« PreviousContinue »
first doubtful, became ultimately satisfied, of the desira bleness of reunion. He was again commissioned by his Presbytery to attend the General Assembly which met at Cincinnati, in May, 1867. Of that body, he was chosen Moderator; and by the promptness and skill with which he presided, as well as the graceful and cordial welcome which he gave to the delegation of foreign ministers present on the occasion, he excited general admiration.
Dr. Gurley's ministry at Washington brought him in contact with many of the higher class of minds; and several of the successive Presidents of the United States, and many others holding exalted stations, were among his stated hearers. With President Lincoln, especially, he was on terms of intimacy; and one reason which the President gave for liking him as a preacher, was, that he kept so far aloof from politics. Dr. Gurley, as a pastor, was called to attend him in his last hours; and after the death-scene was over, he offered a most touch ing and impressive prayer; and afterwards, at the funeral, delivered an address of great pathos and power. accompanied the remains of the President to their last resting-place in Springfield, Illinois, and there closed the series of funeral services.
At the time of Dr. Gurley's attendance at the General Assembly at St. Louis, his health seemed firm, andthere was every thing in his appearance to justify the expectation that he would see yet many more years of active usefulness. But even then, he was rapidly nearing the close. On the first Sabbath of February of the next year, he felt constrained to ask leave of
absence from his congregation for a few months, in the hope of being able to return to them. with invigorated health. His request was readily granted, and he went immediately to Philadelphia, and stopped with a much loved friend there for about six weeks. Thence he went to Richmond, Va., and afterwards to Brooklyn, N.Y.; and then to Clifton Springs. Being fully impressed with the conviction that his malady must soon prove fatal, he requested that he might be carried back to Washington to die; and, accordingly, he reached his earthly home a little less than a week before he took possession of the building of God. His departure was eminently peaceful, and even glorious. He died on the 30th of September, 1868.
In October, 1840, he was married to Emma, young. est daughter of Horace Brooks, M.D., of Parishville, where he spent his early years. Mrs. Gurley and five children three sons and two daughters survived
Dr. Gurley had a well formed and robust frame, that seemed fittingly to represent his intellectual and moral character. He had great power of endurance, and could perform more labor than almost any of his contemporaries. He was earnest and firm, yet condescending and conciliatory. His preaching was not highly impassioned, but it was eminently clear, evangelical, and spirited, and fitted to find its way to both the understanding and the heart. As a Pastor, he united great discretion with great fidelity, and no one knew better than he how to mingle in scenes of sorrow. As a Pres byter, the various ecclesiastical bodies with which he
was connected have testified their respect for him and their confidence in him, by placing him in their highest positions of influence and responsibility. As a Christian, he was humble, zealous, consistent; and his grand inquiry always was, what his Lord and Master would have him to do.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES (NEW SCHOOL BRANCH).
BY THE REV. Z. M. HUMPHREY, D.D.
Each branch of the Church has its own individual life. First Officers of the New School.-Samuel Fisher, D.D.-The Rev. E. W. Gilbert.- Erskine Mason, D.D.-Edward D. Griffin, D.D.-James Patterson, D.D.- Gideon Blackburn, D.D.-James Richards, D.D.-Henry Mills, D.D.-Henry White, D.D. - Edward Robinson, D.D. -Lyman Beecher, D.D. — Thomas Brainerd, D.D. George Duffield, D.D. - Artemas Bullard, D.D. - The Rev. Frederick Starr, Jr. - Thornton A. Mills, D.D. - Frederick Starr, Esq.-Hon. William Jessup.
EVERY vigorous association has an organic life, which is marked more or less clearly by individual characteristics. This is especially true of the Church of Christ. In a subordinate sense, it is true of each of the di visions of the Church. The Greek, the Roman, the Protestant Church each is individual. The same is true of denominations, and of the minor divisions into which denominations are separated. The history of a Church, therefore, must be treated somewhat as we treat that of a man,-presenting it in its personal character, as well as in its relations. In writing even single chapters of such a history, some analysis must be made of the elements and forces which give the history its tone.
The Presbyterian Church of America, for example, may be compared to the Mediterranean, if not to the Atlantic. It has a direct connection with the Church