I've been reading a couple of books on the history of Baptists in South Carolina. Why South Carolina? South Carolina was probably the most tolerant of the original thirteen colonies when it came to religion, except for tolerance toward Roman Catholics. Followers of the Baptist faith were run out of the northern colonies, by the colonies' Puritan leaders, for their beliefs regarding infant baptism and their insistence on separation of church and state. Massachusetts and Virginia passed laws that prevented its residents from refusing to have their infants baptized, a direct blow to the Baptists. In South Carolina, however, the provincial government was much more tolerant. Because of this tolerance, it can be argued that it was in South Carolina that the Baptist faith really began in America.
Of particular interest to me right now is the Baptist church that was originally formed at Shoal Creek in Franklin County, Georgia, across the Tugaloo River from what is now Oconee County, South Carolina. It is very possible that our Thrasher and Dulaney families may have worshiped at this church, or one of its many offshoots. Since the books I've been reading include a short history of the Shoal Creek church, I'm hoping to track down a transcription of the church minutes. Eventually, there were so many more South Carolinians than Georgians that the Shoal Creek church was moved over the river into South Carolina. In addition to Shoal Creek, there are a couple of other churches that I'm interested in: Bush River (Davis family) and Holly Spring (Clayton family).
The books make mention throughout of exhortations by various preachers. Seeing exhortation used frequently in both books made me look up the definition. To exhort is to strongly urge, using compelling and stirring arguments. An exhortation is a speech that encourages or incites its listeners. Seems that there was a lot of exhorting going on back in those days!