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But with Mr. Hobart such was not the spirit either of the man or the minister. By nature he loved labor, and by profession he was bound to it. Idleness had no charms for him any where, least of all in the midst of the vineyard;' so that exertion was both a pleasure and an obligation.
In the scale of duties he placed first, as was his duty, his parochial ones, and these, as already stated, were almost unintermitted. Being equally connected with the three united parishes, the calls upon his time were limited only by the acceptableness of his services -- but that acceptableness, it may be truly said, was unbounded, the zeal and eloquence of his public ministrations, and the attractive kindness and warmth of his private ones, soon made him a universal favorite, so that the only wonder was how he found time for any thing else. With slight alteration we may apply to him St. Augustine's admiration of Varro, “How he who studied so much could write so much, or he who wrote so much could study so much.'
What adds to our wonder too at this amount of labor is, that it was in spite of much bodily weakness, arising from natural delicacy of stomach and occasional greät debility of the nervous system. On one occasion, as related by a nephew who was on a visit to him in
1802, in the family evening prayer—he faltered -repeated the clause-then stopped, and fell upon the floor in a fainting fit, from which he was with difficulty recovered. This irritability of system continued with him through life ; oftentimes, as he once told the present writer, did he find bimself forced to cast aside pen and books, and literally rush to some physical exertion in order to overcome it. But in spite of all this he was through life a hard and watching student -late to bed and early up-at his books or pen, in summer always by daylight, in winter long before.
But his parishioners were his first care; however deaf to other calls while absorbed in his books, to a spiritual one his ears were ever open -in comparison with such, study was nothing, and personal ease was less than nothing-even health and prudence were disregarded when the question was one of comfort and consolation to the bereaved, the sick, or the dying—these once performed, with a rapidity of movement that distanced ordinary men, he was again to be found at his post, among his books and with his pen-entrenched as before, in his lofty citadel, from whence he had been for a moment dislodged, behind ramparts of books that, by their perilous elevation, as the author well remembers, being then a boy, threatened danger, if not destruction, to the incautious or unskilful invader.
With such tastes, and under such absorbing engagements, the cares of domestic economy devolved necessarily mainly upon Mrs. Hobart, and it was well that they did so, since he himself evidently possessed very little of the needful talent to the clergyman, of making small means go far. He had little time for such thoughts, and still less inclination. Few men knew so little, or cared so little, as he did about the means of accumulation. It is not enough to say he was above the love of money ; in truth it seemed to offer to him no attractions. It was to him a means and nothing else, and therefore too little thought of to be always within his reach. In the use of money he was thoughtless and almost prodigal, not indeed for himself, but for any good he had in hand. His own habits, too, were rather to be termed simple than frugal, and against two sources of expense, even when at the poorest, his heart was never proof, the call of charity, and the love of books,—in the one case, the melting heart overpowered him; in the other, the craving of the student; and to both his purse was more freely and frequently opened than his scanty means could well afford.
But however inconsistent such expenditure might have been with his purse, it was well suited to his profession, and in his case, as we may trust in like circumstances it always will be, God's blessing more than returned what a selfish prudence would not have expended : that which was cast upon the waters after many days came back to him, and a circle of kind and Christian friends became to their pastor a stronger barrier against worldly want than the most penurious economy could possibly have crected.
The rough draft of a note found among his papers illustrates this fact, and exhibits his feelings on one of those occasions most trying to the sensitive mind, and it is here inserted, even at some risk of censure, to show the truly Christian spirit which humbles its own feelings for the gratification of others. It is thus endorsed : Wednesday, January 26, 1803. In answer to a note which I accidentally discovered to be from
and .... enclosing $100, (a sum, the author would add, greater then than now.) The contents are as follows:
From a circumstance which could not have been foreseen, Mr. Hobart is enabled (as he believes) to fix with certainty upon the friends to whom he is indebted for a valuable enclosure last evening. While on the one hand he almost regrets a discovery which deprives them of the gratification of doing good unknown; on the other he feels pleasure in being able to direct the
sentiment of gratitude to the proper object, and surely the favor itself, and the manner of conferring it, both call for the warmest acknowledgment. From some he would hesitate to accept so valuable a gift, to which he can lay no claim; but he should have to reproach himself with wanting the spirit of that divine Master in whose service he is engaged, if pride should prevent him receiving favors from Christian friends upon
Christian principles. He will not wound the delicacy of his friends by giving vent to the feelings their unexpected kindness has excited; but they must permit him to say such feelings arise not only for the favor conferred, but from regarding it as an evidence of that disinterested Christian benevolence which has long distinguished them, and for which he trusts they will not be without their reward.'
One anecdote of his own well-timed bounty occurs to memory. One Sunday morning about the hour of service, a note was handed him in the vestry-room from a penniless young Frenchman, soliciting aid, in phrase whose meaning was clearer than its grammar. 'I shall not dig,' said the applicant, 'I must not beg - I am not able to starve.' But it was language which the heart understood. I inquired the answer. It was an enclosure of ten dollars, a sum as far beyond at that time the means of the giver, as it probably was beyond the expectations of the receiver ; but the event proved that it went not beyond his merits. About a twelvemonth afterward it was returned to Mr. Hobart with a letter