Jacob Brush's Bible

Numerous leaders of the early American Republic joined George Washington in publicly attaching their names to this specific family study Bible. Buried within that extensive list of subscribers is the name of a young circuit-riding preacher.

With little formal training, an unmarried war veteran named Jacob Brush trekked for more than a decade by horseback through both dangers and drudgeries to preach the soul-saving gospel of Jesus Christ. In churches, cabins, meadows—wherever a family or a crowd could be gathered in the lonely forests of Long Island, the village of Brooklyn, and throughout New York and surrounding states—the heart of this prayerful preacher beat strong for his Savior. Yet Rev. Brush’s life on earth ended by epidemic when he was only 33. Bequeathed in a hastily written deathbed will to his younger half-brother John only hours before Jacob’s homegoing, this Bible eventually passed from one generation to the next. After more than two hundred and twenty-five years, it was abandoned to the public and auctioned along with the remaining possessions of one of Jacob Brush’s distant, deceased relatives. Although this copy may have been long forgotten by men, God’s plan for its impact was far from over. 

Today, as though peering into the past, the facsimile in this volume is an exact duplicate of Brush’s personal Bible, as originally published in 1792. It was perhaps carried in leather saddlebags to cabins and churches throughout the “horse preacher’s” circuit of New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. Undoubtedly, this illustrated study Bible—purchased with the meager salary of that itinerant preacher—was prized and referenced by Brush diligently for sermon preparation, enjoyed for personal devotions, and very possibly read by fathers to families with whom he lodged. It was probably also near his bed during the final candlelit hours of his earthly life.

With tremendous care, the original was electronically scanned, its pages digitally enhanced to a near-original look, then re-printed and bound into the facsimile and historical overview that you now have before you.

Printing was very different in the 1700s. Imperfections occasionally came about while hand-setting the metal type, inking the block, aligning paper on the heavy wooden printing press, then pulling the large screw to compress each side of each leaf, and finally hand-collating the nearly eleven hundred large pages for each of the 1,567 subscribed Bibles. This new printing is a historical snapshot, and those misalignments, ink spots, tiny fuzzy words, and other imperfections are preserved just as they were bound into Jacob Brush’s original—the content and technical quality of which was virtually identical to President George Washington’s copy.


Jacob Brush also briefly pastored John Street Church in New York (the oldest Methodist Society in continental America) in 1793. See “John Street Methodist Church.” 

“Jacob Brush (died) September 25, 1795 (age) 34.[sic]” Note that other documents state that Jacob Brush died in the “… 34th year …” of his life, and “… in the month of September, 1795, being about thirty-three years of age …” which both lend credibility to the idea that he was actually 33 upon his death in 1795, having not yet attained his 34th birthday. See Brush, New York Conference Official Journal, p. 135 and Lee, A Short History of the Methodists in the United States of America, p. 228. These logically lead to the conclusion that Jacob Brush was born in 1762.