At the meeting of the Columbus Baptist Association, held in Sunbury, 1852, D. A. Randall was requested to prepare a historical sketch of the Association, with the design of publishing it in the Minutes of the following annual session. Upon looking around for materials from which to compile such history, he was soon convinced that the effort would demand more time and labor than he could possibly bestow upon it, and the purpose was for the time being postponed. He, however, kept the object in mind, and as opportunity allowed, endeavored to collect a file of the Minutes, and such facts as would enable him at some subsequent time to comply with the request. Several years however passed, and but little was accomplished.
In 1858, the same person was Again appointed to write the Circular Letter. This appointment revived in his mind the purpose of attempting a brief history of the Association. He had now in his possession a file of the Minutes from 1841 onwards, and upon application to Rev. John Stevens, Corresponding Secretary of the Ohio Baptist Historical Society, he was enabled to procure from him a file of the Minutes from the formation of the Association in 1818 to 1840, preserved by Rev. J. Drake, and by him presented to the Historical Society. Thus the writer of this has now in his possession a complete file of the Minutes, from the first annual meeting, to 1858. It is the intention, if those having claims to these Minutes will allow, to have then substantially bound and preserved in the Library of Denison University.
But what was of far more value than the Minutes, the writer of this was also furnished, from the same source, a Manuscript history of the Association, written by Rev. J. Drake, commencing with a sketch of the Muskingum Association, and giving an account of the formation of the Columbus Association, of each church connected with it, a sketch of a few of the pioneer ministers, and an outline of each meeting of the Association, down to 1837. This manuscript was brought before the Association, and, by unanimous vote, ordered to be printed in the Minutes. At the same time, Rev. D. A. Randall was requested to continue the history, and complete it, as far as materials could be procured, to the present time, and have it ready for the annual meeting.
NOTE. -- This History was probably written, at least the greater portion of it, about twenty years ago; some of it perhaps earlier. The writer settled in Ohio in 1807. He occupied a prominent place among the devoted, self-sacrificing pioneer ministers of the State. He acted a conspicuous part in the scheme here narrated, and speaks from personal observation
The time included in this history was characterized by several important events, exerting a marked influence upon the character and future history of the denomination. One of these was the inauguration of the missionary enterprise, in which the churches were first aroused to a sense of their duties and responsibilities, in sending the gospel to the benighted nations of the Earth. Another, the introduction of a warm doctrinal controversy, in which the adherents of John Gill upon the one side, and of Andrew Fuller upon the other, were often arrayed in stern hostility against each other. And still another, was the attempt to establish and promote Theological Education, and raise up an educated ministry. Toward this, many of the Fathers manifested a jealous hostility. They looked upon it as a movement calculated to lessen reliance upon the Spirit’s power and influence, leading to undue dependence upon mere human wisdom, and requirements. These and other causes combined greatly disturbed the harmony of Zion, disputes and dissensions arose, and the contests were often severe and protracted.
These conflicting and disorganizing elements, however, eventually assumed definite form, and their respective adherents, finding they could not harmonize, were gradually formed into two distinct classes; the lines of separation were drawn, and the boundaries duly formed. From this separation came the two divisions of Baptists known as Old School and New School
The Old School were the conservatives, strenuously resisting all innovations. They were high Calvinists, and as men are prone to extremes, they verged rapidly toward Antinomianism. They were Anti-mission, the opponents of Theological Education, or what they were pleased to term, "men-made ministers."
They preached to edify the Saints, and comfort and establish the Church, trusting to the sovereign grace of God to convert men, in his own due time and way, without the direct intervention of human instrumentality. They looked upon the church as sustaining a relation to the world similar to that of Israel under the old dispensation, shut up within prescribed boundaries, while they overlooked the great soul-stirring truth that inspired the heart of the apostles of our Lord, and prompted them to untiring diligence -- the unfolding of the mystery that had been concealed for ages -- Christ in the Gentiles the hope of glory. Grounding themselves upon this inactive faith, the result has been just what might have been anticipated, they have gradually dwindled away, and are destined to be either thrown out, or absorbed by the active elements about them.
The New School, and these were by far the larger portion, embraced the progressive views. They looked upon the great Commission of our Lord as addressed to the Church. With a burning zeal they felt that the command of the Saviour was upon them to go every where preaching that men should repent . While in the accomplishment of this great work, they felt that human instrumentality was necessary; they also felt the necessity of making that instrumentality as perfect as art would allow. They would have a cultivated intellect, and a well stored mind, and an active, working church; not that they felt that these things alone had power to prevail in the great work of the world’s regeneration, but having used the means, they relied upon the sovereign grace and almighty power of God to bless those means and render them efficacious. And if we may judge from the results, we cannot avoid the conclusion that they were right in their choice. God has been with them of a truth. They have labored to sow the good seed of the Kingdom, and their reward has been rich and abundant harvests.
Of these things, comparatively recent as they are, many of the younger members of our churches know but little. We have made this brief statement that many of the remarks and allusions in the subsequent pages may be better understood.
Our author was one of the progressive class. He was always fully up to, if not in advance of, the times in which he lived. He was from the first an ardent friend of Missions, and a leader in this enterprise. He was the friend and promoter of education, and was ready to engage in any laudable enterprise for the advancement of the Redeemer's Kingdom. The brief and modest allusion which he makes to himself, in a subsequent page, would be more than confirmed by all who knew him.
He was a native of New York, and converted to God when about eighteen years of age. He entered the ministry in 1801; and removed to Ohio in 1807. The latter part of his life was spent in Delaware, Delaware County. He was a minister of Christ fifty-three years. Probably the last public meeting he attended was the Columbus Association in Sunbury, August, 1854. At that meeting the following Resolution was offered by Rev. J. Pratt, Professor in Granville College:Resolved, That the presence among us, this morning, of our venerable Father Drake, one of the earliest pioneers of this Association, gives us great pleasure, and that he be requested to offer us such remarks as he may deem suitable.
The venerable old man, a patriarch among ministers, stood up, leaning, like Jacob, upon the top of his staff. With a voice tremulous, both with age and
emotion, he responded in a few remarks. He had seen the land covered with a dense and unbroken wilderness. He had heard the howl of the wolf, and met the savage, in his travels to feed the scattered flock of Christ. He had been a long series of years in the services of the church -- had assisted in the organization of the Association, and had labored to build up the Redeemer’s Kingdom. He rejoiced in the prosperity of the churches -- to see the wilderness blossom as the rose. He never expected to meet with them again. There remained yet much land to be possessed, and he urged the younger brethren onward in the Master’s work. He died as he had lived, strong in the faith of Jesus, at his residence in Delaware, Oct. 5th, in the 81st year of his age.
There might perhaps be difference of opinion as to the expediency of publishing all that the manuscript of our author contained. Probably no part of it was intended by the writer for publication. But the writer of this note, upon whom was imposed the task of superintending the publication, has not felt authorized either to suppress or materially alter. A little alteration has been made in the arrangement, so as to throw the history into a more connected form, and a division into chapters made.
As it became necessary to transcribe the entire manuscript, to prepare it for the hands of the compositor, a few verbal alterations have been made where the sense clearly indicated the propriety of it. In making such preparations for the press, having the Minutes of the Association at hand, a few incidents and remarks, that appeared to be of sufficient interest to warrant it, have been added. The paragraphs thus added are distinguished by being included in [brackets].
D. A. R.
Early History - Formation of Muskingum Association - Commencement of the Missionary Enterprise
In 1790 the first Baptist church in Ohio was organized. In 1797 the Miami Association was constituted, by the union of four churches, of which the Columbia church was the oldest. Benedict says that in the four churches there was not probably more than one hundred members. In 1805 the Scioto Association was formed. This also was composed of four churches, of which the Ames church, located in Ross county, was the oldest. The next in age was the German, constituted in Rockingham county, VA, in 1790, located, in a church capacity, on Pleasant Run, Lancaster county, Ohio, in 1801. Lewis Sites, Samuel Corner, and Martin Coffman were preachers in the German language. This church continued to prosper and increase for a number of years.
The Beaver Association was organized in 1808. It was composed of six small churches, belonging to the Red Stone Association in Pennsylvania. These churches, partly in Ohio and partly in Pennsylvania,
Were in the neighborhood of Beaver Creek, which empties into the Ohio River, about thirty miles below Pittsburg.
In 1790, when the first church was constituted, the number of inhabitants, French and English, within the State, or then Territory was 3,500. In 1810, twenty years after, the census taken gave 230,700. No doubt, among this number of inhabitants there were many small churches not associated, and very many members scattered over the extensive forests and prairies of the State.
The Associations now mentioned brings down our history to 1810, when the Muskingum was formed, of which a brief notice follows, reaching to the formation of the Columbus Association, 1818. These facts are worth preserving. The first sermon in Ohio was by a Baptist, Stephen Gano. The first ordination was of a Baptist minister, Daniel Clarke. It seems the Baptists have the right of possession, which they have not, for fifty years, relinquished. Will they now consent that their Pedobaptist brethren shall undo them in their efforts and labors of love to evangelize the State?
Muskingum Association This Association was constituted in 1811. In May of that year, the following ordained ministers met in council, with the Granville church, on Welsh Hills, Licking county, viz: Wm. Brundige, from Marlboro; J. Drake, Liberty, Delaware county; Wm Thrift, Mohawk Run, Knox county, and J. W. Patterson, Hopewell, Muskingum county. Then and there, in concert with the messengers of the several churches, after prayer - fully surveying the extensive field to be occupied and improved: Resolved, To unite their efforts in one common cause, for the benefit of the few and feeble churches already organized, and to increase their number and efficiency, as the Lord might prosper them; and that the union should be denominated the MUSKINGUM BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
In looking back forty years how astonishing the change! How wonderfully has the good Lord of the harvest prospered these incipient measures! Already has this little one become thousands!
There being at that early day no printing office in the country, no minutes of the Association were published until 1813; and the only copy of these the writer has been able to procure is so mutilated by time, that it is impossible to tell where the Association met, or the number and state of the churches. The names of Thrift, Patterson, Drake, Amos Mix, and Henry George, appear among the delegates as
preachers. At this session, I. W. Patterson was Moderator, and Alexander Holden, Clerk.
In 1814 the Association met at Br. Baxter's, Falls of Licking church. The following ministers appear as delegates: Drake, Mix, George, Patterson, Henry, Pringle, and Thrift. The following churches were represented: Liberty, 35; Granville, 37; First Owl Creek, 41; Falls of Licking, 29; Wayne, 25; Hopewell, 52; Friendship, 46; Salt Creek, 42; Union, 29; Mohawk Run, 9; Salem, 20; the last two admitted this session. From Marlboro church no delegates; number last year, 17. The increase during the year was 118; total number of members, 512.
Of the above churches, two were in Delaware county, three in Licking county, three in Knox county four in Muskingum county. At this session Br. Thrift preached the introductory sermon, from Joel 2:17. "Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; and let them say, spare the people, O Lord, and give not thy heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them; wherefore should they say among the people, where is their God." We were then at war with Great Britain. The Circular Letter the previous year was written by Br. Drake: subject, The Necessity of Watchfulness. The Circular this year was by Br. Patterson, on Faith.
August, 24, 1815. The session was held with the Friendship church, Licking county. Br. H. George, delivered the opening sermon, from Rev. 3:22. Br. George was appointed Moderator, and Br. Drake, Clerk. The following churches were represented: Liberty, 57; Granville, 37; First Owl Creek, 44; Wayne, 20; Falls of Licking, 30; Hopewell, 63; Marlboro, 30; Friendship, 53; Salt Creek, 50; Union, 28; Mohawk Run, 9; Salem, 28; Washington, 13; Harlem, 23; Westfall, 11; Duck Creek, 7. The last three were received this year.
The following was presented by the Falls of Licking church: "QUERY. Is it disorder for a member living in the bounds of a church, to give their membership to a distant church?" Answer given: "It is."
From Marlboro church. "QUERY. Is it legal to receive a member baptized by an administrator who holds that immersion is not necessary to constitute gospel Baptism?" Answer, No. *
Br. Drake read the Circular Letter. Subject: The Golden chain, --
* Whatever might have been the practice of the churches in these early days, it is now a common practice to receive into fellowship persons immersed by Pedobaptists, without rebaptizing. -- D.A.R.
Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Temperance, Patience, Godliness, Brotehrly Kindness, Charity.
In 1816 the annual meeting was held at Washington, Coshocton Co., Aug. 22d. Sermon by Br. A. Mix. Br. A. Mix, Moderator; Br. J. Drake, Clerk. The following churches reported, in their letters, the date of their constitution: Liberty, 1806; Falls of Licking, 1808; First Owl Creek, 1809; Wayne, 1810; Marlbor, 1810; Friend[ship], 1811; Mohawk Run, 1813; Harlem, 1814; Washington, 1814. The other churches represented were: Hopewell, Salt Creek, Union, Salem, Westfall, Granville, Duck Creek, North Branch of Owl Creek, Radnor. Churches, 18; Ordained Preachers, 5; Licentiates, George Debolt, Adam Miller, Jacob Tharp, 3; total membership, 661. The Circular Letter on the subject named the year before, Baptism, was read and approved.
As the subject of Missions was first introduced among us this year, it may be desirable to future historians, to learn accurately the manner it was received by the churches. The following is an extract from the minutes: “A letter was presented by Br. Drake, from the Cor. Sec. of the Board of Foreign Missions, wishing to open a correspondence with this Association. Br. Drake was appointed Cor. Sec. on the part of the Association to correspond with the Board. The subject of Missions was then introduced. A general conviction seemed to prevail among the messengers that something ought to be done, and that this was the time to see about doing it. Extracts from the Second Annual Report were read to the crowded audience, who expressed much sensibility ------------ of the Report were distributed among the churches ________________________________to the next Association; and that br. Drake be the Treasurer to take charge of and account for such moneys as may come into his hands, by virtue of the present arrangements. The churches are also requested to join in the concert of prayer, the first Monday evening in every month."
[seven lines of the document are blurred]
The services on Lord's day were concluded by an address to the congregation, by Br. Drake, on the State of the Heathen World -- the exertions being made by all Christian denominations to disseminate the scriptures, and the gospel, among them -- and an appeal to the liberality of the people. A collection was taken up amountin to $15.40.
August 21, 1817. The Association met at Br. Denman's, Wayne Know county. Eleven ordained preachers and one licentiate present. Sermon by Br. Drake. Wm Brundige, Moderator, and J. Drake Clerk. Eighteen churches represented, seventy-two baptisms reported. Total of members reported, 687. The following churches forwarded contributions for Foreign Missions: Liberty, $15; Marboro, $1.00; Union, $4.25; Radnor, $26.25; Westfalls, $1.00; Friendship, $1.00. J. Drake was reappointed Treasurer and Cor. Sec. Circular on Redemption. The Missionary Sermon on the Lord's day was by Br. T. Rigdon, on the importance of sending the gospel to the heathen, perishing for lack of vision. After sermon a collection was taken pay up amounting to $34.50.
In 1818, the Annual Meeting was held at Hopewell, Perry county, commencing Aug. 20. The title-page of the Minutes bears this inscription "And let the whole earth be filled with his glory." Introductory Sermon by Br. Patterson. I. W. Patterson, Moderator, J. Drake, Clerk. Churches, 18; baptisms, 58; total of members, 750. Contributions of the several churches to Foreign Missions, $22.50. Br. Drake read letters from the Cor. Sec. of the Foreign Missionary organization, and from the Kentucky Aboriginal Society. These letters were to be answered by Br. Drake. A constitution for the formation of Auxiliary Foreign and Domestic Missionary Societies was read and approved; and the churches affectionately and earnestly requested to use their influences to form societies on the principles of said constitution. Such societies as might be formed were requested to send their agents next year, the day preceding the sitting of the Association, at the place of holding the same, to consult on the best method of appropriating the funds collected. On Lord’s day Br. Gutridge opened the religious services and addressed the people, from Acts 27:21. Br. Evans followed him in a sermon, from John 6:9. After which a collection was taken up for Foreign Missions amounting to $26.00. As no notice had been previously given, this will show a commendable spirit of liberality.
At this meeting leave was given to the churches, composing the Western part of the Associaiton, to form themselves into a new Association -- the incipiency of the Columbus Association.
From the foregoing extracts, the reader will be pleased to see the missionary spirit that manifested itself in this Association from its commencement -- the spirit of liberality with which that department of Christian effort was sustained, and the unanimity and cheerful cooperation
of all the churches composing the associaiton; the rapid increase also of the churches, when it is considered that the country was new and the settlers mostly poor. The preachers were poor, and a few in number; they had a vast and extended forest to subdue and cultivate, both literally and metaphorically; without roads, bridges, or places of comfortable entertainment at convenient distances. Delegates often traveled form fifty to seventy, and even eighty miles, every year, to meet other delegates in consultation for the good of the churches, and this too at their own expense. The preachers labored mostly within their own parishes, having little or no intercourse or communication with others -- none of them possessing any literary qualifications over the ordinary means found in common among the people half a century ago. It should be remembered too, that the time included within the Minutes, as above, was nearly all embraced in the last war with Great Britain -- that we were then on a frontier, and were not only exposed to the tomahawk of the savage, but to all the immoralities and evils of an armed soldiery. And yet the soldiers of the cross every where triumphed, and new recruits every where enlisted under the banner of the Great Captain of our salvation. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel!
* But to shorten this pleasure, "and to hide pride from man," a dark cloud now rests upon the horizon of this (Muskingum) Association! What a contrast! How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of this holy war broken and useless in the hands of those who have succeeded these laborious and uncompromising sons of the churches! Alas for poor human nature -- unless grace prevent, how soon will it depart from the good ways of the Lord -- how soon will the gold become dim, unless constantly burnished by the friction of the spirit!
At the meeting of the Muskingum Association, 1817, the following action, in substance, not precisely in these words, was taken:
WHEREAS, some of the churches comprising this Association have suggested that they can be better accommodated by forming a new one,
Resolved, That the churches composing the Western part of this Association, if so disposed, have leave to form a new one; and when
* This closing paragraph seems to have been penned in reference to the anti-mission, antinomian defection that about this time turned so many away from the purity of the faith. -- D.A.R.
organized with an appropriate name, said churches will be considered dismissed from us.
In October, 1818,delegates from a number of churches met at Bethel Church, Franklin Co., Ohio, and after a most careful and candid consideration of the subject, unanimously
Resolved, That we think it expedient for the accommodation of the Independent Baptist churches, in the vicinity of the metropolis of the State, and for the declarative glory of God, to form ourselves into an Association by the name of “Columbus Baptist Association.”
Resolved, That this Association meet at Troy, Delaware county, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 1819, at 10 o’clock A. M..
Resolved, That Bro. Jacob Drake preach the Introductory Sermon -- in case of his failure, Bro. A. Miller.
Of this meeting Wm Brundige was Moderator, and Jacob Drake, Clerk. The following articles were adopted as their
Constitution ART. 1. - This advisory council shall be known by the name of the Columbus Baptist Association; predicated on the following BIBLE doctrines, to wit: That there is but one living and true God, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and that these three are one -- that the Scriptures of the old and new Testaments are the Word of God, and the only rule of our faith and practice -- that we are fallen, depraved creatures, and as such, our salvation depends wholly on the sovereign will and mercy of God, "According as he hath chosen us (his people) in Christ before the foundation of the world; that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" -- that sinners receive pardon and justification, only through the blood and righteousness of Christ -- that all true believers will persevere in grace and glory -- that IMMERSION, only, is Gospel Baptism, and professed believers the only proper subjects -- that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both just and unjust -- that, at the general judgment, the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.
ART. 2. - The churches composing this Association shall meet, by their delegates (not more than three) and letter, at the time and place of holding the same -- and when so met, and an introductory sermon preached, shall attend to business.
ART. 3. - The churches shall be entered by seniority, and the churches applying for the association, shall be taken up accordingly, and decided by a majority of two-thirds, of the members composing this association.
ART. 4. - No queries, involving the peace and harmony of the churches, shall be admitted. ART. 5. - The Independency of the churches shall be most religiously preserved; and in no instances shall this association assume any power or authority over the faith or discipline of any church.
ART. 6. - Any church wishing admittance into this association, by producing their letter and messenger -- if regularly constituted, sound in the faith, and at peace with their sister churches, with the consent of two-thirds of the council, shall receive from the Moderator the right hand of fellowship.
ART. 7. - This association have in view the welfare of the churches; and any church uniting with us on the foregoing principles, may withdraw from that connexion whenever they please -- and any church neglecting to send letters and messengers three years in succession, shall be dropped from the minutes -- and any church becoming corrupt in doctrines, or iniquitous in practice, shall be rejected.
ART. 8 - No ordained minister shall be admitted into this Association without satisfactory evidence of his being in good standing.
ART. 9 - This association shall be a MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
ART. 10 - This Constitution may be altered, or amended, at any annual meeting, by consent of two-thirds of the members present, as messengers. ___________
The first Annual Meeting was held with the Troy Church, commencing Saturday, Sept. 4, 1819, at 10 o'clock A. M. The Introductory Sermon was preached by Br. J. Drake, from Prov. 9:1: Wisdom hath builded her house, etc. John McLeod was chosen Moderator and J. Drake, Clerk. Brethren James Eaton, W. D. Hendren. and C. Waters, were appointed a committee to prepare the business of the Association, and make arrangements for preaching.
After an adjournment of 45 minutes, the meeting again convened. Prayer was offered by Br. Evans, a missionary in the service of the Mss. [Massachusetts] B. M. Society. In accordance with the Report of the Committee of Arrangements, H. George and W. Patterson were appointed to occupy the stand this afternoon; George Evans, Patterson and Drake tomorrow; and Tharp, Ashbrook, and Brundige on Monday.
Letters were read from the following churches: Liberty, constituted 1806; members 103; Bethel, 12; Marlboro, 1810 - 57; Westfall, 1813 - 32; Harlem, 1814 - 29; Sunbury, 1814 - 14; Radnor, 1816 - 31; Turkey Run, 1817 - 21; Pickaway, 1818 - 25; Granville and St. Albans, 1819, 25 - Monroe, 1819 - 18. Churches, 11; Ordained Ministers, 5; Licentiates, 2; Total, 370. The Sunbury, Radnor, Granville and St. Albans, and Monroe churches were admitted this session.
Brother Evans was invited to preach a missionary sermon to-morrow, and arrangements were made to take up a collection. Br. McLeod was appointed to write the Circular Letter for next Anniversary, and Bro. Miller to preach the Introductory Sermon -- Bro. Tharp, alternate.
On Lord's day, Brn. George, and Evans, each, addressed a large and attentive congregation, after which Bro. Drake read a Circular from the Baptist For. Miss. Soc., which excited much interest. A collection of $8.68 was taken up. After an intermission of forty minutes, Bro. Patterson peached, Bro. Drake made a short address, and Bro. Evans dimissed the assembly with a benediction.
On Monday morning prayer was offered by Bro. C. Martin. The Circular Letter presented by Bro. Avery was read and approved. Messengers were appointed to the Muskingum, Mad River, and Scioto Associations. The next session was appointed at Turkey Run, Fairfield county.
Having finished the business relative to the churches, in a manner highly satisfactory to the delegates, the council resolved itself in a society for missionary purposes, under the name of the COLUMBUS BAPTIST AUXILIARY MISSION SOCIETY. It was resolved that the Moderator of the Association, for the time being, should be President of the Society, and the Clerk should be Secretary. His duty shall be to record the transactions of the Society, and also to correspond with the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, and with other Missionary Societies, as the case might require. Bro. Drake was appointed Treasurer of the Society. Bro. Evans presented a communication from the Berkshire Baptist Female Miss. Soc., enclosing five dollars, requesting it might be forwarded to the Bapt. Board of F. M. It was also resolved, “that the thanks of the Society be presented to that female society for their pious and laudable exertions in favor of those who are perishing for the lack of vision. And this Society do most cordially, fervently and affectionately recommend to the sisters of the several churches, and the ladies within the bounds of this Association, to form similar societies, and to make similar exertions.”
The most perfect harmony prevailed throughout the whole session, both as an Associaiton and as a Missionary Society; and we separated with the conviction that an association of churches is beneficial.
The subject of the Circular Letter was "Armenianism [sic] and Antinomianism contrasted." The Armenian [Arminian] says that all men have grace -- that there is no election to salvation -- that regeneration is the act of the creature -- that those who are born again may fall away, and finally perish. The Antinomian says that the Moral Law is not binding -- that man cannot act, but is acted upon -- that the gospel does not require of sinners to repent and believe -- that believers need not fear, either their own sin or the sin of others -- they are not bound to confess and to pray
for forgiveness - that sanctification is not an evidence of jusification. But what says Bibleism? That grace and holiness are identified, like cause and effect - that all men are destitute of grace or holiness - dead in trespasses and in sin - that the Moral Law is binding - that there is an election of grace - that sinners are required to repent and believe the gospel - that regeneration is an act of sovereign grace - that believers are justified by their union to Christ, the living vine, and that sanctification is the evidence - that all such shall be saved - that good works originate in grace, or a holy principle. The letter is carried with the practical bearings, or improvement of the above doctrinal summary, with pious reflections, affectionate, exhortations and encouragments.
Sept. 2, 1820. The Second Annual Meeting was held at Trukey Run, Fairfield county. The Introductory Sermon was preached by Br. A. Miller, from 1st Cor. 1:30. Bro. McLeod was appointed Moderator, and Br. J. Drake, Clerk. The following churches reported themselves: Liberty, Bethel, Marlboro, Westfall, Harlem, Sunbury, Radnor, Turkey Run, Granville and St. Albans, Pickaway, and Monroe. Hopewell Church, consisting of eight members, was received into the Association. A letter was received from Jefferson Church, asking for admittance into the Associaiton. Some objection being made, it was Resolved "that a committee of five be appointed to inquire into and make report of the standing of said church." The Circular, written by Br. McLeod, on "the Education and Bringing up of Children," was read and accepted. After some further business, the Association took a recess till Monday morning. Preaching we had a usual by different brethren on Lord's day.
On Monday the session was opened with prayer by Br. Hare. The next Anniversary was appointed at Berlin, Delaware county. Br. Tharp was appointed to preach the Introductory Sermon, and Br. Drake to write the Circular Letter.
The following Queries were presented by Pickaway Church:
1st Is it orderly for a church to receive the grevance of excluded members against a sister church, or to receive such excluded members? Is it order for a church to receive persons who live in the bounds of a sister church?
The first was referred to a committee of three, and the following answer returned: "that excluded members ought first to be reconciled to the church from which they were excluded before they can hold fellowship with any sister church." To the second, the following answer was
returned: "It is not in order, without first advising with the church within the bounds of which they reside."
The number of Churches this session was 12; Ordained Ministers, 5; Licentiates, 3; total of members, 402.
[Among the resolutions we notice one permitting Br. Curtis to read a part of the constitution of the "Ohio Baptist Economical Education Society." And a resolution was passed that any moneys for the use of this Association be appropriated to the purposes contemplated. The Missionary Society held its annual session, and a communication was read from the Cor. Sec. of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. A collection for missions was taken.]
The next Annual Session was held in Berlin, Delaware county, commencing Aug. 21, 1821. T. W. Wigton preached the Introductory Sermon, from Ez. 47:5. J. McLeod was chosen Moderator, and J. Drake, Clerk. [The list of churches and their members at this session stood as follows, viz: Liberty, afterwards called Berlin, 96; Bethel, 16; Marlboro, 52; Westfall, 25; Harlem, 26; Sunbury, 22; Radnor, 30; Turkey Run, 28; Packaway, 39; Granville and St. Albans, 26; Monroe, 34; -- added this session Darby Creek, 10; Peru, 13; Oxford, 16; Muddy Prairy, 32. Churches, 15; Baptisms, 33;. Total of Members, 465. It appears from the Minutes that separate corresponding letters were sent to each corresponding Association. The brethren appointed to write these letters this year were, to the Muskingum, James Eaton; to the Scioto, J. McLeod; to the Mad River, G. Ambrose; to the Strait Creek, E. Ashbrook; to the Salem, G. Jeffries.] The Circular Letter, on Church Discipline, was written by J. Drake, and James Eaton was appointed to write the one for next year. The committee on the application from Jefferson Church for admission into the Association, appointed last year, made their report; after which it was Resolved that the prayer of said church cannot be granted. Br. Drake read a very interesting communication from the Baptist Board, respecting Foreign and Domestic Missions.
[The title-page of the Minutes of the first annual meeting bears this inscription: "If our brethren be enquired of, they are the Messengers of the churches and the glory of Christ" Of the second: "Then pleased it the Apostles and Elders, with the whole Church, to send chosen men of their own company, to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas." Of the third: "And the Apostles and Elders came together to consider this matter."]
The Fourth Annual Session was held with the Bethel Church, Franklin county, commencing Aug. 31, 1822. Introductory Sermon by Br. J. Tharp, from 2 Cor. 6:1. J. Tharp, Moderator; J. Drake, Clerk. Jefferson Church, numbering twelve members, was received into the Association. Churches, 16; Baptism, 39; Members, 508; Ordained Ministers, 4; Licentiates, 3. [Letters were received from the following corresponding associations: Muskingum, by Bro. James Hair; Scioto, by Brn. Snellson and Stilliman; Salem, by Br. Horace Parsons; Mad River, a letter, but no messenger.] Query from Westfall Church: "It it gospel, order to restore an excluded Elder to the privileges of the church, and not to the pulpit?" Answer: "As different characters and conduct require different treatment, so cases may arise in which it may be perfectly in order to receive excluded members, who have been in the ministry, into the fellowship of the church, without restoring them to the exercise of their public gifts."
The next session was appointed to be held with the Monroe Church, Licking county, and James Peters was appointed to preach the Introductory Sermon. Br. C. Martin, corresponding messenger from Mad River Association, was permitted to read a communication from Br. McCoy, Superintendent of the Baptist Mission at Fort Wayne, soliciting assistance for the school under his care. The subject was recommended to the churches, and the Clerk was ordered to correspond with Br. McCoy on behalf of the Association.
A communication from the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions was read by Br. Drake, standing secretary of the Associational Missionary Society. The Association was highly gratified with the document, and the Secretary directed to express their approbation of the measures pursued by the Board. Br. Goodwin was appointed to write the Circular for 1823. The Circular this year was on the Support of the Christian Ministry.
[On Sabbath morning an hour was spent in social prayer; after which, Brn. Parsons, Sherburne, and Martin preached. Br. Drake closed the exercises of the day by a short address.]
The Fifth Annual Session was held at Johnstown, Licking county. The meeting was commenced this year on Friday, at 12 o'clock M. Introductory Sermon by Br. E. Ashwood, from 1 Cor. 6:20. "For ye are bough with a price." J. McLeod was chosen Moderator, J. Drake continued Clerk. Churches, 16; Baptisms, 53; Ordained Ministers, 5; Licentiates, 1. Br. Drake read and made some remarks
on the General Circular, addressed to this Association by the Cor. Secretary of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. The large assembly present manifested a deep interest in the information it contained. The association was divided into two missionary districts; Liberty, Marlboro, Radnor, Oxford, Sunbury, Harlem and Monroe, to compose the Northern; the remaining churches, the Southern. An appointment was made for the Southern district to meet at Turkey Run, and for the Northern to meet at Peru, to take measures for supplying destitute churches with occasional preaching. The Circular Letter by A. Goodwin, is on Watchfulness. [At this meeting it was resolved, That the Moderator in future be chosen by each member of the Council naming the candidate privately to the Clerk, who shall declare who has the highest number of votes.]
Friday, Sept. 3, 1824, the Sixth Annual Session convened at Turkey Run, Fairfield county. In consequence of the illness of Br. Peters, the Introductory Sermon was preached by Br. John Hanover, from Acts 20:28. Wm. D. Hendren, Moderator; Joseph H. Dent, Clerk. Churches, 17; Baptisms, 19; Ordained Ministers, 9; Members, 475. Circular by Eli Ashbrook, on Brotherly Love. The time of meeting for next year was changed from Friday to Saturday.
[On Lord's day, divine service commenced at the stand by prayer from Br. Debolt. Br. Root preached, followed by Br. Debolt. After a short intermission the afternoon exercise began, by Br. Evans reading a letter from a heathen convert in Burmah to Dr. Baldwin, of Boston. After which Br. Evans preached. Elijah Tolle presented a letter from Columbus Baptist Church, lately constituted, and consisting of nineteen members, with George Jeffries, their minister, requesting admission into the Association. The request was granted.]
The Association held their Seventh Annual Meeting at Troy meeting-house, commencing Sept. 3, 1825. Br. J. Peters preached the Introductory Sermon, from Is. 44:22. Wm. D. Hendren, Mod.; J. Drake, Clerk. Churches, 18; Ordained Ministers, 8; Baptisms, 20; Members, 500. The subject of missions was favorably noticed; a Circular from the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions was read, and the churches requested to contribute and forward to the next meeting such aid as it might be in their power to render. The Baptist General Tract Society was also presented as a subject worthy of the attention of the churches. The Circular Letter by Joseph H. Dent, on Worldly-Mindedness. [The Association was divided into four districts for missionary purposes,
and the preachers in each district were requested to visit the destitute churches and settlements, within the bounds of their respective districts, monthly. The several congregations within the same were also requested to contribute something by donation or otherwise, for the support of such as labor among them. Middle Creek, with six members, was received into the Association.]
Berlin, Delaware county, Friday, Sept. 1, 1826. Eighth Anniversary. Introductory Sermon by G. Jeffries. John McLeod, Mod., J. Drake, Clerk. Churches, 17; Baptisms, 11; Members, 479. The ninth article of the constitution was amended by adding to it, "auxiliary to the Baptist Convention of the State of Ohio." It as then, at the instance of C. Martin, Agent of the Ohio Baptist Convention, Resolved, That the Association cordially approve of the general objects and plans of said Convention, and recommended it to the churches as an institution worthy of their support, -- that, as this body has resolved itself into an auxiliary, in future there shall be a public collection taken up at each anniversary, on the Lord's day, and remitted to the Treasurer of the Convention; and that we will hereafter appoint a delegation to the annual meeting thereof, and will send our Minutes to them, and request them to send us their annual reports. J. Drake, John McLeod, and G. Jeffries were appointed delegates to the next Convention. The "Western Religious Magazine" was recommended to the patronage of the churches. The churches were recommended to set apart the 1st day of January, proximo, as a day of humiliation, thanks and prayer. It was further recommended that the monthly concert of prayer be observed in all the churches, for the spread of the gospel over the world.
[A committee appointed on the state of religion in the churches, among other things, recommended, after mature consideration, "that this Association deem it advisable to recommend the experiment of a determined and united effort to effect a reformation among us: Therefore we, the delegates do promise and agree, on our return home, to earnestly recommend to the churches, that they conscientiously practice a disinterested, scriptural investigation of our duty, in relation to supporting the ministry; of prayer and reading the Scripture in our families, and meeting together on Lord's day for worship, whether we have preaching or not; of prayer with and for each other, and living in the practical duties required of us in the gospel, particularly refraining from worldly conversation on the Lord's day." A very safe experiment, certainly, for any christian or church to try.]
A correspondence was opened with the Owl Creek Association. Circular
Letter by G. Jeffries, on Faith and Good Works. Preaching on the Sabbath by Brn. Hanks, Wildman,and Corbley Martin. Note. There were this year, 1825, in the U. S. 238,100 Regular Baptists. In the State of Ohio the same year, 17 Associations, 231 Churches. 140 Ministers, and 8,161 Members.
In 1827 the Annual Meeting was held in Johnstown, Licking county, commencing Friday, Aug. 21st. Sermon by John Hanover. John McLeod, Moderator; J. Drake, Clerk. St. Albans (Alexandria) Church, with 24 members, having separated from Granville, was received into the Association. Canaan Church, with 16 members, was also received. The Circular Letter, on the Love of God, was written by Br. Jeffries. The death of Deacon Leonard Munroe, former Treasurer of the Association, was announced. Br. J. Drake was chosen to fill the vacancy.
[On Lord's day, Brn. Matthews, Drake, and Wildman preached, and a collection was taken for the Ohio Baptist Convention. "The weather was fine -- the assembly large and respectable, patient, orderly and attentive -- the session, from the commencement, was pleasant and harmonious -- the messengers and visiting brethren were affectionately and comfortably provided for, and every countenance bespoke the inward satisfaction enjoyed on the occasion."]
Turkey run, Fairfield county. Tenth Annual Session, Sept. 6, 7 and 8th, 1828. The person appointed to preach the Introductory Sermon being absent, by request, Br. Gutridge peached, from Rom. 5:2. "By whom we have received the atomement." The year had been a refreshing one -- one hundred and seventy-eight having been added by baptism. McKean Church, Licking county, with 63 members, was received into the Association. There were now eighteen churches, with a total of 634. George Jeffries, Moderator; James berry, Clerk. The Circular Letter, by Br. McLeod, was on "Benevolent Institutions owned of God."
[The minutes inform us that Visitation Meetings were appointed to be held in Berlin, in October; at Johnstown, in November; at St. Albans, in November; at Turkey Run, in May; and at Oxford, in June. Each of these meetings two or three ministering brethren were deputed to attend, and they were held from two to three days, commencing on Saturday. This kind of meetings appear to have been continued from year to year in different places. The object seems to have been mutual aid in strengthening the weak places of Zion. The minutes also make
the following closing note: "To-day (Sabbath) Elder Madeen preached from Heb. 19:28; Elder Sperry, from Rom. 1:16; Elder Berry the closing discourse, from heb. 13:1. "Let brotherly love continue." It has greatly abounded these three days past -- now we take the parting hand; but this delightful principle shall continue in Zion down to the end of time -- yes,
"When faith is sweetly lost in sight,
And hope in full, supreme deligth."
It shall live -- shall grow stronger and stronger, and be perpetuated through the ceaseless rounds of eternity."]
The Eleventh Annual Session was held in Marlboro meeting-house, Troy, Del. Co., commencing Sept. 5, 1829. Sermon was by Br. J. Berry. John McLeod, Mod.; James Berry, Clerk. Twenty churches represented [Seven ministers - Benjamin Martin, J. Stpehens, James Berry, T. W. Wigton, Geo. Jeffries, J. N. Cox, J. Drake. Licentiates - A. Darrow, from Granville; John Duke, from Hartford; Licking Co.; John Hill, from Jefferson Church.] Baptisms, 151; Members, 821. Among the resolutions is one thanking the Baptist General Tract Society For their liberal offer to furnish every family with a bound volume of tracts; and Br. Jeffries was requested to obtain and distribute the tracts among the churches. The Circular, by J. Berry, was on Christian Activity.
Twelfth Annniversary, Granville, Licking Co., Sept. 1830. Sermon by Br. Jeffrries. [The minutes of this session are in No. 1, Vol. 2, of the "REGULAR BAPTIST MISCELLANY," published by Geo. C. Sedwick, then pastor of the "Regular Baptist Church," Zanesville. This Miscellany was a monthly publication of sixteen octave pages, at one dollar a year, devoted to Baptist literature and the interests of the Baptist denomination.] Bennington Church, Licking county, and Chester Church, Knox Co., were received into the Association. There was preaching at the stand,* on Saturday afternoon, by G. C. Sedwick and Thomas Harper; and in the evening, in the Congregational meeting-house, by G. C. Sedwick.
On Lord's day Br. G. C. Sedwick, by request, preached a missionary sermon, and a collection was taken, amounting to $30.37˝. [To this contribution, when it was paid over to the treasurer, was added,
* It was customary at these annual meetings, and the practice is still followed by some Associations in the State, to have a stand for preaching, usually in some adjacent grove, and while the dry details of business were being ransacted in the house, the people, who usually assembled in large numbers, were entertained with preaching at the "Stand." - D. A. R.
$3.47, a donation from the Granville children.]* Among the resolutions was one requesting the churches, in their letters next year, to state their stability in their former faith and practice. [The Campbellites and Anti-mission schisms were now seriously disturbing the churches.] The object of the Education Society, formed in Lebanon in May last, and to meet in Zanesville in October, was warmly approved. A strong resolution was passed in view of the destruction and awful vice of intemperance, and recommending the formation of Temperance Societies. The establishment of Sabbath Schools was urged; and the Baptist General Tract Society recommended to establish a Depository at Zanesville. Circular Letter, by James Eaton, on Washington.
Berlin, Delaware Co., Sept. 3, 1831. The Association again met. The Introductory Sermon was preached by Br. John D. Thomas. John McLeod was Moderator; Allen Darrow, Clerk. Twenty churches represented. Baptisms, 43; Communicants, 961. Br. Darrow preached the Missionary Sermon, and a collection of $10 was taken up. Brn. Drake, Berry and Darrow were appointed delegates to the Baptist State Convention. Circular Letter, by Br. Darrow, on Contending for the Faith against Error.
[Visitation meetings were appointed at Granville, in April; Columbus in May; Canaan in October; Marlboro in June; Mill Creek in December and in January. Two ministering brethren were deputed to attend and preach at each of these meetings. The tax upon the
* The names of the young contributors of this fund are all inserted in the minutes of the year, with the amount contributed by each. The special attention of the youthful readers of the “Miscellany” is called to the fact. They were all, it is said, under twelve years of age, and the “most of them belong to the Juvenile Temperance Society.” After an appropriate address by Br. Sedwick, they each came forward and laid down their little donation. Now, after the lapse of about thirty years, it might be of interest to know who these juvenile donors were. The Reminiscence may awaken useful reflections in the minds of some. Where are they now? How many of them are now living? What has been their course of life since? How many of them have felt upon their own hearts the power of that gospel they then aided in sending to others? Their names were as follows: Charles French, Gilman, W. Richards Vice President of the Juvenile Temperance Society, Rhoda Kelly, Mariett Case, Samuel Kelly, Cynthia A Smith, Nancy Shepardson, Emeline Starr, Martin Berry, Laura Woods, Gilman Pritchard, Eliza Beckwith, Angenora Beckwith, Sally Holden, each 12˝ cts. Julius H. Bancroft, Mary Ellen Starr, Lucy Ann Starr, each 10 cts. Charles K Sawyer, Martha L. Woods, Samuel Miller, Wm. Miller, George Sedwick, Dusenbury, Elias Smith, Simeon Smith, Geo. M. Chadwick, Spelman Kelly, Sophia Starr, Mary Kilbourn, Levi H. Kilbourn, Susan Boudinot, Henry Eager, Daniel French, Elizabeth French, Thalvann French, Loomis Kelly, Parson Kilbourn, Mary Pritchard, Allen R. Darrow, Irvin B. Sawyer, Maria Weeks, each 6˝ cts. Samuel L. Chadwick, 5 cts. Stephen French, Linus Weeks, John A. Vance, Mary J. Vance , Nancy . Vance, each 1 cent. The number of contributors was forty-nine -- a trifle from each, but was it not as acceptable as the widow's two mites recorded in the gospel. -- D. A. R.
time and labor of the ministers who were in the habit of attending and conducting these meetings had become so great, that, at the last annual meeting, a resolution was passed recommending the churches to make arrangements to compensate them for their services. There was preaching at the "Stand" on Saturday, by Brn. Wilson and Jones; on Sunday, by Brn. Sights, Darrow, Berry and Jones. In the evening, preaching by Br. Peters. A short time was also spent in explaining to each other their views upon the benevolent societies of the day.]
The Fourteenth Anniversary was held at Turkey Run, Pickaway Co., Sept. 1832. Introductory Sermon by Br. A. Darrow. John D. Thomas was Moderator; Allen Darrow, Clerk. The churches were requested to present their Articles of Faith at the next annual meeting, particularly on the Atonement. Br. Berry was requested to obtain and present, at the next meeting, the Book of Records belonging to the Association. Circular Letter, by James Berry, on Godly Zeal.
[The number of Baptisms reported this session was 33. Total of members, 935. Newark Church, numbering 23, was received into the Association. A division had taken place in the Monroe Church, Licking Co., and two letters were presented. The majority party was received as the church. A resolution was passed recommending the ministers of the Association to organize a meeting for mutual improvement. Walnut Creek, and Genon Churches were received into the Association.]
Johntown, Licking Co., Sept. 1833. Fifteenth Annual meeting. Br. James Drake preached the Introductory Sermon. James Drake, Moderator; Allen Darrow, Clerk. It was resolved that, instead of a Corresponding Letter, an abstract of the letters of the churches be printed in the minutes. The churches having complied with the request of last year in presenting, in their letters, their doctrinal views, the Association, by resolution, expressed their high gratification at the unity and soundness of doctrines contained in them. The Circular Letter was written by Br. Jacob Drake, on the Justification and Advantages of an Association.
[As this Circular Letter gives us a little insight into the questions that were then agitating the churches, and subsequently resulted in a division, we give a few extracts from it. An Association, it is said, is a union of churches, giving themselves a name, and forming a constitution for the government of their own body and their mutual benefit, but more especially for the general interests of Zion, to devise the best means
to carry forward and promote the great interests of the Redeemer's Kingdom. So far as the benevolent institutions of the day were calculated to promote these, so far they claim the countenance and support of the association.
The powers of the association are determined by the constitution and by-laws. The letter then enumerates what the constitution of this association determines. The constitution at this time remained the same as first adopted. Questions involving the existence or purity of doctrine are cognizable by the association. While the association professes no ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the faith and practice of any church, she claims to be the sole judge of what doctrine is corrupt, or what practice is iniquitous, so far as her own well-being is involved. Such questions as are indifferent, as eating meat, keeping Jewish or any other holy days, except the Lord's day, cannot be admitted, for they are questions on which difference of opinion does not involve church censure. The writer then asks, "Is not the question of the atonement one of this description?" One believes it to be general, another particular. Instead of judging one another, let us judge this rather, that no one put a stumbling block in his brother's way. The letter then argues the reasonableness of the missionary enterprise from the constitution, the nature of the gospel, and the wants of a perishing world.
The writer then goes on to say:"As it regards our difficulties -- whence do they come? Is it because we are carnal and walk as men? Is it for the want of that charity which suffers long, which endures all things? Is it for want of that humility which esteems others better than ourselves? Do not our differences originate more from names than things; more from pride than from humility -- more from speculation than reality, and from a greater concern for the correctness of our views and phraseology, than for the feelings of our brethren, and the harmony of the churches? That the doctrine which establishes peace on earth, at the same time that it promotes the declarative glory of God, should become a bone of contention among those who profess to be governed by its spirit, is highly unbecoming, and deeply to be regretted by every friend of Zion. And when it is considered that all our differences arise not from the doctrine, but from a qualifying view of the atonement -- let us agree, forthwith, to dispense with the unscriptural and unprofitable terms, general and particular, and the doctrine of the atonement would be,
To save a world no greater, I confess;
To save one sinner, it could not be less.
And now brethren, we would affectionately ask, are any of you prepared to vindicate a separation from us, for reasons which would not justify us in excluding you? Have we altered or interpolated the constitution? We have not. Have we introduced a new creed? We
have not. Have we put a new construction on our Articles of Faith? No such thing. Have we departed in any particular from our original faith and practice? No. Have we proposed any new-fangled system? Not a whisper of the kind. Have any changes or innovation been introduced in our doctrine views -- in our manner of preaching -- in regard to the benevolent operations of the day -- concerning Bible, Missionary, Tract, Sabbath School and Temperance Societies, their efforts and improvements? None at all. In respect to these, all things remain as they have been. The missionary question was early put to rest -- no difficulty can possibly grow out of this subject, except it be that we have not acted up to our constitution engagements. Let us acknowledge our faults and strive to act more consistently in future."]
Alexandria, Licking county, Sept. 6, 1834. Sixteenth Session. Geo. C. Sedwick preached the Introductory Sermon. James Drake was chosen Moderator; James Eaton, Clerk. The number of churches now in the Association was twenty-four. Total membership, 1049. A resolution was passed approving the Ohio Baptist Convention; the churches recommended to contribute to its support; and Brethren J. Drake, Geo. Jeffries, and H. Gear, appointed delegates to its next anniversary. The Circular Letter, by H. Gear, was written with special reference to Christians in a newly-settled country; pointing our their dangers and duties, and urging the importance of immediate union with some church.
[Liberty Church, Licking county, was received this session. E. Frey and David Adams, messengers. The church known in early sessions of the association as Liberty Church, was in Delaware county, and afterward took the name of Berlin. A resolution noticing the death of Eld. James Berry was passed. A resolution of rejoicing was passed in view of the prosperity of the Burmah mission, and of thanks to Almighty God that the entire Bible had been translated into the Burmah language. The first abstract of letters from the churches is published in the minutes of this session. In some remarks appended by the Clerk to the minutes, notice is taken of the fact that most of the churches in their letters express a decided approbation of the benevolent efforts and institutions of the day. No letter gave an intimation of hostility to these things. One church, it is said, occupies neutral ground, neither praising nor blaming its members for supporting these institutions. This record the Clerk makes in view of the fact, that Baptists, in the West, had been charged with being hostile to these objects. The churches from which letters were received, were: Berlin, Bethel, Granville, Monroe, Oxford, Columbus, St. Albans, McKean, Homer, formerly Bennington, Chester, Newark, Walnut Creek, Genos, Mill
Creek, Liberty. Ten churches did not this year report themselves. These were: Marlboro, Radnor, Harlem, Peru, Oxford, all of Delaware county; Canaan and Jefferson, Franklin; Rocky Fork, Marion county; Pickaway, Pickaway county; Turkey Run, Fairfield county. No reason is assigned in the minutes of this session for the absence of these churches, but it appears from the subsequent minutes that this was the beginning of the anti-mission secession, toward which a number of the churches had for some years been tending. As near as can ascertained, there was at this time in the Association twelve ordained ministers and four licentiates.]
The Seventeenth Session was held with Mill Creek Church, Delaware county, commencing Sept. 5, 1835. The Introductory Sermon was preached by Henry Carr. Jacob Drake, Moderator; James Eaton, Clerk. Brn. J. Drake, W. Gildersleave, and H. Carr were appointed delegates to the State Convention. No Circular Letter having been prepared, Brn. Drake and Eaton were requested to prepare one, and insert it in the minutes. The Letter was on the Mischievous Innovations, wrongly christened, Reformations of the Age. The churches were requested to raise twelve and a half cents a member for the Convention the coming year. Chester Church was dismissed to join a new association, formed in Knox and Richland counties. Granville Literary and Theological Institution is recommended to the patronage of the churches, as entitled to their sympathies, prayers and pecuniary contributions. The Cross and Baptist Journal is also recommended. The prosperity of the Burmah mission is spoken of as an occasion of thanksgiving. A resolution was passed approving the Ohio Baptist Sabbath School Union; and Brn. Gildersleave and Owens were appointed to represent the Association in the General Convention of Western Baptists, to be held in Cincinnati in November next. [Harlem and Jefferson churches were dropped from the minutes, and committees appointed to visit others, that had failed to represent themselves. There was preaching on Lord’s day by Brn. Frazee, Madden, Bowles, and Sedwick. D. C. Bowles preached the Missionary Sermon, and a collection was taken for the Ohio Baptist Convention. On Monday Brn. Gildersleave, Madden, and Frazee preached; three related their christian experience, and one was baptized, Br. Bowles making an address at the water.]
The Eighteenth Anniversary was held with the Walnut Creek Church, Glaena, formerly Zoar. T. R. Cressy, previously appointed to preach, being absent, the sermon was preached by Alfred Bennet, General
Agent of the Foreign Mission Society. James Drake was chosen Moderator, and James Eaton, Clerk. Br. H. Carr, who was previously appointed to write the Circular Letter, being absent, A. Darrow was appointed to prepare one. Brn. Cressy, Owens, and Wilson were appointed delegates to the Convention. A resolution was passed to the effect that it is a breach of good order for any member to withdraw until the final adjournment, without leave of Moderator. Br. A. Bennet was recognized as the agent of the Foreign Mission Society, and leave given him to present, to-morrow, the claims of that society to the congregation, and take up a collection.
On the Lord’s day, after a good sermon by Br. Darrow, a collection was taken up for the Convention. After short intermission, Br. Bennet preached a powerful and heart-searching sermon, and took up a collection of $26.72, which, with that before taken, made about $40.
A committee, consisting of Brn. Drake, Bennet, Smith, Peters, and McLeod, were appointed to make a report on the Bible question. On Monday this committee reported the following preamble and resolutions:WHEREAS, the American Bible Society have refused to aid in the circulation of the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, where the Greek word Baptize, and it cognates, are translated by a word signifying to immerse, and have thus consequently refused the aid of said society in the circulation of those translations which we verily believe to be correct -- the language of which translations are spoken by one half of the human family destitute of the sacred volume; therefore
1. Resolved, That we regard the fromation of the American and Foreign Bible Society as an important era in the history of the Bible, and the millions of immortal souls to be benefited by it.
2. Resolved, That we will aid with our prayers, our influence, and our money, in sustaining and circulating those translations which most fully, corrrrectly, and intelligently convey the sense of the inspired originals.
3. Resolved, That in view of the pressing call for immediate aid, in printing and distribution of the translations aforesaid, that the churches composing this Association be requested to form Bible Societies within their bounds, and to forward the amount thus raised to the Amercian and Foreign Bible Society, either directly or through the treasurer of this Association, that the society may, if possible, receive it by their next meeting in April, 1837.
4. Resolved, That it is expedient to form a State Bible Society, and that the delegates at the next Convention be instructed on this subject.
D. C. Bowles and J. McLeod were appointed delegates to the Bible Convention. The Circular Letter, this year by Br. Darrow, was on the Causes and Evils of Declension, and the Means of Recovery
[From the digest of the letters it appears twelve churches reported themselves. Number of Baptisms, 57. Berlin Church had been favored
with the pastoral labors of Br. J. Drake. They express their gratitude to Almighty God that the clouds of difficulties, and heart-rending trials under which they have been laboring, have passed away. They say that have invited Elder Smith, of Chillicothe, to become their pastor. Br. Madden was preaching to the Bethel Church. Granville Church had been blessed with the labors of Br. H. Carr, and had received a considerable accession by baptism. They had enjoyed a precious revival, the fruits of which were mostly gathered from their two seminaries, male and female. They reported a flourishing Sabbath School of 60 scholars. Monroe Church had enjoyed the pastoral labors of Br. Gildersleave. Columbus Church, under the faithful labors of Br. T. R. Cressy, were edified, prosperous and happy -- had commenced a new house of worship in a central part of the city. St. Albans had the pastoral labors of Prof. Drury; McKean the joint labors of Br. Owens, and McLellar, a licentiate. Br. Frey was preaching once a month at Mill Creek, and a branch of the Church had been established at Marysville. At Homer Bro. Owens preached monthly. Newark had been destitute since Br. Grear left them, until May, since which time Br. D. E. Thomas, then a licentiate, had been with them, and they were making efforts to build a house of worship. Walnut Creek welcome [to] the Association, but do no report whether they have preaching or not. Liberty Church have been preaching once in two months by Br. Owens, and they also state that Br. D. Adams, a licentiate and one of their number, is very serviceable to the Church in maintaining the public worship of God, and preserving the good order and discipline of the Church.]
Berlin, Delaware county, Sept. 2, 1837. The Opening Sermon was preached by T. R. Cressy. James Drake, Mod.; James Eaton, Clerk. [The churches before mentioned as having neglected or refused to report themselves, had now all either formally withdrawn, or been dropped from the Minutes, except a portion of Radnor Church. They had probably mostly identified themselves with the ant-mission party. Fifteen churches now stand connected with the Association, of which Rich Hill, Knox county, with 12 members, was received this session.] Ministers, 10; Licentiates, 3; Baptisms, 22; total membership, 736. An abstract of the letters was prepared by T. R. Cressy and J. B. Wheaton. Brn. Cressy, Drake, and S. B. Swain were appointed delegates to the State Convention. Dr. Going, President of Granville College, was appointed to preach the Missionary Sermon next year. The first Wednesday in 1838 was set apart to be observed by the churches as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer to Almighty
God, that he would revive a spirit of religion within our bounds. A resolution was passed approving the formation and design of the American and Foreign Bible Society, and that in the opinion of this body it is expedient for this society to engage in the work of home distribution, and that we will cordially cooperate in this good work. The society was recommended to engage in the work of home distribution, and to circulate a new translation, as soon as a judicious one can be prepared. [To this last resolution the printing committee have appended a note, stating that, "though the resolution was passed by a majority of the Association, it is by no means to be understood as the unanimous voice of the churches which compose it."] The Cross and Baptist Journal was recommended, and the churches recommended to make greater efforts for its more general circulation. The educational interests of the demonination at Granville, comprising both the College and Female Seminary, were commended as worthy of continued approabation. The Circular Letter, by Br. J. McLeod, was on the Importance of giving the Bible to the Heathen.
Having now completed an abstract of the Minutes to the present time, 1837, and trusting it may furnish some useful information to the future historian of our denomination in the State; we shall proceed to review the whole, by giving a more particular historical sketch of the several churches which have been, or are now, connected with this Association ________________
Historical Sketch of Churches Connected with Columbus Association
[From Columbus Baptist Association Minutes, 1859-61. These original records are in a bound volume at the Denison University Library, Special Collections and Archives, Granville, OH. - jrd]
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