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Ezekiel Cooper, 1763-1847 and Geo. A. Phoebus (George A.)
Beams of Light on Early Methodism in America. Chiefly Drawn from the Diary, Letters, Manuscripts, Documents, and Original Tracts of the Rev. Ezekiel Cooper
New York: Phillips and Hunt, 1887.


Beams of Light on Early Methodism is an account of the Methodist Church in antebellum America. Most of the material in this book comes from the personal records of Ezekiel Cooper, an itinerant preacher active in the latter part of the 18th century. The book starts with Cooper's childhood but quickly moves into his ministry. Phoebus uses the personal experiences of Cooper, as recorded in his letters and personal diaries, to describe the status and activities of the Methodist Church. He takes Cooper's ministry year by year, describing events and situations in New Jersey, Baltimore, Annapolis, Alexandria (Virginia), Charleston (South Carolina), Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Wilmington, Delaware. In each case the events described are specific to church concerns, various denominational conferences, and public reactions to church activities such as revivals. In many cases, excerpts from Cooper's journals or letters are heavily used. Phoebus also includes a chapter on the printing of Methodist books and an addendum on the Methodist Church's opposition to slavery.

Christopher Hill

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