Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MORGAN, Abel, clergyman, born in Alltgoch, Cardiganshire, Wales, in 1673; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 16 December, 1722. He was a son of Morgan ap Rhyddereh ap Dafydd ap Grufydd. Morgan ap Rhydderch's brother, John ap Rhydderch, was a famous poet and flourished from 1700 to 1730. Their grandfather, Dafydd ap Grufydd, also wrote many books. During one of the violent persecutions in Wales, Morgan ap Rhydderch united with the Rhydwilym Baptist church, and in 1668 was chosen a deacon and next year was ordained as such. His children, as was the custom at that time, took as their surname the Christian name of the father. Abel early gave evidence of remarkable talents. He began to preach at Llanwenarth, in 1692, when only nineteen. In 1696 he was called to become pastor of the church at Blacnegwent, in Monmouthshire, and ordained there. He seems to have been very popular in the principality, and in the various associations was called upon to preach the introductory sermon, and to answer queries on questions of doctrine or discipline. Meanwhile he corresponded with his brother Enoch, who had come in 1701 to this country with a colony of Welshmen, and who, after a brief residence at Pennepek, settled in Pencader Hundred. Abel was led to regard the Colonies as a field where he might be of great use to his countrymen, and, following his brother, he reached Philadelphia in February, 1712, and became pastor of the Pennepek church, and also of the Philadelphia church, then its branch or mission. He organized new churches in Chester and Montgomery counties, and also in New Jersey. Mr. Morgan soon saw the need of theological books for young ministers, and obtained supplies from Thomas Hollis and John Taylor, of London. In addition to his pastoral duties he translated into Welsh the "Baptist Confession of Faith," but it was never printed. The greatest work of his life was the preparation of the " Cyd Gordiad," or concordance of the holy Scriptures--a work that caused his name to be held in great love and veneration, especially by his countrymen. It was completed only a short time before his death, but was not printed until 1730. It was the second Welsh book, so far as is known, that was printed in this country. It was revised and corrected for the press in March, 1730, by a Welsh Quaker, John Cadwalader, and the author's brother Enoch, and was dedicated to" The Honorable David Lloyd, Esquire, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania." It was printed by Samuel Keimer and David Harry (Philadelphia, 1730). Reverend Morgan Edwards, author of " Materials toward a History of the Baptists in Pennsylvania," says of Mr. Morgan : " He was a great and good man, and is held in dear remembrance by all who knew him." He has left many well-known Baptists among his descendants in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.--His brother, Enoch, clergyman, born in Alltgoch, Cardiganshire, South Wales, in 1676; died in Delaware, 25 March, 1740, emigrated to this country in 1701, first settling at Pennepek, near Philadelphia, and then in 1703 going to Iron Hill, in Pencader Hundred, Delaware, which was afterward known as "The Welsh Tract," from the large number of Welshmen that had settled there. He became the third pastor of the Welsh Tract Baptist church, and so remained until his death.--Enoch's son, Abel, clergyman, born in Welsh Tract, Delaware, 18 April, 1713 ; died in Middletown, New Jersey, 24 November, 1785, was educated at Pencader academy. He was ordained in 1734 as a Baptist minister, and in 1738 was chosen pastor of the church at Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey, where he was when the battle of Monmouth occurred. He was a thorough patriot, and his sermons are full of devotion to the cause of America. He was a diligent student and a skilful disputant, engaging in many discussions on the subject of baptism. His chief opponent was Rev. Samuel Finley, D. D., president of Princeton, who wrote a work called "A Charitable Plea for the Speechless." To this Mr. Morgan replied in "Anti-Paedo Rantism, or Mr. Samuel Finley's' Plea for the Speechless' examined and refuted" (Philadelphia, 1747). Dr. Finley published a rejoinder, and this was answered by Mr. Morgan in a "Reply" (175b). Mr. Morgan's valuable library was bequeathed by him to Middletown Baptist church, where it still remains.
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