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versalists of Franklin county, Mass., availed themselves of the presence of the preachers to form a new association for that county. The meeting was holden in Bernardston, on the 10th of the month named, when the Franklin County Association of Universalists was formed. The venerable Rev. David Ballou [then in his sixty-fifth year] was elected moderator, and Dr. John Brooks, a respected physician of the town, who sometimes officiated as a preacher, clerk. We do not describe any of the doings of the new association, for want of room. The services through the day were performed by the three Messrs. Ballou,- Hosea 2d, Hosea senior, and David. Concerning the sermon of the second here named, Dr. Brooks wrote at the time:
"A large and respectable audience were then entertained and instructed by the word of God, dispensed by our much-beloved and faithful brother, Hosea Ballou. Never did people listen with more profound attention, and, we trust, spiritual profit. Most truly did the doctrine of divine love' drop as the rain, and distil as the dew.' Many, we doubt not, will ever remember the text,So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.'- Rom. 10: 17." 1
Such testimony as this, which we have frequent occasion to quote in regard to Mr. B., did not originate in a taste for extravagant praise, but it sprung from the irrepressible feeling of the heart. From Bernardston, Mr. B. went to Wilmington, Vt., where, on the 22d October, he delivered a sermon at the ordination of Rev. H. H. Winchester, one of the new preachers mentioned in Section IV. of this chapter. Every Sabbath during this journey he preached to large congregations, who were
animated, instructed, and made better and happier, by
what they heard.
CONVENTION OF 1822.
We give a distinct section to Mr. B.'s visit to Warner, N. H., to attend the session of the General Convention. He was elected moderator. Sermons were preached by H. Ballou, 2d, Elias Smith, Sylvanus Cobb, Sebastian Streeter, Hosea Ballou, and I. Whitnall. The congregations at such meetings generally increased until the afternoon of the last day, after which the people sought their homes in the towns around. The sermon in the evening of that day was designed for the benefit of those who remained until Friday morning. Mr. Ballou's sermon in the afternoon was from the words, Ps. 46: 4,"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God." This was regarded, at the time, as a discourse of unusual power. Rev. S. Cobb attended the convention for the first time this year, and heard Father Ballou for the first time. The discourse made an impression on his mind which he will probably bear with him to his death-bed.*
* Rev. Sylvanus Cobb has furnished the following reminiscences of the session at Warner. They will be read with interest by all :
"The first session of the General Convention of Universalists which I attended was held in Warner, N. H., September, 1822. And it was there that I heard, for the first time, a discourse from Rev. Hosea Ballou. That convention was more numerously attended by ministering brethren than any which had preceded it, and ten young men then and there received letters of fellowship as preachers of the gospel. Father Ballou manifested a very deep and paternal interest in the young preachers. I received the fellowship of the convention two years
Ten ministering brethren received "letters of fellowship" at this session, several of whom made themselves
before. I was appointed to preach on the evening of the first day of the session, at Warner. Father Ballou sat in the desk. He felt so earnest a concern for the young stranger that his silent thoughts moved his lips, and became audible to my ear. These audibly-whispered thoughts at first betrayed doubts whether I thoroughly understood the subject on which I chose to speak. At length, his distinctly-whispered thoughts, which he was not conscious of whispering at all, expressed emotions of such satisfaction as had the inspiring effect upon me which was apparently exerted upon Methodist preachers by the responsive amen of the hearers.
"Pardon this reference to my own performance on that occasion. It is only to bring out an amiable trait in that servant of Jesus, who came to me the next day with words of kindness which strengthened my soul, and begat in my heart a filial love and respect which has never ceased to live and glow.
"On Thursday afternoon, Father Ballou was the preacher. He was then in the prime of life, being about fifty-one years of age. His text was Ps. 46: 4,-There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.' As this river supplies various streams, he took it to be synonymous with fountain. And this fountain is God, the source of all good. He proposed to visit and explore several different streams from the fountain of infinite wisdom and love.
"1st. He explored the stream of Divine Providence, bearing blessings adapted to our temporal wants.
"2d. He took us along the flowery banks of the stream of the Divine promises, given us in the gospel of his Son. But he did not permit us long to walk upon the banks of that stream. He charmed our souls to a willing plunge with him into the deep waters of the stream, a river to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.' We were certainly all believers in free-will then ; and yet we were drawn by a force which we found it not in us to resist.
"3d. He took us to the stream of the Divine economy in the dispensation of rewards and punishments. This stream, he said, was from the same fountain, but, flowing through different channels, it was sometimes a medicinal stream, bitter to the taste. Taking it in this connection, he showed most beautifully the harmony of the retributive dispensations of God's government with that spirit of grace whence issues the gospel river.
highly useful, of whom it were improper not to name Thomas S. King, Lemuel Willis, Dolphus Skinner and Massena B. Ballou, son of Hosea. The father's heart was seldom more full of joy than at this session.
The brethren in all sections had become much encouraged by the influence which was being exerted by the Universalist periodicals. The Universalist Magazine was the leader in the point of time. There had been periodicals previously in the country, devoted to Universalism; but they were not weekly issues, but pamphlets, published monthly or quarterly, as the Berean, in 1802, the Gospel Visitant, in 1817, and the Herald of Life and Immortality, by Elias Smith, in 1819. But there were, in 1822, besides the Universalist Magazine, the
4th, and lastly. He brought us to the stream of brotherly love. This, he said, flowing from the same divine fountain into the human heart, takes the name of brotherly love when it flows from heart to heart. On this branch of the subject he was surpassingly eloquent. The stream of love from heaven filled and overflowed his own soul, and thence ran and filled and overflowed the souls of the great congregation. The stoutest hearts were melted, and all the people wept like children, overcome with gratitude and joy.
"The preacher closed with addresses to the society, ministers and delegates, and singers. The address to the singers carried them too far into heaven to admit of their immediately finding a comfortable restingplace on earth. Half an hour after the services were closed, I went into the house where I had received entertainment, and two of the female singers were walking the house, with clasped hands pressing their bosoms, weeping convulsively, but joyfully, from the overpowering emotions produced by the preacher's heavenly eloquence.
"Such is a meagre sketch of the first sermon which I heard from Father Ballou."
following: The Gospel Herald, published weekly, in the city of New York, in eight royal octavo pages, Mr. Henry Fitz editor; The Philadelphia Universalist Magazine and Christian Messenger, published monthly, in Philadelphia, in forty-eight royal octavo pages, Rev. Abner, Kneeland editor; The Christian Repository, published quarterly, in Woodstock, Vt, in thirty-six duodecimo pages, Rev. Samuel C. Loveland editor; The Christian Intelligencer, published quarterly, in Portland, Me., in thirty-two octavo pages, Rev. Russell Streeter editor; and The Religious Inquirer, published semi-monthly, in Hartford, Conn., in eight super-royal octavo pages, Rev. Richard Carrique editor. Four years previously, there was not one work of this kind in America, conducted by Universalists, except Elias Smith's, which was little more than a tract.
SECTION IX. INFLUENCE OF DOCTRINES.
Mr. Ballou preached much on the subject of punishment. He believed that God had ordained that sin should carry with it its own punishment,—that "the way of the transgressor is hard." He believed, if men were made to feel the force of this doctrine, they would be less likely to sin than if they thought they could escape. The expectation that the way of sin is easy and pleasant is the only fact which gives force to temptation, especially if added to the hope that punishment threatened against sin may be avoided ultimately by repentance. He said to his fellow-men: