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themselves into a church about 1755-56. A few years later, David Thomas, from Pennsylvania, a man of vigorous mind and, we are told, of a classical education, settled at Broad Run in Fauquier county, where a church was constituted and he was chosen pastor, probably in 1761. Thomas and Garrard travelled and preached extensively in this piedmont country. In 1770 these Baptists were spread through the Northern Neck of Virginia above Fredericksburg in the counties of Stafford, Fauquier, and Loudoun, and they had churches at that time at Mill Creek, in Berkeley county; at Smith's Creek in Shenandoah county; at Ketocton, New Valley, and Little River, in Loudoun county; at Broad Run, in Fauquier county; at Chappawamsic and Potomac Creek, in Stafford county; at Mountain Run, in Orange county; at Birch Creek, in Halifax county; with a membership, all told, of six hundred and twenty-four.'
These were known as the “Regular” Baptists; and although they were from time to time hindered by mobs and reprimanded by magistrates, they were not seriously interfered with. “The reason why the Regular Baptists were not so much persecuted as the Separates," says Semple, "was that they had, at an early date, applied to the General Court, and obtained licenses for particular places, under the toleration law of England; but few of their enemies knew the extent of these licenses; most supposing that they were, by them, authorized to preach anywhere in the county. One other reason for their moderate persecution perhaps was that the Regulars were not thought so enthusiastic as the Separates; and having Mr. Thomas, a learned man, in their Society, they appeared much more respectable in the eyes of the enemies of truth."' It is important
* Fristoe, Ketocton Association, pp. 5-10; Semple, 288; cf. also Semple, 43, 49, 141, 169, 174, 194, 290.
* The title of Thomas's little book is worthy of transcription in this connection:
“The Virginian Baptist: or a View and Defence of the Chris
I to note this two-fold statement, that the Regular Baptists took out licenses from the General Court in due form of law, and that the presence of David Thomas as an educated man in their midst was of weight in protecting them against their neighbors.
The great Baptist influence in Virginia was that of the “Separate " Baptists, as they were called. They came into Virginia from North Carolina in the following way:
In 1754, Shubal Stearns, a native of Boston, who had become a Separate Baptist preacher in 1751, came south with a small party of New Englanders, called of the Spirit, as he conceived, to a great work. They halted first at Opeckon in Berkeley county, Virginia. Here he met his brother-in-law, Daniel Marshall, formerly a Presbyterian, now a Baptist preacher, who was just returned from a mission among the Indians. After a short stay in this part of the country, they moved on south to Guilford county, North Carolina, and, establishing themselves on Sandy Creek, founded a church which soon swelled from 16 to 606 members.'
Daniel Marshall made visits into Virginia, preaching and baptizing converts. “ Among them was Dutton Lane (originally from near Baltimore, Maryland), who, shortly after his baptism, began to preach; a revival succeeded,
tian Religion, as it is professed by the Baptists of Virginia. In three Parts. Containing a true and faithful Account (1) Of their Principles, (2) Of their Orders as a Church, (3) Of the principal Objections made against them, especially in this Colony. With a serious Answer to each of them.
By David Thomas, A. M., and Baptist Minister of Fauquier, in Virginia.
Non haec tibi nunciat Auctor Ambiguus: Non ista vagis rumoribus. Ipse ego tibi. Ovid Met.
And thou Son of Man, show the House to the House of Israel, and let them measure the pattern. Ezek. xliii., 10, II.
Baltimore: Printed by Enoch Story, living in Gay Street. MDCCLXXIV.” *Semple, p. 5.
and Mr. Marshall at one time baptized 42 persons. In August, 1760, a church was constituted under the pastoral care of the Rev. Dutton Lane. This was the first Separate Baptist church in Virginia, and in some sense the mother of all the rest.' This church seems to have been the Dan River church in Pittsylvania county. “Soon after Mr. Lane's conversion," continues Semple, “the power of God was effectual in the conversion of Samuel Harriss, a man of great distinction in those parts." "Samuel Harriss, commonly called Colonel Harriss, was born in Hanover county, Virginia, January 12th, 1724. Few men could boast of more respectable parentage. His education, though not the most liberal, was considerable for the customs of that day. When young, he moved to the county of Pittsylvania, and as he advanced in age, became a favorite with the people as well as with the rulers. He was appointed church warden, sheriff, a justice of the peace, burgess of the county, colonel of the militia, captain of Mayo fort, and commissary for the fort and army. All these things, however, he counted but dross, that he might win Christ Jesus and become a minister of His word among the Baptists, a sect at that time everywhere spoken against. . . . In 1759 he was ordained ruling elder. His labors were chiefly confined, for the first six or seven years, to the adjacent counties of Virginia and North Carolina, never having passed to the north of James River until the year 1765. In January, 1765, upon the invitation of Allen Wyley, of Culpeper, a convert of the Regular Baptists, Harriss went to that county and preached the first day at Wyley's house. When he began to preach the next day, a mob appeared with whips, sticks and clubs, and so interfered that Harriss went that night over into Orange. Here he preached for many days to great crowds. In 1766 some of the young converts of these meetings went to Harriss's house to bring
5 Ibid., p. 5. Semple, 5.
• Beale's Semple, 17, 65.
him back to Orange. They soon returned, bringing with them also the Rev. James Read of North Carolina. Arriving in Orange within the bounds of what became afterwards the Blue Run Church, they found a large congregation met together to whom they preached. The next day they preached at Elijah Craig's to a 'vast crowd.' The 'Regular' preachers, Thomas and Garrard, were present also. The Separates and the Regulars could not unite, and the next day both parties held meetings and both baptized con
Harriss and Read went on southerly through Spottsylvania into the upper parts of Caroline, Hanover, and Goochland. The next year they returned, accompanied by Dutton Lane. Together they constituted the first Separate Baptist Church north of James River. This took place on the 20th of November, 1767. The church was called Upper Spottsylvania, and consisted of twenty-five members, including all the Separate Baptists north of James River.
a mother to many other churches.' Read and Harriss continued, we are told, their visits to these parts of the country with remarkable results for about three years longer, up to about 1770. They baptized sev
O“ The Materials and Form of a Baptist Church.—The Baptist Church consists in a certain number of persons, called by the Gospel out of the world, baptized on profession of their faith, and federally united together, to worship GOD, and rule itself according to His Word, independent of any other society whatever.” Thomas, The Virginian Baptist, p. 24.
“ The Constitution of a Baptist Church.—The constitution of a Church is nothing else, but the solemn entrance of a number of persons into Covenajt as observed above and a public declaration of their having done so. And to this end several things are requisite, as: 1. A previous season of fasting and prayer. . . . 2. Calling an orderly minister to their aid. 3. An inquiry into the qualifications of the candidate. 4. A declaration of the persons to be joined in covenant, showing their willing consent to give themselves to the Lord, and to one another as a people separated from the world . . . together with their hearty purpose to reject all error, and avoid every wicked and unholy way." Thomas, The Virginian Baptist, 26-27.
enty-five persons at one time, it is said, and as many as two hundred on one of their journeys. Hundreds of men would camp out all night on the ground in order to hear them the next day. People travelled more than one hundred miles to go to their meetings; to go forty or fifty miles was common. More churches were soon needed. “Accordingly, on the second day of December, 1769, Lower Spottsylvania Church was constituted with 154 members, who chose John Waller for pastor. He was consecrated to this office June 2, 1770. Lewis Craig was consecrated pastor to the mother church, November, 1770. Blue Run Church was constituted December 4, 1769, choosing Elijah Craig for their pastor; he was consecrated May, 1771."
The work now went rapidly forward. A popular tide began to rise. Each new convert became a zealous missionary. The accepted preachers and leaders went hither and thither incessantly. Jeremiah Moore said he had “travelled and preached distances sufficient to reach twice around the world.” 12 Samuel Harriss“ became almost a constant traveller. Not confining himself to narrow limits, but led on from place to place; wherever he could see an opening to do good, there he would hoist the flag of peace. There was scarcely any place in Virginia in which he did not sow the Gospel seed.” 18 To illustrate:
“Arrested in Culpeper and carried into court as a disturber of the peace, he was ordered not to preach in the county again within the twelvemonth on pain of going to jail. From Culpeper he went into Fauquier and preached at Carter's Run. From thence he crossed the Blue Ridge and preached in Shenandoah. On his return from thence, he turned in at Captain Thomas Clanahan's, in the county of Culpeper, where there was a meeting. While certain young ministers were preaching, the Word of God began to burn in Colonel Harriss's heart. When they finished,
12 Ibid., 309.
Semple, 11. 18 Semple, Biography of Harriss, 379.