« EelmineJätka »
responsibility of man-as they enunciate the election of a church, and the free offer of eternal life to a guilty world.
Dr. Chalmers was one of the men who left a mark upon their country when they passed away. He lived so as to be missed, and there was not one who gathered up the sympathies of the nation so fully as he did. Sir David Brewster is the only representative of that period who still lingers in the academic halls of his country. He has the same position in the field of Science as Chalmers had in the Church, and worthily presides over the University of Edinburgh. His ripe science, ever so far in advance of his age, has always been reverent. Reason and Faith have had their harmony illustrated in the religious character of this illustrious savant, who always makes his creed as a philosopher, in hope as a Christian. Dr. Chalmers received the interest and respect of Protestant Christendom, and Catholic France made him a Corresponding Member of its learned Institute. His fame was European and American, and when he passed away the echoes of the world pronounced his eulogium as one of the greatest and the best of men.
“I'm apt to think the man
PASTOR AND EVANGELIST.
OME of the most successful preachers of the
gospel have been found in the American
Churches. It is most interesting to know that in a new country,—whose population has been drawn from very varied sources, characterized generally by secular pursuits, and increasing with the greatest rapidity, -men have from time to time been raised up to be the instruments of great revivals, by which thousands were converted to Christ and transformed into godly citizens. One of the latest and not the least of these was Dr. Daniel Baker.
DANIEL BAKER was born on August 17th, 1791, in Midway, Liberty County, Georgia, U.S. His parents were descended from those noble and godly Puritans who sought a refuge in New England from the tyranny of the Stuarts. He was early left an orphan, by the death of both father and mother ; but the hallowed memories of his parents' piety never lost their impression on his mind. He had deep religious convictions in youth, and felt great anxiety about salvation ; but these serious thoughts almost entirely left him when in a house of business at Savannah. The sudden death of a wicked
companion was the means of his awakening. He thus describe sit: “I had been playing cards with him a few nights before; he was then the very picture of health. And is Vanderlot dead ? Oh, dreadful! thought I; he certainly was not prepared. And what if I had been taken ! That afternoon I attended his funeral. I will never forget the occasion: I felt awful. My young companion taken away in his sins !-suddenly and without warning! What, said I to myself, over and over again, what if I had been taken! I was as a blind man whose eyes had been opened just as he had reached the brink of an awful precipice. By the grace of God my soul was thoroughly aroused; my mind was made up, and I resolved that I would no longer neglect the salvation of my soul. I resumed private prayer. I wanted a Bible to read, particularly at night; but I had neither Bible nor Testament, nor was there one in the house. Oh, I would be willing to give almost anything in the world for a Bible!” It was with great difficulty that he could summon courage to go into the book-store to buy a copy of the Scriptures from the clerk, who was one of his companions. At length he entered, and said, “Mills, have you any Testaments for sale ?' adding quickly, “ But I don't want it for myself.” “What a wonder," he records, “the Spirit of God did not leave me at that moment!” That Bible, however, proved his guide; and after he found peace to his soul he was desirous to enter the ministry.
He entered Hampden Sydney College in July, 1811. He had much to learn, as his preliminary education had been scanty; but he studied hard. During his residence at college he found great benefit, as many have done, from the perusal of Russell's “Seven Sermons ;" and he
framed, after the fashion of Jonathan Edwards, several Resolutions for the guidance of his soul. About the same time, also, he joined the communion of the Presbyterian Church. Having become thoroughly decided, he felt great anxiety for the salvation of his fellow-students. His zeal in this was amply rewarded, more particularly after he went to Princeton to study theology. There were only four spiritually-minded students out of one hundred and forty-five. Mr. Baker proposed to his three friends to meet together weekly to pray for a revival of religion in the college. This was continued for two sessions without apparent fruit. At the commencement of the third session a fast-day was to be held, by appointment of the President of the States, on account of the war with England. Mr. Baker suggested to his three companions that they should spend the whole day in visiting their fellow-students and conversing with them on personal religion. The proposition was entertained and acted upon. Some of the students were surprised, others were impressed, and in the evening six new faces appeared at their social prayer. The movement spread, until. about seventy were seriously impressed, and forty-five rejoiced in Christ as their Saviour. A great awakening occurred in the college, and many went forth from that sacred company to become ministers of Christ.
“Two are at the present time distinguished bishops of the Episcopal Church; one has been, and perhaps still is, the president of a college; another, according to a British print, is the greatest divine now living.'” How important is earnest and active piety in a college !
In the case of Daniel Baker, we observe strong conviction, earnest inquiry, decided conversion. Salvation became an object of desire, and a realized blessing. Has the reader been aroused to seek personal salvation ? No sooner did this disciple obtain the peace and joy of believing than he felt great compassion for perishing souls. O Christian reader! is not this the mark of a true convert? Have you
felt and shown the same ? In the fall of 1816, and shortly after his marriage, Mr. Baker was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Winchester. He now entered with all his heart into the work of the ministry, and obtained very great success. It is stated, on good authority, that during his course of forty years, twenty thousand souls were converted by his instrumentality. The same eager desire for the conversion of sinners characterized his whole ministry, as it had done his college life; and God rewarded the single and consistent purpose of his servant.
Mr. Baker, like too many American pastors, did not remain long in any one sphere. He had at first a longing after a missionary life, and for some time became an evangelist at large, as Dr. Nettleton was. His first charge was Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he was ordained in 1818. There he was blessed in a considerable degree. He next settled in Washington city, where he continued
His salary there was small, and he obtained a clerkship in the Land Office; but, though it was too much work, he did not allow this to interfere with his ministerial labours. He preached thrice on Sabbath, besides conducting several services on week nights. John Quincy Adams and General Jackson were numbered among
his hearers at that period. In 1828 he went to Savannah, where, two years afterwards, the Lord blessed his labours with a great revival