“In preaching, speak low, speak slow, and be short.”
Rev. Lawrence was born on Long Island in 1718, and is said to have been a blacksmith. He studied at the Log College, and was taken on trials by New Brunswick Presbytery, September 11, 1744, and was licensed at Philadelphia, May 28, 1745.
The original organization at Newtown, in Bucks county, seems to have died away; for Beatty was sent, in the spring of 1745, to “settle a church there.” In the fall, Newtown and Bensalem asked for Lawrence; so did Upper and Lower Bethlehem, and Hopewell and Maidenhead. At the request of the Forks of Delaware, he was sent, May 24, 1746, to supply them for a year, with a view to settlement; and, in October, a call was presented to him. He was ordained, April 2, 1747, and installed on the third Sabbath in June. Treat, of Abingdon, presided and preached.
The Forks North and the Forks West had been favored with a portion of Brainerd’s labours, and were by no means an unpromising field, having many excellent pious families. But it was a laborious field,—a wide, dreary, uninhabited tract of fifteen miles lying between the two meeting-houses. Lawrence was not robust; and, for his health, he was directed to spend the winter and spring of 1751 at Cape May, then in very necessitous circumstances. Chesnut supplied the Forks in his absence.
His health still continuing feeble, and there being no prospect of his being able to fulfill his pastoral office in the Forks, he was dismissed. He removed to Cape May. This was one of our oldest congregations, and was among the first that had a pastor, and then remained vacant nearly thirty years. The Revival was felt there, but the congregation was feeble in numbers and re-sources. Beatty visited the people, and laid before the synod their distressed state. Davenport passed some time there, but with no effect till the last Sabbath. Lawrence was called; but a long delay occurred before his installation, which was not till June 20, 1754. Of his ministry little is known. The records mention him as a frequent supply of Forks, and as going to preach, in 1755, at “New England over the mountains.”
A meeting-house was built in 1762, the frame of which remained in use till 1824.
“It appears to be my duty, considering the relict of my old disorder, to take and use the counsel which, I have heard, the Rev. Samuel Blair gave, not long before his exit, to the Rev. John Rodgers:—in preaching, to speak low, to speak slow, and to be short.” [Manuscript note to his Sermons, in the hands of his descendants.]
He died April 13, 1766.
Words to Live By:
“Of his ministry, little is known.” — How true that is for so many pastors. And yet they labor faithfully on behalf of their congregations. The true pastor labors not for man but for the Lord, for His glory and for His kingdom. Pray for your pastor; pray for all those called to this work.