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For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.


Of the Ohio Annual Conference.

“I come to bury Cesar: not to praise him." If the sentiment contained in this remark were to govern the eulogists of the departed, we should not be pained with that fulsome flattery which is so lavishingly bestowed upon the subjects of obituary notices in general. The custom of bestowing such undue praise upon the dead has, perhaps, acquired a harmlessness from the circumstance of its general prevalence in all ages. Both Christians and heathen seem instinctively to engage in its practice. The language of the inspired proverbialist we find to be in accordance with

this general sentiment: “A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of one's death better than the day of their birth.” The remark made by a judicious observer of human nature, “The good that men do lives after them, while the evil is oft interred with them,” is exceedingly illustrative of the fact, that there is an inherent disposition in the mass of mankind to award praise to the dead. This, abstractly considered, should not be deemed a fault, but should rather be recog. nized as a redeeming trait in the human character, which seems to have survived the ruins of the fall. One can scarcely be found so reckless and abandoned as sacrilegiously to break in upon the silence of the sepulchre and disturb the repose of the dead. Death puts an end to animosities and envies, while the faults and frailties of the deceased are generally buried with them in the grave of forgetfulness.

Thus we see that in most biographies, to gloss the character of those who are the subjects of them, and carefully to screen from the public eye every fault of their lives, are the most important, and sometimes the most difficult of the biographer's labors. How very different this from the course pursued by Scripture biographers. There we find histories of human character the most faithfully delineated, while the faults and crimes of those whose general character it pleased the Almighty to contemplate are made to stand out in bold relief upon the sacred page, unmitigated and unglossed. Shipwrecks of moral character, which occurred in the days of inspiration, were made known by God's amanuenses, and the rocks on which they split are so graphically described, that like beacons, they loom upon the fitfal surges of life, to warn of danger and point to safety. If the biography of an individual be deemed worthy of publication, we think it should consist of an impartial narrative, exhibiting an unvarnished statement of facts, like the histories given of men in the Bible—“ true to the life”-proving thereby of great utility to surviving friends and the community in general.

The above remarks are not made for the purpose of preparing the mind of the reader for the delineation of a character in which there are many unpleasant features and unamiable traits. Nothing of this kind need be anticipated. The character of the subject of this brief memoir was most amiable. Of him it may with peculiar propriety be said,

“None knew him but to love him;

None loved him but to praise." The language of the youthful Spencer's biographer is quite appro. priate, and applicable to the subject of our menoir : " The recollec. tion of departed excellence, which a long series of years had developed and matured, is mingled with a melancholy feeling, and not unfre. quently excites the tribute of a tear; but the individual who erects a monument to friendship, genius, usefulness, and piety, prematurely wrapt in the oblivion of the tomb, must necessarily prosecute his mournful work with trembling hands and with a bleeding heart.” Thus with mournful pleasure do we sketch the rude outline of one of the loveliest and most perfect moral characters of the present age. In confirmation of what we have said with regard to the subject of our remarks, it was observed by one who was intimately acquainted with him, almost from childhood, that " if ever he did for a moment step aside from the path of virtue, so light and noiseless were his steps, that the foot-print never was seen—the foot-fall never heard."

Dudley Woodbridge was the eldest son of Dudley Woodbridge, Esq., of Marietta, Ohio. He was born the 16th of July, 1813. His parents are members of the Presbyterian Church, beloved and respected by all who have the happiness of being acquainted with them, and it was doubtless owing, in a great measure, to their pious example, in. structions, prayers, and admonitions, that young Dudley was so early in life initiated into the kingdom of Christ. He was not only blest, with religious training, but the temporal circumstances of his father were such that nothing was spared to bestow upon him all the advantages of a thorough education. Accordingly, at quite an early age he was sent to the Ohio University, Athens.

It is a remarkable fact, that, although at this time this institution received its endowment from the state, the faculty were nearly all Presbyterians ; and all the students were required to attend meeting regularly at the Presbyterian Church. All this, of course, was in harmony with the predilections of young Dudley. The doctrines and usages of Methodism under these circumstances could be but little known by the students; but we have reason to thank God that there is a power accompanies the preaching of Methodist doctrines, so de. monstrative in its character that they become known, while thousands are brought to feel their soul-saving efficacy. We have thought in times of powerful revivals that there is a spirit of conviction which pervades the entire moral mass within the sphere of its influence irresistible in its very nature-searching the hearts alike of those who go to church, and of those who remain at home. With such a revival it pleased God to visit the Methodist Church in Athens in the fall of 1827, under the faithful and efficient ministry of the Rev. H. S. Fernandez. This revival was extensive and powerful-a sacred and soul-subduing influence pervaded the whole town; nor were the rules or regulations of the college, enforced with all their strictness, im. pervious to its power. The Methodist Church, as the excitement increased, became crowded with students, college regulations were forgotten, while anon it was rumored through all its halls, that T., and 8., and A., and H., and W., were seeking religion at the "mourners'

bench," or had obtained “the pearl of great price." This gave a fresh impetus to the work, and it became increasingly interesting and powerful. Those who had wandered far from God, and were almost lost in the mazes of sin, were seen treading their way back to the mercy seat, and importunately crying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Zion's gates were filling up with living, happy converts. Angels were tuning anew their harps, while

"Hymns of joy, proclaim'd through heaven

The triumphs of a soul forgiven." And certainly nothing could be better calculated to elicit angelic sympathy than the sight of so many devoting the dew of their youth to the Lord.

So gracious and extensive was this revival that many of the students were its happy subjects, and such was its effect upon the college, that in many of the rooms where the passer by could hear naught before but the sound of mirth and revelry, now could be heard the song of Zion and the voice of prayer. In these scenes brother Woodbridge took an active part, for he was among the number of those who had tasted the joys of pardoning love. During the progress of a prayer meeting in college, he was informed by a fellow student that his father had arrived from Marietta and wished to see him. He hastened to the embrace of his beloved parent; and although he had not seen his father for a considerable length of time, yet atter a few moments' conversation he requested his permission to return to the house of prayer.

A number of these young converts became Methodist preachers, and from the circumstance that several of them were connected with wealthy and distinguished families, and that they exhibited great zeal in the cause of their Master, a considerable excitement was produced wherever they went preaching “ Jesus and him crucified.” Multitudes through their instrumentality were induced to accept offered mercy and receive the forgiveness of sins. Among this number of youthful heralds of the cross, brother Woodbridge occupied a conspicuous place.

At the college commencement in 1831 he graduated. Shortly after his return home, with a view of preparing himself for the respon. sible duties of a gospel minister, in obedience to the call of his Divine Master, he visited the Western Theological Seminary near Pittsburg; and being satisfied with its course of study, matriculated, and prosecuted his studies with vigor and success. That theological institutions possess advantages which a young minister cannot find on a circuit, none surely will deny; but that these advantages are of sufficient importance to induce our church to endow such institutions, appears to be a matter of doubt by a great majority of her ministers.

While at this institution our brother received from the Rev. Charles Elliott, preacher in charge of the Pittsburg station, license to exhort. Soon after his return to Marietta, the quarterly meeting conference of that charge granted him license to preach. With the consent of his father, (for he was still a minor,) who had devoted his son to God and the church, he entered the itinerant field and traveled with the presiding elder, brother Swormstedt, around the Zanesville district. Thus he was enabled to obtain some practical knowledge with regard to the labors in which he intended to spend his life. About this time he received from his alma mater the degree of Master of Arts.

During the session of the Ohio annual conference, which was held at Circleville in 1834, he was admitted on trial in the traveling connection, and appointed to Norwich circuit, brother H. S. Fernandez being the senior preacher. This was a fortunate appointment for brother W., as he was blessed with the company and advice of one deeply experienced, and one who was peculiarly interested in his welfare. His next appointment was Athens circuit, upon the duties of which he entered with feeble health. Athens was at that time what is called a “hard circuit," and the labor required was greater than the delicate constitution of brother W. could sustain. Still he remained at his post until the middle of summer, when, with the ad. vice of his friends, and the hopes of regaining his health, he visited the Blue and White Sulphur Springs of Virginia, without, however, receiving any special advantage therefrom. At the conference held at Chilicothe, in the fall of the same year, he was a candidate for admission into full connection, and eligible to the office of a deacon. Having been examined previously, he with his class was called up before the conference, as is usual on such occasions, to take upon themselves the solemn vows of ordination. Here an incident occurred which in that solemn hour caused the waves of sympathy to roll over the entire conference. Bishop Soule, in his remarks to the candidates, stated, that no man should present himself for admission and ordi. nation, unless he was resolutely determined never to locate.” Brother Woodbridge, not knowing but he should be obliged to locate on account of ill health, after expressing to the bishop and the conference his doubts about the propriety, under these circumstances, of pro. ceeding any farther, withdrew. After conversing, however, with some of his elder brethren respecting the import and application of the bishop's remarks, and being persuaded that they had no special re. ference to those who unavoidably located, he finally concluded to take the vows of ordination. At this conference he was appointed to Belpre circuit, on which he labored with untiring zeal, notwithstanding his feeble health, during the winter.

His disease, which was dyspepsia in its most aggravated form, ap. peared to baffle every effort that affectionate attention and medical skill could devise. Though gloomy days and sleepless nights are the portion of the dyspeptic, yet amid all the melancholy the disease in. duced, brother W.'s “heart was fixed,” his peace was like the even flow of a placid river, while heaven beamed its happy smile upon his pallid cheek. In the spring he was advised by his friends and physicians to take a sea voyage, as it was presumed this would prove beneficial to his health. A voyage to Smyrna was contemplated, to which place his cousin, a Presbyterian minister, was going as a mis. sionary; but his cousin failing to embark at the time specified, he, with his brother George, who was also traveling for the benefit of his health, took his departure for Great Britain on the 20th of April, 1837. While in Philadelphia, a few days prior to their departure, D. W. wrote to his colleague, as expressive of his views and feelings, VOL. XI.--July, 1840.


the following: "Were I in the health I was two years ago, I would rather travel a circuit than be connected with the largest establishment in this city. Your calling is a most honorable, as well as re. sponsible one, and, if faithful, its profits in the end will be incalculably great. Lay up your treasure in heaven. A large possession in this world is extremely dangerous, but if we can gain an inheritance in heaven, there will be no snares connected with it. Brother S., my heart is with you, though my hands are not. Go on and prosper in the name of King Jesus.” I am informed by his brother that he was as diligent in his Master's service while on the passage as when on land, and that through his labors a sailor was brought from death to life, and from the bondage of sin to the liberty of the gospel.

After having visited the principal cities of Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland, he, with his brother, returned to the United States in July following, once more to be greeted with the smiles of his friends, and enjoy the endearments of a happy home. From this tour he derived but little benefit. The conference, which was held at Xenia in the fall of this year, granted him a superannuated relation, and although, on account of his youth, (being but twenty-four years old,) some thought the conference was establishing a dangerous precedent, yet in truth he was a worn-out traveling preacher. In the toils of the itinerancy he gave up freely his youth, health, and talents. His ministerial career, though short, was characterized by the greatest fidelity, and every duty pertaining to a Methodist traveling preacher was attended to with the most scrupulous exactness. With safety it may be said, that during his ministry "he was never unemployed, and never triflingly employed;" while his motto was, Holiness to the Lord.** Fortiter in re, suaviter in modo,was his general character. istic as a minister.

At the conference which was held at Columbus, the last he ever attended, his relation as a superannuated minister was continued, and he was elected and ordained an elder. From this conference he visited Chilicothe, and after remaining some weeks with his uncle, Mr. John Woodbridge, returned home for the last time. While at home he was diligently engaged in devising and executing plans for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom. Though but “the shadow of a shade,” those can bear testimony, who had an almost daily opportunity of seeing 'him, that his heart was burdened with anxious solicitude for the salvation of precious souls. He appeared to breathe the very atmosphere of the heavenly world, and converse like one of its citizens. His constant language seemed to be

“My soul is not at rest. There comes

A strange and secret whisper to my spirit,
Like a dream of night, that tells me I am
On enchanted ground. Why live I here? The vows
Of God are on me, and I may not stoop
To play with earthly shadows, or pluck earthly
Flowers, till I my work have done, and render'd up

Account.” He was confined to his bed by a violent cold, which subsequently terminated in a lung fever on the 24th of December, just one day before the commencement of a protracted meeting, for the success of

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