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Lectures at Mayfield (KY)
By J. R. Graves, 1867
      After putting our paper to press, we left at eleven o'clock Friday night, and reached Mayfield for dinner, and delivered the first lecture that night to a large and very attentive audience. The crowd on Sabbath was very large, and many from a distance. We spoke eight hours, morning, afternoon, and night. The interest increased to the end. Not able to get a train Monday until night, we promised to preach at eleven o'clock on that day, but before the sun rose on Monday morning, the Baptist church, and the whole square of the town on which it stood, was in ashes. The fire originated in a grog-shop near. Two of the brethren were financially ruined by this fire; all they had having been consumed, and no insurance. The brethren had just repaired the house, and paid for the last painting but a few days before. It was, indeed, a heavy loss to them, being but few and all quite ruined by the war.

      They applied to their Methodist brethren, as they were wont to call them, for the use of their house for the last sermon, on the "Necessity and Nature of Scriptural Regeneration," but were refused, owing to the character of the preacher, not of his preaching.

      The Methodists had used the Baptist house, more or less, for five years, and the Baptists had contributed as much, or more, than the Methodists themselves, to assist them to repair their house, and now, when burned out, were refused the occupancy of it for one hour, and the excuse, the character of their preacher! We reserve further remark until the publication of the original documents. Mark it - we were specially invited by the church to deliver four lectures upon given subjects, which we did, in the spirit of Christianity. Our language, nor manner, nor the matter of our lectures, was complained of, or made the reason for declining their house to the Baptists of Mayfield, but solely our personal character. In the midst of our brethren, in the discharge of our ministerial duty, the sword of persecution is aimed, not at our person or life, but at that which is dearer, our character, and we thus sought to be struck down as a vile impostor, and, so far as their act has influence, published as such to the world! Is this the spirit of Christ, or of Rome, in whose family will be found the blood of all the martyrs? When Catholicism has gained the power she is now so assiduously laboring for and so rapidly attaining - i.e., the power to persecute all who oppose her doctrines, Methodism, the youngest of her numerous offspring, will be found, in the spirit of her inquisitors, battling by her side in support of her principles. Baptists would have no more to hope for should Methodism become the State religion, than should Catholicism become predominant.

      The brethren met in the Court House, and, after sermon, passed proper resolutions in answer to the refusal and insult offered them, and subscribed about half money enough to rebuild, and before sundown, the job was let out, and while ere we reached this city, the work was begun! We expect, before Christmas, to be called upon to set apart the new church to the worship of God.

      The brethren in Mayfield have hitherto, more or less, mixed up and affiliated with the Methodists, and thereby recognized them as an evangelical church, and some were almost won by their invitations to commune; but all eyes are now opened, and this providence doubtless will be blessed to the building up of an uncompromising Baptist church in Mayfield. We hope every church in Kentucky and West Tennessee will send their assistance, if it is only five dollars, or one dollar. The brethren need help, and deserve help. Will not every church of West Union Association take up a collection next Sabbath for the building up of that house at once? It is an important point. Ministers, make one little talk before your congregations next Sabbath. Do it, and send what you get right on to Bro. W. S. Melleo, Treasurer.

[From The Baptist newspaper, October 12, 1867. CD edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

Graves County Baptists
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