ELDER JACOB GRIGG.
By Carter Tarrant, 1808
I have had no biographical account from elder Jacob Grigg, which I am very sorry for. No doubt his history would be interesting.
Mr. Grigg was born and raised in England, where he became a baptist and a preacher. Shortly after he commenced preaching, he was sent by the mssionary society to Sierra Leone in Africa, in company with elder Rodway. Elder David George, a negro preacher in Africa, in a letter to Elder Rippon of London, dated Free-Town, April, 19, 1796, observes,"Brothers Rodway and Grigg, appear to be two most excellent young men, and well qualified for being missionaries. Mr. Rodman has been rather poorly since his arrival here, but Mr. Grigg has kept his health amazing well — he has been for some time at Port Logo — has made considerable progress in the language, and is much respected, and greatly beloved by all the people there — at present he is coming down to Free-Town, and intends staying till the rains are over.Mr. Grigg stayed in Africa about two years; thence he came to Virginia, and married; thence to Kentucky, Mason county; thence to the state of Ohio, in the town of Lebanon, where he now resides, teaches school and preaches.
Mr. Grigg is an excellent writer and an able divine. His enemies charge him with Arminianism, and his friends some times doubt it too, but were all our preachers as lively in religion as Mr. Grigg, they might perhaps be charged more censoriously.
The church at Ebenezer, in Mason county, Kentucky, are desirous for Mr. Grigg to settle with them, which I hope he will do.
[Since writing the foregoing, I have been favored with the following detail.]
Elder, JACOB GRIGG was born in the town & parish of St. Stephen, near Launceston, which is the principal town in the county of Cornwall, England, on the 19th of June,
1769; had exercises of mind with regard to a future state, from the 6th year of his age, which were in a great measure occasioned and strengthened by reading and committing to memory Watt's Hymns for Ch___, together with some passages of holy scripture, ____ by the faithful and affectionate admonitions, were good reproofs of a tender mother. But although these had a foundation for constant uneasiness of mind, yet the heart remained with its natural relish for the poison of iniquity, until the 16th years of his age, when by reading Bunyan's Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, he hoped he found a change; attended Presbyterian meetings but never joined the church. When about 19 joined an Independent church, which afterwards became a Baptized Church of Christ; between the age of 20 and 21, after attempting to preach on the subject, from Matthew xxviii,19; at the age of 24 lost his mother, felt reconciled to leave home & devote himself to the ministry; went to the Baptist academy in Bristol under the care of John Ryland, D. D. a learned & most pious minister of Christ; at about 26 engaged as a missionary in Africa, where he landed December 1, 1795; continued till May 25, 1797, when he left the coast as a passenger with capt. Knight, of Norfolk, Virginia; arrived at the island St. Thomas, (W.I) June 24; left there after a few days as a passenger with capt. Samuel Barron of Norfolk, where he arrived July 20; joined the Baptized church of Christ in Norfolk and Portsmouth; married January 31, 1798, removed into the country and became a member of the Baptized Church of Christ at North-West, Norfolk county; continued there until 1802, when he removed to Mason county, Kentucky; remained there until January, 1806, when he moved to the state of Ohio, whence we are informed he is about to return for the sake of health. He has unformly been, and continues to be, opposed to slavery both in church and state. But happily for me, I am furnished with documents repsecting elder Grigg from an English press, and from those who knew him before he became our fellows citizen.
"At a committee meeting of the Baptist Missionary Society, held at Arnsby in Leicestershire, April 7, 1795, the secretary informed the committee that having received letters from Mr. Jacob Grigg (a student at the Baptist Adademy, at Bristol) expressing his desire to be employed as a missionary under the patronage of this society, he had made enquires of of Mr. Grigg's tutors respecting his character and qualifications for such anundertaking, to which very satisfactory answers had been returnd."
"At a general meeting of the society at Birmingham, September 16, 1795, held for the solemn seeting arart Grigg and [James] Rodway to the work of the Lord."
"They were requested tos tate their reasons forr engaging, with which request they complied to the entire satisfaction, we believe, of a numerous and respectable audience." — See 2d. No. of Periodical Accounts of the Baptist Missionary society.
'Birmingham, Sept. 16, 1795. 'A general meeting of the society was held for the solemn setting apart Grigg and Rodway, to the work of the Lord among the Africans.
"'Mr. Grigg is a member of the Baptist chuch at Launceston in Cornwall, and Mr. James Rodway of another at Hillsley, in Gloucestershire. both of them have been students in the academy at Bristol.
"With good wishes of thousands they sailed in the Eliza from London, for Sierra Leone, affectionately recommended to the Little Negro church at Free-Town in that colony.' — See Rippon's Register, vol. ii, p. 360.
"In the recommendatory letter to the church at Free-Twon is the following passage:"The bearers of this, brethren Jacob Grigg and James Rodway are two young ministers, who love our Lord Jesus Christ and the souls of the Africans. The bear a good character amongst us, and we should be unwilling to part with them but for the love that we bear to the souls of those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. Should they request occasional or stated communication with you, receive them as brethren in our common Lord."
After the public engagements of brethren Grigg and Rodway, 'Brother Fuller solemnly committed them to God by prayer, accompanied with the laying on of hands by the brethren in the ministry present.' — See 2d No. of Periodical Accounts.
In a letter from brother David George, addressed to doctor Rippon, and dated Free-Town, April 19, 1796, he says, 'Brothers Rodway and Grigg appear to be two most excellent young men, and well qualified for being missionaries.'
In a note affixed to the foot of the letter, the editor says, 'The governor (that is governor Dawes) is safely arrived in England, and speaks respectfully of Messrs. Rodway and Grigg' — Rippon's Register, pages 409 and 410.
The last account the Register gives us of brother Grigg is, that he became involved in such disputes with a principal person in the colony, as made it necessary to leave that part.
In No. 4, Periodical Accounts, we are told that these disputes were foreign to the design of the mission, but the society concluded that notwithstanding this imprudent step on brother Grigg, in interferring with things foreign to the object of his missin, yet that they shall still pray for him, that he may be a useful minister of Christ, and that this unhappy circumstance may ultimately be useful in him, in teaching him more caution and care in his future dealings with men and things.
But my readers will ask what were those disputes above alluded to? The Baptist Register does not mention them; the Periodical Accounts do not mention them; they have left brotehr Grigg to tell his own story, and therefore I will lay before you a letter from him on the subject:
To Elder, Carter Tarrant.DEAR BROTHER,
As you desire a knowleddge of the disputes which rendered it necessary that I should leave the colony of Sierra Leone, on the coast of Guinea; although all things considered, it will by no means redound to my ccredit, yet as expecting soon to die and go a judgment
where nothing but truth with honor can appear, I will, in simplicity and hope in godly sincereity, relate this painful part of the history of my poor unprofitable life.
In about four months after our arrival in Africa, we had a change of government. Governor Dawes, who in my esteem has ever been held as one of the best men in the world, and a great lover of liberty for both blacks and whites, resigned the government into the hands of Mr. Macaulay, a Scots gentleman, full of British politics, and a most bigotted seceder. With him he brought Mr. Clark, a seceding minister, and a country-man of his own, whose popularity and aggrandisement appeared to be his main object. During the continuance of Mr. Dawes in the colony nothing, was attempted, but immediately after his departure, printed advertisements were posted up rescinding old laws and customs and introducing new ones, destructive of the liberty of the people (as I then thought) both in their religious and civil concerns.
By the desire of the Baptist church, I wrote a letter of reminstrance against these proceedings, which, together with some thought I deliverd in desscribing the house of God, in public speaking, from Psalm xxvii. 4, formed a ground of charge against me. I made my appearance, when, after much conversation, the governor was so condescending as to advise me to prepare as speedily as possible for leaving the colony, to which I agreed. 'But whither will you go?' (said he) I replied, 'to America.' He rejoined, 'I think that government will suit you best,' and we parted.
Soon after this Mr. John Garvin, a methodist minister, who is now an elder in South Carolina, or Georgia, write a letter from the Methodist church, addressed to the governor, remonstrating against his proceedings. Mr. Garvin, being a servant of the Sierra Leone company, was tried for misdemeanor and sentenced to banishment. I took a passage with him in the Augusta of Charleston, belonging to price & Co. and commanded by capt. Knight of Norfolk, in which we set sail from the river Rio Pung__ on the 25th of May, 1797, and thus ended the mission, for brother Rodway had been obliged long before to return to England for his health.
You perhaps will wonder why my fathers and brethren in England did not mention the particular subjects of dispute, but if you consider that despotism reigns with an uncontrolled sway, both in church and state, in civil & ecclesiastical affairs, you will find it a conclusive reason for their silence. But then you may ask, How can you consider disputes of the above nature to your disccredit, and as a painful part of your history? I answer, In these disputes I was led to interfere with civil and political concerns, to the neglect of the great object of my mission, and thereby the mission was borught to an end, a great deal of money wasted, the feelings of the Lord's people wounded, and the mouths of the wicked opened to balspheme. Politics, under whatever form they appear, are no part of a preacher's business, any more than speculating in land or negroes.[From Carter Tarrant, History of the Baptised Ministers and Churches in Kentucky, &c Friends to Humanity, 1808, pp. 25-30. — Jim Duvall]
My dear brother, farewell, pray for me, that through my future life I may be satisfied to mind the Lord'sa business only.
Yours, &c. JACOB GRIGG =========== Baptist Biographies
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