Elder Hastings...had just returned from the ordination of Mr. Whelpley, a baptist minister, in Sandersfield, Mass. This young man was educated at Providence college, as I heard; studied divinity with Dr. Stillman, of Boston, and was quite in clerical fashion. As he had a college education, and was something like the clergy in Connecticut, several of the presbyterian clergy attended. Elder Hastings stated to us that Elder John Leland was appointed to preach the ordination sermon. He said that when the people came together, the meeting-house would not hold them. The people then went to a grove, near the house; erected a stage that the people might hear. Mr. Leland had not spoken long, before it began to rain a little, so that several people went to the meeting-house for a shelter. As they were going, Elder Leland said to old Elder Thomas Morse, "What shall I do, father Morse?" He replied, "Wait a little while; the rain will soon be over, and the people will return." He sat a while; the cloud passed over, and the people returned. After they were all seated, ready to hear, Mr. Leland rose up, and after looking around, as though surprised, and wishing also to sting the clergy severely on account of their infant sprinkling, he said, "My friends, I am astonished to see baptists afraid of water! But when I come to think, it is sprinkling; and I do not wonder that you flee from it." This was a severe stroke upon the Connecticut clergy, and very mortifying to Mr. Whelpley. Mr. Leland having said this, proceeded in his sermon as he had proposed before the shower.
The Life, Conversion, Preachings, Travels, and Sufferings of Elias Smith, pp. 255-56