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Standing Against Conformity to the World

FRANCIS HERRON:
Born, in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, June 28, 1774.
Graduated, at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, May 5, 1794.
LIcensed to Preach, by the Presbytery of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, October 4, 1797.
Ordained to the ministry and Installed as Pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Rocky Spring, Franklin County, PA, April 9, 1809.
Removed to Pittsburgh, and Settled as Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, May, 1811.
Resigned his Pastoral Charge, December 1850.
Died, December 6, 1860.

So in short compass the life of a venerable Presbyterian divine, as it is summarized at the head of a slim volume issued in his memory. Rev. Herron’s life, it was said, was “a life of more than usual historic importance.”

herronFrancis_portrait1862

Francis Herron was born near Shippensburg, Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, on June 28, 1774. He belonged to that honored and honorable race, the Scotch-Irish, memorable in the history of the world, but especially in our country, for a thorough devotion to evangelical truth and constitutional liberty. The training of his early years bore rich fruit at a subsequent period of his life, making him so eminent among his brethren as an effective preacher and an orthodox divine.

Receiving the careful training indicative of his parents high regard for knowledge, he entered Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, then under the care of that distinguished Presbyterian, Rev. Dr. Nesbitt. Here he completed his classical course, and graduated May 5, 1794. The prayers of his pious parents were answered by the influence of grace upon his heart, and he was led to study for the ministry of reconciliation. He studied Theology under Robert Cooper, D.D., his pastor, and was licensed by Carlisle Presbytery, October 4, 1797.

He entered upon his Lord’s service as a missionary, going out into the backwoods, as it was then called, passing through Pittsburgh, Pa., then a small village, and extending his tour as far west as Chillicothe, Ohio. Stopping for the night at a tavern at Six Mile Run, near Wilkinsburg, Pa., the people prevailed upon him to stay till the following Sabbath, which he did, and under the shade of an apple tree this young disciple broke the bread of life to the people.

His journey resumed the next day, and with a frontier settler for his guide, he pushed on to his destination through an almost unbroken wilderness, his course often guided by the “blazes” upon the trees. Two nights he encamped with the Indians, who were quite numerous near what is now the town of Marietta, Ohio.

On his return from Chillicothe, Ohio, he visited Pittsburgh. The keeper of the tavern where he lodged, proved to be an old acquaintance, and at his request, he consented to preach. Notice was sent, and in the evening a small congregation of about eighteen persons assembled. The house he preached in was a rude structure, built of logs, occupying the site of the present First Presbyterian church. And such was the primitive style of that day, that during the services the swallows, who had their nests in the eaves, flew among the congregation.

At this time the churches in that portion of our country were visited with a season of refreshing grace, and Mr. Herron entered into the revival with all the ardor of youth filled with hopefulness and zeal. He preached for Rev. Dr. John McMillan at the Chartiers church, during a revival season. He also preached at the Buffalo church, where his fervid eloquence made a deep impression and the people presented him a call, and strongly urged it upon his attention. He however concluded to return to the vicinity of his home, especially, as a call from Rocky Spring church was awaiting him. This call he accepted, and he was ordained and installed as pastor of that church, by Carlisle Presbytery, April 9, 1800.

Some ten years later, he was invited to occupy the pulpit of the First Presbyterian church, then vacant by the recent death of Rev. Robert Steele.

The people were charmed with his discourse, his ripening intellect modified by that refined spirituality, which was a prominent element in his ministrations, had a powerful effect upon his audience. They urged him to preach for them a second time, which he did, the result was a unanimous call was made out and presented to him in the usual manner.

The Presbytery of Carlisle dissolved the relation that existed between Rocky Spring church and Mr. Herron, and he was dismissed to Redstone Presbytery, April 3, 1811, and he was installed pastor of the First Presbyterian church, Pittsburgh, PA, the following June. In a few weeks he removed with his family to his new home, travelling in a large wagon, with his wife, children, and all his household goods.

Francis Herron, D.D.

He joined Redstone Presbytery June 18, 1811. The importance of his new position was fully and truly felt, the commercial importance of Pittsburgh had given all kinds of business an impetus, and prosperity was advancing rapidly; but this outward show referred only to worldly affairs, the religious condition of the people was cold and almost lifeless. The church to which he was called was embarrassed with debt, and the piety of the people manifested a degree of conformity to the world, which nearly appalled the preacher’s heart. But the experience of his ten years pastorate was to him invaluable, and girding himself, he entered upon his duties with a true heart and an earnest purpose. His preaching was the simple exposition of the truth as it is in Jesus, pointed, clear, and unwavering, revealing the enormity of sin and pleading with the fidelity of one who loved their souls. This style of preaching was sustained by his efforts to establish the prayer-meeting, which, strange as it now appears, met with much opposition, even among professors of religion; but this young pastor knew the holy influence of communion with God, and that God favored a praying people, he therefore went forward, and, in connexion with Rev. Thomas Hunt, who was pastor of the Second church, they persisted, and though to avoid a collision with the people the meetings were not held in the church, a small room was used for that purpose, in which Mr. Hunt taught a day-school. The first meeting consisted of the two pastors, one man, and six women, and thus for eighteen months did this meeting continue without adding a single person to their number.

The chilling indifference of the people soon grew into downright hostility, and husbands and fathers prohibited their wives and daughters from attending, and, finally, when the continued efforts of these pious people could be no longer borne, they waited upon Mr. Herron and told him that it must be stopped, his reply was the turning point in the spiritual condition of that people. He said, “Gentlemen, these meetings will not stop, you are at liberty to do as you please; but I also have the liberty to worship God according to the dictates of my conscience, none daring to molest or make me afraid.” From that time a spirit of piety manifested itself among the members of the church, several gay and fashionable persons were hopefully converted, and an impression was made upon the whole community, at once hopeful and healthful.

Words to Live By:
Do not expect courage of conviction from men who have no convictions, from those who have no anchor in the Word of God. The Scriptures must be drilled down deep into our souls if we are to stand against temptations and testings. May God give us pastors who will set an example, who will faithfully stand against the assaults of the world, the flesh and the devil.

Recently a friend was inquiring about the history of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod, which in 1965 merged with the original group known as the Evangelical Presbyterian Church [not the current ongoing denomination]. As explained below, this message was presented by the Rev. Harry Meiners at the occasion of the merger of these two denominations, though our post today is a shorter previous version that Rev. Meiners had prepared in 1961. Perhaps another day we will post the longer edition.

THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA, GENERAL SYNOD : A Brief Historical Sketch.
by the Rev. Harry Meiners [pictured at right]
meiners01

presented by Rev. Harry H. Meiners Jr. at the Uniting Service of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America; General Synod on April 6, 1965 forming the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.

At this historic Uniting Service the Stated Clerk of each of the two uniting churches has been asked to present a history of his respective church, limiting himself to eight minutes. My colleague has twenty-nine years to cover. The official history of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Reformation Principles Exhibited begins with Adam and Eve! I shall endeavor, however to confine myself to a sketch of the past three hundred years.

The Reformed Presbyterian Churches in America are the lineal descendants of the Reformation Church in Scotland, and therefore, date back to the year 1560 for their origin. The General Synod and the Synod of today (divided in 1833) can, without one link broken, claim that they stand upon the platform of the Reformed Church in Scotland in those days of the second Reformation during the years 1638-1649. Then the Solemn League and Covenant was entered into, and the National Covenant of 1580 renewed.

These well-know covenants gave rise to the name “Covenanters,” so famous in Scottish history. Their persecution, from 1680 to 1688, forms a bloody page in the history of that country. The Sanquhar Declaration, made June 22, 1680, by Rev. Richard Cameron and his Covenanter followers, contains some of the germs of our own American Declaration of Independence. The Covenanters, loyal to King Jesus, could not accept the Erastian (Anglican or Episcopal) terms of the Revolution Settlement of 1668 – a position subsequently endorsed by the formation of the Free Church of Scotland in 1843. The Reformed Presbytery was re-constituted in Scotland in 1743 by Rev. John McMillan and Rev. Thomas Nairn. From the middle of the seventeenth century, there had been an emigration from the Reformed Presbyterian Churches in Britain and Ireland to the then American colonies or plantations. Many of these Covenanters had been actually banished by their persecutor, and many more were voluntary exiles for the Word of God and the testimony which they held. They came at first to the Carolinas, and then spread through

Tennessee and Kentucky. By way of Philadelphia they spread themselves over the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Later they came to New York and spread out through that state and on to northern and western localities. In 1752 Rev. John Cuthbertson arrived from Scotland and labored for twenty years among these scattered people. Most of them did not join other organized and existing churches. The Reformed Presbytery of America was constituted in 1774, and then re-organized in the city of Philadelphia in the spring of 1798. The first Synod was constituted in 1809 in Philadelphia; it became a delegated body in 1823. There was an unhappy division in 1833, upon the question of civil relations. The Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America is the group that maintained that because the United States Constitution does not officially recognize Jesus Christ as Head of the nation, the Christian should not vote nor hold public office. The Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, General Synod does urge its members to vote and to hold public office. Today there are other differences between these two bodies — but there are cooperative relations between them and perhaps someday they may again join and work together.

The Theological Seminary of the General Synod was founded in 1807 in Philadelphia. Foreign Missions work was begun in India in 1836 and continues to this day. In northern India we have two mission stations and five congregations of national Indian Christians. Today the church also conducts mission work in Seoul. Korea (begun 1959) and Houston, Kentucky (begun 1907).

For a number of years the church grew smaller. There were congregations that left when there was a proposal to unite with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Others left when some wanted to use a musical instrument in public worship–those who opposed this departed. Others left when Synod voted to permit the use of hymns as well as Psalms in worship services.

Today we are growing again. There are now 23 congregations in the U.S., comprising three Presbyteries. There are 33 ordained ministers in the U.S., one in Korea, 7 in India. Total communicant membership is 2,500 in the U. S. and 180 in India. In India the Saharanpur Presbytery comprises five congregations. In America churches are located in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania. Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois. Kansas, and New Mexico. The church does not have its own college or seminary, but two of its ministers are teaching–Dr. Gordon H. Clark at Butler University and Dr. Charles F. Pfeiffer at Central Michigan University. The church employs a General Secretary, its only full-time servant of the denomination at large. All other denominational officers are pastors of local congregations or elders.

Young people’s conferences are held each summer by the Pittsburgh and Western Presbyteries and the Philadelphia Presbytery sends many of its youth to the Quarryville Bible Conference. All Presbyteries in the United States have Women’s Presbyterials.

The denomination publishes an official magazine, The Reformed Presbyterian Advocate, now in its 99th year of publication. It is published monthly October to May and bi-monthly June to September at $2.00 per year.

Union with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church has been worked on for several years, voted on favorably in 1964, and will be consummated in April, 1965. Thus these two churches hope to have a stronger witness to Biblical orthodoxy of a Reformed and Presbyterian nature in our generation.

October, 1961
Revised February, 1965
Rev. Harry H. Meiners Jr.
General Secretary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod.

None Excelled Him on Two Continents

blairgravestone02Samuel Blair was born in Ireland in 1712 and emigrated to America at a young age.  Educated at the Log College by William Tennent, he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia on November 9, 1733.  Called to two congregations first in New Jersey, he ministered the Word of grace for six years. But it was at Faggs Manor Presbyterian Church in Cochranville, Pennsylvania where he came to have his greatest influence upon colonial America.

Installed there in April of 1740, he began a classical and theological college for pastoral training, similar to what he had received at the Log College. The new school would later produce for the kingdom of grace men like Samuel Davies, apostle to Virginia, John Rodgers, first moderator of the General Assembly, John McMillan, Apostle to western Pennsylvania, Charles Cummings, Robert Smith, Hugh Henry and many others who would make a mark for Christ’s kingdom.

In 1740, a great reawakening came upon the colonies from Massachusetts to Georgia, including Faggs Manor Presbyterian Church. Blair took as his initial text that of our Lord’s words in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.”  That priority in the things of the Lord brought a spiritual awakening and revival to the people of that 1730 congregation. Soon, Pastor Blair was engaged in preaching tours all over New England. All of this revival emphasis, plus the question of education for the ministry brought about a schism in the Presbyterian Church in 1741.

blairSamuel_graveIn his doctrinal views, Samuel Blair was thoroughly Calvinistic. A spiritual awakening is of the Lord. Period! He did not hesitate to preach on predestination to his people. His pulpit manner was such that Samuel Davies believed no one was more excellent than he was in exposition of the Word of God. When the latter took a trip to England to raise funds for the College of New Jersey, and heard many a fine preacher, he still concluded that none held a candle to Samuel Blair.

Over his grave in the cemetery, at what is now called Manor Presbyterian Church, there is found the following inscription. It says “Here lieth the body of THE REV. SAMUEL BLAIR, Who departed this life The Fifth Day of July, 1751, Aged Thirty-nine Years and Twenty-one Days. In yonder sacred house I spent my breath; Now silent, mouldering, her I lie in death; These lips shall wake, and yet declare A dread Amen to truths they published there.”

Words to live by:  Thirty nine years plus!  Not a large amount of life on this earth was spent by the Rev. Samuel Blair. But his life was not to be measured by the shortness of his life, but rather by what the Holy Spirit accomplished through Him for the sake of the gospel. And when we look at that, Samuel Blair lived a full life for the increase of the kingdom and the edification of the elect. Only one life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Congregational Cows and Presbyterian Butter
by Rev. David T. Myers

There were no roads west of Buffalo, and few boats upon Lake Erie when those first settlements began to be formed in the region of the Western Reserve, also known as the Connecticut Reservation. Immigrants had to work their way through forests and over the rivers and marshes of the intervening wilderness as best they could.

The Rev. William Wick was one of the first two ministers to settle in the territory of the Western Reserve, the other being a Congregational pastor by the name of Joseph Badger. Wick, a Presbyterian, belonged to the Synod of Pittsburgh. In those early days, the Christians of the Reserve were too glad to meet any with whom they could hold Christian fellowship, than to ask after each other’s ecclesiastical connections and sentiments. And the minister who, coming amongst them, preached Christ and Him crucified, did not need to preach denominationalism, in order to secure their attention and affection.

In the absence of churches they gathered together in cabins, shop, or school-house, to mingle their worship and study the Word of God. And when a missionary visited a settlement, all rallied around him to hear the Word of Life.

In those early years, so heartily did Presbyterians and Congregationalists unite in their new missionary enterprises, that a difference was hardly recognized amongst them.

The first minister who came to the Western Reserve and the first to be installed as a pastor in this field, was the Rev. William Wick. Mr. Wick was born at Southhampton, Long Island, on June 29, 1768. The son of Lemual and Deborah (Luptein) WIck, he was a lineal descendant of the Pilgrim fathers. He was brought up in New York City, and subsequently removed, with his father’s family, to Washington county, Pennsylvania, later receiving his collegiate education at Jefferson College, Canonsburg, PA. On April 21, 1791, he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth McFarland, youngest daughter of Colonel Daniel McFarland, an officer of the Continental army during the Revolutionary war. Her mother’s maiden name was Sarah Barber. Her father emigrated to Washington county at the close of the war, and settled on a large tract of land on what was called Lower Ten-Mile creek.

In those days there was a great call for ministers, and Dr. McMillan sought out, among others, Mr. Wick, who, through the Doctor’s influence, finally left his farm, and began a course at the Cannonsburg Academy, as Dr. McMillan’s humble log cabin school was called. Wick was counted among the first class in theology taught by McMillan, and he completed his studies in 1797. Mr. Wick was licensed to preach on the 28th of August, 1799, and preached his first sermon at Youngstown, Ohio, the field of his future ministerial labors, on the first of September following his licensure.

Having accepted calls from Neshannock and Hopewell congregations, in Mercer county, Pa., he was ordained by the Presbytery and installed as pastor of these congregations on September 3, 1800. During 1801 he was released from the charge of Neshannock and installed for one-half his time as pastor of the congregation at Youngstown, Ohio. His labors were principally confined to Youngstown and Hopewell, though he occasionally worked in the missionary field. He was the first permanent minister in the Western Reserve of Ohio.

Rev. Wick was connected with the Hartford Presbytery and the Synod of Pittsburgh, these being the nearest courts with which he could connect. His initial aid probably came from the Presbytery, though afterwards he received an appointment from the Congregationalist Connecticut Missionary Society. The first mention of this support is dated April 27, 1807, in a letter from the Rev. Calvin Chapin, who had visited the Reserve. One result of his visit was the proposal that if the Hartford Presbytery would furnish ministers for the Reserve, the Connecticut Society would support them.

So long as orthodoxy prevailed, the spirit of love to Christ also rose above local and sectarian prejudice, drawing together all who were interested in seeing Christ’s kingdom advance in the new territory. The Connecticut brethren did not stop to think and inquire whether the “milk from their Congregational cows, might now be churned into Presbyterian butter” by the Synod of Pittsburgh!

Mr. Wick labored for some time as a missionary under the patronage of the Connecticut Society. His last commission, dated Hartford, Jan. 17, 1815, was as follows:

“Rev. Sir—You are hereby appointed Missionary by the Trustees of the Missionary Society of Connecticut, for the term of one year, unless sooner recalled by the Board; to labor for such a part of the time as you can be spared from your stated charge, in New Connecticut and such other parts of Ohio, as you shall think it expedient to visit.
In the name of the Trustees.
ABEL FLINT, Secretary.”

The above commission, though not “recalled by the Board,” was soon recalled by a higher authority. Rev. Wick preached his last sermon on the 13th of February following. He was now in extremely feeble health. At Hopewell the congregation was invited to his home, and addressed by him, after he became too feeble to go out. His death occurred on the 29th of March, 1815, at the age of 48 years.

At his own request he was buried at Youngtown, Ohio. It is recorded on his tombstone that during his ministry he preached one thousand five hundred and twenty-two sermons, and married fifty-six couples. He was the father of eight sons and three daughters, most of them now deceased. It is noted that his oldest son, William Watson Wick j[1786-1868], served in Congress as a U.S. Representative from Indiana.

In person, Rev. Wick was tall and thin in flesh. His disposition was calm, mild and amiable, sometimes sorrowful, but never angry. In his theology, he was what was then called a “General Atonement” man; though not so much a stickler for doctrines, as for consistent practice and devoted earnest piety.

His beloved wife, Mrs. Elizabeth (McFarland) Wick, lived “till about 1835. She was a woman of strong faith, clear views, deeply pious, had mor ethan ordinary perseverance, and died as the Christian dies.”

As Rev. Wick labored part of the time in Pennsylvania, and had from the first a stated charge, he acted perhaps a less prominent part in forming the churches on the Reserve, than some others; but he left his mark, and such a one as a good man would wish to leave. It is noteworthy that this first minister settled upon the Reserve, was settled for life. Many an early settler remembered and spoke with affection of the ministerial labors of good “Willie Wick.”

Words to Live By:
Each of us, every man and woman, has a place in the kingdom of God. Some may be first to put their hand to a work; others may follow to carry on. No one is indispensable, yet each one of God’s dear children is loved and watched over by the Lord of all creation. (Matt. 6:25-34). It remains to each of us to labor to the glory of our one Lord and to the advancement of our one faith. Do the work that God has set before you, and exhort one another to live lives that honor the Lord who has called us by His grace and mercy.

Standing Against Conformity to the World

FRANCIS HERRON:
Born, in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, June 28, 1774.
Graduated, at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, May 5, 1794.
LIcensed to Preach, by the Presbytery of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, October 4, 1797.
Ordained to the ministry and Installed as Pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Rocky Spring, Franklin County, PA, April 9, 1809.
Removed to Pittsburgh, and Settled as Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, May, 1811.
Resigned his Pastoral Charge, December 1850.
Died, December 6, 1860.

So in short compass the life of a venerable Presbyterian divine, as it is summarized at the head of a slim volume issued in his memory. Rev. Herron’s life, it was said, was “a life of more than usual historic importance.”

herronFrancis_portrait1862Francis Herron was born near Shippensburg, Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, on June 28, 1774. He belonged to that honored and honorable race, the Scotch-Irish, memorable in the history of the world, but especially in our country, for a thorough devotion to evangelical truth and constitutional liberty. The training of his early years bore rich fruit at a subsequent period of his life, making him so eminent among his brethren as an effective preacher and an orthodox divine.

Receiving the careful training indicative of his parents high regard for knowledge, he entered Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, then under the care of that distinguished Presbyterian, Rev. Dr. Nesbitt. Here he completed his classical course, and graduated May 5, 1794. The prayers of his pious parents were answered by the influence of grace upon his heart, and he was led to study for the ministry of reconciliation. He studied Theology under Robert Cooper, D.D., his pastor, and was licensed by Carlisle Presbytery, October 4, 1797.

He entered upon his Lord’s service as a missionary, going out into the backwoods, as it was then called, passing through Pittsburgh, Pa., then a small village, and extending his tour as far west as Chillicothe, Ohio. Stopping for the night at a tavern at Six Mile Run, near Wilkinsburg, Pa., the people prevailed upon him to stay till the following Sabbath, which he did, and under the shade of an apple tree this young disciple broke the bread of life to the people.

His journey resumed the next day, and with a frontier settler for his guide, he pushed on to his destination through an almost unbroken wilderness, his course often guided by the “blazes” upon the trees. Two nights he encamped with the Indians, who were quite numerous near what is now the town of Marietta, Ohio.

On his return from Chillicothe, Ohio, he visited Pittsburgh. The keeper of the tavern where he lodged, proved to be an old acquaintance, and at his request, he consented to preach. Notice was sent, and in the evening a small congregation of about eighteen persons assembled. The house he preached in was a rude structure, built of logs, occupying the site of the present First Presbyterian church. And such was the primitive style of that day, that during the services the swallows, who had their nests in the eaves, flew among the congregation.

At this time the churches in that portion of our country were visited with a season of refreshing grace, and Mr. Herron entered into the revival with all the ardor of youth filled with hopefulness and zeal. He preached for Rev. Dr. John McMillan at the Chartiers church, during a revival season. He also preached at the Buffalo church, where his fervid eloquence made a deep impression and the people presented him a call, and strongly urged it upon his attention. He however concluded to return to the vicinity of his home, especially, as a call from Rocky Spring church was awaiting him. This call he accepted, and he was ordained and installed as pastor of that church, by Carlisle Presbytery, April 9, 1800.

Some ten years later, he was invited to occupy the pulpit of the First Presbyterian church, then vacant by the recent death of Rev. Robert Steele.

The people were charmed with his discourse, his ripening intellect modified by that refined spirituality, which was a prominent element in his ministrations, had a powerful effect upon his audience. They urged him to preach for them a second time, which he did, the result was a unanimous call was made out and presented to him in the usual manner.

The Presbytery of Carlisle dissolved the relation that existed between Rocky Spring church and Mr. Herron, and he was dismissed to Redstone Presbytery, April 3, 1811, and he was installed pastor of the First Presbyterian church, Pittsburgh, PA, the following June. In a few weeks he removed with his family to his new home, travelling in a large wagon, with his wife, children, and all his household goods.

He joined Redstone Presbytery June 18, 1811. The importance of his new position was fully and truly felt, the commercial importance of Pittsburgh had given all kinds of business an impetus, and prosperity was advancing rapidly; but this outward show referred only to worldly affairs, the religious condition of the people was cold and almost lifeless. The church to which he was called was embarrassed with debt, and the piety of the people manifested a degree of conformity to the world, which nearly appalled the preacher’s heart. But the experience of his ten years pastorate was to him invaluable, and girding himself, he entered upon his duties with a true heart and an earnest purpose. His preaching was the simple exposition of the truth as it is in Jesus, pointed, clear, and unwavering, revealing the enormity of sin and pleading with the fidelity of one who loved their souls. This style of preaching was sustained by his efforts to establish the prayer-meeting, which, strange as it now appears, met with much opposition, even among professors of religion; but this young pastor knew the holy influence of communion with God, and that God favored a praying people, he therefore went forward, and, in connexion with Rev. Thomas Hunt, who was pastor of the Second church, they persisted, and though to avoid a collision with the people the meetings were not held in the church, a small room was used for that purpose, in which Mr. Hunt taught a day-school. The first meeting consisted of the two pastors, one man, and six women, and thus for eighteen months did this meeting continue without adding a single person to their number.

The chilling indifference of the people soon grew into downright hostility, and husbands and fathers prohibited their wives and daughters from attending, and, finally, when the continued efforts of these pious people could be no longer borne, they waited upon Mr. Herron and told him that it must be stopped, his reply was the turning point in the spiritual condition of that people. He said, “Gentlemen, these meetings will not stop, you are at liberty to do as you please; but I also have the liberty to worship God according to the dictates of my conscience, none daring to molest or make me afraid.” From that time a spirit of piety manifested itself among the members of the church, several gay and fashionable persons were hopefully converted, and an impression was made upon the whole community, at once hopeful and healthful.

Words to Live By:
Do not expect courage of conviction from men who have no convictions, from those who have no anchor in the Word of God. The Scriptures must be drilled down deep into our souls if we are to stand against temptations and testings. May God give us pastors who will set an example, who will faithfully stand against the assaults of the world, the flesh and the devil.

For more on the life of the Rev. Francis Herron, see the post by our friend Barry Waugh, here.

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