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A TRIBUTE
TO THE MEMORY OF
·JAMES H. PERKINS.
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(Publlabed by Request or bi• Frlendl.)
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.A. DISCOURSE
ON THE OCCASION OF
THE DEATH OF JAMES H. PERKINS,
DELIVERED IN
THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
OF
ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER !23, 1849.
BY REV. JOHN H. HEYWOOD,
Pastor of the Unitarian Church at Louisville, Ky.
··-·
CINCINNATI:
WRIGHT, FERRIS di: CO. PRINTERS.
1 8 5 0.
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SERMON.
PH1L1PP1.1.1<1 I. 21.-FOR TO ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST, TO DIE IS GAIN.
b an intelligent and fair-minded stranger had been present
at the services held in this church two Sabbaths since, what
would probably have bePn the impression made upon his mind?
We may imagine him to have expressed his feelings in a
letter to a distant friend, and perhaps the letter would have been
to this effect:
"This morning at the hour of worship, I found myself at the
door of a church, belonging, I knew not to what denomination.
Yearning for religious sympathy, and feeling that with the
congregation, whatever might be its f.eological views, I could
join in worship as a fellow christian, I entered. The minister
was already in the pulpit. When he arose to commence the
services, my attention was at once arrested. There was some-
what in his countenance and bearing which indicated that he
felt and was awed by the nearness and sacredness of the spirit-
ual world. He appeared to me as one whose soul was bowed
by the consciousness of standing in the very presence-chamber
of God. He asked the congregation to unite with him in pray-
er. My heart responded to the invitation. I felt that it was
no formal service, but the service of genuine, filial devotion,
in which we were asked to join. His attitude and tone reveal-
ed a humble s p i r i t ~ a spirit conscious of its liability to error,
and of its need of the presence and support of the Divine Be-
ing. Never can I forget the impression which his utterance
of the word " Father," made upon my heart: He spake it
with filial love and reverence, as one to whom the father-
hood of God is the most precious of truths, as one who felt
that he could not live without God. His first petition was for
forgiveness, and all his petitions seemed to be breathed from
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the depths of a lowly and conscientious spirit, a spirit which
judged itself by no varying human standard, but by the ever-
lasting, unchanging standard of God, and which, from its
keenness of perception, and its evident sensitiveness, I should
tear might be self-reproachful and distrustful, almo!lt to mor-
bidness.
" Touched and impressed by the devotional exercise which
had revealed to me a spirit of uncommon delicacy and purity,
I looked forward to the discourse with eager interest, confident
that it would disclose an intellect of correspondent beauty.
The text chosen for his theme showed that we were not to
have a discussion upon any subject of abstract or metaphysical
nature, but upon one of altogether a practical character. 'The
Claims of the Poor' was the subject which the text introduced.
But few words had been uttered before I perceived that the
subject, though familiar as household words, was in the hands
of one by whom it would be invested with deep interest.
The speaker was evidently a thinker; a profound, earnest,
fearless, original t h i n ~ . His thoughts, striking and vigor-
ous, were presented inlanguage of crystal clearness, through
which they shone without distortion or exaggeration. He
manifested a power of analysis, such as I have never witnessed
in the pulpit, by which he was enabled to penetrate, as by
intuition, to the very heart of the subject and lay it open to
the apprehension even of a child ; and though he spoke without
notes, there was no indistinctness of thought, no repetition or
inaccuracy of language. Every thought, fully formed, appear-
ed in its own appropriate place and occupied the most effective
position. His discourse was as methodical in its arrangement,
as exact in expression, as if it had been most elaborately finish-
ed and yet there was a glow, an unction about it, which indi-
cated the working of mind at the time of utteranc, eand which
showed that it came all fresh and living from the heart.
" While observing and admiring the extraordinary intellect-
ual power of the speaker, one could not but be impressed with
his perfect simplicity. He spoke as if utterly unconscious of
any thing remarkable either in thought or expression. Self
was evidently forgotten. He thought only of his subject and
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of the poor for whom he plead. And how earnest was his
pleading. He spoke, not as one who felt a sentimental inter-
est in the poor, not as one who would speak for them on the
Sabbath and forget them on the other days of the week, but as
one whose heart bled for them, who had perfect knowledge,
from personal observation and familiar intercourse, of their
sufferings, temptations, and wrongs, and as one who would
spare no time, expense, or toil in securing their well-being.
" It was to me a beautiful sight, a sight of moral sublimity,
to behold one of such gifted mind consecrating his powers to
the promotion of the happiness of his neglected and unfortu-
nate brother-man. I know not what may be the theological
views of this man; I know not what opinions he may hold in
regard to the nature of Christ; but this I do know, that no one
could speak for the cause of humanity as he spoke, who did
not possess the spirit of Christ, whose heart did not beat in
unison with the heart of his Divine Master; and this, too, I
know, that one possessed of an intellect of such depth and
clearness and of a spirit so lowly and could never be a sec-
tarian or a bigot." •
-- Such, we may imagine, to have been the impressions
of a stranger, who two weeks since listened to our departed
brother.
Would not such an impression have been just? Was he not
of a most lowly and conscientious spirit, which bowed in all
reverence the majesty of God and the sacredness of
duty, and was keenly, painfully alive to every real or imagin-
ed defect ? Had he not an intellect of extraordinary clear-
ness, power, and beauty, of singular richness and originality,
of judicial candor and impartiality,an intellect, whose clearness
of perception no mists of sophistry, no clouds of self interest
could dim, and which, under the guidance of the most gener-
ous Christian spirit, sought and accepted the element of truth
in every opinion, and the element of good in every sect and
denomination?
Such an intellect, we know, is not always understood nor
appreciated. To the careless observer its workings may seem
to indicate irregularity and self-contradiction, for a mind of this
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order must progress; and, accompanied by a spirit unfalteringly
loyal to truth and duty, it will never shrink from declaring
the results which it reaches, however those results may expose
it to the charge of vacillation and inconsistency. But who
that has the privilege of intimate acquaintance with such a
mind does not regard it as one of God's rarest, most precious
gifts to man?
And the benevolence of our brother, was it not as remark-
able for its constancy and its efficiency, as his intellect was
for its fairness and its power? Reserved though he might be
to others, to the poor he was open, affable, and cordial. Chary
of his time, when asked for calls of ceremony or by those
whose circumstances seemed not to demand attention, he held
no time too sacred or valuable to be freely, ungrudgingly given
to the humblest outcast, the most degraded of human kind.
Fond as he was of intellectual culture, he murmured not at
any interruption of his studies, if there was want to be relieved,
weakness to be strengthened, or woe to be consoled. In him
the spirit of the age, which seeks to show its faith in the
fatherhood of God by.W:s recognition of the brotherhood of
man, was manifested riot in impracticable schemes for the
instant and entire re-organization of society, but in plans well
devised and well executed, by which immediate relief could be
given to suffering, and future suffering be prevented. His be-
nevolence was as wise as it was diffusive; for its. aim was,
not by lavish and indiscriminate charity to ma,ke exertion less
needful to the poor, but by kindly and judicious aid at the
right moment to help them to become self-helpers; and its
diffusiveness we see not only in labors in behalf of the poor
but in labors unwearied and cheerful in behalf of every insti-
tution calculated to advance the well-being of this city or the
cause of humanity.
Would not, I ask again, the impressions of the stranger
have been just? Have we not in the services of that Sabbath
a manifestation of the man, an emblem and epitome of his
life? In the consecrated church, on the day set apart for
Christian worship, in the name of religion, in the spirit of
Jesus, he plead the cause of the poor with all the power and
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energy of a mind, which never seemed so powerful, so ener-
getic and effective as when pleading their cause. The conse-
cration of all one's powers, in the spirit of Christ, to the wel-
fare of mankind-this is the lesson taught by the services of
that day, and is it not the lesson impressed in letters of living
light upon every page of the rich and soul-illumined volume of
his life?
The services of that day, which so strikingly revealed
and so perfectly harmonized with the character of the life of
our brother, were the last services in which he was to engage
in the church below. Before another Sabbath came, the earth-
ly labors of the devoted man had ceased; his wearied and
over-tasked powers had found rest.
It seems to us a dark and mysterious decree of Providence
by which one so gifted, so useful, and so beloved, should be
so early and suddenly removed ; removed, too, from a world
which never had more need of wise, far-seeing minds and
generous hearts than at the present time.
It is a mysterious dispensation. But when is death not
mysterious? Come when it may al'!d as it may, heralded by
long protracted disease, or silently and without warning, its
presence is always shrouded in mystery, if not in gloom.
Who has ever beheld the pale messenger enter his home to
bear away with him the loved and cherished one, without
sadness and awe ? Be our faith in immortality strong as it
may, and our confidence in the Divine wisdom and goodness
undoubting and entire, the change from life to death, from
life with its activity and earnestness, its speaking lip and its
soul-beaming eye, to death so calm, so solemnly still, is so
great, that we cannot view it except in awe. When God sees
fit to remove the objects of reverence and love, around whom
our heart's tendrils are entwined, we may be resigned to his
will as the will of infinite wisdom and more than parental
tenderness, and we may feel that for those beloved ones the
change from earth's cold and often blighting atmosphere to
heaven's genial air is blissful ; yet if it were left to us to say
when they should depart, 0, who could pronounce the fare-
well word? When, 0, when, could we find an hour in which
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to untwine the· tendrils of affection from the dearly beloved and
bid them go even to the blessedness of heaven? Never, never;
and our Father in mercy spares us that trial. He, who sees
the end from the beginning, who knows what is for our good,
at the fitting moment, not sooner, not later, sends forth his
messenger not in coldness and anger, but in gentleness and
love, and bids him bear the loved one home.
Be it ever remembered, that however untimely death may
seem to us, it is not untimely to God; and when hereafter,
from His point of view, he shall permit us to look down upon
the scenes and events of earth, we shall behold all things in
perfect harmony. To one standing itpon the lofty heights and
enjoying the clear vision of heaven, the landscape of earth
will present a far different appearance from that which it
wears now; and then its gloomy valleys will be found as essen-
tial as its sun-lit mountains, to the perfectness of the scene.
We know, as has been beautifully said by the poet, whose
own mind at times was overshadowed by the cloud of life's
darkest mystery, that
..
"God moves in .ii. mysterious way,
His wonders to perform ;"
And we know, too, that though
" Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain,
God is his own interpreter
And he will make it plain."
Father in heaven! Help us always to bow in childlike
faith before thy will, and patiently wait for thine own inter-
pretation of thy works and ways.
We mourn the departure of our friend, because taken in the
very prime of life, and while we regarded him as still young.
The years of his pilgrimage were indeed few, but if we meas-
ure age not by the flight of time, but by growth of mind, by
earnestness and vigor of thought, and by active usefulness,
few there are, even of those whose heads are white with the
snows of age, who have lived as long as he. Think of that
wonderful mental discipline by which at any time he could
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abstract himself from the world, and concentrate all the pow-
ers of his mind upon the subject before him, holding it in his
firm grasp, and wrestling with it as the patriarch wrestled with
the angel, until the blessing asked was obtained, and the sub-
ject yielded itself wholly to his power; think of the attain-
ments, rare and varied, with which that discipline caused his
mind to be enriched; of the memory, capacious and retentive,
which suffered nothing committed to its keeping to be lost; of
that spiritual generosity which, instead of hoarding its mental
riches with miserly care, scattered them broad-cast to bless
whoever they might; of that practical wisdom by which his
intellectual treasures, though freely dispensed, were not prod-
igally wasted, but employed so as to produce thirty, sixty, or
an hundred fold of good ; think of' these things, and tell me
where is there one, who, though his frame may tremble under
the weight of four-score years, has lived longer than he, or
borne to the spiritual world greater maturity of' mind, or more
ripened sffections.
But will you say, that his very richness of' mind and capa-
city of usefulness only make our loss the greater? True, I
know that the loss is great, unutterably great, to his family,
to the wide circle of' admiring and loving friends, to the
Church, to the whole community; but consider, dear friends,
for we must not suffer sorrow to render us selfish, whether the
departure of our brother, though a loss to us, is not a gain to
him. To him, in the language of the heroic apostle, to live
certainly was Christ, for in the spirit of that Master whom he
revered, he meekly went about doing good, making his life
fragrant with Christlike benevolence; and may we not confi-
dently trust that to him to die is gain? He no longer suffers
from the fearful pains which, from their frequency and se-
verity, at times rendered existence almost a burden; nor from
that sadness and despondency consequent upon physical suf-
fering and infirmity, which often covered his firmament with
midnight gloom. He is now where the buoyancy of his
spirit will be unrepressed, where he will no longer be disheart-
ened by the slow progress of good in its conflict with evil.
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He is where he will be enabled to see that his earnest efforts,
which, sometimes to his self-distrustful soul, seemed almost
useless, were never made in vain. He has entered the spiritual
realm, not as a stranger, but as one whose singleness and
transparency of spirit, whose humility and fidelity, have pre-
pared him to find that world a home. In the clear atmos.-
phere of the Spirit-land things will be seen by him as they
are, in essential nature and without disguise; and there he
will find a solution of the great problem in which he was
deeply interested,-the problem of genuine Christian union.
There he will find the true-hearted and the good of every
clime and every name, no longer separated by misunderstand-
ings and doctrinal disagreement, but drawn together in oneness
of heart, and worshiping God, not as believers merely, but as
children and brethren, in that perfect love which casts out fear,
and reveals the dread Sovereign as a Father all gracious and
benign. Is not our loss our brother's gain? We will not,
then, repine; but, though our tears may not cease to fall for
ourselves, we will be grateful for his blessedness.
And, dear friends, let us bear in mind, that, though removed
from sight, our brother is still with us. He is with us in the
words of wisdom which he ceaselessly uttered; words which
have not vaniEhed into thin air, but in the halls of many a
mind are still sounding their clarion-call to earnestness and
active usefulness. He is with us in his living thoughts, which
foll upon the soil of many a heart, not to wither and die, but
to germinate and produce in due time rich harvests of benefi-
cence. He is with us in the lesson of Christian fidelity so
nobly taught in his whole-souled consecration to the good of
his fellow-beings, of talents and attainments which, had fame
been his idol, might have placed his name high upon her star-
crowned register in any department of science or literature.
And may he not, though invisible to mortal eye, still be
with us personally? He will doubtless continue to feel a deep
interest in all that was dear to him here, and may he not, un-
der God's providence, be the unseen but active agent of good
to. those whom he loved on earth, and whom he surely will
not forget in heaven? How sweetly accordant with this hope
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are the thoughts so touchingly expressed by him m his lines
on Spiritual Presence:
" It is a beautiful belief
That ever round our head
Are hovering on noiseless wing
The spirits of the dead.
It is a beautiful belief,
When ended our career,
That it will be our ministry
To watch o'er others here;
To lend a moral to the flower,
Breathe wisdom on the wind,
To hold commune at night's lone hour;
With the imprisoned mind ;
To bid the mourner cease to mourn,
The trembling be forgiven;
To bear away from ills of clay,
The infant to its heaven.
Ah! when delight was found in life,
And joy in every breath,
I cannot tell how terrible
The mystery of death.
But now the past is bright to me,
And all the future clear,
For 'tis my faith that after death,
l still shall linger here."
Precious is the faith which unites friends by ties over
which death has no power. Precious, invaluable, is the
faith which brings the immortal world near to our hearts and
our homes. This faith be ours. Let us with. spiritual eye
discern the heavenly mansion, and with the Divine aid make
admission to its blessedness, the great object of life. With
this object before us, life will be intensely interesting. In its
duties and labors there will be nothing low or degrading:
" Some softeuing gleam of love and prayer
Will hallow every scene of earthly care."
. .,,,,
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Life's affections will continually become purer, tenderer, and
more soul-satisfying, for you know that
"Old friends will always dearer be
As more of heaven in each we see."
Thus life will daily grow more and more beautiful. It will
be earnest, serious, spiritual. It will not be haunted by the
dreary consciousness of frivolity and uselessness, and every
day, faithfully, devoutly lived, will be attended with the sweet
assurance that we are one day nearer Jwme. And when the
day of days shall have come, when for us the Father's man-
sion shall open its doors, and we shall enter in, and shall hear
thrilling words of welcome from the Saviour's lips, and shall
see the faces which once gladdened our earthly homes radiant
with more than earthly affection, and shall catch the words,
whispered in tones of heavenly tenderness, "no more tears
nor sighing, no more separation nor death;" 0 ! then how
great will be our gratitude and joy, that God enabled us to
live for heaven while living on earth. And then, as has been
well said, " Oh, the truths we shall know of, the beauty we
shall see, and the friends we shall have. At first, our ever-
lasting life will be like a summer's day, so calm, and beautiful
and long. But it will prove a day that will last on, and on,
and on. And when no night comes, and we do not get weary,
and all things keep on brightening about us, as the eyes of
our understanding open, then, little by little, we shall begin in
awe and wonder to feel what it is to be immortal," and then
shall we fully appreciate the earnest words of St. Paul, that
"to live is Christ, to die is gain."
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A SERMON,
ON THE OCCASION OF
THE DEATH OF JAMES H. PERKINS,
PREACHED IN THE NEW CHURCH TEMPLE,
ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30, 1849.
BY B. F. BARRETT,
Pastor ofthe First Society of the New Church in Cincinnati.
CINCINNATI:
WRIGHT, FERRIS & CO. PRINTERS.
l 8 5 0.
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SERMON.
Rsv. XX. 12.-AND BEii.OLD, I CO'.'tlE QUICKLY; AND MY REWARD IS WITll
lllE, TO GIVE KVBRY MAN ACCORDING AS HIS WORK SHALL B E . ~ •
He who spake these words is called in the next verse, the
"Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and
the Last." Therefore He must be the God of heaven and
earth-the Creator of the Universe-the Father of our spirits.
He is the Being worthy of our highest love and reverence;
for He is Love itself and Wisdom itself, and these we cannot
too highly venerate.
In God, or in the divine idea, there is, properly speaking,
no time. We cannot predicate age of the Divine Being.
We cannot say of Him that He is young or old, nor that
He was once younger than He is now. For He is Goodness
itself and Truth itself; and of these divine principles nothing
like age can be predicated. They are above the conditions
of time, as they are also above those of space.
Neither does time belong to the spiritual world, nor to the
spiritual sense of the Divine Word; for these approach the
Infinite, the Absolute, the Perfect. Angels do not grow old
like men, nor have they any idea of time such as men have ;
but instead of time, they have state, for state in heaven corres-
ponds to time on earth. Therefore all idea of time vanishes
from the spiritual, which is also the heavenly, sense of the
Sacred Scripture ; and instead of it, there remains the idea of
state.
Quickly, which, in the natural sense, is a term that has
reference to time, denotes, according to the spiritual sense, a
state of certainty. By the Lord's coming quickly, therefore,
is denoted that He will cert.ainiy come.
By the coming of the Lord referred to in the .text, is meant
His real, i. e. His true spiritual advent. We are not to under-
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stand by it an outward personal appearing manifest to our nat-
ural senses, but the coming of that which is the Lord himself,
with power and glory ;-the coming, or glorious manifestation,
of the divine truth and the divine goodness to the understand-
ings and the hearts of men. This is the nature of that second
advent of the Lord so often prophesied of in the New Testa-
ment. It is the advent of spiritual or divine truth from Him-
self ;-of truth, whose heavenly radiance alone can chase
from human minds the clouds of ignorance, prejudice, super-
stition, and error, as the rising sun chases away the mists of
the morning ;-of truth, to illumine men's minds upon all sub-
jects, religious, social, philosophical, moral, political, and in-
dustrial, and especially upon those subjects which most deeply
concern us as spiritual and immortal beings. "Howbeit
when He the spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into
all tmth." John xvi. 13.
The extraordinary impetus which the human mind has
received in its career of progress within the last century-the
numerous and wonderful discoveries which have been made
in almost every department of human knowledge, and the gen-
eral diffusion of a higher intelligence among all classes, pro-
claim that a new Light has dawned upon suffering humanity
-that a new Sun has risen upon the moral world, before
whose potent beams the mists of ignorance and error are grad-
ually melting and fading away. That Sun is the Lord in his
Divine Humanity. That Light, which has been poured forth
with new and continually increasing effulgence upon the minds
of men for the last hundred years, is in consequence of the
revelation of new and higher truth out of the Word of the
Lord-is itself the light of the New Dispensation. It is all
from Him who is the True Light which enlighteneth every
man that cometh into the world. It is a manifestation of the
Lord in his promised second advent to the Church.
But besides this second general advent or manifestation of
the Lord to the minds of men on earth, there is a particular
manifestation of Himself to the mind of every individual when
he enters the spiritual world. When man passes out of the
natural into the spiritual sphere, which takes place by that pro-
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. cess which is called dyi,ng, he then comes more fully into the
light of God's countenance-into the light of the spiritual
world. He comes under the more direct influence of the
beams of the Spirituai. Sun; and through the quickening pow-
er of these beams, his moral or spiritual character-his interior
and real quality-his ruling love-is rapidl¥ developed ; and
when developed, it then plainly appears what is the quality of
the man's life; for it is the real l ~ f e of the individual which is
thus unfolded. It then appears what it is that he loves above
all things, what it is that he delights in most, and what things
have been nearest and dearest to his heart while he lived in
the natural sphere.
Now the light of truth into which every one comes after
death, and by means of which his interior quality or ruling love
is distinctly revealed, is light from the Sun of the spiritual world
. -light from the Lord. It is the Lord in his final advent to
that individual. It is the Lord come to him in judgment--
come to perform a last judgment. And the opening and
revealing of his life's love through the powerful manifestation
of truth to his mind is the judgment. For what else but truth
from the Lord, who is Himself the eternal Word, is to be the
final judge of every individual? " The Word that I have
spoken," saith He who is the Truth itself, "the same shall
judge him in the last day." John xii. 48. And how can the
truth judge us except by making manifest our interior life-
unfolding and revealing the quality of our ruling love?
And as every individual must die as to the body, or pass
into the spiritual world where his real character will be made
manifest by the light of Divine Truth, therefore the Lord will
certainly come to every individual in the manner just ex-
plained. Therefore the words "Behold, I come quickly,"
according to their spiritual sense, are true in reference to each
individual, as well as to the Church generally.
And my reward is with me to give every man according as his
work 1ha11 !Je. The light and life of heaven, with their bles-
sedness and delights, are all from the Lord, and are the Lord
in men and angels. Hence the Lord himself is the exceed-
ing great reward of all those, who, by their works, have
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brought their minds into a state of spiritual nearness or like-
ness to Him-into a state of conjunction with Him. Such
persons are able to receive, and do receive; with affection, the
divine things which proceed from the Lord. And the more
full and perfect their works have been-their internal and s p i r ~
itual works-their works of repentance, refonnation, and regen-
eration-the more are they able to receive of the divine things
which proceed from the Lord, and the higher is the delight
which they experience from the reception of them. Thus it
is that the Lord's reward is with Him, to give to every man
according to his works; for it is according to our works in
this world that we are able to receive the Lord so as to become
eternally conjoined to Him in the spiritual world, and to en-
joy that heavenly blessedness, which the voluntary reception
of his life alone can give. Swedenborg, in his exposition of
this text, says:
"By the Lord's saying and my reward u with me, is s i ~ i ­
fied that He himself is heaven and the felicity of eternal hfe;
for reward is intrinsic beatitude, which is called peace, and
consequently external joy also: these are solely from the Lord,
and the things which are from the Lord, not only are from
Him, but also are Himself; for a Lord cannot send forth any
thing from Himself except it be Himself; for He is omnipres-
ent with every man according to conjunction, and conjunction
is according to reception, and reception is according to love
and wisdom, or, if you will, according to charity and faith,
and charity and faith are according to 1ife, and lite is accord-
ing to the abhorrence of what is evil and false, and the abhor-
rence of what is evil and false, is according to the knowledge
of what is evil and false, and in such case, according as man
performs repentance, and at the same time looks to the Lord."
Apoc. Rev. 649.
Nothing can be more plainly taught in the Holy Scriptures
than this, viz. that every individual will be finally judged and
rewarded according. to his works. "·They that have done
good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life ; and they
that have done evil, unto the resurrection of condemnation."
"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever. I command you."
"Jesus said, My mother and my brethren are these, who hear
the Word of God, and do it." "I will visit him according
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to his ways, and recompense him a.ccording to his works."
"Ye shall observe my statutes and my judgments, which, !fa
a man do, he shall. live by them." "Jehovah will give to
every one according to his ways, and according to the froit ef
his works." To the angel of each of the Churches of Asia,
the Lord says, "I know tliy work1." And when the books
were opened, we are told that "the dead were judged out of
those things which were written in the books, accm·dmg to
their works." Such is the uniform language of the Sacred
Scripture-language too plain to be misunderstood.
But the works, according to which we are all to be finally
judged, are internal and spiritual, as well as external and nat-
ural. They are the works which our spirits perform, the
thoughts and affections which we indulge or deem allowable,
the motives from which our outward actions uniformly pro-
ceed. Our works, viewed internally, as the Lord views
them, are of such a quality as are the affections or motives
from which they are performed ;-good, !f the C1Ul, aimed at,
or the prompting .motive, be good; evil, if the motive be evil,
or what is the same thing, be purely selfish. Swedenborg
says:
"By the deeds and works according to which man is
judged, are not meant deeds and works as they appear in the
outward form only, but also as they are internally and really;
for every one knows that every deed and work proceeds from
man's will and thought. If it were otherwise, they would be
mere motions, like those of an automaton or image ; where-
fore a deed or work, viewed in itself, is nothing but an effect,
which derives its soul and life from the will and thought so
perfectly, that it is will and thought in effect, or will and
thought in an external form. Hence it follows, that such as
the will and thought are which produce a deed or work, such
also is the deed or work. If the thought and will be good, the
deeds and works are good ; but if the thought and will be evil,
the deeds and works are evil, although outwardly they may
appear the sarne."-Heaven and Hell, 472.
To say that we shall all be judged and rewarded according
to our works, therefore, is the same as to say, that we shall
be judged and rewarded according to the motives from which
we have unifonnly acted, the ends at which we have generally
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aimed, the loves which we have habitually ·cherished; and
this again is the same as to say, that each one will take his
own life or ruling love with him into the other world, and
that this love, according to its quality, will be the measure
of his capacity there to receive good or evil-the delights of
heaven or the miseries of hell.
I deem it not inappropriate to this place, nor to the train of
thought suggested by the text, to depart so far from my ordi-
nary practice in the pulpit, as to pay a humble tribute of re-
spect and affection to the memory of one who has recer.tly
departed to the spiritual world, and who, though not con-
nected with the New Church, has been long and favorably
known to most, if not to all, of this congregation. I allude
to the Rev. James H. Perkins, whose recent and melancholy
death has brought sorrow to the hearts, and cast a gloom over
the countenances, of a large number of persons in this commu-
nity. Were it not that I am, from principle, opposed to the
very idea of people mourning at any event of God's provi-
dence, and especially to their encouraging any such disposi-
tion by putting on mourning apparel, I should say, that our
entire city has seldom, perhaps never, had so good cause to go
in mourning on account of the decease of a single individual,
as it has now on account of the sudden removal of that ex-
cellent and noble-minded man, whose name I have just men-
tioned. I speak not of James H. Perkins, the Unitarian,
(even he did not wish to be known by that name,) but of James
H. Perkins the man, the sincere christian, the apostle of
charity, the devoted philanthropist, the wise counsellor, the
poor man's friend, the kind intercessor of the widow and the
orphan, the liberal patron and earnest advocate of every cause
-which seemed to him in any way connected with the intellec-
tual, moral, or social advancement of our city or our race.
The doctrines of the New Jerusalem teach us to look at
men and to judge of them, not from the name they bear, or the
particular religious sect to which they may chance to belong,
but rather from the kind of life they live-from the nature
of the fruits which they bring forth-from the quality of affec-
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tion and thought which they uniformly exhibit-from the ends
of life which they propose to themselves. For Emanuel Swe-.
denborg says:-" If love to the Lord and charity towards the
neighbor were regarded as the essentials of all doctrine and
worship, in this case the mind would be enlightened by innu-
merable things contained in the Word, which, otherwise lie
concealed in the obscurity of a false principle ; yea, in this
case all heresies would be dissipated, and out of many there
would be formed one Church, however the doctrinals flowing
from the above essentials, or leading thereto, and also the
rituals, might differ. Supposing this to be the case, all
would be governed as one man by the Lord, for all would be
as members and organs of one body, which, although not of
similar forms, nor of similar functions, have nevertheless rela-
tion to one heart, on which they all and each depend in their
respective forms; which are everywhere various: then every
one would say of another, in whatever doctrine, and in what-
ever external worship he might be, this is my brother; I see
that he worships the Lord, and that he is a good man."-Ar-
cana. Cadestia. 2385.
Again, in the same work it is said:-" The several
Churches in the Christian world are distinguished by their
doctrinals, and they hence call themselves Roman Catholics,
Lutherans, Calvinists, or the Reformed and Evangelical Prot-
estants, with many others. This distinction of names arises
solely from doctrinals, and would never have had place, if
they had made love to the Lord, and charity towards the
neighbor, the principal points of faith. Doctrinals would
then be only varieties of opinion concerning the mysteries of
faith, which true Christians would leave to every one accord-
ing to his conscience, and would say from the heart, that he
is a true Christian who lives as a Christian, or as the Lord ·
teaches. Thus one Church would be formed out of all these
diverse ones, and all disagreements arising from mere doctri-
nals would vanish, yea, all the animosities of one against an-
other would be dissipated in a moment, and the kingdom of
the Lord would be established on earth."-Jh. 1799.
In accordance with the spirit and tenor of this heavenly in-
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struction, then, we may think and spe4k of the Rev. Mr. Per-
kins as our brother, and as a true Christian, although he did
not altogether agree with us in doctrinals. I .know not-nor
do I care to know-precisely wherein he differed from the
New Church in doctrine; but I have the best of reasons for
believing that he not only held what we regard as the e11ential
doctrines of the true Christian religion, but that these doc-
trines were so engraven upon his heart, as to have become
with him living and abiding principles of' action.
Mr. Perkins, as I am informed, was the youngest son of
Samuel G. Perkins, a distinguished merchant of Boston.
His father intended him for the mercantile profession, and di-
rected his education accordingly. During the years 1827, '8,
and '9, he was at the Round-Hill School, Northampton,
Mass., which was then a very flourishing institution. A
member of the legal profession in this city, who was at that
time associated with Mr. Bancroft our late minister to Eng-
land, as an assistant teacher in this institution, remembers
Mr. Perkins as a boy remarkable for strict attention to his
studies, and a faithful observance of all the rules of the school.
There was this peculiarity about him then, viz , that he did
not sympathize with the other boys in their games and sports,
being naturally of a meditative cast of thought, and of a mod-
est and retiring disposition. A variety of innocent and health-
ful amusements were allowed and encouraged at Round Hill ;
but this gentleman does not recollect that Mr. Perkins ever
participated in any of them. Instead of joining the other
boys in riding, dancing, &.c., he preferred to wander alone in
the woods and fields, and indulge his taste for botany and
other natural sciences.
After leaving the Round-Hill School, he entered the large
commercial house of Perkins &. Co., of Boston, at the head
of which was his uncle Thomas H. Perkins, where he served
for some time in the capacity of clerk, with the view of be-
coming a merchant. While employed in this capacity, it is
said, that, although he had no love f'or a mercantile life, he
scrupulously performed all the duties of his place; that, in-
stead of indulgiQg iQ 'QY of the amusements of which young
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men are generally fond, he was in the habit of devoting his
leisure hours to the study of the ancient classics; and thus,
through his own industry and rigid economy of time, he be.
came liberally educated without ever graduating at any college.
Having, while in his uncle's employ; gained the confidence
of all the partners in the concern, and established a reputation
for integrity, uprightness, and diligent attention to business,
he was offered a partnership in the house as soon as he arrived
at his majority, on condition of his residing for a time at Can-
ton, where a branch had long been established. This offer
held out to him the prospect of very large pecuniary profits.
Some members of the firm, who had previously acceptedthe
same situation, were known to have amassed splendid fortunes
in the course of a few years. Notwithstanding this prospect,
which, to the eyes of most young men would have been so
dazzling-so alluring-Mr. Perkins, to the amazement of his
friends, declined the offer. And it is said that he declined
it upon high moral grounds. He did not think that the large
wealth so rapidly accumulated by those who had resided at
Canton, had contributed at all to their spiritual advancement,
but had rather exerted a disastrous influence upon their moral
and religious character. He feared that its influence upon
himself might be no better-that it might retard rather than
accelerate his growth; and he was unwilling to jeopardize his
spiritual interests so far as he felt that he should by accepting
the partnership on the terms proposed :-unwilling to run even
the risk of losing his soul to gain the world.
I mention this fact in Mr. Perkins' history, because it
affords a striking illustration of the direction which his mind
had already taken, and of the rare elevation of his thoughts
and feelings at this period of his early manhood.
Shortly after this, he resolved to leave the mercantile pro-
fession, and to devote himself to agriculture. He according-
ly left Boston and came to Cincinnati with that object in view
in the winter of 1831-2. Arriving here at that season of the
year which is most unfavorable for selecting a farm, he conclu-
ded to remain in the city until Spring. Meantime not wish-
ing to be idle, and having free access to the law office and
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law library of Judge Walker, his friend and former preceptor
at the Round Hill School, he occupied himself in looking
over law books, and soon became so much interested in them
as to think seriously of devoting himself to the legal profession.
Accordingly, at his friend's suggestion, he had his name regu-
larly entered as a student of Law. And after completing
the required term of study, during which period he is said to
have been a most devoted student, he was admitted to prac-
tice; and the legal talent and acquirements which he early
evinced awakened in the minds of his friends very high expec-
tations of him as a lawyer.
But Mr. Perkins soon found that the legal profession was
not to his taste-that he could not enter with his whole heart
into the practice of it. He could not endure the many little-
nesses, meannesses, and petty quarrels with which the profes-
sion made him acquainted, and which seemed to him so
unworthy the dignity of man. Then he was too conscientious
to undertake the defence of a bad or unjust cause; and think-
ing, that, if he continued in the profession, he might sometimes
be obliged to do this, he abandoned the practice before the
end of a year,-much to the regret of his friends, who had
formed high hopes of his success.
Now, whatever we may think of his judgment in this in-
stance, or of the soundness of the logic which led him to the
conclusion that a strictly conscientious man could not remain
in the practice of Law, we cannot fail to be struck with the
delicate conscience, and the supreme regard to his moral and
spiritual well-being, evinced· by his course in this instance, ali
in that of his refusing the offer to go to Canton.
Some time after quitting the practice of Law he became
associated with Wm. D. Gallagher, Esq. of this city, in the
editorial department of a weekly paper called the Cincinnati
Mirror. And the articles from his pen which appeared in
that paper evinced talent of the highest order, and very rare
qualifications for an Editor. His articles were always vigorous
and racy, often abounding in wit and humor, and usually..,.es-
pecially in the latter part of his editorial career-designed to
illustrate and enforce some important principle, some social
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or domestic virtue, or some useful lesson in political economy.
He had at this time, it is said, a fault of being rather severe in
his treatment of others, especially of authors whose works he
undertook to review. I am told that he seemed to take espe-
cial pleasure in tearing books to pieces, and dealing hard
blows at the heads of their poor authors. But this propensity,
along with some other kindred ones peculiar to a man of Mr.
Perkins' strong passions, and of which he became fully con-
scious, he nobly and successfully resisted; and at last became
scarcely less remarkable for his mild and gentle treatment of
those from whom he differed. As a public Journalist, it may
be affirmed with confidence that this city has had few, perhaps
none, superior to him.
But he had not yet found that sphere of use for which he
seemed peculiarly fitted, and to which he afterwards devoted
himself with such untiring industry-such generous self-for-
getfulness and zeal. This was in ministering to the wants,
both temporal and spiritual, of that portion of society who are
generally least thought of, and most neglected. About this
time he conceived the noble idea of establishing a ministry at
large in this city, and of becoming one of that ministry him-
self ;-a ministry to the poor, whose duty it should be to
watch over this neglected portion of our population in a kind
and brotherly manner, supply their temporal necessities, afford
them that friendly instruction and encouragement which they
so much need. Mr. Perkins saw that money alone is not
sufficient to elevate the condition of the poor ;-that what
they need most of all is, the tender sympathy, the wise coun-
sel, the friendly encouragement, of those who have enjoyed
the privilege of a higher intellectual and moral culture than
they. He saw, that, to feed, and shelter, and clothe the poor,
without doing anything to improve their moral condition, to
instruct and educate them in the economies of life, and to
kindle within them the desire, and develop the capability, of
providing for themselves, was but a miserable kind of charity
after all. He would awaken within them some self-respect.
He would kindle in their hearts the manly desire to rise above
their state of abject dependence, and to learn bow to take ea.re
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of themselves. To this end he aimed to establish a more
friendly and brotherly relation between the rich and the poor,
through the intervention of a ministry at large ;-a ministry,
who should visit the poor at their own homes, become person-
ally acquainted with them and with their actual condition
and wants, counsel and instruct them, and make report of
their doings to the community at large.
Mr. Perkins' sympathies had, for a long time, been with
the less favored classes. He had gone about doing good
among the poor. He had been instrumental in causing to be
organized a comprehensive system of charity in the First
Congregational (Unitarian) Society of this city, then under the
pastoral care of the Rev. William H. Channing, and of which
he was himself a member. In this enterprise he had the cor-
dial sympathies of Mr. Channing and his whole Society;
and through his efforts, I am told, large sums were collected
and appropriated to the alleviation of the wants and sufferings
of the poor. He also obtained the friendly cooperation of the
Rev. Mr. Blake, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, from
whom he received essential aid in his philanthropic exertions.
He opened an office for attending to the calls of the destitute,
for devising ways and means of their relief, and for receiving
such articles of domestic use and comfort as the poor might
need, and the rich feel free to give; and so entirely did those
who knew him confide in his integrity and judgment in dis-
pensing the gifts of charity, that they not unfrequently sent
him checks, sometimes to the amount of one hundred dollars
at a time, which they allowed him to distribute among the
poor in whatever manner he thought proper, assured that he
would do it more judiciously than they could themselves.
It was a part of his plan to enlist the sympathy and secure
the cooperation in this benevolent enterprise, of all the clergy,
and, through them, of thP various religious sects, in the city.
But owing, it is said, to the prevalence of a strong sectarian
feeling, and to the general and deep prejudice existing against
Mr. Perkins, on account of the name he bore (Unitarian), he
failed to accomplish this desirable object. He was left to carry
on the work almost alone and single handed. Yet his noble
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efforts were not unavailing. His labors were, in the end,
abundantly blessed; for they resulted in the organization of
one of the most comprehensive and noble charities of our
city, known as the "Cincinnati Relief Union." Of this
institution, which has already done so much, and is doubtless
destined to do much more, for the relief of the poor in our
midst, Mr. Perkins may justly be considered the founder.
And not only this, but he has been the moving spirit of the
Society ever since its establishment. On its first organization
he was elected President, which office, at the earnest solicita-
tion of the Board of Control, he continued to fill until the time
of his death. He never ceased to manifest the livliest interest
in the concerns of this Society ; for the object contemplated
in its establishment,-the alleviation of human want and suf-
fering, and the improvement of the condition of the poor,-
was one which lay near his heart. Notwithstanding the dis-
tance of his residence from the city, he was punctual in his
attendance on all the Society's meetings, when not prevented
by ill health,-was liberal in contributing to its funds out of
his own resources, and indefatigable in his endeavors to enlist
the sympathies of our citizens generally in its behalf. And
it is a strikingly beautiful circumstance, and well worthy of
notice in this connection, that the last sermon he preached,
which was on the Sabbath before his death, was from the
words :-" Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the <!f-
.ftU:ted and needy; deliver the poor and needy; rid them aut of the
hand of the wicked." And the object of the discourse was, as
I am informed, to present the claims of the p o o r ~ to show the
various ways in which they are oppressed, and the impor-
tance of some systematic method of relieving their necessities.
And it had the happy effect to induce one gentleman of wealth
(who did not usually attend on Mr. Perkins' preaching, but
who heard him that day quite accidentally), to send the
handsome sum of three hundred dollars to the treasurer of
the "Relief Union," before the close of the .week.•
• As some evidence of the estimation in which Mr. Perkins was held by the
"Cincinnati Relief Union," we may cite the following, which were among the
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There is another noble enterprise, undertaken by our city
not long ago, which promises to do much for the moral im-
provement and welfare of that most neglected portion of the
rising generation among us. I refer to the House of Refuge
for boys, now in process of erection within a few miles of the
city. I am told that to James H. Perkins, more than to any
other man, belongs the credit of this noble charity ;-that he
may be considered as the father of this lntitution, having la-
bored long and earnestly to impress the people of Cincinnati
with a due sense of its importance, and having with his own
hand penned the charter.
What noble monuments are these, the "House of Refuge"
and the "Relief Union," to the memory of this good man!
Monuments, proclaiming louder than words can utter, his dis-
interested benevolence, his active philanthropy, his untiring
zeal in behalf of suffering humanity.
Mr. Perkins was a warm friend of popular education, and
took an active interest in the public schools of our city, whose
improvement and prosperity he did much to promote. He
was, for a long time previous to his death, connected with the
Board of School Examiners; and, I am told, was one of their
most efficient and useful members.
He was also a liberal contributor to the Young Men's Mer-
cantile Library Association of this eity, having, as I learn
from the Secretary of that Institution, presented their library
with from five to seven hundred volumes; and he is known
to have been unwearied in his efforts to obtain patronage for
this Association, and to enlist the sympathies of our citizens,
and of the young men especially, in its behalf.
In short, I believe it is difficult to name an enterprise of
any considerable magnitude, having for its object the intellec-
ReHolutlone unanimously adopted at a special meeting of the All8ociatlon, held
1hortly after hie death:
"ResoltJed, That we regard the decease of the Rev. Mr. Perkins at this time,
as a public calamity, such as our city has rarely, if ever, experienced in the
death of a single Individual.
"Reaol?Jed, That, in his removal, this community ho.a lost one of Its truest
benefactors, society 0011 of Its brightest ornaments, the poor of our city one of
their most devoted friend•, and this Auociatlon Its wisest counsellor and most
faithful servant."
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tual, moral, or social improvement of our city, or the allevia-
tion of human want and suffering, with which Mr. Perkins
was not more or less intimately connected, and whose inter-
ests he did not do something-did not do much,-to promote.
To ameliorate the condition of mankind, and especially the
less favored portion, the laboring classes, the poor, the unfor-
tunate, the neglected, the friendless,-to elevate them intellec-
tually, morally, ahd socially,-this seemed to be his great
aim, his constant study. This was the theme on which he
loved most to converse. This was the object to which he
seemed to have consecrated all his powers. For this he was
willing to spend and be spent. For this he preached, and
prayed, and labored, with a zeal and devotedness rarely, if
ever, surpassed. Doing good to others, helping those who
most needed help, was with him no accidental pleasure : it
was the business of his life. He did not wait for opportuni-
ties, but eagerly sought for them. He was as watchful in dis-
covering objects of charity, as he was judicious and persever-
ing in providing means for their relief. He might almost be
said to have erred through excess of benevolent exertion and
anxious care for the lone and destitute. These lines in Gold-
smith's "Deserted Village," had they been written with es-
pecial reference to Mr. Perkins instead of the village preacher,
could hardly have been more applicable to him than they are:
"Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e'en his failings leaned to virtue's side;
But in his duty, prompt at every call,
He watched aud wept, he pray'd and felt for all."
I know that it is true, and is often taught in the Doctrines
of Heaven, that a man may be very liberal in contributing to
the wants of the poor--very active in devising and executing
plans of benevolence-apparently a most devoted philanthro-
pist-and yet may not have taken the first step in regeneration.
He may do all this, and not know what it is to shun evils as
sins against God ; and yet until we shun evils as sins, all our
outwardly good and charitable deeds are inwardly defiled
with the evil of self-love. While, therefore, many Chris-
tians undoubtedly magnify the importance of these outward
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acts of natural charity, and fall into the error of supposing
that men can really do good before they have begun to
shun evils as sins, I fear that the members of the New
Church-some of them, at least-are much inclined to run
to the opposite extreme. I fear that too many of us are in-
clined to undervalue the importance of what is called active
benevolence, as a means of overcoming our selfishness ; and
think to justify ourselves in standing aloof from all the philan-
thropic enterprises of the day, on the ground of the truth just
stated. But, in excusing ourselves from engaging as actively
as many others in deeds of natural charity, we should be care-
ful not to do it from such motives, and upon such grounds, as
to encourage within us the growth of a mean and hard.hearted
selfishness. We should not indulge the vain conceit of being
in a state of spiritual charity, while we are unwilling to deny
ourselves any selfish or worldly gratification for the sake of
contributing to the worldly comfort of the indigent.
In religion, Mr. Perkins may be said to have been a Chris-
tian without belonging to any sect. I have seldom, if ever,
met with a man, who seemed to have divested himself more
thoroughly than he, of every thing like sectarianism or party
spirit. It mattered not at all to him by what name men called
themselves, or were called by others. He was as ready to see
and acknowledge truth and goodness in those who were called
Roman Catholics, as in those who bore the name of Protest-
ant; would as cheerfully extend a helping hand to a Calvinist
or Methodist, as to one of his own denomination. He be-
lieved that good and sincere Christians were to be found
among all religious sects; and deeply did he deplore the prev-
alence of that denominational or party spirit, which blinds so
many good men to the Christian virtues and graces of others,
who happen to bear a different name from themselves, and
which so often hinders their mutual cooperation. Though
nominally connected with that class of Christians commonly
known as Unitarians, he repudiated that name as being alto-
gether too narrow and too sectarian in its import; and in a
discourse preached by him, and published more than a year
ago, he formally proposed to his people "the abandonment
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of Unitarianism as a ground of union," or as a basis of their
Society. That discourse exhibits in a striking manner the
rare breadth and catholicity of the man, and his deep abhor-
rence of the mean and narrow spirit of sect.
" In the present position of human culture and christian de-
velopment," he says, "divisions or sects in the church may
be inevitable; but sects may exist without sectarianism. Sec-
tarianism is that spirit of division, disunion, antagonism,
which would PERPETUATE differences instead of doing them
away-which seeks for points of opposition in place of points
of union-which delights in controversy, contest, and victory-
which cannot conceive that the truth is so large, and man so
small, that countless differences must of course arise from
man's partial views of that truth, and that those who seem to
us oeposed to the gospel, may indeed but be viewing it from
a pomt whereon we never stood. To the sectarian, the man
who does not think with him for or against the do9mas in
question, is of necessity, wrong, and to be combatted.' • •
"But sects may exist without this spirit. Those of vari-
ous views, in christian humility and love, may seek for the
truth in the views of their fellows, and so grow daily wider.
We may remain Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Presbyte-
rians, and yet not be antagonists, but friends, co-la borers,
members of the body of Christ. Sects may be but the vari-
ous limbs in that body, moving in harmony and health; but
sectarianism is a disease, which makes the limb it possesses
at discord with all others, adverse to them, worse than useless.
"Need I spend time in proving that such a spirit is anti-
Christ? It Is the spirit of selfishness, pride, war, hatred,
and cruelty: it is the opposite of that love, humility, gentle-
ness, kindness, long-suffering, which Jesus has revealed to us
as the Spirit of God and hrs Anointed. From sectarianism
have come persecutions, burnings, bloodshed in times past-
in our day, bard words, accusations, bitterness, hatred, malice.
Sectarianism has weakened the power of the church to do
good, to put dowri evil, to advance the cause of the Savior:
It has made men look on christendom as the battle-field of
contending parties-not the great labor-field of united broth-
ers."-p. 4, 5.
Thus clearly did he see the evils of sectarianism in our day;
thus bitterly bewail, and heartily condemn, its anti-christian
spirit. And all who knew him felt that his words on this, as
on all other subjects, came from the bottom of his heart. Nor
5
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does he spare his own people, nor hint to them in this dis-
course, that they have less of this spirit than others. On the
contrary, he declares the very ground of their union, and the
name they bear, to be sectarian. "Does not that union," he
says, " by an act of your own, divide you from the great body
of the disciples of Jesus? Does it not place you in antago-
nism to them? Does it not breed in you and them more or
less of coldness, unkindness, and enmity ? And is not this in
a great measure your own doing-the result of the platform
you adopt? They do not combine against the unity of God:
you bind yourselves together against the Trinity. They do
not excommunicate you, so as you. cut yourselves off
voluntarily ."-lb.
But Mr. Perkins' liberality did not, as is frequently the
case, spring from any aversion to Theology as such, nor
from indifference in regard to religious doctrines, nor from
a willingness to tolerate religious errors,-though I cannot
myself' resist the conviction that he did not duly appreciate
the importance of a correct system of doctrinal theology.
However this may be, he declares in the discourse just referred
to,-
" It is not, then, because I despise or disregard this science
fTheology ],-if we may fitly degrade it by such a tenn,-that
l say a platform of to-day must leave minds free upon it: nei-
ther is it because I would tolerate all views, and bear with all
errors. I would bear with no error; I would tolerate no false
view; I would discard, as an insult, the name of
when it implies, as it too often does, the quiet sufferance of
lies.
"No, my friends, it is not either because I think theology
worthless, or am rellPy to tolerate any falsehoods therein, that
I say our platform should leave all minds free. We should
leave them free, because in relation to this, the most practical,
important, and vital of subjects, we really know so litt/,e-see so
partially-can judge so imperfectly, except for oursdves."-
P· 7, 8.
And towards the close of this discourse he evinces the large-
ness of his heart and his christian liberality of feeling, as well
as his earnest desire for truth, by recommending to his people
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the adoption of the following declaration as a substitute for
their then too narrow platfonn :
"We believe that in every fonn of doctrine which has been
the basis of Christian life, there lies more or less of Divine
truth ; and we regard it as our paramount duty to seek for that
truth everywhere. We would strive, therefore, not to hit the
medium of opposing dogmas, nor to tolerate indifferently views
of every kind,-but bJ the· examination of dogmas, and the
earnest endeavor to understand the views of our opeonents, to
attain, with the help of God, to a more comprehensive knowl-
edge of the infinite truth that was in Christ."-Jb. p. 15.
Mr. Perkins was remarkable for his candor and sincerity.
He practised no deception-no disguise. Whether listening
to him in public or in private, in the pulpit or in the parlor,
you felt sure, from his every look, tone, word, and gesture,
that he was an unusually transparent man-that he was wil-
ling you should see him through and through-should see the
very bottom of his heart. He seemed to have adopted, and
rigidly carried out in practice, that excellent rule of Dr. Chan-
ning, never, in addressing God or man, to say any thing
which he did not mean and feel. This was one great source
of his power as a public speaker. However you might dis-
sent from what he said, you could not fail to listen, nor to be
interested; for you felt sure that every word you heard came
from the depths of a sincere, living, and earnest soul. And it
was undoubtedly this trait in his character, which won for
him, to such a remarkable degree, the confidence of all who
approached him, and which he continued to enjoy to the close
of his life.
Humility was another striking trait in Mr. Perkins' charac-
ter, as it must be, and is, in the character of every truly great
and good man. I mean not that superficial or spurious kind
of humility, which sometimes passes under the name, because
it wears the outward semblance; but I mean that real hu-
mility of heart, which makes the soul of its possessor bend
low in view of his own littleness; which makes him feel, and
willing to confess, that however great his attainments, there
lies yet beyond him an ocean of truth which his little plum·
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met has never fathomed. Persons who are much imbued
with this spirit, are never proud of what they know, and never
think that they know much. Therefore their minds are ever
seeking, ever open to the reception of, new truth, through
whatever channels it may come. They are careful never to
pass judgment upon a matter which they have not investigated,
and never to speak sneeringly of anything new because it hap-
pens not to accord with their preconceived opinions. Now
this true and beautiful spirit of humility, which opens the
eyes of its possessor to the amazing shallowness of his own
understanding compared with the infinite depth of God's
wisdom-this spirit, so child-like, and so rare at the present
day, especially among men of learning, and most of all, I re-
gret to say, among the clergy-this spirit Mr. Perkins pos-
sessed in a most remarkable degree. There was the least of
anything like self-righteousness or self-conceit about him of
any man I ever saw. He was the least satisfied with him-
self, with his attainments or his efforts. He seemed totally
unconscious of any merit in himself or in his productions;
and, I am told by one of his most intimate friends, that few
things seemed to displease him more than personal praise,
when himself was the subject of it.• As an evidence of the
low estimate which he formed of his own productions, it is
said that he was in the habit of destroying all his manuscript
sermons and lectures as soon as he had delivered them, unless
{as sometimes happened) they were seized upon and preserved
by his wife, or some friend capable of appreciating their
merits. His reasons for so doing were, first; That his pro-
ductions seemed to him quite inferior and valueless: second,
That he hoped to grow wiser as he grew older, and therefore
to be able to treat the subject more worthily the next time:
third, That, if he preserved his manuscript sermons, he feared
he might be tempted sometimes to fall back upon them, and
• Swedenborg says : " The angels refose all thanks on account of the good
which they do ; and they are indignant and recede, if any one attributes good
to them. They wonder that any one should believe that he is wise from him·
10lf, and that he doea good from himself."
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thus encourage himself in indolent habits, and fail of being
what he desired to be-a living, growing, improving man.
I have been kindly pennitted the pleasure of perusing his
manuscript lecture on Swedenborg and the New Church,
which fonned the closing one of a series delivered in his own
church a few years ago, and which, very fortunately, was
preserved by his wife. And perhaps I cannot illustrate these
features in his character, viz. his humility, his honesty, his
candor, and sincerity-features as beautiful as they are rare-
better than by citing a few passages from that lecture. After
a few preliminary remarks, in which he says: "In speaking
of this body of Christians [the New Jerusalem Church] I feel
more deeply than usual my liability to error," he proceeds
thus:
" Let me confess at the outset, then, the limited extent of
my reading in Swedenborg's works, and my superficial com-
prehension of the little I have read: and say, that my purpose
will be to show the spirit of this church and its adaptation to
the wants of the worla, and not to criticise the opimons held
in it.-ln my attempt to do this I would approach the subject
as an inquirer, neither believing nor disbelieving, and would
strive to/lace before you the origin, the leading points of
faith, an the distinguishing spiritual character of the church
of the New Jerusalem as I see them."
He then proceeds to give a brief sketch of Swedenborg's
life, character, and labors; and a. more faithful sketch I do
not remember ever to have read from the pen of any man-
closing, as it does with this just tribute to the memory of the
great Swede; "He was a man of the noblest character, true
and pure, generous and tolerant; wholly incapable of deceit or
conscious exaggeration."
Then turning to the of the New Church, he speaks
of them in general terms thus: "Their power is evidenced in
the living churches which exist here and elsewhere.-! should
say of them generally that they are profoundly philosophical,
the productions of a most discliplined and spiritual mind; they
almost rival the theology of the schools for method, exactness,.
and completeness, while in boldness, originality, and true spir-
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itual insight, they far surpass the results of any save a few
master minds of Greece and the Middle Ages."•
He next proceeds to exhibit a few of the leading articles of
faith or points of doctrine of the New Church, which he does
with most remarkable truth and fidelity. And when he comes
to speak of the spirit of this church, he says: "The New
Church is in its spirit eminently Rational, eminently Scrip-
tural, eminently Spiritual: it is a Spirit of Truth,
erance, and Justice." And after making some objections,
which he says, seemed to his mind valid-not so much against
the doctrines, as against the extraordinary claims of Sweden-
borg and the New Church--objections stated and urged in that
beautiful spirit of honesty, kindness, candor, and manliness,
which makes even a New Churchman more glad than sorry to
see them, but objections, which a more thorough acquaintance
with the entire system of the New Theology would have shown
him were not sufficiently well founded, he closes his lecture
in the following characteristic language :
"A deeper study of Swedenborg's works may alter my opin-
ion; but however that may be, I surely shall study them, for
I have never found any theological writings which better
repaid study. And to Swedenborg now and always, I would
bear my testimony, as a man of genius, purity, and the truest
spiritual insight. The Church he founded may not be The
Church it claims to be; but surely, if it does not become
exclusive and narrow, it will be a true Church of Christ-
a vast benefit to mankind. As heretics under the Old Church,
we owe it our thanks : It has dealt a blow to Calvinism that
Calvinism will never forget or forgive, while it yet lingers in
the retiring shadows of the night of the Middle Ages."
Thus favorably, freely, frankly, Ipanfully, did this good
man venture to speak to his own congregation of the much
abused and despised Swedenborg and the New Church.
Where among all the clergy of this land, or of any land, will
you find such another instance of candor, fairness, manly
• Had Mr. Perkins been more familiar than he was with the works o{ Swe-
denborg, he would hardly have made thi8 exception-certainly nol in respect
to the " spiritual lnsl1ht" evinced by hie writlnr.
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independence, and true christian liberality, in one who did not,
as Mr. Perkins did not, profess any particular interest in the
doctrines of the New Church? Search Christendom through,
and your search will be in vain.
In his domestic relations Mr. Perkins was most happily
situated, and was all that might be expected from one so gen-
erous, just, and disinterested as he ; a tender and affectionate
husband, a kind and loving father. I am told, that, in the
absence or sickness of his wife, he would himself often attend
to many little domestic duties which usually devolve on the
mother of a family, such as dressing and undressing the child-
ren, giving them their food, and attending to all their little
wants ; and that he did these things with such gracefulness
and ease, and with such tenderness and warmth of affection,
as few, save a mother, could equal. Now it is these little
duties, gracefully and affectionately discharged within the
domestic circle,
" These little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love,"
perfonned within the narrow precincts of one's own home,
which constitute
"That best portion of a good man's life."
These show his real character, these reveal the purity, the
child-like innocence and simplicity of his heart, far more truly
than do those greater and less common deeds, on which the
public are permitted to gaze.
Mr. Perkins was also a pattern of industry. Though he suf-
fered much from ill health, few men have ever done more in the
same length of time, or done it so well. Besides preaching
on the Sabbath, writing articles for the New York and North
American Reviews, and other Journals of our country (some
of which articles have been republished in England as speci-
mens of elegant American literature) visiting the sick and indi-
gent more than any other man, he found time to read almost
every thing of any merit that came from the press. It was one
of his habits always to carry some book or periodical in his
pocket, to read while waiting for the omnibus, or for the tardy
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members of a committee, or for some individual whom he had
engaged to meet at a certain hour; and in this way he man-
aged to turn to good account many scraps of time, which, by
most men, are nearly if not altogether wasted. This single
circumstance affords a good example of his industry and his
mode of economizing time. And his industry, too, was to
some purpose. His efforts were always wisely directed. He
was eminently a practical man, and aimed at usE in all that he
did. It was upon this ground, it is said, viz. because he did
not consider it particularly useful, that he declined making
what are called pastoral visits among his people, and was
excused by them from doing so. The refined, the fashionable,
the gay, the wealthy, he argued, have friends enough to visit
them, and could well dispense with ceremonious calls from
their minister. But the lone, and destitute, and sorrowing, and
friendless-such as have few to sympathize with them or speak
a word of comfort to their drooping spirits-these, he said,
needed his visits-needed all the time he could spend in visit-
ing. To these he felt that his visits might be useful-and
few of these were of his own congregation. While, therefore,
he made no pastoral visits, and rarely called upon the wealthy
of his own congregation, except in cases of sickness or on busi-
ness, no clergyman in this or any other city was a more con-
stant frequenter of the abodes of want and suffering than he
-none more attentive to the cries of distress, or oftener in the
chamber of affiiction, or by the bed-side of the sick and the
dying.
Such was James H. Perkins-a truly good man and a Chris-
tian, else it would be difficult indeed to find one. Probably
few men have lived a more industrious, blameless, devoted,
self-sacrificing, useful life, than he. Few have cherished
higher aims or nobler purposes, or prosecuted their plans
with a more meek, kindly, and loving spirit. Few have
enjoyed while living the confidence and esteem of all ranks
and ages to the extent that he did, and few have died so deeply
and universally lamented. I do not know that he has left an
enemy behind him. By his own Society he was almost idol-
ized; by all who knew him he was much respected and
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beloved; and best befoved and most respected by those who
knew him best. One of his most intimate friends and oldest
acquaintances in this city, who has known him from boyhood,
says : " I regard Mr. Perkins as having posse11sed as clear an
intellect, as tnte a conscience, and as large a heart, as it has
been my good fortune to commune with."
But Mr. Perkins had his defects (who on earth has them
not?)-One of his best friends has mentioned as a defect in
his mental constitution, "that he did not sufficiently enjoy
and cultivate the pleasures either of memory or hope." And
I could name what seem to me defects in his character both
as a minister and as a man. I should say-though others might
judge differently-that it was a defect in Mr. Perkins' preach-
ing, consequently a defect in him as a Christian Minister,
that he did not draw the attention of his people sufficiently to
the Word of the Lord-did not preach sufficiently from the
Word-did not base his teachings sufficiently upon the Word
-did not appeal sufficiently to the Word as to a divine stand-
ard of heavenly truth. Powerful, as it is conceded that his
preaching was, I believe that it would have been much more
powerful, and useful too-much more deeply and extensively
felt, had it been more from the Word; for then it would have
been with more of authority-the authority of thus saitk the
Lord.
But perhaps it is hardly right for me to judge Mr. Perkins
in this particular from my own stand-point. For he had not
the key to the spiritual sense of the Word; and acknowledg-
ing, as he did, only the -Old and Common rules of Biblical
interpretation, I can easily see how difficult it must have been
for a man like him to appeal often to the Word, and base his
religious teachings upon it, to an extent which would have
satisfied me.
I might, were it necessary or important, point out other
defects of character in Mr. Perkins, or what seem to me such;
but they would be merely as spots on the sun, wholly insuffi-
cient to obscure his lustre. By an eye capable of appreciating
the rich effulgence of his bright and beaming soul, they
would scarcely be noticed.
6
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And here I shall be asked, how it happened that so good &
man as I have represented Mr. Perk.ins to be, and as all agree
that he was, could himself have put an end to his natural life.•
He could not-did not, in his onlinary sane state of mind. It
is impossible to connect together deliberate suicide and James
H. Perkins as we have seen and known him. No two things
can possibly be more repugnant. No one acquainted with the
man can for a moment doubt that the act which terminated his
earthly career, was committed in a fit of mental aberration.
Not a wonl was ever uttered by him, not a syllable ever writ-
ten, not an act ever performed, which would indicate that any
think like suicide was ever meditated or thought of by him.
On the contrary, his well known character, his blameless and
devoted life, his easy pecuniary circumstances, his pleasant
social and domestic relations, all forbid any such supposition.
And, besides, we have a satisfactory explanation of the callse
of his temporary mental aberration. For the last five or six
years he has been known to have suffered intensely from a
disease of the heart, supposed to be organic, being often inca-
pacitated by this distressing affection, for the discharge of his
clerical and other duties. At times, particularly when much
agitated, there would be a sudden and violent rush of blood to
the brain, producing vertigo and faintness, sometimes impair-
ing his sight, and throwing him into the deepest despondency;
and not unfrequently disturbing the cerebral functions to such
a degree as to affect temporarily his mental manifestations.
Now from conversation had with a distinguished medical
gentleman of this city, I learn that it is no uncommon occur-
rence for organic diseases of the heart to produce at times, in
addition to the mental and bodily affections just mentioned as
among the sufferings of Mr. Perkins, that species of monoma-
nia which medical men term moral or suicidal. In the severe
paroxysms of this disease the patient feels a strong inclination
to destroy his own life, and this, too, without any of the oidi-
•From circumstances which it Is unnecessary here to mention, it Is supposed
that be threw bhmelf into the Ohio rlnr from the Jamestown ferry•boat, oa
the evening of Friday, December 14th, 1849.
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nary motives which prompt to suicide. This I have upon
what I regard as high medical authority.
Now what was the state of Mr. Perkins' health the last day
of his life on earth? Did any thing oceur on that day to
excite his nervous system to such an unusual degree as to
justify the belief that temporary monomania was induced by
the violent action of the heart, and consequent sudden rush of
blood to the head? One of his most intimate friends, who
has made himself acquainted with all the circumstances of
the case, writes thus concerning his death, and the probable
cause and manner of it :
"On Friday last, [the day of his departure] a paroxysm of
this kind [palpitation of the heart] was produced by the agi-
tation he suffered in consequence of the supposed loss of two
of his children. In the morning of that day, one of his little
boys, aged nine years, and another aged seven, rode to the city
from his residence on East Walnut Hills, with a neighbor,
and were to return home in the omnibus, at the stand of which
their father was to meet them. Not finding them there at the
.appointed time, Mr. Perkins feared that they had lost them-
selves, and commenced searching for them. Being unsuccess-
ful, he became more and more agitated the farther he went,
and finally employed the crier, who met with no better suc-
cess. The search was at length abandoned, and in despair,
and fatigued as he was, Mr. P. walked home, a distance of
nearly four miles, whither his children had preceded him.
"He reached his residence about I o'clock, P. M., utterly
exhausted,-but after lying down for a time, rose, and dined.
He could not, however, overcome the excitement into which
he had been thrown, although the children were with him,
and well. He was restless and nervous to a degree never before
witnessed by his family; and so continuing, about 6 o'clock
he told his wife that he would take a walk to calm his nerves,
but not be gone long: that he wished to try and allay the
excitement, but would be back before tea time. He went out
thus, but did not return, and nothing was seen of him after-
wards by his family or friends.
" The supposition, among those well acquainted with the
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peculiar mental constitution of the deceased, and his severe
physical sufferings, is, that his walk instead of allaying his
excitement, still further increased it, till reason was tempora-
rily dethroned. In a wandering mood, not knowing whither
he went, he had doubtless reached the Jamestown Ferry-
and in a state of mental aberration, had thrown himself into
the stream."
This, beyond all question, is the truth. There cannot be
a reasonable doubt that he threw himself into the Ohio in a
fit of temporary monomania, brought on in the way here men-
tioned.
And as human laws do not hold men accountable for what
they do in fits of mental derangement, certainly the divine
laws will not. And, for myself, I cannot resist the belief
that Mr. Perkins, in respect to the act which terminated his
earthly existence, was as innocent of all wrong or conscious
guilt, as ifhe had died of fever or consumption, or been stricken
down by the lightning's shaft. And even had it been otherwise,
-had he committed the act in a fit of despondency, of passion,
or vexation, it would not have materially altered his future and
final condition. For a man's state in the other world will depend'
not so much upon how he died, as upon how he lived while on
earth ;-not so much upon any temporary states of feeling into
which he may suddenly have been thrown, as upon the gen-
eral tenor of his life-the uniform current of his thoughts and
affections. And as the ruling love of a man cannot be sud-
denly changed from evil to good at the hour of death-nor at
any other hour-so neither can it be suddenly changed from
good to evil. No. Each one must take his own life-his
own character-his interior and ruling loves, with him into
the other world; and according to the quality of those loves
must be his future and eternal condition:-with the angels of
heaven, if his loves be good and heavenly, with the devils in
hell if his loves be selfish and infernal. The books will there
be opened-the interior and dominant affections of all hearts
will there be disclosed-and the dead will be judged out of
those things which are written in the books, according to thefr
works. There, each one will experience the fulfilment of the
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words of our text : .And 'behold, I come quickly; and my reward
is with me to give every man according as his work shal1 'be.
This is the only rational view of the subject ; and if there
be anything plainly taught in the Holy Scripture, it certainly
is this.
Judged of by this Divine standard, then-by his fruits, his
works, his loves, his LIFE-where, in the spiritual world,
should our friend and brother finally go? Where, but into
the society of the angels of heaven? Where else would he
desire to go-where else cmdd he go, according to the great
law of spiritual affinity? For although we do not see the in-
teriors of people while they live in this world, and cannot
therefore say with certainty what are the ruling loves of any
individual, yet it may perhaps be said of Mr. Perkins, with
as much confidence as of almost any man who ever lived,
that his thoughts, affections, motives, purposes, were uni-
formly high and heavenly.
I have thus attempted a faint sketch-very imperfect I feel
that it is-of this rare, gifted, and most excellent man. And
I have done it, because I felt that I owed, and that we all
owed, at least this humble tribute of respect to his memory.
I would not be understood, by anything I have here said, as
wishing to claim Mr. Perkins for a New-Churchman, accord-
ing to the common acceptation of that term. By no means.
I am not aware that he had any leaning towards the New
Jerusalem Church technically so called, notwithstanding he
uniformly spoke of our Church and its doctrines with great
kindness and respect. But the heavenly doctrines which we
profess would be unworthy the high origin claimed for them,
if they did not permit us to love and speak the praises of such
a man, bear he whatever name he might. For myself I can
say, that, had he evinced the same noble, manly, devoted,
self-denying, self-sacrificing, sincere, and humble spirit, for
which he was so remarkable, and borne the name of Catholic,
Mahometan, or Pagan even, I would have fondly clasped him
to my bosom, and been proud to call him brother.
He is gone :-gone from the natural sphere-gone from the
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sight of our natural eyes. And his removaJ may well be re-
garded" as a public calamity." All cle.sses from highest to low-
est mourn his departure ; but next to the sore bereavement
which his loved and loving \Vife and children have experi-
enced in his decease, his loss will be most mourned, most
deeply felt, by the poor, the unfortunate, the neglected in our
midst,-by that large and usually forsaken class, for whom
especially he watched, and wept, and toiled, and prayed.
Gone is he, but not dead. No. Virtue cannot die. Wis-
dom cannot die: nor love, nor faith, nor purity, nor devotion,
nor any noble quality of the human heart. The spirit of man
cannot die: nor will it-can it-cease to be what it was;-
cease to think, feel, will, and love, as when wrapped around
with its earthly vestment. Whatever real good a man has
loved and pursued on earth, he will love and pursue with a
deeper devotion in the spiritual world. Whatever law of
heavenly life he has even partially obeyed here, he will find
an unspeakably higher delight in obeying most implicitly
there.
No: Mr. Perkins-the real man-all that which rendered
him so worthy our love and admiration-is not dead, but only
removed from a lower to a higher sphere of life and action.
He was never before so truly alive as now: he was never so
full of generous thoughts, desires, and purposes-never so ani-
mated by noble aims. His earthly labors indeed are ended ;
but soon will he, if he has not already, enter on higher and
nobler labors in heaven. He has gone to a region of clearer
light, of higher life, of purer joy :-to a region where his soul
will experience more of the presence and power of the Lord,
where all his noble faculties will find a freer scope for their
exercise, where he can penetrate more deeply into the secret
springs of human thought and action, and whence also he may
be permitted to shed down on the spirits of wife, and children,
and friends, and all whom he loved on earth, higher and
richer blessings than he ever before imparted. We may 11!ly
upon it that he has not ceased to love those whom he loved
when on earth; nor is he-nor can he be-less desirous to
draw their spirits up to heaven and God.
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Gone is he from our outward view, yet not far away from
us-not far from 'those he loved. Nor is he less interested
than formerly in the upward heavenly progress of us all. No:
nor less active and efficient in ministering to the S]'i,rituaJ
wants of the friends he has left behind. For, to cite his own
language, in some beautiful lines written by himself many
years ago,
" It is a beautiful belief,
That ever round our head,
Are hovering on noiseless wing
The spirits of the dead.
It is a beautiful belief,
When ended our career,
That it will be our ministry
To watch o'er others here;
To lend a moral to the flower,
Breathe wisdom on the wind,
To hold commune at night's pure noon
With the imprisoned mind;

To bid the mourner cease to mourn,
The trembling be forgiven;
To bear away from ills of clay,
The infant to its heaven."
Yes, beloved spirit I To thee the substance of this "beau-
tiful belief" hath now, I doubt not, become knowledge.
Thou art loosed from thy prison-house of clay. Thou art
gone to more peaceful and happy realms. Long has it been
thy delight "to watch o'er others here;" henceforward, the
measure of that delight will be increased to the full. Thou
art gone to enjoy the more immediate presence of HIM whom
thou didst follow so faithfully on earth, and whose reward is
with Him to give to every one according to his works. If
thine outer, be any sign of thine inner, life,-thy visible, be
taken as the measure of thine inviaible, works, thy reward must
indeed be great in heaven.
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