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brothers. A hare was chased into a hollow tree. In the excitement of cutting him out, as his brother was bringing a blow with the axe, James thrust his hand under its edge, and in a twinkling it was severed almost in twain. Hastily gathering up the fingers and part of the hand, and pressing them to the stump, he ran to his parents. The mutilated hand was bandaged and the wound healed; but the fingers and the lower part of the hand never afterwards increased in size, and were capable of very little action. The situation of their son in consequence of this event, induced the parents to seek for him a liberal education, for which his powers of mind were admirably adapted.
His progress at the “log college” of Dr. Finley, at Nottingham, was rapid ; and his acquirements unusually correct. His Greek studies were carried on under the Rev. Mr. Campbell, a Scotchman, and a noted Greek scholar. On account of his proficiency, and to assist him in his education, he was promoted to be tutor in the school; and afterwards served in the same capacity in the school of Rev. Robert Smith, of Pequa, the father of Messrs. Samuel Stanhope, and John Blair Smith, of happy memory in the Virginia churches. Through life he was considered a model of correctness in Latin prosody; and there is still in existence a system of rules, in his hand-writing, used by him while at Nottingham, remarkable for simplicity and ease of adaptation in acquiring a correct knowledge of Latin measure. His high standing among his fellow students was undiminished through life. And to be held in high estimation by such men is evidence of the excellence of the attainments, the native worth, and winning manners of Waddell.
While a member of Dr. Finley's school, he became hopefully pious. He always dated his religious impressions to the instructions of his mother; in very early life, he often longed to see Christ on earth, that he might ask him, who healed withered limbs, to heal his hand; and thought with what eagerness he would run to him were he to be found; and while yet a youth, he asked Him who, unseen, is ever present with the penitent, and he gave him of the water of life." As soon as his mind became settled on the great question of his salvation, through Christ and his cross, he devoted himself to the work to which his mother's faith had previously dedicated him, the ministry of the gospel. In reference to this period of his life, he has been heard to saythat a sweet and almost overpowering sense of his acceptance with God, was granted to him, such as in after life was seldom renewed. His obligations to the Saviour were acknowledged. His choice was made; and a constraint was on him to preach the gospel. When we consider the consequences of his preaching, and the providence that shut him up to a course of education,
by which he came into the ministry, we cannot but believe he was called of God.
When about nineteen years of age, allured by favourable representations, he set out for South Carolina, with the intention of teaching school, for a time, by way of enabling him to complete his theological studies. On his way through Virginia, he called on the Rev. Samuel Davies, in Hanover county, and felt the attractive influence of that good man. The interest was mutual. The appearance of Waddell, and his statements, won the heart of Davies. A tall, graceful young man, hedged in by a painful providence, and seeking a maintenance and
an education, and the ministry, with an unblemished character, and tender heart, could not have an interview with Davies, without feeling himself beloved ; and to feel himself beloved by a man whom all admired, was to be a captive. Davies looked at the desolations around him with compassion, and looked on Waddell as he had done on Pattillo and Richardson and Wright. The consequence was, Waddell took part in the classical school of the Rev. John Todd, of Louisa, the early associate of Mr. Davies, and commenced the studies preparatory for the sacred ministry in Virginia, which thenceforth became his home.
He offered himself to Hanover Presbytery as a candidate for the gospel ministry, during its meeting, at the Stone Church, Augusta county, in April
, 1760. On the 25th of September of the same year, at Buffalo, the pastoral charge of Mr. Sankey, the following record was made—“Mr. James Waddell having at our last offered himself on trial as a candidate for the gospel ministry, he was desired to prepare a discourse to be delivered this Presbytery, which he has done accordingly, and has been examined on sundry extempore questions in divinity, his Christian experience and motives to the ministry; with all which the Presbytery are well pleased, and sustain them as parts of trial, and appoint him an exigesis on that question An Christus qua Mediator sit adorandus, and a sermon on the same subject, the text to be chosen by himself, to be delivered at our next Presbytery, which for that purpose is to meet at the Byrd in Goochland the 4th Wednesday of December.” This meeting appointed for December did not take place. But in the records of the meeting of the Presbytery held at Tinkling Spring, in Augusta, April 2, 1761, it is stated that the following representation was made and approved. “Louisa, January 21, 1761.-As the Presbytery for Mr. Waddell's further trials was prevented from convening by the inclemency of the weather; that he might not longer be confined to studies remote from, but might prosecute those that have a more immediate reference to, the work of the ministry, and that the Church might not suffer by the disappointment, Messrs. Todd and Pattillo proceeded to hear his exigesis, and a sermon from Philippians ii. 9, 10, and approved of them as very satisfactory. They also examined into his knowledge of the Latin, Greek and Hebrew languages, together with the sciences of rhetoric, logic, ontology, moral and natural philosophy, and astronomy; in all of which he gave very pleasing and satisfactory evidence of his knowledge, intending to report the same to the next Presbytery; and presuming on their concurrence, appoint him popular trials, to be delivered with their permission at our next, -viz. a lecture on Isaiah lxi. 1, 2, 3, and a sermon on John v. 10."
The Presbytery, having approved the proceedings of Messrs. Todd and Pattillo,-“further examined Mr. Waddell on sundry branches of learning, heard his popular sermon and lecture, and examined him in divinity, do express their satisfaction with the several trials he has passed through; and on his subscribing the Confession of Faith, as the confession of his faith, and conformity to the Directory, and on promising subjection to the Presbytery in the Lord,—the Presbytery do license and appoint him to preach the gospel as a candidate for the holy ministry, and heartily recommend him to the acceptance of the churches.' He then signed the following declaration. “I believe the doctrines contained in the Confession of Faith to be agreeable to the Word of God, contained in the Old and New Testament, and subscribe them accordingly, as the confession of my faith.JAMES WADDELL.” This confession, or declaration, was written at the top of a page in the records of the
Presbytery, and beneath are the autographs of the members of Presbytery written in the order of seignority, and as they became members of Presbytery. In the latter part of his life the subject of this sketch dropped an l from his name. His descendants generally have preserved the Il and give the accent to the last syllable. “Mr. Waddell is to supply in all our vacancies in Virginia, and those in North Carolina that depend on this Presbytery, at his discretion, till the fall Presbytery.”
The numerous vacancies of the Presbytery visited by Mr. Waddell, expressed their approbation of his services by inviting him to be their pastor. The extent of the desolations, and the exhibition of ministerial talent by the young candidate, may be judged by the record at the fall meeting of Presbytery, October 7th, 1761,—“The following calls were put into Presbytery for Mr. Waddell, viz:-one from Upper Falling and Peaks of Otter,--one from Nutbush and Grassy Creek, —one from Brown's meeting-house and Jenning's Gap,—one from Hallifax,-none of which he thought fit to take under consideration.” On the next day a call was put in from Bedford, which he took under consideration till the next meeting of Presbytery. He was directed to spend half the time intervening the next Presbytery, in Bedford, and half among the vacancies that had put in calls for his services.
At the spring meeting of the Presbytery, April 8th, 1762, at the Byrd meeting-house in Goochland county—“Mr. Waddell is appointed to supply in Bedford, Hanover, and the Northern Neck, and other vacancies at discretion. At the same meeting a committee was appointed, consisting of Rev. Messrs. Sankey, Todd, Henry, Pattillo, and Hunt, to meet at Harris's Creek, in Prince Edward, on the third Wednesday of June, to attend to a case of discipline" and to receive Mr. Waddell's trials for ordination, viz:- Num Electio sit conditionalis,- and a sermon on Romans x. 4; and the Presbytery empower said committee to receive Mr. Caldwell as a member of Presbytery, if he offers himself with proper credentials, and to appoint him where to preach. The said committee, if they sustain Mr. Waddell's trials, are to proceed to his ordination, at which Mr. Todd is to preside.”
On the appointed day, June 16th, 1762, three of the committee met, viz:-Rev. Messrs. Sankey, Henry and Pattillo, with elders, William Campbell, David Caldwell, and William Smith. “Mr. Waddell opened the committee with a sermon on Romans X. 4, according to appointment. Mr. Sankey chosen moderator; Mr. Pattillo, clerk. Thursday 17th, committee met according to adjournment p. p. s. q. s. The committee having considered Mr. Waddell's sermon and thesis, with his defence of the same, sustained them as satisfactory trials for ordination, to which they accordingly proceeded, by fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands, at which Mr. Pattillo presided, by a sermon on 2 Cor. v. 20;—and he is now present as member of this judicature.”
The time of Mr. Waddell's visiting the Northern Neck, and some of the circumstances are given in Colonel Gordon's journal. In the month of August after his licensure we are told the congregation expressed a desire to hear him; and in the succeeding October Mr. Todd visited the people and gave them reason to hope that Mr. Waddell would visit them about Christmas. This expectation was not realized; and in April, 1762, Mr. Criswell attended Presbytery, and obtained the order of Presbytery for Mr. Waddell to visit them. The journal, April 18th, 1762, says—"May the Lord be praised, I at last have had the comfort of going with my wife and family to meeting where Mr. Waddell performed to admiration." On the last Sabbath of May (the 30th day) the congregation made out a call, which, on Monday June 7th, after the communion administered by Mr. Todd, was handed to Mr. Waddell by Colonel Gordon. He declined the call, but promised to visit the people again. On the 17th of the month he was ordained in Prince Edward as has been related; and on the 7th of October at a meeting of the Presbytery at Providence, Louisa,
-“Mr. Waddell accepts of a call from Lancaster and Northumberland counties, in which the Presbytery heartily concur. The inclinations of Mr. Waddell, strongly in favour of a congregation in the neighbourhood of York, Pennsylvania, which offered him inducements to become their pastor, were yielded to the solicitations of the congregations, the elders, and the advice of brethren in the ministry, in Virginia; and of the numerous and promising fields of labour presented to him, in Virginia, he made choice of the lower part of the Great Northern Neck.
That portion of Virginia contained between the two rivers Potomac and Rappahannoc, comprising the grant, made to Lord Fairfax, has been known as the Northern Neck; but commonly the appellation has been confined to that district that lies below tide water. Of this long narrow strip of country, embracing the extremes of soil, and abounding in harbours and the luxuries of the ocean, Mr. Waddell chose the lower part, embraced principally in the two counties of Lancaster and Northumberland, and lying along the mouths of the two rivers and the intervening shore of the Great Chesapeake. ' This part of Virginia will hold a place in history should some natural or moral desolation sweep the race of man entirely from its soil. It is the birth place of some of the worthies of the Revolution; and will rejoice in the names of Washington, and Monroe, and Lee, and Fitzhugh, and Ball and Carter. In a religious point of view, too, it is remarkable. The established church was set up here in its vigour, and with every advantage to be found in the colony; and with a succession of worthy ministers it must have flourished, under those divine influences promised by the great Head of the church. But in no part of the State was the faultiness of the clergy more lamentable or more visible; and no where was the vindication of the purity of the gospel of Christ more loudly demanded, by God's glory and the lost condition of man.
And God honoured his truth in the face of the abuses of his ordinances, and the mockers at spiritual religion. Before the people in Hanover assembled to hear Samuel Morris read gospel truth, and paid fines for seeking salvation out of the pale of the established church, a layman had assembled the people of the Northern Neck for religious instruction, and had witnessed the hopeful conversion of sinners to a life of godliness. “There resided," says Dr. Miller in his life of Rodgers, “in the great Northern Neck, between the Rappahannoc and Potomac rivers, a certain