"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" Jeremiah, 8th chap. 22nd verse.
I have heretofore attempted to give a history of this church up to the beginning of the year 1827, when Theodorick Boulware served them as their stated preacher. [In A History of Ten Baptist Churches, edition 2] In the following year, 1828, intruders pushed in, and by their preaching, greatly divided and distracted the church, so that at present, like many other distressed places in Kentucky, two Baptist churches worship, or keep a show of worship, in the same house; forbear to commune together at the Lord's table, and have less friendly conversation together than thousands of men who know nothing of savingly of the meek and lowly Jesus. This surely must terminate in nothing less than lamentation, mourning and woe: Ezekiel 2 c. 10 v.
In the beginning of the last year, 1829, the church, without a dissenting voice, chose brother George Blackburn to serve at their monthly meetings during the year. He had a hard tour, for the contention was in high blast before he entered on the service. His prudence and faithfulness deserve great credit; he probably has not an enemy on either side of the contending parties, though he generally acted as their moderator. The church had not communion at the Lord's table during the whole year; indeed they were not in circumstances so to do, and scarcely any has been baptized.
Towards the close of the year there was printed in the Kentucky Gazette, printed in Lexington, the following notice:"There will be (Dei volente) God willing, a three day's meeting held by the Baptist Reformers, at Clear Creek Meeting-house in Woodford county, two miles south of Versailles, commencing on Christmas day, and will be continued Saturday and Lord's day following."Although what are called Campbellites had hitherto manifested as much brazen impudence as the race of goats generally do, I had not known till this christening, in a public print, that they set themselves up as Baptist Reformers.
It will be conceded that all sectarians have the right to assume to themselves the name they would go by. It is supposed they have obtained liberty from head quarters, or the grand master, thus to style themselves, and could they do what they claim to be, they might be of use to the Baptists in Kentucky.
All agree amendments might be made among them, and particularly in points of order, this being the head under which I have thought proper to write. But if a man, or men, do not come out with clean hands, they will make but poor progress in reforming work. That adage, "Physician heal thyself," will never be forgotten. Let us calmly inspect the hands of these Reformers. Take them from the great Master himself (Alexander Campbell,) down to the lowest teacher among them, and what do you find. This high Master has been exhibiting among us for seven of eight years on the subject of religion - writing, preaching, and debating - and who can discover by the utmost stretch of charity, that he has any saving religion, judging from anything he has said or done. Yet it is possible he might be of use among men in some calling. It is to be hoped his situation in the Convention of Virginia has increased his relish for political life, which will much better suit him than the gospel ministry. Let him leave that sacred trust, and religion itself, to those who know more of it than he does, and let the church of Christ go on in peace without him.
I attended the great meeting above alluded to at Clear Creek, held by the Baptist Reformers, vulgarly called Campbellites. They had expected many preachers, but only four of their order attended, to-wit: the two Creaths, ["Racoon"] John Smith, and young [Josephus] Hewitt. With all the parade that had been made for two months, printing in different papers, the house was not crowded even on Sunday, though the admirers of this new sect had come as far as from Lexington and Danville; well as I was acquainted at Clear Creek, a large portion of those who attended were strangers to me. Much was said about Campbell, and the ancient order of things, and the reform these men are at; but these, with all the noise Campbell has been making about the ancient order of things, are about one hundred years old, that he has picked up from John Glass, and Sandeman, his countryman. See Buck's Theological Dictionary.
This new tribe of Kentucky Sandemanians are at a great loss what to call themselves; no men seem to desire wealth and popularity more than they do; it would no doubt please their grand master, to call them Campbellites; but they look grum [grum = gloomy, surly, glum (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary)] if you call them so, for each scribe among them would be a leader. They are afraid to own the late appellation given them in the public prints, Baptist Reformers, lest it should turn out that they are no better than other men; they therefore deny that they thus published themselves. If this is a slander on them, it is their place to find it out, and prove to us that they are not thus proud and vain. Some of their leaders say, the appellation of New Testament men will suit them best; but this they are afraid of for several reasons: they know other men have the New Testament, understand and observe it as closely as they do. They know too, this would suppose laying aside the Old Testament. Though they virtually do this, they are afraid to come out plainly. In this confused state, they had better consult Campbell himself, or wait till his Millenian Harbinger comes out, when perhaps they may take a name suited to their "latter day glory." (all this folly is mainly among their preachers.) They consider him the greatest and most happy man on earth. He has won so many battles in public debate, that he is a made man both in character and fortune. They are at a loss for figures by which to compare him. A preacher lately compared him to a Lion, the master beast of the forest, and one among the best preachers in Kentucky, (though not one of the Reformers,) he compared to a Monkey, that at the growl of the Lion would run to save his life. I ask leave of the friends of Campbell to make a comparison. Is he not more like a large he goat standing on some eminence, looking more stout that any of his fellow animals, Dan 7 c. 20 v. as if he would defy the Lion himself. In the 8th chapter of Daniel, the Grecian goat is spoken of with a notable large horn between his eyes, conquering all before him. It may be remembered, that Daniel's goat was Alexander the great; the same goat pretty well figures out our Alexander. Daniel's goat killed a ram with two horns, and then conquered the world. Our goat, as he thinks, has in public debate put two Presbyterian Ministers to flight, and after that, conquered the Infidel Owen - but I wish him invited to a more decisive combat with another goat like himself, I mean Daniel Parker, (living in Illinois) at some given time, on the Ohio river.
That the subjects of debate be on points in which they disagree. One we will call the East goat, the other the West goat. It is probable these two great men will never see each other, except on some occasion like this. Perhaps it will offend the East goat to rank him with the West goat as a great man. I ask, why? If the East goat has long edited a paper, called the Christian Baptist, the one in the West now edits one called the Church's Advocate. If the East goat has been in the Virginia Convention, the West goat has been in the Illinois Legislature. If the East goat has travelled and preached much, the West goat has done the same more. If the East goat has made many books, the West goat has made a number too, and put them all together, on each side, they are of about equal worth. Romantic as this may seem melancholy have been the consequences. Both these men are Baptists, and are now distracting the Baptists in the Western country. They both live in the West, five hundred miles apart, in about the same latitude. They have both passed the same ordeal in coming into the Baptist society. They were both supposed to be religious when they were baptized, though it is possible neither of them is. Let the debate be friendly, on the following subjects, viz.:1st. The proper divinity of Christ.Let this debate begin on Monday morning in long days, and continue six days. On the seventh, both the men preach to the same congregation, and neither of them exceed two hours in their address. Let the only book used in this debate, be the translation of the Bible, made under the reign of king James. If half the Baptists of the western world, will be drawn off by Campbell and Parker, the balance will refuse to be hoodwinked by either of them, and will stick together as united Baptists, in the name of the Lord.
2d. Who and what the Holy Spirit is?
3d. The doctrine of election.
4th. Regeneration, and how effected.
5th. Of what avail is water baptism.
6th. What is the use of the law in the gospel day?
7th. How a gospel church is to be governed?
8th. Call to the ministry.
9th. What is sanctification of the spirit?
10th. Effectual calling.
11th. What is the utility of creeds?
12th. The kingdom of Christ and of God.
I consider the extremes of those big goats, and those who adhere to them, a great curse to the present generation of men.
This digression from the history of Clear Creek Church, may be thought to require an apology, which I will now resume, under the head of
POINTS OF ORDERI consider lack of good order, more than any thing else, has brought about the destructive explosion that has lately taken place in this church. There were some conspicuous instruments in those breaches of good order; and what is more surprising, they were all preaching men. Two of them by the name of Jacob, the other two by the name of William. About two years ago, dead of winter, Jacob Creath, Sen., and William Morton had, what was called a great revival of religion at Nicholasville; more than one hundred were baptized. In their zeal they came to Clear Creek preaching. One thing their zeal prompted them to, was preaching against all creeds and confessions of faith, except the scriptures.
The church having been constituted on the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, some of the members took alarm, thinking these men designed a revolution in the church. Creath in former days had served this church many years as their pastor, and knew all about their constitution. Here is a point of order Creath must answer for.
Of Morton the church knew but little, but many disliked the preaching of both men. Though William Rice was a member among them and a preaching man, the church was very destitute of regular stated preaching. In the spring of the year, a motion was made and agreed to by a majority of the church to call Creath to preach once a month; a number of the members objecting to the call, he, to his credit, refused to come.
The call of Creath made Rice quite outrageous, he openly, at their May meeting, rose up and declared Morton a heretic; that Creath who kept company and preached with him was no better; that two among the most respectable members of the church, Lewis Sullivan and John Mitchum, had invited and went to hear those heretics preach. The moderator reproved, and tried to stop him, but all in vain. Here I suppose the church gave up the reigns of government, for in place of ruling Rice to good behavior on the spot, they suffered him to take a course of dealing with those supposed heretics, according to the 18th of Matthew, the then rule of the church. I was at their June meeting, an almost silent, sorrowful spectator. The church had now become divided into two great parties, and all of them dear to me as my own life.
For about fifteen months, I was seldom absent, though most painful days to me; I knew not where to touch without seeming to take sides, while I evidently saw both were wrong. One on side some of the brethren had caught too much of Rice's spirit; on the other side, they were too apt to retort. This circumstance alone screened Rice from merited exclusion. Though there is one thing in which Rice deserves credit: when he dealt with those supposed heretics, he chose none of his own party as helps, and a better choice he could not have made than the two he selected from another church, William Dale and Charles Barnes. These judicious brethren advised Rice to go to the church, and confess his fault, which he very sparingly did. But the church passed it over. After this, he became so great a stickler for good order, that he kept the church as it were in hot water about their records; some phraseology he would find there, that must be altered; at length, to be at ease, the church agreed to rescind their records for several meetings back to gratify him. He then rose up and insisted the church could never be at peace so long as heretics were among them; that they never had permitted him to prove what he could now do, in a few minutes, for he had all his witnesses at hand.
The accused brethren requested the church immediately to take it up, in that crude way, though they knew it was out of order, for they wished to hear all he could say about their heresy; and to gratify them the church agreed to take it up, some asked to take them both together, but Rice objected to that, and would take them one at a time. Brother Sullivan's case was first taken up. Rice now seemed at the greatest loss where to begin; at length began to ask the accused some questions, such as, have you not gone to hear Morton preach, or asked him to come here to preach, or, in my presence, spoken against the Philadelphia Confession of Faith? and the like.
Sullivan replied about to this amount: that he had been a Baptist about thirty-seven years; that he became a member of this church about thirty years ago; he presumed he had a right to hear whom he pleased preach the gospel; he and Rice had talked of the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, some things in it they both disapproved of; he had once proposed to the church to lay aside the discipline annexed to the Confession of Faith, to which the church agreed; Rice not being present, when he met with him, Rice blamed him because he had not gotten the whole book set aside, which Rice did not contradict. He related to the church the ground of his hope in Christ, and that he did not know of any change of sentiment since he first received Christ. The humility and tenderness with which he expressed all this, led me to wonder that Rice did not rise up and give him his hand. But far from this, with the greatest fierceness, he used what wit he had, to make the accused criminate himself. What he told the church he could do in a few minutes, he kept the church probably two hours before the question could be taken. I looked on with surprise at the accuser and accused; striking were the odds in age and behavior; one meek and gentle, the other fierce and boisterous. Such a scene had never come before me till now. I had read much of the bloody persecution of heretics by the inquisition in Spain, and supposed no judge in this bloody court ever looked with more disdain on a heretic brought before him, than did the present accuser on the accused.
About sunset the question was taken, whether the charge of heresy was substantiated. Every voice was in the negative, and even this did not seem to make Rice blush. Every one would have thought he would drop Mitchum's case; but that he would have laid over till next meeting; when that came on, he proposed having it laid over again, as he was not ready for trial; that he had a paper somewhere that he had written himself, which he could not find, that would show he had never called these men heretics; his speeches were long and clamourous, and he beyond the control of the Moderator, yet he complained much of violation of good order. Thus the church was detained a great part of the day, and knowing better what he had openly said in the church against those heretics, than his paper could tell them if he had it, they ruled him into trial, when he entered into the same lame evidences against Mitchum, that he had done against Sullivan, and the church voting unanimously in the same way, put an end to his charges of heresy.
I have said more of Rice, and his contentions, than I should have done, by way of introduction to what follows.
For six months the church had been overwhelmed with sorrow and confusion with those contentions; till a number among their best members had taken letters and gone elsewhere.
About this time, young Jacob Creath, after some years absence from the State, came to the neighbourhood.
The church was now destitute of regular stated preaching. A subscription was set afloat by some young men, who were not Baptists, for Creath to preach at Clear Creek, the 1st Sunday in each month, for one year. To this paper some of the members of the church had put their names to the subscription, amounting in all to about ninety dollars.
This produced a fresh source of contention in the church. This young brother, a few years before had preached in Kentucky with good acceptance among the churches. But now he would read and preach from the new, or Campbell's translation of the New Testament [underline - jd], cast contempt on the Old translation, that the Bible was much corrupted by that translation. [Note: Alexander Campbell, Kentucky, and King James.]
He would preach too what some of the members thought rank arminianism. This raised resentment against the members who had employed him. About the beginning of the year 1829 as before stated, the church agreed to call a preacher to serve them that year at their monthly meeting. Brother George Blackburn was ultimately chosen, who went on with good acceptance through the year. But the strife kept up in the church, young Jacob constantly crying out against every thing like creeds. Rice kept up his fire of contention, till he was like to be excluded, for that kind of behaviour in the church; but at length so far acknowledged his fault that the censure was removed, and the same day he brought forward a question, "whether it was according to good order, for a few members to employ, or station a man in stated preaching in the meeting house without consulting the church." This question was laid over till next meeting, which gave opportunity to bring in auxiliaries from home and abroad. Some art was used to prevent the church from acting on this question as it stood, urging that it ought to be a question of trespass, and not a question of order, that if any was aggrieved they should deal according to the law of Christ, and present complaint against the offenders. This artful course was chiefly insisted for by members from other churches.
Several preachers from abroad attended this meeting. Among them young Jacob himself, who I think spoke more than any one else for the good order of this thing. Josephus Hewitt plead much in favor of this good order, and gave one good evidence, of himself now preaching to a large and respectable church once a month, and invited to this service only by a few members. But what was most surprising, the Moderator of Elkhorn Association was there, and plead with all his skill for the good order of a few calling to stated preaching in a church, and urged as one of the best reasons, that several years ago he met with a subscription paper with but few names to it, for an individual to preach once a month in Versailles, and he had heard no complaint in the church about it. But he did not tell us that this subscription was for this same young Jacob, and perhaps he did not reflect that all this had been done by one of the foot-loose churches, that can scarcely allow of a written constitution, rules of decorum, or a church record. There was but little reply to these mighty reasons.
A motion was made by an individual on the other side of the question, to lay it over till next meeting, urging that sickness in the neighborhood, and a muster, prevented many of the members from being at meeting; remarking that there were many there that day, from other churches, who would not be there, but for the present question; and, furthermore, that there were many negroes there that day, who would not have been but for the same reason. This motion was overruled, and the business went on. Young Jacob took his seat, and stand, when up, near the negroes. The question was often called for. The policy of Rice generally was, to have the last speech before a question was taken, he threw out some hard things against young Jacob, such as hireling and the like. The Moderator could not stop him. Young Jacob rose to reply to Rice. The Moderator seeing the disorder between these men, soon stopped Creath, who made an appeal to the church, who, now prepared to carry all before them, voted that he should have an opportunity to reply, which he did in very reproachful style, as long as he pleased. He reproached Rice for having lately been under the censure of the church; compared him to a man he knew of, who was condemned to be hung. His counsel told him he had no chance to save his life, but by turning religious. He did so, and his life was spared. Thus he looked on Rice's late repentance that saved him from exclusion. Just here, though he seemed very resentful, he broke out in a loud dry laugh. The vote was then taken, on the majority side, 7 white men, 12 negroes, the balance white sisters, to the amount in all of 26. All these voted, that it is good order for a few to place a preacher in stated preaching, without consulting the church.
The vote on the other side was, 13 white men, one black man, and no female; some present, chose to be neutral, viewing the whole scene with horror. From the last minutes of Elkhorn Association, it appears, 14 had taken letters of dismission from Clear Creek Church, chief, or all of them, to get out of the fires that kindled there. At the time of this vote there were 186 members belonging to the church, many of whom chose not to be at this meeting, feeling as David did when he said, "woe is me! that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Keder," or when he said, "my soul hath long dwelt with them that hate peace." Young Jacob had gained a triumphant victory over his adversaries, yet his mind appeared a little interrupted, though he seemed to sit down with a joyful calm; something had been remarked in the course of the day, about the strength of a preacher's stomach, who could preach in a church where the members were not all agreed. After thinking thereon for awhile, he rose with apparent resentment, and said he would preach no more in the meeting house; but that he would preach in the grove, or at the rope walk, or at some private house. How vain is this young man, to presume the people would follow, wherever he might choose to lead them, to hear him preach. To say the least, it evidences the good opinion he has of himself, or induces a belief, that as he had preached half his year, he was unwilling to lose any part of his ninety dollars.
If all this is good order, I hitherto had not known what good order is, for no one had said any thing against his preaching in the house.
His partisans put him up a stage in the woods, but a few hundred yards from the meeting house. This oratory at once became so sacred, they must have the Lord's supper administered at it. To cloak this thing up, it has been said the Versailles church communed there. If this is true, what a dreadful mockery it was, to use these measures to swallow up as far as they could, a mother establishment of forty-five years standing, because their Young Jacob was there. But I presume the Versailles church did not this thing. If she did, then was there no wise, prudent, nor good man in this church, to tell this giddy young man the folly of his way. Shall we be told this is "the ancient order of things?" Paul's ancient order of things was to give no offence to the Jews nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of Christ. I. Corinthians 10 chapter, 32 verse. What does all this work do, but give just offence to the church of God? I ask again, was there no wise, good and prudent man about Versailles, to tell their young Jacob, that his course was destructive? Where was the grey-headed Creath? Where was Bullock, James Sullivan and others, who, for seven years past, knew the painful evil of two churches in one house? Who ever complained more than all these men did against the Particular Baptists, for setting up a church in their house? Where was the orderly, God fearing, Robert Scarce, at Clear Creek, who kept out of the snare awhile? Where was the well-meaning Lewis Sullivan, the Mitchums, McQuatlies and others, that they did not tell this young passenger, that his course was disorderly, and that his object seemed to be, rent and schism; one of the greatest evils in a church. From my boyhood, I have taken much notice of both spiders and flies - the most general food of spiders are flies. The spider having no wings, art must be used to catch its prey; art without means would be of no avail. The spider in its own bowels, has a kind of glutinate from which it can spin a web, and stick it where the insect pleases, and in as many directions as suits its convenience or advantage. Thus do I look on young Jacob's course at his oratory. As a spider, he spreads his traps, one of which (horrid to think of) was the sacred symbols of our Lord's death; he sets up the Lord's supper to catch the heedless ones. I have often heard of abuses of, and by the Lord's supper, but none ever seemed to equal this. I cannot forbear thinking of Paul's warning the Ephesian elders, that there should men of themselves rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Acts, 20 c. 29 and 30 verses. In what perverse language did he speak to Rice and others in the meeting house! With what emphatic wrath did he exclaim, "I will preach no more in this house, &c." Is there any reason to conclude, his temperament was changed when he administered the Lord's supper? The prophet Isaiah, in his 59th chap. 5th verse, speaks of spiders and their webs; and with them connects cockatrice eggs, more poisonous than any thing else.
At the August monthly meeting at Clear Creek, things bore a more favorable aspect than they had done for many months; the question was taken up again, "Whether it was good order for a few members to place a man in stated preaching, without consulting the church." Without much debating, they voted without an open voice against it, not good order; but there were a few neutrals.
Another question was brought forward, viz: "Shall we stick to, and abide by, our original constitution?" All agreed so to do, except a few neutrals; but all seemed to mingle and part as if they were in peace. Brother John Mitchum, one of the dissenters from creeds, who was not at this meeting, told me he hoped the church would now be at rest. Young Jacob was not at this happy meeting; and perhaps fearing all he had gained would be lost, two weeks after, came on to his oratory. This gave time for his cockatrice eggs to hatch. With great vehemence he exclaimed against all creeds; ranked them all with the corruptions of the mother of harlots, and that the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, was the abomination of desolation, &c. After which, he spread his table again, and the unwary ones are caught in the trap once more. A number of the Clear Creek members, having communed at this disorderly table, gave dissatisfaction to the church, which they declared, and recorded at their next meeting. The reason I call it a disorderly table, it was known that Creath was obnoxious to far the greater part of the church; that they never had called him to administer among them; that it was quite an outlandish thing to go into the woods to commemorate the death of Christ. Blackburn, by the call of the church, ready at all times, for that or any other service, acceptable to them and the churches of his acquaintance; so that it must have been a wanton and aggravating thing in the members thus indulged. This young man though he had so publicly avowed, that he would preach no more in the meeting house, about the beginning of frost, returned to the house whence he came out, (so did an unclean spirit once before,) but how he can recommend himself to men hereafter, as a man of his word, he must see to himself. He has since, set up a church in the same house, as they say, according to "the ancient order of things;" and if they act at all, as a church, we shall see how they act, if they will let us see. It was an ancient question, who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
Under the head of "points of order," I have endeavored faithfully to exhibit the order of one of the greatest BAPTIST REFORMERS now in Kentucky. If I have fallen short in his morose temper, and vulgarity of manners, when by ourselves, if he choose, I can give him other items. We have two kinsmen in our country, named Jacob, the greatest Baptist Reformers among us; so says Campbell somewhere. The Creaths are of the first grade of Baptist preachers in Kentucky. The old brother seems to think, from what he commonly says of himself, that he is one of the most peaceable men in the world. King Saul once said "I have done all the Lord commanded me;" but when Samuel asked the meaning of the bleating of the sheep, and the lowing of the oxen, that he heard, Saul had this come off: That other people had done all the mischief that the prophet complained of. Will our old brother take the same course? He ought to admit what others say, that for near thirty years, since he has been in Kentucky, there has been but little of that time, that he has not been in conflict with somebody; but perhaps his lot is cast among the worst of men. We well remember, his name is Jacob. It is probable his father was a religious man, and loved the man that God himself loved, the old Patriarch, Jacob, and named his son after him; and that young Jacob was named after his uncle. We well remember too, that the old Patriarch was a twin brother, and before their birth (strange to tell, for Rebecca could not account for it;) there was a struggle between the boys, which should be first born. Esau was born first, and called by that name on account of his redness. Jacob had fast hold of his brother's heel; he was, therefore, called Jacob, which means supplanter or beguiler. Though Esau was a cunning hunter, in many things Jacob was more cunning than he. We know his cunning tricks in first obtaining the birth right, and after that, his father's blessing.
When our Jacob first came to Kentucky, by some means, many of the old preachers had a bad opinion of him, and sought to bruise his head; but he never failed to get hold of their heel. So then he is cunning - he looks cunning - he loves to be cunning - and one of his great luxuries is, to sit in company, and tell of the cunning tricks he played, to get the victory over the old preachers. And if you wish to please him uncommonly well, break out with him in a loud laugh at his feats of war and victory. How far this comports with a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price, the reader will judge for himself. I some how think, old Jacob had heard so many complaints from his brother Esau, about his name and nature, that he desired to have another name before he met his brother. Though he had used some of his cunning tricks with his father-in-law, Laban, in pealing his rods when he watered his cattle, the time came that he must meet his brother, and the Lord gratified him with another and a better name. For when he wrestled with the angel, he asked his name, and he owned it was Jacob. We know what a change this God angel gave to his name just before he met with his brother Esau. It cannot be an unfriendly prayer, and to which both these Jacobs should say, amen. Oh! Lord God of Israel, turn both these Jacobs into Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile. But if the cunning of one Jacob could beguile, and obtain the birthright from an elder brother; by deceit obtain the blessing from a Patriarchal father, and overreach a wary father-in-law, what has not religious society to apprehend, from the combined cunning of two Jacobs? I have numbered old brother Jacob with the intruders at Clear Creek; this I regret to do, as both of us in past years, at different times, have served the church there. When I heard, about two years ago, the church had called him to preach once a month, it gave me pleasure, not knowing he had changed his opinions. Those revolutionizers, Creath and Morton, preach vehemently against creeds of all kinds. What was this but to break the order of the church, that had stood more than forty years on their constitution? In this perhaps, Creath slipped along and said less than Morton, but he was his full abettor, and much most to blame, for he had served the church thirteen years under its present constitution. Here was the beginning of the trouble that has brought about the fatal effects we now see in this church. I have named Morton as one of the intruders. It may be, he is the most innocent man among all the intruders at Clear Creek; for it is probable, he knows no better; for, being very self-willed and self-conceited, he only takes notice of one side of the question, and should he never have felt the power of Godliness, he is more to be pitied than blamed. From all that I can hear of him, he deports himself well, so that I am willing to consider him a well meaning man, with all the chaff that is about him.
I think he can say this for himself, that none of the Campbellites can say; for he needed not Campbell's contaminating principles to corrupt him; all this he had before he saw or heard of Campbell. Should he ever see this, he will know what I mean, by a conversation we had at an association one Sunday morning, more than ten years ago. In 1825, a complaint was exhibited against him in Elkhorn association, from the church where he was a member, called Bethlehem, about false doctrine. A committee of eight men were appointed; only six met, viz: T. Bullock, James Johnson, J. Darnaby, P. Higbee, James Fishback and William Suggett. The points complained of, were in relation to the imputation of the first man's sin to his posterity - the helpless state of man by the fall. What influence from God was needful in the conversion of a sinner. All this committee, considered Morton not sound in the faith, and thus reported to the church, in writing, with each man's signature. The church, it seems, was fifty seven members. A brother Syms, who was there, acted an artful part - said to the sisters, you all ought to vote; do you not see if you receive this report, it will stop brother Morton from preaching, and then what will you do? The sisters all voted, perhaps one man with them, and I think a majority of only one vote, shut out the report; all this I lately had from William Suggett. In all this, there was one thing in Morton's favor, his preaching pleased the sisters and his brother Syms; but what will his brother Bullock do? whose signature is to the report, and is now so very fond of hearing him; no change it is presumed in Morton. Has Bullock changed since that time? I highly esteem Bullock, and am afflicted that he should be a man given to change. But, if it is a fact that he has changed, since he put his name to that report, he ought to acknowledge the wrong to his brother Morton, and the committee men with whom he was associated. Some men seem to glory in changes, and as if highly to their credit, run after every Jack that springs up with his lantern, and nothing but whim attends them all their days, and bless themselves that they are no bigots. But says James, "the double minded man is unstable in all his ways," and no man ought to put confidence in him. I take it for granted, when God converts a sinner's soul, he does it well, and that it is not a half-handed work; that all articles of a sound faith are embraced in this sound work of God on his soul. That there is an unction from the holy One, and they have no need that any man teach them; that this holy spirit guides them in all truth; that false teachers can do but little with them, for they know not the voice of strangers, being the sheep of Christ.
The whole book of God is the food of their souls, and should they never see that book, Christ himself is their leader, and the bishop of their souls - they mentally feel his love. Among these Baptist Reformers, you see much zeal, but little apparent devotion to God. Last Sunday evening we had a prayer meeting at Buck Run meeting house. A company of Baptist Reformers rode up into the yard about the beginning of singing; one of them slipped into the house, and whispered brother Wilson out, inviting themselves to his house to stay all night - all his entreaties could not prevail on them to come into the house, and join in the devotion of the evening, though a find, warm, moonlight night; their excuse was, great fatigue - they had travelled seven miles after preaching that day - they were five able-bodied men, in the prime of life - two of them were preachers, John Smith and young Jacob Creath, they took off one of our devotional men from meeting. I had seen a tall young man, with his face partly hid, whisper to Wilson, and he go out in haste, and not return; loss of his services in meeting, was felt by us all. When meeting broke, I went to Wilson's to see what was the matter in his family, and found these gentlemen enjoying themselves by a good fire. Here are men zealous in trifles, or what is worse, with but little apparent piety and devotion to God. Why not spend an hour or two in prayer, and praise to God, with their brethren, when there was so fair an opportunity? I was a little the more surprised at this, as John Smith was in company. I have long known him, and had a high opinion of him as a minister of Christ. We have often preached together as fellow-laborers, but he has raised far above me, or any other men we know, except Baptist Reformers. Time will prove whether all this is any thing more than mere swagger. Some time ago, this brother Smith had a meeting appointed at a church that did not cordially receive him; they were not willing he should preach in their meeting house.
Smith held up his New Testament, saying, this book directs me to wipe off the dust of my feet as a witness against you, and walked out, wiping his feet on the floor, and went to the woods to preach.
This John, I suppose, walked out with all the indignant feeling that the Apostle John ever could have done. This tale I have from Mr. Smith himself - the reader will judge of the order of this action, seeing this John was not an Apostle, except self-conceit made him so. This man has a commanding voice, ready to communicate and preach - is very acceptable when he happens to be right.
In what he would have the North District association to reform, none can tell; for the chief of his reform is to cast away all creeds, and take the scriptures for our only guide. This association never had a creed, except the scriptures, with rules of decorum to do their business by, when in session, which they can change when they please.
But these Reformers must have a contentious noise, from mere love to that kind of noise. Does it not seem these noisy Reformers, have more zeal to carry points, than love to God and men. What higher devotion can we render to God in a social way, than in praise and prayer? This exercise seems to have no charms for those five men passing by Buck Run meeting house; but they must call away a brother from perhaps the act of singing at the beginning of worship, to accommodate their bodily convenience. What happifies good men more than love and fellowship one with another; all this happiness is broken up by these Baptist Reformers wherever they go. Witness North District Association, where Smith has great influence. Witness Clear Creek and many other places. Let us take a temporary walk with these gentry, to the church on South Benson. To this place I have not been for a long time, but I hear they are trying to get foot hold there. The most I know of Benson affairs at present, is an extract from a letter sent to the editor of a paper printed in Lexington, styled "the Christian Examiner," signed J. H. which I presume is Josephus Hewitt. He tells us about the time that business opened, his old brother Creath made his appearance. I would ask him how it came to pass his brother Creath was there, and why was he there himself? Did the church at Benson send for either of them? Till I know that, I shall think them both intruders, and especially as he tells us his brother Creath opened a fiery debate, and he, himself, closed it, which brought on the dark of evening. Who can look on this youngster's parade but with disgust? Farther, says he, I had appeared myself, and gave them a brisk fire for about an hour, and was told afterwards, that I did not disgrace the cause; but some present, thought he ought to be taken out of the house." Who told him afterwards, that he did not disgrace the cause? I suppose his brother Creath told him so. Who thought he ought to be taken out of the house? I suppose, members of the church on whom he was intruding. Does his brisk fire, which he so boasts of, look like piety of mind, and devotion to God? This is the same young man, who preached to a large and respectable church at Shawnee Run one year, by the invitation of a few members.
I am told lately, the same church of three hundred members, gives him a vote of 58, and the opposite side is 50 with the pastor. But he goes on, thinking he has a majority, though fifty members, with the Pastor, are against his coming. It is probable he will shortly get such a nest for himself at Shawnee Run, as young Jacob has at Clear Creek, and who knows but such another may be gotten at South Benson. I would ask Silas M. Noel, if this young man is not a turncoat, for he was one of the men who assisted in his ordination, and examined him closely on doctrinal points; and as I would not be behind hand, in good will to this sprightly minded young man, I would advise him to remember his youth, and tarry at Jericho till his beard be grown.
What I have been writing for an hour, is a confirmation of the positions taken, that their zeal is a mere tinsel of show to carry points, and get something to themselves, more than to glorify God and be of benefit to their fellow-men. We will take some notice of the last Elkhorn Association.
Why was it, that three churches, to-wit: Versailles, South Elkhorn and Providence, under the pastoral care of these Reformers, altogether but little over four hundred members, should send twenty-four messengers to the association of more than four thousand members?
This was such pitiful selfishness, that I am ashamed to write it. Who would do this but brazen faced Baptist Reformers? Will they try to make us believe, this was the "ancient order of things?" Can we be led to believe, that these men either fear and love God, or regard men, except for their own interest? By this course, with a little log-rolling, in filling the pulpit on Sunday, and this to go out in the minutes of the association, might serve to gratify their vanity.
What is all this but disgusting bravado, a mere puff of filthy scum? When, and where, will those follies end? O! my God, hasten the time. Well might Jeremiah say, 9th chap. 1st verse, "O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night over the slain of the daughter of my people."
O, when will the Baptists, behave more like christians?
We may take it for granted, it is not that they are thus scrupulous about creeds, that keeps the Campbellites locked up so closely on that subject; but instability of mind, not knowing what they believe themselves; so they are not so much to blame in that particular, as some may imagine. Let them pause and make up their minds, before they speak or write. Campbell will help them after a while, if he can - he has many queries to answer - he will strike on something in process of time.
It is his interest to scatter the Baptists awhile, that he may rake up all he can. Let him know his own creed, before he pours it forth; and let those young gaping birds wait till he is ready.
They complain much of being misrepresented by others, and of being greatly persecuted. Let them tell their master, Campbell, of all this, and in due time, he may carefully, or cunningly, relieve them from all their difficulties.
But O! Let them cease to inflict wounds on that society to which they profess to belong.
I had supposed I was done with young Jacob Creath, but he has lately presented himself in a new style, in the "Christian Examiner," a paper published in Lexington, through which he has thought proper to address me a letter, of which at the present (as I have already given some account of his movements at Clear Creek,) I shall only take a passing notice. In that paper he has published a piece on creeds. To which, if I may be so bold, I would make a short reply. But in this, no doubt, he will think of me as the young giant did of David, when from age, he waxed faint in battle. This young giant, having a new sword, had nearly taken David's life. 2 Sam. 21 c. 16 verse. It is really a little amusing to look at this young giant, (Jacob,) brandishing his sword at his outset. "He has been a close observer of creeds for several years." But now rises up in the majesty of his strength, and with one stroke, smites to the earth, Doctor Miller, of Princeton; Doctor Noel, with all Franklin association, and all other creed holders on the continent of America and settles the creed question forever.
But the first thing he presumes is evidently wrong - "that a majority of the Baptists in Kentucky, is opposed to creeds." Has he yet to learn, that the terms of union among the Baptists, both in Virginia and Kentucky, is as much a creed as any thing that can be adopted? And to my knowledge of Baptists, there is not one church in ten, but has what may properly be called a creed. His first figure to describe creeds by, (Kings of Israel,) is a badly chosen one, and especially when applied to dissenters from established or national religion. Moreover, God told Abraham, that kings should come from him; and in the case of David, God himself chose him, and continued the kingdom in his family for twenty generations, and yet exists in a more exalted style, in the person of Messias.
His next figure of a calf, I wish he had not used this figure, for I am obliged to apply it to himself, more than I can to a creed of any kind; for who but a calf could have committed the blunder he has done about this very calf. He tells us first, "it was a most beautiful creature." We will not object to this, though neither of us ever saw it. But many have seen young Jacob, and all agree he is well favored. He tells us further, "this beautiful creature, became a great curse to the people." I wish with all my heart he may not become the same, yea, what a curse has he been to the people already! witness his open vow in the meeting house, that he would preach there no more, perhaps in the hearing of a hundred people. He left the place like the unclean spirit which went out of the man. He walked through dry places about three months, preaching at his oratory, on the top of a hill.
There his unhallowed abuse of the Lord's supper, proved a great snare and curse to a number of the members at Clear Creek. He returns to the meeting house again, in breach of his vow; and like the unclean spirit of old, committed seven times as much disorder as he had done before he left the house, in setting up a new church in the house, contrary to good order. Witness his course at South Benson, in the same kind of disorder, where, since writing the foregoing, another church is set up by the Reformers. So that this most beautiful creature, (young Jacob,) has proved a great curse to the people.
By the direction of God, Moses ground this calf to powder, and cast it on the waters. If this young man prospers in the gospel ministry, he must repent of these, his disorders.
He tells us too, it was the first idol the Jews ever had, and that the Egyptian Apis was the first idol that was ever made. Ah! me, who but a calf could have thought this? It required no great presence of mind to have thought of the idol gods that Rachel stole from her father Laban, that the Patriarch Jacob, buried under an oak.
After they were God's chosen people, and were practicing hundreds of years before they came out from the Egyptians, whose gods consisted of thousands. Why could not this young man have thought of Nimrod, who was the first born of Cush, who was the first born of Ham. In this NImrod, idolatry first began, about the time of the confusion of tongues, and the building of Babylon.
The first idolatry, men were tempted to, (and which was more rational than any other,) was that of the sun and the heavenly bodies; and next to that, their heroes. We know what great things are said about Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord, and after conquering wild beasts, he used his power and skill on men, and made himself master of the world, so far as to set up the first kingdom that ever was on earth, which stood longer than any that has ever been since, and Babylon was the seat of his empire. Moses says, Gen. 10 c. 10 v. the beginning of his kingdom was Babel in the land of Shinar. The best historians say he was worshiped as a god under a variety of appellations, as Belus, &c.
I think Rollin tells us when Cambysas, (an idolater himself,) the Persian king, conquered Egypt, he very much reproached the Egyptians for their foolish worship; and to prove to them their bull was not a god, he killed him, which goes to prove that the worship of the bull was then a modern thing. But the most calf-like communication this young man makes about his calf, is, when Moses was receiving the written law from God, he has Aaron there too, taking private instruction from God, and at the same time, making the golden calf among the people; and then fancies he finds all this collected into a book, called the Nishna, by Rabbi Jahoda. He must be a very superficial reader, and this communicated to Aaron, to hand to the next priest, before Aaron was consecrated a priest himself; all this he applies to creeds, see page 33. I know not that Aaron was in the mount to receive any thing from God. The first time Moses was there, he was making the calf; only Joshua was with him. The second time, God commanded no man to be there, but Moses himself. Exo. 34 c 3 v. I am surprised at this young man's positive assertions, when they are so very incorrect. For, says he, page 33, "during the three first centuries, there were no human creeds, nor till the year 325." All the proof he brings for this, is Mosheim, vol. 1, page 5. Has he ever read Mosheim beyond this fifth page? Here he stops, and boasts of his plenty of proof. Let him read again, and read Mosheim, his own witness, and in the first century. In page 114, he gives us what is called the Apostle's creed, (which we call human,) which so universally prevailed, that those who were baptised, were required to repeat it at the time of their baptising, through the whole of the second century, page 206. Until about the middle of the second century, the churches were independent of each other. Each church governed by its own laws, page 174. What were those laws and rules, but their creeds, and government, agreed on among themselves? About this time, associations were formed, with delegates from each church. The decisions of these councils were made binding on the churches, and were called laws, cannons or creeds, page 175. Where is Jacob now, with his three first centuries?
This youngster promises submission, if scripture authority can be brought for creeds, page 31. I ask him, how readest thou, in Acts, 15th chapter? This I as much call a creed for the benefit of a certain class of men, as any that ever was formed by any council.
In the next chapter, the same instrument is called the decrees delivered to the Gentile disciples to keep. Moreover, at the same time, the Jewish christians had a separate creed; which the apostles indulged them in awhile. This creed is set forth in the 6th chapter to the Hebrews, called the principles of the doctrine of Christ - six (6) articles in all, chiefly on doctrine, beginning with the first verse. Long after this, Paul advised leaving or laying aside those doctrines, having so great a show of Judeaism in them. What is the Lord's prayer but a written creed on the subject of prayer? Or, what is brother Creath's three points of faith, knowledge, and opinion, but a creed, while he is fighting against creeds? The great objection to creeds by those mighty Reformers, is mostly from a propensity to quarrel.
Chief, or all of them, have been creed-holders, and do they, or any body else, think they are better men than they were before?
In one thing I think them worse than other men, that is, sowing discord among brethren, which God says he hates. Prov. 6 c. 19 v.
If I can do no good in the church of Christ, I pray God to keep me from doing harm.
That there are extremes among the Baptists in the west, both in doctrine and order, I have no doubt; and nothing is more common than for one extreme to produce another, taking men the world over. I have spoken, somewhere in this essay, of two men, who embrace the outer limits of those extremes. One I style the Eastern Goat, (A. Campbell,) the other, the Western Goat, (D. Parker.) Campbell's course, is, Phariseeism gospelized. Parker's course is christianity heathenized; both of which, I think, should be set aside by orderly Baptists. Though I know nothing against the moral deportment of either of these men; the Pharisee's plan for acceptance with God, was to keep the law of Moses, and begin with circumcision. Campbell's plan is, to keep the law of Christ, and begin with baptism; and his personal actions to the law of Christ, brings his soul to heaven - precisely so with the Pharisee, his personal actions to the law of Moses, brought his soul to heaven; but Campbell says, he has faith, so did the Pharisees, and precisely the same kind of faith by which Campbell admits a man to baptism. If the faith of one was in a Messias already come, the other had the same historic faith in one to come. One great default in the Pharisee's religion, is named by the Saviour in Matthew, 23 c. and 23 v. "Though ye you tithes, you omit the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith - this ought you to have done." The same thing is repeated in Luke, 11 c. 42 v. with this exception, "ye pass over judgment and the love of God."
This judgment and the love of God, or judgment, mercy and faith, takes in precisely what I call vital religion in the soul of man; and nothing short of it, will admit a man into the church below, or heaven above. This I call being born again. All this, the poor Pharisees, and Campbell's plan leaves out, or passes over. By judgment, I understand, the righteous decision a sinner makes of his own state before God; being self-condemned for the sin of his heart, as the publican in the temple, smites on his breast, and dare not look up; but cries to God for mercy. All this the Pharisee passed over, and all this poor Campbell calls metaphysical whim - religious legerdemain, see C. Baptist, vol. 6, No. 8, page 186. One of these men went down to his house justified; the other remained as he was, a boasting Pharisee. Thus I look on Campbell's whole plan; with this odds, one goes by the law of Moses, the other goes by what he calls the law of Christ; but each one, like a spider, spinning his covering out of his own bowels. The Pharisee begins with this circumcision, and works up to it afterwards by the law of Moses; the other begins with baptism, as a regenerating ordinance, and by which remission of sin is obtained, and by his new law works into heaven. Which of the two is most sure of heaven, as the whole is of the works of man, leaving out the atoning righteousness of Christ, and its application to the soul, by the spirit of God, through faith in His blood. We will suppose two proselytes coming over, one to a Scribe among the Pharisees, to be circumcised; the other coming to the Scribe, Campbell, to be baptised, each I have called his extreme, christianity heathenized - I now refer to his books on seeds; for otherwise, Parker is a good, experimental, preacher; but in his eternal evil, or God eternally having an opponent, is quite heathenish. His saying that God did not make all mankind, is worse than heathenish; but few heathens ever propagated this. I wonder the man does not look at what God said to Noah, or a little before the flood, Genesis 6 c. 7 v. I presume he will think these were the Devil's seed, as much as any were that was ever on the earth. I have compared these two extreme men to goats. If fighting must be done among the Baptists, as they love it, let others barely look on, and whoever joins them in this battle, I would not abuse, but turn them over to Paul, in Philippians, 3 c. 2 v. "Beware of dogs, beware of evil-workers, beware of the concision." The word concision, means, to cut, slash, and divide. Baptists in the west have been full of this. It may be, that the extremes in the particular baptists, has pushed Campbell to where he is, and set afloat these hair brained reformers, in all their extravagant folly, and wicked disorder, in tearing churches to pieces. May the Lord stop their mad career. I never was a violent creed man, but have always thought, that some given principles, in a summary way, should be well understood in every church in its constitution.
Between those extreme points, I believe, unhesitatingly, that there is a middle ground, most fit to occupy in the gospel ministry. This middle way is plainly dictated in the scriptures, both by precept from God, and the examples of his holy prophets, and apostles, and impelled on by the tender bowels of Christ. Paul says, Phil. 1 c. 8 v. "God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ." Without these tender bowels, preaching is of little use; and I am sure, while a man is fighting in the pulpit, he seldom has those tender feelings to any body. I hear very lately, in the midst of this day of dreadful clamor, that brother Vardeman, is determined to take this middle ground - God bless the man. If I was not so old and worthless, I should desire to be with, and help him all I could. May the Lord give to all his true gospel ministers, those tender, sympathizing, sounding bowels of Christ, to fit them for his work; and as the concision men love it better, let them fight on till they die, and abide their fate.
I have just been saying some things of the particular baptists, and what I considered extremes among them. They have always known my views: that it did not correspond with good order, to set up two baptist churches in one house; but this to my recollection, they never did do when they were in legal correspondence. But what have these disorderly Creath men done? They have cut asunder not only the staff beauty, Zech. 11 c. 10 v. but also the staff bands, verse 14. They have disorderly, and wantonly, broken the covenant with churches in their own close communion. What will Elkhorn association do at their next session? Shut them out from a seat, and the church to which they belong, except they use their discipline; and cut them off, except they repent and restore that which they took away. What will Franklin association do at her next session? Break off her correspondence with Elkhorn, except she rid herself of such filthy lumber. How is all this to be done? Precisely as Elkhorn rid herself from the Cooper's Run heresy; for I consider this to be about the same thing, only more glaring in point of order. What animals in nature, incline to destroy their own species? A rare thing for hogs, to destroy their own young. The most base of all human beings, is what is called cannibals, man-eaters; and such, it seems, are found; and to me, it seems, here they are. With what face can either of these Jacobs take a seat in any association, where they have committed such abuses on her churches? Nothing is considered more mean, than robbing of churches. Paul calls it sacrilege, Rom. 2 c. 22 v. What dreadful plundering has been at Clear Creek, and South Benson? These men seem to be very church hungry; if they cannot get a whole one, they will put up with a scrap. It will be a hard matter, to convince the world, that the good of the people is their object; they may please themselves, that they are only doing as the particular baptists have done before them; but here is a mistake, for the particular baptists always had too much dignity of character, to waste a church anywhere, who was in correspondence with them. Moses speaks largely on the uncleanness of all creeping things, see Lev. 11 c. 31, 41, 43, and 44 verses. All these creeping things, to a Hebrew, was unclean; they should neither eat nor handle, but hold them in abomination. Paul tells us of men, preaching men, 2 Tim. 3 c. 6 v. who crept into houses, to lead away silly people. What point of good order, could lead John Smith, and several other preachers, to go to Hillsborough, when they knew the church had interdicted their preaching in the house? Why did they slip about, and creep into worship, without leave from the church, who had locked the doors to keep them out? This would seem to be an unclean, creeping thing. Much of this low kind of creeping, from place to place, is found in these baptist reformers.
I well remember, and I find it recorded in the minutes of Elkhorn Association of 1786, that when a church refuses to take the advice of the association, she shall be denied a seat there; provided the advice is not contrary to the terms of the general union. This decision was founded on the belief, that an association had a right to govern themselves, and say who should compose their body. Who can now object to this, provided such a body may exist at all; but Elkhorn yet exists. I have Doctor Noel's "Gospel Herald" before me, he gives a short history of Elkhorn, for 25 years from the beginning. In 1801, they had forty-six churches, 4,488 communicants. We suppose, without doubt, that Elkhorn has more members in her body, than any other association in this State. Why, then, should she not be equally respectable, as any sister establishment of the kind, and act as decisive as she ever did. We see that she claimed, in 1786, a right to govern herself, and say who should compose her body. She has treated with, and dropped a number of churches, from her communion, for either bad doctrine, or disorderly practice.
I ask, will she now suffer herself to be imposed on by a few head long, or head strong men? The two Creaths have lately acted the most distant from good order, of any men we ever knew, of the baptist name; by tearing down, as far as they could, mother churches, of long standing, and in the closest communion with themselves, and setting up scraps of churches, according to their own whim, to suit their own convenience and interest. Clear Creek, is one, belonging to Elkhorn association; South Benton, is one, belonging to Franklin association. These men, both belong to Versailles; should that church approve of their conduct, she no longer should keep her seat in Elkhorn association. Is this flagrant outrage on good order, what is to be done? Let each church, who feels aggrieved, (no doubt many will,) make themselves well acquainted with this affair, and send on a request, and the association act on it promptly. Or, perhaps the better way would be, according to the law of Christ, for an aggrieved church, to send chosen men, and treat with the aggrievers, before their own church; and if satisfaction is not obtained, lay it before the association. But I am very sure, should every other thing fail, that Clear Creek church, who is the aggrieved party, will not fail to send their request to the association. So that these Creath men may calculate to face a charge, at the next session of Elkhorn. They may fancy that 400 men, can hoodwink 4,000, as in the case of their last year's representation; but Elkhorn has already guarded that spot; so that the three churches that last year had 24 votes, will this year have about ten. All common sense men look ahead, act with design, and expect consequences to attend all their actions. Hence, says Solomon, "the prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished." There is very little doubt, these men meditate an escape from the Elkhorn baptists, and will give what is called leg bail, and scuttle off, before the association acts on their case; and take all they can with them. This I calculate from the native folly and pride of the men. But the grey headed man is most of all to be pitied, for it is probable he imagines there is scarcely such a man in the world, as his cousin Jacob. But how much more happy should I be, if these men could be turned to a right mind, and use their best endeavors to harmonize the churches again, at Clear Creek, and South Benson; but for this, from what has passed, I cannot hope. I have seen a communication from a listener, at South Benson, to the "Christian Examiner," in Lexington; from the native bombast of this piece, I take this listener to be young Jacob himself. The parade about the constitution of the church, the handing the lively oracles, first to John Brown, as the bishop, and then to other men as deacons. At their next meeting, the same Brown yields up the charge, and young Jacob accepts it, as Brown's successor. It looks very strange, under existing circumstances, that young Jacob should accept that charge. I know of but one man, that was ever on the earth, besides young Jacob, that would have done it. The man I have in view, is spoken of in the 8th and 9th chapters of the book of Judges. He was a bastard son of the good old Gideon. His name was Abimelech - he was the first man who was called king, in Israel. This was a self-sought thing by him; he had about the same desire to be a king, as young Jacob has to be a bishop. He was much of a stranger in his father's family. Young Jacob must be much of a stranger at Benson. He killed seventy of his father's sons, before he obtained the kingdom. Young Jacob fought his way for several months, before he gained his ill-gotten office; how many people he killed, or crippled, in gaining his point, we cannot say. Gideon's youngest son hid himself, and escaped the slaughter. This godly young Jotham, from an eminence out of danger, uses a fit parable, and prophesies Abimelech's downfall. The parable was, the trees went about to make a king. The olive, the fig tree, and the vine, all refuse to be king over the trees. The bramble was the last choice of the trees, yet the bramble agrees to reign. Young Jacob was the last choice of the people at Benson, yet he agrees to accept the office. Abimelech reigned but a short time, and a woman, with a piece of mill stone, broke his skull, and he died, according to the word of the Lord by Jotham. I ask young Jacob to read this whole story, that he may see his own likeness. I look for nothing better between him and the men that chose him bishop, than between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; who chose him to be their king, and I look for the same sort of thing to turn up at Clear Creek. My reason is, I consider God both just and holy. Some things seem to be new under the sun! For a long time back, there has been much apparent dislike between the grey headed Creath, and William Rice; but of late, considerable social intercourse. Creath's object, it seems, is to stir up Rice's resentment against the church, calling Dillard to preach at Clear Creek, the present year. On this head, it seems, Creath has been busy with some of the male members of the church. Why should Creath be thus mischievous? But I did not know before, that my old brother Creath, was so near a kinsman, or so much like Jereboam, the son of Nebat; for I have never seen this wicked man, and his sin, so fully exemplified, as in the present case, see I Kings, 12 c. 25 v. to the end. One sin of Jereboam was making priests of the lowest of the people. However acceptable, Rice as a preacher may be to others, Creath knows he is not so to him. Can this be common honesty? Jereboam did not follow God's direction in priest making. The tribe of Levi was quite overlooked by him - the only tribe from which the priests were to come.
It is a universal trait in Campbellism, that God, by divine influence, makes no preachers in the present day; hence, they set men to baptising, who do not preach at all. This is Jereboamism, connected with Campbellism. Thus, would Creath, like Jereboam of old, set up preachers of his own choosing, and have the impudence to do it for Clear Creek church. Another sin of Jereboam was, making two golden calves; in this, no doubt, he plead, as Campbell now does, the ancient order of things. I did not know so well till now, that it was old Jacob, (by his sly counsels and actions,) that set up young Jacob as golden calf at Clear Creek; I have elucidated his calfship before. The two Jacobs have lately set up another golden calf at South Benson; for Jereboam set up two, one at Bethel, and the other at Dan. How many more these men will try to set up, at other places, time will prove. But enough is already done, to put every orderly church on their guard. They make free in many churches, under this plea: we belong to Elkhorn. Every church should ask them, are you the men who have committed such disorders at Clear Creek, and South Benson; and then say, we have no use for you disorganizers - you deformers - and not reformers - for they who bids them God speed, partake of their guilt.
Another wicked thing in Jereboam was, he made a great feast, and sacrificed to these new gods, verse 32. The Creaths make feasts too, to their new whims; one of them was at Clear Creek last Christmas. How many of these they have had at South Benson, we do not inquire. Edmund Waller calls those kind of meetings, war-dances; nothing can be more pertinent, for the whole of these movements are war measures.
But the worst of all Jereboam's sin, was the motive that led to all that is named above. His object was, to prevent the ten tribes from going back to Jerusalem to worship, lest they fell away to the house of David, and thereby lose his own head. He cared more for himself, than all the rest of mankind; and so it evidently appears in both the Creaths. This no doubt, induces old Jacob, to wish Rice to be the preacher at Clear Creek; for he knows Dillard - his talents and respectability otherwise. He fears the calf he has set up at Clear Creek, will be treated as Moses treated the calf that Aaron made, ground to powder and scattered abroad. This is one ground of my hope, that Dillard will greatly succeed at Clear Creek; the fears of these men, that it will be so. I never an feel at ease, while two separate communities of Baptists, are in one house at Clear Creek. O, let not my friends think hard of me, in the plain course I take, with the men I think have seduced them, and are not their true friends. I never expect to mingle much with the people again at Clear Creek; so that it cannot be worldly, or personal interest that prompts me to what I now say. I could get through the world with more ease, could I flatter more; but the expense would be a wounded conscience.
I hope my brother Creaths will not be displeased with the plain course I take with them. I call them brothers, because we are yet in legal union, as they yet belong to the Elkhorn baptists. As we are on points of order, I consider they have committed the greatest outrage against good order, of any men who ever came under my notice. If they are men of common sense, they will immediately withdraw from the Elkhorn people, and make to themselves, friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, wherever they can; for at next Elkhorn session, they will be sure to be put out of their stewardship. They may take my essay to recommend them, should they be in a strange place. All may see, I put them among kings of Israel - I know they love to rank with great people. My young Jacob I have ranked with king Abimelech; of whom he has a great favor. My gray headed Jacob I have connected with king Jereboam. While I am writing, a kind of imagery will spring up in my mind, of how Jereboam looked; very thick, black hair, and eyes, long face, and at times, could make it look longer than common - a little stoop-shouldered, as if a man of business; very large, thick, lowering eye brows, and they bent up to a point, when he was irritated; a mouth well shaped for speaking, of ready utterance, a commanding voice, highly capacitated to deceive the people, and much disposed to do it; beguiling thousands, never to go again to Jerusalem to worship. Should he now step in, I should, perhaps unwittingly say, howdy, brother Jereboam Creath.
At my birth, and in the early part of my life, my lot was cast in the backwoods of Virginia, where Indians often killed people, not far from where I was. My parents, who were of the church of England, told me, I had been christened when young. Being taught in all the rules of the old prayer book, I had my partialities that way; but we lived so frontier, I never heard any man preach, till about 17 years old; this was a baptist (William Marshall.) My awakening that day, was so striking, that I was won over to Marshall, and the religion he taught. A little more than two years after this, by the conviction I had from the New Testament, I was baptised, and became a baptist from principle. To this way, and cause, I have had my warm and decided attachments ever since. I would not be hard or unfriendly, to other christian societies; but I am a decided, full bred baptist, and till I have cause to the contrary, uniform fellowship is extended to baptists. The first knowledge I had of A. Campbell, a friend handed me a book, containing his debate with Walker, on the subject of baptism. I looked over the work with pleasure, exulting, that the baptists in the west, had such a man as Campbell among them. My desire to see, and be with him, was greater than to see any other man living. Soon after his debate with McCalla, he had an appointment in Lexington; I rode twenty miles to be there. At a candle light prayer meeting, the evening before, I met with Doctor Noel, who had come to Lexington on the same errand myself had. We had a happy interview with our brethren, at the prayer meeting, and again on Sunday morning at sun rise; after which, we went early to the meeting house to meet with and receive our great and new brother; for Doctor Fishback was called away to his stated meeting at Vernon. When our brother came, we were in the pulpit, we invited him up, introduced ourselves to him, and welcome him to the services of the day that was before him. The house was much crowded. He began at a given time, and continued about three hours. His subject was the last chapter of the gospel of Matthew. He began well, as I thought; he soon led on to the day of Pentecost, and touched a string, always the most sensitive to my heart, the conversion of many sinners. In sweet tenderness, the tears trickled from my eyes awhile; but when he began on his full explanation of religion, he dried me up as barren as the heath of the wilderness. He began his religion with matrimony, and the duty of parents to breed up their children as believers in Christ. What belonged to the vital part, or religion begun by the Lord himself, by an immediate influence from above, he left out; but did not speak against it, as he has done since. Meeting with a number of the brethren, after preaching, they were exclaiming against it, asking my views of it; to whom I replied, we would hear him again at night - yet hoping he would do better next time. We were all kindly invited to dine, and tarry all night, at Doctor Fishback's; but from more private converse with our great brother, I had less appetite for preaching at night, than I had at the beginning, so that I don't remember what his subject was at night; these were all the times I have heard Campbell preach, or wasted my time that way.
That night, after preaching, we sat up very late - had much conversation, and next morning till after breakfast, when we parted. Brother Noel and myself slept together that night; at which time, we gave exchange of thoughts, about the new preacher. We strongly suspected he was deeply tinctured with Unitarianism; in which we became more confirmed afterwards, by the friendship, and great cordiality there was between him and Stone, and all Stone's followers.
I had a short interview with Campbell, one morning, in Frankfort; after that, about one day and night at Doctor Noel's. All this was the first time he came to Kentucky. It has been said, and I think in print, but I think with great impertinence, that when Campbell first came to Kentucky, that Noel was his great admirer, &c. At our last interview at Noel's, Campbell had appointments at Shelbyville, and Louisville, and put warmly at Noel to accompany him, but Noel seemed to decline it altogether; myself, by ourselves, endeavored to prevail on Noel to go with Campbell, that it was an act of courtesy due to a stranger; reasoning thus, I am just from a long tour of preaching - have not been at home one night for near two weeks, or I would go with him myself. I could only get this from Noel, that he would go to Shelbyville, but no further; though not expressed by plain words, fairly insinuating, that it was not to his credit, to associate much with Campbell. I had heard a number of things from Campbell, that made me stare, in some of which, I withstood him. My ears much deceived me, if he did not say, that Christ was no other way the son of God, only as he was the son of man; and in a conversation with preacher Chilton, who was speaking in commendation of a work he had seen in a congregation, (sin was weeping and crying aloud for mercy,) and at his close, I know my eyes and ears are not deceived, when I saw Campbell raise his hand, and with a loud crack of his finger, and a scornful look on Children, say, "I would not give that for it," and said, if a sinner weeps when I preach, I know I have some way deceived him, and then added, every sinner that hears the gospel, his countenance should brighten up, and he leave the place with joy! this he stood to, and contended for afterwards. This I suppose Campbell spoke, according to his own experience; that as he never had repented and wept for his own sins, others should take the same course; this is precisely what the Saviour would describe false religion by. Witness the stony ground hearers, who receive the word with joy; but when the time of trial came, having no root in themselves, died away; or Herod, who heard John gladly, and did many things, but after all, was pleased with the dancing of a girl, and cut John's head off. This, I suppose too, is the reason why Campbell is better pleased with his new translation, for the word repentance is rarely seen in the whole work. The old translation mingles too much godly sorrow with gospel religion, for Campbell's use. May the good Lord have mercy on him, and give him repentance unto life, while he is in life, though he so little desires it. The evening we parted, we all set out together from the Doctor's; Noel and his family, going with Campbell to Frankfort to hear him preach, and though in company with them, and riding two miles out of my way, I could have heard Campbell preach again; but becoming so sick of what I had heard from him, while being in his company, we parted, and I took my own road home. Our parting was with this amount of friendship, a kind of prayer for each other. He took hold of my hand, with his saying, "May your last days, be your best days" - holding his hand, and looking in his face, said I, "May you preach, and sinners weep; and when you next preach, use this text, and do it justice, James, 4 c 8 and 9 verses, "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded, be afflicted, and mourn, and weep, let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness." He stared at me without reply. I did suppose he pitied my weakness, and from my soul, I pitied his state, much fearing the root of the matter was not there. But I thank God, he has not made me, his, or any other man's final judge - to their own master they stand or fall. Had I known (at the time I looked in his face, and took leave of him,) what the prophet Elisha knew, when he settled his countenance on the face of Hazael, and wept, 2 Kings, 8 c. 11 v. I should have wept too. This Hazael, was servant to the king of Syria. The prophet knew he would be king, and greatly afflict Israel, therefore he wept. The first exploit done by Hazael, was to kill his master, and then much overturn the kingdom of Israel. What mischief Campbell did before he left the Presbyterians, I am not fully apprized; but that he has been a second edition of Hazael, among the baptists, we know at least. Should Campbell ever see this, it will please him as well to be classed with a king of any sort, as it has pleased the two Jacobs heretofore; for greatness, more than goodness, is what they are in quest of. Some years back, I thought the best way to treat Campbell was, to say but little about him any way; but I did not make proper allowance for the itching ears of men, and the natural sweep of novelty. I had thought, all experienced Christians, would condemn his whims, as fast as they heard them; but I find baptists are not to be depended on, so much as I expected, and I marvel most at the half-witted preachers.
The man who would have Campbell as his warm friend, must remember two things: he must be both fool and hypocrite, before friendship can be gained. Two other things are needful, to keep up the friendship, to-wit, flattery, and submission. I gather all this from personal acquaintance, and his writings. In former days, in his Christian Baptist, he had respectable correspondence with others; but where are they now? Gone forever, because they are not willing to handle kitchen furniture. Who writes to him now, but cringing flatterers, which he soon hurries abroad, however foolish the communication may be. Egotism seems to be the reigning passion of the man. What fulsome praises goes from his own pen, in favor of his publication of the debate with Owen, and all his other bombast about himself; and indeed, all his admirers in Kentucky, seem to be of the same cast; for in proportion as they can be vain, so they imagine they do honor to the Campbell cause. There are two traits obviously in their character, one is, to innovate, and wrangle much, on their novel points; the other is loud laughter, as if there was no fear of God before their eyes. Humility is the last trait to be found in their whole composition; and yet they have the vanity to call themselves reformers, though but little appearance of common seriousness among them. Their whole religion seems to consist of mirth and ease. They can wipe away their foulest guilt by their own actions, beginning with their baptism. Sorrow for sin, is the last thing they seem to think of - and repentance seldom named by their preachers. Paul says, "knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men." Having not felt the weight of their own guilt, they seem to see but little odds between heaven and hell, and say but little of either. I am constrained to think of the whole plan as infidelity under a mask. I call it an apostacy, such as we never have before known among the Baptists, and a prelude to their own eternal overthrow! But I consider them hardened against all reproof of this kind, as much as the Jews were who put the Saviour to death. Piety to God, and good order in a church, they have an aversion to; anarchy and confusion, seems to be their element. They talk of government by the scriptures, deluded mortals! What scripture teaches them to commit the disorders they have in many churches? God may justly challenge them, as he did the same kind of people, in the 50th psalm, and 16th verse. Their defiled hands and polluted lips should not handle, nor name the statutes of the Lord, after so much unparalleled disorder in the churches of Christ.
I am about to close my points of order; I have dwelt on them with great anguish of heart, having no desire to say an uncharitable word of any soul alive. I can have but little hope, that what I have said, will be of use to any body; but my mind is more at rest, than before I began to write. I can, therefore, die more peaceably, than to die in silence under existing circumstances. May that God who rebukes the storm when he will, bring order out of all this confusion, that his church may prosper again, is my prayer to God.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE."A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny, and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine" - Revelations 6 c. 6 v. An exposition of this text of scripture, is not the design of its citation; but its application to the present state of the baptists in many places. Retribution seems to be the natural cast of the text, with a charge not to hurt the most precious things, the oil and the wine. One of the purest lessons ever given to men on earth, is in the Saviour's sermon on the mount: "As ye would that men should do to you, so do ye to them;" Matt. 7 c. 12 v. and Luke 6 c. 31 v. But in the same sermon, retribution is not overlooked, Matt. 7 c. 2 v. "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again;" here is measure for measure. The law of retaliation ever should be attended to with the greatest care, least the corrective be over severe; for oft times, individuals are compelled to resort to this summary way of decision, without either judge or jury, in their own defence; so that the law of retaliation, or measure for measure, will never fairly die, so long as men in their present state, are on the face of this earth. God himself, who knew every thing relating to men, and their vengeful tempers, made provision against abuses, in the cities of refuge set up in the land of Canaan, that delinquents might flee to, till they could have a fair trial, according to law, and after the rage of the avenger was abated.
Father Hickman and myself have lately returned from a painful visit, we have made to South Benson. There these Creath men, with others, have lately made great havoc in the church. This church is of about 29 years standing; has never has but one pastor, and he raised among them, (William Hickman, Jr.) Other preachers have been ordained in the church, a few years back. The church began with very few, and with their beginning, Mr. Hickman began to preach. They grew on in steady prosperity, and have had several remarkable revivals. Their number of members was about 300. They had built, and finished a large, commodious, framed meeting house. Faction, for some time past, has been found in some of the members, and a preaching man at the head of them; and bitter conflict began. Those buzzard-men, smelled the putred carnage of contention, and flew with speed, perhaps 20 miles, across the Kentucky river, having a particular pleasure in mingling in this kind of filth, hoping profit would arise to them in some way, for their service. They effected their object. The church is torn asunder, and they have set up something they call a church, of 60 or more members, in the same meeting house. In this they glory much, as may be seen in the communications of a listener. The church is left as Rachel was, weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are not, while the murderers, (as Herod) are exulting. The whole place bears the appearance of desolation and sorrow. I had not been at Benson for perhaps a whole year. We were received by our brethren who had not gone astray, with uncommon cordiality; very few of the others came to any of our meetings, and I do not recollect whether more than one of them, voluntarily gave me their hand, though I had been intimately friendly with many of them. That there is a change in these out-landish renegadoes, is evident; but whether for the better is another thing. They look shy, and if you speak to them, they seem to be cocked and primed for war. I would recall what I have just said, only Jeremiah asked a home question, 2 c. 36 v. "Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way?" I consider the whole affair of Campbellism, a mere fantastical gadding and gaping about after something new. But I would not forget the oil and wine, spoken of in our text; figurative terms by which to describe the grace of God in the heart and soul of a sinful human being. We know, thought the foolish Virgins had lamps, they had no oil in their vessels. I have been often at Benson, in their revivals, and heard many heaven-born experiences related; should any of these be drawn off, I pity them from my soul, for their preachers will do all they can to make them forget that they were purged from their old sins, and tell them, as their master Campbell does, that there is no faith but what is historic; and that their baptism will wash away the sins of their souls. What they call metaphysical whim, or religious legerdemain, I call the highest enjoyment we can arrive at, this side of heaven. While at Benson, we met with a brother who has lately been at Shawnee Run, and in the company of old brother John Rice, one of the best and most loving men we ever knew on the face of the earth. He has lived where he is about 40 years, and as an instrument, that long back, built up a flourishing church among his neighbors - many hundred of them has he baptised. They are, it seems, now a church of about 300 members. These revolutionizers have so far broken up this once happy church, that they are about equally divided; one part falling in with all the fooleries of Campbell; the other standing where they were, but in high contest with the other, for which the old brother's gray hairs is like to be brought down with sorrow to the grave; who says for weeks together, he can neither sleep, nor partake of the common sustenance of life, with satisfaction to himself; while the young preacher, who is the instrument of this trouble, in great mirth, says, in all these storms I intend to be as merry as a cricket. Will not that God of equity, who says a measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny, deal out, in just retribution, measure for measure, to all who are like this young man?
Paul's eye, or finger or tongue, if he was here, could not describe these Campbell-men more to the life, than he has done in Rom. 16 c. 17 and 18 verses, he begins: "Now, I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them; for they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple." I say, could any limner that was ever on the earth, draw his paintings with more exactness, than Paul has marked these men, and beseeches us to mark them ourselves, and avoid them. He marks both their negatives and affirmatives: "They serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly." To serve themselves is their sole object; and this is obviously seen in all the movements of Campbell's preachers, for they seem more to belong to him, than they do to Jesus Christ.
One intuitive injunction above is, to mark and avoid them. How shall we avoid them? I answer, in the present state of things, give them no place in our meeting houses; and should they complain, let them use the common rules of society for redress; and if they disdain to use those society rules, let them share the fate of other vagrants. If they can do no better, let them go with Cain, and dwell in the land of Nod, and build what cities they please; for it is evident, where they are treated most kindly, they are the more bent on mischief. What I mean at present, is only a kind of stay waste, till the law of God, and society can be brought to bear on them; for this, they may surely look. Perhaps they will whine a little about persecution; but let them remember, there is a wide odds between buffeting for faults, and persecution. See I. Peter 2 c. 20 v. Our object is retribution, according to the laws of both God and man, measure for measure. The church of Christ on earth is his dominion here, and every separate, organized church, apart from others is furnished with the laws of Christ to govern themselves. A coalition of those several dominions, or churches, makes an association, such as the baptists have. Among the associations in Kentucky, Elkhorn stands in the first rank, both in age and numbers. Those bold intruders plume themselves highly, saying, wherever they go, we belong to Elkhorn, thinking this will give them intercourse in all the churches, though they are committing depredations wherever they can, by drawing off disciples after them; and the Lord knows where He means to lead them; for it is probable they do not know themselves.
In former days, Virginia had a frontier on the Ohio river, of near a thousand miles; west of that contained many nations of hostile Indians, with one exception, a tribe near the Ohio, called the Delawares. They were always professedly at peace with white men, but yet sly and cunning as Indians commonly are. The Moravian missionaries lived among, taught, and civilized them. They could talk English, and had much commerce with the white people; but in time of war, some of their young men would come in with other war parties and do mischief. White men would often follow them, defeat, kill, or recover the plunder they had stolen. I am informed, a Delaware, when he was hard run, or like to lose his scalp, would cry out, 'me Delaware, me Delaware, me friend,' &c. But there never was an instance, in which that kind of cunning saved one of them; till at length, the white people considering them the greatest enemies they had, sent an army and broke up the nation. Retribution was administered, and they received measure for measure. What can have a greater likeness than these Indians and the two Jacobs, with others of these deformers? "Me Delaware, was the watch word of the Indians." "Me Elkhorn," is the watch word of the Creaths. What will be their watch word in Elkhorn, when the cry is heard from Clear Creek, of the mischief done among them, robbed of forty members by their breach of good order? Will they then rise and say, "me Delaware, or me Elkhorn, me friend?" What will Elkhorn say? By an act of disorder, you have committed sacrilege on one of Christ's dominions on earth; connected with us, and a seat with us, you can have no longer. Should Versailles uphold the disorder, she will share the same fate as one of the Delaware villages, if just retribution is dealt out, measure for measure. But the oil and wine at Clear Creek must not be hurt. The people there have the warmest seat in my affections; I long for their return from the seduction that I think has carried them away. Let me repeat a saying of my old namesake, John, first epistle, 2 c. 26 v. "These things have I written unto you, concerning them that seduce you." I have written an essay of some length; I am apprised too, some will think that I have handled some individuals rather harshly; if so, it has not been of choice, but of necessity. I never wrote to the same amount in my life, with equal sorrow of heart. I remember the happy hours I have seen with my brethren at Clear Creek, which now seem gone forever. O, that it was with me as in months past. I believe the candle of the Lord has shone upon me at Clear Creek, and when the same light shone also on others; but now am I mistaken, or has the gold become dim? Alas, woe is me! If I am mistaken in all Campbell's plan for salvation being nothing but filthy lumber, I am as much to be pitied as blamed; for my decision has not been hastily made up. Any man who inclines to hide himself, as much as he generally does, reminds me of Adam when skulking among the trees of the garden, after he fell from his high standing; and where Campbell does come out, it is under a fig leaf dress.
Some, perhaps, may think I have departed from my own choice rule of discipline, the 18th chapter of Matthew, in spreading all I have said of some men on paper; but let it be remembered I have not been on points of trespass, but on points of order, and indeed, good order is a great barrier against trespass; and we know Paul direct for all things to be done decently, and in order. The Lord is a God of order, and not of confusion.
Christian Scriptures is a very common by-word with Campbellites, in which they have a particular meaning, by which to set aside the Old Testament; but here they practice their usual cunning, fearing to come out plainly, yet some of them are less reserved. But there is too little uniformity of sentiment among them, as for any two or them to agree in judgment, or for any one of them to have a settled, made up judgment, on any point in divinity. The chief uniformity seen among them, is a jangling spirit for Campbell's jargon, calling it a reform. But when this mighty reform is reduced to practice, (as it is in some places,) it is the greatest deformity we have ever seen among baptists. Should you cite a text from the Old Testament, you may see a quick snivel, or turning up the nose, with this scornful reply: "That is Jewish." Among the Jews, there were often warm debates about the sacredness of the scriptures. The Sadducees denied any part of divine authority, except the five books of Moses. The Pharisees received them in the aggregate, but had much corrupted them by false glosses, and the traditions of the Elders. But yet the book of God stood as untarnished, until the Saviour, early in his ministry, gave it that sacred touch, and enlargement, in his sermon on the mount, Matt. 5, 6, 7, chapters. He there tells us plainly, that he came not to destroy, but to fulfill the law; and that every jot and tittle of it stood more firm than the heavens or the earth, and that it was dangerous to teach anything contrary to it; and so runs all Christ's, and Apostolic preaching and writings. Therefore, says Paul, I consent to the law, (by which, he means the Old Testament) that it is good, and he further says, Rom. 7 c. 12 v. "The law is holy, and just and good," and again, 7 v. "I had not known sin, but by the law, nor lust, except the law had said thou shalt not covet." And again, 14 c. "For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin." Let Campbellites look through this chapter, and set the law, or Old Testament, aside if they can. I suppose there is no chapter they would be more willing to blot out of the book, than this 7th chapter of Romans. In 9 v. "I was alive, without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." No doubt, with me, Paul here refers to the time of his conversion near Damascus, where he was crucified with Christ, but lived afterwards. The 3,000 on Pentecost, was goaded in their hearts, and died the same death. Campbell, from every thing we can hear from him, has always had the art of dodging his neck from God's killing knife, (the law,) and no wonder that men should shun this deadly blow; for a common hog will dodge his throat from the killing knife, and except it go to the heart, you will not hear the dying groan. The want of this in the beginning of Campbell's religion, is perhaps the reason why he is such a dreadful shuffler in religion to this day. I consider him, and all his followers, but particularly his preachers, to be perfect dodgers, and wrangling shufflers. I would warn the baptists, and all other men, of the malignant tendency of this deadly evil; but we are on the Christian scriptures. How highly does Christ, with John the Baptist, and all the Apostles, recommend the Old Testament, the only scriptures then among the people? With what pleasure did they confirm what they taught the people, by the then scriptures? Who would teach otherwise now, but dodgers, shufflers, and wranglers. But should it be said, we are not under the law, but under grace, remember no man of mature reason was ever under grace, till he was first killed by the law, for we are so wedded by nature to the law of works, or to live by doing, that nothing will sever us from it but death; for it was through the law that Paul was dead to the law, witness the woman bound by the law to her husband, so long as he liveth, Rom. 7 c. 1 v. Should any say the Gentiles were not under the law, that would be a very gross mistake. None will deny that God gave Adam a law when he made him. All we find on record, is one short negative precept, but a high rank in which he was made lord over all other creatures on earth. They were made in the image of God, both male and female; but a little below angels, those pure, intellectual spirits. Though Adam had an animal body, he had an angelic soul. I do not doubt, but that God had spiritual demands on him; so far at least, as the two tables afterwards given to Moses, and explained by the Saviour, in a summary way: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself." Adam's fall, with all the debility it brought on him, could not lessen his, nor the obligation of all his posterity, who fell in him. This I gather from the natural impress of the law in the hearts of the Gentiles, who had not the law of Moses literally given to them. See Rom. 2 c. 14 and 15 verses. If these views are correct (as I presume they are,) then all mankind are under the law. Hear what Paul says, Rom. 3 c. 19 v. "What the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." Why should Paul bring all the world guilty before God, if they were not all under the law, seeing, where there is no law there can be no guilt? Were men not under the law, there could be no Redeemer for them, see Gal. 4 c., 4 and 5 verses. "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." As there can be no redemption, for men who are not under the law, so there can be no adoption as children; we may turn them over at once, to damnation, by wholesale. There are certain elements, and Jewish ordinances, which Paul calls carnal, and worldly things, that was never binding on any other nation but the Jews, and which Christ "nailed to his cross, and took them out of the way himself." Gal. 2 c. 14 v. But the Campbellites shall not take from us the Old Testament, nor the moral law, written by the finger of God, on tables of stone. And though we know not, nor care not, where those literal tables are, for their purport is impressed on every man's heart, in the law of nature; and I consider the law of nature, as certainly come from God, as the law of Moses. David says, Psalm 19, 7 v. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Paul says, "the law is spiritual," Rom. 7 c. When the Lord pleases, he uses whatever law he has given, as the instrument of converting the sinner's soul, whether the law of nature, the law of Moses, or the law of Christ, the gospel of His grace. But none of those laws operate to that blessed effect, but by an immediate influence from God himself. This gives me great pleasure that God uses what star of the east he pleases, to bring heathens home to heaven, out of every nation, kingdom or language. By imagination, I almost see the Campbellites pirting up, when I give validity to the tables of the covenant; they spring up, and go to their book afresh, 2 Cor. 3 c. 7 v. to the end. Nothing proves to me more clearly, that these people would set aside the whole Old Testament, as having their eye intensely fixed on this part of the scripture. They seemed dreadfully afraid of Mount Sinai, and especially these two tables of the law; for they are the ministration of death. They are afraid of being killed; they do not know that they must die by the law, before they live in Christ, or repent for their sin of heart and nature, before they are rejoicing believers in Christ. It may be, that Campbell himself, in his young days, had some distant smell of the fire of Sinai, took the alarm, and ran off as Adam did, to hide among some fig trees, and make a covering of the leaves, to face his offended God; but some day, he will be called forth to take his trial; for God sees the painted hypocrites through all the disguise they wear. When this part of scripture, just named above, in Corinthians is looked over with care, it remains doubtful, whether the glory that was to be done away, designs the face of Moses, or the tables of the covenant. But if the tables were designed, it only related to where they were in the days of Paul; for neither he, nor any other man, could tell where they literally were. Whether the King of Babylon had destroyed the sacred ark, with all its contents, to-wit: the tables of the covenant, the golden pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded; or whether some zealous prophet, or priest, had hid it in some dark cave. But the substance of what is called the decalogue, is engraved in the conscience of every child of Adam; and is never done away, in the condemnation it holds him under, until relieved personally by the blood of Christ. The fourth, among the ten commands, relating to the Sabbath day, is thought by some to be ceremonious, and done away, with other Jewish rites; but there is some mistake here, for the Son of man, who was the Lord of the Sabbath, did make a change, by which the Jewish rigor of the Sabbath is softened, but the Lord's day should be kept holy to the Lord, and in his holy service. Poor baptists, in this reform your ways, shake off your idle visits, and other wicked things on the Lord's day. The old question who shall be the greatest, is yet in progress among the preachers; even among the poor baptist preachers, who get so little money for their preaching, the question is not so much, who shall be the best man, or the best preacher, as who shall be the greatest. I wonder we preachers cannot think what kind of a being the Devil is, for he desire to be great, bad as he is; and to us it looks surprising, that God himself, should in any way, indulge him in it. We remember, the Saviour spoke of Satan, as a strong man armed. Paul and others, speaks of him as the god of this world, prince of the power of the air, and Beelzebub, prince of the Devils, &c. Should any ask, who shall be the greatest man among the baptists in the west, for one, I shall answer, A. Campbell, and hereafter all his admirers in future seek to him for counsel, for by the disorderly movements of a number of preachers for several months past, in Kentucky, I consider they do not deserve a better master than Campbell. Let the man be thus rewarded for his great services in America. Here let him give name to a number of faithful followers, whose actions is worthy of him, as if cast in the same mould. For the future, I shall venture to call them Campbellites. In Elkhorn Association, there is about 12 ordained ministers, four of these are Campbellites, if a brother Gates in Paris is one; the other three is in one church together; Versailles, Woodford county. There also, is the worthy Tho. Bullock, the moderator of Elkhorn Association, perhaps as great a Campbellite as any of them, another preacher Thomas Minzey has lately joined the church at Versailles; he is a kinsman of mine, a man of good fame, but in religion he gad about a little too much. This is the third church he has joined, and has not moved from his same family dwelling. From his upright deportment, his studious mind, and capacities to communicate, no doubt, he will soon be ordained. Some time past, a worthy brother at Versailles, invited me to come and worship among them; my reply was, in negro dialect, there are too many Jackamelantons there. He urged for an explanation - I only answered, there are two churches in one house; but one other reason would have been, your preachers are so much of Campbellites, that they only shine with a dancing, fluctuating light. There are three preachers, perhaps four, now in Versailles, mounted on one large Camel, shining as they go, with their dancing light; for they give us no scrape of a pen, to inform us what doctrine they hold, or what is their order. We can only judge from what we see, which we are compelled to mark with the strongest disapprobation. In what dismal Arabian swamp this swift dromedary will land these giddy men is unknown; but as likely under the wing of the Arabian prophet, as any where else. Jude calls these sort of men, 13 v. "Wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." By those wandering stars, Jude no doubt describes what we call a shooting star, or those meteors that are seen shooting about in the air, being of the same nature with Jack and his lantern. I must now escape in the best way I can, from among these Jackamelantons-men.
[Typed by James K. Duvall]
[A Booklet by John Taylor, Frankfort, KY: Printed by A. G. Hodges, Commentator Office, 1830. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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