|Date(s):||November 1, 1851 to July 12, 1876|
|Location(s):||ORANGEBURG, South Carolina | CHARLESTON, South Carolina|
|Tag(s):||Religious History, Religion, Education, Baptists|
|Course:||“America, 1820-1890 (2010),” Furman University|
For two Baptist preachers, both religion and history were necessary to promote a moral life and an educated mind. History had a huge significance for their churches, as well as understanding about their future. Both preachers taught that by understanding the past, and understanding the nuances of it, one could have attained morality through example. Although morality can be achieved in many ways, a credible way of viewing the present place and the future outcomes is by viewing the past. (This isn't their thoughts, but mine. Need to put theirs here). History was, to them, the cornerstone to the Baptist denomination and Christian religion.
James C. Furman started his sermon with Deuteronomy 32:7, “Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations.” From this he went into a sermon discussing the history of the Charleston Baptist Association. The Charleston Baptist Association had existed for one hundred years, and their work had shown great progress. James Furman preached on the values of looking at the history of organizations as a means to define one’s morality, stating, “Much is gained for human virtue, whether in the family, the State, or the Church, when each member is impressed with a sense of personal moral accountability.” He also discussed the “most important and interesting phenomena of the human mind…the expectation of the future.” He went into how the only way to define one’s future is to look at the past.
Twelve days after the celebration of the United States Independence, David W. Cuttino preached an extensive sermon on the history of the Baptist denomination. He alluded to all the events going on across the nation that celebrated the nation's history up to that point. The focus of Cuttino's sermon was not on the sacrifices of the soldiers in the American Revolution. He asked in his sermon, “Shall we celebrate our National Independence and not call to mind the great victories of soul liberty, and do what we can to extend like blessing to all the race of man?” He discussed what Baptists do believe in, and preached boldly that the Baptist church was the original church in Jerusalem.
Both sermons, however, told a very specific lesson – without the past, the future cannot be written. Both advocated education of the past as a means to understanding the present and looking to the future. In order to enjoy the present liberties and look to the future, one must respect the past. In addition, one must respect it and learn of its false analyses and bias nature. Rosenberg writes that the Baptists go to near obsession over the past. Today’s historians strive to learn facts and how bias was attached to that historical fact. However, learning what the bias is, and finding where else that same kind of bias appeared is its own history.