Skip to main content

Full text of "History of the first African Baptist Church : from its organization, January 20th, 1788, to July 1st, 1888 : including the centennial celebration, addresses, sermons, etc."

See other formats


Front View, from Franklin Square. 



tret African jJHfjttsi 




JANUARY 20th, 1788, to JULY 1st, 1888. 




([Copyright, 1888, by Rev. B. K. Love, Author.] 







This work is affectionately dedicated by your affectionate Pas- 
tor, as a slight token of his appreciation of the uniform kind- 
ness, tender sympathy and profound consideration he has re- 
ceived at their hands during a delightful pastorate of three 


I have been asked to introduce this work to the public. In 
Georgia and Alabama, where the author is known both as a 
speaker and writer, nothing from his versatile pen needs intro- 
duction. An hundred years have passed — most of these years 
were spent in hardships and sore tribulations to our poor, 
ignorant, down-trodden race. Our race has acted nobly and 
done many things that were highly commendable of the race, 
but no record was kept of them and hence it went without say- 
ing that the race had done something worthy of praise. This is 
still true. We have many grand men, eloquent and learned 
men, in our pulpits that nothing is known of them except in 
their immediate communities. This will always be so until 
we have a well conducted press of our own and bring out our 
own men, or do as Dr. Love has done — write their history. 

The white press was never intended to praise and elevate the 
negro. They do not spend their money for that purpose. The 
white press, if it means no ill will to the negro, it means eleva- 
tion to the white, and to support the long believed theory that 
the negro is inferior to the white man. A press that believes 
this can not elevate both races. With such prejudice the negro 
has been contending and struggling to rise, under adverse cir- 
cumstances through the vicissitudinous cycles of an hundred 
years. Our race fought with unseen weapons, but multipotent. 
They were guided by an unseen hand, but that hand was the 
hand of the mighty God of Jacob. There is no other cogent 
reason that can be given for success or even our existence un- 
der so unfavorable circumstances. We have come thus far 
guided by nothing we knew of the past, with no adequate con- 
ception of the present, and no training which would enable us 
to compare the past and present to form anything like an 
intelligent idea of what the future would reveal. Our race 
during the hundred years that have passed was profited very 
little by the history of their noble men, for it was not written. 
If it had been written, however meagre, it would have inspired 
others to like and even nobler deeds. Hence, we should wel- 
come this work into our homes and give it a careful perusal. 
It is well calculated to edify and delight every careful reader. 
The men who are referred to in this work, many of them, lie 

B Introduction. 

in unknown graves. To the world many of their great deeds 
are unknown. Their eventful and eminently useful lives are 
not written by the historian, but, blessed consolation, they are 
known of Him who hath said: "I know thy works, and thy 
labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them 
which are evil : and thou hast tried them which say they are 
apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars. And hast 
borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, 
and not fainted." Eev. ii, 2-3. 

He keeps the record of His saints. Although no marble 
shaft nor towering monument mark the place where many 
negro heroes lie, yet — 

"God, their Redeemer, lives, 
And often from tbe skies, 
Looks down and watches all their dust 
Till He shall bid it rise." 

They have scattered seeds of kindness in tears, and sweat, 
and blood, and God has taken cognizance of all. Our blessed 
Jesus has said: "I know thy work: behold, I have set before 
thee an open door, and no man can shut it : for thou hast a 
little strength, and hast kept my word and hast not denied my 
name." — Kev., iii, 8. There is an open door of usefulness of 
abundant entrance into the inviting fields of christian activity, 
intelligent christian work and devout consecration to the ser- 
vice of God in lifting up fallen mankind to heaven and God. 
What our fathers accomplished under adverse circumstances is 
but thunder-peals to us to do infinitely more under so favored 
opportunities. Though Dr. Love complains that this work 
does not satisfy his own ambition of what he feels ought to be 
written of the Baptist church which is the mother church of 
all the churches in this country, this work will be very highly 
appreciated and will be read with profit and interest, It will 
be admitted that he has performed his task well, and we will 
not despise the day of small things. This book justly claims to 
be the history of the oldest church in the country. That the 
First African Baptist Church is the original first church organ- 
ized at Brampton's barn, January 20th, 1788, the reader will 
decide irrefutably true when he has read the book. 

Corresponding Secretary of the State S. S. Convention 

and S. S. Mixxionary of the State of Georgia 

The author requested Revs. C. T. Walker, S. A. McNeal, and p raf D 
Wright to write the introduction of his work. He thinks best to put b *V. r - 
their signatures after their production. He is placed under lasting oblW* e - n of 
to them. sauons 

Introduction. C 

It is evident that the First African Baptist 'Church in Savan- 
nah is the oldest colored Baptist church in America, and cer- 
tainly the oldest in Georgia. We live in an age when such 
erroneous doctrines are sapping the foundation of revealed 
truth are being propagated, and many are being proselyted 
from the true way for want of light. It is highly expedient 
that a history of this grand old church (the mother of the col- 
ored Baptist churches of America) be written. Planted a cen- 
tury ago, on the fertile seaboard, in tears and blood, under ad- 
verse circumstances, tribulations and sore afflictions, yet she 
has been led to a glorious success. This laudable undertaking 
of the author to chronicle the deeds of the noble pioneers, and 
the successes attained by the church, should meet with the 
most hearty approbation from every lover of truth as it is in 

The sufferings of Bevs. Bryan, Marshall and Campbell alone 
would fill a volume much larger than this one, in which the 
author has condensed a few facts bearing upon the general his- 
tory of the church, but for the hurried manner in which he was 
obliged to write this work and the limited means at his com- 
mand. Many of the deacons deserve much more said about 
them than was, but which was abridged for the same reason as 
that of the pastors. 

The centennial sermons and papers delivered and read in 
Savannah by the brethren celebrating the grandest event in the 
history of the colored Baptists of this country will doubtless be 
read with interest and profit. The sermons delivered by Bev. 
Dr. Love, which appear in this work, are printed because they 
created such a wide-spread interest among the people, touched 
on such important subjects, and were delivered immediately 
after his great work as pastor begun. 

The report of the committee appointed by tbe Baptist Con- 
vention of Georgia, at its session in 1888, to investigate the 
claim of the First African Baptist Church and the First Bryan 
Baptist Church, in Yamacraw, as to priority, will impress the 
readers of this book as being a very interesting document. The 
declaration of the Baptist Convention of Georgia that the First 
African Baptist Church is the banner church of the State, and 
the awarding of the banner to the church, is but justice, and 
should meet the fullest approbation of every fair-minded, intel- 
ligent reader. 

This work is an important factor in the history of the negroes, 
and especially the Baptist. Dr. Love has done a praiseworthy 
act in getting the history of the negro Baptists in this State, 
and it is believed that this is but the beginning of a more care- 

D Introduction. 

ful, elaborate and accurate account of the negroes' doings in 
church and state in Georgia. The author has dealt with his 
subject with fidelity and ability. The photographs are arranged 
in admirable style. 

The reader will be impressed with the wise division of this 
sage church into societies, mission stations, as well as dividing 
the city of Savannah into wards, and appointing a deacon over 
each ward to look after the members in said wards. By this 
means the church manages to keep up with its large member r 

Searchers after truth will be impressed with the fairness and 
impartiality of the author. He has not shunned to tell the 
truth, and endeavored to put the blame (where there was any) 
where it belonged. This book deserves a high place among the 
histories of the world and the author a prominent place in the 
front ranks of honest historians. A history that does not tell 
the truth will mislead for countless ages countless numbers. It 
seems to be the order of Divine Providence that men and 
nations should carve their own destiny and by their own energy 
and efforts rise in the scale of usefulness and prominence. 

The time has come when the negro must make his own his- 
tory, shape his own destiny, solve his own problem, act well his 
part in church and state and occupy a prominent place on the 
stage of progress. 

This volume is submitted to the candid perusal of an intelli- 
gent public. As the author has striven with meekness, gravity 
and impartiality to give his people a true history, it will doubt- 
less be deservedly esteemed by all who peruse it, and serve to 
stimulate and inspire unborn generations to greater usefulness 
and purer lives of self-denial. 

The author of this work has been appointed to write the 
history of the negro Baptists of Georgia. While this work is 
not intended to be that book, it may very well be taken as the 
antitype, and will serve as an earnest of that book. The 
brethren have no fears of a biased history from Rev. Dr. Love. 
They know him too well for that. May God bless this work to 
all who may read it. 

Pastor Tabernacle Baptist Church, 
Chairman Executive Board State Baptist Sunday School Convention 

and Secretary State Sunday School Convention, Augusta, Oa. 

The negro occupies a peculiar place in the drama of historical 
life. For the past three centuries his story has been a record 
of trials, tribulations and disappointments, only flecked here 

Introduction. E 

and there by a few deeds of individual daring and heroism. 
Whether in the domain of story or song ; whether in the arena 
of battle or on the forum of eloquence, the writers of the past 
have not accorded to their black brother the dignity of an his- 
torical character. All the literature of the past has been con- 
structed upon the basis and assumption that the negro was not 
only inferior to the white man but the white man's convenience 
and tool. Hence, almost every reference to the negro race 
found in text or reference book bears the ear-marks and unmis- 
takable stamp of race prejudice. 

The histories of churches are not exempt from the influence 
and bias of this hydra-headed monster, race prejudice. There 
is, however, a growing desire not only among the colored peo- 
ple themselves but among the general public for any accurate, 
unbiased historical information with reference to the colored 
people. The world wants the truth. 

The history of the past makes it reasonable to conclude that 
whether in general or special history an impartial record of the 
life and achievement of the negro will not be written until it is 
written by men of his own race. 

It must be gratifying to all lovers of the race to know that 
there are springing up in various sections of the Union some 
very capable colored historians. Indeed, their works are not only 
respectable in number but highly creditable in the ability dis- 
played and in the facts presented. While it would be hardly 
safe to say that the history of the negroes' deeds and doings 
has been fully written, yet it is extremely pleasant to feel that 
each year adds to the many worthy and valuable attempts that 
will before long make up a complete history of our race. 

When that history is complete there will be in black and 
white ample vindication of the dignity and usefulness of a race 
which has done more and suffered more for mankind than has 
yet been accredited to them in the histories of the past. 

No doubt the author of this book had in mind some such 
thoughts as are written above in presenting to the public this 
history of the First African Baptist Church. The author has 
certainly yielded to and satisfied a long-felt necessity for a full 
and accurate history of what is now very generally acknowl- 
edged to be the oldest colored Baptist church in this country. 

The marked ability and wide and accurate learning of Dr. 
Love are an earnest of the fact that the book is a valuable addi- 
tion to the literature of the race. 

Principal Ware High School and 

Editor Weekly Sentinel, Augusta Ga. 


: -4^%#&-' 

Side View, on St. Julian Street. 


CHAPTER I. page 

The Baptism of Rev. Andrew Bryan, his Wife, Hagar and 
Kate— The O/ganization of the Church — The Persecution of 
Mr. Bryan — He Purchased his Liberty — The Purchase of a 
Church Site in Yamacraw — The Organization of the Second 
African and Ogeechee Baptist Churches — The Deed of First 
African Baptist Church made to a Board of Trustees— A 
Copy of the Deed 1 


The Church from 1818 to 1832— Not much is known of the 
Church from 1788 to 1818— The Great Trouble of 1832— Mr. 
Marshall Influenced by the Preaching of Alexander Camp- 
bell — The Church is Expelled from the Sunsbury Associa- 
tion—The Split of the Church 7 


The Continuation of the Trouble— The Third African Baptist 
Church enters the Association in 1833 with 155 Members — 
The First African Baptist Church Retains her Identity — 
The First African Baptist Church Endeavors to come under 
the Supervision of the White Baptist Church, but is Re- 
fused — The Compromise and Settlement of the Trouble— 
The Organization of the Third African Baptist Church — 
The Purchase of the Site at Franklin Square — Mr. Mar- 
shall's Deposition from the Pastorate — His Restoration 10 


Continuation of the Trouble — The Split and how it was Con- 
ducted — The Numbers each Party had — The 155 Received 
Letters of Dismission and Organized the Third African 
Baptist Church— The Third African Baptist Church Changed 
its Name to First Bryan Baptist Church — Various Commit- 
tees from the White Baptist Church Labored with the Two 
Contending Parties — Appeals to the Trustees, the Mayor, 
and other Strategies Resorted to 18 


Rev. Mr. Marshall Re-instated — His Church back under the 
Supervision of the White Baptist Church — The Committee 
from the White Baptist Church Insisted upon it that Rev. 
Marshall should not be Pastor — They are Out generated by 
him — Disaffection in the Third African Church 25 


The First African Baptist Church Trying to Re-enter the Asso- 
^^Tooo 6 £ in . al l y En ters-Her Identity Traced from 
1788 to 1838, a Period of Fiity Years-She was Expelled as 
Jurat African Baptist Church, 1832, and Restored as First 
African Baptist Church, 1837 28 


The New Site at Franklin Square— The Purchase-New Build- 
ing-More about Rev. Marshall— His Efforts to get Money 
to Build the Church Edifice-His Trip North-His Death 
at Richmond, Va.— Rev. Campbell takes up the Work— He 
Appoints a Building Committee and Completes the Church 




Rev George Leile-His Work in Savannah and Departure for 
Jamaica— His Work in Jamaica— His Letters to Dr. Rippons. 34 


Rev. Andrew Bryan— His Baptism-His Troubles-His Pastor- 
ate—His Ministry and Death 38 


Rev. Andrew C. Marshall— His Conversion and Baptism— Con- 
tradiction in his History-His Troubles-His Celebrity— 
His Great Influence— His Long Pastorate, and Death....:.... 41 


Rev. William J Campbell— His Long and Useful Life-A Kins 
among his People-His Ministry-Great Trouble-His Bap- 
tism—Called to the Pastorate— His Troubles— The Com- 
mencement of the Trouble of 1877 57 


ng Concerning" Mr.' 

The Trouble of 1877-Th e Cause-Its Fierceness-The Split- 
Th ? Vu 11 ?f. R ? v - Gibbons^-The Death of Rev. Campbell 
and the linal Settlement— Something Concerning Mr' 
Campbell's Early Troubles 



Rev. George Gibbons— His Call, Pastorate and Death 82 


Rev. E. K Love-His Call— Installation— Pastorate-His Ser- 
mons-The Improvements of the Church under his Admin- 
istration gr 


CHAPTER XV- . page 

Dr. Love's Administration — The Enlargement of the Church 
Edifice— The Manner of Work— The Centennial Clubs and 
Civic Societies — What they did— The Return of the Gib- 
hons' Place Society — The Children's Church— Rev. Camp- 
bell's Monument 141 


The Societies of the Church — Their Membership— The Value of 
their Property and Condition 149 

Rev. C. H. Lyons' Sermon and the Presentation of the Banner 
to the Church ". 152 


Something about the Deacons 161 

Deacon Adam Johnson — His Eventful Life 163 

Deacons Adam Sheftall, Jack Simpson and Robert McNish. 164 

Deacons W J. Campbell and J. M. Simms 165 

Deacons Murry Monroe and Patrick A. Glenn 167 

Deacons James Richard, Friday Gibbons and George Gibbons 168 

Deacon C. L. DeLamotta 169 

Deacon David Mcintosh 171 

Deacon F. M. Williams 172 

Deacons Richard Baker and John Nesbit 173 

Deacon Robert P. Young 174 

Deacon Pompey H. Butler 175 

Deacon Peter Williams 176 

Deacon March Haynes 177 

Deacon James H. Hooker 178 

Deacon L. J. Pettigrew 179 

Deacon Joseph H. Williams 180 

Deacon John H. Brown 181 

Deacon Willis Harris 182 

Deacons John C. Habersham and Peter Houston 183 

Deacon Moses L. Jackson., 185 

Deacons Alexander Rannair and R. H. Johnson 186 

Deacon E. C. Johnson 187 

Deacon F. J. Wright 188 

Rev. James I. Sevorres 189 

Mr. W. G. Clark 190 

Brethren John E. Grant and C. H. Ebbs 191 

Mrs. M. M. Monroe-. 192 


The Centennial Celebration of the Church — The Sermons, 

Papers, etc 193 

Report of Special Committee on the Priority of the Church 198 

The Welcome Address, by Dr. Love 202 

The Introductory Sermon, by Rev. C. T. Walker 206 

A Centennarian at the Celebration — Mrs. Mary Jackson 217 

Baptist Doctrine, by Rev. S. A. McNeal 219 


CHAPTER XVIII.— Concluded. page 

History of the Colored Baptists of Georgia, by Rev. G.H. Dwelle. 226 

Baptist Church History, by Rev. W H. Tillman, Sr 231 

The History of the Baptist?, by Rev. Levi Thornton 236 

The Wants of the Colored Ministry, by Rev. Dr. W H. Mcin- 
tosh 239 

The Wants of the Colored Ministry, by Rev. Alexander Ellis... 245 

The Wants of the Colored Ministry, by Rev. W G. Johnson 249 

The Relation of the White and Colored Baptists, by Rev. T. J. 

Hornsby 253 

The Relation of the White and Colored Baptists, by Rev. G. S. 

Johnson 257 

The American Baptist Publication Societv and its Work for the 

Colored People, by Rev. E. K. Love, D. D 261 

The American Baptist Sub-Society and its Work for the Colored 

People, by Rev. N. W. Waterman 264 

The Bible as Believed by Baptists, by Rev. J. C. Bryan 267 

The Bible as Believed by Baptists, by Rev. G. M. Spratling 269 

The Qualification and Dignity of the Ministry, by Rev. Charles 

H. Brightharp 272 

The Duty of Baptists to Home Missions, by Rev. E. J. Fisher... 276 

The Evils of Intemperance, by Rev. S. D. Rosier 277 

Are we Advancing as a Denomination ? by Prof. M. P. McCrary. 280 
The Duty of the Pastor to the Church, by Rev. J. W Dunjee.... 284 

The Duty of the Church to the Pastor, by Prof. Isaiah Blocker 287 

The Duty of the Church to the Pastor, by Deacon R. H. Thomas... 292 
What is our Duty to the Institutions of the Country ? by Prof. 

H. L. Walker 295 

The Importance of Pure Baptist Literature, by Rev. E. P. 

Johnson 301 

The Work and Purity of the Church, by Rev. Henry Jackson... 303 
Money as a Factor in Christianizing the World, by Rev. W R. 

Pettiford 306 

Baptist Church Government, by Rev. J. L. Dart 310 

A Letter from Dr. Tucker 321 

The Act of Baptism, by Rev. J. H. Kilpatrick, D. D 327 

No Royal Road to Church Prosperity, by Rev. J. H. Kilpat- 
rick, D. D 341 

The Duty of Parents to Sunday Schools, by Prof. James Ross... 356 
Conclusion, by the Author 358 


The many clouds that have been thrown around the history 
of the First African Baptist Church of Savannah by designing 
men to rob this time-hallowed church of her pristine honor and 
present glory, makes it necessary to set in order the facts con- 
nected with the history of the several negro Baptist churches 
in Savannah, that the unfairness of the First Bryan Baptist 
Church, formerly the " Third African Church," in contending 
that she is indeed the original First African Baptist Church, 
may be seen. These facts will be set forth so plainly that it 
will not require a philosopher to understand the truth in the 
case. The fact that the First Bryan Baptist Church, organized 
some time in the last of 1832 or first of 1833, as " The Third 
African Church," has had on the 20th of January, of the 
present year, a so-called centennial celebration, and gave 
it to the world that they were the "First African Baptist 
Church" of Savannah, and that all other churches sprang 
forth from them, makes it proper that this work should 
go forth burdened with irrefutable proof in vindication of the 
truth of history. While the author shall state facts, and sim- 
ply facts, which will show that their claim is false, and that 
they know it better than they appear to know their names, he 
shall do so in the most possible friendly spirit, with the hope of 
reclaiming his erring brethren. 

The First African Baptist Church has had a most eventful and 
checkered career. She has endured indescribable suffering and 
has been wonderfully blessed and preserved by a hand divine. 
The first pastor, Rev. Andrew Bryan, was whipped until his 
blood dripped freely upon the ground, for no other crime than 
that he preached Jesus and him crucified to the poor negroes; 
but he continued to preach Jesus, and God continued to bless his 
humble preaching to Africa's sable sons and daughters. The 
more this church was persecuted the more she grew and thrived. 
From four converts (Rev. Andrew Bryan, Hannah Bryan, his 
wife, Kate and Hagar,) the First African Baptist Church be- 
gun its eventful career. This church was organized with 67 
members by Rev. Abraham Marshall (white), on the 20th day 
of January, 1788, at Brampton's barn, three miles southwest 
of Savannah. This work contains the cuts of Rev. Andrew 

iv Preface. 

Bryan, Rev Andrew C. Marshall, Rev. W J. Campbell, Eev. 
George Gibbons, and Eev. E. K. Love, present pastor ; also, 
some of the deacons of the church. The author acknowledges 
the incalculable service Benedict's History of the Baptists in 
America has rendered him ; Holcombe's Repository, furnished 
by Dr. Tucker ; The Minutes of the Sunsbury Baptist Associa- 
tion, furnished by Eev. L. C. Tebeau, and the Minute Books of 
the Savannah Baptist Church (white), furnished by Eev. J. E. 
L. Holmes, D. D. The author would acknowledge with un- 
feigned pleasure the priceless help that Eev. Alexander Harris 
has given him. The First African Baptist Church is placed 
under lasting obligation to Rev. Harris for guiding the author 
in his pursuit after the truth of history in the labyrinthal 
mazes of the long ago. But for him the author would not have 
known where to have searched for the facts pertaining to this 
church. In the Providence of God we have, as nearly as possi- 
ble, a connected history of our church, with but two broken 
links, through Rev. Alexander Harris, from its organization. 
Rev. Marshall and Deacon Adam Johnson lived in the days of 
Rev. Andrew Bryan, from whom they gathered all the facts, 
and Eev. Harris lived in the days of Eev. Marshall and Deacon 
Johnson, from whom he gathered all of the facts, and your 
humble servant, the author, lives in the days of Rev. Harris, 
from whom he has gathered the facts, and now writes the truth of 
history as it has comp down from the beginning, thus bringing to 
us the truth of history pretty much as we receive the truth of 
Divine Revelation. Rev. A. Harris is a wonderful man, with 
a memory simply astonishing. It seems that God has spared 
him for just this purpose. No living man is as well prepared 
to give the truth of the doings of the Baptists in these parts as 
Rev. Harris, and a more candid, conscientious, truthful man 
never lived. We are indebted to Rev. Harris for a copy of the 
deed and much documentary proof, which we herein present. 
It will hardly be questioned that Benedict's History nor Dr. 
Holcombe's Repository contains all the facts of the history of 
this church. Neither can we expect to learn all from the Minute 
Books of the Savannah Baptist Church (white), nor the minutes 
of the Sunsbury Association. We must learn some from those 
who lived in that day. This is just the way all other histories 
are gotten up. The verbal' statements which we have gathered 
from the old members who lived in those days can no more be 
ruled out than our recollection of things which transpired un- 
der our observation long ago. There is no more reason to sup- 
pose their memory at fault than ours. Hence we have taken 
pains to draw from our old brethren and sisters such informa- 

Preface. v 

tion as they had in their possession, and their knowledge of 
men and things about whom and which we have undertaken 
to write. "We shall feel confident that our mistakes will be 
viewed with a charitable eye, and our imperfection graciously 
passed by. The public is asked to consider our laborious task 
before criticising us harshly. This work is sent forth to the 
public with the humble prayer of the author that it may do 
great good, and may set in order the facts for more skilled pens 
than ours to give to the Baptists of Georgia a more interesting 
and accurate history of themselves. The author takes pleas- 
ure in the fact that those who may subsequently undertake 
. this task will not be put to it as he has been for information. 

Praying the blessings of Almighty God upon this humble 
effort, I am, 

Yours in Gospel bonds, 






The First African Baptist Church was organized on the 20th 
day of January, 1788, at Brampton's barn, three miles west of 
Savannah, by Rev. Abraham Marshall (white) and Jesse Peter 
(colored). The first fruit of this beginning was Andrew Bryan, 
Hannah Bryan (his wife), Hagar and Kate. These four Chris- 
tians formed a nucleus around which the Baptist denomination 
twined in Savannah and in Georgia. 

Just here we insert an extract, as taken from Dr. Henry 
Holcombe's Analytical Repository, published in Savannah, Ga., 
in 1802: 

" The first ordained minister of color who came among these 
people was George Leile, who was liberated by Mr. Henry 
Sharp, of Burke county, and is now the pastor of a large church 
in Kingston, Jamaica. During the short time he was in this 
city he baptized Cate, an African woman, the property of Mrs. 
Eunice Hogg, Andrew, his wife Hannah, and Hagar, belonging 
to the venerable Mr. Jonathan Bryan. The three former have 
honorably obtained their freedom, and live comfortably; in 
fact, Andrew's estate is worth upward of five thousand dollars. 
Hagar is yet alive. By the joint and zealous efforts of these 
poor, illiterate slaves, it is rationally hoped, a concern was 
awakened for the salvation of precious souls which has pro- 
duced many happy effects; and of what extent or continuance 
the salutary fruits of their feeble exertions may eventually be 
is beyond the power of calculation. 

"Like a city that is set on a hill and cannot be hid, soon 
after they began to call on the name of the Lord Jesus and stir 
one another up to love and to good works, they attracted the 
attention of the community, and Andrew, commonly called 

History of the First 

Andrew Bryan, with numbers of his followers, was whipped 
and imprisoned as means of putting a stop to their proceedings. 
But they found advocates and patrons among very respectable 
and influential characters, and, by well-doing, at length dis- 
armed and silenced their bitterest persecutors. 

"At this period Andrew began to learn to read, and obtained 
leave of his worthy master to occupy his barn as a place of 
worship, at Brampton, about three miles from Savannah. 
Here he publicly and to great numbers endeavored to preach ; 
and for two years, with very little interruption, had an oppor- 
tunity of showing that 'Godliness is profitable unto all things.' 

"By this time their affairs were known to religious indi- 
viduals at a considerable distance; and, as destitute of any one 
anthorized to administer the sacred ordinances, they were 
visited bj r the late Rev Thomas Burton, avIio, on a creditable 
profession of their faith, baptized eighteen of Andrew's hearers. 
They expressed much gratitude to Mr. Burton for his instruction 
and other assistance, went on their way rejoicing, and showed 
increased solicitude to be still more perfectly instructed in the 
things of God. 

" The next visit they had by an ordained minister was from 
the Rev. Abraham Marshall, who, accompanied by a young- 
preacher of color, Jesse Peter, not only baptized forty more of 
Andrew's congregation; but, on the 20th of January, 1788, con- 
stituted them a church and ordained him to both preach the 
gospel and administer its sacred ordinances to their proper 

" Soon after being thus systematized on the gospel plan, they 
were permitted to build a large house of worship on the suburbs 
of Savannah and to serve God as they pleased on the Lord's 
day, from sun to sun. In this situation their number as a 
church rapidly increased, and all suspicions of their being 
influenced by unworthy motives have long given place to an 
esteem of their humble virtues. They have several gifted men 
among them, and the mother church has enlarged her bounda- 
ries by the constitution of two sable daughters — one consisting 
of tiro hundred members, on the 26th of December, 1802, under 
the denomination of the Second Colored Baptist Church in 
Savannah; the other, comprehending hvo hundred and fifty, on 
the 2d of January 1S<)3, called the Ogeechee Colored Baptist 
Church ; the former to be supplied by Henry Cunningham, who 
was ordained to the work of the ministry on January 1st, 1803 • 
the latter by Henry Frances. Diminished by these constitu- 
tions, the First Colored Baptist Church in this city, still under 
the pastoral care of the aged and pious Andrew Bryan, consists 

African Baptist Church. 3 

of but four hundred members. They have divine services three 
times every Sunday, and the Lord's Supper quarterly. On 
each of these occasions, for the three last years, they have 
received by baptism frOm ten to sixty-four souls." 

Great was the suffering of the pioneers of our denomination 
in this city.* But under this terrible persecution this church 
thrived and was greatly blessed of God. 

The Second African Baptist Church is her first offspring, 
which is now a flourishing church with nearly two thousand 
members. There has nearly always existed between these two 
churches the most friendly feelings. Many families of worth 
and intelligence are equally divided between the First African 
and Second African churches. To-day the wives of three of 
the Deacons of the First Church belong to the Second Church. 
In vexy many cases the wife and some of the children belong 
to one church, and the father and some of the children belong 
to the other. This interchange of families in the two churches 
form almost a demand for the pastors of the two churches to be 
on friendly terms. The F irst Church has had untold suffering. 
At times she has been compelled to suspend service. Her doors 
were more than once closed by the civil authorities. God 
always brought them out by raising up some white man as an 

The church bought the present site on which the First Bryan 
Baptist Church building now stands the 3d of July, 1797 The 
property was sold by Bev. Andrew Bryan to a board of trustees 
for the First African Baptist Church, of which he was pastor, 
and had been for nine years and six months. He sold the land 
to white trustees, because it was not lawful for negroes to hold 
such property. We present here a copy of the deed, which we 
are sure will be interesting to our readers. 


This Indenture, made the third day of July, in the year 

of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven, 
and of the independence of the United States of America the 
twenty-first, between Andrew Bryan, a free black man and a 
preacher of the gospel by lawful authority ordained, of Sa- 
vannah, in the State aforesaid, of the one part, and Thomas 
Polhill, William Mathews, David Fox and Josiah Fox 

That the said Andrew Bryan, for and in consideration of the 

sum "of thirty pounds sterling money 

to him in hand, well, and truly, paid by the said Thomas Pol- 
hill, William Mathews, David Fox and Josiah Fox, at or be- 

4 History of the First 

fore the sealing and delivering of these presents, the receipt 
whereof is hereby acknowledged, he, the said Andrew Bryan, 
Hath granted, bargained, sold, aliened, conveyed and confirm- 
ed, and by these presents Doth grant, bargain, sell, alien, con- 
vey and confirm to the said Thomas Polhill, William Mathews, 
David Fox and Josiah Fox, and the survivor and survivors of 
them, and to such successor and successors as may be appointed 

to and for the use of the Baptist Church of blacks at Savan- 
nah, in over which the said Andrew Bryan now 

does and for some time past has presided as pastor and minis- 
ter, one equal moiety being the half of all that lot of land (most 
part of the said lot) situate, lying and being at Yamacraw, 
above the city of Savannah aforesaid, known by the number 
seven (7) in the village of St. Gall, fronting Br} r an or Ording- 
sells street, containing ninety-five feet in front and one hun- 
dred and thirty-two feet and one-half in depth, bounded west 
and south by land of the late Dr. Zubly, deceased, East on a 
lot late Bichard Williams, deceased, and North on the main 
street leading Yamacraw to brick meeting- 
house with the meeting-house thereon erected and 

standing on all and other the houses, out 

premises and appurtenances whatsoever to the same belonging 
or in anywise appertaining, which said lot was bought by Wil- 
liam Bryan and James Whitefield, as trustees to and for the 
use of the said Andrew Bryan, from one Mathew Motts and 
Catharine, his wife, by deed of bargain and sale bearing date 
the fourth day of September, in the year one thousand seven 
hundred and ninety-three, and purchased by the said Mathew 
Motts of and from one Thomas Norton and Tamar, his 
wife, in and by a certain deed of bargain and sale to him 
duly executed, bearing date the twenty-first day of June, in the 
year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, all of which 
by the said several deeds, reference being thereunto had, will 
more fully and at large appear, together with the meeting- 
house or building for public worship thereon erected, and being 

and all and singular the heredita , rights, members and 

appurtenances whatsoever to the same belonging, or in any- 
wise appertaining, and the reversion and reversions, remainder 
and remainders, rent, issues and profits thereof, and of every 

part and parts the estate, 

title, interest, claim and of him, the 

African Baptist Church. 

said Andrew, of, in and to the .*. . . .or half part 

of the lot above described, and the premises hereinbefore men- 
tioned and intended to be hereby bargained and sold unto the 
said Thomas Polhill, William Mathews, David Fox and Josiah 
Fox, and every part and parcel thereof, and on the death or 
decease of any or either of the said Thomas Polhill, William 
Mathews, David Fox or Josiah Fox, to which successor or suc- 
cessors, as they or a majority of the survivors shall appoint. 
In trust, nevertheless, to and for the only proper use, benefit 
and behalf of the said Baptist congregation of blacks at Savan- 
nah, now and for some time past under the direction and care 
of the said Andrew Bryan, forever. And it is hereby under- 
stood and declared to be the intention of the parties to these 

presents that the said lot and building 

invested in the said Thomas Polhill, William Mathews, David 
Fox and Josiah Fox, and the successors as aforesaid, for the 
sole use and purpose of the public worship of God by the soci- 
ety of blacks, of the Baptist persuasion, and for no other use or 
purpose whatsoever ; that on the death or decease of any or 
either of the above-named — Thomas Polhill, William Mathews, 
David Fox or Josiah Fox — the survivor or survivors may and 
shall within one year thereafter nominate and appoint a suc- 
cessor or successors in the room of such deceased trustee, which 
successor or successors so appointed as aforesaid shall be con- 
sidered as a party to these presents for the uses and purposes 
hereby mentioned and intended. And the said Andrew Bryan 
and his heirs, the said half lot of land and premises, and 
every part and parcel thereof, unto the said Thomas Polhill, 
William Mathews, David Fox and Josiah Fox, and their suc- 
cessors to be appointed as hereinbefore directed, for the uses 
and purposes as hereinabove set forth against him the said 
Andrew Bryan and his heirs, and against all and every person 
or persons whatsoever shall and will Warrant and forever de- 
fend by these presents. 

In Witness whereof the said parties to these presents have 
hereunto set their hands and affixed their seals the day and 
year first above written. 




Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of 

(Note. ) — The word (five) immediately after the word (ninety) 
in the first page between the sixteenth lines, and also the word 
(half) immediately after the words (the said) in the second 

6 History of the First 

page between the eighteenth and nineteenth lines, were both 
interlined previous to the execution hereof. In the presence of 



City of Savannah. 
That the within deed was signed, sealed and delivered by 
Andrew Bryan for the use therein is attested on both by 


Sworn to before me on the 30th August, 1797. 


Received the day and year first within written the sum of 
thirty pounds sterling money, being the consideration money 
as is within specified to be paid to me. 

I say Received. 

Witness: mark. 



Dated the 3d day of July, 1797 



Bargain and Sale 

of Lot No. 7 in 
Yamacraw, Village 
of St. Gall. 
Consideration, £30. 


The blanks in the above deed are caused by the worn condition and 
pieces of paper broken out in the creases. The deed is very old. 

African Baptist Church. 7 


The Church from 1818 to 1832. 

Not much is known of the church from 1788 to 1818, em- 
bracing a period of thirty years that comparatively nothing is 
known of this grand body. The Savannah Baptist Church nor 
the Sunsbury Association seem to have been careful about pre- 
serving records. We are indebted to Holcombe's Eepository 
for facts preceding 1818. He informs us that the Second African 
Baptist Church was organized the 26th of December, 1802, with 
200 members, and that it went out from the First African Bap- 
tist Church. The Ogeechee African Baptist Church was organ- 
ized also from this church January 2d, 1803, with 250 mem- 
bers. Rev. Henry Cunningham, who was ordained January 
1st, 1803, was called to the pastorate of the Second African 
Baptist Church, and Rev. Henry Frances was called to the 
pastorate of the Ogeechee African Baptist Church. The First 
African Baptist Church was represented in the Sunsbury Asso- 
ciation (white) in November, 1818, by Adam Johnson and Jo- 
siah Lloyd. The total membership was 1712. At this time 
there were only two colored churches in the city, viz., First 
African and Second African. At the session held at Hines' 
meeting-house, Effingham county, in November, 1819, no dele- 
gates from the church appear, nor is the church mentioned. 
At the session held with the Savannah Baptist Church, Novem- 
ber, 1820, the First African Baptist Church was represented by 
Adam Johnson and Adam Shuftall. The total membership 
was 1836. At the session held November, 1821, at the Baptist 
meeting-house, Upper Black Creek, Effingham county, the First 
African Baptist Church was represented by Evans Great. The 
total membership was 1916. At the meeting of the associa- 
tion, November, 1822, at New Port, Liberty county, Ga., the 
First African Baptist Church was represented by Adam Shuf- 
tall and Evans Great. The total membership does not appear. 
At the meeting of the association held at Powers' Church, Ef- 
fingham county, November, 1823, the First African Church 
was represented by A. Shuftall and Jack Simpson. Total 
membership was 1888. At the session held at Sunsbury, Lib- 
erty county, November, 1824, the First African Baptist Church 
was represented by A. Shuftall and A. Johnson. The total 
membership was 1912. At the session held at New Providence 

History of the First 

meeting-house, Effingham county. November, 1825, the First 
Church was represented by A. C. Marshall, A. Johnson, A. Shuf- 
tall and Jack Simpson. The total membership was 1886. At 
the session held at Salem meeting-house, Chatham county, ^< o- 
vember, 1826, the delegates were A. C. Marshall, A. Johnson, A. 
Shuftall and Jack Simpson. At the session held at New 
Hope meeting-house, November, 1827, the First African Bap- 
tist Church was represented by A. C. Marshall, A. Johnson and 
Jack Simpson. The total membership was 2,275. At the ses- 
sion held at the Litlle Canoochie Church, Liberty county, 
November, 1828, the delegates were A. C. Marshall, J. Clay and 
C. Ross. The total membership was 2,311. The session held 
at Newington Baptist Church, Screven county, November, 

1829, the First African Church was represented by A. C. Mar- 
shall, J. Clay and C. Boss. Total membership, 2,357- 

At Power's meeting-house, Effingham county, November, 

1830, the First African Baptist Church was represented by A. 
C. Marshall, J. Clay and Jack Simpson. The total membership 
was 2,417. At the session held with the Savannah Baptist 
Church, November, 1831, the First Church was represented by 
A. C. Marshall, A. Johnson, Jack Simpson and S. Whitfield. 
The total membership was 2,795. 

During 1832 a terrible confusion broke out in this grand old 
body. Bev. Andrew C. Marshall led a part of the church his 
way, and Deacon Adam Johnson led the other part his way. 
The trouble started because Bev. Marshall seems to have been 
influenced by one Rev. Alexander Campbell's preaching, who 
visited Savannah about this time. Deacon Adam Johnson 
opened war on Bev. Andrew C. Marshall. Deacon Adam 
Johnson and Bev. Marshall had been life-long friends, living 
together as twin lambs. They were both influential and great. 
AVhen these two men met as opponents the result was fearful. 
Two lambs had turned upon each other with all the strength 
and fury of lions, and the cause of Christ suffered greatly by 
this unfortunate affair. Because of this trouble the church sent 
no delegates to the association in 1832. The Second African 
Baptist Church is the only colored church that was represented 
from Savannah at that session. If it is claimed that the First 
Bryan Baptist Church is the oldest church in this city, we ask 
where was she then? 

AVe have no disposition to justify Bev. A. C. Marshall for 
adhering to the doctrines preached by Alexander Campbell 
nor to deny that he did do so, but our inquiry is after the 
original church organized in 178S. AVe have traced it up to 
1832 as the First African Baptist Church, under the leadership 

African Baptist Church. 9 

of Kev. Andrew C. Marshall. Our object wilL be to ascertain 
if it continued to exist, and in what manner and under what 

At the session of the association held at Walthourville, No- 
vember 9th and 10th, 1832, a resolution was adopted appoint- 
ing "Brethren Jones, Southwell, J. S. Law, Harmon and Fur- 
man to investigate a difficulty existing in the First African 
Church of Savannah." Notwithstanding she was in trouble she 
was known as "the First African Church of Savannah." These 
were dark and stormy days for this old ship on the high seas. 
Her existence was threatened, but she was sustained by an 
unseen hand, and that hand was divine. The Almighty God 
plead her cause, and she sailed majestically once more upon a 
placid sea, with her snowy sails unfurled, kissing the pleasing 
breezes, bidding defiance to her enemies, and in their hearing, 
with humble joy, sung triumphantly "Deliverance will come." 

The committee appointed to investigate the difficulty existing 
in the First African Baptist Church of Savannah reported : 

"Your committee, after a serious consideration of the painful 
and difficult task assigned them, would present your body the 
following resolutions as the result of their consideration : 

" Resolved, That we approve highly of the recommendation 
of the Council of Ministers that was called, viz., that A. C. 
Marshall be silenced, and we concur in the opinion that he be 
silenced indefinitely. 

" Resolved, That the First African Church, as a member of this 
association, on account of its currupt state, be considered as 
dissolved, and that measures be adopted to constitute a new 
church as a branch of the white Baptist Church.* 

"Resolved, That we advise our colored brethren in the country, 
now members of the First African Baptist Church in Savannah , 
to take letters of dismission, and either unite themselves with 
neighboring churches of our faith and order, or to be constituted 
into seperate churches, "f 

In the same resolutions the Second African Church of Savan- 
nah was complimented for its Christian deportment, and a copy 
of the resolutions ordered transmitted to the Mayor of Savan- 

At this session, therefore, it will be seen that the association 

* When the First Bryan Baptist Church, then the Thii'd African Church, en- 
tered the association in 1833, it did so as " Third African Church," and not as 
" First African." Whence this claim ? 

fThis new church was the Third African Baptist Church, now the First 
Bryan Baptist Church. It is strange that it does not claim even the name, hut 
now, as always, they themselves have recognized the First African Baptist, at 
Franklin Square, as First African Baptist Church. 

10 History of the First 

adopted resolutions considering the First African Church as 
dissolved. Let us see, as we go along, if it was dissolved. Even 
in those terrible days of slavery everything our white brethren 
considered as being so, was not necessarily so ; note, they did 
not dissolve the church, but considered it as dissolved. It 
appears that they did not attach much importance to this con- 
sideration , for in the same resolutions they advised that mem- 
bers of the First African Church should take letters of dismis- 
sion and either join other Baptist churches or form other Bap- 
tist churches. If the First African Church was dissolved 
because of its currupt state, how could it give letters of dismis- 
sion? It requires no difficulty to see that this bears inconsist- 
ency on its face. We do not find at this session any other 
church taking the place of the First African Baptist Church. 
We have her up to her expulsion from the Sunsbury Associa- 
tion as the First African Baptist Church of Savannah. 


The First African Church of Savannah in War with Herself, 

with the Savannah Baptist Church (White), and 

with the Sunsbury Association. 

We have already referred to Rev. Alexander Campbell, who 
visited Savannah about this time, whose eloquent and profound 
sermons had telling effect upon the mind of Rev. Andrew C. 
Marshall, who partially, if not very largely, accepted the doc- 
trine of Mr. Campbell and proclaimed his views. Deacon 
Adam Johnson, who was a very close thinker and well versed 
in the scriptures, took exception to this new departure from 
the old land-marks. This kindled a fire that was not soon nor 
easily put out, but which burned with a furious destruction for 
five weary years. 

The ''Third African Church" entered the association for the 
first time in the session of November, 1833, at Cowpen Branch 
Baptist Church, Effingham county, It was represented by T. 
Anderson, A. Johnson and Jack Simpson, with a membership 
of 155. This was the time and place that " The Third African 
Church" joined the association. In the minutes of the associa- 
tion for 1833 we read, "Application was made by the Third 
African Church to become a member of this association. 
Granted by a unanimous vote." In the minutes of the same 
session a resolution was adopted as follows : 

African Baptist Church. 11 

"Resolved, That this association approves of the conduct of 
S. Whitfield, Joe Clay and others who separated from the First 
African Church, and recommend them to the fellowship of all 
the churches." 

Notwithstanding the First African Church was expelled and 
declared corrupt and considered as dissolved, she still existed 
and was styled and called the First African Church by even 
those who expelled her and considered her as dissolved. Truly, 
what God has blessed no man can curse. 

Notwithstanding the Sunsbury Association, by the recom- 
mendation of the Savannah Baptist Church (white), passed 
resolutions condemning the First African Baptist Church as 
being corrupt, and considered it as dissolved; they sold to the 
First African Baptist Church their house of worship as First 
African Baptist Church after this, and received $1,500 in pay- 
ment from the First African Baptist Church, and acknowledged 
payment accordingly. 

In the conference of the Savannah Baptist Church, Novem- 
ber 18, 1832, is the following resolution : 

" Resolved] That a committee be appointed to suggest the best 
mode to this church of taking under their care the First African 
Church, and to report at the next discipline meeting." 

Though the First African Churgh is considered as dissolved, 
a committee is appointed to consider the best way of taking her 
under the supervision of the white Baptist Church. This is an 
acknowledgment that the church did exist. This committee 
reported December 1 24, 1832, as follows : 

"The committee appointed to devise plans for the reception 
of the First African Church as a branch of this, reported that 
they could not recommend any. 

" Resolved, That they be dismissed. 

"A petition of from three to four hundred members of the 
First African Church was offered, in which they requested to 
become a branch of this church. After considerable discussion 
it was resolved not to receive them on the conditions they pro- 
posed, but such alterations were made in their application as 
the church thought advisable, and it was agreed that if they 
would offer to place themselves under the supervision of a com- 
mittee whom they would choose out of this church, then such 
a measure would be agreed to by this body." 

Those who are now claiming to be the original First African 
Baptist Church were then called the minority of the First 
African Church, for we find in the minutes of the Conference 
of Savannah Baptist Church (white), December 24, 1832, the 
following : 

12 History of Hie First 

"An application was made that the minority of the First 
African Church be received as a branch of this church, when it 
was decided that it was proper that they first be formed into a 
church, and afterward could come under the supervision of a 
committee, as also the Second African, should they wish to 
do so." 

January 4th, 1833, the First African Baptist Church ad- 
dressed the following letter to the Savannah Baptist Church 

"We, the subscribers of the First African Church, do solicit 
the aid and protection of our brethren, the Baptist Church of 
Savannah. We propose to come under the supervision of a 
committee of your body, provided you will receive us on the 
terms and conditions following : 

"1st. That we be independent in our meetings; that is, that 
we receive and dismiss our own members, and elect and dismiss 
our own officers, and, finally, manage our own concerns inde- 
pendently ; however, with this restriction — in case any measure 
is taken by us which shall seem to militate against our good 
standing as a church of Christ we shall submit it to a com- 
mittee of five members, whom we shall choose out of the Baptist 
Church in Savannah, whose counsel we bind ourselves to follow, 
provided it be not contrary to the precepts of the Gospel. 

"2d. We agree to hold no meetings for discipline or other 
purposes until we have duly notified, by writing, one member 
of the Baptist Church, selected by said church, to be present, 
and agreeing not to pursue any measure such delegated mem- 
ber shall deem improper until we shall have had council of the 
above-named committee. 

"3d. We agree to relinquish to the minority of this body all 
our right and title to the old church so soon as they shall agree 
to give up and do relinquish to us all right and title to the 
newly-purchased one, and when we are put in full and free 
possession of it, and our trustees, viz., William H. Stiles, Peter 
Mitchell and John Williamson, shall satisfy us that they have 
good and sufficient titles. 

"4th. We agree to dismiss all members and such as have 
been members of our church, that they may either join another 
or form a new Baptist Church, and as soon as such church 
shall be satisfied with and receive them then they shall be dis- 
missed from us. 

"5th. And we oblige and bind ourselves by these presents 
that whenever we break any covenant above named, then, on 
proof thereof, we herein empower our trustees to shut up our 

African Baptist Church. 13 

church and cause us to desist from public worship until we 
fully submit to the advice of our committee." 

This petition was received with "a small alteration in the 
second article, and was accepted as the kind of connection 
which might exist between this church and the First African 
Church." Here, it will be observed, that the Third African 
Baptist Church is not yet organized. In the minutes of the 
Conference of the Savannah Baptist Church (white), January 
28, 1833, is the following: 

" Resolved, That inasmuch as the minority of the First Afri- 
can (now the Third) Church have conformed to the require- 
ments of this church in constituting themselves into a church, 
be received under the supervision of this body upon the same 
terms as the First African Church." 

It will be seen that the Third African Church was organized 
between December 24th, 1832, and January 28th, 1833* For 
in the conference of December 24th, 1832, the Third African 
Church was then called the minority of the First African 
Church, and was refused admittance into the Savannah Baptist 
Church (white) until they should be formed into a church. 
And in the conference of January 28th, 1833, they were re- 
ceived as Third African Baptist Church. This being the only 
condition (that they would foum themselves into a church) 
upon which they would be received by said church as required by 
the conference of December 24th, 1832. In 1833 delegates were 
appointed by the Savannah Baptist Church to visit the First 
African Church. Notwithstanding the First African Baptist 
Church was received under the supervision of the Savannah 
Baptist Church, trouble kept brewing in its midst like a smold- 
ering volcano; and July 22d, 1833, the Savannah Baptist 
Church decided that "It was thought advisable in consequence 
of the disorderly conduct of the First African Church not to 
appoint delegates to visit them this month." 

Bev. Andrew C. Marshall was well acquainted with Baptist 
church government, and though he was a negro and had to 
succumb to his white brethrens' wish in everything else, he 
stubbornly and manfully refused to yield the freedom and inde- 
pendence of a Baptist church. And his people stood by him, 
and God raised up friends for him. The Second Baptist Church 
had more of the fear of the white man and perhaps more of 
the fear of God. The following communication will bear out 
that fact : 

* It is quite clear that the " Third African Church" was organized in January, 
1833, and is therefore only 55 years old. 

14 History of the First 


" Dear Brethren — We have witnessed with sincere regret 
the many serious difficulties which have for many months ex- 
isted among some of our colored churches, and which have 
tended to destroy our harmony and remove from us the relig- 
ious privilege which we now so richly enjoy. And we have 
regarded with approbation the efforts our white brethren have 
made to secure to us the permanent possession of our present 
enjoyment. We are decidedly of the opinion that great advan- 
tage will arise to the colored churches by their being under the 
protection and supervision of the white church. We do, there- 
fore, respectfully request that the Second African Church may 
be taken under the care of your body in such manner as shall 
by you be considered expedient. 

" Very sincerely yours in the Gospel, 


" Savannah, 23d June, 1833. 

"Isaac Mooter, William Furguson, 

"Licensed Preacher, William Rose, 
"Hannibal Briton, John Cox, 

" John Deveaux, Isaac Robert, 

"Edenborough Fleming." 

The Second Church made no conditions upon which they 
would be accepted. They left everything with their white 
brethren. They were received most unanimously, of course. 
Rev Andrew C. Marshall insisted upon the right of a church ; 
that if it had the right to be a church it should be governed by 
the New Testament and acknowledge no master but Christ the 
Lord ; that if the church could not be a New Testament church 
it should not be at all. Having right on his side it is not a 
wonder that he conquered and made ardent admirers of his 
bitterest enemies. 

The First African Baptist Church at this time is again walk- 
ing alone. The white Baptist Church has again refused to 
recognize her, but she marches right along, winning souls for 
heaven and God. 

January 25th, 1833, the officers of the First African Church 
met a committee of the Savannah Baptist Church (, white) and 
asked the following questions : 

1. AVhat duties are proper that A. Marshall shall perform in 
the church at this time? 

2. Has any thing been done since they have occupied the 

African Baptist Church. 15 

new building and come under your supervision which the com- 
mittee think improper ? 

3. Would the committee recommend that the First African 
Church call Jack McQueen (who is licensed by the city author- 
ities) to become its preacher ? 

To the first the committee advise that Andrew Marshall 
should not go into the pulpit and preach, nor administer the 
ordinance of baptism, nor the Lord's supper, but that there is 
no objection to his leading in prayer and exhorlation in any 
meeting when such measure is consented to by the delegated 
brother. That there is no objection to his making pastoral 
visits, marrying, attending funerals and extending the right 
hand of fellowship, when requested to do so by the church. 

To the second question the committee reply that they are 
gratified in receiving so good a report from the delegated 
brethren, and find no charge of impropriety against them. 

To the third question they answer, they do not think it their 
business to say who should preach for the church, but they 
can see no impropriety in any regularly licensed brother preach- 
ing, provided he has liberty granted by the city authorities. 
The committee advise that neither the church nor any part of 
it do hold any meetings except regularly notified ones in the 

Signed : Henry O. Wyer, Thos. Clark, W W Wash, Holmes 
Tupper and D. Votee. 

It" is very remarkable that these poor slaves had such inde- 
fatigable Christian manhood. Their whole deportment seemed to 
have said to their white brethren : "Whether it be right in the 
sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge 
ye." And when the command was made more emphatic, they 
seemed to have answered more emphatically : " We ought to 
obey God rather than men." In temporal things they hesitated 
not to obey those who had rule over them. In spiritual things 
they didn't feel it their duty to obey magistrates, but insisted 
upon worshipping God according to the dictates of their con- 
science. They were more consistent than their advisers. They 
had been advised by their white brethren that Rev. Andrew C. 
Marshall might lead in prayer, give the right hand of fellowship, 
exhort, preach funerals, marry and visit the sick. Is not it quite 
natural that they would have thought that if he was competent 
to do all this that there was no good reason why he should not 
be their pastor ? And what is more praiseworthy, they had the 
courage of their conviction. They acted out what they believed. 

1Q History of the First 

Hence, on the 6th of March, 1833, we find the following in the 
minutes of the Savannah Baptist Church (white): 

"The officers of the First African Church stated that it had 
called Andrew C. Marshall to be its pastor, and that they had 
thought it best for him to resume his pastoral duties, and wishes 
to know the opinion of the committee in relation to the matter. 
After mature deliberation, the committee can see no good 
reason for changing the advice given on a former occasion, and 
refer the church to their opinion given on the 25th of January." 
But the church had arisen in the majesty of her might and 
acted for herself. This was as right as it was fearless and bold. 
It showed that she had a leader that was worthy of the consid- 
eration and respect of all men. It must be said in praise of the 
white people, that while it was in their power to use harsh 
means, and thus force their wish, they did not do so. They 
exhibited great patience, and used only persuasive means. Rev. 
Andrew C. Marshall was the bone of contention. The white 
Baptists were opposed to his being the pastor, because he had 
entertained and expressed the views of Alexander Campbell. 
They were zealous about " the faith once delivered to the saints." 
But for this great protest of the Baptists, white and black, it is 
quite likely that Rev. Marshall would have led thousands off 
after Mr. Alexander Campbell, and Savannah now, with her 
ten thousand negro Baptists, would have been a Campbellite 
citv, so that even out of this great confusion good has come. The 
officers of the First African Church were advised at one meeting 
of the committee not to call Rev. A. C. Marshall as pastor, and 
reported at the next that they had called him as their pastor, 
giving as their reason that they thought it best that he should 
resume his pastoral duties. This was true manhood; they 
thought it best. They must be praised for contending for the 
independence of the Baptist Church in those dark days. At 
this meeting the committee (white) agreed upon and reported 
to the church (white) the following (March 22, 1833): 

"The committee, after due deliberation, unwilling to take 
upon themselves the responsibility to advise that Andrew C. 
Marshall should resume his pastoral office in the First African 
Church refer the matter to the trustees of said church and the 
citv authorities. (Signed) "H. O. WYEE, 

' 'W W WASH, 



African Baptist Church. 17 

It appears that Rev. Marshall had friends even among the 
white people. He was a wise, careful and most wonderful 
planner. The carefulness of his plans is seen in his success, 
even when the odds were against him. The learned whites 
seem to have been" baffled by his adroitness and surpassing 
executive ability. He influences H. Tupper to give him a note 
expressive of his consent for him to enter upon his work once 
more which he so much loved. H. Tupper showed the com- 
mittee the following note he had given to the pastor of the First 
African Church, which was not agreed to by the balance of the 
committee : 

" I am satisfied there is no good reason that Andrew C. Mar- 
shall should be withheld from the pastoral office of the First 
African Church, and I believe that there is no objection on the 
part of the other members of the committee charged with its 
supervision except that which arises from the public preju- 
dice against him. If, therefore, this can be removed, or 
it doss not exist in such a degree as supposed by the committee, 
I think he ought to be restored as soon as the church gets per- 
mission from its trustees and the city authorities for him to be 
restored. But I am constrained to add that I verily fear the 
public is not in favor of such a measure. 

"Savannah, March 21st, 1833. 

"(Signed) "H. TUPPER." 

After getting this note, Rev. Marshall went to the trustees 
(who were already his friends) and obtained the following per- 
mission to begin his work of giving the bread of life to his 
people : 

"Permission of Trustees. 

"Savannah, April 2, 1833. 

" We, the trustees of the First African Church of Savannah, 
knowing of no reason why Andrew C. Marshall, the pastor r or 
other deacons or officers of the said church, should be inhibited 
or interrupted in the exercise of r all or any of the rites, cere- 
monies or duties which to them or any of the congregation of 
said church, as disciples or seekers of Jesus Christ, belong, we 
do hereby give to them, to the extent of our power, every privi- 
lege which as Christians they can require. 




This gave the suffering pastor the right to enter the church 
once more as its leader. But the trouble was not over. 

JS HMori/ of the First 


The Continuation of the Trouble— More about the Split— The 
Restoration of Rev. Marshall. 

We have said that the split occurred in 1832, and either the 
last of December, 1832. or the 1st of January, 1833, the final 
separation occurred. The trouble had been going on many 
months. The people carried clubs, brickbats and other such 
implements of war to the church with them. There was dan- 
ger of a fight in the church at any time. On one occasion they 
had a terrible row in the church, and Mayor Warring went 
there with a lot of brickbats in his buggy and threw them in 
the church and succeeded in running the last one of them out 
of the church. 

The time had come when a split was inevitable ; it had to 
come. After many councils and much deliberation the time 
was set when all of the members must be present and this 
trouble settled in an unmistakable manner. The time came 
when the members (most of them) met. Rev. Andrew C. Mar- 
shall went on one side of the building, and Deacon Adam 
Johnson on the other. Then it was said: "All who agree with 
Rev. Andrew C. Marshall go on that side with him, and all who 
agree with Deacon Adam Johnson go on that side with him." 
About one-eighteenth of the members went with Deacon John- 
son, and seventeen-eighteenths went with Rev. Marshall, for 
the church then numbered 2.795 members. Out of this number 
155 members agreed with Deacon Adam Johnson, and the 
remaining 2,640 members agreed with Rev. Andrew C. Marshall. 
The question came up that night as to which one should 
take the old name of the church. Deacon Johnson, the leader 
of the 155, said that "There has been so much disgrace con- 
nected with the First African Church that we don't want it. 
Let them have it." 

Subsequent to this Rev. Marshall and the church agreed to 
give these dissenters honorable letters of dismission if they 
would organize a church or join other Baptist churches. These 
brethren were soon organized as the Third African Baptist 
Church of Savannah. 

The Third Church continued by this name until 1866, when 
Rev. Alex. Harris (then a deacon of the Third African Baptist 
Church) offered a motion to change its name from Third African 
Baptist to the First Bryan Baptist Church, which was agreed 
to. For thirty-three years she remained under the name of the 
Third African Baptist Church. During all these years she did 

African Baptist Church. 19 

not increase very much, owing, perhaps, to the prejudice of the 
negro population because they accused her of being the cause of 
all this trouble by fighting the pastor. Even to-day she has 
not as many members as the Rev. Marshall had fifty-five years 
ago when he left the old spot. This trouble, perhaps, more 
than anything else, caused a careful study of God's Word and 
Baptist church usage. 

After this settlement, the bad feeling was kept up between 
the two churches in first one way and then another. Members 
would pass backward and forward ; when they would fall out 
with the Third Church they would join the First Church, and 
when they would get dissatisfied with the First Church they 
would join the Third Church ; and so for years the trouble was 
kept up. 

We have referred to the action of the officers of the First 
African Baptist Church reporting to the committee of the white 
Baptist Church that they had called Bev. Andrew C. Marshall 
to be their pastor. The following is the report of said com- 
mittee to the Savannah Baptist Church, July 14th, 1833: 

''The committee of the First African Church finding that 
they can no longer be of use to said church, feel disposed to 
withdraw from it, unless it takes up the charges which we now 
make, and act upon them with promptness and decision. 

" 1st. The compact or agreement entered into between this 
church and ours has been violated in several instances by hold- 
ing frequent meetings without the presence of a brother delegated 
by our church. 

" 2d. This church has disregarded the advice of their com- 
mittee in electing Andrew C. Marshall to the pastoral charge of 
the church, permitting his continuance in office without the 
sanction of the civil authorities. 

" 3d. The prevarication and evasion of Andrew C. Marshall 
respecting his faith and doctrine having been made manifest, 
the committee have lost all confidence in his character. 

" 4th. The opposition of A. C. Marshall to be a member of the 
association, thereby virtually renouncing the government of the 
Baptist denomination, is esteemed by the committee a position 
extremely dangerous to the vital interest of the colored people. 

"5th. Satisfactory evidence that Andrew C. Marshall has 
fully, and now unequivocally, adopted the views and doctrine of 
Alexander Campbell, which the committee considers destruc- 
tive to vital religion, and consequently ruinous to any people, 
and which our church has denounced as heresy. 

20 History of the First 

" 6th. We now call upon all disciples of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ, of the Baptist faith and order, in this church to 
come forward and have their names recorded that the com- 
mittee may use their influence to restore them again to the 
association, but it is hoped and expected that all those of a 
different faith and order will peaceably withdraw from the 
church, or that the church, upon reorganization, will proceed 
immediately to purge itself of every disaffected member. 
"(Signed) "WW WASH, 

"T. DO WELL." 

Here was the combined wisdom and influence of the master 
against the servant's, learning against ignorance, and yet that 
grand old man, Rev. Andrew C. Marshall, out-generaled them 
all and held his people as by magic. The preceding document 
combined adroitness and learning, but the old man was equal 
to the task. In it the church is charged with restoring Andrew 
C. Marshall to the pastorate without consulting the civil 
authorities. What had the civil authorities to do with a Gos- 
pel church calling a Gospel minister to be their pastor? These 
men ought to have known that the church was established con- 
trary to the wish of the civil authorities. They had Rev. H. O. 
Wyer as their pastor without consulting the civil authorities. 
Was their church any more of a church than the First African 
BaptisfChurch ? It is surprising how far wrong men can go. 
They took this document to the First African Church and read 
it to the people and made an appeal to them, with the hope of 
winning them from Rev. Andrew C. Marshall, and finding 
themselves foiled in this cunningly devised plan, they addressed 
the following letter to the trustees of the First African Church : 

"Savannah, July 22, 1833. 
"John P. Williams, Esq.: 

" Dear Sir — We are constrained by a sense of duty to request 
that you will, for a time, have the First African Church shut 
up until the charges against Andrew C. Marshall for preach- 
ing false doctrine shall be cleared up to all concerned. You 
were present when the charges were made; ycu heard the 
defense set up by Mr. Dunning, and must admit that our 
charge was fully sustained or different religious denominations 
would have been called in to judge of the correctness of our 
views. A thousand souls are at stake and, we think it a mat- 
ter of too much importance to be neglected, and as the power 

African Baptist Church. 21 

is vested in us to make this demand we do so \n deference to 
you, sir, but we cannot recognize the authority of Mr. Dun- 
ning, or any other self-made Trustee, to interfere in this matter. 
We believe in a few weeks, by shutting up the church now, 
that matters can be satisfactorily settled by all parties. We 
appeal to you not only as a Christian but as a large property 
holder to aid us in checking false doctrine among our slaves. 
We are, sir, with great esteem, 

"Your obedient servants, 
"(Signed) "WW WASH, 


" Committee." 

Things were now getting serious. The committee having 
failed in their carefully devised plans to break Rev. Marshall's 
hold upon the hearts of his people, now appeal to the Trustees 
of the church with whom the power of closing the church rested. 
But God prevented this consummation and used Mr. Williams 
as his instrument to defend his cause and to protect this old 
Zion. His answer was wise and manly. God used the man 
as an instrument to protect His church. The man was not 
himself aware of the great good he was doing for the church 
of Christ and his enslaved servants. God has always reserved 
servants for special work. This man by nature was no more 
of a friend to this church than those who urged that it be 
closed, but God had him in hand. 

The following is his able and remarkable reply. This was 
wonderfully strange to the committee of the church under the 
circumstances : 

"Savannah, July 26th, 1833. 
"To Messrs. W W Wash, Thomas Dowell and Oliver M. Lillibridge: 

"Sirs — I yesterday received your communication of the 22d 
instant, at which I acknowledge my surprise as well from the 
singular and extraordinary request you make to shut up the 
First African Church, as also from the fact that you gave the 
Trustees to understand (on the Sunday they saw you at the 
church) your duty as a committee had been discharged, and 
therefore you had nothing further to engage your attention 
respecting the situation of the First African Church. Thus 
much for my surprise at the contents of your letter. 

" I must now be allowed to say that I am far from acknowl- 
edging your charge against Andrew C. Marshall for preaching 
false doctrine was established or supported in the least particu- 

History of the First 

lar, unless your simple assertion is to be received as proof, for 
it was manifest to all present that you did not produce one 
testimony from the Scriptures or otherwise to support your 
views, and how you can with a due regard to propriety, state 
that 'our charge was fully sustained,' I have yet to learn, and 
so far foreign from my construction of duty as a Trustee, and 
of the plainest principle of the Gospel, is your request to ' shut 
up the First African Church ' that I consider it incumbent on 
me, in connection with the other Trustees, to see the church kept 
open in order to afford Andrew C. Marshall, and the church of 
which he is pastor, the privilege of worshipping God to the 
best of their knowledge ; and it is the deliberate intention of 
the Trustees to maintain them in the full enjoyment of all the 
rights and religious privileges which the laws of our country 
entitle them to receive. 

" I am aware that comparisons are sometimes odious, yet 
circumstances sanction their use, for it is proper to inform you 
that the remark you made of Mr. Dunning's being a self-con- 
stituted Trustee is incorrect, and I must be allowed to inquire by 
what authority you exercise the office of a committee of the 
Baptist Church. You need not be informed that you have no 
authority from the African Church to act in that capacity. It 
is an assumption, therefore, by you, as I think your own words 
will prove, and I must further be allowed to repeat my former 
verbal remark that there is an absence of all right on your 
part to interfere with the peaceful demeanor and worship of 
' One Thousand Souls,' even if you were a regularly constituted 
committee, and, believe me, I shall not stop to inquire whether 
you acknowledge Mr. Dunning as a Trustee or not, it will be 
my pleasure to act with him in that capacity, together with Mr. 
Delyon, who is appointed by Mr. Stiles to represent him by a 
regular power of attorney, and I am authorized by them to inform 
you of our united determination to prevent the unauthorized 
attempts of others from depriving a large number of our fellow 
beings of their religious privileges which are guaranteed to 
them by the laws of our State, by the word of God, and by 
every principle of kindness which ought to be a prominent 
feature in the behavior of all those who profess the Gospel. 
"I am, respectfully yours, &c, &c, 

This communication sounds as though this man was moved 
by a higher power and that his heart was inditing a good mat- 
ter. He intimates that Rev. Marshall had carried his point, 
and so mighty was he in the Scriptures that he was an over- 

African Baptist Church. 23 

match for this committee. This, gentlemen, gave the commit- 
tee an unwelcome cut respecting the independence of a church 
which Baptists, more than anybody else, love to parade. He 
very timely calls into question their right to interfere with a 
church worshipping God as they understand him. This would 
seem enough to put them to everlasting shame and eternal 
silence; but they were bent on ousting Eev. Marshall, and 
hence addressed the following letter to the Mayor of the city : 

"Savannah, 13th August, 1833. 
"To His Honor William T. Williams: 

"Sir — We deem it our duty to address you on the subject of 
the First African Church — a subject in which our community is 
more or less interested. This church in a former difficulty, 
fearing that the public authorities would interfere with their 
privilege as a Christian society, applied to the Baptist Church 
in Savannah to be taken under their care, guidance and direc- 
tion. Accordingly articles of agreement were entered into be- 
tween the two churches and they were permitted to choose from 
our body five members as their Advisory Committee, which 
was accordingly done. The commitee was to have all matters 
of controversy and difficulties arising in the church referred to 
them for settlement. With this arrangement our community 
appeared satisfied, but the time has arrived when we cannot be 
identified with them in any of their actions or doings. We 
have been compelled, though reluctantly, to give them up. 
This course has been deliberately and calmly considered, aud 
our reasons for adopting it are : That Andrew C. Marshall has 
been preaching doctrines which our church cannot countenance. 
We have found by our proceedings with him that we can place 
no confidence in him — he deviates from the truth, arid this, too, 
under the garb of his profession. We believe him to be a de- 
signing man, seeking only his own aggrandisement and the love 
of power, even at the expense of the peace and happiness of his 
own people. Our advice has been uniformly disregarded, and, 
though frequently asked, has on no occasion been followed. 
We should be doing violence to our own feelings by continuing 
longer with them. The majority of the church appear deter- 
mined to go with Marshall at all hazards, and he has them so 
completely under his control that they are ready on all occa- 
sions to sanction his mandates, whether right or wrong. We 
are indeed satisfied that they are following the man, and not the 
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have for some time left 
them to themselves, in fact, our right to interfere with them at 
all has been denied by some men of high standing in this com- 


History oj the first 

munity, who seem disposed to support Andrew under any cir- 
cumstances. We have felt great interest in the people under his 
charge, and have used all the peaceful means in our power to 
rescue them from their blind devotion to the man, but it is in 
vain. Under all these circumstances we give them up, and give 
notice to you as the head of our community that our church will 
not hold itself responsible for any act of which they may be 
guilty in future. 

" The individuals composing the First African Church are in 
part the property of our citizens, and it is for them, if they feel 
any interest in their everlasting or temporal welfare, to inter- 
pose and save them from the baneful influence of a designing 
man. We beg leave to refer you for details to Thomas Dowell, 
T. Virstill and O. M. Lillibridge, who will give your honor any 
information that may be in the possession of the committee not 
specially alluded to in this communication. 
" We are, respectfully, your obedient servants, 
"(Signed) "WW WASH, 




"S. A. PATOT, 


And still God was with the suffering church, and this attempt 
proved futile. There is no record that the Mayor answered 
this communication. If so, it could not have been favorable to 
the assailants, for the church kept on in its good work. Doubt- 
less the Maj^or answered in the same spirit which the trustees 
did, if he answered at all. We have from the committee's own 
mouth : ''The majority of the church appear determined to 
go with Andrew C. Marshall at all hazard, and he has them so 
completely under his control that they are ready ou all occa- 
sions to sanction his mandates, whether right or wrong. We 
are indeed satisfied that they are following the man, and not 
the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." A man, to carry his 
people contrary to the express wish of the white people in that 
day, and whom the people were determined to follow " at all 
hazards," must have been indeed a very wonderfully great man. 
There were members of the church who would have sacrificed 
their lives for Rev. Marshall. 

African Baptist Church. 



Rev. Marshall Reinstated — The Troubles Continue — His Church 
Back under the Supervision of the "White Baptist Church. 

There can be no doubt but that the committee was mistaken 
in saying that the First African Church had renounced the 
government of the Baptist denomination. Eev. Marshall was 
a veritable Baptist. But he was just such a Baptist as his white 
brethren. He believed that the same spirit of freedom and 
independence that was in the white church ought to be in the 
colored church, and for this he contended just as an intelligent 
Baptist should have done. In this he was right, and God 
crowned his labors with the most signal success. That he had 
no disposition to isolate himself and church from the associa- 
tion of Baptists is clearly seen in the following petition, which 
was read before the Savannah Baptist Church (white), October 
27th, 1834 : 

"The First African Church of Savannah reposing confidence 
in their brethren, the Savannah Baptist Church, and believing 
that they are willing to impart Christian advice to them in the 
circumstances under which they are placed, now throw them- 
selves upon the friendly and Christian aid of their brethren for 
this purpose. Believing what they will advise will be consistent 
with the spirit and dictates of the Gospel, they will cheerfully 
comply with the advice which may be thus given. That good 
may result from this measure is the humble hope and prayer of, 
in behalf of the church, 

"(Signed) "ADAM W DOLLY, 

' "Clerk." 

The Savannah Baptist Church sent the First African Bap- 
tist- Church the following reply : 

"October 26th, 1834. 

" The Savannah Baptist Church has been applied to by the 
First African Baptist Church for its advice in relation to its 
present situation and future conduct, with the spirit, they hope, 
with which the Christian should be actuated; and with the 
best wishes for the temporal and spiritual prosperity of the 
members of this community, submit the following as their 
advice : 

"The course which they recommend to be pursued, they 
look upon as the only one that can be adopted with the well 
grounded hope of their being reinstated in the full enjoyment 

History of the First 

of their privileges and the Christian fellowship of their breth- 
ren. It is not to be understood that the Savannah Baptist 
Church, in giving the advice which is asked, take upon them- 
selves the right to dictate what course shall be adopted. They 
would only be understood as advising as Christian brethren 
who are influenced by a lively interest of the First African 
Church. Our advice will seem to bear heavily upon an indi- 
vidual, but in advising the course herein stated, that individ- 
ual's best interests are contemplated. It is considered as 
unquestionable that most if not all of the difficulties of this 
church have chiefly arisen from the imputation of their hold- 
ing sentiments which are believed adverse to the fundamental 
truths of the Gospel ; and the conduct which has grown out of 
an adherence to these sentiments is due to the individual who 
has propagated them. And here, it would be remarked, that 
this statement is not made with the view of criminating", but 
simply to express the cause of the existing difficulties. Andrew C. 
Marshall, who has filled the office of pastor of this church, and 
who has always exercised a controlling influence over it, is 
considered the organ through which these sentiments have 
been propagated. Besides preaching objectionable doctrine, 
which it is believed he has done, his conduct in other respects 
has been such as to have excited against himself strong preju- 
dices at least, which still continue, and which it will require 
a long and continued series of entire propriety of conduct so 
far, indeed, as it is compatible with the frailties of human 
nature to maintain, in order to have them removed. Under 
these circumstances, therefore, we would advise the withdrawal 
of Andrew C. Marshall from the pastoral office as the first step 
which we tlynk necessary to bring about a settlement of diffi- 
culties and a restoration to fellowship. 

"In the next place, the disavowal of the doctrine imputed 
to the church should be unhesitatingly and fully made. 

" Thirdly, and lastly, we would advise as an indispensable 
step to the settlement of the difficulties and differences between 
this and the other colored churches in this city in which is 
involved the removal of all the obstacles which interpose to 
prevent the attainment of this end — and here let it be remem- 
bered that we are bound to make mutual confession and con- 
cession which do not call for the relinquishment of principle 
in order to bring about a good understanding and state of 
things among Christians — to forget the past and exercise for- 
bearance for the future. If this course be pursued, there can 
be very little doubt but that all is desirable will be effected. 
And how delightful it is to see brethren dwelling together in 

African Baptist Church. 27 

unity ; should Andrew C. Marshall feel himself aggrieved by the 
advice herein given, which indeed is made necessary from the 
circumstances under which he has brought himself, or by the 
opinions and feelings entertained towards him, not only by a 
large portion of the religious community, but by others also, 
he can appeal to the association which it is believed will readily 
appoint a committee of investigation in relation to his case, 
and which will unquestionably act towards him as the circum- 
stances which may be developed will justify and demand. In 
conclusion, it will be remarked that if a course of conciliation 
is not pursued the prejudice already created will be so riveted 
as not to be easily, if at all, removed, and it therefore behooves 
the church to act advisably and with caution. This is sug- 
gested in relation to its temporal condition and prospects, but 
surely its spiritual interests should be the object of paramount 
solicitude. If any other advice should be desired the church 
will readily and cheerfully afford it so far as it lies within their 
power to give. 

"(Signed) " J. S. LAW, 

"W. W WASH, 


Rev. A. C. Marshall was again in his church but it seemed 
that the trouble continued — these (white) brethren were still 
of the decided opinion that he ought not to be pastor, and as 
often as they were appealed to, they gave the same advice that 
Rev. Marshall should not be pastor. But in spite of them Rev. 
Marshall was reinstated pastor of the First African Baptist 
Church. In every advice asked by the First African Baptist 
Church, they always reserved the right to do as they thought 
best. They insisted upon the right of the church to refuse 
whatever they considered not to be after the dictates of the 
gospel. This teaching the committee (white) knew to have 
come from Rev. Marshall. Hence they always advised to get 
him out of the way. They feared that such independence as 
the gospel taught was "extremely dangerous" for the negroes 
to take in, being slaves. The First African Baptist Church soon 
after this came under the supervision of the Savannah Baptist 
Church. Peace did not long continue in the Third African 
Baptist Church. In the Conference of the Savannah Baptist 
Church (white), held August 24, 1835, a committee was "ap- 
pointed to examine into the difficulties existing in the Third 

£S History of the First 

African Church." This trouble grew out of the fact that John 
Simpson and family, William Munger and family, and Arthur 
Stevens had become dissatisfied with the inability of the pulpit 
to edify them and wished to leave the church, but were refused 
letters" of dismission. They applied to the white church for 
admission but were rejected. Doubtless, they now regret that 
they had left Eev. Marshall, an able preacher of the New Test- 
ament, Surely, if the shepherd is smitten the sheep will be 


The First African Baptist Church Trying to Re-enter the 

Association— She Finally Enters— Her Identity Traced. 

from 1788 to 1838, a Period of Fifty Years. 

In all these Years She is First African 

Baptist Church. 

In 1832 the First African Baptist Church was expelled. In 
1835 she applied for restoration. She was refused. The trouble 
was not settled to the satisfaction of the association, and hence 
they had to wait. A committee was' appointed to investigate 
the case and report at the next session. This year was also 
full of trouble and characterized by committee meetings and 
such like. The church, however, was not content to remain 
out of the association. Eev. Marshall, its pastor, had a large 
heart and was ready to forgive and forget the past, and march 
on. unitedly, to a glorious victory. 

The church felt it very keenly that they were out of the 
association, and great was the anxiety of the church to return 
to the association and the communion of the saints. Hence the 
disappointment of the churGh when the delegates returned and 
told them that they would have to wait another year before 
their anticipated joy of being united with the saints could be 
realized. Certain terms were proposed for reconciliation. The 
terms must have appeared stringent to the church and aggrieved 
pastor. They were called upon to deny any adherence to the 
doctrine of Alexander Campbell, and the pastor, Eev. A. C. 
Marshall, was called upon to disavow any belief in the doctrine 
of Mr. Campbell, which he had all along denied, and the con- 
trary of which they had on every occasion failed to prove, even 
if Eev Mr. Marshall entertained such views. The committee 

African Baptirf Church. 

of the church, (white) interposed and prevented the First Afri- 
can Church from joining the association. In 1836 the First 
African Baptist Church sent a petition again to rejoin the asso- 
ciation, but was again denied upon the ground that they had 
not complied with the terms proposed by the association through 
its committee. This petition was accompanied by a letter from 
the trustees (white), the spirit of which the association said it 
admired. .But the church had still to wait another year, as the 
committee recommended that the church be refused admittance 
until they had complied with the terms which had been pro- 
posed as the only ground upon which reconciliation could be 
effected. Though this pained the heart of the church she bore 
it Christ-like, and still endeavored to gain the fellowship of the 
saints and to be one again in the household of faith. 

In 1837, the First African Baptist Church appears as fair as 
the moon emerged from a dreadful cloud. For five years she 
had been in trouble and out of the association. During these 
five years her faith had been put to the severest test. Her 
enemies were strong, influential and many ; they were determ- 
ined, untiring, and many of them learned. With these odds 
the church had to contend. The church was determined, meek, 
humble, and, for that day, remarkably intelligent. She had 
a strong pastor, of iron will, many true and lasting friends. 
Being united among themselves, they proved to be an army 
too invincible for the mightiest foe. As of Bev. Andrew 
Bryan and this same church, their bitterest enemies were turned 
to most ardent admirers. During all this time the church 
increased in power, intellectually, spiritually, solidity and piety. 
Her troubles tended to develop her unknown strength and 
greatness which otherwise might have lain dormant. But for 
this trouble she might not have been the great church she is 
to-day. "When she was yet young, she learned self-reliance 
and to trust in God and go ahead. 

The church was restored to the association in 1837 with a 
membership of 1,810. She was represented in this session by 
A. C. Marshall and R. McMsh (the latter is still alive). She 
was expelled in 1832 with a membership of 2,795. At that 
session she was represented by A. C. Marshall, A. Johnson, J. 
Simpson and S. Whitfield. In 1837 when the First African 
Baptist Church returned to the association, the Third African 
Church, now the First Bryan Church, was represented by S. 
McQueen, with a membership of 189. At this session we have 
the First African Baptist Church with a membership of 1,810, 
a Second African Church with a membership of 1,263, and a 
Third African Church with a membership of 189. When Bev. 

Histon/ of the First 

Marshall went off from the old spot he carried with him 2,640 
members, leaving with Deacon Adam Johnson 155 members. 
They returned as above stated. This was 830 members less 
than he left with. Where are these 830 members? They did 
not go very largeh r to the Second African Church, for their 
number was diminished. For at the session of 1832, at which 
the First African Church was expelled, the Second African 
Church represented 1,310 members, and at the session of 
1837, when it returned, the Second Church had a member- 
ship of 1,263, 47 members less. They did not go very 
largely to the Third African Church, for in 1833, when 
it first joined the association, it represented 155 members. 
In 1837, four years afterward, when the First African 
Church was readmitted, the Third Church represented 189 
members — just 34 more — only an average of 8 J members a 
year. During the five years' trouble of the church many of 
the country members had been encouraged to leave the church 
by the white people. Many became indifferent; many had 
been taken out of the city on farms, and many had been hired 
out or sold out of the city. This accounts for the missing 830 
members. It must be noticed that the church was expelled in 
1S32 from the association as First African Church, with Rev. 
A. C. Marshall, pastor and delegate, and returned as First 
African Church, in 1837, with Rev. A. C. Marshall as pastor 
and delegate. She was dealt with all between as First African 
Baptist Church. Thus through the terrible troubles through 
which the church passed she never lost her identity. The ter- 
rible missies of the enemies fell harmlessly at her feet. Through 
Christ she conquered and her fame became world wide, and 
Rev. Marshall acknowledged as one of the ablest men of the 
age. Strangers visiting Savannah would not consider their 
visit complete if they did not visit the First African Church. 
After this trouble, Rev Marshall's greatness just begun to be 
acknowledged throughout the country. Settled down quietly to 
his work, the church under his leadership increased rapidly in 
membership and soon ran up to several thousands. Indeed 
she did come forth, as fair as the moon, as bright as the sun 
and as terrible as an army with banners. The First African 
Baptist Church was always liberal in its contributions to mis- 
sions and to the cause of Christ generally. It has left its im- 
press upon the hearts of many ministers and others whom she 
has helped in times of need. Notwithstanding her troubles 
she bought her house of worship, for which she paid 81,500, and 
supported her pastor at the same time. She never refused a 
call for missions. 

African Baptist Church. 31 


The New Site at Franklin Ward, or Square— The Purchase — 

New Building, and more about Rev. Marshall's Efforts 

to Get Money to Build the Church and to Bring 

it to a Higher Plane of Usefulness and 

Intelligence, and his Death. 

It appears that before the split of 1832 that money had been 
raised to purchase the old site of the Savannah Baptist Church 
at Franklin Square, and before the contract had been closed the 
trouble commenced. When the trouble was settled the First 
African Baptist Church agreed to relinquish its claims to the 
old church property to the minority so soon as they would 
relinquish their claims to the new. Hence it must be that 
they had helped to raise some of the money before the split 
with which to buy the new church property. 

The First African Baptist Church bought this property for 
$1,500. They were required to pay this amount from April 
28th, 1832, by November 1st, 1832. The terms were rigid, con- 
sidering those days. The bargain was authorized to be made 
in the Conference of the Savannah Baptist Church* (white) 
April 28, 1832, and in the Conference of the same. May the 
10th, 1832, the First African Baptist Church is credited with 
$1,000. The poor slaves had paid in less than thirty days this 
amount of money. They worked all day for the white people 
and paid them whatever money they made at night or between 
times. The church (white) ordered their Trustees to give the 
First African Baptist Church possession of the building as soon 
as they had paid the balance due. From this statement we 
learn that they were not to have possession until they paid all. 
If it be asked, Was this right and just ? we answer, yes and 
no. Yes, because if that was the contract it was right for 
them to comply with the contract before they could expect pos- 
session. If they were men capable of making a contract they 
ought to have been compelled to keep it. No, because they 
were slaves, and all they had and were belonged to the white 
people. They owned them as slaves and ordinarily they were 
not allowed to make a contract. It was the duty of the white 
people to look out for the religious welfare of the negroes, build 
their churches and pay their preachers. How could the white 
people have expected these slaves to have money ? They worked 

History of the First 


them all day and hired patrols and police nights and Sundays 
to see that they did not go out, except to church. Still they 
exacted of them SI, 500 just as rigidly as if they were free men. 
This thought is enough to chill the blood of a liberty-loving 
people. The First African Baptist Church is almost the price 
of blood. Just how the money was raised to buy this property 
we can not see. God helped His people, and to Him be all the 
glory. We may stand on the Mount of Liberty to-day and 
verv well exclaim, "The Lord has done great things for us, 
•whereof we are glad!" Perhaps the church will never be 
called upon to suffer what she has suffered, and perhaps will 
never produce a set of members more earnest, more determined 
and more liberal. 

These hardships developed wonderful characters. Whatever 
the negroes have learned they have paid for it dearly. About 
November 1st, 1832, the First African Baptist Church took 
charge of the building at Franklin Square. This was very 
providential that they should have obtained a site in so promi- 
nent a part of the city. From this place her glory commenced 
to be known the worid over. No church has been more favored 
of the Lord than this church. Not long after they had settled 
down in their new quarters the First African Baptist Church 
begun to bestir itself to put up a large brick building, to stand 
as a palace built for God to show His milder face. This was a 
great undertaking for slaves, but they were led by a great man, 
who was capable of undertaking great things, and who knew 
no such thing as fail. The church begun this hard task under 
adverse circumstances. It will be remembered that for about 
ten years there was no special things that transpired in the 
church worthy of note, except that the church grew and thrived 
under the faithful, pious and aged Andrew C. Marshall. 

It was in the heart of Rev Mr. Marshall to build a fine house 
of worship. For this purpose he begged money from his church 
and friends in Savannah, but seeing this was not sufficient and 
that he could not prosecute the work as rapidly as he wished, 
and seeing that the church was greatly put to it to raise money, 
Rev. Mr. Marshall went North to beg money. He had some 
success, but nothing like what he had hoped, perhaps. This 
trip was taken in 1850. He was cordially received by Northern 
Baptists and invited in the leading pulpits 1 of New York, 
crowds greeting him wherever he preached. But declining 
health and old age caused him to return homeward. Not 
being able to procure a passage on the steamer, owing to a law 
of the free States that a slave could not return to a slave State, 
he had to undertake the trip by land and such conveniences as 

African Baptist Church. 

that day afforded. He got as far as Richmond, Ya., and there 
breathed his last, full of years, faith and good works. Rev. 
Mr. Marshall hoped to finished the church building with the 
finishing of his days. But God called him to his reward with- 
out letting him return to see his people and report the results of 
his labors. When he died the work kept right on. 

God had a man prepared to take up the work where Rev. 
Marshall laid it down, and whom the people would love just as 
much, and who would wield the same, if not greater, influence 
over them. A man of practical judgment and wonderful exec- 
utive ability. That man was Rev. William J. Campbell. Un- 
der him the work did not lag. He did not leave the city to 
raise money to any great extent, but so great was his influence 
that he raised money at will. The building cost twenty-six 
thousand dollars ($26,000). It was completed in 1859. It 
being the only brick building owned by negroes in the city, or 
in the State, it attracted great attention. It was called the 
brick church, and by many is still known by that name. The 
building is a plain, neat one. There is nothing showy about it. 
Not a brick is put in it that might have been left out. Economy 
and taste were displayed in the erection of this edifice. It was 
built simply for the glory of God and He blessed their efforts. 
The church continued in favor with God and man. Anything 
she undertakes never fails. It is true that Rev. W J. Camp- 
bell was not so. able as Rev. A. C. Marshall, but somehow he 
had an unbounded influence over people. They simply obeyed 
him as king. The church was orderly and dignified. 

The building has a basement in which services are held dur- 
ing the week and prayer meeting early Sunday morning, and 
Sunday school Sunday afternoons. The main audience room 
has a gallery running around the front and both sides. In this 
room is preaching at 11 o'clock on Sunday morning, and at 
night. On the first Sunday in the month, at 3 p. m., the Lord's 
Supper is celebrated here also, and on the third Sunday in each 
month, at 3 p. m., the Church Conference is held in this room. 
Otherwise this room is not used except on special occasions, 
such as marriages, concerts, etc. The church has a large choir 
and a large pipe organ, which afford music morning and night 
on Sunday. The building is surrounded by an iron railing, ex- 
cept the rear, with the inscription, " First African Baptist 
Church, Rev. W J. Campbell, Pastor." It stands a lasting 
monument to the greatness of Revs. A. C. Marshall and W J. 
Campbell. As this building was completed in 1859 it stood 
until 1888 without any remodelling. 

Rev. W J. Campbell was a wise planner. He knew how to 

J4 ' History of the First 

divide his forces and to concentrate them whenever this was 
necessary AVhen the church decided to tear down the old 
frame building and to erect a new brick edifice he appointed a 
building committee, of Avhich he was chief director. As best 
we can learn, this committee consisted of Deacons Murry Mon- 
roe, C. L. DeLamotta, John Verdier and James M. Simnis. 
These were members of the church and took personal interest 
in the work. The work was executed with great pride, exqui- 
site taste and energy. Many men and women worked at night 
free of charge, and hence the work was pushed forward with 
wonderful rapidity. " The people had a mind to work.'' Mr. 
James H. Hooker, now a deacon of the church, boasts of hav- 
ing laid the first and last brick when the church was built. 
Many of the members loaned the church money on this occa- 


Rev. George Leile— His "Work in Savannah and Departure 

to Jamaica. 

Eev. George Leile was born in Virginia about 1750; removed 
to Georgia and settled in Burke county some time before 1773. 
About 1773, after six months distress of mind and inquiring the 
way of life (or what we call " seeking the Lord ''), he was happily 
converted, and was baptized by Rev. Mathew Moore (white). 
He was soon licensed to preach the Gospel, which he did with 
fine effect. His ordination followed very soon. From planta- 
tion to plantation he went bearing the olive branch of peace. 
Benedict says he preached at Brampton and YamacraAv, in the 
neighborhood of Savannah, for three years. He was owned by 
a Mr. Henry Sharp, who was very kind to him and gave him 
his freedom. One of the heirs undertook to rob him of his 
freedom after the death of his kind master, but God spared it 
to him. About 1781 he baptized Rev Andrew Bryan, his wife, 
and two others. About this time the British armies were leav- 
ing our shore and Rev. George Leile decided to seek a home in 
the West Indies. He was led by the loving hand of a smiling 
Providence, though he knew it not. He had not the money 

African Baptist Church. 

with which to pay his passage, yet he was to plant the Gospel 
in Jamaica. God put it in the heart of Col.* Kirkland to lend 
him the money. Led by the Spirit he sailed for Jamaica about 
the close of 1781 or the first of 1782. He put to work to pay 
back the money he had borrowed from Col. Kirkland just as 
soon as he reached Jamaica. In two years he had paid back 
the last cent. He was a farmer by trade. He had a wife and 
four children. He was busy preaching the gospel of Christ 
while he was making money to pay his debt. 

In 1784 he had organized a church on the island and had 
gathered around him many anxious hearers. He is not con- 
tent to organize a church, but he set to work to build a decent 
house for God. The Lord blessed his effort and some good 
Baptists in England were interested in his behalf, and by their 
contributions he erected a nice house of worship in that place. 
He organized the first Baptist Church in Kingston, Jamaica, 
and baptized the persons with whom the first Baptist Church 
of color was organized in Georgia. He is an important man, 
both in our history in Georgia and in the history of the Bap- 
tists in Jamaica. He was an able man of his day, if we may 
judge from his letters to Dr. Bippon, of London. In 1791 he 
wrote -that he had baptized about 500 persons. He was very 
industrious, working with his own hands for the support of 
himself and family, either farming or driving a wagon hauling 
goods from one place to the other. He was a man of great 
practical judgment. He was neat in his dress and humble in his 
manners. He won the highest respect and admiration of the 
people of the island, white and black. The slaves loved him 
and their owners honored him. He was the friend of both. 
He handled skillfully the sword of truth and drew crowds after 
him wherever he preached the gospel. When he had estab- 
lished a church in the towns he made for the interior to unfurl 
the gospel banner to those who were sitting in darkness and 
in the region of the shadow of death. He never forgot his 
brethren in Georgia — frequent letters passed between them. 
He was anxious to know how the brethren here fared with whom 
he had labored, and some of whom he had led to Jesus and 
baptized. We subjoin a copy of a letter from Bev. Leile to 
Dr. Bippon which will show somewhat of the character of the 
man. It was written in 1791 : 

"I cannot tell what is my age, as I have no account of the 
time of my birth ; but I suppose I am about 40 years old. I 
have a wife and four children. My wife was baptized by me 
in Savannah, and I have every satisfaction in life from her. 
She is much the same age as myself. My eldest son is 19 years, 

■16 History of the First 

my next son 17, the third fourteen, and the last child a girl of 
11 years. They are all members of the church. My occupa- 
tion is a farmer, but as the seasons in this part of the country 
are uncertain, I also keep a team of horses and wagons for the 
carrying of goods from one place to another, which I attend 
myself, with the assistance of my sons, and by this way of life 
have gained the good will of the public, who recommend me to 
business and to some very principal work for Government. I 
have a few books, some good old authors and sermons, and one 
large Bible that was given me by a gentleman. A good many 
of our members can read and are all desirous to learn. They 
will be very thankful for a few books to read on Sundays and 
other days. I agree to election, redemption, the fall of Adam, 
regeneration and perseverance, knowing the promise is to all 
Avho endure, in grace, faith and good works to the end, shall be 

" There is no Baptist church in this country but ours. We 
have purchased a piece of land at the east end of Kingston, 
containing three acres, for the sum of £155, currency, and on it 
have begun a meeting-house, 57 feet in length by 37 in breadth. 
We have raised the brick wall eight feet high from the founda- 
tion, and intend to have a gallery. Several gentlemen, mem- 
bers of the House of Assembly, and other gentlemen, have sub- 
scribed towards the building about £40. The chief part of our 
congregation are slaves, and their owners allow them, in com- 
mon, but three or four bits per week for allowance to feed 
themselves, and out of so small a sum we cannot expect any- 
thing that can be of service from them ; if we did, it would 
soon bring a scandal upon religion ; and the free people in our 
society are but poor, but they are all willing, both free and 
slaves, to do what they can. As for my part, I am too much 
entangled with the affairs of the world to go on, as I would, 
with my design in supporting the cause. This has, I acknowl- 
edge, been a great hindrance to the gospel in one way; but as I 
have endeavored to set a good example of industry before the 
inhabitants of the land, it has given general satisfaction another 
way And, Rev. Sir, we think the Lord has put it in the power 
of the Baptist Societies in England to help and assist us in 
completing this building, which we look upon will be the great- 
est undertaking ever was in this country for the bringing of 
souls from darkness into the light of the gospel. And as the 
Lord has put it in your heart to inquire after us, we place all 
our confidence in you to make our circumstances known to the 
several Baptist churches in England, and we look upon you as 
our father, friend and brother. Within the brick wall we have 

African Baptist Church. 37 

a shelter in which we worship until our buildipg can be accom- 

"Your letter was read to the church two or three times, and 
did create a great deal of love and warmness throughout the 
whole congregation, who shouted for joy and comfort to think 
that the Lord had been so gracious as to satisfy us in this 
country with the very same religion with our beloved brethren 
in the old country, according to the Scriptures ; and that such 
a worthy of London, should write in so loving a man- 
ner to such poor worms as we are. And I beg leave to say, 
that the whole congregation sang out that they would, through 
the assistance of God, remember you in their prayers. They 
all together give their Christian love to you and all the worthy 
professors of Jesus Christ in your church at London, and beg 
the prayers of the churches in general and of your congrega- 
tion wherever it pleases you to make known our circum- 
stances. I remain, with the utmost love, Rev. Sir, your un- 
worthy fellow laborer, servant and brother in Christ, 


" P. S. — We have chosen Twelve Trustees, all of whom are 
members of our church, whose names are specified in the title; 
the title proved and recorded in the Secretary's office of this 

*From Benedict's History of the Baptists. 

This man doubtless has long since finished his labors and has 
entered the saints' rest. We have no date of his death, nor 
the latter end of his work. But he will be remembered, and 
his name honored, both here and in Jamaica while memory 
holds its place. Whatever the negro Baptists here and in 
Jamaica are, they owe it to his humble beginning. And what- 
ever may be written of either of us, it cannot be complete if 
his name is left out. His record is here, there and in heaven. 
Nothing is known of any of his family — whether any are alive 
or not. 


History of the First 



Rev. Andrew Bryan and His Fastorate. 

This faithful servant of God was born at a place called Goose 
Creek, about sixteen miles from Charleston, South Carolina, 
somewhere about 1716, and was baptized by Rev. George Leile 
about 17S1. He was ordained to the office of the gospel min- 
istry January 20th, 1788, by Rev Abraham Marshall (white) 
and Eev. Jesse Peter, and was consequently 72 years old when 
he became pastor of the church. He learned to read about 1785. 
He was persecuted for preaching the gospel. He was whipped un- 
til he bled most profusely- But while bleeding, and the cruel lash 
yet falling upon his naked back, he held up his hand and said 
to his vile persecutors: "You may kill me, but I will preach 
the gospel. If you would stop me from preaching, cut off my 
head. 1 rejoice that I am worthy to suffer for Jesus." This 
was said with such Christian courage and humble boldness, 
and with a wonderfully powerful and sweet voice, that his in- 
human and ungodly persecutors were dumbfounded. This 

African Baptist Church. 39 

touched the hearts of the white people and excited their sym- 
pathy for the persecuted saints, who declared that such treat- 
ment would have been condemned even among barbarians. 
Then Mr. Jonathan Bryan, the master of Rev. Andrew Bryan, 
interceded for him. His intercession was late, but better late 
than never. We are disposed to believe that the sympathy of 
the community excited in favor of the persecuted disciples 
moved him rather than the magnanimity of his own heart. 
Where was he when all this persecution was going on ? Could 
his negroes, who were doubtless living on his premises, have 
been taken and almost martyred without his knowledge? 
Would white men in those days have treated each others' ne- 
groes with such extreme cruelties without their permission or 
knowledge? Verily, we think, no. Benedict says: "Jona- 
than Bryan, Esq., the kind master of Andrew and Samson, 
interceded for his own servants and the rest of the sufferers, 
and was much grieved at their punishment." While we thank 
God that help did come, we feel that this statement is highly 
colored. We lived in the days of slavery and saw and felt 
some, of its ungodly hardships. We know that this was a 
remarkable case if Mr. Jonathan Bryan could not have pre- 
vented this diabolical treatment of these humble, defenseless 
Christians, his slaves, but God's freemen. If this was done 
without his knowledge he could have sued for damage, we 
think. Benedict does not tell us that he did. If he did, 
doubtless Benedict would have been delighted to have informed 
us at length about it. We thank God, however, for what Mr. 
Jonathan Bryan did. He might have done much worse. 

After this terrible whipping, Rev. Andrew Bryan was given 
the use of his master's barns at Brampton, three miles south- 
west of Savannah, for the purpose of preaching Jesus to the 
negroes. Here for several years he preached the glorious gos- 
pel of Him who was born in a manger to anxious hearers in a 
manger. The blessing of Almighty God rested upon his efforts, 
and He honored his humble preaching in this humble place 
with the power of the Holy Spirit. Their number wonderfully 
and rapidly increased. They soon silenced and shamed their 
bitterest enemies, unarmed them and made ardent admirers of 
them. Rev. Andrew Bryan was a faithful, earnest and simple 
preacher of the New Testament. His simple, earnest preach- 
ing at Brampton's barn attracted attention and he was visited 
by distinguished men of that day. In course of time he pro- 
cured a site in Yamacraw and there erected a church and 
preached very successfully the gospel. 

He was given a place upon which to erect a house of worship 

40 History of the First 

by Edward Davis, Esq., in Yamacraw. This was soon taken 
from them. The corporation of the city gave them a lot in 
Yamacraw upon which they erected a house 42x49 in 1792. It 
seems that they lost this too. 

About this time Kev. Andrew Bryan bought himself and 
family and very rapidly accumulated property. He was worth 
before his death upward of five thousand dollars. The site the 
First Bryan Church sits on to-day was owned by him, and in 
1797 he sold it to the First African Baptist Church. He 
wielded an immense influence. He was beloved and honored 
by white and black. He was pastor of the First African Bap- 
tist Church from 1788 to 1812 — a period of twenty-four years. 
On October 6th, 1812, he breathed his last, full of faith, hope, 
honor, years and good work. He went to live with that Jesus 
for whom he suffered. Distinguished white men delivered 
eulogies at his funeral. Thus ended the wonderful career of 
this grand, good man, the father of the Baptists in Savannah, on 
the coast, and in Georgia. As a man he was humble and fear- 
less. As a preacher he was faithful and true. Whatever was 
duty was supreme with him. As a pastor he was loving, ten- 
der and sympathetic. He loved his members as children, and 
they reverenced him as a father. When he died it was con- 
sidered as a calamity by the whole community. One of the 
best men that ever lived had passed from labor to reward. In 
life he was beloved by all ; in death bemoaned by all. He was 
an ornament to society and a blessing to mankind. He was 
followed to his last resting place by not less than five thousand 
persons, and addresses were made at his grave by three distin- 
guished white men. He was a great man. 

African Baptist Church. 


Rev. Andrew O. Marshall. 

Kev. Marshall was born about 1775 in South Carolina. He 
was the nephew of Eev. Andrew Bryan. He was, it is said, 
pastor of the First African Baptist Church for forty-four years, 
but this is hardly correct, for from the death of Rev. Andrew 
Bryan to the death of Eev. Marshall was just forty-four years. 
It is more than likely that some time elapsed before he was 
installed as pastor at the death of his uncle. The statement 
respecting Rev. Marshall is very conflicting. The above refer- 
ence to his birth is according to Dr. Cathcart. We subjoin a 
statement that was written by a friend who claimed to have 
been acquainted with the facts in the case and who lived in the 
days of Rev. Marshall. 

"Rev. Andrew C. Marshall was born in Bryan county, Ga., 
December 25th, 1745. In 1785 he became a member of the 
church, being baptized by his uncle, Rev. Andrew Bryan, pas- 
tor of the First African Baptist Church. A few years after he 
was licensed to preach the gospel, after which he was ordained 
as an evangelist. He preached in the Second African Baptist 

4~' History of the First 

Church for nine years. In the year 1808 he took pastoral care 
of the First African Baptist Church, in which he had been pas- 
tor for forty-eight years. From the time of his conversion he 
was used as an instrument in the hands of God of doing much 
good. He heard the conversion of 4,000 concerning the faith 
of the Lord Jesus Christ; "he baptized 3,776; he married 2,400; 
he buried 2,040. 

"Andrew C. Marshall was born a slave. He has traveled over 
a great part of the United States. He has by industry suc- 
ceeded in purchasing himself and done many benevolent acts 
among his' color, and has given to different institutions several 
thousand dollars. The venerable Father in Israel, Andrew C. 
Marshall, 'died in Richmond, Virginia, December 7th, 1856, 
while returning from the North to the people of his charge. 
For nearly or quite half a century he was a laborious and inde- 
fatigable workman in the vineyard of his Master. For many 
years he was the leading religious spirit among his colored 
brethren and maintained what he so well deserved, the .respect 
and confidence of the whole community. Full of years, how- 
ever, and full of honors, he has obeyed the welcome summons, 
' Come up,' and died at the age of 110; and up to the time of 
his death he could discharge his duty as pastor of the church. 
His remains were brought to Savannah at the expense of the 
congregation, the funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. 
Thomas Rambeau, and deposited in his own vault. He is now 
succeeded by one of his own students, Rev. William Campbell." 

Rev. Marshall must have been born later than 1775. If 
Cathcart's account is true that he was body guard to George 
"Washington while in Savannah during the war, the war com- 
menced in 1775 and lasted eight years, so Cathcart's account of 
the birth of Rev. Marshall can not be true. In fact, little if 
anything he says about this church is true. Rev. Marshall 
must have been born about 1745, as said of him. 

Cathcart says he became pastor of the First African Baptist 
Church in 1808, and yet he says that "Rev. Andrew Bryan 
continued its pastor until his death in October, 1812." This is 
very contradictory. It is said on Rev. Marshall's epitaph in 
the church to-day that he was pastor of the First African Bap- 

1. The reader will observe the contradiction in the place and timp «f tv.o 
birth of Rev. A. C. Marshall. " OI lne 

2. It will be seen also that the First African Baptist Church was not ore-an 
Ized when Rev. Marshall is said to have been baptized (1785), having been orSan 
ized in 1788. 5 

3. It is clear that Rev. Marshall was never pastor of the Second African Ban. 
tist Church. If he preached in said church nine years and resigned it in 180s it 
will be seen that he took charge of said church in 1799, which whs three ve-irs 
before the Second African Baptist Church was organized, being organized in 1802 

African Baptist Church. ^3 

tist Church for forty-four years. If he was pastor of the First 
African Baptist Church in 1808, having served the Second Afri- 
can Baptist Church nine years, this would make him begin his 
pastorate with the Second African Baptist Church in 1799. 
This was quite three years before the Second African Baptist 
Church was organized. It was organized December 26th, 1802, 
and Rev. Henry Cunningham was ordained January 1st, 1803, 
and called to be its pastor. He served it continuously until 
1831 or 1832, a period of twenty-eight or twenty-nine years. 
Hence Rev. Marshall was never pastor of the Second African 
Baptist Church since he served the First African Baptist Church 
from about 1812 to 1856, and since Bev. Henry Cunningham 
preceded him to the saints' reward about twenty-five years. 
Bev. Marshall bought himself and accumulated property very 
rapidly. He was a man of a large heart, iron will and an 
unflinching courage. He feared nothing and nobody that stood 
in his way to right. He had many good books which he read. 
His information was broad. He comprehended the precepts of 
the gospel, thought for himself, and never feared to proclaim 
his views. He understood the government of the Baptist 
Church and by that he was willing to die. He had much trouble, 
as our readers must have discpvered ere this. He built a large 
brick house on Bryan street, in Yamacraw, and had much 
trouble about it from the report that he bought stolen bricks. 
The prejudice was very high against him and the church was 
closed for six months on account of this. In 1825, Bev. Mar- 
shall preached all of his spare time from his church as mission- 
ary to the negro Baptist Churches in the bounds of the Suns- 
bury Association and refused pay when it was offered to him. 
He was a great preacher, and controlled the people as if by 
magic. His people were willing to die with him. Wherever 
he went to preach crowds, white and black, flocked to hear 
him. His preaching was of the old school order, purely text- 
ual and abounded in numerous quotations. He believed the 
Bible was its best interpreter, and hence he always strove to 
make scripture explain scripture. He seemed to have eaten up 
the Bible. His voice was strong and powerful and at his per- 
fect control. He could make it so pathetic as to melt his con- 
gregation to tears at will. He was humorous and wonderfully 
witty and extremely eloquent. Those who went to hear him 
never regretted it, and could never forget him. He preached 
extensively in Georgia — at Augusta, Macon and many other 
places. The Georgia Legislature adjourned a session and in- 
vited him to address the body. As a friend he was true ; as 
an antagonist he was powerful and foxy; as a planner and 

44 Hidonj of the Fird 

debater his equals were few in any country, among any people ; 
as a financier he was successful; as a gentleman he was upright, 
and as a Christian he was humble and forgiving. 

After the split of 1832, when the disaffected members had 
withdrawn and formed the Third African Baptist Church, now 
the First Bryan Baptist Church, his people were more attentive 
to him, obeyed him unhesitatingly, and loved him more as the 
years passed by. He possessed a wonderful knowledge of men 
and had a strange influence over them. He saw much of the 
excitement of the Revolutionary war and was honored as body 
servant of George Washington while he was in Savannah. This 
we get from Dr. Cathcart's Encyclopedia of the Baptists, the 
accuracy of which is, at least, questionable. Yet if he was 
born in 1745 he would have been old enough. 

We have found several of his statements contradictory. He 
says that Rev. Marshall became pastor of the Second African 
Baptist Church in 1806, and we think it clear that he was never 
pastor of that church. Many of the members who were bap- 
tized by Rev. Marshall, and a deacon who served under him, 
are still alive, who affirm that he was never pastor of that 
church. There never has lived a negro in Savannah who was 
the equal of Rev. Mr. Marshall. Through his skill and won- 
derful executive ability the site at Franklin Square was paid 
for, and he laid the foundation for the present beautiful edifice. 
While men loved him, they feared him and quaked before him. 
Little preachers in that day who could do passably well other- 
wise would cave in in the presence of Rev Marshall and make 
a complete failure. Yet he was friendly, sympathetic and kind. 
But as kindness generally breeds fear, he was possessed of 
much kindness and hence was feared accordingly. When he 
had well nigh strained his people for money he went North for 
the purpose of begging money to complete his church. His 
success is not known. Returning he got as far as Richmond, 
Ya., where he died, full of honors, full of good works, full of 
hope and full of faith. The church sent Rev. W J. Campbell 
to bring his remains to Savannah. His sorrowing people hon- 
ored in every possible way the remains of this venerable father. 
Many white people followed this aged saint to his last resting 
place. Thus ended the long and useful life of one of the great- 
est men in the American pulpit. 

1st. If Rev. Marshall was born in 1775 ho could not have witnessed much 
about the exciting events of the Revolutionary War, which commenced in 1775 

2d. If he was born in 1775 he may have been "converted and joined the 
church in 1785," as Dr. Cathcart says, but it was very rare in those days for ne- 
groes to join the church at ten years of age, and certainly he could not have been 
"licensed to preach not long after." The Dr. is mistaken. 

African Baptist Church. J^q 

We insert from Sprague's Annals of the Ariierican Baptist 
Pulpit the following: , 

ANDREW C. MARSHALL — 1786-1856. 
[Prom the Kev. J. P. Tustin, D. D.] 

Charleston, S. C, January 15, 1859. 
Rev. and Dear Sir : 

My ecclesiastical connection with Andrew C. Marshall and 
his church placed me, for several years, in constant communi- 
cation with him. Having also to act as a legal security to meet 
the municipal ordinances of Savannah and the State of Geor- 
gia, with regards to colored preachers, I had much to do in 
matters of counsel and discipline in his church. The sources 
of information relative to the following memoir have been often 
attested by communication with the older members of the 
Georgia Historical Society, and with many of the oldest and 
most respectable citizens of that State. I am happy to be able 
to give you these memorabilia of one of the most remarkable 
colored men who have appeared in our modern times. 

Andrew C. Marshall, late pastor of the First African Baptist 
Church in Savannah, Georgia, has deservedly become a celeb- 
rity in the annals of the American Baptist Church. During 
the last quarter of a century his name gradually attracted pub- 
lic attention, until at length it was known in distant parts of 
the country, and even across the Atlantic. Several of the most 
lively sketches of him which appeared were given by authors 
whose works are current in various languages. Among these 
is the account of Sir Charles Lyell in his volumes published 
after his second scientific tour in the United States. Miss 
Fredrika Brenner, in her American tours, has presented a strik- 
ing portraiture of him. Within the last few years of his life, 
almost every intelligent stranger who might be visiting Savan- 
nah, was likely to seek out or to hear this venerable preacher, 
and the sketches thus frequently produced were widely circu- 
lated by the religious press of various denominations, and some 
of the leading secular papers in Northern cities had occasion- 
ally contributed to spread his fame. 

The most noteworthy fact which made Mr. Marshall so cele- 
brated in his later years, was his reputed great age. During 
his visit through the Northern States in the summer arid fall of 
1856, the last year of his life, the previously received version 
of his extreme age was extensively repeated, and has not been 
discredited. Some years previous to that time I had, as a trib- 
ute ,to the cause of science, attempted to collect and sift the 

History of the Firxt 

evidence about this story, which, if only apocryphal, would 
mislead persons engaged in ethnological and historical re- 
searches. Literary and scientific gentlemen had frequently 
made reference to Mr. Marshall, as an important physical phe- 

With no wish to detract from a story of popular interest, but, 
nevertheless, with a strong desire to arrive at perfect accuracy, 
I sought all the sources available to myself for testing the 
question of Mr. Marshall's age. Several lines of investigation 
were followed, which partly tended at first to fix his age from 
ten to fifteen years below what was commonly assigned to him, 
and claimed by himself. 

One of these lines of investigation was in the personal recol- 
lections of the late Hon. John Macpherson Berrien, so well 
known as "United States Senator and Attorney General of the 
"United States. Judge Berrien was educated for the bar by 
Judge Clay, of Bryan county, Georgia, by whom Andrew C. 
Marshall was owned as a slave, while Mr. Berrien was a mem- 
ber of the family. Mr. Berrien was born August 23, 1781, and 
after graduating at Princeton, commenced the practice of law 
in Georgia at the age of eighteen years, which was near the 
time when Mr. Marshall began his efforts at preaching. 

AVith his great name for integrity and accuracy, Judge Ber- 
rien would not be considered likely to give countenance to any 
opinion which was unsupported by valid evidence. His recol- 
lections of Andrew C. Marshall's appearance could hardly be 
reconciled with the account which must have made him a per- 
son of fifty years of age when Mr. Berrien first knew him as a 
coachman. But it was at most a matter of impression with 
Mr. Berrien, that Andrew was at that period not more than a 
middle-aged man. Judge Berrien's impression can be accounted 
for by the fact that this remarkable African always carried his 
age so remarkably well, even at a century. 

The late venerable Mr. Miller, familiarly known in Georgia 
as '•Cotton Miller," from his having been the first person who 
sent the first bale of cotton to Savannah for shipment, was also 
of the opinion that Mr. Marshall's age should have been placed 
several years below what was commonly assigned to him and 
by him. Guided by such cautious and accurate men, who thus 
seemed to discredit a popular and universally received version 
it fell to my lot, some years ago, while acting as one of the 
Secretaries of the Georgia Historical Society, to examine Mr. 
Marshall more closely than ever, as to his personal history, and 
to compare the results of these interrogatories with other col- 
lateral evidence. Being charged with the duty, in behalf of 

African Baptist Church. J^7 

the literary representative and grandson of Gen. Nathaniel 
</3reen, of the Revolutionary army, of identifying the spot 
where that hero was buried in Savannah, I found Andrew C. 
Marshall to be a most useful adviser on points which put at 
once his veracity and his accuracy of recollection to the closest 
tests. Some of his statements as to his age at the time of Gen. 
Greene's death, which occurred in 1786, at first seemed to con- 
firm the impression of Judge Berrien and Mr. Miller, already 
referred to. On a review, however, of that case, it appears that 
these interrogatories were conducted , too much in the manner 
of a cross-examination by a special pleader; and Mr. Marshall's 
confusion of mind or apparent inaccuracy as to dates, could be 
sufficiently explained by his want of familiarity with the pub- 
lished literary chronicles of the times in question. 

It is, therefore, a concession which is now cheerfully made, 
that the doubts which I once published as to Mr. Marshall's 
being truly a living centenarian, may not be justified. No one 
who intimately knew the venerable subject of this sketch 
would suspect him of wishing to deceive in any important mat- 
ter. The only abatement which any one Avould feel, arises from 
the well known propensity of colored people in all parts of the 
Southern States to make themselves older than they really are, 
after they reach to some advanced period. The deference ac- 
corded to age; the freedom from labor which aged servants 
enjoy, and the consideration received from those of their own 
race — these are among the inducements which lead aged Afri- 
cans to over-estimate their years, sometimes by a very consid- 
erable difference. 

It is possible that Mr. Marshall may have been deceived, not 
only in regards to his years, but also as to some other facts in 
his history. And yet it is proper to remark that his means of 
knowing were better than any others possessed. It must be 
allowed that his statements were not questioned by the oldest 
and most respectable citizens of his own city and region, and 
gentlemen now living can certify to more than fifty years' 
knowledge of him. 

If any other question besides his age should be raised as to 
his accuracy or competency of opinion concerning himself, it 
would be as to the amount of African blood. In his conforma- 
tion and general appearance, he would probably pass for a true 
mulatto. But some scientific gentlemen, accustomed to the 
refined test which the hair and other criteria of physiology 
seem to have settled in ethnological researches, have formed a 
decided opinion that Mr. Marshall was more of an African than 
would follow from a white father and a black mother. 

JS History of the Firxt 

His own account, so often repeated, and so widely known 
and believed, in lower Georgia, will now be mainly followed 1 ? 
He always referred his birth to the year 1755, being the time of 
General Braddock's defeat by the French and Indians. This, 
he said, had, from his early recollections, determined the year of 
his nativity. As informed by his mother, who was an unmixed 
negress, his father was an Englishman acting as an overseer in 
South Carolina, where Andrew was born. The father left for 
England where he died not long after the birth of the child. 
It Avas asserted by Andrew that he had been entitled to his 
freedom from his birth, as his father had arranged with a mu- 
latto person by the name of Pendarvis, before going to Eng- 
land, that the negro mother and two children which she had 
borne him were to be provided for, and the children educated, 
and that upon his return the father would secure their free- 
dom. His premature death becoming known, the mulatto over- 
seer managed to enforce a claim against the estate of the father, 
and the mother and children were seized and sold as slaves. 
Andrew was sold to John Houston, Colonial Governor of Geor- 
gia, who died when Andrew was about 21 years of age. 

Andrew Marshal] was twice married; the first time at 16 
years of age. By his two marriages he had twenty children, 
only one of whom now survives. He was separated from his 
first wife after the death of Governor Houston, by whom he 
had been bequeathed his freedom on account of having one 
time saved his master's life. The executors, however, failed to 
carry out the will, and Andrew was again sold, being then 
parted from his first wife. He evaded the decision by running 
away, and was sold while at large, becoming the property of 
Judge Clay, as already mentioned. 

"While in the service of Judge Clay, he accompanied his mas- 
ter, who several times visited the Northern States in the capac- 
ity of a member of Congress, and perhaps on some other occa- 
sions also. In these visits. Andrew's position as coachman 
enabled him frequently to see General Washington, of whom 
he was fond of relating several striking incidents. At a later 
period General Washington visited Savannah, and Andrew was 
honored with the appointment of body servant to the Presi- 
dent. He was constantly near the General's person during his 
brief stay in the city, acting as his driver, and waiting upon 
him at a public dinner. Andrew said that Washington was 
uniformly grave and serious, and that he was never seen to 
smile during his whole visit, though he was always calm and 

The congruity of Mr. Marshall's recollections seenis to be 

African Baptist Church. J/9 


verified, especially in regards to his age, in connection with the 
opening period of the Revolutionary war. The .embargo having 
taken effect at Savannah, fifteen merchants of that city agreed 
to give him a purse of two hundred and twenty-five dollars, on 
condition that he should carry word to a number of American 
vessels lying in a bay on the lower seaboard and destined for 
Savannah. In this achievement he was successful. The ves- 
sels were enabled to escape to Spanish protection, before the 
courier, previously sent, had informed the fleet of their danger. 

Mr. Marshall was an eye-witness • of many of the stirring 
events which occurred in Savannah and its vicinity during the 
Revolutionary war. He was a trustworthy servant, especially 
when honored with any unusual promotion and responsibility. 
Even in the last war with England, he was employed, for a 
period of six weeks, by officers of the government or the army, 
on some important business, and for this he refused any com- 
pensation, as he always claimed to be a true American, and 
cheerfully shared in the toils and sufferings of the white popu- 
lation, though never with any unseemly pretensions on his 

He had distinct personal recollections of General Nathaniel 
Greene. His account of that hero's early death agrees with 
the traditions which have been carefully attested by gentlemen 
familiar with historical researches. General Greene, imme- 
diately after the war, was rewarded with valuable grants of 
land near Savannah, to which he repaired with his family in 
1783. Owing either to some disputed title, or to rancor and 
envy at the hero's valuable possessions, he was not allowed to 
enjoy them long. He was exposed to so much personal danger 
that he was obliged to ride armed with pistols, in going to and 
from his plantation near the city, and he could travel only in 
full daytime. Thus exposed in the midst of the summer's heat, 
he was suddenly smitten with inflammation of the brain, and 
died on the 19th of June, 1786. Andrew C. Marshall could 
recall all these events with the distinctness of an eye-witness. 
His account of the hero's funeral, in Savannah, is the only 
apparently faithful picture which can now be furnished, whether 
from written chronicles or from personal traditions. He de- 
scribed the surprise, grief and indignation of the people of the 
city at the early and untoward death of General Greene, and 
their willing minds but ineffectual desires to stand up for his 
honor and defense. The town and region around were sum- 
moned to the funeral, and tubs of punch and barrels of biscuits 
were placed along the road near the cemetery to refresh the 
wearied multitude. Andrew declared that he could pace off 

Hi-ftoru (if the Fir*t 

the distance from the gate of the old cemetery on South Broad 
street to within half a dozen steps of the spot where the Gen- 
eral was buried. But his aid in verifying this locality had been 
too long deferred, when an investigation was attempted a few 
years ago. especially as it was then established by sufficient 
evidence that the remains of General Greene had previously 
been exhumed and removed to a spot which cannot now be 

Mr. Marshall's force of character seemed to have been chiefly 
expended on worldly interests, until he was about 50 years of 
age. He evinced, even to the last a lively sympathy in the 
welfare of the country, and was especially careful to maintain 
the cause of law and order in the social relations by which he 
was surrounded in his own city and vicinity. Xot far from the 
time of his conversion, he also acquired his emancipation. He 
was at that time owned as a slave by Mr. Bolton, whose family 
name is honorably known among the merchant princes of Sa- 
vannah. The father of Mr. Bolton had been the special friend 
of the Countess of Huntingdon while she was patronizing Mr. 
Whitefield's mission in Savannah, and the orphan house at 
Beulieu. The Bolton name is associated by marriage with the 
family of the late Bev. "William Jay, of Bath, in England. The 
business partner of Mr. Bolton was the late venerable Mr. 
Bichard Bichardson, who purchased Andrew, and, with the 
view of effecting his emancipation, advanced him two hundred 
dollars, in order to purchase himself. With his previous earn- 
ings, and with diligence and economy, under the encourage- 
ments of his master, he saved enough to pay for himself and 
his whole family then consisting of his wife and four children, 
his wife's father and his own step-father. Shortly after his con- 
version he began to preach, and in 1806 he became pastor of 
the Second Baptist Church* in Savannah, which was a colored 
church, in distinction from the First or the White Baptist 
Church, then recently formed by the distinguished Henry Hol- 
coinbe. T>. D.. who afterwards died as pastor of the First Bap- 
tist Church in Philadelphia. About a thousand colored mem- 
bers then belonged to Mr. Marshall's church, and subsequently 
the number increased to some three thousand, when it was 
thought best lo divide them. Accordingly the colored church 
was formed, which some time afterward purchased the old 
house of worship which the White Baptist Church vacated 

'■This I'iinnot be true. The Second African Baptist Church was organized Tie- 
ceiiilier net li, lsiL'-the I-'irst African Church January IMth, 1TSS. The first was 
never known as the Second Al'iican Baptist Church in distinction to the White 
Baptist Church. 

African Baptist Church. 51 

when they built their new brick meeting-house, under the pas- 
torship of the late Rev. Henry O. Wyer, and which now formed 
a part of the large house of worship known as the First Bap- 
tist Church in Savannah. The church which Mr. Marshall 
thus formed took the name of the First African Baptist Church, 
and he remained its pastor till the day of his death.* 

During the long period of his ministry Mr. Marshall was 
careful to preserve tolerably good memorials of his ministerial 
acts. His mere recollections seemed nearly as accurate as if 
they had been written and publicly certified. He had baptized 
about thirty-eight hundred persons, and he supposed that over 
four thousand had professed to be converted under his ministry. 
His personal influence extended over the plantations through 
several counties around Savannah, and the planters were gener- 
ally satisfied with the beneficial effects of his labors. He was 
often sent for to preach and to perform funeral services at great 
distances, and such visits were often urged by the planters and 
the white people at large, as well as by the blacks. Whenever 
he visited any of the larger cities his appearance in public min- 
istrations was greeted by great multitudes. He occasionally 
preached in Augusta, Macon and Milledgeville, as well as in 
Charleston, and even as far off as in New Orleans. On some 
occasions his audiences were composed, in large part, of the most 
respectable white people, and the Legislature of Georgia at one 
time gave him a hearing in an entire body. The winter before 
he died he visited Augusta and conducted a protracted meeting, 
which resulted in the addition of over three hundred and fifty 
persons to the colored church in that city. With all these im- 
mense results to his ministry, Mr. Marshall preserved a strict 
and salutary discipline, at least, such was the constant effort and 
rule of his proceedings. He was jealous of mere animal excite- 
ments, and generally unfriendly even to protracted meetings 
in his own church, or in others where he officiated. He relied 
upon the appointed and ordinary means of grace ; and in his 
own church, there were seldom any efforts used beyond special 
prayer and the faithful ministrations of the word. He, how- 
ever, was so deeply interested in the temperance cause, that he 
encourged, among his people, those methods of organizations for 
this object which are somewhat kindred to the plan of the Odd 
Fellows. There were also societies among his flock for mutual 

*Mr. Marshall did not form the First African Baptist Church. The First African 
Baptist Church was formed by Rev. Abraham Marshall (white) and Rev. Jesse 
Peter (colored) January 20, 1788. The First African Baptist Church is twelve 
years older than the Savannah Baptist Church (white). They were never 
together and hence the colored church could not have come out from the white 
church. The First African Baptist Church worshipped in Yamacraw before the 
white Baptist Church was in existence. 

History of the First 

benefit; and in these ways the poor and the infirm, especially 
among the free people of color, who had no legal masters to 
care for them in their old age were greatly benefited. Mr. 
Marshall was so strong in his opposition to drunkenness that 
no colored person would, by this indulgence, willingly incur his 
censure. There is no doubt that, in this respect, he accom- 
plished much for the cause among the blacks, and thus for the 
public welfare generally. 

The superiority of Mr. Marshall's character and talents espe- 
cially appears in the methodical manner in which he conducted 
his own business, as well as in the discipline of his church. 
Long after he became a preacher, he had but a small and pre- 
carious support from any pecuniary rewards for his ministry. 
He supported himself and his family as a drayman; but his 
great capacity soon asserted itself, even in respect to his mate- 
rial means of prosperity. He conducted the portage and dray- 
ing business on a considerable scale, at one period having owned 
a number of drays and teams, and even the slaves who drove 
them. He owned the large brick dwelling house in which he 
had lived for many years previous to his death ; and was at 
one time rated in property as high as twenty-five thousand dol- 
lars, though this was probably too high an estimate. His prop- 
erty was diminished very considerably in his latter years. "With 
his increasing infirmities he began to fear that he might yet be 
scarcely saved from the necessity of out-door duties and that 
he might have to give up the easy carriage and horse which he 
had so long enjoyed. He related that, on one occasion, he had 
advanced twenty-five hundred dollars to purchase a family of 
twelve persons, to prevent their separation, and that he never 
received back the money, except a mere trifle, which he had 
thus paid. His church, however, were abundantly able and 
willing to provide for him ; and though they did not pay him a 
fixed salary, they made regular contributions, which amounted 
to a handsome sum annually, and which in any extremity could 
doubtless have been increased by several hundred dollars. 
Prominent native citizens were always among his tried friends; 
and some of the most respectable gentlemen in Savannah, of 
different denominations, acted as trustees for his church, to pro- 
tect their real estate and other property. 

Mr. Marshall possessed elements which would of necessity 
have made him a leading character anywhere. His Anglo- 
Saxon temperament made him superior to his African race. 
His strength of character showed itself in his indomitable per- 
severance, his calm self-possession, his practical sagacity, and a 
discretion which never failed him. Withal he had a genial and 

African Baptist Church. 53 

even humorous temper; and his countenance bore the finest 
lines of expression. He was entirely free from superstition, 
and gave no countenance to marvellous relations of experience, 
even in a work of grace. He could penetrate beneath disguises, 
and few men, white or black, of any age, could surpass him in 
reading human character. The deference which he always 
showed for the laws and institutions of the country was com- 
bined with a high measure of self-respect, and frequently with 
a decision and inflexibility which might be taken advantage of 
by unprincipled white persons. There was a period of about 
two years — from 1819 to 1821 — when Mr. Marshall became 
somev/hat unpopular with the white people of his own denom- 
ination, on account of his extreme views of theology, which at 
first bordered on Antinomianism. and at length receded to the 
opposite extreme of Sacramentalism in Baptism, as held by 
Alexander Campbell. During that time, and while engaged in 
his secular avocations, he had violated the laws by contraband 
dealings with negroes. He had made purchases from slaves 
having no tickets with leave to trade and sell; and, though 
many white people had laid the foundation of large success in 
business before, as others have since, by contraband with blacks, 
advantage was taken of Mr. Marshall's inadvertency, and hap- 
pening together with his temporary unpopularity, he was prose- 
cuted and sentenced to be publicly whipped in the market- 
place. The kindness of his former master, Mr. Richardson, 
and the feelings of many of th? best citizens, would not allow 
him to suffer ; and personal witnesses of the scene, yet living, 
can attest that the whipping was only a semblance — the con- 
stable receiving instructions not to scratch his skin or to draw 
blood — his old master also being at his side to- see that these 
precautions were faithfuliy and humanely observed. While 
Mr. Marshall was unvarying in his deference, to white people, 
and was never distrusted for any disloyalty to the public peace ; 
and while he was decided in asserting the necessity and advan- 
tages of the present institutions in the South, he yet never hes- 
itated to make a firm and respectful declaration of the rights of 
conscience in matters of religion. He sometimes alluded to 
his celebrated uncle, the Rev. Andrew Bryan, who was a col- 
ored preacher of nearly as great reputation as ever Andrew C. 
Marshall possessed, and who died at an extremely great age, as 
pastor of the colored church in Savannah. In one of the tur- 
bulent outbreaks of religious bigotry among the baser sort of 
people, which happened before the demoralizing effects of the 
Revolutionary war had been followed by better morals and 
manners, this old preacher, Andrew Bryan, was silenced 

•■>.£ History of the First 

from preaching, and, upon his assuming again to preach, he 
was publicly whipped. But, after this flagellation, he declared 
that he could not stop preaching, even if at the cost of a mar- 
tyr s sufferings. This old man seemed ever to have been the 
model of a true preacher, with Andrew Marshall; and when 
he died, his nephew and successor caused a beautiful mural 
tablet to be raised in his church, and an other large tablet of 
marble over his grave, in which were recited the events of his 
life, not omitting the whipping and persecution he had endured 
for righteousness' sake. The monument will probably long 
remain in the colored cemetery at Savannah. 

The bent and tone of Mr. Marshall's mind was of the old 
Calvinistic order. His clear intellect was equal to the best dis- 
tinctions in theology ; and though he was rather too fond of 
sometimes saying in public that he never had a day's learning 
in his life, yet he had much of the discipline which every supe- 
rior mind acquires and asserts for itself, by the very necessity 
and outgrowth of self-education ; for every mind that is truly 
educated, when we look at the last analysis, educates itself. 

He owned a considerable number of books ; and among those 
evidently the most used were Dr. Gill's Commentaries. In 
his treatment of a subject in some of his pulpit performances 
there was observable the grasp of a mind which would be 
deservedly called great. Very often indeed, he intermingled 
incidents of his personal experience, and then would seem to 
run into a style ; but even these discursive qualities served to 
keep alive the attention of his simple flock. But a man who 
could make some of the high mental efforts which Andrew 
Marshall at times displayed, would be pronounced as fully equal 
to any subject .which he would find occasion to meet, if allowed 
opportunity for preparation. 

The tones of his voice seemed rather to make his preaching 
of the conversational order, while yet there was really a unity 
of plan and a purpose, and a progress, in the whole deliverance. 
In his large house of worship, the soft tones of his voice would 
reach the farthest corner, and penetrate every ear. He never 
used notes in preaching; but his self-possession never failed 
him. His voice was so deep, sonorous and tender, that its 
capacity for the expression of pathos was unsurpassed. In his 
Scripture readings and in reciting hymns his power was alwavs 
felt. His favorite hymns and selections of Scripture were some- 
times pronounced with such effect that the most highly educated 
and discriminating person would never forget the impressions 
of such readings. 

His appearance was commanding, though he was neither 

African Baptist Church. 55 

stout nor tall, compared with the average of well-formed men. 
His African skin and hair compensated by a face of intelli- 
gence superior to the limitations of his race. His hair was Of 
the clearest white, and, though truly African, it rose in 
unwonted profusion, giving him the presence of a venerable 
patriarch. His teeth were sound and beautifully clear; his 
sight and hearing as good to the last as in middle life, and his 
lower limbs only began seriously to fail him on reaching his 
one hundredth year. In some of his glowing pulpit efforts his 
face and whole person were irradiated with intelligence, and 
one could not hear him at such times without feeling himself 
within the influence of a superior mind. 

In the last year of Mr. Marshall's life, it became an object of 
extreme desire with him to erect a new and better house of 
worship for the church which he felt he soon must leave. The 
old house (being built of wood) had become much dilapidated, 
and the city ordinance would not allow another wooden build- 
ing to be erected on that spot, which was really an eligible one. 
Feeling the importance of his cause, after making some progress 
in Savannah and its vicinity, Mr. Marshall resolved upon 
another journey to the North, which he had frequently visited 
in the days and in the presence of Washington. He was accom- 
panied by his wife, and he hoped also to receive some benefit 
by consulting physicians there for his infirmities, which neither 
nature nor medicine could much longer resist. He was respect- 
fully received by some of the most prominent of the New York 
clergy of various denominations. He preached with acceptance 
in several of the Baptist pulpits, — among them Dr. Cone's and 
Dr. Magoon's, — and in those of other denominations, one of 
which was that of Dr. Krebs; and very soon he received in that 
city about six hundred dollars for his object. 

But his race was run. He was soon admonished to return 
home at once, if he wished to see his own people again and to 
die among them. Extremely weak, and every day becoming 
more unwell, he reached Richmond in his journey by land, and 
thence he could proceed no farther. Having a letter to the 
Rev. B. Manly, Jr., President of the Richmond Female College, 
he desired his direction to some place where he could stay. 
Mr. Manly promptly and cheerfully provided for him at his 
own house, where the old man lingered for more than a month, 
evincing the same gracious affections and the same superior 
traits of character which had crowned and graced his life for so 
many years. Here, on the 8th of December, 1856, he breathed 
his last. His remains were carefully conveyed to Savannah, 
where his funeral took place on Sabbath, the 14th of the same 

5''i History of the First 

month. The demonstrations of interest on this last solemn 
occasion of his earthly history were uneqnaled by anything of 
the kind in that city or region where a colored person was con- 
cerned. An immense procession of about a mile long, with 
hfty-eight carriages — either loaned by families in the city to 
their servants or other colored friends, or occupied (as in many 
instances) by respectable white people themselves, — followed 
him from his church to his grave. His funeral sermon was 
preached by the Rev. Thomas Ronbeau, pastor of the First 
Baptist Church in Savannah. Xot more than two or three 
funerals, whether civil or military, and those of the most distin- 
guished citizens of the place, have witnessed so large a collec- 
tion of people in the course of the present century in that city 
as followed to the last resting place the remains of the centena- 
rian. Andrew Marshall. 

Yours respectfully. 

1 J. P TrSTIK. 

African, Baptist Church. 


Rev. William J. Campbell — His Long and Useful Life— A 
King among His People. 

Rev. William J. Campbell was born January 1st, 1812. He 
was born a slave. He traveled extensively with his master, 
and thereby had an opportunity of learning much by traveling. 
He was baptized by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall, about 1830, and 
licensed to preach by the church on February 4th, 1855. He 
was assistant to Rev. Andrew C. Marshall, and when Mr. Mar- 
shall went North to beg money for the church he left Mr. 
Campbell in charge of the church. When he died in Richmond, 
on his return, , Mr. Campbell was appointed by the church to 
accompany his remains to Savannah. Soon after this he was 
ordained by the Executive Board of the Sunsbury Baptist 
Association and called to the pastorate of the First African 
Baptist Church. This was in 1857. He immediately entered 
upon the work which the venerable Father Marshall had laid 
down. He tore down the wooden building and erected the 

■~>$ History of the First 

beautiful brick edifice which was in the heart of Father Mar- 
shall to do before he left the walks of men. The people rallied 
to him with the same earnestness and love (if not greater) as 
thej* did to Father Marshall. No man ever had more influence 
over a people than Reverend Campbell. He, however, had his 
troubles, too. He was accused of stealing cotton on the Bay 
about this time. It had a bad effect upon the church, and 
gloom once more spread her drapery over this great church,. 
This, however, was proven to be false, and the sun of peace 
and prosperity again leaped forth from his hiding place and 
shone with resplendent brilliancy and glory upon a heavy- 
hearted people, and kissing away their sorrows they went on 
their way rejoicing. 

Rev. AV J. Campbell was a man of keen foresight, iron will, 
and a wonderful executive abilitj*. He was a good preacher. 
He had read much, and well remembered what he read. His 
preaching was on the running commentary order, often taking 
a whole chapter for his subject. He had a peculiar sonorous 
voice, and spoke to the hearts of men. If a person once heard 
him line out a hymn he would not soon forget it. His prayer 
meeting lectures were sublime. Bishop Holsey said of him: 
''The grandest lectures I ever heard were Reverend Campbell's 
prayer meeting lectures." The people were satisfied to see him 
in the pulpit. His people would rather hear him give out a 
hymn than hear anybody else preach, let him be never so elo- 
quent. He was as black as he well could have been, but he 
was neat, handsome, polite, and extremely dignified. What- 
ever he felt like saying in the pulpit he said. He was not 
afraid to tell the truth as it was in Jesus. He was for many. 
years a deacon and a member of the choir. He was a good 
singer, and therefore enforced good singing in his choir. He 
was as much beloved by the white people almost as by the 
colored. Sinners quaked before him. The church soon ran up 
to 4,000 members. He controlled the surrounding country. 
He controlled from Savannah to Darien, Brunswick, and all 
the country adjacent to Savannah. His praise was on the 
tongues of everybody, and especially the saints. His people 
would do just what he told them to do. When he spoke it was 
law If he said a thing was wrong, all the world could not 
make his people believe otherwise. It would have been an 
insult to have attempted it. 

Reverend Campbell was widely known and equally respected. 
The church usually gave him three months* vacation each year 
and sent a servant with him. He received as a salary Sloo p CM . 
month and everything he wanted. He was a favorite of North- 

African Baptist Church. 59 

era. visitors ; they preferred going to his church to any other in 
the city. He was in the organization of the Zion Baptist Asso- 
ciation, the Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, and the 
Mount Olive Baptist Association. In all of these he played a 
conspicuous part. The people around the coast would hail his 
coming among them as a priest. He had twelve or fourteen 
prayer houses connected with the church, which were as large 
as many churches. Over these he appointed leaders, who 
reported to him monthly their condition and collections. To 
these societies — for by that name they are known — he would 
go at his leisure and they would always prepare a great feast 
for him. He was kind and loving to his officers, and controlled 
the church, absolutely, for twenty-three years with a four page 
constitution. In most things he was law to the people, and 
from his decision no one dared appeal. As he grew older, he 
was troubled with an impediment in his speech. He finally 
got so he could not speak without much difficulty. About this 
time a serious trouble broke out in the church ; for this emer- 
gency too much of his strength had been spent and old age and 
paralysis had done their work too well. That powerful voice 
the people had long obeyed was now so palsied that it fell with- 
out effect, and the enemies had decidedly the advantage and 
they never failed to use it. An awful trouble broke out in the 
church, such, perhaps, as few churches in all ages have ever 
witnessed, or need ever have. It was not the fault of Eev. W 
J. Campbell. When the trouble started he was in Griffin, Ga. 
If there is any blame upon Mr. Campbell it is that he left the 
church. The church never turned him off; the church could 
not have had the heart to do that. He was accused of taking 
sides with Deacon Robert P. Young, his spiritual child, who 
was accused of stealing money from the church. Rev. Mr. 
Campbell was true to a friend, and if he is chargeable at all it 
is due to his disposition to be perfectly true to a friend. 

Reverend Campbell baptized several thousand persons. He 
was purely a gospel preacher, and gave his attention to nothing 
else. His house was a place of peace and comfort. He was 
brought up with rich white people and had a remarkably good 
taste. As a ruler he was strict and able. As a pastor he was 
attentive and loving. He understood men, and there was no 
fear of them in his composition. 

He lived to a good old age, and he will be remembered with 
tenderest affection while memory holds her place or saints in 
Savannah live. We will refer to him again in another chapter 
in considering the church trouble. 

00 History of the First 


The Great Trouble of 1877— The Cause— Its Fierceness— The 

Split— The Call of Rev. Gibbons and the Death of Rev. 

W J. Campbell, and the Final Settlement. 

In 1877, while Eev. W J. Campbell was away on his vaca- 
tion, the great trouble began. The cause of this trouble was 
the report that Deacon Robert P. Young had stolen money 
from the church. There is doubt about the correctness of this 
charge when all things are calmly considered. Mr. Willis 
Harris saw Deacon Young put the money in front of the organ, 
and after his back was turned took it away. Deacon Young, 
after the communion was over, reported to Deacon F. M. 
Williams what had occurred. Deacon Williams told him to 
say nothing about it ; perhaps some one had taken it to tease 
him ; but if he did not get it to make it known to the brethren 
on finance night, which was Tuesday night following. Deacon 
Young took the advice of Deacon Williams, but on Monday the 
news of this occurrence was all over the streets. Mr. Willis 
Harris brought the money to the church the next following 
Thursday night and attempted to give it to the church, but was 
prevented by Deacon Richard Baker, who opposed it, and to 
avoid trouble on that night the money was kept and presented 
to the church in a special conference on the following Sunday, 
There were $22.32 in the basket. Mr. Harris reported, that he 
caught Deacon Young stealing money. This very naturally 
created quite a sensation, and intense excitement prevailed. 
While it is not clear that Deacon Young meant to steal the 
money it must be acknowledged that his conduct was very 
suspicious and justly aroused the displeasure of the church. 
He should have made the matter known to all of the brethren 
while they were counting the money, and a search for the 
missing basket should have been inaugurated ; and should that 
have failed, announcements from the pulpit would have been 
in order. From the fact that this was not done rather weak- 
ened Deacon Young's case. While Deacon Young was decidedly 
wrong, Mr. Willis Harris was decidedly wrong also, and his 
action was totally at variance with the precepts of the gospel. 
It was his duty to have gone to Deacon Young and labored 
with him as the gospel enjoins before it was in order to tell the 
church. Twenty-two dollars and thirty-two cents were but a 

African Baptist Church. 61 

trifling affair as compared with the harm which came out of 
this case. Then, besides, Mr. Willis Harris himself was a most 
notorious thief. 

The truth of the matter seems to be this : Mr. Willis Harris 
had not been long deposed from the office of deacon, and sup- 
posing that Mr. Young wielded a deal of influence in bringing 
about his deposition, he watched for and coveted every oppor- 
tunity to get even with him. It is more than likely that he 
craved an opportunity to vent the prejudice of a malignant heart 
upon Deacon Young. Since he was actuated from improper 
motives his testimony in this case should be viewed in that 
light. It is not strange that this report should have excited 
the members. The deacons should have acted wiser. 

Deacon Eobert P. Young was tried before the church and 
made an humble christian apology, and his carelessness in 
handling the church's money was pardoned. He explained 
rather than confessed. It was not required for him to confess 
stealing the money. Deacon Eichard Baker contended that 
Deacon Young ought not to make the apology. Whereas he 
had been requested by the church to resign, and had promised 
to do so, Deacon Baker contended that he should continue to 
discharge the duties of a deacon. Deacon Young attempted to 
carry out the instructions of Deacon Baker. This started the 
war in right earnest. The lay brethren then determined that 
Deacon Young should not pass the sacrament. This was well 

In the Conference of October 22, 1877, Mr. J. C. Williams 
moved to reconsider the motion passed in the August Con- 
ference pardoning Deacon B. P. Young. This was ruled out 
upon the ground that he made the motion to expel in August 
and voted in the negative. 

Mr. J. C. Habersham then made the motion that Mr. Wil- 
liams' motion be sustained, and it was carried. This brought 
Deacon Young back under the discipline of the church. This 
was wrong, of course, as no member should be pardoned by a 
church at one meeting and tried at another meeting for the 
same offense, except some new developments had come to the 
knowledge of the church. However, the motion of Mr. Hab- 
ersham was a virtual appeal from the decision of the chair. 
This is generally admissible, but on this occasion it was at vari- 
ance with every principle of justice and decidedly wrong. 

The Conference adjourned at this stage, leaving Deacon Young 
under the charge from which the church had once freed him. 
The first Sunday in November being the communion, many of 
the brethren had decided that Deacon Young, being under a 

History of the First 

charge, should not carry around the communion. Several of 
the lay brethren waited on the officers that morning at prayer 
meeting, informing them that they had learned that it was the 
intention of some to have Deacon Young carry around the 
sacrament in the afternoon, and urged the officers to wait on 
Rev Campbell and beg him not to allow Deacon Young to offi- 
ciate in the communion. At 3 p. m. of the same day, when 
Mr. Campbell called the officers to pass to them the bread, 
Mr. James B. Lewis and Mr. Joshua Hicks arose and in open 
church said: "Mr. Campbell, you cannot give the communion 
to Young to pass around because he is under the dealing of the 
church." Mr. Campbell said to Deacon Young: "Go on, if 
they want to stop you, let them do it." Deacon Young took 
the' communion and went to the choir, where he was accus- 
tomed to carry the communion. Mr. Alexander Rannair, ac- 
cording to a previous understanding of his followers, shut the 
door of the choir and said to Deacon Young: "Young, you 
know you are under a charge, and we don't want any bread 
from you up here.'' This created quite a sensation and not a 
little confusion in the church. Mr. Rannair had no earthly 
right to take this step in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
If he did not want to accept the wine at« the hand of Deacon 
Young he had the privilege that never has been denied a 
man — to refuse it. Nothing can justify this rash and incon- 
siderate course. Neither had Mr. James B. Lewis nor Mr. 
Joshua Hicks the right to take any such steps as they did, 
calling their pastor iu open church and affirming that Deacon 
Young should not carry around the communion. It showed 
that the excitement had been worked up to a very high pitch. 
It is true that Mr. Campbell was wrong in giving the com- 
munion to Deacon Young under the then existing circum- 
stances. If there was a charge against him he had no right to 
call him to pass the holy communion to those who held him 
charged. Xo wise apology can be given for this indiscretion. 
The proper way for them to have done was to have refused 
accepting it, and brought the matter up in the next conference. 
Deacon Young, if he had the proper christian spirit, would not 
have attempted to pass around the holy eucharist, knowing 
that a large number of the membership opposed it and enter- 
tained doubts as to his innocence of the charge of stealing- 
money This course of procedure upon the part of some of the 
members showed that the heretofore powerful pastor was 
rapidly losing power over his people. If the pastor had taken 
a second sober thought he might have acted a little more 
cautiously, and thereby have averted this dreadful storm. It 

African Baptist Church. 63 

should have been evident to him that he would not have the 
strength to pull through it. 

On Tuesday, of the same week, Deacons Eichard Baker, P. H. 
Butler and R. P Young swore out warrants against the follow- 
ing brethren: March Haynes, John E. Grant, John C. Haber- 
sham, Alexander Rannair and Samuel Roberts. These were 
tried; but Messrs. Alexander Rannair, Joshua Hicks and 
James B. Lewis were found guilty and fined $10 each ; the 
others were acquitted. This did not settle the trouble. These 
brethren were only more determined i'n their fight. This was 
wrong in the deacons, and only served to make bad matters 

At the conference of November 19th, 1877, these deacons, 
having been notified to be present, and failing, were expelled. 
This was rather hasty. It was now evident that the war had 
begun. The brethren gave bond and employed counsel and 
went to law. This case created" almost universal excitement. 
The courts were baffled for five or six years, and finally recom- 
mended a compromise upon the introduction of a bill of equity 
by the followers of Rev. W J. Campbell. 

The day he left the church can never be forgotten. When 
many who were in the church ceased to hear him and honor 
his gray locks, he arose and said: "My children, all who are 
with me follow me." He left the church, and as might be 
expected some of the best members of the church followed their 
aged chieftain. Old age and paralysis had done their work on 
him, and he was rapidly fading away. The party that had 
possession of the church met in rapid succession to make sure 
their position. The followers of Mr. Campbell were none the 
less assiduous and determined. They had caucuses in rapid 
succession. The leader on Mr. Campbell's side was R. P 
Young. He furnished the brains for the party, as the pastor 
was now almost an invalid. This was a feast for the lawyers, 
and they harvested richly from the disaffection of the First 
African Baptist Church. As men do not generally care how 
long a good paying position lasts, it is quite natural that the 
lawyers had no special objection to the continuation of the case 
in court. 

On the 17th of December, 1877, Rev. W J. Campbell left the 
church. He had been requested to take the chair and preside 
over the conference, but declined, whereupon Deacon F. M. 
Williams was called to the chair. After the minutes of No- 
vember 19th, 1877, were read, he (Mr. Campbell) arose and 
said: "That is all I come for, to hear that minute." Deacon 
F. M. Williams begged him not to leave, but this was useless. 

;J h History of the First 

When he had made up his mind to do a thing remonstrances 
were useless. He simply commanded his followers to follow 
him, and many of them did so. When he was going out, Mr. 
Peter Houston, who had some difference with Mr. Campbell 
because he had been expelled some years prior for issuing a 
warrant against one of the sisters, met him at the door and 
said: '•Mr. Campbell, what did I tell you; when I would be 
coming in you would be going out," Mr. Campbell replied : 
'•Da. Houston, for God's sake let me alone." Mr. Houston 
told him this years ago when he was turned out of the church, 
and did actually live to see it. But his (Houston's) end was 
not at all glorious. He was one of Mr. Campbell's shrewdest 
and ablest opposers. But he came to his death in a mysterious, 
inglorious way. It is not positively known whether he was 
murdered or committed suicide. He was, however, heart- 
broken by domestic troubles and disaffection. Mr. Houston's 
prophesy of Mr. Campbell came true, and so did Mr. Campbell's 
prophesy of Mr. Houston come true. Mr. Campbell said no 
good would follow Mr. Houston. For several years Mr. Hous- 
ton had terrible family troubles. Many of the members of the 
church meant to have their way, but very few of them wanted 
Mr. Campbell to leave the church. Mr. Campbell went out 
iuto the square and addressed his followers. Mr. L. J. Petti- 
grew, a prominent character on the side of the majority, went 
out and begged Mr. Campbell to return to the church, but to 
no avail. 

On Thursday night following this Conference Mr. Campbell, 
however, returned to the church, accompanied by Rev. James 
M. Simms and Rev. 17. L. Houston. The brethren not know- 
ing that he would return, had requested Licentiate John Xes- 
bit to preach. Mr. Campbell not knowing this had invited 
Rev r. L. Houston to preach. This Mr. Campbell stated to 
the church, whereupon Brethren Joseph C. Williams aud Lewis 
J. Pettigrew objected, stating that Brother Xesbit had been 
invited to preach, and that they preferred to hear him to Rev. 
Houston, and Rev. Houston said that he would rather hear 
Brother Nesbit himself. This Mr. Campbell agreed to, and 
Brother Xesbit preached. When the services were over. Rev. 
James M. Simms stated to the church that he was invited by 
Mr. Campbell, his cousin, to be with him to-night, and express- 
ing great sorrow for the trouble then existing in the church. 
Deacon R. P Young, who was the clerk of the church, came 
forward to read out the letters for persons that had been sent 
in the care of the church, which was the custom, when Mr. 
March Haines and Mr. John E. Grant objected to his reading 

African Baptist Church. 65 

them as he was under a charge. This, of course, was wrong. 
There could have been no earthly objection to his reading the 
letters, since he was still a member of the church, end as reading 
out the letters was not performing any of his christian privileges. 
After this Mr. Campbell entered the church only once more. 
On that occasion Rev. U. L. Houston preached, and they did 
what they called "burying the devil," but as he was not quite 
dead his resurrection followed very soon thereafter. 

On that memorable night Mr. Campbell sang this very appro- 
priate hymn. He could line out a hymn as few men could, and 
it had a magic effect, but, alas ! how soon forgotten : 

" Let party names no more 

The Christian world o'erspread; 
Gentiles and Jews and bond and free 

Are one in Christ, their head. 
Among the saints on earth 

Let mutual love be found- 
Heirs of the sarae inheritance, 

With mutual blessings crowned. 
Thus will the church below 

Resemble that above, 
Where streams of endless pleasure flow, 

And every heart is love." 

The singing of this hymn had such a wonderful effect that 
everything seemed all right, and that this grand old body was 
once more united, but not so. Satan had done his work too 
well. He was not so easily removed. The party that had left 
the church were holding divine services at Mr. W G. Clark's, on Margaret street in Yamacraw. They worshipped there 
for two months. There they held a conference and prepared 
all their minutes and wrote them up, dating them as if adopted 
at the First African Baptist Church on the following Sunday. 
They came to the church and after the close of the services one 
of their number moved to resolve into a conference. This, of 
course, was carried. While one of their number was down on 
his knees praying, Sexton Salbury Morse removed the table 
and their prepared minutes were grabbed by Alexander Miller, 
who fled with them. Deacon Young and others were arrested. 
This was a final opening of the great war. On both sides ar- 
rests were made. The whole city was most intensely excited. 
Eev. George Gibbons was the adviser of the party that held 
the possession of the church. Of course they were in the ma- 
jority or they could scarcely have kept the church. There 
were many who had been turned out during the administration 
of the Rev. W J. Campbell who rushed into the church at this 
terrible crisis. Of course they were not prepared to sympathize 
with Rev. W J. Campbell, nor did they come in to help him. 
Mr. Campbell was losing more and more. From the house of 

66 History of the First 

Mr. TV G. Clark they removed to the "Grits Mills" and for 
one year they worshipped there. Their increase was not very 
great, nor was the increase of the majority very great. From 
the " Grits Mill " they removed to the " Beach Institute." The 
Rev. TV J. Campbell was too feeble to give them much service 
in the way of preaching and scarcely any pastoral visits. Sev- 
eral efforts were made to get him back to the church, and one 
time it was thought that they had accomplished that end. The 
majority assembled in the church to welcome home their ven- 
erable father, their love for whom these years of bitter feelings, 
disaffections and many wrong doings had not effaced. But 
Deacon Richard Baker, B. B Young and others would not 
allow him to return to his people, bringing his people with him. 
This would have put an end to the trouble. It appears that he 
did again enter the church. "We insert the following report of 
the deacons of the majority, which speaks for itself: 


" We, your servants, in whose hands you have placed the 
affairs of your church to take care of and look after them, see- 
ing the condition of your church at present, feel it our duty to 
present matters to you in their true light ; the remedy is then 
with you as a sovereign church, and if you, as a church, fail to 
do your duty in the matter, then the fault lies at your own 
door. It is our duty to present the matter to you in its true na- 
ture, and your duty to act. In November last Rev. William J. 
Campbell, as pastor of this church, allowed himself to be acces- 
sory to the prosecution before the courts of the land of fifteen 
(15) members of this church in good standing, and did go into 
open court and swear to the fact that the members were guilty 
of crimes that we all knew them to be innocent of, placing 
them, according to his own testimony, virtually in the State's 
prison, depriving them of the comforts of their homes and the 
freedom of their religion. Responding to the call of men 
whom the church had rebuked for their misdeeds he again ap- 
peared before the magistrates in December last and openly dis- 
regarded the actions of this church by swearing that certain 
men were clerk and deacons of this church whom this church 
had expelled and whose expulsion was confirmed in his pres- 
ence. He then appeared at our regular conference, held on the 
19th day of December, and on being asked to take the chair 
refused, and after making some remarks in regard to taking 
names, picked up his hat and stick, and after saying that he 
would not give the snap of his finger for what the church was 

African Baptist Church. 67 

doing walked out. For each and all of these acts, which were 
extremely offensive to the church and unbecoming to the pas- 
tor of a church, the church demanded satisfaction. 

"A committee was appointed to wait upon him, demanding 
satisfaction for the church. This satisfaction he failed to give. 
After the report of the committee was rendered it was decided 
by the church that his case be taken up at the regular confer- 
ence in January, and he was so notified, and was also notified 
that he was to abstain from exercising the duties of pastor of 
this church until that time. On the first Sunday in January, 
after all arrangements had been made for the administration of 
the Lord's Supper, he sent a message to us by Brethren Jas. M. 
Simms and Robert Miflin, stating that in thinking over the 
case of Rev. Abram Burke he was led to feel that he was get- 
ting old and feeble, and as he did not know how long he had 
to live he wanted to come to peace with his church and com- 
mune with them on the first Sunday in the new year. The 
matter was taken before the church and it was decided to hear 
from the pastor. He then arose, and after stating his inability 
to do much talking, referred the matter to Mr. Simms, whom, 
he said, would speak for him. Mr. Simms then arose, and 
after stating what Mr. Campbell had said to him in regard to 
Bev. Burke, said that our pastor requested him to say to the 
church that he was sorry that anything had occurred to cause 
the church and himself to be at variance ; but that he was here 
with the intention of coming to peace with his church, and that 
he desired that by-gones should be by-gones and that all old 
things should be buried forever. 

"A resolution was accordingly offered and carried by unani- 
mous vote that everything from to-day be dropped. 

" In putting the motion, Bev. George Gibbons asked the pastor 
if he meant by what he said to recognize all that the church 
had done to be right, to which the pastor replied, Yes. The 
motion was then carried as above stated amid much shouting 
and gladness. The table was then turned over to him by Mr. 
Gibbons, when the pastor proceeded to administer the sacra- 
ment. He also appeared at the church on Thursday evening 
and confirmed what he said on the Sunday at the sacrament 
table, and said that he meant all that he said. 

" In the week preceding our last communion he was waited on 
by two of our number to know what arrangements he had made 
about the communion. In reply to the question he wanted to 
know of them how could he give them the communion when 
they were under bonds. Desiring to indulge him as much as 
possible, another committee still was appointed to wait upon 

OS History of the First 

him. He told that committee that he did not recognize them 
as deacons, and that they had taken the advantage of him, and 
told them that he did not recognize what the church had done, 
and declares that he never did recognize their action, and told 
them that he would come and give them the communion but 
would not take it himself, and declares that he will never be 
satisfied with the church or come to peace until the church 
uudo all that she has done in his absence by taking back all 
those that have been expelled and turning out all those that 
have been taken in. Then, he says, he will be satisfied and not 

"As we have said at the outset, it is our indispensable duty to 
lay this matter before you in its true nature. In coming before 
the communion and saying and doing what he did, and then 
going right around and denying these very things, declaring 
that he did not do them, is an offence that should not be tole- 
rated in a christian church. He has shown himself to be guilty 
of a willful falsehood. It is with great regret that we are com- 
pelled to present this matter to you in this manner, but we 
have no alternative. For to allow the matter to remain as it 
has been for the last three or four months would be almost to 
commit the unpardonable sin. AVe see our pulpit desecrated by 
slander and abuse, and even our communion table polluted by 
wickedness in high places, and all of it is simply because we 
have allowed our animal affections to get the better of us and 
cause us to flinch from our plain duty. The fan is in our hands 
and if we fail to thoroughly purge the floor then the sin lies at 
our own door. If we put the rod in the hands of another to 
scourge us, then we must bear the scourging without a mur- 
mur. As your servants, we have endeavored to do our duty. 
"We lay the matter before you for your consideration and action, 
and can only say that unless some action be taken by you in 
regard to the matter we cannot be responsible for the peace and 
safety of your church. The points that we would have you 
more particularly look into are those running from the first 
Sunday in January down to the present time. Judge of the 
case and act upon its true merits." 

Several efforts were made to have the matter amicably set- 
tled, but it seems that the fire of dissension had gotten too much 
headway A council was called at the instance of both sides, 
consisting of Rev T. Harley, Deacons Howard, Reid and 
Fairchild (of the white church), and Rev. Alexander Harris. 
But this council proved ineffectual, because some of the parties 
on the side of the majority opposed Mr. Fairchild. led by Dea- 

African Baptist Church. 69 

con Joseph C. Williams, upon the ground that he was partial 
toward Mr. Campbell, and they feared that he would not do 
justice to Mr. Campbell's opposers. The day the majority 
gained possession of the church was a stormy day for this old 
church, and will long be remembered with interest. 

Deacons Baker, Young and Butler had determined that no 
conference should be held that day and commanded the sexton 
not to open the church, and had engaged policemen to prevent 
the opposition from entering the church, charging that they 
intended a riot. But as the sexton was .a secret disciple of the 
opposition they had him hid away near the church, and at a 
given signal he was to appear with the keys. Mr. J. C. Wil- 
liams asked a policeman what he was doing there, who informed 
him that he was there to prevent a riot. Mr. Williams then 
asked him was he sent there to prevent the church from hold- 
ing its conference ? He replied, No. Then Mr. Williams asked 
him if he would arrest the man whom he saw creating the dis- 
turbance ? He said, Yes. The sexton was then signalled to 
appear with the keys. As he came Deacons Young, Baker 
and Butler demanded the keys, and upon the sexton refusing 
to surrender them attempted to take them. Mr. Williams then 
called the policeman's attention, stating that these are the men 
who are creating the disturbance, and they were arrested, thus 
falling into their own trap. This gave the majority the pos- 
session of the church. They entered and forever afterwards 
held it. 

Notwithstanding all this bitter feeling and wholesale expul- 
sion so tender was the feeling for Mr. Campbell that he was 
never expelled. Deacon Joseph C. Williams contended that 
the pulpit should not be touched. Mr. Campbell could have re- 
entered the church at any time he wished without disciplinary 
action upon the part of the church. Mr. Joseph C. Williams 
deserves great credit for his wisdom and far-seeing sagacity in 
preventing the expulsion of Mr. Campbell. Had he been ex- 
pelled perhaps the breach would never have been healed. This 
act shows the profoundest sympathy for the venerable father. 
Virtually Mr. Campbell died a member of the First African 
Baptist Church. He would, however, have been declared ex- 
pelled but for Deacon Joseph C. Williams, who had a sacred 
reverence for the pulpit. Deacon Williams regarded Mr. Camp- 
bell as God's anointed, which he felt that should not be touched. 
He was willing to expel everybody else but the pastor. He 
kept the church from making a great mistake. The thanks of 
the church are due him. This proved him to be an able leader. 

70 History of the First 

As harsh as the report froin the officers is, no intimation of 
Mr. Campbell's expulsion is in it : 


■' Richard Baker et ah, Complainants, and Peter Houston et ah, 
Defendants, to compromise and heal all dissension and division 
in the First African Baptist Church, which have existed for 
some time past : 

" It is agreed that the portion of the membership of the church 
worshipping in the brick church, known as the First African 
Baptist Church, will invite the portion of the membership of 
the church worshipping in the "Beach Institute" to reunite 
with them as one body and congregation without any depriva- 
tion of any church privileges as members thereof, and without 
any disciplinary action whatever. That the officers of the 
First African Baptist Church worshipping in the "Beach Insti- 
tute"' voluntarily relinquish and resign such offices, and the 
said portion of the membership worshipping in the "Beach 
Institute" will accept the pastor, officers and trustees, and or- 
ganization as it now exists, in the congregation in said First 
African Baptist Church building, and accept the invitation 
above extended to them. 

" It is further agreed that this compromise be made the judg- 
ment of the court, if necessary ; and that the same shall not 
be made by other party a precedent of church government, 
but as a settlement of this particular case." 

This was agreed to and signed by the leaders of both parties. 
In conformity to this wise conciliatory compromise the major- 
ity addressed the minority, as follows : 

"Savannah, February 8th, 1884. 
" To the Fir4 African Baptist Church, Beach Institute, Savannah, Ga.: 

"Dear Brethren — At a special conference of the First Afri- 
can Baptist Church, Franklin Square, held last evening for the 
purpose of considering the recommendations as presented by 
the attorneys for both parties, in reference to the matter now 
pending between ourselves before the Superior Court of this city 
(of which you have a copy), was at this special conference read 
and confirmed by an almost unanimous vote. 

•• In conformity thereto, we hereby extend your Christian body 
a cordial invitation, requesting your presence at the next regu- 
lar conference of the church, to be held on the 17th instant, at 

African Baptist Church. 71 

3 o'clock p. m., at which, time and place you will again have the 
opportunity of church privilege. 

"Awaiting an early reply, we remain yours in Christ, 

"Rev. GEORGE GIBBONS, Pastor. 

"Attest: C. H. Ebbs, Church Clerk." 


" Savannah, February 10, 1884. 

" To the Pastor, Officers and Members of the First African Baptist 

" Dear Brethren — At a special conference held by us on the 
above date, for the purpose of considering the recommendations 
as presented by the attorneys of both factions in reference to 
the matter that is pending between you and us in the Superior 
Court of this county, of which you have a copy of the same. 
"VVe have adopted the document as agreed to by us in the mat- 
ter, and also received your invitation requesting us to be pres- 
ent at your next regular conference of the church to be held on 
17th instant, at 3 o'clock p. m., at which time we shall obtain 
privilege as members of one body again. Brethren, we will be 
present at the hour appointed with the books, deeds and titles 
of the First African Baptist Church according to our agreement 
made in the matter. 

"Done in conference meeting. 

"P. H. BUTLER, Moderator. 

"Attest: R. P, Young, Church Clerk." 

This shows that each side had enough of the war. The few 
that stuck out were obstinate. Mr. Campbell, the leader, died 
October 11th, 1880. Doubtless his troubles came upon him too 
severely for his advanced age. It had much to do with hurry- 
ing the end. The crowd that followed him stuck to him till the 
last. Mr. Campbell's desire was to be buried by his people 
from his church that he had labored so hard to build. When 
he died his faithful followers made the fact known to the 
church. The church was willing to have him buried from 
his old home, but Rev. George Gibbons, who was pastor of the 
majority, objected to large nails, it is claimed, being driven in 
the pulpit and in other places in the church. But it does seem 
that a compromise as to the size of nails could have been 
easily effected and tacks substituted for the nails, or even 
strings might have been used. If there was not a deep, bitter 
feeling underlying this on one side or the other, doubtless this 
course would have been pursued. Rev. Gibbons being a gospel 
minister, it would seem, might have advised these heart-broken 

History of the First 

friends that the nails were too large, and that they ought to 
get tacks. This could have been done in such a tender way 
that would have won eternally their affectionate sympathy and 
cooperation. Then there would not have been any chance for 
the idea to gain foothold that Rev. Gibbons did not want the 
church draped for Mr. Campbell as though he was pastor, and 
as he was yet alive he felt that he was pastor, and no one had 
the right to be honored as such. It was most natural that a 
man should feel this way. Human nature is human nature, 
even in a Christian minister. Those who went to drape the 
church should have exercised more patience and doubtless they 
would have accomplished their purpose. In the heat of excite- 
ment the body of the venerable dead man was carried to the 
First Bryan Baptist Church in Yamacraw, having obtained per- 
mission from Rev. L T . L. Houston, the pastor. 

The parties concerned should have taken more pains to try 
to unite in doing honor to this grand old man. If there was 
no objection to this old servant being buried from the church 
for which he toiled so hard for years, all petty differences might 
have been waived and becoming honor done to this man of God. 
It is quite natural, also, that those who wished to drape the 
church were rather sensitive and most any act of Rev. Gib- 
bon^ would have been severely criticised. In fact, they felt 
sore toward him, and rather looked for unkindness, presuming, 
of course, that Mr. Gibbons was unfriendly to Mr. Campbell, 
their father and leader in Christ Jesus. Had Mr. Gibbons sug- 
gested the manner of draping the church for the noted dead, it 
would have tended greatly to unify the people and have gener- 
ated better feelings. It would not have destroyed one whit of 
his power or eclipsed in the least his glory, but might have 
tended more to the glory of God. This act was perhaps incon- 
siderate. Rev. Frank Quarles, of Atlanta, was wired, who 
reached Savannah time enough to preach the funeral ser- 
mon of Rev. "W J. Campbell. He was followed to his last 
resting place by a host of heart-broken weepers. Thus ended 
the life of the most influential man that has ever lived in 

After his death frequently members from the Beach Institute 
returned to the old church. It was evident that the war was 
over. The minority continued out until February 17th, 1SS4 
when they returned in a body, surrendering all claims of offices 
and tlie church waiving all discipline in their cases. That rainy 
Sunday can never be forgotten. Just before they reached the 
church tliev sung in a most solemn manner — 

African Baptist Church. 73 

" Blest be the tie that binds 

Our hearts in christian love; 
The fellowship of kindred minds 

Is liked to that above. 
Before our Father's throne 

We pour our ardent pi ayers; 
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, 

Our comforts and our cares. 
We share our mutual woes, 

Our mutual burdtns bear. 
And often for each other flows 

The sympathizing tear," &c, &c. 

The entrance into the church was hailed by a large, joyous 
and weeping congregation. Deacon Baker did not return and 
perhaps never will. Four years have now passed since that 
day and he has not been even to the church. Deacon Young 
was soon restored to the choir and made its president. During 
the six years of trouble several of the societies of the church 
had been organized into churches. The grand body being 
once more united a more pleasing future was opened Up to the 
grand old body. God helped her. 

The following is inserted for the information of the reader, 
which will show some of Mr. Campbell's troubles in his early 
ministry and the split of 1859 : 

"Savannah, Georgia, ) To all whom it may concern. 
"Chatham County, j Greeting: 
" Know all men by these presents that we, the First African 
Baptist Church of Savannah, and State of Georgia, influenced 
as we trust by the grace of God, through our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ, did in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 
hundred and fifty-five see, with deep regret and submission to 
our God, that our father, Andrew C. Marshall, for many years 
our pastor, laboring with us in the gospel ministry, had become 
very feeble and needed some help in the gospel ministry, thought 
it expedient to call to his assistance our Brother Wm. J. Camp- 
bell, whom, after being duly examined upon his sound doctrinal 
faith and belief in the church by the Bev. Henry O. Wyer. 
Kev. Thomas Bambout and T. J. Thelkeld, and found to be 
such an one as have been taught by the spirit of God, did far- 
ther, on the twenty-fourth day of February, A. D. one thousand 
eight hundred and fifty-six, call the assembly of the people to- 
gether and in their presence and before Almighty God see him 
ordained to the gospel ministry. Our beloved brethren Bev. 
Henry O. Wyer, B. W Winston and J. B. Stiteler officiated in 
this most solemn ceremony, the ordination of our beloved Bro- 
ther Wm. J. Campbell. He labored with us, assisting our be- 
loved father and shepherd, Andrew C. Marshall, until our God 
was pleased to call our Father Marshall to Himself in heaven to 

I -t 

Hidory of the First 

rest from his labors. In December, A. D. one thousand eight 
hundred and fifty-six, he died, and on the 18th day of February, 
A. D. one thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven, this church, 
after prayer to Almighty God for Divine instructions, called 
our beloved Brother Win. J. Campbell to the pastoral care of 
this church, whom we do pray our God to keep in his useful 
and prosperous ministry for many and fruitful years is the 
prayer of his brethren always. Amen.' 

'•This document was ordered to be drawn by the officers of 
this church now acting in the deaconship, to-wit : Brethren B. 
McXish, John Burney, Samuel Miller, Friday Gibbons, London 
Small, Murray Monroe, George -Gibbons, Caesar Yerdeir and 
James Simms. 

"Done in Conference, February 19th, A. D. 1860. 

"B. S. HAEDWICK, Moderator. 

"James M. Simms, Clerk." 

" First African Baptist Church of Savannah, 
" Tuesday Night, April 20, 1858. 
"Certain causes growing out of differences of opinion among 
the members of the First African Baptist Church of Savannah 
having resulted in the interference of the civil authorities in so 
far as to impose certain restrictions embarrassing to the cus- 
tomary religious rights and privileges of said church, His Honor 
Bichard Wayne, Mayor of the city of Savannah, to the end 
that the differences in said church be reconciled, and that said 
restrictions be removed, under his seal of office issued the fol- 
lowing note, viz.: 

"'Mayor's Office, 
" ' City of Savannah, 17th April, 1858. 
" ' If the following named gentlemen will attend the First Afri- 
can Church to-morrow, Sunday, April 18th, 1858, at half-past 12 
o'clock p. m., the restrictions now hanging over said church will 
be removed for the time being. The object is to have a final 
settlement of the difficult y in the church. The said gentlemen 
not to interfere, that is, to take sides with either party. 

B.WAYNE, Mayor. 

u i ■ 

seal \ "'Attest: Edw'd G. Wilson, Clerk of Council. 

' To the following gentlemen, Executive Committee of the 
"'Sunbury Baptist Association, viz.: General Babun, Rev. 
'•'Mr Winston. Rev. Mr. Daniel, Rev. Mr. F E. Sweat 
'■'Lewis C. Tebeau, J. II. II. ."' 

African Baptist Church. 75 

"In accordance with the said note (his Honor the Mayor hav- 
ing subsequently issued an order changing the time of holding 
the meeting from Sunday noon to Tuesday night) a special con- 
ference was held in the church on Tuesday night, April 20th, 
1858. The Rev. L. G. Daniels and Mr. James G. Hogg, mem- 
bers of the Executive Committee of the Sunbury Baptist Asso- 
ciation, were present, the other members of said committee, as 
named in the foregoing note of his Honor the Mayor, were 
absent, they having in a note to the Mayor declined attending 
the meeting. 

"A motion being made and seconded, it was unanimously 
voted that Mr. R. L. Hardwick take the chair, and that Mr. L. J. 
B. Fairchild act as secretary of the meeting. Mr. Hardwick in 
the chair, the meeting was opened with prayer by the Rev. L. 
G. Daniel. The minutes of the regular conference, held March 
21st, 1858, were read and confirmed by a unanimous vote. The 
following resolutions were regularty proposed and adopted by 
a unanimous vote of the church, viz.: 

" 'Resolved, That this church respectfully, but positively, de- 
clines accepting or adopting the constitution, covenant, confes- 
sion of faith and by-laws referred to in the minutes of the con- 
ference held in this church on March 21st, 1858. 

" 'Resolved, That our brethren, Robert McMsh, Robert Verdier 
and John Burney be a committee to prepare a constitution, 
covenant, confession of faith and by-laws for the future govern- 
ment of this church, and that said committee report the same 
to our next meeting. ' 

"John Burney, a member of the church, in a few appropriate 
remarks touching the want of harmony between the pastor and 
deacons, suggested the propriety of the resignation of both pastor 
and deacons. "Whereupon the pastor, Wm. J. Campbell, respond- 
ed in terms expressing a desire to do anything in his power to 
assist the church in her efforts to be released from embarrass- 
ment and to promote the religion of Christ, and yielding to the 
suggestion made, resigned his pastorate of the church. Robert 
Verdier, the only deacon of the church present, also replied to 
the suggestion in like terms and resigned his office as acting 
deacon. A motion was made and seconded not to accept the res- 
ignation of William J. Campbell as pastor of the church, and 
the vote being taken the motion unanimously obtained. It 
was also moved and seconded that the resignation of Robert 
Verdier as an acting deacon of this church be accepted, which 
vote unanimously prevailed. 


7<> History of the First 

•'The following preamble and resolutions were read and 
adopted. On taking the vote it appeared there was one dis- 
senting vote : 

" Whereas, There is an evident want of a happy cooperation 
between the deacons and pastor of this church touching the 
management of the affairs of the church generally, and where- 
as a hearty co-operation between a pastor and his deacons is 
essential to the peace and prosperity of the church, and where- 
as a suggestion has been made that both pastor and deacons 
resign in their office, in the view that the church might have 
freedom to select by her vote a pastor and deacons that would 
be more likely to consummate the desires and interests of the 
body at large, and whereas only our pastor and one of our 
deacons have responded to the suggestion of resignation, the 
rest of the deacons being absent from this meeting, when, in the 
judgment of this meeting, ifwas their manifest duty to be here, 
thus showing no disposition to be reconciled and to fraternize 
with pastor or people, 

'•'■Be it therefore resolved, That our brethren Patrick Wil- 
liams, Jerry Burke, Butler, Benjamin King and Robert 

McMsh be considered as no longer occupying the place and 
office of acting deacons of the church, or, at least until such 
time as it may be the pleasure of the church to reelect them to 
the same. It being at the same time fully understood that 
nothing in this preamble and resolutions is intended to dis- 
credit or impair their standing as members in common. 

" 'Be it further resolved, That when this conference adjourns that 
it be adjourned to meet next Sabbath afternoon, for the purpose 
of filling the vacancies in the office of deacons occasioned by 
the action of this meeting. 

'' 'Resolved, That as a church we will devote the hour allotted 
for worship on next Sabbath morning to humble prayer to God 
that he will direct us in our choice of brethren for the office of 
deacons, desiring as we do to have humble, God-fearing men, 
those who will be vigilant in the duties of the office, and seek 
the promotion of true and vital piety in the church, and thereby 
promote the glory of our Lord.' 

" The following resolution was regularly adopted, there being 
only one dissenting vote: 

•• •Resolred, That as a church we place ourselves under the 
watch, care, guidance and direction of the Savannah Baptist 
Church, and that said church be requested to appoint a com- 
mittee of* three of her members to attend our conference and 
other business meetings, to the end that these meetings in 

African Baptist Church. 77 

future be conducted in an orderly and christian-like manner, 
and that we may have aid and witnesses to the same.' 

" The preamble and resolution following was offered and unan- 
imously adopted : 

" ' Whereas, This church has been informed that the book con- 
taining the records of the church could not be readily obtained 
when called for for the purposes of this meeting ; be it there- 

" 'Resolved, That the moderator of this meeting be requested 
to take the custody of the same.' 

" It was also 

" 'Resolved, That the members of the Executive Committee 
present, viz., the Eev. L. G. Daniel and Mr. James E. Hogg, 
together with Mr. A. Champion, a visitor, be requested to add 
to the Secretary's report of the proceedings of this meeting 
their written testimonial as to the manner in which the busi- 
ness of this conference has been conducted, and of the aspect 
of the meeting generally.' 

" It was also 

Ul Resolved, That the moderator and secretary of this meeting 
be requested to furnish his honor, the Mayor, and also the trus- 
tees of this church, a correct copy of the proceedings of this 

"The business of the meeting closed with the following reso- 
lution : 

" 'Resolved, That as a church we tender our sincere thanks to 
our white brethren for their kindness in aiding us in the trans- 
action of our business.' 

"After 'singing, the meeting adjourned, to meet on Sabbath 
afternoon, April 25th, 1858. 


"L. J. B. FAIRCH1LD, Secretary. 

"Tuesday Mght, April 20, 1858." 

" Whereas, Certain differences of opinion have existed among 
us, which prevented the affiliation of pastor, deacons and mem- 
bers, and whereas these differences, while they existed, were 
reasons why the ministers of the gospel of the Sunbury Associ- 
ation refused to sign such a paper as was necessary to secure 
our pastor his license in terms of the law, and whereas at our 
adjourned conference, held on the 25th of April, all of our diffi- 
culties were happily adjusted, as can be shown from our min- 
utes of that day ; be it 

History of the First 

'•Resolved. That we, as a church, earnestly and respectfully 
request three or more ministers of the gospel of said association 
to sign such a paper as will be necessary to enable our pastor, 
William J. Campbell, to obtain his license from the proper au- 
thorities, that we may have the gospel preached to us and the 
sacrament administered in the church. 

■•Resolved, further, That the secretary of this meeting, Mr. Fair- 
child, make out a certified copy of this preamble and resolu- 
tions, and the moderator, Mr. X. J. Hardwick, and Mr. G. W 
Wylly present it to three or more of the ministers of the gospel, 
as aforesaid, and procure their written recommendation to the 
Superior Court, and then with this written recommendation to 
the Court procure said license.' 

•• There being no further business, after singing and prayer the 
meeting adjourned. 

"L. J. B. FAIKCHILD, Secretary pro tern. 
-Confirmed June 20th, 1858."' 

" The Eev. Mr. Willis, a gentleman engaged in the missionary 
labors of the Sunbury Baptist Association, feeling a deep inter- 
est in this church as a constituent of said body, but more espe- 
cially as a church of Christ, and sympathizing with her in her 
late embarrassments, expressed a desire to ascertain the degree 
of harmony existing between the church and her pastor, Wil- 
liam J. Campbell, and to this end requested all of the members 
present, deacons and others, to give evidence, by their vote, as 
to their christian confidence in him as their brother and under- 
shepherd, and called upon the church, each and every member, 
without reserve, to stand forth and testify in presence of all if 
they had aught or knew aught against his moral or religious 
character that would tend to disqualify him as a member or as 
a preacher of the gospel. Many of the members responded to 
this call in terms of the utmost confidence and brotherly affec- 
tion toward their pastor, but none against him, whereupon the 
moderator, at the request of Mr. Willis, by a vote, took the 
sense of the church as to their desire to have their pastor's 
license renewed. The vote was taken, and it appeared that of 
all the very large number present there were but three dissent- 
ing votes. 

" Mr. George W Wylly, one of the committee appointed at 
the last conference in connection with Mr. Hardwick to pro- 
cure our pastor's license, reported verbally to the church that 
said committee were stopped in the prosecution of their duty bv 
the Rev Mr. Winston's refusing to sign our pastor's (William 

African Baptist Church. 79 

J. Campbell's) license papers, and giving as his reason that he 
believed Campbell a bad man, who had told a lie. 

"Gen. Rabun also made the latter assertion; whereupon the 
following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted, 

" ' Whereas, It becomes the duty of this church to investigate 
the charges made against our pastor, William J. Campbell, to 
the end that we may know whether he is guilty or not; be it 

" 'Resolved, That this church invite a presbytery of all the min- 
isters of the gospel of the Sunbury Association who have not 
been connected in any way with the late difficulties and trou- 
bles of this church, and any others whose services can be ob- 
tained, to sit as a presbytery in the case of William J. Camp- 
bell, and determine on his guilt or innocence. 

" ' Resolved, That 3 o'clock on the third Sabbath in June, in this 
church, and in the presence of the members thereof, be the 
time and place of meeting, and that a copy of these proceed- 
ings be served on the Rev. Mr. Winston and General Rabun, 
that they may have notice of the time and place of meeting, 
and this church respectfully invites them to be present and es- 
tablish the allegations they have made. 

" ' Resolved, That his honor the Mayor of the city, the trustees 
of this church, and such other gentlemen of the city as the com- 
mittee of white brethren appointed to aid us in our business 
may think proper, be, and they are hereby, respectfully invited 
to be present at such said meeting and investigation. 

" ' Resolved, That Mr. Fairchild, secretary pro tern., make out a 
certified copy of these proceedings and furnish one to each min- 
ister invited, the trustees of this church, and the accusers of 
Wm. J. Campbell.' 

"The moderator mentioned that a correspondence had been 
held between the committee and the Rev. Mr. Winston, refer- 
ring to the charges against the pastor, which would be read at 
some subsequent meeting. 

" The committee appointed April 20, 1858, to prepare a consti- 
tution, covenant, etc., for the future government of this church, 
submitted their report, which, by a vote, was laid over for 
further consideration. 

" There being no further business, after singing and prayer the 
conference adjourned. 

"L. J. B. FAIRCHILD, Secretary pro tern. 

"Confirmed June 20, 1858." 

SO History of the First 

Following is the correspondence with Mr. Winston, the ene- 
my of Mr. Campbell : 

"Savannah, May 22, 1858. 
"Dear Brother Winston : 

"You gave as the reason why you would not sign William J. 
Campbell's license papers that you believed he was a bad man, 
that he told a lie, or you believed he had, we are not certain 
which expression you used. The high and important position 
you occupy as a minister of the gospel is a guarantee to us that 
you would not have given such a reason without sufficient 
grounds for so doing, and if your allegations can be sustained 
he, Campbell, should not be licensed, and we would be as un- 
willing as yourself to aid in getting it done. But men should 
not be condemned without a hearing, although their skins may 
be black. We, therefore, respectfully request that you give us in 
writing the reason you have for believing Campbell a bad man, 
and in what particular he told a lie, and when and where. Jus- 
tice to the position you take to Campbell and to ourselves, as 
well as the good of the church, demands this course. Camp- 
bell's license has been repeatedly renewed and no charge has 
been preferred against him, and we supposed that his christian 
character was good until you made the allegations herein re- 
ferred to. We purpose instituting a rigid examination into the 
case, and if we find that your opinions are well founded, we 
will turn his case over to the proper tribunal for adjudication 
and abandon the prosecution of his license. Campbell is a man 
of color and incapable of defending himself against charges 
as a white man would be under the laws of the State as well as 
those of the church, but he is nevertheless entitled to justice, 
and which we are bound to believe you are willing to award to 
him. G-ive us your answer through the post office by 10 o'clock 
Tuesday morning. 

"Yours respectfully, 



"Savannah, May 21th, 1858. 
"Gentlemen : 

"Your letter, in which you call upon me to give my reasons 
for some opinions I lately expressed in an interview with your- 
selves respecting Wm. J. Campbell, I have just received. 

" I regret the necessity you have laid me under, by thus cate- 
chising me, of speaking to you with that plainness which I 
think tlif nature of the case demands. I must say, then, that I 

African Baptist Church. 81 

do not, recognize your authority in behalf of the First African 
Church, or any other church or body you may represent, to 
interrogate me in regard to any opinion I may have expressed 
or may hold concerning the individual referred to by you. 
Looking upon you, as I do, as having assumed and exercised 
powers that do not belong to you, in your late interference with 
the officers of the First African Baptist Church, I utterly repu- 
diate and reject the idea that you have any right to address me, 
in behalf of that church, upon any subject whatever: 

"And, if I must speak as I think and feel, I will say to you 
that for you to affect to hold me to account for my opinions in 
regard to Campbell, I regard as a piece of unmatched impu- 

"Yours, &c., 


How signally has God blessed this church against the might- 
iest foes. Because Mr. Campbell was a negro, this Mr. Win- 
ston presumed that his mere opinion and assertion was suffi- 
cient to dethrone a pastor of more than a thousand souls, and 
felt highly insulted because his word was not taken as absolute 
proof against this man of God. Mr. Campbell conquered 
through Christ, and the church marched on. 


History of the First 


Rev. George Gibbons— His Call, Pastorate and Death. 

• Rev. George Gibbons was born in Thorny Island, Barnwell 
District, S. C, November 13th, 1819. He was a slave and be- 
longed to Mrs. Telfair, who was very kind to him. He was 
baptized by Rev. Andrew C. Marshall in 1844. He was elected 
a deacon of the First African Baptist Church, January 29th, 
1860. He was licensed to preach by the First African Baptist 
Church about 1870, and he was ordained in 1871, and served as 
an assistant of Rev. AV J. Campbell in the pastorate. He was 
called to the pastorate of Bethlehem Baptist Church of Savan- 
nah about 1875 or 1876. He was much beloved by said church. 
He was a man of pleasing manners, dignified bearing, refined 
culture, and was a model christian gentleman. He was hum- 
ble and very polite. He was brought into prominence by the 
call to the First African Baptist Church in 1878. He was 
called at the tune when great excitement prevailed, and it was 
next to impossible for his administration to have met with 
much success. He had as much as he could do to keep what 

African Baptist Church. S3 

he had. He could not have been expected to make advances 
on the world when the church was not united. The old pastor 
(Rev. W J. Campbell) was still alive and his influence was still 
living, and all militated against Rev. George Gibbons' success. 
The friends of Mr. Campbell were the enemies of Mr. Gibbons, 
and vice versa- Rev. Gibbons served the church under these 
disadvantages for six years. He had not been visiting the an- 
nual sessions of the Baptists and hence knew very few of the 
brethren and practically nothing of the workings of the Bap- 
tists outside of Savannah. He had been .so confined at home 
with the affairs of the old white people who raised him that he 
knew next to nothing of what was going on among the negroes 
in everyday life. Therefore, he was unprepared to deal with 
them successfully in church as -a pastor. He did not know 
enough about them. He had traveled extensively with these 
white people, having visited Europe. He had a fine mind and 
possessed sublime thoughts. No one could justly point the 
finger of blame at Rev. George Gibbons. Everybody united in 
calling him a good man. Even those who disliked him for fill- 
ing the pulpit which they felt justly belonged to Mr. Campbell 
would unhesitatingly call him a nice man. His home was very 
happy, quiet and dignified, and everything he wished for he 
had at his hand. He was a man of means. The white ladies 
with whom he stayed died and left him more than seven thou- 
sand dollars. His estate is worth upward of twelve thousand 
dollars. He had a great, generous heart, and was a friend to 
mankind and an honor to society. In 1884 his health began to 
fail him, having been undermined by his laborious work and 
perplexity of mind. The church granted him leave of absence 
to travel in the up-country for his health. He visited Colum- 
bus, Rome, Marietta, Atlanta and Athens, and returned in Oc- 
ber, 1884. He was thought to have improved greatly, but this 
was only imaginary. On his arrival he expected to enter with 
vigor upon his work. On Thursday night, November 12, 1884, 
he undertook to preach, and selected for his text, Psalm XVI, 
11 : " Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is 
fullness of joy ; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forever 
more." He read very distinctly his text once and read it a 
second time, and his hands fell by his side, his mouth closed, 
and he never spoke again in life. It was evident that his work 
was over. He had been shown the path of life and would be 
soon ushered into the presence of the King. He was taken 
home, where the best medical aid was summon^!, but his case 
baffled medical skill, and after nine days' suffering he breathed 
his last. He was buried on Sunday, November 23d, 1884. Rev. 

History of the First 

Alexander Harris preached his funeral sermon. Revs. A. Ellis, 
U L. Houston, S. A. McNeal and E. K. Love also took part. 
The funeral was very large, being attended by not less than 
five thousand people. This good man ended gloriously the life 
he so well lived. Mr. Campbell only preceded him four years 
one month and eleven days to the saints' rest, where they would 
make no more mistakes. Rev. Bryan preceded Rev. Marshall 
forty-four years, one month and one day. Rev. Marshall pre- 
ceded Rev. Campbell twenty-three years, eleven months and 
four days, he also having died in October. It is a little singu- 
lar that all of these great men died about the same time of the 
year. The church never had a better man than Rev. Gibbons, 
so far as quietness, gentleness and pleasing manners are con- 
cerned, but all were abler preachers than he was. He was a 
living example of the gospel which he preached, and had a high 
sense of honor and right. He did not believe in worldly amuse- 
ments and had no patience with the idea of begging money 
for the cause of Christ, nor giving entertainments to raise 
money for the church. He believed that people ought to give 
from a sense of duty and from a principle. He was an hundred 
years ahead of the age in which he lived. Perhaps his ideas of 
that dignifiea order of christian work may be realized in the 
next hundred years. His idea of church work was on the most 
dignified order. It could hardly have been otherwise, owing 
to his cultured rearing. He was progressive in church work 
and in church order. He was actually at one time opposed to 
accepting, upon the part of the church, $70 from a party of sis- 
ters because it was raised from a supper given for that purpose 
which had music. He contended that the gospel did not war- 
rant raising money in that way for the church, and instead of 
accepting the money he was in favor of expelling the sisters. 
This created quite a sensation, and for a while made him un- 
popular with many. If he could have enforced his ideas he 
would have had a model gospel church. But this was at least 
an hundred years too soon for the inaugurating of such plans. 
It would have been like rooting up the tares in the wheat, 
which would have done more harm than good. The day must 
come, however, when his ideas must be adopted. When this 
grand man died the church had just cause to mourn. 

African Baptist Church. 


Rev. E. K. Love, D. D.— His Call and Pastorate. 

[By Rev. S. A. MoNeal, of Augusta, his friend.] 

Eev. Emanuel K. Love, was born in Perry county, near 
Marion, Alabama, July the 27th, 1850. He was a slave and 
reared on a farm. His parents were poor and uneducated. 
They were unable to educate him. He had a burning desire to 
get an education. He was converted in the spring of 1868 and 
baptized in July of the same year by Dr. W H. Mcintosh. He 
was baptized in the afternoon and tried to preach that night. 
He was soon afterwards given permission to preach and won 
great distinction in the country places as a preacher. He soon 
left the farm and became a ditcher. In 1871 he entered Lin- 
coln University, Marion, Alabama (having studied very hard 
for six years privately, getting instruction from white persons 
on farms who were kind enough to give it to him), where he 
studied for five or six months, winning great distinction as a 
hard and wonderfully apt student. When his money gave out 
he was compelled to leave school. He went to ditching. At 

S>> History of the First 

this lie made money very rapidly. But unfortunately he loaned 
this out to friends and relatives who were farming. The church 
to which he belonged, the first Sunday in November, 1872. de- 
cided that he should go to a theological school and prepare for 
the ministry. This he knew nothing of until the matter was 
brought up in the church meeting. At the time he had only eight 
dollars and fifty cents in ready money. The farmers to whom 
he had loaned his money had failed, and it was now evident 
that he could not hope to collect a dollar of his money. After 
the church meeting he went seven miles into the country to see 
what arrangements could be made to collect the money, as he 
had only two weeks. On Monday, the next day, a farmer came 
to town' in search of a ditcher. Some how some friends recom- 
mended Mr. Love, though many ditchers were in town. He 
went out at once to see the gentleman and took the job, com- 
pleted it in ten days and cleared one hundred and twenty-two 
dollars. It was finished on Friday, he settled up his business 
on Saturday, preached his farewell sermon on Sunday and left 
for Augusta, Georgia, on Monday, arriving there on Tuesday, 
November 19th, 1872, and entered the Augusta Institute on 
Wednesday, November 20th, 1872, from which he graduated 
with first honors June, 1877. 

He had many hardships in school. His money gave out sev- 
eral times, when he was compelled often to go several days 
without anything to eat. He has broiled meat skins on the 
coals, ate crusts and drank water for days. He had no bed nor 
bedding, save one quilt and one sheet, the gift of his mother 
when he left home. In the winter he was compelled to build a 
fire in the class room and sleep on benches to avoid freezing. 
As great as his suffering was he always stood head in his classes. 
He was the best bible scholar ever graduated from the school. 
He taught as assistant teacher in the school under the venera- 
ble Dr. Joseph T. Robert, D. D., LL. D., for several years. 
"When Dr. Eobert was sick or absent Mr. Love would take 
charge of the school and deliver lectures on theology to the 
school, which he did to the satisfaction of the scholars. 

He was ordained to the gospel ministry by Bevs. W J. 
White, Dr. Jos. T. Eobert, Henry W r atts, E. Y White, Henry 
Morgan, Aaron Green, G. Arrington, Henry Jackson and Geo. 
Barns, December 12, 1875. at the Harmony Baptist Church, by 
request of his church at Marion, Ala. He taught county public 
schools at Xewton, Appling and Camilla, Ga. In 187(5 he 
served his mother church in Marion, Ala., for six months, and 
declined a unanimous call to be its permanent pastor, and re- 
turned to Augusta to finish his studies. He was appointed 

■& v 

African Baptist Church. 87 

missionary for the State of Georgia under the Home Mission 
Board, of New York, and the Georgia Mission Board (white). 
He served in this capacity until July, 1879, when he resigned 
to take charge of the First African Baptist Church, at Thomas- 
ville, Ga. Here he rebuilt the house of worship and baptized 
450 hopeful converts. The church, under his administration, 
took its stand along by the side of the best churches in christian 
work and finance in the State. On the 1st of October, 1881, he 
resigned this church to take charge of the Sunday school mis- 
sion work of the State of Georgia, under, the American Baptist 
Publication Society of Philadelphia. In this work he continued 
for four years, winning great distinction as an efficient mission- 
ary, and was called the best missionary of the South. He gave 
perfect satisfaction. After serving in this sphere to the unani- 
mous satisfaction of all concerned, on the 1st of October, 1885, 
he resigned to take charge of the First African Baptist Church 
of Savannah, Ga. This church is the most famous in the world 
among negroes, and it is not at all surprising that Mr. Love 
would want some time to prayerfully consider the grave respon- 
sibility invited upon him. Mr. Love was a young man, being 
only 35 years old when he was called. There were great fears 
even among good people that he would not succeed. The church 
bad never had a young pastor. She had been accustomed to 
old men, whose age the people would respect as well as their 
position. Bev. E. K. Love was intellectually the superior of 
his predecessors. 

Mr. Love had long been the favorite of the church. In Feb- 
ruary, 1878, Deacons J. H. Brown and L. J. Pettigrew heard 
him preach the missionary sermon before the Florida Baptist 
Convention, at Monticello, Fla., and were so carried away that 
they invited him to Savannah to preach the same sermon, and 
in March of the same year he visited Savannah. His visit was 
hailed with large congregations, and always after that it had 
only to be hinted that Kev. Mr. Love would be in the city and 
seats in the church would be at a premium. Rev. Geo. Gibbons 
became his friend and made him welcome to his home. As Mr. 
Gibbons was not a revivalist, every once in a while the church 
would send for Bev. Mr. Love to give her a series of sermons. 
When Bev. Gibbons was stricken with paralysis, Bev. Love 
had just finished a series of meetings and had been gone not yet 
a week. When Bev. Gibbons died he was telegraphed for and 
came to the funeral. He knew his name would be put, forward 
for the pastorate and therefore ceased to visit the city. He 
soon found out that there were some who opposed his being 
called, and several falsehoods were trumped up, which his 

t s\s' History of the First 

friends vigorously met and successfully refuted. The church 
invited Mr. Love to hold a series of meetings in the last of 
May, 1885, running up to the first of June. This he did with 
sonie success, and on the first Sunday in June, 1885, baptized 
ten converts and administered the Lord's Supper. There was 
one brother who so bitterly opposed Mr. Love that he would 
not allow his daughter to be baptized by him, though she was a 
candidate for baptism. There was much talk and many aspir- 
ants. Many subterfuges were resorted to to prevent the call, 
but the friends .of Mr. Love were competent for the task and 
met every emergency. 

In the conference of the third Sunday in August an attempt 
was made to call Rev. Mr. Love, but his friends seeing the situ- 
ation and having consumed the time in meeting objections, 
moved to adjourn the conference until the fifth Sunday in Au- 
gust. This conference was very largely attended. Mr. L. J. 
Pettigrew moved that Rev. E. K. Love, of Thomasville, be 
called pastor of the First African Baptist Church. About fifty 
persons, male and female, seconded the motion at once; seven 
hundred persons voted for him, and seven against him. The 
objection of these seven persons was of a three-fold nature. 
First, that he had made, some years before, some undue famil- 
iar advances toward a prominent female member of the church, 
which proved to be utterly false ; yet there was a vile conspir- 
acy in it. Second, that Rev. Gibbons had not been dead long 
enough, and that the church ought not to take down its mourn- 
ing for the late pastor under a year. Third, that he was too 
young. Over all these objections Rev. E. K. Love was made 
pastor by a large majority August 30th, 1885. He was then 35 
years old, and was at the time missionary of the State of Geor- 
gia. He was Avired the result of the election at Washington, 
Ga., September 1st, 1885, and the letter notifying him officially 
was sent to him at Eaton ton, Ga., where he was in attendance 
on the Middle Georgia Association. Following is the letter of 
notification : , 

"Savannah, Ga., Sept. 3, 1885. 
"The First African Baptist Church, Savannah, Ga., 

To Rev. E. K. Love, Thomasville, Ga. 
•'Beloved Brother: As a committee appointed for the pur- 
pose, we take more than ordinary pleasure in conveying to you 
the (to us) most pleasing information that at an adjourned 
session of the regular Monthly Conference of the First African 
Baptist Church, held on the 30th day of August, A. D. 1885, 
you were called to the pastorate of the above named church. 

African Baptist Church. 89 

The number of those who voted in the affirmative upon the 
question of the call was such as to make us feel safe in assuring 
you the hearty support of the church in your labors among us, 
and leaves no doubt as to the directing hand of Providence in the 
result. The salary has been fixed at seventy-five (75) dollars 
per month, with December 1st, 1885, fixed as the date for you 
to assume the duties of the office. We send herewith the warm- 
est feelings of christian love and prayer of the church. 
"Awaiting your reply, we are yours in the bonds of love. 

" J. H. BROWN, 
" C. H. EBBS, 

" Committee." 

When it became known throughout the State that Kev. E. K. 
Love, D. D., had been called to the pastorate of the First Afri- 
can Baptist Church of Savannah, the brethren all over the 
State regretted to lose him from his post as missionary of the 
State. He was the favorite of Georgia. The brethren gener- 
ally called him "Bishop." They still very generally call him 
by this name. He regretted to leave the brethren. He loved 
the mission work. He finally accepted. 

The following is Rev. E. K. Love's letter of acceptance : 

"Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 12, 1885. 
"Messrs. C. H. Ebbs, L. J. Pettigrew and J. H. Brown, 

Committee First African Baptist Church, Savannah, Ga. 
"Dear Brethren : Yours of the 3d instant, informing me of 
your great church's choice of me as pastor, to hand. I can but 
view the circumstance as the most flattering in my history. 
Your church is an old, influential body, and I feel most forcibly 
the grave responsibility invited upon me in your call. Feeling, 
as I do, the magnitude of this work, and the able pastors who 
have preceded me, and appreciating the learning and profound 
research and wonderful executive ability he must possess who 
is your leader, I would most respectfully cry unworthy and de- 
cline, but for the conviction, after a prayerful consideration, 
that your call voices the will of God. For His service I live, 
and in it I hope to die ; hence, I regard as a rule the voice of 
the people as the voice of God. When this is so I bow to them 
as to their Master. 


" There is no more responsible an office to which men can be 
possibly called than that of a pastor. To his care is committed 

'.in History of the Fird 

the training of the people spiritually. Praying for the sick, 
standing around the bedside of the dying, watching over the 
spiritual interests of the church, looking out for the good of the 
community generally, rebuking sin and wickedness in high 
places, to throw his influence on the side of temperance, waging 
an uncompromising war against whiskey, to fight never ceas- 
ingly for right, to work untiringly for education, and to preach 
faithfully the word of God in such a manner that the whole 
people might hear him gladly. The work of the pastor is the 
most sacred and responsible under heaven, and angels would 
gladly engage in the pastor's work. The privilege to pray for 
the suffering and distressed is certainly sweet to the minister 
called of God to preach the gospel of His son. 


" The man who deals with the spiritual affairs of a people 
must be most dearly and tenderly related to them. He who 
teaches the souls of a people must enter and live in their souls. 
His soul should be large enough to take all of his people into 
his heart of hearts. The pastor is a member of every family 
circle in his congregation. All of the people are his people, 
and he is the servant of all. He can not afford to have any 
enemies who can give a just cause for their opposition. If pos- 
sible, he must live peaceably with all men, and endeavor to 
have all men to live at peace with him. He is the spiritual 
overseer of the church of God, and is the adviser of the church 
in all of its concerns. 


" I can not hope to succeed without your cooperation and 
hearty support. I am not ignorant of the fact that a people 
can defeat the work of their pastor or make it a grand success. 
It will, as you know, be your duty to assist me by your pres- 
ence, support, prayers and sympathy. For this I shall look 
most anticipatingly. I need not invite your attention to the 
domestic part of your work. A parsonage, I believe, is gener- 
ally acceded to be the duty of the church, and the minister be 
left free to give himself to study, prayer and the ministry of the 


" It will be necessary for me to tell you that the work which 
I am now doing is important to the State of Georgia. The 
Baptists of Georgia have given me their united support, and it 

African Baptist Church. 91 

is with profoundest feeling that I resign this work.* The Amer- 
ican Baptist Publication Society, in whose employ I have served 
for four years, has been very kind to me, and has treated me 
with the utmost deference and will regret to lose my services. 
You name December 1st as the day to commence the work. 
Perhaps you did not know that my year expires with October 
1st, and that it would be much easier and smoother for me to 
resign at the end of the year. Your time seems to necessitate 
the loss of two months. If this cannot be remedied I shall 

" The salary you offer I hope will be so fixed as to put myself 
and family on equally as good living terms as in my present 
position. You cannot afford to do less. 

" You owe me your prayers ; pray for me, dear brethren, I feel 
so much my un worthiness and inability to discharge the duties of 
so high a calling. Having been duly, officially, informed that on 
the 30th of August, 1885, I was duly elected as pastor of your 
great church, and regarding the voice of the people as the voice 
of God, I, Emanuel K. Love, of Thomasville, Ga., in the thirty- 
fifth year of my age, do, in the name of Almighty God, in the 
name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the name of the Holy 
Spirit, accept, looking to Him for guidance, protection, and an 
understanding heart. 

'And now, may the great head of the church, the Shepherd 
and Bishop of our souls, even the Lord Jesus Christ, bless you 
in all things for good. 

" I am your humble servant, in His name, 



When the letter .of acceptance from Mr. Love was read be- 
fore the church, the church at once changed the time from 
December 1st, 1885, to October 1st, 1885, to suit Mr. Love's 
convenience. This showed that the pastor elect already had 
influence with this noble people. At a mere hint from Mr. 
Love that either January 1st, 1886, or October 1st, 1885, would 
suit him best the church embraced the opportunity of getting 
him at the first convenience. October 1st, 1885, was set for the 

Rev. Love was installed by Revs. U. L. Houston, J. S. Hab- 
ersham, John Nesbit, W. L. P. Weston, of Savannah, E. R. 
Carter, of Atlanta, C. T. Walker, T. J. Hornsby and S. A. Mc- 
Neal, of Augusta, T. M. Robinson, of Harlem, and G. H. Wash- 
ington, of Quitman. Rev. C. T. Walker introduced Rev. E. K. 
Love in the following eloquent speech: 

History of the First 

••It is with no small degree of pleasure that your humble 
speaker appears before this august assembly on this auspicious 
occasion. I am gratefully sensible of the honor done me in 
selecting me to speak on this important occasion. You gather 
to-night on no ordinary occasion ; you come not to witness the 
inauguration of the chief magistrate of the nation ; you come 
not to your regular church services as you usually do on this 
night ; no, you are here to meet the leader, the shepherd of the 
flock that God has sent you. The ministry is of divine appoint- 
ment, and is such a sacred and holy calling God has reserved 
the right of appointment to himself, and by the influence of the 
Holy Spirit he has urged you to call to the pastorate of this 
great church Emanuel K. Love. Christ, the great shepherd of 
the sheep, the bishop of our souls, has committed His people to 
the instruction and guidance of faithful ministers. 

' ; While this noble church has had a number of eminent 
preachers, such as Andrew Bryan, Andrew C. Marshall, Wil- 
liam J. Campbell and George Gibbons, who have erected mon- 
uments to their noble deeds, yet I assure you that the cause 
will not suffer in the hands of the present incumbent. He, by 
the fervor of his appeals, the force of his argument, the glow of 
his eloquence, the beauty of his piety, his familiarity with the 
Scriptures, and his sincere devotion to the Master's cause, will 
edify and delight his christian hearers. Though the duties of 
the pastoral office be arduous and responsible, you have made 
choice of one who will discharge them with fidelity and ability. 
He will give effective service and meet your highest expecta- 
tion. Only give him your prayers, sympathy and hearty co- 
operation. Rev. E. K. Love, as a student, was earnest, apt, 
diligent, thorough-going, and always led his classes. He has 
reached the degree of a well-developed- manhood and of a 
richly-cultivated intellect. He served as missionary under the 
Home Mission Society, New York, and the Home Mission 
Board of the Georgia Baptist Convention (white), and gave en- 
tire satisfaction. He was afterward called to the pastorate of 
the Thomasville Baptist Church. This church building was 
quite dilapidated, the flock scattered and the Baptist cause at 
a low ebb in that city ; but during his pastorate the church was 
tastily beautified and embellished, and 450 added by baptism. 
He was called from that field of labor to become the Spurgeon 
missionary under the auspices of the American Baptist Publi- 
cation Society in Philadelphia. He won their confidence and 
respect, and was styled by them the best missionary in all the 
South. He is known all over Georgia; his friends arc legion. 
He won the confidence and respect of his denomination. He is 

African Baptist Church. 93 

known and loved in this State and treated kindly. He resigns 
a prosperous work to obey your mandate. He comes to this 
field with experience and executive ability. He comes to the 
call of his heavenly Master. He comes, burdened with the 
responsibility devolved upon him. He comes a christian gen- 
tleman. Gentle with all men and clothed with the raiment of 
a meek and quiet spirit. He is eminently social and will be 
the friend of the "unlettered peasant as well as the erudite 
scholar. The most humble in the church will find in him a 
friend — generous, noble-hearted and kind. His liberality is 
greater than his purse. He has learned what few ministers 
have — to esteem another better than himself, and in honor to 
prefer his brethren. In my friend and brother you will find an 
experimental preacher, natural and impressive. He is up with 
the times. The age in which we live is one of mental activity, 
busy, progressive, and calls loudly for men of character, doc- 
trine and education. Not altogether excellence of speech, to 
gratify the curiosity of the people, rhetorical strains or philo- 
sophical essays, but men who will know nothing among men 
save Jesus Christ and him crucified. I present to you a chris- 
tian gentleman who will, to-night, enter upon his work with a 
solemn appreciation of it, and with an earnest desire to do it 
ably and faithfully. His unselfishness, his broad charity, his 
marked sincerity, his simplicity and scholarly attainments, 
coupled with the grace of G6d, all fit him preeminently for the 
office he is to fill. And, dear church, I bespeak for him your 
sympathy, confidence, support, love, cooperation and prayers. 
I ask for his most excellent, devoted, praiseworthy, christian 
wife your respect and generous consideration. 

"And now, beloved brother, in entering upon this new field 
of labor, may the Lord bless thee and keep thee ; the Lord make 
His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The 
Lord lift upon thee His countenance. The Lord give thee 
peace. May you, by good work, write your name on time as 
legibly as the stars on the brow of the evening. And when you 
stand upon the interlacing margin of eternity may you hear the 
shout of your welcome borne from afar : Well done, good and 
faithful servant." 

Rev. S. A. McNeal then addressed the church in the following 
most timely speech : 

UJf. History of the First 


"Dear Brethren and Sisters, Friends and Well-Wishers: 

'I am glad to answer this honor you have conferred upon 
me. I regard it as no small matter to be called upon to address 
you upon so auspicious an occasion as this. You have assem- 
bled here to night to see publicly installed the man whom you, 
of your own volition and deliberate choice, have called to serve 
you as your leader, your counsellor and your shepherd. In this 
act you have taken upon yourselves solemn obligations that the 
great head of the church will hold you answerable for. It is 
no small thing for a church or people to call a minister of the 
gospel from his God-given field of usefulness to take charge of 
its work. For being, as he may be, settled in his Master's vine- 
yard, where he is succeeding, and where he knows how to suc- 
ceed, to come among a new people, to discontinue his usefulness, 
to run the risk of being successful or to be disappointed may 
be for life. It is no small thing to do this, but, on the other 
hand, an awful thing. For this man you have called is doing 
a great work, and in fact he has done the greatest work that 
has been done by any one in the mission in this State. The 
truth is, he is a man who will succeed in any field, if only 
allowed. As an organizer and builder he is the acknowledged 
leader in this State. As to his intellectual ability you have 
been truthfully told by the brother who introduced him to you. 
I have been appointed to speak of the relations to exist between 
you as church and pastor. I wish to say, by way of emphasis, 
that whatever a pastor may do or be very greatly depends upon 
what that church is, or what that church may be capacitated 
for. The pastor is expected to draw the line of campaign and 
furnish the brain and the people or church to execute. If the 
church grows intellectually or morally that very greatly depends 
upon the leadership of the pastor coupled with its own willing- 
ness to attain these high and lofty things. 

'"Then the first thing that the church is required to do in 
order to get these blessings is to have great confidence in the 
pastor and hold him in high esteem. For in order that we may 
follow any one we must first have faith in such an one. The 
second thi ng is to love him ; for there will be times when you 
will be called upon to bear very much with your leader, and if 
you don't love him you can't bear the burdens that may be put 
upon you. The third thing is to be willing to obey your pastor 
for the good book informs you that obedience is better than 
sacrifice. The next thing is you must pray for your pastor- 
you must at all times remember that he needs your prayers! 

African Baptist Church. 95 

I will repeat here what I heard once told having happened 
between a church and its pastor. He, it was said, was a young 
man, and having preached for some time to the church was 
about to fail, when the members of the church met to discuss 
the matter and do something thereabout. When they had fully 
ventilated the matter, one brother moved that the pastor be 
asked to resign ; but just before they voted one old man arose 
and asked, with tears in his eyes, that as the pastor was a 
young man, and there was much to hope for, the church 
pray for him for one month, and at the end of that time they 
had quite a revival in their church, and from that day the 
church began to grow and became the largest and most flour- 
ishing church of that day, and in all that country was their 
praise. So I would urge you to pray for your church and pas- 
tor and great results will follow. 

"Then I want to tell you what you must not do yourselves, 
nor allow anyone else to do in your presence — speak disre- 
spectfully of your pastor ; but always have a good word for him. 
When he preaches a good sermon, tell him so, and it will help 
him to do better the next time. If he does or speaks a thing 
you do not understand, do not go around criticizing and com- 
plaining, but wait for an opportunity and speak to him kindly 
about the matter, and always feel that you have pleasant access 
to him. And even when you disagree with him, allow it to be 
between you two, and don't go all over the town tattling and 
making partisans of yourself and others. This will injure the 
church, the pastor, others and yourselves. Then the time will 
come when you may learn that, after all, he knew best and 
acted wisely. And not at all times are you to know what the 
true minister of Jesus Christ does. He has nothing at heart 
but the good of Zion and the glory of God. 

"I have known Mr. Love most intimately for the past thir- 
teen years, and I tell you I don't know any man for whom I 
would swear quicker than for the Eev Emanuel K. Love, who 
has been called to serve you. He is a good man, a noble man, 
a man whose heart is as broad as the world and as deep as the 
sea. He is as true as steel, and a man who cannot go back on. 
a friend. I know no man so well as I know E. K. Love. He 
cannot be more honest than he is. Deception is not in him. 

"And I pray that this call, which he has felt moved by 
the Holy Ghost to answer, has been of God. Then if it has 
been of God no man can .overthrow or hinder him from going 
to a grand success. Hoping that this old patriarchal and his- 
torical church may be made all that the dear Lord would have 
her be, and that my dearest friend and your beloved and newly- 

0*1 History of the First 

elected pastor and his grand church may do all they may desire 
to do, and be, through him that loves the church and gave 
himself for the church, more than conquerors; that he might 
present to God, the Father, a pure church, without spot or 
blemish, or any other such thing, is the humble wish of your 
brother, for Christ's sake. Amen." 

Key. E. E. Carter then charged the pastor in a most touching 


u Dear Brethren, Sisters and Friends generally : This demonstra- 
tion of your interest, both in me and in the work to which I 
have been called by this people, makes me feel more keenly 
than ever my un worthiness and inability to discharge the du- 
ties of this high office. Were I to consult my feelings in this 
matter I would be forced to the conclusion that this task might 
have been consigned to more competent hands than mine. But 
as God has spoken through his people, as his servant, I should 
disregard my feelings and hear what the Lord, my God, saith. 
His word is much plainer and clearer of fault than iny treach- 
erous feeling; to his word I bow. If God chooses to work 
through me in this field, I think I should make no objection. I 
yield, therefore, and throw myself upon the merit of His grace, 
assured that He is with me ' alway, even unto the end of the 
world.' I come among you as one that serves. I give you my 
unqualified word to-night, in the fear of God, that I have no 
friends to reward nor enemies to punish. I shall look upon 
every man in this church as my brother and every woman as 
my sister, provided I find them worthy. I shall place every 
man upon his merit : Whatsoever he soweth that shall he also 
reap. I shall rebuke sin in whomever and wherever I find it, 
regardless of the consequence. I put in this night to get on 
with you, and I want you to make it up in your minds that we 
have got to get on together. There is no good reason why we 
should not get on together. I have not come here to fall out. 
I pity a christian that cannot live in peace with a christian. 
The religion of the Lord Jesus Christ is a system of peace, and 
those who do not make peace have not the spirit of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. I feel very grateful for the complimentary terms 
in which my reverend brethren have spoken of me to-night. I 
assure you, brethren, that you, together with this occasion 
shall be carefully and sacredly stored away in my fondest recol- 
lection. Whatever ability I may possess shall be devoted to 
the promotion of /ion and the truest interest of this whole 

African Baptist Church. 97 

people. They shall take part in all of my thoughts.* My heart 
shall be burdened with their sorrows and elated with their 
joys. I shall live for them, and hope to live in them. I may 
commit errors. Who is free from them ? I shall make them 
as seldom and as far between as possible. They shall always 
be errors of the head. It is not my desire to do wrong. Pray 
for me that God may help me to do right and teach you the 
same. I want to prove myself a workman that needeth not to 
be ashamed right here in this field. May God grant me grace 
to do this work to His honor and glory. 

"Allow me to say to you before I finish that I shall try my 
best to be your pastor, and I wish you to try equally as hard to 
be the members. Treat me as I treat you and I ask no more. 
I deserve no more. I expect you to attend church as regularly 
as the doors are open. Let us start with each other in a way 
that we can hold out. If we start right we can hold out, for 
right breeds right. Let us remember that one night's confusion 
in the church will do more harm than we can remove by 
months' preaching. As it is easier to go down than up, we 
should hold every notch we make and struggle for the 'next one. 
The attention of the country is turned toward this church. Look 
at the representatives you have here to-night from nearly all over 
Georgia. Let us appreciate our surroundings and act accord- 
ingly. If there be any who have made it up in their minds to 
make this administration a failure, I persuade you, in the name 
of God, to change your minds. Be admonished by your friend 
and brother to unite with the whole church to carry on the 
work of God. It is not our cause, it is God's cause, and let us 
not insult our Master because He does not do business to suit 
us. He is working for our good ; He knows best who He wants 
to watch over his people. Do not contend against the army 
lest you fight against God. If God, whose cause we espouse, 
can put up with a man in His vineyard, it does seem that you 
might be able to stand it. I must congratulate you upon the 
almost unanimity of your call. Many churches have split 
nearly half in two by calling a preacher. You have steered 
clear of this, be it said in praise of the church. 

"I shall deliver my inaugural discourse on Sunday night. 
That discourse will be an index to my administration. I, there- 
fore, urge you to turn out in fall and hear it." 

This short address had a wonderful impression upon the peo- 
ple. The reader misses the fervor, ease, grace and earnestness 
with which it was delivered. 

98 History of the First 


The Thomasville Times said of him when he resigned the 
church there: 

"Rev. E. K. Love has resigned the pastorate at Thomasville 
and enters the service of the American Baptist Publication 
Society as Sunday School missionary. The following is the 
action taken by the deacons of the church in reference to the 
matter : 

" l Resolved, That it is with great reluctance that we are con- 
strained to accept the resignation of our beloved pastor ; that 
the ties which have so long bound us together are indeed hard 
to sever ; 

'"That in thus severing the relation of pastor and people we 
recognize the hand of God calling him to a more useful and 
extended field ; 

"'That we will follow him with our prayers wherever he 
goes, praying that He will care for him and his while he goes 
forth to do the bidding of the Master; 

"'That his faithfulness and earnest labors with this church 
entitle him to a warm and lasting place in our hearts and mem- 
ories ; 

" ' That we commend him most heartily and cordially to our 
brethren all over the State as an able and devoted minister of 
the gospel ; 

" 'That the doors of this church, and the hearts of our peo- 
ple, will always be open to him when he returns in his rounds 
of labor; 

"'That we, as a church, in bidding in our brother adieu at 
the same time bid him God-speed on the high and holy mission 
to which he has been called. 

'"S. SMITH, 
'"S. M. WILSON, 


The Time* said, in an editorial : 

" Rev K. K. Love has the entire confidence and respect of 
the citizens of Thomasville, white and black. He lias stayed 
here long encugh for them to know his sterling worth. Georgia 

African Baptist Church. 99 

is a big field, but if there is a man who can wofk it up, that 
man is E. K. Love." 

Rev. T. J. Hornsby in The Defense, May 2^, I884. 

"Hepzibah, Ga., May 19th, 1884. 
" Editor Defense : 

" Please grant us space to speak a word about the man who 
is styled the ' Bishop of Georgia,' Rev. E. K. Love, the Sunday 
School missionary of the American Baptist Publication Society. 
This very able divine visited the Spring Hill Baptist Church on 
the 17th ultimo and delivered one of his supremely eloquent 
sermons upon the unpardonable sin. It certainly was a mas- 
terly effort, and we would be glad if all the world had heard it. 
He conducted an institute meeting at Smith Grove Church on 
the 18th and 19th ultimo. We assure you that it was timely, 
instructive and pleasant. He certainly is the right man in the 
right place. As you know, he is not only enthusiastic but really 
logical at the same time. He seems to have such extraordinary 
and commanding powers, and can preach or teach with so 
much propriety that when we get it altogether we can well 
afford to call him the 'Bishop.' The gentleman handled all of 
his subjects with great credit to himself and incalculable benefit 
to his audiences. "Well may the denomination boast of her 
gem and Georgia exult on his account. It has been some time 
since a missionary visited us, therefore we cannot refrain from 
talking about it The meeting indorsed the God-sent man and 
his work in very commendable terms, which we forwarded to 
the Georgia Baptist, which I have been taking nearly ever since 
its existence, with request to publish, which must have gotten 
into the scrap basket before they were published, for three 
weeks have passed since and we have not seen them. As the 
resolutions were long may be this caused them to be left un- 
published. Accept many thanks for space. 

" Respectfully, 


Rev. Love and the Georgia Baptist were not on good terms at 
this time, and hence nothing in praise of him could find its way 
into the columns of that paper. 

Echo, Savannah. 

The Baptist Foreign Mission Society of the First African 
Baptist Church Sunday School, said of Mr. Love in the Echo : 

" The regular meeting of this society will take place at the 
First African Baptist Church this (Sunday) afternoon at 3 

K>0 History of the First 

o'clock. Ke\\ E. K. Love., of Thomasville, Georgia, will preach 
the regular missionary sermon, which will certainly prove quite 
interesting, as Mr. Love is decidedly one of the ablest divines 
in the State. The collections at this mission meeting are for 
sending the gospel of Christ to the poor heathens in Africa, and 
it is hoped the attendance will be large and the contributions 
liberal. Mr. C. L. De Lamotta is one of the leading agitators in 
this work in the Forest City whose efforts in its behalf is un- 
doubtedly commendable in every particular." 

The Sentinel said of him: 

"The election of the Eev. Editor Love, as pastor of a great 
Baptist church in Savannah, is a well merited compliment both 
to the church itself and its new pastor. Rev. Love is acknowl- 
edged, we believe, to be the ablest biblical scholar among the 
young colored men of his State. As a pulpit orator he has no 
superiors and few equals among Georgia's clergy. As a writer 
and thinker on general topics he stands among the foremost. 
We bespeak for pastor and flock a happy association." 

Camilla Clarion ( White). 

"Rev. E. K. Love has been called to the pastorate of the 
First Baptist (colored) Church in Savannah and will make that 
city his home. He taught and studied in Camilla for several 
years, and we know his record and his abilities. He is indeed 
a very intelligent and able man and the church has done well 
to secure his services. Withal he is pious and devoted to his 
work. We congratulate all parties." 

Savannah Morning News ( White.) 

"Rev. E. K. Love has recently been called to the pastorate 
of the First African Baptist Church of this city to fill the 
vacancy occasioned by the death of the late Rev. George Gib- 
bons. He was installed on Thursday night. This young divine 
is a graduate of the Atlanta Baptist Seminary and is one of the 
foremost men in the denomination. For three years he was 
missionary of Georgia under the Home Mission Society, Xew 
York, and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board (white). He 
resigned that position to take charge of the Thomasville Bap- 
tist Church and served that church three years, during which 
he baptized 400 converts and greatly added to the material 
interest of the church. He resigned the Thomasville church 
against the earnest solicitation of the people and accepted the 

African Baptist Church. 101 

missionary position under the American Baptist Publication So- 
ciety of Philadelphia, which position he held for four years. He 
gave entire satisfaction, and resigned that position to accept the 
call to the' church of this city. He was at one time editor of a 
paper published in Albany, Georgia, known as the National 
Watchman, and is at present second editor of the Weekly Sentinel, 
a negro paper published in Augusta, Georgia." 

Augusta Sentinel, Sept. 12th, 1885. 


" The above-named church is one of the largest and most pros- 
perous churches in Georgia. It has been pastored by such 
worthy men as Bryan, Marshall, Campbell and Gibbons, all of 
whom are now in the enjoyment of infinite rest. The church 
has more than 3,000 members, and is noted for her benevolent 
missionary spirit. Bev. Emanuel K. Love has been called to 
the pastorate of this noble church and the church made a wise 
selection. He is a diligent student of the Scriptures, well edu- 
cated, a sound theologian — all his sermons bear the stamp of 
his iron genius. He is in full vigor of a well-developed man- 
hood and of a richly-cultivated intellect. As a preacher, he is 
able, instructive and powerful ; his views vast, profound, origi- 
nal, and his sermons practical. As a pastor, he is sympa- 
thetic, vigilant, benevolent, and devoted to missions, and will 
faithfully discharge the duties of that responsible office. 

" During his pastorate at Thomasville the church was strength- 
ened greatly and reached a high degree of prosperity. Now, 
as a missionary under the auspices of the Publication Society of 
Philadelphia, his perseverance and devotion in that work has 
caused him to be styled one of the best missionaries in the 
South. He has qualifications that fit him preeminently for the 
position he has been called to fill ; he brings to it the best of 
executive and organizing powers, combined with unquestioned 
consecration to his Saviour and His cause. He is kind, gener- 
ous, noble-hearted, and possesses germs of genuine greatness. 
There is no man in Georgia to-day more interested in the work 
of his denomination than E. K. Love. C. T. W " 

The Sentinel. 

"On next Thursday night, at 8 o'clock, Bev. E. K. Love, the 
Baptist Sunday School missionary and evangelist of the State of 
Georgia, will preach at Thankful Baptist Church. Bev. Love 
needs no introduction to the people of Augusta. On this 

j/ij History of the First 

occasion he proposes to preach the grandest sermon of his life. 
Let everybody turn out to hear him." 

Rev. Love made no such intimation as above. 

The following is the introductory sermon of Rev. E. K. Love 
on entering upon the pastorate of the church : 


Of Per. Emanuel K. Love on Entering the Pastorate of the First 
African Baptist Church, Savannah, Ga., Preached Sunday 
Night, October 4th, 1885. It is Published by the Unanimous 
Request of the Church, expressed by a Vote. 

" This^very able and instructive sermon was delivered by Rev. 
Emanuel K. Love on entering the pastoral duties of the First 
African Baptist Church of Savannah, Ga., the first Sabbath, 
night in October, 1885. The spacious and magnificent audito- 
rium of the grand old church was crowded to its utmost capacity, 
and many could not gain admittance. 

" The author is a sound theologian, strikingly original, and has 
reached the degree of a well-developed and richly cultivated 
intellect. It is by the unanimous request of this time-honored 
church that the sermon appear in print. 

"It is replete with wholesome advice, helpful suggestions, 
and is capable of elevating and edifying each christian soldier. 

" It is hoped that this evangelical gospel sermon will be care- 
fully and prayerfully read, and that the pastorate of our dear 
brother may be richly fruitful of good. 

"C. T. Walker, 
"Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Augusta, Ga." 

"Acts, x, 29 : ' Therefore, came I unto you without gainsaying 
as soon as I was sent for : I ask, therefore, for what intent have 
ye sent for me.' 


"I have very often preached to this church for six or seven 
years, and although I could not have done so more earnestly, 
I've never attempted to preach to you in the capacity which I 
now attempt, Before I have taken up the burden only for a 
short whih — for a night, for a day, and never for longer than a 
week or two. though I've carried you in my heart, for God 
h;ul assured me years ago that I would be your pastor. I was 
not responsible for your perpetual instruction, the order of your 

African Baptist Church. 103 

house, nor the peace of this flock ; I'm invited- now to a con- 
stant burden, and for your welfare I must shoulder the respon- 
sibility. I feel it needful, therefore, to have a plain talk with 
you to night, hence I have selected this text to ask you for 
what intent did you send for me. You will recollect that the 
angel told Cornelius to send for Peter, and that the Lord told 
Peter that he had instructed Cornelius to send for him ; yet 
Peter asked Cornelius why he sent for him. It may not be out 
of place, therefore, for me to ask you for what intent did you 
send for me. Let us notice the person sending for the preacher : 
" I. — Cornelius had been praying. This was the proper time 
to send for a preacher, after prayer and after he had received 
God's answer. Such persons are always ready to hear words 
of God from His ministers. A church should never presume to 
call a preacher until it has consulted God in prayer and his 
answer returned. You will observe that the whole matter of a 
choice of a preacher was left with God. God chose the preacher, 
named the man and told where he was. Cornelius prayed 
before sending for the preacher. He did not call together a 
select few and discuss personality and raise objections; he 
prayed. He did not hunt up his parliamentary guide to make 
trap motions, call the previous question, or move to lay on the 
table ; he prayed. He did not make a long, cunning speech and 
have some one posted to second his motion ; he prayed. He 
did not rise to a point of order, a privilege question, or a, ques- 
tion of information ; he prayed. There was no confusion about 
whom he must call, about the majority ruling or the sovereignty 
of the church; he prayed. I have no sympathy and less 
patience with rings, tricksters, family connections and party 
ties or aristocracy in the church of Christ. Let us stand on the 
same hallowed plain of brotherly love and friendship, remem- 
bering that one is our Master, even Christ, and that we are all 
brethren. It will be noticed again that Cornelius sent a com- 
mittee of three to inform Peter of his call and to accompany 
him on his way. This committee went both in the name of 
God and in the name of Cornelius. They informed Peter that 
Cornelius had been praying, and that in answer to his prayer 
God had instructed him to send to Joppa for him. As though 
it was necessary for Peter to understand the character of the 
man who had sent for him to enter his house, they proceeded 
to give a brief history of the life of Cornelius, and recommended 
him very highly to the preacher. It is not out of place, there- 
fore, for preachers to know something of the churches that seek 
them, and to have a good report of them. God recommended 
Peter, and he needed nothing more. It is too common among 

History of the First 

us to accept a church with merely a 'majority.' The sooner 
this custom dies out the better it will be for our churches. I 
doubt any man's fitness or call to the gospel ministry who will, 
for the sake of getting a church, accept the call to be its pastor 
with merely a majority, and encourage confusion and disaffec- 
tion among the brethren. It must be noticed again that Cor- 
nelias made himself responsible for the preacher's congregation. 
He did not expect the preacher to come there and preach up 
his own congregation. He had gone around or sent and invited 
his neighbors and relatives, and having his own family present. 
When the preacher reached Cornelius he. found his congregation 
in waiting. This is so unlike the majority of our churches. 
They send for the preacher and expect him to gather the con- 
gregation, do the preaching, do the praying, do the singing, lead 
the prayer meetings, teach Sunday school, ^make the people do 
right, and keep the spirit in the church. If the church gets 
cold and converts are not coming in they charge it up to the 
preacher, and hence they mourn, sigh and pray for a change of 
preacher. It must still be noticed that Cornelius did not con- 
tent himself with having sent for the preacher and congregated 
his hearers, but as soon as he heard that Peter was coming went 
out himself to meet him, and embrace him, and extend to him 
that christian welcome that only those can give whose hearts 
are aglow with the love of God. This, too, is so very much 
unlike the most of our churches. Too many of our members' 
interest end with the call of the preacher. They are not there 
to embrace him, cooperate with him, and sympathize with him 
in his work. It is oftentimes true that those who are foremost 
in calling the preacher are furthest behind in supporting him. 
But I think better things of you. The shake of hand is stiff, 
slack and cold, destitute of love, and there is no religion in it. 
There is so much depending upon the encouragement the 
preacher receives from his people. It must be noticed that 
Cornelius announced himself and his people ready for the 
preacher and his message. Verse 35 : ' Now, therefore, are we 
all here present before God to hear all things that are com- 
manded thee of God.' This is not always the case with our 
congregations. In the first place all are not there, and all of 
those who are there are not there to hear all things commanded 
the preacher of God. Some things they would much prefer not 
to hear. And still, let us observe that Cornelius took the 
preacher into his house and cared for him. He did not try to 
put him off on somebody else or send him to a hotel. He was 
willing to take God's message into his heart and God's messen- 
ger into his house. He was willing to provide for the man who 

African Baptist Church. 105 

brought to him the bread of life. This should teach us a lesson. 
'I ask, therefore, for what intent have ye sent for me? ' 


" The minister is God's chosen instructor. God sends men to 
teach men ; He has always employed men to teach men, though 
men have not always been willing to be taught by the men God 
has sent them. They have spoken evil of their teachers, per- 
secuted them, imprisoned them, and put them to death in every 
conceivable way. This is the terrible history of the world. 

"A milder form of persecution now exists — it is slander, evil- 
speaking and refusing to pay the preacher. When the preacher 
fails to suit them, they resort to some one or all of these meth- 
ods. It is very often that the preacher finds those of his congre- 
gation who presume to teach him. With these he must' contend. 
There are those in this congregation who can teach me about 
merchandise, carpentering, sampling cotton, printing, painting, 
laying bricks, plastering, machinery, and many other trades, 
but I've come to teach you the bible — the word of God. I've 
come to teach every one of you. God has called me through 
you to teach you this word, and I have come to do this work. 
Is that the intent for which you have sent for me? Then 
pray God to help me do this great work to His honor and glory 
and your edification and truest interest. Israel thought quite 
often that they could teach Moses. God teaches in mercy 
through his ministers, or teaches in wrath himself. When Saul 
failed to hear the prophet he taught him in death. Our Saviour 
has said to his ministers, ' Go ye, therefore, and teach all na- 
tions, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the 
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all 
things whatsoever I've commanded you; and lo! I am with 
you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.' — Matt., 
xxxviii, 19, 20. 

" ' And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some 
evangelists, and some pastors, and some teachers.' — Eph.,iv, 11. 
We see, therefore, that the teacher is divinely appointed. God 
has always had them. We read in Isaiah xxx, 20, 21 : And 
though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water 
of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner 
any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers, and thine ears 
shall hear a word behind thee saying, ' This is the way, walk ye 
in it, when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the 
left.' It will be observed that the teacher is to point out the 
way to the people and urge them to walk in it. The people are 

lCi> History of the First 

not to point out the way to the teacher, but the teacher is to 
point out the way to the people. God enjoins the duty of teach- 
ing the people upon the ministers. 

"•Again, it will be observed, that the minister is God's leader. 
Too many of our churches presume to lead the preachers and 
home of them are led, and they fall, and great is the fall. The 
preachers should be first in labors of love ; first in the mission 
work ; first at the bedside of the suffering, when in his power ; 
first in matters that concern the public good, and, so far as he 
is able, first in matters that elevate the people intellectually 
and ever}' other way. If I should be asked to name some 
things and places which he should be last in or not at all in, 
among the many I would name politics, bar rooms, shows, ex- 
cursions, and last, but not least, debts. To owe is either to be a 
slave or dishonest. A debt is a curse. The preacher should be 
as an JEolian harp, catching the faintest breeze of heaven's air, 
and resounding in thunder tones to his flock — he stands nearest 
to God and should hear Him first. Indeed, he hears when no 
one else hears. God has promised, that the preacher should 
hear the words from His mouth and warn the people from Him. 
Our Saviour has said, in Luke 10, 16 : ' He that heareth you, 
heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; aud he 
that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me.' This should 
make us be very careful how we treat God's leaders. He says 
again: 'He that receiveth you, receiveth me.' — Matt., x, 40. 
I have trembled for people when I have seen them mistreat 
God's servants. The insult is not to the servants, it is thrown 
in the face of his Master. Better for that people had they never 
been born than to meet a God who pleads the cause of his ser- 
vants. I wonder how they expect to meet God and answer for 
this insult before him. The people should follow the preacher 
as he follows Christ. I Avould ask again, for what intent did ye 
send for me? There are those in the church who are ready to 
follow after anybody else than the preacher, and after anything 
else than righteousness. This is not confined to a few and not 
confined to the poor and unlearned. There are those who are 
unable to attend church, but get perfectly well to attend any 
entertainment of a worldly character. AVe should know that 
our religion is following; we shall know if we follow on to 
know; we are commanded to learn of Christ; his ministers are 
the teachers; the church is the school house and the Bible is 
the text book, and the people are the scholars. The angel told 
Cornelius that Peter would tell him what he ought to do. This 
is the burden of the preacher's mission to tell people what they 
ought to do in spiritual matters — in matters that pertain to 

African Baptist Church. 107 

their everlasting salvation. I am glad that the preacher is not 
expected to make people do, but to tell them what they ought 
to do. If he was to make them do, the entire responsibility of 
their salvation would rest upon the preachers, and every one 
that was lost, his damnation would be charged up to some poor 
preacher. He is appointed to tell people what they ought to 
do. I ask, therefore, for what intent have ye sent for me ? 

" The minister is God's embassador. An embassador is the 
highest commissioned officer; he is usually sent to a foreign 
country ; his duty is to represent the power that commissioned 
him ; he must, therefore, be somewhat in character as the com- 
missioner ; he must understand the burden of his message, the 
laws of the country he represents, and he must either under- 
stand the laws and language of those to whom he is sent or 
must have an interpreter. The Spirit of God is his interpreter. 
God has sent him out on a mission of peace. The world is his 
field ; the minister is God's overseer ; he is to watch over the 
spiritual interest of the church of Christ ; he is called the angel 
of the church. Christ is the shepherd and bishop of our souls, 
and the minister is the under-shepherd ; he is to feed the church 
of God which he has purchased with his own blood. There is 
no one who caa supply the place of the preacher : no one on 
earth is over him. He is the only overseer in the church. 
God made him overseer, and any effort made to change him is 
an insult to the power by which he is appointed. He is clothed 
with the power of God and he is to beseech men in Christ's 
stead to be reconciled to God. ' I ask, therefore, for what in- 
tent have ye sent for me?' The message which he is to deliver 
is glad tidings of a reconciled God to the children of men. In 
this work he does not always meet with encouragement ; yet 
his business is to preach faithfully the gospel of Christ, leaving 
the result and his own provision and life in the hands of his 
Master who commissioned him. I have heard many preachers 
complain of it being harder to preach on Sunday night than at 
any hour during the day. I have often felt it a strain myself. I 
have wondered why. I used to think that it was because there 
was a much larger crowd and more heat and diversity of minds 
to deal with and endeavor to control. But this reason does 
not seem to hold good. I have lately concluded that it is due 
to the fact that our congregations are too much given to visit- 
ing and street promenading on Sunday, that when night comes 
they find themselves too much fatigued to enjoy and take in a 
sermon. When a person has been engaged in visiting, laugh- 
ing, talking and having a good time during the day, when 
night comes he is not prepared to sit an hour and listen to a 

10S History of the First 

discourse without having a chance to throw in a word occa- 
sionally and laugh quite heartily frequently, or get up and take 
a drink of water once in awhile. His mental and physical pow- 
ers have both been excited, and if he doesn't go to sleep he will 
feel like it ; but most generally he will get at it. He will, at 
any rate, get tired of the sermon, and call the most masterly 
effort 'a poor thing.' He is not prepared to take it in; nature 
wants rest ; the fault is his own. What effect has this upon 
the preacher? Well, just this: As the congregation is, so will- 
the preacher be ; he cannot carry all asleep, he can lead them 
all awake. Energetic, earnest hearers, the bright countenances, 
sparkling eyes and attentive ears, all conspire to enthuse the 
man of God to deliver his message. How will we remedy this? 
Well, if our people will not do, and will do, we will soon see that 
it will be as easy, if not easier, to preach on Sunday night as at 
any other hour during the day. If our people will not do so 
much visiting on Sunday, and will not engage in such light em- 
ployment and that of a worldly character on Sunday, and will 
stay home during church service intervals and will read their 
Bibles and meditate on the law of the Lord, and will sing or 
hum praises to God, and will pray as did Cornelius, they would 
come to the church prepared to hear all things of the preacher 
commanded of God, and would, indeed, worship God. A pray- 
ing congregation makes an earnest minister; an appreciative, 
interesting and weeping people make an eloquent preacher. 
So, my hearers, if God has called your pastor, revealed His Son 
in him and committed to him this glorious gospel, you have the 
privilege to improve him. You can make him just what you 
want him to be. You can make him profound by asking him 
questions that have puzzled you ; you can aid him in piety by 
praying for him. This you ought always do. You can make 
him study by studying yourself and supporting him. You can 
make him love you by loving him ; you can make him tender 
by being tender yourself. Many farmers have made poor land 
rich ; many poor horses have been made fat by good attention. 
You have the ax ; grind it. Nobody can tell how much it helps 
a preacher to do his work when his people encourage him but 
a preacher, and may be he cannot tell himself just how much it 
aids him. ' I ask, therefore, for what intent have you sent for 
me ?' God's preachers love their work. I had rather be a 
preacher than be the world. I had rather be a preacher than 
to be any one or all of the stars. I had rather be a preacher 
than to be the sun. I had rather be a preacher than to be an 
angel. Did Cod count me worthy to commit this glorious work 
to me? (Jod wanted me to be a preacher, hence He called me 

African Baptist Church. 109 

and revealed His Son in me. This Son I have come to preach 
to you. Is that the intent for which ye have sent for me ? Then 
God forbid that I should know anything among you save Christ 
and Him crucified. 

" III. — The preacher should go to the people to whom he is 
called just as soon as he is convinced that it is the will of God, 
and doubt nothing. Again, while Cornelius had been praying 
Peter had been praying too ; hence, both were prepared for their 
work. Cornelius was prepared to hear and Peter was prepared 
to preach. In order to be prepared, each must pray. Both 
saw a vision. The same God appeared to both. Cornelius said 
we are all here before God to hear, and Peter said, I came with- 
out gainsaying as soon as I was sent for to preach. He had no 
doubt. God had assured him that it was his duty to go. The 
obedient servant will not question his work when the Master has 
spoken. Indeed, when God calls a servant to a work his pro- 
vision is all right. God will see that he is supported, protected 
and guided. There is nothing to fear in the God-selected field. 
He may not always have encouragement in his field, but if he is 
ready to preach the gospel of Christ he must be willing to bear 
the conflicts of the gospel and to endure hardships as a good 
soldier of Jesus Christ. He must through tribulations enter 
heaven, and lead others. His way is marked through tribula- 
tions, and to shun them is to leave the hallowed way. Even those 
to whom he preaches will at times turn against him. This was 
the case with his Master, the prophets and apostles. He will 
meet his hardest trials among his own people. They will be 
willing to pull out their eyes for him to-day, and be ready to 
pull out his eyes to-morrow ; but he must bear the toils, endure 
the pains, supported by the word of his Master. The minister 
must be ready to preach the gospel under all circumstances. 
His Master has not promised him that he would have no trou- 
ble, but has warned him of trouble and advised him to beware 
of men. Though he is to preach to men he is warned of them. 
"While he is preparing a sermon for them they are making a 
trap for him ; while he is praying for them they are finding fault 
with him ; while he is outing the fire of dissension they are 
busy kindling it ; and, as Judas, they grumble at every chari- 
table deed. Yet, in all this, the preacher must be ready to 
preach the gospel to them. To preach to them is his own food, 
and to refuse to do which is to starve himself. He must eat of 
the same food which he deals out to others. Their dish is his 
dish, and their diet is his diet. Hear his solemn charge: 'I 
charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, 
who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and 

IK) History of the First 

his kingdom: preach the word; be instant in season and out of 
season ; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doc- 
trine." — II Tim., iv, 1-2. To this our congregations will object, 
especially the part that tells the preacher to rebuke. In I Tim., 
4. 16, he is told: 'Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doc- 
trine : continue in them : for in doing this thou shalt both save 
thyself, and them that hear thee.' In Acts xx, 28, it is said: 
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and unto all the flock 
over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed 
the church of God, which he has purchased with his own 
blood.' These passages point out very clearly the preacher's 
duty ; he cannot mistake his way ; let him take the word of 
God as a man of his counsel and have simple faith in God. In 
order for the preacher to be ready in season and out of season, 
he needs always to pray for the Spirit of God to assist him in 
preaching the gospel. He should go to his people ready to 
share their joys, sorrows and troubles. He should be ready to 
mourn with them who mourn, and weep with them who weep, 
and pray with them who pray. It is the most fearful responsi- 
bility under heaven to be a pastor — the most sacred trust and 
the highest honor. I am officially informed that I have been 
chosen of God and called by his people to be the pastor of this 
church. Regarding the voice of the people as being the voice 
of God, I do therefore, in the name of God, accept the same. I 
accept, not ignorant of its weight and cares. I shall expect 
you as a church to do your part, remembering that whatever 
you mete to men it shall be measured to you again. Let it be 
the controlling object of our whole life to win souls for God and 
for heaven. It is our business to lead sinners to Jesus. I put 
the sinners of Savannah on notice this night that I have come 
for you, I have come to lead you to Jesus. I have come to hold 
Christ up to you as the fairest among ten thousands and alto- 
gether lovely. I have come to hold up Jesus Christ to you as 
the only name given under heaven whereby you might be 
saved. I have come to beg you in Christ's stead to be recon- 
ciled to God. I have come to beg you to make friends with 
God. I have come to be your friend and to teach you to love 
him who first loved you and gave himself for you. I have 
come to invite you down in Jordan to be cleansed of the lep- 
rosv. I have come to beg you to get ready to die. You are 
swiftly passing away to the great judgment day, and I have 
c(imc 'in the name of my Master to beg you to make some ar- 
rangement for your soul. Oh! I beg you in the name of high 
heaven to-night to commence even now, to make some ar- 
rangement for that precious soul that must always live in 

African Baptist Church. Ill 

heaven or hell. Dear brethren, is this the intent for which ye 
have sent for me ? Then do help me to preach this word ; help 
me to show the sinners of Savannah the beauties that are in 
Jesus Christ. God help us do this in order that our garments 
might be clear of their blood. It is all of our business to see to 
it that sinners are properly informed of Christ. Let us speak 
well of Jesus. I have come to Savannah to speak well of the 
plan of redemption and of Jesus, its author. I have come 
among you as the friend of education, the advocate of economy 
and industry, as a worker in the Sunday schools, a promoter of 
peace, a law-abiding citizen, and the untiring and uncompro- 
mising enemy to whiskey. I want to be understood to-night as 
being the terror of whiskey and its votaries, so far as my power 
goes. I shall speak, write, preach, fight, work, pray and vote 
against it at every opportunity that may be afforded me through 
the entire journey of my life. Dear brethren, is this the intent 
for which ye have sent for me? Then can I depend upon you 
to support and help me do my work? The christian's life 
should be so sublime ; his life should be a living reality of the 
joy and blessedness of the life beyond; he should live so that 
he might be able to say, I know upon whom I have believed ; I 
know that my Redeemer IrVes. 'O, what a blessed hope is ours 
while here on earth we stay.' Let us live and work as become 
children of the light and our death will be as sweet as it will 
be sublime, and heaven will be our eternal home. Let us cov- 
enant to walk together in Christ from this very night. As we 
walk together here we shall live together over the river upon 
the shining shores of that blessed country whose builder and 
maker is God, where pastor and people shall be gathered with 
everlasting joy and singing; where death never comes ; where 
victors are crowned with Eden's wreath ; where they shall sor- 
row no more ; die no more ; cry no more ; thirst no more and 
hunger no more, for the lamb upon the throne shall feed them. 
For this let us labor, watch, pray and wait till Jesus comes and 
we will be gathered home. God help us for Jesus' sake. Amen." 

Very soon after Mr. Love took charge of the church he found 
it necessary to preach upon going to law, this being prevalent ; 


" I. Cor., vi, 1 : ' Dare any of you, having a matter against 
another, go to law before the unjust and not before the saints?' 
I am not ignorant of the fact that I have a delicate and diffi- 
cult subject to handle to-night about which much has been said, 

112 History of the First 

written and thought. If I should carelessly speak to-night un- 
told harm might be the result, which would be just the opposite 
to what I aim at and wish so much to accomplish. I am also 
aware that this subject is as a two-edged sword, capable of cut- 
ting both ways. 

u Believing it better to let two guilty men escape justice than* 
to punish one innocent man, I proceed to discuss this subject 
to-night in the fear of heaven, relying upon the guidance of 
the Holy Spirit to assist me in so fearful an undertaking. I am 
outgrowing the idea that the truth should be kept from the 
people for fear that they will abuse it. I think the better way 
would be to have the whole truth and let the results be what 
they will. The common interpretation of this scripture will 
tend to make religion objectionable and church membership an 
unreasonable burden. The religion of Christ is based upon 
common-sense reasoning. We have hold of the chain of reason, 
the opposite end of which is centered in the eternal bosom of 
God. Eeligion requires us to live a common sense, practical 
life. Our Saviour rebuked the Pharisees for misinterpreting 
the law and binding heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, 
upon the people. Eeligion requires us to adopt a common 
course of justice with our fellow-nien. There is as much logic 
in the idea of keeping the whole truth from the people for fear 
they will abuse it as there would be in the idea of keeping free- 
dom from a people for fear they would abuse it. The better 
way would be to let the people have freedom, which is right, 
and then teach them the proper way to enjoy it. There is no 
privilege but that it has and can be abused. The principle is 
right, nevertheless. Water and food have made persons sick, 
yet it is not denied that they are good to take in. Some per- 
sons marry and do not get on well together, yet it is admitted 
that marrying is right. One man quits a woman upon the 
ground that he can not live with her, and yet another man mar- 
ries her and lives happily with her. 

" It miTst be admitted also that there are exceptions to all 
general rules. It is so in the Bible as well as in other books. 
God has shown this in his dealing with the children of men. 
Hence the origin of miracles. The rule for entering heaven is 
marked through repentance toward God and faith in His son, yet 
none of us doubt the salvation of infants, who can not do either. 
The rule is that a star does not stop, and yet one stood over the 
manger where the young child was. It is the rule that fire will 
burn, yet the Hebrew children went through the fiery furnace 
without the smell of fire upon their clothes. It is a rule that 
men die. yet Enoch and Elijah were translated. It is a rule 

African Baptist Church. 113 

that iron sinks, yet the prophet caused it to swim. In this 
light we must view many scriptural precepts. It was not law- 
ful for the disciples to enter the corn field and eat on the Sab- 
bath, yet Christ defended them, and said he was Lord even of 
the Sabbath. With the foregoing remarks we can more practi- 
cally discuss this much disputed subject. 


"We would say that it depends largely upon the character 
and nature of the subject in dispute. As a rule it is not right 
to go to law. If every body would do right we would have but 
little, if any, use for the courts. But from the fact that we are 
not predisposed to do unto all men as we would that they do 
unto us, God has appointed judges. The judges that sat in the 
gates of the city were to discern between the people. It is not 
good for church members to be contentious, because it does not 
reflect favorably upon Christianity. It would not reflect credit- 
ably upon members of the same family to be contending in the 
courts with each other. If brother goes to law with brother, 
where is the evidence that the grace of God is sufficient for all 
things, and that we love each other and are made perfect in 
one? As a rule the saints should judge points of difference 
between saints. As they shall take part in judging the world 
they might be intrusted with the matter of deciding points of 
difference between brethren with whom they shall be associated 
in deciding the destiny of the world, for the apostle says : 

"I. Cor., vi, 2, 3: 'Do ye not know that the saints shall judge 
the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye 
unworthy to judge the smallest matters ? Know ye not that we 
shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to 
this life?' 

"This instruction is evidently • for personal differences. In 
cases of personal misunderstandings the church should inter- 
pose, and only the church. If a member is personally injured 
or aggrieved, he should, after proper gospel steps, tell it to the 
church. This principle is laid down by our Saviour in Mat- 
thew, xviii, 15-18 : ' Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass 
against thee go and tell him his fault between thee and him 
alone : if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But 
if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, 
that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be 
established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto 
the church : but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be 
unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.' 

History of the First 

" In Leviticus, xix, 17, 18, we read : ' Thou shalt not hate thy 
brother in thine heart: thou shalt in anywise rebuke thy 
neighbor, and not sutler sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge 
nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but 
thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord.' 

"As the Israelites were just emancipated from Egyptian 
bondage, and were freemen going to live together in a free 
country, it was necessary that they should know their obliga- 
tion to each other as the chosen of the Lord and as fellow- 
citizens. We read again in Luke xvii, 3, 4: 'Take heed to 
yourselves : if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him ; 
and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee 
seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to 
thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him.' These passages 
point out clearly the course to pursue in general matters. Re- 
specting personal offenses, I wrote Dr. J. E. L. Holmes, of this 
city, asking him if a man who is a member of the church 
should assault your wife or daughter could you take such a 
a case to law? This is his reply : 

"'January, 11, 1886. 
" ' I should find it difficult to decide. The circumstances un- 
der which the assault was made would have much to do with 
the right or wrong. Might there not be reparation, apology? 
Ordinarily personal difficulties are better settled privately, and 
if carried into court give a notoriety to all concerned which is 
not in the interest of good order or wholesome influence. I 
rather think the apostle would have discouraged going into 
court in this case.' 

"It seems that the christians at Corinth habitually went 
before the heathen courts for every trifle about which they 
disagreed. The apostle is rebuking them for this, and gives 
them to know that this course is wholly repugnant to the genius 
of Christianity, and that by it they could not hope to impress the 
heathens with the loving influence of the christian religion and 
thus win them to Christ. A contentious spirit is at variance 
with the spirit of religion and does not add a salutary influence 
to the church of Christ. Matthew Henry says on this subject: 
•Here the apostle reproves them for going to law with one 
another before the heathen judges for little matters, and therein 
blames all vexatious law suits. In the previous chapter he had 
directed them to punish heinous sins among themselves by 
church censures. Here he directs them to determine contro- 
versies with one another by church counsel and advice, concern- 
ing which observe : 1. The fault he blames them for, it was 

African Baptist Church. 115 

going to law. Not but that the law is good, if a man use it 
lawfully. But brother went to law with brother — one member 
of the church with another. The near relation could not pre- 
serve peace and good understanding. The bonds of fraternal 
love were broken through. And a brother offended, as Solomon 
says, is harder to be won than a strong city ; their contentions 
are like the bars of a castle. Christians should not contend 
with one another, for they are brethren. This duly attended to 
would prevent law suits and put an end to quarrels and litiga- 
tions. They brought the matter before the heathen magistrates ; 
they went to law before the unjust, and not before the saints ; 
brought the controversy before unbelievers and did not com- 
pose it among themselves, christians and saints, at least in pro- 
fession. This tended much to the reproach of Christianity. It 
published at once their folly and unpeaceableness ; whereas 
they pretended to be the children of wisdom and the followers 
of the Lamb, the meek and lowly Jesus, the Prince of Peace. 
'And therefore,' says the apostle, 'dare any of you, having 
a controversy with another, go to law, implead him, bring the 
matter to a hearing before the unjust?' Christians should not 
dare to do anything that tends to the reproach of their christ- 
ian name and profession. Here is at least an intimation that 
they went to law for trivial matters, things of little value, for 
the apostle blames them that they did not suffer wrong rather 
than go to law, which must be understood of matters not very 
important. But in matters of small consequence it is better to 
put up with the wrong. Christians should be of a forgiving 
temper. And it is more to their ease and honor to suffer small 
injuries and inconveniences than seem to be contentious.' 

" This all seems to be striking at personal matters — matters 
of small moment. All seem to admit that this is the general 
rule — that the church should intervene to settle such matters 
between its members. Any matter that affects us as individuals 
in the shape of individual insults, assaults on our character or 
persons, may be adjusted by the church, and should by all 
means be kept out of the courts. There is only an individual 
feeling or grievance at stake. In this case the censure of the 
church is sufficient. JSTow let us be very careful as we notice 
the exceptions to this general rule. Let us pray that the holy 
spirit might give us a door of utterance, and that he also might 
prevent a misunderstanding of this scripture. 


"We answer, most certainly there is. To say there is not 

110 History of the First 

would be to most fearfully pervert the spirit of the scriptures 
and open a door to. the dishonestly disposed for the most 
unmitigating frauds. Too many dishonest church members 
would borrow money from church members with no intention 
whatever to pay it, and hide behind this scripture : ' Dare any 
of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the 
unjust and not before the saints.' It must be considered that 
the christians at Corinth were living in a heathen land and 
subject to heathen magistrates. We do not live in heathen 
lands and are not presided over by heathen rulers. We are 
citizens of a common country and are in honor bound to support 
the laws of this country. Many of our rulers are members of 
the christian church, and many of their christian lives are irre- 
proachable. The laws of our country are based, for the most 
part, upon the Bible, which book is the guide to the christian 
church. It must be acknowledged, therefore, that the circum- 
stances under which the christians at Corinth lived and the 
circumstances under which we live are decidedly different, and 
hence the exceptions to this general rule. I have taken pains 
to write some of the most learned men of our denomination on 
this subject; men whose ability is not questioned, and who are 
authority on Baptist usage. I give you extracts from their 
letters : 

"Dr. J. E. L. Holmes, of this city, writes me: 

" 'January 11th, 1888. 
" 'Dear Brother Love: 

" ' I think we must take several things into consideration in 
interpreting I. Corinthians, vi, 1 : ' Dare any of you, having a 
matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not 
before the saints? ' The point of the apostle's answer is found 
in the fact that they went 'to law before the unjust,' that is, 
before the heathen tribunals. And this not because they could 
not hope for justice from heathen rulers, nor because the 
heathen rulers were not to be respected. The apostle is careful 
to teach them to respect and be subject to the authorities that 
be. See Komans, xiii, 1-8: (' Let every soul be subject unto the 
higher powers. For there is no power but of God : the powers 
that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth 
the power resisteth the ordinance of God : and they that resist 
shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a 
terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be 
afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have 
praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for 

African Baptist Church. 117 

good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid ;■ for he bear- 
eth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a 
revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Where- 
fore ye must needs be subject not only for wrath, but also for 
conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also : for they 
are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 
Render, therefore, to all their dues : tribute to whom tribute is 
due ; custom to whom custom ; fear to whom fear ; honor to 
whom honor. Owe no man anything, but to love one another : 
for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.') Titus, iii, 1 : 
('Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, 
to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.') But he 
saw that the effect of such litigation would be unfavorable to 
Christianity. The Jews were known to be a contentious people. 
They (christians) must so act as to prevent creating such 
impression about the christians, most of whom, at least at first, 
were Jews. Besides it was a sorry sight that these christians, 
who were called of God and the heirs of heaven, should be 
going to tb,ese less favored to decide questions which they could 
so easily decide. I think we get the impression in reading the 
context, and especially the seventh verse, that the matters in 
dispute were of little consequence, involving no principle, and 
likely to produce no great injury one way or another. Notice, 
then, first, that we are not situated just as they were. Our 
judges and rulers are not heathen, but often our own brethren ; 
our laws are based for the most part upon the principle taught 
in the New Testament. There is, then, no such scandal in 
going into court as there was in the days of the christians of 
Corinth. But it may be wrong, nevertheless, to go to law, if by 
going to law we make it apparent to the world that while pro- 
fessing to be christians we have not the spirit of Christ, or 
worse still, if the world (as represented in civil government) 
should be led to think that the spirit of contentiousness was 
the spirit of Christ. Better suffer some injustice than do the 
cause an injury by furnishing cavilers occasion for talk. Breth- 
ren should settle their difficulties by appeals to brethren, and 
with the advice and assistance of brethren. Bomans xii, 18 : 
' If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with 
all men,' is a fine illustration of the apostle's way of setting 
forth a great principle, with the limitation which our weakness 
makes necessary. If it be possible, that reminds us that there 
are exceptions to the rule. And now having noticed the prin- 
ciple, let us notice the exception. Are there not matters of 
difference which the church cannot decide? Ought not the 
church to relieve a brother of embarrassment in this regard 

US Histoni of the Fird 

(sometimes by putting an unworthy brother out of its pale)? 
Is a brother to suffer the loss of property, or to be otherwise 
injured in his person or family, because some one claiming to 
be a brother is presuming upon his connection with the church, 
while the first brother has no redress? To ask these questions 
is to answer them. A man who is capable of a great wrong 
has no claim to a brother's privileges, and the one who has been 
thus grievousty wronged is under no law to treat him as such. 
Matthew, xviii, 17, might apply in such a case. It is the duty 
of the church in such a case to relieve itself of the odium 
attaching to a life so wholly at variance with the teaching of 
Christ. In the case you suppose, I should say that the banker 
might, without violating the spirit of the scripture, go to law.' 
[This was in answer to the question whether a banker could 
by law recover his money or not.] t 

" ' The last case seems to me clear, if arbitration has first 
been tried. And the right to property may depend upon a legal 
technicality. In the first and last cases it is true there is a 
matter of personal feeling, but of right under the law. Can a 
member of the church go to law under any circumstances ? I 
should greatly regret having to go into court, but I should most 
certainly do so before I would allow the support of my family 
to be taken from them ; before I should allow myself to suffer 
any great injury. Paul did not hesitate to appeal to Caesar 
when he saw that in this way alone could he have his rights 
and secure a fair trial. When the cause is manifestly just, 
Avhen a principle is involved of real moment, and the rights 
such as depend upon the existence of government, I believe we 
may rightly make exceptions to what ought to be the rule. If 
all brethren were as they should be, of course secular courts 
would not be needed for Christianity, but this is not an ideal 
state, and the Bible recognizes the fact.' 

"As to going to law, Dr. Mell writes, January 11, 1886: 

"'Rev. E. K. Love: 

"• Dear Brother — Can one church member sue another at 
law ? This is one of those questions on which there will always 
be an honest difference of opinion ; for, 1st, courts in this coun- 
try cannot be characterized as essentially and by their own 
constitutions and materials 'unjust' and unbelievers. They 
are partly based on the christian religion. The Bible is used 
in its administrations, and often large portions of its individual 
members are exemplary christians. 

" 2d. There are many legal questions that honestly spring up 
between brethren that none are competent to decide except 

African Baptist Church. 119 

those learned in the law. Very few, if any, of our Churches are 
competent to adjudicate such questions. It would seem then 
that, with or without first obtaining the consent of the church, 
brethren may amicably and candidly submit such cases for the 
arbitration of the courts without violating the principles of the 
gospel law — especially if they would refrain from the use of 
strategy so often employed by counsel. Sometimes delay, caused 
by the slow intervention of the church, affords opportunity to a 
dishonest church member to make away with his property to 
the great injury of the one who has a just claim against him. 
I see not why there should be any hesitation in invoking the 
courts in the two cases you refer to, since no church could con- 
sistently hesitate to expel the parties at the first opportunity.' 

"We call next on the stand that distinguished theologian and 
scholar of the first order, Eev. Dr. J. M. Pendleton. He writes 
from Bowling Green, Ky.: 

"'January 13, 1886. 
" 'Brother Love : 

'"I do not understand I. Cor., vi, 1, as forbidding christians 
in any circumstances to go to law with another. There may be 
cases in which it is necessary to bring suit with a view to settle 
points that can not otherwise be settled, deciding, for example, 
land titles, etc. Such suits may be brought in a friendly man- 
ner. I give this illustration to show that it is not wrong, in all 
circumstances, for brethren to go to law.' 

"In answer to a question that I put to him, that if a man 
borrows money at the bank and gave property as collateral, and 
refused to pay the bill, could the banker sue for his money — 
presuming that both are members of the church ? He answers : 

" ' If there is proof of dishonesty in the borrower, then he 
should be excluded from the church and be no longer regarded 
as a brother. When this is done, there is nothing in the way 
of bringing suit. 

"'Your second question refers to an assault on some one's 
wife or daughter by a church member. You ask if in such a 
case may there be a resort to law. I answer, Yes ; but the 
first thing is for the church to exclude the member. In case of 
scandalous crimes, no church trial is called for. The exclusion 
should be prompt, as you may see from I. Cor., v. After the 
exclusion there may be an appeal to law ; but in many cases 
it is better not to have such a matter ventilated in the courts. 
The course to be taken should be determined by the circum- 
stances in each case.' History of the First 

•As to a dispute about property, he says: 

•••I do not see how the matter can be settled out of court; 
but there should be no unfriendly feeling, only a simple desire 
for justice to be done.' 

•• We once more quote the distinguished commentator Matthew 
Henry : 

•• In matters of great damage to ourselves and families we 
may use lawful means to right ourselves. We are not bound to 
sit down and suffer the injury tamely, without striving for our 
own relief.' 

" We would still put up another important witness. He is the 
first preacher I ever heard of in my life. He baptized my 
mother and father and most of my relatives. He se^ms as a 
grandfather to rue. He is a ripe scholar and a safe theologian. 
That beloved, distinguished man is Dr. J. H. DeVotie. He 
writes me from Griffin, Ga., January 15th, 1886 : 

" -Dear Brother: 

" • In the simplest form I answer your questions in your note 
of January 5th, 1886. The 6th of I. Cor., i, 5, does not forbid 
under all circumstances members of the church from settling their 
differences by an appeal to the laws of the country. 

•• Question A. — I answer yes, he ought to be made to pay it. 
They have made it a transaction governed by law. They have 
made legal papers, and there is a legal tribunal. The church 
should exclude the man who will not meet his honest engage- 
ments, and who will not listen to the committee of the church 
who deal with him according to the scriptural rule. He should 
be to the church 'as a heathen man and a publican,' and be 
dealt with according to the laws of the heathen and the publi- 

'"Question B. — I do not know what you mean by wife or 
daughter being assaulted by a member of the church. If you 
mean an attempt to commit rape, or something kindred to that, 
why certainly he ought to be indicted and punished according 
to law 

•• Qnrsti,,,! V. — The two members of a church who hold, each 
of them, a deed to the same piece of land must settle it by law. 
The law creates the title. I cannot conceive of two j/oor/'deeds 
to the same piece of ground. There must be a legal and an 
illegal deed. The law alone can decide. Brethren may inter- 
pose, but they can never say justly that the illegal deed must 
hold the land." 

African Baptist Church. 121 

"And last, but not least, we call to the stand a scholar and 
safe theologian, and successful and experienced pastor. He is 
my father in the gospel ; by him I was baptized, and from him 
I received my first impressions of gospel truth. That dear man 
is Rev. W H. Mcintosh, D. D. He writes me from Cedartown, 
Ga., Jan. 21, 1886 : 

" 'Dear Brother Love: 

" ' I can only give the scriptural law applicable to the case. 
I. Cor., vi, 1, forbids brother to go to law with brother. I know 
of no exception in the New Testament. This law is not de- 
signed to screen one member of the church from paying an hon- 
est debt to another member. If it is evident that he is seeking 
to defraud his brother of a just claim, the church should arraign 
him for dishonesty, and when they have excluded him then the 
aggrieved brother can appeal to the courts for redress; the 
offender is to him 'as a heathen man and a publican.' — Matt., 
xviii, 17 Such cases are apt to be complicated and to prove 
troublesome to the church, and it is sometimes wise to get the 
parties (creditor and debtor) to submit the matter to arbitra- 
tion before it comes before the church. You see the danger is 
that the friends of each party may take sides with their favorite, 
and parties be raised in the church that may be perpetuated for 
years, and for evil. The same principles apply to the case of 
two members each holding a deed to the same property. In 
the case of assault by a member of the church upon the person 
of the wife or daughter of another member, if you mean an 
attempt upon her virtue, the offender should be arraigned be- 
fore the church and, if convicted and excluded, as he should be 
if guilty, the husband or father can and ought to prosecute 

"It is remarkable that all of these divines agree in substance 
upon this scripture. They are not biased, as they knew not 
what I wanted to teach. They gave honest statements. In 
the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be estab- 
lished. They do not give it as a result of consultation with 
each other ; every one wrote from a different place and from 
his standpoint, without knowing that anybody else had been 

" This subject has caused a great deal of trouble in the church 
of Christ. Many unworthy persons have taken advantage of 
this scripture, which the church is endeavoring to honestly 
obey, to be dishonest and perpetrate the most glaring frauds 
upon each other. For a church to insist that a member can, 
under no circumstances, go to law, is to license men to commit 

1>1 History of the First 

the most terrible crimes, the atrocity of which common sense 
and civilization will scorn. If the church continues at this, the 
young element will revolt and leave the church of their fathers. 
If men honestly owe debts, and have property out of which 
those debts can be paid, it is common justice that they pay 
them. If they will not pay those debts, the church should be 
no screen to protect dishonesty, and the courts should inter- 
pose to defend the rights of a citizen. If a man can pay a debt 
and will not pay it, and as the church cannot make him pay it, 
the courts should be invoked. There are numbers of church 
members sitting down in the church who owe debts, and upon the 
presumption that you dare not go to law, wilfully refuse to pay 
them. What is the remedy? Let the member so suffering report 
the case to the officer whose duty it will be to labor with the debt- 
ors, and if they still refuse to pay, let the officers tell it to the 
church, and if they still refuse, let the church expel them, and 
then the suffering member can take legal steps to recover his 
money. This should only be done when everything else has 
failed. No church can consistently keep in its fellowship a dis- 
honest member, and no person is honest who can pay a debt 
and will not do it. We are not bound to respect dishonest 


"I have known judges and lawyers and jurors in our courts 
to be preachers of the gospel. Would we call a court of that 
make-up 'heathen,' 'unjust' and 'unbelievers?' There is per- 
haps, in many instances, as much honesty and justice in the 
decisions of the courts as in those of the churches. As a rule, 
homestead is dishonest and a screen from justice. Our prop- 
erty ought to be subject to our debts. The church very often 
makes sad mistakes in its dealings with its members. This is 
because she is not infallible. The sweet thought is that we 
will get home by and by, where mistakes will be impossible. 
There will be no conferences nor arbitration of the courts. Jesus 
Christ will hug us to his holy bosom and our joy will be as pleas- 
ing as it will be eternal. Then shall we know as we are known 
and having everything in common, we shall join the countless 
number of harpers harping with harps, and throughout the 
countless ages of eternity we sh^ll bathe our weary souls in 
seas of heavenly rest, and not a wave of trouble roll across our 
peaceful breast. Then, as we stand upon the sea of glass min- 
gled with fire we shall make heaven's arches ring as the flight- 
less ages of eternity roll. God help us. Amen." 

African Baptist Church. 123 

Shortly after tbe delivery of this effectual discourse Eev. 
Love delivered the following discourse to a densely-packed 
house. The congregation was intensely interested, and it is 
confidently believed that great good followed from this dis- 
course. During its delivery Rev. Mr. Love held his hearers 
spell-bound. The fact that so many members of the church and 
citizens generally felt that they could break the nuptial tie at 
will, and since they obtained a divorce from the courts that all 
was well, Mr. Love felt called upon to raise his voice against 
it. After the delivery of this sermon the .church took a strong 
stand against unscriptural divorce : 


" There is nothing which strikes so essentially at the very root 
of society as the tampering with the marriage institution. If 
this is corrupt, society is degraded, happiness is destroyed, 
morality is debased, virtue is gone, civilization is crippled, 
Christianity is hindered and gloom spreads her drapery 
over our land, the garden spot of the globe. For the family 
circle is the seed-bed of society, the fountain-head of civi- 
lization, the birth-place of tranquility, the cradle of pros- 
perity, the moulding-place of character, and the reservoir 
from which streams of joy or misery flow. As the family cir- 
cle is, so will society be. Clandestine marriages and divorces 
seem to be the special curse of this age. It would seem that 
the further we get from the primeval state of man the more 
remote are we removed from the proper observance of the mat- 
rimonial institution. In Massachusetts for every fourteen mar- 
riages there is one divorce. In proud Maine there are 478 di- 
vorces a year. In these Southern States it is simply alarming. 
In the New England States there are 2,000 divorces in a single 
year. What must all these grass widows do ? Do you believe 
that they will live pure ? Is not this an alarming state of soci- 
ety? Is it not time that the church was waging war against 
this flood-tide of immorality ? Can society rest at ease when a 
restless worm is eternally gnawing on its tap root ? Should not 
the watchmen on the walls give the alarm when they see the 
enemy coming to destroy the city and take away the inhabit- 
ants' captive? How long will it be before we will reach the 
point when it will not be safe for anybody's daughter to follow 
a man off if this thing continues ? How long will it be before 
parents should mourn for their daughters as though they were 
dead when they give their hand in marriage to a man ? How 
long will it be before there will be more grass widows than 

12 J, History of the First 

there will be young girls who have never been married? How 
long will it be before young men will be obliged to pick their 
choice from among the grass widows or wait till some more 
girls grow up ? How long will it be before the girls will have 
to inquire after every young man who makes a polite bow, tips 
his hat and wishes to see her to church, ' Is he a grass wid- 
ower ?' Considering this appalling state of society, we beg your 
prayerful consideration to-night of 


••Mark, x. 9: '"What therefore God has joined together, let 
not man put asunder.' 

" We are called upon to consider another one of those delicate 
subjects that gives endless trouble in the christian church and 
in all this land. I can scarcely hope that this feeble effort will 
be wide spread and do anything like universal good ; but I 
can and do hope that it will do good in my immediate congre- 
gation. The prevalence of divorce, clandestine marriages, and 
separation is simply alarming. The ignoring of the sanctity of 
the nuptial tie in this country is a great scandal to civilization 
and the cause of Christianity. The church should be aroused 
to throw all of her influence against this flood-tide of immorality 
and save this nation from this sin and shame. The marriage 
rite is of God, and His book alone is authority for its govern- 
ment. Civil government did not originate the matrimonial 
institution, and should not interfere with it further than His 
law allows. The Bible is the foundation of all just and wise 
laws, and no courts should presume to forego its teachings. 
God is the author of all of our being, and his laws should gov- 
ern us all. They were given in divine wisdom, and we should 
not presume to improve upon them. We are not allowed to 
amend them. They are as everlasting as He is eternal. His 
own Son came to earth and denied that he had a right to 
change them, but that he came to explain and fulfill them. His 
laws should be sufficient for his children. The wisdom of men 
and angels combined could not produce such a book, and hence 
the folly in trying to make better laws than it contains, or wick- 
edness in refusing to abide its teachings. Marriage is a religious 
rite, and the Bible is the book governing religious rites. What- 
ever the courts do in this regard that is not in accordance with 
that blessed book is sinful and wrong, and must work hurt to 
the cause of morality, Christianity and civilization. They differ 

African Baptist Church. 125 

only from heathens in that they know better ; and hence their 
wrong is the more inexcusable. 


" The sacredness of the matrimonial relation is at once put 
forth in the fact that God joins together. He who opens and 
no man can shut, and shuts and no one can open, joins together 
man and woman as husband and wife, and puts His seal upon 
the union that 'no man put asunder.' The sacredness of 
the relation is further seen in that God- made them at first 
twain. They were the only two, and, therefore, must stay 
together. They fell together and were driven out of the garden 
together. There was no other woman for Adam to take and 
Eve could not get another husband. It seems that if God had 
meant for man to have more than one wife he would have 
started him with more than one. He said that man should 
cleave unto his wife and not wives. The Bible says that woman 
should obey her husband, not husbands. There is nothing more 
wonderful and sacred than the flowing together of two human 
lives. Can we conceive of a thing more wonderful than that 
a man who is born and reared a thousand miles from Savan- 
nah, comes here on a visit, gets acquainted with one of our 
girls, falls in love with her, letters begin to pass between them, 
and by and by their lives are flown into one. He lives for her 
and she lives for him. Their destiny is one and their interest 
is common. Their love is one, their joy is the same, and through 
the vicissitudinous cycles of time they are to live as one, for 
better or for worse. A union -that is so sacred, so wonderful, 
and so sublime as this should not and can not be dissolved at will. 

"It is not strange, therefore, that the most stringent laws 
are thrown around the holy rite of matrimony. The more 
sacred a thing is, the more rigorous the laws concerning it, and 
the more severe the punishment in case of violation. The 
Saviour described His intimacy with His church by the relation 
of husband and wife. The name woman means pliant, and 
implies that she leans upon man. If man falls she cannot 
stand, and if she falls she carries him with her. This is plainly 
shown in the fall, and in all subsequent history. Though Eve 
was the first to fall, she carried Adam with her. They were 
one in interest and in destiny, and the one could not stand after 
the other had fallen. Adam's only excuse to God for his sin was, 
1 The woman whom thou gavest to be with me she gave me of 
the tree, and I did eat.' They alike were cursed, for they were 
one. They went out of the garden alike and together. ' Unto 
Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of 

1J() History of the First 

skins and clothed them. In all of God's dealings with the chil- 
dren of men this fact of the union of husband and wife is recog- 
nized. The limit of the union is marked by Him. His limit is 
the only legal one. There is nothing on earth that is a purer 
picture of heaven than the family circle. There is nothing that 
more clearly illustrates the love of God for His church than the 
nuptial tie. It is not strange, therefore, that it is said that God 
joins them together. All true marriages are just as truly joined 
together by God as the church and His Son are joined together 
by Him. And He has just as complete control of the conjugal 
relation as over the union of the church and His Son. He sus- 
tains the same relation to both : God over all and blessed for 
evermore. The woman is said to be ' the better half.' See that 
infant boy as he comes into the world unconscious of his exist- 
ence, and still every effort seems to be a struggle for his ' lost 
piece,' his 'better half.' The girl is the same. Every smile 
and graceful look seems to indicate that she is in search of 
something that she would be delighted to find. It is a husband 
with whom she wishes to cast her destiny. It is nature seek- 
ing its own. See them battling with the ins and outs of life 
until they come to years when the dreams of infancy are o'er 
and the visions of childhood are ended, and they refuse longer 
to remain under the parental roof. There is something with- 
out that suits them much better. It does not matter what at- 
traction the parental home may possess, it does not matter what 
wealth the parents may have, nor what may be the culture and 
refinement the family home present, ' there is a gentle voice 
within calls away.' He goes up to a man and looks him in the 
face and asks him for his daughter with as much grace as a Jew 
would invite you into his store. Generally the father says yes. 
He asked once himself. How can he refuse ? It is the young 
man's wife that God has made for him and the father has been 
holding her in trust simple until this young man comes for her 
and asks that their lives be poured into one. As a rule, it 
is the father's duty to surrender his guardianship just as com- 
pletely as if she had died. 

" Their lives henceforth is to be a life. God has joined them 
together and he seals the union with heaven's stamp that ' no 
man put asunder.' If it be argued that all marriages are not 
joined together by God, I answer, neither are all persons' union 
with the church sanctioned by God, but they say so, and we 
take their word and receive them, for by their word they shall 
be judged. In the church we deal with hypocrites and true 
christians by the same rule. We call them all brethren and 
sisters because we do not know any better. They are responsible 

African Baptist Church. 127 

to God for their internal qualification. No mistake is admis- 
sible before His righteous bar, before which we will be tried. 
God has made us intelligent beings capable of making a choice, 
and he holds us accountable for the choice we do make. I 
believe it is everybody's duty to get married. I believe it is a 
divine duty. The God of our being, who knows every parti- 
cle that goes into our make up, said it was not good for man to 
be alone. He made us help meets one for another. That 
woman's life that cannot pour into some man's life is cloddy, 
spongy and sticky. Lumber that can worked is knotty 
and refused, it matters not how good it may look. You very 
often hear persons say that the reason that they do not get 
married is that they can't find anybody to suit them It is just 
as often true that there is nothing of genuine greatness in them 
to be suited. The union of husband and wife illustrates finely 
the union of the believer and Christ. » ' My beloved is mine, 
and I am his.' 'I sat down under his shadow with great de- 
light, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.' 'His left hand is 
under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.' 'My 
beloved spoke, and said unto me, rise up, my love, my fair one, 
and come away.' ' I am my beloved's and his desire is toward 
me.' 'Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine 
arm: for love is strong as death.' These quotations are from 
the Song of Solomon, that all admit to be a figure of Christ 
and his church. If we are Christ's by redemption and the gift 
of the Father, His life and our life are one, and the life which 
we now live is not ours, but we live by faith that is in Him. 
When the hearts of Christ and the believers have been joined 
together by the Father, then, and not until then, can we see the 
force and beauty in the expression of Paul : ' For to me to live is 
Christ, and to die is gain.' We come now to consider the sepa- 


" This restraint is put upon man individually and collectively. 
The restraining injunction is issued by the court of heaven 
against individuals., societies, courts and churches for anything 
other than God's law doth allow, and that thing is adultery or 
fornication. If we would come back to the old landmark the 
marriage institution would be purer, social order would be more 
sacred, and human happiness would be sublimer and the stand- 
ard of morality would be raised higher. If our courts would 
conform to the divine law in divorce cases they would do last- 
ing good to the cause of civilization and promote the cause of 

i.V History of the First 

Christianity. The courts have established the following legal 
grounds for a divorce : 

"I. Inter-marriage. — That is where a man marries too near a 
relative — a half-sister, cousin, etc. Such a marriage the courts 
would declare null and void. 

"II. Mental Incapacity — Non compos mentis. — That is a per- 
son who is so crazed as to be unfit to discharge the marriage 
duties. In this case the courts would declare the nuptial rela- 
tion invalid and would grant a divorce to the plaintiff, putting 
them asunder. 

'• Im potency. — That is weakness, whether of mind or body ; 
some disease of body or mind that makes a person incompetent 
to do the duties of a married life, or too disagreeable to live 
with. This the courts would declare sufficient grounds for 
divorce and the contracting parties would be set at liberty. 

'' IV Forced Marriage. — That is where a person is forced to 
marry by others, by outside influence or for fear of losing life. 
The courts would say that the parties did not contract and 
hence the marriage is illegal. The parties would be declared 

"Y Pregnancy of the wife before marriage unknown to the 
husband at the time of marriage. — This is tantamount to 
adultery after marriage. This, the courts would decide a legal 
cause for divorce, and hence it would be granted and the 
parties set free. But if the man knew it when he made the 
contract, he would be held responsible and not be allowed a 

• ; YI. Simple adultery is a legal ground for divorce by the 
courts. — Fpon this the laws of God and of man are agreed. 

" YII. AVillful and continued desertion of either contracting 
party for three years. — The courts would decide the marriage 
vow broken and, therefore, the contract a nullity, and grant a 
permanent divorce, freeing the parties. 

"Till. Conviction of either party of crime involving moral 
turpitude and sentenced for two years in the penitentiary. — This 
the courts would deem a sufficient cause for divorce. Then, 
again, the courts have what they term discretionary grounds for 
divorce. Vnder this head is cruel treatment and habitual intoxi- 
cation. For these the courts leave themselves free to grant or 
refuse as they may see fit. Xow have not they plausible grounds 
to set at naught the law of God? What can look more abom- 
inable than an earthly court sitting in judgment upon the court 
of heaven, reviewing its decisions, reversing and setting at 
naught its judgment, the lower court reviewing the higher 
court, men correcting Cod? The Supreme Law Giver has 

African Baptist Church. 129 


allowed but two things to put asunder what He has joined 
together — they are adultery and fornication. The one is 
unforeseen by the contracting parties, the other can't be 
helped. Jesus has said that if a man puts away his wife 
for any other cause except adultery or fornication causes her to 
commit adultery, and he that marries her that is put away also 
commits adultery. This is the gospel order and the gospel 
church is morally bound to support and contend for the gospel 
order. It does not matter, therefore, upon what ground the 
courts may grant a divorce the church cannot recognize it, ex- 
cept it is granted upon the principle laid down by our Saviour 
and for the cause named by Him — adultery. 

"All other divorces are unscriptural, and the parties so obtain- 
ing them are guilty of adultery, and therefore unfit for member- 
ship in the christian church. A married couple is bound by the 
law of God as long as they live, except fornication or adultery 
separate them. Neither is free while the other lives, unless the 
cause be scriptural. If the cause be scriptural, the innocent 
party may marry again, after a divorce is had, and remain a 
wholesome member of the church, but the guilty party cannot 
marry again and be a member of the christian church. Though, 
if there is evidence of genuine repentance, the guilty party 
might be restored to church fellowship, but not allowed to 
marry again. 

"In cases of abandonment, or 'willful continued desertion,' 
as the courts put it, the parties might be allowed to separate 
and be retained as members of the church, provided they are 
reconciled to each other, but not be divorced from each other — 
not allowed to marry again, from the fact that the church can- 
not make laws. Her laws are made by Christ, and He has 
allowed only two causes for total divorce, and they are adultery 
and fornication. A thousand men have no more right to put 
asunder What God has joined together than one man has. It 
is no more legal, in the sight of God, for twelve men to put 
asunder man and wife than it is for one man to do it; and the 
church should regard it no more than if one man had done it. 

" The Apostle Paul says, in I. Cor., vii, 10, 11 : 'And unto the 
married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, that a wife depart 
not from her husband : But and if she depart, let her remain 
unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband : And let not the 
husband put away his wife.' 

"Here is no intimation of divorce, for she is told to remain 

"In the twelfth and thirteenth verses, the apostle lays down 
the rule for the government of marriages of believers and unbe- 

ISO History of the First 

lievers. He says, if a man has an unbelieving wife, and she 
be pleased to stay with him., he must not put her away. The 
same is true of a woman with an unbelieving husband. 

"At the fifteenth verse he seems to strike another key. He 
says that 'If the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother 
or sister is not under bondage in such cases.' 

•• The apostle is not contradicting the general principle laid 
down by the Lord. Christ dealt with a general matter, and 
the apostle is dealing with a special matter. Christ laid down 
the general rule, and the apostle is applying it. We would 
need to consider the circumstances for which the apostle is 
giving this special rule, for we all know that it is one thing to 
lay down a general rule, and quite another to apply it. 

••The converted wives of pagans were subjected to many 
difficulties and temptations. These christian women had 
learned to look upon idolatry with horror, and still the kitchen 
hearth was consecrated to false gods. These gods were to be 
worshipped by the family circle. How could a christian woman 
conscientiously do this? And how could she have peace if she 
refused? When they sat down to a meal, libation, as worship, 
was poured out to some false god, ' and on joyous occasions the 
pantomimic dance and profane song were required.' What 
christian could take part in such worship, so wholly repugnant 
to the religion of Christ? It is said that the 'reign of Venus 
was coextensive with that of Jove. ' There were many heathen 
worships that the wife would be subjected to by marrying a 
heathen man that would make her life miserable. Under these 
circumstances the apostle wrote. Yet he does not tell her to 
leave him, ' but if he depart, let him depart,' and after he 
departs she is not told to remarry, but remain unmarried. 

"Bespecting cruel treatment, it seems that this same rule 
would apply. If life is endangered by living together, a tem- 
porary separation may be in order, but never a remarriage. 
Whenever the parties became reconciled they might again 
resume their nuptial relation. 

'• So with drunkenness. The wife might resort to every hon- 
orable means to cure a drunken husband, but never separate 
from him except it be absolutely necessary to save her life. 
And then she is positively forbidden to marry again. That 
same drunken man is her husband until he dies. 

" So with willful and continued desertion. If he still lives he 
is her husband, and the scriptures do not justify a divorce. 
It id ust be remembered that they married 'for better or for 

African Baptist Church. 131 

" I believe that either party guilty of the offense named by 
the Saviour is bound to divorce the other when apprized of it. 
It is not in their province to forgive this offense, for it just as 
virtually dissolves the union as death. If they remain together 
after this both are guilty of adultery and unfit for membership 
in the christian church. A man marrying a woman that is 
divorced, and professing Christ afterward, cannot join the 
christian church so long as he lives with this divorced woman. 
You will see, therefore, that a divorced person is never capable 
of marrying again. She is forever retired from the matrimonial 
world. To the marriage rite she is dead, and a man has no 
more right to contract marriage with a divorced woman than 
with a dead woman. If he does, he dies with her, and the 
church must regard him as dead and turn him out of her pale 
to mingle with the dead. The courts have what they call dis- 
cretionary powers, but the church has none. The Bible is her 
code ; to its teachings she must bow and say amen. 

''The cause of so many separations and divorces is because 
persons have gone into the matrimonial rite heedlessly — with- 
out mature thought, and, worse still, without love. Persons 
have been persuaded to marry by their friends who had no 
higher idea of marriage than to accept the advice of a foolish, 
deceitful friend. Many persons have married because the 
woman looked well, dressed well and talked well. "With no 
higher aspiration than to get a good looking wife. Some girls 
have married a man to spite the other girls, or because her 
parents didn't want her to marry him. Some girls, I'm sorry 
to say, have married to get away from their parents because 
they were so unreasonable and cruel. They hadn't time to 
think of love. They were in the fire and the quickest way out 
was the best way to them. Some parents seem never to think 
that their girls are of age until they marry. Some girls have 
simply married a fellow because he had something ; some, still, 
married one man and loved another. The parents objected to 
to their choice, and hence the man married another to abuse 
her, and the girl married another to disobey and deceive him. 
It is a fearful thing to trifle with a person's love. Many parents 
will find it hard at the bar of God. To all of those who have 
gone into marriage thoughtlessly, yea, to you unfortunates, I 
have this word of consolation for you : You have made your 
bed hard, lie hard — God's word does not grant you a divorce. 
Try to so live that you will get over it when you die. That is 
the end of your suffering. You will not have to live with him 
as husband in heaven, for there they neither marry nor are 
given in marriage. But they do always behold the face of the 

IS 2 History of the First 

Father, and Jesus Christ the Lord. Then it will all be over and 
heaven will yield you sweeter rest. It is pleasing to know that 
when this life of suffering, abuses and disappointments is over 
that we have the promise of a better life beyond — that is free 
from mistakes or anything that denies a man. The hope of that 
heavenly home is sweet. If a single thought that I have ex- 
pressed will urge you to purer lives and to think more highly 
of Jesus and the glorious doctrines of the cross I am satisfied. 
May the holy spirit impress these truths upon your hearts, for 
Jesus' sake. Amen." 

Rev. Love was earnestly requested by some of his members 
to preach a sermon upon the "Keys of the kingdom, and bind- 
ing and loosing," Avhich he did to the satisfaction of the church, 
a true copy of which is here reproduced, with the hope that it 
will do much good. We charitably hope that it will be read 
with interest and profit. Those who read it may not be so 
highly favored as those who heard it considered themselves, yet 
the blessing of God is prayed upon it that it may prove a bless- 
ing to the reader too : 


" Matthew, xvi, 19 — 'And I will give unto thee the keys of 
the kingdom of heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt bind on 
earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt 
loose on earth shalt be loosed in heaven.' 

"I appear before you to-night to discuss another one of those 
difficult subjects about which there is a diversity of opinion 
even among scholars. I do not delight in discussing difficult 
subjects, but it is needful for me to suggest a few thoughts from 
this text which I hope will be useful to you. This text is very 
much quoted and equally as much misunderstood. The blessed 
Saviour's intimacy with his church is declared in the text. 
The Saviour organized the church and left His seal of approba- 
tion upon it, with the promise that whenever they met in His 
name and agreed, that their meetings and doings should be 
clothed with divine authority, and that heaven would sanction 
whatever they did in His name as His representatives. This 
is what makes apostolic examples as binding on us as the words 
of our Saviour. They were inspired to act as well as to sav. 
They did what the Saviour would have done, and said what 
He would have said. Jesus, on entering Cesarea l'hillippi, 
asked His disciples what did men think of Him. Peter said 
that some thought he was John the Baptist, some thought lie 
was Klias. some thought he was Jeremias. or some of the 

African Baptist Church. 133 

prophets. The Saviour then put the question directly to them, 
to which Peter answered, ' Thou art Christ, the Son of the living 
God.' Upon this truth confessed by Peter the Saviour promised 
to build His church, to which He gave Peter the keys, that he 
might unlock it to Jews and Gentiles. This was not to put 
Peter above the other disciples. As he had nearly always 
spoken for the crowd, being characteristic of his nature, so he 
represented them in the reception of the keys. 



"A key is an instrument for opening a door. He who has 
it has the privilege of entering at will. The keys referred 
to in the text mean authority, power, divine appointment. This 
authority has not been given to Peter alone, but in some respect 
to every minister of Jesus. 

"If to Peter alone was given this power and divine sanction 
we might justly be alarmed, unless we can find the family 
through which the transferring of the keys have passed from 
St. Peter. If we should fail in this, then we should find no 
open door into the kingdom. There is no evidence in the scrip- 
tures that St. Peter was promoted above his fellow-disciples. 
Paul withstood him to his face for he was to be blamed. This 
Paul would not have done had he recognized Peter as ruler. 
For Paul more than once taught that we should obey them that 
had rule over us, and that whoever resisted the rulers resisted 
the ordinances of God. 

"If St. Peter was recognized as chief of the church of the 
apostolic age, it is strange that none of the documents bear his 
signature approved as such. It is more than strange that he 
on no occasion issued a proclamation to the churches as such. 
Every other person claiming to be chief on certain occasions 
has issued proclamations or documents bearing their signature 
as chief. The logical conclusion, therefore, must be that so far 
as apostolic supremacy is concerned there was none, and all of 
the apostles were equal. 

" The power was given alike to all of them. The presenta- 
tion of the keys to the apostles reminds us of a husband going 
away and turning over the keys to his wife, to whom he en- 
trusts all of his business. After giving her full instructions 
about the business, and ample directions in every part of it, he 
tells her that whatever she does, according to the directions 
given, he will approve it, for it would be as if he had done it. 
Or as a master going off delivers his goods into the hands of 
his servant, with orders and promises to approve whatever he 

134 History of the First 

does according to the orders given. Christ is under no prom- 
ise to endorse what He has not ordered, and what the Bible 
does not contain He has not ordered and will not endorse. The 
presentation of the keys to His disciples indicates His loving 
intimacy with the church. Where a loving intimacy exists 
between two parties there also exists power of the one over the 
other. For intimacy breeds power, confidence and approba- 
tion. This is what makes the church the most powerful insti- 
tution under heaven. She enjoys intimacy with Christ. She 
has His approving smiles. No other organization could have 
come through the bloody and fiery persecution, increasing as it 
marched, but the church, the Lamb's bride. Her intimacy 
with the King gained His favor and protection. The intima- 
tion to St. Peter here is that he would be the first to open the 
door of the visible kingdom — the church — to both Jews and 
Gentiles. This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, and at 
Cornelius' house. The kingdom evidently means the christian 
church. It must be remembered that no intimation is here 
or elsewhere given that Christ gave Peter the keys of heaven. 
For in that event every one who wished to enter heaven would 
be obliged to consult Peter. Peter would indeed be the proper 
being to whom prayer would be due, since upon him would 
hang our chance for entering heaven ; in this case it would be 
evident that Christ had transferred his power to Peter, and 
hence prayer to Christ would be improper and a violation of 
contract. It will be remembered, also, that Christ appeared to 
John many years after this with the keys of authority in his 
own hands, showing that he had not transferred them to any- 
body. Our Lord has arranged it so that we can go to the 
throne direct and have no right or business to consult men, de- 
parted saints nor angels. We c?,n come boldly for ourselves to 
a throne of grace and speak directly to the King. We have as 
much right to the keys of heaven as Peter had, or anybody 
else. We rejoice to know that God will answer our prayers as 
quick as He will anybody else's. That which guarantees the 
answer to prayer has always been the same, and that is faith. 
The prayer of faith has always been answered. By this means 
the door of heaven is opened. Whether this is the key or not, 
it is not important to know. It opens or it influences him to 
open who has the keys. In either ease the result reached is 
the same. There need not be any miscarriage in our petitions, 
for we can carry them ourselves directly to the King. If we 
have not the keys of the kingdom of heaven, we have the keys 
of authority to approach His Majesty in the name of Christ, the 
Lord. This intimacy is encouraged by the Lord, and He is 

African Baptist Church. 135 

still the head of the church and hugs her to His -bosom as His 
bride and approves her as His own. 


" This at once sets forth the seal of approbation upon the 
church of Christ the Lord. But this is conditioned upon the 
presumption that the church has complied with the contract. 
The word 'bind' among the Jews was used to denote a thing 
declared — a doctrine taught. It must be remembered that 
' loose ' and ' bind ' were used only among the Jews, and refers 
to things and not to persons. So that the Saviour meant that 
whatever thing or censure ye inflicted upon a person, or in the 
church, according to the rule I have just given you, shall be 
ratified in heaven. Let us not forget that the Saviour quotes 
this Jewish phrase just after he had given direction how 
to deal with an offending person. The language used by Christ 
is found only in Matthew, who is supposed to have written his 
gospel in Hebrew for the Jews and afterward translated it into 

" It will be seen that the Greek ' osa ' is neuter and refers to a 
thing, and that ' desete ' was used among the Jews as referring 
to the declaration of a doctrine or any article of restraining or 
granting. They generally meant that it is lawful to do or 
not do, as the case might be, by 'loose' and ' bind.' Now, then, 
the conclusion must be that Christ meant to teach them that 
whatever law they enacted or censure tliey inflicted according 
to His law He would approve of it. A sweet thought is inti- 
mated here that the doings of the church on earth are reviewed 
by the church in heaven. The decision of the court below is 
subject to the court above. If the court below meets in the 
name of Christ, and censures one of its members for crime or 
obstinacy, the court above confirms the decision of the court 
below and the censure is valid. Such a member is turned over 
to Satan to be buffeted for a season until that member shall 
have learned to behave and acknowledge the authority of the 
church. The court regards the censure as being just. Just 
how such a member is regarded by the court above we may not 
learn until we shall have been made members of that holy and 
infallible tribunal. If from prejudice, ill feelings, unfairness 
or strategy a member is turned out, the censure is unjust, the 
judgment of the court below is reversed. It is not 'bound' in 
heaven, not ' loosed ' in the court of the righteous Judge of all 
the earth. 

"It must be noticed, also, that the apostles were inspired and 
therefore less likely to make mistakes. No church and no 

1J0 History of the First 

minister would presume to read the hearts of their members as 
Peter did Anania's and Sapphira's. That power was granted 
only to the pioneers of the christian religion. It is not now 
used because it is not now needed. People are more capable of 
reasoning now, and hence we resort to reason, for the days of 
miracles to convince men of the power of the christian religion 
are over. Where Paul found the people prepared to reason, as 
at Athens, no miracles were performed. The approbation of 
Christ upon His church is to make men fear and love the church 
as they would Him. It is intended to have the enemies of the 
cross to know that He espouses the cause of His church and 
will defend her. He made Paul understand that the punish- 
ment that he was inflicting upon His church was upon her 
Lord. 'Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou me,' was the 
strange inquiry. He has said, 'Inasmuch as ye have done 
it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done 
it unto me,' and that one had better be in the sea with a 
millstone about his neck than to offend one of these, my 
little ones. Such passages should make the enemies of the 
cross stand in awe. If you insult the church you insult her 
Lord. Who can behold the wonderful accomplishments of the 
church without learning that she must have been supported by 
hands divine? Who can, after examining the victories of the 
church, fail to see that she was defended by an eternal arm ? 
Who can learu the history of the church and notice her powerful 
enemies without feeling that a supreme being must have guided 
her. Criticise the church as severely as you may, but you will 
find fewer mistakes in her acts than in any other institution 
under heaven. Examine her literature and learned men and 
no other institution presents such an enviable front. In ques- 
tion of purity where is her equal? In doctrine, what institu- 
tion touches her purity, justness and sublimity? In liberality 
and virtue she occupies the highest plane. All this shows that 
she is guided by the eternal eye and kept by grace through 
faith. As the church associates with Christ she will naturally 
contract His habits, imbibe His doctrines and gather strength 
from Him. Therefore He has promised to endorse what she 
does in conforming to His will. It does not mean that if the 
church receives an unconverted person into her fellowship that 
heaven accepts him. This would be inconsistent with the 
charter of the gospel church — regeneration. 

•'There are many things which the church does that are 
not ' bound ' in heaven. This does not mean that if the 
church should owe an honest debt and 'bind' not to pav 
it, that it will be 'bound' in heaven. The Bible tells to her 

African Baptist Church. IS? 

to 'owe no man.' This does not mean that should the church 
' bind ' not to support the mission work and spread the gospel 
that it shall be ' bound ' in heaven. She is told to preach the 
gospel to every creature. It means that whatever the church 
does that is right, that the author of right will endorse it ; that 
whatever she does that He has commanded He will approve of 
it. God will approve of the right in everybody and reward 
them accordingly. He will show her the path of life and bring 
her in His presence where there is fullness of joy, and set her 
on His right hand where there are pleasures for evermore. If 
the church would have the approving smiles of her Master, let 
her strive to do right and all will be well. His smile eclipses 
the frowns of all the enemies combined. It is day if He smiles 
upon us in the midst of ten thousand frowning worlds. In the 
scorns, contempts and darkness of the world, like the children 
of Israel in Egypt, there will be light in our house under the 
approving smiles of Christ, our Lord, and amid the persecu- 
tions and fierce battles of life we may sing amid the tempest, 
' Praise the Lord.' Notice further : 


"It is also true of this loosing. It is a seal of approbation ; 
but it is a seal of approbation of the right, and not of the wrong. 
In neither case is it meant that there is a turning out of heaven. 
The primary meaning is that the acts of the church are 
endorsed by heaven. It is fair to presume, therefore, that since 
the church makes mistakes many of her decisions are reversed 
by the supreme court. Many whom the church censures do not 
rest under the divine censure, because the church is wrong ; and 
many whom the church acquits still remain under the divine 
censure, because they are guilty. But if the church justly 
declares non-fellowship with a member, Christ approves it as 
being just. This is what is meant by ' loosed ' on earth and 
' loosed ' in heaven. This further shows the intimacy between 
Christ and his church. Whatever she hates, He hates, and 
whatever she declares is wrong and unholy, He declares is 
wrong and unholy. It does not mean that whoever is turned 
out of the church is turned out of heaven. This is not what 
the Saviour is driving at. If when they are turned out of the 
church they are turned out of heaven, then when they wish to 
make their return, they must first be taken into the church 
before they can be received back into heaven. This argument 
would place the church before heaven, and strike the death- 
blow to the doctrine taught by John, that we must bring forth 
fruit meet .for repentance. The soul should first get right with 

1-JS Histori/ of the First 

its God. and then with His people. It is often the case that 
when God has forgiven a sin that the church is still grumbling 
about- it. It is also true that God has forgiven many sins 
before the church has found them out, and hence the church in 
some instances works too late. The rule is nevertheless good 
that when the church condemns sin God approves it, and when 
the church accepts a true penitent God sanctions it. In neither 
case does the church act before God does. 

"Dr. P. H. Mell says on this subject: 'The Saviour prom- 
ised the apostles to give them plenary inspiration. That he 
would see that they should make no mistake in any doctrines 
they announced, or in any gospel institution they might organ- 
ize. That they should adopt (or bind) on earth what already 
had been decided upon in heaven, and reject (or loose) on earth 
what had already been rejected in heaven. This makes apos- 
tolic examples as binding on us as apostolic precepts.' 

"Dr. J. M. Pendleton says on this subject that 'we are to 
understand 'bind' in the sense of forbid, and 'loose' in the 
sense of permit, and the meaning of the passage is that what a 
church does in accordance with the law of Christ is approved 
and ratified in heaven.' 

"Dr. DeVotie says: 'It must be very clear to you that no 
one can be bound in heaven or on earth by a decision against 
Him contrary to the gospel.' 

"Dr. Holmes says: 'It is said that the words 'bind' and 
' loose ' were frequently used by the Jews in the sense of enjoin 
and permit as applied to the teaching of their rabbis, both prac- 
tical and doctrinal. That may be the sense in which ' bind ' and 
' loose ' are used here.' 

"Matthew Henry says: 'Here is a warrant signed for the 
ratification of all the church's proceedings according to these 
rules. What was said before to Peter is here said to all the 
disciples, and in them to all the faithful office-bearers in the 
church, to the world's end.' 

" We are to be very sure that our sentence is pronounced ac- 
cording to the gospel rule, or we are more censurable than 
those whom we attempt to censure. Or it would be true ' clave 
ernnitP — the key turning the wrong way. The keys are as a 
two-edged sword, which cuts those who handle it if it is turned 
the wrong way. 


It must be very evident that the apostles did not have ab- 
solute power to 'bind' and 'loose' on earth, or there would be 
no need to 'bind and 'loose' in heaven in ratification of what 

African Baptist Church. 139 

they did on earth. It must be clear from what has been said 
that their acts were not final, from the fact that they were to 
be. reviewed by heaven and ' bound ' and ' loosed ' there before 
they were valid. The decisions of no court are final that are 
subject to review. The church is the highest court on earth, 
and therefore can be reviewed by no earthly tribunal. It must 
be apparent that the church is a branch of the government of 
heaven and is answerable alone to headquarters. It cannot be 
doubted that whatever the church endeavors to accomplish that 
is right God will see to it that she prevails. Eight is immortal 
and will ultimately prevail. 

" I have been inexpressibly pleased to see that the success of 
the prohibitionists has been unanimously charged up to the 
church. She 'bound' on earth, and it was 'bound' in heaven. 
In a certain city in Georgia, where the fight against whisky 
was hot, a Baptist minister got on the fence and the prohibition 
army failed. Though the frowns of every good citizen in that 
community rest upon him, and though ladies, white and colored, 
hiss at him as he passes through the streets, he can assuage his 
sorrow by drinking to their health of the best whisky in that 
town free of charge, and in the magnanimity of his drunken 
soul pass their vituperation by without a rejoinder for the next 
two years. Then shall the Babylonian garment and the golden 
wedge be dug up, and Achan and his family stoned by the army 
of the living God, and Israel shall go up in the strength of their 
God and take Ai without the loss of a man. Then shall the 
enemies of the cross know that there is a God in Israel who 
pleads the cause of his church and will utterly destroy all of 
her enemies and build up Zion on the ruins thereof. This can 
but show in either case the influence of the church. The 
church rocked in her cradle science, dandled on her knees civ- 
ilization, and from her bosom came the noble God-like spirit 
of liberty that has pervaded this land. She revolutionized the 
world and she is determined to rule it. From her rostrum 
comes the law that has divinity in it, before which mountains 
melt to flames and the king of" righteousness without a rival 
reigns. The warp of her flag is truth, the woof is righteous- 
ness, and upon it is spangled, with divine symmetry in gorgeous 
beauty, the stars of holiness, peace, mercy, temperance and 
virtue. Under its golden fringes the blood- washed army march, 
cognizant of the fact that upon the flag under which they march 
is inscribed in golden letters 'the kingdoms of this world for 
our God and his Christ.' 

"It is not disputed that the church has always been and is 
destined to be successful in whatever she undertakes that tends 


J 40 History of the First 

to advance the kingdom of Christ and promote the truest inter- 
est of mankind. It is to be lamented that many chfurches have 
been used by wicked designing men and some have been fright- 
ened from the path of duty by the boastful howling of the 
wicked. Sometimes by those who happen to be in authority. 
Ministers have shrunk from duty for fear of unpopularity. 
This will never be endorsed by heaven. We should do what 
we know to be right with a conscience void of offense towards 
God and man. Offend all the world a thousand times rather 
than to offend God once. That popularity that God frowns 
upon is eternally dangerous. Let the church do her duty and 
God will see to it that she is defended, guarded, protected and 
led. Let humility, union and love characterize all of our acts 
and we have nothing to fear. The Lord our God shall fight for 
us and we shall hold our peace. Let the church ' bind ' that no 
unrighteous man shall have rule over us, and it will be ' bound ' 
in heaven. And when we shall finish our session of ' binding ' 
and ' loosing ' on earth, the church on earth shall go up to join 
the church of the first-born in heaven, where congregations 
never *break up and Sabbaths have no end. There we shall 
spend a never-ending eternity in the glorious presence of the 
King. And with the redeemed and sanctified we shall praise 
Him who died for us and by His blood purchased our pardon. 
To Him, the head of the church, the shepherd and bishop of 
our souls, be all the glory, now and forever more. Amen." 

These discourses show somewhat of the abilities of the man 
a sketch of whom I have attempted to write. 

Rev. E. K. Love was honored with the degree of D. D. by 
the Selma (Ala.) University May 31st, 1888. The following is 
an editorial in the Baptist Leader, June the 7th, 1888: 



"The Board of Trustees and Faculty of Selma University 
conferred upon Rev. E. K. Love the degree of D. D. We know 
of no man more deserving the title than the one mentioned 
above. He is a scholar and a christian gentleman of undis- 
puted ability, and posesses the qualities that make up the true 
man. Alabamians will enjoy this information and hence ad- 
dress Rev E. K. Love, I). D." 

Tite notice of this honor came while the convention was in 
session in Mr. Love's church and the brethren spoke iu the 
highest terms of the Doctor and praised the University for this 
deserved honor. 

African Baptist Church. 1^.1 

At the segsion of the Missionary Baptist Convention of Geor- 
gia, May, 1888, Rev. E. K. Love, D. D., was unanimously elected 
Vice-President of said convention. 

He has the entire confidence of the brethren throughout the 
State. He is friendly, sociable and loving, and to know him, is 
but to love him. 


Rev. Dr. Love's Administration. 

The church was very much divided in heart and sentiment 
when Rev. E. K. Love took charge. He soon found that the 
bad feeling and distrust occasioned by the split of 1877 had not 
entirely disappeared. He set to work very wisely to unite the 
hearts of his people. The friends of Rev. W J. Campbell had 
been long struggling to erect a monument to his memory. They 
had no help, and hence the work lagged. Rev. Dr. Love took 
hold of it heartily and the- church united with him, and very 
soon a very handsome monument was erected to the memory of 
this faithful servant of God. This monument was unveiled 
January 1st, 1886. Revs. J. M. Simms, E. K. Love, Deacon J. 
H. Brown and others made very appropriate addresses. This 
convinced the followers of Rev. Campbell that they had a friend 
in Rev. E. K. Love, and that they need have no fears that Mr. 
Love would not have respect for the labors of their sainted 
father and do full justice to his memory. This step led rapidly 
to the healing of the breach and closing the vacuum between 
the two heretofore contending parties, and Mr. Love became 
the favorite of both parties, and union very soon followed, to 
the well-being of the church. The increase in the collections 
and the large congregations showed that there were better feel- 
ings in the church — the collections scarcely ever falling below 
$400 a month. The church was never more prosperous than 
under the leadership of Mr. Love. 

In the spring of 1886 the church had a glorious revival, and 
the first Sunday in May, 1886, Rev. Mr. Love baptized 110 
hopeful converts. The time consumed in baptizing these was 
only 23 minutes. The first Sunday in June, 1886, he baptized 
70 hopeful converts in 13 minutes, and the first Sunday in July 
25 in 8 minutes ; on other occasions less. In these meetings the 
members took an active part. The sisters had prayer meetings 

lJf .' History of the First 

daily at 4 p. m. under leadership of Mrs. M. C. JoRnson, one of 
the best women in the world. On the first Sunday in October, 
1886, Mr. Love baptized 155 persons in 33 minutes; on the first 
Sunday in November, 1886, he baptized 89 in 23 minutes, and 
on the first Sunday in December, 1886, he baptized 39 persons. 
X T p to this time he has baptized more than 1200 persons. The 
church is very much devoted to him and so is he to the church. 


Often the church was crowded to its utmost capacity and still 
many went off who could not gain admittance in the church at 
all. There were often as many that could not get into the 
church as could get into the building. The Savannah Morning 
Xews substantially said of this church during one of its reviv- 
als : " The church is filled every night to its utmost capacity; 
all around the iron railing is crowded by anxious listeners and 
the square in front of the church is crowded with persons 
anxious to hear the eloquent preacher through the windows. 
The church was worked up to an interest in the salvation of 
souls seldom witnessed by any church." 

It was now evident that the administration of Mr. Love 
would be a success and that the church had not made a mistake 
in its choice of him as pastor. Winning the confidence of the 
better class of people, the church increased beyond the most 
sanguine expectation of Mr. Love's most ardent admirers. 
Room could not be obtained in the church after the hour for 
regular services to begin. This necessitated the enlargement 
of the building. In order to do this it was necessary to buy 
the property in rear of the church. This was. quite an under- 
taking, but the church was competent to the task. 

At the July Conference in 1886 Mr. John E. Grant, a promi- 
nent member of the church, made a nice speech and motioned 
to buy the property in rear of the church. This was carried. 
A purchasing committee was appointed with plenary power, 
consisting of Deacons J. H. Brown, chairman ; C. L. DeLamotta, 
Alexander Rannair, March Haines, F. J. Wright, and Mr. R. P. 
Young. The property was bought for five thousand eight hun- 
dred and sixty-seven dollars and forty-five cents ($5,867.45). 
This was engaged in August, 1886, and the last dollar paid on 
the 6th of April, 1887 Every note was met without any delay 

The property having been purchased the church was advised 
by the ironed-will pastor to commence work. The wisdom 
of this was doubted by the officers except Deacons F. J. Wright 

African Baptist Church. 1^3 

and E. C. Johnson. Deacon "Wright contended publicly and 
privately th^t the work could be done. He was a great com- 
fort to the pastor. Urging him not to be discouraged that the 
work could be done and that the people would raise the money 
and that he would find no trouble in accomplishing the work. 
The third Sunday in October, 1887, the first collection was 
taken for the building, and every third Sunday thereafter until 
the third Sunday in April, 1888. 

The church passed a resolution on the third Sunday in Feb- 
ruary, 1888, that work should commence the latter part of Feb- 
ruary, 1888. The building committee consisted of Brethren A. 
M. Monroe, chairman ; C. H. Ebbs, Eichard Butler, Bichard 
Maynor, David Jackson, John Byrd and Sandy Bhett. This 
was an earnest, competent and whole-souled committee. Dea- 
con J. H. Hooker was chosen foreman of the brick work, Dea- 
con F. J. "Wright foreman of the wood work, and Deacon F. M. 
Williams to do the painting. The work commenced on the 21st 
of February, 1888. Deacon J. H. Hooker laid the first brick. 
The extension is 28 feet 6 inches long and consists of a bay 
window for the pulpit, a pool and an arch gallery, forming into 
an o. g. before it reaches the walls of the west end of the 
church, in which is the pulpit. The pulpit has two doors and 
two handsome windows of stained glass and arched, with the 
photographs of Bevs. Bryan, Marshall, Campbell and Gibbons. 
A flight of stairs leads from both sides of the pool in the pulpit 
to rooms in the basement, and also a flight from each door of 
the pulpit outside for the pastor. There are dressing rooms 
where persons descend for the purpose of dressing after bap- 
tism — one for ladies and the other for gentlemen. There is 
a third room in the basement for the use of the pastor. All of 
these rooms will be used for Sunday school class rooms also. 
The third room is under the pulpit formed by the bay window 
and will be for the pastor's dressing-room. This arrangement 
adds much convenience and comfort to the church. The disci- 
pline meetings of the officers are held in these rooms, and also 
other committee meetings of the church. 

The cost of the extension was $12,000, making the valuation 
of the church not less than $75,000. Adding to this $5,000 of 
societies' prayer houses, will make $80,000. 

The members were divided into clubs for the purpose of 
raising money, both for the church extension and the centennial 
celebration. The following is a list of clubs and the amount 
each gave for the church extension. 

Bev. George Liele Club— Deacon J. H. Brown, President; 
Mrs. Nancy Gibbons, Vice-President; Miss L. L. Carey, Treas- 

144 History of the First 

urer; A. M. Monroe, Secretary. These were children from the 
Sunday School. They gave for church extension $7.00. 

Rev" Andrew C. Marshall Club — Rev. E. K. Love, D. D., 
President; Mr. Freeman Trotty, Vice-President; A. G Brown, 
Secretary; Mrs. Susie O. Graham, Treasurer. They gave for 
church extension §819.46. 

Rev. W J. Campbell Club — Deacon F J. Wright, President ; 
Deacon E. C. Johnson, Vice-President; Mr. John H. Davis, 
Secretary; Mrs. Mary A. Wyly, Treasurer. They gave for 
church extension $750.88. 

Motto Club— Rev. W G. Clark, President; A. M. Williams, 
Vice-President; Deacon J. H. Brown, Secretary; Deacon 
March Haines, Chaplain ; Mrs. L. A. Beatty, Treasurer. They 
gave for church extension $430.55. 

Rev. George Gibbons Club, No. 1 — Mrs. D. W Gibbons, Presi- 
dent; Mrs. Phyllis Jenkins, Vice-President; Mr. D. W Gib- 
bons, Secretary ; Mrs. Mary Brown, Treasurer. They gave for 
church extension $49.95. 

Rev. George Gibbons Club, No. 2 — Deacon John C. Haber- 
sham, President; David Blake, Vice-President; Mr. W B. 
Jenkins, Secretary ; Mrs. Leah Garvin, Treasurer. They gave 
for church extension $464.89. 

The Rev. E. K. Love Club — Deacon R. H. Johnson, Presi- 
dent ; Richard Law, Vice-President ; James Brown, Secretary ; 
Mrs. Hannah Glen, Treasurer. They gave for church extension 

The Harmony Club — Deacon Alexander Rannair, President ; 
May Hunter, Vice-President; James Small, Secretary; Mrs. 
Lydia Small, Treasurer. They gave for church extension 

Ruel Club — Miss S. C. Jenkins, President ; Mrs. J. C. Wade, 
Vice-President; Mr. R. B. Heggs, Secretary; Mrs. J. C. Love, 
Treasurer. They gave for church extension $98.76. 

The M. C. Johnson Club — Mr. M. S. Anderson, President; 
William Boyd, Vice-President ; Mrs. Sarah Burke, Secretary ; 
Mrs. M. C. Johnson, Treasurer. They gave for church exten- 
sion 865.65. 

The M. L. Jackson Club — Mr. Henry Minis, President ; Mrs. 
E. F Brown, Vice-President; Benjamin R. Young, Clerk; Mrs. 
Sarah Butler, Treasurer. They gave for church extension 

The Mount Zion Club — Deacon F. M. Williams, President; 
Deacon P A. Glenn, Vice- President ; Mr. Richard Jenkins, 
Clerk ; Mrs. S. R. Williams, Treasurer. They gave for church 
extension 826:5. '20. 

African Baptist Church. - lJf.5 

The C. K DeLamotta Organ Club — Mrs. Matilda *M. Monroe, 
President; Miss Lula Hines, Secretary; Miss L. L. Carey, 
Treasurer. They gave for church extension $36.65. 

The Daughters of Zion Society — Deacon J. C. Habersham, 
President; L. J. Pettigrew, Vice-President; C. H. Ebbs, Clerk; 
Mrs. S. R. Williams, Treasurer. They gave for church exten- 
sion $62.00. 

The Young Men's Christian Association — B. C. Creamer, Pres- 
ident; L. A. Washington, Clerk; Henry Emory, Treasurer. 
They gave for church extension $65.00. 

The Mungin Centennial Club — Dittsmersville. They gave 
for church extension $27.00. 

The Glassco Jackson Centennial Club, Southville — W G. 
Clark, President. They gave for church extension $3.00. 

The Ladies' Laurel Branch Society— D. Mitchell, President ; 
L. J. Pettigrew, Secretary. They gave for church extension 

Ladies' Zion Watchman Society — Mrs. Claranda Jenkins, 
President ; Mrs. Amanda Pettigrew, Vice-President ; Mrs. Amelia 
Bing, Treasurer. They gave for church extension $10.00. 

Zion Watchman Society — L. J. Pettigrew, President ; J. H. 
Coffee, Secretary. They gave for church extension $5.00. 

The Baptist Christian Circle Association Society — Mr. Chas. 
Green, President; Mrs. Betsy Williams, Vice-President; Mr. 
Albert P Williams, Secretary; Mrs. Ella Mulligan, Treasurer. 
They gave for church extension $20.00. 

The Ladies' Union League Society — Mr. William Logan, 
President; Mr. E. Collins, Vice-President ; Mrs. Bachel Logan, 

Treasurer ; , Secretary. They gave for church extension 


The Sons of Zion Society — Deacon F. M. Williams, Presi- 
dent; Deacon J. C. Habersham, Vice-President; Deacon J. H. 
Hooker, Treasurer ; Deacon A. Rannair, Secretary. They gave 
for church extension $20.00. 

The Lone Star Cadet Branch Society — Mr. Abram Bo wens, 
President;. Mr. H. F Griffin, Vice-President; Mrs. Bina Lewis, 
Treasurer ; L. A. Washington, Secretary. They gave for church 
extension, $10.00. 

The United Tie of Brotherhood — Mr. S. Bowman, President ; 
Mr. James A. Williams, Vice-President; Mr. George Bacon, 
Treasurer: Mr. James P Green, Secretary. They gave the 
church $10.00. 

Capernaum Society— Mrs. Anna Gibbons, President; Mrs. 
Phiby Butler, Vice-President ; D. W Gibbons, Secretary ; Mrs. 
Mary Brown, Treasurer. They gave the church $20.00. 

140 • Hilary of the First 

The Ladies' Union of St. Paul Society. — Mrs. D. Grant, Presi- 
dent; Mrs. Amelia Bing, Vice-President; Mr. Peter Denigal, 
Secretary : Mrs. Rebecca Richards, Treasurer. They gave the 
church §.'55.00. 

Sons and Daughters of Abraham Society gave the church 

The Lilie Union Society — Mrs. R. Quarterman, President; 
S. A. Nichols, Vice-President; B. R. Young. Secretary; Mrs. 
Caroline Low, Treasurer. They gave the church $5.00. 

The S. C. Mutual Aid Society— Mrs. M. A. Wylly, Presi- 
dent ; Mrs. Julia Winston, Vice-President ; Mrs. Charles L»ewis, 
Secretary; Mrs. Charlotte Fields, Treasurer. They gave the 
church $20.00. 

Building Club No. 1 — Mrs. Sophia Verdier, President ; A. M. 
Williams, Secretary. They gave the church $47.00. 

The Benevolent Association gave the church $2.00. 

The Benevolent Aiding Association — M. E. Nichols, Presi- 
dent; B. R. Young, Vice-President; J. A. Nichols, Secretary; 
S. Bizzars, Treasurer. They gave the church $2.50. 

The Mechanics' Branch gave the church $5.00. 

The St. James Macedonia Society gave the church $5.00. 

Savannah Light Infantry Branch gave the church $2.50. 

The Ladies' Brick Layer Society — John Jackson, President ; 
Maria Loyd, Vice-President; Samuel Loyd, Secretary; Lydia 
A. Jackson, Treasurer. They gave the church $1.50. 

The Ladies' and Gentlemen's Social Society — Mrs. Annie 
Jackson, President; Rebecca Brox, Vice-President; Mr. Robert 
H. Lewis, Secretary; Mrs. Hester Haynes, Treasurer. They 
gave the church $10.00. 

Brampton Club — Bro. Wm. Moore, President. They gave 
for church extension $21.95. 

The Children's Israelite Society — Mr. March Houston, Presi- 
dent; Mrs. Annie Burk, Vice-President; Mr. A. G. Brown, Sec- 
retary; Rev. E. K. Love, D. D., Treasurer. They gave the 
church $10.00. 

The Young Ladies' Select Branch of the Israelite Society — 
Mr. March Houston, President; Mrs. Mira Miller, Vice-Presi- 
dent ; Miss Lou Hines, Secretary ; Mrs. Mamie Hines, Treasu- 
rer. They gave the church $2.50. 

East Savannah, Thunderbolt and Zion Hill Societies gave 
their moneys through the Mount Zion Club, already referred to. 
Southville and Dittsmersville gave their moneys through the 
George Gibbons Club, No. 2, already mentioned. Each and 
every club vied with the other as to which would do most for 
the church. 

African Baptist Church. 147 

This wise division of the church into clubs so inspired the 
members and united their hearts and efforts in the work that, 
they did the work with an ease surprising to themselves and to 
the whole community. This generalship will class Rev. Mr. 
Love with the ablest pastors of the country. Mr. Love con- 
tended that the church was able to do her work without beg- 
ging a dime out of the city, and that he did not mean to beg 
out of Savannah, nor to beg a single church in the city. He 
kept his word and the work was done and paid for without a 
day's delay in the hands getting their money or the work sus- 
pended. When the work was completed the church owed 
but a trifle. The pleasure of the members at the leadership 
of Mr. Love was indescribable. During Mr. Love's labors to 
enlarge and beautify the church, his amiable christian wife ren- 
dered him incalculable service. She was an earnest, faithful, 
able, loving and punctual Sunday school teacher. Whoever 
else might be absent, Mrs. Love was sure to be present. She 
was a conspicuous member of the Ruel club, and was its treas- 
urer. She entered heartily into her husband's work, sharing 
heroically his sorrows and his joys. She was humble, loving, 
faithful and obedient as a wife, and it is doubtful that a minis- 
ter ever had a better wife. She was converted in April, 1879, 
in Thomasville, Ga., and was baptized by Eev. E. K. Love the 
first Sunday in May, 1879, and on the 28th of October, of the 
same year, they were married. She is a devoted christian, 
mother and wife. 

Mr. Love inaugurated a children's day, on which he preached 
to the children at 11 A. m. He had young boys for deacons who 
were members of the church, and boys and girls in the choir, 
most of whom were members of the church. Little Etta Mon- 
roe, the daughter of Mrs. M. M. Monroe, was organist, and lit- 
tle Mary C. Johnson, Jr., was leading soprano singer. Her 
voice was remarkably sweet. This soon became the most inter- 
esting service of the church, and perhaps did more good than 
any other service of the church. The elder people were asked 
on this day to go up in the galleries and the children occupied 
the main audience room. In this way Eev. Dr. Love endeav- 
ored to impress the parents that they would ere long be in 
heaven and looking upon their children filling the places which 
once they occupied while on earth, and to impress the children 
that their parents would soon be gone and that they would 
have to take the place of their parents and carry on the work 
of the Lord, but that their parents would be watching them 
from the balconies of heaven. 

1J$ » History of the First 

Too much can not be said in praise of Mrs. M. C. Johnson for 
organizing many of the young boys and girls into a society 
known as "The Young Christian Workers." This society did 
a noble work for the church, and acquired thereby the habit of 
giving and making for the Lord. Mrs. Johnson was in full 
sympathy with Rev Dr. Love, and did as much, if not more, 
to help him in his work as any other member of the church. 
She said but little, but she worked much and brought forth 
much fruit. 

The church under Eev. Dr. Love's administration did more 
mission and educational work than ever before in its history. 
In 1886 the church sent up to the convention that met at Quit- 
man $404, and in 1887 to the convention at Brunswick $342. 
In 1886 it sent up to the Mount Olive Baptist Association 
$91.96, and in 1887 $64. This was $901.96 in two years. Add- 
ing to this incidental missionary collections and what was given 
to churches for building and liquidating debts and to traveling 
preachers will go far towards swelling the amount to $2,000. 
Besides this, the church provides for many of her poor saints 
and buries them. And still, besides this, her current expenses 
are more than $200 per month. This church has not a superior 
in liberality in existence. This church prides itself in taking 
care of its pastor. Whatever he wants, he has only to hint it. 
Its financial record can not be excelled. It usually pays all of 
its debts monthly without any strain. 

The congregation is orderly during service, and it is the 
rarest thing imaginable for the preacher to have to call for 
order. This is due to the early training of the fathers. 

The church building is kept neat. The sexton, Mr. James 
Richards, is as attentive to the church as a loving wife to a sick 

The administration of Rev. Love has been mainly character- 
ized by peace and good feeling. The Gibbons people, about 100 
in number, who went off during the trouble of 1877, and who 
were organized into a church about seven miles from Savannah 
by Rev. I". L. Houston, without letters and at the emphatic 
protest of the First African Baptist Church, returned under the 
administration of Rev. Dr. Love. The so-called church was 
dissolved, and the brethren returned to the church again. It 
was a day of rejoicing. Many others that had not returned 
with the body on the 17th of February, 1884, returned under 
the administration of Rev. Dr. Love, amounting to several 
hundred. This showed Rev. Dr. Love's ability to win the 
hearts of men. The members were never more attentive. 

African Baptist Church. « lJfi 


The Societies of the Church— Their Membership— The Value 
of Their Property and Their Condition. 


East Savannah Society (prayer houses they are properly, but 
they are called "Societies") is about three miles east of Savan- 
nah. It has about one hundred and fifty members. Mr. James 
Lawry is leader of this society. He is a faithful, earnest lead- 
er, and is very much beloved by the people. This humble man 
watches over the people of this society in love and keeps before 
them the duty they owe to the church. He takes monthly col- 
lections and turns them over to the church through Deacon P. 
A. Glenn, who visits them once a month. This is a strong lib- 
eral society. Their property is worth $900. Mr. L. J. Petti- 
grew and Miss Eebecca G. Houston keep up a flourishing Sun- 
day school at this house of worship. 

Eastville Society is about two miles east of Savannah. It 
has 38 members. Mr. John Byrd is leader of this society. He 
is an humble, faithful, loving and God-fearing man. He is also 
a member of the choir of the church. He is very active and 
attentive. From this little society he brings in more money to 
the church than any other society connected with the church. 
He took a deep interest in the extension of the church, and en- 
thused his people with the same burning zeal that was ablaze in 
his own bosom. He is a great help and comfort to the pastor. 
Mr. Byrd keeps this society peaceable and quiet and they give 
the church very little trouble. This society reflects credit upon 
the church and the church has just cause to be proud of it. 
The property is worth $350. 

The Thunderbolt Society is about four miles from Savannah. 
It has 125 members. Mr. Morris Pray is leader of this society. 
This is a quiet society and causes the church very little trouble. 
The people of this society have a very good house of worship, 
which is worth $1,000. It is in a beautiful location. They do 
well and come into church on communion days. They have a 
flourishing Sunday school. Misses Marion E. Houston and 
Bosa L. Brown go out on Sundays and assist Superintendent 
F. Mcintosh in teaching. 

150 History of the First 

Lover's Lane Society is about two miles from Savannah. It 
lias GO members. Mr. Adam Houston is the leader of this 
society. He is a faithful, earnest man. He is very dutiful 
and attentive to the church. The society is lively and at times 
very troublesome to the church, the members (many of them) 
being often before the church for fighting. Mr. Houston is a 
good leader and faithful to both the society and to the church. 
This society has been of great service to the church in its work, 
of extending the church edifice. Deacon F. M. Williams visits 
this society, and its monthly collections are turned over to the 
church through him. 

The Dittsmersville Society is about two and one-half miles 
south of Savannah. It has 50 members. Mr. John Morrel is 
leader of this society. It is a very earnest, energetic society. 
Mr. Morrel has proved a success as a leader. The success of 
this society is largely due to Deacon J. C. Habersham and Li- 
centiate W G. Clark, who very often visit it and exhort the 
people to active church work and pious lives. Mr. Clark also 
keeps up a flourishing Sunday school there. 

Sand Fly Station Society is six miles from Savannah. Mr. 
Tony Giles is leader of this society. This society has 13 mem- 
bers. It is a quiet, loving band and gives the church very little 
trouble. Deacon F M. Williams visits this society, and its 
monthly collections are turned over to the church through him. 
The church is proud of this society. Mr. Giles, as leader, exer- 
cises a great influence over the members and is very much 
beloved by them. He is faithful and attentive to the church. 
The property is worth $150. 

Wheat Hill Society is four miles from Savannah. It has 20 
members. Mr. A. Houston is leader of this society. Deacon 
J. H. Brown visits this society. It is a quiet society, and very 
seldom has any cases for church discipline. They send in their 
monthly collections through Deacon Brown. The property is 
worth $250. 

South Valley Society is fourteen miles from Savannah. Mr. 
David Solomon is leader of this society. It seldom, if ever, has 
any cases for discipline. They are few in number, and are 
quiet and loving. They don't give much money because they 
are very generally poor, but out of the little they make they 
give the church some. It has 35 members. 

Zion Hill Society is about six miles from Savannah. Mr. J. 
Jordan is leader here. The society numbers 65 members. 
They have but little trouble among themselves and are an 
earnest and faithful band. The property is worth $300. They 
are liberal and give money to the church quite often. In the 

African Baptist Church. 151 

work of church' extension they aided nobly. Deacon F M. 
Williams watches over this society as deacon, and also visits 
them occasionally. Mr. Jordan is an earnest man, and very 
much beloved by the members. 

Sabine Field Society is three miles from Savannah. Mr. 
Richard Gibbons is the leader. The old man is also a licensed 
preacher of the church. For years he has been a licensed 
preacher and leader of this society* He is a good man, and the 
members are devoted to him. This society numbers 150 mem- 
bers. It does not give very much money to the church, but it 
is a quiet, loving band. The property is worth $125. 

Brampton Society is three miles from Savannah. Mr. Isaac 
Charlton is leader of this society. It numbers 65 members. The 
property is worth $200. It was at this place, one hundred years 
ago, that the First African Baptist Church was organized. The 
old spot is very dear to the church. It has not been out of 
the possession of the church as a place of worship for one hun- 
dred years. 

Southville Society is two miles south of Savannah. It num- 
bers about 50 members. Mr. Jack Jackson is the leader of 
this society. The property is worth $300. Deacon J. C. Hab- 
ersham watches over it, and Licentiate W G. Clark does great 
service out here also. The members here are very quiet and 
give the church very little trouble They are liberal and did 
well in giving the church money during its efforts to extend its 
building. The money was reported through Deacon Haber- 

Gibbons Society is seven miles from Savannah. Mr. Jan- 
uary Mack is leader of this society. This society was famous 
for its noble deeds in the days of Rev. W J. Campbell. 
These good people were captured by Rev. U. L. Houston, and 
without letters from the First African Baptist Church, were or- 
ganized into a church during the troubles of the church, which 
began in 1877 They returned to the church in 1888, and upon 
dissolving the so-called church and making christian confession 
they were restored. They number about 200 members. The 
property is worth $900. Mr. Mack is a faithful man and is 
very much beloved by the church and the society. 

The Richmond Society is seven miles from Savannah. Mr. 
James Mai is leader of this society. This society numbers 15 
members. The property is worth $75. Deacon Alexander 
Rannair visits this society and watches over it. It is a quiet, 
loving band and causes very little trouble. According to their 
means and number, they gave quite liberally to the church in 
its endeavor to extend its edifice. 

1').' History of the First 

These societies are all members of the church, but are united 
simply to hold regularly prayer meeting, because of their dis- 
tance from the church. The members are expected to come 
into the church on every first Sunday to communion, and on 
third Sunday to conference. 

The total worth of the property of these prayer houses is 
($5,000) five thousand dollars. 

The First African Baptist Church, because of its liberality to 
the State work, was voted the banner church of Georgia. It 
was given a beautiful banner in token of the appreciation in 
which the church is held by the State. 


Prepared by Kev. C. H. Lyon for the occasion of presentation of the banner to the 
Mrst African Baptist Chuich. 

Tune C. M. 

This banner, love, is Christ the Lord's, 

And in His name we hoist 
Aloud the battle cry against 

All hostile to our host. 

This army terrible shall be 

While under this banner led ; 
And in this sign shall christians prove 

Triumphant through their head. 

This blood-stained banner is unfurled, 

Upheld by faithful hands, 
In true defense and great display 

Of the pure gospel band. 

This mighty army of our God 

Shall wave their banner high, 
Till Satan's army vanquished be 

And christians' reign be wide. 

The following sermon by Rev. C. H. Lyons, corresponding 
secretary of the Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, on 
presenting the banner to the church, was very interesting and 
filled the church with great joy. 


A Sermon Delivered on the Occasion of Presenting the Prize Ban- 
ner to First (A.) Baptist Church, Savannah, Oa., Feb. 28th, 
Jsx.s, by Rev. C. H. Lyons, Pastor Mount Olive Church, At- 
lanta, Georgia. 

There are three words of Hebrew origin of«a kindred nature 
expressing different shades of meaning of a banner. Oth repre- 
sents a small sign or banner ; nes an ensign, a token of a thing ; 
and ilegel a flag, a banner ; a standard from the verbal form 
dagal, to cover, to glitter and to shine, or lift up a banner • 
and the Latin ir.n'Uum is also expressive, which is rendered a 

African Baptist Church. 153 

military ensign, said to be a red flag placed in front of the gen- 
eral's tent, indicating to march, forward. 

The important and emphatic stress placed upon our subject 
is brought out forcibly in the three significant passages here 
alluded to. 

"Lift ye up a banner upon the mountain." — Isa., xiii, 2. The 
wrath and fury of God threatened against Babylon are here in- 
dicated. God gives a banner to those who fear him to secure 
their triumph and betoken his approving presence with them. 

In the name of our God we will set up our banner as an in- 
spiration to wage war in defence and in honor of the name and 
cause of God, and acknowledge that all possible success de- 
pends upon the name and power of God. 

The described nature of this banner evidently portrays di- 
vinity. His banner over me was love. God is love. Terrible 
as an army with banners, for the Lord thy God is among you : 
thy God is terrible. 

Each army must have its panoply, leaders and uniforms and 
flags or banners. Jesus Christ is all these to His army. 

I. Let us now consider the symbolical signifit ation of the 

'Tis not merely the indication of war. 

1. But 'tis a sign of distinction and protection of the army. 
We have defined the original to mean to cover. All under 
this banner, whether soldiers or caravans, are covered, de- 
fended, distinguished from other armies or dangers. The twelve 
tribes had each a small banner styled standard, owing to its 
smallness, but each three tribes had a banner, when combined, 
which defended and protected them both as a caravan and an 

When his banner was hoisted all soldiers and travelers of 
like color and aims assembled under it in loyalty to their com- 
manding chief. In our late civil but bloody war the flags 
marked distinctions between the secessionists and unionists 
above anything else ; and in our christian war Jesus Christ 
was His people's ensign ; keeps the differentia intelligible from 
all other forms of religious creeds. All are known and distin- 
guished as christians, not by their form or profession, but by 
their likeness and imitation of and their identity with Christ 
alone. For by their fruits ye shall know them. This army 
and caravan are covered and protected by Jesus. 

And any cause of distinction between any heterogeneous and 
homogeneous elements or classes is a virtual protection and de- 
fence of the merited parts. Distinction of colors and principles 
makes each more valuable and admirable. Therefore the 

lo4 History of the First 

-distinctive doctrines and principles of the Bible should be more 
systematically taught and urged. The distinguishing of truth 
from error, wrong from right, is the great mental and moral 
project of this host, and all needed protection and distinction 
are found in a wise and proper assembling under this gospel 

The Jewish army and caravan apprehended neither defeat 
nor danger as long as their Shekinah was visible over them. 
The christian army has no just fears while it trusts and owns 
Jesus, its loving and glorious ensign or banner. 

2. It means to illuminate and attract the army to the center 
or union. The significance of the word as alluded to means to 
glitter, to shine. 

The people of that day traveled mainly by night to avoid the 
fearful heat of the sun ; therefore, had banners prepared to 
burn wood like a stove, to give light by which to travel, which 
burned and shone all night. The beacon lights were placed on 
hills and mountains to aid the caravans and armies. These 
lights were of vast importance to the physical eye. But this 
banner mor \ effulgently reflects the divine light upon the path 
of heaven. Twas said of one of the banner-bearers that he 
was a burning and shining light. Jesus, our banner, is the 
light that lights every man that comes into this world ; and 
His light is the life of men. Jesus said, as long as I am in the 
world , I am the light of the world. What a glorious and lumi- 
nous banner ! It penetrates thick and repugnant darkness, and 
it cannot seize it. 'Tis incomprehensibly wonderful. 

Light naturally and officially attracts all tangible to it. The 
sun's light marshals the world by his brilliant beams by day 
and reflected rays by night. The revolution and vegetation of 
the earth are the resultant effects of his light. Our world is 
animated and influenced by light from the highest to the low- 
est order. Is it at all surprising that all in the mental, moral 
and religious world should be vastly more influenced and bene- 
fited by holy and divine light. 

Yea, however scattered and varied, all christians center their 
hopes and actions in Christ. When Moses beheld Jehovah in 
the burning bush, he drew to him. When the Magi saw the 
bright morning star, they came in diligent and immediate 
search of it. When the introducer of the christian dispensation 
preached repentance, faith, baptism and the remission of sins, 
all Judea and adjacent countries came to him. Jesus, our 
banner, says: "If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all 
men unto me." 

African Baptist Church. 155 

Moses said unto Him, " Shall the gathering of the* people be?" 
Let this Baptist army rally around this banner till every foe 
quits the field and Christ becomes Lord indeed. What a mar- 
velous, attractive and brilliant banner. 

3. It is a sign of inspiration to war-like actions. A banner 
which distinguishes, protects, illuminates and attracts its army 
will doubtless serve as a most powerful incentive to aggressive 
actions. In the greatest vicissitudes it brings courage and 
prompts fortitude. It is a most effective dissuasion against all 
infidelity of the trust so sacredly committed, and a very pre- 
dominating buoyance over all temptations to cowardice and 
relaxations of warlike gallantry. It was common for the Spar- 
tan mothers to exhort their sons going to war to bring home 
their shields or be brought home on them. 

A champion soldier said, if they could not fight in the sun- 
shine that they would fight in the shade. Those who love and 
honor their banner die to prevent its trail in the dust or suffer 
defeat. Let us, O army of God, fight very mightily and 
manfully under our banner. If we can't contend earnestly and 
properly for that old, sacred and saving faith, once for all de- 
livered to the saints under favorable circumstances, we will 
fight under unfavorable, for we will fight the good fight of 
faith. As long as the drum and bugle of war are heard, this 
spangled banner seen, the heroes will never yield their forts 
nor quit the field. We will wave this gospel banner high into 
victory grand, Satan and his host defy, and shout for Daniel's 

II. The banner awarded to this army. 

God gives a banner to them that fear him as a token of his 
love for his army ! 

He brought me to His banquet house, and His banner over 
me was love. The prophet declared Jesus to be an ensign 
which should be set up for his people. Solomon described the 
banner of the church love, and the same to be chief among 10,- 
000 and altogether lovely. John taught, in his sublime and 
safe instruction, that Christ was love, and they that dwell in 
love dwelt in him. How clearly and beautifully is Jesus de- 
clared the banner of the church. The banner over me is love. 
God loves His church, and with an everlasting love He draws it. 
He loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of 
Jacob. The church is His peculiar and royal people ; therefore 
he gave them Jesus as a banner. What incomprehensible love 
and grace bestowed upon those that reverence Him! Christ 
loves His church as a man his wife, and gave Himself for it that 
he might redeem it and wash it by His blood and word. Christ 

l-'tO History of the First 

is the manifestation of God's love for his army, which cannot 
be misunderstood or over-estimated. He found His elect as of 
a hidden treasure and went and sold His heavenly pleasures and 
privileges and bought them. Paul says, " For ye know the 
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for 
your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might 
become rich." What interest, sympathy and love for us! 
Greater love have no man than this : that a man lay down his 
life for his friends, and no less maximum of love is displayed in 
giving the immaculate of heaven, the only begotten Son of God, 
to this army. What wondrous love is this ! 

1. In token of his presence and identity with His army. 

The Bible is made increasingly mysterious in attempting to 
affirm and describe the intimate and indissoluble union be- 
tween Christ and His people. "He that believes into me shall 
be saved." 

Christ says, " As I am in the Father and the Father in me, 
even so are you in me and I in you." "I am the vine, and ye 
are the branches." "Abide in me, and let my word abide in 
you ; then ye shall ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done 
unto you." 

Christ and His church are identified in suffering. For he that 
suffers with me shall reign with me. In His crucifixion we were 
crucified together with Christ. In His death and resurrection \ 
for as we have been in the likeness of his death, even so shall 
we be in the likeness of His resurrection. Christ is all and in 
all for and to His army. The psalmist has this delightful de- 
scription of His identity and interest in His church : " God is in 
the midst of her ; she shall not be moved ; God shall help her, 
and that right early." 

The way and dealings of God are in His sanctuary. Jehovah 
promises never to leave nor forsake His people. Christ assured 
His disciples that where two or three gather together in His 
name, "I am in the midst of them." This army is aggrandized 
and made victorious and invincible by the omnipotence, om- 
niscience and omnipresence of Christ, our banner. God was 
with Adam prior to his fall and caused him to superabound in 
every imaginable felicity. His potent hand was visible in the 
history of Xoah in the deluge. He manifested himself in Jacob 
and elevated Joseph to the second power of the Egyptian king- 
dom, and educated Moses in all the learning of that place-and 
day to qualify him for the leadership of his people from captiv- 
ity to freedom and the promised inheritance. 

And the stupendous exhibition and identity of himself in the 
fiery pillar by night and the cloudy pillar by day to lead and 

African Baptist Church. 157 

— — s — 

protect them. The apostles were sent to preach with this glo- 
rious guaranty, Lo, I am with you alway even to the end of the 
world. Christ is not merely identified with His people, but is 
their banner, implement of war, their panoply. 

2. To make His army terrible. 

Who is she that looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, 
and as clear as the sun, and as terrible as an army with ban- 
ners? The progressive periods of the church have been aptly 
described in the above figures. She was of the vigor and bright- 
ness of the morning in the patriarchal periods. She was of the. 
fairness of the moon in the typical and Mosaic dispensation,, 
and in the christian dispensation was the clearness and bril- 
liancy of the sun ; when the sun of righteousness arose, when 
the scheme of redemption and benign designs of the gospel are 
consummated, she shall be terrible as an army with banners. 
Then shall she be beautiful and comely like Jerusalem and ter- 
rible as an army with banners. Then shall she become more 
than a conqueror through the defensive presence of Christ. 

The Jewish army with four banners looks appalling, but how 
much more vastly frightening shall the whole army of God, out 
of every nation, kindred and people, be when their white horses 
and riders will be both indicative of victory and innocence in 
achieving it. 

Her four chariots, hailing from between mountains of brass,. 
with her horses colored in destructive and dreadful descriptions r 
how terrible! The enemy of this army captured, and their 
kingdom subdued and made loyal to this terrible army, all 
heretic^ and their books shall be priced and consumed. 

Before this army shall old Lucifer fall like lightning. Gog 
and Magog shall be conquered. The old dragon and his angels. 
shall be cast into hell. 

The old harlot and all who bear her image will be judged 
and put into unquenchable fire, there to wail and gnash their 
teeth. This army is so terrible that it subdues kingdoms, 
wroughts righteousness, obtains promises, stops the mouths of 
lions, quenches the violence of fire, escapes the edge of the 
sword, out of weakness becomes strong, waxes valiant in fight r 
and turns to fight the armies of the aliens. 

III. The banner hoisted by this army. 

In the name of our God we will set up our banner, indicative 
of fheir aggressiveness to battle. There may be questions and 
problems of such nature and magnitude that neither our phil- 
anthropy nor our magnanimity can effect a satisfying solution 
without the force of war. Then our flags, declaring war, are 
raised ; but our causes of conflict are always such as to render 

J.'hS History of the First 

the christian war unavoidable and unceasing. There can be no 
retreat nor suspension of arms upon any compromise whatever. 

We shall have christian liberty and victory or death in pur- 
suit of them. This trumpet of war has been heard with no 
less distinctness through all generations from the first assault 
till to-day. There are entreaties for peace and cessation of 
war, but our lifted banner declares there shall be neither peace 
nor cessation but as achieved through the defeat of the devil 
and destruction of his kingdom. 

The prophetic trumpet was engaged in arousing Zion to 
awake and put on her warlike dress and strength. The apos- 
tolical council was, acquit yourselves like men ; be strong, 
fight. We are importuned to fight the good fight of faith and 
war a good warfare. 

As the seven nations preoccupied the land of Canaan, prom- 
ised to Israel, so vice, immorality and demons in high places 
obstruct our prosperity ; therefore the war is inevitable, for the 
stronger and greater must occupy. 

As Joshua, the champion warrior, led his army to victory 
and emancipation, much more completely will Jesus, our 
Joshua, lead this army into the defeat of Satan, destruction of 
sin, victory and everlasting freedom. The implements, ammu- 
nition and causes of war are the same. Let the war-cry be 
heard aloud : "To war ! to war ! ye army of the living God, 
to war ! " Never think the victory won, nor lay thy armor 
down, for thy arduous work will not be done till you obtain 
your crown or prize. 

Then fight on, my soul, agonizingly till death relieve you 
from the field. What means this uncompromising outcry and 
excitement of battle and out-spread banner to be displayed be- 
cause of the truth ? 

A certain renowned man declared that in comparison with 
all things truth is the most weighty ; in weight, therefore, all 
things are chaff compared with truth, and in nature, all things 
fiction ; truth underlies every virtue, crowns all the worthy 
and is the chief constituent of every grandeur. God is truth ; 
the infinite attribute of Deity is truth ; the Bible is the revela- 
tion of divine truth ; the christian church is the ground and 
pillar of the truth ; Christ and the Holy Spirit are the prolific 
source and expounders of the truth ; Paul teaches that we can 
do nothing against the truth, but all for the truth ; therefore 
we 1 1 ave set our banner in defence of this glorious cause. A 
battle pitched under this banner is actuated by the greatest 
combination of inspirations. The raising of this banner means 

African Baptist Church. 159 

the exultant triumph of truth and the cause of the" church, of 
the Bible and of God. 

The existence, handiwork and dealings of God have been so 
perfectly, confutingly established and acknowledged that the 
opponents of these doctrines have underrated themselves infthe 
estimation of this progressive and religious world. It is claimed 
by this class of opposers that science so antagonizes religion 
that much of religious truth is false, scientifically considered. 
This is false in both theory and practice, for one poet has said, 
"For truth is truth to the end of reckoning." 

The divinity and mystery of religious truth may be classed 
preposterous when alone scanned through scientific medium. 

But this is a frank confession of the imperfection of the hu- 
man mind to conceive or account for the actions of the divine. 
The truth of the Bible does not always nor essentially fore- 
shadow visible phenomenon any more than positive precept 
presents their reasons for demands. All the ever-existing phe- 
nomenon for the deluge is now. But 'tis not for science to ex- 
plain why the flood does not repeat itself. 

But the God of science has decreed and declared it in His 

la these and many other things the scientists overrate them- 
selves and the philosophers are deluded with sophistry. All 
truth is truth whether discovered from a scientific or religious 

And each scientific discovery will corroborate each religious 
doctrine in proportion to their designs and the perfection of 
man to draw correct conclusions from scientific phenomenon. 

The deluge is denied on so termed philosophical and scien- 
tific basis. But is this position supported scientifically and his- 
torically ? 

Is there more scientific phenomenon for the swimming ax 
than for the deluge? Any more for the dry passage of the 
3,000,000 through the Bed Sea than for the deluge? Anymore 
for the water becoming wine without scientific means or fer- 
menting operations than for the deluge ? 

Are all these false because they are not your deduction from 
scientific phenomenon ? 

Is it any part of erudition or wisdom to conceive everything 
false and absurd which we cannot understand the philosophy 
of? The great truth is, there be that intimate relation sus- 
tained by natural and religious science, that the better we un- 
derstand pure science the better we appreciate religion and God. 

The Bible is the text and law book of the church. The unity, 
oneness and consistency of this church would be a foregone 

lnO Hixtonj of the Fird 

■conclusion should its precepts and principles alone be adhered 
to. For the oneness, unity and victory of this church we have 
set up our banner, builded our fortification and sacrificed our 
lives and freedom to wage war till all come to their required 

AVe claim that there is no want of fullness nor explicitness of 
.Bible teaching on all subjects upon which we differ; that our 
difference on baptism is due to positive ignorance or disregard 
of divine authority on this subject, for there is no passage of 
Scripture, in fact or figure, taken in its proper connection, that 
either teaches or supports sprinkling or pouring as baptism. 

There is no text of sacred Scripture approving or authorizing 
the final apostacy of the saints. 

These doctrines are false, ruinous and insulting to the dignity 
of the army and of God. From one cause two opposing effects 
-can't come. Therefore these unholy divisions among profess- 
' ing christians are the effects of heresy. For, says Herrick, 
■ twixt truth and error there is this difference known : error is 
fruitful, truth only one. Truth establishes, protects only one ; 
therefore all the others are the children of error. 

Destroy the error permeating the heart and now adorning 
the profession of Christianity, then the weight, beauty and effi- 
ciency of truth will result in the unity, oneness and harmony 
of the christian church ; the widespread of the pure gospel, and 
the universal acknowledgment and predominance of the chris- 
tian religion. 

Our banner opposes all false doctrine, character and colors. 

Our Captain warns the army to beware of the leaven of the 
Sadducees and Pharasees. 

Beware of the false prophets which come to you in sheep's 
clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 

Beloved, believe not every spirit. Try the spirit by the 
spirit, whether they be of God. Because many false prophets 
are gone out into the world. But there were false prophets 
also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers 
among you, who privily shall bring on damnable heresies, even 
denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves 
swift destruction. 

He that modifies the truth of the Bible, either by addition or 
diminution, shall have his name erased and plagues added. 
Because he is a transgressor and has not the doctrine of Christ. 
.John teaches that whosoever transgresseth and abides not in 
the doctrine of Christ has not God. He that abides in the doc- 
trine hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any 
unto you and bring not the- doctrine, receive him not unto your 

African Baptist Church. 161 

house, neither bid him God-speed ; for he that bids him God- 
speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 

We can't succeed in destroying false doctrine nor the perni- 
cious influence of Catholicism as long as we are partial toward 
their branches. Let this army cry out, as indicated on ifceir 
banner, that by thy precepts I get understanding : therefore 
hate every false way. 

2. In the name of our God we have set up our banner ; 'tis 
God's cause, God's army, God's banner. Therefore we have in 
honor of Him and hope through Him lifted up our banner. 
Whatever we do or say should be done in the name of God — 
the name of God is holy and is reverence. The things in His 
name must be holy and reverential. This name is, therefore, a 
safe defense and protection to this army. 'Tis a wonderful name ; 
therefore wonderful will be the consequences through it. This 
name has God exalted above every name in heaven and earth. 
Therefore the army defended by this name shall be most tri- 
umphant. Before His name men and angels fall and devils 
fear and fly. David conquered Goliah through His name. The 
unsurpassed victories of Joshua were through His name. The 
holiness, invincibleness and superior excellence of his army are 
very astonishingly demonstrated in their dependence upon His 
mighty name for success. Through His name all miracles done 
by the prophets and apostles are wrought. The redemption 
and salvation of man effected, benedictions invoked and the 
churches' ordinances administered in this glorious name. 'Tis 
a grand, yea, peculiarly great display of recognition to be hon- 
ored as the banner-bearer for more than 1,500 churches and 
more than 160,000 soldiers, and in recognition of deserving 
merit we regard it as a pleasure of no ordinary kind to present 
you this banner. 


Something About the Deacons of the First African Baptist 


Since the origin of the Deacon's office, as recorded in the sixth 
chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, this office has been very im- 
portant in the christian church. It is true, however, that the 
office is greatly magnified to what seems to have been its ori- 
gin. But if Stephen & Philiip must be taken as examples, it 
would appear that the office began to be magnified in the days 

10.2 History of the First 

of the Apostles, and under their eyes. Indeed, it appears that 
they endorsed this. The deacons, then, both preached and 
baptized. The Apostles didn't condemn this, but rather ap- 
proved it from the fact that down in Samaria they simply im- 
parted the Holy Ghost to those who had believed and been 
baptized by Phillip without questioning the validity of their 
baptism. AVe have no record that the deacons were ordained 
for other than serving tables, yet they preached and baptized. 
The office of the deacon is certainly a very important one. 
They can do a great deal of good or harm. If the deacons are 
wise and judicious men they will be of incalculable service to 
the pastor and will be greatly honored by the church. If they 
purchase to themselves a good degree and great boldness in the 
faith, they will prove a blessing to the church. The First Af- 
rican Baptist Church has changed deacons quite often. The 
church did not consider that, once a deacon always a deacon. 
She reserved the right to remove them when she pleased. This 
is a good thing for all churches to do. By this course they 
could command better officers. Of the early officers not much is 
known. Therefore, we will only be able to mention the names 
of many of them, and it may be possible that some of their 
names even cannot be given. The following is as near as can 
be had the list of officers from the organization of the church 
in January 1788 to June 1st, 1888: 


Sampson Bryan, Somerset Bryan, Dick Nethercliff, Charles 
Golosh, Trim Campbell, Sandy Waters, Thomas Campbell, Jo- 
siah Lloyd and Harrington Demere. 

These were the first set who served under Father Bryan, and 
still in his day others served as deacons from time to time. 

Deacons Adam A. Johnson, James Willis, Adam Sheffcall, 
Paul Hall, Cajo Boss, July Ward, Solomon Hall, Kobert Mc- 
Nish, Samuel Cope, Abraham Wallace, Balfour Roberts, Jack 
Simpson. James Baily, Cuffee Williams, Ratio Frasier, Bing 
Frasier, Joseph Marshall, James Wilkins, James Butler, W J. 
Campbell, Benjamin Ring, Joseph Clay, Anthony J. Baptiste, 
Charles Neufville, Patrick Williams, Jeremiah Jones, Robert 
Verdier, C:esar Verdier, James M. Simms, Samuel Miller, Mur- 
ry Monroe, Patrick A. Glenn, Sandy Jordan, James Richard 
Friday Gibbons, George Gibbons, London Small, March Davis 
Charles L. DeLamotta, Paul Demere, Ishmael Stevens, Edward 
D. Brown, .July Boles, David Mcftitosh, Frank M. Williams 
Peter Williams, Randolph Bolden, Richard Baker, John Nesbit' 

African Baptist Church. 163 

Bobert P. Young, P. H. Butler, Dennis Mitchell, Willis 
Harris, John H. Brown, J. C. Habersham, J. C. Williams, L. 
J. Pettigrew, J. H. Hooker, March Haines, Peter Houston, R. 
H. Johnson, E. 0. Johnson, Alexander Rannair and F J. 
Wright. The first named, Deacon Sampson Bryan, \#ts a 
brother to Bev. Andrew Bryan. He, as his brother Andrew, 
was baptized by Bev. George Leile about 1781. With his 
brother he was imprisoned and, like him, whipped until his 
back was torn and his blood puddled by his side on the ground 
in the sight of his vile persecutors. But he would not deny 
the Jesus whom he loved, nor consent to cease speaking of His 
goodness. He shared with his brother the bitter persecution 
that the church was called upon to suffer in those days. Though 
missiles most terrible from the enemy's camp were hurled 
against the church, this good man never faltered. He "purchased 
to himself a good' degree and great boldness in the faith." He 
was much beloved by the church. He served the church faith- 
fully until he fell asleep in Jesus early in the nineteenth cen- 


Deacon Johnson may have served as deacon under Rev. An- 
drew Bryan. He was contemporary with Bev. Andrew Mar- 
shall. He was the ablest deacon connected with the church 
daring his day. He was baptized by Rev. Andrew Bryan about 
the close of the eighteenth century, and was called to the office 
of deacon about the close of Mr. Bryan's administration, or 
about the first of Bev. Mr. Marshall's. He was a diligent stu- 
dent of the Bible. He was younger than Bev. Marshall. He 
waged the terrible war of 1832 against Bev. Mr. Marshall for 
adhering to the doctrine of Bev. Alexander Campbell. To him 
is due more than to any one else the split of the church in 1832. 
He must be credited with waging one of the most disastrous 
wars that has ever disgraced a christian church. He was, how- 
ever, contending for what he believed to be "the faith once de- 
livered to the saints," and doubtless fought with a clear con- 
science, believing that he had right and truth on his side. He 
was true to a principle, and hence his tenacity to what he be- 
lieved right is not inconsistent with all that went to make up 
this grand man. He led the crowd that opposed Mr Marshall. 
His following, however, was not very large. When the final 
split occurred he had only 155 to acquiesce with him, while 2,640 
agreed with Bev. Mr. Marshall. Deacon Johnson will always 
be remembered in Savannah. He was always, after the split, 

1C>4 History of the First 

the leader of the Third African Baptist Church (now the First 
Bryan Baptist Church), which was the result of the split and 
which was organized under hirn as leader about the last of De- 
cember, 1S32, or the first of January, 1833, and in November of 
1 S33 tvas entered in the Sunbury Baptist Association as the Third 
African Baptist Church of Savannah. As a christian, Deacon 
Johnson was pious and upright. He thought for himself and 
never feared to express his thoughts when the cause of Zion 
was concerned. He lived to a good old age, and full of years, 
honors and good works he fell asleep in Jesus March 18th, 1853, 

and was gathered to the saint's rest. 


Deacon Sheftall served as deacon, it appears, under Mr. Mar- 
shall and took sides with Deacon Johnson against Mr. Marshall. 
He was deacon at the time of the split or elected very soon after- 
wards. He was quite prominent in the split and immediately 
afterwards. He was almost always chosen delegate to repre- 
sent the "Third Church" in the association after the split. 


was a very pious, humble deacon of this church. He was a co- 
adjutor of Deacon Adam Johnson, and did valiant service in 
the war of 1832 against Rev. Mr. Marshall. He believed that 
Deacon Johnson was right and, therefore, when the church 
split he went with the 155 which was constituted into the Third 


Deacon Robert McISTish was born in Camden county, Ga., 
June 19, 1808. He was converted in 1825, and baptized 
in the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. 
Andrew C. Marshall. He was elected a deacon of this church 
about 1835. He was perfectly devoted to Rev. Mr. Marshall, 
and was much beloved by the church. He served as a deacon 
under Rev. ~W J. Campbell and became as devoted to him as 
he was to Rev. Marshall. When the split of 1832 came he cast 
his lot with Rev. Marshall, and in the split of 1877 he cast his 
destiny with Rev. Campbell and stuck by him until his death, 
in October, 1SS0. He returned with the body of members of 
this church from the Beach, February 17th, 1884. As the terms 
of agreement upon which the trouble of 1877 was settled pro- 
vided that the oflicers of that portion of the church at the Beach 
Institute should relinquish their claims to offices in the church, 

African Baptist Church. 165 

he, upon the reunion of the church again, was thereby deposed 
from the office of deacon. He still lives, an honored, consistent 
member of the church. The old man's presence in the church 
is inspiring. His hair is perfectly white and he has a patri- 
archial appearance. Everyone calls him " Father McNisK" 


Deacon W J. Campbell was born January 1, 1812. He was 
baptized by Rev. Andrew C Marshall about 1834, and elected 
deacon about 1840. He served in this office faithfully until he 
was licensed to preach in February, 1855. He became pastor 
of the church about January, 1857. The foundation of his 
great influence was laid deep and strong while he was a deacon, 
and he is undoubtedly remembered with more tender affection 
than any man who has ever lived in Savannah. 


Deacon Simms was born in Savannah, Ga., December 27th, 
1823. He was converted in March, 1841, and was baptized into 
the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church the first 
Sunday in April, 1841, by Rev. Marshall. He did not remain 
long in the church. He was expelled for continued neglect of 
christian duties, and remained out of the church until 31st of 
October, 1858. He made several attempts, however, to get 
back, but Rev. Marshall seemed not to have been in a hurry to 
restore him. He was very presumptuous and defiant. On one 
occasion when he tried to return, and, having got wet, remain- 
ing out doors for his turn to be called, as the custom was, and 
being disappointed, as the conference adjourned without call- 
ing him, he said to Dr. Marshall : " When I ask you all to take 
me in again, you will do it." He left the church and went to 
fiddling and numerous other sins, and never returned during 
Mr. Marshall's life. When Mr. Marshall died, this statement 
returned with great' force to him, and he was one of the bitterest 
weepers at Mr. Marshall's funeral. But he remained out two 
years longer, when he returned to the church and was restored. 
He was elected clerk of the church December 19th, 1858. His 
push and pluck made him prominent rather than the wish of 
the people to have him as officer. He was appointed one of the 
building committee of the church. He was a very fine work- 
man, and had charge of the wood work of the church. This he 
executed with remarkable good taste. He was very intelli- 
gent for that day. He bought himself in the year 1857 for $740. 
He was licensed to preach by the First African Baptist Church 

166 History of the First 

in March, 1863. He was elected deacon January 29th, 1860. 
He was detected teaching the children of his race April, 1863, 
for which he was fined $50. When the war broke out between 
the North and South, he ran the blockade and went to Massa- 
chusetts, leaving Savannah on the 2d of February, 1864, and 
returning on the 2d of February, 1865. During his twelve 
months' stay in Boston, Mass., he was ordained to the office of the 
gospel ministry by the Twelfth Street Baptist Church, Boston, 
Mass., April 17th, 1864, by Bev. Leonard A. Grimes; Bey- 
mond, of New York ; Bev. Thompson, of Boston ; Bandolph 
Charlton, of Boston. 

When he returned home, Bev. W J. Campbell, the pastor of 
the First African Baptist Church refused to recognize the ordi- 
nation of Mr. Simms, claiming that no church had the right to 
call to ordination one of the members of his church. In this 
Mr. Campbell was quite right. Mr. Simms had a commission 
from the Home Mission Society to labor among the negroes in 
this part of Georgia and in parts of Florida. Mr. Campbell 
appears to have written the society that Mr. Simms was not 
regularly ordained, and the society withdrew the commission. 
This drove Mr. Simms into politics, there being a Freedman's 
Bureau in the city, which gave him employment. From this 
time on he entered fully into politics. He was elected to the 
Legislature of Georgia, and served several terms. He was an 
able member of that body. He was appointed a judge by 
Governor Bullock, but did not hold court anywhere because the 
office was abolished very soon after its establishment. Judge 
Simms took a letter of dismission from the First African Bap- 
tist Church and joined the First Bryan Baptist Church. Bev. 
U. L. Houston, pastor of said church, recognized the ordination 
of Mr. Simms. This enraged Bev. Mr. Campbell with Bev. 
Houston, which bitter feeling lasted for years. Bev. Simms' 
ordination is counted irregular by the First African Baptist 
Church till this day. In 1885 Bev. Mr. Simms took a letter of 
dismission from the First Bryan Baptist Church to join the First 
African Baptist Church, but the church refused to accept it, 
and returned it to him, when he carried it back to the First 
Bryan Baptist Church, where he is still a member. It is just 
to state that Mr. Simms is not properly a gospel minister, 
having never been properly ordained, and should not be admitted 
into the pulpit of any orderly Baptist church. He has been 
in several very cmestionable law suits which reflected seriously 
upon his character. Mr. Simms, all told, is among the ablest 
men the church has ever produced. He is stubborn and 
possesses an iron will. He has been pastor of several country 

African Baptist Church. 167 

churches, but has continued with no one of them very long 
at a time. He has left politics and is giving himself wholly 
to the ministry, preaching at several country churches and 
wherever else a door is opened to him. But his manners are 
repulsive to the people, and as a preacher he does not succeed. 


Deacon Monroe was born in Liberty county, Ga., July 16th, 
1818. He was baptized into the fellowship of the First African 
Baptist Church in 1844 by Kev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was 
very much attached to Air. Marshall. He loved him as his 
own father. Mr. Monroe named his oldest boy after Mr. 
Marshall. That boy is Andrew Marshall Monroe and is an 
earnest, faithful, consistent member of the church to-day. Mr. 
Monroe was elected deacon of the church May 16th, 1858. He 
served most faithfully and acceptably for years, when he re- 
signed because of business engagements which prevents him 
from giving the office his time. The church hated to part with 
him. He was a man of considerable means and unbounded 
liberality. He reared his children right, and had as nice and 
respectable a family as any in the city. He was one of the 
building committee who superintended the erection of the 
church in 1859. In all things he has been a faithful, upright 
and consistent christian gentleman. He was an example of 
christian piety, fidelity and devotion. He was quick to forgive 
and forget an injury. He still lives and aged, faithful member 
of the church. He is very feeble now, and cannot attend on di- 
vine service as in former days. He is universally beloved and 
honored. Deacon Monroe can never be forgotten by the mem- 
bers of the First African Baptist Church. He has served the 
church faithfully and long, and has never put the church to any 
trouble. As a man Deacon Monroe has a pleasing address, 
gentlemanly bearing and dignified manners. He is polite, affa- 
ble and kind, and has great reverence for his church and pas- 
tor. He is naturally polished and his countenance bespeaks 
truth, honesty and sincerity. He is withal a good man. 


Deacon Glenn was born near May Kiver, S. C, in 1817. He 
was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist 
Church about 1835 by Kev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was called 
to the office of deacon May 16, 1858. He was for awhile deposed 
from office, and remained out until the split of 1877, when he 
was restored to office. He took sides against Eev. Campbell in 

lr,S History oj the First 

the church fight, and was vigorous in his opposition to him. 
Deacon Glenn still lives, an aged and honored member of the 
church . He has a large circle of admiring friends, and is quite 
influential, in the country places especially. He is now feeble, 
but manages to get out to church and attend to his duties as a 
deacon. He is very industrious and has some good property. 


was born near Hilton Head, S. C, August 10, 1820, and was 
baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church 
about 1844 by Eev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was elected dea- 
con May 16, 1858, and served for seven years, when he resigned. 
He was very diligent and active and served his church most 
faithfully. He is an humble man, full of faith and love, and 
everyone regards him with much tenderness and affection. He 
is the faithful sexton of the church, and takes great pride in 
his work, and the church is kept perfectly clean. He is per- 
fectly devoted to the church and pastor. Anything left in the 
church through mistake, or lost, is perfectly safe in his hands. 
No one has a harsh word to say of Mr. Richard. He is polite 
and has a pleasing address, and has always had a wonderful 
influence. He is noted for meekness and great patience. He 
still lives, a loving, consistent member of the church. 


Deacon Friday Gibbons was elder brother of Rev. George 
Gibbons. He was born in the year 1809, and was baptized by 
Rev. Andrew Marshall about 1830. He was called to the office 
of deacon January 29th, 1860. He was an active deacon, and 
won the confidence of the church. Those who opposed him as 
deacon acknowledge his uprightness and faithfulness as a ser- 
vant of God. He fell asleep in Jesus December 26th, 1874, full 
of years and full of good work. He is very tenderly spoken o£ 
by the members of the church. 


was born on Thorny Island, Barnwell District, S. C, Novem- 
ber 13th, 1819. He was converted to God about 1844, and 
baptized into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church 
by Kev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was elected deacon of the 
church January 29th, 1860. He was an humble, active, loving 
deacon, and won the confidence, admiration and love of the en- 
tire church. He was licensed to preach, and was therefore 

African Baptist Church. 


promoted from the position of deacon. He becamfc an assistant 
to Rev. W J. Campbell in the pastorate. He became pastor 
of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, which he served very accept- 
ably until he was called to the pastorate of the First African 
Baptist Church during the troubles of 1877 


was born in Charleston, S. C, in the year 1822. He was con- 
verted to God about 1844, and was baptized into the fellow- 
ship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. A. C. Mar- 
shall. He was elected deacon of the church October 12th, 
1862. He was very stubborn when he took a stand. He op- 
posed the call of Rev. W J. Campbell, and for a while made it 
very unpleasant for him. He was very quick to beg pardon 
when it appeared that he would be expelled. If the church 
gave him time to talk, his pitiable pleading and humble atti- 
tude would preclude the possibility of expulsion. He was, how- 
ever, expelled in 1858 for his opposition to the pastor, and 
again in 1876 for his opposition to the pastor and deacons. He 
was the faithful and loving superintendent of the Sunday 
school. He was greatly beloved by the scholars and teachers. 
They were willing to stand by him under almost any circum- 
stance. When the State Baptist Convention met at Columbus, 

170 History of the Fir.-t 

Ga., lie sent the Sunday school letter by Kev. Alexander Har- 
ris, pastor of the First Bryan Baptist Church, West Broad 
street, notwithstanding Deacons E. P Young and P. H. But- 
ler were delegates from his own church. To this, these two 
brethren took exception and reported the matter to the church, 
upon which Deacon DeLamotta was expelled. Rev. Campbell, 
the pastor, endeavored to get Deacon J. H. Brown to take 
charge of the Sunday school as superintendent, but he, being 
true to a friend, and true to an understanding of the matter be- 
fore hand, declined. Deacon R. P, Young was appointed 
superintendent. The teachers refused to serve under Deacon 
Young, which was rightly construed to~ mean contempt of the 
church, and therefore Superintendent DeLamotta with all of 
his teachers, seventeen in number, were expelled. Most of 
these remained out until the trouble of 1877, when they rushed 
in and swelled the number of the majority, which was then 
arraigned against the pastor. Mr. DeLamotta was restored to 
the office of superintendent and deacon. Some of these teach- 
ers continued to commune in some of the churches where they 
were permitted to do so, notwithstanding they were expelled 
members. It is hard to conceive how people who had the in- 
telligence these teachers had could be guilty of so gross an 
error as to commune with the Lord and his people when they 
were not reconciled with the church into whose fellowship they 
had been baptized, but such is the fact. It is hardly natural 
to suppose that they would be prepared to sympathize with 
Rev. Mr. Campbell, whom they charged with being the cause of 
their expulsion. It tended, however, to show the hold Mr. De- 
Lamotta had upon the hearts of these teachers. The Sunday 
school was perfectly devoted to Mr. DeLamotta and he was 
equally devoted to the Sunday school. Whenever anything 
concerning the Sunday school came up he would be sure to do 
his part. He had no children of his own, but he had such a 
big heart that he could and did take in everybody else's chil- 
dren. There has never been a deacon connected with this 
church, perhaps, who has done as much good as Deacon De- 
Lamotta. While he did his duty as a deacon of the church, 
his labors among the children knew no bounds. The majority 
of the people of this church now owe their christian informa- 
tion to Deacon C. L. DeLamotta. He can never be forgotten in 
Savannah. He was as humble and obedient to his mother as a 
child. At the convention in Cartersville May, 1885, in a Sun- 
day school mass meeting, after the congregation had sung, 
"Hold the Fort for I Am Coming" in a most feeling manner, he 
rose and said : "Children, while you are singing 'Hold the Fort 

African Baptist Church. 171 

for I am Coming,' my soul rejoices, though I cannot help you 
sing that part. I have been here too long to sing that as you 
do. I have most gotten through with my work here. I will 
soon be gone. I rejoice that God has raised you up to hold 
the fort that I have been trying to hold for so many years. 
Therefore I shall sing to you, ' Hold the Fort for I am going.' " 
This had a wonderful effect upon the congregation, and melted 
many to tears. Deacon DeLamotta opposed the call of Rev. 
E. K. Love, and became so naughty that he was deposed from 
the deacon's office and narrowly escaped expulsion. He, how- 
ever, very soon made friends with him a"nd co-operated with 
him in his work. Rev. Love stood by him to the last, admir- 
ing him for " the very work's sake." Rev Love restored him to 
office and found in him a faithful officer He died December 
the 30th, 1886, full of good works Before he died he sent for 
Deacon J. H. Brown and other teachers and had them to sing 
some of his favorite songs, and then committed the school to 
Mr. Brown, saying, "John, I must die, take care of the school — 
take care of my children " He sent for Rev. E. K. Love, his 
pastor, and told him, " I cannot live ; I must die. Tell the 
people I love Jesus I know I have done wrong in many 
things, but it is all well, now. Tell the church I am going 
home to rest. I love Jesus, and he loves me " Very soon 
after saying this he calmly fell asleep in Jesus, Rev. Alexan- 
der Harris, his life-long friend by his side The church bore 
his funeral expenses, and a very large crowd of weepers, to- 
gether with the Sunday school, headed by Deacon J. H. Brown, 
followed him to his last resting place, January 1st, 1887- 


was born in Savannah, Ga., about 1843, and was converted to 
God about 1866, and baptized into the fellowship of the First 
African Baptist Church by Rev. W J. Campbell. He was called 
to the office of deacon January 31st, 1869. He was a faithful 
deacon. He stood by Rev Campbell in the trouble of 1877, and 
when the church split he went with him to the Beach. He re- 
turned to the church, awhile before the body did, February 17, 
1884, and remained a faithful, active member until his death. 
He was murdered by Frederick Wright, who also was a mem- 
ber of this church, July 22d, 1886. Mr Wright suspicioned 
Mr. Mcintosh of criminal intimacy with his wife, and uncere- 
moniously shot him down. Mr. Wright's suspicion prove to be 
unfounded, and he was found guilty of murder and recom- 
mended to the mercy of the court. He was sentenced to life- 



History of the First 

time imprisonment. Deacon Mcintosh stood well in the church 
and well in the community Nobody believes him guilty of 
the awful crime for which he lost his life. A good man was 
thus rashly removed from us. 


was born in Beaufort, S. C, May 10th, 1842, and was converted 
to God May, 1866. He was baptized into the fellowship 
of the First African Baptist Church by Bev. W J. Campbell. 
He was called to the office of deacon January 31st, 1869. He 
is an humble, meek, loving man, and is much beloved by the 
church. He took sides with the majority against Bev. Mr. 
Campbell in the trouble of 1877, and was moderator of that 
memorable conference when the split occurred. He is regarded 
a senior deacon of the church, though comparatively a young 
man. He is chairman of the finance committee, and is almost 
always made moderator, when the pastor is absent. He goes 
in the water with the pastor on baptism days. He has a sweep- 
ing influence. He still lives, and exerts a wonderful influence 
in the church. Mr. Williams has been moderator of several 
memorable conferences. He was moderator when Bev. E. K. 
Love was called. He has always reflected credit upon the 

African Baptist Church. 173 

church. He is treasurer of the Mount Olive Baptist' Association 
and several other important societies, with all of whom he 
stands well. He is very kind, and treats the members with the 
utmost tenderness and becoming politeness. 


was born in Savannah about 1820. He was converted to God 
about 1838, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First 
African Baptist Church by Eev. Andrew C. Marshall. He was 
elected deacon of the church September 25th, 1865. He had a 
great influence, and in power stood next to Rev. W J. Camp- 
bell, the pastor. He was perfectly devoted to the pastor, sup- 
porting him unqualifiedly in whatever he undertook. In the 
trouble of 1877 he took sides with the pastor, who was unfor- 
tunately with the minority. Indeed, Mr. Baker was more 
largely responsible for that trouble than any other man con- 
nected with it. Had Deacon Young not taken the advice of 
Deacon Baker, it is quite probable that the trouble would not 
have assumed so serious a magnitude. Deacon Baker mistook 
his strength in the church and undertook to carry things his 
way, and hence the terrible clash. He entered the first indict- 
ment against the brethren for disturbing public worship, and 
started the law suit. Had he exercised more of a Christ-like, 
forbearing spirit, this law suit would not have been, and the 
matter would have been much more easily settled. He became 
chief prosecutor on the other side. When the split occurred, 
he, of course, went with Rev. Mr. Campbell. He remained 
with him until his death. Mr. Baker did not return with the 
people from the " Beach," February 17th, 1884, nor has he 
returned yet. He seems to have taken a vow that he would 
not come back. He still lives an alien and stranger to the 
church and almost forgotten by the members. His name is 
never heard in the church and very rarely among the members. 
Though he lives, he is dead. Had he died during the trouble 
he would have been spoken of more kindly, and his memory 
would have been more respected. He will probably never re- 
turn to the church, but the church has forgotten him and is 
moving grandly on to a glorious success. 


was born in Charleston, S. C, about 1828. He was converted 
about 1858 and baptized into the fellowship of the First African 
Baptist Church by Rev. W J. Campbell. He was elected dea- 
con of the church January 31st, 1869. He was licensed to 

174 History of the First 

preach by the church in 1874. When Rev. George Gibbons 
was called pastor of this church and resigned the charge of 
Bethlehem Baptist Church, Mr. Nesbit was called to ordination 
and elected pastor of said church in 1879, where he still labors 


was born in Savannah October 25th, 1842. He was converted to 
God in 1861 and baptized into the fellowship of the First Afri- 
can Baptist Church by Rev. W J. Campbell. He was elected 
deacon of the church January 31st, 1869. He was active, in- 
telligent and pious. He was a favorite of Rev. Campbell. He 
was also clerk of the church. The trouble of 1877 is traceable 
to him as the starting point. He was the person charged of 
misplacing the money of the church. He acknowledged being 
careless with the money, but stated that he had no intention of 
stealing the money. This statement was accepted and his care- 
lessness pardoned. Mr. Joseph C. Williams motioned to expel 
him, but Deacon Baker made a substitute motion that he be re- 
buked and forgiven. The substitute prevailed. At the next 
conference Mr. J. C. Williams motioned, on the confirmation 
of the minutes, that the motion which pardoned Deacon Young 
be reconsidered. The chair very correctly ruled this motion 
out of order. Mr. J. C. Habersham moved to sustain the mo- 
tion of Mr. Williams. This motion prevailed. This was vir- 
tually an appeal from the decision of the chair. This erroneous 
motion started the ball to rolling. But for this motion, it is 
hard to see how the church would have split at that time and 
for that cause. This laid the foundation for the objection to 
Deacon Young carrying around the communion, and for Mr. A. 
Rannair barring the door of the choir to prevent him from enter- 
ing the choir with the holy eucharist which laid the foundation 
for the indictments of disturbing public worship, and this laid 
the foundation of the bitterest hostilities ever occurred in the 
history of the church. This unsavory motion was the prolific 
parent of all these troubles. The church finally split, and Dea- 
con Young cast his lot with those who stood with Rev. Mr. 
Campbell. He was their intellectual leader. He prepared the 
papers that were used in court for his side. He stood by Rev. 
Campbell until his death. He led the army back February 
17th, 1SS-L He surrendered the books to Rev. George Gibbons 
and every other right save that of a member. But he was very 
soon placed back into the choir and made its president. In 
this p( >sition he remained until he died. When he was about to 

African Baptist Church. 175 

to die, he sent for his pastor, Rev. E. K. Love, and Said to him : 
" Parson, I have sent for you to tell you what to do with my 
body. I have decided to die ; I know I cannot live ; I will 
take no more medicine ; I would rather die ; I am at peace 
with God and all men ; tell the church I am going to heaven ; 
tell them to meet me there ; I have done many things wrong, 
but it is all well ; take charge of my body and lay it away de- 
cently and pay my board bill for me ; the Masons and long- 
shoremen will bear my funeral expenses ; may God bless you." 
Shortly after this Deacon R. P. Young fell asleep in Jesus in 
April, 1887. He was followed to his last resting place by several 
thousand persons. Deacon Young was a meek man and full 
of faith, and will always be remembered with interest. 


was born in Whitehall, Bryan county, Georgia, December, 
1841. In April, 1853, he was converted and united with the 
Macedonia Baptist Church into the full membership, of which 
he was baptized the following July by Rev. Mr. Fuller Harmon, 
who was a missionary preacher laboring in Whitehall and other 
portions of Bryan county. 

In 1865 he went to Savannah, where he placed himself under 
the watchcare of the First African Baptist Church, over which 
Rev. William J. Campbell was then presiding. One year later, 
in 1866, he drew his letter from the Macedonia church and be- 
came a full member of the First African Baptist Church. 

Here he won the respect and confidence of all, and was in 
due time promoted from the ranks of the laity to official stand- 
ing. January 31st, 1869, he was chosen deacon, which position 
he held continuously fifteen years and one month, discharging 
his duties faithfully and acceptably. 

By the unanimous consent of the church he was licensed to 
preach September, 1885. Feeling the need of some preparation 
for his work, he went to the Atlanta Baptist Seminary, where 
he devoted some three years to earnest study, and made de- 
cided progress. 

Polite, affable, he makes a favorable impression, and wins 
friends wherever he goes. He was intimately associated with 
the pastor, by which he became very influential. He went 
with the pastor whenever and wherever he went on his vaca- 
tion. He enjoyed the fullest confidence and the most tender 
love of the entire church. He was away with the pastor when 
the memorable trouble of 1877 begun. Hence, he was not con- 
cerned in it, but took sides with the deacons and pastor. This 

176 History of the First 

was most natural for him, under the circumstances, being with 
the pastor and being himself a deacon. He took an active part 
in the trouble and became one of the prominent characters in 
the prosecution. He stood by Rev. Campbell till his death. 
He, with Deacon Young, brought the church back from the 
Beach. He lost his office in the compromise, but was very soon 
licensed to preach the gospel. Mr. Butler stands spotless in 
this community. He possesses pleasing manners and is very 
friendly. If he is as successful as a preacher as he was a dea- 
con, the church will have great need to be proud of him. Mr. 
Butler is widely and favorably known. The brethren love 


was born in Bryan county, Ga., in the year 1832. He was con- 
verted to God in 1867, and was baptized into the fellowship of 
the First African Baptist Church by Bev. W J. Campbell. He 
was called to the office of deacon in 1875. He was an humble 
officer, active and pious, and greatly beloved of the church. He 
won the highest confidence of the entire church. He was very 
much devoted to Bev Campbell, his pastor, obeyed him abso- 
lutely, and was willing to die with him. He took sides with 
Bev. Campbell and went with him to the Beach. He stood by 
him until his death. He returned to the church February 17, 
1884, with the body of members from the Beach. By virtue of 
the compromise he lost his office and became a private member. 
He has since been elected deacon but declined acceptance. He 
is still a consistent member of the church, a man much be- 
loved by the people. Deacon Williams' life is worthy of imi- 
tation. He is a good man. 

African Baptist Church. 




was born in Pocataligo, S. C, March 4, 1823. Me was convert- 
ed to God in April, 1838, and was baptized into the fellowship 
of the Wilmington Baptist Chnrch, April, 1838, by Eev. Jack 
Watry. He was elected deacon of said church in 1849. He 
removed to Savannah in 1858 and joined the First African Bap- 
tist Church, of which he became an active deacon in Decem- 
ber, 1877 He is a faithful officer and enjoys the entire confi- 
dence of the church and community. He enlisted in the late 
war on the Union side and did valiant service. He was active 
in putting many of his race over on the Union side, where they 
enjoyed freedom. He was a brave soldier. In attempting to 
get some of his people from Savannah over on -the Yankee side 
he encountered the enemy, who commanded him and his faith- 
ful few to halt. This command was given to the wrong man. 
He was willing to meet death rather than obey that command. 
He knew it was death to obey and could but be death to diso- 
bey, hence the war began between them, in which he was ter- 
ribly wounded. He made good his escape, however, to the 
Union soldiers. He is still alive, but unable to work from the 
effects of the wound he received on that occasion. He is pen- 
sioned by the United States, but not near so much as he should 
be. He is an humble man, meek and full of faith, and is 


History of the First 

beloved by the entire church. He is one of the most polite men 
in the world. Whatever duty is assigned to his hands will be 
done with promptness and accuracy. There is not a deacon or 
a member connected with the church that has suffered more 
for his race than Deacon Hajmes. He is a true man, and would 
have been a leader in any age and of any people. He is a nat- 
ural detective, and as a shrewd man he has few equals. As a 
friend he is true, lasting and tender. He is forbearing and ex- 
tremely kind, and is an honor to our church and race. He loves 
to work for his Master, and, though wounded, always does his 
part. He is possessed of indomitable courage and great zeal, 
coupled with a clear judgment and profound discretion. 


was born in Savannah, Ga., January 30th, 1835, and was baptized 
into the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church January 
2, 1862, by Eev W J.Campbell. He was elected deacon of the 
church November 25th, 1877 He was the same day elected treas- 
urer of the church. He was elected trustee of the church Decem- 
ber 16th, 1877 As a deacon Mr. Hooker is blameless, humble, 
loving and very kind. He reverences the church of Christ. He 
has a good report by them that are without. The members 
have unbounded confidence in him. No man in Savannah 

African Baptist Church. 179 

stands higher than Deacon Hooker. He is a man of few words, 
but of a princely, large heart. He was with the majority dur- 
ing the church trouble. During this time he was elected to 
offices already mentioned. He comes as near as frail man can 
meeting Paul's requirements of a deacon. As a treasurer, he is 
pure, and not even a whisper of his ever having done wrong 
with the money of the church. Every cent was accounted for 
to the fullest satisfaction of the church. He would be treasurer 
to-day but for a severe attack of pneumonia and nervous pros- 
tration, which the doctors declared unfitted him for any re- 
sponsible office ; that he could not stand the care of this office, 
and so he resigned, to the regret of the church. As a trustee, 
he is honest, wise and faithful. The interest of the church can- 
not suffer in his hands. He believes that God ordained that he 
should fill these offices, and hence he fills them as in the sight 
of God. If all of our officers in all the churches were to feel 
this way our churches would be a power in the world. He was 
ordained as deacon December 6th, 1885, by Eevs. E. K. Love, 
U. L. Houston and S. A. McNeal. Deacon Hooker is still 
alive, exerting a powerful influence for good. He is a man of 
means and rules well his own house. He scarcely finds time to 
visit any other church when his church is open. Deacon 
Hooker owns a fine brick residence, and lives in comfort and 


was born in Scriven county, Ga., April 9th, 1847. He was con- 
verted to God in July, 1867, and was baptized into the fellow- 
ship of the first African Baptist Church by Eev. W J. Campbell. 
Mr. Pettigrew was elected deacon of the church October 22 d, 
1877, during the great trouble of the church. He was an active 
and conspicuous character in the trouble of 1877, and took a 
strong stand with the majority against the deacons and pastor. 
There was not a person more prominent in the whole affair 
than Mr. Pettigrew. He was very shrewd and crafty, and much 
of the planning is due to him. He was, prior to this trouble, 
one of Mr. Campbell's most trusted friends, and his not going 
with him must have taken the old man with great surprise. 
Mr. Pettigrew was also clerk of the church. He was, therefore, 
one of the most important men in the conflict after the matter 
reached the courts ; much depended upon him for documentary 
evidence. This duty was well performed. He was very active 
in supporting Mr. Gibbons for the pastorate of the church. He 
resigned the offices of deacon and clerk in 1882. However, he 


History of the First 

still wielded a wonderful influence in the church. He was 
largely instrumental in securing the call of Rev. E. K. Love. 
He was Dr. Love's fast friend. Mr. Pettigrew is a man of keen 
foresight, quick perception, and ready argument. He is kind- 
hearted, friendly and generous. He still lives, a member of the 
church, with a host of friends. He is generally successful in 
whatever scheme he undertakes in the church, being very artful. 

' MM 




was born in Jefferson county, Ga., May 15, 1843. He was con- 
verted to God in May, 18G8, and was baptized into the fellow- 
ship of the First African Baptist Church by Rev. W J. Camp- 
bell. Mr. Williams was a very prominent character in the 
great trouble of 1877, and was elected deacon in that year. 
He stood by the church against the old deacons and pastor. It 
was rather surprising to the old man that his spiritual son Joe 
should go against him, but such was true. Deacon Williams 
took a strong stand and contributed no little to the planning of 
the majority ; he was fearless and outspoken ; he was generous 
and kind-hearted, cheerful in the discharge of his duties, and 
had a large following. Mr. Williams supported Mr. Gibbons for 
the pastorate of the church. He was not a warm supporter of 
Mr. Love, and resigned the office of deacon about the time Mr. 

African Baptist Church. 181 

Love was called. He still lives, a member of the Church. Mr. 
Williams is naturally intelligent and well suited to lead. He 
is dignified in bearing, affable and polite in manners, and he is 
generous and kind. As a friend he is tender and true, and he 
has a large and tender heart. He is shrewd and much given to 
technicalities. He is artful in debate, pointed in argument, and 
bold and fluent in speech. He is a leader among men. He 
was much opposed to Mr. Young about the money affair. H e 
believed him guilty and contended that he should be expelled. 
To this opinion he stuck. Mr. Williams might be made still 
more useful than he is. To him is due more than to any living 
man the fact that Rev. Campbell was never expelled. This 
makes him the wisest and safest leader on the side of the ma- 
jority. But for him the trouble would have been fiercer. 


was born in Savannah, Ga., August 5th, 1855. He was con- 
verted to God in the year 1873, and was baptized into the fel- 
lowship of the First African Baptist Church by Eev. W J. 
Campbell. He was elected deacon in the year 1875. He was 
assistant superintendent of the Sunday school under Deacon C. 
L. DeLamotta, and acquiesced with him in his action respect- 
ing the Sunday school letter already referred to. He was urged 
by his loving pastor to accept the superintendency of the Sun- 
day school, vice Deacon C. L. DeLamotta removed, but he 
stubbornly refused and suffered himself expelled for contempt 
of church. This was suicide. There could have been no 
righteous agreement between him and Mr. DeLamotta which 
would have made it ungodly for him to accept this responsible 
position to do good in his Master's vineyard. But he did not 
see duty in this light, and for several years he remained out of 
the church. During this period he spent his time visiting the 
white churches. Intellectually, he was greatly benefited. In 
the trouble of 1877 he put in his appearance time enough to 
put in some telling work against Rev. Campbell. He was, ed- 
ucationally, the ablest man on the side of the majority. Every 
single document of any note during that time was his produc- 
tion. He is still among the ablest men connected with the 
church, intellectually. When he was restored, he became dea- 
con again and assistant superintendent again. He was elected 
vice-president of the Missionary Baptist Sunday School Conven- 
tion of Georgia in 1881, and was elected president of the same 
in 1882. He has since filled that office with honor, dignity and 
ability. He has for many years been secretary of the Mount 

1SJ History of the First 

Olive Baptist Association. He was elected clerk of the Mis- 
sionary Baptist Convention of Georgia in 1886, which office he 
has since filled most satisfactorily. He is a member of the 
State Centennial Committee, and is its clerk. Whatever office 
he is elected to, he will fill with credit and satisfaction. He is 
superintendent of the First African Baptist Church Sunday 
School. In this sphere he is still doing great good. His great 
fault as a leader is that he is universally tardy, and seldom 
ever reaches any meeting, church or otherwise on time. 


was born about 1842. He was converted to Christ about 1867: 

and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African Bap- 
tist Church by Bev- W J. Campbell. He was elected deacon 
of this church about 1874. Shortly afterwards he was deposed 
from this office. He doubtless cultivated a dislike for Deacon 
Robert P Young and Rev. W J. Campbell, whom he decided 
were instrumental in getting him out of office. Hence he set 
in to watch them to see what he could see. He appears to 
have been determined to get something on them or make it. 
He saw Deacon Young put a basket of money (already de- 
scribed in a previous chapter) under or on the pedals of the 
organ in the choir, and told the sexton about it and had him to 
remove it. H e scattered it over town the next day that Young 
had stolen a basket of money. Deacon Young, however, had 
told Deacon F M. Williams of the incident before leaving the 
church. Deacon Young affirmed that the basket was removed 
before he could get it to bring down. Mr. Harris certainly did 
not act the part of a christian nor of a wise detective. As a 
christian, he should have labored with Deacon Young to re- 
claim his erring brother. If Deacon Young heard him, he had 
gained his brother and the matter should have ended there. 
As a detective, he should have waited for Mr. Young to return 
for the money and let him have attempted to leave the church 
and then have found the money on his person. He seemed to 
have been so anxious that he did neither of these things. It is 
clear that he meant mischief, and he caused the church to reap 
a terrible harvest of bickering, disaffection, sorrow and heart- 
aches for seven weary years. He brought the money to the 
church a night or two after this and attempted to present it in 
open church, affirming that he had caught Mr. Young stealing 
it. Xot long did vengeance suffer him to go free. He was 
caught stealing from a Mr. Douglass, in whose employ he was. 
The extent of his stealings has never been determined. He had 

African Baptist Church. 183 

many dollars' worth of goods hid about the chur'ch (being at 
the time sexton of the church) and many more at his home. 
He was arrested, found guilty and sentenced to seven years in 
the penitentiary at hard labor, where he is still. This was a 
righteous retribution for the troubles and heartaches he caused 
in Israel. The frowns of Almighty God seem to have rested 
upon the man. 


was born in Mcintosh county, Ga., April 20th, 1838. He was 
converted to Christ and baptized into the fellowship of the 
Bryan Neck Baptist Church in 1852 by Bev. J. H. Edwards. 
He joined the First African Baptist Church of Savannah in 
1866. He was elected deacon of this church October 22d, 1877. 
This was during the troubles of 1877 He was a conspicuous 
character in that trouble, taking a strong stand on the side of 
the majority against the pastor and deacons. He is strong in 
the faith ; of determined resolution and of iron will. H e is very 
popular and has a large influence among the membership. He 
loves his church most ardently, and whatever tends to advance 
its interest he is found in the foremost ranks. His motion to 
sustain the motion of Mr. Joseph C. Williams against Deacon 
B. P. Young, after he had been forgiven by the church, is 
largely responsible for the continuation of the terrible church 
trouble which begun in 1877. Perhaps he had no idea of the 
heartaches and sorrow that little motion would breed. He still 
lives, and is exerting a good influence. He is active and pious 
and full of faith. He possesses, in a large measure, the gift of 
preaching, and should he enter the ministry he would be 
acceptable to the people and would do great good in the vine- 
yard of the Lord. There is a sweetness in his voice that wins 
the attention of his hearers. He has studied well the Bible, and 
may yet do good service in the ministry. Mr. Habersham is a 
very determined man. Whatever he undertakes he goes into 
with all of his soul, and never fails. He is a born leader. In 
every contest of the officers for prizes for popularity, or raising 
money otherwise, for the church, he always beats, hence it 
must be that he has more influence than any of them. 


was born in Savannah, Ga., about 1820. He was converted to 
God about 1840, and was baptized into the fellowship of the 
First African Baptist Church by Bev. Andrew C. Marshall. He 
was clerk of the church for quite a long time. As a clerk he 

ISJ-f History of the First 

was faithful and punctual. He was one among a very few who 
were able to take minutes before the war. He was a slave, yet 
he managed to acquire some education. He was a useful mem- 
ber. "Whatever Mr. Houston said could be relied upon. He 
was as true as steel. As a man he was fearless and perfectly 
honest. He was outspoken and friendly He was expelled for 
taking a sister to law. He did not feel that his expulsion was 
justifiable, and never returned to the church while Eev. Mr. 
Campbell was pastor. He remarked to Mr. Campbell when he 
was expelled : '' Never mind, when you will be going out, I will 
be coming in." This proved to be absolutely true, though it 
was said, evidently, in a bad spirit. The day Eev. Campbell 
went out of the church, Mr. Houston met him at the door and 
called his attention to his phophecy years ago, to which Rev. 
Campbell replied : " Do, Houston, for God's sake, let me 
alone!" The old man prophesied in return that no good would 
follow Houston, which proved to be equally as true. Mr. Hous- 
ton was in 1877 made deacon of the church. He was a very 
efficient deacon, and had more influence than any other man 
on the staff. The people believed him absolutely. He was 
an upright, virtuous christian gentleman, and stood perfectly 
fair in the community. He did not favor Rev. Mr. Gibbons 
for pastor. He was, it is believed, assassinated. The prevalent 
opinion is that he was smothered and thrown in the river. 
This occurred one Saturday night in 1883. He had just finished 
the erection of a prayer house in Southville, where he lived, 
and it was to be dedicated by Rev. Gibbons on the next Sab- 
bath. Mr. Houston was missed at the time, and a great con- 
cern was felt. The people suspicioned that something had hap- 
pened, as Mr. Houston was a very punctual man, and as there 
was a case to come up in the United States District Court on 
Monday in which Mr. Houston was a witness, and as he had 
told the parties that he would tell the truth, and as the truth 
would injure the parties concerned, it was suspicioned that he 
was killed. Hence a party was organized to drag the river for 
him. The suspicion proved to be true, as he was found in the 
river some days afterward. The guilty parties escaped justice 
as it could not be determined who perpetrated the atrocious, 
deed. The whole church mourned for this good man. The 
church lost an able and faithful deacon and the community a 
good and useful citizen. There is an opinion of the minority 
of the people, that he committed suicide because of domestic 
troubles. This is hardly true, as this trouble had been going on 
for some time and as lie had faithfully promised to conduct the 

African Baptist Church. 185 

dedication of his prayer-house the next day. This man was 
greatly beloved of the church. 


was born in Savannah, Ga., in 1837 He was converted to 
Jesus in 1858, and was baptized into the fellcfwship of the First 
African Baptist Church by Eev. W J. Campbell. He was an 
active member of the church and was always influential. He 
was appointed deacon of the church in 1877, and was prominent 
in the famous church troubles of that year, taking sides with 
the majority against the deacons and pastor. He was one of 
Mr. Willis Harris' witnesses in the R. P Young case, and tes- 
tified that Mr. Willis Harris did, on the first Sunday afternoon 
in August, call his attention to the fact that Young had con- 
cealed a basket of money in and about the organ. Deacon 
Jackson became one of the most useful and influential deacons 
in the church, and was of incalculable service to the pastor. 
The poor had in Mr. Jackson a special friend. He would walk 
the city over in visiting the poor and praying for the sick and 
burying the dead. In fact, Mr. Jackson knew more about the 
members than did the pastor. He was very much beloved and 
wielded an immense influence in the church. He had a large 
number of spiritual children over whom he had almost absolute 
control. He taught a private school, but got his living mainly 
from his spiritual children. He was licensed to preach the 
third Sunday in October, 1885. Mr. Jackson, as a preacher, 
was not very logical, nor profound nor accurate, but his earn- 
est and tender devotion quite atoned for this with the people. 
He loved to preach, and always did so with a most graceful 
smile. He was quite gentlemanly and dignified, and a faithful 
servant of God. The church greatly misses him, and his place 
is hard to fill. He died of dropsy in September, 1887, and was 
followed to his last resting place by a multitude of mourners. 
Mr. Jackson's good work was not confined to the city, but he 
delighted to go into the country places, scattering seeds of 
kindness for his reaping when he would be gathered to 
the saint's rest in glory. He was a man of a large heart. 
His work follows him, and he is remembered with much ten- 
derness. He died in the full triumph of the christian faith, 
and with a smile on his face he bade this world farewell. There 
never was a deacon in the church nor pastor who did the visit- 
ing and praying Mr. Jackson did. He knew almost the entire 
membership and they knew him. A faithful man has been 
gathered home. 

1SH History of the Fird 


was boru in Savannah, Ga., October 9th, 1846. When he was 
seventeen years old he embraced the christian religion, and in 
September, 1863, was baptized at Guy ton, Ga., by Rev. 
Sweat, having been carried there by his owners. He returned 
to Savannah in 186-4, and became a member of the First African 
Baptist Church. In 1866 he became a member of the choir, 
in which he has sung for twenty-four years. In January, 1886, 
he was elected deacon. Mr. Rannair was the person who barred 
the choir door against Deacon Robert P, Young, and told him 
that the choir did not want any communion from him. From 
this rash act of Mr. Rannair the terrible law suit begun. Mr. 
Rannair was indicted for disturbing the public worship and 
fined ten dollars, together with several others. He became, 
therefore, a prominent figure in the trouble of 1877 Mr. Ran- 
nair is quite intelligent, and it is passing strange that he should 
have taken such an unwarranted and unwise course. Surely 
S23.32 could not have been the cause of this feeling when it 
is not quite certain that Deacon Young meant to steal the money. 
It seems that the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ would have 
taught more christian forbearance and patient investigation. 
However, Mr. Rannair was backed by a large majority of the 
church, and his conviction in the courts amounted to nothing 
with the church. Deacon Rannair is still very popular and 
stands well with the church. He is a faithful member and very 
much devoted to his church. He is beloved and trusted by his 
brethren. Mr. Rannair has a very pleasing address and digni- 
fied manners. He is still a live and active member, full of 
promise. His character is good. 


was born near Savannah, Ga., December 17th, 1845. He was 
converted to Christ January, 1873, and was baptized by Rev. 
George Gibbons into the fellowship of the First African Baptist 
Church on the first Sunday in February, 1873, the Rev. J. W 
Campbell being sick. He was not very officious in the trouble 
of 1*77. He is a man of few words and very pleasant man- 
ners. He is very kind and polite. He is a most devoted mem- 
ber of the church. He is kingly in his appearance and earnest 
in his work for the church. He is never absent, unless he is 
sick, or some other providential hinderance. Mr. Johnson has 
a very winning way and the members love him devotedly. Mr. 
Johnson was elected deacon of the church in January, 1886. 

African Baptist Church. 


He proved to be a faithful officer and an invaluable help to the 
pastor. He favored Rev. E. K. Love as pastor of the church 
and did all in his power to secure' his election as pastor. No 
deacon of the church is more active than Deacon Johnson. He 
loves his work and takes pleasure in visiting the sick and poor 
in his ward, and has very few cases of discipliue from his ward. 
As a man and as a christian Deacon Johnson stands well and 
has the fullest confidence of the church and community. Dea- 
con Johnson is unassuming, humble, patient and full of the 
holy ghost and faith. He has filled his office with honor to the 
church and credit to himself. The church has a just cause to 
be proud of him. 


was born in Bryan county, Ga., November 20, 1850, and was 
brought to Savannah when quite a child. He was converted to 
Christ July 20, 1870, and was baptized on the first Sunday in 
August of the same year by Rev. W J. Campbell. He was 
elected deacon of the church in January, 1886. Deacon John- 
son is a quiet, dignified, upright christian gentleman. He is 
blameless, a man retired in manners and of very few words — 
absolutely has nothing to say in church conferences except cir- 
cumstances force him. Whenever he does speak he is pointed, 


IS'S History of the First 

brief and powerful, and his words well selected and never fail 
of force upon the people. His life is always an eloquent appeal 
in his favor. He has the entire confidence of the church and 
community and is greatly beloved. He was elected treasurer 
of the church in the latter part of 1886, vice Deacon J. H. 
Hooker resigned. The finances of the church have been per- 
fectly safe in his hands, and have been faithfully and ably man- 
aged. The church could not have elected a better man were it 
to try it over a thousand times. Deacon Johnson is a faithful 
man, pious and upright, and loves his church and pastor de- 
voutly He was a warm supporter of Rev. E. K. Love for the 
pastorate, and has always stood ready to assist and protect him. 
The church is his delight, and nothing is too great for him to 
undertake for Zion. He is kind to everybody and is beloved 
by all good people. He is active and energetic, not easily dis- 
couraged, and is full of faith and hope. He has "purchased to 
himself a good degree and great boldness in the faith." 


was born in Charleston, S. C, December 24th, 1857. He was 
brought to Savannah while quite young. He embraced Jesus 
in 1879, and was baptized into the fellowship of the First African 
Baptist Church July 6th, 1879, by Rev. George Gibbons. Mr. 
Wright grew up in the Sunday school. He is still a faithful 
and efficient teacher in the Sunday school. He is honest and 
fearless. He was an ardent admirer of Rev. E. K. Love. He 
was made a deacon of the church January, 1886. He was stub- 
bornly opposed by quite a number of the members, but was 
elected by a handsome majority. Several points were raised 
upon his character, but these all proved futile. Mr. Wright's 
patience was greatly tried and his character subjected to the 
severest scrutiny. All this he bore in an humble, Christ-like 
manner, which won the commendation of even his enemies. 
Mr. Love was accused of favoring Mr. Wright and even plan- 
ning for his election. The charges purported to have come 
from Mr. A. M. Monroe. Upon investigation they proved to 
be true and Mr. Monroe was expelled. The objections raised 
against Mr. Wright were at the instance of Mr. Toby Loyd (a 
member of the church) who accused Mr. Wright with criminal 
intimacy with his wife. These were not sustained and Mr. 
Loyd begged the church's pardon. A man of iron will, inde- 
fatigable courage and christian devotion to the church. He 
has won the confidence of the church and is regarded as one 
of the most honest, straightforward men in the church. He 

African Baptist Church. 189 

stood by Mr. Love when other officers, nearly all of them, 
doubted the wisdom of undertaking the extension of the build- 
ing. He urged that the work could be done. He gave very 
liberally of-his personal money for the work. He is the young- 
est officer in the church.* 

The officers about whom nothing is said is due to the fact 
that nothing beyond their names could be learned of them. 
Indeed, it was no easy job to get the facts in the lives of those 
who are still alive. This is due to the fact that they came along 
in the dark days of slavery when their owners kept the records. 


was born in Charleston, S. C, December 18th, 1853. Be was 
converted to Christ in 1869, and baptized into the fellowship of 
the Tabernacle Baptist Church, Beaufort, S. C, by Kev. Peter 
White in April, 1869. He was licensed to preach by the Mount 
Zion Baptist Church in April, 1883. He joined the First Afri- 
can Baptist Church of Savannah by letter from the Mount 
Zion Baptist Church November, 1884. He was called to ordi- 
nation by the First African Baptist Church, and was ordained 
by Revs. E. K. Love, D. D., U. L. Houston, and S. A. McNeal, 
December 6th, 1885. Rev. Mr. Sevorres is an intelligent young 
man, quite gentlemanly, honest and upright. He attended the 
Atlanta Baptist Seminary for a short while, and made very 
commendable progress in his studies. It was very much 
regretted by his friends that he could not spend more time 
there, as he certainly would have made a much more able man. 
He was for a short while missionary of the Mount Olive Baptist 
Association, and did earnest work in its service. He loves his 
Master's work, and slights no opportunity to speak for Jesus. 
He is a pretty fair preacher for his opportunities. He is well 
known to the country churches where he so much delights to 
preach Jesus to the people, and the common people hear him 
gladly. Mr. Sevorres is an earnest, forcible preacher. As a 
man he is reliable and upright. As a member of the church he 
is faithful and humble, and has the entire respect and confi- 
dence of the people. 

*Since the above was written we regret very much to say that Deacon F. J. 
Wright hag proved to be a failure as a deacon. He is vulgar in the extreme and 
double-tongued. He has been expelled from the church and is now at large in 
the wild world. He abused the pastor most shamefully and several other of the 
members. He could not stand the honor and promotion and got entirely beside 
himself and the patience of the church ceased to be a virtue and he was ex- 
pelled. We hope that the spirit may force hira to repentance. The prophecy of 
many of the old members that the church would regret electing Mr. Wright a 
deacon proved to be true to the chagrin of his friends. 


mstory oj the first 


Licentiate W G-. Clark was born in Columbia county, Ga., 
September 17, 1843, and while quite young was brought to Sa- 
vannah. He was converted May 8, 1869, and was baptized into 
the fellowship of the First African Baptist Church June 5, 1869, 
by Rev. W J. Campbell. Mr. Clark was one of Rev. Mr. Camp- 
bell's strongest supporters in the trouble of 1877, and went with 
Mr. Campbell to the Beach, remaining with him until he died, 
when he returned to the church. Mr. Clark is an earnest 
worker for Christ. He grew up in the Sunday school, and has 
for years been a faithful teacher in it. His work is not confined 
to the city, but he delights to go into the country among the 
poor and forsaken and publish the news of salvation. He visits 
the hospital and prays for the sick and tells them of Jesus. He 
was licensed to preach May 15, 1887 He is of great service to the 
pastor and church in visiting the sick and attending funerals. 
For his chances he is a good preacher, and give promise of great 
usefulness in the pulpit. Mr. Clark stands perfectly fair in the 
community and is much beloved by the church. He is an upright 
christian gentleman, very polite, forbearing, dignified and kind. 
He is well acquainted with the scriptures and his sermons 

African Baptist Church. 191 

abound in apt illustrations. He always preaches on the practi- 
cal order, never making any attempt at oratory or eloquence. 
He puts those to thinking who hear him. He is a straightfor- 
ward, honest man, and no one can say aught against him. He 
delights to do right and is always willing to do something for 
his church. As a man Mr. Clark is true ; as a friend he is con- 
stant. He is a first-class man. 


was elected deacon of the church in January, 1886, but declined. 
He is a whole-souled man and passionately devoted to the 
church. He made, the motion that the church undertake the 
purchase of the property in rear of its building. This was 
grandly successful, to the fullest satisfaction of the church. He 
did much personally for the accomplishment of this end, and 
can never be forgotten. He was with Deacon Haynes when he 
got shot. Mr. Grant did valiant service on the Union side 
during the late war and was active in help freeing his people. 
He is highly respected and has the entire confidence of the 
church and community. Mr. Grant is a man of determined 
will and indefatigable courage. He is a true and tried citizen. 
He never fails to fill his seat in the church, except for good rea- 
sons. He is a very good man, with faith, zeal and very good 


was born in Savannah, Ga., March 17th, 1854. He was con- 
verted to God December 26th, 1865, and was baptized into the 
fellowship of the First African Baptist Church of Savannah by 
Rev. W J. Campbell January 7th, 1866. He was elected clerk 
of the church January 6th, 1878. Mr. Ebbs is a fine penman 
and infinitely the best clerk the church ever had. He is faith- 
ful, accurate, loving and kind. He is a member of many 
societies, and is the clerk of nearly every one of them. Mr. 
Ebbs has served the church for ten successive years. The 
church could not elect a better clerk. Mr. Ebbs is very friendly 
and polite. He has a great deal of patience and great meek- 
ness. No man in the church is more humble than Mr. Ebbs ; 
in conferences and other deliberative bodies his voice is seldom 
heard. Mr. Ebbs is a self-made man, and withal is real intelli- 
gent. Whatever duty is assigned to his hands, will be done 
with precision, accuracy and promptness. Mr. Ebbs is very 
useful to the church. 


History of the First 


was born in Savannah, Ga., September 5, 1857 She was con- 
verted to Christ December 22, 1871, and was baptized into the 
fellowship of the First African Baptist Chnrch the first Sunday 
in August, 1872, by Kev. W J. Campbell. She was elected 
organist in 1874. She is a true Baptist, a consistent mem- 
ber of the church, and is faithful and punctual, never being 
five minutes late. She spares no pains to raise her chil- 
dren in the fear of the Lord. It does not matter how the 
weather is, Mr. A. M. Monroe, wife and children are generally 
at the church. No member in the church has better trained 
children. She plays well and has a host of friends. She at- 
tended the Atlanta University for several years. 

African Baptist Church. 193 


The Centennial Celebration of the Church — The Sermons, 

Papers, &o. 


One hundred years have passed since the organization of the 
first negro Baptist church in Georgia, and, so far as history- 
relates, the first in the United States. 

In October, 1884, in the city of Milledgeville, Eev. E. K. Love 
called the attention of the Executive Board of the Missionary 
Baptist State Convention to the fact that we were nearing our 
centennial, and offered a set of resolutions looking forward to 
the celebration of the happy event. (He was then missionary 
of the State of Georgia, and not pastor of the First African Bap- 
tist Church.) This fact, together with the resolutions, were 
reported to the Missionary Baptist Convention of the State of 
Georgia in its session at Cartersville, Ga., May, 1885. This 
was heartily endorsed, and a State Centennial Committee ap- 
pointed, consisting of Revs. W J. White, J. C. Bryan, E. K. 
Love, G. H. Dwelle, C. T. Walker, C. H. Lyons, E. R. Carter, 
T. M. Robinson, and Deacon J. H. Brown. At this session of 
the convention the name of Rev. S. A. McNeal was added to 
the Centennial Committee. These were appointed to raise 
means and to plan generally for the celebration. Rev. W J. 
White was elected chairman ; Rev. C. H. Lyons, treasurer, and 
Deacon J. H. Brown, secretary. 

The committee employed Rev. J. C. Bryan as traveling finan- 
cial agent. A better selection could not have been made. It 
was also determined to get out a book containing the history of 
the negro Baptists for the past one hundred years, of which 
Rev. E. K. Love, D. D., was appointed editor-in-chief; Rev. W 
J. White compiler, and Rev. E. R. Carter and Deacon J. H. 
Brown appointed to gather historical data. This committee 
was composed of the ablest men of our denomination in Geor- 
gia, and notwithstanding they worked most assiduously they 
failed to get out the book. This was no fault of theirs. The 
undertaking was quite a great one and attended with much 
expense. It is still the determined resolution of the committee 
to get out the book, but this will require hard work, much 
money, time and patience. 

History of the First 

At the session of the convention in Brunswick, May, 1887, the 
committee was enlarged by the addition of the chairman from 
each associational centennial committee. This was an increase 
of about fifty members. The congratulations of the denomina- 
tion are due to this committee for the able, faithful and ardu- 
ous labors which brought a pleasing success to our centennial 
celebration. The interest these brethren manifested in the 
work was simply wonderful. They have inscribed their names 
upon the pages of history as legibly as the stars upon the brow 
of the evening. Their names shall be enrolled upon the sacred 
scroll of history among those few immortal names which were 
born never to die. When they shall stand upon the interlacing 
margin of eternity and hear the shouts of their welcome borne 
to them by angelic harpers from the other golden shores, they 
may rejoice in the consoling fact that their brethren upon this 
terrestrial globe are not less silent in their praise while they 
sing in human tongue in concert with the angels, "Blessed are 
the dead which die in the Lord from hence forth ; yea, saith 
the spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works 
do follow them." 

At the session of the convention in Brunswick, May, 1887, 
the following special programme committee was appointed: 
Brethren A. Harris, W J. White, E. K. Love, J. M. Simms, J. 
H. Brown, D. Waters, J. C. Bryan, U. L. Houston, C T. 
Walker, E. B. Carter, S. A. McNeal. This Committee, led by 
Kev. Alexander Harris, chairman, did its work in an able 
manner, and reflects great credit on the denomination. They 
prepared the following programme: 

centennial celebration of the negro baptists OF GEORGIA, 


Committee — Rev. Alexander Harris, Chairman, Savannah, 
Ga.; Rev I T . L. Houston, Savannah, Ga.; Rev. J. M. Simms, 
Savannah, Ga.: Rev. David Waters, Savannah, Ga.; Rev. E. K. 
Love. D.D.. Savannah, Ga.; Rev. C. T. Walker, Augusta, Ga.; 
Rev- E. R. Carter, Atlanta, Ga.; Rev. J. C. Bryan, Americus, 
Ga.; Deacon J. H. Brown, Secretary. 


Wfihicsdny, Jit up Oth — i) to 10 a. m. — Praise Service, led by 
Rev. Henry Way Hawkinsville, Ga, 

I. — 1<> a. m. — Welcome Address, by Rev. E. K. Love, Savan- 
nah, Ga. 

African Baptist Church. 195 

II. — 11 a. m. — Opening Sermon, by Eev. C. T. Walker, Au- 
gusta, Ga. 

III. — 12 m. — History of the Church, by C. A. Clark, Bruns- 
wick, Ga. 

IV- — 3 p. m. — Baptist Doctrine, Eev. C. H. Lyons, Atlanta, 
Ga.; Eev. S. A. McNeal, Augusta, Ga., and Bev- J. M. Pendle- 
ton, D.D., Pa. 

V. — 4:30 p. m. — New Testament Policy, Bev E. M. Brawley, 
D.D., Greenville, S. C; Bev. W E. Holmes, A. M., Atlanta, 
Ga.; Bev. A. F. Owens, Mobile, Ala. 

Night Session, 8 o'clock — VI. — Peculiarities of Baptists that 
distinguish them from all other people, Bev. W J. Simmons, 

D. D., Eev C. H. Parish, A. B., Louisville, Ky., and Bev. C. S. 
Wilkins, West Point, Ga. 

Thursday, June 7th — 9 to 10 A. m. — Praise Service, led by Eev . 

E. W Walker, Dawson, Ga. 

VII. — 10 A. m. — Baptist Church History, by Bevs. W J. 
White, G. H. Dwelle, Augusta, Ga., and Bev. W H. Tillman, 

VIII. — 11:30 A. m. — Beminiscences of the Baptist Fathers 
and the Church during one hundred years, Bevs. Levi Thorn- 
ton, Greensboro, Ga.; J. M. Simms, Savannah, Ga., and Alex- 
ander Harris, Savannah, Ga. 

IX.— 3 p. m.— The Wants of the Colored Ministry, Eev. W 
H. Mcintosh, D. D., Macon, Ga.; Bev. Alexander Ellis, Savan- 
nah, Ga., and Bev. W G. Johnson, Augusta, Ga. 

X. — 4:30 p. m. — The Belation of the White and Colored Bap- 
tists in the Past, Now, and as it should be in the Future, Bev. 
T. J. Hornsby. Augusta; Bev. G. S. Johnson, Thomson, Ga., 
and Bev. J. B. Hawthorne, D. D., Atlanta, Ga. 

Night Session, 8 o'clock — Sermon by Bev. E. B. Carter, At- 
lanta, Ga. 

9 to 10 a. m. — Praise Service, led by Bev. C A. Johnson, 
Americus, Ga. 

XL — 10 A. m. — The Home Mission Society and its Work for 
the Colored People, Dr. A. E. Williams, Crawford ville, Ga.; 
Prof. S. Y. Pope, Waynesboro, Ga.; Eev. G. A. Goodwin, 
Gainesville, Fla., and Eev. S. Graves, D. D , Atlanta, Ga. 

XII. — 12:30 p. m. — Woman, Her Work and Influence, Misses 
S. B. Packard, Atlanta, Ga.; J. P. Moore, New Orleans, La. , and 
Bev. L. Burrows, D. D., Augusta, Ga. 

XIII — 3 p. m. — The American Baptist Publication Society 
and its Work for the Colored People, Eev. E. K. Love, Savan- 
nah, Ga.; Eev. N. W Waterman, Thomasville, Ga.; Bev. G. B. 

196 jjisto-iy of the First 

Mitchell, Forsyth, Ga., and Rev- B. Griffith, D. D., Philadel- 
phia, Pa. 

JStight Session, 8 o'clock — XIV. — Education, Dr. J. H. Bugg, 
Lynchburg, Va.; Rev J A. Metts, Hightown, N. J., and Rev. 
J. A. Battle, D. D , Macon, Ga. 

Saturday, June 9th. — 9 to 10 A. m. — Praise Service, led by Rev. 
John Williams, Brunswick, Ga. 

XV- — 10 a. m. — The Bible as Believed by Baptists, Revs. 
J. C. Bryan, Americus, Ga.; H. N. Bouey, Columbia, S. C; G. 
M. Sprattling, Brunswick, Ga., and P. S. Henson, D. D., Chi- 
cago, 111. 

XVI.— 12 m.— The Authenticity of the Bible, Rev. David 
Shaver, D. D., Atlanta, Ga., and Rev. H. H. Tucker, D. D., 
Atlanta, Ga. 

XVII. — 3 p. m. — The Dignity of the Ministry and the Nec- 
essary Qualification to Fit Them for Their Work, Revs. E. R. 
Carter, Atlanta, Ga.; C. H. Brightharp, Milledgeville, Ga.; E. 
V White, Thomson, Ga , and Dr. J. B. Broadus, Louis- 
ville, Ky. 

Sunday, June 10th. — Divine Services. 

Monday, June 11th. — 9 to 10 a. m. — Praise Service, led by Rev. 
Floyd Hill, Athens, Ga 

XVIII. — 10 a. m. — The Duty of Baptists to Home Missions, 
Revs. W H. McAlpin, Montgomery, Ala ; J. M. Jones, C. O. 
Jones, Atlanta, Ga., and E. J. Fisher, La Grange, Ga. 

XIX— 12 m. — Temperance, Hon. J. W Lyons, Augusta, Ga , 
and Rev. S. D. Rosier, Midville, Ga. 

XX. — 3 p. m — The Duty of Baptists to Foreign Missions, 
Revs. J. E. Jones, W W Colley, and J. H. Pressly, Virginia. 

XXI.— 4.30 p. m. — Baptist Newspapers and their Influence, 
Revs. S. T. Clanton, D. D , New Orleans, La.; J. T. White, He- 
lena, Ark , and Deacon W H. Stewart, Esq., Louisville, Ky. 

Night Session, 8 o'clock. — XXII. — Scriptural Divorce, Revs. 
A. S. Jackson, New Orleans, La., and C. O. Booth, Selma, Ala. 

Tuesday, June 12th. — 9 to 10 a. m. — Praise Service, led by Rev. 
Henry Morgan, Augusta, Ga. 

XXlII — 10 a. m. — Are We Advancing as a Denomination? 
Deacon J. H. Brown, Savannah, Ga; Prof. M. J. Maddox, 
Gainesville, Fla.; Prof. M. P McCrary, Valdosta, Ga., and Rev. 
T. Nightingale, Memphis, Tenn. 

XXIV— 12 m.— The Bible as Suited to the Elevation of Man- 
kind, Revs. J. E. L. Holmes, D. D., Savannah, Ga., and W. W 
Landrum, D. D., Richmond, Va. 

African Baptist Church. 197 

XXV.— 3 p. m.— The Duty of the Pastor to t"he Church, 
Eevs. J. W Dungee, Augusta, Ga.; J. G. Phillips, Aiken, S. C, 
and E. W Warren, D. D., Macon, Ga. 

XXVI.— 4.30 p. m.— The Duty of the Church to the Pastor, 
Prof. Isaiah Blocker, Augusta, Ga., Deacon R. H. Thomas, Sa- 
vannah, Ga., and Eev. J. L. Underwood, Camilla, Ga. 

Night Session, 8 o'clock. — XXVII. — Sermon by Eev. T. M. 
Robinson, Macon, Ga. 

Wednesday, June 13th. — 9 to 10 a. m. — Praise Service, led by 
Louis Williams, Washington, Ga. 

XXVIII.— 10 a. m— What is Our Duty to the Baptist Insti- 
tutions of the Country? Eev. A. Bings, Jr., Col. A. E. Johnson, 
Prof. H. L. Walker, Prof. T. M. Dent, Augusta, Ga. 

XXIX. — 12 m. — The Importance of Pure Baptist Literature, 
Eevs. E. P. Johnson, Madison, Ga.; J. G. Eoss, Jacksonville, 

XXX.— 3 p. m.— The Purity and Work of the Church, Eev. 

C. G. Holmes, Eome Ga.; Henry Jackson, Augusta, Ga., and J. 
B. Davis, Atlanta, Ga 

XXXI.— 4.30 p. m —The Deacons and their Duty, Eevs. J. H. 
DeVotie, D. D, G. E. McCall, D. D., Griffin, Ga. 

Night Session, 8 o'clock — XXXII. — Money as a Factor in 
Christianizing the World. Eevs. W E. Pettiford, Birmingham, 
Ala.; E. 1ST. Counter, Memphis, Tenn., and Prof. J. G. Mitchell, 
Malvern, Ark. 

Thursday, June llfih — 9 to 10 A. m. — Praise Service, led by 
Eev. IT. L Houston. 

XXXIII. — 10 a. m. — Baptist Church Government, Eevs. J. 
L. Dart, Charleston, S C; H. J. Europe, Mobile, Ala.; H. A. D. 
Braxton, Baltimore, Md. 

XXXIV.— 12:30 p. m.— God as Eevealed in Nature, Eev. H. 
H Tucker, D. D., Atlanta, Ga. 

XXXV. — 3 p. m — Christian Baptism, Eev. J. H. Kilpatrick, 

D. D, White Plains, Ga. 

XXXVI. — 4 p. m. — Independence of a Baptist Church, by 
Eev. W L. Kilpatrick, D. D , Hepzibah, Ga. 

Night Session, 8 o'clock. — Preaching. 

Friday, June 15th. — 9 to 10 A. m. — Praise Service, led by Eev. 
C T. James, Baconton, Ga. 

XXXVII— 10 a. m.— The Duty of Baptists to give the World 
the Gospel, Eev. W L. Jones, Atlanta, Ga.; Jofen Marks, New- 
Orleans, La ; E. R. Reid, Valdosta, Ga., and Rev. A. S. Jack- 
son, New Orleans, La. 

XXXVIII— 12 m— The Final Perseverance of Saints, by 
Rev. E. Lathrop, D. D., Stamford, Ct. 

IPS History of the First 

XXXIX — 8 p. m. — Our Duty as Citizens. Unassigned. 

Xight Session, S o'clock — Preaching. 

Saturday, Jane 16th. — Devoted to Sunday school. 

Sunday Morning, June 17th — Devoted to Sunday school. 

Afternoon — Sunday, 3 p. m. — Dedication First Bryan Baptist 

Monday and Tuesday devoted to miscellaneous subjects. 

The persons to whom this is sent, whose names appear on the 
programme for an address or sermon, will please signify their 
acceptance by addressing REV A. HARRIS, 

William Street, Savannah, Ga. 

All these brethren did not come, and some of those who did 
come spoke extemporaneously. Those who spoke from manu- 
script their productions are given in this work. At the session 
of the Missionary Baptist Convention, May, 1888, just preced- 
ing the centennial celebration, Rev. W S. Ramsey, of Colum- 
bus, Ga. , stated that since the centennial celebration must be in 
honor of some church as the oldest, and that since both the First 
African Baptist Church, Franklin Square, Savannah, Ga , and 
the First Bryan Baptist Church on Bryan street, in Yamacraw, 
claim to be the original First African Baptist Church, it seemed 
befitting to him that a committee of judicious brethren should 
be appointed before whom the claimants should go in person 
and with papers. The convention then appointed the follow- 
ing brethren as that committee: Rev. F. M. Simmons, Stone 
Mountain, Ga.; E. J. Fisher, La Grange, Ga.; Rev. W S.Ram- 
sey, Columbus, Ga.; RevN. B. Williamson, Quitman, Ga ; Rev. 
H. B. Hamilton, Walthourville, Ga., Rev. S. A. McXeal, Au- 
gusta, Ga., and Rev. C. H. Brightharp, Milledgeville, Ga. 

Rev. James M. Simms, representing the First Bryan Baptist 
Church, gave notice that the representatives from said church 
would not appear before the committee. The committee, how- 
ever, having the book he had just published purporting to be 
the history of the oldest Negro Baptist Church in Xorth 
America, which book set forth his claims as cogently as he pos- 
sibly could have done. Putting this book in evidence the com- 
mittee proceeded to make the following report, which was 
unanimously adopted : 


We, your committee, to whom were referred the matter of 
priority of the First Bryan Baptist Church on Bryan street, in 
Yamacraw, or the First African Baptist Church at Franklin 

African Baptist Church. 199 

Square, beg to submit the following report : Having the facts 
in the case, which we think are conclusive, we earnestly state 
that the conclusion to which your committee has arrived was 
caused solely from the facts at their command. We regret to 
state that one of the parties refused to appear before your com- 
mittee, notwithstanding being urged upon, namely, Rev. J. M. 
Simms, for the First Bryan Church in Yamacraw. It does 
strike us that men feeling that they had a good case would not 
refuse to be examined. These brethren have openly and de- 
fiantly refused in the presence of this convention, to lay their 
case before you or the committee, declaring that you have 
nothing to do with it, and they had nothing for you to decide. 
Your committee proceeded to perform their work. Having 
seen the book written by Eev. J. M. Simms purporting to be 
the true history of the oldest colored Baptist church in North 
America, your committee feels that the book makes their case 
as strong as they could possibly make it. We find that the 
church organized at Brampton's Barn, three miles southwest of 
Savannah, January 20th, 1788, is the same First African Bap- 
tist Church to-day. This fact is admitted by the book which 
Rev. Simms has written. Until 1832 there was no dispute 
about the first A. B. Church, but in the year 1832 a great 
trouble occurred which continued for several months. Many 
councils were called, who advised again and again a course, 
which, if pursued, would restore peace to the grand old army, 
then numbering 2,795 members and divided into two parties, 
the one led by Bev. Andrew Cox Marshall and the other by 
Deacon Adam Arguile Johnson. Two thousand six hundred 
and forty following Rev. Marshall a ad one hundred and fifty- 
five following Deacon Johnson. It appears to your committee, 
from the evidence found, that before. this trouble the church 
had contracted to buy the white Baptist church located at 
Franklin Square, hence, when the trouble occurred, Rev. Mr. 
Marshall and his 2,640 members went to Franklin Square, still 
owning the site on Bryan street, in Yamacraw. The white 
Baptist church of this city took a lively interest in the church, 
and tried to spare it of all this bitter pain and heartache, an 
accurate account of which has been carefully preserved in their 
church records, which has been in the hands of your commit- 
tee and carefully read, which we now offer in testimony. We 
read from the minute book of the white Baptist church: 

" In the conference of the white Baptist church, Dec 24, 1832. 

"An application was made that the minority of the First Af- 
rican Church be received as a branch of this church, when it 

£00 History of the First 

was decided that it was proper that they first be formed into a 
church and afterward could come under the supervision of a 
committee. "' 

They being refused admittance under the supervision of 
the white Baptist church, it appears quite clear that the 
white brethren began to labor with both parties, hence the 
following petition of the First African Baptist Church, January 
4th, 1833. The First African Baptist Church addressed the fol- 
lowing letter to the Savannah Baptist Church, white: 

" AVe, the subscribers, of the First African Baptist Church, do 
solicit the aid and protection of our brethren, the Baptist church 
of Savannah. AVe propose to come under the supervision of a 
committee of your body, provided you will receive us on the 
terms and conditions following : 

''1st. That we be independent in our meetings; that is, that 
we receive and dismiss our own members, and elect and dismiss 
our own officers, and finally manage our own concerns, inde- 
pendently ; however, with this restriction : In case any meas- 
ure is taken by us which shall seem to militate against our good 
standing as a church of Christ, we shall submit it to a commit- 
tee of five members, whom we shall choose out of the Baptist 
church of Savannah, whose counsel we bind ourselves to follow, 
provided it be not contrary to the precepts of the gospel. 

" 2d. AVe agree to hold no meetings for discipline or other 
purposes until we have duly notified by writing, one member of 
the Baptist church, selected by said church, to be present and 
agreeing not to pursue any measure such delegated member 
shall deem improper until we shall have had council of the 
above named committee. 

"3d. AVe agree to relinquish to the minority of this body all 
our rights and title to the old church so soon as they shall agree 
to give up and do relinquish to us all right and title to the newly 
purchased one, and when we are put in full and free possession 
of it and our trustees, viz.: "William H Stiles, Peter Mitchell 
and John AVilliamson, shall satisfy us that they have good and 
sufficient titles. 

" 4th. AVe agree to dismiss all members, and such as have been 
members of our church, that they may either join another or 
form a new Baptist church, and as soon as such church shall be 
satisiied with and receive them, then they shall be dismissed 
from us." 

This being accepted by both parties, the minority of the 
First African Baptist Church was organized into the Third 

African Baptist Church. 201 

African Baptist Church, for in the minutes of the white Baptist 
church January 28th, 1833, appears the following resolution : 

" Resolved, That, inasmuch as the minority of the First 
African (now the Third) Church have conformed to the require- 
ments of this church in constituting themselves into a church, 
be received under the supervision of this body upon the sam e 
terms as the First African Church." 

The 155 was always after the trouble of 1832 called the mi- 
nority of the First African church until - they were organized 
into a church, when they became the Third African Baptist 
Church. To this name they offered no objection, nor for thirty 
years was the slightest protest offered of their being known and 
called the " Third African Baptist Church." In 1833 they en- 
tered the Sunbury Baptist Association as such, and their church 
was always recorded in their minutes as the Third African 
Baptist Church. The Sunbury Association expelled the First 
African Baptist Church in November, 1832, as the First African 
Baptist Church. Every reference to this church in public or in 
the minutes of the Savannah Baptist Church book is as First 
African Baptist Church. The Third church themselves com- 
plained against the First African Baptist Church as the First 
African Baptist Church. Bev. Simms, in his book, admits that 
the 155 above mentioned were organized as the Third church ; 
that is, he admits a reorganization. Your committee has seen 
a sketch of the First African Baptist Church from its organiza- 
tion in 1788 till toward the close of the administration of Bev. 
W J. Campbell about 1877, in Bev. Simms' own handwriting, 
without any reference to the First Bryan Baptist Church. It ap- 
pears passing strange to your committee that if the First Bryan 
Church is the First African Baptist Church that they do not and 
have not called themselves by that name. The pastor of the 
First African Baptist Church has shown your committee the 
deed of the First African Baptist Church to the spot of ground 
which the First Bryan Baptist Church now occupies. With all 
of these facts and as many more which have come before your 
committee as candid, God-fearing men, we feel in honor bound 
to decide that the First African Baptist Church at Franklin 
Square is the original First African Baptist Church, organized 
at Brampton barn January 20th, 1788, by Bev. Abraham Mar- 
shall and Bev. Jesse Peter, whose centennial anniversary we 
have gathered to celebrate. We decide, therefore, that the 
claim of priority of the First Bryan Baptist Church, which has 
given itself this name since the emancipation and the claim of 

History of the First 

the book written by Bev. J M. Sirnrns, of being the oldest 
church (colored) in North America is without foundation. 
Signed, your committee. EEV F. M. SIMMONS, 


The centennial celebration of the Baptists of Georgia, in honor 
of the First African Baptist Church, opened most solemnly on 
Wednesday, June 6th, 1888. The members of the First African 
Baptist Church met at their spacious church edifice at 9 o'clock 
in the morning and marched out to the Centennial Tabernacle. 
Bev. E . K. Love, D. D. , and officers marched in front. Deacon 
March Haynes' and Brother John E. Grant alternately bore the 
banner of the church. The procession was over a mile long. 
The Church entered the Tabernacle singing, "All hail the power 
of Jesus' name." When Rev. Alexander Harris, chairman of 
the programme committee, called the vast multitude to order, 
he introduced Bev. E. K. Love, D. D., pastor of the First 
African Baptist Church, who had been selected to deliver the 
welcome address. Bev. Dr. Love delivered the following ap- 
propriate welcome address, which was well received : 

Dear Brethren : It falls to my happy lot to bid you welcome 
to Savannah, to our homes and to our churches on this auspi- 
cious occasion — the centennial anniversary of our church. 
From our church the Negro Baptists of Georgia commenced. 
After battling with sin and Satan for 100 years, scattered all 
over Georgia, we have returned as one family again around a 
common family altar to recount the labors of an hundred years, 
to rejoice over the victories achieved and lament our failures. 
As one army of the Lord we welcome you. The Baptist star 
which arose in the eastern part of this State an hundred years 
ago has been often covered by intense darkness, but which has 
been as often kissed away by the sun of righteousness assuring 
us that all was not lost, but that " behind a frowning Providence 
he hides a smiling face." 

We invite you here as fellow-citizens of the household of 
faith. Our faith is your faith, we love the God you love, we 
were redeemed by the Saviour who died for you, we are jour- 
neying to the same celestial city to which you are going, we are 
traveling home to God with you in the way our fathers trod, 
and our home and glorious inheritance is the same. 

It is very befitting, therefore, that we should welcome you. 
Our church was planted in blood. Bev. Andrew Bryan, its 
founder and first pastor, was whipped until his flesh was terri- 
bly torn. His blood ran freely and puddled by his lacerated 

African Baptist Church. 203 

body on the ground for no other crime than that £e preached 
Jesus to Africa's sable sons and daughters enslaved in this 

When he was commanded not to preach the gospel he raised 
his dusky hand, stained in his own blood drawn by his vile 
persecutors, and said with a trembling voice, with that manly 
heroism and christian courage that the grace of God alone can 
fan into burning eloquence, " If you would stop me from preach- 
ing, cut off my head." This humble statement from our father 
in Israel amazed and ashamed his ungodly persecutors. This 
humble slave, using the weapon of warfare which is not carnal, 
but mighty through God, conquered these human brutes and 
througn Christ won a signal victory for the church. Our fathers 
planted the banner of the Lord here in sweat, tears and blood, 
around which their children have rallied for one hundred years. 

Our troubles have been great, our trials many, but we have 
not yielded an inch of ground to the enemy. We have not 
compromised any part of the grand old principles that distin- 
guish us as Baptists, and though missiles most terrible from the 
enemy's camp have been and are being hurled at us, we have 
not nor will we ever quit the field. 

Our fathers suffered nor do we expect to shun the hallowed 
road which they have gone. The Baptists of Savannah, an 
hundred years ago numbered only four souls, now they number 
something over ten thousand. 

We all make you welcome to our city. We make you wel- 
come because you come to rejoice with us. We make you 
welcome because you come to speak words of peace and com- 
fort to us, and we bid you a hearty welcome because you are 
our brethren. In retrospecting the ground over which we have 
come during the last century, we felt it becoming to invite you 
to rejoice with us for the train of mercies which has followed 
us for one hundred years. 


The nineteenth century has been a most wonderful century. 
It begun upon an enslaved people, without liberty, without 
churches and without a knowledge of Christ. In this awful 
century our church was organized. The nineteenth century 
is characterized by wonderful inventions. Locomotives, tele- 
graphs, telephones and many other inventions came into use 
in this century. In this busy and exciting century the Bap- 
tists of Georgia were born. 

This century has witnessed a most remarkable change in this 
country. The slaves have been all set free and public opinion 

..'04 History of the First 

has been entirely revolutionized. Those who were once slaves 
now worship God under their own vine and fig tree, and no 
one dares molest or make us afraid. So wonderfully has God 
blessed us through these weary years, that we have felt it a 
great privilege as well as a pleasing duty to invite you here to 
celebrate our centennial anniversary. We could do naught 
else but welcome you. From the depth of our souls we wel- 
come you. We want that you should feel at home for you are 
at home with your brethren around the old family hearth-stone. 

From this time-hallowed shrine you begun. You have been 
spread over Georgia for an hundred years fighting for the right 
with heavenly weapons. You have not gone alone. A coven- 
ant-keeping God has gone with you and has prospered you in 
the land whither you have journeyed, and has added very 
largely to your number many happy recruits. After you have 
been gone for an hundred years, most of which time you have 
spent in the most cursed and disgraceful system of slavery that 
has ever spread sorrow, gloom, heartaches and wounds over a 
civilized country, you have returned to the old parental home 
to rejoice with the mother. The mother at times has had it 
hard ; she has had untold sorrows and innumerable difficulties. 
Your countenance give signs of careworn and inexplicable anx- 
iety and suffering which tell me that you have encountered 
Appolyon on your respective fields of labor in the vineyard of 
the Lord, but beneath it all I see blooming up in your counte- 
nances evidences of that joy and peace which only the grace of 
God can give. 

From four, the Baptist family of Georgia has increased to 
166,429. This is an average of 1664 29-100 a year. While we 
rejoice over these that the Lord has given us in the land 
wherein we sojourned as strangers we would humbly cry un- 
worthy and ascribe our conquest to the Lamb, our victory to 
His blood and our life to His death. From one church, 1,500 
have sprung up, an average of 15 a year. The joy belongs to 
us all. All the glory belongs to God. 

We welcome you from our hearts. We feel that we have 
great need to rejoice that God has so wonderfully blessed us in 
letting our old fathers remain with us so long to give us their 
wise, counsel. We should be thankful that the school doors 
have b<'en thrown open and so many of our young men have 
been favored with educational advantages and are so much 
better prepared to preach the gospel than our fathers were. We 
invite you here after the close of an hundred years to rejoice 
over the advancement our people have made in the sciences 

African Baptist Church. 205 

literary pursuits, in theology and in morality. The Baptists 
have been great gainers in all these virtues and attainments. 

More than two-thirds of the educated young preachers in 
Georgia are Baptists. In welcoming you, we rejoice that among 
you are some of the best scholars in our race. We welcome 
you as able expounders of the sacred scriptures and eloquent 
preachers of the New Testament. We are glad to welcome 
many of you as professors of colleges and accurate teachers and 
newspaper editors. In welcoming you, we are glad to note that 
many of you are comfortably situated in your own homes and 
are moderately rich, and are raising dignified, interesting and 
happy families. 

We are glad that while other denominations have made pro- 
gress that the Baptists have not stood still. This denomina- 
tion is more largely responsible to give the world the whole 
truth as it is in Jesus than any other. To the Baptist denom- 
ination the great commission was given to preach the gospel to 
every creature. No denomination can stand so flat footed upon 
the Bible as the Baptists. No denomination meets as few pas- 
sages in the Bible which war with its practice as the Baptist 
denomination. As Baptists we have nothing to fear. We are 
gaining ground. We are proud to welcome you as Baptists. 

Our ministry of to-day is of such that we can look upon 
with pleasing pride, both as men of letters, good morals, tem- 
perate, full of zeal and piety. We have not retrograded. Our 
young men have become learned and our old men have made 
very commendable progress. 

Dear Brethren, let us pray and humbly trust that our meeting 
at the close of this century may so inspire, bless and lift up our 
people that we may be living afresh for the next hundred years. 
If we are not here in person, it may be our happy lot to be 
angel visitors to the next centennial celebration of the Negro 
Baptist of Georgia. Then, the Lord grant that it may be a 
thousand times more glorious than this one, and may the fruits 
be infinitely more plenteous, the victories be far more signal 
and God more glorified in his servants. 

May heaven more gently and lovingly smile over our great 
denomination and its wonderful accomplishments at the next 
centennial celebration. God grant that there may be fewer 
if any destitute places in Georgia at that time. Then when pur 
work on earth is done, God grant that we shall be gathered in 
peace to the saint's rest with our fathers, where congregations 
shall never break up and Sabbath never end. And with the re- 
deemed and sanctified and the countless number of happy 

.'Oi > History of the First 

harpers, we shall have a never ending eternity in our Father's 

"The far away home of the soul, 

Where no storms ever beat on the glittering strand, 
While the years of eternity roll " 

to ascribe ceaseless praise to the triune, God through Christ the 
Captain of our Salvation. 

We welcome you here, but on your entrance into that glorious 
inheritance, uncorruptible and undefiled, you shall receive a 
more glorious welcome by the celestial choir which will voice 
in jarring hosannas the sentiments of heaven, and added to this 
will be the benignant smiles of God the Father and the plaudit of 
Christ the Son, " Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into 
the joys of thy Lord." Then will your welcome, borne to you 
upon the melodious songs of seraphs, be more pleasing, charming, 
inspiring and infinitely more lovely and rapturous. While we 
watch, wait, work, pray and hope for this, let me bid you thrice 
welcome to all of the joys and comfort in our power to give you 
now. In Jesus name we make you welcome ye servants of 
the Lord. 

Rev. C. T. Walker was next introduced to preach the intro- 
ductory sermon. 

The Rev. Mr. Walker opened the service by singing a hymn 
which he had prepared for the occasion. This hymn was sung 
by the vast multitude in such a way that the scene beggars 
description. The bosom of the air never bore off sweeter strains 
and the golden rays of the sun never kissed more pleasing faces. 
The following is the hynm : 



Oh God, who hast Thy people led 

For these one hundred years, 
A gospel table thou hast spread 

Amidst our flowing tears. 

We ve come through deserts dark and drear, 
Through sorrows and through fears, 
Of mercies past we've come to talk 
And still renew our walk. 

Our church was planted in this State 

A hundred years ago, 
And at Thy feet we've learned to wait 

Until we've seen her grow. 

Our fathers trusted in Thy name 

And built upon Thy truth, 
Grant us Thy aid to do the same. 

And teach it to our youth. 

African Baptist Church. 207 

Thy kingdom, Lord, i* spreading wide 

from mountain to the sea, 
Still let us in Thy truth abide 

Till all the world be free. 

Oh God, we thank Thee for this day 

That celebrates our birth, 
May it inspire us on our way 

Until we leave the earth. 

Oh Thou, who hast Thy people led 

Through these one hundred years. 

Inspire our souls, dispel our fears, 
Feed us on heavenly bread. 

Eev. C. T. Walker tben preached the following sermon : 

Numbers xxiii, 23 : "According to this time it shall be said, 
'What hath God wrought?'" We stand to-day upon an emi- 
nence from which we may take a retrospective view of one 
hundred years' journey of our grand old denomination in 
Georgia. A glorious day. We have come to celebrate the 
progress and triumphs of a century. The cause we represent 
is a blessed one. We are here to speak of the vicissitudes 
through which we have passed, the conflicts we have encoun- 
tered, the obstacles we have surmounted, the success attained, 
and the victories already achieved. We are here to pass up 
and down the line of march from 1788 to 1888. 

Old fathers, worn and weary with the burden and care of a 
long and useful life, their heads whitened by the frost of many 
winters, infirm and superannuated, they have come up to shake 
hands with the century, to bid God-speed to their brethren, and, 
as Simeon of old, to exclaim: "Behold now, Lord, I have seen 
Thy salvation, now let thy servant depart in peace!" Young 
men have come to get inspiration from a review of the work of 
the fathers and to return to their various fields of labor stimu- 
lated, electrified and encouraged to make the second century 
far more eventful in the propagation of the gospel and subjuga- 
tion of the world to Christ than the first. 

The colored Baptist family of Georgia, representing 166,429 
communicants have met in the Forest City of Georgia, at the close 
of one hundred years, to give thanks to God for what he hath 
wrought. The great leaders of the Israelites, Moses and Joshua, 
were very solicitous to implant in the minds of the people a 
perpetual remembrance of God's kindness. They, therefore, 
marked the stations and stages in their progress with monu- 
mental circumstances and objects. They erected monuments, 
built altars and anointed pillars to be memorials of some re- 
markable transaction. It is our duty to use every possible 
means of turning the past into lessdns of solemn admonitions. 
A reflective, conscientious, serious spirit will exhibit the intense 

£0$ History of the First 

illuminations of divine truth that kept the old ship together all 
these years ; we will have illustrations of divine guidance, and 
receive strong manifestations and enforcements of future duties 
and increased responsibilities incident thereto. 

I. We shall discuss what God hath wrought in the perma- 
nent establishment of this church. The illustrious kingdoms 
of the world were founded by the world's renowned men. The 
Babylonian empire, the Grecian, the Medo-Persian and Eoman 
empires owed their foundations to their kings and emperors. 
There is a prophetic description in Daniel of a stone being cut 
out of the mountains without hands — that is, without human 
agency, and that that stone smote the feet of the image, shat- 
tered it into fragments, and the stone became a great moun- 
tain, filling the whole earth. This stone rolled forth from 
Mount Zion and raised a dust which dai'kened the very hea- 
vens. It has rolled and demolished its most powerful antago- 
nist, and has become a great mountain that shall fill the whole 
earth forever. The founder of the true church is Christ. He 
is the Son of Abraham, according to the flesh, and He is also 
the true God and eternal life. Two natures and three offices 
mysteriously meet in His person. He is the blessed, bleeding 
sacrifice, the sanctifying altar, the officiating priest, the prophet 
of Israel, the prince of peace and the author of eternal life. 
He is the foundation of His church, the chief corner-stone, the 
law-giver in Zion. He hath given us a kingdom that cannot be 
moved. He is the king of Zion who liveth forever. He himself 
is the father of eternity. He began in Asia to ride in the gos- 
pel chariot, sent out twelve small boats, and on the day of Pen- 
tecost added 3,000 to the number, and in 1630 sent Eoger Wil- 
liams over to America. He, in the spirit of his master, planted 
churches in New England , and the stone continued to roll until 
it reached the sunny South. There the oppressed, rejected and 
enslaved brother in black, in A. D. 1788, for the first time in 
Georgia, lifted the Baptist flag under the leadership of Andrew 
Bryan ; here the handful of corn was sown, not on the high, 
wild, rocky, uncultivated mountain, but on the seaboard, and 
the wind carried the seed to every part of Georgia, and the bar- 
ren rocks and sandy deserts became as Jordans of the Lord. 
From the handful of corn have sprung more than 1500 churches, 
500 ordained preachers, and 166,429 communicants. The little 
one has become a thousand to-day. She is the mother of thou- 
sands of children born in a century. While Satan has tried to 
destroy the true church of God because he sees in her the artil- 
lery of heaven playing upon his fortresses of idolatry, skepticism, 
atheism and infidelity, the captain of our salvation, in the form- 

African Baptist Church. 209 

ation of His church, laid the foundation deep and well. Having 
routed the powers of darkness, on Calvary captured the captain 
of the opposing host, he mounted the white horse of the gospel 
and will ride from conquer to conquer until he has put the last 
enemy under his feet : too wise to err, too powerful to be over- 
come. The cause he has espoused must triumph. Let the Baptist 
family of Georgia, on this auspicious day, break forth in the 
soul-inspiring song: "Arise, shine, for the light is come, and 
the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Gentiles shall come 
to her light and kings to the brightness of her rising. Her sons 
shall come from far, and her daughters shall be nursed at her 
side. The glory of the Lord shall be displayed and all flesh 
shall see it together.'' The progress of the Baptists in this 
country is due to the earnest, faithful and simple preaching of 
Christ crucified by the fathers. They did not preach philoso- 
phy, nor did they strive to reach the people with rhetorical 
strains of eloquence, but by preaching the truth. The gospel 
declared in its simplicity and truthfulness will make Baptists. 
There is about one and a quarter million colored Baptists in 
the United States. In the " Story of Baptist Missions in Foreign 
Lands," by Bev. G. M. Hervey, and in "Jamaica, Past and 
Present," by Eev. W M. Brown, M. D., all give an account of 
a noble colored preacher, by the name of George Leile, who 
was brought from Virginia to Savannah, Ga., where he re- 
mained until the close of the Bevolutionary war. His master 
was a British officer, and when the British evacuated Savannah 
his master fled to a more congenial clime and took with him 
his servant George to the West Indies. They settled in Ja- 
maica and George Leile began to preach in Kingston and 
vicinity, and founded the first African Baptist church ever estab- 
lished in the "West Indies with five Afro- Americans, George 
Leile himself being one. No Protestant mission, except that of 
Monrovians, which had been formed in 1754 in Jamaica, but had 
made slow progress. Leile baptized 400 converts in eight years, 
and in ten years there were 500 members. It has been claimed 
that the first Baptist church in the West Indies was established 
by the first missionary of the Baptist Missionary Society of 
London ; but George Leile was preaching in the West Indies, 
assisted by Moses Baker, George Gibbs and others, as far back 
as 1793, and when the missionary of the Society of London 
reached the island in 1814 there were not less than 3,000 Bap- 
tists on the Island. Bryant Edwards, the historian, gave him a 
contribution amounting to £900, which was spent in erecting a 
chapel. He was thrown into prison for preaching, loaded with 

110 History of the First 

iron* and tried for his life. We find the following in " Jamaica, 
Past and Present: - ' 

"Owing to the fearful state of Jamaica at that time they 
baptized and administered the Lord's Supper at night in unfre- 
quented places, sought the swamps and grounds covered with 
trees and bushes to evade arrest; but they were found, and 
called to undue punishment, the bitter effects of the same 
spirit that kindled the fires of Smithfield and originated the 
cruelties of the inquisition. Jamaica has furnished as noble a 
band of martyrs to the truth as any part of the world of simi- 
lar extent and within the same period of time since the six- 
teenth century." 

These were colored martyrs, and among the first of the moral 
heroes of the pioneers was George Leile, a negro Baptist preach- 
er from Georgia. George Leile lived until 1822, and went to 
his grave full of years and good works, like a shock of corn 
fully ripe in its season. Historians, blinded by prejudice, have 
tried to rob the brother in black of the honor conferred upon 
Leile. The honor can not belong to the Missionary Society of 
London, for it did not exist until 1792, and the Baptist mem- 
bership in Kingston then was over 400. It can not be given 
unto the American Baptist Missionary Union, for it began in 
1814. It can not be given to the Foreign Mission Board of the 
Southern Baptist Convention, for that began in 1845. It can 
not be given to the African Baptist Missionary Society, of Rich- 
mond, Va., for it began in 1815. But the planting of the first 
Baptist church in the West Indies, so far as human agency is 
concerned, was inaugurated by George Leile, the black apostle 
of Georgia, who planted the standard of Christianity in the far- 
off West Indies, and despite opposition, oppression and perse- 
cution, he saw the church strengthened, prosperous and flour- 
ishing. So Georgia numbers thousands of sons and daughters 
in the West Indies who are bound to us by the triple declara- 
tion of one Lord, one faith and one baptism. Well might the 
church sing to-day, "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, oh thou 
most mighty, and in thy majesty ride prosperously because of 
righteousness, truth and meekness." Our fathers had in mind 
the fact, as is beautifully expressed by the poet : 

"A sacred burden Is this life ye bear: 
Look on it, lift it, bear it solemnly; 
Stand up and walk beneath it steadfastly. 
b ail not, for sorrow falters not for sin, 
But onward, upward, till the good we win." 

II. God hath wrought wonderfully in the foreign fields. God 
put the magnificent and stupendous enterprise of modern mis- 

African Baptist Church. 211 

sions in the heart of William Cary a hundred years ago. Dr. 
Somerville says: 

" In the case of Williani Cary we have the example of what 
a single laborer in Christ's field may effect. Poor in worldly 
circumstances, without academic culture, with nothing to 
prompt or guide him but the inspired word of God, without 
sympathy from churches, in the face of doubt, incredulity and 
disheartening apathy on the part of christian ministers and 
people, but with a courage that never blanched, a resolution 
that nothing could withstand, a faith that never faltered, and 
with a humility that made him the lowliest and loveliest of 
men, he set his face towards British India, which then, and 
long after, scowled all missionary enterprise. Thirty-four 
translations of the Holy Scripture fell from his pen, twenty- 
seven mission stations and hundreds of schools were established. 
He aroused the entire christian world to its duty to the heathen, 
and he has given an impulse to mission work that will never die. 
The Bible is being issued by the million in more than 340 lan- 
guages. The ordained missionaries in the fields of heathenism 
and Mohammedanism exceed 3,100. More than 2,300 women 
have consecrated their lives to the work with woman's tender- 
ness and affection, with woman's unswerving fidelity, and with 
woman's measureless love. So that the number of missionaries, 
British, American and Continental, exceed 5,000 with the 30,000 
native helpers. All in a century. The Baptists of Georgia are 
helping by contributions to give the gospel to the heathen, and 
especially has the grand old First Baptist Church of Savannah 
acted nobly her part in disseminating the gospel. Behold what 
God hath wrought in this century. Nations will still fall down 
before him and empire upon empire will be conquered, and 
Christianity will spread from clime to clime, and from pole to 
pole, until the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as 
the waters doth the mighty deep, when there shall be one peo- 
ple and one God. The trump of jubilee shall sound and count- 
less numbers of the redeemed shall sing aloud, Hallelujah, God 
omnipotent reigneth. This gospel, which is God's lever, whose 
fulcrum is the Rock of Ages, will lift up our degraded, sin- 
cursed earth and produce God's glory over the creation. 


The history of my people. — This century was one of hard- 
ship, oppression, persecution and sore trial. We were slaves, 
enslaved bodies and enslaved minds. No moral training, no 
intellectual advantage. It was a crime to read a book, patrolled, 
Spanish-bucked, run by blood-hounds, whipped to death, put 

.J12 History of the First 

on the auction block, sold from parents like cattle, husbands 
and wives separated, must get a ticket to go to church, get per- 
mission to join the church, and in many instances not allowed 
to use your own choice about what church you should join. 

Slavery was wrong. God was against it, and He who pre- 
sides over the destinies of nations in His own good time re- 
moved the foul blot from the national escutcheon. Some attri- 
bute their freedom to Abraham Lincoln and the Union armies, 
but we received our liberty, like Israel of old, from the great 
God of heaven and earth. God's operations may be slow in the 
incipiency, but the triumph is sure and not distant. 

After four years of the saddest, severest civil war, slavery 
fell, like Dagon before the Ark, and we were free. Emanci- 
pated without a dollar, without experience, without education, 
without friends and without competent leaders. Like Ishmael 
and Hagar turned out to die, driven into the wilderness. When 
Prussia emancipated her slaves they were given a start in life, 
and when the Queen Regent of Spain emancipated the Cuban 
slaves they were given something as a reward of their past 
faithfulness. We were turned loose, unaided as we were, were 
vested with the right of citizenship at a time when we were un- 
prepared for it ; but despite all obstacles the negro in Georgia has 
ten millions dollars' worth of property and has proven himself 
worthy of citizenship. Take our intellectual advancement. 
There are in the public schools of Georgia thousands of chil- 
dren, and two-thirds of them are Baptists. We have a num- 
ber of high schools owned and controlled by our associations, 
besides the Atlanta Baptist Seminary and Spellman Baptist 
Seminary under the auspices of the American Baptist Home 
Mission Society. Our men will be found in the legal fraternity, 
the medical professions, professors in our colleges, in the legis- 
lative hall, or the list of authors, skilled musicians, polished 
scholars, journalists and theologians. 

The Baptists of Georgia are placed under lasting obligations 
to the American Baptist Home Mission Society for their sup- 
port and to the Baptist Publication Society for Baptist litera- 
ture. The name and memory of the venerable Dr. Joseph T. 
Robert should be cherished by every Baptist in Georgia for the 
work he accomplished in preparing the leaders for the next 
century. God hath wrought wonderfully among us. God is 
still opening up a way for the spread and propagation of the 
gospel. The way has been opened for a great outpouring of 
the spirit on the Congo valley. We have come to a period of 
culmination. The cry is loud and long for consecrated work- 
ers. The harvest is truly great and the laborers are few. Take 

African Baptist Church. 213 

a retrospective view of the work accomplished in- one hundred 
years under such adverse circumstances. This meeting should 
inspire every disciple to go to his field of labor with renewed 
energy and courage to extend this kingdom, disseminate the 
gospel until every knee shall bow and every tongue shall con- 
fess that Jesus is the Christ, to the glory of God the Father. I 
have three propositions to make : 

1. Systematic work and giving. 

2. Prayerfulness for the success of the work. 

3. Earnestness in the proclamation of the truth. 

1st. Systematic work and giving. — "We are living in an age 
of mental activity ; an age of invention and wonderful devel- 
opment; a busy, progressive age; a wonderful century. No 
century of the past has been so remarkable with results as the 
nineteenth. The church is the advance guard of civilization 
and must disseminate the word of life which is like a purifying 
bath and the gently distilling rain. The church has sufficient 
material resources but they are locked up, and system and or- 
der are necessary. 

Christ in order to feed the hungry multitude with five barley 
loaves and two small fishes required order and system. He 
commanded them to be seated in groups or companies, and 
when there had been an orderly and systematic division of the 
multitude He said to His disciples, "Give ye them to eat." We 
are in the midst of a hungry multitude. The marvellous re- 
sources of the church are locked up within the domains of the 
church. The command of the Saviour is ringing out loud and 
clear, all along the line, "Give ye them to eat." The dark con- 
tinent of Africa, with 192,000,000 of people, and only 2,000,000 
have ever heard of Jesus. Stanley has traced the Congo from 
its source in Eastern Africa to the Atlantic, a distance of 2,800 
miles, with 1,000,000 square miles of territory and a population 
of millions. What is this but a great door- way for Christianity? 
Let the progress and success of the past give us fresh inspira- 
tion for the future. Let Christ's love for us, and our love for 
Him in return, and by our obedience to his commands, devo- 
tion to His cause, advance His kingdom bydevising systematic 
plans to feed the hungry multitude and make ready a people 
for the coming of the Master. Hasten, Lord, the glorious time. 

2d. Prayerfulness for the success of the work. — While the 
Couucil of* Nuremburg was signing the edict that gave the 
Protestants their freedom, Martin Luther was away off in a 
room by himself praying for its accomplishment. Though there 
was no line of communication between 'the place where the 
council was assembled and the room where Luther was praying, 

History of the Firtt 

yet Martin Luther suddenly arose from prayer and said: "It 
is accomplished. The Protestants are free. Victor}^! victory!" 
He received what he asked for. Like Daniel, we are to pray 
with our face towards Jerusalem. Like Stephen, looking up 
into heaven. Like the Publican, with our hands on our heart. 
I heard Mr. Andy Comstock, of New York, say last fall while 
speaking before the New York Baptist Ministers' Conference, 
that the night the Comstock bill was passed by Congress he was 
in his room at the hotel praying for its passage the very hour 
it passed, and though he was not informed of its passage until 
the next morning, he was conscious something would be done. 
Our own blessed Saviour, who entered fully into humanity, en- 
tered into our sorrows, our woes and agonies, prayed earnestly, 
tenderly, affectionately, and yet argumentatively, for the pres- 
ervation of his people, for their unity and sanctification. Cold 
mountain and the midnight air witnessed the fervor of His 
prayer. If it became Him who was holy, harmless, undefiled 
and separate from sinners to spend whole nights in the moun- 
tain praying, how much more important is it that His followers 
spend much time in earnest prayer to God for divine guidance 
in discharging the weighty and responsible duties devolving 
upon them as representatives of their Master whose glory they 
must exhibit, and who must overcome the world bj r the blood 
of the Lamb through the word of God,, and by the word of 
their testimony. Mr. Spurgeon says prayer is the rustling of 
the wings of angels that are on their way bringing us the boons 
of heaven. Even as the cloud foreshadoweth rain, so prayer 
foreshadoweth the blessing, even as the green blade is the be- 
ginning of the harvest, so is prayer the prophecy of the bless- 
ing that is about to come. So pray, brethren, pray. 

3d. AVe need earnestness and simplicity in proclaiming the 
word. — Daniel Webster said he did not go to church to hear 
studied oratory but to hear the gospel. Our fathers were men 
of one book ; they received power by prayerfulness, and pro- 
claimed earnestty and plainly what they understood. Like 
Paul they said : " Though I preach the gospel I have nothing 
to glory of, necessity is laid upon me, yea woe is unto me if I 
preach not the gospel." The gospel is an intervention of Jesus 
Christ to save lost men and must be given to every creature. 
It is heaven's appointed remedy for man's malady, and the di- 
rections for taking the medicine must be so plain that the fool 
may take it assured of the fact that he will be healed. The 
gospel is a ship loaded with bread of life, and must be brought 
so near the landing that the hungry can reach forth and take 
the bread of life. The gospel is the announcement of recon- 

African Baptist Church, 215 

ciliation between God and the sinner, a message- of mercy, the 
history of the advent of Christ, His life, miracles, death, burial, 
resurrection, ascension and intercession. The gospel is the 
Messiah's conquering, triumphal car. There is power and mag- 
netism about. It is to be preached in its purity and its truth- 
fulness. It is the gospel of which Christ and heaven are 

"In heaven the rapturous song began, 

And sweet seraphic fires 
Through all the shining legions ran, 

. And strung and tuned the harp. 
Swift through the vast expanse it flew, 

And loud the echo rolled, 
The theme, the song, the joy was new, 

'Twas more than heaven could hold. 
Down through the portals of the sky 

The impetuous torrent ran, 
And angels flew with eager joy 

To bear the news to man." 

Man has been honored in being chosen of God to carry this 
holy message. Beginning a new century in the history of our 
denomination, let us carry this message with the same earnest- 
ness as did our fathers. Discourage inactivity, coldness, indif- 
ference, formalism, and this kind of spasmodic religion. Con- 
tend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Con- 
tend for those principles that have been the very life of the 
Baptists. This gospel must go, like the sun shining in his 
strength, scattering all clouds from the face of the world until 
the moon and stars shall be lost in its effulgence. It must fly 
until, in the language of Christmas Evans, living waters flow 
through the channels of mercy in summer and winter, not 
frozen by the cold nor evaporated by the heat. It must go 
until the cause of Christ shall be preeminent in the estimation 
of mankind. It must fly until the instrument of war be turned 
into scythes and ploughshares, and nations learn war was no 
more. It must go until the ferocious wolf dwells with the inno- 
cent lamb, the furious leopard lay down with the kid, the cow 
and the bear feed in the same pasture, and the little child leads 
the lion by the mane. Onward, christian soldiers, on, on to 
victory. The struggles of a hundred years have ended in a 
victorious triumph. Hannibal and Hamilcar lead the armies of 
the Carthaginians; Victor Emmanuel led the armies of the 
Italians ; Tamerlane led the armies of Asia ; Gustavus Adol- 
phus, Xerxes, Alexander and Washington led battalion after 
battalion. It is estimated that in all the wars from scriptural 
times more than thirty-five billions of men have fallen in bat- 
tle. Soldiers and commanders have received honors from the 
world. Sky-towering monuments have been erected to their 

:210 History of the First 

memory But the men who have been engaged in a holy war, 
leading a crusade of virtue against vice, an army of righteous- 
ness against sin, the harbinger of peace, the bearer of good 
tidings, the watchman on Zion's holy mount, they were instru- 
ments in saving instead of destroying life. And yet their graves 
are unmarked, no tombstone marks the place where many of 
them rest. But '' God, my Redeemer, lives, and often from the 
skies looks down and watches all their dust till He shall bid it 

Georgia owes it as a sign of recognition and appreciation of 
their services to erect a monument in this city to the memory 
of the Baptist leaders who fell during these one hundred years. 
Our captain is now riding on his white horse giving orders to 
the armies to move forward, He said to Andrew Bryan one 
hundred years ago, "Go forward." He speaks to all of you 
brethren as you move off in the second century. Go forward, 
let the universal moving of the footsteps of the army of Zion 
be heard in the camp of the enemy. In the language of Dan- 
iel Webster at the laying of the corner-stone of Bunker Hill 
monument : " Let it rise. Let it rise. Let it rise till it meets 
the sun in his coming. Let the early light of the morning gild 
it, and parting day linger and play upon the summit." So let 
the gospel star-spangled banner rise. Let it rise. Let it rise 
until its magnetic influence shall draw all men to Christ. Let 
it soar till the attention of the African shall be called from his 
devil-bush, the Arab from his tent and the Jew from his wand- 
ering. Let it rise until the shouts of our triumphs be borne 
aloft to the ear of the redeemed as they shout from their high 
citadel of triumph. We want angelic messengers who come as 
the representatives of heaven to this centennial celebration to 
report to the heavenly hosts we are moving forward ; to tell 
Andrew Bryan, Marshall, Campbell, Kernel, Glen, McCrady, 
Golphin, Jacob Walker, Kelly, Lowe, Peter Johnson, Henry 
Johnson, John Cox, Joseph Walker, Bucker, Quarles, Frank 
Beale, George Gibbons, Henry Watts, Arrington, Allen Clark, 
John A. James, Arthur Johnson, Alfred Young, I. C. Houston, 
F D. Williams, J. M. Jones, Henry Williams that we are hold- 
ing the fort, and that they are still joined to us by all the glo- 
rious recollections of the past and the still more glorious antici- 
pation of the future, and ere long we will take our places by 
their side, and we shall review the grand procession of the 
Baptists from the chancels of glory, at the close of another cen- 
tury, as our departed heroes reviews us to-day. Let the gospel 
banner rise. Let it rise! Let it rise! 

African Baptist Church. 217 


Mrs. Mary Jackson, who was baptized by Rev. Andrew Bryan 
nearly an hundred years ago, was presented to the centennial 
celebration by Eev. E. K. Love, D. D., as a living witness of 
the organization of the First African Baptist Church. When 
she was asked did she know anything about when the First 
African Baptist Church started, she replied, "Yes; I was there 
the very Sunday evening it first started." "Well, mother, who 
baptized you?" asked Rev. Alexander Harris. "Daddy Bryan," 
was the prompt reply. "Where did he baptize you?" "In the 
river. If you will carry me there I will show you the place." 
"Who baptized old Daddy Bryan?" "A young man who was 
his friend, but things are so tangled up now I can't get 'em 
straight" — meaning that she could not remember his name. 
Mr. George Liele is the young man referred to, who was then 
about 37 years old. This is not at all strange, when it is remem- 
bered that he was not located permanently in Savannah. He 
was at work down the river, and very soon left for Kingston , 
Jamaica, in the West Indies. This old lady, has a vivid recol- 
lection of the organization of the church, being 17 years old at 
the time. She is well preserved for one of her age. She can 
remember and tell of every pastor the church has ever had. 
She was born on Bull Island, in South" Carolina, in 1771, and 
belonged to Mr. John McQueen. Some of the old members 
were called, that it might be learned if they knew anything 
about her. They testified that they knew her over forty years 
ago, and thought she was dead forty years ago, as she then 
looked old enough to them to have been dead from old age. 
Many things tended to corroborate the old lady's statement. 
When she was asked where did Father Bryan live, she replied : 
"Right on the way as you go to the baptizing ground." She 
could tell of many old people who lived in that day. She could 
tell of Father Bryan's wife and his brother Sampson. 

There are several persons still living who remember the old 
man. Among them are Mother Bryan and Mother Delia Tel- 
fair. The latter was 15 years old when Father Bryan died. 
Rev. Andrew Neyle was eight years old when the old man 
died, and remembers him quite distinctly. 

But to Mrs. Mary Jackson, the subject of this sketch. She 
is living about fourteen miles from the city, a member of the 
First African Baptist Church, but she is unknown to the major- 
ity of the members. Even the old members thought she was 
dead over forty years ago. This, perhaps, is due to the fact 
that she lives in the country. It is possible that in a church of 

.J IS History of the First 

.").()( >0 members that many would not be known. So far as 
can be known she has lived a consistent. Christian life for 100 
years. Having never been disciplined by the church she, how- 
ever, would never have become distinguished but for her age. 
Her life has been of the humble, retired order. Having been a 
slave, she cannot be noted for great intellect, her greatest bless- 
ing being that God has spared her life for 117 years. 

Xo wonderful event in her long life leads us to suppose any 
reason for its preservation. The only reason that can be given 
is it pleased God to do so. Her faith is strong in the Saviour. 
He has kept her for some reason best known to Himself. It 
was a source of great joy to the church to have a living witness 
of its organization and an eye-witness to its eventful career for 
one hundred years. She spoke of Rev. Father Marshall as 
•■Young Marshall, who took old Dady Bryan's place when he 
died.'' She knew nothing of dates, when certain events trans- 
pired, but had a clear knowledge of certain things which prove 
conclusively that she is a centenarian. She remembers the 
trouble of 1832, and when "Young Marshall," as she calls him, 
carried the church from Yamacraw. 

In connection with this living relic, Mr. Love showed the 
congregation the chair in which Rev. Bryan used to sit while 
presiding over his church conferences, the dish out of which he 
used to eat, and the table at which he ate, and a large oil 
painting of the venerable hero. 

The occasion can never be described. The centennial cele- 
bration of our church can never be forgotten. The sermons, 
addresses and papers from the different brethren tended to incal- 
culably indoctrinate and strengthen us in the faith. It was a 
feast of good things; it was a theological school to our preachers. 
There were five States represented — Florida, Tennessee, Penn- 
sylvania, Alabama and South Carolina. There were services 
three times daily — morning, afternoon and night. Each of these 
services were pretty largely attended, the members of the First 
African Baptist Church forming the largest quota from the 
churches of the city. People for ages to come will point back 
to the great Baptist centennial. Children will date their birth 
from the centennial ; lovers will date their acquaintance from 
the centennial ; old men will date their marriage from the cen- 
tennial year, and other great events will be spoken of as having 
occurred in the great centennial year. 

So as a snow-ball the great Baptist Centennial will continue 
to increase in interest and magnitude as the years roll by, and 
what to us may seem but a trilling affair will be wonderful in 
the next centennial celebration. Again, this centennial cele- 

African Baptist Church. 219 

bration laid the foundation for the next one. Those who will 
be living at the next centennial will have what we have writ- 
ten of our church and the fathers, and it will then be dim with 
age, and will be all the more precious because of the age and 
having been transmitted to them from the fathers. Orators 
will then move their vast audience as they speak of us as the 
fathers. The youngest of us will then be called fathers. If 
any one who could remember this centennial should be there 
he or she would claim the profoundest consideration and re- 
ceive the attention of an angel visitor. Indeed, we have done 
more than we are apt to think of at first. But as the ages pass 
by more learned men will write of it, and could we be here to 
the next centennial celebration we would be surprised to know 
how this centennial celebration had increased in every way. 
"We would feel then that we had only been looking through a 
glass darkly. 

In closing this part of our work upon the centennial celebra- 
tion, the writer feels that he has not been able to remove the 
curtain just enough for those of us of to-day to get a peep into 
the future to even divine what the greatness of this celebration 
will be in coming ages. But having used the light that is given 
us, we shall feel content. It is not duty to do what one can 
not do — and since we can do no more, then we have done, our 
duty is performed. We feel that it was our duty to do what 
we could to guide those who are coming after us. 



To the President and "Members of the Centennial Committee of the 
Negro Baptists of Georgia, and of this Grand Mother Church 
of Negro Baptists : 
"We are assembled here to celebrate the centennial anniver- 
sary of the negro Baptists of Georgia. All grand institutions that 
have ever accomplished great and grand results have had to 
pass through many fiery ordeals and encounter many conflicts 
upon life's tempestuous sea, which have put to the severest test 
their strength and durability. If their make-up had not been 
genuine, they would have gone to wreck. So it has been with 
this old gospel ship, which has been sailing on the ocean of 
time for an hundred years, and has weathered many storms. 
But to-day she stands safe and sound, and a thousand times 
more glorious than ever, though she has been buffeted. She is 
sailing still heavenward, whose colors are floating freely and 


K 20 History of the Ft yd 

grandly, praised and admired the world round, and her power 
for good is known and felt even where her colors are not seen. 
Her moral, religious and financial condition to-day surpasses 
any church among the negroes of this country, and is ahead of 
many churches of that race whose advantages have been supe- 
rior to ours. 

But. coming to the subject, let us ask why is all of this? How 
came she so safely through the perils and dangers of the past? 
I answer because it was first founded right. Its foundation 
was right, and hence its success. We are here to-day to speak 
on this particular line, "Baptist Doctrine." What other foun- 
dation could have given rise to this success but Baptist doctrine, 
or Baptist belief, or the doctrine as believed and practiced by 
the Baptists ? Every grand and laudable institution has had 
at some time its grand days or great epoch, and so the church 
of Christ 

We are assembled as a great people to do Him honor who 
has safely led this grand church along through the past century. 
It is the grand doctrine of the Baptist church that has given 
rise to this grand church and great Baptist denomination of 
Georgia, whose churches are known by the hundreds, and whose 
communicants are numbered by the thousands. Her sons are 
now in the various parts of the known world, publishing the 
glad tidings of the blood-spattered cross — even Calvary. We 
speak of the doctrine of the church as its foundation, and greater 
foundation can no man lay than that which is already laid. 
We speak of the doctrine or principles of the church as the 
foundation, for it is the foundation that gives power and dura- 
bility to the superstructure. 

What the bones, sinews, nervous system and the blood are 
to the physical man, so are the doctrines to the church. What 
the roots of the tree are to the trunk, to the boughs and to all 
of its branches, so the doctrines are to the church. And as it 
is impossible for the building to stand the wreck and hardships 
of time, etc., without its foundation, so it is with the church. 
As the tree cannot bear fruit without its roots, so it is with the 
church. Had not the church been founded upon the founda- 
tion of God's word, which is the true principle of the divine 
Architect of the church, its grand achievement would not have 
been. But all of these grand results have come to the church 
because it was founded upon the foundation of Christ and His 
apostles. Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. 

We wish to speak in particular of the Baptist doctrine as 
being identical with the word of God, for there is no creed nor 
even shadow of a creed of this church but that of the word of 

African Baptist Church. 221 

God. It is the main doctrine v of the Baptists to proclaim noth- 
ing but the Bible, and that pure and simple. Upon this every 
one who has risen against it has had this accusation, that we 
stick too uncompromisingly to the scriptures, and will admit of 
no modification or even shadow of turning. 

The doctrine of the Baptists is the doctrine of the Bible. 
Upon it all of our fathers stood, fought, conquered and died. 
Upon it we are standing to-day. The stand which the Bap- 
tists have taken for the leading doctrines of the Bible has been 
as a beacon through all ages in giving and preserving the truth 
in the world and of keeping a pure faith and church. Though 
they have not always been known to bear the name of Bap- 
tists, there have always been those who have believed and 
practiced what the Baptists do. 

It is quite encouraging to know these two things about God 
and His people, Christ and His word. The first is God's word — 
has always stood since He first spoke it. The second is since 
the days of Jesus Christ. His people have always been loyal to 
the truth as is believed and practiced by Baptists. Hence He 
has always had a church to worship Him on the earth and a 
people to believe His word just as He has given it to them. 

Sir Isaac Newton says : " The Baptists are the only body of 
christians that have not symbolized with the Church of Borne." 
Jesus is the Son of God, hear ye Him. Christ is the head over 
the church and its law-giver. The New Testament contains 
his law which is our infallable guide and supreme standard by 
which all church doctrines and rites are to be tried. Those are 
christian churches strictly speaking that correspond with the 
New Testament pattern, and Baptists have always appealed to 
the New Testament as furnishing the only true authority for 
the faith and' practice of the churches. The great Erasmus 
says: "It is not from human reservoirs pregnant with stag- 
nant waters that we should draw the doctrine of salvation, but 
from the pure and abundant stream that flows from the word 
of God." And since Christ is our law-giver, whom shall we 
obey? Who is supreme, Christ or the church ? "Where did the 
church get the authority to substitute something else in the 
place of that which Christ has ordained? There we are to 
learn our duty in all things of faith, etc., that which He teaches 
is all-sufficient for all times and places. What He com- 
mands we are to do. From his decision there is no appeal. 
Apostles, ministers nor churches can not alter or amend, but 
must submit, and grace suggests that our submission be heartily 
and cheerfully. Since we have the law-giver and the law let 

History of the First 

us acquaint ourselves with that law of Christ, and say, in all 
things. "Oh God, Thy will be done." 

Our principles of obedience to Christ make us first Baptists 
ourselves, and immediately set us to making Baptists of others. 
"We become Baptists, and we become propagandists of Baptist 
views by one and the same almighty, creative acts through all 
ages. The Baptists have adhered most strictly to the doctrines 
that are taught in God's word. So that obedience has been 
ever the leading idea with Baptists. They hold that obedience 
is better than sacrifice. And upon that fact they have ever 
stood contending, and to-day they are conquering the world 
upon that ground. For the world is asking every day, "What 
says the Bible?" and when told, they are saying "It is better to 
obey God rather than man." And behold, many are coming into 
the grand army of the Lord every day. When you ask me why 
is this, I tell you it is because of that longing in the converted 
heart to obey God. So, to obey, the Baptists have always held 
to be a sacred duty So veiy jealous are they of the obedience 
which they are disposed to render to their Lord and Master, 
should they find in their book one page, one chapter, one sen- 
tence, or even one word that did not in every way comply with 
the sacred word of God, they would cast it out and leave that 
space vacant. If asked about it, they would with great delight 
give their reason for its abstraction. Then they would even go 
beyond that, They would brand the writer as ignorant or a 
heretic. "What Baptists mean, so far as in them lies, is to go 
to heaven through obedience to God and faith in His word. Our 
fathers did it in all of their ignorance. And what else can we, 
as their children, do? Our fathers had masters who were Epis- 
copalians, Methodists, and even Catholics, but they turned their 
backs on their masters' religion and profession, even when it 
was more convenient for them to follow their masters, and have 
spiritual liberty to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. They have 
even been rejected from meeting with the church, because they 
would not join the church of their masters. But what did they 
do in that instance? Why, they suffered, prayed and waited 
until God opened the way for them. But obey God they 
would, must and did under all circumstances do, and so it has 
always been, and even more so must it continue to be, for 
obedience has been the pride of Baptists of all ages. The negro 
Baptists have preferred to be in fellowship with God rather 
than man. 

It is strange how Baptists, even in their ignorance, have with- 
stood all of the eloquence of learning and strength of science 
and of logic and stuck to the plain Bible and its doctrines. 

African Baptist Church. 

While they have had all of the polished scholars and preachers 
to contend with, they, in their ignorance, have stood alone with 
the Bible in their hands and whipped the world thus far. They 
had even the Church of England and the Church of Eome to 
withstand, and in defiance of all the pomp and splendor of these 
powers they have stood the test of time and to-day their colors 
are lifted to the breeze, and heaven hears the sound, and angels 
lend influence and glory to this occasion as we stand under this 
hallowed roof, made so by the grace of God and sanctified and 
made most holy to us by the prayers, tears, sweat and blood of 
Bryan, Marshall, Campbell and Gibbons, and now being hon- 
ored by his reverence, the worthy Emanuel K. Love, D. D. 

You ask me, how was it that though slavery raged in all of 
its horrors, destroying and debauching the moral character of 
every being that came within its reach, why, you ask, did they 
allow these negroes to have a church, make rules, and discipline 
members, etc.. and from whence came all of these glorious 
things* seen among negroes who came out of that cursed and 
damnable institution, slavery? My answer is that, first of all, 
their foundation was laid deep in the doctrine of God's book. 
Like Peter, they had learned obedience to their Lord and Mas- 
ter, who said, when faith had been tried and found sincere, 
" Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it." Who said again, "Ye are my 
friends, if ye do whatsoever I have commanded you." 

Their legal privilege was granted them by the Constitution 
of the United States as the result of an application made to 
Congress to grant religious liberty to all men to worship God 
after the dictates of their own conscience, and not be molested 
or made afraid. 

Baptists believe that the Bible is the only rule of faith, and 
should be practiced by all men. That it is the right of every 
man to interpret that book for himself, and in doing so he 
should be allowed to worship his God in his own quiet way. 
The supreme legislature of the country, nor the lowest officer in 
the community, nor any one else, should do the least thing to 
disturb him in doing this. 

Baptists believe in a separation of church and state. They 
also believe in a democratic form of government, or a govern- 
ment by the people, for the people, and with the people — that is, 
a congregational government, or a majority rule, governed by 
the Bible. 

The Baptists in all things hold that obedience to the law and 
testimony is supreme in conscience. 

..>J4 History of the First 

Therefore we appear here to-day, having rested upon this 
immovable foundation, which is stronger than the hills of old, 
and will abide when the rocks of Gibraltar shall fail, which 
have been standing the raging billows for centuries in the past, 
and yet they are the same. 

Had it not been for the all-abiding principles of Baptists we 
would have been driven to climes unknown. Every denomina- 
tion has its peculiar pride or religious forte. The Catholics 
have stood because they had the power over man and coerced 
them into their pale ; hence all that they have done. The Church 
of England had the money ; hence all men gladly bowed to her 
footstool. It is said of the Presbyterians that because of their 
education and high doctrine that none could comprehend but 
the learned. Of the Methodists it is said that they have sung 
their way around the world. But Baptists have gone into 
many parts of the world, and all the places where they have not 
gone they will go upon the word of God. Baptists have come 
through fire and water and sailed through blood by faith and 
obedience. When tried, their faith would not yield. On being 
asked concerning the things of God, even if they believed some- 
thing that they did not fully understand, they have taken great 
pleasure in replying : Great is the mystery of godliness. God 
manifested in the flesh the secret things belonging to God, but 
those things which are revealed belong to us and our children. 

Baptists believe that repentance toward God and faith in the 
Lord Jesus Christ is the first duty of man. The second is like 
unto that. Baptism is the second duty of every man. He who 
believes in the name of the only begotten Son of God believes 
and knows that immersion in water, when performed upon a 
proper subject and by a proper administrator, is the only thing 
that constitutes christian baptism. These few but sublime doc- 
trines constitute the great foundation of the Baptist church. 
Upon these principles all of the apostles, martyrs and ancient 
worthies lived, fought, died and went to heaven. There their 
happy souls wait and rest until their fellow-servants, slain as 
they were, shall come. 

Our church has come through trials and persecution in all 
ages, from the days of Christ till now. For there never was a 
time since our blessed Lord said to Peter, ''Tpon this rock I 
will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail 
against it," but that there were men and women practicing and 
believing just what Baptists are practicing and believing to-day. 
Though it cost them their lives, yet they have in all ages con- 
tended for the faith once delivered to the saints. 

African Baptist Church. 


Our fathers believed in the Baptist form of government and 
they stuck to it, though their masters were members of another 
church. When they would feel a change of heart and wish to 
unite with the church they would have to get a pass from their 
masters. When asked to what church they wished to connect 
themselves, and the Baptist church was named as the church 
of their choice, they were then asked, "Why can't you join Mr. 
A.'s or Mr. B.'s church:" When better reasons and privileges 
were given to join the church named by their masters, they could 
only say, "I want Mr. D. or E. to baptize me." After being 
denied for no good reason at all, and made to suffer the awful 
consequences of laying off from the church for months, and 
sometimes for years, they nevertheless, like the impassionate 
widow, continued to seek until, for some reason, they were 
granted the privilege of joining the church of their choice by 
undergoing some hard treatment. They chose to take punish- 
ment rather than join any other than the church of their faith, 
the Baptist church. The suffering of God's children has often 
brought others to be His disciples, for God has often seen fit to 
cast us in the furnace of affliction. 

Baptists believe in giving to God that obedience that takes in 
all his word. Faith and obedience are inseparably connected. 
The Baptists also believe that he who truly believes God's word 
will obey Him. And he that believes is made a new man in 
Christ Jesus, born again, or made after the new man created 
in righteousness. So he that is created in righteousness will 
yield implicit obedience to God. Our blessed Lord and Master 
said: "To whom ye yield yourselves to obey, to him ye are 
servants." Jesus said: "If ye do whatsoever I have com- 
manded, ye are my friends." So friendship with God de- 
pends upon our obedience to Him. When Abraham obeyed, it 
was accounted to him for righteousness. Hence he was called 
the friend of God. "If ye believe in me, ye shall know of the 
doctrine." Christ says, belief and obedience make, first, chil- 
dren of God; secondly, and as children of God we are Baptists, 
or those who side with Baptist doctrine. 

I have been puzzled to know how any man can claim to be 
a child of God, and live in actual disregard of God's law, and 
worse still, set up a system of doctrines or opinions contrary to 
those set up by the God of the church, or to adopt those set up 
by men. I ask, can such men plead ignorance? Can a man 
who takes the opposite side of a question, ever get to the place 
where he can plead his ignorance ? Can any man who is wise 
enough to build up doctrines contrary to those established of 
God, ever plead his ignorance and thereby be pardoned? I 

History oj the First 

trow not. The name, "Baptist," originated not with, them, 
but with their opponents. The main difference between Bap- 
tists and other denominations centers in the ordinance of bap- 
tism. Xot that Baptists are erroneous in their views, but that 
others are not willing to follow the divine rule on this funda- 
mental doctrine. In this they are willing to substitute this 
ordinance for the tradition of men. Yet they profess to be the 
children of God. They delight to live in open rebellion to the 
government of God. Let us obey God, that good may come to 
us. Then we can say, as another : 

"Now liberty is all the plan, 

The chief pursuit of every man whose heart is right. 

One word into your ears I'll drop, 

No longer spend your needless pains 

To mend and polish o'er your chains, 

But break them offhefore you rise, 

Nor disappoint your watchiul eyes. 

What says great Washington and Lee? 

Our country is and must be free. 

What says great Henry Pendleton 

And Liberty's minutest son ? 

'Tis all one voice— they all agree, 

God made us and we must be free. 

Freedom we crave, neither envy's breath, 

An equal freedom or a death, 

If needs there be— yea, tax the knight, 

But let our brave, heroic minds 

M ove freely as celestial winds ; 

Make vice and folly feel your rod. 

But leave our conscience free to God. 

Leave each man free to choose 

His form of piety, nor at him storm ; 

And he who minds the civil law, 

And keeps it whole without a flaw, 

Let him just as he pleases pray, 

And seek for heaven in his own way. 

And if he miss, we all must own, 

No man is wrong but him alone." 


Dear Chairman and Brethren of the Centennial: 

I have been appointed by your committee to deliver an ad- 
dress before this christian body, which has assembled here to 
celebrate the one hundredth year of our existence in this State. 
"Who is able, who is adequate, who can know the history of 
the colored Baptists of Georgia? "Where are their records kept? 
"Who has been their recorder, writing the true history of the 
pioneer fathers who have passed on before? No one. and a full 
and true history can never be known on earth ! Some parts 
may be gathered, but the full and complete history has passed 

African Baptist Church. 227 

away with those faithful heralds for Jesus into the "spirit world. 
Here and there we have caught a faint glimmering of the 
greatness of those faithful pioneers of our denomination in 
Georgia, and of their labors. 

We will say a word touching our history, which begins with 
Rev. Andrew Bryan, who organized the First African Baptist 
Church in this city one hundred years ago, and was its first 
pastor. In the early morn, before it was yet light, he came to 
this field with seeds from the granary of heaven, given him 
from the Master's own hands, to sow. ." They were sown in 
weakness ; they were raised in power." They took root down- 
ward and sprung upward and brought forth fruit, some thirty, 
some sixty, and some an hundred fold, to the honor and glory 
of God. 

Soon after the Lord sent another into the field, Rev. Andrew 
Marshall, a strong man for God and his cause, who worked 
faithfully in this part of Georgia. 

The work began spreading toward the interior, borne along 
by Revs. Robert McGee, Caesar McGrady, Jesse Peter, (some- 
times called Golplin), Kennard, Ghan, Jacob Walker, Henry 
Johnson, Joseph Walker, Henry Watts, Ephriam Rucker, 
Frank Quarles, Frank F. Beal, William J. Campbell, Telling- 
hast, Pope, Romulus Moore, John A. James, Henry Williams, 
Allen Clark, David Hill, Prince Williams, Thomas Hardwick, 
Joe McGrady, George Gibbons, Abraham Burk, Louis Barber, 
Jerry M. Jones, P. B. Borders, Jerry Freeman, George Jones, 
George Bull, and hundreds of others that I cannot now remem- 
ber. They all labored faithfully in their Master's cause, and 
to-day are rejoicing in heaven with their Master, whom they 
served on earth even till called away by their Lord. Who can 
tell the sufferings, privations and hardships which these men 
of God endured during the early days of our church. 

In those dark days when the servants of God had been labor- 
ing hard and speaking for Jesus, they would sometimes receive, 
some fifty and others an hundred lashes or more for speaking 
for God. To say all were whipped for preaching would be un- 
true ; but to say that none were whipped for preaching would be 
a lie. It is said that some white Baptists have been whipped for 
preaching; then think you the negro could escape? Nay, he 
had his share doubled ; but our God saved them all. Those 
were hard times in Georgia ; but the seed were good, right from 
the Master's hands, handed down to his faithful servants to be 
sown on the seacoast, swamps, mountains and valleys broad- 
cast — scattered all over the land. It must have been good seed 
to yield 166,429 living souls, to say nothing of those already 

J.2S History of the First 

gathered from the field, and that through the storms of adver- 
sity, the floods of affliction and the draughts of persecution. 
Surely God was with the sower and in the seed. Yes, the 
faithful men toiled on at great disadvantage, illiterate, fettered, 
deprived at times of food and clothing. Still, through the dark- 
ness and gloom they toiled on, singing : 

"Through floods and flames, if Jesus leads, 
I'll follow where he goes; 
Hinder me not, shall be my cry, 
Though earth and hell oppose." 

They went on, but not alone ; one was with them who said : 
"I will never leave thee nor forsake thee: lo, I am with thee 
to the end of the world. Amen." And to-day in every valley 
and plain, on every hill and mountain you may traverse in 
Georgia, lo, the Baptists are there. Thus the kind hand of God 
has led us along and here are we to-day, with gratitude giving 
praise to our God, "from whom all blessings flow," and we 
would shout and say, 

" Praise Him, all creatures here below; 
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; 
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.'* 

We now stand at the cradle of the Baptists of Georgia. We 
have come from all parts of the land to lift high and throw to 
the breeze the Baptist banner that was borne aloft so faithfully 
in the darker days by those veterans, and has never been 
allowed to trail in the dust for one hundred years in this grand 
old Empire State of the South. That banner will ever stand, 
all stained with hallowed blood, marked, "Salvation's free to 
all the world through the blessed Son of God." We would not 
forget our brothers of the white race, who kindly assisted us and 
cheered us on to greater efforts of success, helping us to organ- 
ize and set up churches, and in prosecuting the work. They 
rendered much valuable help in the establishing and building 
of the 1500 churches, with 500 ordained ministers and 2,000 
licensed preachers, presiding over the 166,429 members, all 
springing up from the little seed planted one hundred years ago. 

As to culture and refinement, these can be found in large 
numbers in our ranks. For thrift and wealth, there are many 
with us. We have towering churches and fine seminaries, and 
school buildings as good as are found in the land. As to intel- 
lect, morals and spirituality, we have some second to none in 
this country, especially our young men and women coming out 
of our schools and seminaries. Of them we are truly proud, 
and will ever thank God for them. Our press is making rapid 
progress, and now ranks with the best in all the South. Able 

African Baptist Church. 229 

men are the editors, and they are a power for good to the de- 
nomination and our people. Yes, dear brethren, for nearly 
seventy-six years the colored Baptists of this State toiled and 
labored under many disadvantages ; but when it pleased the 
"Supreme Ruler" of heaven and earth to blot out human 
slavery, the curse of this American land, the negro Baptists of 
Georgia came at once together as one man to prepare for the 
new order of things pertaining to our denomination. They had 
the interest of the race and the cause of Christ at heart. The 
education and moral training of the young men and old ones 
— the spiritual good of all was before them'. These were thor- 
oughly and minutely considered and discreetly prepared for by 
our leading brethren. A number of them met at Hilton Head, 
S. C, and organized the Zion Baptist Association, and then there 
was a move all along the line. The brethren met at Augusta, 
at the Springfield Baptist Church, to consult about forming 
the Ebenezer Baptist Association, which was formed after this 
meeting. Then followed the Shiloh Association, Mount Olive, 
and in all, to-day we have some fifty or sixty more associations, 
all prospering and doing much good. They are dotting every 
nook and corner of our State, and our work is advancing. 

In 1870 there was a call made by the brethren of Atlanta and 
Augusta for brethren of the State to meet at Augusta, with the 
Central Baptist Church, for the purpose of organizing a State 
Baptist convention. Accordingly, a large number of brethren 
met, and on May 17, 1870, organized the Missionary Baptist 
Convention of Georgia. Its object was to establish a normal 
and theological school, and to support missionaries in the State. 
At the meeting we enrolled eighty-four delegates, and their 
names are recorded as the founders of our State convention. 
Before this, however, our associations were sending out mis- 
sionaries in the field. Especially do I remember Rev. J. C. 
Bryan, Henry Morgan and A. De Lamotta, who were sent by 
the Ebenezer Association to the upper part of the State, while 
I believe brethren in this part of the State were equally as 

In 1874 the convention sent out Rev. W H. Tilman. Soon 
we could hear of missionaries all over our State. As time rolled 
on, the American Baptist Home Mission Board, the Georgia 
Baptist Convention (white), the American Baptist Publication 
Society, all took hold to help us, and there was much good done 
by these faithful missionaries in our State. 

Early we began to invite help in our educational work, and 
the American Baptist Home Mission Society heard our peti- 
tion, learning through Rev. W J. White our needs, and came 

JO History of the First 

to our relief. They gave us the Augusta Institute, which was 
moved to the city of Atlanta about 1879, and is now the Atlanta 
Baptist Seminary for young men. 

This did well for our young men, but where, oh where, were 
our young women ? To what place were they to be gathered 
for training ? The brethren decided there must be provision 
made for them, and in answer to prayer to God from those 
christian hearts help came. While Kev. Quarles was on his 
knees praying, God, through the Home Mission Society, sent 
Misses S. B. Packard and H. E. Giles to our aid. They opened 
school in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church, in the 
city of Atlanta, and began work April 11, 1881. They began 
gathering our old and young women for training, and little by 
little they grew till what was a school of fifty, or a little more, 
can now call a roll of 600. Thus beginning lowly, God has 
raised our Spellman Seminary and made it a school second to 
none in all the South. Our different associations are building 
high schools in their bounds which can and will become good 
feeders to our two seminaries, meeting the needs of our people, 
and thus God is with us in our work. 

Passing through the last twenty-four years we come to our 
centennial. Not that we entered this work one hundred years 
ago as our fathers (then the slaves of the State), but as free, 
twice made free, free from sin and death and American slavery. 
If the Son makes you free, ye shall be free indeed. "What negro 
Baptist here to-day is not proud of the little record that can be 
gathered of our fathers, who, with heavenly weapons, fought so 
bravely the battle of our Lord, finished their course, kept the 
faith and now have the sure reward. I know, dear brethren, 
you do rejoice in your hearts. If this little history which we 
have be so grand, what must their true history have been. 
Where is there a people afflicted under like circumstances who 
can produce a record more rich with fruit for Jesus ? Ah ! the 
full and complete history is kept by the Judge who will do 
right, and to-day we should move with new impulse to achieve 
greater victories, and move on the Baptist chariot, conquering 
and to conquer, until we shall plant the Baptist church upon 
every mountain, hill-top and valley, from shore to shore, from 
pole to pole, until we can truly say Satan's power and his king- 
dom on earth are demolished, and all the world shall belong to 
Jesus. And when our next centennial comes, and the colored 
Baptists of Georgia are assembled, we that are here to-day to 
speak of those who sleep the long sleep of death, with no tow- 
ering monuments, no shaft lifting its head to the skies, to mark 
the place or to speak of their deeds. Some of their graves are 

African Baptist Church. 231 

not known. But God, their Redeemer, lives and ever from the 
skies looks down and watches all their dust till He shall bid it 
rise. We who attend the meeting to-day, if our eyes were not 
holden, I imagine might see bending over the battlements of 
glory our beloved fathers, who, we imagine, are saying with 
their heavenly voices, be faithful unto death and come, we await 
your coming. We who meet here to-day in friendship and 
brotherly kindness shall be able to read without error our true 
history at home in our Father's house above, where there shall 
be no more parting, where the wicked cease from troubling and 
the weary are at rest. They sowed the seed on earth, and the 
harvest has been great. Surely 

"God moves in a mysterious way, 
His wonders to perform ; 
He plants his footsteps in the sea 
And rides upon the storm. 

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, 

The clouds ye so much dread 
Are big with mercies and will break 

In blessings on your head." 


An Address Delivered by Rev. W- H. Tilman, Sr., of Atlanta, Oa., 
Before the Negro Baptist Centennial. 

Dear Brethren: 

My object in this discourse shall be to locate the church of 
Christ. Whatever church we shall find founded by the great 
head of the church is the church of Christ. These questions 
are often asked by persons not acquainted with Baptist history : 
Where did the Baptists originate? How old are they? These 
might be considered as secondary questions, and of no import- 
ance at all to a Baptist. Their history is not more peculiar 
than the practice of that which they believe. Their faith is im- 
portant, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: 
and this is the victory that overcometh the world. Even our 
faith."— I. John, v, 4. 

God is the author and head of the church. He is the head 
of every family in heaven or on earth. What skeptic will deny 
God named the Baptist? Neither Zachariah nor Elizabeth 
named John ; but God sent his name as John from heaven by 
an angel, and the Spirit has been pleased to leave on record 

History of the First 

John the Baptist. What skeptic will deny that Christ, the great 
head of the church, was baptized by John? Who will deny 
that this was John's special and only mission? Before Christ 
was baptized, John baptized multitudes, and many afterwards. 
John diminished, but Christ increased. His preaching was to 
awake the world from its sleep. Christ's baptism was to set 
the example of practice and give the world the needed light of 
his church and to quicken the elected stones for the Master's 

2d. As to the Baptist Church History. It may be said, as 
God said to Abraham, "Can you count the stars of heaven or 
number the sands on the sea shore?" This is admitted to be 
an impossibility. So with the history of the Baptist church, 
the church of God, I ask you can you read the dust of the 
earth, the smoke of the past century? Or can you analyze the 
sands of the ocean's depths, or call from the graves, the moun 
tains and deserts and caves, the millions of charred and 
bleached bones that have gathered from the days of the elect 
Able down to the last martyr's? 

Do you say this account reaches back too far? Not as far 
as we are authorized to go. Hear the word of Jesus: Matt., 
xxv, 34 : " Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, 
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared 
for you from the foundation of the world." Here is the demon- 
stration of the truth that God's first designs are lastly carried 
into execution. He made a world, then made man to occupy 
it. He prepared a kingdom, a church for his own glory, then 
elected man to occupy it until he comes again. John, xvii., 5 : 
"And now, oh, Father, glorify Thou me with Thine Own Self 
with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." 

At what time and on what occasion was this prayer made? 

After he had brought that needed light and the world had 
seen and owned it to be a light from God. Yea, devils had 
tested it and trembled, because it was that light which shone in 
darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. Note the 
occasion when the broken link was mended and the capital of 
the broken column, which had so long lain moulding beneath 
the debris and rubbish of ages, was found, raised and stood 
upon its foundation, the rock of faith, and pointed heavenward. 
A watcher was placed on the pediment and ordered to turn his 
face to the four parts of the heaven and the earth and cry, say- 
ing, "(Jod was in Christ from all eternity reconciling the world 
unto Himself.'' In looking down the unknown ages the crier 
spied the church of Christ in its primitive glory. Filled with 
amazement and holy awe, he said, "Who is she that looketh 

African Baptist Church. 

forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and 
terrible as an army with banners ?" — Song of Sol., 6-10. 

3d. Christ says to His church, "Ye are in the world, but ye 
are not of the world, for there are three that bear record in 
heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost ; and these 
three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, 
the Spirit, the water and the blood ; and these three are one." — 
I. John, v., 7-8. Was not Christ our witness in the world? 
Though the world was made by Him, did the world know 
Him ? ISTo, no. Has the world any better knowledge of U im 
to-day than it had then ? No. The world has a better concep- 
tion of His will and purposes as it grows wiser, but not of Him. 
The world's wisdom is foolishness. Christ's church and Him- 
self are one. If the world does not know Him, it cannot know 
His church, for what He saith of Himself is synonymous of His 

4th. The Baptist church history, we claim, is written in blood. 
During all the world's dark ages they were preserved among 
all the nations and called by all manner of names — heretics in 
the first two centuries. They mingled with the Messalians, 
Euchites, Montanists; in the third, fourth and fifth centuries with 
the Novatians, and Donatists ; in the seventh with the Pauli- 
cians ; in the tenth, the Paterines; in the eleventh century, 
the Waldenses, Albigensis, Henicians and Christians. They 
have ever been in principle and spirit really the same people. 
These sects grew and flourished, though they suffered great 

The story of the slaughtering is enough to curdle the blood in 
the veins of a demon, yet they faltered not. They contended 
for the faith, and that faith was that the church founded by the 
great Baptist leader had not for its foundation, "gold, silver, 
v precious stones, wood, hay, stubble (I. Cor., iii. 12), but that 
Christ might dwell in your hearts by faith ; to make all men 
see what is the fellowship of the mystery which, from the be- 
ginning of the world hath been hid in God, Who created all 
things by Jesus Christ. To this intent that now unto princi- 
palities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the 
church the manifold wisdom of God. The church, then, is that 
source of light to the world, and the hope and joy of its mem- 
bers. The world is dependent upon the church for this light, 
each member of this mystic body being a small principality in 
himself. Each is accountable for his portion to be done. Do 
we know what we should do, and when we have done enough ? 
The good book tells us, "What your hands find to do, do it with 
all thy might." Much is yet to be done. One hundred years 

Histo.iy of the Fird 

have passed since this Southland, this State of Georgia, learned 
to their astonishment that the negro had knowledge of his elec- 
tion, by (rod's grace, unto salvation through Christ, and courage 
to tell "it. 

Andrew Bryan lifted the light, unfolded the Baptist banner, 
with a handful of ignorant slaves to hear his words. No doubt, 
many times he knew not what he should say to the few. But 
100 years have told a wonderful story. The ignorant hearers 
have passed away; their places are filled with bright, intelli- 
gent listeners. And while Father Bryan, the pioneer, patriot 
and hero of a hundred years ago, compelled by death to vacate 
his pulpit, what has been the result? Of what have we to 
boast to-day? A grand army, a full corps of students, well 
equipped, holding in their hands the gavel of the church and 
the sword of knowledge, they are clothed in beautiful regalia, 
166.429 strong. 

From the mountain to the seaboard the line is unbroken. No 
discord in our song, no uncertain sound in the written edict, 
one Lord, one faith and one baptism. Again, old and young 
have learned to chant the song that Father Bryan sang in 
his day: 

"Shall Wisdom cry aloud, 

And not a speech be heard? 

The voice of God's eternal word, 
Deserves it no regard ? 

"I was His chief delight, 

His everlasting son, 
Before the first of all His work, 

Creation, was begun. 

"Before the flying clouds, 

Belore the solid land, 
Before the fields, before the floods, 

I dwelt at his right hand. 

"When he adorned the skies, 

And built them I was there, 
To order when the sun should rise, 

And marshal every star. 

"When he poured out the sea, 

And spread the flowing deep, 
I gave the flood a firm decree, 

In its own bound to keep. 

"Upon the empty air 

The earth was balanced well; 
With joy I saw the mansion where 

The sons of men should dwell. 

"My busy thought at first. 

On thi-ir salvation raa, 
Kre sin was born or Adam's dust 

Was fashioned to man. 

"Then come, receive my grace, 

Ye children, and be wise; 
Happy the man that keeps my ways, 

The 'man that shuns them dies.'' 

African Baptist Church. 235 

The first thought of Christ from creation was to save, then to 
prepare a plan of salvation, then to prepare a kingdom, both 
in heaven and on earth, to keep securely the saved. Then 
created he the subject, man, from whom he would make his 
selection. Lastly, he elected them for his own glory. 

Who are they that are elected to grace ? 

Hear the answer : All things work together for good to them 
that love God, to them who are called, 

How called? 

According to God's purpose. For whom He did foreknow 
He also predestined and foreordained. " Christ did foreknow 
His people ; not simply knowing them, but His foreknowledge 
of them as His people included the gracious purpose of bringing 
them into a state of salvation, not for His church, but through 
His church. All who are saved shall be saved through His 
well-ordered plan, His church. Moreover, whom He did 
predestine, them He also called ; and whom He called he also 
justified; and whom He justified He also glorified. And to 
such, tribulations, nor distress, nor persecutions, nor famine, 
nor nakedness, peril nor sword — not if all the human powers 
of earth and demons of the infernal regions, nor death itself — 
if every angel of the paradisaical world should come down 
and stand in the pathway of Christ's church, the Baptist church, 
they would fail to separate us from Him. He has called us, and 
to Him we must go. 

8th. Our peculiarities — The Baptist church practices. 

It may be said those sects heretofore mentioned did not claim 
the name Baptist. We will admit that. While minus the name, 
see their practice : 

1. No man could join the band until he could give the neces- 
sary proof of a regenerate heart. 

2. He could in no wise be received into fellowship until he 
had passed into the door baptized by immersion. 

3. They had no desire for amalgamation with any others. 
Like some rivulet which pursues its way from the mountains 

to the sea, parallel to, but never mingling with the broad and 
turbulent stream, they have come down from the first ages of 
Christianity preserving and transmitting to posterity the finest 
form of practical godliness and gospel faith known to history 
during those long succeeding centuries of darkness and corrup- 
tion. Are not these the same peculiarities of the Baptist church 
to-day? We have no objection' to exterior, yet we are more 
than jealously concerned about the interior. All who favor the 
band and join it must give good satisfaction of being born 
again. There are 80,165,000 christians in the world who speak 


!?oti History of the First 

the English language. The Baptists number among them 8.06 
per cent, of the whole number. After more than eighteen 
hundred years of fire, sword and starvation, after drenching 
hills and valleys of every land, America not excepted, with 
the blood of untold millions, yet the Baptists live and are 
not a barren waste. The life and spirit of her captain are in- 
fused into every fibre. They rose like the green bay tree planted 
by living waters ; her leaves will not wither. Like the poplar 
tree her beauty. Like the cedar of Lebanon her strength. She 
lives because Christ lives. She is beautiful because she is 
dressed in her bridal robes. She is pregnant with strength be- 
cause she is held by the law and gospel. So she has a wall and 
a cannon loaded with sixty-six deadly missies — the whole Bible. 
The Baptists have eaten the whole book. Part of it may be 
bitter, yet there is sweetness enough in the twenty-nine new 
books to assure the Baptist there is no danger. 

" One army of the living God, 
To His command we bow, 
Part of the host have crossed the flood, 
And part are 1 crossing now." 



Dear Brethren of the Baptist Family of Georgia: 

In appearing before you on this auspicious occasion I feel 
deeply grateful for the honor conferred upon me in being in- 
vited to speak on this occasion. 

1st. We will speak of the faithfulness of our fathers, who, 
being called of God to enter into their fields of labor, did it 
faithfully, believing that they built on the foundation which 
was laid by Jesus Christ. They were faithful in preaching the 
gospel of Christ as they understood it. They lived in the dark 
age of the world, yet they held fast and struggled for liberty . 
They, faithful to their principles as Baptists, did not let the 
1 lanner of the Lord Jesus trail in the dust. 

L'<1. Their Christian zeal. They were zealous in the cause of 
the Divine Master. Though their enemies were strong and 
active, they remembered the words of the Apostle Paul, u Be 
ve steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the 
Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in 
the Lord." 

African Baptist Church. 237 

3d. Their trials and long suffering. In 1630 Eoger Williams 
established a Baptist church in this country, but not without 
great suffering. He contended for soul liberty. The Baptists 
have furnished quite their share of martyrs and fully their 
quota of able men fighting for the divorce of church and state, 
and contending that man should worship God according as he 
understood the dictates of the gospel. All through the winding 
ages the Baptists have been called to endure keen sacrifice and 
terrible suffering. Their suffering has tended to develop their 
strength, and made them search the scriptures, which they 
have used to the discomfort of their opponents. Let us rejoice 
that there has been no disposition upon the part of Baptists in 
any age to shun the hallowed road of suffering, which is the 
King's highway. For 100 years our denomination has been 
contending with wickedness in high places. At times it seemed 
that the hallowed old ship would go down, but it was upheld 
by a hand divine, and for an hundred years she has been con- 
tending with the mad billows of life's tempestuous sea. Our 
fathers planted the banner of the Lord here, and we are deter- 
mined that it shall not trail in the dust. A century has demon- 
strated the fact that their labors were not vain in the Lord ; 
neither shall ours be 

Father Andrew Bryan, in much trouble and sheer suffering, 
planted the first negro Baptist church in this State an hundred 
years ago. He was whipped until he bled profusely, but his 
blood was but an heaven-born fertilizer, to enrich and make 
grow the heavenly plant". His tears were bottled by a covenant- 
keeping God, and his groans a loving Jesus heard. From four, 
the church soon numbered hundreds, and later on, thousands. 
"So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." 

Father Andrew Marshall followed him only to suffer as he 
did for the same cause. He was a great man, and the people, 
white and black, felt him. He swayed an influence second to 
none over men. The people would obey him at will. Soon 
after this Father Caesar McGrady, of Augusta, came forth bear- 
ing the olive branch of peace, and the Springfield Baptist 
Church, of Augusta, Ga., came forth fair as the morning. Rev. 
Jacob Walker, Rev. Kelly Low, Rev. Cyrus Thornton, of Au- 
gusta, and Rev. W J. Campbell, Henry Cunningham, of Sa- 
vannah, are also among those who did valiant service in the 
cause of Christ among our people. To this list of worthies may 
be added Revs. Frank F. Bealle, Peter Johnson, Henry Johnson, 
Henry Watts, of Augusta, Frank Quarles, of Atlanta, Rev. 
Jacob Wade, of Thomasville, Rev. Owen George, of Atlanta, 
E. Rucker, of Columbus, and a host of others who have been 

?JS History of the First 

long since gathered in peace to the saints' rest. "These all 
died in the faith, not having received the promises, but having 
seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced 
them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on 
the earth." 

The church edifices an hundred years ago were very common. 
They could not have been otherwise. They were built by poor 
slaves who could not control a moment of their own time. It 
is a wonder that they built any at all. It is wonderful how 
God blessed and led along our fathers in those dark, bloody 
days. They preached with a burning eloquence that did as 
much to astonish the slaveholders in those days as did the ignor- 
ant Galilean fishermen in the early days of Christianity. The 
fathers have a very few of their representatives now living. 
Deal tenderly with them, young men. Do not run over them 
because you are educated, young and strong. Nothwithstanding 
their superstition, the people are living in them. Take time, 
the field will be cleared quite soon enough, and waiting for you 
before you are ready for the work. These fathers will soon 
join the flock above, and you will have all the room you want. 

Just twenty-three years ago God tore loose the iron bars of 
slavery and set us free. Many of the fathers prayed for this 
but did not live to sqe it. They look down from the upper 
world upon 166,429 negro Baptists in Georgia. From four they 
have come. George Leile, Andrew Bryan, Jesse Peter, An- 
drew Marshall, Henry Cunningham, Jacob Walker, Caesar Mc- 
Grady, and all of our fathers must be looking down from the 
balconies of the New Jerusalem rejoicing with us at the glo- 
rious success that has attended the army of the Lord for these 
one hundred years. A little while, dear fathers, and we will 
be there with you. A few more battles and the captain will 
call us off of the field of battle to join the flock above and the 
church of the first-born that is written in heaven. 

" O when, thou city of my God, 
Shall I Thy courts ascend. 
Where congregations ne'er break up, 
And Sabbaths have no end." 

African Baptist Church. 239 


By Rev. W H. Mcintosh, D. D., Theological Instructor of the Negro 

Baptists of Georgia under the State Mission Board 

(White), Macon, Ga. 

By this I understand what is necessary to an effective ministry 
among the colored people, and to this I reply, Just what is 
requisite to an effective ministry among any other people. The 
gospel is intended for all men; there is no respect of persons 
with God (Bom., ii, 11). All men are sinners; all men need 
salvation ; all men are saved in the same way, by repentance 
towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The qualifi- 
cations of a minister are given in the Scriptures, and so clearly 
that there need be no misunderstanding: "No man taketh this 
honor unto himself but he that is called of God as was Aaron." 
—Ex., 28; I. Heb., v, 4. 

I believe that God calls men to preach, and when he, calls 
them he makes it apparent to them and to their brethren. 
What, then, are the qualifications of a minister of the gospel? 
A regenerated heart, a heart that has experienced the power of 
God's spirit in the renewal of his nature? As the new birth is 
the condition of entrance into the kingdom of God, so is it pre- 
eminently essential to him who is to lead others into that king- 
dom. This is so plain that I need not dwell upon it further 
than to say it is now so easy to get into the church that it be- 
comes us to be doubly guarded, in setting apart men to preach, 
that they give good evidence that they themselves "have passed 
from death unto life," who are to be the guides and instructors 
of others. But all regenerate men are not called to preach. 
The desire of a good man to preach is not the only thing to be 
considered. David desired to build a house for God. It was 
a good desire. God accepted the desire, but not the work. 
That was reserved for Solomon, David's son. "If a man desire 
the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." — I. Timothy, 
iii., 1. Then follows the qualifications. Of the existence of the 
desire the candidate himself is the exclusive judge, but of his 
fitness for the office, the church and those who are called to 
lay hands upon him and set him apart to the work, are the 
judges. Let us look at these qualifications. "A bishop must 
be blameless," of irreproachable character for truth, honesty, 
chastity — in a word, an upright, godly, godlike man; "the hus- 
band of one wife," vigilant, circumspect, watchful over himself 
as well as others; "of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt 

History of the First 

to teach," having the ability to impart instruction to others. 
He is a teacher and must have something to teach. This im- 
plies a knowledge of the scriptures and a disposition to acquire 
it. " Study to show thyself approved unto God. A workman 
that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of 
truth." — II. Tim.,ii, 15. " Give attendance to reading, to exhor- 
tation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which 
was given by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the 
presbytery. Meditate upon these things ; give thyself wholly 
to them ; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed to 
thyself, and unto the doctrine ; continue in them ; for in doing 
this thou shall both save thyself and them that hear thee." — I. 
Tim., iv, 13-16. Now what does all this teach? Why, that the 
man of God must have a knowledge of the things God has re- 
vealed in His word; for "All scripture is given by inspiration of 
God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, 
for instruction in righteousness : that the man of God may be 
perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." — II. Tim., 
iii, 16. Here is the foundation of spiritual knowledge open to 
all, and he is wise who drinks of the pure water of life. 

There is no prescribed amount of learning of the schools 
which qualifies a man for the ministry, but he must have a 
knowledge of the scriptures — a knowledge of the things he is 
to teach others. There is a thought with some that if a man 
wishes to preach the church should ordain or license him ; that 
his desire constitutes a call. I do not find it so in the word of 
God. There must be a desire on the part of the candidate, and 
the apostles say it is a good desire, but he lays down other 
qualifications quite as important. Now when the candidate has 
a desire, of which, I'll repeat, he is the judge, and the church 
finds him qualified by moral character, and other requirements, 
among them ability to teach, where the church can approve 
him as a good man and capable of instructing men in the way 
of salvation, and the judgment of the church and his convictions 
of duty coincide, I think that may be regarded as a call to the 
ministry. In substance, these are the views of that good and 
wise man Andrew Fuller. I commend these thoughts to your 
consideration. Not my suggestions, but the thoughts of the 
holy spirit ; the rules which he has given in setting apart men 
to preach the gospel, by the observance of which you may have 
an effective ministry. Do not ordain a man to the ministry 
simply because he wants to be ordained. Do not ordain a man 
whose character is not above reproach. Do not ordain a man who 
is not "apt to teach." Yet if he had all the learning that all 
the schools and colleges in the land could afford, if he had the 

African Baptist Church. 2^1 

wisdom of Solomon, but did not give evidence of a'regenerated 
heart and a consecrated spirit, no consideration could induce 
me to lay these hands on him and set him apart to the work of 
the ministry. 

Sanctified learning is a blessing to its possessors, and to those 
who are brought under its influence, whether he be a preacher 
or a private member, of the church. I do not know that ignor- 
ance is a blessing to any one, and yet there are some who seem 
to set a premium upon it. They have the idea that the apos- 
tles of our Lord were unlearned and ignorant men, and there- 
fore that ignorance is not only no bar to the ministry but a 
recommendation to it. It is true the apostles had not what 
we would call a liberal education. They had not like Saul of 
Tarsus (after his conversion known as Paul) been brought up 
under the teachings of the wise men of that day, but they could 
read and write. Two of them — Matthew and John — wrote the 
gospels bearing their names. Peter wrote two epistles, and 
shows by his preaching that he was a man of remarkable abil- 
ity. John wrote in addition to the gospel bearing his name 
three epistles and the Book of Eevelations. James wrote one 
epistle, and Paul wrote and preached with power that made 
kings tremble. These men were inspired, but they were men 
of good common sense, and were for three years (except Paul) 
under the "Great Teacher," the wisest teacher the world ever 
saw, who "spake as never man spake." They witnessed His 
works, they heard His words and were His daily companions. 

Who ever had in the world's history such a teacher? And 
then on the day of Pentecost, by the miraculous gift of tongues, 
the ability to speak languages of which hitherto they were 
ignorant, they preached the gospel to Parthians and Medes and 
Elimites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in India, and 
Cappadocia, and Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in 
Egypt, and in the parts of Lybia, about Cyrene, strangers of 
Rome, Jews and Proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, who heard in 
their own tongues the wonderful works of God. I tell you they 
were the most learned ministers in everything pertaining to the 
subject of salvation and in human learning necessary to convey 
to others the knowledge of God and Christ, and heaven and 
eternal life, that the world ever saw or ever will see again. 

God does not work miracles now in the bestowment of such 
gifts upon men, but he does require them to study His word, 
acquaint themselves with His will therein revealed, that they 
may be wise to win souls. "The entrance of the word giveth 
light; it giveth understanding to the simple.'' — Ps. cxix, 130. 



History of the First 

The men who preached the gospel in the early history of 
Georgia were not men of great learning, but like Apollus they 
were "mighty in the scriptures." They had few books, but 
they had the book, the word of God, and they drank in its 
divine lessons as a thirsty man drinks water. They studied the 
Bible on their knees and when they went before the people they 
carried a message of divine truth to be enforced by the power 
of the holy ghost. I point to these men as illustrations of what 
may be accomplished when men are consecrated to God and do 
the best they can with their opportunities. Many of our early 
preachers preached all day, and by the light of pine-knot fires 
studied such books as they could get, but chiefly the Bible. I 
hold in reverence the men who in heat or cold, in poverty and 
persecution, with apostolic zeal preached the gospel and laid 
the foundation of denominational prosperity in which we re- 
joice to-day. The progress of Baptist principles in Georgia, 
expressed by figures, counts up : White Baptists connected with 
the conventions, 103,232; friendly to, but not connected with 
it, 27,286; anti-missionaries, 12,000; total, 142,518; total col- 
ored Baptists, 166,429; grand total, 308,947. 

"So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." — Acts, 
xix, 20. Among those of the colored preachers who deserve 
special mention, and who have done good service in the cause 
of Christ in this part of the State and in this city, were Andrew 
Bryan, the first pastor of this church, Andrew Marshall, Henry 
Cunningham, and, in later days, Cox, Campbell and many others 
occupying less prominent positions who were godly men, labor- 
ing in word and doctrine, were true to God and man. I men- 
tion these because they were identified with the origin and 
growth of the denomination before and during the times of the 
old Sunbury Association. There are others as prominent in 
parts of Georgia, but I have not the record of their labors. 

This church enjoyed for many years the labors of Andrew 
Bryan and Andrew Marshall. The latter I knew personally. 
He was a remarkable man and wielded a large influence, as 
did also Henry Cunningham. They were good men, useful in 
their day, " and their works follow them." 

The opportunities of colored preachers of to-day are far 
greater than theirs. You have schools and books and a semi- 
nary especially for young men looking to the ministrj^. If to 
obtain an education you have to practice self-denial, let me say 
to you, an education will be worth all the sacrifices you may 
make to secure it. To the young men I would say, do not be 
impatient to enter upon the work of the ministry before you 
have made the best preparation that you can make. If you 

African Baptist Church. 2^3 

have not the means to pay your way at school for a year, work 
half the year and go to school the other half. Better live hard 
and dress in plain clothes, like John the Baptist, than to rush 
into the ministry without any preparation for it. A man who 
resolves to have an education, I mean a young man unincum- 
bered with a family and has the pluck in him to endure hard- 
ness, will accomplish his purpose. And do not be in a hurry to 
marry. "Marriage is honorable," but an education is indis- 
pensable to him who would "make full proof of his ministry." 
But there is a number who are not able to take advantage of 
the schpols. They have families dependent upon them, and 
some are advanced in life. What can they do? I am glad to 
testify to the self-improvement of many of this class who are 
studying the Bible and getting books as best they can, and who 
are anxious to receive instructions by means of institutes and 
in every way in which it is accessible. You want help. Your 
white brethren are deeply concerned about you and earnestly 
desire to extend the helping hand in every practical way. 


" The report of the Committee on Colored Population was sub- 
mitted by Dr. Sydnor, of Virginia. The report expressed convic- 
tion Of the importance of fraternal relation between the two 
races, and the duty of the whites to extend a helping hand to the 
colored people. In some respects the condition of the negroes 
is better, and in some respects worse. The negroes prefer their 
own people to minister to them, and our effort should be to help 
them with counsel and money. The committee approve of the 
work the Home Board is doing in this direction. 

"Rev. Miller, of Arkansas, approves the report, and speaks 
words of commendation of the work the negroes are doing. 
He urges that we help them. 

"Rev. Booker, colored, of Arkansas, speaks to the convention. 
He is not here to speak on social or political questions, nor an 
exodus movement. He is here to present the claims of the 
colored Baptists. We are one denominationally and sectionally. 
You are ahead of us, and we need your help. Especially I 
speak on education. In Arkansas we have established a col- 
ored Baptist college. The past year we had forty-five preachers 
at our school. What we need is your help. We need light 
among our people in Arkansas. It is your interest to help us." 


"The interest of the preachers is unabated, and they express 
gratitude for the service rendered. Many of them exhibit a 

U History of the First 


commendable desire for improvement, and receive gladly such 
aid as I can give them in procuring books. This I have 
been enabled to do to a limited extent by recommendations 
to the American Baptist Publication Society for Ministers' 
Libraries, which are furnished gratuitously by the society. 
The colored Baptists of Georgia are preparing to celebrate by 
appropriate services the hundredth anniversary of the organiza- 
tion of the First African Baptist Church in Savannah. It is 
worthy of record that this church, with others subsequently 
organized, was recognized by their white brethren as a regular 
Baptist church. As such it united with the Sunbury Associa- 
tion, and in its ministry and work in the cause of true religion 
has an honorable history. Upon the whole there are hopeful 
signs of progress in the ministry of the colored Baptists of 

It will be seen from the extracts which I have read that you 
have the sympathy of your white brethren ; that they are ready 
to help by counsel and with money as far as they are able. 
The Georgia Baptist convention and the Home Mission Board 
of the Southern Baptist Convention have shown their willing- 
ness to aid you, not only by cooperation in the work of mission- 
aries but by the appointment of a theological instructor, whose 
exclusive business it is to hold institutes for the benefit of your 
preachers and deacons and all others who choose to attend. Our 
Northern brethern have established a seminary in Atlanta, to 
which I advise every man, young and old, who can attend it 
to do so. Take every opportunity to get knowledge that will 
enable you to understand God's word under the enlightening 
power of the Holy Spirit. If you cannot go to Atlanta, do the 
best you can at home. 

A minister is said to be a workman. Paul says, "According 
to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master- 
builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. 
But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon." — I. 
Cor., iii, 10. These words should ring in the ears and fill with 
trembling the heart of every man who stands before the people 
as a messenger from God. As a workman you cannot be too 
careful of the doctrines you preach and the materials you bring 
into the house of God. An intelligent consecrated ministry is 
the most important factor in the elevation, physically, intellec- 
tually and morally, of any people. You have opportunities 
never before opened to your race. Great opportunities bring 
grave responsibilities. With you preachers rests largely the 
future destiny of jour race. You are their chosen leaders- 

African Baptist Church. 2J/.5 

you mould their opinions, and give tone to society: You need 
to be " wise as serpents and harmless as doves." It is a tremen- 
dous responsibility that you bear ; not only their well-being in 
the present life, but you are dealing with souls that shall live 
in heaven or hell forever. 

" 'Tis not a cause of small import 
The pastor's care demands, 
But what might fill an angers heart, 
And filled the Saviour's hands." 

I pity the man who preaches for the praise of men^who fails 
to declare the whole counsel of God lest -he offend his hearers. 
He will get his reward, but it will not be the '■ Well done, good 
and faithful servant," from the lips of the Master and the final 
Judge. The man who preaches for filthy lucre's sake, "sup- 
posing that gain is godliness," will receive his wages, but it will 
not be the "crown of life" that Paul expected. " To this man 
will I look, saith the Lord, even to him that is poor and of 
a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word." — Is., lxvi, 2. 
"Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord 
of Hosts." — Zech., iv, 6. I have confined myself to this particu- 
lar view of the subject because I regard it the very foundation 
of an effective ministry, and an effective ministry as an absolute 
necessity to the progress of your people, socially, morally, and 
in their material prosperity. 

We view with heartfelt gratification the evidences of progress 
and prosperity manifest on this occasion. This is but the 
beginning of your career. What its future history shall be 
must depend chiefly upon yourselves. As the years roll on 
may they find you " forgetting those things that are behind, and 
reaching forth to those things that are before pressing towards 
the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ 
Jesus." And when the warfare of life is over may each of you, 
preachers and people, be found in Christ and receive "the 
crown of life." 


An Address Delivered by Rev. Alexander Ellis at the Centennial Cele- 
bration, June 7th, 1888. 

This is rather a comprehensive subject, and to some extent it 
is fraught with vagueness. Our wants are many and varied. 
Some are reasonable while others are unreasonable. One 
minister may want a house and lot; another a horse and buggy 

History of the First 

One a new suit of clothes ; another a few books. One may 
want popularity ; another only a little rent-money, etc. In- 
deed it would be a difficult task to find any two men who want 
precisely the same thing. 

But as our subject is a comprehensive one, and as our time is 
limited, we will confine ourselves to one aspect of it, and so 
endeavor to suggest a few thoughts relative unto and deducible 
from it. 

In order fully to appreciate and discuss this subject, there- 
fore, let us consider a few things pertaining to the Present Age 
and the Christian ministry suitable for it. 

We are living in an age which is unquestionably the ripest in 
the history of the world. It is an age laden with all the forms 
of good — civilization, freedom, religion, virtue and happiness, 
all of which have been growing and accumulating from the 
beginning. This is an age richer in knowledge, experience and 
all the means of enjoyment than all the former ages taken 
together. It is richer in hope and expectation, because it is 
nearer the millennial day than any other age. It abounds in 
schemes and agencies for realizing this epoch more than any 
other. Moreover, it is the age in which we live, which has 
made us what we are, on which we reflect the influence of our 
character and doings, whether for good or evil, and which we 
are bound to render mightily efficient in ameliorating and bless- 
ing the ages which are to come. 

Many are the hearts at this moment beating and panting, 
and many are the minds which are eagerly contriving and reso- 
lutely determined to do something which shall not only benefit 
and adorn the present age but create for it a perpetual claim 
on the warmest gratitude and sublimest admiration of coming 
generations. Legislators and politicians, philosophers and men 
of science, moralists and religionists, are all intent on a new 
and better order of things and the best method of achieving it. 

The elevation of the country and the world in intelligence, in 
justice, in liberty, in moral improvement, and in all the means of 
private and social happiness is a subject which is occupying a 
greater number of ardent and generous spirits to-day more so 
than at any former period. As a matter of course our sympa- 
thies are chiefly with the religionists, those who profess to have 
no hope of the true advancement of either the present or any 
future generation save on the basis of a genuine Christianity. 

In common with other Protestant denominations, as Baptists 
we believe, and do insist, that the true enlightenment, reno- 
vation and happiness of this or any future age is absolutely 
dependent upon the deep and wide diffusion of the religion of 

African Baptist Church.. 24? 

Jesus Christ, which calls for a ministry "worthy and well qual- 
ified" to preach its doctrines and precepts and administer its 
sacred ordinances. But to do this we must have a ministry 
much better reinforced in mental strength and vigor, as well 
as in more varied attainments and in more liberal tempo- 
ral provision. Churches and communities are to-day calling 
for a ministry better able to meet all the requirements of the 
present age, and ministers are looking for churches better able 
to compensate them for their devotion and service, their capaci- 
ties and gifts, so that they may live above penury and want. A 
hungry minister cannot preach. An untidy preacher cannot 
fitly represent the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the quintes- 
sence of purity. 

A preacher may not necessarily be profoundly versed in all 
sciences and literature; he may not be a master of all lan- 
guages, not even those which are called sacred ; he may not 
have threaded all the labyrinths and mazes of history ; he may 
not be able to discuss the principles and deductions of philoso- 
phy ; he may not have slaked his thirst at all the fountains of 
poetry, whose pellucid streams flow from the verdant land of 
imagination, emptying themselves into the s ocean of the soul, 
where the tranquil breeze of love regales its recipient into the 
ecstacies of devotion ; he may not have thoroughly studied and 
mastered the dogmas and tenets of all religions, and he may 
not be equipped for encountering and successfully repelling 
every conceivable objection against Christianity ; but he wants, 
and should have, the grand prerequisites of natural capacity, 
good common sense, and, above all, genuine piety. He should 
know the word of God, and be respectably read in general 
literature. In a word, he should have a mind to understand, 
a heart to feel, a tongue to speak and a message meet to be 
delivered. This last is a stern necessity. 

In one respect, therefore, and that a deeply vital one, there 
is a demand on the present ministry of all denominations to see 
to it that its mental and spiritual life be of the strength and 
energy commensurate with the progress and calls of this pres- 
ent age. There are certain characteristics of the period which 
can be successfully dealt with by no ministry of ordinary mental 
vigor and attainment. Spiritual life, in its proper and normal 
degree, consists of love to God for his adorable perfections and 
benignant acts, of grateful devotedness to Christ for his match- 
less condescension and self-sacrifice in the work of our salva- 
tion, of an insatiable hungering and thirsting after righteous- 
ness in all its forms for Christ's sake, of warmest benevolence, 
in imitation of Him, for all our brethren of the human race, 

14$ History of the First 

and of readiness to do or suffer whatever may savingly befriend 
them. It starts at the touch and thought of sin, is smitten and 
captivated by the beauty of holiness, and longs to be pervaded 
and clothed with it. It is familiar with the glories of the in- 
visible world, is not seduced into a false estimate of the specious 
shadows of terrene things, sees with instant and piercing glance 
the priceless worth of souls, and is persuaded that in heaven, as 
well as upon earth, there, is no work so angelic or God-like as to 
labor for the salvation of mankind. 

]STow it may be doubted whether the piety of the ministry in 
any section of the christian church is at present of this divine 
order. Otherwise, how is it that their labors, so extended and 
multiplied, not only from week to week, but from day to day, 
and seconded by all the manifold auxiliaries and agencies which 
they have created, gain so little on the irreligion and worldliness 
of the multitudes whom they are endeavoring to quicken in the 
life of godliness? Is it not the universal feeling with them- 
selves and all who are interested in their success that there is a 
mournful disproportion between the efforts made and the 
results obtained? that for one who is rejoicing because his 
labors are richly blessed, there are twenty discouraged and per- 
plexed by the fact that, while they have prophesied to "the 
valley of dry bones," there has been no divine breath to revive 
and animate them? And nothing would be more hopeful, 
whether for present or future progress, than for the whole 
ministry — of whatever rank, or race, or religion — to lay this 
matter to heart and to ask God, in deep humiliation and earn- 
est prayer, that He would be pleased to shed light on their 
counsels and doings, and so replenish them and their labors 
with the grace of His holy spirit that in ardor of zeal and 
strength of faith, in personal sanctity and unsparing devoted- 
ness, and in quenchless sympathy with the utmost claims of 
their momentous vocation, they might resume their labors and 
find in them an unwonted refreshment, recompense and grati- 
fication. This would put them into harmony with the wants 
of the age, and give them power over whatever may have thus 
far resisted them, more so than the largest endowment of 
learning, knowledge and eloquence, by an increase and quick- 
ening of their spiritual life. They would have an instinctive 
perception of the truths most proper to be taught and enjoined- 
would deliver them with the divine and captivating unction 
which surpasses all the arts of rhetoric, and with the conscious 
presence of the Holy One granted onl} T to lowly self-distrust 
and prayerful reliance on His aid. Xor would they have to 
lament that but few of superior capacity and gifts aspired to 

African Baptist Church. 2Jf9 

share the responsibility of their sacred office. Their improved 
and enlightened ministrations would infuse fresh life into their 
flocks, and thus yield a far greater number of pious young men, 
who, abandoning the mediaeval rant and cant, would show 
themselves " worthy and well qualified " for their high christian 
service by the intelligence of their utterances and the gravity 
of their demeanor, while their own commanding example, now 
attracting so much veneration and love, and adorned with the 
fruits of holy usefulness would fire those youthful aspirants 
with a hallowed and noble emulation to be admitted to their 
priestly ranks without any other lure or compensation than the 
smile of their Saviour and the opportunity of serving his divine 
cause of salvation and benevolence. 

And such a ministry whose spiritual life had been raised to 
that vigor and energy worthy of the faithful service of Christ, 
and our obligations to him would be unquestionably equal to 
the necessities of this day and generation. Shall we not, there- 
fore, arise and watch and pray ? Mourning over our deficien- 
cies, humbled on account of our past failures, surveying the 
urgent claims of the multitude around us, and knowing wherein 
our chief strength for answering them lies, shall we not betake 
ourselves to the throne of grace and plead mightily for such a 
baptism of the holy spirit as shall conquer self and make us 
instrumental in effecting the salvation of others? So shall we 
best serve our age and realize in its sublimest sense the double 
benediction of being "blest and made a blessing." 



The first thing necessary to prepare a man to preach the 
gospel of Christ is to receive the gospel himself. The apostle 
says, "First take heed to thyself, then to the doctrines." The 
preaching of the gospel is the proclaiming the news of salvation 
through Christ. No man can recommend Christ well except he 
knows Him. It is the religion of Christ that gives to the min- 
ister that burning eloquence that no training can give. Religion 
makes the flash of the eyes, the enthusiastic gestures, which are 
great auxiliaries in producing the desired effect. True religion 
alone makes a man a true representative of Christ on the earth. 

JoO History of the First 

A distinguished divine tells of a missionary who preached in a 
desolate country the glorious gospel of the kingdom, where the 
people could not understand the many doctrinal truths related, 
but the fiery zeal with which he spoke moved thousands to 

The next very important need is good morals. Even a 
christian with corrupt morals will fail to accomplish much 
good. Of the minister it ought to be said, "Behold an Israelite, 
indeed, in whom there is no guile." These prerequisites in 
ministerial character are not more wanting in the negro's min- 
isterial qualification than that of any other people. But there 
are two things necessary that are more wanting generally in 
the colored ministry than in many others. 

Education. — The indispensable need of ministerial education 
can't be too much emphasized. Education, according to Web- 
ster, is the cultivation of the mind and the training of the man- 
ners. Education is not the learning of a few Greek sentences, 
or to solve a few mathematical problems, but it is the result of 
these investigations upon the mind. It causes the mind to ex- 
pand, and enables it to grapple with thousands of mysteries. 
Had we continued perfect as God created the first man, per- 
haps the perfection of our nature could have supplied in itself a 
sufficient tutor. As sickness and disease have necessitated the 
use of medicines and physicians to restore nature to its normal 
state, so the only end of education is to restore our natural 
nature to its proper state. Education is reason borrowed, which 
goes as far as possible to supply original perfection. It has 
been said that as physic may justly be called the art of restor- 
ing health, so education should be called the art of recovering 
to man his rational perfection. 

2d. The manners are very essential. To this end, Pythago- 
ras, Socrates, Plato and all of the ancient instructors labored. 
They endeavored to teach their pupils the nature of man, his 
true end, the right use of his faculties, the immortality of the 
soul, the agreeableness of virtue to the divine nature, the neces- 
sity of temperance, justice, mercy and truth. Education that 
does not refine the manners is not worth having. Education 
cultivates the mind, polishes the manners and opens up an 
avenue of new discoveries. It gives the possessor a keen-eyed, 
quick perception and a wonderful power of speech. 

If education is so necessary for the lawyer who represents 
our interest at the bar of legal justice, how much more neces- 
sary is it for him who must grapple with the deep mysteries of 
God and who must be the counselor of our souls to be edu- 
cated. No class of men appear before the public from two to 

African Baptist Church. 251 

three times a week as the clergy. No class of men appear 
before so large a number of persons at one time with original dis- 
courses as the preacher. Often the minister is called upon to 
speak upon the spur of the moment, hence the need of prepa- 
ration. When disease makes an inroad upon the system and 
preys upon constitution, prostrating its victims, how we seek 
the skilled physician. How the physician trembles in dealing 
out the remedies, seeing it is a dangerous case. Since the 
physician for the body must thus be prepared, how much more 
should the prescriber for the soul be. _A very distinguished 
divine once said: "I can meet the arguments of my opponent 
and look him in the face, but I can't walk up my pulpit stairs 
without my knees striking together in fear." 

Oh, how vast and important the work of saving souls. The 
scriptures say, " He that win souls is wise." The gospel 
must be preached sublimely though simply, and simply though 
sublimely. We live in an age of progress, in an age of mental 
excitements, and he that doth not heed the mandate, "get 
knowledge," must take a back seat. The vast number of men 
and women coming from our schools each year sets forth most 
strikingly the urgent need of an educated ministry. Water 
will seek its level. Other denominations are educating their 
ministry, and if our pulpits remain unfilled by intelligence, our 
own children will leave us and be caught in other nets. The 
apostles were not ignorant men ; they were in advance of the 
masses. Besides, the need of education could have been more 
easily dispensed with, since they walked in the immediate pres- 
ence of Christ. 

The fathers, whose names we revere and whose memory we 
cherish, have done well. They have accomplished much. We 
love them for it, and when they are gone and our kindness 
prompts us to look over the graves where their bodies shall lie, 
we will moisten their dust with our tears and exclaim, "Thank 
God the fathers lived." We must recollect that the fathers 
lived in a time when there were only two successful denomina- 
tions, Methodist and Baptist, and as the Baptists had the Bible 
on their side they easily predominated. But things are changiug. 
Silver-tongued orators of other denominations are trespassing 
on Baptist ground, and stealing the hearts of our young people. 

Catholicism is growing into popularity among thenegroes. The 
fathers did not have this to contend with. The Catholic church 
is building schools, teaching our children', riveting their doc- 
trine in them so strongly that it will not be easily removed. 
All they ask is to get the young, and they will have the future 
church. As our people become educated, they will seek the 

History of the First 

educated pulpit. Atheism, skepticism and Catholicism, all make 
it more important to have an educated minister. 


i:: The educated mind is always in search of truth. Always 
thirsting for more knowledge. Always exclaiming, "Give me 
understanding, for education is the only means of ascertaining 
that all men are fools." One book read again and again may 
lose its nutriment and become dry. We need good libraries 
containing books upon such subjects as we are compelled some- 
times to handle. Each minister ought to have such a library. 
If he alone cannot buy it, those in his community ought to raise 
a fund and secure it for him. The American Baptist Publica- 
tion Society has done much to aid the poor colored ministers in 
securing books. Many hundreds of dollars have been given to 
Georgia in this way. 


The minister is the greatest officer under heaven. His call- 
ing is of God. ISTo position should be so respected as his, for it 
is written, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of 
him that bringeth tidings of good, that publisheth salvation and 
saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth." — Is. lii, 7 

[Notwithstanding the dignity of the minister, the immensity 
of his work and the indespensible need of performing this task, 
he is the most poorly paid officer under heaven. The common 
idea among men is that the minister must necessarily be poor. 
The lawyer charges his fee and it is paid. The physician makes 
out his bill, presents it, and it is paid, but the poor minister, 
who is the spiritual counselor and soul's physician, must allow 
some one else to make out his bill, which is paid or neglected. 
The colored ministry is suffering for want of means to-day, 
and especially the Baptists. He is poorly promised and poorly 
paid. He is not promised much and not paid what he is prom- 
ised. Many people think that the minister ought to suffer ; that 
his wife ought to go half-dressed ; that he ought to be equal or 
below them in the financial situation in life. The very class 
who holds so tenaciously to these base ideas, are those when 
they see the minister in good circumstances, if erecting a dwell- 
ing, or accumulating property, however great was the sacrifice 
made to do this, will deny him their support and will implore 
others to do likewise. Hence we learn the rule to do well is 
to suffer, to have money is to lose friends, honor and salary. 
If the minister is expected to feed his flock with spiritual food 
then they must furnish means for him to support his family. 

African Baptist Church. 253 

It is said in the scripture that he who will not provide for his 
house is worse than an infidel. Oftentimes the minister can not 
preach because he is confused about his temporal affairs. This 
spirit among our people is very damaging to ministerial success. 
The servant is worthy of his hire. 




Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Great Centennial of 
the Colored Baptists of Georgia: 

Among others I have been appointed to address you at some 
hour upon the "Relation of the Colored and White Baptists of 
Georgia, As It Was in the Past, Is Now, and As It Should 
Be in the Future." According to the assignment of my name, I 
find it my duty to speak mainly of the relation as it was in the 
past, or the days that preceded emancipation. The white Bap- 
tists embraced, believed and preached the same doctrine that 
they embrace, believe and preach to-day, contending most 
sternly for a converted membership and the solemn immersion 
in water of the professed believer in the name of the Father, 
Son and Holy Ghost by a properly authorized administrator. 
The colored Baptists embraced, believed and preached the same, 
yea, the very same. 

One might suppose from the non or faint association of the 
white and colored Baptists in ante helium days, that there was 
no relation existing between them, but when we examine the 
basis of their hope in Christ and ferret out the principle of each, 
we find them the sons of the same Father, operated upon by the 
same Spirit, redeemed by the same Saviour, therefore they must 
have been brethren. The white Baptists believed and preached 
the very same doctrine that the apostles believed and preached, 
and the "brother in black" believed the same. Hence, before 
God they were brethren, and, as the apostle says, there was no 
difference. If the brother in white was drawn to God by the 
influence of the gospel, and by accepting Christ as the Redeemer, 
was adopted into His family, and thereby became sons of God, 
the brother in black was likewise drawn and adopted, placed 
in the same category, with the same identical relationship to 

On account of condition or circumstances one may ignore a 
brother by actions, and refuse to accord to him a brother's 
recognition, but it does not destroy the relationship. In the 

.'.74 History of the First 

by-gone days the Baptist church was entered by white people 
by repentance, regeneration and baptism by a properly author- 
ized administrator. The colored people did the same, or en- 
tered the church the same way. I assure you, that with your 
humble servant there is nothing pleasant in recalling the past, 
fraught with such indifference as may appear in discussing this 
subject, but history says that we are now 100 years old, and the 
world presumes that when one has lived so long, when he talks 
the truth should be told. So, if in this discussion you should 
get a glimpse of anything dark and unworthy of a Baptist, you 
will pardon your servant, as this is the first hundred years he 
has seen. 

In most of the white churches there was a colored element 
attached, who had sought the same Saviour under trying circum- 
stances. They came with fear and trembling and related their 
experience, and if it met the approbation of their owners, who 
sometimes were Baptists and sometimes strangers to my God, 
they were given a pass and allowed to unite with the church, and 
thank God, sometimes indorsing him or her as a good, obedient 
"nigger." Before the church they professed Christ ; in the sight 
of the people they were buried in baptism, which made us breth- 
ren, and the white Baptists knew it, and they also knew that 
Ave as a mass didn't know it. So the time of our ignorance 
God may have winked at, but it left us brethren still, and sons 
of the same God. 

If I may speak of individual treatment of this fraternity, the 
negro Baptists were quite as kind and polite as the white 
brother, for in the week the white Baptists called hina Pete, 
Hamp and Bill, but sometimes on Sunday they would say Peter, 
Hampton and William, while this negro Baptist, in his presence, 
would invariably use the same title, " Master," (behind his 
back something else, of course). Neither was perfect. 

Where the colored people existed, their converts were bap- 
tized by the pastor in charge, who was (of course) the white 
Baptist. When he had gotten through dipping the white con- 
verts, in walked the colored proselyte and was buried in the 
same water; yea, sometimes in the same spot. 

They worshipped in the same church edifice, occupying the 
seats in the rear. They sang the same songs the white Baptist 
sung, listened to the same sermon, joining in the service of 
song; but, I tell you, in this capacity they were not near so 
noisy as in these latter days. 

After the white Baptist had been served with bread and 
wine, it was taken to the brother in color. Though a little late, 
it was the same supper prayed over by the same pastor. 

African Baptist Church. 255 

Sometimes in the summer, when the days were long, the 
pastor would preach especially for them on Sunday afternoon, 
allowing them to advance nearer the front, and, if time allowed, 
they were permitted to offer public prayer, and this to our an- 
cestors was a jubilee, to know that sometimes they could call 
on their God at church. 

The pastor would preach to them earnestly and faithfully, 
and at times growing truly eloquent in his discourse, and, 
among many other good things, he would not forget to exhort 
them to obey their masters, to be honest and industrious, for 
this is your reasonable service. And, I* tell you, the doctrine 
to the brother in color was both appropriate and timely. 

When services closed they were quietly dismissed, and they 
hurried home on foot to take their brother's horse and bring 
him cool water to drink; but I can't say in the name of Christ. 
O ! yes, the colored brother was ready and willing, when duty 
came, to brave it like a man. If allowed to pray, he would 
arouse you with his pleadings; if called upon to preach, he 
would astonish you in doctrine, and if let loose to sing, he 
would charm his more favored brother until tears fell from his 
eyes. In other parts of the rural districts, where the popula- 
tion of the colored people would warrant, they were permitted 
to have a house of their own. They gladly siezed the oppor- 
tunity, felling the trees and hewing the timbers by night, 
singing : 

" Must I be carried to the skies 
On flowery beds of ease, 
While others fought to win the prize, 
And sailed through bloody seas ?' ; 

They were in these houses of worship preached to mainly by 
white pastors, but sometimes by a minister of their own color, 
such as Bev. Joseph Walker (deceased), Revs. Nathan Walker, 
Stepney Martin, Lewis B. Carter, E. C. Crumby, Father Bealle 
and some others. When this liberty was used they were over- 
seed by a white man, perhaps a white Baptist. 

This intimidated him, but being zealous of good works he 
prayed on. In this city, Macon, Atlanta and Augusta, they 
had hours of worship apart from the white Baptists, whose pul- 
pits were ably filled by such pioneers as Andrew Bryan, Andrew 
Marshall, Campbell, Tillinghast, Frank Quarles, Peter Johnson, 
Henry Watts and Henry Johnson. These men stood in doc- 
trine shoulder to shoulder with the white brother, holding up 
the gospel banner, crying, " One Lord, one faith, and one bap- 

Their churches with them contended earnestly for the faith 
once delivered to the saints. They required a converted mem- 

History of the First 

bership like their brother ; baptized like him, but quicker ; sang 
like him, but louder; prayed like him, but in more haste; 
preached like him, but under greater embarrassments, for they 
feared God, their masters and the devil. 

There were among the white Baptist family good men who 
helped the brother in black, such as Rev. J. H. T. Kilpatrick, 
Sr., deceased, the lamented son of Mercer, Eev. W H. Davis, 
Kev. E. R. Carswell, Sr., and Rev. W L. Kilpatrick. I say 
they have rendered valuable service in due time. 

Our brothers' situation and circumstances were better than 
ours, as they possessed capital, culture and land, while we had 
neither. But bless God, the same being was our Father and the 
same heaven our home. O yes, in the same length of time, 
with the same means, we can do all that our brother has done, 
except it be to persecute and ignore a brother and think that 
we are doing God's service. 

See we stand here to-day frank enough to acknowledge our 
brother's intellectual superiority, humble enough to confess his 
financial gain over us, yet bold enough to say that we are 
equals before God and one in His church — one common family 
of the living God, to His commands let us bow. Part of this 
host have crossed the flood and we are crossing. 

Oh, astonishing oneness, in which I see the Father in His 
manifold wisdom, Jesus in love that passeth all understanding, 
the Spirit in grace, which defies all the power of earth and hell 
to make void the place occupied by the colored Baptists of 
Georgia, or resist the influence which is being so powerfully 
exerted by this grand old army. 

We are sorry to say that while we have been brethren for 
the last century, the world hasn't been able to discern that 
brotherly affection which characterizes brethren. Apart from 
selfishness, bias, prejudice, animosity, with hatred toward none, 
but charity for all, let us grasp our brother by the hand and 
say to him : "You are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh ; 
you are our brethren. We saw your track an hundred years 
ago, but you had ascended the hill of intelligence and the ladder 
of fame. Ever since Andrew Bryan espied you we have been 
trying on your clothes, and they have fitted many of our rank, 
and they appear perfectly graceful in them. A hat like that 
one you sometimes wear has been put on the head of Rev. E. K. 
Love, and we can justly hail him D. D., so that in earnest, in 
faith and in love we offer you our hand. Oh, brethren, for 100 
years we have been trying to catch you. We really thought 
sometimes that you were running from us instead of running 
toward us. However, while we were perplexed, we kept our 

African Baptist Church. 257 

hope. Though distressed we have not despaired. We swam 
rivers, ploughed valleys, scaled very high mountains. We sang 
the songs of the Lord ; we prayed, we preached, we cried, we 
fought the devil, we called for help, we have been bruised sol- 
diers fallen on the field; the enemy tried hard to cut off our 
communication, but thank God, we are by your side at the age 
of an hundred years. You were our brethren in ante helium 
times, you are our brethren now, and you will be our brethren 
to-morrow. Where you live we will live, where you die we 
will die, and by your graves will we be buried ; and when the 
records of our earthly career shall have utterly perished, our 
work shall fill heaven with its wonders and eternity in praise 
to God." 

Let the spirit of God shine until the world shall see no dif- 
ference ; shine until this knotty question shall no longer be dis- 
cussed. Shine, spirit ; shine until this Baptist influence shall 
not only be felt in Georgia, but all over God's universe. Shine, 
great spirit ; shine until the white and colored Baptists of Geor- 
gia, locked arm in arm, shall tread all the powers of darkness 
down and win the well fought day. 

Oh, God, let thy spirit shine until this great united army 
shall be saved in heaven with Thee, and be permitted to lift 
the glowing strains : 

"Praise God from Whom all blessings flow, 
Praise him, ye creatures from below ; 
Praise Him with us, angelic host, 
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost." 





To this General Baptist Family: 

Dear Brethren. — What does all this mean ? From whence 
cometh this people that compose this choir, which renders the 
sweet music which fills our hearts with praises and gratitude to 
God? Is it possible that this despised race has come to this? 
Is the oppressed just freed, and have made this wonderful 
progress? My thoughts have taken a retrospective view of the 
past, and have traversed Bethlehem's plain, where God's Son 
was born, and when that angelic choir sang in the air the 

^.~>S History of the First 

sweetest music earth ever heard — "Glory to God in the highest, 
and on earth peace and good will toward men." We are but 
out upon the plains; we have just caught the ball that our 
fathers started to rolling an hundred years ago. Though they 
were illiterate, they preached the gospel of the Son of God as 
best they could. They understood clearly this truth: "One 
Lord, one faith, and one baptism;" and, bless God, in one 
hundred years we have caught the sweet old story. 

All nationalities have days to celebrate in honor of some 
historical event. The negro Baptists of Georgia were organ- 
ized into a church in this grand old Forest City one hundred 
years ago, and we have come from the mountains and from the 
valleys to celebrate it with thanksgiving to God for keeping an 
oppressed people, and enabling them to "contend so earnestly 
for the faith that was once delivered to the saints." I feel 
highly honored to be thought worthy to take part in such a 
grand affair, though I feel my inability to perform the task 
that was assigned me. "While I attempt to discuss this topic — 
the relationship that now exists between the white and negro 
Baptists — I am here with prejudice toward none, but brotherly 
love for all. 

Israel of old was persecuted and ostracized, but the God who 
has always fought the battles of His chosen, and caused them 
to be victorious over all their oppositions, was with them. Our 
God fought our battles through the darkest days of slavery. 
We are not the only people who have undergone religious per- 
secution. As far back as 1535, when the Roman church 
attempted to persecute the Huguenots, the priests obtained the 
"royal edict" from the King to totally suppress the printing of 
the Bible. Their effort to turn the world back failed then, and 
will fail now. Furthermore, I would not attempt to discuss 
the subject of social equality. No, not I. I am only here to 
speak for an oppressed people, and of our religious affiliation. 
We are brethren of the same family. 

There is one thing you'll not find, among the negro Baptists 
that is found among the white Baptists. Among the negroes 
there are very few Free Will Baptists and open communionists. 
They believe that the Lord Jesus instituted the supper for none 
but converted and legally baptized disciples, that is. by immer- 
sion, and this baptism must be performed by the proper admin- 
istrator — one who has been legally baptized according to the 
faith of the gospel. Have you not seen, in all of your life, in 
a family, two brothers, one blessed with this world's goods, and 
the other seemed as if fate was against himV And on account 
of popular sentiment that brother who was blessed with this 

African Baptist (fhurch. 259 

world's goods scorned the brother who was not blessed with the 
same, but through whose veins ran the same blood, for he was 
the son of the same father and mother. Yet he could not resist 
popular sentiment, and had to treat him as though he were not. 
And when he had company, instead of his unfortunate brother 
feeling welcome to come in at the front gate was forced to go 
in at the back gate. Instead of being permitted to enter the 
house to engage with the guests upon the subjects under con- 
sideration, was debarred from these privileges. 

Our white Baptist brethren do not deny our relation through 
the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but popular sentiment is so 
much against social equality that our brethren are afraid to 
allow us religious affiliation for fear that it might be termed 
social equality. Yet they do recognize us as brethren, for we 
are one in doctrine and church ordinances. Not that I don't 
believe that our white Baptist brethren are interested in us ; far 
be that from me ; for they have shown their interest by the ap- 
pointment of Rev. Dr. Mcintosh to labor among the ministers 
and deacons of our churches, and his work has redounded to 
the glory of God and to the uplifting of our people, for .which I 
say, "Bless God." 

In their cooperation with our Conventional Board at the last 
session of the Southern Baptist Convention held in Baltimore, 
Md., a resolution was passed looking to the establishment of a 
better feeling between the white and negro Baptists of the 
South, for which we are grateful. But take us in our religious 
assemblies, such as our conventions and associations, where fra- 
ternal delegates or corresponding messengers are sent. When 
they send them to our bodies we receive them gladly and accord 
them brotherly affiliation; but when we visit their bodies in 
like capacity, instead of being treated as brethren our names 
are received and we are given back se^ts as usual. Dear 
brethren, I say this not in a harsh mood, but my authority for 
entertaining this as a breach of our relation as the great Bap- 
tist family of this grand old Empire State of the South is from 
the great head of this family. 

St. John, xv., 12-17 : '' This is my commandment, that ye love 
one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man 
than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are 
my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth 
I call you not servants ; for the servant knoweth not what his 
lord doeth : but I have called you friends ; for all things that 
I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye 
have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, 
that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit 

?00 H%tory of the First 

should remain : and whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in 
my name, He may give it yon. These things I command you, 
that ye love one another/' 

This is my authority. I am sure that the Lord Jesus Christ 
hath given this world into the hands of his recognized church. 
I believe He hath divided it off geographically, and commis- 
sioned his church, irrespective of color, to take the part allotted 
them — the north her part, the east her part, the south her 
part and the west her part; and this Baptist banner must wave 
over this world, as the star-spangled banner waveth over these 
United States. But we cannot conquer, and carry this world 
to the Lord Jesus Christ, while we allow these little petty dif- 
ferences to separate us. "In union there is strength.'/' In 
armies the generals should be in union, and should meet and 
consult with each other as to the best way of attacking their 
enemies. The Lord Jesus has committed His church into the 
hands of the ministry, and they must watch for souls, as to the 
Master they must give account. 

Now as to the white and colored pastors : Do we meet in 
councilj and advise one another relative to the work of the 
Master, or do we stand aloof from each other? Do we grasp 
each other by the hands as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, 
or do we pass each other as mere strangers? In large cities, 
to some extent they meet their brethren in council, when called 
on, and if not in company, on the streets they will speak; but 
in most of the smaller towns, where prejudice runs higher, they 
pass you by as a mere stranger. I have lived in towns in this 
State where a white pastor who had negro members in his 
church passed them by as mere strangers. But I must speak 
of a model pastor, Rev. J. H. Kilpatrick, D. D., pastor of White 
Plains Baptist Church, who would not pass his brethren by 
without a word of %dvice and brotherly greeting. Rev. Mr. 
Eden and a few others have the same christian spirit. 

The success of our cause depends largely upon the generals ; 
therefore there should be perfect love in our ranks, as we are 
commanders-in-chief, for love among the generals will create 
love among the soldiers. I now close by reading you the fol- 
lowing poem, composed by Mr. P R. Butler, of Augusta, Ga.: 


"Let us, brethren, live together 
In the vineyard of the Lord; 
Let there be no strife among us; 
Let us rest upon His word. 

"Let us battle for Christ's kingdom, 
Battle 'gainst the powers of hell; 
Let us follow in His footsteps; 
Let us fight the Infidel. 

African Baptist (Mureh. 261 

"Let us not stand idly waiting, 

Grasping ostracism 's hand ; 
. Let us clasp our bands in union ; 

On the solid rock let's stand. 

"Christ has no respect of color, 
Therefore, let us stand for God ; 
Let us follow in the footsteps 
That our Master's feet have trod. 

"Let us fight for lovely Zion ; 

Christ, our Lord, is looking down. 
Let us stand, and fight, and conquer, 
For the world in sin is drown'd. 

"Enemies attempt to bribe us, 

Let us fight until we die ; 
Let affection dwell among us ; 
Angels watch us from the sky. 

"We are one in Christ, our Master, 
Then united let us stand ; 
We're the people of His pasture ; 
Holy angels 'round us stand. 

"Friendship, love and truth let's cherish, 
Till the evening shadows fall ; 
If we are His true disciples, 
Let us hearken to His call. 

"Let us, on this field of battle, 

Stand for God till time shall end; 
Let's tear down the thrones of darkness 
For our King, our dying iriend. 

"Let us rally for the Bible ; 

Let the Church of God hold sw ( ay ; 
Let us stand for Christ and Jordan, 
Till that awful Judgment Day. 


BY REV. E. K. LOVE, D. D. 

There have arisen in the North many societies looking to the 
amelioration of the condition of the negroes in the South, the 
abolitionists and other kindred associations. They have done 
a good work, for which we are profoundly grateful ; but that 
society which endeavored to give us the word of God and 
thereby educate our morals, sweeten our character, and lift up 
our people to heaven and God must be greater than them all. 

Among the institutions that have done most for us in this 
line is the American Baptist Publication Society. He who pro- 
tects my manhood commands my respect and admiration ; he 
who ameliorates my condition "should have my support ; he 

M? Mstory of the First 

who refines my manners and trains my thinking faculties makes 
me a better citizen ; he who educates me arms me for future 
usefulness to mankind, adds new charms to civilization, 
and lends science a welcome student and advocate ; he who 
gives me money adds to my comforts ; he who gives me water 
slakes my thirst ; he who gives me a home shelters my body ; 
he who gives me raiment protects my body, but he who gives 
me the Bible puts eternal life in my reach. He brings God 
nearer to me, he draws me nearer to God. He protects and 
defends my soul. He gives me the bread of life, of which if a 
man eats he shall never hunger. He gives me the water of life, 
which shall be in me a well of water springing up unto ever- 
lasting life. He gives me that which shall build me up and 
which forms the basis of true character and manhood. Any 
structure which is not built upon the word of God will crumble 
and fall and be forgotten. 

The American Baptist Publication Society has been for many 
years scattering broadcast over this land the word of God. Just 
what we would have done but for the American Baptist Publi- 
cation Society we do not know, except that God would have in 
some way provided Himself a way of communicating His truth 
to fallen mankind. But since He has seen fit to use the Ameri- 
can Baptist Publication Society as a mighty instrument in flood- 
ing the country with a knowledge of Jesus in many tracts and 
the Bible, pure and simple, let us support the society by patron- 
izing it in the purchase of all of our religious literature and 
bless God for its existence. It is our society. We have never 
been ashamed to beg it, and the society has never been above 
helping us. 

Many of our preachers have received libraries from this 
society, and hence the society has preached the gospel very 
effectually in Georgia through them. The more we support 
this society the stronger it will grow, and therefore be the bet- 
ter prepared to preach the gospel in Georgia, and doubtless 
ay ill preach more effectually the glorious gospel of the Son of 
God in Georgia. The society has been scattering seeds of kind- 
ness for many years, and we must leave the grand story for 
eternity to tell of its pleasing, munificent and glorious harvest. 
Thank God, that this society did not forget the negroes while 
it was scattering blessings all around. The work of the society 
has been of incalculable good to the negroes, and should, as it 
does, form a very important part in our history. 

I look forward with pleasing anticipation to the day when 
in our Southland, the Publication Society will have a branch 
house in all of the large Southern cities, managed by competent 

African Baptist CMirch. 263 

honest and faithful negroes. This state of things will not come 
in the natural order of things. It is too pure a gem to be found 
lying promiscuously around on the ground. It must be dug 
up, for it is deep down, locked in the womb of the future. I 
confess that we have not deserved this recognition yet, but as 
we are the children of the future, it is not, in my opinion, 
raising the standard too high to aim at it. I oppose unmerited 
recognition in church or state. I think it is injurious to the 
recipients and unwise in the bestower. We can merit it, and 
whatever we merit we can demand. We need a wiser organi- 
zation and concentration of our forces. We need more system 
in giving. We must urge a constant giving. The work of the 
Lord is a life-time business, and however much a person may 
do to-day there is something for him to do to-morrow, except 
he dies. We must cure our people of a spasmodic giving. The 
christian's work is no more spasmodic than his life is. No 
people have gone to success in a day. No person can enjoy 
what is given as he can that which is earned. 

We ought to set apart a day, at least once a year, to take a 
collection in all of our churches for the Publication Society. 
When our patronage to the society and our wisdom to manage 
affairs shall be fully attested, I doubt not the inevitable conclu- 
sion that the recognition about which I have spoken will follow, 
as the irresistible fruit of well-doing. The churches should be 
very careful about the character of literature that is used in 
their Sunday schools. The society is endeavoring to put the 
gospel in reach of the children, to- do which it has employed 
missionaries in almost every State to do Sunday school work. 
The work done among children in the Sunday school promises to 
yield the richest harvest. Those who reach the children with 
the gospel reach and bless the nation at home. The society is 
doing this, and hence is reaching the children at home early in 
the morning before they go out to play, and to prepare them 
for bruises, temptations and duties of the day. This is almost 
saving the nation in the cradle. The man who is leading this 
great society is the Rev. Dr. Griffith, whom I now, with un- 
feigned pleasure, present you as the speaker of this hour. May 
God bless you, my brother, and the great society he has called 
you to lead. May your fruit abound unto holiness, and the 
end an everlasting life, and when on earth our work is done, 
may we be gathered home to the saints' rest, where the sower 
and the reaper shall rejoice together. Then shall you and the 
faithful host you have and are leading never regret your labors 
in the vineyard of the Lord. "For I reckon that the suffer- 
ings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with 


Ffistory oj the First 

the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest 
expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of 
the sons of God." God bless your labor, for Jesus' sake. 



Brother Chairman and Brethren of the State Baptist Centennial 
Committee of Georgia and Friends: 
It becomes my duty this morning to address you upon the 
subject, "The American Baptist Publication Society and its 
Work for the Colored People." This institution is the offspring, 
or grew out of the Tract Society, established in 1824, as the 
result of the mature consideration of earnest and faithful-hearted 
men and women, of what was then regarded as the great need 
of the Baptists. For the establishment of the Tract Society a 
meeting was called. Only eighteen men and seven women re- 
sponded ; and there, in that meeting, after prayerful delibera- 
tion, the Baptist General Tract Society, now the American 
Baptist Publication Society, was formed. Perhaps those noble- 
hearted pioneers had no greater object in view than the issuing 
of tracts for the special benefit of the unsaved, and to unify the 
Baptist family the land over. But God, in whose name the 
work was begun, granted His benediction upon the feeble 
undertaking, so that this and still other objects have been 
successfully prosecuted by it. That the formation of this insti- 
tution is the work of God through human agencies we cannot 
have the least hesitation, if its history is to be considered. Its 
existence, seemingly, is proof of its continuance, though in the 
beginning it had very severe trials. At times its dissolution 
seemed sure and sudden, because of financial embarrassments. 
While those christian brethren, then in front of the institution, 
saw the almost inevitable catastrophe that hung just over this 
well-begun work, they were about to abandon hope. Doubtless 
they prayed to God for help, and in answer to their prayers, 
from some unexpected and perhaps unknown sources money 
was sent them for the prosecution of their work. Then there 
began to beam a ray of hope, that nerved them to more deter- 
mined efforts. The work was God's, and He raised up friends 
everywhere to come to its rescue, till, in 1840, when was felt 
the need of increasing its labors, the name of the "Baptist Gen- 
eral Tract Society" was dropped, and the society began to exist 

African Baptist Church. 265 

under the name of the "American Baptist Publication Society," 
assuming, at the same time, the great work of caring for the 
Sunday schools and the publication of books. Under that name 
it still exists, being under the skillful management of wise 
and faithful men, led, as was Israel of old, by a pillar of cloud 
by day and by a pillar of fire by night, until it has become the 
pride of the Baptist denomination in America. 

The organization of the society was as the seed sown in good 
ground : it sprung up ; though surrounded by thorns and this- 
tles, it grew ; the winds blew upon it and shook it, but its roots 
clung downwards firmer and firmer to the ground, taking hold 
on rocks, and its branches reared toward heaven. The thorns, 
thistles and tempest served to strengthen it, till at last we have 
an institution — in respect of its growth, its success in furthering 
its object, and the good accomplished by it — that stands peer 
to any institution of its kind anywhere. It unmistakably meets 
the great exigencies of the Baptist denomination. Its books, 
tracts, periodicals and papers ought to be found in every home, 
Sunday school and church of the Baptist family. 

Books are to man as company. How many characters 
trained in the right direction have been switched off the track 
by associating with bad company? And how many weak Bap- 
tist parents and children have been led away from the faith of 
the Baptists by studying at their homes and Sunday schools 
literature other than Baptist? To. check this tide of floating 
annoyance we must place into the hands and homes of our 
great denomination' literature that breathes the very doc- 
trines and sentiments of the Baptists. This emergency the 
American Baptist Publication Society meets. Its publications 
are strictly Baptistic, and tend to unify the Baptist family in 
doctrine and sentiment. Its accomplishment in this direction 
cannot be reckoned. Who can realize the good that results 
from the distribution of religious tracts and the thousands of 
Bibles given away by this institution to poor individuals and 
schools annually. By these means thousands of souls have 
been converted, and have become faithful and conscientious 
members of the Baptist church. An exceeding great multitude 
of immortal souls snatched from eternal ruin, stands to evince the 
incalculable worth to the denomination. Ministers of the gos- 
pel and Sabbath school workers have received from the society 
gratuitously many very valuable books, which have been of 
great worth to them in the prosecution of their work. The 
Sunday school literature published by the society, such as the 
international series, have been and are of inestimable worth to 
the denomination, not only in leading the young to Christ, but 

J66 History of the First 

in establishing them in the doctrines of the Bible and instruct- 
ing the old, so that they are not to be moved by every wind of 

The society has not manifested prejudice in its methods of 
work. Its labors are not confined to the American soil, nor to 
white Baptists, nor to negro Baptists. Its motto has been "On- 
ward to Conquest." It has pushed its work across the ocean 
into Sweden, France, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Africa and 
other countries, so that on every hand they are constantly 
cheered with the news of the glorious results of their labors. 
The society's work among the negro Baptists of these United 
States, according to their ability, has been cheering. They 
have given our Sunday schools thousands of dollars' worth of 
Bibles and other reading matter. They have now in nearly 
every State and Territory missionaries and colporteurs traveling 
in every direction, and everywhere preaching the gospel and 
organizing Sunday schools and churches, giving to those not 
able to buy the Bible the Word of God. Who can estimate 
the good done by this institution for our people? Only God. 
Here we were when emancipated with but a small percentage 
of general culture. Though we were Baptists, we were unin- 
telligent. A compromising, a sort of anything- will-do-Baptists. 
With such to contend with, there is no telling where we would 
have landed. Perhaps we would have lost our substance, 
having nothing left us but the mere hull or name Baptist. 
Doubtless we would have been a little of every denomination. 
We can but thank God for the successful work of the society 
among us as negro Baptists in assisting us to do our work 
intelligently. It has done for us what we could not do for 
ourselves. When we laid by the wayside, torn, bleeding and 
powerless, gripped in the poisonous talons of ignorance and 
superstition, the society, Good Samaritanlike, took us up, and 
is still strengthening us in our weakness to go forward in the 
great work assigned us. It is everywhere dispensing its 
liberalities, leading a host to Christ and the doctrines which he 
has taught. 

Xever should we allow ourselves to think that this noble in- 
stitution belongs to the white Baptists of America alone, but to 
us as well, though managed by white brethren. Its books 
periodicals and other literature are as accessible to us at the 
same charges as to them. Its charities are as freely extended to 
us as to them. It can and has already done more for us than 
it can ever hope to be remunerated, and is still making greater 
efforts to build up our people. 

African Baptist Church. 267 

Its object being to promote evangelical religion by means of 
the Bible, printing press, colportage and the Sunday school 
makes it an institution unfounded upon financial consideration 
to benefit a few. It is not to enrich a few but to bless the peo- 
ple. Every negro Baptist in America should feel proud of the 
society. Every Baptist Sunday school and church should be 
encouraged to use their Sunday school supplies and books. Not 
only that but they should be called upon to give donations to 
the society, and thus assist them to further prosecute their 
grand and glorious work. Whatever we might now be able to 
do for the society would be but a scanty" return. Let us hold 
up its arms, give our patronage and donations, our sympathy 
and prayers, that it may live till the end of time a mighty 
agent in the hand of God for the promotion of evangelical reli- 
gion and bringing back all sects and creeds to the doctrine of 
one Lord, one faith and one baptism. 



This presumes that Baptists believe the Bible in a peculiar 
manner, or in an altogether emphatic sense, and this is true. 
This is the very matter of my contention. 

All christians profess to believe the Bible, especially the 
Protestant christians. 

Chillingworth's immortal words have been accepted as the 
motto of nearly all denominations — "The Bible! The Bible!" 
the religion of Protestants, and yet the motto belongs to 
Baptists with a propriety which other bodies of christians can 
not claim justly. 

Baptists found their pretensions on the Bible, derive from 
the Bible their tenets, and appeal to the Bible as the justifica- 
tion of their practices. 

To go into particulars, Baptists believe 

1. That the Bible is truly inspired, that it is God's own 
book — God breathed. They believe that holy men of old 
wrote it as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.* They do not 
hold it simply the best of books, the greatest of books, but as a 
divine book. They maintain not simply that it contains a 
revelation of God's will, but that it is such a revelation. I do 
not mean to enter upon theories of inspiration, whether oral 
or dynamic, whether sacred writers were simply the penmen 
and amanuenses of the Holy Spirit, or wrote freely under a 

.'(>$ History of the First 

simple divine illumination and impulse. All that I insist on 
now is that the Bible is truly the Word of God, and as such, is 
distinguished from all other books. 

Xo work of human genius approaches it or is like it. Some 
parts of the Bible no doubt are more valuable than other parts, 
but this is no disparagement of it as being inspired throughout. 

The Baptists believe that the Bible is a finished book — that 
the sacred canon is completed. They do not believe in a pro- 
gressive revelation or a progressive orthodoxy. They grant, 
indeed that the Bible may be more truly interpreted, but they 
deny that additions have been made or will be made to the 
substance of its teachings. 

Not a few so-called christians in our day hold that the Bible 
is inspired only as all works of high genius are inspired, such 
as those of Shakspeare and Milton. Far away from this opinion 
is the Baptist estimate of the Bible. 

2. Baptists believe that the Bible is the sole and sufficient 
directory in religious faith and practice. 

Roman Catholics believe in the Bible, but they put the church 
and Pope above it. Many exalt what they call the "Christian 
consciousness" above the Bible, or to a level with it, and prac- 
tically say that we are to believe the Bible only so far as it 
harmonizes with our own judgment and feelings. We cannot 
help thinking and saying that it is through an imperfect faith 
in the Bible with some denominations that sprinkling has taken 
the place of immersion in the act of baptism, and that infants' 
baptism has been introduced into the church, and that aris- 
tocratic forms of church government has been allowed to sup- 
plant the simple democracy of the New Testament. 

Baptists reject all human authority on the formation, creeds 
and rules and conduct, and claim that the Bible is the first and 
last appeal in religious matters. 

3d. Baptists believe that the Bible is a simple book, easily 
understood by persons of the right spirit. The Bible is its own 
interpreter. Hence, Baptists believe in the right of private 
judgment, the sacred and inviolable rights which they have 
been the defenders of unto death. 

Let us beware of making the Bible an idol or of thinking 
that its mere presence in the house is enough. Baptists believe 
as to the Bible, that it will be of no avail unless it pass into prac- 
tice, etc. We thank God for the Bible and for salvation through 
Jesus Christ ovir Lord, and for the gift of the holy spirit to 
enlighten our minds. May our centennial celebration be one 
of success and great joy, and redound to the glory of God, and 
to the advancement of our Redeemer's kingdom on earth. 

African Baptist Church. 269 



Having been invited by your committee to speak on this im- 
portant subject, I cheerfully comply. Baptists are often asked 
for information respecting their faith and distinctive practices. 
We must give the Bible for our answer. The Bible " was writ- 
ten by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of 
heavenly instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for 
its end, truth without mixture of error for its matter. It re- 
veals the principle by which God will judge us, and therefore 
shall remain to the end of the world the true center of christian 
union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, 
creed and opinions shall be tried." 

Let us begin with the New Testament before us. Who can 
read that blessed book with serious attention without coming 
to the conclusion that the religion upon which it treats is that 
which Baptists believe and practice? It is personal and volun- 
tary. None are worthy to be called christians but those who 
worship God in the spirit, rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and have 
no confidence in the flesh. — Phil ., iii, 4. 

When Moses addressed the Israelites and exhorted them to 
obedience, he included their children in his exhortation, be- 
cause the children were in the covenant. Judaism, with all 
of its privileges and responsibilities, was hereditary. The rights 
and duties of the parents became the rights and duties of their 
offspring as such. It is not so now ; I mean under the new dis- 
pensation. We are not born christians nowadays, and neither 
can there be born such ; but they become christians when they 
repent and believe the gospel. The Apostle John makes known 
that fact (chap, i, 12-13): " But as many as received Him, to 
them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them 
that believe on his name : which were born, not of blood, nor of 
the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." 

Judaism was a national institution, but Christianity is an 
individual blessing. The Jews were a nation— dealt with as 
such, and separated from all other people by their peculiar rites 
and ceremonies ; but christians are believers, and made fellow- 
citizens of the household of faith. By reading the New Testa- 
ment, we find that "There is neither Greek nor Jew, circum- 
cision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: 
but Christ is all, and in all." — Col., iii., 11. 

270 History of the First 

Hence when the apostles wrote to christian churches their 
mode of addressing was altogether different from that adopted 
by Moses. They did not say you and your children, or represent 
the children as in covenant with God, and therefore enti- 
tled to certain rights and bound to the performance of certain 
duties. The churches to which they wrote their epistles were 
spiritual societies, that is, associations of individuals professing 
repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, to 
whom they had surrendered themselves. If those individuals 
were parents they were taught to bring up their children in the 
nurture and admonition of God ; but mark you, their children 
w ere nowhere classed with them in the New Testament as the 
children of the Jews were in the Old Testament. Nor could 
they be till they themselves repented and believed the gospel. 
It is easily seen that no modern society deserves to be called a 
christian church which is not founded upon such principles as 
these. If you were to place a New Testament in the hands of 
an intelligent, impartial person who had never heard of our 
divisions and denominations, what idea would he be likely to 
form of the spirit and design of Christianity and the christian 
church? Would he not see in every part of this book appeals 
to men's understanding and emotions, and such requisitions as 
could only be addressed to those who were capable of thinking 
and acting for themselves? Would he not conclude that Chris- 
tianity has to do with the mind and a christian must be a per- 
son of faith, and that a church is a voluntary society formed 
and made up of such persons? 

We now come to the question of baptism. What is baptism? 
"It is the answer of a good conscience toward God." — I. Peter, 
iii, 21. " It is putting on Christ." — Gal., iii, 27. It is the volun- 
tary act of a believer ; an act of obedience, of self-dedication, 
for such is the uniform meaning of the term. "And there went 
out unto Him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, 
and were all baptized of Him in the river of Jordan, confess- 
ing their sins." — Mark, i, 5. So the Samaritans, "But when 
they believed Phillip preaching the things concerning the king- 
dom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, 
both men and women." — Acts, viii, 12. 

Mark well, men and women. No infants believe in Christ. 
The profession of faith was held to be essential to baptism and 
to church fellowship. None could profess faith who were 
incapable of exercising it. The act of profession doubtless 
implied understanding, approbation and choice. This, then, is 
the test point. Here is the beginning of the history of the 
Baptists, with the New Testament only before us. We find 

African Baptist Church. 271 

baptism connected with profession of faith. It is a voluntary- 
act, and such acts only are illustrative of Christianity of the 
nineteenth century. There is a service of another kind. That 
is sprinkling, and not immersing; and the subjects in many 
cases are infants, and not believers, which service is in oppo- 
sition to the teaching of the New Testament ; not in opposition 
to the Baptists' doctrines and practices only, but to Christ, our 
wonderful Teacher. We find, by attentive researches of the 
New Testament, no such thing as baptizing and receiving 
infants into the church before they have sense enough to think 
and act for themselves. As Christ only gave those whom He 
sent permission to baptize such as had sense enough to believe 
the gospel; so we read in Mark, Preach the gospel, and he 
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. I believe it is 
treason against heaven and an insult to God to so daringly 
oppose His command. It is also an imposition upon the pure, 
helpless babe to pour water on it and receive it into a certain 
society without allowing it to grow large, old or wise enough to 
think for itself. It is, in substance, but a gag law upon 
humanity, and a death blow aimed at true Christianity. There 
are a few historians who wrote of infant baptism. But there 
are a great many others who deny and denounce infant bap- 
tism. Thus you may see that a large majority of historians 
oppose it. Therefore, Justin Martyn and Ireanus are assuredly 
standing in the side-track, for their assertion is not in accord 
with the New Testament, and when history does not accord 
with the Bible, it is bogus, so far, at least, as Christianity is 
concerned. All lexicographers, all encyclopedias, and almost all 
historians, Baptist and pedo-Baptist, and a large majority of 
the best commentaries are in sympathy with Baptist doctrine, 
or Bible doctrine; not because of its weakness, but of its 
strength; not because of the church recruit or organization, 
but because of its primeval existence. The Bible and history, 
according to that, bears out the Baptists. 

We read in the Song of Solomon, vi, 9, these words : " My 
dove, my undefiled is but one ; she is the only one of her 
mother, she is the choice one." Although the church under- 
went severe changes through the severest dispersions, that of 
patriarchal and Mosaic, but not enough to destroy it. Christ 
was watching His church, for she was His choice, and He 
brought her through the darkness until He saw fit to identify 
Himself with His church. Isaiah saw Him " coming from Edom 
with dyed garments from Bozrah." He was then on His way 
to meet His church. He identified Himself with the Baptist 

History of the First 

church in baptism. He was also identified in that of close 
communion and in repentance, for He preached it. 

The identification of the Saviour is in our favor. The Bible 
is full of such doctrine as the true God, the fall of man, the 
way of salvation, justification, the freeness of salvation, repent- 
ance and faith, God's purpose of grace, of sanctification, the 
gospel church, baptism and the Lord's Supper, the Lord's Day, 
righteousness and wickedness and the world to come. 

If I am to name the church it is the Baptist church, for she 
has one Lord, which is her great head, law-giver and judge. 
One faith, which is her escort into the kingdom of heaven, and 
One baptism, which is her divine ordinance, introduced by au- 
thority of heaven and by the Father loudly thundering through 
the Holy Ghost in the River Jordan, when John baptized His 
Son, " Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." 

The Baptists believe that the Bible teaches a democratic form 
of church government. Popes, bishops and elders, as practiced 
by other denominations, are entirely unwarranted by the New 
Testament. Baptists believe that the Bible forbids prayer or 
homage to departed saints or angels. Rev.,xix, 10: "And I 
fell at His feet to worship Him. And He said unto me, See 
thou do it not : I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren 
that have the testimony of Jesus : Worship God : for the testi- 
mony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." 

The Baptists believe simply this : What the Bible forbids, 
Baptists reject, and what it teaches they accept as the word of 
God. Would that the world reverenced the Bible as the Bap- 
tists. Amen. 




I feel myself somewhat flattered in having been called on to 
speak on so grand and momentous a subject as the gospel 
ministry - 

Permit me to say the called minister of God stands para- 
mount to all men in Christendom. 

The Governor of State, the President of States, Kings of 
their domains, and the Queen, with her crown, must adhere to 
the humble minister of Christ. For it is by him that the word 
of God must be preached. This being a fact, he ought to be a 
man of character. When I use the word character, I mean as 

African Baptist Church. 273 

referred to men. Character is what the man is, and stands far 
above reputation, which men will give and seek to take away. 
Character is a God-given property, and every person once in 
life has it. In speaking of character, I mean all the adjuncts 
that go to form it — virtue, sobriety and integrity. These must 
need be in every preacher who would succeed. 

1. I now call your attention to an example found in the 
Bible. Barnabas, who is worthy of emulation, is called the 
son of consolation. During the terrible persecutions in the 
days of the Martyrs, Stephen and the brethren were scattered 
abroad. The church at Jerusalem sent their son of consolation, 
for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of 
faith, and much people was added to the Lord. 

If the standard of the ministry was lifted higher, by having 
good men, full of the Holy Ghost and faith, thus with the 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost on our side, we cannot but succeed 
to wage war against sin and the devil. 

2. I mean to say that he was not only a christian, but good 
in the common sense of the word. He was eminently good. 
This epithet is often given as a sneer. But not so with Bar- 
nabas. He was good in principle. He, like the Apostle Paul, 
did not value himself upon those things wherein he differed 
from other men, but gloried in those principles which he pos- 
sessed that were common to every good man. The inspired 
apostle says that he gloried in those things which he had that 
were common to all men — charity, (that is, love), as used 
in the new version. "Wherever there is love, goodness is 
her eldest daughter." Barnabas loved God; hence he was 
willing to do good for the cause of Christ. The people heard 
him, because he was a good man, working for a good cause. 
Let us, like Barnabas, be ready for every good work, and then 
churches will look for us, and save us the embarrassing trouble 
of looking for them. 

Brother ministers, the chief thing we should value is charac- 
ter. All men should keep a circumspect eye over it. We live 
in a busy age, in which the snare of the great arch fiend of hell 
may take us unawares. A nail driven through a plank knocks 
out nature's grain, and all the putty and paint the most skilled 
chemist may make cannot put nature's mark back. Nor can a 
fallen minister fully reach the place from whence he has fallen. 
One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Stay up, 
and you will not have to get up. 

Character must be valued at home in your own family circle. 
If you walk not close with God there you will not be able to 

History of the First 

work for him elsewhere. It is at home and around your own 
fireside that true judgment is set. 

I. Goodness is one of the strongest attributes that goes to 
make character, and beyond a doubt every minister ought to 
have this epithet attached to his name. Shakspeare says there 
is nothing in a name, but Solomon says a good name is rather 
to be chosen than great riches. 

II. Barnabas was full of the Holy Spirit, and so must he be 
who heralds this glorious gospel of the Most High God. The 
Holy Spirit sometimes denote His extraordinary gifts, as in Acts, 
xix, where the Apostle Paul puts the question to some believers 
in Christ whether they had received the Holy Ghost. But here 
it signifies His indwelling and ordinary operation, or what is 
elsewhere called an unction from the Holy One. It is very 
needful, my brethren, that he who preaches the word of God 
should be filled with the Holy Ghost from on high. God is a 
spirit and seeketh such to worship Him in spirit and in truth. 
Unless the man of God is spiritually minded he can not com- 
municate with God, Who is all spirit. He who metes out the 
word of life must live nearer to God, that he may be well quali- 
fied to teach his fellow-man the deep things of God, which are 
only discerned by spiritually minded men. This is a fact that 
can not be eradicated. The man who bears this heavenly news 
to lost sinners must be richly imbued with the vital spirit from 
heaven. He will guide the subservient minister in the way of 

III. The minister of Christ who wills to succeed must be full 
of faith. The word "faith" is difficult to understand, though it 
has been used ever since the fall of man. It is hard to ascer- 
tain with precision the real meaning and extent of this term. 
We have it "trust," "confide," and, in Hebrew, "to lean on." 
Therefore he who teaches the gospel of the Son of God must 
lean on Him for succor, for He is a present help in the time of 
need. We must pray to God and read the Bible with faith 
that we may be well-gospeled ourselves. 

IV The ministers of to-day must be educated, or thev will 
be forced from their pulpits by the rising pews. The "negro 
ministers of this period fill a peculiar office. One part of their 
congregation is not educated. The other wants to hold to old 
custom. The third part has some education, or are educated. 
They all must be reached. The old fathers and mothers who 
have gone before us have laid well the foundation for us to 
build upon; therefore they must be kept alive. The young 
must be trained, for they are our future hope of the negro race. 
The old saying, "Open your mouth and God will fill it," will 

African Baptist Church'. 275 

not do for this progressive age. He who preaches- the gospel 
must know how by ardent study. The inspired apostle, moved 
upon by the divine inspiration, said to Timothy in his last 
writing: "Study to show thyself a workman that needeth not 
be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 

The minister should be well informed before he enters the 
pastorate. The word of God must be a living power in the 
minister, that he may be elected, and thereby elect his fallen 
brothers, who are sailing over life's ocean amid the breakers 
that may cause an eternal wreck. Long-winded tales, false 
zeal and stamping of feet will not preach the gospel, my breth- 
ren. Thus saith the word of holy writ : " If a man, therefore, 
purge himself from these, he is a vessel unto honor, sanctified, 
meet for the Master's use, and purified unto every good work." 

" So let our lips and lives express 
The holy gospel we profess ; 
So let our works and virtues shine, 
To prove the doctrine all divine." 

V. Dignity. — This means "above," and as the ministry is a 
high calling, it behooves the minister to be dignified. God has 
called him out of darkness into light; therefore, He Who is 
Light, has called the minister to walk in the effulgence of the 
Son of God. Dignity is not fine apparel nor flippant speech, 
but it means a rounded man, filled with all the principles that 
constitute a minister. The servant of God should do right at 
all times. " Be sure you are right, and then go ahead," ever 
holding to your integrity. Christ has committed to his preachers 
•his church. They stand next their Master, Who is pure and 
holy, and calls upon us to be holy, as He is holy. God has 
opened the way for his preachers. They tell the people how 
to come, that they may receive them. 

" Come as a teacher sent from God, 

Charged His whole counsel to declare, 
Lift o'er our ranks the prophet's rod, 
While we uphold their hands with prayer. 

" Come as a messenger of peace, 

Filled with the spirit, fired with love, 
Live to behold our large increase, 
And die to meet us all above." 

?70 ' History of the First 



Mr. President and Brethren Composing the One Hundredth Anni- 
versary of the Negro Baptists of Georgia: 

It affords me no small degree of happiness to have the 
pleasure of even appearing before this intelligent, heaven-bound 
denomination, for the purpose of speaking a word. There 
have been many important subjects under discussion, which 
were handled with ability, and others to be discussed, among 
which there is one appearing on the programme with vital im- 
port, viz.: ''The Duty of Baptists to Home Missions," and 
among the other names, I find E. J. Fisher, of LaGrange, and 
that happens to be my name. 

Therefore, allow me to quote you a passage of scripture, which 
can be found in Joshua, xiii, 1, where the Lord said unto him : 
"Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet 
very much land to be possessed." He was a man of obedience. 
God sustained and blessed his efforts. He was also about one 
hundred years old. Notwithstanding he had taken many 
cities and lands, still there were many more to conquer, viz.: 
the southland, governed by five lords, and westward, as far as 
Sardonia. It was his duty to go, because God sent him. In 
like manner, Jesus, after he had arisen from the dead, and 
was about to make His ascension back to heaven, told His 
disciples to "Go ye therefore and disciple all nations." 

Looking this commission in the face, seeing it comes to us as ' 
to them, since we claim that we are keeping pace with His 
teaching and the practice of His disciples, it becomes more 
imperatively the duty of the Baptists to do mission work 
than any other denomination, for our message is of God and of 
His Christ. Therefore, the saving of the world is upon us. 
And, as the disciples were to begin at Jerusalem, ours is to begin 
in Georgia, and continue throughout these United States. For 
no other can stand as do the Missionary Baptist, and cry, "One 
Lord, one faith, and one baptism." And, as we are the sent of 
God, the duty is not a small one. Hence, this army is to go on 
crying until Georgia is saved totally, and then reach out to save 
the world. 

Since the Baptists believe the whole counsel of God, and that 
counsel is truth, and as the world is to be saved by the same, it 
follows that the Missionary Baptist is to do this home mission 
work ; for they are better prepared to do it than any other, be- 
cause they have what is necessary for its accomplishment, save 

African Baptist Churcli. 277 

the money which we are making great efforts to get. May the 
Lord assist ns in getting the needed amount of money to carry 
it out. Since we have the men and the food we only need the 
train. Let each of us see that it is supplied. Now, I appeal to 
every Baptist, since it becomes our duty to do the mission work. 
As we are called of the Lord to do this work, I ask, Shall we 
have the train for conveyance, which is money, since we can 
not do without it ? 

Listen. Before the birth of Christ, at the call, when the 
prophet said he saw an angel with six wings flying from the 
altar with a live coal in a pair of tongs,- which he took there- 
from, and came and touched his tongue, then there was a 
voice heard saying, "Who will go for us, or whom shall we 
send?" Isaiah answered and said, " Here am I, send me." In 
like manner when God called about one hundred years ago this 
army under the leadership of Revs. Leile and Bryan answered 
the same, and to-day we are still declaring one Lord, one faith' 
and one baptism. 



Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Among the many things which call forward the men of this 
generation upon the stage there is nothing more important than 
the temperance movement. And as the sacred duty of speak- 
ing to you upon so important a subject is imposed upon me, I 
purpose to speak to you of the evils of intemperance. 

Intemperance is one of the most formidable agents the devil 
has ever commissioned ; the principal outcome of the pandemo- 
nium council of hell. 

In 1865 the proclamation of peace and freedom was published 
throughout the land. The tolling bells pealed forth the glad 
news in almost human tones. Nor scarcely has the foot of man 
trodden upon the battle grounds of that eventful crisis that he 
has not thought of the precious blood that was shed for the pur- 
chase of peace and the stability of the Union. It was a hot 
struggle, and all but exhausted the fount of American tears. 
All this, remember, was but for the adjustment of the govern- 
ment of the nation. 

But even when this was done, there still remained a rotten 
beam in the fabric of the nation's fame — Intemperance ; for the 
untamed flames of this infernal fiend still burns in our famous 

'<??$ History of the First 

cities, humble hamlets, and prosperous communities, and by 
which judges, lawyers, doctors, statesmen and clergymen are 
being consumed. 

"We may boast of our halls of science, art, and literature, and 
of the ten thousand temples which rise and point to heaven, 
silently proclaiming man's fellowship with angels in the skies. 
VTe may boast of civilization, and of such triumphs and 
trophies as the earth has never seen amid the countless num- 
ber of thrones and empires of glorious birth. But, sir, until 
this blighting curse is removed, our social and national great- 
ness is at stake. 

Considering the present state of society, where shall we go to 
find peace and freedom? The tippler and rum-seller may cry, 
"Here is peace," or "There is peace;" but there is no peace 
where men live within the "iron grasp" of this diabolical foe. 
They plead the rights of personal liberty. I am on the side of 
every man who pleads the rights of personal liberty, provided 
he agrees to abide the divine law of personal liberty. That 
law prohibits an infringement either directly or indirectly upon 
the rights of other men. And, if I could speak of personal 
liberty as the boundary of the United States, I would say 
personal liberty is bounded on the north by the rights of others, 
on the east by the rights of others, on the south by the rights 
of others, and on the west by the rights of others. Cross this 
boundary line, and you affect the moral and social progress of 
humanity. Sir, if this is not the condition of America, I beg 
leave to be silent. 

There need be no display of hygienic knowledge to prove the 
evils of intemperance. Go where dwell the victims of intempe- 
rance, and there you will see " houses without windows, gardens 
without fences, fields without tillage, children without clothing, 
schooling, morals or manners ; and could the ghosts of many a 
lost son and daughter come back to earth to-day, they would 
never rest until they clenched their fiery fingers into the souls 
of their drunkard fathers and mothers, and drag them down 
among the damned and doomed. Look at the dynasties it has 
overthrown, the nations of which it has been the downfall, and 
by which the church has lost many of her brightest sons and 
daughters. Dionysius, King of Syracuse, went to the expense 
of his throne and lived a slave to the disgraceful habit of drink- 
ing. Alexander, when he had conquered the world, and prayed 
for more worlds to conquer, at last, conquered by intemperance 
went from the imperial throne down to a drunkard's grave. 
Shakspeare, Byron, Burns, Lamb, Goldsmith, and many others 
of like ability, died slaves to the cup. These are a few examples 

African Baptist Church. 279 

of the past, but let us return to the occurrences of our own time. 

The expense of making and selling intoxicating liquors in 
this country is enormous. In 1880, the expense of manufactur- 
ing and selling intoxicating liquors, the cost of time and money 
lost by the drinker, and the accidents it caused, was estimated 
at the sum of $1,200,000,000 per year. Do you ask, " Who were 
they who expended their time and this vast sum?" I answer, 
that class of people who constitute the staff of this Gountry — 
the laborers. But who can tell the number of the infinite mil- 
lions lost? Of " years, fortunes, talents, honors, positions, char- 
acters, homes, comforts and lives lost?" Heaven alone knows* 
the awful record. 

Intemperance is nine-tenths the cause of murder, criminality 
and pauperism, the insanity of powerful minds — minds which 
might have moulded and shaped the opinions of nations — and 
could we but redeem the financial results of this black demon, 
and call the slumbering drunkards from their graves, we might 
repeople an empty world, make states, build kingdoms, erect 
religious and social institutions, and dedicate them to the honor 
and glory of God. But alas, they are forever beyond the con- 
fines of time. 

It was the rum traflic which deprived us of our freedom in 
our fatherland — the dearest pledge of our existence. It has 
been the price of the negroes' influence in the government of 
this great republic, the perversion of legislation, and a bar to 
the administration of justice. Shall we undervalue these God- 
given powers and exchange them for the " fool's pence ?" Can 
we afford to sell our "birthrights for a mess of vile, blood-red 
pottage?" God forbid! The voice of mothers, widows and 
orphans now pleads for freedom at the bar of civilization ; they 
bend the knee at the feet of statesmen on the very threshold 
of the Senate chamber. Can we hold our peace? Exterminate 
this hydra-headed monster, and society will be renovated, pub- 
lic school houses, colleges, universities and churches will rise 
upon its ruins, more means and men will be raised for the re- 
demption of fallen humanity. 

This is the individual, public, national and religious battle of 
the nineteenth century, and we must stem the current, however 
rapid, and under the white banner of prohibition lift men and 
women above the billows of drink, and with dauntless courage 
of duty make the world ring with our repeated strokes until 
this worst of foes lies vanquished at our feet. Then may we 
sing to the Author of Liberty sweet freedom's song from pole to 

.JSO History of the First 



Mr. President, Friends and Brethren: 

In submission to the request of the "Centennial Committee" 
I address you. 

That we are advancing as a denomination is known and 
acknowledged in all christian lands. And this fact the world 
sees, and is fast learning how and why it is that with such 
rapidity we do move on to a glorious victory. I am on board 
the ship of this progressive and advancing denomination. The 
question comes to us to-day, "Are we advancing as a denomi- 
nation?" — a question of great and vital importance, the answer 
to which I shall give, backed by truth, in the affirmative, in 
behalf of not only a few, but millions. 

To advance is to move forward, to rise, to increase. There- 
fore, I would say as a denomination these are some of the 
characteristics that mark our numerous attainments and very 
rapid progress. The wonderful increase, numerically and 
financially, the pleasing moral and intellectual advancement 
exhibit a noble picture in favor of the denomination's progress. 
I would declare most emphatically that our advancement as a 
denomination is plainly marked and indelibly stamped upon 
the pages of history. But to prove whether or not an organ- 
ization is advancing, be it a religious body or otherwise, it is 
very essential, I think, first to prove or know its foundation, 
the source of its origin, whether it be a rocky or sandy 
foundation. It is indeed quite requisite to know the legality, 
or illegality of the organized body. 

I said just now that as a denomination we are advancing. 
Now to avoid any one asking me, now or hereafter, why do I 
say so, please permit me just here to state my answer : 

1st. Tbe Baptist denomination is founded upon the rock 
Christ Jesus. 

2d. Christ is the legal authority of the denomination. 

3d. Christ was a member of this denomination because he 
founded it and submitted to it ordinances. 

4th. Christ is the life and success of this denomination. 

Lastly, it has lived over eighteen hundred years and made 
its advent into most all the world. That these are facts indis- 
putable you will all agree. 

African Baptist Church. 281 

Now, then, if Christ is the origin, the base and rock upon 
which this pure and grand old Baptist denomination stands, it 
is quite evident that it has an infinite, living source. 

It has been infallibly established that the Baptists began their 
denominational life under the ministry of our Saviour, hence its 
rapid growth, fine health and universal acceptance to-day. 

Allow me just here, my friends, to state this fact. It is the 
true and living beginning received by Christ, our great founder 
and leader, that promoted our growth and predicts our future 

Another grand evidence of our certain and decided progress 
is that during the dark, gloomy and critical ages of the past, 
amidst danger and even death, appearing, as it were, amid 
the wreck of matter and the crush of crumbling worlds, we 
flourished and grew but the more. I say, as a denomination 
we are advancing most assuredly. The past has recorded plain 
testimonies in proof of this fact, the present confirms and more 
fully establishes it, and the future awaits, with infinite gravity, 
to welcome the consummate development and victory of the 

Judging from the past and the present, we can but feel that 
as a denomination we are destined to spread over all the world, 
and unfurl the banner of truth and victory over every home 
and heart of Adam's family, upon which the finger of inspira- 
tion has inscribed the words, " One Lord, one faith, one bap- 

Dr. Cathcart, in speaking of the Baptist denomination, has 
with ability and truth said that the Baptists "are the parents 
of absolute religious liberty wherever it exists in christian 
nations." They are the founders of the first great Protestant 
missionary society of modern times. The British and Foreign 
Bible Society was formed by the counsels of a Baptist, and in 
which every Bible society in the world felt an interest. These 
are plain proofs of our advancement. 

Another reason for our so advancing is that we have the 
Bible, which is the book of God, the book of books, the revealer 
of God to man, His interpreter as the God of nature. This is 
the great light by which we travel in this world, and through 
which we inherit our religious advancement. 

As a denomination dating further back than any other can, 
every month, every season, every year and every century un- 
folds the rapidity, the grandeur and glory of the advancement 
of this old and true denomination. 

While the denomination's growth and advancement have 
been astonishing as it has come through the ages, it is well to 

Hixtory of the First 

state that it did not escape persecutions nor fail to meet the 
most stubborn objection and suffered punishment of the most 
cruel nature. Yet the height, depth and width of its growth, 
advancement and achievement are the tokens of preeminence 
and complete victory 

Thanks to the Father, the giver of every good and perfect 
gift, that this grand old denomination of which our Saviour was 
a member has by means of grace broken down and surmounted 
the greatest of its obstacles, and that the least as well as the 
greatest must bow to its God-given power and lie vanquished 
at its feet. Seeing, therefore, as a denomination, that we are 
advancing we have a right to rejoice and be glad, the right to 
be here to-day celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of our 

Oh ! hearer, think for a moment of those dark, gloomy and 
bitter years of the past, and imagine the denomination as it 
struggles for religious liberty, and see its bold and wearied 
travelers almost fainting on the way, its leaders, some of whom 
fell as martyrs to the enemy, dying, giving their lives for the 
spreading of the gospel of Christ to every creature, and con- 
tending for the faith once delivered to the saints. And then 
come with me again, not in imagination, but in reality, to this 
glorious present, and see if you do not see a pleasing, grand 
and glorious future. It gives us joy to say that we are ad- 
vancing. We may say, "We are coming, we are coming, we 
are coming, blessed Saviour; we are coming, we are coming, 
'we hear Thy welcome voice." 

The Baptists have more than fifty colleges and theological 
seminaries, and numerous and splendid academies, all of which 
show their amazing progress and deep interest in education. 
These schools, together with our several great societies, such as 
the American Baptist Publication Society, and Home Mission, 
Foreign and other societies, with their mighty influence upon 
the human family, show conclusively the wonderful progress of 
our denomination. 

The numerical standing of our denomination is not silent in 
evidence of our advancement; for in this country there are 
26,060 churches, 16,596 ministers, 2,296,327 members, and in all 
lands there are 30,699 churches, with 2,769,389 members. It 
is also estimated that more than 8,000,000 persons belong to 
the Baptist denomination ; and besides these, our principles are 
extensively held by members of other communities. 

The establishing of Sunday schools, and their rapid and con- 
tinued increase, also go in as prominent factors to demonstrate 
the appreciable increase and onward march of the denomina- 

African Baptist Church. 283 

tion. The Baptist Sunday schools of America have grown with 
such rapidity that they number, so far as reported, more than 
13,493, with 116,355 officers and teachers, and 1,000,000 scholars. 
This, alone, tells for us great success and progress. And who 
can value its lasting influence upon society in its instilling of 
christian doctrine, and in training the young in the path of 
rectitude ? That we are advancing as a denomination, and that 
with inconceivable velocity, is self-evident. 

One of the peculiarities of the Baptist denomination is, that 
whenever and wherever she is planted, she lives. We are 
advancing, and our source is sufficient for the perpetual 
progress of the denomination. Illustrative of the advancement 
of our denomination, consider the small seed planted here in 
Savannah, January 20th, 1788. Did it die? Was it plucked up 
and destroyed? No. It lived; it grew and became a mighty 
tree, yielding abundant fruit every season, some of which have 
ripened, and are now gathered into the garner of the Lord. 
This tree having grown exceedingly large, its branches extend 
now into every conceivable part of this grand old empire State, 
and are no less fruitful than their parent tree. 

While the ripe fruit has been gathered into the Master's 
garner, this mother tree represents to-day, in the State of 
Georgia, 1,500 branches, or churches, with 166,429 members. 
Behold, what a number ! Baptists, we are advancing ; we are 
marching on to greater achievement; yes, to victory. The 
grand conclusive evidences that we are advancing, through 
Christ, our great leader, our 30,699 churches, with 20,000 
ministers and 2,769,389 members; our 13,493 Sunday schools, 
with 116,355 officers and teachers, and 1,000,000 scholars, and 
our fifty col'eges and theological seminaries, and numerous 
academies, are living proofs. With these we have all that is 
needed. And we may, advancing as we are, safely hope for a 
victorious future, as signal and pleasing as it will be glorious. 

Feeling assured that as a denomination we are truly advanc- 
ing, I conclude by saying : 

"Onward christian soldiers, 
Onward to the fight, 
Hold the banner firmly, 
Battle for the right. 

"Hold the cross of Jesus, 
As your banner, high, 
Never must you falter, 
Never must you fly. 

"Jesus is our captain, 
And we'll surely win, 
If we do His bidding, 
We may conquer sin, 

..Vv History of the Fir. it 

"Clad in heavenly armor 
We'll o'ercome the foe, 
Triumph o'er the tempter, 
Jesus tells us so. 

"Then when warfares over, 
When the fight is d^ne, 
When i he foes are vanquished, 
When the victory's won. 

"Laying down your armor, 
Clad in snowy white, 
You shall reign with Jesus, 
Iu eternal light." 



Mr. President and Fellow- Christian Workers of the Centennial Cele- 
bration of the Baptist Church of Georgia : 
I am, by the appointment of your committee, to address you 
at this hour on "The Duty of the Pastor to The Church," but 
in order to define that duty, we must define the true relation 
"between the pastor and the church. This can be done only by 
first clearly understanding the terms of the contract between 
the church and the pastor. 

Therefore, if the church has the'right to make a contract with 
the pastor, that right must depend upon the legal and lawful 
existence of the church itself as God's agent. This position 
must be defined in accordance with God's word. Dr. J. 1ST. 
Brown says: "A gospel church is a congregation of baptized 
believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of 
the gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His 
laws', and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in 
them by His word." 

It is" clear that the only scriptural head or leader of the 
church is a trained bishop, elder or pastor, whose qualifications, 
claims and duties, are defined in the epistle of Timothy and Titus, 
(I. Tim., iii, 1-8): "This is a true saying, If a man desire the 
office of bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must 
be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good 
behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, 
no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre ; but patient, not a brawler, 
not covetous : One that ruleth well his own house, having his 
children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not 
how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church 
of Ood?) Not a novice, less being lifted up with pride he fall 

African Baptist Church. 285 

into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he "must have a 
good report of them which are without; lest he fall into 
reproach and the snare of the devil." 

Titus, i, 5-8: "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou 
shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain 
elders in every city, as I had appointed thee : If any be blame- 
less, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not 
accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as 
the steward of God ; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given 
to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lugre." 

These two passages, with many others that might be quoted, 
are conclusive evidence that the office of the ministry is of divine 
appointment ; the great duty of the pastor is to pasture or feed 
the flock of God — the church. 

Having shown that the office of pastor is one of divine ap- 
pointment, we will now endeavor to define the word "Church," 
employing the language of some of the best writers. 

The Greek word for " church" signifies generally an assembly, 
either common or religious, and it is sometimes so translated, 
as in Acts, xix, 32, 39. In the New Testament it means a con- 
gregation of baptized believers in Christ, as in Matthew, xvi, 18: 
"And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this 
rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it." This reference must be to the christian 
church of baptized believers, regularly and orderly constituted 
after the divine pattern. Heb., xxii, 23: "To the general 
assembly and church of the first born, which are written in 
heaven, and to God the judge of all." 

It seems to me useless to quote other passages to prove that 
the church and ministry are of divine appoin tment. This fact 
is accepted by the christian world. 

The christian minister, with his divine commission in his 
hand, and the church, as God's only instrume ntality in the con- 
version of the world, are to be married to eac h other in divine 
and christian wedlock, in accordance with the divine plan, 
which was' ordained of God from the foundation of the world, 
as the best and only way of converting the world from sin 
unto salvation. The divine order, then, is church and pastor. 

This relation should always be formed in the most prayerful 
and deliberate manner. Out of the union thus entered into 
arise the responsibilities and duties of the pastor to the church. 
He in no sense holds the relation of a mere hireling, who is to 
perform a certain amount of work for so many dollars and cents, 
and if he happens not to please the deacons in everything is 
to be discharged at their will. While the pastor should always 

_',sv; History of the First 

be well paid, the relation goes beyond dollars and cents. It is 
a moral and spiritual relation of the deepest and most sacred 
character, which is sanctioned and approved by the great Head 
of the Church. 

The minister is the under-shepherd, overseer, leader and 
bishop of the flock of God. Acts, xx., 28 : " Take heed there- 
fore unto yourselves, and to all the flock of God, over which 
the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of 
God, which He has purchased with His own blood." Now, 
out of this most beautiful and tender relation above stated, 
grows the duty and responsibility of the pastor to the church. 

1. It is the pastor's first duty to the church to feed the flock 
with spiritual food, by the constant and faithful administration 
of the word of Christ, without regard to favors or frowns. 

2. He is bound to discharge his duty as pastor to every fam- 
ily in the church, rich or poor, by keeping a zealous watch over 
their spiritual welfare, in their homes and also in the church, 
and assisting in the settlement of all difficulties in the spirit of 
Christ, as far as it is possible for him to do. 

3. The pastor has a special duty to the poor and sick, whom 
he should never overlook in his most tender spiritual adminis- 

i. It is the duty of the pastor to overlook all of the affairs of 
the church, and keep himself informed as to the condition of 
every department of church work, and, from time to time, make 
such recommendation as will, in his judgment, improve the 
condition of the church, either spiritually or financially. 

5. It is the duty of the pastor, under the authority of the 
word of God, to take the entire leadership and oversight of the 
church, and, if by any rule of the church, he is deprived of his 
gospel rights, he is not in the truest sense pastor, but merely a 

6. It is the duty of the pastor to give to the church, on each 
Lord's day, carefully prepared sermons; he should never go 
before his people without thorough preparation. 

7. It is the duty of the pastor to cultivate a spirit of love 
and kindness toward all the members of his church, with a 
view of making his administration as pastor a blessing to the 
cause of Christ. 

8. It is the duty of the pastor to so conduct himself in all 
of his dealings with the church as to hold the confidence and 
respect of the whole church, if it be possible; but it is not his 
duty to relinquish the high responsibility of his office to please 
a few church "cranks" and constitutional grumblers, which 
may be found in all churches. 

African Baptist Church. 287 

9. The true pastor of the church, divinely called, and placed 
over the church by God's authority, who is head of the church, 
never should be removed from that position, except Divine 
Providence indicates that such separation is for the good of the 
cause of Christ; and this separation should be brought about 
by the same christian deliberation which was used in forming 
the union when he became pastor of the church. 



Without argument to prove it, were that argument necessary, 
let us agree that the church is a divine organization ; that it is 
a body of organized christian believers ; that it is more than a 
mere society, more than a simple lodge, or order of whatever 
character. It is not only after the divine pattern, but it is that 
pattern. Regenerate believers in Christ, "those that gladly 
received His word," compose the church. It is not complete 
in its organization without a pastor. No body of christians, 
calling themselves a church, has the right to dispense with the 
services of a minister. Not any more could a church do so than 
it could dispense with religious worship, or the other officers of 
a church. 

In life, men sustain relationships. We all are debtors, one 
to another. Men are mutually dependent. Man is only partially 
an independent being ; for most of his life he is dependent on 
his fellow-men. But there is no relationship more important 
and sacred than that which exists between a church and its 
pastor. A. true pastor is a friend, and a true friend is a rare 
possession. The relationship between friends is essentially 

"There is no friend like the old friend, 
Who has shared our mourning days ! 
No greeting like his, no homage like his praise ! " 

The relationship of husband and wife is sacred. They are 
one, and yet they are two. Both the same, and yet both dif- 
ferent. But these relationships between friend and friend, 
husband and wife, suffer somewhat in comparison with that 
relation subsisting between the pastor and the church. The 
marriage estate is for this life alone. The relationship between 
pastor and church is spiritual; hence it has to do with the 
future state — eternity — and in this is superior. 

-W History of the First 

Every church has the right to elect its own officers. So also 
ought every church have the right to choose its own pastor. It 
is not true, however, that all churches have this prerogative. 
Among Baptists this right is inviolable. Possessing the free- 
dom of choice, and having made selection of its pastor, a 
church owes him duties and obligations far-reaching in their 
character. The church is the first party to the contract, as the 
man is to the marriage contract, it having made the proposi- 
tion for the agreement, which makes them one in interests, and 
mutually obligated. And, as a man or woman should look well 
and rationally and prayerfully before marriage, to ascertain the 
similarity of age, oneness of tastes, equality of position, har- 
mony of mental calibre, and that physical prerequisites are 
found in his or her life's companion, so ought also a church, 
before making choice of a pastor, to look well into the charac- 
ter of the man who would be their shepherd, trusting to Divine 

That which a person is bound by moral obligations to do or 
not to do, is a sufficient definition of duty. A pastor is an 
elder, a shepherd, a commissioned officer of the Lord Jesus 
Christ. He is a servant and an embassador for Christ. 
His office and duty may be briefly defined in this pas- 
sage from I. Peter, v, 1-4 : " The elders which were among 
you I exhort, who are also an elder, and a witness of the suffer- 
ings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be 
revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking 
the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly ; not for 
filthy lucre, but of a ready mind ; Neither as being lords over 
God"s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when 
the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of 
glory that fadeth not away." 

To "feed the flock of God," and "taking the oversight there- 
of," are the duties of the shepherds. " Ensamples to, the flock " 
they are to be. "Lords over God's heritage," they are not to 
be. Feeders and overseers are their offices. " Whosoever will 
be chief among you, let him be your servant." Apparently, 
the world does not understand what is meant by being a 
servant. Could church members, and people in society gener- 
ally, be brought to understand that those among them who 
work, who serve, will be chief, will be most respected, and most 
beloved, and most honored, there would be fewer drones in 
church and in state. 

What, now. is the duty of the church to him who feeds her 
and who overlooks her affairs spiritually? The first duty I 
shall mention as being due a pastor, is the reverence; and 

African Baptist Church. 289 

christian love of his flock. He should enjoy their entire con- 
fidence. The reward, and the chiefest reward, he might hope 
for in this life is the love and reverence of his people. The 
constant companionship and friendship of the church officers 
and the Sabbath school superintendent would be an inspira- 
tion to him. Among the numerous duties which are due him 
by his congregation, I ought not to fail, in passing, to mention 
the apparently insignificant duty of visiting him and his family. 

We can not help him unless we feel an interest in his work. 
It is not the duty of the church to expect him to do everything. 
It is not just nor right that the officers- and members should 
leave the financial burden of the church to the pastor. To 
themselves, to their pastor and to God, church members owe 
the everywhere-neglected duty of becoming intelligent Bible 
christians. Among those who can read, just the same as among 
those who are unlettered ; with the white people, as with the 
colored; in churches for white people, as in churches for 
colored people ; so far as I have been able to observe, there is a 
woeful neglect of Bible reading, and in cases, too often, there 
is the absence of the Bible itself from the church members' 
homes. If we knew more about the " Thus saith the Lord," our 
pastors' sermons would be more helpful, and we would praise 
where we now frequently censure. We would note and appreciate 
God's providences, where now we trample His mercies under 
our feet. If we wish to aid our pastor, we should study our 
Bibles. He knows a Bible student within his fold, and rightly 
values his industry and the earnestness with which he listens 
to his sermons. 

Whether close communion is right, or whether open com- 
munion is wrong; whether theater-going, dancing, or card- 
playing be wrong or right ; whether being temperate or a total 
abstainer is right, or whatever question, you will have no 
trouble to» determine, should you study your Bible, nor would 
you give the pastor or the church any trouble. Let us know 
our doctrine. " The word of God is the only rule of faith and 
practice," "Be not forgetful to strangers," and " Use hospitality 
one to another, without grudging,'' are passages which must 
suggest to the thoughtful virtues, the value of which always 
will be properly estimated by a true minister. 

I wish I could dwell longer on this point, but I cannot. 
Indeed, the cultivation of any christian grace is a help to the 
pastor. And could christians be brought to the fullest point of 
development in the exercise of every talent and liberality, no 
trouble 'would be experienced with regard to the pastor's sup- 
port, the last point on which I shall speak. 

~90 History of the First 

Let us all understand that surprise parties cannot support a 
pastor ; that a minister should live of the gospel the scriptures 
most clearly and conclusively teach. And his support should 
be ample. His entire time should also be devoted to the 
"ministry of the word." 

But the grasping, digging spirit in any minister will hardly 
be gratified. 

Every church should have a pastor who should preach to 
that church every Sunday. It is a most serious mistake to 
have preaching only once a month, and it is a worse mistake 
for one minister to have often as many churches to serve as 
there are Sundays in each month. There is little or no growth 
in such churches. As a rule, the people are running astray, 
and I doubt if there is a more serious error in the management 
of our churches (country churches, as well as city churches, if 
you please) than that of having preaching once a month, thus 
making it possible for one minister to serve two or three bodies. 
Look into this a little, and we shall not be long in discovering 
that the laborers are not quite so scarce as to require this 
practice, and that there are many worthy christian men who 
would show themselves qualified to preach to these churches, if 
given a chance. The trouble lies, I believe, in the fact that 
they do not wish and will not support a pastor. They prefer 
that three churches undertake the work of supporting one 
minister to having one church do that same work. Liberality 
is what is needed. 

The apostle said : " But we will give ourselves continually to 
prayer, and to the ministry of the word." 

Paul said : ' ' Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which 
preach the gospel shoidd live of the gospel." Or, "I only and 
Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth 
a warfare any time at his own charges? Who planteth a 
vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Or who feedeth 
a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these 
things as a man? Or saith not the law the same, also? For 
it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the 
mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care 
for oxen? Or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our 
sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should 
plow in hope; and he that thresheth in hope should be par- 
taker of His hope." — I. Cor., ix, 6-10. "Have I committed an 
offense in abasing myself that you might be exalted, because I 
have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other 
churches, taking wa»-es of them, to do you service. But I rejoice 
in th<- Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath 

African Baptist Church. 291 

flourished again ; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked op- 
portunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned 
in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. Notwithstand- 
ing ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my afflic- 
tion. Now ye Phillipians know also, that in the beginning of 
the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church com- 
municated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye 
only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto 
my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit 
that may abound to your account as a sacrifice acceptable, well 
pleasing to God." 

You will observe that these scriptures fully demonstrate that 
a pastor must be supported — supported by the church to which 
he preaches. No member of a Baptist church who wishes to 
do his full duty, can read these scriptures and not feel that he 
violates the commands of God, if he does not, to the extent of 
his ability, aid in the support of the pastor of the church to 
which he belongs. It is the experience of every church, that a 
few liberal members bear all the burden in the support of the 
church. The young members, somehow, think they might 
spend their earnings in every other way, and for every other 
conceivable purpose, than that of helping to sustain the church. 

But the pastor must visit all the sick and distressed, bury all 
the dead, and pray for all the children and all the sinners in a 
community, the young folks and old folks, and receive little or 
no salary. It is a common practice, also, to give the minister 
or the church that which we, ourselves, do not want. When 
the month expires, the pastor wants his salary, as every man 
does. It takes as much to maintain his family as any other 
family. He should practice economy, and lay by some money, 
as other men. Why not? But that humble, and faithful, and 
self-sacrificing minister, who does his duty and gets little pay, 
and whose family is in sore need, is to be prayed for and to be 

Many people have mistaken views with regard io God's word 
in its teachings on this subject. People give in proportion as 
they love. Love lies at the base of all christian giving ; and it 
would be a safe rule to measure a christian's love by the wil- 
lingness with which he gives, and the amount which he gives. 
Have first the willingness, and secondly the industry and fru- 
gality, which will afford us the means to contribute. 

In Luke, xxi, 1-4, we find this passage : " And He (Jesus) 
looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the 
treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in 
thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, 

:J!).. History oj the First 

that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all : for all 
these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God : 
but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had." 

"The first of the fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the 
house of the Lord thy God." — Ex., xxiii, 19. 

"All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of 
the wheat, the first fruits of them which they shall offer unto 
the Lord." — Num., xviii, 12. 

"And to bring the first fruit of our ground, and the first fruits 
of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the 
Lord." — Neb.., x, 35. 

" But the liberal deviseth liberal things ; and by liberal things 
shall he stand." — Isa., xxxii, 8. 

These passages are from the Old Testament. 

In I. Cor., xvi, 2 : "Upon the first day of the week let every 
one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him." 

II. Cor., viii, 12 : " For if there be first a willing mind, it is 
accepted according to that a man hath', and not according to 
that he hath not." 

II. Cor., ix, 7 : "Every man as he purposeth in his heart, so 
let him give ; not grudgingly, or of necessity : for God loveth a 
cheerful giver." 

Just one word more. 

" Take heed, and beware of covetousness ; for a man's life con- 
sisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." 

From these passages we ought to see our duty to the pastor, 
to the church and to Christ. If these do not teach us our duty, 
no further words from me will. 



What is the duty of the church to the pastor? 

First, let us see the relation between the church and pastor. 

It is said that the pastor's duty to the church is parallel to 
that of the shepherd in the eastern country, whose duty it is to 
feed the sheep, lift up the fainting, care for the sick and 
infirm, take up the tender lambs and fold them in his arms. It 
is the duty of the pastor to care for the sick and bereaved, and, 
best of all, should bring them a fresh supply for every day's want. 

Therefore, the church being the recipient of his labors of 
love, it is her duty to reciprocate the same. 

African Baptist Church. 293 

Therefore, the church is under many obligatipns to her 
pastor, because he is a messenger sent from God, and ought to 
be so regarded by the church and the community at large. It 
is the duty of the church to seek of its pastor spiritual instruc- 
tion. The church should regard him as her spiritual director, 
and show her appreciation of the instructions given, by putting 
them into practice. It is also her duty to seek spiritual guid- 
ance of him, not only for herself, but also for others. 

It is not the duty of the church to attempt to teach him, but 
to be taught of him. He is supposed to be God's representa- 
tive, acting and pleading for God. Hence, it is her duty to 
obey and be governed, and not to govern. 

It seems to be prevalent to-day that nine-tenths of the 
churches-attempt te dictate, to lead and teach their pastors, and 
not to be led. Two-thirds of the church troubles of to-day arise 
from just such causes. It is also the indispensable duty of the 
church to watch carefully against caucusing parties against the 
pastor. Sometimes the "truth becomes too strong to be tol- 
erated by some of the members. I am sorry to say so, but it 
is found to be true. Sometimes he is too strict for the commit- 
tee on finance : sometimes the trustees will not work, because 
they can not do as they please, and too often the deacons, like 
Peter, want to fight, because they cannot invite their friends to 
preach at their will in the pastor's pulpit. 

Sometimes when the pastor is from home laboring for the 
church in some way or other there comes along a preacher, if 
you please, and you get him to preach once or twice, and he 
wants the pastorate right away He has gained a few friends 
and now he wants the church/ 

There is another class of preachers in the church who are 
too lazy to work up for themselves a congregation. Watching 
the pastor, hoping that he may soon get sick and die, so as to 
take his place. It is the duty of the church to guard her pas- 
tor in all of these points, and to see to it that all of the imple- 
ments necessary for the discharge of his duty be put within his 
reach, that the best men be selected out of its number to serve 
as deacons, as trustees, and good, honest men for the committee 
on finance — men that do not have tar on their fingers nor leaks 
in their hands, if so, the pastor will starve and the church go 
down. She should select as deacons men that will fill the office 
as the original calling would indicate, giving active service to 
both church and pastor. When they fail to do so, whether it 
is by inability or duty neglected, they ought to at once be re- 
moved and their places filled by others. Let me urge this point, 
that it is one of the highest duties of the church to its pastor 


"■ijf History of the First 

that the best qualified men be chosen to labor with the pastor, 
both for the good of the pastor and the good of the church, and 
for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom on earth — 
men who are full of the Holy Ghost and blessed with the happy 
grace of self-denial for the cause of Christ. 

It is also her duty to see that the pastor has sufficient light ; 
that is, books, and a good choir that will give music for his 
help. The church should pay her pastor promptly. No church 
ought to pay off its pastor in promises, but rather pay him his 
salary as contracted; for the Bible tells us, "He that laboreth 
at the altar shall also partake of the things of the altar ;" " the 
laborer is worthy of his meat;" don't muzzle the ox that 
treadeth over the corn. 

It is also found in the covenant of the church, " That we will 
strive together for the support of a faithful, evangelical minis- 
try among us." These are the teachings of the Bible, the 
" book of books," which has God for its author, salvation for its 
end, and truth, unmixed with error, for its matter. 

I believe that most of you are familiar with the science of 
agriculture, and hence will agree with me that in order to reap 
a liberal harvest, three things are necessary : 

1. Good ground. 

2. Good seed. 

3. Faithful work. 

Let us say that the church is the good ground, the work the 
good seed, and the pastor the worker, while we all join him. 
We are to hold up the pastor's hands while he wrestles with 
God and we contend with the enemy. Hence, the church can 
not and must not become inactive, because of its good name. 
The pastor cannot live on the church's good name. He must 
be cared for as other men. It is true love to see his faults. The 
church that loves her pastor truly sees his faults, and ought to 
make them known to him in a loving, christian way. I believe 
that it is also the duty of the church to watch her pastor with 
the eye of christian love; not only to guard, but also pray for 
him, that he be able to better discharge his duties. The Bible 
tells us that while Peter was in prison, the church met and 
prayed for him, and that while they were yet praying he was 
delivered unto them. 

It is also the church's indispensable duty to watch her pastor 
with a spiritual eye, both for her own good and the good of the 
community at large, and to see that he does not divert from the 
path of virtue, hive and truth. So soon as he desecrates his 
high calling, it is the duty of the church to leave him to him- 
self until he repents. 

African Baptist Church. 295 

One of the great evils of our day, that has destroyed so many 
of our churches, is that the church puts sympathy in the place 
of justice in some of the blackest crimes. Sympathy has pre- 
dominated in the face of right, and it is more frequently prac- 
ticed in the little country churches, where the people depend 
upon a few leaders for light. Once the pastor gets himself 
into the sympathies of the church, he feels himself safe to 
carry her to honor or down to shame, at his will. It is the 
duty of the church to guard against this evil. 

There is a man who meets his friend while on his way to 
church, and asks him to go with him to church. ' No." says his 
friend, "I do not wish to go." ' ; Why not?'* "Well, because 
every time I go to church, since I and the preacher fell out. he 
takes his text on me, and when he ends, he ends on me. When 
I go to^ church I want to hear the gospel preached to me, and 
that will make us better, if anything will, and not be picking 
at me, because I cannot answer him back. 

Let it be known that it is the duty of the church to have a 
pastor who knows the gospel, and not only knows it but will 
preach it at all times and under all circumstances. 

Our blessed Lord said: "'When I am lifted up I will draw all 
men unto me." St. Paul also said: ''I desire to know nothing 
among you save Christ and Him crucified." 

The churches of this age want men to know the Bible, and 
that will teach the Bible, and not only teach but also let the 
Bible be the rule of their lives. This age of progress demands 
money and an enlightened ministry, and the ministry is demand- 
ing better pay and better treatment. 



Mr. Chairman and Honored Sirs: 

The question which your committee has assigned me for treat- 
ment at this hour is one which so impresses me with its pro- 
fundity that all of my powers are invoked to impress you with 
its importance. In the midst of this nineteenth century, an 
age of religious tolerance and denominational activity : an age 
when Christendom is at rest, and not convulsed by the throes 
and horrors of a French revolution, or the ascendency of 
Catholicism over Protestantism ; an age when all denomina- 
tions are energetic, and seeking by conquest to make proselytes 

J'.h; History of the First 

of the Gentiles by planting every corner of the globe with their 
emissaries ; an age when a desire to open up commercial inter- 
course with the unexplored heathen lands is screened behind 
the efforts of the various denominations to plant missionaries ; 
3 T ea, at a time when pious, well informed christian young men 
and women are in demand — it is in the midst of such circum- 
stances and under such influences that I find it impossible to 
suppress the interrogation, " "What is our duty toward the Bap- 
tist institutions of our country?" In this centennial year of 
the colored Baptists of Georgia, and at this very moment, I 
hail this occasion as one for veneration and congratulation, to 
stand in the presence of these old fathers and time-honored 
Baptist veterans, to whom the solution of this question is an 
issue of most vital concern. 

The first duty we owe, therefore, to our Baptist institutions 
is. to see that they are officered by a faculty of christian men 
and women thoroughly indoctrinated in Baptist principles and 
possessing a high order of intellectual ability, and that general 
fitness for the profession of which allows no embarrassment 
when they are thrown into competition with the other denomi- 
national and educational institutions of our country. Such an 
institution, so officered, and so planted upon the hill top of 
Georgia, will be like the 'handful of corn upon the top of the 
mountain, yea, it will serve as a sentinel at the doors of ignor- 
ance, and the matured fruits thereof shall shake like Lebanon 
dispensing their heavenly benedictions throughout the land. 

All institutions must grow or they will retrograde into obso- 
lete insignificance. A grain of corn must be brought in con- 
tact with the elements of the fertile soil, receive the farmer's 
cultivation and care, receive the fruitful seasons and the early 
dews from heaven before we are permitted to behold the ap- 
pearance of the shoot, the stalk, the blade and the full fruitage 
of golden corn. The benefactions accruing from our Baptist 
institutions are not unlike the grain of corn in the needs and 
dependence for parental care as they move from the stage of 
incipiency into that of efficient manhood. 

That we may be the better instructed as to our duty toward 
our Baptist institutions, let us ask ourselves the questions, 
"How stand our schools, and what influence are they exercis- 
ing throughout the United States?" 

According to the educational report of Dr. Henry L. Moor- 
house, we have denominational schools planted at Washington 
1). C: at Richmond, Va.; at Raleigh, N". C; Columbia, S. C.' 
Atlanta, in Georgia; at Live Oak, in Florida; Selma, in Ala- 
bama: at Nashville, in Tennesse; at Louisville, in Kentucky; 

African Baptist Church. 297 

^atchez, in. Mississippi ; ]^ew Orleans, in Louisiana ; Marshall, 
in Texas, and at Tahlequah, in the Indian Territory. All of 
these schools are doing much to materialize that portion of the 
Master's vineyard in which they are most fortunately planted. 
But noticeable among them in efficiency and utility, we can 
point with pride to the Wayland Seminary, at Washington, the 
Shaw University, at Raleigh ; the Roger Williams University ; 
the Spellman and Atlanta Baptist Seminaries, both of which are 
situated at Atlanta. These institutions are sending hundreds 
of trained young men and women into all the avenues of Life, 
and, as teachers, ministers, mechanics and master-hands in 
the different professions, they take very enviable rank, and the 
presence of this august, venerable and grave assemblage of 
Baptists, with the men and women trained at our schools 
prominent among its leaders, claim this to be ample attestation 
of the fact that our schools are doing a work that shall yet tell 
in ages — tell for God. 

Again, we must congratulate ourselves upon the fact that all 
these institutions are located in the South, where colored Bap- 
tists propagate, promulgate and multiply in a ten-fold ratio. 
They are placed, as it were, at our doors in easy access to all of 
our Baptist families. Such is the advantage of the present age 
over the past. But with all of these advantages, we must yet 
ask the question, have these institutions done all they could, 
and if not, what is still our duty toward the Baptist institutions ■ 
of our country ? 

One of the primal duties of the Baptists of Georgia is to sup- 
ply our well-equipped institutions with a larger amount of raw 
material, in the shape of untutored boys and girls hailing from 
Baptist families. 

The newest statistical reports give to our State above 166,000 
Baptists. Let us suppose one-tenth of this mighty army is 
composed of Baptist children, and we shall have above 16,000 
Baptist children to fill our universities and seminaries. 

Again, according to this census, the school population of the 
State of Georgia alone was 520,416. It is reasonable and fair 
to suppose that the children from Baptist families constitute at 
least one-tenth of the school population, and we should have 
for our institutions above 52,000 Baptist children. Suffer me to 
advance still another supposition. Suppose circumstances ren- 
dered it possible and practicable for but half of this 16,000 chil- 
dren to attend our seminaries, we should then have 8,000 children 
growing up at the feet of Baptist Gamaliels, learning wisdom. 

But the facts show in regard to the education of our boys and 
girls that at the Baptist Seminary this scholastic year, about 

;>!>$ History of the First 

l.">0 pupils were enrolled. At the Spellman the enrollment 
reached (500 girls ; in all about 750 pupils at our two schools. 
Not 1.O0O boys and girls in our Georgia institutions. Where 
are the Baptist children of our State? Is it not possible that 
more can be done to fill our seminaries '? Fathers, mothers, and 
lovers of this glorious cause, we are in a large measure respon- 
sible for the attendance at our schools. 

In the United States there are 18,000,000 children of school 
age. As Baptists, let us see to it that a fair and substantial 
number of this throng is captured by our denominational 
schools. But, venerable sirs, our institutions will not stand 
alone, if they are not fostered by the maternal care of that 
people by whom and for whom they were created. And in 
order that their years may be crowned with goodness, and that 
their paths may flourish and drop fatness, so that they may be 
potentialities, energizing the communities in which they are 
planted, the chief articles of sustenance which they need to 
strengthen their vitality are dollars and prayers. Dollars, in 
order that the temporal prerequisites and the wants of the 
physical may be fully met; prayers, in order that divine 
unction from heaven may be distilled, like early dews, to bless 
the efforts which our schools and seminaries are putting forth, 
to garner in a large harvest for the Baptist church and for God. 
And may we not conjecture that when the great day of reck- 
oning shall come, when the quick and the dead shall stand 
before the Great Judge, to have their records reviewed, may we 
not indulge the conjecture that denominations, as well as indi- 
viduals, shall be held accountable for the work they have done? 

Let it not be said of us: "You wicked and slothful Baptists, 
depart from me." Many of our churches are calling for trained 
ministers, deeply steeped in all scriptural knowledge, and with 
an appointment from above. For such a class of workers the 
demand is far greater than the supply As Baptists, let us 
train up a greater supply of ministerial timber. The hour is at 
hand when many of our churches are calling for a better- 
informed ministry Yea, the things and empty customs of the 
past have passed away. And the present, with all its modern 
demands, is upon us. These recruits to our ministerial ranks 
must file in from our schools. Each Sunday school, each 
church, each benevolent society should be interested in some 
worthy and promising member, or members, of their organiza- 
tion, and shoulder the responsibility of sending them to our 
seminaries, and furnishing them with a liberal supply of dollars 
and prayers. It is only in this way that the latent elements 
arc to lie drawn out. 

African Baptist Church. 299 

A larger number of our girls and young women must be 
entered at our schools, so that from there shall spring up larger 
numbers of well-ordered, well-regulated christian families, that 
shall render very substantial aid in making the civilization of 
this nineteenth century the grandest that the pages of history 
have yet beheld ; for woman, in her sphere, is like a diamond 
in the jeweled crown of a King, and a civilization without her 
work is woefulty, grossly incomplete. Our Sunday school and 
our secular need the work of our trained young women, and 
these must come from our seminaries. Hence, arises the 
imperative duty of sending our girls to our schools, and supply- 
ing them with a full quota of dollars and prayers. Our insti- 
tutions of learning are our " lambs," which, in Holy Writ, we 
are enjoined to feed. 

Prominent among the reasons which make it imperatively 
necessary for us to guard with a zealous care the education of our 
children, is the fact that all the other denominations are energetic 
in christianizing the world in the tenets of their individual dog- 
mas, and their missionaries are finding their way from pole to 
pole and from sea to sea. It is this denominational competi- 
tion which must energize all and give vivacity to our trade. 
Shall we lie supinely by and refuse to send laborers into the 
Master's vineyard to possess the land? Let us not be deluded, 
sirs, with the siren songs of such culpable inactivity. We can 
not afford it. In the evening of this nineteenth century the 
Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists and Catholics 
have their denominational schools planted all over this Union 
and thronging with numbers as they vie with each other in 
legitimate warfare for the mastery of the world. The footholds 
that the Catholics are gaining in this country draws the most 
serious apprehension and the profoundest concern, and these 
demonstrations are not only energetic but they are surprisingly 
sagacious and diplomatic. The Catholics of to-day have much 
to do with the body politic and the shaping of American poli- 
tics. The President of the United States has just sent to the 
Pope of Rome a present in the shape of the constitution. This 
act of recognition of the Pope has no small significance. 

In this literary convention among the leading denominations 
of the world let not the great Baptist family of this country 
seem remiss in planting her schools upon every hill top and 
in every vale, so that they may tower toward heaven with good- 
ness and may herald the dawn of the millennium on earth 
among men when God's kingdom shall be fully come and His 
will performed in their hearts. 


.',00 History of the First 

Finally, using our schools as a powerful instrument, our 
denominational family is to wage an uncompromising war with 
superstition, beat back the forces of Paganism and make 
religious conquests in China, in Japan, in Asia, in Africa, and 
even in Rome, the very heart of Catholicism. When we 
remember that of the one thousand and four hundred millions 
of souls belonging to the human family only one-fourth of them 
profess the christian religion, and when it is remembered 
Mohammedanism, with its sword and its Koran as the ensign of 
its power, holds powerful sway in the southwestern part of Asia 
and a large part of Africa; yea, when our missionaries in 
foreign fields must admit the fact that the followers of Buddism 
and Brahminism comprise more than one-fourth of the inhab- 
itants of the globe, and that the Roman Catholics, with their 
order of Jesuits overrunning every portion of Africa to which 
they can gain access, then you will not fail to be impressed 
with the magnitude of the obligation which lies at the doors of 
Christianity, and how herculean must be the efforts on the part 
of the Baptists of this country to subdue and supersede the 
various forms of pagan religion as they flourish in heathen 

Christianity alone is responsible for the subjugation and the 
checking of the spread of these empty relics of heathen worship, 
and reclaiming the world for Christ. And, my honored Bap- 
tist fathers and veterans, may this centennial celebration be 
to us as the great day of Pentecost, the tarrying at Jerusalem, 
as our Mecca, until we shall be endowed with wisdom from on 
high, and then, from this point as a century, let us radiate, 
with a view to making conquests at home and abroad, and with 
this motto "The World Must Be Ours." 

"From Greenland's icy mountains, 

From India's coral strand, 
Where Afric's sunny fountains 

Roll down the golden sand ; 
From many an ancient river, 

From many a palmy plain. 
They call us to deliver 

Their laud from errors' chain." 

African Baptist Church. 301 




Says a noted writer: "Literature is, excluding the recorded 
knowledge of positive science, the entire result of knowledge 
and fancy preserved in writing. Literature proper is addressed 
to man as man, and is catholic, universal, not exclusive. 

The importance of literature is very apparent to all thinking 
minds. "What the mighty rivers and water courses of a country 
are to its fertility, productiveness and prosperity, that literature 
is to the inhabitants thereof. Indeed, we might liken the great 
thinkers and writers of any age, country or clime to high hills 
and lofty mountains from whose bases flow the clear, sparkling, 
limpid, crystal streams of literature to elevate, enlighten and 
instruct the minds of the people, to make glad their hearts and 
to better their condition financially, mentally and spiritually. 

What the silver, twinkling stars are to the natural world, 
that literature is to the mental and spiritual world. The 
student of the world's history looks back to the time when the 
world as to literature was as dark, gloomy and foreboding as 
the heavens at night would be without a single star. Each 
religious denomination, each political party and each section of 
all enlightened -countries show their appreciation of what they 
call pure literature by establishing and supporting papers, jour- 
nals and periodicals proclaiming and advoc ating their respect- 
ive views. 

We must now hasten to the discussion of the subject under 
consideration. By pure Baptist literature is meant the writings 
of eminent Baptist scholars in prose and poetry touching Bap- 
tist faith and Baptist views. 

1. It is very important to have pure Baptist literature, to 
show and demonstrate that we are the only New Testament 
church on the face of the globe, and thereby proving our iden- 
tity with the apostolic church, and our right, therefore, to exist 
as a separate and distinct denomination, and " contend earnestly 
for the faith once delivered unto the saints. " 

2. By New Testament church is meant a church ruled and 
governed according to Christ's teaching and that of His imme- 
diate followers, and whose offices are such as accord therewith. 
In order to show this great fact, it is very important to have 
pure Baptist literature, to present to the world our distinct 
tenets and doctrines in clear and unmistakable terms, and yet 

So. 2 History of the First 

in so simple language that the most illiterate may understand 
them. In the second place, it is very important to have pure 
Baptist literature, to prove the unbiblical stand taken by other 
denominations, and to show the errors in their tenets and doc- 
trines, and the great evils resulting therefrom ; to show the rise 
of popes and bishops, the sprinkling and pouring of adults and 
infants, and their attendant train of evils. These innovations 
create new positions, these positions give new authority, un- 
warranted by the Holy Scriptures; the suppression of per- 
sonal liberty, because man was not allowed to reason or think 
for himself; finally there was a union of state and church, and 
at last came the dark ages, that hung for many centuries like 
the appalling darkness of Egypt. 

3. We need to have Baptist literature to help conquer the 
world for our blessed Master. "We need it to help herald the 
glad tidings of the rich, free and glorious gospel of Jesus, the 
Christ. The walls of China have fallen ; the interior of Africa 
is being explored; the heathen gods are tottering on their 
thrones. Mexico, handicapped for centuries by priesthood, is 
crying for help to break the chains. Cuba and the Isle of the 
Sea are trying to rise and throw off their galling and oppressive 
yoke. The whole European continent is like the great tempest- 
tossed sea, that cannot rest. All of these circumstances and 
events are calling in thunder tones for pure Baptist literature 
to help solve the problems of the world. 

4. In the fourth place, the Baptist being the only aggressive 
denomination that has no taint, no savor of Roman Catholicism 
about her garment, like some lofty mountain detached from all 
others, she stands alone, towering up through the centuries, and 
at the same time, like some lighthouse by the deep, dark seas 
of human woes and human depravity, sending forth the clear 
electric light of God's word, saying to poor lost man : " This is 
the way the King of glory went; follow Him." 

5. We need pure Baptist literature to help mold and shape 
public opinion, and thereby help to give to the world laws and 
governments for the betterment of man. 

Be it ever remembered that these United States, the greatest, 
the grandest and freest country on the face of the globe, owes 
its greatness to the Baptist idea of civil and religious liberty. 
The Puritans, with all their purity, with all their love of God 
and man, with all their longings and struggles for freedom to 
wo.-ship God according to the dictates of their own consciences 
wciv not willing to accord the same privileges to others. This 
was because they were laboring under the smoke and cloud of 
the Church of England. The Baptist church may be considered 

African Baptist Church. 303 

the church of the people, for the people, and by the people, 
under the direction of Christ, their head. 

6. The fact that we are living in an age of progress, in an age 
of scientific investigation, in an age of schools, colleges and 
universities, in a thinking and reading age, bespeak the grave 
importance of pure Baptist literature. 

The day is coming, and I think I see its dawning in the near 
future, when the great mass of common people will read and 
think for themselves, unbiased by the commands of bishops or 
the edicts of popes. Give this vast host pure Baptist literature, 
and they will throw off all forms and come to the New Testa- 
ment idea of church and worship. 

Come, blessed Jesus, help us hasten forward the ushering in 
of that glorious day, when there shall be but one flock and one 



Dear Brethren of the Baptist Family of Georgia : 

In discussing the subject that has been assigned me by your 
committee on programme, I ask your attention to James, ii, 22 : 
"Seest thou how faith wrought with His works, and by works 
was faith made perfect." 

Here the purity of the church and its works are indicated. 
The church must first be pure in its faith. If the faith of the 
church is not pure its works can not be, since faith actuates to 
works. If the church would be pure in its faith its doctrines 
around which faith must twine must be pure. The center of 
the doctrines of the church must be Christ crucified. If the 
church would' be pure in its faith it must cling eternally to this. 
The church can not be pure in its faith if it countenances affini- 
ties. The church should not tolerate members who believe in 
and work for societies. 

The great subject of the gospel is the history of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. In this wonderful personage we have a character 
which stands alone in all history the most spotless, the sub- 
limest, the brightest and best. The life which He led was the 
most wonderful and blameless. The morality which He taught 
was the purest and most elevated. The death which crowned 

*The majority of the hearers being members of some societies, this address was 
not enthusiastically received, and Rev. Jackson could not finish his speech as 
prepared. This is greatly revised.— Ed. 

.lojf History of the First 

His wonderfully useful life was the most shameful, agonizing, 
and yet most sublime the world has ever witnessed. So 
He laid the pattern for all the faithful who would in all ages 
follow Him. He has not led the way into affinities, and how 
dare His followers to go into them and covenant with unbeliev- 
ers without His example. By the power of the example of 
Christ, the triumph of His death, He has laid the foundation of 
a kingdom the working and purity of which embraces the 
strength and commands the homage of every civilized nation 
upon the globe, and against which the powers of hell can never 

All the acts and purity of Jesus are wonderful, indeed, and 
hardly less wonderful are the purity and works of the true 
gospel church. Anti-Christs may rise to annoy and destroy 
the church, but it shall stand upon its pure foundation, upon 
Christ, the solid rock. The Baptist Church is the best pre- 
pared to give the world the pure gospel, as it is in Jesus. The 
church is to fight against impurity, and, therefore, should itself 
be pure. The church cannot be pure and have fellowship with 
the lodge. The ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ should not 
be members of the lodge, if they want a pure church. That 
the lodges are sapping the very life of the church, is a 
stubborn fact, and that ministers are taking part in them can- 
not be denied. What can be the object of these societies? Are 
they intended to glorify God? Are they of divine origin? 
Are they auxiliaries to the church ? If so, who made them thus ? 
Is not the church adapted to the wants of mankind, and is all 
that God wanted it to be? Has He required help at our hands 
by organizing secret societies? These societies and the church 
conflict, which is the surest proof that the societies are not di- 
vine, for there is no conflict in divine institutions. Govern- 
ment, both civil and ecclesiastic, are of divine origin, and these 
work together and accomplish different ends, but all to the 
good of man and the glory of God. 

To claim that the lodge is of divine origin is simply prepos- 
terous, and wholly without foundation, as all authentic history 
will attest. Since the lodge is of human origin, it may go be- 
yond the aims and purposes of its originators, and be produc- 
tive of great evil ; for man is a creature of mistakes. God alone 
makes no mistakes. Is the lodge the handmaid to the church ? 
Is it the friend of the church, or is it antagonistic to the church? 
Does the lodge promote the morals of the people? Does it ad- 
vance the spiritual interests of men ? Does it work in line with 
the church in promoting man's truest and highest interest, or 
does it antagonize it? I assume, as is universally admitted 

African Baptist Church. 305 

that the purposes of the church are right. I do not desigu to 
arraign the Almighty by so much as a question of its right and 
adaptation to an end worthy of its infinite Author. To antag- 
onize the church is war upon the throne of God, and rebellion 
against His most righteous government. 

Masonry claims to be a religious institution. It even claims 
universal adaptation to the wants of man — not as the christian 
religion and the church, suited to all classes, climes and coun- 
tries — but adapted to all religions — open to receive Jew, Gen- 
tile, Greek, barbarian and Turk, and mass them in one con- 
glomeration, without leavening them with the leaven of righteous- 
ness. It makes no claim to christianize. It rejects the corner- 
stone, elect and precious, upon which the church of God rests. 
It claims to be religious ; that is all. As the play of Hamlet,, 
with Hamlet left out, so is the lodge christian, with Christ left 
out. Rejecting the only foundation of the church, the antag- 
onism is appallingly serious. The oaths required for persons to 
take in the lodges upon being initiated into the different de- 
grees in Masonry is contrary to the spirit and genius of Chris- 
tianity. While I have referred to Masonry particularly as the 
great parent of all secret associations, my remarks are applica- 
ble to all such secret, oath-bound associations. They all im- 
pose an oath of secresy to obey a code of unknown laws. 

Let us consider the object which the church is seeking to 
accomplish. What does God mean by gathering His people and 
organizing the church? Manifestly to bring man back to his 
pristine allegiance to Him, that His throne might be established 
in the earth, and the rebellious subjects made to bow to His 
loving scepter. He would have prominently among these the 
elevation of men, the refining of their minds, giving them 
very exalted views. To magnify the Lord, and to worship Him 
in the beauty of holiness is the work of the chvirch. The 
church is to exalt the glorious name of God in the world, by 
teaching the people of God to reverence His name, obey His 
word and observe the ordinances of His house. 

But what says Masonry? (See Mackey's Manual of the 
lodge, page 57). " Speculative Masonry, now known as Free 
Masonry, is therefore, the scientific application, and the re- 
ligious consecration of the rules and principles, the technical 
language and the implements and materials of operative 
masonry to the worship of God as the grand architect of the 

Israel in the plains before Mt. Sinai's rugged, cloud-capped 
summit did no more idolatrous and rebellious work in making 
the golden calf than is this deed of Masonry. It exalts its 

300 History of the First 

rules above the Word of* God and appoints its implements, its 
square and compass, as symbols in the worship of God, or, in 
other words, it sets at naught the teaching of God for the com- 
mandment of men. This is high-handed wickedness and un- 
warranted by God or the want of man. Masonry claims that 
it is an institution of God whose duty it is to transmit the 
miraculous works of God, that is, practically to assume the 
place of the Old Testament church, and yet with such arrogant 
claim it rejects the name of Jesus Christ and exalts nature to a 
supreme place. 

The end sought by the pure church is more than the mere 
literary or scientific or moral elevation of man. It seeks to 
change his heart and make him a new creature in Christ Jesus. 
The church teaches perfect obedience to God. This requires 
more than an intellectual or formal politeness. The church aims 
to give back to man that he lost in the fall by pointing him to 
the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. 
This the lodge can not do or help to do. It is not befitting for 
members of the church to declare in the church that salvation 
is in none other but Jesus and then go into the lodge in the 
presence of Jews and pagans and dare not open their mouths 
of Jesus or breathe His holy name. 

The work of the church comprehends much nowadays. It 
consists of bazars, grab-bags, neck-tie festivals, church suppers, 
fairs, cake-walks, broom drills, ice cream festivals, and I don't 
know how many other things. The more attention that is 
given to the purity of the church the less use we will have for 
these things, and money for church work will be raised from a 
principle. Then shall the church become the glory of all the 
earth. Let us guard the purity of the church, and the Lord 
grant us understanding in all things. 




Looking from the preeminence of Christianity, which it has 
attained in eighteen hundred years, our eyes naturally turn, 
with marked eagerness, in search of those things which have 
contributed to so noted a growth. But a few centuries ago the 
world looked upon Christianity in its infancy. The little group 
of twelve disciples, almost penniless, were faithful adherents to 
their Lord and Master, who had not where to lay His head. 

African Baptist Church. 307 

Notwithstanding the great motive which led the Lord to 
leave heaven and come to the earth to execute the plan by 
which man might be saved, and notwithstanding He had called 
men from among their followers, He inaugurated a system that 
seemed as a vehicle to disseminate the power of the gospel to all 
the world. The opposition which was met was then, as now, 
disguised and deeply seated. Judaism, which had given birth 
to Christianity, positively refused to give place to the latter. 
The high priests and rulers found pleasure in asking sharp ques- 
tions to entrap our Lord. The Sanhedrim sought not only to 
paralyze the cause, but to blot out the name and influence of 
Christ. Their orders were to Peter and John not to preach or 
teach in His name. The lawyers appeared in garbs of decep- 
tion, and loaned the aid of their will to the existing opposition, 
which threatened the overthrow of the blessed cause. The 
immorality of the age served as a great fort of defense for the 
cause of the enemy. But Christ, with His everlasting love for 
fallen humanity, and His powerful way of demonstrating it, as 
in His humiliation at Bethlehem, His zeal and energy as a Mis- 
sionary, His agony in Gethsemane and His death on the cross, 
soon began to draw men to him by a powerful and silent in- 
fluence that the world knew not of. 

From these humble fishermen and the despised Nazarene, 
who gave their lives for the cause they loved, has gone out to 
every nation the good tidings of the way of salvation. And it 
is truly said : 

" The morning light Is breaking, 

The darkness disappears, 
The sons of earth are waking 

To penitential tears. 
Each breeze that sweeps the ocean 

Brings tidings from afar, 
Of nations in commotion, 

Prepared for Zion's war." 

Money, the great commercial medium of the world, has con- 
tributed more to the growth of this cause than any other known 
article of civilization. 

1. Money as a convenience. — Those who obeyed the great 
command, "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations," were de- 
pendent upon the commodities of civilization for the comforts 
of the body, as upon the Lord Jesus for the comforts of the soul. 
As money is a medium in the commercial world, it also serves 
in a similar capacity for the cause of the religion which we love. 
Remove the monetary system, and that itself brings into ex- 
istence the barbaric system which has had its day. In building 
the tabernacle in the wilderness, the people were required to 
bring gold, silver and brass, not as money, but as material, 

JOS History of the First 

along with the ram skins dyed red, and badger skins, and blue, 
purple, scarlet and fine linen. Instead of our taking up lumber, 
brick and mortar, when we go to build a house for God, we use 
money, with which we may more conveniently do our part. 
This valuable agent is one of the greatest blessings God has 
given to man through the hand of civilization. 

In Old Testament times money both coined and uncoined 
found its place in the furtherance of salvation. By its use we 
may help the missionary, on both the home and foreign fields, 
bringing souls to Christ. It brings to these faithful laborers of 
the Lord the sympathy of their brethren in a tangible form— 
for there is no earthly sympathy like this for a poor, hungry 
and naked missionary. We may sing, " From Greenland's icy 
mountains," or, "Over the ocean wave," and pour out long snd 
elaborate prayers for the servants on the field, but nothing helps 
him so materially as to send him money Hence you see money 
is the scale upon which we weigh our sympathy for the toilers 
of God. It is the rule by which we can measure our devotion 
to the cause. It is the medium through which we can express 
our gratitude to God and love for His cause, and no man should 
hesitate to lay down his money for that which his Master laid 
down His life. 

2. That money is an important factor in christianizing the 
world — the request of our Lord that we should give it, not 
spasmodically, but systematically — The scripture gives us a 
complete system of raising money. God says to us in Mai., iii, 
10 : "' Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may 
be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the 
Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, 
and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room 
enough to receive it." Observe, that God asks for the tenth part 
of all that comes into our possession, with a promise of a bles- 
sing that shall overflow our capacity to hold it, and the threat 
of a curse if we rob him. 

The New Testament also calls for systematic giving. I. Cor., 
xvi, 1, 2: "Now, concerning the collection for the saints, as I 
have given orders to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him 
in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gather- 
ings when I come." These scriptures show that we are not 
only to give the tenth of what we make but that we are to give 
it weekty — the first day of the week. 

The rich and poor were to give according to what they had 
received. Let every one of you lay by in store. You are not 
only to give the tenth weekly but you are to delight in giving. 

African Baptist Church. 309 

II. Cor., ix, 7: "Every man according as he purposeth in his 
heart, so let him give ; not grudgingly, or of necessity ; for the 
Lord loveth a cheerful giver." We are to give the tenth of 
what we make ; we are to give it weekly. We are to give it 
cheerfully, not because the church needs money, nor that the 
pastor is to have his salary, but for greater reasons still, we are 
to give because God commanded us to give, and that giving is 
worship. No amount of money in the treasury, or the wealth 
of the pastor, will excuse us from giving. 

The tax collector calls upon us for our taxes if there is money 
in the county treasury, and when they collect our tax we make 
no complaint that there is money in the State and county treas- 
ury, but we pay it cheerfully. How much more so should we 
pay our money into God's treasury for the support of His 
earthly kingdom. 

3. God blesses the giver. — First He lays down a proposition 
that is full of encouragement to those who desire to do their 
duty in giving. Christ said, as quoted by Paul in Acts, xx, 35 : 
"It is more blessed to give than to receive." In proof of this 
you will notice that there is a great deal said in the Bible about 
the giver but a very little is said about the receiver. In Luke, 
vi, 38, we are informed that giving has a tenfold blessing, also, 
as a reward : " Give, and it shall be given unto you ; good meas- 
ure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall 
men give unto your bosom." It is said that Abraham presented 
the tenth of all his property and even the the tenth of the spoils 
from his victory to Melchisidec. Jacob, after his vision at Luz, 
devoted a tenth of all his property to God in case he should 
return home in safety, Who were blessed more than they, both 
spiritually and temporally? In this God has put himself on 
record that he will keep faithfully his promise, and that if any 
man will accept the proposition in good faith he cannot but be 

4. Again, God has wonderfully blessed the use of money in 
the christian world, in erecting houses of worship all over the 
land. Money has played a conspicuous part, upon which rests 
the eternal blessing of God. It has fed the hungry family of 
the preacher, and relieved the burdened pastor of his obliga- 
tions. It has made glad the hearts of the sexton and organist, 
and turned the church creditor home with light steps. Money 
has taken the missionary to the homes of pagans in foreign 
fields, clothed and fed him while he broke the bread of life to 
the perishing multitudes. It has directed the stream of the 
waters of life upon the scorching and sandy deserts of sin. By 
its use, God has overthrown idolatry, and established instead 

110 Hidory of the First 

thereof the worship of the living God. By its use God has 
caused empires and kingdoms to tremble, fall and give place to 
the kingdom of our God and His Christ. Money has been the 
forerunner of Christianity, to make the hilly way level, and the 
rough way smooth. It has been the wings upon which the 
good cause has reached every nation under heaven, and made 
known the Messiah's name. It is the great driving wheel of 
the old ship that shall take us all home. 

Now, since there is no wickedness on the part of man more 
paralyzing to the cause of Christ than his refusing to properly 
give of his earnings, let us see to it that there is a reformation 
in this part of ovir worship. Let us first, as ministers, take up 
the system which I have tried to show, and teach it to our 
people, and it will not be long before every church will be out 
of debt, every pastor will receive regularly his salary, the 
places of worship will be beautified, and the missionaries' sup- 
port will be all that is desired, and we will be multiplied an 
hundred times. Then the kingdom of Satan shall be over- 
thrown, and Christianity shall sweep the land as the mighty 
floods. Who of us will not be contributors to the coming of the 
millenium, when Christ alone shall reign? 

ISTo one thing would retard the progress of the christian work 
more than for men to lock their hearts and pocket-books to the 
call for means. And no people should be prouder than should 
we to rise up as one man, and bless God for the money that has 
been given for the education and christian ization of our race. 
Let us swell the stream of liberality until every nation under 
heaven shall know Jesus, our Lord and Master, whom, to know 
aright, is life eternal. " The wise men presented to the new- 
born King of the Jews, the Lord from heaven, gifts, gold, frank- 
incense and myrrh." — Matt., ii, 11. 



If a Romanist, Episcopalian, Methodist, or a member of any 
other prelatical church, were asked to give a brief statement of 
the rule and government of his church, he would at once refer 
to the decisions of the several general councils and conferences 
as well as to the rulings of the various ecclesiastical dignitaries 
of his respective church. 

Likewise, if a Lutheran or Presbyterian be asked for a state- 
ment of the principles governing his church he would at once 

African Baptist Church. '311 

turn to the laws and regulations established by the several 
assemblies and synods of his church. But when a member of 
a Baptist or Independent church has to unfold the principles 
and laws which govern his church he must immediately turn 
to that sure word of prophecy, for the New Testament is the 
rule both of the faith and practice of his church. 

The mark that distinguishes the Baptist denomination from 
any and all other evangelical churches is its tenacious hold of 
the plain and simple teachings of the New Testament touching 
all matters of faith and practice. The Baptists regard the 
scriptures as being preeminently their chart and compass, and 
they profess to be strictly a Bible-obeying denomination. Their 
churches are governed by no popes, cardinals or bishops ; their 
churches are regulated by no ecclesiastical councils, assemblies, 
presbyteries or human traditions ; but the creed and constitu- 
tion of their churches are found in the New Testament. With 
the Baptists the question always is: "What saith the scrip- 
tures ?" " How readest thou ?" 

In speaking of this complete dependence of the Baptist de- 
nomination on the teachings of the New Testament in matters 
of faith and practice, Dr. Francis Wayland says : "The funda- 
mental principle on which our difference from other evangelical 
denominations depend is this : We profess to take for our guide, 
in all matters of religious belief and practice, the New Testa- 
ment, the whole New Testament, and nothing but the New 
Testament. Whatever we find there we esteem binding upon 
the conscience. What is not there commanded is not binding. 
No matter by what reverence for antiquity, by what tradition, 
by what councils, by what consent of any branches of the 
church, or of the whole church, at any particular period, an 
opinion or practice may be sustained ; if it be not sustained by 
the command or the example of Christ, or of His apostles, we 
value it only as an opinion or precept of man, and we treat it 
accordingly. We disavow the authority of man to add to or 
take from the teachings of inspiration as they are found in the 
New Testament. Hence, to a Baptist, all appeals to the fathers, 
or to antiquity, or general practice in the early centuries, or in 
later times, are irrelevant and frivolous. He asks for divine 
authority as his guide in all matters of religion, and if this be 
not produced, his answer is, 'In vain do ye worship me, teach- 
ing for doctrines the commandments of men.' " — Principles and 
Practices, p. 85. 

It is the aim of this paper to show that the independent form 
of church government, as held by the Baptist denomination, is 
more in accordance with scriptural teaching, and comes nearer 

312 History of the First 

to the practice of the early christian churches than any other 
form of church polity. 

In considering the subject of Baptist church government, we 
shall be greatly aided in the discussion by deciding first the 
question, what is the pattern of a church, as laid down in the 
New Testament? How was an apostolic church constituted 
and governed? For, according to this divine and inspired pat- 
tern, all christian churches should be remodeled. The exam- 
ination of the Greek word, ekklesia, which is translated "church" 
in the New Testament, throws much light on this matter of 
New Testament church polity. This word is derived from a 
Greek verb, meaning "to call out or forth," and the gathering 
of those called out from their places of abode may be either for 
a political or religious purpose. A careful study of this word 
will lead one to the following conclusions : 

First, that this word is used to denote an assembly of the 
people, convened at their public place of council. In Act«, 
xix, 39, we are told that the Greeks were accustomed to deter- 
mine an important matter of state in a lawful assembly (ekklesia). 

Second, that in all the uses of this word, excepting two, made 
by New Testament writers, and where it is rendered in the 
English version by the word "church," it signifies a company 
of christians, or, as Grimm says, "An assembly of christians 
gathered for worship, observing their own religions rites, hold- 
ing their own religious meetings, and managing their own 
affairs according to regulations prescribed for the body for 
order's sake." As the final step in dealing with an incorrigi- 
ble brother, Christ says, " Tell it to the assembly." When Paul 
and Barnabas had ordained elders in every assembly (ekklesia), 
they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed. 

Third, that in two passages (Acts xix, 37, and I. Cor., xi, 22), 
the word refers to the house in which the worshippers assembled. 

Fourth, that the word in the singular is never employed in 
the New Testament to denote several churches or assemblies 
in a large city or district, but, on the contrary, when the num- 
ber of christians in a community is so large as to render their 
assembling in one place impossible, the word is used in the 
plural, indicating separate local assemblies. We read of " the 
churches throughout Judea," "the churches of Galatia," "the 
churches of Macedonia." 

Fifth, that, as a consequence of what we have said respecting 
the New Testament use of this word, the use of the English 
word " church " in such forms, " The church of England," " The 
church of Rome," " The Presbyterian church," "The Methodist 
church," is altogether foreign to the signification of the original 

African Baptist Church. SIS 

Greek word, ekklesia; since these organizations, having their 
members widely dispersed over large extent of territories, can 
never literally, but only representatively, assemble in one place. 

It is evident, from our investigation of this important word 
(ekklesia) and from a consideration of several passages of scrip- 
ture, some of which have already been referred to, that an 
apostolic and primitive church was an independent body of 
believers in Christ, maintaining his doctrines, administering the 
ordinances of baptism by immersion and the Lord's Supper, 
governing itself, having two orders of officers (elders and dea- 
cons), and full and final powers of discipline. 

But some one may object to this doctrine of the independence 
of the apostolic and early churches by referring to the meeting 
of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, mentioned in the 
fifteenth chapter of Acts. The three main things taught in this 
passage are: (1) That the Gentile christians in Antioch were 
perplexed and divided by the teaching of Judaizing parties from 
Jerusalem. (2) That Paul and Barnabas were sent by the 
church at Antioch, and by divine command, to confer with the 
apostles and the elders and brethren of the church at Jerusalem. 
(3) That the decision of the assembly was arrived at first by 
James, the same having been proposed merely as his opinion, 
and not as any authoritative dictation on his part, and more- 
over, this opinion was concurred in by the apostles, and elders 
and " the whole church at Jerusalem."* Since there were only 
two churches represented on this occasion, this assembly was 
simply an advisory and informal council, such as are held in these 
days by our churches. It was not the first christian and ecclesi- 
astical council as it is sometimes called. We do not find that the 
apostolic and early christian churches were accustomed to hold 
general ecclesiastical councils, nor that these churches were 
organically united in one ecclesiastical body, superintended by 
several, orders of officers subject to one supreme human head. 
Church history clearly shows that the prelatical form of church 
government, which gave rise to many corruptions, was intro- 
duced by men into the church in later years. Dr. Dagg makes 
the following quotation from Gieseler's Ecclesiastical History 
to show the gradual progress of infringement on the original 
church order, with respect to the independence of the early 
churches, the equality of the bishops, and the right of the people 

*Says Dr. Samson, in this connection: "The purely moral or advisory char- 
acter of the decree is manifest throughout the letter, declaring their decision in 
such expressions as these: 'It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one 
accord;' ' It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no greater 
burthen than these necessary things;' and in conclusion, 'from which, if ye 
keep yourselves, ye shall do well.' " 

• 114 History of the First 

to elect their church officers. The historian considers it a 
progress and improvement rendering the churches " better or- 
ganized and united," but we think it a progress toward popery: 

" The influence of the bishops increased naturally with the 
increasing frequency of synods at which they represented their 
churches. Country churches, which had grown up around 
some city, seem, with their bishops to have been usually, in a 
certain degree, under the authority of the mother church. With 
this exception, all the churches were alike independent, though 
some were especially held in honor, on such grounds as their 
apostolic origin, or the importance of the city in which they 
were situated. We have seen that the sphere of individual 
influence amongst the bishops was gradually enlarging, many 
churches in the city and its vicinity being united under one 
bishop, a presbyter, or a country bishop presiding over them. 
But we have now to speak of a new institution, at first found 
chiefly in the East, which had the effect of uniting the bishops 
more intimately amongst themselves. This was the provincial 
synod, which had been growing more frequent ever since the 
end of the second century, and in some provinces was held 
once or twice a year. By these associations of large ecclesias- 
tical bodies, the whole church became better organized and 
united.' - 

Borne was made the center of this ecclesiastical organization, 
because of the political and commercial advantages of that city, 
and of Peter's supposed labors there. 

Both scripture and early church history teach us that a 
warm, fraternal and christian fellowship existed among the 
separate local churches, manifesting itself in the frequent ex- 
change of epistles, borne by friendly messengers, and enabling 
one church to receive into its fellowship a duly accredited mem- 
ber of another. 

But if it be objected to what we have said concerning the 
independence of the early apostolic churches, that since in 
other cases God unfolded His plans of operation gradually it is 
highly probable that in planting the church the principles of 
church polity were incorporated in the organization to be de- 
veloped and applied afterwards in the progress of Christianity, 
we reply that while it is conceded that the JSTew Testament 
contains very little in the form of direct teaching respecting 
the government of churches, it must be borne in mind that 
some important instruction in duty was given to the churches 
by the inspired example and conduct of the apostles no less 
than by direct command. Christ and the apostles gave us 
much valuable instruction by their examples and actions on 

African Baptist Church. 315 

the subject of church government, the formation of churches, 
the election of officers, the equality and privilege of members, 
the manner of dealing with the erring. 

All writers on this subject of church polity readily admit 
that a scriptural church practice cannot be arrived at without 
a careful study of the inspired examples found in the New Tes- 
tament, which were designed by the Great Head of the church 
to be in all succeeding ages for the guidance and instruction of 
the churches. 

" If, instead of leaving dry precepts to serve for our guidance," 
says Dr. Dagg, " the apostles have taught us, by example, how 
to organize and govern churches, we have no right to reject 
their instruction, and captiously insist that positive commands 
shall bind us. The apostles designed that their modes of pro- 
cedure should be adopted and continued. We arrive, therefore, 
at the conclusion that, whatever the apostles taught, whether 
by precept or example, had the authority not only of the Holy 
Spirit, by which they were guided into all truth, but also of 
their Lord, Who had commissioned them." 

When the apostle commended the church at Corinth for 
having kept the ordinances (or the traditions, as the revised 
version has it), as he had delivered them; when we see Timo- 
thy left in Crete to ordain elders in every city, and to set in 
order the things that were wanting — when we hear Timothy 
exhorted, " The things which thou hast heard of me, the same 
commit to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also," 
— we understand that the apostle intended that his faithful dis- 
ciples and their successors should follow his teachings and ex- 
ample in the essential particulars, and not the minor features, 
in governing the churches. The development in church order, 
which is claimed by some, has not been a natural and logical 
thing ; it has been rather retrogression than progress, rather 
a marring than a mending of the divine plan and work ; for 
what development is there in calling a man master, and bow- 
ing to a pope as father, when Christ said, "Call no man mas- 
ter" or father, and " Ye are all brethren ? " What development 
is there in appealing to ecclesiastical tribunals, when our Divine 
Master said to the local church, " Let him be unto thee as an 
heathen man and a publican? " What development is there in 
having two classes of church members, a converted and an 
unconverted, when our Lord ordered a regenerated church 
membership by saying, " Ye must be born again?" Surely, if 
this is progress, it is in the wrong direction. 

This independent and democratic form of church government, 
which is derived from the scriptures and practiced by the Bap- 


■116 History of the First 

tist denomination, has some important advantages, chief among 
them its being a check put upon the ungodly ambition of the 
clergy, which, in the early days of Christianity, gave rise to the 
Roman hierarchy. 

This independence of the churches leaves no provision for 
combinations of churches, except as in an associative and vol- 
untary capacity, and which are had mainly to sustain the 
unhallowed ambition of the clergy, and in which, at times, 
have been practiced and witnessed the mqst shameful political 
methods to secure power and position, such as "wire pulling,'' 
"ballot-box stuffing" and the "most bare-faced proceedings," as 
the New York Herald said in reporting the proceedings and the 
election of bishops at the Northern Methodist Church Con- 
ference in New York, in May last. This principle of the inde- 
pendence of christian churches establishes equality among the 
ministers of Christ ; it fixes the equality and emphasizes the 
individual responsibility of the members of the churches, and 
therefore it tends greatly to promote holiness in their lives. 

If it be said that this principle of independence has its dis- 
advantages and works some evil as well as good, we would say 
in reply that this doctrine is not adapted to a self-seeking, am- 
bitious and hireling ministry nor to an unregenerate church 
membership. Most of us can testify that independence and 
popular suffrage given to churches whose members and officers 
are wanting in intelligence, brotherly love, and are without the 
spirit of Christ, have been abused and made to work the most 
shameful and fearful results in those bodies. Why are there so 
many disagreements and clashes between pastors and deacons 
in our Baptist churches ? Why are so many selfish and disgrace- 
ful splits so often witnessed in our ranks ? These evils are all 
due to a misconception and perversion of this grand scriptural 
doctrine of the independence and self-government of the indi- 
vidual church. We take it that it is the solemn duty of every 
true Baptist to discourage and oppose all crooked proceedings 
wrought in the name of liberty, especially when these things 
lead up to church splits. " Brethren, ye have been called unto 
liberty ; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by 
love serve one another." This doctrine, which we regard as 
forming the very foundation of Baptist church government and 
being the key to the superstructure built thereon, grows out of 
such plain and well established Bible principles as these : 

1. Religion is a personal matter between the individual soul 
and God. 

2. Every man is free to worship God according to the dictates 
of his own conscience. 

African Baptist Church. 317 

3. God has furnished to us in the New Testament a perfect 
rule of faith and practice. 

4. The scriptures being a revelation to the individual, every 
man should be free to interpret and understand them for him- 

5. Individuals who have examined the scriptures and arrived 
at the same conclusions as to their teachings and requirements 
form themselves into a church for the cultivation of christian 
graces and the advancement of the cause of Christ. In this 
church none are superior ; but as to their spiritual privileges all 
stand on the same level, nor has it any human head, for " God 
hath given Christ to be the head over all things to the church." 

It was for holding to these and like principles, upon which is 
based the independence of the church, that our Baptist fore- 
fathers on the old continent and in America, during all ages, 
were persecuted, imprisoned and scourged. About two hun.- 
dred years ago Eoger Williams was banished from the State of 
Massachusetts among the heathen of Rhode Island; at the 
same time Crandal and Clark were fined and Obadiah Holmes 
was ''well whipt," as his sentence read, and all these things 
were suffered for maintaining Baptist principles. 

We come now ta inquire as to the officers in the apostolic 
church. There were two orders/elders or overseers, and deacons. 
The first class also bore the title of presbyter or bishop. That 
these terms are the Jewish and Gentile designations of the same 
office is proven by the fact that they are often used interchange- 
ably in the scriptures. In Acts, xx, 28, the elders of the church 
at Ephesus are styled overseers or bishops. In I. Peter, v, 2, 
elders are addressed as having the oversight of the flock, which 
implies their authority as overseers or bishops. In Titus, i, 5, 
after the ordination of elders is mentioned, the apostle imme- 
diately begins to enumerate the qualifications of a bishop; 
and the connection plainly shows that these terms were 
titles of the same office. Several of the christian fathers bear 
testimony to the same fact. Ignatius exclaims : " What, indeed, 
is the eldership but a sacred constituted body, fellow-counsel- 
lors and judges with the presiding pastor!" Irenseus, living 
about a century after the apostles, and writiug as "episcopos," 
or presiding pastor, speaks of this identity ; and Jerome argues 
at length what his predecessors had occasion to allude to, saying : 
" The elder is the same as the bishop or presiding pastor. Should 
any one think it is not the sentiment of the scriptures, but our 
opinion, that the bishop and presbyter are one, (this was the 
name of the office in that age), let him read again the words of 
the apostle to the Philippians, ' Paul and Timothy, servants of 

■ US History of the First 

Jesus Christ, to all the sanctified in Christ who are at Philippi, 
with the bishops and deacons, grace to you and peace.' Philippi 
was a single city of Macedonia, and certainly in a single city there 
could not be several such as are now regarded bishops. But 
since at that time the same men were bishops as were called 
elders, therefore he spoke indiscriminately of bishops as elders." 

It appears that each church had one or more elders, whose 
duty it was to •' labor in word and doctrine," "to rule well," 
not as a civil, but a moral officer, exercising no coercive powers, 
but exacting voluntary obedience. They were under-shepherds, 
to "feed the flock," and as such they were required to be "apt 
to teach," from which we infer that teaching was a prominent 
part of their work. 

In order that the pastors might devote their energies to the 
spiritual service of the church, the office of deacon was origi- 
nated, whose duty it was to serve tables and to minister in sec- 
ular affairs. The qualifications of the diaconate, as of the 
eldership, are of a high moral order, but, as aptness to teach is 
not among them, they are, therefore, not appointed as public 
teachers of the Word ; but it is evident from the manner in 
which the deacons are spoken of in the scriptures, that the 
strongest obligations rest upon them to be forward in promoting 
the spiritual interests of the church. When a deacon feels that 
he is called to preach the Word, he ought to resign his office of 
deacon, saying, " This one thing I do." In this connection, it 
should be remarked that Baptist churches should exercise very 
great care in licensing and ordaining candidates for the minis- 
try, as well as in the selection of deacons. Not only moral and 
theological, but intelleckial attainments should be insisted upon 
in those who apply for ordination. 

In many of our churches ignorance holds sway in the pulpit, 
and it is a sad fact that in some instances grossly immoral men 
stand before the altar of God, to minister in holy things for 
the people. The standard of the Baptist ministry should be 
elevated and kept high. Let no man be set apart for the Bap- 
tist ministry unless he is sure that he is called of God ; unless he 
is unquestionably a regenerated man ; unless he has an intel- 
ligent knowledge of the great truths of the Bible ; unless he has 
a pure personal character ; unless he has some knowledge of 
men and books; unless he truly loves Christ and the souls of 
men. and. therefore, unless he has "an enthusiasm of human- 
ity."' to use a phrase from Ecce Homo, and a burning desire to 
preach the everlasting gospel of the Son of God. Then the 
future Baptist minister will be a higher type of a man, and a 
more useful and acceptable, preacher to the people. He will 

African Baptist Church. 319 

reach the standard mentioned by an eminent divine, in address- 
ing the students of the Boston Divinity School a few weeks 
since, when he said : 

'' The future minister will be, in the first place, a man called 
by God. His call will be known by the fact that he will not be 
able to choose any other calling. In the second place, he must 
be a man who appreciates the work of the ministry of the past, 
yet one living in his own time. He will recognize the spirit of 
the age, and allow it to help him in his work. He will use art 
and science in adorning and adding lustre and interest t6 truth. 
Thirdly, he will be a preacher of the Book. The most mon- 
strous sham of all shams is a Christless, crossless sermon. 
Lastly, the future minister will be a man of burning faith and 
pure character." 

Upon the selection and ordination of deacons the same care- 
ful and prayerful attention should be bestowed. ''Should a 
church ordain a man for a deacon when he has not reached the 
required qualifications of the Bible?'' is a question for discus- 
sion found in the Georgia Baptist a few weeks since. We reply, 
No. By no means let him be ordained. A good plan has been 
found to be to try the candidate for a few months, and if he 
fail to come up to the Bible requirements of faithfulness, gravity, 
truthfulness, unselfishness, temperance and purity — if in these 
and other qualifications he is not found blameless, let him be 

The officers in the apostolic churches were elected by popular 
suffrage. In illustration of this truth numerous scriptural pre- 
cedents and precepts of significant import are to be traced. We 
read that when an apostle was to be selected to fill Judas' place, 
the whole company of disciples was appealed to in common in 
reference to the election; that when seven men were to be 
selected to superintend the secular administration of the church, 
the whole church cooperated in their election ; that when Paul 
and Barnabas were to be separated and set apart as the first 
foreign missionaries the whole church took part in their elec- 
tion, while the "prophets and teachers" ordained them. 

It is disputed whether Paul and Barnabas appointed the 
presbyters in the case of Acts, xiv, 23, by their own act solely, 
or whether they ratified a previous election of the church made 
at their suggestion. This passage (in Titus, i, 5,) decides noth- 
ing definite as to the mode of choice, and therefore the free 
action of the churches is not necessarily excluded. It is reason- 
able to suppose that Paul, and Barnabas and Titus appointed 
and ratified men as elders who had been previously elected by 
the communities. It might be well to state Neander's conclu- 

History of the First 

sion on this subject: "As regards the election to church offices, 
we are in want of sufficient information to enable us to decide 
how it was managed in the early apostolic times. Indeed, it is 
quite possible that the method of procedure differed under dif- 
ferent circumstances. As in the institution of deacons the 
apostles left the choice to the communities themselves, and as 
the same was the case in the choice of deputies to attend the 
apostles in the name of the communities (II. Cor., viii, 19), we 
might argue that a similar course would be pursued in filling 
other Offices of the church. When Paul empowers Titus to 
set presiding officers over the communities who possessed 
the requisite qualifications, this circumstance decides nothing 
as to the mode of choice, nor is a choice by the community 
itself thereby necessarily excluded. The regular course seems 
to have been this: The church offices were intrusted to 
the first converts in preference to others, provided that 
in other respects they possessed the requisite qualifications. 
It may have been the general practice for the presbyters 
themselves, in case of a vacancy, to propose another to the 
community in place of the person deceased, and leave it to 
the whole body either to approve or decline their selection for 
reasons assigned. When asking for the assent of the commu- 
nity had not yet become a mere formality, this mode of filling 
church offices had the salutary effect of causing the votes of the 
majority to be guided by those capable of judging and of sup- 
pressing divisions ; while, at the same time, no one was ob- 
truded on the community who would not be welcome to their 
hearts. — Ch. Hist., vol. i, p. 189.* 

Lastly, the independence of the church puts all discipline 
into the hands of the ldbal church. Among Baptists there is 
no higher body or authority to which appeals can be made. 
Christ says, "If he will not hear the church." Paul says, 
' ' Put away from among yourselves that wicked person ; " • ' With- 
draw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, 
and not after the traditions which ye received of us;'' "If any 
man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and have 
no company with him, that he may be ashamed." 

* All these testimonies lead us to the same conclusion as that of Dr. G. W. 
Sampson, when he says " that the official heads In the christian church are the 
selection of its membership, having only advisory authority as agents of the 
church ; while the church has no other province than that of watchcare over the 
spiritual life of its members, and the securing of co operation and christian effort 
for others. It seems apparent that associations of churches are made up of rep- 
resentatives selected by individual churches; that their authority is simply 
advisory, and that it relates only to such subjects as be'ong to the christian 
advancement of those already believers, and union for the extending of the 
gospel to those? that either have not heard or have not believed the Word."— 
Ks*av on Church Polity. 

African Baptist Church. 321 

Each church, as a distinct and independent christian society, 
possessed the right to admit or refuse to admit members. In 
such a voluntary community, exclusion was the ultimate pen- 

These grand principles of independence and self-government, 
and all that are implied in them, have always been held dear, 
and sacredly guarded by Baptist churches. Their influence has 
been and is felt in the civil life of this and other countries ; for 
Thomas Jefferson incorporated them into the very foundations 
of this government. The great German Krummacher was 
evidently thinking of the practices no less than the doctrines of 
the Baptists when, some years ago, he said to the lamented Dr. 
Sears, ''You Baptists have a future." In all our principles and 
practices let us continue to do and make all things according to 
the pattern showed us in the Mount. 


To the Negro Baptists of Georgia Holding a Centennial Celebration 
in Savannah, June 6—18, 1888 : 

Dear Brethren — I have had the honor of being invited by 
your committee of arrangements to attend your meeting and to 
deliver an address before you. To my great regret, circum- 
stances have prevented my acceptance of your invitation ; but 
I beg to submit these lines as an acknowledgment of your 
courtesy, and also as an expression of my fraternal regard and 
sympathy. * 

Some months ago I had the pleasure of furnishing to one of 
your number, the Rev. E. K. Love, some information of interest 
in regard to the early history of the Negro Baptists of Savannah. 
This information was embodied in some historic documents 
written by my grandfather, the Rev. Dr. Henry Holcombe, who 
in the latter part of the last century and in the beginning of the 
present, and while pastor in Savannah, gave much of his atten- 
tion to the religious interests of his negro brethren, who I doubt 
not were the ancestors of many of those whom I now address. 
I am glad I had it in my power, even in this small way, to con- 
tribute to the interest of your meeting. 

While thus addressing you, I beg that you will pardon me 
for expressing a few thoughts in regard to the relation sustained 
to each other by the two great races of men who compose our 
Baptist Zion in the United States. 

History of the First 

As one of the results of the late war between the States, our 
civil relation to each other has been wholly changed. We are 
no longer masters and slaves: we are all free alike, and are all 
fellow- citizens of the great American Republic, whose constitu- 
tion guarantees to us all, without distinction, equal rights and 
equal privileges forever. I rejoice in this fact, and I believe it 
is heartily acquiesced in by all right minded men. 

Your ancestors of a few generations ago were either caught 
or bought on the coast of Africa and brought as slaves to this 
country. This atrocious crime was perpetrated by Northern 
men, not by South era men. Not a solitary Southern vessel was 
engaged in that traffic, nor yet a solitary Southern man ; nor 
was there a single dollar of Southern capital engaged in the 
enterprise. The business was carried on either by foreigners or 
by men of New England. The slaves found ready purchasers 
in Boston, and elsewhere in the Northern States no less than 
in some of the Southern States. Experience soon made it plain 
that the climate of the higher latitudes was not adapted to the 
negro constitution, and that hence it was not profitable in that 
climate to hold them as slaves. Their owners were shrewd 
enough to sell them to those who could own them to better ad- 
vantage ; and thus from no benevolent or philanthropic motive, 
but merely from self-interest, the} 7 relieved themselves from the 
burden of slavery, and thus the slaves drifted southward. The 
introduction of slavery was protested against by the authorities 
of the State of Georgia. Nevertheless, by the avarice of those 
who imported the slaves, and of those Northern slaveholders 
who found that in purchasing them they had made a bad bar- 
gain, and by the unwise action of our people here who purchased 
them, many slaves were brought into the State; and in time 
slavery became a recognized institution, not by law, but by 
usage established in disregard of law. 

There were many who never liked it, but who, nevertheless, 
after it was introduced and became thoroughly interwoven with 
the social fabric, defended the position of the slaveholders. I 
was one of these. I was never in sympathy with those North- 
ern pirates who foisted slavery upon us. On the contrary, I 
always regarded them and their deeds with abhorrence. But 
I was born in a State where one-half of the population was 
held in legal bondage by the other half, and neither half was 
responsible for the relation in which the two found themselves. 
I always believed that the slaveholder, who inherited this con- 
dition, was as innocent of wrong as the slave, who also inherited 
it. I am still of that opinion ; and, though a slaveholder from 
birth until the happy demise of the institution, I am wholly 

African Baptist Church. 

unrepentant of the share I had in it, and feel that I have 
nothing to repent of. If anybody has anything to repent of it 
is the descendants of those who originated the system of slavery 
and inherited the money, with its enormous increase, for which 
the imported slave was sold. In a moral sense, the price of the 
slave is the slave, and the price of him is all over New England 
and old England to-day. But I acquit all the living of wrong, 
whether they inherited the slave or the price of him. Our 
highly esteemed brother, the pastor of the Baptist church in 
Beaufort, S. C, (the Bev. Arthur Waddell), was once my prop- 
erty. I think he was as much to blame for being born my 
slave as I was for being born his master. The truth is that 
neither of us had anything to do with it. One generation 
sinned and another bore the penalty. The sour grapes of the 
fathers set the children's teeth on edge. 

Now, that slavery is gone, I know not which to congratulate 
the more, the slaveholder or the slave ; for while it is true that 
the slave was bound to his master, it is also true that his master 
was bound to him ; and in my opinion freedom from each other 
was a boon to both, and I think we do well to shake hands in 
mutual congratulation and cement anew the friendships formed 
under other conditions, and bless God that he has struck from 
us all the fetters fastened on us by the slave dealers of two 
hundred years ago. 

But it is well to^contemplate the fact that our civil relations 
are the only relations that are changed. In every other respect 
we are just what we always were. We are two separate and 
distinct races. We learn from the scriptures (Acts, xvii, 26), 
that originally we were all of one blood, and that all the nations 
on the face of the earth descended from a common ancestry. 
But this was a long time ago, and since then vast changes have 
taken place. The origin of the diversity of races is lost in the 
depths of antiquity ; but our inability to account for this diver- 
sity is no reason why we should not accept the fact. It is true 
that the creation of God made us one, but it is also true that 
the providence of God has made us two ; and what God has put 
asunder let not man join together. As God has made two races 
of us, there ought to be two ; he would not have made two if one 
had sufficed. If infinite wisdom has thus decided on plurality, 
it is our highest wisdom to acquiesce in it. If God himself has 
drawn the color line, it is vain as well as wicked for us to try 
to efface it. The real well-being of each race, and of the human 
family at large, is best promoted only when each race preserves 
its integrity, and keeps itself free from admixture with any 
other. God's plan is the best plan, and His assorting of the 

',?.') History of the First 

races is the wisest, and any attempt to interfere with His pur- 
poses must be as disastrous in its results as it was wicked in its 
inception. ^Unfortunately, all this has, in many cases, been lost 
sight of, and an unnatural hybridism is the result. But the 
sooner the Caucasian blood which has intermingled with yours 
is so absorbed as to be lost sight of, the better it will be for 
your welfare, no less than for your honor. It is evidently the 
Divine intention that like should consort with like ; hence, as 
we find ourselves providentially divided into two races, let us 
so remaiu, keeping separate in all our social relations, living 
peaceably side by side, and each maintaining its self-respect by 
maintaining its own individuality. 

A blessed thing it is that the war has made no change in our 
relation to each other as friends, while yet it has intensified our 
friendship. Until the frightful emergencies of war were upon 
us, we never knew how affectionate and how faithful you were. 
It took war itself to bring your virtues into adequate notice ; 
nor could anything less than this have ever convinced the 
world of the genuineness of the friendship between the master 
and the slave, and of a fidelity on the part of the latter which 
has never been surpassed. And your unwavering adherence to 
your masters in those dreadful days is an unanswerable refuta- 
tion of the charges of cruelty and tyranny so often brought 
against them. It took the war to bring to the front the good 
in both races, and the amiable relation which they sustained 
to each other, and to show to the world how greatly slavery was 
mitigated by Christianity. The spectacle presented to the world 
was a snblime one, when one race, held in bondage by another, 
was true in time of peril to the friendships formed during that 
very bondage, refusing to throw off its bonds when it could 
easily have done so, and loyal still to the dominant race, gave 
it, in the hour of its extremity, an unfailing and hearty support. 
You were in chains, it is true, but they were chains of love. 
Christian masters and christian servants were never enemies. 
Xever can we of the white race forget who it was that during 
those awful years took care of our wives and children, and of 
all our aged and infirm, when they might all have been slaugh- 
tered or left to starve to death. Never can we forget whose 
toil and whose sweat it was that sustained our armies in the 
field for four years against the most stupendous military power 
the world ever saw. Remembering all this, we shall never 
cease to wish you well, and to do what we can to promote your 

On the other hand it is well for you to remember, that as 
God brought good out of evil when Joseph was sold by his 

African Baptist Church. 325 

■ 7 

brethren into Egypt, so blessing has come to you, by your hav- 
ing been brought from the land of your fathers to this country. 
Civil slavery was the germ out of which gospel freedom sprang. 
Here you are civilized, and speaking the English language in- 
stead of the gibberish of savages; and christianized, while your 
cousins across the water, descended from the same ancestors, 
are to this day idolaters, barbarians, and some of them canni- 
bals. In this case, God, instead of sending preachers to the 
heathen, has brought heathen to the preachers, and has made 
the wicked act of man-stealers and pirates the means whereby 
salvation is brought to thousands and millions of his elect. 
Thus gloriously has God caused the wrath of man to praise 
Him. So it has been, at any rate, that the two races have 
mutually benefited each other in times past, and happily the 
relations of the two, notwithstanding the persistent efforts of 
outsiders' to alienate them, are still friendly, as they have 
always been, and our prayer should be that this harmony and 
kindliness of feeling should be maintained forever. 

I regard with great delight the fact that your ecclesiastical 
relations are just what they always were. A Baptist church 
is a Baptist church, whether those composing it are white, or 
black, or brown, or yellow, or red, or in any way intermingled, 
for, says an apostle "By "one Spirit are we all baptized into one 
body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or 
free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." — 
I. Cor., xii, 13. 

The original Savannah Association was composed of five 
churches, two white and three black ; and churches once com- 
posed almost wholly of slaves, retain their individuality abso- 
lutely undisturbed, now that all those once slaves have now 
become free. No change in our civil relations can change or 
in the least degree affect our ecclesiastical relations, rights or 
privileges. "For," says our brother Paul, "He that is called 
in the Lord being a servant, is the Lord's freeman ; likewise 
also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant." — I. Cor., 
vii, 22. And again, says the same apostle, "There is neither 
Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither 
male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." — Gal., iii, 28. 

If you think best to have ecclesiastical organizations of your 
own, separate and apart from those of the whites, there can be 
no harm in so doing. But this is only a matter of expediency, 
and not a matter of principle. Experience shows that those of a 
kind do best together, and that, as a general ride to which there 
may be exceptions, the greatest efficiency is attained when the 
organizations are homogeneous. Still, while thus divided into 

:<! History oj the First 

families, kind and affectionate correspondence should always 
be maintained. 

Above all. brethren, let us remember with rejoicing that our 
fraternal relations are exactly what they always were. We 
were brethren in Christ in the days of slavery, and we are 
brethren in Christ now. One God is the Father of us all, one 
Saviour died for us all, one covenant — the everlasting covenant 
between the Father and the Son includes us all; and one heaven, 
one holy, happy, blessed heaven, is in reserve for us all, where 
distinctions of race will be forgotten, and where we shall all 
dwell together forever in the presence of God and of the holy 

I dwell with deep gratification on the facts that hundreds, 
perhaps thousands, of your race have sat under my ministry; 
that many of them have been baptized by me ; that many of 
your preachers have passed under my instructions, and that I 
have ordained a number of them to the work of the gospel 
ministry. Above all am I happy in the belief that some of 
your people have been brought into the Kingdom as the result 
of my labors in the Lord. 

And now, dear brethren, with heart-felt salutation to your 
Centennial Convention, I subscribe myself, ever fraternally 
yours in the faith and hope and love of the gospel of Christ, 

Henry Holcombe Tucker.* 

Atlanta. Ga., June 12, 1888. 

*The above communication from Dr. Tucker is able and timely. In the main 
it meets the most hearty endorsement of the editor of this book. The point 
touched on concerning social equality meets our fullest approval. We have 
never urged social equality as a prerequisite to negro greatness. We think it 
rather damaging than helpful to the race. The slave trade is treated of very 
largely by our venerable brother, the blame of which is largely laid at the door 
of our Northern brethren. Without questioning what he says, we remark that 
the South appears to be equal heir to the great wrong done Africa, and suffered in 
common for this sin, atoning for it with the blood of her noblest and purest and 
general devastation of property. The Southern white boy, it is true, found him- 
self in possession of negro property, which was not his fault, but so soon as he 
learned that it was wrong to hold human beings as slaves then it was his fault. 
The sins of the fathers were visited tipon the children, and hence the children 
were wrong. Dr. Tucker has a record of never having entered fully into sympa- 
thy with the inhuman and ungodly system of slavery; but he was a Southern 
white man, and it required more nerve than nature has favored any one man 
with, as a rale, to oppose what everybody (in the South, and many in the North) 
1I1311 believed to be a God-given legacy. Such men as Dr. Dagg believed and 
taught that slavery was the express will of God. We can fully sympathize with 
our while brethren who grew up under such influences and such teachings. 
We thank God for the revolution and reaction which He, himself, has brought 

African Baptist Church. 327 



Baptism is a New Testament ordinance. Jesus himself was 
baptized, and He commanded His followers to be baptized. 
But what is baptism? If we know not what baptism is, how 
can we know whether we have ever been baptized, and so 
have obeyed the Saviour's command? All Baptists, and many 
who are not, believe that immersion, and that only, is the bap- 
tism of the Bible. As a general thing, doubtless, this convic- 
tion has come from reading the English scriptures and under- 
standing them in their plain and natural meaning. Moreover, 
this conviction thus obtained is strong enough to satisfy per- 
fectly the conscience of all who have been immersed, and it 
may be added, strong enough, also, largely to unsettle the con- 
sciences of many who have not been immersed. Since, how- 
ever, there are various opinions professedly as to what baptism 
is, and some have alleged that the scriptures properly interpreted 
do not teach immersion, it is natural that every intelligent and 
honest seeker after truth, though not a scholar, should yet 
desire to examine the subject for himself, and for himself 
see just what the truth is. To assist in meeting this desire 
is the special object of the present discourse. It has not been 
prepared for the witless and slothful who blindly follow the 
say-so of others, but rather for all persons of good common 
sense who love the truth and desire personally to inspect the 
foundations of their faith. 

And now for our question, What is baptism? As baptism is 
a New Testament ordinance, of course to the New Testament 
we must go in order to answer it. But the New Testament 
was written in Greek, and the most of us have no knowledge 
whatever of that language. Never mind ; if you have common 
sense, and will exercise it, that will do just as well or better. 

Now, remember, our word "baptize" has come from the 
Greek baptizo, and the real question first is, "What does this 
word mean? that is, in what sense did the old Greeks use it? 
How can we find out? Just simply by finding out the circum- 
stances under which they used it. That is the way our children 
learn the meaning of words when they begin to talk. Does a 
child go to a dictionary before he knows a letter in the book? 
And yet he learns the meaning of words from noticing how they 

History of the First 

are used. A little child just learning to talk sees and feels a 
certain action called "whipping,' - and it does not take him long 
to learn what the word means. Now, I want to read to you 
some instances where the Greeks used this word baptizo, and I 
will only give those where I, myself, have seen the original 

1. Polybius, a historian, describing the passage of an army 
through a swollen stream, says: "They crossed over with diffi- 
culty, the foot soldiers being baptized (baptizo omenoi) up to the 
breast. - ' 

2. Hippocrates, illustrating the folly of blaming others for 
what we bring on ourselves, says: "Shall I not laugh at the 
man who, having baptized (baptisanta) his ship by the abun- 
dance of freight, finds fault with the sea for engulfing it?" 

3. In iEsop's fables we have this: "A mule laden with salt, 
having gone into a river, accidentally slipped down ; and the 
salt dissolving, he rose up lightened. He perceived the cause 
and remembered it, so that, always while crossing the river, 
he cunningly lowered down and baptized (baptizein) the sacks 
or panniers," which held the salt. Adopting the same expe- 
dient for lightening his load when laden with sponge and wool, 
the poor fellow found the result disastrously different. 

4. Strabo, speaking of the march of a certain army between a 
mountain and the sea, along a narrow beach which was some- 
times flooded, says : " It happened that they walked for a whole 
day in the water, being baptized (baptizomenoon) up to the waist." 

5. The same writer, in the same work, speaking of a certain 
lake, whose waters were probably impregnated with salt or 
asphaltum, says: "It happens that those who cannot swim 
are not baptized (baptizesthai), but float like wood." 

6. Diodoras, speaking of the annual overflow of the Mle, 
says: "Most of the land animals being surrounded by the 
river, perish, being baptized (baptizomena) , but some, escaping 
to higher places, are saved." 

7. Strabo, writing about a salt lake in Phrygia, says: "So 
readily does the water crystallize around everything that is 
baptized (buptistluniti) into it, that whenever they let down a 
circle of rushes they drew up crowns of salt." 

These examples from classic Greek (and their number might 
be greatly multiplied), show unmistakably the sense in which 
the old Greeks understood the word in dispute. But some one 
may say, these writers were heathens, and unacquainted with 
the rites and ceremonies of the Jews ; might not the apostles 
therefore, who were native Jews, have understood the word 
differently '■ Fortunately, and I believe providentially, we have 

African Baptist Church. 329 

a Greek history, written about the same time with the New Tes- 
tament, and by a native Jew, and in the very sort of Greek in 
which the New Testament was written — Josephus' History 
In this work the word baptizo frequently occurs, and not once 
in a sense different from that in the examples already given 
from classic Greek. We give a few instances : 

1. Describing the murder of the boy Aristobolus, he says : 
"Continually pressing down and baptizing (baptizantes) him 
while swimming, as if in sport, they did not stop until they had 
completely drowned him." 

2. Narrating the case of Jonah, he says : " The ship being 
just about to be baptized (baptizesthai), the sailors, the captain 
and the pilot began to pray," etc. 

3. Describing a battle between the Romans and the Jews on 
the sea of Galilee, he says: "When they (the Jews) ventured 
to come near (to the Romans), they suffered harm before they 
could inflict any, and were baptized (ebaptizonto) along with 
their ships ; and those of the baptized (baptisthentoon) who lifted 
their heads above the water were either killed by the darts or 
caught by the ships" [of the Romans.] 

4. Again he says, narrating a personal adventure : " Our ship 
having been baptized (baptisthentos) in the midst of the Adriatic 
Sea * * * we swam during the entire night." 

But why multiply these instances? I will give but one more 
from Josephus : 

5. Describing the manner of purifying the people during the 
thirty days' mourning for Miriam, he says : " Casting a little 
of the ashes [of the red heifer] into a fountain, and baptizing 
(baptizantes) a hyssop branch, they sprinkled " (errainon), etc. 

6. And now, just one more to conclude, and this from the 
Greek translation of the Old Testament : " And Naaman went 
down and baptized himself (baptizeto) in the Jordan seven 
times," or as it is rendered in your family Bibles, " Dipped him- 
self seven times in the Jordan." 

Now, friends, you have examples of Greek usage of this 
much controverted word* baptizo, and you can judge for your- 
selves the meaning of it. You need not go any more to lexicons, 
or commentaries, or to learned men. Your own eyes have seen, 
as in a picture, just what the Greeks meant when they said a 
person or thing was baptized. And you are now prepared to 
try the rights of proprietorship in this word. There has been a 
number of claimants. The most common are sprinkle, pour and 
immerse. In the light of the preceding examples, is it possible 
to doubt for a moment which claimant has a right? And not a 
single witness has yet been found in the whole range of classic 

■>■><) History of the First 

or Hellenistic Greek literature that utters a discordant voice. 
Here are the witnesses. You have heard their testimony. Nay, 
by their graphic witness, they have carried you in person to the 
lakes, the seas, the rivers, and given you the evidence of your 
own eyes, enabling you to see, as in a panorama, things animate 
and inanimate, ships, men, animals, etc., sinking beneath the 
waters. ; 

If this testimony does not establish the right, title and claim 
of the word immerse as the legitimate heir and successor of 
baptizo, then it is useless to try to prove anything ; and if this 
testimony will not convince, neither would people be persuaded 
though one rose from the dead. To make the case stronger, 
though, if such be possible, we need only bring sprinkle and 
pour to the test of these examples. Try them as translations 
of the word baptizo, and if there had been a lingering doubt 
before, this practical test will drive it away as chaff before the 
wind. (Here make the test of a few — say Nos. 1, 2, 3 in classic 
Greek, and 1, 2 and 4 in Josephus). 

But enough ; if the Greek word baptizo does not mean im- 
merse neither does immerse itself mean immerse. And if the 
Greek baptizo can be made to mean sprinkle or pour, or pour 
upon, so also, and just as easily, can the English word im- 
merse — no more, no less. Now this word baptizo, an acknowl- 
edged member of the Greek language, and proved by incon- 
trovertible evidence to mean immerse, and nothing else, (for if 
it bear any other meaning in the whole range of the Greek 
literature extant when the New Testament was written, the 
instance is yet to be found), this is the very word adopted 
by the holy spirit to designate and describe the act of christian 
baptism. The command, therefore, to be baptized is a com- 
mand to be immersed, and nothing else will fulfill it. If Jesus 
intended for us to be sprinkled, what possible reason for not 
using a word having that meaning ? If Jesus intended for us 
to have water poured upon us, what conceivable reason for not 
using a word that said so ? If He did not intend for us to be 
immersed, why did He use a word that means immerse ? These 
questions are simply unanswerable. 

Right here this discussion might legitimately stop. The ques- 
tion, " What is the act of baptism?" has been answered. Since 
Jesus in commanding us to be baptized has used a word sio-ni- 
fying immerse, this should settle the whole matter — both "the 
question of fact and also of duty. Nothing remains but to 
accept the fact — immersion the baptism of the Bible, and fulfill 
the. duty — receive this baptism, if not already baptized. 

African Baptist Church. SSI 

"But," says some one, "don't words change theft- meaning?" 
So they do, but there is not one particle of proof that baptize- 
changed its meaning when introduced into the New Testament. 

And says another, "I don't see how immersion could have 
been performed in every case of baptism mentioned in the New 
Testament." And must your inability to see how a thing could 
be done 1800 years ago outweigh and set aside the explicit com- 
mand of your Lord and Master? Grant that there were a 
thousand difficulties, there still stands the command in letters 
of living light, " Repent and be baptized," and there is still the 
inspired testimony "Then they that gla'dly received His word 
were immersed, and the same day there were added unto them 
about 3,000 souls." But I do not grant that there are any 
difficulties at all in the way of understanding immersion to have 
been the one and exclusive baptism of the Bible. The diffi- 
culties (and they are many and insuperable) are all the other 
way — sprinkling and pouring, as christian baptism, are not 
only without the shadow of a foundation in the original, but 
they are utterly inconsistent, both with scripture language and 
scripture facts. But let us go to the New Testament and take 
a search for these wonderful difficulties; and just remember 
they must be proved : 

1. "Such vast multitudes could not have been immersed by 
John." Answer — (1.) John may not have baptized personally 
one hundreth of them. (2.) It cannot be proved that such 
"vast multitudes" were ever baptized. The Jews as a nation 
rejected both John and Jesus. 

2. The 3,000.— " Their baptism was impossible. (1.) The 
apostles could not. (2.) Not enough water. (3.) The Jews 
would not let them use it, even if it were there." Answer — (1.) 
No proof that all were baptized in one day. (2.) No proof that 
the apostles were the only administrators; (3.) Even if they 
had been they could have done it, and in three hours. (4.) 
History records two cases of three thousand in one day by im- 
mersion, and within the last few years the Baptist missionaries 
to the Karens baptized In one day largely over two thousand. 
(5.) The objectors must prove not enough water; but modern 
researches have proved that there was scarcely a city in the 
world better supplied. (6.) As to the Jews not letting them 
use the water — no proof of it, but the contrary. 

3. The jailer. — "The jailer could not have been immersed at 
midnight, and that, too, in the jail." Answer — No proof that 
it was done in the jail, but the contrary. As to facilities, no 
proof that they were not ample. You must prove the diffi- 
culties real — imaginary ones are worthless. 


History of the First 

4. The beds and tables. — "Impossible,"' one says. But you 
must prove it impossible, and that is impossible. But reliable 
Jewish writers say the Jews did do these very things. 

5. "The Bed Sea baptism, was that immersion?" Yes, an 
immersion. They went down into the sea ; the waters were a 
wall on right and left, and the cloud was overhead — they were 
hidden from sight. A beautiful figure of believers' baptism ! 

G. "The Spirit's baptism." — Just remember that when the 
writer said " pour " he used a word that meant it. # The pouring 
took place and then the baptism. 

Here, again, this discussion might stop. We find nothing in 
the New Testament necessarily inconsistent with immersion, 
and so must accept it. Baptizo in the New Testament, as well 
as out of it, means immerse, and immerse only ; and so immer- 
sion, and immersion only, is the baptism of Christ's appoint- 
ment. If there were no further evidence on the subject, what 
has been already adduced should be sufficient for all who desire 
to know and to do the will of their Lord and Master. As if, how- 
ever, to put the matter beyond even the shadow of a doubt, the 
Holy Spirit has introduced into the sacred volume facts and cir- 
cumstances which unmistakably point to immersion and to 
nothing else. 

1. Going to the water, and not bringing the water. "But 
what of Cornelius' baptism ? Did not Peter say, ' can any man 
forbid water?' i. e., to be brought." And if it had been the 
way some people baptize (so called), the water would have been 
brought. The subsequent command proves that baptism could 
not be conveniently attended to just then, and so could not 
have been sprinkling or pouring. 

2. Going to a place of "much water," (1) Enon; (2) the 

3. Baptizing in the Jordan — the Greek en and eis. 

4. Going down into the water, and coming up out of the 

5. Baptizing in water; the element water opposed to the 
element Holy Spirit. 

6. The natural meaning to all the words gives immersion — 
baptizo, eis, ek and en. Now, while we adopt the natural meaning 
of all these words, affusionists, on the other hand, have to 
adopt rare and far-fetched meanings, if they be meanings at 
all, and even these they have to vary from time to time, some- 
times making the same word have different meanings, and 
sometimes different words the same meaning. In the case of 
htiptizo, while agreed in forsaking the natural meaning, they can 
by no means agree; among themselves what unnatural meaning 

African Baptist Church. 3SS 

they shall adopt. The prepositions eis, ek and vn suffer like 
violence at their hands. In order to keep Philip and the eunuch 
out of the water they plead for to as the meaning of eis. When, 
however, they come to the baptism of Jesus, as narrated by 
Mark, to say "baptized to (eis) the Jordan" would make non- 
sense, and so they have to adopt at. So also with en. John 
did baptize in (en) the wilderness. Here they admit the natu- 
ral meaning. In the next verse, however, this natural mean- 
ing would give us "baptized in (en) the river Jordan." But 
this points too plainly to immersion, and therefore the unnatu- 
ral meaning at is brought into requisition". In verse 8, this same 
troublesome preposition en comes up again, but here at will not 
serve the aff unionists. " Baptized you at water," " baptized you 
at the Holy Ghost" — this would be too incongruous, and so 
with is resorted to — "baptized you with water" — "with the 
Holy Ghost." Now, what do we see here in the space of a few 
verses? In verse 4, en is admitted to mean in ; in verse 5, it is 
said to mean at ; in verse 8, with is claimed as the meaning, 
while in verse 9, the meaning at, which had just been given to 
en, is ascribed to eis, which latter preposition, mind you, in the 
case of Philip and the eunuch, is alleged to mean to. 

Alas ! what hopping and skipping we have here. What shift- 
ing and veering and dodging ! And can it be that the truth 
requires the assistance of such tactics? Take a single one of 
these little prepositions in it's natural and common sense meaning, 
and the spell is broken, and we have immersion as the baptism 
of the Bible. Take them all in their natural sense, and the proof 
of immersion becomes cumulative and overwhelming. That 
even one of the words in dispute, baptizo included, should be 
used unnaturally in a plain narrative of important gospel his- 
tory, would be strange, but that they should all be thus used, 
surpasses belief. And yet this wonderful thing, for which there 
is not one particle of evidence, must be received as true, before 
the claims of immersion can be set aside. Verily, it is not say- 
ing too much when I solemnly declare that the system of inter- 
pretation which has been used in this baptismal controversy by 
the opponents of immersion, if applied elsewhere, would destroy 
every doctrine and change every command of God's word. 

7- The testimony of Rom., vi, 4, and Col., ii, 12.— The testi- 
mony of these two noted passages is so plain and so generally 
admitted that I need not dwell on them. The learned and the un- 
learned of every age and country have found immersion taught 
here. "Buried by baptism," "Buried in baptism," this seems 
to be the very thing itself. To see immersion here, one only 
needs to look. Not to see it requires tedious and tortuous pro- 


History of the First 

cesses of reasoning, a continual struggle against the testimony 
of one's own eyes. But let us stop a little while. 

1. In Komans we have these words: "Therefore we are 
buried with Him by baptism into death," and in Colossians 
"Buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye also are risen with 
Him through faith of the operation of God." Combining these, 
they declare that we are buried with Christ by baptism and in 
baptism, and in it raised up again. Being a declaration of scrip- 
ture, this must be true. But how? It can not be true literally, 
for in a literal sense the Saviour was alone in His death, His 
burial, and His resurrection. To suppose that baptism puts our 
bodies in Christ's literal grave and raises them up again, is too ab- 
surd to think of. Neither can it be true spiritually, except indeed 
we should adopt the dogma of baptismal regeneration and say 
that the new birth takes place in and by baptism. For, mark, 
it is distinctly stated that this burial and rising again take place 
in baptism and by baptism. And if this be true in the spiritual 
sense, then we have baptismal regeneration full and complete, 
there can be no escape from it. If we reject the literal theory 
as self-evidently false, and the spiritual one as plainly subver- 
sive of vital scripture truth, the only alternative is to under- 
stand the apostle to be speaking figuratively — -just as Jesus did 
when he said, " This is my body." He did not mean that the 
bread was actually His body, but that it represented or symbol- 
ized His body. So Paul did not mean that we are actually 
buried with Christ by baptism and with Him raised again, either 
in a spiritual or literal sense, since baptism, however important 
in its place, does neither one ; but that the ordinance of bap- 
tism, including as it does our immersion in water and our sub- 
sequent emersion from it, represents our spiritual union with 
Christ in His burial and resurrection, thereby proclaiming to 
the world our own death to sin and resurrection to newness of 
life, both of which really come through "faith of the operation 
of God." 

2. We reach identically the same conclusion by a different 
and independent line of argument, thus : In combating the 
licentious principle that we may live in (sin) in order to make 
more conspicuous the forgiving grace of God, Paul refers to the 
fact that all believers are dead to sin, and in proof that they to 
whom he was writing, themselves, recognized this fact, he alleges 
the testimony of their own baptism. Still further explaining and 
emphasizing this point, he continues: " Therefore," because of 
this death to sin, "we are buried with him by baptism into 
death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the 
glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of 

African Baptixt Church. 335 

life." Now, to make Paul reason logically, our 'baptism must 
testify that we have died to sin with Christ, with Him to have 
been buried, and with Him risen again. 

But how can baptism give this testimony ? Baptism has no 
voice, but it has a form, and its form must speak, and this it does 
most expressively and impressively when we are buried beneath 
the waters "in the likeness of His death" and raised up again 
"in the likeness of His resurrection." 

Understand baptism to be immersion, and Paul's reasoning 
here is clear and forcible. Reject immersion, and the whole 
becomes hopelessly involved and confused. Hence the justly 
celebrated work of Conybeare & Howson says, (and mark, they 
were not Baptists, but Episcopalians): "This passage cannot be 
understood, unless it be borne in mind that the primitive bap- 
tism was by immersion." 

And this closes our reference to the New Testament proofs 
of immersion. More might have been said, but let this suffice. 
Really, the demonstration was complete without any of this 
corroboratory testimony. The Greek word baptizo having been 
shown to mean immerse, when it was adopted by the Holy 
Spirit to teach the ordinance, of course it must be understood 
in this sense, without some clear and unmistakable proof for 
another meaning. Examining the inspired volume, however, 
we find not only nothing against this meaning, but abundant 
and decisive evidence for it. Immersion, then, and immersion 
only, must stand as that "one baptism" of the Bible. 


The argument for immersion is complete — it needs no sup- 
plementing. Like a demonstration in Euclid, it proves itself — 
as soon as it is seen, it is seen to be true. Some, however, will 
not look at it. To arrest the attention of such, and show them 
that the truth certainly does lie on the side of immersion, the 
following facts are presented. Now mark : These facts form 
no part of the argument for immersion. That would remain 
just as complete and conclusive if not a single one of these facts 
were in existence. But be it also marked, that while these 
facts form no part of the argument for immersion, they do 
testify in trumpet, nay, in thunder tones, to its validity. If the 
argument for immersion were not so overwhelming, these facts 
would not exist. But now listen to the facts, and judge of the 
worth of their testimony : 

1. It is a fact that while immersionists have not a particle of 
doubt or difference as to the meaning of baptizo in the gospel 

S.-iCi History of the First 

ordinance, auti-immersionists seem utterly at sea. Some make 
it "sprinkle," some "pour," some "pour upon," some "purify," 
some "wash," and so on; and some claim that while meaning 
none of these, it may yet include them all ! Now, why all this? 
Why are learned affusionists so bewildered as to the meaning of 
a simple Greek verb ? Why are some clinging to this meaning, 
and some to that, and some to no meaning at all? Just 
because they are on the wrong side, that is all. 

2. It is a fact that while immersionists generally, and Bap- 
tists in particular, are fond of talking about following the 
Saviour in the ordinance of baptism, "being baptized just as he 
was," " imitating the example He set us at the Jordan," etc., our 
affusion brethren don't do it. At least, I never heard it. On 
the contrary, they quite generally oppose the idea that we are 
to look upon Christ's baptism as a model for ours. Why this 
difference? Suppose we grant that Jesus was not baptized just 
to set us an example. He commands us to be baptized, never- 
theless, and his own baptism furnishes a decisive illustration 
of what baptism is; and is it not sweet to feel that we are 
walking in his footsteps, and receiving the very same rite which 
he hallowed by submitting to it himself? Why, then, should 
affusionists so generally endeavor to turn away the eyes of the 
people from the Saviour's baptism ? I can think of no reason 
but a consciousness, more or less distinct, of contending for 
something as baptism which they do not believe their Lord re- 

3. It is a fact that while Baptists universally press the duty 
of strict compliance with scripture command and scripture 
example in the matter of baptism, affusionists are notoriously 
given to pleading for christian liberty— " that it doesn't matter 
about the quantity of water, so the heart be right." Why such 
talk, if they do not feel that they are not following the sacred 
scriptures ? 

4. It is a fact that Baptists are perfectly satisfied that they 
have been scripturally baptized. Multitudes who have been 
sprinkled or poured upon are to this day dissatisfied. Why 

5. It is a fact that many are coming to us every year from the 
Methodists, the Presbyterians and other affusion denominations, 
because of dissatisfaction with their baptism. It has not come 
to light that a single one has left our ranks because dissatisfied 
with his immersion. I do not say that none leave us, but they 
do not leave us because dissatisfied with their immersion. Why 
this great difference, if it be not that there is an overwhelming 
evidence for immersion as the baptism of the Bible? 

African Baptist Church. 837 

6. It is a fact that many who fail to seek immersion never- 
theless have a notion that it is the primitive baptism, and they 
only fail to seek it because they think it is not essential to sal- 
vation. How often do we find the last resort of the hard- 
pressed affusionist to be, " O well, I think I can get to heaven 
without being immersed." But who ever heard of a -Baptist 
solacing himself with the thought that he could get to heaven 
without being sprinkled or poured upon ? They don't talk that 
way. Well, why not? Most undoubtedly this pleading that 
immersion is not essential to salvation is proof that those who 
make the plea nevertheless believe that it is the baptism of God's 
word. It also proves that if the reception of the identical 
baptism of the New Testament were essential to admission into 
heaven, many more would be found seeking a place of "much 
water." Yes ; suppose an angel should be sent from heaven, 
and that all' knew of a truth that he was so sent, and this angel, 
by God's authority, should make a proclamation that all who did 
not receive the identical baptism of the scriptures within a 
week's time, should infallibly be lost, not giving us any further 
light than we now have, well, I don't know what would hap- 
pen ; but is there any harm in telling what one believes ? I'll 
do it, then. While I do not believe that a single Baptist in all 
the earth would seek to be sprinkled or poured upon, I do verily 
believe that the affusion brethren would quite generally betake 
themselves to the water ; yes, and among those thronging mul- 
titudes would be found the most, if not all, of those venerable 
divines who have written and preached so learnedly against 
exclusive immersion. I think they would reason thus : "Affu- 
sion may do, yes, may be so, but if I have got only one chance 
for my life, let me be on the safe side and take immersion." 

7. It is a fact that while witnessing the ceremony of asper- 
sion or of affusion has never been known to convert any one to 
that way of thinking, the witnessing of the ordinance of im- 
mersion has oftentimes so disturbed people's minds that they 
could not be satisfied until they themselves went down into the 

8. It is a fact that many pious and ardent affusionists who have 
undertaken the investigation of the baptismal question for the 
special purpose of disproving the Baptist view, so far from con- 
verting others from that faith have converted themselves to it. 
I am not referring to the many who have studied the subject 
because of their own private dissatisfaction and their honest 
desire to know and obey the truth, and as a consequence have 
espoused our views, but I refer especially to those who were 
put forth by their people, or came forth of" themselves, as lead- 

■US History of the First 

ers of their hosts and champions of their faith. Such men, for 
example, as Milo P Jewett, a learned author and educator, 
who being requested by his church to preach on the subject of 
baptism "to silence the immersionists " and settle the disturbed 
minds of some of their own members, determined to go into an 
original and thorough investigation of the whole matter, and 
in consequence, contrary to his expectation, his interests, his 
desires and his predilections, became a convert to the very views 
he set out to disprove. Or Alexander Carson, the world-re- 
nowned critic and philologist, who thought before he tried it, 
to use his own words, that he " could demolish the arguments 
of the Baptists as easily as one could crush a fly." After inves- 
tigating and writing for a whole month, he threw all his work 
in the fire, and to the amazement of his people announced him- 
self a Baptist. 

Take just one more case : Burmah's great missionary, Adon- 
iram Judson. Young, pious, gifted, zealous for the custom of his 
Puritan fathers, went forth to the heathen, bearing a commis- 
sion from the most ancient, and probably, at that time, the most 
honored affusion denomination in America In a little time, 
much to his-own surprise and the surprise of the world, we find 
him, like his celebrated prototype, joined to the sect every- 
where spoken against, and "preaching the faith which once he 
destroyed." How did this marvelous change come about? It is 
substantially the same story that has been told in a multitude 
of other cases. Mr. Judson, expecting to meet the Baptist mis- 
sionaries at Serampore, "felt it important, for the honor of his 
denomination, to be able to defend its sentiments." He had 
been taught from childhood to believe his system correct, now 
he essays to prove it so. But alas for the cherished faith of his 
childhood! and alas for his own peace of mind! The more he 
examined the subject, the more he became conscious that both 
as to mode and subjects of baptism he was in error. A painful 
conflict at once began between principle and preference. He 
did not want to be a Baptist. His whole soul shrank back from 
it, but the truth was his object, and the truth made him a Bap- 
tist. I earnestly commend the case of Judson to every pious 
and intelligent opposer of immersion. His conversion to the 
Baptist faith , under the circumstances, is truly wonderful. Just 
see: Judson's piety and indomitable energy had given birth, 
under God, to the foreign mission enterprise in America. To 
sustain him and his associates, the first American foreign mis- 
sion society had just been organized; and he was the chief 
spirit, the very soul of that first missionary company which had 
ever left the shores of the New World. To him all eyes were 

African Baptist Church. 339 

directed, and in him all hearts confided. Surely, -in his case, 
self-interest, reputation, family, social and denominational 
attachments, the memories of the past and the glowing hopes 
of the future — nay, every conceivable earthly motive — all com- 
bined to keep him where he was. Judson, then, must have 
believed that truth lay on the side of the Baptists, else he had 
not joined them. 

But now (and here comes the test question), how could he 
have thus believed, under all the circumstances surrounding 
him, unless compelled by the irresistible force of the truth? 
Every possible influence tending to prevent an impartial judg- 
ment of the issues involved was against the Baptist side, and 
in favor of his own. And be it particularly observed, that he 
began the investigation with all the burning zeal of a youthful 
partisan, anxious to establish and defend the faith of his fathers. 
That such a one, under such circumstances, with such ante- 
cedents and such surroundings, should have come to the conclu- 
sion that the " immersion of a professing believer in Christ is 
the only christian baptism," seems little short of a voice from 
the skies, saying, "This is the way; walk ye in it." 

But some one may say, "What about conversions from the 
Baptistview? What do they prove?" I cannot tell ; for I have 
never heard or read of any such as I have described, and many 
others that I might give. There may be, and doubtless will 
continue to be, many departures from the Baptist ranks, and 
for various reasons. Unfortunately, many people do not make 
denominational connection a matter of principle, but simply of 
pleasure or of policy. But if there has ever been a case where a 
zealous Baptist, of undoubted piety and intelligence, after a 
thorough and prayerful examination of the subject, and with 
no conceivable motive but love of the truth and loyalty to Jesus, 
came to the deliberate conclusion that he had never been baptized, 
and therefore went over to the affusionists, asking for scrip- 
tural baptism — why, let it be produced. But no such case has 
ever occurred, or will ever occur, and nobody expects any such 
to occur. 

Well, why this great difference ? No one can naturally prefer 
immersion, but the contrary ; for it is decidedly more inconve- 
nient, to say nothing else. And so, if there were no preponder- 
ance of evidence for immersion, every one would eschew it and 
adopt affusion ; and particularly those whose interests and preju- 
dices were already on the side of affusion would be sure never to 
give it up. How comes it, then, that so many of every age and 
sex and rank, learned and unlearned, rich and poor, teachers and 
the taught, in spite of the inconvenience of immersion, in spite 

illf.0 History of the First 

of their early training and consequent prejudice against it and 
in favor of affusion, in spite of the natural shame of confessing 
one's self wrong, in spite of the powerful influence of family, 
social and religious ties, and the frequent jeopardizing of im- 
portant temporal interests, how comes it that so many in the 
face of all this array of opposing motives give up affusion and 
adopt immersion as the only christian baptism ? There is no 
possible explanation but that on the side of immersion is found 
the truth. And now, christian friends, you who have repented, 
and yet up to this hour have suffered yourselves to put up with 
something which your conscience told you was not the baptism 
the Saviour received, what are you going to do about it? 
"Well," some of you may say, "good and great men have 
believed in and practiced affusion, is it not safe to follow them ?" 

The question is not what have good men believed, but what 
does the Bible teach ? Not what good men have done, but 
what has your Lord commanded? Will you follow men or 
Christ? Whose example is the more precious to you? "But 
baptism is nothing but a ceremony, it doesn't matter much 
whether we submit to it or not." Baptism is a ceremony, but 
not a mere ceremony. It is a ceremony, it is true, but it 
is one of God's selection and appointment — to neglect or 
despise it, is to treat with contempt the One who ordained it. 
"But you Baptists do not believe that immersion is essential 
to salvation, we can be saved even if we do not go under 
the water." Ah ! here is your final refuge ; when routed from 
every other place you hide here. Here you think you can rest 
in peace. But what a resting place for a christian ! You have 
a strong conviction that immersion is the baptism taught in 
the Bible, that Christ was immersed, and that the apostles prac- 
ticed immersion, but because you think you can be saved with- 
out it, you let it alone ! To save your souls you would be will- 
ing to submit to immersion, but to be immersed in order to 
obej r Christ and to follow His example, you are unwilling. And 
yet you claim to love Jesus! Jesus says: "He that hath my 
commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." 

Obedience is the final and best test of love. AVhatever we 
do or don't do, let us be sure to " Fear God and keep His com- 
mandments, for this is the whole duty of man ; for God will 
bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing 
whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Amen. 

Note.— Much of this is but an abtract of Dr. Kilpatrick's able discourse. Much 
of it was delivered extemporaneously. 

African Baptist Church. SJfl 



Or, The Necessity for Patient Continuance in the Scripture Plan of 
Promoting the Prosperity of Our Churches. — Ps., xxxvii, 34- 

Every lover of Christ must desire the prosperity of His 
churches. All pious hearts are one here. Moreover, when the 
question is asked, "How is this prosperity' to be secured? what 
is the best plan?" doubtless all will readily agree that the best 
plan is the scriptural plan, whatever that may be. The object 
of the present endeavor is to ascertain this scripture plan, and 
to urge upon all its adoption and a patient continuance in it. 

* As to the expression, " No Royal Road," to give its reputed origin will best 
explain its meaning. It is related that Euclid was once asked by a certain king, 
Ptolemy Lagus, I believe, whether there was not a shorter and easier way to a 
knowledge of geometry than that which he had laid down in his Elements; 
whereupon the great mathematician replied, in words which have been stereo- 
typed for all coming time, "No; there is no royal road to geometry," meaning 
that there was no short and easy method for him, a king, any more than for 
others; that the same need of toilsome, patient effort pressed upon all alike. 
What was then and is now true of a knowledge of geometry, is also true of 
church prosperity. 

Church prosperity may be viewed in two aspects — the inter- 
nal and the external. Churches are composed of individuals, 
and these individuals should be new creatures ; and these new 
creatures should, day by day, be growing up into Him who is 
the head, in all things, and ever walking as becometh His 
gospel. Now, in proportion as churches are actually composed 
of such new creatures, thus growing and thus walking, in like 
proportion may they be said to be in a prosperous condition. 
This is 


and it is to be sought (1) by making our churches accord with 
New Testament antecedents in members, officers, operations, 
doctrines and ordinances ; (2) by cultivating, as individuals, a 
high degree of personal piety, striving to bring every thought 
and feeling and affection and principle into complete and 
loving subjection to Jesus, and manifesting this subjection of 
our hearts by the blamelessness and consecration of our lives ; 
and (3) as promotive of the foregoing, by maintaining a godly 
discipline. This is internal church prosperity ; and this is the 
scriptural plan for attaining it. If we desire the prosperity, let 
us adopt the plan. 

1^.3 History of the First 

But it is mainly of the external church prosperity that I wish 
to speak. Of course, our churches should earnestly seek after 
internal growth and prosperity; but this is not enough, and it 
should not and can not satisfy them. The internal is really 
but a base, upon which and out of which is to rise a higher and 
nobler prosperity — the external. Botanists divide plants into 
two classes — those which grow within, and those which grow 
without. The churches of Christ embody both in one. The 
Saviour's kingdom is to be advanced not only in individual 
christian hearts, but also in the world ; and it can only make 
progress in the world by conversions from the world. This 
growth of the churches by accessions from the ranks of the 
ungodly is 


And here let us dwell at greater length. 

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. And those who are 
found and saved forthwith desire to be instrumental in finding 
and saving others. This is the law of the new creation. He 
who is saved by Christ is at once brought into fellowship with 
Christ, and so into a cordial sympathy with the object which 
brought Him into the world. The saved soul not only desires 
an increase of the Saviour's dominion in himself, but that it 
should extend over others. Now the churches of Christ, 
normally and properly, are but communities of these saved 
souls — not only themselves saved, but ardently desiring the 
salvation of others. And churches were originated not only 
for the development and growth in truth and holiness of their 
individual members, but that thus these might labor more 
efficiently in bringing the outside world to Jesus. In this latter 
purpose of a church's organization is found its highest and last 
subordinate end; and thus only, according to the divine plan, 
can the kingdom of Christ, in its present state, be perpetuated 
from generation to generation, and all the number of the 
redeemed be finally brought in. Hence it is that the Lord's 
people are said to be the light of the world ; but if none are 
guided by them into the way of life, is not their light virtual 
darkness? And so they are said to be the salt of the earth; 
but if none feel their salvatory influence, wherein is the fleshly 
mass of humanity the better for their existence? While, there- 
fore, churches should assuredly seek after the largest inward 
development — the completest conformity, in heart and in life 
in faitli and in practice, to the divine requirement, they must 
not, and surely they can not, be satisfied with this: the culmin- 
ation of all church progress, the final results of all healthy and 

African Baptist Church. SJf.3 

matured church life, must be looked for in a spiritual posterity 
rising up around them to take their places and perpetuate their 

And as it is natural and right that churches should desire to 
see souls converted, so they ought to expect it ; and when these 
desires and expectations are not realized, as they so far fail to 
accomplish the end of their being, they should distrust the 
healthfulness of their condition. Surely there must be a cause 
for this abnormal state of things. And we should not too soon 
fly to God's sovereignty to find a solution. May there not be 
some cause personal to ourselves? Some derangement, organic 
or functional? Some obstruction? Some lurking disease, which 
demands attention? Brethren in Christ, churches of the saints, 
if souls be not converted in connection with our labors, we 
should suspect the presence of evil somewhere, and should 
earnestly search for it, and finding it, should earnestly set 
about effecting its removal. 

But let us suppose that we are measurably prepared for the 
great work of leading sinners to Christ. And we must work in 
this way, whether fully prepared or not. Laboring to rescue 
others will help to rescue ourselves from the dominion of sin, 
and increase our efficiency for further labor. The great law of 
the Kingdom of Grace is, "He that watereth shall be watered 
also himself." While striving to save those without, reflex 
benefits will flow in upon our own souls. 

But how shall the churche* best fulfill this their great mis- 
sion ? In other words, what is the 


An attentive consideration of the teachings, the lives and the 
labors of the Saviour and His apostles, shows that this plan in- 
volves two, and only two, essential points : First, the earnest, 
faithful presentation of the truth, especially the truth concern- 
ing Christ and Him crucified. Secondly, sincere prayer for the 
Spirit's power to accompany the truth so presented, preparing 
the way for its reception, and making it effectual to the salva- 
tion of the soul. 

Under the first of these two may be mentioned, especially, the 
public preaching of the Word — this justly occupying the fore- 
most and highest place. Nearly allied to it is the presentation 
of gospel truth and gospel motives to sinners under any circum- 
stances, and by anybody — whether parents, Sunday school 
teachers, or any other lover of Jesus and of souls. Here, also, 
must be included the circulation of the scriptures, religious 

•44 History of the First 

books, tracts, and all publications which unfold and enforce the 
truth as it is in Jesus. In short, the sinner and the gospel 
must be brought together. If he will not come to it, we must 
carry it to him ; and if he will not hear it from living lips, we 
must try to get him to read it from the printed page. 

The second part, prayer, of course implies an antecedent — 
faith in God, and a firm reliance upon Him, and Him alone, for 
success, and includes all earnest, believing prayer, whether 
going up in breathings and ejaculations from amid the pressure 
of daily business, or in more deliberate and formal manner, 
from the closet, the family altar, the social prayer meeting, or 
the public congregation. 


The preaching of the gospel, therefore, or the presentation of 
the truth as it is in Jesus, and prayer to God, may be called the 
New Testament plan of laboring for the salvation of sinners ; 
and this completes the scriptural plan of promoting the pros- 
perity of our churches. Let all workers for Christ adopt it. 

But before going any further, let us mark this : To adopt 
and truly carry out this plan requires self-denial, self-sacri- 
fice, self-consecration — a high sense of individual responsibility, 
followed and thus verified by earnest individual effort, and the 
expenditure of time, and talent, and strength, and fortune, in 
the service of the Master, and that according to the measure of 
the ability and the opportunity/ And very especially (and 
here is revealed the grand instrumental power for the conver- 
sion of the world, but alas, greatly wanting in these latter days), 
it requires not only that the gospel be presented to the ungodly, 
but that it be lived before the ungodly. In a word, it requires 
on the part of both preachers and people, a close walk with 
God — earnest, faithful living and working for God — abiding 
trust in God, and constant, importunate prayer to God. 

Now we are ready to consider the 


A number of scriptures clearly present and enforce the 
thought here suggested. "For ye have need of patience, that, 
after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the prom- 
ise." — Heb.. x, 06. ''That ye be not slothful, but followers of 
them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." — 
Ileb., vi, IL'. ''And let us not be weary in well doing: for in 
due season we shall reap, if we faint not." — Gal., vi, !). "Kest 

African Baptist Church. SJf5 

in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself 
because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man 
who bringeth wicked devices to pass." — Ps., xxxvii, 7 And 
especially our text, "Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and 
He shall exalt thee to inherit the land." 

The tenor of these scriptures, taken as a whole, is about this : 
Adopt God's way ; continue in God's way patiently ; a patient 
continuance in God's way will lead to success. The plan which 
we have just been considering is God's way to church pros- 
perity — no so-called "royal road," widened and smoothed down 
and paved to suit the demands of princely ease, and indolence, 
and self-indulgence, and worldly lusts, but the true royal road, 
the King's highway of holiness, along which the ransomed of 
the Lord shall be led upward and onward to prosperity and 
usefulness here, and to glory and happiness hereafter. 

1. Let us adopt it. It is God's plan. Every deviation from 
it springs from a sinful deference to fleshly pleasure or fleshly 
wisdom. It is simple: involving no complex machinery, the 
youngest child of grace can understand it. It is practicable : 
its requirements fall within the capacity of the weakest and 
obscurest saint, while yet they give full scope to the learning 
and zeal of a Paul or the eloquence of an Apollos. 

2. Let us not only adopt it, but hold on to it, and hold on to 
it patiently. A patient holding on implies an actual and earnest 
desire to see the end attained— souls saved, Zion prospered, God 
glorified. And it implies a desire to bear a part ourselves in 
securing this end. Some seem quite anxious to see the cause 
prosper, but they are more anxious to see others do the work- 
ing and spending and sacrificing. A patient holding on to 
God's way implies not only a willingness to be personally em- 
ployed, but much employed — to work and to work hard — to 
toil and toil on — to make sacrifices, and to make many and 
great sacrifices. We may desire the end, and even desire to 
do something to secure it, but our desires may not be strong 
enough to overcome our natural love of ease, or other selfish 
propensities. Especially, a patient holding on implies and re- 
quires a controlling sense of obligation to obey God, and an un- 
faltering trust in God, let the immediate issue be what it may. 
Any of us can work pretty well when we see the fruits of our 
labor quickly following. To work and wait, to toil and not 
faint — this requires not only an ardent desire for the end, but 
a strong faith and a heroic obedience. He who patiently keeps 
God's way will often be compelled to walk by faith, for sight 
will fail him. Like Moses, he will have to endure "as seeing 
Him who is invisible." 

SJfG History of the First 

3. A patient continuance in this plan will be sure to have a 
happy issue, and nothing else will. " My soul, wait thou only 
upon God." "Wait on the Lord and keep His way, and He 
shall exalt thee to inherit the land." 

And right here my discourse is complete, so far as the line of 
thought is concerned. But in the times now upon us there 
seems to be special reason for emphasizing this patiently- 
holding-on idea, and that is just what I desire especially to do. 


Our lots have fallen in a restless, impatient, greedy, and yet 
ease-loving age. Railroads, telegraphs and the like have been 
begotten by, and in turn have begotten, a general demand for 
short routes and quick results. Air lines, lightning expresses 
and close connections are the order of the day. The old paths 
are being forsaken and new ones opened up. Rivers are bridged, 
mountains tunneled, continents cleft in sunder. And it is 
not only nigh cuts and short routes that are called for, but 
easier routes and cheaper routes. Time, and money, and labor, 
all must be economized ; and time-saving, and money-saving, 
and labor-saving machines and devices are in the ascendant. 

Now, why should the children of this world ever be wiser in 
their generation than the children of light? Modern Christian- 
ity seems determined to wipe off this old reproach. It means 
to keep abreast with the times. "While everything else is 
moving, must it still be hampered and retarded by the cum- 
brous and flesh-mortifying methods of eighteen centuries? 
Shall commerce, and manufactures, and agriculture, and edu- 
cation, and even the art of human butchery, be emancipated 
from the moss-grown systems of the past, and religion have no 
part in the general jubilee? Not so; the religion (?) of this 
progressive era claims equal rights and concurrent immunities 
— yes, the churches (many of them) have manifestly caught the 
spirit of the age, and disdaining the slow and plodding processes 
of prayer, and work, and self-denial, and self-sacrifice, and 
patient waiting, have struck out for quicker methods and easier 
routes to the salvation of souls and the prosperity of Zion. 


Some seem to have had wonderful success in running the 
short-line schedule. Others have looked on. They are unwilling 
to be distanced in the race. They covet the glowing results, 
and yet they are not disposed to toil and pray and wait, do 
their duty, and leave the event with God. The pressure is 

African Baptist Church. . J >J^7 

heavy upon them. Their own restless hearts cry out for results, 
and an impatient world demands results ; but the results don't 
come. What shall they do? The only alternative is to forsake 
the old path, and take a nigh-cut. 

How is it with our churches — aye, Baptist churches ? Have 
they escaped the infection? Is it not largely true that where 
not shamefully indifferent to the prosperity of Zion, as many of 
them are, they are seeking out methods which will necessitate 
the smallest possible outlay of faithful, self-denying labor ? We 
want prosperity ; we want to see souls converted and the cause 
advanced. • Sofar, so good. God's plan is to accomplish these 
ends through the prayers, and efforts, 'and sacrifices of his 
people. But this doesn't suit the carnal nature. It requires 
too much self-denial ; too much closet religion ; too much every 
day religion. Besides, it takes too long. Can we not think of 
some shorter and easier way? Here then come in various 
nigh-cuts and short roads — by-ways to avoid the "hill of 


1. Is the protracted meeting. Now hear before you strike. 
I do not object to protracted meetings as such. There may be 
occasions when they would be eminently appropriate, and, if 
properly managed, eminently useful. And I am not now ob- 
jecting to their customary management, which in the main is 
exceedingly unwise, and generally quite disastrous in ultimate 
results. What I am objecting to is the foundation principle 
upon which they are usually based — the immediate, underlying 
motive which too often induces us to desire them, and to hold 

Just see : A church is in a cold — it may be, a declining con- 
dition. No new recruits are coming in ; things drag heavily ; 
other churches and other denominations are outstripping. What 
is to be done ? Instead of purifying their ranks and purifying 
their hearts — cutting off evil doers from their fellowship and 
forsaking their own covetousness and worldliness, and number- 
less inconsistencies — rooting up the thorns and noxious weeds, 
and breaking up the fallow ground, and casting in the pure 
seed, and watering it with their prayers and tears, they con- 
clude to have a protracted meeting and do the work of a 
year, or ten years, in a week or two. And it will be well if, 
even during the meeting, a tithe of the members can be induced 
to lay hold and work. They want to see the cause prosper, oh 
v es, and they want the protracted meeting, but they don't want 

J 23 

History of the Firat 

to work in it. They favored it under the idea that it was a 
labor-saving device ; and now that it is started, they expect the 
preacher or preachers, and a few singing and praying brethren 
and sisters, to do the work. They look on : discuss the propriety 
or impropriety of what others do; it may be, enjoy the season 
somewhat, and at the close are perfectly free to disparage and 
condemn the whole, if unsuccessful, but if successful, quite 
ready to talk of what a glorious meeting we have had. 

Mark : I am not arguing the protracted meeting question ; 
much might be said on either side. I have simply instanced 
this case to show the false and ruinous principle upon which 
protracted meetings largely proceed. They are often, though 
perhaps not intended so to be, really and actually substitutes 
for duty — substitutes for duties slighted, for duties neglected 
— substitutes for the slower and more laborious and flesh- 
mortifying methods which God has marked out, and to which 
our carnal nature is averse — nigh-cuts to church prosperity 
— labor-saving machines in the Kingdom of Jesus. In no other 
way can we reconcile the vast number of protracted meetings 
and so-called revivals with the general low state of practical 
piety in the land. Whatever protracted meetings might be 
made — whatever they may be intended to be made — in most 
cases they are made substitutes for that life of labor, and prayer, 
and self-denial, and godliness, which the Bible requires. And 
hence, we find churches whose members are notoriously loose 
in their lives, many of them paying their debts neither to God 
nor to man — spending their money as free as water, it may be, 
for worldly lusts and pleasures, while doling out but a bare 
pittance for the support of the gospel at home and its extension 
abroad; and yet, they are able to get up a rousing revival 
(so-called) every twelve months. Let protracted meetings be, 
as they should always be, simply times of special prayer and 
effort for that zeal and love which are ever seeking after and 
improving opportunities of service — chosen seasons for extra 
toil in seed-sowing and in reaping on the part of those, who, 
day by day, sow beside all waters — and some who now favor 
them most will be the last to hold them. 

"But even as now commonly originated, don't they do some 
good?" So they may. But so often as they are made the occa- 
sion of fostering the false and corrupt principle just pointed 
out, they are sure, in the end, to do more harm than good. 
Pastors and churches have quite largely come to rely on these 
meetings to do that which consistent and consecrated piety, 
patient toil, and importunate prayer alone, under God, can 
accomplish, and the consequence is the churches generally have 

African Baptist Church. 349 

sunk into a state of chronic coldness and barrenness, relieved 
only by these annual, or biennial, or triennial arousements, 
whose apparent success largely tend to produce and perpetuate 
the very evils under which we are already groaning. 

It must be borne in mind that when anything, however good 
in itself, comes to be the occasion of neglecting something vital 
and indispensable, it thereby and therein becomes a positive 
evil. Commercial fertilizers are, doubtless, a good thing; but 
when they are relied upon to the neglect of a thorough prepara- 
tion and cultivation of the soil, and a diligent gathering and 
application of home fertilizers, they prove -a curse. Cotton is a 
good crop, but when it is relied upon to the neglect of all other 
branches of husbandry, it surely leads to poverty and final 
bankruptcy. It is well for the farmer to especially bestir him- 
self at certain seasons — to put forth extra and protracted efforts 
when the interests of his business require, and a favorable 
opportunity presents, and sometimes even to call in his neigh- 
bors to help him ; but he who sits idly down the most of the 
year, and expects to make up for his idleness by these occasional 
efforts, will certainly come to want. Let the children of light 
learn wisdom. Whenever and wherever protracted meetings 
are relied upon, as they now largely are, to supply the place of 
daily prayer, and labor, and self-denial, and faith, and patience, 
and holy living, in all such cases will they be curses to the 


2. Next is the resort to evangelists or revivalists. A church 
wants to make headway in the world — may be really desires a 
revival, and doubtless does need one. The scripture plan, how- 
ever, requires sins confessed and sins forsaken, and time and 
talent consecrated to the Master. Work is required, and much 
work, and patient work; prayer is required, and earnest and 
constant prayer. The demand is too great. Even a respecta- 
ble protracted meeting requires more than they feel willing to 
undertake. What is to be done? Why, send off and get some 
noted revivalist or evangelist, prepare the way for his coming 
by a series of meetings, but expect nothing, really pray for noth- 
ing, until this mortal man shall come and take matters in 
charge, and "deliver them out of their distresses." 

Now, let no one misapprehend me. There can be no kind of 
objection to proper persons traveling through the country, 
stirring up the churches and preaching the gospel to the masses ; 
it is scriptural. But the special need now is for some one, or 

■iui> History of the First 

rather a good many, to go up and down in the land, calling 
upon the people of God to return to the " old paths," and to do 
their own work, yes, and their own praying, too. There is too 
much reliance upon other people's labors and other people's 
prayers — too much looking to man, and not enough looking to 
God. At the present time, in many places, there are more 
earnest desires and prayers for the coming of some of the great 
evangelists of the day than for the descent of the Holy Spirit ; 
and manifestly the expectations of success center in their 
coming rather than in the attendant presence and power of the 
Spirit. Am I mistaken? Wherefore, then, such elation when 
their speedy coming is announced? Wherefore such despond- 
ency when their coming is delayed? Verily, this looking to 
men, and running after men, and crying unto men, is not only 
dishonoring to God, but even to our own christian manhood. 
What ! is not Jehovah our God as well as theirs ? Have we 
not the privilege of access to Him as well as they? Is it possi- 
ble God will not hear us as readily as them? And will He 
not bless our labors as well as theirs? And will He not 
own His Word when spoken by us, though we be unknown 
to fame, as well as when spoken by these whose praise fills 
the land? I do not say that God will thus do; but if not, 
the reason is to be found in our and our church's unfaithfulness, 
and indolence, and worldliness, and unbelief; and it is vain to 
think to escape the legitimate consequences of our sins and 
failures by flying to others, however good or great, or even 
successful they may be. Yes, these evangelists may all be 
godly men, and, for aught I know, may be very successful in 
leading sinners to Christ, as doubtless some of them have been ; 
but those pastors and churches who sinfully neglect their own 
work, and then expect to evade the just consequences of their 
shortcoming by calling in the aid of men, thus virtually hoping 
to circumvent the Almighty, sooner or later will find out their 


3. The same general desire to abridge labor and self-denial 
has opened up the new preacher short road. The affairs of a 
church are unsatisfactory, and perhaps they ought to be ; but, 
instead of rallying around the pastor they have, and going to 
work themselves, they set longing eyes upon some new man, 
whose past reputation for building up churches excites the hope 
of similar results with them. Some way or other, no matter 
how, the old preacher is gotten rid of, and the new one called. 
For a little while everything moves on swimmingly ; their hopes 

African Baptist Church. 351 

are bright ; at last they have got the man they we're so long 
wanting — i. e., the man to do his work and theirs too. In 
another little while, and a change comes over the spirit of their 
dream. They find their condition essentially the same — it may 
be, worse — it is reasonable that it should go from bad to worse. 
They soon conclude it is the preacher's fault — they mistook the 
man, or he has run his course. And soon again they are with- 
out a pastor, and still again are they in search of the man who 
shall be able to do what God never meant to be done, and still 
are destined to disappointment. 


But there is another view to take of short pastorates, which, 
though not exactly in the line of the present thought, yet merits 
a passing notice. It often -happens that the pastor himself, 
anxious for quick returns, or impatient of hard work, is un- 
willing to stay where he is. Permanent church prosperity is 
largely dependent upon permanent pastorates. As a general 
thing, however, long pastorates require of a minister much 
patient and self-denying toil — brain work, heart work, life work. 
Many are not disposed to honor the draft, and so they look out 
for other fields, more fertile, it may be, or more easily culti- 
vated ; at any rate, fields where the well-worn plow-shares of 
many furrows may still do creditable service ; yes, and where 
the same system of superficial tillage will in turn be followed 
by the same results. The condition of many of our churches is 
remarkably like that of many of our farms, and the same desire 
for easy methods and quick returns is largely responsible in 
both cases. 

Now I do not say that ministers should not sometimes change 
their fields of labor — doubtless they ought; but I will say, 
they should never do so simply because they want to escape 
hard work or patient waiting. And I do not say that churches 
should not sometimes seek a change of pastors, but certainly 
they should not do so under the vain hope of finding a man 
whose piety, or zeal, or eloquence, or other qualification shall 
absolve them from the duty or the necessity of earnest conse- 
cration to the Master's service. 

And here is a good place to call attention to a wide-spread 
evil. Our churches, whether they retain the same pastor from 
year to year, or frequently change pastors, still, all alike, are 
depending too much on their pastors to do whatever is neces- 
sary to bring prosperity to Zion. It is not exaggeration to say, 
that as the "eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, 

History of the First 

and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress," so 
quite generally the eyes of churches are directed to their pas- 
tors. They are largely looking to these pastors not only to do 
their (the churches') work, but even that of the Holy Spirit. 
There is a great and calamitous mistake just here. The churches 
know better. They know that Paul may plant and Apollos 
may water, but that God alone can give the increase. And yet, 
practically and actually, they are looking to their pastors for 
the increase. My brother in Christ, esteem your pastor ; esteem 
him highly ; esteem him very highly in love for his work's sake, 
this is the divine command ; but when you place such reliance 
upon him — when you look to him to do your work, and even 
that of the Spirit too, you lay on him a load of responsibility 
that may well crush him to the earth. And it is not, perhaps, 
too much to say that the consciousness that the churches are 
thus looking to their pastors, and leaning upon their pastors, 
and expecting success at their hands, is even now pressing the 
very life out of many a devoted pastor in the land. He feels 
his utter inability to meet the demand upon him and is sinking 
beneath the burden. O brethren, look to God — trust in Him. 


4. It only remains to notice the wide door or low gap short- 
road. This is the final nigh-cut towards which all the others 
incline, and falling short of which they largely fall short of 
fatal injury. The others, when not pursued as nigh-cuts, may 
not be in all respects evil ; but this is evil in itself — it is evil, 
and only evil, and that continually. A church longs for the 
prestige of numbers — the eclat of large and frequent additions. 
Great is the pressure upon the pastor for this proof of his suc- 
cess, and his heart, quite likely, beats in unison with the hearts 
of his people ; and it is right to want to see " much people 
added to Lord." O that we all were ten -fold more anxious for 
this ! But God may not see fit to give immediate success in 
the way of additions. More generally, perhaps, pastor and 
people have not been willing to live, and labor, and pray, and 
trust, and so come within the pale of the divine promises. But 
still they want success, and that means numbers. They con- 
clude to make special effort, and that means a protracted 
meeting. They send for some noted revivalist, or perhaps, the 
pastor gets to help him some warm revival preachers from 
around. The meeting begins, and the meeting goes on, and a 
goodly number profess a hope and knock for admission into the 
church. Now mind you, the desire for members is still strong. 

African Baptist Church. 35 S 

Numbers are still the adjudged proof and measure of success. 
The pressure upon the pastor is still unabated, and his heart 
still yearns to gratify the longings of his people. Besides all 
hearts are now warm and generous — love is glowing, and feelings 
generally have reached melting heat. Is it strange, then, that 
under the circumstances, the procrustean rigidity of the old 
standard of admission should be relaxed, and a lower gap, or a 
wider door offer easy ingress to the thronging applicants? 
"What! give up a converted church-membership!" "Ono; 
hold on to that. But, you inveterate pld fossil, don't let us 
put up the fence so high as to keep out Christ's lambs. Besides, 
you need not expect everybody to be converted. "Was not 
Judas one of the twelve ? Did not unbelievers creep in, even 
in the apostles' day ? Does not the gospel net gather of every 
kind ? Don't be so very particular. Don't pry so closely into 
the experiences of the professed converts. Don't expect babes 
in Christ to be old theologians.* Do not count an applicant not 
converted until he gives some proof that he is ; but rather count 
that he is converted until he proves that he is not. And then, 
do not require an intelligent and spontaneous profession of 
faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, as evidence of a changed 
heart; but reverse the order, and accept the profession of a 
change of heart as proof of the possession of faith. Finally, 
remember that people are timid, and if they can not tell a con- 
sistent and satisfactory experience help them out a little, or 
may be, tell all for them by asking questions which suggest the 
proper answer.f The immediate results of all this are seen in 
the vast and rapidly increasing array of formal professors, 
whose influence rests as a fearful incubus upon the life and 
power of the churches. The final results eternity alone can 

Now all these devices, and others which might be mentioned, 
proceed froni the same evil root, namely, an eagerness for suc- 
cess which centers more in self than in God, and a consequent 
dissatisfaction with God's plan and God's time, and the success 
which God sees fit to give. Success is wanted, and success we 
feel we must have ; but we are not willing to work for it, we 
are not willing to wait for it. 

Such unworthy feelings and motives are referred to in the 
preceding discussion, that careless thinkers may be disposed to 

*Ttais is no fancy sketch. These very things have been said to me by pJeaders 
for more laxity, and in most cases, in these very words. 

fif pastors would require applicants to tell their own experiences, and then 
require, in these experiences, reasonable proof of an intelligent apprehension of 
faith in Christ crucified or as the way of life and trust in Him, improper persons 
would seldom come in. 

History oj the First 

question their existence in the hearts of God's people. Well, 
God's people ought to be free from such, but, unfortunately, 
many of them are not. Besides, none are without sin; and sin 
is essentially selfish and deceitful, even though found in the 
heart of a christian. A cursory examination will not always 
reveal to one's own consciousness the motives which determine 
conduct. Let the best man among us actually explore the 
recesses of his heart, and he will there find principles and mo- 
tives just as reprehensible as those here condemned. And a 
part of our business in this life is to drag out into the light 
these hidden abominations, whether found in ourselves or in 
others, and hew them in pieces before the Lord. So have I 
endeavored to do. 


1. How vain the hope of finding an easy way to church pros- 
perity! The ingenuity of man has done much, but it can not 
override a divine law. Man's wisdom is displayed in discover- 
ing God's laws, and in adapting himself to them. This is the 
secret of the success and usefulness of all the great discoveries 
and inventions of these latter days. But there has not yet been 
discovered, nor will ever be, an easy road to heaven, or an easy 
road to church prosperity. The reason is found in the fact that 
the carnal mind is enmity against God ; and so, that which 
accords with it must, for that very reason, be opposed to Him. 
Accordingly, when we seek for flesh-pleasing methods in serv- 
ing God, we seek for an impossibility. Deny thyself, and take 
thy cross, are the inexorable terms of discipleship. And so long 
as self-denial, cross-bearing, the crucifixion of the flesh Math its 
affections' and lusts enter into christian life and christian duty, 
just so long will it be vain to expect to achieve purely spiritual 
successes and yet listen to the demands of the flesh. These 
things are antipodal, and the endeavor to bring them together 
is worse than futile. It is but the old, oft-repeated, century- 
stricken, but hopeless and ruinous, attempt to combine the ser- 
vice of Mammon with the service of God. 

2. How vain the hope of finding a shorter way to church 
prosperity than that which God has marked out ! It is a true 
proverb, that the longest way round is often the shortest way 
through. Even in this day of steam and lightning, we still 
sometimes see that "slow and sure" go hand in hand. Quick 
results are quite often as worthless as quick. God seems to 
have intended to teach us this truth in nature. The insect 
comes to maturity in a few days, while man, the noblest work 

African Baptist Church: S55 

of the Creator, requires long years. The mushroom springs up 
in a night, while the lordly and valuable oak grows for cen- 
turies. But let nature's lessons be what they may, God's plan 
for bringing prosperity to His churches is fixed, and we might 
as well undertake to heave the sun from its place in the sky, as 
to reach real church prosperity in any other way. 

3. Why can we not be content to work for God in His own 
way? Is not His way the best way? Are we ashamed of the 
Gospel of Christ? Is the simple, unmethod -trammeled preach- 
ing of the cross no longer the power of God unto salvation ? 
Has this fast, progressive age, outrun the divine wisdom? 
"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer 
of this world ? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this 
world?" Yes, verily; and quite signally do the failures of 
latter-day wisdom attest the fact. Rest assured, my brethren, 
it still pleases God "by the foolishness of preaching to save 
them that believe."* 

4. And why can we not be content to abide God's time to 
reap the fruit of our labors ? Why this restless, feverish impa- 
tience for results? Can we not trust God to fulfill His own 
promises ? Is the prosperity of the cause dearer to us than to 
him ? Are we more jealous of His honor and more concerned 
for His glory than Himself? Let us not deceive ourselves. 
This demand for quick results is not all zeal for God. It is 
rather a selfish impatience of the very toil, and sacrifice, and 
self-denial which he requires, and which we want to escape. 
Zeal for God ? Nay, nay, but for ourselves. A single eye to 
His glory would make us choose His way and abide His time. 

5. How dare we not be content to work for God in His own 
way, and then leave the issue with Him ? Do we not belong 
to Him? Has He not the right to, command waur obe- 
dience? If He should see fit to require us to toil all our days, 
and still see no fruit, is that our business? We are His — the 
kingdom is His — the power is His — the glory is His — all is His. 
Who are we that we should dare to be dissatisfied with what 
pleases Him ? 

6. These nigh-cuts do generally give apparent success. But 
when we contentedly go on in them, neglecting the heaven- 
appointed highway, it would seem that in realizing apparent 

*Not long before his death, Dr. R. Fuller, of Baltimore, wrote thus: * * * 
"Some evangelist is called in to arouse the slumbering energies of the church ; 
and then 'many are added.' But alas! how few of these are truly converted, 
the melancholy history of six succeeding months most sadly testifies. More- 
over, evangelists would soon forsake their calling if they were required, like the 
apostles, to rely upon their sermons. We rejoice in the good they accomplish, 
but the measures they adopt are an acknowledgment that the 'foolishness of 
preaching' can no longer avail for the conversion of souls to God." 

■>oC History of the First 

success wo attain that which we are really seeking after, and 
like the hypocrites of old, have our reward. But apparent 
success is only apparent after all. It may deceive us and flat- 
ter our vanity — it may deceive the world and give us their 
applause, but sooner or later its real character will be developed. 
It contains the elements of its own overthrow. The higher and 
grander the tower, the more certain its fall, if it be not well 
founded and well built. And the more a church has of merely 
apparent success, only the more certain, the more signal, and the 
more disastrous its final shame and ruin. 

7 If we can not have real success let us have none. The 
semblance of success attained, often so deceives and satisfies as 
to prevent our seeking after that which is real. But real suc- 
cess comes from God, and from Him alone, and must therefore 
be sought in His way. 

My brother, my christian brother, whoever you be, do you 
want success ? Do you want real success ? Do you want real 
and permanent success — a success that will abide the winds 
and floods of time, and the fires 6f the great day ? Wait on 
the Lord and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit 
the land. Amen. 




Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen : 

On such an occasion as this, where so many parents are pres- 
ent, I shojild not judge it out of place to speak to you something 
concerning your relation to the Sunday school. There is no 
greater institution in modern times than the Sunday school, 
and more hearts are being educated within its consecrated walls 
than anywhere else. It is the most God-like institution we 
have and is the very embodiment of law, having a profound 
respect for morality and religion without which freedom would 
have no lasting foundation and no certain protection. 

The Sabbath should be a day of rest from worldly cares and 
pleasures ; a day for the study of God's Word ; for the discus- 
sion of the highest themes that concern immortal souls. On 
every side we observe disaster, discomfort, sorrow and death, 
in many cases properly attributable to the botching of life by 
not having sufficient truth instilled into the tender ones' minds 
to guide them along the path of rectitude. 

African Baptist Church. 357 

We were placed here, just a little lower than the angels, to 
live a life useful to God and to man. How much of that 
life we live depends largely upon how much we know about 
life and how much of it we execute. "He most lives who acts 
best, feels noblest, and that life is the longest which answers 
life's purposes best." 

More interest in your children's welfare will make less candi- 
dates for the prisons. Teach your children more studious hab- 
its, in attending Sunday school, by more deeds than words, and 
they will honor you in old age and heartily indorse your judi- 
cious management. Urge upon them' the imperative necessity 
of punctuality, diligence in pursuit of the great riches found in 
God's Word, and they will reflect much credit upon you, con- 
gratulating you for building lasting monuments for future gen- 
erations as criterions by which to test the abstract excellence of 
all pure Christianity. 

Your interest in the Sunday school will encourage the 
teacher as a gospel herald, tendering good tidings of great joy to 
all who will receive the grand blessings embodied in their mes- 
sage. I shall not presume it out of place, just here, to say that 
too many grown persons think they are too old to improve, so 
they draw themselves within their encrusted shells and pre- 
sume their work is done. Many excuses can be found or 
framed for negligence, but remember this is an age of senti- 
mentality, and there are people who would attempt to render 
an excuse even for Judas, whose name has been a synonym of 
infamy. Have you thought how cheerful and happy is old age 
to him who has kept life green and realized the importance of 
his mission of usefulness until God called him beyond this veil 
of tears ? 

Let us be not careless about our duty any more, let us 
breathe not the malarial air from the surrounding fields, let not 
the deadly sewerage gas come into our homes by modem con- 
veniences, let our children no longer be dragged about the 
streets on Sundays by some one they call friend, but let us 
manage our own affairs while on earth we stay. Some one has 
said, "If the effects of carelessness came upon us like a deadly 
serpent we could avoid it, if, like the north wind, we could 
shelter ourselves from it, but its footsteps unheard creep silently 
and cautiously upon us, and, ere we are aware of the danger, our 
whole system has been poisoned," making us unfit to live in 
this world or the world to come — a sight only to make hell 
laugh and heaven weep. 

'•7.V Hidory of the First 

The church lias now largely over 5,000 members. This makes 
it the largest negro church in the United States, and in all 
probability, in the world. It is an interesting, orderly, intelli- 
gent church. It is perfectly devoted to its pastor. The church 
never denies him a request. Whatever he intimates that he 
wants he can get it, regardless of the cost. His influence over 
the members is simply amazing. The church, however, is not 
more devoted to him than he is to them. They will make mu- 
tual sacrifices for each other. This is just as it should be. 
There never was more unanimity of opinion and concert of 
action in an 3' church than that which characterized this church 
iu its endeavors to extend its house of worship. In revivals 
the church comes together in such a christian-like manner that 
the influence upon sinners is wonderful. The church is very 
polite to strangers and everybody visiting the church is made to 
feel at home. The choir is good, and visitors are generally 
charmed by their singing. The Sunday school is without a 
single exception the largest and best in the State. Most of the 
most substantial members of the church grew up in the Sunday 
school. The church is justly proud of her Sunday school and 
her noble corps of humble christian teachers. 

This church, notwithstanding her great troubles, has been as 
a city that is set on a hill, which cannot be hid. Her good 
works have been witnessed far and wide and many thousands 
have been led to a saving acquaintance with the gospel of the 
Son of God. For one hundred years she has been battling with 
sin and Satan, winning glorious victories all the way. Not- 
withstanding all the bitterness she has been called to taste, she 
has scattered seeds of kindness for the reaping by and by. She 
has always conquered her enemies and heaped coals of fire 
upon their .heads. God has caused her to pass under the rod 
because He loved her. He has made her go through the fire 
to purify her and to refine her as gold is refined. She has put 
her trust in Jesus and He has never allowed her to be con- 
founded. That church which has leaned on Christ for repose 
He will never desert to her foes. That church, though all hell 
should endeavor to shake, He will never forsake. Happy is 
that people whose God is the Lord. 

This church has organized many branches. In fact, all of 
the churches in this part of Georgia must trace their origin 
back to this church. She is their legitimate mother. Her chil- 
dren, many of them, have done noble work, but they have not 
equalled the old lady, Her strength and influence have in- 
creased with her age. She has constantly contended "for the 
faith once delivered to the saints."' She has walked alone when 

African Baptist Church. 359 

she felt that she was not in company with tjie right. When 
others would walk with her in the same happy road she has 

This church has buried four as noble men as pastors as ever 
graced the pulpit ; some as noble men as deacons as have ever 
honored the christian church, and some , as grand men and 
women as ever lived. The writer has not the power to do jus- 
tice to the history of this grand old church. ISTo church has 
been more prosperous than this church. Like a mighty army 
she has gone forth, locking the powers of darkness to her char- 
iot wheels and conquering in the name and strength of Christ 
her Lord. 

It would require volumes to do justice to the history of this 
church for the last one hundred years. Most of these years 
were spent in the dark days of slavery when*the right to wor- 
ship God after the dictates of the gospel was denied them. 
They preached a gospel of freedom on Sunday which they 
dared not attempt to practice on Monday. Yet the church was 
signally blessed of God. The members of the church were 
man's slaves but God's freemen. It does appear that the ser- 
vices which were held under fear were much sweeter then than 
now. The sermons were much more earnest and tender, the 
prayers were clothed in simpler language, and were uttered 
with more zeal, and fervor, and pathos, and the singing was 
less artificial and was more of the character of humble praise 
in which the soul soared in unspeakable gratitude in search of 
its God. Those who enjoyed the services of those days might 
crave a return of service but for the horrors of slavery which 
characterized those days. 

The church, however, is more cultured, and there is more 
intellectuality in the church now than then, but, perhaps less 
spirituality. The people of the long ago knew no better than 
to serve God with all their hearts. That ignorance is bliss 
which knows no hypocrisy. That weakness is strength which 
can not do wrong nor mistreat a brother, but simply lean upon 
God. The church is wonderfully successful. When her toils 
on earth are over and she shall have landed upon the glittering 
shores of the heavenly Canaan, then sweet and glorious will the 
harvest be. 

She shall not regret her sufferings here when she shall be 
invited to lay her burdens down and at Jesus' side sit down to 
receive palms of victory and crowns of glory. Then shall she 
sit forever around the throne of God, and basking in the sun- 
light of eternal peace smile over the troubles through which she 
has come, and count them as nothing compared with infinite 

■ ViO History of the First 

rest in heaven. There is a grand future for the church here, and 
a more pleasing, holy, charming and glorious inheritance on the 
ever green shores, "where no storms ever beat on the glittering 
strand while the years of eternity roll." 

The glorious time is swiftly rolling on when the church of 
the Lord Jesus Christ shall be the glory of all the earth ; when 
from the least to the greatest shall hear of Jesus the mighty to 
save. This must be accomplished through the church as his 
instrumentality. God grant the church grace and strength to 
do His will in the world in such a manner as to honor His holy 
name, for Jesus' sake. Amen.