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plicity as well as solemnity of the whole scene, almost made him forget the seventeen hundred years between, and imagine himself in one of those assemblies where form and state were not, but Paul the tent-maker, or Peter the fisherman presided, - yet with the demonstration of the spirit and of power.
Time rolls on, and the beginning of the year 1735 brings another and a third arrival. Ay, thrice welcome these, whose brawny arms, and stalwart muscles fit them alike to cultivate the soil, and to constitute a rampart between the hostile Spaniards, with their savage allies, and the earlier and more feeble settlers at Savannah. These are the Highlanders of Scotland. Upon their arrival they instantly occupy the post of danger, and upon the banks of the Alatamaha found the now town of Darien. A position exposed and hazardous from its nearer proximity to the Spaniards.
The description which was given of these deep deserts and gloomy wilds, excited the poetic imagination of Goldsmith in that graphic account of them found in the deserted village:
“ To distant climes, a dreary scene, they go,
Far different these from every former scene." General Oglethorpe, who went to England in the spring of 1734, accompanied by Tomochichi and several other Indians, followed, on his return, this last arrival, bringing with him four hundred and seventy persons; which was denominated the great embarkation. This arrival was on the 6th February, 1735.* They were settled at Frederica, on the island of St. Simons. The two Wesleys, John and Charles, came at this time. John remained in Savannah, and Charles went to Frederica, as secretary to Oglethorpe. Many persons of education, family and distinction, accompanied Oglethorpe at their own expense, in his various embarkations for
* Harris. McCall makes it 1736, and differs as to numbers, &c.
Georgia, (among whom were many of the liberal, warmhearted and republican sons of Ireland - so eminently devoted to the cause of liberty in the subsequent history of our country,) and became permanent settlers and inhabitants of the colony. The names of many of these sound familiarly and daily upon our ears in the persons of their descendants. Such were the primary and original materials for the settlement of the colony of Georgia.
We have also, from an early date, claimed a connection with our New England countrymen, more endearing than the ties of fellowship which bind the inhabitants of a common country; while the colony was yet under the care of the Trustees, about the year 1752,* a large emigration of descendants from our New England brethren, who had previously removed to South Carolina, arrived in Georgia and settled at Medway, in the parish of St. John, now county of Liberty, having received a grant for thirty-two thousand acres of land. They brought with them that devotion to religious principle, and observance of its duties which had characterized, and all the patriotism and love of liberty which warmed the bosoms of their New England ancestors.
Their noble example has not been lost upon the county in which they settled, but is conspicuous to this day in the excellent police, exemplary order, fervent piety and devotion to country, which now as ever distinguished the county of Liberty. A fair name, won by the spirited determination of her inhabitants, at the breaking out of the Revolution, to send delegates to congress before the rest of the province had agreed to acquiesce in that measure.
A plan, devised in mercy to mitigate the sorrows of suffering humanity, has subjected Georgia to the ungracious taunt of having been peopled from the prisons of England and the outcasts of London. So thought not the sweet Poet of England in his beautiful description
“Lo! swarming southward on rejoicing suns
* By the records of Medway Church it appears, that a few persons were sent in May, 1752, in search of lands; and the first settlement was commenced on the 6th of December, 1752.
1 Thompson's Liberty. Part V.
Those, who in the stupidity of folly have ventured to indulge the contumely, have overlooked the distinction between misfortune and vice, and have forgotten, that while we are responsible for the latter as the offspring of our own moral deformities, the innocent and virtuous, alike with the vicious, are obnoxious to the former. It is not the prison which degrades, but the offence which consigns us there. When Socrates, after the iniquitous sentence of the Athenian judges, was conducted to his prison, Seneca remarked, “it ceased to be a prison and henceforth became the abode of virtue and habitation of probity.” *
We may not compare this class of our settlers with the great philosopher of the ancients, the subject of this beautiful and just sentiment of the moralist; but the sentiment itself may be justly applied to honesty and virtue in the humblest circumstances. It is no more possible for the dungeon to obscure the lustre of virtue and innocence, than for the earth to destroy the brilliant qualities of the gem which lies imbedded in its bosom.
While we yet linger around the scenes of this early period, permit me to conduct you in imagination to a neighboring spot of interesting reminiscence. What are these mouldering walls, these venerable ruins that here strike our view ? Behold here the remains of what was once devoted to youthful piety and learning — to the care and protection of the orphan — this was the orphan house. These ruins speak to us of Whitefield and Huntingdon. Of Whitefield, a faithful servant of the most high God. A man whose zeal in the cause of his divine Master, and whose intense interest for the salvation of souls, in despite the ties of kindred and of home, urged him across the Atlantic to divide his labors of love between the old and new world.
He was the founder of a new sect; and a reformer in life, in manners and doctrine. Deeply impressed with the declining state of religion, and mourning over the skepticism and want of practical piety which characterized the age, he united with the Wesleys and became a Methodist.
Unable to acquiesce in the doctrine of human perfection, as maintained by his great coadjutor, he embraced the principles of Calvin, contended for the doctrine of election and final perseverance, and established Calvinistic Methodism.
He introduced, it is true, no new doctrine when he insisted upon the necessity of regeneration and the new birth as essential to salvation ; but he gave to it its appropriate place and importance in the pulpit. Ye must be born again, was the great lesson constantly taught and enforced by him. He introduced a new style of preaching, and infused into the pulpit the ardor and zeal of a mind awakened to the momentous interests of an endless future.
Remarkable for his eloquence and power of extemporaneous speaking, he exerted a resistless control over the minds and passions of his hearers; and both the sinner trembled and the believer rejoiced as he painted the terrors of the law and reasoned of a judgment to come, or discoursed upon the melting mercies of redeeming grace and a Saviour's love. Fancy the impression, if you can, as amidst the passing storm he exhorted the sinner by all his hopes of happiness to repent, and avert the wrath of God from being awakened. And as a gleam of lightning played on the corner of his pulpit, he continued, “'Tis a glance from the angry eye of Jehovah !” and as the thunder broke above him, “Hark, it was the voice of the Almighty as he passed by in his anger!” and as the storm passed away, “Look,” said he, “ upon the rainbow, and praise him that made it ; very beautiful it is in the brightness thereof. It compasseth the heavens about with glory; and the hands of the most high have bended it."* · When the churches of England were closed upon an agitator and a fanatic, he established a church in the open air, the only one in all England large enough to accommodate the vast multitudes of his anxious listeners; and thus he became emphatically the great field preacher. A practice followed by Wesley, and to which may be traced the camp meetings of the present day.
His name stands identified with the great religious events and revivals in our country at that period. He went among all denominations, and he preached for all. He was bailed in New York and Philadelphia as a messenger from heaven; and his zeal, pathos and fervor of preaching was soon introduced into many of their pulpits.“
The result of his example and connection with these
* Description of Whitefield's preaching, by Miss Francis.
churches was a schism in the Presbyterian church, and the establishment of a new Presbytery. The Whitfieldians maintained the doctrine of man's natural ability and moral inability; and, that he had power to perform the duties enjoined by God, provided he but wills to perform them. Their opponents contended for man's total inability, as the doctrine taught in the Scriptures; and insisted that nothing was gained by the distinction between natural and moral ability. It will at once be perceived, that the doctrine of Whitefield opened a much wider field for the exercise of his declamatory powers in the pulpit. The ministers of New England invited him there, complaining in strong terms of the general declension of the power and life of godliness in their congregations.* Similar results followed his preaching and example in New England, and the Presbyterian church was divided into parties. The Rev. Jonathan Edwards, a man of great learning and sound and well disciplined intellect, from his former didactic manner, became a most passionate pulpit declaimer, and, during a great revival, was so much excited as to indulge the belief that the millennial glory of the church was suddenly about to burst upon a benighted world. It was owing to this circumstance, that in the calm of subsequent tranquillity and reflection, that this gentleman was led to a careful examination of the heart, which produced that invaluable work entitled “Edwards on the Affections."
Struck, from his arrival in Georgia, with the destitute condition of orphan children in the infant colony, Mr. Whitefield immediately conceived the plan of raising funds from charity for erecting and maintaining an institution for the support and education of orphans. This plan had previously been cherished by General Oglethorpe, and an example of its successful experiment furnished by Professor Frank of Germany. Animated by a purely Christian benevolence, the perseverance of Whitefield in this laudable undertaking vanquished all impediments and discouragements. He erected a monument more durable than the marble, which, when accident and time have now left scarcely a vestige to mark the spot consecrated by his benevolence, will yet
disclose his motives and his objects, and perpetuate his memory
* Backus's History of New England.