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Page 10

Benjamin Rush

1745-1813


   It was not only by words, but in deeds, that he expressed his reverence for the Divine character. It was his usual practice to close the day by reading to his collected family a chapter in the Bible, and afterwards by addressing his Maker in prayer, devoutly acknowledging his goodness for favors received, and humbly imploring his continued protection and blessing. His respect for Jehovah, led him to respect his ministers, who acted consistently with their high calling. He considered their office of the greatest importance to society, both in this world and that which is to come. He strengthened their hands, and was always ready and willing to promote and encourage arrangements for their comfortable support, and for building churches, and for propagating the gospel. In an address to ministers of every denomination, on subjects interesting to morals, he remarks, "If there were no hereafter, individuals and societies would be great gainers by attending public worship every Sunday. Rest from labor in the house of God winds up the machine of both soul and body better than any thing else, and thereby invigorates it for the labors and duties of the ensuing week." Dr. Rush made his first essay as an author, when an apprentice to Dr. Redman, by writing an eulogy on the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, who had been the friend and fellow Laborer of the celebrated George Whitfield, and an active, useful, animated preacher of the gospel, from 1725 till 1764. On the 27th of May, 1809, he wrote to his cousin, Dr. Finley, to this effect: "The general assembly of the Presbyterian church is now in session in Philadelphia. It is composed of many excellent men, some of whom are highly distinguished by talents and learning, as well as piety. I have had some pleasant visits from a number of them, and have been amply rewarded for my civilities to them, by their agreeable and edifying conversation. They remind me of the happy times when their places in the church were filled by your venerable father, and his illustrious contemporaries and friends, Messrs. Tennent, Blair, Davies, and Rodgers."
   The life of Dr. Rush was terminated on the 19th of April, in the 68th year of his age. During his illness, which was, of but few days continuance, his house was beset with crowds of citizens, such was the general anxiety in respect to the life of this excellent man. When, at length he died, the news of his decease spread a deep gloom over the city, and expressions of profound sympathy were received from all parts of the country.

Source: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 244-261. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

See also:

  • The biography of Julia Stockton Rush, Benjamin Rush's wife

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