A HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS
By Thomas Armitage
THE AMERICAN BAPTISTS
VII. NEW CENTERS OF BAPTIST INFLUENCE--SOUTH CAROLINA--MAINE-- PENNSYLVANIA--NEW JERSEY
As a wrathful tempest scatters seed over a continent, so persecution has always forced Baptists where their wisdom had not led them. The first American Baptist that we hear of, out of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is in a letter which Humphrey Churchwood, a resident of what is now Kittery, MAINE, addressed January 3d, 1682, to the Baptist Church in Boston, of which he was a member. He states that there were at Kittery 'a competent number of well-established people, whose heart the Lord had opened, who desired to follow Christ and to partake of all his holy ordinances.' They asked, therefore, that a Baptist Church should be established there, with William Screven as pastor, who went to Boston and was ordained. Before he returned to Kittery, Churchwood and others of the little band were summoned before the magistrates and threatened with fines if they continued to hold meetings. A Church was organized, however, September 25th, 1682. So bitterly did the Standing Order oppose this Baptist movement, that Mr. Screven and his associates resolved to seek an asylum elsewhere, and a promise to this effect was given to the magistrates. It is supposed that they left Kittery not long after the organization of the Church, but it is certain from the province records, that this 'Baptist Company' were at Kittery as late as October 9th, 1683; for under that date in the records of a Court occurs an entry from which it appears that Mr. Screven was brought before the Court for 'not departing this province according to a former confession of Court and his own choice.'
At the Court held at Wells, May 27th, 1684, this action was taken: 'An order to be sent for William Screven to appear before ye General Assembly in June next.' As no further record in reference to Mr. Screven appears, it is probable that he and his company were on their way to their new home in South Carolina before the General Assembly met. They settled on the Cooper River, not far from the present city of Charleston. Some of the early colonists of South Carolina were Baptists from the west of England, and it is very likely that these two bands from New and Old England formed a new Church, as it is certain that, in 1685, both parties became one Church on the west bank of the Cooper River, which was removed to Charleston by the year 1693, and which was the first Baptist Church in the South. In 1699 this congregation became strong enough to erect a brick meetinghouse and a parsonage on Church Street, upon a lot of ground which had been given to the body. It is not known whether the church at Kittery was dissolved or whether it was transferred to South Carolina. Certainly no church organization is traceable there after the departure of Mr. Screven and his company.
Nearly a century passed before we find another Baptist church within the limits of what is now the State of Maine. Then, as the result of the labors of Rev. Hezekiah Smith, of Haverhill, Mass., a Baptist church was organized in Berwick and another in Gorham. Four years later, in Sanford, still another church was organized. In April, 1776, William Hooper was ordained pastor of the church in Berwick. This was the first ordination of a Baptist minister in the District of Maine. In Wells, in 1780, a fourth church was organized, of which Nathaniel Lord was ordained pastor. All of these churches were in the south-western part of Maine and became connected with the New Hampshire Baptist Association.
In 1782 Rev. Job Macomber, of Middleboro, Mass., visited the District of Maine. Hearing of a religious interest in Lincoln County, he made his way thither in December and engaged in the work. In January, 1783, he wrote a letter to Rev. Isaac Backus of Middleboro, in which he gave an account of his labors. This letter Mr. Backus read to Mr. Isaac Case, who was so impressed with the need of more laborers in that destitute field, that in the autumn of 1783, after having been ordained, he made his way into the District of Maine, he preached awhile in the vicinity of Brunswick and then visited Thomaston, where, May 27, 1784, as a result of his labors, there was organized a church, of which he became pastor. Three days earlier a church was organized in Bowdoinham, and Rev. Job Macomber was soon after called to the pastorate. January 19, 1785, a church was organized in Harpswell, and Mr. James Potter, who had labored in that place with Rev. Isaac Case, was ordained as its pastor. May 24, 1787, these three pastors, with delegates from their churches, organized the Bowdoinham Association in the house of Mr. Macomber, at Bowdoinham. Mr. Case was made moderator of the association, and Mr. Potter preached the first sermon. In 1789 three more churches and one ordained minister had been added to the association. In 1790 the number of Baptist churches in the District of Maine was 11, with about 500 members. In 1797, ten years after its organization, Bowdoinham Association comprised 26 churches, 17 ordained ministers and 1,088 members. The Lincoln Association, embracing 18 churches, chiefly east of the Kennebec River, was organized in 1805. It was during this year that Rev. Daniel Merrill, pastor of the Congregationalist church in Sedgwick, became a Baptist, together with a large number of his former parishioners. He was graduated at Dartmouth College in 1789, and his church was one of the largest in the District of Maine, lie thought lie would write a book against the Baptists, but his study of the Scriptures convinced him that they were right and that lie was wrong. He at length called the members of his church together for consultation, and they asked him to give them the results of his investigations. He preached seven sermons on baptism, and not long after a Baptist church was organized of which Mr. Merrill became pastor. His sermons on baptism were published and in successive editions were extensively circulated. Mr. Merrill performed valuable missionary service also, and in various ways greatly advanced the Baptist cause in Maine. The Cumberland Association was organized in 1811, York Association in 1819, and the Eastern Maine Association in 1819. In 1826 there were in Maine 199 churches, 126 ordained ministers, and 12,120 members. That year the Penobscot Association was organized. Waldo and Oxford followed in 1829; Kennebec in 1830; Hancock.in 1835; Washington in 1836; Piscataquis in 1839; Saco River in 1842; and Damariscotta in 1843. No new associations have been formed since that time. There are now in Maine 247 Baptist churches, 144 ordained ministers, and 19,871 members.
The Baptists of Maine have at Waterville a flourishing college--Colby University, with an endowment of over $550,000, and also three endowed preparatory schools, namely, Goburn Classical Institute, at Waterville; Hebron Academy, at Hebron, and Ricker Classical Institute, at Moulton. The Maine Baptist Missionary Convention, the Maine Baptist Education Society, and the Maine Baptist Charitable Society are strong and efficient organizations.
It now fell to the lot of Rhode Island to send forth new Baptist influence into the then distant colony of PENNSYLVANIA. In 1684, three years after William Penn obtained his charter from Charles II, Thomas Dungan, an aged and zealous Baptist minister, removed from Rhode Island to Cold Spring, Bucks County, Pa., on the Delaware River, and gathered a Church there, which maintained a feeble life until 1702. Thomas Dungan came from Ireland to Newport, in consequence of the persecution of the Baptists there under Charles II, and appears to have been a most lovable man, whom Keach characterizes as 'an ancient disciple and teacher amongst the Baptists.' He attracted a number of influential families around him, and it is believed that the father of the noted Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a member of his Church at Cold Spring. William Penn, it is supposed, caught his liberal views from Algernon Sidney; he had suffered much for Christ's sake, and had adopted quite broad views of religious liberty; for at the very inception of legislation in Pennsylvania, the Assembly had passed the 'Great Law,' the first section of which provides that in that jurisdiction no person shall 'At any time be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious worship, place or ministry whatever, contrary to his or her mind, but shall freely and fully enjoy his or her Christian liberty in that respect, without any interruption or reflection; and, if any person shall abuse or deride any other for his or her different persuasion and practice, in matter of religion, such shall be looked upon as a disturber of the peace, and be punished accordingly.' [Janney's Life of Penn, p. 211]
This provision scarcely matched, however, the radical position of Rhode Island, which provided for the absolute non-interference of government in religion. Hepworth Dixon tells us that the first Pennsylvania Legislature, at Chester, 1682, decided That 'every Christian man of twenty-one years of age, unstained by crime, should be eligible to elect or be elected a member of the Colonial Parliament.' Here, to begin, was a religious test of office and even of the popular franchise, for no one but Christians could either vote for public officers or serve in the Legislature. The laws agreed upon in England by Penn, and the freemen who came with him, restricted toleration to 'all persons who confess and acknowledge the one Almighty and Eternal God to be the Creator, Upholder and 'Ruler of the world.' The Church at Cold Spring, located between Bristol and Trenton, was protected under these laws, but it seems to have died with Mr. Dungan in 1688, or rather to have lived at a dying rate, for in 1702 it disbanded, and Morgan Edwards, writing in 1770, says That nothing was left there in his day but a grave-yard bearing the names of the Dungans, Gardners, Woods, Doyls and others, who were members of this Church.
In 1687 a company of Welsh and Irish Baptists crossed the Atlantic and settled at Lower Dublin, Pa., otherwise called Pemmepeka, Pennepek or Pennypack, a word of the Delaware Indians which signifies, according to Heckewelder, a 'pond, lake or bay; water not having a current." This company organized a Baptist Church, built a meeting-house near the water bearing this name, and sent forth its influence all through Pennsylvania, also into New Jersey and New York, Delaware and Maryland, as its pastors preached in these colonies. Its records were kept with care from the first, and are still preserved in a large folio. We are indebted to Hon. Horatio Gates Jones for the following and many other interesting tenets. The records state:
'By the good providence of God, there came certain persons out of Radnorshire, in Wales, over into tills Province of Pennsylvania, and settled in the township of Dublin, in the County of Philadelphia, namely, John Eaton, George Eaton and Jane, his wife, Samuel Jones and Sarah Eaton, who had all been baptized upon confession of faith, and received into the communion of the Church of Christ meeting in the parishes of Llandewi and Nantmel, in Radnorshire, Henry Gregory being chief pastor. Also John Baker, who had been baptized, and a member of a congregation of baptized believers in Kilkenny, in Ireland, Christopher Blackwell pastor, was, by the providence of God, settled in the township aforesaid. In the year 1687 there came one Samuel Vans out of England, and settled near the aforesaid township and went under the denomination of a Baptist, and was so taken to be.' These, with Sarah Eaton, 'Joseph Ashton and Jane, his wife, William Fisher, John Watts' and Rev. Elias Keach, formed the Church. Samuel Vans was chosen deacon. and was 'with laying on of hands ordained 'by Elias Keach, who 'was accepted and received for our pastor, and we sat down in communion at the Lord's table.'
Ashton and his wife, with Fisher and Watts, had been baptized by Keach at Pennepek, November, 1687, and 'in the month of January, 1687-88 (0. S.), the Church was organized, 198 years ago, and remains to this day.' Hereby hangs a very interesting story concerning Keach, showing who and what he was. ELIAS KEACH came to this country in 1686, a year before this Church was formed. He was the son of Benjamin Keach, of noble memory, for endurance of the pillory, and for the authorship of a key to Scripture metaphors and an exposition of all the parables. When Elias arrived in Pennsylvania, he was a wild scamp of nineteen, and for sport dressed like a clergyman.
His name and appearance soon obtained invitations for him to preach, as a young divine from London. A crowd of people came to hear him, and concluding to brave the thing out he began to preach, but suddenly stopped short in his sermon. There was a stronger muttering than he had counted on in the heart which had caught its life from its honored father and mother, despite the black coat and white bands under which it beat. He was alarmed at his own boldness, stopped short, and the little flock at Lower Dublin thought him seized with sudden illness. When asked for the cause of his fear he burst into tears, confessed his imposture and threw himself upon the mercy of God for the pardon of all his sins. Immediately he made for Cold Spring to ask the counsel of Thomas Dungan, who took him lovingly by the hand, led him to Christ, and when they were both satisfied of his thorough conversion he baptized him; and his Church sent the young evangelist forth to preach Jesus and the resurrection. Here we see how our loving God had brought a congregation of holy influences together from Ireland and Wales, Rhode Island and England, apparently for the purpose of forming the ministry of the first great pastor in our keystone State. Keach made his way back to Pennepek, where he began to preach with great power.
The four already named were baptized as the first-fruits of his ministry, then he organized the Church and threw himself into his Gospel work with consuming zeal. He traveled at large, preaching at Trenton, Philadelphia, Middletown, Cohansey, Salem and many other places, and baptized his converts into the fellowship of the Church at Pennepek, so that all the Baptists of New Jersey and Pennsylvania were connected with that body, except the little band at Cold Spring.
Morgan Edwards tells us that twice a year, May and October, they held 'General Meetings' for preaching and the Lord's Supper, at Salem in the spring and at Dublin or Burlington in the autumn, for the accommodation of distant members and the spread of the Gospel, until separate Churches were formed in several places. When Mr. Keach was away, the Church held meetings at Pennepek, and each brother exercised what gifts he possessed, the leading speakers generally being Samuel Jones and John Watts. Keach married Mary, the daughter of Chief-Justice Moore, of Pennsylvania, and the Church prospered until 1689, when they must needs fall into a pious jangle about 'laying on of hands in the reception of members after baptism, predestination and other matters.' Soon after, Keach brought his pastoral work to a close in 1689, and returned to London, where he organized a Church in Ayles Street, Goodman's Fields, preached to great crowds of people, and in nine months baptized 130 into its fellowship. He published several works, amongst them one on the 'Grace of Patience= and died in 1701, at the age of thirty-four.
The Pennepek Church, after some contentions, built its first meeting-house in 1707, on ground presented by Rev. Samuel Jones, who became one of its early pastors; for many years it was the center of denominational operations west of the Connecticut River, and from its labors sprang the Philadelphia Association, in 1707. It was natural that the several Baptist companies formed in different communities by this Church should soon take steps for the organization of new Churches in their several localities, and this was first done in New Jersey, in Middletown in 1688, Piscataqua in 1689, and Cohansey in 1690.
Next to Rhode Island, NEW JERSEY had peculiar attractions for Baptists. It had been ceded to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, by the Duke of York, in 1664, and in honor of Sir George, who had held the Isle of Jersey as a Royalist Governor of Charles II, it was called New Jersey. In the 'Grants and Concessions of New Jersey,' made by Berkeley and Carteret, published in 1665, religious freedom was guaranteed thus: >No person at any time shall be any ways molested, punished, disquieted or called in question for any difference in opinion or practice in matters of religious concernments.' [Leaming and Spicer, p. 14, 1664-1702] The religious freedom of Rhode Island seemed to be as broad as possible, yet, because that colony required all its citizens to bear arms, some Quakers were unwilling to become freemen there, but under these grants they went to New Jersey and became citizens. From the first, therefore, New Jersey was pre-eminent for its religious liberty, so that Baptists, Quakers and Scotch Covenanters became the permanent inhabitants of the new colony. Many of them came from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York, for the two lords' proprietors dispatched messengers to all the colonies proclaiming the liberal terms of the grants.
Richard Stout, with five others, had settled in Middletown as early as 1648, and Obadiah Holmes, the confessor at Boston, had become one of the patentees of Monmouth County. It is certain that some of the Middletown settlers emigrated from Rhode Island and Long Island as early as 1665. Amongst the original patentees, James Ashton, John Bowne, Richard Stout, Jonathan Holmes, James Grover and others were Baptists. There is some evidence That John Bowne was an unordained preacher, the first preacher to the new colony. Obadiah Holmes was one of the patentees of the Monmouth tract, 1665, owning house lot No. 20 and hill lot No. 6. He never lived in East Jersey, but his son Jonathan did from 1667-80. Obadiah Jr., was on Staten Island in 1689, but in 1690 he resided in Salem County, West Jersey. Jonathan was a member of the Assembly of East Jersey in 1668, and lived in Middletown for about ten years. About 1680 he returned to Rhode Island. His will, made in 1705, is on record at Newport, R.I., under date of November 5th, 1713, and is also recorded at Newton, N.J. He died in 1715. His sons, Obadiah and Jonathan, grandsons of the Boston sufferer, were members of the Middletown Baptist Church, and their descendants are still numerous in Monmouth County. It is very likely that these early Baptists had first taken refuge at Gravesend, Long Island, N.Y. Public worship was early observed in Middletown, and some of them had connected themselves with the Pennepek Church, because, after consultation with that body, they 'settled themselves into a Church state' in 1688. About 1690 Elias Keach lived and preached amongst them for nearly a year. This interest prospered until the close of the century, when they fell into a quarrel, divided into two factions, which mutually excluded each other and silenced their pastors, John Bray and John Okison. After a good round fight about doctrine, as set forth in their Confession and Covenant, they called a council of Churches May 25th, 1711, which advised them to 'continue the silence imposed on the two brethren the preceding year,' 'to sign a covenant relative to their future conduct,' and 'to bury their proceedings in oblivion and erase the record of them.' Twenty-six would not do this, but forty-two signed the covenant, and, as four leaves are torn out of the Church book, we take it that they went into the 'oblivion' of fire. What became of the twenty-six nobody seemed to care enough to tell us; it may be lovingly hoped that, quarrelsome as they were, they escaped the fate of the four leaves, both in this world and in that which is to come.
A most interesting Church was organized in 1689 at Piscataqua. This settlement was named after a settlement in New Hampshire (now Dover), which at that time was in the Province of Maine. We have seen that Hanserd Knollys preached there in 1638-41, and had his controversy with Larkham respecting receiving all into the Church (Congregational), and the baptizing of any infants offered. Although Knollys was not a Baptist at that time, his discussions on these subjects proved to be the seed which yielded fruit after many years. In 1648, ten years after he began his ministry at Dover, under date of October 18th, the authorities of the day were informed that the profession of 'Anabaptistry' there by Edward Starbuck had excited much trouble, and they appointed Thomas Wiggin and George Smith to try his case. Starbuck was one of the assistants in the Congregational Church there, possibly the same people to whom Knollys had preached; but the results of the trial, if he had one, are not given. The Colonial records of Massachusetts make the authorities say (iii, p. 173): 'We have heard heretofore of divers Anabaptists risen up in your jurisdiction and connived at. Being but few, we well hoped that it might have pleased God, by the endeavors of yourselves and the faithful elders with you, to have reduced such erring men again into the right way. But now, to our great grief, we are credibly informed that your patient bearing with such men hath produced another effect, namely, the multiplying and increasing of the same errors, and we fear may be of other errors also if timely care be not taken to suppress the same. Particularly we understand that within these few weeks there have been at Seckonk thirteen or fourteen persons rebaptized (a swift progress in one town), yet we hear not if any effectual restriction is intended thereabouts.'
When Knollys left, in 1641, a number of those who sympathized with his Baptist tendencies left with him, and when he returned to London they settled on Long Island, and remained there until that territory fell under the power of English Episcopacy, when they removed to the vicinity of New Brunswick, N.J. There they formed the settlement of Piscataqua (afterward Piscataway, near Stelton) and organized a Baptist Church, which has exerted a powerful influence down to this time, being now under the pastoral care of John Wesley Sarles, D.D. The constituent members of this Church form an interesting study. It is certain that amongst the original patentees, in 1666, Hugh Dunn and John Martin were Baptists, and amongst their associates admitted in 1668 the Drakes, Dunhams, Smalleys, Bonhams, Fitz Randolphs, Mannings, Runyons, Stelles and others were of the same faith. About the time of organizing the Baptist Church at 'New Piscataqua,' as they called the place, the township confined about 80 families, embodying a, population of about 400 persons. From the earliest information this settlement was popularly known as the 'Anabaptist Town,' and from 1675 downward the names of members of the Baptist Church are found amongst the law-makers and other public officials, both in the town and the colony, showing that they were prominent and influential citizens. Their connection with Pennepek was slight, yet some of the families of the old Church may have been in the new.
Amongst them were John Drake, Hugh Dunn and Edmund Dunham, unordained ministers, who had labored for several years in that region as itinerants. About six years before the formation of the Church--1685-90--a company of Irish Baptists, members of a Church in Tipperary, had landed at Perth Amboy and made a settlement at Cohansey, some of whom went farther into the interior. It is quite probable that Dunn and Dunham--were both of that company, and quite as likely that Mr. Drake was from Dover, N.H., where it is believed that his father had settled many years before from Devonshire, England. Thomas Killingsworth also was present at the organization of this Church, but John Drake, whose family claims kindred with Sir Francis Drake, the great navigator, was ordained its pastor at its constitution, and served it in that capacity for about fifty years.
Another Church was established at COHANSEY. The records of this Church for the first hundred years of its existence were burned, but, according to Asplund's Register, the Church was organized in 1691. Keach had baptized three persons there in 1688, and the Church was served for many years by Thomas Killingsworth, who was also a judge on the bench. He was an ordained minister from Norfolk, England, of much literary ability, eminent for his gravity and sound judgment, and so was deemed fit to serve as Judge of the County Court of Salem. About 1687 a company had come from John Myles's Church, at Swansea, near Providence, which for twenty-three years kept themselves as a separate Church, on the questions of laying on of hands, singing of psalms and predestination, until, with Timothy Brooks, their pastor they united with their brethren at Cohansey. It was meet that before this remarkable century closed the nucleus of Baptist principles should be formed in the great Quaker city of Philadelphia, and this was done in 1696. John Fanner and his wife, from Knolly's Church in London, landed there in that year, and were joined in 1697 by John Todd and Rebecca Woosencroft, from the Church at Leamington, England. A little congregation was held in Philadelphia by the preaching of Keach and Killingsworth and slowly increased. The meetings were held irregularly in a store-house on what was known as the 'Barbadoes Lot,' at the corner of what are now called Second and Chestnut Streets, and formed a sort of out-station to Pennepek. In 1697 John Watts baptized four persons, who, with five others, amongst them John Hohne, formed a Church on the second Sabbath in December, 1698. They continued to meet in the store-house till 1707, when they were compelled to leave under protest, and then they worshiped, according to Edwards, at a place 'near the draw-bridge, known by the name of Anthony Morris's New House.' They were not entirely independent of Pennepek till 1723, when they had a dispute with the Church there about certain legacies, in which the old Church wanted to share; May 15th, 1746, this contest resulted in the formation of an entirely independent Church of fifty-six members in Philadelphia. This rapid review of the Baptist sentiment which had shaped into organization in these colonies at the close of the seventeenth century, together with a few small bodies in .Rhode Island, besides the Churches at Providence and Newport, Swansea, South Carolina and New Jersey, give us the results of more than half a century's struggle for a foothold in the New World. The new century, however, opened with the emigration of sixteen Baptists, from the counties of Pembroke and Carmarthen, Wales, under the leadership of Rev. Thomas Griffith, whose coming introduced a new era in Pennsylvania and the region round about. They had organized themselves into what Morgan Edwards calls 'a Church emigrant and sailant ' at Milford, June, 1701, and landed in Philadelphia in September following. They repaired immediately to the vicinity of Pennepek and settled there for a time. They insisted on the rite of laying on of hands as a matter of vital importance, and fell into sharp contention on the subject, both amongst themselves and with the Pennepek Church. In 1703 the greater part of them purchased lands containing about 30,000 acres from William Penn, in Newcastle County, Delaware. This they named the Welsh Tract and removed thither. There they prospered greatly from year to year, adding to their numbers both by emigration and conversion. But they say:
'We could not be in fellowship (at the Lord's table) with our brethren of Pennepek and Philadelphia, because they did not hold to the laying on of hands; true, some of them believed in the ordinance, but neither preached it up nor practiced it, and when we moved to Welsh Tract, and left twenty-two of our members at Pennepek, and took some of theirs with us, the difficulty increased.'
For about seventy years their ministers were Welshmen, some of them of eminence, and six Churches in Pennsylvania and Delaware trace their lineage to this Church. As early as 1736 it dismissed forty-eight members to emigrate to South Carolina, where they made a settlement on the Peedee River, and organized the Welsh Neck Church there, which during the next century became the center from which thirty-eight Baptist Churches sprang, in the immediate vicinity.
Humanly speaking, we can distinctly trace the causes of our denominational growth from the beginning of the century to the opening of the Revolutionary War. In the Churches west of the Connecticut there was an active missionary spirit. At first the New England Baptists partook somewhat of the conservatism of their Congregational brethren, but in the Churches planted chiefly by the Welsh in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia, the missionary spirit was vigorous and aggressive. As from a central fortress they sent out their little bands; here a missionary and there a handful of colonists, who penetrated farther into the wilderness, and extended the frontiers of the denomination. Two men are deservedly eminent in thus diffusing our principles, namely, Abel Morgan and Hezekiah Smith. These are fair types of the Baptist ministry of their day, and their work is largely representative of the labors of many others.
ABEL MORGAN was born at Welsh Tract, April 18th, 1713. To prevent confusion of names here, it may be well to state, that the first Welsh minister of this name was born in Wales in 1673, came to America and became pastor of the Pennepek Church in 1711, and died there in 1722. Enoch Morgan was his brother, born in Wales, 1676; he also came to tills country and became pastor of the Church at Welsh Tract, where he died in 1740. The Abel Morgan, therefore, of whom we now speak was Enoch Morgan's son, named after his uncle Abel, pastor at Pennepek. The subject of this sketch was one of the leading minds of his day. He was trained by Rev. Thomas Evans, at the Pencader Academy, and was familiar with the languages. He was ordained in the Welsh Tract Church, 1734, and became pastor of the Middletown Baptist Church, New Jersey, in 1739, which he served until his death, in 1785. He bequeathed his library to this Church for the use of his successors, and many notes in his hand are written upon the margins of the volumes in Welsh and Latin. Rev. Samuel Finley, who became President of Princeton College, being disturbed by the growth of the Baptists, challenged him to a discussion.
Finley wrote his Charitable Plea for the Speechless, and Morgan replied in his 'Anti-Paedo Rantism; or, Mr. Samuel Finley's Charitable Plea for the Speechless examined and refuted, the Baptism of Believers maintained, and the mode of it by Immersion vindicated.' This treatise was printed at Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin, 1747. He had another controversy with Rev. Samuel Harker, a Presbyterian, of Kingswood. His work exhibits careful and thorough scholarship, and the appreciation of his brethren is shown by the fact that he was the first to receive the honorary degree of M.A. from Brown University. In his disputation with Finley quite as much Welsh fire was kindled on the one side as good old Scotch obstinacy on the other; and Morgan did great service in setting forth the scriptural and logical consistency of the Baptist position. In 1772 Abel Morgan served as moderator of the Philadelphia Association, James Manning being clerk. Morgan had been clerk in 1762, and in 1774 it was on his motion that the Association adopted the use of the Circular Letter.
But his great life-work is found in preaching the Gospel. During his pastorate of forty years, in a sparse population, his Church received fully 300 persons into its fellowship upon their confession of Christ. He held regular services in two Middletown meeting-houses, several miles apart, besides preaching often at Freehold, Upper Freehold, and Long Brand, making the whole of Monmouth County his parish. Besides this he made extensive circuits into Pennsylvania and Delaware, preaching the word, as a burning and shining light.
Rev. HEZEKIAH SMITH is another name to be had in everlasting remembrance. He was born on Long Island on the 21st of April, 1737, was baptized at the age of nineteen by Rev. John Gano, and in 1762 was graduated from the College of New Jersey, at Princeton. Immediately on graduating he set out on a horseback journey through the South, preaching the Gospel for fifteen months as he traveled from place to place. On the 20th of September, 1763, he was publicly ordained at Charleston, S.C., for the work of the Christian ministry. In the spring of 1764, having accompanied Manning to Rhode Island, he set out on a second missionary journey, this time to the East through Massachusetts, he arrived at Haverhill, and for a time preached in a Congregational Church in the West Parish, then without a pastor. His piety and eloquence attracted crowds of hearers, many of whom were converted, and in due time he was waited upon by a committee of the Church with a view to permanent settlement. Under these circumstances he was obliged to tell them frankly that he was a Baptist, which information not only abruptly closed his labors in that parish, but led to his persecution on the part of the Standing Order. His friends, however, including some leading citizens, pressed him to form a Baptist Church in the center of the town. After consulting with his spiritual advisers in Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey, he finally consented, and the Church was constituted May 9th, 1765, and he remained its pastor for forty years. The memoirs of Dr. Smith, based on his journals, letters and addresses, have been prepared by Dr. Guild and recently published. They furnish a reliable history of the times in which he lived, and afford a charming insight into his daily life. Further reference will be made to him as a prominent chaplain in the army of the Revolution. In point of self-denying and restless labor, these two men were fair representatives of scores of Baptist ministers, North and South, who served one or two Churches near their homes, but who traveled, generally on horseback, through woods and glades, mountains and plains, in search of lost men. They preached where they could, in house or barn, in forests or streets, gathering the scattered few in remote districts, leading them to Jesus, baptizing and organizing them into Churches. Generally their fame drew the people together throughout an extensive circle, in many instances persons coming from five and twenty to sixty miles to hear them, many of them never having heard any tiling that approached the warm and simple unfolding of the riches of Christ.
Dwellers in log cabins, wooded mountains, the dense wilderness and the broad vales, were gathered into living Churches which still abide as monuments of grace. The formation of Associations was another element which contributed to Baptist success. At first, in many places, these began in simple annual meetings for religious exercises simply, but they naturally drifted into organic bodies including other objects as well. The Baptists were very jealous of them, fearing that they might trench on the independency of the Churches and come in time to exercise authority after the order of presbyteries, instead of confining themselves to merely fraternal aims. This has always been the tendency in the voluntary bodies of Christian history, and for this reason Associations will bear close watching at all times, as they are simply human in their origin. The original safeguard against this tendency was found in our colonial times in the fact that, except as the Churches met in Association for the purpose of helping each other to resist the oppressions of the State, they transacted no business.
The cluster of Churches grouped around Philadelphia were strongly bound together by common interests, particularly as Baptist mission work extended in that part of our land. As early as 1688 general quarterly meetings had been held at the different Churches for mutual encouragement, but there was no representation of these Churches by delegates. In 1707 the Pennepek, Middletown, Piscataqua, Cohansey and Welsh Tract Churches appointed representatives and formed the Philadelphia Association. At that time the Philadelphia congregation was a branch of the Church at Pennepek (Lower Dublin); hence its name does not appear in the list of the Churches; still the name of the largest town was chosen. The essential principles controlling this body were these, with some exception, that regulated the English Churches which met in London, September, 1689. The London body adopted thirty-two Articles as a Confession of Faith. An Appendix was also issued, but not as a part of the Articles, in which these words are used, partly in explanation of the position held by the English Churches on the subject of communion: 'Divers of us who have agreed in this Confession cannot hold Church communion with any other than baptized believers, and Churches constituted of such; yet some others of us have a greater liberty and freedom in our spirits that way; and therefore we have purposely omitted the mention of things of that nature, that we might concur in giving this evidence of our agreement, both among ourselves and with other good Christians.'
Dr. Rippon gave the Minutes and Articles of the Assembly in his Register closing with 1793, but omits the Appendix, as also does Crosby, clearly not considering this a part of the Articles nor of equal authority with them, while some of the members were open communists. THE PHILADELPHIA CONFESSION consists of thirty-four Articles, the twenty-third being in favor of singing in public worship, and the thirty-first in favor of the laying on of hands after baptism. There were some other changes, but slight, and the publication of the Confession was accompanied by a forceful Dissertation on Church Discipline. The Philadelphia Association adopted this September 25th, 1742, and it will be of interest to say that the first edition was printed by Benjamin Franklin in 1743. The foregoing extract taken from the London Appendix is not found in the Philadelphia document, as all the Churches which adopted it there were strict communion in their practice; hence they never accepted the London Appendix, but use these words on the Communion question in the XXXI, one of the new Articles: 'We believe that laying on of hands, with prayer, upon baptized believers as such, is an ordinance of Christ and ought to be submitted unto by all such persons that are admitted to partake of the Lord's Supper.' This Confession became the basis on which almost all the Associations of this country were established, until what is called the New Hampshire Confession was drawn up by the late Dr. John Newton Brown. The value of this Association to the encouragement and maintenance of new Churches is indicated by Morgan Edwards, who says, in 1770, that from the five Churches which constituted it, it had 'so increased since as to contain thirty-four Churches, exclusive of those which have been detached to form another Association.' Its Confession, as a whole, takes the doctrinal ground denominated Moderate Calvinism, as laid down by Andrew Fuller, carefully avoiding all extremes, especially that known as Hyper-Calvinism. The many subdivisions into which these were divided who practiced the immersion of believers, but created tests of fellowship not known to the Churches of the New Testament, found scant comfort in the unmistakable language of this Confession. The scriptural character of its positions, with the freedom of thought which it left to the Churches on matters not comprised in its Articles, armed it with a powerful moral influence against heterodoxy, and yet left that free scope for the exercise of conscience without which Baptists cannot exist. A like service was rendered by its Treatise of Discipline, which aided the Churches in administering their practices, with such variations as their circumstances of time and place dictated; and, without that crippling effect which Romanism has sometimes assumed in Baptist Churches under the monstrous guise of Baptist usage, which, in other words, simply meant Baptist tradition.
The establishment of this Association formed a great epoch in Baptist history, because it fostered those educational and philanthropic causes which needed the co-operation of the sisterhood of Churches, and could not be sustained by purely separate congregations. When Isaac Eaton had it upon his heart to raise an academy in connection with his Church at Hopewell, N.J., the Philadelphia Association passed the following resolution, October 5th, 1756: Concluded to raise a sum of money toward the encouragement of a Latin Grammar School, for the promotion of learning amongst us, under the care of Rev. Isaac Eaton, and the inspection of our brethren, Abel Morgan, Isaac Stelle, Abel Griffith and Peter P. Van Horn.' It is said that the first student at this academy was James Manning, afterward President of Brown University. Samuel Jones and Hezekiah Smith were also amongst the early students, as well as Samuel Stillman, John Gano, Charles Thompson, Judge Howell, Benjamin Stelle, and many others of note, both in Church and State. So many of the Churches were supplied with able pastors from this seminary that the Baptists were moved to establish a college, and the result of their effort was the founding of that noted seat of learning now known as Brown University. In a sense, the Philadelphia, aided by the Charleston and Warren Associations, gave birth to all the Baptist institutions of learning in America by nursing the enterprise at Hopewell. The encouragement and assistance which persecuted Baptists received in other States from these Associations in relation to religious freedom was very great. We have seen that the Philadelphia Association was formed in 1707; then followed the Charleston, S.C., in 1751; the Kehukee, N.C., in 1765 ; and the Warren, R.I., in 1767. When the Warren Association was formed, there were, according to Backus, fifty-five Baptist Churches in New England, but according to Morgan Edwards there were seventy. Some of them observed the Sabbath on the seventh day, some were frankly Arminian in doctrine, and a majority of them maintained the imposition of hands upon the immersed as a divine ordinance.
As early as 1729 the General or Arminian Baptists formed an Association at Newport, R.I., and in 1730 thirteen Churches of that colony and Connecticut held yearly meetings upon the Six Principles. The associational idea was thus early at work, but the Warren Association did not grow out of this previous organization. Nor was it related to the quarterly and yearly meetings, as was the Philadelphia body, the Churches which formed it each working on their own lines for a long time. The idea of an association between the Calvinistic Baptist Churches of New England probably originated with Dr. Manning. The growth of our Churches in Massachusetts and the founding of Brown University were so interblended in the formation of the Warren Association that it will be necessary to look at both in connection with that important movement.
As far back as 1656 the magistrates of Connecticut asked those of MASSACHUSETTS some questions concerning infant baptism. June 4th, 1657, a meeting of ministers was held in Boston, who adopted what is known as the Half-way Covenant, which provided 'that all persons of sober life and correct sentiments, without being examined as to a change of heart, might profess religion or become members of the Church, and have their children baptized, though they did not come to the Lord's table.' A synod of all the ministers in Massachusetts ratified this provision in the same year. It will be readily seen that such an unscriptural step opened the doors of the Congregational Churches to an immense influx of unconverted people and to a corresponding worldliness of life. The Baptists were obliged, almost single-handed, to stem this public sentiment, but they bravely stood firm for Gospel principles. The Churches increased in number and influence continually, and in a large measure they counteracted these dangerous influences upon the public mind. The Baptist Church in Boston built a new church edifice in 1680, and in 1683 John Emblem from England became their pastor; after serving them for fifteen years, he died in 1699, when Ellis Callender succeeded him. He was followed by Elisha Callender and Jeremiah Condy, until Samuel Stillman took charge in IT65. By the time that the second Callender became pastor, the spirituality of the Baptists had so commended them to the respect of the better portion of the community that the three principal clergymen in Boston, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather and John Webb, not only consented to be present at his ordination, but Mr. Mather most cheerfully preached the ordination sermon, May 21st, 1718.
And what was as noble as it was remarkable, he had the manliness to select as his subject, 'Good Men United!' In the face of the whole colony he condemned 'the wretched notion of wholesale severities' These he called 'cruel wrath,' and said roundly: 'New England also has, in some former times, done something of this aspect, which would not now be so well approved of, in which, if the brethren in whose house we are now convened met with any thing too unbrotherly, they now with satisfaction hear us expressing our dislike of every thing that has looked like persecution in the days that have passed over us.' [Winsor's Memorial Hist. of Boston, iii, p. 422]
In 1729 the bitterness of the General Court of Massachusetts was so far relaxed against Baptists as to exempt them from paying the parish ministerial taxes if they alleged a scruple of conscience in the matter. [Winsor, ii, p. 227] This, however, by no means ended their sufferings, for in 1753 the Court required the minister and two principal members of a Baptist Church to sign a certificate that the person to be exempt was a member of that Church, and besides, the Church of which he was a member should obtain a certificate from three other Baptist Churches to prove that the Church to which he belonged really was a Baptist Church. Of course, our Churches resisted this provision and, in 1754, remonstrated with the Assembly at Boston. At once it was moved in this body, but not carried, that the signers of the remonstrance should be taken into custody. In the paper which they had sent to the Assembly they had shown how the Baptists had been thrown into jail, their cattle and goods sold at auction for a quarter of their value because they refused to pay Church rates, and they held that all this was contrary to the royal charter, which granted them liberty of conscience. Manning wrote to Dr. Samuel Stennett, June 5th, 1771, of his brethren's hard treatment in Massachusetts by imprisonment and the despoiling of their property. He says of the authorities:
'They are afraid if they relax the secular arm their tenets have not merit enough and a sufficient foundation to stand. This has been so plainly hinted by some of the committees of the General Court, upon treating with our people, that I think it cannot be deemed a breach of charity to think this of them. . . . Some of our Churches are sorely oppressed on account of religion. Their enemies continue to triumph over them, and as repeated applications have been made to the Court of Justice and to the General Courts for the redress of such grievances, but as yet have been neglected, it is now become necessary to carry the affair to England, in order to lay it before the king.'
Dr. Stennett was known personally to George III, who greatly respected him; hence he used his influence with the king, in company with Dr. Llewelyn and Mr. Wallin, to secure relief. On July 31st, 1771, his majesty 'disallowed and rejected' the act of Massachusetts in oppressing the Baptists at Ashfield; and Dr. John Ryland, in writing to Manning, says that Dr. Stennett procured that order. Three hundred and ninety-eight acres of land, belonging in part to Dr. Ebenezer Smith, a Baptist minister, and the Ashfield Baptists, had been seized and sold to build a Congregational meeting-house. On this land was a dwelling-house and orchard, and also a burying-ground, so that the Baptists found their dead taken from them as well as their property.
The Warren Association met at Medfield, Sept. 7th, 1772, and refused to carry in any more certificates for exemption from ministerial taxes, because to do so implied a right on the part of the State to levy such a tax, and because it was destructive to religious liberty and the proper conduct of civil society. They demanded the right to stand on an equality before the law, not as a sect, but as citizens. Meanwhile the Baptist Churches fast multiplied everywhere. A second Baptist Church was formed in Boston itself in 1743, and others followed at various places and dates, as Middleborough, Newton, etc.; so that by 1776 there were about forty Baptist Churches in Massachusetts alone. Their cause in New England received a strong impetus from the preaching of WHITEFIELD and his colaborers, which ushered in the great awakening.
While Whitefield was not a Baptist, he insisted on a spiritual Church and that none but those who had experienced the new birth should become members therein, a position which logically carried men to the Baptists in a community where the Half-way Covenant was in force. He landed at Newport in September, 1740, and for three months preached daily. Tennant, Bellamy, Wheelock, Davenport, and many others followed him, and it is estimated that within two years between thirty and forty thousand persons professed conversion to Christ. Many Churches of the Standing Order arrayed themselves against him; others were indifferent to his movements. Harvard and Yale Colleges officially took ground against him. Dr. Chauncey, of Boston, wrote a volume against him; and the General Court of Connecticut enacted laws restricting ministers to their own pulpits, unless specially invited by the minister of another parish, and making it illegal for any unsettled minister to preach at all.
It was not strange that these converts, finding such opposition or cold welcome in the Congregational Churches, should seek homes elsewhere. In many cases they formed Churches of their own and were known as Separatists, and Backus says that between September, 1746, and May, 1751, thirty-one persons were ordained as pastors of Separate Churches. These new converts were insensibly and inevitably led nearer to the Baptist position than to that taken by the great body of the Congregational State Churches. The Churches of the Standing Order were filled with unconverted persons, with many who had grown up in them from infancy, being introduced at that time by christening; and but a small proportion of their members made any claim to a spiritual regeneration. The intuitions of a converted soul recoil from Church associations with those whose only claim to membership in Christ's mystical body is a ceremony performed over an unconscious infant, for the renewed man seeks fellowship with those who, like himself, have exercised faith in Christ's saving merits, and he is likely to take the Scriptures for his guide in seeking his Church home. Whitefield himself taught his converts, when preaching on Rom. 6:1-4, that their death to sin enjoined another order of duty. He says: 'It is certain that in the words of our text there is an allusion to the manner of baptism, which was by immersion, which our Church [Episcopal] allows, and insists upon it, that children should be immersed in water, unless those that bring the children to be baptized assure the minister that they cannot bear the plunging.' [ Sermons, xiii, p. 197, Boston ed.] In these and similar words he showed his hearers that the New Testament disciples were a body of immersed believers, and when Jonathan Edwards repudiated the Half-way Covenant, numbers embraced his views; some few new Baptist Churches were formed in Massachusetts, but many Whitefieldians and Baptists attempted to build together in what were popularly known as New Light or Separatist Churches.
Of course such a compromise between Baptist and Pedobaptist principles could not long be practiced, and gradually the Baptists withdrew to form their own congregations. Backus says that for the twenty years between 1760 and 1780 two new Baptist Churches were organized each year. The life and ministry of ISAAC BACKUS himself illustrates the sweep of the Baptist movement in New England. He was converted to God during this great awakening, and with many misgivings united with the Congregational Church at Norwich, Conn., but afterward joined with fifteen others in forming a Separate Church, composed of Baptists and Pedobaptists. Two years afterward, 1748, having now readied the age of twenty-six years, he formed a Church of this mixed order at Middleborough, Mass. Soon the question of baptism began to agitate the body, and a number of his people rejected infant baptism and sprinkling as baptism. After a time Mr. Backus followed them on conviction, and in 1756 he formed the First Baptist Church at Middleborough. The story of his change of faith and denominational relations is a type of the inward and outward changes through which many earnest men passed at that time, and united with the Baptists or formed new Churches of that order and Backus acted as a leader in this direction.
We have seen that James Manning was first a student at Hopewell; after spending four years at the College of New Jersey, at Princeton, from which he was graduated in 1762 with the second highest honors of his class, he was intrusted by the Philadelphia Association with the arduous task of establishing a denominational college 'on some suitable part of this continent.' After consulting largely with friends, amongst them Gardner, the Deputy-Governor of Rhode Island, he established a Latin School at Warren, and organized a Baptist Church there in 1764. This school was subsequently removed to Providence, where it is still continued as the University Grammar School. In 1765 he was appointed President of the College of Rhode Island, and Professor of Languages and other branches of learning, with full power to act in these capacities at Warren and elsewhere. He began his work with one student, William Rogers, from Newport; three others were added within a year, and at the first commencement, in 1769, he graduated seven. A college charter was obtained from the General Assembly of Rhode Island, and $2,000 were subscribed for building and endowing the college. He saw at once that his success depended on the interest which the Churches took in the institution, and seeing that this could only be accomplished by united effort, he and Hezekiah Smith determined on forming an Association, with the double purpose of resisting the oppressions of the Standing Order in New England and of securing an educated Baptist ministry. This was accomplished, at Warren in 1767. For six years the college remained at Warren, when a contest, arose between Warren, East Greenwich, Newport and Providence for the honor of the permanent location, and in 1770 the college was removed to Providence. Manning then resigned his pastorship at Warren, accepted that of the Providence Church in 1771, and for twenty years held the twofold relation of pastor and president. The Warren Association was intimately identified with the development at the college for many years, thus making them mutual blessings. Backus tells us that a number of elders being together in consultation about the affairs of the young institution, they sent invitations to other brethren, and the result was the meeting at Warren of representatives from eleven Churches, with three ministers from the Philadelphia Association for consultation concerning the organization of the new Association. John Gano was pastor of the Baptist Church in New York at that time and brother-in-law of President Manning. Gano presided over their delegations, and Isaac Backus acted as clerk. After full deliberation, some of the Churches, fearing that an Association might assume jurisdiction over them, faltered, and that body was formed by the representatives, of four Churches only, namely, Warren, Bellingham, Haverhill and Second Middleborough, but the latter Church withdrew at the second meeting, 1768.
President Manning then drew up a statement closely defining the objects of the Warren Association, adapted to remove misapprehensions, and in 1770 the Middleborough Church with Backus as pastor, returned, 'upon the express condition that no complaint should ever be received by the Association against any particular Church that was not of the Association, nor from any censured member of any of our Churches.' This body of Churches defined that its union was 'consistent with independency and power of particular Churches, because it pretended to being other than an advisory council, utterly, disclaiming superiority, jurisdiction, coercive right and infallibility.' On these principles the Association won its way, and in 1777 it embraced in its membership 31 churches and 1,617 communicants. The service which it rendered to Baptist interests in those days of weakness and trial was very great, for it was a missionary society as well as a fraternal body. It organized an Educational Fund for ministerial education; it appointed a committee to present serious Baptist grievances to the government of Massachusetts and Connecticut; it sent an agent to England to lay their case before the king; and it appealed for subscriptions to all the Baptist Churches of this continent, admonishing them to rally to the support of their own college as a Christian duty. Also it appointed Benjamin Foster and others to prepare a spelling-book, a good English grammar and a Baptist catechism. Foster was a graduate of Yale, was appointed to defend the Pedobaptist position in the exercises of that college, and became a Baptist on conviction as the result. The hallowed influences exerted by the Philadelphia and Warren Associations in molding the Baptist denomination in the New World can never be told.
Justice, however, demands as high a tribute to MORGAN EDWARDS as to James Manning, for his zeal and ability in establishing the college. Indeed, Dr. Guild, the present librarian of Brown University, frankly pays him this tribute. He says of Morgan:
'He was the prime mover in the enterprise of establishing the college, and in 1767 he went back to England and secured the first funds for its endowment. With him were associated the Rev. Samuel Jones, to whom in 1791 was offered the presidency; Oliver Hart and Francis Pelot, of South Carolina; John Hart, of Hopewell, the signer of the Declaration of Independence; John Stites, the mayor of Elizabethtown; Hezekiah Smith, Samuel Stillman, John Gano and others connected with the two Associations named, of kindred zeal and spirit. The final success of the movement, however, may justly be ascribed to the life-long labors of him who was appointed the first president, James Manning, D.D., of New Jersey.' [New England Magazine, January 1886, p. 4]
It is right to say here that he, being a Welshman, it was meet that he should be the 'prime mover' in establishing the first Baptist college in America on the very soil where Roger Williams, his countryman, had planted the first free republic of this land. There is also very much poetic lore in the thought that he should leave his Church in Philadelphia to enlist the men of Wales in the interests of the young institution. He brought back a large sum of money for this object, and had so stirred the sympathies of Dr. Richards, of South Wales, that he bequeathed his library of 1,300 volumes to its use. And now, probably, there is not such a collection of Welsh books in America as is found in the town of the brave Welshman who founded Providence. Welsh affection for Brown merits that 'poetic justice' which led its present librarian to bless the memory of the other immortal Welshman, Morgan Edwards, as the prime mover in its establishment. Mr. Edwards was thoroughly educated and became pastor of the Philadelphia Church, on the recommendation of Dr. Gill, in 1761, and remained there till 1771, when he removed to Delaware, where he died in 1795. His influence was very great, but would have been much enlarged had he identified himself with the cause of the colonies in their struggle with the mother country. His family was identified with the service of his majesty of England, and Morgan was so full of Welsh fire that he could not hold his tongue, which much afflicted his brethren and involved him in trouble with the American authorities, as we find in the following recantation: At a meeting of the Committee of White Clay Creek, at Mr. Henry Darby's, in New York, August 7th, 1775, William Patterson, Esq., being in the chair, when the Rev. Morgan Edwards attended and signed the following recantation, which was voted satisfactory, namely:
'Whereas, I have some time since frequently made use of rash and imprudent expressions with respect to the conduct of my fellow-countrymen, who are now engaged in a noble and patriotic struggle for the liberties of America, against the arbitrary measures of the British ministry; which conduct has justly raised their resentment against me, I now confess that I have spoken wrong, for which I am sorry and ask forgiveness of the public. And I do promise that for the future I will conduct myself in such a manner as to avoid giving offense, and at the same time, in Justice to myself, declare that I am a friend to the present measures pursued by the friends to American liberty, and do hereby approve of them, and, as far as in my power, will endeavor to promote them. Morgan Edwards'
How sound his conversion was to Revolutionary 'measures' is not a proper question to raise here, but as the offense was one of the tongue, he made the amend as broad as the sin, and there is no known evidence that he ever gave too free rein to the unruly member thereafter on the subject of the 'noble and patriotic struggles for the liberties of America.' It is sure, however, that when American liberties were secured he brought forth abundant fruits, 'meet for repentance,' in the labors which he devoted to the cause of American education. He also traveled many thousands of miles on horseback to collect materials for the history of the Baptist Churches in the colonies which he had done so much to build up. His purpose was to publish a history in about twelve volumes. He issued the first volume in 1770, which treated of the Pennsylvania Baptists; the second volume related to the New Jersey Baptists and was published in 1792; his treatment of the Rhode Island Baptists was not sent forth by him, but appeared in the sixth volume of the Rhode Island Historical Collections of 1867. He left the third volume in manuscript, concerning the Delaware Baptists, which is now in possession of the Baptist Historical Society, Philadelphia.
He was as noble, refined and scholarly a servant of Christ as could be found in the colonies. He died in Delaware in 1795; his body, which was first buried in the Baptist meeting-house, La Grange Place, between Market and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, now rests in Mount Moriah Cemetery, and every true American Baptist blesses his memory.
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