Puffer, Isaac

Puffer, Isaac a well-known pioneer preacher of American Methodism, was born in Westminster County, Mass., in June, 1784. As a boy he came with his parents to Central New York. At fifteen he was converted. Ten years later he joined the New York Conference as a travelling preacher, and was appointed to the Otsego Circuit, then a far-reaching territory, which in the following year was incorporated in the Genesee Conference. That conference was then made to cover not only much of Northern and Western New York, but also the Upper and Lower Canadas. In this large field Puffer labored for full forty years with remarkable perseverance, and had the pleasure of seeing the most wonderful results that ever crowned the labor of any Methodist preacher. Though his early advantages must have been inconsiderable, he became one of the most useful, it might almost be said one of the most popular. preachers of his time. His great strength lay in the ease and skill with which he quoted the Scriptures. The Bible was the one book he knew, and he used it with most marvellous power and success. He was the sturdy opponent of Calvinism and Universalism, and combated them with such vigor that he was regarded as a worthy foeman for the best advocates of those forms of Christian dogma.

After his superannuation in 1843 the venerable preacher contented himself with visiting his former charges, until, in 1848, he was attracted West, and lived chiefly in Wisconsin and Illinois. New associations, new scenes, and new calls to moral combat had a re-invigorating influence, and he again became active until 1853, when he suddenly died after a short illness. Puffer was of a large, muscular frame, and made therefore a striking appearance in public. He also attracted, aside from his religious earnestness, by a fine musical voice. He was an honest, devoted, childlike Christian, and blessed his generation by his life and his works. See Memoir of the Rev. B. G. Paddock, p. 341 sq.; Conable, Hist. of the Genesee Conference, ch. i, § 7; ch. ii, § 5.

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