First Presbyterian ChurchWilmington, N.C.1817-1892
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
|PROGRAMME OF SEVENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY,||5|
|HISTORY OF THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, by Rev. P. H. Hoge, D. D.,||9|
|ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, by Rev. A. D. McClure,||24|
|IMMANUEL CHAPEL, by Rev. W. McC. Miller,||27|
|PERSONAL REMINISCENCES, by Rev. M. B. Grier, D. D.,||31|
|LETTER FROM REV. H. L. SINGLETON,||41|
|HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL, by C. H. Robinson,||47|
|OLD DAYS IN THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL, by Rev. Sidney G. Law,||56|
|SERMON: “YESTERDAY, TO-DAY AND FOREVER,” by Rev. Joseph R. Wilson, D. D.,||68|
|PRESBYTERIANISM AND THE FUTURE, by Rev. Peyton H. Hoge, D. D.,||78|
|ROLL OF MINISTERS,||94|
|MINISTERS WHO HAVE GONE OUT FROM THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,||94|
|ROLL OF RULING ELDERS,||95|
|ROLL OF DEACONS,||96|
|ROLL OF COMMUNICANTS,||97|
|ROLL OF COMMUNICANTS AT IMMANUEL CHAPEL,||102|
|ROLL OF NON-RESIDENT COMMUNICANTS,||103|
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,
WILMINGTON, N. C.
Thursday, December 8, 8-10 P. M.—Reception at Y. M. C. A. Hall.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9th, at 8 P. M.
|Hymn 930,—“A Mighty Fortress is our God,”||CHOIR.|
|Reading of Psalm xcii.|
|Hymn 244,—“O God, the Rock of Ages,”||CONGREGATION.|
|The First Church,||REV. P. H. HOGE, D. D.|
|St. Andrew's Church,||REV. A. D. MCCLURE.|
|Immanuel Chapel,||REV. W. MCC. MILLER.|
|Hymn 714,—“How Firm a Foundation,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Pastorate of 1852-1861,||REV. M. B. GRIER, D. D.|
|Pastorate of 1865-1871,||REV. H. L. SINGLETON.*|
|Presentation,||REV. J. R. WILSON, D. D.|
|Prayer,||REV. S. G. LAW.|
|Hymn 204,—“God of our Salvation! Hear us,”||CONGREGATION,|
|Benediction,||REV. M. B. GRIER, D. D.|
|Voluntary—Hymn 76, “How Pleased and Blest Was I,”||CHOIR.|
|Invocation,||REV. A. D. MCCLURE.|
|Hymn 55,—“O Day of Rest and Gladness,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Reading of Hebrews xiii.|
|Prayer,||REV. S. G. LAW.|
|Hymn 734,—“Jesus, Still Lead on,”||CONGREGATION.|
|(Collection for the Poor.)|
|Sermon—“Yesterday, To-Day, and Forever,”||REV. J. R. WILSON, D. D.|
|Hymn 952,—“O God of Bethel,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Communion of the Lord's Supper,||DR. GRIER AND DR. WILSON.|
|Hymn 941,—“Blest be the Tie that Binds,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Benediction,||REV. J. R. WILSON, D. D.|
|Hymn 1,—“Holy, Holy, Holy,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Prayer,||REV. W. MCC. MILLER.|
|Hymn 54,—“Tell me Whom my Soul Doth Love,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Historical Sketch,||MR. C. H. ROBINSON.|
|Hymn 122, “Jesus, Saviour, Pilot Me,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Address,—“Old Days in the Sunday-school,”||REV. S. G. LAW.|
|Prayer,||REV. G. W. MCMILLAN.|
|Hymn 74,—“Travelling to the Better Land,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Benediction,||REV. S. G. LAW.|
|Hymn 511,—“Hark, the Song of Jubilee,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Psalms cxxxiii. and cxxxiv.|
|Anthem, “Praise the Lord, O my Soul,”||CHOIR.|
|Reading of Ephesians iv. 1-16.|
|Prayer,||REV. M. B. GRIER, D. D.|
|Hymn 867,—“My Soul, Repeat His Praise,”||CONGREGATION.|
|Sermon,—“Presbyterianism and the Future,”||REV. P. H. HOGE, D. D.|
|Response,—“Jesus Shall Reign,”||MALE QUARTETTE.|
|Prayer,||REV. J. R. WILSON, D. D.|
|Hymn 725,—“Onward, Christian Soldiers,”||CONGREGATION.|
THE first sermon by a Presbyterian minister in Wilmington, of which there is any record, was preached February 15, 1756, by Rev. Hugh McAden, whose descendants in the fifth generation are on the roll of the church at the present time. In 1760 Rev. James Tate, and in 1785 Rev. William Bingham, both Presbyterian ministers from Ireland, opened classical schools in Wilmington, and preached here, and in adjoining counties.
There seems to have been no formal organization prior to 1817, the Presbyterians worshiping with the Episcopalians and Methodists, who alternately worshiped in the Episcopal Church. At that time a petition from “a large and respectable number of citizens of Wilmington,” met to organize themselves into a Presbyterian congregation, was presented to Fayetteville Presbytery, asking to be taken under the care of Presbytery. The petition was granted and the church was enrolled. There is no record of the formal organization of the church by a Committee of Presbytery, but it may have been done by Rev. Colin McIver, who was appointed to preach there before the next stated meeting of Presbytery. At all events, in 1819, Mr. John McAuslan was seated as commissioner from the church in Wilmington.
In May, 1818, the congregation assembled in the Episcopal
Church—then on Market street, between Third and Fourth—and heard a sermon from Rev. James O. Andrews, a minister, and afterwards a bishop, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, after which a procession was formed and marched to the site chosen for the Presbyterian Church, on the east side of Front street, between Dock and Orange. There the corner-stone was laid by St. John's Lodge and Concord Chapter.
On May 12, 1819, Rev. Artemus Boies, a licentiate, having been duly and unanimously called, was regularly ordained and installed pastor of the church by Fayetteville Presbytery, convened there for the purpose.
November 3, 1819, the church was destroyed in a disastrous fire that swept away nearly all that portion of the town, thereby wiping out, let us hope, the reproach upon the church of having raised the money for building it by a lottery.
With commendable zeal and liberality, in spite of the prostrate condition of the city, the congregation went to work to rebuild. They were generously assisted from without, and through the kindness of Rev. Adam Empie, rector of St. James’ (Episcopal) Church, they meanwhile occupied that building one half of each Sabbath-day. The corner-stone of the new church was laid in 1820, and the building was completed in 1821.
Mr. Boies had meanwhile accepted a call from Charleston, where he had visited while seeking funds for the new church. He was a man of taste and cultivation, and his work in Charleston was greatly blessed. On account of his health he returned to New England, and at the time of his death (1844) was in charge of the Pine Street Church in Boston.
Mr. Boies was succeeded, after an interval, by Rev. Leonard E. Lathrop, a native of Hebron, Conn., who was ordained and installed in January, 1823. At the first communion of this pastorate fifteen ladies were added to the church, and at the second, one gentleman—the first male member received onREV. THOS. P. HUNT.
examination since the organization of the church. In consequence of ill-health Mr. Lathrop resigned his charge in October, 1824. His very useful ministry was terminated by death in 1857.
The church was supplied at intervals after the departure of Mr. Lathrop, until, in April, 1827, Rev. Noel Robertson, a licentiate of the Second Presbytery of New York, was ordained and installed pastor. The relation was dissolved at his request in the April of the following year, and in October of the same year he died, at Manayunk, Penn., in the 22d year of his age.
After this the church sunk into a period of great depression. It was without a session; its pulpit was for a while profaned by a man of scandalous intemperance, and many families seem at this time to have left the church. In 1830, a ray of light fell on the darkness. The first annual report to the General Assembly was sent up in the spring of this year, and is as follows: “Communicants (at beginning of year), 30; added on examination, 6; died, 1; dismissed, 1; total, 34; infants baptized, 4.” The facts are explained by the visit of Rev. W. S. Plumer (then a young man), as a Domestic Missionary,
The better times thus begun grew brighter in the latter part of the same year, when Rev. Thomas P. Hunt (a stepson of Rev. Moses Hoge, D. D.), came to Wilmington as a temperance lecturer. He remained with this people, and under his preaching the church was revived; a session, consisting of Alexander Anderson, William P. Hort, James Owen, and Robert W. Gibbs, was elected in March, 1831, and May 13, 1832, Mr. Hunt was installed pastor. Before his installation, as shown by the report to Presbytery that spring, the number of communicants had been increased by twenty-nine, a Sunday-school with forty-nine scholars had been organized, and also a Foreign Missionary Society. Mr. Hunt preached his farewell sermon, June 22, 1834, having been appointed agent to receive
funds for the endowment of Donaldson Academy at Fayetteville.
In November of that year, Rev. James A. McNeill arrived in Wilmington as Stated Supply for one year. He was then a licentiate, but was during the year ordained sine titulo. At the end of the year he was called to the pastorate, but on account of failing health was never installed. He left Wilmington in the summer of 1836, in the hope of regaining his health, and was never able to resume his labors. He paid a visit to his people in the following November, and then took passage for Cuba. He died of consumption, September 27, 1837.
In 1837, the church was supplied for a few months by Rev. Robert Southgate, and in 1838, by Rev. Henry Brown, a brother of the now venerable Rev. William Brown, D. D., for many years permanent clerk of the General Assembly. His labors of a few months were much blessed. In the end of that year, Rev. W. W. Eells, a licentiate of Harmony Presbytery, was invited to Wilmington, and after laboring a few months was called to the pastorate, and was ordained and installed, April 28, 1839.
In March, 1840, the building of a session-room in the rear of the church was determined on, and it was dedicated October 22nd of the same year. It was used for the Sabbath-school, the weekly prayer-meetings and lectures, and contained a room for the pastor's study. The first organ was introduced during this pastorate.
Mr. Eells was in delicate health, and for that reason was much away from his charge, and resigned in September, 1841. He continued to supply the pulpit at the urgent request of the congregation until February, 1842, although the pastoral relation had been dissolved the preceding November. The membership at the close of his ministry was fifty.
Rev. Thomas R. Owen, who had become a candidate for the ministry from this church during the pastorate of Mr.
Hunt, frequently supplied the pulpit during Mr. Eells’ absences, and was called to the pastorate the August after his resignation. The following September (1843), to the surprise and regret of the congregation, he tendered his resignation without having been installed.
The great need of the church during all this period was a settled pastorate. In less than thirty years it had had seven pastors or regular supplies, all but two of whom were ordained in connection with this church. Of its first four pastors, Mr. Boies, Mr. Lathrop, and Mr. Hunt were still living and laboring successfully elsewhere. If any one of them could have continued with this church, it would have developed into much greater strength before this time. But it is evident that the proper development and training of the congregation could not take place under these conditions. The male members were few; the session was small; there were no deacons; and the affairs of the church were almost entirely in the hands of the trustees—a public-spirited, high-toned body of men, but for the most part not communicants.
In January, 1845, Rev. J. O. Stedman began his labors here, for reasons of his own preferring to act as stated supply. He remained with the congregation for six years, and under his care the growth of the church was rapid and substantial. Great attention was paid to the catechetical instruction of the children of the Sabbath-school; a Sabbath-school for colored persons was organized; the monthly concert of prayer for missions was regularly observed; a Juvenile Missionary Society was formed, and also a Domestic Missionary Society.
March 25, 1847, a congregational meeting resolved on the remodelling of the interior of the church. Previous to this time it had had upon the sides next to the walls the old-fashioned box-pews, with seats upon three sides, and the high pulpit, elevated upon Ionic pillars and reached by winding stairs. All this was changed, and a modern pulpit and comfortable
modern pews were introduced. A new bell was added in 1850, costing $448. The old bell was given in part payment, and Captain Gilbert Potter gave the rest. In the latter part of this year a protracted meeting was held by Rev. Daniel Baker, the Texas missionary, and fourteen or fifteen souls were hopefully converted.
Mr. Stedman in 1851, on account of the ill-health of his wife, declined the regular call tendered him by the congregation, and in August, preached his farewell sermon. During the period of Mr. Stedman's services (six years and six months) there were admitted on examination, 34 white and 16 colored members: and on certificate, 30 white and 5 colored. The dismissals were 12, and the deaths 7. The membership reported the following spring was 84. The contributions for benevolent objects (Foreign Missions, Waldenses, Colonization Society, Education, Union Seminary, Domestic Missions, Bible and Tract Societies, etc.), amounted to $2,450.16.
The changes in the session previous to the close of Mr. Stedman's term of service were as follows: In 1835, William P. Hort removed beyond the bounds of the congregation, and in 1836, Mr. Hervey Law appears as a member of the session. He was at one time the efficient superintendent of the Sunday-school, but removed North in the summer of 1850. Mr. Alexander Anderson, who had presided over the original meeting that petitioned Presbytery for the organization of the church in 1817, died in November, 1844, just before Mr. Stedman came. On January 10, 1850, Mr. John C. Latta, previously a ruling elder in the Fayetteville Church, was elected to that office by this congregation.
Rev. M. B. Grier, of the Presbytery of Baltimore, began labors here as Stated Supply, July 18, 1852, and the following February was elected pastor, but was not installed until May 18, 1854. In 1854, a brick dwelling on Front street, near Red Cross, was purchased for a manse (destroyed in the fire of
1886), and by 1855 the congregation had paid $4,000 on this account, and the same year contributed $1,100 to Union Seminary, and $3,000 to the Seamen's Friend Society. In 1857 a new organ, costing $2,500, was placed in the church, the old one being used in part payment.
In 1858 the church was visited with a memorable revival. One of the elders returned from a convention of elders and deacons in Greensboro with quickened zeal. A prayer-meeting was called to consult and pray together over the interests of the church. The pastor was absent on missionary duty, and when he returned found the tide of interest and feeling rising. Prayer and preaching services were arranged at once, the families of the church were visited, and many went daily to the pastor's study to receive counsel and guidance. Special meetings were arranged for the colored people, who could not attend the day services. The immediate results of this work of grace were great. In three months forty-two white and twenty colored persons were received into the communion of the church, many of them young men. A mission chapel (situated on Chesnut street, between Seventh and Eighth) was erected as a thank-offering for God's mercy, and used for a time as originally designed. On November 6, 1858, fourteen persons, including one of the ruling elders, Mr. John C. Latta, were dismissed to form the Second Presbyterian Church, and the new building was surrendered to them for a house of worship. On November 29th the session was enlarged by the election of Dr. James H. Dickson, John N. Andrews, Barzillai G. Worth, George Chadbourn and James C. Smith. At the same time the first Board of Deacons was elected, consisting of Captain Gilbert Potter, John W. K. Dix, Thomas C. Worth, Malcolm McInnis, Joseph C. Russell, Samuel Northrop, and James D. Cumming. These officers were ordained December 18, 1858. Another fruit of the revival was the organization of a Young Men's Prayer Meeting, that was kept up until the war,
and was useful in inaugurating mission work in the southern part of the city.
April 13, 1859, the church, which was valued at about $10,000, and on which there was no insurance, was burned to the ground. A subscription was begun on the spot, and a meeting was held in Dr. Dickson's office the same evening to initiate proceedings for rebuilding; a committee was appointed to secure subscriptions, and at the next meeting of the officers a subscription of $14,000 was reported. Citizens of all denominations contributed liberally. Service was held in the lecture-room (which was still standing) the next Sunday, and Mr. Grier preached from Isa. lxiv. 11. The lecture-room was too contracted for the congregation, and so the use of the City Hall was obtained, and worship was held there from May 22, 1859, until the new church was completed. The Synod held its sessions in that room in the fall of the same year.
It was decided not to rebuild on the old site, so the lot with the lecture-room upon it was sold, and also the manse, and the present lot with the buildings on it was purchased for $7,500. Out of these buildings a manse was fitted up. The plan for the new church was drawn by Samuel Sloan, of Philadelphia, and the estimated cost was $20,000. Mr. James Walker was the contractor who erected it. The bell was the gift of Mr. George Harriss, and the organ (which was not put in until after the late war) was chiefly the gift of Mr. Eli Murray. The new house was dedicated April 28, 1861, the pastor preaching the sermon.
It was with mutual regret that during this year pastor and people recognized the necessity of separation, on account of their different attitude toward the great struggle then impending. Mr. Grier left Wilmington about June 1, 1861, and the pastoral relation was severed by Presbytery the following October.
During this pastorate there were 57 white persons and 41OLD FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
colored received on examination, and 34 white persons by certificate; 25 persons were dismissed to other churches, and the membership reported the following spring was 195. In 1857 there were 130 scholars in the Sabbath-school, and 180 in 1860. From 1853 to 1861, $846 was contributed for Foreign Missions, $845 for Sustentation, $882 for Education, and $169 for Publication. Mr. Grier, on leaving Wilmington, became editor of The Presbyterian, of Philadelphia, and has remained in connection with it to the present time. The period of his pastorate was one of great blessing to the church, the influence of which we rejoice in to the present time. The church entered upon a higher plane of usefulness, from which it has never since descended.
During the civil war the church was without a pastor, but on the temporary suspension of the Second Church, its pastor, Rev. Martin McQueen, supplied this church. This was in 1863 and 1864. In the latter part of 1864, and a few months of 1865, it was supplied by Rev. A. D. Hepburn. During this period four white persons were received on examination, and two colored; by certificate, four white persons. The period was not propitious for outward growth. The numerical decline was material. But in the furnace of affliction the faith of many shone brighter, and whether doing their duty on the field of battle, or in the plague-stricken town, there were not a few who, proving faithful unto death, received the martyr's crown.
Rev. Horace L. Singleton, of the Presbytery of Baltimore, was called to the pastorate November 21, 1865, having already entered upon his labors, and was installed May 6, 1866. He served the church until October 1, 1871.
Seasons of revival are reported in the spring of 1867, when special services were held, and 10 persons made profession of their faith between the spring and summer communion; in 1869, when morning prayer-meetings were held for a week, and 16 were received at the spring communion; and in 1870,
when 16 made profession of their faith at the same season. In all, 70 were added to the church on examination, and 57 on certificate during this pastorate. The total membership at the close was 172.
In the first year of Mr. Singleton's ministry the debt of $10,000 resting on the church was cancelled, the eastern portion of the church lot, with the buildings on it, being sold. In January, 1871, the lecture room was reported ready for use. The practice of taking stated collections for the benevolent operations of the church had not been commenced, but in 1870 a balance of $310, and in 1871, of $438, was distributed among the different causes. On April 21, 1867, the Chesnut street Presbyterian Church (colored), in connection with the Northern General Assembly, was organized with thirty-four members, most of whom came by letter from this church. They purchased from the Second Church the building originally erected by this congregation as a mission chapel.
At the beginning of this pastorate there were but two elders,* George Chadbourn, and J. C. Smith. Robert W. Gibbs Gibbs had died in 1861, Mr. Andrews had removed from the city, Dr. Dickson had laid down his life in the yellow-fever scourge of 1862, and Gen. Owen had died in 1865. Of the board of deacons, Dr. Worth and Mr. Dix were also victims of the yellow fever, and Capt. Potter died in 1861. The remaining deacons were Samuel Northrop, James D. Cumming, Joseph B. Russel, and Malcolm McInnis. February 2, 1868, A. A. Willard, John McLaurin, James D. Cumming, Samuel Northrop, and C. H. Robinson, were elected ruling elders, and Thomas W. Player, G. W. Williams, D. G. Worth, W. Whitehead, and E. P. George, were elected deacons. A few weeks later, C. P. Mebane was elected deacon, Mr. McInnis* Mr. B. G. Worth had removed to the North at the close of the war, but, returning shortly afterwards, was re-elected to the eldership.
having removed to Brooklyn, N. Y. Steps were shortly after taken for the more thorough organization of the congregation for Christian work.
In the December following Mr. Singleton's removal, Rev. A. F. Dickson began to supply the pulpit, and was called to the pastorate, March 20, 1872. Up to this time eighteen persons had been received into the church upon profession of faith. He was installed June 1, but his pastorate continued less than a year from that date. The church was at this time distracted by a painful division, and in May, 1873, the congregation united with Mr. Dickson in his request to Presbytery for a dissolution of the relation, bearing unanimous testimony “to his ardent, humble piety and to his entirely faultless Christian character and deportment,” and expressing their “full appreciation of the earnestness, zeal and fidelity with which he discharged his duties as pastor of this church.” The membership at the close of this pastorate was one hundred and ninety-one.
During this time E. P. George was dismissed to Denver, Col., and James Sprunt was elected deacon in his place.
From September, 1873, until the vacancy in the pastorate was filled, the church was favored with the regular ministrations of that venerable servant of God, Rev. William S. Plumer, D. D., who forty-three years before had visited the church in its time of deepest darkness. Now as then, the church was greatly comforted and blessed by his ministrations. Dr. Plumer continued to come over weekly from Columbia and preach on the Sabbath, until in March, 1874, Rev. Joseph R. Wilson, D. D., of Columbia Seminary, having received a unanimous call to the pastorate of the church, entered upon his labors. He was installed November 1, 1874.
The beginning of this pastorate (the longest in the history of the church) was marked by a gracious outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and during the first year 36 persons were received on
profession of faith and 20 by letter. Again, in the year ending April, 1880, the special presence of the Holy Spirit is indicated by the addition of 25 on profession of faith. During the whole pastorate 121 were received on profession of faith and 66 on certificate. Among the more important events of this period are the following: The re-purchase (in 1874) of the eastern portion of the church lot, with the handsome residence that had meanwhile been erected upon it; the entire extinction in 1879 of the debt of $14,552, through the labors of G. W. Williams, chairman of the board of deacons; the building of the annex to the lecture room in 1883, for the use of the infant class; the abolition of pew rents and the inauguration of the present system of subscription and weekly contributions; and the adoption of the Assembly's system of stated collections for the beneficent causes of the church.
Under this last plan the contributions to these causes greatly increased, and were for the whole period as follows: Foreign Missions, $4,132: Sustentation, $762; Evangelistic, $1,250; Education, $490; Invalid Fund, $755; Publication, $311; Tuskaloosa Institute, $272. The increase may be seen by comparing the total for these objects reported April, 1875, $459, with the total of $986 in 1885. These figures would be larger if certain special contributions had been included in the reports.
The following changes occurred during this time in the session and board of deacons: James D. Cumming in 1873 was dismissed to Tarboro, and James C. Smith in 1881 to Calah; both had served as clerk of session for many years. Of the deacons, Mr. Whitehead was dismissed to Fayetteville in 1874, Mr. Russell moved to Charleston, and in 1879, authorized his name to be dropped from the list of deacons, and in the same year Mr. Player was removed by death. On December 21, 1879, B. F. Hall was elected ruling elder, and James Alderman, John D. Taylor, H. H. Munson, and W. R. Kenan,
were elected deacons. In March, 1885, Mr. Alderman was removed by death.
In February, 1885, Dr. Wilson, having been elected Professor of Theology in the Southwestern University, Clarksville, Tenn., and deeming it his duty to accept, sorrowfully requested the dissolution of the pastoral tie. The church as sorrowfully united in the request, and, on April 1st, the relation was terminated.
In September, 1853, Rev. Peyton H. Hoge, of Richmond, Va., was called to the pastorate of the church. He formally began his labors, December 1st, and was installed January 24, 1886. Again God was pleased to set the seal of his approbation upon the pastoral relation by graciously outpouring his Holy Spirit. The week before the installation a Mothers’ Prayer-meeting was held daily, and such was the interest developed that the pastor preached every night of the following week. The next Sunday 22 made public profession of their faith, and during the year, 39 in all were received on profession of faith and 15 on certificate. Frequent seasons of revival have since gladdened the hearts of pastor and people, especially in connection with the spring communion, when morning prayer-meetings are held daily for one or two weeks. The most memorable revival season was the spring of 1888, when our city was blessed by the presence and labors of Rev. R. G. Pearson, evangelist. The meetings were held in the warehouse of the Champion Compress Company, and consisted of Bible-readings at 11 A. M., and preaching at 8 P. M., followed by an inquiry meeting. Meetings for prayer and preaching had previously been held in all parts of the city, and much thorough work was done in preparing for the meetings both materially and spiritually. In all this the pastor and people of this church took an active part, and with other Christians of the city waited upon the Lord in prayer for his blessing. The city was stirred to its depths, audiences of two
and three thousand crowded the building, and hundreds of new converts and backsliders reclaimed revealed the power and blessing of the Holy Spirit, while Christians were wonderfully quickened and a new impulse given to every good work. That year the additions to this church were 69 on profession of faith and 21 on certificate—the largest number in the history of the church.
During the present pastorate the congregation has been reorganized for Christian work. The Young Ladies’ Missionary Society, previously contributing to both home and foreign work, now devotes itself exclusively to the industrial schools and other work in connection with Immanuel Chapel. The Ladies’ Foreign Missionary Society, assisted by the Gleaners (a society of young girls), support a missionary in the foreign field, while the Edgar Woods Society (composed of men), supports the medical missionary for whom it is named. The Ladies’ Aid Society does benevolent and missionary work among the poor. At the same time that the church began the support of Dr. Woods it undertook the support of an evangelist for our Mission Chapel.
Among the events of this pastorate may be noted: The building first of the school-house, and later of the chapel for the mission; the renovation and remodelling of the interior of the church; the building of the Young Men's Christian Association Hall, to which this congregation was the largest contributor; and the opening by a member of this church of the commodious reading-room in the Seamen's Home.
The following changes in the Session and Board of Deacons have taken place: in 1886 John D. Taylor was elected ruling elder in place of James C. Smith, dismissed, and the vacancy thus caused on the Board of Deacons, and that due to the death of Mr. Alderman, were filled by the election of H. C. McQueen and J. H. Currie. Upon the death of George Chadbourn, whose long and useful services to the church ended
July 8, 1891, David G. Worth was elected ruling elder, and James H. Chadbourn, Jr., to his place on the Board of Deacons. On the removal of J. H. Currie to Fayetteville, November, 7, 1892, W. A. Riach, W. M. Cumming, and E. S. Tennent, were elected deacons, the number of the board being increased to ten.
Before the beginning of the present pastorate the session instituted a thorough revision of the rolls, revealing 263 names, of which 27 were placed upon the retired list, inquiry failing to elicit the information necessary to their dismissal to other churches, while 20 others, followed up with similar inquiries, were dismissed, dropped, or suspended, as the case required, thus leaving a membership of 216. To them there have been added, on profession of faith, 215, and on certificate 108. There have died 55, and been dismissed, dropped, or suspended 61; making the net gain 207, and the present membership 423.
The contributions for the seven years have been: Home Missions, $18,214.58; Foreign Missions, $9,944.95; Educational Causes, $4,056.24; all other benevolences, $21,985.91; total of benevolence, $54,201.68; congregational, $47,984.67; grand total, $102,186.35. This includes a legacy of $5,000 in the hands of the trustees not yet expended.
Here then, for the present, we raise our Ebenezer, thanking God for what he has done for us in the past, and trusting the same hand that has brought us into this grace wherein we stand to lead us through whatever trials may be before us, and to enable us to do greater things for the honor and glory of his name. Amen.
This church was originally the Second Presbyterian Church of our city. It was organized by the Presbytery of Fayetteville, November 21, 1858. Of the fourteen founders, original communicants, but six still survive, and but two of these are now members of this church. Three who united with the church in 1859, and one in 1861, are still active members. For the first sixteen years the tenure of life was frail, only forty-three members being added during this time. There were two made ruling elders, and four, deacons, at the organization. Of these, but one of the deacons is with us—now an elder. Rev. Martin McQueen was the first minister, serving as supply from January, 1859, until December, 1863. For the seven years immediately succeeding, the church had no minister.
For three years from November, 1870, the pulpit was supplied by Rev. H. B. Burr. The church was again without supply for seven months. June 1, 1874, the first pastor, Rev. C. M. Payne, D. D., began his ministry, to continue for a term of almost ten years of usefulness. During his ministry the church made steady progress—reporting fifty members in 1875, and 136 in April, 1884. There were no special ingatherings in this time, the largest number of new members reported at any communion being fifteen; but a steady growth, such as the church has continued to have. During this period our records make special mention of Mr. Alexander Sprunt and Mr. John Colvill as ruling elders, whose term of service expired, the first by his departure to be with Christ, the other by removal to serve the Master in other places.
ST ANDREWS CHURCH, PRESBYTERIAN
WILMINGTON, N C
During the few months, until the election and coming of Dr. Primrose, services were conducted by the elders. Rev. J. W. Primrose was installed pastor, January 11, 1885, and continued in active and efficient service until his release, December 31, 1890, to become evangelist of the Synod of Missouri. During his pastorate the church had the same steady growth in membership, with an especially large number added in the years 1887-’88-’89. Several new elders and deacons were added also. During the six months, until the coming of the present pastor (Rev. A. D. McClure, who prepared and read this paper), the church held together earnestly under the faithful leadership of its elders.
The present pastorate began July 1, 1891, with a membership of two hundred and twenty-six, and has added fifty-nine since.
The building in which the congregation worshiped from its origin until 1867, was erected by the First Church. In 1867 it was sold to the First African Presbyterian Church of this city. Thenceforward, until May 4, 1873, the congregation worshiped in Brooklyn Hall. In this time, under Mr. Burr's ministry, the building now used as lecture room and chapel was erected as the church building, and so used until 1889. It was dedicated May 4, 1873, and Mr. Burr left in November of the same year. During the pastorate of Dr. Payne the manse was built where the new church now stands. During the pastorate of Dr. Primrose, additional property for a new manse, yet to be built, was bought, and the old manse removed to an adjoining lot, to give place and room for the erection of the commodious and modern church building we now occupy. The church, by a two-thirds vote, changed the name, September 19, 1888, from Second Church to St. Andrew's. A new building was at once erected, and dedicated June 9, 1889. This church, with its present pastor, four ruling elders and ten deacons, and a membership of two hundred and sixty, contributed
last year the sum of $4,102. The income of this year will be at least $1,000 more than last year.
We maintain a Sabbath-school of more than two hundred, with a Bible-class of young men of twenty-four, and a young ladies’ class of fifteen.
The Church Aid Society, working for the poor of the church, and the care and improvement of the church property; a circle of King's Daughters, working specially for our orphans’ home; and the Ladies’ Foreign Missionary Society, are our organizations of women in church work.
We have an interesting children's society calling itself “Earnest Workers,” using its income for Foreign Missions.
A Brotherhood of Andrew and Philip, composed mostly of young men, and working specially for young men, has a meeting on Sabbath mornings for prayer and the study of our Confession of Faith. This meets once a month for business. With fifty-five members this brotherhood secured one lecturer this year, and is arranging for several next year. They have a nucleus of a library, and mean to issue a monthly paper. They hope to have a reading-room and to do some other things in this line besides that already named, and their special work of inviting strangers to our services and securing the attendance of young men.
On the whole, the outlook for our church is encouraging, and we ask you to pray for us.
In the revival of 1858, one of the forms in which the quickened spiritual life of God's people manifested itself, was a deep interest in city mission work. Active efforts were at once put forth in that direction, which resulted in the building of a mission chapel on Chesnut street, between Seventh and Eighth. Thus, the memorable year of 1858 was the beginning of organized mission work in the city by the First Church. After the new chapel was surrendered for a house of worship to the colony that formed the Second Church (November 6, 1858), the mother church looked elsewhere for work. So, on March 1, 1859, it was determined to build a house in the lower part of town. Mr. John A. Taylor donated a lot on Wooster street, between Fifth and Sixth, a building was erected, and there a Sabbath-school was organized, under J. A. Andrews as superintendent, and maintained until the demoralization of war times rendered it impossible to continue it longer.
November 19, 1867, a Young Men's Prayer-meeting was again begun, and it was determined to rebuild the mission school-house, which was entirely destroyed during the war. The new building was first used March 31, 1869, and a weekly prayer-meeting and Sunday-school maintained with encouraging success, until, in 1871, the work was suspended, and somewhat later, the building again destroyed.
About 1884, a Sunday-school and some industrial classes were undertaken, in small rented rooms, by some of the Young Ladies’ Missionary Society, at the expense of the society. The work grew until larger quarters were necessary, and in the
summer of 1886, the lot on Wooster street was exchanged for the present lot on Front street, and the congregation erected the building which stands in the rear of the present structure, and is still used for some purposes by the mission. At the same time the Sunday-school was taken under the care of the session, and the Young Ladies’ Society, relieved of the expense of rent, enlarged their industrial work. In November, 1887, the congregation subscribed the money for the support of a missionary. On the first of January, 1888, Mr. J. M. W. Elder entered upon his labors as a lay missionary, and for ten months labored faithfully and successfully, preparing the way for an ordained minister. In October, 1888, the Rev. William McC. Miller, of Greenbrier Presbytery, was elected evangelist of the mission by the session, and entered upon his labors, January, 1, 1889, giving his whole time to the work.
The work performed by the evangelist was similar in nature and extent to that of a regular pastor. A Sunday-school, superintended by Elders Samuel Northrop and James D. Taylor, and supplied with more than a dozen teachers from the First Church, was in regular and successful operation. The young children were gathered in industrial classes several days in the week, and trained in manners and useful arts by members of the Young Ladies’ Missionary Society, Miss Bessie T. Willard* being the head and leader of the work. Under the blessing of God on all these labors, the work prospered, and the numbers increased, till it became evident before the close of the year 1889 that more room was needed to accommodate the work, and allow for its expansion.
Accordingly, through the efforts of Dr. Hoge, pastor of the First Church, as the moving spirit, plans were inaugurated and successfully operated in bringing about the needed improvements. On May 22, 1890, a congregational meeting was called, and it was decided to erect a new building, to be* Since her removal succeeded by her sister, Miss Lottie May Willard.
called Immanuel Chapel. A building committee, with Mr. Samuel Northrop as chairman, was appointed. The committee engaged Mr. A. B. Cook, a member and one of the first fruits of the mission, as the contractor and builder. Ground was broken for the new building on May 26, 1890, and before the end of the year it was completed. The neat new chapel, so admirably adapted to its purposes, measured forty-five feet in length by thirty in width, with two wings, each ten feet by twelve, at the pulpit end of the church. It comfortably seated more than three hundred people, and was erected at a total cost, including furnishings, of about $3,500. Of this amount $1,080 was derived from a legacy left for the purpose by Mrs. E. E. Burruss, to whose memory a handsome memorial window occupies the front end of the building. The remainder of the cost was met by private subscriptions from the congregation of the First Church. The first service was held in the new chapel on January 4, 1891, and on February 1, 1891, it was dedicated to the worship of God, Dr. Hoge preaching the sermon from the illuminated texts on the walls of the building.
The work of the mission in all its departments has been well sustained, and is now in a satisfactory condition. The evangelist holds the regular Sabbath services morning and night, and the weekly prayer-meeting, and engages largely in house to house visitation. The Sunday-school, with a membership of about one hundred, is in a flourishing condition. The industrial classes and other branches of work, under the care and conduct of the young ladies of the Missionary Society, are kept up with increasing interest, and are of great practical value. In the four years (1888-1892) since the present evangelist began his labors, more than 600 religious services have been held in the mission; 51 persons have been received into the church, and 35 persons have been baptized. This work has been sustained at a total cost during the four
years of not far from $10,000*—a wise expenditure in view of the results accomplished, all of which are not apparent, and cannot be put down in figures. This work of the First Church nearest home has ever enlisted its warmest interest and received its generous support. May the Lord of the harvest evermore add his blessing, to whom be all the glory now and forever. Amen.* Including the cost of building.
M B Grier
I first saw Wilmington in the spring of the year 1852. An invitation had reached me in my home in Ellicott City, Maryland, to preach here for two Sabbaths, in the Presbyterian Church, then without a pastor. I did not know at the time, but learned afterwards, that the invitation was the result of a suggestion made to the session of this church by the Rev. Dr. Plumer, then of Baltimore, a man well known to many of this congregation, especially for his services to the church in later years.
When I arrived in Wilmington I was taken to the house of Captain Gilbert Potter, in whose hospitable home I tarried during my stay in the place. A few days after my return to Maryland, I received a proposition from the elders to remove to Wilmington and become the minister of the church for the term of one year. After some deliberation I accepted the proposition, and began my regular ministry here in the month of July, 1852. The reason for the limitation of time to one year, which I was quite ready to accept, was the precarious state of my own health, which made me reluctant to enter into a long engagement, and probably made the people of the church of the same mind.
When I began my work in mid-summer of the year 1852, I looked around, first of all, to see what material I had in the people who had called me, wherewith to build up a Christian church of the Presbyterian faith and order. I found that the church
had reported to the Presbytery of Fayetteville, at its spring meeting, that it had eighty-four members in all. Twenty-four of these were of the colored people. There were three elders, General James Owen (who resided, however, for the most of the time on his plantation in Alabama), Robert W. Gibbs, and John C. Latta. There were no deacons. A very good board of Trustees was caring for the finances of the church, and I was not hindered in my work by any indebtedness resting upon the property. There were a number of male members of the church, but the most of them, as I remember, were somewhat of the kind which recalled the story of a lad in Kentucky, who, when he was asked whether his father was a religious man, replied, “Yes; I suppose he is, but he is not working very hard at it just now.” My men in the church were working hard at turpentine, and at sawing logs, and at buying and selling, and getting gain, and they had little time, and not much heart, for active work in the church. They wished me well, however, and were hopeful for the future of the church.
Of devout women there were not a few, and I very soon heard of a female prayer meeting, which met at stated times to pray for fathers, brothers, and sons who were standing away from Christ. I inquired about this meeting, but could find out very little about its history. No one seemed to know when it was started; it had always been. Sometimes the attendance was very small, but the two or three who came held on, and waited and prayed. Then the numbers swelled again, and the earnestness deepened. When I heard of the existence of this gathering of saintly women, I “thanked God and took courage.” Somebody was praying, I knew, and I could afford to work on, in the assurance that in God's good time blessed answers to these prayers would come.
The first sign of forward movement in the church, and the foreshadowing of further progress, was the purchase, in the year 1853, of a house as a residence for the pastor—a manse.
It was a small, but pleasant residence, at the corner of Red Cross street and Front street, very near the railroad station of that time. I might possibly have interpreted the choice of that location as a subtle intimation that if I did not behave myself wisely in a perfect way, there was a very ready and very accessible way of getting out of the town. If it was so, I never took the hint. I went away at times, but I always came back again, and for six years this pleasant manse was my happy home.
As the church advanced in its facilities for work, and gathered strength for its own support, it began also to exert spiritual influences upon the men and women of the congregation, and to draw them within its pale. In 1854, the membership had increased from 84 to 115. In 1855, the membership had grown to 125; in 1856, to 132; in 1857, to 143; in 1858, to 170. The growth was slow, but it was steady, and it brought precious souls into the kingdom.
The reminiscences I am called to give, will, I fear, grow somewhat desultory, and to avoid this I will group them, in what I have yet to say, around two chief events in the history of the church in my pastorate, namely, the great Revival of 1858, and the burning of the church and its rebuilding in 1859-’60.
The revival came to me most unexpectedly, though there were premonitions of it in the prayers of some of the people, and in other things not fully understood until the gracious work explained them. One of the elders* of the church had been at a meeting of elders and deacons of the Synod, held at Greensboro. He came back deeply moved by what he had seen and heard. I had given notice that I would be absent on the Sabbath after his return, doing some missionary work in the county of Columbus, which had been assigned to me by the Presbytery. But the elders gathered many of the people together in the small lecture room back of the church, and talked and prayed with them. There was a perceptible stir in the* J. C. Latta.
congregation that morning. The elders thought it best to appoint a meeting for Tuesday afternoon, and when I arrived at home they came and told me what they had done. I went down to the meeting the next afternoon, greatly wondering at all that had come to pass which had been related to me.
I found the room full. I began to think that something was moving the people to an unwonted degree. A young married woman was sitting in the seat nearest to the pulpit, and as I gazed upon her face, I saw there a look I had never seen in it before. When we rose to sing the hymn—“Depths of mercy, can there beMercy still reserved for me?”
I noticed that the tears were coursing down her cheeks. I looked at other faces in the room; they were solemn and thoughtful, as if impressions of eternal things were deepening in the hearts of all. As the meeting went on the numbers increased, many standing round the door, and I appointed a meeting for the next afternoon at four o'clock, and closed the service. As soon as I could, I hastened to the home of the young woman whose tearful face I had noticed. As she saw me enter her door, she lifted up her hands and said, “Oh, my pastor, I am self-condemned. Is there mercy in God for such a one as I am?” We sat down together to talk of the most momentous questions which the human soul can ever entertain. She passed through the veil into the heavenly land years ago, but I do not doubt that she looks back from the paradise of God to that evening as the turning point in her earthly life.
The afternoon meetings at four o'clock were continued for several weeks. Services on Sabbath; the meetings in the afternoons of the week; attendance upon the union meetings in other churches kept one very busy. But it was a business that was very grateful, and which did not bring the weariness
that comes with unsuccessful labor. Life was worth living then. The most pleasant thing of all was that every one was willing to talk upon the subject of personal religion. No one avoided you; no one turned angrily away when you addressed them. I was passing one morning, after receiving my mail, along the wharf, and as I crossed Market street, I met a young man in whom I felt a special and constant interest. We were about to pass each other with the salutations of the day, when I stopped; at the same time he stopped also. I looked him in the face, and he looked at me, and I said, “George, Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. Perhaps this is the set time for you to seek Him.” Not another word was spoken. We went our respective ways. But I saw him in the afternoon at the meeting. He sought me out in the evening, and came again and again, until, before the week ended, he came out into the light and comfort of a blessed hope, and began then the Christian life, passed before you all, which closed only when you laid the form of your beloved elder, George Chadbourn, in the grave.
I must give you another incident which, although it seems slight in itself, made so great impression upon me that I often recall it. Late in the month of June, I was called to baptize two men, well-known in the town, and who were among its prominent business men, Dr. Thomas C. Worth, and Mr. John W. K. Dix. I believe that they were both cut off afterwards in the dreadful ravages of the yellow fever in 1862, each doing good and brave service as members of the Howard Association. On the day of their baptism, the congregation was very full, and the services, as you may well imagine, very solemn. The two men stood together before the pulpit to take upon them Christian vows, and the people of the church stood around them, to welcome them into the communion of saints. As I pronounced the baptismal formula, a profound hush fell on the assembly, broken only by my own voice; but just as I said, amen, a great sob was heard—heard distinctly over all the
house. It was not the sob of distress. There was no sorrow in its tone. It seemed rather as if some heart, surcharged with emotion, which had been pent down and kept in, could no longer stay its utterance, and yielding to the impulse of the hour, thus made known its overflowing joy. I never knew from whom that sob came, perhaps from some one nearly related to the persons baptized. But you know that the accusation has sometimes been made that Presbyterian worship is decorous even to coldness, that it tends to the formal, that it suppresses all emotion, that a shout is among the things prohibited by our custom as inexorably as if it were done by law. But who can restrain emotion at such a time? That day was a high day in our Zion, and we were joyful there before God.
I heard afterwards of an incident somewhat amusing connected with that service, which will show the high tension of feeling which then existed in the church. Of all the men who had served the church in various ways, the man who most keenly enjoyed the revival and its fruits was Mr. Robert W. Gibbs, an elder in the church for many years and its faithful supporter. This season brought to him the joy of a long deferred harvest. He had long prayed for just such a revival. He had waited for it through many dark days, and looked for it hopefully in the darkest. The gracious Master vouchsafed to him the blessing of seeing his hopes fulfilled before he laid down his office, for next year the disease began to appear of which he afterwards died.
He was the only one of his household who came from it to the Presbyterian Church, all the others being members of the Episcopal or Methodist churches. The good man went home from the baptismal service which I have described with a heart full of emotion which he knew not how to express. He wandered about the house, seeming hardly to know where he was going. His face was shining, but his tongue was tied.
He had no words to body forth the feelings within. At last, one of his Methodist female relatives, laying her hand on his arm, said to him, “My dear Robert, I know what is the matter with you. You want to shout; nothing will help you but that; and if you will come up to Front Street Methodist Church to night, we will give you a chance.”
I must describe another meeting held at this time, because it has come to be one of historical interest to the Presbyterian Church in this city. The long period of religious interest in the church made large demands upon the pastor, and especially upon his voice. One Sabbath day it was gone; I could not speak above a whisper. A prayer-meeting was called for Sabbath afternoon in the church. I sat down in the morning and wrote a letter which I asked a friend to read in the meeting. It was read, and in it I suggested that, as a thank-offering for the blessing which had come upon the church, a lot should be purchased and a chapel built for mission services in a part of the town which needed such service. The suggestion was responded to heartily, and the work began. That was the origin of the Second Church, as we called it. You have called it, and I think wisely, St. Andrew's; but I wish you all to know, especially those here from St. Andrew's, that your church was born right out of the heart of a great revival. You ought to be fervent, to be true to your origin. The work on the new chapel went on rapidly, for I preached the opening sermon in it on October 17, 1858. Its history has been given by another hand.
On my return in the autumn of the same year from a vacation, I was asked to attend a prayer-meeting which had been established by a few young men who had recently come into the church. It was held in a house over the railroad. There was much talk among the young men as to what they could do for the poor and the ignorant of the town. I do not recall all that was said or done, but the outcome of all was that a lot
was obtained in the southern part of the city, and a rough board chapel put up at a small cost. It was used for mid-weekly services in the midst of a population that was gathered out of the ignorant, and often from the vicious classes. It was the precurser, probably, of Immanuel Mission Chapel.
The advance of the church which had been so rapid and so marked, was suddenly and very sadly arrested by the burning of the church, in April, 1859. It was a stunning blow, but the deep religious interest of the preceding year had fitted the church to receive it, and rise from it. The fires were still burning when the trustees of the church met in the evening, I believe, in the office of that noble man, Dr. James H. Dickson, (a name not to be mentioned in this church without honor), and resolved to rebuild at once, and subscribed themselves about $7,000. Others of the congregation sent in generous subscriptions. Help was given by citizens, of all churches, and of none, and we began to take heart again, and to prepare to rebuild the fallen sanctuary.
But as the days went on, it dawned upon us that the old site was not the best site, and that advantage ought to be taken of the position into which the church had been brought to establish it in a new and more favorable location. The best site in the town then vacant, was the lot on which the church now stands, and it was purchased. The manse up town was sold to assist in the purchase, and with my family I moved into an old house which stood on the lot. It was antiquated, somewhat weather-beaten, but it was in the heart of the congregation. It seemed to ramble over a good part of the lot which it occupied, and pushed itself out into Orange street. But it had a good right to be there, for it was built long before Orange street was laid out. It was the airiest house in which I ever lived. The parlor had four doors and eight windows in it. But it was a pleasant home, and from it I watched the uprising of the new church. It was a long, weary work, but it went
on; the church went up, and in June, 1861, it was completed. I had the assistance on the day of the dedication of Dr. Charles Philipps of the University of North Carolina.
The services of the day of dedication were not, however, the first religious services which were held within this house of God. One day as I sat in my study, I heard the sound of hurried feet on the street, and was told that one of the workmen had fallen from the tower. I hastened into the church, and met his companions bearing the limp form of the sufferer with them. They laid him down on a pile of shavings, just where the central aisle of the church runs. A physician who was passing was called in. He knelt down by the side of the poor man, felt his pulse, watched the heaving of the chest, and soon rose up, saying, “he is gone.” By this time, quite a number of persons had come in, among them the Rev. Mr. Pritchard, then pastor of the First Baptist Church. I said a few words to the gathered company, and called upon Mr. Pritchard to pray. His voice, lifted up in prayer, was the first to supplicate the blessing of God upon a stricken family in this house of the Lord. There have been many sermons preached in this church since that time, but perhaps there have been few more impressive than the words uttered that day over the workman who lay dead within these walls.
With the dedication of the new church my pastoral life in Wilmington closed. The shadows of a long war were gathering about us then, and it was judged best, both for pastor and people, that we should separate. The pastoral relation was dissolved by the Presbytery of Fayetteville in the autumn of the year 1861. All that I have to say now touching this change is to testify that you followed me with unvarying kindness to its close, and have greeted me always, in the peaceful days which have come to us, with words of unabated and warm affection.
I have no business, of course, to speak of aught that has occurred
since the day when my personal ministry closed. But I may say, for I can say it in the utmost sincerity, that I rejoice in all that you have done to make this church beautiful and attractive, and in all that you have done to carry the gospel of Christ to the ignorant and the unsaved in your city, your State, and in the lands beyond the seas. In all this I rejoice, “yea and will rejoice.” I must add, and you will surely bear with me while I add, that I have especial satisfaction in the men whom you have chosen to follow me in this place. Pride of ancestry is not uncommon. I have the unusual felicity of being proud, and heartily so, of my successors—and that down to the latest of them all—of whom I sum up all I have to say for myself, and am sure that you will join me in the saying, that I am very glad that Dr. Hoge did not go to the Theological Seminary which lately called him. May he stand in this place for many years to come, and may the blessing of God abide upon him, and upon all this beloved people evermore. Amen.
Horace L. Singleton
Dec 22nd 1892.
NEW YORK, Dec. 6, 1892.
To the Members of the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, N. C.
DEAR BRETHREN:—Twenty-seven years ago, this month, I visited Wilmington on the invitation of your session, then composed of only two members—Mr. George Chadbourn and Mr. James C. Smith. I arrived on Sunday morning about 5 o'clock, after two days’ and nights’ journey from Baltimore. This was just after the close of the war, when the railroads had not been reconstructed, nor bridges across the rivers rebuilt. The two days’ trip was characterized by everything that was gloomy and depressing; rain was incessantly pouring down; desolation and dismay, resultant of the four years’ war and invasion of our Southland, were all along the route; devastated fields, burned homes, a conquered, but noble and gallant people, poverty and distress on every side, deepened the depression of spirits with which I started on my way to you.
The day of my arrival was cloudy, chilly, and unpromising. The failure of my letter and telegram to reach the session on Saturday caused the notice to be given that there would be no service. I hunted up the elders after my arrival, and caused the bell to be rung, and thus intimated that there would be service.
In that first morning service there about thirty or forty present. Who these were I soon came to recognize as the strength and sinew of the church. I preached from the words of our
Lord, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If there was ever a heavy laden people in need of the strong arm of the Saviour and of his restful bosom on which to lean, it was our stricken and suffering people of the South. I remained during the week, and preached the next Lord's day to an increased congregation. And on that day the Sabbath-school was re-organized with about forty scholars.
Before leaving for my return to Baltimore, I had a full and free conference with the elders, deacons, and trustees of the church. They intimated the desire of the members to have me for their pastor, and stated that a congregational meeting would be held to issue a call if I could give them any encouragement that I would accept. At the same time, they stated that they were very despondent concerning the future of the church. They were themselves without incomes. Their business was destroyed, their resources had been ruined, and they were actually engaged in a struggle for existence. And the church was under a heavy mortgage which the holder was threatening to foreclose. These brethren dealt very honestly and honorably with me. After my return to Baltimore, I carefully and prayerfully considered the case, and accepted the call when it came.
I entered upon my work on the first Lord's day of January, 1866. The church building was then unfinished, and unfurnished. The chapel was not built, and the windows were nearly all demolished. The congregation numbered sixty persons, including the children and colored members. God favored us from the beginning. In the midst of all the discouraging and depressing circumstances, which were intensified by the prevalence of the dreadful scourge of the small-pox, there was displayed by all an earnestness and zeal for the house of the Lord which was as surprising as it was gratifying to me.
Our congregation grew rapidly and steadily; many were
added to the membership by letter and on confession of faith. The Sabbath-school grew to be the largest in the city (I have not my records by me and cannot recall the numbers).
The revenue of the church increased far beyond my expectations, so that we not only paid all the expenses promptly and the pastor's salary, but contributed liberally to all the committees of the General Assembly. I received repeatedly from the secretaries their testimony that our church had surprised them and the entire committee by its growth and liberality.
During that first year, we paid the debt and cancelled the mortgage of $11,000; aided the colored Presbyterians (whom I had formed into a church organization) in the purchase of the Second Church property. We also undertook the education of a young man (Mr Groves) for the ministry, through college and seminary, at an expense of $300 or $400 a year. We also purchased and erected the organ, at an expense of $3,500, and paid the organist's salary of $300. The treasurer, Mr. James D Cumming, told me at the close of the first year, or December 31, 1866, that his books showed that the church had raised and paid out over $18,000, and this without soliciting or receiving any aid from outside sources.
During my ministry we erected the chapel in the rear of the church, at an expense of $6,000 to $7,000, repaired the church and placed the memorial and other new windows in the church, at an expense of $1,200 or $1,300. All these and many other evidences of prosperity were gratifying and occasions of thanksgiving. But the highest evidence of God's blessing was in the spiritual improvement of the people and additions to the membership. Among those whom God gave as seals of my ministry are some who have gone before me to their reward. Others remain among you, who are now your most valued and efficient members. Some have entered the sacred ministry of the church, and are honored by the Lord and their brethren.
I cannot refrain from alluding to the peculiarly trying difficulties with which my ministry was surrounded, growing out of the reconstruction period of the South,—the differences which existed between the families concerning the war, and the resultant political situation. Many of you remember how near we came to being sundered, and our work brought to naught. It was a trying period to me. You also recall how that crisis was safely passed, and the peace of the church was made more secure by reason of the peril we divinely escaped. It was after this, in Washington city, that the loved and revered uncle of your present pastor, Rev. Dr. Moses D. Hoge, of Richmond, voluntarily and publicly said, that the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington had the most trying experience of any church in the South since the war, and its pastor, Brother Singleton, had the most difficult work, but they had been the most successful in the South. I shall never forget the gratification which this testimony gave me, coming from such a source.
My memories of Wilmington are very sacred. There were no relationships among you in which I was not permitted to participate. Around your hearth-stones in the hours of joy and sadness; at the marriage altar; around the bier; in the social circle, and by the sick bedside, it was my privilege to be a favored companion and brother, as well as the minister. I believe that I can truly say, that I loved my Wilmington church and people—with the children—more than any other with whom I have been associated. I went to you with a sincere consecration of myself to your spiritual welfare, and the service of our God. No one knew so well my imperfections and deficiencies as I did. But while I was your pastor I thought only of your interests. I had no other engagements or purposes in view, but your advancement as Christians and as a church of Christ. The many testimonies which I received concerning the value and effects of my preaching are very
precious, especially those written testimonies which I sacredly preserve.
There is one aspect of my ministry in which I take pleasure at this distance in time. While I always preached a free, unrestricted gospel of salvation, I sought to make you strong, intelligent, uncompromising Presbyterians. The defection which is increasing in this and other sections of the Presbyterian family, show the necessity of enforcing the doctrine and polity of Presbyterianism. We must look to our Southern branch of the family for the main defence and vindication of our faith, and the preservation of our heritage.
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ make his grace to abound to you, your elders and pastor, enriching your hearts with the beauty of holiness, crowning your lives with his lovingkindness, and making your church the beacon light of his gospel throughout the region about you.
HORACE L. SINGLETON.
Mrs. Laura (Rankin) Rothwell, who united with the church under the ministry of Mr. McNeill, in 1835, and Mrs. Catherine K. Price, who was received on certificate from the Presbyterian Church of Clinton, N. C., in 1842, were presented each with handsomely bound copies of the great primer edition of the New Testament and Psalms in five volumes, in commemoration of their membership in the church of a half century. Mrs. Rothwell was led to a seat in front of the pulpit by Mr. B. G. Worth, the senior elder, and Mr. John McLaurin received the gift for Mrs. Price, who could not be present. The presentation was made by Dr. Wilson in a few tender and well-chosen words.HISTORICAL SKETCH
THE presentation of this sketch must necessarily be imperfect on account of defective records. But I am able, after a close examination of the books remaining to present an almost continuous history of the school. The Church Manual published in 1889, says: “Before the installation of Rev. Thomas P. Hunt as pastor in 1831, a Sunday-school with forty-nine scholars had been organized.” The first record-book I have found begins December 7, 1833, and opens in this way:
“Impressed with a belief, that under the blessing of heaven, the institution of Sabbath-schools is well calculated to promote the general interest of society, and to contribute to the present and future welfare of those to whom they secure the advantages of moral and religious instruction, and feeling a desire to engage in a work of so much practical utility to the cause of virtue and religion; we, whose names are hereunto subscribed, do form ourselves into an association for this purpose, to be called ‘The Wilmington Sunday-school of the Presbyterian Church,’ and adopt the following rules for the regulation of it.”
No names are appended to this, but the names of officers and scholars are given afterwards, viz.:
MR. HERVEY LAW AND MISS MARY HOLMES.
|WILLIAM HUNTINGTON,||ALEXANDER MCTAGGART,|
|WILLIAM NICHOLS,||GEORGE HARRISS,|
|EDWARD D. HALL,||JOSEPH MCLAURIN,|
|CHARLES RUSSELL,||MONTESQUE AMIEL,|
|ELI W. HALL,||ABRAM SHERWOOD,|
|JOHN L. HOLMES,||WILLIAM W. HARRISS,|
|OWEN D. HOLMES,||JOSEPH B. RUSSELL,|
|HENRY W. LAW,||HAND JAMES,|
|JOSEPH RICHARDS,||CHARLES H. LAW,|
|HENRY P. RUSSELL,||JOHN AMIEL,|
|JOEL SKIPPER,||NEHEMIAH HARRISS,|
|SAMUEL A. HOLMES,||JAMES RILEY,|
|ALBERT BALDWIN,||JAMES HALL,|
|WILLIAM JOHNSON,||JOHN RISING,|
|SAMUEL MARSHBURN,||ANTHONY BORDEAUX,|
|SUSAN JERMAN,||MARIETTA JERMAN,|
|OLIVIA JERMAN,||MILDRED HOLMES,|
|ELIZABETH BOUNDS,||MARY ANN BROWN,|
|SARAH JAMES,||COLUMBIA BROWN,|
|JESSIE BROWN,||ELIZA NICHOLS,|
|MARGARETTA SKIPPER,||MARY MCLAURIN,|
|AUGUSTA LAW,||MARTHA BLACK,|
|CHARLOTTE JAMES,||CATHERINE THOMPSON,|
|CHARLOTTE AMIEL,||SARAH ADAMS,|
|MALSEY BEASLEY,||ELSEY SWANN,|
|SARAH BONEY,||OLIVIA WHEATLY,|
Of these there are a few living, here or in this vicinity, viz.: Col. E. D. Hall, George Harriss, Dr. W. W. Harriss, Joseph McLaurin, and Mrs. Brown, formerly Miss Mildred Holmes.
In 1835 the names of Margaret and Eliza Owen, Margaret McLaurin, Caroline Northrop, and John D. Taylor, appear as scholars.
Monday, December 28, 1834, the school united with the Methodist and Baptist schools, and marched in procession to the Methodist Church, where interesting services were held; also on Tuesday, December 27, 1836, the same school met in the Methodist Church, and the record says, “they met there the Rev. Messrs. Owens, Allison and Fitzgerald, and the exercises commenced with singing and prayer, and after appropriate addresses by Rev. Messrs. Owens and Allison, concluded by singing and prayer, and a few remarks by Mr. G. R. French. Great harmony pervaded the scene, and parents and children retired delighted with the anniversary exercises.” Another meeting of the same schools was held in the same church, December 25, 1837, 179 scholars present.
March 26, 1837: The officers of the school were Hervey Law, Superintendent; John A. Taylor, Librarian; Robert G. Rankin, Secretary.
October 30, 1839, a meeting was held at the house of Mr. Hervey Law by the friends of the Wilmington Sunday-school of the First Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Hervey Law was appointed chairman, and Mr. A. McTaggart, secretary. The chairman ordered the rules and regulations adopted November 12, 1835, read; then new rules were adopted; and some of these rules would be worth retaining now, but might not be regarded with favor. It is interesting to note names appearing at this meeting that have become familiar to this church in all its history. A resolution was adopted: “That Miss Laura E. Rankin (now Mrs. Rothwell) be permitted to select a suitable person to assist her in the discharge of the duties connected with the infant school. Also that John A. Taylor be appointed to class the teachers and scholars.”
November 3, 1839, the school was re-organized, and officers elected as follows:
Hervey Law, Superintendent; John A. Taylor, Librarian; R. G. Rankin, Secretary. There were fourteen teachers, seven male, and seven female, as follows:
Misses Hartman, Bradley, Murphy, S. Owen, Chapman, Moore, M. A. Owen, and Messrs. O. Holmes, Jr., J. McGary, T. H. Howey, A. McTaggart, T. R. Rogers, J. N. Bradley, and James Banks; fifty-four scholars, making the school number about seventy.
A district system was adopted, and a report showing the number of children in and out of Sunday-schools in the town is as follows, from seven districts:
|In Baptist School,||57|
|In Presbyterian School,||127|
|In Episcopal School,||112|
|In Methodist School,||109|
June 28, 1840, the school was opened with prayer by Miss Laura Rankin. August 28, 1841, is this entry: “Mr. Law, the superintendent, being about to leave for the present, it was proposed that some one should be chosen in his place, and Mr. Isaac Northrop was nominated and elected superintendent.” Mr. Robert W. Gibbs is first mentioned as a teacher in November, 1841, also Mr. M. Cronly. On a Sunday in March, 1842, the school was opened with prayer by Mrs. John A. Taylor, and frequently afterwards by Mrs. Rothwell. From 1842 to February, 1847, there is no record; at the latter date, Mr. Law was superintendent, and the school numbered fifteen teachers and ninety-two scholars.
There is no record from 1847 to January 6, 1852, when, at a meeting of the teachers, Mr. Robert W. Gibbs was elected Superintendent, and George W. Guess, Secretary and Treasurer, and Samuel Northrop, Librarian. Mr. John C. Latta was present
at this meeting. The record February 8, 1852, says, “seventy-nine scholars were present,” and names the above officers, and also the teachers as follows:
Misses E. Hartman, Kate McLaurin, Carrie Northrop, Eleanor Owen, R. H. Wright, Sarah Blanks, Mary Harriss, Matilda and Abbie Van Amringe, Mrs. M. Barry, Mrs. C. Taylor, Mrs. E. McGary, and Messrs, John C. Latta, J. J. Cassidy, George Harriss, and Mr. Shepherd.
The school met at 9 A. M., and the tardiness of some of the teachers noted, coming at 9:15 and 9:30. On this day a branch or mission school was opened in a building owned by Mr. D. McMillan, in the northwest portion of the town. February 29, 1852, Mr. George Chadbourn appears as a teacher; on April 4th, Mr. John McLaurin. April 18, 1852, the record says: “To-day we are to have preaching by Rev. Mr. Grier, of Maryland.” On May 23, 1852, “Mr. Grier has accepted an invitation to preach for the Presbyterians in Wilmington for one year.” On December 4, 1853, Mr. Munson appears a teacher; January 29, 1854, Mr. B. G. Worth; January, 1855, Mr. Alexander Sprunt. In examining the records to about the time Mr. Grier entered upon his pastorate, we notice that very few of the male teachers are members of the church, and the fact that the school had frequently been opened with prayer by Mrs. Rothwell and Mrs. Taylor, shows the absence of praying male members of the school. It seems remarkable that these men should have been so faithful in this work, and it should put to the blush those male members of the church that never perform any duty in this line. And we owe a debt of gratitude to those faithful women, who labored and prayed, and who lived to know their prayers had been answered, and to see the church they loved so well firmly established, and increased in strength and beauty. We honor the memory of those sainted women.
November 12, 1855, the teachers met to re-organize for the
ensuing year, and Mr. Gibbs was re-elected Superintendent, and Mr. Isaac Northrop, Assistant. All through the years we have reviewed, Mr. Northrop has been in the school as an officer in some capacity, and was always present. At this meeting Mr. Andrews, afterwards an elder in this church, first appears as a teacher, and it was resolved, “that a class be formed of young men, and Mr. Andrews be requested to act as their teacher.” A resolution was also adopted as follows: “That we will hereafter use the Sunday-school as a missionary institution, and endeavor to gather into our school those children who are without any Christian instruction, and pledge ourselves to labor in this behalf.” So we see the school growing in grace and aggressiveness, and streams of living water flowing out to the thirsty and perishing.” This old record closes January 17, 1858, Mr. Gibbs, Superintendent, Mr. Northrop, Assistant. I have lingered, perhaps, too long in its pages, yet unwilling to leave it. It is to me a pathetic story, and yet one we love. It tells us of faithful labor amid discouragements; it confirms God's promises that he will be faithful to those who labor for him, and to their seed after them. Their children and their children's children are here enjoying the rich inheritance they left.“Time rolls his ceaseless course. The race of yore,Who danced our infancy upon their knee,How are they blotted from the things that be!How few, all weak and withered of their force,Wait on the verge of dark eternity,Like stranded wrecks, the tide returning hoarse,To sweep them from our sight! Time rolls his ceaseless course.”
Mr. Gibbs appears to have remained superintendent until March 4, 1860, faithful and devoted to the school and church. After Mr. Gibbs retired, Mr. B. G. Worth was elected Superintendent; Mr. George Chadbourn, Assistant Superintendent; and Mr. W. A. Cumming, Librarian. Mr. Worth remained superintendent until he removed to New York after the war. At the
re-organization of the school, November 12, 1865, Mr. J. C. McLeod was elected Superintendent; Mr. George Chadbourn, Assistant Superintendent; Mr. T. B. Carr, Musical Director; and Mr.John G. Robinson, Librarian.
Mr. McLeod died soon after his election, and Mr. Samuel Northrop was elected superintendent. He continued in the office until Mr. Worth's return in 1873, when Mr. Worth was again elected superintendent, and he continued in this office until November 8, 1880. When the day arrived for the annual election of officers, he would announce that the time had come for the re-election of the officers, and they were re-elected! He still remains in the school, a faithful teacher. His service extends from 1854 to 1892—thirty-eight years. He is the veteran of the school, honored and beloved.
In 1879, January 13th, the session adopted the following rule: “In future the teachers of our Sunday-school may nominate the officers of said school, such nominations to be subject, previous to the election, to the approval of the session; further, that a meeting for making these nominations shall be called by the superintendent for a week-day evening, and shall be held at least two weeks previous to the time of election of the officers—the officers nominated and approved shall enter upon their duties the first Sabbath of November of each year, commencing with 1879.” On the fifth of January, 1880, the session adopted the following rule: ‘In accordance with the provisions of the Book of Church Order, requiring the Sunday-school to be under the control of the church session, officers of the Sunday-school shall be elected by the session.” Following this resolution, Mr. B. G. Worth was elected superintendent, Samuel Northrop, assistant superintendent. On November 8, 1880, Mr. Worth asked to be relieved of the superintendency, and Mr. H. H. Munson was elected superintendent and W. R. Kenan, assistant. Mrs. Dr. Wilson was superintendent of the infant department for several years.
November 21, 1881, the same officers were re-elected, and the time for election changed to December, and the term to begin in January. On December 12, 1882, Mr. Munson and Mr. Kenan were re-elected. On December 21, 1882, Mr. Munson resigned, and on December 28, 1882, the present superintendent was elected, and has remained in this office to this time, ten years; in 1883, Mr. George Chadbourn succeeded Mr. Kenan as assistant superintendent, and remained in this office until his death, July 8, 1891. We have noted his entry into the school, February 29, 1852, a continued period of nearly forty years. Of the service of this beloved officer, teacher, and friend, no estimate can be made of its value. It was loving, gentle, persistent, successful. The record is made up in the Lamb's Book of Life. To succeed Mr. Chadbourn, Mr. Charles M. Whitlock was elected assistant superintendent in December, 1891.
The officers of the school at present are as follows:
Charles H. Robinson, Superintendent; Charles M. Whitlock, Assistant Superintendent; William Pinckney Toon, Secretary and Treasurer; Charles Woodward and John R. Turrentine, Librarians; Edward H. Munson, Organist. Of the primary department, Miss Nellie Cook, Superintendent; Miss Bettie Price, Assistant Superintendent; Miss Sallie McLaurin, Organist. Teachers, Messrs. B. G. Worth, B. F. Hall, George Huggins, W. M. Cumming, David G. Worth, James H. Chadbourn, Jr., Dr. J. E. Matthews, Mrs. Samuel Northrop, Mrs. C. H. Robinson, Mrs. Richard Price, Misses Ellen Bellamy, Bessie Taylor, Etta Hart, Emma Chadbourn, Maria C. Latta, Priscilla E. Latta, and Annie K. Forshee. The scholars number about 180, and the average attendance is about 160. I desire to note the long and faithful service of Mrs. B. F. Hall as a teacher, now absent, only on account of physical disability. Also of the long continued service of Miss Anna Sprunt, as organist and teacher.
We have now in the school the descendants of those who appear in its early history as its officers, teachers, and supporters, as follows:
The Owens, Harrisses, Taylors, Northrops, Lattas, McLaurins, Worths, Chadbourns, Sprunts, and others.—The seed sowing has resulted in the harvest, and the school has been the nursery of the church.“But thy compassions, Lord,From age to age endure,And children's children ever findThy word of promise sure.”
DEAR FRIENDS: It would be hard to tell you how happy I am in speaking to you this afternoon; I can only ask you to imagine for yourselves the privilege I now enjoy. Here you are assembled together, teachers and scholars, pastor, superintendent, and assistants, brothers and sisters, parents and friends, bound together by many tender ties, and especially by that of a Sunday school organization regularly meeting together for the service of our Lord, and for the study of his word. But now suppose you shut your eyes for a moment. Imagine yourselves, each one, to be transported to some distant land, and to dream of many things. It is astonishing how long a life we may seem to live in a single dream. In the meantime the school goes on, and many changes take place. But at last you awake. You notice the changes. But you do not seem much changed yourself; you do not feel towards the school that you are less one with them than you were before. At least you feel the same affection towards them as ever; and perhaps you may even feel an increased affection.
And so it seems to me. Forty-two years ago, last August, I drifted down yonder river, and sailed to a distant part of our land, and have passed through many experiences since then. And now, instead of a boy, I come back almost an old man. You may imagine with what feelings one returns to a dear old home after so long an absence. My parents are in the heavenly
world. But it is my joy to meet dear, dear old friends, and especially to find myself at home again in this dear church and Sunday-school of my boyhood. I may seem a stranger to many of you, and most of you, for the moment, seem strangers to me, as if you had come from some unknown world. But many of you bear familiar names; and I greet you as the children of beloved friends. Once more, to my great delight, I find myself a member of the Sunday school of the First Presbyterian Church of Wilmington.
I hope, then, that you will let me talk freely and familiarly. And allow me to say something of myself, for I am not preaching now. And I feel as if one of my old friends had said (and it would only be an old and intimate friend who would have a right to speak to me in this way), “Hullo! old fellow. Where have you been all this time? Come, give an account of yourself.”
And this seems all the more proper because of this extraordinary occasion. Seventy-five years of church life! Oh, what a world of interesting history it might unfold! I wish we all had time to give account of ourselves. But we shall all have a good opportunity when we have gathered at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, to give a good account of ourselves, I trust, in the long and blessed fellowship of our eternal reunion. It used to be a frequent prayer of my dear father, that when our Lord comes, we may be able to “render up our account with joy, and not with grief.”
But what shall I say of the seventy-fifth anniversary of this church? It does not look as if you had entered upon a state of old age and decrepitude! Oh, no, blessed be God! it looks as if you had renewed your youth, and were entering upon a new era of life and prosperity. I join in congratulating you, and I pray for a brighter and broader future for this dear old church.
But it is a time for reminiscences, and so I want to contribute
what I can, hoping I shall not take more than my share.
When I began to wonder what I should say, I asked the Lord in prayer, and the answer, as it seemed to me, came to my mind: “Tell what the Lord has done for you.” “The Lord hath done great things for me, whereof I am glad.” And the beginning of these great things was in my own dear home, and in this dear church and Sunday-school. The Lord, first of all, prepared for me a happy home before he sent me into this world. And I am glad to know that he has gone before to prepare a place for you and for me, and for all who love him, in the “many mansions” of the Father. But he must also prepare us for that home. He began this preparation for me before I was born, in preparing for me the best of earthly blessings, giving me good, faithful, Christian parents.
The place where I first saw the light in this world was the house on the southwest corner of Orange and Second streets. Oh! how many delightful hours I can recall in that dear old home! But among the pleasantest recollections of all were those in which my heart was directed to God. There was a little closet, with a window that let in the light of heaven. And there I remember my mother taking me, when I was a little child, and kneeling down with me by a chair, she dedicated her child to God. And even now I seem to hear her voice sounding like sweet though far-away music, as she read from the Scriptures on Sabbath afternoons. It was at her knee, too, that I learned some of the Psalms, especially the one we might almost call the Psalm of Psalms, the twenty-third, just repeated by the infant class.
And so, morning by morning, and evening by evening, my dear and honored father led us in prayer and praise. And I went forth strengthened for the duties and temptations of the day, even before I felt that I was a child of God. Especially on Sabbath afternoons he would gather us for a sweet hour of
prayer and praise, and for giving us wise counsels concerning divine things. Those are sacred and precious memories.
It was perhaps principally on my father's account that I have been invited to speak to you this afternoon. He was the first Superintendent of this Sunday-school, an elder in the church, and a faithful servant of God. And he loved the Sunday-school work, and Sunday-school scholars to the very end. He lived to a good old age, and was a man of very venerable appearance, his long silvery locks flowing down upon his shoulders, and his countenance dignified and beautified by love to God and man. It will be eight years, this coming Christmas morning, since he quietly fell asleep in Jesus. Dr. Wilson remarked this morning that sometimes the river of death was “like a little rill, that one might easily step across.” It seemed even less than this for my dear father.
It was not wholly unexpected by him. On Christmas Eve I received a card from him expressing his anticipation of a visit we had promised. His closing words were, “My strength has been rapidly failing for the last three months, and if it continues to fail as fast, I shall hardly live to see my ninety second birthday; but it is all right. It is all for the best.”
And in a letter to my brother, the same week, he said, “I am confidently and joyfully waiting for the summons. And my prayer is, that when my Lord comes I may be ready to open to him immediately.”
And so it proved. On Christmas morning, after he had given the usual Christmas greetings, he sat down in his easy chair before the fire, with his large family Bible in his lap, when my sister came in to tell him of the interesting Sunday-school exercises of Christmas Eve. He listened with eager interest. But after a time, he put his hand to his bosom and drew back a little. She noticed it, but as he said nothing, but continued to listen, she kept on. Again he slightly drew back, but listened still, and she still kept on. Then he closed his
eyes and slightly turned his head. She ran and threw her arms around him. He drew a few long breaths, and was gone! Death had no terrors for him. He had said, not long before, that all that he dreaded was the sharp pang of death. And he was spared even this. The people in the village called it a translation.
The same morning another sister, in another part of the village, took her Bible, and by a happy coincidence, opened at 2 Kings ii. verse 11: “And it came to pass, as they still went on and talked, that behold there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”
There were no horses or chariot of fire visible to my sister; but it did not require a great exercise of faith to realize that a child of God had been quickly caught up into heaven.
I would love to tell you of many things did time permit. It would take a little volume to do it. But I may say some things to which all hearts will respond, and some that it may be profitable to recall—“How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,When fond recollection presents them to view!”
And dearer still, now, that, after so many years, I may actually behold them, and see the dear friends of long ago.
I well remember Miss Laura Rankin (now Mrs. Rothwell) familiarly called “Miss Laura.” She was my infant class teacher. I loved and honored her then, as I love and honor her now. My heart went out to her, almost as to my own mother, when I saw her come forward with her placid and pleasant countenance to receive the testimonial presented by the church. She formed us into a juvenile temperance society, and got us to sign the pledge. It was a pledge of total abstinence. I esteem it one of the great blessings of my life that I was thus early started right. Young men, it is a great mistake
to think you can just as well start wrong, with the purpose of getting right at some time in the future. If any dreadful disease prevails, it is not wise to begin by sowing the least seed of it in one's own life, thinking either that you will not take the contagion, or that you will afterwards eradicate it.
I well remember the silken banner Miss Laura's class used to carry in our Sunday school procession between the Old Presbyterian Church on Front street and the Methodist Church. And since your historian has pleasantly referred to them, I will add a reminiscence of two big baskets at the church door, one filled with ginger cakes, shaped like horses and cows, etc., and the other filled with oranges, each child being expected to take one of each. And I will never forget one of the songs Miss Laura taught us to sing. If the poetry was not perfect, the principle was good; and I still cherish more strongly than ever the sentiment.1“While I live I do not thinkI will ever love to drinkBrandy, whiskey, gin, or rum,Or anything to make drunk come.”
At one time Miss Laura taught a little school in the alley that ran alongside of the old church from Front street to Second street. And one incident is particularly impressed upon my memory. We were still the members of her infant class. But in the day school she sometimes used the rod with good effect. It consisted of a flat ruler. And the doses were administered on our outstretched hands. One day at recess I got into a scuffle. If I remember aright it was with little Johnny Taylor.2 But whoever was the other boy, we were so1 And I think that it has brought me more real and lasting happiness than has ever been brought to any heart by any rollicking bacchanalian song ever sung.2 Perhaps his memory would not agree with mine. And I certainly should not want to dispute with him now!
busy that when the school-bell rang we were not ready, and we got in late. We were called to account. But we had a moment to prepare for punishment. I well remember the preparation I made. It was a common superstition with the children then that if we moistened our hands, and took a couple of eye lashes and crossed them upon the palm, the ruler would break to pieces! The awful moment was at hand, so I pulled the eye lashes and placed them as I had been told! I must confess the experiment did not prove a success. But I learned one lesson, a lesson that is constantly impressed upon my mind at the Tombs,1 viz.: that the best way to avoid punishment is not by any sort of crooked contrivances, but by avoiding the sin that deserves it.
But the two most memorable and important events of my early life were when I first began the Christian life, and when I afterwards publicly united with the church. The first was near my twelfth birth-day. One night I lay awake a long time and wept much at the thought of death and the judgment. Finally I got up and went to my parents’ room, and asked them to pray for me. And from that time I made up my mind to try and live a Christian life, and did henceforth endeavor so to do. When my birthday came my brother made me a present of a Bible. I began immediately to read it day by day, adopting a plan by which I would go through the whole Bible every year, and the Psalms and New Testament twice. My plan is somewhat changed now; but I have learned to love the Bible more and more; and the more I study it, the more fresh and beautiful, and precious, and divinely inspired it seems. I have that Bible my brother gave me still; here it is. It will be fifty years the third of next January since I began to read it, having just begun the Christian life. But I have another and a better copy now, presented by the dear companion of my life, the1 Mr. Law is chaplain of the Tombs prison, New York.
mother of my children; and this volume I think will serve me to the end.
Four years after this start, when I was sixteen years of age, my friends began to encourage me to go forward and unite with the people of God. I felt this to be my duty, and this became my motto, viz., “Go Forward.” I had gone out like the children of Israel from the land of bondage. But I had not entered into the perfect liberty of the children of God. And as they were confronted by the Red Sea, with the Egyptians behind them, I found a sea of fear and difficulty before me. But the voice of God sounded out to them through Moses, “Go forward,” and the sea opened; they went through. Their fears were dispelled, and their enemies were overwhelmed. And so it was with me. I entered upon the step with fear and trembling. I felt that it was one of the most solemn and important acts of my life.
One of my classmates at Princeton said that when he spoke to his mother, when he was a boy, about uniting with the church, she said:
“My son, it is a very solemn thing to be a Christian.”
“Yes, mother,” he wisely answered, “but it is a far more solemn thing not to be a Christian.”
I went forward that memorable afternoon in June, forty-six years ago. I had plenty of time to think; for I had a long walk to the church; and I seemed full of trouble and perplexity, every step of the way.
“What if I should put my hand to the plow, and look back, and prove myself ‘not fit for the kingdom of God’?”
“What if I should fail, and what if I should bring reproach upon the church and the cause of Christ?”
I was greatly troubled, and hardly knew what to do. The church then stood on Front street, and the Session and Sunday-school room where it still stands, a little distance in the rear. I shall never forget my feelings when I reached the
church, and walked along the passage-way, toward the place where I was, perhaps, to decide my fate. The house of God was on my left, and a beautiful garden on my right; but still clouds and darkness seemed to be about me. But at last I reached the end of the church, and came in sight of the lecture room, where the elders and a few others were assembled.
They were singing. Hark! What was it?“But drops of grief can ne'er repayThe debt of love I owe: —Here, Lord, I give myself away,’Tis all that I can do.”
O my friends, I shall never forget those words, or that moment, as long as I live! If a voice had sounded directly from heaven into my ears, the words could scarcely have been more appropriate. And I have often thought since then that it was indeed the voice of Heaven to my soul.“Here, Lord, I give myself away,’Tis all that I can do.”
I at once reasoned, “Yes, that is all I can do. God cannot ask any more. And he will not take any less.”
And so I lifted up my heart to God, and once more, and more fully than ever before, I gave myself to God. I went forward, and was accepted, and on the following Sabbath I stood up before the congregation and publicly acknowledged myself to be the Lord's, and claimed him to be my Lord and Saviour. Oh, how happy I was. And how simple it all seemed then, just by faith to take him for my Saviour, and by faith to give myself to him, to be forever his child.
On the same day Betsy Price, then a servant of Mrs. Catherine Price, was received into membership, with some others. And yesterday I had the unexpected pleasure of receiving a call from her, and of being reminded of this fact, with the assurance
that she still loved the old church, and that she was looking forward to the kingdom.1
My beloved pastor was the Rev. James O. Stedman. His excellent wife was for some years an invalid. At one time they were members of my father's household, and I had a good opportunity to know Mrs. Stedman's saintly character. She was truly a “mother in Israel.” Dr. Stedman afterwards settled at Chester, near Philadelphia, where I had an opportunity to see Mrs. Stedman not long before her death. Although at the time she seemed apparently as well as for a long time, she was anticipating her departure, and showed me what she said were “the last efforts of her pen.” One of them was in regard to my sister Augusta, who succeeded Miss Laura as teacher of the infant class.
Only a few weeks after that I saw her obituary in the Presbyterian. A short time before her death she exclaimed with thrilling emotion: “Oh, that weight of glory! It is wonderful! wonderful! To think that I—shall so soon—be an heir of glory! My flesh shrinks from the glory;—but my Heavenly Father is leading me on, and I follow him.
“I know that I am a great sinner; but I cannot be lost, for I have a mighty Mediator. The imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ is all my dependence, and all my trust. I used to have some difficulties about the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, but I have none now. The whole character of God, and the way of salvation are clear and glorious to me.
“I love the Holy Ghost; I have not appreciated his influences1 The second volume of the old church records being kindly placed in my hands, opening at the second page I saw in the dear and familiar hand of my old pastor, that on June 7, 1846, “the following persons were received into full membership, viz.: Mrs. Lucy Ann Owen, from Beth Car Church; Sidney G. Law, John P. Camp, George S. McNeile, and Betsy, servant of Mrs. Price.
as I ought, but now he is drawing me by the cords of love, and I run after him.”
This was the fitting and happy close of a holy life. Oh, may we all be blest in early learning the love of the Holy Ghost, and in giving our hearts to him in love.
And now, dear friends, I cannot count upon being with you at your next seventy-fifth anniversary. Indeed, I may not see you again this side of heaven, after this quickly closing year. But I want to leave with you just three grand thoughts, three life thoughts from our Heavenly Father's word, that may abide with you forever. They relate to the three most important things we can set before ourselves in life, viz.:
1st. What is The Greatest Prize? Men may give different answers. But I give you this one from the oracles of a wisdom that cannot be mistaken.
It is to “Win Christ!” It was for this that the Apostle Paul said he had “suffered the loss of all things.” And well might he suffer such a loss, for such a prize! O my friends, do not suffer the loss of this prize because for a moment you prize anything more than this.
2d. What is The Noblest Life? Men have different ideals; but here is the ideal of Paul, whose life was one of the noblest of human lives.
It is To Live Christ. Can there be any nobler ideal? Can there be any truer, grander, purer, happier life than this? Or can there be any indwelling principle of life so powerful for good? If you ask “what does this mean,” I answer, it would take a volume, yes, many a volume, to tell it all, but you know “The Book,” where the happy secret is unfolded. Christ himself says, “In the volume of the Book, it is written of me.” I would only refer you to two sayings of the Apostle Paul: “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I; but Christ liveth in me.” And again, “For to me to live is Christ.”
3rd. What is The Most Honorable Duty? It is to witness for Christ. “Ye are my witnesses,” saith the Lord.
These three thoughts, dear friends, I desire to leave with you, and carry with myself, that we may ever remember them, and ponder them, and endeavor to exemplify them, and realize them, through the grace of him who gave them to us all.
NOTE.—I would also add, that I may be regarded as one of the missionary sons of the Sunday-school. My thoughts were turned to this work in my early boyhood. And my first service in the ministry was as a home missionary in Northern Iowa, where it was my privilege to found a strong church. And my present service, as Chaplain of the Tombs Prison, is in a very dark corner of the world, a little world of sorrow and sin and shame, of ignorance, and superstition and misery and death.
My dear children also (engaged in various ways in missionary service) may be regarded as missionary grandchildren of the school, especially my eldest daughter, Ellen M., who sailed a few weeks since as a missionary to Beirut, Syria. May she be sometimes especially remembered in your prayers. And may I ask those who read these lines to lift up a prayer for us all, especially in behalf of our deeply interesting work?
AS you may well imagine, my emotions to-day, if you will allow me for a moment to speak of them, are such as only myself can understand. I will, therefore, not attempt to explain them or to account for them. I have indeed no embarrassment that is not a part of these emotions, except the embarrassment of not being able to say what ought to be said about this interesting and perhaps important occasion. I have felt so ever since my feet pressed again the familiar pavements and looked along the familiar streets, and saw the old windows looking out upon me as they used to do; I have felt at home, and have always felt at home here, in the past as well as now, and I believe that I always shall, because of the affection that I have for you, and the reciprocated affection that I believe you have for myself, unworthy as I am of the least token of it.
While I was pastor here there was no cloud upon the sky, except perhaps a little one as big as a man's hand, and the blame of that cloud was always with me. It is not surprising, therefore, that I should have experienced the emotions that I have to-day, both pleasurable and painful. But I have always thought that it was not in good taste, if indeed it was proper at all, for a minister to speak in the pulpit of himself. There is only one Shepherd, there is only one Bishop, and he is the centre of our theology, as he is the centre of our affections and the glory of our hopes.* Delivered extempore, and stenographically reported by Miss Gertrude E. Jenkins.
Joseph R. Wilson
Let me say, then, what I have to remark upon the passage that you will find in Hebrews, xiii. 7, 8:
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.”
I do not know what special reason the Apostle had to speak to the Hebrew scattered believers touching the importance and propriety of the recollecting them that ruled over them in spiritual things, for this is the reference. It has not much reference to you; you have always remembered them that had the spiritual rule over you, and you are remembering him who has this important and responsible rule this day.
What I wish to speak of, dear brethren, is that Lord and Bishop to which I have referred. What I wish to speak of is the unchangeableness of Jesus Christ. What changes there are, everywhere, in our congregations and communities! What changes have been here amongst yourselves! This very building is altered, and altered for the better; one of the handsomest houses of God that I have ever seen. The pastors are changed, and that also, allow me to say, my brother, for the better; and you have occasion to rejoice in the fresh acquisition of young, vigorous manhood, and to place him in rule over you in love. It all looks strange to me; here is the organ, that used to be at that end, and I hear the same voices speaking to me from the past, but still changed. Some of you have gray hairs that did not use to have them, or grayer hairs that formerly had gray ones; and some of those that I baptized girls, are now young ladies, and some of them have children of their own, baptized. And the young lads that I used to be so fond of, and to take so often by the hand, are now young men and laborers in the church and in the circles of business, and are making their mark for excellence of character.
Changes all these. We all have changed, dear brethren,
and we expect, one of these days, to experience the greatest change of all; when our mortal shall put on immortality; when time shall open its last door to us, the door that shall usher us into eternity; when we shall step from one room here, that we occupy, to a bigger and brighter room beyond; that change that we will experience when our feet are passing the threshold that separates our experiences here from the results of those experiences yonder; when indeed many of you, all, I trust, who now look upon the river of death as a big, broad, and angry stream, will find, when you place your feet in the waters, the swelling waters, behold! the stream will have become a rill, and you will step across to be forever with the Lord, and to congregate with those who, in the past seventy-five years here, have gone before.
Changes! I wish it were proper, and I wish I could speak of those who have thus gone, making their last change; some of those dear old women that are the comfort, the joy, the support of the pastor's heart and labors. I scarcely dare mention one without mentioning many, but I cannot help thinking of one who was so dear to me, and so dear to the great mass of this people, Mrs. Taylor; she has gone before.
But I will not enter upon these sentimental views to any larger extent; I simply wish to point out to you, as I have intimated already, that there is One that never has changed, and that never will change, the same always to us, as he has been to our fathers and mothers before us, as far back as can be traced the line of our spiritual ancestry. He is the same always. There is one change which we experience, which is due to the fact of his being unchangeable, and always loving us and helping us. I have found in my own experience, as doubtless many of you have, that as you have climbed the hill of life to reach its top, beyond which you know is the setting sun, that you cannot now well perceive, only the twilight that precedes it; as you go higher and higher up, you more and
more forget yourselves and become more and more charitable towards other people; somehow, in the light that is breaking upon you from that sun, you see your own faults more fully, and the faults of others less conspicuously. You will change, therefore, as you have advanced in the Christian life, in charity.
The scenery of life, all that has wonderfully, magically changed, as we have gone up higher, and instead of the eye of youth, we look over the spectacle with the eye of age. But there is One always the same; and I do not now refer to him so much as God, as well I might, especially, my brethren, in this day when the deity of Jesus Christ is doubted and disputed among theological circles, where formerly there was nothing but faith and confidence. But if you were to take away from the Christian heart the thought that Jesus Christ is God, that he is Immanuel, God with us, what have we left of that Christianity which in one sense is as old as God, its author, who will also be its glorious and glorified finisher? Jesus Christ, as God, is the same now—that goes without saying if we believe in his Godhead—that he always was, that he was to the angels before he became incarnate, that he was to the fathers with whom he walked, that he was to the prophets whom he inspired; but as God-man, Jesus, the Christ in human nature, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood, and bone of our bone, our humanity gathered up in him, he has been the same always.
You have often thought of him, as you saw him walking in the garden of Eden, for it must be remembered that it is a fixed truth now, that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is to be regarded as the Jesus of the New. Wherever, then, the Lord was in the past, Jesus was; and so he took Abel by the hand, and you see him in the sacrifice that Abel offered, and that was as a sweet smelling savor to God above; he was in that garden. And you see him in the smoke of the sacrifice, and you behold him calling Abraham, and walking with Abraham
and telling him where to go, and what to do, so that “Abraham saw him and was glad,” we are told. It is not necessary to speak of Enoch; in the midst of the obscurities of the antediluvian period, when all seemed to be so confused, and much of it so dark, a pillar of light arises, and it is labeled “Enoch.” Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of man, was the object of his worship. I need not speak of David in the past; I need not speak again of the prophets, nor is it necessary to speak of the church in its past history. That would never have been the triumphant church that it has proved to be on many an occasion of battle and of victory, had it not been that the Son of God was walking amid his children, as in the furnace that time when the fires were kindled about those three children as they are called—and consumed them not. The church, therefore, has come down into the present from the past, with the smoke of the past upon it, with the tearings of the past exhibited in its garments, and with the victories of the past still kindling in her eye, that church, the same in principle and in practice under the Old Testament dispensation as now under the New. It has had Jesus Christ for its leader, enthroned him in its heart, and he is all that is needed in order to complete her course. In that sense, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, the yesterday of the world, the yesterday of Zion, where so many changes have since taken place, but no change in him, the leader; however there may have been changes in those that were led, none in the captain of our salvation.
I need not speak, or more than speak, of Jesus Christ as he is to-day; for this dispensation is like the old one, as I have already indicated, only more free, more generous, more comprehensive, taking in now the world, as it formerly took in only the Jewish nation, with here and there a proselyte, reluctantly received. This dispensation is the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, who is here, and has been here from the opening of this present dispensation as the representative of the Lord,
who sent him, and who went away for the purpose of sending him, saying, “It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you”; and “he shall receive of my things and shall show them unto you.”
So that, wherever the Spirit is, wherever the Spirit preaches, and he preaches not alone in the sanctuary and with us preachers, but he preaches also in this word of God, the Author of which word is the Holy Ghost, the immediate author, you may say. And so he is in this dispensation as he was in the heart of Enoch; as he appeared in the devotions of Abraham, as they kindled upon his son, Isaac; and in that kindling light he saw another son, the Son of God, whom he worshiped. And as that Redeemer by his Spirit dwelt in the hearts of his people in the past, so he dwells in the hearts of his people now. If it were not so, there would be no church in this place; if it were not so, we would not be able to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington. It is because he has lived with you thus far, and proposes to live with you in the future, that you are what you are. Oftentimes you are tempted to attribute it to yourselves, to the doctrines you expound, to the prayers that you offer, and to the much well-doing that has characterized this people; that had it not been for all that, this would not have occurred, would not have taken place, would not have been established. That is all well; but the inspiring agent of it all is he who lives in the hearts of his people; for the church grows not from without, but, like the noble tree of the forest, it grows from within; it grows from the heart outwardly, and that inward heart and spirit has always been the Lord Jesus, the same to-day that he was yesterday; who has said in words that ought to be put in letters of gold, it seems to me, in every church building, or at least written in letters of brightness in every believer's heart, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Could
you preach without that, my brother? Could you live without that, brethren? Imagine him to be absent; imagine the bridegroom to be divorced from the bride, as indeed was the case in the seven unhappy churches of Asia, and the same scenes would be re-enacted, a scene of ruin and desolation, and of the saddest memories. Oh! it is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Son of man, your Lord, my Lord, the Lord of us all; it is he, I am glad to repeat it this day, it is he, I for one testify, who is the all in all of every believer, whatever be his gifts, whatever be his position in the world, whatever be the number of his friends and the warmth of his friendships; it is he all the while that has kindled the fire on the hearth of the soul, and that keeps it aglow. And without him with us to-day as he was with our fathers yesterday, I for one—but it is an impossible supposition.
I am with you somewhat in weakness to-day, and will not be able to say much more. I simply wish to give my testimony here, as I have given it in years that are gone, to the value of Jesus Christ, to you personally as well as to your church collectively. And I still further have to say, that he is not only the same yesterday and to-day, but he is forever; in the future, as in the present, in the present as in the past, the same tomorrow that he is now; so that when you lie down after you pray your prayer, before you have gone into the image of death that we call sleep, you may be sure that when you wake in the morning, the same kindly face will be beaming its divine love upon your heart; then you can kneel down again and thank him for the repose of the night, and beg him for strength needed for the coming day. The same forever!
And then, when this work-day is gone, and we have received our last wound and shed our last tear, and folded our hands for the last time, waiting for the hour that may yet be to come; then we will find that he is on the other side, awaiting us.
Who cares, comparatively, for those that have gone before
from our own families and from our own hearts, when they are perfected with Jesus Christ! And if, when we reach those happy shores, we run to greet the sainted ones whom we again recognize, and are beginning to ask them about their joys, and getting them to relate to us their experiences, they themselves will separate hand from hand and lead us to him who is the centre and glory of heaven, as he has been the centre and glory of the church on earth. “Come and see what is really beautiful; come and kneel with us at the feet of him at whose feet we can never kneel long enough. We have known him longer than you, and in circumstances that are different; we are glad to see you, but we are gladdest of all to know that you are to see Christ, that you are to see him again, that you are to know him as he is. You never knew him as he is; the prophets never knew him as he is; the apostles never knew him as he is. But now that you look upon him, you see him as he is, as we have seen him, and we want you to come and look at him. Thus he is forever!” I repeat, Jesus is the centre, and Jesus is the end.
Now, my hearers, we learn from this passage what was the conversation of those that ruled over these Hebrews. Now I know that the word translated conversation does not mean what conversation now does to us but it means the turn of the life; every turn of life that those preachers and leaders took was a turn, not away from Jesus, but with him and to him; he was their life, he was the food of their hearts, the joy of their hearts. At the same time, the conversation is a part of the activity of the soul; the turn of the heart is in it, the turn of the thoughts is in it, the turn of speculation as to the future is in it, the turn of recollection as to the past is in it, in our conversation. Now then, both as to the turn of life and as to the talk from day to day, what ought it to be? It ought to be Christ. Why, I cannot help thinking of those men who received this letter and of the great apostle who wrote it, to feel sure
that I know what they talked about. They had not as many things to talk about as we have; conversation was a different conversation; pecuniary interests were different; there were no newspapers to stir up strife, as sometimes they do, or to stir up thought, as often they do, and give us news, as they are appointed to do, but they talked about Jesus. Now, would it not be well for us to dismiss every other topic of conversation and take up that. Well, but it might become common, stale, flat, and unprofitable; perhaps it would be making the name too common; but to talk about Christ is to live Christ, and a man cannot but talk about that which he lives. At home, in your business abroad, in all these, let Christ be with you, and not only appear, but conspicuously appear, that all men may take knowledge of you, as they took knowledge of many in the past, that they had been with Jesus.
Now, I have done with this lesson, which I have told in the best way that was left to me this morning. Whilst we are brethren, we are brethren in the Lord; whilst we are people out of all denominations, we love one another because we love him who is the centre of all denominationalism, and who is the glory of all ecclesiasticism; and as the different peoples get nearer to him, as a matter of course they get nearer to each other. And may the blessing of God, the Saviour, the hope of our glory, be now and forever with you all. Amen.THE COMMUNION.
The congregations of St. Andrew's Church and Immanuel Chapel united with the First Church in the communion, making a very large body of communicants. Dr. Grier spoke earnest and helpful words on the “communion of saints,” read the passage from 1 Cor. xi., made the prayer of consecration, and distributed the bread. Dr. Wilson served the wine and made the prayer of thanksgiving. All of the eight elders of this church, and the four from St. Andrews, Dr. A. D. McDonald, John C. Latta, Oscar Pearsall, and William H. Sprunt, took part in the distribution of the elements. Besides the two officiating ministers, and the pastors of the three congregations, Rev. S. G. Law and Rev. G. W. McMillan, ministers from this congregation, sat at the Lord's table. It was a time of sacred memories, present blessing, and joyous hopes.
“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”—ACTS ii. 39.
THE Old Testament is naturally a book of promise. In the earliest dawn of the gospel we have the seed of promise. To the church delivered from the flood God gave the bow of promise. To Abraham in his old age was born the child of promise, and in due time his seed inherited the land of promise. So, too, all the symbols of the priestly law, all the developments of the civil government, the song of psalmist, the vision of seer, the exhortation of prophet, were all fainter adumbrations or more distinct pledges of that which the future held, and the fulness of time should unfold. But when that fulness of time had come, and all the promises of God were made Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus, it might have been supposed that the period of promise was over, and that the era of perfect and complete fulfilment was at hand. So thought the disciples during the days of our Lord's flesh. So thought they with fuller assurance after his triumphant resurrection, as with eager hearts they came to him with the question, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom unto Israel?” But gently and gravely, as of yore, he puts them off: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” And when in a moment he is parted from them, the last word that falls from his lips as he is received up into glory is a word of promise—the promise ofVery truly yours,
power, the power of the Holy Ghost, that they might bear witness for him to the uttermost part of the earth.
Again the disciples wait upon the Lord until promise is crowned with fulfilment, and on Pentecost the Spirit descends, and they are filled, and clothed, and transformed with power. But when Peter, standing forth that day in the fulness of that new-found power, upon the threshold of that new dispensation it had ushered in, speaks the creative words of the Christian Church, they are still words of promise—“the promise is unto you.” And lest any one should limit that promise to the present, and its immediate fulfilment, we see it glancing along to future ages, and bursting abroad to distant lands: “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off.” Promise is still to be the forming principle of the church's life, and the inspiration of the church's activities. Nor is it only at the beginning of the Christian life of those who in successive generations compose the Christian Church, that promise is to play its part. When the Holy Spirit enters the soul, its full measure is not reached at a bound, and the very highest development of his power and glory here is still only an earnest of that which is beyond. Hear the aged apostle, who surpassed even Peter in the “abundance of revelations,” when far on his earthly course: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those things that are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” And when he unveils the trinity of Christian graces that are to “abide” with the Christian throughout this life, and with the church throughout this dispensation, there is not only a Faith to look up, and a Love to look out, but a Hope to look forward.
To-day we stand as did the Apostle Peter, though to an humbler degree, at one of those points where fruition has
followed promise. But let us learn, like him, at such a time to fix our gaze not only upon the past, but also upon the future. As we think of the little, struggling vine planted in faith and hope three quarters of a century ago, and then cast our eyes around at the vigorous churches that stand where once it stood; when we look out farther and see the more distant shoots that have sprung into life and activity from its side; and when we think of the rich fruitage that from these vines is now ripening here for heaven, and the still larger vintage that has already been gathered into the garners above, our hearts may well swell with gratitude to God for the blessings of the past. But when we remember that the harvest of the present is the seed of the future, when we think how that seed is being scattered broadcast throughout our land, and has already been borne to other shores, we may well pause before we exclaim, “The former days were better than these.” This church has had noble pastors. Some of them, after an absence of years, are with us again. To see their faces, to hear their voices, to receive their greetings of love, and to listen to the dear old gospel from their lips, has been the unique and blessed experience of this joyful re-union; but these men have labored, and others, coming after them, will enter into their labors, who will see greater things than they. It has had devoted members in the past—men who have put their lives in jeopardy for the sake of the gospel, men who have never flinched in the times that tried men's souls; but no one can know the heights of Christian heroism to which God may call some of these little ones that sit before us to-day. It has set in motion many beneficent activities, that have brought light and gladness and blessing into countless hearts and homes, but only eternity can reveal how far will reach the widening circle of its beneficence in the ages that are yet unborn.
The same principle holds true when we take a wider survey,
and consider that great family of Christian churches to which this congregation belongs. There is no more fascinating pursuit than the study of those causes, small and great, that brought into being the great Reformation movement. And as in this year of grace we celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of that discovery which added a new world to the arena of human effort and progress, we look on with adoring wonder at the silent moving of the divine hand by which Lollard and Bohemian, Huguenot and Hollander, English Puritan and Scotch Presbyterian, were, through toil and sacrifice, persecution, shame and death, working out those principles, and shaping those institutions, that should not only form the fabric of our ecclesiastical structures, but should lay the foundations of our civil and religious liberties. But while the memory of these mighty dead shall last as long as history, while their devotion to truth and duty must ever nerve our hearts to like endeavor, while they have bequeathed to us much that we can never forsake without being recreant to every duty both to God and man, yet we cannot rest in their attainments. The faithful study of the past will do much to direct us for the future. It has lessons of warning and lessons of encouragement. It can save from much error and lead into much truth. But he who would shape the future altogether by the past, is like the mariner who should steer his ship by the track it has left in its wake, instead of by the changeless stars of heaven, or the needle ever constant to the pole.
History has precious lessons indeed, but its truest and best is this: that the best is yet beyond, and that fruition in the past is the pledge and promise of a richer fulfilment in the future. It is these considerations that have led me to ask you, on this day freighted with the memories of the past, to take a glance with me at the subject I have selected, “Presbyterianism and the Future.”
When we look a little more narrowly into the text we see that it outlines certain elements or conditions that are essential to the success of the church, or of any part of the church. These elements of success are revival, perpetuation, enlargement, and all in accordance with a sovereign, eternal and gracious purpose: revival, because the “promise” is the promise of the Holy Ghost; perpetuation, because the promise is not only unto you, but “to your children”; enlargement, because it is also “to all that are afar off”; and in its application among all these, by a purpose that must be sovereign, and must be eternal, and must be gracious, because it is divine, it is limited to “as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
I would miss my purpose very far if any one were to understand from anything that I shall say that I claim for Presbyterianism and the Presbyterian Churches a monopoly of any or all of these elements of success and blessing that are promised in the text. But with the fullest catholicity of spirit, it is surely our right to point out that Presbyterian principles require us to seek for, and strive after, each one of them; that Presbyterian doctrines reveal the true method of their attainment; and that Presbyterian organization presents a most favorable channel for their exercise and development. If these positions can be maintained, Presbyterianism has nothing to fear from the future, but will be found to meet the scriptural conditions of a church for all times, and a church for all peoples.
I ask you, then, first, to observe with me that the conditions of the divine promise given in the text, upon which all these elements of blessing depend, is the cardinal principle of that theology of which our church is the avowed and recognized exponent. “The promise,” with all that it includes, is “to as many as the Lord our God shall call.” That God has a people chosen in love from all eternity, whom
he has predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son; that upon them he bestows, each in his own time, the effectual call of his Holy Spirit; that by that call being made partakers of the divine nature, they turn from sin in faith and repentance unto God, and that without that call and the kindling of the divine life within them, they are certain to continue in sin because of the deadness of their moral nature; and that the bestowment of that call includes every gift that pertains unto life and godliness, and every grace that is necessary to keep them from falling, and present them faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy—this, as I understand it, is the system called Calvinism; and this, as I understand it, is the creed that we confess; and this, as we have seen, is the doctrine of the text. Now it is not essential for receiving the blessings of the text that we understand and receive the doctrine of the text. The sovereign grace of God is not limited to our finite and fallible understanding.
“The love of God is broader than the measure of man's mind,”
and many a man who has spent his life in the vehement denial of the sovereignty of grace, has been himself a most conspicuous monument of that sovereign grace. But assuredly those who recognize the divine condition of blessing are in the most favorable attitude for receiving blessing; and those who have recognized God as the sole and sufficient source of salvation, and all that leads to it, are on the only sure road for finding it. “Them that honor me, I will honor,” saith the Lord; and honoring God, we need not fear what man can do unto us, or say of us.
It has been said that every Christian is a Calvinist upon his knees. If this is true, and no one who carefully observes the prayers of devout men of whatever shade of belief can well doubt it, it in great part accounts for the large measure
of blessing bestowed upon churches whose formal creed denies the distinctive doctrines of grace. But the church that professes and teaches these great doctrines has an overwhelming argument in her mouth to bring men to their knees, pointing them to the only source of help and blessing, lest seeking to climb up some other way they be cast out as thieves and robbers, or, at least, come short of the glory of God. And what the church of the future needs that she may have a larger measure of blessing is not that she should cast aside, or curtail, or soften her creed, but that her creed should get down into her heart, and bring her down upon her knees, waiting upon the Lord for his blessing, until his grace shines forth in her life, and all men are pointed to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world—until all shall hear the voice, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.”
When, in the second place, we look at the elements of the promise in detail, these thoughts find illustration and emphasis. I have used the term “revival” as including all that is involved in the promise of the Holy Spirit. It is a term that implies life. There is no blessing for a dead church. Its creed may be unexceptionable in its orthodoxy, its worship may be faultless in its beauty, its ministry profound in their learning, their conduct above reproach and their orders beyond suspicion; but if life be not there, if the Spirit of God be not there, orders and dignity and learning, æsthetic worship and orthodox creed, will not save it from the blight and corruption of death. A dead church is not bringing men to Christ; a dead church is not seeking and saving the lost; a dead church is not doing the only work that gives her a right to be. But if the Spirit of God breathes upon these slain, instead of bleaching bones, we will have a living army to do the work and fight the battles of the living God.
Again, the term revival implies a renewal of life. Some may object to the term on this ground, and say that intervening periods of depression and death are implied in its use, and that this is not a normal state of the church, but one to be regretted and deplored. But renewal of life does not necessarily imply that the previous state was one of depression; it means the heightening or quickening of the previous state, whatever it may be. “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” If we undertake to cross the mountain ranges that traverse the eastern slope of our continent, we ascend one ridge only to descend into the valley on the other side; we cross the valley, ascend another ridge and again descend, and so until the whole system has been crossed. But if we go to Siberia and ascend from the eastern coast we have a very different experience. By and by we come to the mountains, but when we have ascended, instead of a descent into a valley beyond, we have a broad table-land, gently rising upward from the summit of one range to the base of another; we climb that and continue to repeat the same experience, always ascending and never descending; at times more rapidly than at others, but still always upward. From the weakness of our human nature our revivals are too apt to be like our own mountains, with valleys of depression between, but they need not be so. Every true revival should bring the church up to a higher plane of Christian life and experience from which there need be no descent, but a steady march onward and upward from the height attained, until a new influx of spiritual life and energy fits us for ascending to yet greater heights. Revival, thus understood, is the true and normal state of the church and of the Christian, and not an occasional spasmodic effort that spends its force and leaves no lasting benefit. It is God's law of the church's growth, and without
growth there will be, by a law that can be ignored in the spiritual no more than in the natural world, retrogression, decay and death. Let us look then at some of the effects or manifestations of revival.
There is first the spiritual quickening of the children of God. As rain refreshes the parched earth, so the Divine Spirit poured out upon the souls of believers causes every grace to spring and grow afresh. On every side there is verdure and bloom and ripening fruit. God's word is studied with a fresher interest; prayer has new power and fervor; praise has a higher note of joy; God's house is thronged with eager worshippers. Love flows upward to God and outward to man. Broken friendships are renewed, neglected duties are performed, and slumbering consciences are aroused.
With the renewal of other duties comes the renewal of Christian testimony. If neglected before, the duty is now performed; if performed before, it is now done with new power. Christians speak often one to another and often to those that are without. The power of the Holy Ghost is upon them to witness for Christ, and so with the growth in grace comes the increase of numbers, and the Lord adds daily to the church of such as shall be saved.
But more than that: out of every great revival arise those new teachings of truth, and those new movements in behalf of the truth, that lead the church on to higher and better things. The Reformation was the fruit of revival. The modern evangelistic movement was the fruit of revival. The great movements in the interest of the young people of the church are all the result of revival. And no individual church enjoys a true revival that some more practical view of its duties, and some more active prosecution of its work, is not the result.
Revival, then, in whatever aspect it is considered, is essential
to the church's life and growth. Nay, it is the church's life. How, then, and whence shall we look for revival? Human nature in its short-sightedness, human nature in its impatience, human nature in its pride, often suggests various human methods and instrumentalities by which revivals may be “gotten up,” as the vulgar phrase goes; forgetting that a revival, like water, can rise no higher than its source, and that a revival of human origin can give no more than a human blessing. The Calvinistic theology comes in as the true and only correction of human ignorance, impatience, and pride. Keeping its eye fixed upon God as the only source of revival, since he gives the promise, and the promise is unto as many as he shall call, it cautions us to use just those means that he has commanded, and to wait upon him for the life-giving power, without which all our efforts must be vain.
To this same conclusion, not only its doctrine, but everything in its worship and order tends. Neither condemning, nor dependent upon, fixed forms, its worship has always been simple and free from adventitious ornament. With the Spirit of God in it, it is fresh, satisfying, inspiring; without his presence it is lifeless and bald; thus making us feel the constant need of his life and power. Its main strength and reliance is upon the “foolishness of preaching,” which God's word and all experience teach to be powerless to save without the Spirit of God. Insisting upon an orderly entrance into its ministry and other offices, it at the same time claims for them no “indelible character,” no power of salvation by manipulation, no official grace or virtue, but solemnly charges all that only as they personally seek and find the grace and power of the Holy Spirit can their ministry be effectual in bringing revival blessings to his church. For this reason it has no temporary or “expediency” officers in its organization, but solemnly sets apart those officers
that it finds in the word of God, recommending them to the grace of God. If the Presbyterian Church is not a revival church, it is nothing. And the more thoroughly it masters its own principles, the more continuously and increasingly will it be a revival church, and the brighter will shine for it this promise of our Lord: “If ye being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.”
The next element of promise in the text is perpetuation: “The promise is unto you, and to your children.” This manifestly has to do with the future. The church that would take hold of the future must lay its hand upon the hearts of the young. Here, again, we only need a more thorough application of our own principles. Denying on the one hand the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, and on the other, repudiating the exclusion of infants from the church, the Presbyterian Church has always taken its stand on God's unrepealed covenant, and said to its little ones, “Ye are the children of the covenant.” Admitting them to the privileges of the church on the basis of God's covenant promises, it has always insisted that God's little ones should be trained for him. Long before the modern Sunday-school was dreamed of, the Presbyterian Church in her parish schools, in her parental training, and in her pastoral catechisings, was instructing her children in the word of God and the doctrines of that word, with a thoroughness that modern methods have rarely equalled and never surpassed. Seizing hold of the new instrumentality because of its wider scope and better opportunities for reaching those that are without, she has incorporated it into her system, and devoted to its development her highest and noblest energies. And if she has relaxed in any degree her former instrumentalities, there are not lacking indications of a wise return to the
parish school, while parental training will always revive with a revived church.
But in our own days a new demand is made upon the church. The church is realizing its call to personal service as never before, and with that call comes the call to train its children not only to know Christ, but to serve him. Innumerable forms of organization for accomplishing this work have sprung into being, some within church lines and some without, some wise and some otherwise. It is gratifying to note that the venerable Synod of Virginia has appointed a committee to inquire into the best method of organizing and developing the energies of its young people. One thing is certain: the church cannot restrain these movements if it would; and it ought not if it could. God is in them, his word is behind them, and what the church needs to do is heartily to encourage, and wisely to direct, the efforts of its young people in channels most conformable to its own life, and most conducive to their spiritual growth. But these movements considered in themselves, and apart from any question of particular form or method, are evidences that the revival promise is reaching unto our children, promising to us and to all who encourage them, the perpetuation of the blessings of the present, and the more abundant manifestation of those blessings in the future.
The Presbyterian Church has peculiar advantages from its form of government for the instruction and guidance of its children and youth. It alone has an order of men regularly set apart for the direction of God's house, whose very name is derived from the family. The elders are ordained to be the spiritual fathers of the congregation, and shepherds of the flock. As fathers, they cannot neglect the children; as shepherds, they cannot forsake the lambs. As the fountain of government in the congregation, it is theirs to direct and organize the church until “the whole body,
fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” As the years go on, this office becomes not less, but more, important. And as elders more fully realize the nature and responsibility of their office, they will more effectively discharge this work of developing and organizing the Christian activities of the congregations under their care. In such organization children and young people must have a large and important part, and in their wisely directed zeal, consecrated in their youth to the Master's use, the church will not be slow to see its best and brightest promise for the future.
But we must now turn to look at the last element of promise—the promise of enlargement; for the promise is not only unto you and to your children, it is “to all that are afar off.” When we contemplate this promise, as the events of these last days have given it meaning, we are tempted to exclaim with the prophet: “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves to their windows?” “Behold, these shall come from far; and lo, these from the north and west, and these from the land of Sinim.”
While we cheerfully award to another denomination the palm for the inauguration of the modern missionary movement that has just completed its first century, it should not be forgotten that as early as 1620 a Presbyterian professor in the University of Leyden founded a missionary college, whose graduates went forth to the Dutch East Indies, and did work which anticipates all that is best in modern missions. And if in the missionary revival led by Carey, a Scotch General Assembly at first turned a cold shoulder upon the enterprise, it is none the less true that a member of that Assembly pointed to the Great Commission as the final and sufficient argument for missions, the answer
to all objections, and the end of controversy. But whatever the original attitude of the Presbyterian Church, no one will deny that it has assumed its full share of the work now. No one who, at the recent great Council of Presbyterian Churches, heard upon one platform Presbyterian missionaries from India, China, Africa, Korea, the New Hebrides, and the wilds of Northwest America, and who saw two great churches packed at the same hour with Presbyterian congregations to hear the messages they brought of the progress of the gospel in all lands, could have any doubt of the present attitude of the Presbyterian Church towards missions.
And how could it be otherwise? More than ten years ago, when just licensed by my Presbytery, I preached my first missionary sermon from this text: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” And to this day there is to my mind no stronger missionary appeal than that. The man who has taken down into his heart the belief that God has an elect people scattered throughout this world, whom he calls upon his church to find out with the message of life, can have no rest day or night while anything remains undone that he can do to carry out Christ's purposes of grace, and bring to the Lord his own. The encouragement to Paul to stay in Corinth was that the Lord had much people in that city; and the knowledge that the Lord has chosen ones in all lands is the best encouragement to the church to go everywhere preaching the word. And while we have in our doctrines the strongest possible motive for missionary effort, we have in our polity a system that is capable of world-wide expansion. Like the banyan tree, wherever a branch touches the ground it takes root. With all the elements drawn direct from the people, it develops a native organized church on any soil in
which it is planted. It commends itself to the judgment of the intellectual Brahmin, and is comprehensible to the mind of the simple Papuan. It is complete in all its elements on the tiniest islet, and is elastic enough to cover the broadest continent. It is capable of realizing a world-wide organic unity, but in the equality of all its rulers, and the freedom of all its integral parts, it is more solicitous of maintaining the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
The Presbyterian Church is then peculiarly adapted to be a missionary church. And it has come to recognize missionary activity not only as a duty to the heathen, but as an essential part of the church's life. Enlargement is as necessary to the church as perpetuation. The outgoing of the church's energies is as necessary to its life as is exercise to the body. The more it puts forth, the more is its strength increased, and the fuller the pulsations of life and grace that flow through its members from the great heart of Christ.
To live, to endure, to expand. These are the elements necessary to a church for all times and for all peoples. And these, from the promise of the text, we may, in humble dependence upon God, claim as ours.
We do not claim that our church, just as it stands, is the church of the future. God doubtless has many lessons yet to teach us, and some of them we might well be learning now. I believe that every great church has some deposit of truth that it is her mission to contribute to the church of the future. Some may contribute a more varied and responsive form of worship, yet without reducing everything to set forms. From the same source there may come the effective administration of the diocesan bishop without the diocesan's rank; from another source there may come the power derived from freer personal testimony for Christ; from others, something yet different, that God now sees but that we do not. But of one thing I am persuaded. That
which the Presbyterian family will contribute is that which makes it Calvinistic and which makes it Presbyterian, a doctrine that gives glory to God and a polity that gives liberty to the people. For this it is that insures to us the promise of revival, perpetuation and enlargement, until the multitude of the redeemed have all been gathered in, and the Lord shall be king over all the earth.
(P., Pastor; P. E., Pastor Elect.; S. S., Stated Supply. Other supplies are not enrolled here, but are named in the Historical Sketch. Those marked * are deceased. Where D. D. or other title is in parenthesis, it indicates that it was not conferred until after the ministry here closed.)
|REV. ARTEMUS BOIES,* P.,||May 12, 1819— — — 1820.|
|REV. LEONARD E. LATHROP,* P.,||Jan. — 1823—Oct. — 1824.|
|REV. NOEL ROBERTSON,* P.,||April — 1827—April — 1828.|
|REV. THOS. P. HUNT,* P.,||— — 1830—June 22, 1834.|
|REV. JAS. A. MCNEIL,* P. E.,||Nov. — 1834 — — — 1836.|
|REV. W. W. EELLS,* P.,||— — 1838—Feb. — 1842.|
|REV. THOS. R. OWEN,* P. E.,||Aug. — 1842—Sep. — 1843.|
|REV. J. O. STEDMAN,* S. S.,||Jan. — 1845—Aug. — 1851.|
|REV. M. B. GRIER, (D. D.), P.,||July. 18, 1852—June — 1861.|
|REV. HORACE L. SINGLETON, P.,||Jan. 1, 1866—Oct. 1, 1871.|
|REV. A. F. DICKSON,* P.,||Dec. — 1871—May — 1873.|
|REV. J. R. WILSON, D. D., (LL. D.), P.,||Mar. —1873—April 1, 1885.|
|REV. PEYTON H. HOGE, D. D., P.,||Dec. 1, 1885—|
THOMAS R. OWEN, ordained (about) 1837, died 1882.
SIDNEY G. LAW, ordained 1858, Staten Island, N. Y.
GEORGE W. MCMILLAN, ordained 1874, Topsail, N. C.
WILLIAM H. GROVES, ordained 1875, Lynnville, Tenn.
ALEXANDER SPRUNT, ordained 1878, Rock Hill, S. C.ROLL OF RULING ELDERS.
(Those marked * died in office. Those marked † died after being dismissed to other churches.)
|WILLIAM P. HORT,†||Mar. 17, 1831— — — 1835.|
|JAMES OWEN,*||Mar. 17, 1831—Aug. 5, 1865.|
|ALEXANDER ANDERSON,*||Mar. 17, 1831—Nov. 15, 1844.|
|ROBERT W. GIBBS,*||Mar. 17, 1831—Jan. 13, 1861.|
|HERVEY LAW,†||— — 1836— — — 1850.|
|JOHN C. LATTA,†||Jan. 10, 1850—Nov. 6, 1858.|
|JAMES H. DICKSON,*||Dec. 26, 1858—Sept. 28, 1862.|
|JOHN N. ANDREWS,†||Dec. 26, 1858—Apr. 28, 1870.|
|BARZILLAI G. WORTH,||Dec. 26, 1858—Mar. — 1867.|
|JAMES C. SMITH,†||Dec. 26, 1858—Dec. 10, 1881.|
|GEORGE CHADBOURN,*||Dec. 26, 1858—July 8, 1891.|
|ALBERT A. WILLARD,||Feb. 2, 1868—|
|JOHN MCLAURIN,||Feb. 2, 1868—|
|JAMES D. CUMMING,||Feb. 2, 1868—Aug. 17, 1873.|
|CHARLES H. ROBINSON,||Feb. 2, 1868—|
|SAMUEL NORTHROP,||Feb. 2, 1868—|
|BARZILLAI G. WORTH,||Jan. 13, 1870—|
|BENJAMIN F. HALL,||Dec. 21, 1879—|
|JOHN D. TAYLOR,||Mar. 7, 1886—|
|DAVID G. WORTH,||Nov. 22, 1891—|
(Those marked * died in office. Those marked † have died after being dismissed to other churches.)
|GILBERT POTTER, *||Mar. 26, 1858— —1861.|
|THOMAS C. WORTH, *||Mar. 26, 1858—Oct. — 1862.|
|MALCOLM MCINNIS, †||Mar. 26, 1858—Mar. 18, 1868.|
|JOSEPH B. RUSSELL, *||Mar. 26, 1858—Feb. 8, 1880.|
|JOHN W. K. DIX, *||Mar. 26, 1858—Oct. 9, 1862.|
|JAMES D. CUMMING,||Mar. 26, 1858—Feb. 2, 1868.|
|SAMUEL NORTHROP,||Mar. 26, 1858—Feb. 2, 1868.|
|THOMAS W. PLAYER, *||Feb. 2, 1868—Aug. 1, 1879.|
|EDWARD P. GEORGE,||Feb. 2, 1868—Feb. 6, 1873.|
|WILLIAMSON WHITEHEAD, †||Feb. 2, 1868—June 14, 1874.|
|DAVID G. WORTH,||Feb. 2, 1868—Nov. 22, 1891.|
|GEORGE W. WILLIAMS,||Feb. 2, 1868—|
|CHARLES P. MEBANE,||Mar. 12, 1868—|
|JAMES SPRUNT,||Mar. 16, 1873—|
|JAMES ALDERMAN, *||Dec. 21, 1879—Mar. — 1885.|
|JOHN D. TAYLOR,||Dec. 21, 1879—Mar. 7, 1886.|
|HORACE H. MUNSON,||Dec. 21, 1879—|
|WILLIAM R. KENAN,||Dec. 21, 1879—|
|HENRY C. MCQUEEN,||Mar. 14, 1886—|
|JOHN H. CURRIE,||Mar. 14, 1886—Nov. 6, 1892.|
|JAMES H. CHADBOURN, JR.,||Nov. 22, 1891—|
|WILLIAM A. RIACH,||Dec. 4, 1892—|
|WILLIAM M. CUMMING,||Dec. 4, 1892—|
|EDWARD S. TENNENT,||Dec. 4, 1892—|
(The family name is only given once for parents and unmarried children. In all other cases it is repeated.)
Alderman, Mrs. Belle F.
Averitt, Mrs Nollie Wood
Bacon, Mrs. Elizabeth K.
Bacon, Miss Lucy Elizabeth
Barrentine, James Gregg
Barrentine, Mrs. Florence
Beery, Mrs. Ella T.
Bell, Miss Jeannie M.
Bell, Mrs. Mary M.
Bellamy, Mrs. Eliza M.
Bellamy, Miss Ellen
Bellamy, Miss Eliza
Bellamy, Mrs Hattie
Bellamy, Dr. W. J. H.
Bellamy, Mrs. Mary W.
Bellamy, John Dillard
Biddle, Miss Mary Elizabeth
Biddle, Robert Anderson
Blackwell, Mrs. Mary Jane
Boney, G. James
Boney, Walter P.
Boney, Mrs. Mary A.
Bonitz, Miss Florence
Bonitz, Miss Mary E.
Borden, Charles E.
Borden, Mrs. Octavia
Bowen, James J.
Bowen, Mrs. Wilmer K.
Brown, Alexander D.
Brown, Mrs. Elizabeth
(Brown), Miss Rachel Fairweather
(Brown), Miss Maggie Fyfe
Cannon, Mrs. Sarah J.
Carr, William Harriss
Carr, Mrs. Mattie Forbes
Chadbourn, James H., Jr.
Chadbourn, Mrs. Blanche King
Chadbourn, Miss Abbie Ellis
Chadbourn, William H.
Chadbourn, Mrs. Adelaide S.
Chadbourn, Miss Emma Marie
Chadbourn, Miss Lucy Adelaide
Chase, Mrs. Mary L.
Chase, Miss Caroline Louise
Condict, Dr. A. W.
Condict, Mrs. A. W.
Cook, Miss Nellie
Covington, Frank Leake
Cowan, Mrs. Sue Harriss
Cronly, Mrs. Margaret
Cronly, Miss Jane M.
Cronly, Miss Sallie T.
Cronly, Michael Jr.,
Croswell, William J.
Croswell, Mrs. Mary
Croswell, Miss Sallie M.
Croswell, Harry M.
Culver, Mrs. Mary F.
Cumming, Mrs. Kate T.
Cumming, Miss Sue L.
Cumming, W. M.
Davis, Mrs. Rachel H.
Davis, Miss Emma J.
Davis, Miss Margaret Dickson
Dickson, Mrs. Margaret M.
Doyle, William W.
Durham, Dr. James H.
Durham, Mrs. Nellie Alston
Eilers, Miss Matilda
Ennett, Mrs. Sallie P.
Ennett, Miss Georgie N.
Ennett, Miss Sallie
Fairweather, Miss Elizabeth
Farmer, William Graham
Farmer, Mrs. Lucy Eugenia
Flanagan, Mrs. L.
Fore, Mrs. Cornelia Grant
Forshee, James M.
Forshee, Mrs. Sarah Kinnier
Forshee, Miss Bertha
Forshee, Miss Annie Kinnier
Forshee, James Kinnier
Fowler, Mrs. Mary E.
Freeman, Mrs. Isabella J.
French, George R.
French, Mrs. Cornelia
Gerken, Mrs. Hattie W.
Gibson, Miss Cora Mitchell.
Gibson, Mrs. R. W.
Gibson, Miss Margaret L.
Gibson, Miss Bessie May.
Gilchrist, Mrs. Ella F.
Green, Hector McLean.
Green, Mrs. Ida D.
Green, Miss Alice.
Haddock, James S.
Hall, B. F.
Hall, Mrs. Margaret F.
Hall, James Sprunt.
Hall, Alexander McDonald
Hall, Miss Susan.
Hall, Louis Edward.
Hall, Miss Jessie Dalziel.
Hall, Mrs. Susan E.
Hallett, Allen P.
Hancock, Lewis Grafflin.
Harriss, Miss Mary.
Harriss, John S.
Harriss, Mrs. Ada.
Harriss, Miss Julia Sanders.
Hart, Miss Etta.
Hart, Miss Sarah L.
Hartsfield, Mrs. Sarah.
Hashagen, Mrs. Mary D.
Heinsberger, Miss Isabella.
Heinsberger, Philip, Jr.
Hewlett, Miss Mary Cook.
Hicks, Rufus W.
Hicks, Mrs. Sallie M.
Hoge, Mrs. Mary S.
Holladay, William Waller.
Howard, W. H.
Howard, Mrs. Eliza.
Howell, Andrew J.
Howell, Mrs. Laura.
Howell, William Harriss.
Howell, Andrew J. Jr.
Huggins, George W.
Huggins, Mrs. Lizzie A.
Huggins, Mrs. Ann M.
Huggins, Edwin Toomer.
Huggins, Miss Annie James.
Jackson, James W.
Jackson, Mrs. Sarah E.
Johnson, Mrs. Fannie.
Johnson, Miss Kate E.
Johnson, J. Starr.
Johnson, George Thomas.
Johnson, Mrs. Alice.
Johnson, Miss Lillian S.
Johnson, Miss Fannie C.
Jones, Miss Maggie.
Kenan, Willian R.
Kenan, Mrs. Mary H.
Kenan, Miss Mary Lily.
Kenly, Miss Edna Manning
Kidder, Miss Ann Potter.
Lamb, Mrs. Martha J.
Latta, Miss Helen.
Latta, Miss Maria C.
Latta, Miss Priscilla E.
Lee, Miss Lila S.
Lewis, Mrs. Sallie Gray.
Lewis, Thomas C.
Lewis, Mrs. Mary H.
Lewis, Robert B.
Lewis, Mrs. Mamie D.
Lilly, Mrs. Kate.
Lilly, Miss Roberta.
Love, Miss Maria.
Malloy, Henry W.
Malloy, Mrs. Katie.
Mann, Miss Isabella R.
Matthews, Dr. John E.
Matthews, Mrs. Isabella.
Mebane, Charles P.
Mebane, Mrs. Martha.
Mebane, Miss Anna McNair.
Melton, Miss Amy Bradley.
Moffatt, Mrs. Caroline.
Moffatt, Miss Maggie.
Moore, Mrs. E. H.
Munson, Horace H.
Munson, Mrs. Louisa P.
Munson, Miss Kate C.
Munson, Edward H.
McCulloch, Harry M.
McIntire, Robert Motier.
McIntire, Mrs. Sarah L.
McIntire, John McKay.
McIntire, Miss Mary Wilson.
McLaughlin, Mrs. Eliza.
McLaurin, Mrs. Catherine H.
McLaurin, Miss Sallie Norment.
McMillan, Mrs. Sallie E.
McMillan, Charles Ellis.
McQueen, Henry C.
McQueen, Mrs. Mary Agnes.
McRae, James Dickson.
Newell, Mrs. Kate L.
Northrop, Mrs. Mary F.
Northrop, Robert Houston.
Northrop, William Harriss.
Northrop, Mrs. Alice M.
Owen, Miss Eliza.
Owen, John W.
Owen, Mrs. Sallie H.
Owen, Miss Lucy Oliver.
Owen, Miss Carolina Potter.
Padrick, Mrs. Ida Melton.
Parsley, George D.
Parsley, Mrs. Katie King.
(Pearsall), Mrs. Mary Moore.
Peck, Mrs. Elizabeth.
Pennington, Lewis B.
Perrin, Mrs. Sarah C.
Phillips, Everett Jefferson.
Pigford, Dr. E. S.
Potter, Mrs. Elizabeth.
Potter, Miss Elizabeth.
Price, Mrs. Catherine K.
Price, Miss Bettie K.
Price, Richard W.
Price, Mrs. Duralde S.
Riach, W. A.
Riach, Mrs. Marianne.
Riley, Mrs. Mary.
Robinson, Charles H.
Robinson, Mrs. Elizabeth.
Robinson, Mrs. Isabel.
Robinson, Uel M.
Robinson, Charles H.
Rothwell, Mrs. Laura.
Rothwell, Miss Henrietta.
Rothwell, Miss Mary.
Russell, James Poulson.
Russell, Mrs. Eliza Fowler.
Russell, Mrs. Lucretia.
Russell, Dr. Frank Havens.
Russell, Daniel Lindsay, Jr.
Savage, Mrs. Jane.
Savage, Miss Anna Parsley.
Savage, Miss Isabel.
Schonwald, Dr. John I.
Schonwald, Mrs Carrie A.
Schonwald, Mrs. Catherine.
Sharp, John H.
Sharp, Mrs. Sophia T.
Sharp, Miss Claudia W.
Shepherd, Mrs. Laura T.
Sinclair, Miss Jennie McLaurin
Smith, William C.
Smith, James D.
Smith, Mrs. Rose B.
Smith, Miss Rose B.
Smith, Miss Margaret Dickson.
Sneed, Emmett Holt.
Sneed, Mrs. Ida Estelle.
Southerland, Chauncey G.
Southerland, Mrs. Ella F.
Southerland, Miss Mary Lily.
Springer, Mrs. C. W.
Sprunt, Miss Anna.
Sprunt, Mrs. Luola M.
Stevenson, Miss Lizzie.
Stevenson, William M.
Stevenson, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth.
Stokes, Dr. W. F.
Sweet, Mrs. Julia T.
Taylor, John D.
Taylor, Mrs. S. Elizabeth.
Taylor, Miss Kate.
Taylor, Miss Hattie.
Taylor, Miss Bessie.
Taylor, Mrs. Keziah.
Tennent, Mrs. Hattie.
Tennent, Edward S.
Thorpe, William B.
Toon, Mrs. Sarah E.
Toon, James Luther.
Toon, William Pinckney.
Toon, Mrs. Emily May.
Turlington, W. H.
Turlington, Mrs. Grace D.
Turrentine, John R.
Turrentine, Mrs. M. B.
(Turrentine), John R., Jr.
Van Amringe, Stacey.
Van Amringe, Mrs. Mary Francis.
Van Amringe, Miss Fannie W.
Van Amringe, Alvoord.
Van Laer, E.
Vick, Samuel W.
Vick, Samuel W., Jr.
Von Ghaln, Mrs. Caroline.
Warrock, William S.
Warrock, Mrs. G. A.
Warrock, Mrs. Virginia.
Whitehead, Mrs. K. C.
Whitlock, Charles M.
Whitlock, Mrs. Maydelle C.
Whitted, Duncan Cromartie.
Wiggins, O. A.
Wiggins, Mrs. Anna.
Willard, Albert A.
Willard, Mrs. Mary.
Willard, Miss Lottie May.
Willard, Joseph Bannister.
Willard, Edward Payson.
Williams, George W.
Williams, Miss Fannie Reid.
Williams, Miss Martha R.
Williams, Duncan M.
Willson, James Edmund.
Willson, Mrs. Mamie Galloway.
Wise, Mrs. Jessie Hargrave.
Wood, Mrs. Mary E.
Wood, Miss Jeannie Dalziel.
Woodward, William J.
Woodward, Mrs. Mary J.
Woodward, Charles Worth.
Woodward, Joseph Marion.
Woodward, Isabel Carew.
Wootten, Mrs. Mary.
Worth, Barzillai G.
Worth, Mrs. Mary E.
Worth, Miss Julia A.
Worth, David G.
Worth, Mrs. Julia A.
Worth, James Spencer.
Worth, Charles W.
Worth, Mrs. Emma.
Worth, William E.
Worth, Mrs. Nellie.
Barnes, John S.
Barr. Mrs. Ruth Ann.
Beasley, Mrs. Alice L.
Benson, David J.
Bolton, Miss Alice.
Bolton, Miss Isadora.
Brehmer, John Phillips.
Brown, Miss Mary E.
Burriss, Isaac N.
Burriss, Mrs. Celicia C.
Burriss, Miss Ella Lee.
Burriss, Miss Julia E.
Burriss, Miss Currener.
Burriss, Joseph Newton.
Chadwick, Mrs. Minnie Narcisse.
Cook, Abraham B.
Darden, Mrs. Mary J.
Dicksey, Mrs. Susan R.
Dicksey, Jesse J.
Dicksey, Miss Minnie Lee.
Dicksey, Mrs. Mary E.
Eaton, Mrs. Julia G.
Eaton, Miss Dora.
Felder, Mrs. Carrie R.
Fowler, Mrs. Mary Jane.
Fryar, Miss Margaret A.
Fryar, Miss Rachel M.
Fulcher, Mrs. Mary.
Fulford, Miss Edith F.
Garrison, Miss Annie Alwilda.
Gilbert, Chas. H.
Gilbert, Mrs. Armisa Matilda.
Gray, Jesse W.
Gray, Mrs. Margaret L.
Hall, Mrs. Caroline.
Hammonds, Miss Maggie.
Hammonds, Miss Georgia.
Jones, Mrs. Rebecca A.
Jones, Miss Ida Lee.
Kershaw, Mrs. Amelia E.
Messick, Miss Adeline.
Miller, Mrs. Mary R.
Mitchell, Miss Dora Grizzell.
Morse, Mrs. Dally
McKinney, John W.
McKinney, Mrs. Ella.
O'Brien, Miss Carrie.
Paul, Mrs. Jane.
Rackley, Joseph R.
Rackley, Mrs. Jane.
Rackley, Miss Mary Ellis.
Rackley, Miss Ida Bailey.
Reaves, Mrs. Eleanora.
Reaves, Benjamin F.
Reaves, Miss Emma Evelina.
Rogers, Mrs. Editha.
Skipper, Mrs. Julia Ann.
Warburton, Mrs. Mary Emily.
Wells Mrs. Catherine.
Williams, Mrs. Budy.NON-RESIDENT COMMUNICANTS.
Chesnutt, Mrs. Carrie, Winston, N. C.
Colton, Molton A., Glasgow, Ky.
Comfort, C. I., Newport, R. I.
Comfort, Mrs. Agnes, Newport, R. I.
Currie, Miss Eunice, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Damon, Mrs. Elizabeth T., Lancaster, Mass.
Davis, George H., Augusta, Ga.
Dempsey, James E., —, —.
Erambert, Louis P., —, —.
Hallett, Mrs. Emily, Mt. Olive, N. C.
Murphy, Miss. Mary B., Sampson Co., N. C.
Pollock, E. Y., Middle Sound, N. C.
Pollock, Mrs Sarah, Sound, N. C.
Riley, Mrs. Dora E., Burgaw, N. C.
Richards, Miss Irene, Glasgow, Scotland.
Shaw, Miss Sallie, Rocky Point, N. C.
Springer, Fred. L., Raleigh, N. C.
Smith, Mrs. Gertrude G., Mt. Airy, N. C.