Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Anointing, among Regular Baptists

When writing about the practice of anointing with oil in his Customs of Primitive Churches, Morgan Edwards's appeal to the German Baptists suggests that the practice must have been falling into disuse among the Regular Baptists at the time of his writing (1768). Here are a couple of examples of the practice among the Regulars.

Owen Thomas was a member of this church [Rhydwilim]. He was born at Gwrgodllys, Cilmanllwyd parish, county of Carmarthen, in 1691. He went to America in 1707, and took the pastoral care of the church at Welsh-tract, after the death of Enoch Morgan; in which office he continued until 1748, when he resigned to go to Vincent, where he died in 1760, aged sixty-nine. He left behind him the following manuscript :
"I have been called upon three times, to anoint the sick with oil, for recovery. The effect was surprising in every case, but in none more so, than in the case of our brother, Rynallt Howell. He was so sore with the bruises which he received, by a cask falling on him from a waggon, that he could not bear to be turned in bed : the next day he went to meeting." 

-- History of the Welsh Baptists, from the year sixty-three to the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy, J. Davis, Pittsburgh, PA: D. M. Hogan, 1835, pp. 110-111

"Some years before his death he [pastor Hugh Davis] had a severe pain in his arm, which gradually wasted the limb and made life a burden. After trying many remedies he sent for the elders of the church to anoint him with oil, according to James v: 14-17. The effect was a perfect cure, so far that the pain never returned. One of the elders concerned (from whom I had this relation) is yet alive [1770], and succeeds Mr. Hugh Davis in the ministry, viz, Rev. John Davis." 

-- Materials Towards a History of the Baptists, Vol. I, Morgan Edwards, p. 28

A review of available records reveals a strong affinity toward anointing among the Welsh Baptists (as opposed to the English Baptists), of whom Edwards was one.

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