Rev. Albert Barnes
Morris Co. Up

Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899, p396.


The subject of this memoir was one of the early clergymen of his church in Morris county. He was ordained and installed February 8, 1825, and dismissed June 8, 1830. Mr. BARNES graduated at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, in 1820. His theological studies were pursued at Princeton. This was Mr. BARNES' first pastorate, and to his Master's work here he consecrated all his powers. His sermons were close, pungent, discriminating and pointed, making no compromises with sin, and fearlessly uttered. The greatest commotion was excited in the early part of his ministry by his decided and unflinching course on temperance. The great work was beginning to occupy the thoughts of many. Here he found drinking customs in vogue and distilleries dotted all over the parish. Within the limit of his pastoral charge there were nineteen places where ardent spirits were made and twenty where they were sold. To arrest these evils that are ever associated with this vice, and remove if possible the curse from the community, he early called the attention of the people to the subject by a series of sermons in which he appealed to their reason, conscience and religion, and sought to lead them to an abandonment of social drinking usages, and of the places where intoxicating drinks were manufactured and sold. Some engaged in the traffic were first indignant at his interference and radical measures, and after listening to his discourse determined never again to be present to listen to another; but at the time of the delivery of the next sermon they were in their places anxious to hear what he would say, and at last so convinced were they of the injury they were doing to the morals of the place and the happiness of families that soon seventeen of the distilleries were closed and not long after his departure the fires of the other two went out.

Here also commenced that system of early rising and literary labor which resulted in his well known commentaries of the Bible. He was the author of several very elaborate and scholarly theological and religious works, but he was most noted as the author of one of the best commentaries on the Bible ever written, briefly called "Barnes' Notes," of which more than a million volumes were sold prior to 1872. He devoted the hours from four to nine o'clock in the morning to this work. Here also was preached and published the sermon called "The Way of Salvation," which was greatly instrumental in his being called to the First church of Philadelphia, and which from its statements in regard to certain doctrines led to discussion, opposition, censure, trial and finally to the division of the Presbyterian church into the old school and new school.

No man has left his impress upon his congregation more than Mr. BARNES. He came to Morris county in his youthful vigor, and God largely owned his labors, and few ministers have had a more attached people than his parishioners. who loved him for his excellencies, revered him for his piety and have followed his after life with undeviating interest.

He was installed pastor over the First Presbyterian church of Philadelphia on the 25th day of June, 1830, where he remained to his death, December 24, 1870.


Transcribed by Brianne Kelly-Bly

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