As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am again reading Iain Murray’s book Revival and Revivalism. Murray notes how Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that Samuel Davies was “the greatest preacher” that America ever produced (p. 3). Davies was a pastor in Virginia who had a tremendous impact in Colonial America though suffering much ill health throughout his ministry. During a bout of sickness in 1757, Murray cites a letter that Davies wrote to a friend in London.
Formerly I have wished to live longer, that I might be better prepared for heaven; but this consideration had very little weight with me, and that for a very unusual reason, which was this: – after long trial I found this world a place so unfriendly to the growth of every thing divine and heavenly, that I was afraid if I should live any longer, I should be no better fitted for heaven than I am. Indeed I have hardly any hopes of ever making any great attainment in holiness while in this world, though I should be doomed to stay in it as long as Methuselah. I see other Christians indeed around me make some progress, though they go on with but snail-like motion. But when I consider that I set out about twelve years old, and what sanguine hopes I then had of my future progress, and yet that I have been almost at a stand ever since, I am quite discouraged. O, my good Master, if I may dare call thee so, I am afraid I shall never serve thee much better on this side the regions of perfection. The thought grieves me; it breaks my heart, but I can hardly hope better. But if I have the least spark of true piety in my breast, I shall not always labour under this complaint. No, my Lord, I shall yet serve thee; serve thee through an immortal duration; with the activity, the fervour, the perfection of ‘the rapt seraph that adores and burns’ (p. 18).
Davies was 34 when he penned these words and died 3 years later as the president of the College of New Jersey, which was later named Princeton University.
Categories: Christian living