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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE will long live in the affections of LATE REV. ABRAHAM BALDWIN. hundreds, whose wayward feet he
guided in the path to heaven. TAE sacred Scriptures are very “Since the summer of 1822, he sparing in their eulogy, of the char- has laboured 119 weeks in the seracter or actions of men. Against vice of the Society, besides pera practice, which may have been forming much gratuitous labour, derived, perhaps, from classic an- in no less than 13 destitute towns tiquity, the subject of this memoir in this state : in four of which, was often heard to express himself churches were formed through his in terms of strong disapprobation. instrumentality, and in nearly all, It was his maxim to “ do what he revivals of religion prevailed to could," and let the facts speak for a very considerable extent. He themselves. A friend would not, seemed · determined to know noththerefore, say any thing of him, ing' among the people where he when dead, that might have disgust- laboured save Jesus Christ and ed him while living.
him crucified. His preaching The following memoir, is little was not with enticing words of more than a collection of facts, man's wisdom, but in demonstration derived from one of his family con- of the spirit, and of power.' His nexions, and from public docu- term of service was short; yet, he ments. These, it may not be im. accomplished much, for he was a proper to introduce, by quoting the man of prayer and God was with paragraph in the Report of the him ; and we would hold him up Directors of the Vermont Domestic as an example to our future misMissionary Society which notices sionaries, as combining, in happy his death.
union, the rare qualifications of a "Where is our beloved BALDWIN, devoted servant of Christ in the who addressed us, and warmed our missionary work." [Report Sept. hearts, on the occasion of the last 1826.) anniversary, and the detail of whose ABRAHAM BALDWIN, son of Elifaithful and successful labours has sha and Clarissa Baldwin, was born filled our four preceding Reports, at Goshen, Connecticut, May 1st, with deep interest. He has been 1792. He laboured most of the summoned from his work, and has time on a farm, till he was twentygone to his reward ; and while we two years of age, when he combow in pious submission to this mys- menced his literary pursuits. His terious providence, we cannot for youth was characterized by fondbear a tribute to his memory, who ness for study, which, after the Vol. I.-No. IX.
fatigues of the day, he made a dicating that some disease preyed practice of pursuing till a late hour upon his constitution. But he at night. Énergy, and the habit of permitted it not to be increased by finishing what he undertook, was imaginary ills. Disorders, which a prominent trait in his early char- would have consigned others to acter. He rather delighted in diffi- their graves, prompted him to accult, not to say hazardous enter- tion as their best remedy. He prizes, and usually achieved them was accustomed to look much at with alacrity and success. He the leadings of Divine Providence. made many attempts to pursue his Hence he seemed to himself, callstudies regularly, which he was ed to the journeyings and fatigues obliged as often to relinquish. of a missionary, in order to preserve Application of a few wecks, seem- his life, and establish his health. ed entirely to derange his bodily His labours in Vermont greatly system, and impress the marks of contributed to this object. disease upon his countenance. In June 1822, he was licensed But his desire to obtain an educa. as a candidate for the gospel mintion was insatiable, and the thought istry, by the North Association of of abandoning it forever was re- Litchfield County. Shortly after, volting to his feelings. At this an acquaintance was formed with time he had no very definite object the writer of this sketch, who, be of pursuit for after life, but was ing convinced that an “ excellent resolved to obtain a livelihood by spirit was in him," proposed that in bis education. He was at length a few weeks Mr. B. should accompermitted to finish his course of pany him to Vermont, and in the preparatory study, and entered mean time that application should Yale College, in the year 1816. be made to the Directors of the Ju. His attention was called to the venile snow Domestic) Missionary concerns of his soul previously to Society for a commission to labour this event, while pursuing his studies in the northwestern counties, borat Sharon ; and he saw himself a dering upon Lake Champlain. ruined sinner, with nothing to Mr. B. had heard of this Society, screen him from the divine dis- and declared himself deeply interpleasure. It was not long, in the ested in its operations. He said judgment of charity, before he had the leadings of Providence seemed laid down the weapons of his re- to direct him that way, and he bellion, submitted to Jesus, and expressed a willingness after confound peace in believing. After sultation with his friends, if they ward, clouds of darkness and thought it advisable, to labour in doubt were for a season resting this field. A rich harvest had upon his mind, and his hope was then been recently gathered, in shaken. He was even made to those places where ministers were tremble on the brink of despair. settled, and the compassion of both But by degrees the clouds vanish- ministers and private Christians was ed, and the Sun of Righteousness moved for the souls perishing for again broke into his soul. He lack of vision, in the destitute united with the church in Yale towns, interspersed among them College : was graduated with the and on their borders. class of 1820 : and pursued his By the last of July, Mr. Baldwin theological studies with the Rev. had entered the missionary service Joseph Harvey in Goshen. Du with all the zeal which had characring the whole period of his seden- terized his early pursuits; and tary life, he suffered much from ill though in feeble health and sub. health ; his countenance always in. ject to violent attacks of disease,
he was never heard to complain, or to the edification of many feeble speak a desponding word.
churches." During the first ten weeks he By his Journal of 27 weeks, laboured principally in the towns returned in April, it appears that of Cambridge and Underhill : he his field of labour was in Underhill, also visited Shelburne, Coit's-Gore Cambridge, and Coit's-Gore. The and Fletcher : preached thirty- spirit of the Lord seemed in a speseven sermons; attended twenty cial manner to accompany his laother meetings, and visited forty- bours, and in each of these places seven families, besides assisting at some were made the subjects of an installation. His activity led renewing grace. him to every place where duty “In Coit's-Gore,” he says in his seemed to call, and especially journal, “ a gradual and interesting where he might obtain counsel in work of divine grace has been goregard to the furtherance of his ing on during the greatest part of work. Considering the small num- my mission. Sixteen persons have ber of sermons he had previously expressed hopes. For many years prepared, his efforts during this past, fishing, hunting, and visiting period were such, as led the Direc- have been practised on the Sabtors of the Society, in their meeting bath, by a great part of the inhabwhen the Journal was given in, to itants, with but little, if any respeak of them with astonishment. straint. Profaneness and gambling He attended the annual meeting were carried to an alarming height. of the Society at Rutland, though There was only one person in the at a distance from his scene of la place belonging to a congregabour, received appointinent for fur- tional church, when meetings were ther service, and instructions res. first established. I preached in pecting the fields of his exertions. this place every third Sabbath, and These instructions were rather pe- also had a stated meeting every culiar, being named very much to week. The people came together accord with the wishes which Mr. in crowds. The first religious imB. had expressed to a member of pressions that seemed to be lasting, the Board : viz. that he should originated in a meeting of inquiry. not be confined to a particular A man about thirty-five years of place, unless there appeared to be age, came to the meeting out of an immediate prospect of a reyival curiosity, to see how it was conof religion there, and in case such ducted, and an arrow of conviction a prospect did appear, that the reached his heart He went home place should not be left, although in distress, and for the first time the proportion of time allotted to it prayed in his family. A few days should have expired. It was not after he found peace in believing. his wish to go from place to place, From that time the work spread without having accomplished some- and increased, and it became very thing. To be made the instrument evident that God was there, by the of saving souls from eternal death, special influences of his Holy Spir. seemed to be his great object and it. In the meetings which I athis leading passion.
tended, there were no outcries, or In the annual Report to the So- great bursts of animal feeling, but ciety in September 1823, is the fol. an awful stillness usually pervalowing statement. “Mr. Baldwin ded the assembly. A congregahas performed the term of service tional church has been organized, assigned him, very much to the consisting of twelve members: sever satisfaction of the Directors, and males, and five females.'
The term of service for the last most to an individual. It was truly sixteen weeks, just now completed, a favoured time. It was evident says the Report above mentioned, that God was there, by the special has been performed in Colchester influences of his Spirit. They who and Shelburne.
were present seemed willing to "In Colchester, the hearts of adopt the resolution “Let us rise Christians were warmed and ani- up and build.” In a few days from mated by a spiritual influence, that time, sinners were heard mafollowed by a precious harvest. king the inquiry, “Men and brethThe work was short but very in- ren, what shall we do ?” Four teresting. The number of hopeful persons have expressed hopes ; conversions is about thirty-five. and a considerable number appear Three individuals of this number to have serious impressions. The belong to adjacent towns. They last meeting that I attended in this came to Colchester to spend a few place, was peculiarly solemn and days, and attend our meetings, and interesting." went home rejoicing in hope. In In the history of Mr. Baldwin's the afternoon of the first Sabbath labours, we are now come to an that I preached in this place, there important era. Having been nearwere evident tokens of the divine ly two years a candidate for the presence in the midst of the assem- gospel ministry, he began to look bly: the impenitent appeared to forward to the solemnities of ortremble, and Christians were en- dination. As he was willing still, couraged. From that time the to serve as a Missionary among the work increased for about ten weeks destitute in Vermont, it was his and then gradually declined. The wish, and it was judged proper by first hopeful convert was an aged the friends of the Missionary Sociman, a native of Ireland, in the ety that he should be ordained as ninety-second year of his age. He an evangelist. He therefore for came to this country in the revolu- a little time, devoted himself to a tionary war, and was a soldier du- review of systematic theology, prering its continuance. He had been paratory to examination. During noted for his profanity and wicked this time the character of his mind, ness: the change effected in him, and the habitual state of his social appears to be very great and won- and religious affections were exhibderful. He appears to have be- ited without disguise. The qualicome a humble and devout Christ. ties also were disclosed, which peian. The greatest number of hope. culiarly fitted him to be a missionful conversions during any one ary-respect and attention to the week was six or seven. Nine of feelings of every one, inoffensivethose who have expressed hopes ness and carefulness in little things, have already united with the con- and freedom from singularities, gregational church.
which made him an agreeable in“The first Sabbath I spent in Shel. mate of every house. Where he burne, at the close of worship, the once called, and conversed on the members of the church were re- subject of religion, his visits were quested to tarry until after the con- commonly desired again. His ragregation had retired. It was then pidity of thought, and aptness of proposed that a prayer meeting illustration, from the every day should be appointed for the special occurrences of life, and the comobject of praying for the outpourings mon objects around him, gave peof the Spirit of God upon that place. culiar advantage in his unwritten A meeting was accordingly appoin- discourses, to awaken and fix the ted. The church assembled al- attention, and bear upon the con
sciences of the very auditory be- but in his holy and righteous sovfore him. The elements and es- reignty, things were ordered othersentials of divine truth, but es- wise. There have been a few pecially of Christian duty, were cases of hopeful conversion. From wrought into the constitution of his persons, mostly belonging to consoul, and the habits of his life. Du- gregational churches in the neighring the first part of this cessation bouring towns, a church has been from missionary labours on week organized consisting of twenty three days, (for he still spent his Sab- members. Public worship is now baihs gratuitously at Shelburne,) regularly attended on the Sabbath, in the intervals of relaxation from and a great change appears to be study, and especially at his meals, taking place in the religious charhe allowed himself to indulge in acter of the town.” It was while that pleasantry and glow of social labouring at this place, on the 21st feeling, which, when properly chas- January 1824, that he was ordained tened by Christian principle, is so as an evangelist, by the Northgrateful and useful to literary men. western Association of Vermont, But toward the latter part, he be at their meeting in the town of came deeply thoughtful and anx. Essex, County of Chittenden, near ious, would frequently chide himself the centre of his former labours. as an unprofitable servant, and lit- As public notice had been given of erally sighed to be again upon the the expected event, many people missionary field.
from the destitute towns, where he Being providentially disappoint had “ gone preaching the gospel of ed of ordination at the time and the kingdom," came together to place expected, he made the re- see him who had “ cared for their flection that it would “be all for souls," and to witness the solemni. the best," and the same day, the ties of the scene. By an officer of door opening for him to enter the Missionary Society, present on Ferrisburg, he there resumed his the occasion, he was directed to work with systematic and zealous continue doing what he had already efforts. Soon his labours in Shel. begun to do :-to visit the destitute burne were brought to a close, by in their habitations, talk with them the increasing demand for service by their fire sides, collect them in on the new fallow ground, which, little circles of inquiry respecting hitherto uncleared and unsown, he the soul's salvation, preach the was now attempting to break up. gospel to them, and to “know Nine in all, were reckoned the fruit nothing among them, save Jesus of his labours in Shelburne, some Christ and him crucified.” In doof whom are now pillars in their ing this with singleness and simplilittle Zion. Respecting his first city of heart, he was encouraged exertions at Ferrisburg, his journal, to think that the Holy Spirit would quoted by the Directors of the give efficacy to his ministrations, Society says ;-" The gracious in- and grant him the happiness of fluences of the Spirit have been those who turn many to righteousshured in some small degree. Soon ness, and who shall shine as the after I came to this place, the num- brightness of the firmament and the ber in our meetings rapidly increas- stars for ever and ever. ed. A peculiar stillness pervaded From this time our missionary the assembly, and solemnity seem seemed fully equipped for the sered to clothe every countenance. vice, and his zeal received a new Strong hopes were entertained that impulse. Soon his labours were God was about to appear in his commenced in Monkton, a destimighty power to build up Zion: tute town adjacent to Ferrisburg,