Perkins, Thomas

Perkins, Thomas a minister of the Free-will Baptist denomination, was born in Haverhill, Mass., Feb. 22, 1783. His family removed to New Hampton, N. H., when he was thirteen years of age, and there he ever afterwards lived. At seventeen he was converted, and united with the first Free-will Baptist Church in New Hampton, then but recently organized. By the advice both of lay brethren and the ministry, he held public meetings in 1808, and, after repeated urgings, consented to receive license. He was set apart to the work of the ministry, by the imposition of hands, in February, 1816, and immediately devoted himself to preaching the Word, and building up the churches of his denomination, which was then new; and the Macedonian cry, which he so often heard at that day, incited him to the utmost activity and faithfulness in the cause of the Master. He preached, baptized, attended funerals, and performed other pastoral duties in some twenty towns in the vicinity of New Hampton. His own words are, "I have preached nearly every Sabbath for more than fifty years, and have traveled thousands of miles on business to which I had been appointed by the quarterly and yearly meetings; yet I never had a salary, neither have I received half-day wages, besides the use of my horse and carriage. And yet the Lord has blessed me abundantly, both temporally and spiritually, so that I do not regret any sacrifice I have made for the cause." Though he depended largely upon his own resources for the support of himself and family, he was ever ready to help the various causes of benevolence. He attended nearly all the quarterly and annual sessions of the Free-will Baptists in New Hampshire for sixty-five years. He was six times chosen a member of the American Free-will Baptist General Conference, and for twelve years was one of the corporators of the Printing Establishment. Nor did he serve the Church alone. He always had more or less probate business on his hands, defending the rights of the widow and orphan. He also represented his town in the legislature of his state eleven consecutive years. Honest in business, far-seeing in judgment, kind and judicious in counsel, he was consulted with confidence, and his opinion was received as just and safe. It is difficult to describe his sermons, for their completeness allowed of no peculiar characteristics. They were studied, but not written — logical, compact, and vigorous. He may have been called a doctrinal preacher, though he gave no undue prominence to any dogma, and was practical as well. When he rose to speak, his portly form, large head, and open countenance were imposing, and the hearer felt himself in the presence of a man before a word was spoken. If such was his life, what need be said of his death? It was what might have been expected-peaceful, resigned, trustfully waiting the will of the Lord. January 18, 1876, the summons came, and the venerable man, the faithful servant of God, was taken to his rest. See Free-will Baptist Quar. v. 120 sq. (W. H. W.)

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