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copal, and probably will always remain so. It has had eminent men, of that denomination, at its head, both laymen and ministers; and is now under the supervision of a Diocesan. A detailed history of its origin, progress, troubles, and changes, with some notice of the eminent men that were its alumni would prove a volume of interest to the church to which, ecclesiastically, it belongs, and of value to the cause of literature and religion at large. Every man would like to know more of the mother college, at the South, especially after reading from one of the greatest politicians in America—"In the spring of 1760, went to William and Mary College, where I continued two years. It was my great good fortune, and what probably fixed the destinies of my life, that. Dr. William Small of Scotland, was then Professor of Mathematics, a man profound in most of the useful branches of science, with a happy talent of communicative, correct, and gentlemanly, manners and an enlarged and liberal mind. He most happily for me, became soon attached to me, and made me his daily companion when not engaged in the school; and from his conversation I got my first views of the expansion of science, and of the system of things in which we are placed." This gentleman penned the Declaration of Independence and the Bill for Religious Liberty.
The influence of the African population on the colony was now fully seen. Politicians were sensible that slavery, as an element of society, gave rise to new' habits, customs, laws, and usages; made the administration of law and justice peculiar; and gave a new turn to discussions about private rights. From being an instrument of wealth it had become a moulding power, leaving it a vexed question, which controlled society most, the African slave or his master. The number of slaves in Virginia in 1743 cannot be known. Governor Berkely tells us in 1671 there were 2000 slaves to a population of 38,000 whites. In 1790 by census there were 293,427 slaves and 454,881 whites. The increase of the slaves had been like multiplying 2000 by 146; the white, like multiplying 38,000 by 12, nearly. What was the relative number in 1743 is conjectural. But in that year the number of counties was thirty-six; and the House of Burgesses consisted of eighty members, two from each county, one from each of the towns of Norfolk, Williamsburg and Jamestown, and one from William and Mary College.
Philanthropists looked with deep interest on this new element in English society, and found in Virginia a phase of slavery diverse from all ancient or modern forms of servitude. Servants for life, scattered among the whites and outnumbered by them, the Africans in Virginia were under civilizing influences immeasurably superior to those in the West India islands. While by their labour they conferred affluence and ease upon their masters; by thus being congregated in small numbers, and intermingled with the whites they were by degrees" recovered from their native savageness, and led to some more becoming ideas of civilization and propriety. The meanest servant on a Virginia plantation, after a few years residence, knew more of the proprieties of life than the savage chiefs in Africa. Christian people looked upon this body of men with peculiar sympathy, and recognised a part of their Lord's vineyard unlike any found in Europe, and requiring the services of devoted ministers of the gospel. That such men were found, and that the spiritual welfare of this class of people was cared for in proportion to the white population, will appear in the history of religious denominations in the colony.
Two events of like nature, but differing in time and circumstance, had an influence on the religious aspect of the colony, and ultimately on its political condition. By permission of the Legislature a colony of Huguenots was planted in Virginia east of the Blue Ridge; and this in a few years was followed by a colony of Germans; each of which was permitted to have its own ministers and exercise its own forms of religion. The Huguenots, soon left their village at Manakin town, and intermingled with the English in the neighbouring counties. The Germans, in Madison county, have preserved their location and in some good degree their manners, but are fast loosing their language. They were followed by numerous colonies that made their home in the Valley of the Shenandoah. Their numbers and wealth prevailed to have some enactments of the Legislature recognising their existence and influence.
These colonies, on the frontiers, and the College near the eastern border of the province, grew together. Their influence, like the rivers on which they flourished, spread wider and deeper, and, at the time of Mr. Blair's death, began to assume the form of a head stream, meandering gently yet permanently through a rich and beautiful country of forests and intermingled habitations of men.
EEV. SAMUEL DAVIES, FROM HIS BIRTH TO HIS VOYAGE TO
The month of April, 1747, in Hanover county, Virginia, was one of those times in which, the current of human events, running on with increasing bitterness, takes an unexpected turn; the waters of Mara are sweetened, and the night of clouds and thick darkness has its morning of brightness and joy.
After Mr. Whitefield's visit, the Presbyterians were not only without a minister, but grievously harassed by the pains and penalties of the law. "Upon a Lord's day"—says Mr. Morris—"a proclamation was set up at our meeting-house, strictly requiring all magistrates to suppress and prohibit, as far as they lawfully could, all itinerant preachers,—which occasioned us to forbear reading that day, till we had time to deliberate and consult what was expedient to do. But how joyfully were we surprised before the next Sabbath, when we unexpectedly heard that Mr. Davies was come to preach so long amongst us, and especially that he had qualified himself according to law, and obtained the licensing of four meeting-houses among us, which had never been done before."
No man had equal influence with Mr. Davies in gathering the congregations and settling the ministers that composed the Presbytery of Hanover, the first Presbytery south of the Potomac, in connexion with the Synods of New York and Philadelphia. His spirit and habits and tastes gave complexion to the Presbytery, and the Synod that grew out of the Presbytery. The incidents of his life will always be interesting to the Southern church, over which his influence is still exerted, and to the generations to which he is still preaching by his posthumous sermons.
Samuel Davies was born near Summit Ridge, about twelve miles from Drawyer's Church, New Castle county, state of Delaware, November 3d, 1723, of Welch extract, both by father's and mother's side. His father was a farmer, of small property, of moderate intellectual endowments, and of a blameless, religious life. His mother was possessed of superior natural abilities, and was eminently and ardently pious. Of her, Mr. Davies says, in a letter to Dr. Gibbons, of London, that he was blessed with a mother whom he might account, without filial vanity or partiality, one of the most eminent saints lie ever knew upon earth. "I cannot but mention to my friend an anecdote known to but few; that is, that I am a son of prayer, like my namesake, Samuel the prophet, and my mother called me Samuel, because, she said, I have asked him of the Lord. This early dedication to God has always been a strong inducement to me to devote myself to him as a personal act, and the most important blessings of my life I have looked upon as immediate answers to the prayers of a pious mother."
The father died the month next succeeding the son's acceptance of the presidency of the College of New Jersey, August 11th, 1759, aged 79 years. The mother survived the son some years, and was an inmate of the house of Dr. Rodgers of New York, the intimate friend of Mr. Davies, and his companion in their preparatory studies for the ministry, and their early exercise of the sacred office.
As there is some discrepancy in the dates given by the different notices that have been published respecting Mr. Davies, it is proper here to observe, that the dates given in this sketch, for his birth,—licensure,—ordination,—marriage,—settlement in Virginia,—his departure for England,—his return to Virginia,—his acceptance of the presidency,—his father's death, and other dates respecting his family, are copied from memoranda made by his own hand, in an interleaved quarto Bible, now in the possession of his descendants near Petersburg, Virginia.
Mr. Davies is represented as having been a sprightly docile child. As there was no school in the neighbourhood, his early instructions in the rudiments of education were from the lips of his mother. At about ten years of age he had the opportunity of attending an English school, some distance from home. According to his own opinion, while he made rapid progress in learning, during the two years of his attendance, he lost some of the deep impressions made by his mother's teaching, example and prayers. His habits of secret prayer were continued, and—"he was more ardent in his supplications for being introduced into the gospel ministry, than for any thing else." At the age of twelve years he received impressions of a religious nature that were abiding. In his fifteenth year, having a settled confidence of being justified by faith through grace, he made a public profession of religion by uniting with the Church. His heart was impressible, his conscience tender, his feelings lively; and in reviewing his own conduct, he became, at this early period, a severe and unsparing judge of himself, in all things pertaining to godliness.
His classical course was commenced under the tuition of an estimable and learned Welsh minister, a Mr. Morgan, a pupil of the Rev. Thomas Evans of the same nation. When* Rev. Samuel Blair opened his famous school at Fagg's Manor, Chester county, Pennsylvania, young Davies was put under his tuition, and there completed his education. In that school strict attention was paid to the classics and the sciences. The acquisition of theological knowledge was sedulously encouraged from the commencement of the course. The standard of classical acquirement was high; and the acquaintance with the best writers on systematic theology was accurate. As evidence of the high standing of Mr. Blair's school, and its real efficiency, in making scholars, it may be observed, that from his students came—John Rodgers, the eminently prudent patriarch of the churches in New York city,—Alexander Cummins, nephew of Mr. Blair, for some time minister in New York, and afterwards in Boston,—Hugh Henry for a long time pastor of Monakin and Rehoboth, the ancient churches on the Eastern Shore of Maryland,—and Robert Smith, of Pequa, the father of Samuel Stanhope and John Blair Smith, whose names are indissolubly connected with the two Colleges, Hampden Sidney in Virginia, and Union in New York.
Mr. Davies was a student. Stimulated to close application, by his narrow means, and earnest desire for improvement, his slender frame became enfeebled, and, at the time his course of preparatory studies was completed, his health was very delicate. He was licensed by Newcastle Presbytery, July 30th, 1746.
Of the circumstances of his first marriage, nothing more is known than the following brief record taken from his Bible,— "Married to Sarah Kirkpatrick, October 23d, 1746."
On the 19th of February, 1747, he was ordained Evangelist, for the purpose of visiting the congregations in Virginia, especially those in Hanover county. He had been aided by these people in his preparatory studies by the agency of Rev. William Robinson; his few months of probation in the vacancies in Delaware and Pennsylvania had answered the high anticipations of his friends; and his prudence and piety were of that order called for in difficult posts in the Lord's vineyard. All these things designated him as the proper person to send to the interesting, yet perplexing field of Hanover county, Virginia. The civil suits instituted against Messrs. Roan, Morris, Watkins and others, in October, 1745, for holding religious worship, contrary to the law of the province, were still pending; and the agitation of the public mind by no means allayed. Davies was reluctant, doubting his own experience in church and political matters, and his bodily health; but in obedience to his presbytery, he set out for his destined field of labour.
Before visiting Hanover county, Mr. Davies passing down the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, and traversing the country once occupied by Makemie, repaired to Williamsburg, in Virginia. "I petitioned the General Court to grant me a