Among those of the departed with whom we have toiled, and prayed, and taken sweet counsel in the work of this Convention, we would especially call to mind, on the present occasion, our much loved and venerated brother, the late Rev. Dr. Stephen Chapin, one of our Vice Presidents.
He was educated at Harvard University; and, above all, he was taught in the school of Christ. For several years, he was pastor of a Congregational church at Mount Vernon, in the State of New Hampshire. Twenty-seven years ago, the present week, he was baptized by the Rev. Dr. Baldwin, and became connected with our denomination. Subsequently, he was pastor of the Baptist church in North Yarmouth, in the State of Maine. There he labored worthily for the spiritual welfare of the church, and for the spiritual and intellectual encouragement and improvement of all his ministering brethren with whom he had intercourse. He so commended himself to their confidence, and especially to the esteem of that profound theologian and distinguished servant of Christ, the first President of Waterville College, that he was transferred from the field of his labors at North Yarmouth to a still more important one, that of Professor of Moral Philosophy in Waterville College; where he was associated with the President in the blessed work of preaching the gospel to the people, and of giving theological instruction to such students as, for the purpose of receiving it, then resorted to Waterville.
Seventeen years ago, when Columbian College, in the District of Columbia, was making an effort to rise, after having been prostrated by appalling pecuniary embarrassments, — he was selected as its President. Some of us, with whom he consulted at that time, will never forget with what trembling solicitude and agonizing prayer he came to the conclusion to accept the Presidency. In this difficult and perilous station, he did much, as an instructer [sic] and in other ways, to restore the confidence, and cheer the hopes, and unite the energies of the friends of that Institution. And he continued to exert himself, even when his health and strength were failing; till, with pecuniary sacrifice on his part and on that of a worthy coadjutor, the once crushing debt of the College was, by competent authority, proclaimed to have been entirely liquidated; and a new and cheering prospect of enlarged usefulness was opened.
He retired, with those that remained of his family, to an humble and quiet home in the vicinity of Washington, it was not long before he was laid on a bed of sickness and pain. And on the day of the last public Commencement of the College, (the first Wednesday of October,) just as, in the exercises on that occasion, the prayers of the great congregation were offered for him by his successor in the Presidency, he died in peace, triumphing through Jesus Christ.
His life presented an eminent and attractive example of fidelity and zeal, and of that wisdom which cometh down from above. His death afforded an impressive illustration of the power and grace of the gospel.
His memory is precious. It is, “like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul” and at every remembrance of his Christian course, which he has so triumphantly finished, we will endeavor to cherish his heavenly spirit, emulate his devotedness, and be prepared to meet him in the general assembly and church of the first-born, who are written in heaven. -
[From The Baptist Missionary Magazine, 1846, Volume XXVI, p. 17. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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