The Old Meeting House – Excerpt
By Rev. A. M. Colton
“Rev. Morris E. White, of Southampton
Of massive, solid mold, physically; shoulders as if to bear up an Atlas. Could quickly have floored the stoutest of us at wrestling. Was an able preacher, and for years was greatly favored in his work. Mighty shakings in Southampton and rich ingatherings. But by and by a frost touched him, a killing frost, and nipped his root, and then he fell. His beloved wife was snatched from him by the fell destroyer. Woman of rare beauty and loveliness and culture. He found her in Andover, the favorite teacher in Abbot Female Academy. He had the sense and sentiment to know her worth. Her removal was to him a stunning and bewildering stroke, which quite unmanned him. Months after the storm broke upon him, calling at my house in Amherst, and seeing my wife, and told that she was once a pupil of his wife, in Andover, he burst into tears, and wept for an hour like a child. Some here present can recall the sad story. A pulpit charge still upon him, and a people accustomed to look for good preaching; Sunday will come, and sermons must. Pressed as under a mountain weight; his home desolated; nerves unstrung; the very air of his study freighted with gloom; sense of utter impotence and impossibility to so much as think anything as of himself; and now a drop from the cup, a convenient extract from another’s pen, and next time, likely, the same, and a little more, just to ease the burden this once; and with no thought, or little thought, of the issue that will come, and will not tarry. The inevitable did come; the complaint, the council, the trial, the dismission, the demission from the sacred office. Years have since passed. I make no plea for the things charged–the cup or the quotation. I make no question that the council did wisely and rightly. An yet, to-day, in recalling to mind the scenes and the man, I think, and care to think, of little else but of the blow that crushed him to the earth. Charity never faileth. Gently, my friends, gently toward a reed, not shaken only, not bruised only, but broken in the midst.”
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