Hervey Jenks was the son of Godly parents. But like so many others, he grew up with his father’s religion, but not his Saviour. With plans to become a lawyer, he began attending Brown University, America’s first Baptist school of higher education. During his final year the Lord grasped his heart and began to squeeze. He became acutely aware of his lost spiritual condition, but with the preaching of the gospel, and the study of God’s Word, he came to possess joyful confidence in Christ Jesus as His Lord and Saviour. With his new spiritual heart he gave up his plans to become a lawyer and surrendered to the gospel ministry.
On this day in 1811, approximately a year after his conversion, Hervey Jenks was approved by the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island to become one of their evangelists. After his marriage to Hannah Slanter, Brother Jenks began ministering in both Stockbridge, Massachusetts and Hudson, New York, traveling back and forth between congregations. However shortly after beginning this ministry he began to show signs of typhus. After a period of extreme pain, delirium, and convulsions, he died on July 15, 1814 at the age of twenty-eight, just about five years after the Lord saved him.
For a while Jenks stayed in the home of the Brown family. One of the children of that family came to know the Lord and eventually went into the ministry himself. Pastor Brown, later in life, recalled hearing Brother Jenks preach on the judgment of God, from II Peter 3:10. He said, it seemed that “the burning world was before him. Country after Country, Continent after Continent, sunk in succession before the devouring flame. It approached nearer and nearer. The ocean shrank before it, as its blazing volume rolled across the Atlantic. At length it reach our own shores; and, as if actually seeing its destructive progress, wrapping everything before it in its fiery fold, the preacher raised his hands to heaven, and exclaimed with a voice that shook my very soul – ‘America what art thou? Where art thou, O my Country? Gone! Swallowed up! Lost!’ And where are we? The ground is going beneath us! There is no standing place on earth! O my dear hearer are you, too, lost?”