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ardent desire for the salvation of immortal souls on the one hand, and on the other, a consciousness of my want of those acquirements which I considered necessary to qualify me for the work, kept me for some time in a state of perplexity. “It may not be improper here to mention a remarkable season of prayer, which I once at this time enjoyed. [If these lines should ever meet the eye of any other person, I hope that what I am to relate will not be imputed to vanity or egotism. “Behold, before God I lie not.’] While the subject of preaching was yet undetermined in my mind, after sermon one Lord's day, as was then customary, a brother present, who was far gone in consumption, addressed the people in a very affecting exhortation: after which I was requested to pray. I engaged—but it is impossible for me to describe the scene which opened to my view. Soon after I began to speak, my soul appeared drawn out in an uncommon degree towards God, and the ecstasy of joy that I then felt was absolutely indescribable and full of glory. For a few moments, I apprehended I was about to quit the body. Words flowed as it were without an effort of thought. My language and conceptions appeared uncommonly elevated. When I had closed and opened my eyes, I perceived the assembly almost all in tears. One man cried out in an anguish of soul, ‘ I am undone!” Some others, who had remained in a hardened, stupid state until now, were trembling and weeping. These impressions with some, I have reason to hope, terminated in saving conversion to God. “This gracious manifestation of divine mercy and goodness to me was accompanied with a peculiar
peace and calmness of mind. It was indeed that peace of God, which passeth all understanding. It was a season never to be forgotten, whilst memory holds a place in my breast. It had, moreover, a considerable effect in reconciling me to devote myself to the work of the ministry. In the days of my vanity I had never looked forward to any appointment with such intense desire as I now waited the return of the holy Sabbath, that I might meet with the children of God, and tell my fellow sinners the blessedness there is in believing. “The winter succeeding, we were favoured with a refreshing season. Several were, as we hoped, brought home to God; among them one, who has since become a minister of our Denomination. The church continued united in love, and additions were made from time to time of such as we trust shall be saved. “Although I had generally conducted the religious exercises in most of our public meetings, yet it was not until August of 1782, that I attempted to take a text and preach doctrinally and methodically. The news soon circulated widely, that I had begun to preach; and the next Sabbath many collected from most of the neighbouring towns. Our assemblies were full and attentive, and the prospect highly encouraging, and thus in general it continued. “In the spring of 1783, the church invited me to receive ordination. I consented to be ordained, but not as the pastor of that particular church. It was, however, understood that I should perform the duties of a pastor so long as I should think it proper to stay with them. A meeting was then called, and the subject laid before the town. They unanimously voted to concur with the church, and presented a call on their parts. Arrangements were accordingly made, and a council convened in Canaan, on the 11th of June, 1783, at which time I was publicly ordained to the work of an evangelist. Rev. Samuel Shephard, of Brentwood, (New Hampshire) preached on the occasion from 2 Cor. iv. 7. Rev. Elisha Ransom, of Woodstock, Vermont, gave the charge, and Rev. Samuel Ambrose, of Sutton, (New Hampshire) gave the right hand of fellowship. Some other ministering brethren also assisted on the occasion. “The church enjoyed as great a degree of harmony as commonly falls to the lot of churches in the age in which we live. Additions were from time to time made, until our number amounted to seventy. A considerable portion of these were from the adjacent towns. “I continued my labours with this church seven years, during which time, though principally at home on the Sabbath, I spent much of the intervening time in visiting and preaching in the destitute parts of the surrounding country. There were few towns within the space of fifty miles round, in which I did not occasionally preach. “In this warfare, I went chiefly at my own charges. Some few ini. however, which I visited by appointment of the association, made me some compensation, and some individuals made me small presents; but I do not recollect that during the whole of this period, in all my journeyings, I ever received a public contribution. I usually met with a kind reception from Christians of all denominations; and besides receiving their decided approbation, often, quite often received the following benediction, with a hearty pressure of the hand at parting, —“The
Lord bless you, brother; such men
“My mode of travelling was on horseback. In pursuing my appointments, I had often to climb the ragged mountain and descend the deep ravine. These exchanges, from rocky steeps to dismal swamps, were far from unfrequent at that early period of the settlement of this part of our country. The roads are since so improved, that it would be difficult to persuade the traveller now-a-days that they had ever been so bad as the early settlers represent.
“The people were not, however, so much wanting in kindness, as in the means of assisting a travelling minister. As for silver and gold, the greater part of them had none. The cause for this scarcity of money arose from the particular circumstances of the times. At the close of the revolutionary war, the continental currency, which had before depreciated to almost nothing, ceased. The little silver that remained in the coffers of the rich, was with much reluctance permitted to be drawn from its long sequestered concealment. It hence often happened, that the travelling preacher must either beg or go hungry, if he happened to travel where he was not known. This, however, did not very frequently fall to my lot. I am, however, well aware, that mankind in general are much more likely to remember a single circumstance of affliction, though the suffering be ever so short, than many mercies of long continuance.”
After some years arduous labour at Canaan, Dr. Baldwin received several invitations from destitute churches, among which was the Second Baptist Church in Boston. He visited that place in the summer of 1790, and in the month of November became Pastor of the Church. In that important station he continued till his death, and was made eminently useful. At the time of his ordination the church consisted of 90 members; the present number is 450. During Dr. Baldwin's ministry, he baptized more than 670 persons, who were the fruits of his labours. He witnessed also, two “revivals of religion” among the |. of his charge; one soon after his ordination, and another in 1803; on the first of these occasions about 70 members were added to the church, and on the second, 212. As an author and editor, Dr. B. acquired a high reputation among his countrymen. He commenced the publication of the American Baptist Magazine in 1803, and retained the engagement of senior editor till his decease. He also published several works on Baptism and Communion, and upwards of thirty sermons preached on public occasions. Whilst thus actively engaged in the arduous labours of a pastor, as the editor of an important periodical work, and as a successful polemical writer, it will of course be supposed that Dr. Baldwin received those marks of public attention, which are usually bestowed upon those who rise to eminence in their profession. He was repeatedly chosen chaplain of the general Court of Massachusetts. In 1802, he was appointed to deliver the annual sermon on the day of the General Election. This sermon was received with great attention, and two or three editions of it were immediately printed. In 1803, he was admitted to the degree of Doctor in Divinity at Union College, New York. The degree of Master of Arts had been some time previously conferred upon him by Brown University, Rhode Island. Of this institution he was
first a trustee, and at the time of his decease had been for many years the Senior Fellow. Of Waterville College, Maine, to which he had been a liberal benefactor, he was a Trustee from its first organization. Of most of the benevolent institutions of Boston he was an active manager, and of not a few the presiding officer. At the time of his death, he was president of the Baptist Board of Managers for Foreign Missions, and one of the Trustees of the Columbian College in the District of Columbia. He was a member of the Convention for amending the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the year 1821, and in all its deliberations, specially those which had any bearing upon the subject of religious liberty, he took an active |. and not unfrequently spoke with unusual ability. Dr. Baldwin died suddenly and from home. He had left Boston to attend the commencement of Waterville College, and arrived at Hallowell on Friday, August 26, 1825. The voyage seemed beneficial to his health, and on the succeeding Sabbath he preached twice in the Baptist meeting-house in that town. His text in the afternoon was, Gal. ii. 20. The life which Inow live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. In this his last discourse he bore testimony to the supports, which during his long life he had derived from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He declared that his only hope of pardon and acceptance with God was through the mediation of a crucified Redeemer. With an emphasis which sensibly affected his audience, he adopted as his own the language of his text, and declared, The life which I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. He concluded the services with the 71st Psalm of Watts, 3d part, C.M. and read with great feeling the following stanzas :
God of my childhood and my youth, The guide of all my days,
I have declared thy heavenly truth, And told thy wondrous ways.
Wilt thou forsake my hoary hairs, And leave my fainting heart?
Who shall sustain my sinking years, If God my strength depart 2
Let me thy power and truth proclaim
And leave a savour of thy name
The land of silence and of death
O may these poor remains of breath
His audience felt assured that this was his last testimony to them in favour of the Gospel; but little did they think that he had read or they were singing his requiem, and that the two first lines of the last stanza were so soon to be literally accomplished.
On the following day, Aug. 29, he proceeding to Waterville. He seemed better for the ride, and spent the afternoon in walking over the College premises, and examining the condition of the institution. In the evening he officiated at the domestic altar with peculiar devotion and solemnity, and after bidding each individual an affectionate adieu, retired to rest about nine o'clock. After sleeping apparently well for about an hour, he seemed to awake, and answered in his usual manner, a question respecting his health; he then suddenly groaned and was no more. His usefulness and his life terminated together. Spared the pains of death and the agonies of separation, “he was not, for God took him;” and almost whilst he listened to the voice of affection on earth, the plaudit burst upon his
ear, Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
Every token of respect for the memory of the deceased was shown by the Trustees and Faculty of Waterville College. On Wednesday his remains, enclosed in a leaden coffin, were sent to Boston, attended by the Hon. Mark Harris, of Portland, who had been appointed by the Trustees to accompany the afflicted widow with her sad charge to the place of his former residence. They arrived there on Friday, September 2.
On Monday, Sept. 5, a prayer was offered at the house of the deceased, by the Rev. Stephen Gano, of Providenee. The other funeral services were attended at the meeting-house of the Second Baptist Church by a thronged and deeply affected congregation. The Rev. Joseph Grafton, of Newton, who offered the concluding prayer at the ordination of the deceased, prayed. The Rev. Mr. Sharp, of Boston, delivered the funeral discourse fron Acts xi. 24. He was a good man. Rev. Mr. Wayland closed the services with prayer. The body was then conveyed to the family tomb, followed by thousands, who were anxious to testify their respect for this faithful and distinguished servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We regret that our limits will not allow us to transcribe from the American Baptist Magazine the able and interesting delineation of Dr. B.'s character which is there given. We can only express our sympathy with our transatlantic brethren, on account of the great loss they have sustained, and, our sincere prayer that many such men may be raised up, in the old world as well as in the new, to glorify God, and benefit their fellow creatures.
ON PRovide Nce.
EveRY one who has attended to what passes in his own mind, knows that, though it behoves him to acknowledge God at all times, he is tempted in seasons of ease and prosperity to neglect that duty. But, in times of public calamity or domestic trial, we naturally turn our thoughts to the subject of a Divine Providence. Then we wish to believe what the Scriptures declare, that God doeth according to his pleasure in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; that the minutest concerns are under his inspection—that the hairs of our head are all numbered — and that the death of a sparrow is not omitted in Jehovah's plan. Doubts on the subject are at such times peculiarly painful. Though the conclusions of unaided reason respecting the doctrine of Providence are not of themselves satisfactory; yet is it a most reasonable doctrine. It is clear that the course of human events cannot be the work of chance. To a careless eye, all things appear to be irregular—seem to follow no rule — to be subject to no fixt principles. Life is like a lottery; every man gets a blank or a prize, just as it may happen. Vice is often prosperous, and virtue o Mere accident elevates one and depresses another. Incongruous elements mingle together in society; persons and circumstances are ill matched, as one might conceive to take place in the natural world, if the present order of things were changed, and the dolphin were floundering in the woods, and the lion panting for breath and half drowned in the sea. But most of these incongruities are apparent, not real. The irregularity arises from our ignorance. The law by which these events are governed is undiscovered: the
arrow is beyond us: there is a wheel within a wheel. Much of the confusion to which we refer, disappears when objects are more narrowly inspected; as the motions of the planets, which to the ignorant clown appear a maze of perplexity, are to the eye of the astronomer in order, so perfect and so beautiful, as to give birth to the poetic fancy of the music of the spheres. “Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the kindness of the Lord.” Both in history and daily observation, what a multitude of striking coincidences surprise and instruct us! What seasonable and unlooked for supply of means ! How many steps lead to one purpose ! How often do circumstances gradually prepare the way for an event, working unseen and unsuspected; like the unfolding of the seed which is to produce the plant, or the motion of the sap that ripens the fruit! How often does that which appeared to be the frustration of a purpose, prove the very means of its production I How often has the malignant persecutor defeated himself, .. wrought a web, in which he was himself entangled in such a manner, that every effort he made to extricate himself out of it, bound it the more firmly about him; like him who wanders in the labyrinth of Moeris, and hastening to make his escape, is only the more bewildered and lost, as he passes through galleries, halls, chambers, and courts, to which he sees no end | These things are not the work of chance. Design, plan, regularity, the adaptation of means to ends, the subserviency of many things to one, the meeting of a number of lines in one point, is altogether unlike the operation of chance. In most cases the lowest degree of uniformity is effected by design. The