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they were particularly anxious that he should be properly educated to be ultimately useful in the world. The hope of accomplishing this favourite purpose, appeared for the present to be frustrated. But that God who had appointed for him his future work, led him to the attainment of a preparation for it, in ways that he knew not; and it is truly instructive to see, how in all his course of life, the same hand was secretly, but surely directing him, to his final point of labour and usefulness.
God directed the heart of one, who had but little to spare of the goods of this world, to minister of her small substance to his present necessities. An aunt of his mother, a maiden lady, who was particularly attached to her, requested that he might be sent, at her expense, to the Episcopal academy at Cheshire, in Connecticut. The object in this choice was not only the benefit of an education in that valuable school, then under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Smith, but also to separate him from the temptations so incident to the circumstances of a popular boy in a large city. At Cheshire he became an universal favourite, and his father received great delight from the accounts of his correct deportment and improvement in study. Even at this period of his life, his name seems to have become connected with the ministry of the Gospel, and Dr. Smith used to say of him in reference to his excellence as a scholar, and his purity of character and conduct, that he would be the Bishop Bedell of America, in allusion to the celebrated Bishop Bedell of Ireland,* a man as remarkable for personal excellence of character, as he was distinguished in ecclesiastical station. The points of resemblance in his character to this illustrious man in subsequent life, although the providence of God never exalted him to a similar station in the Church, were not a little remarkable.
While Bedell was at Cheshire, an incident occurred which afforded a beautiful illustration of the kindness of his temper. An anonymous letter was received by his father, accusing him of a very gross crime. His father, confident of the innocence of his son, sent the letter to Dr. Smith, by whom it was laid before the trustees of the academy. Upon an investigation of the case, the charge was not only proved to be false, but to have originated with one of the scholars, who, in a spirit of anger, selected this method of revenge, and addressed the letter to the father of Bedell. The trustees considered the offence of such magnitude, that they expelled the offender from the academy. Bedell, though so much injured by him, pleaded earnestly that he might be forgiven, and permitted to remain. He desired to have his own character cleared from the charge of guilt, but had no wish that the one who had injured him should be punished. How valuable is the example of such kindness, to others who may succeed him! If, in mature life, they would follow in his path of excellence, let them learn, with him, to be gentle, affectionate, and forbearing in youth.
• The following account of this distinguished man, is taken from Lempriere's Biographical Dictionary :
“ In this high station, (Bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh,) Bedell behaved with that strong sense of propriety which his private manners so much promised. He exhorted his clergy to exemplary conduct and residence; and to show them his own moderation, he resigned the bishopric of Ardagh. His ordinations were public and solemn. Example was made to go hand in hand with profession in the great business of religion, and in a synod of his clergy which he convened for reformation, some canons were enacted, excellent and conciliatory. A strong advocate for the Church, he always abhorred the persecution of the papists, and supported the justice and rights of his cause, by the arms of meek persuasion, not of virulent compulsion. The liturgy, as well as the Bible, was translated into Irish, and every method pursued which might inform and enlighten the minds of a rough and uncivilized peasantry. So much exemplary meekness did not go unapplauded. When the country was torn by rebellion in 1641, the Bishop's palace was the only habitation in the county of Cavan that remained unviolated. Malice, however, prevailed; the rebels who declared that the prelate should be the last Englishman driven from the country, demanded the expulsion of the unfortunate men who had fled to his roof for refuge, and when he continued firm to his refusal, he and his family were seized and sent prisoners to the Castle of Cloughboughter. The horrors of confinement, and more particularly the misfortunes of his country, however, broke his heart; he expired on the 7th of February, 1641, in the house of Dennis Sheridan, a Protestant, to whose care he had been intrusted. His
memory received unusual honours from the rebels, who in a large body accompanied his remains, and fired over his grave in the Church-yard of Kilmore, with all the homage due to a worthy man, a pious Christian, and an exemplary prelate."
Bedell remained about two years at Cheshire. Then the means upon which he had depended for support again failed, and he was obliged to return home. On his return, the following letter from Dr. Smith to his father, which we have found accidentally preserved, accompanied him,
CHESHIRE, April 3, 1805. SIR,
Your son will hand you this. I have thought it advisable to send him home one week before the end of the session, as there is a disorder prevalent here, to which I suspect he is inclin. able, from his tendency to have colds and a sore throat. For par. ticulars, I refer you to himself. Townsend has given me entire satisfaction, and I scruple not to say, that he bids fair to be a first rate scholar. Nor is his disposition less interesting to me, than his capacity. I cannot refrain giving merit and good conduct this testimony of approbation, and more especially so, as we have had some students, who have merited our highest censure.
I am, most respectfully,
After his return from Cheshire, all his hopes of obtaining a liberal education seemed, for a time, to be frustrated. But again the Lord opened his path before him in a method before unlooked for. His eldest sister, with whom he had been an object of very great affection, resolved to devote the whole of her little substance, which had been saved amidst her father's misfortunes in business, to the education of this favourite boy. It proved to be a sum just sufficient to meet the expenses of his collegiate education, and she has felt and expressed always, the highest satisfaction in the full recompense which she subsequently received in his character, for the consecration of all she had, to his preparation for ultimate usefulness to mankind.
In 1807 he entered Columbia college, in the city of New-York. Soon after, however, his feeble constitution seemed quite inadequate to the prosecution of his college studies. They became very oppressive to him; and overcome by his own weakness, and despairing of his ability to gain the education which he desired, he begged permission to give up his classical education, and to turn his attention to some other pursuit. His indulgent father was ready to yield to his wish; but his sister, inflexible in her purpose, induced him, by persevering persuasion and argument, to remain at his studies, and to finish his collegiate course. She was thus made the single honoured instrument of keeping him in preparation for the work which was given him to do; and he never failed in after life, when the circumstance was alluded to, to express his sincere gratitude for her determination. During the whole of his college studies, however, his infirm health placed a very serious obstacle in his way. His strength failed amidst sedentary habits, and in continued application to study; but this was over-ruled to lead him to the acquisition, at this period of life, of a very remarkable power of mental abstraction, the exercise of which characterized his habits of study through the whole of his succeeding life. This habit, with the aid of a very retentive memory, and a systematic arrangement in the discharge of all his personal dúties, enabled him to accomplish great results, with comparatively little effort. To this habit of study he refers in the following extract from a letter of a later date than our present narrative, in reply to a friend,