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HIS EARLY DEVELOPMENT.
are really dull or inactive, but their activity is internal, like the fire glowing within an iron casket. In childhood we look for sprightliness, a liveliness of motion and a vivacity of spirit, now and then breaking forth into the irrepressible joyousness of existence and bounding away with frolic and glee; and when a child is inactive and meditative; when, instead of quickly kindling with thoughtless gladness or rushing with headlong delight into the sports common to his age, he is often found in silent musing, poring over books above his years, or listening to intelligent conversation, or standing with thoughtful, dreamy cyes cast to the ground, or gazing away into the clouds or the starry cope, apparently dwelling in a world of his own, a sort of enchanted land peopled with the objects of his own still enjoyment, the superficial regard him as dull. Such was the judgment passed on John in his childhood. The neighbors thought him less intellectual than cither his brother or sister, whose temperaments were more lively and sportive. Even his mother, observing his preferences, once expressed to his father the fear that he was not bright.
Though not overflowing with fun and roguery like his brother, he was not entirely destitute of these qualities. Ilis mother once said to him, John, carry the tea-kettle down into the cellar-kitchen.” “I can't, mother ; I shall drop it if I try.” The command was repeated more peremptorily. He took it up, saying, “I shall certainly drop it I know I shall ; ” and carried it along to the top of the stairs, where, sure enough, it somehow escaped from his hand, and down it rolled the long flight, thumping and clinking to the bottom ; and John's voice was heard over the din, "There, mother, I knew I should let it fall, and down it's gone."
Ilis first teacher was Anna Bates, who afterwards married Samuel Edwards, and became the mother of the late Prof. B. B. Edwards. While she boarded around among the families of the district whose children she taught during
the week, she made his father's house her home for the Sabbath. John had just reached the age suitable to begin school. But through timidity he was at first unwilling to attend, — an unwillingness increased perhaps indirectly by the known opinion of his father, who doubted the competency of a female to superintend the instruction of youth. length, his timidity and his father's scruples being overcome, he commenced ; and soon became much interested, and learned rapidly to the great delight of his parents. He went through the spelling-book the first term.
Ile never gave his teacher trouble. IIe was exceedingly conscientious and open-hearted. When he had done anything wrong he would not equivocate or attempt concealment, but would say quickly, “ Di'nt, di'nt, di'nt mean to do so." In childhood he had an impediment in his speech, which in a measure troubled him through life. So passed liis childhool and early youth — "the still creative days of the whole future man.”
He fitted for college mainly at Westfield and Deerfield academies. He entered Williams College in 1800 at the age of fifteen, and graduated in the class of 1804. This was the largest class that graduated from Williams previous to 1847, and contained several brilliant young men.
We will name only Luther Bradish, LL.D., of New York, and Nathan Ilale, LL. D., of Boston. Others became distinguished clergymen and jurists. For the two first years Woodbridge was indolent and became discouraged. Ile applied to his father for permission to leave college. Consent was given. He went to Dr. Fitch, the president, to ask for a dismission. “Why is this?” he was asked. “I feel discouraged, sir ; I think I had better leave, and my father has given his consent.” Why, Woodbridge," replied the fatherly presi
you must not think of this for a moment. pect you to be a man; and you can, and must be a man. Resume your studies and persevere in them ; be in earnest; and at the end of your college course you must stand among
the very best scholars of your class.” He was so moved by these cheering words, that he abandoned his intention and resumed his studies. About this time, also, he wrote an essay which surpassed his own expectation. It was much applauded. This likewise encouraged him. He became thoroughly aroused, and started forth with renewed earnestness in the pursuit of learning, and never loitered more. When the appointments were made out for Commencement, the Faculty were divided in opinion whether the Valedictory ought to be given to Iloratio Waldo, John Woodbridge, oi Sylvester Burt, a townsman of Woodbridge. It was finally assigned to Waldo. But the decision was so unacceptable to the class, that no valedictory address was pronounced. As a Commencement exercise Woodbridge delivered a poem, which was well received.
FROM HIS GRADUATION TO HIS LICENSURE.
Nor having experienced, as he believed, the great spiritual change indispensable to the proper discharge of the ministerial office, he determined, on leaving college, to engage in the study of law ; for which he had, in some respects, special adaptations. Ile first entered the office of Jonathan Porter, Esq., of lIadley; afterwards, the office of Hon. George Bliss, of Springfield ; in both of which he continued not far from a year. While pursuing his law studies he wrote several political essays, which appeared in a paper published at Springfield ; and which, falling under the notice of the distinguished statesman and orator, Fisher Ames, received his warm commendation.
But neither the study of the law, in many respects pleasant to him, nor legal or political distinction in prospect, satisfied him. IIe had that stirring within him which turned his attention to divinity and the ministerial work. A mother's prayers had doubtless much to do with this change of purpose ; how much, eternity alone will disclose.
This we know, that the incense of prayer had long risen from her own private altar and the social altars of her sisters in Christ, whom she had solicited to unite with her in the petition, that this dear son of the covenant might become a minister of the New Testament. It is also evident that he did not take this step from any disgust or weariness of the law. The technicalities and the details of the profession may not have been altogether agreeable to his taste, yet he ever held the science and its honorable practice in high estima
REVIVAL IN SOUTHAMPTON.
tion. His own expression, “My mind under the divine guidance took a new direction,” alone reveals the controlling cause. God had higher work for him to do; and in the silent chambers of the soul was preparing him for it. Hitherto, however, he had no consciousness of the new birth ; while seriously disposed, he had no evidence of reconciliation to God.
Late in the autumn of 1805, or early in the ensuing winter, he left the office of Mr. Bliss, and returned to his father's house in Southampton. Ile entered into the scenes of a remarkable revival of religion there in progress, and which continued through many months, thoroughly penetrating the public mind and remoulding the whole town. It was long afterwards spoken of as “ The Great Revival." Neither this church, which had been repeatedly refreshed with the rain of the Spirit, had ever experienced anything like it in extent and power; nor had the surrounding churches been equally watered since the wonderful display of divine grace witnessed in Northampton under the ministry of Jonathan Edwards, sixty-five or seventy years before. It created a generation of workers for Christ, who by their reverential and zealous piety long rendered the church one of the most efficient for its size in the land. It gave stimulus to every good influence, the pulse of which is beating to-day in the hearts of multitudes on earth, and trembling in the hallelujahs of untold numbers already gathered home. The wealth of such a refreshing can only be estimated in the wider visions of eternity.
The character of a religious revival is little less important than the revival itself. Profitless excitement on religion is as possible as profitless excitement on other subjects. The genuineness of such seasons is matter of degrees. They may be purely the effects of the Holy Spirit. They may be the product of human zeal working on excitable temperaments. A decided work of the Spirit may be vitiated with human alloy. Even the character of