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and life of our moral being. It is a new direction of the will, fixed and progressive. The opposite of that before chosen is now permanently chosen. It is the cordial acceptance of him as Saviour whom the gospel represents as King and Judge of the world ; the unconditional submission to his authority, and the joyful acquiescence in his dispensation of unsolicited mercy.
Trust in him as “ the Lord our righteousness,” is, perhaps, the first element in the soul's surrender ; but implicit obedience to him as our rightful Lawgiver, and a calm repose in him as the holy Disposer of events, are inseparable from it.
God's sovereignty, as used by New England theologians, particularly those of the early part of the present century, had a wide and rich significance. It included not only his right to govern all things and beings in accordance with his supreme excellences, but, specially that immutable love which originated the redemptive scheme; that on which it eternally rests, and from which it derives its efficacy. Take away this foundation — sovereign love - and the atonement has no power to give intelligent peace to the broken-hearted; for such can see no possibility of pardon in any other love. Love that saves the lost must be the spontaneous dictate of the Divine heart. It is sometimes said these divines preached sovereignty, but not sufficiently, Christ." This is really a contradiction. The mistake arises from not fully apprehending that Christ, and free grace through him, were included in their idea of sovereignty ; constituting, indeed, its supreme glory. When one of its adherents exclaimed on his dying-bed, “O glorious Sovereignty! O glorious Sovereignty !” it was a glimpse of free grace in Christ Jesus, which called forth the half rapturous expression. To approve of salvation by Christ and reject divine sovereignty, is in effect to glory in the superstructure and despise the foundation. It is to weaken the comforting influences of the atonement on the soul; to cripple our faith and chill our Christian ardor.
HIS EARLY ZEAL; THE REVIVAL.
Mr. Woodbridge had been trained in these comprehensive views of redeeming grace. His intelligent mind had taken in the wide sweep of the transcendent theme. In casting himself on Christ he cast himself on sovereign love, the exhaustless well-spring of redemption. The atonement thus founded was his trust and the source of his peace. His conversion was clearly the work of the Holy Spirit, moving him to that whole-hearted surrender to God in Christ — that sweet submission, because unreserved submission, which the regenerate alone yield and enjoy. His early religious experience, indeed, much resembles that of President Edwards. The thought of “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God,” awakened in the mind of the latter a new sense of the glory of the divine Being ; that it would be delightful to be “rapt up to him and swallowed up in liim forever." He could say at times, “ I do certainly know that I love holiness." Mr. Woodbridge could say, “If not deceived, I experience delight in the perfections of Deity, in the divine omniscience and sovereignty.” He felt that he loved a God of "holiness and purity, and detested his sins;” at times that he could “repeat with rapture, · The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice;' and his tongue was eager to proclain the praises of Jehovah.”
This new life in his soul worked and glowed. The ardent zeal kindling within shone forth. The surrounding religious coldness troubled him. Referring to the spiritual condition of the people of Goshen in one of his letters to his friends. he exclaims, “ Stupid, stupid, stupid !” and with the feelings characteristic of recent converts so prone to rely on the instrument which God has employed in their own awakening, expressed the desire that Mr. Gould, whose labors had been so signally blessed in Southampton, would take a journey to Goshen, and preach some of his stirring sermons to the slumbering church. IIe soon learned, however, by experience, that God did not need his wisdom in the selection of agencies to promote his cause. A few weeks
afterwards he wrote rejoicingly to his friends, that He whose prerogative it is to triumph over sin had appeared in glory to rebuild the decaying walls of Zion; and describes the work in the most glowing language, attributing it alone to him who reigns, not less in the kingdom of grace than in the domain of nature ; confirming his assertion by the passage, “ It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”
This revival took both pastor and people by surprise. It commenced under the preaching of one of the ordinary sermons of Mr. Hooker, and one which he had before preached to the same people with no visible effect.
Some were awakened by the simple announcement of the text, and others by different expressions in the sermon during its delivery. It was most incontestably the product of the Spirit working by his own truth. Striking and frequent conver- · sions soon occurred. Religion became the engrossing theme. The entire appearance of the town was changed. God's people awoke to renewed activity. The work went gloriously forward; and Mr. Woodbridge, in unison with others, put in his youthful sickle to gather the harvest.
This was invaluable nurture for his future work. Superadding it to, and blending it with, his more intellectual training, — the thorough investigation of the leading topics in natural and revealed religion, together with the composition of well-digested essays upon them ; and with the preparation of popular exhibitions of gospel truths in the form of sermons, both of which were read before his instructor in connection with his fellow-pupils, by whom they were freely criticised; with the frequent exercises of the students among themselves in elocution and delivery; with the practice of their “gifts and graces ” in actual efforts to do good in conference and prayer-meetings; with listening on the Sabbath to sound and earnest proclamations of the gospel, addressed to the several classes composing a promiscuous congregation, especially such as were addressed to
LICENSED TO PREACH.
souls burdened with sin and trembling in view of its consequences, or rejoicing in the fresh experiences of new-born life ; and with the daily intercourse of an intelligent and refined pastor's family, — all combined, constituted a preparation for the Christian ministry which cannot well be surpassed.
Could all our candidates for the sacred office enjoy a similar training, they might well dispense with the more varied literary culture of the theological seminary. Certainly, could they, in addition to the wider range of biblical and literary studies and aesthetic refinement of the seminary, enjoy the practical instruction in theology of a judicious pastor, and work for a twelvemonth under his direction ; especially could they share with him the interest and responsibility of a revival scene, it would constitute a preparatory discipline for the duties of the ministry of a far higher order than the world has hitherto seen. We cannot doubt that the church in the coming “good time” will make effort to secure it.
After remaining some fourteen months with his theologi. cal teacher, he was licensed to preach by the Litchfield Ministerial Association, in the town of Sharon, Conn., June, 1807. He had just reached the middle of his twenty-third year.
FROM HIS LICENSURE TO HIS SETTLEMENT IN HADLEY.
Young and inexperienced, he did not care immediately to assume the responsibilities of a pastorate. He wisely felt that he needed a riper judgment and more practical acquaintance with its onerous and often delicate duties. Пе entered however at once upon his life-work — the proclamation of the gospel. For a longer or shorter period he supplied the pulpits in several towns of Connecticut.
The church in Woodbridge, a town near New Haven and named for their former pastor and his great-uncle, Rev. Benjamin Woodbridge, extended to him a call to become their pastor. He respected the people, but declined their invitation. They were quite Puritanical in their notions, and reverential towards him who sustained to them the relation of ambassador for Christ. The congregation were in the habit of rising en masse when the minister entered the church on the Sabbath, and standing while he passed up the broad aisle into the pulpit, an act which, however commendable, exceedingly embarrassed our young preacher the first time he received the token of ministerial reverence.
For a few weeks in 1808 he wrought as a missionary in the service of the Missionary Society of Hampshire County, Mass. His field of labor was that portion of Jefferson and Lewis counties, N. Y., then called the “ Black River Country." They were at that time in their infancy, and settled mainly by emigrants from New England. A large proportion of them, with the view of turning the hitherto unsubdued wilderness into fruitful fields, and of making homes