Van Nest, Peter

Van Nest, Peter a Methodist Episcopal minister, was born in Bethlehem township; Huntingdon Co., N.J., Aug. 5, 1759. In 1771 he went to reside in Philadelphia, Pa. Shortly after his settlement in that city he was powerfully awakened to a sense of sin; it was not, however, until 1788 that he was led to see himself as he really was Being in Bristol, England, he went to hear Thomas Warwick, a Wesleyan preacher, whose discourses were .so pungent, and seemed so personal to him, that his conscience was profoundly awakened. He at once joined the Methodist Church, and acquired the friendship of John Wesley. Henry Moore, the biographer of Wesley, commissioned him as a local preacher in 1794. In 1796 he returned to America, and was received on trial in the Philadelphia Conference the same year, and appointed to Salem Circuit, in New Jersey, but did not travel it. The next year (1797) he was again received, and sent to Middletown Circuit, Conn. His subsequent appointments were as follows in 1798, to Croton Circuit, where he spent three months, and was then sent to Middletown again; in 1799, to Whitingham, to form a new circuit; in 1800, to Fletcher (formerly Essex); in 1801, to New London; in 1802, to Bay Quinta, Upper Canada; in. 1803, to Niagara; in 1804, to Burlington, N.J. in 1805, to Elizabethtown Circuit; in 1806, to Somerset, Md.; in 18.07, to Holland 'Purchase as missionary; from 1808 to 1809, to Cayuga District; in 1810, to Gloucester Circuit, N. J.; from 1810 to' 1814, to East Jersey District; in 1815, to Salem Circuit; in 1816, to Freehold; in 1817, to Bergen; in 1818, to Gloucester; from 1819 to 1820, as supernumerary; and in 1821, taking a superannuated relation he resided in Pemberton, N.J., until his death, Oct. 17, 1850. Mr. Vau Nest was revered as a veteran throughout the Church. In all his appointments he did brave service, and his labors in New England, Canada. Western New York, and New Jersey were instrumental in the rescue of hundreds of souls. From the time that he ceased to be effective until his death — a period of about thirty-one years — he had his home at Pemberton, N.J., where he was eminently useful and highly respected and venerated. He watched over the Church in that place with exemplary fidelity to the last. When he was in his ninety-second year, he was often seen, with staff in hand, going about from house to house, and inquiring with great interest in respect to both the temporal and spiritual welfare of the inmates. His death was not only peaceful, but triumphant. See Minutes of Annual Conferences, 4, 568; Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, 7:276; Stevens, Hist. of the M. E., Church, 3, 433; 4:17, 63, 267. (J. L. S.)

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