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Elder Jacob Knapp
By E. C. Romine
Philadelphia, Pa.
      The first time I saw this remarkable man was in January 1869 at Hamilton, N. Y., where he had graduated in 1824, and where he had married his wife. Here he then held a great meeting in which 250 were converted. He was born in Otsego county, N. Y., December, 7, 1799, and was the foremost evangelist of the Baptist denomination in his day. He began in 1833 to labor in special revival work, in which God most wonderfully blessed him for forty years. When his book was published in 1867, more than a hundred thousand had been converted in his meetings; over 200 became preachers. He baptized between four and five thousand persons. I quote from a letter from Rev. B. "I have a profound regard for the memory of Jacob Knapp. He was the means of leading me to the Savior." Rev. W. W. Everts wrote: "In originality, consecration, period of public ministry and in effectiveness and permanence of its results no American evangelist has outranked Jacob Knapp." In a meeting in New York City, where he aided Mr. Everts, there were four hundred baptized. It is Just 35 years ago this month when he was preaching in the Fourth church, this city, Rev. R. Jeffery, pastor. Two hundred were added to the church. In Mr. Jeffery's Introductory Essay in Elder Knapp's Autobiograpy he says: "Posterity will speak of Elder Knapp as the pioneer and champion of modern evangelism." His precious dust awaits the resurrection of the just, in the West Cemetery, Rockford,

      D. L. Moody's preaching reminded me of Elder Knapp. Here are some of the texts from which he preached with wonderful power. "Their Foot Shall Slide in Due Time;" "Quench Not the Spirit;" "No Hope;" "Prepare to Meet Thy God;" and "How Long Halt Ye Between Two Opinions."

      He was once preaching on the awful condition of those finally lost, when he disappeared through a rear door on the pulpit, but he kept repeating, "Lost, Lost!!" from the room below. A deep solemnity fell on all and the pastor dismissed the meeting. A wicked young man rose with assumed seriousness and requested prayers for the devil. Elder Knapp quietly remarked, "Brethren this young man has asked you to pray for his father." One of the results of his labors was the Washingtonian temperance movement.

      He was a man powerful in prayer, graphic in preaching, of great faith, of strong convictions, of ready wit and iron constitution. Rev. J. D. Fulton said of him, after aiding him in a meeting in Boston in 1871, when he was past three score and ten, "His power lies not in his measures. His power is in God and His word. He reveals in the Scriptures."

      His autobiography is a very interesting book of 340 pages, also contains, his views on various subjects and five of his great sermons.


[From The Baptist Argus, March 7, 1901, p. 2. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

      Jacob Knapp (December 7, 1799 - March 2, 1874) was a popular Baptist preacher of the 19th-century.

      He entered Colgate University) at Hamilton, New York, in 1821, and began active work as pastor of the Baptist church in Springfield, New York, where he also managed a farm. From there he moved to Watertown, New York, where he was also at the same time pastor of a church and manager of a large farm, displaying a full degree of energy and capacity in each occupation.

      In 1832 he gave up his secular employment, and undertook a wider work as an evangelist. He preached at first in school houses and obscure churches, but was soon sought by the largest churches and most distinguished pastors. In Baltimore, Boston, and New York, vast numbers attended his preaching, and such excitement prevailed that mobs threatened him and his hearers, and the protection of the civil authorities was necessary. His preaching was stern yet cultivated and able men were moved by it, as well as the populace. Thousands were converted under his ministry.

      A few years before his death he visited California. In his old age he had acquired, by several judicious business investments, a comfortable competency, which he proposed shortly before his death to distribute among the benevolent societies of his church.


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