Samuel Davies Recruits a Regiment
One of the lesser known preachers of the Great Awakening on the 18th century was Samuel Davies. His main ministry was in Virginia, and growing up Patrick Henry listened to his sermons and learned his style of oratory. Davies was very patriotic, as demonstrated in this sermon preached to the militia of Hanover county on May 8, 1759, trying to raise a company for Captain Samuel Meridith.
May I not reasonably insist upon it, that the company be made up this very day, before we leave this place? Methinks your king, your country, nay your own interest command me; and therefore I, insist upon it. Oh! for the all-prevailing force of Demosthenes’ oratory—but I recall my wish, that I may correct it;—Oh! for the influence of the Lord of armies, the God of battles, the Author of true courage and every heroic virtue, to fire you into patriots and soldiers this moment! —Ye young and hardy men, whose very faces seem to speak that God and nature formed you for soldiers, who are free from the incumbrance of families depending on you for subsistence, and who are perhaps but of little service to society while at home, may I not speak for you, and declare as your mouth, Here we are all ready to abandon our ease, and rush into the glorious dangers of the field, in defence of our country? Ye that love your country, enlist; for honor will follow you in life or death, in such a cause. You, that love your religion, enlist; for your religion is in danger. Can Protestant Christianity expect quarters from heathen savages, and French papists? Sure, in such an alliance the powers of Hell make a third party. Ye that love your friends and relations, enlist; lest ye see them enslaved and butchered before your eyes.1
Stirred by Davies’ powerful preaching, it is recorded that so many men wished to enlist that a regiment was formed instead of a single company.
1. Memoir of the Rev. Samuel Davies by Christopher C. Dean (Boston: Massachusetts Sabbath School Union, 1832) p. 75-76.