Waterbury, Jared – The Works of Jared Waterbury

Jared Waterbury was an American minister and author working at times with the American Bible Society and local mission works in New York. He was a Presbyterian minister in New York.

The Works of Jared Bell Waterbury

(1799—1876) Jared Waterbury was an American minister and author working at times with the American Bible Society and local mission works in New York. He was a Presbyterian minister in New York.

The Works of Jared Waterbury considerations for Young Men, Happy Christians, Meditations and Prayers.




Contents of The Works of Jared Waterbury

Considerations for Young Men
The Happy Christian!
Meditations and Prayers
Meditations and Prayers

Sample Chapter The Happy Christian!

The Happy Christian!
Or, Piety the Only Foundation of True and Substantial Joy

By Jared Waterbury, May, 1833




 

 

Chapter 1. Piety vindicated from the charge of gloom

“Piety makes men gloomy,” says the thoughtless votary of the world. This allegation, if true, would be a very reasonable ground of prejudice against true piety; but it is made, as we shall see, without proper discrimination respecting its nature and influence.

He who brings this charge, judges merely from the serious expression of countenance which many professors of piety wear, and from the voluntary relinquishment of the gaieties of life, which is observed to take place when they unite with the church of God. No estimation is made of the grand equivalent which piety gives for the renunciation of such vanities. Men look only at the cross. They take their views from the self-denial and the labors which he who bears it is called upon to meet. They have no standard to judge by but their own experience; or rather, they seem not to adopt any other; and finding their own joy, and, we may add, their only joy, to be inseparable from the pleasures and the honors of the world, they conclude, that he who voluntarily foregoes them for the sake of piety, must of necessity be condemned to a life of despondency and gloom.

But has it never occurred to those who bring this charge, that since they have not themselves made a practical experiment of the influence of piety, they are not properly qualified judges in the case? By the laws of God, we are permitted to seek the highest amount of true felicity of which our nature is susceptible. Does this felicity lie in the path of the pleasurist and the worldling? Then would the Christian be unwise for traveling out of it, and deserve to feel the depression, and to be covered with the gloom which are so unjustly ascribed to him. He would be warranted, it might almost be said, in retracting his steps; in hastening away from a region, where, according to the supposition, no sun-light falls upon his path, nor fragrant flower blooms to enliven it; but where every step is planted with thorns to pierce his feet as he explores his melancholy way to the promised rest.

While such is the picture of a life of piety which fills the imagination of the gay world, their own path, they would have us understand, is one perpetual series of delights. It is implied in their allegation, that no shadows fall around their paradise, nor a thorn obtrudes from that bed of roses on which they profess to recline. We shall not stop here to settle the question, how far these scenes are a mere fancy-sketch; nor at present disallow the claim to happiness which the pleasurist and worldling prefer. If they can, in the sincerity of their souls, affirm that these pleasures make them as happy as they desire to be, we shall not just now put any questions, nor make any appeals with a view to overshadow so agreeable a prospect.




The aim of the writer is rather to vindicate Piety from an unjust aspersion, namely, that she robes her followers in gloom and sadness. That she makes them serious, we do not deny; but there is a wide difference between sobriety and melancholy. Sobriety is not opposed to cheerfulness, though it is to levity. Cheerfulness abounds everywhere in the works of God; but levity nowhere, except in the bosom and on the countenance of the thoughtless; and there, it is not the legitimate expression of God’s image, but the evidence and the effervescence of sin. The lark is cheerful, as it mounts from its grassy nest, and soars away to the heavens, singing as it goes. Cheerful also is the summer morning, revealing its glad scenery, as the rising sun gilds one feature after another of the landscape. Nature in all this has a lesson for man: she teaches him that Piety, in inculcating cheerfulness while she rebukes levity, is but a faithful response to her own emphatic instructions.

They mistake, depend upon it, who interpret a serious face as the index of a heavy heart. It is excessive mirth which leaves the heart sad; since in this latter case, the depression which invariably follows, is but the re-payment which nature demands for violence done to her moral powers.

Sample Chapter Considerations for Young Men

Considerations for Young Men

Jared Bell Waterbury, 1799


PREFACE

The author of the following letters, having been placed, by the providence of God, in circumstances favorable to acquiring a knowledge of the feelings, principles, and habits of young men — has ventured, with dependence on Divine aid, to address them in relation to subjects the most important which can engage their attention. The class of individuals to whom this work is inscribed, namely, those who belong to our principal cities and colleges, are the hope of our country. They embody, in a great degree, the influence which is destined to sway the moral and political interests of the nation. The author is deeply sensible of the responsibility of addressing so large and so respectable a class in the community; but he hopes that a perusal of the following sheets will convince his young readers, that his intentions at least are benevolent. The form of letters was adopted, because it admitted, as the author supposed, greater familiarity and directness; and also, because there is, unhappily, among many, a prejudice against essays, lectures, or sermons.

Let it not be supposed, however, that these letters are intended to displace, or supersede the many valuable sermons and lectures to the young, which are already before the public. Far from it; they are designed as a humble accompaniment. The author intended them as a manual, which the hand of Christian benevolence might offer to a friend, and which the pious parent might commit to a beloved son, upon leaving the paternal roof, for a residence among strangers.

Letter 1. PLEASURES AND ANTICIPATIONS

To the brief space between childhood and maturity, the man of experience reverts with mingled emotions of pleasure and of pain. The mirthful visions of life were then opening on the enraptured mind. Every scene was fresh to the eye, and every pleasure wore the charm of novelty.

CHILDHOOD, by some, is called the happiest portion of our mortal span. Its innocent gaiety, its confiding sweetness, its buoyant and affectionate playfulness, its gush of tears, and its glow of returning joys — throw around it an indescribable charm. Poets have sung of it, as if it were a seraphic state of existence. The victim of misfortune, and the sated votary of pleasure, have sighed over the period of their childhood, as carrying with it into oblivion the only pittance of happiness which the Creator has been pleased to assign them.

But even childhood has its cares, and its sorrows. You who have just passed from its scenes, are prepared to admit that it is a state by no means free from solicitude, nor fraught with all the felicity which some have ascribed to it. Tears of anguish, sobs that almost burst the young heart, broken toys, and bleeding wounds, successively agitate it. Even disappointment, which, to us who have almost forgotten our childish feelings, seems a later inheritance of misery, mingled in our earliest draughts its bitter ingredients.

The toy, which at first sight produces a momentary rapture, losing in a day all its attraction, lies broken and neglected. And the promised visit, hailed with clapping hands and laughing eyes — often ends in weariness, satiety, or tears.

Still childhood has its pleasures — its moments of delight and of ecstasy. Its sleep is an oblivion of its sorrows, and apparently a continued dream of delight. If disappointed in its pleasures, its versatile feelings open a new channel of happiness. If its tears are frequent, they are quickly dried; and often, while the big drop still hangs on the eyelid, the smile of merriment comes stealing from behind.

Every stage of our mortal journey has . . .
its hopes and its disappointments,
its cares and its alleviations,
its joys and its sorrows.

That gracious Being, to whom we owe our existence, and “from whom comes down every good and perfect gift,” has thought fit, neither wholly to mar that existence, nor unceasingly to mete out its pleasures. From the cradle to the grave, it is a checkered scene with all of us. So soon as our infant feet tread the path of life, they feel the pricking thorns. And we quickly perceive, that, however beautiful in the commencement, that path “leads but to the grave.”

Youth, with its teeming hopes, soon follows childhood. The sportive feeling, which perished almost in its birth, gives place to the rush of passion, and the play of imagination. Childish sports cease, and the kindling eye looks forward to the pursuits of manhood, with instinctive reverence and desire. There is something in the business and pleasures of mature life, which strikes strongly on the youthful imagination. His inexperienced mind contemplates them as the sure indications of that felicity for which it pants. Hence, when he is scarcely free from the restraints of the nursery, he begins to imitate the gait and bearing of manhood. He affects to scorn his infantile amusements, and chides the tardy lapse of time, which detains him from this enviable consummation.

Poor, mistaken youth! How little do you know of the cares that vex, and the afflictions that depress, the heart of man. Your eye all eagerness, and your breast all hope, fasten only on the lighter coloring of life. The respect which the wisdom of years receives, and the pleasures which the wealth of mammon commands, stand out to your vision in bold relief, and excite those restless desires, which must die by satiety, if not by disappointment. You do not see the care-worn countenance. The remorse of ill-gotten treasure lies too deep for your scrutiny. The disappointment that turns back on the heart of the voluptuary, and the vanity that is felt to attach to every earthly pursuit — come not within the scope of your anticipations.

I cannot but think, that the period of youth is, after all, the happiest portion of man’s earthly existence. I speak now of those upon whom the sanctifying influence of genuine religion has never come. Viewed as a tenant of earth, and apart from his relations to eternity — the man who has passed the heyday of youth, has certainly left behind him the most beautiful and fragrant part of his journey. He has bid adieu to scenes of innocent delight. Pleasures which once had a relish, have now become insipid; and hopes which were then in blossom have been blasted, or at best have only borne the fruits of disappointment.

There may be a few favored exceptions; but the surprise which those few excite is proof of the general sentiment we have expressed.




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