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instance of a pious member of it, Judge Lomax, the Law Professor, it was determined to celebrate the event in the most solemn man
The Episcopal Convention was to meet in Charlottesville the ensuing spring, and that was selected as the proper time for it. The author of these pages was requested to prepare and deliver a discourse at that time and on the occasion referred to. It was a most trying and responsible undertaking, but he dared not refuse. At the time appointed there was present, on Sabbath morning, in the great rotunda of the University, a large number of the clergy and laity then in attendance on the Convention, with the Professors, students, and people around.
The sermon was preached from those words of the Prophet Amos, (3d chap. 6th verse,) “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city and the people not be afraid ? Shall there be evil in the city and the Lord hath not done it?" I need not say that the doctrine of an overruling special providence was drawn from .these words, in op position to atheism, chance, or some general divine providence which attends only to great things, which governs and directs the spheres, but lets the atoms fly at random,—that a warning was given to take heed to this judgment, and carefully inquire what was the righteousness that God called on us to learn. The importance of literary institutions was dwelt upon, and especially the great duty of calling in the aid of Heaven in the conduct of them.
I hope the reader will excuse the insertion of the following passages :
“The design of God, therefore, in these dispeusations, and the use to be made of them by us, are as plain as they are important. When God visits us with the rod of affliction, it is that we may search our hearts and try our ways and turn to him. When his judgments are abroad in the earth, it is that the inhabitants may learn righteousness. Does it not, then, become all concerned in this Institution to ask, May not these judgments have been intended to stir us up to more zeal in rendering it holy and acceptable to God? Should they not ask, With what views and hopes have we entered upon this work? Did we acknowledge the Almighty, and feel that without his blessing we could not prosper? or was our bope from the talents and favour of man? Have we not only invoked the aid and placed it under the guardian care of God, but siucerely dedicated it to him, wishing to make it an instrument of glory in our land, by training up youths, not merely in human literature, but in the sublimest of all sciences and the noblest of all virtues, ---the knowledge and love of God? If such have not been the principles upon which this Institution was raised, or on which it is now conducted, is it superstition or weakness to ask whether these visitations have not been sent to show the rulers thereof their entire dependence upon God? See how easily the Almighty can blast all their high hopes and dash all their noble
schemes to the earth. See how quickly he can send a plague or pestilence through these buildings, and scatter far and wide the young tenants thereof, and strike such a panic through the hearts of parents and friends that you can scarce recall them. Oh, it is a hazardous experiment to undertake to conduct such an institution, in which the minds of young immortal and rational beings are to be instructed, and their passions restrained and their actions regulated, without constantly and earnestly imploring and seeking the aid of God in the way of his appointment. It cannot be done. I know the difficulties of this work; I am well aware of the peculiar difficulties of it in this place; and am not upbraiding those who are sincerely desiring to do all that is right. But still, as the minister of God requested to speak on this occasion, I can take no other view of the subject than that which has been presented, and ain firmly convinced, from the word of God and the past history of man, that any attempt to succeed in such a work without invoking and securing the blessing of God must fail of permanent success.
“In every age of the world the instructors of youth have been deeply impressed with the importance of inculcating reverence to the gods, and making religion take its due part in their public exercises. The philosuphers of Greece and Rome-Socrates and Plato, Seneca and Epictetusfailed not in this duty. The Rabbis in Judea made this a principal science in their schools. And has it pleased the Almighty to clear away all the shadows and clouds and reveal the true light to us? Has he visited the earth and brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel? Has he set this in opposition to all the wisdom of man,-philosophy, falsely so called, -saying, "Where is the wise, where is the scribe, where is the disputer of this world ? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?' And shall this be neglected and left out of the wide range of scientific research? Shall we be content to be wise for a few years only, and not for everlasting ages? From the circle of sciences shall the most important and sublime and interesting be excluded ? In an institution bearing in its very name a determination to take the widest range of intellectual improvement, shall that be omitted in which all are equally because all are infinitely concerned ? Shall the roving and adventurous mind of youth be permitted to wander through all the labyrinths and mysteries of science without the sure light of heavenly truth to guide it? Oh, might I be permitted to speak to all the friends and patrons and directors of this College in the language of plain but affectionate entrealy, I would beseech them, as they would have it to find favour with God and man and be a mighty blessing to our State and country, that they solemnly dedicate it to Almighty God, and place it under his guardian care. In bis name and by his laws let theni rule over it. Let them see that the high motives and awful sanctions of religion be continually and eloquently presented to the minds of the youth committed to their care. Let the divine philosophy of the Bible be here studied. Let the morality here taught be the morality of the Bible. Let the Bible, which is the religion of Protestants, be the text-book of first esteem and most constant reference. Let the history of our religion be learnt; let the proot's of Christianity be investigated; let the prophecies of the most ancient and venerable books be read and compared with all other histories that attest their fulfilment. Let it not be said that nothing is taught contrary to Christianity; that the mind is left free to its own choice: rather let it be announced to the world that every thing which can be said is said in its behalt, and every
thing which can be done is done in order to lead those immortal souls, who 'come hither for the high improvement of their faculties, to the saving knowledge of Him who is the true God and eternal life.' Then indeed may we be assured that this Institution enjoys the smiles of a gracious Providence, and will be as others in our land,—the fruitful nursery of Christian patriots, of learned defenders of the faith, of able and eloquent ministers of the Gospel, as well as of those who shall adorn by their worth and talents all other professions of our land, and shed a mild lustre over the most private walks of life. Then will the most anxious Christian parents, and the most fearfully jealous Christian ministers, cherish it with fondness, as the favoured of God, and with confidence commit, as to a fostering mother, the sons whom they have dedicated to Heaven, and would bave to be trained up in its holy nurture and admonition; and then will those pious youths who have been here advancing in all divine as well as human wisdom ever look back to these seats of science with delight, and reckon among the happiest and best of their days those spent within these consecrated walls."
At this discourse much offence was taken by some, and many misrepresentations went forth through the State. It was charged against it that, besides undertaking to interpret and apply the judgments of God in a way which had been most carefully avoided, a personal attack had been made on the Professors and Visitors of the University, and especially on its chief founder, whose opinions, having been published to the world, were known to be contrary to those expressed in the sermon. So extensively were these charges, with many colourings and exaggerations, spread abroad, that after due consideration the sermon was published, and the author had the happiness of learning that the effect of its publication was such as he desired. Many were astonished to find that any in a Christian land could object to its doctrine, or expect any other improvement of the occasion from a Christian minister. But it was long before the preacher could be forgiven by some within the walls of the University. Previous to that he had been freely invited to preach there, but for some years even some of his friends were afraid to propose it. We must, however, in justice say, that the opposition was not from Virginians, nor from Americans, but from foreigners, who were allowed to forbid a minister of Virginia to be heard in the University of Virginia. It was, however, the happiness of that minister to see, only a few years after, all the offensive features of his sermon adopted into the administration of the College, as far perhaps as is practicable under the circumstances of its existence as the common property of all denomina. tions of Christians and all citizens of the State.
Parishes in Amherst, Nelson, Botetourt, Rockbridge, Greenbrier,
In 1761, Amherst county and Amherst parish were separated from Albemarle county and St. Anne's parish. In the year 1778, Amherst parish was divided and Lexington parish established. In the year 1780, the boundary-line was changed so as somewhat to reduce Lexington parish. The line, as settled in 1780, we presume is the same, or nearly the same, which now separates Nelson and Amherst. Amherst parish was left in that part which is now Nelson county. We have seen in our notice of the Rev. Mr. Rose, that he became minister of this region about 1745 or 1746, by being minister of all St. Anne's parish and Albemarle county, then extending over Amherst and Nelson ; that he had four churches ordered by the vestry at one time,-two in what is now Albemarle, and two in what is now Amherst and Nelson. He was followed by the Rev. John Ramsey, who was minister in 1754 and also in 1758,-how much longer not known. In 1773–74-76 we find the Rev. Ichabod Camp minister of Lexington parish,—how long before 1773 not known. He lived at the glebe near New Glasgow, now in possession of Dr. Hite. The shell of the parsonage is still to be seen.
About the commencement of the war, Mr. Camp moved to Illinois, to a fort on the Wabash, and tradition says that he and his family were destroyed by the Indians. The first minister of Lexington parish, after its division from Amherst, was the Rev. John Buchanon, in the year 1780. The following is the entry in the vestrybook :-“The vestry, taking into consideration the distressed condition of the parish for want of an orthodox minister, elect Mr. J. Buchanon, a gentleman of fair character, &c.” This is the same person who afterward ministered in Richmond. He was ordained in 1775, and had officiated acceptably elsewhere in Virginia. In the year 1788, the Rev. John W. Hole was elected. In the year 1789, the Rev. Charles Crawford, a native of Amherst, was ordained by Bishop Madison, and received as minister of this parish, and · continued its minister until 1815, when, from great corpulency,
age, and infirmities, he resigned. Those who have retained the recollection of Mr. Crawford, and have knowledge of him otherwise, bear testimony to his excellency as a preacher and a Christian. The Rev. Silas Freeman succeeded him in 1823, and continued a few years. The Rev. Charles Page followed him and laboured for many years in that and the adjoining parish of Amherst, in Nelson county. The Revs. Nelson Sale, Stewart, Black, Caldwell, Walker, Caldwell again, and Martin, have followed in too rapid succession. The Rev. Mr. Nowlin is the present minister.
The churches in Lexington parish were—Pedlar's, near the mountains, where a new one was built some years since; Rucker's or St. Matthew's, some miles from the court-house; Maple Run Church, afterward moved to New Glasgow; and another called Bent Chapel, which was near James River. This being burned down was never rebuilt. The brick church now at New Glasgow was built by a general subscription, but chiefly of Episcopalians, and regularly assigned to them, but afterward claimed by others and forcibly entered by the Campbellites. It was then bought, by the Episcopalians, of the executors of David Garland, to whom it legally belonged, being on his land, and was regularly consecrated as an Episcopal Church. Another church of brick has within the last few years been built at the court-house of Amherst county. The following is the list of vestrymen of this parish from 1779:
Richard Ballenger, Hugh Rose, Ambrose Rucker, Joseph Goodwin, Josiah Ellis, Richard Shelton, Richard Ogilsby, Benjamin Rucker, Wm. Ware, Henry Christian, John Christian, (Charles Taliafero, Thomas Moore, Jos. Burras, W. S. Crawford, Nelson Crawford, Richard Powell, James Ware, James Franklin, Reuben Norvel, Thomas Crews, Richard Ellis, Thomas N. Eubank, William Shelton, John Coleman, Gabriel Penn, David Woodroof, James Dillard, Daniel Gaines, Samuel Higginbotham, Robert Christian, Roderick McCulloch, Samuel Meredith, John Wyatt, David Crawford, George Penn, Edward Carter, James Calloway, James Higginbotham, David Tinsley, Robert Walker, Henry Turner, John Eubank, James Ware, John McDaniel, Edward Winston, Jobin Ellis, Arthur B. Davies, Cornelius Powell, Edmund Penn, David S. Garland, Dr. Paul Cabell, William H. McCulloch, Samuel M. Garland, Ralph C. Shelton, Zachariah D. Tinsley, Dr. H. L. Davies, James Thornton, William I. Cabell, William H. Johuson, John I. Ambler, Jr., Henry Loring, Valerius McGinnis, Whiting Davies, William R. Roane, Thomas Strange, James S. Pendleton, Captain J. Davies, Edward A. Cabell, Prosser Powell
, William Waller, Wilkins Watson, A. B. Davies, Jr., B. B. Taliafero, Robert Warwick, Marshall Harris, D. H. Tapscott, George W. Christian, William Knight, Dr. William S. Claiborne, Lucas P. Thompson, Martin Tinsley, James Davies, William Shelton, James Rose, William Tucker, Edwin Shelton.