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Full text of "Address at the funeral of the Rev. Henry Augustus Boardman, D.D."

Funeral Address 




A. A. HODGE, D. D. 



\j. 



Henry A. Boardman, D. D. 



K.i 



COMMEMORATIVE DISCOURSE 



John DeWitt, D. D. 








I 




BX 9225 .B565 H62 1881 


Hodge, Archibald Alexander, 


1823-1886. 


Address at the funeral of 


__ thp Rpv. Hpnrv Auanj^tiis 



ADDRESS 



AT THE 



FUNERAL 



OF THE 



Rev. Henry Augustus Boardman, D. D. 



BY THE 



VC 



Rev. Prof. A. A. Hodge, D. D., 



JUNE 21, 1880. 



PHILADELPHIA 
1881. 



-a. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

THE CHANDLER PRINTING HOUSE, 

Nos. 306 & 308 Chestnut street. 



Funeral Address. 



THE sorrow which fills all our hearts to-day has 
not its ground in a mere sentiment. We weep 
not merely because our affections are wounded, and 
the tender and sacred associations of the past abruptly 
severed, or simply that one of the noble monuments of 
the good old times is removed from its place. But we 
have all in various ways experienced a terrible posi- 
tive loss. Although our Father and Friend had lived 
well beyond the appointed period of human life, and 
had completed a well-rounded life-work, he had never 
for one moment ceased to be a positive beneficent 
power in the present, and we had fondly hoped that 
he would continue to be so in the near future also. 
No class of men in the entire community are fulfilling 
a more important function for the general good than 
the venerable Fathers in the beautiful Autumn of their 
days, enriched with all the wisdom which comes from 
a sanctified experience, armed with the sources of in- 



FUNERAL ADDRESS. 



fluence which have accumulated through all the years 
of a well spent past, and transfigured like the setting 
sun, with the cominQf o-lories of the heavenly world. 
This throne of beneficent power was, in a singularly 
perfect manner, occupied by our deceased Father and 
Friend. The pre-eminent gracefulness which had 
characterized even his early and middle life, adorned 
his old age to an unparalleled degree. Although his 
body was feeble, it yet bore no marks of extreme age, 
and although he lacked the vigor of his prime, his 
powers of expression, whether by pen or speech, had 
by no means sensibly declined, and his intellect and 
all the livinor forces of his soul were even more lumin- 
ous than ever. He maintained unsevered all his old 
relations to the congregation, the Theological Semi- 
nary, and the church at large. In several of these 
spheres he was as active, and was as busily transact- 
ing important and delicate trusts, and was as much 
the object of general respect and confidence, as in any 
former period of his life. He filled a very large and 
important place in the present, and it is no disrespect 
to others to say that in no one of these trusts is there 
a man living who can adequately take the place ren- 
dered vacant by his death, how much less then is there 
any one who can take his place, and fill as he filled, 
to the satisfaction and advantage of all, the whole cir- 
cle of trusts which depended upon him. 



FUNERAL ADDRESS. 



We therefore have reason, this day, to be filled with 
sorrow, because we have lost so much, and because, 
out of God, our loss is absolutely irreparable. 

This is the plain matter of fact, and if through im- 
patience with pain we strive to disguise it, or repre- 
sent it to ourselves in another light, we shall shut out 
from our eyes the lesson intended by the providence, 
and so cut ourselves off from the compensating bless- 
ings it may possibly bring to us in the end. When 
God smites us he always intends that we shall feel the 
sting of the blow, and even the lingering heart-break- 
ing ache of the irreparable loss. It is a fact, God has 
intentionally caused it to be a fact, that this family has 
lost its Father, and in all its future history his place will 
remain unfilled — this congregation ha^ lost the great 
preacher whose long pastorate will always mark the 
heroic age of its history — the Presbyterian Church in 
Philadelphia has lost its most illustrious member, its 
venerable head and ornament. The Presbyterian 
Family of Churches in the United States have lost their 
most admirably qualified Chairman and spokesman to 
represent them before the assembled Presbyterians of 
the World in the General Presbyterian Council to be 
held in this City in the Autumn of this year, and 
Princeton Theological Seminary has lost its wise coun- 
selor, its influential and untiring friend. The Lord has 



FUNERAL ADDRESS. 



stricken us to the heart with his own hand. Let us 
not shrink from feehng all its crushing pain that his 
purpose in wounding us may be fully realized. It is 
God's wonderful prerogative to bring good out of evil, 
and gain out of loss, but the evil and loss remain al- 
ways what they are in themselves. 

But while we ouaht to recoo-nize the fact that we 

o o 

have met with a great disaster, it is nevertheless our 
privilege to sorrow after a Godly sort. The same 
God who made our friend, and who endowed him so 
plenteously with the adornments of grace and the 
ofifts of beneficent service, and who bv His o-race and 
providence has supported and directed him in his 
past usefulness has now removed him. This family, 
this congregation, this great Presbyterian denomina- 
tion, our Princeton school of the Prophets are dearer 
to the Divine heart which has inflicted this blow, than 
they are to us, Thei^efore zue are not deserted. We 
are nq^only to submit to the inevitable, but to kiss the 
rod in the assurance of the infallible wisdom and un- 
selfish love which have directed it and given it its pier- 
cing sting. As the Romanistic believer interposes the 
crucifix and the ritual between his faith and Christ, 
and passionately clings to that system which professes 
to make divine realties matters of sight, so we Protes- 
tants, who share the same nature, put these beautiful 



FUNERAL ADDRESS. 



old saints, glorified in the light of their closing day, be- 
tween us and Christ, and ding to them as to that which 
makes Him and His saving power visible and tangible 
to us. We cannot bear to be driven out from the 
shelter of our accustomed prophets and apostles. But 
when God removes them one by one from our sight, we 
have no choice, we are under the necessity of walking 
by faith, alone with the invisible God. It is very hard 
at first. We must go with our church despoiled of its 
heads and ornaments ; we must grope our way with- 
out the living voices of our old teachers and guides ; 
we must work our own way to death without the cheer- 
ing presence of the old saints. But doubtless it will 
be better in the end. Death is a step upward to a 
higher grade. Our old Father, and Pastor and Friend 
has been promoted, and his promotion has lifted us all 
up a step higher with himself. And now and always 
hereafter, we shall have another reason for looking 
beyond all created help direcdy to God, and for culti- 
vating that spiritual sense which independently of all 
symbols, and of all created media, opens the soul 
direcdy to the life and radiance of the heavenly world. 
His life was full of fruitful labors, as well as of dis- 
tinguished honors, the wonderful story of which will 
hereafter be given to you by a competent hand. The 
whole will be appreciated as more wonderful because 



FUNERAL ADDRESS. 



of the pathetic fact that his work was accomplished 
under the condition of constant physical feebleness, 
and of frequent and protracted interruption because 
of severe illness. 

The foundation for this was laid in a severe attack 
of sickness contracted on a necessary visit to the North 
only two weeks after his installation. This led to sus- 
pension of his ministry for several weeks, or months 
together. In 1847 he was for a year absent in Europe, 
and in later years these absences were more frequent. 
He has found refuge at the sea-shore, and in the in- 
vigorating climates of the North-west. These frequent 
relapses exhausted gradually the resources of an origi- 
nally fine constitution, and left him at the last exceed- 
ingly feeble and liable to be prostrated by compara- 
tively slight attacks of acute disease. 

This long continued dispensation of pain and weak- 
ness with the blessing of divine grace contributed to 
perfect and to add new and higher excellences to the 
graces of nature. His Christian faith, and love, and 
hope bloomed years ago in singular beauty and fra- 
grance, but in more recent years they have ripened to 
a perfection altogether heavenly. He waited for his 
change, his face shining with the slanting rays of the 
rising sun of an eternal day. Meanwhile he sought to 
labor while the earthly day lasted, On the middle day 



FUNERAL ADDRESS. 



of the week preceding his translation he wrote with 
great tenderness to a special friend, of a matter which 
it was very near to his heart to accomplish for the 
Church of God, in which letter with almost the spirit 
of prophecy, he alludes not only to this as being the 
last service he might render to the church, but also to 
the fact that but litde time was left to him to accom- 
plish any earthly work. In the end he suffered phys- 
ical pain, but no apprehension of immediate death. 
His Heavenly Father ordered the manner of his de- 
parture with infinite tenderness. He slept in peace to 
awake in glory. 

His almost peerless sweetness and loveliness in 
the social circle a large band of friends as well as his 
own children will never forget, nor allow to be forgot- 
ten in the next generation. His beautiful face was 
transparent to the radiations of a beautiful soul. His 
overflowing love, his quick and wide sympathy, his 
brio-ht and inexhaustible humor, and his ready wit, and 
clear intelligence and perfect refinement made him a 
most delightful companion-, and connected with his un- 
swerving loyalty made him an inexpressibly precious 

friend, 

I stand here to-day because I am the son of his life- 
lono- friend in Princeton. He addressed to my Father 
the exquisitely beautiful salutation, in the name of the 



lO FUNERAL ADDRESS. 

Board of Directors, on the semi-centennial anniversary 
of his Professorship. On his eightieth birth-day, Dr. 
Boardman signaHzed the event in the " Presbyterian " 
without signing his name. To this the older friend 
responded in a letter as yet unprinted : — 

Princeton, Jan. /j, i8y8. 

My Dear Doctor : — 

If you were in one room and Adelina Patti singing in 
another, the doors being opened, you would not need to ask 
who it was. So when I read the article in the last " Presby- 
terian y I was at no loss as to its author, I know only one man 
who has the goodness, the skill, the delicacy and refinement 
which it manifests, I would be a churl if I were not grateful 
for such a tribute. 

We are looking forward to the pleasure of seeing you next 
week. 

Your affectionate Friend, 

CHARLES HODGE. 

When our Father died his sons immediately applied 
to his friend to deliver the funeral address, and after- 
wards to write his permament memoir. He was pre- 
vented only by the weakness of the fiesh. And now 
alas it is left to me with my unskillful fingers to at- 
tempt to weave a chaplet for both their brows. They 
are together now, and have taken their places with the 
immortals : — 



FUNERAL ADDRESS. \\ 

We know not 
What holy joys are there, 
What radiancy of glory 
What light beyond compare. 

There is the throne of David, 
And there from care released. 
The song of them that triumph, . 
The shout of them that feast. 

And they who with their Leader 

Have conquered in the fight, 

Forever and forever, are clad in robes of light. 



A SERMON 

COMMEMORATIVE OF THE 

LIFE AND WORK 

OF THE 

REV, HENRY AUGUSTUS BOARDMAN,D,D.. 

Late Pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church, 
OF PHILADELPHIA, 

PREACHED BY HIS SUCCESSOR, 

The Rev. John'DeWitt, D. D., 

November 28, 1880. 



PHILADELPHIA 
1881. 



Sermon. 



Psalm l.,isi, ■znd, ^rd and 6tk verses : — Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of 
the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor setteth in the seat of the scornful. But 
his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he 
shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season ; 
his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. For the Lord knoweth 
the way of the righteous. 



T 



HERE is a tendency, wide-spread and well-defined 
X to underrate the greatness of a life as quiet and 
uneventful as that which we have met to commem- 
orate. Talents, influence and character, men are too 
apt to associate with noise and publicity, with the 
gathering and acclamation of multitudes. All of us are 
tempted to measure power by the fleeting sensation 
excited ; not by the abiding impression that would be 
produced could thought have its perfect work. The 
blazing meteor diverts the eye from Orion or the Plei- 
ades; and it requires reflection to re-impress the truth 
that not so sublimely in the "bearded meteor trailing 
light," as in the "starry clusters," the heavens declare 



1 6 SERMON. 



the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his 
handiwork. But after death cometh the judgment, 
here as well as above. Calm thought is in abeyance 
while the man lives and moves among us. The feel- 
ings are unduly wrought upon by events and circum- 
stances, which, on reflection, we should regard as insig- 
nificant. Even Jesus of Nazareth, while he lived, was 
misunderstood by those to whom He was specially re- 
vealed. It was expedient for them that He should go 
away. They did not know Him until the cloud had re- 
ceived Him out of sight. So Francis Bacon, referring, 
as Lord Macaulay interprets the words of his will, not 
to his weak wickedness, but to his splendid contribu- 
tions to the advancement of learning, left his name and 
memory to " the next age." Thus death prepares the 
way for justice. 

" Great captains with their guns and drums 

Disturb our judgment for the hour; 
But at last silence comes." 

Now that the form which, for forty-seven years was 
a familiar form in our City, has vanished, and the voice 
which these walls echoed is silent, the time has come 
to recall his life, and to state our impressions of the 
man and of his career. 

Nor is it unbecoming to select, for this purpose, 
this sacred place and this holy time. Dr. Boardman 
was above all else, "a servant of God and of the Lord 



SERMON. I J 



Jesus Christ." And if the gospel of Christ is most 
effectively preached by the lives of his servants, it is 
only preaching the gospel to repeat the story of them 
after they have died. Certainly, I need offer no apol- 
ogy for briefly relating the incidents of the life of a 
man, of whom, whatever else may be said of him, we 
can truthfully repeat what is said of the blessed man 
of the first Psalm: — "Blessed is the man whose delight 
" is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he med- 
" itate day and night. And he shall be like a tree 
" planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his 
'•fruit in his season. His leaf shall not wither, and 
"whatsoever he doeth shall prosper: for the Lord 
"knoweth the way of the righteous." 

Henry Augustus Boardman was born in Troy, 
New York, on the ninth day of January, 1808. His 
father was John Boardman, a descendant of one of 
the Puritan families that settled in what is now known 
as Litchfield County, Connecticut, about the middle 
of the seventeenth century. John Boardman became 
a merchant. About the beginning of this century 
he associated himself with another gentleman, also 
bearing a well known Connecticut name, and es- 
tablished in Troy — which had just then been or was 
soon afterwards incorporated as a village — the firm of 
Hillhouse and Boardman. The house prospered ; and 
2 



1 8 SERMON. 



Mr. Boardman, dying in 1813, when Henry was but 
five years old, left his widow and children a modest 
fortune. He was an able merchant, a public-spirited 
citizen, and a consistent Christian. Dr. Boardman, 
though his recollections of his father were exceedingly 
meagre, was taught by his mother deeply to venerate 
his memory. 

Dr. Boardman's mother was Clarinda Starbuck, of 
Nantucket, Mass. ; the daughter of Daniel and Mary 
(Folger) Starbuck. She was born in 1773. The Star- 
bucks were members of the Society of Friends. Ed- 
ward Starbuck fled, in the latter part of the seventeenth 
century, from Salisbury, in Essex, the Northeastern 
country of the Commonwealth, to escape the unfriend- 
ness of the Puritans : moving In all probability by 
water across the Massachusetts Bay, and around the 
sandy shore of Cape Cod, to the island, on which 
he founded a new home. There the family lived 
in peace. They prospered as farmers from genera- 
tion to generation. His grandmother, as I have said, 
was Mary Folger. Mary Folger was the great-grand- 
daughter of Peter Folger, who was the grandfather 
of Benjamin Franklin. Through the Folgers, Dr. 
Boardman was related also to one of the most not- 
able women that have lived in Philadelphia : a woman 
who held opinions, on many subjects, sharply opposed 



SERMON. 19 



to those associated with Dr. Boardman's name, but a 
woman whose lofty purposes and distinguished abihty 
and wide culture and fine simplicity of character and 
life, he would have been quick to recognize. I refer 
to the late Lucretia Mott, who, within a few weeks 
has been carried to her grave, lamented by a wide 
circle of friends, which embraces distingfuished men 
and women of more than one land, and creed, and 
race. 

Dr. Boardman's mother attended the Friends' meet- 
ing at Nantucket, while she remained in her father's 
home. But when she married Mr. Boardman and 
went to Troy, she and her husband united with the 
Presbyterian Church. In this way, though the son of 
a Puritan father and of a " Quaker " mother, your Pas- 
tor was born in the Church of which he became so 
distinguished and influential a minister. 

If he was unfortunate in losino- his father when but 
five years of age, he felt, throughout his life, profoundly 
grateful to God that his mother lived until he had al- 
most reached middle life. She died on the second of 
March, 1846. Mrs. John Boardman was a remarkable 
woman. The death of her husband threw upon her 
the sole responsibility of rearing a large family. Dr. 
Charles Wadsworth was her pastor for several years 
before her death ; and in a beautiful tribute, from 



20 SERMON. 



which I regret that time does not permit me to quote, 
he records his high estimate of her abihty and pro- 
found piety /=' Her niece, Miss Starbuck, of Nantucket, 
says that " she was a good and dutiful daughter and 

"^The following notice of Mrs. Clarinda Boardnian, and written by her Pas- 
tor, the Rev. Dr. Charles Wadsworth, appeared just after her death in the ''Troy, 
N. Y., Whig:' 

Mr. Editor : — Your paper announced a few days since the decease of 
Mrs. Clarinda Boardman, of this City. Seldom has a single death created a 
deeper and more general impression than this; an impression of warmest sym- 
pathy for an endeared circle of afflicted children, and of personal sorrow for the 
loss of one so universally respected and beloved. 

It will be permitted one who knew her intimately to say — not in the spirit 
of unmeaning eulogy of the dead — but to magnify the grace of God, which 
wrought in her so mightily — that rarely has the female character exhibited so 
fine a combination of natural gifts and Christian graces. An intellect uncom- 
monly strong and commanding was united to a disposition the most mild, gentle 
and affectionate. Sensibilities exquisitely tender and delicate were blended 
with the most practical common sense, and the firmest decision of character. 

With a cordial despisal of all that was not generous and noble, and a man- 
ner altogether fearless in its frankness, yet were her actions and words character- 
ized by benignity and love, that probably in the wide circle of her acquaintances 
there is not one who was not \\&x friend as well. 

An almost oppressive sense of maternal and Christian responsibilities never 
for a moment overcame her serene and sanctified cheerfulness. An abiding and 
firm confidence of Christian hope, met in her character, with the utmost child- 
like meekness, humility and self-distrust. 

As the widow of one of the founders and most influential citizens of Troy, 
her position in life was in its highest social circles. And while refinement of in- 
tellect and manners rendered her the delight of such society, her warm heart was 
ever in the home of the afflicted, and her abounding "and unostentatious charities 
have rendered her name a household word in the dwellings of the poor. 



SERMON. 2 1 



" wife, a kind sister, a woman of excellent sense and 
"judgment, not merely just, but liberal in her dealings 
"with others, and respected, esteemed and beloved by 
"relatives and friends." When God called her from 



In her religious belieT, being strongly Calvinistic, and relying solely for salva- 
tion on the unconditional atonement of Christ Jesus, her religious life was the finest 
demonstration of the practical harmony of faith and good works. She was 
emphatically a Practical Christian. As perceived in her, religion was no prin- 
ciple shut away in separation from common life. It was no poetical sentiment. 
It was no spasm of excited feeling. It was sustained in its influences. It was 
symmetrical in its proportions. It was the pure atmosphere she breathed. It 
was the inner element of her being. Its daily power was manifested in the vigi- 
lant fidelity wherewith she watched the interests of her household — in the self- 
sacrificing love with which she educated, for usefulness and honor, her fatherless 
children — in the alacrity and delight wherewith she engaged in every work of 
benevolence — in the scrupulous care with which, setting God's word, as her 
rule of life, high above the maxims of the world, she avoided the very appear- 
ance of evil — in the trustful and serene fortitude wherewith she sustained the 
severest afflictions, and in the calm and fearless faith wherewith she leaned on the 
Redeemer in her dying hour. 

Her religion made her neither bigot nor enthusiast, but it did make her the 
truest benefactress of the poor, the most delightful companion of the rejoicing, 
the tenderest and most beloved of mothers, the kindest and most unchangeable 
of friends. It was the pervading and sanctifying spirit of all her earthly minis- 
tries — a principle founded on the judgment and beautified by the warm play of 
the affections — a lovely and most rare amalgam of the intellect and the heart. 

As such God has taken her to glory — she has left a church to weep the loss 
of her earnest prayers and her bright example — a wide circle of friends to cherish 
the memory of her virtues -the poor and the afflicted to lament the loss of their 
kindest benefactress — and honored children to find life henceforth bereft of its 
sweetest ministry — a mothers love. 

Troy, March lo, 1846. C. W. 



22 SERMON. 



her labors on earth to her reward in heaven, her dis- 
tinguished son poured out his grief and gratitude and 
admiration in letters to his friends, from which I am 
permitted to quote. " My thoughts," he writes, " have 
"been busy with the past. Bereft of a father when only 
"five years of age, I was thrown, with my brothers and 
" sisters, upon the sole care of my beloved mother. 
"She accepted the trust to which Providence called her, 
"and from that time lived for God and for her children. 
"When I consider with what blended love and firmness, 
"with what patience of fortitude, with what 'meekness 
" of wisdom ' and steadfast reliance on God, she pur- 
*' sued through so many years, and in the face of innu- 
" merable discouragements and embarrassments, her 
"arduous work, I cannot refrain from admiring the 
" riches of that grace which guided and sustained her," 
After referring to Dr. Wadsworth's " eloquent and 
appropriate," and, as he beHeves all who knew her 
must have felt to be, "just tribute to her character/' 
and after dwelling at some length on her wise and 
large benevolence and her love of the word of God, 
he closes his letter (written, it will be remembered, 
when he was thirty-eight years old, and after he had 
been pastor of this Church for thirteen years) with 
these words: — "Never have I known a mother more 
"devoted to her children, more disposed to deny herself 



SERMON. 23 



"and make sacrifices for their conduct more solicitous 
"for them in sickness or in danger, more tenderly ahve 
"to their sorrows, more sagacious and prudent in giv- 
"ing them couusel, more unwearied in her efforts to 
"make their home pleasant and attractive to them, or 
"more sincerely concerned for their best interests in 
"time and in eternity. Her character is a rich legacy 
"to her children, and my tongue must cleave to the roof 
"of my mouth if I forget to bless God that I have had 
"such a mother," 

Thus in his early home religion, intelligence, and 
refinement united to mould the mind, and form the 
taste, and determine the character of the child and 
growing boy. His parents and their other children all 
preceded him on the inevitable journey to the other 
world. Their bodies are buried at Troy. Not many 
years since, as the last surviving member of his father's 
household, he visited their graves, and caused to be 
inscribed on the central monument this sentence, 
which finely tells the story of their religious nature: — 
"Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family, in heaven 
and on earth, is named." 

It was while yet a boy — a boy of twelve or thirteen 
years of age — that he read and became enamored of a 
book, the influence of which, exerted as it was at the 
most receptive period of his life, contributed largely to 



24 SERMON. 



make him the man that you and I knew and admired, 
and revered and loved. It is usually the case that 
the influence of the first great book, which a boy of 
that age reads delightedly, abides throughout his life ; 
and should he be called to a literary career, the pro- 
ducts of his pen will reproduce inevitably, though it 
may be to himself unconsciously, the traits of the 
author that awakened and inspired him, I am confi- 
dent that I shall excite no surprise when I say that 
the author whom Henr)^ Boardman, twelve years old, 
most admired, and the book which he loved most to 
read, were Joseph Addison and " The Spectator!' Dr. 
Boardman was, of course, no imitator or copyist. His 
style was emphatically his own. A wide range of 
reading and a strong personality united to impress 
an image and superscription, on all he w^rote, to be 
read on the coinage of no other's brain. But no one 
who seeks them will fail to detect the influence of 
this, his first literary affection, in all that he has pub- 
lished. In the grace and vigor of his language, in 
that something that we call the literary flavor, which 
pervades even his theological discussions, in the gentle 
and genial humor with which all are dashed, as well as 
in traits even more special, we may discern the abiding 
influence of the ereat essayist and moralist, of whom 
Lord Macaulay has said: — "Never, not even by 



SERMON. 25 



" Dryden, not even by Temple, has the EngHsh lancruage 
" been written with such sweetness, grace and facihty." 

His Hfe in his father's home moved pleasantly on, 
without interruption, until he was sent, first to Ver- 
mont and afterwards to the Academy at Kinderhook, 
New York, to complete his preparations for College. 
He has given a pleasant picture of his school life in 
the latter place, in a letter written to a valued friend, a 
lady several years older than himself It is a boy's let- 
ter ; but its graceful courtesy shows the boy to have 
been "father to the man." 

The next year he entered Yale College, as a mem- 
ber of the Freshman Class. He pursued faithfully 
and with honor the studies of the course, and gradu- 
ated in 1829, the valedictorian of his class. He was 
a faithful student but found time to make many friends. 
Two fellow students, with whom he then became ac- 
quainted, became two of his most intimate and valued 
friends. One of these was the Reverend Dr. Cortlandt 
Van Rensselaer, of Burlington ; the other the Rever- 
end Dr. John C. Backus of Baltimore. Just before his 
graduation, Mr. Boardman, as one of the most distin- 
guished students of the College, was chosen by the 
united action of the students, the faculty and City au- 
thorities, to deliver in New Haven the annual Fourth 
of July oration. The young orator was escorted from 



26 SERMON. 



his room, through the avenue of elms, by the stu- 
dents, the faculty, the military and a large body of 
citizens to the Center Church. His subject was well 
chosen and well discussed. He addressed his audi- 
ence on "the importance to the United States of a 
national literature ; a literature," to use his own words, 
" founded on national associations ; one which shall 
" illustrate events in our own history ; derive its prom- 
" ineht features from the habits of thinking, and from 
" the tone of moral and political sentiment prevalent 
" among us, as a people ; and embody those hallowed 
" feelings and recollections which indissolubly bind us 
"to the country of our birth." 

During his senior year at Yale College he was con- 
verted, and a year later he professed publicly his 
Christian faith. He had chosen the law as his calling ; 
and for six months, at Troy, he engaged in the study 
of jurisprudence. No one who remembers Dr. Board- 
man, as he appeared in the judicatories of the Church, 
" where he engaged in discussing with her foremost 
men, the important questions in agitation," and recalls 
both his quick and sure grasp of the subjects under 
debate, his fine powers of explication and argument, 
and the grace and dignity of his person and address, 
can doubt, that, had he become a member of the Bar, 
he would have been quite as distinguished in forensic, 



SERMON. 27 



as he became in pulpit oratory. Nor would he have 
been eminent as an orator alone. His wisdom and 
character would have made him a sagacious counselor ; 
and the fact that in every theological and ecclesiastical 
discussion in which he took part, he was thorough, 
learned, and profound, justifies the belief that his 
course would have been along the very highest walks 
of the profession ; and that he would have earned the 
honorable designation of " learned and able jurist." 
This brief course in the study of the law not only 
affected his method of sermonizing, but as one who 
knew him intimately for thirty years — himself an emi- 
nent lawyer — has said, awakened "a fondness for the 
"science of jurisprudence, which he ever afterwards 
"retained."''' These studies Mr. Boardman pursued 

* The Board of Trustees of the Tenth Presbyterian Church adopted the fol- 
lowing Minute, -on the motion of Hon. William A. Porter: — 

" Henry Augustus Boardman received his collegiate training at Yale College. 
" After his graduation he devoted several months to the study of the law, and 
" ever after retained a fondness for the science of jurisprudence. Having re- 
" solved to enter the Christian ministry, he became a student in the Seminary at 
" Princeton, in the Autumn of 1830, and in April, 1833, "^^ ^^^ licensed to preach 
" the gospel. He preached in this Church on the succeeding 28th of July. On 
" the 2nd of September he was unanimously called to be the pastor of the Church, 
" and was ordained and installed on the 8th of November, 1833. This pastorate 
" continued for more than forty-two years. It was never broken nor suspended 
" for a day by any want of harmony between the pastor and his people. Though 
" called during this time by other Churches, he accepted no other charge. The 



28 SERMON. 



with deepening interest, and he looked forward to the 
practice of his profession not without ambition and 
hope. 

I am happy in being able to state, with satisfactory 
details, the reasons that led him to turn aside from his 
chosen path in life, as these were unfolded to the inti- 
mate and trusted friend, from whose tribute to his Pas- 
tor I have just quoted, judge Porter, in reply to my 
inquiries, writes : — " All that I know respecting the rea- 
" sons which induced Dr. Boardman to abandon the 
"study of the law and to enter upon that of theology, 
" was derived from conversations with him, held some- 
" times in his study, sometimes in my office, but oftener 
"on the street. It seems that durinor his Colleo-e 
" course at Yale it was intended by his friends and 

** youthful pastor took his place at once in the front rank of pulpit orators in this 
" City. When he entered the higher courts of the church he engaged in discuss- 
" ing with her foremost men the important questions then in agitation, and his 
" reputation was increased and established. It thus happened that his Church 
" became the resort of many of the strangers who visited the City, and the evi- 
" dence is clear that on the mind of many a casual visitor the most permanent im- 
"pressions were produced. 

" The discourses of Dr. Boardman were so logically arranged, so informed 
" with Scriptuial truth, so illustrated from natural objects and the common affairs 
" of men, so free from exaggeration, and so marked in their construction, as well 
" as their delivery, by refined taste and sound judgment, that no man could listen 
"to them without profit. It is the concurrent testimony of those who heard him 
" longest, that during his ministerial life he never preached an indifferent dis- 
" course. When he rose in his pulpit, whether sick or well, he knew as much on 



SERMON. 29 



" himself that he should become a lawyer. Accordingly, 
"on his graduation in 1829, he took up the study of 
" the law, and for several months applied himself dill- 
" gently to the reading of the elementary works. I 
*' never heard him mention the name of a preceptor, 
"but I infer that some friend of his father's family, in 
"Troy, directed his studies. He becatne fond of the 
" law, was greatly impressed with the clearness of the 
" definitions which he found in the works of the old 
" writers, with the profound logic which these writers 
" employed, and, more than all, with the comprehen- 
" siveness of the science of jurisprudence. He never 
" lost his fondness for these studies. I have known him 
" to read elaborate legal arguments written by his 
" friends in cases in which he had no interest whatever. 

"the subject of his discourse as any other man could acquire. He was notable 
" for his courage. He dicl not hesitate to oppose any pubUc sentiment in the 
" church or the State on any subject, however exciting, which he iaelieved to be 
♦' erroneous, and many of the hearers who most differed from him gave to such 
" utterances the heartiest approval. As a pastor, his visits were not frequent, for 
" his health was fragile; but his sympathy with the sorrowful was so great, and 
" he presented the consolations of religion so tenderly, that he caused the face of 
" many a poor sufferer, for whom the world cared nothing, to beam with a celes- 
" tial joy. The purity of his private life was one of his great powers for good. 
" He was a man of a delicate sense of honor. During all his ministry he was the 
" recipient, to an unusual extent, of the confidence of his people, and so carefully 
" was this guarded that in no one instance, by any accident of word or look, was 
" it betrayed. His habit was not to repeat that which had been told him, and if 
" ever he departed from this rule it was done so carefully, and so nearly in the 



30 SERMON. 



" I have, on a few occasions, seen him in Court Hsten- 
" ing to oral discussions. In the long protracted jury 
" trial which grew out of the suspension of Mr. George 
" H, Stuart, for the alleged singing of hymns, I remem- 
" ber that Dr. Boardmah sat out the long speeches of 
'' counsel in a crowded Court room, and seemed to 
'* greatly enjoy the arguments which were presented. 
" While engaged in the legal studies of which I have 
"spoken, a train of thought of this kind occurred to 
" him : this is all very well ; but there must be a higher 
" and better kind of law. The system of law which 
" o-overns the moral universe must be more certain, 
" complete and comprehensive. What do I know of 
" this law ? What do I know of the Creator and His 
" attributes ? Is the account given in the Scriptures 

•' words of his informant, that no personal or domestic disquietude was ever pro- 
"duced through him. He seldom paid a compliment, and he never uttered a 
" sneer. 

" Before the public Dr. Boardman was a reserved, dignified, and courtly man; 
"in private life he was accessible, affable, and gentle, delighting in personal anec- 
" dote and reminiscence, with a keen sense of wit and humor, and indulging 
" often in the merriment of a happy child. Thus he passed his long and useful 
" life. In the Spring of 1876, his health having declined, he relinquished his 
" charge on the 25th of May, and was chosen Pastor Emeritus. A successor to 
"his place was elected just to his mind, and it was beautiful to witness the inter- 
" course which subsisted between the outgoing and the incoming pastor — fatherly 
«' kindness on one side and filial devotion on the other. The ministrations of Dr. 
'' De Witt probably gave to no one more pleasure than to his venerable predecessor. 
" The latter continued to preach occasionally, and never with any abatement of 



SERMON. 3 1 



"authentic? If it be, then the entrance into this world 
"of the Saviour of men to satisfy a divine law is the 
" most stupendous transacdon the race has witnessed. 
" If I am to devote myself to the study of the law, I 
"ought to begin further back and know something 
" more of matters in which my fellow-men and myself 
" have so vast a stake. This train of thought seems 
" to have led him to the study of works combining 
" philosophy and theology, and especially those on the 
" evidences of Christianity. The result was an un- 
" qualified belief in the authenticity of the sacred 
"writings, and of the doctrines which they teach. 
" Next came a question which he had not foreseen. If 
"I really believe in these doctrines, why should I not 
"take part in making them known to others? Why 
" should I devote myself to the study of that law 
"which merely regulates the temporal concerns of 
' men ? Why should I not assist in expounding the 
"principles of that divine law which was intended to 
"regulate their hio-her life? This resulted in his en- 
" tering the Seminary at Princeton, in the Autumn of 

" his intellectual powers. His last sermon was from the text : — ' Come unto me 
" all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' In a few short 
*' weeks, without long protracted sickness and pain, he realized the promise of 
" the text : — ' I will give you rest.' He died on the 15th of June, 1S80. A Board 
" of Trustees, who long stood by him in his work, have thought it fitting to enter 
" here this brief record of his life and his death." 



SERMON. 



" 1830. Concerning his course there, you need no in- 
" formation from me. This only I will add — for he fre- 
" quently referred to it — that during his course in the 
" Seminary he clung closely to the desire of spending 
"his life as the pastor of a small church in some rural 
" neighborhood, where he could become personally ac- 
"quainted with the members of his flock, address 
" them in simple and familiar words, advise with them 
" in their cares and trials, and share with them their 
" joys and sorrows. His call to one of the most im- 
"portant city pulpits, and the pressure brought upon 
" him by his preceptors to accept the call, seems to 
" have been the great surprise ot his life." 

Thus he sacrificed inclination to a sense of duty. 
He began his theological studies in obedience to what 
he then believed to be, and what his career as a clergy- 
man justified him ever afterwards in believing to have 
been, the " inward call of God." But having made the 
sacrifice he at once found his reward. His life at 
Princeton he thoroughly enjoyed. Some of his Col- 
lege friendships were renewed and new friendships 
were formed. The Theological Seminary itself soon 
became the object of his warmest affection: an affection 
which increased with every year of his life, and was 
manifested in untiring and most fruitful labor to ad- 
vance its interests. This is an appropriate place to -say 



SERMON, 



that one of the last labors of Dr. Boardman's life was 
an undertaking, as one of its Directors, having in view 
an enlargement of its beneficent influence. Of his 
great indebtedness to his instructors at the Seminary 
— the benign and courdy Dr. Miller, the wise Dr. Archi- 
bald Alexander and the latter's brilliant and inspiridng 
son, Addison, who began his course as Instructor the 
year in which Mr. Boardman became a Student, — of 
his indebtedness to his Instructors, Dr. Boardman 
loved to speak in terms of die liveliest eradtude. 
Charles Hodge was the remaining Professor. Al- 
though Professor Hodge was ten years older than Mr. 
Boardman, the Professor and Student were very soon 
attracted by each other, and became intimate friends. 
For forty-eight years, until the death of Dr. Hodge, 
this friendship continued, strengthening all the while. 
Not one event occurred during this period of almost 
a half century, to check for one moment their intimate 
and almost fraternal intercourse. Thus it became in 
the highest degree appropriate, that when Dr. Hodge 
had been fifty years a Professor at Princeton, Dr. 
Boardman should bear to him the conaratulations of 
the Church ; and that, when the venerable and re- 
nowned theologian was summoned to his reward. Dr. 
Boardman should deliver the discourse commemora- 
ting his life and labors. 



34 SERMON. 



Just before his graduation at Princeton Seminary- 
Mr. Boardman sought licensure from the Presbytery 
of New York. He carried to that body testimonials 
from the senior Professors at Princeton, Dr. Miller and 
Dr. Alexander. Dr. Miller speaks of him as having 
"uniformly sustained, and as still sustaining excellent 
" standing in the senior class of which he is a mem- 
"ber;" and Dr. Alexander says, "the religious and 
"moral character of Mr. Boardman is unspotted ; his 
" talents and attainments are of the most respectable 
"kind, and his promise of usefulness very great." 
Armed with these testimonials and with his trial 
pieces, which included an expository lecture on the 
23rd Psalm, and a sermon from Colossians iii., 3: — 
"Set your affections on things above, not on things on 
the earth," he appeared before the Presbytery and 
was examined and licensed on the 17th of April, 

1833- 

His appearance and manner at this time must have 
been exceedingly attractive. A few years later, the 
portrait, which the older members of the congregation 
speak of in terms of high praise, and which presents a 
countenance of real beauty, of benignity^ intelligence 
and character, was painted by Peale. I am told by 
those who recall the young Licentiate, that his pulpit 
manners and his elocution were marked by the grace 



f 



SERMON. 35 



and fine propriety with which all of us, who heard 
him in his later years, were familiar. Out of the pul- 
pit, then as always, he was a Christian gentleman, affa- 
ble to all and approachable by all, yet not without 
due official dignity, which forbade any to " despise his 
youth." To these we must add the talents and the 
scholarship, which he had already proved at Yale, by 
carrying off the honors of his class, and which the pru- 
dent Dr. Alexander had described as " of the most 
respectable kind." 

Dr. Boardman, in his twenty-fifth year anniversary 
sermon, referring to this period, says : — " One thing 
*' only I had regarded as settled in my own mind re- 
" specting my future location : at an early period in 
" my theological studies I had resolved, even should 
" the opportunity present itself, not to go from the 
"Seminary to a large city. I preferred arural'con- 
" gregation as a matter of taste and feeling, and my 
" deliberate judgment had ratified the preference." 
But his preference was overruled by Providence. 
Calls, or invitations which, had he so chosen, would 
have become .calls, all of them hearty and some of 
them urgent, came, before his setdement, from Ral- 
eigh, Newburyport, Newport, R. I., Columbia, Pa., 
Trenton and Newark, N. J., Troy, his old home, the 
Pearl Street Presbyterian Church and the South Dutch 



36 SERMON. 



y 



Reformed Church, of New York, and the Tendi Pres- 
byterian Church, of Philadelphia. 

This last Church, with which he was associated as 
Pastor or Pastor Emeritus from his ordination until his 
death, was composed mainly of families from the First, 
Second and Sixth Churches of the City. The gentle- 
men who were instrumental in establishing it, se- 
lected a site for a house of worship, on the Western 
frontier of the thickly settled part of Philadelphia. 
This building was opened for worship in December, 
1829. In the March preceding the Church organiza- 
tion was perfected. The Rev. Dr. Thomas McAuley 
was the first Pastor. " After remaining here three 
" years, during which period his labors were greatly 
"blessed," Dr. McAuley resigned the pastorate in 
January, 1833, ^"^ accepted a call to New York. The 
Rev. James W. Alexander seems to have been the 
first person to mention Mr. Boardman's name to the 
Tenth Church. " In 1832," writes Mr. John McArthur, 
now the senior Ruling Elder of the Church, " the 'Pres- 
" byterian' newspaper was established. The first editor 
" resigning in the Spring of 1833, Mr. Alexander was 
" called to the position thus made vacant. Early in 
" that Summer I was called to meet him for the pur- 
" pose of fitting up an office, and in the course of con- 
" versation he asked me what Church I went to. I 



SERMON. 2)7 



" told him the Tenth Church, and that it was then 
"without a Pastor. He inquired whether we had any 
" one in view, and said that there was a young man in 
"the Seminary at Princeton, a Mr. Boardman, who, he 
" thought, would suit us. I made known to Mr, John 
♦'Stille, one of the Elders, what Mr. Alexander had 
" said. He and Mr. James Kerr, another Elder, went 
" to Princeton the next day to confer with the Pro- 
" fessors, and to invite Mr. Boardman to preach." 

This invitation Mr. Boardman accepted. For two 
Sundays, one in July and the other in August, he 
"tried his gifts" before the congregadon. On the 
second day of September he received a hearty and 
unanimous call to become the Pastor. He was made 
aware of the feelings of the congregation several 
weeks before the formal call was given him. He had 
" many misgivings." He took them to his Professors. 
He took them to his God. At last he was able to de- 
cide the great question, and to write to the committee 
of the congregation his letter of acceptance, in which 
he says: — "After much serious inquiry and delibera- 
" tion, I have concluded to accept the invitation of the 
" Tenth Presbyterian Church to become their Pastor. 
" I have earnestly endeavored to seek the guiding in- 
" fluence ot the Holy Spirit in deciding this important 
" quesdon of duty ; but time only can determine whether 



• 8 SERMON. 



" the call of the Church has been, in the present case, 
*' the call of God. No considerations could have in- 
" duced me to assume the weighty responsibilities of 
" such a station had I not felt that those who had invited 
" me to occupy it would engage to support me by their 
" constant prayers. Herein, under God, are all my 
" confidence and all my hope." 

The Church appeared in due time before the Pres- 
bytery to ask leave to prosecute the call; and the Rev. 
Albert Barnes wrote a cordial letter, dated " in Pres- 
bytery," to the pastor-elect. Mr. Boardman's ordina- 
tion and installation took place on the 8th of Novem- 
ber. Two weeks afterward he was compelled to leave 
Philadelphia for a visit to his family. On this journey 
he became ill; and thus, at the very beginning of his 
active life, laid the foundation of "the precarious health 
which so often afterwards interrupted his labors." Dr. 
Boardman, even in the last years of his life, did not 
impress one as an old man. • His step was firm, his 
form was erect, his walk was rapid ; and when excited, 
as in the pulpit he was wont to become by his subject, 
his voice was strong and resonant. But even in the 
early days of his ministry he was far from robust, and 
he himself tells us that the state of his health " re- 
*' peatedly led to a suspension of my [his] ministra- 
" tions for weeks and months together." That his 



SERMON. 39 



labors were thus limited in many directions, I have no 
doubt. That laboring under this enormous disadvan- 
tage he did so much, as a preacher, a pastor, an au- 
thor, a churchman, and in the various positions of 
trust and influence to which he was invited and which 
he consented to occupy, justifies the wide reputation 
he enjoyed as a man of fine endowments and of large 
attainments. 

The young Pastor, while still weak, returned to his 
labors. On these he entered with enthusiasm. His 
congregation increased rapidly, and many were added 
to his Church. Two years after his installation he 
wrote a paper, not meant for other eyes, and found 
only after his death, in which he carefully reviewed his 
pastorate up to that time. In this paper he refers to 
the many fears with which he assumed a trust of so 
great responsibility. " But," he adds, "it has pleased 
" God to so bless the relation then constituted between 
" this people and mysfelf, that I cannot doubt that he 
" called me to this station. Among the more striking 
" indications of his kindness and mercy towards me, 
" during the period above mentioned, I may mention 
" the following : the extraordinary health which, until 
" recendy, I have enjoyed ; the general good health of 
"my family; the numerous tokens of attachment from 
" the people ; the exemption of the congregation from 



40 SERMON. 



" prevailing disease ; the general harmony and good 
*' feeling among my people ; the great increase in the 
" size of the congregation ; the assurance of spiritual 
" prosperity, particularly in the solemn season of revi- 
"val, 1834-35; the additions to the Church, in two 
" years, of one hundred and thirty-one members, the 
" large attendance at the weekly meetings ; the en- 
" largement of the Sunday school, and the increased 
" contributions to religious and charitable objects. But 
" these mercies have not been unmingled with afflic- 
" tions. It has pleased God to remove, unexpectedly, 
" our child, and at this time the hand of chastisement is 
" on me. The state of my throat has prevented me 
" from preaching the gospel, with the exception of a 
" single sermon, for three months. God has com- 
" manded me to be silent. He is showing me, in a 
"way which I ought to understand, that He does not 
•' need my services in the accomplishment of His work, 
" and that I have need of a more subdued and chas- 
" tened spirit, of more self knowledge, and of more holi- 
" ness of heart and life, in order to the faithful dis- 
" charge of the duties of my sacred office." 

I select his own account of his pastorate at this time 
just because I wish as fully as possible to bring the 
man before you ; but there are not a few whom I ad- 
dress who remember, and there are many more who 



SERMON. 41 



remember to have heard, that Mr. Boardman, from the 
very beginning of his life in Philadelphia, became a 
man of note, as one of a ministry which included Albert 
Barnes, of his own Church ; George W. Bethune, of 
the Reformed Dutch Church; John Todd, of the Con- 
gregational, and Stephen H. Tyng, of the Episcopal 
Communion. 

About this time the events were occurring which 
led to the disruption in 1838. Happily that chapter 
of Church history was concluded ten years ago, by the 
reunion of the two bodies into which the conflict of 
1838 divided our Church. It does not fall within the 
plan of this sermon to recount the causes or the inci- 
dents of the separation, further than these aid in ex- 
plaining Mr. Boardman's life. All of us know how 
animated the discussions of that day were, and how 
bitter was the strife. Families and Churches were di- 
vided, and the friendships of many years were broken. 
Philadelphia was the centre of the battle-field. The 
Presbytery to which this Church was attached had 
itself but a precarious hold on life. The congrega- 
tion to which Mr. Boardman ministered was composed 
of men and women who, while thoroughly united in 
love for their Pastor, were far from united on the 
subjects in debate between the Old School and the 
New School parties. Here, in those days, the Gene- 



42 SERMON. 



ral Assembly was accustomed to meet ; and few sub- 
jects were brought. before it, which were not discussed 
in reference to their connection with the all-including 
questions of Old or New School. Mr. Barnes and 
Dr. Ely on one side, were the Pastors of the First and 
Third Churches ; and Dr. Cuyler and Dr. Engles, on 
the other, were Pastors of the Second and Seventh 
Churches. Here Mr. Barnes wrote and published his 
commentary on the Epistles to the Romans; and here 
he was summoned before his Presbytery for trial. 
Here the General Assembly met and divided in 1838. 
The trial before Judge Rogers, which terminated in a 
victory for the Xew School party, was conducted here ; 
and here the argument before the Supreme Court was 
heard, which resulted in the reversal of the decision of 
the lower Court, and in giving to the Old School party 
the property of the Trustees of the General Assembly. 
Of these events, even if he had so chosen, Mr. 
Boardman could not have been a passive spectator. 
In those days no Presbyterian Pastor, certainly no 
Presbyterian Pastor living in Philadelphia, could hope 
to stand neutral between the contending forces. Nor 
was Mr. Boardman disposed to make the attempt. 
He had convictions, and as he always had the courage 
of conviction, he gave his influence to the side which 
he believed to be the right side. He did lament, and 



SERMON. 43 



lament deeply, that, the division threw brethren apart, 
who but for it, would have walked side by side in con- 
genial and intimate intercourse ; and I think I do right 
in saying, that having known him well during the last 
four years of his life, I know that he yielded to none 
of his brethren, in respect for the lofty Christian char- 
acter, and in gratitude for the widely useful and dis- 
tinguished career of Albert Barnes. 

Too young to be one of the leaders in the conflict, 
he was a profoundly interested spectator. But the 
two Churches had hardly begun to move along their 
separate paths, before in his own Church, he rose to a 
positian of prominence, and exerted a wide influence. 
It was deemed imperative that the Church of which he 
was a Pastor, should commend itself by means of a 
distinctively denominational literature. This led to 
efforts to enlarge the endowment of the Presbyterian 
Board of Publication. In this work Mr. Boardman 
took a prominent part. He wrote the appeal of the 
Synod to. the Churches, and raised, in his own congre- 
gation, the largest sum contributed by any Church in 
the connection. This was only the beginning of a 
most active and influential ecclesiastical career. He 
was often on his feet in Presbytery, Synod and Gene- 
ral Assembly. He was always listened to with atten- 
tion, and was heard with delight by all, save those 



44 



SERMON. 



whom he opposed. All conceded his remarkable pow- 
er in debate. The calm manner and the quieter kind 
of proper self-assertion by which he was distinguished, 
harmonized well with a humor that was never broad, 
and a power of sarcasm all the more effective be- 
cause it was so seldom brought. into requisition, and 
was always employed with seeming unconsciousness. 
These, with the weightier qualities, such as large infor- 
mation, excellent judgment, an ardent love for his 
Church and a Catholic spirit, rendered him an antago- 
nist not to be despised. These rare gifts at times 
made him mightier than the sons of thunder; and to 
employ the old illustration, it was often at least a 
question, whether the heavy broad-sword of the King 
was a better weapon than the finely tempered scimi- 
tar of the Soldan. The influence which he thus came 
to exert in the Church he was conscientious in using 
in behalf of the Church's Christian work. The Boards 
by which the Church's benevolence is distributed, 
found him a faithful and laborious friend. .To refer 
to what may seem a small matter, I recall what I 
suppose all before me have remarked, when I say, that 
while he was always peculiarly happy in making all 
those brief announcements which most clergymen find 
exceedingly difficult to render effective, he was most 
admirable when commending, in the period of a few 



SERMON. 42 



moments, one of the Church's great causes to his 
congregation. These notices were brief, but weighty 
and effective appeals. 

Thus from year to year his influence grew stronger 
and wider. He became well-known and highly re- 
spected throughout the Presbyterian Church. Before 
he had reached the age of forty, he was a "leader" in 
the Church's great assemblies. Soon afterwards, the 
General Assembly selected him to fill the chair of 
Pastoral Theology and Church Government, at Prince- 
ton ; and when he was led by "the earnest remon- 
strances of his own people;" seconded by those of a 
large number of the leading citizens of Philadelphia, 
to decline the position proffered him, the Assembly 
made him Moderator.* 

*The following ediLorial article from the *' North American and United States 
Gazette,^^ which appeared when Dr. Boardman was elected rrofessor at Prince- 
ton, may serve to show the feeling in Philadelphia with respect to his proposed 
removal from the City. 

The Rev. Dr. Boardman and the Princeton Professorship. — The re- 
cent action of the General Assembly of the Old School Presbyterian Church, in 
electing the Rev. Dr. Boardman to the vacant Professorship in the Seminary at 
Princeton, has produced a deep sensation in this community. The prospect of 
parting from one who, as a pastor, citizen and friend, has endeared himself to 
his congregation and the public generally, by eminent excellence of life and en- 
larged usefulness, has excited imiversal regret, and there exists a very strong 
wish that Dr. B. may yet find it consistent with his deliberate sense of duty in 
the case, to decline the appointment. His final decision, which we are glad to 
state, upon authority, is still in suspense, will, of course, depend upon the convic- 



46 SERMON. 



From this point onward until his death, his life was 
so large, and his labors so various, that the story re- 
fuses to be compressed within the limits of a sermon. 
Instead, therefore, of stating its events in detail, I shall 
attempt briefly to describe the man. 

The remonstrances, by means of which he was held 
in this pulpit, were the result, first, of his fidelity as 
pastor of this Church, and secondly, of the distinguished 
ability which he revealed as a preacher of the gospel. 
In protesting against his removal, his ■ congregation 
were able to refer to " the wide-spread and most im- 
portant influence," which he had acquired in this com- 
munity, by " his commanding talents as a preacher and 
writer." The high estimate, to which his Church thus 
gave expression, received an emphatic endorsement 

tion he may, after mature consideration, arrive at relative to his ability to serve 
the interests of the Church more effectually by occupying the place proposed, 
than by continuing in that he now fills. Great as is the sacrifice of personal 
preference and convenience which the question involves, it will, we are satisfied, 
have no undue weight with him in coming to the conclusion which his obliga- 
tions as a Minister may clearly indicate to be right. Wherever he is convinced he 
can be most useful to the cause of that religious faith and society to -which he 
has dedicated, with such exemplary devotion, his great talents and zeal, there, 
undoubtedly, he will go. But there is much reason to hope that, in the painful 
and perplexing process of making the choice which, against, his earnest depre- 
cation, has been forced upon Dr. Boardman, he may perceive, in the eminently 
influential relations he holds to this community, as compared with the character 
and extent of the service he could render in the new field to which he is in- 
vited, conclusive motives for not accepting the office to which he has been called. 



SERMON. 



47 



from the community itself, in a letter addressed to him 
by a large number of his fellow-citizens, not members 
of his congregation — the distinguished name of Horace 
Binney leading the signatures — in which the writers 
say : — " We have learned to recognize in you not 
" merely the Pastor of a single congregation, but the 
" dignified expounder of commercial and professional 
" morals, whose teachings and whose personal charac- 
" ter are of public importance. We feel that your de- 
"parture from Philadelphia would be a loss not easily v 
" repaired to the public Christianity of a great commer- 
" cial metropolis." It was, no doubt. Dr. Boardman's 
faithfulness and ability as Pastor of a conspicuous 
Church, that led the General Assembly to elect him 
to the chair of Pastoral Theology at Princeton. 

We are requested by the Chairman of the Committee appointed to wait on 
the Rev. Dr. Boardman to inform him of his election to the Professorship in the 
Princeton Seminary, to give the following corrected statement of Dr. B's reply ; 
and we publish it the more cheerfully, because we know how much gratification 
it will afford many who were led by an imperfect report of the proceedings of 
the Assembly, in our edition of yesterday, to believe that Dr. Boardman had ac- 
cepted the appointment referred to. 

"Dr. Boardman requested the Committee to convey to the General ^ssembly 
" his grateful sense of the undeserved honor they had conferred upon him and 
"the confidence reposed in him. He stated that both his nomination and his 
" election to that exalted station in the Church, were unsought and undesired by 
••him; and that it would have been an unspeakable relief and satisfaction to his 
" mind, if the Assembly had acceded to the request contained in his letter of the 
"previous day, and allowed his name to be withdrawn. He observed that the 



48 



SERMON. 



He was above all a preacher of the gospel. Look- 
ing back over his ministry of forty years, he says that 
he began his labors here with the conviction that " the 
" minister of Christ must assign the same pre-eminence 
" to the pulpit which the New Testament accords to it." 
On this point his mind never wavered. He gave far 
more time and thought to his preparation for preach- 
ing, than to pastoral labor. He insisted on the " para- 
" mount claims of the pulpit, with this qualification, viz.: 
" that even the pulpit must yield to the demands of the 
" sick, the desponding, the awakened, and the be- 
" reaved." Thousfh confessino- that as he reviewed his 
career, he found much to lament, he justifies his con- 
duct in this respect. But while he regarded the influ- 
ence of pastoral work, in the narrower sense of that 
phrase, as secondary to preaching, he was faithful to 
the social duties of his office ; and I am sure that the 
visits of no clergyman could have been more highly 

" question of duty now presented was one he had wished and tried to avoid, and 
''which it was very painful to him to be obliged to consider; but since Provi- 
" dence had brought it before him, he would examine it with all the candor and 
" fidelity he could bring to the solution of it. He requested the committee to 
" say to the Assembly, however, that all his prepossessions, all his wishes, and, 
" up to that moment, all his conviclious of duly, were adverse to the proposed 
'' change in his situation. He deeply felt, as he remarked in conclusion, his 
'• need of Divine direction in this important juncture, and desired the Assembly, 
" through the Committee, to invoke in his behalf the guidance of the Holy 
"Spirit." 



SERMON. 49 



valued or more thoroughly enjoyed than his were by 
the families of his congregation. This was true of all 
his visits ; but especially of those in which he met pa- 
rishioners, who, perplexed with questions of duty, or 
suffering in spiritual despondency, or bowed with afflic- 
tion, sought counsel or consolation from their Pastor. 
His tenderness, his sympathy, his profound Christian 
experience, his wisdom and his courtesy, united to 
make his visits memorable. At such times, " he did 
" not attempt to bridge, he leaped over the chasm 
" between secularlties and spiritualities." What mem- 
ories I evoke by this reference to Dr. Boardman's 
pastoral labors ! With what grace, as representing, 
and in the spirit of his Master, " he poured the oil of 
consolation into the wounded bosom !" 

But, it was as a preacher that he excelled. The 
pulpit was the place of his power. This power was 
the result of exceptional gifts, both of mind and body, 
of profound conviction of the truths to which he gave 
expression, of a vivid Christian experience, and of hard 
work. Every sermon that Dr. Boardman preached 
was prepared conscientiously, with great pains. He 
had no confidence " in momentary inspirations," or in 
hasdly written productions. He was well aware that 
power in the pulpit is the result of labor in the 
study. I have been permitted to read the prepara- 
4 



50 SERMON. 



tory outlines of some of his discourses that I have 
heard or read ; and I am able to say that he exhausted 
all his resources to preach the gospel with power; and 
the power that he was most anxious always to evince, 
was that, not of exciting sensations, but of producing 
impressions. He aroused, not the passions, but the 
emotions. If the sensibilities were ever wrought upon 
by him, that was by no means his aim. For in the ex- 
citement of the sensibilities, man, as he knew, is usu- 
ally passive. He reached the spiritual emotions 
through the intellect; and, as by their incitement, man 
is always made active, he reached the will. This 
was his fundamental method. To its execution he 
brought a noble presence, a graceful manner, and a 
voice of exquisite quality and flexibility, and of 
power more than equal the demands of the house 
in which he spoke. Nor was this all. He brought 
as we have seen, an intellect finely endowed, 
broadly cultivated by wide reading, and carefully 
disciplined by earnest study. He brought also an 
ardent love of the souls whom he addressed and of 
the Master in whose name he addressed them, and a 
conviction of the supreme importance of his message, 
that was born of his own. experience. But all this 
would have failed to make him the great preacher, 
which I do not hesitate to affirm him to have been. 



SERMON. 



51 



had he not brought the truth; the Word of God. I 
should say that his love of the truth was a more dis- 
tinct, if not a more profound emotion, than his love of 
men. The truth was not only the substance of his 
preaching, but the factor which gave to it its form. 
Thus he was an intellectual rather than an emotional 
preacher. He addressed his subject' rather than his 
people. His published sermons are far more ample 
in their discursive than in their hortatory parts. He 
explained and defended the truth ; he made the truth 
manifest to the conscience ; and for most part left to 
the truth, and to the applying Spirit, the work of ex- 
hortation and appeal. 

Religious truth appealed most powerfully to himself 
when formulated as doctrine. In this form he preached 
it to his people. He left no great topic in theology 
undiscussed; and his views in theology were in har- 
mony with the symbols of his Church. Underlying 
every sermon was that great system, with which he 
was more familiar than most preachers, that we know 
as the theology of the Reformed Churches ; the the- 
ology of Augustine and Anselm, of Calvin and Knox, 
of John Owen and John Howe, of Thomas Chalmers 
and Jonathan Edwards. This theology he accepted 
rather as derived from the word of God, by means of 
exegetical studies, than as "grounded in the absolute 



52 SERMON. 



principles of reason," with which God's Word is ever 
accordant. In this he was in perfect sympathy with 
his teacher, Archibald Alexander, and with his admired 
and revered friend, Charles Hodge. Thus he was led, 
far oftener to emphasize truth as revealed to man, than 
as the food his spiritual nature demands. His preach- 
ing- was objective; and it had all the power that be- 
longs to that method of declaring Christian truth. 
There were few subjects appropriate to the pulpit that 
in his sermons he failed to touch; and every subject 
he touched he grasped with real power. Thus, for be- 
tween forty and hfty years, he preached from his pulpit. 
If I have been able to set forth his method and spirit 
as a preacher and to describe his gifts, and have cor- 
rectly stated the form and substance of his preaching, 
we need not be astonished that he was revered by his 
congregation, respected and admired by his City, and 
honored by his Church. But eternity alone will reveal 
the incalculable blessings which all derived from his 
talents and learning, consecrated as they were to the 
single purpose, and employed in its fulfillment for al- 
most a half century, of declaring to men "the gospel 
of the Son of God." 

The influence which he exerted by preaching from 
this pulpit was largely increased by his published 
writings. I have already spoken of the "literary fla- 



SERMON. 23 



vor '* by which all his published writings are per- 
vaded. It is not by any means so hard to invest the 
subjects usually selected by belles lett7'-es writers with 
literary charms, as it is thus to adorn discussions in 
theology or sermons on religion. Sermons, especi- 
ally, have usually finer oratorical than literary traits. 
They require the presence of the preacher to give 
them interest, and they lose their power when subject- 
ed to the ordeal of publication. Your Pastor's ser- 
mons were, in this respect, exceptional productions. 
The reputation that he made in the pulpit never suf- 
fered when his sermons appeared in print. The more 
he published, the more widely and more highly was he 
esteemed.* The time at my disposal does not permit 

The titles of Dr. Boardman's printed and published writings are the follow- 
ing :— 

I.— PAMPHLETS. 

" The Almost Christian." 

1833. 

Sermon before the Young Men's Society of Philadelphia. (Three months 

after his ordination.) 

1834. 

" Letter from a Pastor to the Female Bible Classes connected with his 

charge." 

1835- 

"Vanity of a Life of Fashionable Pleasure." 

1839. 

" Correspondence between Bishop Doane and Rev. Dr. Boardman." 



54 SERMON. 



me even to name his volumes. None of them fell flat 
from the press ; all of them were useful ; many of them 
were widely circulated ; and two or three are likely to 
have a longer life of wide and active usefulness than 
most of us. It is not often that one is able to make a 
statement like this concerning the Pastor of a large 
Church in a busy city ; for while the duties of his posi- 



" Sermon on the death of President Harrison." 

1841. 

Address — " American Protestant Association." 

1843. 

" Sermon to Medical Men." 

" Lecture on the Apostolical Succession." 

1844. 

"Address before sailing for Europe. — April nth, 1847." 

" Pastoral Letter. — Venice, Dec. 15th, 1847." 

" Sermon to the Legal Profession on Charles Chauncey." 

1849. 

" Sermon on Rev. Dr. Miller." 

•' A Plea for Sunday Afternoon." 

1850. 

" Suggestions to Young Men in Mercantile Business." 

"The American Union." 

1851. 

" Kossuth or Washington." 

"Daniel Webster." 

1852. 

" The Low Value set upon Human Life in the United States.' 
1853- 



SERMON. 



55 



tion afford him every good sort of stimulus to literary 
labor, his many and exacting engagements leave him 
no time for literary revision. That Dr. Boardman did 
so much so well, justifies the statement that had his 
life been distinctively a literary life, his name would 
have been both long remembered and widely and fa- 
vorably known. 

" Sermon on the Burlington Catastrophe." 
*' Merchants' Fund Address." 
" Boardman on the Ministry." 

1855- 

" Sermon on the Death of George M. Ramsaur." (A medical student.) 

" Moral Courage." 

1856. 

" The Two Sacraments." 

1857- 

" Not ' This m- That,' but ' This and That.' " 

♦• Going to the Opera." 

1858. 

" The Dignity and Importance of the Christian Ministry." 

"Christian Union." 

1859. 

" The Union." 

" Sermon on The Present Crisis." 

" In Memoriam, Rev. Dr. Van Rensselaer." 

i860. 

" Thanksgiving in War." 

1861. 

" The Lord Reigneth." 

" The Judiciary." 

1862. 



56 SERMON. 



That a clergyman of his talents and learning and 
character, occupying a conspicuous pulpit for many 
years, should become a well known and influential citi- 
zen was to be expected. I think I may say, that no 
clergyman who ever lived in Philadelphia enjoyed a 
larger measure than did Dr. Boardman of the respect 
and good-will of his fellow-citizens. Many of the most 

" Thanksgiving Sermon." 

1864. 

" The Peace Makers." 

" The Faithful Servant Crowned," 

" Margaret Latimer." 

" The Peace We Need." 

1865. 

" The State of the Church." 

« Dr. William Shippen." 

" The One Thing Needful." 

" Singleton A. Mercer." 

1867. 

" Pastoral Letter, from St. Paul, on the text,' Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.' " 

1869. 
"Dedication H. H. Memorial Chapel." 

1874. 

" A Pastor's New Year's Gift to his people." 

1876. 

"In Memoriam, Prof. John S. Hart." 

1S78. 
" In Memoriam, Rev. Dr. Hodge." 

1879. 

" Come Unto Me." 

1880. 



■SERMON. 57 



distinguished of them most highly esteemed the man, 
cultivated his acquaintance, and sought his society. 
Of these, all were glad that no invitadon, however 
pressed, sufficed to move him from Philadelphia. His 
fine career was often the theme of Interested conver- 
sation among men not of his own profession or be- 

II.— BOUND VOLUMES. 

" Pastors' Counsels." 

1835- 

" Apostolical Succession." 

" Original Sin." 

" Romanism." 

1844. 

" Hints on Temper." 

1845. 

" Bible in the Family." 

1851. 

"Bible in the Counting House." 

1853- 

" Election." 

i860. 

"The Great Question." 

" Memorial of Harriet Holland." 

1871. 

" Twenty-Fifth and Fortieth Anniversary Sermons." 

1873- 

'' The Higher Life Doctrine of Sanctification." 

1877. 

" Earthly Suffering and Heavenly Glory." 

1878. 



58 



SERMON. 



longing to his own communion. Only the other day 
I had the pleasure of reading a charming letter, written 
to your Pastor by the honorable and venerable Hor- 
ace Binney, a letter which I regret I cannot repeat, 
and which the writer, then in his ninety-third year, 
penned just after reading Dr. Boardman's fortieth an- 
niversary sermon.* It is but one of many that he re- 
ceived in middle and in later life, from men whose es- 
teem and friendship were themselves a eulogy. 
Dr. Boardman's mind traveled largely outside of 

*In the letter referred to, Mr. Binney writes, Dec. i8, 1873 : — * -x- * 
"Since I have read the sermon on your fortieth anniversary [every word of it, 
" and l)y the light of a students' lamp last evening, and my eyes are none the 
"worse for it this morning,) I feel that I am doubly the richer for it, though I 
" have contracted an equal amount of debt which I can never repay. * * * 
" The mere retrospect in which I could almost travel with you the whole way, 
" (and a little more than the whole way,) would have been more refreshment 
" than I have received in this kind, for many a day ; but this was quite secondary 
"by the side of the pure and sound Gospel doctrine, — the deep feeling of pasto- 
" ral duty, faithfully but not boastingly performed, — the just and heartfelt enco- 
" mium upon your large flock ; your searching cautions ; your sincere encourage- 
"ments; your wise criticisms in dispraise as well as praise of dress, music, Sun- 
" day School, family religion and intercourse ; your catholic good will to all with 
" whom church worship is not an imposture; the sincere, honest, conscientious, 
" brave spirit in which all is delivered ; and finally the prophetical forecast of 
"some of its remarks, all found me in constant sympathy and concurrence with 
" you from beginning to end. I say this to my own praise ; and heartily 
" thank God for giving, and still leaving, to me, to this the approaching close of 
'< my ninety-third year, a heart which warms at the manifestation of so noble a 
*' spirit in the service of his Divine Lord and Master." 



SERMON. 59 



the circle of theological studies. He was a man of 
wide readine and of varied information. He could 
not only follow, but could intelligently take part in 
conversation with a specialist, in any one of many and 
widely separate departments of learning. He loved 
books, as all who have seen his study know. Though 
familiar with it, I have the impression that he did not 
greatly admire the current belles lettres literature. He 
read with profound admiration and delight the au- 
thors of the age of Elizabeth, and he had almost a 
commentator's knowledge of the poets and moralists 
of the reiofn of Oueen Anne. To this love of litera- 
ture he united a fine taste, which appeared in every- 
thing he wrote. The neatness and elegance of his 
composition, and the entire absence of those little faults 
which made a learned clerg^^man, who undertook a 
few years since to teach " the Queen's English," the 
victim of his critic, may well be mentioned here; for 
the virtue, though negative, is unusual and difficult of 
attainment. This virtue was but one exhibition of 
that delicate sense of propriety vv^hich was revealed in 
many ways. It was this trait that led to his selection 
to deliver the address of welcome to the representa- 
tives of the Reformed Churches of the world. The 
single paragraph written by him may serve to show 



6o SERMON. 



how clearly the completed address would have justi- 
fied this selection. '=' 

I do not think that Dr. Boardman ever discovered 
any special fondness for metaphysical studies. He 
reached his theological conclusions by means of exe- 
gesis, not by means of philosophy. His early reading 
led him into the domain of jurisprudence. In this 
science he was always deeply interested, as he was also 
In the related department of politics. Some of his 
ablest addresses are on subjects that arrange them- 
selves under the latter title. On all of these themes 
he held opinions, which he set forth with clearness and 
precision, illustrated with real learning, and defended 
with ability. Sometimes his views were opposed to 

*" Brethren beloved in Christ Jesus: — I am charged with the grateful 
" office of bidding you welcome to our countrj' and our City, our Churches and 
•' our homes. 

" First of all, our grateful acknowledgments are due to that benign Provi- 
" dence which has watched over you on the land and on the sea, shielded you 
" from the perils of traveling, and brought you to us in this goodly convocation, 
"as we humbly trust, in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ The 
" occasion is one which turns back the shadows upon the great dial, not fifteen 
•' degrees, but three and a half centuries. Luther and Zwingle, Calvin and 
" Knox, and their illustrious compeers, stand before us, God's appointed instru- 
" ments for publishing to an enslaved continent this mandate : Come out of her, 
" my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her 
" plagues. They heard and obeyed the summons. Breaking away from the 
" ancient thralldom, their first recourse was to that inspired Book which had for 
" ages been withheld from them. Searching the Scriptures with patient study, 



SERMON. • 6 1 



those of a majority of his fellow citizens. But Dr. 
Boardman was always courageous, and had far more 
respect for truth than for a majority. Many here may 
remember the enthusiasm with which Louis Kossuth 
was welcomed twenty-eight years since by the Ameri- 
can people. The heartiness of this welcome was due 
partly to the man's fervid eloquence, and partly to 
Mr. Webster's letter to Baron Hulseman, written two 
years before. Such was the sympathy of our people 
with Kossuth and Hungary, that it required no ordi- 
nary courage for one to rise and ask the question, 
" whither is all this leading us ?" This Dr. Boardman 
did. In an able address, in which his wide political 
readinor reveals itself, he warns his fellow citizens not 

'• and earnest prayer, they found there neither Pope nor prelate, but a permanent 
" ministry of co-equal rank and authority, and that scheme of doctrine which 
" constitutes the life and core of the evangelical theology. It is a pregnant fact 
" that nearly all the churches of the Reformation assumed, and preserve to this 
"day, a Presbyterian organization. In Germany, in Switzerland, in the Nether- 
" lands, in Scotland, in Italy, in France, they adopted with one accord, and still 
" retain, the primitive Scriptural order, which the Waldensian Church, ' neither 
"Protestant nor Reformed,' had maintained inviolate for centuries amidst the 
"fastnesses of the High Alps. Even those churches which retained the pre- 
"latic element, retained it, with a single exception, not as of imperative divine 
" obligation, but purely on grounds of expediency, their Bishops being simply 
"priiiii inter pares, not of a superior order to Pi-esliyters. And it is safe to say 
"that England also would have taken this ground, had not the iron hand of 
" the crown laid an arrest upon the beneficent work of her faithful and shackled 
" reformers." 



62 - SERMON. 



to be seduced into demanding a departure from the 
conservative policy of non-intervention, which the 
fathers of the Repubhc had made the policy of the gov- 
ernment. 

Dr. Boardman was an ardent patriot ; and in two 
addresses, one of them on Daniel Webster, he gave 
eloquent expression to his theory of our government, 
and his attachment to the Federal Union. That theory 
was the view which Mr. Webster announced in his re- 
ply to Mr. Hayne, and which, three years later, he de- 
fended in his more able, but less widely known argu- 
ment, called out by the Resolutions of Mr. Calhoun. 
Intelligently accepting Mr. Webster's view of the 
powers of the Federal Government, and of its relations 
to the States, Dr. Boardman, during the late Civil War, 
was thoroughly in sympathy with its object, and heartily 
rejoiced in the final victory, by which the authority of 
the general government was maintained throughout 
the land. But he mourned the inevitable desolations 
of the war, and he disagreed with not a few of his 
warmest friends in his view of some of the details of 
its prosecution. Differences of opinion on political 
questions more easily separated friends in those days, 
than, happily, they do to-day. It was inevitable that 
Dr. Boardman should feel deeply the distance wliich 
these differences of opinion placed between himself and 



SERMON. 



63 



many of his friends. But he would not have been the 
lofty man who commanded your respect and won 
your confidence and engaged your affections, had he 
adopted views because he supposed them popular. 
Whatever faults he had this certainly was not one of 
them. He was nothing, if not morally brave. 

Dr. Boardman's interest in the well-beine of his fel- 
low men revealed itself in his intellieent efforts to 
widen the usefulness of many of the charitable institu- 
tions which honor our City. With one of these, the 
Deaf and Dumb Institution, he was closely connected ; 
but he was also, as far as possible, actively interested 
in every form of benevolence. I happen to know that 
he thought much, and read widely, on this great sub- 
ject. The question, whether the Churches of the 
Reformation have not employed themselves too ex- 
clusively with spiritual subjects, and whether they 
should not, besides stimulating benevolent activity, 
conduct benevolent institutions, he pondered deeply. 
He so far answered it, as heartily to rejoice in the 
founding in our City, and in connection with our own 
Church, of the Home, the Orphanage and the Hospital. 

Of course, I have left unsaid many things that I 
should have been glad to say, and that you would 
have been glad to hear ; and in what I have said I 
have tried hard to refrain from the language of mere 



64 SERMON. 



compliment. We may not, of course, invade the 
Cliristian home of which he was the beloved and re- 
served head. I have been able only to present an 
outline of his more public career, as a Christian man 
and Pastor; and without attempting to catalogue the 
elements of his powder, to let the picture make its own 
impression upon you. 

But I should be unjust both to his memory and to 
my own feelings, if I failed to give expression to my 
profound gratitude that, in the providence of God, I 
was permitted to be associated in labor with so noble 
and able a Minister of the Gospel. He cordially wel- 
comed me to the pulpit which his distinguished pastor- 
ate had made eminent. He was untirino- in his en- 
deavors to make his friends my friends. His mature 
wisdom was at my disposal, but only as I sought it; 
and he was only .too fearful lest, by expressing his 
opinions, he might seem to proffer advice. Whatever 
service I asked of him he rendered joyfully, I may 
almost say, gratefully. He resigned his authority as 
Pastor of this Church, just before I was called; but 
though he resigned his authority, his influence he could 
not resign. =^= Thus he remained among you, visiting 

*.MlNUTE ADOPTED BY THE PRESBYTERY, MaY 25, 1 876, OX THE RESIGNATION 

OF Dr. Eoardman. 
Whereas, in the providence of GoJ we are called upon to dissolve the paste- 



SERMON. 65 



the sick, preaching from time to time, often with a 
power that recalled the days of his vigorous manhood ; 
the Pastor of this Omrch, until God called him home. 
He died on the fifteenth day of last June. His ill- 
ness was brief and his death unexpected. The last 
time I saw him, I saw him in this Church. The niece 
of one of the Elders who had welcomed him to Phila- 
delphia had died, and the funeral services, held in the 
Church, had begun, when he entered the door and 
walked to the pulpit. He had come from Adantic 
City to be present at the burial of his intimate and 
valued friend. He spoke briefly of her beaudful 

ral relation which has existed for forty-three years between the Rev. Dr. Henry 
A. Boardman and the Tenth Presbyterian Church of this City, we recognize it as 
a manifest duty and a grateful privilege to place upon record a statement of our 
views and feelings in the performance of this Presbyterial act. 

The pastoral relation now dissolved has been one of unusual interest and im- 
portance in the history of the Presbyterian Church in this City. At the time 
when it was formed the Pastor was a young man fresh from the Seminary, and 
the Church was but in its fourth year; so that whatever the Tenth Church has 
been in its position among the Churches, has been owing in great measure, un- 
der God, to the valuable ministiy by which it has been served dm-ing this pastor- 
ate. 

And now that, by reason of failing health, our esteemed and beloved brother 

has been constrained to request that this important charge be laid aside, we feel 
that we cannot withhold the expression of our hearty appreciation of the good 
work that God has enabled him to accomplish, for the general advancement of 
religion in our City, and for the glory of the Redeemer. We call to mind the 
vigorous ability with which he has vindicated the principles of our holy religion, 
and defended the doctrine and polity of the Presbyterian Church, not only in 

5 



66 SERMON. 



Christian character, and then, with great tenderness, 
of "our Father's house of many mansions," and led us 
in prayer. Two weeks later he finished his earthly 
life, and was admitted to " our Father's house " — " the 
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 

Many and solemn are the lessons which this recital 
should teach us. If I omit to state them, it is be- 
cause they are so obvious as to require no statement. 
Let me say only, that it is not enough that you sincere- 
ly mourn that you will see his face no more. It is not 
enough that you cherish his memory, and eulogize his 
" ten talents," and revere his exalted Christian charac- 

his able and eloquent discourses from the pulpit, but also in his numerous publi- 
cations ; and for many years we have recognized him as a most able and influen- 
tial representative of the Presbyterian ministry in this particular community, and 
before the church at large. It gives us pleasure to record the profound respect 
which we have long cherished for the gifts and graces with which God has en- 
dowed him, fitting him to fill with such eminent ability and success the office of 
the Christian ministry; while we bear most cordial testimony to his uniform ex- 
cellence and fidelity as a Presbyter, standing in his lot among us at all times as 
full of wisdom and sound judgment, and giving his efficient co-operation to every 
right enterprise for the building up of our Church in this great city, and for the 
establishment of Christ's kingdom in all the earth. 

And, although the pastoral relation in which he has accomplished the great 
work of his life is dissolved, we are happy to know, as his co-presbyters, that he 
is still lo remain among us, and that we are to continue to enjoy the benefit of his 
counsels and prayers. And we assure him that, as he has found a congenial 
home among the people of his charge so many years, so, likewise, he may be 
confident that he holds a warm place in the affectionate respect of his brethren in 



SERMON. 67 



ter. To have heard the gospel from his lips is a 
privilege, indeed ; but it is a privilege that immeas- 
urably increases your responsibility to God. If you 
are not Christians, it is clear that your failure to be- 
come Christians has not been due to his lack either of 
ability or of fidelity. I have tried to tell the story and 
describe the quality of his ministry. It now becomes 
the duty of each one of you to ask the question, " What 
was that ministry to me? " 

You know only too well what he longed and prayed 
and studied and preached, that his ministry might be 
to every one of you. The last words on the tablet 

the Presbytery ; that we shall regard it a pleasure still to hear his words of good 
judgment, while our fervent prayer to the Great Head of the Church shall be 
that it may please Him to continue His servant with us for many years to come, 
as a helper in the work of the Kingdom, and a model to all who are laboring for 
the Master. 

We desire, moreover, to express our gratification in view of the graceful tri- 
bute given by the Tenth Church to their retiring pastor in their request that he will 
accept the title of Pastor Emeritus, and as in their formal action they desire that 
the Presbytery will grant him this appropriate title, we do most heartily accede to 
this request, and commend them for the beautiful affection which has prompted it. 
And we cherish the desire that they may continue to hold in their loving memory 
the able and faithful ministry with which they have been served, until that day 
when the chief Shepherd shall appear and give His servant " a crown of glory 
that fadeth not away." 

Resolved:— TiKTA. the Stated Clerk be directed to attach to the name of Dr. 
Boardman on the Presbyterial roll the title of Pastor Emeritus which the Church 
has requested to have bestowed upon him. 



SERMON. 



which you have placed in this Church to his memory 
are : — " He, being dead, yet speaketh,"''' Certainly, his 
words — not mine — may most fittingly close this memo- 
rial sermon.f " What, then," — he asked at the close of 
his more active ministr}', after he had preached from 
this pulpit for forty years, — "What, then, are the les- 
' sons of this anniversary for you and for me ? We are 
'all passing away. In the nature of things, I cannot ex- 
' pect my ministry to be prolonged for many years. It 
' may terminate at any moment — yes, and any Sabbath 
'may see some of your seats vacant. Are we ready 
' for the summons ? Have we fled to Christ ? Are 
'we sprinkled with His blood? Are we clothed with 
' His righteousness? Are we imbued with His spirit? 
' Are our loins girded and our lamps trimmed, as those 
' who wait for the coming of their Lord ? 

*The inscription on the Mural Tablet, placed above the pulpit of the Tenth 
Church, in memory of Dr. Boardman, is as follows : — _ 

Henry Augustus Boardman, D. D., 

Born Januaiy 9, 180S. — Pastor of this Church, from his ordination, November 8 
1833, until his death, June 15, iSSo.-r-A servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus 
Christ. James I., i. — Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou 
into the joy of thy Lord. Matthew XXV., 21. — He, being dead, yet speak- 
eth. 

f The following Resolution has been passed by the Session of the Tenth 
Presbyterian Church : — '■^Resolved: — That the Sermon delivered by the Pastor, 
" commemorative of the life and labors of the former Pastor, the Rev. Henry 
*' A. Boardman, D. D., be engrossed on the Minute Book of the Session." 



SERMON. 69 



" My dear people, bound to my heart by so many 
" sacred ties: on that day when the ransomed shall be 
" gathered at the right hand of Christ, I would that not 
" one of you should be wanting. And I close up the 
'• record of these forty years with the lervent prayer 
"to 'the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom 
*' ' the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that 
" ' He would grant you according to the riches of His 
"'glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit 
"'in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your 
" ' hearts by faith ; that ye, being rooted and grounded 
" ' in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints 
'* ' what is the breadth and length, and depth, and 
" ' height ; and to know the love of Christ, which 
" * passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all 
" ' the fullness of God.' " 



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