It is a matter of sincere and deep regret, that the accounts we have been able to collect of this pioneer of the Cross are so very meagre. We have learned only enough to make us earnestly
desire to know more. He was born in 1706, in Windsor, a town in Connecticut. He was brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, by respectable and pious parents, and being hopefully converted at about twenty years of age, joined the then standing order of Presbyterians in his native place. The natural ardor of his mind soon kindled into the fire of a holy zeal, which raised him so high in the estimation of his brethren that they called him to the office of a deacon. In the exemplary discharge of his duty in this capacity, he continued near twenty years. He was in easy circumstances of life. During this period, he married his first wife, who soon died, leaving one son. At thirty-eight years of age, he heard that son of thunder, Rev. George Whitfield. With many other worthy people in New England, he became firmly fixed in the belief that the "latter-day glory" was just at hand, and that it was his duty to do all he could to hasten it on. Some sold, gave away, or left their possessions, as the powerful impulse of the moment determined, and, without scrip or purse, rushed up to the head of the Susquehanna to convert the heathen. Daniel Marshall was among those who became missionaries to the Mohawk Indians. Sustained by faith, and urged on by a burning zeal, without hope of reward on earth, he relinquished his comfortable home in New England for a hut in the wilderness--the pleasures of refined society for the company of savages--plenty for want. These things he bore cheerfully, with a wife and three children, for eighteen months, during which period several of the Indians became obedient unto the faith, having been hopefully converted. War among the savage tribes occasioned his reluctant removal from among them. He pitched his tent a short time in Pennsylvania, and removed thence to Winchester, Virginia. Here he became acquainted with a Baptist church, adopted their sentiments, and in the forty-eighth year of his life, he and his wife were immersed. This was followed by a license from this church to preach the gospel, wherever, in the providence of God, his lot might be cast. God owned his labors. Many souls were soon awakened and converted.
Once more his zeal impels him to plunge still deeper into the moral wilderness before him. We next find him at Hughwarry, North Carolina, where numbers were converted under his ministry.
Thence, he proceeds to Abbott's creek, in the same State, where he was the instrument of planting a flourishing church, of which he was ordained pastor by his brothers-in-law, Rev. Henry Leadbetter and Rev. Shubael Stearns. In one of his excursions into Virginia about this time, he baptized that remarkable man, Colonel Samuel Harris, who, himself, immediately became a flaming torch amidst the surrounding darkness. Marshall and Harris made several tours together, and planted the gospel as far as James river. Not many years elapsed before he took an affectionate leave of his charge in North Carolina, and settled on Beaver creek, South Carolina. Here, also, a large church was soon raised up under his ministry, and which was, for a time, the object of his tender care and solicitude. His next removal was to Horse creek, about fifteen miles north of Augusta. The fruits of his labors here also appeared in a respectable church, whose sons, raised up under his care, have diffused the light of divine truth through various benighted regions.
From Horse creek he made his first visit to Georgia, and preached the gospel in St. Paul's parish. This parish extended from Bean's creek on the south to Broad river on the north, and to the Ogeechee on the west. During his first visits he preached in private houses; but about his second or third visit, he had meeting in the woods, under a grove. While engaged in prayer, in the opening of the service, he was arrested by Constable Cartlidge, (afterwards a physician, and baptized by Mr. Marshall, and who continued steadfast in the faith until his death in about 1825,) and security for his appearance at Court was given by Hugh Middleton,4. who resided just across the Savannah, on the South Carolina side. Mrs. Marshall, who was present, quoted several texts of Scripture with so much force as to confound the opposers and convict several persons. The services then went on, and after preaching two persons were baptized.
The Monday following, Mr. Marshall and his security went to Augusta and stood his trial before Colonel Barnard (or Barnet)
and Parson Ellington, of the Church of England. The latter seemed rather to take the place of the magistrate, and began the trial by commanding the prisoner to read a chapter in the Bible. This done, he abused him considerably, and ordered him to desist from preaching in the province. In the words of the apostle, when similarly circumstanced, he replied, " Whether it be right to obey God rather than man, judge ye."
Colonel Barnard, the magistrate, was afterwards hopefully converted, and though deterred by the opposition of his wife from being baptized, was a zealous christian, and used to exhort his neighbors to flee the wrath to come.
Thus it appears that it was not without stern opposition that Baptist sentiments were introduced into Georgia; that it was at the cost of much toil, and sacrifice, and insult, that our fathers purchased for us the religious privileges which we now so richly enjoy.
On the first of January, 1771, Mr. Marshall came with his family and took up his final earthly residence at the Kiokee. The following spring the church was constituted, and is famous for having furnished materials for several other churches, and for having produced several eminent ministers of the gospel. Among these were Sanders Walker, Samuel Newton, Loveless Savidge, Alexander Scott and Abraham Marshall. This church prospered greatly, until the country became involved in the horrors of the revolutionary war. Even those troubles were not sufficient to drive her faithful pastor from his post. Like John, he stood by his master, while all men forsook the province and fled. As a friend to the American cause, he was once made a prisoner and put under a strong guard, but obtaining leave of the officers to have religious service with the guard, he spoke with such power and demonstration of the Spirit that officers and guard were amazed and confounded, and he was safely and honorably discharged. No fear of man could make him forsake his duty; for such, in his view, was the providence of God, that every bullet had its commission, and every individual person could but accomplish his will. Hence, on one occasion, when a party of tories demanded of him where he had concealed his horses, he sullenly refused to utter a word, although repeatedly threatened with death. This scene continued
until his wife could bear the suspense no longer, and undertook herself to make the disclosure.
The testimony on all hands is, that he was not remarkable for native strength of mind, but that he had high moral courage, untiring perseverance, flaming zeal, and that he was strictly pure in his manner of life. These qualities were at that time (and indeed are at all times,) more commanding of the respect of the world than the most splendid talents and the richest stores of learning. Such a man was needed in those times to stand up for religious toleration, to introduce the light into vast regions of moral darkness, and through the agitating times of the revolution to be the embodiment, and, as it were, repository of the principles of the gospel. He accomplished the work for which God seems to have protracted his life, and at his departure, having reached a good old age, and seen one descended from his loins, taking up his work, it is no wonder he had a peaceful and happy death.
That event is thus described by his son, Rev. A. Marshall, "In his family he invariably performed his usual round of holy duties, till the morning immediately preceding his happy change. Fully apprised of this as at hand, and perfectly in his senses, he expressed distinctly and emphatically his steady and increasing confidence of future bliss. The following, taken by me, in the presence of a few deeply affected friends and relations, were his last words: 'Dear brethren and sisters, I am just gone. This night I shall probable expire; but I have nothing to fear. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; and henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. God has shown me that he is my God, that I am his son, and that an eternal weight of glory is mine.'"
"The venerable partner of his cares, (and I may add, faithful assistant in all his labors) sitting bedewed with tears by his side, he proceeded, 'Go on, my dear wife, to serve the Lord. Hold out to the end. Eternal glory is before us!'
After a silence of some minutes, he called me and said, 'My breath is almost gone. I have been praying that I may go home to-night. I had great happiness in our worship this morning, particularly in singing, which will make a part of my exercise in a blessed eternity.' Now, gently closing his eyes, he cheerfully
gave up his soul to God, with whom, I doubt not, he walks high in salvation and the climes of bliss. This solemn event took place at the dawn of the 2d day of November, 1784, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. A suitable discourse to his memory was delivered by Rev. Charles Bussey."
Mr. Marshall, after all his sacrifices for the cause of Christ, was blessed by a bountiful Providence with a sufficiency of the meat that perisheth, and left behind him an estate of considerable value. This was not the result of any special efforts of his to acquire property, and still less the benefits of his arduous labors in the ministry. But it was owing chiefly to the advantageous settlement he made at a time when the price of land was low, and to the quantity of land he was induced to take up on account of his numerous sons. ==================
[From J. H. Campbell, Georgia Baptists: Historical and Biographical, 1874, pp. 173-178. -- jrd]
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