A Calvinistic Evangelist
Imagine your mother dying when you were an infant. Then imagine your father dying when you were only eight years of age. How difficult your upbringing would be. In the case of little Daniel Baker, who was born at Midway, Liberty county, Georgia, on August 17, 1791, he could only look with sadness at his playmates who had loving parents to watch over them. But Daniel had a heavenly Father who watched over him and was preparing him for great things in the kingdom of God.
Reared by a godly aunt, Daniel came to a knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior around 14 years of age. Soon afterwards, he felt the call to be a preacher of the Word. Receiving an offer of a scholarship to Hampden-Sydney College, he made a public profession of faith and joined the Presbyterian Church. His spiritual attainments affected his fellow students there as well as at Princeton University to which he transferred.
Upon graduation, he was interested in enrolling at the Seminary, but instead placed his education under the Rev. William Hill of Winchester, Virginia. While there was much lacking in this mentoring, his own study in the Westminster Shorter Catechism brought him to the place where the local Presbytery ordained him to the gospel ministry.
One of his greatest blessings was a godly wife, in the person of Elizabeth McRobert, who bore him several children, as well as helping him in his ministry. While he labored as a pastor, it became almost common that revival would break out under his ministry. Thousands came to the Lord, not only from the local church, but from those around the church. And so Rev. Baker decided to become a full time evangelist.
It must be remembered that Daniel Baker was a Calvinist evangelist. He didn’t resort to producing the right emotional effect, but simply preached the whole counsel of God. And the Lord added to the church such as should be saved.
The last part of his ministry took place in Texas from 1850 on. He became the president of Austin College and resided in Huntsville, Texas, what the school is located. There he preached the same gospel, with the same effects. He died in 1857.
Words to live by: Before Daniel Baker passed away, he called his son to make sure that the epigraph on the tombstone read clearly, “Here lies Daniel Baker, Preacher of the gospel, A sinner saved by grace.” The close of his life was one of triumph. He lifted his eyes to heaven, and exclaimed, in the calm exercise of a grounded faith, “Lord Jesus, into Thy hands I commend my spirit!” As these words passed his lips, he closed his eyes on earth, to open them forever on the face of that Saviour whom, not having seen, he so loved. Let us be known in life and death as Sinners saved by grace, God’s grace.
Daniel Baker at Princeton [excerpted from The Life and Labors of the Rev. Daniel Baker, pp. 69-70:
Chapter III. – While a Student at Princeton.
Having reached Princeton, I offered myself, on the opening of the winter session of 1813, as a candidate for the Junior Class, and after examination was admitted. I was located in room 39, and had for my room-mate a most estimable and pious young man named Thomas Biggs. At this time religion was at a very low ebb in the College. There were about one hundred and forty-five students, and of these, only six, so far as I knew, made any profession of religion, and even two of these six seemed to care very little about the matter; for although four of us, Price, Allen, Biggs, and myself, agreed to meet every evening for what was called family prayer, they kept entirely aloof. Feeling it my duty to do what I could for my fellow-students in Princeton, as at Hampden Sydney College, I selected certain individuals to be made the subjects of special prayer and effort, one named M and the other V. The first, during the revival which subsequently took place in College, professed conversion, and in after years became a Presbyterian preacher.
. . . During the whole of this session religion was at a very low ebb indeed; it was deemed a matter of reproach to be a professor [i.e., of the Christian faith]; and by way of contempt, those, who did make a profession of religion, particularly those who composed the praying band, were termed “the Religiosi.” Grieved to see the abounding of iniquity in College, I proposed to my three associates, Price, Allen, and Biggs, that we should establish a weekly prayer-meeting for the especial purpose of praying for a revival of religion in College. This proposition was made sometime during the second session, and was immediately and cordially acceded to. Accordingly this prayer-meeting was held regularly until the close of the session, and none attended but the four already named, and one non-professor, Symmes C. Henry, who subsequently became, for many years, pastor of Cranbury church, New Jersey. At the commencement of the third session, as our prayers seemed not to have been heard, I was somewhat doubtful about continuing our weekly prayer-meeting, but, very happily, my associates were clear for continuing it, and it was well; for although we knew it not, the blessing was nigh, even at the doors.”
For Further Reading : Works by the Rev. Daniel Baker
1. A Series of Revival Sermons (1846).
2. Revival Sermons. Second Series. (1854).
3. A Plain and Scriptural View of Baptism (1853),
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