This Day in Presbyterian History:
An Ambassador for King Jesus
Samuel Davies was born in Delaware in 1723. His Welsh mother had named him after the prophet Samuel. Ever afterwards, he considered himself to be a son of prayer, as the biblical name Samuel inferred. His early dedication to God induced him to devote himself to God personally. Joining the church at age 15, he entered Samuel Blair’s classical and theological school at Faggs Manor Presbyterian Church, in Pennsylvania. He was ordained as a Presbyterian evangelist in February 1747 by the New Castle Presbytery.
On April 14, 1747, Samuel Davies stood before Governor Gooch and his council at Williamsburg, to ask permission to preach at four meeting houses in Hanover Country in Virginia. Readers need to know that Virginia in the pre-revolutionary days was officially Anglican in religion. Anyone outside of that denomination needed permission to minister. Later this law would be changed with a separation between church and state. But at this time, permission had to be sought. Receiving it, Davies preached faithfully and sacrificially at these four preaching points, some twelve miles north of Richmond, Virginia.
Suddenly, he wife was taken from him by illness which resulted in death. It was said of him at the time that, despite his sorrow, he was determined to spend what little remained of his exhausted lifestyle to advance his Master’s glory to the good of countless souls in need of the gospel. This dedication brought people from a wide circumference to hear the preaching of the Word of God, including a mother and her young son Patrick Henry.
On November 1, 1748, he returned to the Governor to ask that seven more places of preaching be granted to him. While there was some opposition to the increased number, he presented his case with such clarity and forcefulness of argument, his request was granted.
For eleven more years, he preached the Word of God in the county of Hanover, as well as four other counties of Virginia. He was, as one put it, the ambassador of a mighty king. All, upon hearing his weekly sermons, knew that king to be no one except King Jesus.
Words to Live By: All believers are to be ambassadors of King Jesus, declaring the message by their lives and lips, for all to be reconciled to God.
Through the Scriptures: Psalm 10 – 12
Through the Standards: Definition of effectual calling
“All those whom God has predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.”
Image source : Photograph found facing page 33 of Virginia Presbyterianism and Religious Liberty in Colonial and Revolutionary Times, by Thomas Cary Johnson. Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1907. Scan prepared by the staff of the PCA Historical Center.