John Marrant was the first ordained AA minister in the U.S. Marrant was converted during the Great Awakening by the preaching of George Whitefield. As a child he ran away from home and was taken by Cherokee Indians. It is said that he escaped death by praying in the Cherokee language and converting the chief. He fought in the Revolutionary War and was injured during the Battle of Charleston. He was ordained by a Calvinist Methodist minister in London and came to Nova Scotia as a missionary to the blacks, poor, and MicMac Indians. He wrote and published an account of this mission. He was also a member of the first black lodge, the African Masonic Lodge. He moved between London and America until his death of unknown causes in 1791. Here is an excerpt from “A Sermon Preached on the 24th Day of June 1789, being the Festival of St. John the Baptist” which was given in Boston at the Masonic Lodge:
“My dear Brethren. let us pray to God for a benevolent heart, that we may be enabled to pass through the various stages of this life with reputations, and that great and infinite jehovah, who overrules the grand fabric of nature, will enable us to look backward with pleasure, and forward with confidence and in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment, the well grounded hope of meeting with that mercy from our Maker which we have ever been ready to show to others, will refresh us with the most solid comfort, and fill us with the most unspeakable joy.
And should not this learn us that new and glorious commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ to his disciples, when he urges it to then in these words- Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself- Our Lord repeats and recommends this as the most indispensable duty and neccessary qualification of his disciples, saying, hereby shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. And we are expressly told by the Apostle, that charity, or universal love and friendship, is the end of the commandment.
Shall this noble and unparalleled example fail of its due influence upon us- shall it not animate our hearts with a like disposition of benevolence and mercy, shall it not raise our emulation and provoke our ambition- to go and do likewise.
Let us then beware of such a selfishness as pursues pleasure at the expense of our neighbor’s happiness, and renders us indifferent to his peace and welfare; and such a self-love is the parent of disorder and the source of all evils that divide the world and destroy the peace of mankind; whereas Christian charity- universal love and friendship- benevolent affections and social feelings, unite and knot men together, render them happy in themselves and useful to one another, and reccomend them to the esteem of a gracious God, through our Lord Jesus Christ…..
And let the character of our enemies be to resent affronts- but ours to generously remit and forgive the greatest; theirs to blacken the reputation and blast the credit of their brethren- but ours to be tender of their good name, and to cast a veil over their failings; theirs to blow the coals of contention and sow the seeds of strife among men- but ours to compose their differences and heal up their breaches.”