South Carolina

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REV. FRANCIS P. MULLALLY, D. D.

Death in New York of a Distinguished South Carolina Divine and Patriotic Citizen.

The Charleston News and Courier, of last week, contained the following write up of the life and distinguished services of the Rev. Francis P. Mullally, D. D., who died in New York on January 17, 1904. We feel sure the article will be read with interest, as Mr. Mullally was well known to a great many of readers:

Dr. Mullally was a native of the County Tipperary, Ireland, the son of what is called in that country a gentleman farmer. His early boyhood was passed in that romantic, region. Ile had inherited a love for field sports and became a splendid horseman, ever foremost in the chase. He had finished his academic studies, when the “Young Ireland” party raised the standard of revolt, under the leadership of Smith

O’Brien, John Mitchell, Thomas F. Meagher, Devin Reilly, Thomas Davis and other gifted and gallant Irishmen.  It was the famous movement of 1848, which terminated in disaster and defeat.  Dr. Mullally was one of the most ardent and active of the revolutionists; his zeal in the cause and the sterling qualities of the young patriot attracted the admiration of Smith O’Brien, who appointed him his private secretary.

He enjoyed the confidence of the leaders and was complimented for his courage and constancy, which was a breathing inspiration, a glowing heart-fire.

After the capture, conviction and transportation of the leaders he managed to escape and came to America.  After remaining for a brief period in New York he went to Georgia and taught the classics in the C. P. Beman Academy, near Sparta.  He then came to this State and settled in Columbia, where he entered the Presbyterian Seminary, from which he was graduated with high honors.  On entering the ministry ho was appointed co-pastor to the renowned Rev. J. H. Thornwell, D. D., and soon became prominent in religious circles, and was noted for eloquence, impressiveness, fervor and zeal.

In 1859 he was married to Miss Elizabeth K. Adger, daughter of the Rev. J. B. Adger, D. D.  At the breaking out of the war he promptly volunteered his services and entered the field as a member of a company attached to the 2d regiment South

Carolina volunteers, commanded by the knightly Col. J. B. Kershaw, and went to Virginia with that command, doing his duty faithfully. Although a minister of the Gospel he was frequently found on the firing line, not only giving spiritual consolation to the dying, but also encouraging the men fighting in the front of the battle.  On one occasion, at least, he used a rifle effectively, and his coolness and courage elicited the admiration of Lieut. Col. William Wallace, and that fearless officer spoke of him as the embodiment of bravery.  When Orr’s 1st regiment of rifles went to Virginia, under the command of the gallant and chivalrous Col. J. Foster Marshall, Dr. Mullally was appointed regimental chaplain and immediately won the affection of the men by his devotion to duty, his winning amiability of manner and lofty eloquence, which attracted the attention and thrilled hundreds in other regiments of Gregg’s (afterwards McGowan’s) brigade.  Gen. McGowan complimented him highly for the deep interest he took in the welfare of the men.

Dr. Mullally was known to Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson, who spoke of him in complimentary terms.  On that memorable morning, at the Wilderness, when the lion hearted Gen. Micah Jenkins was killed and Gen. Longstreet was seriously wounded, Dr. Mullally was in the midst of the fight, his handsome and expressive face all aglow as he cheered his courageous comrades or knelt by the dying heroes.

After the fateful 9th of April at Appomattox Dr. Mullally returned to South Carolina, and for some time taught school in Pendleton.  He afterwards went to Boliver, Tenn., thence to Covington, Ky., where he remained several years as pastor of one of the churches. The failure of the Southern cause, like the unsuccessful rising in his loved motherland, left him depressed in spirit.  He went to Sparta, Ga., and subsequently to Lexington, Va., where he took a course in law at the Washington and Lee University. The degree of doctor of divinity was conferred on him by the Mecklenburg college.  For some time he was the able and accomplished President of Adger College, Walhalla.  He lived in Dakota for two years; after this he went to New York, where he remained until the lamatable day of his death.  Although absent from

South Carolina, the affection for the cherished home of his adoption remained unchanged.  He continued to believe in the righteousness of the noble cause he so ardently espoused and so faithfully defended.

Dr. Mullally was strikingly handsome, tall and finely proportioned.  He was magnetic in manner, cultured and of a gentle and generous nature. His piety was of the purest order.  He was high-mined and conscientious, firm in his opinions, but temperate and tolerant towards others.  He loved his fellow man, assisted him when in distress, made due allowance for his frailties and aided him, too, in a manner fully commensurate with his means.  His devotion to his native land was a passion and a romance. In the South he had many admiring friends, who loved him when living, to whom he had endeared himself by his warm-heartedness, manly and sterling qualities, and who deeply deplore his death. Among the many tributes paid to Dr. Mullally during the war, there was none more eloquent than that which came from one of his heroic army comrades, the late Judge James S. Cothran, of Abbeville, to whose assistance Dr. Mullally went during the battle in which that gallant officer was seriously wounded.  Judge Cothran frequently said Dr. Mullally was, like Bayard of old, “without fear and without reproach.”  Dr. Mullally was a finished scholar, thoroughly versed in the classics; his oratory was of the Ciceronian order. There are survivors of McGowan’s brigade in Charleston and elsewhere throughout the State who recall his rich and resonant voice, his fertility of thought and felicity of expression.  During the winter of 1864 he delivered a discourse on the righteousness of the Confederate cause which was a masterpiece of lofty and inspired eloquence, learned and logical. Dr. Mullally wrote a series of able and brilliant articles on the book of Romans, and was a frequent contributor to papers and magazines.  He was domestic in his habits and loved the happiness and tranquillity of the home circle. Dr. Mullally leaves eight children : J. B. Adger Mullally, Thornwell, Mandeville, Lane, William, Miss Elizabeth K., Miss Susie D. A. and Miss Mary Clare Mullally.

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Bethel’s Second Pastor, 1782 – 1789

Bethel Presbyterian Church, in Clover, South Carolina, ranks as one of the oldest churches in the PCA, having been founded in 1764. Francis D. Cummins was Bethel’s second pastor serving from 1782 – April 17, 1789 He was born in 1752 near Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. His parents were Charles Cummins and Rebecca McNickle Cummins who were from Northern Ireland. When Francis Cummins was in his 19th year, his family moved to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The neighboring college, then Queens Museum, afforded him the opportunity for his higher education. It was there that he graduated about the year 1776.

Francis Cummins was an active and zealous Patriot in the Revolutionary War. He was present at the reading of the Mecklenburg Declaration in 1775. After leaving college he was engaged chiefly in the business of teaching. He was for several years a preceptor at Clio Academy, a respectable German Seminary in Rowan County (now Iredell County), North Carolina. While Mr. Cummins was engaged in teaching, he studied theology under the direction of Dr. James Hall. Francis Cummins was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Orange on December 15, 1780. During the year 1781 he preached at various places and in the spring of 1782 accepted a call from Bethel Church where he was ordained at the close of that year.

Rev. Cummins was one of the original members of South Carolina Presbytery when it was set off from Orange Presbytery in 1785. In the spring of 1788 while residing at Bethel and serving both as pastor and teacher of the youth, he was elected by the people of the York District as a member of the South Carolina Convention called to decide upon the Constitution of the United States. Although all his colleagues were for rejecting it, Rev. Cummins voted in its favor. Sometime between 1782 and 1789 Bethel Academy was organized by Rev. Cummins. The first school was built about one and a half miles north of the church. Education and religion were closely associated in the early days of the church. It was a common practice that the minister of the church also taught in the school. In 1788 the old Presbytery of South Carolina held its seventh session at Bethel. This was perhaps the first Presbytery meeting ever held at Bethel Church. Rev. Cummins was the Moderator.

Rev. Cummins was married to Sarah Davis. They were the parents of eight children. Mrs. Cummins died December 10, 1790. Rev. Cummins married the second time in October 1791 to Sarah Thompson.

After leaving Bethel Rev. Cummins was the pastor at several churches in the western part of South Carolina. In 1793 he was appointed by the Presbytery to collect facts in regard to the early history of all the churches at that time. These records were received and approved by the Presbytery.

In 1803 Rev. Cummins moved to the state of Georgia. He was the first minister to preach at Salem Presbyterian Church (formerly named Liberty Presbyterian Church), Philomath, Georgia in their new location.

Rev. Cummins was the first rector or principal of the Meson Academy, Lexington, Georgia. In 1920 Meson Academy became Oglethorpe County High School.

Rev. Cummins had a great vigor of constitution. He was an admirable scholar and a well-read theologian. He was uncommonly gifted in prayer, was vivid and clear in his conceptions, having great power of condensation in the use of language. In stature he was above the common size with broad shoulders, expanded frame, large limbs, a high forehead and a deep-toned, guttural voice.

In January 1832 he was attacked with influenza which terminated his life. He died on February 22, 1832, and is buried in the Greensboro City Cemetery, Greensboro, Georgia.

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taylorgaikenGeorge Aiken Taylor was born on January 22, 1920 in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, the son of Presbyterian missionaries George W. Taylor and Julia Pratt Taylor.  When he was fifteen years old he returned to this country to complete his education, graduating from the Presbyterian College of South Carolina with the A.B. degree in 1940.  He taught in the South Carolina public schools for a year, and then entered the U.S. Army in 1941.  He served with the 36th (Texas) Infantry Division and rose to the rank of Captain, commanding a heavy weapons company in the 142nd Infantry.  He participated in five major campaigns in World War II, was wounded once and decorated once.

Taylor married the former Blanche Williams of Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1942 and to this marriage, four children were born.

After the war, Taylor entered Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, graduating with the B.D. degree, Magna Cum Laude in 1948.  He was also ordained in 1948.  He served as pastor of Smyrna Presbyterian Church in Smyrna, Georgia for two years and then became pastor of Northside Presbyterian Church in Burlington, North Carolina.  In 1950 he then entered Duke University for graduate study.  Later he was awarded the Ph.D. degree by Duke for his dissertation, John Calvin, the Teacher, a study of religious education in Calvin’s Geneva.

Dr. Taylor served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Louisiana from 1954 to 1959.  He became interested in the work of Alcoholics Anonymous through his own work with alcoholics, developing an appreciation for A.A.’s principles, and wrote A Sober Faith in 1953.  His book St. Luke’s Life of Jesus was published in 1954.

In 1959 Dr. Taylor became editor of The Presbyterian Journal, an independent weekly with an international circulation and with offices in Asheville, North Carolina.  He served in this capacity for twenty-four years, and during that time was active in the conservative movement in the PCUS which eventuated in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), formed in 1973.  He was a leader in the PCA and was elected moderator of its General Assembly in 1978.

In 1983, Dr. Taylor was named president of Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, and was inaugurated in December of that year.  However, three months later—on March 6, 1984—he died suddenly.  Memorial services were held in Pennsylvania, and funeral services at Gaither Chapel in Montreat, North Carolina.  Dr. Taylor was buried in nearby Swannanoa, North Carolina.

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A Sad Story Told Time and Again

The old Catholic Presbyterian Church in Chester county, South Carolina, was founded in 1759. Sixty-two men from the congregation served in the Revolutionary War. The church was so named because the congregation was originally made up of emigrant families primarily from Ireland, who came from a number of different Presbyterian denominations. Uniting as one congregation, they agreed that the church would become aligned with whichever group should succeed in obtaining the first settled pastor. And so it was that the congregation came to be aligned with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., when Robert McCulloch answered a call to serve this church and the nearby Purity Church, under what was often termed a “yoked” pastorate.

Of the Purity church, it has been recorded that

“Communicants who did not live by the strict moral code of the church were brought before the congregation for chastisement. At a Sessions meeting in 1792, Purity Church brought a query to that larger governing body.

“What shall be done in the case of John Weir and his wife who apply for baptism to their child born within the time limited after marriage?” It was judged that “they be suspended until they make public acknowledgements and be publicly rebuked.”

And so we understand in that context just how injurious and painful it must have been when the pastor himself was charged with the sin of adultery. He was tried and found guilty by the Presbytery and barred from the ministry on November 13, 1800.

Of this sad occasion, George Howe writes in his famous work, Presbyterianism in South Carolina,

These things are proofs of human imperfection; and yet religion has its place in the world, and the Church still stands; nor were such instances of defection, even of renowned servants of God, wanting in Scripture times. It was probably in view of this, and moved by the evidences of his repentance, that his church petitioned for his restoration to the ministry on September 28, 1801. This the Presbytery did not then grant, first, because it would be improper to return him to the ministry before he was received into the communion of the Church, and secondly, there should be very satisfactory evidence of repentance, reformation and aptness to teach. But after he should give satisfaction to the Church, Presbytery had no objection that he should use his talents among them in their religious meetings for their instruction, yet in such a way as was consistent with the dtuies of a private Christian only. In those unofficial labors he engaged, holding prayer meetings, accompanied with exhortation, through the congregation, and drawing back to him the affection of his people.

Dr. Howe continues in his account:

On the 17th of March, 1802, the congregation renewed their petition, being satisfied of his repentance and that he would be as useful as ever in the ministry, if not more so, if restored. Presbytery, after careful enquiry and full communication with the offender absolved him from the sentence of deposition and appointed him to preach in their vacant churches. This he did both to his own church and to others. For several years he was reported as a minister without charge, and Catholic Church as vacant.

Sin has its cost, as Howe notes:

The defection of Mr. McCulloch was followed by a great decline in Catholic congregation just when the interests of religion were advancing rapidly elsewhere. Many withdrew from the communion of the Church, some of whom joined the Covenanters, sole the Old Associate, and some the Associate Reformed, and some remained out of the communion of any Church. . . Mr. McCulloch continued to preach at Catholic, later dividing his time with the church at Rocky Mount, and again later preaching one-fourth of his time at Bethlehem church in Beckhamville.

Words to Live By:
Sin always has a cost, sometimes more evident and devastating than others. The pastor’s sin drove people from the church. But how much worse could the situation have been, had the Presbytery not been there to exercise discipline? From Howe’s account it seems that some in the congregation were pushing the Presbytery to reinstate the pastor sooner than the Presbytery thought wise. Perhaps that in turn is what caused some to leave the congregation for other churches. God’s grace, extended through Christ’s death and resurrection, can always overcome our sin. Grievous sin can be forgiven and we can be restored to useful service. But take time to wait upon the Lord and pay attention to the wisdom of godly pastors whom the Lord has established as servant-leaders in His Church. Godly discipline always bears a good fruit.

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The Anti-opium League in China
written by davidtmyers

DuBose, HampdenC_02This author earnestly hopes that none of our readers see another missionary biography in this post and respond with a ho-hum attitude. These dear servants of Christ, even in earlier centuries and countries, are important to acknowledge in the overall kingdom of Christ down through the ages. And our post today on August 19 is no exception to that rule.

His name was Hampden Coit DuBose. Born in 1845 in South Carolina, he was a Confederate soldier during the War Between the States. But of far more importance was that he was a Christian soldier in that eternal war between Christ and Satan. Graduating from Columbia Theological Seminary, he and his wife Pauline went to China under the American Presbyterian Mission of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, aka Southern Presbyterian Church. Settling in Soochow, China, they began to preach the gospel to a people steeped in Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Over the next 38 years, in preaching in the market and the street, he claimed for his King this city in China.

Far beyond normal mission endeavors, his ministry entered the cultural mandate area in that he took on the opium trade in China. At the time, this crop in the land hindered greatly the gospel message as it brought Chinese citizens under its power. We are talking about millions addicted to it. Complicit in the use of this deadly narcotic were both England and America. Rev. DuBose was successful in bringing both nations to own their responsibility for the opium trade, and stop doing so. The Presbyterian missionary galvanized missionaries and Christian medical workers to organize the Anti-Opium League in China. Rev. DuBose became its first president.

It was on this day, August 19, around 1906, that the Presbyterian missionary placed a petition signed by 1,333 British and American missionaries and Christian medical personnel into the hands of the Chinese emperor, Giangxa, seeking to prohibit the trade and abuse of opium. The Emperor issued an imperial edict two weeks later, which was practically verbatim the petition DuBose had drafted and given to him.

Rev BuBose served as a Christian missionary until his death in 1910. Recognition for his service included a stone tablet at the time in Soochow, China. He had as well earlier been elected to serve as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Southern Presbyterian Church in 1891.

Words to Live By:
Like Hampden DuBose, every Christian in these United States should be involved in a needy cultural mandate area which begs for a Christian witness. A biblical church ought to have at least one ministry in which it shines the light of the gospel into some needy area of culture. With Rev. DuBose, it was the opium trade which had captured large numbers of Chinese people to the exclusion of the gospel. Which arena of culture is it in your area of ministry? And are you being the salt of the earth to that area of culture? Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men?” (Matthew 5:13, NASB). May our Lord keep us from becoming good-for-nothing Christians and/or Christian churches, especially in this great hour of spiritual need in our land.

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Teaching a Nation’s Leaders

Considered by many to have been the foremost educator in the South, Moses Waddell was of Irish parentage and was born in Rowan (now Iredell) county, North Carolina, on July 29th, 1770. He received his academic education at a school which was opened in the neighborhood under the name of Clio’s Nursery. For four years, beginning at the age of fourteen, he was engaged as a teacher (1784-1788) at various places in North Carolina and Georgia.

Leaving his employment as a teacher, he enrolled as a student at the Hampden-Sydney College, graduating there in 1791. The next year he was licensed to preach by the Hanover Presbytery, of Virginia, on May 12, 1792.

About 1793, Waddell opened his first school in Columbia county, Georgia, then another in 1801,  in Vienna, Abbeville District, South Carolina. He remained in that work until 1804, when he removed to Willington, six miles south of Vienna, and it was at Willington where he founded the famous Willington Academy. It was common for Presbyterian pastors to maintain an academy, in part for the extra income, and in part because they could thus guide the moral, religious and intellectual education of the children of their parish.

All of these schools were designed as preparatory schools, utilizing a classical education model. As the fame of the Willington Academy grew, it came to be called the “Eton in the woods”. To give one example of the school’s rigor, students were required to memorize, translate and recite some 250 lines of Greek or Latin every night. A Willington graduate, South Carolina governor George McDuffie, held the record, having once recited over 2200 lines of the poet Horace.

In 1818, Waddell was elected President of what was then Franklin College, later to become the University of Georgia. However, he did not actually step into the duties of this office until May, 1819. While serving as an educator, he also labored as a pastor, founding the Presbyterian Church in Athens, Georgia in 1820. During his tenure at the University, the school prospered greatly, and he continued here as President until 1829. Resigning his post, he returned to Willington. For forty-five years he had labored as a teacher. His labors as a pastor continued another six or seven years more, and the Rev. Dr. Moses Waddell’s life drew to a close on July 21, 1840.

Dr. James McLeod provides the following account of Dr. Waddell as a teacher:

“The boys called him ‘Old Moses,’ and while he believed in corporal punishment, he never spanked in a passion, and it finally evolved that he did this only upon a verdict of a peer jury of students. He never spanked for a deficient lesson but chiefly for defects in morals or actions that had to be punished.

“He was a cheerful man even playful in his disposition. He maintained a personal interest in each boy. He had a wry sense of humor. When boys on second floor dumped water on him as he went in a door, he said nothing, but later raised an umbrella as he went in the door to the delight of the boys.

“His strength seems to have been to analyze the boys accurately, then demanded accordingly. He was not a man who used sentiment to escape facing the laziness of adolescence. He demanded. They groaned, they gave, they griped, they worshiped him later. There was a chestnut tree outside the Doctor’s study window that the boys remembered watching as they waited to see the Doctor if they had done anything wrong. Others would climb it to see if anyone was punished by him.

“Dr. Smith, the president of Princeton College, was quoted as saying that he received no students from any school in the United States who stood better examinations than those of Dr. Waddel.”

As a pastor, Alfred Nevin notes that “he was pious, zealous, and well versed in theology generally. His style of preaching was plain, simple, earnest. He addressed himself much more to the understanding than to the imagination or passions. As a teacher he stands almost unrivaled.”

Words to Live By:
In The Great Doctor Waddell, by Dr. James McLeod, the author provides a compilation of the students educated under Waddell. The list includes two Vice-Presidents, three Secretaries of State, three Secretaries of War, one Assistant Secretary of War, one US Attorney-general, Ministers to France, Spain and Russia, one US Supreme Court Justice, eleven governors, seven US Senators, thirty two members of the US House of Representatives, twenty two judges, eight college presidents, seventeen editors of newspapers or authors, five members of the Confederate Congress, two bishops, three Brigadier-generals, and one authentic Christian martyr.

In light of which, this might be a good time to review again the words of Dr. R. B. Kuiper, posted here this past July 15th:

“God has seen fit to reveal Himself to man in two books—the Bible, the book of special revelation, and nature and history, the book of general revelation. Now it is the duty of the organized Church to teach men the content of the former of these books, while it is the special task of the school to open the latter. To be sure, the two may not be separated. Truth can hardly be dealt with so mechanically. After all, truth is one because God is one. Truth is organic. And only he who has learned to understand the Bible can really know history and nature. Yet the distinction is a valid one. The Church can hardly be expected to teach the intricacies of mathematics, physics, astronomy, or the history of the Balkans. Nor does any one demand of the school that it preach the gospel. But Church and school together must declare the whole of God’s revealed truth.”

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Pastors according to God’s heart

What a worthy aim for the under shepherds of the  visible church of God!  The phrase is biblical, being taken from Jeremiah 3:15. It says “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.” (NASB)  And the text was the basis for the sermon preached by the Rev James Rogers, on this day, May 9, 1803, in constituting the organization of the Associated Reformed Synod of the Carolinas, meeting at the Old Brick Church, Fairfield County, South Carolina. 

Beginnings are historic. This author was one of five Presbyterian ministers who organized the Siouxlands Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America back in 1981. Those first meetings of this lower court were exciting to attend, as we planned the outreach of the witness into the broad Midwest part of our country. And this earlier beginning was, judging from the descriptions of the Rev. Robert Latham in the  “History of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South,” pp.  295 – 297. Listen to some of his words from that volume:

“Of these fathers of the Associate Reformed Synod of the Carolinas (now Associate Reformed Synod of the South), it may be safely said that they were men mighty in the Scriptures.  They all were men of more than ordinary natural abilities, and of rare intellectual and theological attainments in their day. … They were all instructive preachers.  They were pastors who fed the people of God ‘with knowledge and understanding.'” (p. 296)

Further,

“they (these pastors, seven in number) were bound together by the strongest possible ties.  In each other’s temporal, spiritual, and eternal welfare they were deeply interested.  They had the same great and good cause—the salvation of immortal souls—at heart.  They had no private ends to accomplish; no individual purposes to effect.  Of them it may be truthfully said, ‘They took up their cross and followed Jesus.’  In all sincerely they endeavored to live at peace with each other and with all men. By the blessing of God, they lived in perfect harmony with each other. . . . They were devoted friends.” (p. 297)

Their names would be completely unknown by our readers today, but to simply list their names might be noteworthy.  They were James Rogers, William Blackstock, John Hemphill, James McKnight, Alexander Porter, James McGill and Robert Irwin.  Oh yes, they had ruling  elders join them in this regional church, who were named Charles Montgomery, Alexander Steward, Andrew McQuiston, Henry Hunter, Arthur Morrow, and Duke Bell.

All these are now dead, long dead. But by their self-sacrificing labors and godly example, they started the ministry in the South on this day, May 9, 1803.

Words to Live By:
To dwell together in unity for the purpose of the gospel proclamation is a heartfelt prayer in many a church and denomination today.  But is it an accomplished fact in the days  in which we live? Sadly, we must confess that this is not the case. We need to return to the words of the prophet, in praying for shepherds  after God’s own heart, who will be more concerned in feeding the sheep of the pasture on knowledge and  understanding.  What a worthy prayer before the teaching elders of our readership would pray before stepping behind the sacred desk.  What a worthy prayer of the people in the pew to pray for their pastors as they stand behind the pulpit on the Lord’s Day. Lord, give us such pastors and people today in our churches of our land.

 

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The following obituary from The Presbyterian Quarterly [April 1899 (Volume 13, Number 2), pages 354-355] marked the death of the Rev. John Bailey Adger:—

adger02John Bailey Adger, D.D., died in Pendleton, South Carolina, on the 3d of January in the 89th year of his age.

Dr. Adger was born of Scotch-Irish parentage in Charleston, S.C., December 13, 1810. He graduated when 18 years of age at Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., and at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1833, of which, at the time of his death, he had been for some time the senior surviving alumnus. Shortly after his ordination by the Charleston Union Presbytery in 1834, he went as a missionary to the Armenians, under appointment of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and served in this work for twelve years at Constantinople and Smyrna, until the failure of his eyes and other circumstances compelled hisi withdrawal from the foreign field. During his missionary service he translated into Armenian the New Testament, Pilgrim’s Progress, the Shorter Catechism, and other books, which translations are still in use among that people.

After his return home he engaged in work ministering the Gospel among the black slaves in his own native city. A church, connected with the Independent Presbyterian Synod, whose house of worship stands hard by his late residence in Pendleton, is appropriately named for him, “The Adger Memorial Church.”

Upon the withdrawal, in 1856, of Dr. Palmer from the Chair of Ecclesiastical History and Church Polity in the Columbia Theological Seminary, Dr. Adger was elected his successor, and filled that position with great zeal and ability for seventeen years. After his retirement in 1874, although he had then reached the age of 64, he entered with energy and vigor upon the pastoral work in his own Presbytery of South Carolina, which he continued until, having attained the age of 83, he was reluctantly constrained, by physical infirmities, to give up the public preaching of the Gospel.

At this advanced age, and amid these hindering infirmities, with courage and energy, he undertook what was perhaps the greatest task of his life, the writing of a large book, which he called My Life and Times. His life had been a long one, the times through which he had passed, eventful in Church and State; and he undertook to write a history and discussion of the various questions he had to meet and help to solve. With the assistance of a devoted daughter, and such other help as he could procure, he gathered up the facts, studied out the questions, and dictated chapter after chapter of his book. His mind, still clear and vigorous, and his body wonderfully strong and active, he labored systematically and diligently for several years at this work. And almost as soon as the last chapter was finished, the last page written, and the valiant servant of God had laid down his fruitful pen, the Master called him to the everlasting rest.

Words to Live By:
Have you disciplined yourself to take notice of God’s providence in your life? Those providences are expressions of God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness. As John Flavel has said,

Search backward into all the performances of Providence throughout your lives. So did Asaph: ‘I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings’ (Psalm 77:11, 12). He laboured to recover and revive the ancient providences of God’s mercies many years past, and suck a fresh sweetness out of them by new reviews of them. Ah, sirs, let me tell you, there is not such a pleasant history for you to read in all the world as the history of your own lives, if you would but sit down and record from the beginning hitherto what God has been to you, and done for you; what signal manifestations and outbreakings of His mercy, faithfulness and love there have been in all the conditions you have passed through. If your hearts do not melt before you have gone half through that history, they are hard hearts indeed. ‘My Father, thou art the guide of my youth’ (Jeremiah 3:4). —From The Mystery of Providence, chapter nine.

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Aiming ever to bring sinners to Christ, and Christians to higher attainments in holiness.

When I commenced the collection of facts respecting the life of this distinguished minister I made very slow progress. This was not strange, for he was called by the Presbyterian Church, in Moulton, nearly sixty years ago, was eighty years old when he died. and had been dead more than forty years, so that the space of time to be investigated extended as far back as 120 years. I had known Dr. Cunningham, personally, for about a year; admired him as a man and a preacher and felt satisfied that he had a history of much interest, provided it could be brought to light. I first applied for information to the Alabama State Historical Society, at Tuscaloosa, and obtained valuable items as to the latter part of his life, which closed near this place. From Maj. H. B. McLellan, president of Sayre Female Institute, I received important information as to his long pastorate at Lexington, Ky. Rev. F. B. Converse, of Louisville, editor of the Christian Observer, was written to. He promptly supplied what he could, remarking “that it was too long ago for us to furnish any information respecting him from personal knowledge,” and suggested that, possibly, the Presbyterian Historical Society, at Philadelphia, might contribute some items. I felt discouraged, but early nearly fifty years of his valuable life remained unaccounted for, and I addressed an inquiry to that society, who referred it to Rev. Henry E. Dwight, D.D., of Philadelphia. The doctor promptly sent an account of Dr. Cunningham from his birth, covering fully and circumstantially the blank in his history, and shedding much light on the subsequent part of his career. The authorities cited by Dr. Dwight were Revs. J. D. Shane, Nathan S. Beman and S. McCulloch. This forms the staple of the following sketch of the life of Dr. Cunningham. I have interwoven, in their order, such facts as I have ascertained, so as to present at one view the principal events of a long and useful life. I have made this preliminary explanation for the purpose of showing how it happened that I am able to present so circumstantial an account of events of so ancient a date, the reliable resources for which they were derived, and the importance of historical societies.

Robert M. Cunningham, a son of Roger and Mary Cunningham, was born in York county, Pa., September 10, 1760. In his fifteenth year, his father removed his family to North Carolina, where he bought a plantation, and reared his children. White quite a youth he served as a soldier in the revolutionary war. At the close of the war, he entered a Latin school, taught by the Rev. Robert Finley, in the neighborhood of Rocky River, N. C. He remained here a year, and then went to Bethel settlement, York county, N. C., to be a pupil of Mr. Robert McCulloch, for two years. Then he removed to an academy on Bullock’s creek, taught by Rev. Jos. Alexander. In 1787 (being 26 years of age) he entered the junior class in Dickinson College, Carlisle; and graduated in 1789.

On leaving college, he returned to his parents. While studying theology he taught school for a support. He soon joined the First Presbytery of South Carolina, by which he was licensed to preach, in 1792. Here he married his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Charles and Mary Moore, of Spartanburg District. She died on November 3, 1794; issue, a daughter who died early.

In the autumn of 1792 he went to Georgia and organized a church in a part of Green county, now called Hancock; and ordained elders to a church called Ebenezer. He settled in the neighborhood, opened a school, and preached alternately at Ebenezer and Bethany and subsequently removed to Bethany, where he remained until he left the State. On October 15, 1795, he married Betsy Ann, daughter of Joseph Parks, of Prince Edward county, Va. By this marriage he had five sons. In 1796, he, with four other ministers, were sent off from the Presbytery of South Carolina, to form one in Georgia, called Hopewell, which was constituted the March following. On October 14, 1805, he married, as a third wife, Emily, daughter of Col. Byrd, of Augusta, Ga., who survived him. Here was a family of distinction. Her sister, Caroline, married Benj. C. Yancey, a lawyer of great promise in South Carolina, who died in the morning of life. Wm. L. Yancey, the great Southern orator was her son, by this marriage. She married a second time, Rev. Nathan S. Beman, a Presbyterian minister, who occupied the pulpit in Augusta for many years; and had great reputation for learning and eloquence. A strong proof of this was given in the fact that his Northern anti-slavery opinions were tolerated. Another sister of this family marred Jesse Beene, of Cahaba, Ala., a distinguished lawyer and politician. At the time of this marriage, we judge that Mr. Cunningham had won distinction in a ministerial and social respect.

In 1807, Mr. Cunningham removed to Lexington, Ky., and was installed pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, succeeding Rev. Dr. Blythe, who was the first preacher of that church. Lexington was the oldest town in the State of Kentucky, and in the centre of a beautiful and fertile country. Its society was even then celebrated for its wealth and intellectual culture. Of all the pulpits west of the mountains, none required a minster of learning and eloquence more than the one occupied by Mr. Cunningham. Here were the homes of the Clays, Breckinridges, and other families which have since been famous in the history of the country. One would be apt to conclude, that at this early period, the grade of the Presbyterian preachers was much below what it is at the present day, but it is not so. From the progress of the Arts and Sciences the modern preachers may have a broader culture, but I much doubt if any one of them is the equal, in eloquence, of Dr. Samuel Davies, who died a hundred years ago. His fervid, rich, imaginative style, flowing as ample as the current of a great river, was the model for ministers who succeeded him in the early part of this century. Mr. Cunningham’s pastorate there was a long one. The records of the board of trustees show that he was called in 1807 and continued until 1821, inclusive. He became a member of the Synod of Kentucky as early as 1803, and was one of the founders of the Kentucky Bible Society of 1817. The early sessional records of this church can not be found; and therefore we are unable to present as full an account of him as is desirable at this period of his life, when he was in full mental and bodily vigor.

He remained in Lexington until 1822, when he resigned and removed to Moulton, a small town in North Alabama. He was now an old man and had been laboring as a minster for thirty years. He became a farmer, preaching constantly in Moulton and surrounding villages. In the fall of 1826 he removed to the South and bought a farm eleven miles from Tuscaloosa, on the Greensboro road. In Tuscaloosa, and at the neighboring town of Carthage, near his plantation, he built up churches. Here he alternated, occasionally preaching at Greensboro, of which church his son Joseph was pastor. For eight years he preached a free gospel at Tuscaloosa, and then resigned in favor of Rev. Wm. Williams. For several years afterward he supplied the pulpit at Carthage, and preached his last sermon in the summer of 1836. From this time his mental and bodily powers began to decline.

He was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Franklin College, Georgia, in 1827, when Dr. Waddell was President, and Dr. Church, and James and Henry Jackson, were members of the Faculty. In 1836 he removed to Tuscaloosa for the sake of schools for his youngest daughter, and several orphan grandchildren, and partly to provide a comfortable home for his family, in view of his approaching departure; but he still passed the greater part of his time at his retreat near his plantation. Here his favorite authors were Milton, President Edwards and Dr. Thomas Dick. In June, 1839, he attended the meeting of the Presbytery at Tuscaloosa, and was enabled to address that body—his last effort in public. After an illness of a week, he died. His monument stands in the city cemetery of Tuscaloosa, with an inscription on each of its four sides in the Latin language, showing, among other things, that he had been a soldier in the Revolution; that he had been Pastor of Presbyterian churches in Georgia, and in Lexington, Ky., for many years, and that he died on the 11th day of July, A. D. 1839, 80 years of age.

Rev. Joseph Cunningham (above referred to) was one of five sons by his father’s second marriage, and a minister of ability. By his last marriage, he had a son, Robert, a physician, who died in Sumter county, Alabama, and three daughters, viz.: Mrs. Maltby, Mrs. Wilson and Miss Louisa, who it is believed was never married.

Dr. Dwight says: “The exterior of Dr. Cunningham was impressive. His stature at fifty-three years of age was more than six feet, and his form was full and well developed. His face was good, his eye mild but expressive, and his utterances in private conversation, in the pulpit and in social meetings were eloquent. In his preaching he was less doctrinal than experimental, aiming ever to bring sinners to Christ, and Christians to higher attainments in holiness. He was on the best terms will all evangelical Christians, and rejoiced in the progress of Christ’s kingdom under any form, and the glory of God in all events. He greatly rejoiced in revivals of religion, which, in his time, were wonderful in Kentucky, and extended farther South, till they reached Georgia. Here was the hiding of his power, which tinged and colored all his subsequent ministry. His great tenderness in preaching opened many hearts, whilst God’s spirit sealed their souls.

The Presbyterian Church in Moulton had no settled minister for many years after Dr. Cunningham moved away. Early records of the Presbytery have been mislaid, and I therefore can not speak with certainty on this point. I remember that the Rev. —- Morrison filled this pulpit for several years. He was a young man of great dignity, and propriety of deprotment, and an earnest, sensible preacher. After him came Rev. — McMillan, who taught a classical school at the Chalybeate Springs, seven miles northeast of Moulton, and supplied the pulpit in Moulton. He was a good theologian, and a pious, good preacher. I shall have more to say of these ministers in connection with other churches. For several years, also, previous to 1830, a young minister of Tuscumbia, named Ashbridge, occasionally preached in Moulton. He was a man of fine intellect, of high culture, and of a rich imagination. He died early, and his death was very much lamented by people of all denominations. Had he lived to middle life he would have been an orator of the first class.

Source: EARLY SETTLERS OF ALABAMA (Sec 3 ), by Col. James Edmonds Saunders. Lawrence County, Alabama. With NOTES AND GENEALOGIES. By his granddaughter ELIZABETH SAUNDERS BLAIR STUBBS, New Orleans, LA 1899. Transcribed and Submitted by Debra Hudson.

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Five Shiploads of Settlers to South Carolina

Not that long ago in Ulster or North Ireland. some 250 Christians gathered at a crossroads in County Antrim, known as the Vow, to remember the ordination of the Rev. William Martin. That ordination took place on this day, July 2, 1757. He was the first Covenanter minister ordained in Ulster. He had a wide place of ministry, essentially covering two counties. In fact, in seven separate towns, he pastored various societies. In addition to his pastoral role, he became the voice of opposition to the Anglican authorities who sought to place huge rent demands on the Presbyterian tenants, often evicting them from the land for failure to pay those demands.

Sometime during the year 1770, Rev. Martin received a call from the Scot-Irish settlers in South Carolina to come and pastor the church at Rocky Creek.  After prayerful consideration, Rev. Martin decided to go.  But being a true shepherd of the flock, he urged a mass movement of his congregations in Ulster to join him in South Carolina. Think of the administration gifts needs to move shiploads of settlers to South Carolina that year of 1772. But that is exactly what occurred. Five ships—the James and Mary, the Free Mason, the Lord Dunluce, the Hopewell, and the Pennsylvania Farmer—carried over 1200 Scot Irish from Ulster to South Carolina. And while some went to other areas of the South, most settled in the region around Rocky Creek.

As astonishing as this move was, consider the fact that this large number of settlers were composed of several factions of Presbyterians from the old country. There were Associate Presbyterians, Covenanters, Burgher Presbyterians, Anti-burgher Presbyterians, and Seceders. All of them came together in the local congregation known as Catholic Presbyterian Church. An interesting fact which shows up in the record is that the families lived in tents on their property until the church building was erected! The Lord came first.

When the Revolutionary War began in 1775, Rev. Martin preached a fiery sermon reminding the congregation that there was a time to pray and a time to fight. Two companies were raised out of the congregation, and over fifty fought and died from the congregation. Rev Martin himself was imprisoned for six months by the British.

All was not right however with Rev. Martin himself. After returning to the parish for three years, he was let go by the congregation for “intemperate” remarks. Finally in 1801, six charges were brought against him. Two of these were habitual drinking and the holding of slaves. He was deposed by the Presbytery in 1801. He died five years later in 1806.

Words to Live By: We cannot take away the amazing work which Rev. Martin did in transporting so many Christian Presbyterians to the new land of opportunity. Certainly, he remains as one of the stalwarts in establishing Presbyterianism in the South. But at the same time, we who are involved in the Lord’s work must pray and work to remain in good standing with the Lord. It is so easy to fail and fall away from the standards of His Word. So people, pray much for your pastors that they will remain solid in the Lord until their labors are finished on the earth.

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