North Carolina Baptists Before 1830 29
an earnest friend to intellectual improvement, especially among his
brethren in the ministry. . . . He was an open and steadfast advocate
for an improved and well taught ministry. He heartily disapproved of
the practice too prevalent among our churches, of admitting
candidates to the sacred office, without precaution, and before they
were sufficiently qualified."
Before Ross died he found a man upon whom his mantle was to
fall. This was Thomas Meredith, whom Ross had welcomed on his
coming from Philadelphia to Edenton in 1817, and whom he had
made his confidant and ally in his plans for a Baptist State
Convention.11
And it was Meredith who wrote the Constitution of the
Baptist State Convention of North Carolina adopted on its
organization, March 26, 1830. In that Constitution the education of
young men called of God to preach the gospel is mentioned first, but
coordinate with missions, as one of the two great objects of the
Convention. We shall see how this resulted in founding Wake Forest
College. But our next task must be to trace the footsteps of Samuel
Wait as he came to the Greenville Convention to share with Meredith
and the others in the great enterprise.
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11
"At Edenton, twelve miles from Hertford and ten miles from the home of
Ross, Thomas Meredith had settled ten years before, 1817. Ross had been to him
as a father on his coming into the State; had introduced him to the brethren and had
taken him as a companion on his frequent evangelistic journeys. Together they had
organized the church at Tarborough in 1819. They had conversed freely on the
proposed Convention; its importance, the practicability of it and the best methods of
bringing it to pass. The idea fascinated him, and after the death of his friend he set
himself to carry it into effect." Hufman, N. C. Baptist Historical Papers, II, 226.
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