Amos S. Hayden
History of the Disciples...
(Cincinnati: Chase & Hall, 1875)
Part 2 of 4 Parts
1: i-115 | 2: 116-236 | 3: 237-368 | 4: 369-476
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Henry -- Origin of the church in Braceville -- Sketch of Marcus
Bosworth -- Biography of Jacob Osborne.
BRO. SCOTT began his great work in Salem, Columbiana County, in April, 1828, going from his stirring meetings in Austintown and adjacent regions. Prejudice preceded him, raised by the misrepresentations of Rev. Vallandigham, a Presbyterian minister, of New Lisbon, the father of Hon. C. L. Vallandigham, of later and wider notoriety. He came and warned the people against that "apostate" Scott; declaring that he gave out that he would forgive the sins of the people, with other statements equally false and ridiculous. A. G. Hayden, residing in the vicinity of Salem, fell in with Scott at the residence of his father, Samuel Hayden, in Youngstown. By him Scott sent an appointment to Salem.
He came, and opened to a full house the watch-cry of the campaign, the word of the Lord and pentecost. It was heard with mingled delight, wonder and doubt. People rapidly took sides, some in favor, some against the new doctrines, as many regarded them. "Why was this not found out before?" was the cry of many. "I know not," it was replied, "except that the time is only just now come for these truths, so long hid from our eyes, to be found out." "But if it is true," said others, "our preachers would have seen it long ago; it would not have been left for Campbell and
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Scott to find it out at this day." "Yes," it was answered, "just so objected all the Catholic clergy to Luther and the old reformers."
The news spread, and converts were multiplied. In ten days he baptized forty souls. The leading Baptists were delighted. Polly Strawn, David Gaskill, and others, came forward with all their influence in favor of the work. Singing and prayer till midnight was heard in many dwellings. The converts were received to baptism on the confession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, without the usual routine of telling an "experience," and a vote of the church.
On a set day, Scott called them all forward to be received as members of the church. After many exhortations, the question was propounded to the church for the reception of the converts into fellowship. It was unanimously responded to in the affirmative; and this great effort, crowned with such blissful results, was about to be sealed up in peace and complete harmony. No creed had been presented for the converts to subscribe. They were baptized as converts to Christ; and in this solemn ordinance they had, as the apostles expressed it, "put on Christ;" to walk in him in all the experiences and duties of a new life. None had demurred, and Scott, feeling that Christianity had now completely triumphed over party, exclaimed, "Who will now say there is a Baptist Church in Salem?"
This gave the alarm. Some of the old leaders thought he was building up the Baptist Church, while in reality he was employed in a much broader and diviner work, that of bringing sinners unto Christ
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Jesus, regardless of party names, lines, or limits. The dear name and cherished forms could not be relinquished. Then followed a reaction--a revolution. Then came conclaves, conferences, private and protracted. Mrs. Strawn, a lady of remarkable ability, and a tactician of much shrewdness, was especially active in this crisis. Some Presbyterians sympathized and aided to push the car backward. The old regime was restored, and the order was issued that all the new members must appear on church-meeting-day, relate a "Christian experience," and come in by the regular way, as members of the regular Baptist Church.
This was all strange and unexpected. The lambs wanted a sheltering fold. Synods and investigation committees were to them unfamiliar and repulsive. They were disheartened. They scattered; some went into other churches, some gave up in sorrow, a few submitted to the orders in counsel, and entered by that door into that fold.
Out of this action arose the "Phillips Church," three miles south of Salem. Robert P. Phillips, a man of strong will, and an influential citizen, learned the gospel of Scott, and, with his family, was among the converts. The difference between the gospel and all party unions was clear as a sunbeam to him; and with an open protest against putting a yoke on the disciples, he and others drew off and stood aloof. But they were far from giving up their faith and hope. He opened his own house where the lambs found shelter. Preachers came: Geo. W. Lucy, J. E. Gaston, J. H. Jones, Whitacre, and many others; and soon a light sprang up which has continued to this day.
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Hayden could sing, and soon he was called to be a leader. They organized as a church in the summer of 1829. The unstinted hospitality of Phillips and other brethren, for many years made a home for the itinerant proclaimers of the word of life; and aided by Hubbard, Allerton, Finch, Hartzel, and Schaeffer, from Deerfield; by Hayden, Henry, Bosworth, and Applegate, and not a little by George Pow, of Green, this united and affectionate band of Christians became a strong and ruling church. It would take a page to record all who have reaped in this field, and who carry the kindnesses of this church in happy memory. In later years, H. Reeves and S. B. Teagarden have labored there with success. With Bro. White as associate overseer, and such men as Abram Shinn as deacons, this church has won a reputation for "durable riches and righteousness."
"Every wise woman buildeth her house," says Solomon. This church has had a number of "wise women," to whom is due no small share of the credit of building up the Lord's house. To their prudence, piety, sound judgment, and perseverance, much more is owing than will be known till the day of judgment.
After a few years the effort was renewed in Salem, and a church established. Bro. Geo. Pow rendered effective service in planting it, and Alexander Pow also, who is a pillar in the congregation. The brethren, with enlightened liberality, have erected a large, substantial and commodious house. The congregation, under the care of Bro. Spindler, ranks among the most permanent of the churches.
Bro. Geo. Pow, of Green, was long a leader and a stay of the churches in Columbiana County. He
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was a good scholar, and endowed with a breadth of good sense and candor, which made him superior in counsel. Critically read in literature, and especially in the Holy Scriptures, his speech was remarkable for correctness and richness of instruction. His recent death has left a void which a generation will not repair. The church in Green was much indebted to his wisdom for the strength and prosperity to which it attained.
THE CHURCH IN CANFIELD.This church was formed January 12th 1822, in David Hay's dwelling-house. Thomas Miller was the officiating minister. Deacon Samuel Hayden, William Hayden, and John Lane, from the church of Youngstown, and Elijah Canfield, Palmyra, were the counsel. The church was moderatively Calvinistic; progressive in spirit. The principal members were David Hays, William Dean, with their families, H. Edsell, Turner, Wood, and Myron Sackett.
In June, 1829, the following entry is made in the church record:
"The Baptist Church, constituted in 1822, so continued till 1829. During this time, the brethren in attending to the Word of God in search of truth, began to doubt the propriety of having creeds, or articles of faith, as bonds of church fellowship. The result was, throwing them away as useless, believing the Scriptures sufficient to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. We adopt them as our rule of faith and practice."
In the winter of 1827-8, Bro. Scott opened, at Simmons Sackett's, the plea of the ancient gospel. The second chapter of Acts, the opening of the
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kingdom was his subject. He simplified, and enforced it so pointedly that all saw, and most, on examination, accepted the truth. He showed that all parties have the elements of the gospel but differently arranged; and that as the same letters would spell different words, according to the arrangement of them, so these gospel themes, set forth in one order, formed one theory on which one sect was built; in another order arose another sect. He contended ably for the restoration of the true, original, apostolic order of them, which would restore to the church the ancient gospel as preached by the apostles.
The interest became an excitement. All tongues were set loose in investigation, in defense, or in opposition; which foreshadowed good results. Nothing so disastrous to the sailor as a dead calm. Let the vessel heave under a tempest rather. The Bibles were looked up, the dust brushed off, and the people began to read. "I do n't believe the preacher read that Scripture right." "My Bible does not read that way," says another. The book is opened, and lo! there stand the very words! In the first gospel sermon, too--the model sermon--as what "began at Jerusalem" was to be "preached to the ends of the earth." The air was thick with rumors of a "new religion," a "new Bible," and all sorts of injurious, and even slanderous imputations--so new had become the things which are as old as the days of the apostles.
Scott's sermons gave a mighty impulse to the work. Many converts were gained for Christ. Some of the old members received them with caution, but the church made them welcome, and, ere long, by the
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prudent exercise of Christian forbearance, they were, like "kindred drops," all "mingled into one."
Mr. Scott was often eccentric; but he possessed the talent to sustain himself and turn his eccentricity to good account. On one occasion, when the whole country around was almost tremulous with the excited state of feeling, he managed to slip into the assembly unobserved, and seating himself far back with his cloak well about his face, and his broad-brimmed hat well drawn down, he sat listening to the remarks of the assembling multitude. The reader must remember, as an excuse for the darkness of the room, that the candle was the "light of other days." The illuminating oil still lay concealed in God's great cellar. One man says, in a low tone: "What do you think of Scott?" without waiting a reply, "I never heard such a preacher; he is hard on the sects, but he has the Bible on his tongue's end." Another: "I never read such things in the Bible as he is telling us." His quick ear was catching these "droppings" of the people. The room became packed. "Do you think the preacher is coming?" inquired one. "I wonder if he will not disappoint us to-night?"
Then rising to full position, still sitting on his seat, laying back his cloak and removing his hat, Scott cried out in his magnificent voice, "And what went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? But what went ye out to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet." Matt. xi. Then with a sweep, and brilliancy, and point that astonished and instructed all, he discoursed on the ministry of John the
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Baptist; the preparation of the gospel; the introduction of Jesus by him to the Jewish nation; and carried his audience up to the crucifixion, the resurrection and coronation of the Lord of glory, and the descent on Pentecost of the Holy Spirit, with the grand events of that "notable day of the Lord." It is needless to pause and describe the wonderful effect of this sudden outburst and powerful rehearsal of the gospel upon his astonished auditors.
There were members here of sound judgment, conservative, but progressive and thoroughly settled in the conviction that the Holy Scriptures were a perfect as well as inspired guide. It is not surprising that with such a people the preaching of Scott was held under cautious examination. All opposition subsided, however, when they saw the new converts "full of joy and the Holy Spirit," and when they saw the Scripture language warranted the practice introduced by the preacher. Such men as the Deans -- father and sons -- David Hays and Myron Sacket were just the men for a new movement; slow to start, but firm as a rock when convinced. These, with the devoted Ezra Leonard, and a number of women, such as those of whom Paul makes honorable mention, formed a society as firm and intelligent as any on the Reserve.
It is to be regretted that history, dealing chiefly with the outward, sensible phenomena of a movement, fails too frequently in presenting the subjective part -- the mental and emotional struggles -- in which the visible and tangible facts originate. These heart conflicts and battles of conscience, are often in the highest degree instructive. Fortunately we are able
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to give something of this inner history of one of these original members of the church in Canfield:
Myron Sacket descended from Presbyterian ancestry, in Warren, Ct. He was early in Ohio. He helped to build the first meeting-house in the center of Canfield, which was erected by the people of his ancestral faith, and in which he piously hoped to be a life worshiper. In 1817, he was married to Miss Orpha Dean, of Baptist principles, and equally conscientious. The discrepancy in their views was a trouble to them; and they sought to reconcile the disagreement, each honestly supposing the other would yield to increased light. He brought pamphlets and sermons, which she read and considered; she resorted to the word of the Lord in its plain teaching on the subject of baptism, and the subjects strictly entitled to it. Sacket was disinclined to discussion, a man of quiet and peaceable, though of very firm habits of mind. He became so aroused to the investigation that he opened his Bible anew. He read the New Testament twice through to find infant baptism, noting carefully every thing bearing on the subject. Many times he turned back and re-read, fearing he might have passed by it. Disappointed and grieved, yet loving the truth rather than the accepted convictions of early training, he resolved now to read it for a far different purpose -- which was to learn what are the teachings of the Word of God on the subject. The result was a clear and satisfied conviction that the New Testament contains no trace or evidence of authority for that practice. The struggle was hard. The very firmness of the man, which made him a pillar for long years afterward, made the transition difficult. But the conclusion, finally reached, was never reversed nor regretted. Both himself and wife, now one in faith as well as in matrimonial union, put on Christ in his own holy baptism, on the same day. This was in 1819.
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After Bro. Sacket had accepted Baptist principles, an uncle from Connecticut asked him how he could degenerate from the principles of his parental belief to unite with the Baptists, a people of much lower grade of learning and position? His answer was significant: "I read and carefully studied the Word of God for light, and finding no support for those principles I was compelled to give them up."
Few men ever rendered more efficient and substantial support to the cause of the primitive gospel. His house was long a home for the people of God. The terms, "meekness and fear," applied justly to him. He was slow to accept the light which Scott brought, but step by step he came with the wealth of a ripe Christian experience and sound judgment; and was ever afterward unfaltering in its support.
This church continued to meet in the north-west part of the township, where they built a comfortable meeting-house. At this period, William Hayden was a member of it, though his residence was in Austintown. In the month of May, 1828, the congregation, after full proof of his abilities in public speaking, and recognizing his zeal and knowledge of the Scriptures, gave him their sanction and approval as a minister of the gospel. Thus licensed and commended to other churches, he gave himself more diligently to the work. The eminence which he subsequently attained, justified this action, and vindicated their discernment of his improvable gifts.
In the same vicinity there was forming a community known as "Bible Christians." Wm. Schooley, living in Salem, was their principal preacher. These two churches -- the "Christians" and the Disciples -- became better acquainted; and Bro. Schooley
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himself having united with the Disciples in Salem, these communities united as one brotherhood in Christ; thus giving a practical illustration of the union and co-operation of Christians on the original foundation. The Flicks, the Shattoes and all, about twenty, were enrolled with the Disciples, as one people in Christ. This event took place January 23, 1830.
This church was never very numerous, about seventy being the highest number. But they kept up a respectable visibility many years. Their record for the great yearly meetings of the Disciples of the county, is highly honorable. Like many others, she has brought multitudes of converts to the fold of Christ, and has sent out her sons and daughters to carry on the good work in other lands. The church in Center, Rock County, Wisconsin, is a planting from Canfield. The Parmelys, the Deans, Orsemus and his family, while weakening this by their removal, greatly strengthened that church.
In the fall of 1827, some time after his appointment as the evangelist, this church moved Bro. Scott's family into their midst, and contributed liberally to their support. Scott bought, and built a house, intending this as a permanent residence. But his changing field of labor altered his plans. The home talent of the church has always been her chief reliance for edification. But for many years she had the labors occasionally, and sometimes statedly, of the preachers of the county.
As several families resided at and near the center of the township, the church gave consent for them to form a separate congregation. Accordingly, in the spring of 1847, about twenty associated themselves
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together in that relation. They were organized by Bro. J. W. Lanphear. J. M. Caldwell and Andrew Flick were elders; Walter Clark and John Flick, deacons. They were aided by the labors of Brethren Pow, Applegate, Belton, Phillips, John Errett, Dr. Hillock, White, F. M. Green, Van Horn, and Edwin Rogers.
The church, in the north-west part of the township, reduced by removals -- the old members having all gone over the river into the promised land -- after struggling in feebleness for awhile resolved to unite with the body at the center. This union was effected October 6, 1867.
THE CHURCH IN AUSTINTOWN.was constituted June 16, 1828. The remains of the Baptist church, once flourishing, lay in a waste and decaying condition over portions of Youngstown and Austintown. In the winter of 1816, a revival occurred under the labors of Elder Joshua Woodworth, a humble and devoted minister. About forty were converted; among the converts were William Hayden, then a youth, and others, still younger, of the same family. The counselors of the church thought it necessary to have the young converts instructed in the "doctrines" of the gospel, "election," and kindred themes. So the faithful minister, loved as a father, was dismissed, and Wm. West was called. He was more learned, but straight, cold, Calvinistic. Under his reign the kingdom was dissolved. Zeal languished under doctrinal sermons. -- Discipline went by rule rather than by love. Covenant meetings became courts. Appeals were taken, and
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counsels called. The lambs fled from the fold; conversions ceased; the light grew dim, and the church had but a name to live. Elder West was still in the community when Bro. Scott opened the gospel plea there, and opposed his work.
The following sketch of affairs there is from the pen of Walter Scott:
"When called about two years ago, I found the church in a state of entire prostration. For four years they had not eaten the Lord's Supper; all was delinquency--a perfect web of wickedness, the like of which I never had seen. It was an involved labyrinth of personal and family quarrels. For about three weeks I strove to disentangle the sincere-hearted, but in vain. Strife is like the lettings out of water--what is spilt is lost. When the threads and filaments of a quarrel have forced themselves like waves over the whole body ecclesiastic, that body should be dissolved. We accordingly looked upon this institution to be entirely lost, and began to preach the ancient gospel--the word of the Lord as a hammer and a fire. All hearts were immediately broken or burnt; and of that sinful people there have been immersed nearly one hundred and fifty individuals. These have become a church, and are walking in the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless, as I hope. The Scriptures are their sole authority, and they have three bishops, bold in the Lord Jesus, and five deacons."
The religious awakening which restored the church, or rather built it anew on apostolic foundations, began in Austintown, in February, 1828, soon after the great meeting in Warren. A young man by the name of Asa Jones became serious, and, expressing a wish to become a Christian, Bro. Bentley was sent for. He preached in the school-house where William
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Hayden was teaching. When the sermon closed, an opportunity being offered, the young man arose, declared his purposes, expressed much joy in believing, and appealed to his friends to follow him to Jesus. Next day, Bro. Bentley preached and baptized this person and eight others. John Henry and his wife were of the number.
Bentley returned home, but a work had commenced which was soon to become wide and general. The converts were clear in their conversion, and active. William Hayden was greatly delighted by the conversion of his particular associate and neighbor, John Henry, a man of great weight in the community, and possessed of abilities, which Hayden clearly foresaw would be likely to turn to much usefulness.
About three weeks after this, Scott sent an appointment to preach in the "Jones' school-house." He came Wednesday the 19th of March. A full house was in waiting. He hurried his audience to the line of decision, classing all the world in two parties -- Christ's and the devil's. He laid the foundations of Christ's kingdom in the grand affair of his death, burial, resurrection, ascension, coronation, and the inauguration of his reign on earth on the day of Pentecost. Among the startling utterances of that sermon, he said: "We can have a revival of religion whenever we want it! Strange! strangely marvelous! Differing wide as the heavens from all we had ever heard! Can we obtain this glorious prize--regeneration, pardon, and peace?" Thoughts hurried to and fro, as Scott talked on and showed that Christ's work was finished, his sacrifice complete,
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the "oxen, and fatlings were killed," the table was spread, "all things are now ready," and had been ready for eighteen hundred years--nothing now but for sinners to hear, and come, and find a welcome to salvation by the Master of the feast.
This was gospel. "Why have I been waiting so long? why has no one ever told me that before?" Thus reasoning and feeling, five came to the decision and yielded. That night the crowd was increased; and next day, March 20th twelve of us were by his hands lifted into the kingdom.
The whole country was in commotion. Converts came at almost every meeting. But the excitement was to become higher, and to penetrate a new class of society, as I proceed to relate.
AYLETT RAINES AND THE RESTORATIONISTS.While Mr. Raines was on his tour preaching, and previous to his baptism by Bro. Williams, he came to Austintown. It was in April. He already had a high reputation, especially among the Restorationists, who were numerous. News circulated that he was coming to preach his renunciation of Universalism. A crowd assembled and filled the house. He opened on the mission of the apostles as the embassadors of Jesus Christ, the authorized expounders of his will. Their preaching was the commission carried out according to Christ's will and intention; as they were not only commissioned by him, but miraculously assisted by the Holy Spirit, so that their preaching, as reported in the book of Acts, is the full, complete, authoritative guide in preaching the gospel, and receiving sinners to the church; that as they, in the
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opening of their mission on pentecost, and always afterward throughout the world, preached to the believers that they should repent and be baptized, in the name of Christ, for the remission of sins; this is our model to the end of time, and, consequently, no preaching which differs from this model has any authority in the Word of God. He concluded his long and argumentative discourse in these words:
"My friends, I find myself in a strait; I am shut up in a dilemma; and I can see no way out, with the Word of God in my hand, but through the obedience of faith in baptism. If any of you can see any other, I implore you in the name of my Master to show it to me."
The sensation, which was perceptible in the beginning of the sermon, grew in intensity as he proceeded, till it heightened to a tumult. As soon as the meeting closed, persons who had come in big wagons, and had brought their chairs into the house for seats, jerked up their chairs, started over the benches, and hurried to their homes. The medicine was working. The patients were bilious. The remedy was heroic. Raines was calm. The Disciples were happy. The Universalists, who composed the larger part of the assembly, were disappointed, grieved and chagrined. Their champion had left them and gone over to this new and specious heresy. We can not have it thus; we will not stop and reason calmly with him and show him his error, as he earnestly besought us. "To your tents, O Israel!" The very horses felt a touch of the excitement of their drivers!
That discourse worked miracles; that is, if conversion, as we had been taught, was in every case a miracle. It had driven nails in sure places, "as nails
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fastened by the master of assemblies." Eccl xii: 11. William Hayden preached in the afternoon the same day, and baptized several converts.
The church of Austintown was one of the first in north-eastern Ohio, built on "the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner." The day appointed for collecting the disciples as a church of Christ was fair, and a large assembly convened. Scott, Bentley, and Raines were present. After a discourse in the house, we were called out upon the green in front of it. Here all the disciples, one hundred and ten in number, were disposed in a large circle. A space was open on one side of about twelve feet, in which stood the preachers. Thus, each member, with his right hand clasping the left of the one next him, so stood, that he could see all the rest, and also the brethren to whom we owed so much under Christ, and who were, in the most solemn manner, about to form and declare us an organized church. Each of the preachers, in turn, addressed us in the most earnest exhortation, in the things pertaining to the duties of this new relation, while all stood uncovered under the open canopy of heaven. Then followed a prayer by Bro. Scott, imploring blessings unbounded and unending from the divine Head upon every member of his mystic body. Then the hymn:
"Lo! he comes, with clouds descending,
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after, Alexander Spears was chosen to the eldership.
BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN HENRY.To few men has it been grafted to gain such a celebrity in so short a time as was won by this gifted man. His public ministry was only a little over thirteen years, in which time his personal labors extended from central Ohio to central Pennsylvania, and into Virginia; and his fame spanned the continent. In all that constitutes brilliancy, dash and boldness, he was a very hero. He was born in Chartiers township, Washington County, Pa., October 1, 1797. It is declared of him that he sung tunes when not a year old, but he did not talk till he was four. He came with his father, Francis Henry, to Poland, Ohio, April, 1803. He married Miss Jane Kyle, January 10, 1822, and settled on new lands in Austintown the next spring.
He was a leader in every thing he undertook. In the days of military training, he was music-major of regiments. A few blasts of his bugle would start up every soldier, and the exact time of his movement infused martial valor into all around. When he turned to the Lord he quite abandoned this practice, and turned his musical talents, which were of a high order and well trained, to gather and lead the bannered hosts of the Lord. As a farmer he did more work than any other, save one man. He excepted William Hayden. He played on nine kinds of instruments; his favorites were the violin and the clarionet.
He was trained under the strictest rules of Presbyterianism. As the "Christian Baptist" appeared, William Hayden passed the numbers over to the hands of his friend Henry, whose penetrating mind grasped the great principles it unfolded. He was ripened for the sickle of truth, so that when Bentley came, he and his faithful wife were among the converts--the first fruits of a large ingathering. The writer has the most vivid recollection of the scene, as the excellent
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Bentley, tall and venerable, led this man of commanding form, who stood six feet two inches, then in his thirty-first year, and laid him beneath the waters of baptism after the example of the Lord.
He gave himself at once to the diligent study of the Bible. He read little else, he studied nothing else; except, perhaps, church history. His taste was for history, and his sermons were largely historic recitals of the life and work of Christ, and the preaching of the apostles, with historic illustration from the Old Testament, delivered in so fresh, forcible, and fluent a style, that as a speaker, few equaled him in instructive and entertaining discourse. But the power of his sermons was much in the authority with which they were spoken. Without any of the studied arts of oratory, he often moved on great assemblies with a mastery that chained attention for two hours. Without rhetoric, his speech abounded in fine tropes, especially in metaphors; and not unfrequently he arose to a pomp of diction equaled only by the finest orators.
In person he was tall, rather spare, with sandy complexion and sharp features, quick in movement, as in the operations of his mind, and when he walked he planted his feet with a tread which showed the firmness of the man. Cheerful, at times almost to levity, very social, kind hearted, and with wit like a polished rapier, whatever "his hand found to do he did with his might." He was in Smithfield, Jefferson County, when he was informed by a special messenger, March 12th, of the supposed fatal sickness of his wife. He would have started after the night meeting for home, but friends interfering, he rested a time. Before day dawned he was in his saddle, and that night, the 13th, he was at home; a distance of seventy miles. The Yellow Creek was so high it nearly swam his horse. He watched his wife most assiduously, and saw her recovery; then fell a victim to the same disease, typhoid fever, after sixteen days' sickness, May 1, 1844.
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His work is interwoven with the groundwork of this cause through the whole Western Reserve. Though uncultured, he was not rude. He was high-minded and honorable, and immensely popular with the people. In the early day he and Mr. Campbell met at the Plains-meeting-house, near Minerva. Many had never seen either of them. Henry preached in the morning, and the people thought it was Campbell. After an interval Mr. Campbell preached, and many of the hearers said: "We wish that man would sit down, and let Campbell get up, for he knows how to preach!"
There was lamentation in all the churches when he died. The feeling is well remembered and distinctly defined. It was less a murmuring, than a deep, sad, silent grief. Bro. Campbell wrote of him at the time: "Bro. John Henry, as a preacher of a particular order of preachers, had no equal -- no superior. He was not only mighty in the Scriptures as a preacher and teacher, but was also eminently exemplary in the social virtues of Christianity. His praise is in all the churches in the Western Reserve and circumjacent country."
He, was bold, brave, fearless, cheerful and animated; the life of society, humble, generous, and of unfeigned faith; of great power, of tremendous force, and mighty and eloquent in the Scriptures; he "hewed Agag in pieces, and slew kings in the day of his wrath." All prized and honored him, and the remembrance of him stirs the fainting purpose to unbounded courage. Hundreds yet remember him, as with more prowess than the Knights of St. John, he would return from a successful charge, victor over legions of the king's enemies; and the blasts of his triumph gave courage to all the faint-hearted. Though not always discreet, his bravery was of the first quality. He never lifted his spear but in victory. His enemies gathered near to behold the agile dexterity and massive power with which he felled to the ground the foes of God.
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His memory was as capacious as the Mediterranean. Eminently was he, as the orator has it, the "man of one book." The Bible was his store-house, his treasury, his exhaustless fountain. He read it morning, at noon and night, and all he ever read he remembered. He could repeat it by chapters and by books. It was his book of history, of archæology, of travels, of biography, of incident, event and anecdote, of moral power and religious persuasion. Nothing in society for which he found not a counterpoint in that Daguerrean gallery of all truth, all duty, all motive.
Brief and brilliant his career. The most loved him -- all beheld him with admiration. All love to cherish and honor his memory, while within a narrower circle, sacred and still as where mourners move, he is the idol of an affection next akin to the feeling that worships.
Forty-seven years the church in Austintown has stood against all the forces arrayed against it. It has never ceased to meet, except by voluntary adjournment, to attend the yearly meetings. Under the wise and careful eldership of Bro. Ira McCollum, one of its charter members, and Bro. Joshua Kyle, who for many years have held the helm, she has kept her course steady and constant toward the harbor.
NEWTON FALLS.The church in Braceville and Newton Falls was formed on Baptist principles, early in the year 1820. The origin of it, and the history of Marcus Bosworth, can not be dissociated.
Bosworth was born in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, July 11, 1794. He married Miss Elizabeth Ward, September 9, 1814, and came to Braceville, June, 1816. In the year 1818, a revival occurred among the
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Presbyterians, and Bosworth and his wife were among the converts. Though trained up in the Baptist order, they were willing to worship with the Presbyterians, and they searched diligently the word of God for sprinkling as baptism; but they found it not. In the fall of 1819, Thomas Miller, a Baptist minister, preached at Esq. Johnson's house. By him, Bosworth and his wife were baptized. "The happiest day of our lives," said the venerable sister Bosworth, who, at the age of seventy-one, recited these scenes. Next year, under the labors of Mr. Miller, was formed the Baptist church in Braceville, which called Bro. Bosworth to act as deacon. Active and warm-hearted, he improved so rapidly in speaking that the church encouraged his aspirations to higher usefulness. He yielded to this decision, and as much as the care of his farm would permit, he gave himself to the ministry of the word.
Bosworth attended the ministers' meeting in Warren, October, 1821, and there made the acquaintance of Mr. Campbell, and heard much from him on a return to original Christianity, in its form, teaching, and models, as set forth in the New Testament. His receptive mind heard attentively and with little prejudice. Yet he prudently held these views subject to further consideration. The removal to Braceville, in 1825, of Jacob Osborne, gave a fresh impulse to the scriptural investigations already advancing. Meanwhile Bosworth's improvement of his gifts in public discourse continuing to be satisfactory, he was ordained as a preacher of the gospel in October, 1827. Adamson Bentley and Sidney Rigdon were called by the church as the council on the occasion.
Bro. Bosworth gave himself ardently to the work of preaching. His heart was all aglow with the love of souls, and many were turned to the Lord by him. He traveled much in other counties and other States; yet he worked on his farm when at home, to support his family. Preachers received little in those days for their labors.
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Sometimes, in a long trip, he got less than the cost of shoeing his horse. It was the fault of the times that Bosworth, Alton, Applegate, Collins, and quite all the early preachers were suffered to go to the warfare at their own charges. A good wife at home, and a good Father in heaven, kept Bosworth in his saddle. Yet he was much at home, to lead his sons in the needful industries of the farm. For many years coming guests enjoyed the bountiful hospitalities of his home.
He was constant in prayer. He maintained worship daily in his family. His wife frequently heard him in prayer when he thought himself secluded. He often prayed in his house after the family had retired.
He was abundant in labors. He saved not himself, that he might serve the Lord and bless his family. No man need be more tender or amiable in his home. He rode sometimes from New Lisbon home, a distance of about forty miles, after meeting, reaching home past midnight. He was very feeble a year or more before his decease. In the fall of 1846 a cough settled on his lungs, which never left him. June 10, 1847, in the calmest repose in Jesus, he gave his spirit to his God. He was a most agreeable, companionable man, easy and fluent in conversation, mirthful at times, but never trifling. His preaching was more exhortational than argumentative. Frequently his whole audience were in tears, while his own came unbidden, and fell as the rain on roses. He moved amidst new converts. His persuasive appeals to the converted to manifest in their conduct their new life in Christ were most earnest and effective. A godly man with scarce a foil in the bright picture of his life.
At one time he visited a fellow-member of the church, and the conversation turned on the design of baptism as set forth in Acts ii: 38; that it is to put the believing, penitent sinner in possession of the
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joys of pardon through the divine promise. The man could not be persuaded to accept the testimony of the Holy Scripture, and he replied: "You may bring as many Scriptures to prove it as you please, I will not believe it." Bosworth turned away, sad to see men hopelessly, wedded to their views and traditions, beyond recovery by the power of the word of God.
Once a Baptist minister paraded himself in front of him, prepared to take notes of his sermon, probably expecting to intimidate the preacher. Bosworth felt a fresh inspiration, and being a clear and rapid speaker, he gave forth his discourse in such copious fullness, the minister failed to keep in sight of him. After the meeting, being asked to show his notes, he turned away, saying, "they are very general, not very plain!"
Though the church in Braceville was originally Baptist in name, its creed was not held rigidly. Love prevailed over law, and the Bible eventually superseded the Confession of Faith. In the discussions which resulted in the displacement of all doctrinal dogmas as grounds of Christian fellowship, this brotherhood bore a leading part. They formally organized as Christians, March 20, 1828, declaring the Holy Scriptures sufficient for all purposes of faith and practice. Their number was then twenty-eight. Marcus Bosworth was appointed the overseer. The church in Braceville was probably the first on the Western Reserve, which formally adopted this divine platform as their only basis. It was increased by twelve conversions at that time.
From this time till the fall of 1839, when they completed the meeting-house at Newton Falls, the
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church met at different places, mostly in school-houses. Bro. Osborne soon removed to Warren, but other help was not wanting, and all the proclaimers gathered in souls to God in this enterprising church. Yet Bro. M. Bosworth was their constant reliance, who, with all his travels abroad preaching, did far more to sustain the church than any other man.
Amos Clark served as overseer along with Bro. Bosworth; Joel Bradford also. Henry Harsh and Benoni Johnson were early deacons.
When the congregation established itself in their new house at the falls, they procured more constant preaching, and increased in numbers and in command of the public ear.
MEMOIR OF JACOB OSBORNE.His birth dates with the birth of the nineteenth century. His parents lived near Trenton, New Jersey. They were of the Baptist order. His mother was a very pious and active Christian. Early in life their son Jacob was awakened to a sense of his sinful state, and finding hope, he was baptized, and almost immediately entered the ministry. He was licensed to preach when only nineteen years of age. His pure life, reserved, winning manners, devotion to study, and unvarying attentions to the offices of religion, awakened great hopes of his future usefulness. In person, rather tall, very erect, comely of form and countenance, a voice not strong, but clear and very attractive.
In 1821, at the age of twenty-one, he entered Mr. Campbell's seminary on Buffalo Creek, Virginia, along with Joseph Freeman, where he remained two years, making most diligent application in his studies. During
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this time he employed his talents preaching in localities within reach of the seminary. Becoming acquainted in the family of the McElroys, Washington County, Pennsylvania -- a family of marked character for manliness, decision, energy, and promptitude, and for devotion to the principles of religious reform -- Mr. Osborne was united in marriage to their sister, Miss Susan McElroy. He was principal of the academy in Wellsburg one year, and preached in that town and vicinity. He came to the Western Reserve, and settled in Hiram, in the fall of 1824. The following year he moved to Braceville. Perhaps Bro. Osborne, more than any other man, prepared the way for the more complete ministration of the gospel which was soon to surprise the churches, and reform their modes of speech and action. He led on biblical investigations quite regardless of the dogmata of creeds and conventional forms of speech. He saw clearly the need of an extensive and thorough revision and correction of the terms and phrases, hackneyed and human, in which people were accustomed to talk of conversion and its kindred themes, and the substitution for them of the more appropriate and divinely authorized language of the Holy Spirit. In all this he was only abreast, scarcely ahead, of many others. At the request of Bro. Bentley, he removed to Warren early in 1827, and taught the academy for a year, still preaching as his health would permit. He was always present at the association and ministers' meetings, and on all occasions took a part more prominent and influential than is usually assigned to one so young and unassuming. For his talent, erudition, and zeal, he stood up as a Barnabas, and all heard him with delight.
His health gave way, and in May, 1829, this young, influential, talented, beloved, Christian gentleman, admirable in all things, in many things a model, fell asleep. His disease was hemorrhage of the lungs. He was only in his twenty-ninth year. He died in Warren.
__________ * The Millennial Harbinger (June 1844): 288. [E.S.]
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They numbered twenty-eight. Brethren Samuel Robbins, Philander Robbins, and David T. Robbins, with their families, Dr. Thomas Wright, and Bro. Streator, were leading members. David Woolcott, and Samuel Robbins were the deacons. Reuben Ferguson was unanimously chosen overseer.
The beginning and progress of the work which led to the establishment of the churches in Braceville and Windham is well told in the diary of Bro. Samuel Robbins, of Windham. I append some extracts from it.
Lord's day, Sept. 16, 1827. Mr. Walter Scott preached in the school-house, at the center of Braceville, the first time; sent by the Mahoning Baptist Association, by the request of the Garrettsville and Braceville Baptist churches. Text: 1st Epistle of John, chap. iii: 1st verse. A good discourse.
Nov. 25, 1827. Deacon Bosworth preached at the center of Braceville, the first time.
Dec. 2, 1827. Mr. Adamson Bentley and Walter Scott preached in the school-house on Braceville Ridge. Mr. Bentley preached first to a house jammed full -- got them
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most all asleep -- do not recollect his subject. Then Mr. Walter Scott preached, after reading the second chapter of Acts. Dwelt particularly on apostle Peter using the keys of the kingdom of heaven, delivered to him by the Savior, Matt. xvi: 19. Before he finished his discourse, a good part of the congregation were standing up gazing at the speaker. In his remarks respecting Peter opening the kingdom to the Gentiles, at the house of Cornelius, he said: "Having no more use for the keys, for aught I know, he threw them away."
Dec. 23, 1827. Mr. Osborne preached on the Braceville Ridge. He was a good preacher, and a very devoted minister.
Jan. 26, 1828. All the Baptist [church] went from Braceville Ridge to Warren, to hear Walter Scott preach; for they heard he was turning the world upside down.
Feb. 23, 1828. Walter Scott preached on Braceville Ridge. First-rate attention; do not remember his subject. His main object was to convince the people that God meant what he said in his Word; which caused great excitement among the people in Braceville and Windham; many sitting up all night reading the Scriptures to see if they meant what they said; which resulted in many immersions. It was a common practice for him to illustrate the five items -- viz: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Remission of Sins, and the Holy Spirit--by holding up his left hand and using his thumb for Faith, and so on; then contrast it with the five points of Calvinism; and thus he made the Scripture order of the gospel so plain, that little boys could carry it home. Great excitement wherever he went.
Feb. 23, 1828. Went from the Ridge to Windham. In the evening he spoke in the school-room, near Dr. Thomas Wright's. Father Rudolph and his two sons, John and Zeb, were present. Spoke first-rate. Remarked he was like an eight-day clock -- he would speak on Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Remission of Sins, and the gift of
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the Holy Spirit, and wind up! Having a desire to hear him through, David T. Robbins and myself went with Mr. Scott to the hospitable families of the Rudolphs; staid all night.
Next day, February 24, Lord's day, we all met at the house of Mr. Chapin, who was a Methodist. Mr. Scott spoke on faith to a room crowded full. Dr. Thomas Wright, myself, D. T. Robbins and others, came forward, which excited Mr. Chapin so he got up and opposed. In the evening met at Mr. Rudolph's: a good meeting.
Feb. 25, 1828. Scott preached in the school-house in Garrettsville -- more came forward. Agreed to meet the next Wednesday in the school-house near Dr. Wright's, when Scott would preach and immerse the candidates.
On Wednesday, the 27th, almost the whole town came out. Bro. Scott spoke feelingly. Then Dr. Thomas Wright, myself, David T. Robbins and others, nine in all, were immersed. Ice a foot thick. Great excitement among the people, it being the first immersion in Windham. Very cold; though our hearts were warm and rejoicing.
Tuesday, March 4, 1828. Scott again at the same place; immersed three more.
March 5, 1828. Preached again; baptized Father Abraham Seymour and three others.
March 10, 1828. Scott went to Braceville. Preached and baptized Philander Robbins and eight others.
Wednesday, March 12, 1828. Bro. Marcus Bosworth preached and baptized three more at the same place. Bro. Scott went home, to Canfield.
Saturday, March 22, 1828. Covenant meeting. It was the custom of the Baptists in those days to tell their experience, to maintain good fellowship with one another, and to be prepared to break the loaf on the Lord's day.
Lord's day, March 23, 1828. We all met in the school-house on Braceville Ridge. Bro. Marcus Bosworth preached
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and broke bread the first time after the preaching of baptism for the remission of sins. Joyful meeting.
March 26, 1828. Bro. M. Bosworth preached--immersed one; next day, in Braceville, two more, between eleven and twelve o'clock at night.
The diary continues, noting meetings in detail, with additions at nearly every discourse of two or three to ten persons:
"Lord's day, April 27, 1828. Bro. Bosworth preached and immersed seven more, who were added to Braceville church. Bro. Bosworth administered the Lord's Supper the second time; glorious meeting."
Old customs are slow to yield. Monthly communion was still retained.
Elder Thomas Campbell came about this time to the Western Reserve to co-operate in the work. His visit is thus referred to in Bro. Robbin's journal:
"May 1, 1828. Father Thomas Campbell preached in Braceville, and the next day near Dr. Wright's. One immersed by Bro. Bosworth."
"May 8, 1828. Father Thomas Campbell preached in Windham. Baptized Bro. Reuben Ferguson and Bro. Baldwin, of Charleston. Same day, Bro. Bosworth immersed two."
"May 9, 1828. Father Thomas Campbell preached on Braceville Ridge from Hebrews; subject: Land of Canaan."
"May 17, 1828. I went to Warren. Met with them on Lord's day. Up to this date, one hundred and thirty had been immersed in Warren; one hundred and five added to the church."
"Lord's day, May 25, 1828. Bro. M. Bosworth preached on the Ridge. Seven united to Braceville church. He administered the Lord's Supper the third time."
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In this manner the work went on through all that region, extending into Nelson, Freedom, Charleston, Hiram, Mantua, and Shalersville.
The church in Windham, like those in Braceville, Garrettsville, and Warren, was in transition. Expiring customs die hard. The "experience" and "covenant" meetings and monthly communion seasons, as occasions of special "fellowship," lingered for almost a year in Windham and Braceville. Robbins writes:
"March 22, 1829. Commenced breaking bread every first day of the week. Fourteen added to the church, making in all sixty-five members."
A wise forbearance ruled the church, and they eventually all came to the unity of the faith and practice of the apostolic order.
For many years this church was a shining light. They built a good house at the center of the town, and continued there to worship as late as about the year 1855, when, weakened by removals and other causes, they yielded the ground and ceased to meet as a church. But their works remain. While with sadness they were compelled to abandon the organization, they count with joy on the good they achieved; and other regions are made strong by the causes which entailed weakness on the church in Windham.
This church raised up and sent forth two able evangelists, Bro. L. P. Streator, long prominent and useful, especially in Pennsylvania; and Bro. Myron J. Streator, whose abundant labors will never be forgotten. Both arose in Windham, and by this church received their first encouragement and sanction as preachers of the gospel.
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ELDER THOMAS CAMPBELL'S VISIT.It is difficult, after the lapse of forty-five years, to realize the commotion consequent on the first work of Scott and his associates. So novel, so bold, and to the candid listeners, so plain and scriptural! The enthusiasm was unbounded. The "zeal," though usually guided by knowledge, sometimes overstepped the limits of prudence; yet it is surprising so few errors became incorporated in the teaching, and that the work was marred by so few cases of indiscretion. The interest in the public mind had swelled to a torrent, whose impetuous rush bore away all before it.
News of all that was going on was constantly transmitted to Bethany, and Mr. Campbell, whose careful and sagacious eye surveyed the movement in all directions with the mind of a general, had some fear lest the impulsive zeal of his ardent and able friend Scott might, in this quarter, wreck the vessel of reformation. At his instance, his father, the venerable Thomas Campbell, saddled his favorite sorrel, and made an extensive tour of these battle-fields. He visited first, New Lisbon, then Fairfield, Warren, Braceville, Windham, Mantua, Mentor, and other places. Nothing could have been more opportune; just such a man was needed; and none who never saw him can well appreciate the great effect of the presence, counsels, and addresses of this noblest of men. Uniting the simplicity of a child with the dignity of a senator, agreeable almost to playfulness, with a piety so pure, sweet, and unostentatious as to command the respect and admiration of all around him, the newly forming churches felt in his presence
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the timely aid, encouragement, and counsel which could be imparted by no other one so well. His fame and abilities as a scholar and as a speaker, drew large audiences. Seeing the work before him to be but an advance step in the great plea of the restoration which he had himself initiated and advocated twenty years before, after examining the ground with his usual caution and candor, he gave to it his full sanction, and entered upon its advocacy with all his great influence and powers. Soon after his arrival on the ground, he wrote to his son Alexander from New Lisbon; under date of April 9th, 1828, as follows:
"I perceive that theory and practice in religion, as well as in other things, are matters of distinct consideration. We have spoken and published many things correctly concerning the ancient gospel -- its simplicity and perfect adaptation to the present state of mankind, for the benign and gracious purposes of its immediate relief and complete salvation -- but I must confess, that, in respect of the direct exhibition and application of it for that blessed purpose, I am at present, for the first time, upon the ground where the thing has appeared to be practically exhibited to the proper purpose. 'Compel them to come,' saith the Lord, 'that my house may be filled.'
"Mr Scott has made a bold push to accomplish this object, by simply and boldly stating the ancient gospel and insisting upon it; and then by putting the question generally and particularly to males and females, old and young: Will you come to Christ and be baptized for the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit? Do n't you believe this blessed gospel? Then come away, etc., etc. This elicits a personal conversation; some confess faith in the testimony -- beg time to think; others consent--give their hands to be baptized as soon as convenient;
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others debate the matter friendly; some go straight to the water, be it day or night; and, upon the whole, none appear offended."
He spent the month of May, (1828), in Braceville, Windham, and that region, adding strength and members to the cause, and teaching piety and pure religion from house to house. He preached in Windham, Lord's day, the 8th of May, and baptized Rev. Reuben Ferguson, a Methodist preacher of great moral worth, who began immediately to preach the faith as proclaimed by the apostles at the beginning.
The travels of elder Campbell were very extensive, and his labors abundant. He visited Chardon, Hamden, and Huntsburg; the latter of which were new and weak churches. He was among the infant churches like Barnabas of the apostolic days. No record can convey a proximate estimate of the blessings of his presence and labors at this juncture. There was probably no man within the reformation who possessed such authority of personal influence; of noble mien and manly form; grave and serene of countenance; courtly in manners, his discourses always religious and instructive, he impressed his hearers always favorably and permanently. The young disciples and inexperienced preachers, who were now springing up, needed such a model; and it was delightful to see the quiet and profound deference yielded to him wherever he came.
It was during this period of his travels on the Western Reserve that he fell in with Aylett Raises. Bro. Raines may tell his impressions in his own words:
"Not long after this period I made the acquaintance of Bro. Thomas Campbell. He interested himself in my
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favor, and had me travel and preach with him several months. This I view as a merciful interposition of my Heavenly Father. By day and by night, publicly and from house to house, he was my teacher. I feel that I was greatly benefited, but how much I can never tell. Not only by word, but by example, he deeply impressed my warm and susceptible heart. He was, emphatically, a godly man. He was greatly addicted to private devotions. Often have I seen him, when he had no reason to believe that any eye saw him but that eye before which all things are naked and open, in his closet, prostrate on his face, pouring out his soul in prayer to God. I thank God that I ever made the acquaintance of that great and good man; and I look forward with bright and cheering anticipations when we may meet to part no more, in the brighter and better world."
SKETCH OF A. RAINES.This gifted man, destined to rise to a conspicuous place in the advocacy of the gospel, was born near Fredericksburg, Spottsylvania County, Virginia, in the year 1797. At the age of four years, he was led up by his father to the altar, where Parson Boggs "christened" him after the forms of the Episcopal church. It was done amidst many tears from the young "convert," but they were neither tears of joy nor penitence, but of fear and apprehension of something awful about to be done to him, in opposition to which his whole nature was roused. But his pious parents, in fulfillment of obligations which they conceived were resting upon them from the vows assumed at his "baptism" -- but which, with far more truth, they were under merely as parents -- trained him in the principles and paths of strict morality. The pious culture thus obtained, especially from his most excellent Christian mother, was of immeasurable advantage to him. He ever bore toward them the profoundest gratitude for their
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faithful guardianship. From Virginia his parents emigrated, when he was fourteen, to Jefferson County, Kentucky. Hearing different "orders" of preaching, often contradictory, and presuming, as many do, that the Bible sanctions all, he became skeptical. The reading of Paine's Age of Reason filled him with doubt, and flushed him with conceit. But his mother's pious instructions held him, and finally gained the mastery. He went into Indiana, and engaged in teaching, near Fredonia. His employers being Restorationists, he fell into discussions with them. He felt himself foiled in these contests. Winchester's "Dialogues on Universal Restoration" * completed the work, and he came out a thorough and sincere convert to that speculative scheme.
New emotions filled his breast. He obtained the common "evidence" of genuine conversion. He writes:
"I got religion. The sky appeared to be bluer, the leaves looked greener, and the birds sang more sweetly than ever before. I underwent a great moral change. There was much of the love of God in it. Shrouded as I was in error, yet there were apertures through which the love of God passed into my heart, and made me inexpressibly happy."
Persuaded that the numerous friends of Bro. Raines will be delighted with his own statement of his experiences, I continue the recital from his own graphic pen:
"I now commenced the study of the Scriptures in good earnest, and after two years commenced preaching. This, of course, provoked great opposition, and I had a number of debates. In these, one sectarianism was arrayed against another; and those that came plunging and crashing against mine seemed so very frail, and made so feeble a defense, as rather to confirm me in my errors. I preached Restorationism five years. A part of the time I taught school, but the last two years of the five I traveled at large. The expiration of this term brought me to the
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Western Reserve, where Bro. Scott and others were preaching the ancient gospel. Hundreds were being baptized. Much interest had been awakened in behalf of the gospel, and bitter was the opposition which had been enlisted against it. Misrepresentations--not to use a harsher term -- were as numerous as blackbirds in August, and these too, very often by those who professed to be 'ambassadors for Christ,' and who said they were 'the called of God, as was Aaron.' 'Just say you believe, and let a preacher dip you, and there could be no scriptural doubt of reaching -- no matter what the life might be subsequently--the heavenly inheritance.' It was strange to me then, and yet passing strange, that good people, when under the dominion of religious prejudice, falsify at a most alarming and extravagant rate. They say that they are 'new creatures;' but if they are, I can not perceive that the new creature is, in this respect, any better than the old!
"After a few weeks I concluded to hear Bro. Scott for myself. He was to speak at night at Bro. Robbins', in the town of Windham, near where I was at that time sojourning. One object that I had in view was to bring Bro. Scott into a debate; for among other things that I had heard, I had been told that he was a very bold man, and at the close of his discourses he challenged objectors to make known their objections. Here, thought I, will be a good opportunity for me! and hence I let a number of my brethren know that I intended to oppose him. Well, we assembled, a compact congregation. Bro. Scott, after singing and prayer, read first Cor. first chapter. He preached it through, not forgetting to state and defend what he styled the six points, of the gospel. I was greatly surprised. But when he called for objections I was confounded. I could see the heads of my brethren moving to the right and left, in the crowd, expecting to see me rise to my feet. But they didn't see me rise! The reason was, I felt certain that if I opposed Bro. Scott I would
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expose myself. His discourse appeared to me, at every point, invulnerable. And so, when we were dismissed, and out in the yard, my old brethren gathered around me and asked, 'Bro. Raines, what do you think of the discourse?' And let me say here that I think my first answer will be my last: 'I can do nothing against the gospel as preached by Bro. Scott; unless I should live to disgrace it; which may our gracious Lord forbid!' Hence I have no sympathy with those who say they can not understand the preachers of the reformation. I understood the first I ever heard a great deal better than I desired.
"The next day I heard Bro. Scott again. His subject was the fifteenth chapter of first Corinthians -- the resurrection. Here again I was exceedingly amazed. Germs of truth, and beauties and glories sprang from the bosom of that chapter under the handling of Bro Scott, of which before I had scarcely any conception. 'As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,' I deemed a passage of cardinal importance, and the whole chapter very good in its place; but as I did not understand it, of course I saw none of its beauties, and was superlatively ignorant of the meaning of the scrap just referred to, which was one of the proof-texts by which I attempted to prove the ultimate holiness and happiness of all men. At the close of this discourse I felt profoundly interested in the ministrations of Bro. Scott, and resolved to follow him up for some days longer.
"On the next day his subject was the two covenants; and here again I was amazed, not only in contemplation of the beauty and magnificence of gospel truth, but at my former ignorance, for although I had been a preacher five years, I certainly did not know the difference between the old covenant and the new. I obtained from them a sort of hotch-potch; or rather I made of them a chaos, and preached the darkness that was on the face of the deep!
"In a few days I heard again. His subject was the
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eleventh chapter of Hebrews. He still bore himself aloft in all the grandeur of the gospel, and in the captivating intelligence of the truth as it is in Jesus. Here I virtually surrendered--not that I was convinced that all men would not be finally saved. Bro. Scott said nothing on this subject, only that it was a philosophy, as was Calvinism, Arminianism, etc., and no part of Christianity. He convinced me that I ought to lay my philosophy aside, and preach the gospel as the apostles preached, making their discourses a model to be accurately copied by me in all my ministrations. This was, so far, a capital conquest, for it terminated in due time in the conviction, in my mind, that Restorationism itself, as much as I had formerly idolized it, is founded in error.
"At this juncture it became necessary that I should part from Bro. Scott for a season, for I had a tour of preaching before me, and must fill my own appointments. I resolved that I would preach as Bro. Scott had done, and as I believed the apostles did, and that at the close of each discourse I would call for objections. And I told my old brethren that I threw myself on their mercy; in other words, that if they believed me to be going astray, in mercy to set me right. This attempt was often made within this tour, but it only served to convince me more satisfactorily that I was right. It terminated at the house of brother Ebenezer Williams, in Ravenna, a Restorationist preacher, a good man, and possessing excellent talents. I submitted to him, at his own house, my views of the gospel. He received them, and we were mutually immersed for the remission of sins. After this, I immediately retraced my steps, and within five weeks I immersed fifty persons, three of them, counting Bro. Williams, talented Restorationist preachers." *
* Ebenezer Williams, David Sinclair, and Theophilus Cotton.
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A. RAINES AND E. WILLIAMS.Wishing to fortify himself thoroughly on so important a matter as the change in his religious position, and also desiring to keep clear his approaches to his Restorationist brethren, Raines deferred his baptism till he should confer farther with their leading men. He retraced his steps, preaching at points formerly visited, till he came to the residence of E. Williams, of Ravenna, who must now be introduced to the reader.
Ebenezer Williams was born in Warwick, Hampshire County, Mass., March 14, 1793. He came to Ohio, in May, 1815, and settled in Ravenna. Falling in with the views of Winchester on universal restoration, he prepared himself for a life advocacy of that system. He was calm, dispassionate, a candid and sound reasoner, and very conscientious, and was one of the first advocates of that doctrine on the Western Reserve. He was earnest and fluent in speech and persuaded many, and planted communities of converts in Newburg, Bedford, Brimfield, Shalersville, and elsewhere. I will permit his own pen to relate the circumstances which led him to embrace the gospel:
"I will give you a fraction of my history in Shalersville. I preached my first discourse there among the Universalists, at the request of Daniel Burroughs, Esq., who was instrumental in getting the first Universalist preacher on the Western Reserve. In 1828, I was employed in that town one-fourth of the time at one hundred dollars.
"On a pleasant morning in the month of May, I rode from Ravenna to meet my appointment. When I came
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in sight of the house I saw more people than usual gathered around it. While hitching my horse, two of my friends came up and informed me that Father Campbell and Sidney Rigdon had been holding a meeting there for several days; two young men had been baptized; the meeting had created great excitement; they had dwelt much on the second chapter of Acts; and they requested me to preach from the same, especially the thirty-eighth verse. I informed them I would do so. In my discourse I opened to the tenth chapter, and found that the Gentiles received the Holy Ghost before baptism, reasoning that baptism was but voluntary and quite unessential. I offered the same objections to an immersion in water that I have since so often heard, indulging in some witticisms about going to heaven by water, and succeeded in pleasing the congregation, except the two young men above referred to.
"While going home I reviewed my discourse. Although I had spoken in all sincerity, I became quite dissatisfied with what I had done. My text, and the forty-sixth and forty-seventh verses of the last chapter of Luke, were constantly occupying my mind. I went home quite unhappy. I was familiar enough with the New Testament to recollect the substance of what it contained, and my mind was constantly engaged, day and night, to satisfy myself that immersion could be dispensed with. I had been sprinkled -- I had sprinkled others, but in spite of all my efforts my convictions still fastened themselves upon me.
"In the midst of my perplexity one morning, while in the field plowing, a child came and informed me that Bro. Raines was at the house. I went in immediately. We hardly passed the usual compliments, when Bro. Raines said he had been hearing Walter Scott; that he had got into trouble, and wanted me to help him out."
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Raines remained with him several days, during which time they gave the subject a thorough examination in the light of the Holy Scriptures. The result is given in the language of Bro. Williams
"The next Lord's day my appointment was in Brimfield. Bro. Raines went with me. We both preached. After meeting, we walked out, when he inquired of me how I had made up my mind. I informed him I should be immersed. Next morning we notified the friends of our intention, and on our way back to Ravenna, we stopped at Sandy Lake, a beautiful pond in the corners of Brimfield and Rootstown, and taking hold of each other's hands, we walked into the water. I baptized him; he in turn baptized me. I think they were all Universalists who witnessed the scene. Some cried, some scolded. We exhorted them to come and do likewise.
"When the four weeks came round, I went back to Shalersville, and again preached from the second chapter of Acts, but not so much to the satisfaction of the people. Some were angry; many said they would not pay their subscription for such preaching. I told them I did not expect it -- the Lord would take care of me. Thus I turned my back on the four hundred a year. I have never since received over half that amount, but having obtained help of God, I continue until this day."
These brethren being now fully emancipated from that useless and pernicious philosophy, went every-where preaching the word. They were anxious to recover the communities which they had instructed from these errors. There is a worldly and false pride of consistency, which is but the effigy of that true principle of "consistency" which is said to be a "jewel," a counterfeit mistaken by many for the genuine. Had Williams and Raines listened to the
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voice of that false pride, they would never have encountered the reproaches unsparingly heaped upon them for changing their doctrinal base. But this was their cross, and joyfully for Christ were they willing to bear it.
The news of their conversion spread every-where, causing much joy among the Disciples. But the feeling was mingled with a fear that they were not thoroughly instructed in the foundations of the gospel. It was feared that they were, after all, merely baptized Universalists. If this was all, it was nothing. Baptized Universalism is Universalism still; not the gospel. So baptized sectarianism, in any form, is but sectarianism at best, and not the gospel of Jesus Christ. This plea of reformation did not begin nor end in baptism. It saw as its end, and sought nothing less, than the de-organization of sect, and the re-organization of the saints on the new covenant, in the express terms and conditions divinely set forth in the Holy Scriptures. This was clear as a sunbeam in the preaching and writings of Scott and the Campbells, and all who were enlisted in the defense. No marvel then, that even thus early in our work, no one could be satisfied with the mere baptism of these men. They wanted proof of their abandonment of Universalism, and their confession of Christ and his gospel. They felt as the disciples of old concerning Saul, of whose conversion and baptism report quickly spread--"they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple." Acts ix: 26. These noble men, however, had learned and embraced the gospel as the "power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Salvation was
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now with them, as with the original preachers, through faith and obedience; without which impenitent sinners are still in their sins, and obnoxious to the judgments of God.
THE CHURCH IN FREEDOM.The first person baptized in Freedom, after the primitive order, was Daniel Brown. This was in 1828. Bro. Bosworth sowed the seed and reaped the fruit. Bro. Rufus Ranney was the next. Then John Bonney, who heard Scott in Nelson, and was baptized by him. This post was held by Bro. Ryder and the itinerant laborers till 1840, when they built and organized. The gospel had made inroads into Charleston also, and brethren Woolcut, Peebles, and Baldwin associated with the church at Freedom. Daniel Brown and John Bonney were chosen overseers, and Lewis Hamilton, Joseph Woolcut, and John James, deacons.
The church prospered for several years. Two preachers -- O. E. Brown and J. W. James -- arose out of this church, who have been many years in the work, and proved themselves extensively useful. In June, 1848, they entertained the county yearly meeting; their number being about thirty. They afterward rose to fifty. After about twelve years of prosperity, dissensions grew up, and the tie of brotherhood was sundered. For several years the religious interest was nearly extinct; but there were a few names "who had not defiled their garments." The work has lately been revived and meetings are again held regularly.
It is interesting to state that the first disciple in
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Freedom still survives, and that the first overseer is elder still. Bro. Daniel Brown, who in his eighty-sixth year, writes me, "I do not expect to live much longer, but so long as the Lord lets me live, I am willing. When he calls me I am ready to go."
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and Hayden appointed Evangelists -- Biography of Hayden --
Expectation of the Millennium.
It is not necessary to conceal the fact that the writer of these notes was in attendance from first to last. It will be difficult to convey to the reader the complex character of that meeting, the important questions which there called for solution, and the controlling guidance necessary to maintain unanimity of feeling, that the work so powerfully progressing
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might still go forward. Men for the crisis were demanded. Such men were there.
The association came together purely and simply as an assembly of Christians. Though under the forms and name of a Baptist association, the creed system was abandoned, and neither that denominational name, nor any other, was on its standards. Men of nearly all the religious bodies, many of them leaders therein, leaving the technics of the party, but retaining their faith, hope, and love, mingled together as disciples of the common Lord; now in the one body, possessing the one spirit, rejoicing in the same hope, submitting themselves to the same Lord, through the one faith and the one baptism, they worshiped together the same God and Father of all Christian people. This great occasion was a grand demonstration of the possibility of the union of Christians on original Bible ground. It was no longer a theory. It was then an actual, accomplished fact. And though by no means the first such example in modern times, this meeting in Warren was, perhaps, the largest assembly, and the most complete, full, and illustrious example of it. The history of it is a triumphant vindication of the principles of the Campbells on this subject, a proof of their practicability, and an illustration of their power. Here were Methodists, no longer Methodists, but still Christians; Baptists surrendering the title, yet holding the Head, even Christ; Restorationists, giving up their fruitless and faulty speculations, now obedient to the faith once delivered to the saints; Bible Christians, recovered from their negative gospel to the apostle's method of preaching, together with very
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many from other forms of religious belief -- all rejoicing together, "perfectly united in the same mind and the same judgment."
Among the seniors were Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander, Adamson Bentley, and Sidney Rigdon with Walter Scott, to whom multitudes of the young disciples looked with the affection of children to a spiritual father. Of the younger preachers, may be named Jacob Osborne, Marcus Bosworth, William Hayden, John Henry, Symonds Ryder, Zeb Rudolph, John Applegate, John Secrest, A. G. Ewing, as also Aylett Raines, the Cottons, and Reuben Ferguson.
So large a number of Disciples, both of new converts and of persons collected by the appeals for union from various religious beliefs, needed much instruction in the principles of that union, especially in its practical workings. Besides, the doubts and disaffections arising from the introduction of Restorationist ministers began to break forth in out-of-door discussions touching the prudence of such a loose proceeding.
The leading brethren were fully aware of all that was passing. With a correct discernment of the situation, and a profound and far-seeing appreciation of the necessity for a clear and scriptural settlement of the grounds of true Christian union, Mr. Campbell, who was to deliver the introductory sermon, prepared to meet the case fairly, fully, and manfully. His sermon was founded on Rom. xiv: 1: "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations." He classified under three heads all subjects relating to the Christian religion: --
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1st. Matters of knowledge--personal knowledge;
2d. The things of faith, the facts reported to us, which we accept on testimony;
3d. Matters of opinion.
The distinctions in these three departments are marked and important. The profound and eloquent preacher, in a lucid and masterly manner, defined them, and showed their application to the present divided state of Christendom, and illustrated the manner in which these principles would solve the difficult problem of the union of Christians, and yet disturb neither the faith nor the piety of any one.
Knowledge, he defined as one's own personal experience. This term is confined to the things which he himself sees, or hears, or discerns; either by his senses, or his own consciousness. A person can testify only to the things which he himself personally knows. It was asserted that the apostles knew the Lord Jesus; saw him, "handled" him, heard him, and knew his miraculous works, and heard his gracious discourses; so that within their personal knowledge and consciousness they held the absolute certainty of knowledge of him -- his character and his claims; that they were thus qualified to declare the gospel and to be his ambassadors, his apostles, and witnesses to the world; that the apostles knew the gospel to be true, and none but they stood on this high ground of knowledge.
The subject of faith was treated in an equally clear and forcible style. Faith stands on testimony. No testimony, no faith. Testimony is delivered by witnesses. Christ's apostles are his witnesses: "And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been
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with me from the beginning; John xv: 27. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth;" Acts i: 8. Our faith in Christ is founded on the testimony of his witnesses. The apostles, the men of knowledge, testified or declared the things which they saw and heard; we receive their testimony, and thus we believe. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God;" Rom. x: 17.
It was next shown that as the facts of the gospel are always one and invariable, and as the apostolic testimony or declaration of the facts never varies, the faith of all persons is a unit. The important conclusion was thus reached, that Christians are not divided on the faith.
Touching the third division in this classification of knowledge, faith, and opinion, he showed that opinion was the fruitful source of all the schism which checkers, disgraces, and weakens the Christian profession; that creeds are but statements, with few exceptions, of doctrinal opinion or speculative views of philosophical or dogmatic subjects, and tended to confusion, disunion, and weakness; that as Christ receives us in the faith, without regard to questions of doubtful disputation, so we should receive one another, laying the basis of a rational and permanent union in the faith, in the express matters of apostolic teaching, on which no differences obtain among the followers of Christ.
So rational and scriptural a ground of gathering into the long-desired unity the scattered sheep of
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Christ's fold, commended itself to all his hearers as both safe and practicable. But men often approve in theory what they fear to trust in practice. So with Mr. Campbell's views of the grounds on which we were to receive members into fellowship. This, though plausible in theory, was a wide departure from Baptist principles of church-fellowship. So likewise these principles of apostolic teaching would demolish the narrow, restrictive creed policy of all the sects in the land. It was a bold position. It was taken in the face of the embattled array of sect power. It was clear, simple, sensible. But would it bear the strain of the practical tests to which this plan might be subjected? So reasoned many, standing yet in doubt. A trial case was at hand, a case just in point, which served both to illustrate the principles of the sermon, and to test their power. Aylett Raines was present, willing to be counted among the brethren, if he could be received as a Christian without surrendering his liberty in Christ.
The case was called up Saturday afternoon by the careful and judicious Osborne. Raines, it was thought, still entertained Restorationist sentiments. If he should in any wise continue to advocate them, dissension and division would follow. Some were for rejecting him, many were in doubt. But the greater number were decidedly and warmly in his favor. Bro. Osborne was impelled to the measure, less, it is presumed, by his own doubts of the propriety of receiving him, than by the urgency of others who wanted the association to take action in the case.
As we have it in our power, we will gratify the reader by giving Bro. Raines' own recollections of
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this scene. In a communication of April 6, 1868, he says:
"I went to that association expecting trouble: for, although I did not preach my Restorationist opinions, yet I sometimes told such persons as approached me becomingly, that it was still my opinion that all men would, ultimately, in some distant period of eternity, be saved. Out of this the trouble was to grow. But I resolved to breast the storm. I arrived in Warren, Friday morning. At one o'clock P. M., I had the pleasure to hear, for the first time, A. Campbell. He read the fourteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and dwelt extensively on a passage in it, which, according to his translation, reads as follows: 'Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but without regard to differences of opinion.' On this passage Bro. Campbell dilated lucidly, showing the difference between faith and opinion, and between humanisms, or philosophies, and the 'faith once delivered to the saints.' I felt very much strengthened and comforted, knowing, if my case came up in the association, I would have at least Bro. Campbell on my side, and if him, a multitude of our preachers and brethren.
"After hearing the views, of Bro. Campbell I thought it probable that my case would be let alone. In this, however, I mistook. Next morning I met Dr. Wright on the street, who said to me: 'I understand that you sometimes tell people that you still believe that all men will finally become holy and happy.' 'I do, sir,' said I. 'What then will you do,' said he, ' with this passage: These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal?' 'I will not do anything with it,' said I. 'If argue with you in defense of my opinions I shall make myself a factionist. But I have as much right to argue for my opinions as you have for yours; and if you get up an argument with me, be careful, you will make yourself a
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factionist.' At this the Doctor, seeing that I was not in his trap, became excited, and said: 'Well, sir, I'll see whether this association will fellowship Men of your views.' 'See,' said I, 'Doctor, as soon as you please, and I will show you that I will have Thomas Campbell, A. Campbell, Walter Scott, Bentley, and a number of others on my side.' He replied, 'It is impossible.' I responded, 'Well, try it.' Accordingly, not Dr. Wright, but Bro. Osborne, on Saturday afternoon, very lugubriously presented my case. Bro. Thomas Campbell first responded, as nearly as I can recollect, in words following: 'The devil has brought this question into this association to sow discord among brethren. Bro. Raines and I have been much together for the last several months, and we have mutually unbosomed ourselves to each other. I am a Calvinist, and he a Restorationist; and, although I am a Calvinist, I would put my right arm into the fire and have it burnt off before I would raise my hand against him. And if I were Paul, I would have Bro. Raines in preference to any other young man of my acquaintance to be my Timothy.' Next, Bro. A. Campbell arose, and substantially repeated what he had said in his introductory discourse, on the difference between faith and opinion. Then Bro. Scott arose and said that he concurred with the preceding speakers, and would not have said any thing on the occasion but to give me time for reflection. 'I think,' said he, 'that Bro. Raines has been very badly treated, and I fear that when he speaks he will speak with too much severity.' Then Bro. Campbell requested me to stand upon a bench, * and proclaim to the large concourse present, my own views of my obligations as a Christian and as a preacher of the gospel. This I did briefly, and in effect, as follows: That my Restorationism was a philosophy. That I would neither preach it nor contend for it, but would preach the whole
__________ * The better to be heard, the house being very full
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gospel, and teach the whole truth of Christianity according to my best ability, etc., etc. Bro. A. Campbell then put the question: 'Whether there was any law of Christ by which I could be condemned?' The vote was in the negative, and in my favor by an overwhelming majority. This I took to be quite a triumph; but the end was not yet.
"The next morning I attended sunrise prayer-meeting. After the usual routine of reading, singing, and prayer, the leader of the meeting, whose name I do not recollect, arose and spoke as follows: 'Brethren, I understand there are certain persons in the fellowship of this association who deny that sinners are saved by grace, and say that those who die in their sins will be purified by hell-fire. I move,' said he, 'that such persons be disfellowshiped.' In a twinkling I was on my feet, and said: 'I second that motion; for by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. Now,' said I, 'if any member of this association holds any doctrine contradictory to the teaching of this passage, I move that he be immediately disfellowshiped.' The old Brother who had put the motion, struck a direct line for the door, and the congregation followed him; and there my association troubles ended. Affairs, however, would probably have taken a very different turn, had somebody else than myself seconded the old man's motion.
"I was dealt with, and my case managed, by Bro. Campbell and all the chief brethren in very great kindness and wisdom. Had they attempted to brow-beat me I might have been ruined forever. But treating me kindly, at the same time that they convinced me that my opinion, whether true or false, dwindled into nothingness in comparison with the faith of the gospel, redeemed me. I became a day and night preacher of the gospel, and my mind becoming absorbed in this vast work, the opinion faded, and in ten months
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was numbered with all my former errors. The Lord be thanked for his great deliverance. Bro. Campbell, I ought to say, invited me to go to Bethany, and told he thought he could convince me that my Restorationist opinion was false."
"NOTE 1. -- I make a distinction between Restorationism and Universalism. Opinions are only to be tolerated when they do not subvert obvious facts of the gospel. This Universalism does in its teaching concerning the divinity of Christ, atonement, making God the author of sin, denying the remission of sins, and a judgment, and punishment after death. I consider the system no better than deism.
"NOTE 2. -- I remained on the Reserve but a short time after the association. I came to the south part of Ohio and preached in Dayton, Cincinnati, and many other places, with some success; and finally, in Wilmington, Ohio, in which place and its vicinity I baptized many persons. We used to make our numerous converts at one, two and three days' meetings. Now it often takes two and three weeks' pounding, day and night, with the hammer of the Word to crack the shell of worldliness which surrounds the heart. What shall be the end? 'When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith in the earth?' A. R."
The reception of Raines delighted the great body of the young converts and reformers, whose feelings were awakened in his favor. It was also hailed with equal interest by the older and sounder advocates of the plea for Christian union on Christian principles, as it was a clear and conspicuous case in which these principles were strikingly illustrated. They regarded it, therefore, as a marked victory for the truth.
A principal business of this meeting was to hear the report of the evangelist, and to make arrangements for future labors. We subjoin the
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REPORT OF WALTER SCOTT, THE EVANGELIST
"Afar off, and upon the background of the picture before him, of wonderful extent, and in all the greatness of imperial ruin, appear the three great empires of Babylon, Persia, and Greece. Nearer to hand lies Rome; eternal Rome! terrible in her origin, terrible in her glory, terrible in her decline and fall! Living and acting through a long series of ages, she approaches the very verge of the present scene of things, till she assumes the distracted form of the ten kingdoms spoken of by Daniel, the remains of which now reel to and fro upon the face of Europe, like a drunken man, ready to be engulphed in the yawning judgments of Almighty God. Sic transit Gloria Mundi.
"But from amidst the blaze of her glory, see yet loftier scenes arise. Behold--the kingdom of our Lord Jesus, awaking under the eye of the Caesars! Small in its beginning, it rolls forward, it survives all Roman greatness; and that which was yonder a little stone, is here become a vast mountain, and fills the whole earth. The waters which yonder issued from the threshold of the Lord's house, have here arisen; they have become waters to swim in--a river that can not be passed over.
"Here, too, are the impostures of Mahomet and the Pope, with temples having the lowermost part consecrated to God, the upper to the worship of idols. Arrayed in purple and scarlet, decked with gold, and precious stones,
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and pearls, behold the apostate church, mounted upon her imperial beast, holds forth to the intoxicated nations a golden cup in her hand, full of abomination and of the filthiness of her fornication! On her fair but unblushing forehead is inscribed Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth. She shall be thrown down with the violence of a millstone plunged into the midst of the ocean.
"Her portentous offspring also issued to mankind in the mature age of 666, with the head of a lamb and the heart of a dragon: the Inquisition raiseth itself on high, with the power, the delusion and cruelty of its parent; it comes roving over the earth, and causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
"Here, also, is the French Atheism, filled with all presumption, and magnifying itself above every god; he speaketh marvelous things against the true God; his hands are filled with spears, and his skirts are drenched in blood; but he shall come to his end, says Daniel, and none shall help him.
"All these things, beloved brethren, have passed in review before the Christian of the nineteenth century; but if we have had to witness schemes of policy and superstition so wild and enthusiastic, and apparently so unfavorable to the true religion, we have seen many things introduced also highly conducive to its promulgation and reception among mankind. Above all, we have seen the church in America seated down under a gracious and efficient government, affording her and all men an unprecedented security of life and property; and if her unity be still a desideratum, we ought to remember that the saints, for nearly three hundred years, have been combating tyranny and superstition with astonishing success, until those who
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despise every name and every phrase, not found in the Scripture, have become, probably, by far the most numerous body of professors probably, in the United States. But who would have thought it remained for any so late as 1827, to restore to the world the manner--the primitive manner--of administering to mankind the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! or which of you, brethren, would have thought, two years ago, of men coming from forty to a hundred and twenty miles to the ministers of the Mahoning churches for baptism! Yet these things have actually occurred; and who can not see, that, by the blessings of God, the ancient gospel and ancient order of the church must prevail to the certain abolition of all those contumacious sects which now so woefully afflict mankind?
"Brethren, we have a right to expect great things of our Father, if we are united and stand fast, striving together for the faith of the gospel. And be it known to you, brethren, that individuals eminently skilled in the Word of God, the history of the world, and the progress of human improvement, see reasons to expect great changes, much greater than have, yet occurred, and which shall give to political society and to the church a different, a very different, complexion from what many anticipate.
"The Millennium -- the Millennium described in Scripture -- will doubtless be a wonder, a terrible wonder to ALL.
"The gospel, since last year, has been preached with great success in Palmyra, Deerfield, Randolph, Shalersville, Nelson, Hiram, etc., etc., by Bros. Finch, Hubbard, Ferguson, Bosworth, Hayden, and others. Several new churches have been formed; and so far as I am enabled to judge, the congregations are in a very flourishing condition. Indeed, the preacher of the present day, like the angel of the Revelation, seated on the triumphant cloud, has only to thrust in his sharp sickle in order to reap a rich harvest of souls, and gather it in unto eternal life."
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The work in Bro. Scott's hands had prospered so far beyond expectation, that only one feeling prevailed on the question of re-appointing him. When the subject came up, some proposed that he be allowed to travel where Providence opened "a door of faith," not restricting him to associational limits. Others reasoned that there was much work needed in the bounds of the association, and that, as this body is responsible for his support, it had a right to his labors, and it was its duty to direct them. None doubted the power or the propriety of this body taking the work into its hands of sending him out and marking out his field; but some thought it not advisable so to tie his hands; that if he saw a door beyond the specified limits, he should not feel forbidden to go over into Macedonia. Rigdon, who had taken no part in this discussion, becoming weary of it, said: "You are consuming too much time on this question. One of the old Jerusalem preachers would start out with his hunting shirt and moccasins, and convert half the world while you are discussing and settling plans!" Upon this, Bro. Scott arose with a genial smile, and remarked: "Brethren, give me my Bible, my Head, and Bro. William Hayden, and we will go out and convert the world." Then Rigdon, "I move that we give Bro. Scott his Bible, his Head, and Bro. William Hayden." It was settled in a few moments, as Rigdon's resolution was seconded and passed unanimously.
Bro. Scott said afterward, that he chose Bro. William Hayden not because he could preach better than any one else, but for his powers of music; that there was not a man in the association who could
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sing like him. Scott showed his discrimination in this choice. People used to come out to their meetings on purpose to hear Hayden sing. He was full of song and full of songs--a ready one always at hand, appropriate to the hearers. Many hearts were first melted with music, and then molded for Christ by the gospel. The preaching was all the better, as both preacher and people were subdued in feeling, and disposed to hear the tidings of salvation with tenderness of heart. The hymns he sang were mostly set pieces, of great beauty and power, and which he "rendered" in a style of surpassing brilliancy and force. On several occasions, when the great name and eloquence of Scott failed to batter down the walls of prejudice, and to get a hearing, he retired from the audience, saying: "I'll send Willie, and he'll sing you out!"
It would be difficult to convey to the reader an adequate conception of the power of this great meeting. It was notable for several reasons: The ability and number of the preachers in attendance lifted it into conspicuity above any preceding occasion. The large and enthusiastic assemblage of disciples, newly converted to Christ, or newly from the thrall of sectarian shackles, into the "glorious liberty of the sons of God" -- all rejoicing in the fresh views of the original gospel, and the proofs of its power to convert sinners, seen in the hundreds, the fruits of the recent proclamation of it, now here assembled. The Millennium seemed near. The songs, the preaching, and the prayers were well flavored with the ardent hope of it. No song of praise or of hope was so popular as the hymn --
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When the Lord of lords comes,
We shall have a joyful day
When the King of kings comes
To see the nations broken down
And kingdoms once of great renown,
And saints now suffering wear the crown
When the King of kings comes!"
BIOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM HAYDEN.WILLIAM HAYDEN was born in Rosstrevor Township, Westmoreland County, Pa., Lord's day, June 30, 1799. In April, 1804, his father moved to the wilds of the new State of Ohio, and settled in Youngstown, where William, the oldest of the family, experienced the privations of pioneer life. Fond of reading, and having access to few books, he read much in the Bible. He was, when he was young, perplexed with questions about the origin of things, and what shall be hereafter. He was a deist before he was twelve; then for awhile the gulph of atheism yawned before him. From its frightful chasm he was rescued by the reflection, that "if nothing had eternally or primarily existed, nothing could have been originated, and that hence a cause uncaused was self-evident." He farther reflected that to doubt the existence of a Creator leads necessarily to a doubt of the existence of the creature. For awhile he tried the bold adventure of doubting his own existence. This was impossible. His conclusion, in his own words was, "there is no sense in being a fool!" Cured now of atheism -- for deism he found another remedy: "I plainly saw that to turn away from the Bible, we plunge ourselves into darkness, and our only refuge is in our ignorance." "Finally, reading again the narrative of the
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inhuman treatment of Christ from the garden to the sepulcher, and seeing how patiently and meekly he endured it all, his whole life passed in review before my mind. I was indignant that such a person should be so treated. What harm had he ever done them? The only perfect character that ever appeared on earth; a model of goodness, wisdom, dignity, condescension, and pity--just such a friend as ignorant, suffering man needed--and to be requited thus! Till now I had never seen sin in its hatefulness, and I felt myself a sinner."
For four years longer, till he was sixteen, he struggled in the mysteries of Calvinism; hoping, if he was one of the elect, God would impart the evidence of it in a needed and desired regeneration. A revival occurring, he sought the coveted relief. At last, he was thoroughly aroused by the words of Jesus, Matt. xii: 36, 37: "I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." He fled for refuge to the hope of the gospel. He was baptized May 19, 1816, by Elder Joshua Woodworth, and united with the Baptist church, of which his parents were members.
December 20, 1818, he married Miss Mary McCollum, and settled on new lands in Austintown. In the midst of his work his zeal did not relax. When the church in Youngstown ran down, he took membership in Canfield. He studied the Scriptures diligently, and was ready always to give a "reason for the hope that was in him." I quote from his own pen: "I had heard some time before of one Alexander Campbell. I had read a sermon from his pen, and now in October, 1821, he was to preach in Warren, and I resolved to hear him. He was then thirty-three years of age, the sharpest man I ever saw, both in appearance and in intellect, and I confess I was afraid he might lead us astray. His first sermon was from the text, 'Thy
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kingdom come.' I soon saw what he meant to make out, and I did not mean to believe him; but I could not help believing him. He showed that the kingdom had come. At that meeting, which was for the mutual improvement of the preachers, he made several remarks, which were new and startling, and of infinite use to me. He said 'the true disciple of Christ will follow the truth wherever it leads.' Upon a moment's reflection, I saw there was no safety in doing otherwise. I resolved that whatever the truth would make me, I would endeavor to be. A second was, 'you will notice the apostles in preaching the gospel never said one word about election.' I saw this was true. But then I thought, what is the gospel? I soon saw if the gospel can be preached without election, so can it without any of the 'five points.'"
A person with so tenacious and energetic a mind could not abandon the cherished system of Calvinism without a great struggle. His "Christian experience" had to be analyzed, and every impression and feeling traced to its cause. But the truth that faith comes by hearing the testimony of God was revolutionary, and he did not rest till it had gained in his mind the complete ascendancy. Every number of the Christian Baptist was thoroughly sifted. No wonder, then, that after seven years of so thorough a schooling he was ready, at the call of the association, to enter unhesitatingly into the work of teaching the true gospel to the world. His own struggles, and his complete mastery of his own difficulties, prepared him to relieve others from similar doubts and scruples.
In May, 1828, the church of Canfield gave him license as a preacher of the gospel. In October following, after his call to ride with Scott, he was ordained, in his own church of Austintown, of which he was then a member and leader, by brethren Scott and Bentley.
From this time his labors were double those of most men. Working with his own hands as much as other
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men, and yet more in his saddle than most preachers. For twenty-five years he was absent from his own home on an average two hundred and forty days and nights each year. His industry was proverbial. He was incessant in preaching, teaching, and conversation--in public and in private. He created openings--occupied them, and when others could be found to hold the positions, he broke new ground. He was the first man and the chief operator in raising up the churches in Ravenna, Aurora, Shalersville, Akron, Royalton, Warrensville, Solon, and Russell, and several others.
The following from his pen, written near the close of his life, is worthy of careful attention:
"I perceived within six months of the beginning of my labors the necessity of system in our operations, of which we had none -- measures to call out and prepare fit men to preach and teach, and to take care of the converts -- measures to insure a reasonable support for such men -- measures to secure harmony of action among the preachers, and for holding the ground already gained. I spoke of all these interests to all the brethren; but there was only one man who seemed to perceive any sense in what I had to say, and that was Jacob Osborne, one of the most wise, prudent, and godly men we ever had among us; and he died in May, 1829. For twenty years I urged these things, but they received no encouragement. I was astonished that all could not see the indispensable necessity of a matter so in accordance with common sense, and the demands of every-day experience; for the want of which so many of our churches are languishing almost to dissolution.
"After twenty years hardship, toiling against wind and tide, my brother A. S. Hayden and I resolved that we would lay before the brotherhood the expediency of founding an institution of learning -- the Eclectic Institute -- at
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Hiram. It took with the people, and has accomplished much in many ways.
"Isaac Errett responded to the appeal uncompromisingly to aid in getting an association of churches for the purpose of missionary operations on the Western Reserve. Shortly after, in 1852, the Ohio State Missionary Society was organized. It works well, and is likely to live and prosper; for the brethren are forced to see, after so long a time, the need of united action. But, oh how much the cause of Christ has lost! and how many have died ignorant of the gospel! and how many more will, for not having had a good system of management from the commencement!
"But now my labors are about ended, and I am beginning to see the brethren act like men of common sense. One whole generation has passed away, and we are not quite ready to begin to act with efficiency in this great work of showing our contemporaries the true gospel in contradistinction from the speculations of men about the gospel. Until the true gospel is honored by its friends, it will not be heard so as to be understood; and, until it is understood, faith that justifies will be supposed to come by prayer and the mysterious work of the Spirit; and while that is so, the evidence of prophecy and miracle will not be taught the people. Consequently, ignorance, unbelief, division, and iniquity will abound, as it is at this day.
"No man has labored so wisely and so successfully as Alexander Campbell, to show the true gospel and its evidences, and how men become Christians, since the great apostasy commenced; and almost no man appreciates his labors! He has left nothing to be done by any other reformer who may come after him; and I fear it will be another generation before those who acknowledge him a reformer will organize, so as to be as efficient as all other people are in conducting their affairs."
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His teaching on the whole question of conversion, was so clear and thorough, few who heard him candidly failed to see the difference between the teaching of the Scriptures on this important subject, and the mystic theories of regeneration which bewilder the mind and perplex the conscience. His converts were, therefore, thorough and decided, like himself. One of these, Jewett Frost, of Richfield, could not rest till his brother and other friends in Riga, New York, should hear the same truth. At his instance, Wm. Hayden went into that State in 1832, and afterward, alone or in company with others, he made many and extensive trips in most of the Western counties of the Empire State, and in Canada, where he powerfully proclaimed the gospel, and rendered the most efficient service in establishing the cause of reformation. In western Pennsylvania, Virginia, and in all the region of North-east Ohio his pioneer labors laid the foundations for others to build upon. Some of his most stirring and profitable tours were into Michigan and Wisconsin; so that from Syracuse to the Mississippi River, and from Canada to Virginia, he "fully preached the gospel of Christ."
The following account of him is from the Millennial Harbinger, to which it was sent by the writer, 1863, just after his death:
During his ministry of thirty-five years he traveled ninety thousand miles, full sixty thousand of which he made on horseback -- that is, by this mode of travel -- a distance of more than twice around the world! The baptisms by his own hands were twelve hundred and seven. He preached over nine thousand sermons, that is, over two hundred and sixty one discourses per annum for every year of the thirty-five years of his public life. He once preached over fifty sermons in the month of November alone. Besides all these pulpit services, his private labors were abundant and incessant. He had a peculiar turn for winning attention, and imparting instruction in
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the social circle, mingling the humor that charms with the experience which teaches. Few could relish or relate an anecdote better, or apply one more appropriately for purposes of illustration. Yet he never indulged in recitals of any in which the adorable Name, or any of the titles of the Most High, were even playfully, much less irreverently, introduced; a practice against which he bore frequent and forcible testimony.
His mental powers were most rapid and energetic in action. His method of reasoning tended to generalization, embracing a great variety of subject and method. Though not educated, in a scholastic sense, his taste, discernment, and industry very fully supplied this deficiency, and stored his mind with much general information and critical historical learning. The master quality of his mind was his almost matchless memory--memory, both of history and chronology. He made no memoranda of his sermons, yet he could report at any time, promptly and accurately, the number of his discourses, baptisms, and multitudes of incidents, and all without pen or pencil to aid him. It were vanity, perhaps, to assign him a place in this respect with Macaulay or Johnson; but all who knew him wondered at his power -- a power which was at his command, with undiminished force, up to the hour of his death. In his character were chiefly discernible firmness, decision, boldness in enterprise, and sturdy honesty. He was eminently social and hospitable, compassionate and kind-hearted. His religion was conscience and reverence; his humanity, a tender and systematic benevolence. He gave freely for humane, religious, and educational objects.
More than a year previous to his death, he was afflicted with a gradual weakening of the muscles, which pervaded the whole system, affecting his speech in common with every other muscular action. Without pain, and with the full exercise of his mental powers, he died at his home,
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at Chagrin Falls, easily and tranquilly, in full hope of immortality, April 7, 1863, in the sixty-fourth year of his age.
EXPECTATION OF THE MILLENNIUM.The ardor of religious awakening resulting from the new discoveries in the gospel was very much increased about the year 1830, by the hope that the millennium had now dawned, and that the long expected day of gospel glory would very soon be ushered in. The restoration of the ancient gospel was looked upon as the initiatory movement, which, it was thought, would spread so rapidly that existing denominations would almost immediately be deorganized; that the true people, of whom it was believed Christ had a remnant among the sects, would at once, on the presentation of these evidently scriptural views, embrace them, and thus form the union of Christians so long prayed for; and so would be established the Kingdom of Jesus in form, as well as in fact, on its New Testament basis. All the powers in array against this newly established kingdom, whether in the churches of Protestantism or Romanism, would soon surrender at the demand of the King of kings.
The prospect was a glorious one, springing very naturally from the discovery of the complete adaptation of the gospel to the ends for which it was given. This hope of the millennial glory was based on many passages of the Holy Scripture. All such scriptures as spoke of the "ransomed of the Lord returning to Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: that they should obtain joy and gladness, and that sorrow and sighing should flee away," (Isa. xxxv: 10,) were confidently expected to be literally
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and almost immediately fulfilled. These glowing expectations formed the staple of many sermons. They were the continued and exhaustless topic of conversations. They animated the hope, and inspired the zeal, to a high degree, of the converts, and many of the advocates of the gospel. Millennial hymns were learned and sung with a joyful fervor and hope surpassing the conception of worldly and carnal professors. One of these hymns, better in its hope than poetic merit, opened as follows:
When Zion in purity the world will behold,
For Jesus' pure testimony will gain the day,
Denominations, selfishness will vanish away."
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and the dividing of time;" her blissful return from her wilderness retreat, and the prophetic acclaim: "Who is this that comes from the wilderness leaning on the arm of her beloved, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners?" all these and many others constituted a novel and voluminous addition to the stinted Bible knowledge and the stereotyped style of sermonizing which then prevailed.
Some of the leaders in these new discoveries, advancing less cautiously as the ardor of discovery increased, began to form theories of the millennium. The fourteenth chapter of Zechariah was brought forward in proof -- all considered as literal -- that the most marvelous and stupendous physical and climatic changes were to be wrought in Palestine; and that Jesus Christ the Messiah was to reign literally "in Jerusalem and in Mt. Zion, and before his ancients, gloriously." The glory and splendors of that august millennial kingdom were to surpass all vision, as the light of the moon was to be made equal to the light of the sun, and the light of the sun would be augmented "sevenfold." William Hayden went to New Lisbon to fill an appointment. Calling at Bro. Jacob Campbell's, we found Bro. Scott. Mrs. Campbell was a Christian lady of much brilliancy of talent, and intelligent in the Holy Scriptures. Salutations over, she broke forth in an animated strain: "Bro. Scott and I have just been contemplating how joyful it will be in the millennium -- mortals and immortals dwelling together!" Bro. Scott then, with great fluency, discanted upon the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, relating to the return of the Jews and
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their re-establishment in the Holy Land, the coming of the Lord, the resurrection of the saints, and the gathering together unto him on the Mount of Olives. Scott had a vein of enthusiasm, to which these millennial prospects were very congenial. He was led on in the brilliant expectations by the writings of Elias Smith, of New England, whose works had fallen into his hands. In a letter to Dr. Richardson, written in New Lisbon, April, 1830, he says the book of Elias Smith, on the prophecies, is the only sensible work on that subject he had seen. He thinks this and Croly on the Apocalypse * all the student of the Bible wants. He strongly commends Smith's book to the Doctor. This seems to be the origin of millennial views among us. Rigdon, who always caught and proclaimed the last word that fell from the lips of Scott or Campbell, seized these views, and with the wildness of his extravagant nature, heralded them every-where.
These hopes were much confirmed and increased by the publication, about this time, of "Begg on the Prophecies," a small, but vigorous and confident work, excessively literal, by James Begg, of Paisley, Scotland. A cheap edition of it was brought out by the author's brother, William Begg, a recent convert from the Presbyterians. The announcement and favorable notice of this work in the "Millennial Harbinger," together with the taste for such reading now prevalent, introduced this book widely, and it became a powerful auxiliary of the doctrines and aided to crystallize them into definite theory. About the same time appeared the essays on the millennium, by S. M. McCorkle, a "sturdy layman." His trumpet blew no uncertain sound: Its blast was fierce
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and fiery as the noise of the ram's horns around the walls of Jericho. His essays, which were published in the "Millennial Harbinger," produced a wonderful effect. Many thought the day of the Lord just at hand. They prayed for it, looked for it, sung of it. The set time to favor Zion had come. The day of redemption was near. It only awaited the complete purification of his church -- which meant the removal of sects and the union of Christians on the "Bible alone." Preaching against "sectarianism" was now more frequent and vehement. The legitimate and needed work of preaching the gospel of Christ, and of correcting the errors which lie directly in its way and impede its progress, was not abandoned, but more attention was now bestowed on the task, assumed as necessary, of clearing off the whole body of sectarianism. "Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of my people." Isa. lvii: 14. This was the text of many a sermon. The sects, it was assumed, are the stumbling-blocks in the way of the chariot of the coming king. This assault on the denominationalism of the times, by which Christians are separated from one another, is so nearly in line with the true work of the restoration of primitive Christianity, that this mistake of its purpose was very easy. Yet the difference is neither small nor unimportant. It is one thing to introduce light into an apartment, and thus remove the darkness, and quite another to attack the darkness hoping to remove it and thus make way for the light. This reformation, so called, is not a negation -- a mere protest against sectarianism. This is not its prime, or originating impulse. It is a plea for the
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Christian religion as a whole. Its defenses are defenses of Christ, of his apostles, of their authority, their claims and their teachings, as set forth in the volume of inspiration. If obstacles are in its way, it seeks their removal, whether they be Protestant, Romanish, Jewish, or Mohammedan. But these are resultant and consequential to its primary and direct aim, and not for a moment to be confounded with it.
Many sagacious brethren perceived with regret the new turn things were taking, and rightly judging that these Millennial theories would not tend to develop the work so auspiciously begun, but rather divert the minds of the people from it, they began prudently and cautiously to correct the aberration, and draw attention away from untaught questions and visionary anticipations of the future to the real purposes of the work of Christ now on hand, the preaching of the gospel for the salvation of sinners, and building up of the saints on the most holy faith. Some supposed Mr. Campbell to be in sympathy with these views; and, indeed, some plausibility was lent to this opinion by the title of his new periodical, "The Millennial Harbinger."
Mr. Campbell, whose eye was fully open to all, was not slow to perceive all this, and he felt called to undertake the needed correction. He commenced, in the "Millennial Harbinger," for Sept., 1834, a series of articles under the title of "The Reformed Clergyman," which, while they held McCorkle's essays on the literal interpretation of prophecy directly in review, had for their aim the wider purpose of correcting the errors entertained and propagated to the detriment of the practical work of the gospel. These
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essays were written with marked ability. They immediately arrested universal attention, and were read every-where. For prudential reasons the writer sought to veil his style, evidently desiring that no bias might be given to his reasonings from personal considerations. Their drift and aim were soon discovered; and the positions assumed, and rules of prophetic interpretation set forth, were so consistent and evenly balanced, that the "second sober thought" coming to the rescue, the effect was salutary and the remedy complete.
Mr. Campbell's nom de plume of "Reformed Clergyman," was not to all a concealment of the real author of the essays. His style betrayed him; and it was amusing to hear the discussions--the hints and guesses on the subject of their authorship, and the merits of the essays themselves -- which were carried on with Mr. Campbell and by others in his presence, before he was suspected as the writer of them. A sagacious Scotch lady, in the city of Pittsburgh, of great positiveness, berated him soundly for his indiscretion in permitting that "Reformed Clergyman" to publish such erroneous doctrines in his paper. My eyes stole over Mr. Campbell's face the while, and from the tokens there I saw, first and plainly, a confession of their authorship. The hits and jibes were sharp as from a polished quiver, and somewhat rude, withal. It was matter of much joy to many when this result was reached, and the brethren began to turn their thoughts and talents more directly to the preaching of the gospel. Among them, William Hayden should be named, as he saw and sorely felt the evil, but had not power to stay the tide; and, in like manner, others who saw not the evil tendency so plainly, now that
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the remedy had wrought its cure, could see more clearly than ever the importance of adhering closely to the plain New Testament teachings, taking Christ as the only interpreter of type, shadows, and prophecy in the Old Testament; and the inspired apostles as the divinely authorized and commissioned interpreters of Christ.
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During the winter of 1825-6, Corbly Martin, who became extensively useful in the reformation in Ohio and Indiana, resided in the hospitable family of Judge Clapp, a prominent member of the church. Brother Martin preached there during that season. A conversation between him and Mrs. Rexford is reported, in which she urged the practice of "close communion" in the church as an objection to her becoming a member. He failed to remove her objection, and she remained to be a first convert when the gospel offering a free salvation to all who would receive it was first proclaimed in Mentor.
Sidney Rigdon was an orator of no inconsiderable
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abilities. In person, he was full medium height, rotund in form; of countenance, while speaking, open and winning, with a cast of melancholy. His action was graceful, his language copious, fluent in utterance, with articulation clear and musical. Yet he was an enthusiast, and unstable. His personal influence with an audience was very great, but many, with talents far inferior, surpassed him in judgment and permanent power with the people. He was just the man for an awakening. He was an early reader of the "Christian Baptist," and admiring its strong and progressive teaching, he circulated the paper, and brought out its views in his sermons. Whatever may be justly said of him after he had surrendered himself a victim and a leader of the Mormon delusion, it would scarcely be just to deny sincerity and candor to him, previous to that time when his bright star became permanently eclipsed under that dark cloud.
In March, 1828, he visited Scott in Warren. He had been with him on former occasions, and had adopted fully his method of preaching Christ, and of calling the awakened and penitent believer to an immediate obedience of his faith for the remission of sins. The missing link between Christ and convicted sinners seemed now happily supplied by the restoration of the way of bringing converts into the knowledge of pardon, which was established by Christ himself in the commission.
Rigdon was transported with this discovery. On leaving Warren to return to Mentor, he persuaded his brother-in-law, Adamson Bentley, to accompany him. This was a visit to that town of no ordinary
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importance. Bentley was a gentleman of cultivated manners, tall of benign aspect, and of commanding presence; and, as a preacher, dignified, solemn, and often very impressive. But more, they were both ablaze with the new developments of gospel light, which was shedding its effulgence rapidly over the country.
The trumpet which they blew gave no uncertain sound. It was the old jubilee trumpet, first sounded by the fisherman of Galilee on the day of Pentecost, announcing glad tidings to the nations that the year of release from bondage in sin had now come, and calling ransomed sinners to return, freely pardoned, to their homes. They spoke with authority, for the word which they delivered was not theirs, but that of Jesus Christ. The whole community was quickly and thoroughy aroused. Many turned to the Lord. The first person to accept the offered boon and lead the people to Christ, was an intelligent young man, M. S. Clapp, then in his twenty-first year, son of Judge Clapp. His older brother, Thomas J. Clapp, had been baptized in June previous. Twenty persons were baptized the first time they repaired to the Jordan. The immediate result of the meeting was the conversion of over fifty souls to the Lord Jesus.
It is impossible to describe the agitation of the public mind. The things which they heard were so new, yet so clearly scriptural, that, while some hesitated and many wondered, they could not gainsay it; and nearly the whole church accepted cordially the doctrine of the Lord, exchanged their "articles" for the new covenant as the only divine basis for
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Christ's church, and abandoned unscriptural titles and church names, choosing to be known simply as the disciples of Christ.
From Mentor they went to Kirtland, where almost an equal ingathering awaited them. The fields were white for the harvest. At the first baptizing here, twenty souls were lifted into the kingdown. Others followed, and soon the numbers so increased that a separate organization became a necessity - so mightily prevailed the word of the Lord.
The news of this great overturn spready quickly through the country, up and down the lake shore. Bentley went to Painesville. The rumor of the revival in Mentor preceded him, with some exaggerated and perverted accounts of the preaching. He delivered a few discourses on the first principles of the gospel, and left them to leaven the minds of his hearers.
The church now contained over a hundred members. The following were prominent; many of whom became leaders of the host, and pillars in churches. The head of the family is named. Their wives, and generally their families, were also in the church: Deacon Benjamin Blish, Deacon Ebenezer Nye, Orris Clapp, Jonathan Root, Joel Rexford, Thomas Carroll, Asa Webster, Sidney Rigdon, Deacon Champney, Amos Wilmost, Osee Matthews, Eggleston Matthews, Joseph Curtis, Anson Matthews, Sylvester Durand, ___ Tuttle, Warren Corning, Amos Daniels, Samuel Miller, Ezra B. Violl, Noah Wirt, David Wilson, Daniel Wilson, Alexander P Jones. To these are to be added, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Randall, Mrs. Waterman, Mrs. Rexford, Calista M. Lewis, Morgan Lewis.
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Few communities have been so stable; the families here named have composed the staple of the membership, and the support of the church from that time to the present. This congregation has long stood as a light-house. It was shaken as by a tempest under the outbreak of Mormonism; but it is to be noted that few of its members were led astray. While the church in Kirtland, with less experience, and more immediately in Rigdon's power, became engulphed, and has never since been recovered, the church in Mentor, with stronger material, withstood the shock. They were much aided in their resistance by the presence of Elder Thomas Campbell, who spent several months there and in the vicinity during the agitation which it produced.
Brother M. S. Clapp came rapidly before the public, and soon attained prominence by his zeal and ability. In the year 1834, Brother E. Williams was settled as pastor and elder, with Benjamin Blish. He served the congregation, yet preaching much abroad, till his removal to Chardon, in 1856. Brother Blish not only won, but retained the fullest confidence, not of the church only, but of the whole community, for his prudence in management, his judicious counsels, and godly life. After having won the crown, he died universally beloved, February, 1864.
Her long-time laborers were brethren Clapp and Williams. But a page would scarcely hold the names of all who have gleaned in this harvest-field. Few churches have possessed a membership of more ability. In a community noted for its social culture, it has maintained its position with credit. For integrity, benevolence, and as a leader in the cause of
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temperance, anti-slavery, and measures that look to the lifting up of the world from wrong and oppression, no brotherhood has a brighter record.
Three preachers arose in Mentor, whose names are known afar -- M.S. Clapp, A.P. Jones and J.J. Moss. Brother Moss was in the employ of Brother Bejmamin Blish, in the summer of 1829. Raised in the Presbyterianism, he had a spasm of horror when he learned that he had engaged himself to work for a very leader of the new and hated heresy of "Campbellism." The first evening, greatly to his surprise, as he had been told "Cambpellites" never prayed, Brother Blish gathered his household, with the word of God in every hand. But Moss, still doubting, stood bolt upright, while all around him knelt. The service, so simple, sincere and earnest, melted his heart. Ashamed of his prejudice, the next time he joined, and knelt, and prayed. His Bible was now read while others loitered. He soon heard Brother Collins. His acute, quick mind saw, understood and grasped the immense difference between all forms of sect-organization, and the simple, entire system of Christianity as a whole. The sun was now risen upon his understanding, and the twinkling lights of Babel-sectarianism faded. September, 1829, he came to Christ, and was baptized into his name, which, with him, meant the entire consecration of all his powers to his honor. The thousands by him turned to God in Ohio, New York, Canada, Kentucky, and other States, attest the fidelity of his heart to that plighted vow. A history of his life would fill a volume. He was the first man to raise a testimony against Mormonism. With the elements of character for pioneer work, he has, to an
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extent which can be affirmed of few men, extended the limits of the kingdom into new regions, and defended it in the arena of controversy against every form of assault, with a mastery and success above the reach of most men. He has not always had the gratitude of those whom he has served, nor the support of the churches he has planted. He was born July 13, 1806, in Onondaga, N.Y., and after forty-five years of toil and privations, he is still in the field.
Brother A. P. Jones, equally bold and with more leaning, was his true yoke-fellow. They were both teaching in the vicinity of Kirtland, when Mormonism invaded the place, and hand in hand, though young, they often put its champions to flight. Brother Jones married Miss Irene Gilbert, of Newburg, and soon afterwards he gave himself to the service of the new churches in western New York, where his name is still cherished with great respect. He finally settled in Platteville, Grant county, Wisconsin, where he preached for several years. He has recently fallen asleep in the Lord.
BIOGRAPHY OF MATTHEW S. CLAPP.
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boyhood passed during the wat of 1812-14 and the years subsequent, when the chivalrous anecdotes and the military deeds of that stirring history formed the staple of conversation of the times. With eager ear and acute mind, he caught up the recitals of those exploits and deeds of valor -- a discipline for achievements on a far different field.
In March, 1828, in the great religious awakening in Mentor, under Bentley and Rigdon, the amiable M. S. Clapp was the first to yield. He was baptized by Brother Bentley. Many predicted for him a bright course as a herald of the gospel. The late venerable Thomas Campbell fully confirmed his purpose to devote his talents to the ministry of the Word. Under this devout and superior man, Clapp began his study of the classics. He availed himself of whatever aids were within his reach, yet in this instance the student was himself the chief teacher. Hs application was so complete, that he became not only a respectable Greek scholar, but also a good Latinist. During all these studies he was preaching, visiting the newly-founded churches, and increasing the number of the converts.
In the fall of 1830, he married Miss Alicia Campbell, sister of Alexander Campbell. This proved a happy union. He spent some time in Bethany, West Virginia, where he diligently improved the favorable opportunities which he found in Mr. Campbell's family, for enriching his stores of knowledge, and for forming acquaintance with gentlemen of education, who were almost constantly guests in Brother Campbell's family. He also resided a year or more in West Middletown, Pennsylvania, with Matthew McKeever, Esq., another brother-in-law, while "Father and Mother Campbell," models of gentleness, dignity and Christian excellence, were in their full ripeness and strength, sitting as king and queen amidst the family.
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After this short episode, he returned to Mentor, which became his permanent abode. He continued his public labors, visiting weak communities of brethren, receiving little compensation, often none, for his labors. From necessity, quite as much as from choice, he resorted at times to farming, interlacing its labors with his public duties. Experience proved to him as it has to thousands, that the world will not pay for its own reformation; that the pioneer advocate of new and revolutionary principles must go forth, like the martyr-apostles, suffering and to suffer.
Brother Clapp saw -- rightly saw -- in the Christian religion the germs of all good to man in this world, as well as the sure and only basis for hope hereafter. Every attack upon its claims he was consequently prompt to repel. Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of Man, as well as the Son of God, and he lived for the good of the world in every possible condition. As a friend to his race he must defend the Lord Jesus, the helper of the poor, the Savior of the world. So when a shrewd, young, accomplished, eloquent, lawyer in Elyria, Joel Tiffany, Esq., walked into the arena, and threw down the glove, M. S. Clapp took his "sling and five smooth stones gathered from the brook," and stood before the boaster. He so fully exposed the dark counsels of atheistic sophistry, that Mr. Tiffany declared at the close of the discussion, "It is the last time I will ever stand in opposition to the Christian religion," And it was. Soon after he was baptized in Elyria, and became a quasi member of the Episcopal church.
His happiness in his family was not suffered to continue without interruption. A sad day came. He looked for the last time on the living form of his excellent companion. One by one all of his children of his first marriage went before him down to rest. The last of them, Campbell Clapp, was killed in the State of New York, by falling off a cattle train through a defective bridge. He was a
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young man of much promise. A large concourse attended his funeral in Mentor.
April 26, 1840, he married Miss Lucy A Randall, of Mentor, a union whose felicity was not marred or broken till the last sad stroke which left her a widow, and her four living children without a paternal head. The winter after their marriage they spent in Pompey, Onandaga County, New York, laboring in the gospel. The friendship they established there with many of the citizens continued through life. The next season he spent, by invitation, preaching for the church in the city of New York. Here his skill as a peacemaker found scope for useful exercise. His ministrations for good were signally blessed, less in gatherine many into the fold than in purifying and regulating the fold itself. His friends, Drs. Eleazer and Samuel Parmly, received him with marked and merited hospitality. His residence in the great metropolis was a bright and useful epoch in his history. While in the city, he received instruction in Hebrew under Sexias, a Hebraist of note, the very same son of Abraham who came to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1830, and instructed the Mormons in the "unknown tongues," the boasted proof of inspiration of the disciples of Smith, and the marvel of many well-duped outsiders.
It should be noted that Brother Clapp was not a clergyman in any restricted or exclusive sense. His eye was open to the widest views. He was ready to second all legitimate measures for the elevation and amelioration of men in all departments of society. With him the pulpit was not a theological chest, or vox, containing a few well assorted and labeled wares to be cried on sale. It was rather a veritable throne of power, and the incumbent was bound to deal with all the active, moral questions that affect society. Hence, his early, and open, and unconquerable opposition to intemperance. Hence, also, he stood out, when he had to stand quite alone, on the antislavery
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question. Of these and kindred subjects he took the broadest views. The poorly-paid laborer, the unpaid seamstress, were objects of lively and sympathizing interest to him. He had faith in appeals to heaven for their redress; but with equal faith, he appealed to the benevolence and conscientiousness of men for their relief. So ardent were his feelings, so fixed were his principles, that he took radical ground, and plead so uncompromisingly that at time he provoked the charge of ultruism. Yet no such charge moved him. His principles in regard to war were equally radical and decided. He opposed all war, at all times for any purpose. It is due him to say that all these great moral subjects he viewed from the Bible ground, and not as a partisan, or in a coalition with any special organization, social or civil. Yet his known opposition to war, slavery and intemperance, brought him at times alongside persons whose advocacy of these reforms was prompted by no higher than merely temperal, and sometimes selfish, considerations.
It was his conviction that he could serve these great ends in a wider and different field, which gained him consent to a nomination as candidate to the Legislature. The polls confirmed the nomination. His acceptance was upon a platform which, in his judgment, invited the play of his principles on a grander stage. He returned from Columbus conscious of having performed his duties faithfully, and satisfied with the general approval of his constituency.
The last few years of his life he spent in Detroit, preaching, and in various ways shedding the light and warmth of his genial and religious nature on society around him. During the last year before his death, it became apparent that his "natural force was abated." As the progress of his family rendered his departure an event more and more certainly near, the anchor of his hope maintained the steadiest hold on its deep fastenings in the Rock. The
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calmness of his mind was wonderful. "I do not ask you to pray for my recovery," he said to his brethren, "but that with unfaltering trust and bright hope I may pass into the world of light."
He had often expressed a feeling of the happiness it would afford him to be summoned away to the Lord just in the midst of the memorial scenes of the Lord's Supper. His thought was an accepted prayer. His departure to Jesus was on the Lord's day. One week before he died the brethren assembled in his room and partook with him the loaf of blessing. The next week, December 17th, at his request, they came again, and again the blessed Supper was administered. All bore witness of the deep earnestness of his devotions. His voice was almost too feeble to utterance. He spoke but little. All seemed aware that the messenger was at the door. The service ended; scarcely had the communicant members reached their homes when the word came that he was at peace in Abraham's bosom.
His remains, accompanied by his family and his friend, Colin Campbell, of Detroit, were brought to Mentor, the home of his childhood. Many of his early friends came and stood silently and sadly around him. Six preachers participated in the funeral service, when we consigned to the dust the remains of this patriotic citizen, this generous friend and devoted preacher.
He had nearly completed his sixty-fourth year. His memory was capacious, retentive and peculiar. It was remarkable for its verbal power. It was richly stored with the exact language of the Holy Scriptures. From his copious stores he could draw with great readiness and correctness. His scholarship in general history, and especially in English literature, was very complete. He had read with care the standard poets, and was familiar with the opinions of the leading critics on most subjects of interest. His own taste, critical and chaste, furnished him
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a style of writing and public address, correct, pure, and expressive. He was often ornate, sometimes eloquent, but never pompous nor declamatory.
His manners were simple, dignified, urbane, courteous to inferiors, respectful to all. His conversation and his speeches were marked by delicacy, flavored with wit and anecdote, always pure, and manifested great liberality of views. His piety and honesty held sway supreme among his qualities of character. Sometimes his ardor led him to undue bounds -- but none could feel more keenly the excess, or make amends more heartily when convinced of overstepping the limits of prudence.
Few men among us were more widely known or more sincerely respected. For him no monument is needed, especially in his own dear family, where he is embalmed in the tenderest and most durable affection.
When the call was sounded for a return to Jerusalem and Pentecost, it called out many noble advocates. Some of them had "professed religion," as the phrase ran, but they lay in spiritual torpor under the confused and bewildering exhibitions of Christianity which they were accustomed to hear. When they saw the gospel scheme, the Bible became intelligible, and under the impulse of their joy at the discovery, they "did run to bring the disciples word" of the clearer views of the gospel which gave them such joy. These men are worthy of a good record.
In the fall of 1821, William Waite, emigrated from Saratoga County, New York, on the head waters of the Susquehanna, and settled on the plateau since known as Waite Hill, in Willoughby. He and hs wife were Baptists. His sons, Erastus and Alvan -- the latter in his eighteenth year -- had come in advance,
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in February before. The next autumn, his son-in-law, Dexter Otis, in his twenty-eighth year, arrived and settled in Kirtland. Otis united with the Baptists under the preaching of Elder Stevenson, better satisfied with the scriptural mode of baptism, than with the creed and close communion, matters on which his mind was never at rest. Elder Goodall came to Waite Hill, baptized Erastus Waite and others, and so arose a church in the Baptist order. When Elder T. Campbell came to Mentor, soon after, these brethren, E. Waite and D. Otis, were so delighted with the new light which beamed on the gospel from his preaching, that they pressed him to come to Waite Hill. His sermonds made a marked impression, powerfully advancing the more liberal and correct views of the New Testament order of things. Rigdon coming in about that time, and following up the well begun work by his earnest and animating appeals, several were baptized, among whom was Alvan White, then in his twenty-sixth year. This was in 1829. In the same movement, and by the same hands, E. B. Violl, Samuel Miller and Noah Wirt were brought into the kingdom. This was the beginning of the Church of Christ on Waite Hill.
These men all made their mark. Dexter Otis was appointed overseer, and he soon began to preach. In 1835 he moved to the township of Chardon, and there gathered a church. It flourished while he lived - it declied at his death. He worked hard with his own hands, yet he was so diligent in study that he became a good Bible scholar, and was well informed in history as it relates to prophetic subjects.
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His candor was proverbial. He was conscientiously opposed to display in dress, and to all forms of pride, and was himself in these respects a consistent example. He was so humble, zealous, earnest, and instructive in his lectures on Bible themes, that all heard him with delight. His speech, like his garb, was plain, but it went to the hearts of the people. He turned many from infidelity to the faith, and from sin to righteousness. His very useful life terminated March 15, 1845. His works follow him, and the memory of him is a fragrant odor in all that region.
Equally useful, but a different type of manhood was Alvan White. He was a man of full size and manly form, a man of superior judgment and great weight of character. His timidity kept him in the shade, till strongly urged, especially by Brother Otis, he took a bolder and more public stand in the gospel. All the rising churches around him felt the weight of his presence and edifying sermons. Candor, kindness, sincerity, and good sense prevailed in his instructive discourses. He was cheerful, hopeful and confiding. In 1844 he went with William Hayden, in a tour through western New York, in which he gained much respect for his affectionate manner, and his clear exhibitions of truth. Soon after, consumption began to appear. In the summer of 1846, he journeyed to the new West in hope of recuperation, visiting churches in northern Indiana and Lake County, Illinois, and helping them by his wise counsels. He steadily declined till May 20, 1847, when he passed in among the shining ones. He died at his home on Waite Hill,
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with his affectionate family, surrounded by many friends who mourned the loss of so useful a man.
Ezra B. Violl who came to Christ with these noble men, and who was their close companion all the way, was still left in the field. He had consecrated the powers of intelligible speech and sound reasoning, which God gave him, to the proclamation of his truth. He traveled into other counties, and was abundant in labors in his own regions. He was born in the year 1806. He turned to God in 1829, and began almost immediately to hold forth the word of life. He preached with great fervor, not only in Willoughby and Mentor -- in Perry, also, and Euclid, and is gratefully remembered in Camden and other towns in Lorain county. He served in the campaigns for about twenty years. He fell a victim to the fatal malady consumption, which terminated his days on the 9th of April, 1851. He was visited near the time of his departure by Brother M. S. Clapp, whose conversation cheered the feeble saint. Brother Clapp said to him: "Brother Violl, it must seem hard to you to leave the world in the midst of your life and usefulness, and to part with your kind and affectionate companion!" "Yes, Brother Clapp, it is hard in that view, but not so hard as you think. I used to think so when I was out there where you are, but when you come in here where I am, you will not find it so hard!" Strikingly coincident were the closing scenes of these dear friends. In about twenty years, Brother Clapp came by the same path in slow approaches to the dark stream. Perhaps he then throught of his friend Violl's words, and had an experience of their truth!
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Samuel Miller, of the same church, was the peer of these noble men, in all that constitutes broad and generous manhood. His parents -- John and Catharine Miller, came into Ohio when it was yet a territory, from Gettysburg, Pa., a place now memorable in American history. They settled in Willoughby, where Samuel was born, August 30, 1802; the first white male child born in that town. The country was a wilderness, and the red men, with his game he chased, ranged the interminable forests. February 26, 1828, he was married to Miss Maria Storm. He had been trained in the Lutheran church. When in 1829, the great wave of religious reformation broke along the shore of the lake, he heard, examined, and with his usual independence, candor, and decision, he confessed the Lord; his wife joining him in this consecration to Jesus Christ; also Brother Violl, Wirt, and others, who were his companions in the support of the gospel. When the overflowing scourge of Mormonism burst forth, these three men, with Otis and Waite, withstood the shock, though Rigdon himself, their leader to Christ, had reeled and fallen under its blow.
Brother Miller was distinguished for superiod business capacity, great probity, and for his consistent and liberal benefactions. Hiram College and the Ohio Christian Missionary Society received liberal donations from his hand.
He lived to bow at the grave of nearly all who started with him in the gospel. As he saw the painful disease leading him slowly and certainly to death, with wise forecast he made ample provision for the comfort of his faithful wife, and left the balance
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of his property in the hands of a faithful and competent Christian friend, A. Teachout, to be used for the gospel. Business done, his attentions were devoted to his friends as they came about him, and to contemplations on the things that are eternal, in the heavens. In the calmness of an unfaltering trust he fell asleep, September 6, 1867, aged sixty-five years.
The church on Waite Hill was organized in 1830. Dexter Otis and Steven Tinkham were the overseers, and John Violl and Noah Wirt, deacons. Brother Wirt was afterwards called to the eldership. His active life in the ministry was a great support to the church till his removal to Wisconsin.
With these, Brother Ransom R. Storm was long associated. He was a man of superior gifts, an easy speaker and a pointed reasoner. He was born in 1818, in Chenango County, New York, but was brought up in Ohio. He confessed his faith in Christ in Mentor, under the preaching of Brother Williams, and soon began to proclaim the gospel. He became much devoted to his work. At the call of some churches in Lake County, Illinois, he settled among them, where he spent the last years of his ministry. Disease seized him, and as he became weaker, he was brought by his desire, to pass the last of his days among his numerous friends in Willoughby, where he died June 1, 1871, in the full hope of immortality in Christ.
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The discomfiture he experienced at the hands of Mr. Campbell at Austintown, when seeking to introduce his common property scheme, turned him away mortified, chagrined and alienated. This was only two and a half months before he received, in peace, the messengers of delusion. Another fact: A little
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after this, the same fall, and before the first emissaries of the Mormon prophet came to Mentor, Parley P. Pratt, a young preacher of some promise from Lorain County, a disciple under Rigdon's influence, passing through Palmyra, the prophet's home, turned aside to see this great sight. He became an easy convert. Immediately an embassy is prepared, composed of this same P. P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery and to others, for the " Lamanites."
The next scene opens in Mentor. About the middle of November, came two footmen with carpet bags filled with copies of the book of Mormon, and stopped at Rigdon's. What passed that night between him and these young prophets no pen will reveal; but interpreting events came rapidly on, Next morning, while Judge Clapp's family were at breakfast, in came Rigdon, and in an excited manner said: "Two men came to my house last night on a c-u-r-i-o-u-s mission;" prolonging the word in a strange manner. When thus awakened, all around the table looking up, he proceeded to narrate how some men in Palmyra, N. Y., had found, by direction of an angel, certain plates inscribed with mysterious characters; that by the same heavenly visitant, a young man, ignorant of letters, had been led into the secret of deciphering the writing on the plates; that it made known the origin of the Indian tribes; with other matters of great interest to the world, and that the discovery would be of such importance as to open the way for the introduction of the Millennium. Amazement! They had been accustomed to his stories about the Indians, much more marvelous than credible, but this strange statement, made with an air both of wonder
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and credulity, overcame their patience. "Its all a lie," cried out Matthew, quite disconcerting the half apostate Rigdon; and this future Aaron of the new prophet retired.
These two men who came to Rigdon's residence, were the young preacher before named, P. P. Pratt, intimately acquainted with Rigdon, and therefore, doubtless, chosen to lead the mission, and Oliver Cowdery. This Mr. Cowdery was one of the three original witnesses to Mormonism; Martin Harris and David Whitmar were the other two. Harris was the first scribe to record the new Bible at the dictation of Smith; but through carelessness he suffered the devil to steal 116 pages of the manuscript, and then Cowdery was chosen in his stead.
These men staid with Rigdon all the week. In the neighborhood, lived a Mr. Morley, a member of the church in Kirtland, who, acting on the community principles, had established a "family." The new doctrines of having "all things in common," and of restoring miracles to the world as a fruit and proof of true faith, found a ready welcome by this incipient "community." They were all, seventeen in number, re-immersed in one night into this new dispensation.
At this, Rigdon seemed much displeased. He told them what they had done was without precedent or authority from the Scriptures, as they had baptized for the power of miracles, while the apostles, as he showed, baptized penitential believers for the remission of sins. When pressed, they said what they had done was merely at the solicitation of those persons. Rigdon called on them for proofs of the truth oi their book and mission. They related the manner
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in which they obtained faith, which was by praying for a sign, and an angel appeared to them. Rigdon here showed them from Scripture the possibility of their being deceived: "For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." "But," said Cowdery, "do you think if I should go to my Heavenly Father, with all sincerity, and pray to him, in the name of Jesus Christ, that he would not show me an angel -- that he would suffer Satan to deceive me?" Rigdon replied: "If the Heavenly Father has ever promised to show you an angel to confirm any thing, he would not suffer you to be deceived; for John says: "If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.' But," he continued, "if you should ask the Heavenly Father to show you an angel, when he has never promised such a thing -- if the devil never had an opportunity before of deceiving you, you give him one now."
This was a word in season, fitly spoken; yet, strange enough! "two days afterward he was persuaded to tempt God by asking this sign. The sign appeared, and he was convinced that Mormonism was of God! According to his own reasoning, therefore, Satan appeared to him as an angel of light. But he now imputed his former reasoning to pride, incredulity, and the influence of the Evil One."
The next' Sunday Rigdon, accompanied by Pratt and Cowdery, went to Kirtland to his appointment. He attempted to preach; but with the awful blasphemy in his heart, and the guilt of so shameless an apostasy on his conscience, how could he open his mouth in the name of the insulted Jesus! The eloquent lips which never stammered before, soon became
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came speechless, and his tongue was dumb. The faithless watchman, covered with the shame of his fall, surrendered his pulpit and congregation to the prey of wolves. Cowdery and Pratt did most of the preaching; and that day, both Mr. and Mrs. Rigdon, with many of the members of the church in Kirtland, were baptized into the new faith.
"Scenes of the most wild, frantic and horrible fanaticism ensued. They pretended that the power of miracles was about to be given to all who embraced the new faith; and commenced communicating the Holy Spirit, by laying their hands on the heads of the converts, which operation, at first, produced an instantaneous prostration of body and mind. Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time, apparently lifeless. The fits usually came on during, or after, their prayer-meetings, which were held nearly every evening. The young men and women were more particularly subject to this delirium. They would exhibit all the apish actions imaginable, making the most ridiculous grimaces, creeping upon their hands and feet, rolling upon the frozen ground, going through all the Indian modes of warfare, such as knocking down, scalping, etc. At other times they would run through the fields, get upon stumps, preach to imaginary congregations, enter the water and perform the ceremony of baptizing. Many would have fits of speaking in all the Indian dialects, which none could understand. Again, at the dead hour of night, young men might be seen running over the fields and hills, in pursuit, as they said, of the balls of fire, lights, etc., which they saw moving through the atmosphere." -- Mormonism Unveiled, pp. 104, 105.These ridiculous practices were performed in Mr. Rigdon's absence. About three weeks after his adoption of the delusion, he went to Palmyra to see
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Smith. The prophet was rejoiced at his coming, and had a revelation all ready for him, just suited to his own purpose and Rigdon's vanity. The beginning of it is here transcribed:
A commandment to Joseph and Sidney, December 7, 1830, saying: Listen to the voice of the Lord your God; I am Alpha and Omega. Behold! verily, verily, I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works; I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work: thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold! thou wast sent forth even as John, to prepare the way before me and Elijah, which should come, and thou knewest it not. Thou didst baptize with water unto repentance, but they secured not the Holy Ghost. But now I give unto you a commandment that thou shalt baptize with water and give the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands, even as the apostles of old. And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles."
Mr. Rigdon tarried with Smith about two months, receiving revelations, preaching in the vicinity, and urging proofs of the new religion. His knowledge of the Bible enabled him to pervert many scriptures to this end. Soon after his return to Ohio, Smith and several of his relatives arrived. "This being the 'promised land,' in it their long cherished hopes and anticipations of living without work were to be realized. Thus, from almost a state of beggary, the family of Smiths were immediately well furnished with the 'fat of the land' by their fanatical followers, many of whom were wealthy."
The new delusion immediately assumed an aggressive attitude. A hierarchy was formed consisting of
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several orders of priesthood and grades of eldership. New converts began to come up to the "New Jerusalem," to behold the miraculous wonders that busy rumor reported to be of daily occurrence, and to worship under the eye of the prophet of the "Latter Day Saints." Rigdon's reputation lifted it at once into notice. New members, with incredible haste, were solemnly ordained to the eldership by the high priests, and sent out every-where to propagate the faith. Their gravity and apparent candor, coupled with a degree of ignorance which was ostentatiously paraded as evidence that they were not deceivers, gave them great credit with a superstitious class of people who are ever ready to be duped by supernatural pretension.
Though coming into Ohio first among the disciples, and introduced to their attention in a well-planned and artful manner, very few of the leading members were for a moment deceived. After its its first approach, it boasted of few converts from any of our churches, Rigdon, Pratt and Orson Hyde, the last two young and but little known, were the only preachers who gave it countenance.
The opposition to it was quick on its feet, in rank, and doing effective work to check the imposture. J. J. Moss, at the time a young school-teacher in the place, pelted them, but not with grass. Isaac Moore stood up, and became a shield to many. The vigilance of the Clapps prevented any serious inroads into the church of Mentor. Collins forbade its approach to Chardon, and it merely skulked around its hills. Alexander P. Jones was there also, young, shrewd, and skilled. In many an encounter he was left without
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out a foe. But the misfortune governing the case was that many people, victims of excitement and credulity, and taught in nearly all pulpits to pray for faith, now found themselves met on their owu grounds, and so finding an emotion or impulse answerabIe to an expected response from heaven, dared not dispute the answer to their own prayers, and were hurried into the vortex. The reason the delusion made little progress among the Disciples, save only at Kirtland, where the way for it was paved by the common-stock principle, is to be found in the cardinal principle every-where taught and accepted among them, that faith is founded on testimony. This is the law of faith, both in things divine and human. This fundamental principle of the "current reformation," so rational, as well as so scriptural, was everywhere proclaimed and accepted among the disciples. It constitutes the divergent truth lying at the basis of their views of conversion, and by which they are, on that subject, distinguished from other bodies of religious people. They never "pray for faith," since "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Having obtained faith by the appropriate testimony, they pray, in the exercise of that faith, for all the rightful objects of petition.
No marvel, then, that when the Mormon preacher approached a disciple, with the proposition to pray far a sign, or evidence of the truth of his system, he was met with an intelligent refusal so to "tempt the Lord his God."
The venerable Thomas Campbell, hearing of the defection of Rigdon and the progress this silly delusion was making, came quickly to the front. He
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spent much of the winter in Mentor and vicinity. His wise counsels and great weight of influence interposed an effectual barrier against its encroachments. He addressed a communication to Rigdon so firm, so fatherly and characteristic, that the reader shall have the pleasure of perusing it. Its great length will apologize for the omission of a portion of it. Soon after his return to Kirtland, Rigdon fulminated a pompous challenge to the world to disprove the new Bible. On this Mr. Campbell wrote him, as follows:
"MENTOR, February 4, 1831."MR. SIDNEY RIGDON,
"Dear Sir: -- It may seem strange, that instead of a confidential and friendly visit, after so long an absence, I should thus address, by letter, one whom, for many years I have considered not only as a courteous and benevolent friend, but as a beloved brother and fellow-laborer in the gospel; but alas! how changed, how fallen! Nevertheless, I should now have visited you as formerly, could I conceive that my so doing would answer the important purpose, both to ourselves and to the public, to which we both stand pledged, from the conspicuous and important stations we occupy -- you, as a professed disciple and public teacher of the infernal book of Mormon, and I, as a professed disciple and public teacher of the supernal book of the Old and New Testaments of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which you now say is superceded by the book of Mormon -- is become a dead letter -- so dead that the belief and obedience of it, without the reception of the latter, is no longer available for salvation. To the disproof of this assertion, I understand you defy the world. I here use the epithets infernal and supernal in their primary and literal meaning, the former signifying from beneath, the latter from above, both of which are truly applied, if
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the respective authors may be accredited; of the latter of which, however, I have no doubt. But, my dear sir, supposing you as sincere in your present, as in your former profession * * * neither yourself, your friends, nor the world, are therefore bound to consider you as more infallible in your latter than in your former confidence, any further than you can render good and intelligible reasons for your present certainty. This, I understand from your declaration on last Lord's day, you are abundantly prepared and ready to do. I, therefore, as in duty bound, accept the challenge, and shall hold myself in readiness, if the Lord permit, to meet you publicly, in any place, either in Mentor or Kirtland, or in any of the adjoining towns that may appear most eligible for the accommodation of the public. The sooner the investigation takes place the better for all concerned * * *
"The proposition that I have assumed, and which I mean to assume and defend against Mormonism and every other ism that has been assumed since the Christian era, is the all-sufficiency and the alone-sufficiency of the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, vulgarly called the Bible, to make every intelligent believer wise to salvation, thoroughly furnished for any good work. This proposition, clearly and fully established, as I believe it most certainly can be, we have no more need for Quakerism, Shakerism, Wilkinsonianism, Buchanism, Mormonism, or any other ism, than we have for three eyes, three ears, three hands, or three feet, in order to see, hear, work, or walk. This proposition I shall illustrate and confirm by showing --
"1. That the declarations, invitations, and promises of the gospel, go to confer upon the obedient believer the greatest possible privileges, both here and hereafter, that our nature is capable of enjoying.
"2. That there is not a virtue which can happify, or adorn the human character, nor a vice that can abase or dishappify, which human heart can conceive, or human language
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can express, that is not most clearly commanded or forbidden in the Holy Scriptures.
"3. That there are no greater motives, that can possibly be expressed or conceived, to enforce obedience, or discourage and prevent disobedience, than the scriptures most clearly and unequivocally exhibit.
"These propositions being proved, every thing is proved that can affect our happiness here or hereafter * * *
He next tells Mr. Rigdon the course he proposes to pursue in exposing the claims of Mormonism:
1. By examining the character of its author and his accomplices * * *
2. Expose their pretensions to miraculous gifts, the gift of tongues, and will test them in three or four foreign languages;
3. Expose their assertion, that the authority for administering baptism was lost; for fourteen hundred years till restored by the new prophet, by showing it to be a contradiction to Matt. xvi. 18;
4th. That the pretended duty of "common property" is anti-scriptural, and a fraud upon society.
5. That re-baptizing believers is making void the law of Christ; and that the pretension of imparting the Holy Spirit by imposition of hands, is an unscriptural intrusion on the exclusive prerogative the primary apostles.
6. That its pretentious visions, humility and spiritual perfection, are nowise superior to those of the first Shakers, Jemima Wilkinson, the French prophets, etc.
"In the last place, we shall examine the internal evidence of the Book of Mormon itself, pointing out its evident contradictions, foolish absurdities, shameless pretensions to antiquity, restore it to the rightful claimant, as a production beneath contempt, and utterly unworthy the reception of a schoolboy."
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"I remain, with grateful remembrances of the past, and best wishes for the future, your sincere friend and humble servant,
THOMAS CAMPBELL."Mr. Rigdon read a few lines of this communication, and then hastily committed it to the flames!
Perhaps in no place, except Kirtland, did the doctrines of the "Latter Day Saints" gain a more permanent footing than in Hiram. It entrenched itself there so strongly that its leaders felt assured of the capture of the town. Rigdon's former popularity in that region gave wings to their appeal, and many people, not avowed converts, were under a spell of wonder at the strange things sounded in their ears. The following communication from Bro. Symonds Ryder, living in the midst of the scenes he describes, will be read with interest, especially by those who knew the high and indubitable integrity of the writer:
"HIRAM, February 1, 1868."DEAR BRO. HAYDEN:
"* * * To give particulars of the Mormon excitement of 1831 would require a volume -- a few words must suffice. It has been stated that from the year 1815 to 1835, a period of twenty years, 'all sorts of doctrine by all sorts of preachers had been plead;' and most of the people of Hiram had been disposed to turn out and hear. This went by the specious name of 'liberal.' The Mormons in Kirtland, being informed of this peculiar state of things, were soon prepared for the onset.
"In the winter of 1831 Joseph Smith, with others, had an appointment in the south school-house, in Hiram. Such was the apparent piety, sincerity and humility of the speakers, that many of the hearers were greatly affected, and thought it impossible that such preachers should lie in wait to deceive.
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"During the next spring and summer several converts were made, and their success seemed to indicate an immediate triumph in Hiram. But when they went to Missouri to lay the foundation of the splendid city of Zion, and also of the temple, they left their papers behind. This gave their new converts an opportunity to become acquainted with the internal arrangement of their church, which revealed to them the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under the control of Joseph Smith the prophet. This was too much for the Hiramites, and they left the Mormonites faster than they had ever joined them, and by fall the Mormon church in Hiram was a very lean concern.
"But some who had been the dupes of this deception, determined not to let it pass with impunity; and, accordingly, a company was formed of citizens from Shalersville, Garrettsville, and Hiram, in March, 1832, and proceeded to headquarters in the darkness of night, and took Smith and Rigdon from their beds, and tarred and feathered them both, and let them go. This had the desired effect, which was to get rid of them. They soon left for Kirtland.
"All who continued with the Mormons, and had any property, lost all; among whom was John Johnson, one of our most worthy men; also, Esq. Snow, of Mantua, who lost two or three thousand dollars.
"SYMONDS RYDER."The subsequent history of this modern imposture of most blasphemous pretension, is before the world. It is not a little curious that it has become the groundwork of many publications and much romance. A very full and complete history of it, full of incident and personal allusion, came out a few years ago in France, in two elegant volumes. Its research is minute and extensive, giving with remarkable accuracy
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and fullness sketches of many leading actors, with accounts of the religious societies from which they deflected. A copy of the work is in the library of Congress, at Washington, as I learn by a note from Gen. Garfield who writes: "It was published in French, at Paris, in 1860, and about the same time in English, in London. The London edition is entitled 'A Journey to Great Salt Lake City, by Jules Remy and Julius Brenchley.' It is published at London by W. Jeffs, 15 Burlington Arcade -- imprint, 1861."
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Mr. Campbell's visit to Chardon at the ministers' meeting, June, 1824, produced a marked and permanent effect. The ground principles of all this grand movement--that the Bible is a self-interpreting book; that it is not to be interpreted in the interests of any party, or any received system of theology; that a correct and faithful use of it would lead back the divided saints into the original apostolic "unity of the spirit in the bond of peace," a glorious consummation, and so bring about the long prayed for union of God's people -- these views, so clear, so desirable, and so in harmony with the Holy Scriptures, were warmly cherished and much discussed. Mr. Campbell's "Christian Baptist," several copies of which were taken and critically read, kept alive the discussions, and added very much to the power and boldness with which they were asserted and defended. Lucius Smith was in the habit of taking his copy of it to the neighbors and reading it to
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them. He came frequently to John C. Collins', father of Elder Wm. Collins, who was brother-in-law to the brothers King, where many an evening was profitably spent in searching the Scriptures. It must not for a moment be supposed that the truth gained an easy victory. So far from it, many of its early and life-long supporters arrayed themselves at first against the alleged innovations, and yielded their opposition only when they could withstand no longer. Zadok and George King were among the earliest and firmest opponents.
The hymns reflected the doctrine of the day. There were few more popular than the following: --
My soul in bonds of guilt I found,
And knew not where to go;
Alas! I read and saw it plain
The sinner must be born again,
Or sink to endless woe!"
Mrs. Lucius Smith was no less interested than her husband in the clearer views of gospel light advocated in the "Christian Baptist." She was a Presbyterian, a person of clear apprehension, and of
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much independence of character. She saw the truth in regard to the law, and usually replied to the argument by quoting correctly: "The law was our school-master,"--and asking, "What have we, under the gospel, to do with the law?" Quoting further: "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." The people were walking on the sharp edge of the controversy about legal and evangelical repentance; about saving faith, evangelical faith, historic faith, and many such needless distinctions unknown to the gospel, and which served only to confuse the mind, and render the way of salvation a mystery.
Nathan Porter, who not long before had come from the East, young, ardent, ready in speech, and ready to learn, took hold with fresh avidity of the new principles. He was commended for ordination, and was formally set apart to the work of the ministry, June, 1824. He was prompt to publish and defend the teaching of the Holy Scriptures touching the points under discussion, little caring what the doctrinal standards taught.
WILLIAM COLLINS, familiarly known as "Elder Collins," was born in Enfield, Connecticut, September 24, 1799, but brought up in Suffield. His parents were Presbyterians. When he was about fourteen years of age an extensive religious awakening arose among the Baptists in Suffield. Many turned to the Lord, and young Collins, in the language of that day, become "hopefully converted." Like Timothy of Derbe (Acts xvi: 1) he began at once to exercise his gift of exhortation. His zeal impelled him forward. It is related of him that when the tide of feeling was high in the community, he arose in a
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crowded evening assembly, and stretching both arms sideways to full length, he cried out: "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by!" His voice was full and clear, and the speech produced a profound sensation. He followed with an exhortation twenty minutes, so pertinent, earnest, and persuasive, that many made note of it as preluding eminence in the Christian ministry. In the year 1816, when he was some seventeen years old, his father, John C. Collins, emigrated to Ohio, and settled in Chardon. John King, father of Zadok, George, and Harvey King, and father-in-law of John C. Collins, had removed to Chardon from Connecticut the year before, and settled on "King Street." The land was all a wilderness. Teams of oxen and horses brought their families and their few necessary "goods" all the way, and their own axes underbrushed the way many miles for their wagons. These firm, persevering men brought excellent muscle for the clearing off of the forest, and laying the basis of the agricultural wealth of the country. Their moral and religious principles, in which they were equally heroic, was the groundwork of a future eminently noble society, in which were secured the right culture and development of their children's children. The writer of these memoirs was not born out of due time to see and converse with grandfather and grandmother King. George King, long an elder and active member, died June 8, 1862, at nearly sixty-nine years of age. Harvey King, unexceptionable in uprightness and piety, died joyfully, December 15, 1872, at seventy-five years; while "uncle" Zadok still survives, a veteran of three generations, like a tree with its root in one, its trunk and bloom in another, and its ripe fruit in the third.
Wm. Collins was employed in industrial pursuits for several years. In the winter of 1821-2, Chardon was visited by a deep religious revival. Elder Warner Goodall, of Mentor, was the mover in it, a man of plain, broad
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common sense, of no mean abilities, widely esteemed for his godly behavior. He so preached that a large part of the Presbyterian membership came like Jesus the blessed, and exchanging the bowl for the Jordan, followed their leader into it. Collins had never lost the impressions produced in old Suffield. He came also, and on the 17th of March, 1822, he was baptized by Elder Goodall. Again his tongue was loosed. He was young, ardent, devotedly pious, of brilliant imagination, commanding a copious flow of language, and of manners that awakened great hopes of his future usefulness. He was licensed by the Baptist church, November 3, 1822, when about twenty-three years of age. He was warmly commended to prepare for the ministry in their theological school at Hamilton, New York. Elder Rufus Rider, the Baptist minister, was active in securing these advantages for him. This outlay of means yielded a rich harvest; though probably not precisely in the channel of the counsels which urged him to Hamilton--the only difference, yet important, consisting in the fact that he returned to preach the gospel as he read it in the New Testament, not as it is interpreted in the confession of faith.
When he returned from college he found the community all alive, and agitated with these doctrinal discussions. With a readiness of insight possessed by few men, and with the promptitude and frankness for which he was ever distinguished, he examined, accepted, and began openly to defend the Scripture models as the true standard of conversion, rather than the experiences of men formed as they are by the standards of their respective systems. In this progress of religious intelligence the main portion of the church were with him. He was duly set apart by ordination to the life work of the ministry of the Word, October 26, 1826.
Just the month previous to his ordination, he was married to Miss Ann Eliza Haynes. In her he found a
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Christian companion, whose life flowed evenly with his. They were one in life, in death they were not long separated. Their demise was only three weeks apart. He fell asleep in Chardon, June 26, 1860, aged sixty years; and on the twentieth day of July, twenty-four days after, she followed him to their final reward. The funeral services of both of them were performed by Bro. J. H. Jones, in presence of a great concourse of weeping and admiring friends. Few persons ever passed to their graves more universally respected and lamented.
Collins won all to him by his kind, genial, social nature. He was very quick in discernment, abounded in humor, and was highly entertaining, either as guest or host, by his wit, anecdote, and unfailing supply of sensible and instructive conversation. One less hopeful would have sank down under the hardships and lack of compensation, an experience in which he had his full share in common with the generation of preachers who founded and built up the churches. He did not exceed a medium height, was finely formed, his countenance comely and benevolent. Few men ever preached so many funerals. His abundant, practical common sense, his excellent vocal powers and fluent speech, his firmness of principle, activity in the gospel, his love of men, and devotion to Christ as his servant, made him universally acceptable, and with very many a favorite.
For thirty-four years he proclaimed the gospel. Most of this time he served as pastor of the church. In 1853, J. W. Errett was settled in the church, and served three years. James Encell followed him; then R. Chapman, who died there. Orange Higgins succeeded him for two years. J. W. Ingram next. After him W. S. Hayden, two years; then R. S. Groves.
For many years the church has had the benefit of the invaluable life and labors of Bro. Dan. R. King, who, as a preacher, the peer of any of them, has borne burdens
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when others laid them down. At intervals, when no preacher was employed, he has himself blown the silver trumpet, and, "without murmuring and complaining," has stood always ready to serve for Christ. Present Elders, D. R. King and C. D. Spencer; deacons, Henry Bartlett, L. G. King, O. C. Smith. Seth Sawyer, clerk. Membership, about two hundred.
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN MUNSON.Both in its origin and subsequent support this church is much indebted to the faithful William Collins. Living near by, and being extensively acquainted, and respected by all, he was a pillar of strength to the cause. The first visible awakening was in January, 1839, by Bro. J. P. Robison, who preached one Lord's day, and baptized Miss Jenett Hamilton. He visited them again in the spring, added several, and left a church of twenty-two members; with Alonzo Randall and Orrin Gates as elders; and Milo Fowler and Halsey Abrams, deacons. The visits of E. Williams, W. Collins, and Dexter Otis kept the fire alive. In June, 1840, brethren Bentley, Collins, and Robison, conducted a meeting with seventeen additions. In March, 1841, J. Hartzel came among them. The Presbyterian church was obtained, and a large hearing secured. His lucid statements and able defense of the truth won confidence and converts. In five days, twenty-one souls yielded to Christ. Being compelled to leave, the church sent Adolphus Morse, who was then preaching there, to Mantua for A. S. Hayden, to carry the work forward. The first evening the house was filled with people, who had waded through blinding storms and deep snow -- such was the interest
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in the public mind. Rev. Mr. Pepoon, the Presbyterian minister in the place, a man clearly honest in his convictions, but blinded by prejudice, came to hear and to oppose. Honor to the man, who, while opposing what he conceives to be dangerous error hath yet an honest heart to listen and to learn. Here was an example: This gentleman was hostile; but years afterwards he became calm, and worshiped, and helped on the work. At this visit of three days, nine more were baptized into Christ.
On the 20th of May following came Henry. His royal blade of tried temper was never drawn but in victory. He staid from Friday till Monday, the time of a long meeting then; produced an immense interest, added a number, and left the church all alive. There occurred a passage at arms between him and Rev. Pepoon, which was rather hot than healing; but the times then permitted some things over which these days would throw the veil of charitable oblivion.
In September following Hartzel returned, bringing Bro. C. E. Vanvoorhis with him. But the meeting-house was mow closed. A store-room just erected was fitted up, and filled with hearers; of whom some were obedient to the faith. W. A. Lillie, a school-teacher and student at law, whose inquiring mind had been tossed on the ocean every-where agitated by opposing winds of doctrine, heard Hartzel with delighted relief of mind, as he saw in his exhibition of the gospel a rational system which he could embrace under the laws of evidence without violence to common sense. He immediately confessed his Savior. As in the case of Paul, so in his, the law was abandoned
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for a higher and nobler pleading. He became a minister of Jesus Christ, and his labors have long been fruitful, both in converts and counsels. The churches of Munson, Chester, Russell, and Mogadore, especially, as well as many others, have received much aid by his judicious instructions.
Not only he, but Bro. Orrin Gates came up to usefulness in this church of Munson. Gates was born in Windham County, Connecticut, May 17, 1815. He was brought up among the Methodists. He sought earnestly among that people the joys of salvation; but he failed to obtain under their teachings the anxiously-sought blessing--the evidence of pardon. He heard on King Street, Chardon, the rapid Henry; and his interest grew to astonishment as he listened to the unadorned proclaimer of the gospel. The King brothers there, and Collins, were faithful with him, and he was compelled to investigate. The very plainness of the gospel stumbled him. He fell sick; and his conscience so reproached him with neglected duty, that he resolved to obey the gospel the first opportunity. This was afforded him in the great yearly meeting in Euclid, September, 1837.
His position as elder of the church, to which he was called soon after its organization, compelled him to take a public stand, and called him to exercise his good, natural gifts of exhortation. The outburst of "Come-outer-ism" during the presidential campaign of 1848, was a sore trial to the church in Munson -- good men staggered, and many were swept away by it. His associate elder bowed under it. He girded up his soul, and aided much to
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steady the ship over the rocking billows. It was long before the dissidents resumed their seats in the congregation.
His preaching was now no longer confined to a local congregation. In the winter of 1854, he was formally ordained in the church of Chardon, of which he had become a member, by brethren Isaac Errett, John W. Errett, William Collins, and Zadok King, the time-honored elder of that church. His field enlarged. He was the chief agent in founding the churches in Trumbull, Denmark, and Harpersfield, Ashtabula County, and Montville, Geauga County. His work in Munson, Hartsgrove, Bloomfield, and Bazetta will be long remembered. In Bazetta he had an ingathering of fifty souls at one meeting, and afterwards lived among them eight years.
In 1842 the church in Munson had acquired sufficient strength to erect a good house. Bro. Hartzel came to the dedication of it in November. He preached with such power that fifteen turned to God, among whom were Jas. G. Coleman, and Henry, Thomas, and James Carroll. William Hayden, returning from a tour of preaching in the State of New York, arrived in the midst of the meeting, and preached from the words of the prophet, ". . . . . to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." Isa. lxvi: 2. In his sermon he urged strongly the needs and uses of the Sunday-school.
A great move was made among the people in March, 1843, by Dr. Robison. He began meeting the twenty-fourth of that month, and in ten days he
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had brought seventy-six souls into the kingdom. Elder Collins stood closely by his side, and the presence and prayers of Otis the meek, a part of the time, helped forward the work.
No marvel that in June following this flood tide, when the yearly meeting for Geauga County was to be held in this church, Bro. Robison was the picked standard-bearer for that occasion--the church selecting A. S. Hayden as his associate; these brethren, with those residing near by, discoursed during the four days to the great congregation. There were twelve conversions at that time.
During this year, Dexter Otis was employed by the church to preach one-fourth of the time for fifty dollars.
The brotherhood here have had the labors of most of the preachers. Besides the names already given, men who have been much among them, we mention Bro. M. S. Clapp, E. B. Violl, and Ransom Storm; nor should William Hayden have been omitted as among the earlier and most efficient factors in these results. A. B. Green also, and Washington O'Connor have gathered stars there for Immanuel's crown. Alvin Waite preached statedly for some time, alternating with Bro. Otis.
Among the home forces, much credit is due to Thomas Carroll, who has long been at the helm. His patience, faithfulness, and good judgment are not easily overrated. Milo Fowler left his post as deacon and finance agent many days ago; but he held it faithfully till his hand was enclasped by the touch of that of the angel who bore him to paradise. James G. Coleman also, for many years an
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elder and counselor, and who, by preaching and teaching kept the membership together, will never be forgotten.
No man has been more faithful, or more useful than Allen Harper, one of the first members; he has borne the burden at all times so faithfully and uncomplainingly that he stands among the first in the gratitude of the church. And many others, who, with equal fidelity and perseverance have stood firmly by the cause for many years, doubtless have their names graven on the palms of Immanuel's hands.
BURTONFrom Chardon, as from the church of the Thessalonians, the "word of the Lord sounded" out into surrounding townships. In the year 1835, John A. Ford, of Burton, and his wife, Mrs. Eliza Ann Ford, attended a meeting on King Street, in Chardon; and hearing, they "believed and were baptized" by Bro. Collins. Her sister, Adaline Barnes, afterward Mrs. Hoadley, made her confession of Christ the same time. Mr. Ford was a prosperous farmer, of Presbyterian connections, and a member of the most influential family, and pioneers in the settlement of Burton. His brother, Seabury Ford, Esq., was subsequently chosen by the suffrages of the people to be Governor of the State of Ohio.
Mrs. Ford was a woman of warm friendships, of quick and correct perceptions, and by her decision and energy, she was a great help to her husband in the effort to bring to their neighbors the knowledge of the gospel as preached by the apostles. Almost the whole town was under the influence of the
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Presbyterian church, and the numerous and wealthy family of the Fords were its chief support. This deflection from ancestral faith by John and his wife, was looked upon as close akin to a family reproach, and many times they were made to feel the slights and taunts of offended sect pride, as a penalty for their independence and the legitimate exercise of their rights of conscience.
Wishing the gospel, as they now plainly saw it, to be heard by their neighbors, they invited Collins to come and preach, who promptly responded to the call. In 1838, Ford moved from his farm to the center of the town, where, in his new house, with better accommodations, the people came to hear, and there in the autumn of that year Elder Collins constituted the church, consisting of twenty members.
Bro. John A. Ford and Bro. Joseph Woodward, a man of much religious worth, formerly a Baptist, were very appropriately intrusted with the oversight of the young community. These men would be entitled to respect for their sound judgment and weight of character in any community. Their families heartily co-operated with them in maintaining the ground under great disadvantages for many years. Bro. Henry Pifer was the deacon. After a time, Bro. Hoadley, brother-in-law to Bro. Ford, located in Burton, whose firmness and ability in counsel and address, with the musical talent of his amiable companion, were no small assistance.
The church was sustained by the occasional and sometimes stated help of the preachers -- Collins, Williams, Hartzel, Belding, the Haydens, and others -- so that they became well established in their own
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neat and comfortable meeting-house. Soon after the establishment of the Eclectic Institute at Hiram, this church obtained help from that source. It never grew to be large, but for twenty years conversions and other accessions repaired the loss by disintegration of various kinds. At length, when these two leading families began to separate, the congregation declined, and their dismemberment eventuated in that of the church. In 1858 they ceased to meet.
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