This letter was written by Rev. Hervey O. Higby who was engaged to preach by the Home Mission Society in Harvard, Ohio beginning in October 1831.
Addressed to Rev. Absalom Peters, Recording Secretary, American Home Mission Society, 150 Nassau Street, New York
April 29, 1833
Rev and dear Sir,
In this last report of my second year’s ministry in this place, I may cast a glance back over 2 years & see that during this time the church has increased in numbers from 20 to 41; the congregation which assembles with us has increased in the same on nearly the same proportion, being not far from 3 times the number in the church. The Sabbath School has almost doubled in number & gained some in interest, and other Sabbath Schools have been conducted in the township, & an impression made decidedly in their favor. The Temperance Society has enlisted 50 or 60 additional members & acquired extensive & salutary influence among those who are not yet ready to be enrolled for active service in the campaign against spirit drinking. A covenant & for the place, suitable meeting house has been built; and some Christians appear evidently to have grown in grace; also 7 or 8, it is hoped, have passed from death to life. The gospel too has been preached in several adjacent neighborhoods, where moral desolation pains the eye of Christian benevolence. But whether the seed shall bear good fruit, or whether it shall wither for the want of root, or to be picked up before it begins to germinate, we cannot tell. The command of God, however, is sufficient encouragement to sow the good seed in the morning and in the evening, not withhold the hand for we know not which shall prosper, whether this or that.
In regard to the last quarter, I have preached every fourth Sabbath at Liberty township to a listening assembly – a few of them members of the church in Granville; others, such as have not often heard the word of the Lord. They seem to desire that I should continue to preach there, and I expect to do so for a while at least. The people in Granville have subscribed 50 dollars towards my support, with the request that I shall preach ¼ of my time in that township, if they continue to attend & deserve it.
In this place, I have prosecuted my work after my usual manner, except that on one Sabbath I was not able to preach at all, and on another only once, owing to a severe cold & cough. Yet I attended & conducted the exercises of public workship, having sermons read, as there always are on the Sabbaths when I am absent.
We held a temperance meeting on the 26th of February & passed two resolutions. One, — “That Temperance Societies have been, and will continue to be, a great blessing to our country & the world.” The other, — “that the solicitors (8 in number) be requested to exert themselves & if possible obtain, at least three subscribers apiece to the temperance constitution.” This request they nearly all fulfilled, & greatly increased the attention to the cause. Other resolutions were introduced, one of which has since been passed & is as follows: — “That the use of imported wine, except for medicine & the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, is prohibited by our constitution., since such wine almost universally contains a mixture of distilled liquor.
Our concerts & other meetings are attended with a pleasing degree of interest. We have made agreements for conducting Sabbath Schools in other districts of the township while the length of the days & our clay-ground roads will admit. We still prosecute the monthly distribution of tracts; and find this work furnishing a favorable opportunity for promoting every good object. Although we do not at present see a revival of religion among us, yet we hope that religion is making some progress. Pray that we may not rest in slothful contentment with a little advance, when we need so much, that sinners may not perish around us in multitudes.
Brother P. Kimball has my order for the sum granted me by your society for the year now reported, deducting $1.50 for three copies of the daily verse expositor. If the order is not correct in regard to amount, I wish you to correct it. Can Bro. Kimball receive a request from me by this letter? I want he should engage the man, to whom he shall extract the sum received from you, to send me information by letter, of the disposal of it – the letter to be directed to Granville, Licking Co., Ohio.
I have received your letter requesting me to report to the Hampshire Co. Society & will attend to the duty with pleasure. It is gratifying to me & I think it will be to this church to know thus a little more particularly the source to which we are indebted for the benefactions coming to us through your agency. And be assured it is with lively gratitude that this church regards all their Home Missionary benefactors.
Yours with respect & affection, — Hervey O. Higby