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himself to be indebted for support to no exertions but his own. His classical education, which, owing to his feeble vision, had been necessarily imperfect, he now determined to complete, and immediately entered
the apparently hopeless task, with a view to fit himself as a teacher of youth. He instructed his sisters in the pronunciation of Greek and Latin, and employed one or the other constantly in the task of reading aloud to him the classics usually taught in the schools.
“A naturally faithful memory, spurred on by such strong excitement, performed its oft-repeated miracles, and in a space of time incredibly short, he became master of their contents even to the minutest points of critical reading. In illustration of this, the author remembers on one occasion, that a dispute having arisen between Mr. Nelson and the classical professor of the college, as to the construction of a passage in Virgil, from which his students were reciting, the professor appealed to the circumstance of a comma in the sentence, as conclusive of the question. "True,' said Mr. Nelson, coloring with strong emotion, 'but permit me to observe,' said he, turning his sightless eyeballs towards the book he held in his hand, -that, in my Heyne's edition it is a colon, and not a comma.'
“At this period a gentleman, who accidentally became acquainted with his history, in a feeling somewhat between pity and confidence, placed his two sons under his charge, with a view to enable him to try
the experiment of teaching. A few months' trial was sufficient; he then fearlessly appeared before the public, and at once challenged a comparison with the best established classical schools in the city. The novelty and boldness of the attempt attracted general attention; the lofty confidence he displayed in himself excited respect; and soon his untiring assiduity, his real knowledge, and a burning zeal, which, knowing no bounds in his own devotion to his scholars, awakened somewhat of a corresponding spirit in their minds, completed the conquest. His reputation spread daily ; scholars flocked to him in crowds ; competition sunk before him; and in the course of a few years he found himself in the enjoyment of an income superior to that of any college patronage in the United States, with to him the infinitely higher gratification of having risen above the pity of the world, and fought his own blind way to honorable independence. Nor was this all; he had succeeded in placing classical education on higher ground than any of his predecessors or cotemporaries had done, and he felt proud to think that he was, in some measure, a benefactor to that college which, a few years before, he had entered in poverty and quitted in blindness.”
When we reflect upon a list of characters like the foregoing, who have elicited light from darkness, and become ornaments to their nation and age, we cannot but feel more reconciled to our lot, and inspired with the glorious thought that, notwithstanding our privaion, life is yet what we make it. Whatever
Whatever may be
the obstacles opposed to our progress, so long as perseverance and enterprise can triumph over them, none but the timid and pusillanimous should fear or sink in despair. Science and religion, the unalloyed and inexhaustible fountains of human happiness, lie still within our reach, inviting as the fruits of Paradise.
DIVINES, LAWYERS AND PHYSICIANS.
As ministers of the gospel, the blind have in every age and branch of the christian church received but little encouragement, if they have not always been indiscriminately rejected. Davidson, notwithstanding his fine talents and thorough preparation, could not obtain clerical credentials; and Blacklock was driven from his charge by popular prejudice, after a regular installment. Yet, with all these discouragements, love to God, and an ardent desire to see humanity rescued from the thralldom of sin and misery, have constrained many of our order to become able and efficient laborers in Christ's moral vineyard, We would not, however, urge claims to a sphere to which the Lord himself will call those of whom he hath need ;” but should the all-wise Creator and controller of the universe call one deprived of natural vision, that he might“see and tell of things invisible to mortal sight,” we cannot comprehend by what authority he is prevented from exercising the ministerial functions.
We are aware, that under the law of Moses, blindness was a disqualification for the priestly office; but as the wholeness of that order, as well as the unblemishedness of the victims sacrificed, were only typical of the coming Messiah's moral and physical perfection, that clause of the law can certainly (we think) have no bearing on the ministry under the new dispensation, from which types and shadows have disappeared. Jehovah spoke to his people by the mouth of Teresias and Phineas, blind prophets of old, and we can see no reason why the same privation should prevent holy men, at the present day, from preaching the truths of the everlasting gospel.
Rev. JOHN TRAUGHTON, of the seventeenth century, one of the most able and devoted advocates of the Puritan faith, was blind from the fourth year of his age. Thiş eminent divine received his rudimentary instruction at the free school at Coventry, his native place, and in 1655 entered a student of St. John's College, Oxford, of which he became a fellow, and there took the degree of Bachelor of Arts. But on the restoration of Charles II. he was expelled from fellowship on account of his Puritan faith. Soon after this, he removed to Bicester, where he read academical lectures to young men, and occasionally preached in private, whereby he obtained a comfortable subsistence.
Upon the issuing of his majesty's declaration for
the tolération of religion, dated March 15th, 1671, Rev. Mr. Traughton was one of the four Bachelors of Divinity sent by his sect, to establish preaching in the city of Oxford. So great was his learning, piety, and moderation, that he not only drew large numbers of college students as auditors to his chapel, who were fascinated by his eloquence, but maintained an amicable correspondence with many of the best conformable clergy until his death, which occurred in 1681, in the forty-fourth year of his age. His funeral
. discourse was preached by Rev. Mr. James, master of the free school at Woodstock, who was also blind. "raughton wrote several books; nothing, however, but their titles are now extant: "The Protestant Doctrine of Justification by Faith only, vindicated;" "Popery the Grand A postacy ;” “An Apology for the Nonconformists ;” and “A Letter to a Friend, touching God's Providence."
WILLIAM JAMIESON, D. D., and professor of history at the Glasgow University, also spent the greater part of his life in preaching the gospel, with so much success that historians have ranked him among the first of the Scotch clergy.
He was educated at the University of Glasgow, and, after taking his degree, was there for some time employed in reading lectures upon civil and ecclesiastical history. He was also earnestly and ably engaged in the Episcopal controversy, which, during the latter part of the seventeenth century, formed a distinguished feature in the church history of Scotland.