Great Revival - Camp-Meetings - The "Jerks" - Barton W. Stone - New Lights
I have already pointed out the state of society and the low and still ebbing tide of religious sentiment which darkened the close of the eighteenth century. We have seen the inactivity and worldliness of ministers of every order; the irreligion and deadness of professors of every name, and the heartless and growing skepticism of society through all its ramifications. Dark was the picture and the prospect. The curtain of the future hung trembling on the wheel of time. It was about to be lifted in the dawn of a new century. Many a weeping seer tried to rend the darkness as he plainly cried, "O, Lord, revive they work; in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy." "Woe is me!" said the faithful J. Taylor. "Woe is me that I sojourn in Meseck, that I dwell in the tents of Keder." "I never had been so thoroughly cowed down by discouragement through the course of my ministry as now; though it had been in action for twenty-five years, and really thought I had better been dead than alive; poor Bullitsburg appeared like a forsaken cottage in the wilderness."1
The history of redemption is replete with evidences that in the divine arrangement there are "set times to favor Zion." Often has the voice from the burning bush startled the shepherd from his repose, and inspired him with new-found power to lead up from Egyptian darkness an enslaved Israel. Never was God left himself without a witness. Though hidden from the world, the stars still shine, and their light will yet be seen. In that dark day of spiritual degeneracy, just preceding the year 1800, were men of God weeping between the porch and the altar -- still going forth, bearing the precious seed, and weeping; and they were the first to see the whitening fields and waving harvest. Without observation; without the aid of human learning or power; unexpected, unforeseen, the light at length broke like sudden bursts of splendor; the angel of mercy dropping gold and manna from its wide-spread wings, shed the successive refreshing from the presence of the Lord. The Great Revival commenced. An event which gave to infidelity its death blow; which added eight thousand members to the Baptist Churches of Kentucky from the then sparse population; which was the occasion of excitements the wildest and most unaccountable that ecclesiastical history records; and from which sprang into existence in Kentucky three distinct denominations, the Christians, the Cumberlands, and the Shakers -- is especially worthy of careful investigation.
The honor of being the instrument, selected by Divine Providence, to accomplish any good and great work, is not necessarily a sinful aspiration. When merely to gratify selfish or denominational ambition, it is contemptible. To John McGee, a Methodist preacher, his earnest exhortations, and the use of Wesley's stirring hymns, have Methodist writers, with strange self-complacency, attributed the great success of the revival.3 John McGee and the Methodist preachers are not even mentioned by McGready, Stone, and McNamar, the Presbyterian revivalists, in their elaborate accounts of the work. By the Baptist ministers, who baptized thousands and tens of thousands between the years 1800 and 1803, not a word is said as to who was the chief instrument, or what were the successful methods. They preached as they always did, except with more earnestness and prayer; and not a landmark was removed or destroyed in their unostentatious workers, who claim no honor, and felt no ruinous inflation, were Baptists, who did more, under God, in awakening and guiding the out-gush of religious sentiments that swept over Kentucky and the West, than all the New Lights put together. But the facts shall speak for themselves.
To Logan county, Kentucky,4 in the Fall of 1796, emigrated an earnest and eloquent Presbyterian preacher, James McGready, and settled over two congregations, called Red and Muddy Rivers. Of the deadness of these congregations he writes with sadness. Some transient interest was awakened in 1797, and also in 1798; but to use his own words, "our infant congregation remained in a state of deadness and darkness from the Fall through the winter, and until the month of July, 1799. On Monday, the power of God seemed to fill the congregation; the boldest, daring sinners in the country, covered their faces and wept bitterly. After the congregation was dismissed, a large number of people remained about the doors, unwilling to go away. Some of the ministers proposed to me to collect the people in the meeting-house again, and perform prayer with them. The mighty power of God came among us like a shower from the everlasting hills; God's people were quickened and comforted; sinners were powerfully alarmed, and some precious souls were brought to feel the pardoning love of Jesus." The following August at Gasper River, after the sermon, Mr. Ranken gave a solemn exhortation; the congregation was then dismissed, but the people all kept their seats for a considerable space, while awful solemnity appeared in the countenances of a large majority. Presently several persons under deep conviction, broke forth into a loud-outcry; many fell to the ground, lay powerless, groaning, praying, and crying for mercy.5
The interest continued in these and surrounding congregations through the Fall and Winter, but had no effect, and was not, of course, known in the central and northern parts of the State.
Almost simultaneously with these refreshing from the presence of the Lord in Logan, a deep, though less extravagant interest was awakening along the banks of the Ohio. John Taylor, having purchased a piece of land in Gallatin county, determined, on a certain day, to survey it. A few days before, he received a letter from Benjamin Craig to visit and preach for them, as there was quite a revival among them. "I had intended," says Taylor, "to be at his house (some fifty miles distant) the very night of the meeting, so that I deserve no credit for being at the meeting at Craig's. The house being much crowded, they invited me to preach. This I did with much reluctance. From the dull feelings of my heart, I took a text that suited my own feelings -- 'Lord, help me.' I continued but a short time, for I considered myself very worthless. After this they continued on in prayer, praise, and exhortation, with much noise at times, till late in the night. Some were rejoicing, having lately obtained deliverance; others groaning in tears, under a pensive load of guilt. When I got home, a new scene very much affected me. A young man, connected to an influential family, had just married, and this made a great opening for several days' dancing at the wedding, and several infairs. The last day of the mirth was at Capt. Depew's, on Saturday. That night I had meeting near the place, when but five attended, though I heard they had a crowded house at the infair. Two young ladies left the dance and came almost alone from thence to the meeting. The next day was preaching at our meeting-house. It was a usual thing, notwithstanding the vanity of the youth, for all to come to meeting, especially on Sunday. I preached from the text, 'My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.' Soon after I began, a sort of feeling overtook me that exceeded anything I ever felt in public speaking; they consisted in a profuse weeping that I could not suppress, while I made a comparison of the then state of Israel with my poor neighbors; and the whole assembly seemed to reciprocate the same feelings; perhaps there was not a dry eye in the house. What the Lord did at this meeting broke up all the dancing in the settlement."6
Several conversations and a general awakening were the results. From one baptism, Mr. Taylor says, about twenty experiences were received into the Church. Soon after this, Taylor and Cave visited Corn Creek, and other settlements on the Ohio, and the revival became general. Over one hundred were in a short time baptized into the fellowship of the Bullitsburg Church. About the same time a number of Baptists moved from Virginia and settled about ten miles from Bullitsburg. They sent to the Churches for helps to constitute them into a Church.
"There were about nineteen members thus applying, and nearly half of them free white male members, and the distance considerable from any other Church. Perhaps there was no doubt among any of us of the utility of Church at that place. They were asked the question by Taylor, whether, if constituted a Church, they could meet together and worship God independently of any one coming among them for that purpose -- to lead their devotions? Who among them would be willing to keep up regular public worship on Sabbath? None answered in the affirmative. The helps refused on this ground to recognize them as a Church. This very much afflicted them, and they agreed to meet the next Sunday to consult as to what they should do. When they met, they had a very small, poor man among them. He was also decrepit, for he limped as he walked. His name was Moses Vickers. He was a good singer, and a man of good religious fame. When they convened, Vickers, wept among them, and proposed to go to prayer; after which he exhorted them in tears to trust in the Lord. Several of them went to prayer. They had such a tender, weeping meeting, that they concluded to meet the next Sunday; and, in fact, a revival took place among them."7
Such was the beginning of the Great Revival in the northern part of Kentucky. It was early in the Spring of 1800, and before any excitement had spread from Logan county above Salt River. From the settlements along the Ohio, the religious interest spread to Clear Creek. Taylor had been for eleven years its first pastor. He made them a visit when the Church was at its lowest ebb of spiritual declension. He preached from the text, "I have taken off my coat, and how can I put it on?" A true and holy man was then pastor of the Church, Richard Cave. The interest increased during the associational year of 1800; three hundred and twenty-six were received by baptism. There had not been a single baptism in the Church during seven years prededing [sic], and the Church was literally dying out.
In Logan, the Presbyterians, from the formal stiffness which had ever marked them, burst forth in all the extravagance of fanaticism, while a gentle rain was descending with softening, quickening power, on the Churches about Woodford and Fayette.
"In July," says McGready, "multitudes crowded from all parts of the country, to see a strange work, from the distance of forty, fifty, and even one hundred miles. Whole families came in their wagons; between twenty and thirty wagons were brought to the place, loaded with people and their provisions, in order to encamp at the meeting-house. Of many instances, I shall mention one of a little girl. I stood by her while she lay across her mother's lap, almost in despair. I was conversing with her when the first gleam of light broke in upon her mind; she started to her feet, and in an ecstasy of joy she cried out, 'O, what a sweet Christ he is!' &c. Then turning round, she addressed sinners, and told them of the glory, and willingness, and preciousness of Christ, and plead with them to repent."8
This was the first of camp-meetings. Soon excitement followed. The Methodists joined in and fanned the flame. The excitement spread from settlement to settlement, increasing in intensity, till the whole country was in a blaze. Nor was it all wild excitement or fox-fire. There was real power and glory in it. Vice stood abashed. Religion had clothed herself in her own armor, and was terrible as an army with banners. Yet the calmly-moving energy, which characterized the revivals among the Baptists in the center of the State, was lost sight of in the burning intensity of the Presbyterians in the south.
This state of things might have been confined to southern Kentucky had not an incident occurred worthy of special note.
Barton W. Stone
In 1778, was ordained pastor of the united congregations of Caneridge and Concord, Bourbon county, Kentucky.
"Things moved on quietly," he tells us, "in my congregations, and the country generally. Apathy in religious societies appeared everywhere to an alarming degree. Not only the power of religion had disappeared, but also the very form of it was waning fast away, and continued on till the beginning of the present century. Having heard of a remarkable religious excitement in the south of Kentucky, and in Tennessee, under the labors of James McGready, and other Presbyterian ministers, I was very anxious to be among them, and early in the Spring of 1801, went there to attend a camp meeting. The scene to me was new and passing strange. It baffled description. Many, very many, fell down as men slain in battle, and continued, for hours together, in an apparently breathless and motionless state; sometimes for a few moments recovering and exhibiting symptoms of life by a groan or a piercing shriek, or by a prayer for mercy, most fervently uttered. After lying thus for hours, they obtained deliverance. I observed, with critical attention, everything that passed. After attending to many such cases, my conviction was complete, that it was a good work -- the work of God; nor has my mind wavered since on the subject."9
Mr. Stone was the very man to be swept on the tide of such an excitement. Though apparently cool and methodical, his temperament was ardent. Though a man of thought, he was neither logical nor profound. Yet he was an earnest man, bold and sincere. Though painfully speculative, and prone to doubt, when penetrated with conviction or affection, he was an enthusiast, almost a fanatic. Bearing back the tidings to his congregation at Caneridge, multitudes attended to hear his description of the work in Logan. "The congregation was affected with awful solemnity." That night, at his meeting, two little girls were affected in every respect as those were in South Kentucky. On his return the next morning to Caneridge, a man of influence met him, shouting praises to God. "In less than twenty minutes scores had fallen to the ground; paleness, trembling, and anxiety, appeared in all. The meeting continued on that spot till late at night, and many found peace in the Lord." The effects of this meeting were like fire among dry stubble. Everywhere men, women, and children, as though aroused by the trump of doom, forgot everything to attend the continued meetings.
The Great Camp-Meeting at Caneridge
It was a beautiful spot, in the vicinity of the Caneridge Church, about seven miles from Paris, where was held the camp-meeting most noted for the multitudes in attendance, and the transactions witnessed. The place was finely shaded and watered, and admirably adapted to the purposes of an encampment. An area was cleared, with the stand at one end, and a spacious tent, capable of sheltering a vast assembly from heat or rain. The adjoining grounds were laid off in regular sheets, along which the tents were pitched. The meeting-house was appropriated for the preacher's lodge. The projector and manager of the whole was the far-seeing, enthusiastic pastor of Caneridge - B. W. Stone.
"This memorable meeting," he informs us, "came on Thursday and Friday before the third Lord's day in August, 1801. The roads were literally crowded with wagons, carriages, horsemen and footmen, moving to the solemn camp. The sight was affecting. It was judged by military men on the ground, that there were between twenty and thirty thousand collected. Four or five preachers were frequently speaking at the same time, at different parts of the encampment without confusion."10
It must have been a wild and thrilling scene. The elements best calculated to effect the imagination; the glare of blazing camp-fires flashing along the lines of tents and dense masses of bowed worshipers; a thousand lights glancing from the dark foliage of the forest trees; the swelling of the solemn hymn, as it fell on the night-wind; or the piercing shriek of anguish-stricken mourners; the sobs, the shoutings, the unearthly cries for mercy, or heavenly bursts of ecstasy; while ever and anon scores seized with sudden spasms fell, as in mid battle, pale and powerless to the ground; all that could invest the midnight hour with wild grandeur, and lift the mind to the highest pitch of excitement, were mingled here with terrible effect. Nor after imagining such a scene enacted nightly for a week, will any be surprised when informed that the number of persons who fell was computed by the Rev. James Crawford, a Presbyterian clergyman, who endeavored to keep an accurate account, at the astonishing amount of three thousand.11
That there was much real good done at this and subsequent camp-meetings, no one, acquainted with all the facts, can deny. "The numbers converted," says Mr. Stone, "will be known only in eternity. Many things transpired there which were so much like miracles, that if they were not, they had the same effect as miracles on infidels and unbelievers." Yet the cold intellectual formality of Old School Presbyterianism, once broken down or broken up, an unreasonable fanaticism succeeded, which flung a lurid glare over the opening prospect, and marred its beauty, and left it enfolded in gloom and ruin. "That we had a revival of the spirit and power of Christianity among us," says the venerable father of Presbyterianism in Kentucky, "I did, do, and ever shall believe; but we have dashed it down and broken it in pieces."12
The ministers, who took part in this and similar scenes of excitement in upper Kentucky, were Houston, Stone, and Marshall, regular pastors of the Presbyterian Church. With them participated Father Rice, Blythe, Stuart, and Lyle; while Thomson, McNemar, and Dunlavay, went foremost in every new measure in Kentucky and Ohio.
Mr. Stone mentions that some Baptists took part in these meetings. Individual doubtless attended. Here and there a preacher may have taken part. But the Baptists, both members and ministers, condemned, from the first, the extravagances of the Presbyterians, and not a single case is on record of the participation of any Baptist Church or minister in any such scenes as have been described.13
South Elkhorn and Walnut Hill
These Churches, the one Baptist, and the other Presbyterian, were about twelve miles apart, and each about six miles from Lexington. The revival, which spread without camp-meetings or extraordinary excitement through Woodford county, among the Baptists, under the labors of Richard Cave, and John Taylor, was soon felt among the members of South Elkhorn, out of which Church, Clear Creek had been constituted. John Shackelford was the pastor of Lewis Craig's Church, at South Elkhorn. He was an ordinary, unlearned man; rather slow of speech; of very moderate abilities, but pious and decided. The jails of Virginia had borne testimony to his fortitude and duration.14 God had greatly blessed his labors amid the trying times in Virginia. Since Lewis Craig had left South Elkhorn, Shackelford had mourned the utter deadness in the Church. But the light at length broke forth. The members at Elkhorn had mingled with the awakened brethren at Clear Creek. The old pastor's heart beat with fresh ardor. Meetings were held weekly at the meeting-house, and nightly, from house to house. The children of members of the Church, the young, the old, the skeptic and the worldly, were alike affected and alarmed. When six only had been received in the past six years, three hundred and nine were received during the spring and summer of 1801.15 The state of excitement here was greater than at Clear Creek. It verged times to censurable extravagances. There were numbers who fell; a few cases of the "jerks" were witnessed; yet none of that wild intoxication, which marked other scenes, was beheld here.
A different state of things, however, was transpiring at the Presbyterian Church at Walnut Hill. There "was a sacrament there on the first Sabbath in September, 1801, when the following clergymen were present and took part: Marshall Blythe, Rice, Lyle, Crawford, Welch, Stuart, and Rannals." Joseph Craig and George Stokes Smith were also there.
Dr. Davidson evidently makes a great mistake in saying "several Baptist preachers were on the ground, Lewis Craig, Smith, Bowman, and Davis." Lewis Craig had then moved to Bracken, and on the first Sabbath in September, 1801, was present at the Bracken Association, then in session. Bowman was a deacon at South Elkhorn, not a preacher. Neither was Davis. It must have been the eccentric James Craig who was present, a Separate Baptist, and G. S. Smith, who lived in the neighborhood. Craig preached a few times at a Separate stand, but soon left the ground. The negroes had a preacher at another point, preaching by themselves. An eye-witness gives the following account of the scene:
"The throng was so great that she16 could not obtain ingress upon the lower floor, and ascended an outside stair, from which she was conducted with great difficulty from the press to the front gallery. From this position she looked down upon the body of the building, where a great crowd was collected, some praying, some singing, and some going through the bodily agitations. While she gazed in wonder, Father Rice rose in the pulpit with his commanding form and silver locks, and in the most solemn manner began to repeat those words of scripture, 'Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!'"
There was an instantaneous hush throughout the house. Rice then tried to dissuade them from encouraging the bodily exercises. His efforts, for the time, were in vain. Even Mr. Lyle, who afterwards seconded his efforts, thought that Rice felt more concerned about the bodily affections than for lost souls. The excitement only rose the higher. Even Mr. Rice's plan for dividing the sexes during the hours allotted to sleep, was contemptuously rejected, and old Parson Rice denounced as standing in the way; as a deist at heart, as having no religion.17 The revival, with its strange accompaniments, went on.
"Some talked, some sang, some prayed, and others exhorted, till the roof rang with deafening and reiterated peals of indistinct sound. Hundreds were praying, and singing, and shaking hands, at the same time. Numbers were exhorting when nobody could hear; hallooing and screaming till hoarse and debilitated in constitution. The place was crowded, especially the larger aisle; but there was such a din from the intermingled exercise, that a loud voice could be heard only a few inches. Mr. How was in one corner, Stuart and Lyle in another, while in another, on the right of the pulpit, Mr. Steel, and Mr. Robinson up stairs, but none could get a hearing."18
Such a description of a Presbyterian meeting, if penned by an enemy, would strike one as a misrepresentation; but penned by a worthy, old fashioned Presbyterian preacher, an eye-witness, what a strange picture it presents.
Bryant's Station, Great Crossings, and Forks of Elkhorn
North from Walnut Hill, and equi-distant from Lexington, in the midst of a thickly settled neighborhood, Ambrose Dudley preached to the Bryant Station Baptist Church. Here were no extra meetings, except prayer-meetings at private houses through the week. The bright cloud passed over them. Gently fell the soft showers on the barren field. Monthly were buried with Christ in baptism groups of rejoicing converts of every class and age; and at the Elkhorn Association, which met in August, 1801, three hundred and sixty-seven were reported baptized into the Church at Bryant's. At Great Crossings the work was more extensive. The earnest and eloquent Redding preached day and night, from house to house. Crowds thronged the meeting-house. The preaching was frequently in the open air, in order to accommodate the multitude assembled. From the Eagle Hills to Cane Run, age and infancy, black and white, were aroused, were alarmed, were asking "what shall we do to be saved?" William Cave, James Sugget, and George Eve, aided the pastor, and preached with new-felt power. God's presence and power was among them; like the lightning, like the thunder, it shook, it prostrated, it killed to make alive again; and the beautiful waters of Elkhorn were parted by the burial in baptism of hundreds who now tread the shores of immortality. Yet no strange scenes occurred; neither "jerking," nor "dancing," nor "barking," nor other wild sights were seen there. It was power and peace; the deep anguish of heart-felt guilt, which voided itself in burning tears; the joy that filled the heart with holy melody; hope, lighting up the eyes and wreathing the face in smiles angelic; these were the manifestations, that, from heaven's windows, rich mercies were descending, "like dews of Hermon, and the dews that descended on Mount Zion," for there the Lord commanded his blessings, even life forever more.
Not far from the Crossings, near Frankfort, the Forks of Elkhorn Church had been established by William Hickman while the whoop of the Indian was still heard, and his approach dreaded. The danger had passed, but the old man mourned over the triumphs of infidelity and the desolation of Zion. From Clear Creek and the Crossings, the ardent flame passed into the neighborhood of the Forks. The church was situated about midway between the other two. It was a thinly settled neighborhood, yet during the half year preceding the Association of 1801, two hundred and sixteen baptisms were reported in this Church. Throughout the Association the revival spread. Between the Forks and the Crossings, McConnell's Run Church, now Stamping Ground, received one hundred and fifty-six; at Marble Creek, now East Hickman, one hundred and thirty-three. To sum up all, there were three thousand and five added to the Association that year by baptism. At the Association of 1800, the total was sixteen hundred and sixty-three. It now numbered four thousand eight hundred and thirty-three. Thus, in round numbers, the membership was trebled in one year. It was a glorious work for Elkhorn Association, and many of its most efficient ministers, in after years, were the fruits of that merciful visitation.
The Churches in the northern portions of the State shared, also, in the revival. From Bullitsburg, on the Ohio, where the first awakening in the spring of 1800 became strikingly manifest, the work extended up along the Ohio settlements, through Boone, Bracken, and Mason counties. About Minerva, under the labors of Lewis Craig, at Washington and Mayslick, where Donald Holmes labored, hundreds were brought trembling to the Saviour's feet. Here, however, in Mason county, there were more extravagances among the Baptists than at any of the points already mentioned. Holmes was an unstable enthusiast. From his settlement in Kentucky he had been in difficulties; first with Wood, the pastor of Washington Church; afterwards with Lewis Craig and Jacob Grigg; and finally with the whole denomination, from which he separated himself and joined the Emancipationists. At a great camp-meeting, at Cabin Creek, in May, 1801, held by the Presbyterians, Holmes was present and took some part. The Presbyterian ministers, however, were numerous and more ardent; and Holmes remained as a mere spectator a few days, and left. "The scene," says McNemar, "was awful, beyond description; the falling, crying out, praying, exhorting, singing, shouting, &c., exhibited such new and striking evidences of a super-natural power, that few, if any, could escape without being affected. Such as tried to run from it were frequently struck on the way. Great numbers fell on the third night, and to prevent their being trodden under foot by the multitude, they were collected together and laid out in order on two squares of the meeting-house; which, like so many dead corpses, covered a considerable part of the floor."19 Such scenes, however, were strictly confined to Presbyterian meetings, in which the Methodists unanimously joined. Among the Baptists in Mason, Fleming, and Bracken counties, through which the current swept with a swelling power and impetuosity, overwhelming and appalling; the Baptist Churches remained moored to their unshaken principles, pursuing their accustomed usages, preaching the same gospel, and looking for conversions in the same way as ever. In a word, fresh energy, tenderness and power in their preaching and praying, were all the changes they felt or manifested. Also they, too, were called ignorant men; who knew little but the Bible. And yet from that rock they looked on their learned and titled friends of the Presbyterian Church, sweeping by on the wild tide of confusion, to land, where so may did, in the quagmires of Cumberlandism, Stoneiteism,, and Shakerism. But of this, reference will again be made.
But perhaps the excitement reached its culminating point in the neighborhood of Harrisburg [Harrodsburg], Mercer county. Here Presbyterianism had its central seat. Father Rice had planted, in early times, in the region around Danville, the first Presbyterian Church in the West. And here the wildest exercises of fanaticism were introduced during the great revival. At the Spring sacrament, at Turtle Creek, in 1804, Rev. J. Tomson, an educated, old fashioned Presbyterian, "was constrained, at the close of the meeting, to go to dancing, and for an hour or more to dance in a regular manner round the stand, all the while repeating, in a low tone of voice, 'This is the Holy Ghost, glory! - This is the Holy Ghost, glory!'" It was introduced into many of the Presbyterian meetings, and amid the "jerks," and "barks," howlings, and apparent death, were seen wild dances, as the only relief from the more painful exercises. At Shawnee Run it was systematized. The dancers stood out, and facing each other at regular distances, commenced their exercises. And anon the ranged column, each individual several feet from his fellow-worshiper, ejaculated a prayer at the highest pitch of his voice, till the spirit of madness seemed to reign triumphant. Thomson continued, after a brief lapse, a Presbyterian minister till his death; but Shakerism found a firm resting-place in Mercer county.
While, therefore, the result of the revival by these exercises was disastrous to the Presbyterians, the Baptists, in the calmer pursuit of scripture exercises, and relying on the foolishness of preaching as the power of God and the wisdom of God, were abundantly blessed and strengthened throughout the South Kentucky Association. Some three hundred were added to the Church at Shawnee Run during the revival, and about one thousand to the South District Association.
We give the statistics of membership of the Baptists in their six Associations at the close of the eighteenth century, and in the year 1802:1800 1802 Elkhorn 1,663 Elkhorn 5,310 Bracken 539 Bracken 753 Green River 400 Green River 800 Tate's Creek 600 Tate's Creek 1,802 South Kentucky 1,000 South Kentucky 2,383 Salem 564 Salem 2,521 _____ ______ Total 4,766 13,569
Showing a gain in two years of 8,803; and instead of disunion, and discord, and heresy, peace, and strength, and efficiency, were added or developed. It could not, however, be expected but that amid the scenes, some of which have been partly described, some extravagancies, and some evil results would occur among the Baptists. To these extravagances and these results, we wish to allude. The strange "bodily exercises" claim from us some attention. They will be noticed under the following classification:
1. The Falling Exercise 3. The Dancing Exercise. 2. The Jerking Exercise 4. The Barking Exercise 5. Visions and Trances
But these, with their probable causes, and the birth among them of the "Current Reformation," will fill up another chapter.
1 History of Ten Churches, page 135.
2 I have consulted nearly all that has been written on the subject of the Great Revival - McNamor, Dunlavay , McGready, Stone, Ewing, Davidson, the Gospel Herald, a Methodist periodical, with some tracts and private letters, written at the time. I am also indebted to an able article, by J. M. Peck, in the Christian Review, of 1852. I have, withal, conversed with many eye-witnesses of the scenes to be described.
3 Gospel (Methodist) Herald, Vol. 2, p. 220.
4 The region lying south of Green River, and thence called the Green River country, though since divided into several counties, was then all comprehended in Logan county. Of this region Russellville was the capital, and many distinguished individuals commenced their career there; among them Gov. Crittenden, Edwards, Morehead, McLean, and McCalla; also Chief Justice Bibb Ewing, Col. A. Butler, S. P. Sharp, Chas. Moorhead, and several other distinguished men.
5 McGready's Narrative of Revival, Posth. Works, pp. 7, 8.
6 History of Ten Churches, page 134.
7 Taylor's History, page 142. Moses Vickers was the father of the Elder James Vickers, Moderator of Campbell County Association.
8 McGready's Narrative.
9 Biography of Barton W. Stone, pp. 34-5. I have italicized the last clause. Mr. Stone, it will hereafter be seen, was the projector of the current reformation. What he says on spiritual influence, is worthy of note.
10 Stone's Biography, page 37.
11 Davidson's History Presbyterian Church in Kentucky, page 138. It will be seen that I have here closely followed Dr. Davidson.
12 Memoir of Rice, page 367.
13 I have conversed with several, who witnessed these excitements; there are many still living, who were Baptists at the time. All have concurred in the testimony that the Baptist preachers discouraged all those excitements, and held no camp-meetings. Rev. William Vaughan, who witnessed many of those scenes, gives his decided testimony to this.
14 See James Taylor's Lives of Virginia Baptist Ministers.
15 See Minutes of Elkhorn Association for 1801.
16 Mrs. Stonestreet, sister of Dr. Fishback of Lexington.
17 Dr. Davidson, quoted from Lyle, p. 167.
18 Et. Supra, p. 157.
19 McNemar, pp. 223-24.
==============[From S. H. Ford, editor, The Christian Repository, December, 1856, pp. 331-346. Footnotes changed to Endnotes; symbols changed to numbers. — Jim Duvall]
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