George, Enoch

George, Enoch bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Lancaster County, Virginia, in 1767 or 1768; was converted at about eighteen; entered the itinerancy in 1790; was made presiding elder in 1796; 1801 and 1802 located; in 1803 re-entered the traveling ministry; was elected bishop in 1816; and died at Staunton, Virginia, August 23, 1828. He was the son of a planter in moderate circumstances, and of no religious profession. His mother died while he was young, and he acquired in youth the gay and dissolute morals of the district where he lived. He was, however, at this period deeply convinced of sin under the preaching of that holy man, the Reverend D. Jarratt (q.v.), of the English Church. But the subsequent removal of his father to North Carolina for a time left him to grow more wicked than before, until at length, with his father, he was converted by the instrumentality of the Reverend John Easter. Although young, and exceedingly reluctant, he was thrust out by his brethren and his own inward convictions into public service, and for two or three years was very useful as an exhorter, local preacher, and assistant on circuits with Philip Cox and Daniel Asbury. In 1790 he entered the itinerancy, and from that time he bore for many years the headships and trials of a pioneer Methodist preacher. His usefulness and influence continually increased, and in 1796 he was made presiding elder at a district which included Charleston, South Carolina, and his labors there resulted in a great revival of religion. In 1799 his health failed, and he became "superannuated" in 1800 be reentered the itinerancy, but in 1801 his health failed again, and he located and opened a school at Winchester, in Virginia, as soon after married. In 1803 he re- entered the Conference. In 1816 he was delegate to the General Conference at Baltimore. In the same year his wife died. Bishop McKendree's health had now nearly failed, and when the Conference met it was decided to elect more bishops, and the choice fell upon R.R. Roberts and Enoch George. From this time he labored with untiring zeal and universal acceptability in supervision, visitation, and in preaching the word with mighty power until he was taken from labor to reward. His funeral sermon was preached by bishop McKendree at the General Conference of 1832. Bishop George was a man of large information, and of great activity and force of mind. His genius was very original; the effect of his preaching was very great Dir. Samuel Luckey gives the following account of a sermon by bishop George at John Street Church, New York, in June 1816. "The subject of the discourse was the conquest which Christ achieved over sin and death. He announced his text: 'When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive;' and, from the moment he uttered it, had complete command of his audience. The picture he drew of sin, and the desolations it has wrought, was truly terrific. Like a mighty cataract, he rushed on with constantly increasing impetuosity, till every nerve that had braced itself to resist was unstrung, and his hearers seemed passively to resign themselves to an influence which was too strong for them. At a felicitous moment, when the feelings of his audience would bear to be turned into a different channel, he exclaimed, in the language of holy triumph, and in a manner peculiar to himself, 'But redemption smiled, and smiled a cure!' His train of thought was now changed, but the power of his eloquence was not at all diminished. Sin had been personified as the tyrant monster, swaying his daemon scepter over our race, and death in his train, dragging the conquered millions to their dark abode. A mightier than these was now introduced the sinner's Friend and the conqueror of death. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and to deliver those who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage. The risen and ascended Savior was represented as coming up from the empire of death, having seized the tyrant upon his throne, and then as triumphantly passing the portals of heaven amid the acclamations of heaven's shining hosts. The description was so vivid as to be almost overwhelming. The audience, which had just before seemed like a terror-stricken multitude, almost within the very grasp of the destroyer, now exhibited countenances resumed with returning smiles. The whole assembly was actually in a commotion" (Sprague, Annals, 7:193). — Minutes of Conferences, 2:35; Wakely, Heroes of Methodism, page 137; Fry, Life of Bp. George (18mo); Stevens, Hist. of the Methodist Episc. Church, volumes 3, 4.

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