invited to attend his fureral the next day. In the evening, his physician returned from the country, and was afflicted beyond measure at the news of his death. He could not be persuaded that it was certain; and on being told that one of the persons who had assisted in laying him out, thought he had observed a little tremor of the flesh under the arm, though the body was cold and still, he endeavoured to ascertain the fact. He first put his own hand into warm water to make it as sensible as possible, and then felt under the arm, and at the heart, and affirmed that lie felt an unusual warmth, though no one else could. He had the body restored to a warm bed, and insisted that the people, who had been invited to the funeral, should be requested not to attend. To this the brother objected as absurd, the eyes being sunk, the lips discoloured, and the whole body cold and stiff. However, the doctor finally prevailedi; and serious means were used to discover symptoms of returning life. But the third day arrived, and no hopes were entertained but by the doctor, who never left him night nor day. The people were again invited, and assembled to attend the funeral. "The doctor still objected, and at last confined his request for delay to one hour, then to half an hour, and finally to a quarter of an hour. At this critical moment, the body, to the great astonishment of all, opened its eyes, gave a dreadful groan, and sunk again into apparenticath. This put an end to all thoughts of burying him; and every effort was again employed in hope of speedy resuscitation. In about an hour, the eyes again opened, a heavy groau was uttered, and again all appearance of animation vanished. In another bour, olife seemed to return with more power, and a complete revival took place, to the great joy of the family and friends.
Mr. Tennent continued in so weak a state for six weeks, that great doubts were entertained of his recovery. However, after that period, he recovered much faster ; but it was about twelve months before he was completely restoredl. After he was able to walk the room, and to take notice of what passed around him, on a Sunday aficrnoon, his sister, who had staid from church to attend him, was reading in the Bible; when he took notice of it, and asked her what shie had in her hand. She answered that she was reading the Bible? He replied, “ What is the Bible: I know not what you mean.” This affected her so much, that she burst into tears, and informed him, that he was once weil acquainted with it. On her reporting this to his brother, Mi. T. was found, on examination, to be totally ignorant of every transaction of his former life! He could not read a word ; nor did he seem to have any idea of what it meant. As soon as he be. came capable of attention, he was taught to read and write, as children are wnally taught; arril afterwards began to learn the Latin language under the tuition of his brother. One akıy, as he was reciting a lesson in Cornelius Nepos, he suddenly started, clapped his hand to his head, as if something had hurt him, and made a pause.
His brother asking him what was the matter, he said, that he felt a sudden shock in his head ; and it now seemed to him as if he had read that book before. By degrees, his recollection was restored, and he could speak the Latin as fluently as before his sickness. His memory, so completely revivel, that he gained a perfect knowledge of the past transactions of his life, as if no difficulty had previously occurred. This event made a considerable noise, and afforded, not only matter of serious contemplation to the devout Christian, buť furnished a subject of deep investigation to the philosopher and anatoimist.
The writer of this memoir was greatly interested by these uncommon events; and, on a favourable occasion, earnestly pressed Mr. Tennent for an account of his views whilst in this extraordinary state of suspended animation. He discovered great reluctance to enter into any explanation; but, being importunely urged, he at length consented, and proceeded with a solemnity not to be described.
“While I was conversing with my brother,” said he, “on the state of my soul, and the fears I had entertained for my future welfare, I found myself, in an instant, in another state of existence, under the direction of a superior being, who ordered me to follow hin. I was accordingly wafted along, I know not how, till I beheld at a distance an ineffable glory, the impression of which on my mind it is impossible to comni unicate to mortal onan. I immediately reflected on my happy change, and thought, Well, blessed be God! I am sate at låst, notwithstanding all my fears. I saw an innumerable host of happy beings, surrounding the inexpressible glory, in acts of adoration and joyons worship; but I did not see any bodily shape or representation in the glorious appearance. I beard things unutterable. I heard their songs and hallelujahs of thanksgiving and praise, with unspeakable rapture. I felt joy unuiterable and full of glory. I then applied to my conductor, and reqnested leave to join the lappy throng. On which lie tapped me on the shoulder, and! said, “ You must return to the earth. This seemed like a sword through my heart. in an instant I recollect to have seen my brother standing before me, disputing with the doctor. The three days, during which I had appeared lifeless, seened to me not more than ten or twenty minutes. The idea of returning to this world of sorrow, gave me such a shock, that I fainted repeatedly.” He added, “ Such was the effect on my mind of what I had seen and heard, that if it be possible for a human being to live entirely above the world and the things of it, for some time afterwards I was that person. The ravishing sounds of ihe songs and hallelujabs that I heard, and the very words that were intereil, were not out of my ears when awake, for at least three years. All the kingdoms of the earth were in my sight as nothing and vanity; and so great were my ideas of heavenly glory, that nothing, which did not, in some measure, relate to it, could command my serious attention."
It is not surprizing, that after so affecting an account, strong solicitude should have been felt for further information as to the words, or at least the subjects of praise and adoration, which Mr. T. had heard. But when he was requested to communicate these, he gave a decided negative, adding, “ You will know them, with many other particulars, hereafter, as you will find the whole among my papers;" alluding to his intention of leaving the wri. ter hereof his executor, which precluded any further solicitation.*
The pious and candid reader is left to his own reflections on this very extraordinary occurrence.
The facts have been stated, and they are unquestionable. The writer will only ask, whether it be contrary to revealed truth, or to reason, to believe, that, in every age of the world instances like that which is here recorded, have occurred, to furnish living testimony of the reality of the invisible world, and of the infinite importance of eternal concerns? +
As soon as circumstances would permit, Mr. T. was licenced, and began
to preach the everlasting gospel with great zeal and success. The death of his brother John, minister of the church at Freehold, left that congregation in a destitute state. They had experienced so much benefit from the indefatigable labours of this able minister of Christ, that they soon turned their attention to his brother, who was received on trial; and after one year, was found to be no unworthy successor to so excellent a prede
In October, 1733, Mr. T. was regularly ordained their pastor, and continuerl so through the whole of a pretty long life.
His judgment of mankind was such, as to give him a marked superiority over his contemporaries, and greatly aided bim in his ininisterial functions. He was scarcely ever mistaken in the character of a ran with whom he conversed, though it was but for a few hours. He had an independent mind, which was seldorn
* It was so ordered, in the course of Divine Providence, that the writer was sorely disappointed in his expectation of obtaining the papers here alluded to. Such, however, was the will of Heaven! Mr. Tennent's death happened during the revolutionary war, when the enemy separated the writer from him, so as to render it impracticable to attend him on a dying bed ; and before it was posssble to get to his house after his death (the writer being with the American army at Valley-Forge) his son came from Charleston, and took his mother, with his father's papers and property, and returned to Carolina. About 50 miles from Charleston, the son was suddenly taken sick, and died among entire strangers; and never since, though the writer was also left executor to the son, could any trace of the father's papers be discovered by himn.
+ With much diffidence, the person who transcribes this, would venture to ask, Is it not possible that Mr. Tennent's ideas of what he saw ard heard were the effect of delirium, immediately before this state of suspended aviination, or at the time he began to recover from it ? •
satisfied on important subjects without the best evidence that was to be had. His manner was remarkably impressive; and his sermons, although seldom polished, were generally delivered with such indescribable power, that he was truly an able and successful minister of the New Testament. He could say things from the pulpit, which, if said by almost any other man, would have been thought a violation of propriety. But by him they were delivered in a manner so peculiar to himself, and so extremely impressive, that they seldom failed to please and to instruct. As an instance of this, the following anecilote is given.
Mr. T. was passing through a town in the state of New Jersey, in which he was a stranger, and had never preached; and stopping at a friend's house to dine, was informed, that it was a day of fasting and prayer in the congregation, on account of a very severe drought, which threatened the most dangerous consequences to the fruits of the earth. His friend had just returned from church, and the intermission was but half an hour. Mr. T. was requested to preach, and with great difficulty consented, as he wished to proceed on his journey. At church, the people were surprized to see a preacher, wholly unknown to them, ascend the pulpit. His whole appearance, being in a travelling dress, covered with dust, wearing an old-fashioned large wig, discoloured like his clothes, and a long meagre visage, engaged their attention, and excited their curiosity. On bis rising up, instead of beginning to pray, as was the usual practice, he looked around the congregation with a piercing eye, anil afier a minute's profound silence, achdressed them with great solemnity in the following words: "My beloved brethren! I am told you have come here to-day to fast and pray: a very good work indiecd, provided
a sincere desire to glorify God thereby. But it yone design is merely to comply with a customary practice, or with the wish of your church officers, you are guilty of the greatest folly imaginable, as you had much better have staid at home, and earned your three shillings and sixpence. But if your minds are indeed impressed with the solemnity of the occasion, and you are really desirous of humbling yourselves before Al. mighty God, your heavenly Father, come, join with me, and
This had an effect so extraordinary on the congregation, that the utmost seriousness was universally manitested. The prayer and the sermon added greatly to the impressions already madle, and tended to rouse the attention, command the affections, and increase the temper, which had been só happily produced. Many had reason to bless God for this unexpected visit, and to reckon this day one of the happiest of their lives. †
let us pray
+ The writer, having reqnested of the present Rev. Dr. W. M. Tennent a written account of an anecdole relative to his uncle, which he had one lucard bin repeat verbally, received the following:
While on this subject, we may introduce another anecdote of this wonderful man, to show the dealings of God with him, and thr: deep contemplations of his mind. He was attending the duties of the Lord's Day in his own congregation, as usual, where the custom was to have the morning and evening service with only halfan hour's intermission to relieve the attention. He had preached in the morning, and in the intermission had walked into the woods før melitation, the weather being warm. He was reflecting on the infinite wisdom of God, as manifested in all his works, and particularly in the wonderful method of salvation, through the death and sufierings of his beloved Son. This subject suddenly opened on his mind with such a flood of light, that his views of the glory and the infinite majesty of Jehovah, were so inexpressibly great, as entirely to overwhelm him; and he fell, almost life
" During the great revival of religion, which took place under the ministry of Mr. Whilefield, &c. Mr. T. was laboriously active, but met with strong and powerful temptations. The following may be considered as extraordinary and singularly striking.
“On the evening preceding public worship, he selected a subject for the discourse which was to be delivered, and inade some progress in his preparations. In the morning, he resumed the same subject, with an intention to extend his thoughts further on it, but was presently assaulted with a temptation that the Bible, which he then held in his hand, was not of divine authority, but the invention of man. He instantly endeavoured to repel the temptation by prayer, bnt his endeavours proved unavailing. The temptation continued, and fastened upon him with greater strength as the tüne advanced for public service. He lost all the thoughts which he had on his subject the preceding evening. He tried other subjects, but could get nothing for the people. The whole book of God, under that distressing state of mind, was a sealed book to him ; and, to add to his afiliction, he was, to use his own words, “ shut up in prayer.” A cloud, dark as that of Egypt, oppressed his mind.
"Thas agonized in spirit, he proceeded to the church, where he found a large congregation assembled, and waiting to hear the word: and then it was, he observed, that he was more deeply distressed than ever, and especially for the dishonour which he feared would fall upon religion, through fim, that day. He resolved, however, to attempt the service. He introduced it by singing a psalm; during which time bis agitations were increased to the highest degree. When the moment for prayer cominenced, he arose, as one in the most perilous and painful situation, and with arms extended to the heavens, began with this outcry, -- Lord have mercy upon me! Upon the utierance of this petition he was heard; the thick cloud instantly broke away, and an unspeakably joyful light shone in upon his soul, so that his spirit seemed to be caught up to the heavens, and he felt as if he saw God, as Moses did on the mount, face to face, and was carried forth to him, with an enlargement greater than he had ever before experienced ; and on every page of the Scriptures saw his divinity inscrihed in brightest colours. The result was a deep solemnity on the face of the whole congregation ; and the house at the end of the prayer was a Bochim. He gave them the subject of his evening meditations, which was brought to his full remembrance, with an overflowing abundance of other weighty and solemn malter. The Lord blessed the discourse, so that it proved the happy means of the conversion of about thirty persons. This day he spoke of, ever afterwärds, as his harvest-day.