Gambar halaman

by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Mr. Legrand also read a lecture on the 23d Psalm. On the next day, April 25th, these pieces were sustained as parts of trial. "Presbytery entered upon the examination of Mr. Legrand respecting his knowledge in the learned languages and sciences, and in the doctrines of religion; and Mr. Legrand having produced a diploma from the College of Hampden Sidney, it was considered a sufficient evidence of his learned qualifications; and his answers upon divinity were esteemed a competent proof of his acquaintance with the doctrines of religion. The Presbytery therefore, having received from Mr. Legrand a profession of his accepting the Westminster Confession of Faith as now received by the Presbyterian churches in America, and of subjection to the Presbytery in the Lord, proceeded to license him to preach the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ." This year that had passed between the hopeful conversion of Mr. Legrand, and his licensure to preach the gospel, was one of intense excitement, in Prince Edward, Charlotte, Cumberland, and Campbell, on the subject of religion. The revival with which this country was visited for some time was at its height of interest. There were calls for preaching in every direction.

Soon after his licensure, Mr. Legrand was prevailed upon by Rev. Henry Pattillo to visit his charge in Granville county, North Carolina. There his labours were greatly blessed. Passing on from Granville he visited Orange and Caswell counties. In the latter county the greatest excitement on the subject of religion was felt, particularly at the Red House, and the Hico settlements. Rev. James McGready carried the work into counties further south, particularly Guilford, and part of Orange, and about this time gathered in a great company of youth.

Mr. Legrand's preaching was more than usually attractive. His sermons did not give evidence of superior learning, deep research, finish of composition, or close reasoning. Many of his contemporaries far surpassed him in these particulars, and yet fell far behind him in the pulpit, both in popularity and usefulness. His disposition, which inclined to taciturnity, and sometimes to a gloomy reserve, was sweetened by the comfort he enjoyed in religion; and the ardour with which he engaged in the work of the ministry carried him so above all impediments that these dgfects were not seen in his early ministry. He was free from levity in manner or conversation. The comeliness of his person, the easiness of his manners and gestures, and especially the music and modulation of his voice, were admirably fitted to the pulpit, and attracted attention, without any special regard to the subject matter of his discourses; but combined with the importance of the truths which he set forth with clearness and solemnity, few could resist the influence. The deep and all pervading impressions of godliness, with which his soul was imbued from the time of his conversion, remained with him for many years without apparent abatement, and created an atmosphere about him which everyone felt that approached him. He lived near to God, and enjoyed religion more and more uniformly than is usual; he excelled in prayer, as one who dwelt near the throne of grace ; the presence of his Saviour accompanied him ; and in the pulpit all these things imparted such an unction to his sermons and exhortations, that few persons could sit and hear him preach without feeling more or less conviction for sin. He had a peculiar talent for addressing backsliders and arousing the stupid consciences of lukewarm professors. He was a favoured instrument of awakening professors of religion to the necessity of living up to their profession. Under his preaching many old professors were made to doubt the reality of their religion, and to set out to seek a better and more scriptural hope; and some hesitated not to say they were convinced they had never had experienced true conversion before; and some ministers of the gospel were known to make similar confessions while attending on his ministrations, and their future course of usefulness confirmed this opinion.

He did not write out his sermons in full, as his talent lay more in readiness for expressing in the pulpit, the things he had prepared, than in selecting proper words while inditing with his pen. His sermons were on common subjects, filled up with plain truths, delivered in a simple plain style. He was entirely free from ranting, or loose declamation; was modest, grave and unassuming, with a heart for his work. This strain of preaching, with which he commenced, he carried on through all his active life. None of the ministers licensed during or immediately after the great revival, among his associates, were so sought after by men, or as much honoured by God as Legrand. While this often had an humbling influence on them, it never seemed to exalt him with pride.

The latter part of the summer he returned from his most successful tour in Carolina, and was present at Briery in August, when Graham from Rockbridge made his first visit, accompanied with his young people, and delivered his masterly discourse from the words—Comfort ye, comfort ye my people. To this meeting in Briery, many young people, from Carolina, came in companies, earnestly seeking salvation; and an intercourse on communion seasons commenced whose consequences were of great benefit to the cause of religion. When the Rockbridge company returned he accompanied them to Bedford, where there were religious services protracted for some days in Mr. Mitchell's charge, then enjoying the revival. James Turner had just professed conversion, and multitudes were inquiring what they should do. The company from Rockbridge were induced to stay some days in attendance on religious services; and Mr. Legrand accompanied them to Lexington. A revival commenced at the meeting held the first evening after their return; and Mr. Legrand proved a most acceptable preacher. Some account of the revival that followed is given in the sketch of William Graham.

In October the Presbytery of Hanover met at Pisgah in Bedford county, in the midst of the revival. At this meeting of Presbytery, William Moore a Methodist minister, was received on trials, and after examination was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry. William Hill and David Wiley were upon due examination received on trials for licensure. Carey Allen exhibited parts of his trials and was examined on theology. So the two young men, Hill and Allen, on whose religious services Legrand was attending, when he was hopefully converted, were slowly advancing into the ministry while their young friend was preaching with the greatest acceptance. The ministers in attendance at this meeting were Archibald McRoberts, John Blair Smith, James Mitchell, William Mahon and Drury Lacy. William Graham and Samuel Carrick, from Lexington Presbytery, were present. Sankey, Todd, Waddell, Irvine and Blair were absent. On Saturday, 17th, 1789, the records state—" A supplication was presented to the Presbytery from the congregations of Winchester, Opeckon and Cedar Creek for supplies, especially for such preachers as are not already settled in churches. As these congregations are in the bounds of Lexington Presbytery, Mr. Chipley, the Commissioner, informed Presbytery that they would have regularly applied for leave to make their application to this body, but that the present meeting being a week before that of Lexington Presbytery, the congregations were prevented in their intended application. Messrs. Graham and Carrick assured the Presbytery that their brethren would cheerfully acquiesce in the measures that might be adopted on this occasion, for supplying said congregations according to their request. On Monday, 19th— "Mr. Legrand was appointed to supply in the congregations of Winchester and Opeckon and Cedar Creek, during the months of March and April; and the rest of his time, at his discretion till our next." Where he passed the winter is uncertain; probably in North Carolina, as most pressing means were used by Mr. Pattillo and the people in North Carolina to induce him to labour in the counties bordering on Virginia, either temporarily or statedly. God blessed his preaching; and Pattillo desired to secure that preaching for the waste places of Carolina.

In the fall of this year, 1789, the Synod of Virginia determined to carry on the missionary concerns in its wide bounds by a Commission consisting of four ministers and four elders* Of this committee the Rev. William Graham was chairman. In the month of April, 1790, while Mr. Legrand was on his visit of supply to Cedar -Creek, Opeckon and Winchester, this Commission appointed him their first missionary.

At a meeting of the Presbytery of Hanover at Briery, May 6th, 1790—" a call was presented to Mr. Legrand from the people about Dan River, in Virginia, and on Hico, in Caswell county, North Carolina. Another call was presented to Mr. Legrand, from the united congregations of Winchester, Opeckon and Cedar Creek. Mr. Smith also, in the name of the Commission of Synod, urged Mr. Legrand to accept of their appointment of him to be one of their missionaries. Mr. Legrand took the calls and request under consideration; but desired time before he returned an answer." At this meeting, Presbytery took the necessary steps—" for raising a sum of money for the purpose of sending forth and paying missionaries to preach the gospel in vacant congregations and other places, where they may think proper." This act was in obedience to a resolution of Synod, in order to sustain the Commission of Synod, in their efforts to evangelize the extended borders of Virginia, westward and southward. Individuals were named by Presbytery, for all the churches in its bounds, who should receive the donations for this purpose. This Commission of Synod, during the period of its existence, was energetic and successful.

On Saturday, May 8th, 1790, at the same meeting—"Mr. Legrand was called upon to determine respecting the calls which were presented him; whereupon he accepted the appointment of the Commission of Synod at present; and in the meantime desired to retain the calls for further consideration." On the same day Carey Allen was licensed to preach the gospel.

Of Mr. Legrand's services under the appointment of the Commission of Synod, Mr. Graham, the chairman, reported to the Assembly, in May, 1791,—" Mr. Nash Legrand, a probationer, under the care of the Presbytery of Hanover, was chosen a missionary in April, 1790. He commenced his circuit in the beginning of the following June, and passed through the counties of Bedford, Rockbridge, Botetourt, Montgomery, Augusta, Rockingham and Frederick, an extent of three or four hundred miles, with a marked success in engaging the attention of the old and young, to the concerns of their immortal souls, and in a general attendance on the means of grace wherever he came." This is the modest account given by the Commission, of their first missionary's tour—a tour important as the first of a series under the care of the Synod's Commission,—and remarkable for success in such measure as seldom falls to the lot of a missionary^ The generation that witnessed the extension of the revival under the labours of Legrand, in that missionary tour, have nearly all passed from the stage of life, and few have left any written memorials of the excitement on the subject of religion. But the name of Legrand has always been pronounced with reverence by those Christians who felt the power of his ministry. There are still living a few who heard his voice; to them, the mention of his name recalls the vision of an angel of mercy, whom multitudes will bless forever.

At an intermediate meeting of Presbytery, held at Buffaloe, July 7th, 1790—" Mr. . Legrand was called upon, at the request of Mr. Warren, Commissioner for the congregation of Hico, in North Carolina, to return an answer to the call presented to him by those congregations. But being yet undetermined upon that subject, he requested still to retain the call, leaving the said congregation, nevertheless, at full liberty to call any other, whenever they please." On the next day William Hill was licensed.

At the fall meeting of the Presbytery, at the Bird meetinghouse, October 18, 1790—"a Commissioner from the congregations upon Hico in North Carolina, and Dan River in Virginia, appeared, requesting an answer from Mr. Legrand to the call which had been presented to him. But as Mr. Legrand, in consequence of a call from Winchester, &c. had agreed to reside there for a term of time, he petitions for supplies." On the same day Carey Allen and William Hill were recommended by Presbytery to the Commission of Synod, as proper persons for missionaries.

From the fall of 1790, for a period of years, Mr. Legrand lived and laboured in Frederick county, Virginia, in the congregations of Cedar Creek and Opeckon. At the time of his visit in the spring of this year, these old congregations, which had been greatly dilapidated, were aroused, the pious enlivened, and very many were inquiring what, they should do to be saved. The large Presbyterian population in this beautiful and fertile part of the Valley lying between the North Mountain and the Blue Ridge, awakened to earnestness in. religion, prevailed upon Legrand to become their resident minister. Among these people there had been, from the first settlement of the country, much both of the spirit and the forms of religion, according to the Presbyterian faith: and Legrand found much warm piety to cheer him, in gathering in a harvest to the church. Here was a large company of young people

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »