Friday, May 04, 2007


I really get tired of hearing people tell me they cannot read theology or older books because they are "too hard". I stumbled on this account of the ministry of Samuel Davies in the 1740s in rural Virginia.

Samuel Davies: Apostle of Virginia
by Thomas Talbot Ellis
Part 1 of 2

Nor were his labours confined to the whites. Large numbers of slaves attended on his ministry. He could number over 300 regular Negro hearers in the Virginia backwoods with over 150 black faces gathered at the Lord's Table at one particular communion season. Archibald Alexander in the next century could write that he had 'seen persons born in Africa who were baptized by Mr Davies, and by his care had been taught to read; and have seen in their hands, the books given to them by this eminent preacher'. What these books were, we are told by the Rev John Holt Rice. They were Watson's Body of Divinity, Boston's Fourfold State, Luther on Galatians, Flavel's Works, Alleine's Alarm, Baxter's Call and Saint's Everlasting Rest, as well as Isaac Watts' Psalms. Rice also tells us that 'Davies' churches were schools in which the people were taught better things than the ancient sages ever communicated to their disciples.' Generous friends in England sent most of the books.

So, uneducated slaves who learned to read were reading Luther, Baxter and Boston. Enough said. A converted soul, a regenerated heart, a renewed mind and an obedient spirit are all it takes.
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