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strings, and will soon perform the same office for us—but to return :
Mr. Purviance was a native of Pennsylvania, and a licentiate of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. He was reared and educated by a maternal uncle, as I ascertain from the correspondence occasioned by his death, between the gentleman at whose house he died and a relation of Mr. Purviance of the same name, who resided in Philadelphia ; those letters are now in my possession. He had been sent by the Presbytery of Philadelphia to perform missionary services in the vacant churches on this peninsula ; and had discharged the duties of his mission faithfully, and most acceptably to the congregations in which he laboured. The church at Snowhill had no pastor at that time, and Mr. Purviance gave to it a liberal portion of the time and labour which he expended in this region. He was an interesting young man. I have said already, that what I know concerning him, was collected from one who was acquainted with him: my informer was the daughter of the gentleman at whose house. he for some time lived, and at which he died; that house has been the home of clergymen, for more than a century. I take leave to say of the lady herself, that she was intelligent, a Bible student, an enlightened Presbyterian, and was considered by those who knew her, not only a consistent, but a very pious member of the church from the days of her youth until her death, on the 30th of August, 1821, in the 79th year of her age.
Mr. Purviance came to these churches in buoyant youth, and apparently vigorous health. He spent a night, unexpectedly, at the house of a stranger, and discovered when he arose in the morning, that a window covered with a curtain, had been left open: he never again had health. The exposure produced disease which assailed his lungs, and after lingering a short time, he died. In the interval between his attack and his death, he and the friends with whom he resided, believed that he was not only convalescent, but wholly relieved; and at the very moment of his death, his horse, by his own order, was standing at the door to bear him to the home of his childhood. It is true, although not contained in so many words in the scriptures, that in the midst of life we are in death. A short time before his death, when Mr. Purviance and his friends considered his health restored, he had attended a funeral: to that was attributed afterwards his unexpected death. He was a talker in his sleep; but one of an extraordinary character. He plead in that way God's “exceeding great and precious promises.” Early in the morning on which he died, a member of the family near his chamber-door, heard him utter, whilst asleep, the gracious words contained in the first three verses of the fourteenth chapter of the gospel of John: “ Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I
and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and re
ceive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” He arose afterwards, prepared for his journey, breakfasted with the farnily, ascended the stairs to his chamber for some purpose, and in a few minutes afterwards slept in death. This occurred in the spring or summer of 1757. His grave is in the yard of the church in Snowhill, and has been most carefully protected by the congregation, and I have been pleased, indeed amused, at the jealousy with which they watch it. They know nothing about it, but that a Presbyterian missionary sleeps there, but by those whose place in the church they now occupy, they have been taught to honour the spot. 1 should be pleased to show you the chamber where he met his fate, and to point out the spot where sleeps the dust of David Purviance.
Memoir of the Rev. Henry Blatchford.
I wish to communicate to you at this time, some particulars in relation to another of death's doings. I am aware that I incur risk, for I entertain many doubts whether my last letter contained any thing to interest you, and I had advantages there of which I cannot here avail myself. Death, to be sure, has canonized the excellencies of his character about whom I shall write ; but the facts are of recent occurrence, and therefore known to many, as well as your correspondent. The twilight which rests on the things and the persons from whom we are separated by a long interval of rolling years, greatly enhances their value in the estimation of all who attempt their retrospection. Upon your indulgence, however, on this occasion, I have peculiar claims. The person about whom I shall write, broke the bread of life to the people recently in your pastoral charge, and between which and yourself exists the strongest reciprocal attachment; he died in an apartment which you have probably since occupied, and where you have no doubt consumed much oil in poring
over huge theological folios ; and some of the incidents occurred in the church whose walls have hundreds of times echoed with the threatenings and the invitations of the gospel which they have caught from your lips. You have read this inscription on the neat white marble slab planted within a few feet of the front of the last named church: “ BY THE CON
OF SNOWHILL, PITTSCREEK, REHOBETH, AND Monokin.” That slab covers the grave of one who, humanly speaking, was cut down in the very midst of his usefulness.
The Rev. Henry Blatchford was a native of England. I think he was born in Devonshire, or Cornwall, but his father, the late Rey. Samuel Blatchford, D.D. of Lansingburg, New York, removed with his family to this country, when Henry was very young, perhaps not more than two years old, and here they continued to reside until they ceased to live. I know nothing of the early life of Mr. Blatchford, except what was contained in a letter received from his father after his death. That letter, I am sorry to say, I have lost. He was, however, liberally educated, and a member of the first class of students which was organized at the Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey. In the early part of the summer of 1822, the churches at Snowhill, Pitt's creek, Rehobeth,* and Monokin, were without a preacher. To interrupt the silence of their Sab
* It may be necessary to say, that the Rev. Mr. Balch, then the pastor of the three first named churches, had at that time leave of absence for an indefinite period, on account of ill health.