John L. Dagg, D.D.
Baptist Minister - Theologian
John L. Dagg, D.D. - Among the most distinguished men of the Baptist denomination in the United States, Dr. Dagg of right holds a place. He was born at Middleburg, Loudon Co., Va., Feb. 13, 1794. He was early the subject of religious impressions, and ho said to the writer, "I obtained a joyful sense of acceptance with God on my birthday in 1809." He was baptized in 1813; began to preach in 1816; was ordained in 1817; preached to several churches in Virginia, and in 1825 accepted a call to the pastorate of the Fifth Baptist church in the city of Philadelphia; in 1833 he retired from the pastorate with diseased throat, and in the following spring his voice so failed that he was unable to preach, and fur a considerable time could not speak above a whisper, and it has been so weak ever since that he has never been able to return to regular service as a minister. Eminent as had been his ministry, the Lord had other ways for him to serve with still greater usefulness. In 1836 he removed to Tuscaloosa, and took charge of the "Alabama Female Atheneum," and in 1844 to Penfield, Ga., as president of Mercer University, where he also gave instruction in theology. Many of the best ministers in Georgia and other States cherish the most grateful recollections of his great worth to them while in that position. The twelve years of his presidency comprised perhaps the brightest period of the brilliant history of grand old Mercer University. In 1856 he retired from that institution with the purpose, while bearing the pressure of infirmities and advancing age, of serving the cause of Christ by the use of his gifted pen, and thousands can rise up and call him blessed in testimony of the happy way in which he has carried out that purpose.
His "Manual of Theology" appeared in 1857, "Treatise on Church Order" in 1858, "Elements of Moral Science" in 1859, "Evidences of Christianity" in 1868. These are his great works, and they will bear comparison with any other American books on the same subjects. In addition to these, a discussion on baptism with the Rev. David Jones, which appeared in letters in the Christian Index, was put in book-form by the Baptist General Tract Society.
His pamphlets are "The More Excellent Way," "An Interpretation of John iii. 5," "An Essay in Defense of Strict Communion," "A Decisive Argument against Infant Baptism, furnished by one of its own Proof-texts."
He has for many years been regarded as one of our wisest, most profound, most critical, and safest newspaper writers. Our venerable and learned brethren have watched the productions of his pen with marks of the highest regard.
Dr. Dagg, in great age and with many infirmities, still lives (1880). under the tender and affectionate care of his accomplished daughter, at Hayneville, Ala., and all who visit him return feeling that it has been an honor and a Christian feast to hold converse with this man of God.
[From William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881, republished in 1988, p. 306. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More Baptist Bios
Baptist History Homepage