Greersburg Academy

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Influences Often Unseen

The Greensburg Academy, located in Darlington, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1802 by the Rev. Thomas Edgar Hughes. He was born on April 7, 1769, in York county, Pennsylvania. After completing his preparatory studies at the Canonsburg Academy, he later graduated from Princeton College in 1797 and then studied theology privately with Dr. McMillan. Licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Ohio in 1798, he was ordained the following year and installed as pastor of a group of small churches in and around Mount Pleasant and New Salem, in Beaver county, Pennsylvania.

Rev. Hughes was the first pastor to settle north of the Ohio river, and served as Moderator of the Presbytery of Erie, at its session in 1806, when this Presbytery was but five years in existence. It was on this occasion that the Presbytery took up the matter of education and resolved to commit their aid to the establishment of an academy at Greersburg. With this, the Rev. Hughes opened his school at Greersburg in a log cabin, serving as the first teacher of the Academy. He also labored as the fund-raiser for the school, traveling as far as New England in search of financial and material support.

One incident, little known, serves to illustrate the importance of the school, of Rev. Hughes’s ministry, and particularly the essential role of a parent in praying for his or her children. Rev. Hughes was traveling on horseback one evening, when darkness forced him to seek lodging. Passing by one cottage, he heard the voice of a young mother seated in an adjoining garden, pleading in prayer for her little boys, dedicating them to God, and praying that in some way they might be used in the Lord’s service. Not wishing to disturb her prayers, Rev. Hughes moved along to another nearby home, where he lodged that night. There he learned from the family with whom he stayed, something of the story of this young mother and her children. Such was their story that Rev. Hughes made special arrangements for the education of one of the boys at the Greersburg Academy.

That little boy later grew to become a distinguished minister of the Gospel, a college professor, and the author of many books still used to this day. We have written of before of the Rev. William H. McGuffey, author of The McGuffey’s Readers, but this little account of his rearing, of his mother’s prayers, and the provision for his education, serves to show how the Lord uses one life to influence and guide another.

Words to Live By:
In all that you do in your life as a Christian, you can have no clear idea of how the Lord may use you in His kingdom. Your only duty is to seek to serve Him with all your strength and with all your heart. God will do the rest, and for those who truly seek to serve Him, the blessings that will unfold from faithful service will far outstrip our wildest imaginations.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:9, KJV

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