Bishop Bowen



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Bowen tells Bishop Chase of the last moments of Philander Chase Jr.'s life and funeral




England voyage, Philander Chase Jr. (dead), Reverend Rutledge


Bishop Bowen’s letter to Bishop Chase on the death of his Son

Charleston March

The 2nd 1824.

Right Revd. & dear Sir,

Your very excellent son expired last night at about 10 o’clock as his constant & most affecte. Attendant the Revd. Mr. Ratledge has expressed himself to me without a struggle or a sigh. He died, I have reason to believe in perfect peace, having been blessed from the Giver of every good & perfect gift, throughout his illness, & even to its latest & most painful moments, with a spirit of the serenest resignation, I scarcely knew how to tender you any sympathy, but in the rejoicing with which, as a Parent, you must receive the intelligence that this truly to be lamented young Man, exemplified to all who knew him, or saw him, in his sickness & even in death, every lesson of piety & faith, which had been so carefully inculcated by yourself, & enforce by the word & good spirit of God upon his heart. He was indeed the instructor of all who approached him, & there are many who, I trust, will long bear upon their hearts the impression which such an instance of the efficacy of a true fatih cannot but have deepy made. It is by his request, my dear Sir, that I take this so early opportunity, even before his remains are interred, of acquainting you with the bereavement, with which it has pleased God that you should be afflicted. “Tell my Father,” said he to me very shortly before his death, “tell my father as early as possible, that to be separated from him thus early, is the bitterest part of death--I had hoped to live to shew him my gratitude & affection: but tell him, strong as I have felt the ties that bound me to life, I have been content, nay I have become glad, that they should be loosened this early; for later, my spirit might not have so rejoiced at God my Savior’s call. The world & it’s interests might have had more power for me, than they yet have had. Tell him, I died in perfect faith in the merits of my Savior, & the mercies of my God; though some times, through the sense of Sin, not unrepented of, though possibly unpardoned, trembling & afraid!” The last time he spoke to me, he asked with a calm & serene expression of countenance, “do you think God will save me?” On my answering that I felt the happiest & most confident persuasion that he would, “then come,” said he, “Lord Jesus! Come quickly & release me!” It has in short to us all, been a most interesting & instructive scene! May God sanctify it ot our good!

It will no doubt be consolatory to you to be informed that your Son had every possible attention paid him as a sick stranger, from his first arrival among us until he breathed his last. The Revd. Mr. Rattledge has been to him a Brother, constant, unwearied, & most tender, watching & attending upon his sickness through all it’s stages, with the most extraordinary fidelity & affection. Nothing indeed has been left undone, that your own affection could possible have dicated--nor was there at any time, any want of any thing necessary to the comfort, or to the recovery of your Son had it been God’s pleasure that he should have been continued in life. It has been his will that you should resign to him, this most inestimable Son. I know you have already been “content to do it.” An opportunity not offering to dispatch my letter, until after the interment of you Son, it is proper to inform you, that we, to day the 3rd, Committed his remains to the ground, with every circumstance & testimony of respect, that became the occasion. A Grave being prepared in St. Michael’s Church at the eastern extremity of the Church, the funeral service was read myself, & the Revd. Mr. Ratledge delivered an address, founded on a passage of Scripture which the deceased had himself pointed ou--& commented on as one which he thought suitable, & from which he wished those who might be assembled at his funeral to be usefully spoken to the effect was all that the Saint departed could have desired. Though dead he spoke to the hearts of many thro’ the forcibly interesting representation which Mr. R. Made of his sentiments & feelings, in dwelling with him on that passage. His funeral was attended by all the Clergy of our Church, & those of the other denominations also generally joined in the procession to the Church & hence, & manifested a Christian sensibility to all the interest which the occasion was fitted so variously to inspire.

Now, my dear Sire, having resigned your Son to God, as into the hands of a faithful Creator, what have we to do but to rejoice in hope of the day, when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, & this mortal immortality! With a sincere interest in your feelings, I remain,

Your friend & Brother

[?]. Bowen

Letter to Philander Chase



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