-- Justin Edwards to Daniel Poor, June 29, 1812.
In 1812, after the death of Reverend Jonathan French, twenty-five-year-old Justin Edwards (1787-1853), began his tenure as the third pastor of Andover's South Church. Born in Westhampton, Massachusetts, the Williams College graduate and member of the seminary's class of 1811 had a preaching style described as “nakedly direct." His language, turns of expression, and illustrations" were characterized as "homely." “His gestures were few, and not easy." But his "earnestness and honesty" was said to have kept his audience at attention. 
Soon after his settlement, he began to meet weekly on Monday evenings with Mark Newman, Ebenezer Porter, Leonard Woods, and Moses Stuart, and several others “for devising plans for doing good and advancing the interests of the Redeemer’s kingdom, at home and abroad, in every practicable way.”  In 1817, he became corresponding secretary of the tract society, in which each of these men were also involved. Edwards wouldn't make his mark encouraging men to become missionaries, however; he grew to have another obsession, one that was, perhaps, a better match for his style of speaking and being, and for his local audience: intemperance.
1. South Church Articles of Faith and Form of Covenant (Andover: Warren F. Draper, 1859), 112.
2. William A. Hallock, “Light and Love” A Sketch of The Life and Labors of the Rev. Justin Edwards, D.D. The Evangelical Pastor; the advocate of Temperance, The Sabbath, and The Bible (New York and Boston: American Tract Society, 1855) 43. A note on the author: Hallock was a seminary graduate (class of 1822). He was also was an agent of the New England Tract Society, 1822-25, and corresponding secretary of the American Tract Society, 1825-70.