|W. H. Greer, Ohio to Rev Dr Denham, [?]: includes essay
|Irish Emigration Database
|Greer, W. H/14
|Magnolia, Ohio, USA
|Rev Dr Denham
|T 1988/4A-C: Copied by Permission of Sir Robert Staples, Lissan, Moneymore, Co. Tyrone.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by LT, 15:03:1994.
|Magnolia, Stark County, Ohio
June 17, 1867
Rev Dr. Denham
Highly venerated Sir
Accept the very warmest emotions of my heart for your
goodness in so promptly writing to me. I cannot describe the cheering
sentiment which, I trust, will not soon pass away. I shall carefully
preserve it and be encouraged by it in travelling to the end of the
journey of life, and try to prepare for a better---to meet in Glory the
dear friends esteemed on earth. The privilege of spending a few days
with you would have been very precious to me.
For months I had been fondly hoping our meeting
together would be of some duration, but alas! how short and transitory
like all things of earth. It would have given me pleasure to talk for hours over the times and circumstances connected with our memory of Brigh
those days in which we enjoyed your very useful instruction your exemplary
walk and conversation. That example which has been the object of my
imitation day by day since then vivid on my memory as if present with you
during this long absence of three and thirty years.
Permit me here to ask a few simple questions to
satisfy a venerable curiosity, viz. How did you like Brigh neighborhood?
Was it not a remote place for a stranger and a man of educated taste?
Who could have been your associates there? Every man almost, seeks
companionship. You, however, had your duties of an order higher than earthly.Intelligence was somewhat limited in that community.
County Cavin [Cavan?], I think, was your birthplace? Which was
the nearest village or Town to your native home? How many brothers and
sisters had you and did your Mother yet live when you came to Brigh? I
can remember your Father preaching there on one occasion. Is the present
Mrs. Denham your first wife or is she an other [another?]? Have you any
children? What is your age? Can you remember your frequent evening preachings at Ardtrea and other school houses? Pardon these strange meanderings of thought, because my mind loves to dwell on those early recollections.
From your sound and healthy appearance you must have
known hardly any sickness and taken great excerise in the open air.
"Dr. Denham is a venerable man, with a fine head
covered with snowy hair. He is over sixty years old, yet looks hale and
fresh and possesses a benevolent nature, which beams from kindly blue
eyes, and sings in a voice unimpaired by use." Such are the remarks of
the Cincinnati Commercial correctly told. I received a paper containing
the sermon referred to in your letter delivered at the 1st Presbyn
[Presbyterian?] church. Act VLLL-5 "Then Philip went down unto the City of
Samaria and preached Christ unto them". I wish I could have been present and enjoyed the sweet privilege of hearing the whole of that sermon, and looking upon that wonted style and jesture [gesture?] so familiar to my boyhood: and drawn the comparison between now and then. Such is life! One week previous I sat in the same Church, at the same hour, hearing another, "We know but little, and if we get to Heaven, shall find, that not the half, nor the thousandth part had been told us." In this sentiment you strike my own most earnest faith. What think you of Dr. Gurley? He certainly is no ordinary man. We have some very able men in America too. "We are getting near the end of the journey - but the nearer the better". These are precious words - fitly spoken I thank you for them.
There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner
In regard to myself, would say to you I am Fifty three years old -
was born in June 1814, have been getting along in worldly matters very well, have gathered together a comfortable living, have a full supply of all the wants of life. I have an eligible wife - of respectable family, belonging to this part of the country. We have four children, healthy, well formed, and of good disposition - had five, but death took from us a beloved daughter - nearly two years ago. This was a sad mar to our happiness. None but those who know can fully sympathize with them who weep their lamented dead. There is an awful barrier between the living and the dead.
You must not think me skeptical [sceptical?], but much deep study on this mysterious subject makes me incline to believe that death is death until the resurrection - total death - like sleep is sleep. I may not have
scripture to arrive at this conclusion, but such is the bent of my
persuasion. The difference would be but little to the departed as a
thousand years with the Lord is as one day - ten thousand as a moment of
time - a mere flash.
But to the living it reconcils [reconciles?] - in a measure, the
bereavement in pondering over the supposed knowledge and employment of those removed by the hand of death. You may think my theory wild, but perhaps it is better to have such meditations than not to think on the subject at all. And even if this conclusion be true, it does not change our responsibility in the least degree, but only restores in us a peace, in believing that our loved one only sleeps or rests until the resurrection, "forgetting what it was to die" - having no remembrance of the time and kindred of earth.
You will be ready to say, I have forgotten my catechism "The soul
of believers, at their death, immediately pass into glory"
I wish I could enjoy your presence and hear your precious counsel
a few days.
What a pity a person like yourself could not make a visit to the
home of a friend! I had a wish of the most ardent kind, to invite you
home with me, but I knew, full well, under the surrounding circumstances,
of pomp, tumult and fashion - how preposterous the attempt.
The overwhelming display and grandeur of a place like Cincinnati
govern a man into the objective case, "and make him content to bear the
ills we have".
I feel unsatisfied that our interview was so short. I did
hope to enjoy an opportunity to exhaust my most curious interrogations
and impart to you a full assurance of my unfeigned respect and esteem.
The veneration of a well disposed boy toward a worthy minister -
associated too with the endearing scenes of his boyhood is very exalted. In justice to my own feelings I deserved a better chance of conversing with you, but I cannot attribute blame to any other than myself and fate, that I did not obtain it. Had you been in possession of my frame of mind I know you would have favored my wishes had it been possible. You have the power still to do me much good by writing to me. Perhaps you can write from New York and now and then from Londonderry? Give me a description of your own feelings connected with the days and years you resided at Brigh starting in life as a young Minister - your early impressions of the place and people as a stranger among them: and may the saving influence of our great Redeemer abide with us forever.
Yours W. H. Greer
While engaged writing to you I felt very happy - imagining myself
present with you, but now that I lay down my pen and bid you farewell
forever I feel sad. It is a solemn thought that I shall never meet you
again on earth.
I ask you to pray for my salvation, and forget not to write to
me and point me again to the merits of that Precious Savior of whom you
spoke to us in Brigh. "Come now to Jesus for holiness, pardon and joy,
and may God bless us in Christ forever" and may it be our privilege at
last, to know the joyful sound "Come ye blessed of my father."
W. H. Greer