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success until, in 1832, he was appointed President of the Lane Theological Seminary at Cincinnati. Here he remained doing good service for a period of twenty years. In addition to his arduous duties as President and Professor, he had also the pastoral charge of the second Presbyterian Church in that city. Having finished the work given him to do here below, he removed to the city of Brooklyn, where his distinguished son was labouring with marked success, and there enjoyed a serene and cheerful old age, expiring in 1863 in his 88th year.
Dr. Beecher was a mighty power in the country as preacher, instructor, and social reformer. Every good cause found in him a faithful friend and supporter. Denominationally, he was a Presbyterian; but a man of his calibre could not be confined within the narrow limits of a sect. He was as broad as humanity. He cast none of his noble efforts to reform mankind into the vat of sectarianism. Still, it is to be remembered that he was of a critical and speculative turn of mind, and felt quite at home on the battle-field of theological controversy. Endowed with a logical, penetrative, and vigorous intellect, he naturally plunged into the theological excitements of the age, and became deeply involved in them, though he occupied a higher position than the majority of his brethren, standing on the platform not of denominational creed, but of personal conviction. He lived in exciting times—times in which human omniscience reigned supreme. Men knew more about the Supreme Being than about themselves; and they argued and reasoned about Him as if He were their next door neighbour. Dr. Beecher set his face like flint against indulging in such rash familiarity while speaking of the Almighty and His glorious purposes; and, as a consequence, he nearly lost his standing as a Presbyterian minister. Dr. Wilson of Cincinnati claimed that he was a dangerous heresiarch, and that nothing could preserve the integrity and purity of the Church short of his decapitation. Dr. Beecher was a man, not simply a theologian; a preacher, not merely a controversialist ; an intense sympathiser with men in their struggles, their sufferings, and their temptations, not a dry scientific speculator, or a logie-grinding machine. He was a man of hallowed sentiments and tender sympathies, whose only object in life was to help his fellow-beings in their sore conflict with evil, sorrow, and vice. His profound piety, his high reverence, would not allow him to peep over Jehovah's shoulder to ascertain what was written in His private, secret books; but these very qualities made him great in the glorious realm of earnest, honest work for the Master.
It is impossible to portray Dr. Beecher as he really was. Men of undoubted ability, and who knew him well, have made several attempts to delineate him ; but so vast, so complex, so many-sided was he that only comparative failure has been the reward. His own children have sketched him again and again, from many sides and in various moods, but even they have not succeeded in giving us anything like a perfect portraiture of him. A man of genius baffles the painter's art and evades the biographer's pen. As he stands high above the reach of imitation, in the grandeur of inspired excellence, he cannot be brought down and squeezed into the narrow limits of a verbal description. And yet we are not to suppose for a moment that Dr. Beecher's character was perfectly harmonious and symmetrical. Indeed there were glaring defects in it which caused Nature, in some of her most lovely and subduing aspects, to be a sealed book to him. He had no appreciation whatever of the beautiful. Henry Ward, in a lecture entitled “The Personal Element in Oratory,” makes the following amusing reference to his revered father : “I recollect my dear old father talking about persons that worshipped God in clouds, and saw the hand of God in beauty. He would say, 'It is all moonshine, my son, with no doctrine nor edification nor sanctity in it at all, and I despise it. I never knew my father to look at a landscape in his life, unless he saw pigeons or squirrels in it. I have seen him watch the stream, but it was invariably to know if there were pickerel or trout in it. He was a hunter, every inch ; but I never could discern that he had an æsthetic element in him, so far as relates to pure beauty. Sublimity he felt. Whatever was grand he appreciated very keenly. I do not think that he ever looked at one building in his life, except the Girard College. When he came suddenly upon that, and it opened up to him, he looked up and admired it; and I always marvelled at that as a little instance of grace in him. That is laughable to you, I have no doubt; and since these addresses are the most familiar of all talks, I will give you a little more of my amusing experience with him at home. When he became an old man, he lived six months in my family, and during that time he was much interested in the pictures hanging on the walls of the house. One which particularly attracted his attention, and with which he was greatly pleased, represented a beautiful lake, with hunters ensconced behind trees shooting at ducks on the lake. He would look at that picture every day, and I, not thinking of the sportsmen, but only of the charming landscape, said to myself, "Well, it is good to see him breaking from the spell of some of his old ideas, and now, that he has become old, to see these fine gifts growing and coming out—to behold him ripening into the æsthetic element in this way.' One day I stood behind him as he was looking at the picture, unconscious of my presence. Said he, He must have hit one, two, three-and, I guess, four.'” This absence of the æsthetic element exerted a subtle influence over his whole character, and rendered him much less efficient and attractive than he might otherwise have been. Providence, however, as we shall see by-and-bye, interposed in such a way as to prevent the transmission of this defect to his offspring.
Dr. Beecher's distinguishing characteristic was intensity. “Ideas lay in his mind in a state of fusion. His favourite definition of eloquence was logic afire,' and he exemplified his definition. Some men first refine their thoughts by mental heats, then coin them. He not unfrequently poured his out hot from the crucible.” The intensity of his convictions, and of the language in which he expressed them, caused him often to be misunderstood and misrepresented. He did not keep himself sufficiently in subjection, but allowed himself to be carried away and controlled entirely, not of course by “a two-inch enthusiasm,” or a “patty-pan ebullition," but by overwhelming personal convictions which burned like fire at the very centre of his being. Had he been of cooler temperament and of more cautious habit, he would have been more precise, measured, and circumspect in many of his statements of truth, but a thousand times less effective. It was his red-hot enthusiasm, his vehement earnestness, his uncompromising fidelity to conviction, that constituted his Samson strength, and that made him a terror to evil-doers as well as a city of refuge to the faithful. The fuel that fed the internal fire was purity.
Another quality of this great man which, in an important sense, lay at the very root of his greatness, was what Emerson would call “a certain robust, radiant, physical health ; or, shall I say, great volumes of animal heat." It is generally admitted now that physical health-health of muscle, health of nerve, health of brain-is the grand foundation of mental health. A thoroughly healthy mind resides alone in a thoroughly healthy body. Health might be described in the eloquent words of Coleridge, with one verbal alteration, as being "the physical accompaniment and actuating principle of genius.” “What is gerius ?” asks our hero, in a well-known lecture on Health. “What is genius but a condition of fibre, and a condition of health in fibre? It is nothing in the world but automatic thinking. And what is automatic thinking? It is thought that thinks itself, instead of being run up or worried up to think. Whoever thinks without thinking is in fact a genius.” Dr. Beecher enjoyed excellent health, though he was occasionally subject to violent attacks of dyspepsia. His constitution was vigorous, and free of all hereditary impurity. The only hereditary weakness in the Beecher family was a slight derangement of the digestive organs, which dashed the blood with hypochondria. Dr. Beecher himself suffered somewhat from this malady during one period of his life, but it soon wore out, leaving no trace behind.
It may be observed, in passing, that the Beechers of America have sprung from a purely English stock. Dr. Beecher's great-great-grandfather, John Beecher, was born in Kent, England, whence he emigrated to New Haven, U.S. We also learn that his great-grandmother hailed from the rugged mountains of Wales, being the daughter, as Mr. Beecher often remarks with a playful smile upon his lips, of “a full-blooded Welsh woman, a Roberts."
But the maxim is, that a man receives more from his mother than from his father; that it is the mother, in fact, who imparts the distinguishing characteristics. Mr. Beecher's mother was endowed with all the physical, the moral, and the spiritual qualities requisite to pre-eminence in the realm of motherhood. She was one in a thousand, yea, in ten thousand ; and all who came in contact with her felt the subtle power of her superiority. She was great all round, everything contributing its willing share to her greatness. Majestic and commanding in appearance, gentle and dignified in manner, genial and loving in disposition, trusty and sympathetic in friendship, she was invested with an attractiveness that tempted people to fall down at her feet in sincerest adoration.
a born artist. Nature lay at her feet a willing servant, anxious to be of help to her in any thought or act of kindness. Nay, Nature was a generous mother, who supplied her soul with the nourishment requisite to its full symmetrical development. She loved Nature with a fondness bordering on affection. To her the beautiful was a mirror of Divinity. But the most prominent trait in her character was her piety, her reverence for God. In her heart was a throne on which Jehovah sat and reigned, wielding a sceptre of love; and her Jehovah was omnipresent. In pretty flowers, in beautiful sceneries, in the sublimity and splendour of the firmament, in all created things she saw her God and worshipped Him. Blessed is the man who has such a mother!
This accomplished, loving, pious woman died when Henry Ward was only three years old. Her charming captivating beauty faded in the gloom of death. What a loss! A thousand times has Mr. Beecher publicly referred to his noble mother, and invariably in terms of longing affection. She lives in his imagination the best, most charming creature God ever made. How sacred and hallowed and inspiring is her memory to him. And although she departed for the land of day while he was yet an infant, he is more indebted to her for his wonderful success in life than to
other human being. She has known a resurrection in him. “My dear old father,” says Ward Beecher, “after his day of labour had closed, used to fancy that in some way he was so