I encountered the Baptist pastor and educator Nathaniel Kendrick (1777-1848) in my research on John Newton Brown. I’ve found him to be a fascinating figure for at least three reasons. First, like Andrew Fuller, he’s an example of a thoroughly Edwardsian Baptist. Second, he was a major influence on some very important Baptists in the nineteenth century, such as John Newton Brown and the Judsons. Third, he briefly served as a missionary in my home province, Ontario, Canada.
It is rather entertaining to read descriptions of Kendrick’s physique. At 6″3 or 6″4, he was regarded as a giant. “He was one of nature’s and of grace’s noblemen, formed alike physically, intellectually and morally, on a large and generous scale.”
A Few Details About His Life
Kendrick was born in Hanover, New Hampshire. He left New Hampshire in 1802 and studied theology under “several eminent divines”. He was spent most of his life as a theology professor at Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution. He also served the Lord as a pastor at churches in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York.
In 1808 and 1809, Nathaniel made some missionary tours of Upper Canada for the Shaftsbury Association. Apparently his work there was so greatly appreciated that he was asked to settle in with a church in Clinton, Ontario.
In 1817, together with Daniel Hascall, Nathaniel founded the Baptist Education Society of the State of New York, which in turn planted Hamilton Literary and Theological Institute, which is where John Newton Brown was educated. Kendrick would labor at the school, which eventually would become known as Colgate University, for the rest of his life.
A Few Details About His Theology
In this section I am going to summarize Kendrick’s theology based on a memoir written about him. I will also provide a few quotes. 
Though one of Kendrick’s professors, Nathanael Emmons, was a “New Divinity” man, Kendrick was said to be more of an “old divinity” man.
Kendrick strongly held to the necessity of regeneration. He held that man’s corrupt nature comes from his connection with the first Adam. He taught that Adam’s guilt was imputed to his posterity and Christ’s righteousness was imputed to his people.
Kendrick believed in the divine sovereignty of God in his eternal purposes and election. These were not “dry metaphysical speculations for him” but comfort giving doctrines. When his wife died, he wrote this in his journal:
“The ushering in of this day is marked with the most trying dispensation of providence that I have ever experienced….She is gone! alas! She will never return! And can I ask for her back? O no. God’s will is done. I am alone with two motherless children, but God is able to provide. O thou Divine Spirit, be entreated to write the law of submission upon my heart. O grant thy supporting presence; and by this wise and holy chastisement, wean thy sinful creature more from this world. O do thou prepare him more for thy service. May he not be left to dishonor the profession he has made; but may he glorify God in this affliction….may it please thee, O God, to sanctify this stroke to us all.”
Kendrick believed God’s own glory was God’s ultimate end in all his operations. He said that “God can no more act below the dignity of his character, than he can deny himself” and “God delights in seeing the perfections of his character portrayed upon the face of his system. The whole created system is not the power of God, but the effect of his power. The created system is no further valuable in the sight of God, than it makes his glory known.”
He believed in the substitutionary nature of the atonement, an atonement which had no possibility of failure and had special reference to “a definite number.” He also believed that the atonement was made on covenant principles, a contract between the persons of the Godhead to pardon, regeneration, sanctify, and eternally save the elect. He would say that “The atonement was not necessary to dispose God to the exercise of mercy, or to be merciful… The atonement of Christ is necessary to secure and display the justice of God..It was necessary to show God’s sense of wickedness, and magnify the law and render it honorable.”
A Conclusion and a Request
More remains to be said about Nathaniel Kendrick. I hope to do so some time in the future, though I am not sure now is the right time for me to take this further.
I would also love to see some of Kendrick’s sermons and addresses put into the public domain. It would be a great project for someone with typing skills, free time, and access to one of the following libraries:
- New York University – Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
- College of Staten Island, CUNY
- Utica College Library – Frank E. Gannett Memorial Library
- University of Delaware Library
- West Chester University (PA) – Francis Harvey Green Library
- University of Pennsylvania Libraries- Van Pelt Library
- Princeton University Library
- New-York Historical Society Library
- University of Virginia Libraries; University of Virginia Library
- Syracuse University
- Middlebury College (VT)
- Andover Newton Theological School – Franklin Trask Library
- Brown University Library (RI)
- Peabody Essex Museum (MA)
- Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary – Goddard Library
 Lord willing, my research on Brown will be shortly released in the form of two papers.
 L. M. Hammond, History of Madison County, State of New York (Syracuse: Truair, Smith & Co., 1872), 468. The “eminent divines” include Dr. Nathanael Emmons of Frankin, Massachusetts, Dr. Asa Burton (1752-1836)–who was a Congregationalist minister from Vermont–as well as a Dr. Baldwin and a Dr. Stillman.
 From S. W. Adams, Memoirs of Rev. Nathaniel Kendrick, D.D., and Silas N. Kendrick (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1860), 230. I’ve listed further description of Kendrick’s physique in one of my forthcoming papers on John Newton Brown.
 His title was Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology, though he also taught Moral Philosophy and Theology.
 The association was formed in the 1780s and had churches in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and Upper Canada.
 The summaries and quotes in this section are largely based on S. W. Adams, Memoirs of Rev. Nathaniel Kendrick, D.D., and Silas N. Kendrick (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1860).
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