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••• • 

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• • • * V 

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• • • • • 
• * « • « 

JAS. B. RODGEftS tO * Priolers, "' 
62 & bltilsHtt SlxUloSt^ ^ty^ 


1. Biography. ^ 

" To delineate a character faithfully in its lead- 
ing features, whether great and honorable, or other- 
wise, is the duty of every good biographer."* 

" There are two extremes into which bioofraohers 
are apt to fall. The one is adopting a continued 
strain of eulogy, and endeavoring either wholly to 
keep out of view, or ingeniously to varnish over, the 
errors and weaknesses of those whose lives they re- 
cord. To this fault in biographical writing Mr. 
Hayley discovers, perhaps, too strong a tendency. 
If I do not greatly mistake, his Life of Milton and 
his Life of Cowper may both be justly impeached 
on this ground. The other, and a more mischievous, 
extreme is, recording against departed worth, with 
studied amplitude, and disgusting minuteness, the 
momentary mistakes of forgetfulness, the occasional 
vagaries of levity, and the false opinions, expressed 
not as the result of sober reflection, but thrown out 
either in a mirthful hour, or in the heat of disputa- 
tion. Of the latter fault Mr. BoswelUs Life of 
Johnson furnishes perhaps the most singular exam- 
ple. Tlie proper course is between these extremes ; 
and of this course it is to be lamented that we have 
so few models." * 

Excellencies may be imitated, and defects avoided, 
most successfully, when we know their origin and 
the manner of their production. Hence, besides 

1 Dr. Miller's Retroepeo^ II. Vol., 152. * Id., 153, note. 


showing what a person was, and what he did, it is 
very important to explain how he became what he 
was, and how he accomplished what he did. Here 
God's providence will often come profitably into 
view ; and no unimportant part of the biographer s 
aim, nay, his grand, constant object, should be to 
illustra^ and confirm divine truth. In attempting 
this, he may always have the encouragement offered 
by the fact, that he is employing one of the Bible's 
favorite methods of impressing and enforcing its own 
doctrines and precepts. To bring Jehovah to view, 
as he ever works in or by, over or in spite of, indi- 
vidual men, in manifold relations to our race, whe- 
ther as lost or saved, is the most salutary lesson 
which our fallen world can either give or receive. 

2. Lapse of Time. ^ 

More than nineteen years have passed away since 
Dr. Miller died, and delay in the preparation of a 
biography has doubtless occasioned the loss of some 
precious materials for the work. "But," he himself 
being the judge, "even with regard to this loss, 
there are counterbalancing considerations. Time 
has been left for the first fervour of feeling on the 
departure of an eminent man to subside. His cha- 
racter is now viewed with the calmness and impar- 
tiality of a long and leisurely retrospect. The 
statement and portrait about to be presented are not 
drawn under the painful impression of a recent be- 
reavement. There has been time to consult the 
award of faithful public suffrage. Perhaps the most 
candid and impartial, if not the most feeling and 
racy biographical sketches, are those which have 
been formed many years after their subjects have 
passed from the stage of action." ^ 

^ Dr. Mi]Ler*8 Memoir of Dr. Niabei, who diod in 1804; published in 1840. 





Ancestors. — 1. John Miller ^ the Orandfaiher. — Immigration — Marriage 
to Mary Bass — John Alden — Samuel Bass — Education, business, church 
and family — 18-16. — 2. Rev. John Miller, the Father. — Birth — Education — 
Profession"*— Licensure — Call to Dover and Duck Creek — Settlement — 
Residence — Marriage — Family — Labours — The Revolution — Character 
— ^John Dickinson — New England Friends — Congregation — Old and New 
Sides — Church Standards — General Assembly — Dr. Matthew Wilson — 
Health — Habits — 14-25. — 8. Mrs. Margaret Miller, the Mother, —Influence 
— Son's account — Benevolence — Conversion— :26, 27. — 13-27. 



Birth, Youth and Education. — ^1. Birth and Early Youth. — Birth — 
Death of Joseph — Death of Benjamin — Declaration of Independence — 
John, the Army Surgeon — His death — Marriage of Elizabeth and Mary 
— Philadelphia — Constitutional Convention — Dr. Edward Miller — Joseph 
— 28-33. — 2. 'Preparation for College. — Frofeteion of Religion. — First 
eighteen years — Father's letter — 33, 34. — 3. The College Student. — 
The University — Letters from mother and father — Dr. Ashbel Green — 
Synod and General Assembly — Letters from father — Graduation — Com- 
mencement — A classmate — Improvement — 34-42. — 28-42. 


• 1789-1792. 

The Theological Student. — 1. ffome Theology. — Return home — 
Diary — Letter to Dr. Green — Reply — Letter from father — Diary — Death 

1* V 


of mother — Letters from father — Letter to Richard Renshaw^-Letters 
from father— Diary — Letter from father — Theological studies — Diary: 
Trials for license: Death of father — Family circumstances — 43-64. — 2. 
Licensure. — Diary : Licensure — Exceptions to the Confession : Letter to 
Dr. Halsey — Presbyterial authority — Letter from Col. McLane — 64-66. 
— 3. Dr. Nisbet. — Principal of Dickinson College — A winter in Carlisle 
—Mr. Miller's account— 67-60.— 43-60. 



The Licentiate. — 1. Seeking a Settlement. — Visit to New York — Dr. 
John H. Livingston — Return — Second Visit to New York^Letter from 
Dr. Green to Mr. Morse — Journeying in New England — Relatives — 61- 
63. — 2. CalU to New York and Dover. — Call to New York — Candidates 
— Letter to Mr. Morse — -Labors in Delaware — Call to Dover and Duck 
Creek — Diary — Minute of Presbytery — Testimonial — Diary — 63-66. — 3. 
Farewell to Delaware — -Valedictory — Characteristics — John Dickinson — 
Letter to Hon. G. C. Verplanck — Departure — Style of preaching — 
66-70.— 61-70. 



Delaware Life 1. A Pilgrimage. — Attachment to Delaware— Visits 

— Biographer's Visit. — Dover — Presbyterian church — Church-yard — 
Family graves — Reparation — Jail and pillory — Wilhelmina Ridgely — 
Health of Delaware — Letter from John Fisher — Old State Road — The 
Turf — Fox hunting — Mrs. Loockerman'ift residence — Parson's farm and 
dwelling — Decay — Burial plot — Tin Head Court — Duck Creek Cross 
Roads — 7 1-76.^2. Old Papers. — -Testamentary accounts — Personal estate 
—Diplomas— Education of Children— A. M.— 76-79.— 71-79. 





New York City. — 1. The Cily and its Churches. — Population, etc — 
Columbia College — Clergy — Presbyterian Church in U. S. — First Presb. 
church of New York — History — Collegiate pastors — 80-82. — 2. Col- 
leagues. — Dr. Rodgers — Extracts from Memoirs — ^Influence on Colleague 
—Dr. McKnight— 82-86.— 80-86. 




The "Boy MiNiSTEB." — 1. Ordination and Settlement. — Diary — Ordi- 
nation and Installation — Session — Routine of service — ^Commencement 
of pastorate — *' Boy Ministers " — Chancellor Kent — 87-89. — 2. Published 
Discouree* — Slavery and the French Revolution, — Fourth of July Sermon — 
Extracts — Sermon of 1797 — Slavery — Extracts — French Revolution — 
Dr. Nisbet's Opinion — Retraction — 89-96. — 3. Devotion and Affliction. — 
Diary — Letter to Dr. Green : Magazine — Death of James — Letter from 
him — Mrs. Patten — Diary — 96-98. — 4. Published Discourses — Masonry, 
— Sermon before the Grand Lodge — Royal Arch Mason — Objections to 
Masonry — Fourth of July Sermon — 98-100.. — 6. Valetudinarianism, — 
Burdens — III health — Letter to Dr. Green — Diary : Journey on horse- 
back — 100-102. — 6. Doctor Edward Miller in New For^.—rEx tract frpm 
Biographical Sketch : Removal: Success — Beneficial result s^rrlll health 
'. — Diary — 102, 103. — 7. Missions, History of American Missions — Letter 
to Dr. Green — The New York Society— pits operationsrr-Monthly Con- 
cert — Quarterly Concert — 104-106. — 8. Despondent Activity, -rrLiterary 
Projects and Pastime, — PoZta'c*.— -Diary— rVisit to Connecticut— rRutgers- 
street church — Diary — Correspondence, foreign and domestic — Letter to 
Dr. Morse — History of New York — Act of Legislature — rDr. Samuel L. 
Mitchill — De JtVitt Clinton— ^Foreign correspondence— rThe Friendly 
Club^Fast day sermon— Extract— Diary-^106-1 12.— • 87^112. 



The Yellow Fever 'Residences — Epidemic Yellow Fever-^Doctor 

Edward Miller's theory — Death of Joseph — Charles Brockden Brown's . 
account — Death of Italian^^Death of Dr. £. H. Smith — Mr. Miller's ac- 
count — Thanksgiving sermon — Extract — Mortality — Diary— >Mr. Brown 
— Monthly Magazine — Letters to Dr. Morse — Call to Market street 
church, Philadelphia-^Letter to Dr. Green — ^Rev. John Blair Linn and 
Dr. James P. Wilson.— 113-121. 



Politics and P&ojects.— 1. Death of Washington. — Absence from 
New York — Sermon on Washington — His religious character — Corre- 
spondence with Governor Jay: Political parties — 122-127. — 2. City life 
— Social, Literary and Political. — Thomas Jefferson. — Diary — Influence 
of city life — Clerical politicians — Federalists and Republicans — Extracts 
from sermons — ^Correspondence with Mr. Gemmil — More mature opin- 
ions — Character of Mr. Jefferson — 127-188. — 8. Politics and the Clergy, — 
Before, during, and after the Revolutionary War — Natural rights and 
natural duties of citizenship — 134, 136. — 4. Projects and Correspondence. 
— Letters to Republicans — Cacoethes Scribendi — Extract from note-book 
-Foreign Correspondents— 186-188.— 122-138. 




Marriage. — Death of Major and Mrs. Patten — ^General Assembly — 
♦' Plan of Union " — Opinion in 1847 — Rev. Archibald Alexander — An- 
other plan of union — Sarah Sergeant — Introduction — ^Engagement — 
Letters — Marriage — Wedding tour — Letter to Mr. Dickinson. — 139-144. 


^ 1778-1803. 

Mrs. Miller. — 1.. Ancestors — Birth. — Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant — 
Ancestors — Birth — Graduation — At the Bar — In Congress — Wife, Mar- 
garet Spencer — Revolutionary Scenes and Adventures — 145-148. — 2. 
Youth — Memoirs. — Occasion of Writing — ^Early years — Religious educa- 
tion and impressions — Family changes — Boarding schools — ^Yellow Fever 
— Father — French immigrants — Father's devotion to sick — Religious 
Impressions — Father's death — Infidelity — The Bible — Fashionable dis- 
sipation — Card-playing — Reading — Princeton — Long Branch — Broken 
resolution — Bible and prayer — Darkness and Distress — Decision — Use- 
fulness — Temptation — Marriage — Causes and preventives of suflFering — 
Father's plain habits — Boarding-school at Beth leheral*— 148-167. — 3. 
Married Life. — Residence — Missionary sermon — Diary : First child — An- 
niversary of marriage — Anniversary observances — Diary-keeping — Mrs. 
Miller's profession — Vacation — 167-172. — 145-172. 



** Retrospect OF THE Eighteenth Century." — \,' Preparation of the 
Work. — Authorship — Extracts from preface — Doctor E. Miller's Assist- 
ance — 173-176. — 2. Reception of the Work — John Dickinson — Contents — 
Completion prevented — Doctor of Divinity — Dr. Adam Clarke — Anec- 
dote — Lindlev Murray — London edition — Letter from publisher — 
Aikin's Review— 176-181.— 173-181. 



Correspondence. — 1. Miscellaneous Topics. — Opening Century — Let- 
ter to Mr. Griffin — Abolition convention — Hamilton and Burr : Letter 
to Mr. Nott — Burr's plausibility — Letter to Mr. Griffin : Cowper — Let- 
ters to Dr. Green : Candidates : Independent in Philadelphia — Dr. Nis- 
bet's works — 182-186. — 2. Sermons on Suicide. — Extracts — Correspond- 
ence with intended suicide — 186-190. — 3. Episcopacy. — Theological Edu- 
cation. — Letters to Mr. Griffin — to Dr. Green — to Dr. Nott — to Dr. Morse 
— Diary : Wife's conversion— Letters to Mr. Griffin — to Dr. Green — Dr. 
Green's overture — Suggestion of a Seminary — Dr. Miller's activity — 
Address to the Church — Theol. Sem. of Associate Ref. Church — 190-197. 
— 4. Valetudinarianism. — Miscellaneous Topics. — 111 health: Letters to 


Mr. Nisbet and Mr. Griffin — Retreat to Mr. Griffin's — Horse-back rides 
— ^Call of Dr. Milledoler — Grammar school — Doctorate for Mr. Griffin^ 
111 health — New house — 197-200. — 6. Theological Education. — Moderator 
of the General Assembly — Lack of candidates for ministry — Means of 
theological training — * Princeton establishment '-«-20O-203. — 6. Miscel- 
laneoiit Topics. — Letter to Dr. Nott — to Dr. Griffin : from New York to 
Albany — 111 health — Rambles — Sermon before General Assembly — 
200-206.— 182-205. 



Episcopal Contbovebst. — 1. History of the Controversy. — ^Previous 
writings — Spirit of Episcopacy — Presbyterian opponents — Harmony rn 
New York — Dr. Milleir's account — High church "insolence" — 206-210. 
— 2. The Rev. John Henry Hobart. — Call to New York — ** Companion 
for the Altar " — ** Companion for Festivals and Fasts *' — Extracts—' 
211-21^. — 3. High Churchism. — Denial of Invisible Church — Romanism 
— High church principles — Reformation doctrine — 213-216. — 4. Dr. 
Miller's Letters. — ^Jontroversy — Dr. Hobart's views — Christian's Maga- 
zine — Letters on the Christian Ministry — Account of its preparation — >' 
216-219. — 5. Opinions of Friends. — Dr. Wm. Linn — Judge Livingston- 
Noah Webster--Chancellor Kent — Rev. Evan Johns — Ebenezer Hazard 
— James K. Paulding^-Rev. Conrad Speece — 219-223.-r-6. Reception by 
Opponents. — Number of answers — Dr. Miller's account — 223-227. — 



1807, 1808. 

CoBBBSPONDENCE.-^l. MisceUansous T'o^iex.— Trustee of Columbia' 
College — of College of New Jersey — Letter to Mr. Griffin — to Dr. Green: 
Memoir of Dr. Nisbet— to Mr. Griffini— 228, 229.-2. Andover and Boi^ 
ton. — 'Letter to Mr. Griffin ; Theological Seminary : Church in Boston— =• 
Panoplist : Letter to Dr. Morse — to Mr. Griffin — Mrs. Miller to Mrs. 
McLane^Cedar street church — 229-235. — 3. President Jefferson. — Corre- 
spondence about day of religious observance — Dr. Miller's comments — 
285-237. — 4. Andover. — Letters to Mr. Griffin — Theological Seminary at 
Andover^237-239. — 5. Woman^s Rights. — Charity Sermon — Extracts — 
239-240. — 6. Presbyterian Theological Seminary. — Letters to Dr. Green — 
240-244. — 7. Call to Dickinson College. — Letter from Dr. Rush — Reply — 
Election by Trustees— Letter from Dr. Rush — ^from Dr. Miller to James 
Armstrong— Final Answer— 244-250.— * 228-250. 



Mbs. Milleb's Mbmoibs.— Notes of Sermons — Religious books — Wil- 
berforce's Practical view — Instruction of children — Loneliness — Igno- 
rance — Melancholy and unbelief — Increasing light and conviction — £x< 


tremity — Helps — Family prayer — Moving — Light breaking — Struggles 
— Darkness — Dr. Nott's sermon — Taste for the Word — Warfare — Con- 
clusion.— 251-264. 



1)I880IUT10K OF THE PASTORAL RELATION. — 1. Hwtory of the Dissolu- 
Hon. — EtIIs of collegiate relation-^Opposition to dissolution— Dr. Mil- 
ler's opinion and efforts— Dissolution— 265-268.— 2. Troubles. — Difficul- 
ties in the way of separation— Remedies proposed— Letters to Mr. 
Speeceand Dr. Griffin^^Dr. McKnight's dissatisfaction'-Charges against 
l)r. Miller — 'Arbitrators — Decision— Reconciliation^Renewed trouble — 
Issue— 268-272.— * 265-272. 


1809, 1810. 

Labors aUd Correspondence. — ■!. Ordination of Ruling Elders. — 
Laying on hands-— 273, 274.-2. Miscellaneous T'o/jecs.— Review of Dr. 
Dwight's sermon— Letters to Dr. Griffin: Farewell— Chaplain of State 
Artillery— New York Bible Society— -New York Historical Society — 
Letter to Dr. Green : President Atwater — -to Dr. Griffin— to Dr. Green : 
felicitations — •274-278.-3. Episcopal Controversy. — 'Continuation of Let- 
ters on the Ministry— Dr. Bowden's reply— 278-280. — -4. Theological 
Seminary. — Letters to Dr. Green — -Three plans — -Letter to Dr. Griffin in 
Boston — 'Decision of Assembly in favor of a Seminary-— Committee to 
form Plan— Pastoral Letter— Bloomingdale — 'Letter to Dr. Green — -280- 
287.-5. New Wall Street Church. -^2S7 , 288.-6. Settlement of the Rev. 
Gardiner i§?nn^.— Ordination and installation services — Dr. Miller's 
charge — Extracts— Hopkinsianism — «Dr. Spring's reminiscence— 288- 
291.— 7. Exchanges with Unitarians. — Unitarian controversy— Dr. Mil- 
ler's letter to Mr. Codman— -to Dr. Sprague — -The Old South— Diary — 
Letter to Dr. Griffin— 291-296.— 273-296. 



MisGtiLLANEOiTS MATTERS.— 1. Hopkinsianism.^^'Dv , Milledoler's re- 
miniscences — Hopkinsi<an controversy in New York — -Origiual New Eng- 
land Theology — 'President Edwards— Drs. Hopkins and Emmons — -Dis- 
interested Benevolence — -New Theology — Dr. Miller's opinion of Hopkins 
and Emmons— -Letter from Dr. Hopkins — 'Spread of Hopkinsianism— 
Dr. Edwards— Dr. Dwight — -Moderate Hopkinsianism in the Presbyte- 
rian Church — '297-304.-2. Correspondence-^LeiiQr to Dr. Griffin — -Cor- 
respondence with Dr. Adam Clarke — 'Correspondence with Ex-President 
Adams — Letter to Dr. Green— Theological Seminary — '304-308. — 3. 
Memoirs of J)r. Rodgcrs. — Decline and death of Dr. Rodgers — Funeral — 
bcimon — Menioirk — ExtracMF — Dr. Miller's affection lor his colleague — 


Letter to Dr. Green — Letters from Dr. Livingston, Dr. Rush and Rev. 
George Burder — Historical contributions — 308-313. — 4. Theological 
Seminary. — Location at Princeton — Plan — Subscriptions — Wealth of the 
Presbyterian Church — College Lottery — 313-315. — 5. Temperance. — 
Committee of General Assembly — Dr. Rush's *• Inquiry " — Narrative of 
Religion — Report — 315-316. — 6. Dr, Griffin's Installation. — Letter of 
excuse to Dr. Griffin — Letter after installation — Mrs. Miller's Diary — 
316-320.— 297-320. 



Afflictions. — 1. Burning of the Richmond 7%ca^r«.— rSermon— ^Extracts 
— ^Dr. Alexander's sermon— -321, 322.^-2. Death of Edward Millington 
Miller.— Letters to Drs. Griffin and Green— 322, 323.-3. Death of Doctor 
Edward Miller. — Brotherly aflfeotion-^Mutual influence for evil and good 
— Edward Miller's general character— -Domegtic relations— -His death — . 
Diary — Letters from Dr. Rush — Notice by William Dunlap — Biographical 
Sketch — Complimentary addresses— " To John Warren, M. D."— 323- 
331.— 321-331. 


1812, 18 J3, 

Last Years of the Pastorate in New YoRK.-rrl. The Theological 
Seminary and Dr. Alexander. — 'Letter from John Sergeant to Mrs. Mil- 
ler — Establishment of the Seminary— -Choice of Dr. Aloxapder-^Sub- 
scriptions — Inauguration of Dr. Alexander-^Dr. Miller's sermon— rlnau- 
gural discourse — 332-386. — 2. Calls to Colleges.-^BociQVfite from the 
University of North Carolina — Call to the presidency declined-— Call to 
Hamilton College — Reply, declining call — .335, 336.— r3. Dr. Green and 
the College of New Jersey. — Dr. Green's account of his election to the 
presidency — Part taken by Dr. Miller— -Letters to Dr. Green— rrSelecti on 
of Vice-President — Plan of inauguration — 'Courtesy to Dr. Smith — Let- 
ters to Dr. Green — Inauguration omitted — 336-343— s4. Correspondence. 
— Sermon at Wilmington, etc. — Letter to Miss Ann Patten — rto Dr. Green 
—343-346.— 832-346. 



Call to the Theological Seminary at Princeton. — 1. Election to 
the Seiond Professorship. — General Assembly — Historian of the Presbyte- 
rian Church— Materials— Election of Dr. Miller— 347, 348.-2. Doubts 
and Fears. — Acceptance. — Letters to Dr. Green — Desecration of the Bible 
in College Hall — 348-351. — 3. Farewell to New York. — Letter to officers 
of Wall street church — Sensitiveness — Welcome from Dr. Livingston — 
Dissolution of pastoral relation — Diary — 351-356. — 4. Inauguration as 
Professor. — Diary — Form of inauguration — Subscription — Inaugural 
discourse— Diary— Illness— 356-359.— 347-359. 

• • 




New Yobk Lifk. — 1. Matters EccUsiastieaL — ^Dividing Line — Success 
in the pastorate — Infant baptisms — ^Qualifications of parents — Dismission 
to Baptists — Catechizing — Lord's Supper — Elders and Deacons — Collec- 
tions for poor — 360-363. — 2. The Stipend — Salary—Fees — Domestic 
management — 363, 364. — 8. In the pulpit. — ^Vestments — Bishop South- 
gate's charges — Dr. Sprague's estimate — Dr. Halsey's — First Sabbath in 
New York — Dr. Magie — Dr. Spring — Grant Thorburn — Manner of 
preaching — Public prayer — Memoriter preaching — Memory — 364-371. 
— 4. Miscellaneous Topics, — Comparative morality — Mrs. Miller's account 
— Her prayer — Activity in church judicatories — Friends in New York. — 
James and Abel T. Anderson, Esquires — Honorary Memberships — 371- 
373. " 360-873. 









1. John Miller, the Grandfather. 

Dr. Miller, a memorial of whom is here attempted, 
alluding, at the age of forty- four, to some inquiries which 
he had been called to make, wrote in his diary, 'How 
moich I regret not having gained a more full account of 
my ancestors, when it was in my power to obtain it. * * I 
have nothing to claim that is adapted to gratify pride ; but 
some of them had the best of all nobility — that which takes 
hold of God and heaven — unfeigned piety. In this I re- 
joice — yea, and will rejoice !- 

In the year 1710, his grandfather, John Miller, emi- 
grated from Scotland, and settled in Boston, Massachu- 
setts. He married Mary, daughter of Joseph Bass, who 
was originally of Braintree, now Quincy, near Boston 
where he resided during the latter part of his life. Joseph 
was a grandson of Samuel Bass and of John Alden, by 

2 13 

14 ANCESTORS. [CH. 1. 1. 

the intermarriage of their children, John Bass and Ruth 

John Alden was one of the original pilgrims, not, how- 
ever, from Delft Haven, but from Southampton, where he 
was taken on board the Speedwell, for the sake of his ser- 
vices as a cooper, and with the understanding, although a 
"hopful yong man" and "much desired,*' that he was 
to return, if so minded. Transferred afterwards to the 
May Flower, he soon resolved to cast in his lot with the 
pilgrims, and he signed, with the rest, the compact of civil 
government, before they landed on Plymouth Rock. One 
tradition mentions him as the first who leaped upon the 
rock ; but another, almost universally received, accords 
that honor to Mary Chilton. His attempted courtship of 
Priscilla Mullins, on behalf of his friend. Captain Miles 
Standish, and the romantic result, are celebrated in New 
England history and poetry. The naive question, "Pri- 
thee, John, why do you not speak for yourself?" drew out 
the disinterested friend as a blushing lover. He was in 
the Court of Assistants from 1633 to 16T5, being Senior 
Assistant after 1666 ; in the General Court^ from 1641 to 
1649 ; and in the Council of War after 1653 ; and he sur- 
vived all the other male signers of the civil compact. ' He 
settled in Duxbury, a town near Plymouth, on a farm 
which is, at this day, the best in that town, and has been 
always in possession of one of his descendants.'^ "He was 
distinguished for a holy life and conversation ; a man of 
great integrity and worth ; and held in great honor by the 
men of his time, as he has been by all succeeding genera- 
tions. He was blessed with a competence, and with a 
goodly number of children, all of whom delighted in the 
ordinances of God."^ John Alden died, at a patriarchal 
age, in 1687. 

Samuel Bass immigrated to New England, with his wife 
Anne, and, probably, one or two young children, about the 
year 1630. Settling at Roxbury, in the Ma^a^husetts 
colony, he and Mrs. Bass were the first, or among the first, 
members of the church there formed as early as 1632 ; and, 
in 1634, he was admitted freeman. In 1640, he removed 

1 These courts were legislative. 

2 Letter of Ex-President John Adams to Dr. Samuel Miller, I2th April, 1811. 
^ Vinton Memorial. 


to Braintree, to the First Church of which he was dismissed 
and recommended ; and, in the same year, he was chosen 
the first deacon, or one of the first two deacons of that church. 
Until his death, fifty-four years afterward, he served in 
this office, declining, as it would seem, in 1653, that of 
ruling elder, to which he was elected. He was of vigorous 
mind, and a leading man in the community. From 1641, 
onward for twelve years, he represented his town in the 
General Court. The town records declare, that before he 
died, aged ninety-four, he "was the father, and grand- 
father, and great-grandfather of a hundred and sixty-two 
children, the youngest whereof was Benjamin Bass, the son 
of Joseph Bass, and Mary his wife, born eleven days before 
his death."^ His family, with some others at Braintree, are 
truly enough said to "have multiplied at a great rate."^ 

Of John Miller's origin, or of his life before he immi- 
grated to America, little is known. After a somewhat 
liberal education, extending, at least, to a good knowledge 
of the Latin language, he had been trained to the business 
of sugar baking or refining. He was counted a remarkably 
grave, shrewd, discreet man, and carried on, with great 
success, a sugar-refinery and a distillery. He had been 
bred a Presbyterian, but united in Boston with the Old 
South (Congregational) Church, of which the Rev. Dr. 
Pemberton^ was then pastor. His wife, *'a very pious 
woman," "died about the year 1740." He survived her 
until 1749. They had three children. John, the eldest, 
died an infant. The next was also named John. The 
third, Joseph, went to sea, and, after a number of voyages, 
among the rest one to discover the long-sought "North- 
west Passage," sailed from Philadelphia in command of a 
vessel bound, it was supposed, to the South Seas, though, 
probably first or last, to Great Britain also, and was never 
heard of afterwards. A very doubtful tradition mentions 
his marriage, about 1749, to a Miss Mallet of Charlestown, 
by whonihe had two children. 

1 Thayer'^amily Memorial, 63. 

2 Hancock's Century Sermon (1739), 26. 

3 See I Sprague's Annals, 250. 

16 ancestors. [ch. 1. 2. 1 

2. The Reverend John Miller, the Father. 

The second son, John Miller, was born in Boston in 1722. 
He had not the advantage of a college 'education, but at- 
tended, in his native city, a public classical school of very 
high repute, under the tuition of Mr. John Lovell, the 
honored preceptor of many, in New England, who after- 
wards enjoyed great eminence. He studied diligently, and 
made himself a very accurate Latin and Greek scholar. 
Toward the latter part of his attendance at this school, he 
became, under the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Sewall, then - 
pastor of the Old South, a decided Christian, and after- 
wards joined that church. 

On the 27th of March, 1830, his son Samuel wrote to 
Dr. Wisner, of Boston, 

*I hope, in your contemplated memorial ofyour church, you 
will do ample justice to the character of Dr. Sewall. I have a 
real affection, as well as veneration, for the memory of that 
man. My father was born in the bosom of the Old South 
Church ; was baptized by Dr. Sewall ; was much and affec- 
tionately noticed by him ; was savingly brought to the know- 
ledge and love of the truth, as he believed, by means of the 
sermons preached by Dr. Sewall from John xvi. 8, etc., and 
afterwards published in a little volume. I think my father 
has told me, that there was a revival of religion in the church 
about the time those sermons were delivered.' 

, Soon determining to devote himself to the gospel min- 
istry, Mr. Miller, studied divinity under the direction 
of the Rev. John Webb, becoming a proficient, for that 
day, in Hebrew. Licensed, in May, 1748, by the associa- 
tion with which the Old South Church was connected, he 
visited Delaware and Maryland; and having received, in 
the former colony, a unanimous call from the united Pres- 
byterian Churches of Dover and Duck Creek Cross Roads, 
now Smyrna, a village twelve miles north of Dover, was 
ordained in the Old South in April, 1749, by a council, of 
Avhich Dr. Sewall and other eminent ministers of Boston 
were merabers.'^ 

1 The certificate of ordination may not be uninteresting, and will supply 
some dates and facts. 

* Boston in New England, April 26, 1749. 

* To the united Presbyterian Congregations in Dover and Duck Creek — 

* Grace, Mercy <fc Peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesiis Christ 
be multiplied unto you. 


About four miles from Dover, upon what is called the 
Old State Road, Mr. Miller fixed his dwelling, between 
the two churches ; and in their service spent the whole of 
his retired and exemplary ministerial life — more than forty- 
two years. He resided upon a farm of one hundred and 
four acres, which, although it passed away from the family 
long ago, has remained undivided and unchanged in bound- 
ary till a very recent date.® His son, Samuel, in giving 
reminiscences of this Delaware home, has stated that it 
was purchased by his father soon after his settlement. 
The deed, of the 10th of May, 1760, from William Killen, 
mentions thirty pounds currency — say eighty dollars — as 
the consideration money. A tradition upon the spot is, 
that Chancellor Killen was so much pleased with th^ young 
licentiate, as to be particularly desirous that he should 
accept the call, and strongly urged his doing so. How am 
I to live ? was the very natural question. The Chancellor, 
it is said, at once presented him with this farm ; and when 
the requisites of travel over so wide a circuit came into 
•consideration, added a horse, saddled and bridled. A 
variation of the story implicates other members also of the 
congregation in these generous gifts. If each of the state- 
ments is partially true, and the congregation, headed by 
Chancellor Killen, materially assisted Mr. Miller in pur- 
chasing, all of them are satisfactorily accounted for, and 
the facts assume a type so common as to be exceedingly 
probable. Whether a house already stood upon the land, 

' Christian Brethren, 

' We have received yours of the 29th of March last, signifying the 
Call that You had given to Mr. John Miller to he your Pastor, and your Desire 
that We would ordain H^m to said Office among you. By these We certifie 
You, that having taken this Matter into our serious Consideration, We have 
granted your Request, and accordingly have this Day, in a publick Manner, 
solemnly separated Him to the Work of the Ministry, and the Pastoral Ofl$oe 
over You, with Prayer and the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. 
And now We recommend Him and You to the Grace of God, with our repe^te4 
earnest Prayers, that He may come to You in the Fulness of the Blessing of 
the Gospel of Christ ; and desiring your prayers for Us, We are 

, ' Your Brethren in the Bonds of t^e (gospel, 

'Joseph Sbwall,i 
* Thouas Prince,* 
'John Webb,* 
' Mather Byles,* 
' Ellis Gray.^ 

1 See 1 Sprague's Annals, 273- ? Id. 304. 3 Id. 267, note. * Id. 376. 6 Id, 
373. note. 
6 1'8()4. 



in Boston,* 


18 ANCESTORS. [CH. 1, 2. 

or was afterwards erected, cannot now be determined. 
The whole property was sold, in 1805, for one thousand 
dollars, and recently^ was said to be worth about three 

In 1751, Mr. Miller was married to Margaret, eldest 
daughter of AUumby and Elizabeth Millington. Her 
father was an Englishman, who, for many years, had com- 
manded a merchant ship, trading regularly to London from 
Wye "River, then had settled down as a planter upon a 
moderate estate in Talbot Coun^, Maryland, seven or 
eight miles north-east from Easton. Her mother's maiden 
name was Harris. She was the daughter of an English- 
man,xWho married a lady from Ireland. Nine children^ 
were thfe issue of Mr. Miller's marriage. 

Doubtless Mr. Miller made his farm a source of recrea- 
tion after pastoral toils, and of some little addition to his 
revenue. This addition, however, must evidently have 
been very small, for his temporal circumstances were never 
affluent, and often were uncomfortably straitened. His 
salary was utterly inadequate to the support of such a 
household, and but poorly paid.* The farm, it is probable, 
was not very productive : he can hardly have had either 
much time or skill to apply to the development of its 
resources ; and neither the day nor region in which he 
lived was noted for successful agriculture. But no doubt 
his retired estate and quiet country life, almost without 
any stirring incidents, were peculiarly favorable to the 
happy nurture, and faithful home education, which his 

1 1864. 

2 1. John Miller.— B. 24 Sep., 1722.— M. 23 Nov., 1751 (0. S.)— D. 22 
July, 1791 (N. S.) II. Margaret Millington.— B. 21 Sep., 1730 (0. S.)— 
D. 22 Nov., 1789 (N. S.)— 1. John.—B, 1752.— D. 28 Feb., 1777.-2. Eliza- 
beth.— B. 16 Apr., 1755 (N. S.)— M. Col. Samuel McLane, 25 Nov., 1779.— D. 
29 Oct., 1817.— 3. Joseph.— B. 26 Feb., 1758.— D. 4 Oct., 1759.-4. Edivard.— 
B. 9 May, 1760.— D. 17 Mch., 1812.— 6. Mary.—B, 26 July, 1762.— M. (1) 
Vincent Loockernian (D. 5 Apr., 1790), 14 Nov., 1787. — (2) Major John Pat- 
ten, Jan., 1795.— D. 13 Mch., 1801.-6. Joseph.-B. 8 Mch., 1765.— M. Eliza- 
beth Loockerman, 1798.— D. 4 Sep., 1798.-7. Benjamin.— B, 10 Nov., 1767.— 
D. 18 Nov., 1772.— 8. Siamnel.— B. 31 Oct., 1769.— M. Sarah Sergeant, 
24 Oct., 180L— D. 7 Jan., 1850.— 9. James.— B. 17 July, 1772.— D. 15 Apr., 

3 A presbyterial investigation, in 1766, showed that two years previously 
Mr. Miller had agreed to remit all other arrearages, which were very great, 
provided those at that time holding seats would pay their balances due, 
and, thereafter, the congregation of Dover a salary of £50 ($133.33), and that 
of Duck Creek, £40 (|106.66). But now, of this newly stipulated salary over 


children enjoyed. His own studies were untiring. He 
somehow gathered round him a much larger library than 
almost any of his brethrjen in the ministry possessed, and 
was ever ready to advocate the cause of education, or, 
opportunity offering, to strive for the advancement of 
Christian learning. In 1763, he received the degree of 
Master of Arts from the Academy and College, afterwards 
University, of Pennsylvania. With many temptations, in 
his secluded residence andik straitened circumstances, to 
slight the literary culture of his children, or content him- 
self with a "business training" for his sons, he neverthe- 
less made out to give every one of them, that lived beyond 
childhood, an education counted liberal in those times. 
The five sons he himself, assisted with the younger by the 
older, instructed, with great care, in the Latin and Greek 
languages, and seht them, afterwards, four to the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, where they were regularly graduated 
bachelors of art, and one — Edward — to a seminary of 
almost collegiate reputation. Regarding his own sacred 
profession as the noblest to which any mortal could aspire, 
he was determined that nothing on his part should be 
wanting to prepare his sons for it, if so be any of them 
might be called thereto by God's sovereign grace. 

Through all the troublous times of our revolutionary war, 
Mr. Miller seems to have lived without any serious dis- 
turbance of his pastoral work. This was due, doubtless, to 
his quiet life, and the retired scene of his labors. Never- 
theless, true to both his national and church allegiance, he 
was a zealous, uncompromising Whig. Though naturally 
of a nervous and timid habit, he was animated with the 
greatest zeal in maintaining the cause of his country. ' He 
preached the Revolution, and prayed for its success. A 
few days before the Declaration of Independence, he so far 
anticipated that measure, as to address the people of his 
pastoral charge from the decisive language of the revolting 

£50 were behind at Dover, and over £25 at Duck Creek. For more than a 
year the Presbytery dealt pretty sharply with the two churches, — which pro- 
fessed attachment to their pastor, and entire satisfaction as to his pastoral 
fidelity, — putting them in mind * not only of their injustice to Mr. Miller, but 
also of their disregard of the Gospel, and their want of generosity and public 
spirit, which were a manifest disgrace.' Finally, they entered into bonds for 
his security, ' and, on Mr. Miller's professing his willingness to stay with 
them, and confidence in their obligation, the Presbytery dismissed the affair.' 
— MSm Minut€9 of Presbytery of Lewee, 32, 33, 34, 48. 

20 ANCESTORS. [CH. 1. 2. 

tribes in the days of Rehoboam: "We have no part in 
David, nor any inheritance in the son of Jesse : to your 
tents, Israel V*^ At another time, a member of his con- 
gregation, returning from public worship, being asked 
whether he had been to hear Parson Miller, answered in 
the affirmative. 'Then I have no doubt you have heard 
treason enough,* was the rejoinder. This interest in pub- 
lic affairs, and this zeal for civil and religious freedom, he 
maintained until his dying 4lay, and transmitted to his 
children, as an important part of their inheritance. 

Letters which remain prove that Mr. Miller was greatly 
respected for his learning and' ability; that he was re- 
garded, generally, as a wise- counsellor, high deference 
being paid to his opinions ; and that he was influential in 
the State as well as in the Church. Among his brethren, 
he seems to have been looked up to for the exertion of in- 
fluence with the civil government, and for managing the 
courtesies of intercourse, then more frequent perhaps than 
now, between the presbytery and the magistracy.^ 

1 1 Kings xii. 16. 

^ The following letters of John Dickinson are worthy of preservation. Bom 
in Talbot county, Maryland, in 1732, he received his literary education in 
Delaware ,* read law in Philadelphia and London ,* then practised with success 
in the former city. In the Legislature of Pennsylvania, and in the old Con- 
gress, colonial, revolutionary and national, he won high distinction as an ora- 
tor and statesman. His " Letters of a Pennsylvania Farmer," State papers, 
and other political writings, were among the most polished, eloquent, and ef- 
fective of the times. He was President of Pennsylvania and Delaware suc- 
cessively. He died at Wilmington in 1808. 

An extract from the Minutes of Presbytery, in 1781, will explain the first 
letter, and illustrate also, in some respects, the culture and character of Mr. 

* The Presbytery considering the noble and pious efforts of his Excellency, 
John Dickinson, Esquire, for discountenancing vice and immorality in the 
Delaw&re State, resolved to send him an affectionate address, of which the 
Moderator [the Rev. John Miller] having drawn a copy, the same being re- 
viewed, was ordered to be presented by the Moderator and Clerk in the name 
of the Presbytery j a copy of which follows, viz. : 

<Sir, — The Presbytery of Lewes being here providentially convened for the 
purpose of promoting the important ends of the Christian institution, are 
nappy in embracing this first opportunity, since your accession to the Presi- 
dent's chair, of congratulating you as a warm and distinguished friend, not 
only to the civil, but religious interest of the State. 

' Convinced that the practice of piety and virtue is the best support and no- 
blest ornament of every community, it gave us no little pleasure to find you so 
early, and so publicly, exerting your influence to promote itj nor can we 
think, so far as our observation has extended, that it has been without good 
effects, particularly with regard to some instances of the gross profanation of 
the Christian Sabbath, which gave great disgust to all serious persona among 

' But, Sir, you will not think it strange, considering the general prevalence 


With his old pastor in Boston, Dr. Sewall, until his 
death, Mr. Miller kept up a correspondence, which, no 

doubt, often cheered him amid his many toils and priva- 


of vice and immorality, that we most earnestly wish you to continue your be- 
nevolent exertions for advancing a reformation of manners so ardently desired 
by the good people under your government. 

* Your very respectable character, your great abilities and active spirit, in- 
duce us to believe that no endeavors of yours will be wanting, to persuade the 
legislature of the State to revise the laws respecting the suppression of pro- 
faneness and vice, and make effectual provisions for preventing those public 
diversions, which, as they are conducted, are not only inconsistent with a 
laudable frugality and industry, but also productive of many vices most per- 
nicious to society. 

* That all good men may unite in supporting your wise and virtuous admin- 
istration, and the Supreme Ruler crown it with his blessing, is the prayer of 
your obliged, humble servants. 

' Signed by order. * * ' 

' My dear Sir, 

*I intend very shortly to publish a Proclamation in this State 
for the Discouragement of Immorality, etc. ; and as it has been usual to pub- 
lish addresses, I should be exceedingly glad, if that with which I was honored 
by the Presbytery of Lewes, could appear in the same newspaper, as it will be 
a testimony of some good effects having attended my efforts in the Delaware 

' In truth, I want every support against the madness or wickedness of my 
opponents, in the course I am determined to hold in my public life, the first 
point of which will be the constant expression of the highest veneration for 

* If you will, therefore, be pleased to let that publication come out in the 
manner I have mentioned, and inclose it to Mr. Thomas Bradford or mjself 
immediately by a safe hand, you will much oblige, 

* Dear Sir, 

* Your very sincere Friend, 

'John Dickinson. 
'Philadelphia, Nov. 14th, 1782. 
' Reverend Mr. John Miller.' 

' Dear Sir, 

'I am very much obliged to you for your friendly letter of the 
29th past, which did not come to my hands till the beginning of this week ,* 
and I return you my unfeigned thanks for the affectionate expressions of your 

' I perceive the difficulties you mention ; and am too sensible of my own de- 
fects, to promise myself any great success in encountering them. But duty 
engages me in the attempt. 

* I am perfectly convinced that the happiness of men in this life, as well as 
in the next, depends on the prevalence of piety and virtue among them. How 
great and indiitpensable an obligation, then, is laid upon persons in public 
offices, 'both as Christians and Magistrates, to promote, by all means in their 
power, practices of so extensive, so durable, so momentous consequence? 

* How far it is possible to reclaim people from folly, madness, and vice, I 
know not J but this I am unalterably resolved upon — to take the opportunity 
offered by my present unsolicited and earnestly-avoided station, as it will not 
now look like affectation, of bearing my testimony at least, if I can do no more, 
to those sacred truths which I revere, and wish others to revere. 

' There is no solid glory, but what has reference to God, and points at eter- 
nity. The rest is a bubble. Happy shall I think myself, if it can be said of 
my administration at its conclusion, that it made the people better. 

22 ANCESTORS. [CH. 1. 2. 

tions. He corresponded also with some of his New Eng- 
land relatives — chiefly with Benjamin Henshaw, of Middle- 
town, and Joseph Henshaw, of Leicester, Connecticut, and 
Dr. Edward (afterwards Bishop) Bass,^ of Newburyport, 
Massachusetts. His people seem to have been affectionate, 
for the most part, and united; yet, occasionally; trouble 
arose in this quarter. In 1763, he had a complaint lodged 
against him in Presbytery 'for introducing and singing 
Dr. Watts' 8 version of David's Psalms in the congregation 
of Duck Creek.' At a subsequent session^ the complain- 
ants being absent, the presbytery, * considering that Mr. 
Miller fully owned the charge in all its parts,' proceeded 
to deliberate upon it, and unanimously decided against the 
complainants; one of whom was immediately cited to 
answer for an abusive insult offered to presbytery, during 
the progress of this affair, ' which they suspected proceeded 
from drunkenness.'^ As late as 1770, — how much longer 
we cannot tell, — it appears that Rouse/s version was still 
used in the Church at Dover .^ 

Mr. Miller was a thorough and zealous Calvinist of the 
old school ; and, though bred a Congregationalist, and, 
therefore, not so warmly zealous as some others for Pres- 
byterian Church order, he yet cordially fell in with it, as 
the pastor of a Presbyterian congregation. At the time 
of his settlement the Presbyterian Church was rent asun- 
der. Two parties, called the Old and the New Side^ after 
long disagreement, had separated in 1741, and ever since 
formed two independent communions, the former repre- 
sented by the Synod of Philadelphia, the latter by i;he 
Synod of New York. A lover of peace, and drawn both 
ways by kindly associations and amiable feelings, he joined 
neither side at once. The very year of his removal to 
Delaware, the Synod of New York made overtures for a 
reunion, which was not consummated, however, for about 

' I beg that I may be favored with your prayers, and those of other good 
men, for divine assistance 

' With perfect sincerity, I am, 
'Dear Sir, 

* Your obliged friend, 
'and most obedient humble servant, 
'John Dickinson. 
' Rev'd Mr. Miller.' 'Dover, January 19th, 1792.' 

^ 5 Sprague's Annals, 142. 
2 MS. Minutes of Presbytery of Lewes, 16. ' Id., 85. 


nine years. In 1768, the two synods met together, and 
became one — the Synod of New York and Philadelphia. 
Only about a year before, and then probably in prospect 
of an approaching reconciliation of the two sides, Mr. 
Miller had joined the Old Side Presbytery of New Castle.^ 
He was a regular attendant thereafter upon church judica- 
tories, and was twice^ elected moderator of the highest of 
them — at that time the Synod last mentioned — an honor 
which, in its repetition, seems to have been conferred in 
only one other case.^ 

Upon the evidence remaining, it has been generally con- 
cluded that the Presbyterian Church in this country had 
no formally received standards before the year 1729 ; yet 
that it was as thoroughly Presbyterian then as now ; the 
Westminster formularies exhibiting practically, though not 
by express adoption, its rule of agreement, organization, 
and action. With the Church of Scotland it sustained 
intimate and most amicable intercourse. In the year men- 
tioned, the general Synod, by a formal "Adopting Act," 
made the Westminster Confession and Catechisms its own, 
with only some slight exceptions, relating to the power of 
the civil magistrate in matters of religion. At the same 
time, the Directory for worship, discipline, and govern- 
ment, commonly annexed to the Confession and Catechisms, 
was earnestly recommended, as " agreeable in substance to 
the Word of God, and founded thereon." 

In 1786, in anticipation of subdividing the Synod, and 
establishing a General Assembly, a committee was ap- 
pointed for the revision of " the Book of Discipline and 
Government." In 1787, their draught was approved ; 
another committee revised the Directory for Worship ; the 
Synod altered the Confession as to the single point before 
indicated — the power of civil magistrates ; and the whole 
was printed for general examination. The next year these 

1 Each Side had a Presbytery of New Castle. About a year after the reunion 
of the Synods, the two were consolidated. In May, 1758, the Presbytery 
of Lewes was formed, and to that Mr. Miller was attached. 

2In 1765 and 1780. 

3 Blihu Spencer (afterwards D.D.), in 1760 and 1766. But fite of the mod- 
erators of Synod were subseqently moderators of the General Assembly — John 
Rodgers, D.D., (S. 1763) in 1789 j Robert Smith, D.D., (S. 1774) in 1790,- 
John WoodhuU, D.D., (S. 1788) in 1791 ; James Latta, D.D., (S. 1782) in 
1793; and Alexander McWhorter, D.D., (S. 1770) in 1794. No one has been 
twice moderator of the Q-eneral Assembly. 

24 ANCESTORS. [CH. 1. 2. 

revised standards, after striking out four words from the 
Larger Catechism, to make it agree with the altered Con- 
fession, were finally ratified.^ 

To these measures, which secured a near approach to 
unanimity in Synod, Mr. Miller made at least no public 
opposition, of which any account remains. His intimate 
and beloved friend and co-presbyter, the Rev. Matthew 
Wilson,^ of Lewes, Delaware, held peculiar views upon the 
subject of church government, and was very active and 
earnest in maintaining them before Synod and elsewhere ; 
and wrote so freely to Mr. Miller in regard to them, and 
with such evident assurance that the latter concurred with 
him, as to some important points at least, that we must 
presume a general coincidence in their opinions on theso 
points. Dr. Samuel Miller's recollection was, that his 1 
father had seconded Mr. Wilson's efforts.^ The latter 
' regarded every congregation, with its proper ofiicers, as 
independent, and synods or councils, under which names 
he included all judicatories above the church-session, as not 
for government, but for concord and advice ; and for * act- 
ing in concert to promote a general reformation and ad- 
vancement of religion.* The session, which he often called 
a presbytery, though not always expressing himself con- 
sistently, he considered supreme and of final jurisdiction, 
in every matter of government. This was Congregation- 
alism, modified by a representative ruling eldership in each 
church. In one letter, Mr. Wilson speaks of the Presby- 
tery of Lewes, a very small one, as agreeing with him in 
the condemnation, as unscriptural, of appeals to higher 

1 Baird's Digest. Book I. « D.D. from 1786. See 3 Sprague's Annals, 178. 
« Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers (1813), 259, 260. 

* The account above given of Mr. Wilson's opinions is taken directly from 
his letters to Mr. Miller. A fuller statement may be found in the second vol- 
ume of Dr. Hodge's Constitutional History, pages 502, 503. The letters re- 
ferred to illustrate Mr. Wilson's character, the friendship between him and 
Mr. Miller, and also some of the ecclesiastical controversies of the times. As 
a member of the Committee upon the Book of Discipline and Government, he 
labored strenuously to prevent the * Scots' Hierarchy,' as he called it, from 
being fastened on the Church; and earnestly sought Mr. Miller's aid in the 
effort. 'Considering,* he wrote, 'your age, and experience, and character 
among them, I cannot but think that such a motion from yuu would be proba- 
bly successful, especially if you use some previous influence out of doors.' 
But the advocates of strict Presbyterian ism prevailed, and Dr. Wilson poured 
into his friend's ear bitter complaints. 

In August, 1788, he wrote. 


Mr. Miller was never robust in health, yet, by uniform 
and strict temperance, and vigilant self-denial, was enabled 
to perform the duties of his station with little interruption, 
and with general comfort. In an uncommon degree, he 
succeeded in fulfilling the various obligations of a husband 
and father, a citizen, a Christian, and a minister of the 
Gospel. His character, circumstances, and life will be 
further illustrated by the letters which will appear in the 
sequel. He did not attend Synod after the Spring of 
1786, and never attended the General Assembly as a Com- 
missioner, if at all ; but this was probably owing, as will 
hereafter appear, to age and enfeebled health, soon re- 
sulting in his demise. 

Mr. Miller, though himself addicted, according to the 
prevailing custom in his neighborhood, to the use of tobac- 
co, which he both smoked and chewed, decidedly, and 
not without effect, discouraged the use of it by his 

' With regard to Synod, I learn they gave my remonstrance a reading, as 
also some' others from the Eastward, and Dr. Rodgers pleaded that they should 
be considered, but in vain ,* the two /Scots* Doctors and the poor wrangling wise- 
acres of our mountains carried all. There wai^none to plead the cause of 
truth. Bjut had Cicero or Demoathenea pleaded there, they had in vain opposed 
the torrent. The Scots* unscriptural Hierarchy was determined beforehand to 
be adopted. Our Presbytery is arbitrarily annexed to a Philadelphia Presby- 
tery, and subjected with appeals to a General Assembly. I think from the 
remonstrance we sent, we are no^ bound. At least I am not. Nor do I mean 
ever to meet the Synod any more, though I should live, which is also uncer- 

Again, in April, 1789, he says : 

* The Hierarchy is crammed down our throats. If the Presbytery should 
agree to it, I think we ought to send them a presbyterial remonstrance, de- 
claring that wer-cannot, in conscience, be subject to any unscriptural govern- 
ment, as we esteem theirs to be, * * as to the subordination of presbyteries to 
synods, and these to the Assembly, etc. But if they will allow us, as we are 
agreed with them in doctrine and discipline (though not in government), we 
will, as a presbytery, send meaaengera to the great Council, to consult the ad- 
vancement of Christ's kingdom, but not to wrangle, or exercise the discipline 
which only belongs to a presbytery. Whether the Presbytery agree to this or 
not, I purpose never to aubmit to or attend on one of their unacriptural Synoda. 
This, I presume, is agreeable also to your sentiments. Now, as you have a 
dear child in the city, I think it probable you would wish to attend Council at 
their meeting, and let them know this oar determination ; when you may make 
any use of this letter among them you please. 

Dr. Wilson, however, was the Commissioner from the Presbytery of Lewes 
to the first General Assembly, Mr. Miller being his alternate, and actually at- 
tended its sessions: yet only to<5arry out himself what he had urged upon his 
friend. He "threw in a case of conscience by the Committee of Overtures," 
which is given at length in the Minutes of Presbytery, and, in substance, in 
those of the Assembly. MS. Min, Preab. of Lewea, 134, 6. Min. of G. Aa- 
aemb.f 11. 

26 ancestors. [ch. 1. 3. 

8. Mrs, Margaret Miller, the Mother. 

A mother's influence, in moulding the character of her 
children, and the record of it, in elucidating divine truth, 
especially God's precious promises to faithful parents for 
their offspring, are particularly important. Of his mother. 
Dr. Miller, in after life, in all the fervency of the strongest 
filial affection, wrote, 

*I have heard the Rev. I^r. Eodgers, of New York, say, that 
he had very often seen my mother, soon after her marriage, 
and that he thought her decidedly one of the most beautiftd 
women that he ever saw in his life. But her moral and 
spiritual beauty were still more remarkable. * * She was bred 
a rigid Episcopalian, but, soon aft«r her connexion with my 
father, joined in communion with the church of which he was 
pastor, and continued a member of it while she lived. She was 
one of the most pious women that I ever knew. Courteous and 
benevolent in a very uncommon degree, she endeared herself to 
all who knew her. To the poor, she was assiduously and ten- 
derly beneficent ; and in her every domestic relation a pattern 
to her acquaintances. I never think of her character, taken 
all together, without a mixture of veneration, wonder and grati- 
tude. The fidelity witt which she instructed me ; the fervor 
and tenderness with which she prayed with me ; and the un- 
ceasing care with which she watched over all my interests, es- 
pecially those of a moral and religious nature, have been, as I 
should think, seldom equalled. I have reason to be deeply 
humbled that I did not profit more by them ; and yet I am 
persuaded I do not live a day without deriving some benefit 
from them.' 

Dr. Miller never talked of his mother, excepting in 
terms like these of strong, and as some might say, ex- 
travagant eulogy. But the tenderness with which he 
cherished such recollections showed, conclusively, that she 
had at least succeeded in deeply and lastingly influencing 
her son's mind. We may safely conclude, therefore, that 
she possessed all those qualities which were necessary thus 
to endear her to her children ; and we cannot doubt that 
the character of this son was, in various most important 
respects, moulded and permanently established by her ex- 
ample, her instructions, and her devoted maternal watch- 
fulness and care. Her letters, of which several have been 
preserved, while they give evidence of no high literary cul- 

1710-69.] MRS. MILLER, THE MOTHER. 27 

tivation, yet conclusively reveal excellence of another kind : 
trjie warmth of heart, tenderness of affection, and fervent 
piety breathe through them all without exception. The 
brief extracts from these letters, which will appear in a 
subsequent chapter, will 'help to illustrate the influences 
under which her son Samuel passed his early years, and re- 
ceived his preparatory training. The first, highest wish of 
both parents, for all their children, seemed to be their ever- 
lasting salvation. 

Mrs. Miller's benevolence to the poor, and to her own 
servants, is particularly mentioned in co-temporaneous no- 
tices of her death. These servants appear to have been 
all slaves. Mr. Miller was, certainly, a slave owner, though 
his circumstances must have kept this part of his household 
small in number. Her kindness toward such dependants 
seems greatly to have exceeded that which is commemo- 
rated so indiscriminately upon the tomb-stones of slave- 
holders, under certain stereotype forms — *A kind Master ' 
— 'A humane Mistress.' But "the institution," at that 
earlier day, was doubtless commonly more "patriarchal" 
than at a later date. In the Delaware pastor's house, at any 
rate, the servants were evidently considered and treated as 
a part of the family, falling just below the children as ob- 
jects of Christian regard and attention. 

Mrs. Miller always dated her conversion to Christ as 
having occurred after her marriage. 




1. Birth and Early Youth. 

Samuel Miller, the eighth child and sixth son of the 
Rev. John and Margaret Miller, was born at the family 
residence on the 31st of October, 1769. 

More than ten years before his birth, his parents had 
been called to mourn, for the first time, the loss of a child 
— their infant son Joseph. Of the death of the latter, a 
father's fondness made the following record : — 

* October 5th, 1759. Last night my son Joseph, a promising 
child, aged nineteen months and eight days, departed this life, 
after a short but violent illness in the lungs. My heart was far 
too much bound up in the child. His little, pretty ways insen- 
sibly stole my affections from objects infinitely superior to all 
earthly comferts: the parting stroke has given me a much 
more affecting view of this than I had before. Oh that I may 
see the rod and him that has appointed it — see that God has 
a controversy to plead with me and my house.' 

Samuel had but just completed his third year, when a 
second family bereavement occurred, in the death of his 
brother Benjamin, at the age of a little over five. He was 
only turned of six years, when the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was made ; but his father's active interest in na- 
tional affairs kept all the family awake to passing political 
occurrences, and even the boy of six had his own notions 
of the great events of the day, which were so frequently 
discussed in his hearing. In after life, he could recollect, 
that his earliest idea of the Declaration was, that of a large 
body of men forming a ring, and throwing up their hats 
with loud hurrahs. But soon afterwards, to the boy of 

1769-89.] BIRTH AND EARLY YOUTH. 29 

eight, the Revolution presented itself in a very different 
aspect, bringing upon the retired household a deeper sor- 
row than any by which it had before been clouded. And 
doubtless this bereavement produced some lasting impression 
upon the heart of one exercised as he had been, assiduously, 
in the knowledge and natural experience of divine truth. 
John was the eldest child. Graduated at the University 
of Pennsylvania, he had studied Medicine, and entered 
upon the practice of that profession in the neighborhood of 
his father's residence. Though of a slender and delicate 
constitution, he seems to have been buoyant in spirit, and 
active in effort. Possessed of excellent talents, a liberal 
education, and many endearing qualities, his professional 
prospects were peculiarly bright. But he was thoroughly 
imbued with that patriotism which distinguished his father ; 
and in 1776 or '77, he joined the American army, as a 
volunteer surgeon, and devoted himself to the cause of his 
country. Two letters of his yet remain, the earlier of 
which, without date, but endorsed 1777, says, 

* Honored Parents, 

* I am just ready to set off for Camp. My present feel- 
ings cannot be described by any language I am master of. 
Notwithstanding the necessity of my going, and the justice of 
this cause, the reflection that I may never return to the dear- 
est, the best, of parents, fills me with distress that I never be- 
fore experienced. But he who condescends to make even the 
chief of sinners the object of his compassion, will, I trust, guard 
me in the hour of danger, and support me in all my afiiictions. 
I beg that you may not be too unhappy on my account, as 
nothing so much increases my uneasiness as your inquietude.' 

The reference in this letter to the Saviour of sinners af- 
fords the only remaining evidence of what may have been 
the young patriot's resort upon the dying bed, on which 
he was so soon to lie down. 

If the indorsement mentioned be correct, the young sur- 
geon could not have been in camp more than six or seven 
weeks, the earliest of 1777. But they were very moment- 
ous weeks for the American cause. On the 2d of January 
occurred the battle (it really deserved that name) of the 
Assunpink, at Trenton ; on the 3d, the battle of Princeton ; 
and the operations of the next sixty days in New Jersey 
were very stirring, and ended with the almost entire ex- 



pulsion of the British and Hessian troops, so long a terror 
to the State, from its limits. With surprising resolution 
and energy, young Dr. Miller endured the fatigues and 
hardships of camp and hospital life. " His calpiness and 
intrepidity upon the field of danger were conspicuous. He 
was peculiarly attentive to the wounded soldiery;" mani- 
festing in his practice a rare and " happy combination of 
compassionate tenderness and manly firmness.*' Probably 
his exposure and unremitted service for several months had 
produced symptoms warning him of danger to life ; for he 
was on his way home from the American camp in New Jer- 
sey, when he was seized, at Darby, seven miles from Phila- 
delphia, with peripneumony, which all attributed to the 
hardships of his military service. On the 21st of February, 
1777, he wrote to his parents, encouraging the hope that 
he would see them in two or three days. But subsequently 
his disease assumed a more serious aspect, and rapid and 
agonizing in its progress, soon terminated his life. "When 
he felt the approach oV* dissolution, "so keen and so 
lively a sense had he formed of that afi*ecting scene which 
usually attends a dying bed, surrounded by a circle of 
weeping friends, that upon being pressed to apprise his 
distant relatives of his dangerous situation, he strenuously" 
resisted "the proposal, adding, that he wished the conflict 
might be over, before the heavy tidings of his malady 
should have reached their ears, lest they should be wit- 
nesses to the painful combat.*' He died on the 28th .of 
February, 1777, and was interred at Dover.^ 

Other events, of a different character, now and then agi- 
tated the current, for the most part so quiet and uniform, 
of home life. In 1779, Samuel's sister Elizabeth was mar- 
ried to Colonel Samuel McLane ; and in 1787, his young- 
er sister, Mary, married Vincent Loockerman, who be- 
longed to a Delaware family, and resided in the immediate 
neighborhood of her parents. Col. McLane lived in Phil- 
adelphia, and his residence there gave to his wife's fami- 
ly in Delaware a place of occasional sojourn, of which her 

1 The quotations^ and indeed the whole estimate of the young surgeon's char- 
acter, are from a notice of his death, dated March 4, 1777, in ** The Penn- 
sylvania Packet/* contributed by Dr. John Warren, of Boston, a fellow-surgeon 
in the army, who was with him when he died. Dr. Warren was afterwards 
Professor of Anatomy — the first in New England — at Harvard University. 
His older brother, Gen. Joseph Warren, fell at Bunker's Hill. 

1769-89.] BIKTH AND EARLY YOUTH. 31 

brother Samuel seems, to have availed himself, to some ex- 
tent, even before he joined the University. Of course, 
this city — the largest in the Union^ — was a great attraction 
to the people of the surrounding country ; the more so, 
because, at that time, the seat of our National govern- 
ment. Here in May, 1787, assembled the memorable con- 
vention which formed the present Constitution of the Uni- 
ted States. Dr. Miller often spoke, in after years, of the 
pleasure he had in his youth experienced, standing within 
the great hall of entrance, at the State House, to observe 
the meifibers of this convention, as they went to and^from 
the chamber, where they sat with closed doors. Thus re- 
peatedly passed before him, in review, some of the great- 
est men of their day ; men whose names he had previous- 
ly learned to pronounce with a respect akin to reverence. 
There he saw the Father of his country, chosen to preside 
over the convention, whose career in arms had ended, and 
his career of statesmanship begun. There, Alexander 
Hamilton, the accomplished scholar, soldier, jurist, finan-. 
cier and politician ; the confidential friend, and afterwards 
the Cabinet Secretary, of Washington ; gifted with genius 
that won universal admiration ; yet capable of sin and 
folly, which sunk him down to an untimely and dishonored 
grave. There, Benjamin Franklin, who, as through all 
the years of his high and well-deserved worldly renown, 
the admired companion of philosophers and statesmen, of 
courtiers and kings, still carried with him the simple man- 
ners and practical good sense of his humblest days. H e 
was now not far from the end of his career, and was so in- 
firm, that he had to be borne, in a sedan-chair, by two 
strong men, daily, to the place of assembly. There he 
saw Roger Sherman, the Morrises, his. father's well-known 
friend John Dickinson, James Madison, the Pinckneys, and 
others of as much, or scarcely less note. No doubt, he 
had the opportunity of seeing nearly all the leading pub- 
lic men of the day, those of them who were not in the 
constitutional convention being often, doubtless, at the 
seat of government. His pleasurable recurrence, even 
late in life, to these scenes, proved that they had strongly 
impressed him ; and unquestionably they exerted an im- 

1 As late as 1800, New York was below Philadelphia, in population, by 
nearly 10,000 ; and it was abo^e the latter, in 1810, by only 86. 


portant influence in mouWing his character, quickening 
his patriotism, fostering a deep permanent interest in pub- 
lic affairs, and strengthening that disposition to revere the 
truly great and good, which made him even too ready to 
admit a claim of excellence, and n^arked many an unaf- 
fected effort to cast back honor upon those, who had 
thought only of honoring him. 

Samuel's oldest brother Edward, the only son that came 
to years of manhood without a college training, had been, 
however, assiduously and liberally educated, first by his 
father, then, from the age of fourteen, at a classical semi- 
nary of very high reputation, in the village of Newark, 
Delaware. Here, under the tuition of Francis Alison, 
D. D.,^ succeeded by the Rev. Alexander McDowell,^ he 
had devoted four years to the diligent study of Latin and 
Greek, and gone through the usual course of the arts and 
sciences. For the languages, especially, he seems to have 
had a decided taste ; and it is probable that his proficiency 
. in these was much greater than common. Afterwards, he 
studied medicine with Dr. Charles Ridgely, an eminent 
practitioner of Dover, with whom he appears to have been 
an especial favorite ; then, in 1780, he accepted ah ap- 
pointment as surgeon's mate in the Revolutionary army. 
About a twelve-month later, he set out on a cruise of near- 
ly a year, in an armed ship bound to France ; whence he 
returned, in 1782, with a good knowledge of the French 
language, improved professional culture, and much general 
information. In 1784, having, meanwhile, attended two 
full courses of medical lectures in the University of Penn- 
sylvania, he commenced practice at Frederica, a village 
seventeen miles south of his father's house. Soon, how- 
ever, he removed to Somerset county, Maryland, and in 
1786, on the death of Doctor Ridgely, to Dover. Here 
he continued in practice until his removal to New York 
in 1796. 

His brother Joseph, graduated at the Univerity of Penn- 
sylvania in 1787, seems to have been settled also at Dover, 
as a practising lawyer, within two years, at latest, after his 
college graduation. Tradition says, 'that he once brought 
an action for damages accruing from the practice of witch- 

^ 3 Sprague's Annals, 73. ^ Id. 178, note. 


craft, and quoted copiously from the Bible to enforce the 
claims of his client. The adverse counsel, being more 
familiar with books of law than with the Book of God, was 
considerably perplexed at this mode of conducting the 
case. The Biblical lawyer lost his cause nevertheless.' 

2. Preparation for College.— Profession of Religion^ 

Dr. Miller left among his papers the following brief ac- 
count of his earlier years : 

*■ The first eighteen years of my life were spent under my pa- 
rental roof. I was never placed in any school, or public semi- 
nary, of any kind, prior to my entrance into the University of 
Pennsylvania in 1788, when I was eighteen years and eight 
months old. From the age of about twelve, I had been study- 
ing the Latin and Greek classics, at home, under the direction 
of my father, (who was an excellent Latin, Greek, and Hebrew 
scholar * * ), and of two elder brothers, who had preceded me in 
acquiring a knowledge of classic literature under parental in- 
struction. But I pursued this object with many interruptions 
and with little zeal, owing to an expectation ana desire of re- 
linquishing the study of the learned languages, and entering a 
counting-house, with a fiiture view to merchandise as a prores- 
sion. Hence I studied little, and that little to small purpose. 
But about my eighteenth year, it pleased God, in a remarkable 
manner, to direct my views otherwise, (for which I desire here 
to record my sincere thanks), and to excite in me a desire for 
the acquisition of knowledge; though without any settled pur- 
pose as to a future profession. After this change of feeling and 
of purpose respecting a classical education, I was, for some 
months, under great perplexity and embarrassment, how to 
pursue and complete my education in a better manner than I 
could possibly do under the tuition of an aged and infirm par 
rent. During this anxiety, I was brought under very serious 
impressions of religion, which I hope soon after issued in 
a cordial acceptance of the Saviour as my hope and life. 
Early in the Spring of 1788, 1 made a profession of religion in 
the church of Dover, under my father's pastoral care. I have 
often looked back on that step, with its preceding and attend- 
ing exercises, with much solicitude as to the question, whether 
it was founded on a saving acquaintance with Christ or not. I 
can only say, that I had a hope in Christ, which, though after- 
wards and often painfully interrupted, was then steady and 
comfortable ; and that my excellent mother, an intelligent and 
faithful counsellor in such matters, concurred in the measure of 
uniting myself with the church.' 


A letter from the father, written at this time to Col. Mc- 
Lane, will explain, in part at least, the perplexity and em- 
barrassment mentioned in the foregoing extract. 

' My dear Son, ' ^^"^ ^°^^''' ^'^^ "' l^^^' 

'Prest on all hands by my friends, (not considering 
my having no income adequate to the support of my family, 
as they live, and the very probable want and distress, to 
which they may be reduced soon after my removal), I have 
at length consented to Sammy's going to Philadelphia, to 
spend some short time at the University, which I should not 
have done, had I not a very great dependence on your and 
Betsey's attention to him, and giving him such advices .and 
counsels, as, with the blessing of heaven, may effectually tend 
to form him, should he be spared, to impokiU>t usefulness^in the 

* You well know what my d^ire is respecting him ; viz., that 
he may be a well-inform^, sincere, prudent and humble fol- 
lower of Christ. Unless his education is sanctified, by divine 
grace, for this purpose, I think he had better be without it. 
Were he, from right principles, disposed and prepared for the 
gospel ministry, it would be inexpressibly pleasine to me, and 
I doubt not to you, notwithstanding the temporal discourage- 
ments, which, at present, may lie in the way of it. 

* The other professions of Physic and Law, as they are now 
conducted by the generality, appear to me unfriendly to a life 
of real piety, especially the last. And as to the ficst, I dread 
Sammy's spending so much time in Dover, as would be neces- 
sary to .qualify him for it. Such a number of idle young fel- 
lows you could scarcely find in so small a place. Should he be 
found qualified for the Senior Class, he will want to continue 
there until the next Commencement ; otherwise his stay will be 
much shorter. On the whole, I must warmly solicit you, to di- 
rect him into such a path of prudence, and urge him to such a 
veneration for a pious and virtuous life, as may give us all, by 
the will of Gt)d, much comfort concerning him. 

* Your mamma is in her usual state. The rest of your friends 
well so far as I know. May the best of heaven's blessings rest 
and abide with you forever I Yours affectionately, 

' John MHler.' 


With, or just after, his father's letter of the 17th of July, 
Samuel Miller went to Philadelphia and took up his abode 


with Colonel and Mrs. McLane. His diary very briefly 
notices his admission to College : 

' July 21st, 1788. Entered this day the University of Penn- 
sylvania. Was admitted at once into the Senior Class. I am 
now eighteen years and eight months old.' 

The following letters and extracts from letters, written 
during his college course, give a little insight into the events 
of this year at the University, and illustrate the home in- 
fluences, especially of a religious kind, which had been, and 
were yet, thrown over him : 

Mrs, Margaret Miller to CoL McLane. 

July the 19th, [1788]. 

* My very dear Son, 

* By this time I hope your brother Sammy has arrived 
safe in Philadelphia, and though, I was so much hurried get- 
ting him ready to set ofi*, I did not send you a line, I cannot 
omit it now. Oh, my dear Sir, it is with gratitude I recollect 
your kind invitation to him, which no length of time will 
efface from my mind. And I rely very much on your care of 
him. Please to exercise the most unlimited control of his con- 
duct, and I think he will love you the better for it. Sammy 
is at a very trying time of life. I hope, my dear Child,^ you 
will have a watchful eye over him at all times. Oh, may that 
eye which never slumbereth nor sleepeth direct him in all his 
way — ^is the prayer of your afl[licted mother ; and I ask for 
him and myself also an interest in your prayers.' 

Rev, John Miller to CoL McLane, 

Near Dover, August 26, 1788. 

* My dear Son, 

* I am just now crawling out again, after a spell of the 
bilious fever. With great difiiculty I went last Sabbath and 
preached a sermon at Dover, and seem still to be recruiting. 

* * I hope Sammy is doing well, and have no fear at present 
of his industry and application to business ; but may he and 
all of us remember that one thing is needful. Eternity, my 
dear Son, is infinitely important.' 

Eev, John Miller to Mrs, McLane. 

Near Dover, Sept. 15, 1788. 

* * * I am now, through divine goodness, in the way of 
recovery, have preached twice, but, by fevers continuing, am still 

* Mrs. McLane. 


in a feeble state. Your mamma likewise has intermitting 
fevers ; but keeps chiefly about house ; and both of us by such 
growing infirmities as commonly attend our advanced period 
of life, are admonished of the approE^ching day, when we shall 
leave you all in a world of sin and sorrows, from the snares of 
which nothing less than God's special grace in Christ Jesus > 
can secure you. May we be found waiting for the coming of 
our Lord, living by faith and attempered for the heavenly 
blessedness I 

* * * I am sorry to hear of Sammy's purpose of going to 
Princeton, as I am sure he has neither money nor time to spend 
on any such jaunt. Did he know that almost every resource 
for the support of the family has lately failed ; that the chief 
of our people pay me nothing ; that perquisites are reduced to 
a trifle, and that I have not received twenty shillings since he 
left us, I think he would be more prudent. He is disposed, I 
fully believe, to be diligent ; but considering my present strait- 
ened situation, he must also make a point of being very frugal; 
otherwise he will be under the necessity of returning home, 
without answering his chief purpose. 

* My earnest wish is, that he may be serious, and with deep 
solicitude pursue an early and experimental acquaintance with 
vital religion, without which every other accomplishment will 
avail him nothing.' 

Bev, John Miller to Col, McLane. 

Near Dover, December 26, 1788. 
* My dear Son, 

* Mr. Lfoockerman came down late on Sabbath evening 
(a very improper time to travel), extremely pinched with the 
cold. He since has been sick with an inflammatory fever ; but 
being bled largely, he is better, and sitting up again. By him 
we received your letters, with a gown for your mamma, and a 
pair of breeches for myself, for which I am greatly obliged 
to you, though they happen to be much too big for me, as I 
am sure they must be for yourself. * * Your mamma is 
as well as usual, busy about her family affairs, but, I believe, 
very intent on the one thing needful. * * We live, on the 
whole, comfortably, but chiefly on the produce of our little 
farm. Your mammy has a good turkey in keeping for you, as 
we expect a visit from you this season, and wish it may be con- 
venient for you to gratify us with your company. Poor Sam 
is indeed poor, beggarly poor, as he himself suggests ; but let 
him know, if he loves and fears God, he won't want anything 
that will be best for him. I here enclose a guinea, received 


last week, for him. I earnestly wish, my dear daughter, with 
yourself, much of God's gracious, sanctifying and comforting 

Mr8, Margaret Miller to Mrs. McLane. 

March the 19th, 1789. 

* My very dear Betsey, 

(9K ^ 3K 3K 3K ^ ){( 

Your brother informs me that you, for some reasons, advise 
him to decline going to the singing school. I have no doubt 
but your reasons are good ; therefore I desire you and Mr. 
McLane to give him your advice as you would a child of your 
own ; and though I have a great desire he should go, yet if it 
would interfere with his other learning I must give it up, 

* * Oh, my dear Betsey, of what infinite importance it is that 
we be prepared for eternity.' 

Poor ' Sammy* never recovered from the effects of this 
disappointment as to the singing school. He could not, 
his life long, turn a single tune. Perhaps Colonel McLane 
thought the case, even then, utterly hopeless. 

Bev, John Miller to Col, McLane. 

' Near Dover, March 27, 1789. 

* * * I hope such trials will be blessed by heaven, to con- 
vince you of the transitory nature of all worldly enjoyment, 
and lead you to place your happiness in the possession of such 
objects as no earthly occurrence can deprive you of. Oh may 
we be more and more sensible, that unless God in Christ is our 
friend and portion, we can neither truly enjoy the comforts of 
this life, nor obtain the blessedness of that to come I 

( * * The infirmities of an advanced period of life I find in- 
creasing upon me. The severity of the winter has confined me 
almost altogether at home, together with a frequently disor- 
dered stomach, attended with fever, by which I have been 
much reduced. For some days past I have been considerably 
better; but through the winter have been prevented several 
Sabbaths from going abroad. 

* I am anxious to hear of Sammy's indisposition — ^whether he 
is likely to get well of his cough. If he is not more careful 
than, I fear, he has been, it will be difficult to remove.' 

Rev. John Miller to Col. McLane. 

'Near Dover, May 12, 1789. 

t * * The letters brought us the agreeable news of your be- 
ing all well, Sammy excepted, who, we understand, is m a fair 


way of recovery. Very ardently do we wish, that his spared 
life may be devoted to the service of Christ I * * As to cloth 
for a coat and breeches for myself * * a black, or deep blue, 
or clergyman's grey, would very well suit me.' 

To Mrs, McLane, upon the same sheet. 

< * * But you will, I hope, be much more solicitous for your 
own and our spiritual welfare, than for any of our temporal 
concerns. Eternity, with all its most solemn and important 
scenes, will very soon be opened to our view : we are living on 
the border's of it, and need to be continually realizing it, that 
we may live above the present world, and have our hearts 
chiefly placed on God and heaven. Under these lively impres- 
sions, we wish you frequently to take opportunities of convers- 
ing with your brother Sammy, and giving him such advice and 
counsels, as may tend to a proper improvement of the aflliction 
God has been pleased to visit him with, and the mercy that has 
been shown him, in his being so far restored to health. You 
will endeavor to direct his views, should his life be spared, to 
such studies and pursuits, as will, by the divine blessing, render 
him most useful in the world, and the greatest comfort to his 
connexions. You will endeavor to guard him against the dan- 
gerous snare of vain and trifling company; against imbibing the 
spirit, and following the maxims and habits of a degenerate 
world ; against all those things, which, in your devoutest hours, 
you will judge are inconsistent with a spiritual and holy life. 

* Your mamma and I have been in a poor state of health a 
great part of the past winter; but at this time enjoy as much 
health as our time of life and growing infirmities give us reason 
to expect. May the Lord prepare us for our great change, and 
afford us the comfort of seeing our dear children engaged in the 
ardent pursuit of heavenly wisdom before we leave them ! * * 

* From your loving father, 

'J. M. 

'P. S. — Dr. Wilson, I expect, will attend what is called your 
Oeneral Assembly.^ 

It was during his year at the University, perhaps during 
the illness referred to in several of the foregoing letters, 
that our young student first became acquainted with the 
Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green,* with whom he enjoyed, particu- 
larly after entering the ministry, a very profitable intimacy. 
Late in life, he thus recurred to the circumstances of his 
earliest introduction to Dr. Green, who was a little more 
than seven years his senior. 

* 3 Sprague's Annals, 479. 


" My acquaintance with that great and good man began 
about sixty years ago, when he was the beloved and highly 
popular co-pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in the 
city of Philadelphia, and when I was a youthful student in 
the University of Pennsylvania. In the course of my connec- 
tion with the University, I was a boarder in the family of a 
beloved sister, who was a worshipper in the church in which he 
preached, and in which, for that circumstance, as well as from 
choice, I was a constant hearer. 

" In a few months after I entered the University, I was seized 
with a severe inflammatorj'' fever, which brought me veiy low, 
and confined me to the house for a number of weeks. In the 
course of this illness. Dr. Green, though I had no other claim 
upon him than being the son of a brother minister, and a 
boarder in the house of one of his flock, kindly and affection- 
ately called, more than once, to see me, and conversed and 
prayed with me with a fidelity and tenderness which I shall 
never forget, and which marked, at that early period of his 
pastoral life, a sacred regard to his official duties, and a happy 
talent in the fulfilment of them."^ 

Doubtless his father's zeal for the Presbyterian Church 
had given already to our young collegian a rising interest 
in ecclesiastical affairs. Philadelphia was, ordinarily, the 
place of meeting of the Synod of New York and Philadel- 
phia, and of its successor, as the supreme judicatory of the 
Church, the General Assembly. Here were convened the 
last Synod, in May, 1788, and the first Assembly, in May, 
1789. The latter, of course, was in session while Samuel 
Miller attended the University. Over this Assembly pre- 
sided as Moderator, Dr. John Rodgers, a friend and former 
neighbor of his father's in Delaware, and afterwards his 
own senior colleague in New York; and the body was par- 
ticularly interesting, not only as the first of its kind, but 
also for the Large proportion of distinguished men which it 
contained, and for its influence in this formative period of 
the Presbyterian Church in the United States. It num- 
bered thirty-five members, of whom twenty-four were min- 
isters; and of these just two-thirds have been thought 
worthy of commemoration in Dr. Sprague's Annals, besides 
three, or more, briefly mentioned in the notes to that work. 
Among them were Dr, Alexander McWhorter, Dr. John 

^ Life of Dr. Green by Dr. Jones, p. 524. 


Witherspoon, Dr. Samuel S. Smith, Dr. George Duffield, 
Dr. John Ewing, Dr. Robert Smith, Dr. Matthew Wilson, 
Dr. Patrick Alison, with others of scarcely less note. 
What interest the college student actually took in the de- 
liberations of this Assembly is unknown; but, having so 
lately made a profession of religion, and, doubtless, having 
seriously entertained, already, the question of entering the 
gospel ministry, he could not well have slighted such an 
opportunity of witnessing the proceedings of so important 
a Presbyterian church court, or have witnessed them with- 
out an impression influencing, in some degree, his religious 
character, his ecclesiastical attachments, and his profes- 
sional aims. It was one of the happy results of his long 
living, that he was intimately connected with the church of 
his affections through so many of its vicissitudes, and until 
it had grown in numbers o-nd strength so vastly beyond its 
condition, when he was first growing up into acquaintance 
with it. 

Bev, John Miller to Mrs, McLane, 

^ Near Dover, July 12, 1789. 

*Had you been present with me, when I called upon Joseph 
at the tavern, after he took his degree and received, with his 
class, a solemn charge from the Provost, you would have been 
shocked — several intoxicated, all in disorder and, seemingly, 
without the fear of God. I wish you would use your utmost 
influence with Sammy to dissuade his class from making any 
such an entertainment. Robert Clark lately assured me, that 
when his class commenced, they resolutely refused to have any 
dinner at all. 'Tis a scandalous custom, which the professors, 
did they discharge their duty, would by no means countenance. 

*Did you know my feeble state and growing infirmities, you 
would fully excuse my not attempting a journey to Philadel- 
phia. Only riding to the Cross Roads, or Dover, I find very 
fatiguing to me, and commonly, in this warm weather, it makes 
me very, unwell.' 

jRev. John Miller to Col. McLane, 

'Near Dover, July 20, 1789. 

' * * Sammy we expect will leave you the last of this week. 
A shallop from Duck Creek, belonging to Mr. Henery, will be 
up about the middle of the week, and 'tis thought will return 
about Friday morning ; which opportunity we hope Sammy 


will embrace, if he desires soon to see his friends here. An- 
other so convenient may not, at this season, soon offer; though 
possibly Mr. Williamson may contrive a way for him to come 
down with his brother, who proposes, I hear, to visit Kent im- 
mediately after Commencement, 

*As Sammy is now about leaving your family, where he 
has been so affectionately treated, you will be pleased to let me 
know the amount of his board, and I shall acknowledge the 
receipt of it on the bond in my possession. Could you and 
Betsey, by your utmost influence, prevent Sammy, with his 
class, from going into a scene of folly and riot, immediately 
after a solemn charge from the Provost, you would much ob- 
lige me. Once I was a passing witness of such a Bachanalian 
carouse, when Joseph commenced ; but wish ardently that none 
of my family may be concerned in another. Your Mamma 
and I still continue in our usual health ; but can scarcely ex- 
pect it long at this season. It becomes us to be waiting for 
our great change. Aii-d, Oh that we ^tnd our dear children 
may, through the riches of divine grace, be collected together, 
when we leave this world, in the society above, to b^ forever 
with the Lord ! Let us not neglect to prepare for it. You 
know 'tis of all the most important concern/ 

Mr. Miller received the "first honor " in his class ; in token 
of which, according to the practice of the day, the Latin Sa- 
lutatory Oration was awarded to him. From a contemporane- 
ous account of the commencement exercises, it appears 
that they occupied two days — the 30th and 31st of July, 
and were held in the Rev. Dr. Weiberg's church — German 
Reformed; — in Race street ; whither a stately procession, 
composed of the lower schools, the University students, the 
faculty and trustees, and various public men who honored 
the occasion, moved each morning from the Hall of the 
University on State House square. After prayer by the 
Provost, came immediately the "Salutatory Oration in 
Latin — digression before the close in English,' remonstrat- 
ing against the neglect of female education — by Mi». Sam- 
uel Miller.'* On the second day, there was a "Dialogue 
in verse on the Federal Government, between Mr. George 
M. Bayneton, of Philadelphia and Mr. Samuel Miller.*' 
At this Commencement, the "Degree of Doctor of Physic 
was conferred on Mr. Edward Miller.*' 

Of a particular classmate Mr. Miller subsequently wrote, 
* — One of the handsomest and one of the most profligate 



young men I ever saw. He afterwards had a short, very 
licentious course, and died miserably.' 

Of Samuel's college life little account can be giren. 
From the new impulse to study which he had received, his 
recent profession of religion, several closely written vol- 
umes, which remain, of notes upon the different branches 
of study, and his standing at the close of his course, as well 
as occasional remarks in his father's letters, it may be in- 
ferred that he improved his collegiate opportunities with a 
good degree of diligence and zest ; and that he was already 
forming those habits of patient, methodical industry which 
marked his whole life, especially his labors as a writer. 
He always retained a lively recollection of the advantages 
which he had enjoyed during this year at the University. 
His reminiscences, too, of Philadelphia, at this, an eventful 
time in both our national affairs and the affairs of the 
Presbyterian Church, were often vividly set before his 
family and friends. Among his instructors, the Kev. Dr. 
Ewing, the Provost, made the deepest impression on his 
mind and heart; and he has left on record* an exalted 
opinion of the patriotism, talents, learning, dignity, influ- 
ence — the varied and solid accomplishments — of this . dis- 
tinguished man, who became subsequently a connection of 
his by marriage. Mrs. McLane, possibly thinking that her 
brother had been quite plainly enough brought up, was dis- 
posed rather to insist on his going a good deal into com- 
pany, during his college course : perhaps too she saw that 
close confinement to study threatened his health. But it 
is not probable that the forced application to his books of 
this single year at the University allowed much time for 
general society. 

1 3 Sprague's Annals, 216. 




1. Home Theology. 

Nothing remains to inform us, whether Mr. Miller re- 
turned home, from Philadelphia, laden with his commence- 
ment honors, by shallop to Duck Creek, the nearest navi- 
gable waters to his father's residence, or by some other 
equally primitive mode of travel. We soon find him at 
home however, and anxiously asking, without much loss of 
time, the important question, ''Lord, what wilt thou have 
me to do ?" Of this his diary afibrds the following evi- 
dence: — 

'August 20th, 1789. Set apart a day of fasting and prayer 
for the divine direction in my choice of a profession. Before 
the day was closed, after much serious deliberation, and, I hope, 
some humble looking for divine guidance, I felt so strongly in- 
clined to devote myself to the work of the ministry, that I re- 
solved, in the Lord's name, on this choice. How solemn the 
undertaking. May the Lord help me to make a suitable esti- 
mate of its character, and to enter upon it with the deepest hu- 
mility, and at the same time with confidence in the riches of 
his gracious aid. 

* O my Father's and my Mother's God, I yield myself to thee ! 
Yet, what an office for a poor, polluted, weak creature, who is 
helpless in himself, to aspire unto ! Lord, help me to realize 
my own weakness and unworthiness ; to lie in the dust of abase- 
ment, and habitually to look for strength to him who can **make 
me strong in the power of his might." Lord, I, this day, de- 
vote myself to thy most worthy service. I am thine by crea- 
tion and preservation ; I ought to be thine by a holy regenera- 
tion and a gracious adoption ; and I would humbly devote my- 
self to the promotion of thy glory to my latest breath. 

'Samuel Miller. 



'After this I immediately set about the regular study of 
Theology, under the direction of my Father.' 

The earliest letter from Mr. Miller's pen remaining, was 
written two days later to Dr. Green. 

'Dover, August 22, 1789. 

' Rev'd Sir, 

* Convinced of your readiness to lend your advice 
and assistance to a student, I hope you will excuse the intru- 
sion of the present address. 

'Since my leaving Philadelphia, the result of my delibera- 
tions, on a future profession in life, is a fixed resolve to study 
Divinity. In this pursuit, especially, I expect many difficul- 
ties will occur, and such as cannot be surmounted, without the 
advice and directions of those who have passed through it un- 
der distinguished advantages. To this subject, therefore, I have 
presumed. Sir, to solicit your attention. 

'It is so long since my father first studied and formed his 
system, that it is no way strange he should be in a great degree 
unacquainted with the improvements in method which may have 
since taken place, and with the latest and most approved wri- 
ters on Divinity. And on these points, it is of great impor- 
tance to me, that I should collect minute information. 

'If there are any authors which should be attended to by a 
student, not immediately connected with his business, previ- 
ously to his entering on this study, I should be extremely 
obliged. Sir, by receiving from you an enumeration of them. 

'My present plan is, to remain at home with my father for 
one year, and here, if possible, to collect so much knowledge on 
the subject as will enable me to hear, with the greatest improve- 
ment. Dr. Nesbit's Lectures to his class of Theologists ; from 
whom I think I might derive very considerable advantages, if 
it were for no other reason ,than studying in that associated 

* I am. Sir, with the most perfect 
'respect and esteem, 
'your obedient, humble servant, 
' Samuel Miller. 

'The Rev. Mr. Green.' 

Dr. Green's answer to this letter has not been preserved, 
but long afterwards Dr. Miller referred to it in the follow- 
ing terms : — 

"So(Jn after I had completed my course in the University, 
this benevolent and devoted man, ever on the watch to do good, 
having heard that I had resolved to engage in the study of 

1789.] HOMK THEOLOGY. 45 


theology with a view to the gospel ministry, wrote me a long, 
affectionate, and most instructive letter, filled with those large 
views of ministerial furniture and duty for which he was always 
remarkable, and written with that wisdom, piety, learning and 
kindness, which were adapted at once to give light, and a happy 
impulse, to an inexperienced, youthful student. I felt myself 
much his debtor for this act of friendship, and shall never cease 
to regard it with fervent gratitude."^ 

Mr. Miller's father, a few days after the date of the 
foregoing letter, wrote to Mrs. McLane as follows : — 

'Dover, August 27, 1789. 
t * * Your brother Sammy seems to have improved con- 
siderably, not only as to his progress in learning, but on other 
accounts, which we ascribe very much to your and Mr. Mc- 
Lane's attention to him, for which we feel ourselves imder great 
obligations to you and him. He is very attentive to his books, 
and seems much more serious and thoughtful than I expected 
to find him, and probably will study divinity, which 1 shall 
encourage, if I have reason to think his .views and motives are 
suitable to that important undertaking.' 

The following entry is from the son's diary : — 

* October 8th, 1789. This day I set apart for solemn fasting, 
humiliation and prayer, in view of attending on the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper on the ensuing Sabbath, and also to im- 
plore the blessing of God upon my theological studies. A 
pleasant day on the whole, yet compassed about with many 
anxious fears concerning my state, motives, etc.* 

About six weeks later, death again invaded the house- 
hold. Now the devoted wife, the tender mother was called 
away, leaving a void never to be filled. Her son Samuel 
thus noticed the bereavement : — 

* On Sunday morning, a little before one o'clock, November 
22d, 1789, my dear,' honored, tender, faithful, affectionate and 
pious mother departed this life, and went to a heavenly and 
better world. She had been more than a week ill of inflamma- 
tory fever. Her death was probably one of the most joyful and 
triumphant ever known. A very short iiime before she expired, 
she repeated with a hallowed and most animating confidence, 
the latter verses of Dr. Watts's version of the 17th Psalm, be- 

f inning with the 3d verse: " What sinners value I resign ." 
leaven grant that I may always keep in remembrance her 
tenderness and faithfulness as a parent ; her universal benevo- 

1 Life of Dr. Qreen, pp. 524, 5. 


lence and charity as a neighbor ; her sincere and almost unex- 
ampled piety and holiness as a Christian. And may I be ena- 
bled, through divine grace, to walk in all her steps, that my 
latter end may be like hers, composed, serene, joyful and tri- 
umphant ; and thus may her death be my spiritual and eternal 

To Colonel McLane Mr. Miller afterwards wrote as 
follows : — 

' My dear Son, ^^"^ ^<>^®'"' ^^°' ^^- ^^^^^ 

'Your very affectionate letter was most ac- 
ceptable to us. The heavy loss we have sustained affords just 
reason for mourning, but none for distress with respect to the^ 
dear departed. She appeared to walk with God, in an habitual 
course, for many years past. Her humility shone with an amia- 
ble lustre. Never did I hear an elated word drop from her lips 
respecting herself, though she had the most extensive charity 
for others. She often complained to me of her ignorance, and 
earnestly desired to know more of the sin of her nature, and 
have a deeper sense of' her utter unworthiness. The older she 
grew, the more she seemed pleased with the gospel plan of sal- 
vation, and a life of strict holiness. And though she was early 
and late attentive to her domestic affairs, studying always to 
redeem her time ; yet I have reason to believe, that she retired 
three or four times a day, in a constant course; at which time, 
she read her Bible on her knees, and poured out her heart in 
fervent supplications at the throne of grace, frequently observing 
days of secret fasting, humiliation, and extraordinary prayer; 
in all which, I believe, she had much communion with her hea- 
venly Father. In my absence, or inability by sickness, she 
statedly kept up family prayer, in which she appeared remark- 
ably solemn and engaged. She also loved the public worship 
and ordinances of the gospel, and was always grieved when un- 
favorable weather, or bodily indisposition, prevented her attend- 
ance on them. Her children were very dear to her, and per- 
haps indulged to an extreme; but her counsels and admonitions 
were not wanting, and her heart was deeply engaged for their 
salvation. Her servants, too, were treated with great humanity 
and kindness, and were frequently instructed by her in their 
most important concerns. Her benevolence to all was very 
evident, and her neighbors, I believe, are losers by her death, 
and will long lament it. Indeed she was of a disposition remark- 
ably obliging to all who came in her -way. Her friends knew 
it, and deplore their loss : strangers, providentially at her house, 
who partook of her hospitality, experienced the same. 

1789.] HOME THEOLOGY. 47 

' In all these amiable qualities she shone more and more, as 
she advanced in years and experience. She seemed to ripen 
fast for heaven. Her friendship and benevolence were probably 
the occasion of her last illness. In visiting sick neighbors and 
attending one of their funerals, she too much exposed her feeble 
frame. The day after, having had the influenza before, but 
mildly, she was seized with an inflammatory fever, which, not- 
withstanding the best medical assistance here, put a period to 
her life in seven days. In her sickness, though deranged a lit- 
tle at times, her piety and benevolence were very conspicuous. 
Many texts of Scripture she repeated with peculiar force, relish 
and application; as also those lines in th^ 17th Psalm — 

What sinners tbIuo I resign ; 

Lord, 'tis enough that thou art mine, eto. 

The blood of Christ was then her refuge and hope, as her dying 
lips signified a few minutes before her departure. She finished 
her course with great composure and serenity. Mr. Bead 
preacht at her fimeral, and many attended her remains to the 
grave. I think she was universally beloved and lamented. 

'And now, my dear son, shall such a life, and such a death, 
of one so nearly connected with us, pass by unimproved ? For 
you all I am deeply concerned that you should follow her ex- 
cellent example, as she followed Christ. For my part, I blush 
with shame ; my heart condemns me, that I have been so far 
her inferior in every moral and spiritual excellence. May the 
L/ord make her death a mean of my being quickened to every 
good word and work ! May the Lord prepare us for, and give 
us, a happy meeting at last with our dear departed I And now, 
I can assure you, that the best way for my children to support 
and comfort me, is for them to follow the fia,ith, the piety and 
holiness of their dear mother. 

* I hope to do without any white housekeeper. Such an one 
would not answer my purpose, as well as those I have, provided 
they behave as they lately have done. My dear Polly ^ is very 
attentive, though very infirm. I hope she will derive great 
benefit from her affliction. You will remember me in your 
prayers, and visit us when you can conveniently. 

* Your distressed, but affectionate father, 

'J. Miller.' 
To Mrs. McLane Mr. Miller wrote, 

* Be it so, that the desire of our eyes is removed from us, and 
the friend of our bosom taken away, if God has made an ever- 
lasting covenant with us, through a glorious Eedeemer, ordered 
well and sure, containing all our salvation, and all that can 

^ His daughter, Mrs. Loockerman. 


reasonably be our desire, we may well rejoice, and look forward 
to that glorious day, when, through the riches of divine grace, 
all our tears shall be wiped away, and we shall see no more 
sorrow. In the mean time, let us be daily looking forward to 
that glorious world and preparing for it, where we have reason 
to believe our dear departed is gone, and where we know our 
blessed Lord is ready to receive all his humble followers, as soon 
as they leave the body and the world/ 

< * * The negro women have behaved, hitherto, better than I 
expected, especially Hannah and Lid; the latter exceedingly 
well, always studying, in every particular, to oblige me. Poor 
creatures, they loved their mistress, and I love them for it. May 
the Lord reward them I Notwithstanding this, the house seems 
a dreary habitation, the sweetest, the dearest creature in it, the 
best part of myself, having left us. May the Lord be the staff 
of my age, and the portion of my soul I On him, who has hi- 
therto taken a fatherly care of me, I desire to cast my burdens, 
and rely for support and comfort, in the remaining part of my 
pilgrimage. If my dear children set their faces heavenward, 
and love the Lord Jesus, I think it will give me more comfort, 
than all the world could give without it. Be you, my dear 
child, an affectionate and faithful counsellor to them; spare 
none of them ; but exercise the same solicitude for them that 
your dear mother has long done. Oh, that her counsels, and 
prayers, and tears, may not be in vain ! They must be remem- 
bered sooner or later. Wishing you every support and comfort 
from him, who, I hope, is your heavenly Father, I am 

* Your loving and afflicted parent, 

'J. Miller.' 

After Mr. Miller's graduation, he kept up for some time 
a correspondence with one of his classmates, Mr. Richard 
Renshaw, of which the following letter is a specimen : — 

Dover, May 15th, 1790. 
' My dear Friend, 

* By Csesar Rodney I received your very acceptable and 
friendly letter about three weeks ago ; and nothing but the 
expectation and most ardent wish of paying a visit to Phila- 
delphia, about this time, should have induced me to defer an- 
swering it until now. It appears, however^ that in this I can- 
not be gratified at present, but must submit to the pain of 
having my social feelings wounded by an absence from you of 
longer duration than I am willing to admit. 

* You will receive this tribute of esteem by my father, who 
attends the General Assembly of Clergy this year. By his 
return you will be furnished with such an excellent opportunity 

1790.] HOME THEOLOGY. 49 

of writing me a line, that I flatter myself you will not suffer 
him to leave Philadelphia without furnishing him with a long 
letter to me. 

* Your scheme of preserving the most cordial intimacy and 
closest connection between the members of our inemorahle class, 
is highly becoming and laudable, and I only regret that from 
present appearances I am not likely to make one of the number 
at the time you propose. I am truly sorry for this; but 
** Voluisse sat est" — that it would afford me inexpressible hap- 
piness you cannot doubt. 

* Caesar Rodney, I believe, is well. Miss Lavinia is also in 
good health, as you may tell your sister, Miss Nancy, to whom 
you will be pleased to make my most respectful compliments. 

* Yours sincerely and affectionately, 

' Sam'l Miller.' 

To Col. McLane the father writes, 

' Near Dover, August 16, 1790. 
** * The heat, with the fatigue of riding to the Cross 
Roads yesterday, and preaching, was rather severe ; but I am 
not sensibly the worse of it now. But here I must stop, having 
an express come for me to go immediately to Dover, to lay the 
corner brick of the new church (as you call it) erecting there. 
May that glorious being, who dwelleth not in temples made 
with hands, give his blessing to the undertaking !* 

In a letter to Mrs. McLane, dated the 6th of October, 
in the same year, after referring to his severe bodily dis- 
orders, and repeated illnesses, her father writes, 

* The last Sabbath I went, in my feeble state, to Dover, and 
preached a very short sermon ; but have since been the worse 
for it. When I shall be restored to my usual health, God only 
knows. I desire with' patience and resignation to wait his time, 
praying that his grace may be sufficient for me, and made per- 
fect in all my weakness. The period cannot be far off, when I 
shall be removed from my present state of existence : may the 
Lord grant me his sanctifying, and composing presence, and 
conduct me safely to a better world, when my worthless ser- 
vices are over here ! 

*I should be glad to see you and Mr. McLane here, if an 
way consistent with your circumstances at home, and wish 
could accommodate myself to the plan you propose. But, my 
dear child, I am in too weak a state to be left entirely without 
a white person with me in the house, which must be the case 
should Sammy go up. And as to our horse and carriage, they 
are now scarcely fit to go to Dover ; the horse nearly blind, 


and the carriage ready to fall to pieces. Your sister, indeed, 
has both, but .no one about her that could be trusted with 
them. At present, poor child, she is bad with the ague and 
fever, and on many accounts so embarrassed in her situation 
that, if you knew all, you would greatly pity her. "^ * 

'After receiving your last. Dr. Magaw's notes and Mr. 
Bend's sermon came to hand. I wish some things had been left 
out in the former, and more of the gospel found in the latter.* 

Other letters from Mr. Miller, earlier and later in this 
year, contain references to frequent attacks of illness, 
which often interfered with preaching and other pastoral 
duty* Indeed, it was quite evident that he must ere long 
succumb to these repeated assaults upon his health ; and he 
himself was evidently prepared soon to put off the clay 

Samuel Millar's diary presents just here the following 
entry : — 

'October 31, 1790. This day I attained the age of twenty- 
one years. Bless the Lord, O my soul ! and forget not all his 
benefits, in thus preserving my life and crowning me with his 
loving kindness and tender mercy. What reason have I more 
than ever to be humbled before God, that I have hitherto been 
80 useless in the world — have so little glorified his name, or 
served my fellow creatures ! Lord prepare me for extensive 
usefulness. Give me wisdom, understanding and strength to 
walk in all the ways of thy commandments blameless ; and 
such activity and diligence, as to be a means of doing some 
good in the world.' 

November 23, 1790^ Mr. Miller writes to Col. McLane, 

* My complicated disorders still continue obstinate, and keep 
me in a very languishing state. * * Polly is not fully re- 
covered, but is much better. * * Sammy, amidst her per- 
plexed affairs, gives her all the assistance m his power, and 
thereby loses much of his time, that otherwise would be em- 
ployed in his studies. But it is his duty, and he seems very 
ready in attending on it.' 

Mr. John Miller's letters are written in a small, close, 
neat, and easily legible hand, with unusual accuracy as to 
punctuation and all grammatical rules. Only those to 
Col. and Mrs. McLane, from 1787 to the time of his death 
— indeed probably not all these— have been preserved. 

It was amidst the circumstances of family trial and 
affliction which the foregoing letters disclose, that Sam- 

1791.] HOME THEOLOGY. 51 

uel pursued at home, for more than two years, his theo- 
logical studies. Probably he was the only white person 
with his father, until the death of the latter, during most 
of the time — about a twelve month — after his brother 
James went to the University. What with his father's^ 
infirmities, Mrs. Loockerman's troubles, and the assistance . 
he may naturally have been called upon to render, as to 
the business of both farm and congregation, it is likely 
that his scholastic pursuits were often interrupted. Yet 
the habits of diligence brought with him from college 
doubtless fitted him to struggle with many difficulties. In 
the school which the Master had chosen for him, and in 
circumstances to which he was providentially shut up, he 
was studying divinity, practical as well as theoretical. 
No doubt he learned much from the duties and trials of 
such a home, which he could not well have learned so profi- 
tably elsewhere. Great as the advantages are of a public 
seminary, all will admit that in a pastor's domicil some 
branches of theology may best be studied. And in the 
house of an aged father, struggling with poverty, infir- 
mity and multiplied afflictions added to his pastoral 
burdens, a son especially might receive lessons, otherwise 
hardly to be^ obtained, of submissive patience and self- 
denial, of elevated, unearthly. Christian hope, of perse- 
verance to the end, of all which that father's experience 
could make known, or his condition, example and practical 
instructions suggest. 

In the son's diary are found the following records : — 

* April 12, 1791. Supremely great and infinitely glorious 
Jehovah ! who art worthy to receive worship, and honor, and 
glory from all thine intelligent creatures on earth and in 
heaven ; unto thee I desire to present myself, at this time, with 
reverence and holy fear, knowing that thou searchest the 
thoughts and intents of the heart. 

* I confess and bewail, O Lord, the aggravation of my apos- 
tacy, the pollution of my original, and the exceeding vileness 
of my nature. My heart is corrupt, hard and rebellious : it is 
deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. My life has 
been contrary to thy will ; I have transgressed thy holy and 
reasonable commandments times and ways without number ; 
an(J deserved, long ago, to be cut ofi* from every hope, and 
banished from tjiy presence and glory forever. 


* But blessed be thy name, that thou hast contrived a way 
for our recovery from this fallen state. Blessed be thy name, 
that those who come unto thee, through Jesus Christ, thou wilt 
in no wise cast out ; but will take them into covenant with 
thee, and wilt be their God and Father, and make them thy 
•happy children. 

* I desire, with an affecting sense of this thine infinite conde- 
scension, to renew my own covenant engagements to thee, and 
to consecrate myself and all my active powers to thy service. 
I beseech thee, O Lord, to accept of me in this transaction, and 
to ratify in heaven what I now wish to perform, with humility 
and love, upon earth. 

* I trust I desire with sincerity, this day, to renounce all other 
lords who have had dominion over me ; to renounce the cor- 
rupt affections and deceitful lusts which have hitherto led me 
astray from thee ; and to renounce, with a holy indignation and 
disdain, all those vain pursuits which are inconsistent with 
godliness, and oppose the progress of the divine life in my 

* I desire solemnly and sincerely to yield myself a living 
sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto thee, which is my most 
reasonable service. May I be, henceforward, entirely thine; 
may I live unto thy honor and glory, while my life is merci- 
fully spared ; and employ, with diligence, all my active powers 
in promoting the great end for which I was sent into the world. 
Fill me, O my God ! with an ardent desire, and an humble reso- 
ution, to continue thine through all the endless ages of eternity. 
To thy direction and righteous disposal I wish to resign my- 
self and all I possess. Do with me as seemeth good in thy 
sight; and conduct me henceforth in such a manner as to 
make me most subservient to the great purposes of thy glory. 

* But, Lord, without thee I can do nothing : the best resolu- 
tions are of no avail without the assistance and the sanctifying 
influences of thy Spirit. Leave me not, nor forsake me, thou 
God of my salvation ! Grant me thy special grace at all times. 
Keep me from falling by the right hand of thy power. Guide 
me by thy counsel, I entreat thee. Preserve me from all sin. 
Save me from grieving the Holy Spirit. Grant me the light 
of thy countenance and the joy of thy salvation, in life, at 
death, and through eternity. May I be steadfast, immovable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord. 

*And, O thou God, in whose hands are the spirits of all flesh, 
may I never be weary in well-doing, knowing that in due 
season I shall reap if I faint not. And finally, may an abun- 
dant entrance be administered to me into the everlasting king- 

1791.] HOME THEOLOGY. 63 

dom of my Lord and Saviour, in whose name I now address 
thee ; and to whom, with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, 
be everlasting praises. Amen.' 

"April 19th, 1791. This day, agreeably to a design formed 
some time since, I presented myself to the Presbytery of Lewes, 
met at Wicomico, in Somerset county, Maryland. After an 
examination respecting my experimental acquaintance with re- 
ligion, and my views in seeking the holy ministry, the Presby- 
tery declared themselves fully satisfied, and agreed unanimously 
to receive me on trials. After this I was examined on the 
Latin and Greek languages, and preached a homily to the 
Presbytery on 1 Corinthians 15, 22 ; of all which performances 
they were pleased to express their approbation. 

The minutes of Presbytery mention the place of meeting 
as Rockawakirij dating the commencement of its sesiflon ou 
the 19th, and Mr. Miller's reception on the 20th of April. 
His father was not able to attend this or, apparently, any 
subsequent, meeting. 

'June 21, 1791. This day I presented myself a second time 
to the Presbytery of Lewes, which met at Fishing Creek, near 
Cambridge, in Maryland, and proceeded on my trials. Agree- 
ably to their appointment I read two exercises, one a lecture on 
Luke 10, 30-38 ; the other an exegesis on this question — "An 
Je8U8 post viortem ejus in infernum descendit /" Both were by 
the Presbytery approved. I was also examined on Rhetoric 
and Logic, and this part of my trials was entered on the record 
"approved." ' 

* my God, whose I am and whom I am bound to serve, I 
entreat thee, as I advance in this pursuit, and whilst I am en- 
deavoring to prepare myself to serve thee in the ministry of re- 
conciliation, be pleased to add thy blessing to the whole. Oh 
grant me that "preparation of the heart," and that "answer of 
the tongue," which thou alone art able to give. O Lord, suffer 
me not to undertake to dispense the bread of life to others, in 
Christ's name, without being fed and nourished by it myself; 
without knowing, experimentally, "what I say and whereof I 
affirm." ' 

'July 22d, 1791. This morning, [Friday,] about 1 o'clock, 
my dear, honored and venerable father departed this life in 
the sixty-ninth year' of his age, after an illness of about eleven 

* He had been in a weak, infirm state of health for more than 
a year before, and had been, for a month or two previously, in- 
disposed with a large and painful anthrax on his back, but 


which was nearly well when he was seized with the dysentery, 
a complaint very prevalent and considerably mortal in the 
neighborhood at that time. The power of the disease was so 
great as to deprive him of his speech entirely for twenty-four 
hours, at least, before he expired, and to induce such a lethargy 
as could by no means be overcome. This prevented our re- 
ceiving his dying counsels and testimonies, which we earnestly 
desired ; yet we have unspeakable reason to be thankful, that 
his long, exemplary and uniform life of piety and evangelical 
labor left no one in the least doubt of his happy change. It 
was on our own account, and not his, that "we desired to receive ' 
those counsels and testimonies. 

* May ^11 his relatives, and especially we his children, be suita- 
bly impressed with this melancholy evBnt, and be enabled to 
make a suitable improvement of it. May we imitate the bright 
example which was set before us, in the various departments of 
duty, by this our pious and excellent parent. May we all en- 
deavor to follow him as he followed Christ. May we never 
sully his unblemished reputation by irreligious or dishonorable 
conduct. But may we all prove worthy of such a father.' 

At the father's death, Mrs. McLane was living in Phila- 
delphia, and Mrs. Loockerman where she had 4ived with 
her husband; Joseph was practising Law, and Edward 
Medicine, at Dover, but possibly lodging at the homestead, 
where Samuel certainly was ; and where, two months later, 
he was joined by James, just graduated at the University. 
As yet the brothers were all of them struggling with for- 
tune ; but closely united as they were with one another, as 
also with their sisters, in the warmest and most disinter- 
ested affection, each seemed to feel that his brother's suc- 
cess was his own ; and they were constantly interchanging 
offices of the tenderest kindness. This happy result of a 
Christian training secured the completion of the father's 
plans for the liberal education of his sons, and the more 
ready and successful progress of all in their several pur- 
suits. Especially the younger were assisted .by the older ; 
and the ties of family affection were thus- drawn constantly 
closer, to be relaxed only by the hand of death. 

Samuel, in a devotional spirit, was now assiduously pur- 
suing his theological studies. 

2. Licensure. 

'September 22, 1791. This day I set apart for fasting and 
extraordinary prayer, to renew my solicitations at the throne 

1791.] LICENSURE. 65 

of grace for the blessing and assistance of heaven in pursuing 
my theological studies ; in going on to prepare myself for the 
various important duties of a minister of the gospel and an 
ambassador of Christ ; and, especially, to implore the Giver of 
all grace, to grant me his presence and blessing at the ap- 
proaching session of Presbytery ; when, with his permission, I 
expect to undergo a third examination, and possibly may be 
licensed, * * ' 

'October 13th, 1791. The Presbyter j; of Lewes met in 
Dover yesterday. I then delivered the popular sermon which 
I had been directed to prepare from Romans 8, 14. After un- 
dergoing a long and strict examination on college studies and 
especially on Theology, I was this day licensed to preach the 

'Oh, the solemnity of this transaction! To be a public 
teacher of the way of salvation ! Who is sufficient for these 
things ? O thou, with whom is the Spirit, vouchsafe to grant 
me thine enlightening, sanctifying and strengthening grace. 
Deliver me from vain glory and self-dependence. Help me to 
walk humbly with God, and daily to grow in conformity with 
thine image, and in preparation for thy service.' 

The Rev. Luther Halsey, D.D., in a communication to 
the New York ObservQr, in 1836, said, "We differ from 
other Presbyterian churches in so adopting these formulas " 
— the Confession and Catechisms — "that only the essen- 
tial OR fundamental doctrines shall be the test of 
ministerial and Christian fellowship.*' To support this as- 
sertion, he alleged, among other things, that "The Rev. 
Dr. Miller of Princeton was admitted notwithstanding his 
objections to the Confession, Chap. xxiv.'J 

Replying, in a letter dated Princeton, March 16, 1836, 
to this allegation, Dr. Miller made the statement which 

"When I was licensed by the Presbytery of Lewes, between 
forty and fifty years ago, just before standing up to make the 
proiession and engagement required of candidates for license, I 
informed the Presbytery, that the only article in the Confes- 
sion of Faith concerning which I had the smallest doubt, was 
a short clause in the fourth section of the 24th chapter, which 
treats of "Marriage and Divorce." The clause was this : "The 
man may not marry any of his [deceased] wife's kindred nearer 
in blood than he may of his own, etc." I had happened, a few 
weeks before, to listen to a discussion of the question, whether 
a man might lawfully marry the sister of his deceased wife-; 


and my mind wa3 brought into a state of doubt on the subject. 
Of this I thought it my duty candidly to inform the Presby- 
tery, assuring them, that I could heartily adopt every other 
article of the Confession. They unanimously concluded that 
this doubt was no valid obstacle to my subscribing in the usual 
form, which I accordingly did, and was forthwith licensed. 

"Soon afterwards my doubts were removed, and I became 
satisfied that the Confession of Faith, in relation to the matter 
in question, took the wisest, safest, and most Scriptural ground. 
For a number of years before I ceased to be a pastor, I thought 
it my duty to decline sanctioning any matrimonial connexion, 
condemned by the clause referred to, and to set my face in 
every proper way against it. 

" It has given me, I confess, some pain to be held up to view 
as objecting to a whole chapter of the Confession of Faith, with- 
out discrimination ; and to have the impression probably made 
and left on the readers of Dr. Halsey's letter, that I still ad- 
hered to objections, or rather doubts, which I entirely dismissed 
many years ago. Besides, if I do not altogether mistake, that 
respected Brother was distinctly informed, seven or eight years 
since, when it was proposed to expunge the clause in question 
from the Confession of Faith, that I objected to the proposal, 
and was earnestly desirous that the clause should be retained." 

The idea of presbyterial authority and control which pre- 
vailed at that time in the Presbyterian Church is well illus- 
trated by the action of the Presbytery of Lewes, from time 
to time, in regard to Mr. Miller as their licentiate. 

* Mr. Miller was appointed to supply at Dover the 4th Sab- 
bath of October, and the next Sabbath day at Duck Creek 
Cross Eoads ; the 1st Sabbath of November at Dover, and the 
next Sabbath at Duck Creek ; and the remainder of his time 
at discretion until our Spring meeting of Presbytery. * * 

* Mr. Samuel Miller, having asked leave of absence for some 
time from the bounds of the Presbytery, before our next ses- 
sion, obtained his request.'^ 

In a letter of the 9th of November to Edward Miller, 
Col. McLane writes, 

'Brother Samuel appeared in Market street meeting last 
Sunday afternoon, and gave pleasing sensations to his friends. 
I believe he is allowed by most to offer well. I hope the dear 
youth may have the needful graces for the sacred office plenti- 
fully given him by his Master.' 

1 Min, of Presb. of Lewe?, 150, 

1791.] DR. NISBET. 57 

3. Dr. Nisbbt. 

The permission obtained from Presbytery prepared the 
way for 'Mr. Miller's enjoying, for a few months, the in- 
structions of a distinguished scholar and theologian, whom 
he held, ever afterwards, in grateful and admiring remem- 
brance, and whose biography, almost fifty years later, he 
wrote under the impulse of a sort of filial affection. This 
was Charles Nisbet, D. D., first Prinoipal of Dickinson 
College — a Scotch clergyman, whose early fame for talent, 
power of utterance in both public and private, wit and 
erudition, had crossed the Atlantic, and induced the found- 
ers of the college mentioned to call him unanimously to the 
head of that infant institution. An ardent friend of the 
American colonies in their struggle against oppression, and 
a warm admirer of the republican government established 
in this country upon the ruins of kingly power, he had ac- 
cepted the call, and, coming to the United States, had 
settled himself at Carlisle in 1785. 

Mr. Miller, after fulfilling his presbyterial appointments 
to preach at Dover and Duck Creek, on the first and second 
Sabbaths, the 6th and 13th, of November, seems to have 
hastened at once to put himself, in his theological studies, 
under Dr. Nisbet's direction. The following account he 
has himself given, in the Life of his revered preceptor, of 
the winter spent thus at Carlisle. 

"It was in the Autumn of the year 1791, that the acquaint- 
ance of the author of this memoir with the venerable subject of 
it commenced. The author had, anterior to this, pursued his 
theological studies under the direction of a beloved and vene- 
rated parent, near Dover, in Delaware, his native place. On the 
decease of that parent, who had been the pastor of the Presby- 
terian church in Dover for nearly half a century, and after 
having received license to preach the Gospel, he determined to 
avail himself, for at least a few months, of the conversation and 
guidance of the distinguished man, whose learning, and whose 
course of theological lectures, had received so large a share of 
public approbation. For this purpose, in the month of Novem- 
ber of the year above mentioned, he repaired to Carlisle, and 
found Dr. Nisbet in good health and spirits, and busily en- 
gaged in his labours as the head of Dickinson College, the win- 
ter session of which had, a few weeks before, commenced. 

" He had never until then seen the eminent man whose in- 
structions he sought. He expected to find so much learning 


connected with reserved and formal, if not repulsive, manners ; 
but was agreeably surprised to find Dr. Nisbet as affable, as 
easy of access, as simple and unostentatious in his manners, 
and as attractive in all the intercourse of social life, as any man 
he had ever seen. He received the inexperienced young licen- 
tiate with all the condescension and kindness jof a parent; and, 
after the first hour, placed him as much at his ease, as if he 
had been hanging on the lips of. that parent according to the 
flesh, whose loss he had recently been called to mourn. 

'' Such were the habits and manners of this venerable man, 
and also of his amiable family, that the writer, from the first 
day of his arrival in Carlisle, felt himself at home in his pre- 
sence. His prftctice, in ordinary cases, was regularly, every 
evening, to sit with him in his domestic circle two or three 
hours. And on whatever subject he might desire information, 
whether in Theology or Literature, ancient or modern, he had 
but to propose the topic, and suggest queries, to draw forth 
everything that he wished. Nor were Dr. Nisbet's instructive 
communications of that declaiming or preaching kind which 
some learned men are fond of exhibiting, but which can scarcely 
with propriety be called " conversation," since they are all on 
one side. They presented a constant flow of rich amusement 
and information, and yet so entirely free from ostentation, dog- 
matism, or pedantry, that every listener was at once instructed, 
entertained and gratified. Probably no man on this side ofJihe 
Atlantic ever brought into the social circle such diversified and 
ample stores of erudition ; — such an extraordinary knowledge 
of men, and books, and opinions.; such an amazing fund of rare 
and racy anecdotes ; and all poured out with so much unstudied 
simplicity, with such constant flashes of wit and humour, and 
with such a peculiar mixture of satire and good nature, as kept 
every company, whether young or old, hanging upon his lips, 
and doing constant homage to his wonderful acquirements. 

"Sometimes, when in the midst of these delightful effusions, 
a new visitor would step in, and introduce a new topic of dis- 
course, it was wonderful with what facility he could change 
the train of conversation ; strike upon a new and rich vein of 
thought ; and excite new and endless surprise by his intellect- 
ual resources. And if any member of the circle attempted to 
enter the lists with him as a competitor in either wit or learn- 
ing, as was sometimes the case with those who did not " know 
their man," he soon manifested, with perfect good humour, with 
what entire ease he could distance every one on either track. 
Of scenes of this kind, the writer of this memoir has been so 
often a witness, that he cannot call them to mind at the pre- 
sent hour without mixed feelings of surprise and admiration. 

1792.] DR. NISBET. 59 

" He was led, too, in consequence of the strong impressions 
then made by the instructions of the living teacher, to doubt 
whether the popular estimate of the means of knowledge 
anterior to the discovery of the art of printing, is not, in some 
measure, both inadequate and incorrect. * * It is certain that 
the writer of this memoir, when he left Carlisle, in the spring 
of 1792, carried with him a deeper impression than he ever 
had before, of the immense advantagevto be derived from com- 
ing into contact daily with an acute, active and richly furnished 
mind, from which as much might be learned in one hour, 
(especially on subjects concerning which books rare and diffi- 
cult of access are the only sources of instruction from reading,) 
as from the private study of a week. He left it also with no 
small regret that he had not derived from the enjoyment of 
this privilege more ample benefit ; and a conviction, that if he 
had been more aware of its value at the time, and more awake 
to its importance, it might have been far mgre productive of 
fruit than it was. Alas ! it was with him, as with most others, 
that the most precious advantages are seldom adequately ap- 
preciated until the possession of them is withdrawn." 

'' The compiler of this volume has never seen a man so well 
adapted to benefit those around him, in these respects, as Dr. 
Nisbet. The rapidity and force of his mind in conversation ; 
the preeminent richness of his mental furniture ; his vivacity ; 
his wit ; his inexhaustible store of striking anecdotes and of 
happy classical allusions, rendered him at all times a most in- 
structive and entertainiilg companion ; and served more indeli- 
bly to impress upon the mind what came from his lips than 
from those of almost any other man. 

"The writer was not so happy as to enjoy the privilege of 
hearing any part of Dr. Nisbet's course of theological lectures. 
Their delivery had been completed ten months before he took 
up his temporary abode in Carlisle; and they were never 
repeated to a second class. A number of individual students, 
indeed, from time to time, resorted to him for direction in their 
studies ; but the regular formation of a theological class was 
never again accomplished. The reasons for this reflected little 
credit on the youthful candidates for the ministry at that time. 
Some were discouraged by the prospect of a course of study, 
which was to extend to between two and three years ! This 
seemed a long time to those who imagined that an adequate 
course of theological instruction might be brought within a 
much shorter compass, and whose parents, still more impatient, 
could not be persuaded that such a long, and, as they thought, 
tedious training could be necessary to prepare candidates for 


the ministry for their work. They saw some other denomina- 
tions, with none of these advantages, and indeed with scarcely 
any study, sending forth scores of popular men ; and hastily 
supposed that so much protracted labor in preparing for the 
ministry could not be needful. , 

" It was understood, too, that the requisition of the learned 
and venerable lecturer, that every member of his theological 
class should commit to writing the whole of each lecture, as it 
fell from his lips, was regarded with aversion, and seemed a 
drudgery too severe to be pursued through several years. This 
requisition would never have been made in other circumstances. 
But the lecturer well knew that books were extremely scarce, 
especially in the western parts of our country ; and that, there- 
fore,~ the possession of a complete system of theology, prepared 
with great care, would be a treasure of permanent and peculiar 
value. Even this, however, was not properly appreciated by 
short-sighted young men, and still more short-sighted parents. 
On these accounts, a second class was never formed; and, 
although the lectures in question were copied by several theo- 
logical students, who had not the privilege of hearing them 
delivered, and were read in manuscript by a number of the 
neighboring divines, they were never again repeated in public."*^ 

With Dr. Nisbet Mr. Miller thus formed an intimacy, 
"which was a source of great pleasure, not only to him- 
self, but to those to whom he imparted his cherished recol- 
lections, as long as he lived. '*^ He often talked, with 
evident zest, of his venerable teacher, representing him as 
a man of prodigious literary and theological acquirements, 
most l*eady wit, with some oddity, and unusual powers 
of thought and verbal expression as an extemporaneous 
preacher. No doubt the honored preceptor left more than 
one visible mark upon the mind and habits of his fondly- 
appreciative pupil. 

1 Pp. 210-216. »3 Sprftgue's Annals, 600. 



1. Seeking a Settlement. 

Mr. Miller remained in Carlisle until the beginning of 
March, when he set out to visit a vacant church on Long 
Island, to which he had been invited as a candidate. In 
New York City, however, calling on Dr. Rodgers, his 
father's former friend, previously settled at St. George's, 
Delaware, he was prevailed upon to tarry two weeks and 
preach repeatedly. 

Here he first met the venerable John H. Livingston, D. 
D., of whom long afterwards he wrote, 

**My acquaintance with Dr. Livingston began when he was 
far advanced in life, and when I was, I had almost said, in my 
clerical boyhood. On my first visit to New York, in 1792, my 
friend, and my father's friend, and soon afterwards -my col- 
league, the Rev. Dr. Rodgers, (whose name I can never men- 
tion, without associating with it some epithet of honor, and 
some emotion of filial affection,) introduced me to him as one 
whose acquaintance and friendship he deemed particularly 
worth cultivating. At my first interview with him, I was 
struck with his venerable and commanding figure; his truly 
gentlemanly deportment; his condescending kindness to the 
young and inexperienced ; his instructive conversation ; his un- 
usual familiarity with everything relating to biblical and theo- 
logical inquiries ; his deep spirituality ; and his evident dispo- 
sition to encourage youthful candidates for the sacred office."^ 

Returning to Delaware, Mr. Miller there remained, 
preaching at Dover and Duck Creek until the beginning of 
June. Meanwhile, the impression he had made in New 

^ Gunn's Memoirs of Dr. Livingston, 512. 

6 61 

62 THE LICENTIATE. [CH. 4. 1. 

York had induced an effort there to secure from him 
another visit.^ The Presbytery of Lewes met at Broad 
Creek, now Laurel, April 17th, and was opened with a 
sermon, from John vi. 35, by Mr. Miller, who reported his 
fulfilment of the Presbyterial appointments of the previous 
fall. The minutes of this session contain the following 
entries: — 

*A call was delivered in to Presbytery from the congregation 
of Dover for Mr. Samuel Miller, to take the pastoral charge of 
said congregation, which call was put into the hands of Mr. 
Miller for consideration. 

*Mr. Miller was appointed to supply at Dover and Duck 
Creek alternately until the Ist of June next ; from which time, 
until our Fall meeting, he was allowed, at his discretion to 
visit the United Presbyterian Congregations in New York, at 
their earnest request by them signified to us.'^ 

These appointments for, Delaware were to the letter ful- 
filled. Doubtless, Mr. Miller had signified his acceptance 
of the fiattering invitation from New York, and early in 
June he went thither, proposing to spend a little time there, 
and afterwards journey onwards into New England, where 
he intended to visit numerous relations, known, hitherto, 
only, or chiefly, through the correspondence which had been 
kept up with the Delaware family. Reaching New York 
about the 10th of June, he remained in that city a month, 
preaching again -every Sabbath and with continued accep- 
tance. While thus engaged, he procured from his friend, 

1 At a meeting of the Trustees, the Elders, and Deacons of the First Presby- 
terian Church, on Wednesday the 28th day of March, 1792. 

* Whereas Mr. Samuel Miller, a licentiate from Dover in the State of Dela- 
ware, has lately preached sundry Sermons to the United Presbyterian Con- 
gregations in this city : and whereas if appears to us that his performances 
have met with such a degree of approbation, by the hearers at large, that they 
are generally desirous to receive another visit from him : 

* Thereupon Beeolved unanimously, that the said Mr. Samuel Miller be re- 
quested to make another visit to the United Presbyterian Congregations afore- 
said, as soon as he is discharged from all previous engagements after the first 
of June next ; and the Trustees do hereby engage to make him a reasonable 
compensation for the services he may render the Church aforesaid in his min- 
isterial capacity : 

* Ordered that Doctor Rodgers and Doctor McKnight ba requested to take 
the earliest opportunity to communicate to Mr. Samuel Miller the aforesaid 
resolution and request. 

' By order of the meeting, 
' New York, March 28th, 1792. Jno. Broom, Chairman. 

' Test. David Cation, Clerk.' 

'Min. of Presb. of L^wes, 151, 2. 


Dr. Green, then colleague of Dr. Sproat in the Second 
Church of Philadelphia, the following letter of introduction 
to the Rev. Jedediah Morse, ^of Charlestown, Massachu- 

* Philadelphia, June 19, 1792. 
* Rev. & dear Sir, 

'The bearer of this letter is a young clergyman, who 
visits your country, for the purpose of improvement and to see 
his friends. I can unreservedly recommend him to your notice 
and friendly attention. He wUl probably please both you and 
your people as a preacher, and in his personal qualities you 
will find him modest, amiable and, I trust, truly pious. BLe is 
a young gentleman for whom I have a sincere affection, and 
any attentions you may show him, I shall accept as done to 
myself. He has not long been licensed ; but he preaches me- 
moriter and has a handsome address in the pulpit.' 

Leaving jNew York about the 10th of July, Mr. Miller 
proceeded on his way to New England, embarking, with his 
horse and sulky, on board a packet bound to Newport, 
Rhode Island. Thence, in the sulky, he set out on a lei- 
surely tour through the Eastern States, which occupied his 
time until the end of September. What places and persons 
he visited, besides Charlestown and Mr. Morse, cannot now 
be determined. Old memoranda, prepared, perhaps, for 
this very tour, mention families of the name of Bass at 
Boston, Newburyport and Portsmouth; of Phillips at 
Boston ; and of Henshaw at Shrewsbury and Leicester, 
Massachusetts, New Hartford and Middletown, Connecti- 
cut. But at such "a great rate" had the descendants of 
John Alden and Samuel Bass increased, that these were 
probably but a small part of the relatives, with whom Mr. 
Miller became acquainted, in the course of his New Eng- 
land pilgrimage. 

2. Calls to New York and Dover. 

While the young licentiate was rambling over the Eastern 
States, the United Congregations in New York were mak- 
ing arrangements to secure, permanently, his ministerial 
services. On the 29th of August they ordered a formal 
call to be made out, as appears from the following extract 
from their session-book. 

1 D.D. from 1795. See 2 Sprague'a Annals, 247. 

64 THE LICENTIATE. [CH. 4. 2. 

* Agreeably to a resolve of the Session, at their last meeting, 
and notice given accordingly to the congregation, a very nu- 
merous and respectable meeting of the congregation was had in 
the New Church on Wednesday evening last; when it was 
unanimously agreed that a call should be prepared for Mr. 
Samuel Miller, to be signed by the Session, Trustees and Dea- 
cons, on the behalf of the Congregation ; and that the sum of 
three hundred pounds be proposed as his present yearly salary, 
to be augmented as circumstances may require, at the discre- 
tion of the congregation. Dr. Rodgers presided in the con- 
ducting the business, and Dr. McKnight officiated as clerk.' 

It seems not to have been the custom, at this early date, 
to distract a church with a dozen, or even half a dozen, 
candidates on trial all together, as a preliminary to the 
delicate business of uniting them upon a single one. It 
was, doubtless, thought wiser to decide, formally or in- 
formally, upon the merits of each after he had been thor- 
oughly tried ; and, if Mr. Miller had not the honor of be- 
ing selected from a long list of aspirants, he was, at least, 
spared the pain of finding a minority opposed to him, and 
the trouble of reconciling parties in a divided church. " He 
has been heard to remark, that he had never, at that time, 
aspired to anything beyond an ordinary country charge ; 
and that nothing could have surprised him more than that 
he should have been thought of for such a public and im- 
portant sphere of labour.*'^ 

Early in October Mr. Miller returned. to Delaware, 
whence he addressed the following letter to his new ac- 
quaintance, Mr. Morse: — 

' Dover, October 4, 1792. 
' Rev. & dear Sir, 

* I reached home on Tuesday last [2d] after a leisurely 
and highly agreeable journey, from Boston to Dover, of four 
weeks. I was much entertained and pleased with the inhabi- 
tants of the country, as I passed through Massachusetts and 
Connecticut. Upon the whole, I felicitate myself exceedingly 
on having taken such a ride at this time of life. 

' I embrace the first opportunity of sending the Constitution 
of Delaware, which was lately formed. I fear it will arrive too 
late ; but it was impossible for me to send it sooner. You will 
see that, like all other human productions, it has some faulta. 

' Be pleased to make my best compliments to Mrs. Morse, 
and to all others in Boston who may inquire for me ; especially 

^ 3 Sprague's Annals, 600. 


to the clergy who honored me with their acquaintance and 

* With sentiments of the highest respect and esteem, 

* I am, Sir, your obedient and humble servant, 

'Samuel Miller.' 

After his return, Mr. Miller seems to have resumed his 
labors in the churches of Dover and Duck Creek for a few 
weeks. If the call to New York was a strong testimony to 
the promise of his early preaching; that from the congre- 
gations which his father had so long served, and in the ^ 
midst of which he had been brought up, was a testimony 
still stronger to his irreproachable life. His diary at this 
time discloses the state of his mind in regard to these con- 
flicting calls. 

'November 15, 1792. I have set apart this day for fasting 
and special prayer — among other important purposes, to ask 
divine direction in the following affair. 

* The Presbytery of Lewes I expect will meet next week, 
when there is a probability that a call from the United Pres- 
byterian Congregations of New York will be put into my 
hands. There is a call already before me from the church in 
Dover * * unanimous and very affectionate in its character; but 
which of them I ought to accept is the question — the solemn 
question — ^which requires serious and prayerful deliberation. 
For direction in the case, I would this day solemnly address 
the throne of grace. 

*I confess myself to be rather inclined to favor the applica- 
tion from New York ; and I hope for reasons which will stand 
the test of Christian examination. 'But my deceitful heart 
may lead me astray. O my God enlighten and guide me! If 
I know my own heart, I desire to go where I may, most effec- 
tually, by thy grace, promote the glory of God and the good 
of my fellow-men. 

The following extracts from the Minutes of Lewes 
Presbytery carry forward the history of this affair. 

' Broad Creek, Nov. 20, 1792. 

* A pro re nata presbytery having been regularly called by 
the moderator, for the purpose of furnishing an opportunity to 
the United Presbyterian Congregations of New York of offer- 
ing a call to Mr. Samuel Miller, our licentiate, to be their 
pastor, met, etc. * *. 

* The Presbytery put said call into the hai^ds of Mr. Miller 
for his consideration. * * The moderator asked Mr. Miller, " Do 


66 THE LICENTIATE. [CH. 4. 3. 


you accept the call from the United Congregations of New 
York or not?" Mr. Miller answered, "I do accept the call 
from New York, and consequently give up the call which I 
have in my possession from Dover." 

* Mr. Miller then asked a dismission from the Presbytery of 
Lewes, that he might join the Presbytery of New York ; upon 
which Presbytery did dismiss Mr. Miller, and he is hereby dis- 
missed, with the following recommendation. 

'The. Presbytery of Lewes received Mr. Samuel Miller 
with a fair character and the best recommendations. He 
has preached in our bounds and under our direction to the 
general acceptance of those who heard him. It affords us 
pleasure to testify that his moral and religious conversation 
has been unexceptionable. We dismiss him with regret, be- 
lieving him' to be of promising talents, and likely to be of use 
in the churches of Christ with us. We commit him to the 
holy keeping of God, and pray that he, the Presbytery, and 
the Congregations in which he may labor, may have mutual 
comfort and advantage.'^ 

Upon the same day Mr. Miller wrote in his diary, 

* O Lord, may it please thee to add thy blessing to the de- 
cision which I have made this day ! I have endeavored, as I 
hope, to d^ide in thy fear. May the step which I have taken 
be made to promote thy glory, and the good of that great 
cause which I hope I love !' 

3. Farewell to Delaware. 

Soon after this, at the close of a Sabbath morning ser- 
vice in the church at Dover, Mr. Miller delivered the fol- 
lowing valedictory address. The new house of worship to 
which it refers, a tradition upon the spot declares to have 
been erected to secure his settlement, which is not impossi- 
ble. His father, indeed, as we have seen, laid the 'corner 
brick, '^ but not before his son had commenced his studies 
for the ministry. 

* As I have accepted a call to settle in the City of New York, 
and design, with the permission of Providence, to set out for 
that place to-morrow, it is not probable I shall preach here 
again for a considerable time. * * 

* In taking leave of the County, I feel all that painful regret 
which departure from my native place, added to many other 

1 Pp. 1 54, 5. 

2 See p. 49. 


considerations, is calculated to inspire. To bid adieu to a place 
in which niy earliest and strongest attachments are fixed, and 
to which I am bound by numberless and endearing ties, is 
indeed a melancholy task, which I undertake with peculiar 

* But there is an aditional source of regret, which occupies 
and affects my mind. The particular regard which I feel for 
this congregation, and my anxious concern for its various inter- 
ests, give rise to many painful emotions, in reflecting on the 
distant removal that is oefore me. When you call to mind 
that my dear and ever honored father sustained the pastoral 
relation to this church for more than forty years ; and that its 
welfare was an object of his constant pursuit and unwearied 
labor ; you may easily conclude that his sons's heart is deeply 
engaged, and his highest solicitude excited, for its prosperity 
and happiness. The tender recollection also, that near these 
walls lie the remains of both my beloved parents, and three 
brothers, attaches me to this little spot in a manner which I 
cannot 4pres.,and renders the /ros^t of a separation from 
it truly ^distressmg. 

* But these, my friends, however interesting, are not the only 
considerations which bind me to this society. Gratitude 
demands, that I should make farther acknowledgments, 
and call to mind some of the numerous favors which I have 
received at your hands. Disposed to overlook my youthfiil 
imperfections, you have received my public ministrations with 
kindness and candor, and have attended on my feeble labors 
with a degree of indulgence which I had little reason to claim. 
The unanimous and affectionate manner in which you invited 
me to take the pastoral charge of your church, the uniform 
friendship and atteiition which I have experienced jfrom you ; 
and the many testimonies of regard and attachment with which 
I have been favored ; — all these form a weight of obligation 
on me, which I not only sensibly feel, but also wish for an op- 
portunity of expressing in a suitable manner. For thus affec- 
tionately taking a youth by the hand, on his first entrance into 
the world, may God reward you ! I beg you to accept of my 
grateful acknowledgments, and to be assured that I shall 
always feel a deep and lively impression of these favors. 

* From a society to which I am thus tenderly attached, and 
under such high obligations, it is unnecessary to say again, that 
I depart with peculiar reluctance and sorrow. Nothing but 
the fullest conviction that duty, and the voice of Providence, 
call me to another quarter of the Christian vineyard, would 
induce me to violate so many of my terfderest feelings, and 

68 THE LICENTIATE. [CH. 4. 3, 

surmount so many difficulties as oppose the decision I have 
made. In doing this, I engage indeed in an arduous task, and 
enter on a situation rather too responsible for my youth and 
inexperience. But I rely for assistance and direction on the 
same great Hand, by whose beneficence I have been hitherto 

* In bidding you adieu, I indulge the most flattering hopes 
of your prosperity and welfare. Y our active and exemplary 
zeal in erecting a church ; your diligent exertions to establish 
the worship of God regularly among you ; and your care to 
revive the congregation and watch over its various interests, 
have amply deserved, and have doubtless received, the applause 
of every friend of religion. I feel the highest confidence that 
these exertions will continue and increase ; and that, through 
the blessing of the great Head of the Church, you will grow 
in respectability and flourish more than ever. I trust that a 
merciful and gracious God will not suffer such favorable pros- 
pects to prove abortive ; but that he will make you the objects 
of his peculiar care, and refresh you with the liberal effusions 
of his Holy, Spirit ! I fervently pray, that he may speedily 
give you a pastor after his own heart, in connection with whom 
you may enjoy the highest advantage, and the most uninter- 
rupted comrort. I pray that all your interests- may be precious 
in his sight, and that by his continual blessing you may 
speedily become a holy and a happy church ! 

* Should my life be spared, it will afford me great pleasure to 
return frequently, and in person to witness and partake of your 
happiness. But, however this may be, I shall always retain 
an affectionate and grateful remembrance of you ; and preserve 
unalterable that attachment which has so long influenced my 
mind. And though we be scattered over the world, by that 
God who knows what is best for us, yet I hope that through 
the merit of the only Saviour, we shall at last meet in heaven, 
and be happy forever more. 

* Under the influence of these comforting sentiments, my be- 
loved friends, I bid you farewell ! May grace, mercy and 
peace be multiplied unto you I May the blessing of God 
Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be and 
remain with you all, both now and forever. Amen !' 

The foregoing address, whatever defects may be disco- 
vered in it, and consid3rately attributed to the immaturity 
of twenty-three, presents, in a remarkable degree, some of 
the most prominent characteristics of Mr. Miller's mind and 
manners in even his riper years. It seems to prove, that, 
for the more striking results of literary and social culture, 


he was indebted almost wholly to the influences exerted 
upon him before he left Delaware ; not to those of his after 
residence in New York. As there appears to have been 
nothing remarkable in his distinguished preceptor, Dr. Nis- 
bet, as to external polish or elegance, it must have been in 
his parents, or one of them, or in some other person with 
whom he had frequent intercourse, during his home, or col- 
legiate studies, that he found the model of courtesy, refine- 
ment, and Christian regard to the feelings of others, which 
he seemed to keep ever afterwards before him. With the 
biographer it has been a conviction, growing constantly as his 
work has advanced, and perhaps already participated in by 
the reader, who has shared in most of the evidence on which 
it rests, that it was in that retired, rural, Delaware home, that 
Mr. Miller 'laid the foundation of every accomplishment, 
which particularly characterized his subsequent life ; and, 
if so, the fact is but one proof among many of the power 
of early home influences. To John Dickinson, his father's 
intimate friend, allusion has already been made. His ex- 
ample may have exerted no small influence upon the family 
at the parsonage, which he doubtless not unfrequently vi- 
sited. Of him Dr. Samuel Miller wrote to the Hon. Gulian 
C. Verplanck, on the 3lst of August, 1814, 

* I have often heard * * that Mr. Dickinson's first appearance 
at the bar was attractive and interesting in the highest degree ; 
and that, as long as he continued to practice his profession, he 
was pre-eminently popular * * 

* [He] was the most polisJied man I ever saw. His face was 
remarkably indicative of refinement and cultivation. His 
whole person waa peculiarly elegant He had more the appear- 
ance of a man of rank — a nobleman, (if you please,) than al- 
most any other man that it has fallen to my lot to know. His 
voice was singularly sweet. His manners were unusually grace- 
ftil. His animal spirits were always excellent ; and his con- 
versation more rich, various, delicate, entertaining and full 
of vivacity, than that of one man in a million. In the draw- 
ing-room, and especially in female company, he was pre-emi- 
nently splendid and captivating. 

* Mr. Edmund Burke, in the course of a debate on American 
affairs, at the commencement of the Revolutionary War, having 
occasion to mention hip, said, " I have the pleasure of knowing 
Mr. Dickinson, and he is one of the most elegant and accom- 
plished men I ever saw." 

70 THE LICENTIATE. [CH. 4. 3. 

* Mr. Dickinson was bred a Quaker. During his public life 
he pretty much threw off the dress and language which distin- 
guish that sect. But after his retirement to private life in Wil- 
mington, (which took place about the year 1788,) he returned 
again to the habits of Friends ; ^ and, though he never lost his 
elegance of manners, he was ever after, as far as such a man 
could be, a plain Quaker. 

* Mr. Dickinson was, undoubtedly, a man of great talents of 
a particular kind ; as, I think, his writings testify. He was also 
very industrious, a great reader, and of an active mind. All 
that my female* friend says, in her eulogium, of his religious 
character, of his benevolence, of "his uniform exemplariness and 
dignity, of his remarkably rigid temperance, etc., may be consi- 
dered as entirely correct. 

* Mr. Dickinson was probably the most opulent individual 
residing in the State of Delaware. I take for granted his. pro- 
perty could not have been less than $300,000 or $400,000. He 
was, on great occasions, munificent to a degree worthy of him- 
self He was the principal benefactor of Dickinson College, in 
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on which account ^that Seminary 
bears his name. He was also a large contributor to other pub- 
lic institutions. 

* Mr. Dickinson was a timid politician. I tave understood 
that, on the Day of the Declaration of Independence, in 1776, 
he was not in his seat in Congress. Dr. Ramsay, I think, gives 
some account of his conduct on that occasion. On Governor 
McKean's announcing the event to him, he said, " I wish I had 
your nerve." "I wish, my Friend," replied the Governor, 
" you had even half of it." ' 

When, exactly, Mr. Miller left Delaware, is uncertain, 
but he did not reach New York until early in January. It 
is probable that he spent some little time upon the way thi- 
ther — most of it, doubtless, with his friends in Philadelphia. 
What he was, at this time, in personal appearance, man, 
ners, literary and theological culture and pulpit power- 
must be gathered, mainly, from the foregoing narrative. 
Says a friend, ' I have heard the late Judge Fisher, of 
Dover, speak of the great change in Dr. Miller's style of 
preaching, after he ' left ' the Presbyterian church of Do- 
ver ; and deplore his transition from the vehement and fer- 
vid, to the deliberate, mode of speaking.' 




1. A Pilgrimage. 

There is often a strange inconsistency between, not only 
our conscientious convictions, but even our heart feelings, 
and our practice. Dr. Miller evidently cherished, to. the 
last, a strong attachment to his native state, his native 
county, his old church home in Dover, and his rustic family 
home. From his frequent and marked expression of this 
attachment, all his children imbibed a real affection for the 
scenes of his boyhood. Yet he seldom visited Delaware, 
and had, even in middle life, apparently, given up all idea 
of refreshing his recollections by occasional returns thither; 
while several of his children knew nothing, before his death, 
of that early home, or its surroundings, excepting what 
they had heard from his lips. This was no doubt due, 
in part, to mere via inerticB; but also, in part, to the 
speedy breaking op, and almost total disappearance 
of the Delaware family — its entire disappearance, in 
fact, from Kent County, and all the scenes with which 
it had once been associated. Dr. Miller survived the last 
of his brothers and sisters full thirty-two years ; and his 
sister Mary, who remained longest in the State, died in 
1801. Besides, as he often remarked, the old families, 
with which he had been familiar in his youth, and on the 
heads of which he had regarded the honor of his native State 
as resting, had either also disappeared, or had become so 
changed, — so entirely new and unknown to him, — that they 
seemed, most of them, no longer like the families he had 
left behind, with such unaffected regret, when he had re- 
moved to another sphere of activity. Nay, some of the 
changes which had taken place were painful to his feel- 


72 DELAWARE LIFE. [CH. 5. 1. 

ings. Scenes and interests, which his own recollections 
made almost sacred, had suffered from ruthless strangers. 
He would not exchange, if he could help it, hallowed re- 
miniscenses for new impressions of things spoiled by a pro- 
fane contact. He preferred looking back to a sort of he- 
roic age, created and embellished by his youthful fancy, to 
a chastened and maturer vision of present realities. The 
ideas of Delaware which his children received and treasured 
up were, of course, ideas, chiefly, of that heroic age ; and 
were none the less cherished for the vagueness which left 
so much to the imagination. 

But the biographer has gone on a pilgrimage,^ which 
mere filial feelings never prompted him to make, although 
certainly giving a far higher zest now to all his peregrina- 
tions and inquiries. Since the day, seventy-five years ago, 
when the young graduate of the University of Pennsylva- 
nia returned home, possibly by a shallop to Duck Creek, 
modes of travel have undergone wonderful revolutions. 
Now the voyage to Smyrna, and the drive thence to the 
old pastor's farm, would cost much more, in money as well 
as time, than the comfortable rail-road trip. of three or four 
hours from Philadelphia. Here we are at the Dover Sta- 
tion, just out of the village on the north west. 

Dover, county town, at once, and State capital, has, at 
present, about five thousand inhabitants. Upon a central, 
open square, bisected by the Old State Road, are the State 
and county buildings; and upon High street, the next 
west of the square, stands the Presbyterian church, now in 
Its seventy fourth year. It is a substantial brick building, 
with a fine steeple, and would do no discredit to any ordi- 
nary builder of the present day. Surrounding it is a spa- 
cious and well filled church yard ; where mingles the dust 
of many successive generations. The edifice, inside, has 
been partly modernized, but some relics of the olden time 
still remain. Here, at a little distance from the south 
wall of the church, are the family graves of the old pastor. 
Those of Joseph, the infant, and Benjamin are no longer 
visible : every vestige of them has disappeared. Two large 
horizontal slabs, elevated upon substantial brick work, cover 
the remains — one of the father and mother, buried in the 
same tomb ; the other of their son-John, the army surgeon 

1 In June, 1864. 

1749-92.] A PILGRIMAGE. 73 

of the Revolution. In 1841, these tomhs, being much 
dilapidated, were rn^onstructed from the lowest founda- 
tions. The remains of Mr. Miller and his son John, the 
only ones examined, were in a remarkable state of preser- 
vation. With the remains of each, was found a middle 
sized key, which had evidently been deposited in the coffin. 
Near at hand, are the graves of Mary and her second hus- 
band. Major Patten, presenting the same general appear- 
ance. The earlier church was a frame edifice, standing 
with its eaves to the street ; and the old pastor and his 
wife are said to be buried just where the pulpit stood. 

Returning to the square, and crossing to its north eastern 
angle, we come to the jail, in the front yard of which stands 
what we may hope is soon to be a relic of the past — a 
whipping post and pillory, ingeniously and compendiously 
brought under one head. It is a stout, white oak pillar, 
about five feet high, with iron clasps on the sides, in which 
the wrists of the culprit, or victim, are securely locked, as 
he embraces the post, exposing his back to the smiter. Two 
bars, extending horizontally from grooves in the top, are 
so arranged as to clasp the neck, and hold their pilloried 
prisoner in a most constrained, half-hanging posture, the 
head bowed forward, and an inevitable sensation of choking 
experienced at every motion. This apparatus seems to be 
used for slaves alone, or chiefly. As imprisonment would 
deprive the masters of their service, an off hand, and, at 
the same time more terrible, species of punishment is em- 

A little further to the west, on the same row, is the plain, 
old fashioned, red brick dwelling, where lived Doctor Charles 
Ridgely, eminent among Dover physicians, and the medical 
preceptor of Doctor Edward Miller. The pupil, alas ! fell 
in love with Wilhelmina, his preceptor's daughter, and she, 
with all due ardor, reciprocated the attachment. Probably 
she thought more of the young student's handsome face, 
well cultivated mind, and other manly attractions, than of 
his empty purse ; but her more prudent, or less discerning, 
mother forbade her marriage, and the engagement was 
broken off. Doctor Miller's subsequent success and repu- 
tation would have satisfied hopes as high as Mrs. Ridgely 
could, in reason, have formed ; but this was all yet in the 

1 In 1864. 

74 DELAWARE LIFE. [CH. 5. 1. 

unknown future. The result was quite as touching as the 
veriest lover of I'omance could wellnlesire. Wilhelmina 
speedily fell into a decline, and died unmarried. Doctor 
Miller lived a bachelor to the end — near the close of his 
fifty-second year. The ladies of New York called him the 
'divine Doctor Miller,' to distinguish him from 'Dr. Mil- 
ler, the divine * ; but among them all he does not seem to 
have found such an angel as he left sleeping in the grave- 
yard at Dover. 

A large part of Delaware, and of the peninsula of which 
it forms a portion, must have been, in former times, very 
unhealthy. The old minutes of Lewes Presbytery show a 
great mortality among its members. Mr. John Fisher, 
writing from Dover to Doctor Edward Miller, under date 
of the 15th of March, 1801, says 

* This wretched place has brought almost half its inhabitants 
to their graves during this changeable, capricious winter. De- 
population bids fair to be its fate, in a short time, either by 
deaths or removals. Considerable alarms are excited in the 
minds of many whose constitutions are tottering, and the lives 
of those in the best health are considered as suspended by a 
thread. The stout, able-bodied family of the Millesses are all 
dead within the short period of the past winter, and innumera- 
ble deaths have occurred in the adjacent country.' 

Now let us drive out of the village, to the north, on the 
Old State Road. Here is Jones's Creek, the bridge over 
which is a comparatively recent affair. Previously, it was 
always forded ; and there is a tradition that after the pre- 
sent bridge was erected, old Doctor Morris still persisted 
in fording, considering the use of the new structure un- 
worthy of a sturdy gentleman of the old school. Possibly 
his horse had a eay in the matter, and claimed, by prescrip- 
tion, the privilege of cooling his dusty feet and parched 
throat in the running stream. A drive of four miles brings 
us to Parson John Miller's farm. How many thousands of 
them he drove over this road ! Delaware, in old times, 
seems to have been rather famous for sports of the turf and 
of the field — ^perhaps had its full share of the rollicking 
aristocracy. Dr. Samuel Miller used to tell of his father's 
coming, unexpectedly, once, as he drove along the high- 
way, in his quiet, clerical style, upon a crowd assembled 
for a horse-race. The rival horsemen were approaching 

1749-92.] A PiLaRiMAGB. 75 

him at full speed, and one of them managed, in his blind 
eagerness, to precipitate his courser upon a shaft of the 
parson's gig, impaling himself on which, the poor animal 
fell dying to the earth. 

A friend communicates another tradition, which he heard 
from the Rev. Francis A. Latta. The father, ' on a certain 
occasion, bestrode the horse of his son John, the Revo- 
lutionary surgeon. John was partial to fox-hunting, and 
the docile animal had acquired his vulpine tastes. While 
the reverend gentleman was riding, at a staid, clerical pace, 
a party of huntsmen came into view, the music of horn 
and hounds proved irresistible to the mettlesome steed, and 
he carried the minister oiF to the hunt, nolens volens, over 
fence and ditch, to his deep mortification, and the huge 
amusement of the sportsmen.' 

On our road, about a mile and a half from the Pastor's 
farm, stands the large, substantial brick mansion, where 
his daughter 'Polly' resided with her first husband, Vin- 
cent Loockerman, Jr. To the south west of it, a short 
distance, in the middle of a large field, is situated the fami- 
ly burial plot, fenced in, perhaps twenty feet square. 
Here lie the remains of Mr. Loockerman, with those of 
several of his house. We come now to Mr. Miller's farm. 
It lies across the road and is nearly or quite a parallelo- 
gram, of which the two sides, intersecting the road about at 
right angles are much longer than the others. The house 
stands on the smaller or western portion, nearly a square, 
and is perhaps a hundred yards from the highway. It is 
now a plain, bare, box-shaped brick structure, of some 
thirty six feet front by eighteen deep ; the northern half 
evidently an unfinished addition, and said to have been 
built by one or more of the sons, after their father's death, 
on the foundation of a curb-roofed frame building, which 
probably was the original house, the southern brick half 
having been added possibly by the father himself, when he 
first took possession. Back of this latter half, and con- 
nected with it by a bridge or platform a few feet in length, 
is a primitive looking frame kitchen, or negro quarter, 
of one story, with a loft above, said to have been rebuilt 
since the era of the Millers, but after the ancient pattern. 
There is a good deal of low^marshy ground on the farm 
and around it, accounting for the intermittent fevers, which 

76 DELAWARE LIFE. [CH. 6. 2. 

seem to have been, formerly at least, its most abundant 

The last time that Dr. Miller visited this home of his 
childhood, he found it in sad plight, and already fast going 
to decay. As he opened the front door, a hog rushed out 
from the parlor, where, in former days he had so often 
knelt in solemn household worship. He went round to 
a back window, and looking in, saw only bottles and glasses 
upon a table, standing from a recent carouse. Sadly he 
turned away, and afterwards remarked to a friend, that it 
was his last visit. 

Very strangely located, immediately in front of the 
dwelling, between it and the road, is a small, fenced burial 
plot, which, however, belongs to the later occupants of the 
place. Many of the old Delaware families seem to have 
preferred burying their dead thus in little enclosures upon 
their own plantations. The idea perhaps was brought from 
older countries, where landed possessions remain for ages 
in the same family; and where ancestral pride, thus and 
otherwise kept alive, carefully watches oyer the monuments 
of buried worth or worthlessness. Where as with us, for 
the most part, families soon are scattered, and disappear 
from their former seats; and family estates are speedily 
alienated, the church yard, or the public cemetery, is the 
only proper place of interment ; offering the best, though 
still uncertain, security for the repose of the sepulchre. 

About three miles north-east of Dover is Tin Sead 
Courts where Mary Miller, after her second marriage, lived 
with her husband Major Patten. It is an old-fashioned, 
curb-roofed, frame building, said to have been a resort, in 
the Major's day, of all the best society of Delaware. There 
is so little that is courtly in its present appearance, either 
inside or out, that the tradition seems credible, only be- 
cause so well attested 

The ancient church of Duck Creek Cross Roads has en- 
tirely disappeared; but the burial ground, in which it 
stood, still remains in . the north-western angle formed by 
the creek and the Old State Road. 

2. Old Papers. 

Nothing but warm love of kindred, the hope of tracing 
an heirship, or an antiquarian mania for rummaging and 

1749-92.] OLD PAPERS. 77 

preserving, tolerates old papers. But to patient fingers and 
reverential minds they often make touching revelations of 
the past. 

A scanty file lies here, labelled, ^ Papers relative to Es- 
tate of Rev. Jno. Miller' — the whole settlement. This 
* Testamentary Account,' and the inventory and appraise- 
ment which accompany it, show what he left — besides the 
farm about ^2,075. James, the youngest child, whose 
graduation at the University was yet two months distant, 
when his father died, received a special legacy of <£100, 
equal to $266.66. Samuel, whose theological studies were 
incomplete, received a legacy of <£70, or $186.66, together 
with his father's library, valued at $100. • 

The old pastor's wearing apparel was estimated at eight 
dollars. Half a dozen table spoons, fifteen tea spoons, a 
pair of sugar tongs, with possibly some smaller articles, the 
whole together valued at eighteen dollars, were all the plate 
which he had possessed. The best chairs, doubtless belong- 
ing to the parlor, are inventoried as a ' half dozen leather- 
bottomed walnut chairs,' worth eight dollars. A wheel for 
spinning wool, and three for flax spinning, are found among 
the articles which were certainly for use rather than show ; 
though, to be sure. King Lemuel has made a show of such 
things, in his inspired account of the " virtuous woman," 
whose " price is far above rubies."^ Then there is a negro 
woman estimated at about sixty-six dollars, two others, at 
about vforty, each, and a boy worth twenty one dollars. 
Mr. Miller's State and county taxes seem to have amounted, 
annually, to about two dollars and forty cents. His 
funeral charges were thirty-five dollars. No stones, as we 
have seen, mark the resting places of the two little children 
who had died years before. At the father's death the graves 
of his wife and eldest son, John, seem to have been yet with- 
out monuments ; but the heirs at once spent a hundred and 
twenty-one dollars for the two marble slabs, which have 
been already described. The residuary shares of five chil- 
dren, who survived the final distribution, were a hundred 
and seventy-three dollars each. 

Now, side by side with this little file of accounts of the 
settlement of the estate, weighing three ounces, is a huge 

1 Proverbs xxxl., 10, 13, 19. 


78 DELAWARE LIFE. [CH. 5. 2. 

bundle of college diplomas — not a complete collection — 
several are wanting — but a good representation of all. No 
wonder the poor country parson left so small a patrimony. 
The money had all gone to his children's brains. Of his 
sons, as before shown, three were university graduates, a 
fourth was just about to be graduated, and the fifth, Ed- 
ward, had received an equivalent training. Nor had Mr. 
Miller regarded his obligation for their maintenance as 
limited by their college course. The newly graduated 
bachelor of arts had not been turned off at once to be 
wholly dependent upon his own exertions, and 'engage in a 
dubious struggle to prepare for his profession or business — 
if iiot to starve, to beg perhaps, or borrow, from compara- 
tive strangers, a scanty support during an inadequate term 
of disturbed study. Inspired by academical advantages 
and degrees with a higher longing for the honors, and a 
more delicate perception of the proprieties, of life, each 
son had returned from college to his father's house : that 
was his home again until he had another — ^until his profes- 
sion was secured,' and he went forth, not only with a paternal 
blessing, but also still dependent upon paternal assistance, 
while laboring to establish himself creditably in an honor- 
able calling. Thus, from their father's means, two had 
obtained a regular medical training, a third a thorough 
preparation for the bar, and a fourth was already far 
advanced in his theological studies. The impulse thus 
given, with a scant patrimony, suflSced to carry the last 
completely through his preparations for the ministry, and 
to bring forward to the bar the fifth, James, just about to 
leave college. Possibly dollars and cents were held at 
about their right value in the old Delaware Presbyterian 
manse. And perhaps the patriarch, struggling there with 
poverty, bodily infirmity, and heavy pastoral responsibilities, 
might be profitably remembered by some clergymen of 
modern ideas, who are too poor to educate even their sons 
liberally, and hurry them through a " business training," and 
thus off their hands, as if at least fully determined that God 
shall not call them into the ministry. A third and fourth 
generation are now reaping the inestimably precious fruits 
of those painfully hoarded investments in literary and reli- 
gious culture. 

1749-92.] OLD PAPERS. 79 

The oldest among the diplomas is one dated the 17th of 
May, 1763, from the College and Academy of Philadelphia, 
afterwards the University of Pennsylvania, attesting that 
the degree of Master of Arts had been conferred on the 
Rev. John Miller. It seems to have been kept with special 
nicety. College honorary degrees have depreciated like the 
current money, only in a far greater proportion, since those 








1. The City and its Churches. 

At the time of Mr. Miller's settlement in New York, it 
was a rapidly growing city of about forty-one thousand in- 
habitants. It had two banks, one insurance company, a 
daily mail to the south, and northern and eastern mails 
twice a week, excepting from the 1st of May to the 1st of 
November, when the eastern mail was triweekly. There 
were three stage-lines every week-day to Philadelphia, one 
of them, the mail stage being advertised to leave Powle's 
Hook^ ferry stairs at 12 M., with two horses, and travel all 
night. Four times a week, there were, besides, stage- 
boats and stage- wagons, forming a line for Philadelphia by 
Amboy on one side, Bordentown and Burlington, alter- 
nately, on the other. Boston and Albany stages ran twice 
a week in summer, three times in winter. 

Columbia College, founded in 1754, the fifth in order of 

* Now, Jersey City. 



time within the British Colonies, was still the only college 
that the State of New York could boast. Dr. John 6. 
Gross, of the German Calvinistic, and Dr. John C. Kuntze, 
of the United Lutheran Church, were now among its pro- 
fessors, as Dr. McKnight, of the Presbyterian Church, af- 
terwards was. 

Besides Bishop Provdost, there were three resident Epis- 
copal clergymen in the city — ^Benjamin Moore, D.D., Abra- 
ham Beach, D.D., and John Bissett. John H. Livingston, 
D.D., William Linn, D.D., and Gerardus Arantz Kuypers 
were the clergy of the Dutch Church ; and, in addition to 
these, the Idethodists had three clergymen, the Scotch 
Presbyterians one, John Mason, D.D., and the German 
Calvinists, the United Lutherans, the Associate Oongrega- 
tionalists, the Independents, the Moravians, the Baptists, 
the Roman Catholics, and the Jews, one each ; making the 
whole number, with Mr. Miller, twenty-two. 

From the brief summaries annexed to the minutes of the 
General Assembly, we can but approximate to the number 
of ministers and congregations connected with the Presby- 
terian Church in the United States, when Mr. Miller set- 
tled in New York. The former were^ as nearly as can well 
be determined, about one hundred and seventy-five pastors, 
and twenty-five without charge. Some of. the pastors min- 
istered to two or more congregations, and above two hundred 
and twenty-five vacant churches were reported. The num- 
ber of licentiates was near fifty. The harvest truly was 
great, but the laborers were few. 

The First Presbyterian Church of the City of New York 
was regularly organized in 1716, by a little company of 
Presbyterians, who had previously been associated for 
divine service, according to their own cherished forms — 
some of ^them for about ten years. In 1719, their first 
house of worship was erected in Wall street. This was the 
only one thrown open to Mr. Whitefield, upon his earliest 
visit to the city, in 1740 ; and his preaching was greatly 
blessed to the increase, both temporal and spiritual, of the 
congregation. The Rev. John Rodgers,^ called from the 
Presbyterian Church of St. George's, Delaware, became 
their pastor, as colleague of the Rev. Joseph Treat, in 1765. 
Within a few months it was judged necessary to provide 

1 D.D. from 1768. See 3 Sprague's Annals, 154. 

82 * NEW YORK CITY. [CH. 6. 2. 

enlarged accommodations ; and a second edifice^ known as 
the Brick Church, was erected, was dedicated on the first 
day of the jefCc 1768, and was soon filled with worshippers. 
The two assemblies, however, yet remained one church, 
with but one board of trustees and one bench of elders, two 
pastors preaching alternately in each house. During the 
war, the church in Wall street was used as a barrack, the 
Brick Church as an hospital ; and both were left in an 
almost ruinous condition, while the parsonage had been 
burned to the ground. Without ' solicitation, the vestry of 
Trinity Church generously ofiered St. George's and St. 
Paul's Churches to be used alternately by the United Con- 
gregations, until their houses were repaired ; an ofi'er of 
which the latter gratefully availed themselves. After 
several changes in the pastorate, the Rev. John McKnight^ 
became, in 1789, the colleague of Dr. Rodgers, and they 
were thus associated, when Mr. Miller was invited to share 
in their labors. Dr. McKnight's health becoming im- 
paired, he could no longer preach three times every Sab- 
bath, as had been .the habit of each pastor ; yet the con- 
gregations were unwilling to give up any of the services to 
which they were accustomed. Hence an additional col- 
league was needed.^ 

2. Colleagues. 

Dr. Rodger^ the senior colleague, was a very uncom- 
mon, though not, in the ordinary acceptation of the terms, 
a very powerful or brilliant, preacher of the gospel. Pi- 
ously trained, and discovering, from his earliest years, a 
peculiar solidity of character, he had been apparently con- 
verted at the age of only a little more than twelve, under 
Whitefield's ministry. He was not an intellectual, but 
might, in his renewed nature, be called a moral and reli- 
gious, genius. At fourteen he had regularly maintained 
family worship in the house where he boarded, and his 
godly conversation had been prized by those much his se- 
niors in both age and Christian profession. Licensed when 

1 D.D. from 1791. See 3 Sprague's Annals, 371. 

* A history of the " First Presbyterian Church of New York," as it seems 
still to have been called after it was composed of the " United Presbyterian 
Congregations," may be found in Dr. Miller's Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers, Chaps, 
iy. &G, 

1793.] COLLEAGUES. 83 

not quite twenty, he had been greatly blessed in the very 
earliest months of his probational ministry ; and his pasto- 
rate of between fifteen and sixteen years, at St. George's, 
had been unusually popular and successful, enlarging the 
Church, endearing him in an oinusual degree to his people, 
attracting crowds often to the house of worship, and ex- 
tending his influence for good over all classes of the com- 
munity. Not thirty- eight years of age when called to New 
York City, he had. entered upon his pastoral labors there 
in the vigor of his life and usefulness. At the time of his 
settlement. New York had a population of about sixteen 
thousand, and but one Presbyterian Church; which, of 
course, from its close resemblance to the Reformed Dutch 
Church, yet in the ascendancy there, labored under pecu- 
liar disadvantages. Its growth, of near sixty years, had 
been slow and struggling ; but when Mr. Rodgers was 
called to it, in 1765, a precious revival of religion was the 
almost immediate result of his labors. The congregation 
rapidly increased. Crowded audiences attested the im- 
pression made by his preaching. Within a few months, as 
we have seen, it was found necessary to commence the 
erection of a new place of worship, every pew in which, 
after its dedication, was speedily occupied. But prior to 
our war for independence, and still more during its pro- 
gress, Presbyterianism, in the Colonies, was subjected to 
many depressing influences ; and the Presbyterian Church 
of New York came out of that seven years* ordeal of revo- 
lution in a ruinous condition ; its pastors having been, 
nearly all the time, exiles from the city. His colleague, 
in fact, never returning, on Dr. Rodgers alone devolved, 
after the treaty of peace, and the evacuation of the city by 
the British, the whole labor of the pastorate for more than 
a year, during the resuscitation of the church, and the re- 
pairing of the two houses of worship. By the time Mr. 
Miller was settled, its number of communicants had largely 
increased; and, under the fostering influences of peace, 
and a more complete religious freedom, it had become 
highly prosperous. 

Dr. Rodgers was distinguished for an ardent devoted 
piety, and an affectionate earnestness of manner, which 
impressed all with whom he came in contact. He spent 
much time in secret prayer, often accompanied by fasting. 

84 ~ NEW YORK CITY. [CH. 6. 2. 

In pastoral labor — preaching, catechising, visiting — ^he was 
most systematic, thorough, and indefatigable. He de- 
pended, not on great, adventurous, spasmodic efforts, but 
upon a steady, every day prosecution of ordinary plans. 
He seldom entered a house, or engaged in conversation, 
without dropping a word at least to commend the Saviour. 
The children of the church uniformly received a great deal 
of his attention. His sermons, though not highly polished, 
and in form and diction moulded, with little variety, after 
old fashioned theological treatises, were full of weighty 
gospel truth, and were delivered with great animation and 
unction. Until the failing memory of extreme old age for- 
bade, he preached memoriter, and even his public prayers 
were often carefully prepared. His fidelity to souls ; his 
single-hearted devotion to the work of the ministry; InM 
watchfulness for opportunities of doing good ; his practical 
wisdom ; his prudent management of all his private affairs ; 
his caution, bringing upon him sometimes the charge of 
timidity ; his tender dealing with prejudice and passion ; 
his guardedness against giving offence; his remarkable 
freedom from envy and jealousy, bigotry and repulsive 
sectarianism; his large, disinterested benevolence; his 
liberality and unworldliness ; the dignity of his manners, 
sometimes, perhaps, too formal, but always commanding 
respect ; his habitual cheerfulness ; his whole consistent 
life and. ministry, "forever the same**; were constantly 
conspicuous and most influential for good ; constantly illus- 
trated the truth which he preached. Even in his neat, ap- 
propriate, spotless, carefully adjusted dress, he was a pat- 
tern for every gospel minister. 

In his Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers, Dr. Miller afterwards 
testified of him, as follows : — 

"I shall not be surprised if it should be imagined by some, 
that I have discovered in the ensuing sketch, more of the par- 
tiality of friendship, than the sternness of historical justice. I 
can only say, that it has been my sacred aim to exhibit every 
feature that was attempted to be portrayed, true to the original. 
If I have in any case failed, the error was certainly uninten- 
tional. But it is a consolation to know, that, even after making 
the most liberal allowance on this score that can be required, 
there will still remain a large and solid mass of personal and 
professional worth, which we can scarcely too often, or too re- 

1793.] COLLEAGUES. 85 

respectfully contemplate. We may say concerning the character 
in question, what I have somewhere met with as said concern- 
ing another — * Take away nine parts out of ten, even of its vir- 
tues, and there will be still enough left to admire, to imitate 
and to love.' "* 

" The venerable subject [of these memoirs] was never indeed 
considered, either by himself or -by others, as belonging to the 
class of those extraordinary men, who, by the splendor of their 
genius, the variety and extent of their learning, or the number 
of their publications, excite the admiring gaze of mankind. 
But if solid and respectable talents ; if acquirements which en- 
abled him to act his part, in various important stations, with 
uniform honor ; if patriarchal dignity ; if sound practical wis- 
dom, and a long life of eminent and extensive usefulness, be 
worthy of grateful remembrance and of respectful imitation, 
then the life of Dr. Kodgers is worthy of being written and 
perused. There is a day coming, and the estimate of Christians 
ought now to anticipate it, when . such a character will appear 
infinitely more worthy of contemplation and regard, than that 
of the most splendid improver of human science, or the most 
admired leader of victorious legions, that was ever immortalized 
by the historian's pen. In that day it will be found, that bear- 
ing the image of Christ, and a gracious relation to his Person, 
is the highest nobility ; and that services done for the Saviour's 
cause will obtain the only lasting reward."* 

" " Take him for all in all,*' the American church has 

not often seen his like ; and will not, it is probable, speedily or 
often " look upon his like again." In vigorous, and original 
powers of mind, a number have exceeded him. In profound 
and various learning, he had many superiors. In those bril- 
liant qualities, which excite the admiration of men, and which 
are much better fitted to adorn than to enrich, pre-eminence is 
not claimed for him. But in that happy assemblage of practi- 
cal qualities, both of the head and the heart, which go to form 
the respectable man ; the correct and polished gentleman ; the 
firm friend; the benevolent citizen; the spotless and exempla- 
ry Christian; the pious, dignified, and venerable ambassador 
of Christ; the faithful pastor; the active, zealous, persevering, 
unwearied laborer in the vineyard of his Lord ; it is no dispar- 
agement to eminent worth to say, that he was scarcely equalled, 
and certainly never exceeded, by any of his contemporaries."' 

To the youthful minister, especially, such a colleague 
was, doubtless, a great blessing. His example, his coun- 

1 p. 5. 2 Pp. 11. 12. « Pp. 344. 345. ; 


86 NBW TOEK OITT. [CH. 6. 2. 

gels, and the constraint which his fidelity must have laid 
upon all around him to be faithful, could not but have im- 
proved any one brought into the important and intimate 
relations of a united pastorate with him. At the same time, 
the necessity of following closely in the footsteps of such a 
man, before two large city congregations, taxed, no doubt, his 
young colleague's powers heavily. In fact, as we shall see, 
the burden was probably too great for, at least, Mr. Miller's 
physical strength. He was soon obliged, once and again, 
to escape, for a season, altogether from pastoral duties, in 
order to recuperate his health by relaxation and travel* 

Mr. Miller's other colleague, Dr. McKnight, about fif- 
teen years his senior, was also an able, earnest, and faith- 
ful minister of the gospel. Called to New York some three 
years previously, he had entered upon his labors there 
with great zeal and alacrity; not only preaching three 
times upon the Sabbath, but also lecturing upon a week 
day evening, anil performing a large amount of other pas- 
toral: work. To stand his ground with such men, and in 
Christian emulation vie with them for a gracious Master's 
approval and blessing, involved no small trial of a young 
minister's gifts and graces. But kind, considerate men as 
they were, they could, of course, greatly relieve and en- 
courage him. 




1. Ordination and .Settlement. 

The following entries stand next in Mr. Miller's diary :.—- 

' January 3, 1793. This day arrived in New York, in con- 
sequence of accepting a call there. O Lord, I have come 
hither, I trust, with a sincere view and desire to serve thee, and 
to be made an instrument of advancing thy kingdom on 
earth. Oh, give me a wise and understanding heart! Oh, 
give me a smgle eye to thy glory in all things ! Bind my 
heart to the Saviour in sanctified affection I Pill me with the 
knowledge of thy will in all wisdom and spiritual understand- 
ing ; and as my day is, so may my strength be !' 

Mr. Miller was taken, as a licentiate, under the care of 
the Presbytery of New York, upon dismission from the 
Presbytery of Lewes, on the 16th of January, at South 
Hanover; was immediately ^examined in Latin, Greek, 
Geography, Logic, Rhetoric, Natural Philosophy, Astro- 
nomy, Moral Philosophy, Divinity, Ecclesiastical History, 
and Church Government.' The text, Romans iii. 24, was 
assigned him for a sermon, with which the next session of 
presbytery, at Orangedale, on the 7th of May, was opened. 
That, with his " Latin Exegesis," was approved, and the 
arrangements made for his ordination and installation — 
Dr. McKnight to preach. Dr. Rodgers to preside. Dr. 
McWhorter to deliver a charge to the people : no charge 
to the pastor is mentioned. 

* June 5, 1793. After having met the Presbytery of New 
York twice, and gone through the usual trials for ordination, 
I was this day solemnly set apart to the work of the gospel 


88 THE "BOY minister/' [cH. 7. 1. 

ministry, by prayer and the laying on of the hands of the 
Presbytery. O Lord, I have this day renewedly, and, I hope, 
with some sincerity, given myself away to thee ! I am now 
emphatically not my own. I am doubly thine — ^peculiarly 
thine ! O Lord, accept of my dedication ! Fill me with thy 
love; prepare me for thy service; help me to be more and 
more like Christ, anti more and more to glorify Christ! O 
Lord, I have undertaken a charge which is too great for hu- 
man strength. How shall I go in and out before this numerous 
and enlightened people? How shall I discharge the solemn 
and weighty duties which are incumbent upon me ? Oh, the 
unutterable importance of having the care of precious, im- 
mortal souls committed to my hands ! Father, give me know- 
ledge — give me wisdom — give me strength, to perform my 
duties aright. Blessed Saviour, whom J trust I have chosen 
as the hope of my own soul, may I be strong in thee and in 
the power of thy might ! Oh, help* me to live, and study, and 
preach and act, like one habitually and* deeply sensible that he 
must give account !* 

On the 29th of August following, Mr. Miller iSrst had 
an opportunity of taking his seat in the session ; at the 
next meeting of which he was moderator, as the collegiate 
pastors seem' to have been in turn. 

His usual routine of public service seems to have re- 
quired, at first, and for several years, only one sermon 
each Sabbath, but that sermon twice delivered. The 
Thursday evening lecture was maintained by Dr. Rodgers, 
with occasional assistance from his colleagues, until the 
autumn of 1799, when the growing infirmities of age 
induced him to commit it wholly to them. 

" From the commencement of his ministry in New York," 
Mr. Miller "enjoyed a reputation," says Dr. Sprague, "in 
some respects peculiar to himself. Though Dr. Mason, and 
Dr. Linn, and Dr. Livingston, and other great lights were 
there, yet the subject of this notice was far from being thrown 
into the shade. Besides having the advantage of a remarkably 
fine person, and most bland and attractive manners, he had, 
from the beginning, an uncommonly polished style, and there 
was an air of literary refinement pervading all his performan- 
ces, that excited general admiration, and well-nigh put criticism 
at defiance. He was scarcely settled before his services began 
to be put in requisition on public occasions; and several of 

17^3.] SLAVERY. 89 

these early occasional discourses were published, and still re- 
main as a monument of his taste, talents, and piety."^ 

Dr. Milledoler says, * We frequently passed each other on 
the Sabbath, Mr. Miller going to the Brick Church, and I to 
my charge in Nassau street. Mr. Miller's appearance was 
very youthful — I had just passed my nineteenth year. Being 
dressed in full canonicals, not omitting the three-cornered hat, 
we were called the " boy ministers." ' This was in 1795. 

About the same time that Mr. Miller settled in New 
York, James Kent, Esquire, afterwards Chancellor of the 
State, removed thither from Poughkeepsie, and Was ap- 
pointed professor of law in Columbia College. More than 
six years Mr. Miller's senior, he had already gained some 
reputation as a lawyer, and as an active politician of the 
Hamilton school. He became an attendant upon the min- 
istry of the Collegiate Presbyterian pastors; and on a 
subsequent page ho will appear, in advanced life, recogniz- 
ing his former relations to Mr. Miller.^ 

2. Published Discourses — Slavery and the French 


During the first years of Mr. Miller's pastorate, he seems 
to have been too heavily burdened with immediate profes- 
sional duties, to think seriously of authorship. His only 

^ Annals, 600. 

3 A late reminiscent of those times, in a gossiping hnmor, says, " Grace 
Church disappeared from the lower part of Broadway, and bloomed out, in 
beautiful marble, at the upper end. It was a fashionable church then, and it 
is now. A story is told on this point, which, we trust, will not give umbrage 
to any parties now living, as it refers wholly to the dead past. When the late 
Chancellor Kent moved to New York City, the churches were interested in 
-obtaining him as a parishioner. A friend of his, a prominent member of Grace 
church, invited him to attend service, in hope, of course, of securing his at- 
tendance permanently there. Mr. Kent consented. It was a fine day, and the 
congregation was well represented. All the interior arrangements were not 
only convenient, but elegant: the aisles richly carpeted ; the pews furnished 
in luxurious style ; with gilt and purple- velvet prayer-books ; the organ music 
of the most artistic kind, and the most celebrated opera singers to lead in the 
choir. The ladies, dressed in the highest style, floated gracefully into their 
seats, and gracefully kneeled on the provided cushions. The minister rendered 
the service in an unexceptionable manner, and delivered a short but eloquent 
essay on some religious topic ; and then, amid the pealing notes of the organ, 
the congregation, with mutual greetings, slowly retired. The whole thing, as 
the Chancellor's friend believed, was a great success. He had no doubt but 
his mind would at once be made up. So, as they walked out together, he said 
— * Well, sir, what do you think of that?' 'That, sir,' he replied, < is what I 
should call very genteel worship.' "— JVew York Obterver of the 4Lth of July, 
1867. P. 213. 


90 THE "BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7. 2. 


publications, for some time, were sermons and discourses 
called forth by special occasions and circumstances. These, 
in their proper places, may be briefly noticed, as giving 
some idea of the requisitions made upon him during his 
earlier ministry, the estimation in which his services were 
held, and his characteristics as a preacher, public speaker 
and writer at this time. On the 4th of July, 1793, about 
a month after his ordination, he preached a sermon, by 
request, before the "Tammany Society," an institution 
originally designed to give relief to the indigent and 
distressed. The publication of this discourse was asked 
for, and it was the first of his productions committed to the 
press.^ According to a taste more prevalent at that day 
than at this, the author, in an advertisement, craved allow- 
ance for the "indigested and defective appearance" of the 
work, on the grounds of "very short notice," "many 
pressing avocations," "great haste," and "want of abilities 
and experience." It gives, however, a specimen not un- 
favorable of the popular talent and style of the youthful 
preacher. Portions of it may be particularly interesting, 
at the present time, when certain opinions, then almost 
universal, and now only recalled to general favor, are 
regarded by some as a novelty, or as an infection from a 
few enthusiasts and fanatics. As uttered by a slaveholder's 
son, born and chiefly educated in a slave State, such senti- 
ments as the following may to many seem strange ; but 
they were propounded, at the time, without an idea, appar- 
ently, that they were not commonly received, and by almost 
every hearer and reader cordially approved. There have 
been popular divines, and other orators, of a much later 
date, who have proclaimed the same opinions with an afiec- 
tation of originality and daring, which have only indicated 
ignorance of the past- presumed upon in the hearers, unless 
actually attributable to the speakers. And it should not 
be forgotten, that Mr. Miller saw no inconsistency between 
holding si:ch sentiments, and also holding slaves, of a 
peculiar class to be sure, as we shall see he did, afterwards, 
in repeated instances. 

^ *'A Sermon, preached in New York, July 4th, 1793, being the Anniversary 
of the Independence of America: at the Request; of the Tammany Society, or 
Columbian Order. By Samuel Miller, A.M., one of the Ministers of the 
United Presbyterian Churches, in the City of New York." ** Christianity 
the Grand Source, and the Surest Basis, of Political Liberty." — 2 Corinthians, 
iii. 17.— 8yo, pp. 38. 

1793.] ^ SLAVEKT. 91 

"It is a truth denied by few, at the present day, that poli- 
tical and domestic slavery are inconsistent with jv^ticey and 
that these must necessarily wage eternal war^ — so that wherever 
the latter exists in perfection, the former must fly before her, 
or fall prostrate at her feet.' 

"Humanity, indeed, is still left to deplore the continuance 
of domestic slavery, in countries blest with Christian know- 
ledge, and political freedom. The American patriot must 
heave an involuntary eigb^ at the recollection that, even in 
these happy and singularly favored republics, this offspring of 
infernal malice, and parent of human debasement, is yet suf- 
fered to reside. Alas, that we should so soon forget the prin- 
ciples, upon which our wonderful revolution was founded! 
But, to the glory of our holy religion, and to the honor of 
many benevolent minds, this monster has received a fatal blow, 
and will soon, we hope, fall expiring to the ground. Already 
does he tremble, as if his destruction were at hand. — ^With 
pleasure do we behold many evident presages of the approach- 
ing period, when Christianity shall extend her sceptre of bene- 
volence and love over every part of this growing empire — 
when oppression shall not only be softened of his rigours ; but 
shall take his flight forever from our land.'' 

The same sentiments were expressed still more strongly, 
if possible, in the fifth of his published discourses, an 
oration delivered in 1797, before the New York Society for 
the Manumission of Slaves.* This was a voluntary orga- 
nization dating from about the year 1785, and was designed 
to mitigate the evils of Negro slavery throughout the State. 
A standing committee had in charge the enforcement of 
the laws, both local and national, prohibitory of the slave- 
trade, whether domestic or foreign ; the prevention of kid; 
napping and the assistance of persons unlawfully held in 
bondage ; with the intellectual, social and religious improve- 
ment of the negro population. A flourishing free-school, 
for children of both sexes, was one channel of this charit- 
able effort. Mr. Miller's discourse was the first consequent 
on the determination to have an annual oration upon the 

^ The " irrepressible conflict" of a later date. 

a P. 19. 

8 Pp. 27, 28. 

^ ^'A Discourse, delivered April 12, 1797, at the request of and before the 
New York Society for promoting the Manumission of Slaves, and Protecting 
such of them as have been or may be Liberated. By Samuel Miller, A. M., 
one of the Ministers of the United Presbyterian Churches in the City of New 
York, and Member of said Society." — 8vo, pp. 36. 

92 THE ^'BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7.2. 

topic of slavery. Dr. Sprague says of it, " it may well be 
doubted whether a more discreet, unexceptionable, and 
dignified sermon has been written on the subject since." ^ 
A few extracts may not be unacceptable to the reader, who, 
had he found them without date attached, would probably 
have imagined them a part of some very late production—^ 
hardly dreaming that such opinions were uttered in this 
country nearly three-quarters ofi a century ago. 

"That, in the close of the eighteenth century, it should be 
esteemed proper and necessary, in any civilized country, to in- 
stitute discourses to oppose the slavery and commerce of the 
> human species, is a wonderful fact in the annals of society I But 
that this country should be America, is a solecism only to be ac- 
counted for by the general inconsistency of the human character. 
But, after all the surprise that Patriotism can feel, and all the 
indignation that Morality can suggest on this subject, the humili- 
ating tale must be told — that in this free country — in this coun- 
try, the plains of which are still stained with blood shed in the 
cause of liberty, — ^in this country, from which has been proclaimed 
to distant lands, as the basis of our political existence, the noble 
principle, that 'all men are born free and equal,' — in 
this country there are slaves! — men are bought and sold! 
Strange, indeed ! that the bosom which glows at the name of 
liberty in* general, and the arm which has been sd vigorously 
exerted in vindication of human rights, should yet be found 
leagued on the side of oppression, and opposing their avowed 
principles." * 

" Were it made a question, whether justice permitted the sable 
race of Guinea to carry us away captive from our own coun- 
try, and from all its tender attachments, to their land, and 
there enslave us and our posterity forever; — ^were it made a 
question, I say, whether all this would be consistent with 
justice and humanity, one universal and clamorous negative 
would show how abhorrent the principle is from our minds, 
when not blinded by prejudice. Tell us, ye who were lately 
pining in Algerine bondage ! tell us whether all the wretched 
sophistry of pride, or of avarice, could ever reconcile you to the 
chains of ba,rbarism, or convince you that man had a right to 
oppress and injure man? Tell us what were your feelings, 
when you heard the pitiless tyrant, who had taken or bought 
you, plead either of these rights for your detention ; and justify 
himself by the specious pretences of capture or of purchase, in 
riveting your chains ? "' 

1 3 Annals, COL « P. 9. » P. 16. 

1793.] SLAVERY. 98 

" But higher laws than those of common justice and humanity 
may be urged against slavery. I mean the laws of God, 
revealed in the Scriptures of truth. This divine system, in 
which we profess to believe and to glory, teaches us, that God 
has made of one blood all nations of men that dwell on the face of 
the whole earthJ'^ 

" While the friends of humanity, in Europe and America, 
are weeping over their injured fellow creatures, and directing 
their ingenuity and their labours to the removal of so disgrace- 
ful a monument of cruelty and avarice, there are -not wanting 
men who claim the title, and enjoy the privileges of American 
citizens, who still employ themselves in the odious traffic of 
human flesh. Yes, in direct opposition to public sentiment, 
and a law of the land, there are ships fitted out, every year, in 
the ports of the United States, to transport the infiabitants of 
Africa from their native shores, and consign them to all the 
torments of West-India oppression. — Fellow citizens I Is Justice 
asleep? Is Humanity discouraged and silent, on account of 
the many injuries she has sustained? Were not this the case, 
methinks the pursuit of the beasts of the forest would be for- 

fotten, and such monsters of wickedness would, in their stead, 
e hunted from the abodes of men. 

" O Africa I unhappy, ill-fated region ! how long shall thy 
savage inhabitants have reason to utter complaints, and to im- 
precate the vengeance of heaven against civilization and 
Christianity? Is it not enough that nature's God has con- 
signed thee to arid plains, to noxious vapours, to devouring 
beasts of prey, and to all the scorching influences of the torrid 
zone ? Must rapine and violence, captivity and slavery, be 
superadded to thy torments ; and be inflicted too by men, who 
wear the garb of justice and humanity ; who boast the princi- 
ples of a sublime morality ; and who hypocritically adopt the 
accents of the benevolent religion of Jesus ? O Africa ! thou 
loud proclaimer of the rapacity, the treachery, and cruelty of 
civilized man ! Thou everlasting monument of European and 
American disgrace ! " Remember not against us our oflences, 
nor the offences of our forefathers ; " be tender in the great day 
of inquir}' ; and shew a christian world thou canst suffer and 
forgive !^ 

" Perhaps no method can be devised, to deliver our country 
from the evil in question, more safe, more promising, and more 
easy of execution, than one which has been partially adopted 
in some of the States, and hitherto with all the success that 
could haye been expected. This plan is, to frame laws which 

1 Pp. ir, 18. 2 Pp. 28, 9. 

94 THE *'BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7. 2. 

will bring about emancipation in a gradual manner ; which 
will, at the same time, provide for the intellectual and 
MORAL cultivation of slavcs, that they may be prepared to 
exercise the rights and discharge the duties of citizens, when 
liberty shall be given them ; and which, having thus fitted 
them for the station, will confer upon them, in due time, the 
privileges and dignity of other freemen. By the operation of 
such a plan, it is easy to see that slavery, ut no great distance 
of time, would be banished from the iJnited States ; the mis- 
chiefs attending a universal and immediate emancipation 
would be, in a great measure, if not entirely, prevented ; and 
beings, who are now knawing the vitals, and wasting the 
strength of the body politic, might be converted into whole- 
some and useful members of it. Say not that they are unfit 
for the ;*an^ of citizens, and can never be made honest and 
industrious members of the community. Say not that their 
ignorance and brutality must operate as everlasting bars 
against their being elevated to this station. All just reasoning 
abjures the flimsy pretext. Make them freemen; and they 
will soon be found to have the manners, the character, and the 
virtues of freemen.* 

In his first published sermon, Mr. Miller expressed what, 
at the time, was very common in the United States — the 
deepest interest in the French Revolution then in progress, 
together with a high hope of results most auspicious to the 
cause of liberty throughout the world. 

" Especially," he asks, "can we view the interesting 

situation of our affectionate Allies, without indulging the 
delightful hope, that the sparks, which are there seen rising 
toward heaven, though in tumultuous confusion, shall soon be 
the means of kindling a general flame, which shall illuminate 
the darkest and remotest comers of the earth, and pour upon 
them the effulgence of tenfold glory Y* , 

" If this wonderftd Revolution," he says further, "be, 

as we trust, a great link in the chain, that is drawing on the 
reign of universal harmony and peace ; if it be occasioned by 

" ^ It is easy to foresee that maDj strong prejudices, and mady feelings not 
altogether unnatural, will oppose the execution of this plan. The idea of 
admitting negroes to a state of political and social' equality with the whites, 
even after the best education they can receive, is not a very pleasant one to a 

freat majority even of those who are warmly engaged for their emancipation, 
shall not discuss the reasonableness of such feelings at present. It is suffi- 
cient to say, that our political body is laboring under a most hurtful and dan- 
gerous disease ; and that the most skilful physician cannot restore it to health 
without the exhibition of some remedies which are more or less unpaldtable." 
—Pp. SI, 2. 


christian principles, and be designed to pave the way for their 
complete establishment, however it i^ay appear to be sullied 
by irreligion and vice, it is the cause of God, and will at last 

Mr. Miller yet corresponded with his venerated friend 
and preceptor, Dr. Nisbet ; who, from the first, took en- 
tirely different views of affairs in France, and expressed 
them with so much candor, or so little caution, as to bring 
great odium upon himself and the institution over which he 
presided. ' 

** I/i addressing the students of the college, as their official 
instructor and guide, and even on some public occasions, he 
warned bis hearers against the 'impiety and the enormous 
cruelty and licentiousness exhibited on a theatre, from which 
every channel of intelligence brought the most revolting and 
heart-rending accounts of bloodshed, and every species of in- 
human and anti-christian practice." His view of the whole 
. matter may, perhaps, be sufficiently illustrated by a brief anec- 
dote given in his biography. "Sometime abfiut the year 1794, 
when he happened to be in Philadelphia, a gentleman of his 
acquaintance said to him — "Well, Doctor, what are we to 
think of the French Revolution now V* " Indeed, man," said 
he, " I can give you a better account of that matter now than 
ever before. What I am about to tell you is no fable, but a 
fact that really happened in my neighborhood lately. A poor 
old woman, who is no politician, but a plain, serious body, who 
had been for some time in a gloomy state of mind, anxious 
about the salvation of her soul, (a thing, by the way, that no 
politician ever thinks of,) dreamed that she died, and went to 
the bad place. It seemed to her like a great inclosure, sur- * 
rounded by a high, massy wall. She knocked at the door, when 
who should open it but his Satanic. Majesty himself. The old 
woman expressed her surprise that he should stoop to such an 
office, and her wonder that he had not sent one of his imps or 
understrappers to open the door. 'Indeed, good woman,' said 
he, 'the devil an imp or understrapper have I left in all my 
dominions. Hell is completely empty. Th^ have all gone to 
help on the cause of liberty and equality in France.' " " 

l3r. Miller adds, " Candour seems to require from the author 
of this Memoir the acknowledgment, that * * he was among 
the thousands of his countrymen who regarded the French 
Revolution, in its early stages, with a favorable eye, as the tri- 
umph of the spirit of liberty over misrule and oppression ; and 

1 Pp. SI, 32 

96 THE "BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7. 3. 

as promising, notwithstanding all the crime and bloodshed 
with which it was attended, the ultimate reign of freedona and 
good government. Such were the hopes which he once enter- 
tained ; and to which, almost without hope, he clung, long 
after every truly favorable aspect had vanished."^ 

3. Devotion and Affliction. 

A few journal entries are scattered through this and the 
following year. 

* October 31, 1793. I am this day twenty-four years of age. 
I spend a portion of it in the exercises of special devotioi^. O 
thou God of all grace, prepare me for my arduous work. In- 
crease my faith. Bind me more closely than ever to the love 
and service of my Master in heaven. As my day is, so may 
my strength be.' 

'June 5, 1794. This is the Anniversary of my ordination. 
I have been one year a consecrated minister of Christ. Oh 
that I had a deener sense of the magnitude and solemnity of « | 
my office, and or the deep responsibility which it involves ! 
O thou God of all grace, inspire me with wisdom, gird me with 
strength, and prepare me to go forth from day to day in a man- 
*.Tier acceptable to thee, profitable to thy church, and to the corn- 
deepest lifdification of my own soul.* 

^^agether with a uC^February, 1795, he writes to Dr. Green, 
^ort a3?he«|£liberty througuv*. , ,. . , . . ,. , , 
^ ^^^^ 11 . ''*tely issued, for prmtmg, by sub- 

^n the 23d oNftiV' ^® ^^' ** ^'^ explain themselves in the 
'I inclose ^^"^SBPONATE Allik 

«cription, a mal^T'^^^ T^^".* ^*^^5^*^^ ^^^ 

most ample maifn * "®^ wiI»[t^ous confuc and acquamtances 

'The editoM ^^me, which . 

' clergymen, friend! n? f^"'^''' ^f^"^^ th^® ^^rth, tt. that you may 

of youra. ' ^"""^ ""^ *^^ doctrines of graX, . *' especially, 

**^he says furfcing to the 

matter of the purblicaL^ ^f^^^ contribute 'Bom^-^-h feeling, not 
feel peculiarly obC * ' ^ *™ confident thn^YT*"- T'"' »^ea «f Iff, 
puroosp . oT fk i^®° ^ yc« for anv comm., • ^'f'toTiwith the whites, 

the chapter and srcL^^^X';;^r- t^ant^S^fUVr. '«' 

About two mnr^fha 1 ^ ,^ iit to health ') . 

brother J^mesXillP ^'- ^'"^'^ J««* ^is youni **'^''-" 
Wilson had writtenl'lYm ;eJ'lPrr *°{:' r^^" Si ^ 


genius. I think it a very good one. He has read too 
closely and too much for his age, which I suppose has hurt 
his constitution, as he is at least somewhat consumptive. 
* * * Mr. James had better eat cough pills 
■with me for a while, to strengthen his lungs. * * * 
'P. S. Mr. James Miller is Poet Laureate to day, by 
writing the best description.' 

A friend says, *[the Rev. Francis] Latta alleged that 
James was the brightest gem in a social circle where all 
were bright. He seemed to consider him, in intellectual 
gifts, as superior to the others, as they to ordinary men. 
But James died with the halo of youth about him, when its 
freshness, effervescence, and fervor ,gave additional bril- 
liancy to his mind ;. and I think it probable his partial 
friends overrated his abilities.' 

Here is an old, dingy letter — ^perhaps the only remain- 
ing relic of this brother, and youngest child — nearly two 
years and nine months younger than Samuel. In pul- 
monary consumption he went to South Carolina, fondly 
seeking restoration in a southern climate. He must have 
left home about the beginning of November, as he had 
been absent more than two months when this letter was 
written. It is dated the 12th of January, 1795. He says, 
'I staid in Charleston about three weeks. I then spent 
two weeks with Dr. Richard Waring, who knew brother 
Edward in Philadelphia, by his pressing invitation. He 
resides thirty miles from Charleston. I then rode up here. 
Statesburgh is a small town in the high hills of Santeo, 
about a hundred miles from Charleston. Its situation is 
pleasant, high and dry, and the air pure and wholesome. 
On these accounts it was recommended to me, and chosen 
by me, as a place of residence for some time. I have been 
here about a month.' Next he gives a particular account 
of his health, and of his regimen. Poor feltow ! he was 
evidently flattering himself with the hope of recovery, al- 
^ though speaking of his disease, too, as probably consump- 

■ tion. Pecuniary considerations also seem to have troubled 

him. His accommodations were costing him ^ about a guinea 
I a week,' and he mentions a draft upon Colonel McLane, as 

! something which he would gladly have avoided, but neces- 

^ sity required. Doubtless brothers and sisters were gladly 

supporting his expenses during this vain pursuit of health. 

98 THE *'boy minister.'* [ch. 7. 3. 

To all of them the letter is addressed within, though to his 
brother Joseph without. Alas ! his hopes, like those of 
the consumptive characteristically, were doomed to disap- 
pointment. How, for a while, encouragement and despon- 
dency alternated we may easily conjecture ; but about three 
months more ended the struggle : he died the 15th of April 
among strangers ; yet these very attentive to him. In the 
family of Dr. Waring he was treated as a son and brother, 
and the last oflSces of kindness and respect, in his dying 
moments, and to his wasted remains, were tenderly paid. 

About three months before the death of James — in Jan- 
uary, 1795 — Mr. Miller's sister, Mrs. Mary Loockerman, 
after a widowhood of nearly five years, had married Major 
John Patten, whose residence, Tin Head Court, near Dover, 
has been before mentioned.^ 

Mr. Miller writes in his diary, 

'June 5, 1795. Anniversary of my ordination. Day of re- 
tirement and devotion. It is impossible for this day to recur 
without humiliation and mourning. Lord, give me grace to be 
more wise and faithful in time to come. Two years ago I was 
solemnly invested with the sacred office. In the presence of a 
great human assembly, and, above all, in the presence of God 
and angels, I took on myself the solemn vows of an ''ambassa- 
dor of Christ." How have I discharged the duties of that 
awful office? O Lord, thou knowest how unfaithful I have 
been. It becomes me to lay my hand on my mouth, and my 
mouth in the dust, and to cry, " Unclean ! Unclean ! God be 
merciful to me a sinner I" Oh for a stronger faith, a more ar- 
dent love, and a more indefatigable diligence, in the work of 
faith and labor of love to which it has been my privilege to 
devote myself!" 

4. Published Discourses — Masonry. 

Mr. Miller's second publication was a sermon preached 
before the Masonic Grand Lodge of the State of New 
York, in 1795 f which if it does not mark, as most natu- 

iSeep. 76 

2 "A Discourse delivered in the New Presbyterian Church, Now- York : Be- 
fore the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, and the Brethren of that Fra- 
ternity, assembled in General Communication, on the Festival of St, John the 
Baptist, June 24th, 17W5. By Samuel Miller, A.M., One of the Ministers of < 
the United Presbyterian Churches, in the City of New York." — Ephesians II. 
20. 21.— 8vo. pp. 32. 

1795.] MASONRY. 99 

rally it might, advanced maturity of mind, and actual im- 
provement in thought, diction, and literary taste, certainly 
gives evidence of more leisurely and careful preparation 
than the one previously published. Before this da,te, 
probably soon after his settlement in New York, Mr. Mil- 
ler joined the Masonic order ; he seems to have taken, for 
years, an active part in its proceedings, and a deep interest 
in its prosperity ; and he reached the dignity of a Royal 
Arch Mason. His discourse seems to prove, that his con- 
fidence had been already shaken, if not in some of the prin- 
ciples of the order, at least in its practical results. But 
whatever may be thus inferred as to his views of Masonry 
at this time, certain it is that subsequently — perhaps from 
the date of his removal to Princeton, where there was no 
Masonic lodge — he renounced all connexion with the order ; 
at least never attended their meetings ; and that he dis- 
tinctly, carefully, and emphatically advised his sons not to 
become Masons. Whether the abduction of Morgan, in 
1826, which brought a reproach upon the institution from 
which it has never recovered, and probably sealed its doom 
in the United States, had any influence, even to deepen his 
disapprobation, cannot now, perhaps, be determined. But 
probably his more mature reflections satisfled him, that 
such a secret order was incompatible with the spirit of good 
civil government, and especially of our free institutions ; 
and that too easily it might be made a cloak for disorderly, 
seditious, and treasonable designs ; might be abused to 
base party purposes ; might become the active enemy of 
sound morals, pure Christianity, and the Church of Christ ; 
while it must, naturally, ever prove, in some sort, and in a 
greater or less degree, a rival of that Church, by pro- 
posing its own principles as a sufficient religion, drawing 
men away from church intercourse and worship, and sug- 
gesting, by its very existence, that the institutions of Chris- 
tianity were not adequate to the fulfilment of the grand 
philanthropic purposes, for which they were founded. If 
this order might interfere with the normal workings of the 
commonwealth, it might interfere much more with those of 
the Redeemer's visible kingdom. 

Oaly ten days after the delivery of his Masonic discourse, 

100 THE "BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7. 5. 

Mr. Miller preached a Fourth of July sermon, which was 
also published.^ 

5. Valetudinarianism. 

It is very evident from the fewness and brevity of the 
entries in Mr. Miller's diary, during these earlier years of 
his ministry in New York, from his despondent dissatisfac- 
tion with his own performances, and from the speedy fail- 
ure of his health, that the burden laid upon him was, in- 
deed, almost too great to bear. It will be seen, hereafter, 
that the collegiate nature of his charge, though affording, 
on the one hand, some relief, increased on the other, and, 
perhaps, in a much greater degree, pastoral cares, anxieties, 
and toils. A city congregation, of the size of either of 
those to which he ministered, must always tax most severe- 
ly the energies of any, and especially of a very young, 
pastor. It may well be doubted, whether such a charge 
should ever be laid upon any one, or ever should be ac- 
cepted, without previous experience in the pastoral office, 
for a few years at least, in a place of less responsibility 
and altogether lighter burdens. Moreover, Mr. Miller had 
chosen the most laborious and oppressive method of preach- 
ing. His week- evening lectures were generally extempor- 
aneous, with only the assistance of a brief skeleton; but 
his Sabbath and other more formal sermons were fully 
written, then delivered memoriter : he had before him on 
the desk, at most, only a slrp of paper, with the first words 
of each paragraph upon it, for the help of recollection. 
Very few have tried this method of pulpit preparation, who 
will not testify to its pressing heavily upon the mind and 

In a contemporaneous 'Record of Preaching,' we find 
the entry, ' October 25, At Newark (N. J.) — unwell — did 
not preach ; ' probably indicating that ill-health occasioned 
the absence from home mentioned in the following extract 
from Mr. Miller's Journal. 

' October 31, 1795. From home : still journeying and in the 

1 " A Sermon delivered in the New Presbyterian Church, New York, July 4, 
1795, being the 119th Anniversary of the Independence of America; at the Re- 
quest of, and before, the Mechanic, Tammany, and Democratic Societies, and 
the Military Officers. By Samuel Miller, A. M., one of the Ministers of the 
United Presbyterian Churches in the City of New York.** — Exodus xii, 14. — 
8vo. Pp. 33. 


midst of fatigue and company. Not very favorable to a birth- 
day celebration. Oh to be placed in circumstances more 
friendly to a devout, humble, grateful spirit ! ' 

To Dr. Green he writes, on the 2d of November fol- 

* The malignant fever which has for some time afflicted us, 
you will learn, from various sources, is almost entirely extin- 
guished. To-morrow evening, our usual service will be con- 
nected with thanksgiving and praise for its removal. You will 
join me in grateful acknowledgements to the benevolent Father 
of the universe, for this signal favor. Oh, that there were 
satisfactory appearances of this dispensation's having a suitable 
effect on the minds of our citizens ! 

* Through the goodness of God I have been spared. My ex- 
posure to infection has been great ; but my life is mercifully 
prolonged to this time. May it be devoted, with greater dili- 
gence, and with more disinterested and ardent zeal, than ever, 
to the glory of God. 

*Be pleased to make my best compliments to Mrs. Green. I 
must hastily conclude. 

* I am, reverend and dear Sir, 
* Your friend and humble servant, 

* Samuel Miller.' 

Valetudinarianism was still seriously interrupting Mr. 
Miller's pastoral labors; and soon, as his diary indicates, 
he was obliged to le^ive home again for relaxation and in- 

June 5, 1796. The return of this day brings to my recol- 
lection the solemn scene of my ordination in 1793. I am now 
in Philadelphia. From the beginning of February to the 
first of June, this year, I was in bad health, insomuch that I 
did not preach during that time more than three or four ser- 
mons. My complaint was a ' weakness of the breast, which 
threatened consumption, and rendered speaking painful. I 
took a long journey on horse-back of near one thousand miles, 
visiting, in the course of it, Dover, my native place, Philadel- 
phia, Lancaster, Baltimore, Annapolis, Alexandria, George- 
to'wn, Mount Vernon, etc. Returned toward home, thus far, 
yesterday. For nearly three months I did not preach at all. 
To-day I have preached in this city (Philadelphia) for the first 
time in three months ; and ventured to preach twice without 
sensible injury. Oh that this season of painful weakness may 
be found to promote the glory of God, and my own personal 


102 THE "BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7. 6. 

good, as a professing christian and a minister. I ought to take 
warning of the shortness and uncertainty of life, and how soon 
all my plans of study and of usefulness may be cut short by 
death. Great Giver of my life and time, Oh give me grace so 
to number my days, that I may apply my heart unto wisdom. 
I feel that I greatly needed a rebuke and chastisement from 
God. I had been, for months, in a deplorably backsliding state. 
Blessed be the Lord who hath corrected me in righteousness. 
Oh may I ha;ve the wisdom to improve it well.' 

6. Doctor Edward Miller in New York. 

Within a few years after Mr. Miller's settlement, lie 
prevailed upon his brother Edward, practising Medicine at 
that time in Dover, to join him in New York. Of this, in 
his "Biographical Sketch** of the latter, he gives the fol- 
lowing -account : — 

" It was in the year 1796, that Doctor Miller removed to 
New York. It is with mournful pleasure that the writer of 
this sketch recollects his own agency in inducing his lamented 
brother to make this removal. The malignant epidemic of 
1795 had removed by death a number of physicians, whose 
characters were respectable, and whose medical practice was 
large. At the close of that awful visitation, when health was 
restored to the city, and when new plans began to be formed 
to fill up the chasms which death and desolation had made, 
the writer, then residing himself in the city, began to turn his 
eyes towards a brother whom he tenderly loved ; whose com- 
pany he never entered but with improvement ; and from whom 
he had long lamented his separation. In the month of No- 
vember of that year, he proposed to him, and urged, an imme- 
diate removal to New York. Doctor Miller received the pro- 
posal in the most affectionate manner ; but, with that delicacy 
and prudence, for which he was always remarkable, he thought 
himself bound, before deciding, to consult such members of 
the Faculty in New York as he numbered among his friends- 
He, accordingly, addressed letters to Doctor John B. B. 
Modgers, and Doctor Mitehill, on this subject, frankly explain- 
ing his views, and soliciting their judgment in the case. Their 
replies were such as might have been expected from enlightened 
and liberal friends, who felt disposed to encourage a pr'l^es- 
sional brother. He determined to make the experiment ; 
mediately entered on the adjustment of his concerns in Dover 
and in the month of September, 1796, found himself fixed in 
New York"' 

1 Pp. xxTii, xxviii. 


"His success in this city was much greater, and, particularly, 
more speedy, than he had anticipated. Among the many 
practical and instructive maxims which the writer of these 
pages has had the privilege of receiving from the lips of his 
lamented brother, and which he now recollects with mingled 
emotions; one, often repeated, was, that no professional man 
can, ordinarily, expect to succeed in life, without obtaining the 
general respect and confidence of his professional brethren. 
He thought that this remark applied to all the learned pro- 
fessions with peculiar force; that divines, physicians, and 
lawyers are, generally, held in a degree of estimation, by the 
mass of their fellow-citizens, proportioned to the degree of that 
which they enjoy among those of their own corps. His own 
character and history certainly went to the verification of this 

There can be no doubt that Dr. Edward Miller's settle- 
ment in New York proved very ben^cial to his brother's 
health, which the journal of the latter shows to have long 
remained distressingly infirm. 

'December 11, 1796. This evening is the first time that I 
have been in the pulpit for six weeks. Towards the close of 
October last, I was seized with a severe illness — an inflamma- 
tory fever — ^which brought me very low. I was, for nearly a 
fortnight, confined to my bed, and was much reduced. After 
a slow convalescence, I was so far recovered as to be able to 
preach a short sermon in the Wall street church this evening. 
Thus the Lord has again most mercifully admonished me. I 
still feel that I need chastisement. I have not had one stroke 
laid upon me that was not necessary for my good. " Lord, 
make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, 
what it is ; that I may know how <frail I am. Behold, thou 
hast made my days as an handbreadth, and mine age is 
nothing before thee: verily every man at his best estate is 
altogether vanity." My attacks are so frequent, and my con- 
stitution appears so exceedingly frail, that my friends, as well 
as myself, seem to be impressed with the persuasion that my 
time here cannot be long. God of all grace, prepare me for 
thy will, whatever it may be. Whether my ministry be longer 
or shorter. Oh that it may be to thy glory, and the advance- 
ment of thy kingdom. If I am not deceived, I desire to be in 
thy hands. Make me "a chosen vessel" "meet for the Mas- 
ter's use," and then dispose of me according to thy sovereign 

1 P. zziii. 

104 the "boy minister.'* [ch. 7. 7. 

7. Missions. 

The royal charter of the Plymouth Company, under 
which the Pilgrim Fathers settled in New England, men- 
tions, as one motive for colonization, *'the reducing and 
conversion of such savages, as remain wandering in desola- 
tion and distress, to civil society and Christian religion." 
And, for nearly two centuries, the North American In- 
dians were the only heathen for whom the Colonists, in 
any part of this country, attempted missionary effort. 
The policy of the British government did not permit the 
incorporation of societies in America for the work of 
missions ; and not until after the Revolution did the first 
association of this kind receive a charter. It was insti- 
tuted in Massachusetts, in 1787, and called " The Society 
for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians and Others 
in North America." Gradually it passed into the hands 
of Unitarians. The second was " The New York Mission- 
ary Society," formed in the City of New York, the Ist of 
November, 1796. In its organization Mr. Miller took a 
very lively interest. The following letter to Dr. Green 
refers, by anti9ipation, to this measure : — 

*New York, August 14, 1796. 
* Rev. and dear Sir, 

* You have, no doubt, been informed of the societies 
which have been latfely formed, in London, Edinburgh and 
Glasgow, for sending and supporting missionaries among the 
heathen. The remarkable encouragment which these societies 
have received, and the numerous circumstances attending their 
establishment, which promise, under the smiles of heaven, the 
most brilliant success, cannot have failed to fill your mind with 
the highest pleasure. What will be the event, God only knows; 
but this is certain, that a prospect like that at present exhibited 
in Britain has rarely been seen in the Christian Church. 

'A few of the ministers of this city, who cordially agree in 
the doctrines of grace, have lately had a meeting, to consider 
of the practicability of instituting a similar society in this 
country, and of the propriety of attempting some measure of 
the kind. The result of this meeting is, that we have des- 
patched a circular letter to eighteen or twenty ministers in the 
vicinity of this city, belonging to the Presbyterian and Dutch 
churches, whose sentiments we can rely on, begging their 
advice and concurrence in the case, and requesting their gene- 
ral attendance at another meeting, to be held here on the 23d 

1796.] MISSIONS. 105 

instant. At the proposed meeting, the subject will be taken 
into more deliberate consideration, and something probably 
decided upon. 

* The news we have received and the measures proposed on 
this subject seem to stir up the pious people among us, and to 
fill them with a fervent desire to do something. If we may 
judge by the aspect of things in our comer of the American 
vineyard, such an institution would probably meet with ample 
pecuniary and other encouragement. As it is proposed, how- 
ever, to make the institution thought of a national affair, it 
will become desirable to hear the sentiments of firiends to such 
a measure, in different parts of the continent. 

* I write these lines, not at the request of the above men- 
tioned meeting, but from a desire to communicate to you, thus 
early, what we have thought of, and to hear your opinion on 
the subject. 

' The parts of our country destitute of the gospel are numer- 
ous, besides those occupied by the Indian tribes. They are all, 
however, contemplated in the scheme in question. How happy, 
if we, who profess to know the value of evangelic truth, should 
be made the humble instruments of dissemmating it among 
those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death I 

*My health is considerably better since my return home. 
Indeed, I am now nearly as well as usual. Our city, in general, 
is uncommonly healthy. You may be assured of this, not- 
withstanding all reports to the contrary. 

* Be pleased to make my best compliments to Mrs. Green. 

* I am. Sir, with every sentiment of respect and esteem, 

* Your affectionate friend, 
* Saml. Miller.' 

The New York Society embraced several Calvinistic 
denominations. "That the world may be satisfied/' said 
its founders, "as to the religious principles which they 
embrace for themselves, and resolve to propagate among 
others, their view of the great outlines of the doctrine of 
salvation is exhibited in the following propositions:*' — a 
brief Calvinistic creed subjoined. Among its officers,. the 
Presbyterian Church was represented by Dr. John Rod- 
gers, Dr. John McKnight, and Mr. Miller; the Reformed 
Dutch, by Dr. John H. Livingston, Dr. William Linn, and 
the Rev. Messrs. John N. Abeel and Gerardus A. Kuypers ; 
the Associate Reformed, by Dr. John M. Mason ; and the 
Baptist, by Dr. Benjamin Foster. Upon the day of its 


106 THE "BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7. 8. 

organization, Dr. Alexander McWhorter, pastor of the 
Presbyterian church of Newark, preached before the So- 
ciety in the Middle Dutch Church, a sermon entitled "The 
Blessedness of the Liberal,'* and a handsome collection was 
made. The proposed field of missionary effort embraced 
the frontier settlements and Indian tribes of the United 
States ; but to the Indians, it is evident, from subsequent 
reports, attention was almost, if not quite, exclusively 
directed; so that the missions prosecuted were "foreign 
missions,'* according to a usual distinction of the present 

On the 18th of January, 1798, the Society adopted a 
"Plan for Social Prayer,*' very much like the Monthly 
Concert, now so widely observed. We find it resolved, 

" That the second "Wednesday evening of every month, be- 
ginning at candle light, be observed, from February next, by 
members of this Society, and all who are willing to join with 
them, for the purpose of offering up their prayers and suppli- 
cations to the God of grace, that he would be pleased to pour 
out his Spirit upon his Church, and send his gospel to all na- 
tions ; and that he would second the endeavors of this Society, 
and all Societies instituted on the same principles, and for the 
same ends." 

These meetings were held, in rotation, in the Wall street 
Scots', New Dutch, First Baptist, Brick, and North Dutch 
churches, the minister of each presiding in his own church, 
and where there were collegiate ministers, these in turn. 

As early as 1794, the Synod of New York and New 
Jersey had recommended a quarterly concert in prayer for 
the same great object,^the Advancement of the Redeem- 
er's Kingdom, — to commence on the first Tuesday of Jan- 
uary, 1795. 

8. Despondent Activity. — Literary Projects and 

Pastime. — Politics. 

A pastor, especially one oppressed with work and ill 
health, is often a poor judge of his own labors, which, in- 
deed, brought to the standard of God's perfect law, must 
ever prove grievously deficient. Diary entries, of which the 
following is a specimen, attest Mr. Miller's occasional de- 
spondency, as well as his orthodoxy. 


'June 5, 1797. This is the anniversary of my ordination. 
Four years ago, this day, I was set apart to the work of the 
holy ministry. I am trying to recollect it with a devout, hum- 
ble, penitent spirit. Oh, that I might be more deeply im- 
pressed, than ever I have yet been, with a sense of th^ infinite 
importance of the trust then undertaken ; and be made more 
deeply humbled than ever with a sense of my exceeding weak- 
ness, unworthiness, and shortcomings. Oh Lord, I have come 
short in everything! My preaching, my devotions, my deport- 
ment have all been, alas ! very little conformed either to the 
nature of my office, the character of my Master, or the excite- 
ments to faithfulness which I ought daily and hourly to feel. 
O Lord, make me, by thy grace, more wise and more faithful.' 

From his * Record of Preaching ' we find, that Mr. Mil- 
ler was journeying in Connecticut during a large part of 
this month of June. On the 18th, he preached twice in 
Hartford, on the 21st, in Windham before the General 
Association of Connecticut, and on the 25th, twice at Stam- 
ford. The occasion of this visit was his appointment by 
the General Assembly, on the 19th of May preceding, 
with the Rev, James F. Armstrong and the Rev. James 
Richards, to represent the Assembly in that Association. 

Mr. Miller had been settled in New York but about 
three years, when it became apparent that a third Presby- 
terian church was necessary. The two edifices already in 
use were crowded, and the inhabitants, particularly of the 
north-eastern portion of the city, which was rapidly grow- 
ing, could not find church accommodation. When the 
project for another house of worship had begun to take a 
definite shape, Henry Rutgers, Esquire, a wealthy and 
liberal member of the Reformed Dutch Church, presented 
the trustees with an ample lot, at the corner of Rutgers 
and Henry street, where they erected the new building. 
Early in the spring of 1797^ Dr. Rodgers laid the corner 
stone ; and on the 13th of May, 1798, when the edifice 
was opened for divine worship, he preached the dedication 
sermon. The greater part of the pews in this "Ruteers 
street Church," as it was appropriately called, were taken 
at once, although, for several years, the enterprise ad- 
vanced but slowly. In fact. Dr. Rodgers was becoming 
quite feeble; soon after this he was obliged to relinquish 
part of his long accustomed labors; and the pastoral force 


108 THE "BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7. 8. 

became tlien evidently insufficient to meet the demands of 
three such congregations. Yet, until 1805, the way did 
not seem clear for increasing the number of pastors. 

On the 31st of October, 1797, Mr. Miller writes in his 

* This is my birthday. Lord help me to remember it with 
gratitude and humility. With gratitude, that I have been 
thus far protected and preserved ; that I have been raised up 
fi*om sickness, guarded amidst dangers, and brought to the 
twenty-eighth year of my age in peace and in outward pros- 
perity. With humility, because I have been so unprofitable a 

One reason why Mr. Miller's labors pressed so heavily 
upon him, and his health suffered, was, doubtless, that to 
his pastoral toils he was adding a somewhat extensive cor- 
respondence, and, perhaps, too free an indulgence of mere 
literary tastes. Among his papers are found long Latin 
letters of 1796 and 1797 from Dr. Broerius Broes, a min- 
ister of the Dutch Church at Leyden, giving information 
of the state of religion and learning in Holland ; in return 
for which he seems to have comn^unicated similar intelli- 
gence from this country. Mr. Miller commenced the 
correspondence, and probably had some definite object in 
view, which cannot now h,e determined. His earlier tastes 
and habits of study, his associations in New York and 
elsewhere, and his repeated publications of an ephemeral 
kind, were evidently inclining him more and more to liter- 
ary labor and to authorship. He had kept up his ac- 
quaintance with Dr. Jedediah Morse, of Charlestown, 
distinguished, in those days, not only as an evangelical 
minister of the gospel, but also as a geographer and his- 
torian. The following letter to Dr. Morse reveals a part 
of the influence exerted upon him through such associa- 

'New York, November 27, 1797. 
* Rev'd and dear Sir, 

* In consequence of our conversation on the subject, 
I began, a few days after you' left this city last, to collect 
materials for a history of this State. The work, I find, will 
require great labour and patience. These, however, if nothing 
else, I can engage to bestow, if life and health should be spared 


me. I communicate this design to you, by way of prefece to a 

* It has occurred to me as probable, that in the course of 
your geographical and historical investigations, some curious 
facts and papers may have occurred to you which relate to the 
history of this State. You would confer a great favor on me, 
by informing me whether this is the caee; and whether it 
would be inconsistent with any of your designs to furnish me 
with the whole, or any part, of such documents. You are too 
well acquainted with the subject to need even a hint, that the 
most trifling facts, anecdotes, and papers would be a valuable 
acquisition to me in my pursuit, and that nothing scarcely can 
be too small for a collector of materials for history.' 

After speaking of the probable necessity of sending to 
Holland for materials, and asking for information of any 
persons in the United States likely to render assistance, 
Mr. Miller says, 

* I have only farther to add, that, considering the present 
stage of my undertaking, and the uncertainty of its ever being 
accomplished, it will not be proper for me to make even my 
design extensively public. "^^ 

* With my best compliments to Mrs. Morse, and with senti- 
ments of the highest respect and esteem, 

a remam, rev'd & dear Sir, 

' Your humble servant, 
N ' Samuel Miller.' 

This letter is endorsed by Dr. Morse, * Answered Janu- 
ary 10, 1798, with some valuable MSS. and printed docu- 
ments, to be returned.' 

To further this historical project, Mr. Miller petitioned 
the legislature of New York', to allow him to search the 
records of the various public offices of the State for infor- 
mation, and to make copies of important papers, without 
being subjected to the payment of the ordinary fees. A 
special act, introduced by Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill, and 
passed without a dissenting voice, on the 19th of January, 
1798, grspted fully his request. DeWitt Clinton, then a 
member of the State^ Assembly, appears to have assisted 
in the management of this matter for him, and under date 
of the 25th of January, sent him a certified copy of the 
act, with promises of further assistance. Political sympa- 
thies, and association in the Masonic lodge, had doubtless 


110 TJ3E "BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7. 8. 

brought him into closer intimacy with Mr. Clinton, who 
wrote from Albany, 

* There are very valuable materials in the Clerk's office of 
this county. The Chief Justice, who is the only man here 
that is thoroughly acquainted with them, has promised to con- 
tribute with alJ his exertions. The Surveyor Greneral will also 
render you any assistance. Be pleased to put your ideas in the 
shape of queries, and send them to me, as it will greatly pro- 
mote your object. * * 

* It will give me great pleasure to assist you, by obtaining 
information, in the important work you have in hand. You 
now stand pledged to the public ; every man of letters has an 
usufructuary property in your labors, and feels, I am per- 
suaded, confident that you will not disappoint well-grounded 

This project also led to a correspondence and literary 
exchange with the eminent geographer and historian, Pro- 
fessor Christopher Daniel Ebeling, of Hamburgh, which 
was kept up for several years. Dr. Ebeling's letters are 
in Eflglish, but, like those of Dr. Broes, long and closely 
written ; exemplifying the patient drudgery to which 
European, especially Dutch and German, scholars are, 
characteristically, willing to submit. Upon this history 
Mr. Miller labored long in a desultory way; he seems 
hardly to have abandoned the idea of writing it before he 
removed to Princeton in 1813. Something further of his 
social and literary connexions at the time it was undertaken, 
he has himself told us in the following paragraphs : — 

"Soon after his establishment in New York, Doctor Edward 
Miller became a member of a literary association, which had 
been for some time known to those who . participated in its 
pleasures and advantages, by the unostentatious name of "the 
Friendly Club." The meetings were held in rotation at the 
respective houses of the members, on the Tuesday evening of 
each week. Of this association, one of its members spea^ in 
the following terms.* Never was a place of appointment, of 
this nature, repaired to with greater avidity, or the pleasures of 
unshackled intellectual intercourse more highly enjoyed. All 
form was rejected by the "friendly club," and but one rule 
adopted, which was that the member who had the pleasure of 
receiving his friends at his house, should read a passage from 

"* Monthly Recorder, vol. I, p. 8, Ac." 

1798.] POLITICS. Ill 

some author, by way of leading conversation into such a chan- 
nel as might turn the thoughts of the company to literary dis- 
cussion or critical investigation. This was, for the greater por- 
tion of the. time it existed, truly a "friendly club" ; but after a 
continuation of most perfect and cordial communion for a few 
years, the demon, whose infuriated and blasting influence is un- 
ceasingly exerted to mar the blessings of our envied country, 
party politics, found his way among the " friendly club," and 
the institution died a lingering d^ath. Yet I believe the sur- 
viving members feel a brotherly affection towards each other, 
and a regretful remembrance of those days, the more endearing 
as the knowledge that they can nev^r return becomes more im- 
pressive, from the ravages of time and the unsparing strokes of 

""The associates of Dr. Miller at this invaluable period, the 
first years of the club, were William DurUap, then manager of 
the New York theatre ; James Kent, the recorder of the city, 
and now chief justice of the State of New York; Anthony 
Bleecker, attorney and counsellor at law and master in chancery; 
Charles Brockden Brown, the author of Wieland; William 
Walton Woohey ; Doctor Elihu Hubbard Smith; George Muir- 
son Woolsey; Doctor Samuel Latham Mltchill; John Wells, 
attorney and counsellor at law ; William Johnson, attorney and 
counsellor at law, and reporter to the supreme court of the 
State of New York ; and the reverend Samuel Miller, D.D." "^ 

In January, 1801, Mr. Miller addressed a memorial to 
the legislature of New York, setting forth, that since its 
last session, he had 'been gradually making progress in the 
collection of materials for his proposed history,* and pray- 
ing that the Dutch records in the Secretary's office might 
be translated, at the expense of the State, for historical 

The 9th of May, 1798, had been appointed by the Presi- 
dent of the United States, Mr. Adams, as a general fast- 
day. At this time, the country was greatly agitated by 
the prospect of hostilities with France — hostilities very un- 
popular with the Republican, or Democratic party, between 
which and the Federalists strife was running high. The 
latter were charged by their opponents with being in the 
interest of Great Britain, then at war with France ; and 
with plans of alliance with the one against the other. Mr. 

^ B\og, Sketch of Doctor Edwawl Miller, zxix. 

112 THE "BOY MINISTER." [CH. 7. 8. 

Miller preached upon the fast-day mentioned, and the ser- 
mon was afterwards published^ with this advertisement : — 

"The following discourse, htistily composed, is published at 
the request of many who heard it delivered. The author is 
not accustomed to carry political discussion into the pulpit, nor 
to deliver his sentiments, in his public ministrations, on several 
points, connected with politics, which are glanced at in the fol- 
lowing pages. He supposed, however, that the occasion per- 
mitted, and even dictated, some deviation from his ordinary 
habits in this respect. Viewing the present crisis in the point 
of light which he does, he could not reconcile it either witib re- 
ligion or with patriotism to be wholly silent on the subject It 
appears by the result, that some of his friends concur with him 
in opinion; * *"• 

This apology itself, perhaps, demonstrates that Mr. Mil- 
ler was indeed very far from being a pulpit politician ; and 
he protests against being so regarded in the passage which 
contains the strongest, nay, almost the only, allusion to the 
politics of the day, and which simply deprecates all foreign 
alliances as entangling and dangerous. It must be remem- 
bered, however, that, at the time, no alliance, excepting 
with Great Britain, was in question. Hence opposition to 
European alliances, however generally and abstractly ex- 
pressed, could not but be regarded as distinctive' of Repub- 

On the anniversary of his ordination Mr. Miller writes, 

* June 5, 1798. Once more am I brought, in the gracious 
providence of God, to the anniversary of my ordination. Solemn 
day ! Solemn recollection ! I have great reason to-day for hum- 
ble, tender thanksgiving ; but much more for the deepest self- 
abasement. I have preached many sermons, and made many 
?arochial visits, in the course of my last ministerial year ; yet 
know not that I have done any permanent good. May God, 
for Christ's sake, forgive my multiplied sins and short comings, 
and give me grace, in time to come, to live and act more as be- 
comes one charged with the most solemn of all offices, engaged 
in the most delightful work in the universe, and bound to glo- 
rify God in my body and in my spirit which are God's.' 

1 "A Sermon, Delivered May 9, 1798, Recommended, by the President of the 
United States, to be observed as a Day. of General Humiliation, Fasting, And 
Prayer. By Samuel Miller, A.M., One of the Ministers of the United Presoy- 
terian Churches in the City of New York.-^2 Tim. iii. 1. — 8vo. Pp. 46. '> 

2 P. 3. I 



Upon first settling in New York, Mr. Miller simply took 
boarding, and successive city directories place him at the 
corner of William and John streets, in 1793, at No. 23 
Market street, in 1794, and at No. 23 Maiden lane, in 
1795, 6 and 7. Afterwards, the two brothers kept house, 
first at No. 158 Broadway, and, subsequently, at No. 116 
Liberty street. Singularly enough, during a part of their 
bachelor-hall experience, their house keeper was a Mrs. 
Miller, whose name could hardly have been part of her re- 
commendation to their service. 

During the latter years of the last, and the earlier of the 
present, century, New York and Philadelphia, with occa- 
sionally some smaller towns in the vicinity of these cities, 
were repeatedly visited by epidemic yellow fever. Its first 
appearance in New York is said to have been in 1791,^ 
although it was not very alarmingly prevalent there until 
1795. In 1793, it had raged fearfully in Philadelphia; and 
in 1798, it visited both cities with terrible malignity. Let 
us trace, briefly, its ravages, during the latter year, in New 
York, following Mr. Miller and others in their accounts 
of their own observation and experience. The former says, 

" Doctor" Edward '^Miller had been residing two years 

in the city, and had found hia medical practice considerably in- 
creased. As he believed the Yellow Fever to be neither im- 
ported nor eordagious, and as his residence was in the most 
healthy street in the city, he early resolved to commit himself 
to the care of Providence, and to remain at his post. He did 
so, and was mercifully preserved. The writer of this sketch 
also remained in the city, during that melancholy season, and 

1 1 Medical Repository, 803. 

10* 118 

11 1 • THE YELLOW FEVEK. [CH. 8. 

spent the whole of it under the same roof with his brother; and 
never shall he forget either, on the one hand, the persevering 
and almost incredible labours of that beloved Relative; or, on 
the other, the gloom and horror of the general scene. Doctor 
Miller visited all who sent for him, wiUiout discrimination or 
reserve. The rich, who were able to remunerate him, had 
chiefly left' the city: his professional labors were, in a great 
measure, devoted to the poor and forsaken, from whom no re- 
compense could be expected. Yet he attended them with un- 
ceasing assiduitj|r; though he often exhibited such marks of 
fatigue, exhaustion, and mental depression on account of the 
scenes through which he passed, as could oiot have been de- 
scribed, or easily conceived, without personally witnessing 

Mr. Miller's older brother, Joseph, had removed to Wil- 
mington, Delaware, and was established there in legal prac- 
tice, when, in 1798, the yellow fever extended to that place. 
Though not so fatal in the smaller, as in the larger, more 
crowded, towns, the victims everywhere within its range were 
numerous enough to fill all hearts with dismay. But a few 
months before, Joseph Miller had married Elizabeth Loock- 
erman, half sister of his brother in law, Vincent Loocker- 
man. Both he and his bride were seized with the fever : 
she recovered, but he died on the 4th of September. The 
prevalence of the disease in New York City, their own 
critical circumstances, and, probably, the quarantine regu- 
lations which rendered travel difficult or impossible, forbade 
the presence of his brothers, Edward and Samuel, at his 
dying bed. To others they must be indebted for every idea 
of the melancholy scene. Joseph was in his thirty-fourth 

A life-like picture of the harrowing and fearful ex- 
perience of those, who, in the interest of humanity and 
religion, braved the ravaging pestilence, may be taken from 
the letters of a sojourner, at that time, in New York — 
Charles Brockden Brown. He was a native of Philadelphia, 
descended from Quaker ancestors, com'panions of William 
Penn. Educated for the Bar, but wholly averse to its 
public conflicts-^ — of a diffident and gentle nature, and deeply 
enamored of the Muses — he relinquished forensic practice, 
to the great disappointment and mortification of his friends. 

1 Biog. Sketch, Iviii, lix. "x 

1798.] THE YELLOW FEVER. 115 

Dissatisfied with himself, and with gloomy prospects, but to 
escape importunities and reproaches, he rambled away from 
home, and, without, apparently, any definite object, visited 
New York. With Dr. Elihu H. Smith he had formed an 
intimate acquaintance in Philadelphia, where the latter had 
studied medicine. Dr. Smith introduced him to William 
Dunlap and other members of the Friendly Club, which 
Mr. Brown joined ; and for several years he passed a large 
part of his time, first in the family of Mr. Dunlap, after- 
wards with Dr. Smith and William Johnson, Esquire, in an 
establishment — a bachelor's hall apparently — set up by 
these three in partnership. Upoh the appearance of the 
yellow fever, the members of his own faipily wrote to him 
urging flight immediately. A few extracts from his replies 
will best explain his position and surrdUnding circum- 

On the 4th of September, he says, 

""As to the malignity of the disease, perhaps its attack is 
more violent than ordinary, but E. H. S., to whom I read your 
letter, answers for me, that not more than one out of nine, 
when properly nursed, die; and that its fatality, therefore, is 
much less than the same disease in Philadelphia!" " ^ 

On Sunday, September 17th, after noticing the increased 
prevalence and malignity of the fever, and its extension to 
the highest and most respectable classes, which had previ- 
ously escaped its attack, Mr Brown writes, 

""On Tuesday last, an Italian gentleman of great merit, 
and a particular friend of E. H. 8., arrived in this city from 
Philadelphia. The disease had already been contracted, and 
admission into the boarding houses was denied him. Hearing 
of his situation, our friend hastened to his succour, and re- 
signed to him his own bed. A nurse was impossible to be pro- 
cured, and this duty therefore devolved upon us. * * The 
disease was virulent beyond example, but his agonies have 
been protracted to this day. He now lies in one apartment of 
our house, a spectacle that sickens the heart to behold, and not 
far from his last breath, while, in the next, our friend, E. H. 
S., is in a condition but little better. 

" " Extreme fatigue and anxiety could not fail of producing 
a return of this disease in Elihu. * * 

" Sunday evening. Our Italian friend is dead, and Elihu is 

^ 2 Dunlap's Life of Charles Brockdcn Brown, 4. 


preparing to be transported to 's, whose house is spacious, 

healthfully situated, and plentifully accommodated." " 

" Brown had been himself attacked by the first symptoms of 
the fatal disease, and was removed to the house of the same 
friend who now received the unfortunate Smith. Brown's 

symptoms yielded to medicine, not so his friend's ; * * 

tne efforts of his medical friends Miller and Mitchill were ut- 
terly unavailing ; he saw the last symptom of the disease, black 
vomit, pronounced the word " decomposition," and died."^ 

Mr. Miller, referring afterwards to the same melancholy 
scenes, wrote, 

" Among the victims of this wasting disease, in the season of 
which we are speaking. Doctor Miller was called to lament 
the loss of his affectionate friend, and able colleague/ Doctor 
Elihu H. Smith, who, in the morning of life and usefulness, 
and in the midst of professional exertions, as honorable to him- 
self as they were beneficial to others, was sent to a premature 
grave. * * Never can the writer of these lines forget the 
funeral of Doctor Smith. It was when the i*avages of pesti- 
lence had become so tremendous, as to drive almost every in- 
dividual from the city who was able to flv ; when scarcely any 
passengers were to be seen in the streets, but the bearers of the 
dead to the tomb ; and when it appeared as if the reign of 
death must become universal ; — it was in circumstances such 
as these, that Doctors Mitchill and Milleb, accompanied by 
two or three other friends, bedewed with their tears, and fol- 
lowed to the grave, the remains of a Young Man, in some re- 
spects one of the most enlightened and promising that ever 
adorned the annals of American science."' 

"Upon the removal of Dr. Smith from his own dwelling to 
the house of a friend, Mr. Brown resigned to him the chamber 
he had occupied in that friend's house, and by invitation re- 
moved to Dr. Miller's." 

Here, on Tuesday, September 20th, the day before Dr. 
Smith's death, he wrote to his brother : — 

" " My excellent friend. Dr. Miller, dissuades me from going 
to you. * * 

""The number of Physicians is rapidly declining, while that 
of the sick is as rapidly increasing. Dr. Miller, whose practice, 
as his skill, exceeds that of any other physician, is almost weary 

1 Life of C. B. Brown, 7, 8. 

2 Doctors B. H. Smith and Samuel Latham Mitchill were associated with 
Doctor Edward Miller in the editorship of the Medical RepoHtory, 

' Bio£^. Sketch, Ix. 

1798.] THE YELLOW FEVER. 117 

of a scene of such complicated horrors. My heart sickens at 
the perpetual recital to which I am compelled to be an au- 
ditor. * * 

" " Thursday morning. * * In the opinion of Miller, the 
disease, in no case, was ever more dreadfully and infernally 
malignant." "^ 

After the dreadful scourge had disappeared, the clergy 
of the city of New York recommended the observance of a 
day of thanksgiving, humiliation and prayer. On that day 
Mr. Miller preached a sermon, which was afterwards pub- 

In this discourse, in singular, yet perfectly legitimate, 
connexion with a tribute to those who had remained to 
minister to the sick and dying, stands the following argu- 
ment to show, that most of the fugitives were undoubtedly 
right in escaping from the scenes of death. 

*' It is pleasing to find, that the scruples, which were formerly 
prevalent and strong, agamst flying from pestilence, are now 
entertained by few. There seems to be no good reason why 
those, who consider it sinfiil to retire from a place under this 
calamity, should not have the same objection to flying from 
famine, i^om the ravages of fire, or from war, which are equally 
judgments of God. And yet those who reprobate the former 
never think of condemning the latter. In fact, if it be criminal 
to retke from a city in which the plague rages, it must be 
equally criminal to send for a physician, or to take medicines, 
in any sickness ; for they are both using means to avert danger 
to which the Providence of God has exposed us.' It is hoped, 
therefore, if Providence should call us to sustain a similar stroke 
of affliction in future, there will be a more general agreement 
than ever, in the propriety of immediate removal ; and that all 
will escape without delay, who are not bound to the scene of 
danger by special and indispensable ties. Had all the inhabitants 
of New York remained in the city, during the late epidemic, 
probably four or ^ve times the present number, on the lowest 
computation, would have been added to the list of its victims. 

1 Life of C. B. Brown, 10. 

' " A Sermon delivered February 5, 1799 ,• Recommended by the Clergy of 
the City of New York, to be observed as a Day of Thanksgiving, Humiliation 
and Prayer, on account of tho Removal of a Malignant and Mortal Disease, 
which had prevailed in the City some time before. By Samuel Miller, A. M., 
one of the Ministers of the United Presbyterian Churches in the City of New 
York. Published by request. — Pdalm ii, II. — 8vo. P. 3tf. 

'•'See Jeremiah 21. 6-9." 


'You may rest assured, this is not an ordinary, nor a catch- 
penny, plan. The principal editor is a gentleman of undoubted 
learning and taste, who will devote a large portion of his time 
. to the work ; and he will be supported and assisted by an asso- 
ciation, which some of the first literary characters in 
this city ; so that I think you may, with confidence, recommend 
the work to the patronage of your friends, as one that will bfe 
ably conducted, and as one that will be decidedly favorable to 
the interests of morality and religion. I have no doubt that it 
may and will be rendered honorable and useful to the United 

Dr. Morse demurred, expressing his fears, as it would 
seem, that the work might be too Democratic in its bear- 
ing. To this Mr. Miller replied, April 3, 1799, 

* The principal editor of the American Monthly Magazine is 
a Mr. Charles B. Brown, lately of Philadelphia. You may, I 
believe, fully confide in him as a Federalist. Of his learning 
and taste there can be no question. There is a society, or club, 
of some ten gentlemen, who meet once a week to consult about 
the magazine, and concert plans to make up its contents and to 
promote its interests. Of these ten, seven are decided Federal- 
ists ; the other three are a little Democratic, but remarkably 
mild and moderate men. I am not at liberty to mention their 
names, but am persuaded you need be under no apprehension 
respecting the work in a political point of view.' 

The Fever must have been still raging, or had scarcely 
abated, when Mr. Miller received a unanimous call from 
the Market-street, or First Presbyterian, ^Church in Phila- 
delphia. His answer to this invitation has not been pre- 
served, but a letter of the 8th of November to Dr. Green, 
alludes to it. 

'You will, probably, have been informed, before you receive 
this letter, that I have given a negative answer to the call firom 
Market street Church. The grounds of this decision were nu- 
merous and left no room for hesitation ; but it is impossible, in 
the compass of an ordinary letter, to enter into the details of 
the subject. I hope my determination is right, and approved 
by the great Head of the Church. 

*I thank you for your kind sympathy under the late be- 
reaving dispensation of Providence in our family. I have lost 
an affectionate, and, unless I am deceived, in many respects a 
valuable brother. But it is the Lord : let him do what seemeth 
to him good ! It is my duty, and I hope it is my desire, to be 

1798.] THE YELLOW FBVICR. 121 

still and know that he is God. I have, as you heard, been 
twice ill with the fever — once severely so ; but, having obtained 
help of God, I continue unto this day.^ Unless I deceive my- 
self, it is my wish and aim to devote the life which ha,s been 
spared, to more activity and usefulness. May that power, which 
alone is able, strengthen, continue and realize these wishes! 

'As I write in the midst of much hurry, I have only time to 
add my best compliments to Mrs. Green, and an assurance that 
I am, dear Sir, with much respect and esteem, 

*Your friend and brother, 

'Samuel Miller.' 

To an introductory letter of the 14th of December, 1798, 
he adds, 'N. B. I give you joy on the President's deliver- 
ing so decent a speech. I think it the best public commu- 
nication he ever made. I know of nothing in it, which I 
do not approve of substantially, which is going pretty far 
for a Democrat.' 

This call to the Market street church was a call to be the 
colleague of Dr. John Ewing, who united his pastoral office 
with that of Provost of the IJniversity of Pennsylvania. A 
colleague was soon found in the Rev. John Blair Linn,^ 
who, surviving his senior, continued in his relation to this 
church until 1804, when his early and lamented death made 
way for the long and very popular pastorate of the Rev. 
James P. Wilson, D.D. 

^ 4 Sprague's Annals, 210. 





1. Death of Washington. 

In 1799, Mr. Miller, doubtless,^in his already feeble 
state of health, to avoid the Yellow Fever, was absent from 
New York most or all of the time for about two months 
— from early in September till near the middle of Novem- 
ber. In December he preached a sermon, afterwards pub- 
lished, on the occasion of the death of General Washing- 
ton.^ An unfeigned admirer of the "Father of his Coun- 
try," he lavished encomiums upon his military skill and 
success, "his dignified prudence, soundness of judgment, 
firmness and self-command,*' his unsullied patriotism, the 
universally confessed purity of his motives, and his un- 
deviating rectitude of intention. He represented him as 
"not indeed • endowed with those brilliant and dazzling 
talents, which many erroneously imagine to be alone 
estimable;'' but as possessing a mind of the higher order, 
and as raised, "without the tinsel ornaments of titled no- 
bility — without the advantage of what is called distin- 
guished and honorable birth" — "raised, by the Governor 
of the world, to a degree of greatness of which the history 
of man had furnished few examples." ^ 

It might seem remarkable, that so little is said in this 
discourse about Washington's religious character. Beyond 

1 "A Sennon, Delivered December 29, 1799 ; Occasioned by the -death of 
General George Washington, late President of the United States, and Com- 
mander in Chief of the American Armies. By Samuel Miller, A. M., One of 
the Ministers of the United Presbyterian Gharches in the City of New York. 
Published by Request." — Chronicles xxix, 12.— 8vo, Pp. 39. 

2 Pp. 28, 33. 



the warm commendation of his private and public virtues, 
it is only observed, "On the providence of God he took 
every opportunity of expressing a firm reliance; and to 
divine goodness and aid he never failed of ascribing the 
glory 01 every favorable event." ^ And it is but right to 
add, that, in after life, Dr. Miller often spoke, with sadness, 
of the doubt clouding his own mind as to Washington's 
piety. How was it possible, he asked, for a true Christian, 
in the full exercise of his mental faculties, to die without 
one expression of distinctive belief, or Christian hope ? * — 
a most pregnftnt question, the profound pain inspired by 
which is, however, partially relieved, by the consideration 
of the great hero's prayerful life; his unusual, but uniform, 
and apparently deliberate, reticence on the subject of per- 
sonal religion ; the brevity of his last illness, of less than 
twenty-four hours; and his difficulty, from the nature of 
the attack, in making himself understood. 

This sermon led to a correspondence with the Honorable 
John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States under 
the Federal Constitution, but at this time Governor of the 
State of New York. 

'Albany, 28 February, 1800. 

'Accept my thanks for the sermon on the death of Gen- 
eral Washington, which you were so obliging as to send me. 
In my opinion it abounds in excellent sentiments, well ar- 
ranged and well expressed. 

* W riting thus freely, I think it candid to observe, that in 
some instances, ideas are conveyed; which do not appear to me 
to be correct. Such, for instance, as " our glorious emcmdpa' 
tion from Britain." The Congress of 1774 and 1775 regarded 
the people of this country as being free ; and such was their 
opinion of the liberty we enjoyed so late as the year 1763, that 
they declared the Colonies would be satisfied, on being replaced 
in the political situation in which they then were. It was not 
until after the year 1763, that Britam claimed to subject us 
to arbitrary domination. We resisted the stamp-act with en- 
ergy and success ; and when, afterward, she attempted to bind 
us in all cases whatsoever, the same spirit of resistance ani- 
mated our councils and our conduct. When she recurred to 
arms to put a yoke upon us, we recurred to arms to keep it ofi*. 
A struggle ensued, which produced the Revolution, and ended 

1 1 P. 34. 


in an entire dissolution of the political ties which had before 
subsisted between the two countries. Thus we became a dis- 
tinct nation ; and I think truth will justify our indulging the 
pride of saying, that we and our ancestors have kept our necks 
free from all yokes, and that the term ema.uApaihn is not ap- 
plicable to us. 

* Speaking of the measures of General Washington's eivU 
administration, you observe, and so is the fact, '' that there is 
less unanimity among his countrymen with respect to these, 
than with respect to his military services." But do facts war- 
rant our ascribing this diminution of unanimity entirely to 

, doubts respecting the wisdom of those measures ? 

* The Revolution found and left only two parties ; viz., — ^the 
Whigs, who succeeded; and the Tories, who were suppressed. 
The former were unanimous in approving the leading measures, 
both civil and military, which gave them victory. When the 
adoption of the new constitution afterwards came into question 
the Whigs divided into two parties, one for, and the other 
against it. The party for the constitution prevailed ; and they 
have, with as great unanimity, approved of General Washing- 
ton's civil, as of his military measures. The party opposed to 
the constitution disapproved of the government established by 
it ; and there are very few of the important measures of that 
government, which have escaped their censure. 

' I take the liberty of making these remarks from the res- 
pect I have for your talents, and an opinion, that, with due cir- 
cumspection, they will promote the great interests of truth, 
virtue, and rational liberty. Receive them, therefore, as marks 
of the esteem with which I am, 

' Sir, your most obedient servant, 
' The Rev. Mr. Miller. John Jay.' 

To the foregoing letter Mr. Miller replied as follows : — 

* New York, March 14, 1800. 

* Your very polite letter, dated the 28th of last month, 
came to my hand a few days ago. 

' While 1 receive, with great pleasure, the general approba- 
tion you are pleased to express of the sermon which I did my- 
self the honor to send you, I feel equally obliged by the free 
and candid remarks, which you thought proper to subjoin. 
Even if they were less agreeable to my own views, they would, 
from their nature, and the manner in which they are communi- 
cated, demand my respectful acknowledgments. 

* With respect to the word emancipation, as applied to the 


dissolution of the ties which connected us with Great Britain, 
I admit your remark, without hesitation, as perfectly just. 
Although the word has been often used, in popular harangues, 
to express the idea for which I employed it; yet it is certainly 
not strictly correct. I am the more pleased with your remark 
on this pdint, and more fully appreciate the benevolent motive 
which induced you so candidly to state it, when I reflect on my 
having undertaken, should my life be spared, to lay before the 
public some account of the great event to which the expression' 
alluded to relates ; in representing which it would be unfor- 
tunate to use language, either erroneous, or liable to be mis- 

. * With respect to your observation on the manner in which I 
took notice of General Washington's services as President, 
though I receive it, and consider the motive by which it was 
dictated, with profound respect; yet you will pardon i^e if I 
hesitate to a^opt your opinion in mis, in the same unqualified 
manner, as in the preceding instance. 

' On the occasion on which the sermon was delivered, I was 
unwilling to touch upon any string connected with party ani- 
mosity. Had I, therefore, perfectly agreed with you in senti- 
ment, with regard to the parties which have, for several years, 
divided the citizens of the United States, it would not have 
been thought proper by me, to introduce such sentiments, or, 
indeed, any others involving the' political polemics of the day, 
into a pulpit exercise. 

' But, Sir, I had a more powerful reason for speaking as I did. 
To avoid giving offence to an audience will always, I hope, be a 
secondary object with me, to the duty of a candid expression 
of my sentiments, when such expression is demanded. I am 
one of those who do not entirely approve the measures of the 
late venerable President. And, although I am persuaded that 
multitudes have opposed them, from a principle of fixed hostility 
to the Constitution, and in a very unreasonable and criminal 
manner; yet, after as impartial an examination of my own 
mind as I am able to institute, I cannot believe that my dis- 
approbation arises from any other source than " doubts of the 
wisdom of those measures." My doubts, indeed, may be wholly 
groundless; and give me leave to say, that few things have 
more frequently tempted me to suspect that this might be the 
case, than a recollection of the splendid talents, and (in my 
view) the unquestionable uprightness, which have been engaged 
in carrying on the measures referred to. Still my doubts exist; 
though I hope they are entertained and generally expressed, 
without obstinacy, and without malevolence. 



'With respect to the last idea suggested in your letter — ^that 
the party who originally approved the Constitution have unani- 
mously continued to approve the government established by it 
— I am ready to admit, that, as a general remark, it is just; 
but many exceptions are certainly to be found. As I was a lad 
of seventeen years of age, when the Constitution was adopted, 
it would be improper to speak of my own sentiments at that 
time. I was then residing in Delaware, my native state. In 
that state, you recollect, the Constitution was adopted promptly 
and unanimously. Among the number of its earnest admirers 
and supporters were my relatives and particular friends; and in 
the same class I have, ever since, considered myself to be. It 
is, moreover, beyond all question true, that a large proportion 
of the first characters for talents, virtue and property, in that 
state, who then took side in favor of the Constitution, with great 
decision ; and who have uniformly professed themselves to be 
its friends to the present day ; are now to be ranked with what 
is called the opposition. I have taken mv examples from 
Delaware, as being better able to compare the different parts 
of the conduct of its principal citizens for the last twelve years, 
than to do the same with respect to my adopted state. I am 
well aware that such conduct is charged with being a derelic- 
tion of former principles, and a change of ground. That some 
have given reason for bringing this charge against them, and 
for suspecting their motives, I do not deny. But that disap- 
proving the administration, as to some of its measures, always 
implies enmity to the Constitution, I cannot, at present, concede. 

* You will perhaps be surprised at my taking the liberty to 
trouble you with these expositions and details of my sentiments. 
I am sensible it is of little importance what my political opin- 
ions are. They have been generally held in a moderate and 
inoffensive manner; and both my profession and inclination 
forbid me to take any active part in the civil concerns of my 
country. It is, indeed, my wish to abstract myself morie and 
more from party politics. But several reasons induced me to 
acknowledge the receipt of your remarks ; and, in doing this, 
my first resolution was to be unreserved. You had given an ex- 
ample of candor too flattering and instructive not to be imitated. 

* I have only to add, that, if I do not deceive myself, my 
highest ambition is to promote "the great interests of religion, 
virtue and rational liberty;" that, if any of iny sentiments 
have a different tendency, I shall readily abandon them on 
making the discovery ; and that he who corrects any of the 
errors into which I may fall, will always be considerea by me 
as my truest friend and benefactor. 


1800.] CITY LIFE. 127 

*I have the honor to be, with sentiments of very high 

* Your Excellency's much obliged 
'and humble servant, 

'Samuel Miller/ 

2. City Life — Social, Literary and Political. — 

Thomas Jefferson. 

The occasional entries found in Mr. Miller's diary during 
the year 1800 are marked by very much the same tone 
with those previously given. 

* June 5, 1800. I am permitted to see another ordination 
day. Oh how good is God! And how ungrateful and un- 
worthy am I ! My health has been frequently interrupted, 
and always delicate, during the past year ; but instead of being 
animated by this consideration to greater diligence in all my 
labours, not knowing when they may come to an end ; to a 
more humble, tender anxiety to redeem the time, remembering 
that my days are evil, and may be very few ; it seems as if 
every feeling of zeal were chilled ; every sacred desire blunted ; 
every principle of love, getting colder ; every disposition to do 
good, sinking lower and lower. Lord, help me ! Vain is the 
help of man ! Oh, let me not ever live, and ever labor, " at 
this poor, dying rate !" Lord, quicken me by thy good Spirit; 
take away. Oh, take away, these miserable, earthly, grovelling 
dispositions and habits, which draw me down to earth! O 
Lord, help me so to number my days, as to apply my heart to 

' October 31, 1800. My birth-day. Thank God that it is a 
day of tranquillity, and a day of leisure. I would humbly im- 
prove it as a day of serious reflection, self-examination and 
prayer. I am to-day thirty-one years old. Oh that I had 
made proportional progress in wisdom, zeal and devotion to the 
best of Masters ! My health has been very delicate and frail 
for d year and more past. Oh, why am I so slow to learn, 
from such a consideration, that I ought to be more engaged in 
working the work of Him who sent me into the world, while it 
is day; knowing that the night eometh, when no man can 
work ? Alas ! my own strength is but weakness ; my own wis- 
dom is but folly ; my own efforts and resolutions all fruitless, 
without divine aid. All my help must come from on high. 
Oh that I may be constantly looking, longing, praying, for 
that help, until it is vouchsafed to the glory of my Master in 
heaven ! ' 



The position which Mr. Miller occupied in New York 
gave him, at once, the freedom of that society to which he 
was naturally attracted by his cultivated literary and social 
tastes. His brother Edward, sharing these tastes, added 
many of his own professional friends to the number of their 
mutual associates; each brother, in fact, had the circle of 
his intercourse thus considerably enlarged. . No doubt both 
in this way, received a new impulse to their earnestness in 
general study, and to improvement as to various elegant 
accomplishments. But neither can it be doubted, that such 
society was not altogether favorable to a gospel minister's 
spiritual advancement, to his growth in grace and in the 
knowledge of Jesus Christ, or to his highest usefulness in 
the Church. In later years Mr. Miller seemed to look back 
at his life in New York, as having been, in more than one 
respect, a life of sore temptation ; and no one can recur to 
its remaining records, imperfect as they are, without con- 
cluding that he could not have escaped entirely unharn^gd 
from influences far too worldly, by which he was surrounded. 
The choice of a history of New York as the first great task 
for his pen, though a task never completed; and his sub- 
sequent actual preparation of two volumes of a general 
"Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century," clearly prove, 
that he had not yet learned to give himself wholly and 
rigorously — an absolute condition of great spiritual success 
— to his bare gospel work. Oh, that ministers of the word 
were not so slow to learn the secrets of true eminence in 
winning souls! A curious illustration of the temptations 
to which he was exposed, and to which, doubtless, he too 
far yielded, is found in his joining, perhaps helping to or- 
ganize, as we have seen, a literary club, which embraced 
some very doubtful characters, as the intimates of a cler- 

But especially Mr. Miller erred, under the influence of 
his associations in New York, in becoming far too much of a 
party politician. This, in after years, he expressly de- 
clggred ; nay, left it so carefully on record, in more than 
one form, as a warning to other ministers in like circum- 
stances, that withholding any important illustration of the 
simple truth on this subject, would do serious injustice to 
his own matured convictions. The brothers had inherited 


from their father — ^perhaps both parents — a lively interest 
in political, as well as ecclesiastical, -affairs. Edward was, 
evidently, a warm politician. A^number of the clergy, 
too, around them, were not only still warmer in their par- 
tizanship, but even became electioneering pamphleteers. 
Mr. Miller's near clerical associates. Dr. John M. Mason 
and Dr. William Linn, published, each, one "campaign" 
pamphlet, at least, against Mr. Jefferson. On the other 
hand, his venerable colleague, Dr. Rodgers, took no part 
in politics. With the whole body of the Presbyterian 
clergy, he had been, through the Revolution, a decided 
Whig ; but, subsequently, he was not accustomed even to 
vote. In fact he was, pre-eminently, a man of peace, 
shunning not only political, but also religious controversy, 
both in and out of the pulpit. 

During Washington's administration, the two great 
political parties — Federalists and Republicans- — had sprung 
up ; and although, in 1797, Mr. Adams took the presi- 
dential chair, the severity of the struggle which resulted in 
his election by the Federalists, foreshadowed the speedy 
triumph of Republican democracy. This struggle gave 
only new vigor to the beaten party ; their candidate, Mr. 
Jefferson, became, under the original provisions of the 
Constitution, Vice-president; and his adherents were gath- 
ering strength, constantly, for the next political contest. 
Mr. Miller espoused the cause, not alone of the Democracy, 
but of Mr. Jefferson, with earnest warmth. Though per- 
fectly aware of that great statesman's infidelity, he made, 
. for a time, such a distinction between political and religious 
character, as to persuade himself, that the latter was, in 
matters of civil government, of comparatively little im- 
portance. The greatness of this mistake he, afterwards, 
sadly acknowledged. Indeed, it might be called a tem- 
porary hallucination rather than a mistake ; for, in sermons 
previously published, he had said, 

" The author is not one of those who imagine political liberty 
to consist in freedom from all restraint, even that of morality 
and law. He, therefore, considers the man who opposes re- 
ligion, and who fights against Christianity, (the only genuine 
system of divine truth,) as an enemy to his country. He is 
persuaded that nothing has so great a tendency to promote and 
establish real liberty, as the practical influence of this system. 


He never expects the Happy arrival of the period of Universai- 
Emancipation, until ttfe triumph of evangelic truth shall be- 
come universal also. — Hcfjg far, then^ the floods of infidelity and 
vice, which are pouring in on every side, forbode well to the 
liberties and happiness of this country, he leaves to the con- 
sideration of his lellow-citizena."^ 

And again, 

" My brethren, consider then, the men who would rob you 
of this religion, as your enemies, and the enemies of all social 
happiness. Be assured, whatever may be their motives, and 
whether they realize it or not, they are madmen, scattering fire- 
hrandsj arrows and death. They may tell you, "that in casting 
off religion, you will only free yourself from chains which cramp 
your faculties and degrade your nature ; that you will never 
rise to the true sublimity of the human character, till you 
throw from you the cumbrous load." They may tell you this ; 
and they may believe it all. But, O fellow mortals ! examine 
well before you commit yourselves to their delusive guidance. 
Are you patriots ? and will you embrace principles which tend 
to dissolve all the ties of social order ? Are you fathers of 
families ? and will you adopt a system, which prostrates every 
law of domestic happiness ? Are you accountable beings ? ana 
wUl you choose a road which conducts to the chambers 0/ death f 
ISTo, brethren. Whatever difficulty or trouble may arise, hold 
fast to the profession of your faith without wavering. For the 
name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous runneth into 
it and is safe,"^ 

The letter from which the following extract is taken 
was addressed to the Rev. Mr. Gempail, of New Haven. 

' New York, December 7, 1800. 
* My dear Sir, 

* Your kind letter by Mr. Broome came duly to hand. 
I will endeavor to answer it as explicitly as I can. Few things 
have given me greater mortification and shame, than the use 
which has been and continues to be made of religion, in the 
present electioneering struggle for President of the United 
States. That mere politicians, who despise religion, should 
thus convert it into an engine of party, is not strange ; but that 
men professing to love it, and especially its ministers, who 
ought to be its wise, prudent and wary defenders, should con- 
sent to do the same, is to me strange. . If I do not totally mis- 

1 Sermon, (4lb July, 1795,) 29, 30. Note. 
« FasI Day S«rmoii, (1798,) 43. 44. 


take, they are acting a part, calculated to degrade religion, to 
bring its ministers into contempt, and to excite in the minds of 
thoughtful and observing men a suspicion that, even in Ameri- 
ca, the idea of ecclesiastical encroachment and usurpation is 
not wholly destitute of foundation. I am mortified — I ani 
humbled at the scenes which have passed and are passing be- 
fore me. 

' I profess to be a Christian. I wish all men were Christians. 
We should have more private, social and political happiness. 
But what then ? Because Mr. Jefferson is suspected of Deism, 
are we to raise a hue and cry against him, as if he ought to be 
instantly deprived of his rights of citizenship ? If he be an in- 
fidel, I lament it for two reasons : from a concern for his own 
personal salvation, and that a religion, which is so much spoken 
against, does not receive his countenance and aid. But not- 
withstanding this, I think myself perfectly consistent in saying 
that I had much rather have Mr. Jefferson President of the 
United States, than an aristocratic Christian. 

* But what are we to think of the consistency of the federal 
party? I hear men, whom I know to despise religion, hello w^ 
mg against the republican candidate for his supposed wanf of 
it. And I hear on the other hand. Christian ministers inveigh- 
ing against one for infidelity, and ready to embrace another, 
and straining every nerve to exalt him, when his religion is 
equally questionable; nay, making no objection to men openly 
and infamously immoral. Can charity itself believe that re- 
ligion is the sole motive in this case ? ' 

In explanation of the last foregoing paragraph, and as 
some palliation, too, of Mr. Miller's adherence to the cause 
of Jefferson, it may be added, that the candijdate of the 
Federalists for the Vice-presidency — Charles Cotesworth 
Pinckney — was currently charged by his opponents with 
infidelity and immorality. 

Long afterwar4s Dr. Miller wrote, 

* There was a time, (from the year 1800, to 1809, or 1810,) 
when I was a warm partisan in favor of Mr. Jefferson's politics 
and administration as President. . Before his death, I lost all 
confidence in him as a genuine patriot, or even as an honest 
man. And after the publication of his posthumous writings, 
in 1829, my respect for him was exchanged for contempt and 
abhorrence. I now believe Mr. Jefferson to have been one of 
the meanest and basest of men. His own writings evince a 
hypocrisy, a selfishness, an artftil, intriguing, underhand spirit, 
a contemptible envy of better men than himself, a blasphem- 


ous impiety, and a moral profligacy, which no fair,, ^-^^jft^ 
mind, to say nothing of piety, can contemplate withov^U ^r- 

rence. * * ^**^*? 

* I am so far from having any grounds of personal aminjoiiy 
against Mr. Jeflerson, that the contrary is the case. While I 
sided with him in politics, he was remarkably polite and atten- 
tive to me ; wrote me a number of respectful letters ; (one of 
which is published in his posthumous writings ;^) and said and 
did many things adapted to conciliate my personal feelings. 
Nor did anything personal ever occur to change those feel- 
ings. * * 

* I renounce, and wish unsaid and unwritten, eveiything that 
I ever said or wrote in his favor. ' Sam'l Miller.' 

'Princeton, June, 1830.' 

Still later, Dr. Miller, as if very intent upon leaving his 
matured opinions upon this whole subject on record, wrote 

* * * I look back on that whole part of my early history 
witji entire disapprobation and deep regret. On two points I 
totally disapprove my own conduct. In the first place, I was 
wrong in suffering myself to be so warmly and actively erf- 
gaged in Politics as I was during that period. For though 
ministers have the rights and duties of citizens, and, probably, 
in most cases, ought to exercise the right of voting at elections ; 
yet when party politics run high, and when their appearing at 
the polls cannot take place without exciting strong feelings on 
the part of many against them; and when their ministry 
among all such persons will be therefore much less likely to be 
useful, I cannot think that their giving their votes can have 
an importance equivalent to the injury it is likely to do. I 
think I was wrong in talking, and acting, and rendering my- 
self so conspicuous as a politician, as I did. I fear I did an 
amount of injury to my ministry, which could by no means 
have been counterbalanced by my usefulness as a politician. 

* But I was, if possible, still more wrong in pleading with so 
much zeal the cause of Mr. Jefferson. I thought, even then, 
that he was an infidel ; but I supposed that he was an honest, 
truly republican, patriotic infidel. But I now think that he 
was a selfish, insidious, and hollow-hearted infidel; that he 
had little judgment and no moral principle ; that he was a 
hypocritical demagogue; and that his partisans rated his 
patriotism far higher than was just. I have long thought that 
his four volume of posthumous works disclose a degree of 

^ 4 Vol., 106. This letter will appear on a subsequent page. 

fl t 

ff. 9. ! 1800.] THOMAS JEFFERSON. 133 

^ meanness, malignity and hypocrisy, of which the friends of his 
memory have reason to be ashamed. The tradition is, that 
Mr. Jefferson himself, with minute care and absolute authority, 
selected all the parts of that publication, and left nothing to 
th^ discretion of his grandson, the editor. If it was so, his 
worst enemies could hardly have made a selection more un- 
friendly to his memory. 

' True, I am now, as I was then, a sincere and honest Bepub- 
lican. But I totally mistook the real character of the leader 
of the nominal Eepublicans, who triumphed in the country at 
that time. I was gulled by hollow, hjrpocritical pretences, and 
did fdl I could to honor and elevate men, whom I now believe 
to have been imworthy of public confidence.'^ 

1 This lan[|^age in regard to Mr. Jefferson may, to some persons, seem, if 
not wholly unjust, at least too strong and objurgatory. It would not have 
been here inserted, however, without the deepest conviction, after careful ex- 
amination, that every charge might be fully sustained. Mr. Jefferson had 
resided in Paris more than five years, the last four of them as our minister 
plenipotentiary ; and returned to the United States in the Autumn of 1789, 
blindly enamored of Jacobinism, his head full of the worst French revolu- 
tionary ideas. (1.) He was not only an infidel, but a bitter, blaspheming in- 
fidel. (2.) He was a gross flatterer of the people— an unscrupulous dema- 
gogue past redemption. (3.) He was an apologist for insurrection and rebel- 
lion, and not in their more dignified form of secession, but in the vulgar shape 
of sedition and riot. (4.) As President, he was the originator of the incal- 
culably mischievous doctrine, that public offices are the rightful '' spoils" of a 
victorious party ; and (5.) of the ''policy" of vituperating a co-ordinate branch 
of the government, (the judiciary m this case,) which was not subservient to 
his will. (6.) He was father of the doctrine of the repudiation of public debts. 
(7.) He was an insidious enemy and accuser of General Washington, at the 
very time when professing for him the'sinoerest regard. (8.^ He was a high 
priest of that political creed, which justifies the means by tne end, counting 
truth as secondary to the safe and plausible disparagement of personal and 
party opponents. (9.) In fine, his undoubted talents and acquirements only 
aggravated the littleness, meanness, insincerity, dishonesty, and malignity, 
which ought to consign his memory to everlasting shame and contempt. The 
evidence of all this is found, chiefly, in his own memoirs, letters, and memo- 
randa, carefully preserved by himself, and published posthumously, but doubt- 
less by his direction. He had fallen to that pitch of moral depravation, in 
which men lose their delicate sense of the difference between right and wrong; 
boast of their obliquities as praiseworthy ; of their low cunning, as deserving 
the repute of sagacity and statesmanship ,* and treasure up against themselves, 
as honorable distinctions, the clear proofs of their debasement. 

(1.) See Jefferson's Correspondence, Vol. i. p. 327. ii. 174. iii. 461. 463. 468. 
469. 478. iv. 138. 194. 205. 206. 300. 301. 321. 322. 325. 326. 327. 349. 353. 358. 
360. 564. 365. 

(2.) iii. 317. 348. Et pasnm, Comp. iii. 315. 402. 

(3.) ii. 87. 267. 268. 276. iii. 307. 308. 328. 
^ (4.) iii. 456. 464. 467. 471. 475. 476. 477. 483. 484. 

(6.) iii. 458. 478. 487. iv. 71. 72. 73. 74. 90. 91. 101. 102. 103. 337. 345. 352. 

(6.) iii. 27-32. iv. 196-198. 291. 396. 397. 

(7.) iii. 202. 307. 319. 320. 324. 325. 327. 328. iv. 452. 453. 485. (10 Sparks's 
Writings of Washington, 522. 523.) 467. 468. 478. 491. 512. ii. 439, 463. 464. 
' iii. 46. iv. 185. 235-237. 406. 419. 420. 453. 

(8.) iu. 461. iv. 503. 505. 508. (10 Writings of Washington, 159.) 17. 18. 23 


134 politics and projects. [ch. 9. 3. 

3. Politics and the Clergy. 

Before, during, and immediately after the Revolutionary 
war, the clergy of this country, of perhaps every denomi- 
nation, took far more interest, or, at any rate, a far more 
active part, in politics, than they do at present. The very- 
circumstances of those times may, in some measure, account 
for the fact ; while the example of the clergy of Great Bri- 
tain in such matters had heen, doubtless, most influential 
with their brethren on this side of the Atlantic. There a 
church establishment, and the spectacle of a bench of 
bishops in the House of Lords have evidently inclined the 
clergy to become politicians. And, during our colonial ex- 
istence, the exclusive political claims of the Episcopalians, 
with the vigorous opposition to those claims made by other 
denominations — by none with stronger purpose than by 
Presbyterians — rendered the Church the very theatre, often, 
of political strife. Since the Revolution, the ministry of 
the gospel has, in this country, become, gradually, more 
and more disentangled from politics ; nay, to an £i.larming 
extent, has aimed often at dissevering those ties, which, 
naturally and most properly, bind up every interest, reli- 
gious as well as social, with the common interests of the 
nation. Of course, whenever unusual occasions of political 
excitement arise, some ministers will be hurried into an ex- 
cess of partisanship; but wtile we deplore this, there is 
scarcely less reason to deplore the indiflference which others 
frequently manifest — in which they have merely indulged, 
or, from mistaken views, even schooled themselves — as to 
national affairs. The reproaches or plaudits, which un- 
scrupulous party men lavish, according to their selfish fears 
or hopes, upon clergymen who step into the arena of poli- 
tics, are not worth regarding ; but, doubtless, it is the com- 
mon sense of a Christian people, that the clergy ought not, 
in ordinary circumstances, to become active politicians ; and 
that every Christian who mingles in party strife exposes 
himself, on account especially of ever prevailing political 
corruption, to very great danger of harmful reproach, if 

24. 169. 170. ii. 88. iii.^15. 316. 324. 330. 639. 378. 402. 404. 407. 465-477. 
488. iv. 87. 98. 109. 110. 113. 144. 145. 164. 182. 183. 195. 446-448. iii. 444. 
445. iv. 74. 

(9.) Ui. 315, 316. 330. 364. 369. 400. 414. 416. 429. 440. 444. 338. 340. 343. 
344. 345. 409. iv. 69. 407. 408. 428. 443. 487. 



not of serious moral contamination. Where, then, is the 
line to be drawn between a proper and improper participa- 
tion, on the part of gospel ministers, in political affairs? 
Perhaps the great principles which should govern us, as to 
this matter, are simple and obvious enough. The difficulty 
lies in their application to particular cases, ever varying 
with the state of the country, and with individual relations 
and circumstances. No citizen can, by mere self-dedica- 
tion to the special service of God, free himself from his 
natural obligations. The clergyman may relinquish the 
natural rights, but not neglect the natural duties, of citi- 
zenship for the sake of his profession. On this principle, 
our Saviour once condemned the teaching of the Pharisees ;^ 
and, on this principle as well as others, all true Protestants 
entirely disapprove of a monastic life. Of course, a miracu- 
lously demonstrated call of God may justify casting off or- 
dinary obligations : here it is only a higher natural duty — 
the duty to obey special rather than general commands — 
that takes the place of a lower. The natural duties of a 
citizen are either personal or official. In our country, it is 
the official duty of every qualified person, as one of the 
sovereigns, to vote; as one of the subjects, to obey the 
laws, rersona] duties are not so definite, not in form so 
obligatory. It is the personal duty of all to do and say 
whatever they can, consistently with other duties, for the 
welfare of the country, and the success of those measures, 
and therefore of that party, which they approve. And, 
doubtless, in times of special danger to the state, ministers, 
on this ground, may properly engage in political strife with 
greater freedom. But, ordinarily, they can benefit their 
country more in another way — by conciliating all parties 
to themselves, as Christ's ambassadors, and, for the gos- 
pel's sake, avoiding unnecessary political entanglements 
and alienations. For them to talk of the Saviour will have, 
usually, a better political effect, than to talk of party men 
or measures. And, herein, they will not be neglecting 
their duty, but really accomplishing it more completely, 
and in the better way. Such appear to have been sub- 
stantially the views in which Mr. Miller settled down, after 
much, and some of it painful, experience. The duty of 

1 Mark yii. 11. 


voting he seems, always, carefully to have fulfilled ; although 
sometimes, perhaps erroneously, expressing the doubt, 
whether a clergyman's circumstances might not occasion- 
ally justify a difierent course. 

4. Projects and Correspondence. 

About the time of Mr. Jefferson's election, Mr. Miller, 
perhaps as an offset to his support of an infidel candidate 
for the presidency, seems to have planned a pamphlet, if 
not a larger publication, in the shape of letters to the lie- 
publicans, or Democrats, of the United States, upon the 
importance of Christianity. Notes and collections for such 
a work are found among his papers. He proposed to de- 
fend his party, as a party, from the charge of infidelity, 
and to stigmatize infidel sentiments bs the bane of human 
society. The plan, however, remained unfulfilled. 

From the very commencement of his ministry, his life 
long, Mr. Miller's mind was teeming with projects of wri- 
ting and publishing. Perhaps no man of like cultivation 
and opportunity, breathing too an infected atmosphere, 
especially after once experiencing the sensations of being 
"put to press," has ever escaped this caco^ihes scribendi. 
And the wisdom of such men must be looked for in their 
not executing, rather than in their not projecting : we must 
judge the deed instead of the will. About the time which 
we have now reached in his history, Mr. Miller's thoughts 
seem to have been particularly busy with schemes of book- 
making. Possibly the religious works which he designed 
were to be a professional balance to his literary under- 
takings. The following extracts from his note- book exem- 
plify what we mean : — 

'This day, August 9, 1800, resolved, through divine assist- 
ance and direction, to keep in view, and as soon as possible to 
execute, the plan of writing and publishing the following reli- 
gious works : — 

*I. A set of Sermons on Regeneration. 
*II. A volume of Letters to the Young Men of my Charge. 
*III. A volume of Letters to the Young Women of Do. 
'IV. Brief View of Scripture Doctrines. n,^^ 

*V. Two volumes — Select Sermons.' ^ 

A few pages further on, in the same note-book, he 



writes, 'For a striking extract for my proposed work on 
the Lord's Supper, see &c., &c.' 

Not one of these projects was ever fulfilled, unless the 
second and third, partially, in some of Dr. Miller's after 
writings for the young. In fact, ' the scheming literary 
brain seldom overtakes one in ten of its avant-couriers. 
And, in the present instance, a heavier undertaking soon 
weighed every energy down to a more sober working frame. 
Then, providential circumstances, rather than mere taste, 
gave shape and substance to the book-making of many 

Mr. Miller's foreign correspondence has been already, in 
part, noticed. From its commencement, it rapidly ex- 
tended, until, with diminishing zest, it must have become a 
heavy burden. His active interest in the New York Mis- 
sionary Society, his projected history, his subsequent plan 
of a Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century, hereafter to be 
noticed, and other causes, some of them now unknown, 
brought him into epistolary communication in 1799, and a 
few subsequent years, with the Rev. John Erskine, D.D., 
the Rev. John Jamieson, D.D,, and Sir Harry Moncrief, 
of Edinburgh; the Rev. Robert Balfour, D.D., of Glas- 
gow; the Rev. Wm. L. Brown, D.D., of Aberdeen; the 
Rev. Robert McCuUoch, of Dairsie ; the Rev. Andrew Ful- 
ler, D.D., of Kettering; the Rev. Thomas Scott, D.D., the 
Rev. Thomas Haweis, D.D., the Rev. Adam Clarke, D.D., 
the Rev. Hugh Worthington, William Wilberforce, Esquire, 
and Philip Sansom, Esquire, London ; tne Rev. John Ry- 
land, D.D., of Bristol ; the Rev. Benjamin McDowel, D.D., 
of Dublin ; the Rev. Robert Black, of Lbndonderry ; the 
Rev. Mr. Hamilton, of Armagh ; the Rev. Dr. John Wer- 
nerus Herzog, Professor at Basle ; Frederick Schiller, Es- 
quire, Professor John Heinrich Jung Stilling, and Baron 
Von Shirnding, of Germany ; the Rev. William Carey, D. 
D., the distinguished missionary, and others. Some of the 
letters from these gentlemen are interesting, but too far 
aside from the object of this work to be inserted. Mr. 
Miller's zeal in this foreign correspondence was no doubt 
stimulated by the example of his brother, who, together 
with Doctor Samuel L. Mitchill, had, in 1797, been in- 
duced by Doctor Elihu H. Smith, to undertake with him 



the conduct of the Medical Repo9itory^ a quarterly journal 
commencing with the number for August in that year, the 
earliest in this country devoted to the interests of the medi- 
cal profession, and introducing its editors to an extensive 
. correspondence with eminent physicians and others in both 
Europe and America. This work was continued for^many 
years — even after Dr. Smith and Dr. Miller had been re- 
moved by death. Mr. Miller's home correspondence, at 
the same time, was so extensive, that of itself it must have 
been an oppressive load. 





The marriage of Mr. Miller's sister, Mrs. Mary Loock- 
erman, to Major John Patten has been already mentioned. 
Major Patten died on the 26th of December^ 1800, and his 
wife survived him only until the 13th of March following. 
Their mortal remains lie in the same grave in the church- 
yard at Dover, under a stone upon which the Major is said 
to have " distinguished himself as a brave and useful officer 
during the Revolutionary War, and afterwards served his 
country with honor, at different periods, as a member of 
the American Congress." 

In May, 1801, Mr. Miller attended as a commissioner, 
for the first time, the General Assembly, sitting that year 
in Philadelphia. He was chosen one of the temporary 
clerks. The most important measure, perhaps, adopted 
during its sessions was the "Plan of Union," which occa- 
sioned eventually so much discord, but was designed, 
originally, to promote harmonious co-operation between 
Presbyterians and Congregationalists in the new settle- 
ments. In regard to this matter, the General Association 
of Connecticut had taken the initiative, at its meeting in 
June of the previous year, by appointing a committee of 
three, to confer with a similar committee of the Assembly. 
The latter, instead of a committee of conference, appointed 
one to draw up a definite plan, which was presented and 
with entire unanimity adopted : at least, no dissent appears 
of record. This was in May, and, in June following, the 
General Association concurred unanimously in the ar- 
rangement. Dr. Jonathan Edwards, a Connecticut man, 
then president of Union College, and a commissioner from 


140 MARRIAGE. [CH. 10. 

the Presbytery of Albany, took a prominent part in this 
proceeding, being chairman of the committee, and, doubt- 
less, draughtsman of the plan. This subject will be ad- 
verted to hereafter. At the inception of the measure, no 
one appears to have dreamed of the diflSculties which it 
afterwards occasioned ; and, in fact, those diflSculties arose 
less from the plan itself, clearly unconstitutional as it was, 
than from the rise, in New England, of both a new the- 
ology and a new spirit, which resulted in its becoming, on 
that side, an engine of proselytism and the dissemination 
of error within the bounds of the Presbyterian Church. 
Dr. Miller, toward the close of life, remarked, 

* In looking back on the origin and object of the " Plan of 
Union," (this 25th of November, 1847,) I cannot take the retro- 
spect without sorrow and shame. Never, I suppose, did a large 
body of ministers act from purer motives, or with more entire 
fraternal harmony, than did the members of the General 
Assembly, in adopting this measure. The avowed and the 
sincere object of it was to avoid discord, and to promote and 
establish peace. But it was a most unfortunate measure. It 
led eventually to an amount of abuse and to conflicts by no 
means anticipated by either Presbyterians or Congregational- 
ists. The truth is, acting under the guidance of our form of 
government^ we had no right to make the concessions which 
that plan included. But these concessions, while altogether 
unauthorized and disorderly in themselves, were perverted and 
abused in a manner by no means intended or foreseen ; until 
they produced an amount of evil which rendered necessary the 
painful separation of 1837.' 

To this Assembly also came as a commissioner the Rev'd 
Archibald Alexander, from the Presbytery of Hanover ; 
and here first became acquainted the two young men and 
ministers, who afterwards were to be so long and so inti- 
mately associated as the first two professors of the first 
theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church in the 
United States. Being in ill health, Mr. Alexander pro- 
longed his journey, after the meeting of the Assembly, to 
the northward and eastward, and visited New York City ; 
where he renewed and improved his acquaintance with Mr. 
Miller. On his way, he visited Princeton, and spent a 
night there — " the first time,'* he wrote long afterwards, 
" 1 ever saw the place where I have already spent above 

1801.] MARBIAGE. 141 

thirty years of my life, and where I shall in all probability 
lay my bones. Such a view of futurity as should have 
presented to me the events of my life, would then have 
appeared very strange." 

But there was another "plan of union," which Mr. Miller 
had under serious consideration, at the same time that 
the Connecticut Congregationalists were so assiduously, 
warmly, and successfully wooing the General Assembly ; 
and, doubtless, this plan, if not more important, was far 
more anxiously debated with himself than the other. His 
duties as a commissioner, to which those of the temporary 
clerkship were probably a serious addition, must have occu- 
pied a large part* of his time, and confined him a good deal 
to the First Presbyterian Church, then in Market Street, 
and to his lodgings, at Col. McLane's ; but we have his 
own authority for saying, that he spent all his leisure hours 
at a place much more pleasant tb him than either of those 
just mentioned. This was the residence, at the north-west 
corner of Arch, and Seventh streets, of Mrs. Elizabeth 
Sergeant, daughter of the Mathematician and Astronomer, 
David Eittenhouse. Here the latter had died in 1796, and 
here his daughter, left a widow three years earlier, was 
residing with her family — three children and several step- 
children. Of the latter, the oldest sister — she had one 
brother older — was named Sarah; and she rather than 
any supposable relics of the old astronomer, or any respect 
to his scientific fame, was the grand attraction for our 
New York assembly-man. When and where he was first 
introduced to Miss Sergeant cannot now be ascertained ; but 
he had met with her twice in the previous month of March, 
probably in Philadelphia, when upon an excursion to Del- 
aware, and travelling for several weeks, in quest, it is not 
unlikely, of health. « 

It may be reasonably conjectured, however, as Mrs. 
McLane was one of the chief officers of a benevolent so- 
ciety, of which Miss Sergeant was the secretary, that the 
former, in her watchful care for her brother's interests, 
had recommended the latter to his notice. At the second 
of the interviews above mentioned, he had formed the de- 
sign of endeavoring to win her hand. He may not have 
seen her again, until he visited Philadelphia, about the 

142 MARRIAGE. [CH. 10. 

middle of May, under the heavy responsibilities of his first 
commission to the Assembly, but the still heavier weight of 
a determination to make himself as agreeable as possible 
to Miss Sergeant. 

On the 27th of July, after a short visit to Philadelphia, 
we find him writing, 'I thank you, my dear Sarah, for that 
candor and confidence in me, which disposed you to re- 
move my fears, and send me away a happy man.* So this 
visit settled the matter: a "plan of union" of very mo- 
mentous consequence to many, but which resulted in no 
excision or schism, and was never abrogated, had been fin- 
ally agreed upon. 

In the letter from which a quotation has just been made, 
Mr. Miller says, 

'I communicated to my brother [Edward,] as far as was 
proper, the success of my journey, my prospects and my happi- 
ness. His answer was — "I give you joy of your prospect: you 
have reason, in my opinion, to consider yourself one of the most 
fortunate of men. You could not present me with a sister, of 
whose character, in all respects, so far as my acquaintance ex- 
tends, I more highly and fully approve. Bring her along as 
soon as you please, and she will find a brother proud and happy 
to acknowledge such a relationship." I confess this language 
gave me high pleasure. Coming from such a brother ; deliv- 
ered under circumstances so indicative of impartiality; and 
pronounced with such prompt frankness ; it made an impres- 
sion which at once flattered my pride, and confirmed my prior 

Another extract from one of Mr. Miller's letters, dated 
August 7th, will give an idea of some of the expedients of 
the city clergy of that day, for bodily and mental recuper- 

'Oft Wednesday week last, I went down with a large party 
of gentlemen, (twenty-six in number,) to amuse myself with 
fishing on the sea-bass banks. These banks are in the ocean, 
about twelve or fifteen miles to the southward of Sandy Hook, 
and nearly opposite Long Branch. The company was pleasant, 
the fishing delightful, the bathing highly refreshing, and the 
mirth and jollity of the party, notwithstanding the presence of 
several clergymen, so great, as almost to border on being ex- 
cessive. We returned the next evening ; and I think I felt ten 
per cent., at least, better for the jaunt. Contrary to all my 

1801.] MARRIAGE. 143 

expectations, I escaped sea-sickness ; though my wish was, for 
the sake of its salubrity, to experience that painful disorder.' 

Mr. Miller was married to Miss Sergeant on the 24th 
day of October, 1801, by the Rev. John Ewing, D. D., 
Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, her half uncle 
by marriage. The yellow fever was, at the time, prevalent 
in New York, though not so alarmingly as in some previous 
years; and the Health Committee of Philadelphia were 
imposing a quarantine of fifteen days upon all visitors 
from the former city, Here was a dilemma, but love tri- 
umphed; a dispensation from the Committee, which Mr. 
Miller wrote for, seems to have been obtained; and, not 
impossibly, as he appears to have gone without the wedding 
day's having been fixed, the supposable difiiculty of getting 
a second dispensation, within any reasonable time, some- 
what precipitated the marriage. 

Dr. Ewing was now in his seventieth year, and was 
thought to exhibit a little of the forgetfulness of old age. 
Lest he should fail to remember the time of the wedding, 
or his duty to keep it a profound secret, the matter was 
confided to his wife only : she, without informing him who 
the parties were, was to see that he was ready for the sum- 
mons. Old Hans, a clever negro coachman, who had long 
been in Mrs. Sergeant's family, was sent with the carriage 
at the appointed time. Hans was never more in his ele- 
ment, than when mimicking the Provost for the amusement 
of the children, or waiting upon him with a droll obsequi- 
ousness. He had been let into the secret, and enjoyed, 
hugely, mystifying and surprising the old gentleman. "Where 
are we going?" asked the latter. "Just a few squares," re- 
plied Hans ; and directly he stopped at Mrs. Sergeant's door. 
Dr. Ewing entered briskly, and revenged himself for the 
ruse, by declaring, for a while, that he would not perform 
the ceremony until Mr. Miller promised — it was Saturday 
evening — to preach for him the next day. 

The newly married couple spent the first Sabbath, and 
perhaps several days, in Philadelphia; for Mr. Miller was 
seized with an alarming illness of a few hours, which it was 
feared might be the yellow fever. The next Sabbath, how- 
ever, they were at Abington, Pennsylvania, where the Rev. 
William M. Tennent was then pastor of the Presbyterian 

144 MARRIAGE. [CH. 10. 

church. Mr. Miller did not preach, but assisted in the 
communion service. The following Sabbath he preached 
in New York. In answer to a con^atulatory letter from 
his warm friend, Mr. Dickinson of I)elaware, he writes on 
the 23d of November, 

'The friendship with which you have long and uniformly 
favored our family is a subject of frequent and very pleasing 
recollection to me ; and the manner in which you have been 
pleased to recognize it on the present occasion is peculiarly 
gratifying. To be remembered by those whom my parents 
loved and honored is a pleasure too valuable in itself, and con- 
nected with too many interesting considerations, to be received 
without the deepest sensibility. 

'The late change in my situation was made deliberately; 
and I hope the result will prove that it was made wisely, and K>r 
the lasting happiness of ooth parties. It has pleased a kind 
Providence to bestow upon me, in a wife, such a degree of good 
sense, improvement, loveliness and moral excellence, as can 
scarcely fail of securing, through the divine benediction, our 
mutual felicity. 

'I cannot refrain from offering to you my cordial congratula- 
tions on the continued prosperity and progress of Bepublican- 
ism in our country, ana on the prospect of returning tranquil- 
lity in Europe. May these events prove important means, in 
the hands of the supreme Governor of Nations, of promoting 
the dignity and happiness of man I 
'I am, dear Sir, 

'With sentiments of very high respect, 
'Your obliged friend and servant, 

'Sam'l Miller. 

'John Dickinson, Esquire.* 

p/2.^aA. c^c^^t'y^. 

U / [• T .: R E L E V i 

MRS. M " LI. L ; 

' -^ 

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1. Ancestors — Birth. 

Mrs. Miller's father, Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, "v«as 
the son of Jonathan Sergeant, who resided first at Newark, 
afterwards at Princeton, New Jersey. His name and de- 
scent may be traced back to Jonathan Sergeant, his great 
grandfather, who is mentioned among the early settlers of 
New Haven, in 1639, and of Branford, Connecticut, in 
1646. He died in 1652, leaving at least two sons, Jona- 
than and Thomas. The former was among the Branford 
people, who settled Newark, and signed " The Fundamen- 
tal Agreements'' for that settlement in 1667 ; although he 
seems not to have removed thither before the next year. 
An old Newark record, for the 25th of January, 1669, 
says, "Accommodation was granted to him, according to 
his estate, * * if he will abide in the town and follow his 
trade." What this " trade" was is unknown. " The Fun- 
damental Agreements" bound the subscribers to provide 
carefully for the maintenance of the purity of religion, as 
professed in the Congregational churches of Connecticut ; 
the migration having been determined partly, if not wholly, 
by dissatisfaction with the choice to civil ofiices of men who 
were not professing Christians. Jonathan Sergeant, son 
of the Newark settler, was father of the Jonathan first 
above mentioned ; and of his younger brother, the Rev. 
John Sergeant,^ born in 1710, graduated at Yale College 
in 1729, and well known as a missionary, from 1734 until 
his death in 1749, to the Mohegan Indians at Stockbridge. 

^ 1 Sprague's Annali, 388. 

18 145 


146 MRS. MILLER. [CH. 11. 1. 

The older brother, Jonathan, married Hannah, daughter of * 
James Nutman, justice of the peace ; and, after her death, 
Abigail, daughter of the Rev. Jonathan Dickinson,^ of 
Elizabethtown, first President of the College of New Jer- 
sey. In 1758, he removed to Princeton, whither the Col- 
lege, in the prosperity of which he seems to have been 
greatly interested, had been transferred in the Autumn of 
1756. Here he probably was engaged in farming. In 
Newark he had held, from time to time, several public 
trusts, and had employed himself, occasionally, at least, as 
a conveyancer, and probably as a surveyor. By his second 
wife he had two children, Jonathan Dickinson, and a daugh- 
ter, Elizabeth, who married Edward Fox. 

Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant was born at Newark in 
1746, and graduated at the College of New Jersey in 1762. 
He studied law in Princeton with Richard Stockton, one of 
the signers of the Declaration of Independence ; and there, 
first, practised his profession. In 1776 he was elected to 
the Continental Congress, and took his seat a few days only- 
after the Declaration had been executed. A short time 
before, he had married Margaret, daughter of the Rev. 
Elihu Spencer^ of Trenton, previously of St. George's, 
Delaware. Mr. Sergeant, on going to Congress, left his 
wife and infant son at Princeton, either with his father, or 
in a new house which he had lately built upon the same lot, 
on another portion of which, forty years afterwards, Dr. 
Samuel Miller erected his dwelling. 

Mrs. Sergeant was descended from a well known New 
England ancestry* Her father was a son of Isaac and 
Mary (Selden) Spencer of East Haddam, Connecticut. But 
a little younger than the missionaries, David and John 
Brainerd, he could trace back his descent and theirs to a^ 
common great grandfather, Jared Spencer, of Cambridge, 
afterwards Lynn, Massachusetts, and subsequently of Had- 
dam. Moreover, his tyro brothers, Samuel and General 
Joseph Spencer had married, the former, Jerusha, and the 
latter Martha, Brainerd, sisters of the missionaries. 

Mr. Sergeant as a member of Congress, Mr. Spencer as 

^ 3 Spragne's Annals, 14. 

> D. i>. from 1782. For sketches of Dr. Spencer's life see 3 Spragne's An- 
nals, 165, etc., and Dr. Hall's " History of tne Presbyterian Church in Tren- 
ton, N. J.," pp. 208-289. 


1778-1801.] ANCESTORS. 147 

a Presbyterian clergyman, and both for their ardent pa- 
triotism, and active efforts in the cause of independence, 
were particularly obnoxious to the British authorities and 
troops. Indeed,' the latter having gone on -a mission to North 
Carolina, and perhaps other neighboring States, to inform 
the remote settlers of the ground of the war, and to arouse 
them to self-defence, a reward of one hundred guineas had 
been set upon his head. This was known to the American 
officers, and one of them, probably General Mercer, sent a 
messenger to him one night in December, 1776, to say that 
the British army was near, and that he must fly for his life. 
At two o'clock in the morning, a friend of Mr. Sergeant's, 
Dr. Bainbridge of Princeton, aroused Mrs. Sergeant, in- 
formed her of the enemy's approach, and insisted upon her 

, hastening, immediately, in her carriage, with her sister and 
infant, to a ferry on the Delaware, where her husband had 
agreed to meet her, in case she were compelled to fly from 
the British soldiery. Mr. Spencer was hurrying for her 
from Trenton to Princeton, when he met Dr. Witherspoon, 
who told him she had already fled, and that he must return 
and remove his own family at once. Having returned, he 
locked up his dwelling with all its contents, left his cattle 
without having been able to provide any care for them, set 
out immediately, with the entire household, in a large car- 
riage, and took them that night four miles to Howell's Ferry 
on the Delaware. Leaving them there, he went on, six- 
teen miles further, to McConkey's Ferry, where he found 
Mrs. Sergeant's party. To this point he then brought the 
others, and here they all crossed. Dr. Spencer's youngest 
daughter,^ often described, in after days, the scenes at both 
ferries. 'To my youthful imagination,' she said, 'they 
called up the day of judgment: so many frightened people 
were assembled, with sick and wounded soldiers, all flying 
for their lives, and with hardly any means of crossing the 
river. We were unspeakably delighted when we got over 
safely, and into a little hut, where we spent the night with 
a company of American soldiers, on their way to join 

. General Washington. We stayed at McConkey's Ferry for 
two or three weeks, until General Mercer sent my father 
word that he was not safe there. This was the Sunday 

^ Mrs. Lydia BIddte, of Carlisle, whose reminlsoences hare supplied this 
whole account. 

148 MRS. MILLBR. [OH. 11. 2. 

before the battle of Trenton. He preached that day at 
Newtown. Afterwards, he went on slowly to Fagg's Ma- 
nor, where he remained until the people of St. George's, 
Delaware, hearing that their former pastor was a fugitive, 
and being themselves without one, sent for him.' He ac- 
cepted their invitation, and, on his arrival, found a house 
ready, well supplied with furniture and provisions, the wood 
cut, the fires made, and everything prepared for the com- 
fort of his family. Here they remained until the July fol- 
lowing, when St. George's being sickly, and Trenton free 
from the British soldiery, he returned home. He found his 
house empty and somewhat damaged; its contents, includ- 
ing all his papers, the Hessians had burned. The loss of 
his sermons so discouraged him, that he never wrote ano- 
ther, but preached, thereafter, from short notes merely. 
Mrs. Sergeant had not left her father, as her husband was 
still in Congress, sitting then at Baltimore. Meantime his 
new house at Princeton had been burned by the enemy, 
and his father had died of small-pox. The following winter, 
however, his wife spent with her widowed mother near 
Princeton, where her second child, Sarah, was bom on the 
1st of January, 1778. In the spring, she went to Pitts- 
grove with her father, whose position in Trenton was con- 
sidered unsafe, while Philadelphia was in ppssession of the 
British troops ; and they did not return until after the 
evacuation of the latter city, and the battle of Monmouth. 
In September of the same year, Mr. Sergeant was appointed 
Attorney General of Pennsylvania, and thenceforward 
resided with his family in Philadelphia. 

2. Youth — Memoirs. 

A few years after Mrs. Miller's marriage, she undertook, 
for her own improvement, the satisfaction of her husband, 
and the possible benefit of her children and other near 
relatives, to commit to writing some brief memoirs of her 
previous, particularly her religious, life. In 1807, she 
began this work, but, although the narrative was never ex- 
tended beyond that year, she did not complete it before 
1823. From time to time, she put her reminiscences on 
paper, frequently amended them and added something, re- 
turning to her task freqpiently after long intervals of neg- 

1778-1801.] YOUTH — MEMOIRS. 149 

lect. She says at length, * I have written over and over 
again many parts, and have not now satisfied myself with 
it.* She evidently wrote and rewrote under a strong im- 
pression of the difficulty of giving a correct narration of 
religious experience. 

A portion of these memoirs, relating to her life before 
marriage, will perhaps be more interesting and profitable 
than any account which could otherwise be offered of her 
early years. The whole is addressed to her husband- 

t * * Indeed, my dear Friend, we are too reserved on these 
subjects : you and I have both acknowledged this fault many 
times, and have both resolved to do differently in time to come. 
We suffer ourselves to be, in some measure, drawn into that de- 
lusion, which causes us to feel as if the great interest of religion 
were the only one which silence and reserve could not injure ; 
when, as, in the first instance, "faith cometh by hearing," so we 
help to establish one another in this precious faith, by con- 
versing together about the interests of our Master, and our joint 
interest with him. * * 

'Thus, actuated by a desire to have my own hopes confirmed 
and strengthened, to impart to my husband my reasons for in- 
dulging such strong ones, and to be the means of doing, if pos- 
sible, some good to those relatives, who are living "without 
God in the world," I have resolved to collect together and com- 
mit to writing those circumstances which have impressed my 
own mind, made religion appear to it what it really is — the 
"one thing needful," and made me conclude, in some of my 
best moments, to live as if it were so ; that have, I trust, been 
the means of preparing the way of the Lord in my own heart, 
and, at length, of forming him there "the hope of glory"; and^ 
I intended, when this arrangement should be completed, to com- 
mit all to my best earthly friend. 

'Since the veil Vrhich concealed from my mind the true light 
has been, by divine influence, in some measure removed, one of 
my most delightful mental exercises has been that of endeavor- 
ing to recollect my earliest religious impressions, so as to form 
a series, which should connect my own ideas on this subject in 
some order, and make them more intelligible to others. The 
first impressions, which this exercise has revived m my mind, 
I think, from the combined recollection of scenes and events, 
must have commenced between the ages of seven and nine. 
More than once, whilst engaged in play with my companions, 
my mind has been suddenly abstracted from these objects, and 
fixed on creation at large, through the medium of surrounding 


150 MRS. MILLER. . [CH. 11. 2. 

scenes, and these queries have internally arisen: There must 
have been a point when these things had a beginning: what 
was before them? These objects do not occupy boundless 
space: what is beyond them? The incapacity of my mind to 
fathom boundless space or duration rendered these questions 
distressing to me : they produced an awful state of feeling, from 
which I found relief only by engaging more devotedly in play. 
I think I perceive the divine benignity in the choice of the time 
for these impressions. I am persuaded, from the organization 
of my mind, that, if they had engaged it in a state of vacuity, 
the conception would have been overwhelming. In this season 
of pastime they were made, as a means of improvement for a 
future time, to be nurtured and expanded at leisure. How 
much pain would I have been spared, if I had attended to these 
invitations of the Spirit! — ^for now I recognize whence they 
were. If my Father had found these to answer, harsher methods 
might have been omitted. If then, when God was "working 
in me," I had endeavored to " work out- my own salvation," 
how many misspent years might have been usefully engaged ; 
how many scenes of vanity avoided ; how great acquisitions of 
knowledge and virtue might have been acquired I Oh that the 
Lord would make me to redeem the time, and that he would 
overrule all for good ! 

* It might be asked, had I never been instructed in the doc- 
trines of Christianity ? Had I never read the Bible ? Had I 
never been called to observe God in creation and providence ? 
The peculiar doctrines of the Gospel, as a system, had never 
been presented to my mind, and formed no part of the educa- 
tion which was given me. Where then was the child thus edu- 
cated? The Bible I read at school as children generally do, 
' and in the same unprofitable manner, without retainiug in my 
mind, or havipg my heart engaged in, any truth contained in 
it. I was brought up to a punctual attendance at church, and 
have ever, in consequence, felt it an indispensable duty on the 
Sabbath. For this I have unspeakable reason to be thankful ! 
Besides these advantages, I had sometimes a word from my 
mother, which drew my attention to an overruling Providence. 
I remember once, in particular, when some wild fanatic had 
predicted, that, on a certain day not far distant, there was to be 
an earthquake, or a comet ; or that the end of the world was at 
hand ; which, as usual, had terrified the ignorant and children 
to a great degree, I was trembling under serious apprehension, 
when my mother said to me, "If this dreadful event should oc- 
cur, it will do you no harm, if you are a good girl." This con- 
veyed to my mind, I believe, some of the first impressions of ?t-\ 

1778-1801.] YOUTH — MEMOIRS. 151 

God of Providence, in whose hands was the disposal of all 
events — ^at least some of the first which were lasting. Until 
the present day, although there is scarcely another incident of 
that part of my life alive, I can, when this is recalled, recollect 
the seat which I occupied at the dinner-table, and other minute 
circumstances of the time. How often have I been thankful, 
that my mother, instead of endeavoring to subdue my fears by 
ridiculing the cause of them, directed my attention to Him who 
is able to preserve from every danger, and overrule every event 
for good ! How much better is it, to take advantage of such 
excitement in the minds of children, as a means of impressing 
upon them the solemn truth, that there are dangers and objects 
of terror, which miay present at every step, and at the same 
time of directing them to their only hope of protection and de- 

'Various changes took place in our family circle in the course 
of a few years. In 1787, when I was nine yesirs old, my mother 
died, and two years afterwards my father married again. Dur- 
ing this interval, and until my fifteenth year, I was sent from 
one boarding school to another, and through this medium be- 
came acquainted with the sentiments and practices of the world, 
as far as my age, and the slight restraints made use of in these 
places, would permit ; and becoming also weaned from home, I 
acquired a taste for rambling. In this time, I do not recollect 
that one religious impression was experienced ; religious feeling 
was quenched by the breath of an opposite influence, and was 
not renewed within me until the poison began to be eradicated 
by severe trials. The association of unsanctified human nature, 
in any way, excites to sin and increases its prevalence. The 
evils resulting from this in mere common schools is very great; 
but the result of evil is incalculable in boarding schools, where 
children are constantly together. Nothing can be said in their 
favor, but that they are less injurious than some homes, where 
example and influence are still more pernicious, and from which 
children may be sent to them with impunity. 

* I had just passed through these scenes of folly and tempta- 
tion, and come abooad into the world, to engage in its pursuits 
and pleasures, as far as my father's plain habits would permit, 
— ^for without being restrained by the principles of religion, he 
seemed to have an inherent aversion to worldly amusements, 
and only permitted them in his family from a desire to indulge 
his children, — ^when the first visitation of yellow fever took 
place in our country, and fixed upon Philadelphia as the scene 
of its devastation. Whatever others, who were involved in the 
miseries which took place in consequence of this pestilence, felt. 

152 MRS. MILLER. [CH. 11. 2. 

I am persuaded that I needed some solemn check to my worldly 
career ; and it laid a foundation which enabled me to with* 
stand, in some little degree, the torrent of temptation which as- 
sailed me afterwards. 

* Of my father I would say a little more : he well deserved 
it. His descent was no common one. He was from both sides 
of his house a Puritan child — a descendant of some of the best 
men in the Church, and men high in office — himself one of the 
first in his profession as a lawyer — ^inheriting the promise to the 
seed of the Church, included in the Second Commandment. 

*The revolutionary spirit had sprung up in France, and given 
rise to those movements which preceded and commenced the 
bloodshed Bjxd disorder, continuing for many years in that 
country, and driving so many of its inhabitants to seek an asy- 
lum under other governments. The iniquity of their devoted 
land had become :^11, according to Scripture expression ; and 
the Lord had begun his controversy with it. One of the in- 
conveniences of that liberty, in which we had so rejoiced, was 
then experienced. These outcasts, even the royalists, flocked 
to this land of freemen, and brought with them an example and 
influence likely to involve us in all the iniquity which was un- 
der such severe judgment in their own country. The enemy 
was coming in like a flood ; but this favored land, which had 
been in a great measure populated, many years before, by an 
influx of a very different kind — ^the persecuted believers of the 
old world — experienced the fulfilment of the consequent promise 
— ^The Spirit of the Lord lifted up a standard against him. It 
was a standard indeed of affliction; but "the Lord hath his 
way in the whirlwind and in the storm"; and although the 
yellow-fever has continued to waste our cities, from time to 
time, ever since, it was part of that storm which precedeth the 
still, small voice of mercy, which has been heard in the hearts 
of so many, and hindered, no doubt, at the time, the current of 
vice and folly. 

* Now that the frequency of this visitation has enabled us to 
learn so many meliorating circumstances with regard to it, 
those who saw not that time can scarcely imagine the panic 
which agitated our city. It might emphatically have been 
said, " all faces are turned into paleness." My lather, moved 
by compassion at seeing the multitudes who must suffer, if all 
who were able to render assistance fled, would have remained 
in the city ; but the entreaties of his family at length induced 
him to remove to a small farm of his, at such a distance from 
it as would allow of his devoting every day to the sick and suf- 
fering. He connected himself with the Board of Health, and 

1778-1801.] YOUTH — MEMOIRS. 153 

by this means we were kept awake to almost every peculiar and 
distressing circumstance of this calamity. 

'Being, after our removal, relieved from that overwhelming 
fear which had assailed me in the city, but solemnly impressed 
with the apprehension of still existing danger, a realizing sense 
was induced, for the first time, of the frailty and uncertainty of 
human life, and the need of something more than this world 
can afford, to render us safe in it, or willing to relinquish it. 
I had, £rom education, a superditioua dependence on the Bible ; 
and when this trial arose, to the Bible my mind involuntarily 
turned, from choice — ^if that can Ije called choice, which was 
produced by the presence of affliction. I read it formally, and 
felt a^ if there was a righteousness in the mef e perusal. It was 
certainly not that seeking, to which the promise — "ye shall 
find" — is annexed; and it remained a sealed book to me. 
With this attention to the Bible, I engaged in prayer also in a 
different maiiner from that to which I had been accustomed. 
Besides the habitual prayers learned and continued from my 
childhood, frequently the pressure of jjre«eni drcumstancea drove 
me to this duty ; and they made the subject of my petitions. 
When my father was taken ill, to this means I resorted for re- 
lief. And this spirit of prayer continued through all the sins, 
and. follies, and scepticism of many years of sell-indulgence. 

* When my father died, anxiety for his everlasting welfare 
agitated my mind, and I found relief only in hoping, that he 
had been prepared for his change in some manner by his latter 
works. In my ignorance I thus encouraged myself. I have 
rather hoped since, that his apparently disinterested benevo^ 
lence was the evidence of a better preparation, and have been 
strengthened in this hope, by recollecting that it was observed 
of him, in his last moments, by his attendants, and I trust by 
him who loves to hear the voice of prayer — " Behold, he 
prayeth I " 

'After my father's death, and after the yellow-fever had 
disappeared, I continued serious and attentive to religious 
reading for some time. The recent calamitous season had made 
so deep an impression, that former follies but gradually re- 
turned. What, however, tended, in some degree, to lengthen 
this season of seriousness, was the same solemn bias of mind in 
lit } The distresses which she had witnessed and experi- 
enced had cast, indeed, a deeper gloom over her spirit, which 
saddened every object on which it rested ; and as religion was, 
at present, this object, it received the gloomy tinge of her mind, 
and was, as in many similar instances, stigmatized as the cause 

^ A dear friend. 

154 MRS. MILLER. [OH. 11. 2. 

of that, which it was probably assisting to alleviate. Her 
friends, although they were attentive to the forms of religion^ 
and respected it, were afraid she was too much occupied with 
it, and would sink into melancholy. I cannot help, when re- 
tracing my own steps, calling to mind M 's also, especially 

as they appear to have been, for some time, considerably inter- 
woven. * * We were the only persons * * who appeared to have 
had recourse to the Bible for relief, at this awftil season ; and 
although her seriousness continued somewhat longer than mine, 
we both began to decline, in a short time, from the truth, or 
rather from the means of obtaining ifc. My father's death had 
left me my own mistress, and gaiety and dissipation spread 

their lures for me, whilst error and infidelity ensnared M . 

She had, probably, been wavering for some time, when Dr. 
Priestly preached in Philadelphia. She was amongst his hear- 
ers, and soon became a proselyte. Some friend, about this time, 

or soon after, lent her , [an infidel work,] which she read 

with much pleasure. , [another infidel work,] fol- 
lowed this, either casually, or by design, as a means of saving 
her from gloom and despair, and powerfully assisted her pro- 
gress into a gulf of unbelief, which has, I fear, stopped little short 
of Atheism, and from which, we may emphatically say, a Grod of 
mercy alone can deliver her. She seemed to have become herself 
persuaded that the Bible was her worst enemy, and seized with 
eagerness, and read with avidity, every plausible work, which 
had a tendency to weaken, or subvert, its influence. Religion 
has been a favorite subject of discussion with her ever since ; 
she has, indeed, been a laborer in the field of infidelity ; has 
appeared to be endeavoring to overthrow the truth in* her own 
mind, as well as in the minds of others, by every argument 
which infidelity has opposed to it ; but has evidently not been 
able to efiect this even in her own ; and thus has but a tolera- 
ble existence in this world, while endeavoring to subvert the 
best hopes for another. 

* I would bless the Lord, who brings good out of evil, and 
makes the wrath of man to praise him, that the cavils of M — 
have been overruled for good to me. The opposition which she 
made to the Bible involved considerable discussion of its doc- 
trines, and led me, though only as an idle caviller, to its in- 
terior ; and, in the midst of worldly attractions, has kept some 
impression of it on my mind. 

*In May, 1795, our family were divided; my mother, with 
the five younger children continued together ; tne others went, 

some to college, and some to boarding with Mrs. a lady, 

who from an unexpected failure, from some unknown cause. 

1778-1801.] YOUTH — MEMOIRS. ^ 165 

when her husband died, of all her expectations of a sufficiency, 
found herself compelled to earn her own and her children's 
support. She concluded to receive into her family young 
ladies, either going to school, or wishing to have the advantages 
of a city life — that is, to enjoy the amusements and gaiety of 
the world. Here was my next and dreadful temptation. I 
was one of the number, who, upon leaving my father's house, 

entered into the scene of dissipation and folly which Mrs. 's 

family presented. We lived as if the object of life was self- 
gratification ; and I recollect having, at one 'time, internally 
concluded, that it was our privilege to seek this in every way, 
and that it ought to be our pursuit. Without recognizing it at 
the time, I was an Epicurean in sentiment, and preparing to 
rush into many of the follies of such a faith. In the course of 
the five succeeding years, I was often sporting the lax senti- 
ments of M , more from neglect of thinking, and the desire 

of being thought to have an independent spirit, than from 
knowledge or inquiry ; for I had only the random arguments, 
which I heard casually dropped, and no settled ideas on, this 
great subject. I desire to be thankful to Him who has the 
hearts of all flesh in his hands, that I was never permitted to 
make this a subject of ridicule, which always shocked me, and 
arises, I am persuaded, from a hard heart that is seldom changed. 
During those years, I was suffered to engage in almost every 
kind of dissipation, but in what fashionable people call a 
moderate way. The theatre was the most attractive scene at 
first ; but repetition satiated, and its fascination was soon over. 
Balls, and parties, and the company which they involved, whUe, 
indeed, they consumed and perverted much time, took, in them- 
selves, comparatively little hold of my feelings. But -they were 
a preparation for deeper and more entangling snares. With 
regard to these amusements it may be said, that although they 
murder precious time, which is given as a preparation for 
eternity, and of which we know not what moment may be the 
important one, on which hangs the destiny of our inmiortal 
souls : for the poet's words may be applied spiritually, with 
more meaning than temporally — "There is a tide in the affairs 
of men, etc." : yet the deliverances from them are a thousand- 
fold, compared ydth those from other fascinations, something 
similar to the intoxicating draught, from which few will rejoice 
forever in their deliverance. The amusements in question fre- 
quently involved a game of cards, of which old and young 
partook. I, at first, seldom, if ever, participated in this, al- 
though it was not allowed to be called gambling, because it 
was said that the trifle of money implicated was only to make 

156 MRS. MILLER. [CH. 11. 2. 

it interesting ; a confession, whicli, had we perceived its spirit, 
would have convicted us of one dreadful idol. 

'Against this fearful snare, I had a habitual prejudice: an 
impression of the sin of gambling had been formed by all my 
early education, and I steadily refiised, for several years, every 
approach to it in company. But a family party offered a 
temptation more seducing than any which fashionable circles 
would have presented. It had a specious appearance of inno- 
cency, because it was at home, Aunts, and cousins, and other 
relatives, made 'up the greater part of the circle, and I recog- 
nized no harm that could arise amongst them. In this way my 
prejudices against gambling were shaken. I did not at first per- 
ceive how my feelings were becoming entangled. Three or 
four nights, every week, were employed at the fascinating table ; 
and hour after hour passed away, each one finding us more 
unwilling to leave it : it was becoming quite indispensable to 
my comfort : every evening not thus employed was vacant and 
tedious. I was arrested by irresistible conviction in the midst 
of ttis dangerous course. Conscience imperiously said, This is 
a ruinous consumer of time, unworthy of so large a portion of 
the attention and devotion of a rational being, and I am sink- 
ing deeper and deeper into the snare. I must break off in- 
stantly, or the temptation will become irresistible. I felt the 
weakness of any resolution which I could form for this pur- 
pose ; I knew how often my best formed ones had failed ; and 
in order to enforce a compliance with what I thought reason 
dictated, I knelt before that God, to whom like the imknown 
God of the Athenians, an altar had been erected in my 
imagination, by early impressions, and by the pressure of cir- 
cumstances, during the prevalence of yellow fever ; and to 
whom I had conscientiously- and regularly addressed the voice 
of prayer ever since, notwithstanding the influences of infidelity 
which surrounded me — ^I knelt and promised never again to 
engage in cards, unless drawn in by necessity. I could not 
clearly discover what this necessity could be, but I was induced 
to make the exception, from a kind of fearfulness about this 
solemn transaction, and the horror which the thought of ever 
failing in my promise inspired. I believe, however, that this 
reserve was a snare to me, and prevented a firm adherence to 
my determination. Now that I would acknowledge God in all 
my ways, I recognize his influence in bringing me to such a 
resolution. It arose from that concentration of thought, which 
I have since felt to be the operation of the Holy Spirit ; and 
if I had known then the precious doctrine of this gift to sin- 
ners, and had in faith call^ in his aid, my victory would, pro- 

1778-1801.] YOUTH — ^MEMOIRS. 167 

bably, have been complete. I did immediately desert this 
social game, and adhered steadily to my purpose for three or 
four years. 

'Notwithstanding all the dissipation and all the folly of this 
time, the word which I heard preached sometimes reached my 
conscience. I resolved frequently, under its influence, to at- 
tend more to the things which belong unto our everlasting 
peace, but the impression and resolution vanished together at 
the first touch of the world. All my reading, too, was calcu- 
lated to weaken any right impression, and strengthen infidel 
sentiments. Besides novels and the popular works of the day, 
the works of fashionable French authors formed a considerable 
part of my amusement. Covering their hostility to the truth, 
with the broad and popular term, philosophy, they insinuate 
their views into the minds of the unthinking, and form a 
hindrance which only the Spirit of God can overcome. The 
efiect of an infidel work I particularly remember. It [an infi- 
del' work] produced on my mind a wretched suspicion of every 
form of religion, without directing to anything satisfactory as 
a substitute. I trace back to this, as well as other causes, the 
restless wretchedness which at length came upon me, '' as an 
armed man." The effects of such reading I feel to this day, 
notwithstanding the perfect demonstrations which I have had 
of the truth. I find, however, that every shock which it now 
rives, serves, under divine teaching, to establish me more firm- 
ly, and make my standing more secure. 

* In the summer of 1800, 1 left Philadelphia to spend a few 
weeks in Princeton, intending to live again with my mother 
when I should return. Although I was weary of the noise 
and confusion of a large and mixed family, such as Mrs. 

's, and in a great measure disgusted with fashion aid 

dissipation, I still clung to these things as the only good, and 
hoped by engaging in them at my mother's, in a more sele3t 
way, to find that enjoyment which they had failed to gi\e 
heretofore. About this time, the question often arose in m/ 
mind. What eventual good is to result from them ? For even 
then a conviction was felt, that only the end could justify the 
means. My heart sickened at the question, and I continually 
drove it ^m me. I was not willing to look to consequences, 
but submitted to voluntary blindness, endeavouring to enjoy 
the present, leaving the future, after the manner of the world, 
to take care of itself. 

* In the comparative retirement of Princeton, with my mind, 
probably, more than usually exercised, in view of my intended 
change of residence ; in a happy season, chosen by him, I trust, 


158 MRS. MILLER. [CH. 11. 2. 

who cannot err, the doubts of M , the importance of the 

subject about which they were agitated, my owii everlasting 
interest in this question, and the utter impossibility that I 
should ever obtain the truth of myself, unitedly pressed upon 
my mind, and concentrating all its energy, brought me, I be- 
lieve, " in Spirit and in truth,"^ to the feet of him, who only 
could effectually teach me, to ask his teaching, and implore 
that I might know the truth in regard to the Christian religion. 
Blessed prayer I inspired and answered by thee alone, my 
Father and my God I And although it has been answered by 
means of sufiering ; although the entrance of light has been 
after a dark night, I give thee thanks sincerely, thou Ood of 
my salvation ! And although this light is but as the dawning 
of the morning, which has not assumed stren^h enough to 
dispel entirely the vapors of the night, I trust itis that light 
which shall shine brighter and brighter ''unto the perrect 

* Before I returned to Philadelphia, I visited Long Br&nch, 
with some friends from Princeton. At this resort of the 
fashionable folly of our country, and especially of our city, I 
first broke my promise with regard to cards. There arose, as 
I thought, that necessity which J had anticipated. The friends 
with whom I had gone were indisposed, and retired early to 
their chamber; my gay acquaintances whom I met at the 
Branch surrounded the card table; and no means of occupying 
my time, which would prevent passing a dreary, unsettled hour, 
occurred to set aside this powerful temptation: I yielded with 
but little struggle, and made one at the table. I was deceived, 
when I sat down, as to the amount for which the company 
were playing, and had lost, before I understood their arrange- 
ments, nearly all the money in my pocket. At this crisis the 
party separated. I felt ashamed of having been so entangled, 
and unwilling to acknowledge to my friends the dilemma in 
which I was ; and was imable to meet any call for money. The 
infatuation of gamblers seized upon me. I resolved to sit down 
with the same company the second evening, and concluded 
that the knowledge of the management of the game which I 
had obtained, woiud enable me to replace my money. There 
is one fact which probably lessens the apparent madness of this 
step. I had a relative at the Branch, boarding not far from 
us, to whom, in case of failure, I had determined to apply for 
a loan. The success, however, of the second ni^ht more than 
answered my expectations : the sum which I had lost was more 

^ Mrs. Miller evidently uses this Soriptural expression in a modified sense — 
not as implying a renewed heart. 

1778-1801.] YOUTH— MEMOIRS. 159 

than restored, but without a restoration of my tranquillity. I 
was suffered, in violating my promise, so solemnly gi^n, to 
trespass so far on early habits and the principle of my educa- 
tion, to go so far beyond my own previous doings, that the 
retrospect agitated me with an unusual uneasiness. I was not 
satisfied with myself, and felt disgraced in the eyes of the 
world : in spite of the conviction which my knowledge of the 
fashionable world gave me, that this was rather an honour than 
a disgrace in their eyes, I lost all dependence on my own reso- 
lutions, since I had failed in my engagements to him, who was 
my only resource against myself; and I was given up to irreso- 
lution and distraction of mind: for although the effect was 
gradual ; although a disease, which occurred some days after 
my return to Princeton, was more ostensibly, the cause ; I felt 
that the mental distress, with which I labored for many years 
afterward, must be dated from this time. From this time, 
feeble nerves, with all their attending miseries, commenced 
their operation ; and the world rapidly lost all its attractions, 
and realized to my view the wilderness which the word of truth 
represents it to be. I had partly enjoyed, and partly ascer- 
tamed by inference, as I thought, all that it was capable of 
giving, of real enjoyment. From this time, for several years 
afterward, I was like a drowning wretch, ready at every instant 
to perish, but still catching at some floating straw in hopes of 
finding aid ; and, although failing more, and sinking deeper, 
at every effort, still buoyed up by some unknown cause, until a 
persuasion was induced, that I should yet be delivered. 

* After becoming domesticated again in my mother's family, 
public amusements, and even cards, occasionally engaged mjr 
time and attention — ^an evidence of the danger of the first devi- 
ation from the direct course. But I engaged in them now, not, 
as formerly, for gratification, but for relief; and should, at this 
period have fallen a snare to any infatuation which would have 
afforded that, even to the use of laudanum, or other excite- 
ments of the same kind, if I had not soon discovered that such 
stimuli rather increased, even at the present, than relieved, my 
distress. I had recourse also to the Bible and prayer. I con- 
cluded to read, or rather study, the Scriptures through, and 
even committed to memory parts that were difficult to retain ; 
but I had no friend, no director, like Philip, at hand, to say, 
" Understandest thou what thou readest?" and, by means of 
the word, to point out the way of salvation ; and my occupa- 
tion was dull and tiresome. Profane thoughts often mixed 
with the Scriptures in my mind, and produced distressing 
anxiety, a sense of guilt which was almost overwhelming, and 

.160 MRS. MILLER. [CH. 11. 2. 

hindered my progress. My weakness under these circumstances 
was remembered, like that of the Athenians, when Paul taught 
them by means of their own poets. A quotation from Milton, 
which I met with in some book I was reading at that time, 
was a great relief to me. 

" Evil into the mind of God or man 
May come and go, so unapproved ; and leave 
No spot or blame behind."^ 

Such help frequently occurred. A year or two afterwards, 
when in peculiarly trying circumstances, and under a conse- 
quent weight of depression, I found another passage from Mil- 
ton, in Hayley's life of that poet, which gave a strength which 
it could have given only under divine influence. 

" Bnt thou, take courage, strive against despair. 
Shake not with dread, etc.''^ 

Had I been familiar with Watts at that time, I should have 
found many passages in his Psalms and Hymns, more consoling 
and applicable, and more under spiritual influence, as I have 
since discovered. 

*M said, "As long as you pore over the Bible so, you 

will be miserable ; " and the noise of a distracted woman in the 
neighborhood, whose insanity was ascribed to the influence of 
the Methodists, gave a pang to my heart which I cannot de- 
scribe. But the expression of my inmost feelings was, "What 
shall I do ? " An arm of flesh, I felt, could not relieve me, 
and by the only means accessible to me, I was seeking for spir- 
itual assistance. I had nowhere else to go, and the mere ex- 
pectation of aid from this source, kept me from absolute de- 
spair. Had my mind sunk under its morbid pressure, religion 
would, probably, have borne the imputation of being the cause, 
an imputation which it has often suffered with as little justice. 
Blessed refiige, which even sin itself does not hinder us from find- 
ing ! How often is our extremity the point at which mercy begins. 
Many times, when all seemed lost ; when I have felt as if one 
painful thought more would overwhelm me ; have I been en- 
couraged to press on by more than human influence. Every 
account which I heard of the evils prevailing in the world, 
every recital of trouble or wickedness, entirely unnerved me. 
But all was overruled for good, and prepared the way for the 
deep conviction, which I experienced at that time, that some 
radical defect in man had been the procuring cause of all his 
woe ; and thus laid a foundation in my mind for the great 
gospel doctrine on this subject. 

1 Paradise Lost, v. 117-119. > Dublin Ed. (1797), 12. 

1778-1801.] YOUTH — MEMOIRS. 161 

'Thus passed my days — tedious days, succeeded by disturbed 
nights I How often have I laid me down, with a half formed 
wish, that I might never rise again! To M — I owe much. 
As far as mere human effort would answer, she exerted herself. 
She exhorted me against yielding to my feelings, and was a 
means, under Providence, of rousing me from my first distress. 
Gould she have been the means of binding up my broken spirit 
with the consolations of religion, what a finish, under the influ- 
ence of the Holy Ghost, might have been given to her efforts. 
But the blind cannot lead the blind, and this was and i^ her 
pitiable condition. Glorified Saviour, can she not, touched by 
thy grace, be an instrument in thy hands of good to precious 
and immortal souls? Oh, that I may yet see her a fellow- 
worker with thee, and of the household of faith I 

'Sometimes the being and nature of Grod, with a conftised set 
of metaphysical questions^ perplexed my brain. At other times 
practical duties equally agitated me. I thought of withdraw- 
ing from the world ; of mortifying myself by a total change oi 
dress and life ; ready, as Herod, to ao many things to relieve 
my present distress. I believe I was just in that state of mind, 
which would have made me a convert to any sect of Christians, 
to which individual friendship had attached me, or under whose 
influence I had fallen by any providential occurrence, if they 
had discovered zeal and sincerity. I am persuaded that this 
iQ the crisis^ in that experience which precedes true faith, at 
which we are the most exposed to the influence' of erronsts ; 
and at which many have turned aside and been lost forever. 
It is a state in which we have especial need to ask, and seek, 
and knock. 

' In this state of anxiety and distraction, the question between 
revelation and infidelity took a direct form in my mind ; as if 
Elijah, or one greater than Elijah, witnessing their contrary in- 
fluence, had said, "How long halt ye between two opinions?" — 
Make up your mind which you will adopt, and take that as 
your object of attention and search. I cannot describe the agi- 
tation which, for a few minutes, followed. My countenance was 
presented in a glass before me, and evidenced the emotion within, 
The paleness of death overspread it, and every muscle was i^ 
action. I resolved on the Lord's side, and the tumult gradually 
ceased. I have often reflected on this 8e9son, and wished to 
understand it. I have sometimes thought, that I had been exr 
ercised with a suggestion of the enemy, for the purpose of making 
me rest in a formal assent. At other times, these exercises have 
appeared as of the operation of the true Spirit, to bias me on 
the right sidei f^^d ^lake a mere arbitrary resolution a mean^ 


162 MRS. MILLER. [CH. 11. 2. 

of good. Whatever the influence, here I was not permitted to 

'About this time, the useless life which I led was presented 
impressively to my mind. I realized that I had lived to little 
purpose in the world, and began to desire to be useful, and con- 
cluded that, as a married woman, I might have more means 
and opportunity for this. My thoughts were directed to a gen- 
tleman, who had been a student and friend of my Other's, and 
on that account, I fancied, ought to be recommended to me. 
He had visited us for some time, and I knew had serious inten- 
tions with regard to myself. He had- large property, and I had 
already formed plans of universal benevolence, which were en-* 
larged by becoming connected with a benevolent society in 
Philadelphia, the first of the kind, and just then formed for the 
relief of the poor. But, besides other objections, this gentleman 
was probably double my age, and, had 1 married him, it would 
have been without any feeling of affection, as I deeply expe- 
rienced at every interview. In the firm persuasion, however, 
that this step was duty, I knelt and prayed for direction and 
aid, not doubting but that both would be given in favor of my 
plans with regard to this object How often since have I been 
called to consider the perils which assailed me ! I was allured, 
not driven, firom this dangerous error, into which I certainly 
should have plunged, had not one who engaged affection as 
well as judgment been presented. My mind was perplexed, for 
some time, about giving up what I had so conscientiously con^ 
sidered to be duty ; but happily nothing definite had been pro- 
posed to me, until after another had offered ; and I was under 
no previous engagement. How are the merciful circumstances 
of this time increased in my view by every renewed recollection 
of them ! One of the most ensnaring books which had been 
lent to M — * * was from this gentleman's library ; and his 
own mind, I have much reason to believe, was entirely poisoned 
by such productions ; and, after a year or two of probably lone- 
some wretchedness, without a friend in this world or another, 
he was permitted to put an end to his own life : a specimen of 
many like tragedies, I am persuaded, which will, one day, be 
brought to light ! 

*How different was the wealth which appeared in your fami- 
ly, my dear Friend, from that which I had anticipated in a 
different connexion ! Instead of the riches of this world, the 
Word of Life was presented in every form that could heal a 
wounded spirit such as mine, and give relief — ^a spirit of which 
the Bible emphatically inquires, " Who can heal?" — evidently 
to lead ou^ expectations away from all human means imme- 

1778-1801.] YOUTH — MEMOIRS. 168 

diately to him who is the Father of our spirits. Had I sooner 
improved the advantages which surrounded me, years of an- 
guish might have been spared. I say anguish, because I do 
not believe that, on the face of the earth, there were many more 
wretched than myself, when I became your wife. For more 
than a year my mind had been enveloped in some of the deep- 
est shades of melancholy, beset with dreadfiil imaginations, and 
in that state of almost desperation, which hurries many a wretch 
to an untimely grave. On the borders of insanity, I had just 
reason enough left, to be the means of discovering to me the 
precipice on which I was tottering ; and how often I have shud- 
dered at the view God only knows. My imagination seemed 
to have overleaped almost every barrier, and to be employed 
in nothing but horrid anticipations. 

*At this representation, my dear Friend, I know that you will 
experience emotions little short of amazement ; and especially 
when I add, that this state of mind and feeling continued; and 
even increased in bitterness, until the Spring of 1806. If my 
senses and memory at all serve me, the whole of what I have 
said is certainly true ; and this distress was the powerful means, 
in the hands of the Lord, of extricating me from the fatal de- 
lusion, in which the world had involved me, and of preparing 
me for that strong hope, which, notwithstanding all my sins 
and all my infirmities, I now cherish. 

*I know the questions which will arise in your mind, upon 
being informed of these trials. Was the wife of my bosom 
thus agitated and I unconscious of it? What could have pro- 
duced such a state of disorder? Under its first influence I 
was not able, silently, to endure the shock. My mother, as fer 
as human means could go, was firm and faithful. She tried to 
persuade me, that my state of feeling was not a new one; that 
she herself had experienced it in some degree ; that it required 
determined and unwearied resistance; and advised especially 
that I should avoid making it a subject of conversation, or even 
of thought, as far as possible. I took her advice and began a 
violent struggle, which continued many years afterward, and so 
far succeeded, as to enable me to put on the appearance of 
peace, when all was panic within. The influence of the world 
also operated powerfully to keep me silent; for it had obtained 
an ascendancy, which no mental shock appeared to have weak- 
ened, and which was now, perhaps, overruled for good. I was 
afraid that the result of my agitations would be insanity, and 
was sure that if my state of mind was known, I should already 
be considered as an insane woman, and become a spectacle. I 
sometimes fancied myself on the point of perpetrating some 

164 MRS. MILLER. [CH. 11. 2. 

horrid act; and the bare idea almost drove me to desperation ; 
and, after rising a little above the suggestion, the thought of 
such a possession again reduced me to agony. I look back my- 
self wim astonishment at the fact, that not one external symp- 
tom indicated the disorder of my spirit He that was for me 
was greater than he that was against me; and although my 
silence has sometimes appeared like want of confidence in my 
husband, I have learnea more entirely the sufficiency of God, 
and to resort, with purpose of heart, more immediately to him 
at all times. 

* The other question — ^What could have produced such a state 
of disorder? — ^has agitated my own mind many times. In ihe 
midst of that season of intellectual bewilderment, when a 
moment of calmness has been granted to me, and the past and 
present have been presented in connexion to my mind, I have 
internally exclaimed. Is this indeed so? Am I awake? I was 
an enigma to myself. The same scenes surrounded me, that had 
engaged me from my childhood ; and I was still in the circle 
of those friends, whose society had been habitually endeared to 
me; but all within was changed; a dreadful panic possessed 
me; and my feelings were better expressed in those few words 
— **a fearful looking for of judgment" — ^than in any that I can 
combine. And now, in comparing the experience of that time 
with the language of inspiration, how appropriate the Psalmist's 
description appears — *' The sorrows of death compassed me, 
and the pains of hell got hold upon me." ^ * But I trust I feel 
some measure of gratitude to that God, who made this valley 
of Achor a door of hope to me. 

''My fear and agitation did not arise from any clear or sen- 
sible convictions of sin. I was like the jailor, whose mind the 
earthquake and its attendant circumstances had entirely un- 
hinged; and having lost all expectation from the world, or my- 
self, I saw no sure resting place short of an all-seeing and all- 
powerful God, who was willing to undertake for me. I felt 
like a lost creature. Thus was my mind preparing for just 
such a revelation as God has given of his Son; and, as the 
gospel unfolded to my view, I perceived, that a firm belief of 
its truth, and of my interest in it, with the assistance of a 
Spirit who knew and could influence every thought, was my 
only rational dependence for deliverance. I therefore sincerely 
desired that the Christian system mi^ht be true, and wished to 
be a believer in it. I thought that habit would produce faith 
within me. My early convictions had received a shock from 
M 's cavils, and 1 hoped to have this kind of faith more 

1 P8.3XTi. 3. 

1778-1801.] YOUTH — MEMOIRS. 165 

than revived, by living with believers, and hearing the truth 
of the gospel taken for granted every day; and, above all, I 
counted much on the faith of the great and wise men of the 
earth. Sir Isaac Newton was a believer. Dr. Johnson was a 
believer. A cunningly devised fable could not have deluded 
such men as these. I felt the snare that there was in this kind 
of faith ; the doubts of a great man on the other hand, and, 
above all, the apostasy of such an one, shook every fibre; and 
if my husband, and ttose who surrounded me, professors if re- 
ligion, had denied the faith, habitual belief would have been 
annihilated. Thus much, however, I certainly had realized, 
that in the gospel there was a sure resting place for even my 
mind, if I had but perfect confidence in it. How to believe 
the gospel was the question. " The natural man receiveth not 
the things of the Spirit of God." ^ I have sometimes of late 
been inclined to doubt my hope, because my exercises did not 
reach the popular standard ; but I am directed to the fountain 
for relief, and always find it there. A heartfelt conviction of 
sin, and a real sorrow for it, have followed faith in Jesus Christ, 
and I now feel the difference between a legal and childlike 

* In the first place, I believe that constitutional, as well as 
accidental, or rather providential, circumstances concurred in 
producing that state of mind and feeling. In recollecting 
former years, many little facts are brought to remembrance, 
which convince me that I was naturally prone to melancholy. 
I recollect strange fancies which beset me, and deep and unac- 
countable glooms that pervaded my mind, even when, generally 
speaking, my days were the happiest. I was, probably, raised 
above these weaknesses, for some time, by good general health, 
and by varying scenes and circumstances. Perhaps it may be. 
that the gay life which I led, like opium, preserved me from 
their oppressive influence. But, alas I the period came, when 
vanity, and gaiety, and everything else, lost their upholding 
power ; and I believe a short reprieve was purchased at the 
expense of much additional suffering. And now, what reason 
have I to be thankftil, that these vain preventives did not con- 
tinue through life ! — ^that I was discovered to myself to be not 
only exposed to wrath in the world to come, out poor, and 
wretched, and in want of everything for this life — ^solitary in 
the midst of Mends I 

'Against such a constitutional weakness, I feel now what 
onlv could have formed a radical guard — an early education 
which would have cultivated principles with more than this 

^ 1 Cor. ii. 14. 

166 YOUTH — MEMOIRS. [OH. 11. -2. 

world as their object ; which would have drawn out the mind 
to view, beyond this transient and perishable scence, an end 
worthy of all our ambition, and all our exertions, and to which 
all sublunary views ought to refer : I mean mere human teach- 
ing of thi^ kind, or rather a full indoctrinating iu the peculi- 
arities of the Christian religion. Such a religious foundation 
would, I am persuaded, have saved me years of angmsh.; and 
when the grace of Grod had sanctified this culture, how much 
more useful might my life have been. Oh, my dear Friend, 
when I realize this, how doubly awfiil does our responsibility 
for our children appear. If it were merely for the purpose of 
saving them so much temporal suffering, how ought we to strive 
and pray ; but especially how ought we to wrestle for them, if 
they may be made the means, by a well directed education, of 
more effectually pulling down the strongholds of Satan, and 
building up more abundantly the Redeemer's kingdom. In- 
stead of such an education, what an unprofitable, or rather 
mischievous, one was mine I Or perhaps I ought to say, How 
was an expensive education, well directed as far as the com- 
mon acceptation of this word goes, marred by adventitious 
circumstances! I was not only without instruction in the 
sober truths of the gospel, but some of my earliest years were 
devoted to the unlimited perusal of novels, to which, in the 
second place, I ascribe the violence of my mental malady. 
Their highly wrought pictures of human character and man- 
ners gave me a distaste for real life ; and their dark and mys- 
terious wonders filled me with superstition; thus laying a 
foundation for an utter separation of feeling from the world 
which I inhabited, and forming an almost insuperable barrier 
against entrance into a better — ^the sad fruit which I reaped 
when the infatuation had subsided. I said, like many others 
who know not their own hearts, I have received no injury from 
these condemned publications. But even when the pleasure 
which arose from reading them was diminished in some measure, 
they had left their baneful poison in my mind. All that senti- 
mental feeling which they exhibit, and which is so blended with 
fashionable folly, had formed to my fruitful imagination a 
terrestrial paradise, which was to be found in connexion with 
such a character as every novel depicts, aided by riches, and 
splendor, and fashion, and family, and all that assemblage 
which accompanies such a character. And, although sober 
reason sometimes humbled me, by applying to conscience a 
question of my deserving such an assemblage, from any co- 
incident claims, yet the play of fancy again led away my 
better judgment. Boarding-schools and the fashionable ac- 

1801.] MARRIED LIFE. 167 

complishments of the day were not calculated to deliver from 
this wretched delusion ; and I came forward into the world, 
with the hope of finding that perfect happiness here, which, in 
some form or other, is the end of all our natural expectations, 
and with no alternative for the hour of disappointment. I 
looked upon the world around me, and saw not a person who 
appeared to me to have obtained this happiness; but imagina- 
tion triumphed over reason and impelled me on.' 

In the foregoing narrative, Mrs. Miller does not perhaps 
give as strong an attestation, as she sometimes gave to her 
children, of the republican simplicity of her father's habits, 
and his aversion to many of those fashionable luxuries, ex- 
travagancies, amusements, and indulgences, which even re- 
ligion, so-called, is, often, in our day, easily wheedled into 
allowing and encouraging. She frequently expressed the 
conviction, that had he lived to guard her a few years lon- 
ger against the temptations of the gay world, she would 
have been spared many of the painful steps by which she 
had been brought back from her wandering. 

Her remarks about boarding-schools, had she given her- 
self space to enter at all into particulars, would probably 
have excepted one school, at least, of that class, which she 
ever remembered with peculiar interest. In 1789, her 
father placed her at the Moravian female seminary at Beth- 
lehem, Pennsylvania, doubtless because it was distinguished 
for that plainness and simplicity which he approved. Mrs. 
Miller always spoke with affectionate remembrance of that 
institution, and particularly of Sister Kleest, one of the 
teachers, under whose special care she had been, and who 
afterwards married a missionary to the Indians. - 

3. Married Life. 

To the bachelor's hall in New York, No. 116 Liberty 
street, Mr. Miller took his bride, whose presence at once 
changed the whole character of the establishment. Dr. 
Edward Miller remained to welcome them, and, for a short 
time, probably, continued with them ; but the affectionate 
delicacy of his feelings, admitted of no assurance that it 
was better for him to participate in their domestic comforts, 
and he soon removed to other lodgings, though he still sat 
at their table. His brother quickly returned, with new 

168 MRS. MILLER. [CH. 11. 8. 

zeal and activity, to his pastoral and literary labors ; which, 
in spite of freshened interest and ardor, were all too op- 
pressive for his slender health. To the chief literary re- 
sults of about three years, commencing nearly a twelve- 
month before his marriage, we shall come, after a few para- 
graphs — chiefly extracts from his diary, and explanations 
of those extracts. 

In April, Mr. Miller preached the annual sermon before 
the New York Missionary Society, which, by request of 
the latter, was published.^ It appears, from the report 
printed as an appendix to this discourse, that he was, at 
the time, secretary pro tempore. 

This sermon is no doubt a favorable specimen of Mr. 
Miller's preaching at the time, and fully equals, if it does 
not surpass, in real merit, any which he had before com- 
mitted to the press. Very much like his other produc- 
tions, earlier and later, it contains no thoughts particularly 
brilliant, or strikingly original ; no display of imagination ; 
but is a perspicuous, scriptural, enforcement of plain gos- 
pel truths, in style polished and rhetorical, and rising, at 
times, to somewhat of dignity and power. Committed to 
memory, as it doubtless was, and delivered with the free- 
dom which the memoriter mode of preaching may secure, 
and the propriety of tone and manner, which the preacher 
had always assiduously cultivated, it no doubt fulfilled in a 
good degree its important design — to recommend to hearer 
and reader the great work of missions. 

Here are two extracts from the diary : — 

'September 29, 1802. This day my first child was bom — a 
daughter. I am a father ! What tender, solemn, complicated 
feelings attend the first consciousness of the parental relation I 
I cannot express them. 

'Thank God, my wife is doing well I May this dear child 
be made a subject of God's grace and a blessing to her genera- 

Afterwards he added, 'We call the name of this child 
Margaret, My own mother and my beloved wife's mother both 
bore this name.' 

1 "A Sermon, delivered before the New York Missionary Society, at their 
Annual Meeting, April 6th, 1802. By Samuel Miller, A. M., One of the Min- 
isters of the United Presbyterian Churches in the City of New York. To which 
are added, the Annual Report of the Directors, and other Papers relating to 
American Missions." — Haoakkuk ii. 3. — 8vo. Pp. 81. 

1802.] MAREIBD LIFE. 169 

'October 24, 1802. This is the first anniversary of my mar- 
riage, which I desire to observe as a special season of thanks- 
giving and praise. One year has elapsed since I was happily 
united to Sarah Sergeant. * * And now, when the ardent 
feelings and the sanguine expectations of a lover may be sup- 
posed to have yielded to the more calm and reasonable views 
of a married man, I desire to record my gratitude to God for 
the precious gift which he has been pleased to bestow upon me. 
My beloved wife was not a professor of religion when I mar- 
ried her, nor is she yet one. But her natural and moral quali- 
ties are such as have more and more endeared her to me, and 
impressed me every day with a deeper conviction of the wisdom 
and happiness of my choice. She has a jtrofound reverence for 
religion ; a firm belief in the reality and importance of piety of 
heart ; and as strong a desire to become possessed of that trea- 
sure, as one who does not already possess it can be supposed to 
have. A variety of appearances inspire me with hope, that the 
time is not far distant, when she will be able to unite with her 
husband in the hopes and joys, as well as the duties, connected 
with membership in the Kedeemer's kingdom.' 

We have seen that Mr. Miller had been accustomed, be- 
fore marriage, to observe the anniversaries of his birth and 
ordination, as seasons of special prayer with fasting; to 
these we now find him adding each anniversary of his wed- 
ding-day, for particular thanksgiving and praise ; and, to 
the close of his life, the three observances were continued 
with an unwavering cod science. After removing to Prince- 
ton, he often noticed in a similar manner the return of the 
date of his arrival there ; while not unfrequently he ob- 
served Mrs. Miller's birth-day, and she several of his special 
days of religious exercise. 

Herein they were walking in the footsteps of the most 
pious men of preceding generations ; who had never dis- 
covered that fasting was not a Christian ordinance, or that 
times of special devotion were justified only by "extraor- 
dinary dispensations,"^ in a sense forbidding all anniver- 
sary or other stated observances, whether public or pri- 
vate. They believed that great mercies should call forth 
life-long gratitude; that great responsibilities and short 
comings demanded unceasing humiliation before God ; and 
that the appointment of regularly recurring seasons for the 

1 Directory for Worship, Ob. xiv. 2. The expression is referred to, not as 
at all objectionable in itself, but as sometimes wrested and abused. 


170 MRS. MILLER. [CH. 11. 8. 

special performance of these duties, to refresh the memory, 
and give a new impulse to the heart, was both reasonable 
and scriptural. At the same time, thej carefully distin- 
guished all such days of human, from the one only day of 
divine, appointment. The former were not to be imposed 
upon the conscience, were not to be regarded as holy days, 
unless, in a qualified sense, to him who might, for himself, 
aet them apart) and dedicate them to the exercises of devo- 
tion. No man was to judge his neighbor as to any day but 
the Christian Sabbath. And Mr. and Mrs. Miller were 
careful not to lade themselves with burdens grievous to be 
borne ; not to regard with superstitious reverence the an- 
niversaries which they observed, nor to permit a human 
dedication of time to become a plea for neglecting divinely 
indicated obligations. They endeavored, with care, to 
guard these seasons of special devotion, as they did daily 
closet hours, from intrusions of the world ; but were not 
regardless of providential hindrances, or calls to higher 

In Dr. Miller's last published work, he said, 

" I take for granted that every candidate for the ministry, 
and every minister of the gospel, will, every year, observe days 
of special prayer and humiliation, accompanied, at proper sea- 
sons, with fasting. Such days will ever be found important in 
nurturing a spirit of piety, and will not be neglected by him 
who wishes and studies to grow in grace."^ 

A number of extracts from Mr. Miller's Diary have 
been already given to the reader, and others will he found 
scattered through the following pages. In after years he 
was accustomed to recommend strongly the habit of keep- 
ing a diary, as both a means of self-improvement, and a 
source of pleasure. This led, after his decease, to an 
anxious search among his papers for such a record of his 
own life. But nothing of the kind has been discovered, 
beyond a few brief, occasional paragraphs; little more, 
possibly, having been written, or, probably, much more 
having been destroyed. What we have is chiefly of a devo- 
tional character, and found partly in a bound book, part^ 
upon loose sheets and slips of paper ; and with whatever 
was written at the dates which the several entries bear, 

1 Thoughts on Public Prayer, 300. 

1803.] MARRIBD LIFE. 171 

Bubsequent reminiscences are sometimes so interspersed 
and incorporated) that it is impossible to distinguish be- 
tween the original records and these additions. It is evi- 
dent that Mr. Miller's diary and all that accompanies it, 
were written without any continuous plan, but according 
to the purposes and suggestions of the hour. For the 
most part, evidently, self-recollection and examination were 
the object ; at times, doubtless, he wrote for the gratifica- 
tion of surviving members of his own family ; and, as he 
was repeatedly called upon, by literary collectors, to give 
an outline of his life, he may sometimess have desir^ to 

father fhaterials for any sketch- to be attempted either 
efore or after his demise. These scanty records were 
penned chiefly upon the three anniversaries already men*- 
tioned — ^his birth-day, his wedding-day, and his ordination- 
day, and throw lignt mainly upon his habits of private 
devotion. A fuller, more connected, and more varied 
diary might have lightened very much the biographer's 
task : the want of it was more to be regretted on that 
account, perhaps, than on any other. 

* December 5, 1802. This day my beloved wife sat down, 
for the first time, at a sacramental table, and placed herself 
among the professing people of God. She has been, ever rince 
our marriage, becoming more and more serious. She now 
cherishes a hope that die has given herself to Christ. Grod 
grant, that her dedication may have been sincere, and the 
work of grace in her heart genuine and deep I She is not 
wholly without doubt concerning herself; but, on the whole, 
thought it her duty to go forward. May the Lord bless and 
help her!' 

In 1803, Mr. Miller's record of preaching shows that he 
was absent from New York nearly the three months, 
August, September, and October ; and one entry seems to 
indicate that two of the three Collegiate Presbyterian 
churches of the city were closed during the same time. 
"About the 18th of July," says a contemporaneous writer 
— ^probably Dr. Edward Miller^ — "the Yellow Fever began 

^ In 1803 he was appointed by the Governor and Council of the State, Resi- 
dent Physician of New York City, one of three officers, who, under an act of 
the legislature, were to adopt measures for guarding the city against malignant 
epidemics. This office he hel i until his death, excepting about a year, a 
onange of politics in the Council having, in 1810, occasioned his temporary 



172 MRS. MILLER. [OH. 11. 3. 


to excite attention in this city, and continued to prevail, 
more or less, till the close of October. During that period, 
the deaths from thiB disease were between six and seven 
hundred. The alarm and flight of the inhabitants were 
very suddenly produced; and the suspension of business 
and desertion of the city on this occasion far exceeded 
what had been ever experienced in former seasons."^ Mr. 
Miller's own ill health doubtless incapacitated him for active 
duty among the sick, while it would hsfve increased his 
danger from the pestilence ; yet he seems to have preached 
every Sabbath — once in New York City, on other Sabbaths 
at Perth Amboy, Fordham, Albany, Troy, and * ih a sloop 
on the Hudson ;' but oftenest, and in fact the whole of 
October, at Mount Pleasant. On the 26tJi of December 
he wrote to the Rev. Eliphalet Nott, of Albany, ' I have 
been repeatedly indisposed since my return home; and 
never was any man more oppressively busy. But if I 
could be convinced that I am doing some little good in the 
world, I should be comforted under every inconvenience. 

Mr. Miller never knew how to swim, and used to relate, 
that he had once fallen overboard from a sloop, but had 
been buoyed up by a large cloak he had on, until assist- 1 

ance could be rendered. Not improbably it was when he 
was ^ in a sloop on the Hudson,' that this casualty oc- 

^ 7 Medical Repository, 178. 








1. Preparation of the Work. 

As AN author, Dr. Miller became most widely known, 
and gained, perhaps, the chief part of his reputation. Be- 
ginning to publish quite early, he continued, until very late 
in life, to address the public through the press. Eight dis- 
courses, which appeared within the first nine years of his 
pastorate, have been already noticed. We must now glance 
at his earliest more extended work, which, indeed, was the 
most voluminous single production of his pen. This was "A 
Brief Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century,"^ published 
in January, 1804. The following extracts from the preface 
will here serve to introduce it to the reader. 

"A simple history of this publication will best unfold its 
design, and will form the best apology for its numerous imper- 
fections. On the first day of January, in the year 1801, the 
author being called; in the course of his pastoral duty, to de- 
liver a sermon, instead of choosing the topics of address most 
usual at the commencement of a new year, it occurred to him 
as more proper, in entering on a new century, to attempt a 
review of the preceding age, and to deduce from the prominent 
features of that period such moral and religious reflexions as 
might be suited to the occasion. A discourse, formed on this 
plan, was accordingly delivered. Some who heard it were 
pleased to express a wish that it might be published. After 
determining to comply with this wish, it was at first intended 

^ "A Brief Retrospeot of the Eighteenth Century. Part the First; in Two 
Yolumes : containing a Sketch of the Revolutions and Improvements in Science, 
Arts and Literature during that Period. By Samuel Miller, A.M., one of the 
Ministers of the United Presbyterian Churches in the City of New York, Mem- 
ber of the American Philosophical Society, and Corresponding Member of the 
Historical Society of Massachusetts.'' — 8vo. Pp. xvi. 544, vi. 510. 

15* 173 

174 "retrospect/' , [ch. 12. 1. 


to publish the original discourse, with some amplification; to 
add a large body of notes for the illustration of its several 
parts ; and to comprise the whole in a single volume. Proposals 
were issued for the publication in this form, and a number of 
subscribers gave their names for its encouragement. 

" Little progress had been made in preparing the work on 
this plan, for uie press, before the objections to such a mode of 
arranging the materials appeared so many and cogent, that it 
was at length thought best to lay aside the form of a sermon, 
and to adopt a plan that would admit of more minuteness of 
detail, and of greater freedom in the choice and exhibition of 
facts. This alteration in the structure of the work led to an 
extension of its limits; materials insensibly accumulated; 
and that portion which was originally intended to be comprised 
in a third or fourth part of a single volume gradually swelled 
into two volumes." ^ 

"It will probably be remarked, by the intelligent reader, 
that a due proportion between the parts of this work, accord- 
ing to the relative importance and extent of each subject, is 
not always preserved. Had the manuscript been completed 
before any part of it was sent to the press, faults of this kind 
would, no doubt, have been, in some degree, avoided ; but the 
truth is, that the first pages of the manuscript were put into 
the hands of the printer before a single chapter of the work 
had been fully written ; and each successive sheet was prepared, 
from the materials previously collected, lit the call of the 
printer, and amidst the hurry of incessant professional labors. 
It is scarcely necessary to add, that this race with the press fre- 
quently rendered impossible that laborioU's investigation, and 
that careful correction which were highly desirable: nor could 
the author excuse himself for conduct so manifestly indiscreet, 
had he duly considered beforehand the nature and magnitude 
of the engagement. But it must be acknowledged, that as he 
entered on the work without duly appreciating the arduousness 
of his undertaking, so every step in the pursuit convinced him 
more and more of its extent and difiiculty ; that in the prose- 
cution of his task he wished a hundred times he had never un- 
dertaken it ; and that now it is brought to a close, few readers 
can be more sensible than he is himself of its numerous and 
great defects. 

" It will be observed, that three parts of the original plan yet 
remain to be executed. Whether the execution of the whole will 
be attempted depends, in some measure, on the reception which 
shall be given to this First Part. The author is particularly 

1 Preface, vii. riii. 


desirous of completing the fourth and last division ; viz., that 
which relates to the Literature, Science, Revolutions, and prin- 
cipal Events of the Christian Church during the last age ; and 
even if he should be compelled to abandon the two intermediate 
divisions, he cherishes the hope of being able, if his life should 
be spared, to lay something before the public on this favorite 
subject." ^ 

This preface, no doubt, is quite too deprecatory and self- 
detractive, if not for truth, at least for good taste and sound 
policy. But with the feelings by which it was prompted we 
can hardly sympathize, without passing through a like or- 
deal of authorship, and coming, with like embarrassment, 
before the bar of public opinion. 

The assistance, which Mr. Miller received, in preparing 
the Retrospect, from his brother Edward is thus noticed in 
his Biographical Sketch of the latter : — 

"In the year 1801, the writer of these memoirs undertook a 
work, which was published soon afterwards, under the title of 
A Brief Retrospect, * * The tolerable completion of his plan 
obliged him to attempt an exhibition of the principal discover- 
ies iind improvements in Medicine, during the period which was 
to be delineated. When he came to that part of his work, his 
Brother, with that affection for which he was always distin- 
guished, offered to furnish the requisite materials, and to give 
any other assistance in his power. This offer was accepted, and 
was more than realized. The readers of the " Retrospect " have, 
doubtless, observed, that the chapter on "Medicine" is by far 
the best part of the work. Its matter, its arrangement and its 
style, are all superior to those of any other in the volumes. The 
truth is, that three-fourths of that chapter were written by Doc- 
tor Edward Miller ; a few pages only of the latter (and cer- 
tainly the inferior) part being written by the author of the main 
body of that publication. Permission was earnestly and re- 
peatedly requested from him ta state this to the public in a 
note, at the commencement of tire chapter in question ; but he 
pointedly and perseveringly refused. His native modesty shrunk 
from such an obtrusion of his name on the public notice. He 
had written in haste, and considered the sketch which he had 
furnished, though adapted to the place which it was intended 
to occupy, as by no means sufficiently digested to be sent abroad 
under tie name of a physician. And, what probably operated 
with no less force, such was his uniform and tender affection for 

* Pp. xiii. xir. 

176 * "bbtrospect/' [ch. 12. 2. 

his Brother, that he was willing to transfer to him whatever 
credit in public estimation might be attached to that part of the 
work. That brother, however, who feels a confidence founded 
on the opinion of much better judges than himself, that the 
chapter in question, the more it is examined, will be found more 
distinctly to bear the marks of the vigorous, comprehensive, 
well-stored, and polished mind, by .which the greater part of it 
was produced, considers himself as now at liberty to give the 
history of its composition. He takes more pleasure than he can 
well express in perusing that chapter as a memorial of his re- 
lation to one to whom he feels, next to his Parents, more in- 
debted than to any other mortal ; and whose numberless monu- 
ments of fraternal affection he cannot contemplate without the 
tenderest emotions."* 

2. Reception of the Work. 

The Retrospect was dedicated to "John Dickinson, Esq., 
LL.D., late President of the State of Delaware, and Presi- 
dent of the Supreme Executive Council of the Common- 
wealth of Pennsylvania"; whom the author thus ad- 
dresses : — 

"Dear Sir, 

"In finding your name prefixed to the following pages, 
without permission, I trust you will feel no emotion more un- 
favorable than that of surprise. I know not, indeed, to whom 
I could dedicate such a work as this with more propriety than 
to an elegant scholar, a comprehensive observer of a large por- 
tion of the century attempted to be reviewed, a master of so 
many of its literary and scientific improvements, a conspicuous 
actor in some of its most memorable and important transac- 
tions, an able and eloquent defender of his country's rights, a 
munificent patron of American literature, and (if personal or 
local feelings may be allowed to intrude) a uniform and affec- 
tionate friend of my honored parents, and one of the most illus- 
trious of those who owe their l)irth to my native State."' 

Further on, the author expressed his. happiness in the 
assurance that Mr. Dickinson perfectly coincided with him 
in certain views presented in the work, especially those re- 
specting the "harmony between the Religion of Christ 
and genuine Philosophy,*' and respecting the "theories, 
falsely called philosophy, which pervert reason, contradict 

1 pp. Ixi. Ixii. 
« P. iii. 


Revelation, and blaspheme its divine Author"; and classes 
him with those who "contemplate every department of hu- 
man affairs through the medium of Christian Principles."* 
Upon receiving a copy of the Retrospect, Mr. Dickinson 
wrote a letter of hearty thanks, in the course of which he 

*In the particular notice taken of me, it is easy to discern the 
marks of friendship. Yet, to tell the truth, even these biased 
commendations, from such a man, give me pleasure. 

'However they have been dictated, I will try to be animated 
by them to the warmest exertions for approaching nearer to 
the character that has been formed so much to my advantage.' 

' One circumstance recorded in thy address comes, I am sure, 
from thy heart, ^d goes directly to mine : the friendship be- 
tween thy honored parents and myself. 

'It commenced in my youth, and held on, unabated,. uninter- 
rupted, up to their removal into another world. Nor did the 
connection then die. Their children caught the mantles that 
fell from them, and, in my advanced years, I am still favored 
with a continuance of the same kind spirit towards me. 

'Delighted as I am with the contemplation of this subject, I 
am also highly gratified by thy publishing, "withov;t permis" 
Bion/' my belief in Revelation. ' I humbly rejoice in this 
unexceptionable testimony to my faith, and that I am not 
"ashamed of the Son of Man, or of his words." I had rather 
be a ChrisUariy than sovereign of the world.' 
^ 'Any expressions I can use would be imperfect interpreta- 
tions of the affection with which I am thy ooliged friend ' 

A glance at the table of contents* will show the compre- 
hensiveness of the plan of this publication. Not the least 
important portion of it was that devoted to the literature of 

1 p. ir. 

* iNTRODroTiON. PART I. On the Revolutions and Improvements in 
Science, Arts and Literature, during the Eighteenth Century. Chap. I. Me- 
ohanicaJ Philosophy. J 1. Electricity. § 2. Galvanism. § 3. Magnetism. 
J 4. Motion and Moving Forces. § o. Hydraulics. J 6. Pneumatics. § 7. 
Optics. 2 8. Astronomy, General Observations. Chap. II. Chemical Phi- 
losophy. Chap. III. Natural History. § 1. Zoology. J 2. Botany-. | 3. 
Mineralogy. J 4. Geology. 3 5. Meteorology. J 6. Hydrology. Chap. IV. 
Medicine. 3 1. Anatomy. | 2. Physiology. § 3. Theory and Practice of 
Medicine. J 4. Surgery and Obstetrics. § 5. Materia Medica. Chap. V. 
Geography. Chap. VI. Mathematics. Chap. 7. Navigation. Chap. vIII. 
Agriculture. Chap. IX. Mechanic Arts. Chap. X. Fine Arts. § 1. Painting. 
3 2. Sculpture. J 3. Engraving. § 4. Music. §5. Architecture. Chap. XI. 
Physiognomy. Chap. XII. Philosophy of the Human Mind. Chap. XIII. 
Classic Literature. Chap. XIV. Oriental Literature. § 1. Hebrew Literature. 
2 2. Arabic Literature, f 3. Persian Literature. § 4. Hindoo Literature. 

178 "retrospect." [ch. 12. 2. 

the United States, as one of the " Nations lately become 
literary." This section embraced more information about 
the men of letters, the institutions of learning, and the 
literary productions in general, of our country than had 
before been brought into one view. The whole work, in- 
deed, though since often imitated, and, in many respects, 
surpassed, was then novel, and perhaps unexampled. It 
was well received on both sides of the Atlantic, and was 
republished in London — a compliment not doubtful in that 
day, when it was still the fashion, in Great Britain, to sneer 
at everything like American learning or literature. 

It was perhaps a kind providence, which, after the pub- 
lication of two volumes of the Retrospect, prevented the 
further prosecution of the plan, involving the delicate, 
difficult, and exciting subject of Politics, as well as the 
Subjects of Theology and Morals; and turned Mr. Miller's 
pen, for the rest of his life, in a direction more strictly 
professional. But the work certainly had the effect of 
adding to his reputation in the literary world. Among its 
more immediate fruits, were his reception from Union College, 
on the 4th, and the University of Pennsylvania on the 6th, 
of May, 1804, of the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and 
his unanimous election, on the 29th of June following, upon 
motion of Dr. Adam Clarke, the commentator, as a cor- 
responding member of the Philological Society of Man- 
chester, England. It was republished, in London, in three 
octavo volumes, with some corrections and additions by Dr. 
Miller himself, and some slight modifications by an English 
editor, in about eighteen months after its appearance in 
New York. Of the honorary degree Dr. Sprague says, 

2 5. Chinese Literature. General Observations. Chap. XV. Modern Lan- 
gaages. 1 1. English. 3 2. French. § 3. Italian. 3 4. German. } 5. 
Swedish. ^ 6. Russian. General Observations. Chap. XVI. Philosophy of 
Language. Chap. XVIL History. Chap. XVIII. Biography. Chap. XIX. 
Romances and Novels. Chap. XX. Poetry. | 1. Epic Poetry, g 2. Didaetio 
Poetry. 3 3. Moral and Devotional Poetry. | 4. Satirical Poetry. § 5. De- 
soripfive Poetry. § 6. Pastoral Poetry. § 7. Lyric Poetry. § 8. Elegiac 
Poetry, g 9. Drama. General Observations. American Poetry. General 
Reflections. Chap. XXI. Literary Journals. Chap. XXII. Political Jour- 
nals. Chap. XXIII. Literary and Scientific Associations. ^ American : (1) 
Societies and Academies of Arts and Sciences ; (2) Historical Society ; (8) 
Medical Societies ; (4) Agricultural Societies. General Observations. Chap. 
XXIV. Encyclopedias and Scientific Dictionaries. Chap. XXV. Education. 
Chap. XXVI. Nations lately become Literary, g 1. Russia, g 2. Germany. 
i S. United States of America. Recapitulation. Additional Notes. 


" He was honored with the Degree of Doctor of Divinity, 
from the University at which he was graduated, in the year 
1804. At that day it was uncommon, if not unprecedented, 
for a person so young to receive that honour; and he used 
8ometime?s, in sportively referring to it, to relate the following 
anecdote: — \ 

" He was travelling in New England with a clergyman who 
was well acquainted there, and they called, at the suggestion 
of the Doctor's travelling companion, to pay their respects to 
a venerable old minister, who lived somewhere on their route. 
The Doctor's friend introduced him as Dr. Miller, of New York ; 
and as the old gentleman knew that there was a distinguished 
medical practitioner of that name living there, and as he had 
not heard that the clergyman had been doctorated, and perhaps 
it had never even occurred to him that so young a man as he 
saw before him coiUd be, he took for granted that it was the 
medical doctor to whom he had been introduced; and, after a 
few minutes, wishing to accommodate his conversation to the taste 
and capabilities of the stranger as well as he could, he turned 
to him, and asked him whether he considered the yellow fever, 
which had then just been prevailing in New York, contagious. 
Before the Doctor had time to reply, his friend perceiving the 
old man's mistake, said, "This is not a medical doctor. Sir, but 
a Doctor of Divinity.** The venerable minister gathered him- 
self up, as if in a paroxysm of astonishment, and lifting up 
both hands, exclaimed, with a protracted emphasis Upon each 
word, "roi*don'</""* 

Lindley Murray, the Grammarian, residing at this time 
at Holdgate, near York, seems to have been in familiar 
correspondence with Dr. Miller, and to have taken a sin- 
cere interest in the success of his work. On the ' 30th of 
7th mo., 1804/ he writes, 

*In reading the Preface to the Retrospect, it occurred to me, 
that the author had expressed too much diffidence of his own 
abilities, and too great apprehension of the imperfections of the 
work. Modesty well becomes an author: but when he, who 
best knows the nature and merits of his production, and who 
may be supposed to have a natural partiality for it, speaks dis- 
respectfully of what he has produced, many persons will be 
disposed to admit his opinion, and spare themselves the trouble 
of reading the book ; and others will peruse it with little expec- 
tation, perhaps with unfavorable prepossessions. To make a 

1 3 Annals, 601. 

180 "rbteospect/' [ch. 12. 2. 

good impression, at the outset, is of consequence ; and therefore 
the author should appear to possess proper confidence in him- 
self, and a proper sense both of the importance and the execu- 
tion of his undertaking. I was the more struck with the apolo- 
gies of the Preface, because the execution of the design appeared 
to me to be at direct variance with them ; and because there 
was no necessity for them, if the merit of the publication had 
been problematical.' 

Here is a crabbed, patronizing letter from the well-to- 
do, indififerent English publisher, determined that the 
American adventurer in the field of letters should recog- 
nize his full obligation for the risk run in bringing a trans- 
atlantic author into notice. 

* Reverend Sir, London, April 8, 1805. 

* * For a considerable time I was in great doubt 
how to act. It immediately occurred, that a work embracing 
so much, and so long a period, and composed without the as- 
sistance in many cases, which a writer here would have, must 
frequently be defective and erroneous ; and that the best way 
would be to cut the work into parts, and divide it between a 
number of literary friends, giving to each the subject in which 
he was most conversant. What think you was the consequence ? 
Month after month passed away, and nothing done. I discovered 
what I should have thought of before — that we are alive only 
to our own whims. Thus disappointed, I determined to give -it 
to the press, under the direction of a general scholar, to correct 
whatever appeared erroneous. Nothing has been added, or 
scarcely anything ; you have not been made to say anything 
more, or give a different opinion ; but some passages have been 
struck out, which, if you had studied more, with better in- 
formation, would probably never have appeared. More of this 
mischievous work would have been done, if more leisure had 
offered. Had you written a work addressed to your own con- 
gregation or party, it might have passed ; but you have under- 
taken a history ; and the requisites of a historian will be ex- 
pected by the intelligent among your readers. They will look 
for a fair statement of facts and opinions to enable them to form 
a judgment, and not for oracular dogmatism : that men who have 
enlarged the boundaries of knowledge, and extended the sphere 
of mental improvement, should be treated with high respect, 
not disposed of in a line of censure. I wish every historian to 
imbue his mind with the spirit of Lardner. But enough and 
more than enough to seal my doom with you. 

* * * I forgot to say, that if I had read your pre- 


face, the first thing a man ought to read, I honestly confess 
that I should have been deterred from reprinting. 

*As to a compliment for sending immediately a copy to me, 
nothing can be said till its fate be known. 
<* * believe me, Rev'd Sir, 

* Your obliged and obedient servant, 

* J. Johnson.' 

Dr. Miller was no doubt by this time cured of the self- 
depreciative spirit of preface writing. What excited Mr. 
Johnson's ire as "oracular dogmatism" is explained by the 
following extract from his letter of August 14, 1805, sent 
with a copy of the English edition. 

'Please to receive a copy of your book in its English dress, 
lopped indeed of a few severities, which I trust you will not 
take amiss, and with some corrections. The time I hope is not 
very distant, when thinking men will be as liberal in America 
as in England ; and when it will not be necessary to embrace 
any set of opinions, in order to obtain the good will of the or- 

Dr. Edward Miller, while his brother was absent from 
home, on the 21st of September, 1806, wrote to Mrs. 

• Since my brother's departure, I have seen one of the British 
reviews, (Aikin's Annual Review,) from which he expected, on 
account of its religious principles and customary arrogance and 
intolerance, the most severe treatment. On the contrary he 
treats the Retrospect with great deference and distinction. He 
offers some criticisms, several of which are not unfounded, but 
always with civility and respect. And he concludes the review 
in the following manner : " But it were ungrateful to require 
perfection, where so much has been performed. It is flattering 
to Great Britain, that the celebrity of her authors should so 
soon cross the Atlantic ; and it is honorable to America that 
literary curiosity should be there so alert and so comprehensive. 
Mr. Miller has deserved well of both worlds." — Is not this 
pretty well for an American writer ?' 

16 , 




1. Miscellaneous Topics. 

The opening tears of the present century were prolific, 
in the United States, of grand schemes for the advance- 
ment of the Redeemer's kingdom, and of theological and 
ecclesiastical controversies. The country had rapidly re- 
covered from the physical prostration occasioned by the 
Revolutionary War ; and, especially since the adoption of 
the Federal Constitution, had made astonishing progress as 
to all its important material interests. With commerce, 
manufactures, and the arts in general, learning and reli- 
gion had commensurately advanced; and, national pros- 
perity assured, leading minds, on this side of the Atlantic, 
were busying themselves more and more with the great 
problems of social and religious improvement; while truth 
and faith found no excuse for slumber in any diminished 
activity on the part of error or superstition. The awaken- 
ing of a fresh zeal Hh the hearts of many for the prosecu- 
tion of gospel missions has been already noticed. Divinity 
schools for the United States had begun to engage serious 
attention. The Hopkinsian controversy was assuming new 
importance among Congregationalists and Presbyterians. 
Unitarianism was lifting i1^ head ominously in Boston and 
elsewhere. High Churchism, in its Anglican form, was 
preparing for a new and vigorous attack upon the distinctive 
doctrines of the Reformation. To all these subjects we 
find Dr. Miller alluding, from time to time, in his corre- 
spondence, from which some extracts will next be inserted. 

On the 9th of August, 1804, he writes to the Rev. 
Edward D. Griffin,^ 

1 Sec 4 Sprague's Annali, 26. 



*Most cordially do I reciprocate your wishes for a further 
and more intimate acquaintance. It has long been my desire ; 
and I hope a few months will bring with them better oppor- 
tunities of gratification, in this respect, than I have hitherto 
enjoyed. Little did I think, when you settled at Newark, that 
I should be, all this time, so slightly acquainted with a fellow 
presbyter, with whom I have so strong a disposition to "fra- 
ternize." We shall manage things better, I hope, in future.' 

In January, 1804, met, in the city of Philadelphia, the 
"Ninth American Convention for promoting the Abolition 
of Slavery, and improving the Condition of the African 
Race." To this convention "The New York Society for 
promoting the Manumission of Slaves" sent seven delegates, 
of whom Mr. Miller was one. 

About the issue of the duel between Hamilton and Burr, 
which was just then agitating the whole nation, he writes 
to the Rev. Eliphalet Nott,^ the 14th of August, 

*As the murder was not committed in our State, I have 
doubts, whether either the principal or either of the accessories 
could be seized under a charge of this sort, before the State of 
New Jersey has taken any steps to have the culprits brought 
to justice. And, as Governor Bloomfield Is Mr. Burr's partic- 
ular friend, and, I am told, vindicates his conduct, it is by no 
means likely, in my estimation, that Jersey will ever take any 
such steps at all. 

*My friend! I have no words at command to express my 
feelings on this subject. Will nothing put a stop to that wicked, 
unnatural, barbarous, infamous practice, which has been so 
long the disgrace of our country, and which has lately cut off 
the greatest man which it contained? I begin really to fear, 
that all our hopes &om human laws, on this subject, must be 
given up.* 

Of Burr Dr. Miller was accustomed to say, Such was 
his plausibility, that he might enter a room where there 
were a dozen gentlemen, who all believed, from the bottom 
of their hearts, that he was a vile scoundrel ; and yet, that 
from an hour*s interview, so great would be the power of 
the man, they would retire ready to shout, "Hurrah for 
Aaron Burr!" 

To Mr. Griffin he writes again., 

* Afterwards D.D. * 

184 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 13. 1. 

*New York, August 31, 1804. 
'Dear Brother, 

*I returned from Staten Island on Monday, fully expects 
ing the pleasure of your company the next morning; but I had 
been only a few mmutes in the house, when your letter was put 
into my hands. I trust it is not necessary to assure you, that I 
received it with pain, and that I hope you will take the earliest 
opportunity that occurs, of paying us a visit with Mrs. Griffin. 

* I find that the great body of the letters of Cpwper, lately pub- 
lished, are directed to Mr. JTewton and to Mr. TJnwin, Jr. ; and 
a very few to two or three other persons. They are excellent, 
but do not furnish so many additional incidents concerning the 
writer as I hoped to find. It is not yet certain whether they 
will be republished here. Do come and see them ; and we will 
lay our heads together more closely and leisurely, respecting 
the best means of gratifying your laudable curiosity to know 
more of our favorite poet.' 

It is very evident that the Collegiate Churches in New 
York were careful not to call any one, without his having 
made full proof before them of his ministry. They were 
not satisfied with the evidence of one Sabbath's preaching, 
but insisted upon a long trial of each candidate, if possible, 
as the following letter, of the 15th of October, to Dr. 
Green, shows. 

* This letter will be handed to you by * * Mr. , who 

has preached four times in our pulpits, and is highly acceptable 
to our people. Our church session had a meeting last evening, 
and, with great unanimity and cordiality, requested Dr. Rodgers 
to write to your presbytery, for the purpose of obtaining a por- 
tion of Mr. 's time, in the course of the ensuing winter. * * 

There appears to me a high probability, that our people will 
be prepared, in a short time, to give him a cordial and affec- 
tionate call to be one of our ministers. * * If he can come 
next week, or the week after, so much the better. As to the 
length of his stay here, I hope he will not think of less than 
ten or twelve Sabbaths. And, if he can reconcile it with his 
views to stay longer, pray urge it' 

To Dr. Green .again, on the 12th of November, Dr. 
Miller writes, 

* Much information, concerning the character and proceed- 
ings of Mr. H , had reached me before the receipt of your 

letter. I was early led to believe, that )ie intended to establish 
an Independent church in your city. And it has occurred to 


me as a very difficult question, how he ought to be treated by 
you and your Presbyterian brethren. My information respect- 
ing minute circumstances (often of great importance in these 
cases) is too scanty to enable me to form a decided opinion ; 
but, if I mistake not, the course of true policy is, to take him 
by the hand and treat him politely. If he should eventually 
decline in weight and reputation, you will have a new Presby- 
terian church established by his instrumentality; and, if it 
should prove otherwise, the course above mentioned will, I 
suspect, make such an impression on your own congregations, 
as greatly to diminish his power to do mischief. This deport- 
ment towards Mr. H appears to me to be best calculated, 

also, to counteract the delusive and mischievous system of lay- 
preaching. Unless I am deceived, you will be able to combat 
this system with more force and effect, while you are not sus- 
pected of bjeing on ill terms with its principal promoter. * * 

* Mr. H , from what I can learn, appears to be an Inde- 
pendent in principle. He certainly has a right to go to Phila- 
delphia, and (if he can get people to hear and support him) to 
stay there. What, therefore, would be a gross irregularity, 
and even a just ground of suspension or deposition, in me, oan 
scarcely be denominated an irregularity in him. It is easy to 
see that opposition to such a ma», in such circumstances, in the 
face of public sentiment, (even supposing this sentiment to be, 
by no means, unanimously embarked in his favor,) would be 
made under great disadvantages, and perhaps with impolicy. 
And whether there is any proper medium, in this and similar 
cases, between decisive opposition and decisive politeness, I 
much question. If, therefore, with my present views, I were a 
minister in Philadelphia, I believe I should open my pulpit to 

Mr. H , and studiously avoid every public testimony of 

disapprobation. Treated in this way, he will soon find his 
proper level, and attract no more attention than his character 
entitles him to receive. 

* Pardon my troubling you with these remarks. I have • 
thrown out what occurred to me, without ceremony, assured 
that, whether right or wrong, it will be candidly received. 

* Mrs. M. joins in respectful and affectionate regards to your- 
self and Mrs. Green, with, dear Sir, 

< Your sincere friend & brother, 

* Samuel Miller. 
'Dr. Green.' 

Toward the close of the year 1804, Dr. Miller was in- 
vited to edit the theological lectures of his honored precep- 
tor, Charles Nisbet, D.D., but felt obliged to decline the 


186 CORKESPONDENCB. [CH. 13. 2. 

nndertaking. He agreed, however, to prepare a sketch of 
Dr. Nisbet's life, to be prefixed to the work. Some ex- 
tracts from a letter on this subject, to Alexander Nisbet, 
Esquire, of Baltimore, will disclose the state of his health, 
and the heavy pressure of his engagements. It is dated 
the 25th of December. 

' I feel honored by that friendly preference which you and 
your family have given to me, in selecting an editor for the 
proposed publication; and it gives me great pain to think of 
declining the undertaking. But I am compelled to do so, 
without hesitation. My reasons are — 

' 1. The numerous and pressing avocations which necessarily 
belong to my professional duty in this place. These are so 
numerous and so oppressive, as to leave me, for weeks together, 
scarcely a single hour of leisure for literary pursuits. 

* 2. My health is feeble ; and it is with much df!fficulty that 
I read and write enough for my pulpit preparations, without 
injuring myself. I suffer so much from sedentary occupations, 
that it has become an essential point with me to curtail them 
as much as possible. 

' 3. My eyes are weak, and easily hurt by the perusal of 
obscure manuscripts and proof sheets. I have already suffered 
much from this source. 

* 4. The expense of printing is from ten to fifteen per cent, 
more in this city than in Philadelphia, and I presume that it is 
higher than in Baltimore. The price of the mechanical labor 
is higher, and the price of paper much more so. * * 

'Agreeably to your request, I have drawn up a short address 
to the public, intended to accompany the proposals. It is of 
great importance, that everything of this kind should be short 
and comprehensive. * * 

* While I decline myself to take the charge of conducting, 
the proposed publication, I should consider it indelicate in me 
to name another person. * * 

' You will see in the proposals a promise of a " Life and 
Character of the Author," to be prefixed to the publication. 
I am willing to undertake this, provided it will be agreeable 
to you, and provided you will, as soon as convenient, furnish 
me with such facts and dates, * * as will enable me to draw 
up a connected narrative.' 

2. Sermons on Suicide. 

In February, 1805, Dr. Miller preached two sermons on 
suicide, which, by request, were published shortly after- 


wards.^ The occasion of these discourses is thus stated in 
the former of the two by the author himself. 

" It is my design, from this passage, to offer some remarks on 
the crime of Suicide — a crime of the deepest dye — a crime 
which has become alarmingly frequent in our land, and in our 
city — a crime, therefore, against which it becomes those who 
would declare the whole counsel of God to bear public and 
solemn testimony." 

In a note he adds, 

" It is believed, that within three months immediately pre- 
ceding the delivery of these discourses, at least nine cases of 
suicide occurred in the city of New York. This number, in a 
city, the population of which does not exceed 70,000, must be 
considered as enormous and alarming." * 

In May, 1807, Dr. Miller received an anonymous letter 

from Boston, his answer to which was, by absence from 

home, ill health, and various pressing duties, delayed until 

the 9th of July. This correspondence will illustrate how 

• bread cast upon the waters may be found after many days. 

'Rev. Sir, * * I have no doubt it will give you pleasure to 
be informed, that you have been the means, through the bless- 
ing of God, of saving a miserable creature from perpetrating 
the horrid crime of suicide. * * My misfortunes were great; 
I have been reduced from a respectable standing in society to 
the most embarrassed circumstances ; and I supposed I had not 
the courage to live and see those connected with me suffer; in 
consequence of which I had determined to quit the world. 
Already were my last, parting communications to those who 
were dear to me finished ; the fatal implement of death was 
within my reach; and, just on the brink of eternity, by acci- 
dent, I took up a paper, published this day, containing an ex- 
tract from your excellent discourse on Suicide. Had you known 
every circumstance of my life, had you known my present sit- 
uation, you could not have made an address more applicable. 
It had its effect. Every sentence struck me to the heart. Yes 
— I assure you, had I perpetrated the crime I was about com- 
mitting, I should indeed have embittered the evening days of 
my beloved parents, and brought down their grey hairs with 

1 "Thft Guilt, Folly and Sources of Suicide: two Discourses preached in the 
City of New York, February, 1805. By Samuel Miller, D.D., One of the 
Pastors of the United Presbyterian Churches in said city. — Job ii. 9, 10. — 
8vo pp. 72. 

2 P. 13. 


188 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 13. 2. 

sorrow to the grave. I should have precipitated an amiable 
partner into the deepest affliction. I should have left my tender 
bab6s fatherless; and by my desertion, they would have been 
exposed to all the dangers of an unpitying world. I should 
have left brothers and sisters to share in the grief and disgrace 
of my unworthy conduct. I should have left some friends, I 
trust, who would have wept for me ; but, no doubt, would have 
found themselves wounded by my folly and sin. I should have 
tortured the bosom of sensibility. I should have defrauded my 
creditors. I should have plunged a friend in difficulty. In 
short, I have no conception what misery I should have inflicted 
on those I should have left behind. It appeared as if every 
sentence in the extract was intended for me. I paused — I re- 
flected — I threw the murdering instrument aside^ and deter- 
mined to live. I will still struggle through the -world; and, 
perhaps, may yet bless the propitious moment, that put the 
paper in my hand ; and may yet have the pleasure of personally 
thanking you. I have often had the pleasure of hearing you 
in public, and conversing with you in private circles.' * * 

A comparison of the foregoing letter with Dr. Miller's 
first discourse,^ will show that the acknowledgments of the' 
former took their mode of expression very much from the 
latter. He replied, 

*It would be difficult for me to describe the emotions which 
your letter excited. To be made the means of doing any good, 
however small, to any individual, would, I trust, always give 
me unfeigned pleasure. But to be made the instrument of so 
great a deliverance, to the head of a family, to one who stands 
in so many relations in society, did, indeed, fill me with joy in- _ 
describable. But I desire never to lose sight of the humbling 
truth, that, whenever we do good, it is only as instruments in 
the hand of infinite wisdom and benevolence. God can make 
the humblest and feeblest means effectual to the accomplish- 
ment of the most important ends. In this case, he has thought 
proper to employ a small production of mine for accomplishing 
a most mercifiil purpose. While my bosom swells with grati- 
tude at this gracious dispensation, I hope I shall always feel 
disposed to say. Not unto me, Lord, not unto me, but unto thy * 
name be all the praise ! 

* You say you have oflien heard me preach, and conversed 
with me in private. Though this general information affords 
me no clue to discover who you are, it is another circumstance 
which adds to my deep and tender interest in your welfare. It 

^ Particularly p. 24. 

' s 


would gratify me to take by the hand a man, to whom I am 
"bound by such a tie as this event has created ; but to think of 
our meeting, and spending a happy eternity together, in a bet- 
ter world, is a still more delightful and interesting thought. 
May we keep it in view ; and may it be gloriously realized ! 

* You discover a deep conviction, my dear unknown Friend, 
of the guilt of suicide, and of your own crime in having medi- 
tated such an awful deed. In this I rejoice. No language is 
strong enough to express the folly and the sinfulness of such 
a step ; and the morejust your views, the more shocking it will 
appear to you. But I feel anxious that you should have some- 
thing more than a deep conviction of the folly of that crime. It 
is my earnest desire that the dispensation may be sanctified to 
your spiritual and eternal welfare ; that it may be a means of 
convincing you, more than ever, of the unsatisfying nature of 
all earthly things ; and of leading you to that practical ac- 
quaintance with the blessed gospel, as a system of holy obedi- 
ence, and of divine consolation, which is the only genuine and 
adequate source of happiness to sinful mortals. 

*I know not, my dear Sir, what have heretofore been your 
views of religion, nor in what point of light you now consider 
the gospel of Christ. But viewing, as I do, all mankind as 
fallen and depraved creatures ; convinced as the Scriptures de- 
clare, that there is no salvation but through the atoning sacri- 
fice and perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ ; and 
assured that none (among those to whom the gospel is offered) 
can have an interest in its rich^ blessings, but those who un- 
feignedly repent of all sin, and cordially embrace the offered 
mercy, 1 cannot forbear recommending this gospel to you, as 
the only foundation of hope, and as the only source of happi- 
ness. Rest not satisfied, I beseech you, with deliverance from 
the despair into which you were plunged, and from the dreadful 
crime which you meditated. Consider yourself as no longer at 
liberty to love and pursue this deceitful world with the same 
ardor as before ; but as loudly called to seek a better portion ; 
to become acquainted with that God, who alone can give you 
real and continued peace ; and to dedicate yourself to him as 
your rightful and gracious sovereign. Perhaps you have 
already formed this happy resolution. Perhaps you are 
already enjoying the delightful consolations arising from such 
a choice. If this be the case, you will be so far from feeling 
displeasure at these suggestions, that you will consider it my 
duty to have made them. If this be the case, you will never 
regard it as unreasonable to recommend to you that Saviour, 
whose blood cleanseth from al^ sin, and whom to know aright ia 
life eternal. 

190 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 13. 3. 

'But if you are yet a stranger to the character of a real and 
practical Christian, let me entreat you now, while your mind 
IS humbled and softened by the happy dispensation which 
prompted you to address me, to begin the work of religion ; to 
make that blessed choice, without which you can have no hope. 
If you look for justification, before God, on any other ground 
than through faith in the atonement of Christ, you will be dis- 
appointed. If you have any other dependence than the right- 
eousness of Immanuel, it will assuredly fail you in the day of 
trial. But, if your trust and confidence be in him, you will 
never be put to shame. Excuse this freedom. You cannot 
suppose, that I mean to hurt your feelings ; as I have not even 
a conjecture who it is I am advising. 

* May you be enabled, my dear Sir, to make a due improvement 
of the great deliverance which you have experienced I May the 
divine^oodness, so remarkably^ manifested: lead you to sin^cere 
and evangelical repentance ! May the holy benediction of a 
gracious God rest upon you and your family I And may you 
have reason to say, not only now, but through eternity, that 
even the attempt to destroy yourself was made tQ work for your 

' I am, dear Sir, with every wish for your temporal and eternal 
welfare, Your sincere friend, 

'Samuel Miller.' 

About a week later, Dr. Miller received a second letter 
from his correspondent, disclosing his real name, and sta- 
ting that he was in prison for debt. There are no traces 
of any further correspondence, or of the subsequent career 
of the person in whose providential rescue from suicide it 

3. Episcopacy. — Theological Education. 

After the foregoing anticipation, to complete what re- 
lates to the discourses last noticed, the following extracts 
from Dr. Miller's correspondence and diary may restore us 
to the chronological order of events. Writing to Mr. Grif- 
fin, on the 11th of February, 1805, in regard to a call the 
latter had received from the Dutch Church of Albany, he 

'Another consideration most important is, that the Episco- 
palians of this city have lately begun to employ a language and 
act a part, which indicate a wish to get the mastery over every 
other denomination in the state, and particularly in the city ; 

1805.] EPISCOPACY. 191 

and their immense wealth will enable them to do much towards 
the accomplishment of their object. It appears to me, and to 
others, that, among the means to be employed for repelling 
these claims, and for maintaining the respectability of the non- 
Episcopal part of our state, it is of the utmost importance that 
the minister to be placed in the Dutch Church of Albany, 
should be a man both able and zealously disposed to cooperate 
in all just and liberal measures for this purpose.' 

Again, on the 7 th of March, he writes, 

* I thank you most cordially for your remarks on my " Ee- 
trospect." It is somewhat curious, that I entirely agree with 
you in almost every one of them. Is the critic or writer en- 
titled to most credit for this? I must again thank you for 
your two sheets. They contain a number of very valuable 
remarks ; and, if my book should ever reach a second edition, 
(which, alas I is not very likely at present,) I shall profit much 
by your communication. I make this acknowledgment as 
candidly as you have made your remarks. 

* Three weeks ago, I rather leaned to the opinion that you 
ought to accept the Albany call. I confess this opinion is 
now somewhat shaken. I find it is the judgment of some 
judicious persons, that your sentiments about the sealing ordi- 
nances would probably tend to diminish your comfort there; 
and I am not without my suspicions that your Hopkinsian 
sentiments generally may be considered as an ofi^ence against 
the Dutch Church ! I I throw out these things rather as hints 
for cogitation than as advice. If I were in your situation, I 
should be much at a loss ; but it appears to me that I should 
rather incline to avoid a more northern exposure. * * 

* I inclose the prospectus of a new magazine. The members 
of our clerical association are to be the editors. As you have 
pledged yourself to patronize the Assembly's Magazine, we 
cannot expect you to do much for this. But perhaps you can 
get some clerical subscribers in your part of New Jersey. I 
mention clerical subscribers more particularly, because the 
work wiU probably contain much discussion on the Epicopal 
controversy and other subjects specially interesting to clergy- 

In a letter to Dr. Green, of the 12th of March, 1805, 
Dr. Miller speaks of the Episcopalians of New York City 
and State as having grown rapidly within two years, not 
so much in numbers, as in their arrogant claims and high- 
church principles, 

* Within the last year,' he says, ' they have made many pub- 

192 COREESPONDENCE. [CH. 13. 3. 

lications, in the form of sermons, tracts, and much larger 
works, in which the high-toned doctrines of Laud and his suc- 
cessors in opinion are exhibited, and most strenuously contended 
for. We, at first, thought that the state of public opinion was 
so utterly repugnant to these principles, that our true policy 
was to treat all their exertions with silent contempt. But 
things have lately occurred of so flagrant and offensive a 
nature, that we have determined, at length, to defend our 
Presbyterian opinions, and to put our people on their guard. 
* * it has been judged best, after mature deliberation, to 
establish a magazine, as a vehicle for conveying to the public 
what we may choose to write on this subject. As the Episcopa- 
lians have already a magazine, which they employ as an engine 
to promote their views ; and as controversial pieces will, per- 
haps, be least likely to give offence, or excite alarm, in this 
form, (being mixed up with much practical matter,) it is pro- 
bably the most eligible plan on which to engage our adversa- 

In the same letter he adds, 

* I have long thought of addressing you on a suject, which 
.appears to me most intimately connected with the interests of 
religion generally, and of our church in particular. We have, 
if I do not mistake, a melancholy prospect, indeed, with re- 
spect to a supply of ministers for our churches. Cannot the 
General Assembly, at their next sessions, commence some plan 
of operation for supplying this deficiency ? I know that there 
are difliculties to contend with — ^prejudices, narrow views, want 
of money, etc., etc. But it is of the utmost importance that 
something decisive should be done. Am I not right in sup- 
posing, that, at least, two hundred more ministers might, at 
this moment, be advantageously employed, within t£e bounds 
of the General Assembly ; and that near half that number are 
imperiously demanded? It appears to me, that we ought, 
forthwith, either to establish a new theological school, in some 
central part of our bounds ; or direct more of our attention to 
extend the plan and increase the energy of the Princeton 
establishment. On the latter part of the alternative many 
doubts occur to me ; and, with respect to the former, I know 
difficulties of the most formidable kind will arise. I can think 
of no person in the United States, who has so good information 
of the state of the Presbyterian Church as yourself, or who is 
so capable of devising and putting in motion the plan best 
adapted to our situation. I hope, therefore, you will devote 
your leisure time between this and the meeting of the Assem- 
bly to the consideration of the subject, and the preparation of 
some plan to be acted upon by them.' 



In a letter, dated the 12th of April, 1805, to Dr. Nott, 
just made President of Union College, and accompanying 
some copies of his discourses on suicide. Dr. Miller re- 
marks, ' I wish to do as much good as possible ; and doing 
good to the young has always appeared to me as, humanly 
speaking, doing it on the largest scale.' 

To Dr. Morse, the 13th of April, 1806, Mr. Miller 

* I am gratified, my deair Sir, to hear of the tioble stand 
which you have lately made against the public sanction given 
to heterodoxy by the choice of professor of Divinity in Har- 
vard College. For this intrepid faithfulness you are entitled 
to the thanks of all the friends of piety in the United States. 
I feel myself under obligations to you for it.' 

The following is from Mr. Miller's Diary: — 

* May 12, 1805. A very interesting event has occurred to 
my beloved wife. About two years and a half since, she 
united with the church, in the hope that she had given herself 
to the King and Lord of the Church. She now thinks that 
she was then deceived with a false hope, and that she never 
has, until this time, had genuine discoveries of herself and of 
Christ, and enjoyed a "good hope through grace." There 
seems to be some reason to believe that it is even so. She now 
appears to have clear views and a firm hope. A sermon 
preached in the Wall street church, by Dr. Nott, seems to have 
been specially blessed to her ; and the weekly lectures of our 
excellent friend. Dr. Abeel, have also been sensibly useful. 
Oh, how important to be resting on a firm gospel foundation !' 

Mr. Griffin was a member of the Assembly of 1805, 
which convened in Philadelphia on the 16th of May. In 
a letter of the 13th, Dr. Miller says to him, 

* I wish you to have a full and free conversation with Dr. 
Green, our mutual and highly esteemed friend, on two im- 
portant subjects : — 

a. The ambitious designs and artful proceedings of our 
Episcopal brethren. Since I saw you, I have received increas- 
ing conviction, that they are takmg unwearied pains, upon a 
large scale, to disseminate their high church doctrines much 
beyond the bounds of this city and state. Every minister of 
the Presbyterian Church ought to be apprized of their designs, 
and to be particularly arpied on the subject of Church Govern- 
ment, and the history of Presbyterian and Episcopal ordination. 

' II. The great scarcity of ministers, and the indispensable 

194 COSRESPONDBNCE. [CH. 13. 3. 

necessity of adopting speedy and vigorous measiires for increas- 
ing their number. I consider our prospect on this score melaa- 
choly and alarming. If we go on, according to our present 
system of measures, I do not believe that the funds of the As- 
sembly will be prepared for any effective plan in less than ten 
or fifteen years ; and to wait so long without doing anything, 
it appears to me would be madness. It is probable that little 
can be done at this Assembly farther than to digest and begin a 
vigorous system of measures. And for this purpose, every 
member of the Assembly ought to 'have a fire Kindled in his 
mind, that should not cease to burn till the purpose shall be 

*I throw out these hints: make such use of them as you 
please. But, at all events, embrace Dr. Green for me, and give 
him my cordial love. 

* The great Head of the Church bless you, my Brother, and, 
wherever you are, make you useful and happy! 
* Ever affectionately yours, 

*Sam'l Miller.' 

In a letter of May 13, 1805, to Dr. Green, he recurs to 
the subjects of Episcopalian aggressions and theological 

He says, ^ they are printing, and distributing through the 
United States, very large editions of books, both polemic 
and practical, replete with high church doctrines.' The 
advocates of these doctrines he represents as employing 
every method, * both in public and private, to impress upon 
the minds of the people a belief of the invalidity of all 
ministrations, excepting those of men who are episcopally 

'Ought not,' he asks, 'every Presbyterian minister in the 
United States, to be apprized of these designs and exertions ? 
And ought not the subject of church government generally, 
and especially the controversy respecting Presbyterian ordina- 
tion, to be more attended to and better understood, than it 
commonly is among our brethren. I throw out the foregoing 
remarks for your consideration. * * 

'I cannot help again mentioning my anxiety about the 
scarcity of ministers in our connexion. It appears to me, that 
to wait for that slow increase of the Assembly's funds, which 
may be expected in consequence of any measures heretofore 
adopted, ought not to satisfy us. I cannot help thinking that 
measures more speedy and vigorous ought to be contemplated. 
Besides all the ministers wanted in the middle and Atlantic 


1805.] THEOLOaiCAL EDUCATION. . 195 

country, a few of talents and piety might, probably, extend the 
Presbyterian Church in the Southern and Western regions, to 
a degree of which none but those who have travelled in those 
regions can have any adequate idea. I feel anxious on this 
subject — perhaps too anxious. If anything can be done, I 
know of no individual either likely or able to do a tenth part 
so much as yourself in this very interesting matter/ 

In accordance with Dr. Miller's reiterated suggestion, 
Dr. Green, though not a member of the General Assembly 
of lS05, sent in an overture to that body, which was spread 
at large upon the minutes,^ laid over for consideration at 
the next meeting, and recommended to the particular atten- 
tion, meanwhile, of the Presbyteries.' This overture repre- 
sented the need of ministers as urgent and increasing; 
advised that measures should be taken to remove existing 
discouragements to entering the ministry ; and proposed 
that the Presbyteries should be enjoined severally to select 
and train up suitable young men, within their bounds, for 
the sacred office. Dr. Green says, there was thus "origin- 
ated a system of measures in the General Assembly which 
were continued for several successive years.*' Then — evi- 
dently forgetting Dr. Miller's letter of the 12th of March, 
already given, and his letters of the 10th and 14th of May, 
1808, written, respectively, nine and five days before the 
Assembly met, and to be found on a subsequent page — he 
adds, " Still npthing was said about a theological seminary 
till some time afterward, when Dr. Alexander, after he had 
been Moderator of the General Assembly in 1807, men- 
tioned it in the opening sermon of the following year." ^ 

The biographer of Dr. Alexander gives the following 
^passage from the sermon of the latter at Dr. Miller's 
funeral : — 

**It may be remarked, that no man in the Church had 
been more zealous and active in founding this Institution, 
than Dr. Miller. He and Dr. Green may more properly 
be considered its founders than any other persons. Others 
aided by their counsels and occasional exertions, but these 
two devoted themselves with untiring zeal to the prosecution 
of the object, and had the pleasure of seeing their exertions 
crowned with success. At this time, Dr. Miller, so far as 

I p. 341, etc. 

s Life of Dr. Green, 332, etc. 

196 COBRESPONDBNCE. [CH. 13. 3. 

I know, was not thought of as a professor; and I am per- 
suaded the thought was entirely foreign from his own mind."^ 
In October 1805, the Presbytery of New York, appointed 
a standing committee of five ministers and five elders, to 
attend to the recommendation of the Assembly (really of 
Dr. Green's overture) as to the education of candidates for 
the ministry. Dr. Miller was the second named of this 
committee, and he and Mr. Griffin were directed to draft 
an address to the churches, to pious parents, and to pious 
youth, upon the subject. This address was reported the 
next day and adopted; it was resolved that three hundred 
copies of it should he printed ; the pastors were recom- 
mended to read it from the pulpit ; and subscription papers 
for an education fund were ordered to be prepared and 
distributed. A quotation of a few lines will show how 
alarming, to the minds of some persons, the destitution of 
ministers had become. 

" While the population of our country has been rapidly ex- 
tending; while new settlements have been forming; and new 
churches in quick succession rising to view; the increase in the 
number of ministers has been slow, and altogether incommen- 
surate with the increasing demand for their services. This 
deficiency has become serious and alarming. Important con- 
gregations, which have long enjoyed the ministrations of the 
gospel, when they become vacant, are, with the utmost diffi- 
culty, supplied with pastors. Large districts, within the bounds 

1 Life of Dr. Alexander, 680. 681. ^ 

The Associate Reformed Churcli had the honour of establishing the first 
Protestant Theological Seminary on this side of the Atlantic. John M. Ma- 
son, B.D., seems to have had more to do than any other man with its estab- 
lishment. As early as 1796, he presented an overture to Synod, which resulted 
in the creation of a synodical fund, one object of which was to assist "pious 
youth, who, from poverty, could not comfortably and successfully pursue their 
studies ; and the establishment of a Professorship of Theology for the instruc- 
tion of such as designed the Holy Ministry." At the meeting of Synod five 
years later, ip. 1801, the question of the increase of the ministry, and of the erec- 
tion of a Theological Seminary, was referred to a committee; and, upon their 
report, Dr. Mason was sent to Great Britain, *'to procure a number of minis- 
ters and probationers, and, more especially, to solicit donations in money and 
books" for the proposed Seminary. The latter he made his principal object, 
and collected about $6000. In 1804, he was appointed Professor of Theology, 
and upon the first Monday of November, 1806, the regular exercises of the 
institution commenced in the City of New York. " In 1809, the Rev. James 
M. Mathews, D.D., was chosen Assistant Professor of Biblical Literature and 
Church History. He continued in the office until 1818. Dr. Mason labored as 
the principal Professor, without interruption, (except during one session when 
absent in Europe on account of his health,) from 1806 until 1821, when the 
loss of his health, which for several years had been declining, compelled him 
to resign." — Hist, of the Seminary, (1840,) P, 8. — v 



of old settlements, in which churches might easily be planted, 
and where ministers would meet with a cordial welcome, are 
lying waste for want of their labors ; and more than one 
thousand congregations, on the extensive frontier of the United 
States, as well informed persons have asserted, are able and 
willing to support spiritual teachers, but cry for them in vain.' ^ 

4. Valetudinarianism. — Miscellaneous Topics. 

Dr. Miller's health began to fail him again in the spring 
of 1805. His * Record of Preaching' shows that, from the 
last of April onward, he had frequent help in the pulpit, 
and during a large part of June was absent in Philadelphia 
and Princeton, and able to preach but little. Early in 
September, the yellow fever renewed its ravages in New 
York. In his feeble condition, Sind with so little prospect 
of strength for active labor, it would have been madness 
for him to have exposed himself; and, in an extremity, he 
accepted Mr. Griffin's kind invitation to his house in New- 
ark, and thither removed his family. On the 11th he 
writes to Alexander Nisbet, Esquire, 

'And to crown all, ever since my return from Philadelphia, 
I have been in such bad health, that I have hardly had strength 
or spirits, for a week together, to perform any professional duty. 
I have not been able to preach for three Sabbaths past ; and, 
for five or six Sabbaths before, was not fit to be in the pulpit. 
* * Being now on the eve of departure from the city, 
(which is fast evacuating on account of pestilence,) I embrace 
the opportunity of dropping you a hasty line.' 

On the same day, he writes to Mr. Griffin, 

* You may expect us at your house to-morrow in the forenoon, 
with the leave of Providence ; but whether to spend our exile 
with you or not, is still undetermined. After every exertion, 
we have not been able to get such a servant woman as we 
thought could be relied on. * * 

*The continuance of my indisposition, and the feeble state of 
my health generally, demand immediate attention. It is there- 
fore my purpose, after disposing of my family in a comfortable 
manner, to spend a considerable portion of my exile in riding 
on horseback, and visiting some parts of New Jersey which I 
have not yet seen. This will probably render several little 
journies, of four, five, or six days each, necessary for me. * * 

'In this situation, my dear Brother, we resort to you. The 
p. 4. 


198 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 13. 4, 

only reluctance we have felt, in accepting your fiaternal offer, 
has arisen from a fear that Mrs. Griffin's health might suffer 
from an addition to the number and noise of her family. The 
difficulty about another servant woman, I am in hopes of being 
able to obviate after getting to Newark. If this should prove 
impossible, I should consider myself as doing an injury to Mrs. 
Griffin's health, not to insist on seeking other quarters. But, 
if this difficulty can be removed ; if you will consent to treat 
us without ceremony ; and without making the least alteration 
in your ordinary family arrangements ; if you will suffer us to 
consider ourselves at home from the first moment we enter your 
house ; and if you will (as I would be done unto in similar cir- 
cumstances) consent to receive a just pecuniary compensation 
for all the additional trouble and expense we may give you, we 
shall consider ourselves greatly and lastingly obliged.' 

Dr. Miller fulfilled his purpose of spending a considera* 
ble portion of his exile in riding on horseback over some 
parts of New Jersey. He did^not return to New York un- 
til near the end of October. 

Shortly after his return, Dr. Milledoler was added to the 
number of the collegiate Presbyterian pastors. Dr. Mil- 
leij, in his Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers, says, 

" The ministrations requisite for carrying on the stated ser- 
vice of three churches becoming, every day, from the natural 
increase of the city, more extensive, multiplied, and laborious, 
it was judged expedient to call a fourth minister. Accordingly, 
after the usual preliminary steps, the congregations were con- 
vened, in joint meeting, on the 5th day of August, 1805, when 
they unanimously made choice of the reverend Doctor Philip 
MiUedoleT, then pastor of the Third Presbyterian church in the 
city of Philadelphia^ to be one of their collegiate pastors ; with a 
view, however, to his taking the church in Rutgers-^ireiet under 
his more particular care, and being considered, if a separation 
of the churches should ever take place, as its sole pastor. The 
call for Dr. Milledoler was regularly prosecuted before the 
Presbytery of Philadelphia; and he, having accepted it, was 
installed, in the church in i^it^^ers-street, on the 19fch of No- 
vember following,"* Dr. Miller preaching upon the occasion. 

The new pastor proved very efficient and successful; 
and in less than seven years, the church of which he had 
taken particular charge, though small and feeble at the 
time when he was called, grew to be the largest of its de- 
nomination in the United States, numbering between five 
and six hundred members. 

p. 269, etc. 


In 1805, Dr. Miller, associated with Dr. J. M. Mason, 
Dr. Abeel, and Mr. McLeod, took part in establishing a 
select grammar school, of a superior kind, in New York. 
** We designed it,*' said Dr. I^ason, "as an experiment to- 
wards the melioration of our system of preliminary educa- 
tion, and it succeeds admirably. There is not a rude or 
idle boy in it. Two of us visit it monthly, and not only 
mark their progress, but their manners, and blame or praise, 
reward or disgrace, according to the evidence of a public 
ledger, on which every day's deportment and diligence are 
marked.'*^ s 

To Dr. Nott Dr. Miller wrote, 

'Kev'd and dear Sir, New York, January 22, 1806.* 

'The object of this letter is to call your attention to the 
literary and theological merit of our friend, Mr. Griffin, of 
Newark, and to ask whether a doctorate might not be procured 
for him, from Union College, at the next annual commence- 

* I would be understood, my dear Sir, as making this sug- 
gestion with all that caution and humility which the nature of 
the subject requires. I am sensible how often those who pre- 
side over literary institutions are pestered by officious meddlers 
like myself; and how often justice, or policy, or prudence re- 
quires, that their applications be rejected. Aud if, in the case 
proposed, you should think the honor unmerited, or should con- 
sider it as difficult to be obtained, be pleased to bum this letter, 
and think no more of its contents : in which case, much as I 
love Mr. Griffin, and highly as I respect both his literary and 
religious character, I shall silently and most respectfully ac- 
quiesce. But, if you think that any thing ought to be done, 
and can be done, towards decorating him with the. proposed 
honor, I shal^ feel cordially gratified and personally obliged. 

' I am rejoiced to hear that Union College flourishes under 
your Presidency. May your most sanguine expectations be 
more than equalled ; and may the richest of heaven's blessings 
rest on you, and on your labors in behalf of learning and piety I 

*I am, Rev'd and dear Sir, 
* With much respect, 
'Your cordial friend and servant, 
'Samuel Miller.' 

Mr. Griffin did not get his doctorate ' at the next annual 
commencement,' but it was given to him in August, 1808 
— two years later. 

^ Memoirs of Dr. MasoD, 241, 2. 

200 GOBBESPONDBNCE. [CH. 13. 5. 

On the 8d of February, 1806, we find Dr. Miller, in his 
correspondence, mentioning his very bad health ever since 
the previous May, which had rendered it extremely difficult 
for him to pursue his ordinary avocations. But he was now 
decidedly convalescent, and well was it that he had par- 
tially recovered strength; for, on the 28th of the same 
month, he tells Mr. Griffin, that he is performing, as far as 
possible, in addition to his own duties, those of Dr. Mc- 
Knight, who, on account of sickness, has preached once 
only within six weeks. He adds, 

*We are all in good health, except myself, who am yet in- 
firm and frequently complaining — ^very liable to take cold, and 
under the necessity of exercising habitual caution. We call 
our little boy Edward Millington. The first name is borne by 
my brother in this city, and by several very dear friends.^ The 

second was the maiden name of my mother. Without any coni- 
pliment to the living, I will venture to say, that if he should pos- 
sess half the sweetness and half the grace of that glorified saint, 
whose name I can never pronounce but with the mingled emo- 
tions of veneration, gratitude and love, he will be an honor to 
his parents and useful to the world. 

* We do not propose to remove into our new house ujjtil about 
the middle of April — -just time enough to receive you and yours 
comfortably at Fresbytery.' 

The addition of Dr. McKnight's duties to his own does 
not seem to have been attempted with impunity ; for, from 
the middle of March to the middle or end of June, we find 
Dr. Miller again sufiering from ill health, and able to 
preach very little. 

The 'new house' was one which Dr. Miller was having 
built for himself in Dey street — ^No. 27 ; and which, ac- 
cording to contract, was to have been completed by the 
first of the previous November, * provided there was no fever 
to stop the workmen.' But two months of pestilence had 
given license for three times as long a delay. 

5. Theological Education. 

In 1801 and 1803, Dr. Miller had been commissioned to 
the General Assembly. He was again a commissioner in 
1806, and was chosen moderator. He no doubt took as 
active a part as the presiding officer could properly, in re- 

^ Mr. Griffin himself among the rest. 


commending the substantial adoption of the plans of Dr. 
Green's overture of the preceding year, which now came up 
for discussion. Most of the Presbyteries reported, that 
they had seriously considered, and that they highly ap- 
proved, those plans. The minute finally adopted, as not 
too stringent, yet determined by "a most gloomy pros- 
pect" as to the supply of ministers, concludes as follows: — 

" — ^the Assembly do hereby most earnestly recommwid to 
every Presbytery under their care to use their utmost en- 
deavors to increase, by all suitable means in their power, the 
number of promising candidates for the holy ministry : to press 
it upon the parelits of pious youth, to endeavor to educate them 
for the Church ; and on the youth themselves, to devote their 
talents and their lives to the sacred calling ; to make vigorous 
exertions to raise funds to assist all the youth who may need 
assistance ; to be careful that the youth they take on their fiinds 
give such evidence as the nature of the case admits, that they 
possess both talents and piety ; to inspect the education of these 
youth, during the course of both their academical and theologi- 
cal studies, choosing for them such schools, seminaries, and 
teachers, as they may judge most proper and advantageous ; so 
as eventually to bring them into the ministry, well fiimished 
for their work. And the Assembly * * do hereby order, that 
every Presbytery under their care make annually a report to 
the Assembly, stating particularly what they have done in this 
concern, or why (if the case so shall be) they have done 
nothing in it ; and the Assembly will, when these reports are 
received, consider each distinctly, and decide by vote, whether 
the Presbyteries severally shall be considered as having dis- 
charged or neglected their duty in this important business."^ 

Prior to the establishment of the Theological Seminary 
at Princeton, ' in 1812, the Presbyterian Church in this 
country was indebted to individual and sectional efforts for 
the training of a learned and pious ministry. The "Log 
College," at Neshaminy, established, soon after the year 
1728, by the Rev. William Tennent, sen., was, for its hum- 
ble pretensions, singularly blessed in carrying on this work. 
After the Church was divided, in 1741, the "New Side" 
soon established the College of New Jersey, with particular 
reference to the education of ministers; while the "Old 
Side" patronized the academies at New London, Pennsyl- 
vania, and Newark, Delaware, and the College and Academy 

1 Pp. 366, etc. 

202 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 13. 5. 

of Philadelphia, afterwards the University of Pennsylva- 
nia. The efforts made by the College of New Jersey in 
behalf of a theological, in addition to a classical education, 
seem to have been stimulated afresh by Dr. Green's ovei*- 
ture; for the faculty, through Dr. Smith, the President, 
issued a communication on the subject, which was read to 
the General Assembly of 1806. A few lines from this will 
show what that 'Princeton establishment * was to which Dr. 
Miller had referred, distrustfully, in his letter of the 12tli 
of March, 1805, to Dr. Green. Says Dr. Smith, 

"The College of New Jersey was originally founded with a 
particular view to promote the interests of religion, as well as 
learning, by training up men of pie^ and talents for the min- 
istry of the gospel. The Trustees of the institution have ever 
been attentive to this great object, and have made the most 
generous provision for the support of theological students. * * 

"All persons who are actually engaged in the study of The- 
ology, at whatever institution they may have received the pre- 
liminary parts of their education, may, on producing proper 
testimonials of their character, pursue their further studies 
here, at the moderate charge of one dollar a week for board, 
and enjoy the assistance of the President and Professor of 
Theology, without any fee for instruction. This Professor gives 
lectures to the theological students twice in the week ; and, at 
each succeeding meeting, examines them strictly on the subject 
of the preceding lecture. His course of lectures embrace 
Divinity, Ecclesiastical History, Church Government, Christian 
and Jewish Antiquities, and the duties of the pastoral office. 
He instructs those who desire it in the Hebrew language, so 
useful and almost indispensable to a good divine. 

"At every meeting, one or more of his pupils submits to his 
criticisms and remarks an essay or sermon on a subject previ- 
ously assigned. The Professor, together with the President of 
the College, holds a Theological Society once in the week, for 
the discussion of important questions mimediately relative to 
the science of divinity. 

"The emulation and encouragement communicated by a 
variety of fellow students, the opportunity of cultivating any 
branch of science, and an access at all times to a large and 
well selected Theological Library, are other advantages of no 
small consequence."^ 

On the 31st of May, having just returned with his 

^ Minutes of the Gen. Assembly, pp. 362, 3. 


family from Philadelphia, after the meeting of the General 
Assembly, Dr. Miller wrote to Mr. Griffin, 

* You have probably been informed, that the overture re- 
specting the education of young men for the ministry was acted 
upon and carried nem. eon. As many as eight or nine Presby- 
teries have already begun to act ; and it is hoped that the greater 
part of those within our bounds will begin soon.' 

6. Miscellaneous Topics. 

To Dr. Nott, on the 17th of July, 1806, Dr. Miller 

' Mr. & Mrs. McKesson have mentioned, since their return, 
that you intend to visit this city toward the last of this month. 
Is it so? — or do they mistake? It is not necessary, I trust, to 
add, that to find them correct would give us very great plea- 
sure. When you come to New York, (let it be when it may,) 
come directly to my house, and regard it as your permanent 
home. I have no notion of your wandering geniuses, who have 
no fixed place of lodging, when they visit a distant city. Such 
a practice is contrary to the fitness of things, and leads to mul- 
tiplied mischiefs. * * 

* P. S. How is your health now ? Do you take exercise 
enough, and dissipate sufficiently ? I hope you have not for- 
gotten my numerous exhortations on these points.' 

The facilities enjoyed for a trip from New York to 
Albany, in 1806, may be understood from the following 
passage in a letter from Dr. Miller to Mr. Griffin, dated 
the 9th of August. 

' I find there are three vessels going on Monday next. At 
least I find three, the captains of which asmre me they 
will certainly sail on that day. One proposes to sail at 10 
o'clock A. M.; a second at 4 P. M.; and a third at 8 or 9 
P. M. The first and third of these I think are the best sloops ; 
but any one of them, in my opinion, would do extremely well. 
I shall therefore expect you and Mrs. Grifi^ with Louisa, on 
Monday morning, to remain at our house, until you shall be 
ready to go on board, and to make yourself contented until that 
time shall arrive. For it is very possible, though I have done 
all that can be done, that it may be sometime on Tuesday be- 
fore either of the above mentioned vessels may actually sail. 
You are sensible that, in all naval enterprizes, much depends, 
in spite of every efibrt to be punctual, on wind and tide.' 

From the middle of March, 1806, throughout the spring. 

204 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 13. 6. 

summer, and opening autamn, so mucli enfeebled was Dr. 
Miller's health, that his pastoral labors were frequently 
and seriously interrupted. Within twelve weeks from the 
date first mentioned, he was able to preach but three times. 
On the 4th of September, he writes to Mr. Nisbet, ' I pro- 
pose to set out on a journey of four or five weeks on 
Monday next. The principal object of this journey is to 
lay in a good stock of health against the winter.' We find 
him accordingly travelling, for even a little longer time 
than he. had mentioned, in New England and the State of 
New York, with evident benefit. 

He spent successive Sabbaths at Litchfield, Connecticut, 
Brattleboro', Vermont, Dartmouth College and Walpole, 
New Hampshire, Troy and Harlem, New York. Mrs. 
Miller and the children had gone in the opposite direction, 
and were whiling away the time at Mr. Griffin's in New- 
ark, at Judge Kirkpatrick's in New Brunswick, and among 
their relatives in Philadelphia, successively. From New- 
ark, the 11th of September, she wrote to her husband, 

* Mr. Griffin was well enough to come down stairs on Mon- 
day evening, and has been pretty well ever since, not complain- 
ing more, I think, than is usual for those of his calling : it 
would be quite unclerical, you know, to be very well. I hope, 
however, my dear Samuel, to find you unfashionable enough, 
for some time afler your return, to use this term in perfect 

From New Brunswick she wrote, on the 19th, 

'Our children are delighted with their present situation: 
they have become so absorbed in the little girls, their tables, 
and chairs, and other toys, as to care comparatively little for 
their mother. They ha've cessation of amusement enough, 
sometimes to inquire for their father, and wonder when he will 
return: I believe they will be highly delighted to see you. 
Edward has grown fatter, I think, since we left the city ; and 
Bessy is certainly much better : her cheeks have acquired more 
rotundity, and a brighter hue. Margaret is the admiration of 
all persons of genuine taste, and is considered a perfect beauty. 
We met, at Woodbridge, Mrs. Rush and Mrs. Stockton, with 
their respective daughters: they exclaimed most vehemently 
at her beauty, and I was in hopes would have frightened her 
so much, as to prevent a worse effect from extreme praise ; but 
the little gipsy understood the matter perfectly well, and was 


very desirous of meeting with them again on our journey ; and 
J, really, was somewhat pleased myself with the effect her 
appearance had produced. How shall we avoid being l^d into 
the general infatuation on these occasions ? 

'Mrs. Kirkpatrick and the Judge are as kind and attentive 
as ever. Their children are certainly better than children in 
general, and agree perfectly well with ours.' 

Dr. Miller was again, in 1807, a Commissioner to the 
General Assembly, appointed, according to custom, as the 
moderator of the previous year, who always opens the 
next Assembly with a sermon. He preached from Philip- 
pians iii. 8: '^Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but 
loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus 
my Lord." 





1. History of the Controversy. 

Dr. Miller had hitherto been a voluntary, toilsome 
worker for the press, at the prompting, too much, of schol- 
arly taste, and of surrounding social influences. Neverthe- 
less, his labors had evidently, in God's providence, been 
overruled to prepare him, as to habits of study, style of 
writing, the courtesies- of literature, reputation and influ- 
ence, for subsequent more strictly professional and more 
important undertakings. He had scarcely thrown off the 
Retrospect, and relapsed, perhaps, into the fever of his- 
torical research, when he was restored, by Providential cir- 
cumstances, to a proper theological diathesis. We have 
already found his letters recurring, frequently, to the sub- 
ject of Episcopal aggressions. It is time to show that his 
representations and apprehensions upon this point were 
not groundless ; and the leaves just now opening before us 
exhibit an important crisis in his history ; a coloring which 
more or less marked the whole of his subsequent life. 

The prevailing spirit of the Episcopal Church, in this 
country, has always been a spirit of arrogant pretension 
and exclusiveness. During our colonial existence, the es- 
tablishment of religion in England was extended to some 
of the colonies with more or less rigor ; and, in all of them 
where it existed. Episcopacy claimed peculiar pre^'minence 
as the state religion of the mother country. Its influence, 
during our Revolutionary struggle, was cast, predominantly, 
in favor of England ; its connexion with the English Church 
being generally thought too important an advantage to be 


lightly severed. When, however, the colonies became in- 
dependent, Episcopacy had in reserve still other grounds, 
on which to demand that its communion should be recog- 
nized as the Church, and all other bodies of Christians stig- 
matized as dissenters and schismatics. It now gave new 
prominence to the claim, long before advanced, of an ex- 
clusive apostolical succession ; and while acquiescing in the 
results of the Revolution ; nay, joining in the general ac- 
clamation of victory, yielded nothing of its own lordly as- 
sumptions* Still, the effect of our independence was, for 
a time, naturally enough, to depress the Episcopal Church. 
By her substantial adherence to the mother country, in our 
great struggle, she had lost prestige ; and about a whole 
gem^ration passed, before she recovered in either character 
or influence. 

The chief opponents of Episcopacy in the colonies had 
been the Presbyterians ; whose opposition, moreover, had 
been so persistent, and, in many respects, so successful, as 
to widen, lastingly, the distance in feeling between the two 
denominations. Until after the Revolution, all the efforts 
of the Episcopal Church in this country, to secure an 
American Episcopate, had been defeated, mainly through 
Presbyterian influence; an influence wisely and skilfully 
exercised, to prevent the aggrandizement of an ecclesiasti- 
cal power^ wluch had been, in repeated instances, unhesita- 
tingly exerted, to annoy and oppress so-called dissenters. 
Nevertheless, from the return of peace to. about the begin- 
ning of the present century, the two denominations in !New 
York City lived together in unwonted harmony. The war 
having left both the Presbyterian churches in an almost 
ruinous condition ; until one of them could be repaired — a 

Eeriod of more than six months — Trinity church, as we 
ave seen, with unsolicited and distinguished kindness, gave 
to the united congregations under Dr. Rodgers the use of 
St. George's and St. Paul's churches, alternately, for their 
worship. Of this period, and of what immediately followed. 
Dr. Miller has thus spoken : — 

"For more than twenty years after the establishment of 
American independence, the rresbyterians of New York dwelt 
in peace and harmony with their Episcopal neighbors. They 
well recollected, indeed, the long course of oppressions and 
provocations which they had suffered, by means of Episcopal 


influence, prior to the Revolution. They recollected that, for 
more than half a century, besides supporting their own churches, 
they had been forced to contribute to the support of the Epis- 
copal Church, already enriched and strengthened by govern- 
mental aid. They recoUected in how manylnstanceB the feirest 
and most laudable exertions to promote the interest of their de- 
nomination, were opposed, thwarted and frustrated by the direct 
interference of the same favored sect. But when our national 
independence and equal rights became established; when all 
denominations of Christians were placed on the same footing, 
with respect to the state, and left to enjoy their privileges to- 
gether, the Presbyterians were disposed to forget every injury; 
to cover every former subject of uneasiness with the mantle of 
charity ; to dwell in equal concord and love with their brethren . 
of every name. It was not supposed, indeed, during this period 
of tranquillity, that Presbyterians and Episcopalians were agreed 
in their views either of evangelical truth, or of ecclesiastical or- 
der ; or that thev considered all the points in which they dif- 
fered as of small importance. But while both thought for 
themselves, and pursued their own views of doctrine and wor- 
ship, they avoided an unnecessary ^ and, especially, an irritating 
and offensive obtrusion of their points of diiFerence ; and, above 
all, never seem to have thought, on either side, of that system 
of proscription and attack, which our Episcopal brethren have 
since chosen to commence. 

'"The formal and open commencement of this system may be 
dated in the year 1804. Previous to that perioa, indeed, sev- 
eral sermt>ns and other fugitive pamphlets had evinced a dispo- 
sition on the part of some individuals, to revive and urge cer- 
tain claims, as unfounded in Scripture as they are offensive to 
liberal minds. But in that year there appeared, in the City of 
New York, the first of a series of larger publications, which 
evidently had for their object a system of more bold and de- 
cisive proscription than had been ventured upon for a consider- 
able time before. These publications, among other doctrines, 
were professedly intended to maintain and disseminate the fol- 
lowing; viz., "That the^power of ordination to the Christian 
ministry is, by divine appointment, vested exclusively in Dio- 
cesan Bishops ; that where these Bishops are wanting, there is 
no authorized ministry, no true Church, no valid ordinances ; 
that, of course, the Presbyterian and all other non-Episcopal 
churches and ministers are, not only unauthorized and perfectly 
destitute of validity, but are to be viewed as institutions founded 
in rebellion and schism ; and that all who are in communvm 
with such non-Episcopal churches are "aliens from Christ, ,, 


" out of the appointed road to heaven," have no interest in the 
promises of God, and no hope but in his " uncov^nanted mercy," 
which may be extended to them, in common with the serious 
and c(»iscientious heathen." Books, containing doctrines of 
this kind, had been published and sent abroad with much as- 
siduity, for more than a year before any Presbyterian came for- 
ward to reftite them, or to vindicate primitive simplicity and 
order ; and, since that time, similar books have been pnnted, 
re-printed, new-modelled, and circulated, especially in the city 
and State of "Nevt York, with a degree of zeal and perseverance 
altogether new and extraordinary. 

^'Nor is this all. These books have been put into the hands 
of non-Episcopalians. Presbyterians have been personally ad- 
dressed OH the subject, and attempts made to seduce them from 
their church, on the express allegation, that they were totally 
destitute of an authorized ministry and of valid ordinances. 
And, that nothing might be wanting to fix the character and 
purpose of these treasures, they were accompanied with declara- 
tions, that a state of warfare with the Presbyterian church, on 
the subject of Episcopacy, was earnestly wished for, and con- 
sidered as one of the most probable means of promoting the 
Episcopal cause. 

"It was not possible for one denomination of Christians to 
act in a more inofiensive manner towards anoth^^ than Vfe had 
uniformly done towards our Episcopal brethren. We had 
never attempted to unchurch them. We had never, directly or 
indirectly^ called in question the validity of their ministrations 
or ordinances. We had never, on any occasion, obtruded our 
particular views of church order, as essential either to the being 
or prosperity of the body of Christ. On the contrary, whenever 
we had occasion, from the pulpit or the press, to instruct our 
people on those points in whidi we differ from Episcopalians, 
it was always done in a manner respectful, and conciliatory, and 
perfectly consistent with acknowledging them as a sister church; 
a sister by no means, indeed, in our estimation, free from error; 
but yet sufficiently near the primitive model to be regarded as 
a church of Christ. All this, however, did not secure us from 
the treatment of which you have heard. 

"Under these circumstances; when we were virtually de- 
nounced and excommunicated ; when the name of a Christian 
church was denied us j when our people were warned to aban- 
don the ministry of their pastors, under the penalty of being re- 
garded as rebeh and achisinatics both by God and man ; when 
more than insinuations of this feind were presented and reit- 
erated, from the pulpit and the press, on every practicable oc-. 



casion, and in almost every possible variety of form ; when, by 
the frequency and the confidence with which they were brought 
forward, some in our communion were perplexed, others, more 
discerning and better informed, rendered indignant, and all ap- 
peared to feel the propriety of vindicating the abused ordi- 
nances of Christ ; it became at least excvsable to say something 
in our own defence. It was no bitterness against our Episcopi2 
brethren ; no love of controversy ; no restless ambition ; no de- 
sire to intrude into another denomination for the purpose of 
making proselytes; that dictated an attempt to justify our 
principles. The attempt was purely defensive, and was de- 
manded by every consideration of duty to the souls of men, and 
of fidelity to our Master in heaven."^ 

In the foregoing extract, reference is made to ^' Sermons 
and other fugitive pamphlets," preceding the larger vol- 
umes, in which the controversy in New x ork originated. 
Published sermons seem to be intended ; but there was 
one, apparently never published, which, however, was more 
tU Ze mentioned ?n the course of the controversy, 
though not perhaps by Dr. Miller. The Rev. Mr. Wright, 
on the ordination of a deacon in St. Paul's church, had 
preached a discourse, containing, in substance, the follow- 
ing passage : — 

'' The man who affixes a seal to an instrument, unauthorized 
thereto, not only gives no validity to the instrument, but is 
guilty of forgery. So the man who undertakes to administer 
the Christian sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, 
without authority from our Holy Mother Church, is guilty of 
impiety, sacrilege, and blasphemy.*' 

Dr. Rodgers, who had been particularly invited by one 
of the Episcopal clergy to attend the service says, 

" On hearing this declaration, I could not help saying to 
myself, what I afterwards repeated : That it was, in my judg- 
ment, a piece of insolence in Mr. Wright, to tell his Bishop to 
his face that he was an unregenerated man, and no member of 
the Christian Church ; and that he bore the brand of forgery, 
impiety, sacrilege and blasphemy." Dr. Provoost, bishop of 
the diocese at that time, had been baptized by a minister of the 
Reformed Dutch Church, Mr. Dubois, who had, of course, no 
" authority" from Mr. Wright's " Holy Mother Church."' 

1 Continuation of Letters concerning the Constitution and Order of the Chris- 
tian Ministry (1809), 14-18. 

* 2 Christian Magazine, 435. 


1807.] the kbv. john henry hobart. 211 

2. The Rev. John Henry Hobart. 

In the year 1800, the Rev. John Henry Hobart^ was 
called to be an assistant minister of Trinity Church, in the 
City of New York. With his coming, there seems to have 
been a marked revival of High-churchism in that city. 
The " series of larger publications,'* mentioned by Dr. 
Miller, commenced with him. " The strong attachment of 
Mr. Hobart," says his biographer, 'Ho the distinctive 
principles of the Episcopal Church, and his bold, active 
and persevering defence of them, at all times, through 
good and through evil report, were striking peculiarities in 
his character and life. He was constantly endeavoring to 
rouse others to a sense of their importance ; and by his 
indefatigable labors, his noble enthusiasm, even in the 
cause of soberness and truth, and the influence of his 
talents, character and station, he revived the languid zeal 
of Episcopalians, gave a new tone to their sentiments in 
this diocese, and stamped the impress of his own mind and 
feelings on thousands throughout the Church at large." 

In the month of May, 1804, Mr. Hobart published his 
work entitled, "A Companion for the Altar." In the fall 
of the same year, he gave to the public another volume — 
"A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts." 

Some extracts from these works will serve to verify Dr. 
Miller's account of them. 

" These sacraments are both necessary to salvation. Baptism 
is necessary, being the ordinance whereby we are regenerated, 
that is, are translated from our natural state into a state of 
grace, and born again to a title to all the privileges of the gos- 
pel covenant. The Lord's Supper is necessary, because it con- 
veys that spiritual food by which we are nourished to everlast- 
ing life. * * These ordinances the church considers as only 
generally, not absolutely, necessary to salvation."' 

"Am I a member of die Church of Christ, which he purchased 
with his blood, which he sanctifies with his Spirit, and which, 
according to his sovereign pleasure, is made the channel of his 
covenanted mercies to a lallen world ? * * 

" Do I keep up my communion with this Church, by devout 
submission to the ministrations of its priesthood in the orders of 
Bishops, Priests and Deacons, deriving their authority by regu- 

^ See 5 Sprague's Annals, 440. 
' Companion for the Altar, 13, 14. 


lar transmission from Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Head of 
the Church, who has promised to be with the ministers of 
apostolic succession, " alway, even to the end of the world ?" * * 

"III this regenerating ordinance, [baptism,] £&llen man is 
bom again from a state of condemnation into a state of 

" The mercy of the Saviour is co-extensive with the ruin into 
which sin has plunged mankind. And " in every nation he 
that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted with 
him." But where the gospel is proclaimed, communion with 
the church, by the participation of its ordinances at the hands 
of the duly authonzed priesthood, is the indispensable condi- 
tion of salvation. Separation from the prescribed government 
and regular priesthood of the church, when it proceeds from 
involuntary and unavoidable ignorance or error, we have reason 
to trust, will not intercept, from the humble, the penitent, and 
obedient, the blessings of God's favour. But when we humbly 
submit to that priesthood which Christ and his apostles consti- 
tuted ; when in the lively exercise of penitence and faith, we 
partake of the ordinances administered by them ; we maintain 
our communion with that church which the Redeemer purifies 
by his blood ; which he quickens by his Spirit ; and whose 
faithful members he will finally crown with the most exalted 
glories of his heavenly kingdom. The important truth which 
Uie universal church has uniformly maintained, Uiat> to expe- 
rience the full and exalted efficacy of the sacraments, we must 
receive them from a valid authority, is not inconsistent with 
that charity which extends mercv to all who labour under 
involuntary error. But great is tlie guilt, and imminent the 
danger, of those who, possessing the means of arriving at the 
knowledge of the truth, negligently or vnlfuUy continue in a 
state of separation from the authorized ministry of the church, 
and participate of ordinances administered by an irregular 
and invalid authority. Wilfully rending the peace and unity 
of the church, by separating irom the ministrations of its 
authorized priesthood ; obstinately contemning the means which 
God in his sovereign pleasure hath prescribed for their salva- 
tion; they are guilty of rebellion against their Almighty Law- 
giver and Judge; they expose themselves to the awnil dis- 
pleasure of that Almighty Jehovah, who will not permit his 
institutions to be contemned, or his authority violated, with 

" Let it be, therefore, thy supreme care, O my soul, to receive 
the blessed sacrament of the Dody and blood of thy Saviour, 

^ Companion fur the Altar, 143. 


only from the hands of those who derive their authority by 
regular transmission from Christ, the divine head of the 
church, the only legitimate source of power in it. Thou wilt 
then enjoy the assurance, that this holy sacrament, which de- 
rives all Its efficacy from the accompanying power of Christ, 
administered by those to whom' he haa riven his commission 
and authority, will be acknowledged and blessed by him to thy 
comfort and salvation ; will, if humbly and devoutly received 
by thee, be the means and pledge of his pardoning mercy and 
strengthening grace. By preserving thy communion with the 
authorized priesthood ; by revering that ministerial authority, 
and submitting to those institutions which thy Saviour estab- 
Kshed ; thou wilt maintain the unity of the churchy and thus 
fulfil the high injunction of Christ and his apostles often re- 
peated and earnestly enforced."^ 

" The Christian Church is not a mere voluntary society ; but 
one whereof men are obliged to be memberSy as they value their 
everlasting happiness : for it is a society appointed by Ood, with . 
enforcements oi rewards and punishments. * * Now, as God, 
by instituting this society, and annexing such rewards and 
punishments, has sufficiently declared his will, that men should 
enter into it, all men are obliged to become members of it; and 
it can in no other sense be called a voluntary society, than as 
it is left to every man's choice, whether he will be forever 
happv or miserable."' 

"The obligation of communion with the Christian Church is 
founded on its being a society established by God, to which he 
has annexed all the privileges and blessings of the Gospel 
covenant. Of course, in order to partake of these privileges 
and blessings, we must be admitted into the Christian Church, 
and maintain communion with it."' 

" The uniform testimony of all the* apostolic and primitive 
writers establishes the general conclusion, that whoever was in 
communion with the bishop, the supreme governor of the 
church upon earth, was in communion with Christ the head of 
it ; and whoever was not in communion with the bishop, was 
thereby cut off from communion with Christ."* 

3, High Chttrchism. 

In these works, Mr. Hobart ignored, entirely, the com- 
mon Protestant distinction between the Visible and the 

1 Companion for the Altar, 202. 

* Festivals and Feasts, 15, 16. 

* Id., 59. 


Invisible Church ; and it was but a logical consequence of 
this, to represent non-Episcopal pastors as mere laymen, 
the ordinances which they administered as wholly invalid 
and worse, and the people attending upon their ministry as 
having no covenanted right to the salvation of the gospel. 
But this, under another name, was the very core of Komish 
error. True, those who, in the Church of England, and 
in the Protestant Episcopal Church of this country, havQ 
maintained and propagated hi^h- church opinions^ have 
stoutly denied them to be Romisu ; or, to use a word more 
common in this controversy, Popish. But the latter word 
affords the only real pretext for a deniaJ. If Popery im^ 
plies adherence to the Pope, as the self-styled Chief 
Bishop, Visible Head -of the Church, and Vicar of Chriat 
on Earth, then all High Churcfaism cannot justly be 
charged with it ; although thousands, it is well-known, 
have been led thereby, and that most naturally, direct to 
Romanism, and the fullest acknowledgment of the Pope's 

But if High Churchism itself be the very foundation 
error, the real TrpwToi^ (/feudo^, of the Papacy, as undoubt- 
edly it is, then is it in vain for high churchmen to deny 
their affinity to the Papists. The recognition of the Pope 
is only a specific difference : generically, Romanism and 
High Churchism are the same. Their common heresy 
embraces three essential points of doctrine : First, there 
is no earthly, or in part earthly, invisible Church of Christ : 
the only Church on earth is a visible, external communion r 
Secondly^ all Christ's jpromises to his people, his Church, 
including the promise, or covenant, of salvation, belong, 
therefore, to a visible communion, and that alone : Thirdly^ 
this visible communion, within the pale of which, alone, 
covenanted salvation is to be found, depends essentially for 
its existence, upon an outward succession of prelatical 
bishops :-tlie Romanist says, the succession from Peter of 
the Bishops of Rome — the Popes: — the Protestant high 
churchman says, an unbroken, tactual succession, of pre- 
lates simply, from some one or more of the Apostles. The 
former contends, that there is no covenanted salvation out 
of the Church of Rome ; the latter, that there is no cove- 
nanted salvation out of a communion which has prelates 
with unbroken, tactual apostolical succession. The conse- 

1807.] HIGH CHURCHISM. 215 

quences of this dogma are tremendous. As to this coun- 
try, the Romanist tells you, that there is no covenanted 
salvation out of his own little communion. The Episcopal 
high churchman tells you, that there is no covenanted sal- 
vation out of his, and, perhaps, the Moravian, and the 
Romish communions ; and upon the last he often throws 
doubt on the ground of some Tridentine corruption. Of 
course, high churchmen are found, so called, of every 
grade ; but high churchism, properly speaking, is what has 
just been described. It derives its name from this hereti- 
cal exaltation of the Visible Church, or a part thereof, 
which it puts, in fact, nearer than Christ to both saint and 
sinner. Christ says, " Come unto me." High Churchism 
says, "Come to our Visible Church, or you can never 
properly, or certainly, reach Christ." 

The Reformation of the sixteenth century is often said 
to have turned upon the doctrine of Justification by Faith 
— "the article of a standing or falling church." In ap- 
pearance, it may have been so, but not in reality. The 
Reformers, digging through the overlaying mass of Romish 
corruptions, down to the great doctrines of the gospel, 
which they brought once more to light, did not reach first, 
as indeed they could not, the very foundations of truth. 
They recovered, both theoretically and experimentally, 
the doctrine of Justification, and were rejoicing in it, " as 
one that findeth great spoil ;" when Rome launched her 
excommunications and anathemas upon their heads. Out 
of the Church they were lost ! The vwy thought was ter- 
rible, and it carried some faint hearts back in a hurry to 
the Pope's fold by the door of submission. Not so, how- 
ever, with those who knew^best the Scriptural foundation, 
and the Scriptural power of justifying faith. They were 
only set to delving deeper into the doctrine of Christ. 
. They had, perhaps, the witness in themselves that they be- 
longed to him — were the sheep of his fold: what did it 
matter whether they belonged to the Pope or not ? Happy 
thought ! Now came to light the great gospel truth of an 
Invisible Church, the whole company of true believers, 
past, present, and future, united to Christ, and through 
him to one another, by faith, and heirs of every promise, 
every covenanted blessing. The Church of Christ, it was, 
henceforth, against the Church of Rome: that was the 


grand corner doctrine of the Reformation ; which, alas ! 
has been " a stone of stumbling," and a " a rock of offence," 
to so many calling themselves Protestants. Every great 
struggle for the faith has brought to clearer view, and^ 
more definite expression, some momentous truth. The 
doctrine of the Invisibility of the True Church was the 
main doctrine battled for and successfully maintained by 
the Reformers : the denial of it really lay at the founda- 
tion of every Romish heresy. 

4. Dr. Miller's "Letters." 

In the summer of 1805, the Rev. Dr. William Linn pub- 
lished, in " The Albany Centinel," under the title " Miscel- 
lanies, No. IX," a few strictures upon the extravagant claims 
set forth in Mr. Hobart's volumes. He was met at once, in the 
same newspaper, by "A Layman of the Episcopal Church," 
or Thomas Y. How, Esquire, afterwards the Rev. Mr. (final- 
ly Dr.) How ; and the controversy was continued in this 
manner, by the gentlemen already named. Dr. Linn adopt- 
ing, for different articles, the different signatures "Clem- 
ens," "Umpire," and "Inquirer;" and by "Cyprian," or 
the Rev. Frederick Beasley, rector of St. Peter's Church, 
Albany; " Cornelius," or Bishop Provoost; "An Episco- 
palian," or Bishop White ; and " Detector" and " Vindex,*' 
signatures both employed by Mr. Hobart — five against 
one ; either the temptation of such extemporaneous news- 
paper debate, or distrust of each other, multiplying thus 
the champions of Episcopacy. At length, as usual, the 
publishers interposed, saying the public had become weary ; 
and, not satisfied with the result. Dr. Hobart^ republished, 

^ Bishop Hobarty after all, was not a high-churohman of the straitest seet. 
The statements most likely to give offence in his '' Companion for the Altar" 
and '* Festivals and Fasts/' he subsequently very muoh modified, or almost 
explained away. He had said, to be sure, that participation of the Church's 
ordinances, ** at the hands of the duly authorized priesthood," was " the in- 
dispensable condition of salvation/' But, for the latter clause, he substituted, 
in another edition, '^ the prescribed method of salvation," contending that 
he meant only ''a condition with which men had no right to dispense." 
(4th ed. 156, etc.) He had quoted, with apparent approbation, the " uniform 
testimony of all the apostolic and primitive writers," as establishing " the gene> 
ral conclusion," that '' whoever was not in communion with the bishop was 
thereby cut off from communion with Christ ;" but in his " Apology," he says, 
this was but a statement of the '' hUtorical /act, that such was the opinion of 
the Apostolic and prihitivb writers ;" that he must not be held responsible 
for the language at least ; and that his own understanding of the doctrine 

1807.] DB. miller's "letters." 217 

in 1806, the whole controversy in a volame, **with addi- 
tional notes and remarks.'* " My republishing the '' Essays 
on Episcopacy," " he says, " was a defensive measure. * * 
Many of the assertions of the author of "Miscellanies" 
remained unanswered, which it was necessary, therefore, 
to notice in a separate publication."^ 

It would seem to have been in fulfilment of the plan of 
issuing a magazine, of which, in the spring of 1805, Dr. 
Miller's letters speak, that, about the beginning of the 
year, 1807, "The Christian's Magazine" was commenced, 
in New York City, under the editorship of the Rev. Dr. John 
M. Mason, with the assistance of other clergymen. Among 
reliffious articles of various kinds, it embraced a review, 
by the editor, of the recent Episcopal controversy. This 
speedily called forth Dr. Hobart again : he replied to the 
review, as far as it had gone, in a work issuing from the 

was, that vm6Z«, not apiritualf eommunion with Christ depended upon com- 
munion with the bishop. (Ed. 1844, pp. 64^ 5.) He had represented baptism 
as a '' regenerating ordinance/' in which ** fallen man is bom again from a 
state of condemnation into a state of grace ;" but in his *^ Apology" remarks, 
*' Episcopalians maintain baptismal regeneration in this sense, that the baptized 
person is bom again, not in the affections of his soul, but into a neto state, in 
which he receives conditionallj a title to the blessings of the gospel covenant." 
(4th ed., p. 230.) He had been accused of " holding up Episcopacy as of 
primary, and faith in Christ as of secondary importance;" but replied, ''I 
make, of course, faith in Christ of more importance than communion with 
the bishop. This communion with the bishop can take place only through 
baptism and the Lord's Supper, dispensed by ministers Bpiscopally ordained. 
And for baptism in the ease of adults, and for the Lord's Supper, faith is a pre- 
paratory, an essential qualification. As, therefore, on my principles, faith 
precedes communion with the bishop, it is distinct from this communion, and 
independent of it." The modern editor thinks this a dangerous concession, 
and adds, in a note, ** This is doubtless in a certain sense true. But if, 
through ''communion with tbe bishop," we enjoy the highest fellotoship toith 
Christ ; and if this fellowship be designed to exalt and perfect within us the 
essential graces of the Christian character, may it not be questionable how 
far or how long we can have the gospel faith without " communion with the 
bishop," or through him with Christ the divine head of the Church, which the 
gospel enjoins as so important a means of grace? Ed." Pp. 67, 68. 

Bishop Hobart, doubtless, did more than any one on this side of the Atlan- 
tic, before, or any other during, his time, to promote High-Ghurohism ; but 
that his disciples, many of them, have gone beyond their master is nothing 
unprecedented or remarkable. Besides, he never relaxed his grasp of the 
essence of the system — ^that there is no church on earth which is not visible, 
no visible church without a prelatical bishop, no covenanted salvaMon without 
communion with such a bishop. This is the very comer-stone of Romanism; 
and although the Papal, differs, no doubt, in some important respects, from 
the mere prelatical, superstructure ; both are, however, upon exactly the same 
foundation. Modem ruseyism is simply an attempt to bring the Episcopal 
high-church system into more complete conformity with the Roman, and to 
make them ultimately one and the same throughout. 

^Hobart's Apology (3d ed.), 49. 



press in June, 1807, entitled, " An Apology for Apostolic 
Order and its Advocates." About a month later, in July, 
Dr. Miller published the first volume of his " Letters con- 
cerning the Constitution and Order of the Christian Min- 
istry."^ It was written without any reference to Dr. 
Hobart's '* Apology," as the dates just given sufficiently 

Of this volume the author afterwards wrote, 

"Mr. How, for reasons which he himself best understands, 
has thought proper to assert, that my Letters ''are well known 
to be the result of several years of laborious attention to the 
subject which they discuss."* Another writer, in the Church- 
man's Magazine, has made a similar assertion; and boasts that 
the advocates of the Episcopal church will not require as much 
time to answer, as was employed in writing them. I cheerfully 
yield to these gentlemen the palm of celerity and copiousness 
in writing ; and even if the statement respecting the time em- 
ployed in preparing my publication were true, it is not easy to 
see how it bears on the argument. What would it avail a cul- 
prit to show that the collection of the testimony which seals his 
conviction was the work of a month instead of a day ? But the 
statement is not true. My attention to the Episcopal contro- 
versy had been very small, perhaps culpably so, until within a 
few months previous to the publication of my Letters. When 
the printing was begun, not more than one third of the volume 
was written,; and the greater part of it was actually composed 
during the three months which were consumed in passing the 
sheets through the press. But though the work was chiefly 
written with that haste which every one who has run a race 
with the press well understands ; and amidst the ^bleness of 
an habitual valetudinarian, as well as the distraction and &- 
tigue of multiplied professional labors ; it affords me some sat- 
isfaction to reflect, that, afl;er the maturest deliberation, I see 
no cause to retract a single argument, or materially to alter a 
single statement. On the contrary, further reading and reflec- 
tion have convinced me, that every argument and every state- 
ment, notwithstanding all the contemptuous sneers and confi- 
dent assertions of my opponents, are capable of being irrefraga- 
bly fortified.'*' 

^ '* Letters oomsemiog the Constitutioii and Order of ike Chrutian Ministry, 
as dedaoed from Scripture and Primitive Usage ; addressed to the Members 
of the United Presbyterian Churches in the Oity of N^ York. By Samuel MiUer, 
D.D.fOne of the Pasters of said Churches. New York. 1S07." 12mo. Pp. 355. 

3 "Letters, 6." 

* Continuation of Letters, 25, 26. 


This passage has been copied, not to justify Dr. Miller's 
plan of ifriting and publishing as an example ; but as part 
of the history of the work, and to illustrate the pressure, 
at this time, of his various employments, which were im- 
pairing his health, and preventing that leisurely and tho- 
rough investigation, which he himself had regarded his sub- 
ject as imperatively demanding from every Presbyterian 
clergyman. It should be remembered, however, that, ob- 
vious as are the advantages of long study, the most useful 
m^Ek that ever lived have often, perhaps generally, been the 
most incessantly hurried in their labors; and the most 
effective works of the brain have not always been those, 
which, in their production, have occupied the longest time. 
In fact, the brain, characteristically, needs driving to its 
highest achievements : we labor best at a white heat. 

5. Opinions op Friends. 

The opinion of Dr. Miller's friends in regard to his 
"Letters'* may be gathered from the following communi- 

On the 3d of August, 1807, Dr. Wm. Linn wrote to him 
from Albany, 

*As soon as I heard of your "Letters," I purchased a copy, 
and have read them with much satisfaction. In my opinion, 
the moderation, the candour and the research which you have 
shown, do you honor. I cannot see how a candid Episcopalian 
can read your work, and not receive perfect conviction of the 
unfounded nature of the exclusive claims which have been set 

The writer of the following letter had, in 1806, left the 
bench of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, to 
take his seat upon that of the Supreme Court of the United 

'Bloomingdale, 8th August, 1807. 
'Beverend and dear Sir, 

*I have read, with very great pleasure and instruc- 
tion, the Letters of which you were so good as to present me a 
copy. Although their subject was not new to me, I had never 
before seen it treated in a way so well calculated to produce 
conviction. The proo& are arranged with much skill, and the 
remarks on them are often new and always judicious. The ar- 
guments of our opponents are also very fairly stated, and ex- 



amined with candor and temper. What must please every one 
is, that you have not indulg^ in any of that acrimony, which 
too frequently finds its way into writings which should breathe 
only a spirit of charity. No one, ever so little accustomed to 
weighing evidence, and whose mind is free from the influence 
of opinions already formed, can hesitate, after an attentive pe- 
rusal of this work, to yield a ^1 assent to the points which it 
is intended to establish. He will be compelled to acknowledge, 
that diocesan Episcopacy, instead of being of divine origin, owes 
its institution to man ; that rank among gospel ministers has 
no foundation in Scripture ; and that the Presbyterian form of 
church government departs little or nothing from that intro- 
duced in the time of the apostles. 

* Upon the whole, I consider Presbyterians very much in- 
debted to you for this valuable performance. While it reflects 
great credit on its author, if regarded in no other light than as 
a highly classical composition, and as an evidence of deep re- 
search, industry and judgment; it not only fiimishes every 
Presbyterian with a reason for his faith, but must satisfy the 
most wavering, that he is not obnoxious to the penalties de- 
nounced against him by a few of his less charitable Episcopal 
brethren, for his separation from the pale of their church. 

'Accept of my best thanks for it, and of my most fervent wish, 
that your useflil life may be long preserved, a blessing to your 
family and the world. 

* With every sentiment of esteem and regard, I am, dear sir, 
your Yerj obedient servant and fnend, 

*The Kev'd Doctor Miller. Brockholst Livingston.' 

'Sir, New Haven, August 10, 1807. 

*The copy of your "Letters," which you were so obliging 
as to send me, and for which please to accept my acknowledg- 
ments, I have read with much satisfaction and profit. My 
principles had been engaged on the same side of the question, 
not by carefiil researches into Church History, but by a general 
view of the true interpretation of Scripture. You nave given 
a summary of the facts and inferences on that subject, which, 
as far as I can judge from an ex parte hearing, leaves no room 
in the candid, unbiassed mind for hesitation. Indeed, the £acts 
and arguments in favor of Presbyterianism are far more nu- 
merous and pointed, and less disputable, than I had supposed. 
I regret, with you, the existence of the controversy. The dis- 
traction of opinion which is produced by polemical controversy 
always weakens the faith of doubting Christians, furnishes new 
weapons to the infidel, and impairs the cause it is intended to 
maintain, at least with men of a sceptical turn of mind ; not to 


ij^ention the inroads it makes upon private friendship. But it 
is always lawful to defend our opinions as well as our persons 
and property. * * 

'Accept my best wishes for your welfare, 
*and believe me, very respectfiilly, 
'Your obedient servant, 
'ReVd Dr. Miller. N. Webster.' 

The writer of the following was at the time Chief Justice, 
though since better known as Chancellor, of the State of 
New York. 

'Dear Sir, Albany, September 1st, 1807. 

*I return you my thanks for your book on the Constitu- 
tion of the Christian Ministry. I have read it with attention, 
with pleasure, and with great instruction. The subject was 
certainly not familiar to me, and you have awakened my as- 
tonishment at the weak and contemptible foundations of the 
Episcopal claim to the divine origin of diocesan Bishops. I 
may express myself too strongly ; but the trutli is, I have, care- 
fully aiid wUhmt the least prejudice, followed your argument, 
and I think the performance a finished one, and perfectly con- 
clusive on the question. I was as much pleased with the style 
and temper of the book, as I had reason to admire its logic and 
learning. It will be eminently useful, not only against the ar- 
rogant pretensions which gave birth to it, but against innova- 
tions upon the Presbyterian model from Independent sects. 

'That your health may grow firm and enable you to prose- 
cute your studies and your duties, is the sincere wish of 

* Your friend and obedient servant, 

'James Kent.' 

The following extract is from a letter of the Rev. Evan 
Johns, dated "Berlin, November 23d, 1807." 

'My dear Friend, 

'At last I sit down to write the letter which I promised 
you, respecting your publication on the extravagant and impu- 
dent claims of the Episcopalians ; but my observations must 
be very few, because you would not wish me to abound in your 
praise ; and be assured, that is nearly all the subject matter 
which presents itself; though I have read the book twice, in 
the free exercise of all the critical acuteness I could conunand. 
The style is, in my opinion, much superior to that of any former 
production by the same author. Simply elegant, and very ac- 
curate, it is highly gratifying to correct taste. The spirit which 
animates the whole performance is excellence itself. Every ar- 
gument used possiBsses irrefragable cogency. The two proper- 



ties just mentioned are indeed so conspicuous, as that the auth^ 
may be said to possess and exercise the art of knocking a man 
down without offending him. When attending Commencement 
at New Haven^ I was happy to find that Dr. Miller's Letters 
were getting into extensive circulation, with great effect, in those 
parts of Connecticut most abounding with Episcopalians.' 

Two passages of a letter from Ebenezer Hazard, Esquire, 

may be added. 

' Dear Sir, Philadelphia, December 23d, 1807. 

*I have lately read your pastoral Letters, which have 
afforded me much entertainment. What the advocates for dio- 
cesan Episcopacy will do with them I know not; but I think 
they will not easily refute your arguments. They will at least 
be obliged to treat you as a gentleman, because you have man- 
aged the business so sriaviter in modo; or they will lose ground 
in the public opinion. * * 

'The following assertion by Mr. Hobart is one of the most 
extraordinary! nave ever met with: Pp. 168, 169: "You can- 
not open an ecclesiastical writer, either of the present or primi- 
tive age, who does not stare you in the face with the fact, that 
there were Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons in the primitive 
Church. Yes, Sir, sv4ih Bishops as we have in modem days, with 
Presbyters subject to them." 

* * He may easily find, and, no doubt, has often 
seen, ecclesiastical writers who contradict him ; and if he will 
consult Suicer's Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus, Art iT:i(fxoico<; and 
Upsff^urepo^, he may receive abundant evidence upon this sub- 

The well known author, James K. Paulding, Esquire, 
wrote, on the 4th of September, 

'* * It will afford me an opportunity to express the pecu- 
liar satisfaction I feel in the mild and Christian spirit which 
pervades every part of your excellent Letters, and the clear, 
logical and conclusive manner, in which, in my opinionj you 
have conducted the argument. * * 

*I cannot, my dear Sir, conclude this letter, without offering 
you my warm approbation of the style which characterizes your 
Letters. It has been one of the very serious misfortunes at- 
tending religious controversies, that they were prosecuted with 
the warmth of personal animosity, rather than that of convic- 
tion; and with the spirit of rivalry, rather than with that 
philanthropic good will, which should actuate all men to go 
hand in hand in the great cause of discovering truth. If truth 
can ever be bought too dear, it is when she is purchased at the 


price of heart-burnings and divisions among those who have 
Deen solemnly adjured to live together as brothers. 

* I delight to see that your work displays nothing of this san- 
guinary spirit of controversy ; but that, while its precepts carry 
&11 conviction to the mind, its example is calculated to produce 
the most beneficial effects, by demonstrating thsLt the strongest 
reasoning, the warmest sentiments of piety, and the Christian 
spirit of forbearance may be beautifully combined ; . and that 
controversy may be so conducted, as to wound no man's feel- 
ings, to hurt no man's good name, and injure no man's belief 
in the existence of Christian charity. 

*Let me now drop the critic and assume the friend.' 

The Rev. Conrad Speece,^ of Virginia, in a hurried let- 
ter of the 28th of January, 1809, wrote, 

'Accept my renewed thanks for your Letters on the Ministry, 
Had I time, I think I could hardly resist the impulse of my 
heart to say a great deal in praise of that work. I vrUl say, 
that I am much delighted with the Christian spirit in which 
you have written ; a spirit unhappily very rare in controversial 
works, to the reproach of the diaciples of a meek and benevo- 
lent Saviour. In point of argument, I deem the work most de- 
cisive. It ought to be read by all our clergy, and especially 
by our young candidates for the ministry ; not excluding the 
people at large.' 

6. Reception by Opponents. 

What the opponents of Dr. Miller thought of his " Let- 
ters" may be gathered, perhaps, best from the number who 
rushed forward to meet him in the breach, and from the 
spirit and temper in which they carried on the contest. 
That which a polemic lacks in argument, he not unfre- 
quently attempts to make up by confident assertion, and 
personal abuse. All, of course, cried out, that they had 
been attacked : it was the old story, that the poor lamb 
below had muddied the waters of Christian fellowship. Dr. 
Miller gives the following account of the matter, which any 
intelligent reader may easily verify. 

"Such a manual appeared to me to be much wanted; a 
manual which was intended to present a concise view of the 
whole subject, without the useless appendages, and the offensive 
recriminations which have been too frequently admitted. In 
composing this work, it was my sincere aim to render it as free 

ilnl820, D.D. 


from everything personal or irritating as possible. Accordingly, 
I attacked no particular writer. I avoided even mentioning 
the name of any American who had written in opposition to 
that apostolic truth and order which we maintain. My arga« 
ments were stated, as iar as the nature of the undertakmg ad- 
mitted, in the abstract ; and a studious care was exercised to 
exMbit the whole in language of the most mild and conciliatory 
character. In all this it was not supposed that offence could 
reasonably be taken by any, and least of all by our Episcopal 
brethren. As they had been in the habU, for several years be* 
fore the appearance of my volume, of publishing and distribu- 
ting, even beyond the bounds of their own society, books, in 
which tiie Episcopal doctrine was warmly urged, and Presby- 
terian principles loaded with opprobrious epithets ; it was sup- 
posed that they would scarcely think it very consistent or de- 
cent to attack with violence, if at all, a publication so moderate, 
so respectful, and so exclusively intended for Presbyterians. It 
was, therefore, my prevailing expectation, that the work would 
be considered as not belonging to the polemic class, and would 
be suffered to pass without a reply. 

"But in this I was mistaken. With all the mildness and 
inoffensiveness of their character, my Letters no sooner made 
their appearance, than murmurs of resentment, and threats of 
overwhelming refutation were heard from various quarters. 
These threats had not been long proclaimed, before attempts 
were made to fulfil them. The first who presented himself 
before the public, as an assailant, was Mr. Thomas Y, How^ 
(since the Kev. Mr. How^ of New York,) who, in about six 
months after the publication of my volume, produced an 
angry and vehement pamphlet, which he announced as intro- 
ductory to a more full discussion of the subject. Mr. How, 
after an interval of six months more, was followed by the Rev. 
Dr. Bowden^ Professor of Moral Philosophy , Logic and Belles 
Lettres in Columhia College. This gentleman, who had be^i 
long versed in the Episcopal controversy, and who, more than 
twenty years ago, stepped forth as a champion of the hierarchy, 
did me the honour again to take the neld against me, and 
undertook in a work, at least formidable in size, to give a com- 
plete refutation of all my argum^ats, and to prostrate the 
rresbyterian cause. About the same time with Dr. Bowden^s 
two volumes, there appeared, on the same side, and with the 
same object, the first of a series of Letters addressed to me by 
the Rev. Dr. Kemp^ Rector of Greed Choptank, in Maryland. 

^ h Sprague's Annals, 304. 

' Bishop of Maryland; 1814-27. Sec 5 Sprague's Annalf, 374. 


And, finall/, with this number, the Rev. Dr. Hobart has united 
himself as an occasional remarkeron mj Letters, in the Chwrch- 
man! 8 Magazine, published in the city of New Yerh, for the 
contents of which he acknowledges himself, both as Editor 
and Proprietor, to be responsible. 

" To be fallen upon by so many assailants, and with so much 
vehemence, is a comphment as great as it was unexpected. 
My thanks lure due to these gentlemen for conferring on my 
work a degree of importance, and unwittingly disclosing that 
it has made a degree of impression, which I had never ven- 
tured to anticipate or to claim. I have also to thank them for 
another favour. Their violent attacks, and their numerous 
cavils, have induced me to examine the subject with more care, 
and to pursue my inquiries respecting it to a greater extent, 
than I should probably otherwise have done. The result is a 
deeper conviction than ever of the weakness of their cause, 
and of the Apostolic character of our church.''^ 

" Mr. Him also endeavours to represent my work as an un- 
provoked aUack on the Episcopal church, and to throw upon it 
all the odium of aggression. To those who are acquainted 
with the incontrovertible facts stated in the beginning of this 
letter, such a representation will appear sometmng more than 
strange I If to state and defend the principles of my own 
church, after they had been frequently and violently attacked ; 
if a calm and respectful plea against a sentence of excommu- 
nication from the church of Christ ; if an attempt to show, 
that we, as Presbyterians, are not oMe^is from the commonwealth 
of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise ; if a work 
designed to prove that our ministry and ordinances have as 
&ir a claim to divine warrant as those of our Episcopal 
brethren; and that they, in denying us the character of a 
church, and in consigning us over, with the heathen, to the 
uncovenanted mercies of God, act wholly without warrant — 
if these things constitute an unprovoked attack on the Episco- 
pal church — ^then, indeed, I have been guilty of such an 
attack. * * 

''Another charge which these gentlemen concur in urging, is 
no less unexpected and extraordinary. It is, that I have writr 
ten with great bitterness, and that even my moderatiou is 
affected and insidioiLS. This is a point concerning which no 
man can be an impartial judge in his own case. But, after 
receiving so many respectaole suffrages in favour of the mild- 
ness and decorum of my style ; after receiving the acknowledg- 
ments of so many moderate and candid Episcopalians in differ- 

1 Continnation of Letters, 18, 19, 20, 21. 


exii parts of liie Unked States, botk clexgjmea and laymen^ 
that I had avoided SLeperitgr and bitterness to a very unusual 
degree ; it is impossible to avoid suspecting that these gentle- 
men (who, so far as I know, stand alone in making this charge) 
have felt ii-ritated by statements which tibiey could not deny, 
«nd by arguments which they could not reftite ; and that they 
have mistaken both for bitterness and abuse. Dr. JBawden and 
Mr. Hoto never discover so much woimded feelii^ and irascible 
tCToper, as when they meet with intimations of any affinity 
between some of their high-toned doetrine^, and those at 
Popery. The intimations of this kind which my boc^ contams, 
were made neither lightly «>r with passion; but with a con- 
scientious peiBUanon of their correctness. This pessuasiotn 
remains with undiminished, or rather with increased, force. 
And it happens, unfortunately for these gentlemen, that similar 
charges of polish origin and tendency, have been brought 
against several of the same doctrines by some of the most 
pious and learned Bishops of their own church. Nor can I 
forbear to add, that the pointed resentment which my oppo- 
nents manifest at every suggestion of this kind, is calculated 
to excite the suspicion, that they feel it more easy to ra£l at 
stich intimations than to answer them."^ 

^^ These gentlemen, in the course of their strictures, have 
allowed themselves frequently to employ language of which I 
cannot forbear to exhibit a specimen. Dr. Bawden charges me 
with "contemptible cavilling;" with "contemptible puerilities;" 
with "misrepresentations gross to excess;" with writing "non- 
sense," " palpable nonsense," etc., etc., etc. Mr. ffow's pamph- 
let abounds with language, which I hope he will reconsider, in 
his cooler moments, with shame and regret He charges me 
with "a continued strain of misrepresentation ;" with " an out- 
rage on decency itself;" with a construction " as puerile as it is 
disingenuous;" with '^fanatical absurdity;" with "violations of 
the plain language of Scripture, as presumptuous as are to be 
met with in the entire annals of mnaticism ;" with " talking 
like a deranged fanatic;" and with advancing allegations 
which I " ought to know, and cannot but know" to be ground- 
less. In fact, he frequently imputes to me, in terms a little 
indirect and softened, known and deliberate falsehood. And, 
on one occasion, he permits himself to address me thus : "You 
could not possibly have adopted a mode of address more calcu- 
lated to sour the minds of your readers, or better fitted to in- 
dulge the bitterness of your own heart. It is indirect and 
insidious, covering, under the mask of moderation and kind- 

^ Continuation of Letters, 26, 27, 28. 


ness, all the loftiness of pride, and all the rankling of passion." 
P. 16. Dr. Hohart represents me as writing with great " arro- 
gance" and " bitterness,^ and even with irmdummeas, a term 
which, no intelligent reader needs to be told, implies dishonesty, 
I regret that such language has found its way into this contro- 
versy. * * 

" But these gentlemen not only employ, on their part, what 
I must consider as exceptionable language ; they also impute to 
me language scarcely lesa offensive, or exceptionable than their 
own. I)r. Bowden says, that I pronounce Episcopacy an anti- 
christian uLsurpation. Vol. I. p. 245. And Mr. How asserts, 
that I " brand prelacy as iJte detested offspring of ecclesiastical 
fravd and tyranny" I can only say, that no such expressions 
are to be found in my book ; and that whatever there is in them 
which bears an opprobrious or indelicate character, is to be 
Hiscribed, not to me, but to the invention of my accusers."* 

1 Continuation of Letters, 32, 33, 34. 



1807, 1808. 

1. Miscellaneous Topics. 

Dr. Miller had been a trustee of Columbia College since 
the latter part of the year 1806. On the first of October, 
1807, be was elected a trustee of the College of New Jer- 
sey, at Princeton, in place of Dr. /Rodgers, who had re- 
signed. On the 6 th of April following, he "appeared, and 
having taken and subscribed the oaths required by law, took 
his seat at the Board.*' He seems to have been, from the 
first, a very active member, deeply interested, as he had 
indeed become long before, in the welfare of the Institution. 
The year 1807 was memorable in its annals for a great re- 
bellion, just after which, on the 8th of April, he wrote to 
Mr. Griffin, 

'Have you heard the terrible news from Princeton? What 
is the great Head of the Church about to do with that Semina- 
ry? Is it about to be purged and elevated? — or totally de- 
stroyed ? God grant that the latter may not be the case V 

On the 4th of July, he writes to Dr. Green, 

* I promised to prepare a biographical memoir of Dr. Nisbet, 
to be prefixed to the first volume.' [Of his lectures, the imme- 
diate publication of which was then contemplated.] 

* For writing this I am miserably furnished with materials, 
to say nothing of capacity to put them together. I have col- 
lected one thing or another, which I hope will enable me to eke 
out a decent account — say one hundred, or one hundred and 
twenty, pages ; but still I am sadly in want of more matter. I 
wish you would take the trouble to commit to paper everything 
that you can recollect concerning the Doctor's history and 
character, either in Scotland or America. In short, my desire 
is, that you should write me a letter of three or four sheets at 



least, (leas or more, however, as you please,) * * with ap- 
propriate anecdotes as they may occur to you, * * and 
throwing the whole into a form that will make it proper to be 
published in the body of my memoir. I wish this for two rea- 
sons: — 

* 1. It will gratify me to have my little eflTort adorned with a 
communication ^om you, more especially as a monument of 
that friendship which I consider as one of my honors, and 
which I wish to be increased and cemented. 

* 2. Such a letter introduced into the body of the narrative 
will relieve the reader from my monotonous composition, and 
will greatly enrich the whole : particularly, as it is my firm be- 
lief, that there is no man in this country so well qualified to 
draw the character of Dr. Nisbet as yourself.' 

On the 17th of August Dr. Miller writes to Mr. Griffin, 
that he is better, though his cough is still very trouble- 
some, and adds, 

'Adieu, my dear Brother. My last interview with you has 
riveted my affections more closely to you. Let us love and 
pray for one another more and more I' 

2. Andovbr and Boston. 

The old Calvinistic and Hopkinsian clergy of New Eng- 
land w^re becoming deeply interested in the idea of a theo- 
logical seminary, to maintain their views in common, and 
train a Congregational ministry, which should be of one 
heart in opposing Socinian heresies. Dr. Leonard Woods, 
writing in 1816 to Dr. Samuel Spring, reminds the latter 
of his having thought of Dr. Romeyn, Dr. Miller, and 
others, and finally fixed upon Dr. Griffin, for professor of 
Sacred Rhetoric in this institution.^ To that project and 
another Dr. Miller refers in the following letter of the 24th 
of November, 1807, to Mr. Griffin. 

'Dr. Morse wishes me to converse with you on two points. 
The first is a Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. When 
he last saw you, that institution existed only in design. Now, 
very large funds are actually secured, and its organization is 
commenced. There are five professorships — one of Natural 
Theolo^, one of Christian Theoloey, one of Biblical Criticism, 
one of Ecclesiastical History, and one of Sacred Eloquence. 

Two of these chairs are already filled. A Mr. Woods' of 
Andover (where the seminary is placed) is Professor of Chiia- 

1 2 Dr. Gardiner Spring's Pers. Reminiscenoes, 318. 
> D. I>. from 1810. Se« 2 Sprague's Annalf, 438. 



tian Theology, and a Mr. Pearson (lately of Harvard College) 
is Professor of Biblical Criticism. The three others remain to 
be appointed ; and these it is the M^ish of the gentlemen who 
take the lead in this business to get from the Middle or Southern 

'The second subject is this. Some wealthy and influential 
gentlemen, devoted to the interests of evangelical truth, propose 
to build a large and handsome church in the. heart of Boston, 
and to call one, if not two, decidedly able, evangelical and de- 
cisive men, to undertake the pastoral charge ; and to make this, 
like the Seminary, a centre of orthodox operations. The per- 
sons concerned also wish to get a pastor for this church from 
the southward. 

*Dr. Morse and his friends, before he left Boston, had con- 
versed respecting several southern gentlemen for the above 
places. When he came to New Haven, he and Dr. Dwight 
had a particular conference on the subject. The result of the 
whole was a determination to turn their eyes toward the follow- 
ing gentlemen — ^Mr. Griffin of Newark, Mr. Bomeyn of Albany, 
and Messrs. Abeel and Miller of New York, i ou have now 
the whole matter before you. 

' Dr. Morse is much engaged on these subjects. He informs 
me that the funds for both undertakings will be ample ; that 
the temporal provision made for the support of the gentlemen 
who may be elected will be of the most liberal kind ; and that 
discerning and pious people think they see, in these under- 
takings, great and permanent benefit likely to redound to the 
intereste of religion in Massachusetts, in Kew England, and 
perhaps through the United States. He considers every friend 
of piety, who may be called upon to take a part in these enter- 
prizes, as having a call of the most solemn kind, which he can- 
not easily or lightly put aside. 

* The evangelical men in Massachusetts are also about to or- 
ganize a General Association, between which and our General 
Assembly they mean to propose a system of intercourse and co- 
operation. All these may be considered as parts of one great 
whole, the object of which is to promote the interests of truUi. 

'The plan of establishing a new church in Boston is not, at 
present, in a situation to be freely and undisguisedly spoken of. 
You will please, therefore, to consider this part of my commu- 
nication as made in confidence. 

* Think of this whole subject — sleep on it — pray ovQr it — and 
then write to me. * * 

'P. S. I rejoice with you, my Brother, that God is still con- 
tinuing his glorious work among you. We sometimes have a 


trembling hope, that he is about to pour out his Spirit on our 
poor city. Let me again ask you to pray for us without ceas- 
ing. I should be glad to visit you frequently, and to preach 
on Thursday evening ; but we have our hands fiill and cannot 
leave home, and have a public service always on that very 

*T. P. S. S. Dr. Morse earnestlywishes you to visit Charles- 
town and Boston as early as possible.' 

To the Panoplist, a religious Magazine established by 
Dr. Morse of Charlestown, Dr. Miller was an occasional 
contributor ; but very few of his contributions can now be 
identified. On the 22d of December, 1807, he writes to 
Dr. Morse in regard to one of them, and other matters 
already noticed, 

*My review of Dr. Griffin's sermon you will find on the first 
page. It is short, as I supposed that a single sermon ought not 
to occupy more room. I have been obliged to do it in extreme 
haste : I trust you will be able to read it, with all its blottings 
and interlineations. 

'That I might have as little fatigue as possible in writing, 
(by which my health is daily impaired,) I have abridged Mr. 
Griffin's life of Dr. McWhorter in a new manner. You will 
learn what this manner is by looking at the pamphlet. 

* I had an interview with Mr. Romeyn, of Albany, on the 
business respecting which you wished me to confer with him. 
He spoke in terms of warm approbation of the plan, most 
heartily wished it success, and expressed an opinion that it is a 
plan of immense importance ; but, as I expected, could not see 
how it was possible for him to detach himself from his present 

*Mr. Griffin speaks in the same manner. He is now, as you 
have, no doubt, heard, in the midst of a most animating revi- 
val, with which it has pleased God to favor his church. This 
absorbs his attention and binds him to Newark, to a degree 
which he never experienced before. You will not wonder, 
therefore, that he views his removal from his present station as 
next to impossible. I received a long letter from him a few 
days ago. He considered your plan as a grand one — a plan, 
which, if it can be executed with energy, will form a grand era 
in the history of the American churches. He says, however, 
that before he can come, to an absolute decision, he must receive 
many details of information, which have not yet been given 
him. He laments that it is not possible for him to visit Mas- 
sachusetts this winter. 

232 CORRESPONDENCE. [Cfl. 15. 2* 

*I really fear, my dear Sir, that you will find it difficult to 
secure any suitable characters from the South. If there were 
not a dearth of ministers among us, we might abandon our 
present stations with less scruple ; but who now would supply 
our places ?, I do not see that it is possible for Dr. Abeel or 
myself to think of leaving New York. 

'Has it not occurred to you, that strangers would be more 
apt to incur odium and violent opposition, than natives of your 
own State? And is it not questionable, whether your plan 
might not be more satisfactorily prosecuted by gentlemen 
•already on, or near, the ground, than by persons from a dis- 
tance? Is Mr. Woods (your professor of Christian Theology) 
an Old Calvinisty or a Hopkirman, or between the two ? What 
is the nature of the connexion between the Old Calvinists and 
the Hopkinsians ? Is it of a kind to promise a permanent and 
energetic system of operation ? 

'I have only time to add, that I am, with cordial wishes for 
your peraonal welfare and happiness, and for the prosperity of 
the great plans in which you are engaged for the Redeemer's 

'Your friend and brother, * *' 

On the 28th of December, Dr. Miller wrote to Mr. Grif- 
fin in relation to these New England schemes, 

< * * You ask — 

*1. "What distribution of the places is contemplated, and 
what part is assigned to me?" A. I do not know. The four 
gentlemen named to you have been mentioned iii ciimulo, for 
the places in eumulo. I know not that any distribution has 
been decisively made, even in the minds of any of the mana- 

'2. "How extensive are the fiinds secured for the Semi- 
nary?" A. $100,000 are actually in hand; as much more is 
considered as certainly secured; and Dr. Morse thinks that 
from $400,000 to $600,000 may be counted on, with confidence, 
as the ultimate amount of the funds. 

*3. "Have the Hopkinsians been prevailed on to unite in 
this object?" A. I am told they have; but how far, and on' 
what terms, I know not. 

*4. "Shall we be Presbyterians still?" No, certainly not. 
I take for granted we should be expected to be good Congrega- 
tionalists. And, if a change in favor of Presbyterianisra 
should hereafter be made, it is, probably, not at all in the cal- 
culation of those who engage in the business. 

*Your remarks are important and interesting; yet I have 
some doubts about the soundness of several of them : e. g. 


when you say, that, "if the object be obtained, it must be by 
the aid of gentlemen from the Middle and Southern States," I 
hesitate — the position appears to me extremely doubtful — ^I 
have even questioned, whether the indifference, as it would be 
called, of gentlemen from the South, might not excite an 
odium and an opposition, which the same things, done by 
natives of their own state, would not excite. At the same time 
I think there is a degree and a kind of assistance which we can 
and ought to give. This, if I live to see you, shall be more 
fully unfolded. 

'Again, immensely important as the proposed seminary really 
is, you seem to me to assign to it, in your mind, a station which 
it cannot, at present, fill. Should it ever be erected and or- 
ganized under the most favorable auspices, I take for granted 
it never can be the seminary of the Presbyterian Church, as 
such. Our General Assembly will, doubtless, in a few years, 
institute a seminary of its own, unless Princeton College should 
be placed on a better footing. Nor do I suppose, that the 
Massachusetts seminary can be expected to command, at once, 
even the students, the influence, and the funds of New Eng- 
land. But, if rightly managed, it will command them all in 
seven years, and will be the centre of everything great and 
good to the eastward of New York. This is assigning to it 
quite as much consequence as ought to be thought of. And 
when we recollect how impoj:tant that section of our country 
is; how constantly its citizens are migrating to every part of 
the Union; and, of course, how much influence its institutions 
must have on the religious taste and character of the United 
States, I think the plan ought to be considered as of immense 

* The evangelical interests of this country can support three 
or four great theological institutions, not only without difficulty, 
but with advantage. I have always been of the opinion, that, 
if the Presbyterian Church, the Dutch Church, Dr. Mason's, 
and the Congregationalists of New England, would set to work 
and each erect a grand theological seminary, in the heart of 
her territory, the plan would be infinitely better than to en- 
deavor to make one for all ; even if we could command any 
men we chose, and any amount of funds for the purpose. 
More would be done in the former case than in the latter. 

*I perfectly agree with you, that we cannot rely on the 
biased judgment, or the sanguine expectations of any indi- 
vidual, however respectable, in this ousiness ; and that we 
must have a great deal more information, from diff^ren^ 
sources, before we can decide what to do, 



' I have no hesitation in giving you abundant light as to 
my "propensities" and those of Dr. Abeel, on this subject. 
You are sensible that all four of us occupy stations, at present, 
among the most important in the United States. I do not see 
that it is possible for me, consistently with duty, to quit New 
York. If my usefulness in another place were like to be 
greater than it is here, I ought to make any sacrifice and go to 
that place. But I am, at present, far from being satisfied that 
such a probability exbts. This is also precisely the state of 
Dr. Abeels mind. 

* I do not know what Mr. Woods's sentiments are, excepting 
that a general assurance that they are evangelical has been 
given me. * * 

' We still hope that God is about to revive the hearts of his 
people in our city ; but we hope with trembling. * * 

* P. S. Can you not visit us in a short time ? I wish, with 
all my heart, you could do us this favor. When you come, 
make a point of spending a Tuesday evening with us, as we 
have, on that evening, a large praying society in our school 
room. Our people would be rejoiced to hear you.' 

On the 4th of March, 1808, Mrs. Miller wrote to Mrs. 

* It is a long time since I have written to you, * * but I must, 
as in all other cases of a similar kind, where an apology has been 
necessary, present our little family, with all tneir wants and 
all their attractions, and let them plead for their mother their 
mother's cause. They can tell you that one was sick, and an- 
other peevish ; one wanted clothes, and another nourishment ; 
one a little coaxing, and another a little whipping ; and that 
nearly the whole time was consumed in satisfying these and 
other numerous demands. Indeed, my dear Sister, I have 
scarcely had time to be interested beyond our own dwelling ; 
and even the present delightful appearances with regard to 
religion have not, I fear, had their due effect upon me. 

*We hope and believe that a great work is beginning 
amongst us. Mr. Miller has seen nothing like it, in this city, 
since he has been an inhabitant of it ; and the same God who 
has aroused his people, has renewed his strength, and, accord- 
ing to the promise, made it equal to the burthen which is put 
i^pon him. I wish you could see him — ^how well he looks, and 
ho\y animated with present appearances. As to any exact ac- 
count of this small revival amongst us, I am afraid we can 
give you but little satisfaction.' 

The first Presbyterian church organized in New York 
Oity outside of the collegiate relation, after that relation 


had been established, was the Cedar Street Church, formed 
in 1808. The Rev. John B. Romeyn,^ pastor of the First 
Presbyterian Church of Albany, a very popular preacher, 
of growing reputation, accepted a unanimous call to the 
pastorate. Upon hearing of his decision, Dr. Miller wrote 
to him, the 4th of October, 

'Seldom, very seldom, have I received a letter which gave 
me so much pleasure as this. I most cordially rejoice in your 
decision, my Brother, and hope and believe that you have been 
directed to it in mercy to all concerned. My solicitude on the 
subject was real and great, partly, I will confess, from consid- 
erations of personal comfort, but much more, if I do not de- 
ceive myselti from a desire to see the growth and prosperity of 
the Redeemer's kingdom. The result is highly gratifying to 
us all. May we have reason permanently to rejoice in it as a 
blessing to the Church !' 

Adverting, long afterwards, to the Cedar street enter- 
prise, as an illustration of the benefits of church extension 
by colonizing, Dr. Miller said, 

'When the men, who left the Wall street and Brick Churches 
to form that congregation, had given up their pews to assume 
a new atation and responsibility, their places were soon filled ; 
they were really not numerically missed ; and larger numbers 
than ever were brought within the sound of the gospel.' 

3. President Jefferson. 

Mr. Jefferson was approaching the commencement of his 
last year in the Presidency, when Dr. Miller wrote to him 
a letter, and received a reply, in regard to which, after the 
lapse of twenty-five years, the latter made the following 
memorandum : — 

* I never can read this letter [Mr. Jefferson's] but with regret 
and shame. At the time in which it was written, I was a warm 
and zealous partizan in favor of Mr. Jefferson's administration. 
I substantially agreed with him in politicai principles, without 
being aware of the rottenness of his moral and religious opinions. 
I had written to him, urging him to recommend to the nation 
a day of religious observance, on account of the peculiarly solemn 
and interesting circumstances, in which we were placed as a 
people. I informed him that a number of serious persons, 
(clergymen and others,) of different denominations, had thoughts 
of formally addressing him on the subject, and, as a body, re- 

» From 1809, D.D. 

236 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 15. 3. 

questing him to appoint a day of special prayer. I stated that 
I was very desirous of his appointing such a day, and had 
thought of uniting in the effort to-secure a joint address; but 
that, before doing so, | wished to know, whether it would be 
disagreeable to him to receive such an application ; assuring 
him that neither I, nor my associates in this plan, had any wish 
to embarrass him ; and that, if it would give him pain to be 
thus addressed, I would endeavor to prevent the adoption of 
the proposed measure. To this communication his letter was 
an answer. 

*I now (1833) feel, that I was utterly wi'ong in thus writing; 
and, if I had known the real character of the man, I should 
never have done it. It was wrong for a minister of the gospel 
to seek any intercourse with such a man. It was wrong so far 
to consult his feelings, as to oppose a formal and joint address, 
that he might be spared the pain of refusing.' * * 

'Sir, ^ Washington, Jan. 23, '08. 

*I have duly received your favor of the 18th, and am 
thankful to you for having written it ; because it is more agreea- 
ble to prevent than to refuse what I do not think myself au- 
thorized to comply with. I consider the government of the U. 
S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with 
religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. 
This results, not only from the provision that no law shall be 
made respecting the establishment, or free exercise, of religion, 
but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not 
delegated to the U. S. Certainly no power to prescribe any re- 
ligious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, 
has been delegated to the general government. It must, then, 
rest with the States, as far as it can be in any human authority. 
But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe, 
a day of fasting and prayer : that is, that I should indirectly 
assume to the U. S. an authority over religious exercises, which 
the Constitution has directly precluded them from. It must be 
.meant, too, that this recommendation is to carry some authority, 
and to be sanctioned by some penalty on those who disregard 
it ; not, indeed, of fine and imprisonment, but of some degree of 
proscription, perhaps, in public opinion. And does the change 
in the nature of the penalty make the recommendation the less 
a law of conduct for those to whom it is directed ? I do not 
believe it is for the interest of religion, to invite the civil magis- 
trate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines : nor 
of the religious societies, that the general government should 
be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time 
or matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious ex- 

1808.] ANDOVER. 237 

ercises ; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every reli- 
gious society has a right to determine, for itself, the times for 
these exercises, and the objects proper for them according to 
their own particular tenets ; and this right can never be safer 
than in their own hands; where the Constitution has deposited 

'I am aware that the practice of my predecessors may be 
quoted. But I have ever believed, that the example of State 
executives led to the assumption of that authority by the gen* 
eral government, without due examination ; which would have 
discovered, that what might be a right in a State government, 
was a violation of that right when assumed by another. Be 
this as it may, every one must act according to the dictates of 
his own reason ; and mine tells me that civil powers alone have 
been given to the President of the U. S., and no authority to 
direct the religious exercises of his constituents. 

'I again express my satisfaction, that you have been so good 
as to give me an opportunity of explaining myself in a private 
letter ; in which I could give my reasons more in detail, than 
might have been done in a public answer. And I pray you to 
accept the assurances of my high esteem and respect. 

*Th. Jefferson.' 

4. Andovbr. 

On the 12th of February, Dr. Miller wrote to Mr. GriflSn, 

'I want to talk with you about many subjects, and have 
something to say about Boston and Andover among the rest. 
I had a very full conference with Dr. D wight on this subject, 
when he was here a week or two ago.' 

And again, on the 18th of April, 

* Dr. Morse has written to Dr. Abeel, that a kind of formal 
organization of the Theological Seminary will take place on 
the 18th of May, and that he very much wishes Dr. Griffin, Dr. 
Mason, Dr. Abeel and Dr. Miller to be present and to grace 
the solemnity ; requesting that all the gentlemen might be in- 
formed of his wishes. He also says, that the ordination of Mr. 
Huntington, as colleague with Dr. Eckley, will take place about 
the same time ; and that the general election will be the week 
following; making a cluster of great occasions at once, well 
worthy the attention and the presence of such men as you and I ! 

'What is implied in the organization then to take place ; how 
far the professorial chairs are filled, and by whom ; whether they 
are still looking out, and expecting, or hoping, to get one of us 
there, I know not. It is not in my power to answer any of 
these queries. I only know, that, if it were possible, I should 

238 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 15. 4. 

be much gratified to be present on the occasion. Bat it is out 
of the question. As one, and perhaps two, of my colleagues 
will go to Philadelphia to the Assembly, it would be high trea- 
son against the interests of religion in our congregations, for me 
to be absent a fortnight, or three weeks, at that time. I wish, 
with all my heart, you could be there. * * 

*I was mortified, my dear Brpther, the last time I saw you, 
to hear you say, in our conversation respecting the review ia 
the Panoplist, that you sometimes felt as if you were in an 
enemy's country, and as if there were a stronger disposition to 
view your character with affectionate partiality to the Eastward 
than in these regions. Pray do not indulge in such feelings. 
They are wrong. Depend upon it, you are beloved and hon- 
ored, as well as useful, among us — as much, I will venture to 
say, as anywhere else. With respect to that review, I could 
tell you something,* if I chose, which would take off, a little, 
the edge of a portion of the feelings which you so frankly and 
honorably confess.' 

Again Dr. Miller wrote on the 3d of August, 

* I feel very solicitous, my dear Brother, respecting the ques- 
tion whether you will leave us or not ; and long to hear, what 
kind of answer Dr. Green has returned to >your letter. * * 

* I have nothing new to say on this subject. I have much 
anxious thought about it. If you go, I shall consider it as among 
the most serious and afilicting personal bereavements I have 
ever experienced; and as a melancholy day for this part of 
our vineyard. May God direct you to a wise and happy de- 
cision ! Every feeling of my soul rises up against the idea of 
your leaving us.' 

Andover Theological Seminary was one of the fruits of 
the unsuccessful opposition of Evangelical men to the 
appointment of a Unitarian professor of Divinity, Dr. 
Ware, at Harvard, in 1805. Two different projects, origi- 
nating alike in Trinitarian zeal, were combined to establish 
the single institution at Andover.. Dr. Spring, of New- 
buryport, who had long taken a deep interest in the educa- 
tion of young men for the ministry, and had received and, 
with eminent success, trained a number of them in his own 
house, proposed a seminary at Franklin, Massachusetts ; 
for, as he was a thorough-going, ardent Hopkinsian, he 
desired that the celebrated Dr. Emmons of that place 

1 Mr. Q-riffia did not know, apparently, that Dr. Miller had written it. See 
above, p. 231. 

1$08.] woman's rights. 239 

should be the first professor of Theology. Mr. William 
Bartlett and Mr. Moses Brown, parishioners of Dr. Spring, 
and Mr. John Norris, of Salem, offered liberal contribu- 
tions toward this important enterprise. In 1778, Phillips 
Academy had been established, in the interest of sound 
learning and evangelical religion, at Andover ; and Mrs. 
Phillips, widow of one of its founders, influenced by their 
known wishes, was ready to endow a theological chair in 
connexion with that Academy. Here, the views of the 
"old Calvinists'* were predominant. But the two parties at 
length united the liberal means at their disposal, and made 
Andover the seat of a single institution, in which both 
should be represented. Dr. Leonard Woods, the first pro- 
fessor of Theology, was, at the time of his appointment, a 
decided Hopkinsian, although his views afterwards under- 
went a considerable modification, and he became rather an 
old Calvinist. The Seminary was formally opened in 

5. Woman's Rights. 

Dr. Miller's only publication during the year -1808 was 
a charity sermon,^ printed by request of the female society 
on behalf of which it was preached. This society had, at 
the time, under its care one hundred and ninety-four 
widows, and five hundred and sixty-five children. The 
subject of the discourse was, " The appropriate Duty and 
Ornament of the Female Sex." "There is no new thing 
under the sun :*' we find the preacher here, as before, in- 
deed, in the "Retrospect,"^ ventilating the doctrine of 
" woman's rights," 

"* * I take for granted we shall agree, that Women ought 
not to be considered as destined to the same employments with 
Men ; and, of course, that there is a species of education, and 
a sphere of action, which more particularly belong to them. 
There was a time, indeed, when a very diflferent doctrine had 
many advocates, and appeared to be growing popular: viz., 
that in conducting education and in selecting employments, all 
distinctions of sex ought to be forgotten and confounded ; and 

^ "A Sermon, preached March 13th, 1808, for the benefit of the Society insti- 
tuted ia the City of New York, for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small 
Children. . By Samuel Miller, D.D., one of the Pastors of the United Presby- 
terian Churches in the said city."— Acts ix. 36-41. — Sro. Pp. 31. 

« 2 Vol., 284-203. 



240 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 15. 6. 

tbat females are as well fitted to fill tbe academic Chair, to 
shine in the Senate, to adorn the Bench of justice, and even to 
lead in the train of War, as the more hardy sex. This delu- 
sion, however, is now generally discarded. It begins to be 
perceived, that the God of nature has raised everlasting bar- 
riers against such wild and mischievous speculations ; and that 
to urge them is to renounce reason, to contradict experience, 
to trample on the divine authority, and to degrade the useful- 
ness, the honour and the real enjoyments of the female sex." * 

The author says afterwards, '*In the volume of Eevela- 
tion she is represented as the equal, the companion and the 
helpmeet of man." ^ 

This sermon was republished, by permission, in 1852 — 
after the author's death — in a volume, entitled " The 
Princeton Pulpit," made up of representative Sermons 
from a number of the clerical professors, and other minis- 
ters, and published for the benefit of the Second Presby- 
terian Church, of Princeton. 

6. Presbyterian Theoloqical Seminary. 

The following letters, before referred to, were written to 
Dr Green i— 

' New York, May 10, 1808. 
' My dear Sir, 

* Having a few moments leisure, I do not know that I 
can better dispose of them, than by writing a few lines to you, 
on a subject concerning which I know that you, in common 
with myself, take a deep and serious interest. 

* Just before we parted at Princeton, in the course of the 
conversation which occurred in the college yard, you expressed 
a doubt whether the friends of a theological seminary ought 
to wait for a favorable change in that college, and, indeed, 
whether, supposing such a change to have taken place, it would 
be expedient to locate the seminary for theological instruction 
at Princeton. Perhaps you did not mean to suggest the latter 
doubt ; at any rate, the conversation alluded to has given rise 
to a train of thought in my mind, the substance of which I 
will firankly lay before you. 

' Is it not time to do something decisive towards establishing 
a Presbyterian divinity school ? Is any time likely to occur, 
within eight or ten years, in which fewer difficulties would 

1 Pp. 10, 11. 
»P. 12. 


probably attend such an undertaking, than at present ? If it 
be judged proper to undertake anything, ought it to be set on 
foot by individual ministers ; or, after being talked over and 
digested by individuals, ought the plan to be adopted and 
issued as an act of the General Assembly ? If a school be 
organized, ought it to be placed at Princeton? or would any 
advantages attend making it an entirely separate establishment, 
and at a different place? With respect to the last question, I 
am, on the whole, in favor of a separate establishment and a 
different place, for the following reasons : — 

* 1. Nothing can be done at Princeton at present, and per- 
haps not for ten years. I doubt whether a divinity-school 
there, with ever so able and eminent a professor at its head, 
could be made, in the present state of the college, to command 
the confidence and patronage of the Presbyterian Church. 

*2. Under the most favorable arrangement of the college 
that can be expected, I fear the theological students would not 
be the better for habitual ijitercourse with the students in the 

' 3. If the theological school should, in a few years, become 
extensive, and a faculty of several professors be formed, would 
there not be danger of clashing between this faculty and that 
of the arts? 

*4. Would not the president of the college, and the presi- 
dent of the theological faculty be rivals, and, of course, be 
placed in a situation calculated to interfere with their personal 
friendship ? 

'5. It appears to me that it would be ineligible to have a 
large and important diyinity school under the care of the board 
of trustees of the college as now constituted. I think many 
difficulties would arise from this. Wherever the divinity 
school is fixed, there must be a separate board of visitors to 
. watch over and conduct it. Considering how many questions 
of doctrine and discipline would inevitably arise in conducting 
such a seminary, I think none ought to be members of the 
board, vested with the government of it, but ministers and 
elders of our own church. 

* 6. In order to guard against the degeneracy, both in princi- 
ple and practice, to which such institutions are liable, and 
which most of those in Europe have actually exhibited, I 
think every Trustee ought to subscribe our Confession of Faith, 
before taking his seat, in a very formal and solemn manner, 
and perhaps to do this every fifth or sixth year thereafter. 
But this obviously could not be done by all the trustees of 
Princeton College. 


242 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 15. 6. 

'In short, if it be desired to have the divinity-school uncon- 
taminated by the college, to have its government unfettered, 
and its orthodoxy and purity perpetual, it appears to me that 
a separate establi3hment will be on many accounts advisable. 

* If, then, it be advisable to erect a seminary altogether sepa- 
rate from Princeton College, why wait an hour for a favorable 
change in that institution ? Precious time is wasting, valuable 
opportunities are passing away, and the interests of the church 
are languishing. God has been pouring out his Spirit, for some 
months past, on various parts of our church. Ought not this 
to be Considered, not only as a token for greater good, but also 
as a favorable period for exertion ? 

*Dr. Mason thinks, that every theological school ought to be 
in a large town, because (he students will have a better oppor- 
tunity, in such a place, of contemplating a variety of talents'; 
better means of becoming acquainted with the world ; and be 
better guarded against that foolish haste in forming matrimo- 
nial connections, which is ^promoted by a small circle of ac- 
quaintances and ignorance of human nature. I suspect he is 
wrong, and that while very great advantages would result from 
a more retired situation, most of the evils which he speaks of 
might be avoided by prudent management. The same funds 
would, in the country, educate nearly twice as many young 
men as in the city. And by selecting a populous and genteel 
village, and giving the students an opportunity, twice a year, 
to see our principal cities, everything might be accomplished, 
that a longer stay in them could give. 

*I do not suppose that anything decisive can be done at the 
approaching assembly. But, if it be necessary to bring the 
subject, at first, before the Assembly at all, might not a com- 
mittee be appointed, this spring, to digest and report a plan to 
the Assembly of 1809? And, if the embargo should be raised 
in a few months, would you not be willing to undertake a 
journey, in the course of the next year, to beg for such a sem-' 
inary? I merely throw out the foregoing hints. Think of 
them, and, after having done so, either throw the letter in the 
fire, or take such order respecting its contents as you may judge 
best. I am, dear Sir, cordially yours, 

* Sam'l Miller. 

' P. S. I am encouraged to write, by recollecting what took 
place in 1805; when, in consequence of my writing a hasty 
and crude letter, on the subject of educating pious young men 
for the ministry, you were prompted to think of it, and to pro- 
pose a plan which has already done much good. I take no 
part of the credit of that plan to myself. It is wholly different 


from any that ever occurred to me, and greatly superior to 
any. I scarcely deserve so much of the honor as belonged to 
^* P. P., Clerk of thk Parish," who plumed himself greatly, 
you remember, on having suggested a text, on which the rector 
formed an excellent sermon. May the great Head of the 
Church enable you to take such enlarged and just views of the 
subject, as to propose a course of procedure that will meet all 
sentiments, and be productive of countless and permanent 
blessings! S. M.' 

'Rev'd and dear Sir, New-York, May 14, 1808. 

* Your letter of the 11th instant is now before me. The peru- 
sal of it has given rise to much anxious reflection, the -sub- 
stance of which I will endeavor to throw out without delay or 

*The prejudices, to which you refer, against divinity schools, 
I was aware of; and I am very sorry also to know, that they 
exist much more strongly in the minds of clergymen than of 
laymen ; no doubt for the reasons which you have mentioned. 
But I did hope that we might venture to encounter and resist 
these prejudices, in the open field, with confident hopes of vic- 
tory. If you, however, after much longer experience, much 
more extensive acquaintance with the ministers of our church, 
and much more comprehensive views of the subject, think dif- 
ferently, I am ready to yield to your opinion, and to unite in 
promoting the next best plan. 

^If we cannot have a single great school, then I am clearly 
of opinion that one in each synod holds the next place on the 
scale of expediency. And I also fully agree with you that the 
adoption of this latter plan, in the beginning, may prove the best 
means of ultimately establishing the former. But, if this wished- 
for effect should fail of being produced, shall we not run the 
risk of having our church divided into seven or eight parties, 
or separate interests, with some enterprizing, ambitious man at 
the head of each, and thus weaken, if not destroy, it ? A situa- 
tion in some degree like that which I have supposed, is, at this 
time, the distress and the curse of the Dutch Church. Every 
system that is likely to have an unfavorable operation on the 
unity of the Church ought to be, if possible, avoided. 

'Again, I have some doubts about the plan of instituting a 
seminary for educating young men from the first, as well as 
in their theological learning. Shall we systematically aban- 
don the idea of requiring our young men to produce a diploma 
from some college ? Shall we erect a new college ? In either 
case, will not Princeton College take offence at the measure, as 
calculated, in its ultimate operation, to form a rival institution? 

244 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 15. 7. 

Besides, if we form an institution for carrying out the whole of 
the education of young men, we must have, at least, two in- 
structors, if not three, besides the theological instructor. This 
will treble, if not quadruple, our expenses. 

* On the whole, I feel perplexed and divided between two 
plans. The one is to bring forward an overture of the kind you 
have suggested in your letter. The other is to do nothing more 
at the ensuing Assembly, than to appoint a committee, *' to con- 
sider and report to the next assembly, what further measures 
may be necessary for increasing the number of able and pious 
ministers in our church." I, on the whole, lean to the latter 
expedient for two reasons : — 1. Because the state of our public 
affairs does Hot appear favorable, at pFesent, to exertions which 
involve the raising of funds. But little time, therefore, will be 
lost on this plan. 2. Because it b a matter of so much conse- 
quence that we should begin wisely, that, perhaps, it ought to 
be deliberately talked over, in a leisurely and confidential man- 
ner, before any system be brought forward. 

*If, however, you, after revolving the subject further in your 
mind, and mentioning the matter to such as it would be proper 
to consult, should, on the whole, still prefer the former plan, I 
shall make no objection, but heartily do all in my power to 
promote it. I leave it with God and you. May unerring Wis- 
dom dictate the determination ! 

*If a committee, in pursuance of the latter plan, should be 
appointed, it will require some address to get a good one. It 
will readily occur to you, that much will depend on this. * * 

*I have only room to add, that I am, dear Sir, unfeignedly 
and affectionately yours, 

'Rev'd Dr. Green. Sam'l Miller.' 

7. Call to Dickinson College. 

A few years previous to Dr. Nisbet's death in 1804, the 
prosperity of Dickinson College had seriously declined. 
Another principal was not immediately chosen. Mean- 
while the professors — one of them the Rev. Dr. Davidson, 
Vice-Principal, and pastor of the Presbyterian Church in 
Carlisle — conducted the affairs of the institution. At 
length, in 1808, a benefaction from the legislature of 
Pennsylvania determined the Trustees to appoint a princi- 
pal. On the 5th of July, Dr. Miller received a very kind 
letter from his friend. Dr. Benjamin Rush, of Philadel- 
phia, urging him to allow his name to go before the Board. 
Some of the Trustees proposed to fix a salary, and rely 


upon the reviving prosperity of the college for its payment. 
Others suggested giving the institution entirely up to the 
new principal, allowing him to carry it on at his own risk, 
and for his own benefit. Dr. Rush, in his letter, re- 

a need say nothing to you of the commanding situation of 
the College of Carlisle for unbounded usefulness to Church 
and State. But I will suggest, what perhaps may be unknown 
to you, that your talents, your present attainments, your love 
of knowledge of all kinds, your peculiar and specific manners, 
and your high character, qualify you in an eminent degree for 
that eminent station. Education in our country stands in need 
of a revolution. It should be accommodated to our govern- 
ment and state of society. I know of no man so fit to lay the 
foundation of this revolution as Dr. Miller. 

* I will mention one reason, of a private nature, for your re- 
moval to Carlisle. It will defend your breast from the con- 
sumptive air of the sea-shore, and thereby, probably, be the 
means of prolonging your life, and continuing your labors and 
your honors in the Church for many, many years to come.' 

The following was Dr. Miller's reply : — 

*My dear Sir, New York, July 16th, 1808. 

*I received your letter of the 6th instant a week ago, 
and should have acknowledged the receipt of it before, had I 
not spent the greater part of the last fortnight, with my family, 
at a place, a few miles from the city, to which we have re- 
treated during the summer months. 

*It is scarcely necessary for me to say, that I read your 
letter, both on account of its writer and its subject, with much 
interest. To find myself thought of for a station so important, 
and by a judge of character so enlightened and discriminating, 
was as unexpected as it was flattering. And, though I am 
conscious that you greatly overrate my qualifications for such 
a place ; yet by your estimate of them, and by the favorable 
terms in which you have been pleased to speak of them to 
others, I feel myself highly obliged and honored ; and, I will 
frankly confess, not a little gratified. 

'I am perfectly aware of the commanding situation of Dick- 
inson College, and of the important services which, under wise 
and energetic inanagement, it might be made to render both to 
Church and State. But whqp I consider how long it has lan- 
guished ; and that when aided with all the learning and weight 
of character of Dr. Nisbet, even in his best <^ays, it was not 
able to gain more than a small portion pf pubU<? favor ; I 


246 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 15. 7- 

acknowledge I have not selfccomplacency enongh, in my most 
sanguine moments, to hope that it would be in my power to 
accomplish more than he did : and, perhaps, with all his peculi- 
arities of character, I ought to calculate on much less. 

' The first plan founds all its calculations on the talents and 
popularity of' the Principal, On these he, as well as the insti- 
tution, is to depend for such an ij^crease of reputation, and of 
students, as will insure support. Would this not be a very- 
precarious dependence for a young man, comparatively but 
little known; who has never made trial of his powers as an 
instructor in literature or science ; and who, on the most favor- 
able supposition, might calculate on being a number of years 
in the o&ce, before he could receive such a degree of public 
countenance, as would place him in comfortable circumstances? 
A man must have more confidence in his own powers th&n I 
can possibly summon to my aid, before he can feel secure in 
presuming on the success of this plan. 

' With respect to the second plan, there are many men with 
whom it would be not only feasible, but, perhaps, highly eligi- 
ble. But I am not one of those men. It would indispensably 
require such a vigor, as well as wisdom, of discipline ; such a 
vigilant and incessant attention to the details of economy ; and, 
in short, so large a portion of the active, bustling, mercantile 
character, that I fear neither my temperament, nor my habits, 
would bear me out in the undertaking. All this would be 
necessary to guard against bankruptcy. But there is a more 
serious difficulty yet to be mentioned. In all seminaries of 
learning, in which the students are boarded in common, there 
are continual complaints of the living, arising from the luxu- 
rious habits of some, the caprice of others, the personal malice 
of a third class, and the want of reflection and wisdom in ftU. 
These complaints, in ordinary cases, terminate on the Steward, 
who is expected, both on his own account, and that of the 
Trustees, to make all his calculations on economical, or, if you 
please, mercenary principles. But, on the proposed plan, 
would not the case be entirely changed ? Would not the Prin- 
cipal be the butt of every complaint, taunt, or sneer ; and 
almost unavoidably exhibit himself, in the eyes of the students, 
as a maker of money, rather than a dignified minister of reli- 
gion and literature? Perhaps these difficulties appear the 
greater to me, for want of more mature reflection on the sub- 
ject. However this may be, they really strike me, at present, 
as very formidable. 

* Under these circumstances, I am inclined to believe, that I 
could not -remove to Carlisle, with any prospect of either more 


comfort or more usefulness than my present situation promises; 
and that other gentlemen might be thought of, much better 
qualified than myself, to fulfill the wishes of the Trustees, and 
to promote the interests of the College, on either of the pro- 
posed plans. 

*The consideration which you suggest, respecting my health, 
is weighty. I have no doubt that the climate of New York is 
unfavorable to my lungs j and will frankly confers, that, from 
this consideration alone, I have felt, for several years past, as 
if a removal to a more inland residence would be a personal 
blessing to me. But, as frequent changes of residence are 
neither agreeable to my taste, nor consistent with respectability 
in my profession, I have thought it my duty calmly to commit 
this concern to the direction of Providence, and to wait for an 
offer of removal to some station, which shall promise comfort 
and usefulness, with as much quietness and stability, and with 
as much opportunity to pursue my studies without the distrac- 
tion of temporal cares, as the changing nature of our world will 
warrant us in expecting. 

* On the whole. Sir, I feel it my duty to express a decisive 
wish, that your views may be immediately turned to some other 
person ; and that my name may no longer be retained in the 
list of those from among whom a choice is to be made. 

* Suffer me again to express my grateful acknowledgments for 
"the friendliness of your communication, and for the honor which 
it does me ; and to repeat my assurances of the great respect 
with which I am, Dear Sir, 

*Your much obliged friend 
* and servant, 

* Dr. Rush, Sam'l Miller/ 

Dr. Bush replied promptly, expressing his regret, and 
mentioning the general favor with which the suggestion 
of his friend's name had been received. The Trustees met 
early in October, and in spite of the foregoing letter, which 
had been communicated to them, elected Dr. Miller by a 
large, unanimous vote. Doctor Rush now, once more, with 
great earnestness, urged his acceptance of the appointment. 
As to salary, the proposition finally made was much more 
promising than any which had preceded it. 

*A wide field of usefulness,' said Doctor Rush, ' will now be 
opened to you. You will become the. patriarch of the western 
churches of the United States. You will have the honor of 
introducing a system of education into our country, accomo- 
dated to the form of our govemments, and to. our state of 89- 

248 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 15. 7. 

ciety and manners. You will be able to abolish customs and 
studies, in the College, of monkish origin, and which have 
nothing but antiquity to recommend them. The present de- 
pressed state of the College will serve to heighten your repu- 
tation. The difficulties you will encounter at first will give 
a vigor to your mind that will last through life. Be not dis- 
couraged in viewing them. "Hoc est periculum par animo 
Alexandri." You are more than equal to them.' 

* Recollect the text chosen by Mr. Davies for his funeral ser- 
mon : "No man liveth to himself." You are called, not to the 
chair of the President of the United States, not to a throne, but 
to a station above both of them — to rank with Edwards, Burr, 
and others of the greatest and best men that have lived in our 
country ; to form young men for time and eternity ; to raise up 
pillars for the Church as well as for the State ; and to be no 
longer a star, but a sun, in the great system of science, morals, 
and religion.' 

On the 10th of October, the action of the Trustees hav- 
ing been officially communicated to him, Dr. Miller wrote 
to James Armstrong, Esquire, President of the Board, a 
letter from which the following is an Extract : — 

'In a letter written, more than two months ago, to a distin- 
guished member of your board residing in Philadelphia, I made 
a very frank and unreserved exposition of my views on the 
subject, in reply to some suggestions communicated by that 
gentleman. That letter I expected and hoped would have 
prevented the more formal step which has since been taken. 
Although my views remain unchanged, yet my deep sense of 
the honor you have done me ; and the obligation which I feel 
to give the subject all that serious and respectful consideration, 
to which it is, on every account, entitled ; induce me, before 
giving my final answer, to request from you some information 
on the following points : — ' 

A number of queries were subjoined. Mr. Armstrong, 
a fortnight later, gave the information requested. Dr. 
Miller's final answer was as follows : — 

'Sir, New York, October 31, 1808. 

'Your letter, containing the information which I had de- 
sired concerning Dickinson College, came to my hands three 
days ago. Agreeably to my promise, I embrace the first mo- 
ment of leisure to communicate my final answer to your appli- 

' In expressing the state of my mind on this subject, I can- 
not forbear beginning with a respectful acknowledgment of the 


honor you have done me, hy your call to a station so high and 
responsible. I shall long retain a grateful sense of this honor ; 
and will frankly confess, that the flattering nature and the 
unanimity of your choice, joined with the consideration of my 
having some valued friends in Carlisle, and of my having felt, 
for many years, a deep interest in the prosperity of Dickinson 
College, formed a strong plea in favor of my accepting your 
call. But after the best view of the subject that I could take, 
I have come to a different determination. Among the reasons 
which have led to this determination are the following : — 

* My present happy connexion with a most indulgent and 
affectionate people forms an obstacle to the proposed re- 
moval, which I know not how to surmount. Unless my friends 
deceive me, it would not be possible for me, at present, to leave 
my pastoral charge, without giving more uneasiness, and, per-' 
haps, inflicting greater injury, on a people whom I have every 
reason to respect and love, than it would be proper to hazard, 
without the most unquestionable prospect of much greater use- 
fulness, as well as comfort, in another place. That prospects 
of this undoubted kind would be opened to me in taking 
charge of your college, under present circumstances, I dare 
not promisfe myself. 

'Another consideration which weighs not a little with me is, 
that a removal to Carlisle would compel me to abandon several 
literary plans, which I have formed within a few years past, 
and which I still cherish the hope of executing, if my life and 
health should be spared. I will not trouble you. Sir, or the 
Board of Trustees, with a detail of these plans. It is sufficient 
to say, that most of them are so much connected, on the score 
of convenience, with a residence in a large city, or in the 
neighborhood of it ; and one of them is so closely and almost 
inseparably connected with a residence somewhere within the 
State of New York, that I should consider the acceptance of 
your call as a virtual dereliction of these objects. And, when 
i recollect that they have employed much of the time and 
labor of ten years, 1 feel unwilling, without the most evident 
and imperious call of duty, to make such a sacrifice. 

*But the consideration which appears to me most forcible and 
conclusive is, that I am persuaded I can never realize the ex- 
pectations of the Trustees. It is impossible not to perceive, 
that much of their hope for reviving and establishing the repu- 
tation of the College, rests on the talents and character of the 
Principal. JPor a station to which such peculiar responsibility 
is attached, and to which a failure would direct such pointed 
and inevitable imputations, I candidly declare that I do not 

250 CORRESPONDENCE. [CH. 16. 7. 

consider myself as fitted. With my present views of the sub- 
ject, I could not acquit myself of the charge of practising a 
criminal deception on the Board, were I to undertake the task 
to which they have called me. 

* Under these impressions, I beg leave to announce to the 
Board, (what I trust, from the strain of my former letters, 
they have been led to expect,) that I cannot perceive it to be 
my duty to accept of the high and honorable office to which 
they have elected me. 

' In communicating this decision, I beg that it may be dis- 
tinctly understood, that the amount of the salary offered me 
by the vote of the Board makes no part of my objection to 
accepting their call. I am firmly persuaded, not only that the 
salary is as large as they could wisely or safely promise ; but 
also that my temporal support in Carlisle would be fully equal, 
all things considered, if not superior, to that which I enjoy in 
this place. 

* With fervent wishes for the prosperity of your college ; with 
respectful salutations to the Board ; and with grateful acknow- 
ledgments to you, Sir, and to the other members of the com- 
mittee, for the polite and flattering manner in which you have 
communicated with me on this subject, 

* I have the honor to be 

* Your obedient servant, 

* James Armstrong, Esquire, Samuel Miller. 

* President of the Board of Trustees, &c.' 




Mrs. Miller's memoirs of her life, to the date of her 
marriage, have already been given. The conclusion of 
them, coming down to the year 1808, in which she began 
to write, claim, chronologically, a place here. It will be 
remembered that these memoirs were addressed to her 

'You advised me, a few months after we were married, to 
make a sketch of the sermons which I heard, as my recollec- 
tion might serve, immediately after returning from Church. I 
followed your advice, and it was the commencement of an un- 
dertaking, which was finally made the means of an effectual 
blessing. This exercise engaged me in hearing more attentively 
and systematically, and thus wandering thoughts were more 
and more called in, and vain imaginations more and more sub- 
dued; and faith, at length, came by hearing, and that ac- 
Juaintance with God, and that peace promised from it, to which 
)r. Rodgers*s sermon, the first of which I took notes, would 
have been the means of leading me sooner, if it had been suita- 
bly improved. The adaptedness of his subject — ^from the text, 
"Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby 
good shall come unto thee'*^ — to my state of mind was remarka- 
ble. I had looked to the day on which he preached as the 
commencement of the exercise which you had recommended ; 
and the Lord had prepared for me what was really a funda- 
mental subject ; and I was frequently afterward compelled to 
remark his-'dealings with regj to m4 in this way. *^ * 

*My opportunities in the house of God were, however, far 
from being uninterrupted. I was as one fighting every inch of 
the way, and for every word that I heard. It seemed as if my 

iJob22, 21. 


252 MRS. miller's memoirs. [ch. 16. 

enemy here had double power ; and it was with difficulty, some- 
times, that I kept my seat through the service. * * My ig- 
norance of the Scriptures, which arose from the want of early, 
enlightened, systematic instruction, I now felt the effects of in 
a distressing degree. I had the most dreadful thoughts and 
imaginations mixed with every sermon, and especially on those 
occasions when the Lord's supper was commemorated. I had 
made a profession of religion shortly after coming to New York, 
and, on these occasions, doubts with regard to my fitness for 
the ordinance pressed peculiarly on my mind ; and frequently 
the suggestions — what if I should not unite with the church at 
this time, and if I should give my un worthiness as the reason ? — 
confused my spirit. None who have never experienced these 
things can imagine the agitation they produced. * * 

'You also recommended religious books to me, expressing a 
desire that I should take notes from recollection of their con- 
tents ; but I did not find much light or comfort from the regu- 
lar perusal of any lengthy and labored human performance. 
Particular passages have been greatly blessed to me ; but the 
state of my mind, and the occupations to which I was called, 
did not permit me to devote much time to reading. Some- 
times, when a book was returned which you had lent, and re- 
mained in the parlor for some days, I occasionally took it up, 
and often found a word in season, which was a volume to me. 
In this manner I had here a little and there a little of divine 
instruction, as some would say by chance, but by what I have 
found to have been the sure, unerring influence of a friend, who 
was conducting me by regular, though gradual, progress to the 
knowledge of himself 

' Wilberforce's Practical View was one of the most effectual 
helps of the kind I have mentioned, that I have ever had. His 
observations on the influence of evil spirits seemed to throw 
light on the state of my mind. They were the means of con- 
vincing me of such influences, and led me to look, with more 
purpose of heart, for the only help which could enable me to 
resist them. I learned that the dreadful thoughts which had 
perplexed and almost overwhelmed me, were the injections of 
an enemy, who took advantage of my sins and infirmities thus 
to distract me ; and having identified the enemy, I found more 
strength in resisting him. Amongst other books, novels were 
sometimes brought in my way, and the fashionable poetry of 
Scott and others ; but they produced in my mind a sensation 
which it is difficult to describe — something like that, I pre* 
sume, which would be produced in a half starving wretch, by 
throwing him bones to satisfy his hunger ; and i "neglected 
them from indifference, or rather something like resentment 

1801-8.] MRS. miller's memoirs. 263 

'Besides books, any employment which exercised my mind 
was greatly beneficial. I had sometimes anticipated the plea- 
sure of instructing my children, and I now looked forward to 
it as a probable means of relief. But what in anticipation 
sometimes is pleasant, may be so difficult in practice, that a 

single effort may discourage all our plans. I found, when 

arrived ^t an age suitable for instruction, I was doing little 
more than in intention that in which it was time to be actively 
engaged ; and I should have gone on in this dream, until a 
public school for her had been the result, had not an admon- 
itory voice said, Now is the season ; and the business is of great 
importance. It was that influence which makes "both to will 
and to do *' ; and I .set about the work in earnest ; and, in the 
performance of this (iuty among my children, I have found, be- 
sides all the advantages which I hope will result to them from 
it, a relief to my spirit, which nothing else but a precious word 
from the Fountain of life has given and by this means such a 
word has often come. Thus the opportunities of religious in- 
struction which I enjoyed, and employment which had some 
important end in view, were the only things from which I found 
permanent relief. 

* I had left a numerous family connexion in Philadelphia, for 
which I found no substitute in New York ; for although I shall 
ever remember with gratitude the kind attentions of the people 
to whom you ministered, only an acquaintance of years could 
have produced that familiar intercourse with them, which 
would have been at all like that existing amongst my relatives. 
This loss, together with your frequent absence, arising from the 
necessary claims of your congregation and others, left me to a 
lonesome wretchedness, which favored the growth of imaginary 
troubles, and the dread of future horrors. How was I pre- 
served under such accumulated influences favoring entire de- 
spair? How, but by more than human means? My realizing 
impressions of religion were, for some time, few and slight. 
The strongest which I recollect arose from the fact, that man, 
who was certain of death, should think and care so little about 
it ; should suffer himself to be led away from reflection on this 
subject, in which time and eternity were so much involved, by 
the passing trifles of a day. My convictions on this subject 
were in unison with the Psalmist's expression — " Surely every 
man walketh in a vain shew." 

* My ignorance of the Scriptures, which arose from the want 
of early, enlightened systematic instruction, I now felt the 
effects of in a distressing degree. I had not leisure to supply 
this loss, and I had a fear of them which hindered my improv- 
ing the little time I could redeem from other concerns.. A 


264 MRS. miller's memoirs. [ch. 16! 

• kind, persuasive influence had reached my mind, by means of 
the words in Isaiah — " To the law and to the testimony," etc.,* 
to induce me to search them diligently ; but a host of wild fa- 
natics, who had perverted them, and professed to have drawn 
from them an impulse to all their deeds of darkness, affrighted 
and kept me from getting much engaged in them. Thus was I 
distracted between such fears, and the conviction that in the 
Scriptures was my only hope of deliverance. 

* After the birth of I experienced, together with much 

indisposition, new and oppressive anxieties. But there were 
also new and delightful feelings accompanying this gift. I felt 
too that my life was of double importance, and my duty to 
strive against whatever would render it useless greatly enhanced. 
Some suitable sense of my relative obligations was bestowed 
with this child, and, for the first time, the claim which my 
husband and she had upon me affected my heart. 

* I had an impression that much reading and study were 
necessary in order to come to the knowledge of the truth, and, 
of consequence, much leisure and retirement ; I was distracted 
between this great concern and the constant demands of my 
family ; and when our second child was a few weeks old, and t 
found that an additional one brought so many additional cares, 
I said, internally, with a fretful, desponding spirit. Now, all 
hope of attending effectually to my everlasting concerns is 
entirely at an end. It is a little remarkable, in view of these 
perplexities, that the first four or five months after the birth of 
our third child were chosen as the season for bringing me to 
the saving knowledge, as I trust, of the truth as it is in Jesus. 
I had now not only the further cares which another child gave, 
but the difficulties of a removal to a new house, which was not 
quite finished, and the task of attending to a number of 
friends in it, while thus situated, whom the meeting of Presby- 
tery had drawn together. It was so ordered, that the voice of 
the Lord might be more impressive, which said, When I will 
work, what shall hinder? 

' I labored with melancholy and unbelief, and more igno- 
rance than I was sensible of, until after the birth of this third 
child ; but scarcely had my agony passed, when I was involun- 
tarily engaged in surveying this dear infant, this new-bom 
miniature of man ; though so small, perfect in every part ; his 
features, limbs and joints in every respect so wonderful ! I was 
wholly absorbed in this contemplation, until my admiring 
view was, through it, raised to the more wonderful Maker of 
this nice mechanism, and I was enabled to believe in my heart, 
that there was truly a God behind the curtain of creation — 

J U. 8, 21. 

1801-8.] MRS. miller's memoirs. 266 

the Creator of all things in heaven and earth. By the light 
of this discovery I perceived that I had been little, if any, 
more than an atheist, except that I had not realized and 
gloried in my unbelief. I had really lived without God in the 
world. This delightful conviction of the reality of a First Cause 
was so consoling, so exhilarating to my spirits, that it spread 
sunshine and joy through almost the whole of my confinement; 
I concluded that I had obtained that gift which is the earnest 
of future happiness; and, had I been permitted, here would I 
have rested. This might have done for a heathen ; but what 
is the gospel good for if we may rest here ? It was, in fact, as 
yet a sealed book to me, and my heart was but preparing for 
the ingrafting of the written word. Indeed I was not alto- 
gether satisfied with my present experience ; I felt sometimes 
as a learner who had entered only upon the threshold of spirit- 
ual knowledge ; and I recollect, * * when the world began 
again to take possession of me, and arrangements for new- 
mpdelling our family, and producing more order and regularity 
in it, when we should remove and occupy a new house, were 
forming another idol in my heart — I recollect, under a momen- 
tary conviction of my danger, kneeling and praying that I 
might not be led away by temptation, but might be continued 
and kept in the truth, if it were even at the expense of a repe- 
tition of those sufferings which had oppressed me for five years 
past. I began to feel that I needed correction, and that I was 
stretching toward heaven only in proportion as I was pressed 
on the earth. The same blessed Spirit, which opened the eyes 
of my mind to discern the truth of an Almighty Maker of all 
things, hovered round me. I was, indeed, still distressed with 
former fears ; but they were restrained, and assisted in urginor 
me to meditation and prayer; and " a still small voice" seemed 
to be endeavoring to allure me into the path of wisdom — the 
study of the Bible. * * From the time I left my room my 
way was again hedged up ; my distress of mind came on with 
redoubled violence ; distracting cares again beset me ; and the 
comfort I had experienced appeared like a dream. 

* It was about this time that Wilberforce's View, which you 
had lent to a friend, was returned, and attracted my attention. 
But so stupid was I, that, although I was convinced that I had 
to strive not only with flesh tmd blood, but with principalities 
and the powers of darkness, and ought to have felt that watch- 
fulness and prayer were my best weapons against them ; the 
suspension of evil influence for an hour made me careless, and 
the world resumed its attractions. Instead of taking advan- 
tage of precious freedom to obtain a hope against my besetting 

256 MRS. miller's memoirs. [ch. 16. 

enemy, I thought only of enjoying the present moment, or lay- 
ing up a store of earthly comfort with which to occupy my 
mind and heart. Wretched, infatuated mortals ! What would 
become of us if left to ourselves ? 

*Everjr circumstance, for a few weeks after this, concurred 
in bringmg my feelings to an extremity. Your frequent ab- 
sences from home that spring, in consequence of exchanging 
pulpits with your brethren, left me without my only efficient 
help, as I then felt; for there was a dependence on you, 
strengthening daily, which ought to have been placed upon 
God alone. I realized the snare, but was not able to escape 
from it. When you were to be absent for two or three days, 
many previous ones were spent in anxiety and dread ; and I 
was as a wretch who has been released from the gallows, when 
the time of separation ended. I knew that the performance 
of duty required these separations, and conscience did not per- 
mit me to make any resistance to them. At one time, during 
'this season, when left alone and almost at my wit's end . to 
know what to do, I found the Bible open at Hebrews xii. 11 
lying in your .study; and it gave comfort to my wounded spirit. 
I felt as one under severe chastisement, and was encouraged to 
hope for the annexed promise. At another such season. Dr. 
Kodgers preached from the text — " Did not our hearts bum 
within us ?" etc.,^ and the sermon had a word in season for me. 
It was a powerful means of shaking, and in some measure re- 
removing, the prejudice which I had against the Bible. Our 
venerable father, who had, indeed, been a second father to you, 
seemed to be endeavouring to win some soul to attention to the 
word. * * The enemy said, The religion of Christ is a religion 
of fanatics, and has been the cause of war and bloodshed 
wherever it has come. The "still small voice" said. It is a 
religion of meekness and brotherly love: when properly under- 
stood, it makes man tender-hearted, forgiving, meek ; and the 
sermon of Dr. Rodgers confirmed the latter testimony — ^that it 
was a system of purity and righteousness. But when my mind 
had been fully convinced, that the system was free from these 
imputations, the enemy took the next stronghold, and I feared 
that /might build upon it a system of delusion and horror. 
The world has taught us that man may do so, but because he 
examines it with a perverted understanding, and a heart filled 
with his own ways. These were the examples which afirighted 
me. But what made this sermon, and the Psalm, and all, 
delightful, was the persuasion that an unseen influence was 
operating upon my mind, opposed to the spirits of darkness 

1 Luke 24, 32. 

1801-8.] MRS. miller's memoirs. 257 

which had tormented me ; and my heart was attracted, before 
Christ was formed in it the hope of glory. My feelings were 
buoyed above the melancholy, which depressed me, for some 
hours after I returned from church ; I wrote down as much as 
I could recollect of the sermon immediately; and I often look 
upon it with wonder now, when I consider its effect, and feel 
that it was indeed, though a feeble instrument, in the hand of 
an almighty power. Mr. Woodhull, who exchanged with you 
shortly after, preached upon that state in which the ^'v^vorm 
dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." My mind had always 
revolted at the idea of eternal torment. I could not acquiesce 
in a truth so repugnant to human nature. This subject exer- 
cised my mind through the week, and was one means of gradu- 
ally removing the comfort derived from Dr. Rodgers' sermon. 
* * My mental cavils against the doctrine of eternal punish- 
ment remained for days, in spite of some convictions in favor 
of it, and have been but gradually subsiding under the clearer 
light of gospel truth. * * I have sometimes thought, however, 
that when my mind became engaged in the deep and mysteri- 
ous doctrines of religion, although it was perplexed and dis- 
tressed, there was a relief from the peeper anxiety, occasioned 
by imaginary evils, with which I was filled at other times ; and 
I was certainly preparing to be more sound in doctrine, when 
I should be enabled to believe unto salvation. When you re- 
turned, I grew careless and inattentive, and the enemy again 
beset me with more violence than ever. It appeared to me, at 
this time, that I heard more stories of distress and horror than 
usual. Several cases of what was called religious melancholy 
and derangement occurred in a few weeks, and some within 
the circle of my acquaintance ; and the deep-felt language of 
my heart was — I can no longer struggle I I must sink ! But 
I had an almighty helper and was sustained. 

* On Saturday, the 5th of April, you made an exchange with 
Mr. McDowell of Elizabethtown. Perhaps no separation was 
ever more trying to me. After you were gone, I hurried into 
the street to endeavor to dispel my anguish : I now know that 
retirement and prayer would have been far more effectual. 
The horrors of my situation pressed upon me, I knew that I 
was beset with feelings that had driven many to desperation. 
In the evening Christiana Anderson came to attend the exer- 
cises of the Sabbath with us, and stay until Monday, when you 
were to return. This was indeed a kind interposition of Provi- 
dence for my relief, and by no means the first of the kind that 
I had experienced ; and J felt the conviction deepened, that the 
providence and grace of the Lord were working together for 

258 MRS. miller's memoirs. [ch. 16. 

my final deliverance. I began this evening to pray in our 
family in your absence : the effort was a difficult one, but the 
result has proved a blessing. The foundation was laid, in that 
season of darkness, for many exertions which I have since 
thought were the means of much good, and which would proba- 
bly never have been engaged in, had not the pr^^sure of habitual 
distress benumbed my feelings with regard to worldly ciicum.- 

*Mr. McDowell preached, on the 6th of April, 1806, from 
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, etc.'V and it was 
a word of comfort to me, which, although it did not raise me 
from the waters in which 1 was sunk, kept my head above 
them, and was one means of preparing the way for more effec- 
tual deliverance. It especially weakened the effect of that ar- 
gument against me, which was sometimes so overwhelming, 
drawn from the inability of those to resist the pressure of weak 
nerves and their dreadful consequences, who were far stronger 
in body and mind than myself. When reflecting on this, I 
often said in despair. If a Johnson and a Cowper sunk in such 
circumstances,. what shall a poor, weak woman do, whose in- 
firmities and occupations make them tenfold more oppressive? 
Mr. McDowell said, in connexion with the words — "Though I 
walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no 
evil" — "Let not the Christian pilgrim be discouraged by its 
being strewed with the bones and skeletons of others who have 
travelled before " ; and pointed to an almighty helper ; and 
there was strength by means of his words. 

*A friend seemed now to be with rapid progress gaining ac- 
cess to my spirit, diseased beyond the reach of human skill, 
who alone knew how to apply a balm for every wound. The 
certainty that nothing human could save me made me feel like 
a poor, isolated being alone in a crowded world ; and the inr 
quiry was continually present with me — What shall I do? 
Who will shew me any good ? 

* Of the Yfeek succeeding this Sabbath I have but a feint re- 
collection. My distress of mind increased so, that when you 
were out but for an hour, I was almost in agony lest some 
dreadful thing should take place. I have often, when some 
circumstance has recalled this period, asked in astonishment. 
Was all this concealed from my husband and every other hu- 
man being ? Do I deceive myself, or was I, to appearance, 
like the rest of the world, and no distraction perceived? Was 
I preparing all this week to leave one place of abode and occupy 
another, with scarcely a thought engaged in the business ; and 

1 Psalm £3, 1, etc. 

1801-8.] MKS. miller's memoirs. 259 

did I proceed rationally ? If I did, it waa from thine uphold- 
ing grace, O Lord I 

* The next Sabbath, April 18th, I spent at home — I do not 
know on what account, but probably from indisposition. It 
was a restless, wretched day, and I awoke imder the pressure 
of increased weakness on Monday morning, to begin the busi- 
ness of removing. I was assisting at both houses, sometimes 
at one, and sometimes at the other, and going backward and 
forward, as my presence seemed to be required at either. To- 
ward noon, in returning from Dey to Liberty street, my mind, 
almost overwhelmed with dreadful images, but still endeavor- 
ing to fasten on something that would save it from distraction, 
still striving to enter into some religious exercise which would 
draw it ofi* from imaginations of horror, was aided suddenly in 
its efforts ; and, from a course of reasoning which was almost 
instantaneous, I came to the conclusion, that I would lay aside 
all my books, even those on religious subjects,^ that I would 
assiduously attend to my avocations through the week, and en- 
deavor diligently to listen to the preaching on the Sabbath ; 
recollecting that I had been more coinforted by one sermon 
preached, than by all the labored works which I had attempted 
to peruse. This arrangement, which seemed to proceed from 
the influence of the Spirit upon my mind, composed my feel- 
ings, and subdued, in some measure, my fears ; and, from anxi- 
ety for myself, my desires became immediately engaged for my 
children. I began to feel that change of heart, which was 
necessary as a preparation for any good, and I labored in 
spirit, for, a few moments, for them. These reflections, which 
had been rapidly succeeding each other, and which had occu- 
pied but as it were a minute, were suddenly succeeded by an 
illumination of mind certainly supernatural. It was the light 
of ckaracter — that Light which is the life of men — a lovely 
impression of him, whom the Apostle John represents repeat- 
edly imder the image of light in the first part of his gospel. 
It was a ray of that light from heaven, which rested on the 
Apostle of the Gentiles ; and had no need of a voice to tell 
me what it was, for my heart had been preparing to hail it as 
my only hope. And I can now say with renewed certainty, 
when one experience afler another has confirmed this hope, 
that " the glory of the Lord shone round about" me. It shone 
indeed in darkness, and I can give but a faint impression of its 
effect upon my mind. It was something like that which is at 
times produced by natural objects. I have seen all nature 
overshadowed with gloom and obscurity, by the unusual effect 

1 Bxeept the Bible, aa she afterwards explains* 

260 BiRS. miller's memoirs. [en. 16. 

of darky thick clouds ; when suddenly, from an opening wholly 
unperceived before, the sun has darted forth his rays, and 
thrown light and gladness all around. And as the eye recedes 
from such a burst of natural light, so did my mind from this 
beam of spiritual day: it was too vivid for a mind so long 
wrapped up in gloom to bear. I was afraid of being entirely 
overcome, and sinking in the street under its influence ; but I 
was enabled to struggle against its overwhelming power, and 
hurried home still experiencing its happy effects. All my ex- 
perience since has convinced me, that this was not a vague 
illumination, a mere chimera of the mind. It was immediately 
followed by the intelligent fruits of the Spirit By means of 
preaching and the Scriptures, I have been led to faith in all 
the doctrines of the gospel ; sometimes as unexpectedly as 
when this illumination took place ; and I have more and more 
reason to hope, that it was the dawn of an everlasting day. 

* I had scarcely reached home, when the enemy of the souls 
of men again began his attacks, but in a new form. I was in 
deep distress for a few minutes, at the thought, that light had 
appeared for my salvation, but I had resisted it. My fears, 
hitherto, had been all for the flesh: this was the commence- 
ment, I believe, of spiritual distress, properly so called. My 
horror at the thought of my day of grace's being past can 
scarcely be expressed. But the plea was internally and irre- 
sistibly made, that it was infirmity which had opposed, not 
intention. I was soothed by this suggestion, and the more 
persuaded that I had experienced what was the dawning of a 
new day in my heart. It did, indeed, like the dawning of the 
morning, for some time render the vapors of the night more 
apparent and terrific; but its increasing strength has been 
gradually dispelling, and I trust will go on to dispel, them, 
until they shall all vanish in noon-day glory. The word of 
God directs tis to judge of the operations of the Holy Spirit 
by its fruits ; and I soon had an evidence in my favour by 
means of this rule. A sight of the greatness and mercy of the 
Redeemer produced a deep conviction of my own littleness; 
and at every review of his charming image, my heart involun- 
tarily cried. Why me. Lord? Why me? These words arose 
from the deepest conviction and feeling. How often did I say, 
through that day and evening, and for some days after, I will 
tell my husband what I have experienced : I will tell him that 
I have a better hope than this world can afford. I am going 
into a new earthly dwelling, but a better dwelling is in store 
for me : I shall inhabit those mansions which the Saviour is 
preparing for those wha love him. But words, on this subject, 

1801-8.] MRS. miller's memoirs. 261 

failed me, and fiirther employment prevented the communica- 
tion. The Lord would have the whole glory of establishing as 
well as renewing. From this time until the 27th of April,- was 
the most distracting and the darkest that I had ever passed. 
Batan knew that he had " but a short time," and made it as 
wretched as possible. 

* The confui^on which took place in removing; the impossi- 
bility almost of seizing a moment for meditation and prayer — 
the necessary means, as I have since found, of keeping alive 
the new-bom principle of grace; the weariness which over- 
powered me on the Sabbath, and either kept me fi*om church, 
or rendered me unfit to be there; all had a tendency to hinder 
the means of grace, to which I felt that I was directed for 
relief, from taking effect* And it was not until I was enabled 
to make a violent effort to rise above these hindrances, that I 
experienced the first precious effect from the course which I 
had resolved to pursue. The Sabbath^ previous to the meeting 
of the General Assembly this year. Dr. Nott preached in the 
morning in the Wall street church. He had been staying with 
us, for some days, on his way to the meeting of that body, and 
we were to proceed with him to Philadelphia the next week. 

*The day commenced and continued with me, as usual, with 
agitating fears, and an almost distracted state of mind. Could 
I have found any rational plea, I wopld have staid at home ; 
but I felt that my duty to attend could not be lightly set aside. 
My mind was so bewildered and wretched, that I found my ut- 
most exertion necessary to keep my seat, in church, at all 
quietly ; and all my hope arose from the possibility of fastening 
my mind intently on the sermon. I bent my whole strength to 
this, and found more than human assistance in doing so. It 
was the most propitious sermon that could have been selected 
for me. It contained arguments in proof of the resurrection of 
Christ — ^I should say the most forcible that could be collected, 
because they irresistibly convinced me, and set aside all the 
cavillings which had been collected in my mind for years. I 
was as well convinced, when the sermon closed, that this won- 
derful event had taken place, as that any one had in mv own 
life ; and that, if this was true, Christ must be the Sent of God, 
he in whom we were to believe ; and I was willing to place all 
my dependence on him. I knew now what faith in Christ was, 
and was, in spite of men and devils, in spite of myself, spirit- 
ually a believer. Oh, what a bright season it was ! I felt in- 
deed like a new creature. The cloud of gloom within me was 
rent, and was more and more dispelled from this time ; a new 

1 May 11th, 1806. 

262 MRS. miller's memoirs. [ch. 16. 

world of spiritual views opened upon my mind and heart — a 
door which has never been closed against me when I had a 
heart to enter; and never will be closed, I trust, until faith 
shall be lost in sight, and hope in enjoyment. But Oh, how 
often does flesh and the world prevent my taking advantage of 
this privilege ! How often do I sink, like a mere clod of the 
valley, into spiritual stupor ! — ^how often, like the beasts that 
perish, feel satisfied with the enjoyments of the flesh I From 
this time every assault of mental anguish was a means of new 
light and a firmer trust ; in all I came off conqueror, and more 
than conqueror, through him who had loved me ; every new 
struggle fixed some Bible truth in my mind, or gave me another 
animating hope. * * 

'After this, my attention to the Word arose, not merely from 
a sense of duty, and a desire to put aside distressing imagina- 
tions, but for a sincere taste for the undisguised truth. Some- 
times, when a word in season had reached my heart and shut 
out the world, the flesh and the Devil ; when I beheld every 
object through the gospel glass, and each took its proper and 
relative situation in my judgment ; when my heart was, I trust, 
filled with the love of Christ, and participated, in some mea- 
sure, in the joys of heaven ; I was almost afraid of breathing, 
lest this frame should be lost. I realized the fear expressed in 
the Canticles,^ and was unwilling that anything should move 
to disturb this enjoyment ; and prayer appeared involuntarily 
to arise, that I might be preserved from every temptation to 
apostacy. It was the prayer of faith, which said, 1 have no 
hope but in thee ! At the next step I shall be ensnared, unless 
thou uphold me ! * * 

'After I reached Philadelphia, I found the distraction of 
mind produced by company, and a constant change of scenes 
and objects, very unfriendly to growth in light and knowledge; 
but I experienced a strong warfare of the Spirit against the 
flesh, as well as of the flesh against the Spirit. I sometimes 
was so abstracted from these, as to feel as if I took no part in 
the struggle — somewhat as a spectator feels, who is overlooking 
two contending adversaries — ^but not without a faithless, trem- 
bling anxiety as to which should be the conqueror; as to 
whether it was possible that I could be delivered from such a 
powerful enemy, a^ I had been contendmg with for so many 
years. * * The passage — " But I tell you of a truth, many 
widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, etc.,"* was accom- 
panied by the powerful operation of the Spirit, and not only 
quieted every agitating fear, but produced that peace and joy in 

1 Probably Cant. ii. 7, iii. 4. 5. etc. * Luke 4, 25-27. 

1801-8.] MRS. miller's memoirs, 263 

believing, which the world cannot give, or take away. The 
doctrine of election, which had so often perplexed and troubled 
my mind, now entered it with a comfort that I cannot describe. 
I now learned, that God could and would impart that strength 
and aid to the weak and foolish, to babes in Christ, which he 
denied to the wise and prudent ; and I felt that I was an in- 
heritor of the promises. 

*0n our return from Philadelphia, in company with several 
members of the assembly, either from their conversation, or 
some other forgotten cause which occurred during our ride, the 

?uestion as to the divinity of the Saviour exercised my mind, 
t was not an idle speculation merely ; my feelings were en- 
gaged ; I was in great distress for a few minutes — in that kind 
of distress which every Christian has, no doubt, experienced, 
when the things belonging to his everlasting peace have exer- 
cised his mind. A sermon, which I had heard from Dr. Priest- 
ley, some years before, had convinced me that error had no 
safe side. If Christ were a man, it was idolatry to honor him 
as God. Although my judgment was then convinced, I was 
indifferent as to the result of the question. But now I was 
alive to all the importance of it. My mind vibrated for a 
minute ; but my faith in Jesus as the Truth — the Sent of God — 
was fixed, and the infallible word said. Hear him ! The recol- 
lection of the simple fact, that he had suffered himself to be 
worshipped, without reproof, delivered me from the fear of 
being guilty of idolatry, and established his divinity in my 
mind. For the same infallible word said, "Thou shalt wo]:ship 
the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." God does 
not deny himself. Therefore being the Sent of God, he speak- 
eth the words of God ; and suffering himself to be worshipped, 
must be God. Thus * * by means of a moment of agita- 
tion, an important truth was fixed in my mind.' 

Mrs. MUler closes these memoirs with a description of 
some of the further conflicts, through which she was ena- 
bled to take a stronger hold of the doctrines of the gospel, 
and obtain a clear assurance of her interest in Christ. She 
adopted, experimentally, one by one, the great evangelical 
truths involved in God*s entire sovereignty, her own utter 
unworthiness,' and just condemnation, and her helpless de- 
pendence upon divine grace. These attainments were 
made, every one of them, by searching the Scriptures with 
diligence and prayer, while at the same time she was 
stirring herself up to run in the way of all duty. Thus 
she prevailed against the errors of ''falling from grace," 

264 MRS. miller's memoirs. [ch. 16. 

and doubting her own state, because she did not attain 
practically that perfection, which theoretically she had 
never expected. Thus she got rid of her remaining trou- 
bles respecting the doctrine of eternal torment. 

'Thus/ she concludes, *did 'the Holy Spirit teach me one 
truth after another, and with little formal effort on my part ; 
for my constantly besetting sin was indolence : I was willing to 
sit down and count every attainment enough, instead of follow- 
ing on to know the Lord. I would not be a snare to any by 
this representation; and should add, that the same Friend 
who led me step by step into the truth, saw the necessity of 
trial as a preparation ; and what I would not labor for was 

fiven me always by suffering. * * When a subject, which 
had neglected to take hold of, took hold of me, my spirit 
labored, and my mind was weighing argument even in the 
midst of worldly employments. And I feel that I have, not- 
withstanding all that has been done for me, stopped short, not 
I trust of everlasting life, but of being thoroughly furnished for 
every good word and Work — of making that return which so 
much grace demanded; for "unto whomsoever much is given, 
of him shall be much required." And I am left with no other 
plea than, " God, be merciful to me a sinner I" What has been 
sown in weakness, do thou raise in power I 

'Thus was I sustained notwithstanding constitutional ten- 
dencies, reduced health, and the most unfavorable circum- 
stances ; and none need despair.' 




1. History of the Dissolution. 

Soon after his settlement in New York, Dr. Miller seems 
to have become thoroughly convinced, that the union of 
the congregations, to which he and his colleagues jointly 
ministered, was a great evil. The church edifice in Rut- 
gers street having been dedicated in 1798, there were three 
places of worship and worshipping assemblies, with but one 
board of trustees, one session, and one body of deacons — 
in fact, but one church. And of this whole church each 
of the collegiate ministers, until the settlement of Dr. 
Milledoler in 1805, was a pastor. Preaching, in turn, to 
each of the three congregations, he was expected to visit 
and watch over the great body of the people at large. 
There were, doubtless, advantages attending this arrange- 
ment. As it was understood that the sermons preached to 
one congregation would be repeated to the others, the labor 
of preparation for the pulpit was abridged, or more time 
afforded for making that preparation thorough. Moreover, 
the general supervision of Dr. Rodgers, the senior col- 
league, was regarded as particularly important ; and the 
whole people, to whom he had greatly endeared himself, as 
a pastor and friend, were spared the pain of parting with 
him, or losing any of his ministrations. The evils of the 
arrangement, however, far overbalanced all its advantages, 
real or imaginary. If it facilitated pulpit preparation, it 
greatly multiplied all other pastoral cares. Every family 
expected and claimed the visits of each pastor — formal, 
ministerial visits, too, according to the usage of the Church 
23 265 


of Scotland. To visit, with tlie best effect, a single large 
city congregation ; to cherish a proper intimacy between 
pastor and people ; to exert that immediate personal influ-- 
ence, which is so important to a church's stability, growth, 
and general welfare, is a herculean task, under which many- 
clergymen have sunk down exhausted ; and which a far 
greater number have been able to persuade themselves that 
they had hardly time or strength to attempt. What, 
then, must have been the labor of visiting three such con- 
gregations in union ? It is evident, too, that partialities 
among the parishioners towards this or that one of their 
pastors, and such invidious comparisons as some would 
hardly have refrained from making, must have operated 
unfavorably upon the people themselves, and presented to 
the collegiate ministers constant temptations to rivalries 
and jealousies, very unfavorable to their own comfort, 
their spiritual improvement, their harmonious co-operation, 
and their general usefulness. Dr. Miller remarks of his 
burdensome pastoral duties, that he soon found their full 
discharge wholly out of the question : his work seemed 
ever accumulating upon his hands. * This,' he adds, 
* always grieved me. Besides, perplexities and diflSculties 
often arose respecting both the temporal and spiritual con- 
cerns of the two congregations. In fact, they were tied 
together very much as the Siamese twins, and their re- 
spective movements embarrassed and impeded very much 
in the same way. No one who never had any personal 
experience of these difficulties could adequately feel or 
estimate them. After struggling with them for a number 
of years, I became perfectly satisfied, that if the churches 
could be separated, and each one have its appropriate 
pastor, the best interests of each would be in every respect 

Yet of this union many of the church members, especi- 
ally the older ones, who had longest enjoyed Dr. Rodgers's 
labors, were so tenacious, that for years after Dr. Miller's 
settlement, every thought of attempting to dissolve it was 
discouraged by determined opposition, and by a fear of 
disturbing the peaceful relations of the people among 
themselves and to their pastors. Still, the prejudices by 
which the old system was upheld were gradually dying 
away ; and every year added strength to the growing 


conviction, that a separation of the ^' United Churches" 
"would be very advantageous to each of them, tending to 
the increase of Presbyterianism, and the enlargement of 
the Redeemer's kingdom. Hence, Dr. Milledoler*s settle- 
ment as one of the collegiate pastors, in 1805, was pecu- 
liar. Though he was to preach to all the congregations, 
according to the established routine of pulpit services, the 
Rutgers street people were to be otherwise his particular 
pastoral charge ; and of the latter, it was understood, that 
he was to be the sole pastor, should a division afterwards 
be eflFected. 

Dr. Miller, from almost the beginning of his pastorate, 
had been in the habit of expressing freely his opinion that 
the Collegiate Churches ought to be separated. With Dr. 
McKnight, in particular, he had often talked on the sub- 
ject; finding his colleague's sentiments quite accordant 
with his own, and that they had once led him to propose 
the separation to a joint meeting of the elders, deacons, 
and trustees ; who, however, had so summarily, and, as he 
thought, so offensively, rejected his proposition, that he 
had determined to have nothing more to do with the mat- 
ter. But in the spring of 1807, a number of gentlemen, 
worshipping in the Wall street and Brick Churches, associ- 
ated themselves with others who had been unable to obtain 
pews in either, to erect a new Presbyterian house of wor- 
ship. The Cedar street Church was the result of this 
effort, and was opened in November, 1808. At the instal- 
lation of the Rev. John B. Romeyn as its first pastor. 
Dr. McKnight, in giving the customary charge, congratu- 
lated him on being the sole pastor of a single church ; 
noticing, in strong terms, the advantages of such a posi- 
tion-, and the disadvantages of the collegiate relation. 
This, with the entire and happy success of the experiment, 
greatly diminished the numbers and influence of those who 
stood out for maintaining the union of the earlier congre- 
gations. * People began to see,* says Dr. Miller, ' that a 
church was more likely to prosper, which had a single 
pastor, to whom all eyes and all hearts could be directed, 
and who had a single people that he could call his own.' 

As he began to think more seriously of making the 
attempt to effect a separation. Dr. Miller conversed more 
freely with Dr. McKnight ; and at length informed him, 


and him alone, that he proposed making it at the juncture, 
evidently near at hand, when Dr. Rodgers might be laid 
aside from active service. But finding, afterwards, that a 
number of persons in the collegiate churches, who favored 
the separation, were growing restive under delay, and 
were disposed to seek another church connexion, he pre- 
cipitated the attempt. With Dr. McKnight's hearty con- 
currence, but without mentioning his purposq, beforehand, 
to another human being, — not even to Mrs. Miller, lest she 
should be unnecessarily disquieted, — he formally proposed 
to the session, on the first of December, 1808, the adoption 
of measures for separating the United Churches. At Dr. 
McKnight's suggestion, the matter was referred, as before, 
to a joint meeting of the elders, deacons, and trustees. 
For nearly four months this subject occupied the attention 
of the people and their officers, until, about the close of 
March, the joint body of the latter unanimously recom- 
mended separation : Dr. Rodgers, however, was to retain, 
as long as he lived, his connexion with both churches ; 
while Dr. McKnight was to be pastor of the Brick Church, 
Dr. Miller of that in Wall street. This^ result was the 
more gratifying to the latter, because he had fully resolved, 
and had delicately- informed, the session, in bringing the 
matter before them, that he must seek another settlement, 
if the collegiate relation were continued. 

Dr. Rodgers had steadily refused to take any part in the 
prosecution of the measures thus brought to an issue. He 
freely acknowledged, indeed, many of the evils of the col- 
legiate relation ; but his long connexion with the United 
Churches, his unwillingness to sever the ties which bound 
him to any portion of his charge, and the fact, doubtless, 
that his most active services had been performed before 
that charge became so overgrown, complicated, and op- 
pressive, seem to have prevented, with him, a full convic- 
tion that the change was necessary. 

2. Troubles. 

Evils which have long existed, and have taken deep root, 
can seldom be eradicated, without violence to the feelings 
of many persons ; and reformers must ever expect to en- 
counter opposition and incur odium. Perhaps Dr. MiUer, 

1809.] .TROUBLES. 269 

while he had counted the cost in certain respects, had no 
idea, beforehand, of the real troubles into which he was to 
be brought by his reformatory zeal. In fact, these troubles 
could hardly have been anticipated, although most naturally 
springing from the measures just as naturally adopted to 
separate the United Churches. Dr. McKnight's particular 
friends thought that his seniority entitled him to the pas- 
torate of the old Wall street church. On the other hand, 
that church deemed itself entitled to make its own choice ; 
while the New, or Brick, church could not readily brook 
the idea of taking just what the other left. Hence, the 
apprehended diflSculty of making a satisfactory disposition 
of things, after the separation, became a serious obstacle to 
the separation itself. Some, to remove the difficulty, pro- 
posed that Dr. McKnight should, like Dr. Rodgers, con- 
tinue to serve both churches, or simply to preach for both ; 
but he was not himself satisfied with the proposal. Others 
suggested calling a popular man to occupy this relation, as 
a preacher chiefly, to the two. Again, in the Brick Church, 
as it must yield the first choice to Wall street, there was a 
strong desire, apparently, to call a new pastor, and leave 
to others the determination of the question, which of the 
two. Dr. McKnight or Dr. Miller, should be settled in Wall 
street, and which should be the preacher in common. Dr. 
Miller had frankly offered to take either of these positioiis, 
or the pastorate of the Brick church, and had, indeed, 
staked all upon the issue. No person seems to have had 
the slightest idea of the dismissal of Dr. McKnight. In 
fact, more than one of Dr. Miller's warmest and most influ- 
ential friends had candidly said to him, that if, in the re- 
sult, either should be dismissed, it ought to be he, as the 
younger man, who could the more readily shift for himself. 
Probably, too, this was considered but fair, since he had 
been the mover in the business, and had counted upon dis- 
mission as the possible cost of his attempt. 

More than a year before making the formal proposition 
to separate the churches, he had written on business to his 
friend, Mr. Speece, of Virginia ; and, at the request of Dr. 
Abeel of the Dutch Church, in which there was a vacancy, 
in anticipation also of the wants of the new Cedar street 
church, and with the prospect that Dr. Rodgers's growing 
infirmity would soon make a new collegiate pastor neces- 



sary for the United Presbyterian congregations, had urged 
him to visit New York, and let himself be heard. But 
Mr. Speece had not been willing to leave Virginia. 

A commission from the same friend to procure a book 
obliged him to write again, just after the separation bad 
been formally proposed. He was moved to write, more- 
over, by the facts, that the vacancy in the Dutch Church 
still existed ; that Dr. Bodgers, who actually preached his 
last sermon some nine months only thereafter, was very 
feeble; and that an influential officer of the Ui^ited 
Churches urged him to write. He had scarce a thought 
that Mr. Speece would come to the North, yet believed 
that, if he came, he would prove acceptable as a collegiate 
pastor, and would himself be likely to prefer the position of 
preacher to both congregations, should they be separated. . 
He therefore renewed the suggestion of a visit to New 
York, though without mentioning the project of separation. 
The answer, however, was the same as before. 

At this time Dr. Griffin was widely known and admired 
as a preacher. Dr. Miller, as his intimate personal friend, 
was urged by several leading men in the United Churches 
to write to him, proposing that he should visit New York 
as a candidate. On a variety of accounts Dr. Miller ob- 
jected. He supposed, especially, that Dr. Griffin was 
already committed to the people of Boston, and to the 
Seminary at Andover. At length, however, he yielded to 
strong and repeated importunities in behalf, particularly, 
of the Brick church, concluding that it could do no harm 
to let Dr. Griffin know the state of feeling towards him in 
New York ; and he wrote first a hurried, afterwards a more 
leisurely, letter. But Dr. Griffin decided to go to Massa- 
chusetts, and Dr. Miller, though painfully aflfected by it, 
could not but approve his decision. 

With the arrangements for separation Dr. McKnight was 
not satisfied, and they were followed by new complications 
and troubles. He charged his colleague with having used 
unfair influences to secure a settlement in the Wall street 
church, and stigmatized the project of separation itself, 
and the letters to Mr. Speece and Dr. Griffin, written 
though they had been at the urgent suggestion of others, 
as parts of a plot to get rid of him. No doubt injudicious 
friends aggravated the misunderstanding. It became evi- 

1809.] TROUBLES. 271 

dent, at lengtli, that a full authoritative investigation alone 
could quiet feelings, on this subject, which were becoming 
more and more excited. Dr. Miller offered to submit the 
case to Presbytery, or to a joint assembly of all the officers 
of the two churches, or to other arbitrators chosen by Dr. 
McKnight, or selected in any manner which he might 
propose. Finally, it was agreed that each party should 
choose five arbitrators, and the ten thus appointed five 
more* — in all fifteen, whose judgment was to be final. 

Dr. Miller first proposed five names. Dr. McKnight , 
not only expressed entire satisfaction with the gentlemen 
named, but said that three of them were on his own in- 
tended list. The number was completed according to 
agreement, and, one person declining to act, the rest, by 
general consent, proceeded with the investigation. Two, 
at least, of the gentlemen thus appointed i^ere well known 
to be strongly prejudiced against Dr. Miller, from what 
they had been told, in private, of the affair ; but after each 
party and his witnesses had been fully heard, the referees 
unanimously and fully acquitted Dr. Miller ; and Dr. Mc- 
Knight expressed his entire conviction, that they could not, 
as conscientious men, have done otherwise. Subsequently, 
in the course of the day on which an attested copy of the 
decision was delivered to him, the latter * called on Dr. 
Miller at his own house, took him by the hand, and ex- 
pressed a desire, that all grounds of uneasiness between 
them might be, thenceforward, considered as buried and 
forgotten. On Dr. Miller's expressing a similar sentiment, 
they again formally shook hands, in testimony of a renewal 
of their friendship and intercourse. This took place on 
Saturday. On the following Monday, Dr. Miller returned 
the visit ; when Dr. McKnight again took him by the hand, 
and received him with as much apparent cordiality as he 
had ever done.' It should be added, that the referees, 
while wholly exonerating Dr. Miller, declared that Dr. 
McKnight's suspicions, though mistaken, had not been un- 
natural, or unpardonable, considering the imperfect state- 
ments he had received, and all the circumstances of the 

Dr. McKnight, however, under the influence, evidently 
of mischief-makers, calling themselves his friends, was 
induced, afterwards, to question the righteousness of the 


decision; and, undesignedly doubtless, put it in their 
power to bring the whole matter, as they subsequently did, 
before the public, in his absence. He seems never to have 
justified this proceeding, and by the action of Dr. Miller's 
friends it was promptly put to shame. The latter, to the 
end of his life, always spoke of Dr. McKnight as a truly 
honest and pious man, of excellent talents, a sound, ortho- 
dox divine, and one of the most instructive preachers he 
had ever heard; but always averred, that his colleague's 
suspicions and accusations in the case just mentioned had 
been wholly without ground, except in an excited imagina- 

The decision of the arbitrators was not given until the 
2d of June, but, meanwhile, the two congregations had, 
both separately and jointly, ratified the arrangements made 
by their officers ; and on the 26th of April, Presbytery 
had consummated the business, by releasing Dr. McKnight, 
at his own request, from both charges, and dissolving Dr. 
Miller's connexion with the Brick church, that he might 
devote himself altogether to that in Wall street. The 
relations of Dr. Rodgers remained undisturbed, while Dr. 
Milledoler, according to the original stipulation with him, 
became sole pastor of the Rutger's street church. 

The troubles which have been mentioned were themselves 
a strong argument against the collegiate arrangement, 
illustrating, as they did, the unhappy suspicions and 
jealousies which, not unnaturally, might influence asso- 
ciated pastors. Dr. Miller ever maintained, that the 
separation of the churches, notwithstanding these troubles, • 
was a great blessing ; and he was disposed* to regard his 
efforts in the matter as the most important service which 
he ever rendered to the Presbyterian Church in New York. 


1809, 1810. 


1. Ordination of Ruling Elders. 

On the 10th of January, 1809, Dr. Miller, by invitation, 
ordained ruling elders at Powles Hook, now Jersey City. 
In regard to such ordinations, and this one in particular, 
he subsequently remarked, 

"The fact, so far as I know, is indubitable, that from the ^ 
commencement of the Reformation to this hour, in the Re- 
formed Churches of Scotland, France, Holland, Geneva and 
Germany — all of which were Presbyterian — in short, through- 
out the whole Presbyterian world oi Europe, the ordination of 
ruling elders by the imposition of hands has been altogether 
unknown. Upon the same plan our Formularies, as agreed 
upon by the Presbyterian Church in the United States, in 
1788, proceeded. They made no provision for the use of this 
form in the ordination of this class of officers ; nor was it ever 
introduced into our practice, until about twenty years after the 
adoption of her present system. Then the first specimen of it, 
in our, or, so far as he knows, in any Presbyterian Church, was 
given by the author of this Manual. In the year 1809, being 
called upon to constitute a new church, in a destitute settle- 
ment, he ordained the Elders with the imposition of hands. 
He was aware, that in our Church, there was no precedent for 
this proceeding; but so deep was his conviction that both 
scriptural principle and scriptural example called for this 
method of setting them apart, that he could no longer forbear 
to adopt it. He well remembers, indeed, the doubting look 
and the shaking head which he encountered, on the occasion, 
from some who considered themselves as peculiarly strict Pres- 



byterians."* "Finding, however, that many of his brethren 
considered it an innovation, and were by no means prepared to 
introduce the practice ; believing that diversity of practice in 
this matter would be very undesirable ; and persuaded, more- 
over, that the act in question ought not to be deemed an 
essential in any ordination — ^he resolved not to repeat it, until 
it could be used without offence, and with better prospects of 
edification to the Church."' " Since that time, however, the 

Eractice has been gradually gaining ground, and seems now 
kely to obtain general prevalence in our Church."' 

Dr. Miller's reasons for preferring this method of ordi- 
nation in the case of ruling elders, were, to state them 
briefly, these two : — Firsty the rite of laying on hands, 
especially considering its use in the Church, was as appro- 
priate in their case as in any other ; and. Secondly ^ it 
seemed to be according to Bible example to ordain all 
strictly ecclesiastical officers in this way. If deacons 
were so ordained,* why not ruling elders ? 

On the 28th of May, upon ordaining elders in the Wall 
street church. Dr. Miller preached a sermon on the Elder- 
ship, which was published in 1811,* and many years after- 
wards, as we shall see, enlarged into a volume. 

2. Miscellaneous Topics. 

With a review, for The PanoplUt^ of a sermon by Dr. 
Dwight, Dr. Miller wrote to Dr. Morse, on the 14th of 
February, 1809, 

*The discourse is good — ^worthy of its author; but it might, 
it ought to have been better. In such a cause, a man ought to 
vrrite for his life. 

** * I ought to apprize you, that, when I write for the press, 
I always write currente calamo, and depend on correction after 
the composition gets into type. This is wrong, but it is my 

^ Sermon on the Warrant, Nature^ and Dutiee of the Office of the Ruling 
Elder, (1843,) Appendix, 115, etc. 

* Essay on the Warrant, Kature, and Duties of the Office of the Ruling « 
Elder, (1832,) 285, etc., n. 

' Sermon, etc., etc., 117. 

* Acts 6, 6. 

fi The DiFine Appointment, the Duties and the Qualifications of Ruling 
Elders. A Sermon preached in the City of New York on the 28th of May, 
1809. By Samuel Miller, D.D., one of the Pastors of the First Presbyterian 
Church in the City of New York.— Aots 14, 23.— 8vo» 


habit ; and I hope you will not let the proof sheet of this pass 

* If my heart does not deceive me, I most cordially rejoice to 
hear of the good prospects of your seminary, your Panoplist, 
and your new church in Boston. May the great Head of the 
Church continue to prosper and bless them, and bless all who 
are engaged in promoting them. 

* You propose that Mr. Romeyn and myself should come 
under engagements, as stated contributors to the Panoplist. 
We cannot either of us possibly think of such a thing. If you 
knew the feebleness of my health, and the constant pressure of 
mj avocations, you woulj almost think me mad to promise an 
occasional contribution. I hope, therefore, you will expect 
nothing from me, for at least twelve months to come.' 

To Dr. Griffin, who had accepted a professorship at 
Andover, and also an invitation to preach statedly in the 
new Park street Church, he wrote on the 17th of March, 

* It was with a mixture of sensations, which it would not be 
easy for me either to analyze or to express, that I received your 
last letter. I rejoice in everything that brings honor to my 
brother, and, in this view, was gratified to find, that the people 
of Andover and of Boston felt as if they could not do without 
you. But when I recollect that all this included your separa- 
tion from us, and your departure to a distant region, it afflicted, 
as it continues to afflict me, to a degree that I cannot express. 
I believe you have decided as you ought — my judgment tells 
me you have. But, O my Brother, we want you here ! and the 
thought of your going is too painful to be dwelt upon. But the 
great Head of the Church, I know, will direct all for the best.' 

Again, on the 27th of May, he writes, 

* I was in hopes I should see you before you left our neighbor- 
hood, but it seems I must give up this hope. Farewell, my 
beloved Brother I May as much honor and comfort, as will be 
for your good, be heaped upon you while you live I Above all, 
wherever you are, may the consolations of grace, and the most 
abundant success in winning souls to Christ, attend you I May 
the Captain of Salvation arm and strengthen you for the war, 
and bring you off, in every conflict, a conqueror and more than 
a conqueror! 

* Again, farewell I Write to me as soon as you get settled, 
and have anything to say. Always recollect, that there lives 
not a brother in the ministry, who loves you more than myself; 


and that I shall always feel a deep interest in everything that 
relates to you and yours. * * 

*I am, dear Brother, 

'Yours, inviolably, 
' Rev'd Dr. Griffin. Sam'l MiUer.' 

On the 6th of April, 1809, Dr. Miller was commissioned 
by Daniel D. Tompkins, governor of New York, as chap- 
lain of the first regiment of the State artillery, an office 
which probably added little to his labors, and less to his 

In this year the New York Bible Society was formed — 
one of the Pioneers of the American Bible Society. W« 
find Dr. Miller actively assisting in its organization, for a 
time one of its Secretaries, afterward, a Vice-president, 
and then President. 

The New York Historical Society was instituted the 
10th of December, 1804, and incorporated the 10th of 
Febuary, 1809. Dr. Miller was one of its founders and 
original corporators, all the rest of whom he survived ; also 
its Corresponding Secretary ; and the earliest of its collec- 
tions presents us with a discourse of his, as the first paper 
after those relating to the Society*s formation.^ As long as 
he resided in New York he took an active part in its proceed- 
ings, and never lost his interest in its welfare. Of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society, an earlier kindred organi- 
zation, he was a corresponding member. 

The following letter to Dr. Green explains itself: — 

' Kev'd and dear Sir, New York, September 6th, 1809. 

I am happy in the opportunity of introducing to your ac- 
quaintance the Rev'd President Atwater, lately of Middlebury 
College, and now on his way to take charge of Carlisle. 

* It gives me particular pleasure to find, that President At, 
water entirely coincides with you and me on the importance of 
restoring the old puritanical discipline in colleges ; and that he 
estimate the importance of colleges by the degree in which they 
subserve the interests of the Church. I take for granted that 
the moment this is known, he will receive the decided counte- 
nance and aid of the friends of religion in your state. That he 

^ " A Discourse designed to Commemorate the Discovery of New York by 
Henry Hudson j delivered before the New York Historical Society, September 
4th, 1809 ', being the completion of the Second Century since that event. By 
Samuel Miller D.D., One of the Pastors of the First Presbyferian Church in 
the City of New York, and Member of the Historical Society." — 8fo. Pp.28. 


will have yours, I have ventured to assure him. The high 
character of this gentleman you are already acquainted with. 
* I am, dear Sir, 

'Cordially and affectionately yours, 

''Sam'l MiUer.' 

The following letter, was written on the 30thof X)ctober, 

*My answer shall be short. I feel deeply for the establish- 
ment and welfare of the church in Boston, and need no argu- 
ments to convince me that it is one of the most important and 
interesting establishments in the United States^ or the world. 
But I cannot leave New York, under present circumstances, to 
go and take charge of it. The state of the Presbyterian Church 
m New York, generally, and that of my own i^ongre^ation in 
particular; my engagements some time since virtually made 
with the latter; the apprehended danger from a change of cli* 
mate ; — ^these and several other considerations weigh so heavily 
on my mind, that I can recollect no case in which the path of 
duty has appeared more clear to me. And this i^ the decided 
opinion of all, without exception, whom I have consulted (con- 
fidentially) on the sul^eet. Notwithstanding what your friends 
say, I do not believe I should enjoy my health in Boston. But 
even if I had no doubts on this point, the ties which bind me 
to my present station are such, as, I am convinced, it is not my 
duty to break. 

'My dear Brother, it would give me more pleasure than I 
can express, to spend the remainder of my days near you. 
And I ought to oe able to say — I trust I can say — ^that it 
would give me still greater pleasure to be made an instrument 
of bringing glorv to the Redeemer's cause in Boston. But, un- 
til God, in his rrovidence, shall give me an entirely different 
view of the subject from what I now have, I dare not stir. I 
speak with perfect frankness, and hope you will receive this as 
my final answer.' 

'Mr. Codman^ has been with us two Sabbaths. We are 
very much pleased with him. For my part, I have not seen a 
man, for a lon^ time, whom I more highl^r esteem or more 
heartily love. I bless God that such a man is near Boston. I 
wish he were in it. 

'My flBimily has been out of town during the summer and be- 
ginning of autumn. We have just returned, and are in pretty 
good health. The religious aspect of our city is much as it has 
been for a year. Dr. Bomeyn still continues very popular and 

^ See 2 Spragne's Annala, 492, and Memoir and ReminisoenoeB of Dr. Codman, 
by Dr. William Allen and Dr. Johusa Bates. 



very useful. His church members are rapidly becoming more 
numerous. * * 

* I am, my beloved Brother, 

* Youir affectionate and devoted 

* Rev. Dr. Griffin, Sam'l Miller.' 

To Bt. Green, on the 16th of November, Dr. Miller 
sends his felicitations : — 

* I have been intending, for several weeks past, to address a 
congratulatory letter to you and Mrs. Green on your late mar- 
riage; and have been prevented by nothing but incessant 
hurrj^. I embrace this opportunity of tendering to you my 
cordial felicitations, in which Mrs. Miller affectionately joins. 
There are few persons in whose welfare we feel a deeper in- 
terest than in ^hat of yourself and Mrs. Green. And to find 
you bearing to each other the relation which you have lately 
formed, is certainly not calculated to diminish our interest. 
May that blessing, which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow 
with it, rest on you and yours I 

* You must know that about twenty-four hours after the news 
of your marriage had reached New-York, (which it was not 
very tardy in doing,) Mrs. M. and our sister. Miss Sergeant, 
both dreamed, on the same night, that you and Mrs. Green 
had just arrived on a visit to us. When we met, next morn- 
ing at breakfast, (which you know has been the invariable 
dream-disclosing occasion, time immemorial,) each told her 
dream, and our conclusion immediately was that you would 
soon be here. To our mortification, however, we find, so fer, 
that the old-fashioned rule of interpreting dreams must still 
stand good. If you could make out to set this rule aside, for 
once, and let us see you and Mrs. Green before the winter sets 
in, you would give us more pleasure than I can well express. 

'I am, ReVd and dear Sir, 

'RespectfiiUy and affectionately yours, 
' Rev'd Dr. Green. Saml Miller.' 

8. Episcopal Controversy. 

In December, 1809 — ^nearly two years and a half after 
the appearance of his first volume of Letters on the Chris- 
tian Ministry, Dr. Miller published, in a second volume, 
"A Continuation " of those letters.^ This work, as the 

^ "A Continnibtion of Letters oonceming the Constitution and Order of the 
ChristianMinistry; addiwseed to the Members of the Presbyterian Churches 
in the City of New York. Beiog an Examination of the Strictures of the Rev. 
Drs. Bowden and Kemp, and the Rer. Mr. How, on the former Series. By 
Samuel Miller, D.D., one of the Pastors of this First Presbyterian Church in 
the said City. 1809."— 12 mo. Pp. 428. 


continuation of a controversy to which his opponents had 
chosen to give the character very much of a personal con- 
test, was, of necessity, somewhat diflFerent from the formei; 
one. It had to deal, not only with certain opinions, but 
also with men who had fairly subjected themselves to criti- 
cism in advocating those opinions, in a variety of appeals 
to popular prejudice, and by systematic personalities which 
were, to say the least, no evidence of the strength of their 
cause. An examination, however, of this volume,, from 
which extracts have already been given, will show that Dr. 
Miller preserved, throughout the controversy, the general 
manner and spirit by which his entrance upon it had been 
characterized. It was a very significant fact, that his op- 
ponents, with all their diligence and zeal, could find so lit- 
tle even to allege against him in point of temper and cour- 
tesy, that they were driven, as we have seei;i, to pronounce 
his "moderation," and "kindness" affected and insidious; 
nay, only a "mask" to cover the pride, passion and bit- 
terness, which they pretended to discern in his heart. 

To the Continuation of Dr. Miller's Letters, Dr. Bow- 
den replied in a single volume, published in 1811. Here 
the formal controversy between these opponents ended. It 
has been spoken of at some length, because of the impor- 
tant influence which it exerted on Dr. Miller's reputation 
and subsequent labors. Whatever may have been the real 
damage which he did to the extravagant claims of ultra 

Erelatists, certain it is that they treated him, thereafter, 
is life long, as a most formidable adversary. Not content 
with attempting to answer his arguments, they thought it 
necessary to reiterate, from year to year, from mouth to 
mouth, and from pen to pen, that he was ^ garbler of quo- 
tations, and, particularly, in his treatment of their patron 
saint, Ignatius, had borne a double face. Again and again 
these allegations, which will be mentioned more particularly 
hereafter, were shown to be baseless ; but it was easy to 
repeat, without verifying them ; and their frequent repeti- 
tion seems to have been relied upon much more than legiti- 
mate argument, to support the Episcopal cause. Another 
doubtful expedient of these controversialists has been that 
of mutual laudation. To meet and vanquish an antagonist 
was not so easy as to tell how triumphantly some one else 
had already done it. Of this sort of strategy, and of even 



the still more masterly method of self-laadation, high ex- 
ample was given, and was not hesitatingly followed. 

4. Theological Seminart. 

In May, 1809, the General Assembly received an over- 
ture from the Presbytery of Philadelphia for the establish- 
ment of a theological school. This overture was referred 
to a select committee, and, upon their report, the Assembly 
resolved to submit to the Presbyteries the question, whether 
one great school should be established, in a central location, 
for the whole Church ; or twoy in such places as best to 
accommodate both the North and the South ; or a school 
for each of the Synods, of which there were at this time, 
seven. We find Dr. Miller writing still on this subject to 
Dr. Green. 

'My dear Friend, New York, January 16, 1810. 

* As the object of this letter is single, and as I have 
not time for a long introduction, I plunge at once into the 

*Our presbytery will certainly, and, I hope, unanimottsly, , 
offer an opinion to the next general assembly, in favor of a 
single theological school, on a large and liberal plan, in prefer- 
ence to two or more. But I am much afraid that a large 
majority of the pr^byteries will be of a different opinion, and 
will address the general assembly accordingly; in which case, 
I suppose, the assembly will consider itself as bound to adopt 
the plan which a majority recommend. 

' 1 am of opinion, that measures ought to be taken to pro- 
duce a different result ; and that, for this purpose, a pamphlet, 
of a single sheet, ought to be written stating strongly and 
clearly the arguments in favor of a single school ; that it ought 
to be written immediately ; that it should be anonymous ; and 
that a copy of it should be sent by mail, as soon as possible, to 
every Presbyterian minister in the United Btatea. / 

' If I do not deceive myself, you also are in favour of a ^gle 
school. I am not certain whether this impression Jias been 
produced by hearing you say so ; or by my knowing, in gene- 
ral, that you are a man of sense. At any rate, I am well 
persuaded that such ought to be your opinion. And I earnestly 
hope, that you will undertake to write the pamphlet in ques- 
tion ; and that you will do it without loss of time. 

' I think that the theological school which shall be instituted 
ought to be furnished with at least three professors ; and that 


at least one of these ought to be selected firom the South or 
West, in order to conciliate those portions of our church. 
Such a school would be, in all probability, of incalculable 
advantage in promoting the union, extension, and energy of 
our church ; whereas two or more schools, I verily think, by 
dividing and distracting it, would place us in circumstances 
less eligible than we are at present. I had much rather have 
none established, for a year or two, than several. 

'As for the place of this school, J have no predilections — 
no anxieties. Feeling myself totally unqualified to take any 
part in such a seminary, I really feel as if it were a matter 
indifferent to me where it may be located — ^within ten miles of 
me, or five hundred from me. 

* I beseech you to undertake to write such a pamphlet as I 
have suggested. I think it will do good. And unless some 
measures are taken to secure a majority on the right side, I 
fear we shall have a sad spot of work. 

'Perhaps ypu will say, "liCt A., B., or C. write it." But 
really I know of no one except yourself who can. My health * 
is so feeble, and my avocations are so numerous, that I cannot 
undertake it Dr. Bomeyn is quite as unfavorably situated as 
myself— perhaps more so. We all say, "!Dr. Green is the very 
man I" Fray mform me, by the next mail, that you have set 
the printer at work.' 

In answering this letter, Dr. Green seems to have asked 
for suggestions as to the matter of the proposed pamphlet ; 
and, on the 23d of January, Dr. Miller replied at some 
length, giving arguments in favor of a single divinity 
school. A report, however, which he drew for his presby- 
tery, followed by a few extracts only from the reply to Dr. 
Green, will present, most favorably, the whole subject. 
Dr. Bomeyn was his active coadjutor in these efforts. 

* The Presbytery of New York, after maturely deliberating 
on the overture respecting Theological Schools, sent down 
by the last General A^embly to the several Presbyteries, are 
decidedly of the opinion, that, of the three modes proposed in 
that overture, the first ; viz., the establishment of One Great 
School, ought to be preferred for the following reasons:-^ 

^1. The whole strength and resources of the Church, in this 
case, would be directed to a single point; and might, of course^ 
be made to operate with more convenience and effect 

'2. By having all the theological students collected in one 
Seminary, it would be easier for the cUffcreiit parts of the 
Church to perceive, at a single view, th^ number and character 



of the youth destined for the ministry/ and to be excited to 
exertion for increasing their number, than if their attention 
were divided between a number of seminaries. The Presby- 
tery are deeply persuaded that one of the principal reasons 
why our churches are not more impressed and alarmed with 
the scarcity of ministers and of candidates for the ministry is, 
that those ministers and candidates, b^ng scattered within the 
bounds of near forty preabyterieSy are supposed to be much 
more numerous than they r«sdly are. 

'3. By deyoting all the strength and resources of the Church 
to a single school, it would be furnished with larger funds, with 
a more ample library, with a greater number of professors, and, 
of course, with a more extensive and complete system of edtiea^ 
Hon, than could be expected, or, indeed, would be possible, if a 
number of schools were established. The Presbytery are per- 
suaded that no single professor, however great his talents and 
learning, and however unremitting his diligence, can possibly 
conduct, with any degree of efficiency and justice, the whole 
* studies of a large class of theological students. 

*4. The adoption of the plan of a single school would tend, 
in the opinion of the Presbytery, more than any other, to pro- 
mote the unity and peace of the Church. The youth educated 
on this plan would be more likely to be united in the same 
views of evangelical truth and order, than they would if edu- 
cated at difi^rent seminaries. In this case also, the great body 
of our ministers would be personally acquainted with each 
other ; early and intimate friendships would be formed between 
them; and in addition to the higher and more important 
motive of promoting the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom, 
they would be prompted, by a desire of seeing and conversing _ 
with each other, to come together in the higher judicatories of 
the Church. The Presbytery cannot help believing that to 
this source we might look, under the smiles of Providence, for 
a growing diligence and punctuality in our delegation in at- 
tending on the General Assembly, that most important bond 
of union and harmony in our ecclesiastical system. 

' With respect to the disadvantages attending the plan of a 
single school, the Presbytery cannot believe that they bear any 
proportion to the great and manifest advantages which forcibly 
recommend it. The inconvenience, arising from the distance 
of the position of a single school from the extremes of the 
Presbyterian bounds, would be much more than compensated 
by the superiority of the plan of education; by the more 
ampl^ means of improvement, and by the probable provision, 
an this case, for the cheap, if not gratuitous, education of such 
is might not popsess adequate means themselves. 


'In case the firntplany or the erection of a single school, can- 
not be carried, thd Presbytery would then express an opinion 
in favour of the second plan, or the establishment of two schools, 
in such convenient stations as might be selected. 

'And, finally, rather than have a theological seminary estab- 
lished in each Synod, the Presbytery have no hesitation in 
declaring, that they would, on the whole, prefer leaving the 
education of candidates for the gospel ministry on its present 
footing; and are persuaded that the respectability, the comfort, 
and the unity of the Church would be more promoted by re- 
maining as we are, than by a system so calculated to divide 
our strength, and distract our counsels, as the erection of a 
number of independent seminaries.' 

In the letter mentioned, the following sentences occur: — 

'Our church being scattered over so large a tract of country; 
embracing people of so many different classes and habits ; but 
a small portion of the ministers being acquainted with each 
other, and even these seldom coming together ; and a variety 
of sentiments and practices prevailing, wit£ respect to Psalmody, 
Church Government, Sealing Ordinances, etc.; I verily think, 
unless something be done to counteract these evils, the harmony, 
the comfort, the respectability, and even the extent of the Church 
must, before long, be very seriously diminished. The establish- 
ment of several schools will, obviously, have a direct tendency 
to increase and perpetuate all these evils.' 

' [In case a single school is established,] the different habits and 
feelings at present existing, in different parts of our country, can 
be consulted, by selecting professors from such different portions 
of the Church, as will render them, strictly speaking, representa- 
tives of the whole.' 

'Allow me to add, that, in attempting to make an impression 
on our Southern brethren, great care ought to be taken to write 
in such a strain, as to convince them that our great object is to 
make, not merely a learned ministry, but a fervently pious one, 
and one favorable to revivals of religion. 

'Upon my shewing the above to Dr. Bomeyn, he observed, 
after attentively reading it, that he had only one additional 
idea to propose, which was, that if there were a number of 
schools, each professor, feeling himself the centre of a little 
world, would be tempted to endeavor to extend his fame, by 
broaching new opinions, and attaching his name to some new 
sub-sedy if the expression may be allowed. * * ' 

Dr. Griffin, after a short term of service at Andover, 
was called to the Park street Church in Boston, in which 


he had labored, already, to some extent as a supply. We 
find Dr. Miller writing to him on the 6th of March, 1810, 

*The call, I think, must come through the Presbytery of 
Jersey, unless you previously take a dismission. But it may be 
sent on by mail as well as by a commissioner. If, after accept- 
ing the call, you should still remain a member of that Presby- 
tery, then I think the installation must be performed by a com- 
mittee of Presbytery. At any rate, I feel confident, that this is 
the only regular way of proceeding. If you take a dismission, 
either before or immediately after the presentation of the call, 
the installation may be performed by a coimcil. Otherwise, I 
think this cannot De done, unless the Presbytery agree, in a 
special case, to dispense with their rules. 

'With respect to my preaching the installation sermon, I 
will, undoubtedly, God willing, comply with your wishes, if the 
business can be so arranged as to actmit of. it My opinion, in- 
deed, is, that collecting an installation council from three or 
four dis^nt States will savour a little of the ostentatious, and 
may be considered as liable to objection on that account. But 
if, after taking this and every other matter into mature con- 
sideration, you and the church should still wish me to attend, 
and perform that service, I shall consider it as an honor to have 
an opportunity of serving a brother, whom I highly love and 
revere, and of contributing my mite towards the promotion of 
a cause, which, unless my heart deceives me, I cordially love.' 

When the General Assembly of 1810 met in Philadel- 
phia, on the 17th of May, the reports of the several pres- 
byteries, in relation to a theological school, were put into 
the hands of a committee of five, of which Dr. Miller was 
chairman, for examination. Ten presbyteries had pro- 
nounced in favor of a single school, ten in favor of a school 
in each synod, one only in favor of two schools ; while six 
had declared it not expedient to attempt, as yet, the estab- 
lishment of any school, and niuQ^ had sent no reports. 
These bare facts, certainly not encouraging, were at first 
simply announced ; but the same committee, with the ad- 
dition of two members, were immediately instructed to con- 
sider the subject, and report, "whether in their opinion 
any thing, and if any thing, what, was proper further to 
be done." It was a critical moment for this the greatest 
enterprise of the Presbyterian Church since its establish- 
ment in America; but a happy presentation of the case 
by the committee won the Assembly to immediate and de- 


cisive measures. The second report suggested, in sub- 
stance, that a clear majority of all the presbyteries favored 
the establishment of one or more seminaries ; that the ob- 
jections made to a single great institution were several of 
them founded entirely in misconception, some supposing 
they would be absolutely bound to i^end all their candidates 
to the one school if it were established, and others that the 
theological professors would be empowered to confer licen- 
sure — things never for a moment contemplated ; that, upon 
the whole, therefore, the plan for a single seminary ap- 
peared to have 'Hhe greatest share of public sentiment in 
its favor''; and that a second reference to the presbyte- 
ries, or any farther delay, was likely to result in serious 
inconvenience and evil. On these grounds the committee 
recommended, and the Assembly determined, that a semi- 
nary should be at once established. The result, however, 
was evidently due in this, as in many a case, not to the 
awakened interest and conviction of the Church at large, 
but to the enlightened and enterprising spirit of a few ad- 
venturous individuals ; and hence the difficulty experienced 
afterwards in raising the funds requisite for so great an 

A committee^ was appointed ^'to digest and prepare a 
plan," "embracing in detail the fundamental principles of 
the institution, together with regulations for guiding the 
conduct of the instructors and the students, and prescribing 
the best mode of visiting, of controlling, and supporting 
the whole system" ; and to report to the next General As- 
sembly. Several persons, moreover, were named, in each 
Synod,^ as " agents, to solicit donations, in the course of 
the current year, within the bounds of their respective 
synods." A pastoral letter upon the subject was also ad- 
dressed to the churches. To prepare this. Dr. Miller and 
the Rev. James Richards were appointed ; it seems to have 
been penned by the former as chairman ; and it was issued 
in connexion with the report and resolutions previously 

^ " The Rev. Drs. Green, Woodhull, Romeyn, and Miller, and the Rev. 
Messrs. Archibald Alexander, James Richards, and Amzi Armstrong." 

' The agents for the Synod of New York and New Jersey were the " Rev. 
Drs. Samuel Miller, Philip Milledoler, John B. Romeyn, and Aaron Woolworth, 
the Rev. Messrs. James Richards, Comfort, andjsaac Vandoren, and Col. Henry 

'See Bair^*- T)i crest, (1856J 406, etc. 


As Dr. Miller's family grew up around him, it became a 
necessity for their health and comfort, that they should 
spend some weeks or months in the country during the heat 
of summer, The frequently recurring visits of yellow 
fever made, of course, a summer retreat all the more im- 
perative. Staten Island, Harlem and other places seem 
to have been resorted to, successively, until the warm heart 
and watchful solicitude of Doctor Edward Miller prompted 
him to purchase a piece of ground at Bloomingdale, and 
erect upon it a stone dwelling of moderate dimensions 
which he put, almost unreservedly, at his brother's disposal. 
In this dwelling, yet unfinished, the latter, with his family, 
spent the "heated term" first in 1810. Subsequently, 
until his removal to Princeton, it was their constant and 
delightful residence for the hot months. Dr. Miller 
speaks of it as * seven miles from the scene of his parochial 
labors.' Ample verandahs, and an unpartitioned attic 
gave the freest exercise for all, especially the children, 
even when they could not range over the grounds: the 
considerate brother and uncle had planned everything 
with a physician's eye to the promotion of vigorous health. 
This house, if it were now standing, would face the New 
York Central Park, being separated from it by only the 
width of the Street. It was torn down but a few years 

From his summer retreat, Dr. Miller wrote to Dr. Green 
as follows : — 

'EeVd and dear Sir, Bloomingdale, September 4, 1810. 
'I am sorry — ^very sorry — ^to have "vexed" you. 
But, really, you must not be unreasonable. Consider that it is 
ONLY tvm months since the receipt of the letter which you com- 
plain has not been so promptly answered as it ought to have 
been. Now, if you had but known how much longer I keep 
many of my correspondents without an answer, I am confident 
you would not have thought so strange of me. But, to be se- 
rious — ^the removal of my family to this place, instead of giving 
me more leisure than usual, rather diminishes it; so that I am 
obliged to neglect every kind of business that ia not immediate- 
ly urgent ; and sometimes, no doubt, make an improper esti- 
mate of what ought to be so considered. In the present case, I 
really supposed that you stood so little in need of any commu- 
nication from me on the subject concerning which you wrote, 


that I was the more ready to put off writing from time to time, 
taking for granted, that, whether I put pen to paper or not, 
everything would be done as it ought to be. * * 

* I read the whole of your letter of July 4th and 6th to Dr. 
Romeyn. He appeared to think favorably of the plan of an 
academical school in each synod. I am also, on the whole, in 
favor of it. But my sole reason for being so is precisely that 
which you mention ; viz., that it would probably " add to the 
popularity of our plan, by giving each synod a direct connexion 
with it." I think you may very safely, and with great proprie- 
ty, add that item to your sketch. The only doubt I nave is, 
whether provision for an academical course, at the theological 
school, ought to be made at the same time at which academical 
schools are established in each synod. I am inclined, however, 
to answer this question in the affirmative, under the impression, 
that in process of tiin% it will be found expedient, if not neces- 
sary, to nave the academical, as well as every other part of the 
course, passed through at one great, central school ; and the 
sooner provision is made for it the better. 

t * * ]^y brethren, as well as myself, view this business of 
theBeminary as the most important in which we were ever en- 
gaged, and are determined to act with vigor.' 

6. New Wall Street Church. 

One of the first fruits of the new spirit which the sever- 
ance of collegiate ties infused into the separated congrega- 
tions, was the enterprize of erecting, for the Wall street 
church, a better edifice. " In the beginning of the winter of 
1809 and 1810," says Dr. Miller, "the congregation wor- 
shipping in Wall street, determined to takedown their house 
of worship, which had become too old and tottering to be 
any longer occupied with safety, and to erect a new one on 
the same site. The requisite preliminary measures having 
been taken, the corner stone of the new building was laid on 
the 2l8t of March, 1810. On this interesting occasion, 
Doctor JRodgers attended, bending under the weight of 
years. It had been the earnest wish of many, that in com- 
mencing the rebuilding of the original church, to which 
he had first borne the pastoral relation, and which was sur- 
rounded with the sepulchres of those who had called and 
welcomed him to the city, he should lay the first stone. 
His infirmities, however, rendered this impossible. It was 
laid by the writer of the present volume ; his venerabk 



colleague being only able to favor the solemnity with his 
presence and his benediction. 

" While the edifice thus commenced was erecting, or rather 
[beginning] more than three months before the erection of 
it was begun, the congregation worshipped in the French 
Episcopal church, Du St Esprit, in Pine street, which, on ap- 
plication, was politely and liberally granted by the vestry for . 
their use. That place of worship was occupied by the Presby- 
terian congregation from the 1st day of December, 1809, till 
the 11th day of August, 1811, on the latter of which days, the 
new edifice in Wall street was opened for the \yorship of God."^ 

6. Settlement of the Rev. Gardiner Spring. 

By the resignation of Dr. McKnight, Dr. Rodgers hav- 
ing been left sole pastor of the Brick Church, it became 
necessary, at once, to obtain for him a colleague. On the 
8th of August, 1810, the Rev. Gardiner Spring, who had 
been unanimously called to this relation, was ordained to 
the gospel ministry and installed coUegfate pastor. Dr. 
Milledoler preached. Dr. Romeyn delivered the charge to 
the people. Dr. Miller presided, made the introductory 
address, and gave the charge to the pastor. These several 
discourses were published together.^ In the charge Dr. 
Miller said, 

" It is none of the least of these, [advantages,] that you are 
associated in your pastoral charge with an aged and venerable 
servant of Christ, who has had long experience in the ministry, 
and whose praise is in all the churches. And, although he is too 
far advanced in life to admit of the hope that he will diminish 
your burden by taking an active part with you in public 
labour ; yet, we trust, you will be not a little profited by his 
fervent prayers, by his paternal counsels, and by the lustre of 
his long and exemplary life. And when he shall ascend to his 
Father and our Father, to his God and our God, may the 
mantle of Elijah fall upon Elisha, and leave no room to say, 
Where is the Ijord Ooaqf Elijah /" 

Of the congregation he remarked, 

" I am persuaded you will find them a harmonious, an afiec- 

1 Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers, 274, 5, 6. 

> Dr. MiUer's portion of the publication is entitled, *' The Address Introdno- 
tory to the Ordination Service, and the Charge to the Minister. By Samuel 
Miller, D.D., one of the Pastors of the First Presbyterian Church in the City 
of New York.'*— 8vo. Pp. 20. 


tionate, a kind, and an indulgent people. Tbe tenderness with 
which they received and treated me, when I came to them an 
inexperienced youth ; the liberality with which they ministered 
to my comfort; and the more than kind forbearance which 
they manifested toward the numerous infirmities and defects of 
my ministry, it were unseasonable to attempt, on the present 
occasion, to acknowledge; but they will never cease to impress 
me with gratitude, while I have a memory to* recollect, or a 
heart to feel. Nor can I forbear to felicitate a Brother on 
being brought into the same interesting relation. * *"* 

Of the minister's duties he said, 

''In preaching the gospel, and in all your ministrations, 
whether public or private, set the Lord Jesus Christ himself 
before you, and' next to him, his inspired apostles, as your 
models. Be not afraid to tell men, with all plainness, of their 
total depravity by nature, and of that state of condemnation 
and wrath under which they lie while strangers, to the grace of 
Christ. Be not afraid to sound in their ears the thunders of 
Sinai, as well as' the dill &inaU voice of Calvary. Be not back- 
ward to proclaim the humbling and self-denying, but most 
glorious, doctrines of free and sovereign grace, however unpal- 
atable they may be to some, or whatever your fidelity may cost 
you. Warn men boldly of every danger. Strive to bring 
them off. from every false foundation. Give them no rest till 
they are brought humbled and trembling to the foot of the 
Cross : and then, and not till then, pour into their bleeding 
rounds the oil of consolation, the balm of heavenly grace."' 

"You are now invested with the power of ordaining others 
to the holy office to which you have been yourself set apart. 
This power ever has been, and ever will be, one of the most 
important that can be committed to a minister of Christ. 
But there are periods in which it is especially important. Such 
a period is that in which we live. The harvest truly is great, 
but the laborers are few. The call for more laborers was never 
so loud or so urgent as at the present hour. Under these cir- 
cumstances, there is danger of so far yielding to public and 
private importunity, as to thrust forth unqualified laborers into 
the harvest. Leit your personal exertions and your official acts 
be steadily directed agamst this error. For an error it is, to 
imagine that we really serve the Church of Christ, under any 
circumstances, by giving her unqualified ministers. Lay hands 
suddenly on no man; neither be thou partaker of other men's 
sins: ke^ thyself pure"* 

1 Pp. 28, 29. 2 Pp. 32, 33. « Pp. 34, 35. 



In a note to this last extract, th^ author says, "Pr««Jy- 
teriana seldom or never ordain a minister by the laying on 
of the hands of the Presbytery^ without charging their 
newly admitted brother, among other things, to be cautious 
how, as a member of Presbytery^ he exercises, in his turn, 
the ordaining power with which he is invested. They gene- 
rally repeat, as is done above, the very words of the Apos- 
tle addressed to Timothy.'' It may not be wholly super- 
fluous, to remind our modern presbyters of this habit of 
their fathers. 

Mr. Spring, when called to the pastoral charge of the 
Brick Church, was a Hopkinsian, of a moderate school. 
In a late publication he makes the following statement in 
regard to Dr. Miller. 

" My trial sermon was a frank avowal of my sentiments, 

and a bold and unequivocal statement of the views I then 
entertained upon the subject of hmnan ability. It was this 
that embarrassed the Presbytery ; and but for the strenuous 
efforts of the late Dr. Miller, who told the Presbytery that if 
they condemned Mr. Spring for those views, they must con- 
demn hirriy so far as I could learn, they would have refused to 
ordain me."^ 

AVhat exactly Dr. Miller meant by this remark, it may not 
be. easy to determine ; but he certainly did not mean, that he 
adopted the Hopkinsian view of human ability, which he never 
did adopt. To the distinction between natural and moral 
ability, as maintained by Dr. Twisse, and subsequent Calvin- 
istic divines, or even as insisted upon by President Edwards, 
who made more of it than any of his predecessors,' he may 
have had no objection; the phraseology of this distinction he 
may have adopted, as conveniently expressing the obvious 
truth, that the possession of certain natural powers, as reason 
and conscience, was essential to responsibility ; but he did not 
hold, with Dr. Emmons, that fallen men "can love Grod, repent 
of sin, believe in Christ, and perform every religious duty, as 
well as they can think, or speak, or walk;"* nor, with a writer 
in the Massachusetts Missionary Magazine, that " impenitent 
sinners are as really possessed of strength or capacity to love 
and serve God as saints:" that "their power or capacity to 
obey the divine commands is as great as to disobey them."^ 

^ Beminisoenoes. 102, 103. 

> See Dr. Alexander's article on *' The Inability of Sinners," in the BibUeal 
Bepertory for 1831. 1 Prinoeton Theological Essays, 269. 

» Sermons (1800), 246. * 3 Vol., 416. 


Dr. Spring has also said, 

" The distinguished individuals to whom I was under the 
greatest obligations, so long as they remained members of the 
Presbytery, were the Rev. Dr. Miller and the Rev. Dr. Per- 
rine, both of whom filled the office of Professor of Church 
History and Government in our theological seminaries, and 
died ftiU of years and fiill of honours. Their uniform friend- 
ship, their kind and gentleman-like deportment toward me, 
their wise counsels, their active assistance in my arduous work, 
the interest they took in my usefulness, and the influence they 
exerted in my favour in seasons of solicitude, conflict and de- 
pression, demand from me this public and grateful acknowledg- 

7: Exchanges with Unitarians. 

The Unitarian controversy, although at that early day 
confined, on this side of the Atlantic, chiefly to New Eng- 
land, deeply interested men of evangelical sentiments all 
over the land; The appointment of Dr. Ware to the 
divinity chair of Harvard, in 1805, produced violent agi- 
tation, and awakened among the Orthodox a new spirit of 
resistance. Andover Seminary, as we have seen, was one 
of the more immediate results. The question of exchanging 
pulpits with clergymen of heretical opinions, easy of solu- 
tion as it now seems, then greatly perplexed many good 
men, and was discussed most warmly in every part of New 
England where Unitarianism had raised its head. Mr. 
John Codman,^ settled in the Second Church in Dorchester, 
in 1808, was one of the faithful few who resolutely set 
themselves against ministerial exchanges with those who 
preached "another gospel" ; and the conflict which arose 
in that congregation, and threatened at flrst his removal, 
but resulted in his maintaining his ground, though not 
without a division of the parish, in 1812, was one of the 
most important parts of the great struggle. Dr. Miller 
entertained towards Mr. Codman an affectionate regard 
which lasted their lives long. On this subject of ministe- 
rial exchanges, he wrote to the latter, during his troubles, 
a long letter of encouragement, dated the 19th of Novem- 
ber, 1810, which was published, afterwards, in the Pano- 

1 The Old and the New Church. By Dr. Spring. 1856. P. 12. 

2 D D., from 1822. See p. 277, Note. 


pHst, and also may be found in Dr. Allen's Memoir of Dr. 
Codman.^ Two paragraphs will be sufficient here to ex- 
hibit the spirit of the whole. 

"Exchanging with ministers of known or suspected hetero- 
doxy appears to me inconsistent with fidelity to our Master in 
heaven. With the principles which we hold, we should not 
dare to preach to our people a /oZae Oospd, We should con- 
sider ourselves, in this case, as falling under the awiul denun- 
ciation of the Apostle, Gal. i. 9 : '' If any man preach any other 
Gospel unto you than that ye have receivea, let him be ac- 
cursed." But if we dare not preach another Gospel ourselves, 
can we be innocently accessory to this sin's being committed by 
others ? And is not deliberately sending a man into our pul- 
pits, whom we suspect and more than suspect of heresy, Ainda- 
mental heresy, something very like being accessory to the pro- 
pagation of that heresy ? It is by no means a sufficient answer 
to this argument to say, that the persons thus sent to our pul- 
pits may not openly preach their peculiar sentiments. Even 
if the fad were so, it by no means relieves the difficulty ; be- 
cause the very circumstance of our people's seeing us receive a 
heretic and practically bid him God-speed, will tend exceed- 
ingly to diminish their abhorrence of his heresy, and to make 
them suppose, either that we consider it to be a very small evil, 
or that we are very inconsistent if not dishonest men. But the 
fact is not commonly so. These men generally preach in such 
a way, that attentive hearers may readily perceive that they re- 
ject every ftmdamental article of evangelical truth. They are 
not only betrayed by their omissions, but also, at every turn, 
by their phraseology and by their theological language; so 
that, in fact, they seldom enter our pulpits without holding out 
to our people false grounds of hope. And is this a small evil ? 
I must conclude that the minister, who views it in this light, 
has not well considered the subject. 

"But solemn as this consideration is, there is another, which 
appears to me in every respect equally solemn. It is the ten- 
dency of the system of exchanging with heterodox ministers, to 
banish the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel from our own ser- 
mons and our own pulpits. I assume, as the basis of this argu- 
ment, that preaching the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel in a 
plain, pointed and pungent manner, is the duty of every Chris- 
tian minister; and that, without this, he cannot expect the 
divine blessing on his labors, or hope to see real religion flour^ 
ishing among the people of his charge. I verily believe, that 
if an orthodox minister could, in conscience, leave out of his 

ipp. loo-ior. 



sermons all the peculiar and fundamental doctrines of the Gros- 
pel ; if, without preaching any thing contrary to them, he were 
silent respecting the total depravity of our nature, regeneration, 
the divinity and atonement of Christ, etc., etc. ; or if, to put the 
case in the most favorable light, he sometimes advanced those 
doctrines, but always did it in a concealed, vrrapped up man- 
ner ; — ^I verily believe, that by pursuing this course for twenty 
years, he would banish religion from his church, and prepare 
his people for becoming Arminians, Arians, Socinians, Deists, 
or any thing that the advocates of error might wish and en- 
deavor to make them. If I wished to banish religion from my 
church in the most effectual manner, I certainly should not 
come forward openly and preach heresy. This would excite 
attention, inquiry and opposition. But I would endeavor to 
lull my people asleep by simply withholding the truth ; and 
should expect to succeed, by this ipethod, with the least trouble 
and in the shortest time possible. Now this negligent, spirit- 
less, smooth kind of preaching is precisely that which jfrequent 
exchanges with the herterodox is calculated to produce. The 
most pious and faithful minister living, when he goes to the 
pulpit of a heretical brother, is under the strongest temptation, 
if not absolutely to keep back truth which he supposes would 
be offensive, at least in a considerable degree to soften and 
polish it down, that it may be received with as little irritation 
as possible. Accordingly, he will be apt to take with him to 
such a place a discourse prepared upon this plan. If his ex- 
changes be frequent, he will often prepare such discourses. If 
they become habitual, he will habitually preach such. The 
consequence is as evident, as it is dreadJ^l. To expect that a 
man, who prepares many such sermons, will preach none of 
them to his own people, is an expectation not to be enter- 
tained. And to hope that the mind of that man, who preaches 
frequently in this strain, will suffer no diminution either of 
evangelical zeal or of ministerial faithfulness, is certainly an 
unreasonable hope. I think there can be no doubt, that the 
Apostle Paul, with all the ardor of his zeal for the truth, and 
with all the tenderness of his love to the souls of men, could 
not, without a 'miracle, have withstood the influence of such a 
habit ; and that, if he had indulged in it for one or two years, 
he would have been found, at the end of that time, a less 
pointed, a less faithful, and a less successful preacher, than 

The following extracts from letters of Dr. Miller's to 
Dr. Wm. B. Sprague, dated the 27th of June, and 81st of 
October, 1838, and relating also to the Unitarian defec- 

25* '^ 


tion and the decline of Orthodoxy, in Boston, afford a fur- 
ther illustration of the subject. 

* There were two sources of the evil which you undertake 
cursorily to account for, which appear to me to deserve more 
particular consideration than you have given them. The one 
is the regular system of exchanges of pulpits, which, for a long 
time, pervaded the Boston churches. When I was first ac- 
quainted with that city, which is now nearly half a century 
ago, this system of exchanges was stated and uniform. No 
man was expected to be found in his own pulpit on Sabbath 
morning. And as there was known to be great diversity of 
creed among the ministers of the city, and as every sermon 
that a pastor wrote was expected to be preached in aU the pul- 
pits in town, as well as in his own, each got into the habit of 
writing on such a general plan as would give offence to none. 
Hence, those who believed the peculiar doctrines of the gospel, 
seldom brought them forward with any prominence or point; 
and those who did not, of course, whenever they came near 
such doctrines, wrapped up the discussion in general and inof- 
fensive terms. The consequence was, that the most precious 
and peculiar doctrines of the gospel were seldom, from about 
1766 or 1760, preached by anybody — ^i. e. after the decease of 
Drs. Sewall, Prince, Foxcroft, Webb, etc. Soon after that race 
of ministers passed away, the war came on ; the order of society 
was deranged ; general laxity increased ; and it so happened 
that some of the most erroneous ministers were high Whigs, 
and greatly popular ; and, of course, well adapted to secure a 
ready reception for their errors. Only let any set of pastors in 
the world forbear, for fifteen or twenty years, to preach the pe- 
culiar doctrines of the gospel, and the way will be prepared, 
at the end of that time, to receive any sentiments which artful 
and popular men may be disposed to recommend. 

'Another source of the mischief was this : — In the early pe- 
riods of the administration of our Puritan fathers, there was a 
close connection between the church and the state. All the 
conspicuous leaders in civil society were church-members, ' No- 
body was thought of for any important civil station, but a pro- 
fessor of religion. As vital piety declined, while the leading 
men wished still to be professors of religion, without which they 
could scarcely expect the popular suffrage ; they felt that they 
could not make a profession, excepting on some more lar and 
indulgent system than that which was taught by the Puritan 
fathers. Calvinism, its consequences, and its discipline _were 
thought too strict, and a moremdulgent system was sought in 
its place. The evil to which this led may easily be imagined.' 


* The pernicious system of exchanges was broken up, if my 
impression is right, by Dr. Griffin, Dr. Codman, and Mr. Hun- 
tington of the Old South.' 

This Old South Church of Boston, with which in Dr. 
Miller's mind were connected so many precious memories 
of his father and grandparents, was the only Congregational 
church, in that city, which was noit carried away into Uni- 
tarianism ; and it may be regarded therefore as the mother 
of all the churches of its own denomination which have 
since sprung up there, turning the tide so strongly in favor 
of orthodoxy. Dr. Miller has accounted for the defection 
of the rest : the New England Puritan gives as one reason 
for the Old South's steadfastness, that, in her early history, 
she not only adopted the Cambridge Platform, but required 
each of her pastors to subscribe it, as one of the conditions 
of his settlement ; and received no one to membership who 
opposed anything in the Platform.^ This fact is certainly 
deserving of serious consideration. 

Dr. Miller's diary here presents the following renewal of 
his self dedication. 

*This 22d day of November, A.D. 1810, 1 do solemnly and 
renewedly devote myself to the service of Christ. I have, here- 
tofore, made many vows, and formed many resolutions ; but, 
alas ! how have I violated them, and departed from the best of 
masters ! I desire, this day, to acknowledge my corruptions, 
deviations, and short-comings ; to mourn over my sins ; and to 
make new vows. Lord, I am — I will be thine — entirely 
thine. Accept of me I Enable me to live and act as becometh 
a child of thy grace : Help me. Oh, help me, to mortify every 
principle, and every disposition that is opposed to thy will, and 
to be entirely and forever devoted to thee! Enlighten, ani- 
mate, guide, and preserve me ! May the life that I live in the 
flesh be a life of faith on the Son of God I 

*Sam'l Miller.' 

As might have been expected. Dr. Griffin soon found 
his concurrent labors as professor at Andover, and stated 
preacher in the Park street Church, far too onerous, and 
the question simply was, which of these positions he should 
abandon. Dr. Miller wrote a letter of advice that coinci- 
ded with Dr. Griffin's own final decision. The following is 
an extract from this letter, which was dated the 27th of 

1 The Pro^hyterian, 15th January, 1842, p. 11. 


*The situation of Park street Church is truly critical and in- 
teresting I May the great head of Zion produce a result more 
favorable than your fears I After bestowing much serious and 
I trust, prayerful, attention on the subject, I am, on the whole, 
inclined to the opinion, that, if you can prevail on the Andover 
people to eive you up, (which without flattering I suppose will 
be a very difficult thmg,) it will be your duty to ^ to Boston. 
I have not time to detail my reasons for this opinion ; but if, 
with my present views, I were in your place, I should suppose 
that Providence called me to put my life in my hand, and come 
into the middle of the hottest battle in Boston. I am firmly 
persuaded, as you appear to be, that you cannot be devoted 
efficiently to both objects. And X &lso think that a young man, 
unassisted, in Park street Church must sink. And, further, 
difficult as it is to obtain a professor for Andover, I believe it 
will be esflier to find a candiaatefor that place, than a suitable 
one for the church. Looking all these aifficulties full in the 
face, I do not see but that you must go to Boston. But the 
great Head of the Church will order every thing for the best.' 





Dr. MiLLEBOLjpiR, not long before bis death, gave, for 
this work, eomcr reminiscences of bis former friend and 
colleague. He sajs, 

'My intercourse with Dr. Miller, after our more close eccle- 
siastical connexion in the city of New York, was confidential, 
affectionate, and long uninterrupted even by the transient 
shadow of a cloud. His countenance lighted up with intelli- 
gence and kindness, his gentlemanly manners, sound under- 
standing, ability and taste as a writer, ardent piety, and fidelity 
in the performance of his sacred duties, endear^ him to me 
not only, but to every one who could appreciate a character of 
this description. His praise was in all the churches. Of his 
published works I shall say nothing: they speak for them- 
selves, and do honour to both the head and heart of their 
reverend author. 

' 'Sometime about the autumn of 1811, commenced in New 
York what has been called the Hopkinsian controversy, which 
resulted in the separation of the Presbyterian Church mto Old 
and New School. "Without entering here into the nature or 
merits of this controversy, (though I have preserved some his- 
torical fragments of the germs of it in New York,) I will only 
say, that the new doctrines were opposed, on the ground of 
their breaking the peace of the Church, and the manifest wrong 
of subscribing and promising to support doctrines of the Pres- 
byterian Church, which were neither believed nor sustained by 
the subscribers. It was also urged, that persons entering our 
churches, and subscribing our formulas, had no right to mtro- 
duce a different system, and should either connect themselves 
with some other ecclesiastical body, or organize an establish- 
ment of their own. This, however, was not exactly what was 
wanted. They wanted churches, and it was easier to take 



them than to build them. This introduction of Hopkinsian- 
ism is the only subject, on which Dr. Miller and myself ever 

' Dr. Miller, in the apprehension of the writer, had long con- 
sidered the inroads of Hopkinsianism into our churches, rather 
as the march of an irregular troop than the tramp of trained 
tactitians; and Hopkinsianism itself rather as an ephemeral 
thing, which, if let alone, would die of itself, than a cool and 
matured plan to revolutionize the Presbyterian Church. Our 
beloved mend lived long enough to see, that the predictions of 
those who differed from him were not so imaginary as he had 
supposed. In relation to Dr. Miller, the writer considers it to 
be his duty to declare, that he never had any other feelings 
towards him, than those of reverence and love. 

'The whole amount of our difference was tJiis — ^that he con- 
sidered me as acting conscientiously in this case, yet as carried 
awsLj by the ardour of my feelings; and I consiaered him as 
earned away, by his natural amiabUitv and Christian charity, 
beyond the bounds marked out for those who are set for the 
defence of the Grospel. 

'This temporary embarrassment, however, occurred in the 
whirls of a stormy day, and produced nb alienation of heart, 
as I verily believe, on the part of either. I received from Dr. 
Miller a most kind letter of condolence on the death of my 
honoured &ther, as also at the decease of my venerable friend 
Dr. Livingston. Besides the honour of being formerly associ- 
ated with him in many public and benevolent institutions; I 
was appointed, at a later day, to take part with him in the or- 
ganization of the Theological Seminary at Princeton, and the 
inauguration of Dr. Alexander; subsequently in laying the 
corner stone of the new Presbyterian church in Butgers street; 
and I hope to be joined with him, ere long, in the Ugher and 
nobler services of the Upper Sanctuary.' 

' The ' Hopkinsian controversy,' to which Dr. Milledoler 
refers, a^ commencing in New York, in 1811, was closely 
connected with the Rev. Gardiner Spring's settlement in 
the Brick Church, At him particularly, the Rev. Ezra 
Stiles Ely, then "stated preacher to the Hospital and 
Alms House in the city of New York," aimed his volume 
entitled, "A Contrast between Calvinism and Hopkinsian- 
ism," which was published in 1811. For half a century 
had this controversy been carried on in New England, and 
it had before now shown itself in the Presbyterian Church; 
but from about the date of Mr. Spring's settlement, it as- 

1811.] HOPKINSIANISM. 299 

sumed among Presbyterians fresh importance, and gradu* 
ally, though not fully or distinctly, until after the advent 
of Taylorism, divided them into the New and Old school 

The New England Fathers were agreed in embracing 
and maintaitiing strictly the Augustinian system of the- 
ology, which all the Reformed Churches had adopted. 
The Confession of the Westminster Assembly, when pro- 
mulgated, was received and cordially approved in New 
England, as exhibiting the doctrines constantly professed 
and taught by the Puritan settlers, and their immediate 
descendants. But before the middle of the next century, 
Arminian, Pelagian, Arian, Socinian, and Antinomiau 
errors had begun alarmingly to prevail. To account for 
this, it might be enough to refer to that depravity and 
enmity of the human heart, which ever and everywhere 
naturally turn it against the truth. But doubtless the 
connexion of the Church with the civil government, and 
the laxity of discipline resulting from that and other 
causes, contributed largely to the doctrinal decadence in 
. question. 

No one opposed the errors mentioned more earnestly, 
nor contended with greater force or decision for the old 
Puritan theology, than President Edwards. Yet, as a 
melancholy evidence of human imperfection, and of the 
consequences of a great man's aberrations, it stands con- 
fessed, that a departure, which seemed comparatively tri- 
fling, from the generally received creed, and philosophical 
speculations of the results of which their author little 
dreamed, have furnished the occasion for a multitude of 
the advocates of dangerous error^ with more or less plausi- 
bility, to claim the authority of Edwards for their theolo- 
gical vagaries. He adopted substantially from Stapfer, 
following Placseus, or deduced from his own theory of 
personal identity, the doctrine of mediate imputation ; and 
he resolved all virtue into the love of being in general, or 
disinterested benevolence. He also distinguishes between 
natural and moral ability; but by this distinction obviously 
intended nothing inconsistent with the old theology. 

On the foundation chiefly of the errors of President Ed- 
wards, and of a perversion of his views of human ability, 


Dr. Hopkins^ built whatever could be called in fairness, and 
distinctively, Hopkinsianism. He was a fanciful man, and 
much given to metaphysical speculation without much 
ability for it. He did not carry out all his opinions to 
their legitimate consequences, and remained comparatively 
orthodox. His disciple. Dr. Emmons,* with far greater 
metaphysical skill, and flinching from no conclusion to 
which his reasoning led, developed the system much more 
fully. Hopkinsianism culminated in his teachings, and 
has sometimes, indeed, as by him presented, borne the ap- 
propriate name of Emmonism. 

With Hopkinsianism, shooting into Emmonism, it was a 
radical idea that virtue consists in the love of being in 
general, or in disinterested benevolence. Of course such 
virtue required willingness to be damned for the good of 
being in general ; and to be the author of man's sinful acts 
was no sin in God, because his authorship was disinterest- 
edly benevolent ; though these acts in man, uninfluenced 
by the same virtue, were sinful. If God was the author of 
sin, it was attributable to no evil human disposition or 
taste — to no corrupt nature. The idea of such a disposi- 
tion or nature was therefore discarded ; the existence of a 
moral habit or taste, whether good or bad, was declared 
impossible ; man's acts, both holy and sinful, were repre* 
sented as individually, and successively, immediate divine 
creations ; and, of course, all sin was resolved into volun- 
tary acts thus created. The originating sin of Adam, then, 
was alone properly termed original sin ; and his descend- 
ants are all, by birth, inherently like Adam was before the 
fall — just as free and pure as he, just as able to fulfil the 
divine commands ; but as .God determined, for the good of 
being in general, to produce sinful volitions in our first 
parents, so he determined, and for the same reason, to 
produce sinful volitions in their natural descendants ; who 
therefore all infallibly sin; and, because born under this 
'^divine constitution," are said, and for this cause alone, to 
be born in sin, and to be totally depraved. Imputation of 
sin, with these theologians, was, consequently, neither im- 
mediate, (with the old Calvinists,) nor mediate, (as with 
Placaeus,) but was merely God's treating men as under a 

1 See 1 Bprague'fl AnnalSi 428. < Id., 693. 

1811.] ' HOPKINSIAKISM. 301 

"divine constitution" to make them all sinners, if Adam 
sinned. With the proper headship of Adam, the proper 
headship of Christ, and his vicarious atonement disappeared ; 
so the atonement became, in this system, governmental and 
general. In fine, disinterested benevolence, including an 
unconditional submission to the will of God — a willingness 
to be damned for his glory — was taught to be the first 
holy exercise produced in regeneration; and, therefore, 
was prior, in the order of nature, to faith, and was pro- 
duced immediately, without the instrumentality of truth, 
ftnd without the illumination of the understanding. 

This was a much more consistent scheme, and, perhaps, 
taken altogether, a less pernicious one in its immediate 
practical effects, than the "improved" and frequently re- 
hashed fragments of it which have since appeared as "New 
Theology." Its inculcation of the absolute sovereignty of 
God, though in a monstrous form, exerted a wholesome in- 
fluence, which has been lost by various later schemes. 
These have been made up of some of the "soft parts" of 
Hopkinsianism, but without its skeleton, especially its back- 
bone. The course of error has been always substantially 
the same. Commencing in what have been considered, at 
worst, harmless speculations, it has increased to the denial 
of most important truths. The sad results of admitting 
and tolerating it have been quite suflSciently exemplified in 
the short chapter which our country has contributed to the 
history of theological opinions. Never should we lose sight 
of the remote, any more than of the immediate, conse- 
quences of departing from the simplicity of the gospel faith. 
Dr. Spring tells us, that Dr. Miller once remarked to him, 

" I should hesitate to lay hands on Dr. Emmons ; but, though 
I do not approve of all that Dr. Hopkins has written, I would 
ordain any man, otherwise qualified, who could honestly say, 
that he believed every word of Dr. Hopkins' system."^ 

The following letter from Dr. Hopkins finds just here, 
perhaps, a fitting connexion, although written ten years 
earlier : — 

*Rev. Sir, Newport, January 23, 1801. 

'Yours of December 16th did not come to hand till the 

12th instant. The most proper and satisfactory answer to your 

questions, perhaps, will be to refer you to my publications, the 

first of which was near half a century ago. You may see in 

1 2 BemiDiscences^ 6. 


them what doctrines I hold, and be able to judge wherein and 
how far I differ from those Calvinistic divines, who have writ- 
ten before me. I believe that most of the doctrines I have pub- 
lished are to be found in the writings of former divines ; viz., 
Calvin, Van Mastricht, Saurin, Preston, Manton, Owen, Good- 
win, Bates, Charnock, Baxter, the Assembly of Divines at 
Westminster, Kidgley, Willard, Shepard, Hooker, Edwards 
and many others. Most of these did not, indeed, fully explain 
some of these doctrines, which are asserted or implied in their 
writings. And they are, in some instances, inconsistent with 
themselves, by advancing contrary doctrines. 

' If I am in any measure an original, in any thing I have 
written, it is in asserting, that the unregenerate, under the 
greatest mental light and convictions of conscience, and in all 
their external reformations and doings, are more criminal and 
guilty, than they were in a state of ignorance and security; 
and really do no duty : all their actions are sin. This is neces- 
sarily implied in the doctrine of totcU depravity ^ which all Cal- 
vinists hold. — That all true holiness consists in disinterested 
benevolence, and those affections which are implied in it 
That all self-love, which is not implied in disinterested benevo- 
lence, is sinful, and that in which all sin essentially and 
radically consists. — That the original threatening, "Thou shalt 
surely die," does not mean, or imply, a separation between body 
and soul ; but the destruction and misery of both in union in 
hell forever, which is, in Scripture, called the second death, 
which all finally impenitent sinners will suffer. 

*But it is really no great matter who first advanced a doc- 
trine. If it be agreeable to Scripture, it ought to be received : 
if not, let it be rejected. 

* No scheme of doctrines has got the name of Hopldntonian 
by my consent, or the invention or desire of any of my friends. 
This was the invention of the late Rev. William Hart of Say 
Brook, a reputed Arminian, who published some remarks, 
about thirty years ago, on what Mr. Edwards, Dr. Bellamy 
and I had written ; to which I made a short reply, and the 
controversy was, perhaps, too personal. He was irritated, it 
seems, and wrote a pamphlet, in which he mentioned a number 
of doctrines as mine, and endeavored to set them in a bad light ; 
and, by way of reproach, to fasten an odium on me and them, 
he gave them the name of Hopkmtonian doctrines. This epi- 
thet has been since used both by friends and enemies. The 
latter have, in many instances, used the term, as carrying an 
odium with it, while they do not know what are the doctrines 
implied in it. 

'I am your friend and servant, 

* Rev. Samuel Miller. S. Hopkins.' 

1811.] HOPKINSIANISM. 303 

In 1796 Dr. Hopkins said, "About forty years ago there 
were but few, perhaps not more than four or five, who espoused 
the sentiments, which have since been called Edwardean, and 
new divinity, and since, after some improvement was made upon 
them, Hopkintonian and Hopkinsian sentiments. But these 
sentiments have so spread since that time among ministers, 
especially those who have since come on the stage, that there 
are now more than one hundred in the ministry who espouse 
the same sentiments in the United States of America. And the 
number appears to be fast increasing, and these sentiments ap- 
pear to be coming more and more into credit, and are better 
understood, and the odium which was cast on them and those 
who preached them, is greatly subsided."* 

While Hopkinsianism, properly so called, was working 
out its own issues, New England Theology was taking 
another, though aflSliated form in the speculations of Jona- 
than Edwards, the younger — Dr. Edwards. He discarded 
the two monstrosities of divine efficiency in producing sin, 
and the necessity of willingness to be damned for the good 
of being in general ; which, indeed, had but a very limited 
currency; yet he maintained that entire resignation, or 
submission to God as a moral governor, was the first act in 
conversion — an idea now almost forgotten, though amazing- 
ly important in the view of a certain class of revivalists, 
not very long ago, when New Theology and New Measures 
were in their glory. Besides his father's views of imputa- 
tion and the nature of holiness, he adopted the doctrine of 
a general and governmental atonement, and regarded love 
and repentance as the first exercises of a regenerate soul. 

Dr. Dwight, in whose election to the presidency of Yale 
College Hopkinsianism, or, more properly, the Edwardean 
Theology, was regarded as having won a signal triumph, 
stood really on middle ground between President and Dr. 
Edwards, approaching nearer in his views to the former 
than to the latter. As to the doctrines of imputation and 
the atonement, with some connected points, he accepted 
Edwardean views : otherwise he was an Old Calvinist. 

Not only were the more distinctive tenets of Dr. Hop- 
kins and Dr. Emmons denominated Hopkinsianism, but 
under this name also passed currently all the aberrations 
of that New England Theology, which still claimed to be 
Calvinist ic. We have seen that Dr. Griffin was called a 

1 Life of Dr. Hoplcins, 102, 103. 



Hopkinsian ; yet he approached nearer than Dr. Dwight, 
and nearer perhaps as life advanced, to old Calvinism ; and 
wrote with earnestness against the "New Divinity." His 
chief divergence was in favor of the doctrine of an un- 
limited atonement with its consequences, and even this doc- 
trine he endeavored to bring into some sort of accord with 
the common Reformed creed. Dr. Miller certainly did not 
regard with as much alarm as some others, the introduction 
of this so called moderate Hopkinsianism into the Presby- 
terian Church, and constantly by voice and vote contended 
for its toleration. He is said to have suggested to Mr. Ely 
that he should write the "Contra^"; but not to have 
liked it when it -was written. The result was, that he him- 
self, jabout the year 1811, fell under the imputation of Hop- 
kinsianism, and seems, at length, to have been at some 
pains to deny, as most consistently he might, that there 
was the least affinity between this exotic ana his own Pres- 
byterian creed. 

In a letter of the 10th of December, 1811, Mrs. Miller 
wrote to a friend, 

*I have had a conversation with Mr. Davis this afternoon: 
Mr. Miller was engaged in his study and could not se«^ him ; 
and he chose rather to talk to me than go away immediately. 
He was full of disinterested benevolence, and ready to attack 
everybody who was not of his way of thinking. He had heard 
of something which Dr. Komeyn had said against it, and 
seemed as if, he could not rest without arguing the point with 
him. I found that he was likewise ready to advocate the doc- 
trine of God's being the author of sin ; but there I felt inclined 
to contend with him, and insisted that he had crossed the nar- 
row path of orthodoxy.' 


Earlier in the same year — on the 25th of March — ^Dr. 
Miller wrote to Dr. Griffin, 

* I have, this morning, received your welcome letter of the 
20th instant; and, though surrounded and pressed by engage- 
ments, I must take time to say, that the rumor of my having 
had a fit IS wholly unfounded. I desire to feel thankful, that 
my health, during the past winter, has been, as it continues to 
be, better than usual. I cannot imagine what has given rise 
to the report. May God enable me to improve my numerous 
mercies, and to labor for him with growing diligence, while my 
day lasts ! 



'I will just add, that, if you can not only be installed by the 
Presbytery, but also get the Park street Church organized on 
the Presbyterian model, it appears to me a great, great deal 
will be gained.' 

Dr. Miller, in writing to Dr. Adam Clarke, the commen- 
tator, had ventured to criticise some of his observations 
upon Calvin and Calvinism. Dr. Clarke replied as fol- 
lows : — 

*Rev'd and very dear Sir, London, April 4, 1811. 

*When I say that I feel myself exceedingly obliged 
by your kind letter, I speak a language in which compliment 
has no share. That my work on Genesis should have afforded 
you any pleasure is to me a matter of high gratification ; and 
that anything in the general preface should have given such a 
mind as yours a moment's pain is to me a subject of sincere 
regret. 1 have only to say that I have most sincerely studied 
BO to write, as to give no cause of offence to any genuine 
Christian. What I wrote concerning Mr. Calvin and a few 
others, I weighed very maturely; and I really thought that, 
when it was considered, that, as is well known, I do not believe 
the doctrine of the Decrees^ what I wrote on the works of men 
who were strongly opposed to the doctrine of General Redemp- 
tion by our most blessed Lord, would be regarded as, at least, 
tolerably candid. In that article on Mr. Calvin, I deplored 
the evils that had been introduced among religious people by 
polemic writers on both sides ; and I laid these evils equally at 
the door of each party. However, as my great design was to 
profit all if possible, and to give no cause of complaint to any 
who were embarked in the same work with myself, I cancelled 
the whole of that preface, and wrote another, considerably im- 
proved and enlarged, and have completely remodelled those 
articles at which some of my Calvinistic brethren had taken 
offence. If it pleased you at all before, I am sure it will be 
much more acceptable to you now; and I flatter myself that it 
does not contain one sentence that will give you any kind of 
pain. I rejoice, my dear Sir, in having this opportunity of 
shewing my unfeigned esteem for you ; and had I your judg- 
ment now and then to consult, on my frequently occurring 
diflSculties, I should esteem it a high privilege. Had I appre- 
hended all the difliculties I have met with, since I began this 
work, it is absolutely certain, I never should have sent one 
sheet of it to the press. Now that I have gone so far, I feel 
n^yaelf obliged to go yet farther. I want more wisdom, more 
judgment, more learning, and, above all, more of the unction 
of God in my own soul. Help me, my dear Sir, by your 




prayers to the Father of Mercies, that I may ever discern the 
truth as it is in Jesus, preach it, write it, and live according to 
it alone. * *' 

In the year 1811, Dr. Miller had some correspondence 
with the Ex-president, John Adams. Two letters from 
the latter have been preserved, a few extracts from which 
will suflSciently exhibit the purport of the whole. 

'Sir, ^ ^ Quincy, April 12, 1811. 

^Sorne gentlemen in this town have lately caused to 
be printed a sermon of Mr. Hancock, the father of the late 
President of Congress and Governor of Massachusetts; which, 
although I heard it delivered from the pulpit, and was familiar 
with it afterwards in print, in my childhood, I had not seen for 
I know not how great a number of years. 

'Knowing your taste for antiquities, and believing it con- 
tains information concerning your own blood, I hope I am not 
committing an indiscretion in transmitting a copy of it to you; 
not for any uncommon merit in the composition, though con- 
sidering the time, it is not in that respect by any means to be 

'* * Samuel Bass^ married a daughter of John Alden, one 
of the adventurers in the first ship, who landed, in 1620, on 
that rock in Plymouth, which is now esteemed by many more 
than a lump of diamond of the same weight would be. 

* The lady who bore the name of Hannah* Bass, whom you 
found among the memorials of your ancestors, I presume was 
a daughter of Samuel Bass, * * or possibly a grand-daughter. 
If you have no objection, I should be obliged to you for the 
year, in which that lady married your ancestor. 

* I am. Sir, with great esteem, your humble 

'servant, John Adams.' 

On the same sheet he writes, next day, giving some facts 
which he had collected respecting John Alden and his de- 
scendants chiefly ; adding, 

* You, I presume, are among the most precious fruits of that 
marriage. That you may live as long, and be as useful in 
proportion, as either of your ancestors, Alden or Bass, is the 
wish of your humble 

'Servant, John Adams. 

'Reverend Dr. Miller.' 

* Reverend and dear Sir, Quincy, May 11, 1811. 

* Your kind letter of the sixth of this month is this 
day received with great pleasure. I thank you for the facts 

1 John, son of Samuel Bass. See p. 14. 
3 Mary it should have been. See p. 13. 


relative to your ancestors, and shall be obliged to you for any 
others you may be pleased to communicate to me. I may pos- 
sibly furnish you hereafter with some information concerning 
your uncle, Joseph Miller ;^but this is mere conjecture at pre- 
sent. * * 

'Your politeness inquires, whether I do not bear some rela- 
tion to the family of Bass, and what that relation is. My 
grand-father, Jo^^ph Adams, married Hannah Bass; but 
whether a daughter or grand-daughter of Deacon Samuel 
Bass * * I am not able at present to determine.^ * * The 
records of marriages, births, baptisms and deaths, which ought 
to have been kept with precision, and which have been kept in 
this town and church with tolerable regularity, I presume might 
be searched with success, to determine most of these facts and 
dates ; but I have given myself very little concern upon these 
subjects. Indeed, I have observed, that it is not till extreme 
old age, that people commonly begin to think much about their 
original and their ancestors. Then it often happens, when it is 
too late, and when all are dead who could give authentic in- 
formation, men and women become intemperately anxious and 
inquisitive about such subjects. 

* I wish to know. Sir, whether Dr. Miller, of New York, the 
physician, who is so much associated in medical investigations 
with Dr. Mitchill, is your brother. 

'It is not without pleasure, nor without pride, that I am 
able to trace any connection of consanguinity between two 

fentlemen who have done so much honour to the Religion, 
iiterature and Science of America, and your affectionate friend, 

'John Adams.* 

To Dr. Green, about the Theological Seminary, Dr. 
Miller wrote, 

'Rev'd and dear Sir, New York, April 22, 1811. 

'Your letter of the 13th instant came to hand six or 
seven days ago, and was perused by me, as you may well sup- 
pose, with deep interest. If Governor Bloomfield's plan could 
be realized, it would be a grand and even prodigious thing. 
But, I confess, my fears greatly predominate over my hopes. 
The trustees will, 1 apprehend, never consent to commit a sort 
of suicide ; especially as, on the new plan, a number of them 
would, undoubtedly, be thrown out of sAl place and influence 
in the^ business. Brother Romeyn will rejoice with us, more 
than can well be expressed, if the contemplated plan can be 

1 A grand-daughter. John Bass (p. 14) was Mr. Adams's great-grand- 
father, and the great- great- grand-father of Dr. Miller. They were there- 
fore third cousins. 



executed. But of this more when we meet in May. He and 
I are appointed, and expect to be at the Assembly. 

*The principal object of this letter is to consult you respect- 
ing the present state of our subscriptions. We commenced 
them early in the winter, and were going on with vigor ; but 
were urged to suspend our labors for a short time, on account 
of the extreme pressure of mercantile embarrassment ; and were 
told that in April and May the times would no doubt be much 
more favorable, and much larger sums be obtained. We have, 
within a few days, commenced again, but with poor prospects, 
owing to the pressure under which several merchants of our 
denomination find themselves, from whom $500 or $1000 apiece 
were expected. The question which I wish to ask is, what, un- 
der present circumstances, we had better do. We have already 
procured subscriptions to the amount of between three and four 
thousand dollars. If we prosecute the matter with zeal for 
three weeks to come, I think we can bring to the assembly sub- 
scriptions (on paper) to the amount of $8,000 or $10,000; 
whereas, if we wait for a more propitious period, if such should 
ever arrive, I think we might calculate, with confidence, on 
raising in this city $20,000, by subscription, without difificulty/ 

The plan of Governor Bloomfield, referred to in the fore- 
going letter, evidently was, to establish the projected Theo- 
logical Seminary at Princeton, under the college charter, 
as a department co-ordinate with that of the arts. This 
plan certainly was proposed, and, for a time, was regarded 
with great favor, and sanguine expectations, by the friends 
of the new undertaking. But difiiculties, which all saw 
from the first yet some imagined might be overcome, 
proved, doubtless, to be insuperable. The college board of 
Trustees, a close corporation, filling its own vacancies, must 
have had the whole legal control of both departments, with 
all the funds ; and the interests of the Presbyterian Church, 
and its General Assembly, in the theological school, could 
have been secured only by "management" in the choice of 
trustees, ** understandings'* between the parties, and com- 
pacts of doubtful obligation in law; afibrding, upon the 
whole, a very precarious ground of confidence in the con- 
tinued orthodoxy, or right direction in any respect, of the 
new department. 

3. Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers. 
In 1803, Dr. Rodgers, then in his 77th year, had begun 
to limit himself to one sermon upon the Sabbath ; and even 


this Ubor he found, of course, more and more oppressive, 
until, in September, 1809, he preached for the last time. 
Towards the close of 1810, he became wholly unable to 
leave the house. From the period, therefore, of the sepa- 
ration of the collegiate churches. Dr. Miller was, virtually, 
sole pastor of the one in Wall street. Of Dr. Rodger's 
death he gives the following account : — 

" Toward three o'clock, in the afternoon * *, he became 
in a small degree restless, and manifested symptoms of approach- 
ing dissolution. His colleague was immediately sent mr, and 
in a few minutes' entered the room. He found him unable to 
speak; but had the pleasure of perceiving that he knew him; 
and by signs, as well as by his countenance, that he enjoyed 
his wonted hope and consolation, and that he wished him to 
pray with him. A short prayer was accordingly offered up ; 
and the venerable servant of Jesus Christ, without again re- 
covering his speech, was, about four o'clock, P. M., on the 7th 
day of May, 1811, in the 84th year of his age, and in the 63d 
year of his ministry, quietly released from his mortal taberna- 
cle, and translated to his eternal rest. 

« * * The funeral was attended on Thursday, the 9th of 
May. Scarcely ever was there seen in New York so large a 
concourse of real mourners. The corpse was taken in the Brick 
church, where an impressive funeral oration was delivered by 
Dr. Milledoler:'^ 

On the following Tuesday, Dr. Miller preached a §ermon 
in commemoration of his venerable colleague. This was 
afterwards published^ as an appendix to his Memoirs of Dr. 
Rodgers, a work commenced, doubtless, soon after the 
death of the latter, and appearing early in 1813.^ The 
Memoirs are dedicated " To the Ministers of the Presbyte- 
rian Church in the United States," in his address to whom 
the author says, 

"The character and ministry of the venerable Man, with 
whose memoirs you are here presented, were dear to you all, 

1 Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers, 287, 288. 

*"A Sermon, preached in the City of New York, May 12th, 1811, occasioned 
by the death of the Rev. John Rodgers, D.D., late Senior Pastor of the WaU- 
Btreet and Brick Churches, New York. By Samuel Miller, D.D., Surviying 
Pastor of the Church in Wall-street." — 2 Kings ii. 12. 

* " Memoirs of the Rev. John Rodgers, D.D., late Pastor of the Wall street 
and Brick Churches, in the City of New York. By Samuel Miller, D.D., Sur- 
viving Pastor of the Church in Wall-street. New- York : 1813."— 8 vo. Pp. 432. 

In 1840, the Presbyterian Board of Publication issued an abridgement of 
this work, by its author, omitting altogether the Funeral Sermon and Appen- 
dix, which occupy about seventy -five pages of the original volume. 



Most of you knew him personally ; and all of you revered him 
as one of the Fathers or the American Church. Knowing this, 
I had no doubt that you would be gratified with seeing some 
account of his long, laborious and useful life: and knowing 
also, that no one could so naturally be expected to give this ac- 
count as his surviving colleague, who served with him, as a son 
in the Gospel, for more than seventeen years, I did not hesitate 
to make the attempt. 

"In the progress of the undertaking, I have greatly exceeded 
the limits originally prescribed to myself. What was at first 
intended to be a pamphlet of moderate size, has insensibly 
grown into a volume."^ 

On an after page he says, 

"The distance between the residence of Doctor Rodgers, and 
that of the writer's Father, both in the State of Delaware, was 
about twenty-six miles. And, though they belonged to different 
Presbyteries, and differed in opinion on some points of ecclesi- 
astical order, they were united in affectionate friendship, and 
had much official intercourse, especially on sacramental occa- 


In regard to his own personal relations to his aged col- 
league, Dr. Miller gave repeated and grateful testimony. 
In a contribution to Dr. Sprague's Annals he remarked, 

"My acquaintance with Dr. Rodgers began in 1792, when 
he was more than sixty years of age, and when I was a youth- 
ful and inexperienced candidate for the ministry. He recog- 
nized in me the son of an old clerical friend, and from that hour 
imtil the day of his death treated me with a fidelity and kind- 
ness truly paternal. And when, next year, I became his col- 
league, ne uniformly continued to exercise toward me that 
parental indulgence and guardianship, which became his in- 
herited friendship, as well as his Christian and ecclesiastical 

As late as the 30th of November, 1847, Dr. Miller 

*I owe to the memory of my venerable colleague, the Rev'd 
Dr. Rodgers, a record of my deep sense of obligation to him, 
for the manner in which he treated me, from the hour of my 
settlement in New York until his latest breath. He wds my 
father's affectionate friend ; and, from my first introduction to 
him, he acted the part of a father and faithful friend to his 
friend's son. He took me by the hand; and did everything in 

1 Pp. 3, 4. * P. 387, note. i 3 Vol., 162. 


his power to promote my reputation and welfare: — ^he coun- 
selled me ; corrected my mistakes ; defended me when misre- 
presented; appeared to take delight in every manifestation of 
public &ivour which he perceived to be extended to me; was 
ready to assist me in preaching, when he saw that I needed 
such assistance ; and, in short, was prompt to say and do every 
thing that the most faithful and paternal friendship could dic- 
tate. Never did he, for one moment, deviate from that course 
of decisive and affectionate regard which he professed to pur- 
sue, and in which he seemed to take delight. 

' On the other hand, I served with him as an affectionate son 
with a kind and tender father. No alienation, jealousy, or im- 
comfortable feeling ever arose between us. To the latest hour 
of his life, I labored with him as Timothy with " Paul the 
aged," and felt myself at once honored and rewarded by my 
union with him. I owe a large debt to the memory of that 
venerated man.' 

About his Metiioirs of Dr. Rodgers, we find Dr. Miller 
writing to Dr. Green, on the 2d of March, 1812, 

'Apropos, — when I stood pledged to write the life of Dr. 
Nisbet, you promised me a long communication respecting that 
gentleman, in order to gratify my ambition to have it a sort of 
joint work. That being dropped, I have the same desire with 
respect to Dr. Rodgers's life, I have a real and ardent wish 
to receive a communication from you, which may stand as one 
of the chapters of the work, or any other way that you choose 
to direct; and which may be a monument of our acquaintance 
and friendship. I mentioned this to you last May ; but you 
gave me no encouragement to expect anything of the kind. 
Are you still of the same mind? It would give me great 
pleasure to believe that you had come to a better way of think- 
ing. If you can prepare two or three sheets, or as much more 
as you please, between this and the last of May, it will answer.' 

In a letter, dated 'N. Brunswick, July 23, 1813,' Dr. 
Livingston, then Professor of Theology of the Reformed 
Dutch Church, in Queen's (now Rutger's) College, wrote, 

'As to Dr. Rodgers's Life, you forbid me to say the only 
thing I can say upon the subject; but I must and will say, 
that I am surprised, pleased and edified with it. I have 
no remarks, nor would I wish to see any alterations or addi- 
tions in a new edition. It is now good, very good. I see you 
have made use of my letter. Nothing will suffer in your hand : 
it is all right.' 

Dr. Rush wrote as follows : — 


'My dear Sir, Philadelphia, April 13th, 1813. 

* I have more than read, I have devoured, your ac- 
count of the life of our excellent friend, Dr. Rodgers. It is 
what the epicures call a tit bit in Biography. You have given 
an importance to the most minute incidents in his life by your 
reflections upon them. In doing so, you have happily imitated 
the manner of Tacitus. Mrs. Bush has been equally delighted 
with myself with your history of her much beloved friend. 
She says it has the variety and animation of a novel, with all 
the dignity and instruction of real history. I was particularly 
pleased with your having given so correct a view of the apos- 
tolic age of the Presbyterian Church in America. The names 
of the Tennents, Dickinson, Burr, the Blairs, Finley, Smith, 
Roan, Wilson and Allison, have been^translated by your pen 
from their long repose in their graves to the skies, where they 
form a splendid constellation, which I hope will never cease to 
command the admiration and affection of their descendants in 
the same Church. I was pleased still further in observing, 
that you ascribe their preeminence in Scriptural knowledge 
and Scriptural preaoJiing to their familiarity with the writings 
of Baxter, Charnock, Howe and other illustrious divines and 
saints, who adorned the seventeenth century. They formed the 
apostolic age of the Christian Church in Great Britain. 

*I wish you had mentioned the names of Waddel, Kirkpat- 
rick, Hunt, Caldwell and Strain among Dr. Finley's pupils in 
West Nottingham. They were excellent and useful ministers 
of the gospel. Mr. Strain was a great man. In eloquence, so 
far as it consists in sublime conceptions and expressions, he 
was not inferior to Mr. Whitefield. .He was so truly a "burn- 
ing and shining light,'* that he consumed himself. He died pre- 
maturely from the vehemence of his labors, particularly in the 
pulpit, in which, at times, unhappily, he rather roared than 
spoke. I will give you a specimen of the sublimity of his elo- 
quence. In a sermon upon these words — " In him d welleth all 
the fulness of the Godhead," delivered in Pine street church 
in our city, after mentioning most of the attributes of God, 
which dwelt in, and were exercised by the Son, he added, 
" Above all, the fulness of the love of God dwells in him. — 
And here what shall I say? — Help me, Gabriel ! Help me, 
Michael I Help me, Ithuriel I with your celestial eloquence, to 
do justice to the boundless of the love of Son of God!" 
— Here, with his eyes elevated towards the ceiling of the 
church, he paused for half a minute. A solemn stillness in- 
stantly pervaded the audience. — Then, with a voice a little 
reduced and slow, he cried out, "Seel they droop their wings, 
unable even to comprehend the mighty theme." 


'There was great force in the word boundless, used as a 
substantive, instead of an adjective. 

* May we both be enabled to follow the examples of these 
great and good men, who are, now, through faith, inheriting 
the great and precious promises of the gospel ! 

* Adieu I from, my dear Sir, 

* Yours truly and affectionately, 
'The Kev'd Dr. Miller. Benj'n Rush.' 

The following is part of a letter from the Rev*d George 
Burder, the well known author of "Village Sermons." 

^ * Rev'd Sir, London, June 15, 1814. 

* I feel much indebted to you for the welcome present of 
your Life of that excellent man, Dr. Rodgers, which I have 
read with great pleasure, and from which I have ventured to 
make an extract for the Evangelical Magazine. You have 
contrived. Sir, to render your book truly useful, especially in 
America, by introducing subjects of general interest, and 
laboring to maintain the truth as it is in Jesus, which I under- 
stand is powerfully assailed, in your part of the world, by the 
Socinian adversaries.' 

A late writer in the Presbyterian^ speaks of this work 
as "that richly replenished store house, in which Dr. 
Miller has introduced, naturally and appropriately, nearly 
everything that was known, thirty years ago, of the his- 
tory of our Church.*' 

These Memoirs exhibited Episcopalians and Presbyteri- 
ans repeatedly in conflict. As the latter were, before the 
Revolution, among the most determined resistants of eccle- 
siastical domination ; so, since the Revolution, they have 
enjoyed the credit of being among the most active oppo- 
nents of High Chjirchism. Those portions of the volume 
referring to the conflicts just mentioned, were, of course, 
notified by Episcopal critics ; but into the particulars and 
merits of their criticisms there is not room here to enter, 

4. Theological Seminary. 

No place had as yet been fixed upon for the new semi- 
nary, but to the Assembly of 1811 the Trustees of the 
College of New Jersey, at Princeton, proposed the appoint- 
ment of a committee to confer with one which they had 
already appointed on this subject. The Assembly's com- 

1 February 1, 1851. 



mittee, of which Dr. Alexander was chairman, reported, 
three days afterw9.rd, recommending another committee of 
conference with the Trustees, with atnple powers to frame 
a plan for uniting the college and the proposed seminary, 
and of c.ourse locating the latter at Princeton. A second 
committee, of which also Dr. Alexander was chairman, 
was accordingly chosen. Subsequen|;ly the plan of a theo- 
logical school, from the pen of Dr. Green, of the com- 
mittee appointed the previous year, was considered and, in 
substance, adopted. It appeared that some $14,000 or 
$16,000 had been subscribed for the seminary, including. 
$8,000 or $9,000, the probable amount of the estate of 
Deacon William Falconer, who had lately died in Philadel- 
phia, bequeathing all his property to this object. $3,000 
had been subscribed in the city of New York. The 
Assembly made provision for a more vigorous prosecution 
of the business of collecting funds. 

It is doubtful whether, at this time, there was really 
much wealth in the Presbyterian Church. At any rate, 
the efibrts made to obtain, within its bounds, a proper 
endowment for the new seminary, proved abortive. The 
funds collected were all needed, and were not sufficient, 
to meet the immediate and most pressing demands of the 
institution. The times, moreover, on account of the diffi- 
culties with France and England, which, as to the latter 
power, soon culminated in the war of 1812, were unpropi- 
tious. Moved naturally enough by sanguine hopes, rather 
than rational conclusions, the thoughts of some of the 
gentlemen most deeply interested in the projected semi- 
nary, as they were busily beating about, under these cir- 
cumstances, in every direction, turned towards New Eng- 
land, and several of its wealthy and distinguished patrons 
of religious learning. Dr. Green and Dr. Miller especially 
hoped for success, and made some effort, in that quarter ; 
but they were disappointed. It was no wonder that none 
of these New England gentlemen were disposed to help 
build up the institution in Princeton, which they could not 
but regard, as, to some degree, however unintentionally, 
a rival of that at Andover. The nearer alike different 
denominations are, the often er do the seeming interests of 
one clash with those of another. 

1811.] TEMPERANCE. 815 

In singular contrast with these negotiations for the 
establishment of the Theological Seminary by the side of 
the College, at Princeton, was a resolution of the college 
trustees, on the 19th of December, 1811, applying to the 
state legislature for permission to raise by lottery a sum 
not exceeding $26,000, on account of the impoverished 
state of the institution under their care. In this country 
rerolutions in public sentiment are often peculiarly rapid ; 
yet so complete and universal now is the condemnation of 
lotteries, and their classification with misdemeanors, that 
but for such a recent instance of their justification by good 
men, we should suppose they had been, for a much longer 
period, the resort of avowed gamblers only. We may, 
however, judge more leniently the trustees of the College 
of New Jersey, of more than half a century ago, when we 
remember how many devices, which are lotteries in fact, 
though not so called, are still employed among professing 
Christians, and in the name of humanity and religion, in 
connexion with church fairs and otherwise, to raise funds 
which a halting charity is backward to supply. 

5. Temperance. 

Dr. Miller was a Commissioner to the four successive 
Assemblies from 1810 to 1813, inclusive, doubtless to give 
opportunity to his zeal on behalf of a theological institu- 
tion. Before that of 1811, he preached a missionary ser- 
mon, for which the Assembly voted its thanks. The same 
year he was also appointed chairman of a large committee 
designed to devise measures, which, when sanctioned by the 
General Assembly, might have an influence in preventing 
some of the numerous and threatening mischiefs which 
were experienced throughout the country by the excessive 
and intemperate use of spirituous liquors ; and this com- 
mittee was authorized to correspond and act in concert 
with any persons who might be appointed, or associated, for 
a similar purpose, and were required to report to the next 
Assembly. Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, had previously 
presented to the body one thousand copies of his pamph- 
let, entitled, "An Inquiry into the Effects of Ardent 
Sf)irit8 upon the Human Body and Mind," to be divided 
among the members for distribution in their congregations. 


That donation, which the Assembly received with a resolu- 
tion of thanks, had doubtless, in part, suggested a com- 
mittee on this subject, which now, for the first time, 
engaged the attention of the highest judicatory of the 
Presbyterian Church ; excepting that the old Synod had, 
in 1766, condemned the excessive use of intoxicating 
drinks at funerals. But a passage in the annual narrative 
of the state of religion, prepared for the Assembly from 
synodical and presbyterial reports, shows that from some 
portions of the Church itself had come up lamentations 
over intemperance. "We are ashamed," says the narra- 
tive, " but constrained to say, that we have heard of the 
sin of drunkenness prevailing — prevailing to a great de- 
gree — prevailing even among some of the visible members 
of the household of faith. What a reflection on the 
Christian character is this, that they who profess to be 
bought with a price, and thus redeemed from iniquity, 
should debase themselves by the gratification of appetite to 
a level with the beasts which perish."^ 

As the result of this reference of the subject, the As- 
sembly of 1812 adopted a paper of some length, drawn 
up, probably, by Dr. Miller, chairman of the committee. 
It recommended to all the ministers of the Presbyte- 
rian Church that they should warn their hearers, both 
from the pulpit and otherwise, against the sin of intem- 
perance, and all indulgences leading thereto ; enjoined 
on church sessions faithful, though considerate, discipline, 
for the purification of the Church from this sin ; advised the 
free circulation of tracts on the subject ; and suggested 
the adoption of measures for reducing the number of 
taverns and liquor shops.^ 


6. Dr. Griffin's Installation. 

After all. Dr. Miller was obliged to excuse himself from 
preaching the sermon at Dr. Griffin's installation. The 
following letter, dated the 8th of July, 1811, gives his 
reasons and expresses his regret. 

* I had pleased myself with the thought, that your ini^talla- 
tion would take place under circumstances which would liberate 
me from my promise. But, to my regret, it has turned out 

1 Min. 467, 474, 485. > Min. 511. 

1811.] DR. griffin's installation. 817 

otherwise. Considering, however, the new and peculiar situa- 
tion in which I am placed, I am compelled to request of you, 
as a particular favor, to release me from that promise. You 
know, my dear Brother, that there are few men living whom I 
both respect and love more than yourself; and that it would 
afford me very high gratification to have an opportunity of tes- 
tifying this. But you shall yourself judge what I ought to do, 
after calmly reflecting on the following considerations : 

' I have, within a few days, removed my family to a place of 
my brother's, at Bloomingdale, about seven miles from the city. 
The house which we occupy is in a wild and uncultivated place. 
I go to the city every day, and bring most of our family sup- 
plies with me in the chair, as I return from these daily visits. 
We have no servant who can possibly be trusted to take my 
place in this business ; and the idea of leaving my wife and 
children alone, for three weeks, in this wild and solitary place, 
without supplies, or the means of obtaining them with comfort, 
in this warm weather, when they cannot be laid up, so afflicts 
my mind, and the mind of Mrs. M., whenever we think of it, 
that I shrink from an undertaking which would involve me in 
such a necessity. 

'Nor is this all. My church is, at this time, in a very criti- 
cal situation. The period of entering our new building has 
been constantly viewed as about four or five weeks ahead for 
near two months past. The time now talked of by our building 
committee is the last of July or the beginning oi August. It 
is not certain that we shall be able to get in so soon ; but our 
people find the edifice we now occupy so crowded and intolera- 
ble, especially in hot weather, that they are anxious to get into 
the new one at the earliest possible period. Under these cir- 
cumstances, for me to engage in anything, which might delay 
this event for two or three weeks, would neither be agreeable 
to them, nor politic in me. In the midst of this ecclesiastical 
embarrassment, we have another. About two-thirds of the 
pews in our building are already disposed of to persons who 
had claims on seats in the old church. The rest are yet to be 
disposed of; and (as has always occurred in similar cases) there 
is no small difficulty about the matter. Many complaints arise. 
New and delicate cases present themselves and must be decided. 
The officers of' the church consider my presence and agency as 
of some importance in the removal of these difficulties ; and we 
are not likely to get through them entirely, until we enter the 
new building, and perhaps not for several weeks afterwards. 
But ftirther — 

* To my shame be it spoken, though I have had my dedica- 
tion sermon for several months in view, yet so incessant has 


been my hurry and distraction, for six weeks past, that I have 
not written one line of that sermon, nor even chosen a text for 
it. Under these circumstances of unpreparedness and hurry ; 
when I am obliged to spend the greater portion of every day in 
going to and from our country retreat ; when I cannot have ac- 
cess to my library ; and when, with every exertion, I can scarcely 
get time to make decent preparation for the Sabbath at home ; 
how could I have the heart to engage, in the midst of a relax- 
ing, warm season, in preparation for one of the most difficult, 
delicate, and arduous services that ever a minister performed ? 

'More than this, I was lately absent two Sabbaths at the 
Greneral Assembly ; and, though I took all possible pains to 
have my pulpit supplied during my absence, and had actually 
engaged two ministers for the purpose, yet it so happened, that 
they both failed; and the people, on each Sabbath assembled 
in church, and sat an hour looking on one another, until, des- 
pairing of the arrival of a preacher, they dispersed. 

' Under these circumstances, for me to leave home for two 
Sabbaths at least, to the distress of my family, and to the en- 
dangering of the peace and comfort of my congregation ; to 
travel two hundred and fifty miles, to perform a service which 
can be better done by a person on the spot — ought I to do it ? 

*My dear Brother, it gives me more pain than I can well ex- 
press/to decline a se'rvife which I kno^ you expected, and on 
which your heart has been in some degree placed. But let me 
appeal to your conscience and your feelings, whether under the 
circumstances which I have stated, I can possibly decide other- 
wise. Write me a line bv the first mail, telling me that you 
are not angry ; that you release me from my promise ; and that 
my failure shall not impair your afiection. I shall feel uneasy 
until I hear from you.' 

After the installation, he wrote to Dr. Griffin, 

' New-York, August 12, 1811. 

*My very dear Brother, 

'I embrace the earliest leisure moment, since receiving 
information of them, to congratulate you on the solemn and in- 
teresting transactions of the 31st ultimo. May Grod bless you, 
my beloved Friend, in your new charge, and go on to honor 
you, as he has so often done, as the instrument of saving good 
to many souls, and of rich benefits to his church at large ! My 
heart was with you on that important day ; and I wish it had 
been possible to be with you in body also. 

*Your affairs in Massachusetts, my Brother, have been or- 
dered differently, in some respects, from what we anticipated. 
I trust it will turn out to be eminently for the furtherance of 

1811.] DR. griffin's installation. 819 

the gospel. The great Head of the Church knows better, far 
better, than you or I, what he is about. Blessed be his holy 
name forever ; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory I 
*I cannot tell you how much I feel interested in the affairs of 
the Park street Church. God's dealings with them have been, 
heretofore, trying. I trust he is now preparing to manifest rich 
mercy towards them. Let me know everything concerning 
them that is interesting. 

* We opened our new church yesterday morning. I was quite 
as anxious for the issue of the event as I ought to have been ; 
and not a little agitated on the occasion. The church was im- 
mensely crowded. Dr. Romeyn attended and assisted. My 
sermon was from 2 Chronicles vi. 41 — first clause. It will 
probably be printed. On the whole, the issue was favorable : 
much better than I feared. There appears to be, at present, 
only one family incurably disgusted and alienated about a pew. 
I hope all the rest will be quiet, if not satisfied. Considering 
the extreme difficulties which usually attend the delicate and 
invidious task of accommodating old occupants in new places 
of worship, I think we have done, and are doing, on the whole, 
remarkably well. 

* Let me hear from you soon. Mrs. M. does not know of my 
writing, (she is at what Judge Benson calls "Tadmor in the 
wilderness,") or she would join in love to Mrs. G. and yourself 

' dear Brother, yours affectionately, 

'Sam'l Miller.' 

Of the two following paragraphs, the former is from 
Mrs. Miller's diary, the latter from a letter of hers, dated 
the 22d of December, 1811, to a cousin, who had just made 
a profession of religion. 

September 2, 1811. After my mind has been exercised with 
regard to my own spiritual state; after a season of trouble, 
when my soul has been anxiously inquiring, "Lord, am I 
thine ?" — after having obtained that heartfelt satisfaction which 
those experience who are assured that they are amongst that 
happy number, who "have passed from death unto lite," and 
that nothing — ^not even death — shall separate them from him 
who is the source of all their joy ; with how much solicitude 
have I inquired, "O Lord, is my husband thine? — is he, too, of 
that happjr number whose God is the Lord ? Shew me some 
special evidence that he is thine : I ask it, if agreeable to thy 
will, in the name of him, through faith in whom thou has 
promised all blessings. Is he thine forever ?" But no special 


evidence was granted, until during the last winter. This was 
one of the comforts which were given to support me in a time 
of trial.' 

* I feel jealous over every professor, and especially every new 
one, because I was a professor myself between four and five 
years, before I had any spiritual knowledge of Christianity ; 
and was prevented from settling down in a mere profession 
only by that God who had determined to make me effectually 



1. Burning of the Richmond Theatre. 

Early in the year 1812, Dr. Miller published a sermon/ 
•which was a fitting introduction to a year of unusual sor- 
row. The following extracts will explain the occasion of 
its delivery and publication. 

"On the night of December 26, 1811, the theatre in tie 
city of Richmond^ Virginia, was unusually crowded; a new 
play having drawn together an audience of not less than 
six hundred persons. Towards the close of the performances, 
just before the commencement of the last act of the concluding 
pantomime, the scenery caught fire, from a lamp inadvertently 
rajsed to an improper position, and, in a few minutes, the whole 
building was wrapped in flames. The doors being very few, 
and the avenues leading to them exceedingly narrow, the scene 
which ensued was truly a scene of horror I It may be in some 
degree imagined, but can never be adequately described I — 
About seventy-five persons perished in the flames. Among these 
were the Governor of the State ; the President of the Bank of 
Virginia ; one of the most eminent Attomies belonging to the 
bar of the commonwealth; a number of other respectable 
Gentlemen; and about fifty Females, a large portion of 
whom were among the Ladies of the greatest conspicuity and 
fashion in the city."* 

"To the Young Gentlemen at whose request the 'following 
sermon was delivered, and is now published," Dr. Miller says, 

i^'A SermoD, delivered January 19, 1812, at the request of a number of 
Toung Gentlemen of the City of New York, who had Assembled to express 
their Condolence with the Inhabitants of Richmond, on the late Moarnf\il 
Dispensation of Providence in that City. By Samuel Miller, D.D.j Pastor of 
the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York." — Lamentations 
ii. 1, 13.— 8vo. Pp. 50. » Pp. 50. 


822 AFFLICTIONS. [CH. 20. 2. 

in a dedicatory address, "Your resolution to express your con- 
dolence with the mourning inhabitan,ts of Richmond, did you 
honour. Sympathy with the afflicted is ornamental to every 
age, but especially to the Young. When, therefore, you re- 
quested me to address you on the occasion from the pulpit, 
although a compliance with your request was not a little incon- 
venient, I did not dare to refuse. But when, after being ap- 
prized, that if anything was said by me in relation to the awful 
Calamity in question, it must include a solemn protest against 
Theatrical entertainments, you still imanimously persisted in 
urging your application, my duty to comply with it appeared 
no longer doubtful. It gives me pleasure to find that you so 
far approve of what I thought myself bound to say on that 
subject, as to wish it made still more public : for I will enjoy 
the satisfaction of believing, that approbation of the truth had 
much more agency in prompting your second request, than 
civility to the preacher.'^ 

The biographer of Dr. A. Alexander, after noticing a 
sermon preached by the latter, upon the same mournful 
occasion, in the Pine street Presbyterian Church, Philadel- 
phia, of which he was pastor, and also given to the press, 

" It is worthv of note, as belonging to a parallel between 
two long and blended lives, that the Keverend Dr. Miller, in 
New York, preached and published a discourse, commemora- 
tive of the same afflictive event. It * * contains an able and 
elaborate argument against theatrical amusements.''* 

2. Death of Edward Millington Miller. 

Heavy affliction now fell, with repeated stroke, upon the 
New York pastor's household. The first of these troubles 
was the loss of a darling child, to whom the following 
extract from Dr. Miller's journal relates. There were two 
older daughters, but this was the eldest son. 

' February 5, 1812. On the evening of this day, our dear 
son, Edward MiUingtorif departed this life, in the seventh year 
of his age. * * He was sick about ten or twelve days. His 
disease terminated in dropsy of the brain. Though he was so 
young, we had a comfortable, nay, a delightfiil, hope in his 
death. He expressed himself in language, which not only 
shewed that he anticipated his departure; but led us confi- 
dently to believe, that, by the grace of Gk)d, he was prepared 
for it. 
1 Pp. 3, 4. « p. 312. 



* Death has thus, for the first time, entered my family. O 
Lord, sanctify to all of us this dispensation. Prepare all of us, 
who yet survive, for our own departure. * * May we find 
mercy of the Lord in that dayl' 

To Dr. Griffin Dr. Miller said, on the 6th of March, 

'Since I wrote to you, it has pleased God to take away our 
dear Edward. He died, about four weeks ago, of an infiam- 
mation of the brain. We have reason to be thankful, that we 
have had much consolation attending the melancholy provi- 
dence. My dear Sarah has been supported in a most remark- 
able manner. ''The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken 
away : blessed be the name of the Lord !" ' 

To Dr. Green he wrote, on the 21st of the same month, 

'Please to tell Mrs. Green, that Mrs. Miller unites with me 
in affectioAate regards to her; that we have both of us been 
sick almost ever since the death of our dear son; but that our 
covenant God has not left us comfortless under this dispen- 

8. Death of Doctor Edward Miller. 

In a little more than a month after his son's death, Dr. 
Miller met with one of the sorest bereavements of his life, 
in the decease of his last remaining brother, particularly 
endeared to him by constant an.d most intimate association, 
for more than fifteen years, in New York. If the estimate 
of this brother about to be given may seem to any reader 
extravagant, and, especially, too eulogistic from the pen of 
a near relative, the following considerations may perhaps 
furnish a partial apology. The description is taken, in a 
great measure, from eulogies pronounced upon him, after 
his decease, by fellow physicians and others, uninfluenced 
by relationship. Moreover, his name descended in the 
family with a precious unction, as the very synonym of 
brotherly devotion ; and even the members of the house- 
hold born subsequently to his death, were taught, by the fre- 
quent recurrence of those who had known him to his virtues, 
to admire his character and venerate his memory. The 
writer is only uttering what the warm love and gratitude 
of his parents often expressed in the family circle, and 
fixed in the hearts of all their children. 

There can be no doubt, that the fifteen years in New 
York, of renewed and closest intercourse between the two 

824 AFFLICTIONS. [CH. 20. 3. 

brothers, had been of mutual advantage, chiefly, perhaps, 
in cherishing principles and habits which they had together 
formed in their Delaware home. Edward was more than 
nine years the older, and, of course, his advice, opinions, 
and example had, on that account, greater influence with 
his younger brother. This influence was not wholly bene- 
ficial. The literary and scientific pursuits, companions, 
and recreations quite appropriate to a physician, tempted, 
no doubt, the gospel minister too far from the high duties 
of his sacred profession. Doctor Edward Miller was, 
moreover, as before mentioned, a very warm and decided 
politician of the Republican, or Democratic, stamp. Into 
politics, indeed, he carried a preeminent delicacy of 
thought, taste, feeling, and habit, which eflFectually pre- 
vented his becoming, under any temptation, a brawler. 
But, however refined and elegant in his political associa- 
tions and intercourse; however carefully abstaining from 
the asperities and foulness of common party conflict ; 
however mere politicians might have profited by his liberal, 
dignified, unblemished example; that example was, for 
this very reason, only the more seductive to one, who, by 
the bent of his own mind, was already tempted to partici- 
pate in party strife, though not often untastefully, yet far 
too much for a minister of the gospel. And, on the other 
hand, doubtless, the clerical brother, had he shewn more 
decisively, both at home and abroad, that he was deter- 
mined not to know anything save Jesus Christ and him 
crucified, would have exerted upon the physician a much 
more effectual religious influence. There is no element of 
power in the gospel so mighty, as conclusive evidence in 
the lives and labors of its ministers, that they regard the 
salvation of souls as an affair of indeed infinite importance; 
and that their one, all-engrossing thought is, by all means 
to save some. 

But, beyond doubt, as to many points, their mutual in- 
fluence, and especially that of the older on the younger, 
must have been of the happiest kind. Samuel was a vale- 
tudinarian throughout his ministry in New York, and 
probably owed his life to fraternal care and watchfulness. 
In the strictest temperance as to all the enjoyments of the 
table, and an abhorrence of tobacco, as, in every form, 


odious, unhealthful, and a provocative to drink, he was 
confirmed by his brother's example, which was that of the 
most rigid delicacy and self-command. Perhaps Edward 
was hardly equal to Samuel in formal, impressive manner ; 
but he was hardly a whit inferior to him in any other 
characteristic of either the inside, or the outside, of a 
gentleman and a scholar. In classical and general culture 
he was the superior ; his style of composition was the more 
compact and accurate, indicating a better disciplined, if 
not a more acute, mind ; he had the more retentive and 
exact memory ; and he excelled in discernment, which his 
appropriate studies and medical practice naturally improved. 
He was enthusiastic in his profession ; a most diligent in- 
quirer after scientific truth ; prompt to grasp, and skillful 
to improve, every new idea ; an unusually agreeable and 
instructive lecturer ; unselfish and ready to promote the 
schemes of otTiers ; ever willing to spend and be spent for 
the sake of science, of humanity, or of natural affection ; 
winningly earnest in his pursuits and benefactions ; very 
successful in his practice ; of sound judgment and admi- 
rable discretion ; the sympathizing friend as well as the 
physician ; the light and joy of the sick room ; attaching 
his associates most warmly to him ; simple, courteous and 
unaffected, sincere and affable in social intercourse ; modest, 
sensitive, neatin dress, refined and guarded in thought and 
expression. Among all his characteristics, self-negation 
and delicacy of feeling were ever prominent. Such an 
example could not have failed to exert on every one around 
him a most beneficial influence. 

Yet all that has been said would convey but a faint idea 
of his character in the domestic circle. Without any 
family, he lived for that of his brother — although not an 
inmate of the same dwelling, yet, as if this family were his 
own, devoting himself, with remarkable affection, to its 
interests. The ties by which the two brothers were united 
were a singular evidence of the Christian influences under 
which they had been trained in their father's house. In 
that little Delaware home-garden, with none of the appli- 
ances of wealth, in the midst of a strife almost for the 
necessaries of existence, with no fortune except th^ cove- 
nant inheritance from a pious ancestry, the simple hearted, 
laborious pastor had found time to cultivate, and not with- 

326 AFFLICTIOKS. [CH. 20, 3. 

out a measure of success, the rarest native and exotic 
virtues ; which were now beautifying the homes of another 
generation, where ampler means gave but wider diffusion 
to whatever they possessed of attractive grace and delicate 

Dr. Miller, in his diary, thus noticed his brother's 
death : — 

'March 17, 1812. To-day, departed this life, my beloved 
and affectionate brother, Edwakd Miller, M. D., Professor 
of the Practice of Physic in the University of the State of New 
York. He had been sick, for a fortnight, with a catarrhal 
fever ; but was supposed to be decisively convalescent, when 
the fever suddenly assumed a typhoid shape, and closed his 
life in a few hours. The first impression I had of his danger 
was when I perceived a delirium coming on. But then it was 
too late to say a word to him concerning his eternal hope and 
prospects. I could only pray by his side ; which I did a num- 
ber of times. 

* I am now the only surviving son of seven bom to my pairents. 
One sister and myself are all that remain of nine children. 
Solemn situation ! When shall I be called to give an account 
of my stewardship? Lord God, thou knowest Oh, prepare 
me for all thy will.' 

Appended to this at a later date, is found an additional 
expression of grateful remembrance: — 

* The brother whose death is noticed on the preceding page 
was one of the most affectionate and devoted brothers that ever 
man had. * * He devoted himself to my comfort with 
peculiar zeal and affection. And, after his decease, though he 
gave me no intimation of it before, I found that he had be- 
queathed to me his whole property, amounting to more than 
$10,000, and made me his sole executor. 

Doctor Edward Miller had never made a profession of relig- 
ion, yet there seemed to be good ground for believing that 
he had " hope in his death.*' 

Doctor Miller had, in 1803, been appointed, by the 
Governor and Council of the State of New York, Resident 
Physician of New York City, according to an act of the 
legislature, designed to guard against malignant epidemics, 
especially the yellow fever. Excepting the interval of 
about a year, he had retained this ofSce until his death. 
The fever in question he had made his particular study ; 


and had been noted for maintaining, in coincidence with 
Dr. Benjamin Rush's opinion, that it was of domestic 
origin, — not imported from abroad, — and was not conta- 
gious. In 1807j Doctor Miller had been elected Professor 
of the Practice of Physic in the new College of Physicians 
and Surgeons ; and in 1809, one of the physicians of the 
New York Hospital ; in which institution he had soon been 
appointed Clinical Lecturer. These appointments also he 
had held until his decease. 

A few days after the death of his brother. Dr. Miller 
received from Dr. Benjamin Rush the following letters of 
most affectionate condolence : — 

*My dear Friend, ^ Philadelphia, March 19th, 1812. 

*Col. M^Lane communicated to me in a short note, yes- 
terday morning, the distressing intelligence of the death of 
my much loved and invaluable friend. It afflicted me in the 
most sensible manner. He was very dear to me, not only 
from his uncommon worth, but also because he was my early 
and uniform friend. In an intercourse of thirty years, I 
never saw anything in him that was not calculated to excite 
affection, esteem, and admiration. During the confederacy of 
my brethren against me, in" the memorable years in which the 
Yellow Fever prevailed in our city, he openly advocated my 
principlea and practice ; and by the weight of his name, and 
the learning and ingenuity of his publications, contributed 
very much to their establishment in our country, Judge of 
my affection for him, and the value I placed upon his integrity 
and friendship, when I add, that, four or five years ago, in a 
private interview, in my own house, I committed my lectures 
and manuscripts to him, to be revised by him, and published 
or destroyed as he saw proper, after my death. He received 
this communication with a good deal of emotion, and promised 
to fulfill my wishes, in case he should survive me. — But why 
do I complain of the loss I have sustained by his death ? Sci- 
ence, Literature, Humanity, the United States, have all been 
deprived of one of their strongest pillars, and most beautiful 
ornaments. They will long, very long deplore his early and 
premature removal from the high and useful station he filled 
in life. They now mingle their tears with yours and mine. 
When the late Reverend William Tennent, oi Freehold, heard 
of the death of his friend, Doctor Finley^ he cried out, " I feel 
as if I had lost my broad-side. He was my brother. I could 
have gone to prison and to death with him !" I imagine we 
both feel disposed to adopt the same affectionate and pas- 

328 AFFLICTIONS. [CH, 20. 3. 

sionate expressions, in revolving in our minds the uncommon 
virtues and attainments of our departed FriencJ and Brother. 
His death has rendered the republic of medicine a solitude to 
me ; for he filled a place in my bosom which no physician in 
our country is able, or if able, willing, to occupy. 

' But in thus venting our sorrows to each other, let us not 
forget the dictates of the holy religion we profess. God never 
created any creature comfort, not even the innocent delights of 
friendship and fraternal afibction, to rise in rebellion against 
himself; and however severely we may feel the loss of them, it 
is probably intended to teach us that they are not indispensably 
necessary to our substantial and permanent happiness; and 
that there is indeed "a Friend that sticketh closer than a 

* I will endeavour to write something for the public eye on 
this distressing occasion. But ah ! my friend, 

" Grief unaffected suits but ill with art, 
And flowing periods with a bleeding heart." 

* Since the death of my illustrious fellow-laborer in the sci- 
ence of Medicine, and the awful summons it has conveyed to 
me from the grave, I feel my ardor in my professional pursuits 
suddenly suspended, and am ready to say to the sources of all 
my knowledge and pleasures, in the language of the Scotch 
poet, a little varied. 

" Books, wander where ye like, I dun no care, 
I'll break my pen, and never study mare.' 


' Accept of my tenderest sympathy for the death of your 
darling little boy. Ah! Dr. Miller, Dr. Miller/ myson^my 
friend, my brother ! 

* Reverend Doctor Miller. Benjamin Rush.' 

' My dear Friend, Philadelphia, March 24th, 1812. 

* I continue to sympathize with you in the loss of your 
excellent brother, and my much beloved friend. He was very 
dear to me. During an intercourse of thirty years, I never saw 
anything in him that was not calculated to excite affection, 
esteem and admiration. I have learned much from his letters, 
conversation and publications ; and I am indebted to him, not 
only for the public and able support he gave my principles and 
practice, at a time when they were opposed by most of the 
physicians in Philadelphia, but for the ability and elegance 
with which he improved and extended them. I have endeav- 
ored to relieve my feelings by publishing a short tribute of 
respect to his memory, in one of our newspapers, which I here- 
witK send you.* I wish, you would collect and publish in one 

Biog. Sketch of Doctor Edward Miller, 'xxir* 


volume all bis original papers, which he has scattered through 
the Medical Repository, as well as his inaugural Dissertation. 
They will be a valuable addition to the Medical Science of our 

' Adieu, my dear Friend, and be assured again and again of 
the sympathy of yours affectionately, 

' Benj'n Eush.' 

In a postscript Dr. Rush says, 

* It will be gratifying to me to be placed upon record with 
him in the libraries of our country, and to appear before the 
public, and to those who are to come after us, as his friend.' 

In a letter of May 9th, he adds, 

* I long to see you. We will exchange our sorrows when we 
meet, and talk over the worth of our common brother. But 
let us not forget our duties to the living, in weeping at the 
grave of the dead. We have both many important duties yet 
to perform to our fellow creatures. Mine will be limited in 
their nature and short in their duration. Your destiny, I hope, 
is a much higher one. Your talents (one of which is your 
popular name) and your time of life, all mark you for a high 
station and extensive usefulness in our country. 

* From, my dear Friend, yours with 
* great sympathy and regard, 
' The Rev'd Dr. Miller, Benj'n Rush.' 

William Dunlap, Esquire, one of Dr. Edward Miller's 
earliest acquaintances and friends in New York, noticed 
his death most sympathetically in a periodical publication 
of which he was the conductor. The following is one pura- 
graph of that notice : — 

" Every class of men joined in sympathetic regret, and in 
mournful testimonials to his superior worth. The assemblage 
of citizens, who attended to pay the last tribute of love and re- 
spect to his mortal remains, was numerous beyond example, 
except in the instance of the funeral of General Hamilton, 
whose death not only excited an extraordinary sensation, from 
the loss of a great and distinguished /military and political 
leader, but from the manner and cause of his dissolution. In 
the instance J am recording, the uncommon concourse, not only 
of spectators, but of mourners, was unexpected ; for the tribute 
of sorrow was paid to a man whose actions were not like Ham- 
ilton's, exposed to the gaze of millions, but were confined to the 
abodes of sickness, or the retreats of meditation. The expres- 
sion of grief was strong and universal,"^ 

1 Biog. Sketcb, oiii. oiy. 


330 AFFLICTIONS. [CH. 20. 3 

Immediately after his brother Edward's death. Dr. Mil- 
ler felt the propriety of publishing, in a compact form, the 
best of his writings, prefixing a sketch of his life. Dr. 
Rush, the warm friend of both, strongly advised, as we 
have seen, such a publication. It was not completed, bow- 
ever, before the lapse of a little more than two years, and 
until after Dr. Miller's removal to Princeton.^ During the 
interval, Dr. Rush, who was to have furnished the prelimi- 
nary sketch, died — the 19th of April, 1813. In refer- 
ence to this matter, the editor of the volume remarks, 

" The reader will perceive, * * that a sketch of the life 
and character of Doctor Miller was promised by one, "who 
touched nothing which he did not adorn." Had his invalua- 
ble life beeh spared, a memorial of his friend might have been 
expected, far more interesting than even fraternal affection has 
been able to form. But, alas ! this purpose, as well as others 
of much greater importance, was broken off by death. The 
editor, under the circumstances in which he was placed, felt 
constrained to undertake himself the melancholy task."' 

It is a peculiarity of this volume, that different portions 
of it are dedicated, severally, by the editor, to different 
persons, particular friends of Dr. Edward Miller. The 
dedications are favorable specimens of Dr. Samuel Miller's 
style in such complimentary addresses. Take for example 
that to Dr. Warren.^ 



"professor of anatomy in the university of 
"cambridge, massachusetts. 

"Dear Sir, 

"THE obligation of my Family to You is of long stand- 
ing. More than thirty-six years ago, when my eldest Brother 
feu a sacrifice to exposures and hardships encountered in the 
service of his Country, he enjoyed all the tender assiduities of 

1 '^ The Medioal Works of Edward Miller, M.P., late Professor of the Prao- 
tioe of Physio in the University of New York, and Resident Physician for the 
City of New York. Colleotod and Acoompanied with a Biographical Sketch 
of the Author ; By Samuel Miller, D.D., JProfessor of Ecclesiastical History 
and Church Government, in the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian 
Church in the United States, at Princeton, New Jersey. New York ; 1814. — 
Grown 8vo. Pp. cxi. and 892. 

SBiog. Sketch, iv. 

' Biog. Sketch and Works, 180. 


your friendship ; expired in your arms ; and was honoured by 
You in his death. 

"Be not surprised that the remembrance of such a fact, grate- 
fiiUy cherished, should suggest, in collecting the writings of a 
younger Brother, of the same Family and Profession, the pro- 
priety of inscribing some production of his pen to You. Had 
it been possible to consult him on the subject, his affectionate 
veneration for the name of Warren would have more than 
sanctioned the choice which led to this public testimony of re- 
spect and gratitude. 

" That You may long continue to adorn your Profession, to 
enlighten the students of the Healing Art, and to bless your 
Country ; and, at the close of a life equally useM and happy, 
may be graciously received to that world, in which the glim- 
merings of. human science shall be lost in the radiance of Un- 
bounded Knowledge, and the feeble exertions of philanthropy 
give place to the unfettered . activity of perfect and eternal be- 
nevolence. is the ardent prayer of, 

"My dear Sir, 
"Your grateful friend and servant, 

" Sr 2?^m4'^*' } ^^^ EDITOR." 



1812, 1813. 

1. The Theological Seminary and Dr. Alexander. 

Mrs. Miller, as well as her husband, was busying her- 
self to provide funds for the new theological seminary. 
We find the following from her brother, which shows that 
she had asked from him a contribution. 

*My dear Sister, Philadelphia, October 1, 1812. 

* I received to-day your good letter of the 29th ult., for 
which I have to thank you. I am fully satisfied that in this, 
as in everything else, you feel anxious for what you believe will 
be for my happiness and peace. Having received a share of 
temporal blessings greatly beyond what I merited or could 
expect, I should show a very slight sense indeed of the grati- 
tude I owe for them, if I were reluctant, or slow to aid those 
institutions, which we hope and believe are acceptable to him 
who is the giver of all good, and calculated, with his aid, to do 
good to mankind. To the Theological Seminary I will give 
exactly what you shall say I ought. Be pleased to name the 
sum. My fees for the fortnight (computing from this day) 
shall be so appropriated ; but I fear they will not amount to 
much. Be good enough also t5 say, how I shall send the money, 
and to whom. 

* Brother Thomas returned last evening, but I have scarcely 
seen him yet. Remember me affectionately to Mr. MUler, and 
to your children. 

'Very truly 

* Your affectionate brother, 

'John Sergeant.' 

The projected Theological Seminary occupied a large 

part of the time of the General Assembly of 1812. After 

much discussion, and special prayer for direction, Princeton 

was fixed upon as the place of its establishment. An 



agreement made between the Assembly's committee and a 
committee of the Trustees of the College of New Jersey, 
was ratified. It left the Seminary independent, while en- 
suring to it some material advantages. A letter fro^p 
Richard Stockton, Esquire, of Princeton, promised four 
acres of land for the purposes of the principal edifice and 
a campus in front and rear ; to which two acres were sub- 
sequently added as a donation from Dr. Green. Rules 
were adopted for the choice of directors and professors. 
The first board of directors was chosen, and, subsequently, 
the first professor. Dr. Archibald Alexander. An unknown 
writer has given the following graphic account of the scene 
in the Assembly, when to the man of its first choice was 
thus proffered the great honor of having the most important 
institution of the Church, and the training of her most pre- 
cious youth — her candidates for the ministry — committed so 
specially to his trust. 

"In the year 1812, the General Assembly, then in session in 
the city of Philadelphia, resolved to go into the election of 
Professor. The Rev. Mr. Flinn,^ of Charleston, South Carolina, 
was Moderator. It was unanimously resolved to spend some 
time in prayer previously to the election, and that not a single 
remark should be made by any member, with reference to any 
candidate, before or after^ the balloting. Silently and prayer- 
fully these guardians of the Church began to prepare tneir 
votes. They felt the solemnity of the occasion, the importance 
of their trust. Not a word was spoken, not a whisper heard, 
as the teller passed around to collect the result. The votes 
were counted, the result declared, and the Rev. Dr. Alexander 
was pronounced elected. A venerable elder of the church of 
Philadelphia, of which Dr. Alexander was pastor, arose to 
speak. But his feelings choked utterance. How could he part 
with his beloved pastor? His teai-s flowed until he sat down 
in silence. The Rev. Dr. Miller arose and said that he hoped 
the brother elected would not decline, however reluctant he 
might feel to accept ; that if he had been selected by the voice 
of the Church, however great the sacrifice, he would not dare 
refuse. Little did he dream that on the following year he 
should be called by the same voice to give up the attractions 
c^f the city, to devote his life to the labors of an instructor. 
The Rev. Mr. Flinn called on the Rev. Dr. WoodhuU, of 
Monmouth, to follow in prayer. He declined. Two others 

^ Andrew Flinn, D. D. See 4 Sprague's Annals, 275. 


were called on, and they declined, remarking that it was the 
Moderator's duty. He then addressed the throne of grace in 
such a manner, with such a strain of elevated devotion, that 
the members of the Assembly all remarked that he seemed 
Almost inspired ; weeping and sobbing were heard throughout 
the house. 

" Amid the tears and prayers of the Church, Dr. Alexander 
was elected to the office. Amid the prayers and tears of the 
Church, he was laid in the tomb. But three of the members 
of that Assembly, it is believed, are now living. Instead of thy 
fathers shall be thy children,'*^ 

It appeared that subscriptions for the Seminary had 
been obtained, including those reported the previous year, 
to the amount of $23,219, of which only $5,813 had been 
actually paid. The result, perhaps, has proved, that the 
projectors and founders of the institution had more faith 
than money to go upon, when they ventured to carry their 
plan into effect. Dr. Miller was one of the first Board of 
Directors, as Dr. Alexander also was. 

On the last Tuesday — ^the 30th — of June, the Board 
held, at Princeton, their first meeting, and adjourned to 
meet again on the 12th of August following, the day which 
they fixed for Dr. Alexander's inauguration, This cere- 
mony was performed at the time appointed. Dr. Miller 
delivered the first discourse — a sermon upon the Duty of 
the Church to take measures for providing an Able and 
Faithful Ministry, which was subsequently published.^ A 
large part of it will be found in " The Life of Archibald 
Alexander, D. D.," whose biographer introduces his quo- 
tation by saying, 

" It was an able investigation of the question, what is to be 
understood by an able and faithfiil gospel minister, which was 
made to include piety, talents, learning and diligence ; and of 
the means which the Church is bound to employ for providing 
such a ministry. As many years have elapsed since this ven- 
erable man uttered his weighty judgment, as the topics are still 
of great moment, and as the discussion evinces the views of 

1 From the Presbyterian. 

2 " The Duty of the Church to take measures for providing an Able and 
Faithful Ministry: a Sermon, delirered at Princeton, August 12, 1812, at the 
Inauguration of the Rev. Archibald Alexander, D. D., as Professor of Didactic 
and Polemic Theology, in the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian 
Church. By Samuel Miller, D. D., Pastor of the church in Wall street. New 
York."— 2 Timothy ii. 2.— 8vo. Pp. 60. 


those who began the work of theological seminaries, we shall 
indulge ourselves by inserting an ertract of some length."^ 

Dr. Alexanner's Inaugural Discourse followed — "a 
learned argument in behalf of biblical study." Then Dr. 
Philip Milledoler delivered a charge to the Professor and 
Students of Divinity. The latter, all counted, were but 
three: the new professor's own sons, at this time, just out- 
numbered his students. 

2. Calls to Colleges. 

In 1811, the University of North Carolina had given to 
Dr. Miller the Degree of Doctor of Divinity, with which, 
as we have seen, he had been honored, seven years before, 
by two other institutions.^ On the 18th of May, 1812, he 
received a communication informally offering him the suc- 
cession to the Rev. Joseph Caldwell,^ as president of that 
University. ' To this letter,' he says in a note upon it, ' I 
returned an answer respectfully but decisively in the nega- 
tive, a few days after receiving it. On the 30th of the 
following July, he had notice of his appointment to the 
presidency of Hamilton College, an institution just founded 
with flattering prospects of success and usefulness. In 
reply, he wrote as follows : — 

* Gentlemen, New York, August 17, 1812. 

* I had the honor to receive, a fortnight ago, your communi- 
cation of July 23d, announcing to me my election to the presi- 
dency of Hamilton College. 

* This unexpected and highly flattering testimony of respect 
and confidence I receive with much gratification; and shall 
always reckon among the most valuable distinctions of my life. 
I beg you to communicate to the Board, whom you represent, 
the grateful sensibility with which it has inspired me ; and to 
accept for yourselves my best acknowledgments for the polite 
manner in which you have been pleased to announce my ap- 

' After bestowing on this subject all that serious and most 
respectful deliberation, which its importance and circumstances 
demanded, I am constrained to believe, that it is my duty to 
return a ne^itive answer to your call : and, accordingly, such 
an answer 1 now beg leave, through you, to communicate to 
the Board. 

1 P. 333. 

2 See p. 178. 

3 D. D. from 1816. See 4 Spragoe's AnnalS; 173. 


* I am by no means ignorant of the favorable prospects of 
Hamilton College ; nor of the wealth, population and numerous 
attractions of the district of country in which it is seated. And 
the names of those gentlemen, who are entrusted with the gov- 
ernment of the Institution, are to me a sufficient pledge of all 
that liberality and urbanity, which would render the situation 
of an office under them both happy and useful. But my deli- 
cate health ; the ties by which I am bound to a large and most 
affectionate congregation ; my domestic connexions and habits ; 
together with some literary plans which render my continuing 
to reside in, or near, this city peculiarly convenient and desir- 
able: aU conspire to impress on my mind the deep and un- 
wavering conviction, that I ought not, at present, to remove 
from New York ; and especially to engage m an undertaking, 
which requires far more vigor both of body and of mind, than I 
can possibly consider myself as possessing. 

* I would most willingly. Gentlemen, have complied with 
your request to make a visit to your part of our state, before 
forming such a decision as I have now communicated ; were it 
not that a variety of circumstances render it impossible for me, 
at present, to leave home ; and also that such a step might be 
supposed by some to indicate, that I was still deliberating on a 
subject, on which I wish my decision to be considered as com- 
plete and final. 

* With earnest prayers that Hamilton College may speedily 
and long prosper ; and that the views of the Board of Trustees 
may be more suitably and more successfully directed to some 
other candidate, 

' I am. Gentlemen, with much personal respect, 

* Your obliged and obedient servant, 
* To Jonas Piatt, Thomas R. ') Samuel Miller.'J 

1^ Gold, and Morris Miller, 
Esquires, Committee, etc. 

3. Dr. Grebn and the College of New Jersey. 

Upon the resignation of the presidency of the College of 
New Jersey, by the distinguished Samuel Stanhope Smith, 
D.D., Ashbel Green, D.D., was unanimously elected his 
successor. Of this transaction the latter has given the 
following account : — 

. "On the 14th of August, 1812, I was unanimously elected 
by the Trustees of the College of New Jersey as President of 
the institution of which they were the guardians. Stratige as 
it may appear, it is notwithstanding a fact, that eighteen hours 


befcwre this occurrence, I was not aware that such an event was 
in the contemplation of any one. My own mind was most de- 
cidedly opposed to it. The facts of the case were the following. 
At the first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Theologi- 
cal Seminary at Princeton, I had preached a sermon in which 
I had laid down the doctrine that every minister of the gospel 
was a devoted man ; bound by the tenor of his vocation to serve 
God in any place and in any manner to which divine provi- 
dence should call him. My special reference in this statement 
was to Dr. Alexander, who at that time had not explicitly con- 
sented to assume the station which he has ever since most ac- 
ceptably occupied. The Board of Trustees of the College had 
met at Princeton on the day before my election, and had chosen 
^Vice-president of the institution, and had agreed to proceed 
to the election of a President on the following morning. Dr. 
Miller, without my knowledge or suspicion, had gone to every 
individual of the Board and persuaded them to give me a 
unanimous vote, and to throw the responsibility of rejecting it 
on myself. He himself was the man that I had determined to 
nominate as the President of the College. Col. Ogden, who 
sat next to me in the Board of Trustees, said to me while we 
were preparing our votes for the Vice-president, "Suppose we 
should give you a unanimous vote for this office, as a stepping- 
stone to the one which we are to vote for in the morning." I 
immediately replied, " In that event, I would instantly and ab- 
solutely refuse both." He replied, " We shall do what we think 
right, and you will do the same." After the Board of Trus- 
tees adjourned I spoke to Richard Stockton, and he told me 
that " my friend Miller could tell me all about it." I imme- 
diately went to Dr. Miller's quarters, and " he did tell me all 
about it." He informed me explicitly, that the Board would 
give me a unanimous vote for the Presidentship of the College 
on the coming day, and threw on me the responsibility of re- 
fusing the office. I went to my lodgings much agitated. My 
wife was with me, and as soon as we had retired for the night, 
I told her what had taken place, and added that my mind was 
made up to refuse the appointment at once. She cautioned me 
against precipitancy, and said that she thought I ought to hold 
it under consideration. On my bed I made a new consecration 
of myself, and resolved that 1 would abide by the doctrine of 
ray sermon to which I have referred, and then I was free from 
agitation and slept comfortable till morning. I rose early and 
wrote a letter to the Trustees, of which I have a copy, telling 
them that my appointment to the Presidentship of the College 
was altogether unexpected, and that the indispensable condi- 



tion of my holding it under consideration was, that my doing 
so should not be (Considered as any intimation that 1 would 
finally accept the appointment, otherwise they had my answer 
at once in the negativa This letter I gave to Dr. Miller, and 
he read it to the Board of Trustees in my presence. After this 
letter was read, I made a short address to the Board, thanking 
them for the confidence reposed in me, and then said that I 
should retire. The Board opposed this, and gave a unanimous 
vote in my presence."^ 

The prominent and active part which Dr. Miller took in 
the election of Dr. Green to the college presidency w^s, 
no doubt, due especially to the fact, that several leading 
and influential trustees had before conferred with him in 
regard to his accepting the oflSce himself; assuring hinl 
that, if he would at all entertain such a proposition, the 
President's chair would be regularly offered to him at once. 
But, for the same reasons for which, chiefly, he had before 
refused similar overtures from other quarters, he now reso- 
lutely declined this proposal. He felt that neither his 
health was suflScient, nor his temperament fitted, for the 
peculiar duties and trials of a college president ; and doubt- 
less his judgment was right. To a more honorable post he 
could hardly have aspired; but his feeble, nervous body 
gave little promise of sustaining him, especially in that 
calm, prompt, firm, resolute discipline which the office 
would have required. 

On behalf of the committee appointed by the trustees to 
confer with Dr. Green about his appointment, and as a 
personal friend, Dr. Miller had a good deal of correspond- 
ence with him at this juncture, some extracts from which 
may interest the reader. On the 18th of August, he wrote, 

* I hope, my dear Sir, that your impressions in favor of ac- 
cepting this appointment are daily becoming stronger ; and can- 
not help cherishing the expectation, that your next letter will 
bring the most unequivocal encouragement in the case. When 
I recollect, how much depends, under God, upon the head of 
that college ; how much he can do for or against the best in- 
terests of our church ; and the extreme difficulty, not to say 
impossibility, of procuring a suitable president, if you decline 
accepting the office ; I do not see how you can dare to refuse. 
But I forbear to enter more fully into the subject at present. 
We have, at different times, discussed it, in all its bearings, so 

1 Lif of Dr. Green, 338, etc. 


largely, that I know not whether I can suggest a single idea 
that is new. One thing, I think, may be confidently asserted ; 
and that is, that you may expect from a majority of the Board 
of Trustees all that encouragement and support, which friend- 
ship and public spirit can dictate. 

'Be pleased to communicate to me as soon as possible, what 
steps it will be proper for the committee to take, in prosecuting 
your call. If it be judged necessary, or even desirable, that 
we should go in a body to Philadelphia, to attend the Presby- 
tery, we shall be ready, I doubt not, to go, whenever we shall 
be apprized of the time. I will, however, take the liberty 
of adding, that, as I have paid one visit to Philadelphia, and 
two others to Princeton, within three months ; as I must be in 
Princeton again, if I live, the last week of September; and as 
I design, with the leave of Providence, to take a long journey for 
my health, toward the latter part of October and embracing the 
greater part of the month of November ; if our going to Philadel- 
phia can be dispensed with, just as well as not, consistently with 
due respect to you, and proper fidelity to our appointment, it will 
relieve me from a very inconvenient journey; especially now, 
when, in the midst of the printing of Dr. Kodgers's life, every 
absence of forty-eight hours incommodes both me and the 
printer. On this subject give me^your whole mind without 

*I hope you will not fail to tell Mrs. Green of the pleasant- 
ness of Princeton; of the healthfulness of the place; of the 
probability that her husband would continue to be at least ten 
years longer popular and useful there than in Philadelphia, etc., 
etc., etc. These things she ought to know; and I hope you 
will not conceal them from her. My wife is ardently engaged 
in favor of your going : scarcely an hour passes in which she 
does not suggest some measure for forcing you to go. I am 
fully persuaded she would make a much better trustee than 
several that I could name, who have seats at the Board. May 
the great Head of the Church direct and bless you ! So prays 

* Your affectionate friend and brother, 

* Saml MiUer.' 

On the 27kh of the same month, he said, 

** * I consider It as much that you do not positively say 

• My wife and myself united with you in observing Tuesday 
last, as a day of special prayer. May the great Head of the 
Church give an answer of peace, and direct in this momentous 
concern ! ^ 


** * I have some reason to believe, that Hamilton Col- 
lege, in this state, which latc^ly gave me a call to the presidency 
of that institution, will on receiving my negative answer, which 
I sent a fortnight ago, unanimously elect Dr. McLeod their 
president. If so, I have my doubts whether he will come to 
us. But, my dear Friend, I hope you will give yourself no 
uneasiness about this matter. If you accept the presidency, 
and Dr. McLeod declines, I hope the Trustees will, as one 
man, see the propriety of your having the principal voice in 
choosing your second in command, and will leave it pretty 
much with you to select. Although it would not do to use 
this language publicly, yet I have the most entire confidence, 
that a majority of the Board will feel thus and act accordingly. 

^ Being much hurried last weeky and not having time to write 
several long letters ; and feeling also, that, as I am personally 
acquainted with almost all your elders, it might seem invidi- 
ous to write to one or two of them ; I determined to address a 
letter to them collectively. I accordingly did so, and inclosed it 
to Mr. Ralston. Perhaps this was ill-judged, but I did it for 
the best. If I can do anything more in this way, please to 
direct me with as much freedom as if you were utterly unin- 
terested in the business.' 

With most unfeigned and very great pleasure, Dr. Miller 
hailed Dr. Green's acceptance of the presidency. 

*I desire,' said he in writing to the latter on the 15th of 
September — *I desire, with all my heart, to bless God for the 
favorable accounts which your letter contains, with respect to 
the matter which has been the great subject of our correspon- 
dence for some weeks past. I have no longer any doubt that 
the whole affair has been of the Lord ; and I hope and pray 
that his blessing may rest upon it. The same account substan- 
tially with that which your letter contains had reached this 
city, in various ways, before it came from yourself, and glad- 
dened the hearts of the friends of religion and of lie College 
more than I can express. Mr. Robert Smith, your worthy 
elder, visited us, with his lady, at Bloomingdale, and gave us 
distinctly to understand, not only that he believed you would, 
but that he thought you ought to accept of a station to which 
the providence of God appeared so unexpectedly and wonder- 
fully to point. He talked like a judicious man and a Chris- 
tian ; and I further gathered from him, that, in the opinions 
and views which he expresssd, the session of your church was ' 
nearly, if not entirely, unanimous.' 

The selection of a vice-president of the institution — one 
acceptable to Dr. Green and the Trustees, and well quali- 


fied for the professorial duties which would fall to his lot — 
presented no small diflSculty. A few words which Dr. 
Miller adds respecting one candidate for this office shows 
that Hopkinsianism was still, perhaps increasingly, agita- 
ting the Presbyterian Church. 

'With regard to Dr. I have also several objections. In 

the first place, I think his Hopkinsianism a solid, if not insu- 
perable one ; not as to a question of heresy, but as a matter of 
prudence, considering what has lately passed ; and considering, 
too, that there is hardly any man in our Church who feels 

more sore and irritable on this point than , the great 

patron of the Vice-president and the largest contributor to the 
fund by which he is to be supported. But, at the same time, 
I should, on several accounts, much deprecate this question 
(Hopkinsianism) being made a subject of public discussion. 

Further,. Dr. was not happy in : he is not happy in 

, and wishes to leave it. When I see things of this sort, 

I cannot help suspecting there is some material fault in the 

individual, besides, I have learned from both and , 

that he is charged with a very inordinate money making dispo- 
sition, which, it is said, leads him often to the meanest parsi- 
mony. If these things be so; and if the amiableness of his 
temper be also questionable, it will be better to think of some 
other person. * * 

'After all, to say the truth, I think it would be much better 
policy, to take nobody, in the present case, from New England. 
I should prefer — ^much prefer — taking some respectable West- 
ern or Southern man. This would be, on various accounts, an 
important step toward making Princeton, the sreat centre, 
which we desire to have it — ^and, more especially, since so 
much has been recently said about Hopkinsianism.' 

The following plan for the inauguration of Dr. Green 
was adopted by the Board of Trustees : — 

*I. That Dr. WoodhuU introduce the exercises by prayer aifd 

' II. That, at the close of the Psalm, the presiding member 
of the board, in the name of the board, present to the President 
elect the key of the College, the key of the Library, and a copy 
of the printed laws, pronouncing him at the same time, in the 
Latin language, the President of the College, and invested with 
all the powers and privileges of that office. 

*III. That immediately after this. Dr. MDler address the 
President in a short speech, also in the Latin language, to which 
he will be expected to reply in the same language. 



* IV. The President then to deliver an inaugural oration in 

The following minute appears in proximity to the plan 
above given. , 

'After the adjournment of the board, and when President 
Smith had retired, Dr. Miller offered the following resolution 
which was unanimously agreed to, (viz.,) 

* On motion, Resolved^ that the members of the Board who 
are present will wait in a body on Dr. Smith for the purpose 
of expressing to him, in person, their tender sympathy on the 
infirm state of his health, their highly respectfiil and grateftil 
sentiments towards him for Bis long and faithful services, and 
their fervent wishes for his welfare and happiness in retirement; 
and also to take an affectionate leave of him in his official 

In communicating the plan of inauguration to Dr; Green, 
on the 2d of October — the day after its adoption — Dr Mil- 
ler gives a little expansion to it, beginning with the third 
article, as follows : — 

' 3. Dr. Miller then to rise and address the President in a 
short speech, of the nature of a charge, in Latin ; (K.B. This I 
am resolved to make very short ;) to which the President will be 
expected to reply, in a few sentences, in the same language. 
This to be done on the stage. 

'4. The President then to ascend the pulpit, and deliver an 
inaugural address in English, as long and as good as he pleases. 

' 5. Dr. Clark to conclude with prayer, singing and benedic- 

*How do you like the plan? Dr. Smith disliked having 
any English, and called it pie bald. But a large majority of 
the Board thought differently. This is almost the exact plan 
pursued at the induction of Kirkland at Cambridge. His long 
speech was in English. 

* I hope, with the leave of Providence, to see you in Prince- 
ton, about the 2d or 3d of next month, on my way to the south- 
ward for about eighteen or twenty days. It is my purpose to 
attend the inauguration on my way home again.' 

On the 12th of October, Dr. Miller added, 

' I wish you had sent me a copy of your reply to my charge. 
Let your son copy it for me. I have not yet written a line of 
mine ; and I have no doubt yours would help me. Pray let 
me have it. I do not expect to begin mine for some days yet.' 

The inauguration of Dr, Green was, for various reasons, 
delayed. The greater part of November Dr. Miller spent 


in travelling, doubtless for his health; and we find him 
writing on the 19th of that month from Baltimore, to in- 
quire when the ceremony would take place. He records 
having preached, during this absence, in the city just named 
for Dr. Inglis,^ in the Capitol at Washington, and in Wil- 
mington for Dr. Read.^ The destruction, by fire, of the 
church edifice, in which the inauguration exercises were to 
be held, and other causes, determined the Trustees, at 
length, to abandon the whole programme ; and Dr. Oreen 
continued to wield the academical sceptre without being 
formally crowned. He tells us, that he turned his pro- 
posed Inaugural, partly, into a Baccalaureate discourse. 
The Latin addresses, which he and Dr. Miller were to have 
delivered, being wholly incapable of any such adaptation, 
sad to relate, were a total loss ; unless Dr. Miller used his, 
as not improbably he did, eleven years^ later, at the inau- 
guration of President Carnahan. 

4. Correspondence. 

The following letter from Dr. Miller to his niece, Ann 
Patten, afterwards Mrs. John Wales, of Wilmington, Dela- 
ware, contains some hints in regard to his method of pre- 
paration for the pulpit, as well as part of the history of a 
particular sermon — the same refered to by Dr Sprague in 
his reminiscences on a subsequent page. The ^ Record of 
Preaching ' shows that it was delivered on each of the three 
occasions just mentioned — in Baltimore on the 8th, Washing- 
ton on the 15th, and Wilmington on the 22d — as also in 
New York on the 29th, of iNovember, and elsewhere on 
several subsequent dates. Dr. Sprague probably heard it 
in the College Hall, at Princeton, on the 10th of August, 

*My dear Niece, New York, January 28, 1818. 

* 1 am ashamed to recollect, that it is now more than four 
weeks since I received your affectionate letter of December 22d. 
But when you leaiii that I have scarcely known the comfort of 
one day's health, since I saw you, owing to a succession of se- 
vere colds ; and also, that, amidst all this tedious indisposition, 
I have been constantly hurried, in consequence of my studies 
and other professional concerns falling very much in arrears 
by my absence, in November, I hope you will pardon my long 

^ 4 Spragne'8 AnnalR, 278. > 3 Sprai^e's Annals, 301. 

* Nonumque prematur in annum. Horat, Epiat. ad Piaones, 388« 


delay in writing this letter. I assure you, my dear Ann, I have 
fixed on twenty different times, in my own mind, to sit down 
and answer you ; but have never found a leisure hour for the 
purpose, when my health admitted of writing, until the present. 

* I need not say, it gave me great pleasure to find, that the 
sermon which I delivered in Wilmington, when last there, was 
agreeable to you and any of your young friends ; and particu- 
larly that you wished for an opportunity of pondering more 
deeply and seriously on the doctrines and sentiments then ut- 
tered. I should most willingly send you a copy of that sermon, 
if I had one. But really the discourse, as you heard it, was 
never written. The substance of it I had committed to writing, 
in my contracted short-hand way ; and I had delivered it on 
several occasions ; but it would be altogether impossible for me 
to exhibit, now, on paper, what I uttered from the pulpit. To 
comply with your wish and that of your friends, I would sit 
down, and attempt to commit to writing, as nearly as my 
memory would enable me, what I delivered ; but I must beg 
you to excuse me from the task on account of my health. My 
breast is so weak, and writing is such a burden to me, that I 
do not write a sermon out at full length more than once in two 
or thi^ee years. 

*It gave me, my dear Niece, more pleasure than I can ex- 
press, to read that part of your letter in which you speak of 
the impression which the death of your young acquaintance 
made upon you, and refer to the solemnity and importance of 
that event to every one of us. Yes, we must all soon die ; and 
he alone who gave us life knows how soon. Remember, also, 
that nothing can enable a poor, sinful mortal to triumph in that 
hour, but Christian hope. The best wish I can form for you is, 
that, being made sensible of your guilt and pollution, by nature 
and practice, you may feel your need of that Saviour, who is 
the resurrection and the life, and receive him by faith as the 
Lord your Righteousness. Believe it, the more you examine 
your own heart, in the light of God's Word, the more clearly 
you will perceive your want of a better righteousness than your 
own ; and the more you meditate on the Lord Jesus, the more 
you will perceive, that he is worthy of all your confidence and 
all your love. 

'Do you know, my Dear, that the lines which you have 
quoted from the seventeenth Psalm by Watts, are the very 
lines which your Grandmother Miller had on her lips when she 
was dying? May you live as she lived, and die as she died!' 

The following letter to Dr. Green, which shows una- 
bated activity in planning and laboring, shows, too, that 


Dr. Miller had not the slightest expectation of the call to 
Princeton which he received about two months afterward. 
His feelings, projects, and purposes all still bound him to 
New York. 

*My dear Sir, New-York, March 17, 1813. 

*Dr. Romeyn, Dr. McLeod and myself have undertaken 
to be joint editors of a new religious periodical work — ^probably 
a monthly one. We hope some important advantages to the 
union- of the Church in this city, and to the general advance- 
ment of religion, will result from its establishment. 

* Though our national rulers do not always provide funds to 
support their appropriations, yet, perhaps, it is always proper 
for clergymen to be more careful and provident. The object 
of this letter is to ascertain, whether you will allow us to rely 
on you and Dr. Alexander as stated contributors to the work. 
Can you not give us leave to depend upon each of you for eight 
octavo pages of matter once in two months ; so as to furnish 
one original piece from Princeton for each number? If you 
cannot promise so much, can you not encourage us to hope for 
a communication from each once in each quarter of the year ? 
Do not say. No! I scarcely need to add, that the pieces maybe 
doctrinal, practical, critical, biographical, etc., as you please; 
and that any /air contrivance to eke out the number of pages 
will be admissible. In return for this, we will send each of you 
regularly a copy of the work, or two copies, if you please, and, 
over and above all, each of us make you a biow down to the 
very ground. 

'But, seriously, I hope, my dear Sir, that you and Dr. Alex- 
ander will consider this application as something more than a 
mere formality. I know not that we shall attempt to engage 
more than two or three correspondents besides yourselves ; and 
imless four or five stated and able contnbutors, out of the city, 
can be counted upon, the work cannot proceed. I believe that 
important service may be rendered by such a work, well con- 
ducted, to the interests of religion in our country, especially in 
the present juncture of the Presbyterian Church. But, if it be 
not well conducted, and if there be not a fair prospect of 
its continuing for some time, it had better not be under- 

' Will you have the goodness, as soon as convenient, to com- 
municate this letter to Dr. Alexander, and to request him to 
consider it as addressed to himself? I have so much to do in 


the writing way, that I am tempted to seize with, avidity all 
labor saving contrivances in my communications. 
* I remain, dear Sir, 

'Yours respectfully and affectionately, 
*Rev. Dr. Green. Sam'l Miller. 

'P. S. * * 

' P. P. 8. S. Our periodical work, which will perhaps be 
styled "The Scriptural Advocate," will probably not be com- 
menced for four or five months.* 





1. Election to the Second Professorship. 

Dr. Miller was a member of the General Assembly 
which convened in Philadelphia on Thursday, the 20th of 
May, 1813. On the 26th, it was resolved to choose an 
additional professor in the Theological Seminary; and, 
immediately, according to a rule formed upon the prece- 
dent in Dr. Alexander's case, special prayer was offered 
imploring direction in the choice, which was declared an 
order of the day for the 28th. On the 27th, as if fore- 
shadowing the subsequent appointment of a professor of 
Ecclesiastical History, it was 

*^ Resolved, That all the papers relative to the history of the 
Presbyterian Church in the United States, in the hands of Dr. 
Green and Mr. Hazard, be by them deposited with Dr. Miller, 
and that he be appointed and directed to continue and com- 
plete said history ; and that the arrangement in regard to the 
copyright of this history, which right has heretofore been 
assured to Dr. Green and Mr. Hazard, be settled between them 
and Dr. Miller, as shall be mutually satisfactory to the parties 

This resolution was passed at the instance of Dr. Ashbel 
Green and Ebenezer Hazard, Esquire, who had been ap- 
pointed historians of the Presbyterian Church by the 
Assembly of 1^04; had made considerable progress in 
writing the work contemplated, and in gathering materiaU ; 
but, finding their own further attention to it impracticable, 
now requested that it might be transferred to Dr. Miller 

1 Min. 1813, 535. 



for completion* Although the latter accepted the appoint- 
ment, he seems to have been able to accomplish little or 
nothing in the fulfillment of its duties. By the Assembly 
of 1819,^ Dr. Green was associated with him " in writing 
the history of the Presbyterian Church ;" but, in 1825,^ 
both requested to be released from their appointment. 
This request was ''received with unfeigned regret;'* but 
as, " under the circumstances, both reasonable and proper,*' 
was granted. The materials already obtained by Dr. 
Green, and his unfinished work gratuitously offered, were 
then deposited with a committee appointed to preserve 
them, and make further collections.. In fine, by the Asr 
sembly of 1863,^ all the manuscript materials of this kind, 
previously collected under their authority, were transferred 
to the custody of the Presbyterian Historical Society. 

On the day appointed for the choice of a second pro- 
fessor for the Theological Seminary, it was first, 

"Resolved, That the. Professor to be chosen this morning, be 
the Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Govern- 
ment, and that his salary be eighteen hundred dollars per 
annum, and the use of a house."* 

Afterwards the election was made by ballot, and resulted 
in the choice of Dr. Miller, who had been nominated bv 
Dr. Green, at the request of the Board of Directors.* 
The Rev. Drs. James Hall and Ashbel Green were ap- 
pointed a committee to wait upon him and inform him of 
his appointment. 

2. Doubts and Fears. — Acceptance. 

Although Dr. Miller had expressed himself, as we have 
seen, so strongly, in regard to the duty of Dr. Alexander 
to bow to the voice of the Church ; and although, doubt- 
less, his own unbiased conviction would have led him at 
once to yield ; it is evident that serious difiSculties in the 
way of his acceptance of the professorship rose before his 
mind ; and that his decision to accept it, thpugh aiways, in 
his own thoughts and those of his friends, most likely, was 
not immediately reached. The following letter, written to 
Dr. Green three days after his election, and before he left 
Philadelphia, is, perhaps, the best record extant of his 
views at this time. 

1 Minutes, 718. « Id., 254, 258. » Id., 456. 

* Minutee, 536. ^ Life of Br. Green, 348. 

1813.] DOUBTS AND FEARS. , 349 

'Rev'd and dear Sir, Philadelphia, May 31, 1813. 

'Xjpon mature reflection, I think the letter which I 
requested you to address to my session, on the late choice of 
the General Assembly, had better be written and transmitted 
to them with all convenient speed. 

*I take the liberty of communicating this opinion, not be- 
cause I have made up my mind, nor because I view a removal 
to Princeton at all more favoraljly than when I saw you ; but 
because it is my wish, as soon as possible after my arrival in 
New York, to know the temper and feelings of my people 
there; and I cannot conceive of a better introduction of the 
subject to them than through your communication. 

' Please to address your letter to Dr. Rodgers, as your par- 
ticular friend, to be communicated. 

* If my heart does not deceive me, I desire to know simply 
the wUl of God on this interesting subject. As to considera- 
tions of personal comfort, they are so nearly balanced in 
making out the account current, that I could not lay much 
stress on them, even if it were proper to assign them a more 
important place than they ought to fill. 

* Pray for me, my dear Sir, that it may please the Head of 
the Church to give me a single eye to his glory in forming my 
decision, and that the path of duty may be rendered plain. 
I am in a great conflict, and do not expect to be in any measure 
relieved from it until I return to New York. If your letter to 
Dr. Rodgers could reach his hands as early as by Thursday's 
mail, I should be glad. 

* I am, dear Sir, 

* Most respectfully and afiectionately vours, 
'Dr. Green. Sam! Miller.' 

Again he wrote, 

* My dear Sir, Bloomingdale, June 14, 1813. 

'Your kind letter of June 9th reached me on Friday 
last, just as I was engaged in removing my family to this 
place. We are now, through divine goodness, comfortably 
fixed here; and I sfeize upon the earlie&t moment of leisure to 
address you in answer. 

* Your letter was duly received by Dr. Rodgers, and promptly 
communicated to his brethren of the session. It softened them 
and almost convinced them that I ought to go; insomuch, that if 
it had depended on the session, and a vote had then been taken, 
I believe they would not have dared to resist my leaving them 
for the new station. But, in the course of ten days, they have 
relapsed into nearly their original frame of mind on the sub- 
ject; and how it would be if a vote were now to be taken, I 
cannot with confidence say. 


*I did not know, until now, how much I loved my people nor 
had I the least idea that they would be so unwilling to part 
with me. One point, however, I believe is well secured. Though 
my people will not generally consent to my going ; yet they 
will not be angry with me, or accuse me of improper motives, 
if I do go. Even those of them who suppose that in deciding 
to go, I shall decide unwisely, and very differently from what 
they can approve, yet fully believe that I shall decide consci- 
entiously. I have not heard of one severe, or unkind sugges- 
tion from any person. For this I feel that I have much reason 
to feel thankful, and I hope it will, in any event, lighten my 

* I have not yet made any official communication to my Ses- 
sion or people. The former, with the leave of Providence, will 
have a meeting on Thursday next, when I calculate to have a 
free- and full conversation with them. My decision is not yet 
definitely formed, yet I am strongly inclined to the opinion that 
I shall ultimately decide in favour of accepting the appoint- 
ment. So much I shall probably tell the Session on Thursday : 
whether I shall go further, at that time, will depend, humanly 
speaking, on circumstances. 

* If my decision should, as it probably will, be to remove to 
Princeton, it is not very likely that I shall be able to get away 
from New York till September or October. On this, however, 
as well as on every other point, I must leave things in un- 
certainty for the present. As soon as I gain any of the requisite 
materials for forming a definite plan on this point, I intend to 
write to Mr. Bayard about a house. Until then I should con- 
sider it premature to say anything on that subject. 

- ' In the course of my last interview with Mr. Bayard, he 
suggested something about a probability that Mrs. Brown's 
house might be for sale, or to rent, in the course of two or 
three months. If there be any prospect of this, I should be 
glad to know it. With the best respects to Mrs. Green, ia 
which Mrs. Miller joins, 

*I am, dear Sir, 

* affectionately yours, 

* Sam'l Miller.' 

Still again he wrote to Dr. Green, 

'My dear Sir, New-York, June 26, 1813. 

* Mr. Bayard will probably have told you, that I have com- 
municated to my session, that I deem it my duty to accept the 
appointment of the General Assembly. What course things 
are likely to take in the congregation, I cannot yet judge. 

* Some near friends of Mr. , (the young man who so im- 
piously cut the Bible in your college hall,) in this city, have 

1813.] FAREWELL TO NEW YORK. 851. 

applied to me with great importunity and tenderness, soliciting 
his readmission into college. They are respectable people; 
and I hear from them that he is deeply penitent ; that he is 
ready to make any acknowledgment or reparation for his crime ; 
that he speaks, especially, in the most respectful and afiectionate 
terms of Mr. Clark, whose name was so shamefully mentioned 
on the card ; and that they have the deepest persuasion, and 
are ready to pledge themselves, that he will manifest by his 
future conduct the sincerity of his repentance, and his deter- 
mination not to abuse the favor bestowed upon him. 

* As I never saw the young man to know him, I can say 
nothing from my personal knowledge. But if the number and 
respectability of friends, and the deepest affliction and most 
solemn pledges on their part, can indicate anything favorable, 
there is much reason to augur well in his case. 

* Whether the faculty would deem themselves at liberty to 
restore this youth without a vote of the trustees, I know not. 
But if they do, I will say, as a trustee, that they will not be 
blamed by me. 

* I have been deeply affected by the importunity and tears 
of his friends, and should be glad to be able to say anything 
fiivorable to them. 

*I am, dear Sir, yours affectionately, 

* Sam'l Miller. 

The student, referred to in the preceding letter, had 
been dismissed for cutting out portions from consecutive 
leaves in the large Bible lying upon the desk, in the Col- 
lege IJall, for use in public worship, so as to form a cavity, 
in which he had deposited a pack of cards. This impious 
offence was among the events which led to the formation 
of the Nassau Hall Bible Society, and seems to have been 
overruled for much good. 

3. Farewell to New York. 

The following letter, announcing his acceptance of the 
Professorship at Princeton, was addressed 

* To the joint meeting of the officers of the Church in Wall 
street, to be held this day. 

New York, June 24, 1813. 

* My dear Brethren, 

*An event has occurred, of an interesting nature to 
you, and of the deepest importance to me. A late appoint- 
ment by the General Assembly of our Church — an appointment 
which I never sought, but made every justifiable exertion to 


avoid — has laid me under the solemn necessity of deciding, 
whether it is my duty to remain your pastor, or to leave my 
present charge for another station in the Church. 

'After the most careful and serious view which I have been 
able to take of the path of duty in this case : — after maturely 
deliberating, on the one hand, on the peculiar and highly in- 
teresting state of our church, and the endearing ties, which, for 
twenty years, and more especially for the last four years, have 
bound me to you as a minister; and after weighing, on the 
other hand, my obligations to the church at large ; the impor- 
tance and prospects of the Seminary to which I am called ; and 
the unanimity and decision with which my brethren in the 
ministry have pronounced, that I ought not to reject this call: — 
I have deemed it proper to intimate to the session, that it ap- 
pears to me my duty to accept the appointment in question, 
and of course, to apply to the Presbytery, in due time, to dis- 
miss me from my pastoral charge. 

*The considerations, my dear Brethren, by which I have 
been chiefly influenced in forming this decision, are the two 
following : — a firm persuasion that my usefulness will be likely 
to be greatly extended by the contemplated change; and an 
equally deep and unwavering impression, that my health and 
strength are not equal to the multiplied labours, and the constant 
exertion, both in and out of the pulpit, which I believe to be in- 
dispensable, in the present state of the city, to the prosperity 
and growth of our church. Supposing these impressions really 
and strongly existed on my mind, (and I know that you be- 
lieve me incapable of feigning them,) you will not wonder that 
I have come to the conclusion, that the Providence of God calls 
me to the new station, to which I have been so unexpectedly 

* The theological seminary in which I propose to accept this 
office, is, indeed, at present, in its infancy. But my brethren 
in the ministry were of the opinion, that a second professor was 
indispensable in order to place the institution, in any tolerable 
degree, on a footing with others, of a similar kind, in our coun- 
try ; and that no time was to be lost, in making exertions and 
sacrifices for the purpose of raising it to something like the 
station which it ought to occupy. And I can only add, that, 
after a most intimate acquaintance witli all its afiTairs and pros- 
pects, from the beginning, if I had not been firmly of the opin- 
ion, that, with good management, and under the divine blessing, 
it will be likely, in a short time, greatly to increase, and to 
become extensively useful to the Church of Christ, I shouV4» 
never have thought of consenting to be one of its officers, and. 
devoting the remainder of my life to its interests. 



* In deciding, that it is my duty to retire from my present 
situation, I have had painful conflicts. If my attachment to 
the congregation which I serve were not strong and ardent, I 
should be among the most ungrateful and unfeeling of men. 
Their kindness, their indulgence, and their multiplied favors, 
have laid me under obligations which I can never cease to ac- 
knowledge. My long and happy connection with them ren- 
ders the thought of severing the ties which bind us peculiarly 
painful. And I can truly say, that there is no pastoral charge 
in the United States, for which I should be willing to exchange 
that in which Providence has placed me. But verily believing, 
that, under the divine blessing, I can be more useful to the 
Church of Christ, as a professor in the new seminary, than in 
any pastoral charge whatever, you will, of course, so far as 
you give me credit for candour in this belief, fully justify my 
decision. God is my witness. Brethren, that worldly emolu- 
ments and worldly honors have not inflifenced me in this de- 
cision. You perfectly well know, from the circumstances of 
the case, that considerations of this nature cannot possibly have 
entered into my motives. I may be mistaken in my estimate 
of duty on the occasion ; but, unless every feeling of my heart 
deceives me, the estimate is honestly made. 

* I need not inform you. Brethren, for you already know, 
that within the last three years, the office of president, in three 
colleges, has been, at difierent times, placed fairly within my 
reach. But, as you also know, all these offers (though at least 
one of them was much more tempting, in a worldly view, than 
that which I now propose to accept) were firmly rejected by 
me, under a deliberate conviction, that I was more useful and 
more happy as your minister, than I was likely to be in either 
of those stations. I trust that facts of this kind will be con- 
sidered as affording satisfactory proof, that I am sincerely 
attached to the people of my charge ; that I have felt myself 
happy in my connexion with them ; that their kindness to me 
has not been either forgotten or lightly esteemed ; and that, in 
finally determining to leave them, if Providence permit, I am 
not actuated by worldly or sinister motives. 

* My decision on this subject has been formed and announced 
the more speedily, because it appeared to me that further svs'>- 
pense would be injurious to the congregation. And if, in 
forming this decision, I have sought the advice and counsel of 
the officers of the church less than the importance of the ques- 
tion, both to them and to me, as well as our mutual friendship, 
might seem to demand; I beg you to be assured, that it has 
not been owing to any want of respect or affection ; but to a 



deliberate conviction that their feelings would prevent them 
from being impartial judges; and that it had fallen to my lot, 
to have an extent and an intimacy of acquaintance with the im- 
portance, the prospects, and the general interests of the seminary, 
to which I am called, which none of my brethren among the 
officers of our church could possibly have. 

'If, however, after all, you should still be disposed to think, 
that 1 ought to have consulted and advised more extensively 
with my friends, before deciding, I hope you will cover, what 
may be considered as my mistake, on this subject, with the 
mantle of charity, and not suffer it to interfere with that mutual 
affection and friendship, which it is my earnest desire may 
attend our parting, and continue through life. 

* With respec tto the time, the circumstances, and the manner, 
of my withdrawing from you, both duty and affection dictate, 
that I should be governed, as far as possible, by your wishes, 
and your views of the interest of the congregation. If I reach 
Princeton by the latter end of October, or the beginning of 
November, it will, I presume, answer every purpose; and I 
should fondly hope, that, by that time, or before, you may 
not only have engaged, but also have actually brought into 
your service, another pastor. If you think that my stay, until 
that period, will promote your edification, it will give me great 
pleasure, with the leave of providence, to order my plans ac- 
cordingly. If, on the contrary, you should be of the opinion, 
that my departure, at an earlier day, would be more advisable, 
tell me so with the most fraternal freedom; aud, instead of 
bsing offended, I shall feel myself honoured by your frankness 
and confidence. 

' I will only add, my dear Brethren, that, as long as I con- 
tinue your pastor, it will not only be my duty, as well as my 
pleasure, to serve you as heretofore; but also, that, in the 
present exigency of your affairs, it will gratify me more than I 
can express, to be able to promote, in any way, the temporal or 
spiritual interests of our beloved church. Command my ser- 
vices, for this purpose, in any way that you think proper, 
without reserve ; for as long as I have a memory to recollect, 
or a heart to feel, I shall cherish toward you as individuals, 
and toward the congregation which you represent, the most 
cordial affection, and a sense of deep and lasting obligation. 

' With fervent prayers that you may he speedily and harmo- 
niously directed to some able and faithful minister, whose 
labours in the Lord shall be eminently blessed to the promotion 
of your best interests, * I am, my dear Brethren, 

* Your obliged friend and affectionate pastor, 

* Samuel Miller.' 

181-3.] FAREWELL TO NEW YORK. 855 

This letter evidently shows, that Dr. Miller was acutely 
sensitive to the danger of being accused of worldly motives, 
or a want of affection to his people in New York ; and it 
clearly discloses how painful to him, on these and other 
accounts, was the separation. No doubt his troubles with 
Dr. McKnight, the kindness he had experienced in that 
case, and the short time which had since elapsed, and 
during which he had been sole pastor of the church, added 
to the reluctance with which he permitted the pastoral tie 
to be sundered. 

On the 23d of July, Dr. Livingston wrote to him from 
New Brunswick, ^ I am glad that you are to be my neigh- 
bor : I could not be so, nor would I say so, if I did not 
esteem and love you.' 

Dr. Miller's pastoral relation to the Wall street Church 
was dissolved by Presbytery on the 3d of September, the 
church offering no resistance — simply saying, * While they 
deeply lament the proposed separation of their pastor from 
them, they do not think proper to make any opposition to 
the measure.' 

The following extracts from Dr. Miller's diary carry 
forward the history of this critical juncture in his affairs : — 

* September 22, 1813. Having had the call from the Greneral 
Assembly to the professorship in Princeton put into my hands 
a few days ago; and having declared my acceptance of it, and 
received from the Presbytery the dissolution of my pastoral 
relation, and a dismission to the Presbytery of New firunswick, 
in the bounds of which the Seminarv is placed, I am preparing 
on the 29th instant to repair to Princeton, for the purpose of 
being inaugurated in my new office. This expectation brings 
the solemnity and respormbility of my engagement powerfully 
to mind, and calls upon me to-day to lay it seriously to heart, 
and to ponder well what is before me. 

' I must, in candor, say, that when I think of the intellectual, 
literary and spiritual attainments and qualifications, which the 
office to which I am appointed demands, my heart sinks within 
me. I am constrained here to record my honest conviction, 
that I have not the appropriate qualifications for it, and that 
if I, in any tolerable degree, succeed, it will be rather owing to 
the charitable indulgence of the directors and pupils ot the in- 
stitution, and, above all, to the shielding and sustaining power 
of my covenant God, than to my own preparation for the work. 
I have not the talents ; I have not the varied furniture ; espe- 


cially I have not the matare spiritual wisdom and experience, 
which appear to me indispensable. The choice to this office, 
I am well aware, would never have fallen on me, if there had 
not been a lamentable scarcity, in our Church, of ministers who 
have in any measure turned their particular attention to 
the studies appropriate to this office. May the Lord sustain 
me, and prevent my utterly sinking under the burden laid upon 
me I And may my beloved brethren, who have, by their 
suffirages, brought me into this situation, so follow me with their 
prayers, and their charitable allowance for all my failures, as 
to form a veil perpetually to cover my defects, and hide them 
from public view ! O thou, who hast protected, sustained, and 
counselled me to this hour, be my protector, my support, and 
my counsellor still. Whatever may be my defects or my cor- 
ruptions, thou canst glorify thyself in me and by me.* 

4. Inauguration as Professor. 

'Princeton, September 29, 1813. I was this day solemnly 
inaugurated as Profe88or of Ecclesiastical History and ChurA 
Government in the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian 
Church in this place. To this office I was elected by the Gen- 
eral Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, in 
the month of May last. I thought I had then, and at different 
periods since, some impression of the deep importance and awfiil 
weight of this undertaking. But to-day I could not help trem- 
bling under a sense of its unspeakable solemnity ! Yes, this is 
an office which an Owen, or an Edwards would undoubtedly 
undertake with trembling. How, then, ought / to feel, with 
all my want of the requisite qualifications ! God of all grace ! — 
Thou with whom is the residue of the Spirit — I cast myself on 
thy care ! I implore light, and guidance, and strength from 
thee I Oh that my deficiencies may not be permitted to dis- 
grace me, and, above all, to disgrace the precious cause in which 
I profefiiS and hope that I am engaged ! Oh that I may have 
grace given me to be wise and faithful, and thiis to be made a 
blessing to the youth whom I may be called to instruct.' 

As providential circumstances prevented Dr. Miller's re- 
moval to Princeton for more than two months, it is proper 
here to notice the ceremony of his inauguration, mentioned 
in the extract just given from his diary. 

The .original plan of the Seminary, still in full force, 
provides as follows : — 

" Every person elected to a professorship in this Seminary, 
shall, on being inaugurated, solemnly subscribe the Confession 

1813.] INAUGURATION. 857 

of Faith, Catecliisms, and Form of Government of the Presby- 
terian Church, agreeably to the following formula ; viz. — * In 
the presence of God and of the Directors of this Seminary, I do 
solemnly, and ex animo adopt, receive, and subscribe the Con- 
fession of Faith, and Catechisms of the Presbyterian Church in 
the United States of America, as the confession of my faith ; or 
as a summan[ and just exhibition of that system of doctrine and 
religious belief which is contained in Holy Scripture, and 
therein revealed by God to man for his salvation ; and I do 
solemnly, ex animo profess to receive the Form of Government 
of said Church, as agreeable to the inspired oracles. And I 
do solemnly promise and engage, not to inculcate, teach, or in- 
sinuate any thing which shall appear to me to contradict or 
contravene, either directly or impliedly, any thing taught in 
the said Confession of Faith or Catechisms ; nor to oppose any 
of the fundamental principles of Presbyterian Church Govern- 
ment, while I shall continue a Professor in this Seminary.' "^ 

From the lay members of the Presbyterian Church is 
properly required belief in only the fundamental doctrines 
of Christianity, or simply what is regarded as essential to 
salvation ; from ministers and ruling elders, the reception 
and adoption of the Confession of Faith, ''as containing 
the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures,*' and 
the approval of the Form of Government and Discipline ; 
from theological professors, in addition to what is required 
of them as ministers, that they should teach nothing in the 
least inconsistent with the Confession or Catechisms, or 
opposed to the essential principles of Presbyterian govern- 
ment. This gradation of requirement is obviously agreea- 
ble to the gradation of function, responsibility, and influ- 
ence for which it provides. The special stringency of the 
subscription demanded from theological professors has been, 
however, often decried, particularly, of course, by those 
.who have deviated more or less from the Presbyterian sys- 
tem of doctrine ; unless indeed they were of that class who 
can freely sign any creed, and in the chemistry of thought 
easily assimilate it to their own views and feelings. 

After the sermon preached upon the occasion, the pro- 
fessor elect is called upon to profess publicly, in the form 
just quoted, his adherence to the standards of the Presby- 
terian Church; after which, in a book containing the 

1 Plan of the Seminary, III, 3. See Dr. Miller's Brief History, 15; Baird's 
Digest, (1856), 415. 


formula, with the subscriptions of previous professors 
thereto, he actually subscribes his name. Such was the 
practice when Dr. Miller was inaugurated; such it has 
always been. 

Dr. Miller's inauguration discourse was a brief Sketch 
of the Characters and Opinions of some of the more con- 
spicuous Witnesses for the Truth during the Dark 
Ages. From this sketch, he deduced the general observa- 
tions, that all these Witnesses were zealous Trinitarians ; 
that most of them, especially of the more distinguished, 
were Calvinists, Presbyterians and Paedobaptists ; and that 
they were universally friends of sound learning; closing 
with the practical thoughts, (1) that their history gave pow- 
erful evidence of the reality of vital religion, and (2) strik- 
ing proof that the doctrines of grace were the genuine doc- 
trines of God's Word ; (8) that it presented important ex- 
amples for our imitation, and (4) beacons for our warning ; 
(5) that it suggested, as very important, that men substan- 
tially united in zeal for the truth should know and love one 
another ; and (6) taught us never to despair of the Church, 
or even allow ourselves to be discouraged, in even her most 
troublous and perilous times. 'Paul,' said he, 'is no more! 
Claudius is no more! WicklifiFe, Luther, Calvin, are all 
gone ! But the kingdom of Christ did not die with them ! 
It still lives ; and it will live forever !' This discourse was 
not published — for reasons disclosed by the following let- 
ter : — 

'Gentlemen, Princeton, September 30, 1813. 

*I feel deeply sensible of the honor done me by the re- 
quest which you have been so good as to sign, and which has 
just been put into my hands. I took for granted that the Board 
of Directors had designedly omitted to request a copy of my 
inaugural discourse for the press ; And I sincerely thought they 
had acted judiciously in taking this course. 

' On mature deliberation, I think it is my duty to decline 
complying with your affectionate and polite request. The dis- 
course was written amidst much hurry and distraction. You 
are sensible that it involves some matter which is as delicate as 
it is important, and which, in print, would require to be forti- 
fied with numerous references and some long quotations. For 
all this I really have not the requisite time at my command. 
I have so deep an impression of the overwhelming labor before 

1813.] INAUGURATION. 359 

me, that it appears not advisable to undertake any service which 
will create unnecessary work for even a single day. 

*I am Gentlemen, with 

'grateful and affectionate regard, 
* Your obedient servant, 
*To the Rev'd Dr. Green Sam'l Miller. 

*Mr. Richards 
*Mr. Hillyer, etc., etc' 

The following journal entries explain the delay of Dr. 
Miller's removal to Princeton : — 

'October 31, 1813. This day (mybirth-day), in the adora- 
ble providence of God, finds me on a bed of sickness — extremely 
weak, but able to sit up, and manifestly convalescent. I have 
been very ill ; but, blessed be God, never deprived of my rea- 
son, and favored with excellent medical attendance, and what 
is of still more importance, in some respects, with the excellent 
nursing, and care, and pious sympathy, and counsel of the best 
qftvives. The Lord make me thajikful for this privilege; and 
grant that, if I should be restored to my wonted health, my 
life — my all — ^may be consecrated unreservedly to his glory ! 
Oh for grace to improve this solemn dispensation of his provi- 
dence !' 

'December 3, 1813. Immediately after my return from 
Princeton, whither I went to attend my inauguration as pro- 
fessor, I was seized with a violent inflammatory fever, which 
degenerated into typhus, confining me to my bed for nearly 
three weeks, and to my room for nearly three more. My dis- 
ease was considered, at one time, as threatening a fatal issue; 
but the Lord had mercy on me, and raised me up again, I hope 
with the purpose of employing me for his glory. "Bless the 
Lord, O my soul I and all that is within me bless his holy 
name I Bless the Lord O my soul ! who healeth all thy dis- 
eases ; who crowneth thee with loving* kindness and tender 
mercy !" ' , . 

It was probably of this illness that Mrs. Miller used to 
relate, that unexpectedly she had found her husband's fever 
gone, a profuse perspiration breaking out upon him, and 
he apparently sinking fast into hopeless prostration ; and 
that, doubtless, his life had been saved by a little wine 
which, tremblingly, yet under a seeming conscious inspira- 
tion, she had at once administered. 



1. Matters Ecclesiastical. 

Before we follow Dr. Miller to Princeton, it may be 
well to pause, and take a retrospect of his ministry of 
twenty years, just closing in New York, and a survey of 
his intellectual and professional proportions. He was now 
just on the dividing line between the two great periods of 
his public life — his pastorate and his professorship. The 
change from the one to the other was very critical ; but 
the result, to him at least, was in many respects most ad- 
vantageous and happy. 

Of his real success as a pastor, we can form little idea. 
For about four years and a half only, had he now been 
alone in charge of the Wall street church : Dr. Rodgers 
indeed had remained his colleague nearly half of this 
time, but was so feeble from the first, and so soon laid 
entirely aside, that Dr. Miller may properly be regarded 
as sole pastor from the date of the separation of the united 
churches. He admitted to membership, in 1810, seventeen 
by profession, four by certificate ; in 1811, the same num- 
ber in the former way, six in the latter; in 1812, twenty-one 
by profession, and nine by certificate ; and during the 
portion of 1813 that his pastorate continued, the numbers 
wore twenty and four respectively. Upon examination, 
therefore, in less than four years, seventy-five had united 
with the Wall street church. Perhaps few pastors have 
been more abundantly blessed. 

The difference between this day and that, as to the num- 
ber of infant baptisms, is very striking. In 1810, 1811, 
and 1812, Dr. Miller reported, in the aggregate, one hun- 


dred and twenty-seven infants baptized. During these years, 
his adult membership ranged from one hundred and ninety 
to two hundred and nineteen. The infant baptisms, there- 
fore, annually, averaged rather more than twenty-two per 
centum of the membership. And this, compared with the 
^previous history of the New York churches, was evidently 
a diminished per centage. But what a contrast have we 
here to present numbers. To the Assembly of 1865, the 
Presbytery of New York, with six thousand four hundred 
and thirty-two reported members, returned but four hun- 
dred and eighty-two infant baptisms — the latter not seven 
and a half per centum of the former. The contrast, how- 
ever, becomes much more wonderful, when we observe, 
that, of these baptisms, three hundred and twelve were re- 
turned by one German church, with seven hundred and ten 
members. Now, jirst^ leaving this church out of the ac- 
count, we have remaining but one hundred and seventy 
baptisms for a membership of five thousand seven hundred 
and twenty-two — not three per cent. Then, again, why 
should Germans have so many more infants to be baptized 
than Americans ? Or, is it only that the former still pay 
great regard to this divine ordinance, while the latter treat 
it almost with contempt ? 

Church membership was not required of parents for the 
baptism of their children : a profession of religion included, 
or supposed to be included, in this ordinance itself was 
treated as a suflBcieht parental qualification — a practice 
which Dr. Rodgers had adopted, and his colleagues con- 
tinued. It is adverted to repeatedly in other parts of this 
work. Dr. Spring has said, 

« Among the embarrassments of my early ministry, was the 
practice of my predecessors on the subject of infant baptism 
Dr. Rodgers, Dr. McKnight, and Dr. Miller had been in the 
habit of baptizing all the children of the congregation, without 
regard to the Christian character and profession of either of 
the parents. I felt constrained to adopt a different course, and 
to baptize only those children, one of whose parents was a 
professed Christian. I felt bound to this course by the obvious 
principles of the Abrahamic covenant, the example of thfe 
apostles, and the spirit of the gospel."^ 

In 1810, three members of the Wall street church, one 

^ 1 Beminiscenoes, 124, 125. 

862 NEW YORK LIFE. [CH. 23. !• 

a colored woman, joined the Baptists, two of them without 
asking for a dismission. The latter were called to account, 
and one, acknowledging the irregularity, requested a regu- 
lar certificate ; but the other, the colored woman, Marga- 
ret CuflFee, while she could give no reason but an " incon- 
trollable impulse to become a member of the Baptist 
Church,'* could not see her error. Her case was decided 
as follows : — 

'Although this session recognize the rights of conscience, and 
claim no power to control its dictates; and although, in pursu- 
ance of this principle, they do not consider themselves as at 
liberty to interpose any bar in the way of Margaret Cufiee's 
peaceably retiring from the communion of our church ; yet 
they consider her conduct in this case as highly irregular and 
censurable ; and against this conduct, as well as against : what 
they deem an important error on the subject of baptism, they 
consider it as their duty to bear a decided testimony of disap- 

The others received letters of dismission, in the usual 
form, with this addition in one case, and something like it 
in the other:— 

*At the same time the session cannot forbear to express their 
regret, that Mr. Hendlin has adopted an error on the subject 
of baptism, which they view as highly unfriendly to the inter- 
ests of the Christian church ; and of which they deem it their 
duty to declare their disapprobation.' 

Toward the close of life. Dr. Miller wrote to a young 

* When I was a pastor, forty years ago, I had no Bible-class — 
no Sabbath-school. But I met and catechised the children of 
my charge every week. In this work I was helped by one or 
more of the elders, sometimes by my wife, sometimes by both. 
We really do good to our helpers, as well as the children, by 
engaging them in this service.'^ 

Each Wednesday afternoon the Catechism was thus 

The Lord's Supper was administered four times a year 
ih each congregation. / 

The method of selecting. elders and deacons, in the New 
York churches, during Dr. Miller's pastorate, seems to 

1 To the Rev. Angley D. White, the 9th October, 1S48. 

1793-1813.] THE STIPEND. 363 

have been this : — The Session nominated such persons as 
they considered best fitted for these offices ; on three suc- 
cessive Sabbaths their names were announced from the 
pulpit ; and, no objection being made, they were then set 
apart. They appear to have been ordained each to serve 
a particular congregation, although there were but one ses- 
sion, and one bench of deacons, recognized ecclesiastically. 
Collections were taken up regularly for the poor, and 
the amount raised was divided among the deacons and 
pastors, the latter being regarded, apparently, as having 
the diaconate, as well as the eldership, included in their 
higher office. Thus, at the close of the year 1793, we find 
about one hundred and twenty pounds — say three hundred 
dollars — distributed — a hundred pounds to four deacons, 
and twenty to the three pastors. At the close of 1797, 
two hundred and forty-four pounds were divided. Every 
year there was a joint meeting of the Session and deacons 
for an open and exact settlement of accounts. Both minis- 
ters and elders were required to give formal excuses for 
absence from the meetings of session in which the former 
presided in turn. 

2. The Stipend. 

Mr. Miller's salary, when he was married, appears to 
have been five hundred pounds, equal to twelve hundred 
and fifty dollars. Very soon, if not at once, he began to 
pay over the whole, as received, to his wife, making her 
sole treasurer. In fact, for many years, all his receipts, of 
whatever kind, were thus disposed of, until, becoming pos- 
sessed of a little property, he reserved, at length, to him- 
self the revenue therefrom. Just when Mrs. Miller was 
installed as family cashier, we know not ; but here is an 
account book of hers, commencing the 26th of March, 
1802, — say five months after marriage, — and showing that 
this pledge of confidence had then been fully given to her. 
Perhaps the arrangement commenced at the latter date — 
after a short probation, more honorable to her than a pre- 
cipitate investiture ; for she sums up one year, at its close, 
in this memorandum: — Received from March 26th, 1802, 
until March 26th, 1803, $2112. The account is kept until 
the first of January, 1803, in pounds, shillings and pence, 

864 KEW YOKE LIFE. [CH. 23. 3. 

New York currency, though interspersed with memoranda 
in dollars and cents. Afterwards the latter denominations 
lead the columns. The pastor's living was supplemented 
largely from outside of his appointed stipend. This was 
by presents and various perquisites. The first entry in 
this account-book before us is a ' Donation from the church 
of <£100/ to which, in June following, £50 were added. 
Wedding and baptism fees — the former the larger and more 
numerous, and Minen' and 'gloves' make up the most of 
the other items, until some of Dr. Miller's books begin to 
bring in small sums — never much. His 'Record of Mar- 
riages ' from the commencement of his ministry in New 
York, has the fees noted on the margin, from January 1800 
to January 1817. The highest are three of one hundred 
dollars each. Then there is a fee of seventy, and several 
of fifty, forty, thirty — down to nothing in a few cases. 
The whole number of marriages, during his New York pas- 
torate of twenty years, was six hundred* and forty-six. 
Baptism fees were not infrequent — given probably, for the 
most part, when the ordinance was administered to infants 
in private ; a mode which accorded better with the theory 
of administration already adverted to, than with the re- 
quirement of church membership on the part of one parent 
at least. Nothing seems ever to have been paid, in money, 
for funeral services ; but it was the universal custom, with 
those at least who could afibrd it, to present the officiating 
clergymen with white linen scarfs and black gloves. Not 
only was an abundant supply of these articles, for family use, 
thus furnished; but, as may well be imagined, they both 
accumulated sometimes so rapidly, that they had to be dis- 
posed of out of the family. From December 1802, the 
salary was fifteen hundred, and from June 1805, eighteen 
hundred, dollars. 

3. In the Pulpit. 

The Presbyterian clergymen of New York, with those of 
several other denominations, generally, if not uniformly, 
before Dr. Miller's settlement in that city, and during his 
pastorate, wore, in their public ministrations, clerical bands^ 
and black silk gowna^ the latter an academical rather than 
clerical dress. In the year 1844, the Rev. Horatio South- 
gate, missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and, 

1793-1813.] IN THE PULPIT. 865 

subsequently, missionary bishop, at- Constantinople, publish- 
ed a pamphlet, charging the Congregational missionaries of 
the American Board to the Armenians of Turkey, or some 
of them, with unwillingness to be known in their true char- 
acter, with' wearing black gowns, and with attempting, 
thus and otherwise to pass themselves ofiF as Episcopal 
clergymen ! In regard to this charge. Dr. Miller wrote, 

* Who does not know that all classes of Presbyterians, Inde- 
pendents, and Congregationalists, in every part of the world, 
in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, were in the constant 
habit of wearing some kind of ecclesiastical robe, or black gown, 
in all their pubEc ministrations ? Is Bishop Southgate ignorant, 
that Calvin, Beza, and all their associates and contemporaries, 
in Geneva, France, Holland and Germany, habitually appeared 
in this professional dress ? Is he ignorant that John Knox in 
Scotland, and that Owen, Baxter, Charnock, Howe, Bates and 
the great mass of their contemporary ministers in England, dis- 
senting from the English Established Church, in the seventeenth 
century, always preached in these clerical vestments? Let 
him look into any biographical record of Dr. Watts, Dr. Dod- 
dridge, or other dissenting ministers in Great Britain, in the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and he will scarcely fail 
to find them, in any likenesses' given, * exhibited as wearing 
some sort of clerical habit. 

* Nor is this all. Who does not know that, fifty years ago, 
every Presbyterian minister, in New York, Philadelphia and 
Baltimore, invariably appeared in the pulpit in a black gown ; 
and that the same was the case with the Congregational minis- 
ters of Boston, Portsmouth and other populous places in New 
England ? Nor was this practice confined to great cities. * * 
The Kev. Dr. McWhorter, of Newark, the Rev. Dr. Woodhull, 
of Freehold, and a number of others who might be mentioned, 
* * seldom, or never, entered the pulpit without the clerical 
dress. All this is just as notorious as any fact in the history 
of the Church ; and are we now to be told that putting on such 
a dress is an evidence that he who does it is aping the Episcopal 
character V 

Dr. Sprague has remarked, 

" * * Dr. Miller early took rank with the best preachers 
of his day. His sermons were generally written, but in the 
earlier periods of his ministry, as I have heard him say, were 
almost always committed to memory, — as the prejudice against 
reading in New York was so great, that it was at the peril at 


866 NEW YORK LIFE. [CH. 23. 3. 

least of one's reputation as a preacher that he ventured to lay 
tis manuscript before him. At a later period, however, espe- 
cially after he went to Princeton, he generally read his dis- 
courses, but he read with so much ease and freedom, that, but 
for the turning over of the leaves, one would scarcely have been 
aware that he was reading at all. His voice was not strong, 
nor yet particularly musical, but it was pleasant notwith- 
standing ; and so perfectly distinct was his enunciation that he 
could be heard without effort at the extremity of the largest 
church. His attitudes in the pulpit were extremely dignified, 
though perhaps somewhat precise ; and his gesture, which was 
never otherwise than appropriate, was yet not very abimdant. 
His utterance was deliberate, — ^possibly too much so to suit the 
mass of hearers ; but it was marked by an evident sincerity 
and solemnity which were well fitted to make an impression. 
He would occasionally deliver a sentence with an air of majesty, 
and a degree of unction that would make it quite irresistible. 
I remember, for instance, to have heard him relate in a New 
Year's sermon on the text " How old art thou ?" the well known 
anecdote of the Roman Emperor, exclaiming at the* close of a 
day which had gone to waste, " Oh, I have lost a day!" and it 
seemed scarcely possible that the exclamation should have been 
uttered in a way to secure to it a higher effect. Still he could 
not be considered an impassioned preacher ; and his manner 
was characterized rather by quiet dignity, and occasionally by 
genuine pathos, than by any remarkable versatility or vigour. 
But his discourses were decidedly superior to his manner of 
delivering them. He never shot at random : he always had a 
distinct object in view, and he went deliberately and skilfully 
to work to accomplish it. There was the same symmetry about 
his sermons that there was about his character — everything 
was in its right place. If you did not expect to be thrilled by 
such overwhelming pa^g^ as you might sometimes hear W 
Mason or Chalmers, you knew that you would never be shocked 
by anything of doubtful propriety. You expected that every- 
thing in the service would be fitting and reverent, and every 
way up to the dignity of the pulpit ; and you were never disap- 
pointed. No man was farther than Dr. Miller from that miser- 
able affectation that throws together dry and doubtful specula- 
tions, — ^at best the refuse of philosophy, and then calls the heap 
of chaos that is thus produced a Gospel sermon. While his 
preaching was not common-place in any worse sense than the 
Bible is so, he had no ambition for originality that led him to 
stray beyond the Bible for the material of his discourses ; and 
while he was satisfied with what he found there, his object 

179a-1813.] IN THE PULPIT. 867 

seemed to be to work it up in a manner which should best sub- 
serve the great objects of his ministry."* 

Of Dr. Miller's ministry in New York, Dr. Sprague has 
said, elsewhere, 

" His early and only settlement as a pastor was in the First 
Presbyterian Church in the city of New York ; which, probably, 
at that time, embraced more wealth, talent and influence than 
any other church in our connexion. In addition to this, it was 
the general resort of strangers ; and while Congress held its 
sessions in that city, most of the members were accustomed to 
attend it. The minister of such a congregation must of course 
preside at a great fountain of public influence ; many of his 
stated hearers are among the men who give character to a city 
and a country ; and every sermon that he preaches, falls upon 
the ear, and tells upon the destiny of some, whom he will never 
meet till he meets them in the judgment. 

" * * [Dr. Miller] contributed too not a little to elevate 
the character of the American pulpit ; and if there were others 
who had a wider popularity and more control of the passions 
of the multitude, there were few whose pulpit productions had 
in them so much of weighty and well digested material, or 
would so well abide the test of an intelligent criticism."' 

Says a late writer, 

" The position [of Dr. Miller in New York City] was one of 
high distinction, and of peculiar responsibility, as it brought 
him into immediate contact and comparison with many of the 
most gifted and brilliant preachers of the times, who then filled 
the pulpits of the city. But the young pastor was found fully 
equal to all the demands of the situation — not only sustaining 
himself amid his experienced and gifted compeers of the city, 
but developing resources, and building up a solid ministerial 
character, which soon sent his name through the whole church, 
honored alike as a pastor, a preacher, and an author. He had 
gifts and qualifications which from the first rendered his 
preaching exceedingly popular with the church going people 
of New York, although they were accustomed to hear Dr. 
Mason, Dr. Linn, Dr. Livingston, and other great lights."* 

A writer in the New York Observer,^ in giving an ac- 
count of his "First Sabbath in New York,'* says, 

' 3 Annals, 603, 604. 

' Discourse Commemorative of Dr. Miller, 23, 24, 26. 

^ From a forthcoming work entitled, "Grbat Preachers and Pastors," 
by the llev'd L. J. Halsey, p. D., Professor in the Theological Seminary of 
the North West. See the North Western Presbyterian of the 22(1 of August, 1868, 

* 18th March, 1852. 

868 NEW YORK LIFE. [CH. 23. 3. 

"At three o'clock in the afternoon I went to the Wall stre^ 
church, knowing that I was just in time to hear Dr. Miller; 
for, if my memory serves me, this was but a few weeks before 
his translation to rrinceton. He walked into the pulpit with 
great deliberation and dignity, wearing the gown and bands, 
which I had never before seen on any Presbyterian, or, with 
one exception, orthodox congregational, minister. His fine 
person, and intelligent and benignant face, justified at once the 
very favorable account, which I had always heard of him in 
Kew England. His prayer, both in manner and matter, 
seemed exceedingly devout, and his tones I thought remarka- 
bly adapted to supplication. His sermon was on the character 
of Absalom ; and as I have heard it since, and at a much later 
day, I may speak of it with confidence. It was one of the 
most beautiful biographical discourses to which I have ever 
listened. It deserves to be published, as well as many others of 
Dr. Miller's sermons, which," in some respects, are, in my 
opinion, unsurpassed as models of that kind of writing. I 
must not follow Dr. Miller from that " first Sabbath ;" for if I 
were to allow myself to extend my remarks concerning him at 
all, I cannot say how far my afiectionate veneration for him 
would carry me." 

The late Dr. David Magie, of Elizabeth, upon his dying 
couch, said to the writer, ' When I first saw Dr. Miller, he 
was a very beautiful man: probably he looked much 
younger than he really was;' adding, 'He was always a 
very acceptable preacher to good people — those who de- 
lighted in the very marrow of the gospel. I remember 
hearing him preach once before he left New York, upon 
*Meetness for the Kingdom.' I was not particularly im- 
pressed, not as yet being interested in such things ; but an 
uncle of mine, a very good man, fed upon that sermon for 
a long time. He never went to Princeton, but he must 
call upon Dr. Miller, if it were but for a few moments.' 

Dr. Gardiner Spring, when asked for reminiscences of Dr. 
Miller in the pulpit, replied, in substance, ' I did not often 
hear him preach, as I was commonly preaching myself at 
the same time. Upon first hearing him, I was struck with 
his removing the Bible from the desk to the cushion behind 
his back, and preaching without anything before him. I 
regarded him as a very accomplished preacher : that word 
— " accomplished" — ^best expresses my idea.* 

After Dr. Miller's decease,— the 24th of May, 1850, — 

1793-1813.] IN THE PULPIT. 369 

Grant Thorburn, Esquire, wrote to one of the surviving 

'When thy father was a boy, upholding the arms of the 
venerable Dr. Rodgers, I was clerk, chorister, or psalm-singer, 
or what you may call it, to Dr. Mason ; in short, he was the 
shepherd, and I the watch-dog, for twenty years. He read the 
twenty-third Psalm, old Scotch version : I doled it out to the 
good old Scotch Copper-heads, line upon line, murdering the 
metre here, destroying the sense there — ^no matter : to them it 
was instruction. Great as Dr. Mason was, here was a soft 
spot, — * * he stickled for old psalms and old tunes. I peti- 
tioned the session to give out two, instead of one, line, and to 
introduce some new tunes. The Doctor was my only opponent : 
(our discussion was cool and friendly :) he spoke about innova- 
tion, about deviating from the simplicity of gospel worship, etc. 
Says I, " Doctor, I'm thinking you will be in a strange fix, 
when you get to heaven : there they sing a new song all day ; 
and, as " they rest not," they sing another all night." The 
sobersided old Scotchmen smiled ; the Doctor followed suit ; I 
gained my point. I think, as a pulpit orator, the world has not 
seen his equal since Paul, the Apostle, preached at Rome. 
Mason (by the by, your father and he were close friends) was 
a preacher, not a reader of the gospel. Fifty-six years ago, 
(Episcopal churches excepted,) there was not a reader of the 
gospel in J!^ew York. Have our students less brains ? Are 
there fewer schools for the prophets ? Are books scarcer and 
the prices higher ? The reverse is the fact. The Court, the 
Senate, and the DeviFs church (theatre) advance; but the 
paper preaching has driven eloquence from the pulpit : it is 
tolerated nowhere except in the Church of Christ. A reader 
can never be an orator.' 

Dr. Miller, when he left New York, was at the acme of 
his reputation as a preacher. From the date of his re- 
moval to Princeton, he gradually, if not at once, aban- 
doned the more laborious method of memoriter preaching, 
for the easier one of reading his sermons. Moreover, lec- 
turing to students of theology became his grand busi- 
ness as a public speaker; and that tended to confirm^ him 
in reading, and also in a plainer style of delivery. He 
might have resisted the influence of habit in^this respect ; 
but perhaps the importance of doing so did not occur to 
him ; at any rate, his preaching, thereafter, fell^oflF in 
popularity. Each manner of public address, reading, 

870 NEW YORK LIFE. [CH. 23. 3. 

speaking memoriter, and speaking extempore, lias had its 
splendid examples and its earnest advocates. The truth « 

seems to be, that any one of these methods may be made 
highly effective; that some persons may adopt one, and 
some another of them, with greatest effect; that they 
may be, and often have been, mingled with the happiest 
result ; that practice in one is by no means essentially 
antagonistic to success in another ; but that, without special 
native gifts, superior excellence in public speaking, what- 
ever method is preferred, can be attained only by labori- 
ous and persistent self-training. Slackened diligence in 
such training, at any period of life, must be followed by a 
corresponding decline in the power of making a popular 
impression; a power without which the highest mere hu- 
man wisdom, and the most splendidly rhetorical composi- 
tions fall nerveless upon the ear. 

It was especially in prayer, if in any part of his public 
ministrations, that Dr. Miller excelled; and it is evident 
that his gift, whatever it may have been, for this religious 
exercise, had been assiduously cultivated. Here is a 'man- 
uscript volume, containing about a quire of foolscap, nearly ' 
filled with short addresses delivered on sacramental and 
other occasions, and with prayers, all closely written — the 
latter forming the larger part of the collection. These 
belonged to the earlier portion of his ministry, bearing the 
dates of 1795 and 1796. Most of the prayers are of a 
special kind ; some of them, for example, relating to the 
visitations of yellow fever, and some of them being in- 
tended for use before the Legislature. 

On the subject of memoriter prayer and preaching. Dr. 
Miller has observed, 

" I have said, that I would by no means advise any one to 
be in the habit of committing written prayers to memory, and 
reciting them servilely in the pulpit. There is something in 
the practice of uttering any thing in public from memory that 
is apt to beget in the speaker, in spite of every effort to the con- 
trary, a formal, reciting tone. This principle seldom fails to 
be exemplified very strikingly in memoriter preachers. In the 
course of a long life, and with some range of opportunity for 
observation on this subject, I have never heard more than one, 
or, at most, two memoriter preachers who entirely avoided the 
reciting tone. The same principle applies, in some measure, to 

1793-1813.] MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS. 871 

prayers recited from memory. I do not believe that it is, ordi- 
narily, possible wholly to divest them of the character and tone 
of recitation. It is one of the rarest things in the world to hear 
any one read a prayer, or any other composition, in the per- 
fectly simple natural intonation which is, of course, employed 
in extemporaneous, feeling, animated utterance."^ 

Of Dr. Nevins, the popular pastor of the First Presbyte- 
rian Church of Baltimore, who died in 1836, Dr. Miller 

"He was a memoriter preacher; and, on the whole, the most 
natural and impressive memoriter preacher I ever heard. He 
seemed to commit to memory with great ease, and to call forth 
and deliver what he had deposited in his memory, without the 
least hesitation or embarrassment. Most of the memoriter 
preachers that I have heard, had a formal, reciting manner. 
In him scarcely any thing of this kind appeared. His intona- 
tions and his whole manner were entirely natural. He might 
easily have been mistaken for an extemporaneous speaker, had 
not the richness, the connexion, and the mature judgment and 
taste which his discourses seldom failed to display, evinced 
careful preparation."^ 

The writer has heard Dr. Miller say, that when he was 
accustomed to preaching memoriter, two or three readings 
of a discoufSe of his own, especially just after writing it, 
were quite suflScient to fasten it upon his mind. No power 
improves more sensibly and rapidly, by use, than memory ; 
but that is not the whole secret of the facility which memo- 
riter speakers for the most part acquire. Sooner or later, 
they discover, that when they commit to memory the ideas 
of a discourse, in their proper order and logical connexion — 
a much easier task than committing the words — the words, 
however, in which they have once thought out and expressed 
those ideas, cling to them, and recur with them. 

4. Miscellaneous Topics. 

Mrs. Miller, referring, long afterward, to the condition 
of things in New York, at the time of her marriage, and 
subsequently, speaks of ' a comparatively pure state of the 
Church, when the name and influence of a few such venera- 

^ Thoughts on Public Prayer, 298, 299. 

*Dr. Plumer's Biog. Notice of Dr. Nevins, 74, 75. 

372 NEW TORE LIFE. [CH. 23. 4. 

ble and holy men as the Bev. Dr. John Bodgers, had thrown 
a restraint on the vices of the world around them, as well 
as on the constantly recurring disorders of the Church, so 
that the very vagrants of the street felt their presence.' 

'The appearance/ she adds, *of these servants of God, in any 
part of the city, seemed to make *' iniquity hide its head," and 
was often the means of dispersing an idle, youthful group, in 
which profanity and disorder were beginning their destructive 
career. Through their influence, in a great measure, the Sab- 
bath was, at least externally, a holy day, on which the public 
ways exhibited no crowd or bustle, but what was of necessity- 
occasioned by a church-going people. Every pastor of a flock 
of Jesus Christ seemed to feel it his privilege as well as his 
duty, to feed the lambs of his flock himself, and did not com- 
mit them to the ever varying, heterogeneous instruction of 
others. The Scriptures and the Catechism it was his own busi- 
ness to inculcate ; and the same afternoon, in each week, had 
been for many years, in several of the churches of the city, of 
various denominations, the season for this instruction.' 

Among Mrs. Miller's papers, is found a prayer, dated 
* Sabbath, 80th July, 1809,' which shows that she was en- 
deavoring, to uphold, as she could, her husband's hands in 
his ministry. Its spirit may be seen in the following ex- 
tract : — 

* O Lord, we would look up to thy throne for a blessing, pre- 
viously to entering into thine holy sanctuary. The preparation 
of the heart is from thee. * ^ Q Lord, I, thine handmaid, 
would plead for the husband whom thou has given me. Thou 
hast called him to minister before thee in holy things : how 
awfully responsible is his calling I Without thine aid, what 
will become of him ? But if thou wilt work with him, how effi- 
cacious may be his ministry I O Father, grant thine aid and 
thy blessing. * * May he have many seals to his ministry, 
and may he shine as a star in thy kingaom forever and ever.' 

Before Dr. Miller removed to Princeton, he had begun 
to take a very active and prominent part in the higher ju- 
dicatories of the Church — the Synod and General Assem- 
bly. We find him frequently appointed upon important 
committees, often as chairman. Thus, as also by his re- 
peated publications, he was becoming well known ; and his 
appointment to the professorship at Princeton was but an 
additional evidence of his established and growing influence 
in the Church to which he belonged. 

1793-1818.] MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS. 873 

In New York, Dr. Miller left behind him many warmly 
attached and devoted friends, from whom he received, af- 
terward, frequent tokens of regard, and towards whom the 
respect and affection which he had earnestly cherished, 
during the happy years of his pastorate, continued un- 
changed to the last. Among these, while to name here, 
many of them would be very grateful to those who entered 
most intimately and fully into Dr. Miller's feelings, only 
James Anderson, Esquire, and his son, Abel T. Anderson, 
Esquire, both deceased, will be mentioned. They managed 
all his pecuniary business in New York, commencing with 
the collection of dues to Doctor Edward Miller's estate, up 
to 1 842 — all but thirty years., without fee or reward — re- 
sisting, indeed, all his efforts to remunerate their services, 
and hardly permitting any acknowledgment of them. A 
letter from the former, dated the 27th of November, 1816, 
says, ' If you are satisfied with the way I conduct your 
business here, that is compensation sufficient for me. I 
desire no more.' Again, he says, of certain debtors to 
Doctor Edward Miller's estate. They ' speak in the highest 
terms of that amiable temper and disposition your late 
brother was so highly favored with.' 

It may be mentioned, in this connexion, that in some 
cases in which Dr. Miller could force no remuneration upon 
persons who had rendered him material services, he mani- 
fested his sense, at least, of obligation, by making them 
honorary members of this or that board or society, in the 
evangelical work of which he, perhaps, knew them to be 
interested, or was desirous of interesting them. 



Abbel, Rev. Dr., 199, 230, 234, 237. 

Ability, Human, 290, 299, 300. 

Accounts, Tgstamentary, 77. 

Adams, Pres. John, 111. Letters of, 

Adams, Joseph, 307. 

Address to Gov. Dickinson from Lewes 
Presbytery, 20, n. 

Adopting Act, 23. 

Afflictions, 321—331. 

Alden, John, 13, 14, 306. 
" Ruth, 14. 

Alexander, Dr. A., 140, 141, 195, 196, 
291, n. 314, 345. Elected Profes- 
sor, 333. Inaugurated, 334. Ser- 
mon on burning of Richmond The- 
atre, 322. 

Alison, Rev. Dr. F., 32. 

Ancestors, Dr. M's, 13. 
" Mrs. M's, 145—148. 

Anderson, Abel T., 373. 
" Christiana, 257^, 
" James, 373. Letter of, 373. 

Andover, 229—234, 237—239. 

Anniversaries, Observance of, 169,170. 

Arbitrators, 271. 

Armstrong, James, Letter to, 248. 

Associate Reformed Church, 196. 

Atwater, Rev. Pres., 276. 

Bainbridoe, Dr., 147. 
Balfour, Rev. Dr. R., 137. 
Baptism, 360, 361. Fees, 364. 
Baptismal Regeneration, 217. 
Baptists, 362. 
Bartlett, Wm., 239. 
Bass, Bishop Edw., 22. 

" Hannah, 306, 307. 

" John, 306, n., 307, n. 

" Joseph, 13. 

" Samuel, 13, 14, 15, 30fi, 307. 

" families, 63. 
Beasley, Rev. Fred., 216. 
Bethlehem school, 167. 
Bible, Desecration of, 350, 351. 

" Society, Nassau Hall, 351. 

Bible Society, New York, 276. 
Birth of Dr. Miller, 28. 

*' " Mrs. Miller, 148. 
Black, Rev. Robert, 137. 
Bloomfield's plan. Gov., 307, 308. 
BlooAdingdale, 286. 
Boarding-schools, 167. 
Boston, 229—234. Invitation to Park 

street Church, 277. 
Bowden, Rev. Dr., 224, 226, 227, 279. 
'Boy-minister,' 87—112, 89. 
Brainerd, David and John, 146. 

" Jerusha, 146. 

« Martha, 146. 
Brick Church, 82. 
Broes, Dr. Broerius, 108. 
Brown. Charles Brockden, 114 — 120. 

" Moses, 239. 

" Rev. Dr. Wm. L., 137. 
Bnrder, Rev. George, Letter of, 313. 
Burr, Col., 183. 
Byles, D. D., Rev. Mather, 17. 

Call to Dover, 62—66. To New 
York, 62—66. . To Market street 
Church, 120, 121. To Dickinson 
College, 244 — 250. To University 
of North Carolina, 335. To Ham- 
ilton College, 335, 336. To Theo- 
logical Seminary, 347 — 359. 

Caldwell, Rev. Dr., 335. 

Calvinism, 305. 

Candidate, Dr. M. a, 61. 

Candidates, Hearing of, 64. 

Card Playing, 155—159. 

Carey, Rev. Dr. Wm., 137. 

Carlisle, Winter in, 57—60. 

Carnahan, Rev. Dr., 343. 

Catechising, 362. 

Cedar street Church, 235, 267, 269. 

Chaplaincy, 276. 

Charge to Pastor, by Dr. M., 288. 

Chilton, Mary, 14. 

Christian's Magazine, 217. 

Clarke, Rev. Dr. Adam, 137, 178. Let- 
ter of^ 305. 

32* 375 



Clergy of N.Y. City, 81. 
** Politics and the, U4— 130. 

Clinton, DeWitt, 109, 110. 

Codinan, Rey. Dr. John, 277, 295. 
Letter to, 291. 

College and Academy of Philadelphia, 
201, 202. 

College Life, 42. 

College of New Jersey, 201, 2P2, 228. 

College Student, The, 34. 

Collegiate relation, Dissolution of, 265 
—272. Bvils of, 265, 266. ' 

Colonizing, Church, 236. 

Columbia College, 80, 81, 228. 

Commencement of University of Penn- 
sylvania, 41. 

Companion for Altar, 211 — 213. 

Companion for Festivals, etc., 211 — 

Concert in Prayer, Monthly, 106. 
Quarterly, 106. 

Contession of Faith, Exceptions to, 
55, 56. 

Connecticut, Journeying in, 107. Del- 
egate to Gen. Assoc, of, 107. 

Contrast, Dr. Ely's, 298, 304. 

Convention of united States, Consti- 
tutional, 31. 

Correspondence, Foreign, 108, 110, 137. 

Cowper, 184. 

Davidson, Rev. Dr., 244. 

Deacons, Choice of, 362, 363. 

Declaration of Independence, 28. 

Delaware, 13. Attachment to, 71. 
Health of, 74. Life, 71. Ministry 
in, 56, 57, 61, 62, 65. Pilgrimage 
to, 71, 76. Visits to, 76. 

Democratic party, 111, 112. 

Diary, Dr. Miller's, 170, 171. Birth- 
day, 50, 96, 100, 101, 108, 127, 359. 
Ordinatioh-day, 88, 96. 98, 101, 102, 
107, 112, 118, 119, 127. Wedding- 
day, 169. Miscellaneous, 33, 35, 43, 
45, 46, 51—55, 65, 66, 87, 103, 131— 
133, 168, 171, 193, 235, 295, 322, 326, 
S55, 356, 359. 

Diary, Mrs. M's, 319. 

Dickinson College, Call to, 244—250. 

Dickinson Sergeant, Abigail, 146. 

Dickinson, John, 20, 69, 70. Letter 
to, 144. Letters of, 21, 22, 177. 

Dickinson, Rev. Jonathan, 146. 

Diplomas, 78, 79. 

Directors of Seminary, Letter to, 358. 

Disinterested benevolence, 300, 304i 

Dismission to Baptists, Certif. of, 362. 

Dismission to Presbytery of N. Y., 66. 

Dissolution of collegiate relation, 265 

Dissolution of pastoral relation, 355. 
Doctorate of Divinity, 178, 179, 335. 
Dover, 72. 

Duck Creek Cross Roads, 16, 17, 76. 
Dunlap, Wm., 115. Tribute to Dr. 

Edw. Miller, 329. 
Dwight, Rev. Dr., 230, 237, 274, 303. 

Ebblino, Prof. Christ. Dan., 110. 
Eckley, Rev. Dr., 237. 
Education of Children, 78. 
Edwardean Theology, 303. 
Edwards, President, 291, 299, 300. 

« Dr., 139, 140. 
Elders, Ruling, Choice of, 362, 363. 
Elders, Ruling, Ordination of, 273, 274. 
Election of First Profesflor, 333, 334. 

Of Second, 348. 
Ely's Contrast, Rev. Ezra S., 298, 304. 
Emmons, Rev. Dr.. 238, 300, 301. 
Episcopacy, 190—194. Claims of, 207. 
Episcopal churches loaned, 82, 288. 
Episcopal controversy, 206—210, 227, 

278—280, 313. 
Erskine, Rev. Dr. John, 137. 
Ewing, Rev. Dr., 42, 143. 

Fago's Manor, 148. 

Farewell to Delaware, 66, 69. To New 

York, 351—356. 
Farm, Rev. John Miller's, 74—76. 
Fast day, Presidential, 111. 
Federalists, 111, 112. 
Fees and Perquisites, 364. 
First Presb. Church, N. Y., 81, 82. 
Fisher, Judge, 70. John, 74. 
Flinn, Rev. Dr., 333. 
Fox-hunting, 75. 
Franklin, Benj., 31. 
French Revolution^ 94—96. 
Friendly Club, 110, 111. 
Friends in New York, 373. 
Fuller, Rev. Dr. A., 137. 
Funeral Perquisites, 364. 

Gambling, 155 — 159. 

Gemmil, Rev. Mr., Letters to, 130, 131. 

General Assembly, (1789,) 39,- (1801,) 
139—142; (1805,) 195 J (1806.) 200, 
201, 205 J (1809,) 280; (1810,) 284 j 
(1811,) 313—316; (1812,) 316, 332— 
335; (1813,) 347, 348. 

Graduation, Dr. M's, 41. 

Grammar School in New York, 199. 

Grave Yard, 72, 73. 76, 77. 

Gray, Rev. Ellis, 17. 

Green, Rev. Dr. A., 38, 39, 44, 45, 195, 
314, 333, 347, 348. Election to 
presidency of College, 336—343. 
Letter of, 63. Letters to, 44, 96, 



101, 104, 105, 120, 121, 184, 185, 191, 
192, 194, 228, 240, 243, 276, 278, 280, 
283, 286, 307, 311, 323, 338—342, 
845, 349, 350. 
Griffin, Rev. Dr. B. D., 199, 200, 204, 229 
—231, 237, 270, 283, 295, 303, 304. 
His Installation, 316— :n9. Letters 
to, 182—184, 190, 191, 193, 194, 1 97, 
198, 200, 203, 228, 229, 232, 237, 238, 
276, 277, 284, 295, 304, 316, 318, 323. 

Hall, Rev. Dr. James, 348. 

Ualsey, D. D., Rev. L. J., Extract 

from, 367. 
Halsej, Rev. Dr. L., 55. 
Hamilton, Alex., 31, 183. 

" Rev. Mr., 137. 
Hamilton College, Call to, 335. 
Hancock's Centarj Sermon, 306. 
Hans, Old, 143. 
Harris, 18. 

Harvard College, 238, 291. 
Haweis, Rev. Dr. Thos., 137. 
Hazard, Ebenezer, 347. Letter of, 222. 
Health of Delaware, 74. 
Henshaw, Benjamin, 22. 

" Joseph, 22. 

<< Families, 63. 
Herzog, Rev. Dr. J. W., 137. 
High Churchism, 206— 210, 211—216, 

Historical Society, N. Y., 276. 
History of N. Y., 108, 109. 

" " Presb. Church, 347, 348. 
Hobart, D. D., Bishop .John Henry, 

211—213, 216—218, 224, 227. 
Home Theology, 43, 51. 
Honorary members, constituted by Dr. 

M., 373. 
Hopkins, Rev. Dr. S., 300. Letter 

from, 301. 
Hopkinsian Controversy, 297, 298. 
Hopkinsianism, 191, 290, 297—304. 

Moderate, 303, 304. 
Horse-race, 74, 75. 
How, Rev. Dr. Thomas Y., 216, 218, 

Hudson, Henry — Discourse upon, 276. 
Huntington, Rev. Mr., 237, 295. 

Imputation, 299. 

Inaugural Discourse, Dr. Green's, 343. 
" " " M's, 358. 

Inauguration of Dr. Alexander, 334. 
" " Dr. Green, (pro- 

posed,) 341, 342. 

Inauguration of Dr. M., 356—359. 

Independeat Church in Philadelphia, 
184, 185. 

Inglis, Rev. Dr., 343. 

Inquiry into Effects of Ardent Spirits, 

Dr. Rush's, 315. 
Invisible Church, 213-216. 
Italian gentleman, 116. 

Jail Yard, Dover, 73. 

Jamieson, Rev. Dr. John, 137. 

Jay, Hon. John, Correspondence with, 

Jefferson, Thomas, 129, 181—134. 

President, 236—237. Letter from, 

Johns, Rev. E., Letter from, 221. 
Johnson, J., 180, 181. 
Jones's Creek, 74. 
Judicatories, Activity in, 372. 

Ebmp, Bishop, 224. 

Kent, Chancellor James, 89. Letter 

from, 221. 
Kleest, Sister, 167. 
Killen, Chancellor Wm., 17. 
Kirkpatrick, Chief Justice, 204, 206. ' 

Last Years of Pastorate, 332—346. 
Latta, Rev. Francis A., 76, 97. 
Laying on of hands on Ruling Elders, 

273, 274. 
Legislature of N. Y., Act of to facili- 
tate Dr. M's searches, 109. Memo- 
rial to. 111. 
Letters of — 

Adams, John, 306. 

Anderson James, 373. 

Brown, C. B., 115—117. 

Burder, Rev. George, 313. 

Clarke, Rev. Dr. Adam, 306. 

Clinton, DeWitt, 110. 

Dickinson, John, 21, 177. 

Fisher, John, 74. 

Green, Rev. Dr. A., 63. 

Hazard, Ebenezer, 222. 

Hopkins, Rev. Dr. S., 301. 

Jay, John, 123. 

Jefferson, Thos., 236. 

Johns, Rev. E., 221. 

Johnson, J., 180, 181. 

Kent, James, 221. 

Linn, Rev. Dr. Wm., 219. 

Livingston, Brockholst, 219. 

" Rev. Dr. J. H., 311, 356. 

McLane, Col. S., 56. 

Miller, Dr. Edward, U51. 
" James, 97. 

" Rev. John, 34—38, 40, 46—47, 
49, 60. 

Miller, Dr. John, 29. 
« Mrs. Margaret, 36, 37. 



Miller, Dr. Sflmuel, (See uader Arm- 
Btrong, Codman, DiekinBon, Di- 
rectorB of Seminary, Gemmil, 
QreeD, Qriffin, Jay, Morse, Nis- 
bet, Nott, Patten, Rodney, Ro- 
meyn. Rush, Sergeant, Sprague. 
Suicide, Verplanok, Wales, Wall 
Btreet Charoh.) 
Miller, Mrs. Sarah, 204, 2U, 304, 

Murray, Lindley, 179. 
Rush, Dr. Benjamin, 244, 245, 247, 

311, 312, 327—329. 
Sergeant, J., 332. 
Speece, Rev. Dr. C, 223. 
Suioide, (Intended,) 187. 
Thorburn, Grant, 368. 
Webster, Noah, 220. 
Wilson, Rev. Dr. M., 26, 96. 
Letters on — 

Christian Ministry, 216—227. 
' hristian Ministry, Continuation of, 
Lewes, Minutes of Presbytery of, 18, 

19, 23, 25, 53, 56, 62, 65, 74. 
Licensure of Dr. M., 54 — 66. 
Licentiate, 61. 
Life, N. Y., 360—372. 
Linn, Rev. John Blair, 121. 
Linn, Rev. Dr. W., 129, 216. Letter 

of, 219. 
Livingston, Brockholst, Letter of, 219. 
" Rev. Dr. J. H., 61. Letters of, 
311, 355. 
Log College, 201. 
Lottery for College of K. J., 315. 
Loookerman, Elizabeth, 114. 

" Mrs. Mary, 54, 75, 98. Death, 
Loookerman, Vincent, 30, 36, 54, 75. 

Death, 139. 
Lord's Supper, Administration of 

Lovell, John, 16. 

McCuLLOCH, Rev. R., 137. 
McDowel, Rev. Dr. Benj., 137. 
McDowell, Rev. A., 32. 

" Dr. John, 257, 268. 
McKnight, Rev. Dr. J., 82, 267—272. 
McLane, Mrs. Elizabeth, 54. 

'* Col. Sam'l, 30, 66, 141. 
McLeod, Rev. Dr., 199, 345. 
MoWhorter, Rev. Dr., 231. 
Magazine. Projected, 96, 119, 191, 345. 
Magie, Rev. Dr. D., 368. 
Manners, Dr. M's, 68, 69. 
Manumission Society, N. Y., 91. 
Market street Church, Call to, 120, 121. 

Marriage of Mrs. Mary Loookerman, 
98. Elizabeth Miller, 30. Rev. John, 
18. Joseph Miller, 114. Mary Mil- 
ler, 30. Samuel Miller, 139—144. 
Marriage fees, 364. 

Mason, Rev. Dr. J. M., 129, 199, 217. 
Masonry, 98, 99. 

Matters, Ecclesiastical, 360—363. 
Memoriter preaching, 369, 371. 
Memoirs, Mrs. Miller's, 148—167, 251, 

Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers, 398 — 313. 
Mercer, Gen., 147. 
Milledoler, Rev. Dr., 198, 267, 288, 

335. Reminiscences, 89, 297. 
Miller, Benj., 18, 28, 72. 
" Dr. Edward, 18, 32, 41, 54, 73, 
74, 102, 103, 167, 171, 172, 175, 176, 
178, 286, 303, 307. Letter of, 18L 
Death of, 323—331. Influence of, 
on brother, 323, 324. Character of, 
325, 326. Biographical Sketch and 
Works of, 330, 331. 
Miller, Edward Millington, 200. Death 

of, 322. 
Miller, Elizabeth, 18, 30. 
<< James, 18, 64, 96. Letter of, 97. 
Death of, 98. 
Miller, John, the Grandfather, 13 — 15. 
" Rev. John, the Father, 16—25. 
Letters of, (See Letters.) Death of, 
63, 54. 
Miller, John, the Uncle, 15. 
" Dr. John, 18, 29, 30, 73, 75. 
<' Joseph, the Uncle, 15, 307. 
" (1) 18, 28, 72. 
" (2) 18, 32, 33, 54. Death 
of, 1 14. 
Miller, Mrs. Margaret, 26, 27. Letters 

of, 35—37. Death of, 45—48. 
Miller, Mary, 30, 73, 98, 139. 
** Dr. Sam'l, Passim. 
" Mrs. Sarah, 145 — 167. Memoirs, 
148—167, 251—264. Letters of, 204, 
205, 234, 304, 320. 
Millington, Allumby, 18. 
" Elizabeth, 18. 
" Margaret, 18. 
Milton, Extracts from, 160. 
Ministry in N. Y., Dr. M's, 88, 89. 
Missions, 104—106. 
Missionary Society, N. Y., 104 — 106. 
Mitchill, Dr. S. L., 109, 116. 
Moderators of Synod and Gen. Assem- 
bly, 23. 
Monorief, Sir H., 137. 
Morgan abducted, 99. 
Morris, Dr., 74. 
Morse, Rev. Dr. J., 64, 66, 229—232, 



237. Letters to, 6t, 65, 108, 1D9, 

119, 120, 193, 231, 274. 
MuUins, Priscilla, 14. 
Murray, Lindley, 179, 180. 

Nevins, Rev. Dr. Wm., 371. 

Newark, (Del.) Academy, 201. 
« (N. J.) settled, 145. 

New Castle, Presbyteries of, 23. 

New England Orthodoxy, 299. Tour 
in, 62, 63, 107. 

New London Academy, 201. 

New Side, 201. 

New Theolofjy, 301. 

New York Bible Society, 276. City, 
80—82. Churches, 81, 82. Clergy, 
81—86, 88, 89. Historical society, 
276. Life, 128, 360— 372. Mission- 
ary Society, 104 — 106. Observer, 
Extracts from, 367, 368. Old Synod 
of, 22. And Philadelphia, Old Synod 
of, 23. . Visits to, 61, 62. 

Nineteenth Century, Opening years of, 

Nisbet, D. D., Rev. Charles, 57—60, 95. 
Lectures of, 185, 186. 

Nisbet, Alexander, Letters to, 186, 197, 

Norris, John, 239. 

Nott, Rev. Dr., 261. Letters to, 183, 
193, 199, 203. 

Nutman iSergeant, Hannah, 146. 

Ogden, Col , 337. 

Old Papers, 76—79. 

Old Side, 201. 

Old South Church, 15, 295. 

Old State Road, 72, 74. 

Ordination, Certificate of, 16. Of Sam- 
uel Miller, 87, 88. Of Ruling Eld- 
ers, 273, 274. 

Panoplist, 231, 274, 291. 

Park street Church, Boston, 230, 295, 

Pastoral relation dissolved, 272, 355. 
Pastorate in N. Y., Success of, 360. 
Patten, Major John, 73, 76. Death of, 

Patten, Mrs. Mary, 76, 98. Death of, 

Patten, Miss Ann, Letter to, 343. 
Paulding, James K., Letter of, 222. 
Pearson, Mr., 230. 
Pemberton, Rev. Dr., 15. 
Perrine, Rev. Dr., 291. 
Philadelphia, 31. 
Phillips Academy, 239. 
Phillips, 63. 

Phillips, Mrs., 239. 

Philological Society of Manchester, 

Pilgrimage, 71 — 76. 
Pillory, 73. 
Pinckney, Charles C, 131. 

Plan of Union, 139, 140, 141. Another, 

Politics, 122^136. And the Clersjy, 
134—136. Party, 111, 112, 123— 
127, 129. 

Poor, Collection for, 363. 

Popery, 214. 

Prayer, Public, 370. Precomposed, 

Prayer, Mrs. Miller's, 372. Union in, 
106, 339. 

Preaching, Dr. M's, 70, 100. Mem- 
oriter, 369, 370. 

Preparation for College, 33, 34. 

Presbyterial control, 56. 

Presbyterian Church in United States, 
81. Wealth of, 314. 

Presbyterians, Opponents of High 
Churchism, 207. 

Priestley, Dr., 154, 263. 

Prince, Rev. Thos., 17. 

Princeton Pulpit, 240. 

" Location of Seminary, 313 — 315. 

Profession of Religion, Dr. M's, 33. 
Mrs. M's, 171. 

Professor of Eccles. Hist, and Church 
Government chosen, 348. 

Provoost, Bishop, 210, 216. 

Psalms, Rouse's, 22. 

Publications, Dr. M*f. Fourth of July 
Sermon, 90, 91. Masonic sermon, 98. 
Fourth of July Sermon, 100. Man- 
umission oration, 91, 92 — 94. Fast 
day Sermon, 111, 112. Thanksgiv- 
ing sermon, 117. Sermon on Wash- 
ington, 122, 123. Missionary Ser- 
mon, 168. Retrospect of Eighteenth 
Century, 173 — 181. Sermons on Su- 
icide, 186 — 190. Letters on Chris- 
tian Ministry, 216 — 227 : Continua- 
tion,>278— 280. Panoplist, Articles 
in, 231, 274. Sermon : Duty and 
Ornament of Female Sex, 239. Dis- 
oourse on Henry Hudson, 276. Or- 
dination charge, 288. Sermon on 
Ruling Elders, 274. Pastoral letter, 
285. Dr. Rodgers's Funeral Sermon, 
309. Sermon on Richmond Theatre, 
321, 322. Inauguration Sermon, 334. 
Memoirs of Dr. Rodgers, 309. Biog. 
sketch of Dr. Edw. Miller, 330, 331. 
Pulpit, Dr. M. in, 364, 371. 
Politics in, 112, 121. 




Bb FORMATION, Cardinal doctrine of, 

215, 216. 
R«mini8oenoe8, Dr. Spring's, 291. 

" Dr. Milledolor'B, 297. 
Renshaw, Rich., Letter to, 48, 49. 
Republioan party. 111, 112. 
Residences in N. Y., 113, 200. 
Retrospect of Eighteenth Century, 

Review of GrifiSn's Sermon, 231. Of 

Dwight's Sermon, 274. 
Revolution perils, 147. Preaching, 1^, 

Richmond Theatre, burning of, 321, 

Ridgely, Dr. Charles, 32, 73. 

" Wilhelmina, 73, 74. 
Rittenhouse, David, 141. 
Rodgers, Rev. Dr. John, 89, 61, 81— 

86, »8, 107, 210, 251, 266, 266, 268, 

287, 310, 311, 372. Death and Fu- 
neral of, 309. Memoirs of, 308— 

Romanism, 214. 
Rouieyn, Rev. Dr., 229, 230, 231, 235, 

267, 275, 277,281, 287, 288, 307, 319, 

345. Letter to, 235. 
Ruling Elders, Ordination of, 273, 274. 
Rush, Dr. Benj., Inquiry into Effects 

of Ardent Spirits, 315. Letters of, 

(See Letters.) Letter to, 245. Death 

of, 330. 
Rutgers, Col. H., 107. 
Rutgers street Church, 107, 198. 
Ryland, Rev. Dr. John, 137. 

Salary, in N. Y., 363, 364. 
St. George's, 148. 
Sansom, Philip, 137. 
Schiller, Fred., 137. 
Schism of 1741, 22. 
Scott, Rev. Dr. Thos., 137. 
Sergeant Fox, Elizabeth, 146. 

** Mrs. EliKabeth, 141. 

" Rev. John, 145. 

" John, Letter of, 332. 

" Jonathan, (1) 145. 

(2) « 

(3) " 

(4) " 

" Jonathan D., 146—148, 151— 

163, 167. 
Sergeant, Sarah, 146. Letters to, 142, 

Sergeant, Thomas, 141, 142, 148. 
Sermon before Assembly, 205. (See 

Session, Church, 88. 
Sewall, D. D., Rev. Joseph, 16, 17, 21. 



Shirnding, Baron Von, 137. 

Sides, Old and New, 22. 

Slavery, 27, 90, 91—94. Convention 

for abolition of, 183. 
Slaves, 77. 
Smith, Dr. E. H., 115. 

" Rev. Dr. S. Stanhope, 202, 236. 
Smyrna, 16. 

Society for Propagating Gospel, 104. 
Southgate, Bishop, 365. 
Speece, Rev. Dr. C, 269, 270. Letter 

of, 223. 
Spencer, Rev. Dr. Elihu, 146—148. 

«' Jared, 146. 

'* Joseph, Gen., 146. 

'* Margaret, 146, 151. 

" Mary, (Selden,) 146. 

" Samuel, 146. 
Sprague, Rev Dr. Wm. B., Extracts, 

88, 92, 179, 365, 367. Letters to, 

293, 294. 
Spring, Rev. Dr. Gardiner, 288. Ex- 
tracts, 290, 291, 301, 361, 368. 
Spring, Rev. Dr. Sam'l, 229, 238. 
Standards, Westminster, 23. Revised, 

Stilling, J» H. J., 137. 
Stipend, 363, 364. 
Stockton, Richard, 146, 333, 337. 
Strain, Rev. Mr., 312. 
Subscription of Confession, 357. 
Success in Pastorate, 360. 
Suicide, Sermons on, 186, 190. Letter 

of Intended, 187, 188. Letter to, 

Summer resorts, 286^ 
Swimming, 172. 
Synod of New York, Old, 22. Of N. 

Y. and New Jersey, Concert, 106. 

Of N. Y. and Philadelphia, Old, 23. 

Of Philadelphia, Old, 22. 

Tadmor in Wilderness, 319. 

Tammany Society, 90. 

Taylorism, 299. 

Temperance, 315, 316. 

Tennent, Sr., Rev. Wm., 201. 
" Rev. Wm., 143. 

Theological Education, 192—196, 200 

Theological Seminary, Andover, 229 — 
234, 237—239. 

Theological Seminary of Associate Re- 
formed Church,],! 96. 

Theological Seminary of Presbyterian 
Church, 195, 196, 233, 240—244, 280 
—287, 308, 313—315, 332—335. Re- 
port on, 281. Location at Prince- 
ton, 313, 315. Plan of, 314. 



Thorburn, Grant, Letter of, 369. 

Tin Head Court, 76, 98. 

Travel from N. Y. to Albany, 203. 

Treat, Rev. Joseph, 81. 

Troubles from dissolution of Collegiate 

relation, 268, 269. 
Trustee of Columbia College, 228. Of 

College of New Jersey, 228. 
Twisse, Dr., 291. 

Yalbtudinarianism, 100 — 102, 103, 

172, 197, 198, 200, 203, 204,369. 
Verplanok, Gulian C, Letter to, 69, 70. 
Vestments, Clerical, 364, 365. 

Walks, Mrs. John, 343. 

Wall street Church, 81, 82. New, 287, 

288, 319. Letter to Officers of, 351. 
Ware, Dr., 238, 291. 
Waring, Dr. Richard, 97. 
Warren, Dr. John, 30, n., 330. 
Washington, Gen. George, 31. Death 

of, 122. Religious character of, 123. 
Webb, Rev. John, 16, 17. 
Webster, Noah, Letter of, 220. 

Westminster standards, 23. 
Whipping Post, 73. 
White, Bishop, 216. 
Whitefield,' Rev. George, 81. 
Wilberforce's Practical View, 252, 255. 
Wilberforce, William, 137. 
Wilson, Rev. Dr. James P., 121. 

•* « " Matthew, 24, 25, 38. 

Letters of, 25, 96. 
Witherspoon, Dr., 147. 
WoodhuU, Rev. Dr. J., 257. 
Woods, Rev* Dr. L., 229, 234, 239. 
Woman's Rights, 239, 240. 
Worthington, Hugh, 137. 
Wright, Rev. Mr., 210. 
Writing, Dr. M's manner of, 218, 219. 

Unitarians, Exchanges with, 291 — 

University of North Carolina, Call to, 


Yellow Fever, 101, 113—121, 143, 171, 
172. Not contagious, 113.