Index
PAGES 156-214:
CHAPTER 5

FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF HIS STUDIES IN THE UNIVERSITY OF UTRECHT, TILL HIS RETURN TO NEW-YORK.

The University of Utrecht, next to that of Leyden, is the oldest institution of the kind in the United Netherlands. It was founded in 1636; and some, no doubt, are ready to associate the idea of a school so ancient and celebrated, with that of commodious and splendid buildings, appropriated to the accommodation of the professors and students. Such an association of ideas is quite natural for an American. He could not, perhaps, but with some difficulty, think of a college, without, at the same time, imagining one or more spacious and elegant edifices as constituting an important or necessary part of it. But the founders of the Dutch Universities were very indifferent about accommodations of this description.

"The external appearance of the Universities," says Guthrie, "is rather mean, and the buildings old; but these defects are amply compensated by the variety of solid and useful learning taught in them. There are abundance of youth of the principal nobility and gentry, from most countries in Europe, at these seminaries of literature; and, as every one may live as he pleases, without being obliged to be profuse in his expenses, or so much as quitting his night-gown for weeks or months together, foreigners of all ranks and conditions are to be seen here."

And of the one which he attended, Mr. Livingston has left this account: "There were no public buildings belonging to the University of Utrecht. A large hall appertaining to the old Cathedral or Dome Kirk, was occasionally used for public orations and disputations; and, in a hall of the St. Jans Kirk, the public library was deposited. This was not large in respect to the number of books, as it contained chiefly such as were very rare; but it was especially celebrated for a rich collection of manuscripts. The lectures of the professors were all held in their own respective houses. There were also no buildings appropriated as lodgings for the students. They hired chambers, agreeably to their choice, among the citizens. It was usual for them to dine in select parties, in boarding-houses."

"The average number of students at the University of Utrecht, during the four years I resided there, was to me unknown. The students, who attend to the different branches of science, repair all to their own respective lecture-rooms, and have little or no knowledge of any others. And, as there are several professors, even of the same science, each of them has a distinct number of students, who seldom associate familiarly with those who attend a different professor. It was, therefore, no easy matter to ascertain the whole number, and impossible to become familiarly acquainted with all."

Such a plan of conducting the education of youth, is decidedly preferable, in the judgment of the writer at least, to that which has obtained at many of the seats of science in this country. For a number of students to reside together in the same building, who are come from various parts; whose domestic education has been, in many respects, widely different; who, during their collegiate course, are thus put, in a measure, out of the reach of the influence of public opinion upon them as individuals; who are swayed in their conduct, rather by that ardour of feeling peculiar to their age, than by the sober dictates of reason, or sound principle is not a plan the best calculated, it would seem, to promote either their moral or intellectual improvement.

And, most assuredly, the money expended in the erection of a building of a proper size and convenience, would, if judiciously invested, yield much for the support of a competent number of able professors, or for providing other necessary helps to the acquisition of learning. Some of the colleges that furnish rooms and commons for their students, certainly rank high as literary institutions, and their celebrity is deserved. They have supplied the pulpit, the legislative hall, the highest offices of state, with men of great worth and distinction, whose names are, and will be on the page of history with imperishable renown; and it is probable that the established economy referred to was, in their infancy, indispensable to their prosperity. But still, every candid person must admit, that it is but too frequently attended with mischievous consequences; that it often leads to injurious intimacies among youth to overt acts of rebellion and folly, which leave a taint of guilt or infamy not easily effaced to the loss or subversion of the best principles and habits, in which they had been carefully trained up at home, and the salutary impressions of which were plainly to be seen when they first became inhabitants of a college. And how far such evils might be diminished or prevented, by the adoption of another and more liberal economy; one better suited to an age, as different from that of Monachism, to which the rise of the other can be traced, as light is from darkness, may be a question entitled to some consideration.

Mr Livingston, having completed the preparatory arrangements which he judged necessary to facilitate the prosecution of his studies, as soon as the session of the university opened, was admitted a member, and commenced a regular attendance upon several professors. Professor Bonnet, whose department was didactic and polemic theology, he considered his Gamaliel. He attended also Professor Elsnerus, in didactic theology: in the Hebrew language, and Jewish antiquities, Professor Ravius: in the biblical criticism of the New Testament, Professor Segaar: and subsequently, upon the Greek of the New Testament, Professor Van Goens,

These learned men, it ought to be observed, delivered all their lectures in the Latin language, and our young student not being sufficiently familiar with it to understand it in oral discourse, would not, at first, as may be supposed, hear them with either much interest or benefit. But, he applied himself afresh most assiduously to the study of the Latin classics; and, as he had been well grounded in the elementary principles of the language, he soon acquired a competent knowledge of it. After a little while, as the result of this application, he found he could receive the instructions of his professors, without embarrassment or loss of any consequence.

Before he left the University, he could speak the Latin almost as readily as his native tongue, the Dutch equally or more so; and, to quote his own words, he "thought and wrote, and even prayed in secret, undesignedly, sometimes in Latin, and sometimes in Dutch."

Besides pursuing with ardour and diligence the studies that have been enumerated, he sought to improve every opportunity he had to gain useful information of any sort, or upon other subjects, though not immediately connected with theology; and for this purpose, he occasionally attended the pubhc lectures upon chemistry, anatomy, and dissections. During the whole period of his stay at the University, he appears to have conscientiously endeavoured to make the best possible use of his time for his own advantage, or that of others and thus to serve and glorify God,

And it may be further remarked, that while he laboured to obtain an extensive and thorough theoretical acquaintance with the system of Divine truth, he was not inattentive to the state of his heart: he was concerned to know, from his own happy experience, the practical and gracious influence of that truth. The doctrines he was taught, he brought to the touchstone of the inspired volume; for "I was determined," he says, "never to adopt any sentiment upon the authority of public profession, or the decision of any man, however dignified or imposing his name or influence might be, unless I was convinced it was founded upon the word of God." And, as they were severally and successively discussed in the course of the lectures, it was his custom not only to search the Bible to ascertain himself of their authority, but also to read the best treatises upon them he could find, in order that he might fully understand them, and, at the same time, to pray fervently that the Lord would instruct him, and enable him to realize his own interest in each of them. Such a method of prosecuting his favourite study could not fail to be profitable to both the head and the heart; and it may be confidently averred, that the student of theology who does not act upon the principle it involves that is does not seek to grow in grace, as well as in knowledge to unite the cultivation of the heart with the improvement of the mind, cannot estimate, as he ought, the holy work in which he proposes to engage, nor become thoroughly furnished for it, while he neglects the duty.

Prayer is essential to spiritual vitality. It is the Christian's breath: he can no more live without it, as a child of God, or in communion with God, than the natural man can live without air. Certainly then, he who studies the deep things of God, that he may be prepared to teach others to guide his sinful, perishing fellow-men to a Saviour and Heaven, ought to give himself habitually to prayer, and to the use of all other means calculated to promote his own personal religion.

Mr. Livingston was no stranger at the Throne of Grace. He loved to pray; and daily intercourse with a few eminently pious young friends of the University, contributed not a little to cherish in him a devotional spirit. Among those between whom and himself a most affectionate intimacy subsisted, he has particularly named Messrs. Van Vloten, I. L. Verster, A. Boelen, I. Kneppelhout, I. Prinse, W. C. Hoog, I. Verduin, I. Van De Kasteele, I. B. Hendricks, H. Van Alphen, C. Boers, S. Spiering, and A. Rutgers. With these individuals, who were respected for their literary attainments, but especially for their faith and godly zeal, he constantly associated. They aided him in his studies; and their pious conversation was very conducive to his spiritual comfort and edification.

A circumstance that shows at once the character of this little fraternity, and how much good a professor, who has in him the spirit of grace and supplication, can do, otherwise than by imparting instruction, merits a moment's notice. It was this: many of them regularly attended Professor Elsnenis, chiefly for the benefit they derived from the fervent and impressive prayers with which he opened and closed his lectures. The lectures of this venerable man are represented to have been exceedingly interesting and instructive, but his prayers as peculiarly spiritual and moving as having a holy and elevating influence upon their hearts, which, of itself, constituted a sufficient inducement with them to visit his room. That they were drawn thither by his extraordinary gift in prayer, exhibits their piety in a very favourable light; and the gift, it must be confessed, was more honourable to him, than would have been without it, the possession of the most splendid genius, or the most profound erudition.

Mr. Livingston was in the habit, it has been observed, of pondering upon the subject of the last lecture. This habit once occasioned him a short but distressing conflict, in relation to a doctrine of great importance, of which, and also of the means of his deliverance from it, he has left the following account:

"I was walking one day alone, under the rows of trees on the border of the canal, without the walls of the city, and meditating upon Divine Providence, which was, at that time, the subject of our lectures, when a blasphemous objection against that doctrine suddenly and powerfully arose in my mind; and with great violence, a fierce suggestion succeeded, almost in the very words of 2 Pet. iii, 4. All things continue as they were. There is no Providence: there is no superior or divine agency. Causes and effects, with their train of events, roll uninterruptedly on, and nations and human affairs proceed invariably the same, without the interposition of God or Providence. My soul was disturbed and afflicted: I paused, and was overwhelmed with surprise, alarm, and grief. But a very different suggestion soon ensued. It was not an articulate sound, nor any audible voice; yet it conveyed ideas as correct and impressive, as if I had heard one speaking to me. It said: You shall live to see signal and indisputable interpositions of Divine Providence: you shall live to see the rise and downfal of governments: you will see new nations commence. and old nations convulsed and changed. A series of new and astonishing events, which will influence the church and the world, will happen in your life time, and prove the Providence of God. It was no enthusiasm. I had not anticipated any thing of that kind. I was cool and thoughtful. It produced, at the moment, great agitation of mind. Yet I left the suggestion, and whatever it might mean, as well as whatever might follow, with great reverence and humble adoration, to the Lord. But it removed the evil suggestion against Providence, and I became, during that walk and meditation, confirmed in the doctrine, with enlarged views, precision, and evidence, that have never since been assaulted or disturbed. I often afterwards recollected the suggestion, and expected the accomplishment."

That in every age of the Church, there have been children of God favoured with extraordinary revelations of things future, no one, who has been much conversant with the histories of Christian experience, will deny. They do not, indeed, essentially belong to such experience: every Christian does not receive them: they are not a necessary part of the operations of saving grace; but the fact, nevertheless, is certain, that they have been made; and, in some isolated cases, they have been of a very remarkable kind, well attested and fully verified by subsequent occurrences in Providence. The purpose of God, in imparting a measure of prescience occasionally, or under some peculiar circumstances, to particular persons is, to communicate by this means an immediate spiritual benefit to their souls, as may be supposed; not to constitute them prophets, in the sense in which the term is commonly used, or to authorize them to utter predictions, but merely to deliver them from some present or powerful temptation, to confirm their faith, to sustain their hope, to invigorate all their graces, and thus to advance and secure their eternal salvation: or, it may be, that some gracious purpose is to be accomplished by it in other persons. God has his own way of working, in calling and conducting his children to Heaven. They are his. He knows them; and the enemy shall not, by any stratagems he can devise, or by any power he can exert, be able to pluck them out of his hand. When they pass through the waters, he will be with them: and through the rivers, they shall not overflow them: when they walk through the fire, they shall not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon them. [Isa. xliii. 2.] He will not suffer his faithfulness to fail; but will supply all their need, according to his riches in glory, by Christ Jesus. [Psl. Ixxxix. 33. and Phil. iv. 19.] He knows the best method of succouring them that are tempted; and, if it be necessary, in order to counteract and destroy a distressing, overpowering suggestion of the evil one, that the mind be suddenly and strongly impressed with a suggestion of an opposite nature, he will in kindness grant such relief.

The occurrence, just related, affords a striking illustration of this remark. The prophetic suggestion of which Mr. Livingston speaks, was made at a moment when he was under the influence of a most violent and most impious temptation. It was exactly calculated to prevent the temptation from having any effect: it was a direct reply to the same; and, accordingly, it at once extricated him from the snare of the Devil, and established his confidence in God as the God of Providence. Believing it was from God, though he had no miraculous evidence of the fact, he naturally waited for its accomplishment; and this it pleased the Lord to spare him to witness. "And now," (alluding to the time when writing the account 1818,) he adds, "I can put my seal to its truth. I have lived to see the new nation of the United States arise and become a great civil power. I was thirty years old at the commencement of our revolution, * * * ***** I was confident the Lord would help us, even in the darkest periods of the war and he did help us. ****** I have lived also to see the probable beginnings of new nations, which are now rising in South America; not to mention the actual establishment of that singular nation in St. Domingo. Even in Holland, the very nation in which I then was, the government has been changed, and a new nation formed. My friends there often exultingly boasted, that Belgium had always been a Republic, even from the days of Julius Caesar, but they are now under a monarchical government: they are a new nation. I have lived to see the prostration of many nations in Europe, during the singular career of Napoleon Bonaparte; and they are all, in many respects, now changed from what they were when this suggestion was made to me. In the Church, more unexpected and surprising events have succeeded. The formation of Missionary Societies, and the success of the Missionaries; and now lately, of Bible Societies, and the extensive dispersion of the blessed Word, constitute a new epoch; and, while Christians see and believe, and rejoice that the Lord reigneth, the wicked are made to feel and acknowledge that, verily, there is a God who judgeth in the earth. there is a Divine Providence."

During his residence at Utrecht, he had some pleasing evidence, in being made the instrument of converting several persons, that he was indeed called to win souls for Christ. Possessing naturally a happy talent at conversation, he employed it, as he had opportunity, to magnify and commend the grace of the Redeemer, or to say something, to excite in those with whom he happened to be in company, and who, he had reason to believe, were unacquainted with the power of religion, an attention to the momentous concerns of eternity. This he could do, it is well known, with an ease, and dignity, and solemnity, that were truly admirable and peculiar to himself.

One evening, when much taken up with his studies, a stranger called at his room, and, pretending that he had come to present the compliments of a gentleman in Amsterdam, showed some inclination to spend the evening with him. He had no wish to be interrupted; and there was that, in the appearance or behaviour of the stranger, he did not like; but he had too much politeness to request him to depart. At length, when he saw that the unwelcome visit was to be prolonged, he reconciled himself to the interruption as well as he could, and silently lifting up his soul to God, in one or two ejaculations for the Divine direction and blessing, he entered into a little familiar discourse with him. The conversation, which was at first upon ordinary affairs, and not very interesting, by the seasonable introduction of a few appropriate pious remarks, he soon turned altogether upon subjects of religion; and then, as he of course had the most to say, it was evangelical, instructive, pointed, calculated to convince his visitant, evidently yet in an unregenerate state, of the importance of eternal things. His observations were listened to, apparently with intense interest, until quite a late hour, when the gentleman retired with suitable expressions of gratitude and respect.

Early the next morning a note came, containing a request that the writer of it might be permitted to renew his visit, as the conversation of the preceding evening had awakened in him a deep concern for the welfare of his soul. Mr. Livingston received the tidings with delight, and immediately granted his request in the most affectionate manner. He now considered the interview which, at its commencement, had been so disagreeable to him, as an extraordinary occurrence, that called for thanksgiving and praise; and, for many weeks after, he daily taught the way of salvation to this alarmed, inquiring sinner, who in due time obtained a hope, joined the Church, and was esteemed a genuine convert a truly humble and exemplary follower of the Lord Jesus. Among the students with whom Mr. Livingston associated, was a young man engaged in the study of law, the son of an East India Governor. He was not a pious, but he was an amiable youth, and the frequent interchange of friendly attentions, led to the formation of a very tender and confidential intimacy between them.

One day Mr. Livingston called to see him, and while in his room, felt a strong desire to talk with him upon the subject of the one thing needful; so strong a desire, that he determined to do it at once, as soon as some gentlemen, who were present, had gone away; and, though urged to accompany them when they took their leave, he politely declined the invitation and remained for the purpose. Praying that God would guide and assist him, he then commenced a plain and serious conversation relative to the necessity of personal religion, or of a personal interest in Christ, by faith, in order to salvation; and to his great joy, he discovered before it terminated, some little evidence that it had been, in a measure at least, a profitable conversation. There had been so much ingenuousness, and such appearance of incipient conviction in the behaviour of his friend, that he could not but hope his labour of love would result as he had prayed it might, and so it did result. The important truths which had been thus faithfully addressed to the conscience of this young man, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, produced a saving change in him. He gave up the study of law, prepared for the ministry, and was afterwards a distinguished herald of the Cross. In a letter that he wrote to Mr. Livingston, when the latter had returned to America, he very feelingly adverted to the wise and gracious Providence which, having brought the one from the East and the other from the West, to meet in Utrecht, had so singularly over-ruled their acquaintance, as to make it the memorable means of his conversion.

Another fact, which shows the great difference between a speculative and saving knowledge of the truth, and how easily one taught of God, though his attainments in learning be comparatively very limited; though he be capable of giving only the simplest instruction grounded upon his own experience of the power of Divine grace, may be used by the Spirit to convey light and comfort to the mind, even of a philosopher occurred about this time, and must be told.

The fame of Bonnet had drawn to the University a graduate of the University of Groningen, who was already known as the author of some works in Latin, respectable for their learning, and was honoured with the degree of doctor of philosophy. He had come to attend the divinity-lectures of the celebrated professor, and Mr. Livingston being informed of his character, obtained an introduction to him. The acquaintance now made with each other, soon ripened into a mutual, unreserved, and confidential friendship. It so happened, that Dr. D., the gentleman referred to, when he had been there a short time, was suddenly thrown into a state of great mental distress, through some painful intelligence he had received. The news reached him one evening of the death of a person, whom he had long loved as his own soul a young clergyman, of extraordinary piety and talents; and upon learning the melancholy event which, it would seem, he had not expected, his thoughts became wholly absorbed with the bereavement he had sustained. He was deeply afflicted: he retired to his bed with a dejected and sorrowful heart.

In the course of the same night, while ruminating upon the stroke, he was led to reflect that he also was doomed to die, and to look at death, and judgment, and eternity, as immediately before him. He saw what, perhaps, he had admitted a thousand times and more, but never before seriously pondered, that the hour was approaching, which would terminate his connexion with earth, and transmit his spirit to the bar of God; and he saw that he was a sinner unprepared to meet his God. He knew that he was then out of Christ, and that if death should surprise him in that state, he would be lost for ever. So cogent and sharp was the conviction of this awful truth, that he forgot, in a manner, his friend's departure from life, in the concern he felt for his own salvation, and there was no sleep for him that night.

The next morning, Mr. Livingston paid him a visit, and being ignorant of the circumstances of the case, was much affected, upon entering his room, at his mournful appearance. The cause of his evident distress was immediately inquired, with an air of affectionate solicitude, that induced him to make a full disclosure of the whole matter; and, when he had related his exercises, he earnestly asked what he must do to be saved. Mr. Livingston modestly answered, "that he knew him to be well acquainted with the precious truths of the Gospel, and * * * informed in what way sinners were accepted in the beloved Saviour;" and feeling, probably, at the moment some little embarrassment, as he had been unprepared for such a meeting, he rose from his seat to leave him. But the Doctor would not permit him to go yet: "No, my dear friend," said he, "No, you must not leave me; sit down; you must descend more to particulars. You must tell me how a sinner must come to Jesus, and what are the peculiar exercises of that repentance and faith, which unites the soul to the Divine Redeemer. It is a fact," he added, "that I have studied the doctrines of the Gospel. I can explain and vindicate them, and you are convinced of my knowledge of the truth: it would be improper in me to deny it. But all this has been mere speculation; it has been all viewed by me as an abstract theory. I have been ignorant of the spirituality and extent of the Divine Law. I did not know who or what a sinner was, nor did I realize that I was the man. And now, since these convictions have commenced, I find myself, with all my acquired knowledge, ignorant and forlorn. I know not what I must do, or how to approach a Throne of Grace, any more than the most uninformed babe. I must be taught what it is to enter into covenant with God my Redeemer, and what that direct and personal faith is, by which the soul is united to Christ, and becomes interested in his imputed righteousness for justification and acceptance."

Being thus importuned to remain, Mr. Livingston again took his seat, and attempted to exhibit to him the experience that is connected with genuine conversion, the nature of evangelical repentance, and of saving faith, and how a sinner, that is under the renewing influence of the Spirit of God, is brought to appropriate a precious Christ as his sacrifice and righteousness. The Saviour, in his ability and willingness to save, and the ample encouragements of the Gospel to the exercise of a full affiance in his merits and grace, were also presented with much clearness and feeling; and, under the Divine blessing, the Doctor was both enlightened and comforted by this plain, spiritual, and affectionate conversation. He found peace and joy in believing. At the completion of his studies, he entered the ministry; was called to the Church of ***** ; and, to a good old age, was esteemed an exemplary, learned, and useful minister of the Gospel.

The evidences of the Christian religion are so numerous and irrefragable, that no one who candidly considers them, can doubt its divine origin, or his own obligation to yield obedience to its precepts; and hence it is, that a large majority of those who live in Christian lands, are, at least, professed Christians, though much divided in sentiment upon some doctrinal points, and differing in their modes of worship. But it is a fact that an historical faith is not a saving faith nor is it always connected with the enjoyment of the life and power of godliness. It is a fact that, in nearly every communion, there are those who have a faith which worketh by love, purifieth the heart, and overcometh the world, and whose religious experience, with all the diversity observable in their creeds and forms, involves a singular agreement of views and feelings. It is a fact that genuine believers, of every name, have a common spiritual discernment, and a common spiritual sensibility, and, it may be added, a common spiritual language, which mere speculative or nominal Christians have not, neither can have, as long as they are destitute of that faith, which is the effect of a supernatural influence. This may be denominated, in contradistinction to the other evidences of religion, the evidence of the Spirit; and it comes from the North, and South, and East, and West, from the children of God of every denomination of every clime, kindred, and tongue. The Holy Spirit preserves a uniformity in his saving operations that is, his operations lead to an experimental knowledge, in all the saints, of the same great truths. A variety of circumstances may be employed to awaken them out of the sleep of sin; but the work begun and achieved in them by Divine grace, has the same characters, and the same fruits. They are all taught of God not contrary things, but the same things that pertain to salvation. Hence it is that whether they be learned or unlearned Episcopalians or Presbyterians Methodists or Baptists natives of Europe or Asia, of Africa or America, they perfectly understand one another upon the cardinal points of Christian experience, whenever they have an opportunity in the providence of God, to converse upon the subject, and mingle sweetly together as fellow-heirs of the grace of life.

While Mr. Livingston was in Utrecht, a number of pious persons, who had almost contemporarily experienced a change of heart, and some of whom were from different and distant countries, assembled by invitation, in that city, for the purpose of comparing together their views and exercises under the power of redeeming grace. He made one of the happy company; and it was to him a most edifying and delightful conference, the recollection of which he cherished as long as he lived.

After the Throne of Grace had been addressed, and a song of Zion had been sung, a person from Asia gave a minute account of the means of his conversion of his contrition for sin of his reception of the Lord Jesus as his Prophet, Priest, and King and of his subsequent enjoyments in the Divine life. Then one from Africa, whose family was among the most respectable at the Cape of Good Hope, told how he was first made sensible of his guilt, and consequent exposure to the wrath of God; how he had struggled against unbelief; and how at last, he was made willing, in a day of God's power, to accept salvation as a free gift, as tendered without money and without price, as flowing from the rich and sovereign grace of God, in the dear, adorable Redeemer. Mr. Livingston followed next, with a brief statement of what the Lord had done for his soul and after him, the countess of R-, from Europe, detailed her religious exercises.

"The sum of the whole," says Mr. Livingston in a short narrative of this conference, "when compared together, exhibited the same teaching, the same views and exercises, and the same faith, and hope, and love. The attending circumstances and first incitements to religious impressions were various: yet the convictions of sin and misery, of seeking and obtaining joy and peace in believing, of looking unto Jesus, and through him, coming to the Father, and entering into an everlasting covenant with God, as the Redeemer and God of salvation, in and through the Son of his love, were exactly the same. We all agreed as though we had lived in the same neighbourhood, and had been, as we reallv were, under one and the same teaching. The company was comforted and edified, delighted and elevated. Mutual sentiments of fervent love and Christian communion prevailed; and sentiments of adoration, hope, and thanksgiving were expressed. We testified these by singing, at the close of our conference, the 72d Psalm, in which, with lively adoration and raised affections, we celebrated the extent of our precious Redeemer's kingdom. The sons of mirth," he adds, " may enjoy their ribaldry and wine, and infidels scoff at the hope of Christians, of which the ignorant wretches have no idea; but they never felt, nor can, while they remain unbelievers, what we felt and enjoyed upon this occasion. I never experienced so much devotion in singing a psalm, nor did I ever obtain such peculiar confirmation in my former experiences of the divine teaching, and sanctifying grace."

The Reformed Dutch Church was, as the reader is no doubt already informed, the established national Church in all the provinces of the United Netherlands: but, notwithstanding the fact, societies of other denommations were liberally tolerated. They enjoyed, if not the direct countenance, at least the indulgence of government, and were permitted to maintain their respective peculiarities, in doctrine and worship, without fear of molestation. With one of these, which were in the city of Utrecht, a church in the Baptist connexion, Mr. Livingston, and a few of his university-companions, were induced to celebrate divine service upon a Sabbath afternoon; and before the service was over, they witnessed a mode of administering the ordinance of baptism, that will probably be pronounced by some to have been a very unseemly and sinful deviation from the common practice of the communion, but, as a demonstrative proof of the good sense and catholic spirit of these Baptists, ought not to be suppressed. After a most excellent sermon from the pastor, a man whose preeminent talents, fervent piety, and evangelical preaching, had rendered him exceedingly popular in the place, three adults came forward to be baptised, and baptism was administered to them, not by immersion, but upon the principle involved in our Lord's rejoinder to Peter, when he had expressed a wish to have, besides his feet, his hands and head washed He that is washed needeth not, save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit that is, by sprinkling.

"The ordinance," Mr. Livingston observes in his notes upon the interesting scene, "was solemnly performed, and I felt affected and edified. Yet, contrary to what I expected, they were not immersed or plunged, but sprinkled on the face, in the same way that we administer that sacrament in our Reformed Church. I knew the Baptists in America differed from us in the mode, as well as the subjects of baptism; that they magnified and distorted the question respecting immersion; and notwithstanding, excepting themselves, the whole Church of Christ, with which compared they were very few and small, always practised sprinkling, they still maintained that a complete plunging under water was essential to the ordinance. Under the impression that all Baptists entertained the same superstitious and singular sentiment, I was surprised to find the contrary in the instance then exhibited. But it is a fact, whatever they may profess or perform in America or in England, that the Baptists on the continent of Europe are better informed; and, while they agree with their brethren in relation to the subjects, yet many of them do not scruple to administer baptism, as all other Christians do, by sprinkling."

The writer feels an unfeigned and very great respect for this body of Christians. He sincerely believes that God has many of his people among them; but it is, nevertheless, his full conviction that they attach an undue importance to immersion, when they represent it as the only scriptural mode of baptism. A few such triumphs of truth over prejudice as the one above stated, in this country, or such a representation of the subject as, in candour, ought to be made, would tend greatly to the preservation with their brethren of other denominations, of the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

In 1768, the Rev. Dr. Witherspoon having accepted the call of the Trustees of Princeton College to preside over that venerable institution, previously to his departure for America, visited the continent of Europe, for the purpose of forming an acquaintance with some of the distinguished men of Holland. When he arrived at Rotterdam, he wrote to Mr. Livingston, informing him of the object of the visit, and requesting the favour of being provided by him with suitable lodgings at Utrecht. The request was very cheerfully and promptly complied with; and the respectable family, which had engaged to accommodate the worthy stranger, received him with all politeness, and kindly entertained him without charge during his stay in the City. The day after his coming there, Mr. Livingston went with him to the university, and introduced him to Professor Bonnet: and having noticed this fact, it will be necessary for awhile to direct the attention of the reader to some measures which were then in contemplation for the benefit of the Dutch Church in America. Mr. Livingston, ardently desirous that something should be done as speedily as possible to effect a reconciliation between the two great parties in the Church, (the Coetus and Conferentie,) was disposed to consider the visit of Dr. Witherspoon, at the time, as an occurrence that might be used to advantage to further the attainment of that object, and, with this impression, did approve the general outlines of a plan which, it was thought would satisfactorily provide for the education of her ministry, under the auspices of that great and good man, when he should be settled at Princeton. It is at least supposed that such was the fact: the grounds upon which the supposition rests will presently be exhibited.

The interview between the Doctor and the Professor is represented to have been, in a high degree, interesting and gratifying to both. Their discourse with each other was in Latin, and before it ended, "Dr. Witherspoon expressed," says Mr. Livingston, "in the warmest terms, his cordial esteem and veneration for the Reformed Dutch Church, and declared his hope and expectation, that the two Churches of Holland and Scotland would, by their mutual efforts and influence, while they still remained two distinct denominations, without any public union or blending, powerfully defend the doctrines of grace, and successfully co-operate in promoting the best interests of the Gospel in America."

The establishment of a friendly correspondence and co-operation, was the only union then proposed; but, another of a more important character, was soon after suggested, by whom, in the first instance, is not known, and was seriously meditated, as will appear from the following letter of Dr. Witherspoon to Mr. Livingston, dated Paisley, May 12, 1768:

"Dear Sir,
"I was favoured with yours of the 27th, two days ago, and being just about to depart, have only time to thank you for the pains you have taken in the affair of the union, and wish it may prosper; though I think some circumstances may be added to what you propose, but shall say nothing of it till I hear further from you, as you seem to wish. I pray that you may be blessed in your studies, and honoured to be in due time an active and successful minister of Christ. Remember me kindly to Professor Bonnet, and my worthy landlady, who received me in so hospitable a manner.

"I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.
"JNO. WITHERSPOON."

To ensure success to any plan, which had for its object the accommodation of the existing differences, and the formation of independent classes, in the Dutch Church in this country, it was necessary to consult the wishes of the ministers in Holland, by making some adequate provision in the plan, for the theological instruction of young men designing to enter the ministry. This provision was a favourite point with the transatlantic brethren, and in requiring it, they certainly evinced a very tender regard to the best interests of the Church; but the question was, what could be done to comply with their wishes in this respect. The Coetus party, in pursuance of their plan of rendering themselves independent of the Classis of Amsterdam, had adopted measures for the erection of an "Academy" in New-Jersey, in which pious youth might be educated for the ministry, and had already indeed obtained a charter for the same, containing nothing, as Mr. Lott, the intelligent correspondent of Mr. Livingston, mentioned in the preceding chapter, observes in a letter dated September, 1767, "of Coetus or Conferentie in it, being founded on the constitution of the Church of Holland, as estabhshed in the national Synod of Dort," and, therefore, likely to make it, as far as such an instrument could have influence, a popular institution.

[The letter, in which it is asserted that a charter had been granted for this literary institution, it will be observed, is dated Sep. 1767. But the charter of Queen's (now Rutgers College) which was originally established by the Coetus party, is dated March 20th, 1770. To account for the discrepance between the letter and the charter, as to the date of this instrument, it is presumed that only an institution of a secondary rate was at first contemplated, and that the difficulties hinted at in the two next sentences above, delaying the accomplishment of the enterprise, it was afterwards determined to make it a College, for which a new charter was granted, or the old one, with the necessary alterations and additions, new dated.

The following is a part of the preamble to the College Charter, which is extracted from an address delivered by the Rev. Dr. Milledoler, the worthy President of Rutgers College, at a late commencement, and will be seen to contain nothing that could have been justly deemed offensive or exceptionable.

"Whereas our loving subjects, being of the Protestant Reformed Religion, according to the constitution of the Reformed Churches in the United Provinces, and using the discipline of the said Churches, as approved and instituted by the National Synod of Dort, in the year 1618 and 1619, are, in this and the neighbouring provinces, very numerous, consisting of many Churches and religious assemblies, the Ministers and Elders of which having taken into serious consideration the manner in which the said Churches might be properly supplied with an able, learned, and well qualified ministry; and thinking it necessary, and being very desirous that a college might be erected for that purpose within this our province of New-Jersey, in which the learned languages, and other branches of useful knowledge may be taught, and degrees conferred: and especially, that young men of suitable abilities may be instructed in divinity, preparing them for the ministry, and supplying the necessity of the Churches; for themselves, and in behalf of their Churches, presented a petition to our trusty and well-beloved William Franklin, Esq., Governor and Commander in Chief, in and over our Province of New-Jersey, in America; setting forth, that the inconveniencies are manifold, and the expenses heavy, in either being supplied with Ministers of the Gospel from foreign parts, or sending young men abroad for education; that the present, and increasing necessity for a considerable number to bo employed in the ministry, is great; that a preservation of a fund for the necessary uses of instruction very much depends upon a charter, and therefore humbly entreat that some persons might be incorporated in a body politic, for the purposes aforesaid: and we being willing to grant the reasonable request and prayer of the said petitioners, and to promote learning for the benefit of the community, and advancement of the Protestant Religion, of all denominations; and more especially, to remove as much as possible, the necessity our said loving subjects have hitherto been under of sending their youth intended for the ministry to a foreign country for education, and of being subordinate to a foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction: KNOW ye, therefore, that considering the premises, WE do of our special grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, by these presents, will, ordain, grant and constitute, that there be a college, called Queen's College, erected in our said Province of New-Jersey, for the education of youth in the learned languages, liberal and useful arts and sciences, and especially in divinity; preparing them for the ministry, and other good offices; and that the trustees of the said college, and their successors for ever, may and shall be one body corporate and politic, in deed, fact, and name; and shall be called, known, and distinguished by the name of the trustees of Queen's College, in New-Jersey.

"We do by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, create, ordain, constitute, nominate, and appoint, the Governor or Commander in Chief, the President of the Council, our Chief Justice, and our Attorney General of said colony, for the time being, Sir W. Johnson, Baronet, and Johannes Henricus Goetschius, Johannes Leydt, David Maurinus, Martinus Van Harhngen, Jacob R. Hardenbergh, aud William Jackson, of our said colony of New-Jersey; Samuel Verbryk, Barent Vrooman, Maurice Goetschius, Eilardus Westerlo, John Schuneman, of our province of New-York; and Philip Wyberg, and Jonathan Dubois, of the province of Pennsylvania; Hendrick Fisher, Peter Zabriskie, Peter Hasenclever, Peter Schenck, Tunis Dey, Philip French, John Covenhoven, Henricus Kuyper, of our colony of New-Jersey, Esqrs.; and Simon Johnson, Philip Livingston, Johannes Hardenbergh, Abraham Hasbrook, Theodorus Van Wyck, Abraham Lott, Robert Livingston, Levi Pauling, John Brinckerhoff, Nicholas Stilwill, Martinus Hoffman, Jacob H. Ten Eyck, John Haring, Isaac Vrooman, Barnardus Ryder, of our province of New-York, Esqrs., trustees of our said college, in New-Jersey."]

But there was no one competent or willing to undertake the discharge of a professor's duties in this academy; or, if a person fully qualified for the task, and inclined to enter upon it, could have been found, the trustees, as yet, had no funds for his support. Nay, moreover, the same letter states, that it was not then determined where the academy should be located, and that the question had produced a little jealousy and collision among the trustees, some wishing it to be placed at Hackensack, and others at New-Brunswick.

[The efforts of the Coetus party, at this time, to establish a theological seminary, led some persons (of the opposite party it is supposed) to think of having a divinity-professor in King's College, New-York, under the sanction of a clause granting the privilege to the Dutch Church, which was said to be contained in the charter of that Institution.

The Rev. Mr. Ritzema, a staunch Conferentie-partisan, and one of the ministers of the Church of New-York, was then a director of the college; and many of his friends expressed a wish that he should receive the appointment. The Classis of Amsterdam, as appears by a letter of one of its members (the Rev. Mr. Tetterode,) dated in 1771, was pleased with the plan, and recommended its adoption, until a college for the Dutch Church could be erected. It subsequently, however, advised that the professor have no connexion with any literary institution.]

Knowing these facts, which made it very improbable that the Church here would soon be able to call and maintain a professor for herself; having previously, as it would seem, matured a plan for restoring peace to this divided and afflicted portion of Zion, which wanted only a satisfactory article in relation to a professor, to render it complete and acceptable to all parties concerned; acquainted, too, with the high character of Dr. Witherspoon, as a scholar and divine, it is not surprising that Mr. Livingston, in his zeal, should either have proposed or acceded to an arrangement, intended perhaps at the time to be merely a provisional one, and promising such immediate and incalculable benefits. It does not appear that a union of the Dutch and Presbyterian Churches was now even thought of, much less designed; but, that a certain connexion was to be formed with Princeton College, simply with a view to the preparation of pious youth of the Dutch Church for the ministry, under the superintendence of a man in whose talents, piety, and orthodoxy, the Church at home, and the Church abroad, would have the most entire confidence.

That this was the project in embryo, can hardly be doubted, after a few extracts from the letters of Mr. Livingston's friend to him upon the subject, shall have been perused. "At present," says Mr. Lott, in a letter of November, 1768, "from a superficial view of the plan you mention, it appears to me, it will meet with difficulty and objections from both parties. For I know them so well, that I think I may venture to prophecy, that as long as their present spirit of power and dominion remains with them, no plan will be accepted of, however reasonable and useful the same may be, unless the different congregations have good sense enough to agree, whether their ministers will or will not."

In another of December, of the same year, after stating that the Rev. Mr. Ritzema had showed him a Dutch letter, which that gentleman had received from Mr. Livingston, communicating the outlines of the plan, the same correspondent adds, "The matter being still new to me, I cannot see how it can possibly take place. For, in the first place, I believe that the Conferentie and Coetus will never unite, their difference being of such a nature that they dare not trust each other, and thus a junction [is] morally impossible: and in the next place, I can't see how a local junction can be brought about with the Presbyterians, even should the jarring Dutch Churches agree."

To provide a suitable professor for the academy as it was then denominated, which was about to be erected, Mr. Livingston had, prior to the visit of Dr. Witherspoon to Holland, prevailed upon a number of liberal individuals there, to pay the expense of educating a poor youth of piety and talents, and of Dutch descent, if one should come from America, for the purpose of being qualified for the station and had accordingly written to his friends in New-York, requesting them to select and send over a youth of this description, to be duly qualified. No better expedient could probably have been devised, at the time, to supply a deficiency which while it remained would, as he had reason to think, prevent the accomplishment of his wishes to make peace; but the contemplated connexion with Princeton College, being in his view, a preferable expedient, he despatched a letter, as soon as it was. agreed upon, revoking the request he had made. In reference to the contents of this letter, his friend observes, "As I am afraid that your favourite plan will not take place, at least so soon as you seem to expect, let me recommend to you again to keep your Christian friends to their word about maintaining a poor boy. We help to maintain a poor but sprightly and good boy, at a grammar school, in hopes of his finishing his studies in Holland, as you proposed, and should be sorry to be disappointed of our expectations."

Under date of March the 28th, 1769, the same person writes, that letters had been received from the Classis of Amsterdam, "directed to the Coetus and Conferentie respectively, informing them of the substance of the plan laid by them before the Synod, for accommodating the differences and healing the breach caused in the American Church by the contending parties." After noticing the conduct of the leaders of each party, upon the receipt of the classical letter: (and from the statement made, it would appear that those of the Conferentie, with the exception of Mr. Rysdyck, being violently opposed to the plan offered to their consideration, had prepared an answer without consulting the Elders of the Churches and that those of the Coetus, with more prudence and respect, before drawing up their answer, had endeavoured to ascertain the general opinion, in relation to the plan, by means of a circular letter, a copy of which had been sent to a member of the Church of New-York with discretionary power,) he adds : "As far as I can find, the whole Coetus, with all their heart, (as I imagine they will write the Classis) as well as all the leading members of our Church, will cheerfully agree to the plan, except to that part which relates to the Local Union with Princeton College; as it is apprehended much mischief would arise to our cause, from a union with that or any other College, at this present time. And the plan proposed by the Classis (if the parties will but unite) can as well be carried into execution without that union as with."

In another letter, dated June, 1769, he has the following paragraph: "Our Consistory wrote their sentiments to the Rev. Classis of Amsterdam, on the 11th of May, about the difference between the Conferentie and Coetus, and gave them to understand, that if the former were as much disposed to make peace as the latter, the matter would be soon settled. The principal objection against the proposed plan, is the local junction with Nassau-Hall, in Princeton, almost every body judging it best that we neither join that college, nor the one in this city. This is the opinion of our congregation."

These extracts show the foundation of the supposition, that the union alluded to, but not distinctly described, in the letter of Dr. Witherspoon, was to be of a collegial kind, or to give to the institution over which he expected to preside, and more particularly to himself, as an approved divine, for a time, or until the Church could have a professor of her own, the education of such of her sons as had the ministry in view. And though the article relating to this union was opposed with some little zeal; yet it is not improbable that if the Classis had directed all the Churches to meet and deliberate, in convention, upon the subject of their communication, the plan as submitted, or at least in a modified form, would have been adopted, and had the desired effect. That order, however, was not given, and the sense of the Church, therefore, was but partially taken; and the answers transmitted to the Classis, being upon most points at variance with each other, nothing more was done for the present The whole business was now suffered to sleep for awhile.

Mr. Livingston had cherished sanguine expectations of the success of this plan, which had been referred to the Church with the approbation of the Synod of North Holland; but God saw fit to disappoint him in the result, to give him, at some future day, as the reward of his benevolent zeal, a more interesting agency in the reconciliation of his divided brethren, and to put him in the honourable place which he had sought so actively, and irrespectively of any private advantage, to get appropriated to another person.

It need only be added here, that the accquaintance which he and Dr. Witherspoon formed with each other in Holland, led to the mutual cultivation of a cordial, and warm, and lasting friendship between them.

About the same time, the Church of New-York, as the building called the North Church was near being completed, and it was evident that Dr. Laidlie alone could not render all the service which would be needed, when that building should be opened for public worship, began to think of calling another English preacher.

In anticipation of this emergency, Dr. Laidlie and some prominent members of the Church, who had become intimate friends of Mr. Livingston, during the winter he spent with them antecedently to his departure for Holland, had long been inclined towards him as a person possessing those excellent qualities desirable in a pastor, and the inclination being confirmed by the pleasing intelligence they had now and then received respecting him, they did not hesitate to express their predilection in favour of him. A number of the congregation would have been gratified, if a call had been immediately made out and forworded, as his licensure was expected soon to take place; but there were some who wished to see or hear first an account of his pulpit talents, and others who thought it would be rather indiscreet to call him before he had returned, not that they questioned his piety or ministerial gift; but because they considered it proper that they should have an opportunity of judging a little for themselves of his qualifications for so important a station, and chiefly because they apprehended that his voice would be too feeble to fill their large places of worship.

While the known weakness of his voice and delicacy of his health, were producing this diversity of sentiment in the congregation about the call, one or two of his most devoted friends felt considerable uneasiness on another account. They had lately discovered that he was averse to the observance of the holy days, as they were denominated, and knowing that the conduct of Dr. Laidlie with respect to them, had given offence [Dr. Laidlie, it seems, had denied the obligation of these days, and though he usually preached upon them, would take other subjects than those selected for them by the Church of Holland.], while the discovery remained with them a profound secret, they could not forbear to transmit to him forthwith, some plain but friendly and affectionate counsel upon the subject. The one [Mr. P. Brinckerhoff], after a few remarks designed to show the duty and necessity of conforming to this usage of the Church, and made apparently in a proper spirit, reminds him of the Apostle Paul, who became all things to all men, that he might win some. The other [Mr. Abraham Lott] uses more freedom, and says, in a letter dated Nov. 1768, "I cannot avoid telling you that we differ very much about them, and it gives me real inward concern to find that you stand affected to them in the manner you mention. Pray. my dear Sir, are you, then, such a stranger to the people of the Dutch Church of this city, as to imagine that the sticklers for those days are only to be found among those who speak Dutch? * * * Believe it, my friend, although a Paul was to attempt to shake them off, he would not succeed. Let me advise you as a friend, who has a regard for you, who wishes you well, that you entirely stifle your sentiments about this matter, and never mention them again, especially if you have any thoughts of becoming (as I pray God you may) a minister among us." And in a letter of a later date, he endeavours to defend the observance of these days with some little zeal "You say they are rather wicked or devilish days, than holy days; very true: but would the neglect of preaching on those days lessen the wickedness practised on them? I say no. For by leaving off preaching, the days would not be abolished (as this cannot be done without the intervention of the Legislature) but left more at large to practise vice * * * *. This then being the case, it is undoubtedly best to preach as usual, as it certainly keeps a great many people who will not work, but come to church, out of the way of mischief. And, therefore, if you have any regard for yourself, for your Church, and for the advice of one who thinks himself your friend, conform to the established customs and rules of the Church * *; and however much I approve of your consulting Mr. Laidlie about other matters, relating to the good of the Church, I can by no means approve of your advising with him in matters wherein he stands, in my opinion, wrong affected."

Mr. Livingston replied, to the full satisfaction of this gentleman.

As the Church was situated at the time, and while the laws of the colony, then under the British government, recognised these days as holy, to observe them in conformity to established custom, was not only prudent conduct, but truly a Christian duty; and Mr. Livingston, in yielding to the wishes of his friends, acted a very commendable part. It evinced a disposition to make any reasonable sacrifice for the sake of promoting the peace and prosperity of a Church, which had already suffered much from the violence of intestine disputes, and in which there were yet those who keenly watched the opportunity to excite some new controversy. It involved no abandonment or concession of principle, inasmuch as it was distinctly understood, that these days were not believed to be of Divine appointment, and would be observed simply to prevent evil and edify the congregation: and for submitting to the prejudice of the times, therefore, in a matter of no essential moment, with a view to preserve peace and do good, he was deserving of more praise than he would have been, if, reckless of the consequences, he had determined pertinaciously and vigorously to oppose it. There was much sound practical wisdom in the submission. But though the moderation is to be commended, which, rather than insist upon the immediate abolition of these days while there was such a strong prepossession in their favour, and the Church was in such peculiar circumstances, tolerated and rectified the use of them, it is not a little surprising that, even at the present day, their observance should be continued in many congregations. The 67th explanatory article of the constitution of the Church expressly declares, "that the Reformed Church does not believe the days, usually called holy days, are of Divine institution, or by preaching on those days, intends any thing more than to prevent evil, and promote the edification of the people, is evident from the contents of the 53d article of the Synod of Dordrecht, held in the year 1574." This article is in these words: "With regard to feasts days, upon which, besides the Lord's day, it has been customary to abstain from labour, and to assemble in the Church, it is resolved that we must be contented with the Lord's day alone. The usual subjects, however, of the birth of Christ, of his resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit, may be handled and the people be admonished, that these feast days are abolished." Hence it appears that the fathers of the Church considered the observance of these days, as resting solely upon the commandments and doctrines of men; and, though they retained them for the purpose of counteracting, by appropriate discourses, the influence of the papistical superstitions with which they were surrounded, there certainly can be no good reason for such retention in a country where that influence is not to be dreaded: or must they be kept for ever, merely to inform people, in succeeding ages, that they were abolished at the Reformation? To symbolize longer with Catholics of Rome, in this practice, is calculated, it is believed, to do more harm than good to foster rather than prevent superstition.

On the 28th of December, 1768, in compliance with the request of more than a hundred members of the congregation, the Consistory convened to receive a petition relative to the calling of another minister, which was then laid before them, praying they would look out for another English preacher, and intimating that the petitioners would be gratified with the invitation of Mr. Livingston. They immediately and unanimously resolved that they would endeavour to ascertain whether a sufficient sum of money could be raised by subscription, to warrant the procedure solicited, and directed a subscription-paper to be prepared for the purpose. The friend [Mr. Lott] who advised him of these preparatory measures, thus concludes the account: "Almost every body I have heard, seems well pleased that you should be called, and so they appear to be with every part of your character. All they fear is, whether you will have voice enough for our Church; for if you have not, say they, we are undone; what shall we do with a minister who cannot be heard throughout the Church? I could, therefore, heartily wish that you may for some time past have exercised your voice in the pulpit, as I am convinced it may be there much modelled and improved. And if it is strong enough, can't you get one or more of your friends to give a certificate about it, and enclose it to me? Much good may come from such a step."

By a letter from the same person, dated April 1, 1769, it appears that the Consistory had the day before resolved to call Mr. Livingston; and that the call, when made out, was to be sent to some Ministers in Amsterdam, with particular instructions not to deliver it, unless they were well assured that he had sufficient strength of voice to fill a large building. In another letter, written the following June, he says: "Our third, or rather North Church, was opened for Divine service by Mr. Laidlie, on the 25th ult. (May,) by a very pathetic discourse from John 4th and 23d, showing wherein the true Gospel doctrine consists; in which he approved himself very much to the satisfaction of all who heard him, and particularly to our Governor, who honoured us with his presence on that occasion. Mr. Laidlie now preaches three times every Sunday; to wit: in the morning and evening in the New, and in the afternoon in the North Church, to which if we add his catechising, you will agree his labours must be weighty. You cannot, therefore, be surprised to hear our call to you to come over to our Macedonia to help us. May the ever blessed Jesus make your way prosperous to us, and may you come among us with a full blessing of the everlasting, covenant!"

Having finished his studies at the university, Mr. Livingston appeared before the Classis of Amsterdam, on the 5th June, 1769, to be examined for licensure, and the evidence given of his personal piety, and of his acquirements, literary and theological, being satisfactory to that rev. body, he came a candidate for the ministry, or what is called in Holland, a proponent. His first sermon he preached in the Dutch language, for the Rev. Mr. Van Issum, his examinator in the Classis, at Hilversum, a village to the east of Amsterdam.

Soon afterwards, he preached again in Dutch, at Purmerend, a small city in North Holland: in English in the English Church in Amsterdam; and again in English in the Scotch Church in Rotterdam, whether in the same building in which his distinguished ancestor had often proclaimed the glad tidings of salvation, or another, is not known, but that it was the same is thought probable.

This commencement of his public labours' was of a very promising character. Enjoying, in no common degree, the confidence and esteem of numerous Christian friends, as a young man experimentally acquainted with the power of Divine grace; [Among the letters and notes addressed to him about this time, by his Holland friends, there is one containing a postscript in these words; "Mrs. ****** expresses her most friendly regards for the good Mr, Livingston;" a familiar way, it would seem, of speaking of him, that shows the high estimation in which his piety was held.] with intellectual powers and attainments much above mediocrity; with a voice naturally weak and effeminate, and concerning which so many fears had been entertained and expressed In New-York, now greatly improved by the attention he had paid to its modulation, and susceptible of the richest intonations; with a manner peculiarly interesting and solemn, he made by these early efforts in the pulpit a very favourable impression. Of the opinion formed of his talents as a preacher, and of his qualifications for the situation to which he was invited, this fact is evidence enough that in about a month after he was licensed, the call was put into his hands by the gentlemen who were conditionally charged with its delivery.

Expecting to remain yet some time in Holland, and thinking, probably, that it might be of considerable advantage to him to be able to produce when he should return to America, what was then regarded as a valuable testimonial of proficiency in theology, the degree of Doctor of Divinity, he concluded to present himself before the theological faculty of the university of Utrecht, a candidate for the same. And here it ought to be remarked, that it was not customary for that university to confer honorary degrees; and that the distinction now sought, could not be obtained but by his submitting to a pretty severe ordeal. He must be examined and reexamined, and after being sifted by the learned Faculty for a whole day, he must produce and prepare himself to defend the next day, against the adverse arguments of the professors, two short discourses, the subjects of which are to be selected for him, the one from the Old Testament, and the other from the New. And he must answer, and write, and defend, altogether in the Latin language. Nor is this all, another dissertation is then to be prepared, and published in Latin, which he must publicly support before the whole university.

Though by no means a person of the firmest nerve, Mr. Livingston ventured these appalling trials, and having passed the first with approbation, he was permitted to prepare for the second. Accordingly, in the course of the next winter, he wrote a dissertation upon the Sinai covenant ("De Foedere Sinaitico,") and sent it to the press. But he was now about to leave a country in which he had spent many happy hours, and formed many tender connexions and the thought of separating from his beloved friends the anxiety attending his preparations for a return and possibly, too, some little dread of the public exhibition itself, for no one of any modesty and sensibility could look forward to such a trial without dreading it, produced a depression of spirits, that he could not then shake off, and led him to abandon his design of appearing before the university. Under the influence of his present feelings, he suddenly stopped the printing of his dissertation, when he had received the first proof, and commenced a hasty travel to visit his friends in different places, for the last time, and bid them an affectionate adieu.

From his notes of the incidents of this period, it would appear, that he went first to Amsterdam; chiefly for the purpose of applying for ordination. The Classis met on the 2d of April, and at this meeting, they approved his call [Another call was presented to him from one of the Churches in Amsterdam, but as it was not his intention to remain in Hclland, the call was respectfully declined], invested him with the ministerial office, and consigned him to the Church of New-York. This important business done, he begun in earnest the performance of the painful duty which the prospect of his departure, as not far off, imposed upon him; and while at Rotterdam, thus engaged, he received a letter from an Amsterdam friend, censuring his conduct in relation to the theological degree, and strongly urging him to the final step necessary to its acquisition.

That Mr. Livingston had no ambition, or that he was not at all desirous of distinction, nor gratified when it was bestowed, is not pretended. We have no wish to represent him in this Memoir, as free from the imperfections and weaknesses of human nature; but, while it is granted that he had his share of these, it is, nevertheless, believed that grace reigned in his heart, and that when he thought upon things of good report, or endeavoured to advance his reputation, he did so, rather to extend his usefulness in the Church, than to indulge an anxiety for the notice and applause of others. And it is believed that, in complying afterwards with the advice of his friend, he acted under a strong conviction of duty a conviction that the degree sought would, if obtained, give some weight to his name, and would thus be a means of promoting his usefulness. He had a tender conscience he was afraid of sin, and of the very appearance of sin; and when he came to the conclusion of the letter, as he read the following quotation of scripture, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin," the impression was irresistible, that he would be chargeable with culpable neglect, seeing he was apparently so near the attainment of the object, if he now relinquished it and the degree, as before hinted, possessed at that day, in the estimation of the Church, all the importance he attached to it. He, accordingly, determined to follow the advice given; and set upon preparing, without delay, an abridgement of his dissertation for the press. Devoting his mornings to the work, and what he had previously written being fresh in his mind, he accomplished it with ease, during the few days he spent at Rotterdam and the Hague, in making farewell visits; and upon his return to Utrecht, he had it printed. But the business was not yet finished, the severest task, and which would put his merits fully to the test, was still to be performed. He must defend his little pamphlet against learned and well-practised disputants, before a large assembly, consisting of the professors and regents of the University, and many other eminent personages.

The interesting and decisive day at length arrived: It was the 16th day of May, 1770; and Mr. Livingston was then just twenty-four years of age. The assembly convened at the appointed hour, a band of music attended, and much splendid ceremony was observed upon the occasion enough, indeed, to appal the courage of any candidate for distinction; and, no doubt, our young candidate, as he surveyed the imposing scene, could have said,

"A faint, cold fear thrills through my veins, "That almost freezes up the heat of life."

Several learned gentlemen controverted some of the positions advanced in his dissertation, but he successfully maintained them; and the disputation, which was in the Latin language, and lasted nearly two hours, affording sufficient evidence of his erudition, the professors, shortly after it terminated, conferred upon him, with the usual forms, the degree of Doctor of Theology. The diploma he received is signed by Meinardus Tydeman, Rector, and Franciscus Burmannus, Doctor and Professor of Sacred Theology.

Having now accomplished his wish, and having completed all the necessary preparations for his departure, Doctor Livingston took leave of Holland, and embarked at Helvetsluijs, for England, about the first of June, 1770. Upon his arrival at Harwich, to which place the passage had been a quick and agreeable one, he immediately passed up to London, and there tarried with Mr. John Harrison, a respectable merchant of that city, with whom he had occasionally corresponded, and who had politely invited him to his house.

He availed himself of his short stay in England to visit Oxford, and was introduced to Doctor Benjamin Kennicoit, the celebrated Hebrew scholar, then engaged in that stupendous work to which biblical criticism is so much indebted the collation of Hebrew manuscripts. The Doctor had the honour of breakfasting with this learned and indefatigable Hebrician, and of being taken, after the repast, into the chamber where his amazing labours were performed. He had been already ten years employed in the preparation of his Bible, and was now only about half through it. "He showed me," says the Doctor, "several of his most admired manuscripts. The manner in which he proceeded was, to take one line from Van Der Hooght's Bible, which he considered to be the most correct copy of the Hebrew text, and paste that line upon the top of a page of a blank folio book, and then, under that line, to write all the variations which his manuscripts furnished in that line."

This extraordinary visit could not soon be forgotten; but a most gratifying memorial of it, in the hand-writing of that distinguished man, was obtained before they parted. In the Doctor's Album, which contains a variety of little sententious pieces in Greek, and Latin, and Dutch, with the names of Bonnet, Burmannus, Ravius, Tydeman, Vanderkemp, Elsnerus, and other eminent literati of Holland, underwritten, there are a few lines in Hebrew characters, beautifully formed, and accompanied with this sign-manual

BENJ: KENNICOTT,

E Coll: Exon: Oxon:

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