A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST
DENOMINATION IN AMERICA, AND OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
By David Benedict
London: Printed by Lincoln & Edmands, No. 53, Cornhill, for the Author
NOVA-SCOTIA AND NEW-BRUNSWICK
These two British provinces occupy a large extent of territory to the east and north-east of the District of Maine. There are now, in both of them, upwards of forty Baptist churches, most of which have been organized within the course of twenty years past.
At the close of the French war, about fifty years ago, many families emigrated from New England, and settled in different parts of these two provinces, which, at that time, were all included under the name of Nova-Scotia. Among these emigrants were some Baptists, and from that period there have always been a few of the denomination in the country.
In 1776, and a few succeeding years, there was a very great attention to the things of religion in Nova-Scotia; the work was promoted chiefly by a zealous young preacher, whose name was Henry Alline, whose history will be more fully related in its proper place. This work, in some respects, resembled the New-Light Stir in Whitefield?s time. By the labors of Henry Alline and his zealous associates, many churches were formed of the Congregational order; most of them, however, have now become extinct, and Baptist churches have arisen in their stead.
For most of the historical facts respecting the Baptist interest in Nova-Scotia, I am indebted to Mr. Edward Manning, pastor of the Church at Cornwallis. Some sketches have, however, been forwarded by Messrs. Burton and Dimock; some verbal communications were made by Mr. Ries, now on a mission to New Orleans, and a few facts have been ascertained from Backus? history and Leland?s M. S. S.; but most of the following statements are made upon the authority of Mr. Manning, who has taken much pains to furnish materials for this work.
According to the best information, the first Baptist church, which ever existed in either of these provinces, was transported and established in the following manner.
In the year 1763, immediately after the conclusion of the French war, Nathan Mason and wife, Thomas Lewis and wife, Oliver Mason and wife, and a sister by the name of Experience Baker, all of the 2d church in Swansea, Bristol county, Mass. Benjamin Mason and wife, Charles Seamans and wife, and Gilbert Seamans and wife, from some of the neighboring churches, resolved on removing to Nova-Scotia. And with a view to their spiritual benefit, these thirteen persons were formed into a church, on the 21st of April, 1763, and Nathan Mason was ordained their pastor. Soon after, this little church sailed in a body for Nova-Scotia, and settled at a place now called Sackville in New-Brunswick. [This account is found in Backus? History, vol. 3. p. 146. Mr. B. says, this emigrant church settled at the head of the Bay of Fundy; but Mr. Manning assures me, that Mr. Mason settled at Saekville, which is on the Cumberland Bay. But still, both of these statements may be correct. Mr. Backus is general, Mr. Manning particular. As near as I can understand by maps, at the head of the great Bay of Fundy, are two other smaller Bays; one is called the Bason of Minas, and the other Cumberland Bay. Mr. Mason and his company, therefore, sailed up the Bay of Fundy to its head, and then entered the Bay of Cumberland, and on its north side made their settlement. The place was then called Tantarramar.]
Here they continued almost eight years, enjoying many spiritual blessings, and witnessing much of the goodness of the Lord, in this new and remote situation. Elder Mason labored here with good success, and the little church increased to about 60 members, and Mr. Job Seamans, formerly pastor of the church in Attleborough, Mass. now of that of New London, N.H. was converted and began to preach among them. But the lands and government not meeting their approbation, and finding themselves uncomfortable in other respects, in 1771 the founders of the emigrating church with Elder Mason removed back again to Massachusetts, and settled at a place called New-Providence, now in the township of Cheshire, in Berkshire county.
This account of Elder Mason?s success in Nova-Scotia, was furnished some years ago by Mr. John Leland of Cheshire, which I found among Mr. Backus? papers. What became of the converts, whom Mr. Mason left behind, I do not find; but it is probable that they were scattered, and the church broken up after the founder had left them. Some further account of the Baptists in this place will be given in its due order.
Horton. Not long after the settlement of the church at Sackville, all Elder Moulton from one of the New England States, probably from Massachusetts, began to preach at Horton. His preaching was attended with success, and in a short time a church was formed consisting of Baptists and Congregationalists. What became of Mr. Moulton I do not find; but the church did not enjoy much prosperity, until it was revived under the ministry of Henry Alline. This zealous minister was cordially received among them, and the church adopted his maxims of discipline. They traveled but a short time, however, in fellowship with his New Light connection, before they made choice of a Mr. Piersons, a native of England, for their minister, who induced them to give up their mixed communion plan, and settled them on consistent ground. But in a short time, by the influence of one of their deacons, they broke down all their bars, and again admitted unbaptized persons to their communion. In this practice they continued until 1809, when a reformation was again effected, which is likely to be permanent.
About the year 1790, Elder Piersons removed to Hopewell, New-Brunswick, where he died shortly after.
David George, in speaking of Horton church, (Rippon?s Register, vol. 1. p. 481) mentions that a Mr. Scott was their minister. He probably succeeded Mr. Piersons, and continued with them but a short time. But I can gain no further account of him.
A few years after Mr. Piersons? removal, the church made choice of Elder Theodore S. Harding, for their pastor, in which office he continues to the present time. He had been a Methodist preacher, but was baptized and ordained by Mr. Burton of Halifax, soon after his settlement in that city.
Newport.?This town received its name from Newport on Rhode Island, from which most of the planters of it emigrated. While Mr. John Sutton was in Nova-Scotia, he preached some time in Newport and baptized a few persons; but he soon left the country, and returned to New Jersey. Shubal Dimock is said to have been one of the principal promoters of religion in this town. He was a native of Mansfield in Connecticut, and was brought up a Presbyterian. But when he was brought into the light of the gospel, he found himself under the necessity of dissenting from the parish worship, for which he was oppressed and plundered, and this oppression lead him to seek an asylum elsewhere. Accordingly in 1760, he removed to Nova-Scotia, and settled at Falmouth, where he tarried about a year. He then removed to Newport, where he spent the remainder of his days. He became a Baptist about the year 1775. He was a man of eminent piety, and occasionally preached. His eldest son Daniel was a Baptist in sentiment before he left Connecticut, but was not baptized till he settled in Nova-Scotia, when that rite was administered to him by Mr. Sutton about 1765. This man was also a preacher, and preached until within a few days of his death. Joseph Dimock, pastor of the church in Chester, is his oldest son.
The two Dimocks, Shubal and his son Daniel, united with the church in Horton, but labored much to promote religion in their own town. But it does not appear that any Baptist church was formed here until the year 1800. The father died about ten years before this period, and the son about four years after it. Mixed communion was the prevailing custom among most of the Nova-Scotia Baptists, when the church in this town was formed, and it fell in with the practice, continued it a short time, and then gave it up. [I have given the history of this church a place here, for I supposed it was amongst the oldest in the country. Morgan Edwards, in a Catalogue of American churches, which he wrote in 1764, mentions one in this town. Mr. Edwards probably had his information from Mr. Sutton, who had preached in the place. But since writing the account, Mr. Manning has informed me that Mr. Edwards? Catalogue must be incorrect. He is positive there never was a Baptist church in this town until 1800. I have, therefore, corrected the statement, which I at first made, but left the article to stand in its present place.]
The Newport church has waded through many trials from its disputes respecting the terms of communion, but more on account of the ill conduct of its late pastor, William Delany, whose labors were, for a while, attended with much success, but who, a short time since, fell into the sin of drunkenness, and was excommunicated from the church. This shipwreck of their pastor, by causing divisions, had like to have destroyed their visibility as a church; but they have since recovered, in a good degree, from this painful shock, and although they have no settled minister, bid fair to be one of the most flourishing churches in the province.
Cornwallis.?This church is situated in a large township of the same name in King?s county, on the southern shore of the strait, which connects the Basin of Minas with the Bay of Fundy. The history of this church will lead us back to the year 1776, when Henry Alline began his New-Light ministry in Nova-Scotia, and established a church here upon his plan, over which he was ordained pastor; and under this head it may be proper to say what we propose to of this extraordinary man, and of the mixed and zealous community, which he was instrumental in raising up.
HENRY ALLINE was born of respectable and pious parents, in Newport, R. I. June 14, 1748. In 1760, the family removed from Newport to Nova-Scotia, and settled at Falmouth. Henry was the only son, and was early instructed in the principles of the christian religion, and when about 8 years old; according to his own account, as stated in his journal, his mind was seriously impressed with a sense of divine things. From this early period it appears that convictions followed from time to time, until they terminated in a sound conversion; which happened in March, 1775, when he was almost 27 years old. Soon after his conversion his mind was lead to the work of the ministry. Having always been taught to believe that learning was absolutely necessary to qualify men for this important undertaking, he resolved on going to New England to solicit the aid of his friends and relations there, towards obtaining it. Pursuant to this resolution, he took leave of his friends, and actually proceeded some distance on his journey. But Providence hedged up his way by a number of insurmountable obstacles, and he returned. This was in the close of the year in which he was converted. After passing through many trials, occasioned by the struggles of his own mind, and the solicitations of his friends, some urging him to go in pursuit of learning, others to engage in the ministry without it, he, the next spring, began to preach. His first efforts were crowned with such remarkable success, that he was encouraged to proceed. He soon began to travel extensively, revivals of religion almost constantly attended his ministry, and for about eight years he was abundantly owned of God, as the instrument of the conversion of souls; he was much beloved by his friends, and was much abused and persecuted by many, who unreasonably became his enemies. And notwithstanding some errors in his creed, he was a bright and shining light through the dark regions of Nova-Scotia.
Mr. Alline was brought up a Congregationalist, and from that community he never separated; but he outstripped most of his brethren in his ardent zeal, and evangelical exertions, which soon procured for him the appellation of a New-Light.
His notions of gospel discipline were confused and indefinite. The external order of the gospel, and particularly baptism and the mode of it, he professed to view with great indifference. He baptized but little himself, and never condescended to go into the water; but was willing his followers should practice what mode they chose; and if they could be easy in their minds, under the entire omission of the ordinance, he considered it rather their felicity than neglect; but if their minds dwelt much upon baptism, he advised them to go forward in what mode they chose, that they might thereby quiet the troubles of their minds, and so forget the things which were behind, and be prepared for the calm and undisturbed enjoyment of the things of God.
Such instructions from a leader, we might naturally suppose would lead to confusion among his followers.
Mr. Alline also plunged into some speculations on theological points, which he could not have fully understood, as it would have puzzled a Jesuit to define them. But with all the exceptions to his maxims and doctrine, he was undoubtedly a man of God, and his labors were crowned with remarkable success; he was unquestionably the instrument of the conversion of many hundreds of souls in the provinces of Nova-Scotia and New Brunswick.
Having preached in this country about eight years, viz. from 1776 till 1784, he traveled into the United States, and sickened and died, at the house of Rev. David M?Clure, in the town of North-Hampton, State of New-Hampshire, Feb. 2, 1784, in the 36th year of his age.
As he lived in a country where he had but little opportunity of doctrinal instruction, and was almost incessantly employed, during his short ministry, in travelling and preaching, it is not strange that his sentiments were hastily adopted. Had he lived to have maturely reviewed his system, he would probably have pruned it of many of its exceptionable parts. His principal business was to roam through the forests, and hew down the trees, spending but little time in preparing and arranging them; and he raised up many communities, which were afterwards, (some during his life, and others after his death) organized into distinct churches, of the New Light or Congregational order; the most distinguished of which were those of Cornwallis, Newport, Horton, and Upper-Granville.
There were, at this time, the remains of a few Baptist churches, and besides them there were many Baptist members, scattered in different parts of the country. Many, but not all of them, fell in with the New-Light party. But in a short time, many of the New Light Pedobaptists took to the waters, but all continued in communion together. But Baptist sentiments made rapid advances; some of the New-Light ministers were baptized, and were thus qualified, with more consistency; to baptize their converted brethren. Some great revivals of religion took place, and the converts almost uniformly became Baptists, and followed their Redeemer into the watery tomb. The Baptist leaven thus intermixed, produced a gradual fermentation, and in the course of a few years, many of the New-Light Congregational were in reality transformed into New-Light Baptist churches. But the Baptists, either without much thought upon the subject, or from a principle of reciprocal charity, continued on the mixed communion plan, long after they had become a large majority in the churches.
But what are called close communion principles were at length broached among them, and caused no small stir in the churches. The Pedobaptist, and indeed a number of the Baptist members, were much opposed to the restrictions which they imposed. But as light and consistency prevailed, prejudice and tradition gave way, and in process of time, a reformation, as to external order, was effected; so that now, most of the churches in Nova-Scotia and New-Brunswick have adopted what our enemies call the monstrous doctrine of close communion.
But to return to Cornwallis: After Henry Alline?s death, a Congregational minister of the New-Light connection, by the name of Payzant, was ordained to the pastoral office here, in which situation he continued a number of years, when he removed to the town of Liverpool, where he now resides. Their next, who is also their present pastor, was Rev. Edward Manning, who has furnished me with much information of Nova-Scotia, and the following respecting himself. He was ordained as their pastor, Oct. 19, 1795, being then an unbaptized New-Light minister. But his mind soon became disturbed about baptism, and for three years subsequent to his ordination, was much agitated on the subject; during which time he continued a motley mixture of administrations, sometimes immersing, and at other times sprinkling both adults and infants, constantly endeavoring to prove from the scriptures the eligibility of his subjects for the ordinance, and the validity of his different administrations. But at length his mind was brought to a stand; the only gospel baptism was clearly exhibited to his view, and he was made willing to obey. He accordingly went to Annapolis, and was baptized by the Rev. Thomas H. Chipman, the former pastor of the church in that place. This measure, as might be expected, produced some agitation in the church, but it was finally agreed, that he should continue their pastor, without being obliged to sprinkle any more, either infants or adults; but open communion both pastor and people conscientiously maintained. About this time, a very refreshing season was granted to the church, and many believers were added by being baptized in the gospel mode. The church, however, was far from being harmonious for many years, but was in an agitated and divided state. Mr. Manning was obliged, after a few years, to relinquish open communion, and in 1807, soon after the church was reformed to its present unmixed and consistent plan, he was lead to call in question the validity of his former ordination. This brought on him a new and peculiar trial, for his brethren were not unanimous in their opinions about the matter. In the midst of their inquiries, Elders Isaac Case and Henry Hale, two missionaries from the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society came among them; by their advice and assistance a unanimity was obtained, and his re-ordination was effected. Since that time they have moved on in order and harmony.
Chester.?This church was formed in 1788, upon the open communion plan, most of the members at that time being Congregationalists. One article in their Confession was: ?We believe baptism to be a divine institution, yet, as there are different opinions as to the subjects and outward administration of the ordinance, we give free liberty to every member to practice according to the dictates of their consciences, as they profess to be directed by the word of God.?
Different ministers labored among them with success. Rev. John Secomb, a very godly minister of the Congregational order, became their pastor, and continued in that office till his death. Rev. Joseph Dimock, who was then a Baptist minister, and who is now their pastor, made them a number of visits during Mr. Secomb?s life, and soon after his death, viz. in 1793, he accepted a call and settled among them. Under his ministry they have been a prosperous and generally a happy people. They had, however, for a while, some severe trials, occasioned by their disputes about the terms of communion. In 1809, a partial reformation was effected, so that no more were to be received into the church, unless they were baptized. But still a few good people, who had not been baptized, were admitted to their communion. Thus matters continued until 1811, when the reformation was completed, and the church was received into the association.
The limits prescribed for this work will not permit us to give a full account of the remaining churches, which once stood in the New Light connection. But it is sufficient to say, that they have passed through struggles and changes, in many respects, similar to those already mentioned.
Shelburne.?This church was formed mostly of black people, under the ministry of a black man, whose name was David George. At the close of the American war, Mr. George with many other people of color, and a large number of whites, fled from the southern States, and settled at Shelburne. An account of the settlement of the church, its progress and breaking up, and the trials of Mr. George, are related in Rippon?s Register, vol. 1. p. 473-483. The first part of the narrative I shall abridge, the latter part I shall give entire.
DAVID GEORGE was born a slave in Essex county, Virginia, about 1742. His master was very severe with his negros, which induced him to run away, when he had grown to manhood. He went first to Pedee river in South Carolina, where he tarried but a few weeks, before he found he was pursued. He next went towards the Savanna river, and let himself to a Mr. Green, with whom he labored about two years, when he was again heard of, and to escape his pursuers, he fled among the Creek Indians, and became the servant of their king, who was called Blue Salt. He was now about 800 miles from his master; it was, however, but a few months, before his master?s son, who pursued him with unremitting diligence, came where he was, and took him; but before he could get him out of the Creek nation, he escaped from him, and fled to the Nantchee or Natchez Indians, and got to live with their king Jack. As there was much trading between the Indians and white people, he was soon heard of here, and was purchased by a Mr. Gaulfin, who lived on Savannah river, at Silver Bluff. Mr. Gaulfin had an agent among the Indians, whose name was John Miller, and into his custody, the poor hunted refugee was delivered. After serving him a few years, he by his own request, went to live with his master Gaulfin at Silver Bluff. It does not appear that he experienced any unkind usage from any of these masters, whether Indians or white people. And although he appeared peculiarly unfortunate, in being so often detected, yet he soon saw that a kind Providence directed his path, and brought him in due time, to receive that mercy which was laid up in store for him. He was, all this time, a thoughtless and wicked man. After living at Silver Bluff about four years, his mind was awakened to religious concern by the conversation of a man of his own color, whose name was Cyrus. His convictions were deep and distressing, but his deliverance was clear and joyful. Soon after his conversion, he began to pray and exhort among the black people. He received instruction and encouragement from two preachers of his own color, George Liele, who afterwards went to Jamaica, and ?______Palmer, who was the pastor of a church of black people, at some distance from Silver Bluff,? probably at Augusta. He was now entirely illiterate, but he soon set about learning; he got a spelling book, and by his own unwearied exertions, and the instruction of the little white children, he soon learnt so much, that he could read in the Bible. This was before the American war, during the whole of which he continued to preach in different places, under many embarrassments, but with a good degree of success.
The remaining part of the history of this worthy man, I shall give in his own words as related to Dr. Ripport of London, and the late Samuel Pearce of Birmingham.
?When the English were going to evacuate Charleston, they advised me to go to Halifax, in Nova-Scotia, and gave the few black people, and it may be as many as 500 white people, their passage for nothing. We were 22 days on the passage, and used very ill on board. When we came off Halifax, I got leave to go ashore. On showing my papers to General Patterson, he sent orders by a serjeant for my wife and children to follow me. This was before Christmas, and we staid there till June; but as no way was open for me to preach to my own color, I got leave to go to Shelburne, (150 miles, or more, I suppose, by sea,) in the suite of General Patterson, leaving my wife and children, for a while, behind.
?Numbers of my own color were here, but I found the white people were against me. I began to sing, the first night, in the woods, at a camp, for there were no houses then built; they were just clearing and preparing to erect a town. The black people came far and near, it was so new to them; I kept on so every night in the week, and appointed a meeting for the first Lord?s day, in a valley, between two hills close by the river, and a great number of white and black people came, and I was so overjoyed with having an opportunity once more of preaching the word of God, that after I had given out the hymn, I could not speak for tears. In the afternoon we met again, in the same place, and I had great liberty from the Lord. We had a meeting now every evening, and those poor creatures who had never heard the gospel before, listened to me very attentively; but the white people, the justices, and all, were in an uproar, and said that I might go out into the woods, for I should not stay there. I ought to except one white man, who knew me at Savannah, and who said I should have his lot to live upon as long as I would, and build a house if I pleased. I then cut down poles, stripped bark, and made a smart hut, and the people came flocking to the preaching every evening for a month, as though they had come for their supper. Then Governor Parr came from Halifax, brought my wife and children, gave me six months provisions for my family, and a quarter of an acre of land to cultivate for our subsistence. It was a spot where there was plenty of water, and which I had before secretly wished for, as I knew it would be convenient for baptizing at any time. The weather being severe and the ground covered with snow, we raised a platform of poles for the hearers to stand upon, but there was nothing over their heads. Continuing to attend, they desired to have a meeting house built. We had then a day of hearing what the Lord had done; and I and my wife heard their experiences, and I received four of my own color; brother Sampson, brother John, sister Offee, and sister Dinah; these all were well at Sierra Leone, except brother Sampson, an excellent man, who died on his voyage to that place. The first time I baptized here was a little before Christmas, in the creek which ran through my lot. I preached to a great number of people on the occasion, who behaved very well. I now formed the church with us six, and administered the Lord?s supper in the meeting-house, before it was finished. They went on with the building, and we appointed a time every other week to hear experiences. A few months after, I baptized nine more, and the congregation very much increased. The worldly blacks, as well as the members of the church, assisted in cutting timber in the woods, and in getting shingles; and we used to give a few coppers to buy nails. We were increasing all the winter, and baptized almost every month, and administered the Lord?s supper first of all once in two months; but the frame of the meeting, house was not all up, nor had we covered it with shingles, till about the middle of summer, and then it had no pulpit, seats, nor flooring. About this time, Mr. William Taylor and his wife, two Baptists, who came from London to Shelburne, heard of me. Mrs. Taylor came to my house, when I was so poor that I had no money to buy any potatoes for seed, and was so good as to give my children somewhat, and me money enough to buy a bushel of potatoes, which one produced thirty-five bushels. The church was now grown to about fifty members. At this time, a white person, William Holmes, who, with Deborah his wife, had been converted by reading the Scriptures, and lived at Jones?s harbor, about twenty miles down the river, came up for me, and would have me go with him in his schooner to his house. I went with him first to his own house, and then to a town they called Liverpool, inhabited by white people. Many had been baptized there by Mr. Chipman, of Annapolis, in Nova-Scotia. Mr. Jesse Dexter preached to them, but was not their pastor. It is a mixed communion church. I preached there; the christians were all alive, and we had a little heaven together. We then returned to brother Holmes?; and he and his wife came up with me to Shelburne, and gave their experiences to the church on Thursday, and were baptized on Lord?s day. Their relations, who lived in the town, were very angry, raised a mob, and endeavored to hinder their being baptized. Mrs. Holmes? sister especially laid hold of her hair to keep her from going down into the water; but the justices commanded peace, and said that she should be baptized, as she herself desired it. Then they were all quiet. Soon after this the persecution increased, and became so great that it did not seem possible to preach, and I thought I must leave Shelburne. Several of the black people had houses on my lot; but forty or fifty disbanded soldiers were employed, who came with the tackle of ships, and turned my dwelling house and every one of their houses quite over; and the meeting-house they would have burned down, had not the ring-leader of the mob himself prevented it. But I continued preaching in it, till they came one night and stood before the pulpit, and swore how they would treat me if I preached again. But I stayed and preached, and the next day they came and beat me with sticks, and drove me into a swamp. I returned in the evening, and took my wife and children over the river to Birchtown, where some black people were settled, and there seemed a greater prospect of doing good than at Shelburne. I preached at Birchtown from the fall till about the middle of December, and was frequently hearing experiences, and baptized about twenty there. Those who desired to hear the word of God, invited me from house to house, and so I preached. A little before Christmas, as my own color persecuted me there, I set off with my family to return to Shelburne; and coming down the river the boat was frozen, but we took whip-saws, and cut away the ice till we came to Shelburne. In my absence, the meeting-house was occupied by a sort of tavern-keeper, who said, ?The old negro wanted to make a heaven of this place, but I?ll make a hell of it.? Then I preached in it as before, and as my house was pulled down, lived in it also. The people began to attend again, and in the summer there was a considerable revival of religion. Now I went down about twenty miles to a place, called Ragged Island, among some white people, who desired to hear the word. One white sister was converted there while I was preaching concerning the disciples, who left all and followed Christ. She came up afterwards, gave her experience to our church, and was baptized, and two black sisters with her. Then her other sister gave in her experience, and joined us without baptism, to which she would have submitted, had not her family cruelly hindered her; but she was the only one in our society, who was not baptized. By this time, the Christians at St. John?s, about 200 miles from Shelburne, over the bay of Fundy, in New-Brunswick, had heard of me and wished me to visit them. Part of the first Saturday I was there, was spent in hearing the experiences of the black people; four were approved, some of whom had been converted in Virginia; a fortnight after, I baptized them in the river, on the Lord?s day. Numerous spectators, white and black, were present, who behaved very well. But on Monday, many of the inhabitants made a disturbance, declaring that no body should preach there again, without a license from the Governor. He lived at Frederick-town, about an hundred miles from thence up St. John?s river. I went off in the packet to him. Colonel Allen, who knew me in Charleston, lived but a few, miles from the Governor, and introduced me to him; upon which his Secretary gave me a license. [Secretary?s Office, Frederick-town, 17th July, 1792. I do hereby certify, that David George, a free negro man, has permission from his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, to instruct the black people in the knowledge, and exhort them to the practice of the Christian religion. JON. ODELL, Secretary.] I returned then to St. John?s, and preached again, and left brother Peter Richards to exhort among them. He afterwards died on the passage, just going into Sierra Leone, and we buried him there. When I got back to Shelburne, I sent brother Sampson Colbart, one of my elders, to St. John?s, to stay there. He was a loving brother, and the Lord had endowed him with great gifts. When the experiences of nine or ten had been related there, they sent for me to come and baptize them. I went by water to Halifax, and walked from thence to Horton, about 80 miles from Annapolis, and not far from New-Brunswick. There is a large church at Horton, I think the largest in Nova-Scotia. They are all Baptists; Mr. Scott is their minister. We spent one Sabbath together, and all day long was a day to be remembered. When I was landing at St. John?s, some of the people, who intended to be baptized, were so full of joy, that they ran out from waiting at table on their masters, with the knives and forks in their hands, to meet me at the water side. This second time of my being at St. John?s, I staid preaching about a fortnight, and baptized ten people. Our going down into the water, seemed to be a pleasing sight to the whole town, white people and black. I had now to go to Frederick-town again, from whence I obtained the license before; for one of our brethren had been there, and heard the experiences of three of the people, and they sent to me, entreating that I would not return until I had been and baptized them. Two brethren took me to Frederick-town in a boat. I baptized on the Lord?s day, about 12 o?clock; a great number of people attended. The Governor said he was sorry that he could not come down to see it; but he had a great deal of company that day, which also hindered one of his servants from being baptized. I came back to St. John?s, and home to Shelburne. Then I was sent for to Preston, it may be four miles from Halifax, over against it, on the other side of the river. Five converted persons, who lived there, desired to be baptized and join the church. I baptized them, and administered the Lord?s supper to them at Preston, and left brother Hector Peters, one of my elders, with them. In returning to Shelburne, with about 30 passengers, we were blown off into the sea, and lost our course. I had no blanket to cover me, and got frost bitten in both my legs up to my knees, and was so ill when I came towards land, that I could not walk. The church met me at the river side, and carried me home. Afterwards, when I could walk a little, I wanted to speak of the Lord?s goodness, and the brethren made a wooden sledge, and drew me to meeting. In the spring of the year, I could walk again, but have never been strong since.
?The next fall, Agent (afterwards Governor) Clarkson came to Halifax, about settling a new colony at Sierra Leone. The white people in Nova-Scotia were very unwilling that we should go, though they had been very cruel to us, and treated many of us as bad as though we had been slaves. They attempted to persuade us, that if we went away, we should be made slaves again. The brethren and sisters all round, at St. John?s, Halifax, and other places, Mr. Wesley?s people, and all consulted what was best to do, and sent in their names to me, to give to Mr. Clarkson, and I was to tell him that they were willing to go. I carried him their names, and he appointed to meet us at Birchtown the next day. We gathered together there, in the meeting-house of brother Moses, a blind man, one of Mr. Wesley?s preachers. Then the Governor read the proclamation, which contained what was offered, in case we had a mind willingly to go, and the greatest part of us were pleased and agreed to go. We appointed a day over at Shelburne, when the names were to be given to the Governor. Almost all the Baptists went, except a few of the sisters whose husbands were inclined to go back to New York; and sister Lizze, a Quebec Indian, and brother Lewis, her husband, who was an half Indian, both of whom were converted under my ministry, and had been baptized by me.
?There are a few scattered Baptists yet at Shelburne, St. John?s, Jones? Harbor, and Ragged Island, besides the congregations at the other places I mentioned before. The meeting-house lot, and all our land at Shelburne, it may be half an acre, was sold to merchant Black, for about 7 pounds
?We departed and called at Liverpool, a place I mentioned before. I preached a farewell sermon there; I longed to do it. Before I left the town, Major Collins, who, with his wife, used to hear me at this place, was very kind to me, and gave me some salted herrings, which were very acceptable all the way to Sierra Leone. We sailed from Liverpool to Halifax, where we tarried three or four weeks, and I preached from house to house, and my farewell sermon in Mr. Marchington?s Methodist meeting-house.
?Our passage from Halifax to Sierra Leone was seven weeks, in which we had very stormy weather. Several persons died on the voyage, of a catching fever, among whom were three of my Elders, Sampson Colwell, a loving man, Peter Richards, and John Williams. There was great joy to see the land. The high mountain at some distance from Freetown, where we now live, appeared like a cloud to us. I preached the first Lord?s day, it was a blessed time, under a sail, and so I did for several weeks after. We then erected a hovel for a meeting-house, which is made of posts put into the ground, and poles over our heads, which are covered with grass. While I was preaching under the sails sisters Patty Webb and Lucy Lawrence were converted, and they, with old sister Peggy, brother Bill Taylor, and brother Sampson Haywood, three, who were awakened before they came this voyage, have since been baptized in the river.
?On the voyage from Halifax to Sierra Leone, I asked the Governor if I might not hereafter go to England? and sometime after we arrived there, I told him I wished to see the Baptist brethren who live in his country. He was a very kind man to me and to everybody; he is very free and good natured, and used to come and hear me preach, and would sometimes sit down at our private meetings; and he liked that I should call my last child by his name. And I sent to Mr. Henry Thornton, O what a blessed man is that! he is brother, father, everything! he ordered me five guineas, and I had leave to come over. When I came away from Sierra Leone, I preached a farewell sermon to the church, and encouraged them to look to the Lord, and submit to one another, and regard what is said to them by my three Elders, brethren Hector Peters, and John Colbert, who are two exhorters, and brother John Ramsey.?
Mr. George was on a visit to London when he gave this account of himself; he returned to Sierra Leone, not far from the time that Messrs. Radway and Grigg went as missionaries into that country. Whether he is yet alive, and what progress the Baptist cause has had at Sierra Leone, since about 1792, I have not been able to learn. If David George be yet living, he must be upwards of 70 years old.
The church at Shelburne was broken up when Mr. George and his followers left the place. There were, however, a few scattered Baptist members left, who were formed into a church a few years after, by Mr. Burton of Halifax. William Taylor and his wife, who are respect. fully mentioned in David George?s narrative, carne from Dr. Rippon?s church in London, and were, for many years, the principal members in the church at Shelburne, Mr. Taylor was a wealthy and liberal man. By his generosity, and, it is said, by some considerable assistance from the church, from which he emigrated, this small people built a very commodious meeting-house, which is now in a great measure unoccupied. Mr. Taylor died a few years since. During his life he was the deacon of the church, and had the care of the meeting-house. His widow is yet alive. There is yet a small church in Shelburne, but without a pastor.
Halifax.?This church was founded by Rev. JOHN BURTON, its present pastor, in the following manner. Mr. Burton is a native of England, was initiated into the Episcopal church in infancy, and never entirely left that establishment, until he became a Baptist. He was, however, licensed in England, as a dissenting minister. He arrived at Halifax, May 20, 1792, but he had no design of tarrying there, for he left England with an intention of settling in the United States. At this time, there was a Mr. Marchington in Halifax, who had built a meeting house for the Methodists, to which denomination he belonged; but on account of a disagreement between him and the society, his meeting house was unoccupied when Mr. Burton arrived. Into this house he was invited, where he preached for more than a year after his arrival in Halifax. In the fall of 1793, Mr. Burton traveled into the United States, and at the town of Knowlton, in New Jersey, he was baptized in December of this year, and the next month was ordained at the same place. In June, 1794, he returned to Halifax a Baptist minister, to the astonishment of all his friends. He was now entirely alone, there not being an individual Baptist in the town beside himself. He continued preaching in Mr. Marchington?s meeting house, until the next year; and by this gentleman he was much befriended, until after he had become a Baptist. But now being left without patronage, his prospects were truly gloomy and discouraging, being low in his temporal circumstances, and almost destitute of the society of his brethren, as the province was then much overrun with error and enthusiasm, and the few Baptists who were scattered in it, were so much intermixed with the Pedobaptist New-Lights, that he could have but little fellowship or communion with them. But his prospects soon became more encouraging; liberal helpers were raised up for the supply of himself and family; in a short time a number were baptized, and in 1795 a small church was constituted, which has never been large, but is respectable and well established. A respectable congregation has been collected, from which Mr. Burton receives a comfortable support. They have purchased a lot 55 by 36, on which they have erected a commodious house of worship, and also a dwelling house for the accommodation of their pastor. Both of the buildings are of brick, and they, with the lot, cost about 900l. in the currency of the province, which is about 3600 dollars. The meeting house is 36 feet by 25, with galleries; towards the defraying the expenses of this estate, Mr. Burton collected considerable bums in different parts of the United States. [The substance of this account was communicated by Mr. Burton.]
Besides the churches, whose history has been given, there are the following in this province, which have established unmixed communion: viz. Sissiboo, in the township of Digby, Upper Granville, Lower Granville, Ragged Island, Clements, Onslow, Amherst, Lunenburgh, Digby-Neck, Nictau, and Wilmot, and a small church on Jordan and Pleasant rivers, in a new settlement between Nictau and Liverpool. On the Isle of St. John?s, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and which island is attached to the province of Nova-Scotia, there is a small church under the care of Elder Isaac Bradshaw. Some of these churches were nearly as old, in their beginning, as those whose history has been given at large, and were formerly mixed in their communion; others are of later date, and were established, at first, on their present foundation.
There are also four churches in this province, which still admit unbaptized members to their communion; viz. Yarmouth, Argyle, Barrington, and Cockweet. There are also about 20 Baptist members in the town of Liver. pool, some of whom are in the communion of a Congregational church, under the pastoral care of a Mr. Payzant. Yarmouth church is said to consist of almost 300 members: Rev. Harris Harding is their pastor. It was first planted by Henry Alline. For many years it consisted of Pedobaptists and Baptists indiscriminately. In 1807, they effected a partial reformation, so that none but Baptists are permitted to sign their articles, and enjoy the privileges of complete membership, but about 20 or 30 Pedobaptists are admitted to their communion; this they call not open, but occasional communion.
Argyle.?In this place, there was also a church established by that successful planter of churches, Henry Alline; but it had become broken or dissolved, before the present one was erected. About 1806, there was a very pleasing and extensive revival in this place, and the present church was gathered under the ministry of Mr. Enoch Tower, their present minister; their number is about 70. One Pedobaptist, who is a very old and pious person, is admitted to their communion. The church generally are convinced of the propriety of unmixed communion, but the old disciple is not inclined to go into the water, and they are waiting, (with patience, it is hoped) until some escorting angel shall bear him beyond the bars of communion tables, and thus complete the reformation which they have brought to such a hopeful period.
All the churches in Nova-Scotia are to the westward and northward of Halifax, along the Atlantic shore on the Bay of Fundy, the Basin of Minas, and on the creeks and rivers, which empty into these respective waters?the church of Amherst only excepted, which is on the Cumberland Bay.
This province was formed by a division of that of Nova-Scotia in 1784, and is situated between it and the District of Maine. New-Brunswick contains a greater number of churches than Nova-Scotia, but they are of much later date, having been mostly formed within the present century, and furnish fewer materials for a historical narrative.
Sackvile.?This church claims our first attention. This place was formerly called Tantarramar, which name it is said to have received from the French. It has been the resort of Baptists for about fifty years. We have already seen that Elder Mason and his company from Swansea settled in this place, in 1763, where they continued about eight years, and then returned again to the United States. Two Baptist ministers, whose names were Windsor and Rounds, are mentioned as having labored here in early times, but what became of them I cannot learn. By their names one would think they went from Rhode Island, or Rehoboth, or Swansea. A Mr. Joseph Reed was called to the ministry in this church, probably after Mr. Mason left the place. He labored here awhile with much success, and then removed to Horton and died. But the first Baptist church here was entirely dissolved before Henry Alline?s time. Under his ministry there was a revival of religion in this place, and a Congregational church established. But this church was also scattered before the present one was established, which was raised up under the ministry of Mr. Joseph Crandall, the present pastor, in the year 1800.
Salisbury, Waterbury, and Prince-William churches were all likewise constituted in 1800. These churches, together with those of Wakefield and Springfield, belong to the Nova-Scotia and New-Brunswick Association. The following churches, I believe, have all been constituted since those abovementioned, viz. Fredericktown, Mangerville, Shepody, city of St. John?s, Nashfork or Nashwalk, Woodstock, King?s Clear, Long Reach, Sussex, St. Mary?s, St. Martin?s, St. George?s, St. Andrews, and St. Stephen?s. Very little information has been obtained respecting the time when, or the circumstances under which these churches were formed, except that a number of them were gathered and others were enlarged and strengthened, by Elders Isaac Case, Henry Hale, Daniel Merrill, and Amos Allin, who have traveled hither, under the patronage of the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary? Society, and that most of those in the parishes are on the, western boundary of the province, adjoining the District of Maine. By the foregoing sketches it appears that the Baptists are in a flourishing condition, generally speaking, in the two provinces of Nova-Scotia and New-Brunswick, and although they began here almost fifty years ago, yet they never prevailed much until within fifteen or twenty years past. In the midst of the ardent zeal of the New-Lights there was no small portion of enthusiasm and error, too much of which was retained by them after they became Baptists. And, indeed, amongst the Baptists, there has been propagated a system of speculations, called the NEW DISPENSATION, of a very fantastic nature. This system consists in a mystical explanation of many passages of scripture, and illustrates many theological points in a fanciful and highly ludicrous manner. This Dispensation was, at one time advocated by some Baptist ministers, who have since abandoned it, and who now hold a very respectable standing among the churches in this country. The Dispensation itself is waxing old and unpopular, and vanishing away.
Many of the churches in this country have enjoyed very precious seasons of revival, within a few years past, some accounts of which have been published in the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine, edited by Dr. Baldwin of Boston. The following extracts will give the reader a better view of these revivals, than we can otherwise exhibit.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM REV. THOMAS H. CHIPMAN, TO THE EDITOR OF THE M. B. M. MAGAZINE.
?Yarmouth, Shelburne county, Nova-,Scotia, Dec. 5, 1800.
?Reverend And Dear Sir,
?I have been in this town and Argyle, five weeks, and such glorious times I never saw before. Multitudes are turned to God. It is about three months since the work began in Yarmouth. Brother Harding is the minister of this place, who stands clear in the doctrines of the glorious gospel, and in the order and discipline of God?s house. Since the work began, there have been about one hundred and fifty souls brought to own Jesus. But a number of these had probably been born again before, but had received no satisfying evidence until now. Before I came to this place, brother Harding had baptized seven persons; since I came he and myself, on one Sabbath, baptized eighteen. The Sabbath after but one, we baptized forty. We have had two church meetings, and surely I never saw such meetings before. The last Saturday we began at ten in the morning, and continued till eight in the evening, to hear persons relate the dealings of God with their souls. Some of them have been great enemies to the truth, and never went to meeting until God converted their souls. Some would inform the enemies of religion, that they could not say, that this or that preacher or person had influenced or turned them; for God had done the work for them at home. A great many of the subjects of this work have been young people and children.
?Monday, Dec. 8. Yesterday brother Harding and myself baptized twenty-two persons, and there are a considerable number now waiting that have been approved of by the church. The work is still spreading.
?At Argyle, twenty miles from this, there has been a glorious work the summer past. God has visited Tuscut-river, a village between this and Argyle, where brother Harding and myself have baptized four, There is an Esquire L______, a member of the House of Assembly, who is a christian, whom God hath blessed with a handsome property, and a heart to devote it to his service. His wife is of the same spirit: Two of their children, I believe, are sealed to the day of redemption, Yours, with great esteem, THOMAS H. CHIPMAN?
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM REVEREND ENOCH TOWNER TO THE SAME
Argyle, Nova Scotia, April 13, 1807
?Revered and dear sir,
?On the 16th of July last I sat out from Digby, Annapolis county, my place of residence, on a journey to Argyle, where I arrived on Saturday the 18th, late in the evening. The people not having notice of my coming, and the next morning being very rainy, but few attended the meeting. I was requested to stay another Sabbath, which I did, and preached several times in the course of the week. Religion was at a very low ebb among the few professors, who belonged to a church formerly established by a Mr. Frost, a New Light Congregational minister. After his death the church was re-established and increased under the ministration of other preachers; they still holding the baptism of believers non-essential to fellowship in the church of Christ. The broken and scattered state of this church was great; all discipline was done away. Nevertheless there were a few mourning souls, that would not be comforted, because God?s heritage lay waste. Here I tarried the next Lord?s day and preached from Solomon?s Song 5:16. His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem; and in the afternoon from chap. 1:8. If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds? tents. The set time was now come to raise his people from the dust. A young woman, who had been awakened the winter before, by hearing some young people sing and discourse upon the happiness of religion, in the township of Digby, the impression of which had never left her, till this Sabbath evening, when she found peace and joy in the gospel. Her feelings led her to exhort her young companions to turn to the Lord. Many were brought to bow to the scepter of King Jesus, and proclaim salvation in his blessed name. Here I saw the Lord had begun his work. The young professors manifested a desire to follow their Lord?s commands, and be buried with him by baptism. There being no church here for them to covenant with, as most of the old professors could not see the expediency of baptism, I was at a loss how to proceed; but resolved to follow the Lord?s command to teach and baptize. Accordingly a conference meeting was appointed to hear their experiences, when nine came forward, two old professors:, and seven young converts, and were baptized the fourth Lord?s day after my first arrival. After this, the work spread with great power, and people assembled from all parts of the town, and some from the adjoining towns. I thought proper to send for brother Harris Harding, as he was more acquainted with the old professors than I was, as many had professed under his ministry, in order to see if we could settle a church; but it proved to no purpose at this time. However, ten came forward and were baptized. I now thought it proper to form those, who had been baptized, into some order; and for that purpose offered them a covenant which they cheerfully signed. In a few days from this time, there were twenty-two of the old professors, who came forward to baptism. Here was seen a mother, son and wife, and grand-daughter, all following their Lord into the water! Here was one man seventy years of age, and a little boy of only ten! Baptism was administered five Lord?s days successively, until seventy-eight joined the church. After staying here thirteen Sabbaths, I was under the necessity of returning to my people. I tarried there four weeks, and then returned to this place again. I found the Lord was still at work, though not so powerfully as when I left them. But the cloud seemed to return again; for there being a number of men, who follow the seas, on returning home to winter, seeing such an alteration in the place were struck with deep solemnity. Many were wounded to their hearts, and made to groan under the weight of their sins. The last Sabbath in March, twenty came forward and were baptized. I must conclude with adding, that one hundred and twenty have been baptized. There were five baptisms in the winter season. Twenty-four have told their experiences, who are not yet baptized, and a number of others are under hopeful impressions. The work is still going on in this place, and spreading rapidly in different parts of the province.
I am, Sir, your unworthy brother in Christ, ENOCH TOWNER?
Notwithstanding the extent of the foregoing extracts, yet I am unwilling the reader should be without the pleasing intelligence contained in the two following communications.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM THE REVEREND ISRAEL POTTER, TO THE EDITOR OF THE SAME:
?Clements, Annapolis county, Nova Scotia, May 12, 1810
?Dear and revered sir,
?In the beginning of March last, a most wonderful and powerful reformation began in the lower part of this town, which seemed to pervade the minds of old and young, and many, we hope, were brought to the knowledge of the truth. About ten days after, the good work made its appearance in the middle of the town. The people assembled from every quarter, and it seemed that it might be truly said, that God was passing through the place in a very powerful manner. The glorious work has since spread through every part of the town, and some of all ages have been made to bow to the mild scepter of the Redeemer. The ordinance of baptism has been administered for five Sabbaths successively. Forty-five have been admitted to this sacred rite, and a church has been constituted upon the gospel plan, consisting of sixty-five members, to which we expect further additions. If I should say that two hundred have been hopefully converted to the Lord in this town since the reformation commenced, I think l should not exceed the truth. The good work is still spreading eastward very rapidly, and looks likely to spread through the province. The opposition has been great, and many oaths have been sworn even in the time of divine service. But the Lord has triumphed gloriously over the horse and his rider, and blessed be his name. At Round Hill I understand there is a number to be baptized today. The province of Nova Scotia has been highly favored with the gospel. We beg an interest in your prayers, that the Lord would give us strength to contend earnestly for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.
Your unworthy friend, ISRAEL POTTER?
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM THE REVEREND DANIEL MERRILL TO THE EDITOR OF THE SAME:
?Sedgwick, Maine, Aug. 17, 1810
?My dear Brother,
?A fortnight today, I returned from my eastern expedition. My route lay through part of his Britannic Majesty?s dominions, and hard by some of the strong holds of Satan; I was everywhere, however, received with sufficient attention and civility. It was very pleasing to me, to behold my beloved brethren of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, who have so lately emerged into gospel liberty, so expert in discipline, so determinate in Christian order and communion, and so well marshalled in battle array. They appear in a very good degree, like veterans whilst they are, in age, but very children. Fourteen years only have elapsed, since but one baptized church was to be found in both provinces. Now they can count nearly forty, and some of them are large and flourishing. Their Association, which I visited as a messenger from the Lincoln, was holden at Sackville on the 25th and 26th of June. It was a good season. Tokens of the Chief Shepherd?s kindness and presence appeared specially manifest. The elders and messengers of the churches were solemn, cheerful, and of good courage. The letters from the different churches were refreshing, and fraught with much good news. In one county, (Annapolis, if I mistake not) between two and three hundred had put on Christ the present year, by being baptized into him. Babylon appears to be in full retreat, yet their pursuers should be very wary, for she is very subtle, and by no means in a very good mood. She thrust one of Christ?s ministers into prison,* the week before I left those regions, and their evil eye was fixed on brother Hale, to take him the same week; but he being a ?Gospel Ranger,? they were not, and I presume they will not be able to incarcerate him. [* Mr. Ennis. See an account of him towards the close of this chapter.]
?Zion?s God is so generally lengthening her cords, and making her stakes stronger, that I cannot, in one short letter, descend to particulars, without leaving the larger half behind. However, that my letter be not altogether in generals, I will particularize a few instances.
?I will begin with Brier Island. The place was notorious for irreligion, perhaps as much so, in proportion to its magnitude, as was Sodom, on the morning of Lot?s escape. Last autumn or winter, brother Peter Crandal visited the Island, and preached to as many of the shy Islanders, as he could collect within hearing of his voice. He was threatened with death if he ventured to preach on this Island again. However, he loved their salvation, more than he feared their threatenings; he ventured, the people collected, he spoke, and the Lord spoke too. At a late hour the assembly was dismissed. He retired, but ere soft sleep had closed his eyes, a messenger requested he would visit a house distrest. Without gainsaying he arose and followed him. Whilst on his way, in the first house he passed, he discovered a light; it came into his mind just to call and see how they did. He found them in the agonies of dying unto sin; an household distrest for sins committed and salvation infinitely needed. He saw their anguish manifestly such, as all must feel, or die forever; and observing their exercises and situation such as he judged not expedient to be interrupted, retired in silence. The next house he found and left in a very similar condition. Going a little further, he heard a person in the field, manifesting, by his sighs and groans, bitterness of spirit. Mr. Crandall turned aside, and in silent wonder beheld, and left the sin-sick man. He was soon at the house whence they had sent for him. Here he found a company sorely oppressed with their load of sin, burdened by it, and longing to be free. Here he broke silence, and pointed dying sinners to a living Savior. On this never to be forgotten Island, in sixteen of the eighteen families which reside on it, were thirty-three hopefully born from above. The reformation had reached the main, so that when I saw him, he had baptized between fifty and an hundred. Before this shall reach you, brother Hale?s to brother Collier will probably be handed to you. In addition to what he has communicated, I will add, that he has given but a very modest account of what the Lord hath wrought on Belisle Bay by him. I know not whether I ever saw or heard of any one garrison, being so largely harassed by a single gospel ranger in the compass of one campaign, and that too a winter one. It is true brother Ansley, who is no mean soldier, was there one evening, in which the Lord wrought wonderfully. An account of this evening, with one preceding it, is nearly as much as I have now time to relate. On an evening preceding the two and in which brother Hale delivered his first discourse to the then idle people on Belisle Bay, a Polly Davis was arrested, by the Spirit of truth, and, before the next rising sun, was set at liberty. The next day being a militia muster, the young men came to see their changed associate, and wondered at but hated the change. Another lecture was appointed for the following evening. Not far from the time of meeting, two of the foremost young men, taking the inn on their way, called for half a pint of ardent spirits each, and drank it, observing that they would raise the devil at the meeting. The religious exercises began, and sleep prevailed over the young men, till little more was to be heard. However, they awoke from their drunkenness, and in season to hear a sentence or two, and what they heard was as a nail in a sure place. They had rest no more, till they found it in believing. Soon after this, at an evening lecture, brother Ansley preached, and when brother Hale had observed what he judged expedient, and the assembly were dismissed, the people all sat down. A solemn silence now prevailed for nearly an hour, when a young woman, of about 20, who had been baptized ten years before arose, and, filled with a sense of her backsliding heart, spake in such a feeling and solemn manner, as greatly to affect the whole assembly. It was now a time of weeping, mourning, and lamentation. The saving health of our Immanuel soon appeared in healing the broken hearted, and setting the poor captives free. Before the morning light, nine young converts were chanting forth their young hosannas.
?You can hardly imagine how suddenly and deeply these things waked the enemies of reformation, and roused all their powers of opposition. The church priest now visited where he had never walked before. The dialogues between him and his now converted, but heretofore deluded parishioners, would be sufficiently entertaining, had I time to relate them. From Belisle Bay, I came down the river to the city of St. John?s, where I preached three times, twice on the commons, and baptized one worthy man and two honorable women.
?In bonds of perpetual friendship, I am sincerely yours, DANIEL MERRILL?
NOVA SCOTIA AND NEW BRUNSWICK ASSOCIATION
So much has been said of the churches of which this body is composed, that its history will, of consequence, be short. It commenced and has progressed in the following manner. In 1797, four ministers, whose names were Pazant, Chipman, James and Edward Manning, met in Cornwallis and devised the plan of an Association. According to their request, six churches, by their delegates, met the next year, among whom were six ministers, some of whom were Congregationalists, and some Baptists, and all the churches were, at this time, composed of a mixture of both denominations. At this time the Association was formed, and mixed communion, at that day, was a thing of course, and continued to be practiced in this body, for eleven years, namely until 1809. The Association had now become considerably large; it had enjoyed many prosperous seasons, and believer?s baptism had almost supplanted the doctrine of infant sprinkling. The reader will perceive by the preceding history of the churches, that the terms of communion had been previously much agitated among them. Many had come to a point on the subject, and the Association at its annual session in 1809, found itself so much straitened and embarrassed, that a vote was then passed, that for the future, no church should be considered as belonging to it, which admitted of open communion. On account of this vote, four churches were dropped or else withdrew.
It was a trying circumstance in the minds of many, to shut their doors against so many of their pious and beloved Pedobaptist brethren, who had so long traveled in communion with them. And under these delicate circumstances, some were doubtless over-zealous in pushing the reformation, while others, probably from the tenderness of their feelings, declined promoting a measure, of the propriety of which they were most fully convinced. The reader must not suppose, that all the unbaptized persons, whom these churches admitted to their communion, were zealous for Pedobaptism. Many of them were what some have called Upland Baptists, who profess to be convinced of the duty of believer?s baptism, but live through life in the neglect of it. Some of these persons were so fully convinced of the propriety of unmixed communion, that they said to their brethren, ?Do not wait for us, but go forward and do your duty, and leave us to do ours.? And many of these who had long been halting, and who felt, in a measure easy in their minds, while their baptized brethren sanctioned their neglect, by admitting them to the same church privileges with themselves, now were awakened to a sense of their duty, come forward and were baptized.
Many, who had been for a long time much embarrassed on their former plan, were now relieved, and viewed themselves as standing on tenable ground; and many individuals throughout the country, and the whole church at Halifax, who had refused communing and associating with the mixed communion connection, as soon as they were reformed, most cordially united with them. The discipline of the churches has been much better regulated on the new plan than on the old one. The Association has opened a correspondence with the Associations in the District of Maine, from which it has derived much comfort and advantage. The new churches which have been formed, have been established on the gospel plan. So that the reformation in the terms of communion was an important era in the history of the Nova Scotia churches.
There are now about eighteen or twenty ordained, and eight or ten unordained ministers in these two provinces, and besides them there are a number of gifted brethren, who bid fair for the ministry. Some of these ministers are natives of the country, and the others have emigrated hither from the United States, and from different parts of Europe. Mr. Chipman was born in Newport, Rhode Island. The two Mannings are natural brothers; they were born in Ireland, and were brought to this country when they were small. Mr. Ries, who has recently been on a mission to New Orleans, is a native of France; he was brought a prisoner to Halifax, when he was quite young. Messrs. Ansley and Towner are both natives of the State of New York. Mr. Burton?s history has already been related. Mr. Easterbrooks was born in one of the United States, which, I have not learnt. I believe that all the remaining ministers are natives of one or the other of these two provinces.
Some of their ministers are in part supported by the churches which they serve, and others receive but little. A number of them have good estates. The Baptist churches in this country, as in all others, are pretty careful how they pamper their ministers, but they are said, notwithstanding, to be very liberal to strangers who travel among them; and the fame of this liberality has induced many impostors to visit them.
Mr. Daniel Dodge, pastor of the Baptist church in Wilmington, Delaware, was born at Port Royal in Nova Scotia. Mr. Job Seamans of New London, New Hampshire, began preaching in this country, as did Mr. John Grant, late of Middleton, Connecticut now of Chester, Massachusetts.
The list of churches and ministers in these two provinces will be given in the general table.
The church of England is the established religion in these two provinces, but dissenters are tolerated, and suffer but few restrictions or embarrassments; and what is much for their comfort, ?They are excused from any rates or taxes for the support of the established church.? In Nova Scotia, no person is obliged to get a license from the Governor, except he be an alien. In that case it is necessary. Mr. Ries, because he is a Frenchman, has been apprehended four times, by the authority of what is called the Vagrant Act, if I mistake not the name. Once he was taken two hundred miles from Halifax, and conducted a prisoner thither, but he easily obtained a release; for these molestations were not from the spirit of the laws or magistrates, but from the malicious spirit of ill-natured people who found an old law which suited their purpose.
In New Brunswick, although there is a general toleration for dissenters, yet there is an old law, which prohibits all dissenters, except Presbyterians, from doing many things, and among the rest from performing the ceremony of marriage, and preaching without the Governor?s license. I do not know as all take pains to solicit this permission from his Excellency, but if they do, it is easily obtained. The Episcopal priests are the most interested in this old law, and they care but little who preaches; but the concerns of matrimony they guard with more care on account of the fees. Some time ago an old Baptist minister by the name of Innes presumed to marry a couple who lived forty miles from where any Episcopal clergyman resided. For this act he was complained of, and thrown into prison, where he lay, I believe, more than a year; but he is now out upon bail, and the brethren, I am informed, are about to petition for a repeal of the law. The fine for this transgression is not less than fifty, and not more than a hundred pounds.
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