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´╗┐Title: An Address Delivered At The Interment Of Mrs. Harriet Storrs, Consort Of Rev. Richard S. Storrs, Braintree, Mass. July 11, 1834.
Author: Codman, John Thomas
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Address Delivered At The Interment Of Mrs. Harriet Storrs, Consort Of Rev. Richard S. Storrs, Braintree, Mass. July 11, 1834." ***










JULY 11, 1834.


Printed for private distribution.




There are some events, in the providence of God, so completely
overwhelming as to render it extremely difficult, almost impossible, to
give utterance to the full feelings of the soul through the medium of
words. Language refuses its aid to relieve the burdened heart; and the
oppressed spirit finds itself more inclined to the deep silence of
grief, than to the expression of its sorrows by the human voice.

When the heart-rending intelligence reached us of the event that has
filled our souls with grief and dismay, we felt that no language could
relieve our distress or mitigate our sorrow. We were dumb: we opened
not our mouth. Our hearts bled--and they bled most freely in silence.
But the solemnities of the occasion await us, and the usages of society
demand, that we should attempt to give utterance, in the presence of
our fellow creatures, to those feelings, which we can pour out before
our compassionate God and Saviour in sighs and tears, without the
intervention of set forms of speech.

But where shall we find words to express the depth of our affliction?
Where shall we find language to depict the character of the dear
departed--or to administer comfort and support to the beloved survivors?

Mysterious Heaven! how unsearchable are thy judgments, and thy ways past
finding out! We bow before that holy and righteous Being, whose
inspiration gave us _understanding_, and who has the undoubted right to
resume the gift which he bestowed. We know that all his ways are just
and equal, and that he will not hold us accountable for any act,
committed in the absence of that mental and moral power by which we are
enabled to distinguish between right and wrong.

On the painful and distressing circumstances, by which our ever lamented
and beloved friend is numbered among the silent dead, we will dwell no
longer than to express an entire and unwavering conviction, that her
character and present condition cannot in the least degree be affected
by the manner of her removal from this sublunary state. We have not the
shadow of a doubt, that the spiritual intelligence, which once beamed
upon us with such mild and gentle lustre, and which was, for a short
season, shrouded in darkness, is now rekindled by the same gracious hand
that so mysteriously overshadowed it, to burn, with increasing and
never-ending brightness, with seraphs that surround the throne of God.

It is utterly impossible for the speaker to do justice to the character
of our much loved friend, though it has been his privilege to have known
her worth for nearly thirty years. The circle of christians which, at
the time of his first acquaintance with her, then resided in our
metropolis, many of whom are now in heaven, were distinguished for deep
and ardent piety. Surrounded as they were by fashionable and increasing
errors, they maintained their integrity and held fast their attachment
to the doctrines of grace. The precious names of Mrs. Waters, and Mrs.
Mason, and other aged saints, are embalmed in the memory of many a child
of God. With these venerable pilgrims was associated a young disciple,
who, with all the loveliness of youthful attractions, separated herself
from the world, and consecrated herself to the service of her God and
Saviour. From the prayers and conversation of these aged saints, through
the blessing of God, she seemed to receive a peculiar unction of spirit,
which was strikingly characteristic of her future course. In all plans
of usefulness, which, though small and few when compared with those
which distinguish this stirring age, no one took a more decided and
active part. Her peculiarly affectionate manner ingratiated her with
many, who were won by her mild and lovely spirit to congeniality of
sentiment and effort. Her usefulness at that period, in the sphere in
which she moved, was by no means inconsiderable; but the great Head of
the church had still more important and interesting duties for her to

There are few situations in life that present more promising fields of
usefulness to a pious, devoted female, than that of the wife of a
minister of a united parish. Even the pastor himself, with his
additional opportunities of affording instruction from the sacred desk,
can scarcely exert a greater or a happier influence upon the minds and
hearts of his congregation, than is often produced by the more humble,
but not less important labours of his devoted companion. Her influence
is not unfrequently greater than his, especially upon her own sex, and
upon the tender, opening minds of the lambs of the flock. In the
promotion of benevolent enterprize, by female associations, and in
maternal counsels and prayers for the children of the church, she finds
her appropriate and successful sphere, though upon the whole
congregation, in their varied seasons of prosperity and adversity, her
silent but benign influence is felt like the dew of Hermon, like the dew
that descended upon the mountains of Zion.

From the more diversified and exciting scenes of usefulness in a city
our departed friend was called to the more arduous and self-denying
labours that devolve upon the conscientious wife of the pastor of a
country parish. With what untiring zeal, with what scrupulous fidelity,
she discharged these duties, I need only appeal to this crowded, this
weeping, this afflicted assembly! From lisping infancy to hoary age, the
testimony is one and the same. The children of affliction remember with
affectionate gratitude her tender sympathy and her active benevolence.
With the spirit of her divine Master, it may be truly said, that "in
all their afflictions she was afflicted." Mothers, with their youthful
charge, will never forget her wise counsels and her fervent prayers. The
aged and infirm will pour out their benedictions upon her memory, and
even babes and sucklings will lisp the praises of one, who watched with
maternal solicitude over their cradles, and taught them to pronounce the
name of Jesus.

But, great and painful as this bereavement is to this afflicted
people,--their griefs are almost forgotten, when we turn to the chief
mourner in this scene of deep and heart-rending calamity. God help thee,
my brother!--The God of Jacob, the Angel of the Covenant sustain thee!
That your brethren, your people, the church of Christ, your numerous and
attached friends, feel for you, you cannot doubt. Could they have
averted the dreadful blow, how readily would they have hastened to your
relief. But no human precaution could turn aside the fatal stroke.
Dethroned reason will find opportunity to escape the most vigilant eye,
and to elude the most watchful care. But dwell not, my brother, on
circumstances which were beyond human control, and which affect not in
the least degree the accountability of the dear departed. Bury in the
grave, to which we are soon to assign these precious relics, as far as
possible, the memory of the awful circumstances that attended their
dissolution, and think only of the bright and happy spirit, of what she
_was_, and what she _is_. O! she was every thing which a fond husband
could desire in a companion of his life and labours; truly a help-mate
for him in his temporal and spiritual concerns, in his family, and in
his parish; in the social circle, and in the widely extended plans of
usefulness in which the devoted servant of Christ is sometimes engaged
beyond the limits of his congregation.

My brother, in the repeated domestic bereavements which you have
sustained, you have indeed been greatly afflicted, but you have also
been greatly blessed. To the lot of but few does it fall to have been
united to two such companions to cheer them in their pilgrimage through
this vale of tears.[A] Their sainted spirits are waiting to receive you
to those blessed mansions where reason holds her unclouded empire, where
sighing and sorrow can never come, where death can never enter, and
where sin can never defile.

But not yet, my brother. The Lord hath need of you to work in his
vineyard. From your repeated and heart-rending trials you will be better
qualified, than ever for that important work which the Lord has assigned
you in his American Israel. Go on then, my brother, and spend and be
spent for Christ; and when you shall have performed your appointed
service, you shall be welcomed by those whom you have loved on earth to
the society of the redeemed--to the vision of Jesus--to the presence of

And you, the dear and only child of the lamented dead! My heart bleeds
for you. Your loss is indeed irreparable; but a mother's prayers are
your legacy, and they are better than thousands of gold and silver. How
much she loved you, and how closely you were entwined about the fibres
of her heart, is abundantly evident from the affecting fact, that
maternal solicitude, struggling with departing reason, directed her to
the bed of her sleeping child to bid him a last and long farewell.
Although the affecting circumstances of her removal can never be
obliterated from your memory, think less of them than of the pious
counsels, the holy example, the fervent prayers of your much-loved
mother. Let these dwell on your mind, and they will be a restraint, a
comfort, and a support to you under all the various trials of life to
which you may be called. God bless you, my dear child! May your life be
spared to your surviving parent, to console him in his deep affliction,
and to be the prop of his declining years.

The near relatives of our departed friend claim and receive our tender
and affectionate sympathy. More especially do we feel for that afflicted
sister, who, while she mourns with us on this affecting occasion, has
the additional trial of watching around the sick bed of a beloved
husband, deprived also of the exercise of his reason. May she be
supported, in this season of her deep affliction, by the consolations of
that holy religion, which are neither few nor small.

And may all the relatives and the numerous christian friends of the
deceased, whether present or absent, be graciously sustained under this
painful bereavement, and bow, with humble submission, to the will of

Friends of this Church and Congregation, with you too we heartily

You have been called in divine providence to repeated trials. We bear
record to your disinterested regard to the cause of evangelical religion
in our growing country, in consenting to the arrangement by which, for a
definite period, you have been deprived of the immediate services of
your beloved pastor. You have hitherto had the consolation, and it has
been one of no small importance, of the presence and laborious efforts
for your good of the partner of his life. With what exemplary patience,
with what admirable self-denial, she sustained the peculiar trials of
her situation, watching around the couch of a dying brother,[B]
administering to the comfort of your late youthful pastor,[C] adopting
into her family the orphan and the fatherless,[D] while her best earthly
friend was laboriously employed in the service of the church, are well
known to you all, and ought to be suitably appreciated. How far she fell
a sacrifice to these painful deprivations--to this uncommon self-denial,
is known only to Him, who is best acquainted with the intimate
connection between the body and the mind.[E] That she died in your
service--in the service of her family--and in the service of her God and
Saviour, cannot admit of a doubt. You will delight, I know, to cherish
her memory, to dwell upon her virtues, and to imitate her example.

And now, my respected hearers and friends, it only remains, that we
deposit these precious relics in yonder receptacle of the dead! there to
rest, till the trump of the archangel awake the sleeping dust. Then,
when the millions of the dead shall burst the cerements of the grave, we
doubt not that the bright form of our departed friend, arrayed in
immortal youth and vigour, will ascend to meet the Lord in the air, and
enter with him into his glory.


[Footnote A: Mrs. Sarah Strong Storrs, the first wife of the bereaved
husband, was the daughter of Rev. Nathan Woodhull, of Newtown, Long
Island; married April 2, 1812--died April 6, 1818, aged 25 years.
Eminently devoted to the service of her Lord in life, and sweetly
cheered by his presence in death.]

[Footnote B: Rev. Charles B. Storrs, President of the Western Reserve
College, who left the world for heaven, after five weeks sickness at
Braintree, Sept. 15, 1833.]

[Footnote C: Rev. Edwards A. Park.]

[Footnote D: The two little sons of Rev. C. B. Storrs.]

[Footnote E: Her feelings on this subject are briefly noticed in her
diary. After alluding to the circumstances of the case, and to what she
believed to be the ruling motives of her husband in his request to his
people for liberty to engage in the service of Home Missions, she

"I think in no instance of my life have I felt more entirely willing to
be in God's hands, and to have him dispose of us as he pleases. My
trembling head at times anticipates evil to my dear husband--and my
selfish heart, in anticipating the days and nights of loneliness that
await me, is ready to say,--'How can I give thee up?' But I would not
dare to cherish these feelings. God has an entire right to do with us as
he pleases--and I would love him for doing just as he does. But O!
strengthen us for our coming trials!"]


Mrs. Storrs had been for months declining in health--a fact more evident
to herself than to others, because she still continued to discharge her
usual domestic duties with alacrity and cheerfulness. But often, the
conviction of her mind on this subject extorted from her the remark--"my
constitution is breaking up--I cannot long live." Though the remark had
never fallen from her lips in other years, it was too little heeded by
her friends.

It was on the evening of March 5th, 1834, that she was suddenly seized
with a delirium that indicated inflammation on the brain. A physician
was immediately called, and his skilful applications seemed to be
blessed; the disease yielded; and after a few days, Reason resumed its
seat; not however to hold it as formerly, but only to sway a broken
sceptre, and fill the minds of friends with constant alarms. From this
time till the first of June, the struggle between disease and nature was
constant, and the issue doubtful; but on the whole, it was evident that
the _mind_ was losing its power of judgment, and submitting to the
control of a bewildered imagination.

Her most judicious friends judged it expedient to change the scene, and
try the effect of new objects and the revival of old friendships on her
disordered system. She herself, having been often benefitted by the
fatigues and various occurrences of journeying, consented to the measure
with some cheerfulness. And on the 12th of June, we left our home, and
leisurely pursued our way to the western part of the State, calling
freely on those friends she had long known and loved, and sharing
largely in their kind attentions. But nothing could restore to her mind
its balance. Occasionally cheerful for an hour--but habitually brooding
over some imagined impropriety of conduct, or deficiency of faith and
love, she fancied herself a burden to the world, a curse to the church,
and an alien from God. It was July 7th when we reached home. And by this
time, the disease had advanced so far, as to leave but short intervals
between the ravings of delirium. Her agonies, in her oft repeated
language, were "inexpressible." Her bodings were fearful. And it was on
the morning of the 10th instant, between the hours of five and six
o'clock, that she eluded the long continued vigilance of her family, and
secured time enough to execute a deed, which of all others she most
abhorred when of sane mind--a deed, which she believed to be _right_,
because dethroned reason left her a prey to the imagination that the
honor of God, and the interests of Zion demanded it.

Inscrutable mystery! A more devoted friend of Jesus--a more humble and
self-denying disciple--a more laborious and consistent co-worker with
the saints--a more prayerful and active promoter of the great Cause of
Benevolence--is rarely to be met with in any age, or in any land.

Aside of all the fond partialities of one who for fifteen years has
known the blessedness of the most intimate companionship with so eminent
a child of God, I deem it duty to say, in present circumstances, that
her duties were always her pleasures--her religious privileges, her
sweetest delights--her grand aim, in all things, the glory of God;--her
trust was reposed in his promises alone--her hopes were founded on
Christ--and her only desired reward was, the consciousness of honoring
the religion she professed.

She rests with prophets and apostles. So saith the Spirit, and her works
do follow her.

                                                    R. S. STORRS.

Braintree, July 15, 1834.



Died at Braintree, Mass. on Thursday morning, July 10, MRS. HARRIET
STORRS, wife of the Rev. Richard S. Storrs, in the 48th year of her age.
She was a daughter of the late Mr. Samuel Moore of Charlestown. Her mind
was first deeply convinced of the importance of personal piety in
listening to the sermons of the Rev. Dr. Griffin then minister of the
Park street church. She became a member of the Old South church, when
the Rev. Joshua Huntington was its pastor. The depth of the loss
sustained by her friends and by the church of Christ, cannot easily be
estimated. In her character was that rare union of lovely natural
qualities with intelligent, elevated piety, which sweetens domestic
life; throws such charms over the intercourse of friendship as all
persons can feel but none describe; and which exhibits in a most
striking manner what that state was from which man fell, and to which
the grace of the Holy Spirit can restore him. The path of her life was
covered over with evidences of her kindness. Every where she lived for
the happiness of those around her. Her benign inquiries, her cheerful
footsteps, her sweet smiles, the same in joy and grief, those mysterious
lines on the countenance, which almost ally the sympathies of humanity
to the purity of angels, seemed to say to all whom she met, that she was
their servant for Jesus's sake. She was truly the light and joy of her
domestic circle, shedding the calm and steady lustre of true piety; in
her humility apparently unconscious of the blessings which her presence
afforded; and always prompt to give all the glory of any goodness in
herself and others, to her Lord and Redeemer. She discharged the
interesting obligations, which devolve on the wife of a clergyman, with
singular readiness, kind feeling and success. She was aware of the
responsible and delicate nature of many of her duties, and habitually
looked for guidance to the great Head of the church. He was graciously
pleased to hear her prayers, and to bless her labors. Her name will long
be like precious balm in the hearts of multitudes, who testify, with
entire unanimity, to the value of her labors of love.

For several months past, "her soul has been full of trouble," for she
thought that God had "laid her in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the
deeps, that his wrath was lying hard upon her," "that she was cast out
of his sight, and should never again be permitted to look towards his
holy temple." "She longed for death" and it has come; and we doubt not
that her glorified spirit is in that land where the inhabitant shall not
say "I am sick," where they "hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
and where God shall wipe away tears from off all faces."

The funeral of Mrs. Storrs was attended on Friday afternoon in the
meetinghouse of the first church in Braintree. We never saw evidences of
more unaffected and heartfelt grief, than were exhibited by the large
congregation convened on this occasion. Prayers were offered by the Rev.
Messrs. Gile of Milton, and Perkins of Weymouth, two appropriate funeral
anthems were sung, and a very interesting and affecting address was
pronounced by the Rev. Dr. Codman of Dorchester.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Page 7: Changed hasiened to hastened
  (how readily would they have hasiened to your relief.)

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Address Delivered At The Interment Of Mrs. Harriet Storrs, Consort Of Rev. Richard S. Storrs, Braintree, Mass. July 11, 1834." ***

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