“So He Slew Me with the Words of His Mouth”
Founder of Brown Universitry
Morgan Edwards was born in Wales, May 9, 1722. He was educated at Bristol College under Bernard Foskett, its first president. He was ordained June 1, 1757, in Cork, Ireland, where he labored for nine years. He returned to England and preached for a year in Rye, in Sussex, when, through the recommendation of Dr. Gill and others, on the application of the Baptist church of Philadelphia, he came to that city and church, and entered upon the pastorate May 23, 1761.
At age sixteen he broke with his Anglican heritage and embraced the principles of the Baptists. This cleavage could have been caused by the infectious enthusiasm of the young Baptist missionaries who were sent out in such large numbers that hardly a village in the eastern and western valleys of Monmouthshire was not visited. When he was pastor of the Baptist Church of Philadelphia many years later, he reminisced in a sermon as follows:
I remember the time (and the place too) when I first gave myself up as a lost man; for then I was halting between two opinions about it. Fearing it was so, made me uneasy, and hope it might not be so, kept me from yielding to it. But this sentence stuck on my mind in a light that it was not wont to do, ‘I will by no means clear the Guilty!’ then said I, I am gone, for I am guilty: if I am not damned God must be a liar. So He slew me with the word of His mouth. Then this commandment came, and I died. Then I knew what sort of thing despair was. And you cannot imagine what jolt I felt, when I learnt so much of the Gospel as to know it was possible for me to be saved, and that God might stand to His word, and not send me to hell.
He was the founder of Brown University, at first called Rhode Island College. It is well known that this enterprise was started in the Philadelphia Baptist Association in its meeting in 1762, and Morgan Edwards was “the principal mover in this matter,” as he was the most active agent in securing funds for the permanent support of the institution. To Morgan Edwards more than to any other man, are the Baptist churches of America indebted for their grand list of institutions of learning, with their noble endowments and wide-spread influence.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 189 -190
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42 churches formed in 17 years
1755 – Sixteen Baptists from New England, led by Shubal Stearns with his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall, settled at Sandy Creek, North Carolina. Though Stearns was the undoubted leader, the part that Marshall had in the venture has been underestimated. Morgan Edwards, who visited the Separate Baptists in N.C., said that Marshall was a “weak man, a stammerer, no schollar”, yet Daniel Marshall’s fingerprints are on the Baptist advance up into Virginia, down into S.C., and finally when he was sixty-five, into Georgia. The blessings of God on Sandy Creek Baptist are still astounding. In seventeen years, 42 churches formed, 145 ministers sent out, many ordained, fanned out across the entire region. Marshall was ordained in 1757. About 1760 he moved into S.C. and was responsible in establishing six Baptist churches in the northern section. He was the only preacher of any denomination to stay in the state of Georgia during the Revolutionary War. History declares that the Kiokee church prospered greatly until the “horrors of the Revolutionary War, but these troubles did not drive her faithful pastor from his post. He was once made a prisoner and put under strong guard; but was allowed to leave to conduct religious services; no fear of man could make him forsake his duty. He believed that every bullet had its commission, and every man could but accomplish His will. Before his death on Nov. 2, 1784 a large number of men had been sent out to preach. As a tribute to this great man of God, the city of Appling, Georgia has erected a memorial to his honor in the median as you enter the city, driving from Augusta. [Waldo P. Harris III, “Daniel Marshall: Lone Georgia Baptist Revolutionary Pastor,” Viewpoints: Georgia Baptist History, vol. 5, 1976, pp. 51-64. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 639-40.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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America’s Rare Baptist Tory
Morgan Edwards, had been born in Wales on this date in 1722 and grew to maturity in the British Isles. He began preaching in 1738, and served several small congregations in England for seven years. While pastoring those charges, he entered Bristol College in 1742 and remained until graduation in 1744. It will be remembered that Bristol College was the first established Baptist college in Great Britain. He was ordained to the Baptist ministry on June 1, 1757, and served for nine years as pastor in Cork, Ireland. In May of 1761 Morgan Edwards emigrated to America and became pastor of the Baptist church in Philadelphia. He served the church well, but resigned that charge in 1770, and never again served in a pastoral capacity. It is apparent that during the Pre-Revolutionary War period, Baptists were strong advocates of freedom. Baptists were weary of paying taxed to support established churches in the various colonies. The Baptists realized that as long as the colonies were subservient under the control of another nation, freedom would not be fully experienced. Morgan Edwards, on the other hand, was a loyal son of Great Britain, and he proved to be the only Baptist minister in the country, with one other possible exception, who held to the Tory persuasion and sympathized with the mother country. Morgan died on January 28, 1795. His many articles proved that the pre-tribulation rapture is not a new interpretation of twentieth century saints, but is the doctrine that has endured among Bible-believers from the writing’s of the New Testament.
Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins) pp. 268 – 270
The “Great Awakening” was an amazing movement of God’s Holy Spirit of which it has been written, “There are few instances in history of transformations of religious life so profound and so widespread during so short a period.” Though the movement was experienced primarily in New England, in the course of time, through the ministry of the Separate Baptists, the so-called “Bible Belt” in the southern states of America was the primary benefactor. However, there is no doubt that the “Great Awakening” left its impact in Baptist Churches, and all other religious groups, throughout America. Revivals had significant role in spiritual and physical growth as revealed in the history of the First Baptist Church of Cape May. It had never been a large church, as Morgan Edwards reported that there were about 90 families in the congregation on April 19, 1790, “whereof 63 persons are baptized and in the communion which is here administered every other month.” There were periods of growth in that work that came during “revival meetings.” The first such services were called “protracted meetings,” and they were usually held during the winter months when farmhands and fishermen experienced an idle season. One of the secrets of success in these meetings was the fact that they usually began with an appointed day for fasting and prayer. At times cottage prayer meetings were held prior to the meetings as well. In 1839, sixty-eight were baptized and united with the church. In 1849 another 29 converts were saved, baptized, and added to the church. With the infiltration of German rationalism, revivalism as such began to wane, and today it is tragic to report that many churches are pleased to merely maintain their membership.
**(And if one of the maintained would leave due to the preaching of God’s word straight and true, how The membership rants and raves at the pastor, yet there is little or no concern about reaching the lost and bringing them into the flock. ** True revival will cause an “Awakening” of the believers gratitude for his salvation, and an urgency for the salvation of the lost.)
Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins) p.p. 227 – 228
The men were inseparable
Benjamin Miller was ordained to the gospel ministry on Feb. 13, 1748 when he was 25 years old and became pastor of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church in N.J. Prior to that he had offered himself to the Piscataway Baptist Church and had been immersed in 1740. Benjamin was born in 1715 and as a young man, was said to be, “wild and forward.” However he met with a sudden change under a sermon by a Presbyterian Preacher named Gilbert Tennant who christened him. Miller spent some time in study under a Mr. Biram and it was there that he embraced the sentiments of the Baptists. Miller had the reputation of being a warm hearted Baptist preacher. He was a close friend of two other warm hearted Baptist preachers of that day: John Gano, Chaplain and the preacher who Baptized Geo. Washington during the Revolutionary War, and Rev. Benjamin Steele. Rev. Steele pastored the Piscataway church for 29 years. The men were inseparable. Morgan Edwards said, “Lovely and pleasant were they in their lives and in their death, they were not much divided, the one having, the one having survived the other but thirty-five days.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 89 – 91.