The Journals & Notebook of
 Nathan Bangs 1805-1806, 1817


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Editorial Annotations

It is unfortunate that Bangs does not mention the name of the person (almost certainly a man) who "threatened him for preaching the Doctrine of the Church." Among those less likely suspects, however, we can count Sylvanus Keeler, Bangs's fellow-circuit-rider in 1805, as well as the prominent local preachers of the circuit including Samuel Heck, William Hallock, and William Brown. Keeler worked as an itinerant in Upper Canada between 1795 and 1807, with a hiatus between 1796 and 1799, after which time he located. He died in 1825 (Cornish 44). Carroll also writes highly of the other local preachers in his anecdotal history of these earliest years of Methodist activity in the province. Whoever that person was, there is no record of any major doctrinal dispute (to say nothing of a schism) among Upper Canadian Methodists until the arrival of the Wesleyan Methodists more than ten years later in 1817. For more on the local preachers mentioned above see the link to Carroll in the right-hand pane.


Wednesday 18 [December 1805]

In find it as much as I can do to keep in a right frame of mind being beset from various Quarters. A strange thing has transpired. I am threatned [threatened] for preaching the Doctrine of our Church, by one of my brethren in the Ministry. I am at a stand [still about] what to do. I do not wish to breed a scism [schism] in the Church, neither do I wish to see the doctrines of the Gospel abused. Divisions seem to be fomenting which I fear will amount to some thing serious if not prevented by Divine Grace. Some deny in effect original sin and others explode [expunge] the sufferings of the God Man, as such, from their creed. I wish for peace in the Name of the Lord. May God direct me in the way I ought to go. I find that God is with me, so that I enjoy peace to my soul through Jesus Christ my Lord. Not long since I was thinking that I had never escaped persecution so much, as since I came to this [Oswegatchie] Circuit; but I find the old story is revived. Satan's agents have got employ but I bless God for the testimony of a good conscience with regard to having willingly offended any man, except it be in the discharge of my duty.

That danger am I continually in. If I am applauded I am in danger of being lifted up, if I am stigmatized I am in danger of being cast down. Neither of those would come to pass, I think, if I was wholly dead to the world [cf. Rom 6.11, Col 2.20]. I cannot say that it is actually so, but I find myself tempted with it. I find, the need of continual watching in order to prevent the ill effects of either the one or the other. O Lord help me to enter into the Chambers until the indignation be over the past [Is 26.20]. I will trust in the Lord Jehovah, and not be afraid of what man can do unto me . This solemn and delightful truth just now struck my ears, verily there is a Providence which overrides all things for the good of those that love God [Rom 8.28]. This truth shall be a means of support in every hour of trial. Praised by the Lord my God for ever more. Amen.

9 December 1805


25 December 1805

Primary Sources

John Carroll Case and His Cotemporaries Carroll on The Oswegatchie circuit in 1806.



schism: a rift between members of a single church or denomination usually over substantial issues of church polity, practice, or doctrine.

Original sin: a doctrine originating with St. Augustine (354-430) and held by most Christian denominations that teaches every human being inherits the sin of Adam and Eve that resulted in their expulsion from the Garden (Gn 3.22-24).

God-Man: a term for Jesus Christ that lays special emphasis on the union of his human and divine natures.


Edited by Scott McLaren
Book History Practicum
University of Toronto