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Samuel Jones was one, to assist tians so well disposed to the pubtheir New England brethren; lick weal of this country. " But our endeavours,” says Dr. By order of the Congress, Jones, " availed us nothing. One JOHN HANCOCK, President. of them told us, that if we meant A true extract from the Minutes, lo effect a change in their mea- John Lincoln, Secretary." sures respecting religion, we might Such an assenibly as is here as well attempt to change the mentioned, convened at Watercourse of the sun in the liea- town, July 1775, to which our
brethren presented another meMr. Backus, failing of success morial, in which they said, “ Our at Philadelphia, on bis return, met real grievances are, that we, as the Baptist Committee at Boston; well as our fathers, have, from by whose advice the memorial of time to time been tased on relitheir grievances was drawn up, gious accounts, where we were and laid before the next Congress, not represented; and when we at Cambridge, near Boston, to have sued forour rights, our causes which the following answer was have been tried by interested returned.
judges. That the representatives " In Provincial Congress, Cam- in former assemblies, as well as
bridge, Dec. 9. 1774. in the present, were' elected by “On reading the memorial of virtue only of civil and worldly the Rev. Isaac Backus, agent to qualifications, is a truth so evident, the Baptist churches in this go- that we presume it need not be vernment:
proved to this assembly; and for Resolved, That the establish- a civil legislature to impose reliment of civil and religious liberty gious taxes, is, we conceive, á to each denomination in this pro- power which their constituenis vince, is the sincere wish of this never had to give ; and is, therecongress : but being by no means fore, going entirely out of their vested with powers of civil go- jurisdiction. Under the legal disvernment, whereby they can re- pensation, when God kimself dress the grievances of any per- prescribed the exact proportion son whatever; they therefore re- of what the people were to give, commend to the Baptist churches, yet none but persons of the worst that when a general assembly characters ever atterupted to take shall be convened in this colony, it by force. How daring then they lay the real grievances of must it be for any to do it for said churches before the game; Christ's ministers, who says, My when and where their petition kingdom is not of this world! We will most certainly meet with all beseech this honourable assembly that attention due to the memo- to take these matters into their rial of a denomination of chris- wise and serious consideration,
Century Sermon, p. 14. Whether this strong expression was made seripasly by a Massachusetts' member, or ironically, by one from some other state, I am not sure. But it is certain from Mr. Backus's account that the Massachusetts' Delegates were peculiarly inseusible to the complaints of the oppressed Baptists,
before Him who has said, With many fair promises, which were what measure ye mete it shall be never fulfilled; and when the measured unto you again. Is not State Constitation was formed, all America now appealing to the Bill of Rights declares, " All heaven, against the injustice of men are born free and equal, and being taxed, when we are not re- have certain natural, essential, presented; and against being and unalienable rights, &c.” The judged by men who are interested second declares, “ No subject in getting away our money ? and shall be hurt, molested, or restrainwill heaven approve of your duing ed in his person, liberly, or estate, the same thing to your fellow-ser- for worshipping God in the mau. vants ! No, surely. We have no ner and season most agreeable to desire of representing this govern- the dictates of his own CONI ment as the worst of any who science, &c.” have iipposed religious taxes; we But notwithstanding all tliese fully believe the contrary; yet, as declarations, many bave been moare persuaded that an entire lested, and restrained in their
per. freedom from being taxed by civil sons, liberties, and estates, on relirulers to religious worship, is not gious accounts. a mere favour from any man or These things we have thought men in the world, but a right and proper' to insert in Mr. Backus's property granted us by God, who biography. He was undoubtedly commands us to stand fast in it, the draughtsman of some of the we liave not only the same reason memorials of his brethren ; and to refuse an acknowledgement of he was, certainly, the able and such taxing power here, as Ame- undaunted expositor of them all. rica has the abovesaid power, but His whole soul was engaged in also, according to our present the prosecution of his agency;
inlight, we should wrong our con- somuch that he became the cham. sciences in allowing that power pion of non-conformity in Engto men, which we believe belongs land, and was, on that account, only to God.”
much vilified and abused by the This memorial was read in the established party. assembly, and after laying a week When he waited on the Conon the table, was read again, de- gress at Philadelphia, he was bated upon, and referred to a accused of going there on purcommittee, who reported favour- pose to attempt to break the union ably. A bill was finally brought of the colonies. The newspapers in, in favour of the petitions, read abounded with pieces against him, once, and a time set for its second some of wbich he answered, aud reading; but their own business others he treated as beneath his crowded in, and nothing more notice. In one, he was threatenwas done about it. In this man- ed with a halter and the gallows; ner have the Baptists always been but he had been too long inured shuffled out of their rights. After to the water war, to be terrified by this, they made a number of at- such impotent threats. templs 10 get some security for In 1789, Mr. Backus took a their freedom, but none was ever journey into Virginia, and Norila formerly given them. They had Carolina, in which he was gove
year of his
about six months, preached 126 was not far from six feet in stasermons, and travelled by land ture, and in the latter part of his and water, 5000 miles. This life, considerably corpulent. He journey was undertaken in con- was naturally modestand diffident; sequence of a request from the which probably led him into a southern brethren, for some one habit, which he continued to the of the ministers of the Warren day of his death, of shutting his Association to come and assist eyes when conversing or preachthem, in the great field of labour ing on important subjects. His which was then opened before voice was clear and distinct, but them.
rather sharp than pleasant. In This distinguished man finished both praying and preaching, be his earthly course with great com- often appeared to be favoured posure, Nov. 20, 1806, in the 83rd with such a degree of divine unc
age, and 60th of his tion, as to render it manifest to ministry. He had been laid by all that God was with him. Few from his public labours a few men have more uniformly lived months previous to his death, by and acted up to their profession a paralytic stroke, which deprived than Mr. Backus. It may be bim of his speech, and the use of truly said of him, that he was a his limbs. But his reason was burning and shining light; and, continued to the last; and in his though dead, he left behind him expiring moments he manifested the good name which is better than an entire resignation to the will precious ointment.” of heaven. He left behind him a number of children, all of whom are respectable members of socie JEHOVAH-JIREH. ety. He never received much
Genesis xxii. 14. from his people, but by the bless- Every person conversant with ing of Providence, he had ac- scripture is aware, that in the quired an estate of considerable earlier ages of the world God's value.
people frequently gave particular As a preacher, he was evange- and significant names not only to lical and plain. His discourses, persons, but also to places, and though not highly ornamented things, purposely to commemowith the rhetorick of language, rate and perpetuate remarkable were richly stored with scripture events, Witness Hagar's well, truth. His historical works con- Beerlahai roi; Abraham's Jehotain a vast fund of materials of vah-jireh ; Moses's Jehovah-nissi, the utmost importance towards a and Samuel's Ebenezer; names history of our denomination, given by these pious persons to which must have sunk into obli- transmit to the latest posterity vion, had it not been for his un- signal interpositions of God in fawearied care
vour of his people, especially The following description of in seasons of peculiar distress and Mr. Backus is from the peli of tribulation. Jehovah-jireh, the Dr. Baldwin, of Bostop. Lord will see, or provide, as it is
“ His personal appearance was said to this day. In the mount very grave and venerable. He of the Lord it shall be seen. Or,
as it should be rendered, In the terpose, but suffered Jacob's dismount the Lord will be seen. tress to rise to the highest pitch. Agreeably to the versification of Then Esau's heart was turned our excellent poet,
from batred to kindness. Nor “ Just in the last distressing hour,
were the people of Israel deliThe Lord displays delivering pow'r; vered from Egyptian bondage 'The mount of danger is the place, very soon after another king arose Where we shall
prizing who knew not Joseph ; but the grace.”
Bondage was increased froin time From the passage thus intro- to time, liniil they were obliged to daced, we plainly discover the make brick without straw until following important sentiment, they had been beaten--until their that though God frequently suffers male children had been drowned his people to feel the extremity –until things were come to an of distress, yet he always appears extremity. Then, when hope had for their relief. Let us briefly ile given up the ghost--then, on that lustrate the sentiment—110tice the self-same night, that night much wisdom of the divine procedure to be remembered, God led forth and deduce practical reflections. his host out of Egypt's lanı.The doctrine as above stated, is How often, also, was David, in capable of abundant illustration the extremity of distress, ere he from the sacred pages. Witness was delivered. When Saul aud the present memorable trial of his army were just at his heels, a Abraham's faith, as well as of messenger cries out,
“ Haste his parental feelings, which are thee, and come, for the Philistines admitted to be the strongest feel. have invaded - the land. At anoings in human nature. We see ther time, David, in distress, is that the command to offer up his compared to a prisoner confined only son Isaac, as a bumt offering, in a horrible pit, in miry clay, yet was not recalled the same day it he was not suddenly delivered, was given, nor until near the close but was obliged to wait patiently of the third day. Hence full time in the doleful situation, until the was given for the full exercise of Lord brought him out, and put a each tender emotion--ill he had new song in his mouth. But the made every preparation for the time would fail to tell of Jebloody sacritice--till the knife hosaphat, Hezekiah, Shadrach, was actually grasped—then, at the Meshach, and Abednego, of Da. all-eventful moment, just in the niel, and of Jonah, who were demouth of danger, she angel cries, livered in the very extremity of “ Abraham, forbear." Witness distress, by the signal interposition also Jacob, when Esau, with 400 of divine power and grace. We men marched against him, with may also descend to later periods, murder in his heart, and the means for further illustration, Witness to accomplish his purpose in bis the low and afflicted state of the lands.
In this extreinity, Jacob, 'church, at the time of the Rewith his whole family, in danger formation, through the persecúof a violent death from a brother's tion of papal Rome; how wonmalice, blown up into rage and derfully and unexpectedly did God fury : God did not middeniy is- appear in raising up and presery
ing Luther and his followers! by faith. Peter represents the And in our own nation, when trial of faith as being far more imqueen Mary had burnt most of portant than the trial of gold and our éminent divines, suddenly the silver, and the necessity of fiery queen's soul is required of her; trials, and piercing afflictious. And when king James had nearly That it may appear to honour and restored the popishi superstition, glory, God tries his people, not suddenly (as on this day, 4. Nov.) for his own information, but for the Prince of Orange is wafted to theirs; that it may appear too the British shore !-But our sen- themselves that they trust in, timent is confirmed by the expe- and adhere to him, under the riences of God's people in every most piercing trials.
He that age, both as it respects their faints in the day of adversity, is bodies and their souls: how at best a weak believer, but how often are the people of God visit- honourable, how glorious, did the ed with dire diseases, " till their faith of Moses, David, and Daflesh-is so consumed that it cannot niel, appear, after their fiery trials? be seen,
and the bones that were 2d. Piercing trials excite fervennot seen stick out-till their soul cy in prayer. Although we are draweth near to death, and their exhorted to fervent, importunate, life to the destroyer !" Yet in this and persevering prayer, yet such extremity, if there be an interpre- is our natural disinclination to a ter, one among a thousand, to practical regard to precepts, that shew unto man bis uprightness, great distress and imminent danthen he is gracious unto him, and ger seem the more powerful insaith, deliver him from going down centives to that fervent spirit, to the grave, I have found a ran- which is so acceptable to God, som. Lo, these things God work- and so useful io vurselves and eth oftentimes with men !” And others. If Jacob's distress had when the spirit of God convinces not been extreme, lie had never of sin, of righteousness, and of wrestled with God, or obtained judgment, frequently trouble is the name of Israel. 3d. The suffered to continue and increase hand of God appears the more until even the sorrows of death conspicuous in granting deliverand the pångs of hell
, get hold of ance in a time of extremity; when the conscience. The 3000' were all human help fails, and we appricked in the heart' before they ply to Hin who is a refuge and obtained the joys of God's salva- strength, and a present help in tion. Now, it is evident, that in time of trouble. Then we sing, all the cases mentioned, God could " The band that made us is dihave delivered his people before vine.” matters came to extremities; nor Learn 1st, Never to despair of is his love to be for a moment divine help, let the danger be ever called in question. Whence ap- so great. The whole design of pears then the propriety of the di- the bible is to promote faith, prayvine procedure? Ist. Pungenter, and hope ; but not a single trials prove the faith of God's word io inculcate despondency. people to be of ivine original. God is faithful who will not suffer Christians live by faith, and walk you to be tempted (tried) above