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REV. NOAH LEVINGS, D. D.
BY REV. D. W. CLARK, D. D.
It is the object of this article to give a brief sketch of the life and character of an eminent servant of God, who, during more than thirty years' service in the ministry, filled with honor and success the various stations and offices to which he was called; every where winning the affections of the people, and at all times enjoying the confidence and esteem of his brethren, till he was suddenly summoned from his work to his reward.
Noah LEVINGS was born in Cheshire county, New Hampshire, on the 29th of Sept., 1796. His parents being in humble circumstances, he was sent from home to earn a livelihood when about eight or nine years
of age. From that time he shared but few of the joys or advantages of the parental home. But, even among comparative strangers, the amiableness of his character and the faithfulness of his service every where secured for him friends. His early advantages for mental improvement were very limited; a source of much regret
* See the Methodist Quarterly Review for October, 1849. Although Dr. Levings was not member of the Troy Conference at the time of his death, yet as he was converted and spent most of his
it is thought best that this sketch should be inserted.
days among us,
† His great-grand-father emigrated from Scotland, some twenty or thirty years before the Revolution, and settled in what is now called Cheshire county, N. H. His grand-fat..er's name was Abel Levings. His father, whose Christian name was Noah, entered the army of the Revolution at the age of sixteen, about the year 1779. His maternal ancestry were of English descent, his mother's maiden name being Submit Temple.
to him in after life. In his case, it was a matter of little consequence that the public schools were poorly supported and poorly conducted; that text-books were defective and teachers incompetent. To him, thirsting for knowledge, yet from very childhood compelled to toil for his daily bread, the few advantages they did afford would have been regarded as a boon above all price.
His early religious impressions were deep and lasting. But experimental religion was little known at that period within the circle of his acquaintance. High Calvinism had begotten its opposite in error, Universalism, and the two opinions were in conflict for the mastery. It could not be doubtful (apart from divine interposition), in an age when the tone of piety and of morals was emphatically low, which would have the vantage-ground in the contest. The one required morality; nay, piety, after its kind; the other dispensed with both,. while at the same time its "policies of insurance
were issued on the largest scale. In such a contest, carried on in such an age, the chances were on the side of the scheme which promised most and required least. Nor have we any doubt that Universalism would long since have obtained the mastery in New England, had not the fermenting mass been impregnated with the leaven of a purer faith and a richer experience. Divine providence raised up a people to proclaim a free, a present, and a full salvation; this, by the new elements of Christian power it evoked, has proved a check and an antidote to the system of religious licentiousness which was sweeping over the land like a flood.
At the age of sixteen, the subject of our memoir was apprenticed to a blacksmith in Troy, his parents having previously removed to that place. When he entered upon his new situation, he formed the resolution to be
faithful to his master, and regard his interests as his own. His morals were placed in great peril. His mas. ter was not religious, and did not pretend to control him upon the sabbath; and he was led into the company of sabbath-breakers, and with them spent much holy time in roaming over the fields and through the woods adjacent to the city. But his natural good sense, and the uncorrupted moral principles inculcated in early life, soon came to his relief. His parents, though not professedly pious, had trained their children to a strict observance of the Christian sabbath, and now the moral influence of that early training revived and wrought his deliverance, as it has that of thousands of young men similarly exposed.
Breaking away from these associations, he determined to become a regular attendant upon the worship of God in some one of the churches. All churches were alike to him, for he had not become familiar with the creeds of any, nor, indeed, scarcely with the peculiarities in their forms of worship. He therefore determined upon a circuit of visitation to the several churches in the city; and, in carrying out this design, he first visited the Presbyterian church, then under the pastoral charge of Rev. Jonas Coe, D. D.; who, he says, was a good man and an excellent pastor.” He next attended the Baptist church, where "good old Mr. Wayland (the father of President Wayland) was the minister.” Though favorably impressed with the piety and abilities of both of these seryants of God, he could not feel at home in their congregations. His third visit was made to the Protestant Episcopal church, but there he was wearied with ceremonies too numerous and complicated to be either interesting or edifying. He next attended the meeting of the Friends; but, here, instead of long prayers and tedious ceremonies, he heard nothing at all;