Their own statement handed
the senior author of this work:
The said church are desirous of recording an outline of their rise and progress, together with a brief sketch of the articles of their faith and practice, and mutual covenant, as the professed disciples of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; hoping the same may be of benefit, through the blessing of God, to future generations, if it be His holy will to preserve a remnant to bear testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus, and recorded by the pen of inspiration, and understood only by the teaching of the Holy Ghost.
It is a cause of grief that many errors abound in the present generation in doctrine, principles and practice under a mask of religion; with such we cannot, we dare not associate, nor hold communion in church fellowship; although despised and spoken against as hard-hearted, and narrow, contracted in our views. Yet our principles and practice, in the following formula, stand or fall to none but the word of God alone. Faith and holiness are our professed principles, with a desire as far as possible to be at peace with all men, especially with those who love the Lord in sincerity, although they differ from us in name, yet rejecting Him in their practices, based on traditions or commandments of men, not countenanced by the law of Christ nor practiced by the Apostles; and so those that desire to agree by the way must be of one mind and judgment to avoid schisms or divisions, which are attended with evil consequences. So we resolve, through the grace of Almighty God to help us, while our frail life continues, to take His holy word as our guide, observing all things whatsoever He has commanded His Apostles to teach, praying the Lord to strengthen us so to do, and to His name be the praise. Amen.
Daniel McArthur, a young man of Cowal, in the west of Scotland, about the beginning of the nineteenth century, was converted by grace, and immediately commenced to preach the gospel to his countrymen with fervency and zeal, the Lord working with him, so that his fame went far and near in that country, and multitudes flocked to hear the word, a great awakening being among the people, and the great power of God was felt, and many added unto the Lord.
He, being desirous to follow the rules laid down in the holy word of God, saw it his bounden duty to forsake the prevailing customs and be baptized according to the apostolic mode; and after much search found Elder McFarland, a Baptist minister in Edinburgh, who preached the doctrine of grace in its purity, who baptized him, and ordained him pastor over the church. A number of faithful men was raised up, among them such as Daniel Whyte, who was ordained Elder, and emigrated to North Carolina. His labors there were much blessed, and gathered a large church, among the members of which were Alexander McArthur, James McKellar, James McKirdy and Hugh Beaton. The last mentioned, Hugh Beaton, Elder McArthur ordained over the church in Scotland. Elder McArthur, after enduring much hardship and suffering many persecutions from the established clergy, was apprehended by their authorities, and put on board of a war vessel, carried to England, put in dungeons; they changed his name often, so that his friends had much ado to find him. When found, he was brought to Edinburgh, and tried before the lords of session, and released. His adversaries were fined four thousand pounds sterling. After that he emigrated to New York State, and there he died in the full assurance of faith.
Deacon Dugald Campbell, of North Knapdale, emigrated to Canada in 1818, settled in Aldboro, Elgin County, commenced preaching the gospel, the Lord blessing his labors and opening the hearts of many to receive the truth, as formerly in Scotland under Elder McArthur’s preaching. Numbers were added to the church. Then he was ordained to the pastoral office by the regular Baptists of Canada, many of whom at that time were sound in the faith. But after some time, they departing from gospel order and sentiment, he withdrew from their communion, and organized what is now known as the Covenanted or Particular Baptist Church in Ontario. After which the Lord raised up several faithful men, who labored with him in the gospel, viz.: Duncan McCallum, Duncan Lamond, Neil McDonald and Thomas McColl. Elder Campbell’s health having begun to decline, Neil McDonald was ordained Elder to assist him, who officiated with him for some time in the pastoral office.
Upon Friday, the fifth day of November, 1852, the church met in Aldboro for the purpose of examining Thomas McColl and setting him apart for the work of the gospel ministry. After relating his experience and call to the ministry he was approved of, and ordained by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, which consisted of Elders Dugald Campbell and Neil McDonald and Deacon Duncan McCallum, which was done upon Saturday, the sixth; and the day following the Lord’s Supper was administered.
After a few years Elder Campbell’s health became so impaired that he could not attend the meetings. Elder Thomas McColl was called to the pastoral care of the church, which at that time consisted of five branches, viz., Aldboro, Dimwick, Lobo, Ekfird and (Duart) Orford.
The church here stood alone, and would not fellowship any in the country, and it supposed there were none on the Continent of America that it could fellowship, until Elder McColl received a number of the “Signs of the Times” from Jane McGregor, a friend of his with whom he corresponded in Delaware County, New York, who was a hearer of Elder Isaac Hewitt. She still kept sending the “Signs,” until the account was given in them of Elders Beebe, Dudley and Johnson visiting Dundas, Ontario, to ordain Elder William Pollard. After seeing this notice in the “Signs,” Elder McColl wrote to Elder Pollard to visit the church at our quarterly meeting, held in Lobo the first Sunday in February, 1857, which he did. The doctrine he preached was well received by the church. The following Spring Elder McColl invited Elder Beebe and others to our meeting in June. On the invitation Elder Beebe came, accompanied by Elders Thomas Hill, E. A. Meadows and William Pollard. All the visiting Elders preached during the meeting, and the truth proclaimed by them was cordially received by the church here, and an unbroken fellowship has existed between them and the church here ever since. Elder Campbell was still alive, but so infirm from age that he could not attend the meeting. And when he was told by the brethren of the truth he loved being preached by the strangers who visited us, he rejoiced and wept tears of joy. This man of God fell asleep in Jesus the following Fall.
Elder McColl continued in the pastoral office until he became so infirm that he could not serve the church in administering the ordinances, when he resigned his charge with the unanimous consent of the church to Elder Pollard, who is still our pastor, and now assisted by Elder William L. Beebe in the work of the ministry here. Elder McColl departed this life in the full assurance of faith on October 17, 1870.
At our yearly meeting in June, since 1857, and at some of our other quarterly meetings, we have been visited by ministering brethren from the States, as follows: Elders Beebe, J. F. Johnson, C. B. Hassell, S. H. Durand, J. L. Purington, J. A. Johnson, William J. Purington, J. H. Gammon, and others.
ARTICLES OF FAITH.
We believe that there is but one only true God, and that there is none other than He.— John 17:3; Deuteronomy 6:4.
We believe that this God is Almighty, Eternal, Invisible, Incomprehensible.—1 Timothy 1:17.
We believe that this God is unspeakably perfect in all His attributes of Power, Wisdom, Truth, Holiness, Justice, Mercy and Love.
We believe that in the Godhead there are three Persons, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.—1 John 1:5, 7.
We believe there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the Just and of the Unjust. —John 5:25, 29.
We believe that because God in His own nature is holy and just, even so He is good and merciful; therefore all having sinned, none can be saved without the means of a Redeemer.—Job 33: 24; Hebrews 9:15.
We believe that Jesus Christ Himself is Lord and Redeemer.—1 Peter 1:18, 19.
We believe the great reason why the Lord did clothe Himself with our flesh and blood was that He might be capable of obtaining the Redemption, which before the world was ordained for us.—Hebrews 2:15,16, 9:15; Ephesians 2:10.
We believe that the time when He clothed Himself with our flesh was in the days of the reign of Caesar Augustus. Then, and not till then, was the Word made flesh.—Luke 2:1, 2.
We believe therefore that this very child, as afore is testified, is both God and man, the Christ of the living God.—Luke 1:26-34.
We believe therefore the righteousness and redemption by which we that believe stand just before God, as saved from the curse of the law, is the righteousness and redemption that consists in the permanent acts and performances of this child Jesus, this God-man, the Lord’s Christ; it consists in fulfilling the law for us to the utmost requirements of the justice of God.—Matthew 1:21; Daniel 9:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30.
We believe that for the completing of this work He was always sinless, did always the things that pleased God’s justice; that every one of His acts, both of doing and suffering and rising again from the dead, was really and infinitely perfect, being done by Him as God-man; the God-head, which gave virtue to all the acts of the human nature, was then in perfect union with it when He hanged upon the cross for the sins of His people.—Romans 3:22; Hebrews 10:14.
We believe that the righteousness that saveth the sinner from the wrath to come is properly and personally Christ’s, and ours but as we have union with Him, God by grace imputing it to us.—1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:8, 9.
HOW CHRIST IS MADE OURS.
We believe that being sinful creatures in ourselves, no good thing done by us can procure of God the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, but that the imputation thereof is an act of grace, a free gift, without our deserving.—Romans 3:24-27; 2 Timothy 1:9.
We believe also that the power of imputing righteousness resteth in God only by Jesus Christ.—Romans 4:6-8.
PREDESTINATION AND ELECTION.
We believe that God has freely ordained all things that come to pass, which doctrine is called Absolute Predestination.—Isaiah 46:9, 10; Acts 4:27, 28, 2:22, 23.
We believe that election is free and permanent, being founded in grace and the unchangeable will of God.—Romans 9:11, 11:5, 7; Ephesians 1:4, 5.
We believe that the decree of election is so far from making works in us foreseen the ground or cause of the choice, that it containeth in the bowels of it not only the persons, but also the graces that accompany salvation.—Ephesians 2:5, 10; 2 Timothy 1:10.
We believe that Christ is He in whom the elect are always considered, and that without Him there is neither election, grace nor salvation.—Ephesians 1:5-10; Acts 4:12.
We believe there is not any impediment attending the elect of God that can hinder their conversion or eternal salvation.—Romans 8:30-33, 11:7.
We believe no man can know his election but by his calling.—Romans 9:21-23; 2 Peter 1:10.
OF THE SCRIPTURES.
We believe that the Holy Scriptures of themselves, without the addition of human inventions, are able to make the man of God perfect in all things, and thoroughly to furnish him unto all good works.—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
We believe that they cannot be broken, but will certainly be fulfilled in all the prophecies, threatenings, promises, either to the salvation or damnation of men.—Acts 13:41; Matthew 5:17; Psalm 9:8.
We believe that God made the world and all things that are therein.—Genesis 1:31, 2:2; Colossians 1:16.
We do not believe that sinners dead in trespasses and sins should be urged to believe savingly in the Lord Jesus Christ; but we hold it right to preach to such their lost and ruined condition, and point out the only way of escape from the wrath of God, which is through the finished work of the Savior.
We do not therefore believe that the general call or use of general invitations and exhortations is preaching the gospel.
We believe that believers are the only fit subjects of baptism.—Mark 16:16; Acts 2:41, 8:37.
We believe that immersion is the only scriptural mode of administering the holy ordinance of baptism.—Matthew 3:15, 16; Acts 8:37-40.
We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are to be administered by lawfully ordained Elders only.—1 Corinthians 11:23, 26; Titus 1:5; Ac 14:23.
We believe that baptized believers only are fit communicants.—Acts 2:42, 43.
We believe that converts ought to relate their religious experience before the church only.—Psalm 66:16; Matthew 7:6.
We believe in close communion.—Song 4:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14-16.
We believe that all matters of importance ought to be settled, conducted, transacted, only before the church.—1 Corinthians 6:1-8; Acts 6:6, 15:6, 7, 12, 19, 22, 23.
We believe that the children of God ought not to frequent meetings, nor associate with any sect professing religion, who maintains error either in doctrine or principle.—2 John 1:10.
We believe that the first day of the week is proper to be observed as a day of worship, and that no work or worldly business ought to be transacted thereon.
We believe that brethren ought not to go to law with each other before the unbelievers.—1 Corinthians 6:1-7.
PRIMITIVE BAPTISTS IN THE UNITED STATES.
Beulah Association.—This body was organized in the year 1837, but at what place we are not informed. The Minutes for that and the succeeding year do not appear. In 1839 the Association convened with the church at Fellowship, Tallapoosa County, Alabama, and held her session four days, to wit, October 26, 27, 28 and 29. Elder John Blackstone was Moderator, and James Richards Clerk. Ordained ministers belonging to the body at that time were J. M. Duke, J. Blackstone, F. Swint, E. Jackson, J. M. Pearson. Churches numbered eighteen. The introductory sermon was preached by Elder Blackstone.
At the eighth session of the body Elder Blackstone was still Moderator, and Elder W. M. Mitchell Clerk. Elder Mitchell afterwards officiated alternately as Clerk or Moderator for twenty years. His ministry and usefulness have abounded to a very considerable extent down to the present period. He has traveled in a number of States and made numerous personal acquaintances; his preaching is much approved by brethren in general, and his able communications for Baptist periodicals for a number of years have been both comforting and instructive to the household of faith.[i]
In 1844 delegates with a letter from a “Missionary” body called Liberty appeared before the Association, seeking reconciliation, etc., but failed, as none was effected.
This body has stood firmly and nobly aloof, to the present day, from the men-made institutions of the nineteenth century, and is worthy the confidence and esteem of her sister Associations throughout the United States. In 1877 she had twenty-three churches, thirteen ordained ministers and 908 members.
Clay Bank Primitive Baptist Association.—This body was first constituted at Smyrna meeting-house, Coffee County, Ala., on November 23, 1845, on the Articles of Faith adopted by the Conechee River Association. The Presbytery for the organization was composed of Elders Daniel Dayier, Robert Warren and Jesse Tomlin. She was constituted with six churches, viz., Smyrna, Mount Pleasant, Bethany, Hephzibah, Zion’s Hill and Mount Olive; Joel Pate Moderator, and M. W. Helms Clerk.
At her second session she embraced seven churches, containing 173 members. At her session in October, 1876, she numbered thirteen churches, with 262 members.
Her Moderators have been Joel Pate, Giles Bryan, Cary Curry, Daniel Davis, William Dismuke and A. Driskell—Giles Bryan most of the time.
She corresponds with Conechee (or Conecuh) River, Chocktawhatchie and Antioch Associations.
Hillabee Primitive Baptist Association.—This Association was organized on October 15, 1870, at Bethlehem, Tallapoosa County, Ala., with twelve churches and 368 members; Elder J. J. Cleavlin Clerk. Her present number of churches is thirteen, and number of members 426. Elder R. W. Carlisle has been her Moderator.
Mount Zion Association.—This Association includes within its bounds Blount and Marshall Counties in North Alabama, on the head waters of Warrior River, and not very far from the Tennessee River.
It was formed about the year 1822, but we cannot state accurately as to the number of churches or members, or who was present at its organization. It is thought the following ministers were present, viz.: Elders William Case, Bazzle Rhoden, Hosea Halcomb, Solomon Murphree and William Murphree.
Some years after the organization the Association divided on the “Missionary” question, and Elder Hosea Halcomb went to the “Missionary” side. Elder Martin Putman, who joined this Association in 1836, has been Moderator of it about twenty-five years, and who is now about seventy-two years old, says that he came in after the division, and found all in peace and harmony among the churches; but subsequently some trouble arose on account of new things being introduced, but not of a very serious nature. Some few of the churches, of late years, received a few “Missionaries” without baptism, which caused dissatisfaction, and in the Fall of 1877 ten or eleven of the churches set up non-fellowship resolutions against such baptisms (by New School), and against all the institutions of the day, secret or otherwise. And in so doing the churches have been revived, and two churches and two ministers from the “Missionaries” have been received and baptized into the fellowship of Mount Zion. Among the ministers who now belong to Mount Zion, and have since 1836, may be mentioned Jeremiah Dayley, St. Clair, Oden, Lawery, Hendrix, Calvert, Musgrove, D. F. Allgood, S. C. Allgood, G. F. Balew, J. C. Shelton, C. Farris, Tidwell and Smith.
Elder Bazzle Rhoden served as Moderator a few years, and Elder D. F. Allgood is now Moderator. The number of churches is eighteen, and the membership 600 or 700.
Mud Creek Association of Primitive Baptists.—This Association was organized on the third Saturday in November, A. D. 1821. Delegates from nine churches convened at Mud Creek meeting-house, Jackson County, Ala., and after a sermon had been delivered by Elder Isaac Reed from Joel, second chapter and part of first verse (“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain”), they chose Elder Isaac Read Moderator, and brother Josiah Cann Clerk.
They then proceeded to organize the Association by adopting a Constitution, Principles of Union and Rules of Decorum conformable to the rules of older Associations of Primitive Baptists.
Churches and delegates in the organization (Elders not distinguished):
Mount Gilead.—John Kelley, Shadrach Herron, Samuel Wilson.
Mud Creek.—John Horn, Andrew Estes, Josiah Cann.
Providence.—Hugh Gentry, John Owens, Levi Isbell.
New Hope.—Elisha Blevins, Haden Williams, John Blevens.
Blue Spring.—James Dotson, John Jones, David Settle.
Friendship.—Richard Wilson, Daniel Paten, John Morris.
Paint Rock.—John Williams, John Reed.
This Association has passed through some sore conflicts, but stands firm upon the eternal base—the grace of God and the gift by grace.
She stands aloof from all men-made institutions or auxiliaries. She is in correspondence with Flint River, Elk River, Collin’s River and Mount Zion Associations. She holds to the doctrine of eternal election, and is willing to stand or fall by that. She now numbers sixteen churches, with a membership of about 600. Present Moderator, Elder Peter Mapes, and Elder J. S. Collins Clerk. Her sessions are held in September of each year.
Pilgrims’ Rest Association.—This Association was constituted in 1837, with 499 members in the churches composing it, but the number of churches does not appear. From various causes since the year 1838, when she numbered 559, her membership has gradually decreased, until her table of statistics in 1877 showed only eight churches, with about 100 members.
Missionary and kindred institutions have annoyed her to a great extent, and she has had to withdraw from time to time from those advocating such innovations, which have presented many unpleasant scenes. It is to be hoped that order will be restored, faithfulness be shown by all, both ministers and private members; that God in her case will revive His work, in the midst of these years of coldness and declension, make known His will and her duty, and in wrath remember mercy; until her ancient peace and prosperity be restored.
Her present Moderator is R. F. Ellis, and her present Clerk is H. J. Redd.
List of Primitive Baptist Associations in Alabama as far as heard from. The first column shows the date of their constitution. The second, the name of the Association. The third, the name of the county in which they are sometimes held. The fourth, the number of churches. The fifth, the number of members, and the sixth, the number of Elders. The author claims pardon of his brethren for all inaccuracies that may occur in this and the following tables for the different States. He has done his best to arrive at correct conclusions and names, numbers and figures, but in this he may often have failed, as the information had to be gained from other persons, and not set down as from his own personal knowledge.
Associations, 23; churches as stated.
Ouachita Primitive Baptist Association.—On Saturday, the eleventh day of November, 1848, seven churches that had obtained letters of dismission from the South Arkansas Association, together with three churches recently constituted, met in Convention with the church at Shady Grove, Union County, Ark., for the purpose of organizing themselves into an Association, to be known as the Ouachita Primitive Baptist Association.
The Convention organized by appointing Elder C. B. Landers Moderator, and E. Moseley Clerk. There were ten churches represented. A committee was appointed to draft a Constitution, Articles of Faith and Rules of Decorum, which were submitted on Monday and adopted; and they are in strict accordance with those of Primitive Baptist Associations throughout the country.
The Minutes of the Convention fail to show the number of ordained ministers, and also the total membership in the constitution. At the session of 1849 two churches petitioned and were admitted. At this time there appear to be three ordained ministers, and an aggregate of 239 members. In 1850 two other churches were received into union. In 1851 the Association received correspondence from South Arkansas, Little Hope and Louisiana Associations. There were then eight ordained ministers within her bounds. At the session in 1852 one church was received. The following were the ordained ministers within her bounds at that time, viz., T. J. Foster, C. R. Hoge, W. P. Welch, S. Berry, E. Y. Terrill, C. B. Landers, James Taylor, T. McAdams and J. Shelton.
In 1854 there was the same correspondence; aggregate membership, 262. At the session of 1855 Elder T. J. Foster was chosen Moderator, which place he has faithfully filled (one or two years excepted on account of inability to attend) down to this time. At this session four churches were granted letters of dismission. In 1856 two churches were received into union. In 1859 one church was received, and also one in 1861. During the years 1862-4, although the Association held her regular sessions, yet, owing to the distracted state of the country, nothing of interest transpired.
In 1865 she had correspondence from South Arkansas, New Hope and Louisiana; aggregate number in fellowship, 342. In 1866 another church was received into union. In 1868 two churches were granted letters of dismission. The corresponding ministers were Elders D. B. Alman, J. S. Barrow. Z. Thomas and H. B. Howard. In 1869 two more churches were admitted. From that time the body has had regular correspondence with South Arkansas, New Hope and Louisiana Associations. In 1871 T. J. Foster, D. B. Alman, H. Archer, G. Boyett and B. L. Landers were the ordained ministers. Three churches were received on petition. Aggregate number, 427; baptized the previous year, 39. In 1872 one church was received, also one in 1874. In 1876 the aggregate number in fellowship was 513. Aggregate number baptized in 1875 and 1876 was 72.
Since the year 1854 or 1855 the Association has enjoyed uninterrupted peace. Her sessions have been harmonious, the preaching all in unison, and the members and correspondents have enjoyed a good degree of the presence of the Lord.
Ordained ministers at present are Elders T. J. Foster, H. Archer, B. L. Landers, M. C. Parker, J. B. Lewis, N. C. Yarbrough and E. J. Dean.
Cadron Regular Predestinarian Baptist Association.—This Association was organized in 1872, composed of six churches, five of which came from the Point Remove Association. They left the Point Remove Association because that body permitted her members to belong to and visit Masonic Lodges. The names of the churches first constituted are Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Zion, Hopewell, Antioch, Cadron and Salem. The names of her ordained ministers at that time were W. S. Helms, J. W. Hester, A. J. Singleton and J. C. Chastien. In 1877 J. M. Freeman and J. Winborn also appeared in her Minutes as Elders. Her membership then was 104, and churches, seven.
This is a young and very small Association, but the truth is in her midst, and wisdom of a high order abounds there.
South Arkansas Primitive Baptist Association.—This Association was organized in 1842, but with what number of churches is unknown, because the Minutes for about ten years have been lost or mislaid. The following preamble and agreement, however, made at the formation of the body, and copied by a brother into another book, have been preserved viz.:
“WHEREAS, We, the Baptist Churches of Christ in the State of Arkansas, having in time past enjoyed peace and harmony, but that peace being now destroyed by the introduction of a ‘Missionary’ Society in South Arkansas, assisted by some of the Baptist preachers, and believing it to be a duty we owe to our God and to our posterity to withdraw from those who are called Baptists, who have fellowship with ‘Missionary’ Societies and other societies tributary thereto; therefore we have agreed to come into a Constitution and Rule of Decorum.”
The Constitution referred to is the same, we are informed, as that usually governing Old School Baptist Associations.
In 1852 there were sixteen churches in the Association, and 262 members. In 1853 one church was added. In 1854 one added. In 1863 three churches added. During the war several churches failed to represent themselves, and some lost their identity by removals and death. At the close of the war only nine churches represented themselves, some having taken letters to unite with other Associations. In 1873 the body withdrew fellowship from four churches on account of disorder in them. A portion of the members of two of said churches have since been restored to order in the Association.
The body now numbers fifteen churches, with a membership aggregating about 210. She has eleven ordained ministers, has unanimity in doctrine, and good order, peace and harmony prevail throughout all the churches.—[See table next page.]
*Associations, 9; churches, as far as heard from, 63; members, 1,224; Elders, 36.
Euharlee Primitive Baptist Association.—This Association was constituted in 1839, by Elders Joel Colley and Josiah Gresham, of the Yellow River Association, and Meshech Lowery and William Mosely, of the Towaliga Association, who formed the presbytery for the constitution. At that time there were thirteen churches and 264 members, embracing the counties of Polk, Bartow, Floyd, Chattooga and Gordon. But since the organization of this body the Marietta, Little River and Connasauga Associations have been constituted around it, and several of its churches have been dismissed to unite with them.
The Euharlee has at this time sixteen churches, containing 398 members, eight Elders, and six licensed ministers of the gospel. She stands firm on the principles of Divine truth, and keeps aloof from the religious men-made institutions of the day. She has had some trouble in regard to corresponding with some of the neighboring Associations, on account of their tolerating these new, unscriptural inventions; but a better feeling seems now to prevail, and it is to be hoped that brethren will throw their idols as well as their prejudices to the moles and to the bats, and come together with one accord as in days of old; thus proving that they have but one Lord, one faith and one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all.
Harmony Primitive Baptist Association.—This Association was formed A.D. 1839, with the church at Sharon, Muscogee County, Ga., after the separation for the most part had taken place among Baptists in this country on account of the introduction of “Missionary” and kindred societies. Allusion to these things does not appear to be found in her Minutes, and is only occasionally found in some of her Circular Letters. The line of separation was clearly drawn at first, and there has been no attempt at amalgamation since. Nothing special occurs in her history.
Elder Stephen Parker was first chosen Moderator, and served the Association in that capacity until the Fall of 1853, when Elder Allison Culpeper was chosen, who served until 1857. In the Fall of 1857 Elder Isaac Brooks was chosen Moderator, and served until 1859, when he was succeeded by Elder Abner Belcher, who held the office until 1862. In 1862 Elder James P. Ellis was chosen Moderator, who was succeeded by Elder J. R. Teate in 1867, and he was succeeded by Elder T. K. Pingley in 1874. In 1876 Elder Pingley was succeeded by Elder W. Hubbard, who continues Moderator to the present time.
Her Clerks have been James P. Ellis, Isaac R. Teate, J. J. Davis and James M. Woodall, and the last named holds the office of Clerk to the present time.
This Association embraces twenty churches, 500 members and nine Elders.
Primitive Ebenezer Association.—This Association, it appears, withdrew from the “Fullerites,” or “Missionaries,” in the year 1836, while in session with Beersheba Church, in Twiggs County, Ga. Since that time she has enjoyed peace and prosperity with a very little exception. She comprises twelve churches, 397 members and twenty-seven ordained ministers.
Union Association.—This Association was formed by churches formerly belonging to the Suwannee Association, most of whose churches were in Florida. A division was agreed to, making the State line the dividing line between the two Associations; and in 1856 the Association was constituted with twelve churches, meeting at Union, by a presbytery composed of Elders J. E. W. Smith, W. A. Knight and J. B. Smith. Her ministers were Elders W. A. Knight, M. Westberry, A. Parish, J. D. Hutto and E. J. Williams, with perhaps two licentiates. Harmony prevailed for a number of years, and the progress of the Association was upward and onward. Some errors crept in after a while.
In 1869 she was forced to withdraw from one of her churches for unsoundness. In 1870 an effort was made by some influential persons to lead the churches off into error, but the attempt failed, and the body stands firm.
Yellow River Primitive Baptist Association.—This Association was constituted in 1824 by a presbytery composed of members of the Ocmulgee and Sarepta Associations. The place of constitution was Harris Spring, Newton County, Ga. There were thirteen churches at first; seven others were added, which made twenty in all. They were constituted upon the Articles of Faith generally adopted by all Old School Baptist Associations.
In 1825 she corresponded with the Georgia, Ocmulgee, Sarepta, Flint River, Tugulo and General Associations. The “General Association” was a body composed of the different Associations. In 1828 she had thirty-seven churches and 2,439 members. A proposition at that session was made for her to join the Baptist State Convention, which she declined to do.
In the Circular of 1830, written by brother Lumpkins, we find the following: “That many were zealously engaged in instructing, enlightening and evangelizing the world. The means resorted to are primarily the following: 1st. As far as possible give the word of God, the Bible, to all the world. 2nd. To aid to send a preached gospel to all people. 3rd. To distribute religious instruction and teaching through the medium of small, cheap, well-written tracts; and with a view to promote these objects, the instruction and improvement of the ministry is and has been deemed an object of much concern and importance.”
“Hence the origin of Bible Societies, Sunday Schools, Missionary Societies, foreign and domestic, General Associations, State Conventions, etc. The plans themselves must have been defective, or they must have been unskillfully conducted. So far it is believed these religious efforts amongst the Baptists in this State have produced more discord than union. We not only find one for Paul and another for Apollos, but we find mere novices in theology setting up their puny standards, as if they were aspiring to make themselves the rallying points of a wide-spread Christian denomination.”
In 1835 the Association dropped correspondence with the Georgia Association, because the Georgia had opened a correspondence with a body in disorder, called the Central Association.
In 1836 she dropped correspondence with the Sarepta Association, because that body at its last session had agreed to become a member of the State Convention, a body unauthorized by the Scriptures either by precept or example.
In 1838 the Division took place in the Association. She numbered at that time forty-five churches, holding 2,127 communicants. The number was too great; a reduction was necessary. There is more danger and trouble with a large number of professors than with a small number. Christ’s flock or church is never too small.
A resolution was adopted at this session declaring non-fellowship with all the men-made religious institutions of the day, such as State Conventions, Bible Societies, Temperance Societies, Abolition Societies, Sunday School Unions, Theological Seminaries, and all other institutions tributary to the “Missionary” plan then existing in the United States. This resolution was carried by a vote of fifty-five in the affirmative. The minority consisted of six churches, who did not vote, but immediately left the house. The Circular of that year says truly: “The cause, no doubt, that has produced this distracted state of things, is overlooking the pure and vital principles and doctrine of God our Savior, and introducing or attempting to introduce in their stead a system of faith and practice unknown to the Scriptures.”
In 1842 the Circular written by Elder H. Rambo congratulates the churches on the general peace and harmony that prevailed among them- showing at length the causes of the trouble through which they had passed, the removal of the causes, and the brotherly love that followed and was likely to continue.
God has favored this Association with unanimity for a long number of years, so that she can say with the psalmist, “Not unto us, 0 Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name be all the glory given.”
She now numbers twenty-six churches, 914 members and twelve Elders.
Ochlochnee.—The Ochlochnee Primitive Baptist Association was organized in September, 1827, with seven churches and 138 members; Elder Flemming Bates Moderator, and Theophilus Hardy Clerk. Ordained ministers were B. Manning, H. Milton, T. Hardie and M. Albritton. Licentiates-M. Thigpen and Lewis St. John. In 1828 six more churches were added; same Moderator and Clerk; membership 314. In 1829 same Moderator and Clerk; five more churches were added. In 1830 Matthew Albritton Moderator, same Clerk; one church added; membership 536. In 1831 same Moderator and Clerk; two churches added; membership 684. In 1832 same Moderator and Clerk; two churches added; membership 750. In 1833 same Moderator; Henry Milton Clerk; twelve churches added; membership 1,010. The total number of churches this year was thirty-five. In 1834 same Moderator and Clerk; three churches added; and eight dismissed to form a new Association.
In 1873 J. R. Battle, with two churches, was dropped from the Association on account of his desire to receive members from the “Missionary” Baptists without baptism. In 1874 churches were dropped for the same cause. In 1876 Alison Deckle was charged with advocating heresy, for which his church and two others were dropped.
*One of these churches is at Woburn, Middlesex County, Mass., and contains about twenty members; the other is at North Berwick, York County, Maine.—S. H,
Baltimore Association.—The first meeting of the Baltimore Baptist Association (called in its printed Minutes “The Baptist Association on the Western Shore of Maryland”) was held at Frederick Town, August 10, 11 and 12, 1793. There were then six churches represented, viz.: Harford, 106 members; Frederick Town, 36; Hammond Branch, 29; Taney Town, 27; Seneca, 52; and Huntington, in Pennsylvania, 16; total, 226 members.
*One of these churches is at Woburn, Middlesex County, Mass., and contains about twenty members; the other is at North Berwick, York County, Maine.—S. H.
Elder John Davis preached the introductory sermon, from 2 Corinthians 8:23. Elder Absalom Bainbridge was chosen Moderator, and Thomas Beatty was chosen Clerk. Most of the time was occupied in preaching and other religious exercises. At this meeting a committee was appointed consisting of John Davis, James Beatty, Howard Griffith, William Clingham and Absalom Bainbridge, to prepare a Constitution and Rules of Decorum. On motion by A. Bainbridge, the Association agreed to alter its name, so that in future it should be called the Baltimore Association. In 1794 the Association consisted of seven churches, two of them in Pennsylvania; membership, 251. After a delightful season the Association adjourned to meet in the town of Baltimore August 8th, 1795. The church in Baltimore at this date had a membership of sixty-five.
The Association met in Baltimore, according to appointment. The church in Baltimore, having been dismissed from the Philadelphia Association, petitioned and was received a member of this Association, after giving the Association satisfaction that she was orthodox in principle and practice. Brother Richards proposed a correspondence with sister Associations, and the Philadelphia, Salisbury and Ketockton were selected as most convenient. The time of holding the Association was changed to September, and the next was to be held in that month with the church at Taney Town, September 24, 1796. The next was to be held in August with the church at Seneca. The membership at this time was 345. The body met at Tuscarora, August 3, 1798; membership, 367. Met at or near Reisterstown, Baltimore County, May 24,1799. The next meeting we find mentioned was at old Seneca, in 1802; membership, 668. Met at Harford in 1803. The Circular Letter of this year contains the following statement: “From the letters laid before us we gather the pleasing intelligence that the cause of Christ within our bounds is generally flourishing; some of almost every age have been made willing in the day of Divine power to lay down their arms of rebellion and bow to the sceptre of King Immanuel.” The addition this year was 126.
The Association was held at Side Hill, Pa., in October, 1804. The Minutes for 1805 are missing. In October, 1806, the body met with the church at Conoloway’s, Bedford County, Pa. Three newly constituted churches came in at this time, viz., Gunpowder and Saters, in Baltimore County, and Upper Seneca, in Montgomery County, Md. In October 1807, the Association was held at Pleasant Valley, Washington County, Md. In the Minutes of this year appear for the first time the names of First and Second Baltimore churches. The Association was composed of sixteen churches, viz.: Harford, First Baltimore, Frederick Town, Taney Town, Tuscarora Valley, Old Seneca, Huntington, Hammond Branch Sideling Hill, Pleasant Valley, Washington City, Conoloway, Gunpowder, Saters, Upper Seneca, and Second Baltimore.
The ministers in the Association were John Davis, Lewis Richards, Absalom Butler, William Perkinson, William Gillmore, William Clingham, John Welch, Thomas Runyon, John Cook, Samuel Lane, Benjamin Green, O. B. Brown, George Grice, Edward Chote and John Healy—fifteen in all; and membership, 748. A committee, composed of brethren Richards, Griffith and Polk, was appointed to prepare an address to Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States. The address was presented and reply received.
The session of 1809 was held in Baltimore; in 1810, with Harford; in 1811, with Gunpowder. At this last named Association a resolution was adopted that each church should establish a “mite” society, each member to pay one cent per week to raise a fund to meet the ordinary expenses of the church. Here was a new thing brought in, which proved the germ of “missionism”—nothing heard or seen of such trash before this.
In 1812 the Association was held at Saters; in 1813 with the Second Church in Baltimore. The time of holding was again changed to September. In 1814 met at Upper Seneca. In 1815 met with Old Seneca; in 1816 at Pleasant Valley; total membership, 1,016. In 1817 met at Sideling Hill, Pa., at which time a new church was received called Mill Creek. In 1818 met with the church at Patapsco; 107 added this year; total membership, 1,228. In 1819 met at Alexandria, D. C., in May; and in 1820 with the First Church in Baltimore. In 1821 met at Warren, Baltimore County. In 1822 met with the Pleasant Valley Church; in 1823 at Taney Town; in 1824 with the Ebenezer Church in Baltimore; in 1825 with church at Bethel; in 1826 with the church at Harford; in 1827 with the church at Pleasant Valley; in 1828 with the church at Black Rock, Baltimore County; in 1829 with the church in Washington City; in 1830 with the Upper Seneca; in 1831 with the church at Frederick Town; and in 1832 with Warren Church.
After the adjournment of the Association at Warren in 1832, it was proposed that ministers and messengers should form themselves into a meeting, for the purpose of consulting about the present state of the cause of Christ, and the best means of advancing the interests of the Baptist cause. Elder Reis in a short address thanked God that He had opened the eyes of the brethren to see these evils that had come upon them; and that they were now ready to oppose all those inventions of men, and denounce “Missionary,” Bible and Tract Societies, Sunday Schools, etc., as they were the progeny of Arminianism.
The Clerk of the Association, Elder J. H. Jones, also addressed the meeting at the close of Elder Reis’s remarks, and inquired if Elder Reis had stated correctly the design of the meeting; if he had, then he (Jones) could not act with the meeting, much less as its Clerk. That as to every society Elder Reis had named, he (Jones) was their decided advocate and supporter. Elder Jones afterwards wished all to know that he was the first man to oppose Black-Rockism.
The call was made by this meeting for all Old School Baptist Churches to send delegates to a convention to meet at Black Rock, Baltimore County, on the following September, from which emanated that memorable address, upholding the principles of genuine Christianity, and denouncing the Arminian men-made societies that had so rapidly increased in number and influence within a few years, and which seemed designed to supplant the church of God itself, and scatter to the winds the faith and practice and all the ancient landmarks of God’s chosen people.[ii]
In 1833 the Association met with the Pleasant Valley Church; in 1834 with the Black Rock Church. At this time there were sixteen ministers and 831 members. In 1835 met with the Ebenezer Church; in 1836 with the Black Rock Church, Baltimore County, May 12th.
This was a meeting long to be remembered by the friends of the Baltimore Association and all true friends of our Baptist Zion throughout the land. On Friday morning the following resolution was offered by Elder Polkinhorn:
WHEREAS, A number of the churches of this Association have departed from the practice of the same, by following cunningly devised fables, uniting with and encouraging others to unite in worldly societies, to the great grief of other churches of this body, as there cannot be fellowship between principles so essentially different; therefore,
Resolved, That this Association cannot hold fellowship with such churches, and all that have done so be dropped from our Minutes.
After preaching the resolution was further discussed, and was adopted by a vote of sixteen for and nine against it. Whereupon the following churches withdrew: Rockville, Pleasant Valley, Singamore, Second Baltimore, Mount Zion and Frederick Town. It was also resolved that the church at Gunpowder be dropped from the Minutes. And it was also resolved that whereas the Philadelphia, Hudson River and New Jersey Associations had departed from the faith and practice as formerly held by them and all Particular Baptists, correspondence with said Associations be dropped.
The above-named withdrawn churches met with the Second Baltimore Church (so-called), and resolved to maintain the name of the Baltimore Baptist Association, and appointed to meet in Washington September 1, 1836. But this was presumption; for as they were fairly excluded by the Baltimore Association, having departed from her ancient principles, they had no moral right to take that venerable name to themselves.
The meetings of the Association since 1833 have been harmonious and edifying for the most part. The author has attended several of them, and enjoyed the preaching and the society found at these meetings very much.
Gifted ministers of our Lord Jesus Christ from North, South and West are generally in attendance at those meetings, and the principles of the gospel kingdom are, on such occasions, at least, ably proclaimed.
We have been thus minute in describing the origin and progress of this old Association down to 1836 because of her position taken against the modern men-made religious institutions of the present century, and because of the anathemas of the North that have been hurled against her from then till now as a counterpart to those in the South hurled at the Kehukee Association.
What is Black-Rockism? Simply a stand taken by an Association of churches to adhere to their ancient faith and practice, while their adversaries and denouncers are those who have left the ancient landmarks which their fathers established and gone off into the wild vagaries of a new-fangled Pharisaic religion.
Reminiscences of some churches in the original bounds of the Baltimore Association:
The first Baptist Church in Maryland of which we have any account is that of Chesnut Ridge, afterwards Saters, Baltimore County. It has passed away into the hands of the New School Party, not having at present among its members, as is supposed, but one Old School Baptist- a brother Burnham, who is, if living, over one hundred years old.
Mr. Sater came from England in 1709. The church was constituted in 1742 with fifty-seven members, and bore the name of General Baptists.
The oldest church bearing the name of Particular Baptist in the Baltimore Association was called Winter’s Run, afterwards Harford, Harford County.
It is said that about the year 1747 some of the members of Chesnut Ridge being inclined to the sentiment of the Particular Baptists, invited their ministers to preach amongst them, who continued their visits until fourteen persons had embraced their sentiments, and these were constituted into a church in 1754, by the assistance of Benjamin Griffith and Peter Vanhorn, and the church was that same year received into the Philadelphia Association. In 1772, besides the main establishment at Winter’s Run, the church consisted of three other branches; one near Chesnut Ridge, which met for worship in the house belonging to the General Baptists; the second was at Patapsco; and the third near Winchester; and there was, in all, at this time, a membership of 138.
Elder John Davis continued in the pastorate of the church for more than fifty years; and established the First Baltimore, Taney Town, Gunpowder and Sater’s Churches. The First Baltimore was established in 1795 with eleven members, all of whom except Elder Lewis Richards were dismissed from Harford Church. The second church of Baltimore was constituted by Elder John Healy and a few English Baptists, and their meeting-house built in 1797. This church may be called, in the Baltimore Association, the mother of preachers, as Harford was called the mother of churches. The first licensed in this church was Elder Daniel Dodge, after him was Lawrence Greatrake, William Brinkers, Joseph Trapnell, W. Curtis, William Reck, Joseph Cone, Bartholomew T. Welch and Joseph H. Jones.
In 1822 Seneca Church had thirty members, under the pastoral care of Elder Francis Moore. This church became in favor of “missionism.” Elder P. Waters constituted about fourteen of her members into a church called Upper Seneca (Old School). Patapsco contained at this time about thirty-one members, with Elder Edward Chote as her pastor.
The Second Church in Washington City contained twenty members (without a pastor), most of whom had been members of the First Church; after her reception into the Association she was supplied by Elder P. Waters; occasionally by Elder Thomas Barton. Her numbers increased, so that in 1830 she had 115 members. The church at Black Rock was constituted March 29,1828, with fourteen members dismissed from the church at Patapsco. Elder Edward Chote was her pastor. Their letter of dismission is dated February 27, 1828.
Brief sketch of the origin of some of the Associations in Mississippi, as gathered from Griffin’s History of the Primitive Baptists in that State.
Bethany.—In August, 1844, delegates from seven churches met, pursuant to previous arrangement, at New Bethel Church, Leake County, for the purpose of organizing an Association. Elder E. Wilbanks was called to the chair as Moderator, and J. G. Crecelius to act as Clerk. The letters from the several churches having been read, and the names of the delegates enrolled, the Convention proceeded to appoint committees, and then adjourned till Monday. The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, and the Constitution and Articles of Faith having been read and adopted, the Moderator declared the Association duly organized. A hymn of praise was sung, and the right hand of fellowship extended to the delegates. The Association then convened and chose the same Moderator and Clerk. Correspondence was arranged with two Associations, viz., the Primitive Baptist and Noxubee. Their reasons for withdrawing from the Mount Pisgah Association, having been drawn up, were read and adopted. Those reasons were because the Mount Pisgah had embraced the numerous isms of the day. The Bethany held her regular sessions till 1850 inclusive, in harmony and love, nothing special transpiring, except that she signified her disapprobation of her members uniting with Free Masons or visiting their lodges. Griffin’s History closed with the year 1850.
Lusascoona.—In May, 1840, delegates from four churches (formerly members of the Yalobusha Association) met in convention at Mount Carmel, Yalobusha County, for the purpose of forming an Association. Elder J. Robbins was chosen Moderator, and J. Barton Clerk. Having gone through with the ordinary preliminary arrangements, the Association duly organized; and the right hand of fellowship having been exchanged by the delegates, the Convention adjourned sine die.
1840. In September the Association convened with the church at Hopewell, Pontotoc County; five churches represented. Elder J. Robbins was chosen Moderator, and J. Barton Clerk. In 1843 seven churches were registered; nine churches in 1844; ten in 1845; fourteen in 1846; thirteen in 1847; and fourteen in 1850. In the year last named her correspondence was with Tallahatchie, Primitive, Buttahatchie and Tombigbee Associations. She has remained to the present time steadfast in the faith once delivered to the saints, and adhered to the rules and regulations usually observed by all genuine Primitive Baptist Associations.
Primitive Baptist.—This Association was constituted in 1839. The Convention for the purpose of forming a new Association convened according to previous arrangement at Rocky Spring Church, in Holmes County, Miss., on Friday before the fourth Sunday in April, 1839. After preaching by Elder S. Parks, the Convention was called to order by Elder N. Morris. Brother S. Parks was chosen Moderator, and brother A. Erwin Clerk. The following churches were represented by delegates, who, being called on, presented their church letters. Names of churches and delegates, viz.: Hickory Spring, Holmes County, Elder Simpson Parks, Joseph Erwin, Granderson Harris and Abner Erwin; Yazoo, Holmes County, Elder Nathan Morris, William Grisom, John Bennett and Hilliard Fatheree; Rocky Spring, Holmes County, Silas Mercer, Anderson West, H. Brister and Samuel Cook; Lebanon, Attala County, Elder J. A. Scott, D. Stephens, Z. B. Gess and R. Weeks.
The Convention, being duly organized, appointed brethren N. Morris, S. Parks, S. Mercer and Z. B. Gess a committee to draft a Constitution, Articles of Faith and Rules of Decorum, and then adjourned till Saturday morning at 10 o’clock. Met pursuant to adjournment, and unanimously adopted the Constitution, Articles of Faith and Rules of Decorum. These were sound and all in accordance with Baptist usage. In October, 1839, the Association convened again; this time at Hickory Spring, Holmes County; five churches represented. Elder S. Parks preached the introductory sermon. Elder Nathan Morris was chosen Moderator, and A. Erwin Clerk. Correspondence with three Associations, viz.: Tallahatchie, Pilgrims’ Rest and Buttahatchie. Nine churches represented in 1840 at the October session. Two sessions were held in each year, viz., in April and October. In October, 1841, fourteen churches were represented and four Associations corresponded with. In 1842 seventeen churches were represented. In 1843 sixteen churches. In 1845 eighteen churches. In 1847 there were twenty churches. In 1849, nineteen. In 1850, sixteen. In 1851, seventeen, and in 1852, sixteen churches.
This Association declared against the practice of church members visiting Masonic Lodges. And it was at the solicitation of this body that brother Benjamin Griffin, of Holmes County, was induced to prepare a History of the Primitive Baptists of Mississippi—an undertaking which he went through with in a very able and satisfactory manner. This body has stood steadfast in the Apostles’ doctrine from her origin to the present time.
Tallahatchie.—This Association was constituted in 1837 on a Constitution and Articles of Faith similar to those of the Primitive Baptists in general.
The first Minutes we gather are for the year 1839. In October of that year the Association convened with the church at New Hope, Marshall County; nine churches represented. Elder E. A. Meaders preached the introductory sermon. Elder W. West was chosen Moderator, and S. M. Caruthers Clerk. Correspondence was held with the Primitive and Mississippi River Associations. Sardis Church withdrew from the body because of this resolution adopted by the Association, viz.:
“Therefore resolved that we declare an unfellowship with all who may join the Bible, Tract, Temperance or Missionary Society or Sunday School Union.”
After this there appears to have been no further trouble among the churches about “missionism.”
In 1845 there were in the body seventeen churches; and in 1850, fifteen churches.
Noxubee.—In October, 1841, delegates from eight churches met with the church at Bethesda, Oktibbeha County, for the purpose of organizing an Association.
The introductory sermon was preached by Elder G. Woodruff from Exodus 25:40; after which the delegates from the several churches assembled together in Convention, and chose Elder B. Holbrook Moderator, and brother A. C. Abbot Clerk. The letters from the several churches were read and the names of the delegates enrolled. An invitation having been given by the Moderator to ministering brethren of our faith and order, Elders Cook and Gunn took seats in the Convention. Having appointed a committee to draft a Constitution, Abstract of Faith and Rules of Decorum, the Convention adjourned till the next day. Next day they met pursuant to adjournment, and unanimously adopted the Constitution, Abstract of Faith and Rules of Decorum prepared and presented by the committee, and then adjourned sine die.
The Convention having adjourned, the Association immediately formed, consisting of the delegates of the Convention, who were authorized by their respective churches to meet in Association. Elder B. Holbrook was chosen Moderator, and E. Page Clerk. Correspondence was arranged with Pilgrims’ Rest, Buttahatchie, Zion’s Rest and Primitive Associations.
In September, 1842, the Association convened with the church at Mount Nebo, Noxubee County; thirteen churches represented. In 1843 there were twelve churches. It is said of her in 1846, by Griffin, that “about this time this Association fell into disorder, as we learn from the Minutes of Old School Baptist Associations which declined her correspondence.”
What was the nature of that “disorder” we have not ascertained. The Association certainly started well, and seemed to stand firmly on the fundamental principles of the gospel, and what intervened to bring about “disorder” we cannot tell, and do not know whether the Association is still in existence, or, if so, what her principles now are.
A few notes in regard to some of the Associations in North Carolina.
Mayo Association.—This body is supposed to have been organized in 1798, but with how many churches we are unable to say. It seems to have stood aloof from the schemes of those called effort Baptists from the first, and has refused all connection or correspondence with them down to the present period. It is a little singular that they could never make any inroads upon this Association, or induce her to give the least countenance to their schemes or flatteries. Very few Associations have entirely escaped their coils.
Clear Spring Church, belonging to this Association, bears a very ancient date. It existed years before the Revolutionary War. Its place of worship originally was twelve miles north of Germanton—now only seven miles from that town. Elder R. W. Hill is the present pastor of this church, and has been since 1844. His great-uncle, William Hill, was pastor of the same church, and the father of William Hill, of Raleigh, who was Secretary of State for a number of years.
The first Minutes of this Association that we hear of were dated in 1809, when the Association was held with the church then called Red Cabin, now called State Line. It appears, therefore, to have been an ancient body of believers and a very stable one.
Bear Creek Association.—This Association is situated in the counties of Anson, Union and Stanly, N. C. It was formed in 1832 as follows: Elder George Little, Ezekiel Morton and J. Jones, with other brethren, delegated by the following churches, viz., Bear Creek, Meadow Creek, Freedom and Coldwater met together for the purpose of forming an Association, which they did at Bear Creek meeting-house in 1832, as above said. The body declared at once non-fellowship for all “missionary” institutions and inventions.
The number of members composing the churches at the time was about 128. In 1836 the number was 240; and in 1846, 314. Having undergone various changes since in consequence of the unsoundness of men who crept into the ministry, her numbers have been reduced to about 200.
Among the most prominent of those who caused the distress were E. L. Davis and S. Snider. These men in about 1845 turned “missionaries” and exerted themselves, doing all the damage they could, causing much distress. Since that time one Calvin Helmes, a minister about 1866, endeavored to bring into the Association “missionary,” or Arminian heresy, which resulted in much trouble and declension.
Ministers usually attending this Association have been George Little, William M. Rushing, Philip Snider, Hosea Preslar, Archibald Harris and Jacob Helms.
Ministers belonging to the Association at the present time are three ordained and one licentiate—Elder S. C. Little being one of the ordained.
Little River Association.—This Association was formed in part of churches formerly belonging to the Raleigh Association. That Association had plunged so deeply into modern idolatry that some of the faithful brethren could stand it no longer, and withdrew. They had to break off all connection with an Association that had joined the Daughters of Babylon. With some of course it was hard to part, but faithfulness to God and His cause required it. They came out by faith, but, somewhat like the father of the faithful, they knew not where they should go. Nevertheless He in whom they trusted directed them. They left the Association in September, 1825, and met together at Middle Creek meeting-house, in Wake County, and with the church at that place formed themselves into a Conference; and, after brotherly conversation, unanimously agreed that a combination of churches, when properly organized, was best calculated to promote that harmony, union, peace and love so desirable among professors of vital religion. They then agreed to meet again at Hannah’s Creek, in Johnston County, in April, 1826. They accordingly met at that time and place, and, after preaching, prayer having been made to God for His Spirit to guide and direct them in the pathway of truth and love, the brethren united together in Conference, and the proceedings were characterized by a spirit of brotherly love to each other and devotion to God. They agreed that their proceedings should be conducted in the same manner as those of an individual church, and that the Conference should have no power to lord it over God’s heritage. They agreed that the meeting should be known by the name of The Reformed Baptist Conference.
They next met in October, 1826, at Salem meeting-house, Johnston County. Eleven churches were represented by letter and delegates. They then gave some of their reasons for withdrawing from the Raleigh Association, which we present in their own language. Say they:
“First. Having for several years past observed the proceedings of the Raleigh Association upon the subject of missions, and from a belief that the system was lucrative and not supported by the word of God, or example in the purest ages of the church, our feelings have been, therefore, wounded to see our brethren pursuing a system that was both impure and untenable. But from a disposition to bear and forbear, we have borne with these things until new or other things were resorted to, if not by the Association in an Association capacity, yet by a part of the same men, acting in a distinct manner, and sitting as a ‘missionary’ board where the voice of the Association could not be heard, there to hire preachers from among themselves, at certain fixed salaries, say one dollar per day for preaching; and also to employ others as agents at forty dollars per month to beg money to pay those hirelings with. Also for continuing in fellowship, without reproof, those of her members who have joined themselves to and attend the Free Mason Lodges, which we believe to be contrary to Scripture.”
They go on then to quote a large number of passages in the Scriptures as a justification of their course and belief.
As “The Reformed Baptist Conference,” these brethren held a meeting at Cross Roads meeting-house, Johnston County, N. C., commencing Friday before the second Sunday in October, 1829. At that time and place Elder Joshua Lawrence, of the Kehukee Association, met, as a messenger, with them, and advised them, inasmuch as some of their churches were situated on or near the Little River, to adopt the name of that stream for their own, which they did. Their correspondence has been with the Kehukee, Contentnea, Country Line, Abbot’s Creek, White Oak, Staunton River, Mayo, Fisher’s River, Mill Branch and South Carolina Associations.
Elders Burwell Temple, George Nance and Nathan Gulley stood boldly in the defense of the truth in the battle of the division; and since then Elders John H. Kennedy, James H. Sasser, Jesse Adams, Jonathan Wood, N. B. Barber, Lewis Peacock, A. B. Peacock, James R. Barber, Stephen Hicks, Josiah Coates, Eli Holland, William Wall and James Wilson have been ministers in their midst who have bravely defended the cause of God and truth. Great unanimity has prevailed among the churches of this Association since its origin to the present time.
White Oak.—This Association was formed, as it appears, at Stump Sound, Onslow County, on Saturday before the third Sunday in October, 1833. Elders at her organization were Josiah Smith, Jabez Weeks, John Gornto and Lemuel Hardison. Several of her churches came out from that old corrupt body, the Neuse Association, which after separating from the Kehukee had gone into idolatry. The churches composing this Association at first were Hunting Quarters, Newport, Hadnott’s Creek, White Oak, Muddy Creek, Riley’s Creek, Wilmington, Stump Sound, Southwest, Yopp’s and Slocum Creek.
Siloam Association.—The Siloam Association of Regular Predestinarian Baptists was constituted on Friday before the first Sunday in October, 1849, with only three churches, Hillsborough, Molalla and Little Bethel. Elder William Simpson was the only Elder present. Elder Isam Cranfill was prevented from being present, having been badly burned in trying to put out a fire that had caught in his mill-dam. Elder Joseph Turnage was at the time in the gold mines of California. Brother John T. Crooks prepared Articles of Faith and submitted to the body, which were adopted and remain in full force to this day. They are ten in number, and may be seen by reference to the published Minutes for 1875. They are considered sound, and such as are generally adopted by Predestinarian Baptist Churches and Associations everywhere. The three churches had forty-four members only, and yet, as small in number as they were, there was a Fullerite element among them, which opposed the adoption of the Articles. At the second meeting, in June, 1854, Fullerite Articles were presented and their adoption urged, but without success. The Circular Letter, written by brother Crooks, was chiefly on the special atonement of Christ; and the Fullerites, concentrating their force against it, defeated it; consequently there was no Circular for that year printed. One new church was received into fellowship, called Pleasant Hill. At this meeting there were three ordained ministers present, viz., William Simpson, Isam Cranfill and Joseph Turnage, though the latter had not then united with either of these churches. Sixty-two members were enrolled this year. The Circular for 1851, written on the same subject by the same person, was much opposed, but finally adopted.
The Fullerites, being thus defeated, increased in hostility and denunciation towards the orthodox party. They were eventually dealt with by the churches and excluded. At this meeting (1851) the Little Flock Church was received into membership, with Elder George Wills; making the total membership 86. Peace prevailed after this.
In 1852 there were four ordained Elders and three licentiates, viz., J. Stipp, James Bassette and William Offield; membership, 109. At this meeting Elder Cranflll was chosen Moderator, instead of Elder William Simpson, who had been a leader in the Fullerite cause.
In 1853 the Mount Zion Church united. Elder J. Stipp had been ordained, and Elder John Mansfield had united with the Hillsborough Church, so that there were six ordained Elders and two licentiates, with 130 members. Elder Ezra Stout attended this meeting, having just arrived in the country.
In 1854, six Elders present, 121 members-a falling off in numbers, owing to the exclusion of Elder William Simpson and those who went off with him. Between this and 1873 there were but few changes. The Pleasant Hill Church was dissolved; Elder James Bassette was ordained. The name of the Hillsborough Church was changed to Siloam. The Mount Moriah Church was constituted and united. In 1857 there were 157 members and five Elders; there was an obituary notice of Elder Joseph Turnage published in the Minutes of that year. In 1859 Elders William Offield and John Gribble were ordained; membership, 144. In 1860 the Umpqua Church had been constituted with only six members.
In 1863 Elder Andrew Gregg moved from Wisconsin to Oregon and united first with the Little Flock Church; then removed and became a member of the Little Bethel Church, and commenced stirring up strife and bad feeling towards the Siloam Church, because of her having received a member into fellowship who had formerly resided in Missouri, and whose character Elder Gregg charged was bad. Elder Gregg gained the favor of Elders Cranfill and Wills, and induced them to aid him in the strife, and the result was a split in the Association, taking off over one-half the churches in the Siloam Association, and dividing other churches, so that the cause of the poor Old Baptist Churches in Oregon looked very gloomy indeed. The brethren could look nowhere else for relief but unto the Lord; He heard their cries and came to their relief.
In the Fall of 1865 a goodly number of Baptists and Baptist ministers moved to Oregon. Elder Gregg was about the first to visit them and urge them to join his party, but seldom succeeded; as a general thing, they obtained the proper information first, and then united with the Siloam Churches. In 1866 the Siloam Association began to look up again, and from that time a general improvement has been going on; the Lord has revived His poor and afflicted Zion, and she has come forth as gold tried in the fire.
Elder Cranfill discovered his error, left the Gregg party, and returned to the fellowship and vindication of the Siloam Association. In a little paper that he published called “Zion’s Messenger,” he acknowledged his error in yielding to Elder Gregg. Said he: “I am thoroughly convinced that it was the greatest error of my Christian life, and I am not ashamed to acknowledge it. It is always a pleasure to me, when I can keep the old man in subjection, to acknowledge my faults. I did wrong in yielding, and more so in suffering myself to be used as a cat’s-paw, and writing and saying many things about brother Gibson and Siloam Church that I ought not to have done. And I hereby take back and retract all I have written and said against them and the Association to which they belong; and will honestly acknowledge that my course in the difficulty has caused me more trouble of mind than all my missteps of my Christian life.”
This acknowledgment, so genuine, so Christian-like, raised him greatly in the estimation of his brethren, and they seemed to love him more than ever.
The senior author of this work takes this occasion to say that he esteemed Elder Cranfill one of the purest, most kind and affectionate Christian ministers in the country. His acquaintance with him by correspondence had been of several years’ duration, and increased in interest till the period of Elder C.’s death. Elder Cranfill had commenced making a Table of Associations in the United States, and with his failing health and the author’s announcement of engaging in such a work, Elder C. transmitted his manuscript and numerous packages of Minutes to him as aid in the work, without charge.
Those churches that left the Siloam Association under Elder Gregg’s influence are said to be in a scattered condition, and only one or two now that deserve the name of churches. This schism is the more to be lamented because of the talents and orthodox principles of Elder Gregg; and on this account the more astonishing also. The trouble arose from a mere matter of church discipline.
The Associations that corresponded with the Siloam before the split dropped correspondence with her and the other party also for a few years, but all have renewed except the Quivre Siloam, of Missouri. Five Associations and one Corresponding Meeting correspond with her now. She embraces at the present time 15 churches, 20 Elders, and 229 members, and is the only Old School Baptist Association in Oregon. Elders belonging to this Association who have departed this life were Joseph Turnage, Joseph Hartley, Ezra Stout, Isam Cranfill, A. T. Beebe and G. W. Hail.
Notes on Elk River Association, named in table on next page.
This body was constituted in August, 1808, upon the doctrine contained in the old Philadelphia Articles of Faith. About the year 1825 she numbered about thirty-four churches, with about 3,000 members. At this time trouble arose from the preaching, by some of her ministers, of the doctrine of a conditional salvation; and in 1826 there was a division, about one-half the churches going off on this question, and known as Separates, or Free-wills.
After this another trouble arose, chiefly in the matter of correspondence with Associations who were affected by “missionism;” and eventually some of her churches, coming under this malign influence, dropped off, which made a second reduction, about the year of our Lord 1838.
About the year 1846 Parkerism made inroads upon various Associations in Middle Tennessee, and this among the others. Many brave ones who were enabled to resist the innovations of the past fell before the fatal blows of this last ism, and in 1852 there was a third reduction in the number of churches of this venerable body. Since 1852 the Association, though much reduced in numbers, continues with unabated zeal to honor and glorify God, and has enjoyed comparative peace and harmony. She now contains about sixteen churches, 545 members, and seven ordained ministers. She is the mother of several Associations, some of whom she continues in correspondence with to the present time. She is perhaps the second or third Association formed in Middle Tennessee.
Round Lick.—Round Lick Association was constituted on Friday before the third Sunday in November, 1837, at Cedar Creek meeting-house, Wilson County, Tennessee. The following churches were represented at its formation, viz.:
Elder Miles West was chosen Moderator, Elder Sion Bass Clerk, and brother John Bass Assistant Clerk. Visiting brethren were invited to seats, whereupon brethren Lemuel Taylor and Samuel Denny, from Bradley’s Creek, Elder Jacob Melton and brother John Edwards, from Union, brother Philip Srart, from Stone’s River Associations, seated themselves. Elder John Cummings, who had been excluded from the church at Fall Creek for his opposition to the Baptist State Convention, was recognized in order, and seated himself also.
A Committee of Arrangements was appointed, consisting of Jonathan Wiseman, Jonas Bradley, Thomas Harding, Collin Stuart, Thomas Philips, with the Moderator and Clerk, to prepare Articles of Faith, etc. On Saturday Elder John M. Watson and brother John Snead, from Stone’s River Association, appeared and took seats in the Association.
The committee reported Articles of Faith, Covenant and Decorum, which, upon examination, were found orthodox and according to Baptist usage, and adopted.
The Association has adhered to her original principles to the present time; and, although a small body, stands well with sister Associations throughout the State and country.
Having received of Elder Ben Parker, of Texas, some account of the rise and progress of the first Old School Baptist Association in that State, we proceed to give it as follows:
The present Pilgrim Church, in Anderson County, now a member of this Association, was first constituted in the State of Illinois, Crawford County, on the 26th day of July, 1833, by the authorities of four churches that were members of the Wabash District Association, and moved to Texas in the Fall of the same year, holding their meetings in the road as they journeyed on. About a dozen families constituted the company, and Elder Daniel Parker, the father of Elder Ben Parker, was considered their leader. This was considered the first regularly constituted Old School Baptist Church in Texas, which State then belonged to the Government of Mexico, and the Roman Catholic was the established religion of the country. Texas was then a sort of wilderness land, but few settlers in it, and only now and then a child of grace to be found. As emigration increased, however, other churches were formed, so that on the 11th day of October, 1840, four churches by their representatives met with the church at Hopewell, near Douglas, in Nacogdoches County, in the Republic of Texas, and formed the Union Association.
1. Pilgrim, with messengers. Elders Daniel Parker, Garrison Greenwood, William Brittain, brethren Eli Bowen, Richard Eaton and John Grigsby, with fifty-six members.
2. Mount Pleasant, with messengers. Elder Allen Samuels and brethren J. W. Parker and Ransom Alphin, with twenty-five members.
3. Hopewell, with messengers, Moses Waters, Josiah T. Cook, Eli Kassell, John H. Russell, John N. Elliot and Boley Waters, with sixteen members.
4. Boggy Bayou, with messengers, Elder John Ray and James Jordan, with twenty-five members.
This was the first Association ever formed in Texas, and the churches were wide apart. One of these (the Boggy Bayou), in the State of Louisiana, was about 300 miles off, and as other churches were added, some west of the Colorado River, they were 500 miles off from the place of first meeting. Messengers to the Associations, bearing their epistles of love, had frequently to stake or hobble their horses and spread their blankets on the ground for a bed at night, with the starry Heavens for a covering, trusting in God to protect them from their savage foes. The Indians were numerous and hostile in many parts of Texas at that time. Many were the trials and sufferings of the faithful in establishing, as far as in them lay, the true church in that wilderness land; yet they went through all with patience, and esteemed their hardships light when compared with the martyrs of old.
Peace has abounded in their midst, and steadfastness prevailed. She now corresponds with eight other Associations of the same faith and order. She now numbers seventeen churches holding 300 members, and by the formation of other Associations, with churches dismissed from her, her boundary now is about 120 miles from north to south, and 100 miles from east to west.
There is one of her churches in Houston County; five in Anderson; three in Henderson; one in Vanzandt; and one in Kaufman; all these being east of the Trinity River; then two in Freestone County; two in Leon County; and two in Limestone County.
At the Sulphur Fork Association, held with the church at Mount Gilead, Upshur County, Texas, in October, 1872, the Union Association was charged with holding the doctrine of Two-seedism, and correspondence at first rejected; but the correspondence was continued after her delegates answered all the following questions in the affirmative, viz: 1. Were all the human race created in Adam? 2. Did any but the elect fall under the law? 3. Is God alone self-existent? 4. Is God the Creator of all things? 5. Will the dead, both righteous and wicked, be resurrected at the last day? 6. Will our very actual natural bodies be raised spiritual bodies?
Providence Association.—Elder J. W. Shook sends a sketch of the history of this Association, from which we glean the following facts: The Association was first composed of three churches which had belonged to the Union Association, viz., Friendship, Providence and Plum Creek, meeting in convention with Providence Church, Bastrop County, Texas, May 31, 1850. Elder Josiah Harper preached the introductory sermon from Isaiah 12:2—“God is my salvation,” etc. The messengers of Friendship Church, Josiah Harper and Abner Smith, reported seventeen members; the messengers of Providence Church, Jesse Gage, James Johnson and Moses Gage, reported thirty-two members. The Articles of Faith and Constitution of Union Association were adopted, and there has been no substantial change in the same to the present time. The first session was held with Plum Creek Church, Caldwell County, Texas, September 7, 1850. Five churches were represented, two new ones, Mulberry and Little Flock, having been received; entire membership, eighty-seven. The Rules of Decorum of Union Association were adopted. Correspondence with that Association was petitioned. Elder A. Smith preached the introductory sermon and was chosen Moderator, and Elder Garrison Greenwood Clerk. Elder A. Smith was re-elected Moderator till 1861, except in 1858, when Elder William S. Smith filled that position. Elder George Daniel was Moderator in 1861, 1862 and 1869; Elder R. W. Ellis in 1863; Elder J. O. Barnett in 1864 and up to 1873 (except in 1869); Elder J. M. Baker in 1873 and up to 1880; and Elder Jesse Davis in 1880. Elder G. Greenwood was Clerk up to 1855; and since that time the Clerks have been Elder J. J. Gage, Richard Cole, John H. Perkins, Elder W. C. Purcell, G. W. Cole and Elder J. W. Shook.
In 1851 two other churches were received, Zion and Buckner’s Creek; total membership, 105 in seven churches. In 1852 two more churches were received, Bethel and Sulphur Spring; nine churches, 138 members. In 1854 twelve churches, 167 members; in 1856, 171 members; in 1857, 190 members; in 1858, 244; in 1859, 222; in 1860, 238; in 1861, 224; in 1880, 310.
At the seventh session, held with Bethel Church, in Caldwell County, Texas, October, 1856, the Providence Association denounced the doctrines of an Eternal Devil, Eternal Union, Eternal Children and Eternal Justification as heresies, contrary to the gospel of Christ; and, on this account, Plum Creek and Mount Olive Churches, and a part of Zion Church, withdrew from the Association, and have never, in proper order, applied for readmission.-S. H.
Concord Association.—The following is a sketch of the Concord Association of Texas, as authorized by her body at the session held in July, 1879-drawn up and forwarded to the senior author by Elder J. C. Denton, Clerk of said Association:
A brief history of the origin and progress of the Concord Association of Primitive Baptists in Middle Texas. (By Elder J. C. Denton, who was appointed by said Association to write this history.)
The Minutes of this Association show that it was constituted in October, 1858, with six churches and three ordained ministers. Elders S. Wheat, W. S. Smith and Jesse Graham.
The Minutes show nothing of unusual importance as having occurred until 1864, when a division took place on account of practical and doctrinal disorders.[iii]
The Minutes show that there were seven churches and nine ministers in the Association at the time of the division. Four churches and four ministers, Elders McDonald, Whitley, Wheat and Allen, remained with the Association proper. Elders Wheat and Allen soon died. At this period the prospects of the Association were apparently gloomy, but she has continued to prosper from then until now. The Lord has evidently helped her.
At her session of 1877 she raised her protest against the Two-Seed heresy, in its different phases.
This Association is at this time composed of thirteen churches, and has in her body ten ordained ministers and three licentiates. She corresponds with no other Association in Texas, though she regards the majority of the most of them as being of the same faith with herself. But having suffered from both Two-Seedism and Arminianism, she thinks it best to dwell alone until her sister Associations in the State shall have thoroughly cleansed themselves of these heresies. She is ready and anxious to receive the correspondence of as many as shall do this.
ADDRESS OF MINISTERS
M. H. Denman, Belton, Bell County, Texas.
Martin Whitley, Crossville, Bell County, Texas.
A. V. Atkins, Salado, Bell County, Texas.
J. W. P. Harrell (exhorter), Salado, Bell County, Texas.
William Thomas, Harrisville, Bell County, Texas.
J. W. Norton, Coke, McLennan County, Texas.
J. A. Norton, Coke, McLennan County, Texas.
G. W. McDonald, Maysfield, Milam County, Texas.
L. G. Aspley, Groesbeck, Limestone County, Texas.
J. T. Seely, Wortham, Freestone County, Texas.
W. C. Edmondston (licentiate), Corsicanna, Navarro County, Texas.
P. G. Bray (licentiate), Corsicanna, Navarro County, Texas.
J. W. Meredith (licentiate), Bryan, Brazos County, Texas.
J. C. Denton, Bryan, Brazos County, Texas.
Ketocton Association.—Next to the Kehukee, the Ketocton is the oldest Primitive Baptist Association in the United States. It is the oldest Baptist Association in Virginia, and, until the beginning of the Revolutionary War, contained all the Regular Baptists in the State. It was organized in 1766, and named from the church with which it then sat, Ketocton, in Loudoun County, Va.
In 1808 Elder William Fristoe, its Moderator and one of its ablest and soundest ministers, published, at Staunton, Va., “A Concise History of the Ketocton Baptist Association” (a 16-mo. of 162 pages), from which I shall make some interesting and instructive extracts. Elder Fristoe was born in Stafford County, Va., in 1748, and died in 1828. He was a strong predestinarian, and vigorously condemned Arminian doctrines and methods. Though not versed in the learning of the schools, he had uncommon natural and spiritual abilities. For sixty years he was an earnest, solemn, laborious minister of Christ, serving from three to five churches monthly, one being forty and another seventy miles from his residence, at a period when almost all riding was on horseback, and when most of the country was a wilderness. He was a man of extraordinary scriptural knowledge, and of unblemished character, and adorned the doctrine of God his Savior.
In his preface he remarks: “The inhabitants within the bounds of this Association, prior to the Baptist preachers coming among them, were in a state of great ignorance respecting the vitals of religion; nothing or very little said about the fallen, guilty and depraved state of mankind; of the necessity of regeneration, of redemption by Jesus Christ, pardon of sin by His blood, of justification by His righteousness, of receiving at present an earnest of the heavenly inheritance, and the final exaltation and glorification of the bride, the Lamb’s wife, and such important subjects.
“The blessing (through Divine goodness) was reserved for our day, it being the set time to visit Zion, and a wonderful time it was, when the day-spring from on high visited us, an Almighty and irresistible arm made bare, and a people called out of the world by rich, free, irresistible and unfrustrable grace; wonderful indeed that so barren a desert should become a fruitful field; the minds of many that were blind, made to see; and tongues that were dumb, stimulated to adore and praise the riches of Divine grace. In a little time a number of congregational churches were constituted, so mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed.”
Elder Fristoe, in the course of his small but interesting volume, describes three classes of religious errorists in Virginia during his time: “1. The priests of the Established ‘Church.’ These ridiculed the idea of the necessity of spiritual conversion, and told poor, sin-laden souls that they were low-spirited, and that, by indulging such religious melancholy, they would become useless to their families and the community and themselves; that they ought to cheer up, and go into merry company and pleasant recreations, be honest, kind and industrious, speak the truth and come to ‘church,’ and no doubt all would be well, and they would go to Heaven when they died. 2. The Wesleyans. These were anxious to increase their numbers, and, under a great appearance of sanctity, flattered blind and depraved human nature with the delusion that salvation is conditional-that man is so far restored that it is in his power to embrace or reject the Lord Jesus, and that it rests with him to go to Heaven or hell; and therefore that the sinner should discard the doctrine of sovereign, irresistible and unfrustrable grace, and salvation by the imputed righteousness of Christ, and should betake himself to praying diligently and fervently, and should go to meeting, and yield to the exhortations and prayers that he hears there, and get our good religion, which was founded by the best man that ever lived, and so recently that we do not have to ransack antiquity or even the Bible for our doctrines and precepts, as an unerring system has been laid down by our progenitor, and adopted by our people, that makes the way plain and easy for all of us, so that we are in a flourishing condition; and we beg of you, dear creature, to join in with us; we will hover round you; we will put forth all our strength; we will exercise ourselves in many different ways, and throw ourselves into different positions, that will affect your passions, and agitate your bodies, and reduce you to a state of insensibility; then, upon reflection returning, we hope you will be one of us, and we will proclaim another soul converted. 3. Some few called Baptists. These have departed from the simplicity of the gospel, and from the example of Christ and His Apostles and the primitive saints, and have introduced human inventions and contrivances for the avowed conversion of souls. The preacher, after ending his sermon, comes down from the pulpit and passes through the congregation, singing a hymn on some tender and affecting subject, with a tune of mournful sound, or, if thought proper, according to the mood of the people, with a tune of lively, cheerful sound, accompanying the singing with a shaking of hands and exhortations, with a great appearance of affection; working upon the passions by fabulous stories, and, by clash and noise and excitement, confounding the reason, and obtaining a soul-injuring ascendency over their hearers; then asking whether some do not desire to be prayed for, and, after prayer, asking if they feel no better—whether some change has not taken place- whether some comfort has not been afforded to the mind; and then follows a loud-toned exhortation, until weak minds and soft, tender passions have been reduced to a state unaccountable to themselves. How easy for persons so confounded to be persuaded that they are converted, and to be lulled into the embraces of a strong delusion! Christ, though Wisdom itself, gave no such directions for bringing souls to Him. Besides, we have lived to see that these men-made converts are but of short duration; their seeming grace or religion passes away as the morning cloud or as the early dew. It becomes the children of light to guard against every imposition, and every device of impostors, and follow no man any farther than he follows Christ. Take heed that none beguile you with a perverted gospel, and not the gospel of Christ.”
The general manner in which the approved Baptist ministers preached is described by Elder Fristoe essentially as follows: “God is a holy and spiritual Sovereign, and His law, which is an expression of His mind and will, is also holy and spiritual, and justly requires of all His creatures a complete, perpetual, and uniform obedience to all its commands, in thought, word and deed. All men are continual transgressors of the holy and spiritual law of God, and justly deserve the infliction of His heavy judgments upon them. In the day of God’s power, the spiritual law shines in the sinner’s heart, and makes him sensible of his depravity and poverty, and his lack of both will and power to do anything in the great matter of salvation-that he cannot make himself spiritually alive, or remove the burden of guilt from his conscience, or cleanse his heart from pollution, or keep the law, or act faith in the Lord Jesus, or comply with any conditions of salvation, or make hay stubble answer for lively stones in the spiritual temple built by God. He becomes thoroughly convinced that nothing but omnipotence can deliver him—none but Christ can do him any good. To such laboring and heavy-laden sinners we proclaim the glad tidings of a free and full salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, who has perfectly fulfilled all the law for you, who has atoned, in the bloody, dying agonies of Calvary, for all your sins, and wrought out a spotless and everlasting righteousness for you, who has accomplished all the prophecies of the Old Testament in your behalf, who is the grand source of all spiritual life, in whom all fullness dwells, and all grace is deposited, who is the foundation on which His church is built, who has all power in Heaven and earth, and is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them, whose blood cleanseth from all sin, with whom is fullness of redemption, so that God can justify a sinner through Christ without infringing on His law or impeaching His justice. Ye hungry and thirsty souls, ye poor, lame, halt and blind, come to the gospel supper, the feast of fat things, and take wine and milk without money or price; look to Jesus, from whom all saving virtue flows; view Him on the cross as the great atonement for sin; view Him rising triumphant over death, and ascending to Heaven, to give repentance and remission of sin. Put all your confidence, repose all your trust in Him alone. When enabled thus to believe in Him, be buried with Him in baptism, and arise with Him to newness and true holiness of life. Identify yourselves with His poor, despised people; follow Him through evil as well as through good report; feed upon the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. Exalt the great Jehovah above the Heaven of Heavens, and consider all His creatures, in competition with Him, as “less than nothing and vanity. Walk humbly with Him all the days of your life. Regard Christ as the prophet, priest and king of His church, the sum and substance of the gospel, the unfailing Surety of the eternal salvation of all His people. Live in loving compliance with all His holy and blessed commands, and thus manifest the glory of your Father in Heaven. Be careful to show forth the fruits of the Spirit of Christ in all your conduct and conversation, and to maintain those good works in which God has ordained you to walk. Clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the widow and the fatherless in their affliction, forsake not the assembling of yourselves together for the worship of God; be in constant waiting at a throne of grace, and pray without ceasing. Thus your fellow-creatures will be profited, and God will be honored. Always take the Bible as your unerring guide.”
In regard to the support of the ministry, Elder Fristoe says that the wages received by the first Baptist preachers in Virginia were sneers, ridicule, reproach and contempt, bonds, afflictions, persecutions and distress; and that afterwards the most of them received some worldly help from brethren and friends, without which they would not have been able to travel and preach so much as they did; but still they were obliged, in order to support their families, to accustom themselves and their children to farming, or some mechanical business, or some other honest course of industry. “He that labors with one hand for his daily bread, and with the other hand holds out the gospel of Christ,” says Elder F., “is entitled to double honor; but how trifling the honor conferred by man in comparison with the honor which comes from God. The Great Shepherd will one day appear and bestow a crown of life, and welcome all His faithful servants into the joy of their Lord.”
With reference to the worldly circumstances of the Baptists, Elder Fristoe observes that, as in the days of Christ and His Apostles, the members were generally poor and ignorant and unpretentious; it was the common people that heard the truth gladly-the poor to whom the gospel was preached-babes unto whom heavenly things were revealed-the poor, weak and base things that were chosen of God to confound the rich, mighty and wise, that no flesh should glory in His presence. Thus was human pride brought down, and all the glittering world abased. All natural knowledge is nothing in comparison with the wisdom that comes down from Heaven, the teachings and illuminations that the soul receives from God. “Not only is the glory of God conspicuous,” says Elder F., “in the effectual calling and enlightening of the poor of this world, but it is much more promoted by them, generally, in their manner of life and conduct afterwards. They have much fewer business cares and anxieties and plans and strivings after wealth and show than the rich; much less of gay, worldly company and frivolity; more solitude and opportunity for spiritual reflection and self-examination and devotion and reading of the Scriptures and attendance upon the public worship of God. The devout soul accounts one day in the house of the Lord better than a thousand elsewhere; for, while inquiring in the temple, he beholds the beauty of the Lord, and his soul is made like the chariot of Amminadab. He is willing to contribute of his worldly property for the honor of his Lord and Master. He is grave and cautious in company, having the fear of God before his eyes. Happy the man, though poor in this world, who is rich in faith and an heir of the kingdom of Heaven.”—S. H.
New River Association.—This Association was set off from the Strawberry Association in 1793, and organized at Stoney Battery, Montgomery County, Va., on the first Sunday in September, 1794, She has had thirty-four churches represented in her counsels. The date opposite the name of each church shows, from the best information obtained, either the year of its constitution or its first representation in the New River Association, as follows, viz.: Bethel (New River), constituted in 1774; Catawba 1780; Salem, 1784; Meadow Creek, 1785; Greasy Creek (New Hope), 1789; Greenbrier, 1781; Indian Creek (1st), 1792; Canawha, 1796; Sinking Creek, 1796; Big Levels, 1796; Pine Creek, 1803; West Fork, 1803; Jack’s Creek, 1804; Long Branch, 1825; Harmony, 1832; Concord, 1836; Green Hill 1836, Centre, 1837; Camp Creek, 1840; Cedar Grove, 1840, Indian Creek (2nd) 1844; Laurel Fork, 1846; White Oak Grove, 1847; Fellowship, 1848; Laurel Creek, 1855; Pilgrim’s Rest, 1858; Little Flock, 1871; Little Vine, 1872; Mount Zion, 1877.
Represented in the Association: Walker’s Creek, in 1794; Roanoke, 1794; Smith’s River (Charity), 1815; Union, 1822; Liberty, 1822.
In 1807 the Greenbrier Association was constituted out of the northern churches of the district; and in 1843 the Indian Creek Association was set off from the northern portion of the district. A few churches were dismissed and some dissolved, leaving New River in 1857 with the twenty churches named below, viz.:
New River (Bethel), Salem (Little River),
Meadow Creek, Pine Creek,
New Hope (Greasy Creek), West Fork,
Harmony, Jack’s Creek,
Concord, Charity (Smith’s River),
Indian Creek (2nd), Union,
Laurel Fork, Liberty,
White Oak Grove, Long Branch,
Fellowship, Green Hill
Laurel Creek, Centre.
It was thought necessary at this time to form the district into two Associations for the sake of convenience, and the same was accordingly done. The ten first named churches were to retain the name of New River, and the ten last mentioned churches were to be known as the Smith’s River Association.
New River (Bethel Church) dissolved in 1873—100 years old—the members taking letters of dismission and joining other churches in the district. By the constitution of the last four churches within its bounds, New River Association is now composed of thirteen churches, with their names and numbers as follows, viz.: Meadow Creek 11 members; New Hope, 99; Harmony, 42; Concord, 83; Indian Creek 57, Laurel Fork, 29; White Oak Grove, 62; Fellowship, 62; Laurel Creek, 42; Pilgrim’s Rest, 17; Little Flock, 45; Little Vine, 52; and Mount Zion, 20.
Said Association, when organized, adopted the Constitution and Rules of Decorum generally adopted by regular Baptist Associations, with slight exception, and still retains them.
She was originally composed of what were Regular and Separate Baptists. The Northwestern members were of the Regular element, and the Southwestern portion were of the Separate element. Both were tinctured with Arminianism. But after a final expunging of “missionism” from their midst, their position was defined in opposition to all such doctrines and institutions, so as to secure perfect peace and tranquility in that respect.
This Association took up correspondence with other Associations about as follows: The General Committee, in 1794; Strawberry Association, 1794; Holston, 1794; Greenbrier, 1809; Mayo, 1809; Mountain, 1813; Pig River, 1825; Fisher’s River, 1835; Staunton River, 1842; and Indian Creek, 1844.
In 1868 she offered correspondence, by Minutes, with the Kehukee, Staunton River and Country Line Associations; and, besides these, her present correspondence is with the Smith’s River, Pig River, Mayo, Fisher’s River, Mountain and Indian Creek Associations. Ordained ministers belonging to this Association are Jacob Corell, Thomas Dickens, John C. Hall, Amos Dickerson, John Vass, Isaac Webb, Allen Thomas, Isam Surratt, Isaac Rigney, James M. Jennings, Posey G. Lester and James M. Allen. Licentiates: R. M. Mabry, John B. Cochran, R. S. Collins, William Simmons and Stephen Hughett. Her last Moderator was Elder Thomas Dickens, and her last Clerk was brother John C. Hall.
Staunton River.—This Association was formed of churches that came out from the Roanoke Association in the year 1841. We quote from the proceedings as follows:
Proceedings of a meeting held at Whitehorn meeting-house. Be it known to all before whom this may come, that in compliance with a request from Whitehorn Church, in the County of Pittsylvania, and State of Virginia, we, the delegates and representatives of the churches known by the names of Mount Ararat, Strawberry, Upper Banister, Whitehorn, Union, Sycamore, Johnson’s Creek and Seneca; all of which churches are of the same faith and order of the United Baptists of Virginia; having convened ourselves on the eighth day December, 1841, at Whitehorn Church, and after singing and prayer by Elder Henry Finch, the following proceedings took place:
1. Elder Joel T. Adams was appointed to act as Moderator; brother James Riddle as Clerk.
2. It was moved and seconded that a committee be appointed to show, in behalf of said churches, the reasons which have caused them to withdraw from the Roanoke Association; also to draw up rules and resolutions by which the said churches propose to be governed for the time to come, if approved by them.
Whereupon Elder Joseph T. Adams, Thomas Lovelace, Henry Finch, and brethren Hezekiah Smith, James Riddle and James Hodorett, were appointed a committee for this purpose.
3. After singing and prayer, the meeting adjourned over till next day at 11 A. M.
4. Met again on the 9th, agreeably to appointment. After singing and prayer, the representatives, after being organized, proceeded to business in the following order: 1. The committee to whom the subject was referred, reported the reasons and resolutions hereunto annexed:
“We, the Committee, though not disposed to speak in derogation of any fraternity, do yet feel free to say that we believe the societies of the day, known by the names Missionary, Bible, Temperance and Tract Societies, together with all the institutions thereunto pertaining, have been and are the causes of discontent, confusion and division amongst the Baptists belonging to the Roanoke District Association and the adjoining Associations; and indeed have been the cause of much disquietude and dissension, together with splits and divisions among the Baptists throughout the United States.
“And we confess that we deeply regret the deplorable and unhappy condition into which the Baptist people have been brought by reason of the aforesaid societies. Nevertheless we deem it our privilege as well as our duty to look and trust in the Lord to enable us to adopt rules and enter into resolutions whereby, if strictly attended to and governed by, we may, through the blessing of God, for time to come, enjoy more peace and harmony among ourselves and live unto Jesus, who died for us; and also for other churches or members of other churches who may concur with us and conform to the resolutions hereby entered into as follows:
1. Resolved, That we, the aforesaid churches, do withdraw from the Roanoke Association, and form ourselves into an Association which shall be called by the name of Staunton River Association.
2. Resolved, That we will neither correspond nor commune with any church or Association belonging to or favorable to the ‘Missionary’ Societies. Neither will we receive any member in our churches who is favorable to the said institutions; nevertheless those who are at this time members in our churches, who have manifested a favorable disposition towards such societies, shall be at liberty to remain with us, provided they submit to the resolutions entered into by the churches.
3. Resolved, That no member amongst us shall invite any ‘Missionary’ preacher, or any that is favorable to it or advocates the cause, to preach in any of the above-named churches, as we deem it out of order.
4. Resolved, That we appoint an Association to be (held) with the church at Whitehorn meeting-house, in Pittsylvania County, to commence on Friday before the fourth Lord’s day in April next, and Elder Joel T. Adams to preach the introductory sermon. Elder Finch his alternate.
Their fifth and sixth resolutions were in regard to section meetings; their seventh in regard to the number of copies of their proceedings to be printed and distributed; their eighth in regard to the number of messengers each church should have in the sittings of the Association; their ninth in regard to calling upon Old School Baptists, especially ministers, to visit them in their Association sessions; and their tenth requested Hezekiah Smith to prepare the Covenant and Rules for their Association.
These proceedings were signed by Joel T. Adams, Moderator, and James Riddle, Clerk, and also by Henry Finch, Thomas Lovelace, Hezekiah Smith and James Hodorett.
The Staunton River is from the Roanoke, and the Roanoke from the Middle District Association. The first session of the Roanoke was held in 1788, at Miller’s Ferry, Dan River.
The following is a list of the churches constituting the Staunton River at present:
Virginia Corresponding Meeting—Elder William M. Smoot furnishes the following account of this body:
“The Virginia Corresponding Meeting was organized at a meeting held with the Occoquan Church, Prince William County, Virginia, in October, 1836. The brethren composing the meeting represented churches that had withdrawn from the Columbia Association on account of their connection with the New School party. Another object in the organization of this Meeting was to do away with the assumed authority sometimes exercised over the churches of their membership by constituted Associations. The order observed in the annual meetings is of the simplest character. The pastor of the church with which the meeting is held is the Moderator of the meeting, and the Clerk of that church is the Clerk of the meeting; either, however, has the privilege of securing an assistant or requesting another brother to serve in his place. The time occupied in the session is almost exclusively devoted to the preaching of the word in the public worship of the Most High. At this writing (December, 1881) the Corresponding Meeting is composed of ten churches, one of them in Berkeley County, W. Va., and the remaining nine in Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier and Fairfax Counties, and in Alexandria, Va.”
The names of the churches are Upper Broad Run, Mt. Zion, Quantico, Alexandria, Frying Pan, Ebenezer, Bethlehem, New Valley, Mill Creek and Occoquan.
The ministers belonging to the Corresponding Meeting and their post-office addresses are as follows:
Elder J. N. Badger, Aldie, Loudoun County, Va.
Elder E. V. White, Leesburg, Loudoun County, Va.
Elder Joseph Furr, Hamilton, Loudoun County, Va.
Elder William M. Smoot, Occoquan, Prince William County, Va.—S. H.
Indian Creek Association.—The origin of this Association is about as follows: The Indian Creek Church, in Monroe County, West Virginia (the second oldest church in the State), was organized with three other churches out of the New River Association in 1800 into the Greenbrier Association, and continued with the Greenbrier until the inventions of men got into that body. Then in 1840 the Indian Creek Church separated from the Greenbrier with about eighty members, including two ordained ministers, named Johnson Keaton and Joseph Ellison, and attached themselves to their mother Association, the New River. The labors of those two ministers were greatly blessed, so that in the course of about two years they constituted two other churches, and these two with Indian Creek formed an Association in 1842, called the Indian Creek Primitive Baptist Association, with 162 members.
Those two Elders still labored faithfully, amid great opposition from florid professors of religion, for about ten years, and then passed away into that rest that remaineth to the servants of God beyond this vale of tears, leaving the churches without any pastors. The Lord, however, provided for them. Elder John C. Hubbard, of Patrick County, Va., soon moved into the bounds of this Association; has been a faithful defender of the truth, and her excellent Moderator, ever since. This Association, like many others, has been surrounded by the enemies of truth, but the Missionary Baptists, so-called, have been the most inveterate.
She numbers now 15 churches, 710 members, 16 Elders, and 4 licentiates.
[iv][v] Elder W. M. Mitchell, of Opelika, Ala., was baptized in 1842, began preaching in 1843, was ordained in 1845, and from July in that year to the close of 1850 served as pastor of the four churches—Mt. Olive, Enon, Macedonia and Canaan. His great sufferings from spinal disease, caused by lifting when fifteen years old, prevented him from serving churches and preaching much from the close of 1850 to near the close of 1854. He has never been connected with any religious sect or institution except the Primitive Baptists, and never had a desire to be, either from principle or curiosity. He has now for several years been associate editor (with Elder J. R. Respess, of Butler, Taylor County, Ga.,) of the “Gospel Messenger.” The Primitive Baptists have no more esteemed minister or writer in the United States than Elder Mitchell.—S H.
[vi][vii] This meeting was held September 28, 29 and 30, 1832. Elder Samuel Trott, of Virginia, preached the introductory sermon from Daniel 2:34, 35. Elder John Healy, of Baltimore, called me meeting to order. Elder William Gilmore, of Virginia, was elected Moderator, and Elder Gabriel Conkling, of New Jersey, Clerk. The committee appointed to prepare the address to the Baptists of the country were Elders Trott, Healy, Poteet, Barton, Beebe, Gilmore and Conkling.—S. H.