Lansing, Nicholas

Lansing, Nicholas, a minister of the (Dutch) Reformed Church, was born at Albany in 1748. He studied theology under Dr. Westerlo, of that city, and was licensed to preach by a general meeting of ministers and elders in 1780. Among the Dutch clergymen of the last two generations, this venerable man held a reputation for piety and individuality of character that reminds us of Rowland Hill, James Patterson, of Philadelphia, and a few others of similar mould. Many curious and interesting stories are told of his unique and godly life, and of his holy ministry. He was, while young, captain of a small sailing vessel that ran between Albany and New York, and was converted to Christ while in this calling. Immediately he consecrated himself to the ministry, although his health was so feeble that his physician said he would not live to enter the pulpit. But God spared him to serve in his sanctuary fifty-five years. He preached regularly until the second Sabbath before his death, at the great age of eighty-seven. "He spent much time day and night in his study, fasting much and being much in prayer. He usually spent much of the night, and sometimes the whole night, in praying. His clothing always gave way first upon the knees." His preaching, which was in the Dutch language, was remarkable for its scriptural character, spirituality, and utter fearlessness. Striking anecdotes are told, and many of his peculiar expressions are yet current, illustrative of these features of his ministry. On one occasion, in a meeting of classis, when called upon a second time by the president to make a brief statement of the condition of his Church, the old man rose suddenly and said, "Mr. President, Tappan! Tappan! all Tappan is dead, and I'm dead too." He sat down and said no more until he was asked to pray, and then poured out his soul in such strains of "power with God" that all who heard him felt that whatever might be the state of his people, he, at least, was not "dead" yet. He observed family worship three times daily during a part of his life. A great revival of religion followed one of his most bold and characteristic sermons in a neighboring place, where people were given up to worldliness and sin. During his last service he sat in the pulpit, as his feebleness obliged him to do frequently in his later years. Like Baxter, he could have said

"I preached as if I ne'er should preach again, And as a dying man to dying men."

Referring to the strain of his ministry among them, he said to his people, 'I have never preached to you 'Do and live,' but 'Live and do.' "That week he was seized with his last illness, during which he was constantly engaged in prayer, and in speaking for Christ to those who were with him. His last end was peace. Mr. Lansing was settled first in the united churches of what are now Greenbush. Linlithgo, and Taghkanic, near Albany, during 1781-4, and afterwards at Tappan and Clarkstown, in Rockland County, N.Y., 1784-1830, and Tappan alone 1830-35. His home and church in the latter place were near the spot on which major Andre was hung in the Revolutionary War. See Corwin, Manual of the Reformed Church, page 134 sq. (W.J.R.T.)

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