A HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS
By Thomas Armitage
THE AMERICAN BAPTISTS
XIV. OTHER BAPTIST MISSIONS?FOREIGN AND HOME
American Baptists had been deeply interested in Foreign Missions from their establishment by the English Baptists in 1792; as is shown in their gifts to the mission at Serampore in 1806 and 1807. In those years $6,000 were sent to aid Dr. Carey in his work, by American Christians, chiefly Baptists. From the organization of the Baptist General Convention for Foreign Missions, in 1814, to the year 1844, the Northern and Southern Baptists worked earnestly together. But at the latter date the question of domestic slavery not only entered largely into American politics, but into the Churches and religious societies of most American Christians. At that time it so divided the councils of American Baptists, that the North and South deemed it expedient to work in separate missionary organizations both at home and abroad. Hence, in 1845, a society was organized under the title of the 'Southern Baptist Convention,' and in 1846 the Northern Baptists re-organized their mission society, under the title of the 'Baptist Missionary Union.' The Southern Society was located at Richmond, Va., where it has continued its operations with great zeal and wisdom. J. B. Jeter, D.D., was elected President, which office he filled with great efficiency for the following twenty years, and Rev. James B. Taylor, Secretary, who continued to serve till His death, in 1871. The great work which the Southern Convention has accomplished well deserves the volume which Dr. Tupper has devoted to the narration of its sacrifices and successes. It has sustained missions in Brazil, Mexico, Africa, China and Italy, and does an inestimable amount of home mission work in the United States, for the Convention combines both Home and Foreign Mission labor. A review of its work in each of its fields will excite gratitude in all Christian hearts.
CHINA. When the Southern Convention was formed, Rev. J. L. Shuck and Rev. I. J. Roberts, missionaries, transferred themselves to its direction and support. Mr. Shuck and his wife had been the Baptist missionaries in Canton, from 1836, and had formed the first Baptist Church there. In 1842, when Hong Kong fell into the hands of the British, the missionaries left Canton for a time and sought protection here. Mr. Shuck had baptized his first converts in Macao, in 1837, but the Church at Canton was not formed till 1844; when he returned. The Spirit of God was poured out upon his work, and he found it needful to erect a place of worship. At that time he lost his noble wife, and finding it necessary to bring his children to the United States, he brought, also, one of the Chinese converts with him, and raised $5,000 for a chapel, but it was thought that wisdom called for the establishment of a mission at Shanghai. He accordingly returned to China in 1847, and labored faithfully till 1851 at Shanghai, where he lost his second wife, and returning to the United States, closed his useful life in South Carolina, after laboring in California from 1854 to 1861.
In 1850 Messrs. Clopton, Pearcy, Johnson, Whilden, and Miss Baker, were added to the Canton Mission, and between the years 1854-60, Messrs. Gaillard, Graves and Schilling followed. A number of these soon fell on the field, were transferred to other stations, or were obliged to return in broken health, but in 1860, 40 baptisms and 58 Church members were reported. Mr. and Mrs. Williams and Miss Whilden went out in 1872 and did a good work, especially in schools amongst Chinese women. Mr. Simmons and wife reached Canton in 1871, and are still on the field, and Miss Stein joined them in 1879. B. H. Graves, D.D., has been in Canton since 1856, and for a generation has consecrated his life to his holy work with his faithful wife. She was a Miss Morris, of Baltimore, known to the writer almost from childhood as a Christian who counted no sacrifice too great for Jesus, and who has stood firmly at her husband's side since 1872. Dr. Graves has published a Life of Christ in Chinese, also a book on Scripture Geography, another on Homiletics, still another on our Lord's Parables, and a Hymn Book.
SHANGHAI. As already stated, this mission was founded in 1847, by Messrs. Yates, Shuck and Tobey, when a Church of ten members was formed, and two native preachers were licensed to preach. When Mr. Pearcy joined the mission, in 1848, 500 natives attended the services. In 1855, 18 public services a week were held, five day-schools were kept, a Chinese woman was immersed, and about 2,500 persons heard the Gospel weekly. Various other missionaries joined the mission, but after 1865 Dr. Yates and his wife were left alone. Dr. Yates has done a great work for China in the translation of the Scriptures into the Chinese colloquial, the speech of 30,000,000, and in the issue of Chinese tracts. This veteran has pushed his Bible translation to 1 Timothy, and continues on the field in full vigor. The Shantung Mission consisted of the Chefoo and the Tung-chow stations, which have been fully cultivated from 1860; the first by Mr. and Mrs. Hartwell and Mr. Crawford. In 1868 a native preacher baptized 20 converts. There are now in China 56 missionaries and native assistants, 654 Church members and 145 pupils in the schools.
AFRICA. In 1846 the Convention established a mission, in Liberia, and appointed John Day and A. L. Jones (colored) their missionaries; who, at different times have been followed by others. Stations were established in Liberia and Sierra Leone, against all sorts of difficulties and discouragements, largely arising in the opposition of the Africans themselves, who, in many cases, have driven out the missionaries, especially in the Beir country. Many of those sent have died on the field, while others have not only lived, despite the trials of the climate; but have risen to great usefulness and influence as teachers and preachers. John Day, the first pastor of the Church at Mourovia, established a high school there, in which not only the elementary branches were taught, but classical and theological instruction was given. He died in 1859, but not until he had planted a number of Churches, many Sunday-schools, and preached the Gospel, as he thought, to about 10,000 heathen. Rev. T. J. Bowen established the Yoruba Mission in 1850, and between 1853 and 1856 about a dozen missionaries went to his help. But after they had planted many Churches and schools, many of them fell victims to African disease, and others were driven out by wars and African persecution. Mr. Bowen labored with much zeal and success for a considerable time, but returned to the United States, and during the Civil War in the United States the Convention was compelled to discontinue the African Mission for want of means. But in 1875 it was reorganized by Messrs. David and Colley, who were welcomed by such of the native converts as had held fast their confidence in Christ. At present, Messrs. David and Eubank, with Mrs. Eubank, and four native laborers, are on the field at Lagos, where a new chapel has been erected and good promise for the future is held forth. There are stations also at Abbookuta and Ogbomoshaw, with several minor points; seven or eight missionaries, native and foreign, are laboring earnestly. In 1865, 18 converts were baptized. There are 125 Church members in the mission and 220 scholars in the schools.
BRAZILIAN MISSION. This work was begun in 1879, and has met with the most determined opposition on the ground, so that the missionaries have suffered much in their work of love and reaped light fruit. The missionaries have been Messrs. Quillan, Bagby and Bowen, and the stations Rio de Janeiro, Santa Barbara, Bahia and Macio. The brethren have published two works in Portuguese, 'The True Baptism,' and 'Who are the Baptists,' and have circulated many copies of Mr. Taylor's tract on the 'New Birth.' The field is very hard, but the Convention is full of perseverance and hope. The present Church membership is 168, of whom 23 were baptized in the mission year 1845-46.
MEXICAN MISSION. This mission was taken up with Rev. J. O. Westrup, in 1880, and had scarcely been adopted when that devoted servant of Christ was murdered by a band of Indians and Mexicans. But Mr. Powell is now on the field and about 12 missionaries and teachers are laboring with him in Mexico; at Saltillo, Patos and Parras, also in the Monclova and Rio Grande Districts, in which several stations there are at present about 270 Church members with 216 scholars in the schools.
THE ITALIAN MISSION. This has become one of the most interesting fields occupied by the Convention. Not only must Rome and Italy ever present a peculiar charm for Baptists, because of their immortal connection with Apostolic triumphs, but because during the Middle Ages there was always a little remnant left there who held fast to some of the Baptist principles of the primitive times. The archives of the Inquisition in Venice furnish proof that in a score of towns and villages of Northern Italy the 'Brothers' were found, although they were obliged to escape to Moravia. Then, from 1550, that court had its hands fall in the attempt to exterminate them. Gherlandi and Saga, especially, are of precious memory. Gherlandi's father had designed him for the priesthood, but the holy life and teaching of the 'Brothers' won him, and in 1559 he labored in Italy to bring men back to Apostolic truth. His capture, however, soon cut short his toils, and when thrust into prison his 'inquisitors pressed him to change his opinions.' 'They are not opinions,' he said, 'but the truth, for which I am ready to die.' Though they drowned him in the lagoon at night, nevertheless, say the 'Baptist Chronicles:' 'His death will be for the revelation of truth.' Saga was born in 1532 and studied at Padua, where, while sick, he was converted through the words of a godly artisan. Dr. Benrath says in 'Studien und Kritiken,' 1885, that when he became a Baptist, his relatives cast him off; and that when he was ready to conduct twenty disciples to Moravia, he was betrayed and taken to Venice, where, after a year's confinement, sentence of death was passed, and in 1565 he was drowned at night in the Sea of Venice.
Modern Baptists prize any land where such heroism has been displayed for the truth, and when the temporal power of the pope fell and Italian unity opened the gates of Rome to free missionary labor, the Southern Convention was not slow to send a man to that post. Dr. W. N. Cote, one of its missionaries on the Continent of Europe, formed a Church of eighteen members in Rome in 1871, but the little flock passed through grave troubles, and Mr. Cote's connection with the Convention ceased. In 1873 Rev. George B. Taylor, son of the first Secretary, James B. Taylor, was appointed to take charge of the mission. He made His way to Rome, a beautiful place of worship was built at a cost of $30,000, and after laboring with the greatest devotion and wisdom, and with large success, ill-health compelled him to return to Virginia in 1885. Meanwhile the mission is conducted under the general direction of Rev. J. H. Eager, and is in a prosperous condition. The Italian Baptists are beset with peculiar difficulties from many sources, but they are pronounced Baptists, and stand resolutely by their principles. For mutual aid they have formed themselves into an 'Apostolical Baptist Union,' and support a journal known as 'Il Testimonio." They are also developing the practice of self-support somewhat rapidly. They have stations at Rome, Tone Pellice, Pinerola, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Modena, Carpi, Bari, Barletta and the Island of Sardinia. Many of these interests are small, but they aggregate about 288 members. The Foreign Mission Stations of the Southern Baptist Convention number altogether, Stations, 27; Out-stations, 26; Male Missionaries, Foreign and native; 41; Female Missionaries, 33; Churches, 40; Communicants, 1,450; number added in 1885?86, 209.
INDIAN MISSIONS. A great work has been done for the Christianization of many Indian tribes by the Southern Convention, chiefly the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Seminoles. Rooted amongst the white missionaries to these 'aborigines, have been Messrs. Buckner, Moffat, Burns, Preston and Murrow, and of converted Indians themselves there have been Peter Folsom, Simon Hancock, Lewis and William Cass and John Jumper. Amongst the various tribes there are 5 Associations, embracing about 8,000 communicants, with many secular and Sunday-schools and meeting-houses.
THE HOME MISSION work of the Convention is done chiefly through the State Mission Board, and is known as the Domestic work. The Domestic Board first took its separate existence in 1845, with Rev. Russell Holman as Corresponding Secretary, who was followed in due time by Rev. Thomas F. Curtis, Rev. Joseph Walker, and again by Mr. Holman. His successors were Rev. M. T. Sumner and Dr. McIntosh; all of whom did a great work for the feeble Churches in almost every Southern city. and in every Southern State, especially in Texas, Florida, Arkansas and Georgia. Over $1,100,000 have been expended on the field, and fully 40,000 persons have been baptized on their faith in Christ Jesus.
Missionary efforts FOR THE INDIANS OF NORTH AMERICA were commenced by the Baptist General Convention in 1817, and prosecuted by the Baptists of the North and South together until 1846. After that the Missionary Union prosecuted its Indian missionary work alone till 1865, when it transferred that department to the American Baptist Home Mission Society. The tribes in which this work was prosecuted during this period, were the Pottawatomies and Miamies, 1817; Cherokees, in North Carolina, 1818; Ottawas, 1822; Creeks, 1823; Oneidas and Tonawandas, including the Tuscaroras, 1824; Choctaws, 1826; Ojibwas, 1828; Shawnees, 1831; Otoes, 1833; Omahas, 1833; Delawares, including the Stockbridges, 1833; and Kickapoos, 1834. The missionaries employed, male and female, numbered upwards of 60, and the missions which yielded the largest fruit were those amongst the Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, Ojibwas, Delawares, and Shawnees. The whole number of converts baptized were about 2,000, of whom three quarters were of the. Cherokee nation.
In 1826 seven young Pottawatomies were sent as students to Hamilton Theological Seminary for instruction, and two to Vermont as students of medicine. In 1833 a Cherokee native preacher was ordained, another in 1844; in 1850 two more, and in 1852, yet another. In 1835 there was a Choctaw native preacher, and in 1842, there were two others; a Creek Indian became a preacher in 1837, and a Tuscarora, chief was ordained pastor in his own tribe in 1838. The earliest stations amongst the Pottawatomies were called Carey and Thomas stations, in honor of the missionaries in India. Rev. Isaac McCoy was the founder of both these missions. In 1831 these Indians were removed farther westward by the government of the United States, became mixed with other tribes, and the work was suspended in 1844. In 1822 schools were formed among the Ottawas and a Church in 1832, with 24 members. They contributed a sum equal to thirty cents per member for missions in 1849; and in 1854 the work was transferred to the Indian Territory. The Cherokee station, in North Carolina, was begun by Rev. Evan Jones and Mr. Roberts in 1825, and in 1838, 156 natives were baptized in the space of ten months. After they were removed to the Indian Territory the work progressed, and in two years their Church numbered 600 members. Mr. Fry joined the station in 1842, and the members were estimated at 1,000. All the Cherokee Churches had meeting-houses, and their was also amongst them a printing-office and a female high school. A missionary periodical was established in 1844, and the translation of the New Testament was completed in 1846. The tribe may well be considered a civilized and Christian nation. The mission amongst the Delawares began with two preaching places; their first. missionary was Rev. J. G. Pratt. This mission was finally absorbed in that to the Shawnees. Mr. Binghum conducted the mission to the Ojibwas at Sault Ste. Mary, from 1828 to 1857; the tribe had dwindled away through death and emigration, and the work was given up. Rev. Moses Merrill labored amongst the Otoes from 1833-to 1840, when he died on the field after translating portions of Scripture into the Otoe language; after his death that mission was discontinued. Mr. Willard, formerly missionary to France, and others, remained amongst the Shawnees from 1831 to 1862. At an earlier date, there were missions amongst two or three tribes in Western New York, but the advancing tide of civilization swept them away. Schoolcraft estimates the number of Indians at the discovery of America within the present area of the United States at 1,000,000, but the Report of the United States Commissioner for 1882 gives their number as only 259,632.
After the Revolutionary War the disjointed condition of the Baptist denomination unfitted it for general missionary work. It needed concert of action, and yet, nothing could force organization upon it so effectually as the pressure of missionary work. From the beginning our people felt the need of pressing the work of personal regeneration, and yet every form of jealousy for reserved rights repelled them from formal organization. Still, the Associations were impelled to cooperation, and helped the Churches to feel their way to concert of action. The Shaftesbury Association, which comprised Northeastern New York and Western Massachusetts, in 1802, sent out Caleb Blood, paying his traveling expenses through Central New York and over the Niagara River into Upper Canada. At that time the Associations' especially the Philadelphia, the Warren and the Shaftesbury, had largely imbibed the missionary spirit and were engaged in home evangelization. The first missionary organization in which American Baptists were active, outside of these, so far as is known, was the 'Boston Female Society for Missionary Purposes.' It was formed in 1800 with 14 members, part of whom were Congregationalists. For the first year it expended $150 in New England. Several years after this, 1802, a few brethren in Boston, without the action of the Churches, formed the 'Massachusetts Domestic Missionary Society,' the object of which was 'to furnish occasional preaching, and to promote the knowledge of evangelic truth in the new settlements of these United States, or further, if circumstances should render it proper.' In the first year of its operations it sent Joseph Cornell through the northwestern part of the State of New York, and two other missionaries to Maine and New Hampshire, Cornell's journey occupied six months; he traveled 1,000 miles, and preached in 46 townships, reporting that in 41 of these the people had no religions instruction, and that in 13 no minister had ever preached. This Society existed thirty years and had missionaries in ten States, West as far as Illinois, and South as far as Mississippi. John Ide, Edward Davenport, Amos Chase, Nathanael Kendrich, John M. Peck and James E. Welch were amongst its missionaries. It afterward became the parent of the present Home Mission Society.
There had been scattered communities of Baptists in Missouri from the settlement of that country. Thomas Johnson, of Georgia, had visited it in 1799, while it was under foreign dominion and Roman Catholic control. A few families from the Carolinas, about 1796, made a settlement in St. Louis County. John dark, an Irish Methodist, became a Baptist, and probably was the first Baptist who ever preached west of the Mississippi. He gathered a Church in 1807.
Before considering the next mission organization, it will be in chronological order here to notice that great movement of explorers and first settlers which planted Baptist Churches in Kentucky at so early a date. Most of its early inhabitants were from Virginia and the Carolinas, principally from Virginia; most of them were Baptists in their religion, and their early ministers brought the strong marks and earnest spirit of their ministry with them. The settlers of Kentucky were generally men of powerful frame and dauntless courage, backwoodsmen, splendidly adapted to the subjugation of this great empire of forests, and these ministers met exactly the wants of the people. For about a score of years they were exposed to the wrath of the savages, who abounded in this world of wilderness. The encroachments of the whites had driven them back from their sea-coast domains, and as these slipped out of their hands, as was natural, they became sullen and vengeful. White emigrants found their crops destroyed, their stock driven off, their buildings burnt, and their wily foe in ambush to slaughter them in the dark forests. Dr. Spencer gives an illustrative case. The Cook family, from which sprang Abraham Cook, a devout Baptist minister, had removed in 1780 to the forks of Elkhorn, when the father died, leaving his widow and a large family unprotected on this frontier. She struggled with poverty and danger till the year 1792, when her sons, Hosea and Jesse, married. One day a band of Indians fell upon these two sons, while they were shearing sheep, and murdered one of them. The other, mortally wounded, fled to the house, barred the door and fell dead. The two women must now fight the Indians to save themselves and their babes. They had one rifle, but no shot. Finding a musket-ball, however, in her desperation one of the women bit it in two with her teeth, and fired one half at an Indian through a crevice in her log-house, he sprang into the air and fell dead. The savages then tried to force the door, but failing, sprang to the roof to fire the house. As the flames began to kindle, one of the heroines climbed the loft and quenched the fire with water. The Indians fired the roof the second time, but the women, having no more water in the house, took eggs and quenched the fire with them. The Indians kindled the flames the third time, when, having neither eggs nor water left, the poor woman tore the jacket from her murdered husband, saturated with his blood, and smothered the flames with that. Thus baffled, the savages retired, leaving these young mothers clasping their babes to their bosoms, obliged themselves to bury their slaughtered husbands. Many of the early ministers suffered much from the Indians. It is supposed that Rev. John Gerrard was murdered by them.
The Severns Valley Baptist Church was the first, organized in Kentucky, about forty miles south of Louisville, at what is now Elizabethtown, though the church still bears its ancient name. On June 18, 1781, eighteen Baptists met in the wilderness, under a green sugar-tree, and there, directed by Rev. Joseph Barrett, from Virginia, formed themselves into a Baptist Church, choosing Rev. John Gerrard as their pastor. Cedar Creek was the second, founded July 4th, 1781, and Gilbert's Creek the third, constituted under the leadership of Lewis Craig. For several years these Churches, and others that were formed, met with no marks of signal prosperity; but, in 1785, they were visited by a blessed revival of religion, especially those in Upper Kentucky. In 1784 a Church was gathered in the Bear Grass region, about thirty miles from what is now Louisville. At that time several able ministers had settled in the new territory, and the young Churches were greatly prospered. In 1787 Rev. John Gano left his pastoral charge in New York and settled in Kentucky, greatly strengthening the hands of His brethren. This State has now become the fourth Baptist State in the Union in point of numbers, having 61 Associations, 896 ministers, 1,731 Churches, 183,688 members. Last year, 1885, 10,748 persons were immersed into the fellowship of those Churches. Our brethren there have always expected and received 'large things.' In the olden times Jeremiah Vardeman baptized 8,000, Gilbert Mason 4,000, James M. Coleman 4,000, and Daniel Buckner 2,500.
In returning to speak of organized missionary effort, it may be stated that in 1807 a number of brethren, within the limits of the Otsego Association, met on the 27th of August, at Pompey, Onondaga County, N. Y., and organized the Lake Missionary Society, for the 'promotion of the missionary enterprise in the destitute regions around.' Its first missionary was Rev. Salmon Morton, who was engaged at $4 a week. Two years later the name of the society was changed to the 'Hamilton Missionary Society.' It was the day of small things, for, in 1815, the society was able to provide only for forty weeks' labor in the course of a year, and it was greatly encouraged to receive from the 'Hamilton Female Missionary Society' in 1812, 'twenty yards of fulled cloth,' to replenish its treasury.
Still, the missionary spirit possessed the hearts of the American Baptists. At the meeting of the Triennial Convention, held in Philadelphia, May 17th, 1817, the sphere of its operations was enlarged by authorizing the Board 'to appropriate a portion of the funds to domestic missionary purposes.' This action diverted attention for a time from the original purpose of the Convention, for during the three ensuing years only three additional missionaries wore sent into foreign lauds. The Convention was feeling its way, in the absence of missionary experience, and its heart desired to take in the world. Luther Rice had influenced its action by his enlarged plans and holy aims. He possessed great ability, was of most commanding presence and an earnest speaker, and his recent conversion to Baptist principles had stirred the whole country. After his tour through the South and West, he reported a recommendation that a mission should be established in the West, not only on account of the importance of the region in itself, but it was 'indispensably necessary to satisfy the wishes and expectations of pious people in all parts of the United States,' and the Convention took his view of the case. Hence, it gave power to the Board to send missionaries into 'such parts of this country where the seed of the Word may be advantageously cast, and which mission societies on a small scale do not effectively reach.' The direct result of this vote was the appointment of John M. Peck and James E. Welch to this work and the appropriation of $1,000 for their support. They went West, acting under this commission, where they established many Churches, amongst them the Church at St. Louis, in the year 1817. James McCoy and Humphrey Posey were sent out under similar commissions to the Indians.
In 1820 the Convention saw that it had attempted too much, and withdrew its support from Messrs. Peek and Welch. Mr. Welch returned East, and Mr. Feck was taken up and supported by the Massachusetts Society. For years he tried in vain to induce the Triennial Convention to resume its work in the West, and so from 1820 to 1833 home mission work was thrown back upon local organizations, Associations and State Conventions. In New York, the Convention was formed in 1821, in Massachusetts, 1824; and in others previous to 1832. After nine years' labor in the West, Mr. Peck returned to New England to arouse new interest in the work of western evangelization, and explained to the Massachusetts Society, in Dr. Baldwin's Church, in Boston, the necessities of this field. He also visited Br. Going, pastor of the Church in Worcester, Mass., and moved his bold but sound judgment and warm heart to examine the subject seriously. The two men corresponded constantly on the subject for five years, when Drs. Going and Belles resolved to visit and inspect the West for themselves. The result was, that the three men sketched a plan, 'to lend efficient aid with promptitude;' and on returning, Dr. Going convinced the Massachusetts Society that a General Home Mission Society should be formed. It was willing to turn over all its interests to a new society, and used its influence to secure its organization: the result was, that on April 27th, 1832 the American Baptist Home Mission Society was formed in New York city, with Hon. Heman Lincoln, of Massachusetts, for its President, Dr. Going for its Corresponding Secretary, and William Colgate for its Treasurer.
In Dr. Going's first report to the Executive Committee of the new society, he made an elaborate statement of Baptist strength in the United States, and the ratio of ministerial supply in various parts of the country. He estimated the whole number of communicants at 385,259, ministers 3,024, Churches 5.321, and Associations, 302. he reckoned the destitution in the Western States as 17 per cent greater than in the Eastern; and while the Churches of New York and New England were supplied with ministers seven eighths of the time, the Middle States were only supplied three eighths, and the Western one eighth. He further calculated that all the ministerial labor in the Valley of the Mississippi was only equal to that of 200 pastors in the East. The managers of the new society 'Resolved' with what they regarded as great boldness, that $10,000 ought to be raised and expended during the first year, and felt very grateful when Mr. Colgate reported $6,580.73, as the result of the year's work. But on this sum they had carried 89 missionaries, laboring in 19 States and Territories through that year. In the sixth year the receipts were $17,238.18, missionaries 116, and 1,421 persons baptized. It is difficult to get at the separate statistics for all the preceding five years, as they were mixed up with the State Conventions, which held certain auxiliary relations to the society. In October, 1837, Dr. Going accepted the presidency of the Literary and Theological. Institute at Granville, Ohio, and in 1839, Rev. Benjamin M. Hill, of Troy, N. Y., was elected to fill his place as Home Mission Secretary. As Dr. Going has become so thoroughly historical amongst American Baptists, a fuller sketch of him will be desired.
Jonathan Going, D.D., was of Scotch descent, and was born at Reading, Vermont, March 7th, 1786. He graduated from Brown University in the class of I809; and during his first year at college, April 6, 1806, he united with the First Baptist Church at Providence, under the care of Rev. Stephen Gano. He pursued his theological studies for a time after his graduation, with President Messer, and then became pastor of the Church at Cavendish, Conn., 1811-1815. In 1815 he became pastor of the Church at Worcester. Mass., and during the first year of His service organized the first Sunday-school in Worcester Co. At that time ardent spirits were in common use amongst Church members and ministers, but Mr. Going took high ground against this practice. It is said that a neighboring Church applied to the Doctor for aid, when he asked if that congregation could not support itself by economizing in the use of liquor? The reply was: 'I think not, sir, I buy mine now by the barrel, at the lowest wholesale rates.' The personal influence of Dr. Going made him a sort of Bishop in all the surrounding country. During his pastorate of 16 years at Worcester; 350 additions were made to his Church. Hon. Isaac Davis, for many years a member of his Church and a personal friend, said of him: If there was an ordination, a revival of religion, & difficulty in a Church, or a public meeting in aid of some benevolent object, within 30 or 40 miles, the services of our pastor were very likely to be called for. Every body saw that his heart was in the great cause, not only of benevolent action but of the common Christianity, and every body expected that he would respond cheerfully and effectively to all reasonable claims that were made upon him.' After taking charge of Granville College, his influence in Ohio became as extensive and healthful as in Massachusetts, but he was permitted to fill His place only till November 9, 1844, when he fell asleep in Jesus, lamented by all who knew him.
Much might be said of Dr. Hill's secretaryship in the Home Mission Society, which he filled for 22 years. He was a native of Newport, R.I., born April 5, 1793. He entered the Pennsylvania University to prepare for the medical profession, but was converted at the age of 19 and became a pastor at 25. He served two smaller Churches first, then spent 9 years as pastor of the First Church, New Haven, Conn., and 10 years as pastor of the First Church Troy, N. Y., before he accepted the place vacated by Dr. Going. During the period of his secretaryship the country and the Society were agitated by several very exciting and perplexing questions, but under his firm and judicious management, it derived no serious injury from any of them. He kept his head and heart upon the one aim of the Society, 'North America for Christ,' and he did much to bring it to the Saviour's feet. One of the serious practical difficulties which beset the Society in the prosecution of its western work was not' readily overcome. In many sections a salaried ministry was denounced, and many otherwise sensible people looked upon the plan of missions as a speculation and the missionaries were set down as hirelings. In November, 1833, a Convention met in Cincinnati, where representative men from various portions of the South and West met representatives of the Home Mission Society, face to face, to exchange views on the subject. This meeting did much to dispel prejudice and ignorance. Still, for many years the narrowminded folk in the West treated the honest, hard working missionaries much as they would be treated by fairly decent pagans. Only persistent work and high Christian character conquered the recognition of their gifts and self-sacrificing life.
The settlement of the interior in regard to intelligence, virtue and religion, as well as free government, had been a matter of great solicitude with the earlier statesmen of the country. Under the colonial date of July 2d, 1756, Benjamin Franklin wrote to George Whitefield:
'You mention your frequent wish that you were a chaplain in the American Army. I sometimes wish that you and I were jointly employed by the crown to settle a colony on the Ohio. I imagine that we could do it effectually, and without putting the nation to much expense; but, I fear, we shall never be called upon for such a service. What a glorious thing it would be to settle in that fine country a large, strong body of religious and industrious people! What a security to the other colonies, and advantage to Britain, by increasing her people, territory, strength and commerce! Might it not greatly facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen, if we could by such a colony, show them a better sample of Christians than they commonly see in our Indian traders??the most vicious and abandoned wretches of our nation! Life, like a dramatic piece, should not only be conducted with regularity, but, methinks, it should finish handsomely. Being now in the last act, I begin to cast about for something fit to end with. Or, if mine be more properly compared to an epigram, as some of its lines are but barely tolerable, I am very desirous of concluding with a bright point. In such an enterprise, I could spend the remainder of life with pleasure, and I firmly believe God would bless us with success, if we undertake it with a sincere regard to his honor, the service of our gracious king, and (which is the same thing) the public good.'
Although the wish of Franklin to enter the heart of the country with Whitefield, as missionaries, for 'the introduction of pure religion among the heathen,' and to found a colony to the 'honor' of God, it was reserved to others, as honorable and as noble, to compose an 'epigram' there, under a Republic of which neither of these great men dreamed when the philosopher expressed this wish. In a quiet way single missionaries there have done an almost superhuman work. Fourteen of thestrongest Churches in Illinois and Michigan were planted by that pure-hearted man, Thomas Powell, as well as the Illinois River Association. Out of this body in turn have come the Ottowa, Rock River, East Illinois River and the McLean Associations, which were organized under his direction. Dr. Temple wrote his friend, Dr. Sommers, in 1833, concerning Chicago, then, a mere trading post: 'We have no servant of the Lord Jesus to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation. . . . I write to beg that you will see Brother Going and ask that a young man of first-rate talent, whose whole heart is in the cause of Christ, may be sent to it immediately. I will myself become responsible for $200 per annum for such a missionary.' Dr. Going found the young man in Rev. A. B. Freeman, who had just graduated from Hamilton,. and justified what seemed hasty, by saying that 'Chicago promises to become a very important place on very many accounts, and it is deemed highly important that we have a footing there at an early date.' In October, 1833, the First Church in Chicago was organized in what is today one of the centers of power in our land.
Under the administration of Dr. Hill, the work of the Home Mission Society began to assume its fuller proportion of importance to American Baptists. In 1832 its principal field was the Mississippi Valley, extending from Galena to New Orleans, embracing about 4,000,000 people, but in twenty years from that time the vast stretch west of the great river was opened up to the Pacific Ocean. What, in 1832,.stood upon the maps as the 'Great American Desert,' an immense empire of black waste, became Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota, as States; while Nebraska, Washington, Dakota, Nevada and Colorado were becoming rapidly colonized in 1852. At the close of Dr. Hill's service, the operations of the Society extended into Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska, 160 miles up the Missouri River from the Kansas line;. up the Mississippi to its junction with the St. Croix, thence to the Falls of the St. Croix, and to the head of Lake Superior. The necessity had been forced upon the-Society of doing something to assist infant Churches to secure houses of worships This was a new order of work, and at first, appropriations were made in the form of loans at a light interest of two per cent. Many of the Churches were paying 8 to 12 per cent., and the aim was to help them to help themselves, by making the interest as nearly nominal as might be, and when the principal was re-paid, to re-loan it to other Churches for similar use. Dr. Hill published a plea for the Church Edifice Fund, aiming to raise $100,000 for this purpose. The plan was a wise one, but the movement had scarcely been inaugurated when the financial panic of 1857 fell upon the country, and the responses in money were light. In 1866, when the funds were used only in the form of loans and the gift system had ceased, the receipts ran up to $72,005 13, of which $30,000 was made a permanent fund. Rev. E. E. L. Taylor, D.D., of Brooklyn, N. Y., a man of large ability every way and a most successful pastor, was appointed to raise the permanent fund to $500,000. He labored nobly in his work till 1874, when his Lord called him to his temple above. He had, however, secured $130,000 for the fund.
Dr. Hill declined further service in 1862, and Dr. Jay S. Backus, one of the most vigorous minds and consecrated pastors in the denomination, was chosen as Ins successor. He served from 1862 to 1867 as the only Secretary, but in 1867 Rev. J. B. Simmons, D.D., of Philadelphia, was appointed an additional Corresponding Secretary, with special reference to the Freedmen's work, and in 1869 Dr. Taylor was added to his colleagues with special regard to the Church Edifice Fund. Dr. Simmons stood the peer of his two fellow-secretaries in wisdom and goodness. He was a graduate of Brown University and of Newton Theological Seminary, and had done delightful pastoral work in Indianapolis and Philadelphia. Thus equipped, the Society stood ready to follow the lead of these three men of God, and well did each of them stand in his lot. The times were extremely trying, for the country had just passed through its severe Civil War, slavery had ceased to exist, and an unexpected change of circumstances called for various modifications in the work of the Society. The new secretaryship, filled by Dr. Simmons, sprang from these necessary changes. At the close of the war the Annual Meeting of the Society was held at St. Louis, May, 1865, when it resolved to prosecute missionary work amongst the Freedmen. Dr. Edward Lathrop and Mr. J. B. Hoyt were sent to visit the Southern Baptists to invite their co-operation in this work, and in 1867 a delegation was sent to the Southern Baptist Convention, at Baltimore, to further that object. That Convention reciprocated these brotherly interchanges, and appointed a similar delegation to meet the Home Mission Society, a few days later, at its annual meeting, in New York. Drs. Jeter and J. A. Broadus made addresses in which conciliation and brotherly affection abounded. Various methods of practical co-operation were suggested, but the Committee which reported on the subject could do little more than recommend that co-operation should be sought and had in all ways that should be found practicable.
In December, 1864, however, a company of Baptists had, on their personal responsibility, formed 'The National Theological Institute,' at Washington, to provide religious and educational instruction for the Freedmen. At the St. Louis meeting of the Home Mission Society in 1845, it was reported that $4,978.69 had been received by its Treasurer for a Freedmen's Fund, and that the Society had already 68 missionaries laboring amongst them in twelve Southern States. The Board was instructed to continue this work. The Institute conferred with the Home Missionary Society as to the best method of conducting this work, for, in 1867, it had schools under its direction at Washington, Alexandria, Williamsburg and Lynchburg, with $3,000 in books and clothing, and $18,000 in money, for their support. The result of much conference was, a recommendation made by a committee, consisting of Messrs. Mason, Hague, T. D. Anderson, Fulton, Bishop, Peck and Armitage, to the Home Mission Board, to organize a special department for this work. This being done, Dr. Simmons was chosen Secretary by the Society, especially for this department. His work naturally divided itself into missionary and educational branches. All ordained missionaries, of whom there were about 30 each year, were instructed to give religious tuition to classes of colored ministers. Dr. Marston reported, that in two years 1,527 ministers and 696 deacons were present at classes which he held. Before Dr. Simmons's election, amongst others, Prof. H. J. Ripley, at Savannah, Ga.; Dr. Solomon Peck, at Beaufort, N. C.; Rev. H. L. Wayland, at Nashville, Tenn.; and Rev. D. W. Phillips, at Knoxville, Tenn.; were engaged in this important work, so that over 4,000 pupils were gathered into these schools. The Society held that the teacher for the common school was secondary to the education of the colored preacher. Teachers were impressed with the responsibility of winning souls to Christ, and those converted in the schools were sent forth to become teachers, pastors' wives, and missionaries to their own people. Fifteen institutions for the colored people have been established with an enrollment in 1885 of 2,955 pupils, 1,391 of them young men, 1,564 young women and 103 teachers. These institutions are all designed primarily for these who are to be preachers or teachers; two are for the separate instruction of women, and one is distinctively a Theological Institution. Industrial education is given in nearly all of them, and the demand for medical education, so closely connected with the moral and religious education of the race, is one that generous patrons are considering. Dr. Simmons continued in this work till 1874, and it is still prosecuted with vigor and success.
Mrs. Benedict, of Pawtucket, R. I., widow of Deacon Stephen Benedict, gave $30,000 for the establishment of the Benedict Institute, in Columbia, S. C. Deacon Holbrook Chamberlain, of Brooklyn. N. Y., gave fully $150.000 for the Freedmen's work, most of it for the founding and support of the Leland University, at New Orleans, La., and others gave large sums for the same cause. After the Civil War the colored Baptists in the South constituted separate Churches and Associations of their own, though previous to that, as a rule, they had been members of the same Churches with the white Baptists. At its session, held at Charleston, 1875, the Southern Convention said:
'In the impoverished condition of the South,
and with the need of strengthening the special work which the Southern Baptist
Convention is committed to prosecute, there is no probability of an early
endowment of schools under our charge for the better education of a colored
ministry. The Convention has adopted the policy of sustaining students at the
seminaries controlled by the American Baptist Home Mission Society. It is much
to be desired that larger contributions for this purpose may be secured from
both white and colored Baptists.'
The Georgia Baptist Convention said in the same year:
'The Institute for colored ministers, under
the care and instruction of our esteemed brother, J. T. Robert, is doing a noble
work for our colored population. We trust that many will avail themselves of the
excellent course of instruction there, and that the school may prove an
incalculable blessing in evangelizing and elevating the race.' In 1878 it added:
'We recommend our brethren to aid in sending pious and promising young men, who
have the ministry in view, to this school, which consideration was urged in view
of the fact, among other facts, that Romanists are making strenuous efforts to
control our colored people, by giving them cheap or gratuitous instruction.' And
in 1879 the same Convention resolved that: 'The institution deserves our
sympathy and most cordial co-operation. It is doing a most important work, and.
is indispensable as an educator of this most needy class of our population.'
The Baptist Seminary and the Spelman Seminary, located at Atlanta, are doing a truly wonderful work. The latter was largely endowed by the philanthropist, John D. Rockefeller, and bears Mrs. Rockefeller's maiden name. It has 626 pupils, and its income for 1885 was $7,133; Sidney Root, Esq., of Atlanta, has been unwearied in his zeal to build up both these useful institutions.
At the Annual Meeting, held in Washington, in 1874, the Society elected but one Corresponding Secretary to take charge of the mission and educational work, Dr. Nathan Bishop; with Dr. Taylor in charge of the Church Edifice Fund. But as Dr. Taylor died that year, Dr. Bishop was left alone. From 1876 to 1879 Dr. Cutting served as Corresponding Secretary, when he was succeeded by Rev. H. L. Morehouse, D.D., the present Secretary, whose very successful administration has brought up the Society to a position commensurate with the times, and to a position of strength worthy of its preceding history.
As Nathan Bishop, LL. D. was a layman, and did so much for the interests of the Baptist denomination generally, this chapter cannot be more fittingly closed than by a brief sketch of his life and labors. He was pre-eminently a scholar, a Christian gentleman, a philanthropist and a man of large religious affairs. He was born in Oneida County, N. Y., August 12th, 1808. His father was a Justice of the Peace and a farmer, and brought up his son to habits of thorough industry and economy. While yet a youth, Nathan was converted, under the labors of Rev. P. P. Brown, and united with the Baptist Church at Vernon. Early he displayed an uncommon love for knowledge with a highly consistent zeal for Christ, a rare executive ability and a mature selfpossession. At eighteen, he entered the Academy at Hamilton, N. Y., and Brown University in the year 1832. There he became a model student, known by all as full of quiet energy, a Christian of deep convictions, delighting in hard work, manly, self-denying and benevolent, and graduated with high honor. In 1838 he was appointed Superintendent of Common Schools in Providence, where he re-organized the whole plan of popular education. In 1851 he filled the same office in Boston, and for six years devoted his great ability to elevating its common schools to a very high rank. He married and settled in New York in 1858, and here he identified himself with every line of public beneficence, to the time of his death, August 7th, 1880. He was a leader in the Christian Commission, the Board of State Commissions of Public Charities, the Sabbath Committee, the American Bible Society, the Evangelical Alliance; and, under the administration of General Grant, he served in the Board of the United States Indian Commissioners. No man contributed more invaluable time and toil to the development and upbuilding of Vassar College, or to the New York Orphan Asylum, and, in his denomination, every department of benevolent operation felt his influence. In the City Mission, the Social Union and the Home for the Aged, he put forth a molding and strengthening hand from their organization. But the greatest service, and that which must be ever associated with his honored name, was rendered in association with Baptist Missionary work, in both the Home and Foreign departments. Although never a wealthy man, he was a prodigy of liberality all his life, and when he died he left the most of his property for mission uses. For many years he gave his most precious time to the Home Mission Society, and for two years discharged the duties of its Corresponding Secretaryship without charge, besides increasing his contributions to the treasury. While he was Secretary, he and Mrs. Bishop made a centennial offering to the Society of $30,000, besides large gifts to the Freedmen's fund. Once the Doctor said to Dr. Simmons: 'I have been blamed for giving so many thousand dollars for the benefit of colored men. But I expect to stand side by side with these men in the day of judgment. Their Lord is my Lord. They and I are brethren, and I am determined to be prepared for that meeting.' No man ever known to the writer was more completely devoted, body, soul and spirit, in labor for man and love for God than Dr. Bishop. He had as robust a body, as broad a mind and as warm a heart as ever fall to the lot of Christian humanity; and not a jot or tittle of either did he withhold from this holy service. Yet, when told that death was near and that he would soon be free from extreme pain and enter into rest, his only reply was the expression of a grateful soul that he should soon begin a life of activity.
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