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clouds. The rays of truth will eventually pierce the thickest darkness of delusion. The scriptural views of Edwards had commended themselves from the first to the Christian conscience of the public, and had been gradually gaining ground. Other pulpits had resounded with the same truths ; other pens had set them forth in brilliant forms. They were matter of frequent discussion in private.circles. Men thought and reasoned and consulted their bibles. Their vision became clearer. The light brightened till it illuminated the entire atmosphere. The church in IIadley, like others shrouded in the same mists, felt its reviving beams. But a more specific cause there wrought its transforming work. Dr. Hopkins was wont to say, “I myself hate the Ilopkinsian scheme, but my five daughters have fallen in love with it." Four of his own daughters, and Martha Williams, the daughter of his wife, who was the widow of his predecessor, Rev. Chester Williams, all married IIopkinsian ministers, - Rev. William Riddell, and Rev. Leonard Worcester, Drs. S. Spring, S. Austin, and N. Emmons, – all clear thinkers; the three last leading New-England divines. These able preachers, accustomed to use great plainness of speech, frequently occupied the pulpit of their father-in-law. By this means the church became somewhat familiar with the Hopkinsian aspects of divine truth, and the IIopkinsian mode of presenting it. The sermons of these royal thinkers and preachers could not have been ineffectual; and so felt the venerable pastor. Ile once requested an exchange with an able minister on the plea that Mr. Spring, Mr. Emmons, and Mr. Austin had preached for him on the three preceding Sabbaths; and now he added, "You must preach on the fourth, so as to let me down easily to preach on the fifth.”
Another cause of the weakening of the Stoddardean principle of church-membership was a revival in the winter of 1804–5. This was much promoted by a young man, himself a recent convert to Christ, a member of one of our colleges
EXTENT OF HIS PARISH.
who was teaching school in the place. About thirty hopefully turned to the Lord, some of whom became the most intelligent and efficient members of the church, and long wrought as devoted co-workers with Mr. Woodbridge.
Such was the field which he was called to cultivate. At the time of his settlement Hadley contained some twelve hundred and fifty inhabitants, most of whom were committed to his spiritual training. The parish and the town were nearly the same in extent. They were pre-eminently a churchgoing people. The single church edifice to which they were accustomed to resort on the Sabbath was spacious and commodious, capable of seating some six or seven hundred, and was ordinarily well filled.
MR. WOODBRIDGE'S QUALIFICATIONS FOR HIS FIELD.
The ministerial qualification which underlies all others, imparting to them vitality and power, is harmony of will with the divine will; an utter abandonment of self-interest to the interest of Christ's kingdom ; a disinterestedness so abiding and exalted that it elevates the possessor into the fixed habit and cheerful purpose of preferring his Master's pleasure to his own; prompting him submissively to say, in view of every duty and at every turn of life, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt." Ilowever acceptable one may be as a preacher of salvation to his fellow-men, no one who is not in harmony with the individual and combined excellences of the Godhead, can be acceptable to him whose “heart of tenderness” yearns to justify the ungodly “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” He aloue is truly qualified to preach “the glorious gospel,” whose soul is filled with such intensity of holy love that he can traverse the profoundest depths of revelation ; walk among the most self-abasing, self-annihilating, and God-enthroning truths, and feel delight in them as objects of highest moral beauty and grandeur ; even rejoice in them as the expression of the sublimest will of the universe, with which he is sweetly conscious that the deepest sympathies of his soul are in accord ; whose mind is so clarified from the mists of sin, so exalted in spirituality, that he has “the vision divine" of spiritual discernment, — that penetration into the interior life of truth which a holy heart alone gives; who not only grasps the truth with distinctness, but receives it into his heart, feels
THE ESSENTIAL MINISTERIAL QUALIFICATION.
its loveliness, appreciates its beauty and richness; so that he can unfold to others not only the letter of truth, but its intrinsic excellence, its hidden wealth, the true spiritual nourishment for spiritual souls. Experimental knowledge of the word, a knowledge which lies beyond the reach of any human agency, which, the illumination of the Spirit by enkindling every moral sensibility, can alone give, is the one indispensable qualification of the minister of Jesus. Without this he may lecture on the gospel, but he cannot unfold its distinctive, soul-elevating and soul-quickening truths in their preciousness to the broken-hearted believer. The attempt will be much like the prating of a parrot ; the truth he utters will not come from the inner sanctuary of the soul, suffused with the raciness and richness of a personal experience.
Mr. Woodbridge had in some good measure this vital qualification. He had given himself to Christ without reservation. He was one with him in spiritual sympathies. He loved his beautiful character for its inherent worth. From the moment of his conversion his soul had been at times filled with transporting views of it. His conception of the God-man Mediator was grand and inspiring; and the joyful adoration of him, one of his most abiding sentiments. IIis love of the Father was one with his love of the Son. Indeed, his affectionate and reverential regard for the Godhead was comprehensive, embracing all his perfections ; it was absorbing, including in itself the love of whatever came from his hand, especially the varied and multiplied truths of Revelation, - that brightest manifestation of his character, that enduring symbol of his presence among men, like the Shekinah filling "the Holy of holies" with light, the token of Jehovah's dwelling with his ancient people. He bowed to its teachings with child-like simplicity. He loved the divine purposes as the only ground of stability in his moral gorernment; and could say with the Psalmist,“ O how love I thy law; ""I delight to do thy will, O my God." In the
rich field of revealed truths he found no favorites ; all, to his view, beamed with the divine beauty. We approved of the promises and the threatenings alike. He reposed on the former with affectionate trust, and prostrated himself before him who proclaimed the latter with reverence and awe. Realizing the heaven-born excellences of the gospel in his own experience, and well knowing both the contrariety of its most precious truths to the taste of natural men, and the reproach to which their faithful promulgation would expose him, it was still the dominant desire of his soul to engage
in the hallowed work. The Bible was his chart, not the preferences of men. Directed by this, he would preach the preaching God had bidden him. The thought that God was glorified he deemed sufficient reward.
Not that he was a perfect minister ; much less, a perfect man. He laid no claim to perfection himself. Others should not claim it for him. While living, his people never required it of him ; why when dead should survivors require it of bim, before he passed to the home of “just men made perfect"? He was himself indeed conscious of great defects, and often "groaned, being burdened” with sin. If it was true of the holy Baxter that he was naturally stern, austere, and irritable," a common censor," often
trouble to the good men of his time;" if it was true of the sacred hymnist and ever honored divine, Watts, that his “natural temper was quick of resentment; ” of Toplady, who sang so beautifully “ Rock of Ages, cleft for me," that he was “a man of violent temper and an overbearing spirit;' of Whitefield, redolent of revival memories, that he sometimes "evinced a vain spirit, and was thereby often betrayed into indiscretions ;” of the excellent Dr. Timothy Dwight, whom all delighted to honor, that his “ will was as immovable as a mountain ; ” of John Wesley, that his “temper was quick, even tending to sharpness ;” of the most exalted scripture worthies from Abraham to Peter, that they fell into great sins; surely the friendly hand that sketches the char