Those who properly expect to give account will be very careful to examine themselves with respect to the motives by which they are influenced to undertake this work. Such a minister will view himself as acting in the presence of a heart-searching God who requires truth in the inward part and will shortly call him to account for all the exercises of his heart. He will search every corner of his soul to determine whether the divine honor or something else is the object of his pursuit. He has been taught by the rectitude of the divine law that God will not pass by transgressors but will judge the secrets of men. The work will appear so great that nature will recoil at the thought, like Jeremiah: “Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” (Jer. 1:6). Or with the great apostle, “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16). The true disciple of Jesus will not thrust himself forward into ministry like a heedless usurper but with the greatest caution and self-diffidence.

—Lemuel Haynes

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Quote is from Hayne’s first published sermon, titled “The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman Described” (delivered at Hinesburgh, Feb. 23, 1791). It was preached at the ordination of Rev. Reuben Parmelee. The sermon can be found with many others from his contemporaries in The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastorsedited by Thabiti M. Anyabwile.

Lemuel Haynes was an African-American who was abandoned at 5 months old by his parents. He was raised by an all-white family as an indentured servant. He fought in the American Revolution and later began formal ministerial training with two clergymen, studying Greek and Latin. He was the first African American to be ordained by any religious body in America by the year 1785. He was influenced by the Calvinistic Theology of Edwards and Whitefield as was common among African American families in that day.{{1}} In March 1788, Haynes accepted a call to pastor in Rutland, Vermont where he served an all-white congregation for thirty years—”a relationship between pastor and congregation rare in Hayne’s time and in ours both for its length and for its racial dynamic.”{{2}}

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[[1]] Thabiti Anyabwile, The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2007), 18-19.[[1]]

[[2]] Ibid., 20. [[2]]