Tour Updates: We have rescheduled many of our spring and summer tours to the fall and winter of 2020, and moved our international tours to summer 2021 (view updated tour schedule here). All domestic tours will conform to the local laws (not necessarily local suggestions) and will incorporate wireless audio sets, enabling each guest to hear our guides while maintaining a comfortable distance. We ask all participants to be empathetic to fellow guests and practice effective hygiene habits while we strongly recommend those with high-risk health issues wait until conditions improve to participate. All registrations are fully refundable up until the tour starts. We will keep you updated with any changes on our end and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. May God grant us proper perspective as we remember His sovereignty and steadfast love. View our full statement on COVID-19.

The Death of Justin Martyr, 166 AD

2020-05-29T14:21:25-05:00June 1, 2020|HH 2020|

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” —Psalm 116:15

The Death of Justin Martyr, June 1, 166 AD

There is not an abundance of reliable sources concerning individual Christians in the immediate post-apostolic era (i.e. second century), but there are some. One of the best known stories, told and re-told through the ages, has been that of an educated Palestinian named Justin, who was likely born while the Apostle John was still living, and survived into his mid-60s. His writings have provided modern scholars a profound look into the early acceptance of many New Testament books and second century apologetical arguments for Christianity.


Justin Martyr (100-166 AD)

Justin was born into a pagan family in Samaria, near the modern town of Nablus. His grandfather had a Greek name and his father, a Latin one. Justin must have received an excellent education, for he read all the ancient philosophers and was conversant in many of their theories and ideas. In his Dialogue, Justin describes his dissatisfaction with the philosophies he studied, none of which answered his quest for meaning and knowing who God is. He rejected the Stoics and Pythagoreans and settled on Plato, saying he thought he had finally become wise, but “such was my stupidity, that I expected forthwith to look upon God.”


Location of Nablus (Shechem in the Bible) in relation to Jerusalem


Pythagoras (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) founder of Pythagoreanism


Zeno of Citium (c. 334 – c. 262 BC) founder of Stoicism

During a stroll along the seashore, he encountered a Christian who pointed him to the testimony of the Prophets “who imparted truth to men,” concerning Jesus Christ. He must have cited the miracles of Christ, convincing Justin of the Creator God, come to earth as man, and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, glorifying God in all He did. The apologist finally encouraged Justin to “pray above all things, the gates of light may be opened to you, for these things cannot be perceived or understood by all, but only by the man to whom God and His Christ have imparted wisdom.” Church tradition says he was converted to the Christian faith at Ephesus.


Plato (c. 427 – c. 347 BC) holds a copy of Timaeus, one of his dialogues

Justin threw all his former philosophers overboard and embraced the Gospel of Christ. He devoted his life to peripatetic ministry, witnessing of God’s Grace to all who would listen. The willingness of believers to become martyrs and the devoted lives of other believers that he met, confirmed his resolve to serve Christ in all things. As a teacher, he drew young men to himself, and they witnessed his debates with pagan philosophers, whom he apparently bested on regular occasions.

Like most early Christian preachers who have left behind books or sermons that they published, Justin retained various errors in his thinking regarding biblical doctrine. Some of the pagan philosophy he studied so assiduously when young, crept into some of his ideas. Nonetheless, we find him referring to biblical passages from the many Old Testament books, the synoptic Gospels, most of the Pauline Epistles and Revelation, in his writings. The context of most of Justin’s works are apologetic in nature, defending the faith against the pagans. Three of his works have survived till today. For instance, in a dialogue with a Jew named Trypho from Ephesus, Justin very skillfully explained the reasons he should consider the Christian faith for himself.


Engraving thought to represent Justin Martyr presenting his First Apology to Roman Emperor Antonius, plus Justin’s eventual beheading in the background

Justin founded a Christian school in Rome, where he carried on his teaching and testimony against all comers. He debated a cynic named Crescentius “who held that virtue alone was the goal of life.” Enraged at being bested by this Christian teacher, the Roman apparently reported Justin to the authorities charging atheism—not believing in the gods of the Romans. Under the authority of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, a number of Justin’s students and himself were seized, tried, flogged and beheaded on June 1, 166. From henceforth this early Christian father became known as Justin Martyr and his teaching spread far and wide in the Church. For centuries, his death has been marked on the liturgical calendar as the “Feast Day of Justin Martyr” in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican Churches.


Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher

Jesus told his disciples to expect martyrdom, “if the world hates you, know that the world hated me before it hated you” and the violent deaths of Christians has been a common occurrence ever since the resurrection of Christ. When the Roman Caesars proclaimed themselves gods and demanded worship, the death of saints became a predictable reality for those who would not compromise. When the state becomes the source of law and worship, martyrdom has often followed for those who proclaim that Jesus is Lord and King. American Christians may someday join the brethren of history in martyrdom as the civilization and culture that was based on the Word of the Living God is totally replaced with the barbarism of the secular pagans and the worship of the state.


Justin Martyr was beheaded on June 1, 166 AD

Erasmus Writes a Letter to Martin Luther, 1519

2020-05-25T12:49:59-05:00May 25, 2020|HH 2020|

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” —Ephesians 2:8,9

Erasmus Writes a Letter to Martin Luther,
May 30, 1519

Not all church reformers joined the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century. Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) was the most famous scholarly critic of his day, who never left the Church of Rome, but whose intellectual and theological acuity towered over most of his peers, if he actually had any. Witty and daring, Erasmus sparred with the theological doctors of the church, seeking reform of abuses. He challenged Luther in both theology and tactics, and, while remaining loyal to the Papacy itself, excoriated the Pope to the brink of heresy. All the while, he established the highest standards of Renaissance and Reformation scholarship. He became known as “the Prince of the Christian Humanists.”


Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536)

Born out of wedlock to a Catholic priest and a woman about whom little is known, in Gouda near Rotterdam, Netherlands, his given name is unknown; he was christened Erasmus, after his father’s favorite saint. Both parents died in 1483 of the plague. Erasmus attended a prestigious monastic school beginning at the age of nine and learned both Latin and Greek, languages he eventually mastered beyond all contemporaries. It was an era of intellectual ferment and inquiry, and the brilliant young scholar joined the same order as Martin Luther—the Augustinians. Although he was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 26, his reputation as a humanist scholar of exceptional merit, as well as his ill health, brought a special lifetime dispensation from the Pope, to set aside his religious vows for full-time scholarship, a move that allowed him to remain aloof from the scholastic strictures of most other philosophers and teachers of his day.


Saint Erasmus, also known as Saint Elmo (died c. AD 303)


Martin Luther (1483-1546) as an Augustinian Monk

Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk in Saxony, and a slightly younger contemporary of Erasmus, came to a personal faith in Christ in the early 16th Century. He too possessed a brilliant and enquiring mind, which led him to criticize certain practices of the Roman Church. His entry into the lists against the corruptions that pervaded the Church among the Germans, coincided with the peak of Erasmus’s fame, having produced new Greek and Latin translations of the Bible, as well as popularized criticism of corrupt practices within the Church. As men of humanist learning and biblical scholarship, as well as popular writers eagerly read by the educated men of Europe, the two became correspondents over the application of biblical truth, in opposition and comparison with the accepted dogmas of the Roman Church. They both attacked pride, greed, and obscurantism, but where Erasmus trimmed his theological sails just enough to avoid excommunication and separation from the Roman Church, Luther fought his way through heresy trials and condemnation, to break with Rome altogether, and lead the Protestant Reformation.


The title page of the Erasmian New Testament (1516)


Martin Luther appears before the Diet of Worms, April 16-18, 1521

On May 30, 1519 Erasmus wrote Luther that it might be:

“wiser of you to denounce those who misuse the Pope’s authority than to censure the Pope himself . . . Old institutions cannot be uprooted in an instant. Quiet argument may do more than wholesale condemnation. Keep cool. Do not get angry.”

Luther’s personality was such that keeping cool and not getting angry when he saw the terrible spiritual condition of his parishioners, and the spiritual darkness promoted by unbiblical oppression and teaching by the Church, spurred him to loud and tempestuous resistance. His Saxon plain-spokenness could not be quieted or slowed in his “war against the devil and his lies.”


A depiction of the famous Dutch humanist writing his commentary on Saint Mark’s Gospel

In their most famous theological debate over free will and salvation by faith alone (sola fide), Luther wrote to Erasmus in his introduction:

“[Y]our book struck me as so worthless and poor that my heart went out to you for having defiled your lovely, brilliant flow of language with such vile stuff. I thought it outrageous to convey material of so low a quality in the trappings of such rare eloquence . . . I suppose your conscience warned you that, whatever literary resources you might bring with you into the fray, you would not be able to impose on me, but I should see through all your meretricious verbiage to the vile stuff beneath . . . my doctrines are fortified with mighty Scripture proofs. . .”


Title page to Martin Luther’s 1525 On the Bondage of the Will, his reply to Erasmus’s 1524 publication On Free Will

Both Luther and Erasmus had many enemies in the Church. Those who hated Erasmus tried to identify him as the friend and confidant of Luther and Luther’s enemies broadcast that he was a disciple of Erasmus. On the doctrine of free will and saving faith, however, as debated by them in the book The Bondage of the Will, no one could mistake one for the other in that central doctrine of Reformation Protestantism.

Erasmus spent more years teaching in England than anywhere else, although he travelled a lot, and taught in many places. He was friends not just with Martin Luther, but with Henry VIII, Thomas More, and many other movers and shakers of his day. He accounted for about 20% of the book sales in Europe in the 1530s, and his theological works and classical studies and translations were found in every library where scholars existed in western Europe. His New Testament translation became the basis of Luther’s translation of the Bible into German, as well as Tyndale’s translation and the King James Bible of the following century. His last great work, completed the year he died, was a thousand-page treatise entitled The Gospel Preacher.


King Henry VIII of England (1491-1547), c. 1531


View of Basel Minster, where Erasmus is buried, as seen from the Rhine River

Erasmus of Rotterdam (who only spent four years of his life there), died in his 69th year in Basel, Switzerland, believing in religious toleration and lay access to the Bible, but still in agreement with the Roman Church on transubstantiation, Mariolatry, and Papal supremacy; but he had challenged many other doctrines and, with his biblical translation from the Greek, drawn many Reformers back to the Scriptures as the Holy Word of God, sufficient for faith and practice.

General/Bishop Polk Baptizes Generals, 1864

2020-05-25T12:38:51-05:00May 18, 2020|HH 2020|

“Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.” —Psalm 144:1

General/Bishop Polk Baptizes Generals,
May 18, 1864

In the midst of the American War Between the States, a great spiritual awakening occurred through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel in the armies. Nothing brings a man closer to reflection on his eternal destiny like the real possibility of dying from disease or in battle. The churches provided pastors as chaplains to as many regiments as possible, both North and South, throughout the conflict. Also, missionaries, colporteurs, the Christian Commission, and Christian officers and men led Bible studies, prayer meetings, and privately witnessed to their comrades. God was pleased to bring many men to faith in Christ in a spiritual awakening on a scale not seen in many prior years of the national history. In camps and hospitals multiple thousands were renewed in their faith or brought to a saving knowledge of Christ.


Prayer in “Stonewall” Jackson’s camp


Germantown, Virginia headquarters of the U.S. Christian Commission, 1863

Much of the evidence for this great spiritual awakening was in view to the whole army, through baptisms of men who professed faith in Jesus Christ. Among the most powerful and amazing witnesses to God’s Grace, perhaps unprecedented in all of history, were the professions and baptisms of at least four of the highest ranking Confederate Generals, three of them conducted by a former Bishop turned Lieutenant General of the Army of Tennessee, Leonidas Polk.

Of Scots-Irish ancestry, Leonidas Polk, named after the famous Spartan general, was born in North Carolina to a wealthy planter and Revolutionary War veteran, Colonel William Polk; he had thirteen brothers and sisters and was also cousin to James Polk, future President. True to his military name and heritage, he entered West Point, class of 1827, where he graduated 8th of 38 cadets, with an impressive academic record and apparent destiny in a military career. However, God had other plans. The Academy Chaplain led Cadet Polk to Christ his senior year. The newly minted 2nd Lieutenant resigned his commission after graduation and entered the Virginia Theological Seminary, believing that God called him to Gospel ministry.


A view of the United States Military Academy at West Point as it appeared in 1828


Leonidas Polk (1806-1864) Episcopal Missionary Bishop of the Southwest, Major General in the Confederate Army, and second cousin to the 11th President, James K. Polk

After his ordination as deacon, then priest, in 1830, Polk married Frances Devereaux, a descendant of Jonathan Edwards, with whom he had eight children who lived to adulthood. He moved to Maury County, Tennessee, and with his four brothers built a magnificent home, and established a plantation and a church, St. John’s Episcopal. He enjoyed his new home for one year, when he was called by the episcopate in 1838, and ordained Bishop and missionary of the Southwest, his parish encompassing Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Indian Territory. He traversed all those states in three separate missionary journeys, ministering to people in isolated homesteads and starting churches. In 1841 he accepted the bishopric of Louisiana and moved his family there, leaving Tennessee until he founded and took charge of The University of the South in Sewanee in 1854 until the coming of the Civil War.


Ashwood Hall, home of Leonidas and Frances Polk, constructed 1833-1837 near Columbia in Maury County, Tennessee


St. John’s Episcopal Church, designed and constructed by Leonidas Polk, 1839-1842

The godly and hugely popular bishop was invited by Jefferson Davis to accept a commission as a Major General, with no experience in military affairs but his college years at West Point. An ardent Constitutionalist but a reluctant soldier, Bishop Polk donned the gray, “buckling the sword over his robes, rather than casting them aside.” In four years of war, Bishop Polk would hold battlefield command in every major campaign of the Army of Tennessee. He also preached to the troops, conducted communion services, and baptized converts. During his time in command, thousands of soldiers came to Christ for salvation. On May 18, 1864, General Polk, in his clerical role, baptized the Army commander, Joseph Johnston. In the course of the war he also baptized General John Bell Hood and William Hardee, both Corps Commanders. President Davis himself made a profession of faith in Christ and was baptized in Richmond. General Polk did not live to see that, however, for on June 14, Bishop Polk was killed by an artillery shot while scouting the Union lines from atop Pine Mountain, near Marietta, Georgia, in the Atlanta Campaign. General Polk’s military abilities had proven inadequate on several occasions and he is not considered one of the best of the Southern generals.


Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), President of the Confederate States


Joseph E. Johnston (1807-1891)


John Bell Hood (1831-1879)


William J. Hardee (1815-1873)

But the troops loved him and followed his leadership without question. Confederate soldier Sam Watkins summed up the soldiers’ view of the man, whose priority was to serve Christ in all endeavors:

“My pen and ability is inadequate to the task of doing his memory justice. Every private soldier loved him. Except for Stonewall Jackson, his loss was the greatest the South ever sustained. When I saw him there dead, I felt that I had lost a friend whom I had ever loved and respected, and that the South had lost one of her best and greatest generals.”


Sam Watkins (1839-1901), c. 1861


Leonidas Polk as Bishop

Until recent times, the university founded by Bishop Polk revered and honored his name, and filled their academic ranks after the war with godly men who had served under him or had been fellow generals for the cause of the South and of Christ.

Leland Stanford Drives the Golden Spike, 1869

2020-05-25T11:22:00-05:00May 11, 2020|HH 2020|

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” —I Timothy 6:10”

Leland Stanford Drives the Golden Spike,
May 10, 1869

Few engineering projects in American history had such immediate far-reaching effects. Prior to the transcontinental railroad, the cost of travelling from Missouri to California cost about $1,000 and took from four to six months. However, after the completion of the 1,776-mile road, a trip cost between $65.00 and $136.00, and a week or so from New York to San Francisco. Few engineering projects in American history were ever completed with more scams, political corruption and payoffs connected to the project, or killed more workers, than the laying of the track for the trans-continental railroad. The completion of the railroad lines generated tremendous celebration, enthusiasm, and repercussions for financial malfeasance, the last of which would characterize the legacy of the Grant administration, soon to be reelected for a second term. The story has been overshadowed by the “reconstruction” of the Southern states following the War Between the States.


The ceremony of the driving of the “Last Spike” at Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10, 1869, where the rails of the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad were joined

Ever since the first railroads in the 1830s, men had dreamed of the day one could board a train and roll safely and majestically from coast to coast in the United States. Prior to the Civil War, about 30,000 miles of track had been laid, mostly in the North and Midwest, most of it east of the Mississippi. Abraham Lincoln was one of the chief railroad lawyers in Illinois, and his election to the Presidency meant new contracts for rail lines in and out of Chicago moving in every direction, as well as the beginnings of a line that would traverse the nation from shore to shore. In 1860 a young engineer named Theodore Judah lobbied Congress and the President about the feasibility of building a railroad through the Sierra Nevada Mountains at the Donner Pass. In 1862 Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act, Chartering two companies to build a transcontinental railroad: the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads. President Lincoln signed it and the race was on.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) in 1846 at the age of 37 when he was a frontier lawyer in Springfield, IL and Congressman-elect


The Central Pacific Railroad (marked with red) and the Union Pacific Railroad (marked with green) were joined at Promontory, Utah

For seven years the two companies, starting at opposite ends of the country laying track, from Sacramento and Omaha, carved through mountains and conquered the prairies, as they raced to meet up with a completed railroad somewhere in the west. Each company would receive from the central government more than 12,000 acres and $48,000 in government bonds per mile of track, making the project a competition from the beginning. The owners of the railroads proved highly susceptible to bribes, secret deals, and appeals to and from key Congressmen and vendors.


The Gov. Stanford Locomotive, built in 1862, was used by Central Pacific Railroad in the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad. It was named in honor of the road’s first president, Leland Stanford, who also served as California’s eighth Governor (1862-63), and founded Stanford University.


Chinese railroad laborers work on the Central Pacific Railroad in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Four wealthy investors backed the Central Pacific: Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins. Dr. Thomas Durant illegally obtained control over the Union Pacific, eventually setting up an illegal investment company that guaranteed incredible profits for all involved, which included a number of Washington, D.C. politicians, including men close to President Grant. The westerners hired 13,000 Chinese laborers who worked for very small wages but proved to be tireless and trusted workers, although they suffered many casualties in the incredible blasting of fifteen tunnels thorough the Sierra Nevada Range. Durant hired about 8,000 Irish, German and Italian laborers who also experienced heavy losses in bloody forays to stop them by the Plains tribes, especially the Cheyanne, Sioux, and Arapaho along the route of the iron rails.


“THE BIG FOUR”


Leland Stanford (1824-1893)


Collis Huntington (1821-1900)


Charles Crocker (1822-1888)


Mark Hopkins (1813-1878)


The laborers built moving towns along the path of construction, which contained all the vices known to man, to provide opportunities for the immigrants to spend their small wages. Violence accompanied the railroad all along the way. They built forty miles of snow sheds to keep snow off the tracks and they set a one-day record of laying ten miles of track. The rival teams met at Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869. Leland Stanford made the first swing at a solid gold spike, missing and hitting a rail. An inebriated Thomas Durant swung next and completely missed. A railroad worker finally put in the spike. It now resides in the collections of Stanford University, founded sixteen years later by the President of the Union Pacific.


The 17.6-karat ceremonial “golden spike”, driven by Leland Stanford to mark the joining of the two rails, is on display at the Cantor Arts Museum at Stanford University


“East and West Shaking Hands at Laying Last Rail”
The ceremony for the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869 marking the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad

The Transcontinental Railroad opened the west to irresistible settlement and trade. No markets were too far for the expanding economy of the Midwest and West, and the creation of demand for steel for rails and bridges made the fortunes of several captains of industry. Cities grew up along the route and the ancillary branches of the road. It also spelled the beginning of the end of the buffalo herds and Native American tribal autonomy. It providentially made the exploration and mapping of the Grand Canyon possible and introduced the nation to other creation wonders of the West. Along with the wealth and beauty of it all came the scandals that plagued the Grant administration. It resulted in the development of the enormous political power and wealth of the railroad industry. In a way, the railroad made the West and triggered political and social contention that lasted well into the 20th Century.


Poster by the Union Pacific announcing the opening of the Transcontinental Railroad

The Death of William Tennent, 1746

2020-05-25T11:11:58-05:00May 4, 2020|HH 2020|

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” —Zechariah 4:10

The Death of William Tennent, May 6, 1746

Someone taught Augustine of Hippo, someone taught John Calvin, someone taught Jonathan Edwards. Sure, they were gifted men, called by God to minister to people and gain a standing in the Church, that the Lord used in unprecedented ways to reach millions of people for Christ, in their own day and today. So it is with all those whom God is pleased to guide in expanding His Kingdom. However, we often do not remember, or perhaps never knew, who the teachers were that trained or influenced the men who greatly exceeded their mentors in knowledge, ability, and success. One such instructor was William Tennent, Sr., an 18th century Scots-Irish immigrant to America; a man who stood in a twenty by twenty foot log cabin and taught and trained young men for Gospel ministry—the men who brought about, humanly speaking, the great spiritual awakening that swept through the American colonies from the 1730s to the 1750s, especially in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and unknown corners of the frontier.

William Tennent was born in Ireland or Scotland; historians differ on that point. What is certain, however, is that Tennent—after his formal education at the University of Edinburgh or Trinity College, Dublin (again, uncertain)—was ordained as a priest in the (Episcopal) Church of Ireland. He married Katherine Kennedy, the daughter of a distinguished Presbyterian minister in Ireland. The Tennents moved to Pennsylvania with their five children in 1716 or 1718. As a man of decided Reformed conviction, he disavowed the Episcopal Church and was ordained as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church shortly after arriving in America. After his first pastorate in New York, he was called to the Presbyterian Church in Neshaminy, Pennsylvania, where he remained the rest of his life.


William Tennent (1673-1746)


Neshaminy Presbyterian Church

One of the problems faced by Presbyterian immigrants was a lack of pastors for the multiple thousands of families coming from Scotland and Ireland. In those days, a young man desiring education in a Reformed or Presbyterian Seminary had to return to Scotland or Ireland for their education, or go to the Congregationalists at Harvard or Yale. The Scots-Irish especially, moved quickly toward the frontier in Pennsylvania and the backcountry of Virginia and the Carolinas without waiting around for a pastor to come from the old country to serve them. The spiritual needs were great and the supply of qualified men to fill the pulpit, small. The Tennents raised their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, soon realizing that three of their boys had the character and gifts to become preachers of the Gospel.


The “Log College”, founded by William Tennent in 1727, was the first theological seminary serving Presbyterians in North America

William, Sr. began the systematic training of William, John and Charles, exhibiting his own particular expertise in the ancient languages and biblical knowledge. Soon other young men were attending those classes, and detractors began calling their meeting place “the log college,” in derision. Through the 1730s and early 40s, William Tennent’s students graduated and accepted calls to churches. Their preaching resulted in thousands of professions of faith in Christ and the Log College men became leaders of the “Great Awakening” that occurred in many different places along the American coast and on the frontier. Most of the men who had been tutored by Tennent became some of the best preachers of their day. Besides the Tennent boys were Samuel and John Blair, Samuel Finley, William Robinson, John Rowland, and Charles Beatty. Samuel Blair trained Samuel Davies, who founded the first Presbytery in Virginia in Hanover, and became one of the truly great preachers of the period—a spiritual grandson, as it were, of William Tennent. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield have gotten the most press and often, in the case of Whitefield, had the most impressive size crowds, but the Log College men ministered day and night with their own congregations, or itinerated across the frontier on horseback, and witnessed the power of God in saving souls and reviving His Church wherever they preached the Gospel.


George Whitefield (1714-1770)

Whitefield visited Tennent’s Academy to preach, and three thousand people showed up. From extracts of Whitefield’s diary, we hear of Mr. Tennent the “gray-headed disciple and soldier of Jesus Christ” who imbibed a warm evangelical spirit, and “whose sons have been and still continue useful in the church of Christ.”


Nassau Hall, the oldest building at what later became Princeton University, begun 1756

William Tennent closed his academy due to poor health, and died on May 6, 1746 at the age of 73. Within just a short time, the Log College on Neshaminy Creek morphed into the College of New Jersey, and then was called Princeton. The legacy of William Tennent, Sr. continued at Princeton into the early 20th Century, and hundreds of graduates took the Gospel message around the world throughout the 19th Century. As the great teacher and theologian Archibald Alexander said of Tennent:

“The Presbyterian Church is probably not more indebted for her prosperity, and for the evangelical spirit which has generally pervaded her body, to any individual than to the elder Tennent. Some men accomplish much more by those whom they educate than by their own personal labours.” (1851)

The times were difficult; pastors often died at a relatively young age. Of all the distinguished preachers of that period, William Tennent was the only one who reached the age of seventy. Redeem your own times, while you are able.


Archibald Alexander (1772-1851), Presbyterian theologian and professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary