“So He Slew Me with the Words of His Mouth”
Founder of Brown Universitry
Morgan Edwards was born in Wales, May 9, 1722. He was educated at Bristol College under Bernard Foskett, its first president. He was ordained June 1, 1757, in Cork, Ireland, where he labored for nine years. He returned to England and preached for a year in Rye, in Sussex, when, through the recommendation of Dr. Gill and others, on the application of the Baptist church of Philadelphia, he came to that city and church, and entered upon the pastorate May 23, 1761.
At age sixteen he broke with his Anglican heritage and embraced the principles of the Baptists. This cleavage could have been caused by the infectious enthusiasm of the young Baptist missionaries who were sent out in such large numbers that hardly a village in the eastern and western valleys of Monmouthshire was not visited. When he was pastor of the Baptist Church of Philadelphia many years later, he reminisced in a sermon as follows:
I remember the time (and the place too) when I first gave myself up as a lost man; for then I was halting between two opinions about it. Fearing it was so, made me uneasy, and hope it might not be so, kept me from yielding to it. But this sentence stuck on my mind in a light that it was not wont to do, ‘I will by no means clear the Guilty!’ then said I, I am gone, for I am guilty: if I am not damned God must be a liar. So He slew me with the word of His mouth. Then this commandment came, and I died. Then I knew what sort of thing despair was. And you cannot imagine what jolt I felt, when I learnt so much of the Gospel as to know it was possible for me to be saved, and that God might stand to His word, and not send me to hell.
He was the founder of Brown University, at first called Rhode Island College. It is well known that this enterprise was started in the Philadelphia Baptist Association in its meeting in 1762, and Morgan Edwards was “the principal mover in this matter,” as he was the most active agent in securing funds for the permanent support of the institution. To Morgan Edwards more than to any other man are the Baptist churches of America indebted for their grand list of institutions of learning, with their noble endowments and wide-spread influence.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 189 -190
Above is a picture of University Hall, built in 1770, the oldest building on Brown’s campus.