A Prize-Winning Essay on the Sabbath

In the mid 1870s, William A. Moore, a ruling elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, offered $200 for the best essay on the "Nature, Design, and Proper Observance of the Sabbath." E. T. Baird, Moses Drury Hoge, and C. H. Read were appointed the committee to judge the manuscripts submitted. These men were looking for essays that conformed to the scope set forth by Moore, that were "comprehensive, scholarly, clear, and forcible," and that evinced an arresting, tasteful, and convicting style. Though 108 submissions were entered, and several were remarkable in quality, only one could win the $200 prize - the essay by James Stacy, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Newnan, Georgia, was chosen. 

Stacy unpacks the Sabbath day in the following particulars: 1) it is rooted in tradition; 2) it is inwrought in Scripture; 3) it is confirmed by nature; 4) it is not abolished with the Jewish ceremonies; 5) it is established by New Testament teachings; 6) and finally, its manner of observance. 

If you're looking for a short treatment on the Sabbath, don't miss this essay by Stacy!

The Legacy of a Congregational Church in Georgia

One of the most important churches for Presbyterians in the South wasn’t Presbyterian but rather was Congregational, and its history was recorded by Rev. James Stacy (1830-1912). The Midway Congregational Church in Liberty County, Georgia was founded by a group of Puritan settlers from New England on August 28, 1754, who at first came to South Carolina, found conditions there undesirable and then headed down to Liberty County, GA. They founded a Congregational church, and from this church would come six Congressman, and of ministers, fifty Presbyterians, seventeen Baptists, thirteen Methodists, and one Episcopalians. The Presbyterian ministers were some of the most distinguished in the Southern United States, among them being the great Old School Presbyterian revivalist Daniel Baker, the first professor at Columbia Theological Seminary Dr. Thomas Goulding, and the famous missionary among the slaves, Dr. Charles Colcock Jones. The Midway Church would eventually close, but its legacy of faithfulness did not. Dr. Stacy, who wrote the book on the church, made the remark that the Midway Church’s reasons for success was “the good pleasure of God, who, in his sovereign exercise of Providence putteth down one, and setteth up another.” He goes on to talk about some of the secondary causes and miraculous things that made Midway successful, but you will have to read the book for that! The Midway Congregational Church never fully closed, but ceased having Session Meetings in October, 1867, and slowly faded away, but its legacy endures today.  

William Sprague wrote in his Annals concerning the aforementioned Thomas Goulding: "It might be profitable to inquire why the one Church of Midway, Liberty County, has furnished more Presbyterian ministers for the State of Georgia, than all the other ninety-two counties united. The influence of one little colony of Puritans that made its way thither through a scene of trials and disasters, from Dorchester, Mass., who can describe? Heaven's register will unfold many a page which Earth's historians fail to write. What the Christian Church does for the State, the world will never fully know."

A History of the Presbyterian Church in Georgia

Presbyterianism was planted in the American colonies, and has been a major force in the shaping of this nation. The state of Georgia has its own Presbyterian heritage which dates back to the early 18th century. Rev. James Stacy (1830-1912) was the clerk of Synod of Georgia for thirty-three years, and in 1912 his A History of the Presbyterian Church in Georgia was edited by his nephew and posthumously published. In the history the Presbyterian faith from its infancy in the colony Stacy has clearly shown the development of the established institutions of the Church. He also brings out the various controversies which occurred in the history of the Synod up to that point including the evolution controversy, and other minor controversies. He also provides insight into the history of “New Schoolism” in Georgia. If you are seeking a detailed account of Presbyterianism in Georgia, click on the link above to find Stacy's important and useful volume.