34 History of Wake Forest College
Wait's text for his sermon on that memorable occasion was
Matthew 9:36-38, "But when he saw the multitudes he was moved
with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered
abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples,
The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye
therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into
his harvest." No outline of the sermon has been preserved, but we are
safe, I think, in conjecturing that the burden of the sermon was the
necessity of giving a vital gospel to the people of North Carolina. And
it was most probably this sermon that either suggested the fitness of
Wait for the place of General Agent of the Convention or confirmed
that view already entertained by the members of the Convention from
his previous reputation.5
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5 A word as to the formation and purpose of the Benevolent Society will not be
amiss here. It had been formed at Greenville, on Tuesday, February 10, 1829. Who
was the prime mover in the enterprise is unknown to me, nor is it told in the minutes
of the meeting printed in a volume of the Baptist Historical Papers, nor do I know
how many were present or on what principle of selection those present had been
assembled. Certainly, they were not appointed by associations or churches. The only
indication in the constitution that the "subscribers" owed any denominational
allegiance is the provision in Article 4 that all officers and all on the Board of
Directors be members of Baptist churches. Article 2 states that, "Every person"
subscribing to the Constitution and paying the sum of five dollars and thereafter two
dollars and fifty cents annually shall be a member of the Society. Article 1 declares
that, "The exclusive object of this Society shall be to raise funds and appropriate
them to the support of traveling ministers for preaching the Gospel and ad-
ministering its ordinances within the bounds of North Carolina."
It is not clear just who were present "according to previous appointment." But
Elder P. W. Dowd of Raleigh preached, H. Austin of Tarborough was chosen
moderator and R. Blount of Greenville, Secretary. Elder P. W. Dowd explained the
object of the meeting, and Elder T. D. Mason proposed the adoption of the
Constitution. P. P. Lawrence of Tarborough was appointed Corresponding
Secretary, and H. Austin of Tarborough, Treasurer. A Board of thirty-seven
Directors, some of them as far west as Stokes County, was appointed. But many of
them were not present. Elder P. W. Dowd was to have printed four hundred copies
of the minutes with a circular letter to be written by him.
In accordance with a resolution passed in the meeting of the Board of Directors
had a meeting in Tarborough in the following June and resolved to appoint agents in
different parts of the State "for the purpose of soliciting subscribers, receiving
donations, forming Auxiliary Societies, and remitting said funds to the Society."
Following this, P. P. Lawrence, Corresponding
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