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and do not be greatly troubled, always made the faithful followwhich comes first.” It is not, ers of the Redeemer the obhowever, to be supposed by this, jects of his inveterate malice. that Mr. Tennent was unfriend. If the good man, of whom we ly to a deep and accurate exam- write,' was greatly honoured by ination of all important theolo- peculiar communications from gical doctrines. There were on high, he was also very ofien few men more earnest than he the subject of the severe buffetto have young clergy men wellings of that malignant and fallen instructed and thoroughly fur- spirit. pished for their work. This in- The time of which we are deed was an object on which his now speaking was remarkable heart was much set, and which for a great revival of religion, he exerted himself greatly to in which Mr. Tennent was conpromote.
siderably instrumental, and in Ir. Tennent was remarkably which a Mr. David Rowland, distinguished for a pointed at brought up with Mr. Tennent tention to the particular circum- at the Log-College, was also vestances and situation of the af- ry remarkable for his successful flicted, either in body or mind, preaching among all ranks of and would visit them with as people. Possessing a commandmuch care and attention as a ing eloquence, as well as other physician, and frequently indeed estimable qualities, he became proved an able one, to both soul very popular, and was much celand body. But his greatest tal- ebrated throughout the country, ent was that of a peace-maker, His celebrity and success were which he possessed in so emic subjects of very serious regret to nent a degree, that probably none many careless worldlings, who have exceeded, and very few placed all their happiness in the have equalled him in it. He enjoyment of temporal objects, was sent for, far and near, to set- and considered, and represented tle disputes, and heal difficulties, Mr. Rowland and his brethren as which arose in congregations ; fanatics and hypocrites. This and, happily for those concerned, was specially applicable to many he was generally successful. In- of the great men of the then deed, he seldom would relin- province of New Jersey, and quish his object till he had ac- particularly to the chief justice, complished it.
who was well known for his disBut while this man of God was belief of Revelation. There was thus successful in promoting the at this time, prowling through best interests of his fellow-crea- the country, a noted man by the tures, and in advancing the glory name of Tom Bell, whose knowlof his Lord and Master, the edge and understanding were great enemy of mankind was not very considerable, and who greatlikely to observe the destruction ly excelled in low art and cunof his kingdom without making ning. His mind was totally dean effort to prevent it. As he based, and his whole conduct assailed our blessed Saviour in betrayed a soul capable of dethe days of his flesh with all his art and all his power, so has he * It was not far from A. D. 1744.
scending to every species of spend the week; and begged iniquity. In all the arts of theft, him, as the people were without robbery, fraud, deception, and a minister, to preach for them on defamation, he was so deeply the next Sabbath, to which Bell skilled, and so thoroughly practis- agreed, and notice was accorded, that it is believed, he never ingly given to the neighbourhood. had his equal in this country. The impostor was treated with He had been indicted in almost every mark of attention and reevery one of the middle colo- spect ; and a private room was nies; but his ingenuity and cun- assigned to him, as a study, to ning always enabled him to es- prepare for the Sabbath. The cape punishment. This man sacred day arrived, and he was unhappily resembled Mr. Row- invited to ride to church with the land in his external appearance, ladies in the family waggon, and so as hardly to be known from the master of the house accomhim, without the most careful panied them on an elegant horse. examination.
When they had arrived near the It so happened, that Tom Bell church, Bell on a sudden discovarrived one evening, at a tavern, ered, that he had left his notes in in Princeton, dressed in a dark, his study, and proposed to ride Parson's gray frock. On his back for them on the fine horse, entering the tavern about dusk, by which means he should be the late John Stockton, Esq. of able to return in time for the serthat town, a pious and respecta- vice. This proposal was instant, ble man, to whom Mr. Rowland ly agreed to, and Bell mounted was well known, went up to Bell, the horse, returned to the house, and addressed him as Mr. Row- rifled the desk of his host, and Jand, and was inviting him to go made off with the horse. Wherhome with him. Bell assured ever he stopped, he called him him of his mistake. It was with self the Rev. David Rowland. some difficulty that Mr. Stockton At the time this event took acknowledged his error, and place, Messrs. Tennent and Rowthen informed Bell, that it had land had gone into Pennsylvania arisen from his great resem- or Maryland, with Mr. Joshua blance to Mr. Rowland. This Anderson and Mr. Benjamin hint was sufficient for the prolif- Stevens, (both members of a ic genius of that notorious im- church contiguous to that where postor. The next day, Bell went Bell had practised his fraud) on into the county of Hunterdon, business of a religious nature. and stopped in a congregation Soon after their return, Mr. where Mr. Rowland had former- Rowland was charged with the ly preached once or twice, but above robbery ; he gave bonds to where he was not intimately appear at the court at Trenton, known. Here he met with a and the affair made a great noise member of the congregation, to throughout the colony. At the whom he introduced himself as court of oyer and terminer, the the Rex. Mr. Rowland, who had judge charged the grand jury on preached to them some time be- the subject with great severity. fore. This gentleman immedi- After long consideration, the juately invited him to his house, to ry returned into court without
finding a bill. The judge re seen Tom Bell personating Mr. proved them, in an angry man- Rowland, using his name, and in ner, and ordered them out again. possession of the horse. These They again returned without
sons of Belial had been able, affinding bill, and were again ter great industry used for the sent out with threatenings of se purpose, to collect a mass of vere punishment if they persisted evidence of this kind, which they in their refusal. At last they considered as _establishing the agreed, and brought in a bill for fact ; but Mr. Rowland was now the alleged crime. On the trial, out of their power by the verdict Messrs. Tennent, Anderson, and of not guilty. Their vengeance, Stevens appeared as witnesses, therefore, was directed against and fully proved an alibi in fa- the witnesses, by whose testimovour of Mr. Rowland, by swear. ny he had been cleared ; and, ing, that on the very day on they were accordingly arraigned which the robbery was commit- for perjury before a court of ted, they were with Mr. Row- quarter sessions in the county ; land, and heard him preach, in and the grand jury received a Pennsylvania or Maryland. The strict charge, the plain import of jury, accordingly, acquitted him which was, that these good men without hesitation, to the great ought to be indicted. After an disappointment and mortification examination of the testimony on of his prosecutors, and of many one side only, as is the custom in other enemies to the great revi- such cases, the grand jury did acval of religion that had recently cordingly find bills of indictment taken place ; but to the great joy against Messrs. Tennent, Anderof the serious and well dispo- son and Stevens, for wilful and sed.
corrupt perjury. Their eneThe spirits hostile to the mies, and the enemies of the spread of the gospel were not, gospel, now began to triumph. however, so easily overcome. They gloried in the belief, that In their view, an opportunity an indelible stain would be fixed was now presented, favourable on the prefessors of religion, for inflicting a deep wound on and of consequence on religion the cause of Christianity ; and, itself; and that this new-light, as if urged on by the malice of by which they denominated all man's great enemy, they resolv- appearance of piety, would soon ed that no means should be left be extinguished forever. untried, no arts unemployed, for These indictments were rethe destruction of these distin- moved to the supreme court ; guished serval:ts of God. Many and poor Mr. Anderson, living and various were the circum- in the county, and conscious of stances which still contributed his entire innocence, could not to inspire them with hopes of brook the idea of lying under success. The testimony of the the odium of the hateful crime person who had been robbed was of perjury, and demanded a trial positive that Mr. Rowland was at the first court of oyer and terthe robber; and this testimony miner. This proved most seriwas corroborated by that of a ously injurious to 'him, for he number of individuals, who had was pronounced guilty, and most
cruelly and unjustly condemned Messrs. Tennent and Stevens to stand one hour on the court met these gentlemen at Mr. house steps, with a paper on his Coxe's the morning before the breast, whereon was written, in trial was to come on. Mr. Coxe large letters, “ This is for wilful requested that they would bring and corrupt perjury;" which in their witnesses, that they might sentence was executed upon him. examine them previously to their
Messrs. Tennent and Stevens going into court. Mr. Tennent were summoned to appear at the answered, that he did not know next court; and attended accord- of any witnesses but God and his ingly, depending on the aid of own conscience. Mr. Coxe reMr. John Coxe, an eminent law- plied, “ If you have no witnessyer, who had been previously es, Sir, the trial must be put off
' ; employed to conduct their de- otherwise you most certainly fence. As Mr. Tennent was will be convicted. You well know wholly unacquainted with the na: the strong testimony that will ture of forensic litigation, and be brought against you, and the did not know of any person live exertions that are making to acing who could prove his inno- complish your ruin.” Mr. Tene cence, (all the persons who were nent replied, “ I am sensible of with him being indicted) his only all this, yet it never shall be said resource and consolation was to that I have delayed the trial, or commit himself to the Divine been afraid to meet the justice of will, and if he must suffer, to my country. I know my own take it as from the hand of God, innocence, and that God, whose I who, he well knew, could make am, and whom I serve, will neveven the wrath of man to praise er suffer me to fall by these him ;* and considering it as shares of the devil, or by the probable that he might suffer, he wicked machinations of his had prepared a sermon to be agents or servants. Therefore, preached from the pillory, if that gentlemen, go on to the trial.” should be his fate. On his arrive. Messrs. Smith and Kinsey, who al at Trenton, he found the fa- were both religious men, told mous Mr. Smith of New York, him that his confidence and trust father of the late chief justice of in God as a Christian minister of Canada, one of the ablest lawyers the gospel, was well founded, and in America, and of a religious before a heavenly tribunal would character, who had voluntarily be all-important to him ; but asattended to aid in his defence ; sured him it would not avail in also his brother Gilbert, who an earthly court, and urged his was now settled in the pastoral consent to put off the trial. Mr. charge of the second Presbyteri- Tennent continued inflexible in an church in Philadelphia, and his refusal ; on which Mr. Coxe who had brought Mr. John Kin- told him that, since he was desey, one of the first counsellors termined to go to trial, he had of that city, for the same purpose. the satisfaction of informing him, His affectionate congregation
that they had discovered a flaw felt deeply interested in his critical in the indictment, which might situation, and kept a day of fasting prove favourable to him on a des and prayer on the occasion.
murrer. He asked for an ex
planation, and on finding that it had lodged either at his house, was to admit the fact in a legal or in a house wherein he and his point of view, and rest on the wife had been servants, (it is not law arising from it, Mr. Ten- now certain which) at a particunent broke out with great vehe- lar time, which he named ; that mence, saying, that this was on the following day they had another spare of the devil, and heard Messrs. Tennent and before he would consent to it he Rowland preach; that some would suffer death. He assured nights before they left home, he his counsel, that his confidence and his wife waked out of a in God was so strong, and his as. sound sleep, and each told the surance that he would bring other a dream, which had just about his deliverance in some occurred, and which proved to way or other, was so great, that be the same in substance, to wit, he did not wish them to delay that he, Mr. Tennent, was at the trial for a moment.
Trenton, in the greatest possible Mr. Stevens, whose faith was distress, and that it was in their not of this description, and who power, and theirs only, to relieve was bowed down to the ground ' him. Considering it as a reunder the most gloomy appre- markable dream only, they again hensions of suffering, as his went to sleep, and it was twice neighbour Mr. Anderson had repeated precisely in the same done, eagerly seized the oppor. manner to both of them. This tunity of escape that was offered, made so deep an impression on and was afterwards discharged their minds, that they set off, on the exception.
and here they were, and would Mr. Cose still urged putting know of him what they were to off the trial, charging Mr. Ten- do. Mr. Tennent immediately nent with acting the part rather went with them to the court of a wild enthusiast, than of a house, and his counsel on exammeek and prudent Christian ; ining the man and his wife, and but he insisted that they should finding their testimony to be full proceed, and left them in aston- to the purpose, were, as they ishment, not knowing how to well might be, in perfect astonact, when the bell summoned ishment. Before the trial bethem to court.
gan, another person, of a low Mr. Tennent had not walked character, called on Mr. Tennent, far in the street, before he met a and told him that he was so haman and his wife, who stopped rassed in conscience, for the part him, and asked if his name was he had been acting in this prosenot Tennent. He answered in cution, that he could get no rest the affirmative, and begged to vill he had determined to come know if they had any business and make a full confession. He with him. The man replied, sent this man to his counsel also. “ You best know.” He told his Soon after, Mr. Stockton from name, and said that he was from Princeton appeared, and added a certain place (which he men- his testimony. In short, they tioned) in Pennsylvania or Ma- went to trial, and notwithstand. ryland ; that Messrs. Rowland, ing the utmost exertions of the Tennent, Anderson, and Stevens ablest counsel, who had been em: