Wayland, Francis, Dd, Lld
Wayland, Francis, D.D., LL.D.
an eminent Baptist divine and educator, was born in the city of New York, March 11, 1796. His parents came to the United States from England in 1793. Soon after his settlement in New York, his father left his secular business and was licensed to preach the Gospel, and spent the remainder of his days in the ministerial office. The early educational advantages of the son were not of the highest order, apart from those which he enjoyed in his own home, where he felt the influence, in molding his intellectual character, of a mother of rare qualities of mind and heart. He always gratefully referred, in after-life; to the ability of the instructor who seems first to have taught him to study for the love of it, Mr. Daniel H. Barnes. He was admitted into the sophomore class of Union College, Schenectady, in May, 1811, and was graduated July 28, 1813. On leaving college he began at once the study of medicine, and proceeded so far in his professional career that he had begun to practice, when a sudden turn was given to all his life plans by his conversion. He now resolved to study for the ministry. To make the necessary preparation for entering upon his work, he went to Andover in the autumn of 1816, where he remained one year, deriving great benefit from the instructions of Moses Stuart, one of the most earnest, inspiring teachers any institution in this country has ever had. He left Andover at the close of the session of 1816-17, expecting to resume his studies in the fall. He did not return, however, having accepted an appointment as tutor in Union College, where he remained the next four years. The First Baptist Church in Boston being destitute of a pastor, at the suggestion of Dr. Wisner, then the minister of the Old South Church, the name of Mr. Wayland was mentioned to the Church, as a most suitable person to fill the vacant place. In due time a call was extended to him, and he was ordained Aug. 21, 1821, being then a few months over twenty-five years of age. In some respects it was far from being an inviting field of labor to which he had been called. The house of worship was old and unattractive. The Church had been greatly weakened in its numbers and in its resources. The personal appearance of the new minister was not particularly graceful or winning. It was a severe discipline through which he was called to pass, but he took up his burdens with meekness, and demeaned himself as a good minister of Jesus Christ, and at length his reward came, and it came deservedly as the result of hard, untiring work, and unflinching devotion to his duties as a Christian minister. Not that he became what is called a "popular" preacher, a thing which he never aspired to be, and could not have been under any circumstances, but he grew every month in the esteem and respect of those who knew him, intimately and could appreciate his worth. A little more than two years after his settlement he preached his celebrated sermon on The Moral Dignity of the Missionary Enterprise. It was on Sunday evening, Oct. 26, 1823, that he delivered it, it being his turn to preach the lecture to the three churches of his denomination in Boston, which were wont occasionally to hold a union service. "The house was uncomfortable," we are told (the preacher wearing his great-coat throughout the service), "and there was but little enthusiasm on the occasion." What the preacher's estimate, of the performance was, we infer from the statement that "on Monday morning he went to Dr. Wisner's, and threw himself on a sofa, in one of his most depressed moods, saying, 'It was a complete failure. It fell perfectly dead.'" It is needless to say that he was mistaken. Probably no sermon ever preached in America, at least up to that time, has had a wider circulation, or been perused by a larger number of readers. Dr. Wayland was pastor of the Church in Boston which he served so faithfully five years, when he was invited to accept the professorship of moral philosophy in Union College, made vacant by the resignation of Rev. Dr. Alonzo Potter. In this position he remained only a few months, having been called to the presidency of Brown University, upon the duties of which office he entered in February, 1827, being at the time not quite thirty-one years of age.
Dr. Wayland now entered upon what was to be the work of nearly the whole of the remainder of his life. What he accomplished as president of Brown University has passed long since into the records of the literary history of our country. But it was no bed of roses on which he was called to recline. From the outset of his administration he had a well-defined "policy." It was not popular, but lie believed it to be right, and he firmly and persistently pursued it against opposition which at times was very bitter and unrelenting. "I was not responsible," he remarks, in the review of his administration, "for the continuance of a college in Providence, but I considered myself responsible for the conduct of the college on correct principles so long as it continued. What income I derived from my position was a secondary matter. I could live on the poorest fare and wear the cheapest clothing, but I must and would do what seemed my duty." He was so pleased with a remark of Dr. Arnold's that he made a special note of it in his copy of the Life of that great teacher. "It is not necessary that this (Rugby School) should be a school of three hundred, or one hundred, or of fifty boys; but it is necessary that it should be a school of Christian gentlemen." It is not to be wondered at that shirks, and idle men, and doting parents should look with disfavor upon a man so earnest, and so determined to raise the standard of education to the highest point possible. Such persons had but slight appreciation of the moral courage, which led him to say, "The vessel might sink; but if so, it should sink with all its colors flying. We would strive to make it a place of thorough education, and for the cultivation of elevated and noble character." In a sketch like this we cannot present minute details. It must suffice to say that the policy which the new president marked out for himself commended itself to thoughtful men and the lovers of good learning. Those who had long loved the university, and contributed to its prosperity, felt new hope. The men of wealth in the city where it had its home gave liberally to supply its wants. While he was in office, and chiefly through his personal efforts, Manning Hall was erected, a twenty-five-thousand-dollar fund raised for the library, and the library itself greatly enlarged and enriched by some of its most valuable treasures; Rhode Island Hall erected, a new president's house built, the college campus greatly improved and extended, and the endowment and scholarship and aid funds enlarged. For twenty-eight years and a few months Dr. Wayland was president of Brown University. Weary with this long service, and convinced that the prolongation of his life depended on his relaxation from his arduous duties, he resigned his office, Aug. 20, 1855. It was a touching remark which he made to his associate, Prof. Goddard, when the bell rang for the opening exercises of the new term: "No one can conceive the unspeakable relief and freedom which I feel at this moment to hear that bell ring, and to know, for the first time in nearly twenty-nine years, that it calls me to no duty." For less than two years he remained in the comparative quiet of his pleasant home within an easy walk of the college grounds. He was invited to act as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Providence for such time as he might find his strength adequate to perform the duties of the office. With his wonted zeal and earnestness, he entered upon the work early in the spring of 1857, and continued in it a little more than a year, exhibiting, in the course which he pursued both as preacher and pastor, an illustration of what was his conception of the duties of an office than which none more honored could a Christian man take upon himself. After retiring from public life, Dr. Wayland passed the few remaining years of his life in Providence, where he died, Sept. 30, 1865.
We find in the list of the publications of Dr. Wayland, in the form of books, sermons, addresses, etc., the number of seventy-two, exclusive of many articles which he wrote for the periodicals, daily, weekly, and quarterly. From this number we select the following as among those best known: Discourse on the Moral Dignity of the Missionary Enterprise (1823): — Discourse on the Duties of an American Citizen (1825): — Murray Street Discourse: — Certain Triumphs of the Redeemer (1830). Mortal Efficacy of the Atonement (1831): — Philosophy of Analogy (eod.): — Sermon at the Installation of William R. Williams (1832): — Dependence of Science upon Revealed Religion (1835): — Elements of Moral Science (eod.): — Elements of Political Economy (1837): — Limitations of Human Responsibility (1838): — Thoughts on the Present Collegiate System in the United States (1842): Domestic Slavery Considered as a Scriptural Institution': Discussion with Rev. R. Fuller, D.D. (1845): — Memoir of Miss Harriet Ware (1848): — University Sermons (1850): — Memoir of the Life and Labors of' Rev?. A. Judson, D.D. (1853): — Sermon at Rochester on the Apostolic Ministry (eod.): — Elements of Intellectual: Philosophy (1854): — Notes on the Principles and Practices of the Baptist Churches (1856): — Sermons to the Churches (1858): — Introduction to Muller's Life of Trust (1861): — Memoir of the Christian Labors of Thomas Chalmers, D.D., LL.D. (1864): — Revised Edition of Elements of Moral Science (1865). See A Memoir of the Life and Labors of Francis Wayland, D. D., LL.D. (N.Y., 1867), by his sons Francis Wayland and H. L. Wayland. (J. C. S.)