Isaac Backus was born at Norwich, Connecticut, on January 9, 1724. He was converted during the Great New England Awakening in 1741, but he did not join the church until ten months later, with a lot of hesitation. He and others soon separated themselves from the First Congregational of Norwich, to hold meetings of their own on the Sabbath.
He felt called to be a minister, and shortly after he began to exhort and preach. He addressed himself openly and earnestly to the work of a pastor and evangelist. He was ordained in 1748, as pastor of a Separate church at Middleborough.
He married Susannah Mason, and lived with her for fifty-one years. Near the end of his life he wrote that he considered her the greatest earthly blessing God had given him.
He continued his labors as an evangelist until 1756, when he and six other baptized believers, formed a Baptist church in Middleborough, and Mr. Backus was ordained its pastor. In 1765, he was elected a trustee of Brown University, and he held that position for thirty-four years.
“In appearance he was tall and commanding, and in later years inclined towards portliness. He possessed an iron constitution, and was capable of treat physical endurance.”
In 1789, Mr. Backus went to Virginia and North Carolina, to strengthen and build up their churches. He traveled 3000 miles and preached 126 sermons while he was there. He preached until just before he died on November 21, 1806.
“As religion must always be a matter between God and individuals, no man can be made a member of a truly religious society by force or without his own consent, neither can any corporation that is not a religious society have a just right to govern in religious affairs.”
Roger William Heritage Archives Editors. Baptist Biographies. Roger Williams Heritage Archives. (2003).
Christian History: The Baptists. 1985; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996 (electronic ed.). Carol Stream IL: Christianity Today.