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the Church of Christ to sustain itself, not only without the fostering aid of the State, but under its oppressive laws. He showed the patriotism of true religion ;-and in defending the principles of Presbytery, he maintained what Virginia now believes to be the inalienable rights of man. The time of Mr. Davies' labours in Virginia embraced that interesting part of Patrick Henry's life, from his eleventh to his twenty-second year. This great orator, in his youth, could not have been unacquainted with the dissenting ministers of his native county; and it is scarcely possible he was unaffected by his ministrations. Two of his sisters, Lucy Henry, who married Valentine Wood, and died in Havanna,---and Jane Henry, who married Colonel Samuel Meredith, and lived and died at New Glasgow, Amherst county, were known to be pious people, and members of the Presbyterian Church ;--and we have the authority of an elder in the church, now living, a grandson of Lucy Wood, that they were members of Mr. Davies' congregations. The first popular pleading of Mr. Henry was in Hanover, against the authorized construction of those very laws under which Mr. Davies and the dissenters had groaned, and from which they had obtained but partial relief. The oratory of these great men was much of the same kind. Both reasoned from great principles and facts, and addressed human nature with an overflowing heart, on subjects to which the souls of men are ever alive, their individual rights and personal interests. What Dr. Finley said of one may be said of both—“the unavoidable consciousness of native power made him bold and enterprising. Yet the court proved that his boldness arose not from a partial, groundless self-conceit, but from true self-knowledge. Upon fair and candid trial, faithful and just to himself, he judged what he could do; and what he could, when called to it, he attempted, and what he attempted he accomplished.” The same bold eloquence that roused the militia of Hanover in Braddock's war, was heard again in Hanover and Williamsburg, calling to arms in the revolutionary contest. Mr. Henry, through life, held to the religion of the Bible. In another chapter the influence of Presbytery on the civil constitution of Virginia will be traced at large, and the indirect influence of Mr. Davies and his co-labourers fully 'seen.
Mr. Davies' own pen shall close this sketch of his life, with the beautiful and characteristic sentiments in his correspondvence with Dr. Gibbons as preserved by Dr. Finley. “I desire seriously to devote to God and my dear country, all the labours of my head, my heart, my hand, and pen: and if he pleases to bless any of them, I hope I shall be thankful, and wonder at his condescending grace.O my dear brother! could we spend and be spent, all our lives, in painful, disinterested, indefatigable service for God and the world, how serene and bright would it render the swift approaching eve of life! I am labouring to do a little to save my country, and, which is of much more consequence, to save souls from death, from that tremendous kind of death, which a soul can die. I have had but little success of late; but blessed be God, it surpasses my expectation, and much more my desert. Some of my brethren labour to better purpose. The pleasure of the Lord prospers in their hands.
“Blessed be my Master's name, this disorder”—a violent sickness from which he was just recovering—“found me employed in his service. It seized me in the pulpit, like a soldier wounded in the field. This has been a busy summer with me. In about two months I rode about five hundred miles, and preached about forty sermons. This affords me some pleasure in the review. But alas! the mixture of sin, and of many nameless imperfections that run through, and corrupt all my services, give me shame, sorrow, and mortification. My fever made unusual ravages upon my understanding, and rendered me frequently delirious, and always stupid. But when I had any little sense of these things, I generally felt pretty calm and serene; and death, that mighty terror, was disarmed. Indeed, the thought of leaving my dear family destitute, and my flock shepherdless, made me often start back, and cling to life; but in other respects, death appeared a kind of indifferency to me. Formerly I have wished to live longer, that I might be better prepared for heaven; but this consideration had very very little weight with me, and that for a very unusual reason, which was this :-after long trial I found this world a place so unfriendly to the growth of every thing divine and heavenly, that I was afraid if I should live any longer, I should be no better fitted for heaven than I am. Indeed, I have hardly any hopes of ever making any great attainment in holiness while in this world, though I should be doomed to stay in it as long as Methuselah. I see other Christians indeed around me make some progress, though they go on with but a snail-like motion. But when I consider that I set out about twelve years old, and what sanguine hopes I then had of my future progress, and yet that I have been almost at a stand ever since, I am quite discouraged. O, my good Master, if I may daré call thee so, I am afraid I shall never serve thee much better on this side the regions of perfection. The thought grieves me; it breaks my heart, but I can hardly hope better. But if I have the least spark of true piety in my breast, I shall not always labour under this complaint. No, my Lord, I shall yet serve thee; serve thee through an immortal duration; with the activity, the fervour, the perfection of the rapt seraph that adores and burns. I very much suspect this desponding view of the matter is wrong, and I do not mention it with approbation, but only relate it as an unusual reason for my willingness to die, which I never felt before, and which I could not suppress.
“I am rising up, my brother, with a desire to recommend Him better to my fellow sinners, than I have done. But alas ! I hardly hope to accomplish it. He has done a great deal more by me already, than I ever expected, and infinitely more than I deserved. But he never intended me for great things. He has beings both of my own, and of superior orders that can perform him more worthy service. 0! if I might but untie the latchet of his shoes, or draw water for the service of his sanctuary, it is enough for me. I am not an angel, nor would I murmur because I am not.
“In my sickness, I found the unspeakable importance of a Mediator, in a religion for sinners. O! I could have given you the word of a dying man for it, that Jesus, that Jesus whom you preach, is indeed a necessary and an all sufficient Saviour. Indeed he is the only support for a departing soul. None but Christ, none but Christ. Had I as many good works as Abraham or Paul, I would not have dared build my hopes on such a quicksand, but only on this firm eternal Rock.”
THREE AUXILIARIES TO THE CAUSE OF LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE.
What was not granted to petition and argument and Eng. lish construction of colonial law, was yielded to the force of circumstances. The French and Indian war, commonly known as Braddock's war, which, after many provocations and preliminary atrocities, broke out in its fury in 1755, by the strange agency of fire and sword, the tomahawk and scalping knife, plead the cause of freedom of conscience with a success hitherto unknown. Rev. Francis Makemie had appeared before the civil authorities in Virginia, Maryland and New York with some success; Rev. Samuel Davies and his coadjutors had laid the cause before the Governor and Council of Virginia, repeatedly, and had gained something for freedom of conscience; but houses for public worship could not be occupied without permission from the civil authorities, and each application for a house of worship was heard on its own merits. The opinion of the Attorney General of England had been obtained in favour of the dissenters in Virginia, but that had no effect upon the action of the General Court of the colony, who maintained their own construction of their own laws, one of which they claimed the Act of Toleration to be. Mr. Davies had visited England, and the dissenters sympathising with him and his people and the dissenters in the colony, and in the provinces generally, held frequent councils, and their committee armed him with their best devices after his return, to aid him in the arduous struggle for religious liberty. But what had not been gained by English interpretation of law, by appeals to the law of nature, or by equal administration of law, was wrought out by sterner agencies. The chains, that were not loosed, were broken.
On his return from England, Davies found the whole frontier of Virginia in distress; the alarm pervaded the whole colony. There was an apprehension that the plans of the French officers, in making inquiries for the routes from the Ohio to the Potomac, were to be followed by an armed force of French and savages, excited by the success that met them at the Great Meadows. The invasion, which was the true policy of France, was looked upon by the colonists as certain; and consternation seized many stout hearts. The frontiers of Virginia were generally inhabited by dissenters from the Established Church, and pincipally of the Presbyterian creed and forms of worship; and these frontiers were all exposed to Indian depredations. Some of the most powerful sermons and addresses delivered by Davies were poured forth to arm the frontiers in their defence; and their success was equal to their merit and intention. The shock of savage war was felt only by the dissenters' families, their cabins were burned, their wives and children fled or were murdered. The rest of the colony only sent forth soldiers in common with the frontiers; and the Virginia soldiers were always terrible to the savages.
During the confusion of this savage warfare, the Presbyterians, east of the Blue Ridge, chose houses for worship and occupied them without license or molestation. The Rev. Mr. Wright, the Presbyterian minister in Cumberland county, which was then a frontier, under date of August 18, 1755, says“People generally begin to believe the Divine government, and that our judgments are inflicted for our sins. They now hear sermons with solemnity and attention; they acknowledge their wickedness and ignorance, and believe that the New-light clergy and adherents are right. Thus you see, dear sir, that amidst all our troubles God is gracious, and brings real good out of our real evils; adored be his great name. I have seen, last Lord's day, above a hundred weeping and trembling under the word. I now preach any where, being so distant from the metropolis, and the time being so dangerous and shocking.” West of the Blue Ridge, the inhabitants were generally dissenters, coming into the province such, there was always less difficulty in obtaining license for houses of worship, than in those counties east of the Ridge, where no dissenters, or but few, had settled, and those that appeared were converts from the established church. The terrible scourge of war, which fell heaviest on the dissenters, brought with it some ease in matters pertaining to conscience; people were permitted to worship where they pleased when the expectation of invasion oppressed the whole body politic.
The next powerful auxiliary in the cause of liberty of conscience was the course pursued by the established clergy in regard to their salaries. Their stipends had been fixed and collected by law, and were levied and paid in tobacco. At first a certain number of pounds was levied on each poll. By act 11th, 1696, it was ordered that each parish minister “shall have and receive, for his or their maintenance, the sume of sixteen thousand pounds of tobacco besides their lawful perquisites, and that it shall and may be lawfull for the vestry &c., to levy the same in their respective parishes.” By the same law it was also ordered that parishes too weak to pay the salary might be united at discretion of the governor, under one minister, in numbers sufficient to sustain a minister. On account of the neglect of parishes, accidental. or designed, in formally inducting the ministers into their parishes, there arose difficulties about the glebes, and the salaries of the ministers. In 1748, in consequence of a suit brought by the Rev. Mr. Kay of Richmond county, concerning the glebe of Lunenburg parish, which was decided in his favour by the General Court, the Legislature in session at the time of the decision of the court, to prevent similar suits, by act 34th ordered that the glebe lands should contain two hundred acres of " a good and convenient tract of land” —with “proper dwelling and out-houses: that the salary should be 16,000 pounds of tobacco,” and each, with an allowance of four per cent." for shrinkage ;-—"and every minister received into any parish as aforesaid, shall be entitled to all the spiritual and temporal benefits of his parish, and may maintain an action of trespass, against any person or persons whatsoever, who shall disturb him in the possession and enjoyment thereof." By Act 51 of same year, section 30—“And for preventing all mistakes and controversies concerning the allowance to be made, upon the payment of public, county, or parish levies, be it enacted that the levies aforesaid shall all be laid in nett tobacco."
In the year 1755 the clergy of the Establishment petitioned for an increase of their salary, stating-according to Dr. Hawks, quoting from Bland's letter, p. 117—“that the salary appointed by law for the clergy is so scanty that it is with difficulty they support themselves and families, and can by no