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Full text of "Memoir of Joseph Badger"






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* 
MEMOIR 









REV. JOSEPH BADGER 



BY E. G. HOLLAND. 



IRD EDITION. 



NEW YORK : 
C. S. FRANCIS AND CO., 252 

BOSTON : BENJAMIN H. GREENE, 124 WASHINGTON ST. 
1854. 




i s 






Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by 

MRS. ELIZA. M. BADGER, 

In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of the United States for the Western 
District of New York. 



DAMRELL & MOORE, 

PRINTERS, 
16 Devonshire Street, Boston. 



PRE FAC E. 



THE present volume is the Memoir of a man and a 
minister whose character was strikingly individual, 
whose services to Religion in its more liberal and un- 
sectarian form were large and successful ; and in the 
denomination to which he belonged, no man was more 
generally known, and none, we believe, ever acted a 
more prominent and effective part. The writer of 
this has endeavored to set forth the life and senti 
ments of Mr. Badger, to a large extent in his own 
language. Much of his journal must be new even to 
old acquaintance, as it was written many years ago, 
and no part of it has ever been published. To those 
who would be pleased to read the outlines of the 
greatest theological reformation among the masses 
which the nineteenth century may justly claim, we 
trust this volume will be welcome ; likewise to all those 
who may be liberal and evangelical Christians. Aged 
men, contemporaries with him, will rejoice in the revival 
of past scenes, and the young will be taught, encour 
aged, and warned by the paternal voices of the de 
parted. 

Two classes of great men figure effectively on the 
stage of the world. One class are strongest in writing. 



IV PREFACE. 

Their written words embody the entire elegance and 
power of their minds. Such were Webster and Chan- 
ning. The other class are strongest in speech. Their 
personal presence, their spontaneous eloquence in oral 
discourse, alone express their mind and heart. Such 
were Clay, Henry, and Whitfield. To the latter 
classification Mr. Badger unquestionably belongs. 
Though the marks of superiority are variously appa 
rent in his papers, it was in the more natural medium 
of oral speech that his genius shone. Having now 
completed the task demanded by my duty to the family 
of Mr. Badger, I would, in the name of the self-sacri 
ficing, trusting faith of which he was no common ex 
ample, send forth this volume to the world, hoping that 
in an ease-loving age, the presentation of a Lutheran 
force in the example of a son of New Hampshire may 
serve to awaken in others a kindred energy. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. BIRTH AND ANCESTRY. 
II. CHILDHOOD. 

III. YOUTH AND EDUCATION. 

IV. CONVERSION. 

V. CALL TO AND ENTRANCE UPON THE MINISTRY. 
VI. PUBLIC LABORS IN THE PROVINCE. 
VII. TOUR TO NEW ENGLAND, AND PUBLIC LABORS. 
VIII. ORDINATION AND PUBLIC LABORS. 
IX. PUBLIC LABORS MARRIAGE -TRAVELS. 
X. LABORS AND SETTLEMENT IN WESTERN NEW YORK. 
XI. THOUGHTS AND INCIDENTS OF 1819 AND 1820. 
XII. WRITINGS MARRIAGE TRAVELS. 

XIII. CORRESPONDENCE VISITS AT ANGELICA WITH D. D. 

How, THE MURDERER SERMON AT THE GALLOWS. 

XIV. JOURNEY AT THE SOUTH PUBLISHED JOURNAL. 
XV. MINISTRY AT BOSTON. 

XVI. FOUR MONTHS LABOR IN THE COUNTIES OF ONONDA- 
GA AND CAYUGA, NEW YORK, IN 1828 AND 1829, 

WITH OTHER PARTS OF HIS PUBLIC LlFE, EXTEND 
ING TO MAY, 4832. 

XVII. EDITORIAL LIFE. 
XVIII. GENERAL VIEWS. 



VI CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XIX. MINISTRY PUBLISHED WRITINGS AND IMPOR 
TANT EVENTS FROM MAY, 1839, TO MARCH, 1848. 

XX. RETIRED LIFE READING TRAVELS DEPARTURE 
1848 TO 1852. 

XXI. OUTLINES OF CHARACTER. 

XXII. ADDRESSES SERMONS REMINISCENCES VIEWS 
OF CONTEMPORARIES. 

XXIII. REFLECTIONS. 



MEMOIR. 

CHAPTER I. 

BIRTH AND ANCESTRY. 

IN so young a world as America, it has been held 
unsuitable for persons to spend much time in the 
tracing of pedigree, or to found important claims on 
family descent ; nor can it accord less with the common 
sejise of mankind than with the republican genius 
of the world, to say, that every genuine claim to human 
esteem is founded in character. In this is rooted every 
quality that can, of right, command the reverence of 
man. But, as character is not exactly isolated and 
independent of ancestral fountains, from which the 
innate impulses, capacity, and tendency to good and 
evil have flown, the subject of ancestry justly belongs 
to the history of every man s mind and life. Our an 
cestors flow in our veins. We retain them more or 
less in our characters always, so that the great stress 
which different countries have put upon this theme, rests 
on other than artificial and ostentatious reasons. In 
nature, below man, the various circuits and orders of 



8 MEMOIR OF 

being do nothing more than to repeat ancestral forms 
and habits, to which the sweet rose, the eagle, and the 
strong-armed oak, are perpetual witnesses ; and though 
man, by his God-like faculty of will is lifted out, in a 
great measure, from this necessity, he is so far a deri 
vation from the past, that he ought to be seen in his 
connections with it. We therefore introduce the sub 
ject of Mr. Badger s ancestry as the chief part of the 
first chapter of this book. 

Joseph Badger, the subject of this memoir, was a 
native of Gilmanton, Strafford county, New Hamp 
shire, born August 16th, 1792. From an early manu 
script of his I copy the following lines : 

" Mj father, Peaslee Badger, was born at Haverhill, 
Mass., 1756. He was the son of General Joseph Badger, 
who was a native of that place. When my father was 
nine years of age, his father removed to Gilmanton, N. 
H., where his family was settled, and where my grandsire, 
General Joseph, ended his days in peace, in the- year *of 
our Lord 1803. The good instruction I received from him, 
before my ninth year, will never be effaced from my 
memory. His name will long be held in remembrance as a 
peacemaker, and a great statesman. Every recollection 
of him is a fulfilment of the sacred passage ( The 
memory of the righteous is blessed. 

"In 1781, my father was married to Lydia Kelley, 
born in Lee, N. H., 1759. She was the daughter of 
Philip Kelley,, who, in the triumphs of faith, departed this 
life the llth of June, 1800, at New Hampton, N. H. 
For the space of thirty-six years my father resided at 
Gilmanton. In our family were nine children, five sons 
and four daughters. I was the fourth son, and the old 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 9 

general, of whom I have already spoken, selected me as 
the one to bear up his name. I was accordingly named 
for him ; but alas ! I fear I have fallen greatly below his 
excellent examples." 

Among his ancestors, there can be no doubt, that he 
most resembled, in mind and body, the venerable man 
whose name he bore. The personal form of Gen. 
Joseph Badger, as described in history, in which he is 
represented as nearly six feet in stature, somewhat cor 
pulent, light and fair in complexion, and of dignified 
manners, answers most aptly to the subject of this 
memoir ; nor is the correspondence less perfect, when 
his mental qualities of foresight, order, firmness, tact, 
and generosity are considered. " As a military man," 
says the faithful pen of history, " General Badger was 
commanding in his person, well skilled in the science 
of military tactics, expert as an officer, and courageous 
and faithful in the performance of every trust. With 
him order was law, rights were most sacred, and the 
discharge of duty was never to be neglected." 

Hundreds, into whose hands this volume will fall, 
will never forget the promptness and the courageous 
efficiency with which Rev. Joseph Badger met every 
public duty, and every great emergency ; and though 
his field was the ministry, and his soldierly skill that 
which referred to the Cross, none who ever knew him 
can cease to remember the ready, natural, and com 
manding generalship by which his entire action and 
influence in the world were distinguished. He did not 
float with the wave of circumstance, but carefully laid 
out his labors into system, always having a purpose and 
1* 



10 MEMOIR OF 

a plan ; and not unfrequently did his active energy and 
position in life, amidst many difficulties, remind one of 
a campaign. No mind, acting in the same sphere, was 
ever more productive in ways and means. Though a 
clergyman, he was a general, and one, we should say, 
of no common tact and skill. 

His father, Major Peaslee Badger, with whom the 
writer of this memoir was acquainted, was a man of 
strong mental powers, quick perceptions, and of great 
vivacity. The quality last named, for which the sub 
ject of these biographical sketches was so generally 
distinguished, is readily traceable to his father ; and 
the same remark in regard to quickness of perception 
might also apply, but for the fact that the mind of the 
son was more intuitive, and that he possessed both the 
qualities spoken of in a greater degree. Joseph Badg 
er, though at heart deeply imbued with the solemnity 
and importance of all that belongs to the Gospel of 
human salvation, was no anchorite in spirit, no despond 
ing meditator on man or his lot ; he wore no form 
alities of a pretending sanctity. He had the good 
fortune never to have lost his naturalness ; and I think 
I never saw one in whose nature was treasured a 
greater fulness of social life. It was apparent that 
Major Badger had a memory that was strong even in 
advanced years ; that he was a general reader, and had 
reflected very independently ; that, though capable of 
tender emotions and kindness of heart, the intellect 
had pretty full ascendency over his sympathetic nature ; 
and that, in social feeling, in affection, in fineness of 
nature, and in general sympathy, his son possessed the 
richer inheritance. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 11 

His mother was a Christian, and judging from her 
letters, was an affectionate woman, of good plain sense, 
and rich in sympathy and maternal care. Father, 
mother and son are now in the spiritual world.* 

As there are several public men wearing the family 
name of Badger, and as there are different branches of 
the same original family that in an early day exchanged 
their home in England for the then comparative wilder 
ness of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, in obedi 
ence to the spirit of adventure that drew, in those 
times, the most earnest and enterprising persons to the 
New World, I have thought it proper briefly to present 
the lineage of Rev. Joseph Badger from the settlement 
of the first family of this name in Massachusetts ; in 
doing which I shall not rely on uncertain tradition, but 
on the published history of Gilmanton, N. H., and on 
the Memoir of Hon. Joseph Badger, both of which are 
now before me. From these authorities it appears that 
the Badger framily is of English origin, that its founder 



* Mrs. Peaslee Badger died 1834, at Compton, Lower Canada. 
Major Peaslee Badger died at Gilmanton, N. H. M. P. Cogswell, in 
transmitting the news of his death, says "I now have the painful 
duty to perform of giving you information of the decease of your hon 
ored father, who died at Gilmanton, October 13, 1846, at 12 o clock 
at night, and was buried on this day, the loth, in the old family burial 
ground, by the side of his father and mother. The Rev. Daniel Lan 
caster preached a good discourse at our old Smith Meeting House, 
from Ecc. 12:7; he spoke well and feelingly of the Major; of his 
high order of talents, of his remarkably retentive memory of the 
Scriptures, and so forth. Thus has our honored father gone down to 
the grave, as said Mr. Lancaster, like a shock of corn fully ripe in its 
season, at the age of 92 years and six months, lacking nine days. The 
day was beautiful for the season ; Gov. Badger and family, as likewise 
all the relatives in Gilmanton and vicinity were present, and the 
whole scene was solemnly impressive." 



12 MEMOIR OF 

was Giles Badger,* who settled at Newbury, Mass., 
previous to June 30, in 1643, only twenty-three years 
after the landing of the Pilgrims. His son, John 
Badger, a man of much respectability in his day, was 
by his first wife, the father of four children, only three 
of whom, John, Sarah and James, lived to arrive at 
years of responsibility, the first having died in infancy. 
His first wife, Elizabeth, died April 8th, 1669. By 
his second wife, Hannah Swett, to whom he was married 
February 23d, 1671, he had Stephen, Hannah, Nathan 
iel, Mary, Elizabeth, Ruth, Joseph, Daniel, Abigail 
and Lydia. Both of the parents died in 1691. John 
Badger, Jr., a merchant in Newbury, married Miss 
Rebecca Brown, October 5, 1691 ; their children were 
John, James, Elizabeth, Stephen, Joseph, Benjamin 
and Dorothy. Joseph was born in 1698. 

Joseph Badger, son of John Badger, Jr., was a 
merchant, in Haverhill, Mass.,t and married Hannah, 
daughter of Col. Nathaniel Peaslee. Among his seven 
children was General Joseph Badger, whose usefulness 
and excellence of character are strongly expressed in 
the pages before me. He married Hannah Pearson, 
January 31st, 1740 ; their children were twelve in 
number, among whom was Major Peaslee Badger, the 
father of the subject of this memoir, and the Hon. 
Joseph Badger, Jr., the father of Hon. William Badger, 
late Governor of New Hampshire. Several of this 
name have been distinguished for ability, and have 

* The History of Gilmanton, from the first settlement to the pres 
ent time, 1845. By Daniel Lancaster, p. 256. Also, Memoir of 
Hon. Joseph Badger, p. 1. 

t See American Quarterly Register, vol. xiii, No. 3, p. 317. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 13 

held important positions of public duty. Some have 
been active in the defence of their country, some in the 
cause of education, the administration of justice, and 
the affairs of political life ; and like the distinguished 
men of New Hampshire generally, they mostly seem 
to have had strong natures, with characters marked by 
native vigor and original force. 

South of the White Mountains some fifty miles, and 
near the Lake and River Winnipiseogee, is the old town 
of Gilmanton. As the mind of Mr. Badger, during 
his childhood in this place, was lastingly impressed by 
the society and instruction of his uncle, I have thought 
best to copy the presentation of his character as found 
in the published history of Gilmanton. 

" In the early settlement of Gilmanton," says Mr. Lan 
caster, " no individual was more distinguished than Gen. 
Joseph Badger. He was born in Haverhill, Mass., Jan. 
11, 1722; and was the eldest child of Joseph Badger, a 
merchant in that place, who was one of the wealthiest 
and most influential men of that town. In the time of 
the Revolution, he was an active and efficient officer, was 
muster-master of the troops raised in this section of the 
State, and was employed in furnishing supplies for the 
army. He was a member of the Provincial Congress, and 
a member of the Convention that adopted the Constitu 
tion. He was appointed Brigadier General June 27th, 
1780, and Judge of Probate for Strafford county, Decem 
ber 6th, 1784. He was also a member of the State Coun 
cil in 1784, 1790, and 1791. 

" He was a uniform friend and supporter of the institu 
tions of learning and religion. He not only provided for 
the education of his own children by procuring private 



14 MEMOIR OF 

teachers, but he also took a lively interest in the early 
establishment of common schools for the education of chil 
dren generally. Not content with such efforts merely, he 
did much in founding and erecting the Academy in Gil- 
manton, which has been already a great blessing to the 
place and the vicinity. He was one of the most generous 
contributors to its funds, and was one of its Trustees, and 
the President of the Board of Trust until his death. In 
structed in his childhood, by pious parents, in the princi 
ples of religion, he early appreciated the blessings of the 
Christian ministry. Having become the subject of divine 
grace, he publicly professed religion, and espoused the 
cause of Christ. As he was a generous supporter of the 
institutions of the Gospel, so to his hospitable mansion 
the ministers of religion always found a most hearty wel 
come. While the rich and great honored him, the poor 
held him in remembrance for his generous liberality. 
His whole life was marked by wisdom, prudence, integ 
rity, firmness, and benevolence. Great consistency was 
manifested in all his deportment. He died April 4th, 
1803, in the 82d year of his age ripe in years, ripe in 
character and reputation, and ripe as a Christian. The 
text selected for his funeral sermon was strikingly charac 
teristic of the man. And behold, there was a man 
named Joseph, a counsellor, and he was a good man and 
a just. " 

Rev. Joseph Badger had indeed a noble ancestry ; 
and, in natural ability, in creative and executive intel 
lect, in force of character and in general usefulness, he 
is probably unexcelled by the worthy examples that in 
past time may have shed honor upon the name. I 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 15 

have dwelt thus long on the parentage and ancestry of 
Mr. *B., not because I regard the tenacity of the 
Jewish race on the subject of lineage, nor the general 
excess of oriental homage to departed fathers, but 
because we appreciate the law of cause and effect, as 
it is manifested in the course of hereditary descent, 
which forbids that any man s written history shall begin 
like the priesthood of Melchizedek, successionless and 
without descent. 

In approaching another chapter, the early life of 
Mr. Badger, perhaps nothing is more strikingly appro 
priate to the reader than the exclamation which stands 
as the first line of an old manuscript from his own 
pen, with which he begins his personal narrative, viz. : 
" What a mystery is Isfe!" Ah ! who can wrestle 
with this wonder so as to exhaust it of its marvel- 
lousness ? Who can explain the innate genius, and 
impulse, with- the endless play of outward circumstance, 
that so constantly drive these human myriads on to 
their various destiny ? Scribes can record what out 
wardly transpires ; and even the reason can do nothing 
more than to look through the cluster of outward 
development we call man s history, to its centre in the 
inward life, where, though it may see the harmonious 
relationship of the facts to the soul whence they have 
flown ; where, though it may perceive the combination 
of mental and moral qualities that make up the man, it 
is at last obliged to own the impenetrability of the veil 
that hides the genius that has taken individual form 
for some end of its own ; and through the whole drama 
of man it owns that life is enacted" in the temple of 



16 MEMOIIl OF 

mystery. Mr. Badger s written journal, among its 
opening paragraphs, has the following quotation : 

" T is Heaven s decree, in mercy, that mankind 
Should to their future destiny be blind ; 
Impatient man rejects his present state, 
"With eager steps to meet approaching fate, 
Yet would the future, in perspective cast, 
Display the exact resemblance of the past ; 
When o er the stage of human life we range, 
The scenes continue but the actors change." 



CHAPTER II. 



CHILDHOOD. 

THE town of Gilmanton, which is only forty-five 
miles from Portsmouth, sixteen from Concord, and 
eighty from Boston, is, to a great extent, of rocky and 
hilly surface, having within its limits a chain of emi 
nences that vary in height from three hundred to one 
thousand feet, called the Suncook Range, which com 
mences at the northern extremity, near the Lake, and 
extending in a south-easterly direction through the 
town, divides the head-springs of the Suncook and 
the Soucook rivers. These fruitful highlands, covered 
in their early state with various kinds of hardwood, 
interspread with ever-welcome evergreens, have some 
commanding positions ; especially the one called Peaked 
Hill, from whose summit the observer discovers within 
the area of his extended prospect the State House of 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 17 

Concord, the Grand Monadnock,* in Jaffrey and Dublin, 
the Ascutney,f in Windsor, Vt., the Moosehillock, in Co 
ventry ,J Mount Major, the highest summit in the town of 
Gilmanton, and Mount Washington, || which is the high 
est of the White Mountains. It was amidst scenery like 
this that the early unfolding of the mind of Joseph 
Badger occurred, where the spirit of beauty which 
everywhere finds mediums of influence and approach 
to man, found some romantic symbols of her presence, 
with which to impress the tender mind. Nature, which 
is everywhere the hundred-handed educator, is an 
agency not to be omitted even in speaking of child 
hood, for children see it from the heart and learn from 
it unconsciously. But entering the field of personal 
incident, let us listen to his own recorded memories. 

"I cannot describe, as some have attempted to do, 
what transpired when only two or three years of age ; but 
when four or five, I most distinctly remember going with 
my sisters on a visit to my grandsire s, Gen. Joseph 
Badger. It was but a few miles, and there being a 
school near, I consented through much persuasion to re 
main and attend it. The departure of my sisters was to 
me the severest trial I had known, one of whom however 
remained to comfort me. Here new and strange things, 
of which I had never before heard, presented themselves 
to my mind. At evening the family and servants were 
all called in. I was much surprised at the gathering, and 
inquired the cause. My sister told me that we were 
ab out to attend prayers. My young expectations were 
raised to see something new, as before this I had never 

* 3,450 ft. high. f 3,320 ft. J 4,636 ft. 

$ 1000 ft. l| 6,314 ft. 



18 MEMOIR OF 

heard of anything of the kind. Whilst we were assembled, 
the old gentleman with the greatest solemnity leaning over 
his chair with his face to the wall prayed some time. I 
knew not what he said, nor to whom he spoke. His 
speaking with his eyes shut, and all the rest standing in 
profound silence, excited much anxiety in me for an ex 
planation. As soon as this new scene had closed and we 
had retired, I remember having asked my sister to whom 
it was that my grandsire had been speaking. This to me 
was a mystery, as I saw no other standing by him. She 
told me that he spoke to God I saw at once from her 
description that I was wholly ignorant of such a Being. 
She also told me that there was a place of happiness and 
misery, that all the good people went to heaven, and that 
the wicked must be burned up. I thought my sister Mary 
the happiest person in the world, because she knew so 
much about those great things ; and young as I was, the 
story she told me tilled my mind with solemnity; whilst 
the view she gave me of the certain doom of the wicked 
caused me to weep much, for I thought that I was one of 
that number. Impressions there made, and ideas there 
formed never wore off my mind." 

" But another scene opened to my view, which also 
much surprised me. As there were several small children 
about the house, they were all called up at evening to say 
their prayers. They repeated the Lord s prayer, with 
some additions. This made my young heart tremble, as 
I thought they were all Christians, and I knew / never 
prayed in my life ; and further, I knew not what to say. 
After all the rest had gone through their prayers, I was 
called up. My grandmother asked me if I ever prayed. 
I answered that I never did. She then told me to say 
the words after her, which I refused to do, from the feel 
ing in my mind that the name of God was so holy and so 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 19 

great that I could not speak that word. I wept aloud as 
she enjoined on me this practice, and was finally excused. 
I very much dreaded to have night come again. For 
several nights I was excused, and listened to the others ; 
but finally she insisted on my praying, telling me plainly 
that I should be made to pray. That night she prepared 
a large whip and applied it to me severely several times be 
fore I would submit. At length I repeated the prayer, and 
from that time adopted the practice regularly. Through 
the influence of my sister, I was afterwards induced to 
thank my grandmother for the whipping, though I now 
think some milder measures had done as well." 

In those stern Puritan days, the whip was far from 
being an idle instrument in teaching the rebellious 
young the fear of the Lord. Whatever was accepted 
as duty in religion, had no compromise with the diver 
sity of taste and inclination in the families of the 
faithful. The reader, I think, will be unable to with 
hold his admiration from the naturalness of the question 
which the child asked in relation to whom it was that 
the praying man was speaking ; and he will hardly fail 
to see the difference between his first religious devotions 
and the free appeal of ancient Scripture in saying, 
" Choose ye this day whom ye will serve," as the 
choice was made for him, and the rod was virtuous 
enough to see it enacted. He remained at this place 
about two years, making considerable proficiency in 
learning, and, as he thought, some in religion. Among 
these, his childhood s musings, was the wonder that he 
never heard his father pray, and why his brothers, who 
were older and of more understanding than himself, 
never talked about God. " It is still a great cause of 



20 MEMOIR OF 

lamentation to me," said he in riper years, " that men 
of understanding dwell no more on the glories of the 
great Benefactor. In my opinion, a sense of religion 
should be early awakened, as first impressions are 
lasting, whether for good or for evil, and often appear 
in future years as the governing influence, as the 
foundation of future action. Ask the vilest man that 
whirls along in his career of evil, if he never thinks of 
the warnings, instructions and prayers of his fond 
parent in early days, and if he answers candidly he 
will say that they often arise to his condemnation. The 
destinies of different men are always teaching the 
worth of that holy wisdom which said, Train up a 
child in the way he should go, and when he is old he 
will not depart from it. In glancing back at the 
religion of my childhood, I find that I was uncon 
sciously Pharisaical, and leaned on the virtue of my 
prayers and good works, although in the mixture there 
was a great degree of sincerity and of heartfelt repent 
ance. Although I was wholly ignorant, probably, of 
the true love of God, I have always thought that, had 
I then departed this life, I should have been happy." 
I have alluded to the fact that Major Peaslee 
Badger was not a pietist, and that in his family were no 
religious forms. At this time, and some years after, 
his mind, revolting from the ordinary theological 
teaching of the day, was inclined to a degree of gen 
eral religious unbelief. The minds of the children 
were not softened and controlled by religious reverence, 
the absence of which is usually followed by a degree 
of rudeness in regard to all religious form. But, fol 
lowing the child Joseph to his own home, now that he 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 21 

had learned to love the voice of prayer, we find him 
for a time determined in the way he had learned. 

" On my return home," says lie, " I missed my praying 
grandfather and his religious instructions, which had been 
frequent and impressive. I also missed my devoted grand 
mother, by whose side, as the silence of night came down, 
I had kneeled in prayer. Here I was lost, as our family 
had no form of religious worship, and their minds were on 
different subjects. For a long time I kept up my form of 
prayer, but at last, from two reasons, fell from my stead 
fastness, which were, that my school-mates none of them 
ever prayed, but made much fun of me for this practice ; 
and my elder brothers, on knowing that I could pray, used 
to coax and hire me to do so, and then subject me to much 
laughter and derision for doing it. Here I left my religious 
exercise, which had served to keep my mind in a good 
moral state ; and a reaction soon followed, that found me a 
noted swearer, using the most extravagant expressions that 
one of my age could easily command ; a course in which I 
was encouraged by my father s hired men, who used to re 
ward me with much praise and laughter. I well remember, 
when eight years old, of being in the company of several of 
Mr. Page s boys, who lived near my father s. Amidst my 
swearing, they, being very steady, began to rebuke me 
and to warn me of my danger. At first, I resisted their 
discourse, but the force of their arguments was such that 
I was compelled to yield. This restored me from my 
wicked habit, brought back my former feelings, and many 
a time did I think of it afterwards. It w r as also very 
remarkable that in 1815 I should preach in the same place 
and administer baptism to one of those young men. Dur 
ing this dark interval of which I have spoken, there 
were times in which I had solemn reflections ; sickness 



22 MEMOIR OF 

and death, when I heard of them, brought to my mind 
my former promise, and my thoughts always arose to my 
Creator whenever I heard the voice of thunder." 

" When I was eight or nine years of age, I attended a 
singing-school, in which I made rapid progress in the art, 
sharing as I did, in common with our family, all of whom 
were natural singers, a passionate love of music. With 
this new employment I was greatly pleased. In the sum 
mer after I was nine, I remember going to the Friends 
meeting. There was a small society in town, much de 
spised by the popular. Their dress and manner were 
new to me. It was thought in those days a dreadful thing 
for a woman to speak in public ; and this was the first 
time that I had ever listened to a female voice in meet 
ing ; and notwithstanding the prejudice through which 
education had taught. me to view them, the persons who 
spake left on my mind the impression of their sincerity. 
Not far from this time, I went to the Congregational 
church to hear Mr. Smith. My father inquired, on my 
return, if I remembered the text, to which I replied in the 
negative. He then asked me if I could give him one 
word the minister had spoken, to which I responded that 
he said several times rambling wolves, a part of the 
discourse that I could not have forgotten, as I had heard 
stories of wolves and was afraid of them. I inquired his 
meaning, when some of the family replied that he spoke 
of the Free-will Baptists, who he said went about like 
wolves, and much disturbed and deluded many good and 
honest people. The occasion of this assault, as I after 
wards learned, was the great success which attended the 
preaching of Elder Kendall and other of Christ s minis 
ters in Gilmanton and the adjoining town, where the 
happy effects of the Gospel were being seen and felt." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 23 

It is indeed an old story in history, that the power 
ful and established party in religion, medicine, science 
and politics becomes proscriptive toward the new and 
the weaker organizations, a fact which cannot be 
ascribed usually to the erroneousness of any one form 
of faith, so much as to the natural proclivity of human 
nature to lord it over the weak when put into posses 
sion of influence and power. Thus the persecuted 
parties turn persecutors as soon as they win the 
summit of command ; and they who have tyrannized 
without a scruple, will at last plead for the sanctity of 
individual rights as soon as they are the subjects of 
the same oppression. But even these fierce winds of 
bigotry are able in some degree to purify. The .young 
and proscribed sect gets humility and earnestness. A 
zeal and an enthusiasm also spring up that give them 
power over the hearts of men. They grow noble 
through their sacrifices and reliance on God, 

lt Not long after this several of the young people went 
to hear the Free-willers, as they were at that time styled. 
I accompanied them to the meeting, which was held in a 
private dwelling, in a retired neighborhood, and composed 
apparently of poor people. I thought they must be as 
bad as I had heard them represented. They prayed, they 
wept, they exhorted with much fervor and pathos, and 
notwithstanding I so much hated their manners, something 
reached my heart that robbed me for the time of all light 
ness and irreverence. Robinson Smith was the minister 
who spoke at this meeting, a strong, healthy man, of unu 
sually clear and commanding voice. He spoke with 
power. Some of our company returned in solemnity of 
spirit, whilst others derided the scene we had witnessed. 



24 MEMOIR OP 

Shortly after this, among my early reminiscences of Gil- 
manton, was a weekly conference, in which various per 
sons spoke, offered prayers, and related their experience 
in things pertaining to religion a meeting to which I 
was led sometimes from the examples of others, some 
times from curiosity, and sometimes from an inward desire 
to possess what Christians said they enjoyed. Thus was 
my early nature swayed by strong emotions, sometimes to 
good and sometimes to evil." 

These pages, quoted from a private journal, written 
more than thirty years ago, nearly conclude all that 
pertains to his early life in Gilinanton. I have lin 
gered thus long on these early years, because every 
man is indicated by his earliest development cer 
tainly that part of him which may inhere in the natural 
character. It is true that man s latest period contains 
all his previous stages, somewhat as the earth, we now 
inhabit contains the marks and proofs of all its previous 
states ; yet, it is not given us to see the historical 
succession in man from a glance at the matured result. 
We follow the steps of nature, in whose procedure 
childhood and youth are not only illustrations of the 
substantial genius, temperament, and character, but 
are powerful causes in the performance of the re 
maining acts of life s drama. In these early years of 
Joseph Badger, a strong emotional nature is exhibited 
a nature that could not be inactive one that was 
easily reached by earnest moral and religious appeal, 
and one that overflowed in a wild excess of energy 
whenever the finer restraints of reverence were cast 
aside. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 25 



CHAPTER III. 

YOUTH AND EDUCATION. 

ABOUT this time, 1801, Major Peaslee Badger con 
templated a change in his plans of life, the execution 
of which removed the subject of this memoir far away 
from the lovely waters and the romantic hills of his 
native town in New Hampshire. It also removed him 
from the various advantages of the better social influ 
ence and culture which belong to an older form of 
society ; but it also rewarded him with the freedom, 
hardihood, and self-reliance of forest life. 

Anxious to make farmers of his sons, Major Badger 
resolved to further this purpose by selling his farm in 
Gilmanton, and by making a more extensive purchase 
in a new country. At this early time, when emigra 
tion had not directed its course to the valley of the 
Mississippi, and when the attractions of Iowa and 
Minnesota lay sealed up for a future development, the 
mind of Mr. Badger was directed to the fertile wood 
land region of Lower Canada, which at that time was 
regarded as the best parfc of the world. To this 
region he accordingly made a journey, was much pleased 
with the country, and, after selling his farm in Gil 
manton, which he sold for between four and five 
thousand dollars, he again visited this section of the 
king s dominions, in company with his eldest son, 
where he purchased eight hundred acres of the best 
of land. Only a few families at this time resided in 
2 



26 MEMOIR OF . 1 

the town. Leaving his son and several hired men to 
wage the war of industrious labor on the primeval 
wilderness around them, he returned home, and 
recruiting himself with new forces, and taking with 
him all necessary farming utensils, with several yoke 
of oxen, hastened to join the company that were 
already at work in turning the wilderness into a fruitful 
field. When he had arrived within eighteen miles of 
his land, a wilderness of wide extent spread out before 
him. No road was visible. Sending some of his men 
forward as surveyors, and setting others to work in 
cutting a road through the woods, he continued slowly 
his progress ; and, finally receiving some assistance 
from the inhabitants of the town of Stanstead, *and 
augmenting his company with the addition of those 
who had been laboring on his farm, he went forward 
with the road with great courage and success, building 
several bridges across large streams, and conquering 
every obstacle in the way till an excellent road was 
completed through the whole distance to his farm. It 
has since become a highway of great travel, and is 
known by the name of the Badger Road to this day. 
This brave pioneer opened the way for the settlement 
of the town. Building a small cottage for temporary 
convenience, they prosecuted their work with zeal 
for several weeks, when they constructed a house for 
permanent residence, the best that had, at that time, 
been built in the town. These preparations being 
made, Major Badger returned to convey his family to 
their new abode, in the town of Compton, Lower Can 
ada, for which place they set out in February, 1802, 
in eight sleighs, laden with provisions and furniture, 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 27 

and after nineteen days of slow and expensive jour 
neying, experiencing the alternations of good and evil 
fortune, they arrived on the 4th or 5th of March at 
their new home in the woods. Woman is ever the 
natural conservative, loving her established and long- 
tried home. 

" My mother/ says Mr. B., " was much opposed to the 
new arrangement, which caused her to leave her kind 
friends and neighbors ; but such was her fortitude that 
none discovered her feelings. In taking leave of our na 
tive town and near relatives, the greatest solemnity filled 
my heart. Many wept at our departure, and I could 
scarcely bear up under the grief I felt in leaving the 
place of my birth. As we arrived at our new habitation, 
and my mother viewed her lonely palace, she could no 
longer suppress her feelings, but sat down and wept, 
whilst my sisters were also sad, and murmured somewhat 
at the new prospect before them. I wondered that my 
father should think of living in the midst of a forest, but 
thought that what others could accomplish, we could cer 
tainly do." 

The contrast between the cheerful society and 
scenery of Gilmanton, and the solitude of this wood 
land region, which was swept by colder winds than the 
climate of the east had known ; the isolation of the 
place, which required a journey of seventy miles to 
purchase the necessary grains for seed and family 
consumption, were calculated to awaken a deep feeling 
of loneliness, and at the same time to invigorate the 
spirit with new energy and promptings to personal 
efiorts. But man s nature is flexible, and easily bends 
to every variety of condition. As soon as the news 



28 MEMOIR OP 

of their arrival had spread, nearly all the inhabitants 
of the town came in to greet them in a friendly visit ; 
and soon spring unfolded in all its gayety of woodland 
gem and costume, whilst all the company became 
laborers to the extent of their respective abilities. 
Joseph, now ten years of age, who had known nothing 
of work, learned his first lessons in the sugar groves 
of the new farm. Soon they became contented with 
their situation, and the woody solitudes gave cheering 
proofs of transition, as extended acres appeared to 
view, ready to bear the verdure of the meadow, or the 
harvests of golden grain. On each side of the Coata- 
cook river lay four hundred acres ; the eastern swell 
was called Mount Pleasant, the western, Mount Inde 
pendence. Here, in a few years, they reaped a large 
prosperity from the productive earth. In the journal 
of Mr. B. I find a notice of the total eclipse in 1806, 
the effects that followed it on the agricultural prospects 
of that country, and the melancholy though tfulness 
which the day inspired in his own mind. The effect 
was great, according to his statement ; so much so as 
to be sensibly felt through the seasons. Fourteen 
acres carefully planted with fruit-trees and grafted 
with the best of scions, yielded nothing to reward the 
toil of the laborer. 

In the general picture here presented, the reader 
may see the theatre of action occupied by the young 
man who was destined in future years to impress great 
numbers with his own ideas and sentiments. Doubt 
less there are in the world some conventional minds, 
who, hastily deciding all things by local prejudice or 
capricious fashion, would hold it impossible for genius 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER 29 

and power to hail from any but certain favored locali 
ties ; from college routine, and the aids of walls of 
books and of titled professors. But this is not the 
way in which the goddess of force and faculty distrib 
utes her gifts and makes her highest elections. She 
is by no means afraid of mountains and woodland soli 
tudes ; nor does she despair of winning her ends when 
professors and colleges do not wait upon her bidding. 
She exults rather in natural productions ; being able 
to turn the night-stars, heaven s winds, earth s flowers, 
and even common events, into teachers ; and the same 
of all experience and inward faculty. She brings a 
universal power from Stratford to London, from Ayre- 
shire to Edinburgh, from Vosges and Domremi to 
Orleans and to Rheims. All great men are educated. 
The only variance resides in the modes and teachers. 
We like it that a prophet should, in early life, hail 
from the woodland world, and that the vastriess and 
tranquillity of landscapes should reside in his public 
discourse ; that his words and manners should savor, 
not of dry scholastic pretension and mannerism, but 
of songsters voices, of colossal trees, wild rose and 
rushing brooks. Mr. B., however, for his time and 
day, was an educated man ; we mean even in the 
more restricted sense in which the world understands 
this word ; and certainly he was this, in its most im 
portant meanings. 

" We soon had opportunity." says Mr. Badger, " for 
education in our new country. This was very pleasing 
to me, and I felt the necessity of improving every 
privilege of the kind." And I would say that those 
who knew him in after life could not but see in him the 



30 MEMOIR OF 

rare faculty bestowed on some of our race, that of 
turning a few means to a great account. 

Passing on to his fifteenth year, he speaks of a 
season of illness, occasioned by excessive ambition at 
manual labor, which kept him from school a part of the 
time during one summer. "My sickness," he says, 
" was of pleuritic nature, and at times my life was 
despaired of. A few Christian people had moved into 
the place, and during my sickness, some of them con 
versed with me on the subject of religion. At times 
I remember to have wept, and supposed that my con 
dition was deplorable. The death of a Christian woman, 
who had often conversed with me, occurring at this 
time, made a deep impression on my mind. My reflec 
tions, when alone, were melancholy in the extreme. I 
often wished I had died when young ; and frequently 
did I promise God that if my life was spared I would 
serve Him." Many paragraphs of this sort, whilst 
they may wear a tinge of the religious culture common 
to the age, show deep and unharmonized strivings of 
soul. To those who knew his great vivacity, the fact 
of melancholy, which he records in the journal of his 
youth, may seem strange ; but it is natural. In sus 
ceptible and thoughtful natures, in natures of deep 
strivings, there is ever a stratum of seriousness, wear 
ing at times the tinge of sadness. The soul, in such, 
will often say, " I am in Time an exile. The earth 
cannot feed me ; " and especially will this feeling be 
active in the early experience, before the wisdom of 
years has given stability to life, to its aims and 
emotions. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 31 

But a young man like him could not be otherwise 
than fond of amusement. With young company of his 
age he frequently met, and was accustomed to spend 
considerable of the time when together in the favorite 
pastime of the young the dance. 

His elder brothers settling for themselves in life, 
threw an increased burden of care upon Joseph, 
whose health was so far restored as to act his part 
efficiently. His father about this time entered into 
the mercantile business, which turned out to his dis 
advantage ; and soon after this, when seven miles 
from home, he had the misfortune to break his leg, 
suffering extremely for fifteen days, expecting con 
stantly that amputation would have to take place. 
Recovering so far as to admit of removal home, 
after a long time he was restored to health. " After 
this," says his son, " he twice met the severe misfor 
tune to break his leg, and on the 5th Sept., 1814, it 
was amputated six inches above the knee. This and 
several such misfortunes, in part, reduced him from 
the high station in which he was born and had for 
merly lived." 

" The first preaching that we heard was by an old gen 
tleman of the name of Huntington. He was a Universal- 
ist, a good man, I think, but not a great preacher. He 
addressed the people for the greater part of one summer 
generally at my father s house. I do not remember to 
have seen anything like reform among the people. The 
old gentleman died in a few years, and I trust has gone to 
rest. Also Elders* Robinson Smith and A. Moulton, of 

* This title was then very commonly given to all Baptist ministers. 
For some years^iowever, it has been gradually growing obsolete. 



32 MEMOIR OP 

Hatley, a neighboring town, favored us with their minis 
try. We called them Free-willers, but their preaching 
was life-awakening, and it w r as held in remembrance long 
after they were gone, although they saw no immediate 
fruits of their labors. I recollect of hearing Mr. Moulton 
once, the first time I think I ever saw him. His voice to 
me was like thunder. For several days after, it seemed 
as though I could hear the sound of it." 

This indeed is the proof of God s presence in the 
mission, that the minister has that to say which the 
sinner cannot forget, that which lingers in his way like 
an invisible spell. The man who has God s word is 
not a mere lecturer or essayist in the holy temple. 
He has words of divine fire to speak, an undying love 
to utter, a warning of eternity to hold forth. He 
commands the giddy and the sinful to listen to a voice 
which, if he repent not, will tingle in his ears even to 
his dying day. Smooth, elegant composition may be 
patiently taught, and patiently learned, but God s 
living word out of heaven to unfaithful man, is another 
thing. This word has many organs, finds its way far 
and near, and reaches the heart of the ardent young 
man whose footsteps are on the classic ground, or in 
the larger path of nature s wild. 

" When about sixteen or seventeen," continues the jour 
nal, " I heard that a young man about my age from Ver 
mont would preach in our vicinity. There was a great 
move to hear him, and I resolved to go. The house was 
full. He was evidently one much engaged in God s work. 
He looked very pale and much worn out. Mr. Moulton 
was with him, prayed at the beginning of thdlheeting, after 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 33 

which, the young man, Benjamin Putnam, came forward, 
and in a manner and address that were engaging, and to 
me peculiarly pleasing, preached a sermon from Isaiah 22 : 
22 ; a text which I shall never forget. And the key of 
the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder : so he 
shall open, and none shall shut ; and he shall shut, and 
none shall open. lie described Christ as the Son of God, 
and the power as being laid upon his shoulder ; he also 
dwelt on what he had opened both to and for man, which 
none could shut, and finally spoke of the closing of the 
same door, which none should be able to open. I thought 
this discourse more glorious than anything I had ever 
heard. I thought him the happiest young man I ever 
saw. As soon as meeting was closed he came forward 
through the assembly and spoke to my brother, which 
had a solemn effect on us both. Many of his expres 
sions I have ever remembered. 

" The Methodist ministers next made their way into our 
town, and I have always thought that they came in the 
name and spirit of the Highest. They were humble and 
earnest. As my father s family seldom attended their 
meetings, I perhaps did not become acquainted with the 
first that came. Hays and Briggs were the first I heard. 
While listening to the farewell sermon of the former I re 
member to have been deeply affected, and one evening, 
while listening to Mr. Briggs, I felt a strong conviction of 
my sin, and believed that I was undone without regenera 
tion. They first formed a small class in town. Leaving 
the circuit the next year, Joseph Dennet and David Blan- 
chard were their successors, under whose ministry many of 
the old and the young were turned to God, whilst even 
children were made happy in Christ. I think that the 
preaching of the latter was the first that ever brought 
tears from my eyes. Also, in those days, we had frequent 
2* 



34: MEMOIR OP 

visits from the missionaries, but I do not remember that 
their preaching had much effect on my own mind or that 
of any other person. 

"In the conflict of good and evil tendencies in the 
minds of young men who share largely of the passions 
and giddiness which characterize the period of one s 
youth, it is interesting to contemplate the skill with which 
these influences assail each other, each winning its tempo 
rary victory, and each wrestling at times with great might 
for the doubtful mastery. Notwithstanding these solemn 
emotions to good, I was quite wild and had several bad 
habits. In hearing Mr. II. preach the summer I was 
eighteen, I was much aroused to a sense of duty, and 
though seeing the way of my life to be death, my deter 
minations as yet were not equal to the chain of habit that 
bound me. On the first of August I looked forward to 
the 16th, which was my birthday, as the day in which I 
should begin to walk in newness of life, and for several 
days this occupied my thoughts. But the time passed, and 
my resolution with it, whilst my feelings reacted more 
strongly than ever toward my former ways. The Spirit of 
God righteously strives with sinners ; and many have I 
seen on languishing beds lamenting their early resistance 
to the holy influence, and that they had ever broken their 
promise to Him. I had a taste for reading, and spent 
much of my time in the perusal of novels and with vain 
young company. A young man by the name of Richard 
son was my most intimate friend. On the Sabbath and 
every other opportunity we were together ; we spent the 
time mostly in reading ; I thought I enjoyed happiness in 
his society. In our assemblies for diversion we ever had 
a good understanding. His friendship lasted until my 
conversion, when something far more glorious opened to 
my view. It appeared a great mystery to him, and it 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 35 

caused ine much sorrow to leave him, but the first lesson 
I learned from the cross taught me how to relinquish and 
how to renounce. 

" In the autumn of 1810 we had many vain assemblies 
for dancing and other recreations. Never had I before 
gone so far in wickedness as at this time. But, in the 
midst of our gayety, events of Providence compelled our 
thoughts to serious objects, as death, through the agency 
of a fatal fever, spread over the town its sorrow and sad 
ness, cutting off the old and the young indiscriminately. 
On the 10th of January, 1811, I commenced a journey to 
New Hampshire, to visit my friends, whom I had not seen 
since 1802. When I arrived at Stanstead, I passed sev 
eral days with a cousin of mine who was engaged in teach 
ing the art of dancing. He was an agreeable gentleman, 
and of great talents ; but it was a grief to his friends 
that he had taken to this employment. I was much 
pleased with the instructions he gave me, as I was anxious 
to attain perfection in the art. 

" With several young men I proceeded on my way to 
New Hampshire, and making the journey merry with rude 
ness and laughter, we prosecuted it till I arrived at Gil- 
manton. Here I found that my honored grandsire no 
longer occupied his place on earth. His companion, who 
had watched over my childhood for two years, and had 
made the voice of prayer familiar to my lips, still survived. 
Several other relatives had also gone to their long home, 
and though these things made little impression on my 
heart, owing to the state of my mind, I could not but 
solemnly reflect on the hand that had so long upheld me, 
when I visited my early home, the place of my birth, and 
recalled the many scenes of my childhood freshly to mind. 
We have in life but one childhood, and no hours of retro 
spect put us into such unison with nature as when we live 
it over in the revival of its scenes. 



36 MEMOIR OF 

lt I passed several weeks in Gilmanton, attending school 
a part of the time, and freely enjoyed the company of my 
young friends. My sister Mary, the wife of General Cogs 
well, occasionally rebuked me for my lightness, and though 
I made light of her admonitions at the time, they made 
much impression on my mind. But most of all I dreaded 
that my uncle, Mr. Smith, who had been the minister of 
the place for thirty years, should talk to me about religion. 
I was very loth to visit him at all, but I stayed with him 
the last night I remained in town, and to my happy dis 
appointment escaped the drilling I had so much feared, as he 
did not once mention the subject. In company with my 
cousin, Joseph Smith, I set out the next day for home, 
and by evening arrived at Judge William Badger s, a 
cousin of mine, with whom we had an excellent visit. 
The next day, when passing through Meredith, we saw a 
young man standing in the door of a house with a multi 
tude around him. The building appeared to be full of 
people, to whom he was preaching. We arrived that 
evening at Camptown, and though I was nearly sick and 
my spirits depressed by some influence I could not define, 
and my mind uninterested by surrounding objects, I yielded 
to the persuasion of my cousin to go on. Nothing was 
able to interest me. After some time we started for the 
place since so much celebrated, the Notch of the White 
Mountains. 

" But nature, which to me was ever welcome, did not 
attract me as usual. A spirit, over which I had not con 
trol, seemed to work within me to the extreme of solemn 
conviction. People, road, trees, rivers all seemed gloomy, 
and I appeared to myself as a monument spared to unite 
with them in mourning. We finally passed the gloomy 
Notch, and as I drank in its lonely influence, I felt, un 
avoidably, its likeness to the mood of my own spirit. At 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 37 

Franconia, many new prospects and objects appeared to 
view. The manufactory of iron was at that time and 
there a great curiosity. At Littleton, further on in our 
journey, we rode on the river, as it was hardly frozen. I 
disguised my feelings, and as we were riding along, several 
in number, I fell in the rear that I might enjoy the medi 
tations in which my mind was absorbed. At this time, an 
old gentleman, whose silver locks and grave appearance at 
tracted my attention, appeared near me, coming from his 
house to the river to draw water. My eyes were fixed 
upon him. How far/ said he, * is your company journey 
ing ? To the province of Lower Canada, I answered. 
( Do you live there ? said he. I answered that I did. 
Then in a solemn tone the old patriarch inquired, Is there 
any religion in that part of the world ? I was surprised 
to hear this subject introduced by a stranger. I told him 
there were some in our country who professed religion. 
He then burst into a flood of tears, and exhorted me with 
a warm-hearted pathos to seek salvation, and, though I 
disclosed none of my feelings to him, I was most deeply 
moved, and the image of the venerable old man was con 
tinually before my eyes through the day. I could scarcely 
refrain from weeping ; and whatever others may think of 
such apparently accidental events, I am free to confess* 
that from that time until now, I have firmly believed that 
this old gentleman was a God-sent prophet unto me. The 
impressions he made continued till I enjoyed the sweet 
religion that inspired his look and his voice. I have often 
wished that I might see him and humble myself in 
thankfulness before him, a thing not to be expected in this 
life. 

" When we arrived at Stewardstown, near the head of 
the Connecticut river, I parted with my cousin, whose des 
tination was different from my own. Crossing the line, 



38 MEMOIR OF 

I passed the night with Dr. Ladd, a friend of my father, 
who was a Christian and a man of extended knowl 
edge. I treasured up many of his observations. I was 
then only twenty miles from home, and heard the sad news 
of the ravages sickness had made during my absence, 
which greatly disturbed me with the thought that I should 
never again see all my friends. On the.lOth of March, 
however, I arrived, and though fearful to inquire for my 
relatives, found, to my joy, that they were all well. In 
company I sought to be cheerful, but in solitude the keen 
est sensations of sadness were active. 

" Having business with my cousin at Stanstead, I made 
him a visit, where I heard a missionary preach and at 
tended as a pall-bearer at a funeral, to which my feelings 
were much averse. On my return, when I had proceeded 
as far as Barns ton, for some cause I returned a mile and 
a half, and taking a lantern started on foot through the 
woods, when suddenly a storm exhibited its signs of dark 
and angry violence. When about half through the forest, 
the winds, thunder and lightning were terrific. The rain 
fell in torrents, my light was soon extinguished, and 
nothing was left to guide me through the swamp except the 
lurid flashes of the lightning that made the gloom more 
terrible. Several trees were struck and fell near me across 
the road ; some branches fell from the tree I had chosen 
for my shelter, as the tempest mingled with darkness, 
raged in madness ; and never was I so deeply impressed 
with the might of Him who rules the world and sways 
the elements. Here I gained a fresh idea of the awful 
power and mercy of God. I was nearly induced to kneel 
upon the earth, and there, in the storm, make a covenant 
with my Maker. 

" At length the storm ceased and I arrived in safety at 
the house of a friend. The next day I reached home, and 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 39 

though met by cheerful faces, through the state of my 
mind, the music of their tones were as mournful sounds. 
The company in which I had found delight, could no 
longer entertain me ; my home was dressediin mourning, 
my pillow wet with tears, and the bright prospects which 
had cheered me had vanished from my sky. I had no 
heart for business, no relish for pleasure. O how tire 
some was every place ! I read the Bible in private ; often 
left my father s table in tears ; often retired to the grove 
whose trees, more than those around me, seemed to know 
my heart, that I might relieve my soul in weeping. None 
knew the cause of this love of solitariness. Some said he 
suffers the influence of disappointment; others, that he 
is plotting something for advantage : none supposed that 
within me a deep striving was separating me from the 
world and leading me to the Fountain af Salvation. This 
period was a severe trial. Every power, it would seem, 
combined to test my spirit. Sometimes, from the conflict 
within, whilst darkness held its temporary victory, I was 
almost tempted to be angry with the Powers above, and 
with the whole creation ; and once, I remember to have 
so far fallen under the evil power, as to swear at the ex 
isting order of things. It was continual trouble. I 
strove to labor what I could, and to fulfil my station 
in the family, using all the fortitude I could command. 
Here many things occurred that I shall not particularize; 
some things between my father and myself, which I once 
thought I should mention in every respect, but which the 
delicacy of the subject and the tenderness of our relation 
prevent. I can only say that my father was of deistical 
opinions, and at that time did not possess the degree of 
friendship and tenderness for the cause of religion which 
I could have wished him to, and which he indeed possessed 
some months after. 



40 MEMOIR OP 

k 

" At times, everything seemed to unite in tormenting 
me, in causing me trouble ; again, all things in nature, 
when my clouds were partially dispersed, had a voice for 
the Creator s praise. I alone was untuned. The very 
winds, as they passed, spoke of His power. The stars, 
ever calm, looked down in love, seeming faithfully to per 
form the will of their Ordainer ; and the flowers of the 
earth, which bloomed in beauty, sending forth their fra 
grance to His honor; and the songs of birds, whose notes 
were full of the primeval innocence, all combined to ad 
minister reproof. The following lines would then have 
spoken my feelings, as the full-blown spring-time lay un 
folded around me : 

" f Ye warblers of the vernal shade 
Whose artless music charms my ear, 
Your loveliness my heart upbraids 
My languid heart, how insincere ! 

While all your little powers collected, raise 

A tribute to your great Creator s praise. 

" Ye lovely offsprings of the ground, < 

Flowers of a thousand beauteous dyes, 
You spread your Maker s glory round, 
And breathe your odor to the skies : 
Unsullied you display your lively bloom, 
Unmingled you present your sweet perfume. 

" Ye winds that waft the fragrant spring, 
You, whispering, spread His name abroad, 
Or shake the air with sounding wing, 
And speak the awful power of God : 

His will, with swift obedience, you perform, 

Or in the gentle gale or dreadful storm. 

" Ye radiant orbs that guide the day 
Or deck the sable veil of night, 
His wondrous glory you display, 
Whose hand imparts your useful light: 
Your constant task, unwearied, you pursue, 
Nor deviate from the path your Maker drew. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 41 

" O Lord ! thy grace my languid heart can raise, 

These dissipated powers unite, 

Can bid me pay my debt of praise 

With love sincere and true delight : 
Oh ! let thy power inspire my heart and tongue, 
Then will I, grateful, join Creation s song. 

" Leaving company almost entirely, and not going into 
society except on certain occasions, to please my friends or 
escape reproach, I gave myself up to solitary meditation 
and to the inward and undefined strivings of my being. 
In this state of spiritual disquietude, I felt no impulse to 
attend a church. I was most at home when alone. I 
heard divine voices where there was no man to act as 
medium or interpreter. At a funeral, I recollect having 
assisted in singing, and to have heard from Elder Moul- 
ton a sermon that impressed me, he being a man of 
considerable spiritual power, and one for whom I had 
particular respect. I heard him also a second time after 
this, when he most deeply affected my mind. I some 
times repaired to the forest for the express purpose of 
coming to God in prayer, but for some time was restrained 
from speaking aloud or kneeling on the earth. My heart 
was often eased in weeping ; and though I had no form 
of prayer, I believe I prayed as really, as acceptably, as 
ever I did. Is it not a strange doctrine, so generally 
promulgated, that sinners, previous to conversion, ought 
not to pray ? To rne it is a dark doctrine. The Scrip 
tures do not intimate it. My experience, the divine 
command, and common sense oppose the dogma. The 
fact that men are morally weak and sinful, is itself a 
sufficient occasion for prayer. 

" One Sunday, without the knowledge of our family, I 
went about two miles to attend a Methodist meeting, in 
which several spoke, and spoke well. Mrs. John Gilson, 
a little, delicate woman, with much diffidence arose to 



42 MEMOIR OF 

speak. Her wisdom and manner won my heart, and her 
message, which was particularly to me, seemed to carry 
the evidence that it was from God. I could never forget 
it. I knew she was my friend, and believed that she 
spoke for my good, and I would have rendered her 
my thanks at the close, but for the restraining power of a 
sentiment common to me, which was, an unwillingness to 
disclose to any one my deepest emotions. We had been 
taught by some, that before we could attain salvation, we 
should be willing to be damned and lost. I never had 
this willingness. But, in candor, I must say that my 
sense of guilt was so deep that I felt I had merited the 
sentence to be finally uttered against the impenitent." 

The reader will perceive that the thread of this 
journal is drawn from such portions of Mr. Badger s 
early life as seem most directly to express its various 
moral phases. From other points of experience, it is 
natural to suppose, much was omitted, the main pur 
pose being that of tracing the moral history of his 
mind through the years of his youth. I think I never 
opened a journal that contained throughout a plainer 
natural impress of truth and reality. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 43 



CHAPTER IV. 

CONVERSION. 

" Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be 
blotted out." ST. PETER. 

To every work there is a crisis which openly exhibits 
success or failure. To every growth there are certain 
perceptible changes by which we note the progress 
from incipiency to the mature state. There is a sym 
bolical new birth in nature when the rose-tree blooms, 
when leafless wintry trees are green with foliage and 
white with blossoms. Summer is a regeneration in the 
state of the earth, and it is none the less so because 
we cannot point out the moment, hour, or day, in which 
the actual summer assumed its effective reign. None 
fail to see the difference between June and January. 
If in July you meet the bending lilac, it silently tells 
you of all that March, April, May and June have done 
for it. So man s moral periods are marked. The 
soul in its struggles after divine life, through penitence 
and faith, reaches a crisis of victory and development 
of holy purpose, principle and power, which the church 
has generally agreed to call conversion, and for which 
we know no better name. 

The journal of Mr. Badger, which refers to this 
epoch of his spiritual history, is headed with a poem 
on Christ, of which we have space for only a few 
lines : 



44 MEMOIR OP 

" Oh ! glorious Father, let my soul pursue 
The wondrous labyrinth of love divine, 
And follow my Redeemer to the cross. 
Nailed to the cross his hands, his feet, all torn 
With agonizing torture! 
Stupendous sacrifice ! Mysterious love ! 
He died ! The Lord of life the Saviour died ! 
All nature sympathizing, felt the shock. 
The sun his beams withdrew, and wrapt his face 
In sable clouds and midnight s deepest shade, 
To mourn the absence of a brighter sun 
The Sun of righteousness eclipsed in death ! 
A short eclipse. For soon he rose again, 
All glorious, to resume his native skies ! 
Oh, love beyond conception ! 
In silent rapture all my powers adore." 

In the religious experience of Joseph Badger, as 
intimated by this poem, Christ with him is always the 
central sun, the presiding power. 

" I do not think," says Mr. B., "that persons can tell 
their religious experience, if their change is real and they 
have fully felt the effects of love divine. They are led to 
say with St. Peter, that it is joy unspeakable and full of 
glory. Human language cannot describe the fulness and 
sweetness of the religion of Christ. Viewing the invisi 
ble depth of its wealth, how faint are our descriptions ? 
How weak our best comparisons, and the metaphors by 
which we attempt to represent it ! The soul which has 
become a partaker of the divine nature, of its love, is ever 
ready to exclaim The half had never been told me ; 
yet words, and other imperfect signs, will easily indicate 
the presence of the reality enjoyed. 

" Eighteen hundred and eleven ! that memorable year 
will rrever be forgotten by thousands now living, on ac 
count of the victorious spread of the Gospel in North 
America. Generations yet unborn will trace the pages 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 45 

of ecclesiastical history with anxiety and delight, to learn 
what transpired among their ancestors during this year. 
But how soon, when a heavenly influence is in the ascend 
ant, some counteracting power will enter the field with 
ruinous violence ! The cruel war soon succeeded, and 
devastation spread her vermilion garb over our happy 
and enlightened land. 

" As I have already alluded, in a former chapter, to the 
feelings of moral conviction that wrought in my breast, I 
will only say that they began with this year, and were of 
a kind neither to be drowned nor driven away. Not for 
Adam s sins, or the sins of our fathers, did I feel con 
demned ; it was only for such as belonged to me. Light 
had come and I had chosen darkness. I therefore cast no 
reflections on any class of persons, as the Gospel, con 
science, and the creation, seemed to unite in proclaiming 
Thou art the man ; and under a sense of my ingrati 
tude to Jesus, the sinner s Friend, I felt to add my hearty 
Amen, and say, Father, I have sinned against heaven, 
and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy 



In the pride of philosophical speculation, there are 
knowing ones who rob the rich idea of God of person 
ality ; also, in the attempts to deify the sacred parch 
ments of Palestine, others unwittingly superannuate the 
Holy Ghost, driving us all to live solely upon ancient 
words words that were undoubtedly its breathings 
when spoken. But one page from the journal of such 
an experience as that of Mr. Badger is better than 
all learned theory. Every page referring to his mind s 
exercise abounds in feeling earnest, real feeling. 
He believes in the God of action, who converts the 



46 MEMOIR OF 

repentant soul by his holy, actual agency ; in Jesus he 
believes as the lone sinner s Friend and Saviour ; in 
the Holy Spirit he confides, not doubting its real stri 
ving in his own heart ; in the oracles of prophets, of 
Jesus, and of the apostles, he holds unwavering faith 
that they are God s real, eternal word ; whilst his fre 
quent and many tears in private attest his deep sincer 
ity in seeking his soul s salvation. He recognizes the 
supernatural, the miraculous, in the conversion of the 
sinner ; and whatever we may concede to the rational 
istic statement on this subject in our severely philosoph 
ical moods, it is certain that the miraculous statement 
is the one which more than it concentrates the diviner 
charm and the more commanding energy. It has ever 
been so ; the statement wearing the outward miraculous 
hue, is the strong one the one that holds the element 
of triumph ; and though we do not hold that any work 
of God with man violates the constitution and laws of 
the human mind, it would have struck us with dimin 
ished effect had St. Paul, before Agrippa, discoursed 
on the accordance of his conversion with some a priori 
argument for an abstract Christianity, or of its accord 
ance with his own nature, and with all nature. This 
intellectualizing on great vital facts, whatever may be 
its philosophical merits, can never come up to the bold 
and picturesque sublimity of the words "At mid 
day, king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, 
above the brightness of the sun, shining round about 
me ; and I heard a voice speaking unto me and saying, 
Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? " Such pas 
sages reach the soul in every clime, as abstraction never 
could ; and from the reverence we have been accus- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 47 

tomed to pay to universal convictions, and from the ef 
fect of such eloquence on our own feelings, we believe 
that mankind have not been fools in the cherishing of 
faith which brings Divinity into active and wonder- 
causing contact with humanity. If we have a God in 
our faith, let us have one who can do something, say 
something, and impart something to them who ask him, 
and not a tender abstraction who has no thunder for 
transgressors, and who is so lenient and plausible that 
no lawless spirit shall regard him as any essential ob 
struction in his way. Characters of most energy 
always grow up under the faith of God s omnipotence, 
of his awful majesty, beautified by justice and love. 

The youth of this memoir looked around upon the 
dark world, and upward to the great God for his spirit s 
rest, and searched through the labyrinth of his own 
conflicting emotions to find a rock for his feet. Often 
his " eyes were rivers of waters ; " and, u as I looked 
around for comfort, every place revealed some circum 
stance that gave to grief a keener edge." He is now 
so deeply touched by the Holy Spirit that nothing filled 
him with delight like the tender portraiture of the love 
of Christ ; the profane word was now a loathed and jar 
ring discord in his ear ; the songs of the wicked deep 
ened his sadness, and often did he repeat to himself, 
in tears, the well-known lines, "Alas! and did my 
Saviour bleed ! " which he tells us had the power to 
penetrate his heart of hearts, whilst the most secret and 
hidden recesses of the wild witnessed his humble thank- 
offerings of praise and contrite confessions of sin. 
Without a minister to aid him, and without the sustain 
ing sympathy of a single human creature, he continued 



48 MEMOIR OF 

to wage his warfare with the powers of darkness. 
A young man, alone, with resolves and feelings un 
known to man, longing for the clouds of his being to 
disperse, and for the influx of the immortal light to 
crown his life ! This spectacle, however it may strike 
the mere formalist and the seeker of material good, is 
one which, to us, joins with myriads of heart-histories 
in different climes, to attest the derivation of the soul 
from God, to declare its yearnings and struggles against 
the obstacles of sin and sense, that it may regain the 
atmosphere and light of its native original heaven. 

Contrary to the customs of his family, he went, once 
in a great while, to the Methodist meetings, a denomi 
nation whose power to reach the popular mind all over 
the world is known and honored. At one of these 
meetings, July, 1811, the persons present supposed, 
from his former reputation for rudeness, that he was 
there perhaps to criticise derisively their humble man 
ner of worship. When Mrs. Tilden arose and said, 
" The eyes of the world are upon us, and if any came 
here to feast upon our failings, or to spy out our liberties, 
let us starve them to death, by living such lives that 
they can find no action of which to speak reproachful 
ly " after a few moments, he arose and said : 

"I very much regret that any of my neighbors and 
friends should, for one moment, imagine me as an enemy, 
or suppose that I came here to ridicule what may pass 
before me. Far be it from my mind. I believe religion 
is what all men need to make them happy in time and 
eternity. With all my heart I wish you well and hope you 
will go on your way rejoicing." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 49 

This was the first time he had spoken in public, and 
though the object of his remark was merely to furnish 
a gentlemanly apology for being present, it caused the 
religious people much joy, as they saw him sit down in 
tears ; and ever after his companions regarded him 
differently, all of whom were startled with surprise, and 
some wept as they heard his words. 

" One of my young friends, a respectable young man, 
conversed with me on the subject. I stated to him all I 
had said, and in part I manifested my feelings to him with 
some degree of boldness. He expressed a fear that I 
would become deluded, though, by the way, he had never 
manifested a fear of the kind when we used to dance, 
play cards, and spend the Sabbath together in the reading 
of novels. About the things of religion, said he, it is 
not well to be in haste. It is a subject which needs the 
greatest deliberation. With this I agreed. He further 
remarked, If a person thinks of such things, it is not best 
to give expression to such thoughts, because people will 
talk about it, and you, continued he, l are already a sub 
ject of conversation. Many are concerned for you, and 
wish your society, and you know it is a disgrace for us to 
go among those foolish and ignorant Methodists. By 
these remarks, coming from a particular friend, I was em 
barrassed, but soon learned that I must leave all, and part 
with my dearest companions for Christ; that two masters 
it was impossible to serve ; and in my indecision I seemed 
to hear a voice as from heaven, saying, Choose ye this 
day whom ye will serve, impressing my mind with the 
idea that then was the time for me to secure an interest 
in the Great Redeemer. Great things of eternity were 
continually resting on my mind ; the saints, as they had 
opportunity, began to talk with me, of which I was glad, 
3 



50 MEMOIR OF 

though to them I did not say much, as I was resolved that 
others should not know my feelings ; even if I were ever 
so happy as to feel my sins forgiven, I was determined 
not to say much about it to others, and certainly not to 
make such an ado over it as many did." 

" I was in search for a great and sudden change. About 
August 1st, 1811, I felt impressed to retire and unbosom 
myself to the Eternal God, and cry once more for mercy. 
Walking through the woods to a large valley, I there, by 
a murmuring brook, fell on my knees and gave vent to 
my burdened heart in prayer. For a moment my soul 
felt delivered of all her griefs, and for a few moments I 
sung and praised God in that delightful place with all my 
heart ; but doubts arose, and as I cast over the scene the 
eyes of reason, my little heaven vanished, and I remained 
in silence. I began to fear that I was walking by the 
light of imagination, and was warming myself by sparks of 
my own kindling." 

" I began to be more familiar with the saints, sometimes 
revealing to them in part my determinations, and always 
gaining strength by so doing. I had not the same con 
sciousness of sin as before. At times, before I was aware 
of it, my mind would be soaring above on heavenly things ; 
the Scriptures would beautifully open to my mind, and 
glorious would seem the things of religion ; yet I scarcely 
dared to rejoice. I derived much benefit and instruction 
from the conversation of the saints, and though I asked 
their prayers, I neither united with them in prayer, nor 
kneeled according to their custom. The narrated experi 
ence of others aided me some, and as all my Christian 
friends advised me to pray, I again kneeled in the solitude 
of nature to invoke divine aid, when the reflection that I 
was in the presence of an Omnipotent God sealed my lips 
in silence. Almost fearing that my performances were 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 51 

but mockery, I felt inclined to despair. The next day 
gleams of hope entered my mind ; and on Sunday, hearing 
many speak of the power of God, and of trials they had 
passed through, in a manner, some of them, that exactly 
expressed my feelings, I took courage, because there were 
others in whose Christianity I had confidence, who felt in 
some respects as I did. Moved, as I think, by the Spirit 
of God, and from a high state of mental resolve, I arose 
and told the assembly that I was determined to seek my 
happiness in religion, in which alone I believed it could 
be found. Many of the saints praised God aloud, and my 
soul was filled with joy and peace that were unspeakable. 
My love to the faithful was far superior to anything that 
ever before had dilated my heart. On my return home 
the very winds that waved the trees, and the streams that 
flowed through the quiet valley, seemed unitedly to speak 
my great Creator s praise. The fear of man now vanished, 
and a holy boldness moved me to speak to all around me 
of the beauties of my Lord. My soul overflowed with 
love to my greatest enemies , and my wonder was that the 
chief of sinners did not behold the glory of God, and 
unite to exalt his name. Through the night my soul was 
exceedingly happy, and the next morning I thought the 
sun was never before so richly laden with the glory 
of God. I had never known so happy, so pleasant a 
morning." 

" Though I did not then suppose myself converted, I 
now think, from an analysis of my feelings, that I enjoyed 
something of the converting grace of God, for the follow 
ing reasons : 1st. I had a witness in my own soul that 
God was my friend. 2d. I felt a vital union with all the 
saints, without respect to name, age, or color. I loved them, 
and could say, They are my people. Some who were poor 
and ignorant, whom I had formerly despised, I was able 



52 MEMOIR OF 

to embrace as my best friends. 3d. I felt a particular re 
gard for every creature and object God had made, and a 
tenderness even to the lowest animal forms as nothing 
seemed unincluded in the bond of love that united me and 
all things to Him. 4th. For the chief of sinners I felt 
particular love, regarding such as brethren in nature, and 
I greatly wished them to share in the peaceful wealth of 
the Gospel. 5th. My former ways in which I had sought 
happiness, now seemed to me as worthless and vain. In 
deed I abhorred them." 

" My freedom from the former oppressive gloom, the 
fulness of the tide of joy that was rising in my breast, at 
times startled me with the apprehension that as I was not 
converted I ought not to feel so light and so free, and my 
embarrassment was increased byj the circulation of the re 
port among the people that I was converted. They began 
to call me brother, which also seemed quite too much for 
me ; and as I could not feel that I had experienced the 
change as usually described, I began to fear that I was 
deceived, which caused me much trouble and induced me 
to be silent for some time, as I was unwilling to discourage 
or to deceive others. Although I never had so much con 
fidence in dreams as some, yet at this time the glory of 
God was beautifully revealed to me in night visions, and 
through them my mind was relieved of many doubts and 
fears, and again partook of the inward peace which the 
world in its greatest ability is unable to give. For several 
weeks, however, I kept my joys to myself, saying nothing 
in meeting and little in private, as I was determined not 
to deceive others, as I might in case my joys should prove 
unreal. Employing myself constantly in reading the 
Scriptures, that I might walk understandingly, my mind 
for several weeks was swallowed up in the interest their 
pages revealed, which unfolded a glory and beauty lean- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 53 

not describe. In my retired moments, I held sweet com 
munion with God, and, notwithstanding the shadows of 
doubt that crossed my mind in solitude, I was truly led 
from glory to glory." 

"I heard others tell the day and the hour when the 
change was wrought in their hearts. Herein was my 
greatest trouble. My experience was not like others, nor 
indeed what I supposed it would be. I knew of several 
times when my mind was relieved of all its oppressions, 
but as I could single out no one of them and call it con 
version, I concluded that the whole together was conver 
sion. Though continually thirsting for new evidence, for 
which I was much drawn out in prayer, and selecting the 
most retired places for holy meditation, I pondered, like 
Mary, these things in* my heart. Some conversations 
about this time, proved beneficial to me ; especially was 
my soul refreshed by the dreams and night visions that 
came to me, making it seem ofttimes as though angels 
were hovering over my bed, and my apartment as 
filled with the divine glory. I was many times ready to 
say, I know that my Redeemer liveth." 

In this manner Mr. B. records the operations of his 
youthful mind in seeking to solve the most serious of 
all problems his soul s salvation. One perceives the 
presence of much self-distrust, much repentance ; and 
an abundance of sympathetic sensibility to whatever is 
morally powerful and affecting in religion. Perhaps 
some have already taken it for granted that this youth 
of overflowing energy, lonely meditation, earnest prayer, 
and self-questionings, was wholly moving on the tide of 
popular instruction, or that he fell as melted lead or 
iron, into the moulds of theological teaching already 



54 MEMOIR OF 

prepared. This view is suddenly dispersed by all that 
is known of the man, and by the facts of the narrative 
itself. Do not sin and conscious alienation from God 
afford good cause for weeping ? Are not the elements 
of the soul itself good reason for prayer, for deep de 
sire and aspiration after a union of spirit with Him 
who is its Parent source and the glorious Perfection, 
of which it now has clear and happy glimpses ? That 
work was unable to absorb his mind, that society could 
not get very near his heart, that his food even became 
tasteless, and his home a scene of mourning, are facts 
that hail from certain states of mind that have their 
deep significance, and which, in India and Persia, as 
well as in the American wilderness, have their numer 
ous representatives. 

He speaks of a time of religious interest when his 
father felt the need of something more than Deism as 
a support to his mind ; also of his becoming deeply 
interested in the ministry of Mr. Farewell, a Univer- 
salist minister ; of his reading with great zeal the writ 
ings of Winchester, Dr. Hunting, Ballou, and others of 
the same faith, often spending whole nights in writing 
and study ; books which, at his father s request, he also 
studied ; and though for a time embarrassed by the 
philosophical arguments of Mr. Ballou on the Atone 
ment and other topics, he discarded them ere long, with 
an earnest decision as opposed to the religious experi 
ence which gave him joy and hope, and as contrary to 
the plain teachings of the Scriptures. At this early 
day Universalism was indeed a bold extreme, it being 
little else than Calvinism benevolently applied to human 
destiny ; and its strongly controversial and undevotional 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 55 

character was poorly adapted to a welcome in hearts that 
were glowing with the sacred enthusiasm of religious 
love. One evening he offered some speculative con 
versation in relation to the being and attributes of 
Satan, which so hurt the minds of the converts that he 
resolved no longer to harbor these negations, the dwell 
ing upon which so much discorded with the happy feel 
ings inspired by their simple faith and humble worship. 
The Methodist denomination, at this time very spirit 
ual and very prosperous in the province, was with him 
a favorite, though for reasons independent of the dicta 
tion of persons or of circumstances, he did not become a 
member of their society in liis town, a fact which did 
not at all interfere with the entire freedom and cordial 
fellowship they mutually enjoyed. A Methodist Dis 
cipline is kindly offered him. He gladly reads, and 
commits it mostly to memory. But there is something 
in this young man that questions the Discipline and the 
ministers who explain it ; that regards it as formal, and 
in many respects unlike the Scriptures ; that quietly 
declines making it the groundwork of a faith and a 
sectarian position, though he does not break the happy 
concord about him by obtruding open controversy. He 
joined no sect. 

" I wondered," said he, " that saints cannot all be one. 
I thought it strange that the affectionate names of Breth 
ren, Disciples, Christians, Friends, golden names 
that I found scattered through the New Testament, were 
not sufficient without the sectarian names under which the 
denominations were marshalled. This was a great mys 
tery to me. I knew of none at that time who adopted the 



56 



MEMOIR OF 



name of Christian as their only designation ; but young 
and ignorant a s I then was, I thought I beheld something 
more glorious than anything at which either myself or 
others had as yet arrived. My trials in pondering over 
these things were great. There were others who agreed 
with me in ideas of liberty, that were far greater than 
anything within the limits of the Discipline." 

At a time when the righteousness of sectarianism 
was undisputed, when no voices from the pulpit were 
pleading for the true catholicity of the Christian faith, 
and when his associates were moved along by emotional 
ardor, was it not a strong, clear-sighted, original force 
of the young man that paused to ask, Why this form 
ality and narrowness Of creed ? Why these many 
sectarian names ? Why is the unity of the religion of 
Jesus broken by sects ? These indeed were great 
questions for a young man in 1811 ; and in resolving 
them into a principle of action without relinquishing 
an iota of the faith and piety that had inspired him 
with hope, and joy unspeakable, he has given to the 
world an early proof of the superiority of mind of 
which his maturer years were the exhibition. The 
multitude, yielding to the enthusiasm of great moral 
excitement, often float along as flood- wood. He so con 
trolled the current that bore him, as to be his own man, 
free from the despotism of any sectarian platform. 

Through the spring and summer of 1812, his mind 
steadily poised on heavenly things, and anxious to do 
what the will of God in Christ required, he made the 
subject of baptism a topic of study. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 57 

" I searched the New Testament, as I was determined 
to know all that it said on the subject. I first became 
satisfied from the Scriptures, and secret prayer, that bap 
tism was an institution of the Redeemer. 2. That it was 
enjoined on all believers in the Son of God. 3. That the 
mode practised in primitive days was going down into the 
water, and coming up out of the water after being buried 
therein. Although I was so clear relative to these three 
ideas, I often wept and cried to God in secret places in 
view of my unworthiness ; but I received a glorious answer 
that in this institution of outward acknowledgment and 
obedience, I ought to follow the examples of Him who is 
the Way, the Truth, and Life. One evening when my 
mind was much tried on this subject, I prayed to God that 
if it was my duty to be baptized, I might dream of 
pleasant water. That night when locked in sleep I dreamed 
of riding on the most beautiful stream that I ever had 
seen ; also of being immersed in the pure and tranquil 
element, whilst the divine glory shone around as a sacred 
enchantment. When I awoke my heart was filled with 
love divine, and I believe that, had there been an admin 
istrator present, I should hardly have waited for the day- 
dawn. These feelings I kept to myself; and, as I could 
not think of any administrator, or fix on time and place, 
I continued in this way till the first of September." 

" I then went to Hatley to attend a general meeting, 
and a glorious time it was. Here I first saw Elder Ben 
jamin Page, from Vermont, who preached a very instruc 
tive and refreshing discourse from Rom. 8 : 21. Be 
cause the creature itself also shall be delivered from the 
bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons 
of God. Here I became acquainted with many of God s 
people whom I had not known, and in their spirituality 
and freedom I saw what more accorded with my existing 
3* 



58 MEMOIR OF 

ideas than I yet had seen. Nearly two hours Mr. Page 
spoke again from Isa. 33 : 2. It was a glorious time, as 
was also the evening meeting, in which many participated. 
The next day we all parted with tears of joy, never ex 
pecting to meet again on earth. As I was about to leave, 
I took Elder Moulton by the hand and asked him if he 
would come to Compton and preach, to which he replied 
that he would whenever I desired him, inquiring at the 
same time if there were not some in our vicinity who 
would like to receive baptism, saying, I have thought 
for some time that I should have to go there to adminis 
ter this ordinance a remark that gave to my former im 
pressions a new evidence of my present duty. We agreed 
upon the time ; I made the appointment and longed for the 
day to come ; but the morning that brought me this new 
responsibility was not wholly without clouds, as the cross 
appeared great and fears arose. In spirit, I said, 

" Jesus, my Lord, my Life, my Light, 

O come with blissful ray ; 
Break radiant through the shades of night, 
And chase my fears away. 

In a trembling and prayerful state of mind I went to 
church, where I found a large concourse of people in 
attendance, to whom Elder M. preached words of life. 
Among the many that were moved to speak in honor of 
the Redeemer, I arose, expressed my love to God and the 
saints, inviting my young companions to a rich and costly 
repast, without money and without price. Here every 
doubt was removed. Here I gained strength. The glory 
of God filled my heart. My father being present, Elder 
M. asked him if he was willing that his son should go for 
ward in baptism, to which he replied that he was per 
fectly willing that Joseph, in things of religion, should 
act according to his own conception of duty. This gave 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 59 

me additional joy. I had chosen a pleasant stream, the 
Coatecook river, as the place where I preferred to receive 
baptism, to which locality we walked, two and two, in 
large procession, the distance of half a mile, singing the 
praises of God as we advanced. This day, Sept. 29, 
1812, will be held in everlasting remembrance by me. 
My father sat upon his horse a few rods above me, in the 
water, so as to have a fair prospect. I was informed by 
the spectators who stood near him, that when I went into 
the water the tears flowed freely from his eyes. Under 
the smile of clear skies, of a quiet surrounding nature, I 
was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost. The hearts of the brethren on shore ap 
peared full of joy, and some voices of acclamation were 
heard. It seemed, indeed, as though the heavens were 
opened, and the Spirit was hovering on the assembly. 
Some praised, others wept, and a sweet peace and calm 
ness filled my soul. As I ascended from the water, I sung 
the following lines with the Spirit, and I think with the 
understanding also : 

" But who is this that cometh forth, 

Sweet as the blooming morning, 
Fair as the moon, clear as the sun ? 
T is Jesus Christ adorning. * 

We returned singing ; and truly, like the Ethiopian wor 
shipper, we went on our way rejoicing. From this time, 
I felt that I was newly established in God s grace. I had 
more strength to withstand temptation, more confidence 
to speak in the holy cause of the Redeemer. Here, with 
the Psalmist, I could say, How love I thy law ; it is 
my meditation all the day. 

* This and its accompanying stanza 



60 MEMOIR OF 

" Let wonder still with love unite, 

And gratitude and joy ; 
Be holiness my heart s delight, 
Thy praises my employ. " 

Thus reads the narrative of such outward and inward 
facts as belong to the early religious history of Joseph 
Badger. Its component parts are, deep feeling, much 
thought, temporary doubting and despondency, peni 
tence, inward aspiration, prayerful reliance on God, 
and at last a wide Christian fellowship, untinged by 
sectarian preference, and a conscious peace and joy in 
God. Through the many changes of theory, each 
winning admirers and having its day ; through the 
stormy excitements of the religious feeling in the world, 
Mr. B. always retained his equilibrium and his con 
stancy. And why ? Because he laid his basis not in 
dogma, not in speculation, but in experience. By this 
he held his course, it being an anchor in the sea-voyage 
of life, a pole-star to the otherwise doubtful wanderings 
of the world s night. What can we or any one 
know of Divinity, except what we hold in our inward 
consciousness and experience ? Nothing else. Words 
do not reveal holy mysteries. The soul must have 
God in its own life, or He is a mere intellectual con 
ception, a mere word. We admire the poetic, marvel 
lous vein that enables one to linger upon a beautiful 
dream. The young man, already rich in the Spirit s 
baptism, saw sacred value in the outward form, in the 
pure Scripture symbol. Earlier than the dates of 
Christian records in Palestine, did the religious feeling 
of man, in different climes, select water as one of its 
best formal expressions ; and, though not heretofore 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 61 

inattentive to what theological controversy has said on 
the subject, we should say it is as well to stake one s 
duty now on a beautiful dream, as on all the light en 
gendered by the ablest controversy ever held by 
polemic divines. The Coatecook and the Jordan are, 
through faith, equally sacred, as it is the Spirit that 
sanctifies. What can surpass in beauty and loveli 
ness, the idea of the grand baptismal scene of the 
sacred river of Judea? We imagine the numerous 
multitude walking silently thither through the over 
shadowing woods, and in anxious, reverent musings, 
standing upon its banks. We feel the thoughts of 
penitence, the gleams of hope, half shaded by melan 
choly, as they here stole into the hearts of Abraham s 
dejected sons ; and with them we muse upon the ex 
pected Christ of their deliverance, whom they daily 
hoped to see. We gaze upon the form of one whose 
moral and physical beauty it had delighted the eyes 
of the most beautiful to have seen ; and as the waters 
glide by him on either side in graceful loveliness, as 
the yellow sunbeams here and there rest calmly upon 
the shaded current, we see him meekly bowed into the 
genial waters ; and what artist shall ever picture the 
beauty of the ideal in our minds when we view the 
circling dove from on high hovering upon the Saviour s 
breast, and the golden stream of light through the 
opening heaven descending upon his brow ? Formal 
baptism, thus honored and glorified, remains a perma 
nent institution of religion and of the Christian Church. 



62 MEMOIR OF 



CHAPTER V. 

CALL TO AND ENTRANCE UPON THE MINISTRY. 

" But rise, and stand upon thy feet : for I have appeared unto thee 
for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these 
things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will 
appear unto thee." Acts 26 : 16. 

WITH these words of a high mission Mr. Badger s 
journal opens, and how well does it accord with the idea 
of divine agency in placing moral lights in the world, 
and with what to him was a common thought, the une 
qualled greatness of the minister s station. More than 
once or twice have I heard him say to the young man 
who was publicly receiving the honors of ordination, or 
of a conferential reception, " You are called, my brother, 
to fulfil the duties of the highest station ever occupied 
by a human being. No station on earth is so great in 
its nature, and so responsible in its duties, as that of the 
Christian minister ; " and more than once, in the quiet 
social circle, and when alone, heard him say : "I would 
not exchange the joys and -trials and honors of the 
Christian ministry, for the throne of the ablest king on 
earth." And this was the settled, serious feeling of 
his mind. He recognized God in the call of the true 
minister, not leaving the sacred choice at the mercy of 
family policy, of individual ambition, or the efficiency 
of college endowment. 

" In ages past," says Mr. Badger, " God has seen fit 
to raise up, qualify, and send forth ambassadors to the 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 63 

people. He has frequently sent angels with celestial mes 
sages to men. Men also have been employed in the same 
work, have received the word from Him and declared it 
to the people. Aaron, Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah and 
others, are striking illustrations of the truth that God 
has appeared unto men to make them ministers and wit 
nesses of those things they have seen, and of those which 
he shall reveal unto them. John said, We speak the 
things we do know, and testify the things we have seen. 
The Gospel is not something learned by human teaching, 
as are the mathematics and divers natural sciences. St. 
Paul was nearer its fountain-head and true attainment 
when he said, I neither received it from man, neither 
was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 
Wo is unto me if I preach not the Gospel. Neither 
reputation nor worldly recompense prompted the apostoli 
cal preaching. We preach not ourselves, but the Lord 
Jesus Christ. l Freely thou hast received, freely give. 
The Gospel is not an earthly product, but a divine insti 
tution for divine ends. The preaching of it, therefore, is 
the highest possible work, demanding the greatest delib 
eration and integrity. Its effects are either a savor of 
life unto life, or of death unto death. How delightful 
also is this employment, as it brings life, light and com 
fort to all who yield to its elevating, enlightening and 
purifying power." 

These passages, written in the early years of his 
ministerial life, at once recalled the second sermon* that 
the writer of this ever heard him preach, founded on 
the heroic text of St. Paul, " I am not ashamed of the 
Gospel of Christ/ 7 f m hich he announced the Gospel 

*At Ionia, Onondaga Co., N. Y., 1825. f Rom. 1: 16 



64 MEMOIR OF 

as a divine science, as a refining power, as according 
with human nature and its wants ; and, indeed, as " the 
only perfect science of human happiness known on 
earth." Such is the supremacy he unwaveringly gave 
to Christ, to his Gospel, and to its genuine ministry. 

The feeling that drew the mind of Mr. Badger into 
the ministry, was an early one, having birth almost 
contemporaneously with the deep strivings of his mind 
already narrated in the previous chapter. It was the 
highest aspiration of his youth. Often, when at work, 
as early as the autumn of 1811, then nineteen years of 
age, his mind scarcely within his own control, he was fre 
quently in a preaching frame, and often fancied that 
he was speaking to audiences of people on the attrac 
tions of Christ ; so thoroughly was his mind engrossed 
in these meditations, that he often spoke several words 
before being aware of it, and not unfrequently did he 
find himself suffused with tears. " I had at this time," 
says Mr. B., " no idea that I should ever be a minister." 

"As soon as I had myself partaken of the pardoning 
love of Christ, I felt as though all others should be sharers 
in eternal life. In prayer, my mind was drawn out for all 
men, for the chief of sinners. My mind was quickly 
weaned from earthly delights, and all my powers were de 
voted to spiritual interests. The few good ministers I 
knew I esteemed as the best and happiest of human be 
ings ; and, as the harvest seemed great, I often prayed 
that the Lord would send forth more laborers into the 
field. I thought if I were in such a minister s place I 
would go to the ends of the earth to sound the message of 
redeeming love. It wag in the midst of such meditations 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 65 

that, in the first of the year 1812, all at once the idea 
broke into my mind that I must leave all and preach 
Christ. My soul shrunk away from the overpowering 
greatness of the thought, which I immediately banished 
from my mind ; but with its banishment there came a 
gloomy despondency, as through the winter I continued at 
times to be exercised with the spirit of a station, which I 
supposed I never could fill. 

" In the spring I went into the woods to make sugar, 
a business much followed in that country. Night and day 
for several weeks I was here confined, a scene that might 
once have been gloomy, but now was delightsome, as I 
enjoyed much of God s presence in my secret devotions. 
I kept my Bible with me, had some opportunity of read 
ing, which I eagerly improved with the greatest satisfac 
tion. Here my mind was again powerfully exercised in 
relation to preaching ; these impressions always brought 
with them the greatest solemnity. At such times I sought 
the most retired places I could find, wishing that I might 
hide, as it were, in the cleft of the rock, as the sacred 
vision passed before me. I said, Lord, who is sufficient 
for these things ? * and with Jeremiah I was constrained 
to say, * I cannot speak, for I am a child. While these 
things like mountains were rolled upon my mind, I fre 
quently spent the greater part of the whole night in prayer, 
in which I asked that I might be excused, and that these 
things might be taken from me. Hours in the lonely 
woods I passed in tears, and none but the angels witnessed 
the action and utterance of my grief. Once I opened my 
Bible wishing to know my duty, and the first words I be 
held were, The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and 
we are not saved ; language that impressed me with the 
great importance of the present time as an opportunity to 
lay up treasure in heaven ; to call the attention of men to 



66 MEMOIR OF 

their salvation, before the lamentation of the prophet 
should become their sad and unhopeful song. From the 
depth of my spirit I said, Oh ! my soul, can I be excusa 
ble for my silence, when I behold the dark tide of sin on 
which myriads are rushing to eternal wo ? Hearing the 
voice of Heaven perpetually resounding l Why will ye 
die ? and beholding the crimson tide of the loving, dying 
Christ, that ever spoke of mercy, whilst angels appeared 
to my view as waiting and longing to rejoice over one re 
penting sinner, I said, Can I refrain from warning men of 
their danger, from inviting them to the Christ of their de 
liverance ? For several days the above named scripture 
occupied my mind, and I was satisfied that God was 
drawing me into the ministry by these impressions, and 
soon I was willing to leave all, and suffer the loss of all 
things for Christ. 

" Late in the spring I left my retirement, with a coun 
tenance wan and fallen, and a heart filled with wo is 
me if I preach not the Gospel. I was silent, no company 
seemed agreeable, and to no one did I confide my feelings, 
In the summer of 1812, I searched the Scriptures, and 
often did my mind so extensively open to an understand 
ing of what I read, that I was impressed to communicate 
what I felt and what I saw. On some particular passage 
my mind would rest for several days at a time, and ideas 
of which I had never before thought, would present 
themselves. Well do I remember the great power in 
which the words of the apostolical commission came to my 
mind : Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel 
to every creature ; words that seemed night and day to 
sound as a voice of thunder through my spirit. I regarded 
this as the divine voice ; as Job says, God thundereth 
marvellously with his voice. From all the scripture I read 
I gathered something that taught me the moral situation 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 67 

of mankind, God s willingness and ways for saving them, 
also my own duty to my race. Remarkable dreams at 
this time united with other evidences to confirm me in my 
duty, as often in the midnight slumber I dreamed of speak 
ing to large assemblies in the name and spirit of the Lord. 
Frequently, under these exercises, I spoke so loud as to 
awaken the people in the house, and sometimes awoke in 
tears calling on sinners to repent and embrace the Saviour. 
When sleep departed from my eyes, as it frequently did, I 
would spend most of the night in prayer to God. Often 
could I say, with the weeping Hebrew prophet, Oh, that 
mine head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, 
that I might weep day and night. But none, except 
those who have passed through similar trials, can under 
stand the peculiar experience touched upon in these last 
paragraphs." 

The passage of men, called in any divine way, from 
worldly business into the work of reclaiming souls from 
sin, cannot be as smooth and easy as the passage one 
makes from a machine-shop to a counting-room. Fash 
ion and custom may render it so, but these are far from 
being God s prime ministers. Is there no preparatory 
process by which the spirit of the prophet is stirred to its 
depth ? Did not the fine nature of Jesus undergo temp 
tations and trials in the wilderness for forty days before 
he entered upon his public mission ? Did he not there 
feel the grandeur of his mission, when he foresaw the cost 
of all that the world and its ambition holds dear, as the 
result of his future procedure ? He casts the worldly 
crown beneath his feet, and steadily fixes his eye on the 
immortal good of the world as his end. The coarser 
heart of Arabia s prophet also sought solitude as its 



68 MEMOIR OF 

home ere it gave to the East its lasting oracles. The 
question of the calculating European and New Eng- 
lander, as to which one of his family he shall select 
with whom to stock the sacred profession, never came 
from the land of inspiration and of divine missions. He 
that was too dull to be a rogue, or a successful practi- 
titioner in law, medicine or merchandise, the old maxim 
thought to promise best for the pulpit. No such plot- 
tings had aught to do in the election of this young man. 
It was warm from his heart, was seasoned in prayers, 
baptized in tears, and cherished in sleepless night- 
watchings and lonely meditations. Preaching skilfully, 
learned as an art, may be had almost as cheaply as Pa 
risian dancing ; but the living word that " breaketh the 
rocks in pieces " never comes in it. 

Mr. Badger attended meetings through the summer, 
heard, when they had no minister, one of John Wes 
ley s sermons read, as dictated by the discipline ; min 
gling with others his own voice of exhortation and 
prayer. The eyes of all were soon fixed upon him, and 
the brethren began to complain of his disobedience to 
the heavenly vision long before he had intimated to 
any one the state of his mind. Some assured him con 
fidently that they had an evidence from God that it 
was his duty to preach, and that their meetings were 
impoverished by his unfaithful withholding. " This," 
says he, "I could not deny." Though encouraged by 
the kindred sympathy of Mr, Gilson, who narrated to 
him his own trials before entering the ministry, though 
finding a response to his own conviction of duty in the 
hearts of all the spiritually minded about him, he did 
not immediately or hastily go forth in ministerial action 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 69 

and armor. He waited the call of circumstance and 
occasion. His journal narrates a most beautiful visit 
he had at the house of Capt. Felix Ward, where the 
conversation was wholly devoted to religion; where 
scripture inquiry, prayer and holy song united to en 
lighten their minds, and to lay the basis of a valuable 
lasting friendship ; and though strangers to each other, 
the family spoke of him afterwards as one whom they 
then believed would be a chosen vessel to bear the 
honor of God before the Gentiles. " I thought, says 
Mr. B., " I scarcely ever saw a house so full of the 
glory of God." 

But particular occasion calls. In June or July, 1812, 
persecution arose in Ascott, which drove from the 
province two successful ministers, Messrs. Bates and 
Granger, because they would not swear allegiance to 
King George, which they boldly affirmed that they 
would never do. Thanking God that they were 
counted worthy to suffer for Christ, they meekly sub 
mitted to the persecution that seized them as prisoners 
in the midst of a happy meeting, and that drove them, 
after a lengthy arbitration, back into their own country, 
the State of Vermont. 

"When I heard of this circumstance," says Mr. B., 
11 my heart, filled with love for the dear converts and 
brethren who were bereaved of their pastors by the counsel 
of the ungodly, caused me to feel my responsibility anew ; 
as I was a citizen of the country, knew the manners and 
customs of the people, and could easily take a position 
from which the same persecuting powers could not drive 
me. My heart, like David s, began to burn with a holy 



70 MEMOIR OF 

resolve to go forth into the field, and take the place of my 
injured brothers." 

Though a stranger in the town of Ascott, where 
these events occurred, (a town about twelve miles 
from Compton,) he started on Saturday, near Sept. 
1st, to attend with them a general meeting of which 
he had previously heard, and as he was riding through 
a space of woods, it suddenly struck him that Mr. 
Moulton would be absent, and that he should be 
obliged to speak ; and the hundreds who remember 
the simplicity and naturalness of the texts from which 
he almost invariably preached in after life, will see 
something characteristic in the passage, Heb. 13 : 1, 
that came at once to his mind, " Let brotherly love 
continue." Hesitating for a time whether he would 
proceed or return, as he was satisfied that he should 
meet this great duty if he proceeded, he went forward, 
found a large audience assembled and no minister 
present. As he entered, all eyes were attracted to 
him, and though many present regarded him as one 
whom the Holy Spirit had called to preach, he re 
mained through the meeting in silence, except at the 
close he owned his disobedience, and received from 
several present warnings to be faithful hereafter. In 
personal figure Mr. B. was a noble and commanding 
man, one that could not pass among strangers without 
drawing to himself a marked attention. 

Saturday evening he was invited to pass at Mr. 
Bullard s, where they spent part of the evening in 
singing, and hours, he says, upon their knees in 
prayer, an evening by him never forgotten, as the 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 71 

Holy Spirit consciously filled their hearts with joy. 
" I thought then," says our youth, " I never saw so 
happy a family. Oh, what a glorious age will it be 
when the principles of pure religion shall pervade the 
world!" On Sunday they repaired to the place of 
worship, where " Mr. M. most beautifully described 
from James 1 : 25, the perfect law of liberty. Many 
were in spirit refreshed, and indeed we sat together 
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." As the Lord s 
Supper was not then administered, another appoint 
ment w r as made, and from the happy influences of this 
meeting with saints, Mr. B. returned home " in the 
power of the Spirit," firmly resolved to do all that 
duty might ever require. He again returned to Ascott 
to attend the appointment made for the communion, 
where Mr. M. gave an able discourse on having " a 
sound mind" and where, for the first time in his life, 
he partook of the symbols of Jesus truth and dying 
love. He says : 

" I trembled at the thought of attending on so sacred 
an ordinance, and with so holy a band of brethren ; but 
as I could not feel justified in the neglect of the privilege, 
I came forward in the worthiness of my Lord, and I believe 
with his fear before my eyes. A deep solemnity rested on 
the whole assembly, and our souls, at the close, were seem 
ingly on flame for the realms above. I was never happier 
in my life at the close of a meeting. 

"Mr. M., having appointments over St. Francis River, 
wished me to take a journey with him. I complied. We 
crossed the river, visited several families, had one meeting ; 
then passing up the river to Westbury (eight miles), through 
a woody region mostly, we arrived in the afternoon much 



72 MEMOIR OF 

fatigued, as we had to encounter the bufferings of a violent 
storm. On our way, I had fallen back and rode several 
miles alone in the most serious meditations. I clearly saw 
the hardships of a missionary life, and felt that I must 
enter the field. We found a loving company of brethren, 
who received us kindly, and who appeared to be steadfast 
in faith. We held several good meetings in the place. 
Some were baptized. I also made the acquaintance of 
Mr. Zenas Adams, a young minister who had just begun 
to preach. This journey increased my confidence, as Mr. 
Moulton was a discerning man, and qualified both from 
knowledge and sympathy to assist young ministers. The 
conversations with Mr. Adams were also advantageous. 
He was but a few months my elder. 

" I had now arrived at a crisis in which I must earn 
estly dispose of every practical objection. I had said, * I 
am a child I cannot speak. I was but twenty years of 
age ; I thought my friends might be unwilling. Soon, 
however, my father gave me my freedom ; and I felt that 
there was much meaning yet in the good scripture which 
saith, It shall be given you in that same hour what ye 
shall speak. I plead a comparative illiteracy, as the 
minister is ordained to teach, and ought to command the 
various resources of knowledge. This objection also fled 
before that potent scripture, James 1 : 5, If any of you 
lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men 
liberally, and upbraideth not ; and it shall be given him. 
I was satisfied of this, that if God had called me to the 
work, with health, youth, and industry on my part, He 
would give me every necessary qualification. As swim 
ming is learned by swimming, and agriculture is acquired 
by its active pursuit, it struck me that fidelity in the new 
work would secure the only effectual skill in conducting it. 
I thought of a kind father s house, of my loving parents 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 73 

who had watched over my childhood, of the four brothers 
and four sisters with whom I had lived in the greatest 
friendship ; and I did not omit to think of the needful 
renunciation of worldly prospects, and of the censures I 
should get from some, and the various treatment I had 
reason to expect from the world if I went out as a faith 
ful, uncompromising ambassador of Christ. To take the 
parting hand with my dear relatives, and to live in the 
world as a stranger and foreigner, called up many painful 
emotions in my breast as I glanced into the uncertain 
future. Still no tide of emotion could carry me back in 
my purposes, and with much feeling I felt to say : 

" Farewell, oh my parents, the joy of my childhood, 

My brothers and sisters, I bid you adieu ! 
To wander creation, its fields and its wildwood, 

And call upon mortals their God to pursue : 
"When driven by rain-drops, and night shades prevailing, 
And keen piercing north-winds my thin robes assailing, 
And stars of the twilight in lustre regaling, 
I ll seek some repose in a cottage unknown. 

" Through all my discouragements and melancholy 
hours, interspersed throughout nearly a year s continu 
ance, there were times when the sweet peace of God grew 
conscious in my heart, and always did this passage bring 
with it a cheering light, " Lo, I am with you alway, even 
unto the end of the world ! I felt that it was mine, that it 
was for me, and for all true ministers through time, as well 
as for the worthier ones who carried the Master s truth 
through suffering and trial over the earth. Feeling now 
that the time had come when I must venture forth, and 
finding that nothing among the armory of Saul would 
suit my form or answer my purpose, I concluded that no 
other way remained for me but to rely on t the mighty 
arm of the God of Jacob, under whose name I would 
4 



74 MEMOIR OF 

fight the battle of life. In the latter part of October, 
1812, on a pleasant Sabbath morning, while the people 
were gathering from every direction for meeting, the fol 
lowing passage came with power to my mind, and as no 
minister was present that day, I knew I could offer no 
good excuse for a refusal to speak. Phil. 2:5. Let 
this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. On 
this text, on this very glorious theme, my public life be 
gan, and doubtless in a weak, broken, and trembling man 
ner. I have often thought of my first text, and have 
endeavored to make it my motto for life, for it is on the 
idea here advanced that the vital merit of ministers and 
Christians must forever depend. How important that 
the Gospel minister should have the mind of Christ! 
How can he otherwise preach Him to the world ? How 
may he penetrate the centre of other souls and hold up 
the living evidence of Christianity without it ? How im 
portant that all Christians have His spirit and temper ! 
For it is this that directs, this that supports, this that 
adorns the child of God." 

" But when the echo of the first effort came back 
from the community, Joseph Badger has become a 
preacher, a sentence then in everybody s mouth, I was 
greatly mortified, particularly when the invitations came 
to me before the week had ended, to go and preach in 
different parts of the town. I complied as far as practica 
ble with these requests, and our meetings were thronged 
with people who came to hear, the new minister, the 
young man young, indeed, in a double sense, in years 
and in experience. Perhaps never before did surround 
ing circumstances unite to render me more thoroughly 
conscious of my weakness, dependence, and inefficiency. 
I spent much time in secret prayer, and in pensive medi 
tation, and the cry I once before had made in the antici- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 75 

pation now arose with redoubled energy,^ c Lord, who is 
sufficient for these things ? More than ever did I begin 
to fell the worth of souls by night and by day; and 
through the bodily fatigues to which my labors subjected 
me, the sense of responsibility and insufficiency that 
weighed upon me, my mind was somewhat shaded with 
melancholy, and often did my heart find relief in tears." 

" The next Thursday evening after my first sermon, I 
attended a Conference, where I met Mr. Gilson, a well- 
known minister. He appeared much rejoiced at what he 
called * the good news/ and insisted that as there were 
many present, I should occupy the desk as the speaker, 
and give the introductory sermon. This, to me, was a 
great cross, particularly so as one of my brothers was 
present. After enduring for a time the conflict of feel 
ings, which may be easily imagined, I went forward in 
prayer, then arose to speak from 1 John 5, 19th verse: 
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world 
lieth in wickedness. In speaking, I had a good time, and 
both branches of the subject, which run over the ground 
occupied by saints and sinners, seemed to have a good 
effect ; it inspired joy in the one, and awakened solemnity 
in the other. Mr. G. approbated my discourse, but I felt 
much mortified that I, a mere lad, was called out to set 
my few loaves and small fishes before the great multi 
tude." 



76 MEMOIR OF 

CHAPTER VI. 

PUBLIC LABORS IN THE PROVINCE. 

" FROM this time, I continued to improve my gift in 
public speaking, in this and other neighborhoods of the 
town. Feeling much friendship and care for the brethren 
in Ascott, I spent as much time as my business would 
allow among them, which was to my instruction and com 
fort, as there were in that place many faithful and experi 
enced Christians. As I had some leisure, and found it 
duty to visit the neighboring towns, I thought it would 
be proper to have something to show, upon my introduc 
tion to strange communities, what my character and stand 
ing were at home. As I felt commissioned from God s 
throne, I saw no necessity of applying to men for license 
or liberty to preach, and therefore only sought a confirma 
tion of my moral character. It would indeed be an absurd 
mission that did not include the liberty of fulfilling the 
duty imposed. Thus I did not go up to Jerusalem to 
those who were Apostles before me, though I conferred 
much with flesh and blood. I submitted this question 
to Mr. John Gilson, who as a minister was highly respected. 
He concurred with me in opinion, gave me a letter stating 
that my moral and Christian character was good, and 
that the religious community believed me to be called to 
preach the Gospel. This was singular, as I was not a 
Methodist, and was in no way pledged to their peculiar 
doctrines. We always had, however, a good understand 
ing, and it was with tears that I parted from them. Since 
then I have often met them with joy, and they are still 
dear in my memory.* For one year from the time I began 

* This part of the journal was written in 1816. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 77 

to preach, this was all the letter I had, whilst with solemn 
joy I went through the region of. Lower Canada to preach, 
experiencing the mingled cup of joy and trial common to 
a missionary life, which was my heart s choice." 

" In the winter of 1812 I made it my home in Ascott, 
attended school some, but, so far as scholarship is con 
cerned, to little profit, as my mind was subjected to im 
pressions that constrained me to leave school and preach 
Christ. In the early part of the winter, I concluded to 
visit Shipton, on a preaching tour of about sixty miles, 
with Zenas Adams. He was a well-informed young man, 
who had commenced preaching a few months earlier than 
myself. We started on foot, and travelled along with 
mind and conversation seriously imbued with the spirit of 
our calling, to the appointments we had made, where we 
met large assemblies, who had convened to hear what the 
boys could say. Brother A. spoke mostly on this tour. 
We attended meetings in Brompton, Melbourne, Shipton, 
and other places, meeting kind receptions and gentle treat 
ment from many good Christians, and short answers from 
some of our enemies. At Shipton we were joyfully 
received by Capt. Ephraim Magoon, in a manner never 
to be forgotten by me ; also were we kindly greeted by 
many other good friends. We passed several days in this 
place, which laid the foundation for a long acquaintance, 
and for my subsequent labors in that community." 

The following paragraph is so characteristic of Mr. 
B., that no one can fail to see the man as present in 
the youth. It was in sudden emergency that the 
energy and creativeness of his genius were always man 
ifest. Though naturally diffident, no one ever saw 
him in an emergency that proved greater than his own 
mind. His dignity, firmness, composure and aptness 



78 MEMOIR OF 

at such times, were always striking and heroic. In a 
crisis, who ever saw him at a loss ? 

" On our return, at a meeting held at Mr. Hovey s, 
whilst Adams was preaching, a British officer came in. 
When the sermon was ended, I arose to speak by way of 
exhortation. It was a solemn, weeping time, and I ob 
served the officer to shed tears. When the meeting was 
dismissed he made known to us his business, informing us 
that Esquire Gushing had sent him to arrest us, and to 
bring us before him for examination, as it was a time of 
war between two nations, and we were strangers. But 
as for myself/ he kindly observed, I am not concerned 
about you, and if you will agree to call on Esquire C. to 
morrow, I will return home ; to which we agreed, ex 
horting him to repent. The next day we called at Esquire 
Cushing s tavern (for his were the double honors of land 
lord and magistrate) and ordered refreshment. At even 
ing we were formally summoned into his presence. I 
walked forward and Adams fell in the rear, in order 
that-I might act as the chief speaker. Mr. Gushing then 
exclaimed, with all the harsh authority a British tyrant 
could assume What s your business in this country? I 
replied, To preach Christ s Gospel, sir. By what au 
thority ? By the authority of Heaven, sir. At this the 
old man began to look surprised and beaten, thinking that 
I probably knew his character too well for him to succeed 
in this sort of treatment; and my friend Adams, constitu 
tionally mild and retiring, began to take courage. He 
then observed, How came you in this country ? My 
father purchasing a large tract of land in the town of 
Compton, brought me into this country when nine years 
old, and, sir, I have as good a right here as you or any 
other man. Have you taken the oath of allegiance ? 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 79 

Yes, sir. Let me see your certificate, added he. I 
presented it ; it was read and returned. Are you a son 
of Major Badger, of Compton? I am, sir. Well, 
you d better be at home han to be strolling about the 
country. I thank you, sir, I shall attend to what em 
ployment I think best, and shall visit what part of the 
country I please. Here I was dismissed, and I conclude 
he thought me a saucy fellow." 

" Next poor Adams had to walk up. He came forward 
with a calm and delicate countenance, clothed in the sweet 
temper of the Lamb. The blood which had forsaken his 
beardless face, now returned, and adorned his cheeks with 
their accustomed bloom, as he stood before a beast of the 
deep, who possessed much of the spirit that prevailed in 
his mother-country during the reign of Queen Mary, who 
caused her own beautiful cousin, Lady Jane Grey, to 
ascend the scaffold at the age of seventeen to suffer death 
for her religion. Brother Adams had taken the oath of 
allegiance, but as he could present no certificate he expe 
rienced some difficulty and suffered much abuse. But his 
soft answers servecl to turn away wrath. As I knew him 
I spoke in his favor, and after a short time we were dis 
missed. The next morning, after paying an extravagant 
price for poor, and to us disagreeable entertainment, we 
departed, rejoicing that we in our youthful days were 
counted worthy to suffer for Jesus sake." 

" This journey was very beneficial to me. Here a 
friendship was formed between brother Adams and my 
self which has never since been destroyed. He was an 
excellent young man, and had not at that time joined the 
Methodist connection. After a most agreeable acquaint 
ance for more than one year, it was heart-rending to part 
with him. I found that he was lesolved to join the So 
ciety, and that he was very anxious that I should. AYe 



80 MEMOIR OF 

conversed on the measure lengthily. I proposed to him 
that we would travel at large, and not be confined to sect 
or party, but preach a free salvation to .all who would 
hear us. He said that his confidence was so small, that 
he thought it best to preach upon an established circuit, 
where he should be sure of a living and where he should 
have homes to receive him. I replied, that I could not fear 
to trust in God for a living ; that the faithful minister 
would never starve ; and that if I could not get further on 
my way, at any time, I would go home and resume my 
daily toil. I saw that he was set on going to Conference ; 
he also saw that I had a permanent dislike to the Bishop s 
power, and that I would not become subject to the 
Methodist laws. We did not longer urge each other, but 
parted in love. I walked with him half a mile, when 
he started, and I felt the trial of our parting to be great. 
We kneeled in the woods with our arms around each other, 
and when we had prayed and bathed each other s bosoms 
in tears, we arose and parted with affectionate salutation, 
never expecting to meet again on earth. He went to 
unite with the American Methodists, and I, more from 
duty than inclination, remained among enemies in Lower 
Canada, to stem the torrent of opposition alone." 

"In the month of January I left school, rode to Hatley 
and Stanstead, on the shore of Lake Mogogue, where I 
spent certain days, and attended several meetings. The 
greater part of the winter, when out of school, I spent at 
Ascot t, Compton, and Westbury, where I had good times, 
though mingled with trials and temptations. The first 
day of January, 1813, was a very glorious time at a gen 
eral meeting in Ascott. Mr: Gilson, and a colored man 
by the name of Dunbar, who was both a godly man and 
a faithful preacher, wej# our principal speakers. In the 
month of March I took a journey to Shipton alone, where 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 81 

I enjoyed a glorious meeting, and made an engagement to 
return in the spring. 

" During this month, my eldest brother came four miles 
to hear me preach. He requested me to make an appoint 
ment at his house, which was near my father s residence ; 
and but few of our family had ever heard me speak. His 
house was one where I had attended many balls and had 
met assemblies for vain recreations. The audience to 
whom I spoke was composed of my parents, brothers, sis 
ters, neighbors, and my fellow youth, who had been my old 
companions in sin circumstances that rendered my cross 
very great. My father s presence made my embarrass 
ment much greater, as I knew the critical cast of his mind, 
the extensive reading and education by which his intellect 
was enriched. I observed that my father selected a seat 
with his back towards me. Excessive as my cross was, I 
could not be reconciled to this. I arose and presented 
him my chair, and when he had again taken his seat, I 
read a hymn from the Methodist collection, which was 
sweetly sung by the young people, my brother serving as 
chorister. After prayer and the second singing, I an 
nounced my text, at which every countenance fell, a gen 
eral surprise being visible all around, and the young people 
appeared as solemn as if the day of doom had dawned. I 
believe I have intimated heretofore that, as a town, the 
people were irreligious. My text was Matt. 23 : 33. 
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers ! how can ye escape 
the damnation of hell ? My text was harsh, but my dis 
course was mild. I first noticed the natural qualities of 
serpents and vipers that constituted the analogy of the 
passage, and that furnished the reason of their being so 
called. Second, I described what I considered to be the 
damnation of hell. Third, I endeavored to show how we 
might escape this, and the necessity of improving a present 
4* 



82 MEMOIR OF 

day of grace. I then addressed myself to the assem 
bly in the following order: 1st, to my parents; 2d, to my 
brothers and sisters ; 3d, to the young people ; 4th, to the 
neighbors. This was indeed one of the most affecting 
scenes I ever had witnessed. When I came to address 
the young people in relation to our former sports in that 
room, and to express my regard for them, and to tell them 
of the new and better inheritance I had discovered, some 
wept aloud, and at the close several said Pray for me. 
I name this circumstance, as it was the first time my pa 
rents ever heard me preach, and it being a time deeply 
impressed on my own memory. After this I rode four 
miles, and preached in the evening at Mr. Benjamin 
Sleeper s, in whose house a most beautiful child lay dead, 
and which on the following morning received its burial." 

I find, on another page of his journal, that the 
sermon here spoken of bears date March 23d, 1813. 

" I now began to reflect on the situation of the peo 
ple at Shipton, and felt it my duty to return to them, as in 
that and in several adjoining towns there was no minister. 
I accordingly made preparations and started, April 1st, 
1813. On the way I spoke several times, to good assem 
blies ; arrived on the 6th, and found from multitudes a 
joyful reception. A reformation immediately began among 
the youth, and the spirits of the aged pilgrims revived like 
the golden life of a second summer. This, to me, was an 
evidence I could not doubt, that it was under a heavenly 
guidance that I had come to Shipton. I made it my 
home at Capt. Magoon s, where I enjoyed, with the aged 
people, many very happy hours ; they were indeed the 
excellent of the earth, and I hope their numerous kind 
nesses to me may receive a thousandfold reward." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 83 

" In the month of June, I made my first visit to Ring- 
sey, to which place I was invited by Col. Bean, one of my 
father s particular acquaintances, likewise one of the prin 
cipal men in this community. Though invited on a per 
sonal visit at his house, which was about sixteen miles dis 
tant, I found, on my arrival, a multitude assembled, to 
whom I spoke, under the conscious aid of the higher power. 
Several dated their conviction from this meeting, and 
through all the town the reformation spread. After speak 
ing to them a few more times, I returned to Shipton ; and in 
a few weeks visited them again, where I found several 
happy converts and many whose heart-cry was for mercy. 
Thus the work spread until it was thought that upwards of 
one-half of the grown people had experienced religion ; I 
say experienced religion, for religion is not a matter of 
theory but of life. Its home is not in the dry speculation 
of the brain, but in the field of experience. Religion in 
theory is like the pictures of trees and flowers ; they may 
win the eye and the fancy ; but these pictures do not blos 
som, nor grow, nor bear fruits. The juices of life flow in 
the roots and branches of everything that grows." 

" Col. Bean, my good friend, whose house was always to 
me an agreeable home, and some of his children, found 
peace in Christ. He continued a shining light until his 
death, which was about one year after. The many pleas 
ant days and nights enjoyed with him and his agreeable 
family afford pleasure in their recollection ; and though 
these cheerful scenes are not to be recalled, I trust they 
may be resumed in a better state of being." 

" The latter part of August I was invited to attend a 
meeting in the upper part of the town of Ringsey, a place 
whose inhabitants were said to be remarkably hardened 
and wicked. I thought a place like this should not be 
shunned by a minister whose commission it is to seek the 



84 . MEMOIR OF 

lost. At the time appointed there was a general attend 
ance. I had rode a long distance, and both myself and 
horse were very much fatigued. I had no attention what 
ever paid me as to refreshment, nor did their sense of 
civility or bowels of compassion disturb them with a sin 
gle thought about the needs of the faithful animal that 
had done its part in helping them to a minister, and that 
stood very patiently by the side of the fence. I stood, a 
stranger, in the midst of glaring spectators. I recollect 
that when walking through the assembly, I felt an emc^. 
tion of tenderness and solicitude for them that nearly im 
pelled me to tears. I spoke to them from Zech. 9: 12, 
and, if ever the Being who gave me my mission assisted 
ma in fulfilling it, it was then. Though very feeble in 
health I spoke to them over one hour, and the power of 
God came down upon the assembly, and many wept aloud. 
At the close I gave opportunity to any who wished me to 
pray for them to indicate their mind by rising, when the 
greater part of the assembly arose. The cry was audible 
and general, What shall I do to be saved ? In my 
closing prayer I could scarcely be heard. Though late, I 
mounted my horse, and rode nine miles to Shipton, where, 
at the house of Mr. Heath, I was kindly treated. But I 
was so weary and exhausted that I retired without refresh 
ment, and did not visit Ringsey again for several weeks, 
leaving them to work out their own salvation. I then 
proceeded up the St. Francis river about seventy miles, 
to the town of Dudswell, where I found a happy circle of 
Christians. When I again returned to Ringsey the scene 
was wonderfully changed. Old and young flocked into the 
streets to meet and welcome my return. I could not pass 
a house where I was not urged to go in. I occasionally 
spoke to them during my stay in that country. Truly in 
this place were the songs of the old and the young mingled 
together."" 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 85 

" In the month of August, we held at Shipton a gen 
eral meeting. Mr. R. Smith preached a very interesting 
discourse on Saturday, from Gal. 3 : 26 : For ye are all 
the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Sunday 
morning Mr. Avery Moulton spoke from Acts 3 : 22 : 
A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up. Mr, J. 
Gilson next addressed the assembly from 2 Kings 5 : 13. 
After him I endeavored to speak from Zech. 9 : 17 : 
1 For how great is his goodness, how great is his beauty ! 
Several happy converts were baptized at this meeting by 
Elder Moulton. 

" From this we appointed a general meeting to be held 
at Ascott, on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of October. It be 
ing a time of war between two powerful nations, our 
situation was rendered very unpleasant in many respects. 
Our provincial officers were much opposed to our travel 
ling from town to town, and our brethren in general refused 
to bear arms. This enraged the officers. They frequently 
sent spies to our meetings to see if we prayed for the 
king and if we preached against the government, as we 
afterward learned. One of the officers once accosted me 
in these words : Well, Mr. Badger, I understand you do 
not pray for the king ! You are mistaken, sir, I do 
pray for the king. But how do you pray for him ? I 
pray that he may become converted, and be a child of 
God. Ah ! but that won t do ; you ought to pray for 
the success of his arms. I do, sir, pray for his arms, 
that his swords may be beaten into ploughshares and his 
spears into pruning-hooks. This is the best prayer I can 
make in his behalf. He did not seem to like my answer, 
but said no more to me. 

" The October meeting coming off at this time, made no 
small stir among the people, and the wicked, as of old, 
1 took counsel together against the Lord, and against His 



86 MEMOIR OF 

anointed. As they had been successful in driving two 
good preachers out of the country, they were now em 
boldened to make a strong attempt, first to frighten us out 
of the country, and should they fail in that, which they 
did, to disturb our meetings as their next best stroke of 
policy. They issued warrants for nine of us, myself and 
two other ministers, and six of the leading members of 
our churches. We were arrested on the first day of our 
meeting, which had opened under promising auspices, as 
enemies to the Government. I had an insight into their 
methods before any part of their plot was executed ; for 
as I was on my way the morning of the 8th, and within 
eight or nine miles of the meeting, an officer with whom 
I was acquainted, hailed me from his house and observed 
if I would wait a few moments he would be my company. 
As we rode along I drew from him a development of the 
whole plot, and at that time I became his prisoner. The 
greatest fear I had was this, that the meeting would be 
essentially disturbed. The prisoners were to be delivered 
and have their trial at Mr. Stone s tavern, one mile from 
the place of the meeting, at the same time that it was in 
progress. When I arrived at the place where the congre 
gation was to convene, I called, found several preachers 
present, and some brethren to whom I related the whole 
of what was about to transpire. Some were filled with 
fear. I advised them to discover no alarm, but to go on 
composedly with their meeting, provided there should not 
be more than ten persons left, after the rulers should 
have sifted the audience in their legal network, and to 
pay no attention whatever to us who were absent, except 
to remember us kindly in their prayers ; and away I went 
to stand in the presence of authority. Soon, however, I 
was favored with the company of brother Amos Bishop, a 
faithful minister of the Gospel. He came in rejoicing that 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 87 

he was counted worthy to sufferfor Jesus sake. Our trial 
formally opened on Friday noon, but not much was done. 
At evening I obtained a room in which to hold meeting, 
thinking that inasmuch as the legal process was tardy, the 
ministers present could make no better use of their leisure 
time than in preaching Christ to all who would become 
our hearers. Seats were prepared, and the neighbors 
flocked in. I then walked into the somewhat spacious bar 
room to invite the honorable court to attend, a body com 
posed of three magistrates, viz. : Pennoyer, Nichols, and 
Hyat, who were at the time merrily passing the glass. 
Making to them as courteous an address as I was capable, 
in which I stated the superlative worth of the religion of 
Christ in the soul, I gave them an invitation to be with us. 
They did not make much reply, but stood by the door, as 
we learned, where they could hear the communications of 
the meeting. Never did we enjoy a more glorious time, 
never did we realize the divine presence more joyfully 
than here under keepers. Many brethren came to see us, 
their eyes filled with tears, whilst our hearts overflowed 
with joy." 

" Saturday morning I arose very early and obtained 
permission to visit -my brethren at the general meeting on 
condition that I would return at nine o clock. I enjoyed 
my visit there; but what most affected me was this. Just 
as the sun had begun to brighten the eastern sky, after I 
had started, I met my oldest sister and my brother s wife, 
who had heard of my bonds, and hastened with eyes and 
hearts full of sympathetic concern for my welfare. They 
had arrived at the place the night previous, and were at 
that early hour hastening to the lodgings of their poor 
brother Joseph in afflictions. When I saw them I could 
not refrain from tears. They brought me money and 
articles of clothing, which were acceptable to me at that 



88 MEMOIR OF 

time. They tarried through the meeting and returned 
home." 

" At ten o clock the court sat, and the whole scene to 
gether was one at which the student of human nature might 
have sat with amusement, scorn, edification, and pity. 
False witnesses arose as in ancient days. I say false wit 
nesses, because they proved so before the court. They 
stated that we had opposed our brethren in bearing arms, 
that we had spoken diminutively of the British king, topics 
on which the public speakers present had been silent. 
Finally, at the close we were bound over for our appearance 
at court, which sat at the Three Rivers, and only twenty- 
five minutes were granted us in which to procure bonds 
men. This we utterly declined doing. I told them that I 
knew the character of the cause in which I was called to 
suffer ; that for me the Stone Jug had no terrors, and that 
if I must occupy its walls, I should trust that the same 
God who heard Paul s prayers and songs at midnight, 
would also be my friend. At this a captain was ordered 
to take charge of me. Bishop answered rather independ 
ently, and asked Esq. P. to be his bondsman, but at length 
informed them that he despised their pow^r. At this we 
were companions. Many present who were at first our 
enemies, came to me in tears, and offered to be our bonds 
men. A captain who had carefully observed all that had 
transpired, came and offered to pledge his farm for me. At 
this, sympathy became contagious, and the spectators, who 
had thus far been watchfully silent, began to damn the 
squires, two of whom were now observed to stagger, having 
taken too much whiskey to retain a respectable command 
of their persons. One of them took me aside, told me that 
he found no cause against me, that it was the others who 
had caused them to bind me over, that he had always been 
my friend, and would attend meeting the next day. The 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 89 

poor fellow fell from his horse on the way home, and broke 
his shoulder, which for weeks prevented him from leaving 
his house. Esq P. the following day was found in the road 
drunk ; and thus ended the suit. These events were not 
ineffectual Our keepers, on seeing the agitation of the 
people, and the increase of our friends, on Monday morn 
ing, by the advice of Captain Ward, dismissed us, and told 
us to go about our business. This was a day of glad news 
to the brethren, who in trembling fear and faith, had borne 
us in their prayers to the Invisible King ; and now having 
a little leisure, I improved it in visiting my friends at 
Compton. I had not seen my father s house for months. 
I spent some time with them very agreeably relived past 
scenes in conversation bade them an affectionate fare well 
and again went to Shipton." 

" In the latter part of the year 1813, when on my return 
from Shipton, my father sent me word that unless I could 
tarry several days, he wished me to send an appointment 
and preach at his house. This to me was welcome tidings, 
as Lhad long been waiting with hopeful anxiety for this 
opportunity to open. I sent an appointment, which soon 
spread over the town. No travelling minister had at this 
time ever preached at my father s house, and a large mul 
titude assembled, probably under the impression that there 
was something new in the circumstance. Oh, how solemn, 
how memorable the scene ! I had long been absent from 
home among strangers, had passed through a trying 
experience in which friendship and hatred had largely 
commingled, and now, at the invitation of a kind father, I 
stood amidst my relatives, brethren and old acquaintances, 
to speak freely on whatever I felt to be dear to the hope 
and salvation of man, I spoke from Mark 5:19. < Go 
home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the 
Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on 



90 MEMOIR OF 

tliee. After the assembly had dispersed, my father and 
myself spent a great part of the night in conversation on 
the things of the kingdom, in which he rather favored the 
doctrine of Universalism. I had an agreeable visit of a 
few days, and went rejoicing on my way. I name these 
circumstances as they belong to the time I first preached 
at my father s house." 

" At Shipton and vicinity, we had through the fall and 
first part of the winter, golden seasons, and many were 
added to the church of God. Party rage seemed to die 
away, and persecution greatly subsided. I now began to 
feel a dismission, so far as my labors and responsibilities 
were related to this region of country ; and in casting my 
eye over the world as my lawful field, I longed to visit 
other lands, and carry to distant parts the unsectarian mes 
sage of Repentance, Faith, and Love. During the winter 
I made several visits at Stanstead, a town lying on the 
eastern shore of Lake Memphremagog, where I saw a few 
persons converted, and where, with the saints of the Most 
High, I took sweet counsel. Also had many useful meet 
ings in my father s vicinity." 

"In the spring of 1814 I found my health exceedingly 
poor. Many thought I was inclining to the consumption. 
As the roads were exceedingly bad in the spring season 
throughout the province, I resolved to make but qie gen 
eral visit in each particular place where I had*preached, 
unless particular impression should otherwise direct me, 
and then journey to the land of my nativity, to the New 
England sea-coast, around which my feelings of friendship 
and reverence warmly clustered, almost taking in the 
scenery of New England as a vital part of my filial feelings. 
Accordingly, as soon as the going became settled, I started 
on my farewell visits through the North country. Hun 
dreds flocked together in the several towns where my 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 91 

appointments had been sent, to hear my farewell dis 
courses ; and unegotistically do I record the simple fact 
that my audiences wept as I told them my work with 
them was done, and that in other lands I must go and 
publish the same salvation in which they rejoiced. Many 
said, from the poor health I was in, they were satisfied 
they should never see me again. This was indeed a 
solemn time to me. I made my intended visit, and left 
Shipton on the 5th of June. Many of the aged saints and 
the warnr-hearted young people came together at an early 
hour in the morning to bid me adieu. When ready to 
leave, I sung a few verses of a missionary hymn, which 
thus commences : 

" Farewell, my brethren in the Lord ! 

The Gospel sounds the Jubilee; 
My stammering tongue shall sound aloud, 
From land to land, from sea to sea. 

Some united in the song, others were prevented by the 
fulness of their emotion. At the close, we kneeled to 
gether in prayer ; and it was with a heavy heart that I 
offered to them my parting hand. Never can I forget the 
kindness and friendship of this people. They contributed 
largely to my necessities, welcomed me to their homes, 
and upheld, with their prayers, my feeble hands. Return 
ing to spend a few days at my father s house, I found on 
parting, the strength of the social and filial ties that bind 
the heart of man to its home. When, after prayer, I gave 
my hand to my father, he could only utter God bless you/ 
such were his emotions, and a wordless silence, accompa 
nied by tears, was my mother s benediction. When I rode 
away, I felt myself dead to every earthly prospect, to every 
worldly enjoyment, and from the dearest friends on earth 
cut off. Yet there was a holy sunshine falling down upon 
my clouds, that gave to my sinking spirit its needful 



92 MEMOIR OF 

consolation. It is usually thought that the situation of a 
youth cut off from his friends is a trying one, especially 
so if called to the ministry. It is not only in parting with 
friends and in renouncing worldly prospects, that the spirit 
is tried ; the life of a missionary, who is a man of God and 
faithful, is exposed to a thousand sufferings and dangers. 
Missionaries often go forth as the chosen organs of differ 
ent denominations, whose denominational interests they 
plead, and from whom they receive a pledged support. I 
had aspired to be a missionary of another school, a mis 
sionary to men and not from men, having only the Gospel 
of the world s salvation to uphold, looking on high for the. 
mission, and to the just and careful operations of His pro 
vidence for all necessary support. For one so conditioned 
to consider the awful and immense responsibility he assumes 
before God, to think of the account he must soon render of 
his steward -hip, is enough to humble him in the dust. Yet 
when, on the other hand, the faithful minister has a view 
of the everlasting inheritance that appears to the eye of 
faith, from the future compensations of His love, he can 
say, with the great missionary of the Gentiles, I reckon 
that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to 
be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in 
us. Perhaps this contemplation is not capable of a 
statement more just than that which it finds in the olden 
words : 

" What contradictions meet 

In ministers employ ;. 
It is a bitter sweet, 

A sorrow full of joy. 
No other post affords the place 
For equal honor and disgrace. " 

With these lines the nobly expressed narrative of 
Mr. B., so far as it relates to his early ministerial 
labors in the Province, closes. A few other docu- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 93 

ments lie before me, several letters from the hand of 
Mr. Z. Adams, his colleague for a time in the labors 
and trials of his early ministrations, several letters of 
commendation from churches with whom he had 
labored, and from influential ministers with whom he 
had associated. These letters from Mr. A., though 
wearing the sallow impress of time on their forms, are 
fresh with the ardor and devotedness of what never 
grows old, the earnest heart ; and what is peculiar to 
all these letters from the churches is this, that, after 
the usual commendatory expressions relative to moral 
and Christian character, they invariably speak of the 
success of his ministry among the people. There are 
also a few letters from him to his father and brothers, 
written during the period of his ministerial labors of 
1813-14, that are unfeignedly rich in the spirit of 
self-sacrifice, firm faith in his mission, and a fine feeling 
of love and kindness to all his relatives, a quality 
flowing through all the correspondence I have seen, 
addressed to relatives. A long catalogue of names, 
dated Dec. 20, 1813, shows the number of persons in 
different towns who were converted under his ministry ; 
and though the evidences at hand indicate for them a 
general stability of principle and aim, one name, from 
the first column, must appear to great disadvantage in 
a future chapter, for it would be equal to a hunting 
excursion in the forests of antiquity, to find in any 
country a more unreasonable persecutor, on a limited 
scale, than was Capt. Moor, in the month of Septem 
ber, 1815. 

Joseph Badger was a man who could never endure 
dulness. Lifelessness and inactivity, in fine, all the 



94 MEMOIR OF 

brood of stupid demons, he had a magical power to 
disperse. They fled at his entrance. He would 
have life and interest, and no man could better create 
them, by awakening readily the resources of all 
around him. Thus far we only see the young man of 
twenty, but the same inherent traits of his whole life 
are conspicuous. He awakens community wherever 
he goes. He calls out opposition, creates strong 
friends and enemies, concentrates attention, brings 
himself into trying emergencies, which call out his 
various facility of tact and successful management, his 
firmness and self-composure. Having set his mind 
and heart on the persuasion of men to repent and to 
seek salvation, he carries a multitude along to this 
end. But what is most rich, is the deep evangelical 
element, in which all his powers are immersed ; his 
constant, prayerful, weeping solicitude for souls. I 
know not where to go to find these holy elements in a 
more abundant, pure, and I will add, in a more natural 
state, than they appear in Mr. Badger s early life. 
His enthusiasm was not rash or fanatical. The fire of 
his heart blended with the light of his brain. His eye 
was always as calm as it was penetrating. It combined 
the glow and the calmness of the night-star. Almost 
at the risk of presenting too much of a good thing, I 
venture to quote a mere fraction of some of these 
letters, each line of which is so fully alive with the 
sincerity and earnest faith of the writer. 

" SHIPTON, May llth, 1813. 

" DEAR PARENTS, I assure you it is with pleasure I 
once more attempt to write you. I arrived on May the 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 95 

6th, very much fatigued. I walked twenty-one miles 
without refreshment, which was too much for my nature. 
I was unable to preach for some days. My greatest pain 
was to see the inroads made by the enemy into our little 
church whilst I was absent, and the spirit of persecution 
that rankles in many hearts. As I view souls united to 
eternity, and see that some are hewing out to themselves 
( broken cisterns, and giving way to seducing spirits, 
in the doctrine, Ye shall not surely die, I am led to 
mourn." 

" It is surprising to view the beauties of creation, in 
which we see how everything is formed for the use and 
comfort of man. Yet how sadly they abuse the great 
profusion of His blessing. What more could He have 
done for His vineyard than He hath done for it? Isaiah 
5 : 4. "Whilst I meditate on the extent of His goodness 
and long suffering, on the cross of Him who died for all, 
and then think of the wickedness that abounds, I am 
obliged to mourn. Oh my loving parents, may we be 
wise for both worlds, for time and for eternity ! I have 
had serious thoughts of late why it was that my father 
did not write to me. As I am here in the wilderness 
without any relatives or connections, I thought that love 
for me would have led him to seek my enlightenment if I 
am in darkness, he being acquainted with the Scriptures ; 
and if I am right, I thought he would wish to give me 
encouragement. My love to all for their kindness. 

" Your prayerful servant, J. BADGER." 

" STANSTEAD, July 16, 1814. 

te DEAR FATHER, According to my expectation when 
at your house, I started on my journey to the southward, 
preaching on my way; Friday at Derby, Saturday at 
Holland, Sunday at Major Stewart s, in Morgan, where I 



96 MEMOIR OF 

met a large concourse of people, among whom were eleven 
young persons from Derby, who were deeply awakened to 
a sense of their danger whilst out of Christ. To their 
ardent solicitation for me to return to Derby, I have 
yielded, which makes it expedient for me to tarry one 
week more. I do not enjoy very good health, but my 
mind is happy. I feel that at most a few more rolling 
suns will bring me to the fair city of Rest. Each beating 
pulse but leaves the number less. Had I time I would 
gladly ride to Compton to see you. But it is wholly un 
certain when we again shall meet. I ofttimes think of 
you all. My love to relatives and inquiring friends. 

" From all that s mortal, all that s vain, 

And from this earthly clod, 
Arise, my soul, and strive to gain 
Sweet fellowship with God. 

" I subscribe myself a Disciple of Christ, or a Friend to 

Mankind. 

"J. BADGER." 

"AscoTT, July 27, 1813. (In haste.) 
" DEAR BROTHER,* Since I have seen you I have 
preached in Compton, Ascott, Westbury, Oxford, Bromp- 
ton, Ringsey, Shipton. I am in great haste on my return. 
I have been comfortable as to health, though much fa 
tigued. I have felt the waters of salvation to flow sweetly 
through my soul. Give yourself no trouble if you hear I 
am taken up. You know the animosities that war engen 
ders. The God who delivered Daniel, and who protected 
our fathers, has promised to shield me whilst in the way 
of my duty. Keep free from all strife, deny self, live in 
peace with all men. I still feel it my duty to employ all 

* His brother, Peaslee Badger. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 97 

my abilities in holding up Christ to a dying world. My 
love to parents and brethren." 

These extracts show the spirit with which his whole 
early life was imbued, and they accord well with the 
journal he wrote a few years later. One vital life 
pervades them all. Whilst the war was desolating 
the country, filling the minds of men with anger, 
jealousy, and irreverence to humanity, he, the heroic 
young soldier of the Cross, was successfully pouring 
into their hearts the great lessons of Reformation, 
Unity, and Peace. Such a ministry at such a time 
appears to the eye of history as a rainbow arching 
the black region of cloud and storm, or as life- clad 
rivers that flow along through the desert regions of the 
earth. 



CHAPTER VII. 



WITH good recommendations, and with the fruits of 
a not very ordinary experience for one so young, he 
starts for his native land. What sect does the young 
preacher hail from ? From no sect. He hails from 
the church of experienced believers, whose test is 
religion, not theology. Love to God and peace with 
men are the cardinals -of his platform, and such was 
the persuasion of his eye and presence, that his creden- 
5 



98 MEMOIR OF 

tials are very seldom disputed. Nothing in the form 
of sectarianism hedges up his way or impedes his suc 
cess. If difficulties at any time thicken in his path, he 
knows what to do with them. 

Let us pause a moment to look at the theological 
latitudes and longitudes of the self-taught young man 
at this time, before he leaves to carry his message 
towards the regions of sunrise in the more intelligent 
east. In theology he has acknowledged no human 
master, has sat at the feet of no Edwards, Channing, 
or Wesley, nor read in musty dogmatical lore what he 
shall publish as the essential doctrine. The following 
views, however, may be gathered from the various 
utterance of his mind, expressed as occasion called, 
without the intention of making a system. 1. That 
man bears a living relation to God ; that he may now 
as of old come to him confidingly, and seek effectually 
for wisdom and salvation. 2. That the being of God 
is One ; that his influences are constantly felt in the 
moral world, promoting the joy and life of his people, 
and subjecting the sinful to the solemn conviction of 
their sin and danger. 3. That Regeneration is the 
want of all men ; that all may, like the prodigal of 
Scripture memory, return to their Sovereign Father." 
4. That the Scriptures are the great storehouse of 
sacred wisdom ; that through them the will of God is 
infallibly revealed. 5. That Jesus is " the sinner s 
friend," the Son of God, the centre of Christianity, 
and that his Gospel is of celestial birth and mission ; 
" the power of God unto salvation to all that believe/ 
6. That experience is the basis of religion; that the 
only authorized test of fellowship for the church is 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 99 

Christian character. 7. That no sect in Christendom, 
as such, is the church of God; that the church is 
everywhere composed of such only as have passed from 
death unto life. 8. That sectarian names do not fit 
the catholicity of the institution ; that the names 
"disciples," "brethren," "friends," "Christians," 
are the better designations. 9. That human creeds, 
traditions, " doctrines and commandments of men," 
are abolished in the light and authority of the Gospel. 
10. That sons of God are freemen, owing no allegiance 
to Pope, Bishop, Prelate, or Council. These views all 
fairly reside in the writings which unfold this early 
period of his life ; and when we consider the exceeding 
scarcity of liberal thought in the religious world at so 
early a day, and the isolation of his position from the 
most active and enlightened minds on the continent, his 
stand in the church and the world becomes a wonder, 
only to be solved by the recognition of the original and 
superior intellect that gave him intuitive insight into 
the right and wrong of whatever problems may have 
won his earnest attention. The liberality of many is 
but a mere scepticism of thought. His liberality was 
a part of the most devoted labor and unabated zeal. 
It was one with prayer and tears. Now, in this last 
day, (1854,) with all that learning and comprehensive . 
thinking have done for us, where and what are the 
heights of liberality occupied by the theological reform 
ers whose names have gone abroad as being wider than 
their denominational platform ? As we glance along 
the sparse population of these plateaux, we observe 
among others, the names of Bushnell and Beecher, the 
former with certain acute philosophical powers, the 



100 MEMOIR OF 

latter with a bold dramatic energy of speech, each 
exposing himself in a degree to the censure of that 
large class who dread all innovation made upon the time- 
honored landmarks of the Fathers, who are alarmed at 
new roads, even though they are more direct, conve 
nient, and comely. But neither of these gentlemen has 
gone so far as did this youth in the wilderness of his 
adopted country. Neither has altogether practically 
forgotten the claims of sect and of creed ; and the view 
that holiness of life and purpose is the indisputable 
claim to fraternity independent of dogma, which is 
their highest idea, was his constantly practised principle 
long before the world had heard of new and old school 
in the contentions of orthodox sects. Open now his 
first letters of commendation and you will see that the 
fraternities that authorized them ignored sectarian 
names, simply styling themselves " The Church of God 
in this place." In liberality, I do not see that the 
best part of the Christian world now are, either in 
theory or practice, at all in advance of his position in 
1813. That his peace principles did not allow him to 
pray for bloody victories, or to strengthen the king s 
arms by his influence over the people, there is pretty 
good evidence. He and his brethren drank too deeply 
at the wells of religion to engage in the destruction of 
their fellows. 

To return. The young man, now nearly twenty-two 
years of age, intent on the duties and trials of a mis 
sionary life, starts for his native New Hampshire, 
improving every opportunity on the way, where circum 
stances united with his own impressions in producing 
the conviction that good might be done. Without 



KEV. JOSEPH BADGER. 101 

abating his own labor, he depends continually on divine 
assistance, believing that he enjoys the advantage of 
the real presence of the One who said, " Lo ! I am 
with you alway ; " and before undertaking any im 
portant cause, or plan of action, he seeks illumination 
in secret prayer, then follows the leading impressions of 
his mind. He diligently studies the Scriptures, ob 
serves nature, and discriminates the strong points and 
peculiarities of the different characters he meets, for 
which he seemed to possess an intuitive power that 
received no assistance from the later inductions of 
phrenology, or the didactic lessons of physiognomy. 
He could, without rules admitting of statement, readily 
discern the character of an audience, the kind of dis 
course fitted to their capacity and wants, and most 
easily did he arrive at this kind of knowledge by a 
brief social contact with individuals. No nature per 
haps ever had a greater power of adaptability to the 
many-phased character of mankind and surrounding 
circumstances, than his. But for the present, indeed 
for the several years of his early ministry, the central 
element of his life, the one that ruled all others, was 
his earnest, hearty, prayerful devotion to the holy mis 
sion of saving human beings from sin, and of bringing 
them into living union with God and with Christ. 
Along the meanderings of this current let us therefore 
follow the course of his narrative, which at this time 
unfolds itself in a series of letters, hastily and unelab- 
orately written to some friend whose name does not 
appear ; perhaps to Z. Adams, or to some other young 
minister interested in his welfare. 



102 MEMOIR OF 

" DEAR FRIEND, I rode from Stanstead, where I 
had enjoyed several good meetings, across the line into 
the State of Vermont, where I had several more in Derby, 
Holland, and Morgan, but soon returned to a little village 
on the line, and on Stanstead Plain, where there were 
prospects of good being done. It was here that I met 
Mr. Roswell Bates, who became my company, as he was 
going to the town of Woodstock. Leaving the line about 
July the 16th, we passed through Rigah, Browning, and 
Wheelock, holding several meetings at the last named 
tow r n, in which the spirits of many appeared to gather 
new courage and joy. I then rode to Danville, and 
remained several days, in which time I had the pleasure 
of seeing some who had been for months cold in their 
affections, quickened and newly determined in the cause 
of life. We then rode to Peacham, then to Newbury, 
Bradford, and Corinth, where we separated, Mr. B. going 
to Hafford and I to Strafford. Here I was greeted by 
a happy band of brethren, with whom I held several 
meetings, and remained several days. Crossing the 
Connecticut river over into Lyme, thence through Dor 
chester to Hebron, thence to Bridgewater, I arrived next 
morning, which was Sunday, at New Hampton, and was 
kindly received by Wm. B. Kelley, Esq., a distant rela 
tive, by whom I was politely introduced to the clergyman 
of the place. With him I passed a half hour very 
pleasantly ; we repaired to the church together, as the 
people began to assemble. I occupied with him a seat 
in the deskj and listened with a degree of satisfaction to 
what he communicated. When we returned to his house, 
he insisted on my speaking in the afternoon, and in vain 
did I urge the excuses of a long journey and much 
fatigue. He gave me a Bible and a Concordance, saying 
that I had three quarters of an hour in which to prepare, 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 103 

and left the room. "We again repaired to the church, and 
contrary to the order of the morning, I was assigned the 
right-hand place in the pulpit. I spoke to these strangers 
in the same freedom to which I had ever been accus 
tomed, and reserved nothing of the divine counsel made 
known unto me ; the word seemed to have some direct 
effect ; the people appeared to hang with solicitude on 
the truths advanced, and many wept under the exhibition 
of the love and pardoning grace of Jesus Christ. The 
next day I heard a young man, Mr. John Swett, who, 
much to my joy, was wholly engaged in the work of the 
Lord a work already commenced under his labors. At 
the request of my friends, I gave out an appointment, at 
which there were three ministers, Mr. Hillard, the aged 
priest to whom I had been at first introduced, Mr. Daney, 
whom I had never before seen, and Mr. Swett, my new 
acquaintance. I scarcely ever found greater liberty in 
speaking. Priest Hillard at the close arose and gave me 
his approbation, inviting me again to call on him ; others 
also spoke on the goodness of God, as experienced by 
them. Bidding them an affectionate farewell, I was, in 
about four hours, at my native Gilinanton, whose citizens 
and scenes I had not known for the space of four years." 
" Here I had great joy, mingled with sorrow joy to 
meet my sister, Mrs. Cogswell, and other relatives ; sor 
row to learn that in their plans of happiness, religion and 
reconciliation to God were not the essential part. Capt. 
C., who did not usually go to the Free Church, wished 
me to permit him to make an appointment in that place, 
to which I gave consent. Accordingly, on the next 
Lord s day, at half-past ten o clock, I met a large congre 
gation at the Free Church ; and at five o clock, P. M., 
spoke to a full assembly at the house of Capt. Cogswell, 
each audience being probably attracted in part by curios- 



104 MEMOIR OP 

ity. At the former meeting, my mind was constrained to 
weep over the people, who also wept under the message 
I delivered them. Many serious exhortations were 
given ; many expressed the fulness of their joy in Christ. 
Wishing to see men and women stand upon some positive 
decisions in regard to their salvation, and knowing the 
good influence which a public expression of secret resolves 
has upon the subsequent action of man, I proposed that 
such of the assembly as felt the worth of religion, and 
desired to enjoy its heavenly light and consolation, would 
signify the state of their minds by rising up. Very few 
kept their seats ; and I have reason to think that many 
were strengthened for life. Many invitations were given 
me for new appointments. At 5 o clock at Capt. C. s, 
there were many Calvinists present, who with the rest, 
seemed to mingle with their critical aspect considerable 
true religious feeling. Perhaps my preaching called out 
more criticism than it would otherwise have done, on 
account of my manner being wholly extemporaneous, and 
my sentiments not being formed from Calvin or any 
sectarian creed. My grandmother* was present; she 
seemed much pleased, and after meeting said to me, It 
is a wonder and a mystery to me how you talk as you do 
without having any of it written. Two of my family 
have got to be preachers, William C. and yourself. He 
learned to preach at the institution, but who in the world 
ever learned you up there in Canada ? I believe I told 
her that the Being who needed ministers had much to do 
in making them, which seemed to be a new idea in these 
parts." 

" I then went to New Durham to visit my relatives, 
but spoke frequently before my return. On my way 

* The one that coerced him to pray when a child. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 105 

back, at a very good meeting about two miles from the 
place of my other appointments in the town, a young lady 
whom I baptized in February of the next year, was there 
permanently and effectually impressed with the need of 
salvation through Christ. She continued from that time 
to be drawn into nearness and union with Jesus, whose 
power over the heart no one can measure. After this 
meeting I returned to Gilmanton. As my sister was 
somewhat out of health, and travelling was recommended 
as her best restorative, I favored her desires to visit her 
parents in Canada, whom she had not seen for six years : 
and taking a carriage suited to the journey, conveyed her 
to my father s house in Compton. Our parents were 
overjoyed to see us. The next morning early I returned 
to the States, rode to Glover, Greensborough, and Mont- 
pelier, attended a quarterly meeting, with several other 
appointments, and returned to the Province in about 
seven days. Meeting my sister at Stanstead, where my 
elder brother according to agreement had brought her, 
I again set out for Gilmanton, where I arrived after an 
absence of about four weeks. On my way east I passed 
through Cabot and Danville, where I held several meet 
ings ; but when passing through New Hampton I met 
Rev. Mr. Hillard, who informed me that he intended to 
go to Toronto to preach, and should be happy to have me 
supply at his church during his absence. I accordingly 
left an appointment." 

" Here, my dear friend, you have a brief account of 
my journeyings for the space of two months and a few 
days, in which time I have travelled 770 miles. Here in 
good old New England scenes, I at times revive the lights 
and shades of my early days, but the work of salvation 
is one that overlays in interest all reverie of the mind; 
and I shall hasten to give you a further account of the 
5* 



106 MEMOIR OP 

work of God in my next, hoping that from former friend 
ship, my hasty letters will be interesting to your delicate 
and studious mind. 

" Yours, in the truth, J. BADGER. 

"Sept., 1814." 

Here I would observe, that the manuscript from 
which the events of these several months are chiefly 
known appears to be copies of letters, several of which 
were addressed to one person, whose name may have 
been upon the outer leaf of the scroll at first, but which 
I do not find in the letters themselves. As his present 
history is reflected in these, I offer them, with all the 
variety of incident which a man of his peculiar cast 
of character would very naturally call out. These 
" scratches," as he labelled them, appear to have been 
kept as a means of reenlivening past scenes, should 
he ever wish to write their history. 

" After attending several meetings in Oilman ton, I went 
on to my appointment at Newhampton, and met a very 
large congregation who had come out to hear the new 
preacher. The people thinking me a missionary direct 
from college, readily swallowed the doctrine of a free, 
universal salvation, designed for and offered unto all men, 
and many rejoiced in the liberal view I presented. I felt 
at this time, very much the weight of the cause, and spoke 
with great freedom on the true mission of the Gospel to 
our lost world. It may be thought by some that courtesy 
should have dictated an acquiescence in the formality and 
doctrine that reigned about me. But I felt constrained 
to speak from my own soul and the word that burned in 
my o\vn heart. I did so. Many of the silent kindled 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 107 

anew with ardor, their tongues were unloosed, and some 
praised God aloud. In the afternoon I had a glorious 
time, concluding my sermon with the most earnest warn 
ing to the people. This change in their accustomed rou 
tine for Sunday called out many remarks, some saying one 
thing and some another. One said, He preaches just 
like a damned Free wilier, and if Mr. Hillard lets him preach 
there again, I will neither hear nor pay him in future. 
Nevertheless, I had several invitations to preach again. 
In the evening I spoke at Mr Kelley s, to about 200 
hearers, on Monday, P. M., at Lieut. Sinkter s school- 
house, to an audience of entire strangers. In that vicinity 
were many Freewill Baptists, few of whom, however, saw 
fit to attend. Priest Hillard s deacon came to me at the 
close of meeting, with considerable emotion, and said, I 
know the joyful sound of which you have spoken. I am 
satisfied God has called you to preach the Gospel. I 
want you to preach at my house this evening, and ac 
cordingly gave out the appointment. There are always 
some discerning spirits among the people, who, sooner 
than others, look into the nature and meaning of things. 
One of the Freewill members, a lady, remarked when she 
got home on the character of the meeting, saying, The 
deacon will get joked this time with his missionary or I 
am deceived. At evening the house was crowded, the 
Freewill brotherhood having waked up to an interest in 
what was occurring. At the time I did not know as 
there was one anti-Calvinistic mind in the house, but re 
solved, as a dying man, to do my duty without shrinking. 
I arose to speak from Mai. 4 : 2 : Unto you that fear 
my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing 
in his wings, and felt, as I progressed, the love of God in 
my soul. Many of the young people wept aloud, the 
Freewill brethren began to assist, and before the meeting 



108 MEMQIR OF 

broke up the power of God was so strikingly displayed 
that the deacon, unexpectedly to all, fell prostrate on the 
floor. A haughty young woman, whose hair was wrought 
into a profusion of curls, came forward and kneeled down, 
bathing her curls with tears as she cried for mercy. The 
argument on this occasion, though no doctrine was dis 
cussed, was one that the deacon was unable to resist, for 
he fell as many as five times under the power of God. 
The house seemed filled with divine glory. The congre 
gation broke up about one o clock at night. The next 
day I went from house to house praying and conversing 
with the people. I found that many were seeking Christ, 
and that a thoughtful solemnity was resting even on the 
minds of children." 

. " The next evening our meeting was no less powerful. 
Not less than twice did the deacon fall to the floor ; one 
man who had fallen away from the Christian profession, 
lay for some time speechless, and the young lady spoken 
of before, came out bright and clear in the expression of 
her change. She then walked through the assembly, 
taking her mates by the hand, and warning and inviting 
them to flee to Christ, made a deep impression on the 
assembly. One other made profession of being translated 
from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. 
In this state of affairs I left Newhampton to attend other 
appointments, which required some eight or nine days, 
and from the good attention paid to the word and its 
effect on the people, I began to think that my mission to 
.New England was not in vain." 

Passages like these will doubtless meet with a 
variety of tastes, and be subjected to different con 
structions. The effects of a great immediate power 
that followed the preaching of Abbot, Whitfield, and 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 109 

others, seeming for a time to irresistibly sway the sub 
ject, has been variously explained, or, perhaps, more 
properly, has never been explained to the full satis 
faction of the thoughtful. There is something certainly 
in the nature of the theme ; for who was ever struck 
speechless and nerveless by a political appeal, or a 
literary, philosophical, or financial address ? To make 
the least of it, these phenomena show a wild, mighty 
vigor in the darkly oppressed religious element within, 
or the same amount of zeal on finance or the election 
of candidates would produce equal results. Whether 
the Holy Ghost be present or absent, the man whose 
word and personal presence palsies a beastly sinner or 
formal deacon, so that he can neither move nor speak, 
is himself no weakjbrmalist ; no wavering, half-and- 
half man, who lives on plausibility and apology. This 
much is certain, that he carries a conquering force, if 
the effect be of him ; if not of him, if he is right in 
the declaration " not unto us" be the glory, a similar 
conclusion follows the admission of his instrumentality. 
We love harmony ; and in the great harmony that the 
soul should enjoy genuine thunder will prove no essen 
tial discord. We enjoy quietness ; but of the two, we 
say by all means give us the preaching that knocks men 
off their seats, to that which never moves them. But 
how comes on Newhampton ? 

" I continued my visits to Newhampton for the space of 
three months. Some twenty of the youth were hopefully 
converted; I think I never saw converts of greater 
strength. But oh ! what trials awaited some of this 
number ! The first that came forward in this reformation 



110 MEMOIR OP 

had much persuasion to resist. Her father was an open 
enemy to religion, her mother was very pious, but wholly 
bound up in Calvinism, and the young woman was deter 
mined to be free and not be entangled with any yoke of 
bondage. A number of times was she threatened to be 
turned out of doors. She wished baptism ; but being 
unordained I could not administer ; and, as she was un 
able to join Mr. H. s church, out of preference to the 
church of the firstborn, she had to go against the current, 
which is never a bad sign, as dead fish invariably move 
along with the stream. Many wished to be baptized, and 
Mr. H., thinking it a good opportunity to gather additions 
to himself, began to raise all his forces against me, 
spreading defamatory reports to sour the minds of the 
people, intending to drive me out of the place. I was 
reminded of the stanza : 

They hate the Gospel preacher, 
And cry out, a. false teacher ! 
A tvolf ! an active creature, 
Will pull our churches down. 

He found fault on several points of doctrine. "We held 
together several conferences, public and private. He 
indeed stirred up the devout women and all his party to 
opposition, and not a little to my grief we had to say 
Farewell to the reformation. He proselyted five young 
converts, whose happy condition, I fear, became like that 
of the fish which glide pleasantly down the river Jordan 
into the Dead Sea, which is called immediate death ; for 
they soon grew formal and lifeless in the atmosphere of 
the church. l How is the fine gold become dim ! But what 
of our deacon ? you will say. Why this, that after falling 
beneath the power of God so many times, after giving me 
a letter of commendation extolling my character, and the 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. Ill 

power and usefulness of my ministry, after I had labored 
night and day, and God had visited his family in the con 
version of three of his children, he lifted up his heel 
against me. In whom then shall the Gospel minister 
trust? In God, and in Truth. At this declension I 
sorrowed with a bleeding heart. You can judge of my 
feelings. I gave out an appointment, administered as 
good advice as I knew how to the converts, preached on 
Sunday, took a letter of commendation signed by Elder 
Heart,* in behalf of the church, and bade them adieu. 
December 2, 1814." 

It would seem that young Mr. Badger was not ex 
actly a safe hand to trust with the direction of church 
machinery, where . doctrine, devotion and preaching 
were respectably stereotyped, where all things were 
smoothly continued. His steam and individuality 
were rather hazardous elements in the temple of forms. 
" Priest Log " had been a safer priest. 

He also narrates his success in Gilmanton, where 
several young persons and some of his own relations 
" bowed to the mild sceptre of mercy." His cousin, 
who came out in this revival, he says was the first of 
his relatives with whom he had felt a union in the Gos 
pel, that as he had been educated under the theology 
of Calvin, he was besieged with entreaty to join them. 
" But," says Mr. B, " he still walks in Gospel liberty ; 
I pray that he may be preserved blameless, and prove 
a thorn to the clergy whilst he lives." He compares 
the policy of his opponents towards his cousin to the 

*This letter, and another signed by two deacons in Newhampton, 
are before me. They witness to the great power and success of his 
ministry ; also to hia Christian life. 



112 MEMOIR OF 

barbarian usage of slaying prisoners when the prospect 
of being overcome grows certain. Extracts of other 
letters here follow. 

" After I left Newhampton, December 2, I went to 
Meredith, and attended the ordination of Mr. John Svvett. 

Here I find a page erased, bnt as it is legible and 
very characteristic, I venture to transcribe. 

" Here I was introduced by some of the brethren pres 
ent for ordination. The ministers with whom I was 
acquainted seemed willing to ordain me, provided I would 
consent to walk on two legs, taking the church of God 
for the one and the Freewill society for the other. This 
statement, substantially, was from Rev. E. Knowlton, of 
Pittsfield. This saying of Solomon immediately came to 
my mind, The legs of the larae are not equal ; * and 
considering the Freewill society as inadequate to the 
church of God, I concluded that, carrying out the figure, 
one had better go through the world hopping than limping, 
and I asked wherein one could be the loser, provided he 
went as fast on one limb as others did on two. I said to 
them, that ii I could not have their approbation on the 
ground that I belonged to the church of God, without the 
addition of their wooden staff, I would much prefer to 
stand alone. They accused me of being on the common. 
I answered that I was born there ; that I much preferred 
it to a barren pasture, or a pit wherein is no water ; that 
I meant, through divine grace, to stand where I had 
received the Lord Jesus, and that if ihe church of God, 
unsectarianized, is the common, I would be content with 
it till the arrival of the time when there shall be one 
fold and one shepherd. " 

Prorerbs,27:7. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 113 

11 Here I had to stand alone, whilst my heart bled to 
see the superstition and bigotry of those who profess to 
be free ; and, I say it reluctantly and with sorrow, I 
have seen as much bondage, and have met as bad treat 
ment from those who claim to be Freewillers, as ever I 
did from the more stiff-necked and stoical of the sects. 
To have the clearest proofs of belonging to the body of 
Christ, of having the sanction of Him who calls men to 
his ministry, and to have undisputed standing among 
good men is not enough. Party must be worshipped. 
This more and more convinces me that it is well to aban 
don the doctrines of men and all unscriptural names, to 
be disciples not only in name but in practice. I am also 
sorry to say that I have discovered the same spirit among 
those who are called Christians. But I will leave this 
subject, praying that God will help us so to run that we 
may obtain." 

Rather difficult, was it not, to get this young man 
into a net ? He stands yet erect upon his mission, 
prays, weeps, preaches by night and by day ; and old 
men and young, mothers and maidens, acknowledge 
his right to lead them in the " new and the living way" 
by falling into his line of march, and finding words of 
life in his speech. This refusal to pledge himself to 
creed and sect, grew out of nothing unsocial, for his 
whole being was social and brotherly. Interest could 
not so have dictated. An innate greatness of mind it 
was that gave him this high position for a young man 
as early as 1814, aided no doubt by the free and 
generous impulses of the religion of Jesus, which, in 
his experience and in his Testament, alike declared the 
oneness of the body .of Christ, and of whatever is 



114 MEMOIR OF 

essential and saving. This position seems not to have 
hindered him ; the faithful still rally under the banner 
he bears. Mr. Badger was a man of great facility for 
carrying his points, having a persuasive eye, will, and 
speech ; nor is it at all surprising that among his early 
commendatory letters, there should be some from clergy 
men of different denominations ; one I remember 
signed by three class leaders, in the Province of 
Canada, and others from those who had obeyed his call 
to the new life, and to whom he became as an apostle 
and father. 

At Gilmanton, Barnstead, Stratham, Portsmouth, 
Rye, Northampton, he held forth in the name of the 
victorious Christ ; and though there is no record of 
dogmatic speculation and " disputations of science," 
the fires of reformation were kindled, the young con 
vert and the steadfast believer rejoiced together, bring 
ing forward their golden treasures, not from the cold 
chambers of the intellect, but from the mines of the 
soul, as wrought by experience and refined by the 
agencies of the Holy Spirit. One more touching para 
graph from this letter, wo cannot withhold. Those 
who recollect the calmness and the pensive music of 
the pine-grove, its unison with the deeper feelings, will 
vividly realize the passage which refers to the lonely 
and dependent spirit which there sought relief in 
prayerful utterance. 

" How many trials I have passed through during these 
four months ! I well remember the sad feelings of my 
heart as I was riding from Rye to Portsmouth, across a 
pine plain, whilst I meditated on my mission and present 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 115 

lot in the world. Leaving my horse, I retired into this 
still grove, where none but the heavenly powers could 
hear the expression of my burdened soul. As I con 
sidered my situation, a feeble youth, hundreds of miles 
from home, among entire strangers, and bound by solemn 
duty to the world of dying sinners, I was constrained to 
weep before my God in this wilderness. Here I sought 
his aid. How oft, on that journey, did I weep for miles, 
as I rode the streets. Angels ! ye are witnesses to the 
sleepless nights that passed away as I thought of the 
unreconciled state of mankind, and of my duty to them. 
Here, my loving friend, you have a brief account of what 
I have seen the last four months. I have reason to praise 
my Redeemer. Like Mr. Dow, I can say, * What I have 
seen I know, what is to come I know not. O my friend, 
strive to make a good improvement of these memories, 
and if we never meet again in time, may the Lord pre 
pare us to meet in His kingdom of glory. Yours in the 
Truth, as it is in God s dear Son, 

"Jan., 1815. JOSEPH BADGER." 

Rightly did the poet say, 

" Who never ate his bread in sorrow, 

Whenever spent the darksome hours, 
Weeping and watching for the morrow ; 
He knows ye not, ye heavenly Powers." 

The prophet, in all ages, to whom God gives the 
tongue of flame, must at some time have known the 
holy baptism of inward sorrow. 



116 MEMOIR OF 

CHAPTER VIII. 

ORDINATION AND PUBLIC LABORS. 

THE churches and communities in which he had 
given proofs of his ministry, began to call for the ordina 
tion of Mr. Badger. Before me this moment is the 
call of the church in Gilmanton, dated Dec. 4, 1814, 
which reads as follows : 

" This certifies that Joseph Badger has been preaching 
several months past- in this and adjacent towns with much 
success, and in this place souls have been converted to 
God. He has the approbation of the church in this 
place, as a Christian and a Preacher of the Gospel, and 
we believe it would be for the glory of God for him to 
receive Ordination. 

" Signed, in behalf of the Church, 
" JASPER EL KINS, 
"FREDERICK COGSWELL, 
" DANIEL ELKINS." 

Rev. N. Wilson, of Barnstead, after making strict 
inquiry and satisfactory examination, in answer to the 
requests from the people, wrote to brethren in the min 
istry all about, to attend on the occasion at his resi 
dence, Jan. -19. The call was obeyed by the presence 
of seven ministers and a multitude of people. Rev. 
Wm. Blaisdel delivered the discourse, from 2d Tim. 
4 : 2, who, with W. Young, J. Boody, J. Shepherd, N. 
Wilson, J. Knowles, N. Piper, were the persons by 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 117 

whom the different parts of the services were performed. 
It will be understood by the reader that this ordination 
demanded no sectarian acknowledgments ; that it left 
the tree unbent. " I was considered by them," says 
Mr. B., " as free indeed. No discipline was urged 
upon me but the Scriptures, and no master or leader 
but Christ. This, to me, was a solemn day, and long 
to be remembered." He was now relieved of many 
embarrassments under which he had formerly labored 
in not being able to administer the ordinances. 

He still persevered in his labors through towns ad 
jacent to Gilmanton, and " many of the youth," he tells 
us, " fled to the Shiloh for salvation and rest." On 
Jan. 29, he delivered a sermon on Baptism, in the Free 
Meeting-house, Gilmanton, and in the extreme cold, 
" under the keen eye of the north-west, which sur 
veyed them critically," he baptized two persons, Mr. 
F. Cogswell and Miss Lydia Levy. Satan, he thinks, 
began about this time to exhibit himself as a persecu 
tor, having an interest now, as of old, in the assemblies 
of the saints. Feb. 4th, he baptized two others in Al 
ton, three others on the 10th at Gilmanton, and large 
congregations waited upon his ministry. By the 
regular clergy and their united influence, his move 
ments were often opposed. Among the reports that 
clerical policy caused to arise, he records the following 
chapter : 

" Badger is going about making and baptizing converts, 
and leaves them on the common. He has no discipline 
nor articles of faith. He throws away the holy Sabbath, 
alleging that it is done away in Christ. He says that he 



118 MEMOIR OF 

is not called to preach law, but gospel ; therefore he casts 
the law of God away. He says there is no divine author 
ity for infant sprinkling ; that if we take it from circum 
cision, it can have, like its prototype, but a partial appli 
cation to human beings. He also teaches that it is right 
for sinners to pray ; and has said that the clergy are the 
greatest evil that ever happened to New England, because 
they keep the people in gross ignorance, because they do 
not admit to their pulpits many Gospel ministers, and be 
cause they are always the first to cry out against Reform 
ation. 

" And when a soul engaged, 
Exhorts the young or aged, 
The clergy cry, enraged, 
They 11 pull our churches down. " 

How many such things the devil enables blind men to 
throw into the way of truth ! but such is the power of 
Jesus name, that no soldier of his cross is ever slain so 
long as he battles for the right." 

11 What always grieved me most, was the deceitfulness 
of men, not their frank opposition, nor even honest vio 
lence. When I was present, nothing adverse would be 
said ; but soon as I was absent, all these things would be 
heaped on the tender converts. Some, in sarcastic rest 
lessness, said that if the people loved the Lord as well as 
they did Badger, heaven would be their surest inheritance. 
Others cried, a wolf in sheep s clothing ; but as cross 
ing and mortifying as such things were, they did not move 
me, for I comprehended their origin, and had counted the 
cost before I entered the Gospel field. My hands were 
also upborne by the humble prayers of faithful ones. In 
defiance of all these things, Zion progressed, children 
within her gates were born, calls for preaching were con 
tinual, and doors of usefulness were daily opening." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 

" My sister at this time, wife of Capt. P. Cogswell, was 
dangerously ill, and her thoughts turned upon her everlast 
ing welfare. She conversed with me about dying, wept 
often when speaking of pure religion, and asked my pray 
ers. She wondered often why I tarried so brief a time 
with her ; but could she have seen my work before me as 
it was, and known the feelings of my heart, wonder could 
have had no place in her mind. My eldest brother, who 
came from Vermont to visit my sister, and another brother 
from Boston, whom I had not met for two years, who was 
on his way to Canada, met me at Oilman ton. In parting 
with them, the most vivid picture of past associations, my 
parents, youthful mates and sister, whom I had not seen 
for eight months, came before my mind ; and after our 
separation, a sad and lonely feeling, which words cannot 
describe, lingered like a cloud upon my way as I contrasted 
my wandering condition among strangers, and my constant 
exposure to persecution, with the quiet homes my relatives 
enjoyed. I said to myself, Here I am, a poor child, wan 
dering about the world among strangers, spending what 
little property I have, my bodily strength almost worn out 
in preaching, between two and three hundred miles from 
home ; and whilst I am 4hus, they are crowned with the 
honors of this life, and no shaft of sectarian malice is ever 
hurled at them. In these meditations, though I profusely 
wept, my spirit gathered up its energies and found solace 
in the following stanzas : 

" But cease, my heart, no more complain, 
For Christ has said t is his command ; 
Those who from pleasures here refrain, 
I m with them till the world shall end. 

" Then shall I say to friends, Farewell ! 

"Whilst they may heap their golden toys, 
Christ s beauties to the world I 11 tell, 
And seek for heaven s substantial joys. 



120 MEMOIR OF 

" And when the sun and moon shall fall, 

And Nature s beauties each decay, 
Christ s merits I will then extol, 
When all my tears are wiped away. 

" Transporting thought of joy sublime, 

This prompts my soul to spread His fame ; 
Oh, come, my friends, unite in time, 
And love the glorious Saviour s name." 

" At Alton I preached Sunday, the 12th inst., baptized 
one young man ; on the 17th inst. (Feb.), I baptized two 
others in the same place. Our meeting, we thought, wag 
glorious, and as we repaired to the bank and beheld the 
pleasant stream gently pursuing its native channels, the 
streams of life did sweetly flow to cheer our drooping souls. 
The 22d, on a pleasant moonlit evening, I baptized another 
young man, after making a few remarks on the ready sub 
mission to this ordinance, as illustrated in the instances 
of the eunuch and the jailer." 

" March the 3d, 6th, 25th, and 27th, were seasons of 
baptism. I then returned to Alton, found the saints stead 
fast, again preached, and on April 4, baptized two others. 
I then returned to Grilmanton, baptized brother John Page,* 
Jr., on the 6th, and Joseph Cogswell on the 16th. The 
glory of God seemed to shine around us. Then returning 
to Alton, we again had happy seasons from the refreshing 
Fountain of Life. Two more were here baptized. Oh, what 
happy, what blissful seasons my soul has known in these 
earthly regions ! seasons that cannot be otherwise than 
had in everlasting remembrance by many. The trials, 
though great, are past ; but the hope of meeting the loved 
ones in God s holy realms, fills my heart with lively joy." 

* The same mentioned on page 21. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 121 

About this time, letters from him appeared in the 
Herald of Gospel Liberty, the first religious news 
paper published on the continent of America, and it is 
believed to have been the first in the world that was 
exclusively devoted to religious ends. It was published 
in Portsmouth, N. IL, by Rev. E. Smith. It was ably 
edited, and was devoted to Religious Liberty, and to 
the independent discussion of Religious Truth. 

In Vol. VII, No. 12, he says: 

" With great pleasure I inform you that the God of 
love is reviving his work in Alton. I have been laboring 
there for several weeks past, in which time many of the 
backsliders in heart have returned to the stronghold ; also 
several of the youth have become lovers of Jesus." 

After speaking in detail of various conversions and 
baptisms, he says : 

" My heart is encouraged to spread the fame of our 
glorious and ascended Lord. O that professed followers 
of the Lamb would stand together. How should we then 
see the powers of darkness give way ! How would the 
fog and smoke of papacy be dispersed. How would the 
adherents of Calvin be confounded, as the church of the 
First-born should appear terrible as an army with banners ! 
Lord, let thy kingdom come! Let thy glory arise I 
Let the whole earth be filled with thy knowledge." 

This is a fine specimen of his youthful enthusiasm 

and abandonment to the work of the ministry. Any 

one can see a full presence of heart and soul in all 

that he does, which lends to his pages the inspiration of 

6 



122 MEMOIR OP 

honest aims, earnest effort, a most confiding and fervent 
piety ; nor can we fail to see that the pure fire of re 
ligion burned quite constantly on the altar of his active 
spirit. There was much of true divine life in the kin 
dling energies of his speech. 

In Vol. VII, No. 14, in a letter dated Gilmanton, 
March 7, 1815, he says, after speaking of the prosper 
ity that pertained to Alton, Barnstead, Pittsfield and 
Gilmanton, towns included in the voluntary circuit of 
his labors : 

" Never since my labors in the Gospel commenced have 
I felt more like going forth weeping, than for five weeks 
past. Feb. 22d, I baptized one, March 3d, one, March 
6th, another. I pray the Lord may add daily to their 
numbers such as shall be saved." 

" GILMANTON, April 17, 1815. 

(P. 682.) " The news of the prosperity of Zion is the 
most delightful that ever saluted my ears. Therefore am 
I desirous, as the Psalmist said, to make known His 
deeds among the people/ that my brethren may share in 
the blessing, while angels rejoice over one sinner that 
repenteth. Some who have been for weeks and months 
in a lukewarm state, have felt a resurrection in their 
minds ; but what most delights me is that many of the 
once haughty youth have bowed the knee to Christ, and 
confessed him to be Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 
My satisfaction is also greatly increased to see them ad 
vance into duty and walk in Gospel order." 

He touches in this letter very finely on the character 
of Mr. Page, whom he baptized on the 6th, a school- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 123 

mate with him, a man of excellent character from his 
youth, well-informed and influential ; though strictly 
educated in the puritanical ideas of the society of Rev. 
J. Smith, he came forward before a large assembly and 
acknowledged the unsatisfactory character of the Cal- 
vinistic teachings ; and the same day he submitted to 
baptism from the hand of one whose excesses in boy 
hood he had himself effectively rebuked. 

Returning to bis own manuscript I copy from a letter 
belonging to the month of May, in which he speaks of 
spending the time up to the 10th at Barnstead and 
Lower Gilmanton ; of going to New Durham on the 
10th, where he met the church of God at the house of 
Mr. Wiley, and for the first time met with Elder Win. 
Buzzel, whom he found alive in the cause of Reforma 
tion. In the afternoon he preached to them from John 
10 : 9. "I am the door : by me if any man enter in, 
he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pas 
ture." He says : 

" The Lord s table was then set, and our hearts were 
solemn whilst we participated of the sacred symbols. We 
felt the holy presence of Him who is with his church to 
the end of the world. I then returned to Alton, the llth 

went to Barnstead, where I was much edified in hearm** 

o 

aged Christians bring out the stores of their spiritual ex 
perience ; the 12th rode to Elder Wilson s much fatigued, 
being exposed to storms by night and by day. Thanks 
to Him who preserves his creatures ; and now that the 
winter is past, and nature is gay with flowers, I would 
welcome, in a spiritual sense, the sentiments of the Jewish 
wise man, Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and 
gone ; the flowers appear on the earth ; the time of the 



124 MEMOIR OF 

singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is 
heard in our land/ Oh, that at evening time * light 
might increase until the shades of night are dispersed 
from the minds of the people." 

" The 13th, met the church at Mr. Wilson s, where a 
number were added ; the 14th being Sunday, we met a 
large assembly of attentive people. At noon we repaired 
to the water for baptism ; in the afternoon we administered 
the communion to a large number of brethren in Christ. 
It was a solemn time. Oh, that the youth who then heard 
might seek the Lord and make his Son their friend ; arid 
in this place may the works of evil, the doctrines of 
men, be destroyed, and a people zealous of good works 
be raised up. But with a heart overflowing with friend 
ship to dying men, I should close this letter. Attend me, 
Virtue, through my youthful yeaf% ! Oh, leave me not 
to the false joys of time, but to endless life direct my 
steps! May, 1815." 

" The 19th of May I attended meeting at Candia, was 
there invited to visit Deerfield, and gladly embraced the 
opportunity of speaking to that people. For the youth 
my mind was much drawn out ; and though I had not the 
least idea when I came that I should tarry in Deerfield, 
the prospect of the good that might be done, induced me 
to make arrangements for staying in that place. On Fri 
day evening I spoke at Rev. Peter Young s, on Sunday 
at the Baptist meeting-house, at which time many dated 
their particular convictions. On the way to my evening 
appointment, I was surprised by the call of a gentleman, 
who, very well dressed and of respectable appearance, came 
out of his house and moderately advanced toward me. 
I paused, and setting my eyes steadfastly upon him, soon 
observed that trembling had got hold of him. He said, 

*Zech. 14: 7 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 125 

Mr. Badger, I wish you to attend meeting at my Hall. 
My wife is very anxious to hear you, and many other 
words of persuasive tendency. I was satisfied that he 
had a death wound,* which to me was a source of new 
courage ; I went on to my appointment, held meetings 
every day through the week, and some were daily delivered 
from the reign of darkness and of sin. On Saturday I 
returned to the gentleman s Hall, which indeed has ever 
since been a place of public worship, and met a multitude 
of people. This meeting will be had in everlasting re 
membrance. The gentleman who had invited me, and 
several others, fell on their knees some time in the after 
noon, and continued in prayer until about ten in the 
evening. The new song was sung by many, and from 
that time, the gentleman, his family, and even premises, 
seemed converted, for his house is as a sacred Bethel." 

The young minister, not knowing in his ardor and 
youth, that this human world is an old, a tough, a wise, 
and a most lasting fact, that bends but temporarily to 
the new influence which seems for the time to mould 
its form, penned the conviction that soon the Angel of 
the Apocalypse would fly through the midst of heaven 
proclaiming that " the kingdoms of this world are be 
come the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ." 
Rapid was the spread and victory of the word preached. 
Over one hundred were converted in this town of 
Deerfield, and not uufrequently did he baptize twelve 
and sixteen a day. One evening, as the moonlight 
shed its silver upon the flowing stream, he baptized 
fourteen persons, who arose from the pure element to 

*In a sense that to you needs no explanation. 



126 MEMOIR OF 

walk in newness of life, in the purity of -which the 
graceful currents are evermore the eloquent symbol. 
He speaks of a fashionable clergyman who honored 
them by his presence, and who, in criticism, compared 
their appearance to a general training. " I conjec 
ture," says Mr. B., "we might have had too much fire 
for him ; " and finding an analogy in the fear which forest 
fires cause among certain of its denizens, he proceeds 
in the same energetic narration, rejoicing that there is 
a gentle and a searching fire by which sinners here 
may be gloriously consumed. Jesus came to kindle 
such fire, whose vital heat is love, whose aspiring flames 
are truths that both brighten the earth and reflect upon 
the clouded canopy. He acknowledges the faithful co 
operation and labor of Rev. Peter Young, a resident of 
Deerfield. The energy, decision and success, which 
belonged to the public life of Mr. Badger, must, in the 
ordinary course of things, have called out much oppo 
sition, particularly as he did not walk in time-hallowed 
routines, but created, through the force of his charac 
ter, and his peculiar abilities, the popularity that attend 
ed him. 

" Notwithstanding," says Mr. B., " God has so wonder 
fully favored the people, the three characters who always 
persecute religion continued their old employment. 
Whenever you see persons engaged in persecuting religion, 
you will always find them one of the following classes, 
viz. : the superstitious, the wicked, or such of the very 
ignorant as do not comprehend what belongs to good 
manners. Here the superstitious cried delusion, the 
wicked threatened to unite in violent mob parties, and the 
exceedingly foolish were thrust forward as the instru- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 127 

merits of the first-named class. Malevolent and silly 
reports were spread, but every attempt of this dissipated 
crew seemed to work against them, enough so as to fulfil 
the saying of the Psalmist, His mischief shall return 
upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come 
down upon his own pate ; * which leads one to think that 
it is unnecessary to take much pains to detect the wicked, 
because they very soon detect themselves. The heathen 
are sunk down in the pit that they made ; in the net 
which they hid is their own foot taken. f Solomon, who 
closely observed the events of the world, also had occa 
sion to say, He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it. "j 

In Volume II, No. 14, of .the Herald of Gospel 
Liberty, is a letter from his pen, dated at Deerfield, 
June 28, 1815, which reports the success of the refor-> 
mation in that place, in a manner that so perfectly 
agrees with the foregoing, I find no occasion to present 
any of its paragraphs. Not to Deerfield was this ref 
ormation wholly confined, as he often visited Notting 
ham, Lee, Newmarket, Stratham, Exeter, Kensington, 
Candia, Allenstown, and other places. He says : 

" In Nottingham many were made happy in the love of 
Christ. Here I baptized many. One afternoon, as a 
large assembly were gathered by the water-side, where 
eight persons received this ordinance, I observed three 
young men jump from the shore upon a rock that lay in 
the midst of the stream, and the spectacle of these un 
converted young men standing upon a rock produced an 
association of ideas that led me to feel much for them ; 
in praying I spoke of them, and was impressed to say that 

Ps.7:16. fP 8 .9:15. +Ecc.lO:8 



128 MEMOIR OF 

something solemn awaited them soon. In a few days one 
of the number, in much agony of mind, fell beneath a 
fatal disease, which deeply impressed the old and the 
young." 

"On the first day of the week, I had, by the request of 
several gentlemen, an appointment at the Square. A few 
individuals, being such as they were, strove to effect a 
disturbance, and in a glance you will perceive the inge 
nuity of their plot. They hired an old man who once had 
been a professed preacher at Dover, but who had been 
turned out for his debaucheries, to enter the meeting-house 
before me and to occupy the time with religious services. 
Although it is said that the children of this world are in 
their generation wiser than the children of light, it must 
be owned that they sometimes get defeated. Even from 
eight different towns the congregation was collected, the 
appointment being quite generally circulated. As I rode 
to the place, I heard the bell ring about ten o clock, and 
hastening as quickly as possible to the Square, the people, 
who were coming from every direction, seeing me ride up, 
thronged about me ; some of them, having been in the 
church, knew the attempted order of the day. One 
said, The devil is in the pulpit ; another said, The 
devil has taken the meeting-house before us, and you had 
best not go in. I answered that if the devil was in the 
house I was bound to see him, and prevailed on the peo 
ple to go in. As I entered the door, I saw the rough 
clergyman standing with his hymn book in his hand ready 
to open the meeting. As I ascended the stairs he began 
to read the hymn, I sat contented until he had finished 
the reading, then introducing myself to the assembly, 
inquired concerning the time when my neighbor s appoint 
ment was given out ; the answers enabled me to say to 
him kindly, l As my appointment is previous to yours I 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 129 

should esteem it a privilege to improve a part of the day/ 
He roughly responded, You can speak after I have done ; 
and then arose abruptly, placing himself in a position to 
pray as soon as the singers had concluded the music. 
During the repeat of the last line I asked of him the priv 
ilege of speaking a word to the people on the circum 
stances of the day, to which he answered, You must be 
short. I then apprised the audience, that as my appoint 
ment was contravened by another, my meeting would in 
ten minutes begin in Mr. Nealey s orchard ; and bidding 
the gentleman of the pulpit good morning, advanced to 
the pleasant grove about fifteen rods distant, accompanied 
by all the assembly save the clergyman and his five em 
ployers, to whom he read the notes he had written. On 
leaving the church I began to sing a popular hymn, in 
which I was joined by the choir who accompanied me ; 
and after a hasty but comfortable arrangement of seats, 
with the azure heavens for my sounding-board, and a large 
box for my pulpit, I spoke to the hundreds before me from 
Gen. 49 : 10. It was free air. Between thirty and forty 
spoke after the sermon, so that without a minute of vaca 
tion, the meeting continued five hours. The opposers 
were put to shame, and ever since has that meeting-house 
been free. Nottingham, therefore, by many events is kept 
in my memory." 

Although there are several interesting letters written 
by him about this time to his relatives and friends, let 
ters that abound in good feeling, in various incident, 
and in the devoted spirit of his mission, they cannot be 
introduced without sacrificing the material that repre 
sents his later years. Confining ourselves, therefore, 
to the shortest statement of his public life, w,e will 



130 MEMOIR OF 

follow the direct path of his own private journal. But in 
reading letters dictated in the freedom of the heart, 
and alive with the inspiration of earnest purposes, one 
is conscious of the resurrection of a former period; 
and with the aspect of the olden leaf and the evangel 
ical words upon them written, one seems to drink, for 
the time, of the same fountain of life that supplied 
with energy the self-sacrificing and the God-trusting 
ones. We know that forms of thinking and modes of 
expression are greatly varied by the succession of time, 
but we have yet to learn that the pure flame of the 
spirit, through any medium and -in any time, is other 
than .one with the latest excellence. Naturalness, en 
ergy, courage, persevering devotion to the welfare of 
mankind, are qualities that, like gold retained, shine 
equally brilliant through all the divisions of time, the 
same in 1815 as in 1854. 

August 22d, of this year, he announced, through 
the religious newspaper at Portsmouth, a paper from 
which some extracts have been taken, his intention of 
attending a general meeting in Bradford, Vt.,the first 
Sunday in September, and of going thence into the 
Province of Lower Canada to visit his relatives, and to 
renew the friendship of former times with the churches 
of his former care. To his father, in a letter dated 
Newmarket, August 5th, he says : 

" I am now preaching in Exeter, Stratham, Newmar 
ket, Epping, Lee, Nottingham Square, Deerfield. Often 
from one to two thousand people attend at a meeting. I 
have baptized towards one hundred since last January, 
and the call for preaching is very general in this quarter." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 131 

Soon we hear of him on his appointed way. But 
before the month of August is exhausted, we find him 
in Newmarket, Lee, Deerfield, Allenstown, Barnstead, 
Ipsom and Gilinanton, preaching, and baptizing those 
that believe. At Lee, where his congregation was 
gathered from different towns, the good-night meeting 
lasted till 2 o clock in the morning, none wishing to 
depart. Through the pitiless storm he rides to Deer- 
field, hears seven relate their religious history, whom 
he baptizes " according to the usage and teaching of 
the New Testament ; " on the next day (Sunday) 
meets a large assembly at Allenstown, to whom he 
speaks and administers baptism to a few believers ; on 
Monday, at 3 o clock P. M., addresses the community 
at Gilmanton ; on Tuesday preaches and baptizes at 
Mr. Proctor s, on Wednesday returns to Barnstead, 
and hears that original and peculiarly gifted speaker, 
Elias Smith, of Portsmouth N. H. ; and on Thursday 
starts for his northern home by the way of Vermont, 
accompanied to the Province, by a young man from 
Farmington, N. H., whose noble history in after years 
has rendered his name a lasting fragrance in the 
churches. Indeed the name of John L. Peavy, to 
those who knew him, is but another word for honor^ 
affection and faithfulness. 

" The first day, I arrived at Rumney, a distance of fifty 
miles, and attended meeting in the evening ; on Friday 
arrived at Bradford, and on Saturday and Sunday at 
tended the general meeting, which was a profitable time. 
Here my acquaintance with ministers and others was 
enlarged. On Monday, in company with Rev. J. Boody 



132 MEMOIR OF 

and brother Peavy, I continued my journey to the North, 
arriving at Wheelock on Tuesday, where I was persuaded 
to stop by a gentleman whose wife and child had just 
expired, to attend their funeral the next day. He had 
formerly been one of my hearers. "We met a large num 
ber of mourners and friends, who appeared sincerely to 
mourn the loss of so virtuous a friend and neighbor. As 
the meeting was about to commence, Squire Bean pre 
sented me the text on which the afflicted husband wished 
me to speak, which was, As in Adam all die, even so in 
Christ shall all be made alive/ He was a Universalist, 
I think, in opinion, but with the request I cheerfully 
complied." 

" On Thursday we rode into Canada, as far as to Stan- 
stead, the residence of the good minister, Avery Moulton. 
On Friday, we arrived at my father s, in Compton, where 
my spirit was melted down by the presence of dear friends, 
whom I had not seen in fifteen months. Our hearts were 
mingled in thankful prayer. When I left the Province it 
was convulsed by war. Now peace had resumed her 
reign. Seven days I tarried in this place and enjoyed a 
number of good meetings. On Monday we rode to 
Ascott, and had a happy meeting with friends that clung 
to me with affection in my early endeavors at preaching ; 
on Tuesday we visited Oxford ; on "Wednesday we passed 
through Brompton and Windsor, to Shipton, where my 
excellent friend, J. L. Peavy, remained. Leaving an 
appointment to preach the next Sabbath at Shipton, I 
proceeded to Ringsey." 

Truly might Mr. Badger, in his friendly letter for 
merly quoted, say, " What is to come I know not." A 
new cloud is ready to rise upon his path. The fortune 
of some men allows them a smooth and easy way ; and 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 133 

others, as by some causative genius in their being, are 
called to meet great trials, and to plan their course 
against strong opposing forces. Such was the life of 
the independent minister ; though it flows as an ample 
river through much calm and life-like scenery, its com 
mon-place is frequently broken by cascades and cata 
racts. But let us read his own natural statement : 

" In the upper part of the town of Ringsey I attended 
a funeral. After meeting I rode nine miles to attend an 
appointment in the lower part of the town. Though the 
state of feeling was generally low, it was a solemn, 
refreshing time. Early on Friday morning as I was 
about to visit my friends in that place, a military officer 
sent a man, accompanied by a large brawny Indian, to 
make me a prisoner, and carry me to the county seat of 
justice, at the Three Rivers, for the offence I had com 
mitted against the government, in leaving the country in 
time of war. This was done although the Governor had 
issued proclamation that all who had thus left might 
return in peace. Prisoners of war in time of peace 
struck me as something new. I asked the person who 
made me a prisoner what authority he had for so doing ; 
he answered, that he was an officer, and, without showing 
any proof of his right to act for the government, ordered 
me immediately to get into the birch canoe, and go with 
them by water. I candidly informed him that I should 
not start for the Rivers without authority, and that if I 
went in the mode of conveyance proposed, under a guard 
of savages, it would be by force. Finding that I was not 
alarmed, and that he could not proceed, he then started 
for the residence of Capt. Moor, about one mile distant, 
to procure a warrant, and left the savage to guard me. I 
soon proposed to the red man that I would accompany 



134: MEMOIR OP 

him on my horse to Capt. Moor s ; but fearing that I 
might ride by, he ran on foot with all speed. When I 
arrived, the captain had the warrant nearly made out, 
but, instead of finishing it, met me in a rage. He would 
not hear to a word of reason, nor to the advice of his 
friends. After I saw that I must go, I asked the privilege 
of riding my horse, at the same time offering to hire some 
of the keepers to go with me by land. The captain "re 
plied that he would not grant me the least favor, and the 
officer said I should go in the birch canoe. As I gave no 
assent to this method, I was seized by the shoulder and 
violently dragged out of the door, and beyond what lan 
guage can paint was abused by the zealous officer. He 
boldly threatened my life, and accompanied by words of 
the coarsest profanity, said, Damn your blood, I will take 
your life as quick as I would a rattlesnake s. After the 
officer had said this, I addressed the captain in these 
words : Sir I am much surprised that you should thus 
cause a prisoner to be abused, and that you should put 
me into the hands of a person at the head of a party of 
savages, who has threatened my life before your face. 
Instead of acting on any idea of propriety suggested by 
me, he broke forth in swearing, saying that he himself 
would take my life. At this, his wife and son, being no 
longer able to refrain, spoke moderately in my behalf. As 
I had not given my consent to this uncivil mode of con 
veyance, the officer ordered a cord to be brought with 
which to bind me. He also asked for assistance, but none 
of the people present would lend any aid. Then uttering 
an Indian yell for some savages, whom I supposed he had 
placed in ambush, we soon saw them appear, some on the 
river and some on the land.. This was a display of fe 
rocity I in nowise had expected. Before they arrived, 
however, to do the will of the angry officer, Mr. Asa 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 135 

Bean, son of Col. John Bean, came forward in my behalf, 
and said I should not go with the savage crew, that he 
would be my keeper and agree that I should be at Windo- 
ver that day, which was sixteen miles towards the Three 
Rivers. We then mounted our horses for the journey 
agreed upon, at which place we arrived about three 
o clock, much fatigued. We put up at an inn, and paid 
our own charges. The mob party came in birch canoes 
on the river." 

For a moment leaving the private journal of Mr. 
Badger, I would present a letter written to Mr. J. L. 
Peavy at this very point where he met the uncourteous 
band who had progressed by water. It will be remem 
bered that he had an appointment at Shipton on Sun 
day, and that the nature of his circumstances with 
reference to his public engagement, as well as his 
friendship for the young man he had introduced into 
his former field of labor, required a statement of his 
condition. The letter is dated Windover. L. C., 9 
o clock Friday evening, Sept. 15, 1815. It was 
written at evening ; and I would say that Mr. Badger 
was a man who generally cast himself upon his morning 
thoughts, the clear thoughts that preceded the sunrise. 
Under any personal trouble, he would at evening fall 
easily to sleep, and in the morning plan his way like a 
Napoleon, wherever there was magnitude in the diffi 
culties to be met. 

MY DEAR BROTHER : Your experience, I am sat 
isfied, teaches you that persecution is the common lot of 
the true followers of Christ. This morning, by the order 
of Capt. Moor, of Ringsey, I was taken and ordered to 



136 MEMOIR OF 

march to the Three Rivers, guarded by a company of 
Indians, with the savage-like Robert McMullen at their 
head. But as I could not be reconciled to this company, 
and to this manner of conveyance (which was a birch 
canoe), I plainly told them that if I went in such a man 
ner, it would be because I was obliged to do so. I was 
then very unhandsomely used. I was not only abused by 
words, but violent hands were laid on me. Then Mr. 
Asa Bean appeared in my behalf, and offered to be bound 
to deliver me at Mr. Stewart s, in Windover, the same 
day. I then had liberty to ride my horse, and about three 
o clock we arrived here. I expect on the morrow to start 
for the Three Rivers. This is indeed a time of trial to 
me ; but I can truly say, with St, Paul, that i None of 
these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto 
me/ Hitherto the Lord has helped me, and Jesus says, 
Lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world. 
This promise to me now, whilst I am surrounded by a 
dozen of the merciless savages, is worth more than mil 
lions of worlds. I really feel that these afflictions will 
work for good in the end. Oh Lord, may they serve to 
humble me down, and to teach me my dependence on 
thee." 

" Capt. Moor does not pretend to accuse me of anything 
but of going into the States in time of war, as I have 
understood, and I am informed that his own children have 
done the same with approbation. But that which pains 
my heart the most, is to think that in the reformation at 
Ringsey only two years ago, this mad man made a profes 
sion of religion. Oh how many such characters wound the 
cause of our Master ! Lord, pity them. I wish you to 
give yourself no uneasiness on my account. God Almighty 
will make my afflictions a blessing to somebody. It will 
be well for you to return to Ascott as soon as Wednesday, 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 137 

and there remain until you hear from me again. Be of 
good courage. I hope you will never have it to regret that 
you came into this region. Pray for your unworthy 
brother Joseph, that he may finish his course with joy. 
I am, if need be, ready to be offered ; and, from several 
causes, I feel that the time of my departure is not far 
distant. Dear brother, I bid you a short farewell, hoping, 
if not in time, to meet you in pure realms of glory. 

." J. BADGER." 
11 John Langdon Peavy" 

The night passed away, and our prisoner arose on 
Saturday morning with a plan in his brain, with which 
he calmly confronted the tawny band and their leaders. 
Only about fifteen miles of the passage was completed, 
and the remainder was never accomplished. He told 
them that he should not go further unless they could 
get higher authority than what they then possessed, 
and to secure this, offered to appear before the officers 
of a military company whose tents were pitched on the 
other side of the St. Francisway river. 

" Early on Saturday morning," says Mr. B., " we crossed 
the river into Drummondsville, and appeared before Com 
missary Morrison, where some of my company were greatly 
ashamed and humbled ; when the Commissary, after hear 
ing the facts, said unhesitatingly, Mr. Badger, go about 
your business/ It soon became a question to ascertain 
how much Captr Moor had gained this time by his loyalty. 
Hiring an Indian to convey me across the river, Mr. Bean 
and myself returned to our starting-place at Kingsey, and 
riding fifteen miles on Sunday morning, I arrived to my 
appointment at Shipton, where I enjoyed a refreshing time 
from the presence of the Lord." 



138 MEMOIR OP 

In the month of May, 1835, I remember, for the 
first time, to have passed some five days at the house 
of Mr. B., who then edited a popular and influential 
paper entitled " The Christian Palladium," at Union 
Mills, Fulton Co., New York. The order into which 
all his arrangements seemed naturally to fall, the 
business tact, that seemed with him a sponstaneous 
ability, were easily observable. In the familiar con 
versation to which he was accustomed in the social 
circle of his own home, I remember to have heard him 
say to a gentleman who inquired of his daily habits, 
" I am a business man. I rise early, and hear the 
first notes of the robin. I would give more for one 
morning hour, to think in, than for all the rest of the 
day. I lay my plans in the morning ; and, if you will 
believe it, I never got into a difficulty yet, from which 
one clear hour of thinking in the morning would not 
deliver me." And the foregoing passage of his early 
history is but one illustration among hundreds, showing 
that there was no egotism in the remark here quoted. 
Passing some days at Shipton, Ascott and Compton, he 
again started for New England, the scene of his former 
success, many of whose ministers and churches had 
crowned him with verbal benedictions, and with hearty 
written commendations ; whose words are still alive on 
many carefully preserved documents, as legible as when 
they were first penned. Not in haste did he leave the 
Province, holding many meetings first ; and whether 
these animosities, growing out of the suspected char 
acter of his British patriotism, wholly subsided or not, 
with the fruitless assault of his enemies already related, 
I know not. An explicit document, bearing date Jan. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 139 

8, 1818, signed by the citizens of Compton, shows 
that " Joseph Badger, son of Major Peaslee Badger, 
of Compton, has a bright and shining character as a 
Christian in the Province of Lower Canada, where he 
has been known ; and that always when he came into 
the town to see his parents and friends, he came into 
the Province boldly and preached publicly wherever 
he had occasion to preach ; " which, in the absence of 
other explanation, looks like an effort to meet the slan 
der of some enemy, who might have planted himself, 
like Capt. Moor, on grounds of superabundant loy 
alty. Something bordering on the miraculous shines 
through the following incident, related of a youth in 
Ascott : 

" A young man of the family of Mr. Bullard, who had 
been confined for six years, deprived of sight, strength, 
and the ability to speak aloud, continually bowed down, 
and so weak that he could not be shaven, had, three years 
after his debility, received from God a wonderful illumina 
tion, and in it the evidence that he had passed from death 
unto life ; from which time his faith in the Son of God by 
degrees increased until he believed in the resurrection or 
restoration of the body to health by faith in Christ. A 
few days previous to our visiting him, he called in the 
elders of the church to pray over him, anointing him 
with oil, in the name of the Lord (James 5: 14, 15). 
As they prayed, a power was revealed, by which he arose, 
walked, and praised God. We held a meeting at the 
house, in which he arose and spoke freely, saying that his 
soul was troubled for the scarcity of faith on the earth. 
As we listened to that voice which had been silent for six 
years, we were surprised and startled by the reality. As 



140 MEMOIR OF 

he cast his languid eyes upon us, his face, like that of 
Moses, seemed to shine so brightly that scarcely one in 
the assembly could look upon him. This to me appeared 
as heavenly as anything I ever had witnessed ; and his 
language and remarks, I think, exceeded anything I ever 
had heard from mortal lips. Our interview with him filled 
our souls with solemnity." 

Parting with his relatives in Compton, which from 
his fine affectional nature was unavoidably trying, he, 
in company with the worthy young minister who had 
accompanied him from New England, passed through 
Stanstead and several other towns, inquiring as they 
went of the prosperity of Zion, receiving also at times 
a cold reception from the sectarian who had learned to 
love the Church only in the form of a sect ; he speaks 
most gratefully of the kind treatment they received 
from two Methodist clergymen, of good meetings held 
on the way, at Cabot, at Rumney, and other places. 
Leaving Mr. Peavy at/the last-named town, he passed 
on to Meredith on Friday, spoke to the people on 
Sunday and on Monday evening ; arrived on Tuesday 
at his native Gilmanton, from which he again laid into 
order a new campaign against the reigning powers of 
darkness. 

Without dwelling on the labors that immediately 
engaged his attention, which for the most part pertain 
to a field already described, I offer a few paragraphs 
for the month of December before opening the chapter 
for 1816. The variety of incident that blossomed on 
either side of his path was evidently schooling the 
naturally sagacious mind of the young missionary for 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 141 

wider usefulness and for higher position ; and as no 
scholar who has conquered a language can tell when he 
learned each rule and word, but knows that his con 
quest numbers uncounted hours and struggles, so he 
who arrives at the true knowledge of mankind, so as to 
command a wisdom that shall be equal to every practi 
cal demand, cannot say from what place* or which 
events his ripened energy has flown ; he knows that 
his kingdom, like the broad-breasted river, dated back 
with various preceding sources. These early experi 
ences were victories themselves ; but they were also 
unconsciously the seeds of other victories. 

Mr. Badger was beautifully gifted with extempora 
neous powers. There was a charm in his voice, and a 
rich command of plain, apt, and elegant language in 
his speaking, that, all in all, I never saw equalled by 
any other man. His voice was soft and clear ; and 
though not great in tone, was exceedingly distinct, and 
often thrilling. There was music in his discourse. 
Though the period of the labors here narrated is many 
years previous to the writer s acquaintance, I am told 
by those who heard him in 1816 and 17, that he pos 
sessed the same natural eloquence, the same ease and 
attractive grace in speaking then, as was character 
istic of his public manner in later times. That such a 
man, both from natural preference and association, 
should adopt extemporaneous preaching as his favorite 
and only mode, is not strange ; nor do we particularly 
wonder at his avowed dislike of note-preaching, when 
we think of the lifeless character of much of the 
sermonology that then passed for the Word of Life. 
Accordingly, he said : 



142 MEMOIR OF 

" When I see men going forth avowedly to preach the 
Gospel of the grace of God, and substituting in its place 
the doctrines and commandments of men, I am grieved. 
How many have I met with in my travels who w r ould stand 
up and pray that they might be assisted to bring some 
thing, new and old, out of the treasury, that the word 
might come from the heart, and reach the heart, and then 
take, not out of the l treasury, but out of their postbags 
or pockets, spiritless notes, which they would read to the 
people. Oh, that men felt more as the Apostle did when 
he said, Remember that by the space of three years, I 
have not ceased to warn every one of you, night and day, 
with tears ; * then they that bear the eternal word to men 
would be more clearly manifest to the conscience of each 
and all." 

He also narrates the following for this month : 

" On Friday, the 8th, I rode to Mr. Run die s, at Lee, 
where I held a meeting in the evening ; Saturday to New 
market, where I was comforted in visiting the saints ; Sun 
day, held meeting at Mr. N. Gilman s, rode to Exeter in 
the evening, and spoke at Lieut. Thing s, which was a time 
of serious thought, and of weeping among the youth. I 
remember the kind treatment and the good spirit of this 
respectable family. On my return the next day to New 
market, I met a young man whose appearance in every 
respect struck me as being a gentleman until he spoke. 
His first remark was a challenge to swap horses ; and 
though my answers to his several bold and sportive remarks 
left him somewhat ashamed of his familiar assault upon a 
stranger, I felt sad to think of the way in which the young 
men of our land, who might be respectable and useful, de- 

* Acts, 20: 31. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 143 

stroy themselves, and dishonor their connections, by cor 
rupting their own hearts with evil manners. The 12th inst., 
went to Brentwood and preached to an attentive assembly ; 
the 13th, at Esq. M. s, of Lee; the 14th, at Mr.Laton s, 
of Nottingham, to a full audience, from Ps. 89:15: 
* Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound. Many 
spoke afterwards, whose words were as falling showers. 
The meeting lasted till about 12 o clock; and with the 
exception of a few North River gentlemen, whose behavior 
was not so modest and civil as it ought to have been, the 
minds of the people were seriously fixed on divine things. 
The 15th, at Mr. Hilton s, of Lee, I spoke from Luke 2 : 
11; the next day, as I arrived at Newmarket Plains, 
where my appointment was for the next first day, I heard 
that Mr. Richardson would preach in the evening. I went 
to hear him. His text was Isa. 61 : 1, 2 ; which was so 
good that it was with difficulty that the speaker spoiled it 
by causing it to speak Calvinism, which seemed to have 
been his whole aim. After he had spoken two hours, 
several of us addressed the people, not on doctrine, but on 
the love of Christ in the heart, which soon caused a change 
in the atmosphere of the meeting. Dea. Chatrnan wished 
me to speak the next day, to which I consented, though 
my invitation to preach was from three of the committee. 
In the forenoon I spoke from Zech. 3:9. Upon one 
stone shall be seven eyes. I spoke of the stone as meaning 
Christ, and the seven eyes of intelligence that gave a com 
prehensive vision on every side, I represented by his 
character, which looks every way towards the satisfaction 
of human wants ; also, in another sense, seven eyes were 
upon him, the eye of God, of Angels, of Patriarchs, of 
Prophets, of the Jewish nation, of Apostles, and of believ 
ers, all which disclose him as the Mediafor, as the fit medi 
um of divine blessing. In the afternoon Mr. R. began to 



144 MEMOIR OF 

speak from the words, I will make thee a sharp thrashing 
instrument, and proceeded to prove election from the 
parable of the wheat and the tares ; likewise from Gen. 
3 : 1C, the sentence against the woman ; but the people, in 
small parties of four and six, began to leave the house, 
being tired of hearing nothing over and over ; even two of 
the committee could not stand it through. At the close I 
offered a few words, not on the discourse, but on practical 
things, and never did I see a meeting so unsatisfactory to 
the people. One person after meeting asked me if Mr. R. 
was not a deceiver. I told him that he could not be so 
considered, for one that has neither tact nor skill to deceive 
anybody is not entitled to so hard a name, whatever may 
be his errors." 

u The 19th, rode to Lee and baptized four happy con 
verts ; the 20th, rode to Stratham to attend a meeting at 
Mr. Brown s ; the 21st, to Portsmouth ; the 22d, started 
with Elias Smith for Boston ; went as far as Greenland, 
where we parted, as I received an especial invitation to 
visit Farmington, N. H. ; on the 23d, arrived there, and 
received a kind reception at the house of Mr. A. Peavy ; 
held meetings on the 24th ; 25th, held meeting at Chest 
nut Hill, Rochester; the 26th, at the Tenrodroad, Farm 
ington, where I spoke from Amos 4: 12: Prepare to 
meet thy God. I continued in the town through the week, 
held meetings every evening, which I trust were useful to 
many. The 31st, which was the first day of the week, I 
met a large assembly, and in speaking the word of life, 
my spirit was greatly refreshed. Thus ends the year." 

A controversial document, in which he answers the 
charge of one who accused him of holding in too light 
a manner the aufhority of the Sabbath, lies before me ; 
also a few letters from his ministerial coadjutors, that 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 145 

allude to the success of his labors in the same manner 
that they are recorded in his own journal. Said one 
of the ministers, who officiated at his ordination, under 
date of April 15, 1815 : u I have often heard of you 
since we last met, and it has rejoiced me to hear that 
the work of God is going on in the towns where you 
have been preaching, and I have been in hopes to have 
received a letter from you before this." This is the 
tone of the addresses he received. One is reminded 
of the itineracy of St. Paul, as he follows the course 
of his labors, of the piety, self-sacrifice, bold energy, 
tender sympathy, and withal, the shrewd and masterly 
management vhich belonged to that Gentile mission 
ary, who, unsalaried by sect, went out to preach an 
unsectarian religion, not the religion of dogma, but of 
the heart and the life. Each had to encounter the 
scorn of the formalist, of the vain boaster of worldly 
wisdom, and each had to plead the catholicity and the 
spirituality of the Christian religion against the stern 
bigot and the creed-loving sectary. 



%***" 



146 MEMOIR OP 

CHAPTER IX. 

PUBLIC LABORS, MARRIAGE, TRAVELS. 1816. 

RENEWING his zeal in the reflections of the opening 
year, Mr. Badger continued to be active in the field 
according to his ability, intellectual, moral, and phy 
sical. He acted up to his faith. He was no idle 
dreamer, but was a lover and an inspirer of lively 
times. The variety in him naturally called up variety 
in his outward life. People everywhere are agreed 
in preferring the man who throws himself into the 
circle of human action and living interests, honoring 
always the courageous actor whose sword and helmet 
are bright with use ; and they are equally unanimous 
in rejecting the isolated ones, who would be great 
through separation from their fellows. Having ex 
perienced the summer bloom of the religious sentiment 
in his own heart, he casts himself upon the same sacred 
fire in which his own sins were consumed, and carries 
the flame to others. 

This was indeed the most popular way of taking 
hold of the religious interest, for it is feeling that 
proves contagious, and thought immersed in feeling. 
Intellectual abstraction, even of the highest order, 
never was very popular, and never can be, unless 
mankind should arrive at some age when philosophical 
intellect shall be general an age which, in all prob 
ability, is at least as far off as the millennium ; whilst 
it is equally evident, that the man whose thoughts have 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 147 

an eye toward practical results, and toward the living 
heart of the active millions, is the one whom the people 
understand, and the one whom they willingly crown. 

In January of this year, Mr. Badger continued to 
hold meetings in several towns, often from one to three 
in number per day, and as usual witnessed the effects 
of his labors. He speaks of being present at the 
death of Dr. Gray, a man of deistical principles, and 
whose life had been wicked. He visited him on Sun 
day, and remained till his death on Monday evening ; 
and never did he witness more earnest prayers and 
pitiful expressions of grief than here by the bedside 
of the dying unbeliever, whose " philosophical fabrics 
all seemed to fail him in the trying hour;" on the 
18th he presided at his funeral, and endeavored to 
console his disconsolate widow, and his " four weeping 
orphans." " Strange," says Mr. B., " that souls will 
live without faith, and strange that they will neglect 
the salvation of their souls to the last earthly day." 
In the early part of this month he spoke to an assem 
bly from the merciful plea of the dresser of the vine 
yard, Luke 18 : 18 : " Let it alone this year also ; " 
and some eight or ten were baptized this month. At 
Rochester, 1ST. H., one of his " small friends," as he 
styles him, attempted to draw away the audience by 
the alarm of fire, crying to the utmost of his voice ; 
but the more sacred fire of the speaker and of the 
meeting proved the stronger attraction, so that no 
essential disturbance ensued. 

We might take the month of February as a sample 
of the manner in which his days and nights were used. 
In glancing over the dates of his appointments, the 



148 MEMOIR OF 

following figures stand out for this month : they were 
on the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 
10th, llth, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 
19th, 20th, 21st, 22d, 23d, 24th, 25th, 26th, and the 
remaining two days, which were passed at Lee, the 
place of his last appointment, are the only ones in 
which there is no record either of an appointment to 
preach or of time spent in visiting the sick. On his 
way from Farmington to Newmarket, he speaks of 
stopping at Capt. Richardson s tavern, at Durham, 
where he saw many strangers, and heard a conversa 
tion on political topics between two distinguished 
gentlemen, a conversation that ran quite high, as it 
just preceded the election. 

" I thought," says Mr. B., " that they placed Mr. Plum- 
mer on a very low seat, much lower, indeed, than their fel 
low-citizens placed him a few days after; and they extolled 
federalism exceedingly high. Capt. T. spoke out 1 with an 
air of consequence, and said: These runabout preachers, 
I find, are continually propagating the devilish doctrines 
of democracy. O yes/ replied Col. R., that is their 
business/ I was indeed sorry for them. They little sup 
posed that I was one of the persons they had spoken of, 
who, unlike themselves, had faith in the ability, good 
sense and integrity of mankind. I then rode to Lee, 
where I breathed a different atmosphere in the society of 
saints." 

14 The 1st and 2d of March I stayed at Newmarket ; 
the 3d, held meeting at Mr. Sanborn s, of Epping; the 
4th, at Newmarket, I was taken sick with the measles; 
the 5th, rode to Lee and preached a funeral sermon, also 
baptized one ; the 6th, attended meeting in the evening 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 149 

at* Nottingham ; the 7th, through much infirmit} , arrived 
at Deerfield and preached at the house of J- Hilton, 
where I received the kindest attentions during my severe 
sickness of one week. May their generosity be largely 
rewarded ! As soon as I was able to ride, I started for 
Farmington, where I arrived on the 17th. After tar 
rying a few days, I went to Middleton and Brookfield for 
the first time. At the latter place, my first meeting was 
held on the 24th, at which time several afterwards dated 
their convictions. The 26th, held meeting at Middleton 
Corner. It was a solemn time. That night I could not 
sleep, as the people of Brookfield were so much in my 
heart and mind. The 28th, I attended the ordination of 
J. L. Peavy, at Farmington, and heard an appropriate 
sermon from Rev. Elias Smith, of Portsmouth. It was a 
glorious time." 

A sickness like the one here narrated would in these 
days have made a greater break in the journal of a 
month than it did with this hardy young minister. His 
body does not rest at the mere assault of disease, but 
moves on till the heavier blows fall ; then surrenders 
but a week is up again and doing as ever. Though 
his command of Greek and Latin may have been in 
comparably less than those who have passed their years 
in careful study, it would terrify the mass of graduates 
to attempt his labors. 

The month of April was busily and successfully 
employed, each day being occupied with an appoint 
ment to preach, or with visiting from house to house, 
in which he carried a countenance of calm arid cheer 
ful light to all he met. Sometimes three meetings a 
day was his order of action. At Wakefield he spoke 



150 MEMOIR OF 

on the 28th to hundreds of attentive hearers, among 
whom was a respectable young woman, Miss Lusena 
Guage, and who within seventeen hours of the time 
of his public address, departed this life ; a circumstance 
that impressed itself on all, from the fact that the 
speaker that day had uttered, almost in an oracular 
manner, that the whole of his assembly would never 
meet him again. In Brookfield, he ended this month 
in the same evangelical spirit that brightened all his 
arduous labor, thanking God for what he had seen 
among the people. 

As May unfolded its numberless gems, it found him 
striving to unfold the spiritual life that lay in his own 
soul, and that existed, perhaps, in a wintry state, in 
the souls of others. The sun s increasing light and 
warmth invite nature to come out ; whereupon, in a 
million-fold dress she stands arrayed before the celestial 
King. This is so, because the sun is to life a friend ; 
and is it otherwise when any mind uncommonly filled 
with the Maker s light and love sheds itself vertically 
on other minds ? The efiects are indeed similar. 
Now and then a late plant or an obstinate root, that 
seems to be indifferent to the far-sent beam, at last 
buds and sprouts afresh. In this May month, he 
speaks of an humble twenty who met at Brookfield, 
N. H., and "agreed to acknowledge themselves a 
little company of CHRISTIANS, or DISCIPLES, and to 
lay aside all unscriptural names, doctrines and masters 
for the name of Christ, his doctrine and laws ; " which, 
he says, was a glad day to many. " The converts 
were happy, the saints encouraged, the mourners com 
forted. The Bible alone was their creed." He also 
adds: 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 151 

" This day and this night were solemn to me. One young 
man, by the name of L. Whitehouse, by reputation the wick 
edest young man in town, one who had often wished me out 
of the place, one who had despised the saints, came running 
to me, his face suffused with tears, and said : Mr. Badger, 
can you pray for such a man as I am ? I told him that I 
could. He was in deep distress. After a time he returned 
home. At midnight I was aroused from my slumbers by 
the message that Mr. "W. was dying, and that he wished 
to see me very much. Leaving my room and walking 
through the darkness of night to visit one who had de 
spised both me and my counsels, I heard him say as I en 
tered the house where he lay, *I am dying; and the 
worst of all that troubles me is that I am unprepared to 
meet God. Several hours I passed with him; and the 
more of such scenes I witness, the more I am struck with? 
the folly of men in neglecting salvation in prosperity and 
health." 

" Arriving at Farmington on the 5th, at L. Peavy s I 
fell in company with Dr. Hammond, who soon introduced 
conversation on the subject of religion. He stood on the 
old doctrine of fatalism, and was what every man ought 
to be who honestly plants himself on this ground, a Uni- 
versalist. After he had labored hard (for one must labor 
hard to support a false doctrine, whilst the truth can sup 
port itself and all who believe it,) to prove his theory, I 
said to him : Sir, although you claim to make God a 
good and merciful being, you make him inconsistent. 
You prove that he has decreed one thing and command 
ed another. You allege that he ordained all things. Of 
course he has ordained them right. But, Sir, are you able to 
say that all the wars, blasphemy, drunkenness, political and 
religious contention we have on earth, proceed from your 
good God? Certainly/ responded he ; it is all for some 



152 MEMOIR OP 

end. Mortals must experience a degree of misery, to pre 
pare them for happiness. It is best/ continued he, to 
have different beliefs and sects in the world, and what you 
term religion is merely impulse and imagination, which is 
good so far as it tends to good among men. The fear of 
hell which you hold up, moves many to reform, and I think 
it would not be so well if all men were as I am/ In the 
last idea I acquiesced. I told him that I never had known 
the opinions he avowed to work the reformation of any 
man ; that I had not yet met a Christ-like and prayerful 
person of those views, and that I had known them to be 
accompanied by much profanity, professed in the grog 
shop, and resorted to by the vilifier of practical godliness 
as a shelter against the solemn claims of Christ upon the 
heart. I said to him that truth bears good fruits, and 
that I was sorry that he should labor so hard to prove a 
doctrine of whose results he had so poor an opinion. 
Here our conversation closed." 

" 6th, I returned to Brookfield ; just before I arrived 
at Middleton Corner I saw a funeral procession slowly 
moving toward the grave, and being so near the funeral I 
had attended when going down, it made a solemn impres 
sion on my mind. I said, Oh, may I be prepared for a 
similar scene ! The 8th, after attending two meetings, 
rode to Wolfborough, where I arrived in the evening, 
much fatigued ; the 9th, spoke for the first time to the 
people at Smith s Bridge ; the 10th, returned to Brook- 
field ; the 12th, spoke to the people from Job 20 : 17, and 
though the rain, which fell very fast, prevented hundreds 
from attending, we had a very good time. At 7 o clock 
I attended meeting at Waltefield, and as I visited from 
house to house on the 13th, I remember to jiave asked a 
lady whether she enjoyed the religion of Jesus, to which 
she replied, I do not intend to be a hypocrite ; I 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 153 

thought her purpose a good one, though her courtesy 
might have been a little improved. I was every where 
else kindly received. The 18th, 19th, 20th, 23d, 26th, 
and 28th, had good and effective meetings, the last 
appointment being at Epping, whese I found the people 
low in the enjoyment of vital religion, and some who had 
by experience known the life and power of God, settled 
down upontheir lees, or what, in Calvinistic phraseology, 
they would call the doctrines of grace. Grace then 
became my theme. I went so far as to say that not only 
all men, but beasts, birds, and fishes, were in a state of 
grace or favor with God, by which they are daily sus 
tained. What oak or rose-bush can grow without the 
Creator s kindness ? The 30th I spoke from Ps. 117 : 7, 
1 Return unto thy rest, oh, my soul ; for the Lord has 
dealt bountifully with thee. Rev. N. Piper was present, 
and with many others, spoke, whilst the glory of God 
Seemed to shine in our midst. * The 31st I was sick at 
Mr. B. s, whose kindness I can never forget. The Lord 
God alone can know whether I live through another 
month. If I do, oh, help me to live it more to thy glory 
than I have lived any month of my life." 

No day of the month of June passed without an 
appointment to preach, as a glance at the journal 
shows ; and among the travels recorded, is a journey 
to Providence, Rhode Island. At Canterbury, on his 
way, he speaks for the first time of hearing Elder 
Mark Fernald preach, June 10th, and on the llth of 
hearing Elder Benj. Taylor, who addressed the meeting 
at Canterbury, fourteen ministers and many others 
being present. He says : 
7* 



154 MEMOIR OF 

" The 16th, I spoke at the State House, Providence, 
R. I., and had a good time in preaching and in breaking 
of bread. The 17th, I rode to Boston, where I also 
spent the greater part of the 18th, visiting the Museum, 
which made a strong impression on my mind, and con 
versing with Mr. Elias Smith, with whom I put up. In 
the evening I enjoyed a very good time at Salem. The 
23d, I went to hear Mr. Burgus, who spoke from Acts 8 : 
22, in which he stated that prior to prayer or any other 
duty, men must feel the love of God ; also, that all who 
denied that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh, were false 
teachers, as are all those who regard him only as a 
man ; for, said he, Christ is the Eternal God : there is 
none above him. When his afternoon meeting was 
closed, I arose and told the people I had two remarks to 
make on the sermon delivered in the morning, one in 
regard to prayer, the other in regard to Christ. You 
remember, I said to them, that the love of God was 
enjoined as preceding every acceptable prayer. I ask 
you to compare this statement with the order of facts 
contained in the gentleman s text, which are, 1. Repen 
tance ; 2. Prayer ; 3. Forgiveness. Repent therefore 
of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the 
thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. As 
none contend that the enjoyment of the love of God pre 
cedes the forgiveness of sins, I am amazed at so bold a 
contradiction of the passage on which the sermon was 
professedly founded. I then noticed Christ, informing the 
people that I knew not the sect who held him to be merely 
a man, for who does not know that the most ultra of the 
Socinian school place him above all men in the divinity 
of his spiritual endowments ? and what class, I inquired, 
could more plainly deny Christ than he had been denied a 
short time previous, by the statement that he is the 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 155 

Eternal God ? I stated that I believed him to be the 
Son of God, the great Mediatorial Centre of grace to 
mortals, and that he has received all power in heaven and 
on earth. If he is the Father, he cannot be the Son ; 
and if the plain declarations of the New Testament are 
to be relied on, it is certain that he was dependent on 
God, and that he knew One greater than himself, to whom 
he offered worship, and of whom he gave a new reve 
lation.* About this time the clergyman saw fit to leave 
without offering any public remarks. I continued my 
address. At the close, many spoke of the love of Christ; 
and though we were deprived of the presence of the 
clergyman, we had, I think, the presence of God, which 
was far preferable. The 30th, met an attentive multitude 
at T. Burley s barn, to whom I spoke in the forenoon, 
from Ps. 11: 12, and in the afternoon from Eph. 4: 5, 
on baptism. Many spoke freely. We then retired to a 
pleasant water near by, where, with great satisfaction, I 
baptized six happy youth. Here closes one month more. 
O God, I pray thee to prepare me for all that may await 
me in the next." 

July, 1816. We read of his being at Brookfield 
on the 1st, of his attending the funeral obsequies .of 
Mr. L. J. Hutchins, at Wakefield, on the 2d, and of 
his spending the month industriously in the several 
places of his accustomed labor. Not far from this 
time there was in his mind a temporary conviction that 
he would select Providence, R. I., for his permanent 
residence, as he was anxious to concentrate his labors 
in one field, and no longer extend them over so wide a 
surface. Bearing date a few weeks later is a letter 

* John 17:3; John 1 : 18 ; Matt. 11 : 27. 



156 MEMOIR OF 

from Rev. Benj, Taylor, of Taunton, Mass., congrat 
ulating him on the change of his condition from single 
to married life, and earnestly inviting him to make the 
city of Providence his stand, assuring him that the 
condition of about thirteen churches within an area of 
forty miles called for his influence, ability, and zeal in 
their midst. Though Providence had the preference 
in his mind over the several places that occupied his 
attention as a permanent home, circumstances seemed 
to have ordained a different lot. He never became a 
citizen of that beautiful city. 

July the 17th he was married to Miss Mary Jane 
Peavy, of Farmington, New Hampshire, daughter of 
Capt. Anthony Peavy, of that town. The lady that 
now became his companion in the cares, hopes, and 
sorrows of life, was of the tender age of eighteen ; 
and though doubtless inexperienced in the trials that 
belong to the ministerial sphere, having been herself 
most carefully and tenderly brought up in one of the 
best of New England families, her devotion to her 
husband, and to the cause in which he was engaged, 
luring the brief period of her life, was ever worthy 
of the noblest praise. All the letters and documents 
of these few years indicate a mutual depth of senti 
ment and devotional regard. So paramount, however, 
was the cause of the ministry in Mr. Badger s mind, 
that the happy and important change recorded of his 
social relations made no essential vacancy in the accus 
tomed duties of his profession. The days and evenings 
as they passed were continually laden with his sermons 
and prayers. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 157 

In a letter to his brother, dated July 17th, he writes 
of the gloomy prospects of the husbandman through 
out that country, saying, "We have been afflicted 
with war and with pestilence, and now we are threatened 
with famine, which is, if possible, a greater evil. I 
hope the people may learn righteousness whilst these 
various judgments are abroad in the earth." 

When speaking of the funeral of Mr. Hutchins, he 
says, " There was indeed a great solemnity in this 
scene. The widow s heart was a fountain of sorrow. 
The sons wept much, and on the face of one of the 
daughters sat the serene impress of eternity, whilst all 
the connections and friends seemed to mourn the loss 
of a Christian, a patriot, and a worthy member of the 
community. Several hours before the meeting, I spent 
in a pleasant grove ; my retired moments, which were 
very solemn, were passed in meditation, prayer, and 
weeping ; at the close of the services the afflicted 
family manifested to me an uncommon degree of friend 
ship. Though very unwell, I rode to Middleton that 
day." In speaking of his trials, at the close of this 
July journal, he says : " It is well for mankind that 
they know not what the future conceals, lest they might 
shrink before the approaching conflict. I found in all 
my trials God s grace sufficient for me. In me ye 
shall have peace, and to God I make my prayer that 
he would save me from whatever is unlike himself. 
4 Make me even as one of thy hired servants. " There 
is an inward living current of faith flowing through his 
mind ; nor were there any crises in his life, nor were 
there any trying positions into which the force of cir 
cumstances brought him, that, carefully examined, are 



158 MEMOIR OF 

found to be unvisited and unrefreshed by this living 
water of life in his soul. Like the mystic rock the 
Hebrew prophet smote, his heart flows out in living 
water. 

August, 1816. "From the 1st to the 20th my time 
was spent in Brookfiehl, Middleton, Farmington, attending 
to reading, writing, preaching, and visiting from house to 
house. The 20th, had a good and solemn time at Brook- 
field ; being ready to start for R. L, after having a public 
meeting we held a conference, in which brother Joseph 
Gooding, in an animating manner, told his religious experi 
ence, and requested baptism, which I administered at even 
ing, whilst it seemed as though the heavens were opened 
and the Spirit descended upon the assembly. We then 
walked for a half a mile, singing the praise of God. After 
changing my dress, I rode to the residence of John Cham- 
berlain, Esq., where I was kindly received, and where I 
found the company of Mr. F. Cogswell, of Gilmanton, 
whose visits among his brethren were like the coming of 
Titus in the days of apostolical truth and religious sim 
plicity. The 21st, we rode to Farmington and enjoyed a 
happy meeting ; the 22d, being ready to start on a jour 
ney to the South, I asked my affectionate companion which 
she would prefer me to do, enter into business, accumu 
late property, and be respectable in the world, or do the 
will of the Lord in going forth to preacli the Gospel, leav 
ing her at home, and subjecting ourselves to be poor in 
this world all our days. After a moment s reflection, she 
burst into a flood of tears, and said, I hope you will do 
the Lord s will, whatever else may happen/ We had a 
weeping time. The next morning I arose early and bade 
all my friends an affectionate farewell, not expecting to 
see them again for several weeks. Here my trial was 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 159 

very great. I had known what it was to forsake father 
arid mother, brother and sister, houses and homes for 
Christ s sake, but in leaving one who was so nearly a part 
of -my own life, I found that it exceeded all other trials 
belonging to the separation of friends. The 24th I went 
to Deerfield to attend a general meeting. I was there 
also on the 25th. The 26th it was continued at Candia, 
and a blessing seemed to attend it. The 27th and 28th, 
attended the Ministers Conference at Candia. The 29th, 
after the close of conference. I heard the Rev. Elias Smith 
preach at Deerfield, N. H. From several considerations, 
I was induced to postpone my journey to the South, and, 
in company with Mr. E. Plan, returned to Rochester and 
Farmington." 

Sept. 1816. From the 1st to the 10th I passed at 
Farmington, holding several meetings : the llth, went to 
Gilmanton; the 13th, in company with Mr. Cogswell, 
started for the province of Canada, to visit our relatives, 
and to seek the welfare of Zion. The 14th, arrived at 
the house of my eldest brother, in Wheelock, Vt,, a dis 
tance of 112 miles ; on Tuesday following, arrived at Dan 
ville, held meeting at the Court House, where, favored by 
the presence of a good assembly and six ministers of the 
Gospel, I found liberty in speaking the living word. Our 
minds were mutually refreshed. On Wednesday, held 
meeting in the north part of the town, and at Mr. Wick 
er s in the evening, where I was amazed to find Mrs. W. 
happy and in health, as she had been sick for three years, 
and had, according to the testimony of herself and friends, 
been miraculously restored a few days before my arrival. 
Two years previous I had visited her in her illness, which 
served to increase my surprise at her present condition, 
induced, as I was told, by simple compliance in faith with 
the direction of the Apostle James 5: 14, 15. On 



160 MEMOIR OF 

Sunday, at Compton, we enjoyed an excellent meeting with 
old friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and on Monday 
evening rode to Ascott to visit a company of Christians 
who had formerly been noted for piety and engagedness, 
but were now the subjects of delusion. Abundantly had 
they been blessed of God ; but instead of learning humility, 
they appeared to build themselves up in the spirit of self- 
righteousness. One whom they styled Apostle and Prophet 
was to them the highest authority, equal to anything in 
the Holy Scripture. He had revelations concerning all the 
business to be done by his followers ; also his pretended 
illumination extended to marriages and to the intercourse 
of the sexes, and when his ipse dixit was given on these 
points, immorality was unblushingly practised. Pretending 
to have personal interviews with angels he had six followers, 
who, at his command, would fall upon their knees, lie pros 
trate upon the floor, or walk in a pretended labor for souls. 
Sometimes he kept them walking for several days and 
nights without eating or sleeping, when they would fre 
quently faint and fall upon the floor. They often screamed, 
howled, and barked, making various strange noises, and 
bending themselves up into many shapes. They most tena 
ciously held that they were the only true church on earth, 
and that no person out of their pale was capable of giving 
them the least instruction. Like all the fanatics I ever 
saw, they evinced great hatred and spite when opposed, 
and sometimes they were full of the spirit of mocking. 
As I had known them when they were respectable young 
people, and had enjoyed with them the best of Christian 
fellowship, I could but deeply mourn over the delusion 
in which they were lost. After spending [eighteen hours 
with them, I bore the most decided testimony I could 
against their sentiments and procedure. How many are 
carried away by every wind of doctrine, and allow the 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 1G1 

pure religion of Jesus, with which they begin, to degen 
erate into an alloy of earth and passion ! Ever may I be 
kept in the Mediator, where I shall be permanent and un 
controlled by the wild extremes of the age. The week 
following I spent at Compton, holding meetings in differ 
ent parts of the town. On Sunday, the 29th, the assem 
bly was large, and we had a weeping time, as I bade them 
farewell in the name of Him in whom is our hope and 
love ; and on Monday visited from house to house. Being 
ready to depart on the morrow, and thinking that it was 
the last time I should repose under my father s roof, my 
thoughts and feelings were deeply solemn, as I looked out 
upon the world-wide field of my future labors. My very 
heart was pained, and the night passed away in almost 
entire sleeplessness. Here closes the month, and in feel 
ings of the greatest solemnity." 

(Oct. 1816. Letter to his father. Montpelier, Vt., Oct. 
12, 1816.) " Dear Father, With pleasure I improve a 
few moments in writing to you, that you may be informed 
of my good health, and my agreeable visit at Stanstead, 
Wheelock and Danville. I preached the next Sun-Jay 
after I left home, at Danville Court House, and in the 
evening at Major Merrill s. On Monday I came to this 
town, and held a meeting at the Hall of Esquire Snow; 
in this place and Calace I have held meetings all through 
the week. Last Thursday I attended the election. After 
the Governor was chosen, the ministers of all denomina 
tions were invited to his apartment, where all the choicest 
kinds of drinks were placed before them, and a rich dinner 
was prepared. Gov. J. Galusha was chosen by a very 
great majority. He is an agreeable man, and apparently 
a real Christian. His conduct through the day excited 
the admiration of the spectators, and it manifested, I think, 
the spirit of true patriotism and of sound Christianity. 



162 MEMOIR OF 

I have an appointment here to-morrow and expect that 
some will be baptized. We intend to start for N. H. on 
Monday. I am in great haste. Give my love to Mother, 
Thomas, Hannah and all my friends. God bless you all 
with life eternal. Farewell. 

" JOSEPH BADGER." 
"Maj. Peaslee Badger." 

Resuming his journal we find the following on this 
month. After meeting a large assembly at Danville, 
on Sunday, 13th, and administering baptism as inti 
mated in his letter, he returned to his home at Farm- 
ington, N. H., the 16th, where he resumed his 
ministerial labor. He speaks of his appointments in 
different places as being to his own spirit refreshing ; 
and of the sickness of his wife, and of outward trials 
and burdens as being great. His fine and sensitive 
nature, with all its composure and heroism, was alive 
to the influence of surrounding circumstances. Great 
and trying must have been the difficulties into which 
his position in the world at times must have brought 
him. These, however, only proved the strength and 
competency of the man. He never bowed his manly 
head in despair. He says, " Amidst all my conflict, in 
my retired moments I find consolation in trusting in 
God and in hoping for better days ; and before the 
year shall end, God, may I be allowed to see great 
displays of thy power." His clouds were always 
colored in part with the sun s rays. In a letter to his 
wife, dated Gilmanton, Oct. 31, he states the cause 
which commanded all the faculties of his mind : 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 163 

" As I am so far on my journey I think it best to" con 
tinue it. Our parting at this time is no less disagreeable 
to me than to yourself. If I were to return home, the 
cross and the self-denial of our separation would not be 
diminished. We must learn to forsake all for our dear 
Redeemer s cause. It is not, dear Mary, to please myself 
or others that I leave you. It is wholly for the benefit of 
mankind, and for the promotion of the cause of Christ. 
In a few weeks, if the Lord will, I shall return to your 
fond embraces. Be composed and reconciled to my 
absence, and never utter a murmuring sigh at the will of 
Heaven." 

The journey he was about to take through the States 
of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, led to 
the selection of the fruitful and pleasant region of the 
county of Munroe,* in the latter State, as his permanent 
home, a region of country which in conversation he 
frequently styled " the heart of the world." 

November, 1816, leaving Gilmanton on the 2d, and 
passing through the towns, Salisbury, New Andover, 
Springfield, Newport, Clairmont, N. H. ; through 
Weathersfield, Cavendish, Ludlow, Middleton, Poultney 
and Clarendon, Vt.% also passing through Granville, 
Hartford, Kingsbury, Saratoga, Milton, N. Y., he 
arrived on the 5th at Galway, where he met a kind 
reception from many who, like himself, stood on the 
common faith of one God the Father, one Christ the 
Mediator, one creed and platform of faith and church 
polity, the Holy Scriptures of both Testaments, and 
one common freedom of interpretation and right of 

* Then Ontario County. 



164 MEMOIR OF 

private judgment. Here he addressed the people on 
the evening of the 5th, and rode to Ballston on the 
6th, in which place and in adjoining towns, a great 
reformation had occurred under the public improvement 
of a very worthy female speaker, by the name of Nancy 
Gove. He gave to this community one discourse the 
evening of his arrival. On the 7th he was greatly 
delighted to meet- his old friend and father in Israel, 
A. Moulton, from the Province, with whom, in his early 
years, he says, " I had taken sweet counsel in a strange 
land." Now he again heard his voice in the public 
assembly, on the same themes as when, in his youthful 
days, he spoke with so much feeling to his sensitive 
heart. In Amsterdam, a town of some prominence, in 
old Montgomery County, he preached to the people on 
the 9th and 10th, and carried the resurrection light of 
Christian consolation into the dwelling of Mr. Green, 
whose guest he was, and whose companion in life was 
wasting away with consumption. He had a fine faculty 
to light up a house of sorrow and mourning with 
hope and cheerfulness. At Milton, Ballston Springs, 
Charleston, and Canajoharie, he gave sermons ; on what 
topics his private journal does notj-ecord, but to those 
who know his sagacious skill in adapting his subjects 
and discussions to the assemblies he m?t, no evidence 
will be needed to convince them that for the occasion 
and place they were happily chosen. 

Parting with Mr. Thompson and family on the 18th, 
and passing through several townships, as Minden, 
Warren, Litchfield and Paris, he arrived at Clinton, 
Madison County, N. Y., where he spoke on the evening 
of the 19th. Continuing his journey through several 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 165 

towns he arrived on the 21st at Brutus, Onondaga 
County, N. Y., and addressed the inhabitants in the 
evening of that and of the following day. He speaks 
of having there met Rev. Elijah Shaw, a man whose 
labors were then and afterwards greatly successful in 
leading the people into the inward experience of the 
vital principles of the Christian religion. Parting with - 
these friends, in company with Mr. Moulton, he visited 
what was then the village of Auburn, and crossing the 
lake on a bridge, which he describes as a mile and a 
quarter in length, came into Junius, and reposed at 
night in the " handsome village," as he terms it, of 
Phelps ; on the 26th he rode to Farmington, and there 
saw what in those days were considered the " famous 
Sulphur Springs," which he describes as a stream 
running rapidly out of the side of a small hill, in tem 
perature about milk-warm, in smell and medical quality 
of the nature of sulphur ; the waters were clear, and 
over the current a light cloud of vapor continually 
arose. I find that Mr. Badger, whenever his eye is 
arrested by a scene in nature, is sure to group together, 
in few words, all the essential qualities, and nothing 
redundant or expletive ever appears in his descriptions, 
which is nearly always the reverse with persons of 
unsubjected imaginations. He saw nature quietly and 
truthfully. The journal of this month closes with th e 
account of several meetings held in Pittsford, since 
named Henrietta,* which was the centre of his early 
labors in this region of country. 

* In 1818, this town was constituted out of the town of Pittsford. 



166 MEMOIR OF 

The month of December was assiduously employed 
in and about the region last mentioned. On the 1st, 
which was Sunday, he addressed a large assembly for 
the space of two hours, and at evening, in another part 
of the town, he spoke an hour and thirty-five minutes 
to a full house, a considerable number of whom were 
members of the Presbyterian society. From these 
meetings several of the people were accustomed to 
follow him to his lodgings and spend hours in conversa 
tion. His personal influence had a power to charm the 
people ; and the statements of scores who still survive 
him, agree that Mr. Badger s influence as a speaker in 
those early years was, in this region of country, with 
out a parallel. Communities were carried away by it. 
Opposition to his doctrine availed little in arresting the 
popular tide that moved at the lead of his will and word. 
"In those years," said an aged professional man, to 
the writer of this biography, " I regarded Mr. Badger 
as the most popular preacher I ever knew, and I still 
think," continued he, " that all in all, I never heard a 
man of so great natural gifts." At Westown, or Hen 
rietta, he ordained deacons in his society, to take a 
temporal oversight of its affairs, and filling up nearly 
all the days with social visits and public meetings, the 
month was one continued earnest effort at bringing 
souls under the influence of Jesus and of Christianity. 
A theological conversation between himself and Rev. 
Thomas Gorton, who lived on the Genesee river, which 
occurred the 17th, and one with Rev. Mr. Bliss, 
may perhaps interest the reader. I offer his own 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 167 

" "We conversed for the space of five hours on different 
subjects. He was indeed very firm, and all who did not 
think as he did came generally under the name of heretics. 
At the close he offered against me four objections, which 
were thus stated : 1st. You believe that the sinner in the 
reception of salvation is an active creature. 2d. You 
believe in the possibility of falling from a state of justifi 
cation, 3d. You cannot reconcile all the Scripture to 
either of the three systems of punishment for the wicked, 
neither eternal misery, destruction, nor restoration. 4th. 
You baptize all who give evidence of their becoming new 
creatures, provided they are received as such by a church 
with whom you have fellowship, without any particular 
regard to their belief or doctrinal principles. Thus ended 
our conversation. The next day, I understood that this 
gentleman, in speaking of the communion, (he was of the 
Baptist faith,) said that it was absurd to think of feed 
ing swine and sheep together, which caused me to mourn 
that he or that any should have so little charity for other 
denominations. I preached in his neighborhood the same 
evening, [he was prevented from attending by a bad cold] 
and was introduced to Mr. Rich, another clergyman of the 
Baptist denomination. Asking him to participate in the 
meeting, I proceeded to speak from 1 Cor. 13:13: 
1 And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three ; 
but the greatest of these is charity/ The clergyman 
witnessed to the truth of my sermon. The 18th I spoke 
at Avon, the 19th went to Pittsford to administer baptism, 
the 20th enjoyed a good time in the south part of the town, 
the 21st had a very cold, disagreeable time at the village, 
the 22d enjoyed a happy fellowship meeting, the 23d had 
an excellent communion season in Pittsfield. At Briton, 
Mr. Chapin, a missionary, after I had spoken, read a 
sermon nineteen minutes in length, in which he alleged 



168 MEMOIR OF 

that in Christ there are two distinct natures united, the 
human and the divine ; that the divinity never suffered, 
that humanity alone was the world s saving sacrifice. No 
wonder that he should teach a partial and a legal salvation. 
The 29th I attended the funeral of an excellent young 
man, by the name of Dorous Burr, which had on the minds 
of many a solemn effect. For the first time, I met, on 
the 31st, Rev. Mr. Bliss, of Avon. I think he was 
naturally a gentleman, though on this occasion, prejudice 
against a people with whom he was not acquainted had an 
overwhelming influence on his manners. Many questions 
he asked in regard to total depravity, a Triune God, the 
eternal Godhead of Christ, and many others of the kind 
which are unnamed in all the Holy Scriptures. Not car 
ing to detail a lengthy conversation, I would say that near 
its close he observed to me, that my system was composed 
of Universalism and Deism ; to this I replied, that the 
old contradictory doctrine of fate, originally introduced 
by the Stoics, and afterwards cruelly applied and industri 
ously propagated by John Calvin and his followers, was 
the very root and foundation of both these doctrines, and 
that if I was to take his statement for truth, all the differ 
ence to be found between us was this, that Calvinism is 
the body of the tree, Universalism the branches, and 
Deism the ripe fruit, and that whilst he was the body, I 
was the branches and fruit ; and being so nearly related, 
we should hesitate thoughtfully before we consented to 
quarrel, reminding him that in the forest body and branches 
never contend. After some show of clerical importance 
and authority, enough to remind one that if the world was 
ruled by narrow-minded ecclesiastics, blood might yet be 
shed for opinion s sake, our interview closed. On the 
evening of the same day, I had a good meeting at Mr. 
Gould s, in which eight or ten feelingly spoke of the love 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 169 

of Christ, some of whom had never spoken in public 
before. Here the month and the year close. I thank 
God for what I have seen, and for what my soul has felt 
in this month ; and though it has been my lot this year to 
pass through sickness and trials of many kinds, I thank 
Him that at its close I feel a degree of salvation within, 
and I can say with Israel s king, Before I was afflicted 
I went astray/ Through all his agencies may God aid 
me to live more to his glory the coming year than ever I 
have done. Thus end the reflections and incidents of 
1816." 



CHAPTER X. 

LABORS AND SETTLEMENT IN WESTERN NEW YORK. 
1817-18. 

THE opening of the New Year, 1817, as is customary 
on such occasions, was attended with festivities and 
social amusements among the young people. And the 
following incident will readily illustrate the peculiar 
power which Mr. Badger could wield over the young, 
as likewise the efficiency of the Gospel as preached by 
him. On the first day of January he spoke to a large 
assembly in Pittsford, from the following very signifi 
cant passage in Ezekiel 36 : 26. " A new heart also 
will I give you." The young people, many of them, 
called it the best New Year s they had ever enjoyed, 
and many whose conversions dated in 1816 were 
8 



170 MEMOIR OF 

-quickened and refreshed by the words of the new 
minister. Great preparations were being made for a 
ball in the town of Pittsford on the Dth ; but it so 
happened that one of the principal managers and 
another influential young man were so divinely struck 
with the sentiments of the sermon given on New Year s 
Day, that all trifling, gay, or mirthful thoughts were 
rendered alien to their minds. Within four days they 
also had to speak of a sweet and rapturous bliss they 
had found in their newly awakened love to Christ. 
Instead of attending the mirth of the 9th, they sent 
the following letter to their companions : 



, January 8, 1817. 
" DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, We were members of your 
intended party, and anticipated, we presume, as much 
pleasure as you will enjoy in our New Year s Ball ; but 
to the joy of our hearts, within a few days God has done 
great things for our souls, whereof we are glad, and 
instead of attending the ball, we are prompted by our feel 
ings to spend the same afternoon in solemn prayer for the 
welfare of our fellow youth ; and whilst you are engaged 
in vain mirth, will you remember that we, your compan 
ions, are on our knees praying to God, the Friend of us 
all, for your eternal welfare ? We are, with the tenderest 
regards and love, your friends, 

" J. WADE, 
"NATH. SWIFT." 

The letter, it is said, was kindly received, and had a 
beneficial effect. Mr. B. thanks God for the happy 
opening of the year, and prays that it may be crowned 
with thousands of new-born souls. On the third, at 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 171 

Pittsford, Mr. Chapin, the missionary already spoken 
of, introduced a disputation on total depravity, which 
was very soon closed, as Mr. Badger demanded that 
he should either state his proposition in Scripture lan 
guage, or definitely explain what he meant against 
human nature and the human race by the words he em 
ployed, alleging that neither the words nor the idea 
probably intended were contained in the Oracles of 
God. Thinking that Mr. B. was too severe in his de 
mands, he desisted, with the accusation that he was 
unfair as a reasoner. It is but repetition to say that 
all these days were made golden by action, calm but 
incessant labor. Days and evenings his musical voice 
resounded on the holy themes of faith, reformation, 
charity, and peace on earth ; many a time, as the still 
heavens sent down their nocturnal light and shed their 
holy influence all around, he re turned from his precious 
victories over the hearts of his fellow immortals, per 
vaded by a love that accords with the silent glow of 
all that was above and about him. At his communion 
seasons he caused the sectary to mourn the rigidity of 
his creed, which did not allow him to come forward, to 
follow his heart, because of some dry, unvital difference 
in theological belief. He visits the sick, speaks occa 
sionally in the private mansion of some friend, some 
times in the school-house, in the grove and open air, 
making the freest use of time and place, regarding them 
only as servants to his mission. At Avon, Mendon, 
Pittsford, Pennfield, and Lima, he continued his labors, 
at times administering baptism in the waters of the 
Genesee and its tributaries, on which occasions, as on 
every other where the attractions of an easy personal 



172 MEMOIR OP 

address give grace and impression to the scene, he was 
uncommonly gifted and happy. Some ^who had op 
posed him strongly, were so impressed by the solem 
nity of one baptismal scene, and by the remarks he 
there offered, as to retract, at the water s side, the 
hard words and speeches they had made. " I felt to 
forgive them," says Mr. B., " for all their unreasona 
ble censures. At Avon I had excellent meetings the 
8th, 9th, 10th and 11th; the 12th, had an excellent 
time at Pennfield ; the 13th, returned to Pittsford," 
and omitting to notice the several appointments that 
fill up the days and evenings of the month, I would 
only transcribe from his pages, that " the last week of 
the month was spent at Lima, the 19th administered 
baptism, the 27th attended to the holy communion, 
whilst the glory of God cheeringly shone in our midst, 
and to the end of this month our meetings were full 
of interest and of feeling." 

Feb. 1817. A temperance sermon to a large 
assembly was given on the 2d ; on such occasions Mr. 
Badger was exceedingly persuasive and appropriate. 
He was almost sure to get the sympathy and hearty 
interest of the most fallen man in the community, could 
easily gain from such a hearing, and at the same time 
edify and entertain the most elevated men. In later 
years, in the spring of 1842, he gave a temperance 
sermon in a village of central New York, where much 
liquor had been sold, that secured more than a hundred 
signers to the pledge, and that, with the additional aid 
of a personal interview with those who sold, actually 
banished the sale- from every store and shop in town. 
He found a favorite text for such an occasion in 1 Cor. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 173 

9 : 25, where St. Paul, in contrasting the Christian 
with the Olympian races, and in speaking of the im 
portance of temperance for the success of each, assigns 
the higher motive of the Christian temperance thus : 
" Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown ; but 
we an incorruptible." He drew his temperance argu 
ment from the highest motive. 

With date of Feb. 3d, I find a remarkable letter, 
addressed to Deacon M. Sperry, of the Presbyterian 
Church, relating chiefly to the very important subject 
of Christian Union, which is becoming so popular a 
theme with the thinking and liberal part of the Chris 
tian world. In the extracts that follow, the reader will 
see what thoughts were common to Mr. Badger as 
early as 1817, and indeed earlier, for they appeared 
in his mind prior to his entrance upon the ministry in 
the autumn of 1812. 

"PITTSFORD, February 3, 1817. 
"DEAR BROTHER, I am happy in inclosing a few 
lines to you, which I hope will be received as the fruit of 
Christian friendship. We have had some opportunity of 
acquaintance for a few months past, which, on my part, 
has been agreeable, with yourself, your family, and the 
church with which you stand connected. It is my motive 
to promulgate peace and extend happiness in society, and, 
so far as possible, extend a real union among all the dear 
disciples of Christ ; and as we have become citizens of 
the same town, let us labor for peace ; as we profess to be 
1 fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of 
God, let us be one as the Father and the Son are one, 
and let love for one another be to all men the proof that 
we are his disciples." 



174 MEMOIR OF 

" In my travels I can say with propriety that I have 
experienced much sorrow from the divisions that exist 
among Christians, the party censures that are cast one 
upon another, and the imprudent conduct that obtains 
among public and private members of different churches. 
Such things barm the oil and the wine ; by them candid 
friends are caused to stumble in their way, and the hands 
of the wicked are strengthened. I have concluded, Sir, 
that a great amount of the divisions that now exist arose 
very much from tradition and the different ways in which 
men have been educated, though we must confess that 
the instructors or preachers are the principal cause of the 
divided state of the Church. The censures to which I 
allude flow often from ignorance, from self-righteousness, 
from a lack of the fear of God before their eyes ; and 
we may say that true brotherly love will remedy all the 
imprudent conduct by which brethren of the Christian 
profession annoy and perplex each other. These divi 
sions do not arise so much from different parts of the 
doctrine of Christ as many imagine ; but from the doc 
trines and commandments of men, which St. Paul, 2 Tim. 
2 : 23, speaks of as * foolish and unlearned questions that 
do gender strifes; questions which confuse the minds of 
thousands, which separate chief friends, and in which 
often the mind is lost in its deliberations as it turns upon 
subjects we cannot comprehend or understand ; sometimes 
on things of futurity which do not immediately concern 
us. Thus we get lost, and the foundation is laid for 
Deism ; and there appears the worst of fruit. It is a 
matter of joy to me that divisions among Christians are 
to end at last, and there shall be one fold and one Shep 
herd. I do not make these observations to cast reflections 
on any religious people, but because these things have and 
do greatly occupy my mind." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 175 

" It may not be amiss for me to offer a few remarks on 
our present circumstances, although it is with great deli 
cacy and tenderness that I would mention things of this 
nature. Our condition, and the condition of the people 
in this vicinity at the present time, is very critical. I 
can truly say that the thought of a division among the 
faithful ones grieves my heart. I am unwilling that the 
living child should be divided. I have it in contemplation 
to lay before you a few propositions for your considera 
tion, as we both have the responsible care of others, and 
as it is now becoming necessary that I should attend to 
some regulations that belong to the form of a church. I 
think it proper to make my feelings known to you, and I 
seek to know the liberty wherein you stand more per 
fectly, before I proceed to the organization of a church 
in this vicinity. I thus proceed to offer my propositions 
in the hope that they will meet your approbation : 

" 1. I propose that you and I labor to have all the dis 
ciples in this vicinity become united in one church. 

"2. I propose that we appoint a time for all who pro 
fess Christ to meet and confer on this subject. 

" 3. We will agree not to adopt any measures, rules, 
or doctrines, but what are clearly exhibited in the Scrip 
tures. 

" 4. We will not call ourselves by any name but such 
as the New Testament gives. 

"5. If there are points in the Scripture on which we 
cannot all see alike, we will not resolve ourselves into 
disagreement upon them, but each shall offer his light in 
friendship on the subject, which is the only way for truth 
to shine in its various lustre. If we form a society in 
this manner we shall be in a situation to receive all 
preachers who may find it in their way to call on us, and 
to receive the truth, in the love of it, from every quarter. 



176 MEMOIR OF 

The truth will make us free. The above are a few of 
many things I shall wish to converse upon when a suita 
ble opportunity presents. "With love and respect, I am 
your servant for Jesus sake, J. BADGER." 

This strikes us as a noble effort at organizing into the 
unity of the pure religion of love and experience, the 
existing theological divergences of the town ; and 
though the idea was greatly in advance of the religious 
culture of the persons he sought to reach, it proves the 
religious elevation of Mr. Badger, and his extreme 
unwillingness to multiply unnecessarily the number of 
religious organizations. That mere doctrine, or theo 
logical opinion, is not the true basis of the church ; that 
the life of God in the soul should be a bond sufficiently 
strong to inclose harmoniously the honest intellectual 
differences of the disciples of Christ, is a truth yet des 
tined to appear in power, in the embrace of which, a 
church, more truly and influentially catholic than any 
which has, since the days of the Apostles, figured in 
the ecclesiastical history of the world, will probably ex 
hibit itself to mankind. But it strikes us as a rich phe 
nomenon, that an idea so great in itself and in its prob 
able results should have lived so steadily in the mind 
of a minister, at a time when the severe doctrines of 
Calvin were so widely received, and that it should find 
in his discourse an expression so calm and various. 
Many smaller men, in the possession of so great a 
thought would have made much ado and noise about it, 
but with him it easily held its place along with other 
important principles of religious reformation. 

It would seem that Mr. Badger did not so succeed 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 177 

in melting down the opinional partitions as to unite the 
whole religious community into one body, for in the 
following language he speaks of acknowledging a new 
society in the town, formed no doubt of the material 
created by his own recent and successful labors : 

" On the 18th we met for the establishment of a church. 
The persons present felt a free and a happy union. They 
were strong in faith. Twenty-five of us took each other 
by the hand in token of brotherhood and of our sacred 
union. We acknowledged ourselves as a church of God. 
Some little opposition appeared, but at the close harmony 
prevailed. Weapons formed against Zion are never des 
tined to prosper." 

As early as the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th of this month, 
we read of his visiting and preaching in the towns of 
Bristol and West Bloomfield ; neither of the congrega 
tions he there met having ever before heard a minister 
preach who professedly hailed from no other creed than 
the Bible from no other distinguishing name than 
that of Christian, and from no other test of sacred fel 
lowship than Christian character. There was a com 
manding newness, an inspiring originality and freshness 
in the position he occupied, that, aside from the pecu 
liar abilities of the man, awakened the thoughtful 
attention of the people. I would here remark, that 
the denomination for indeed all great religious move 
ments, however catholic in aim and spirit, do almost 
necessarily centralize themselves at last into denomi 
national form with which Mr. Badger stood connected, 
was the one known in the ecclesiastical history of the 
8* 



178 MEMOIR OP 

last half century as the Christian denomination ; a 
name taken not from partisan pride, but from reverence 
to the New Testament Scriptures, which they declared 
were ignorant of the sectarian creeds and names of 
the Christian world, and which records a period in the 
Primitive Church when the disciples were called 
Christians, a usage which had its commencement under 
the apostolical ministry of Paul and Barnabas, in the 
city of Antioch, Acts 11 : 26. It was taken in charity, 
not in exclusiveness, inasmuch as their dearest premises 
conceded to all who feared God and wrought righteous 
ness, in every sect and nation, not only the name, but 
what is far better, the character of a Christian. I will 
here only say that though they allow a wide diversity 
of opinion, there has ever been a general unity of faith 
and usage among them, and that in the main, their 
leading veiws are sketched in the early opinions of Mr. 
Badger ; opinions formed from reason, religious expe 
rience, and Scripture revelation, before he had known 
of such a people. With the first years of the present 
century this denomination came into being ; and with 
out any one central man to act as their founder or 
guide, they arose in different parts of the Union simul 
taneously, and though unknown to each other at first, 
they soon were drawn into union and concert, by the 
magnetism of common strivings and of common truths. 
At Bristol he speaks well of the courteous treatment 
of the Rev. Mr. Chapman, the minister of the town, 
whom he describes as a man of learning ; of the full 
attendance of the people at his appointments, the last 
of which was principally devoted to the examination of 
the commonly received doctrine of election, and to 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 179 

those practical persuasions that grew out of his views 
of the individual freedom and responsibility of men. 

"At West Bloomfield, on the 7th," says Mr. B., "I 
spoke in the evening, at the house of Mr. French, to an 
audience who had never before heard one of my name and 
sentiments preach. Mr. Hudson, a school instructor, 
who, as I understood, was about to enter upon the study 
of divinity, came to me, desirous to converse, he said, on 
principles, and accordingly began with a few old questions, 
which I judge he had already learned from some clergy 
man, as I have often met them in my conversations with 
that class. He began in foreordination, and proceeded 
to the human sacrifice of Christ, as he contended that 
what was divine in Him did not in any respect suffer for 
men. The assembly that came together that evening con 
tained several who were much prejudiced, but at the close 
many of them came forward and manifested great satis 
faction. On the 8th I returned to Pittsford, spent there 
the 9th, 10th, and llth; preached at Avon on the 12th, 
at Lima the 13th, at Norton s Mills the 14th; the 15th 
returned to Pittsford ; the 18th organized the church, 
about which time the adversaries of the reformation took 
a public stand against us, spread many reports concerning 
the opinions and sentiments of Elias Smith, of Boston, 
which did us but little harm, as some of us knew as much 
as they about his sentiments, and as none of us felt our 
selves accountable for what an individual in Boston might 
say or do. The 26th ordained deacons in the church, 
and in the evening heard Mr. Moulton, who had just re 
turned from Ohio; the 27th, after listening to the faithful 
voice of Mr. Moulton, we repaired to the pure and quiet 
water, where I baptized seven happy converts, and on the 
28th enjoyed one of the best of church meetings." 



180 MEMOIR OP 

In this little nucleus his faithful watch-care centered, 
whilst in adjoining towns he labored like a missionary 
of apostolical zeal and self-sacrifice. 

Parting with Mr. Moulton, March 3d, who pursued 
his way to Canada across the lakes, Mr. Badger started 
for the west ; paused at Murray, now Clarendon, Or 
leans County, N. Y., on the 4th, to hold an evening 
meeting ; on the 5th, rode to Hartland, Niagara County, 
where he addressed the people in the evening ; on the 
6th, starting at four o clock in the morning, and over 
sleighing almost wholly gone, he advanced through 
drenching rain another thirty-seven miles to reach his 
appointment at 3 P. M., which he did without eating or 
drinking for the day till his end was accomplished. 
He said : " I was much fatigued, but this was a good 
day to my soul. I often find it beneficial to fast and 
to pray. In the afternoon the Lord s holy presence 
was consciously upon us. About twelve here united as 
a church, and in the evening we ordained W. Young 
to the office of deacon. As Mrs. Young desired to 
be baptized, I found it necessary to hold meeting at 
sunrise the following morning, when we met a large 
company to hear the preaching and to witness the bap 
tism. I found it good to hold meeting before break 
fast. In the afternoon I rode to Ogden, and in the 
evening addressed a respectable congregation, who 
were mostly Presbyterians." This month, he assisted 
to organize a church at Murray, which is still united 
and prosperous. The locality of the former church 
was probably at Lewiston, Niagara County, New York. 

Returning to Pittsford on the 8th, he passed several 
days in social conversation and public discourse with 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 181 

the Christians of his community, who were alive in the 
joy, light and peace of the kingdom of God. On the 
14th he attended the funeral of Mrs. Abigail Stiles, 
who lacked but one day of completing twenty-three 
years of an honored pilgrimage on earth, and who in 
her sickness, as the fading world grew small and dim 
to her vision, longed in fervent earnestness to be more 
conformed to the Christ of her faith and love. For the 
first time since the organization of his society, the 
symbolic bread was broken among them on the 16th, to 
which many came forward who never before had hon 
ored the crucified One in the silent language of symbol. 
He preached at Avon on the 17th, in the residence of 
a leading officer in the Methodist Church, Mr. Win. 
Brown ; at Lima, the 19th ; the 23d, attended the 
funeral of one of his intimate friends, Mr. J. Johnson, 
who had fallen instantly dead in the prime of life ; and 
omitting the details of other appointments, perhaps it 
may reward the reader s glance, to consider the follow 
ing lines. 

" On the 28th I preached again in the town of Gates, 
where, on my arrival, I was introduced to a young gentle 
man, who appeared to feel that the world held at least 
one highly important person in it. In a very consequen 
tial manner he brought forward theological discussion on 
several subjects, which might come into the following 
divisions: 1. That the sufferings of Christ s humanity 
atoned for the sins of the world. 2. That God had fore 
ordained whatsoever comes to pass. 3. That God is the 
author of sin. We conversed somewhat lengthily. But 
as I was repelled by his manner a great deal more than I 
could be attracted by his matter, I was prompted to end 



182 MEMOIR OP 

the conversation with a plain exhortation, in which I 
urged upon him humility of heart and the fear of God. 
We parted ; and both from his words and actions I con 
clude the young man went away sorrowful. " 

" At Parma had an agreeable meeting the same even 
ing, and bidding the family of Mr. Mathers, where I had 
been a guest, a kind farewell, went to my appointment at 
Murray. At Parma I was much pleased, on arising to 
preach, to see a gentleman take his seat the other side of 
the table, who commenced writing as soon as I began to 
speak. In order to put the blush upon him I offered him 
the candle near me, observing that in writing he would 
heed its light, and that I could easily preach without it. 
This seemed to frustrate his writing, in which he did not 
long proceed, but before the close of the sermon his head 
was gently bowed, and the tears flowed freely from his 
eyes. At the close he came to me, and earnestly requested 
that I would come again. I found this gentleman to be 
Judge J., a man of considerable weight and note in the 
town. On the 20th I had a joyful meeting at the Four 
Corners in breaking bread to the disciples. The 31st I 
devoted to the western part of the town. Thus ends 
another month, and my soul is happy in God." 

Mr. Badger continues, "The 2d of April, on which 
day I held two good meetings at Parma and Gates, I was 
invited by a messenger from Mrs. Colby, to attend the 
funeral of her son, the next day, who had just departed. 
I found it duty to stay. The next morning, accompanied 
by Mr. Williams, I repaired to her dwelling and found 
her to be a woman of sorrow and acquainted with grief, a 
person of respectability and good sense ; through all her 
various sorrows she had for years lived in the exercise of 
religion. Of six children and of two kind husbands she 
had been bereaved. The assembly was large, the scene 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 183 

was solemn. I spoke from Jer. 9 : 21 : < For death is 
come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, 
to cut off the children from without and the young men 
from our streets. On the 6th, at Pittsford, which was 
Sunday, after administering the communion in the morn 
ing, I gave a farewell sermon, from Acts 20 : 32, as I 
designed to start on a long tour to the East, to meet my 
dearest friend, from whom I had so long been absent. I 
spent the week in visiting the places where I had preached ; 
on the 13th, in the west part of the town, I administered 
the communion to a company of disciples, the greater part 
of whom I had baptized; and, on the 14th, at my own 
house, bade adieu to a company of friends who had come 
to give me their parting words of kindness. These indeed 
were solemn times. Returning east, very nearly in the 
same line as I had come, and holding meetings by the 
way, I arrived at Farmington, N. H., the last day of the 
month, having been absent just six months to a day. I 
found my companion in a low state of health ; we mingled 
our tears together in thanksgiving to God." 

We have in these preceding pages a simple narrative 
of six months preaching, mostly located in the old 
counties of Ontario and Genesee, in the State of New 
York, chiefly the former ; and in looking over the 
present religious aspects of that fine region of country, 
it is a remarkable fact that nearly all the churches that 
now flourish in these parts, hailing from the cardinal 
sentiments already spoken of, are on the same places 
and within the circle marked out by these six months 
labors. At that time the county of Ontario extended 
from its present southern limit over all the towns 
between itself and the Genesee river, including most 



184 MEMOIR OF 

of the towns named in these last pages of the journal. 
In these six months, he, an entire stranger in the land 
of his labors, creates the material and organizes it, on 
which he is willing to rely for his future support and 
cooperation, and before leaving the people whom he 
had rallied about a common centre, which was religion 
based on experience, he decided to return in the sum 
mer and to establish his home in their midst. Accord 
ingly, he made arrangements in the month of May, 
whilst in New Hampshire, to return with his family to 
Pittsford, N. Y., which he carried into execution in 
the months of June and July, not neglecting, however, 
his usual industry in preaching whilst in New England 
and on his way back to his new home, which he had 
provided for himself before going to the east. He 
turned the country into a campaign wherever he went, 
planning out his action into order and system always. 
On his return he had appointments at the close of each 
day, and often in the afternoon. He speaks of an 
interesting visit at the famous springs of Saratoga ; 
also of a brief interview he had with the celebrated 
Lorenzo Dow on the morning of the 15th, as follows : 

" I never before had seen him, but having his engraved 
likeness with me, I knew him at once. His countenance 
had an expression that might be called piercing. His eyes 
were penetrating, his mind was heavenly in its thoughts 
and feelings, and his conversation shone with modesty and 
sobriety. His appearance, and a few moments of conver 
sation, made the most serious impression on my mind. He 
seemed like an inhabitant of some other region, or like a 
stranger and a pilgrim on the earth. As I reflected on 
his numerous sufferings and extensive usefulness, I was 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 185 

led to mourn my own unlikeness to God. How many bear 
the name of ministers of Christ, who do not walk as He 
walked." 

. The same day he arrived at Pittsford, thus ending 
a lengthy journey of much fatigue, and to Mrs. Badger 
of some afflictive illness ; occupied his new home, and 
resumed from that time the same industrious action 
which had before been so signally crowned with success. 
He found his friends steadfast in affection and faith, 
turned into falsity the predictions of his enemies, who 
had said he would never return, and in company with 
a very worthy coadjutor, Mr. John Blodget, a minister 
of the same evangelical faith, with whom he had corre 
sponded since 1815, and who had accompanied him 
from the east, he was now prepared to supply the in 
creasing demand made upon his labors. 

Never until now had Mr. Badger known by expe 
rience what it was for a minister to be involved by 
domestic cares, and the numerous solicitudes that cluster 
about the external well-being of a newly established 
home, which in some degree must divert the mind from 
study and thought ; but which may really prove its own 
reward by the development of practical wisdom, and 
by rendering the experience of the minister more akin 
to the daily life of the great majority of those whom 
he instructs. He whose experience allows him the 
most numerous points of contact with mankind, can 
best comprehend them, and, with suitable gifts, he can 
most easily reach them by a leading, commanding influ 
ence. Mr. Badger was one of those men whom new 
circumstances and responsibilities could not frustrate, 



186 MEMOIR OF 

but which always found in him a new and a latent 
adequacy, that only waited for the outward call ; and 
so much did his peculiar genius of self-mastery and 
adaptation have its symbol in the cat, which, thrown 
from whatever part of the building, is sure so to con 
trol the evolutions as to strike upon its feet, that through 
out his life, which was bold and adventurous, it was seen 
that new difficulties were always more than paralleled 
by new manifestations of power in him. With a nature 
everflowingly social, and beyond most Arsons adapted 
to domestic life, he now aims to travel less into foreign 
parts, and to collect his energies for a field of action 
in which he might regard his home as the centre. The 
absence of theological sympathy in the world was 
nothing to dampen his zeal or cause him to waver, 
having himself so much self-reliance and creative 
power to modify and change society to his own views 
and feelings. 

In the month of August he attended some general 
meetings, as they were called, in different parts ; one 
as far off as Clinton, N. Y., not less than a hundred 
miles. By a general meeting, in those times and since, 
is meant a meeting of about two days, at which minis 
ters and people came from a considerable distance 
around, general notice and invitation being given. 
Very frequently, when the weather and season would 
permit, the people repaired to the overshadowing groves, 
where, in the free and open air, they sang hymns, 
offered prayers, and devoutly listened to successive 
sermons. Often, with an eloquence as natural as the 
trees whose leaved branches shaded the multitudes, has 
the clear musical voice of Mr. Badger held thousands 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 187 

in listening silence, enchained as by a resistless spell, 
whilst he unfolded some great theme of the Christian 
doctrine and life. No man who heard him on such 
occasions would be apt ever to forget the topic or the 
speaker. On the 30th and the 81st of August, such 
a meeting was holden at Pittsford, at which time Mr. 
John Blodget was by suitable services ordained to the 
work of an evangelist. Also, in accordance to the 
usages of the time, a ministerial conference succeeded 
it September 1 an association which acted simply as 
an advisory body, and for purposes of mutual discus 
sion and consultation. Such bodies in after years 
exercised the right of receiving new members, who 
were ordained ministers of the gospel, or licentiates. 
They also claimed and exercised the right of preserv 
ing their own moral purity, by examinations of character 
and by expulsion.* In this month he preached much 
in his own town, a few times at Mendon, attended 
funerals at Pittsford and Avon, and baptized at Mendon 
a few young men who had in the freshness of life s 
morning consecrated themselves to pure religion. As 
the brown leaves of October were silently admonishing 
the world of human frailty, as nature was pouring out 
the influences of a calm and holy peace, Mr. B., un 
trammelled by creed, and with an Old Book in his 
hand, whose leaves had ever held the greatest spiritual 
lessons for the human heart, was preaching the salvation 
of God with a grace and composure that, in natural 
ness, would compare with the spirit and scenes of the 

* It is stated that the first regularly organized Conference in the 
United States, occurred at Hartwick, Otsego County, N. Y., 1813. 
See Pall., vol. ii., p. 169. 



188 MEMOIR OP 

creation around him ; for emphatically was he a son of 
Nature, owned and blessed of her. In this October 
month, he says : 

" I started on the 1st for Hartland, Niagara County, to 
attend a general meeting on the 4th, a distance of about 
eighty miles from my residence. At Murray, Genesee 
County, we had a good meeting. On the evening of the 
4th I spoke at Hartland, and on the 5th the assembly was 
blessed with the presence of our God ; the conference 
succeeding it was also very good. I returned home on 
the llth, where I preached and administered baptism; 
on the 12th, preached in two parts of the town, and on 
the 18th rode through Caledonia to attend a general meet 
ing at Leroy,* which was attended with signal blessing. 
At the close, Mr. Hubbard Thompson was ordained to the 
Gospel ministry, and a church of substantial members was 
there organized. During this month I preached twice at 
Mendon, and among the people of my charge, had many 
good social meetings. In view of the fleeting character of 
this world s pleasures, let us draw from the well of salva 
tion, let us seek our heart s eternal peace." 

" In the month of November I spent the 1st, 2d, and 3d 
at Pittsford, the 4th, 5th, and Gth at Mendon and Lima. 
At this time the work of God in no small degree of power 
commenced. I baptized on the 8th, Messrs. Thomas 
Smith, Allen Crocker, Jeremiah Williams, Nathan Upton ; 
and I now found it my duty to return to Mendon and to 
make a stand, as the minds of the people were inquiring, 
and their hearts were moved. I began to travel from 
house to house, and for several weeks I held several 
meetings a day, and in almost everj meeting there were 

* Now Stafford, Genesee County, N. Y. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 189 

some made free by the Son of God. Among the incidents 
of the time, on the 20th it happened that I met with Mr. 
Cook, a clergyman of Lima, who presented me with this 
text on which to preach, 1 John 3 : 16: Hereby perceive 
we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us ; 
a text given without doubt to serve as an embarrass 
ment, inasmuch as the word God, which is supplied by the 
translators, seems to apply to Him who laid down his life 
for us. It was easy to see that, supposing the pronoun 
he to refer to the Son of God, who is so often spoken of 
in the preceding part of the chapter, the only inference 
that follows is, that his death is a, display of God s love, 
which is the doctrine of the entire New Testament; or, 
stripping the passage of the supplied words, it only teaches 
that Christ proved his love by laying down his life for us. 
I had a fine time in speaking, as the text was a help and 
not an embarrassment to my mind. He, however, made 
some opposition, and stated that the Eternal God died on 
the cross. This was evidently to his own hurt." 

" Several of our meetings, held at sunrise, were attend 
ed with good. On the 25th I baptized fifteen who had the 
inward evidence that they had passed from death unto life. 
This was a day of brightness ; and thus, as from the giving 
hand of God, the work continued. On the 2ith eighteen 
united as a church, and December 2d, six others were 
added to their number ; on the 4th eight were baptized, 
and thus in Mendon and Lima the work continues to the 
joy of the saints and to the confusion of enemies. A way 
also opens into West Bloomfield. At Mendon, for the 
first time, we had a blessed communion on the 28th a 
communion to which all who worship God, and who love 
the way of holiness were invited, entirely without regard 
to their different theories of religion. Many others were 
also added this month. In peace the year closes, and I 



190 MEMOIR OF 

thank the Father of all goodness for the trials and blessings 
it has brought. May the next be illuminated by thy Pres 
ence!" 

Only observing that since the world begun, suchmen 
have always seen and made others see the fruits of 
their labors, that the power to make the frozen soul of 
the world melt and run in liquid streams, is one that 
never leaves its owner friendless or without a sceptre 
and a helm, I would proceed to lay before the reader 
more of his truthful narrative. From letters received, 
bearing date 1817, we judge that considerable, success 
attended the efforts of his fellow laborers abroad ; let 
ters from the Peavys, from Blodget, King, Martin and 
Shaw ; and if space would permit, we might quote 
largely from two or three of his own controversial let 
ters in which he kindly and candidly corrects the mis 
representations of some opposing clergymen, and with 
his peculiar faculty for making others feel the point of 
his pen when he chose to do so, he reasons on the prin 
ciples of his faith. We venture only a couple of 
paragraphs from nearly the close : 

" That, Sir, which bore with the greatest weight on my 
mind, was your manner of introducing this subject before 
the people. You say that Mr. Smith, of Boston, is the 
founder of the people called Christians, and that I get my 
doctrine from his Bible Dictionary. But, Sir, Mr. S. was 
never the founder of any doctrine that ever I preached ; 
nor is his dictionary any more a criterion with me than is 
that of Mr. Wood a criterion with you and with your 
brethren. To me, Brown s, Barclay s, Butterworth s, 
Parish s, Smith s, and Wood s are all alike ; there is valua- 



KEV. JOSEPH BADGER. 191 

ble information, and there are errors in them all, for which 
I am wholly unaccountable. For Mr. Smith s errors I am 
no more responsible than you are for Mr. Wood s. I am 
not his counsellor. I am accountable, Sir, for no errors 
but my own ; for these lam willing to answer now and at 
the Judgment. Still, I shall notice your quotation of Mr. 
Smith s writings, for I esteem them incorrect and unfair. 
His writings, some of them, are undoubtedly very errone 
ous ; so are some of Mr. Wesley s and Mr. Fletcher s ; but 
can this prove that there is nothing good in them, or that 
their writings are all bad ? Had I selected some things 
from Mr. Wesley s Notes on the New Testament, or some 
sketches from the Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, and told the people that these were the faith of 
all the Methodists, I should certainly have been unfair, for 
many have discovered greater light and have offered their 
dissent from these writings. Yet these men were lumina 
ries for the day that brought them forth. I would not 
injure the kind feelings of my numerous Methodist friends ; 
but what would Mr. R. say, should I go into a place hold 
ing in my hand Mr. Wesley s sermon on Rom. 8 : 21, 
which proves that the beasts will go to heaven and share 
in immortality ? or his sermon on the Lord s Supper, 
which proves it right, or which admits the unconverted to 
the communion ? then should I say that Mr. R. believes 
exactly thus, before I had seen or heard you, would you 
not call it unfair ? This is the light in which I view your 
recent conduct. 

" In quoting Mr. Smith, you have taken two whole 
sentences and part of another, and have so put them 
together as to make but one sentence. I think I can 
satisfy you that this is wrong, incorrect and unfair. By 
the same method I can prove that Joseph Badger should 
go and hang himself; yet we both know that the act would 



192 MEMOIR OF 

be criminal. You find the word Joseph in Gen. 45 : 28, 
the word Badger you meet in Ezekiel 16: 10th verse; 
Matt. 27 : 5, affirms of Judas that he went out and hanged 
himself; this is Scripture. Go and do thou likewise, is 
also Scripture. Now, Sir, were you to collect these Scrip 
tures by using boldly the principle of which I complain, 
you have the following, viz , * And he went out and hanged 
himself Joseph Badger, go thou and do likewise. 
By splitting a sentence of one of David s Psalms, you have 
the saying, There is no God/ but who would dare to 
charge the king with atheism? I hope, dear Sir, that the 
plain remarks I have made will teach you the impropriety 
of your course, that you will be constrained to make some 
handsome retraction, and that you will never again descend 
from your high and honorable station to awaken the pre 
judices of the ignorant against those whom God delights 
to honor and to bless." 

In the present day of both genuine and of boasted 
liberality, we are apt to think of the old pioneers as 
more narrow than ourselves. We may be unjust in 
this. Mr. Badger and his coadjutors stood on very- 
broad grounds, their liberality being the liberality of 
vital religion, not the liberality of mere intellectual 
speculation and of doubt. They feared being a sect. 
The following lines from Rev. Elijah Shaw, dated 
Camillus, December 17, 1817, are an index of the 
unsectarian freedom of many minds : 

<c I will do the same about a Conference that I said I 
would do in my recent letter. I am, and have been for 
many months, about dead to all denominations on earth. 
There is so much done to build up and keep up denomina- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 193 

tions that I am sick of it. Many have spoken against 
1 our religion ; but are not Christian brethren/ l Christian 
preachers, &c., as much our religion as anything else ? 
Those who want such sectarianism may have it. I hate it 
and leave it forever." 

Perhaps, indeed, it may be said, that the nearer we 
get to the origin of denominations, the more catholic 
we shall often find them. Methodism at first was not 
a creed, but rather a large revival of religion in the 
world, which asked no man, whether minister or layman, 
a solitary question concerning his belief. Age may tend 
to contract sects, as coal contracts iron and water. 
The denominational paths of the world are apt to open 
somewhat largely ; nor in their ending would we say 
that they exactly fulfil the descriptions of a tourist, 
concerning our western roads, which, he said, opened 
widely and promisingly under the umbrage of magnifi 
cent trees, but gradually grew narrower and narrower 
in the pursuit, till they at last terminated in a squirrel 
track, and run up a tree. 

Opening the pages of 1818, we find Mr. B. breast 
ing the wintry storms and treading the snows of January, 
preaching to his flock at Pittsford, administering the 
communion at Leroy, holding forth at Lima and at 
Mendon, and attending to the funeral obsequies of de 
parted fiiends. He speaks. of the funeral he attended 
on the 19th, of the wife of Capt. Dewey, at Mendon, 
as to him a solemn and a joyful day. In the Christian 
Herald, January 24, he said : 

" It is now glorious times in different parts of this coun 
try. In Mendon, Lima, Groveland, Bloomfield, Leroy, 
9 



194 MEMOIR OF 

Hartland, Covington, Cato, Camillus, and Livonia, the 
Lord s work is now spreading. I intend in a few months 
to give the names of the ministers and churches in this 
part of New York. Within one year I have baptized 
about 100 in this region of the country. A few of us in 
these parts are about to adopt the mode of ordaining 
elders in each church to rule well, not merely to see to 
the * widows or temporal cares of the church, but to have 
an oversight of the flock, without being called to labor in 
word and doctrine. See 1 Timothy 9 : 17 ; Acts 15: 6; 
Titus 1:5; Acts 14: 23. I have learned that it is a 
small part of a minister s duty to preach and baptize." 

lie made a visit to Niagara County in the month of 
February, which was attended with good results, whilst 
his success at home, at Lima and Mendon was unabated. 
"A large number was added to the company of the 
prayerful." In the month of March, he again preached 
in West Bloomfield, a town that seemed to have in it 
several free and inquiring minds. At South Lima he 
baptized five persons on the llth, the 15th preached 
at Mendon, where the prospects of his cause were 
growing continually brighter, and on the 22d preached 
and administered baptism at Livonia. He now found 
from a survey of the field of his success that it was 
best to change his residence, to take up his abode in 
the adjoining and flourishing town of Mendon ; and 
never delaying the execution of purposes that once 
were thoroughly formed in his mind, he, with the coop 
eration of kind friends, was conveniently located in 
this town as early as the 20th. The last days of March 
were devoted to the people of Hartland. April, May, 
and June witnessed additions to the fraternity he had 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 195 

gathered a fraternity whose aim above everything 
else, would seem to have been the cultivation of the 
powers and the joys of the spiritual life. They were 
evidently inspired by sacred feelings, by inward joys of 
experience, and so strongly did they love religion, that 
theology in the common sense, was to them a very 
subordinate matter. 

In the month of July, in company with ministers D. 
Millard, E. Sharp, and J. Blodget, he journeyed to 
Niagara Falls, attending on the way three general 
meetings, one at Covington, Genesee County, N. Y., 
the others at Murray and E-oyalton. At the great 
cataract, which less at that time than now, drew trav 
ellers from every part of the country, we have not a 
distinct record of his impressions. At Covington, June 
21st, he gave a discourse in the grove, from Isaiah 42 : 
1 : " Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in 
whom my soul delighteth : I have put my spirit upon 
him ; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles " 
a sermon which was reported in the religious free press 
of that day as one well adapted " to confirm the people 
in the truth," as one that exhibited Christ as the elect 
alluded to in this passage. " Many of the doctrines of 
men," said two reporters, " were proved absurd, and 
ingeniously set aside. The exhortation," said they, 
" was as arrows to the unconverted." August was 
passed chiefly at home ; in September he journeyed to 
the East as far as Cooperstown, gave five discourse in 
Hartwick, and in adjoining villages preached to large 
and attentive assemblies. In this region of Otsego 
there still flourish societies of the Christian name and 
sentiments. In the published reports of the meeting 



196 MEMOIR OF 

at Hartwick, I find it stated that Mr. Badger, in a pleas 
ant grove, September 27, preached the third discourse 
from James 1 : 25 : " But whoso looketh into the per 
fect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being 
not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this 
man shall be blessed in his deed." The reporter adds, 
" The end of the old law was first noticed, and the 
imperfection that pertained to it. 2. The perfect law 
of liberty was then portrayed, and the manner in which 
people might look into it and continue therein. 3. The 
blessing promised to the doer of the work. This dis 
course was to the saints comforting, and to an attentive 
assembly enlightening. The meeting then closed with 
songs and prayer." Sunday morning the assembly 
again convened under the kindly shadows of the prime 
val trees. The morning passed away under the speak 
ing of a somewhat popular orator, Mr. Howard ; " in 
the afternoon," continues the writer, " J. Badger spoke 
from Rev. 7 : 17 ; a most glorious theme. When 
speaking of the Lamb in the midst of the throne of 
his feeding the saints of his leading them to foun 
tains of living water ; that God, even the Father, 
should wipe away all tears from their eyes ; the saints 
rejoiced in hope of the glory of God, and strangers 
wept, desirous to share in the great salvation. The 
meeting then closed, though the people seemed unwill 
ing to depart." There is something beautiful in 
tuning nature into a temple of worship, in mingling 
hymns with the voices of the breeze, in speaking and 
hearing truth within the innocent gaze of flowers. 
Their latent influence is a gleam of divinity to all, and 
easily mingles with every sincere note that may ever 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 197 

be struck from worshipful hearts. As I passed through 
that region of the State in 1850, there were still many 
to rememher the golden times of the past, and to them 
the name of Joseph Badger was still a reverence and 
a charm. 

In a writtten address, to the Conferential Session 
holden at Hartwick, at this time, to which two other 
names besides his own are affixed, some traces of his 
mind are visible. In that address is the following truly 
catholic sentiment : 

" Remember that this is a free country in which we 
live, and we ought to be as willing to let others think as 
to think ourselves. Others rights are as dear to them as 
ours are to us, and if a Christian friend does not think as 
we do it is evident that we do not think as he does. 
While we trace the pages of ecclesiastical history, ajid 
view the uncharitable conduct of priests and rulers in this 
respect, we mourn the lack of charity, and feel in duty 
bound to warn our brethren against such pernicious prac 
tices. * Let us stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ 
has made us free. " 

The month of October, which was passed at home 
and in neighboring towns, brought some additions to 
his cause ; and November, which was chiefly employed 
in the same way, was distinguished by a theological 
debate, held with Rev. Mr. T., chiefly on the Trinity 
and on the Supreme Deity of Jesus Christ. The*de- 
bate lasted two days ; some other clergymen became 
in a degree involved in it ; and from a minister then 
present I offer the following lines : 



198 MEMOIR OP 

" Under all circumstances Mr. Badger possessed a pecu 
liar command of himself. lie never permitted ruffled 
feelings to throw him into confusion or derange his clear 
equilibrium of mind. His ideas were always clear, and 
his command of language full and free. Thus he was 
always prepared on every sudden emergency. Some of 
his best polemical efforts were called out on the spur of 
the occasion, and seemingly without any forethought. This 
intuitive gift always rendered him ready, be the occasion 
what it might that called him to speak, and especially if 
to repel the attack of a religious opponent. Nor did he 
lack occasions of the kind. In the first spread of the 
Christian sentiments in western New York, public attacks 
on doctrinal subjects were common, and clergymen of 
various orders would frequently, after the close of an 
afternoon or evening discourse, rise and ask questions 
about the doctrine entertained. On occasions like these 
Mr. B. was about sure to leave his opponent in the con 
dition of defeat. In every such instance he gained 
decided advantage and won the sympathy and influence 
of the masses. 

" In several instances he was called out by challenges 
for public discussion. On such occasions he evinced him 
self a cool, deliberate, shrewd manager. Often it would 
be said among those who heard his speeches, What a 
lawyer he would have made ! Whilst his opponent was 
speaking he usually took down notes, which he could do 
with great rapidity. Wo then to his antagonist, where 
he left weak points in argument, as Mr. B. was sure to 
fasten upon them in a manner that not only exposed them, 
but completely withered their effect. He had great skill 
in making his own arguments stand out in all their strength, 
and in stripping those of his opponent of all their seeming 
worth or value. Occasionally, after he had made a solid 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 199 

fortress by candid argument, he would let loose a volley 
of sarcasm which was perfectly scathing, and was very 
apt to so affect the opposite party as to produce confusion 
of mind, one of the first elements of defeat." 

" The Rev. Mr. T , an aged and able Congrega- 

tionalist minister, had sent a request to Mr. B. to call on 
him when convenient. Some weeks subsequent, Mr. 
Badger, in company with D. Millard, of West Bloomfield, 
called at his dwelling, but learned that he was absent. 
Shortly, as they passed on, they met Mr. T., to whom they 
introduced themselves; Mr. B. acknowledging the receipt 
of Mr. T. s request. Mr. T. soon asked him if he believed 
the doctrine of the Trinity, the Supreme Deity of Jesus 
Christ, and Total Depravity, to which Mr. B. answered, 
after drawing him out on the meaning of the terms he 
employed, that he could not endorse all the views which 
Mr. T. entertained on these matters. I perceive, says 
Mr. T., that you are wholly off from Gospel ground. 
Then you should be alarmed at pur danger and convince 
us of our errors, said Mr. Badger. * Well, call on me 
and I will do it, was his reply. The time was agreed 
upon, and about ten days afterward quite a congregation 
assembled at the time and place selected, to hear Mr. T. 
show Messrs. Badger and Millard their errors. 

"The doctrine of the Trinity was first investigated, 
each speaking twenty minutes on a side. Mr. T. led off, 
and dwelt much on the awfulness of the doctrine to be 
discussed, that none could be Christians without believing 
it. He said cases had occurred, where persons impiously 
denying the doctrine of the Trinity had been cut off by 
fearful judgments sent immediately from Heaven. Arius, 
for instance, whose death was sudden and awful, a fate he 
met soon after Constantine had recalled him to Constan 
tinople, from a state of banishment, for rejecting the 



200 MEMOIR OP 

doctrine of the Trinity. To this speech Mr. Millarcl replied 
stating that he could not see that any doctrine could be 
awfully important which is not even named in the Bible ; 
that he could see no cause for introducing the melancholy 
death of Arius, unless it was to frighten the assembly into 
the belief that they would be apt to experience a loss 
similar to that of Arius if they should deny the Trinity ; 
and that Mosheim s Church History contained evidence 
to show that Arius was secretly poisoned by his enemies." 
u In his next speech, Rev. Mr. T. entered systematically 
on the arguments usually adduced on the Trinitarian side. 
In justice I would say he did it with ability. Mr. Badger 
followed him in four set speeches, and Mr. Millard in 
three. They both amply sustained their ground, but Mr. 
Badger s adroitness and skilful management were peculiarly 
conspicuous to all present. The way he met the proof 
texts presented on the opposite side, his critical analysis 
of a trio of persons in one being, together with the 
absurdity of the two-nature scheme, made a very con 
vincing impression on the minds of many then present. 
I should extend this article too far were I to attempt to 
give specimens of the arguments he used. The debate 
closed that day with an appointment to renew it one week 
afterward. At the next meeting a crowded assembly 
attended. An able Presbyterian minister was present, as 
a colleague with Mr. T. in the debate. I think Mr. 
Badger led off on that day. In his first speech he re 
viewed the points gained at the previous meeting. He 
showed just where the discussion then stood and chal 
lenged the opposite party to attempt a refutation of the 
position now occupied by him and his colleague. Mr. T. 
and his assistant did their best. They evinced much 
ability and preparation for the contest. But Mr. Badger, 
in particular, was upon them in every position they took 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 231 

and every seeming fastness to which they fled. The de 
bate continued from ten in the morning, with but a brief 
recess, till nearly sunset ; the four engaged in it taking 
nearly equal parts. When about to close for the day Mr. 
Badger proposed that if the opposite party desired it, the 
debate could be continued another day. Mr. T. declined, 
as he stated, on account of ill health. Thus this animated 
discussion closed, and I may say with confidence, it left 
on the public mind a favorable influence for the Chris 
tians." 

In a New England paper, he says 

" But what is the most pleasant, is to see the good union 
that exists, and the steadfastness that appears. There are 
now between eighty and ninety members in connection with 
the church, and as yet there has not been to my knowledge 
but one that has brought any reproach on the cause. Our 
assemblies have been so large that I have preached in a 
grove the greatest part of the summer past, but we have 
made a beginning in constructing a meeting-house, and 
the prospect is that we shall soon have better conveniences. 
In West Bloomfield, a town adjoining this, the work has 
been very glorious. Elder David Millard, who had been 
a few months in the County, last June, had his mind 
drawn into that town, and as the way opened he began to 
preach and to visit the people. He immediately saw the 
fruits of his labors was soon joined by Elder E. Sharp, 
of Conn., who had formerly preached in the town. The 
work has embraced the old and the young, and has been 
carried on in a remarkably still and solemn manner. 
Brother Millard has had several debates in public and 
private, on different subjects ; and as the public mind has 
been much agitated concerning his opinion of Christ, he 
9* 



202 MEMOIR OF 

has written a treatise of about 48 pages, 12mo, which is 
now in press, entitled The True Messiah exalted, which 
I think will be calculated to do good. A few weeks since 
a church has been planted at Bloomfield, and I think it 
consists of about thirty members. Prospects are still 



He now had an able coadjutor in the field, one whose 
written arguments and oral discourses have long been 
strong barriers to the advocates of the old Athanasian 
theology. In December, Mr. Badger visited Canan- 
daigua and preached to the people ; the most of the 
time was devoted to the town of his residence, and in 
supplying the wants of adjoining places. Speaking of 
this year in the retrospect, he says : " One year more 
of my unprofitable life is gone. In it I have enjoyed 
myself well, seen much of God s goodness, attended 
many funerals, solemnized many marriages, and at its 
close am seriously reminded that 

" The year rolls round and steals away 

The breath that first it gave ; 
Whate er we do, where er we be, 
"We re tending to the grave. " 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 203 

CHAPTER XI. 

THOUGHTS AND INCIDENTS OF 1819 AND 1820. 

MR. BADGER is now in the twenty-seventh year of 
his age and the seventh of his ministry, and occupies 
a position that affords him more leisure for reflection 
than the activities of his itinerant life had yielded him. 
Among the subjects that he accepted for the action of 
his own thought was Universalism, whose pillars and 
foundations he seemed to have thoroughly examined, 
as set forth in the systems of that day. His mind was 
led to this by the circumstance that his father, for 
whom his letters and journal only express the kindest 
filial feeling and reverence, had, after much study and 
thought, adopted that system as his favorite form of 
religious belief. The document which contains his 
views is entitled " An affectionate Address of a Son 
to his Father." We offer from this a few extracts, in 
which the reader can see the candor, cogency and 
kindness that pervade the whole address, which covers 
some twenty-three pages of letter-paper, very finely 
and compactly written. This is the opening paragraph : 

HONORED AND DEAR FATHER: With pleasure I 
once more take my pen to address one for .whom I have 
the most reverential regard, a regard greater than I 
cherish for any person on earth ; one who has with hope 
ful anxiety watched over the days of my childhood and 
vanity, and wept at the follies of my youth. My former 
letters have given you the state of my affairs and 



204 MEMOIR OF 

prospects in this pleasant part of the country ; also, in my 
several letters, I have noticed the exten.4ve spread of the 
Gospel, the increase of light, and the effect of those glo 
rious reformations I have been allowed to witness, the 
subjects of which are now my choice society ; and you 
cannot imagine the unspeakable joy of your son, while a 
stranger in a strange land, to learn that his aged father 
has been entertained and comforted by the contents of 
his letters on those subjects. Permit me, my dear father, 
in this short treatise, to make a few remarks on the doc 
trine which you have for years embraced and vindicated 
relative to the salvation of all men. If this doctrine is 
true, it is a pleasant thing; if untrue, it is dangerous to 
rest on the sand. As I have . serious objections against 
the system, I feel it a duty to lay them before you for 
your consideration, wishing, if I am in error, to be con 
vinced of it ; and I hope that, should you find the doc 
trine you have esteemed as truth, cries peace and safety" 
to those whom sudden destruction awaits, you will be 
willing to exchange it for that truth which opens to the 
sinner the worst of his case." 

After this kind and gentle introduction, Mr. Badger 
proceeds to take up the chief arguments which his 
father had, in other years, employed for the support of 
the system, arguments from general reason and from 
Scripture. He then attempts to show the origin of 
the system in human causes, and its disagreement with 
the plain teachings of Revelation, and with the spirit 
and genius of the Christian experience and life. Such 
is the plan of his treatise. The period to -which these 
arguments belong, was one in which there was a strong 
controversial clash of theories, each one of which was 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 205 

undoubtedly a fragmentary and imperfect statement of 
some essential truth in religion ; and as Calvinistic 
reasoning was then generally in the ascendant, as its 
bold premises were the main foundation of the plea of 
its opposite extreme, the Universalian statement, 
the subject seemed to take a fresh interest in the 
hands of one who approached it from an intermediate 
region of thinking. 

" One of your favorite and powerful arguments in favor 
of this doctrine is, that in the beginning the soul of man 
was a part of God, and therefore cannot be defiled, con 
demned or punished, as Deity will not sentence a part of 
himself to misery. All the Scripture I ever heard quoted 
in favor of this view, is that * God breathed into man the 
breath of life and he became a living soul, which carries 
a very different idea from the one you derive from it. It 
does not say that the soul is a part of God, or that God 
breathed into man a part of himself. It means just this, 
that God breathed into man the breath of life, and that, 
as a result of this, he became a living, active, intelligent 
creature." 

" Let us further reason on this subject. Can a part of 
God be ignorant of another part of himself? Yet are we 
not ignorant of what passes in the breast of our neigh 
bor ? Does not one drop of a fountain possess all the 
qualities of the fountain from which it was taken ? But 
who will say that mortal man has all the qualities and 
qualifications of his Maker, God? If the soul is a part 
of God, where lies the propriety of those Scriptures 
wherein he threatens to punish the sinner ? Would he 
threaten to banish a part of himself from himself forever, 
or say to a part of himself, Depart from me, ye workers 
of iniquity ? 



206 MEMOIR OF 

" The supporters of this theory, arguing on the old 
Calvinistic, fatal plan, say that God foreordains whatso 
ever comes to pass ; a popular and highly esteemed 
idea, from which I must dissent for the following rea 
sons." 

Mr. B. proceeds to urge half a dozen reasons for 
rejecting these theological premises, alleging, from the 
authority of scripture revelation, that many things 
have taken place which the Creator has disapproved 
of; that the premise assumed puts the decrees of God 
and his commandments into exactly hostile relations to 
each other ; that it destroys the justice of all punish 
ment whatever, unless it is just to punish human beings 
for doing the highest will in the universe, and for doing 
what they could not avoid. 

"If all creation," says he, "moves in exact accordance 
with the divine will, I cannot find anything in the world 
that is sin. Where all is right, there can be no wrong. 
Sin then is rendered virkie, falsehood is truth, darkness is 
light, Satan is man s friend and helper toward the new 
heavens and the eternal bliss. Is it not strange that 
God should give laws to machines ? For this scheme 
completely renders men such. He does not announce 
laws to the trees of the forest. What would we think of 
the goldsmith who should appoint a day in which morally 
to judge all his w r atches according to their works ? This 
doctrine gives as much honor to Satan as it does to 
Christ, as it makes him as active as he is in the salvation 
and final happiness of men. It certainly makes him the 
brother of Christ, for Jesus said, He that doeth the will 
of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother ; 
as universal foreordination causes the devil to do the 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 207 

will of God, it presents him as the brother of Jesus 
Christ. If the two ideas, that the soul is a part of God, 
and that God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, 
are true, then Universalism is correct ; if they are not 
true, the system must fall, for these are the main pillars 
which support the fabric, and in my opinion they" are as 
weak in their nature as were the feet of the king s image 
in the prophet s vision, which were part iron and part 
clay. " 

Mr. Badger goes on to speak of the universal good 
ness of God, as a pledge and proof that the divine 
laws will be executed ; he says, that the* goodness 1 of 
a government, the goodness of a governor and his 
subordinate officers, are the proof that the laws will 
be duly enforced that the criminal will find no refuge 
from deserved punishment. 

After quoting from Mosheim on the opinions and 
reasoning of Origen, the celebrated father of the third 
century, whom he regards as the original founder of 
this theory, and after quoting from a late theological 
writer a statement of the system of Dr. Chauncey, 
and the Calvinistic theory of Mr. Murray, he asks 
which of these systems is the true and the reliable 
one ; and after bringing the ideas he opposes to the 
subject of Christian experience, to the self-denial, 
inward love and joy produced by the regenerative 
agency of the Gospel, he pleads its incongeniality with 
those qualities of the Christian religion which cause 
repentance and reformation of life. 

Occasionally I have heard it stated that Mr. Badger s 
preaching was very interesting to that class of Chris 
tians who take the name of Universalists, that they 



208 MEMOIR OF 

generally were fond of hearing him, and -a very few 
unguarded persons have said that he was substantially 
of their doctrine. In regard to the first part of the 
statement, it must have been true that many of this 
class were pleased and interested with his preaching, 
for how could they be otherwise ? It is to his credit 
that they were pleased with him as a man and as a 
speaker. Being less rigid than many others in their 
dogmatical restrictions being less conservative and 
prescriptive than most other sects, and having investi 
gating and inquiring minds, they would of ten be pleased 
to hear so natural and so gifted a man as Mr. Badger. 
Then his mode of preaching was never founded in 
terrific appeal was never noisy or boisterous ; the 
paternity of God, the fulness of the love of Christ to 
all mankind, the simplicity and reasonableness of 
religion, were topics that shone with peculiar brightness. 
Men often judge by contrasts. He who preaches 
humanely and from the fulness of a brotherly heart, 
when it is customary to hear the thunders of Sinai 
rocking the pulpits and churches of the land, and 
especially if the speaker draws the chief motive from 
the endearing magnetism of heaven rather than from 
the repulsions of the horrible pit, there will always be 
some to claim him as standing upon their platform, as 
belonging to the theory which has so stoutly and heroi 
cally fought the vindictive theology of Calvin. But if 
the truth is looked for or abided by, it will stand as the 
most unquestionable certainty that Mr. Badger adopted 
none of the theories of Universalism, whatever maybe 
their merits or defects. He was one of those naturally 
balanced men who could see the fragmentary excellence 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 209 

residing in religious theories or in human reforms with 
out becoming a partisan. Probably there is no one 
theological subject on which there is a larger amount 
of manuscript among the papers of Mr. B., than may 
be found on the subject of Universalism, and the whole 
of it may be appealed to in evidence that as a theory 
he always regarded it as human and erroneous. Before 
me lie his early writings, in which he frankly says, " I 
feel myself bound before my Eternal Judge to bear my 
testimony against it ; " and plots of some controversial 
sermons, laid out in the form of a massive strength, and 
preached in the later years of his ministry, are unequiv 
ocal testifiers to the same fact. These remarks are not 
made to cast reflections on any sect, for our philosophy 
and observation have taught us to revere the great 
religious movements of the past century, believing that 
truth has been helped by each and by all of them. 
They are made that the original, to whom these pages 
refer, may be seen as he was. I rejoice that so many 
of those who hold the hope of the world s salvation 
were drawn to his ministry, and that among his friends 
throughout the country were those of different schools 
of thought, of different denominations ; and it may be 
truthfully added, a large number of persons who were 
not in the habit of rendering their regards to sects by 
membership, nor to churches by a regular attendance. 
Many of this latter class, both of the intelligent and 
the very illiterate, would catch something from his 
manner and words that drew them about him. Sects 
are so much dressed in uniform, and are run so exactly 
in fixed castings, that a man whose influences go out 
naturally from the centre of an individual manhood is 



210 MEMOIR OF 

among the rarest productions. At Naples, in the State 
of New York, a lot of ignorant shingle makers, for 
example, some of whom drank and none of whom cared 
a groat for a church, came down at mid-day from the 
adjoining hills with but two questions in their mouth 
and heart, which were " Where is he ? " and " Will he 
preach ? " nor were the hundreds of like instances that 
multiplied in his path anything less than the highest 
compliments, the surest evidence that a man was there 
and that his word was a help to all. No real man was 
ever yet on all sides walled by a sect ; where one 
appears, men generally are made to feel that the bond 
which unites them to him is not ecclesiastical but human. 
Man and his brother are there. Here is the closing 
paragraph of the argumentative letter from which quo 
tations have already been made : 

" For seven long years I have been deprived of the 
joys of a father s house on account of my obedience to 
the great commission, Go ye into the world and preach 
the Gospel to every creature ; yet in distant lands I have 
met many dear friends, and found many dear homes. 
But I have not lost my regard for rny relatives, and the 
silent groves are witness to my tears that my father s 
family may all share in the grace of Christ. Oh, what 
comfort it gives me to learn that some of the family have 
in their experiance known the light, joy, and peace of re 
ligion since I saw them. Though we connect with 
different sects of Christians, though our views may be 
vastly different, yet if we have real virtue, if we fear 
God and work righteousness, we shall be accepted of him. 
It is with the greatest tenderness that I have penned these 
arguments against your theory, and it is with solemnity 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 211 

that I look forward to a coming judgment where we shall 
soon meet. Should you still think your system true, 
remember that we should have something more than a 
belief in any doctrine, something more than a profession 
of religion to qualify us to meet our God in peace. May 
he crown your hopes with eternal joy. May your grey 
hairs, when he shall call, come down unto the grave in 
peace. With your ancestors and children may you praise 
the Lord God and the Lamb forever. My best regards 
to my dear mother. Ten thousand blessings crown the 
evening of her life, and may her sun set without a cloud. 
My love to my brothers and sisters, who to my heart are 
still dear. May they live as children of the light. 
Though hundreds of miles shall separate us though 
hills and valleys, lakes and rivers between us lie, we can 
pray to the same God, cherish the same spirit, walk 
according to the same rule, and, ere long, meet in the 
same eternal mansion of repose, where sorrows, pains, 
and labors shall end, where tears shall be wiped away 
from all faces." 

Among the permanent moral lights of New England 
at this time, Rev. Noah Worcester, of Brighton, Mass., 
shone with no ordinary lustre. His thoughts on several 
moral and theological subjects, embodied in tracts, 
books, and in periodical form, were known throughout 
the country. His opinions, though held as unsound by 
many, were commended to the reader by the candor, 
piety, learning and admirable character he possessed. 
Mr. Badger soon saw the value of his mind as a theo 
logical writer, instituted some friendly correspondence, 
and availed himself of a new element of power by 
throwing into wider circulation some of his argumenta- 



212 MEMOIR OF 

live writings ; he also gained permission of Mr. Wor 
cester to republish some of his works. His " Appeal 
to the Candid," and his " Bible News," were distinctly 
spoken of by Mr. B., as works deserving to be placed 
in every library, and of being read at every fireside. 
But the well of Christian life in Mr. Worcester was 
too full and deep to be exhausted on theological 
themes. Under date of April 30, 1819, he says to 
Mr. Badger : 

" For several years I Lave devoted my time principally 
to the object of abolishing the anti-Christian custom of 
war. In this business I expect to spend the remainder of 
my days. I very much desire that the ministers of your 
denomination should get hold of this subject. A little 
attention will convince them that the errors which support 
war are the most fatal of any which ever afflicted or dis 
graced mankind, and that to be consistant l Christians 
they must renounce all participation in the dreadful work 
of revenge and murder. The state of my health requires 
brevity. The peace tracts which I send you are gratis, 
except that I request you to exmine them impartially. I 
should be happy to see you. I had the pleasure of some 
acquaintance with your uncle, Rev. Mr. Smith, of Oilman- 
ton, N. II., also with your noble grandsire, Gen. Badger. 
" Affectionately yours, 

" N. WORCESTER." 

Other letters indicate the deep interest taken by Mr. 
B. in the productions of this author, and often in later 
years did he recommend them to the careful study of 
every young minister. More than this, he often 
bestowed them as gifts upon those who were engaging 
in the work of the ministry. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 213 

Among the theological papers of Mr. B., written 
about this time, is one on the character of God, which 
furnishes an example of his concise and successful 
method of getting at the truth of an important subject 
when he became fully interested in it. He commences 
thus : 

" Oh with what reverence ougth we to make mention 
of the exalted name of our Creator, and speak of his 
lovely character ! Almost all sects acknowledge there is 
one God, though their opinions of his character may 
widely differ, owing to their present imperfection and the 
darkness of their minds. Truly our best discoveries are 
but imperfect, and, as the Apostle says, We see in 
part. " 

He then proceeds to state the modes by which the 
Deity is known, and offers remarks on his undivided 
supremacy. 

"There are," says he, "three ways by which men 
receive the knowledge of God. 1. In the works of 
creation. 2. By the revelation of the Holy Spirit, 3. 
By the Holy Scriptures, which is a record God gave of 
his Son." 

" In these remarks I would show that the Eternal God 
is alone supreme, and that he is the Father of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. The first name given to the Creator in the 
Scriptures is God, Gen. 1:1, which, in a peculiar 
manner, is expressive of his power and greatness, and 
is applied to him in a very different manner from what it 
is when bestowed on any other beings. Yet it is an 
ambiguous word, and in the Scripture is applied to seven 
different characters which are, 1. The Eternal God. 



214 MEMOIR OF 

Phil. 1:2. 2. To Jesus Christ in prophecy. Isa, 9 : 6. 
For unto us a child is born, a son is given; and the 
government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name 
shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, 
he Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. 3. To 
angels. Ps. 97 : 7 ; Heb. 1:6. < Worship Him, all ye 
gods/ Let all the angels of God worship him. 4. 
To Moses. Ex. 7: 1. And the Lord God said unto 
Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh. 5. To 
the Hebrew Rulers or Judges. Ex. 22: 28; Ps. 82 : 1. 
6. To Pagan idols. Isa. 44: 10. 7. To Satan. In 
whom the God of this world hath blinded their eyes. 
From these passages it is evident that the word God of 
itself cannot teach the self-existent Divinity of that to 
which it is given." 

" God has no equal. I will show that he is greater than 
all others. He is so, 

" 1. In names. 2. In works. 3. In power. 4. In 
knowledge. 

" 1. In names. The word Jehovah is employed four 
times in the Scriptures, and in its simple, uncompounded 
form, is alone applied to the Supreme God. Ex. G : 3. 
And I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by 
the name of God Almighty ; but by my name JEHOVAH 
I was not known unto them. Ps. 83: 18. That men 
may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the 
Most High over all the earth. Isa. 12:2. For the 
Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song. Isa. 26 : 4. 
f In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. This word, 
it would seem, denotes the eternal self-existence of God. 
It was among the Hebrews their most sacred title for the 
Creator, so sacred in their regard that they did not, on 
common occasions, pronounce it in reading, or in worship, 
but after a significant pause of reverential silence, they 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 215 

substituted for it the word Adonai. Here is a sublime 
title, Laving no double meaning, and is applicable to no- 
one but to the self-existent God. 

" 2. Eternal God, is a title given to the Father, and 
to none else. Deut, 33 : 27. The Eternal God is thy 
refuge. 

" 3. The words invisible God are equally exclusive 
in their use. Col. 1 : 15. Who is the image of the in 
visible God, the firat-born of every creature. 4. He is 
called the Highest. Luke 1 : 32, 35. If the Deity is 
composed of three persons who are perfectly equal, it 
would be very improper to attach the name Highest to 
either of them, as it would disturb the equality of the 
three. Was not the Angel Gabriel probably ignorant of 
these distinctions when he made the announcement to the 
Virgin Mary? 5. He is styled the Most High. Ps. 
107 : 11 ; Ps. 14 : 14 ; Acts 7 : 48 ; Heb. 8:1. 6. < God 
of gods, is another titleg iven to none but the Father. 
Deut. 10 : 17. i For the Lord your God is God of gods/ 
7. The Father is called the only wise God. Jude 25. 
To the only wise God our Saviour be glory and maj 
esty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. 
1 Tim. 1 : 17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, 
invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever 
and forever. 8. He is styled the blessed and only 
Potentate. 1 Tim. 6: 15. Which in his times (in the 
days of his flesh) he shall show who is the blessed and 
only Potentate, (the Father) the King of kings and 
Lord of lords. These eight titles, which are alone given 
to the Father, do, as I consider, most perfectly demonstrate 
this part of my subject, and in part it illustrates what 
Jesus said in John 10 : 29. My FATHER which gave 
them me is greater than all " 



216 MEMOIR OF 

These indeed are strong Scripture positions, com 
prehensively stated, well fortified, and clearly expressed. 

In some of his published writings of this year, we 
find him looking into the subject of church polity, and 
endeavoring to answer the question, " Where is the 
power of government ? r He noticed four different 
systems for answering this question, systems which have 
had their favorites, from all of which, he adds, " I am 
led to dissent in certain respects." These are : 1. The 
idea of submitting the power of government to the civil 
authority, as in the Church of England, as in state 
religion generally. He affirms that good government 
does its office when it defends our rights and protects 
our persons ; that it never should attempt to enforce 
the laws of the church, or dictate in any way to the 
conscience. 2. The idea of a central man, or of a few 
chosen men, in whom the authority shall be vested. 
" The New Dispensation," said he, " establishes a kingly 
government ; yet, as the government is on the Mes 
siah s shoulder, I cannot consent that the power should 
be given to any other." He is the legislative centre. 
" A Diotrephes was rebuked for loving the preemi 
nence." 3. The idea that in a council of ministers, 
exclusive of churches, the controlling power concen 
trates. 4. That in the churches, independent of the 
ministers, all power resides. In neither of these sys 
tems does Mr. Badger confide. He confides in the 
union of ministers and churches, in their assembled 
light. He refers to the consultation at Jerusalem as 
combining several elements : " apostles, elders and 
brethren," all being interested and active on the sub 
jects agitated. The general state of the Christian 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 217 

Church called for something which the local action of 
no one society could give, and hence there was a 
general assemblage drawn together at Jerusalem by the 
magnitude of the questions to be discussed ; and even 
their decisions were not sent out as laws. " We, in 
submitting to the LAWS of Christ, have a government 
among us, and each is to be esteemed for his work s 
sake. Not considering churches and ministers as two 
parties, but as one," says Mr. B., "we find them 
authorized with the power of government, but not to 
make laws." Referring to the council at Jerusalem, 
he remarks that ".it is a beautiful example for modern 
Christians, one that fulfils the saying of the wise man, 
In the multitude of counsellors there is safety/ 
Where no counsel is, the people go astray." In this 
brief article, published in 1819, is expressed the main 
view to which he always adhered iii his ideas on church 
government ; a view more widely expanded and quali 
fied in a series of articles published in the " Christian 
Palladium," in 1837. He goes against the spirit of 
isolation and individualism, and contends for the united 
concentration of all the light of the church for the 
active union of the ministers and people. Hence he 
was neither Episcopal, nor a radical Congregationalist, 
who boasts a church government independent of the 
ministry. 

In the town of Brutus, Cayuga County, N. Y., Octo 
ber 2, at a meeting where several clergymen and a 
large assembly were convened, Mr. Badger preached a 
sermon from Habbakuk 3 : 3, 4 : " His glory covered 
the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise, and 
his brightness was as the light ; he had horns coming 
10 



218 MEMOIR OF 

out of his hand, and there was the hiding of his 
power," a sermon that gave much good instruction, 
and made a strong impression on the people, if we may 
rely on the candid report of the meeting made by the 
most faithful of men, Mr. Elijah Shaw, then the minis 
ter of that town ; it was a sublime text, and was .dis 
cussed and illustrated in a manner worthy of its exalted 
sentiments.* Also, in the town of Clarence, Niagara 
County, N. Y., September 26, at the ordination of Rev. 
Allen Crocker, he preached an effective discourse from 
the Apostolical Commission, Mark 16 : 15, in which 
Christ, and his authority to command, the qualifications 
of his ambassadors, the commission given, the Gospel 
to be preached, the various characters to whom it is to 
be addressed, the effect produced, and the sacrifices, 
afflictions and reward of the faithful minister, were 
plainly and interestingly set forth. f 

At this time Mr. Badger held a pastoral relation with 
three churches ; one at Henrietta, one at Lima, and one 
at Mendon ; and in the midst of the many duties and 
cares that surrounded him, he found time to write occa 
sionally for two religious publications, one called the 
" Christian Herald," Portsmouth, 1ST. H., the other 
" The Religious Informer," published at New Andover, 
in the same State. To this last mentioned periodical 
we have no access, ani therefore can select nothing 
from his communications to that work. 

In January, 1820, a religious convention was held at 
Covington, Genesee County, N. Y., composed of the 
Freewill Baptist and the Christian denominations, the 

* Christian Herald, Portsmouth, N. H., Vol. II, p. 61. 
f Christian Herald, Portsmouth, N. H., Vol. II, p. 63. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 219 

object of whose deliberations was to form a more social 
acquaintance with each other, to labor for a greater 
union, to strive together for the " faith once delivered 
to the saints," and to make all possible advancement 
towards that perfection in which the watchmen are to 
see " eye to eye." Mr. Badger was the clerk of this 
convention, a principal speaker in its discussions, and 
probably was one of the originators of the meeting. 

We learn that the usages and views of both denomi 
nations were plainly set forth, Rev. Nathaniel Brown 
being appointed to represent the general order and 
practice of the Freewill Baptists, and Rev. D. Millard 
to do the same in behalf of the Christian denomination. 
A general and friendly discussion, abounding in queries 
and answers, followed, and after much deliberation it 
was found that the main difference between the two 
denominations was this, that " the Baptists do not re 
ceive any as church members who have not been bap 
tized by immersion, though they extend fellowship and 
communion to all who live in newness of life ; and the 
Christians receive all as church members who give 
evidence that they have passed from death unto life, 
and who live in newness of life." They conversed on 
many points of doctrine, found no particular difference 
except on the character of God and of Christ, which 
they considered to be no bar to their union and fellow 
ship. " We think it duty," said they, " to discard all 
doctrine which has an immoral effect in society, and to 
receive and approbate all who come in the fulness of 
the blessing of the Gospel of Christ." They agreed 
to exchange, to labor together in harmony, and to 
acknowledge themselves "the Church of God," to the 



220 MEMOIR OF 

exclusion of all party names. In New England I judge 
the difference was more marked, as some of Mr. B. s 
correspondents in the East complained that their ideas 
of catholic brotherhood had been rejected by them. 

His indeed was a mingled cup, into which sorrow 
at times copiously flowed. In a letter to his brother 
Nathaniel, dated Mendon, March 25, 1820, we read 
the following : 



"My home is now in Mendon, where I have a neatly 
built house surrounded by only three acres I call my own ; 
yet it is pleasant and convenient, it being only half a 
mile from the meeting-house now going up. I have the 
care of three churches. But at this time I am surround 
ed with great afflictions. For more than one year has 
my dear Mary Jane lain sick, and now she is in the last 
stage of consumption. She can remain but a few days 
longer. I rejoice that she is so calmly resigned and so 
well prepared to go into the world of spirits. How sweet 
is the presence of religion in these soul-trying scenes ! 
We had a beautiful little son taken from us the 30th of 
January last, named for our two fathers Anthony Peaslee/ 
Thus with our blessings are afflictions mingled, and our 
cup is one of mixture." 

In a letter to Mr. Moulton he says : 

"Though my situation is very local in a land distant 
from you, and from my friends in the Province, my mind 
often surveys the north country, where I have travelled, 
preached, suffered and enjoyed so much of God s holy 
presence ; and a hope still exists that I may again visit 
the pleasant cottages that have once sheltered me from 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 221 

the chilling blasts of winter. Since I came into this 
country with you it has ever seemed like home, and I 
still feel bound in spirit to abide. I find it is a small 
thing to take the ground, and a greater to keep and culti 
vate it. But with my joys I have sorrows. January 
30th, a pleasant son was taken from us, and a council of 
six physicians decided as early as last July that Mary 
Jane cannot recover from the consumption by which she 
is wasting away. She enjoys much of God s presence, 
is resigned and patient ; but this is a scene of sorrow in 
which nothing can give comfort but the grace of God. 
The cause of religion still flourishes in this country. 
There is a general steadfastness and a good union among 
the churches. Our congregations are numerous. Hun 
dreds flock together to hear the word of life and the 
Macedonian cry is heard from every quarter, Come over 
and help us. 

" Oh, Jesus, let thy beauties be 

My soul s eternal food ; 
And grace command my heart away 
From all created good. " 

In anxious watching at the bedside of sickness, and 
in pastoral labors, the days passed away, till the 4th 
of April, 1820, when the calm light of the morning 
shone on the departing spirit of the one who had deeply 
sympathized with him in all his interests. On the 
5th her funeral was attended by a large and solemn 
concourse, to whom a sermon was preached by Rev. 
D. Millard, of West Bloomfield, from Phil. 1 : 21 : 
" To die is gain ; " from his pen we will select a few 
obituary lines. 

"Mrs. Mary Jane Badger was born in Farmington, N. 
H., February 26th, 1798, of respectable parentage. She 



222 MEMOIR OF 

was the third daughter of the late Col. Anthony Peavy, 
of that town. At the age of thirteen, she made a pro 
fession of religion among a people known by the name of 
Christians. Her pious walk and modest deportment 
while but a youth, entitled her to the highest esteem of all 
who knew her. At the age of eighteen she became 
united in marriage with Elder Joseph Badger, by which 
she became separated from her dearest parents, never to 
see them again on earth. Her constitution was naturally 
delicate, although for two years while she resided in this 
country she enjoyed a comfortable state of health. She 
conversed freely with her husband on death, and gave 
him some directions about her two little children. Pre 
vious to this time she manifested great anxiety concerning 
them, but from this moment appeared willing to give 
them up, and seemed to lose that fearful concern for them 
with which she had hitherto been exercised. But God 
had otherwise declared for the youngest child. She wept 
at the afflicting scene, but endured it with much fortitude 
and resignation. She said to her husband, at the close of 
a prayer when several of her Christian friends were 
present, I rejoice there is such a scene as death for 
mortals to pass through ; it is the gate of endless joy. 
Enriched with early religious experience, she took delight 
in the singing of certain devotional hymns, such as My 
God, the spring of all my joys/ and Jesus, my Saviour, 
to thee I submit ; and her last words were, I feel 
composed, I can put my trust in God. She was/ says 
Mr. Millard, a striking example of female neatness and 
industry; very exemplary in dress and manners, and 
particularly chaste and reserved in her conversation. 
Though she is now no more, yet her memory will long 
live in the hearts of the virtuous. " 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 223 

A tombstone now appears in the burial-ground near 
the village of Honeoye Falls, bearing the character 
istic taste and expressive simplicity of Mr. Badger s 
genius, on which is inscribed these words : 

" HERE LIES THE BODY OF MARY JANE, WIFE OF 
JOSEPH BADGER, WHO, IN MEMORY OF HER VIRTUE, 
HAS ERECTED THIS MONUMENT. SHE DIED A CHRIS 
TIAN, APRIL 4, 1820, AGED 22 YS. 1 M. 9 D. 

" Her race was swift, 
Her rest is sweet, 
Her views divine, 
Her bliss complete." 

It is with entire calmness Mr. Badger surveys the 
clouded skies that shut down upon his loneliness ; a 
calmness that never ostensibly forsook him whenever 
great grief was at the door. He had a heart of great 
affections and of fine feelings. His strong nature was 
also extremely sensitive. Few could suffer so much, 
and few would weep so little when a great sorrow 
entered his dwelling. He is again alone in the world ; 
his little daughter, Lydia Elizabeth, was all that re 
mained of his family, the only tie that would seem to 
bind him to earth, and one indeed in whom his affec 
tions strongly centered. Letters of sympathy from 
numerous sources came in from different parts of the 
country. But sorrow, though it might soften and 
enrich, could never subdue the energies of his manly 
spirit ; and in the ministry of the holy Cross he applied 
his force with a renewed consecration of every ability. 

Though a resident of one place, it was not his nature 
to be a local man. His sympathies went abroad, his 



224 MEMOIR OF 

eye caught the signs of real and of possible success 
over a large area, and the public, far and near, re 
sponded with a feeling of interest equally general. 
At ordinations, and consecrations of " temples made 
with hands," he was ever a favorite with the people ; 
and very frequently he journeyed large distances to 
attend to calls of this nature. His family now being 
broken up, after securing the pastoral labors of Rev. 
Oliver True, he resumes the work of a missionary. 

There are indeed two classes of successful ministers, 
though they succeed in different ways. I refer to the 
class who have simply great power in preaching, who 
can be instrumental in the conversion of great num 
bers ; who, when they have reached the moral depths 
of the sinful heart, and filled it with the new and 
heavenly light, have ended their mission. They leave 
no nucleus about which the new strength may organize 
itself. If such ministers belong to a denomination 
well organized, and if they labor in the spirit of such 
denomination, the results of their efforts will very likely 
be absorbed in the body which already contains the 
speakers. These can create material, but they have no 
constructive power to permanently unite it. There is 
another class, who seem to be natural husbandmen of 
the grounds they sow ; they build, they gather, they 
bring everything into order and system, they fence 
and harvest the ripened fields. These last men are 
seldom if ever idealists ; they see the world as it is, 
are men of order and of accumulative tendency. Per 
haps George Whitfield and John Wesley may be taken 
as just examples of these two kinds of ministers. Mr, 
Badger was certainly a constructive, and also was he 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 225 

a gifted creator of material. He was, in one, both 
these orders of ministerial power ; perhaps we should 
say that if either predominated it was that of con 
serving the wealth which his creativeness and the 
creativeness of others might produce. Whitfield was 
the powerful, the eloquent preacher, under whose 
word converts were multiplied " as dews of the 
morning ; " but under his peculiar genius Methodism 
had never become an organic system, to last its cen 
turies. Wesley, though not a great man in thought 
or language, was the master builder without whom the 
labor of men like Whitfield had been, as it were, 
" scattered unto strangers." He gave to his cause 
the character of a permanent institution. Mr. Badger 
was no disorganizer. He believed in organization, in 
system, though he sought to organize with simplicity 
and on large and catholic principles of Christian 
brotherhood. 

At Milo, N. Y., at a general meeting which, on 
Sunday, September 3, 1820, was held in one of the 
pleasant groves of that rural town, Mr. Badger preached 
the ordination sermon of Benjamin Farley, James 
Potter and Stephen Lamphere, from Rom. 10: 14: 
" How shall they hear without a preacher ? " The 
week following he spent chiefly at and in the vicinity 
of the village of Aurora, where he preached several 
sermons and administered baptism to a few believers. 
He then returned by way of Auburn, preached twice 
to large assemblies in the Presbyterian church at 
Brutus, visited his devoted friend Dr. Beman, and in 
the evening spoke to the assembled citizens of El 
bridge. On the morning of the llth he called at the 
10* 



226 MEMOIR OF 

bedside of Dr. Ayers, who was in the last stage of 
consumption. . After much conversation," says Mr. 
B., " I asked him if he desired us to attend prayers. 
He paused and said, Can you pray ? (What an 
important question !) I answered in the affirmative. 
Said he, Does God hear you and give you answers ? 
I told him Yes. He then burst into tears and said, 
* Once he heard me, but does not of late. Every 
heart present was moved. He was a man beloved. 
He bowed with us in prayer. At nine o clock we left 
him and proceeded to Camillus, where I baptized the 
wife of Esquire Benedict and Mrs. McMaster, his 
daughter. At evening I spoke to a multitude of 
weeping auditors. On my return, agreeable to prom 
ise, I called on Dr. A., who again knelt with me at 
the altar of mercy, and when I gave him my parting 
hand he said, I shall meet you in heaven. His 
countenance was as serene as a morning without 
clouds." 

At Charleston, Montgomery County, N. Y., on the 
16th and 17th of September, he attended a general 
meeting, at which between one and two thousand 
people were present. He speaks of the Conference 
business that was done on the 18th and 19th as very 
important ; but most of all was he interested in the 
public improvement of three female speakers, who 
occupied the time on Monday evening, Mrs. Sarah 
Hedges, Mrs. Abigail Roberts, and Miss Ann Rexford, 
each of whom was more than commonly gifted in pub 
lic speaking, and proved the fitness of their mission 
by indisputable success in their respective spheres of 
labor. Miss Rexford, then but nineteen years of age, 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 227 

a young woman of polished manners and accomplished 
mind, had a clear knowledge of the Scriptures, a 
winning voice, a fine command of language, and withal 
a liberal religious experience. An article among Mr. 
Badger s papers, written a year earlier than this, is 
devoted to the gifts and sphere of woman in the church, 
which, though it does not parallel the claims made by 
the modern Conventions, proves the mind of its author 
to be free from the Oriental bigotry, and in sympathy 
with the nobler aspirations of woman s mind. On 
the 24th of this month, at a general meeting held at 
Greenville, Greene County, N.-Y., in the presence of 
several ministers, of an assembly of about two thou 
sand people, and under the umbrageous veiling of 
forest leaves, he spoke from Ps. 40 : 1, 2, 3 ; "in 
which," says the reporter of the sermons given, " he 
noticed fifteen distinct particulars, and we could say 
the word was rightly divided and a portion given to 
each in due season. He proved himself a workman 
that needeth not to be ashamed." Speaking of this 
discourse, Mr. Spoor, who reported the order of the 
meeting to the public press, said that he appeared 
before the people " like a cloud full of rain ; " and 
probably there are few men in the ministry anywhere 
whose " doctrine " dropped more " like the rain," 
or whose speech " distilled " more " like the dew," 
than his. His manner was dignified and gentle. 

About this time Mr. Badger related the substance 
of his missionary adventures to his intimate friend, 
Hon. Ezra Wate, of West Bloomfield, N. Y., in a 
series of letters, written hastily at snatches of time 
whilst on his way. From these we learn the events 



228 MEMOIR OF 

of the few months that remain of 1820. To him he 
says: 

" I am happy in a travelling capacity, as I like the 
work of a missionary ; but I am troubled with the unsettled 
state of* what I may call my own affairs ; my home in 
Mendon, my dear little daughter in Lima, and I, every 
where. I can now see how true my friends have been to 
me in Ontario County, and oh, that Providence had 
favored me with the blessing of living and of dying among 
them ! How painful the remembrance of departed joys 
that may never be recalled ! Though surrounded with 
the best society, though often thronged with company, I 
am constantly alone, and I have many lonesome, discon 
solate and dejected hours. No chastisement for the pres 
ent seems joyous." 

He speaks of a great meeting held at Cortright, 
Delaware -county, at which he spoke twice, heard 
five discourses from other ministers present, namely, 
Uriah Smith, 0. E. Merrill, and Jesse Thompson, 
a meeting at which the converting power of God was 
signally displayed among the people. Under date of 
October 5, he says : 



" My mind has often flown from the crowd of new 
friends and acquaintances that surround me, to the enjoy 
ment of those old friends with whom I have taken sweet 
counsel in years that are past. Was I coming into trials 
and conflicts, I should be constrained to say of my new 
acquaintances, as David did of Saul s armour, I have not 
proved it. Friends whom we have proved, friends who 
have merited our confidence, are priceless in value. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 229 

Solomon knew the worth of this truth when he said, A 
friend loveth at all times. " 

Also, under date of October 16th, he writes, 

11 My health is much better than when I left this coun 
try, and never did I enjoy my mind better than now, and 
never did I experience greater freedom in preaching than 
on this journey. Amidst all my misfortunes I have a world 
of felicity in view. It is a time of reformation in this 
county (Cayuga). I shall speak next Sabbath evening in 
the Court House at Auburn, and the first Sabbath in 
November I will preach at our chapel in Mendon." 

Letters from many quarters and from leading men 
in community, came in, soliciting him to come and 
preach, and not unfrequently did the leading mem 
bers of other denominations second these requests by 
offering their chapels for his use. 

A plain, concise, and kindly letter to Rev. Mr. 
Patching, in which he vindicates the ordinances of 
the Gospel against the denials of Mr. P., who had, 
by Mr. Badger s recommendations, been preaching 
to his congregations, belongs to this year. The main 
object of the letter seems to have been to call out 
investigation, and to throw some conservative influ 
ence around a boldly speculative mind. The follow 
ing extract will show its spirit and its point : 

"VERY DEAR AND AFFECTIONATE BROTHER, With 
the warmest affection and from a clear evidence of duty, 
I hastily pen a few lines for your consideration, hoping 
that it may not only serve as an introduction to a familiar 
correspondence between us, but that it may lead us to 



230 MEMOIR OF 

discuss, investigate, and harmonize our views relative to 
the doctrine of the Gospel and the ordinances of the New 
Dispensation. 

" I was not alarmed relative to the suggestions you 
made in my presence concerning a new light you had 
received, which led you to deny the ordinances of the 
Gospel, as I thought your experience would soon teach you 
your error, and the impropriety of annulling what Christ 
and the Apostles have established what both primitive 
and modern Christians have rejoiced in. But when I dis 
covered a division in the peaceful flock of my charge, and 
at our last communion, three of our once happy brethren 
stay away, their seats vacant which have been so faithfully 
filled for years, persons whom I have heard praise God on 
such occasions, I cannot refrain from giving you my senti 
ments, and from assuring you that after carefully review 
ing the subject, I must still l Teach and baptize in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost/ (Luke 1C : 15, 16 ; Matt. 28 : 19, 20,) and shall 
continue steadfast in the Apostles doctrine and in break 
ing of bread and of prayers/ Acts 11:41-46. Your 
new light, as it is called in this region, to me is an old 
error, agitated by the Quakers two centuries ago, and 
more recently adopted and taught by the Shakers. 

" Water baptism and the Lord s Supper are the two 
main ordinances of the new dispensation, I think there 
was no such practice as either of these among the Jews 
previous to John, who came to prepare the way for the 
Messiah. At least, the Scriptures make no mention of 
any such practice under the law. Baptism was first 
practised by John, was subsequently sanctioned by the 
precepts and example of God s holy Son ; and since it is 
comprehended in his Commission to the Apostles, it must 
continue to be as lastingly and as extensively observed as 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 231 

the Gospel itself. It is no more local or temporary than 
the mission which contains it. The Supper also was first 
introduced by the Saviour on the night in which he was 
betrayed, and even after his resurrection he sanctioned it 
by appearing at the head of the table. It is very evident 
that the custom was continued among the disciples, and 
shall we say that the Apostles and the ancient Christians 
generally were under the delusion of the devil in coming 
together on the first day of the week to preach and to 
break bread ? If not, where is the impropriety of our 
following the Apostles in this thing ? Are they and the 
holy Scriptures our example, or are we to be governed by 
imagination ? My dear brother, what can be your motive 
in this great stir ? Do vou think your labor on this sub 
ject essential to the conversion of souls ? Or is it possible 
that pride and vanity have joined to induce you to become 
the author of something new, to be at the head of a party ? 
My charity forbids me to think .this. I hope for better 
things. As a gentleman of science, as a Gospel minister, 
you have entered upon the very responsible stage of pub 
lic life. Your station is high, your position is critical, and 
it becomes you to walk gently before the Lord. This is a 
time in which we should pray fervently, think soberly, and 
act with deliberation. We should write the words of God 
with carefulness. Br. Millard informs me that you intend 
to publish a work on this subject. Allow me to advise you 
to be cautious, as an error once sent forth to the reading 
world can only with great difficulty be recalled. A blun 
der at the commencement of one*s public life may cause 
perpetual injury. I advise you to lay your views before 
some enlightened council, or to correspond with able 
ministers on the subject. If you have a true light, others 
can see it ; if not, you will be assisted in season by the 
wisdom of others." 



232 MEMOIR OP 

Mr P., it would appear, was a minister of the 
Freewill Baptist denomination, had associated some 
with Mr. Badger * in public life ; but instead of ad 
hering to the suggestions of his friend, it seems that 
he published a small volume, in which he sent bap 
tism, the Lord s Supper, ordination, and the divinely 
inspired character of the Scriptures, into endless ban 
ishment, with certain broadcast allegations against 
the fraternity to which he had belonged. In 1823, 
Mr. Badger wrote six strong chapters in reply to his 
volume, apparently at the request of the denomina 
tion from which the author of the book had previously 
hailed. The title of Mr. B. s manuscript read thus : 
" A Plea for the Innocent ; and T. Patching s Writings 
against Baptism, Lord s Supper, Ordination, and the 
Holy Scriptures, criticised. By Joseph Badger, 
Minister of the New Testament." Among the mottoes 
of the title-page is this : 

" He brushed the cobwebs from his brethren s urn, 
Yet spared the insect that wove the web." 

But we judge the insect was not wholly spared. It 
is ably written. Perhaps a glance into the boldness 
of the speculations of Mr. P. may be gained in the 
statement that among his common-place are positions 
like these : " The Bible is the God of thousands, a 
stumbling-block to the blind, and the foundation of 
Priestcraft the means by which Satan, through his 
prelates, has served himself to the best advantage ; " 
that those who advocate the Bible, though less numer- 

* Both were active members of the Union Convention held in Co- 
vington, Genesee, January, 1820. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 233 

ous than those who follow the Alcoran, are probably 
not less blind or wicked ; and that the Scriptures " are 
not so much as one stone in the foundation upon which 
God has made man s salvation dependent ; " and that 
through scripture medium no mn derives spiritual 
knowledge. Why Mr. Badger s reply was never pub 
lished, is unknown ; perhaps the passing away of the 
excitement attendant on the first introduction of the 
work of Mr. P., led to the conclusion that its publi 
cation was unnecessary. " I have traced with care," 
says Mr. B., " the writings of Volney, the noted 
French atheist, and I think he treats the Scripture 
with more fairness and respect; whilst Hume and 
Bolingbroke are decidedly too modest to rank with 
him. But when we turn to the pages of Mr. Paine, 
Mr. Allen, and Voltaire, we find a style and manner 
that admit of comparison with the writings now under 
discussion." 

December 14, 1820, in writing to his father from 
West Bloomfield, he said: 

"The church under my care in this region is in a 
flourishing state, and my work is in this country. I 
think it my duty to continue here. I shall endeavor ere 
long to visit you, as my anxiety is great to see you once 
more. Though I ceased to keep house the day after the 
death of Mary Jane, I think.it will be my duty, at some 
future period, to resume my home in this place a home 
which is now left unto me desolate." 

December 17, from Lima, he speaks of an important 
reformation, and of a prospering society of Christians 
in the town of Williamson, now Marion, Wayne County, 



234 MEMOIR OP 

New York, a town in which Mr. Badger at different 
times has labored with success, and where to this day 
the society of liberal Christians under the ministry of 
Rev. Amasa Staunton, is prosperous and strong. It 
was his primary intention to have journeyed to the 
land of his birth and early ministerial success in New 
England, when the sacred ties of his domestic life 
were broken ; but a sudden misfortune, which deprived 
him of his intended method of conveyance, caused 
him to employ the time in visiting those places in 
eastern New York, spoken of in the latter pages of 
this chapter. On his return, whilst at Brutus, he 
received a message from Mr. Oliver True, then in 
Ontario county, that from Williamson an urgent re 
quest had arrived that he should come to baptize a 
large number of converts ; and though no answer 
positively decides his compliance at that time, it is 
certain that he has frequently bestowed labor on that 
community, and was present and assisted in the 
organization of that church in 1820. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 235 

CHAPTER XII. 

WRITINGS, MARRIAGE, TRAVELS. 

A DISCOURSE on the Atonement, written the early 
part of 1821, vindicates the paternity of God, in the 
equal generosity of his provisions for the salvation of 
all men who will obey the truth. It is indeed a strong 
vindication, one that sifts the premises of Calvinism 
most thoroughly ; and though changes that have since 
been wrought in the public mind render the present 
value of such arguments and discussions far less than 
their worth at the period of their formation, they are 
still valuable as evidences of the former states of theo 
logical thinking and of the force and clearness of mind 
with which the author treated the subject. His dis 
course is entitled " The Way of Salvation, or, The 
Nature and Effects of Atonement." He shows in the 
expressive motto of the first leaf, that he centres all in 
Christ : " Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away 
the sin of the world ; " the sermon is founded on 
Romans 5 : 18 : " Therefore, as by the offence of one 
judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so 
by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all 
men unto justification of life." 

In the treatment of this topic, Mr. Badger has but 
two simple divisions ; the first is the offence and 
condemnation, the second treats of the free gift and 
its design. After alluding to Calvinism and to Uni- 
versalism as having the same roots, and differing only 



236 MEMOIR OF 

in respect to the number embraced in the arbitrarily 
elective plan, he announces the truth as being free 
from these extremes, and as leading the mind of the 
hearer along the healing stream of God s benevo 
lence as it "widening flows through all nations and 
climes. 

In referring to the primeval state, he suggests that 
we are a distant posterity ; that we may not presume 
to know all that belonged to the early Eden and to 
man s primitive condition. He asks the question 
What is sin ? What is its origin ? What are its effects ? 
He says, that the definition given by St. John 3 : 4, 
is the most definite that the whole Scripture yields, 
that, in 1 John 5 : 17, there is a good general view 
of it in the statement that all unrighteousness is sin, 
and in James 4 : 17, the same view is confirmed in the 
affirmation, that " To him that knoweth to do good 
and doeth it not, to him it is sin." 

" The first sin of every man," says Mr. Badger, " is 
the doing of wrong when he knows what is right. There 
must be a knowledge of wrong ; there must be a law in 
the mind of the actor to render his action sin. Admit 
ting this scriptural view, how can we consider infants, 
and children unborn, to be sinners ? Are they acquainted 
with God s will? Do they know his law? We often 
hear people tell of the l sins of our nature/ and of being 
sinners by nature/ and of the ( sins we bring into the 
world with us ; but such sins are unknown to the Scrip 
tures, are unnamed in the word of God, and the idea was 
invented in the wilderness ages of Christianity." 

" Some, in speculating on the Garden of Eden, have 
so spiritualized the transaction as to please their own 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 237 

fancy ; others have taken the garden, trees, and fruit in 
the most literal sense, and thereby have plunged them 
selves into darkness and difficulty. It is said that God 
planted a garden eastward, but, as none are informed of 
its locality, its latitude and longitude on the globe, it is 
impossible for those who take it in a literal sense to add 
any discoveries to the scripture statements. It is evident 
that the sin of our first parents consisted in their doing a 
forbidden act, which was disloyalty to the true King. 
All that I will venture to say is this, that l God hath 
made man upright ; but they have sought out many inven 
tions. " 

" In regard to the* question, who is the author of sin, 
I answer, the actor is its author. Temptation is not sin. 
Sin consists in submitting to the influence of tempting 
objects. If, in the story of the garden, there are three 
distinct sentences of condemnation pronounced, there 
were also three distinct sinful actors. Sin originates in 
each lustful mind. Some say, Is not God the author of 
all things ? did he not make all creatures ? Yes. But 
sin is neither a thing nor a creature. It is the act of a 
creature who is enlightened and free. Many, failing to 
make God the author of their sins, labor to prove that 
the devil originates them, and thus lay to him that of 
which he is not guilty, and that which they had better 
take to themselves." 

On the second division of the subject, he dwells on 
Christ as the great mediatorial centre of light and 
mercy, where God will meet all mankind in their 
striving to realize the salvation of their souls. By 
pleading the eternal life revealed in Christ as a free 
gift, and by urging mankind to use their personal 
freedom in improving the new advantages, he pre- 



238 MEMOIR OP 

sents a practical At-one-ment a real harmony of man 
with God, without adopting the arbitrary notions of 
grace prevailing in the then common theology, and 
without implying a pacification of " the infinite 
wrath " of God to men, a sentiment which, in a 
world that could realize the import of words so care 
lessly employed in theory, would be regarded as the 
utmost profanation, as the last step in the descending 
grades of religious irreverence and unbelief. 

" The heathen," says Mr. B., " who has never heard 
the Gospel s joyful sound, is not without hope, as the gen 
tie rays of the Holy Spirit have influenced his mind to 
reverence the Great Spirit, as Christ is * a light that light- 
eth every man that cometh into the world. He may 
arise from his darkness and misery to some bright man 
sion jp the New Jerusalem, while high-minded profess 
ors and superstitious Jews may find their hopes to be 
those of the hypocrite. Under these views, the partial 
atonement appears in feeble colors, and the universal 
love of God to men shines conspicuously from the holy 
scripture and from reason." 

Under date of February 22, 1821, at Mendon, 1ST. 
Y., Mr. Badger informs the readers of the Christian 
Herald, that he has just returned from Genesee and 
AlTeghany counties ; that in Covington a successful 
reformation had begun ; that in Perry, Warsaw, 
Gainesville, Orange ville and Pike, he found the peo 
ple attentive ; that " the star which rose in the east 
shines in the west with unfading lustre." He speaks 
of the glad news of revivals that had reached him 
from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Canada, and different sec- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 239 

tions of the State of New York. " My health," he 
adds, " has heen poor the month past, which has lo 
cated my labors some ; before that, for six months, I 
had as many meetings as there were days. 0, how 
delightful the thought of meeting all the elect around 
the Father s throne in glory, where, from every nation 
and sect, all will join in one harmonious song ! " 

March 12, 1821, he speaks of preaching twice at 
Perry, to large and solemn assemblies, among whom 
he thinks the power of the Highest was spiritually 
manifest ; of meeting the aged parents of Rev. W. 
True, who were happy in the hopes of immortal life. 
At Middlebury, he says that he found the attention 
great to " hear the word ; " that at the Academy his 
assemblies were large ; that, one evening, by request, 
he preached on the character of Christ, taking Isaiah 
9 : 6, for his text. 

" One Presbyterian and several Baptist clergymen 
were present. I first spoke on the origin, nature, charac 
ter, titles and dignity of Christ, in which I endeavored to 
prove him divine, and an object of worship. 2. I noticed 
the origin, nature, effects and supports of the doctrine of 
the Trinity, in which I gave the reasons why I dissented 
from that doctrine. I endeavored to show that my faith 
gave me a divine Saviour, and that Trmitarianism is 
obliged to rely on a human sacrifice." 

" I am sensible," said he, " that my visit will be 
remembered by the sArme-maker s," for which he 
assigns as a reason that in the partisan zeal of his 
opponents, there were many who seemed ready to ex 
claim, " Great is Diana ! " He speaks of Mr. W. 



240 MEMOIR OF 

True, then pastor of the society at Covington, as 
being both " a son of thunder and of consolation ; " as 
an exemplary instance of self-sacrifice and of fidelity 
to the truth. As Mr. B. did not sail under doctrinal 
idolatries, he says, at the conclusion of his address, 
" Love is the badge of the Christian and the tenet of 
Heaven ; may holiness be our motto forever." 

Let us return, after this absence, to the social 
relations of Mr. Badger. We had seen his family 
dispersed, his home broken up by death in the early 
part of 1820. We have traced him in his subsequent 
travels, in his various public labors since that time, 
and found that amidst the sorrow and loneliness that 
enshrouded his spirit, his former home in Ontario 
County, the friends that there clustered about him as 
their religious teacher, formed the central attraction 
to which he turned with the deep and permanent 
feelings of home. The class of persons Mr. B. had 
there attached to himself, were the intelligent, the 
responsible and influential, which, added to the happy 
associations that still lingered in the bower of memory, 
and the presence there of the only remaining relic of 
his family, it is natural, it is reasonable, that this 
region of the State, to which he seems to have been 
providentially sent, should have attracted him more 
than any other place. A new period now arrives in 
his life. Not merely from a sense of duty to himself 
or daughter, but, if one may rightly judge from the 
sincere embodiment of the heart in a multitude of let 
ters, written under various circumstances and at dif 
ferent times, in after life, from sincere, earnest and 
abiding affection, did he now form the marriage alii- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 241 

ance which continued until his death, and which placed 
him at the head of a talented and moderately numer 
ous family. March 21st, 1821, he was married to 
Miss Eliza Maria Sterling, a talented, respectable 
young woman of Lima, New York, daughter of Sam 
uel Sterling, Esq., who was one of the early pioneers, 
and an honored citizen of that town. Again the star 
of his earthly destiny seemed to emerge from clouds, 
and to shine with promise on future years. Her pa 
rents were members of the society of which Mr. Badger 
was pastor, were acquainted with him from and before 
his settlement in the town of Mendon, and frequently 
had he been a guest in the family of Mr. Sterling. 
With new and respectable relations, with a companion 
whom he deeply and abidingly loved one that frankly 
and wisely expressed the sentiments and opinions that 
became the responsible relation she had assumed; 
with his little daughter, Lydia Elizabeth, whom he 
now took from her boarding-house to his new home, 
Mr. Badger again felt that life to him was verdant in 
the promises of peace and happiness. Immediately is 
he at the head of a new and an independent home, 
where his cheerful and genial nature made the light 
of happiness to shine about him. From the particular 
cast of mind possessed by Mrs. B., in which the fac 
ulty of judgment, of clear-sightedness on matters of 
practical moment, was decidedly prominent, she be 
came in a degree his counsellor in all the great and 
important enterprises of his life. 

In the duties of his pastoral and his new social 
relations, the months of April, May, June and July 
passed away. Among his correspondence of 1818, 



242 MEMOIR OF 

1819 and 1820, there are several requests from old 
acquaintances and friends in the Province of Canada, 
for him again to visit the region of his former labors. 
August 7th, 1821, he started on such a tour, taking 
passage in the steamboat at the mouth of the Genesee 
river for Ogdensburg. Leaving the river at 4 P.M., 
the vessel soon disappeared from the sight of land, but, 
through the violence of wind and storm, it was driven 
back sixty miles into the port of Oswego. 

" On this occasion," said Mr. Badger, " I had the 
pleasure of seeing some profane wretches, who were blas 
phemers in the calm, cease their profanity, and grow sol 
emn in the midst of danger. We arrived at Oswego just 
at daylight, where we spent the day. I visited several 
places, talked with many about salvation, and had a good 
time in solitude and prayer. We left there 12 o clock at 
night, and, in seven hours, arrived at Sackett s Harbor ; 
here I had an agreeable interview on shore with Judge 
Fields, who gave me an account of a glorious reformation 
in that village, in which a large number had found the 
Saviour to be precious ; he said they were well engaged 
and united. The converts had, many of them, joined the 
Methodists and Presbyterians, and some of them remained 
simply Christians. The judge seemed to take a great 
interest in the work, which he said was still increasing." 

" The 10th inst. we arrived at Ogdensburg. I made 
several visits on shore, and found it a wicked place ; as 
St. Paul said of Athens, l the whole city was given to 
idolatry/ The llth, lodged at a place called the Cedars, 
on the St. Lawrence, a French village, and a people of 
strange language. The 12th, we spent the Sabbath on a 
small island "in Lake St. Clair, but, at evening, we reached 
a small village at the mouth of the Shatagee River, which 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 243 

is one of the most wretched places I ever saw. A gentle 
man told me that the inhabitants were part of them 
French, a part Indian, and a part Devil. I had reason 
to believe it. Early in the morning I visited the Indian 
town, Cogh-ne-wa-ga, and found some of them willing to 
hear of the crucified Jesus. I have just arrived in this 
pleasant town, Montreal, but shall leave it soon for the 
townships east, as I intend to visit my father s house, 
which I have not seen for five years. A gentleman from 
England has just informed me that he has discovered a 
general belief among #11 sects in England, for ten years 
past, that God is about to work an overture in Christen 
dom, for the union of all sects of Christians. Happy is 
every person -who possesses that spirit." 



The English gentleman here alluded to was proba 
bly Commodore Woolsey, who had been his company 
from Sackett s Harbor to Ogdensburg, of whom in 
another letter, he says : 

" One afternoon, after a long discussion on different 
religious societies, and on pure religion, the Commodore, 
apparently with a feeling heart, observed, Sir, I am 
sensible that our variety of belief and forms of worship 
are principally owing to our education ; but pure religion 
is one thing wherever you find it ; it is the work of God 
in the heart, a principle of godliness implanted within. " 

In a very easy and happy manner, Mr. Badger, in 
travelling, won the attention of strangers, and drew 
out a free expression of thought from the best minds ; 
and this sentiment that pure religion is substantially 
one thing over all the earth, was one which met the 



I 

244 MEMOIR OF 

deepest response in the entire life and philosophy of 
the subject of this memoir. 

September 12, 1821, from Compton, L. C., in the 
district of the Three Rivers, he writes that from 
Montreal he took passage for Sevel, a French village, 
at the head of Lake St. Peter s ; that from thence he 
made his way to the Indian village on St. Francisway 
River, where, eight years before, he had formed some 
acquaintance with their chief, through whose influence 
he now hoped for an opportunity to preach to those 
unsophisticated sons of the forest, children of wild 
and beautiful traditions, soul- taught worshippers of the 
Great Spirit. The absence of the chief at court frus 
trated his plan. 

" I found the village in a flourishing situation ; a large 
meeting-house was being built; an English school had 
already been established, and the natives were fast im 
proving in the arts and sciences. Capt. St. Francisway 
is an interpreter of several nations, and can speak in 
eight languages." 

On foot, Mr. B. continued his journey up the river 
through a wretched country, until he arrived at a 
settlement formed by the remnant of an old British 
army, to whom the government had given lands. 
Mr. B. considered them in nearly a state of starva 
tion, and after almost exhausting himself with hunger 
and fatigue, he sat in lonely meditation beneath a 
sturdy pine, reflecting on the divine goodness and the 
dangers he had tempted in this new wilderness way. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 245 

" In the evening I arrived at the cottage of an old sol 
dier. They had neither meat, bread, nor milk to set 
before me. I obtained permission to sleep on the floor, 
but I had some reason to suspect that they were thieves 
and robbers; and I thought that the surest way, and 
finally the only way for my safety, was to preach salvation 
to them. Accordingly I gave them a long discourse, 
which was so far attended by the power of God as to 
enable me to make friends in this instance of the mammon 
of unrighteousness. I was glad to see the morning light, 
and walked eight miles before I could get my breakfast." 

He visited his father s residence in Compton, stayed 
some weeks, gave three funeral sermons in that town, 
visited the old parishes where he had formerly preached, 
wept at the grave of many a fallen friend, heard the 
prayerful voice of repenting sinners, and the rejoicing 
songs of converted ones. 

After completing his visit in the king s dominion, 
Mr. Badger, about the middle of September, started 
for home, proceeding through the State of Vermont 
over the Green Mountains to Ballston and Saratoga ; 
thence, after a visit at Amsterdam, where he informs 
us several hundred had entered into the enjoyment 
of the religious life during the past year, he advanced 
up the Mohawk to Utica ; and spending the Sabbath 
at Westmoreland, with Kev. J. S. Thompson, and 
attending appointments on the way at Brutus, Ca- 
millus, Auburn and Geneva, he arrived at home Oc 
tober 5, which completed a journey of 1200 miles, 
" in which time," said he, "I have witnessed the most 
stupendous displays of God s mercy and salvation." 
At the city of Rochester, he attended several meetings 



246 MEMOIR OF 

before the commencement of the next year, where he 
gained the attention of the people. 

The year preceding 1821, Mr. Badger became a 
member of the fraternity of Masons, an institution 
which he always prized for its wisdom, morality and 
benevolence, and one in which he made superior ad 
vancement.* Not given to ultra rashness, he did 
not extol the institution beyond its evident merits 
when glory and influence were on its side, nor did 
the temporary storm that assailed it draw from him 
violent resistance, or concessions that could be con 
strued into disesteem for the great designs, general 
rules and customs of Masonry. He not unfrequently 
gave public addresses to the Masonic community in 
his own State, occasionally assisted in the ceremonies 
of initiation and of progress in the Order, and in 
other States of the Union he sometimes gave ad 
dresses. 

Traces of writings are left, from 1821, that embody 
an effort to systematize the facts of history, and to 
retain what struck him as most important, history 
relating to Egypt, Persia, Palestine, Rome, Arabia 
and China. But usually, such was the fulness of 
the active life of Mr. Badger, and of his reliance on 
the resources of his natural ability and experience, 
that he was not a close, laborious student, though he 
was never at a loss, when occasion required, in 
showing an accurate command of the substantial 
facts of history and of science bearing on the sub 
ject in hand. 

* His degree in Masonry was the Royal Arch. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 247 

In 1822, in addition to his local labors, Mr. Badger 
visited Saybrook and Lyme, Connecticut, attended 
the United States General Conference holden at 
Greenville, Green County, N. Y., besides attending 
to several calls at a distance from home. I would 
here remark that a United States General Confer 
ence,* though its origin was rather informal, was at 
last a body composed of ministers and delegates 
from different local Conferences, that its object was 
to discuss and advise in relation to subjects of general 
interest to the cause in which the promoters of a 
liberal and an evangelical Christianity were engaged. 
It was not uncommon for them to discuss abstract 
themes of faith and church polity, for the purpose of 
gaining greater light in the multitude of counsel. 
Such convocations dictated no articles of faith, pre 
sented no formula of belief except the generally con 
ceded revelations of God. In the annual meeting 
here named, held September 5, 6, 7, the second 
resolution adopted was, that Christian fellowship arises 
from satisfactory evidence of being born of the Spirit 
of God, and that it properly extends to all who walk 
after " the rule of Christ." This body, though in 
many things it proved useful, especially in its free 
discussion, was, by mutual agreement, finally dissolved 
at Milan, Dutchess County, N. Y., October 2, 1832, 
chiefly from the considerations that the wants it had 
met might now by other methods^be more successfully 
reached, that it was inconvenient to assemble annually 

* At first, it was a voluntary assemblage, called general because 
all denominations were invited to participate ; later, delegates from 
local Conferences were appointed. 



248 MEMOIR OF 

from parts so remote, and that in time it might out 
strip its original intentions, and become a centralization 
of power to the injury of congregational sentiments. 
At the meeting which followed the Conference, Sun 
day, September 8, Mr. Badger preached the third 
discourse from Deut. 32 : 10 : " He found him in a 
waste howling wilderness ; he led him about, he in 
structed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye." 
To a people who regarded the church as being still in 
the wilderness, as merging by slow degrees out into 
light and liberty, and as always dependent on Him 
who led, taught, and guarded the ancient Israel of his 
choice, such a text and sermon were suited to the time 
and the occasion. 

In 1823, he made a tour into Pennsylvania, accom 
panied by S. D. Buzzael, a minister of whom he speaks 
as being well engaged in the cause. Preaching on 
the way in several towns, in Dansville, Naples, Cohoc- 
ton and Bath, he arrived, in the early part of the 
month of March, at the pleasant village of Lewisburg, 
in Union County, Pa., a village that lies embosomed 
in the wild and attractive scenery of the Susquehan- 
nah, between the towns of Milton and Northumber 
land. On the way, he held a quarterly meeting which 
he had previously appointed among the Methodists in 
the town of Cohocton, Steuben County, where he met 
about forty church members and two ministers who 
had thrown off the Authority of bishops, and styled 
themselves Methodists, rejecting episcopacy both from 
their name and their doctrine. To them, in company 
with D. Millard, of West Bloomfieid, he preached and 
administered the communion to a free and happy peo- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 249 

pie, learning at the same time that in New York there 
were about six hundred members in connection with 
them in this their new and reformatory position. 

Crossing the Cohocton and the Canisteo rivers, in 
company with Mr. Buzzael, he followed the course of 
the Tioga .to the town of Icoga, Pa., then crossing 
Peter s Camp and the Block House to Lycoming by 
the Wilderness road, as it was justly called, he con 
tinued his way through the enveloping night and the 
descending rain. "We had," says Mr. B., "to as 
cend and descend dreadful mountains to obtain a lodg 
ing among strangers in a strange land. We were 
fatigued and sorrowful ; but Brother Buzzael broke the 
silence of the way by singing the following lines : 

" Though dark be my way, since He is my guide, 
T is mine to obey, t is His to provide ; 
Though cisterns be broken and creatures all fail, 
The word He has spoken will surely prevail." 

Pursuing the course of the Lycoming, he struck the 
west branch of the Susquehannah, at Williamsport, 
thence to Lewisburg, where he arrived on the evening 
of March 6th. On the, 7th, he spoke for the first time 
to a small audience on the subject of heaven ; from 
this time his assemblies began to increase and his 
words took effect among the people. Mr. Bacon had 
been somewhat successful in preceding years in that 
place. Mr. Badger preached several sermons in the 
open air, as no^ house would hold the assemblies that 
convened. He there received one minister into the 
fellowship of the Christian connection from the Meth 
odists, Mr. Andrew Wolfe, a German of property, 
character, and respectable talent, who preached in the 



250 MEMOIR OF 

German language; had three baptizing seasons, 
which he regarded as glorious, preached on the laying 
of the corner-stone of the new church, from Matt. 
16 : 18 ; a house which its builders designed to have 
in a state of completion the coming autumn, the time 
of Mr. Badger s contemplated return. In Milton, 
Mifflinsburg, Buffalo, Whitedeer, Chilisquaque and 
Northumberland, he also preached ; and it is un 
necessary to state that the impression he made was 
strong and lasting ; particularly in Lewisburg, where 
he did much in establishing order in the society for 
whom he labored ; where he called out the best minds 
in a free investigation of religious subjects ; and where, 
at different times, he interested the community with 
the rich and varied resources of his ministerial power ; 
his gifts and character were ever held in admiration 
and esteem. Many ministers of acknowledged ability 
have spoken to that community, but from personal 
knowledge I say that none, taking all things into con 
sideration, have occupied so high a place, for true 
eloquence, for real power over a congregation and a 
community, as he. 

At this time, Mr. Badger became acquainted with 
Rev. James Kay, of Northumberland, a fine exam 
ple of English gentility and politeness, a man of 
classical and general education, and a theologian of no 
ordinary accomplishment in the Unitarian school of 
English divines. From his able pen, the pages of the 
periodical which Mr. B. began to edit* in 1832, were 
frequently enriched. Northumberland is a quiet town 
of intelligence and wealth, in the environs of lovely 
scenery, the waters of the north and of the west 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 251 

branch of the Susquehannah there joining in graceful 
amity, whilst the perpendicular walls of rock tower in 
calm solemnity before it. There indeed is the resting- 
place of the philosopher Priestley, who lived a life of 
study and of thought ; who enriched science by nu 
merous discoveries and the cause of human liberty by 
his political views ; and, at the close of an arduous life, 
died in the light of the confiding piety in which he 
had lived ; on whose tombstone is this inscription : 
" I lay me down to rest till the Resurrection 1 " To 
the congregation founded by him did Mr. Kay for 
many years preach, and to the same did Mr. Badger 
communicate on his two or three occasional visits to 
that place. From a letter of Mr. Kay, dated Sep 
tember 29, 1823, 1 discover that Mr. Badger was in 
Lewisburg at that time, and that he contemplated a 
meeting at Northumberland. 

From Lewisburg, under date of October 7, 1823, he 
writes to Mrs. Badger as follows : 

" You have doubtless heard of the fatal sickness that 
now rages in this place. It still continues. I preached 
a funeral sermon last Thursday, and I am informed six 
or seven lay dead last Sabbath in the neighborhood. But I 
had good assemblies at our newly finished meeting-house, 
on Thursday evening, Sunday and Sunday evening. I 
found the Church in a low state. Mr. Bacon had sowed 
much discord; but I have nothing to do but to preach 
Christ and his Gospel, which are calculated to make man 
kind love each other and to live in union. God only 
knows the burden and trials I felt in this place for the 
first week. I was constrained day and night to ask God 
for wisdom, and at length we are assisted by his power. 



252 MEMOIR OF 

Everybody who can, turns out to hear the word, and very 
many of my hearers are those whose pale faces declare 
the reign of disease." 

I have had two church meetings and was determined 
to establish order in their affairs, or give them up for a 
lost and deluded people. I succeeded far beyond my 
expectations. 1st. I examined into the state of all who 
had ever been received into the church, found that one 
had been excluded, three had died, ten had removed, thir 
teen needed to be specially visited, as they were low in 
spiritual enjoyment and zeal, and fifty-nine were willing 
to serve God with all their hearts. 2. I called on them 
to appoint two persons to take the oversight of the tem 
poralities; F. L. Metzger and John Moore were ap 
pointed. 3. I got them to appoint Andrew "Wolf and 
John Dunachy, to take charge of the meetings in my 
absence. Thus you see that they are coming into order, 
with which they seem generally well pleased. They 
depend much on me. I expect to visit them again in the 
winter. I have been almost every day among the sick ; 
some days have visited more than a dozen families, but 
never enjoyed better health. Sunday coming will make 
three Sabbaths I have been in Lewisburg, and on Mon 
day or Tuesday, I design to visit Smithfield, Bradford 
County, Pa." 

June the 20th, Mr. Badger officiated as Chairman 
of the New York Western Conference, at which time 
seven new churches were reported, and some import 
ant ideas of church polity were discussed; In Au 
gust of this year, he described the city of Rochester, 
then a town of 3000 inhabitants, connected by water 
communications with Albany on the east, Quebec on 
the north, and Lake Superior on the west. He speaks 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 253 

of a small church in that city, with whom he had 
labored half of the time through the summer, and ex 
presses the hope that they will accumulate more 
strength in that growing town. In the early part of 
August, he attended a general meeting at Rochester, 
and, in the same month, another at Cato, Cayuga 
County, N. Y. 

Letters from different parts of the country show the 
inclination of the people to make demands on his pub 
lic gifts and labors ; and, could we institute a close 
comparison between the width and depth of the inter 
est called out by the great public meetings of those 
days, and of similar meetings in our own times, we are 
satisfied that the preference would be greatly in favor 
of the past. They were more in numbers, and the 
religious interest was more general and intense. At 
West Bloomfield, 1822, for instance, there were thirty- 
five ministers present at a general meeting, and, in 
those days, the most of such occasions seemed to be a 
centre of interest for a wide area of the country. 



254 MEMOIR OF 



CHAPTER XIII. 

CORRESPONDENCE VISITS AT ANGELICA WITH D. D. 
HOW, THE MURDERER HIS SERMON AT THE GAL 
LOWS. 

FROM the extensive correspondence of Mr. Badger, 
little at present can be introduced, as the interest of 
his published journal and things relating to his per 
sonal life and public labor have the paramount claim. 
Yet the freedom in which a large variety of minds 
addressed him evinces that he was beloved confidingly, 
as well as respected and admired. As an example of 
the free expression of one class of correspondents, we 
may take the following lines, dated near 1824, from 
the pen of a gentleman of the medical profession, 
Troy, Pa. : 

61 1 think I informed you I was not a professor of reli 
gion, though I have a friendly regard for all such as appear 
to worship God in a rational and consistent manner, 
whose minds have not been circumscribed by undigested 
creeds and by uncharitable proscription. I have read 
some and thought much on the subject of religion, and 
after all I confess I am rather skeptical. I have endeav 
ored to view it abstractedly by the lights of reason and 
philosophy ; to consider what it is, its origin and design. 
To sura up in a few words, if I may be allowed the ex 
pression, I should consider it indispensably necessary to 
those who would not be good without it. Take this 
away, and what method would be left to bring the mere 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 255 

child of nature to the practice of virtue ? You could not 
discover to him the excellency there is in goodness, and 
the reward which it brings. His imagination needs to be 
awed by the penalty annexed to vice. It may seem par 
adoxical to say that when men become good for goodness 1 
sake, they have no need of religion." 

Bold thoughts were no alarm to Mr. Badger ; and 
not many persons had his faculty for taking away 
effectually the objections which really stood in the 
path of the unbelieving, though in doing so his meth 
ods were his own, and he had no use for the logical 
phrases of those who have been styled apologists for 
religion or Christianity. In looking over lines like 
those first quoted, is it not impossible to repress the 
sentiment, that " he who becomes good for goodness* 
sake" instead of having no need of religion, already 
has it in its highest possible form ? It cannot be oth 
erwise. 

1824 finds Mr. Badger engaged in the local sphere 
of pastor ; and, among the solemn and responsible du 
ties of his profession for this year, was that of hearing 
the confession of a murderer, of leading his. mind into 
faith and penitence, of administering to the bereaved 
families the consolations of Christian views and sym 
pathy, and of preaching the funeral discourse of the 
prisoner to the immense concourse who witnessed his 
execution. At that time, cool and deliberate murders 
were comparatively rare ; generally, there was great 
avidity to know the causes and incidents involved in 
the crime. The surprise and dread such intelligence 
awakened corresponded somewhat justly with the awful 



256 MEMOIR OF 

nature of the guilt which caused them. David D. 
How, of the town of Angelica, Alleghany County, New 
York, a few miles from the place where the horrid 
murder of Mr. Othello Church was committed, Decem 
ber the 29th, 1823, was a man originally from New 
England, and of respectable connexions ; but, from a 
series of misfortunes and injuries experienced in life, 
and probably also from the peculiar organic defection 
which the organization of murderers usually exhibits, 
was prepared, though not without a violent conflict of 
inward emotions, to execute a murder of revenge on 
the person of Mr. Church, whom he regarded as hav 
ing been instrumental in promoting the misfortunes 
that left him destitute of property, in the summer of 
1823. Several angry disputes had occurred between 
them ; and, judging from the treatment he rendered to 
Mr. Palmer, for having, as he thought, taken undue 
advantages of his troubles, one is willing to infer that 
revenge was his predominant tendency. 

11 1 went," says he, " in the month of October, to Horn- 
elsville, and being detained there one day, I had occasion 
to ride in the evening of the 23d, and about 12 o clock 
at night came to Mr. Palmer s, near Angelica. I saw his 
valuable mills, on which the orbs of heaven faintly shone, 
and the sable curtains of night had mantled the scenery 
in majestic grandeur. Now, I said, is the time for me to 
have vengeance on one of my greatest enemies on earth. 
I dismounted and surveyed the scene before me. Finding 
the door fast, I obtained an entrance by a small window 
which I could raise ; I entered the dark cavity ; all was 
solitary and silent, and every step resounded with mid 
night horror ; the sweet stream uttered its innocent mur- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 257 

mur below, and all nature seemed combined to reprove 
me of my sin." 

Though hesitating for a moment, a brief meditation 
on the causes of oflence induced him to turn the mills 
of his neighbor into a scene of flames, which, to use 
the language of the criminal, " shone upon the heavens 
with alarming lustre " to his " guilty conscience," 
before he arrived at home. With equal determination, 
on the night of the 29th of December, after returning 
from the village of Angelica, between 10 and 11 
o clock, at a season when the condition of the snow 
would not allow him to be tracked, did he proceed to 
execute the awful deed on which he had long med 
itated, the murder, in his own house, of Othello Church,* 
whom he called from his slumbers to receive the fatal 
shot. This murderer thought and reflected on his end 
and his means. Once before, he had waylaid the path 
of his victim, and watched at night, with rifle in hand, 
behind the great pine tree ; " while I stood here," 
said Mr. H., "I had some solemn reflections. The 
sweet evening breeze gently pressed the lofty forest, 
and the tall pines could bend beneath the power of 
heaven ; but my obdurate heart remained unmoved." 
Such was the character of the man whose depths of 
heart were moved by the influences of Mr. Badger. 
Though a murderer, he was far, very far, from total 
depravity, for he could sincerely mourn over his own 
guilt, and weep over his beautiful daughter with a 
father s love. He was tried for his ofience at Angel- 

* Mr. Church lived in the town of Friendship, six miles west from 
Mr. How. 



258 MEMOIR OF 

ica, before Judge Rochester; was, by the force of 
circumstantial evidence, declared guilty, and, on Feb 
ruary 8th, was sentenced to be hung March 19th, 1824. 
By the request of Judge Griffin, who had consulted 
the prisoner, Mr. Badger was requested to attend on 
Mr. How, and to do what he could in preparing his 
mind for the awful crisis before him ; and, as these 
duties are a part of his journal for .this year, we will 
look a moment longer at its particulars. 

March the 2d, Mr. Badger took rooms at Judge 
Dautremont s, in Angelica, (a place 65 miles from his 
residence,) that he might every day have familiar 
access to the mind of the prisoner. The day of his 
arrival he entered the gloomy apartment, at 2 o clock, 
P. M. found Mr. How reading the Scriptures by can 
dle light ; soon the mind of the guilty stranger unfolded 
freely and without reserve, to him who now endeavored 
to render assistance in making his peace with the eter 
nal powers. A chain-bound prisoner in darkness, 
seeking to know how he shall whiten his spirit from 
mortal crime ! A herald of the cross genially making 
him feel his brotherhood with man, and bowing with 
him in prayer to the Infinite Pacifier ! m A scene like 
this in a world of sin is a gleam of light across the 
ocean of darkness, even though the inveterate past 
should refuse to be blotted out by prayers, and pen 
ance. 

" In conversation/ said Mr. B., " he is pleasant, famil 
iar, easy and polite, and often his countenance is lighted 
up by an artificial smile. He is a man of quick discern 
ment, and possesses a mind of unusual strength and great 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 259 

composure in the hour of trouble ; yet he sometimes weeps 
at the most trifling circumstances. He feels great attach 
ment to his friends, uncommon fondness for his children, 
and an ungovernable hatred to his enemies. I found Mr. 
How almost in a despairing state of mind. He asked my 
opinion of 1 John 3 : 15 : No murderer hath eternal life 
abiding in him. I informed him that the same verse 
said : * Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer, and 
that no person while possessed of hatred, or in the act of 
murder, could be in possession of eternal life. He wept 
at my remarks, and asked many questions. I informed 
him all manner of sin should be forgiven except the sin 
against the Holy Ghost ; and I endeavored to hold up 
the way of life to him. We united in prayer several 
times, and after an interview of six hours I left him over 
whelmed in grief." 

" March 3d, entered the dungeon at 8 o clock, A. M ., 
found him very much composed. After attending prayers 
we sung two hymns, and his heart was apparently filled 
with love to all the . creatures of God. He commenced 
speaking in the most affecting language. He spoke of 
the sin of profanity and drinking, described the murder 
of Mr. Church in the most affecting manner, and mourned 
that he had no time to prepare to meet his God. He said 
he could not think that God would forgive him, as his 
sins were of such an aggravated nature, and were com 
mitted against so good a Being, and against such great 
light. I made him three visits, and the dungeon became 
a pleasant place. He this day requested me to write his 
journal, to preach at his execution, and superintend his 
funeral." 

" March 4. Spent four hours in my first visit, found 
.him much composed and well resigned. I entreated with 
the sheriff for the removal of his irons, and succeeded, for 
which he expressed much gratitude." 



260 MEMOIR OF 

It were indeed too long for our purpose to transcribe 
the half of what Mr. Badger has interestingly written 
on this topic. His duties were faithfully and ably 
done ; and, what might be anticipated, he gained, and 
for a holy purpose, the entire mastery of the murder 
er s heart ; turned his revengeful passions, for the time 
at least, into prayerful kindness for his enemies, and, 
through his free choice, became the agent of his most 
sacred trusts. On the 5th, he received and delivered 
to Mrs. Church the imploring and penitent address of 
Mr. How ; also visited the family and plantation of the 
murderer ; on the 6th, witnessed the interview be 
tween Mr. How and his own family, to whom he ad 
ministered appropriate advice. Through all his doubts 
and fears, he accompanied the spirit-wanderings of the 
culprit, and succeeded in bringing his mind to a state 
in which he was conscious that an eternal sun shone 
somewhat brightly through the cloud openings of his 
dark horizon. 

" On Sunday, the 14th, in the afternoon," says Mr. B., 
" his daughter, a beautiful little girl about 19 years of 
age, arrived. She trembled as she approached the gloomy 
apartment of her father. They embraced each other 
with great affection, and all the spectators wept. He 
called his daughter and friends to view the coffin, which, 
he informed her, was like her mother s. They wished 
me to pray with them ; and, at the close of prayer, I 
found the father and daughter leaning upon the coffin, 
with their hands joined ; he exclaimed, Oh, my Harriet ! 
must we part? You are the image of your excellent 
mother you have derived your good disposition and all 
your good qualities from - her. You have nothing good 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 261 

from me. They both wept aloud, and every heart seemed 
to be moved with grief. On the 15th I witnessed a recon 
ciling interview between Mr. How, Mr. Palmer, and 
Sheriff Wilson, men of business who had once been great 
friends, but whose friendship had been broken by serious 
difficulties." 

" March the 18th. He sent for me at daybreak. I 
found he had a restless night, and was in great distress. I 
made him several visits ; his family came to take their 
leave of him forever. At 3 o clock P. M., the Rev. Mr. 
Roach, a Methodist minister, preached a short discourse 
in the dungeon from John 3:16. Five clergymen were 
present, and the scene was solemn. Mr. How took the 
lead in singing two hymns, and carried his part through in 
a graceful manner. In singing the first, he stood up and 
leaned partly on the stove ; held his little girl by one hand, 
who sat in the lap of her mother, and with the other he 
took the hand of his affectionate brother, who stood by his 
side. At the close of the meeting, his wife gave him her 
hand for the last time. He embraced her with fondness, 
and when he pressed his little girl to his bosom (about 
four years of age) he wept aloud. He requested that 
several Christian friends should spend the night with him 
in prayer ; thus his last night on earth was spent in im 
ploring God for grace and mercy." 

"March the 19th. I entered the prison at break of 
day, found him much resigned. He observed, as I entered, 
that his last night on earth was gone, which he had spent 
in prayer. At 7 o clock I visited him again with a com 
pany of ladies who had never seen him. Mrs. Richards, 
of Dansville, took him by the hand, both fell upon their 
knees, and she prayed for him in the most fervent manner. 
He then prayed for himself, for his family, for the family 
of Mrs. Church, who were afflicted by him, for his execu- 



262 MEMOIR OP 

tioner-, and all the world. As we came out, a gentleman 
remarked that he had never heard a man pray like him. 
At 9, I entered his apartment for the last time", accom 
panied by his beloved daughter and a young man who was 
soon to become her husband. We entered with serious 
hearts ; he received them very pleasantly, and made re 
marks to me on the fine weather, and the lady who had 
prayed with him. He asked of me the privilege of walk 
ing into the yard with the young man. They spent a 
short time together. He then asked me to wait on 
Harriet to the door. He placed her by the side of the 
young man, and delivered her to his charge, saying that 
she had long been deprived of the counsels of a mother,* 
and would be in a few moments separated from her father 
forever. I now commit her to you as a friend, protector, 
and lover. " 

For Mr. H. there was much public sympathy, owing 
to the belief that he had suffered many provoking 
wrongs. Passages like these have a moral, and even 
philosophical value, in showing that the human spirit 
is not exhausted of wealth, no, not even by capital 
offence ; that great sentiments of manliness may tem 
porarily occupy an invisible throne within, though 
clouded and veiled from general recognition. 

On the 19th, in the presence of six thousand per 
sons, Mr. How was executed , to which immense throng 
Mr. Badger preached a sermon of thirty minutes, from 
Numbers 35 : 33, which we have heard spoken of as 
a masterly effort. With all his feeling for the offend 
ing, he had no morbid sympathies to pour out on the 
injustice of his punishment ; he spoke of the propriety 

* Her mother, Mr. How s first wife, died 1816. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 263 

and the majesty of the law ; of the necessity of cleans 
ing the land of murderous crimes ; alleging that, while 
government exists, its principles must be faithfully 
carried into action ; that the officers who, in their dif 
ferent official capacities, executed this solemn law, 
were as much in the way of their duty as he who tills 
the soil, and supports the government by his labor. 
Mr. Badger was no ultraist. He held that this world, 
on which golden sunlight is scattered, was not made 
for rascals ; nor did he accuse the world of ignorance 
when the deliberate murderer died for his crime. In 
these quoted paragraphs, we see how Mr. B. passed 
the larger part of a month in the spring of 1824 ; and 
though the acrimony which attaches to religious sects 
was industrious in the misrepresentation of his theologi 
cal sentiments, he cleared himself triumphantly of all 
their charges, and came off with the decided approba 
tion of the judges, officers, and indeed of all the lead 
ing men whose acquaintance he had formed, for the 
able and faithful manner in which he had performed 
his high duties, and for the proper course he had pur 
sued both as a gentleman and a minister. 



264 MEMOIR OF 



CHAPTER XIV. 

JOURNEY TO THE SOUTH. PUBLISHED JOURNAL. 

THE summer of this year, Mr. Badger seriously con 
templated a voyage to England, chiefly for the pur 
pose of promoting a union between a denomination 
called the " General .Baptists," and the " Christian 
Connection " of this country, as that denomination had 
already heard of, and expressed an interest in, their 
transatlantic brethren of the New World ; but other 
and urgent duties directed his energies in a different 
channel. By the Western Conference he was ap 
pointed to preside at six general meetings in different 
sections of the country, requiring him to travel nearly 
a thousand miles in all, for the completion of the task ; 
and, at the meeting of the United States Annual Con 
ference, he was, in accordance with the appointment 
made by the New York Western Conference, com 
mended as an evangelist to visit the southern States, 
to obtain a history of the people there who had thrown 
off the authority of creeds, and gone to God and their 
Bibles for the all-sufficient light ; also to open between 
them and their brethren of the northern and middle 
States a correspondence that should promote future 
union and cooperation in the spread of their common 
faith, a purpose which had the warmest sanction of the 
north, and which met with a generous response in the 
south. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 265 

His evangelizing ministry through the summer was 
attended with good results ; and shortly after the Gen 
eral Conference, held at Beekman, Dutchess county, 
N. Y., September 2, 1824, he, in company with Rev. 
Simon Clough, of Boston, started for the city of New 
York, passing through Putnam and Wcstchester coun 
ties, where they -held many meetings. On the 15th, 
they arrived at New York. In a letter to Mr. Silsby, 
of Rochester, he says : 

" We found a Baptist and a Universalist meeting-house 
open for us. The attention of the people was great to 
hear, and the ministers treated us with attention and re 
spect. We are now invited to another Baptist meeting 
house, and have engaged to give them two sermons next 
Sabbath. Last Sunday I preached in the State Prison 
to more than five hundred prisoners, and it was a solemn 
and a weeping time. I shall visit them again. In the 
evening I spoke to about one thousand people at the Bap 
tist Church. The young people seemed to be deeply 
affected, and some of the aged saints rejoiced and said it 
was truth. I enjoy myself well in this city, being sensible 
that I am in the way of my duty. Last evening I had 
the pleasure of seeing the renowned La Fayette, who is 
on his way to the South. He is worthy of all honor, 
though like others, he is a frail, dying, mortal man."* 

He passed three weeks in the city, preached several 
sermons, baptized a few happy converts, and on the 
8th of October, arrived at his home in Mendon. On 
this tour, Mr. Badger used his influence in favor of the 

* The La Fayette Ball given at that time, he says, cost $100,000 ; 
and about 12,000 persons were said to have been present. 

12 



MEMOIR OF 

establishment of a new monthly periodical at West 
Bloomfield, Xew York, which commenced January 1, 
1 X 25. under the editorial direction of Rev. D. Millard, 
and entitled the " Gospel Luminary." These sernHaa, 
from Messrs. Gough and Badger, were the first, I 
believe, ever given in that city under the simple name 
of Christian, with the exception of the labors of Doc 
tor Joseph Hall, who had a few months preceded them. 
Soon after, the gifted Miss Rexford, and Mrs. Abigail 
Roberts, huge labors in many places had been suc 
cessful, held meetings in that metropolis, and as early 
as January. ISJo, we ^ ear ^ ^ r * ^ ou o n laboring 
to plant the standard of a liberal evangelical Chris 
tianity in that community. 

Mr. Badgers journey was deferred tfll the late 
^^fcAl months of 1825, as he chose not to venture 
so great a change of climate in the warmer seasons ; 
home duties also prevented an immediate execution 
of his plan. On the 19th December, 1824, he 
preached twice in Chili, a town not far from Roche- 
where the labors of Mr. Silsby had been effectual in 
the conversion of souls ; also in Clarkson, Perinton, 
Gains, and Royalton, he preached, witnessing some 
cheering signs of the Sacred Presence. The first 
week after his arrival at Royalton he attended twelve 
meei. 

~ In the second meeting," he says, " I saw two young 
ladies who appeared much disposed to vanity and oppo 
sition, bat at the close one of them requested prayers., and 
within one week both became happy converts, and have 
ance been baptized. From this occurrence the work began 



BET. JOSEPH BADGES. L"?" 

rapidly among the youth. About a dozen hare been hope 
fully converted, and a great number more are now under 
serious conviction. Difficulties hare healed by the power 
of God, and backsliders hare iciatacd with confessions, 
IiyqiUutt, and tear?. I hare been surprised daring this 
revival to find popular pafl&JBUM of religion its want 
fflifmiP^ What a shocking inconsistency it is for people 
to pray for ufianiilinn in foreign countries, and fight the 
work of God at their own doors ; to BCihia latii funds 
for die conversion of the htaftffi, and five and act worse 
than heathens themselves. In the present age, the oppo 
sition of the infidel, dnmiau^ and profime, is modest when 
compared with the wrath and ccngtaxec of popular pro- 



He speaks of Rev. Asa C. Morrison as greatly 
eeoBsful in Salem, Ohio ; of Elder Hodget, as har- 



ing witnessed m large revival during his three amntamf 
sojourn in the Province of Upper Canada. " I have 
found it duty on many accounts," he adds, ^ to ad 
journ my southern journey tfll next fidL" In Royal- 
ion, be continued to remain, where, assisted for about 
three weeks by the labors of Elder Levi Hathaway, 
he saw many converted. Writing from that place, he 
says: 



* The first day of the present year was 
to us at Boyahon. I gave a sermon appropriate to the 
occasion ; the number and attention were great, and At 
samts had a satisfiu^ory evidence that the Lord was about 
to revive his work, and many spoke in a feeling manner. 
Several young people requested prayers, and at the close 
of the meeting I requested afl who would covenant together 
and live anew for God the present year and pray for each 



268 MEMOIR OF 

other fervently, to come forward and join hands ; about 
forty came with melting hearts. I then called for those 
who were resolved to set out the present year to seek 
salvation, to come into the circle and kneel ; I think five 
came forward. We had a solemn and glorious time in 
prayer, and felt the sweetest influence of the Good Spirit 
while we sang, 

" From whence doth this union arise, 
That hatred is conquered by love ? " 

" By request of Mrs. Wiley (a woman in the last stage 
of consumption, but recently converted), I preached two 
sermons in her room. The season was solemn and glorious. 
Many spoke, and she declared that she could now rely on 
the promises, and trust in the Great Redeemer. As she 
drew near her end, her faith grew stronger. Just before 
she expired her husband heard her whisper ; he asked her 
what she said, to which she pleasantly replied, I was not 
speaking to you ; I was talking with my God/ Oh, how 
triumphant was the death of this good woman, and with 
what solemn pleasure could we follow her to the grave ! 
It is far more pleasant to me to preach at funerals of 
converts than to have them live and backslide from God, 
and wound the precious cause." 

" On the third day of February we met for the organi 
zation of a religious society according to law ; at the close 
of the business, a young man who sat on the back seat 
sent for me to come to him ; he had many days been under 
serious conviction. He said that he should like to speak 
if there was liberty. He then arose and told what God 
had done for his soul. February 20 was a day of the 
Mediator s power; the congregation was large, solemn 
and attentive. At the close we repaired to the water, 
which is but a short distance from our meeting-house, 
where I baptized the bodies of twelve happy souls. I led 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 269 

into the water at once six young men ; and when I had 
baptized ten, a young man who had not cqjne forward, 
passed through the crowd and proposed to his wife to join 
him ; they took each other by the hand and came into the 
water together. This was one of the most pleasant scenes 
I ever saw. The saints praised their God aloud, and 
many of the congregation wept." 

Sometimes it has been customary among sects to 
measure the power of a religious faith by the strength 
and joy it imparts in the dying hour, which certainly 
is bringing the reality to a solemn test. Judging by 
this standard, and from almost innumerable instances, 
the faith inspired by the labors of Mr. B. and his 
associates was a strong spiritual power, holding the 
element of triumph in the last, low hour ; for not un- 
frequently did the departing spirit rise to a calm and 
joyful enthusiasm as the rays of the eternal morning 
began to fall upon their inward vision. 

June 1825 finds Mr. Badger actively engaged in 
organizing a plan for an evangelizing ministry, an idea 
he had previously recommended in his correspond 
ence, and in his address to the Conference, as the 
best means, at that time, for promoting the life and 
success of the churches. A full report was made on 
his suggestion, and with his assistance such a ministry 
was appointed for the year, of which he was, with four 
others, a member. Perhaps an extract from this 
address, delivered at Byron, Genesee County, N. Y.j 
June 24, may more perfectly give his views. 

" Furthermore, my brethren, to facilitate the union and 
prosperity of this Conference, let every church within its 



270 MEMOIR OF 

boundaries be advised to represent themselves by delegates 
and form a gart of the Conference. Let every church be 
considered as under the care of individual ministers whom 
they may elect, or under the care of a travelling ministry 
which may be organized by this Conference. I here call 
your attention to a subject of the first magnitude. On a 
travelling connection, in my opinion, much is depending ; 
and indeed I see no other way for our numerous vacant 
congregations to be supplied. Then as many preachers as 
feel it to be their duty to devote their whole time to travel 
ling must be sanctioned by this body, and divide themselves 
into districts or circuits, as will best commode the local 
state of the churches. Their support must be received if 
possible from the congregations of their care ; if not, a 
Conference Fund must supply them, that they be per 
fectly independent and devoted to their work. By this 
method, poor as well as wealthy congregations will have a 
stated ministry. But be assured that the organization of 
a Conference Fund will be the mainspring to give energy 
to the whole plan, without which all our calculations are 
but castles in the air." 

Whilst we have this excellent address in hand we 
cannot dismiss it without quoting a few more lines, par 
ticularly as they show the views and state of things at 
that time. He begins thus : 

li My Fathers and Brethren in the Ministry : I con 
sider myself highly honored to be called to speak in this 
meeting of delegates and ministers, which I deem one of 
the most enlightened bodies of men on earth. When I re 
flect on the name you espouse, the sound doctrine you in 
culcate, the Christian liberty you enjoy, and the reforma 
tions that have everywhere attended you for twenty years 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 271 

past, I am justified in the sight of God and men in 
congratulating you as a favored and an enlightened 
people." 

" Though you have been called to face the storm of per 
secution in every step you have taken ; though many of 
you have sacrificed both property and health for the cause, 
you have the pleasure of reflecting that your labors have 
not been unsuccessful, and that the cause in which you 
suffer is good, and will eventually triumph over everything 
unlike to God. The persecution you experience, I consider 
a clear evidence that you are the people of God, and are 
useful to his cause. When the time comes that we bear 
no decided testimony against error and sin, then there will 
be no reformation to attend our labors, and no persecution 
will be seen. But I pray God that such a time may never 
come." 

" You take the Holy Scriptures for your rule of faith 
and practice. This is all sufficient, and far preferable to 
the numerous taw-books which designing creed-makers 
have imposed on the disciples of Christ. You reject all 
party names, and take upon yourselves the name given by 
Christ to his disciples in the New Testament. This is 
highly commendable, and if we are Christians in name, 
spirit, and practice, we are what we should be, and what 
all denominations profess to be." 

" Your church government establishes liberty and equal 
ity through all the flock of God. Every church has an 
equal right to a voice in this body. Here ministers and 
people stand upon the level, and there is none to lord it 
over God s heritage. We here confer on the welfare and 
prosperity of the whole, and take sweet counsel together. I 
consider your dissent from several popular errors as a great 
virtue ; though it exposes you to much persecution, it will 
lay the foundation for your prosperity. In government 



272 MEMOIR OF 

you discard all monarchy and aristocracy, "which princi 
ples have been the ruin and overthrow of many sects and 
kingdoms. In theology you dissent from the cold and 
chilling doctrines of Calvinism. You reject the mysterious 
doctrine of the Trinity as inconsistent. This is a bold step, 
yet your ground is tenable, and it defies the assault of the 
most learned. The doctrine of the Trinity, which has 
kindled such deplorable contentions throughout the Chris 
tian world, is of human origin, and was brought into the 
Church in the fourth century. There is no sentiment in 
theology more contested than it. In Europe the contro 
versy is conducted with great ability, but the Unitarian 
cause is fast gaining. In England, four hundred congre 
gations have rejected it ; in America, several colleges and 
many of the principal men of the Union have discarded it. 
I am informed that the lion. John Quincy Adams, the 
President of the United States, is a bold Unitarian, and 
is valiant for the truth. In this country, the alarm which 
Trinitarians manifest, the precaution they take, and the 
combination of different sects on this subject, are sure proof 
of the weakness of their cause, and though we now hear 
the cry from every Trinitarian church in the land, Great 
is Diana, Great is Diana, be assured that her temple 
totters, her pillars are shattered, and this" idol must, ere 
long, fall like Dagon before the Ark of God. It lays the 
foundation of Deism, is the first argument of the Jew, the 
Pagan, the Mohammedan and the Infidel against the Chris 
tian religion." 

"A cold, formal, spiritless worship must also be rejected. 
A fashionable conformity to anti-Christian practices would 
give us the applause of men, but not the approbation of God 
and our own consciences. Let that preaching which is the 
most spiritual receive your most cordial approbation, and 
let the saints in all our congregations be encouraged to 
improve their gifts." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 273 

" It will also be well to keep up a friendly correspond 
ence with other Conferences. For this purpose, let our 
clerk be instructed to officiate as corresponding secretary, 
that we may act in the light of the whole body. As we 
are more nearly allied to the Eastern Conference in this 
State than to any other, I recommend to have one delegate 
appointed every year to sit with them, that our business 
may be conducted in harmony. As our churches are ex 
tending to Georgia on the South, to Maine on the East, 
and to Canada on the North, it must always keep this 
State as the centre of the connection, and we have grounds 
to anticipate much from a correspondence between our 
brethren of the North and the South. There are now 
about one hundred ministers in the Eastern and "West 
ern Conferences ; but when I came into this country 
eight years ago, there was not over ten or twelve free 
preachers in the State, and many of our present number 
were then strangers to God. We now have nine or ten 
convenient meeting-houses built by our own people, besides 
many others which have become free. Three temples of 
worship at least are being built this year within the bounds 
of these Conferences ; one in the city of New York, 
where Simon dough is laboring with success ; one at 
Bloomfield, one at Salem, Ohio, and several congregations 
are preparing to build another year. Although we have 
witnessed so much prosperity, our work is just begun. 
Never did we witness such a time as the present. The 
cry, Come over and help us, is now heard from all parts, 
and did you, my brethren, ever witness such throngs to 
attend upon your ministry as now ? Did you ever know 
such a general inquiry for light and liberty ? Truly the 
fields are all white and ready to harvest. My aged breth 
ren, as you look upon the young men by your side who 
have" devoted their juvenile years to God, and have just 
12* 



274 MEMOIR OF 

entered upon the great and arduous duties of the ministry, 
let every power within you rejoice that you have lived to 
see this good day, that you behold the evidence that the 
ranks will yet be filled, when you and I shall sleep in death. 
And you, my young brethren, look upon your fathers in the 
ministry, who have spent their time, property, and health 
in publishing salvation to sinners ; view with reverence 
those venerable heads which have become hoary in the 
way of righteousness, and be stimulated by their example 
to end your days in honor of the sacred cause you have 
espoused. May you have many souls as the seals of your 
ministry, and hereafter shine as stars of the firmament for 
ever and ever ! " 

Immediately Mr. Badger began to fulfil his part of 
the duties devolving on the newly appointed ministry. 
Between July 13th and August 9th, he travelled four 
hundred and sixty-five miles, preached twenty-one 
sermons, and baptized thirteen persons ; between 
August 12th and 31st, he journeyed three hundred 
and fifty-seven miles, attended twenty-one meetings, 
preached at Covington, N. Y., at the ordination of 
Rev. Elisha Beardsley, on the 21st, from Rev. 10 : 
10 ; and from this period to September the 24th, the 
time of his departure for his western and southern 
tour, the days and evenings were industriously used 
in his mission, completing in all nine hundred and 
sixty-six miles from July 13t!i. As Mr. Badger pub 
lished hasty sketches of his tour from this time, in the 
" Gospel Luminary," I shall occasionally .quote his 
printed paragraphs. He heads his notes of travel 
with the scripture injunction, "Gather up the frag 
ments that nothing be lost" and with a rapidity that 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 275 

neither knew nor cared for elaboration, he threw off 
the descriptions of the scenes and events that lay in 
his way. Also two or three small blank books ac 
curately narrate every mile he travelled, every town 
he entered, every sermon he preached, and every far 
thing he expended. Such was his accustomed order. 
These memorandums are sometimes prefaced with 
significant mottoes ; on one is the text, "Keep thyself 
pure;" on another, and perhaps, indicative of the 
rough and various treatment the travelling missiona 
ry is sometimes liable to receive, are the words of 
Johnson : 

" Of all the griefs that harass the distressed, 
Sure the most bitter is the scornful jest ; 
Fate never wounds more deep the generous heart, 
Than when the blockhead s insult points the dart." 

Also from Gray : 



" He gave to misery all he had, a tear, 
He gained from heaven ( twas all he wished) a friend." 

" Studious alone to learn whate er may tend 
To raise the genius or the heart amend." 

Narrating his course to the readers of the Lumina 
ry, he says : 

" I left home September 24, accompanied by my wife, 
Mr. Chapin, and several other friends, for the general 
meeting at Chili, where we arrived in the evening. Here 
I met eight of my brethren in the ministry. Our inter 
view was agreeably interesting, and the parting to me 
uncommonly solemn. The general meeting, so far as I 
could discern, was very satisfactory. The assembly was 
large, solemn, and attentive ; the preaching was power- 



276 MEMOIR OF 

ful and interesting, and the accommodations good. "We 
leave the event with God. On our way to Royalton, I 
preached once in Clarkson, and once in Gaines. At Roy 
alton, I met thirteen ministers of the everlasting Gospel, 
all of whom appeared to have the good of souls at heart, 
and love to the great and honorable work in which they 
were engaged. Brothers Church, Chapin, Beardsley, 
Shaw, Hathaway, Whitcomb, Blodget and Hamilton, 
all spoke to good satisfaction, and the multitude could 
say, our place was no less than the house of God, and 
the very gate of heaven. In conference, we received 
Francis Hamilton as a fellow-laborer. He gave two 
appropriate discourses, and I hope will be useful among 
us." 

(t October 3, our company, consisting of twelve per 
sons, visited Niagara Falls, to view the stupendous and 
sublime works of nature. We lodged four or five miles 
up the river from the Falls. On walking out in the even 
ing, the scene was peculiarly grand. Whilg nature 
around was hushed, the never-ceasing roar of- the stu 
pendous cataract brought to my mind important reflec 
tions on several passages of Scripture. The next day, 
visited Black Rock and Buffalo ; at twelve, the solemn, 
memorable hour arrived when our little company must be 
separated. Language is too poor to describe my feelings 
as I gave my wife, and six young people who were to 
accompany her return, the parting hand. Every heart 
felt more than words express ; but, as all the company 
have lively hopes of immortality, we can look forward to 
a world where parting can never come. 

How soothing is the thought, and sweet ! 

But for a while we bid adieu ; 
With welcome smiles again to meet, 
And all our social joys renew. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 277 

" Our company now consists of five, L. Hathaway and 
wife, Jesse E. Church, and Asa Chapin. The two last 
are valuable young men, and bid fair to be useful in the 
great work of the ministry." 

From Buffalo, Mr. Badger and his company pro 
ceeded along the shore of Lake Erie, following a 
lonesome road to the town of Pomfret, Chautaque 
County, N. Y., where he commenced a general meet 
ing, October 8 ; nine clergymen were in attendance, 
and much good influence was manifest. 

Writing from Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio, 
under date of October 31, 1825, he says : 

" In Chautaque County, I was delighted with three 
curiosities in nature. 1. A small spring* is found in 
Fredonia, which affords a sufficient quantity of gas to 
light the whole village with very little expense. It is 
delightful to see, in a land which, a few years ago, was a 
wilderness, nature and arfc majestically united. 2. A 
larger growth of timber is found here than I have ever 
seen before. I saw the stump of a tree, on which I was 
informed that sixteen men had stood at once. We meas 
ured a chestnut tree which was dry, and had lost its bark ; 
three feet from the ground, it was nine feet and five 
inches through. 3. I was made acquainted with a young 
lady who is remarkably gifted in poetry. A few years 
since, Joseph Baily found her in a poor log-hut, portray 
ing her charming effusions on the margins of old news 
papers. On his stating the subject to some Christian 
friends, they sent her a quire of paper, which she wrote 
over in a short time, and returned it, to their admiration 

* This spring emits carbureted hydrogen gas. It has not only 
lighted the apartments of the citizens, but has been used in cooking. 



278 MEMOIR OF 

and astonishment. She and her husband both enjoy 
religion. Many a brilliant soul is now breathing in soft 
and lively emotions in remote wildernesses, and many a 
precious pearl is buried in the rubbish of poverty and 
ignorance." 

From Pomfret he visited North East, in Pennsyl 
vania ; gave two sermons, and spent a day in Con 
ference business ; thence to Salem, Ohio, where they 
were joyfully received by Col. Fifield, with whom Mr. 
B. had been acquainted in Vermont, eleven years 
before. There they met Rev. Asa C. Morrison, then 
a vigorous and efficient preacher, now a citizen of the 
unknown spheres ; there they enjoyed a large atten 
dance, gave seven sermons, and Mr. Badger bestows 
uncommon praise on the discourse given by Mr. Hath 
away, on " the subject of enthusiasm, fanaticism, false 
zeal and delusion." Leaving Salem on the morning of 
the 18th, where one of the young men of his company 
concluded to remain, (J. E. Church,) he proceeded 
on his journey through Pains ville, at the mouth of 
Grand River, Cleaveland, Brunswick, Medina and 
Westfield to Canaan Centre, where he held a general 
meeting, in which several denominations united Pres 
byterians, Methodists, Baptists, and a denomination 
who styled themselves the United Brethren ; at this 
time Mr. James Miles was ordained to the work of 
the ministry. " This to me," says Mr. Badger, " was 
an interesting case, as he was a young man whom I 
dearly loved, and one that I many years before bap 
tized in the Province of Lower Canada ; he is the 
seventh that I have baptized who have been ordained 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 279 

as ministers of the Gospel. We left Canaan on the 
26th ; had a pleasant journey through Wooster, and 
reached Mt. Yernon on the evening of the 27th, and 
were joyfully received by Elder James Smith and 
family. He is an able minister of the New Testament 
and a respectable citizen." At this place he met 
several ministers from the Southern States, some of 
hoary hairs, who were giving the remnant of their 
days to preaching the Gospel. Here Mr. Badger and 
Mr. Hathaway gave three sermons each, to a people 
who were anxious to hear and learn more of the truth 
which belongs to the great theme of human salvation 
through the Crucified One. 

His next sketching dates at Cincinnati, Ohio, De 
cember 25, 1325 : 

"The wise and prudent conquer difficulties 
By daring to attempt them ; sloth and folly 
Shiver and shrink at sight of toil and danger, 
And make the impossibility they fear." 

" SIR, On leaving our good friends at Mount Vernon, 
on the first day of November, the parting was affecting ; 
we had been treated with great attention ; we had here 
preached the word to the crowded assembly ; had seen 
the sinner in tears trembling under the word ; and the 
very place where we were assembled appeared like holy 
ground. We were conducted to Dublin, on the Sciota 
river, by our worthy friend, Elder Marvin, who has two 
sons who are preachers of the Gospel. At Sciota, met 
Elder Brittan and a large assembly ; gave two sermons ; 
Elder M. baptized one happy convert." 

i 

November 3d, he speaks of arriving at Derby 
Plains, where he preached five sermons, and saw the 



280 MEMOIR OP 

ruinous effects of the strange delusion into which a 
Mr. Douglas Farnum, formerly from New England, 
had involved himself and many others ; a delusion 
that strove to ignore the common rules of social 
morality, and to find a direct revelation from Heaven 
in every impulse of the heart and mind. Though 
excluded from the people of his earlier association, he 
held a few deluded persons by his views, until self- 
destruction scattered them and left their names a 
reproach to virtue. Their leader, after running this 
singular career, died, confessing, however, many past 
errors and wrongs. 

""When a people," says Mr. B., " deviate in their zeal 
from the rules of decency, when they lay aside the Scrip 
ture, substitute imagination as a foundation for their action, 
and call every impulse of the mind an immediate revelation 
from God, I expect they will sink their characters in dis 
grace, and come to a miserable end. I visited the 
vacated village where he and his followers had joined in 
the merry dance, and felt a kind of horror, like that 
which once seized the thinking soul of a Volney at the 
ruins of Palmyra." 

" In Clark County, at the head waters of the Little 
Miami, we had good meetings, were kindly entertained 
by Charles Arther, and had agreeable intercourse with 
Elder Isaac N. Walters, a young man about twenty years 
of age, who bids fair to be useful. At Pleasant town 
ship, Madison County, we were kindly received by Far- 
gis Graham, a man fifty-seven years of age, who had just 
returned from a preaching tour of six weeks in^Indiana ; 
he had a good journey, and felt encouraged. I surveyed 
with admiration his gray hairs, his smiles and tears, 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 281 

while he gave an account of his journey. He visited the 
poor cabins in the wilderness, lay on the ground in the 
great prairie, where the wolves were howling around 
him, and passed through hunger and fatigue, but found 
God to be with him. His spacious plantation at home, 
on which he has more than one hundred head of cattle, 
besides other stock in proportion, reminded me. of the 
ancient possessions of Abraham, Lot, and Jacob. He 
does much for the cause, and has long been one of its 
ornaments and faithful ministers." 

Messrs. Badger, Hathaway and Chapin, paused 
awhile at Williamsport, Pickaway County, where they 
gave seven sermons, and received the kind attentions 
of Rev. George Alkire, of whom he speaks in very 
respectful terms. Holding meetings in Platt and 
Highland Counties, he parted with Mr. H. on the 19th, 
who travelled to Cincinnati via Kentucky, and passed 
ten days with Rev. M. Gardner, in whose congrega 
tions he attended sixteen meetings and preached to 
large and respectable assemblies. At Ripley, Brown 
County, he formed the acquaintance of Hon. E. Camp 
bell, who had many years been a member of the 
United States Senate ; of him and his father-in-law, 
Mr. Dunlap, a native of Virginia, and among the 
first settlers of Kentucky, a man who had emancipated 
thirty slaves and applied his own hands to labor, he 
speaks in honoring terms. " His colored people," 
says Mr. B., " still flock around him as their bene 
factor, and love him as their best friend on earth." 

" On the 2.9th of November, I reached this pleasant 
city. Here, and in the adjoining country, I have had 



282 MEMOIR OF 

glorious times, an account of which you may expect in 
my next number. I have succeeded in obtaining a his 
tory of the churches and conferences in the west and 
south beyond my expectations. The preachers appear 
friendly, and willing to lend every possible assistance. I 
shall be able, in a few weeks, to give your readers a gen 
eral representation of the state of things west of the 
Alleghany mountains, in which vast extent of country 
are many thousands of happy Christians who renounce 
all party creeds and names, and, with their naked Bibles 
in hand, are rejoicing in the hope of immortality." 

The next dates Kipley, 0., January 12, 1826. Our 
journalist says : 

" The prejudice*, customs, ways, manners, and opin 
ions of men, how various ! But these are not the fruit 
of nature or grace, but the products of education. Na 
ture and grace are the same in every country, and vary 
only in form and degree. 

" Cincinnati is a beautiful city, situated on the north 
bank of the great Ohio river, and has a population of 
about 15,000 souls. It is surrounded, on the east, north 
and west, by hills, except the narrow but rich valley of 
Mill Creek, which makes its way through from the north. 
Its location is dry, healthy, and truly romantic. Its 
streets are wide and pleasant, and its buildings elegant, 
in eastern style. The manners of the people are a com 
pound of southern politeness and generosity, and of east 
ern refinement, taste, and simplicity. The civility of 
every class of people, down to the teamster and carman, 
exceeds that of any city I ever visited. The market, for 
neatness and variety, is equal to any in America, and its 
price only about one-half that of Montreal, Boston, and 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 283 

New York. The city council are making great improve 
ments, and the city if fast populating. Its climate is 
mild and agreeable, and, as it is near the centre of Amer 
ican settlements, I know not what it may yet become" 

Such was the Queen City in 1825. The state of 
religion there he describes as low, " if," says he, " we 
speak of experimental religion ; many have profes 
sion, form and name, but we shall come short of 
heaven without something more." He speaks of Mr. 
Burk, a popular Methodist minister, as having re 
nounced Episcopacy and taken with him a large con 
gregation, as being so far illuminated as to " see men 
as trees walking ; " Mr. Badger quotes the words of 
Franklin " Where there is no contradiction there is 
no light," as applying well to agitations of this sort. 
Of the new reformers among the Baptists, he speaks 
as follows : 

" The Baptists in Cincinnati, also, have had revivals, 
but among them exists a great commotion, and a large 
congregation join with those in Kentucky and Virginia 
in the general dissent from creeds. Dr. Fishback, of 
Kentucky, and Alexander Campbell, of Virginia, are the 
champions in this cause. They oppose sectarian bond 
age with considerable ability and success. Mr. Camp 
bell is truly a man of war, and acts the part of a Peter 
with his drawn sword ; but, whether they will have humil 
ity, grace, and pure religion enough to revive the an 
cient order of things " in the original spirit and simpli 
city of the Gospel, or whether they will be laborious 
architects of their own fame, remains for their future con 
duct to prove." 



284 MEMOIR OF 

In Preble County, fifty miles north of Cincinnati, 
Mr. B. preached several sermons at Eaton, the county 
seat ; the sheriff of the county was his chorister and 
host, whose house, owing to the good order of the 
country, was destitute of a prisoner ; the rooms 
usually occupied by criminals being now used to 
keep the earth s productions. On the authority of 
two ministers and several other persons who wero 
eye-witnesses, Mr. Badger relates that he spoke in 
the house where, in 1821, during a great reformation, 
Jacob Woodard, a Deist, was struck dead by an 
unseen power while in the act of forcing his wife out 
of the meeting ; that he never breathed or struggled 
after he fell a phenomenon that belongs to many 
other marvellous instances of nearly inexplicable events 
we have heard of in connection with the earlier re 
ligious revivals in Ohio. Mr. Badger thoroughly ex 
plored that State, and with great satisfaction visited 
Kentucky. Indeed, the easy and courteous manners 
of Mr. Badger, his happy extemporaneous gifts, his 
love of society and generous sentiments, peculiarly 
adapted him to the admiration and acceptance of the 
South. Of Rev. B. W. Stone and lady, he speaks in 
the most exalted terms ; and, whatever may have be en 
the speculative differences between Mr. Stone and his 
brethren in later years, all must unite in one conces 
sion to the soundness of his learning, the clearness of 
his criticisms, and in what is eternally above all other 
things, the beauty and excellence of his Christian 
character. Mr. B. now returned home to Mendon, 
Ontario* County, New York, and further narrates the 

* Then all the towns east of the Genesee, in this section, were in 
Ontario County ; Monroe County was not then formed. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 285 

particulars of his adventures. He surveys with grate- 
ul pleasure the scenes he has witnessed, the kind 
nesses he has received, the new acquaintances and 
friends he had gained; and from experience and 
observation he was prepared to speak in the most 
friendly terms of his brethren in the south and west, 
and the tidings he brought when formally announced 
was, to use the language of Mr. Millard, " received 
with much joy." The brethren of the West were 
reported as having no creed but the Bible, and they 
" wear no name but such as the Scriptures authorize, 
that they uniformly believe in the simple doctrine that 
there is ONE GOD, the CREATOR, ONE JESUS, the 
Redeemer, ONE HOLY GHOST, the Sanctifier ; " that 
they generally favor the preexistence of Christ, re 
garding the Socinian view of him as derogatory to the 
character of the Christian religion. 

" Free salvation," says Mr. B., " is sounded through 
all their congregations, and Gospel liberty is the key-note 
of every song. No point of doctrine is made a criterion 
of fellowship, but Christian fellowship rests alone on the 
true bias of spirit and practice. They are simple, un 
assuming, and spiritual in their preaching and worship ; 
the labor of the ministers is to make their hearers good : 
a great share of singing and prayer is interspersed through 
their meetings. For twenty years they have been in the 
way of holding camp-meetings, but the practice is fast 
declining, though in many cases good has resulted from 
them. Our brethren in the west and south are as well 
supplied with preachers as our churches are in the east, 
if not better, preachers who are acquainted with the 
manners of the people, and are in a capacity to do much 
more good than eastern men can do among them." 



286 MEMOIR OF 

Under date of April 1, 1826, Mr. Badger gives a 
very lengthy, interesting, and we should judge faithful 
account of his visit in Ohio and Kentucky, of the 
proceedings of a Conference in each of those States, 
convened for the purpose of receiving and answering 
his message for the east ; both of which were hearty 
in their responses of friendship, and both furnished 
him with materials for giving their true history to their 
brethren of the east and north. He speaks of three 
denominational centres, which he thinks the future 
will witness, each having a periodical and a book-store 
connected with it, Cincinnati the centre for the west, 
New York for the east, and some place in one of the 
Carolinas for the south. From Rev. William Kinkade, 
that able, strong-minded and heroic divine, who had 
served his country in legislative councils, and humanity 
by his ministry, Mr. Badger received a strong letter, 
giving an account of the rise and growth of the Chris 
tian Conference on the Wabash, of one in Indiana, and 
touching on some of the larger points of primitive faith. 
He says : 

" While it gives me great pleasure to hear from you 
that primitive Christianity is reviving in the east, I hope 
you will be no less pleased to hear of its success in the 
west. This vast country, which was lately a howling 
wilderness, now blossoms as the rose. On the big and 
little Wabash, which is still the haunt of savage men and 
wild beasts, there are now large churches of happy Chris 
tians. Along the Ambarrass and Bumpass, where twelve 
years ago little else was heard but the howling of wolves, 
the hooting of owls, the fierce screams of panthers and the 
fiercer screams of wild Indians, painted for war and thirst- 



KEY. JOSEPH BADGEK. 287 

ing for human blood, are now heard the songs of Zion, the 
sound of prayer, and the voice of peace and pardon through 
a Redeemer. Among us the demon intolerance has been 
exposed in its multifarious character, and banished from 
the congregation of the faithful. Ignorance has given way 
to investigation ; and love and union are daily triumphing 
over prejudice and partyism. But still I see, I feel, I 
lament a great want of that holiness and divine power 
which characterized the followers of Jesus in the first ages 
of Christianity." 

" It is the word of God alone," said these stout, 
honest-hearted men of Ohio, when assembled " the 
word of God alone, on which the Church of Christ will 
finally settle, build and grow into a holy temple of 
the Lord." Mr. Badger, after taking a list of the 
names of ministers in Kentucky and Ohio, and with a 
characteristic orderly minuteness, ascertained the num 
ber of churches and of meeting-houses they erected, 
the names of such as had died in the active duties of 
the ministry, returned home, rich in the benedic 
tions of the regions he had visited, and with the re 
solve at some other season to penetrate the south 
further than he yet had gone. Perhaps the good im 
pressions made on his mind by these journeys may be 
plead in conjunction with the wide sympathies of his 
nature, and the well-balanced cast of his intellect, as 
the reason why in all his life he was uncontrolled by 
local prejudice, and it may be a part of the reason why, 
that to him, and to the cause of free and Apostolical 
Christianity which he represented, there was no east, 
no west, no north, no south, as forming any limit to 
his friendly regards and Christian fellowship. At Cin- 



288 MEMOIR OF 

cinnati he gathered the few who held to like faith into 
a convenient place of worship, made arrangements with 
ministers for their supply, and before his return a 
general Conference was agreed upon at Cincinnati the 
last of October, 1826. 

June 23d, at the Annual Session of the New York 
Western Christian Conference, he was, with Rev. A 
C. Morrison, appointed a messenger to the United 
States Conference, to be holden at Windham, Ct., the 
first days of September, where among the responsible 
trusts committed to him, was that of acting as their 
messenger at the autumnal assemblage of delegates and 
ministers who were to convene at Cincinnati. From 
April to August of this year, Mr. Badger was con 
stantly engaged in the vicinity of home ; at South Lima 
additions were made, the assembly was large ; the 
society at Royalton he consigned to the care of Rev. 
E. Shaw, an able minister of the New Testament. 
August 1 8th, he visited New York city where he stayed 
two Sabbaths, and spoke to increasing assemblies. His 
remarks on the commotion and dissent which at that 
time appeared among the Friends under the preaching 
of Elias Hix, his close and practical analysis of the 
state of society in New York city, though interesting, 
we must pass by ; also his remarks on the general 
meetings he attended at Beekman and Milan, Dutchess 
County, and of one at Canaan, Columbia County, N. Y. 
Something tragical developed under his four sermons 
at Beekman. A minister of another sect, who had 
violently opposed the people and sentiments to which 
Mr. Badger belonged, was observed to weep much 
under his discourse, and afterwards was heard to say 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 289 

that it was the truth of God, and that none could deny 
it the same night he went into a grove near his resi 
dence, and hung himself. 

In Columbia County, Mr. Badger became acquainted 
with the venerable old minister, John Leland, of whom 
the world has heard much, a man then between seventy 
and eighty years old, but possessing the brilliancy of 
youth. Though local at the time, he said that his 
travels as a minister would measure three times around 
the globe. From Rev. Mr. Gardner, a prominent 
minister in Ohio, Mr. B. received these lines of in 
vitation : " A second visit from yourself in this country 
will be well received. Our hearts and our houses are 
open to receive you, and many are inquiring, When 
will he return ? " Rev. Mr. Adams also writes : 
" The friends remember you with affection ; they have 
not forgotten your sermons and good counsels ; they 
are anxious to receive another visit from you, and think 
that you would do much good in this country. I am 
confident there is not a society you visited here but 
would unite in inviting you to return." Several such 
invitations were kindly showered upon him. He did 
return. We may ask where were his idle days ? It 
was one of his chosen maxims that " an idle person is 
the devil s playfellow." In all these labors we see a 
spirit that surveys the general interest, plans for the 
general good, and leads along easily the minds of 
others into the possession of his own views and feelings. 
In the southern and western journey, narrated in this 
chapter, there were revivals in almost every place he 
visited, as we learn not only from his own journal, but 
more particularly from other and reliable sources. 
13 



290 MEMOIR OF 

His second tour through Ohio and Kentucky, in 
which he renewed and greatly enlarged his acquain 
tance, gave him a still larger estimate of the success 
of liberal principles in the west and south. By the 
advices of the best informed ministers, he learned that 
the account he had published the previous spring in 
relation to the number of ministers and brethren in the 
west was much too small, and that, using his own lan 
guage, " it is a safe and moderate calculation to say, 
that in the several Conferences situate in Ohio, In 
diana, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, and 
Kentucky, there are three hundred preachers and fif 
teen thousand brethren. They all worship ONE GOD 
IN ONE PERSON, and have NO CREED BUT THEIR 
BIBLE." He says : 

" I have again passed through the lofty forests and 
beautiful plains of Ohio ; have seen the herds of wild deer 
sporting on the lovely prairie ; have heard the screams of 
the fierce wolf, and have turned aside from these romantic 
beauties and terrors of nature to the wigwam of the sav 
age to hear the praises of the Redeemer. Also, I have 
again visited the pleasant land of Kentucky ; have seen 
the smiles of the convert, the tears of mourners, and have 
joined in worship with thousands of happy Christians in 
the west who are rejoicing in hope of immortality. 

" It is now a more general time of reformation in the 
west than has been witnessed for many years past. At 
Dublin, Elder Isaac N. Walters has been very successful 
in winning souls to Christ. In Elder Alkire s vicinity 
the churches have received large additions of late. In 
Elder Gardner s congregations the number was increasing, 
and a new church had been organized within a few weeks. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER, 291 

In Elder Rogers s neighborhood some sixty or seventy 
were hopefully converted ; and from Elders Simonton, 
Vickers, Kyle and Miles I heard a good report. In Ken 
tucky the prospect has not been so good as it now is for 
many years. News from the west part of Virginia, and 
east of Tennessee, by Elder William Lane, was very 
refreshing. Sectarianism there is fast falling. In Ala 
bama the Lord is doing wonders, and the knowledge of 
one God is fast increasing ; in those regions he has raised 
up many able advocates for his pure doctrines. In Ken 
tucky, my interview with the preachers, brethren and 
friends was very agreeable, and their kindness and friend 
ship can never be forgotten by me. A message was sent 
to me by order of the church at Georgetown, seventy 
miles distant, inviting me to visit them. In Ohio, my 
visit was everywhere received with joy. At Cincinnati, 
the congregation was large and the prospect is good. Our 
friends there will probably build a brick meeting-house 
for the worship of ONE GOD in ONE PERSON, in the course 
of next summer. 

" Since July I have travelled about three thousand 
miles, and attended about one hundred meetings. My 
present tour has been attended with more fatigues than 
any journey I have ever performed. My preaching has 
been constant ; and after meeting I have many times been 
constrained to engage in debate in which I have continued 
until morning. I have had to preach many sermons on 
disputed subjects, one at Cincinnati of three hours length ; 
though I had opponents present, they made no reply ; one 
at Dublin of more than two hours ; eight preachers pres 
ent, but no reply ; one at Richfield of two hours. God 
has stood by me in all my conflicts thus far, and many 
instances of his mercy have I witnessed of late. I have 
been once overturned in a stage, and in Kentucky I fell 



292 MEMOIR OF 

from my horse ; in both instances narrowly escaped 
death." 

In Columbiana County, the two colleagues of Mr. 
Badger, L. Hathaway and Asa Chapin, met a great 
excess of enthusiasm in public worship, against which 
they directed the cooler power of reason ; and it seems 
that a strong paragraph in Mr. Badger s printed jour 
nal, in which he sharply and most independently re 
proved (as he always did under such circumstances) 
disorder and fanaticism in the house of God, caused 
a lengthy, explanatory, and complaining reply, to 
which Mr. B. very ably responded. Speaking of the 
one who had led the way in this wild enthusiasm, and 
whom he regarded as having been egotistically un 
pleasant to his colleagues, he applies the words of 
Johnson : 

"Fate never wounds more deep the generous heart, 
Than when the BLOCKHEAD S insult points the dart." 

At a meeting of the General Conference held at 
West Bloomfield, September 7, 1827, a resolution of 
hearty approval was passed in relation to what Mr. 
Badger had done for uniting the different branches of 
the Christian connection, east, west and south, and ex 
pressive of much gratification in the news obtained of 
the churches west of the Alleghanies. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 293 

CHAPTER XV. 

MINISTRY AT BOSTON. 

IT is evident from what has already been developed 
in the character and public life of Joseph Badger, that 
his sympathies were extensive, that the cause which he 
always avowed to be dearer than life was everywhere 
a sacred unit, its wants being near, though located in 
a distant region. Some men root so firmly in particu 
lar locality, that no considerations ever draw them to 
meet the emergencies of a distant post. Though strong 
in certain local attachments, though firmly persuaded 
of the value and necessity of permanent pastors, he 
believed in the utility of an evangelizing ministry for 
destitute places, for the breaking of new ground, and 
was ready at any time to hear the Macedonian cry, 
" Come over and help us." 

The Christian Church in Boston, constituted July 
1st, 1804, under the ministry of the venerable Abner 
Jones, whose preaching in 1803 in the Baptist churches 
of that town was attended by one of the greatest revi 
vals ever known in that community, was, in the year 
1826, left without a stated ministry, owing to the re 
moval of their pastor, Rev. Charles Morgridge, to New 
Bedford, for the purpose of taking the pastoral charge 
of theJPurchase street church in that city. Their po 
sition at this time was very critical. Though they had 
succeeded in building a commodious house of worship, 
they were, from the nature of their sentiments, somewhat 



294 MEMOIR OF 

unpopular in a city where the Calvinistic theology had not 
as yet fully learned the lessons of becoming humility ; 
and also were they embarrassed by the influence of Dr. 
Elias Smith, whose popular eloquence was at this time 
employed in a way to injure the cause, which, in other 
years, he had done much to promote. The society had 
been for some time destitute of a stated pastor ; and by 
the information obtained of their condition in the per 
suasive letters he received from Rev. Simon Clough, 
of New York, and from some leading members of the 
church in Boston, Mr. Badger was induced to leave 
his pleasant field of labor in the State of New York and 
to take up his residence in that city, where he intended 
to remain until their prosperity and the voice of higher 
duty should render it proper for him to leave. 

Proceeding by the way of New York, where he 
preached four sermons to Mr. Clough s congregation, 
he arrived at Boston on September 28th, where he 
received the cordial welcome and generous hospitality 
of his friend "William Gridley, a man of noble spirit, 
good ability, and useful activities in the Christian cause. 
On the 30th, Mr. Badger preached three sermons in 
the Summer and Sea street Chapel, having, as he 
states, congregations that numbered about 400 in the 
morning, 800 in the afternoon, and 600 in the evening. 
Surveying the new field before him, he says, though 
informed by his friends that it was a low time, that 
" the prospect is good." Though Mr. Badger s letters 
do not state the exact time of his residence in this city, 
I find in a passing notice from the able and truthful 
pen of John G. Loring a man whose life, precepts, 
intelligence, and uniform fidelity to religion, rendered 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 295 

him one of the best citizens of Massachusetts that 
the time spent there was about one year. 

In narrating the history of that society about the 
time that Mr. Morgridge left them, Mr. Himes observes 
" Some time now elapsed in which they had no stated 
pastor. They procured, at length, the services of El 
der Joseph Badgef ; he labored with them between 
one and two years. Much good was done. The church 
and society were built up, and sinners were converted."* 
This statement is the same that the people of Boston 
who attended his ministry have, so far as my recollec 
tions serve, invariably made ; the common opinion is, 
that the church and society were never more uniformly 
prosperous, that the meetings were never better at 
tended, and that the mind and heart of the audience 
were never more satisfactorily influenced and edified 
than they were under his ministry. The strong and 
stable men who were then the pillars of strength in that 
society have b.een its pillars ever since ; t and though 

* In a later address of Mr. Loring, than the one whose statements 
were quoted by Mr. Himes, published in 1844, which was the 40th 
anniversary of the Boston Church, Mr. L. observes "Elder Badger 
arrived in September, and commenced preaching. His labors were 
successful, and many gathered to hear the word. In the winter fol 
lowing, a considerable number professed conversion, and were re 
ceived by the Church. Under date of Lord s day, March 23, 1828, 
there stands on tke Church record the following entry : At the 
close of the afternoon service, Elder Badger, with the candidates for 
baptism, previously prepared, proceeded in ten carriages to South 
Boston, where they were followed by a large portion of the congrega 
tion. After solemn prayer, the ordinance was administered after the 
example of our glorious Lord. Elder Badger remained with us about 
a year, and during his stay I believe this house was generally as well 
filled as at any period since its erection." p. 18. 

f J. G. Loring and Wm. Gridley are deceased ; the former but 
recently. 



296 MEMOIR OF 

additions of value at different times have been made, 
it is certain that there was a largeness and nobility to 
the timbers of the olden forest that it might be difficult 
to surpass in more recent growths. 

As a pastor, Mr. Badger was attentive to the wants 
of his flock, for whom he cherished a tender care. 
" Though the situation is a trying otie," said Mr. B., 
in a letter addressed to his wife, " I feel in duty bound 
to stay for the present, for this church must not perish. 
All my days and evenings are taken up by the duties 
of my present station." Writing from Balls town, 
N. Y., June 8, 1828, where he was attending a gen 
eral meeting, after he had been at Boston for more than 
six months, and at his home in Mendon about two, 
he said 

"This hasty note, my dear Eliza,* which will no doubt 
be an unwelcome message, will inform you that I am 
pressingly urged to return immediately to Boston. The 
call is irresistible. And my agreeable home must for 
the present be abandoned, as the care and conflict of the 
Boston church are continually upon my mind." 

The main element of success in any calling for which 
one has suitable capacity, was his, namely, a deep 
interest in the station he had taken. 

In a letter addressed to Mrs. Badger, February 4, 
1827, he narrates very affectingly his visit to Farming- 
ton, the sacred memories of the heart that revived in 
his mind as he visited that place, and Gilmanton, where, 
with relatives and many former friends, he enjoyed the 

* Mrs. Badger. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 297 

bliss of a friendship to which years of time had added 
a new degree of sacredness. It is impossible to read 
these passages, which were the spontaneous and un 
studied utterances of his mind thrown into his domestic 
correspondence, without seeing a sincere wealth of 
heart, which his light and buoyant manner in the world 
was often calculated to conceal rather than to express. 
In addressing the Luminary, May 9, 1828, he says : 

" I intended in this number of my Journal, to have 
given a general account of all the religious societies in 
Boston, but other things have prevented my giving that 
attention to the subject which would be necessary in this 
case ; I must therefore omit it till some future period. 
The Calvinistic Baptists, the Methodists and the Unitari 
ans, have made many disciples to their several parties 
the year past ; a number of whom we hope are experi 
mental and practical disciples of Jesus Christ. Four 
new chapels have been opened in Boston the winter past, 
and while other societies have been favored with revivals 
through the goodness of God, the Christian Society, 
which has withstood all opposition for more than twenty 
years, has of late experienced some of the rich mercy- 
drops. I have been laboring among them some over six 
months, and have been enabled with divine assistance to 
gather up the fruits of my brethren s labors who went 
before me. The names of Clough and Morgridge were 
mentioned by some whom I baptized, as the means, under 
God, of calling up their attention to the concern of the 
soul. I will name one instance : I baptized a very re 
spectable young lady who had always attended a Unita 
rian meeting until a few months since, when she found in 
a pew of her chapel Clough s letter to Mr. Smallfield, 
which excited her inquiry and finally became the means 
13* 



298 MEMOIB OF 

of her awakening. Thus a good thing may come out 
of a despised and persecuted Nazareth." 

" The 23d of March was a day of great interest to 
myself and the Christian Society of Boston : the day was 
fine, and the assembly large. On this memorable day 
twenty-four happy converts presented themselves for 
baptism. Thousands assembled at the sea-side in South 
Boston : and though some confusion was visible amidst 
*he thronging multitude, yet God was with his children 
to own and bless his holy ordinance. This was a day of 
unusual strength and comfort to me ; I preached three 
sermons, was in the water forty-five minutes, and through 
the whole was scarcely sensible of fatigue. God s strength 
has hitherto been sufficient : in Him I put my trust. I 
would not wish, however, by this, or any other communi 
cation of mine, to carry the idea that we have had a great 
reformation in Boston, for we have only a small addition 
to our numbers, and have been blessed only with occa 
sional conversions ; but I hope that those who have 
professed faith in Christ are converted to God and not to 
creeds, or to a party, or to man ; and that the work is so 
effectual that it will endure in time of trial. All the 
New England States are abundantly blessed with the 
outpouring of the Spirit of God at the present time. A 
cloud of mercy is hanging over the happy land. If the 
ministers keep humble and stand in the counsel of God, 
if the saints live in union and stand fast in the liberty 
wherewith Christ has made them free, the pure testimony 
must and will prevail, and reformation everywhere will 
abound. What we have seen will be only the beginning 
of good days ; the petty wrangles of frail mortals will 
subside ; the darkness in which the Church has long been 
groping will be dispelled ; and she will come forth from 
the wilderness on the breast of her beloved, and will fill 
the world with her majesty, glory and beauty." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 299 

The first days of April, 1828, Mr. and Mrs. Badger 
improved in returning home to Mendon, N. Y. ; in 
their absence, William, their youngest son, had died ; 
in the region of Mendon he chiefly remained until 
his June meeting at Ballstown, already spoken of, 
when the united request of the committee, William 
Gridley, John Gr. Loring, Abner H. Bowman, in be 
half of the society in Boston, arrived, inviting him to 
return as soon as possible to their assistance ; which 
request, together with an invidious article published 
in Dr. Elias Smith s paper in relation to Mr. Badger s 
position in regard to him, induced his immediate 
return to that city, where he boldly and successfully 
vindicated his premises, whether theological or per 
sonal. Within the three months succeeding his ar 
rival on June 21st, are several valuable letters from 
his pen. A few extracts we will here subjoin : 

" BOSTON, July 8, 1828. 

" My dear Wife : I am this moment much refreshed in 
receiving a letter from you, and I would now make such 
returns as become an affectionate husband. I spent one 
week agreeably in New York, and had a pleasant passage 
to this city, where we arrived in good health, June 21st. 
The 22d, my assembly was large, and all greeted me 
with the same joy and affection as when we parted with 
them, at a time you must well remember the past 
spring. My first text was Acts 15: 36; Let us go 
again and visit our brethren in every city where we have 
preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do/ 
The brethren have lost much since I left them ; but we 
have already seen their strength and courage revive, and 
several are now under awakening." 



300 MEMOIR OF 

" BOSTON, July 19, 1828. 

" Brother Millard : I have received yours of June 28, 
and was glad to hear of your success in Canada and at 
the Central Conference. The truth must prevail, and 
error must fall. Since my return our assembly is fast 
coming back, and we are getting many new hearers. A 
revival is now commencing. Several are under convic 
tion, and the saints begin to offer the pure testimony in 
the house of the Lord. Elders Kilton, from Eastport, 
and Green, from Hartford, have visited me. I have 
visited the colleges at Cambridge, and the venera 
ble Noah "Worcester, of Brighton. He is one of the 
purest men I ever saw. His theme is peace, peace, 
peace ! I would also say, that for young men among us 
who should wish to have a liberal education for the min 
istry, they can have board and tuition gratis, if properly 
introduced at Cambridge. 

" I have been much out of health for a few weeks 
past ; the hot weather overcomes me very much. If I 
do not get better I shall spend the week time in the 
country, though it seems as if I could not be spared a 
day from the flock of my care." 

^BOSTON, August 4, 1828. 

" Dear and affectionate Wife : I suppose you have some 
days been expecting this letter, but my labors here are 
of that arduous and oppressive kind which consume all 
my moments, and scarcely leave me time for repose and 
refreshment, much less to enjoy any innocent relaxation, 
or to bathe my weary spirit in the sweet and endearing 
reflections of HOME. You know, Maria, that home has 
charms for my heart this summer, which I scarcely ever 
felt so sensibly before ; and since I left you, at any time 
would these four little letters, (H O M E) pronounced 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 301 

aright, cause the blood to flow more warmly about my 
heart, and a chain of endearing recollections to visit my 
soul in a manner which, in spite of all my masculine 
powers and native fortitude, would cause the briny tear 
to flow ; and then ashamed of my childlike weakness, I 
have mingled with the crowd and wrapped these tender 
scenes in smiles, to hide them from my unfeeling asso 
ciates, who, of course, would only mock my affection if 
they knew it. But this Monday morning, after the labors 
of one more holy Sabbath, I accept the pleasure and the 
dnty of communicating to you a few lines to feed that 
sacred fire which should ever burn in your affections 
toward your God, your duty, and me." 

Passages like these reveal unmistakably a serious 
depth of heart, almost wholly unindicated by the great 
self-control, and by the free and cheerful manner that 
shrouded his inmost life from the notice and perception 
of the world, and from the circle also of acknowledged 
friends. He adds : 

" Nothing but duty could confine me to this city the 
present month. I am in hopes to get time to spend one 
day with Mr. Bowman in the country, this week. I ex 
pect to receive several members next Wednesday, and 
to baptize on the coming Sabbath." 

Whilst in Boston, Mr. Badger became acquainted 
with the clergymen of other denominations, particu 
larly with Dr. Ware, Gannet and Tuckerman, of the 
Unitarian faith, of whom he always spoke in exalted 
terms. His acquaintance and intercourse with Ware 
and Tuckerman were familiar ; arid often did he speak 



302 MEMOIR OF 

of the divine spirit of Henry Ware, and of the be 
nevolent heart of Mr. Tuckerman. Indeed, at one 
time Mr. Badger thought of accepting a proposal to 
join Mr. Tuckerman in his missionary labors in Boston, 
at least, so far did he think of it as to consult his 
family on the propriety of accepting the unanimous 
call of the Christian Society* in Boston, for a settle 
ment of three or five years, or instead of this, to join 
Mr. Tuckerman in his missionary labors, with a per 
manent settlement and a thousand or twelve hundred 
dollars per year. For a work like this, the gathering 
in, the instruction and persuasion to virtue and reli 
gion of the neglected and unprosperous classes, Mr. 
B. had extraordinary gifts ; yet, from the weight of con 
siderations founded chiefly in his relations to his home 
and former field of labor in the State of New York, 
neither of these positions was accepted. An anec 
dote somewhat characteristic of the man was lately 
given me by a friend, and as it relates to extemporane 
ous preaching, I will transcribe it. 

" While he was in Boston, he occasionally associated 
with clergymen of the Unitarian denomination, men who 
were perhaps distinguished above the average of minis 
ters by the careful and elaborate manner in which they 
prepared their written discourses. One day he was ac 
costed by one of them thus : * Mr. Badger, how do you 
manage to prepare and preach so many sermons ? Why, 
sir/ he replied, I never study the words of my sermons. 
I study ideas, and clothe them in words when I want 
them. " 

* His answer to the committee, in which he declines their invita 
tion, ia dated at Boston, August 14, 1828. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 

Before me lies a plain 12mo Bible, published in 
1826, on -whose margins, in delicate marks and letters, 
are pointed out every text (and the day of its use) 
that he spoke from during his ministry in Boston. A 
simple mark declares the passage, and at the bottom 
or top of the page the date is seen, so that, without 
any journal, a clue is given to every topic of his 
public discoursing, for his texts very generally pointed 
out his subjects. Whoever will look over this book, 
could, in the character of the passages chosen, at 
once see that Mr. B. had a practical mind, good taste, 
and knew how to be to the point and purpose. His 
chosen passages are full of expression. These, of 
course, cannot here be quoted, but a list of these 
passages written out, as they range from Genesis to 
Revelation, would be an instruction as well as a re 
proof to those who preach from irrelevant and inex 
pressive passages ; and they would likewise form a 
noble chain of Scripture gems. A man shows what 
is characteristic in him by his texts, taken as a whole, 
often as clearly as by what he preaches. 

From this Bible, which does not strike the reader 
as being marked up so as to mar at all its regular 
character, I learn that on March 30th, 1828, on leav 
ing the flock of his charge to remain for a time at 
Mendon, his three sermons were from the following 
texts: Job 19: 25: "For I know that my Re 
deemer liveth, and he shall stand at the latter day 
upon the earth." John 16 : 22 : " And ye now there 
fore have sorrow : but I will see you again and your 
hearts shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from 
you." John 17 : 20, 21 : " Neither pray I for these 



304 MEMOIR OF 

alone : but for them also which shall believe on me 
through their word, that they all may be one ; as thou, 
Father, art in me, and I in thee ; that they also may 
be one in us ; that the world may believe that thou 
hast sent me." Though from the Old Testament he 
drew many passages, and from Job, the Psalms, 
Proverbs and Isaiah somewhat freely, it is from the 
Gospels and the Epistles that he chiefly made his 
selections. Some of his texts may be called ingenious, 
requiring a free play of analogy to set them forth, as, 
for instance, Prov. 30 : 24-5-6-7-8, preached January 
20, 1828: "There be four things which are little 
upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise : the ants 
are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat 
in the summer ; the conies are but a feeble folk, yet 
make their houses in the rocks ; the locusts have no 
king, yet go they forth all of them by bands ; the 
spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings 
palaces." 

From the same source we learn that, on the first 
Sabbath of his ministry in Boston, September 30, 
1827, he spoke from Rev. 22 : 14, James 1 : 17, and 
Prov. 29 : 1 ; his valedictory sermons were given 
September 14, 1828, from Psalms 46 : 4, and from 
Ecc. 11 : 9. July 13, 1828, he spoke from Luke 19 : 
41 : " And when he drew near, he beheld the city and 
wept over it." December 9, 1827, Psalms 133 : 1, 2, 
3: "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for 
brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the 
precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon 
the beard, even Aaron s beard : that went down to 
the skirts of his garments ; as the dew of Hermon, 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 305 

and as the dew that descended upon the- mountains of 
Zion : for there the Lord commanded the blessing, 
even life forevermore." But the only sermon written 
out at length is founded on two words found in James 
1 : 27, " Pure Religion," and was delivered February 
10, 1828. From this I offer the following paragraphs. 

" Never did I arise in this congregation under a greater 
sense of my responsibility, than on this occasion. Never 
did I come before you with a subject of greater magni 
tude. Divest religion of purity, and a subject of horror, 
misery, and disgrace is presented. Religion has been the 
cause of wars ; has divided kingdoms ; has imprisoned 
the saints ; has lighted the fagots about the disciples of 
Jesus, and has even in this favored city banished the 
Baptist and hung the humble Quaker ; but this was not 
the religion of my text. But turn from those scenes of 
superstition and misery, and add to religion the word 
pure, and all is changed ; all is meekness, simplicity and 
heaven. The horrors of death are dispelled, a world of 
glory and immortality is opened to the reflecting soul of 
man. By its influence the sorrowful widow receives com 
fort, the weeping orphan smiles, circumstances of misfor 
tune are sanctified, the poor are enriched, the sick are 
supported, and the chamber of death is illuminated with 
the gracious smiles of the Son of God. Pure religion 
requires no fagot to light it, no science to adorn it, no 
human arm to defend it, and no carnal weapon to enforce 
it." 

" The word religion, in its common acceptation, is ap 
plied to the four great bodies of worshippers which divide 
ou World, Jews, Pagans, Mohammedans, and Christians. 
The Jews- religion embraces a belief in one God in one 
person, with the practice of those legal rites enjoined by 



306 MEMOIR OF 

the law of Moses ; but it rejects the Messiah, and hopes 
in one yet to come. The Pagan religion embraces all 
that part of mankind who are involved in the worship of 
idols. The Mohammedan religion embraces a belief in 
one God, and in Mahomet as his Apostle ; whilst the 
word Christian is applied to all who believe that Christ 
has come in the flesh, which includes all professed 
Christians." 

" But what saith the Holy Scriptures ? In the Bible 
the word occurs but five times, and is once used in refer 
ence to our religion/ (Acts 26: 5); twice to Jews 
religion, (Gal. 1: 13, 14); and once to vain religion, 
(James 1 : 26) ; and once, in the language of our text, to 
pure religion/ Thus four kinds of religion are men 
tioned in the Bible, and but one of them is good. Four 
kinds of religion are found in the world, Jewish, Pagan, 
Mohammedan, Christian, and but one of them "is good. 
This accords with the parable Jesus spake of the sower. 
The good seed fell on four kinds of ground, the wayside, 
among thorns, on stony ground, on good ground; four 
kinds, but only one brings forth fruit. So our religion, 
Jews religion, and vain religion, bring forth no ac 
ceptable fruit to God ; but < pure religion is like the good 
soil which brings forth < some thirty, some sixty, and some 
one hundred fold. Thus do the facts of history and of 
Scripture correspond." 

4< The word religion means to bind, as it puts a restraint 
upon our conduct and passions, and unites the soul to 
God, to good people and to virtuous actions. Pure re 
ligion is the soul s ornament ; its fruits are the ornament 
of the life. To illustrate this subject further, I shall ex 
plain pure religion to be : first, purity of spirit ; second, 
kindness and benevolence of practice." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 307 

After portraying the Christian spirit as one of meek 
ness, as merciful, tender, forgiving, peaceful and 
patient, as valiant, as charitable, as contented and 
devout, he proceeds to show the practical fruits of the 
spirit he has portrayed in alleviating the sorrows of 
life. In describing pure religion, Mr. Badger sees fit 
to correct the following error : 

" One of the greatest errors which has ever infested 
the church militant, is that of having our fellowship 
bounded by a theory, opinion, or creed. While this exists, 
division, misery and ruin are spread through all the flock 
of God. While a party name or creed is valued higher 
than experience, it is no wonder that we are divided. But 
whenever the scene is reversed, when rectitude of spirit 
and practice shall outweigh the poor inventions of men 
and become the criterion of fellowship, there shall then 
be one fold and one shepherd ; watchmen shall see eye to 
eye, and the people shall lift up their voice together. 

" We 11 not bind a brother s conscience, 

This alone to God is free ; 

Nor contend for non-essentials, 

But in Christ united be. " 

After speaking of the kind offices which Christian 
sympathy extends to the widow, he alludes to the 
fostering, paternal care it spreads over the path of the 
orphan, in the following strain : 

" Again, we reflect with tender sympathy upon the case 
of the orphan who in early life is cut off from the instruc 
tion and care of its fond parents, and is turned into the 
wide world without education, without experience, without 
friends, without bread or shelter. What a world of misery, 



308 MEMOIR OF 

deception and sin he is left in ! What snares are spread 
for his strolling feet ! What woes for his expanding soul ! 
The provision made in this city for male and female or 
phans is not only a subject of admiration and praise to the 
good of every class, but I have no doubt the departed 
spirits of their ancestors and parents look down with sat 
isfaction and joy upon the benevolent founders of those 
asylums, that are now the living monuments of Christ s 
spirit on earth ; and can we doubt that He who is the 
orphan s Father, delights in these institutions and in the 
kind and fostering care now extended unto them ? You 
cannot imagine the pleasure I enjoy while on my way to 
this house. Almost every Sabbath I meet the female or 
phans, who, in uniform, follow their instructresses to the 
house of worship. This city, I am happy to say, not only 
abounds in profession, but there is no city in the world, 
of its population and ability, which abounds more in works 
of charity and benevolence. The friendship and kindness 
of the inhabitants of Boston are proverbial in all parts of 
the Union, and a Bostonian is respected throughout the 
world." 

In the spring and summer of 1885, which the writer 
of this memoir passed in Boston, he well remembers 
the kind tone of regard in which Dr. Tuckerman uni 
formly spoke of Mr. Badger. They had been intimate 
friends, had conversed often on the present imperfect 
state of society, on its moral and temporal evils, and 
especially on the best ways of reaching it effectually 
with the saving principles of Christianity, for both 
concurred in the idea which may be called invariably 
the key-note of Mr. Badger s ministry, that the Gospel 
of Christ, properly understood and applied to life, is 
the only science of human happiness. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 309 

The last published letter of Mr. Badger from the 
field he at this time occupied, is dated Boston, Sep 
tember 16, 1852. He says : 

" Having now completed three months labor in this 
pleasant city, I am about to start for my residence again. 
My visit here has been as successful as could be expected 
under present circumstances ; each month has added some 
new members to the Church, and every communion has 
been crowned with the Lord s presence. The little oppo 
sition party who were drawn off from this church three 
years ago, who have been much engaged to slander and 
revile the society, as well as many useful ministers and 
other churches and conferences in the connection, have, 
finally, so far lost what little influence they had, that 
nothing now is to be feared from them." 

" But there is still another class of disorganizers in the 
land, and not a few in this city, who deny that the Bible 
is a sufficient rule of faith and practice, who ridicule the 
ordinances of Baptism and the Lord s Supper, who despise 
church order and a preached Gospel, unless it is accommo 
dated to their poor, frail, weak, and changeable imagina 
tions. They also pretend to great revelations, which fills 
them with self-righteousness and prepares them to pass 
judgment on all their fellow-Christians who have the mis 
fortune to differ from their notions. How often we see the 
basest principle of pride in the garb of singularity, slovenly 
idleness, and in what the apostle calls a voluntary humil 
ity. The church in all ages has been tempted by conflicts 
from without, and unholy and unreasonable persons of 
their own number, but happy are they who endure hard 
ness as good soldiers, and are overcomers through the 
blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony ; and it 
is through great tribulation that we enter into Heaven." 



310 MEMOIR OF 

During my stay here I have made two visits to the 
State of New Hampshire, both of which were interesting. 
My native State is still favored with mercy-drops. Many 
of the old saints are strong and valiant for the truth, and 
in several places are prospects of revivals. My last visit, 
which was to the town of Mason, and county of Hillsbor- 
ough, was under peculiar circumstances and pleasing and 
flattering prospects. Mason has long been a stronghold 
of orthodoxy. No dissenter from that doctrine had ever 
preached in the place ; but a few respectable men who 
had become enlightened by reading the Scripture and our 
periodicals, were resolved to hear the sect which is 
everywhere spoken against, for themselves. Accordingly, 
one of their number was despatched to Boston, forty-eight 
miles, to engage me to visit them. From this represent 
ation I concluded to go, as Peter did among the Gentiles, 
not conferring with flesh and blood. I found on my ar 
rival, September 11, a decent assembly convened at the 
Presbyterian meeting-tyouse, who were very attentive to 
hear the word. I gave another appointment in the even 
ing, and found the attention of the people still increasing. 
At the intermission, and after sermon, late at night, and 
in the morning, many strangers flocked around me to 
make inquiry, to state their feelings, and to manifest the 
great pleasure they had in the increasing light, and in the 
truths proclaimed. While I saw their prospect of im 
provement and deep attention, I almost forgot the fatigues 
of the day and night, though they passed heavily ; I, had 
journeyed fifty miles, preached at 4 P. M., one hour and a 
half ; in the evening two long hours ; I had conversed un 
til twelve at night, when the mind became so full that 
sleep departed until about three o clock in the morning. 
Here are gentlemen of talents and property who are lib 
eral-minded Christians. They say, when in the judg- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 311 

merit of our ministry it is prudent to make a stand there, 
a meeting-house shall be immediately built, and some are 
about ready to be baptized. I have written to Mr. H. 
Plummer, on the case of the people here ; and hope they 
will be noticed by the preachers of New England." 

His next paragraph, which emphatically repeats 
sentiments not as yet quoted in this book, but published 
as early as 1817, embraces a topic of so much im 
portance to the permanent power and respectability of 
church institutions, that I call to it a distinct attention. 
After speaking of the importance of introducing the 
new and liberal sentiments into places that have never 
heard them proclaimed, in a manner that shall make 
the best impression, that is, through the agency of able 
and efficient speakers, he proceeds to say : 

"lam decidedly opposed to the hasty constitution of 
churches. No church, in my opinion, should be acknowl 
edged until there are numbers, talents, and strength* suf 
ficient to keep a regular meeting on the Sabbath ; also 
there should be a prospect of stated preaching. I rec 
ommend that these brethren at Mason be baptized and 
stand either in their individual capacity, or be associated 
with the church at Boston, or Haverhill. We have al 
ready taken possession of more ground than we can cul 
tivate to advantage, and I see no way for our vacant con 
gregations to be supplied but by an evangelizing ministry." 

Mr. Badger closes this letter by saying that his 
numerous engagements would prevent him from ful 
filling his appointment at Dutchess County, N. Y., 
where he had been solicited to meet again the throngs 



312 MEMOIR OF 

of people who had, in other years, listened to his voice 
in the calm and tranquil forest, where, to use his own 
words, they had formerly " felt and seen the power 
and influence of truth." From his notes, and some 
social parties he attended in Boston, it is perceived 
that he had a sympathizing interest in the struggles 
and sufferings of the noble Greeks, who were then 
aiming at freedom and self-government. During the 
year of his Boston ministry, he preached on a great 
variety of subjects, attended several funerals, baptized 
many believers, and solemnized many marriages. Like 
St. Paul, he was ever abundant in labors. With the 
society over which he had presided, Rev. I. C. Goff 
remained. September 17, 1828, he took of the good 
city his final leave, of whose citizens, customs, liter 
ature, and general character, he always afterward 
spoke in the most respectful terms, in a manner ex 
pressive of agreeable memories. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 313 



CHAPTER XYI. 

FOUR MONTHS LABOR IN THE COUNTIES OF ONONDAGA 
AND CAYUGA, NEW YORK, IN 1828 AND 1829, WITH 
OTHER PARTS OF HIS PUBLIC LIFE, EXTENDING TO 

MAY, 1832. 

DECEMBER, 1828, Mr. Badger accepted a field of 
labor, for about four months, in the counties of Onon- 
daga and Cajuga, New York. His peculiar abilities 
were needed to revive and strengthen the churches, 
whose wants at that time were greater than could be 
supplied by the ministers who lived in that section. 
In the town of Brutus (since called Bennett), in 
Camillus and other towns of that region, he had 
preached frequently in former years. In the former 
town, Elijah Shaw had been very successful in his 
ministerial labors; and throughout all that country 
generally, Rev. 0. E. Morrill, whose happy and popu 
lar gifts always made him a favorite with the people, 
had preached much, and wielded a great influence in 
behalf of liberal sentiments. But Mr. Shaw had moved 
to New England ; Mr. M. was unable to meet the many 
calls for assistance, and the greatness of the harvest 
seemed to demand additional laborers. 

His plan of action covered a somewhat extended 
field, though his regular appointments were at Sennett, 
Cayuga, and at Lysanderand Canton, Onondaga. At 
times he spoke at Cato, Bald wins ville, Jericho, Van 
Buren, Camillus, Elbridge, Weedsport, and other 
14 



314 MEMOIR OF 

places ; yet he so centralized his labor and influence as 
to make them effectual at the desired points. Besides 
his Sabbath services, it is said that he generally 
preached every evening in the week except on Mon 
days and Saturdays. As usual, his congregations 
were generally large and attentive, and his advocacy 
of liberal and evangelical sentiments was indeed form 
idable to all who were opposed. It could not be other 
wise than a result of his independent course, that 
controversy, more or less, should be awakened by his 
ministry. He boldly stated his views, and never 
shrunk from the controversial discussion of them when 
ever a man of character and ability ventured to en 
counter him with the tests of Scripture and reason. 
Accordingly, these .manly collisions of intellect on 
theological questions form a very observable part of his 
public life. In the field he now occupied, he had two 
public discussions ; one with the Rev. Mr. Baker, at 
Ionia, an eloquent Methodist minister ; another with 
Rev. Mr. Stowe, a learned clergyman of the Presby 
terian sect, at Elbridge, though with the latter it was 
conducted through the medium of letters, of which Mr. 
S. wrote only a small part, so that perhaps it cannot 
be called a debate so properly as a discussion. 

Mr. Baker was confident of success, not having 
taken the measure of the man he was to encounter. 
The form of their controversy on the supreme Deity 
of Jesus, was to be the delivery of a sermon each to 
the same audience on the same evening ; they met to 
settle preliminaries late in the afternoon. Mr. Badger, 
by his careless ease, his deference and reserve of 
power, managed to give his opponent an inferior 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 315 

opinion of his own capacity, whilst he studied closely 
the temper and quality of his antagonist. This he 
always did before he ventured upon warfare. He 
would draw out the resources of his opponent and re 
serve his own. He always held that in oral contro 
versy, in the form of sermons, it was a desirable 
advantage to speak first, for two reasons. 1st. The 
attention of the people is then unwearied, and their 
minds are fresh. 2d. The speaker has the opportunity 
to anticipate the arguments of his opponent and to 
answer them, thereby depriving them of power before 
his adversary has used them. He cared not who had 
the last speech, provided he could have the first. 
Apparently indifferent to the result, he offered Mr. 
Baker the choice of time, who allowed Mr. Badger to 
speak first, thinking that the greater advantage be 
longs to the last word. No limit of time was set for 
either speaker. They appeared at early evening be 
fore a large assembly. Mr. Badger arose and an 
nounced for his text 1 Cor. 1 : 4 : " Is Christ divided ? " 
a text which struck at the artificial division of his 
nature and being, made by those who affirm that he is 
at the same tiine perfect God and perfect man. Mr. 
Badger spoke oetween two and three hours to the 
most perfectly attentive audience, in which time he 
stated and met all the strong arguments that were 
likely to be arrayed against him, and urged in clear 
and lucid statements the evidences for his own position. 
I find in the plots of his controversial sermons, that he 
carried on usually a double work, giving, as he pro 
ceeded, alternately his own view and its evidence, then 
examining the opposition and its proof, then returning 



316 MEMOIR OF 

to the further statement of his own opinions and 
their evidences, and again exploding the usual argu 
ments of the opposite side, ending always with positive 
views. In this debate he thoroughly achieved his aim. 
He so broke the weapons of his adversary that he 
could not rally to his use his accustomed strength. 
During Mr. Badger s long discourse, Mr. Baker would 
occasionally look at his watch and remind him that 
time is short, to whose impatience he once replied, 
" Be patient, Brother Baker, I have much yet to say ; 
this is only the beginning of sorrows." It is certain 
that parties are usually biased in regard to the merits 
of controversies in which their peculiar doctrines are 
discussed ; but from such recollections of this debate 
as community possessed in 1831 and 1835, I unhesi 
tatingly say that but one opinion prevailed, which was, 
that Mr. Badger was plainly victorious. 

His letters to Mr. Stowe, which originated in a mis 
representation of views made in the pulpit of Mr. S., 
were published in the Gospel Luminary of 1829. 
They were strong and able papers ; and it is evident 
from a letter in my possession from the hand of Mr. 
S., that he carefully sought to evade any public con 
tact of mental forces with Mr. B. on the subjects of 
difference between them. 

During the several months which he passed in these 
counties, he performed a large amount of labor, called 
out an interest which was by no means limited by the 
extent of his own denomination, and the churches were 
strengthened and refreshed. His influence was always 
creative. But even when -he added no numerical 
strength to his cause, a thing which we are not sure 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 317 

ever happened under his active ministry, he had an 
uncommon ability to inspire the men and women al 
ready marshalled under free principles, with new con 
fidence in what they could do were they to try ; and 
what is kindred to, but still a little higher than this, 
he had a particular faculty to bring them to the point 
of action ; could persuade them to begin and to prose 
cute enterprises that they ordinarily might simply talk 
about, delay, and neglect. At Sennett, he pursuaded 
the people to attempt the building of a church ; he 
organized the society, selected the location, and put 
things in active course for the completion of the enter 
prise. Between the villages of Canton and Ionia 
stands a commodious chapel, which, through the gener 
ous sacrifices of a few men, and the cooperative 
action of others, was built and dedicated to the service 
of Almighty God January 26, 1830. This chapel also 
was started and went up at the time it did through the 
leading, managing influence of Mr. Badger. But 
events of this kind were very common in his ministry, 
as he was in the habit of studying closely the strength 
of the cause he plead, and of enlisting into decisive 
action the ability of his friends in its furtherance. 
January 23, 1830, he preached the dedication sermon 
of a beautiful church in Lysander, Onondaga County, 
New York, where he had regularly preached in the 
winter of 1829. Text was Ps. 126 : 3 : " The Lord 
hath done great things for us ; whereof we are glad." 
He also preached the dedication sermon of the church 
in Sennett. At Canton, the Christian Chapel was 
open for worship January 26, 1830. From the pen of 
Rev. David Millard, who gave the sermon on that oc 
casion, I extract the following lines : 



318 MEMOIR OF 

" This is the second chapel erected in Onondaga county 
for the use of the people called Christians. The build 
ing is neat, plain, and commodious. The labors of Rev. 
0. E. Morrill have been devoted to that region of coun 
try for nine years past, and have been much owned and 
blessed of God. About one year ago, Rev. J. Badger 
spent several months in that section, and was much 
blessed in preaching the word. His labors contributed 
largely towards the building of the two chapels we have 
just named, (Lysander arid Canton,) and also of another 
in the town of Sennett, Cayuga County, not yet completed. 
The cause of liberal Christianity was never more pros 
perous in that part of the country than now." * 

There was indeed ability in favor of liberal views 
through that country, ability of long standing ; but we 
think it just to the memory of Mr. Badger to say that, 
during his labors in that region, his creative mind was 
prominent in giving to that ability the form of active, 
prosperous enterprise in the respects here spoken of. 

November, 1830. From the Valley of Repose,f 
he writes : 

" Since rny last, I have visited many places in this 
part of the State, and am happy to find that the cause of 
Christian liberty is gradually advancing, though oppo 
sition attends every step that is taken. In Rochester, a 
Unitarian society has been raised. Mr. AY. Ware, of 
New York city, was the first minister of that order who 
ever preached there. His preaching was like Paul s, at 
Athens ; it made no small stir. Many were alarmed for 
their favorite dogmas ; for his three sermons gave the 

* Gospel Luminary, Vol. Ill, p. 95. 

t The name of his residence in Mendon. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 319 

doctrine of the Trinity a deadly blow. He was succeeded 
by Mr. Green, of Massachusetts, who is an eloquent man, 
and, like Apollos, mighty in the Scriptures. He left, 
after a stay of three months, for Cincinnati. I am in 
formed they are now supplied by two young men from 
Boston, who have my best wishes for their success. 
Though these men have encountered much opposition, a 
spirit of inquiry and a love of liberal Christianity are im 
parted from their faithful labors, which will live among 
the citizens of Rochestf r in spite of the influence of super 
stitious sectarians. Though they are a distinct sect from 
the Christians, their labors go to promote the same great 
principles of liberty, and their enemies and ours are the 
same." 

In Cayuga County, he speaks of the labors of Mor- 
rill and Coburn as successful ; of passing through 
Montgomery, Delaware, Green and Dutchess Coun 
ties ; of standing by the grave of his worthy early 
associate in the ministry, John L. Peavy, at Milan ; 
of thinking of his many associates who now sleep in the 
grave ; men cut off in the midst of their useful 
labors. Taking with him, from Green County, a young 
man by the name of Joseph Marsh, he returned to 
Mendon, October 2d. 

In the autumn of 1830, his visit to Lewisburg, Pa., 
is thus spoken of by Rev. J. J. Harvey, in a recent 
letter to Mrs. Badger : 



o 



" His congregations were large and attentive. The 
sects cried out against him and his doctrine. Being 
young, and liberal in my feelings, I was induced, by the 
opposition raised against this great Unitarian heretic, 



320 MEMOIR OP 

as his enemies styled him, to go and hear for myself. 
From the course pursued on both sides, I soon became a 
regular hearer, and found my feelings strongly interested 
in favor of the persecuted party. Among others, he 
preached one discourse on the doctrine of the Trinity. 
This was fortunate for me, because he removed from my 
mind the infidelity into which the popular teaching among 
the Methodists and Presbyterians had well-nigh driven 
me. I never could understand, and therefore could not 
believe, their irrational and unscriptural preaching on 
this subject ; I was, therefore, on the verge of rejecting 
the Bible in toto. But, by clear exhibitions of truth, Mr. 
Badger convinced me of the scriptural and the reasonable 
doctrine of one God, and of one Mediator between God 
and men ; and on that subject I have never since had a 
doubt." 

From this place he proceeded to Milford, New Jer 
sey, to attend the theological debate held in that town, 
December, 1830, between Rev. William McCalla, of 
Philadelphia, and Rev. "Win. Lane, of Ohio, on the 
question " Is the man Christ Jesus the supreme 
and eternal God?" of which Mr. McCalla had the 
affirmative, and Mr. Lane the negative. This discuss 
ion, attended by a large concourse, and on the fourth 
day abandoned by the former gentleman, in the words, 
" I relinquish this debate forever," was one in which 
Mr. Badger took a deep interest. He was one of the 
Board of Moderators ; and, with his peculiar facility 
at management, he succeeded, during the early stage 
of the debate, in getting Mr. McCalla and Rev. S. 
Clough into a contract for a new discussion of the 
same question, at the city of New York, at a subse- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 321 

quent time, a contract which Mr. McCalla, on the 
fourth day of the debate, took from his pocket, and 
tore into pieces in the presence of the great assembly, 
as significant of his intention not to carry out the pur 
pose therein expressed. The coolness, foresight, and 
shrewdness of Mr. Badger on all such occasions were 
strong and serviceable traits. 

He spent the principal part of 1831 in the vicinity 
of his residence, in which time additions were made 
to his society, which then was in a state of prosperity. 
From special request he visited Stafford, Genesee 
County, where, fourteen years before, with the assist 
ance of Elder Levi Hathaway, he had organized a 
small church of eleven ; a reformation immediately be 
gan, which, in the language of Mr. D. Millard, " was 
one of the most glorious revivals ever experienced in 
that region of country. Within a few months, he 
baptized, in Stafford, nob far from fifty," about half 
of whom were young men, of talent. Under date of 
October 12, 1831, Mr. Badger writes : 

"It is now nearly twenty years since I engaged in the 
great and responsible work of preaching the Gospel. I 
regret that I did not engage in that work earlier, and 
that I have been no more successful. But, with all my 
lack of qualifications, I have every year had something 
to encourage me; I have baptized about one thousand 
persons ; I have had the pleasure of seeing twelve of that 
number become useful ministers of the Gospel, and many 
have finished their pilgrimage on earth with joy. Of 
late, I have been more than ever encouraged, and, not 
withstanding my embarrassment on account of ill health, 
my spirit is alive to the good work, and my heart is warm 
14* 



322 MEMOIR OP 

to the interests of Zion. The church at Lakeville, Liv 
ingston County, has also been blessed of late. I have, 
within a short time, baptized six persons there. In Tomp- 
kins County, our brethren have been abundantly favored 
with revivals. In Cayuga County, also, the cause is 
prospering. Elder Morrill has had an addition to the 
churches of his care of about eighty members, this year." 

" Several of our brethren in this country have, the pres 
ent season, finished their course in this world. We have 
taken sweet counsel with them ; we have joined them in 
commemorating the love and suffering of the lowly Jesus ; 
we have mingled with them in songs of praise and sweet 
devotion on earth, and now look up with trembling confi 
dence and cheerful hope to the time when we shall be 
permitted to join them with improved capacities, in an 
immortal song of praise to God and the Lamb in heaven." 

On March 27th, he attended the funeral of Mrs. 
Thomas Pease, of Rochester, one in whom the Chris 
tian virtues were said to have shone with mild and 
constant brilliancy. Speaking of this event, he says : 

" While I sat by the bed-side of my emaciated friend, 
and saw her health, her beauty, and relish for life gone, 
and the strong attachment of friends presenting their last 
claims to a heart which had always responded in emotions 
of kindest friendship, but which could respond no longer, 
I heard her in a low whisper say, Oh Lord, grant me 
thy smiles and thy presence, and I ask no more/ Here, 
said I, I see the end of all perfection. Oh God, < Let me 
die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like 
his/ 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 323 

" After I left she appeared much revived in spirit, and 
made choice of the text on which I should preach at her 
funeral, which was John 14: 2: In my Father s house 
are many mansions : if it were not so I would have told 
you. I go to prepare a place for you. How delightful 
to see a child of God looking up from the verge of the 
grave to those mansions which Christ has gone to prepare 
for his children." 



CHAPTER XVII. 

EDITORIAL LIFE. 

BELIEVING in the power of the press as one of the 
strongest agents which, for weal or for wo, is ever 
brought to bear on the thoughts, consciences, and out 
ward destinies of men, Mr. Badger and his associates 
resolved on the employment of this agency for the up 
building of faith, for the free investigation of Christian 
theology, and for the furtherance of wider views of 
Christian brotherhood than had ever obtained under 
the reign of stern, sectarian dogma. The " Gospel 
Luminary," started at West Bloomfield, in 1825, had 
been, in 1827, removed to the city of New York, and 
though ably conducted in the main, the feeling became 
strong and general in the State of New York, that 
something more perfectly adapted to the wants of the 
people could be issued ; accordingly the " Genesee 
Christian Association," compose of dsome of the most 



324. MEMOIR OP 

experienced ministers and competent men, was organ 
ized December, 1831, with a constitution and officers, 
for the purpose of publishing, purchasing, selling and 
distributing such books and publications as the wants 
of the Christian Connection should, in their judgment, 
require ; also to assist young men in the ministry with 
libraries and such other means of improvement as 
might be within their power ; and especially did they 
contemplate, as t^eir first work, the establishment of a 
periodical at Rochester, N. Y., whose objects were 
announced to be the vindication and dissemination of 
Gospel truth, the development of the ability of young 
men in the department of writing, and the promotion 
of a faith which should be at the same time scriptural, 
liberal, rational, and evangelical. Of this new monthly 
periodical, D. Millard, 0. E. Merrill and Asa Chapin, 
were the Executive Committee, and J. Badger, Editor. 
A prospectus for this work, called the " Christian 
Palladium," a name sacred to liberty and its defence, 
was issued by Mr. Badger, January, 1832, in which 
he says : 

" The prominent objects of this work will be the de 
fence of the Scripture doctrine of one God and one 
Mediator, the vindication of free and liberal Christianity, 
the right of private judgment in religion, and the suffi 
ciency of the Holy Scriptures as a perfect system of church 
polity. In the dissemination of those sacred principles, 
it will seek no alliance whh prescriptive sectarianism, nor 
will it bow to the ipsi dixerunt of fallible men, or ascribe 
holiness to any human creed whatever. While it incul 
cates Christianity as it is, it will endeavor to show what 
its votaries should be ; and while it advocates holy truth, 



REV. JOSEPH BADGEll. 325 

it shall breathe the benign spirit of Him who is the way, 
the truth, and the life. While it will urge the necessity 
of vital piety and holiness of heart, it shall also show that 
these sacred principles directly tend to the union of Christ s 
spiritual body, which is the Church. In a word, it is not 
to be a sectarian engine, but a free vehicle of general 
Christian intelligence." 

On the next page, which contains his address to 
agents, he says, that c; the time when the friends of 
religious liberty and impartial investigation of Gospel 
truth, should adopt every laudable measure to further 
those important and benevolent objects, has unquestion 
ably arrived ; " and May 1, 1832, witnessed the circu 
lation of the first number of his monthly, a neat 
pamphlet of 24 pages, in goodly attire, and in excel 
lence of mechanical execution far in advance, we should 
say, of any printing we have recently seen from that 
city. In a letter addressed to a meeting of pioneers, 
held in Rochester, October, 1848, to which he was 
invited, he claimed to have caused the publication of 
of the first book* printed in that place, when Rochester 
was only a prosperous village. 

This new era, as we may call it, in the public life of 
Mr. Badger, though it brought great responsibilities 
in which he had no previous experience, found him an 
easy master of its difficulties. His qualifications for 
an editor were, an intuitive and accurate perception of 
the character of the class of readers to whom his labors 



* Bible Doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Atonement 
and Faith; to which is prefixed au Essay on Natural Theology and 
the Truth of Revelation. By Wm. Kinkade. Revised by J. Badger. 



326 MEMOIR OF 

belonged a quick recognition of whatever might 
serve to enrich his pages from the communications of 
his correspondents, from publications, and books ; a 
business tact rarely equalled, which gave system and 
order to every department of duty in his office ; and 
to these I will add two other qualities that in him were 
exceedingly prominent, namely, the power to write 
pages that were full of original force, nerve, life and 
freshness ; and to call out the ability of other minds, 
which he could turn to his own account. He had great 
facility in inspiring ordinary men, obscure in life, with 
the belief that they could write, and often from such 
did he get rich and useful gems. His genius could 
make writers, and many from his encouragements, and 
from the practice of writing for his paper, did become 
masters of a strong and pointed style, of which they 
need never be ashamed. No other man among reli 
gious editors could, we believe, get as much good ma 
terial from uneducated and undisciplined sources as he. 
In his May number he addressed his readers in the 
following strain : 

" The present is an era of light, and a day peculiar to 
prophetic fulfilment. Never was there a time when the 
soldiers of the Cross could look forward to brighter pros 
pects, and never a day when victory over the powers of 
darkness was more certain. The rapid increase of Gospel 
light, the spread of pure religion, a submission to the doc 
trine of the Scriptures, in preference of man-made creeds, 
and the spirit of reciprocal love and Christian forbearance 
among free inquirers after the word of life, afford indica 
tions of the approach of a more brilliant era." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 327 

All dissenters from civil despotic governments have been 
regarded as rebels, and all dissenters from ecclesiastical 
tyranny and oppression have been denounced as heretics 
and infidels. Some of the purest men that have ever 
honored this mortal stage of existence, and some of the 
purest sentiments that have ever elevated human thought, 
have been sacrificed upon the unholy altar of priestcraft 
and superstition. We should evidently be wanting in 
c arity were we to represent all as illiberal who are sta- 
ti Dned in the ranks of orthodoxy. Such are not our 
v ews ; for we are convinced that many, very many, thus 
c. rcumstanced, know and highly appreciate the value of 
Gospel liberty, and were it not for the anxious watchings 
of those who bear rule, would have burst their chains 
asunder." 

" We are dissenters from the corruptions the church has 
accumulated in the wilderness. Its unscriptural creeds 
and doctrines its cruel and oppressive government its 
unholy and prescriptive spirit its fanatical and super 
stitious ceremonies its worldly show and empty parade 
its unwarrantable pretensions and unnecessary divisions, 
we shall endeavor to expose in a prudent manner, and 
show our readers * a more excellent way ! We shall 
endeavor to take the medium between a blind fanaticism 
and a cold formality, and in all cases the Holy Scriptures 
shall be the man of our counsel ; and we shall use every 
exertion in our power to persuade our readers to be en 
lightened, rational, liberal, charitable, kind, experimental 
and practical Christians." 

" Christian liberty will be a leading topic in the Pal 
ladium, as genuine religion can breathe freely only in the 
atmosphere of freedom. There cannot be imagined a 
greater treason against heaven and earth, than for men, 
under the pretence of a superior sanctity, to plot, contrive, 



328 MEMOIR OF 

and provide for the control of human thoughts, actions 
and hopes, by infusing into the minds of their brethren and 
equals the delirium of superstitious fears of God, and the 
poison of cringing subserviency to man. The churches 
which have attempted this, have displayed the worst 
effects of ambition, selfishness and sensuality ; and the 
states which have submitted to it, all the debasement of 
servility, ignorance, and even of crime. Men should 
dread nothing but sin, and submit to no authority not 
delegated by themselves, except that of their parents and 
their God. The Palladium is not designed to espouse 
any party in politics ; yet it may have occasion at times 
to speak on the subject of Civil Government, so far as 
that species of government has a direct bearing on Chris 
tian liberty." 

In this bold, independent, out-spoken manner, the 
Editor of the Palladium unfurled his banner both to 
the friendly and the adverse breezes of the church 
and the world ; and though he well knew how and 
when to be politic, his paper had no disguise of senti 
ments. Up to the mark of his own enlightenment it 
had a bold, free, and therefore an effective utterance on 
the errors it attempted to correct, and the truths it 
aimed to set forth. 

As one object of Mr. Badger s monthly was to de 
velop the talent of young writers in the cause he 
represented, in his first number he commends to their 
observance a method of improvement, containing seven 
distinct rules, which are worthy of repetition in this 
volume, as many of the same class may still be profited 
by taking them into consideration. He says to 
them : 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 329 

X 

" 1st. Devote some part of each week to writing on 
some important subject. 2d. Express your ideas in as 
few words as possible, render the sense clear, use plain 
and familiar language, but lively and impressive figures. 
3d. Often revise and improve your former compositions. 
4th. Keep your ideas clear and distinct, and avoid tau 
tology. 5th. Occasionally submit your best compositions 
to your more learned and experienced brethren ; and never 
be offended, but always thankful, for any new idea or cor 
rection. 6th. When you write for the press, keep a copy 
of your communications, and when they are revised and 
published, carefully compare your copy with the editor s 
improvement. 7th. Always keep in view the great 
object of all our labor, which is to make men good." 

Let these seven rules of wisdom for young writers 
still be remembered, as those that are able to disci 
pline and to improve their power, and particularly 
the last, which gives to writing an earnest and a truth 
ful character. 

Assisted by a few practical writers, and by such 
contributions as he could get from others, he continued 
his work successfully, presenting a good variety of 
matter ; essays on moral and theological themes, letters, 
extracts from the best authors, poems, news from 
churches, and so forth. This first volume presents 
among its writers the names of Kinkade, Merrill, Mil- 
lard, Walters, Barr, Flemming, Miles, Jones, McKee, 
Purveyance, Henry and others, whilst on its pages are 
able extracts from the pen of Channing, from the 
Christian Examiner and other periodicals of the time ; 
and at the close of the year, April, 1833, the editor, 
in an address headed by the impressive lines, 



330 MEMOIR OP 

" T is greatly wise to talk with our past hours, 
And ask them what report they bore to Heaven, 
And how they might have borne more welcome news, " 

was enabled to say : 

" We now have associated with this establishment a 
greater number of correspondents than there is in any 
other of our acquaintance. Our periodical has received 
the approbation of some of the oldest and most experi 
enced ministers in the connection. Several liberal peri 
odicals have favorably noticed us. Many young men 
have used their pens for the first time (for the press) to 
adorn our pages. Our old brethren who have long been 
dormant, have come forth as from the silence of the 
tomb, have spoken again and stretched forth their palsied 
hands to our assistance. Kinkade s last trembling lines 
were for our use. In his wise counsel we commenced ; 
and in his dying moments a fervent praver was raised for 
our prosperity." 

Having completed a well-executed volume, for whose 
pages over one hundred correspondents had written, 
Mr. Badger regarded his periodical, surrounded as it 
was by increasing encouragements, as being estab 
lished ; and, though pledged to the vindication of sen 
timents some of which provoke the thunder of theolo 
gical strife, he calmly takes the motto, 

"Fear not ! the good shall flourish in immortal youth, 
Unhurt amidst the war of elements, 
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds." 

May, 1833, the second volume of this publication 
commenced ; and until its removal, by the united com 
promise of the east, the north, the south and the west, 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 331 

to the town of Broadalbin, Montgomery County, K. Y., 
in the spring of 1834, it was issued monthly from the 
press of Marshall & Dean, at Rochester; and with 
such ability and interest was it conducted that the 
General Convention at Milan, N. Y., October, 1833, 
resolved, under the name of the " Gospel Palladium," 
to establish a weekly paper, of which Mr. Badger was 
unanimously chosen editor.* As we glance over the 
pages of this volume, we notice the discussion of some 
very important themes, such as the natural immortal 
ity of man, the doctrine of the Trinity, the freedom of 
the human mind, the basis of Universalism, the derived 
existence of Christ, the subject of Christian liberty and 
union, the reasons for ministerial ordination, and 
themes of similar weight, with journals and letters ot 
religious intelligence in large number. It were a 
lengthy task to present a paragraph or two from all 
the editorials ; his replies to his opponents, his strict 
ures on the Monroe Baptist Association, his views of 
ordination in reply to Mr. Kay ; all these are accessi 
ble to those who own his monthly ; we only say they 
are usually such as lie only could have written. 

In an article en the " Deformities of Sectarianism," 
he indulges in great plainness of speech, using lan 
guage which at times has the sharpness of satire, yet 
the candor of honest belief. Looking at the sectarian 
phenomena, he says : 

"What a compound of spite and piety! at war with all 
dissenters, and at war with themselves ! In many in 
stances, ; V 

* Pall., Vol. II, p. 287. A general convention from the different 

States. 



332 MEMOIR OF 

They preach, and pray, and fight, and groan 
For public good, but mean their own. 

" t How has the fine gold become dim ! How has the 
salt lost its savor ! How are the mighty fallen ! 

We omit the strictures given on the different sys 
tems and organizations of the times. 

In answer to a request of the committee of the Milan 
Convention, the Genesee Christian Association ordered 
the removal of the Palladium to Union Mills,* Montgom 
ery County,! N. Y., that being the central position be 
tween the east and west selected by the people of New 
England as a location of compromise, and acceded to by 
the people of the west. The Genesee Association assign 
ed to him the entire control of the paper and its responsi 
bilities ; f and in May, 1834, it took the form of a 
large octavo, with double columns, a form it has re 
tained until now, and went forth in semi-monthly visits 
to cheer the hearts and teach the minds of several 
thousands. 

During the time of its publication at Rochester, Mr. 
Badger discharged jointly the duties of pastor and 
editor ; and in the rural town of his after residence he 
did the same, being early and late in his office, often, 
as creditable testimony affirms, sixteen hours a day ; 
and on Sunday, no sentence of his sermons was lan 
guid or weary. It is moderate to say, that his mani 
fold resources were not exhausted by the different and 
various directions in which they were used. 

* In the town of Broadalbin. f Now Fulton County. 

J Pall., Vol. IT, p. 387. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 333 

In the closing number of Volume II, Mr. Badger 
exrpessed the opinion that the ground occupied by the 
Christians is a medium between the wide extremes 
which several sects have assumed. It is probable, 
indeed, that, were the two general positions of doctri 
nal orthodoxy and rationalistic reformers brought into 
contrast, it would be found that the position of this 
denomination is midway between the two extremes, 
having in it the evangelical element of inward salva 
tion through Christ, and the operation of the Holy 
Spirit, and with it the rigid demands of reason in 
regard to the accordancy of theological statements 
with themselves, and with all known truth within and 
without. They discarded Socinianism and the mere 
religion of the intellect on the one hand, and, on the 
other, the unquestioning submission of the mind to the 
authority of time-honored and creed-embalmed opin 
ion. Whilst they rejected the supreme and self- 
existent deity of Jesus as inconsistent with the eternal 
supremacy of Him whom Jesus worshipped, they re 
vered the unmeasured presence of the high divinity 
that dwelt in him ; and, whilst they denied the doc 
trine of arbitrary grace, they affirmed the full depend 
ence of man on the direct agency of God, of his illu 
minating word and sanctifying spirit, for his salvation. 
They seemed to unite, to a large extent, the light of 
the reason on subjects of belief, with the most earnest 
piety and zeal for the salvation of sinners, regarding, 
in all discussions of sacred themes, the Scripture tes 
timony as final and supreme. 

The Christian Palladium, now at Union Mills, by 
the agreement of a general convention, representing 



334 MEMOIR OF 

different parts of the country, did not, as was contem 
plated, become a weekly paper, but a semi-monthly. 
In this form, Mr. Badger was its editor until May 1, 
183D, making in all seven years service in the edito 
rial field. Though there had been and were several 
periodicals published under the auspices of the Chris 
tian denomination, the Christian Herald, of Ports 
mouth, N. H., the Gospel Luminary, of New York, 
the Christian Messenger, of Georgetown, Ky., and the 
Christian Banner, of Vermont, none ever wielded the 
influence, nor displayed the same continuous course of 
mental energy and interest, as did the Palladium, 
when under the control of Joseph Badger, its first 
editor ; and perhaps we might, taking all things into 
view, add to this title the name creator and founder, 
for, though it sprung out of the necessities of the de 
nomination, under the assistance of several minds, it 
was his laborious toil and managing genius that gave 
it permanence and successful progress.* Wo would 
not claim that Mr. Badger was free from editorial 
faults and errors ; these he had ; but, what is not small 
in the success of any person, he had the ability to make 
even his errors interesting and entertaining ; nor were 
his truths ever dull or drowsy. His friends wanted 
to read what he had written from the magnetism com 
mon to friendship when it centres in an original man, 
and his opponents and enemies, for he had not a few 
of this class, would, from some other attraction, 



* The leading men in starting the general association and the 
publication of the Christian Palladium were 0. E. Morrill, J. Badger, 
J. Bailey, B. Miles, and others. O. E. Morrill was particularly active 
and prominent in this useful movement. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 335 

hasten to the perusal of his lines, as if they were im 
pelled by a cariosity to know what would come next. 
I judge that friends and foes, on opening his newly- 
issued paper, were very much in the habit of first 
reading what he had written. 

At the General Convention already spoken of, there 
originated, in the merging of many local interests into 
general, and especially in the importance ascribed to 
questions touching the general weal, the idea so often 
alluded to in Mr. Badger s editorials, under the name 
of " General Measures." By consent of all, his paper 
was the representative of the general interest, in con 
tradistinction to whatever was local ; and to overcome 
local prejudices was one of his determined aims. 
Among the methods he adopted to unite the east and 
the west in the bonds of a stronger amity, was that of 
inducing young ministers of talent in the west to locate 
in New England, and men of influence in New Eng 
land to take western fields of labor. " I wish," said 
Mr. B., in May, 1885, to the writer of this memoir, 
" to. get all the ministers I can in the west to settle in 
the east, and all the eastern ministers I can to settle 
in the west. In this way I can conquer the local pre 
judices." 

" Religion without bigotry, zeal without fanaticism, 
liberty without licentiousness," are the words that blaze 
on the flag of Mr. Badger s editorial ship, which, though 
usually accustomed to peaceful cruising, was by neces 
sity, at times, a man-of-war. In exposing imposition, 
in opposing formidable ability if arrayed against what 
he regarded as vital in religion, Mr. B. was very 
decided; and none who had to contend with him 



336 MEMOIR OF 

much or long, ever looked with indifference on his 
power to achieve his ends. His weapons of war were 
various ; if they were not always polished with the 
finest logic, they were such as did execution and brought 
success. Satire, humor, wit, not unfrequently lent 
their aid to his controversial labors ; yet it is difficult, 
it is even impossible, to find a single article in which 
these abound, that does not, when divested of those 
qualities, possess a sufficiency of substantial argument 
to render his position a strong one. 

In glancing over these pages, of 1834-5-6, it is 
evident that the subjects discussed are those in which 
the feelings of the writers were strongly engaged. 
Education for all men and education for ministers was 
very independently vindicated, though the idea of the 
competency of schools to impart all the qualifications 
needed by a minister of salvation, was justly and strong 
ly denied ; instead of an entire human reliance, the 
minister was advised to remember his dependence on 
the Holy Spirit, whose office to illuminate the human 
mind beyond the teachings of man, and to purify the 
human heart beyond the power of earthly guardians, 
has never yet ceased on earth. Mr. Badger s writings 
show him to be a decided friend of general education, 
of the cultivation which science and literature impart. 
They declare him to be an active friend of this culture 
for young ministers, for it has not only the advocacy of 
his words, but of his deeds also. In June, 1839, he 
aided the introduction of a resolution at the Confer- 
ential Assemblage, held at Rock Stream, Yates County, 
N. Y., which called for the appointment of a number 
of persons to investigate the practicability and the 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 337 

propriety of establishing a literary institution in the 
State of New York, in which the common and higher 
branches of science should be taught, for the intent, as 
explained by the speakers who discussed the question, 
that young men who were to devote their lives to the 
ministry might, unembarrassed by the narrowness of 
a sectarian platform, secure to themselves the accom 
plishment of a good education ; also, that the friends 
of liberal Christianity in the State and elsewhere might 
enjoy the same privilege. Beyond the benefit of the 
culture of science, he spoke cautiously, thinking it no 
benefit for a young man to learn and to drag after him 
through life, a dead, dogmatic system of theology. I 
remember to have heard him say on that occasion, 
" Let it not be thought that the end of this institution 
is to teach theology. We will make men, and let God 
make ministers." These were his words. It is well 
known that the movement at that time made resulted 
in the establishment of the Starkey Seminary, which, 
embosomed in the elegant scenery of the Seneca Lake, 
continues still to be active and prosperous. At Union 
Mills, he took no common pains to give influence and 
character to the Academy, which, under his encour 
agement, and the encouragement of a few others, had 
opened in that place. In 1844, he became one of the 
trustees and a member of the visiting committee of the 
Meadville Theological School, which offices he held 
until his death. But, perhaps, in some other place in 
this memoir, we may state more fully his ideas of 
ministerial education. It was indeed characteristic of 
his taste, the republication, in 1833, of Mason on Self- 
knowledge, and Blair on the Grave, which he so gener- 
15 



338 MEMO1K OF 

ally introduced among young ministers. Instead of 
giving them a dry bone of theology to pick, he handed 
them a live book to read, and " to place, for a season 
at least, next to their Bibles," in esteem, -which was 
founded on the old Grecian text, " KNOW THYSELF." 

But reverting back to the pages of the Palladium, 
we find that Mr. Badger, as editor, not only presided 
over, but took part, in a discussion on the subject of 
Divine or Spiritual Influence ; a subject which, in those 
years, claimed attention from the somewhat successful 
agitation of Mr. A. Campbell s system of theology, in 
the west. Mr. C., from the commanding talents with 
which he advocated his positions, from the reputation 
he had gained as a controversialist,* and from the lib 
erality of his new views in some respects and their 
originality in others, it happened that a large number 
of ministers and churches who belonged to the Chris 
tian denomination, in the west and south, together 
with a few minds so inclined in the Eastern and Middle 
States, began to look to Mr. Campbell as the light of 
the age as a new spiritual Moses sent to lead Israel 
through his wilderness. It is not^ uncommon, indeed, 
for the uneducated to magnify the powers, and to assign 
undue consequence to an originally endowed and edu 
cated mind, especially when such a mind is possessed 
of eloquence and boldness, qualities that always im 
press strongly the mass of mankind. Many churches 



* The debate with R. D. Owen, as it was called, was evidently no 
debate. No direct issue was formed between them, and there was no 
direct conflict of mind with mind on any essential question. It was 
mostly the rare phenomenon of two men talking alternately in the 
name place on different subjects. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 339 

in Kentucky, and some in other States, embraced his 
views ; nor can it be questioned that Mr. Campbell 
presented many truths, and in an attractive dress, to 
the people of the west. 

In this system it was premised that divine influence 
reaches man wholly through the intellectual powers ; 
that conversion is wholly from the force of knowledge 
and motive offered to the understanding ; that the Holy 
Spirit which once inspired the ancients, never in these 
years directly reaches man as once it did ; that 
God only penetrates the sinner by the agency of the 
word recorded in the Old and New Testaments; that it 
is only through these ancient words that the Eternal 
Spirit works upon the world s darkness and degrada 
tion. To these ideas we may add two others, which 
are, that there is no divine call to the ministry ; that 
in or through the act of water baptism, in the form of 
immersion, sins are remitted. Whilst Mr. Badger and 
his associates agreed with Mr. C. in reverence for 
the Scriptures, in the free investigation of sacred 
themes, and in the rejection of human creeds as tests 
of fellowship, ideas in whose conception and utterance 
they were many years his seniors and predecessors in 
the field of theological reform, they took religious ex 
perience as their basis, affirmed the free present agen 
cy of the Holy Spirit in the world, man s free access 
to God, and the forgiveness of sins on the conditions 
of faith and repentance, previous to, and independent 
of, the outward baptismal rite. Without attempting 
to enter upon theological investigation, that being for 
eign to our purpose, we would say, that we seem to 
deny that God is a sun, we impair the force of his 



340 MEMOIR OF 

eternal rays, by obliging him to shine forever upon 
the world exclusively through the atmosphere of an 
cient Palestine. The sun pours out each day afresh. 
So is God a sun, radiating for all men, not through the 
ancient word-medium exclusively, but through many 
media. His deeds certainly ought to be as expressive 
of his spirit as his words ; and are not creation and 
providence full of his deeds ? God governs the ma 
terial universe not by ancient but by present agency 
and action. Let this fact stand as the type of his 
manner of ruling and blessing in the universe of moral 
and intellectual being ; for it renders no injustice to 
the past, since the condition of both nature and spirit 
in this nineteenth century holds its lawful and inviola 
ble connection with all the past eras and epochs that 
either nature or spirit have known. What is religion 
worth if it opens no fresh and living communication 
with Heaven ? Is there nothing but a wwdMigament 
to unite the living soul with its living God ? Is the 
Holy Spirit a retired agent, no longer mindful of his 
ancient offices ? Are his abilities lost ? Are there 
no fresh inspirations of holiness and truth ? 

Mr. Badger s remarks on the word-theory of Mr. 
Campbell are various ; sometimes one or two para 
graphs only, sometimes several columns are employed. 
Though these are not thrown into systematic argu 
ment, they were pointed and effective, and through 
them all, one idea is prominent, that religion of the 
inward life, that a true religious experience, are op- 
posed to a system s-o intellectually speculative, and 
which tends to chill and discourage faith in a free 
access to God, and in his direct holy influences on the 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 341 

soul. This idea, based in experience, was his princi 
pal reliance. 

In 1836, he preached a sermon on Rom. 8 : 26 : 
" Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities," in 
which he set forth the idea, which frequently occurs in 
his writings, that human nature is too weak to resist 
error, to encounter temptation, and to bear life s sor 
rows from its own strength ; that its imperfections 
demand an immediate spiritual aid, which he contended 
was promised in the system of Christianity, and real 
ized by all who live by faith and walk in newness of 
life. 

The gifted and egotistical young man, William Hun 
ter, originally from Ireland, who became an eloquent 
orator and editor in behalf of those views, Mr. Badger 
disposes of very easily. He tells him, that if he 
should live twenty years longer and happen to read 
one of his prospectuses, he will see that his youthful 
swells run rather high, that these now " are enough to 
make an old man s head swim. And, when reminded 
by Mr. Hunter that old sailors should not complain of 
swells, and that unless he held fast to the rigging and 
looked aloft, he would fall overboard within one year, 
Mr. B. calmly inquires, " Oh, friend William ! and will 
ye verily have us all overboard in one year ? Then, in 
deed, and ye will have us all in the water according 
to* thy theory, friend William, that is a very safe ele 
ment. Shall we not be in a fair way for heaven?" 
Mr. Hunter offers to show, on one page of the Palla 
dium, from the Bible, that he believes in a spiritual 
religion, and that Mr. Badger believes in a spiritless 
one. The latter replies, that the work promised is 



34*2 MEMOIR OF 

weighty, and that his doubts concerning his astonishing 
skill will be lessened if he will first exhibit some proof 
of spirituality on one of his own pages, before coming 
to take the mote from his neighbor. 

The allusions of Mr. Campbell, in his " Millennial 
Harbinger," show that he was by no means indifferent 
to Mr. Badger s antagonism to his cause. One allu 
sion taken from his notes, December, 1837, on his 
eastern tour, in which he styles Mr. Badger the 
" redoubtable captain," will suffice. He says : 

" Mr. Badger has been one of the leaders in this glori 
ous struggle of walking by the Bible alone ; but these 
brethren (and I could name others with them) are deter 
mined not merely to profess, but to walk in all the com 
mandments and ordinances in the Bible. We intend, in 
the next volume, to pay some more attention to the great 
apostasy from the Bible alone, now commanded by this 
redoubtable captain, who sails sometimes under this flag, 
and sometimes under that. However, the New England 
brethren are not ignorant of his devices, and are not 
likely to marshal long under his Palladium, inasmuch as 
he seems not to relish the simplicity nor authority of the 
Nazarenes." 

The permanency and stability of Mr. Badger, ques 
tioned in this paragraph, all who know anything of 
him must concede to be conspicuous traits of his whole 
career in life. He was a man of no great and sudden 
changes. Perhaps a paragraph or so from his reply 
may serve to show his manner of dealing with a strong 
assailant. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 343 

" Mr. Campbell had succeeded in drawing away so 
many Christians in the west, that his expectation of suc 
cess among the intelligent people of New York and New 
England was very great. But he toiled all night and 
caught nothing. The enterprise was a failure ; and his 
disappointment and chagrin were so great that since his 
return to the west, in speaking of eastern men and meas 
ures, he gives strong symptoms of insanity, and some of 
his articles abound in cruel, unworthy invectives and mis 
representations." 

" But the most diverting thing, is to see his means of 
knowing, and his pretended knowledge of the state of 
things at the east. He spent but a few days in New 
England ; yet he pretends to know the state of society, 
the manners and customs of the people throughout that 
wide extended portion of our continent. But what 
churches did he visit ? Astonishing to tell ! He spent a 
few days in Boston ; a few hours at Salem and Lynn ; and 
we have never heard of his making a moment s call on 
any other Christian church in New England. Yet he 
speaks in broad terms and says : The Christians in New 
England need only to be taught the way of the Lord more 
perfectly. What does this foreigner, this man of the 
west know about the condition of the churches in Maine, 
New Hampshire, Vermont, and good old Connecticut, 
having never entered a chapel or cottage in either of those 
great States ? But he continues : * Much is wanting in 
many places to bring them nigh to the platform of Apos 
tolic usage and authority. MANY PLACES ! This sounds 
well from a stranger, such as himself. Why did he not 
teach our brethren the way of the Lord more perfectly ? 
Why did he not bring them to the Apostolic platform ? 
Why not push his inquiries further ? Alas, alas ! he had 
seen enough of New England sagacity ; it was not the soil 



344 MEMOIR OF 

for the seed he had brought. Therefore, he turns upon 
his heel and leaves the good people of Lynn to manufac 
ture their own shoes, and those of Salem to manage their 
own witches." 

The following paragraph, which succeeds what I 
have inserted, was partially quoted by Bishop Pur cell 
in the celebrated discussion between himself and Mr. 
Campbell on the Roman Catholic religion,* held at Cin 
cinnati, January, 1837, which, with several other quo 
tations from the same paper, goes to show that the 
Palladium, which he introduced as the organ of a nu 
merous body of Christians, had not failed to impress 
the Catholic Church as being a work of strength in 
Protestant literature. 

" He frequently speaks of the Bible alone ; but this 
is not a term generally used by the brethren in New Eng 
land, and is taught by few except Mr. 0. We never 
knew our brethren to boast of walking by the Bible alone. 
This we regard as an error, let who will proclaim it. We 
say give us the Bible, but not alone. Let us have a God, 
a Christ, a Holy Spirit, and a ministry to accompany it. 
There was a law given to the Jews ; also, a testimony, 
which they were bound to observe. The testimony of "the 
inspired prophets did not contradict the law, but taught 
and enforced the same great truths. The ancients were 
to walk by the law and the testimony, which was called a 
word, (Isa. 8 : 20). So the New Dispensation presents 
the written Word and the Spirit of God as the perfect law 
by which the saints are to be governed. Thus we preach 
the Spirit and the Word." 

* Debate on the Roman Catholic religion, pages 59, 186, 172. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 345 

" We have frequently heard," continues Mr. B., " the 
followers of Mr. C. talk about carrying the Gospel in 
their pockets, meaning the Bible ; but such are not like 
Christ s ministers, who have the treasure in earthen ves 
sels. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation." 

Referring to the charge of fluctuation he says : 

" Mr. C., we never belonged to the Presbyterians of 
Scotland ; we never united with nor dissented from the 
Red Stone Association of Baptists. But, dear sir, has not 
your whole life been one scene of reforms, deforms, and 
changes ? Just look at your equivocations on Calvinism 
and the Trinity ; turn to your correspondence with Mr. 
Grew and all your opponents, and blush, while you talk 
about any man who sails sometimes under this flag, and 
sometimes under that. This, sir, comes with a very bad 
grace from your honorable self." 

It is not my wish to revive the passions of past con 
troversy, but the antagonism of Mr. Badger to certain 
features of the cause which Mr. Campbell represented 
in the west was so conspicuous a part of his editorial 
life, that the chapter here opened could not well be 
completed without some allusions to and quotations 
from it. No one doubts that his paper influenced 
thousands not to embrace the system of his distinguished 
opponent. 

In 1837 and 1838 he discussed the question at 
length, " THE CHURCH THE HIGHEST TRIBUNAL," 
making a distinction between a church and the church, 
denying that the former is the highest tribunal, and 
qualifiedly conceding this honor to the latter ; that is to 
say, a particular church may be incompetent to act 
15* 



346 MEMOIR OF 

upon questions* which the large assemblage of ministers 
and particular churches might act upon with wisdom 
and safety. These articles were indeed an able vindi 
cation of the doctrine of associated action, of confer- 
ential organization ; they called out a vast deal of dis 
cussion, and whatever may be thought of the justness 
of his position, none can deny that his articles produced 
a very strong impression on the public generally. The 
great danger of large associative bodies is the usurp 
ation of power over individual rights ; but he claimed 
to protect the individual and to secure his rights 
through the associative action for which he plead. Both 
sides were heard^in this discussion. 

The Catholic question, the subject of temperance, 
slavery, ministerial education, and historical sketches 
of the denomination, each had a share of attention. 
Dr. Channing s letter on the Catholic question, origi 
nally in the Western Messenger, was published in his 
columns, printed in small pamphlets and scattered over 
the country. Also his letter to Mr. Badger on the 
principles and wants of the Christian denomination, 
which, to a good extent, may be called a treatise on 
education, was called forth by Mr. Badger s direct re 
quest, and, excellent as it was as a whole, it received 
from him friendly and independent strictures on points 
wherein he regarded Dr. C. as being misinformed. 
The Palladium, in the hands of Joseph Badger, was an 
organ of power mightier than had ever been wielded in 
the same cause before, and altogether more so than the 
same paper has ever been since. We think the editor 
speaks truthfully in saying, " The secret of its success 
is its adaptation to the wants of the people. It now has 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 347 

a larger subscription than any two periodicals have or 
ever had in the Christian or Unitarian societies on the 
globe." It is almost unnecessary to add the most 
practical evidence of its success, namely, that through 
the provident management of its editor, it was finan 
cially the source of a very respectable income. Let us 
hear what impression this paper made on the other side 
of the Atlantic. Rev. John R. Beard,* of Manchester, 
England, under the date of June 1, 1838, wrote as 
follows": 

I have long desired to find a moment to address you 
a few lines. I feel a deep interest in the cause to which 
you and many other excellent men are devoted ; and I do 
hope and trust that the great Head of the Church will 
abundantly bless your praiseworthy labors." 

" In your alienation from creeds of .human formation, 
you not only have a feeling in common with the Unitari 
ans of England, but in my opinion have assumed a posi 
tion at onc3 eminently Scriptural and of great and press 
ing need in the actual state of the religious world. The 
New Testament Scriptures ought to be the only standard 
of faith and doctrine with followers of Christ ; and aware 
of the fallibility which must attach to every mere human 
interpretation of Holy Writ, I feel that the great work is 
to command allegiance to the great Protestant principle 
of the sufficiency and paramount authority of the Bible, 
and particularly of the writings of the Evangelists and 
the Apostles. I cannot but look on your efforts and suc 
cesses with high gratification, and in the chills of a colder 
moral atmosphere and the dissatisfactions of a necessarily 

* Editor of the Christian Teacher. 



348 MEMOIR OF 

less productive field, I sometimes half wish myself in 
the midst of you." 

"While others contend," said Mr. B., "about the 
supervacaneous part of religion, we will encourage the 
enjoyment of its more exhilarating radiancy." " We are 
reformers ; we must and will be reformers. We are de 
termined never to be guilty of a cringing subserviency to 
the Man of Sin, nor to bow to any idol of superstition 
which frail men have imposed upon the Church of God. 
The Palladium will be Doctrinal, Historical, and Practical. 
Much attention will be bestowed on the culture of the. 
youthful mind, and the improvement of young ministers 
and young writers." 

These and similar passages may be regarded as the 
landmarks of his editorial action ; and through all his 
seven years course, it will appear that the Palladium 
never lost sight of its cardinal idea as taken from the 
old apostolical discussion, " That Jesus is the Christ, 
the Son of the living God." One proof of its decision 
and energy lies in the violence and depth of feeling 
that, in some instances, were awakened against it. " It 
is," said its editor, " the bane of the Catholic, the 
Campbellite, the disorganizer, and the proud sectarian ; 
and it is generally known in the camp of the enemies 
of Christian liberty." When Mr. Badger made an 
assault, which he never did without believing he had 
good reason so to do, the party receiving it was at no 
loss to know who it came from, when it was received, 
and what it signified. We like to see everything thor 
ough after its kind ; let a blow be a blow , let a smile 
be a smile. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 349 

On leaving the editorial chair, May 1, 1839, he re 
turned to his newly purchased and agreeable residence 
at West Mendon village, now called Honeoye Falls, in 
Monroe County, N. Y., where he became, in 1840, the 
pastor of a prospering church which had recently been 
formed in that place. Six months before leaving the 
Palladium, he had announced the intention of being 
for a few years an evangelist. Speaking of himself in 
the third person, he said : 

" His circuit will be principally within the following 
limits: From Quebec on the north, to Georgia on the 
south ; and from Maine on the east, to Arkansas and 
Missouri on the west. To be at liberty to travel and 
preach the Gospel again, as in the days of his youth, is 
the height of his ambition ; and this is his desire above 
all things of Heaven." 

In his farewell address, April 15, 1839, he says : 

44 And so, without more circumstance at all, 
I hold it fit that we shake hands and part. 

" I now take up my pen to address you for the last time, 
as Editor of the Christian Palladium, with a feeling of 
strong attachment to each and all of you, and a fervent 
desire for your present and future happiness. We have 
travelled a long journey and encountered many difficulties 
together, and at length have arrived at that point where 
that sacred relation we have sustained to each other is to 
end, and our connection as editor and patron is to bo 
severed forever." 



350 MEMOIR OF 

In reviewing the past, he claims to have used no dis 
guise, to have spoken plainly and independently on all 
subjects, though at times, he concedes, a little too 
severely with certain opponents, it being necessary to 
regulate controversy with reference to the opponent one 
has to combat, and to answer some persons by Solomon s 
celebrated rule. These occasional severities he candidly 
regards as the greatest errors in all his editorial labors. 
He justifies the cool and unimpassioned tone of the 
Palladium during the high excitements of the abolition 
agitation, and expresses a willingness that his position 
and procedure on that subject should be put to the test, 
that on them he is willing to hazard his reputation, 
believing that the duties of the Palladium did not 
require it to enter the arena of the new political 
warfare. 

" On Church Government and the powers of Confer 
ence, we have bestowed special attention, and occupied 
much room, and given our opponents a fair hearing. If 
we thought there was one single argument left unanswer 
ed on which disorganizes rely, we would now, on leaving 
the editorial chair, give it due consideration. "We have 
opened this door wide ; there has not been a single argu 
ment or statement of the opposition left out, which has 
been presented for publication. This discussion was called 
for, and has been of utility to the Christian society, as 
our Conferences have since put on new strength and the 
churches taken new courage. This poor worn-out slander 
which a few heated partisans have set on foot, that our 
Conferences have assumed improper authority and inter 
fered with the domestic or internal affairs of the churches, 
is proved, by long experience and common observation, to 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 351 

be a fabrication of error, a false alarm sounded for party 
purposes. But our opponents on this question are van 
quished ; and though the struggle on this question has 
been long and arduous, we shall ever look upon our labors 
on this point with interest and satisfaction." 

" We feel such a strong attochment to the great Chris 
tian family for whom we have so long provided our hum 
ble repast, that the task is truly painful to take leave. 
You have been our friends and the friends of a noble 
cause ; you have sustained us and advanced truth. You 
have frequently prayed for our success, and your prayers 
have been heard, and now, though our relation in one 
respect is changed, yet we still will be one in spirit, and 
unitedly labor for the advancement of the same common 
cause, keep our eye on the mark and meet in glory. 
When our toils are done, when we lay low in the grave, 
then may the cause in which we have labored exert a 
universal influence ; liberal truth spread throughout the 
world, and the Palladium s humble banner wave in 
triumph over the crumbling ruins of sectarism and be the 
herald of Liberty, Uniop and Peace. Beloved patrons, 
Farewell ! " 

Thus ended seven years of severe editorial service, 
through which we discern the action of a shrewd, in 
telligent, energetic and active mind ; all in all, the 
ablest and most efficient editor of whom the history of 
the Christian denomination may boast. He was, in 
deed, constitutionally kind, yet on dishonesty and im 
posture, especially if they came under the sacred garb, 
he was boldly severe, this being his favorite, chosen 
motto on all such occasions : 

" Strip the miscreants of the robes they stain, 
And drive them from the altars they profane." 



352 MEMOIR OF 

One has only to look at the character of the same 
periodical from the time he left it until now, to be con 
vinced that his place has never been supplied ; that 
the same amount of concentrated interest has never, 
to this date, been awakened ; and, when we reflect on 
the energy, the life and the hope its pages inspired in 
the communities whose sentiments it faithfully pleaded, 
we are strikingly reminded that on earth nothing is so 
valuable as a man, and that no cause is ever mighty 
except through decision, through force of character 
and force of expression, in setting forth the ideas and 
principles which may enlighten and save. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

GENERAL VIEWS. 

ON EDUCATION. The first time I had the pleas 
ure of a personal acquaintance with Mr. Badger, was 
in January, 1835, at Canton, N. Y. ; and among the 
several topics on which he conversed during the few 
days we were together, was the subject of education. 
Ho then said : 

" Every human being should be educated. All young 
men who are seeking to be useful in public life should be 
educated. But there are certain evils to be avoided in 
the means we pursue. Every human being, to improve 
in a natural way, requires a certain amount of physical 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 353 

exercise. To shut one s self up among books without 
walking and suitable activity is the certain road to weak 
ness." 

He said he had been trying to mature a plan of 
education for young ministers, of which he should 
speak at some future time. He said that ministers 
gain no power by becoming dry scholars ; that they 
should be living, natural men, to be profited by sci 
ence and literature. I noticed, in all subsequent in 
terviews, that he never seemed to want scientific cul 
ture, at the expense of naturalness, spirituality, and 
sound health. It was Horace Mann, I think, who 
more recently said, that a dyspeptic stomach is an 
abomination to the Lord. Mr. Badger substantially 
stood upon this text, in his educational views, many 
years ago. 

"June, 1835. All, we believe, are in favor of gen 
eral education. This is a great principle on which all are 
agreed. On this ground we can, and indeed it is our 
duty to unite all our energies, until our congregations 
shall be an enlightened and intelligent community. We 
do not think our people now so far behind other societies 
as some may imagine ; we have also scores of ministers 
who are not a whit behind the chiefest apostles of the 
sects around us, in a sound knowledge of theology ; and 
among us are some of the finest natural orators in our 
country. We do not believe that any society of equal 
numbers can find, among their church members, an equal 
number of biblical critics. The people called Christians 
have labored under many embarrassments ; but they have 
made the best use of the limited means in their possession 
for improvement. This is a proof that they are capable 



35.4 MEMOIR OF 

of still higher attainments, and a reason why they should 
be blessed with greater privileges. As the time has 
come for the Christian church to take strong and im 
proved ground in this enlightened age, let education and 
all other practical subjects be thoroughly discussed, that 
we may be sufficiently enlightened to go forward in union 
and strength, and sustain our character as Christian re 
formers." 

He recommended that there should be a vigilant 
committee in every conference, whose business it 
should be to look up young men whose good but buried 
talents might, with a little encouragement, be brought 
out to good advantage in the work of the ministry. 
He proposed, as a temporary aid, the establishment of 
suitable libraries, and of theological reading-rooms, 
where young men could repair, and find a desirable 
retreat for study and reflection. 

" This," says he, "is an age of improvement, and we 
must keep pace with the improvements of the generation 
in which we live in order to be useful. Nothing can be 
more degrading to a religious community, and nothing 
can more effectually retard their usefulness and prosper 
ity, than an ignorant ministry. "We are not in favor of 
men-made ministers, for we believe there must be a spir 
itual, experimental, and divine qualification. But we do 
believe that young men whose minds are exercised on 
the great work of preaching the Gospel should embrace 
every opportunity for improvement, and study * to be 
workmen that need not be ashamed. In old times, there 
were the sons of the prophets ; in the days of the apos 
tles, there was a Timothy and a Titus under the particu 
lar instruction of Paul." Pall., vol. 3, p. 54. 1834. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 355 

" April 15, 1835. THE EDUCATION OF MINISTERS, 
-T- On this subject we expect to be able to present an im 
proved method of education, which will be less expensive, 
and will remedy two great evils. The first is the de 
struction of health and the natural energies of the man. 
The second is the decline of grace and of spiritual exer 
cises in the mind of the student. There is a system of 
self-education just introduced in this State, on which Mr. 
Southwick and other scientific gentlemen are lecturing, 
which is highly spoken of. We intend immediately to 
inform ourself on this subject, and hope to find something 
in it worthy the attention of our readers. A study of 
this kind may, to great advantage, be connected with 
theology without the burdens, the darkness and pollution 
of heathen mythology." 

February, 1837. In his remarks on Dr. Chan- 
ning s letter, he says : 

" We are generally opposed to the present mode of 
getting up sectarian theological schools. W"e see so 
many ignorant men coming out of those establishments 
pretending to teach theology, who were never designed, 
by nature or grace, for the ministry, who are as ignorant 
of grace, and the first principles of the Christian religion, 
as Nicodemus, that we have become disgusted with such 
human institutions, and regard them as sources of corrup 
tion and division rather than helps to the church of God. 
In past ages, the schools have been the channels through 
which error, like a mighty torrent, has poured its poison 
into the church. Through these mediums the clergy 
have contrived to control and take away the liberty of 
Zion. And is it surprising that we, who are reformers, 
should be a little cautious about entering hastily into a 



356 MEMOIR OF \ 

course which has proved so fatal and dangerous to thou 
sands ? It is not education, but the method, which pro 
duces alarm among our friends. The doctor proclaims 
the sentiment of our congregations in the clearest manner 
in the following noble strain: I feel that a minister, 
scantily educated but fervent in spirit, will win more 
souls to Christ than the most learned minister whose 
heart is cold, whose words are frozen, whose eye never 
kindles with feeling, whose form is never expanded with 
the greatness of his thoughts, and the ardor of his love. " 

When, in his tour to New England, in the autumn 
of 1835, he passed the evening of September 8th, 
with Dr. Channing, at his summer residence at New 
port, R. I., the topic of education was partially dis 
cussed ; and the views there developed, and the inter 
est manifested on the part of Dr. C. in the Christian 
denomination, whom he regarded as having a great 
mission to fulfil, induced Mr. B., in January, 1837, 
to invite a communication from his pen. Those who 
would be pleased to read that able document will find 
it in Vol. Y, p. 305, of the Christian Palladium. Mr. 
Badger s interest in the cause of education grew with 
his years ; I remember to have heard him express a 
compliment to the Roman Catholic Church, in 1845, 
to this amount; "Their scholars," said he, " are 
scholars. There is no smattering or pretension about 
it," a sentiment that perfectly expressed his pro 
found regard for thorough learning. But he had a 
contempt, which he did not always conceal, for that 
class of men in the ministry, or elsewhere, who had a 
systematic book-learning, without any knowledge of 
human nature, or any living forco with which to act 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 357 

upon the world they were living in ; at times, both in 
private and in public, he alluded to them under the 
name of u College dunces." 

" August 1, 1837. THE GOSPEL AND THE REFORMS. 
THE Sux AND THE STARS. The natural sun is the 
centre of the solar system. Every planetary star is sta 
tioned at a respectful distance, and is dependent on the 
great centre for its power and influence. Every planet 
revolves round the sun in its time, and is directed, sus 
tained, bounded and governed by its attractive power. 
So the Gospel is, to the moral world, civil government, 
science, and all the systems of light and improvement, 
what the sun is to the heavenly bodies. All must re 
volve around, are dependent on, are subordinate to, and 
all must be governed by the glorious Gospel of the Son 
of God. 

" If this reasoning is sound, and we think none will 
deny it, we bring it forward as an admonition to all men, 
who, in their zeal to promote certain objects and to carry 
certain points, have set up some little star as the centre 
and attempted to make it the rallying point, and are 
pleading for all other planets to revolve around it. The 
Pope s decree, Mohamet s revelations, the decisions of 
councils, synods, and the creeds of men, all in their turn 
have been substituted for the sun, or centre of operation. 
How mean they all look in this age of light as a rule of 
action, when compared with the testimony of the living 
God. 

" If the Presbyterians, in the late session of their 
general assembly, had adhered to these principles they 
would not have been split asunder. But how plain it is 
to every impartial spectator that they substituted a few 
httle things as the criterion of fellowship ; hence they are 



358 MEMOIR OF 

rent in twain. But their separation, which is by the most 
of people considered as a matter of lamentation, we re 
gard as a favorable omen. They were a great, a power 
ful people, united by human laws made by themselves. 
They were oppressive, proud, and cruel ; and their arbi 
trary measures, party feelings, and great influence, might 
yet have endangered our liberties. Their ranks are now 
broken, and the work of reform is begun. They will 
again be more cordially united when they all submit to 
Christ, throw by their petty stars and dark planets, and 
acknowledge the supremacy of the glorious Sun, the 
Gospel of our blessed Lord. 

" When the temperance reform was introduced it was a 
blessed work; but many good and zealous persons placed 
it altogether before Christianity, and represented the 
Gospel as a feeble instrument in doing good compared 
with this benevolent human association. We were never 
opposed to temperance, but to intemperate measures for 
the promotion of temperance. We are still opposed to 
placing the temperance cause before Christianity, making 
it the centre, and calling upon the Gospel, as an inferior 
orb, to revolve around it. 

" When the tornado of anti-masonry swept like a 
mighty torrent through the land, rending asunder the 
churches of God and separating the ministers of Christ, 
the cause of Jesus bled at every pore. What a desolat 
ing mildew it left ! What an overheated course many a 
zealous and good brother ran in this holy war. In those 
perilous times we were among the cool who pleaded for 
the union of the churches and conferences ; we then depre 
cated all forced measures and intemperate decisions, and 
said, Do not try to make this star a sun, but let us all 
keep our eye upon the great centre, and all be Christians. 
This mild doctrine prevailed, and all now rejoice that we 
were saved from disorder and ruin. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 359 

"Slavery and anti-slavery are now the exciting sub 
jects which bid fair to produce great commotion and some 
division in the church. It is said this subject was among 
the causes which led to the division of the Presbyterian 
assembly. Some good brethren always have their pow 
der dry and ready to blow up by every spark that falls 
near them. Such have no medium in which they rest, 
have no principles by which they are bounded ; but they 
drive ahead upon the excitement of the moment, regard 
less of that moderation and charity which the Gospel 
enjoins. They make their point the sun, and call on the 
Gospel to exert its influence to accomplish their favorite 
object. Here is the difficulty. Men will bo partial and 
limited in the view they take of subjects, and will, more 
or less, be governed by human passions in their pursuits ; 
hence coercive measures are resorted to, and division and 
ruin follow." 

THE MINISTRY. In the views already given in 
this book, it is plain that Mr. Badger believed in a 
Gospel ministry, that, besides the human qualifications 
of learning and culture, had a vital, living union with 
God, with Christ, with the perpetual region of light in 
the heavens. This view, which appears in the earliest 
ideas cherished in his youth, pervaded all his ordina 
tion sermons and addresses ; and he pleaded that such 
a ministry should be supported in a manner to elevate 
it above the necessity of worldly cares and of temporal 
privation. Though very much of his own ministry 
through life was unrewarded by adequate returns of 
temporal aid, he firmly held to the two apparently con 
flicting ideas, that he to whom God gives this spiritual 
mission should go forward and preach for life, nor bo 



360 MEMOIR OF 

dissuaded by poverty, calumny or persecution ; and 
that the people are not justly entitled to any man s 
services in the ministry any longer than they continue 
to render the proof of their appreciation in the form 
of earthly support, according to their ability and the 
reasonable wants of the minister. Gracefully and 
practically did he know how to develop the meaning of 
that apostolical saying, " The laborer is worthy of his 
hire." Though, like John Milton, he disliked to have 
the minister occupy a position in which community may 
justly regard him as a feed attorney for the cause he 
advocates, he also disdained to foster a covetous, 
money-worshipping community under the name of a 
Christian church. He was once heard to say, that the 
true minister would live on browse before he would 
abandon the cause of God. 

"Three things," said he (in a letter to a young man* 
who was about to begin to preach), " are essential to a 
preacher. First, the ability to discern the condition and 
capacity of a congregation. Second, an ability to select 
a subject suited to their capacity and wants. Third, skill 
to deliver it in a manner to be received to the best ad 
vantage. How often you hear preachers labor on inap 
propriate subjects, who evidently did not understand the 
wants of their assembly ; and how frequently you have 
heard a good subject mutilated and the assembly disgusted 
by bad delivery. The more natural, easy, simple, and 
affectionate a truth can be told, the better and more last 
ing effect it will have." 

* J. J. Harvey. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 3G1 

On problems of the future state, he did not largely 
speculate. In reply to some nice questions touching 
his views of the details and minutiae of the immortal 
life, he once said, " Let us wait until we get there. 
Who can answer these questions now ? " He preached 
that virtue leads to glory eternal ; that vice naturally 
proceeds to darkness and wo ; that revelation gives 
hope only to those who obey. It will be almost in 
variably found, that his abilities and themes had strong 
practical bearings ; that his power was never prone to 
assume the merely speculative form. 

On human nature he was explicit. He never ad 
mitted the doctrine of original inherent sin ; but from 
the first, vindicated humanity from the charges of total 
depravity. In 1854, though the blaspheming of human 
nature, common to the olden creeds, is theoretically 
retained, we seldom hear its allegations in bold words ; 
but in 1817 and onwards, it was otherwise. Then Mr. 
Badger took his stand in behalf of humanity with a 
defence so wise that it repelled at the same time the 
charges of Calvinism and pleaded the need of regenera 
tion. At Royalton, about twenty-five years ago, he 
spoke on human nature against the common view, so 
strongly and so boldly, that it caused some two or three 
ministers who were with him in the desk to exhibit signs 
of surprise. He continued without the least deviation ; 
and, a few months since, one of the same gentlemen 
who witnessed the scene at Royalton, said, that the view 
Mr. Badger then gave, was the one now hailed witb 
joy by the large masses, the t>ne which thoughtful mind 
are everywhere weaving into the philosophy of mac 
nature and life. 

16 



362 MEMOIR OF 

Mr. Badger said, that there was partial truth in 
all the new things of the day, in Mesmerism, Phre 
nology, Fourierism, Abolitionism, Non-resistance, Ad- 
ventism ; but that neither of these is what its partisans 
make it. He thought there was something superficial 
in each offered remedy of modern time for the cure of 
human evils ; that the Gospel, with its divine persua 
sions, is alone able to rectify the condition of man on 
earth. He thought there were heads in the world that 
would puzzle and confound phrenology, though in the 
main it might have the perception of a great truth. 
The spirit of his views would say Why get infatuated 
with your new idea ? Why make it everything ? Why 
lose your balance in the circle of your Christian duty, 
and grow dizzy-heaied on your one idea, your darling 
ultraism ? He held that the world s real progress is 
plain and slow ; that God s kingdom does not come in 
coruscations of lightning, or in the sport of whirlwinds. 
" Oh ! foolish Galations, who hath bewitched you that 
ye should not obey the truth ? " was the text of a very 
impressive sermon delivered to a great concourse of 
people in June, 1845,* in which he particularized on 
the extremes of the day, on the infatuation which 
temporarily seizes a certain class of men, arid causes 
them to substitute a fragmentary truth for the whole 
Gospel, and for the whole platform of human duty. 

CHURCH POLITY. " We have noticed for more than 
twenty years," said Mr. B., " that the first ground assumed 
by disorganizes is, that the church is the highest tribunal 
on earth. Recently, Mr. Campbell and some others have 

* At Marion, Wayne County, N. Y. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 363 

urged this doctrine in a manner and with explanations 
which are calculated to produce the worst of consequences. 
" 1st. We object to the TERM tribunal, when applied 
to the church. We not only regard it unscriptural, but in 
the general acceptation of the term it implies too much. 
It carries with it not only the authority to constitute a 
judgment seat, but the power to reward and punish; the 
church has no such power. God is a sovereign. His 
government is monarchical he has given his Son all 
authority in his church, and the whole government is 
upon his shoulder. The church has no authority to alter 
one of Christ s institutions, nor make the least law for 
the government of his spiritual body. The business of 
the church is to learn of Christ, to know his laws and 
institutions, and to walk by them ; to fear God and keep 
his commandments is the whole duty of man. The 
church has no power to bestow rewards nor to inflict 
punishments ; this alone is the prerogative of the Great 
Head of the church. Christians on earth have less 
authority over each other than some imagine. We have 
little to do with each other s private opinions : in these 
matters each stands or falls, or is accountable to his own 
master. To be sure, we are authorized to form an opin 
ion of men from the fruits they bring forth from the 
spirit they manifest; and we have power to fellowship or 
disfellowship according to the fruits brought forth ; but 
we can inflict no other punishment, and this should be 
regarded as a Christian duty rather than in the light of 
punishment. As far as the church can exert a Christian 
influence in reclaiming men from the error of their ways, 
and as long as they, under guidance of the spirit of Christ, 
can labor for each other s advancement in the divine life, 
so long they can be useful. But the moment they feel 
that they have authority to punish, and begin to labor 



364 MEMOIR OF 

under that impression, they do mischief in the flock of 
Christ. Thus we object to the application of the term 
tribunal to the church, and the anti-Christian authority 
it seems to impart." 

" The error is not so much in the term used as in the 
explanations, opinions, and practice connected with its 
use. We have seen it fully carried out in practice. The 
doctrine is this. Each little band of brethren scattered 
abroad is the church, and are the highest tribunal on 
earth. There is no appeal from their decisions ; they have 
power to try and exclude a minister of the Gospel, and all 
councils or conferences composed of ministers and brethren 
are unscriptural, arbitrary and anti-Christian. But the 
error lies at the starting-point in the very foundation. 
Those little bands of brethren are only parts of the great 
family on earth. They can attend to their own internal 
affairs; their work is small, and in a very limited circle. 
From such little decisions we ask no appeal. They can 
extend fellowship to whom they please, and withdraw from 
the disorderly ; but they cannot act for other branches of 
Zion who live fifty or a thousand miles from them. They 
can hear, encourage, or abandon such ministers as they 
choose, so far as their ministry with them is concerned ; 
but it would be folly for them to attempt to make or de 
stroy ministers for others. Now ministers are not the 
property of one little branch of the church ; they belong 
to the whole are accountable to the whole. Any branch 
of the church has a right to present a trial or grief against 
a minister. But the question will arise, Who shall decide 
on a trial thus presented by a church against a minister? 
Surely not the church who present the trial, for they are 
the accusing party. He is a public man, all the churches 
are interested in his prosperity and in his impeachment. 
The common error says, the accusing party must accuse 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 365 

and condemn, for it is the highest tribunal on earth. But 
common sense and common justice say, Let a council of 
ministers and brethren from other churches be called to 
investigate and decide this matter. Let the man have a 
hearing before a council, equal in numbers and authority 
to that which received or ordained him, and by which he 
was inducted into his holy work in the church. We care 
not whether this assemblage of ministers and church mem 
bers is called a council or a conference ; if it possesses the 
talent, the wisdom and light of the body, if a board is 
formed whose just, fair, and impartial decisions shall re 
ceive the sanction, respect, and confidence of all the 
churches for whom they act." 

" Within three years past we have known two instances 
in which ministers had fallen into disrepute with a part of 
the churches of their charge. When trials were present 
ed they immediately assumed the ground that the church 
Was the highest tribunal ; they would have no council, nor 
ministers in the case, unless they could bring in some par 
tial friend of theirs who was prepared to cover up and 
defend their iniquitous proceedings ; they would be tried 
by the church, and immediately set themselves to work to 
secure the majority, whose first business it was to exclude 
the minority. Those ministers, we presume, could not be 
induced to have their conduct examined by a wise, im 
partial, and judicious conference of elders and brethren ; 
yet they have good and clean letters of commend and jus 
tification from the churches to which they belong. Such 
ministers as are not willing to throw themselves open to 
the investigation of all the churches and all their brethren 
in the ministry, ought to confine their labors to the church 
or party who has commended them, and by whom they 
are willing to be judged." 



366 MEMOIR OF 

"We do not believe there is a church in the land who 
shall undertake to exclude their pastor, let him be ever so 
bad, that can do it without rending their own body asunder. 
A minister, in ever so great errors, or ever so much fallen 
in morality, will have his adherents and his party, and 
frequently by his management will secure the majority of 
the church of his charge. How many churches have thus 
been rent asunder; how many wicked ministers have thus 
endeavored to screen themselves from justice. "Where 
no counsel is, the people fall ; but in the multitude of 
counsellors there is safety." Prov. 11 : 14. 

" Having discarded the idea that one little branch of 
Zion possesses the whole authority, we shall now state 
that the term Church is sometimes applied to a very small 
band of believers, and in other cases it is applied to the 
whole body of Christians in the world. The church, in 
the general use of the word, embraces all the ministers, 
gifts, and members of Christ s body. When people have 
separated the ministers from the congregations, or the 
congregations from the ministers, and undertaken to do 
business in their separate capacities, independent of each 
other, when the business transacted was of a public or 
general character, they have both materially erred. The 
Gospel recognizes ministers and people as one body, 
united and cooperating in one work, advancing the same 
interests, and promoting the same cause. Their talents 
may be different, their calling and gifts various, but no 
one member can say to another, I have no need of you. 
To take the church as a whole, if it were proper to use 
the term tribunal/ we should have no objection to say 
ing it was the highest tribunal on earth, that is, there is 
no earthly court that has a right to control its decisions, 
and there is no earthly court to which it can appeal. But 
Christ and his revealed will are still higher than any 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 367 

decision of the church ; to it the whole church must bow 
with humble reverence, and say, Thy will be done. " 

"Nothing is plainer and more clearly taught in the 
word of God than that it is the design of the Gospel that 
God s people should act in union as one family, and be 
the light of the world. Under the old dispensation, when 
the congregations stood in the counsel of the Lord and 
walked in his statutes, they were of one heart and of one 
mimU all acted for the public good ; the different tribes 
often consulted together, and all marshalled under the 
same banner. But when they departed from the Lord, 
each one did what was right in his own eyes, and every 
one went to his own tent. The entire history of God s 
people under the law, shows that when they consulted and 
acted in union they were blessed and prospered ; and 
when they separated and acted in their individual capaci 
ties, they proved the Scripture true, which says, Where 
no counsel is, the people fall. " 

" But in the New Testament the same principle of gen 
eral consultation is most clearly exhibited in the proceed 
ings of the first Christians. The very nature of the 
Christian religion, the constitution of the Gospel churchj 
impose the duty. The Christian religion is a general 
system ; it breaks down all separations, and of Jews and 
Gentiles forms one new church. All Christians are 
bound up in the same great interests : they are of one 
heart and of one mind. In the sixth chapter of Acts of 
the Apostles, we find a plain account of the call and 
proeedins of a Christian Conference. The brethren 
brought forward the candidates for ordination, and the 
ministers laid their hands on them an^ appointed them to 
their work. Here were at least twelve ministers and a 
multitude of brethren. If this instance stood alone in the 
Bible, we should think the Scripture authority for confer- 



368 MEMOIR OF 

ence clear ; but it is not alone. In the fifteenth chapter 
of Acts, we have an account of a difficulty which arose 
about circumcision, which Paul, Barnabas and the whole 
church at Antioch could not decide. When the apostles, 
elders, and a multitude of brethren were assembled at 
Jerusalem, we have an account that Peter, Barnabas, 
Paul, and James addressed them at length on the great 
question, which was settled to mutual satisfaction. When 
this was done, they sent out messengers to bear their de 
cisions to all their brethren who could not be present. 
Here is another instance of a Christian conference doing 
business and deciding questions for the church at large. 
If one church is the highest tribunal, why did not the 
church at Antioch put the question to rest without making 
so much expense and trouble ? It is plain that there was 
none of this childish independence and authority claimed 
by the primitive churches, about which the disorganizers 
make so much ado in the nineteenth century." 

FREEDOM OF DISCUSSION. " Messrs. Editors of the 
Telegraph ; * I ever with pleasure, whether at home or 
abroad, grasp the interesting sheet which is daily sent 
forth from your office, and with interest peruse its 
columns. 

" Under the editorial head my attention was recently 
arrested by the performances of a writer who styles 
himself B., who, after a tedious preamble, brings forth 
what he is pleased to style, A rare collection of 
geniuses ; and although he looks into contempt the spec 
ulations of the humble Capt. Sims, tramples with impunity 
on the honors of Gov. Morril, proclaims on the house-top 
the vanity and foll^of Gov. Clinton, Lieut. Gov. Pitcher, 
Gen. Root, J. V. N. Yates, Dr. Beck, and the whole 
faculty of Hamilton College, we think he leaves us proof 

* 1828. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 369 

among his heterogeneous labors that he must be ranked 
among the rare wits of our times. What he says of 
Capt. Sims strikes me as a piece of base cowardice, as the 
theory of Capt. S. is very unpopular. Capt. Sims, as I 
understand him, is^convinced, from long and arduous study, 
that further northern discoveries ought to be made. This 
is the burden of his labors. To this idea the American 
Congress and every thinking man must consent. I heard 
his lectures at Cincinnati, and regard him as an honest, 
independent man. As the President has recommended 
northern explorations, I sincerely hope that important 
discoveries will be made. Though Mr. Sims s theory is 
now very unpopular, is it more so than was the revolution 
of the earth when first published by Galileo ? The pro 
jects of Columbus were ridiculed ; the American Revolu 
tion was sneered at by our proud foes of the east. Even 
the mission of the Saviour was treated with the utmost 
contempt. How careful, Sirs, ought we to be in opposing 
new views, and in guarding ourselves and others against 
the spirit of persecution." 

We offer the following on the tragical fate of Love- 
joy, as appropriate to this subject : 

" The riot which recently took place in Alton, 111., in 
which two citizens lost their lives, is one of the most dis 
graceful events that ever stained the character of our 
country. The mayor must have been guilty of gross 
negligence, for from what had transpired he ought to have 
been fully prepared for it. Had an efficient man been in 
his place, clothed with his authority, the property and 
life of the innocent might have been protected, and a 
ruthless mob would have been taught a lesson which would 
have cured their propensity for that kind of diversion. 
16* 



370 MEMOIR OF 

The destruction of fifty of those lawless midnight assassins 
would have been a trifle compared with the loss of one 
peaceable, honorable man in the lawful discharge of his 
duty. It is said that the Attorney General of the State, 
and a clergyman, took a conspicuous part, and made 
speeches to influence and encourage the mob, and that 
several respectable citizens were among the number. Oh, 
shame ! Has our country come to this ? Can it be that 
there is a man in Illinois who makes the least pretension 
to respectability or morality, who would encourage or 
countenance for a moment such an infringement upon the 
laws of God and man ? We think little, very little, of 
such respectability, of such officers, such attorneys, and 
such clergymen. We say 

Strip the miscreants of the robes they stain, 
And drive them from the altars they profane. 

" What can men expect to gain by associating as 
mobs ? No honorable object was ever accomplished by 
cruelty and oppression. No righteous cause requires such 
measures. This outrage will defeat its own object ; it will 
increase and excite the sympathies of the people, and ad 
vance the cause it intends to destroy, TENFOLD. Funds 
will be raised, and valiant men enough will be found 
who will cheerfully volunteer to raise the standard of 
liberty and free discussion on the very spot where 
their brave brother has fallen a martyr. Men in such 
cases will not count their lives dear unto themselves ; 
there are hundreds ready to be offered upon the same 
altar. Not only so, but the blood of this innocent man 
crieth from the ground for vengeance, and there is a 
righteous God in heaven who regards the condition of 
the oppressed, and who will not let the wicked go un 
punished. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 371 

" The people of Boston, New York, and Cincinnati, 
have tried the virtue of mobs, to put down free discussion, 
and what has been the result ? Why, it has increased, 
strengthened and built up the persecuted party. The 
destruction of one printing-press will only raise up ten to 
speak and plead for the liberty of the press. The 
murder of one Morgan will raise up thousands to redress 
his injuries. In our eastern cities, where we have efficie/it 
and enlightened officers, mobs are immediately put down, 
but at Alton and St. Louis society must be in a deplorable 
state. 

" Mr. Lovejoy, we have ever understood, was a respect 
able citizen, a man of talent, and a zealous minister of the 
Gospel. He had a right to enjoy his opinions ; he had a 
right to use the press, that great engine of liberty, in pro 
pagating his views ; and none had a right to molest him. 
His zeal no doubt led him to adopt strong measures in 
vindicating his own interest and the cause to which his 
energies were devoted. He acted in his own defence 
upon the principle of justice as a citizen. If he had 
slain a score of his opponents under these circumstances, 
the laws of the land would have held him guiltless. But 
still the course was an unfortunate one. The New Testa 
ment and the Christian Spirit teach us, as children of the 
Prince of Peace, a more excellent way : Resist not evil 
f Put up thy sword into its sheath Be patient in 
tribulation * If ye are persecuted, revile not. 

" The friends who were leaders in the English reform, 
persevered over thirty years firm and faithful, without 
slander, war or bloodshed. They had the utmost confi 
dence in the justice and righteousness of their cause ; 
they were patient under persecutions, were meek and 
humble in every defeat, and the light at length shone and 
they triumphed. Here is a beautiful model for American 



372 MEMOIR OF 

reformers. LIGHT and TRUTH should be the only 
weapons used in accomplishing great moral, benevolent 
and religious objects. Christians in all laudable enter 
prises should be meek and humble, should possess much 
of the spirit of their holy Master, render good for evil, 
and conquer all opposition with love." 

" ORDINANCES. Herein we see the benefit of institu 
tions and images by which past events are preserved by 
us and transmitted to posterity. National events, Jewish, 
Roman, Pagan, and Christian ordinances, are speaking 
things, which, as soon as they are abandoned, the events 
on which they are founded, the impressions and ideas 
associated with them, are lost." 

At the present time, there are a few indications that 
the active theological minds of the country may at 
some distant day fall under two general classifications, 
which, for the want of a better expression at hand, we 
may call the centralizers and universalizers. The latter 
resolve religion wholly into abstract ideas and principles 
which freely range through the whole empire of spirit, 
as gravitation, electricity and light operate through all 
space. Such rally about no personal centre. The 
former seek the abstract principles of religion only, or 
chiefly in their personal investments, and look for their 
effective radiance in a mediator. This class, for rea 
sons needless to be discussed at this time, are from 
necessity the great mass, the organized activity of the 
religious sentiment ; and though Mr. Badger had much 
catholicity in his faith and practice, nothing is plainer 
than that he centralized all in Christ, who, to him, 
was the untiring sun in the solar system of God s im 
partial favor. Thus speaks the following letter : 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 373 

" HONEOYE FALLS, August, 1845. 
" Br. Ross, I am now better in health, and am try 
ing to go ahead with what little ability I have, in the one, 
single, simple work of preaching the blessed Gospel. Am 
I right, or should I be a political minister, and conform to 
the practice of this corrupt age, and present to my hear 
ers a chowder compound ? I follow St. Paul s old, obso 
lete theology of knowing nothing among the people save 
Jesus Christ and him crucified." 



CHAPTER XIX. 

MINISTRY, PUBLISHED WRITINGS AND IMPORTANT 
EVENTS, FROM MAY, 1839, TO MARCH, 1848. 

ON leaving the Palladium office, in 1839, Mr. 
Badger repaired to his residence at Honeoye Falls, 
Monroe County, New York, where his friends built 
for themselves a new and commodious chapel, the 
best in the town; it was dedicated by Mr. Badger 
in 1840. He was unanimously chosen pastor of this 
society. He was now in the centre of his former field 
of labors, a field he had occupied nearly twenty years. 
His congregations were large, equal at that time, it 
was stated, to the other four congregations combined. 
The pastoral relation furnished him a good field for 
success, as his wise management, social spirit, attract 
ive preaching, and compromising, conciliating turn 
of mind, gave him strong ability for establishing and 



374 MEMOIR OF 

enlarging the prosperity of a new congregation. He 
held this relation till the autumn of 1842. 

But the death of his second son, Joseph Badger, 
Jr., who died May 27, 1839, in the sixteenth year of 
his age, was indeed an affliction that deeply shaded 
his spirit. He was a noble and an ingenious youth. 
He had fine abilities, was truthful and genial ; and 
in the execution of business plans, so far certainly as, 
they related to publishing, he was his father s main 
reliance. Great were the parental affections that 
centred in him ; and when he departed, the gigantic 
spirit of his father, which had ever dealt easily with 
great adversity, now was deeply stirred, like the 
patriarch s of ancient time. Though he shed no tear 
over the death of his son, though he opposed a serene 
temper and countenance to the great bereavement, 
no event had ever bowed him so deeply, or struck 
so centrally into his inward composure and peace. 
Often, as night came on, refusing his accustomed 
slumber, he walked the garden in lonely meditations, 
and blended with the serious light of moon and stars 
the more sober workings of his own mind. Never 
before had calamity the power to bring out the evi 
dences of a deeply disturbed and broken spirit ; and 
these were now so well controlled by him, that the 
world neither saw nor dreamed of their existence. At 
times, he arose from his nightly rest to walk the 
grounds of his pleasant mansion, and for hours seemed 
to invite the holy and beautiful sympathy of nature to 
soften his grief. Deep, exceedingly deep was this 
sorrow over his worthy son. 



HEV. JOSEPH BADGER. 875 

There were plans occupying his mind at this time, 
which, though unannounced to the world, were of 
large moment. Aside from ministerial duties, at home 
and abroad, he contemplated the publication of several 
works. He intended to have given the world the biog 
raphy of several distinguished ministers whose lives 
were closed in the field of arduous labor. Among 
these, he had selected, for a prominent place, the life 
and writings of Joseph Thomas, of Ohio, a man of elo 
quence and interesting ability. All the materials for 
this book now, lie in Mr. Badger s desk, in the order 
in which he arranged them. In ministerial biography, 
how capable had been his pen ! His acquaintance and 
experience were so extensive that, from memory alone, 
he could have drawn the largest contributions for his 
object. He had also determined on editing a Church 
History which should have reflected the success of 
Christian principles preached for half a century. In 
this, also, how largely was he qualified to do justice to 
his undertaking ! No inconsiderable quantity of mate 
rial gathered for this purpose now remains in his libra 
ry ; but the hand that would have edited them is 
motionless for ever, and the son whose age and capa 
city then qualified him to second and to render effect 
ual his enterprises, was taken from the earth. Not 
withstanding these breaks in these cherished aims, his 
life continued active, and the churches felt the weight 
of his counsel and the worth of his influence. 

In June, he attended three conferences in the State ; 
at Rock Stream, Yates County, where the attendance 
of both ministers and people was great, he preached, 
on Saturday, a sermon of marked character, full of the 



376 MEMOIR OF 

calm and harmonizing spirit of Christianity, founded 
on Ps. 119 : 165 : " Great peace have they which love 
thy law, and nothing shall offend them." It had a 
visible influence, it was thought, on the proceedings of 
the body, and on the tone of all the meetings. In 
dwelling on the peace of the divine law, he spoke of 
the trials of brethren against each other -as wholly 
wrong ; as unnecessary ; he dwelt on the repose of 
spirit, on the fine feelings and peaceful sentiments of 
the true Christian, explaining the latter part of the 
passage as meaning that " nothing shall cause them to 
offend." At this time, he was appointed chairman of 
the committee on education, who met in the new chapel 
at Honeoye Falls, September, 1839, and there decided 
the location of the contemplated seminary in favor of 
Starkey, N. Y. 

This season, Mr. Badger attended several dedica 
tions of new chapels in western New York ; one at 
Union Springs, on the shores of the Cayuga, one at 
Searsburg, one at York, one at Laona ; whether he 
was present at the dedication of the churches at 
Springwater and Machias, no evidence informs us. 
At Marion, Wayne County, K Y., September, 1840, 
he preached eleven sermons, which were followed by 
good effects. I here quote a paragraph, as it embod 
ies his opinion on the subject of revivals : 

" Some would call our meeting at Marion a protracted 
effort ; but I care not what it is called, provided God is 
honored and souls are saved. A protracted meeting, con 
ducted by enthusiastic, proud, extravagant, and ranting 
leaders, is a curse to any well-organized congregation. 



KEV. JOSEPH BADGER. 377 

Some men think it is no matter what means are em 
ployed if an effect is produced; the end will justify the 
means. But this is a dangerous sentiment. Let a meet 
ing be conducted for days or weeks, with prudence, can 
dor and solemnity, let an appeal be made to the under 
standing of rational men, let their judgment be informed ; 
then the experience will be sound, the effect lasting, and 
the revival will be a blessing and an honor to any con 
gregation." 

It were, indeed, a lengthy task to record the his 
tory, in detail, of his various labors from 1840 to 1848. 
Justice, however, demands a condensed statement of 
facts. In 1840, his labors were very successful in 
Stafford, Genesee. County, 1ST. Y. About sixty were 
added to the church. Under his labors, the Christian 
society of that place merged out of many discourage 
ments. In the spring of 1841, he speaks of a revival 
in his own assembly ; of some sixty who had made 
religion a fact of inward experience ; of the reception 
of about forty members into his church ; of the bap 
tism, at one time, April 25th, of twenty-nine persons 
in the waters of the Honeoye ; of other important sea 
sons of administering this symbolical rite to persons in 
whom had just opened the new epoch of a spiritual 
life. The first year of his retirement from editorial 
labor was spent in considerable devotion to study and 
reflection. This year, he visited Castile, Wyoming 
County, N. Y." ; also several other places whose con 
dition required his assistance. He said : 

" No energy should be suffered to slumber, no rational 
and scriptural means should be left unimproved, for the 



378 MEMOIR OF 

conversion of sinners, and the perfection and holiness of 
the church of God. In such exciting times as these, what 
a steady and constant care should every Christian exer 
cise in order to l discern between the precious and the 
vile, and be suitably guarded against the extravagant in 
ventions of men, which direct the mind from Christ and 
from that holy work which devolves upon our hands as 
disciples. How many have followed vain speculations 
and empty theories until they have lost their Christian 
meekness and zeal, and have become proud, haughty, 
heady, self-righteous sectarians, the sport of the infidel, 
or stumbling-block to sinners, and a reproach to the cause 
of God. In this state of things, ministers should be 
awake, divested of the world, harnessed for the holy war, 
and, in Christian meekness, should lay the axe at the root 
of every evil tree, whether within or without the church. 
In this view of things, I have not dared to engage in any 
worldly enterprise, and now feel strong, as in my youth, 
to go forth into the harvest of the Lord. It will be thirty 
years next August since I engaged in the work of the 
ministry. I mourn that I have done no more good. The 
past year, I have preached as many sermons, and labored 
as hard, as in any other year of my life, and I trust it has 
not been in vain. To be useful to the souls of men, to 
produce a healthy and saving influence in the Church, 
should be the great motive to govern all good ministers 
of our Lord. With this object in view, every man who 
puts forth an untiring effort will assuredly see the fruit 
of his labor." 

" When our American fathers fought for liberty, the 
love of country inspired their bold and worthy devotion. 
Their voluntary suffering and sacrifices were the loud 
clarions to proclaim immortality upon their names and 
virtues. It is so with ministers and people ; where a suit- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 379 

able degree of love to the Redeemer s cause is felt, the 
sacrifices will be voluntary and hearty, and the blessing 
is sure to follow as that they put forth a suitable effort 
from the right motive. But we too often ask and receive 
not, because we ask amiss, by asking or laboring with a 
wrong or impure desire. Whether the minister is suit 
ably remunerated or not, he should do all he can for the 
cause of God, and leave his hearers to answer in the judg 
ment for their treatment to him. Let us, as ministers 
and people, do our duty, come what will. It will be a 
poor apology for a minister in the judgment day, when 
asked why he was no more active in God s vineyard, to 
say that he was poorly paid ; and it will be a poor apology 
for the miserly processor, when asked why he has sus 
tained the Gospel ministry no better, to say he did not 
like the minister, that he never signed subscriptions, or 
any of the thousand excuses the covetous urge in this life. 
When we behold all the beauty of nature, all the splen 
did works of art, and all the wealth of this vast world 
melted down in the general conflagration, how will Chris 
tians mourn over the pernicious worldly spirit which has 
choked the good seed, rendered them nearly useless in 
the church, and presented them mere dwarfs in the pres 
ence of God. Oh, foolish Christians, to be so worldly 
now ; of what blessings do you deprive yourselves in this 
life, and what a reward you lose in heaven ! Oh, pre 
cious Zion, how she bleeds and suffers, and how indiffer 
ent her professed friends ! Who will put forth a helping 
hand to rebuild her waste places ? " 

As his own congregation was now established on a 
good foundation, numbering upwards- of a hundred 
members, he began to think of devoting his labors one 
half of the time to the churches generally, to raise in 



380 MEMOIR OF 

them a higher tone of religious feeling. In the winter 
of 1842 he visited Yates County, preached thirty-one 
sermons in the village of Dundee to large assemblies. 
His sermon on temperance raised one hundred and 
four signers to the pledge ; his personal visits to the 
liquor-sellers took every drop from their stores, so that 
none of it could be bought. His sermon on profane 
swearing changed the tone of language among young 
men, and gave rise among them to an association 
whose object was the cultivation of a pure speech. 
Being unable this year to comply with the invitation of 
his brethren in Michigan to attend their Conference, 
he addressed them a letter, in which he offered the 
counsels he supposed adapted to their condition in a 
new country, among which was the idea, that if they 
would prosper as a people, they should, in building 
chapels, be careful to select the best locations, to build 
in thriving villages and in cities ; for he pleaded that a 
village, however small or wicked it might be, is a far 
better location than can be gained a mile or so distant, 
inasmuch as it is sure to finally centralize the interest 
of the surrounding region. 

In the fall of 1842, Mr. Badger resigned his pasto 
ral care of the church at Honeoye Falls, that he might 
travel among the churches, and be free to attend the 
many calls for ordination, dedication, and other services 
that were made upon his time and labor from abroad. 
This separation was in the kindest feeling, and on the 
part of the society was accompanied by a commendatory 
letter that expressed the highest regard for his services 
and character, a regard based on an acquaintance of 
twenty five years. The society, with the counsel and 



KEV. JOSEPH BADGER. 381 

approval of their former pastor, engaged the labors of 
Rev. Oliver Barr, whose tragical death in the late 
railroad disaster at Norwalk, May 6th, 1853, has given 
occasion to many expressions of appreciation and sym 
pathy. Under the labors of Mr. Badger, this society 
stood on a solid basis of prosperity and union ; all in 
all, their position was stronger and their influence 
sounder under his pastoral care than they ever have 
been since they were organized as a church. Mr. 
Badger is again free to obey the miscellaneous calls of 
his brethren and of the community in general. De 
cember 7th, he attended the dedication of the church 
at Shelby ; the 8th, he preached the ordination sermon 
of Chester Covel, and for several weeks continued 
meetings with success. He valued this revival, be 
cause its subjects were persons of character, talent and 
influence, " who would do honor to any cause," and 
because they embraced Christianity understandingly, 
and not from excitement and fear. " Where men are 
frightened, abused and stormed into sectarian meas 
ures," said Mr. B., " they may make professions, and 
like slaves may submit to Christian ordinances, but 
they will seldom walk worthy of their avocation. Such 
persons will generally make warm partisans and proud 
worldly professors, rather than humble, useful Chris 
tians." He also visited Ogden and Barry, and gave 
several discourses. He did not preach six sermons in 
any place during his labors in the bounds of the West 
ern Conference, without seeing a revival commence. 
He speaks highly of that association of churches and 
ministers. 

The latter part of the winter, 1843, he visited the 



882 MEMOIR OF 

congregation of Rev. C. E. Merrill, at Union Springs, 
Cayuga County, N. Y., and delivered over twenty 
sermons to his people ; under their united labors sev 
eral were converted to God. Soon after this, he 
visited Lakeville, twelve miles south of his residence, 
where, twenty-five years previous, he had assisted to 
organize a church, and had, for the first nine years of 
their history, held the pastoral charge over them. Here 
he continued his efforts for three weeks, baptized 
twenty persons, collected and concentrated the scat 
tered strength of the society, and continued with them 
one half of the time through the year. They put on 
strength and were revived. He speaks of the general 
complaint throughout the country of religion being at 
a low ebb, as having its primary cause in the wild zeal 
with which new theories are pursued to the neglect of 
prayer, the church, the simple Gospel and its claims. 
He strongly persuades professing Christians to return 
with fresh zeal to their holy devotions, to the simplicity 
of the means of grace as their only hope for securing 
the prosperity of Zion. 

" What a state society has been in for two years past.* 
The sun is darkened by the locusts from the bottomless 
pit, and the Christian atmosphere in every neighborhood 
in the land seems impregnated with some poisonous vapor 
to ruin the soul and to paralyze the energies of the inno 
cent child of God. Never shall we see the evil remedied 
until ministers come home to the gospel, rely on that, and 
on that alone, for the salvation of men ; know nothing 
among the people but Jesus Christ and him crucified ; 
leave their wild speculations, encourage the improvement 

January, 1844. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 383 

of all the gifts in Zion, and teach and encourage practical 
religion in every heart. Never shall we be delivered 
from the incubus that hangs so heavily upon us until 
church members leave their high-headed racing after new 
theories and come home to the prayer meeting and con 
ference, be content with the simplicity of the Gospel, know 
their Master s will and do it, and sit at the feet of Jesus 
clothed and in their right mind. 

In September, 1843, the death of his son-in-law, 
Rev. Seth Marvin, a man of good ability, of fine and 
noble nature, of rich fountains of religious experience, 
and of an oratory peculiarly divine for the awakening 
of all the heavenward feelings of the human heart, was 
an event that called out the sympathies of his inmost 
life ; and in the Palladium, vol. 12, p. 97, is a long 
obituary from his pen, possessing the grace of tender 
love, combined with a clear, comprehensive statement 
of the life and qualities of that lamented man. 

To this year also belongs his action "in regard to that 
great excitement, which took a temporary hold on the 
different denominations, known under the name of 
Millerism. Though we would speak reverently of every 
form of human hope, regarding all that is strong in 
religious phenomena as being at least mythologically 
true, we cannot but honor the independent position Mr. 
Badger assumed on this subject, at a time when many 
others either embraced the doctrine, or favored it as a 
means of promoting popular revivals in their congre 
gations. With a clear vision he penetrated its claims, 
acknowledged the degree of truth he thought it con 
tained, then spoke of its defects of doctrine, logic, and 



384 MEMOIR OF 

temper, declaring its probable future results on the 
welfare of religion and the churches. He early saw 
the effect in the cause, and in 1842, withstood the 
tendency of the paper he had so long conducted, Avhose 
editor was then guiding it into the service of that sys 
tem. 

Let it not be thought that we speak sectarianly on 
the subject here introduced, for substantially we con 
cede all that man ever has or can hope for. " New 
heavens and new earth " were promised us in 1843 ; 
and though Nature did not condescend even to frown or 
smile at those who told her fortune, she knows very 
well that new heavens and new earth will ultimately 
come. The progress of the solar system through space 
will alone bring new heavens physically ; and changes 
now at work in terrestrial nature shall yet exhibit a 
new earth. Be patient ; myriads of years, which are 
God s seconds, will do the work. Is not the earth now 
good enough for thee, thou latter-day saint ? Be 
patient ; it is now much better than you are ; it flowers 
are more fragrant than your virtues, its fountains are 
purer than your actions, its music of bird and brook 
is sweeter than your Sabbath melody, and it rolls in its 
orbit far more majestically and truthfully than you have 
ever pursued the circuit of your duties. He who has 
divine life in him always sees a new earth and a new 
heaven. " The Lord shall come ; " yes, more and 
more in proportion as man is capable of receiving him. 
He has come, does come, and shall come ; and in the 
symbolical, higher sense, who that believes in God or 
man dares to despair of a new heaven and a new earth 
in the mental, moral, and social conditions of humanity ? 



KEY. JOSEPH BADGER. 385 

Who does not hope for a more perfect state ? In the 
great substance of these questions there is never a 
quarrel ; this only fastens on the details which make up 
the form. Texts maybe skilfully quoted ; but we are 
to reverence the whole of God s scripture. Creation 
is full of holy, living texts ; and he who sees His laws 
in nature as an everlasting scripture will never be 
moved by alarming interpretations that men may put 
on the visions of Patmos and Palestine, or the princely 
dreams of old Assyria. Mr. Badger believed, doubt 
less, in the personal second coming of Christ ; he held 
firmly to the law and the prophets ; but there was a 
certain something in him which no proof texts could 
ever dupe into theories anti-common sense or anti-natu 
ral. We give a few quotations, which shqw earnest 
ness, decision and strength. 

" MR. EDITOR : SIR,* Night before last the Palladium 
came to hand, which I hastily read, and retired from the 
scene with disgust. Last evening I read carefully the 
articles which to me were offensive, with the hope that I 
might be so far reconciled as to excuse myself from the 
task of offering my dissent publicly to some opinions which 
you have taught and endorsed. But, Sir, I retired again 
with grief and increased dissatisfaction. I said, Is it pos 
sible that I have lived to see the Palladium, which was 
brought into existence by a few choice spirits, (some of 
whom are gone to their graves,) over whose destinies for 
seven long years I watched with such vigilance, now be 
come the slave of a deluded party, and a channel through 
which error, delusion and ruin shall be poured into the 

* To Joseph Marsh, Editor of the Palladium. 
17 



386 MEMOIR OF 

bosom of the church of God ? I have not written for the 
Palladium these many months only when I could not avoid 
it; and would not now if a sense of my duty to the public 
would allow my pen longer to slumber. 

" The error of which I complain is not that you and 
others teach that the Saviour will come personally the 
second time, to reward his saints and destroy his enemies. 
This all Christians believe. But the great error lies in the 
fact that Mr. Miller and his followers teach what plainly 
contradicts common sense and existing facts in relation to 
the Ottoman dominion and the Holy Bible. They teach 
that Christ has no kingdom on earth ; of course, no laws, 
no subjects, no institutions, and no government. Also 
they fix the time of the Saviour s coming. In this they 
assume to be more knowing than the angels of God, or 
Jesus Christ when he was on earth. This looks like being 
wise above what is written, or like the old-fashioned Cal- 
vinists divulging the secret will of God. They also de 
nominate their mission the Midnight Cry This I most 
cordially approve, and think that nothing could be more 
appropriate ; for certainly such obvious errors could never 
proceed from the kingdom of light. The apostle repre 
sents his brethren as being the children of the day, not of 
the night or of darkness. Those who walk in darkness 
know not at what they stumble. Mr. Miller and his dis 
ciples have thrown about themselves such a cloud of 
absurdities that they are all enveloped in midnight dark 
ness, and thus make their midnight cry. Essential pillars 
may fall out in their temple and they know it not. The 
.day of grace was to close in 1840, and they in 1842, at 
the very close of the year, boast of their converts, spread 
abroad their canvas, and declare their chain is yet perfect. 

" Its motive to action is wrong. The lever used and 
the means employed is terror ; the principle which moves 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 387 

to action is fear. A class of orators are got up who 
assume uncommon sanctity, have a set of arguments 
founded on mathematical calculation upon the prophecies, 
which common sinners are not capable of contradicting. 
Another class of arguments drawn from history, which 
common men have not the means at hand to contradict, 
are presented ; then bringing all to bear on the one great 
point that God will burn up the the world next year, is it 
strange that converts are multiplied ? They serve God 
for fear he will burn them up if they do not. Take away 
this fear and they will hate him still. Such repentance 
is very liable to be spurious. Men are sick and afraid to 
die, and they repent ; but I venture to say, there is not one 
instance out of fifty in which they carry out the principles 
and sustain the character of Christians when restored to 
health. The love of Christ should constrain men, the 
goodness of God should lead them to repentance, and 
they should appreciate all his claims upon their service. 
They should, from choice, submit to his government, and 
love him because he first loved them. The Gospel plan 
is the best. Light and intelligence are the great influence 
to be applied to the noble intellect of man, to move him 
to virtuous actions and reforms. I do not see how we 
can say it matters not what motives we present, or what 
means we adopt, if we only get men to repent. The 
Mormons put on sanctity, put forth efforts and make con 
verts by wholesale ; but this is no proof that their doctrine 
is true, or that the cause of pure religion is essentially 
benefited by their revivals. 

" 2. Its spirit is wrong. It is a peculiar trait in the 
Christian religion that it always inspires its subjects with 
humility, kindness, charity, whilst error is generally at 
tended with pride, egotism and cruelty. For thirty years 
past I have seen many false prophets and false religions 



388 MEMOIR OF 

rise and fall, and uniformly a vain, vaunting, self-righteous 
spirit has attended them all. But I have never witnessed 
more of it in any case than in Mr. Miller and his follow 
ers. Just look at Mr. M. s reply to Simon Clough, as 
published in the Palladium. The egotism and insult 
seen in that reply can scarcely be found in the English 
language from the pen of any man who makes any pre 
tensions to Christianity. I have not conversed with one 
of them who could hear a cogent argument against their 
doctrine without exhibiting pride and passion. They 
cannot bear contradiction. They are the wise virgins, 
and the rest of their brethren are the slumbering and 
foolish who will be shut out of heaven ; they often refer 
to a passage in Daniel which says l the wise shall un 
derstand, and have no hesitation in considering themselves 
the wise and their brethren as the * wicked/ who shall 
not understand. They know it all, and are more confi 
dent than seven men who can render a reason. 

" 3. Their heads have a peculiar shape. There are men 
in every church, and have been in every age, who are 
constitutionally inclined to fanaticism. They cannot stand 
in excitement; they cannot hold still. There are two 
classes of them, who have ever been an annoyance to the 
church. The first are fond of the marvellous, are always 
driving into speculative theories, are never at rest. The 
last or new theory is always the true one, and they soon 
ride the new hobby to death, and then seek another. It 
matters not how absurd the doctrine. It may contradict 
the Bible, it may rend the church asunder, it may pros 
trate all good order in society, it must be forced and 
driven ahead, and have its day. They are always a class 
of Jehus ready for a new scheme. The second class are 
those of weak minds, who are moved by passion. Any 
excitement takes them along with the multitude. Human 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 389 

nature being thus constituted, is it strange that converts 
are made ? I know of several of Mr. Miller s associates 
whose lives have been one scene of changes. Should 
1843 pass away and the world not be destroyed, they will 
in no wise be discouraged. Instead of repenting of their 
folly and mourning over the havoc and disorder they have 
caused in the church, and the infidels they have made, 
they will be driving ahead in some new scheme, and will 
wonder that the poor backslidden church and the poor 
blind ministers cannot see their great light, and will not 
appreciate their astonishing usefulness." 

In other articles he went more particularly into the 
discussion of the question, which, as the entire excite 
ment has passed away, could not be of much interest 
to readers of the present time. These articles were 
rejected by the partial editor ; only the first one was 
published, which was done by order of the committee. 
Had the three been printed, we are confident that no 
editorials could have effaced or marred their strong 
impression on the public mind. In justice, however, 
to the proper mental dignity of that periodical, I should 
say that its editorial advocacy of Adventism was but 
temporary, that through the faithful action of the exec 
utive committee, the Palladium was soon restored to its 
original aims. Indeed it was a luckless event to that 
paper, its finances, and its power over the community, 
that Mr. Badger left it. Had his wise head and strong 
hand guided it through the action and reaction of 
excitement until 1845, the effect on the union, concen 
tration, and sanity of the religious interest would have 
been great. It is folly to think that a weak, or a half- 
and-half man, whatever may be the sanctimony of his 



390 MEMOIR OF 

carriage, can ever fill the place of a bold, great man. 
It never was done, and never can be. Mr. Badger 
not only used his influence at an early day to prevent 
this perversion of the Palladium from its former high 
character, but when it occurred, with much toil and 
decision, he, with a few others of similar force, labored 
until it was effectually emancipated. The real value 
of Joseph Badger, in all great emergencies, his ability 
to conduct a cause to honor and prosperity, though 
seen by the discriminating, and in a degree acknowl 
edged by all, is not even yet truthfully appreciated. 
There are not many who so analyze past events as to 
see the full worth of a real man ; some flaming hum 
bug, that dazzles the mass with words and extravagant 
zeal, is much more taking and congenial to the general 
stupidity. I here dismiss this part of his public life, 
with the remark, that some who read his articles will 
probably never find a class of ultraists gathered about 
their one idea without first looking to see whether 
" their heads have not & peculiar shape" 

In August, 1843, Mr. Badger began to write a 
series of articles in the Christian Palladium, under the 
head of " Sketches," which were extended to 1848. 
In these his various labors are reflected ; also his views 
on subjects particular and general, in the most frank 
and open manner. In some numbers belonging to 
1844, in answer to the resolution of a New England 
Convention which declared that ministers should sus 
tain a lay membership with some local church, as 
essential to their general good standing, Mr. Badger 
argued, that the minister, by virtue of his office as 
public teacher, by virtue of his relation as pastor, and 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 391 

by virtue of his relation to all the churches, cannot be 
required to become a member of a local church, and 
to submit to its local authority all the interests of his 
character and ministerial position in the world. He 
pleaded that a minister of the gospel is not created offi 
cially, or ordained by a single church, that it is in the 
united wisdom of several churches and ministers that 
he is appointed to his work, and that it requires an 
authority equally general to try, acquit, or exclude 
him, as the evidence may demand. He conceded not 
only to each local church, but to any individual within 
or without its pale, whose candor should entitle him to 
respect, the privilege of bringing a minister to account 
for any conduct that is contrary to the ethics of the 
Gospel he was ordained to preach, but that the deter 
mining tribunal is nothing less than the assembled 
virtue and intelligence of the several churches and 
ministers who are to be, as nearly as the limits of con 
venience will permit, the whole body to which he be 
longs. " I only contend," said he, " for what the old 
English code of common law established as a funda 
mental principle, that every man shall be tried by 
his peers. : In this protracted discussion, in which 
his own powers were not fully awakened, he penned 
some strong and cogent paragraphs ; nor did the two 
or three opponents who answered him as he advanced, 
at all embarrass his progress or disturb the composure 
of his argument on the question. The whole bearing 
of his views as expressed on this and kindred topics, 
from 1819 to 1845, goes against every theory which 
seeks to separate ministers from churches, or churches 
from ministers. Their united action was his idea of 
church government. 



MEMOIR OF 

In 1845, he preachecl mostly within the region of 
his early labors in that country, at Lakeville, South 
Lima, and occasionally at Greece. At the latter 
place, he was called to dedicate a new and beautiful 
chapel, January 3, 1845 ; Rev. F. W. Holland, the 
Unitarian minister of Rochester, N. Y., A. Crocker 
and L. Allen were with him. He spoke from Ps. 84 : 
1 : u How amiable are thy tabernacles, Lord of 
Hosts ! " Speaking of the effect of this sermon, Mr. 
Holland observes : 

" Many venerable faces were wet with tears, and the 
audience listened eagerly for an hour. This excellent 
brother has labored a third of a century in this country, 
erected the first church west of the Genesee river,* and 
prides himself on bearing his years so well as not to feel 
a pulpit effort of several hours. I was much pleased 
with this interview, and was strongly moved to accept his 
invitation to add a codicil to his last words. I then made 
the prayer of consecration, and, after the anthem, a Meth 
odist minister gave the benediction from a full and gush 
ing heart." 

In union with Mr. Crocker, of Parma, and Allen, 
of Greece, he continued his labors there constantly for 
one month. Mr. Badger gave about thirty sermons. 
At the close of his eleventh discourse, thirty- three 
persons obeyed his invitation to take a decided stand 
for God and his service, three-fourths of whom were 
men, and among them persons of talent, wealth, and 
influence in the community. " The good work," says 
Mr. B., " proceeded gradually through the month, 

* The Christian Church at Royalton, N. Y., was the first erected 
in the State west of the Gen"~" * w. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 393 

without fanaticism, extravagance, or disorder." Among 
those who were reached by redeeming influence was a 
German, who had been with Napoleon in many of his 
wars, had crossed the bridge of Lodi by his side, and 
been wounded at the battle of Agram ; also another of 
seventy-five years, who had stood by Commodore 
Perry in the battle on Lake Erie. Two-thirds of the 
building committee, who were men of the world, were 
also numbered with the converts ; and of his refresh 
ing seasons with the people of Greece, at baptisms, 
communions, and other times, he speaks in words of 
pleasure. But he closed his labors with them near 
the last of 1 845 ; likewise the same with the church 
at Lakeville, which he had planted twenty-seven years 
before. He also visited Canada in the month of Au 
gust, which he said was invigorating both to his bodily 
and spiritual health. " There are," said he, " in Can 
ada, some of the most pious spirits and some of the 
most valiant souls that ever adorned the church of 
God. They live to do good, and love the Saviour s 
cause above all things." He is now free from all pas 
toral confinement, and designs to visit the sea-shore 
of New England as soon as proper opportunity shall 
open, that he may there regain his usual health. 

We are now at a crisis of his life which makes us 
sad as we cast our e^es upon it. Thus far, through his 
long career, we have traced the energetic man, the 
man of full and overflowing resources of physical power. 
But here the scene must change, not gradually as age 
and as even disease commonly execute their mutations 
on human frailty, but suddenly as from the lightning s 
stroke, the oaken form receives assault. July 2, 1845, 
18* 



MEM OIK OP 

while employed for an hour in assisting his hands at 
work, and using an uncommon amount of vigor, he 
paused a moment to rest, when he received a para 
lytic shock on his left side, which never after allowed 
him the enjoyment of his former health. His ances 
tors on his mother s side were subject to this fatal 
affliction ; and whatever may be justly said in favor of 
active habits and frugal diet as preventives of a disas 
ter so terrible, it is certain in this case that the fact 
has a close relation to laws of hereditary descent. 
Alluding to this event, Mr. Badger observes : 

" I have felt, during this affliction, the most perfect 
resignation to the will of God. I have stood upon the 
walls of Zion over thirty years ; I am weary in the work, 
but not of it. Many of my early associates have left 
their stations before me. I have baptized about forty 
who have become ministers of the Gospel, several of 
whom have entered upon their rest. I now stand upon 
the isthmus between two worlds, ready to depart and be 
with Christ, or still to toil on amidst the ills of life as the 
great Master may direct. While I do live, I am deter 
mined to stand firm against what I know to be the delu 
sions of the present age, which are spreading death and 
devastation among the flock of Christ, and to hold fast 
that system of revealed truth on which the hopes of this 
lost world must rest for salvation. I do as I think all 
ministers should in such an age of speculation in theol 
ogy as the present ; place my confidence in, and conse 
crate my energies to, the promotion of the one blessed 
Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, and 
declare, to a divided and excited public, <I am deter 
mined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and 
him crucified. " 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 395 







He continues : 

" Again, I cannot go with the tirade of persecution 
which some of the sects are getting up against the Cath 
olics. Let us hold up truth, and scatter light to refute 
error. If we take, the sword, we shall perish of the sword. 
God has shaken every other sect to its very centre, and 
the work has just commenced among them. God will, 
in due time, effect his own purposes. In Germany, and 
in this country, the work of dissent and reform has com 
menced. At Rome, their main temple begins to crum 
ble, and soon a howling will be heard among the mer 
chants of Babylon. Vengeance is mine, I will repay, 
saith the Lord. Let Christians in every case be careful 
how they grasp the sword of vengeance." 

" This whole State is missionary ground ; and there is 
no part of the world where funds can be expended and 
labors put forth to greater advantages than among our 
selves. As soon as the citadel is manned and ammuni 
tioned, I say go forth to conquest, and the Great West is 
our next field. If I were in health, I would now sooner 
risk a support among the new settlers at the west, than 
among three-fourths of the old churches in this State. 
Let us all put shoulder to the wheel, and strengthen the 
things that remain which are ready to die ; and extend 
our efforts to all the world as soon as possible." 

Though half of him was paralyzed July 2d, these, 
and very many other paragraphs and sermons that 
might be quoted, indicate that the remaining half was 
adequate to all practical needs. December 8th, he 
started for Plain ville, Onondaga County, N. Y., to 
visit the strong and prosperous congregation of Rev. 
E. J. Reynolds, to whom he preached twenty-two 



396 MEMOIR OF 

sermons. Mr. Badger, after complimentary remarks on 
the success of Mr. II., said, " Many churches suffer 
great loss by frequent changes in the ministry, and 
thereby keep themselves in a fluctuating state. When 
a minister is known, he has acquired an amount of in 
fluence which the church should regard as so much 
capital ; this it may take another a long time to gain. 
A church should guard against the excitement which a 
change in the ministry always occasions, the conse 
quences of which are frequently fatal." 

From this place he started for New England ; 
visited Boston and New Bedford, and by invitation of 
the committee of Franklin-street church, Fall River, 
Mass., he went to occupy the pulpit of that society. 
His first letters from this place describe, with compre 
hensive exactness, the condition of society, the advan 
tages and improvements of the places he had visited in 
New England. He saw a new town as he saw a new 
man, comprehensively, and in one paragraph would 
group together the main features in its temporal pros 
perity and in its spiritual state. Turning his eye back 
upon the field he had left, he said : 

" In the State of New York I have labored in the min 
istry near thirty years. I have in that great and inter 
esting field of labor sacrificed the best part of my frail 
life. I have there devoted my strength in youth and 
middle age, have there seen great displays of God s glory 
in the conversion of sinners and in the planting and growth 
of many of the tender branches of Zion. But I have 
failed in the work failed amidst my labors, with the 
best of prospects before me, when it seemed that the 
infant churches most needed my counsel and assistance. 



REV. JOSEPII BADGER. 397 

But I can do no more for them ; I cannot face the storms, 
endure the fatigues, and meet the opponents with that 
vigor and success I did a quarter of a century ago. No ; 
let me retire in peace, with the consolation that I have 
fought a good fight, and that my labors have not been in 
vain in the establishment of Christianity in the State of 
New York. Young men who will come after us in the 
ministry, and enter into our labors, can never appreciate 
the toils and sufferings pioneers in this cause were obliged 
to endure, to raise and sustain the standard of Christian 
liberty in that State." 

After the first six weeks of his stay in Fall River, 
not finding that strength and rally of bodily faculty 
he had hoped from the sea-breeze, he thought of going 
to Virginia, or to some more genial climate of the 
South. But he remained a while longer ; and, real 
izing a moderate improvement, he continued his labors 
in that town, preaching three sermons every Sabbath, 
attending three social meetings through the week, 
visiting the sick, calling on his parishioners, reading 
and writing as much as the accustomed duties of 
clergymen require. 

His first sermon, delivered January 4, 1846, was 
founded on 1st Cor. 2 : 2 : " For I determined to know 
nothing among you save Jesus Christ, and him cruci 
fied," a text which was the key-note of his whole 
theologic harmony. In the plot of this sermon there 
are three simple divisions : 1. Why did St. Paul bring 
his labors and efforts to bear on this one point ? Why 
would he know nothing else ? 2. "What is it to know 
Jesus Christ and him crucified ? 3. The danger of 
mixing other things with the Gospel, thereby dividing 



398 MEMOIR OF 

and polluting the minds of the hearers. The reasons 
assigned under the first division are : 1. Christ is the 
only hope of a lost world, the only medium by which 
we can approach God. 2. He wished that his hearers 
should be rightly taught, that their faith might stand 
in the power of God, not in the wisdom of men. " To 
know Jesus Christ," he said, "is to understand his 
history, to know his doctrine, to have him in our ex 
perience, to know the power of his resurrection, which 
is eternal life." It is, however, impossible to form any 
adequate idea of a sermon of his from a plot, as he was 
so richly extemporaneous, and never committed to 
paper anything more than the guiding points of his 
discourse ; the minutige were wholly in his mind. If 
the several hundred plots of sermons found amongst his 
papers were presented to the world, it would soon ap 
pear that only those who have heard him in the days 
of his strength could form any just idea of the dis 
courses he gave, for his spoken language was infinitely 
more eloquent and free than his written, and there was 
so much that made up the total interest in his manner, 
voice, and expression, that cannot, by any known skill, 
be transferred to paper. Like the speaking of Whit- 
field and Henry Clay, the occasion only was the true 
witness of his power. The written report, though it 
reads well, carries but little of the peculiar life-impress, 
the fine pathos, the delicate humor, the ready turn of 
thought, the quick imagination, and the falling tear of 
the listening auditor. It is only by hearing, we say, 
that Joseph Badger s pulpit abilities can be judged. 

Casting his eye over New England society, he pleaded 
the necessity of broader sympathy and union, of greater 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 399 

confidence between ministers and people, and for a 
giving up of local prejudices between the east and the 
west, as the cause of Christ is a unit over all the world. 
He extols the spirit and labors of Benjamin Taylor in 
the Bethel cause, at Providence, R. L, which served 
to send over the wide seas the pure principles of un- 
sectarian religion ; the same praise was bestowed on 
the efforts of Moses How, of New Bedford, whose 
labors for years in the seaman s cause, have been 
catholic in nature and efficient in result. In glancing 
at the generally low state of religious interest, whose 
causes he thought lay deeper than the lack of human 
science, he said : 

" These times are doubtless suffered to come upon the 
earth, to sift the church, to purge it from its dross, to try 
and purify the people of God and to prepare them for a 
greater work and a holier state. Oh, merciful God ! 
grant this may be the result of all. the conflicts which now 
surround the dear people, who are pressed down, grieved, 
discouraged and tempted. Oh ! let them once more arise 
in their strength, put on their beautiful garments, exert 
their influence and see thy glory as they have in years 
that are past." 

"The anxiety I feel for the Christian cause at the 
present crisis exceeds anything I have felt in years past ; 
and in my feeble state it presses heavily upon my spirit 
night and day. I know our doctrine, our order and our 
spirit are right ; I know our cause is good, and many have 
sacrificed their precious lives and labored valiantly to 
sustain and establish it. It must come up again. It must 
and will yet live ; it must be the general centre to which 
all sects must approach, when their revolutions and 



400 MEMOIR OF 

reforms bring them fully into the liberty of the Gospel of 
Christ. Oh, brethren, stand fast in the liberty of the Gos 
pel, hold fast whereunto you have attained, endure to the 
end, and salvation is sure. I may not live to see better 
days upon the earth ; but they will come. Why art thou 
cast down, Oh my soul ! hope thou in God, for I shall 
yet praise him. The storms will blow over, the 
darkness will pass away, and God s true people will come 
forth like gold seven times tried in the fire. Courage, 
courage, my brethren. Remember the fate of the fear 
ful and unbelieving." 

" I suppose it is the design of the great Founder of re 
ligion, that all his followers should be placed in a state of 
trial here, and that Christianity should grapple with the 
powers of darkness, and overcome all the influences which 
can be raised against it. We never know our own strength, 
or the strength of other Christians, until we are placed in a 
state of trial and affliction ; and the strength and virtue of 
Christ s religion are never fully developed until tested by 
the sword and the fagot. But in the darkest time its holy 
light shines, and its virtue is felt and known." 

During his stay in Fall River, 1846 and 1847, he 
frequently wrote for the public papers, in which he 
took some very bold and independent positions. He 
closely criticised and answered an anonymous writer, 
who, with much ability and severity, introduced a ser 
mon on the text, " My people perish for lack of 
knowledge ; " he also conducted a somewhat lengthy 
controversy with an able anonymous writer, who styled 
himself Aj.ro. In all these communications, the ideas 
which steadily hold the ascendant are these : that all 
the moral evils of society are anticipated by the Gos 
pel ; that its mission being the redemption of a fallen 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 401 

world, it is capable of reaching the entire depth of 
moral disease in every phase it can assume ; that the 
church is the only moral association Jesus ever sanc 
tioned ; that it is through the power which inherently 
lives in Christianity, that the entire brood of social 
evils are to be vanquished slavery, war, intemper 
ance, and every sin known to human history. He 
pleaded that no one virtue should be singled out and 
made the whole of Christianity ; that no one vice is 
the whole tree of evil ; and that the only method by 
which human society can be made to yield good fruits 
is by making the tree good, by reform in its heart and 
life ; that the coercion of law and the flaming zeal of 
partisans cannot reform the world efficiently. These 
are substantially his positions. No man, we believe, 
ever had a higher faith in the mission, of Christ and 
the Gospel ; and none ever confided more strongly than 
he in the certainty of their final victories. But the 
world needs, and will have, a complexity of agencies 
in the work of its deliverance; discussion, debate, 
societies, radicals, conservatives, men of one idea and 
men of a thousand, all are equally necessary, as in 
nature we get the soft, green grass and the thorny 
hedge, the south gale and the lightning s dart. In 
nature, we judge that no angelic reformer, had he 
turned naturalist prior to the human epoch, could have 
so induced the coming of the postponed era of land 
animals as to have blended it with that of the coralline 
limestone ; nor can any ado of church or state pile up 
topmost strata in the moral world any faster than is 
granted by the eternal law that underlies all the eras 
of nature and spirit. But in doing the work of the 



402 MEMOIR OF 

world s salvation, all agencies can be overruled ; John, 
with his loving divinity ; Peter, with his sword ; battles 
and prayers, all can be woven into service. 

At Fall River, though the ability of his labors was 
greatly impaired by bad health, he made a strong im 
pression, created many friends, and has ever been 
remembered there with friendly interest. His sermon 
on temperance was highly spoken of by the papers of 
that place ; his bold vindication of the rights of the 
over-taxed energies of the female laborer at the cotton 
mills, in reply to the lecture of an influential clergy 
man who maintained that the rules and labors of the 
factories are favorable to longevity, was characteristic 
of the man, and won the respectful attention of many 
who had known nothing of the stranger who was 
sojourning among them. He continued his labors in 
Fall River into the month of July, 1846, when, with 
health somewhat improved, he returned to his family 
at Honeoye. In glancing over the plots of sermons 
delivered in that place one is struck with their simple 
brevity and clear pointedness. For instance : all that 
appears under the text, Acts 28 : 26 : " Almost thou 
persuadest me to be a Christian," are these words : 
" 1. The Christian name. 2. The Christian doctrine. 
3. The Christian spirit. 4. The Christian character." 
His farewell sermon was built on John 14 : 18 : "I 
will not leave you comfortless." 

In the spring of 1847, he visited the pleasant village 
of Conneaut, Ohio, which commands a fine prospect 
of land and lake, and which afforded him at the same 
time a field of usefulness and the medical services of 
Doctors Fifield and Sandborn. By the request of Mr. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 403 

Fuller, then a student at the Meadville Theological 
School, the success of whose labors at Spring, Pa., 
seemed to demand his ordination to the Christian min 
istry, Mr. Badger left home April 2d, to preach the 
sermon on that occasion. Proceeding by way of Staf 
ford, Laona, and Fairview, he arrived on the 9th ; and 
on the 10th gave a very impressive and interesting 
discourse, which was happily suited to the occasion. 
In company with Elder J. E. Church he proceeded to 
Conneaut, where he gave three sermons to large assem 
blies a place he had not before visited in twenty 
years. There he stood by the graves of Blodget and 
Spaulding, early associates, called away in the midst 
of their labors. " How dear their memory, and how 
venerable their names ! how soon I shall join them in 
the heavenly world ! Oh, Lord ! prepare me for the 
holy society above." 

The church, which had been in a low and tried state 
for a long time, began to rally again with brighter 
hopes of success and prosperity. They came with new 
interest to the communion to the social meeting 
to the Sabbath services. Attention began to increase, 
and as early as June 26, Mr. Badger could say : 

" We have received nine, I believe good and spiritual 
members into the church. How comforting it is to a 
church who have long sat in sadness by the side of the 
river of Babylon, again to see the walls and gates of Jeru 
salem restored, and Zion s altars again smoking with the 
offering of God. I intend to spend next month at home, 
and the first of August to resume my labor here again, if 
the Lord will. It is my meat and my drink to do the will 



404 MEMOIR OF 

of my Father who is in heaven. I view my great home 
near, and am anxious to be ready. Our chapel to-day 
was crowded with hearers, who seemed to feel deeply the 
importance of religion, which alone can bring salvation 
to the soul. In the afternoon I met a multitude of solemn 
hearers, on the pleasant bank of the Conneaut, where, 
after a short address, I led four happy converts down to 
the watery grave, who all came forth with joy and strength, 
to witness a good profession and to shine as lights in the 
world. May God strengthen their young hearts to endure 
to the end, that they may be saved. I love the people." 

The month of July, winch he spent at home, he 
improved in attending some meetings with his old con 
gregations. July 4, he spoke over an hour to his 
people at Lakeville, who assembled en masse. The 
18th, with Rev. Asa Chapin, he attended the ordina 
tion of Sylvester Morris, at Springwater ; in speaking 
of the sermon given by his colleague, he said : " One 
such sermon which indicates God and his authority, 
and teaches men to rely on his strong arm, is worth all 
the flowers of oratory and empty show which human art 
and skill can produce." He resumed his labors at 
Conneaut in August, continued them till March, 1848. 
Whilst there he received about twenty additional mem 
bers, baptized twelve, among whom was a young Uni 
tarian clergyman, then about to graduate from the 
Meadville Theological School. Though broken in health 
and in spirits, though visited by dark and lonely hours, 
he exhibited the remains of a gigantic force, and over 
the social circle he still could throw the bright sunlight 
of his own spirit, which, unlike his. bodily constitution, 
refused to grow old. In frequent social parties he was 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 405 

kindly greeted and cheered during the winter of his 
stay in Conneaut ; and though the excitement of com 
pany often reacted upon him injuriously, his letters 
addressed to his family eulogize the cordiality and kind 
ness of the people. As spring drew near, he felt that 
his labors should close ; and early in March he returned 
home with the feeling that his long career in the minis 
try was closed. And so it was. On three or four 
occasions he again addressed the people, once at Hen 
rietta, on a funeral occasion, once at Naples, and once 
at Honeoye Falls. Notice had been given at the last 
place, that Mr. Badger would meet all his friends, who 
might desire to hear him once more on e.arth. He 
spoke to them for the last time. Many came to hear. 
Among the remarks made concerning this general ad 
dress, the whole of which was extemporaneous, was this ; 
that the greatest amount of meaning was thrown into 
the most concise form that language would permit. But 
his once eloquent speech had now become slow and 
thick. It no longer flowed. Thirty-six years of a 
most active, arduous, and often self-sacrificing ministry, 
thus ended in retirement, when nothing in his years 
gave signs of life s abating energy. 



406 MEMOIR OF 



CHAPTER XX. 

RETIRED LIFE READING TRAVELS DEPARTURE 

1848 TO 1852. 

THE mind of Mr. Badger was in reality less impaired 
than his ability to manifest it. In company, perhaps 
most persons judge of mind almost wholly from its 
vocal manifestations. Hence a diversity of opinion 
and report that went abroad concerning his imbecility. 
My last interviews with him were in the winter and 
summer of 1850. I was joyfully surprised to perceive 
the error of the report that had gone abroad concern 
ing his mental weakness. Honestly, there was then 
more in his brain than ever existed in the minds of 
those who reported him as being only a spectacle of 
sadness. Though his communication was slow and im 
paired, his clear gray eye shone with all the clearness 
and thoughtful penetration that it ever had done. I 
never enjoyed with him more interesting visits. He 
referred to past events with perfect accuracy of 
memory, related many incidents of his travels, spoke 
of argumentative discussions and of positions he had 
taken, passed judgments on men and things, which at 
no period of his life could have been more mature. 

But ordinarily, his self-control, his power to be un 
affected by disturbing causes, was said to have been 
much diminished ; and the clearness and vigor of his 
mind were also said to have varied essentially at differ 
ent intervals. Every day, he read, or heard some 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 407 

member of his family read to him, the news of the 
time. He kept a clear knowledge of the world s great 
movements ; and above all, he relished the sacred news 
that apprised him of the welfare of Zion. All his 
letters of 1849 and 50 have the same conciseness and 
clearness of expression that always distinguished his 
letter- writing. In the winter of 1850 I called on him ; 
it was evening, about 8 o clock ; found him wearing a 
most calm and meditative expression. There was no 
vivacity to cheer a visitor ; but immediately one felt 
the calm and tranquillizing influence of his presence. 
In glancing over his form and features, it was readily 
apparent that his whole character was there, not in 
activity but in repose. 

If I might be permitted the liberty of speaking 
further in the first person, and of drawing from per 
sonal reminiscence, I would state some remarks he then 
made. We conversed sometimes for hours. I chanced 
to have with me Emerson s newly issued volume, enti 
tled Representative Men. The second day of my 
sojourn with him, he requested me to read from it. 
He called for the characters presented ; after naming 
these, he said: " First read to me of Napoleon ; after 
that, of Swedenborg." I did so. And invariably, as 
the reading passed over those striking and ingenious 
passages for which Mr. E. is so greatly distinguished, 
his eye and countenance lighted up with a smile of 
delight ; the thoughts of the writer passed into his 
mind as easily as the rays of morning enter the eyes 
of living creatures. I only read from these two char 
acters, and in the pages presented him he evinced the 
truest delight. His power to appreciate a thinker even 
then cost him no effort. 



408 MEMOIR OF 

He also alluded to the near approach of death. He 
said he entertained peculiar views on that subject. 
He would cheerfully die in a foreign land, or far away 
away from home. " I prefer," said he, " that my 
wife, children, and near friends, would not see me as a 
corpse. It would suit me, if Providence should so 
order, to bid my family a cheerful good-by some 
pleasant day, and in some distant part meet the 
summons of my God. I would wish that all their 
remembrances of me might be associated with cheerful 
ness and life, and that not a single recollection should 
connect me with death." These utterances, of course, 
were only a free statement of feeling, but they im 
pressed me much, and were indeed characteristic of 
the man. He was a lover of life and of the life-like. 

In June, 1850, the annual session of the New York 
Central Christian Conference was holden at his resi 
dence. Not wishing to partake of the excitement 
common to large assemblies, and particularly anxious 
to avoid the excitement which contact with so many 
old acquaintances and friends would necessarily create, 
he planned a journey to Manchester and Gilmanton, 
New Hampshire. I saw him an evening and morning 
before he left. He walked with me to the beautiful 
grove where the Sabbath meeting was to be held ; on 
the way, he observed, " Whenever I went away to 
preach a dedication sermon, or to hold a meeting in a 
new grove, I always wanted to go upon the ground 
and look at the scene a day beforehand." He had a 
fine visit with relatives among his native hills of New 
Hampshire, and returned in two or three weeks. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 409 

In the spring of 1851, when his power of speech 
was greatly enfeebled, so much so that he could not 
speak intelligibly to strangers, he expressed a strong 
desire to go about and visit once more the churches he 
had formed, and see all his brethren in the ministry. 
Mrs. Badger made arrangements to accompany him to 
Parma, where the New York Western Christian Con 
ference was held June 23, 1851. She had accom 
panied him on two other journeys of a similar nature, 
and served him as interpreter, she being able to under 
stand him when others could not. These trips he 
enjoyed very much ; at Parma, he sat in meeting all 
day Saturday, Sunday and Monday ; and, using the 
language of Mrs. B., "he seemed to have the most 
profound enjoyment." Taking the precaution to rest 
on Tuesday, Mrs. B., in their private conveyance, 
started with him on Wednesday for Gaines, a distance 
of thirty miles, where they remained for the night ; on 
Thursday morning they journeyed but three miles, to 
the town of Barry, where they tarried but a night ; on 
Friday he arose early, in his usual health ; the sun 
poured down his burning rays in great power. He 
became anxious and determined to return home. 
Said Mrs. B. : 

" Accordingly, I started with him as soon as I could 
prepare ; we had rode but about one mile when the last 
and final shock came over him, which deprived him for the 
time of every sense but that of intense suffering. I imme 
diately inquired for the nearest physician, and found that 
we were in the vicinity of Dr. Eaton, an old friend, 
and one who had prescribed for him before. He was 
speechless, and nearly senseless when I arrived with him 
18 



410 MEMOIR OF 

at the doctor s. The doctor immediately took him in, and 
by thorough rubbing, and bathing, and by administering 
hot medicines, succeeded in restoring him to a state of 
consciousness. From this place he was conveyed to my 
brother s house at Barry, where he was regularly attended 
by Dr. E. twice a day for one week, at the end of which 
time he was able to be put into his carriage and to be 
conveyed home, taking two days for fifty miles, which are 
ten miles less than he was accustomed to ride when he was 
well, and called himself a travelling minister. He continued 
to improve from that time until he was able to walk by my 
going alongside of him, and leading him from our house 
to the church. He walked in that way to meeting every 
Sunday till October, but never recovered his mental and 
physical faculties as he had them before. He always as 
cribed his recovery to the energetic course adopted by Dr. 
Eaton, when he was thrown accidentally into his hands. 
From the first of October he began visibly to decline, like 
a person in the consumption. He grew weaker and weaker, 
his articulation became more indistinct, until about the 
middle of January or first of February, he ceased to pro 
nounce any words but Yes and No. All communication 
was now cut off, except such as could be answered in that 
manner. Many of his old friends in that space of time 
came to see him, Elder D. F. Ladley, of Ohio, who pub 
lished an account of his visit in the Gospel Herald. It 
was always one of the greatest luxuries of his life to have 
me sit down and read to him, which was now seemingly 
his only remaining pleasure. This he enjoyed to the last. 
But from the first of April to his final exit, May 12th, 
1852, he seldom ever uttered a word. 

"And thus he passed, as it were, almost imperceptibly 
away, while his ever-penetrating eyes sparkled with the 
utmost brilliancy till they were closed in death, which 
painful task fell on my brother, as he was the only one I 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 411 

had time to call in, after I was sensible that he was de 
parting. Our minister, Mr. Eli Fay, came in soon after, 
and our house was filled with sorrowing friends and 
neighbors." 

Here are the simple facts. They confirm the view 
that there was a clear, inner light of the intellect, 
which shone to the last, and which we believe was but 
transiently eclipsed in death. Thus died a great and 
a good man. At his dwelling, May 14th, 1852, Mr. 
Chapin read the Scriptures, offered prayer, and made 
appropriate remarks. At the church, Rev. Eli Fay, 
the Christian minister of the place, delivered an appro 
priate discourse from 2 Sam. 1 : 19 : " How are the 
mighty fallen ! " in which he discussed the elements, 
uses and end of human greatness. In the solemn 
procession that followed to its resting-place the mortal 
form, were those who had come from some distance 
around, to shed the reverential tear over the grave of 
one whose voice had been to them a heavenly elo 
quence a third of a century ago. When the country 
was a wilderness, his words had swayed them as trees 
are moved by the winds. They come, the hoary- 
headed band, to take a last view of his spirit s fallen 
temple. By the side of former friends they bury him, 
and over his sacred ashes rises a monument with this 
inscription : 

"JOSEPH BADGER, 

A MINISTER IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 

DIED MAY 12, 1852. 

AGED 59 YEARS. 

" Here rests his mortal part. His spirit lires, 
And guides us still in virtue s path. 

His CHILDREN." 



412 MEMOIR OF 

His life strikes us as a synonyme of energy, of ac 
complishing force. His words have penetrated myr 
iads of hearts. He had travelled many thousands of 
miles ; had led to the mercy-seat hosts of penitents ; 
to the baptismal waters upwards of two thousand per 
sons, over forty of whom became ministers of salva 
tion ; had attended upwards of seven hundred fune 
rals ; and, though merit is not always to be measured 
by outward effects, it is impossible to impartially re 
view his life as a whole, without finding in it a steady 
devotion to principles, a trusting reliance on God amid 
the changes of men and the fluctuation of time, which, 
as we contemplate, grow into the sublimity of faith. 
He was a hero of faith, and strongly impressed him 
self upon his time. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

OUTLINES OF CHARACTER. 

CHARACTER, as distinguished from reputation, is 
what we are intrinsically in moral and mental worth. 
Our reputations are only the various verdict of soci 
ety concerning us. Our characters are our fixed 
value for time and eternity. They are our worth also 
in word and in deed, for these are mighty or weak 
through the spiritual power that lies back of them, 
from which they receive their kindling force and in- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 413 

spiration. Character substantially is the end of life, 
the purpose of nature, Providence, revelations, trial, 
conscience, and temptation. The universe came from 
it, reveals it, and strives, through all its teachings and 
influences, to reproduce it in man. The worship of 
God, and the various reverence which centres in man, 
at once resolve themselves into the supreme worth for 
which the word character stands as a sign. This, 
then, is the true centre of all biography, that into 
which the whole life is merged, and by which it may 
be judged. These few pages, therefore, will aim to 
sketch, though it may be imperfectly, the main features 
in the character of Joseph Badger. 

When I approach this subject, I am at once struck 
by the originality and marked distinctions of what I 
am to examine ; and, though the naturalness and sim 
plicity which ever - shone in his language and manner 
might seem to promise an easy task, a longer study 
dissipates the hope, and leaves the lasting impression 
that a mind and character like his were never truth 
fully and fully expressed in a few words, and certainly 
they were never known by mere passing acquaintance 
or superficial observation. He was a man of manifold 
nature, was strong in many directions. He had 
depths unseen by ordinary acquaintance or by ordi 
nary observation ; and to fully interpret one whose in 
ward life was so much of it veiled from the world s 
gaze, whose power of character was in itself so com 
plex and diverse, requires analytical patience and faith 
ful study. I would not intimate by this that it is 
invested in dark and impenetrable clouds of mystery ; 
for not a few of his traits are, under almost any 



414 MEMOIR OF 

circumstances, plainly discernible, those, indeed, which 
served to render the hours of sociality agreeable and 
entertaining to all. His quick and clear perception, 
his calm balance of power, who would not at once dis 
cover ? But it is the quality of greatness that the man 
ifold qualities involved do not admit of a thorough 
comprehension except at the cost of time and care. 
That Joseph Badger was by nature a great man, that, 
in the sphere of his action, he was so by effects pro 
duced, it is presumed that none will be at all likely to 
deny. Persons who could read God s handwriting of 
ability in the forms and. features of men, or in the dis 
course and action by which superiority is indicated, 
were never disposed to place him in the rank of ordi 
nary gifts and powers. A few may have said that no 
book can add to their knowledge of him ; that, for 
years, they have listened to his sermons ; have mingled 
in his society at their firesides ; that they know him 
entirely. This conclusion we do not unqualifiedly 
accept. It is our impression that few persons on the 
earth, in the profoundest sense, knew Joseph Badger. 
Beyond what they had observed lay much more in 
unseen repose. 

The free and more airy moods of mind with which 
he usually met his friends and mingled in society, 
though combined with real dignity of manner, were 
calculated, in some degree, to give the impression of 
entire acquaintance to those who could penetrate but a 
small distance beneath the apparent. But there were 
sober depths underlying the vivacity and social joy 
of his presence. In company, it is true, he commonly 
avoided the introduction and discussion of weighty 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 415 

themes, those requiring continuity of thought, choosing 
rather to converse on matters of immediate care and 
interest. He spoke truthfully when he once said to a 
friend, " I have three moods of mind ; one that may be 
light and airy, one of common seriousness, and one of 
very deep seriousness." They who judge him only 
from the first do not, cannot know him ; yet is it not 
more common for people to judge from the surface than 
from the deeper soul of one s life ? The former is 
easily seen ; the latter requires attention. Luther and 
Franklin were humorous men ; but those who would 
know them must look to the depths over which their 
humor played. 

As the physical man is, by usual consent, the basis 
of that higher self, in which character, as to its greater 
meanings, resides, it may be worthy of recollection 
that the bodily constitution and temperament of Mr. 
Badger were well adapted to power and excellence of 
intellect. His constitution, though of fine quality, 
was naturally very strong and vigorous ; the different 
temperaments commingled in it, the sanguine or arte 
rial taking the lead. With this, there was a full de 
gree of the nervous or intellectual temperament, which 
imparted much mental activity ; with these, there was 
a measure of the bilious and lymphatic, which, accord 
ing to the usual explanations of modern science, give 
endurance, calmness and ease, supplying the wasting 
activities with support. In early life, Mr. Badger was 
tall and spare in figure ; about middle age, and after, 
he was more portly ; and, at all times, his personal 
appearance was noble, commanding, and prepossess 
ing. His likeness, facing the title-page of this volume 



416 MEMOIR OF 

which represents him at the age of forty-two, gives 
a very good idea of his intellectual expression, with 
the exception that his brain was of a larger cast, 
and, in after life, his features and form were more full 
than they appear in this representation. 
. The intellect of Mr. Badger was great, especially 
so in the use of practical perception. His perceptive 
ability was indeed immense. In seeing through char 
acter, motives, and events ; in looking at a new move 
ment in the moral world, or at any practical enterprise, 
he had great, sudden perceptions of the reality before 
him, on which he formed his conclusions and acted. 
His mind was quick ; his opinions were not usually 
formed in slow processes, but were very comprehensive, 
very exact, and when the final results came round, 
no man s former words sounded so much like certain 
prophecy in the quotation as his. His mind was richly 
intuitive in these respects. He readily and closely 
saw the strong points of every case. 

His reasoning intellect was strong and clear, and 
when awakened was full of power. But thought, in 
its most abstract form, was not his forte. He could 
appreciate it, and estimate its value accurately in 
others, could use it himself; but it was truth, having 
a direct bearing upon, and demonstrations in, the 
world of practice, that roused his energies and delight 
fully employed his powers. He was American. The 
form of his mind was not, perhaps, exactly philosophi 
cal, was not largely given to seek out the laws which 
pervade the facts of nature and of life, to treasure up 
universal principles ; but he could rapidly work his 
way into the reality of any cause that it might inter- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 417 

est him to know. He readily saw important princi 
ples. His mind was creative. He could originate 
and execute with great skill and dexterity ; the former 
of these functions, however, was, in our opinion, his 
most favorite work. He often liked to produce and 
direct the plan for others to carry into effect. His 
acquaintance with human nature, as it appears in the 
thousand-fold diversities of the world, was his pro- 
foundest knowledge. His great sagacity always 
seemed as intuition, as a native inspiration. It was 
next to impossible to deceive him. 

There is that in the human mind which takes the 
name of no one faculty, but which, in the manifes 
tation, is entitled good sense, and " strong sense." 
There are men in the world, who wield no scholastic 
terminology, who have no tendency to much specu 
lative theorization, but nevertheless have that in 
them, which, on the presentation of the most carefully 
elaborated theories, can at once judge upon their 
worth and fallacy. This strong searching force which 
despises the artificial operations of logicians, and the 
visionary theorization of idealists, makes of them solid 
pillars amidst the general fluctuation, enables them to 
say of all the " nine days wonders," as they arrive, 
that they are but nine days wonders. In them it 
says, " The theory is learned and rendered plausible ; 
but substantially there is nothing in it. It is of no 
actual use. It hails from cloud-land, and in cloud- 
land it will ere long dissolve." Mr. Badger was no 
ideologist ; he was an actualist, a realist, who never 
alienated himself from the circle of the sympathy of 
mankind, but wrought upon themes and enterprises 
18* 



418 MEMOIR OF 

for which the people themselves had feeling and care. 
He could easily weigh the humbugs as they arose ; 
and there was no art of proselytism by which they 
could be glued to him or he to them. Scores of wild 
theories sprung up in his day. He patiently heard 
j;he arguments therefor, mildly responded, gave his 
own opinion, and with it possibly a cheerful laugh, 
which was itself no insignificant argument, and proba 
bly announced what he believed the result would be 
when time should have ripened and tested the fruit. 
The friends of Fourier built an institution within two 
miles of his door, and kindly invited him to join ; 
some of his old acquaintances with infatuated joy 
rushed into the new millennium. He told them there 
was truth in the idea of more fraternity than the selfish 
world is disposed to enjoy, but that the conception of 
society they had adopted was visionary, and that all 
would repent who had thus invested their means. " Be 
assured, friend G., that in two or three years this whole 
matter will fail, and your funds will be lost." And so 
it was. Millerism, also, came along, showing large 
maps of the world s chronology, Bible symbol, and all 
that ; some of his old ministerial friends rushed into 
the excitement, and cried aloud for the speedy coming of 
the personal Christ. He was calm. He told them it was 
idle theory, that it was theological egotism ; and it mat 
tered not how strongly and flippantly they quoted from 
Daniel and John, or what the array of texts and his 
torical passages might be ; he had a large, clear, manly 
brain, and knew that the main fabric was woven of 
cobweb. He opposed against it strong arguments, and 
when knowing vanity and egotism on the opposite side 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 419 

became intolerable, he mingled with his argumentation 
the withering force of satire, which, with him, was little 
else than long pieces of strong sense, made very sharp 
at the points. 

This statement should be made for his mind and 
speech, that whenever he spoke it was to the point. It 
told plainly on the case in hand. His force was never 
lost by diffuseness or redundancy. He could say very 
much in few words. In coming to truth, he preferred 
the shortest way, and cherished, I judge, a cheerful 
contempt for artistic modes of reasoning, in which many 
strive to display so much science of method. The dry 
logician and the disputer of words he could endure, 
though he never would waste much time with them. 
If some one in the company was anxious to controvert, 
he usually turned to some other person and gave over 
his part of the question to him ; then, in calmly wit 
nessing their play of words, he derived great satisfac 
tion from whatever was weighty, sharp, or well directed 
on either side, using the occasion chiefly as a scene of 
entertainment. In him one might see not a little of 
the ironical advice of Mephistopheles to the student, 
who in recommending the study of logic as a means of 
saving time, tells him that " in this study the mind is 
well broken in is laced up as in Spanish boots,* so that 
it creeps circumspectly along the path of thought," 
minding the immense importance of one, two, three, 
four, which shall now cost him hours to accomplish what 
he before hit off at a blow. If, as Mephistopheles said, 
the actual operations of the human mind are as a 

* One of the means of torture in the Spanish Inquisition. 



420 MEMOIR OF 

weaver s loom, where one treadle commands a thousand 
threads, which are invisible in the rapidity of their 
movements, Mr. B. was more an actual weaver of the 
real garment than the philosopher who steps in to prove 
that these processes must have been so ; that the first 
was so, and therefore the second came ; and that since 
the first and second were, the third was inevitable.* 
In arriving at truth, be it remembered, he preferred 
the plainest, directest roads. He was emphatically a 
thinking man ; and the end of his thought, mostly, 
was practical result. 

The powers of his mind were not rigid but flexible, 
as, under any variety of scenes, he was capable of be 
ing composed and genial. He did not stickle on small 
points of theology or practice ; points he desired to 
carry he could gracefully introduce ; those which he 
found it necessary or expedient to abandon, he could 
give up with easy indifference. He was a man of 
order ; and, perhaps what can be said of but few 
clergymen, he was a man of skilful business talent, a 
great tactician, a good economist and financier. " Not 
one in ten of mankind," said he, " know how to do 
business." 

It has been common for persons to speak much about 
his shrewdness, tact, sagacity and cunning. As some 
of these traits often unite in unpowerful and secretive 
natures, I would say that in him they stood connected 
with much decision of character, independence and 
boldness. These stronger traits were manifest in every 
stage of his history. He stood erect and strong in 

*Faust, p. 89. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 421 

youth, when answering the tyrannical British magis 
trate. He put the savages to the extremity of violence 
rather than acquiesce in a dishonorable mode of con 
veyance to the seat of justice at the Three Rivers. 
When ahout twenty-two, he met a clergyman in New 
England who confessed to him that he had preached 
for twelve years in an unconverted state, and whose 
prayers and sermons were then as spiritless as fallen 
leaves. Mr. Badger invited him courteously to share 
in the services of the Sabbath, but on parting he faith 
fully warned him to seek the life-giving influences of 
the Holy Spirit. These qualities of tact, shrewdness, 
cunning, lay under the shadow of stronger and bolder 
powers. They greatly facilitated his success, so far 
as this depends on adaptation and proper management ; 
and probably we cannot account for a certain elegant 
aptness and fitness to the occasion and purpose, which 
gave peculiar charm to his public discourses, without 
implying the presence of these intellectual attributes. 
It is conceded that it required the extraordinary 
demand of great occasions, or great opposition, as in 
the case of controversy, to bring out his greatest in 
tellectual force, though he was happily adapted to ordi 
nary occasions. When obliged to use his power, it 
came in strong and impressive forms of utterance ; all 
saw his meaning, felt the force of his illustrations and 
the victorious power of will, which, in minds like his, 
is strongly determined on the achieving of its aims. In 
controversy, Joseph Badger was indeed a difficult op 
ponent. We have never heard of any who have claimed 
a victory against him. The event -may possibly have 
occurred, but the echo thereof has never come to our 



422 MEMOIR OF 

ears. We doubt that it ever happened. He did not 
challenge nor seek controversy, nor did he shrink from 
it when truth and the honor of his cause demanded 
that formidable opponents should be met. The po 
sition of a theological reformer is liable, in the early 
stages of his work, to receive a great variety of assault ; 
and under such circumstances the peaceful quietness 
and repose which reside in the established state of the 
public mind are not his legacy. In a degree, he is to 
be a moral hero and warrior, and if he wars for truth 
successfully and handsomely, we should hasten to ren 
der him the wreath of honor and praise. We believe 
that Joseph Badger never stood for the advocacy of 
views which he did not himself heartily believe ; and 
this conceded, we believe also that he never entered a 
controversial field without the determination of victory, 
the end being, in all reason, not so much to persuade 
the wrangling antagonist as to convince the people. 
The calmness of his intellect and the composure of 
his feelings were always conspicuous at such times. 
Though he had high spirit and temper constitutionally, 
though his passional nature was uncommonly strong, 
he was, on all occasions where the passions of others 
were likely to be inflamed, astonishingly cool. It was 
the coolness of a pilot amidst the storm. At all times 
of which we have any knowledge, Mr. Badger was dis 
tinguished for this self-command, by which he could 
rise above surrounding excitement or present calamity. 
This trait gave him great advantage in discussion ; for, 
from his own cool state, he was sure to learn the weak 
nesses of temper and of argument on the opposite side, 
which soon became advantageous capital to his cause. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 423 

But we do not here design to trace him through his 
controversial history. The glance we have taken in 
this direction is simply to exhibit certain qualities that 
distinguish his mind. 

Imagination, without which there is no hlue sky 
of starred excellence in our being, is a faculty which 
in some degree of richness operates in all creative 
minds. It was often playfully and often seriously 
active in the mind of Joseph Badger. It aided his free 
and happy use of language. It brought to his service 
a vast number of natural illustrations and figures, both 
for the ornament of public discourse and social conver 
sation ; and in the good taste and fancy, of which the 
clearest evidences exist, is also implied that something 
finer than the understanding enriched him. He held 
in his mind a high standard of poetry ; therefore he 
never sought to approach it by creations of his own. 
He had intense feeling and delicacy of sentiment, and 
withal a vein of marvellousness that caused him at times 
to note in his diary the dreams of his midnight slum 
ber, on which he would afterwards linger in sober re 
flection. Among his private papers there are a few 
instances in which his strong presentiments are re 
corded. The generous enthusiasm of his nature, that 
gave so much life to his early labors, and that always 
rendered his influence enlivening, is well balanced by 
the deliberate intellect that imparted to his action and 
manner the impress of composure. But it is as a 
matter-of-fact man chiefly, as a utilitarian in the best 
sense of that word, as a definite thinker, that his true 
character appears in the world. He was a great and 
a natural planner, was most in his element when stand- 



424 MEMOIR OF 

ing in the centre of some enterprise which aimed at 
important practical results. In every cause he under 
took, his power to concentrate himself upon the single 
end before him was immense. 

Though possessed of great suavity of manners and 
smoothness of speech, in power of will and in firmness 
of decision he had few equals. He labored with great 
fidelity and perseverance toward the achievement of 
his main purpose. He could smile or laugh at the 
sharpest opposition that might be expressed in his 
presence, could speak of his plans without using te 
nacious language, but everything proved in the long 
run, the power of his will and the solidity of his pur 
pose. His will was by nature and discipline strong, 
very strong ; and he had that which took away the 
offence which strong-willed persons usually give. In 
stead of appearing at all wilful, or stubborn, he cast 
himself upon the assignation of the best reasons, and 
demeaned himself in a conciliatory bearing toward all. 
He knew how to give in and how to waive minor mat 
ters that he might compromise people of different 
opinions and prejudices, for which he possessed great 
tact and skill. Yet when opposition became decided 
and open, he had no great patience or long-suffering 
towards the obstacles that stood in his way. He wanted 
them out of the path, and set to work for their removal. 
Though he was always courteous, and in social greet 
ings cordial to all, even to enemies and opposers who 
happened to meet him, he had no taste for rivalry and 
opposition. He sought to cripple the power of what 
ever stood in the way as a solid barrier to the success 
of his dearly cherished plans, an attribute this, which 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 425 

strong actors in the world have, we believe, very com 
monly possessed, from Napoleon of Corsica to the great 
Democrat of the Hermitage. The kindness of his 
nature was native and overflowing ; but there were 
circumstances under which his severity was equally 
conspicuous. Nevertheless, toward the conquered party, 
his generosity naturally reacted in forms of kindness, 
and of such, at last, he often made permanent friends 
and co-workers. 

The sympathies and kindness of Mr. Badger, I have 
elsewhere alluded to as being great. He had a large 
power of friendship. From this phase of his nature, 
proceeded his facility for making friends and attaching 
them to himself. His friends became numerous wher 
ever he went. We cannot account for so noble a fact, 
without conceding to him the possession of a heart in 
which the magnetism of human kindness was great, for 
it takes a power to awaken a power, and selfishness 
alone never became the radiant centre about which the 
hearts of the many were happily drawn. The power 
of sympathy and friendship is an attraction which, like 
the physical property in nature designated by this 
name, is in proportion to the quantity of the source 
from which it flows ; also, the proximity or the dis 
tance of objects, which suggests another law of this 
material energy, is likewise true in the world of friend 
ship. For it is nearness, that is to say, it is kindred- 
ness of mind, feeling, and experience ; it is the ability 
to furnish other hearts with the true objects of their 
own affections, that qualifies one to sit as king or queen 
on the throne of friendship and love. He who lawfully 
sways this sceptre over the multitudes, is one in whom 



426 MEMOIR OP 

the many are represented, who is truly brother to each 
and to all. Viewed from this sentiment, how can the 
influences of Joseph Badger be accounted for, except 
on the ground that his heart was truly great and 
brotherly ? A community of strangers into which he 
might come soon felt the power of this attraction. Said 
the honest Barton W. Stone, of Kentucky, in a letter 
of welcome to his intended second visit to the South : 
" Your name is dear to the people of Georgetown. 
Many are anxiously hoping to greet you;" though 
he had but once visited Georgetown and other locali 
ties south and west, his name remained in the hearts 
of the people. This is but a common illustration of 
what generally occurred in places where he preached 
several sermons and freely mingled with the people. 
As a strong example of the lasting attachment he had 
the power to inspire in his friends, I would mention a 
circumstance recorded in his private journal while at 
Boston. 

Mr. Jonas Clark, of Dublin, Cheshire Co., N". H., 
a man of sound mind, who had not seen Mr. B. for 
thirteen years, but had listened to his early ministry, 
went to meet him at Boston, August 20, 1828. On 
coming into his presence he took him by the hand and 
said : " Can this be Joseph, my friend ? " On being 
answered in the affirmative, he was unable to reply ; 
but turning away his head and leaning over a desk 
near by, he wept in silence. The memories of the past 
that rushed into his mind were golden by affection, and 
years of time and much mingling with the world had 
not effaced or marred the sacred impress of former 
years. " Oh, what majesty," said Mr. B., " there is 



REV JOSEPH BADGER. 427 

in such tears of love ! True friendship is more lasting 
than time, and it outlives every other principle." 
Though Mr. Badger had an intellect that was strong 
and peculiarly original and self-relying, we think on the 
whole that his stronghold was far more in the hearts of 
the people than in their merely intellectual regard and 
admiration. His neighbors who have lived near him 
for twenty and thirty years, testify to the strict and 
uniform kindness of his feelings and acts as a neighbor. 
To young ministers and to feeble churches, he ex 
tended the wealth of his sympathy. He was both a 
brother in Christ and a father in Israel. Particularly 
was his sympathy deep and strong for young men just 
entering into the ministry. Many things in his own 
life qualified, him to be their benefactor. He had him 
self passed through great trials of mind and of outward 
circumstances, when a young man of nineteen and 
twenty, as the result of his choice, or rather of his 
acceptance of the preacher s mission. No young man 
would be likely to stand in the midst of greater em 
barrassments than he had stood. Then his extensive 
observation of men and things, his knowledge of human 
nature, his own varied experience of years in the 
Gospel ministry, his tender sympathies, his gentle and 
easy manners, which took away fear and restraint, 
peculiarly fitted him for a nearness of access to their 
minds, to render them counsel to meet their doubts, and 
to give them instruction and needful encouragement. 
He had great skill with which to inspire hope in a young 
man. He could prune his defective habits, also, with 
out giving offence ; and well did he know how to set 
his mind upon new trains of thought. First of all, it 



428 MEMOIR OF 

was his policy to find out the real material of a young 
man s mind, to learn his real character. To effect this, 
he gradually threw off whatever in manner should serve 
to impose restraint, became familiar, perhaps in some 
instances greatly so, and turned conversation so as to 
hit on every side of human nature and of the supposed 
character of the person whose mental and moral dimen 
sions he desired to take. In a few days, at most, he 
developed his characteristics far enough to be com 
pletely satisfied of his capacity, principles and promise. 
I do not say that this was his method in all cases, but I 
know of some instances in which it was, and have heard 
of it in others. The wisdom of this procedure appears 
in the fact that to qualify young men for the ministry, 
respect must be had for what in them is individual, as 
there are no uniform theological moulds into which 
human nature can be successfully fused and run ; and 
it had the advantage also of enabling the counsellor to 
decide at the beginning, the most important of all 
questions, whether a young man is not mistaking the 
meaning of God as announced in his nature, by assum 
ing the position of a spiritual leader. He gave them 
books to read and to keep ; taught them the great 
importance of a healthy degree of physical culture ; 
gave them his views of the most useful and successful 
methods of preaching ; taught the supreme importance 
of religious experience ; looked out for them fields of 
labor, took them to his own appointments, made jour 
neys with them, and if any diffident young man of merit 
was mortified at the imperfection and feebleness of his 
own public efforts, he had the finest skill in restoring to 
him his lost confidence. Many whose conversions took 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 429 

place under his preaching, became ministers ; and very 
many owe their earliest and best lessons in the ministry 
to his examples and counsels. To sum up his faculty 
in this direction, in few words, I should say, he greatly 
excelled in the power of calling out the minds of others, 
in developing their resources for good. 

He was in the habit of treating young men as if he 
respected their wisdom. He asked their advice on his 
own plans and enterprises. This he did, not so much 
to receive new information as to set their minds upon 
practical thinking, and to connect their sympathy and 
intelligence with that which should increase their 
knowledge . He was always very fond of young people ; 
and nothing more readily enlisted his attention than 
the appearance of a young man of promise just enter 
ing the Gospel ministry. He cordially took him by the 
hand, welcomed him to his own fireside, and invariably 
and reverently taught him that there is no station in 
the universe, that can be occupied by a human being, 
which is in itself so truly honorable and so sacredly 
responsible as that of the Christian minister. The same 
genial power of development here spoken of in regard 
to young ministers,, was equally manifest in relation to 
young writers. Very much of his influence was genial ; 
therefore, like the sun s ray, it called out the life on 
which it shone. 

His sympathy was also cosmopolitan. He had a 
passion to know the stirring events of the world. The 
great enterprises and achievements in different countries 
awakened him. He was uncommonly fond of the news. 
A new school of philosophers springing up in a foreign 
country would not escape his notice ; but he had far 



430 MEMOIR OF 

greater interest in a new series of events that might be 
unfolding, and auguring changes in the empires and in 
the social condition of man. He watched the nations. 
He also watched the various sects and political parties 
of his own country. He read every week the most 
widely circulated Roman Catholic paper of the new 
continent, studied the olden structure of their organi 
zation ; and freely and respectfully visited Roman 
Catholic clergymen whenever he found a resident priest 
within the vicinity of his own labors. Father William 
O Reilly, of Rochester, a very worthy man in the 
Catholic ministry, frequently received his calls and most 
kindly reciprocated his friendship. Mr. Badger had 
indeed no tendencies whatever toward Roman Catholi 
cism, but he profoundly respected religion and human 
nature, and was pleased to see them in their various 
phases and manifestations. There were, I would opine, 
several elements in the Mother Church that had his 
respect. Indeed, how could it have been otherwise ? 
Protestantism has not in the main been largely origina 
tive in theology. Nearly all its great doctrines coming 
under the head of dogma, are even now those that exist 
in Rome and that proceeded from Rome. Omission 
and modification, more than origination are, thus far, 
the distinction of what is most revered in Protestant 
faith. In the preaching of Joseph Badger, all seemed 
to feel the wide and liberal sympathy of his doctrines. 
Said General Ross, of Wilkesbarre, who went some 
half a dozen miles to hear him speak, October, 1830 : 
" I never heard such republican preaching as that be 
fore. The society who hold to these principles must 
prosper." 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 431 

Within the view here offered, mention might justly 
be made of the reach of influence he gained over the 
diverse grades of man. The intelligent and the igno 
rant, the believer and the sceptic, the man of inward 
holiness, and the hardest specimens of sin and unbe 
lief, looked up when they heard he was in town ; and, 
from some earnest sympathy, felt that they should hear 
him. He seemed to have a key fitted to unlock all 
hearts, so that, from murderers and drunkards, as well 
as from the penitent and faithful, he drew a tear, and 
won a confidence through which he had access to what 
was best in their being. It not unfrequently hap 
pened that he had those in his audience who would 
have listened to no one else, and some who were noted 
for boldness and originality of sin he ofttimes per 
suaded into a divine faith, in which they were stead 
fast and life-long in their pursuit. What signify such 
phenomena ? At least this is implied, that the speaker 
had a wide form of sympathy, and that the manifold 
experiences of the world were comprehended by him. 

In meeting him often, one never felt that he met a 
stereotyped man. He was new at each period. So 
testify his old parishioners. They say, that, in every 
sermon, there was something fresh, something that was 
unsaid at previous times, and was new to them. Those 
who had been acquainted with him for years would see 
new traits of character, ^s the varying phase of circum 
stance and association might suggest. He was plain- 
spoken ; yet, beyond that plain, bold speech, the re 
served and the unspoken could often claim large ter 
ritories their own. Indeed, no man of depths was 
ever read throughout as an alphabet is read. 



432 MEMOIR OF 

No man, probably, ever had a stronger individual 
ity. He was Joseph Badger, and no one else. He 
was quite free from personal eccentricity ; was easy 
and graceful. But on whom was the impress of indi 
viduality ever more decidedly made ? Who did he 
imitate ? Look at his language, his manners, his 
modes of treating a subject, his voice, his entire action, 
and tell us who was his pattern. What original stood 
on the foreground of his reverence, commanding even 
an unconscious conformity ? But one answer can be 
given to these questions. He was a man of marked 
character, and original beyond what is common to men 
of superior endowments. Persons who had not seen 
him for many years at once recognized him at night, 
on entering a stage-coach or steamboat, merely from 
his voice. His shortest business letters and very 
many of his letters are composed of but a couple of 
paragraphs, and some of but a very few sentences 
are stamped with the peculiar character of his mind. 
They are so concise, so direct, so comprehensive. 
Character and genius appear in small as well as in 
great things. Often, in letters of one short paragraph, 
have I been reminded of Napoleon, of the clear, brief, 
pithy statements by which that commander expressed 
himself, both in vocal and in written messages. Since 
the world stood, we are satisfied there has been but 
one Joseph Badger, and we will risk our credit at 
prophecy in the declaration that another will never 
appear. Not, indeed, that the creative resources of 
divinity or humanity are in the least abated, but the 
pure originalities of the Creator in human history are 
never repeated. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 433 

In drawing the just outlines of his character, 
there is one prominent feature that commands our 
attention. I mean the strong proclivity of his mind 
to lead, to plan, to direct, to be at the centre of 
operations, to be FIRST. This proclivity cannot be 
denied ; nor can it be affirmed that it was accustomed 
to clothe itself in assumptively offensive forms. His 
passage to the pilot s station was easy and natural, and 
his labor there appeared as a matter of course. Two 
reasons account for this trait. The first and chief is 
founded in nature ; the second, in that discipline of 
experience which, for many years, required him to act 
a leader s part. If we examine whatever is success 
ful in the history of events belonging to associated 
action, we shall find that action to be led on by some 
guiding mind. Everything of much import has its 
leader, from the passage of tho children of Israel 
through the Red Sea to the founding of the latest lit 
erary institution. Even a revolt, a schism, must have 
a head. The God who has anticipated all human 
wants has not neglected this need of mankind, but has 
given them many commanding, guiding spirits, whose 
quickness of perception, concentration, foresight, cour 
age, and sympathy, inspire the many with confidence- 
in their wisdom. Such men are God s choice gifts. 
They carry their credentials in their ability. And, as 
the real man, under whatever circumstances, will tell, 
there is no good reason why society should not recog 
nize its appropriate guides. Happy are they that do 
this. The birds that voyage many leagues to the 
south, and the flocks that roam in the freedom of the 
19 



434 MEMOIR OP 

wild, never err in their selection of leaders. Their 
chiefs are never stupid. 

Granting this, that some are made to lead and that 
many are born to follow, it is important and right that 
he who can serve his fellows best by acting a leading 
part should know his station. It will be natural for 
him to start first, to stand at the centre of operation, 
and, if he is kind and fraternal to all, as true leaders 
ever are, none can justly feel that he is out of his 
place, or that they are shaded. The true leader in 
any true cause rejoices in every sign of merit in 
others. Their strength is his wealth. In the words 
of Festus, 

" He would not shade an atom of another, 
To make a sun his slave, or a god his brother." 

Yet what would we think of a pilot who on the sea 
should hesitate in his services through fear that others 
might regard him as too forward, or too high in his 
aspiration ? When the right man leads the way, the 
reasonable are satisfied, are glad that they are pro 
vided for, and they are the stronger for being inspired 
with the hope and vigor of their guide. Mr. Badger 
was in his element, we confess, when his directing 
genius swayed the action of the day ; and the success 
of his guidance is the fair proof of his value. It was 
his element, because of his nature and evident mission, 
and not from artificial or ostentatious reasons. He 
counselled much with his brethren. He prayed to God 
for light. Indeed, he was naturally diffident, though 
his strength and boldness, as called out by demand, 
might have made the impression of a conscious and 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 435 

perpetual feeling of self-sufficiency. lie had not, I 
am sure, a high form of self-esteem. But he was a 
a leader, and when so, the cause he espoused was 
alive with interest and accumulated power. 

It will be seen that, from the broad catholicity of 
his early labors, his action, in later years, grew ap 
parently more denominational. But in this there is 
no contradiction. He followed the line of duty. At 
no time in his life did he plead for a sectarian denom- 
mationalism based on creed, or mere doctrinal plat 
form. Always and forever was he opposed to this. In 
one of the first days of October, 1842, I remember 
that some two or three ministers were discussing the 
subject of Christian union in his parlor, with the view 
of stating its true basis. As usual with him, he avoided 
entering into private controversy ; but after all had 
said what they thought on the subject, he added, in 
substance, these words : " Gentlemen, there seems to 
be something light in our conversation this morning. 
\Vhen I go into a new place and preach, and have oc 
casion to organize a church, or receive members, I 
always ask these questions. Is the man who would 
join us a man of good influence ? Is his influence on 
the side of virtue and good order in society ? Will 
his example be a light to the church and to the world ? 
If I am satisfied on these points I have no more ques 
tions to ask." 

His path in this respect was a natural one. The 
preaching of the early ministers, which ignored secta 
rianism, which was founded in the religion of experi 
ence, in spiritual communion with God, and in the 
fellowship of all saints, was exceedingly prosperous. 



436 MEMOIR OP 

Thousands were drawn by this magnetism of liberal 
principles into union ; and the strong opposition they 
encountered from those who deified mere dogma in 
theology, also served to make them one body in the 
world. From the very nature of the social law, masses 
who are strongly moved by new truths or errors do 
come together into organic form. A religious com 
munity once created, must have its papers, associations 
and customs ; so that in a short time it will happen 
that the freest principles in religion will appear to be 
invested with sectarian form. But sect and denomina 
tion are not synonymous. Br. Badger s labors were 
to build up the free, pure and holy principles of the 
Christian religion, without limiting them by any 
boundary of the intellect, by any limit except virtue, 
holiness and love. In the concentration of his mind 
in editorial life, in pastoral relations, in anxious con 
cern for the spread of the principles he had preached 
in his youth, in his general services to the denomina 
tion to which he belonged, I see nothing that wars with 
the freedom of his early position in 1812 ; nothing but 
what appears as the proper, natural course of the cur 
rent of life. 

The genesis of a new people, just born into religious 
being, like the genesis of nature, has its period of 
chaos, of unorganized elements. This was the case 
with the denomination called Christians ; and though 
their transition to order and system was aided by many 
minds, it is my conviction, from the testimony of those 
who were familiar with those early years, that to Joseph 
Badger more than to any other one man they are in 
debted for the introduction of order and system into 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 437 

their Conferences and into their general modes of ac 
tion. He defended order and organization with great 
success. He was, indeed, the founder of the regular 
organization of Conference, having cognizance of the 
moral standing of ministers.* 

In short, Mr. Badger was a man of a rich and many- 
sided nature ; not of one idea nor of one fortress of 
energy. His intellect was clear and strong. His pas 
sions also were strong. His physical power and dignity 
of person far surpassed the average of men. His 
kindness was great ; his courage and decision were 
also great. His social feelings and social power were 
of uncommon vigor ; few indeed could entertain com 
pany with so much satisfaction as he. Though familiar, 
none could approach him irreverently. He had deep 
and abiding faith in God. He also honored reason, 
and asked her light through the darkness of life. He 
loved a denomination ; yet through it he sought to im 
press for good the human family. He loved ideas, and 
was a strong dealer in facts. He could dissolve assem 
blies in tears, and if he chose, illumine their coun 
tenances with joy and mirth. He could unfold the holy 
meaning of Scripture, could draw from the deep wells 
of the religious life, could lead the repenting sinner 
into the inner sanctuary of spiritual rest and peace. 

* The first local Conference regularly organized in the United 
States, for the transaction of general business and for the keeping 
of a pure ministry, was called by him at Hartwick, N. Y., 1818. He 
was the leading spirit of that body, and ably met the objections that 
were raised against its objects. In 1817 he wrote some letters to in 
dividual preachers, pleading for an association of churches and min 
isters, to which ministers should be responsible for the characters 
they sustain. 



438 MEMOIR OF 

He could also make the most effective speech at a rail 
road meeting, or on any enterprise in -which practical 
sagacity and foresight were essential to success. He 
had self-care ; he knew how to provide for his own 
wants, and how to extend his manly sympathies to 
others. He was keenly sensitive ; and, under the 
greatest troubles, his eye was calm and his countenance 
unchanged. He loved a sermon ; he also loved a song. 
He was, in brief, a natural man, a natural minister. 
No clerical tones could be detected in his voice. He 
spoke like a man, who had a definite knowledge of 
what he intended to say. His bearing in society well 
sustained the dignity of his calling. He was true to 
the main purpose of his life. The needle vibrates, but 
through all the years of its being the true magnet turns 
to the pole. In 1812 he began his ministry ; in 1852 
he bade farewell to earth. Through this long period, 
whilst his ability lasted, he adhered to the work of 
preaching salvation and of building up the holy inter 
ests of Zion. The true magnet was he, or we should 
not have witnessed this long and faithful adherence to 
the fixed star of his faith. He indeed had errors. He 
had faults ; for he was only a man. Men constituted 
as he was, in erring, often err strongly. But when 
such persons err, there are large resources of honor 
and goodness left, by which they arise and shine. The 
errors of superior men, said Confucius, are like the 
eclipse of the sun and moon. All men observe them, 
and all look for their reformation. Also it happens, in 
the order of creation, that great natures have strong 
opponents and strong enemies. The lion is assailed 
by the wild boar ; the whale is opposed by the sword- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 439 

fish and the thrasher. Thus Washington and Webster, 
in their day, were followed by mighty assailants, in 
the form of prejudice and calumny. Though Mr. 
Badger s sphere of action was unpolitical and sacred, 
it was his fortune to have many strong friends and at 
times a few strong opponents. But all, we believe, 
who knew him well, regard his memory and revere his 
name. He was a good man. 

Genuinely, he was a great man, capable by nature 
of acting successfully on a wider theatre than the one 
he filled ; but, we think he occupied the best position 
for usefulness. Admitting that he had natural powers, 
which, if trained in the widest field of the world s ac 
tion, had equalled in policy a Talleyrand, or, in the 
creation of great and successful plans, a Napoleon or a 
Wellington, how much better is the retrospect, in the 
eyes of all heavenly wisdom, to survey his labors as 
being directed to the salvation of men, to the establish 
ment in the church of order and prosperity, and to the 
dissemination of a great truth in Christendom, which, 
though it may have been a century in advance of the 
age, is destined to fill the whole earth. This truth is 
the declaration that true religion and the right bond of 
union among Christians, are a divine life, and not a 
mental assent, a theological belief. We own the hand 
of Providence in the gift of such men to the world ; 
and whether appreciated now or not, according to the 
demand of justice, we boldly affirm that Joseph Badger 
has declared truths, made sacrifices, and exerted in 
fluences on earth as a theological reformer, whose 
effects shall not die away in centuries. They who 
help the world s progress are doubtless its first bene- 



440 



MEMOIR OF 



factors ; and we have this firm faith, that the world is 
now, and ever will be, the wealthier from his having 
lived in it." 

" No farther seek his merits to disclose, 

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, 
Where they alike in trembling hope repose, 
The bosom of his Father and his God." 



CHAPTER XXII. 

ADDRESSES, SERMONS, REMINISCENCES, VIEWS OF 
CONTEMPORARIES. 

ELSEWHERE allusion has been made to the extreme 
difficulty, to the impossibility even, that accompanies 
an effort to imbody a speaker like Mr. Badger, entire, 
in written words. Yet it is due to the readers of his 
Biography that some definite attention be called to this 
part of his ministerial accomplishments. There was 
nothing of the trumpet-blast in his oratory. It was 
liquid. It flowed as a current from a fountain, and, 
like a current, at times was brisk and playful in move 
ment. Simplicity, ease, dignity, clearness, were his 
graces. A power to command the entire attention, to 
deal in surprises in unfolding a subject, to keep an 
audience for hours without weariness, was, in a rare 
degree, his possession. 

The earliest written address I have noticed is an 
oration delivered July 4, 1819, at Penfield, New York. 



RET. JOSEPH BADGER. 441 

Its text is, " Righteousness exalteth a nation," and its 
motto, the words of Barbauld, 

"August she sits, and with extended hands 
Holds forth the Book of Life to distant lands." 

Instead of beginning as gaseous orators usually did 
and do on such occasions, with a patriotic vaunting, 
he alludes to the nobleness of man s nature, which 
originally was designed for self-government. 

"Man," he said, "is the noblest part of the work of 
God. He is made capable of great good and of enjoying 
great happiness ; is formed for society, and qualified for 
government ; he is capable of enjoying God s blessings 
here and his eternal presence hereafter. In his first state 
he had an extensive dominion over every creature of the 
earth, but in consequence of sin the crown falls from his 
head, guilt, misery, and slavery become his companions. 
Nothing but righteousness can extricate mortals from this 
low condition and restore to them that holiness and 
government which Heaven designed them to enjoy. Rea 
son and revelation concentrate their light in the human 
breast, and prompt us to contemplate with wonder the 
stupendous works of our glorious Author, to look througli 
Nature up to Nature s God, and to behold also the mighty 
changes and revolutions which have occurred on the great 
theatre of nations." 

This address, which is full of historical remark and 
practical reflection, is throughout a cool and rational 
view of the topics introduced. He glances over the 
discovery of the Continent, the settlement of the Colo 
nies, the Indian, French, and American wars, the 
memory of heroes, the effect of America on foreign 
19* 



442 MEMOIR OF 

nations, the origin of the two forms of government, 
monarchical and republican, locating the former at 
Egypt and the latter at Rome. After assigning 
five or six reasons showing wherein the American 
government is better than any other, he contrasts its 
glories with other nations, and with the savage state 
which had, not long previous, occupied the same theatre 
of action. He says : 

" Ours is the best government on the earth. 1. Because 
it affords greater privileges than are enjoyed in any other 
nation. In no other country do Jews and Gentiles enjoy 
equal rights ; and it is only in North America that a 
descendant of Abraham can own a foot of land. 2. Be 
cause our government establishes an equality of rights 
among all classes of citizens, unknown among other na 
tions. 3. Because we have a form of government and 
laws, not arbitrarily imposed, but of our own choice. 4. 
Because we have a voice in the election of all the officers 
who make and administer the laws. 5. Because the 
liberties of conscience are enjoyed by all. G. Because 
our government establishes no theory of religion in favor 
of any one sect. Among the nations it has been thought 
a great honor to have some established mode of religion. 
But how gross the error ! We might, with even more 
propriety, prescribe to our subjects a system of diet, or a 
course of medicine. Indeed, there was once a law in 
France which prohibited a physician from giving an emetic 
in any case ; law excluded potatoes as an article of food, 
an even in Massachusetts the legislature once decreed 
that every man s hair should be cut, that none should 
wear it long." 

" "Would you see the beauties of law religion ? In Bab 
ylon, the king set up a golden image and commanded all 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 413 

to worship it ; in consequence of a refusal, Daniel was 
cast into the lions den. Herod commanded all the young 
children to be slain. This was law religion. Saul of 
Tarsus obtained letters from the priests to drag men and 
women to prison who believed in Jesus. This was law 
religion. Paul, Silas, Peter and John, were whipped and 
imprisoned for preaching Christ. A holy Jesus was con 
demned by false witnesses, and by wicked hands was 
slain. This was law religion. Charles IX, of France, 
during his reign, put to death 300,000 Protestants, of 
which he often afterwards made his boasts ; Louis IV 
succeeded him, and in his days there were put to death in 
England, 1,200,000. This was law religion. Add to 
these the reign of Queen Mary. From such religion, 
gracious Lord, evermore deliver us. In good old Con 
necticut it was once believed that the use of tobacco was 
the great and crying sin of the world. Accordingly, an edict 
was passed that if any man was known to use it within a 
mile of any house, he should be subjected to a heavy fine. 
How undignified government may become when it aban 
dons its legitimate aims ! True religion never needed the 
aid of the sword, nor the authority of human law to en 
force it. It is able to support itself and all who embrace 
it." 

" No country has risen to rank, power, and respect 
ability so rapidly as the United States. England has 
been six hundred years in arriving at what she now is. 
France has stood eight hundred years as a nation. Aus 
tria has had one thousand years of advancement from her 
primitive barbarous state. Russia, in this respect, most 
resembles the United States, for in the space of one cen 
tury, and under the influence of one man, she has risen to 
rank and authority in the civilized world. But how inter 
esting is the reflection, that two centuries ago, this land, 



444 MEMOIR OF 

which is now ornamented with villages, highways and 
vineyards, was a howling wilderness. It is now a fruitful 
field. Arts and sciences here flourish, while mechanism 
exhibits its glories on every hand. Oh, favored America ! 
Prosperity be thine forever. Be an asylum to the thou 
sands who throng thy shores to escape the rage of foreign 
tyrants. Over them extend thy protecting banner. Thy 
fame is known throughout the earth ; thy sons are honored 
in every nation. Righteousness has exalted us. 1. In 
enjoyment. 2. In usefulness. 3. In honor. 4. In the 
favor of Heaven. With all the world we are now at 
peace ; plenty crowns our cheerful toil ; party rage gradu 
ally subsides as light advances, and truly may every 
American say, The lines are fallen to me in pleasant 
places ; yea, I have a goodly heritage. " 

" Before me are aged veterans of the Revolution. 
Honored fathers, your names and services are not forgot 
ten by your country. Let your hearts expand in grati 
tude to God, who has more than crowned your sanguine 
hopes. Before me are many who were active in the 
preservation of the Republic during the conflicts of the 
late war, whose services have saved our wives from the 
tomahawk of the savage, our daughters from the power 
of a hostile foe, and our helpless innocents from the grasp 
of unsparing violence. On you shall rest their grateful 
recollections. May you imitate the virtues of your an 
cestors, be free in deed, and long enjoy the blessings of 
the Republic." 

As space, in a degree, is limited, I shall offer but 
one more address, delivered in the city of JSTew York, 
May 1, 1836, at the ordination of the Rev. D. F. 
Ladley. At the house of Rev. I. N. Walter, whose 
cordial and extensive hospitality must still be remem- 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 445 

bered by hundreds who have been his guests, I had 
the pleasure to meet Mr. B., a few days previous to 
the ordination services of May 1. Having listened to 
the delivery of the charge, which was extemporaneous 
in its manner, it become my surprise afterward, that 
so little of the impression there made should have been 
given to the written statement. After the ordination 
sermon had been preached by Mr. Walter, Mr. Badger, 
who was seated in the altar, arose and said : 

" BROTHER LADLEY, It becomes my duty, by the 
arrangements of the solemn exercises of this day, in be 
half of those ministers who have united in your ordina 
tion this church and the whole body of Christians with 
which you stand connected, to deliver to you on this occa 
sion, in the name of the great Head of the church, a 
charge to be faithful and to perform all the duties now 
devolving upon you as an administrator, with dignity and 
integrity. You now fill one of the most important sta 
tions ever occupied by a human being. A minister of 
the Gospel, an ambassador of the Lord Jesus, you bear 
a message of eternal life to dying men. Your work is to 
save perishing sinners from the miseries of sin and the 
wrath to come ; your station is responsible, your work is 
arduous, but your reward is sure. The strongest who 
have ever entered this important field have trembled at 
the thought of the greatness of the work and the awfnl 
responsibilities of the station, and no doubt you have been 
ready to exclaim, Who is sufficient for these things ? 
That you may be able to occupy the holy ground on which 
you are called in the providence of God to stand, with 
satisfaction to yourself and profit to your hearers, suffer 
me to introduce for your solemn consideration the fol 
lowing leading points : 



446 MEMOIR OF 

" 1. You should be truly pious. No man, without a 
genuine experience and the constant influence of true 
piety upon his heart and life, is fit for an ambassador of 
Jesus Christ. Sin is odious in whatever form or place it 
exhibits itself. In the profane circle, in the gambler s 
group, in the drunkard s shop, in the vilest streets and 
haunts of wickedness in this great city, how hateful it 
appears. But it appears not so bad as it would in the 
parlors of the rich, in the circle of learned and refined 
society, in the halls of justice, the councils of the nation, 
or in the house of religious worship. In no person does 
sin appear so bad as in a minister of the Gospel ; and in 
no place is it so unfit as in the sacred desk. What would 
be considered innocent in another man, in another place, 
would be regarded as impious in you while ministering at 
the altar of a holy God. Your life must be pure, your 
conversation blameless, and your heart must cherish holy 
affections for the people you address ; it should be like the 
pot of incense which sent forth sweet odors constantly to 
God. Your life must be one scene of solitude, study, 
and devotion. You must be so far crucified to this vain 
world, that prayer, preaching, and all your sacred work 
shall be your meat, your drink, your theme, your life. Be 
ye holy that bear the vessels of the Lord. 

" You have doubtless seen many enter the work of the 
ministry with but poor success, men of talents, of eru 
dition, fine orators, who never witness the conversion of 
souls ; whose labors appear to make the sinner harder, 
and more averse to the Gospel, and to divide and sepa 
rate the precious flock of Christ. The reason is plain ; 
such ministers are not enough like Christ, are not in the 
spirit of the Gospel they profess to preach. Good men 
are sure of success, be their talents few or many ; Christ 
is with them, and the word will prove a savor of life unto 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 447 

life. -If you are and continue to be a good man, have 
salt in yourself, go to your work with prayer, perform 
your duties faithfully, come down from your pulpit on all 
occasions with a conscience void of offence towards God 
and man ; your labors will be a blessing to the world, 
your peace will be like a river, and your reward will be 
great in heaven. Therefore, dear brother, suffer me to 
exhort you on this solemn occasion, while you stand upon 
the threshold of your great work, to study and labor, 
every day of your life, to possess and enjoy genuine piety 
in the sight of God. This will give life and energy to all 
your labors, and will be a source of never-failing conso 
lation in every hour of trouble. 

" 2. The great object of your labors should be to make 
others pious. Every sermon should be one persuasive 
oration for men to be good. To win the applause of your 
hearers, to instruct them in the theory of the Christian 
religion, is not enough. Thousands of such superficial 
Christians will, no doubt, sink down to hell. Gospel 
truth must be set home in faithfulness to the smner s heart 
He must be made to feel that unless he is born again he 
cannot see the kingdom of God. The minister should 
never feel satisfied with the condition of his hearers un 
less he is confident that they are in Christ are new 
creatures that with them old things are passed away 
and all things are become new. In order to be successful 
in producing spiritual reform, all your addresses and la 
bors must assume the tone and character of friendship, 
and of kind entreaty. You can never frighten rational 
intelligences into the love of God ; you cannot drive men 
into the kingdom of heaven ; you cannot storm and force 
sinners home to the bosom of the Saviour. But, Sir, you 
can reason with them, you can persuade, entreat, and 
pray them in Christ s stead to be reconciled to God. You 



448 MEMOIR OF 

must exhibit the glorious majesty and bountiful dealings 
of the great God, the atonement, the sufferings, the love 
and compassion of the glorious Redeemer, the intelli 
gence, doctrine, promises and claims of the Gospel, which 
is the power of God unto salvation. These truths, pro 
claimed in the right manner, and under the direction of 
the right spirit, will surely produce the desired effect. 
Remember that when you have influenced one sinner to 
forsake the error of his ways and to embrace and conform 
to the Saviour, you have accomplished more than when 
you have made any number of wrangling proselytes to 
party. To win men to Christ, and to make them good, is 
the great object to which your energies should be de 
voted. 

" 3. It is your duty to cultivate holiness, union, and zeal 
in the church of God. A careless way of living, a vain, 
a licentious, a cruel and haughty spirit should never be 
encouraged by a minister of Christ. Every disciple of 
Jesus should be plainly taught that without holiness no 
man can see the Lord. 

" Again, look abroad in Christendom and behold the 
divided and subdivided flock of Christ. See the infidel 
vulture feasting upon the havoc which wicked and un 
skilful ministers have made in Zion. While you behold 
this gloomy picture, and listen to the holy injunction of 
the great Head of the church for his people to be one; 
raise the warning voice, lift the banner of truth, and with 
the authority of Heaven, plead for UNION AND PEACE 
among all that love and serve God. 

" Also labor to encourage zeal for the truth, and liberty 
of the Gospel among the saints. The Catholics are zeal 
ous, infidels are zealous, proud sectarians are compassing 
sea and land to make proselytes ; and saints who have no 
creed but the Bible, and no master but Christ, should be 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 449 

zealous to advance and promulgate the truth. Influence 
should be exerted, talent should be employed, and a part 
of our earthly treasures should be cheerfully dedicated to 
the holy .cause. These things you should teach and urge 
upon the consideration of all who love the truth. 

" 4. I charge you to love the cause, and to consider no 
sacrifice too great for its advancement. The nature of 
your calling is such that you cannot with propriety enter 
into the speculations of the world. The prospect, there 
fore, of worldly honor and worldly treasure, must be laid 
aside for the humble cross of the meek and lowly Jesus. 
You should glory in nothing save the cross, by which you 
are crucified to the world and the world unto you. Your 
work as evangelist will separate you from many of the 
friends of your youth, and deprive you of a thousand 
domestic joys which are the portion of your brethren in 
a private circle. Also your work is hard and laborious, 
which has caused thousands of the best constitutions to 
sink under it. I have been devoted to the ministry only 
twenty-four years, and have seen many of my first associ 
ates, young and in the prime of life, sink under their labors 
into premature graves. I have seen the strong and robust 
youth, whose eye was bright, whose nerve was strong, 
whose cheek was like the rose, when he entered the work ; 
but after a few years, he falters, he fails, he dies, a holy 
martyr to the truth, I trust, Sir, you have seriously 
counted the cost^ and received Christ at the loss of all 
things. How will unfaithful ministers appear in the great 
day, who have sought the applause of men, studied their 
own ease, and made no sacrifice for the cause of God ? If 
we suffer with him on earth, we shall be glorified with him 
in heaven. 

" 5. Shun the delusion and wickedness of sectarism. 
This is an age of party, of sectarian rage and bitterness. 



450 MEMOIR OP 

It is a time of universal strife, excitement and war. The 
civil and religious world are in a state of unnatural and 
unreasonable commotion. Almost every subject is driven 
to an alarming extreme, and the basest measures are some 
times employed to advance sectarian objects. What blind 
ness and delusion mark the progress of sectarism ! 
What cruelty and wickedness follow in her train ! The 
commands and institutions of Jesus are trampled under 
foot, and brotherly love and Christian forbearance are 
ban^hed far from the soul of the bigot. This, doubtless, 
is the time spoken of in the Scriptures, when the heavens 
and the Dearth are to be shaken. Now is the time for the 
man of God to be cool and candid. Never descend from 
your high and holy calling to the low pursuits of grovel 
ling sectarism ; never forsake the great message of love 
and salvation you are destined to proclaim, to mingle in 
the petty wrangles of party. Never turn aside from the 
path of justice and charity to vend the cruel slanders of 
the times, or to censure and condemn a brother who differs 
from you in opinion. Let justice, kindness and charity 
mark all your proceedings, and you will be a good minister 
of Christ, and a light in the world. Be a CHRISTIAN, A 
LIBERAL, GENUINE CHRISTIAN ; and never suffer any 
sectarian act of cruelty to tarnish your fame, nor wound 
your conscience. 

" G. Be patient in the sufferings, and humble in the 
success that may attend your ministry. One of the great 
est arts of human happiness is to keep the mind, under 
all circumstances, in one even, regular position, neither 
too much elated by flattering prospects, nor too much de 
pressed by misfortunes. It requires as much strength 
and exertion to sustain ourselves against the temptations 
and allurements of prosperity, as it does to bear up under 
the heavy pressure of adversity. We see but few men 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 451 

who are raised to important stations in life, who have 
sufficient wisdom and strength to act the part of plain, 
natural, sensible men. See a person raised from poverty 
to wealth by some unexpected smile of fortune ; how 
frequently he becomes a proud, haughty, intemperate 
novice. Some men raised to important stations in State, 
are filled with vanity and egotism ; useless, hateful syco 
phants. As lamentable as the fact is, in the church like 
wise this trait of human weakness is sometimes discovered. 
But a man who is filled with pride and importance on 
being inducted into office in the Church of God, has no 
just views of himself or his calling, and is altogether 
unfit for the station he fills. Such vain and deceived per 
sons will be lords over God s heritage, are miserable 
examples to the flock of Christ ; their labors will be a 
constant source of corruption and temptation to the saints, 
and the sooner congregations are purged from such tyrants, 
such wells without water, the better. 

" My brother, when prosperity smiles all around, when 
your labors are crowned with a rich harvest, when your 
praise and popularity are the theme of every tongue, and 
affectionate greetings and cheering smiles of applause are 
seen in every countenance ; then, oh ! then be humble ; 
like Mary, weep at the feet of Jesus, and press the holy 
cross closer and closer to your trembling heart, and bless 
the Lamb of God. that his blood was ever applied to such 
a sinner. On the other hand, when afflictions gather thick 
in your path, when base envy shall prompt the tongue of 
slander to assail you, when the storms of persecution shall 
gather in threatening aspect on every side, and pale pov 
erty stare you in the face ; then is the time to collect all 
your energies, all your strength, and all your fortitude. 
Then, while you repose with unshaken confidence on the 
immutable promises of JEHOVAH, be sure to put forth your 



452 MEMOIR OF 

efforts still for the promotion of holy truth ; be the same 
man in spirit and in life now, that you were in your favored 
days of success. Never suffer your heart to indulge de 
spair under any circumstances, and ever wear a becoming 
cheerfulness upon your countenance. But, Sir, I must 
close, by expressing my happiness in my short acquaint 
ance with you my confidence in your ability and integ 
rity, and my fervent wish for your prosperity, happiness 
and success. And when the Great Shepherd shall come 
to gather all his faithful watchmen, and his precious elect 
from the four winds of heaven, may you be numbered 
among the sanctified, and meet the precious souls for whom 
you have labored on earth, at God s right hand! AMEN." 

His sermons , not being written, cannot be offered to 
the world. They only live in the effects they produced, 
and in the memories of the people ; and his written 
plots were so brief, that their presentation would be but 
the mockery of a just idea of the discourses given. I 
will, therefore, not transcribe them ; these plots, how 
ever, range over every variety of subject. He once 
said to a few young ministers, that he disliked the plan 
of announcing to a congregation, at the commence 
ment, the order of a subject, for the reason that it gave 
them the opportunity of anticipating too readily what 
he would say. " Let the order of the subject unfold 
to them as newly as possible," was his usual motto in 
preaching. He also said : " Be sure to preach so 
plain that the most ignorant person in the house will 
understand you ; then even the learned will be pleased." 
A very conscientious man who believed in the annihi 
lation of the wicked which he called the seco nd death 
once came to him for advice in relation to its having 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 453 

a prominent place In his ministry. " I will tell you," 
said Mr. Badger, " what to preach. Preach life. 
Preach life, my brother ; the people want life, not 
detth." 

A sermon for moral enterprise he gave at Tona, 
N. Y., January, 1835, could it be given as he spoke 
it, would do more toward setting forth his pulpit abil 
ity than all we can publish or say on the subject. His 
text was Neh. 2 : 20 : " The God of heaven, he will 
prosper us ; therefore let us arise and build." The 
same might be said of any of his ablest discourses ; 
this is mentioned simply because it was the first ser 
mon I ever heard him preach. As the plot of a ser 
mon, then delivered on the excellency of the Gospel, 
lies before me, I will present it, it being a fair speci 
men of his usual manner of committing the points of a 
sermon to paper. Text, Rom. 1 : 16 : "I am not 
ashamed of the Gospel of Christ." 

" 1. To arrive at a state in which we glory in the Gos 
pel above all other institutions and systems, is the high 
est condition of perfection on earth. 

" Reasons why we should not be ashamed of the Gos 
pel : 1. The dignity of its author. 2. Its authenticity. 

3. Its salutary influence on society. It civilizes man ; 
it elevates woman. It enlightens, convicts, and saves 
sinners. It unites Christians ; is the bond of society. 

4. Its doctrine is rational and consistent. 5. Its institu 
tions are all agreeable. 6. Its worship is satisfying and 
delightful. 7. Its end and object is immortality." 

In passing over his dedication services, one is oft 
times struck with the moral weight and elegance of 



454 MEMOIR OF 

the passages from which he spoke, as, for instance, at 
the consecration of the Christian chapel, September, 
1832, in Canandaigua, N. Y., he addressed the peo 
ple from John 8 : 82 : " Ye shall know the TRUTH, and 
the truth shall make you free." He dwelt on the ex 
tent, the power, and the excellence of truth, the con 
ditions of knowing it, and the freedom it brings. In 
speaking on the last division of the subject, he alluded 
to four evils from which the truth liberates believers, 
namely, ignorance, sin, the misery of guilt, and the 
enslaving fear of death. On the last idea, he dwelt 
with peculiar force, showing how the revelation of im 
mortality dissipates death s fears and glooms. Tem 
ples of worship, indeed, derive much of their sacred- 
ness from the consideration that they are meant to be 
temples of eternal, imperishable truth. 

Also at Berlin, N. Y.., 1834, he spoke at the conse 
cration of the Christian chapel, from Rev. 22 : 1, 2 : 
" And he showed me a pure river of water of life, 
clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God 
and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street, and on 
either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which 
bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit 
every month ; and the leaves of the tree were for the 
healing of the nations." Only those who have seen 
his ingenious dealing with passages of lively imagery 
can imagine the exhibition of thought this text would 
inspire, whilst he traced the clear Gospel river which 
flowed, not from human creeds and institutions, but 
from the eternal throne, causing life, in its large vari 
ety, to bloom in its course. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 455 

April, 1824, he held a public debate with a liberally 
educated clergyman at Rochester, N. Y., in which, 
by general consent, he triumphantly maintained his 
cause. The rank of Jesus appears to have been the 
principal topic. April 7, 1825, at Royalton, N. Y., 
he preached two sermons, embracing the supreme 
deity of Jesus, and the doctrine of the Trinity in reply 
to Rev. Mr. Colton. Sermon first is founded on Rom. 
9:5 :" Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, 
who is overall, God blessed forever." Sermon second 
is founded on 1 Tim. 2:5: " For there is one God, 
and one Mediator between God and men, the man 
Christ Jesus." In laying out his work on the former 
passage, he observed the following plan : 

" 1. Explain the text. 2. Give a general view of the 
Christian doctrine of God and the Son. 3. Examine and 
criticise Mr. Colton s sermon. 4. Give my reasons for 
rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity. In explaining the 
passage, he says, I regard this text as a simple declara 
tion relative to the fulfilment of the promises alluded to 
in the preceding verse promises made to the Israelites, 
of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came that is, 
of or through those Israelites his lineage is traced, and 
to them was the promise of the Messiah made/ This is 
the first doctrine of the text, and is so self-evident that it 
requires no further remark. 

" The second thing in this verse is, that Christ is de 
clared to be over all, which represents his extensive 
reign, his universal dominion, his superintendency over 
all the affairs of the New Dispensation, his being head 
over all things unto the church, which is his body. The 
head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is 



456 MEMOIR OF 

God. 1 Cor. 11 : 3 which agrees with the Saviour s 
final address to his apostles after his resurrection, All 
power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, Matt. 
28 : 18. A beautiful description of his being first, of his 
having preeminence, is given, Col. 1 : 18, 19 : And he 
is the head of the body, the church : who is i\&\beginning, 
the jirst-born from the dead, that, in all things, he might 
have the preeminence ; for it pleased the Father that in 
him should all fulness dwell. There are but two rational 
conclusions that can be drawn from the words God 
blessed forever, to neither of which have I any special 
objection. 1. That the promise is fulfilled, Christ is come, 
is over all, therefore bless God forever, or let God be 
blessed for ever, for his fulfilment of so great and glori 
ous a promise ; which accords with another expression of 
St. Paul, Rom. 9: 15: Thanks be unto God for his un 
speakable gift. According to this view, it is only an 
exclamation of praise. 2. That he is * blessed of God 
forever, as the expressions God blessed and blessed 
of God signify the same. He was blessed of God, and 
he shall be blessed of him forever. God promised him, 
God sent him, God strengthened and glorified him, raised 
him from the dead, received him at his own right hand, 
and has committed to him judgment; and, under God, he 
shall reign over all till the last enemy is conquered. 
Where is the word or the idea of a Trinity in this text ? 
I cannot find it." 

In the last part of the discourse, he assigns seven 
reasons for rejecting the Trinity, which are : 

u 1. It is not a doctrine of Revelation, but is an inven 
tion of men in a dark age. 2. It contradicts plain decla 
rations of Scripture. 3. It contradicts reason. 4. It 
has always caused contention in the church, and now is 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 457 

the greatest subject of controversy in Christendom. 5. It 
is a doctrine which obliges its believers to contradict 
themselves in preaching and in prayer. G. It involves 
the idea it claims to despise a human Saviour, a human 
atonement. 7. It is the foundation of deism." 

February, 1841, whilst conducting a series of meet 
ings at Stafford, N. Y., he was challenged into a pub 
lic debate at Morganville, by Rev. J. Whitney, an 
ultra Universalist, in which Mr. W. engaged to prove : 

1. That the last judgment is confined to this life. 

2. The final salvation of all men. 3. That ultra Uni- 
versalism is better, in its mofcil tendency, than any 
other system of faith. The order of discussion was a 
sermon each. Mr. Badger spoke first, taking for his 
entire speech four hours and twenty minutes. The 
plot of his sermon is very lengthy, and laid out in the 
form of a massive strength. It was one of those mas 
terly efforts to which a successful reply would seem 
impossible. 

Volumes of interesting personal reminiscences, those 
that would be characteristic of the man might be writ 
ten, provided his contemporaries would pour out their 
recollections in a form that would be available for a 
writer s use. I would here narrate an incident given 
me on good authority, which illustrates his readiness 
for an emergency. In the village of his residence, 
some eight or ten years ago, the Episcopal Church, 
and the citizens generally, had assembled in their 
chapel, splendidly illuminated on Christmas Eve, ex 
pecting to hear a sermon for the occasion from an 
20 



458 MEMOIR OF 

Episcopal clergyman from a distance. The clergy 
man arrived in town, but not sufficiently early to look 
over his papers, and to prepare for the service. He 
declined to speak. The leading man of the society, 
who felt deeply the disappointment, saw but one method 
by which to save the credit of the occasion, which was 
to get Mr. Badger to preach. No other clergyman 
would dare to attempt it. The people were assembled, 
expectations were high. He at once came to Mr. 
Badger s house, found that he had just returned from 
Lakeville, weary with labor, and was reclining in front 
of the fire. He told lym the facts of the case, that 
he must go to the church and preach the sermon, that 
not a moment could be lost. Mr. Badger arose, and 
without waiting to find a text, to brush his coat, or to 
comb his hair, walked with him to the chapel, entered 
the desk, and without much apology, gave, what the 
citizens have ever since declared to be, a most eloquent 
and able discourse a better than which, they had 
never heard him give. 

In the village of Springport, during his labors there, 
a few men of skeptical cast of mind thought they would 
embarrass him by sending him a text, accompanied by 
a respectful request that they would be glad to hear 
him preach from it. The text was Ecc. 3 : 21 : " Who 
knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the 
spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth ? " 
It was handed to him one evening, and he preached 
from it the next. After speaking respectfully and 
thankfully of his indebtedness to some three or four 
gentlemen for the subject on which he should speak, he 
proceeded to give the import of the passage thus : 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 459 

King Solomon, he said, was an observer, a thinker, and 
a man of knowledge. He saw the two natures of man, 
his body and spirit : that as respects the former, all go 
to one place, man and beast ; but that notwithstanding 
the plainness of these outward phenomena, an impene 
trable mystery remains in respect to the spirit of each. 
" Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward ? " 
that is, who comprehends it, who can declare the whole 
mystery of its powers ? Who comprehends the spirit 
of the beast ? this too is mystery. The wise man, 
said Mr. Badger, knew the limit of knowledge. After 
giving this view of the passage, which cleared it of all 
imagined difficulty, and which is justified by the letter 
of the text, he preached a sermon on the immortal na 
ture and destiny of man. Near the close, after apply 
ing the subject quite effectively, he called attention to 
the object for which the gentleman had given the text. 

"The only purpose, said he, " why this passage was 
sent me under these peculiar circumstances, was to estab 
lish the doctrine that man is a beast, that he has only the 
destiny of a beast. This," said he, " is a grave position. 
"Were I to meet one of those gentlemen to-morrow, and 
in my salutation call him a beast, would he not regard it 
as a gross insult ? Look at the origin of this request. A 
few men, or beasts if they are determined to have it so, 
meet and talk about the Bible, the church, religion and 
the ministers. They say the Bible is a fable, religion is 
imagination, and the clergy are after the people s money. 
Now let us send the minister a text that proves there is 
no hereafter. Is not this conversation on a pretty high 
order of subjects for beasts ? And this handwriting too 



460 MEMOIR OF 

(holding up the note) looks very handsome and fair for a 
beast. Animals are fast ascending." 

The power of this satire, as given by him, was per 
fectly triumphant, and it is needless to add that he was 
ever after left to choose his own subjects. But in 
this line of remark we are obliged to desist, not having 
been supplied with material for a chapter of personal 
recollections. 

A few remarks from two or three of his contemporaries 
will close this chapter. Rev. L. D. Fleming, of 
Rochester, N. Y., writes as follows : 

" He is associated with all the remembrances of my 
early Christian experience. In many respects he was an 
extraordinary man. Few men take as deep an interest in 
the wants and necessities of young ministers as he did. 
He was always ready to lift them up when through dis 
couragement they were fulling ; and he had a most happy 
gift for drawing them out, for developing their mental re 
sources, for inspiring them with hope when hopeless, and 
with that necesssry self-reliance which many lack, and for 
the want of which many abandon their calling. He 
treated them not only as babes in Christ, feeding them 
with the sincere milk of the word, but as fellows with 
him in the Gospel mission. This was an inspiring fel 
lowship, where lay much of his hidden power. How often 
have I known him to ask the advice of the young minister 
on important subjects, not, probably, that he expec ed 
that they could unravel knotty questions, or enlighten 
him. He intended to draw them into a new field of 
thought, to set them in pursuit of their own resources, 
and to kindle up the fires of mentality as no other means 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 461 

would have done it. He had tact and talent peculiarly 
his own. His nature overflowed with the milk of human 
kindness ; this, associated with his peculiar organization, 
gave him that great social power which was one charac 
teristic of his life. Although I cannot hope by anything 
I can say, to add to his fame, I feel a pleasure in bear 
ing testimony to those entrancing social qualities and 
Christian virtues, which should be emulated by all lovers 
of the Gospel he professed, and by which he became en 
deared to multitudes." 

From Rev. 0. E. Morrill, of Plain ville, Onondaga 
County, N. Y., we take the following lines : 

" Much has already been said, and w r ell said by Messrs. 
Hazein and Fay, in their obituary notices, and it would 
seem superfluous in me to reiterate the same things. It 
may be proper for me to observe, that, within a few past 
years many of our worthy brethren in the ministry, with 
whom I have battled in the Lord s war for more than a 
quarter of a century, have retired from the battle field 
with an honorable discharge. The name of Joseph Bad 
ger now becomes classified with those of Peavy, Bailey, 
Clotigh, Morrison, Shaw, Fernald, and more recently 
with our deeply lamented brother Barr. 

" I knew all these men when young, and loved them as 
my own natural brothers. They were all pious, devoted 
ministers of the Gospel. They were persevering, faithful 
pioneers, and true to the spirit and doctrine of the Chris 
tian reformation. Men of the first class of natural talents, 
but of moderate literary accomplishments, they were em 
phatically a class of self-sacrificing men, public benefac 
tors of our race. They commenced in the ministry when 
young, labored hard, fared hard, lived upon short pay, and 



462 MEMOIR OF 

survived to see their storm-beaten vessel under full sail 
before a refreshing breeze, and died in peace. 

" Of all these good men it may seem invidious to make 
a distinction, but without intending the least detraction 
from the rest of them, I may be permitted to say, that, 
from some strong affinity of our nature, or some other cause 
I cannot now explain, Mr. Badger was always nearer and 
dearer to me than either of the rest of them. We loved 
like Jonathan and David. Our souls were knit together. 
We were raised in adjoining towns in New Hampshire, 
and he was but a few years my senior. His whole nature 
was cheerful, his address familiar and easy, and all his 
associations were frank, kind, and interesting. His natu 
ral turn was affable, and he enjoyed sociability with an 
uncommon relish. 

" In preaching, his voice was not heavy, but clear, soft, 
and musical, and capable of being heard at a good dis 
tance. His sermons were methodical, his ideas clear, dis 
tinct, and comprehensive. He was familiar with the 
Scriptures, and evinced a sufficient knowledge of books 
and of literature, for all practical purposes. He had a 
well-disciplined mind, a retentive memory, and a happy 
faculty of communication. He was never at a loss for 
words to express his thoughts, nor did he confuse his hear 
ers with a redundancy of them. His preaching was not 
loud, but soft, easy, and pleasant to the hearer, yet pathet 
ic and commanding. His manner was never boisterous, 
but mild, quiet, and agreeable. He never lost, his balance 
of temper in debate, but always bore himself through 
with much unaffected pleasantry and good humor. He 
was a ready writer, a close thinker, a fair debater, a good 
editor, an excellent preacher, and a strong man. He 
was strictly evangelical in doctrine, according to Dr. L. 
Beecher s definition of that term. To the honor of his 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 463 

name be it said, he never had the least sympathy with 
Campbellism, Millerism, Calvinism, or Universalism, but 
was a whole-hearted Christian individually, theologically, 
and denominationally. 

" To be sure, Brother Badger had his foibles, imper 
fections, and mortal weaknesses as well as other men ; but 
now, having gone from us, and his account sealed up to 
the great day, let the broad mantle of Christian charity 
cover these forever, as he can give no further explana 
tions, make no defence, nor be benefited by our limited 
extenuations. Peace to his ashes ! " 

Rev. J. Ross, of Charleston, N. Y., says : 

" My first acquaintance with Mr. Badger was, I think, 
in the fall of 1816. He then, in company with ministers 
Avery, Moulton, and J. L. Peavy, called at my father s 
house in Milton, Saratoga County, N. Y., and held a meet 
ing. Mr. Peavy preached. This was a little over two 
years after my profession of religion, and the organization 
of the Christian church at Ballstown. There was then a 
church existing at Galway, ten or twelve miles distant, 
and brethren scattered throughout various towns in the 
vicinity. Jabez King and Philip Sandford, both young 
men, were nearly all the help we had in that vicinity. 
Mr. Badger and his associates called to hold a general 
meeting of all the brethren who could assemble at Galway, 
for the purpose of seeking out and commending to the 
work, such persons as gave evidence of having gifts profit 
able for the Gospel field. The meeting was held in Gal 
way, in the first chapel ever erected by our people in the 
State of New York. A number of young and diffident 
brethren, who afterwards became ministers, were here 
taken by the hand, by those more experienced, and 



464 MEMOIR OF 

encouraged to improve their gifts, whilst the churches were 
taught their duty to them. The sympathy and union gen 
erated by that interview doubtless still live in several 
hearts. This was our first acquaintance ; and the act of 
calling that meeting for the encouragement of young men 
whose eye was on the ministry, I deem peculiarly charac 
teristic of the subject of the memoir. No young man in 
the circle of his influence was permitted to hide a profitable 
gift in a napkin, or bury his talent in the earth. He knew 
how to draw out the most diffident, could make the most 
of them when drawn out, and none could inspire their minds 
with stronger fortitude. At our first conference at Hart- 
wick, Otsego County, 1818, he was there the active, 
moving spirit of that body. And whatever of order and 
good arrangement we now have in our conferences and 
conventions, may be attributed, more than to any other 
cause, to the impetus given by him in those early times. 
" There was little of Don Quixote or of Utopianism in 
his constitution. He judged accurately of the effect of 
causes. He was cool, calm, and self-possessed amidst ex 
citing scenes that moved the multitude ; and wherever 
his Gospel labors proved effective, society was built up 
and order was established. He was a close observer of 
men and things, took the gauge and dimensions of men 
quickly, and it was usually safe to take his estimate as 
tha true one. He saw coming events in the shadows which 
preceded them. Seemingly inspired with the sentiment 
that the Gospel was the God-appointed lever designed to 
lift the world from its moral degradation, he showed but 
little sympathy for any humanly devised means of ref 
ormation. < The Gospel! THE GOSPEL ! THE PURE 
GOSPEL! was his cry for the cure of moral evil. A 
want of confidence in the many professedly reformatory 
measures and associations of the age was calculated to 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 465 

affect his popularity in many quarters, but he adhered un 
waveringly to his motto, the Gospel. 

" His sermons had method peculiar to himself. They 
always had order and arrangement ; but the coherence of 
the parts was not always apparent to the casual observer. 
His manner in the pulpit was often playful, exciting a smile 
from the light-hearted, and sometimes a sigh or a tear 
from the most devout, as he rowed out into the sea of pub 
lic discourse. But the scene gradually changed as he ad 
vanced in his labors, as his design began to be revealed, 
and his subject was applied. The sigh and tear were oft 
exchanged for songs, and the playful smile for prayer and 
tears. He always closed well. 

" As a writer he is known and read of all men. His 
style is his own, plain, clear, ungarnished and straight-for 
ward. For this difficult station of editor he had rare ac 
complishments ; and the denomination have cause for last 
ing gratitude for the aid and encouragement rendered to 
inexperienced writers, and for the impetus he gave to this 
mode of teaching. A glimpse at those volumes of the 
Palladium, issued under his supervision, and then at the 
condition of the correspondents and contributors, or the 
original copy from which it was made, at once reveals the 
singular ability of the man. How a class of young 
writers clustered around him ! A thousand blessings 
rest upon him here ! 

" He had quick perception, great decision, and concen 
tration. He habitually thought at early dawn ; and when 
his purposes were laid, every energy was concentrated upon 
that single point. In this he was a Washington, a Napo 
leon, a Wellington. As a man of tact I have not known 
hie equal. To this quality we may ascribe much of his 
success in conducting the Palladium. Many who could 
have written a labored article as well, or better, could not 
20* 



466 MEMOIR OF 

have succeeded in conducting the paper at all. Many 
with his resources would have produced a mole-hill when 
he formed a mountain. But we will not, we dare not, say 
that his positions and his means of sustaining them were 
always right. He was a man ; and in this utterance we 
plainly say he was erring. The most we can say, the 
highest character we would give our brother is, we hope, 
we trust, we believe he was a CHRISTIAN." 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



REFLECTIONS. 

As the value of men historically stands in close con 
nection with the ideas they represent, and with the 
movements in which they take part, it is relevant to 
the present subject that we glance at the character of 
the reformation in which Mr. Badger was the leading 
actor, and in whose principles he lived and preached 
more than a third of a century. We read the worth 
of a man in the value of the cause he aids. Mankind 
evidently are saved, not by magic, but by principles. 
The moral benefactor, therefore, is to be prized by the 
service he renders in making these perfect in the 
knowledge, and effective in the practice of his fellows. 
What, then, are the historical worth and characteris 
tics of the Christian Reformation, in whose ministry 
Mr. Badger was a star of primary magnitude and 
brightness ? 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 467 

Its historical worth can now be stated but partially, 
as the half century which has elapsed since the first 
declaration of principles is too small a space of time 
for their determination in results. If, in all reforma 
tory movements, the conception, utterance, agitation, 
and adoption of ideas, are the natural steps of progress 
by which new truths become externized in permanent 
effects, we might well appropriate the period of time 
here spoken of mostly to the preparatory stages of the 
work, and look forward to the future for the final ver 
dict which shall declare its entire importance. This 
question cannot now be answered, except by the abil 
ity which reads, in moral causes, the distant triumphs 
they contain. As a future forest resides in present 
acorns, so great future changes reside in present truths. 

The religious sentiment has its eras in the world, its 
triumphs and discouragements, as really as art and 
science have theirs ; and between its present state and 
final victories lie many great and earnest revolutions. 
Three things may be safely premised on this subject : 
1. The religious sentiment is mighty and eternal in 
man, and therefore will forever appear with prominence 
in human history. 2. There now exist all the TRUTHS 
and all the PRINCIPLES that can ever possibly appear. 
3. The increasing knowledge of truth, the development 
of principles, the revolutions that are needed for their 
establishment in the world these must continue. 
To truth no iota can ever be added, it being already 
infinite ; but its development in human history must, 
like human nature, be progressive. 

In looking over the world s religious phenomena, we 
notice, among the defects, a mixture of truth with 



468 MEMOIR OF 

superstition, an ignorance of everlasting law, which 
flows through all departments of being, and into which 
all facts are resolved. In marking the particular line 
of religion which forms the boundary of Christendom, 
we perceive, in the inclosure, the abundance of secta- 
rism, of intolerance and persecution, all growing out 
of the immense importance which each sect attaches 
to its dogmas of belief, to its name and organization. 
Prior to Protestantism, the church, which has always 
boasted of its unity, imprisoned and burned the here 
tic. The belligerent attitude of clergymen now con 
clusively proves that theology, or divine science, is not 
understood ; foe. it is impossible that honest men should 
quarrel on any subject of which they have a full com 
prehension. War, therefore, is the proof of ignorance, 
and ignorance is the mother of intolerance and perse 
cution. As these are the most prominent evils the 
history of the church presents, we are obliged to highly 
honor the principles which melt these asperities into 
charity, as they shine from the effulgent heaven of a 
wider love. Under the stern authority of creeds, a 
manly freedom will scarcely grow. The Christian ref 
ormation, which began with the masses, and not with 
a caste, in the first years of the nineteenth century, 
contained principles which liberate the spirit from nar 
row and oppressive bonds, which open comparatively a 
whole broad horizon over the man of faith, and form a 
larger brotherhood than mere uniformity of belief can 
ever create. In naming distinctly four elements of 
that reformation, the view here offered will be clearly 
verified. 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 469 

1. It cast aside sectarian names. To witness the 
power of names, whether political or religious, to learn 
their efficiency in perpetuating a division, one has only 
to look at the different parties into which men are sep 
arated. Often, it is the name mostly that holds a 
party together, and that forms the limit of sympathy 
and fraternization. But it was no philosophical reasons 
that led the people to throw oif all sectarian names. 
It was reverence to the New Testament, and to the 
holy sympathies of Christian fellowship, which perpet 
ually pass beyond the artificial boundaries of sect. In 
reverence to the New Testament, they assumed the 
Catholic name Christian, and conceded it to all of 
every class who walked in purity of life. 

2. They exalted the Bible to the exclusion and re 
jection of human creeds. Creeds cannot be wiser than 
to men who made them ; as these are weak, fallible 
creatures, it is in vain to seek the Rock of Ages among 
their products. It may be said that no one can attend 
to every branch of business : that if one man makes 
ploughs he should be excused from making coffins, and 
be supplied from his neighbor s shop ; that the un 
thinking masses, whose toil absorbs their energy, can 
not form their own belief; that each, out of the store 
house of creeds already made, should find what fits his 
own dimensions. This may not be the worst advice to 
one who, mentally, is ready to die, and needs where 
with to be entombed ; but to him who is resolved to 
live, it is the veriest mockery. If the Bible is, ac 
cording to the general concession, the firmanent of 
suns and stars, that bends morally and religiously over 
mankind, why should the torch and taper lights of 



470 MEMOIR OF 

theological invention be substituted in its place ? In 
the daytime is not the radiance of the sun sufficient ? 
The cause which induced these reformers to reject the 
man-made creeds, was simply reverence to the Book 
of books, and to the individual right of every man to 
learn truth for himself, undictated by the authority of 
men. 

3. They claimed for each person a perfect, indi 
vidual freedom. Romanism denies this right ; and, 
though Protestanism has usually admitted it in the 
ory, it has always Romanized in practice. Who is 
authorized to be the master of my thought ? Who is 
commissioned from on high to tell me what I am to be 
lieve ? Who or what is entitled to an arbitrary throne 
in this free realm ? To the fish God gave an element 
in which they are free ; to the birds and trees he was 
equally kind. Nothing grows proportionately, truly, 
except freedom. To man the High One has given the 
boundless element of TRUTH, a shoreless and fathomless 
ocean to swim in ; and who shall here compel his path ? 
There was manliness in the words of Henry, " Give 
me liberty or give me death." 

4. EXPERIENCE they made the basis of religion. 
Their bond of fellowship, therefore, did not say, What, 
sir, is your opinion ? It asked the deeper questions, 
Where is your heart ? How do you live ? Of the 
Holy Spirit are you born ? It is true that the doctrine 
of one God in one person, of Jesus as his son, became 
with them a general belief, probably from the fact that 
a full surrender of their minds to the Scriptures as ex 
clusive authority necessitated these convictions ; but 
no notions of Trinity or Unity were ever thought of as 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 471 

bonds of fellowship. The spirit and doctrine of that 
movement cried to men and women of all sects and of 
no sect, " If you walk by faith in the Son of God, if 
you love the Lord Jesus, if you try to live the holy life, 
come to our embrace, come to the symbolical supper of 
our Lord." The full history of these sentiments in 
the world, the future must write. They are already 
introduced ; and from the democratic turn which 
thought and education are everywhere taking, from the 
liberal spirit which every new, valuable work in liter 
ature breathes, from the generally increasing aversion 
to dogmatic theology, we opine that they are destined, 
through many agencies, to triumph sublimely in the 
Christian world. These fathers, like those of the May 
flower, wrought from reverence and duty, and no more 
than they, foresaw the distant results of the principles 
they espoused. But time is logical, and reproduces 
the proper fruit of every seed. The movement was 
self-relying, but more especially was it God-relying. 
Human nature in its view is not self-illumined even in 
its dutiful action, as the earth by no majestic revolv 
ing can cause the day. This proceeds from the sun ; 
and from the Eternal Sun are all spirits lighted. 

In the cause of education, Mr. Badger s interest and 
care survived his ability to speak or write on general 
questions. On the new educational movement, which 
has since resulted in the establishment of Antioch Col 
lege, at Yellow Springs, Ohio, under circumstances of 
much promise, he -looked with anxious and hopeful 
solicitude, always inquiring of the success of the en 
terprise ; and it may be justly said that his last years 
were full of the conviction that more education is the 



472 MEMOIR OF 

strongly available instrument of power. He lived to 
see the denomination with whom his lot was cast, be 
come enthusiastically awake in behalf of culture. He 
saw it and rejoiced. Though his people, from the 
warm, intense faith through which they had early 
looked to the region of the spiritual and the super 
natural for their resources of conquest, had allowed 
human accomplishment to be in a degree eclipsed, they 
never cherished substantially the least irreverence to 
science ; for the reverence of truth, native in all spirits, 
extends to science, which is nothing more than truth 
made known. Against this precious light, which comes 
out of nature to instruct us of her hidden property and 
law, no antagonism ever appeared. Not culture, not 
science, but the objectionable narrowness of the usual 
theological training ; this was the main centre of their 
established prejudice. The Seminary at Starkey, the 
Graham Institute of North Carolina, and the College 
in Ohio, are earnest monuments of their deep regard 
for the culture which belongs to literature and to 
science ; the last named success being, all things con 
sidered, the largest movement under the guiding im 
pulse of liberal faith, that has ever occurred on the 
continent. The genius of the nineteenth century is to 
educate. Even the elements are disciplined to do for 
man, to prepare his timbers, to print his thoughts, to 
carry him on his journeyj to bring him tidings ; and in 
no department of human interest and enterprise are 
raw forces ranked in value with educated power. From 
the ignorance in which life universally begins, and from 
the infinity of unconque red truth that ever remains to 
be learned, it follows, as by unyielding necessity, that 



REV. JOSEPH BADGER. 473 

the highway that leads from man as a savage to man 
as the ripened glory of the universe, is none other than 
education. 

Mr. Badger, in his time and way, was indeed an 
educator (e-duco^ to call out), and his whole action 
tended to impart discipline to the means and forces 
about him. His position on this subject was one he 
never changed ; and it is remarkable that through his 
long life there are no contradictions between his 
avowed opinions at different times. In the thorough 
retrospect, from the close to the beginning of his public 
career, one is impressed with the idea of matureness, 
of an extraordinary consistency. Each part agrees 
with the rest. So strikingly manifest is this trait, that 
we are not surprised at the words of Mr. Wellons, of 
Virginia, who said, " I have read his writings from my 
boyhood, and I must say he was the most consistent 
man I ever knew." 

Though science is entitled to reverence from its 
sacredness. and to regard from its ministry of uses and 
its utility in breaking up the dark empire of supersti 
tion, it was religion in its great and catholic elements, 
that won the central worship of his heart. The one 
God, the one Christ, the one Spirit, the one Gospel, 
the one brotherhood, the one salvation, freedom, and 
fellowship of saints ; these were his themes. He loved 
these principles with a firm and steadfast affection. As 
long as he could walk, even with assistance, he urged 
his way to the sanctuary of their proclamation. These 
pioneers were indeed strong, invincible spirits, who 
prove that the men who make a people are greater than 
those whom the people make. 








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