Edmund Waller was born in Spottsylvania county, Va., January 1, 1775. His father and uncle were Baptist ministers, and distinguished for their zeal for the truth during the times of persecution in Virginia.
When nine years old his father removed to Kentucky, in 1784.
His religious impressions were early in life; and he professed to have passed from death unto life at the age of thirteen.
He did not attach himself to the church until about the age of 23 - a delay he was often heard to regret; and he often urged his own experience on this point, as a warning to others not to delay the putting on of Christ.
In 1798 he was baptized by Elder Ambrose Dudley, and united with the church at Bryan's Station, Fayette co.
He was licensed to preach by the church at Salt River, (now in Anderson county,) in the year 1802.
He was ordained at Blue Stone, Shelby county, (now Pigeon Fork, Anderson co.,) by Philip Webber, Warren Cash, and Walter Stallard, May 11th, 1805.
In 1808, he settled with his family in Woodford county, and took charge of the Hillsborough church. He was called to the charge of the Mount Pleasant church in 1810; and in 1813 he settled permanently in Jessamine county, and united with the church at Mount Pleasant, of which he remained member to the time of his death.
During most of his ministry he had the care of four churches; some of them for a considerable length of time and some only for a short time, as Clover Bottom, Mount Moriah, Nicholasville, Shawney Run, Danville, Glen's Creek, with Hillsborough and Mount Pleasant, already named.
During the last years of his life, he preached statedly to Mount Pleasant and Glen's Creek, dividing his time with them.
He took the charge of Glen's Creek in 1827. He left few memorandums, and we cannot ascertain definitely the amount of his labors. It is supposed he baptized about 1,500 persons. It was a principle with him never to baptize but in the bounds of his own churches. He was fond of a settled, quiet life ; and sought to be useful within the bounds of his own churches, rather than to travel abroad, and labor in other churches.
He kept a memorandum of his labors for the year 1822, from which it appears that he preached 202 sermons. He was then advanced in life, and this is believed to be a moderate average of his labors during his ministry.
It may be safely said he preached 8,000 sermons. It may be said emphatically that he was a man of prayer. The memorandum alluded to shows that he prayed publicly in 1832, 1237 times. He was heard to say a short time before his death, that his closet exercises were the most pleasant of his life; and that as he grew older, he found them to increase in interest and pleasure.
For a number of years he was accustomed to hold family worship at morning, noon and night, daily.
The maxim of his life, was to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. No earthly consideration ever detained him for a moment from any religious engagement. He never disappointed unless detained by sickness. And no matter what the weather, or the obstacles, if he failed to meet an engagement at the very moment appointed, it was taken for granted that he was seriously sick: and his health being generally good, perhaps he never failed punctually to fill his appointments a dozen times in his life.
He lived for God, and he devoted all his time to his service. He died in the 69th year of his age .
In doctrine, he was a moderate Calvinist, and his preaching was generally experimental and practical, rather than doctrinal.
He possessed great moral courage He never shunned any course or declined to express any sentiment, because it was unpopular. When he thought truth and order demanded, he never shrunk from the heaviest responsibility. No matter how long he had been attached to a sentiment, nor how publicly he had proclaimed it, when convinced that it was wrong, he instantly abandoned it. He never cared for the charge of having changed: when convinced, he acted.
Through his ministerial life, he was uniform in all the main points of his doctrine. Although he at one time differed with his brethren as to the plans of the missionary effort, yet he always prayed for the spread of the gospel, and always preached that it was the duty of the people of God to send it to the ends of the earth. And not many months before his death, he contributed to our Foreign Missionary Board; and those who knew him will understand that he meant what he did.
He felt for the destitution of our State, as his zeal in the missionary operations of the Elkhorn Association abundantly attests.
He was a friend of education generally, and of ministerial education particularly. He was for a length of time a member of the Board of Trustees of the Georgetown College. He felt a lively interest in its prosperity; and one of his latest requests was that his two youngest sons (and his only sons unmarried) should graduate in that institution.
He has left 12 children, 10 of whom are members of the Baptist church.
He was often heard to say that he did not wish to outlive his usefulness, that he did not wish to die of a lingering disease, and that he wanted to die in silence. His wishes were gratified.
[The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicle, September, 1843, pp. 267-268; via Google Books On-line edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.].
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