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it was among the Jews, and is still under some European governments; but the whole extract manifests a spirit of Christian liberality which is honorable to the source whence it emanated. And it were well if the papers, books, and lips of many American Protestants were as charitable as the Irish Catholic colonists of Maryland.
Two hundred and three years ago, ten scores of Catholics came into this state. Seventy-one years ago, a single Methodist preacher, also from the "green Isle of Erin," came into the same region. Now, simply within the bounds of this circuit alone, the Catholics have but two churches, and we have eleven, besides seven other preaching places! And taking all the meeting houses of Catholics, Epis copalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, Protestant Methodists, Quakers, and Campbellites together, as far as I can ascertain, they make but two churches more than we have. Officiating in the several churches just mentioned, are nine clergymen belonging to these respective denominations; while the labor in the Methodist Episcopal Churches is performed by barely two, and these have the oversight of more than twelve hundred members! "The battle is not to the strong, nor the race to the swift; for it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."
As it may be interesting to many to see at one view the names of all the preachers who have travelled here, and the number of members in society each year, as nearly as can be ascertained, since the commencement of Methodism in this country, I have drawn up the following statement for their satisfaction:
1774. Philip Gatch, William Duke
1775. William Watters, Robert Strawbridge 1776, Martin Rodda, F. Garrettson
1777. Samuel Spragg, Caleb B. Pedicord 1778. Not in the annual minute.
1779. Richard Garrettson, Wm. Glendenning
These were appointed by the Kent County Conference, Delaware, held 28th April, 1779. 1779. Wm. Glendenning, F. Garrettson
1787. J. Forrest, Benj. Riggin, Benjamin Roberts 1788. Circuit divided and called Montgomery. Green, John Allen
These were appointed by the Fluvanna Confer-
1784. John Magany, Isaac Smith, J. Forrest
1789. James Wilson, John Childs 1790. George Hagerty, John Ragan 1791. John Rowen, Agilla Garrettson 1792. Joshua Wells, Thomas Bell 1793. Morris Howe, Rezin Simpson
1794. F. Garrettson, Jun., Edmund Wagman
510 254 421
621 583 625 608
632 568 613 534
578 580 617 620
573 624 646 552 558 580
605 486 636 525 611 643
It appears by the above account that from 1774 until 1837, both inclusive, one hundred and two different preachers travelled this circuit. Of this number, one, at least, was expelled, a few withdrew from the connection, others have located, many have died,-two a violent death: Seely Bunn, who was thrown from his gig, and Christopher Fry, who lost his life while attending the operation of a threshing machine,-several are on the superannuated list, others,
in all human probability, will soon be on the same list, or else will doubtless be supernumeraries, and many are still in the ranks of the itinerancy, and doing effective work.
Of those who are superannuated, and are waiting the close of life's toilsome day to hear the Lord of the vineyard say to the steward, "Call the laborers and give them their hire," I may mention with honor to this narration the names of Joshua Wells, James Paynter, Wm. Ryland, and Morris Howe. The first of these lives near Baltimore, in considerable affluence, though worn out in the service of the church. The second resides with brother Lyon, near the Goshen meeting-house, in this circuit, and still preaches occasionally. The third, who, in his younger days, was one of the most eloquent men of his time, has an easy appointment under government as chaplain at the Navy Yard in Washington; and the fourth I had the privilege of seeing, and hearing relate his religious experience in a love-feast at Brier Creek, an old Methodist neighborhood in Columbia county, Pa., last January. His gray hairs, furrowed cheeks, and faltering voice, the usual companions of age, indicated but a short stay longer on the stage of life. These are venerable relics of primitive Methodism! They stand forth here and there as the last oaks of the forest, left by the woodman's axe to breast the storm alone. Their early companions have fallen. The winds of winter have carried off their green foliage. But though their outward man may perish, their inward man is renewed day by day; and in the morning of the resurrection they shall be transplanted to the paradise of God, and shall bloom with all the freshness of unfading youth. No men upon earth do I revere more, or esteem more highly, than I do worn-out Methodist preachers. May the gospel of Christ be to them a permanent solace in their declining years! And may the Keeper of Israel inspire the hearts of the people with a sense of the duty they owe them, to provide for their honorable support while they remain in this world!
Several of the preachers in the preceding list were imprisoned, and otherwise persecuted during the revolutionary war; especially Freeborn Garrettson and Jonathan Forrest. The latter of these is still alive, though old and feeble. He lives in Frederick county, Maryland.
Of those who have died, three lie buried in Montgomery circuit. Rezin Cash, a native of this county, was admitted into the travelling connection in 1794, and died in 1803, between thirty and forty years of age; Caleb Reynolds, who died exceedingly happy in the love of God, and was followed by his wife and nine children to the graveyard attached to the Clarksburg meeting-house, in 1827; and Wilson Lee, who was born in Sussex county, Delaware, in 1761, and died at Walter Worthington's, Anne Arundel county, Maryland, October 11, 1804.
The sentiments contained in the following, though the poetry may not be of the first order, may be appropriately applied to either of the two first named above:
No tablet of marble, inscribed with his birth,
He died, but he died the death he desired
The death of the good,' said the prophet of old,
He pray'd, but his spirit was faithless and cold,
Sleep, servant of Jesus, sleep calmly and long:
I may speak more at length of Wilson Lee, as no one who ever traveled this circuit was more successful in winning souls to Christ than this pious servant of God, during his ministry in this field of labor. The following extracts from a brief memoir in the Minutes for 1805, will not be uninteresting:
"He came into the line of traveling preachers in the year 1784, and was stationed in the following circuits:-Alleghany, 1784; Redstone, 1785; Talbot, 1786; Kentucky, 1787; Danville, 1788; Lexington, 1789; Cumberland, Tennessee, 1790; Salt River, 1791; Danville, 1792; Salem, New-Jersey, 1793; New-London, 1794 ; New-York, 1795; Philadelphia, 1796-98; Montgomery, sup., 1799; Montgomery, 1800; Baltimore district, 1801-03; sick and superannuated in 1804. Wilson Lee was very correct in the economy and discipline of himself and others, and as an elder and a presiding elder he showed himself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. The district prospered under his administration, and a gracious revival has had a beginning and blessed continuance. Wilson Lee professed the justifying and sanctifying grace of God. He was neat in his dress, affable in his manners, fervent in his spirit, energetic in his ministry, and his discourses were fitted to the cases and characters of his hearers. From constitution he was very slender, but zeal, zeal for the Lord, would urge him to surprising constancy and great labors.
"It was thought that the charge of such an important district, and the labor consequent upon it, hastened his death; but a judicious friend observed, that he had a call to visit a dying brother on the west side of the Alleghany Mountains, that the change of weather, and some other circumstances of his exposing himself, gave him his finishing stroke. In April, 1804, he was taken while in prayer with a sick person with a heavy discharge of blood from his lungs. At his death, a blood vessel of some magnitude was supposed to have broken, so that he was in a manner suffocated with his own blood in a few minutes. As he died so suddenly, and in such a manner, we had not his last words as some have given who have had a deliberate departure from time to eternity. Yet we may add, although our faithful, laborious, and successful brother has left us, we are happy to say, after full trial, he has immortalized his ministerial, Chris
VOL. IX.-April, 1838. 29
tian, and itinerant character; many have done gloriously in making generous and great sacrifices for the church of God and the prosperity of Zion; and among these we must and will place our suffering, pious, and dedicated brother, who did effectually cast his all into the treasury.
"It may be truly said that Wilson Lee hazarded his life upon all the frontier stations he filled, from the Monongahela to the banks of the Ohio, Kentucky, Salt River, Green River, Great Barrens, and Cumberland River; in which stations there were great savage cruelties, and frequent deaths. He had to ride from station to station, and from fort to fort, sometimes with and at other times without a guard, as the inhabitants of those places and periods can witness."
The most extensive revival of religion this circuit has ever been favored with since its formation, was commenced and carried on principally through the instrumentality of Wilson Lee. This was in the year 1800. It is still remembered by a few old members, some of whom were subjects of that work. In that year upward of six hundred, white and colored, were added to the church. Among those who received their earliest religious impressions through the ministry of Mr. Lee, I may mention George D. Summers, who lives in this circuit still, commonly known by the name of "the blind preacher." He was born blind, so were two of his sisters; one of these has been dead for some time. The other is yet living, was once a Methodist, but is not now. Brother Summers is a pious man, and a good preacher. He has a wonderfully retentive memory, and is the best living concordance I ever saw! His sense of touch, and that of hearing, are very acute. By the breathing of a congregation, he can tell its relative size! He can hear the ticking of a watch at a distance from his ear, when other persons cannot possibly hear it at all! He has gained his knowledge of the Bible and other books chiefly by listening to a sister, who reads for him from time to time. This is a very sisterly employment! When Messrs. Armstrong & Plaskitt, of Baltimore, were about to publish their pocket edition of the Polyglot Bible, Mr. Summers was hearing a list of miracles read, as wrought by Christ, in chronological order: "That's wrong," he exclaimed, when a certain miracle was mentioned, and the place in which it was said to be recorded-" That miracle is not there." They immediately referred to the Scripture, but found no miracle there! And he corrected the error by calling up chapters, verses, and facts, in his own powerful memory! I have asked him to tell me where some of the most unlikely things to be remembered in the whole Bible may be found, and he told me at once. But one question I proposed he answered incorrectly :— "How many divisions has the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm ?" He answered, "Twenty-six." This was a mistake;—it has but twenty-two. This is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet; and each division, and each verse in each division, begins in the Hebrew with a letter in that language in alphabetical order.
A few weeks ago, at the Friendship meeting-house, near the grave of Wilson Lee, with one knee on the ground, a piece of paper on the other, and with inexpressible feelings, I took down the following inscription on his tomb-stone: