Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Monday, November 3, 2014

3 November 1723 A.D. Samuel Davies Born—Colonial Presbyterian Minister

3 November 1723 A.D.  Samuel Davies Born—Colonial Presbyterian Minister

Graves, Dan. “Samuel Davies, Master Preacher.”  Jul 2007.  Accessed 6 Jun 2014.

Samuel Davies, Master SpeakerThe masterful sermons of what American preacher profoundly influenced Patrick Henry to become a great orator and patriot? What American minister succeeded Jonathan Edwards as President of Princeton University? The answer to both questions is Samuel Davies.


Samuel was born on this day, November 3, l723. Evidently, his Baptist mother had difficulty conceiving, for years later Samuel wrote, "I am a son of prayer, like my namesake Samuel the prophet; and my mother called me Samuel because, she said, 'I have asked him of the Lord...'" In that same letter, he remarked that "the most important blessings of my life I have looked upon as immediate answers to the prayers of a pious mother."

Davies was determined to make life count for God. In l740, although Virginia's colonial government discriminated against denominations other than the official Church of England, it gave Davies a license to preach as a Presbyterian minister in four counties, and he used it to promote tolerance for all denominations. The persuasive reasoning of Davies' eloquent sermons electrified his audiences by combining Scripture with practical teaching. The patriot orator, Patrick Henry frequently attended Davies' services, and learned some of his eloquence from him.

Davies also regularly invited three hundred slaves to his home on Saturday evenings--their only free time. He taught them to read and to sing hymns, many of which he wrote himself. His "Great God of Wonders" and other gospel songs are still found in hymn-books.

Realizing the importance of education, Davies helped found Princeton University, and was chosen its president after Jonathan Edward's sudden death. Yet Davies, too, soon died--at the early at age thirty-eight. Like the Old Testament prophet after whom he was named, this eighteenth century Samuel dedicated his life to serving his God and his country.


1.      Adapted from an earlier Christian History Institute story.

2.      Ninde, Edward S. The Story of the American Hymn. New York: Abingdon, 1921.

3.      Pilcher, George William. Samuel Davies; apostle of dissent in Colonial Virginia. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1971.

4.      Various encyclopedia and internet articles.

Last updated July, 2007.

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