steady habits had been good, but from this date a higher standard of conduct prevailed. A new direction was given to their thoughts, and the tone of the establishment was elevated by superior motives. While resident in Boston. Mr. David had been attentive to the vigorous doctrinal discussion which divided the community sixty years ago. He had listened approvingly to the preaching of Wayland and Beecher, then in the fulness of their strength. He was persuaded that the doctrines to which these divines gave such prominence were in harmony with the teachings of the New Testament; accordingly, when Mr. David accepted the Evangelical system of faith as the ground of his own hope of God's favor, he acted intelligently. He acknowledged his dependence on the grace of God in Christ Jesus. He recognized the sacredness of the Christian calling. He became a student of the Scriptures, entered the Sabbath School as a teacher, and assumed the responsibilities of sustaining the ordinances of public and local religious worship. In 1846, he was elected deacon in the Congregational Church. He accepted the office with some reluctance, being distrustful of himself, but his counsel and service were of great value to the brotherhood. Intent on improving himself in all the qualities of Christian manhood, he was observant of the great movements of society, and deeply interested in the new and enlarged applications of Chistianity. He followed the operations of the American Board, as new fields opened to the missionaries of the Cross; keeping informed as to the changing phases of Evangelical effort in this and in foreign lands. In this particular he manifested the same accuracy which marked his knowledge of current affairs. He was familiar with the history of the United States and Great Britain, and having a lively admiration of learned men, statesmen, scholars, and divines, he was a reader of biographies. While emulating the excellence which he admired, these stores of information were employed to enliven conversation and to furnish material for public discourses. In the gathering of the people, whether for secular or religious purposes, he was often called upon to speak. His remarks were received with attention, and had weight with his audience, because they embodied the fruits of his study and reflection.
In the meetings of the Church for conference and prayer, he was often very helpful. He had too much reverence for the place and object of the assembly, to indulge in crude and repetitious utterances. He prepared himself for the duty, by recalling the lessons of his own experience or citing illustrations from the wide stores of his reading. His words were well chosen, and his thoughts seldom common-place. In the exigencies of the missionary cause, or on some occasion of special peril to the truth he would bring forward an instance of signal deliverance from similar trial, in the previous history of the Church, or in the lives of her servants. There were those, who might speak with more fluency, or employ a more impassioned manner, but no one spoke more to edification. His prayers also were marked by the same evident thoughtfulness and spirituality. He was not hasty to offer his desires before God. You felt, in following his petitions, that he had a message, and his voice would often be tremulous with emotion as he made supplication in behalf of the sick or the sorrowful; as he prayed for the youth of the congregation, or interceded in behalf of the Church and the country. As an officer of the Church, he was considerate of the feelings and wants of his brethren; visiting the sick, searching out the poor, and practicing a generous hospitality. Ministers of all denominations were welcome to his house, and among his chosen friends there were none held in higher esteem than the ministers whom he loved for their works' sake.
Deacon David was averse to strife and controversy; the convictions which he cherished had been matured by careful study, and he was ready to give them expression on all suitable occasions; but he avoided personal disputes, and the imputations that accompany heated discussion. He knew that these controversies were unprofitable, and he consequently sought "the things that make for peace." When differences arose and bad feelings were likely to be stirred, he was happy if he could remove or allay the cause of alienation.
As a citizen, Deacon David exhibited a hearty interest in the prosperity of the town, and he did not shrink from the duties by which the community is served. He wished to have good schools, well made roads, and all public buildings convenient and in good repair. A modest man, not seeking office for himself, and always ready to commend good service when rendered by others, he did not decline when called to take office. He accordingly acted as a select-man, representative to the Legislature, member of the School Committee, in addition to special services when some interest or enterprise affecting the community was given in charge to a committee to act in behalf of the town.
Socially, his influence was constantly exerted in the promotion of whatever would elevate and improve the aims and habits of his townsmen. He was active in the movement for the establishment of a Library which should be open to all; in the absence of an Academy, he favored the introduction of a High School.
He constructed sidewalks, and along the streets, so far as he had control, shade trees were planted by his direction. He was also careful to maintain the amenities of life, prompt in meeting and reciprocating all social obligations. Somewhat above the medium height, erect but spare in figure, there was a mingling of dignity and sweetness in his expression which won your confidence. The promptness and despatch, which distinguished his methods of business, were manifest in the general ordering of his affairs. The practical forecast, which, anticipates the crowding of engagements, and maps out the work, was seen in the distribution of his occupations. The materials were in readiness for every workman's alloted task. Without formal designation, there was time for study, or the performance of civil or social duty, in the busiest season. It entered into his plans to maintain an order in his reading and recreations. His farm, his buildings, tools, equipage, and the whole estate, were kept in excellent condition. Without lavish expenditure, his premises wore an air of neatness and thrift. He was uneasy if his animals were exposed to ill treatment, and he tolerated no waste. With such habits, it was pleasant to be associated with him in any service. You had not to wait for him. He remembered his appointments. He was in his seat in the sanctuary before the opening of the service. No special message was required to secure his attendance at town meeting. The power of his example was elevating and wholesome, and as we review his life and deplore the loss of his presence and cooperation, it is interesting to hear the frequent and hearty testimonials to his kindness, and fairmindedness coming from men who were long in his employment; while others gratefully acknowledge his friendly counsel and assistance in their youthful days.
In politics, Deacon David was Whig and Republican; he believed in the policy of protecting American manufactures, and, during the most active period of his life, his opinions were in harmony with the sentiments of Mr. Webster. With the dissolution of the Whig party, and the undeniable intention on the part of the South to extend the area of slavery, he became a staunch Republican. On the election of Lincoln he put forth his best endeavors to maintain the government, and when the call was made for troops, he was among the foremost to pledge himself and all that he had to sustain the imperilled cause of Liberty. He encouraged his sons to enlist in the army and two of them entered the military service of the country.
Deacon David had