Daniel Baker

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A Personal Revival Needed

Rev. Dr. Daniel Baker [17 August 1791 - 10 December 1857]Every Christian worker should have an experience like that of Daniel Baker.

In the thirty-ninth year of his life and ministry, the twelfth year of his pastoral ministry, he felt a dryness in his soul, which was evidenced by a lack of fruitfulness in his ministry.

So he went not to the philosophers of his day, nor to the Christian counselors, nor to any self-help guru, but rather to God Himself.  Going into the woods on August 10, 1830 near his house in Savannah, Georgia, he came to a cemetery. Entering it, finding a tree near a brick tomb, he began to cry to God for revival.

Returning to his congregation, he held a congregational prayer meeting in which he requested  the members of that church to write notes for whom prayer might be especially desirable.  Forty-six notes were returned to him, all of them desiring the regeneration either of themselves or others of their families.  Dr. Baker added a note that  he might be given a love for the souls of lost men and women, with the result that there be a successful ministry in his labors for Christ.

Following up this spiritual exercise were a series of meetings, sometimes upwards to three sermons per day being preached.  The outpouring of God’s regenerating Spirit  was such that 250 individuals professed Christ as Savior and were led into God’s kingdom.  In addition, the work of grace went through the entire city of Savannah, Georgia.

That work of grace continued in other parts of Georgia, as revival swept the whole coastlands of the state. Multitudes of people came into the kingdom.  Eight of the converts became ministers of the gospel.   Dr. Baker went into full-time evangelistic work.  It would be noted that in the two years after this event, some 2500 people acknowledged Christ as Lord and Savior.

Words to live by:  It all started with a personal day of reflection and prayer.  Think about it a moment.  Could not all of us need such a day as this?  Oh, we need not find a lonely cemetery in the country, but rather some place where we would not be interrupted and could commune with the Lord God of heaven and earth.  Look at your life.  Are you satisfied that you are  having the kind of spiritual influence on your family, church, work, and society that you could be  having?  If that answer is in the negative, why not plan such a day right now, set it aside, and pray for a personal revival in your soul.

 

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After Much Coldness and Insensibility of Heart
by Rev. David T. Myers

It was on Sunday evening, January 19, 1812, that Daniel Baker wrote in his diary the following words:

“This day, after much coldness and insensibility of heart, it pleased God to revive my spirits, and grant me sweet comfort and refreshment in attending upon our praying society. I would desire to return the Great Fountain of all mercies my humble and sincere thanks for the establishment of this society, inasmuch as he has made it so beneficial to my soul, and that of my fellow members, and has permitted sweet delight and comfort to flow from it, to water and refresh our thirst souls.”

Let me zero in on the expression above “after much coldness and insensibility of heart.” Reader, if you attend a Bible-believing Presbyterian Church, please be aware that your pastors are men of like passions as you are. They are flesh and blood believers, albeit men trained by both life and education to handle the Word of God in pulpit and in homes. Sometimes, the people in the pew expect too much of them, demanding every moment of their time. This is seen in the pastoral schedules that the members of the church demand that they keep.

This author began his pastoral ministry in this country in a smaller congregation. It was expected of me to preach two sermons on the Lord’s day, besides teaching an adult Sunday School class and leading the youth group that Sunday evening. Once a quarter, the church had committed to a rest home service, where another sermon was expected. Then of course, the Wednesday night study and prayer time, a Bible study during the week in the home, visitation to hospitals and homes were regularly required. I can understand Daniel Baker’s acknowledgment of “much coldness and insensibility of heart” on occasions during that pastorate.

To our subscribers of This Day in Presbyterian History, understand that your pastor’s role in the church from both the pulpit and to the pew is for “the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” (See Ephesians 4:11 – 12) The more spiritual equipping which is done in the body of Christ will cause the congregation to join him in the great spiritual work of that local church to itself, to the community, to your state, and to the world.

Words to Live By:
Pray weekly for your pastor, his spiritual needs, for him in his responsibilities to his family, for him as he equips you for ministry to build up the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11 – 16)

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The following plaintive appeared on the pages of a Presbyterian newspaper in October of 1879, exhorting both pastors and parents to pay better attention to the spiritual nurture of the children of the Church. The account is interesting in itself, but also for the vignette provided on the ministry of Rev. Daniel Baker, so noted for his children’s sermons.

The Christian Observer and Commonwealth, 58.41 (8 October 1879): 1, col. 4.

Presbyterianism is a family religion. Every baptized child is a member of the Church. The children are the lambs of the flock. They must be fed, but they cannot receive and digest the food suitable for veterans in the faith.

Surely they should not be left at home in idleness and spiritual starvation, while the parents are receiving the bread of life; yet, does it benefit the poor little lambs to be thrust into starchy clothes and imprisoned “bolt upright,” in an uncomfortable pew for an hour and a half, staring in idiotic vacancy at the preacher, who utters not a word within the ken of childhood? Nay! many a disappointed little heart is carried home, having been denied, from sheer oversight, a single crumb from the Master’s table. Some faithful parents still marshal their children to church? But what do they go for? Are not the majority of shepherds forgetting to feed the lambs; forgetting that these little boys are the future elders and deacons, nay, the future ministers in the Church of Christ?

Not a quarter of a century ago the “family pew” was an institution. The usual Sabbath morning scene was that of whole families going together to Church. The father and mother each leading a toddling little one; and respectfully walking behind the fresh, clean boys and girls, some half dozen or more, even those old enough for beaux and sweethearts, deeming it out of the question to be absent from the family pew Sunday mornings.

Every little fellow had his “Sunday clothes,” instead of his “evening dress,” and the Sabbath was to him the white day of the seven, when “brand new,” he turned over a clean leaf in life, and started over again. The mother then knew that her boy was not on the church steps in doubtful company, or one of the disorderly occupants of the back pew. Parents ruled their households then; now the children have the supremacy. They go to church or not, as they like, and sit where they please when they go.. Sabbath evening drills in the Shorter Catechism are old-fashioned; memorizing the Psalms and hymns, a fogy notion, and the main idea is to make the Sabbath a pleasant day. When the minister calls, the children go tumbling out of the back door as if some frightful apparition had made its appearance.

Rev. Dr. Daniel Baker [17 August 1791 - 10 December 1857]How many of the readers of the OBSERVER remember Rev. Daniel Baker, that blessed old patriarch, embalmed in the memory of every one who, as a child, heard his children’s sermons–literally the milk for babes. How often have many of us sat in a crowded house of children, and heard him talk right to our hearts about “coals of fire;” and the songs he would sing, in the midst of his sermons, to bring into wakeful surprise some nodding head or drooping pair of eyes; such as “Let dogs delight to bark and bite;” and the swearing word he gave the boys, “Pot hooks and hangers!” as a cure for swearing.

The children must be looked after. The world is carrying on its interests, and so is the Evil One, upon the very wings of lightning. The boys can hardly wait to get into their “teens,” or to show a shady upper lip before they are hurried into the battle of life.

An immense energy must, on the other hand, be thrown into the religion of the present day, and children must be enlisted before the world has filled up their hearts, as it will, and that right early.

Words to Live By:
When children are baptized in a Presbyterian church, the pastor typically asks the congregation if they will covenant to pray for that child. Sad to say, but most of us probably thereafter forget to ever again pray for that child. Brothers and sisters! Take this occasion to stop and pray for the children in your church, that the Lord would be at work in their hearts, leading them to saving faith in Christ Jesus as their Savior, drawing them near to a lifetime of discipleship, striving to walk closely with Him.

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A Calvinistic Evangelist

Rev. Dr. Daniel Baker [17 August 1791 - 10 December 1857]Imagine your mother dying when you were an infant.  Then imagine your father dying when you were only eight years of age.  How difficult your upbringing would be.  In the case of little Daniel Baker, who was born at Midway, Liberty county, Georgia, on August 17, 1791, he could only look with sadness at his playmates who had loving parents to watch over them.  But Daniel  had a heavenly Father who watched over  him and was preparing him for great things in the kingdom of God.

Reared by a godly aunt, Daniel came to a knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior around 14 years of age.  Soon afterwards, he felt the call to be a preacher of the Word.  Receiving an offer of a scholarship to Hampden-Sydney College, he made a public profession of faith and joined the Presbyterian Church.  His spiritual attainments affected his fellow students there as well as at Princeton University to which he transferred.

Upon graduation, he was interested in enrolling at the Seminary, but instead placed his education under the Rev. William Hill of Winchester, Virginia.  While there was much lacking in this mentoring, his own study in the Westminster Shorter Catechism brought him to the place where the local Presbytery ordained him to the gospel ministry.

One of his greatest blessings was a godly wife, in the person of Elizabeth McRobert, who bore him several children, as well as helping him in his ministry.  While he labored as a pastor, it became almost common that revival would break out under his ministry.  Thousands came to the Lord, not only from the local church, but from those around the church. And so Rev. Baker decided to become a full time evangelist.

It must be remembered that Daniel Baker was a Calvinist evangelist.  He didn’t resort to producing the right emotional effect, but simply preached the whole counsel of God.  And the Lord added to the church such as should be saved.

The last part of his ministry took place in Texas from 1850 on. He became the president of Austin College and resided in Huntsville, Texas, what the school is located. There he preached the same gospel, with the same effects.  He died in 1857.

Words to live by:  Before Daniel Baker passed away, he called  his son to make sure that the epigraph on the tombstone read clearly, “Here lies Daniel Baker, Preacher of the gospel, A sinner saved by grace.”  The close of his life was one of triumph. He lifted his eyes to heaven, and exclaimed, in the calm exercise of a grounded faith, “Lord Jesus, into Thy hands I commend my spirit!” As these words passed his lips, he closed his eyes on earth, to open them forever on the face of that Saviour whom, not having seen, he so loved. Let us be known in life and death as Sinners saved by grace, God’s grace.

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A Calvinistic Evangelist

Rev. Dr. Daniel Baker [17 August 1791 - 10 December 1857]Imagine your mother dying when you were an infant.  Then imagine your father dying when you were only eight years of age.  How difficult your upbringing would be.  In the case of little Daniel Baker, who was born at Midway, Liberty county, Georgia, on August 17, 1791, he could only look with sadness at his playmates who had loving parents to watch over them.  But Daniel  had a heavenly Father who watched over  him and was preparing him for great things in the kingdom of God.

Reared by a godly aunt, Daniel came to a knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior around 14 years of age.  Soon afterwards, he felt the call to be a preacher of the Word.  Receiving an offer of a scholarship to Hampden-Sydney College, he made a public profession of faith and joined the Presbyterian Church.  His spiritual attainments affected his fellow students there as well as at Princeton University to which he transferred.

Upon graduation, he was interested in enrolling at the Seminary, but instead placed his education under the Rev. William Hill of Winchester, Virginia.  While there was much lacking in this mentoring, his own study in the Westminster Shorter Catechism brought him to the place where the local Presbytery ordained him to the gospel ministry.

One of his greatest blessings was a godly wife, in the person of Elizabeth McRobert, who bore him several children, as well as helping him in his ministry.  While he labored as a pastor, it became almost common that revival would break out under his ministry.  Thousands came to the Lord, not only from the local church, but from those around the church. And so Rev. Baker decided to become a full time evangelist.

It must be remembered that Daniel Baker was a Calvinist evangelist.  He didn’t resort to producing the right emotional effect, but simply preached the whole counsel of God.  And the Lord added to the church such as should be saved.

The last part of his ministry took place in Texas from 1850 on. He became the president of Austin College and resided in Huntsville, Texas, what the school is located. There he preached the same gospel, with the same effects.  He died in 1857.

Words to live by:  Before Daniel Baker passed away, he called  his son to make sure that the epigraph on the tombstone read clearly, “Here lies Daniel Baker, Preacher of the gospel, A sinner saved by grace.”  The close of his life was one of triumph. He lifted his eyes to heaven, and exclaimed, in the calm exercise of a grounded faith, “Lord Jesus, into Thy hands I commend my spirit!” As these words passed his lips, he closed his eyes on earth, to open them forever on the face of that Saviour whom, not having seen, he so loved. Let us be known in life and death as Sinners saved by grace, God’s grace.

Daniel Baker at Princeton [excerpted from The Life and Labors of the Rev. Daniel Bakerpp. 69-70:
Chapter III. – While a Student at Princeton.
Having reached Princeton, I offered myself, on the opening of the winter session of 1813, as a candidate for the Junior Class, and after examination was admitted. I was located in room 39, and had for my room-mate a most estimable and pious young man named Thomas Biggs. At this time religion was at a very low ebb in the College. There were about one hundred and forty-five students, and of these, only six, so far as I knew, made any profession of religion, and even two of these six seemed to care very little about the matter; for although four of us, Price, Allen, Biggs, and myself, agreed to meet every evening for what was called family prayer, they kept entirely aloof. Feeling it my duty to do what I could for my fellow-students in Princeton, as at Hampden Sydney College, I selected certain individuals to be made the subjects of special prayer and effort, one named M and the other V. The first, during the revival which subsequently took place in College, professed conversion, and in after years became a Presbyterian preacher.
. . . During the whole of this session religion was at a very low ebb indeed; it was deemed a matter of reproach to be a professor [i.e., of the Christian faith]; and by way of contempt, those, who did make a profession of religion, particularly those who composed the praying band, were termed “the Religiosi.” Grieved to see the abounding of iniquity in College, I proposed to my three associates, Price, Allen, and Biggs, that we should establish a weekly prayer-meeting for the especial purpose of praying for a revival of religion in College. This proposition was made sometime during the second session, and was immediately and cordially acceded to. Accordingly this prayer-meeting was held regularly until the close of the session, and none attended but the four already named, and one non-professor, Symmes C. Henry, who subsequently became, for many years, pastor of Cranbury church, New Jersey. At the commencement of the third session, as our prayers seemed not to have been heard, I was somewhat doubtful about continuing our weekly prayer-meeting, but, very happily, my associates were clear for continuing it, and it was well; for although we knew it not, the blessing was nigh, even at the doors.”

For Further Reading : Works by the Rev. Daniel Baker
1. A Series of Revival Sermons (1846).
2. Revival Sermons. Second Series. (1854).
3. A Plain and Scriptural View of Baptism (1853),
[we encourage you to download these ebooks, in the format of your choice & save them to your computer’s hard-drive for your future use and edification.]

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This Day in Presbyterian History:   

A Calvinistic Evangelist

Imagine your mother dying when you were an infant.  Then imagine your father dying when you were only eight years of age.  How difficult your upbringing would be.  In the case of little Daniel Baker, who was born on August 17, 1791, he could only look with sadness at his playmates who had loving parents to watch over them.  But Daniel  had a heavenly Father who watched over  him and was preparing him for great things in the kingdom of God.

Reared by a godly aunt, Daniel came to a knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior around 14 years of age.  Soon afterwards, he felt the call to be a preacher of the Word.  Receiving an offer of a scholarship to Hampden-Sydney College, he made a public profession of faith and joined the Presbyterian Church.  His spiritual attainments affected his fellow students there as well as at Princeton University to which he transferred.

Upon graduation, he was interested in enrolling at the Seminary, but instead placed his education under the Rev. William Hill of Winchester, Virginia.  While there was much lacking in this overseership, his self-study in the Westminster Shorter Catechism brought him to the place where the local Presbytery ordained him to the gospel ministry.

One of his greatest blessing was a godly wife in Elizabeth McRobert, who bore him several children as well as helping him in his ministry.  He started his ministry as a pastor, but usually revival broke out under him.  Thousands came to the Lord, not only from the local church, but from those around the church.   He decided to become a full time evangelist.

It must be remembered that Daniel Baker was a Calvinist evangelist.  He didn’t resort to producing the right emotional effect, but simply preached the whole counsel of God.  And the Lord added to the church such as should be saved.

The last part of his ministry took place in Texas from 1850 on.  There he preached the same gospel, with the same effects.  He died in 1857.

Words to live by:  Before Daniel Baker passed away, he called  his son to make sure that the epigraph on the tombstone read clearly, “Here lies Daniel Baker, Preacher of the gospel, A sinner saved by grace.”  Let us be known in life and death as Sinners saved by grace, God’s grace.

Through the Scriptures: Jeremiah 40 – 42

Through the Standards:  Christian liberty does not exclude obedience to church and state

WCF 20:4
“And because the powers which God has ordained, and the liberty which Christ has purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God.  And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity (whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation), or to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ has established in the Church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church.”

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