3d. Imputed Righteousness one of the Glories of the Gospel.
4th. Believers exhorted to continue in their obedience.
5th. Young People called upon to consider, that for their conduct here
they must lie accountable hereafter, at the Judgment-Seat of Christ. Deliv-
ered at an Evening Lecture, May 8, 1771, at the desire of a number of young
men, and published by request
Sermons 6, 7, and 8 are on Apostolick Preaching- Delivered Nov. 1790.
9. God's Compassion to the Miserable. Preached at the desire of Levi
Ames, who attended on the occasion, and who was executed tor burglary Oct.
yi, 1773, aged 22.
10. The character of a foolish Son. Preached the Lord's Day after the exe-
cution of Levi Ames.
11. Hope the Anchor of the Soul. Delivered Nov. 13, 1791.
12. God's Designs vainly opposed by sinners. Delivered at the quarterly
day of prayer, June 4, 1803.
382 Biography of Gardner T hunt on.
13. The Blessedness of those who die in the Lord. Delivered April 17,
1768, occasioned by the death of the Author's Mother, Mrs. Mary Stillman,
who died March 17, 1768, in Charleston, (S. C.) aged 57.
14. The Resurrection and Change of the viie Body. Delivered Nov. SO,
15. The Nature and Uses of Prayer. Delivered April 7, 1801, being the
quarterly day of prayer.
16. The Gospel Ministry. Delivered in Salem, at the ordination of the
Rev. Lucius Bolles, Jan. 9, 1805.
17. The Sinking Soul saved by Grace. Preached March 18, 1804
18. The Nature and Design of the Atonement. Preached Feb. 1, 1807.
19. The Water of Life. Preached March 9, 1806.
20. The last words of Christ to his disciples. Delivered Feb. 22, 1807,
being the last sermon which Dr. Stillman preached.
GARDNER THURSTON was the son of Edward and
Elizabeth Thurston, and was born in Newport, Rhode-
Island, Nov. 14, 1721. When he was but a small lad,
some of his relatives in the country obtained him to tar-
ry with them for a season, where the aged and religious
were highly pleased to learn, that their little visitant had
such a taste for devotion, that he was known to exhort
his young associates to remember their Creator, and im-
plore his aid whenever they formed any plan for enjoy-
ment, and wished to be successful. To press his exhor-
tation powerfully upon their hearts, and satisfy his own
conscience, he was seen in their little circles praying to
God. The pious kept these things in their minds, be-
lieving it highly probable, that Infinite Wisdom had de-
signed him to be an instrument of great good among
After he returned to Newport, and had been some
time under the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Whitman, and
his colleague, Rev. Nicholas Eyers, he wrote them the
following letter :
" Dearly beloved Fathers in Christ,
" Through the wonderful mercy of God, I am brought to see myself in a lost
condition, and his word and my conscience testify, that in such a state of na-
ture, I am a child of wrath.
" Sirs, I consider that the gospel requires a positive change in all who will
be admitted into the kingdom of God ; and that this change is new forming
the heart, and subjecting the whole man to the service of Christ : that he may
be translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's ciear
Son Knowing my own weakness and inability to deliver myself, I find that I
cannot do any thing pleasing to God of myself ; I cannot come to that true and
saving faith in Jesus Christ, with winch remission of sins is connected ; neither
c: n I make satisfaction for the least of my transgressions: therefore, O Sirs, I
de-sire to depend wholly and alone upon the free grace of God in Jessus Christ,
for wisdom, righteousness, ftanctih" cation, and redemption," Sec.
Biography of Gardner Thurston. 383
Soon after he wrote to these ministers, who were over
him in the Lord, he obtained peace in believing, and joy
in the Holy Ghost ; but did not make a publick profes-
sion of his faith in God, till April 4, 1741 . When this
day came, his mind was covered with darkness, and filled
with distressing fears, that he rested short of the Rock
of Ages as the foundation of his hope ; and that he
should inevitably be a hypocrite if he joined the church.
In this trying period of his life, he endeavoured to make
God his refuge, and prayed for the light of his counte-
nance, that he might be led understandingly to know and
to do his will. The time arrived in which he was to be
examined as a candidate for baptism. But his fears con-
cerning himself still continued, and multiplied to such an
host against him, that when he came to the meeting-
house door, he dared not enter, but turned and walked
into a small burying-ground, and sat down upon a rock.
The place, by the kind hand of God upon him, was
made like the resting-place which Jacob found, as he
journeyed from Beersheba to Padanaram. About sixty
years afterward, walking in the same burying-ground,
Mr. Thurston stopped, and putting his staft'upon the rock,,
said, "There I sat down, overwhelmed with distress,
while the church were waiting for me to come in, to
give them an account of the dealings of God with my
soul. Soon after I sat down, I was enabled, through
rich grace, to give up myself, and all I had, into the
hands of my blessed Jesus, who immediately dispelled,
the darkness which covered me, removed my distress,
filled me with peace and consolation, and gave me
strength to declare what he had done for my soul."
He was received by the church, and baptized by their
pastor, the Rev, Nicholas Eyers, and enjoyed great peace
of mind, and establishment in the doctrine of Christ.
He was highly esteemed in the church as a pious and
promising youth, and took an active part in their con-
ference meetings, till God was pleased to call him to de-
clare more publickly the glad tidings of salvation.
The church were so well satisfied with his account of
the operations of the divine Spirit upon his mind, and his
leading views of the great truths of the Christian system,,
that after hearing him a number of times, they gave him
384 Biography of Gardner Thurston*
approbation to preach in 1748, and requested him to be
an assistant to their pastor, Rev. Nicholas Eyers.
He from this time preached generally once on the
Lord's-day and one lecture every week. His desire for
information, especially in divinity, was great, which he
had an opportunity to gratify above many ; for Mr.
Eyers, with whom he was most intimately connected,
was a man of talents and learning.
Mr. Eyers died suddenly, February 1.5,. 17-59, having
preached part of the Lord's day before ; and Mr. Thurs-
ton was, by the church, invited to succeed him, and was
accordingly ordained to the pastoral office on the 29th
of April following.
As he was born and educated with the people whom
he had now engaged to serve, he was not ignorant of
their expectations from him as their pastor. He there-
fore determined to give himself wholly to the all-impor-
tant work of preaching the glorious gospel of Christ,
and to finish his course with joy. Consequently he left
his former business, which was lucrative, closed his ac-
counts, and entered into the vineyard of the Lord with
all his heart ; pleading the sweet promise which flowed
from the Saviour's lips ; " Lo, I am with you alvvay,
even to the end of the world."
Mr. Thurston was endowed with an excellent disposi-
tion, and possessed a good natural constitution, with a
quick and brilliant imagination. He was mild, studious,
and amiable in his family ; lively and engaging in the
society of his friends ; tender, solemn, and devotional a-
mong the sons and daughters of affliction j easy and grace-
ful in all his publick movements ; his voice was strong
and melodious, and his heart all alive in the great and
arduous work of the ministry of reconciliation.
He generally wrote the heads of his sermons, the quo-
tations from Scripture, and some of the most interesting
ideas which he thought necessary for the clear illustra-
tion of his subject. These he commonly committed to
memory, and but seldom had his notes before him in
Mr. Thurston being possessed of pleasing pulpit tal-
ents, and giving himself wholly to the work of the min-
istry, his hearers became so numerous that his meeting-
Biography of Gardner T/jurston. 385
house was enlarged twice, till it was 15 by 50 feet, and
was well filled as long as he was able to preach. He was
favoured with repeated revivals of religion among his
people. Though these revivals were small in comparison
with what many experience in the present day, yet his
success was not measured by the duration of his minis-
try ; for many who joined the church a number of years
after he was dead, dated their awakenings, and some the
beginning of their hope in the Saviour's merits, under
his preaching. A number of ministers own him as an
instrument in the Lord's hands of their awakening,
comfort, and establishment in the faith of God's elect.
Mr. Thurston was well acquainted with afflictions and
bereavements ; for he lived to see all his near relations
buried, except one daughter ; and having passed through
many temptations as a Christian and minister, he was
well qualified for both sympathy and advice.
In 1792, he wrote as follows :
" JVew/iorl, (R.L) 24JA March, 1792.
" Dear Madam,
" I have heard that you have not enjoyed so good health of late as visual,
on account of the loss of one of your eyes; and that you de&ire me to write you
on this subject.
" The loss of the sight of one eye is very great, and it Is a mercy you have
one left. These bodily eyes must soon fail, be closed, and we be in the land of
darkness, where we shall not need them. But, dear madam, there is another
eye which the Lord can give to all who love him supremely ; which is vastlv
preferable to us, even in this world ; I mean the eye of faith. By this Abra-
ham saw Christ's day and was glad ; by this Job saw his Redeemer, ai,;l Mo-
ses saw him who was invisible. By this, we now behold the once suffering,
bleeding Lamb of God, who died for our sins, and rose again fov our jubtifica-
tion ; yes, by this eye we crji look within the vail, and see Christ seated on the
right hand of Gixl, and ever living to make intercession for all who come unto
God by him. By this eye, we can look through the pearly gates of the. New-
Jerusalem, and view the spirits of the just made perfect, joined with the bfcssed
angels in celebrating the praises Of their God and King.
" () transporting sight ! Methinks, madam, you are now ready to cry.
Lord, evermore give me this sight ! He will give it to every one who comes
unto him and asks for it. Yes, clear friend, 1 have something more to say ;
that we shall see die dear Lord with these bodily eyes, though useless in the
grave. He will change these vile bodies, with all their members, and fashion
them like his own glorious body. Then Lope will cease ia fruition, and faith iu
vision. Then those eyes which have been so long closed and useless, shall be
opened again, and made useful. With mine eyes shall I behold him, and not
another for me. Then shall we see the Saviour, and converse with him, as one
friend converseth with another. We shall see him, and l>e entirely conformed
to his image, aud be ever with the Lord. Think, dear friend, what a glorious
sight this will be, which can never wax old or dim. The inhabitants of the
New-Jerusalem shall no more say they are sick. There will be no more pain ;
sorrow and sighing sliall entirely flee away.
" The dear Lord grant you, and every branch of your family, this portion.
" I remain your sincere friend, GAR DNER THURSTON."
VOL, 2. 49
385 Biography of Gardner Thurstw.
To a young Minister under some trials.
" 1 rejoice in the grace of G >1 h-jstowed on you, and the success granted you,
I pray Gcxl to give you t> i the serpent, and the Irirnilessijeis of the
dove. A good cauae, a go ly and uniform conduct, vUl put
to silence the ignorance c' , . ii. 1 c;t;wt: yive you belter advice than
Paul gave to Timothy. Head ;:g*iii and again liis second epistle, second chap-
tor. I sympathize with you :n v our trub ; ; urvd God -vvil] be \vith you
in six and in seven troubles. I ki/Av that your mind must be tfitll-rently exer-
cised; and S:i. be wanting on his part to take every auvant .
hurt your usefti'. .". there arc sorue .: ; ike with him, and watch-
for your halt'ini;.
** I believe liuit God. who walks in the midst of the tcven golden candlesticks^
wilt support and deleft you. lie upon your guard tuw.t oft occasion f ran ilu>.se
wh'< seek occasion, to sp.^tk disrespectfully '.:' you. Endeavour alwa- s to tx-
. a gospel temper. If they curse, dr> ycj bless : for Uu: servant of the Lord
must not strive, but in meekness instruct those v, ho oppose themselves. Von
must iiot tliink your ;'fi\ictio.is strange ; they are vvhc-.t \'our Master and inanr
tf his servants met with before. You are onl\ vour measure of that
whicli was belirad of thc'affiictiou of Christ in \ . for the body's s:-.ke r
vhich is the cb.uvch. O I)le'-Sv. i cl privilege, to partake \vi-_li Christ inhis afflic-
tions ! Be :iot c!i 1 .-: uraged, for tl:e power of the crien:y is iimiced like the gre.it
deep ; hitherto it may come, and no further. Fcr the wrath of man shall
praise him, ar/.l the remaiader shall he restrain.
"Concenung polemick performances, I will just o';.scrve, that I have for-
merly read many, and after all, I find the Bible to be the best book to discover
what truth is, and to establish us in the truth. In this b>ok we find a glorious
display of God's justice in the righteous condemn 1 tiKni of the wicked ; and
a glorious display of divine grace in the salvation cf his people. Even from tile-
foundation to the top-stone, it is all grace, grace, free grace."
In 178*, a little after the death of his wife, he thus
addressed one of his correspondents :
" I embrace the present opportunity to inform you, that I enjoy a better state
of health, than I have tor some years past I have abundant reason to bless
God, who has been the guide of my youth, and thvcugh life ; for that support.
afforded me in the late trying dispensation which 1 have passed through. He
has, indeed, been a present help in time of trouble. How unsuitable would
it be for us, to have all our evils and trying cluu.gos in vic-w at once ! Therefore-
let us admire the W'.-rds ci" .lesus, Sufficient to tiie day is the evil thereof.
" (), m:iy I ever lean on my helper, God. I am indeed passing through the
furnace of "affliction, and drinking the bitter cup of UK- same; but it is the cup
iwhich my heavenly Father ghes me, a::d it is nr.xed with mercy. It is all
light ; for I am sure that Infinite Goodness order. - all things for the best for them
who love him. O why should such an unprofitable sei vant as I am be spared ?
What arc the designs of Providence ? Surely the Lord has something further
for me to do in his house:, else I should have been ciu. do.vn. I am firm in the
opinion, that God will not take away his ministers b< iVr.-c their work is done. It"
there be one more sinner to be converted by :h-ir mhvs'n .-, one more saint to be
or a Christian wish to stay one moment longer out of heaven than he can be
Mr. Thurston was not able to preach for about three
years before his death ; yet he was able to attend meet-
ing for the most part of that time, and to visit his flock,
to speak comfortably unto God's people. He ap-
Biography of .Gardner Thur-sion. 38?
peared to be all the time on the wing for heaven ; in fine,
\ve can say with propriety, that his conversation was in
heaven. A number of ministers and Christi:v> f tends
\isited him, in the cour.se of about eighteen months be*
fore his death, and it was their uniform opinion, that
they never saw any one so unconditionally given up to
live on the promises of God, as he was ; and who would
talk so familiarly and constantly about death being with
Jesus knowing the saints in heaven and the unuttera-
ble felicity which would overwhelm the whole ransomed
family of God, in the resurrection morning.
Mr. Thurston was remarkably fond of meditating and
conversing upon the triumphs of the Christian over death
and the grave ; and the perfection of our nature, and the
extcnsiveness of our knowledge, when we come to
dwell with Christ in heaven. " O," said he, " when I
come into the glorious presence of my Lord, I shall sea
and know those servants and children of my heavenly
Father, with whom I took sweet counsel while on earth.
Yes, I shall know them as quick and with as much cer-
tainty as Peter knew Moses and Elias, when they descend-
ed from heaven to mount Tabor to converse with Christ.
I am not afraid to die ; for my Lord Jesus is with me>
and I shall fear no evil. I know whom I have believ-
ed, and am sure that he will keep that, xvhich I have com-
mitted unto him. What is that ? It is my all, for I have
been enabled to give myself into his hands ; therefore I
am not troubled about his property, for he knows how
to keep it."
One morning, just after he had recovered from a faint-
ing fit, he said to a friend, with a smile upon his counte-
nance, " I did not think of seeing your face again in th
flesh, one hour past ; for I expected to have been with
Jesus in heaven before this moment. Yet I do not wish
you to think, that my Lord will tarry too long. Hie
understanding is infinite : he is unchangeable. I have
lived to a good old age, and have seen the salvation of the
Lord. I long to see my Saviour in glory. He will come
quickly. For me to die is gain, The death of the right-
eous is called only a sleep. Them who sleep in Jesus will
God bring with him ; and the dead in Christ shall rise
Erst. We slull then be like him, for we shalj see him as
388 Biography f Jeremiah Walker.
he is. He will change our vile bodies, and make them
like unto his most glorious body. Then shall I be satis-
A little after this, he was more unwell, and his speech
failed him so much, that he was never afterwards able to
speak intelligibly. But a serene and smiling countenance
and expressive gestures, showed that he retained his rea-
son, and that he was calm and joyful in the approach of
death ; and after remaining in this situation a few days,
he fell asleep in Jesus, on the 2;id of May, 18O2, in the
eighth-first year of his age. A suitable discourse was
delivered at his interment by Mr. Gano, of Providence.
These sketches have been extracted from a Memoir
written by Mr. Joshua Bradley, who succeeded this ven-
erable father in the pastoral office.
JEREMIAH WALKER was born in Bute county, North-
Carolina, about the year 1747. He possessed rare and
singular talents. When but a small boy, although de-
scended from rather obscure parentage, and having very
little education, he was remarkably fond of reading and
improving his mind. He was also noticed as a boy of
very moral and virtuous habits. When quite young he
embraced vital religion, and being baptized, soon began to
preach. The few Baptist preachers that were then in the
ministry were very illiterate, Mr. Walker of course had
very little opportunity of improving his small stock of
literature, from their conversation ; but the invincible en-
ergies of his genius towered above every obstruction. He
quickly shone forth with so much splendour as to make
it questionable, whether the obscurity of his education,
as well as the unlearnedness of his society, did not, by
leaving his mind unshackled from scholastick dogmas
and from critical strictures, rather advance than impede
his real greatness. After preaching in his nativ^ neigh-
bourhood, and in Pittsylvania county, Virginia, for some
few years, he was induced by the new church called Not-
toway, formed in Amelia county, Virginia, (now Notto-
way) to move down and take the pastoral charge of tnem.
This took place, anno 1769. Here he became very con-
Biography of Jeremiah Walker. 389
spicuous, and disseminated his evangelical principles far
and near. He was almost incessantly employed in preach-
ing the gospel. In a few years, aided by others, particu-
larly certain young preachers of his own raising, be
planted between twenty and thirty churches south of
James-river. In these were also a considerable number
of gift ed characters, who afterwards became distinguished
preachers. All of whom were either brought to the
knowledge of the truth through his ministry, or were
nurtured under his fostering hand, after they were
brought. All who knew him about this time, coincide
in ascribing to him every thing that is desirable in a min-
ister of the gospel. In talents, as a preacher, he was
equalled by few of any denomination. His voice was
melodious, his looks were affectionate, his manner was
impressive and winning, his reasoning was clear and con-
clusive, his figures were elegant, well chosen, and strictly
applicable ; all of which advantages were heightened by
the most unaffected simplicity. In private conversation,
he was uncommonly entertaining and instructing to all,
but especially to young preachers. Affable with ail sorts
of people, he was beloved and admired as far as he was
known. Besides this, he was considered by all his ac-
quaintances exemplarily pious, and, no doubt, was so at
that time. No spot nor wrinkle was found in his char-
So distinguished a man among the despised Baptists,
could not long escape the notice of their opponents.
When persecution began to arise, the enemies of the
cross soon cast their eyes on Jeremiah Walker. Him
they viewed as the champion. " If we can but silence
him," said they, " the whole host beside will hide them-
selves in dens and caverns." Accordingly he was arrest,
ed in Chesterfield county, by virtue of a warrant from a
magistrate, and, after examination, was committed to jail.
His patience, humility, and uniform prudence and piety,
while in prison, acquired for him the esteem of all; whose
prejudices would allow them to think favourably of a
Baptist. He kept a journal or diary, when confined, in
which are some of the most pious and sensible reflections.
When Mr. Walker came out of jail, he stood, if possi-
ble, in higher estimation than he had done before.
390 Biography of Jeremiah Walker.
Wherever he went to preach, he was attended by a large
concourse ; and from his preaching the most beneficial
consequences were constantly produced.
Here, alas ! we could willingly drop the pencil, and
leave the picture with these bright colourings : but our
wishes cannot be indulged ; candour compels us to forego
the desire. Like the inspired historians, we must not
only exhibit the goodness and greatness of God's people,
but their foibles and their follies too. They told of Da-
vid's rise ; they told of his downfall likewise. No- max-
im is more surely established by experience and observa-
tion, than this High delights are fraught with great
dangers. God hath set adversity over against prosperity.
And whenever a man in any character arises to distin-
guished eminence, he may look for some downfall, unless
he watch his steps with a commensurate vigilance.
Mr. Walker had arrived to a degree of distinction far
above his associates. In whatever direction he might
travel, he was hailed by many as a father in the gospel.
Caressed by his friends ; admired by all, even by his
enemies j invited to the society of the great ; very influ-
ential, and indeed all-powerful in Associations and other
places among the Baptists ; still young and inexperien-
ced ; it will not appear strange to an experienced mind,
that this man, thus standing on a pinnacle, should tilt
"Oh, popular applause, what heart of mart
Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms 1
The wisest aud the l>tst feel argent need
Of all their caution, in thy gentlest gales*
But, swell'cl into a gust, who then, alas!
Yv'ith all his canvass set, and, inexpert,
And therefore heedless, can withstand thy pow'r ?"
In every good there will be some evil. The plain, fa-
miliar, affectionate manners of the Baptists in those days,
under suitable restrictions, were surely favourable to vi-
tal piety. This habit, however, among the unsuspicious
ftnd incautious, exposed them to snares, into which too
many fall. It would have been happy for Mr. Walker,
if he had observed somewhat more of etiquette, especial-
ly among females. Their fondness for his company, un-
der the pretence of religious affection, was often nothing
more than carnal love in disguise. He was ultimately
entrapped. .In the year 177*, he attempted a criminal