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Bequest of 

Frederic Bancroft 








♦'Beware lest anyone n.ake a prtj oi," ij-o'i, Th'ough an empty and deceitful 
philosophy, ichich jVacc'ordhig to tlie tradition of men, according to the elements 
of the world, and not accorrlingto Ori-;* :, y^r dlllhc i'ulr;,ess of the Deity resides 
Bubstanlially in hiii : Ani youttrcjcoiQfj'ete Jh Uin.^^— Faul. 

>rxTii EDi'Troi'r. 



CoR>«ER OF Eighth and Walnut Streets^ 

18 53. 

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1846, 

By John Rogers, 

[n the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States for the 

District of Kentucky. 


JAMES & CO., Stereotypers, Cincinnati. 
J. A, & v. P. JAMES' Ste:im Press. 





-^^ The author of the following work, was induced to under- 
take it, by the urgent solicitations of the relatives and friends 
of Elder Stone. Deeply sensible of his incompetency for so 
great a work, nothing but deference for the opinion of his 
friends, and a sense of duty to his venerated Father in the 
gospel, could have disposed him to attempt it. Such as it is, 
it is now with great diffidence, offered to the public. The 
writer is fully aware of its many imperfections both in style 
and arrangement. Some of these, at least, might have been cor- 
rected, had he lived nearer the printer, and had had more time 
to bestow upon the work. 

For these imperfections, under the circumstances, his friends, 
and the candid reader, will make due allowance. But from the 
whole tribe of snarling critics he neither hopes, nor fears any 
thing. If they shall show him his errors, he will endeavor to 
correct them. He aspires only to be a follower of Jesus — a 
doer of good, that he may hear the plaudit of his Master at last; 
" Well done, good and faithful servant." 

As to the sources whence he has derived his facts and docu- 
ments, they are of the most unquestionable character; as they 
have been collected from authentic writings, or living wit- 
nesses. The writer believes that B. W. Stone, the much abused 
and persecuted B. W. Stone, was one of the greatest, and most 
consistent Reformers, that has appeared in any age since the 
Apostacy — And that his name will gather new accessions 
of glory, as time rolls on. That for his successful, and con- 



sistent advocacy of the Bible, as the only rule of faith and 
practice, and the only foundation of Christian Union ; — for his 
unflinching adherence to this great principle, amidst poverty, 
and disgrace, — the most bitter and unrelenting persecutions from 
the powerful sects of the day — and the faltering and desertion 
of his own friends, — he deserves, and will receive the admi-^^^* 
ration of posterity. The history of B. W. Stone, will be re-*^^- 
written at a future day, when time shall have extinguished the ^^- 
prejudices that partyism has excited against him ; and when ■; 
the Christian world will be disposed to award to him that po- 
sition as a Reformer, and Christian, to which he is so justly en- 
titled. The present writer hopes he has done something in the 
way of preparing materials for such a work. That his humble 
effort may be acceptable to his brethren, and promotive of 
the cause of truth, and righteousness — that it may tend to pro- 
mote the union of christians, and the salvation of sinners, the 
great ends of the life and labors of the pious Stone, is the 
sincere and fervent prayer of the writer. Amen. 

Carlisle, Ky. Oct 3, 1846. 


The author of the following work, was induced to under- 
take it, by the urgent solicitations of the relatives and friends 
of Elder Stone. Deeply sensible of his incompetency for so 
great a work, nothing but deference for the opinion of his 
friends, and a sense of duty to his venerated Father in the 
gospel, could have disposed him to attempt it. Such as it is, 
it is now with great diffidence, offered to the public. The 
writer is fully aware of its many imperfections both in style 
and arrangement. Some of these, at least, might have been cor- 
rected, had he lived nearer the printer, and had had more time 
to bestow upon the work. 

For these imperfections, under the circumstances, his friends, 
and the candid reader, will make due allowance. But from the 
whole tribe of snarling critics he neither hopes, nor fears any 
thing. If they shall show him his errors, he will endeavor to 
correct them. He aspires only to be a follower of Jesus — a 
doer of good, that he may hear the plaudit of his Master at last : 
" Well done, good and faithful servant." 

As to the sources whence he has derived his facts and docu- 
ments, they are of the most unquestionable character; as they 
have been collected from authentic writings, or living wit- 
nesses. The writer believes that B. W. Stone, the much abused 
and persecuted B. W. Stone, was one of the greatest, and most 
consistent Reformers, that has appeared in any age since the 
Apostacy — And that his name will gather new accessions 
of glory, as time rolls on. That for his successful, and con- 



sistent advocacy of the Bible, as the only rule of faith and 
practice, and the only foundation of Christian Union ; — for his 
unflinching adherence to this great principle, amidst poverty, 
and disgrace, — the most bitter and unrelenting persecutions from 
the powerful sects of the day — and the faltering and desertion 
of his own friends, — he deserves, and will receive the admi- 
ration of posterity. The history of B. W. Stone, will be re- 
written at a future day, when time shall have extinguished the 
prejudices that partyism has excited against him ; and when 
the Christian world will be disposed to award to him that po- 
sition as a Reformer, and Christian, to which he is so justly en- 
titled. The present writer hopes he has done something in the 
way of preparing materials for such a work. That his humble 
eflfort may be acceptable to his brethren, and promotive of 
the cause of truth, and righteousness — that it may tend to pro- 
mote the union of christians, and the salvation of sinners, the 
great ends of the life and labors of the pious Stone, is the 
sincere and fervent prayer of the writer. Amen. 

Carlisle, Ky. Oct 3, 1846, 



Birth and early education 1 


Enters Guilford Academy — Embraces Christianity among the Pres- 
byterians — Completes his Academic course 6 


Becomes a candidate for the Ministry — Studies theology under Mr, 
Hodge of N. Carolina — Abandons, for a time, his theological studies 
— Visits Georgia—Is appointed professor of languages in a Metho- 
dist Academy near Washington — Returns to ]N. Carolina — Resumes 
his theological studies— Is licensed by Orange Presbytery, and sent 
to preach in the lower part of the State — Is discouraged — Leaves his 
field of labor, and directs his course westward— A variety of inci- 
dents on his journey to Nashville 12 


Reaches Kentucky, and settles in the close of the year '96, as the 
preacher of the congregations of Caneridge and Concord, Bourbon 
county — Is appointed by Transylvania Presbytery, to visit the 
south, to solicit funds to establish a college in Kentucky — From 
Charleston, South Carolina, he visits his mother, and returns to 
Kentucky — In the fall of '98 receives a call (which he accepts) 
from the united congregations of Caneridge and Concord — A day 
is appointed for his ordination — Refuses to receive the Confession 
of Faith without qualification — Is nevertheless ordained 25 


His mind is greatly agitated by Calvinistic speculations — He re-ex- 
amines the Scriptures, and cordially abandons Calvinism— Hears 
of a great religious excitement in Logan county, Ky., in the spring 
of 1801, and hastens to attend a Camp-meeting in that county — 
Is astonished at the wonderful religious exercises — Multitudes con- 
fess the Saviour — Returns from Logan filled with religious zeal— 
Under his labors similar scenes occur at Caneridge and Concord — 
Great excitement and religious interest pervade the community — ^ 
Married to Elizabeth Campbell, July, 1801— Great Caneridge' 
meeting — Description of 30 




An account of Ihe remarkable religious exercises, witnessed in the 
beginning of the 1 9th century , 39 


Hemorrhage of the lungs from excessive speaking, &c. —Attends a 
camp meeting at Paris — Meets with opposition — Frees his slaves- 
Richard M'Nemar, John Dunlavy, John Thompson, Robert Mar- 
shall and himself concur in religious views — Revival checked by 
opposition — Party ism rekindled — M'Nemar tried — Protest against 
proceedings of Synod in ?/I'Nemar's case, and withdrawal of Rich- 
ard M'Nemar, John Durdavy, John Thompson, Robert Marshall and 
himself from jurisdiction of Synod— They are suspended — Formed 
themselves into a separate Presbytery, called Springfield Presby- 
tery — Apology published. — Abandons Presbyterianism — Surrenders 
all claim to salary—Last Will and Testament of Springfield Pres- 
bytery 42 


Atonement — Change of views — Baptism ; is himself immersed — Fa- 
naticism makes considerable advances — The Shakers come — Some 
of the Preachers and people led off 56 


The churches had scarcely recovered fiom the shock of Shakerism, 
when Marshall and Thompson became disaffected — They endeav- 
or to introduce a human Creed — But failing, they return to the 
Presbyterian Church — Their character — B. W. Stone's only son 
dies, 1809 — His wife, in May, 1810 — Her pious character — Breaks 
up housekeeping — In October, 1811, was married to Gelia W. 
Bowen, and removes to Tennessee — Returns to Kentucky — Teach- 
es a high school in Lexington—Studies the Hebrew language— Ap- 
pointed principal of the Rittenhouse Academy in Georgetown- 
Preaches in Georgetown, where he founded a church with a numer- 
ous congregation — Is persuaded to resign his station in the Acade- 
my, and devote his whole time to preaching— Teaches a private 
school in Georgetown— Goes to Meigs county, Ohio, where a Bap- 
tist Association agrees to assume the name Christian — Remarkable 
dream — Travels in Ohio, preaching to multitudes and baptizing 


A. Campbell appears — Visits Kentucky— His character and views 
— In 1826 Elder Stone commences the publication of the Christian 
Messenger — In 1833 John T. Johnson became associated with El- 
der Stone as co-editor of the Messenger — Continued in that con- 




Birth and early education 1 


Enters Guilford Academy — Embraces Christianity among the Pres- 
byterians — Completes his Academic course 6 


Becomes a candidate for the Ministry — Studies theology under Mr. 
Hodge of iV. Carolina — Abandons, for a time, his theological studies 
— Visits Georgia — Is appointed professor of languages in a Metho- 
dist Academy near Washington — Returns to N. Carolina — Resumes 
his theological studies — Is licensed by Orange Presbytery, and sent 
to preach in the lower part of the State — Is discouraged — Leaves his 
field of labor, and directs his course westward— A variety of inci- 
dents on his journey to Nashville 12 


Reaches Kentucky, and settles in the close of the year '96, as the 
preacher of the congregations of Caneridge and Concord, Bourbon 
county — Is appointed by Transylvania Presbytery, to visit the 
south, to sohcit funds to establish a college in Kentucky — From 
Charleston, South Carolina, he visits his mother, and returns to 
Kentucky — In the fall of '98 receives a call (which he accepts) 
from the united congregations of Caneridge and Concord — A day 
is appointed for his ordination — Refuses to receive the Confession 
of Faith without qualification — Is nevertheless ordained. .... 25 


His mind is greatly agitated by Calvinistic speculations — He re-ex- 
amines the Scriptures, and cordially abandons Calvinism — Hears 
of a great religious excitement in Logan county, Ky., in the spring 
of 1801, and hastens to attend a Camp-meeting in that county— ■ 
Is astonished at the wonderful religious exercises — Multitudes con- 
fess the Saviour — Returns from Logan filled with religious zeal— 
Under his labors similar scenes occur at Caneridge and Concord — 
Great excitement and religious interest pervade the community- 
Married to Elizabeth Campbell, July, 1801 — Great Caneridge 
meeting — Description of 30 




An account of the remarkable religious exercises, witnessed in the 
beginning of the 19th century 39 


Hemorrhage of the lungs from excessive speaking, &c.-- Attends a 
camp meeting at Paris — Meets with opposition — Frees his slaves- 
Richard M'Nemar, John Dunlavy, John Thompson, Robert Mar- 
shall and himself concur in religious views — Revival checked by 
opposition— Party ism rekindled — M'Nemar tried — Protest against 
proceedings of Synod in M'Nemar's case, and withdrawal of Rich- 
ard M'Nemar, John Dunlavy, John Thompson, Robert Marshall and 
himself from jurisdiction of Synod — They are suspended — Formed 
themselves into a separate Presbytery, called Springfield Presby- 
tery — Apology published. — Abandons Presbyterianism — Surrenders 
all claim to salary — Last Will and Testament of Springfield Pres- 
bytery 42 


Atonement — Change of views — Baptism ; is himself immersed — Fa- 
naticism makes considerable advances — The Shakers come — Some 
of the Preachers and people led off 56 


The churches had scarcely recovered from the shock of Shakerism, 
when Marshall and Thompson became disaffected — They endeav- 
or to introduce a human Creed — But failing, they return to the 
Presbyterian Church — Their character — B. W. Stone's only son 
dies, 1809 — His wife, in May, 1810 — Her pious character — Breaks 
up housekeeping— In October, 1811, was married to Celia W. 
Bowen, and removes to Tennessee — Returns to Kentucky — Teach- 
es a high school in Lexington — Studies the Hebrew language — Ap- 
pointed principal of the Rittenhouse Academy in Georgetown- 
Preaches in Georgetown, where he founded a chm'ch with a numer- 
ous congregation — Is persuaded to resign his station in the Acade- 
my, and devote his whole time to preaching— Teaches a private 
school in Georgetown — Goes to Meigs county, Ohio, where a Bap- 
tist Association agrees to assume the name Christian — Remarkable 
dream — Travels in Ohio, preaching to multitudes and baptizing 


A.Campbell appears — Visits Kentucky — His character and views 
— In 1826 Elder Stone commences the publication of the Christian 
Messenger — In 1833 John T. Johnson became associated with El- 
der Stone as co-editor of the Messenger — Continued in that con- 



nexion till B. W. Stone removed to Illinois— They succeed in 
uniting the Churches in Kentucky, whose members had been in- 
vidiously called Stonites and Campbellites— In 1834 B. W. Stone 
removes to Jacksonville, Illinois — Effects a union there between 
those called Christians and Reformers 75 


B. W. Stone visits Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky for the last time — 
Visits Carlisle and Caneridge — Returns home 80 


Mr. Stone's account of his visit to Kentucky — Finds much to approve 
— Some things to disapprove — Advice to a young preacher — His 
last preaching tour in Missouri — Last public discourse — Death . 93 


Notice of the death and Character of B. W. Stone, by his son Barton 
101.— By A. Campbell, and Jacob Creath, 105.— By Dr. Morton, 
108— By T. M. Allen, 1 10— By J. T. Matlock, 111— By the 
Church of Christ at Caneridge, 1 I3.--By A. Rains, 116 — By F. 
R. Palmer, 1 18.— By T. Smith, 118.— By J. E. Matthews, 119— 
By Love Jameson, 1 1 9.— Incidents connected with the early his- 
tory of B. W. Stone, furnished by D. Purviance, 120. — Discourse 
occasioned by the Death of B. W. Stone — By J. A Gano . . . 130 

Introduction to the Apology of the Springfield Presbytery .... 147 


Embraced between pages 147 and 191, containing a particular ac- 
count of the causes, which in a regular chain, led the members of 
the Springfield Presbytery, to withdraw from the Synod of Ky, , 

A compendious view of the Gospel, 191. Human Depravity, 191. 
Regeneration, 192 — The Gospel, 193 — The Gospel the means of 
Regeneration, 202 — Faith, 205 — Objections answered, 210 


Observations introductory to Remarks on the Confession of Faith, 222 
—Remarks on Creeds and Confessions in general, 231 — On the 
Westminster Confession in particular 235 




character of barton "w. stoxe. 


His character — as a Husband — Father — Neighbor — He was just — 
Gentle — Disliked controversy — Loved peace 248 



He was given to hospitality — Was respected by all who knew 
him — Loved by many of his religious opponents — Good moral 
character, awarded him by all — Instances — He was grave and dig- 
nified in all his deportment, whether in the pulpit or out of it . . 260 



His candor and honesty in matters of religion — His humility and 
modesty — Strong personal attachments — Was greatly devoted to his 
family — Was supremely devoted to the interests of the Church and 
salvation of sinners 271 



The piety and benevolence of Barton W. Stone, as illustrated in 
his position and practice in reference to the question of Slavery — 
He was a, man of great independence of mind — Of great firmness 
and decision of character — Was unaspiring — Superior to envy and 
jealousy — His position and character as a Reformer — Poetry. . . 287 


A brief history of the Union which took place, in Ky. in 1832 be- 
tween B. W. Stone, and those associated with him, and those asso- 
ciated with A. Campbell '. • . . . 317 


Preliminary observations — History of the exercises, or bodily agita- 
tions under the ministry of Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, I3uel 
— Among the Baptists in Virginia — Those strange affections coun- 
tenanced and encouraged by Wesley, Erskine, Watson, White- 
field, Edwards — Professor Hodge regards them as the offspring of 
natural causes, and not the result of any divine influence — In a 
great majority of cases they affect the ignorant and imaginative — 
Are infectious — Proved by various examples — Are no evidence of 
the divine favor — It can never be shown that they arise from gen- 



uine christian feeling — No such results followed the Apostles' 
preaching — The cases referred to by their apologists not in point 
— The testimony of Scripture directly against them — Examples — 
These exercises not the offspring of any thing peculiar to any 
foife of Calvinism or Arminianisra — Therefore cannot be plead- 
ed in proof of any thing peculiar to any of them — Mr. Wesley re- 
garded them as a sort of miraculous attestations of the truth of his 
preaching — Instances — Genuine Christians and even the talented 
sometimes have been subject to them — Yet generally they affect the 
ignorant and nervous — Where these exercises have been encour- 
aged, they have greatly prevailed — Where opposed, they have not 
— The case of the Pentecostians peculiar — No justification of such 
irregularities — They promote fanaticism, censoriousness, &c., ex- 
emplified in various cases — These extravagances in religion may be 
traced to the operation of false notions of the means of enjoying 
pardon upon persons of nervous temperaments — John L. Waller's 
mistakes corrected 348 







Birth and early education. 

I WAS born near Port-Tobacco, in the State of Mary- 
land, December 24th, 1772. My father, John Stone, 
died when I was very young. I have no recollection of 
him in life. My mother, whose maiden name was Mary 
Warren, a few years after the death of ray father, with 
a large family of children and servants, moved to the 
then called back- woods of Virginia, Pittsylvania county, 
near Dan river, about eighty miles below the Blue 
Mountain. This occurred in 1779, during the revolu- 
tionary war. 

The manners and customs of the people, among whom 
we resided, were exceedingly simple — no aspirations for 
wealth or preferment — contentment appeared to be the 
lot of all, and happiness dwelt in every breast amidst 
the abundance of home stores, acquired by honest in- 
dustry. Benevolence, and kindness in supplying the 
wants of new-comers, as late immigrants were called, 
were universal. Courts of justice were rare and far 
distant from us. To remedy this inconvenience, the 
A 1 


neighborhoods selected their best men, whose duty was 
to preserve order, and administer justice. By them 
Lynch's law was frequently executed on offenders. 
Sports of the most simple kind were generally practiced, 
and friendship and good feeling universally reigned. 
Religion engaged the attention of but a few. Indeed, 
our parson himself mingled in all the sports and pass- 
times of the people, and was what may be termed a man 
of pleasure. 

Frequent calls were made for men to aid in our revo- 
lutionary struggles against our enemies, the British and 
tories. Those calls were promptly obeyed by the hardy 
sons of the back-woods. Parents in tears cheerfully 
equipt their w^illing sons for the tented field. Never 
shall I forget the sorrows of my widowed mother when 
her sons shouldered their firelocks, and marched away to 
join the army. Never will the impressions of my own 
grief be erased from the tablet of my memory, when 
these scenes occurred. 

We knew that General Green and Lord Cornwallis 
would shortly meet in mortal combat not far from us. 
The whole country was in great anxiety and bustle. 
Nothing was secure from the depredation of the tories, 
and of bandits of thieves worse than they. My mother 
had some valuable horses needed for the use of the farm, 
to secure which from being taken by scouting parties, 
she sent me with my two elder brothers to conceal them 
in a thicket of brushwood, not far distant from home. 
This was to me, even then, a gloomy day. It was the 
day when Green and Cornwallis met at Guilford Court- 
House, in North Carolina, about thirty miles distant from 
us. We distinctly heard the roar of the artillery, and 
awfully feared the result. 

The soldiers, when they returned home from their war- 
tour, brought back with them many vices almost unknown 
to us before ; as profane swearing, debauchery, drunk- 
enness, gambling, quarreling and fighting. For having 
been soldiers, and having fought for liberty, they were 
respected and caressed by all. They gave the ton to 


the neighborhood, and therefore their influence m de- 
moralizing society was very great. These vices soon 
became, genera], and almost honorable. Such are uni- 
versally the effects of war, than which a greater evil 
cannot assail and afflict a nation. 

In such society were my youthful days spent ; but in 
these vices I never participated. From my earliest re- 
collection I drank deeply into the spirit of liberty, and 
was so warmed by the soul-inspiring draughts, that I 
could not hear the name of British, or tories, without feel- 
ing a rush of blood through the whole system. Such 
prejudices, formed in youth, are with difficulty ever re- 
moved. I confess their magic influence to this advanced 
day of my life, especially when the name tory is men- 
tioned — so many injuries, fresh in my recollection, at- 
tach to that name. 

I was early sent to school to a very tyrant of a teach- 
er, who seemed to take pleasure in whipping and abusing 
his pupils for every trifling offence. I could learn no- 
thing through fear of him. When I was called on to recite 
my lessons to him, I was so affected with fear and trem- 
bling, and so confused in mind, that I could say nothing. 
I remained with him but a few days, and was sent to 
another teacher of a different temper, with whom I ac- 
quired with facility the first rudiments of an English ed- 
ucation, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Here I must 
enter my protest against tyrannical and ill-disposed teach- 
ers. Such are a curse to any neighborhood in which 
they may teach. Teachers should be the most patient, 
self-possessed, and reasonable of men ; yet of such firm- 
ness as to secure authority and respect. The rod 
should be rarely used — only in cases ojf necessity ; and 
then by the arm of mercy. He should act the part of 
a kind father towards them as his children. Gain their 
respect and love, and they will delight in obedience, 
and rarely fail to learn the lessons given to them. 

Grammar, geography, and the branches of science 
now taught in common schools, were then unknown, 
and not sought after. My old teacher, Robert W. So- 


merhays, an Englishman, was considered in our neigh- 
borhood, a prodigy of learning. After I had continued 
with him for four or five years, he pronounced me a 
finished scholar, and such indeed was I considered gen- 
erally in the neighborhood. This, with my natural 
love of letters, fired my mind and increased my exer- 
tions to rise to eminence. Being naturally ambitious 
to excel, the praises lavished unsparingly upon me, 
swelled my vanity, and caused me to think myself a 
little above mediocrity. 

From the time I was able to read, I took great de- 
light in books, and preferred them to any company, and 
often retired from my young companions to indulge in 
the pleasure of reading. But books of science were 
the rarest articles in our country, and in fact were not 
to be found in our back- woods. Nothing but a few 
novels, as Peregrine Pickle, Tom Jones, Roderic Ran- 
dom, and such trash, could I obtain. These were poor 
helps, and yet from reading these, my ardent thirst for 
knowledge increased. The Bible we had ; but this 
being the only book read in our schools, had become 
so familiar by constantly reading it there, that I wished 
variety. Here I wish to leave my testimony in favor 
of making the Bible a school book. By this means 
the young mind receives information and impressions, 
which are not erased through life. The Bible, not 
read in school, is seldom read afterwards. To this, as 
one leading cause, maybe attributed the present growth 
of infidelity and skepticism, then scarcely known, and 
never openly avowed in all our country. 

As soon as liberty from the yoke of Britain was 
achieved, the priests' salaries were abolished, and our 
parsons generally left us, and many returned to England. 
Every man did what seemed right in his own eyes ; 
wickedness abounded, the Lord's day was converted 
into a day of pleasure, and the house of worship de- 
serted. A few Baptist preachers came in amongst us, 
some of whom I well remember, as Samuel Harris, 
Button Lane, S. Cantrell, &c. They began to preach 


to the people, and great effects followed. Multitudes 
attended their ministrations, and many were immersed. 
Immersion was so novel in those parts, that many from 
a distance were incited to come in order to see the or- 
dinance administered. 

I was a constant attendant, and was particularly in- 
terested to hear the converts giving in their experi- 
ence. Of their conviction and great distress for sin, 
they were very particular in giving an account, and 
how and when they obtained deliverance from their 
burdens. Some were delivered by a dream, a vision, 
or some uncommon appearance of light — some by a 
voice spoken to them, '' Thy sins are forgiven thee" — 
and others by seeing the Saviour with their natural 
eyes. Such experiences were considered good by the 
church, and the subjects of them were received for 
baptism, and into full fellowship. Great and good was 
the reformation in society. Knowing nothing better, I 
considered this to be the work of God, and the way of 
salvation. The preachers had the art of affecting their 
hearers by a tuneful or singing voice in preaching. 

About this time came in a few Methodist preachers. 
Their appearance was prepossessing — grave, holy, 
meek, plain and humble. Their very presence check- 
ed levity in all around them — their zeal was fervent 
and unaffected, and their preaching was often electric 
on the congregation, and fixed their attention. The 
Episcopalians and Baptists began to oppose them with 
great warmth. The Baptists represented them as de- 
nying the doctrines of grace, and of preaching salvation 
by works. They publicly declared them to be the lo- 
custs of the Apocalypse, and warned the people against 
receiving them. Poor Methodists ! They were then 
but few, reproached, misrepresented, and persecuted as 
unlit to live on the earth. My mind was much agitated, 
and was vascilating between these two parties. For some 
time I had been in the habit of retiring in secret, morn- 
ing and evening, for prayer, with an earnest desire for 
religion ; but being ignorant of what I ought to do, I 


became discouraged, and quit praying, and engaged in 
the youthful sports of the day. 

My father's will was, that when I, the youngest child, 
should arrive at the age of twenty-one years, his estate 
should be equally divided among his children, except 
the part bequeathed to my mother. When I was fifteen 
or sixteen years of age, my three elder brothers were 
grown, and about to start into the world pennyless. It 
was proposed that a division of our property be made. 
To this I willingly acceded: and it was accordingly 
done to the satisfaction of all. When my part was as- 
signed me, my mind was absorbed day and night in 
devising some plan to improve it. At length I came 
to the determination to acquire, if possible, a liberal 
education, and thus qualify myself for a barrister. I 
communicated my mind to my mother and brothers, 
who all cordially approved of my purpose, and gave 
the promise of pecuniary aid, should I need it. Imme- 
diately! began to arrange my affairs to put my purpose 
into execution. 


Enters Guilford Academy — Embraces Christianity among the Presbyteri- 
ans — Completes his Academic course. 

Having determined on my future course, I bade 
farewell to my mother, brothers, companions and neigh- 
bors, and directed my way to a noted Academy in Guil- 
ford, North Carolina, under the direction of Doc. David 
Caldwell. Here I commenced the Latin Grammar the 
first day of February, 1790. With the ardor of Eneas' 
son, I commenced with the full purpose to acquire an 
education, or die in the attempt. With such a mind, 
every obstacle can be surmounted in the affairs of life. 
I stript myself of every hindrance for the course — de- 
nied myself of strong food — lived chiefly on milk and 
vegetables, and allowed myself but six or seven hours 


in the twenty- four for sleep. By such indefatigable 
application to study, as might be expected, I passed 
several classes, until I came up with one of equal ap- 
plication, with which I continued through the whole of 
our academic course. 

When I first entered the academy, there had been, 
and then was, a great religious excitement. About 
thirty or more of the students had lately embraced re- 
ligion under the ministration of James McGready, a 
Presbyterian preacher of exceeding popularity, piety, 
and engagedness. I was not a little surprised to find 
those pious students assembled every morning before 
the hour of recitation, and engaged in singing and 
praying in a private room. Their daily walk evinced 
to me their sincere piety and happiness. This was a 
source of uneasiness to my mind, and frequently brought 
me to serious reflection. I labored to banish these se- 
rious thoughts, believing that religion would impede 
my progress in learning — would thwart the object I had 
in view, and expose me to the frowns of my relatives 
and companions. I therefore associated with that part 
of the students who made light of divine things, and 
joined with them in their jests at the pious. For this 
my conscience severely upbraided me when alone, and 
made me so unhappy that I could neither enjoy the 
company of the pious nor of the impious. 

I now began seriously to think it would be better for 
me to remove from this academy, and go to Hampden- 
Sidney College, in Virginia ; for no other reason than 
that I might get aw^ay from the constant sight of reli- 
gion. I had formed the resolution and had determined 
to start the next morning, but w^as prevented by a very 
stormy day. I remained in my room during that day, 
and came to the firm resolution to pursue my studies 
there, attend to my own business, and let every one 
pursue his own way. From this I have learned that 
the most effectual way to conquer the depraved heart, 
is, the constant exhibition of piety and a godly life in 
the professors of religion. 


Having formed this resolution, I was settled for a 
short time, until my room-mate, Benjamin McReynolds, 
a pious young Virginian, politely asked me to walk 
with him a short distance in the neighborhood, to hear 
a certain preacher. I consented, and walked with him. 
A crowd of people had assembled — the preacher came 
— it was James McGready, whom I had never seen 
before. He rose and looked around on the assembly. 
His person was not prepossessing, nor his appearance 
interesting, except his remarkable gravity, and small 
piercing eyes. His coarse tremulous voice excited in 
me the idea of something unearthly. His gestures 
were sui generis^ the perfect reverse of elegance. 
Every thing appeared by him forgotten, but the salva- 
tion of souls. Such earnestness — such zeal — such 
powerful persuasion, enforced by the joys of heaven 
and miseries of hell, I had never witnessed before. 
My mind was chained by him, and followed him closely 
in his rounds of heaven, earth and hell, with feelings 
indescribable. His concluding remarks were address- 
ed to the sinner to flee the wrath to come without de- 
lay. Never before had I comparatively felt the force 
of truth. Such was my excitement, that had I been 
standing, I should have probably sunk to the floor un- 
der the impression. 

The meeting over, I returned to my room. Night 
coming on, I walked out into an old field, and seriously 
reasoned with myself on the all-important subject of 
religion. What shall I do ? Shall I embrace religion 
now^, or not? I impartially weighed the subject, and 
counted the cost. If I embrace religion, I must incur 
the displeasure of my dear relatives, lose the favor and 
company of my companions — become the object of 
their scorn and ridicule — relinquish all my plans and 
schemes for worldly honor, wealth and preferment, and 
bid a final adieu to all the pleasures in which I had 
lived, and hoped to live on earth. Are you willing to 
make this sacrifice to religion ? No, no, was the an- 
swer of my heart. Then the certain alternative is, you 


must be damned. Are you willing to be damned — to 
be banished from God — from heaven — from all good — 
and suffer the pains of eternal fire ? No, no, responded 
my heart — I cannot endure the thought. After due 
deliberation, I resolved from that hour to seek religion 
at the sacrifice of every earthly good, and immediately 
prostrated myself before God in supplication for mercy. 

According to the preaching, and the experience of 
the pious in those days, I anticipated a long and pain- 
ful struggle before I should be prepared to come to 
Christ, or, in the language then used, before I should 
get religion. This anticipation was completely realized 
by me. For one year I was tossed on the waves of 
uncertainty — laboring, praying, and striving to obtain 
saving faith — sometimes desponding, and almost de- 
spairing of ever getting it. 

The doctrines then publicly taught were, that man- 
kind were so totally depraved, that they could not be- 
lieve, repent, nor obey the gospel — that regeneration 
was an immediate work of the Spirit, whereby faith 
and repentance were wrought in the heart. These 
things were pourtrayed in vivid colors, with all earnest- 
ness and solemnity. JVow was not Men, the accepted 
time — now was not then^ the day of salvation ; but it 
was God's own sovereign time, and for that time the 
sinner must wait. 

In February, 1791, with many of my fellow students, 
I went some distance to a meeting on Sandy River, in 
Virginia. J. B. Smith, president of Hampden-Sidney 
College, Cairy Allen, James Blythe, Robert Marshall, 
and James McGready, were there. On Lord's-day Pre- 
sident Smith spoke on these words: "The sacrifices 
of God are a broken spirit ; a broken and a contrite 
heart, God, thou wilt not despise." In his descrip- 
tion of a broken and contrite heart, I felt my own de- 
scribed. Hope began to rise, and my sorrow-worn 
heart felt a gleam of joy. He urged all of this charac- 
ter to approach the Lord's table that day, on pain of 
his sore displeasure. For the first time, I partook of 


the Lord's supper. T In the evening the honest J. M'- 
Gready addressed the people from ^^Tekel, thou art 
weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." He 
went through all the legal works of the sinner — all the 
hiding places of the hypocrite — all the resting places 
of the deceived — he drew the character of the regen- 
erated in the deepest colors, and thundered divine an- 
athemas against every other. Before he closed his dis- 
course I had lost all hope — all feeling, and had sunk 
into an indescribable apathy. 1 He soon after inquired 
of me the state of my mind. I honestly told him. He 
labored to arouse me from my torpor by the terrors of 
God, and the horrors of hell. I told him his labors were 
lost upon m'e — tliM I was entirely callous. He left 
me in this gloomy state, without one encouraging word. 

In this state I remained for several weeks. I wan- 
dered alone — my strength failed me, and sighs and 
groans filled my days. My relatives in Virginia heard 
of my situation, and sent for me. My altered appear- 
ance surprised them. My old mother took me in pri- 
vate, and asked, what is the matter? I told her all. 
She wept much. She had always been a praying wo- 
man, and a member of the Church of England ; but 
from this time she more earnestly sought the Lord, — 
united with the Methodists, and lived and died a Chris- 
tian. My visit proved to be a blessing to several of 
my relatives, who were awakened to a sense of their 
dangerous condition, and inclined to turn to the Lord. 

After a few days stay in Virginia I returned to the 
academy in the same state of mind. Soon after I at- 
tended a meeting at Alamance, in Guilford county. 
Great was the excitement among the people. / On the 
Lord's-day evening a strange young preacher, William 
Hodge, addressed the people. His text I shall never 
forget, " God is love." With much animation, and 
with many tears he spoke of the Love of God to sin- 
ners, and of what that love had done for sinners. My 
heart warmed with love for that lovely character de- 
scribed, and momentary hope and joy would rise in my 


troubled breast. My mind was absorbed in the doc- 
trine — to me it appeared new. But the common ad- 
monition, Take heed lest you he deceived^ w^ould quickly 
repress them, j This cannot be the mighty work of the 
spirit, which you must experience — that instantaneous 
work of Almighty powder, which, like an electric shock, 
is to renew the soul and bring it to Christ. 

The discourse being ended, I immediately retired to 
the woods alone with my Bible. Here I read and 
prayed w4th various feelings, between hope and fear. 
But the truth I had just heard, " God is love," prevail- 
ed. Jesus came to seek and save the lost — "Him that 
Cometh unto me, I will in no w^ise cast out." I yield- 
ed and sunk at his feet a willing subject. I loved him 
— I adored him — I praised him aloud in the silent night, 
— in the echoing grove around. I confessed to the 
Lord my sin and folly in disbelieving his word so long 
— and in following so long the devices of men. I now 
saw that a poor sinner was as much authorized to be- 
lieve in Jesus at first, as at last — that now was the ac- 
cepted time, and day of salvation. 

From this time till I finished my course of learning, 
I lived devoted to God. The study of the dead lan- 
guages and of the sciences were not irksome but pleas- 
ant, from the consideration that I was engaged in them 
for the glory of God, to whom I had unreservedly de- 
voted my all. During this period a few incidents trans- 
pired, which were severe trials of my faith. My ex- 
penses for boarding, tuition, clothing, books, &c., were 
considerable ; far more than I had anticipated. My 
funds were nearly exhausted ; my small patrimony had 
suffered loss. I could not procure decent clothes, or 
books, or things indispensably necessary. I had se- 
rious thoughts of relinquishing my studies, and men- 
tioned it to my good friend and father, Doct. Caldwell. 
He urged me to go forward, and promised to wait with 
me, till I should be able to pay him. Encouraged by 
him, I renewed my application through difficulties great, 
till I had finished my course of studies. 



Becomes a candidate for the Ministry — Studies theology under Mr. Hodge 
of N. Carolina — Abandons, for a time, his theological studies — Visits 
Georgia — Is appointed professor of languages in a Methodist Academy 
near Washington — Returns to N. Carolina— Resumes his theolo^cal 
studies — Is licensed by Orange Presbytery, and sent to preach in the 
lower part of the State — Is discouraged — Leaves his field of labor, and 
directs his course westward — A variety of incidents on his journey to 

Having finished my academic course, I advised with 
my good friend Dr. Caldwell, with regard to my future 
career. I made known to him my great desire to preach 
the gospel ; but that I had no assurance of being di- 
vinely called and sent. He removed my scruples on 
this subject, by assuring me that I had no right to ex- 
pect a miracle to convince me — and that if I had a 
hearty desire to glorify God and save sinners by preach- 
ing, and if my fathers in the ministry should encourage 
me, I should hesitate no longer. He was glad to hear 
of my desire, and in order to expedite my licensure, 
he gave me a text, and requested me to write a dis- 
course upon it, and present it to the next Presbytery, 
when I should offer myself a candidate for the minis- 
try. By doing this I should be set forward six months. 

In the year 1793 I with several more of my fellow 
students became candidates for the ministry in the Or- 
ange Presbytery. Samuel Holmes, a prodigy of gen- 
ius, (afterwards president of the North Carolina Uni- 
versity,) and myself put ourselves under the direction 
of William Hodge, of Orange county. North Carolina. 
The Presbytery had assigned us particular subjects of 
divinity to study, as parts of trial, against their next 
stated session, among which, were the Being and At- 
tributes of God, and the Trinity, with certain theses on 
which to write. We commenced in high spirits. 
Witsius on the Trinity was put into our hands. I had 
never before read any books on theology but the Bible. 
This had been my daily companion since I became se- 


riously disposed to religion. From it I had received 
all my little stock of divinity. It was my life, my 
comfort and guide. In fact, by my close attention to 
other studies, I had but little time and opportunity to 
read any thing else. My mind had remained happily 
ignorant of and undisturbed by polemic and obscure 
divinity. The doctrine of the Trinity may have been oc- 
casionally glanced at by our preachers, but was never 
made the subject of a discourse in my hearing. 

Witsius would first prove that there was but one 
God, and then that there were three persons in this one 
God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost— that the Father 
was unbegotten — the Son eternally begotten, and the 
Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and 
the Son — that it was idolatry to worship more Gods 
than one, and yet equal worship must be given to the 
Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost. He wound up all 
in incomprehensible mystery. My mind became con- 
fused, so much confused that I knew not how to pray. 
Till now, secret prayer and meditation had been my 
delightful employ. It was a heaven on earth to ap- 
proach my God, and Saviour; but now this heavenly 
exercise was checked, and gloominess and fear filled 
my troubled mind. I had serious thoughts of relinquish- 
ing the study of theology entirely, and of engaging in 
some other business. I made known my case to my 
fellow-student S. Holmes, but to none else. He ac- 
knowledged that his mind was similarly affected. We 
laid the book aside as unprofitable as well as unintelli- 
gible to us — calculated to involve our minds in mystic 
darkness, and to cool the ardor of our devotion. We 
heard of Dr. Watts' treatise on the subject. We sought 
for it, and obtained it. This we read with pleasure and 
understanding, and received his views. 

The next session of our Presbytery came on. W^e 
with many other candidates attended. Old father Pa- 
tillo was there, who himself embraced Watts' views 
on the Trinity. The examination of the candidates on 
theology was laid on him. When he came to the sub- 


ject of Trinity, he was very short, and his interrogato- 
ries involved no peculiarities of the system. Our an- 
swers were honest and satisfactory. The reasons why 
he was so short and indefinite on this subject were, 
doubtless, to prevent debate on the subject in Presby- 
tery, and to maintain peace among its members. 

Before the next session of Presbytery, when we were 
to receive licensure, my mind had become much de- 
pressed, from various causes. My pecuniary resources 
had failed, and none of my relatives were willing to 
aid me. Having been so long engaged and confined 
to the study of systematic divinity from the Calvinistic 
mould, my zeal, comfort, and spiritual life became con- 
siderably abated. My mind was embarrassed with 
many abstruse doctrines, which I admitted as true ; yet 
could not satisfactorily reconcile with others which were 
plainly taught in the Bible. For these causes I became 
so depressed in mind, that I determined to give up the 
idea of preaching, and engage in some other calling. 

With this determination, I collected my last resources 
of money (about fifteen dollars) and started alone to 
the state of Georgia. When I had gone half my jour- 
ney, I was suddenly seized with a violent fever. Be- 
ing scarce of money, and entirely among strangers, I 
determined to travel on. One day the fever rose so 
high, that I was bereft of reason, and found by a phi- 
lanthropist sitting on my horse, which was feeding on 
the side of the road. He took me to his house, where 
I remained till the next morning, when the fever had 
considerably abated, and. my senses were restored. 
Contrary to good advice, I started on my journey, and 
with much pain arrived at my brother Matthew Stone's, 
in Georgia, Oglethorpe county. Here I remained sick 
for several months. 

The Methodists had just established an academy 
near Washington, under the superintendence of a Mr. 
Hope Hull, a very distinguished preacher of that de- 
nomination. Through the influence of my brothers, I 
was chosen professor of languages. We commenced 

barto:n w. stone, 15 

with about seventy students, about the beginning of 
1795. I exerted myself to fill the appointment with 
honor to myself and profit to my pupils, and had the 
unspeakable satisfaction of receiving the approbation 
of the trustees of the institution, and of the literati of 
the country. Men of letters were few at that time, es- 
pecially in that part of the world, and were regarded 
with more than common respect. The marked atten- 
tion paid me by the most respectable part of the com- 
munity, was nearly my ruin. Invitations to tea parties 
and social circles were frequent. I attended them for 
a while, until I found that this course would cause me 
to make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. 
Though I still maintained the profession of religion, 
and did not disgrace it by improper conduct, yet my 
devotion was cold, and communion with God much in- 
terrupted. Seeing my danger, I denied myself of these 
fascinating pleasures, and determined to live more de- 
voted to God. 

I constantly attended on the ministrations of Mr. 
Springer, a very zealous Presbyterian preacher, near 
Washington. With him I became intimate, and to him 
was warmly attached. By his discourses I was always 
profited, and began to feel a very strong desire again 
to preach the gospel. These impressions I resisted, and 
labored to suppress ; the consequence of which was, 
that my comforts were destroyed. At length I deter- 
mined to resume my theological studies, and prepare 
myself for the ministry. 

About this time, a great many Frenchmen, who had 
fled from the reign of terror in France, landed in Geor- 
gia. Washington was full of them. The trustees of 
the academy employed one of them, Francois Aubir, 
to teach the French language. With him I learned the 
language more perfectly, having acquired some know- 
ledge of it before, with a certain Doct. Hale, of North 

In the winter of 1795, I accompanied a number of 
Methodist preachers to a general conference at Charles- 


totij South Carolina. Hope Hull was among them. 
It was a pleasant journey, and our stay in the city was 
highly agreeable. The road from the Black Swamp to 
Charleston was surpassed by none in the world for 
beauty and goodness. It was perfectly levelled and 
straight. On each side it was beautified with ever- 
greens in the swamps, and with stately long-leaf pines, 
and pendant moss on the sands and dry ground. 

Having returned to Washington, I continued to teach 
till the spring of 1796. Then, having resigned my 
professorship to the trustees, I started back to North 
Carolina, with a determination to receive from Orange 
Presbytery a license to preach. I, had now more than 
enough of money to discharge all my debts. The day 
of my departure was a day of sorrow. I bade an af- 
fectionate farewell to my pupils and numerous friends, 
and hurried off alone. Nothing of moment occurred 
in my solitary journey, till I arrived at the Presbytery. 
Here I met with many of my warm friends, and our 
joyful salutation was mutual. 

At this Presbytery, I, with several other candidates, 
received license. Never shall I forget the impressions 
made on my mind when a venerable old father address- 
ed the candidates, standing up together before the 
Presbytery. After the address, he presented to each of 
the candidates the Bible (not the confession of faith,) 
with this solemn charge, " Go ye into all the world, 
and preach the gospel to every creature." Appoint- 
ments were then made for us. Robert Foster and my- 
self, licensed at the same time, were appointed to ride 
and preach in the lower parts of the state, till the next 
stated Presbytery. After adjournment I proceeded to 
my mother's, in Virginia. 

Having remained at my mother's a short time, I re- 
turned to Carolina, and met with my colleague, R. 
Foster, and having preached together, we proceeded 
to our destination in the lower parts of the state, where 
we arrived m a few days, and made our appointments 
for the Lord's-day following. While we were waiting 


for our first appointment, my companion came to the 
determination to preach no more, and in this purpose 
he remained through life ; for he never after attempted 
it. His reason was, that he was not qualified for such 
a solemn work. This was the prevailing argument I 
had brought against myself; and now coming from one 
against himself, whom I viewed ray superior, I sunk 
under it, and secretly resolved to leave that field, and 
seek some distant country, where I should be a perfect 
stranger. Florida was then in my view. Next morn- 
ing, while my companion was absent, I mounted my 
horse and started alone. This w^as on Saturday, in the 
beginning of May, 1796. 

On the Lord's-day I attended a meeting in the neigh- 
borhood, where I had lodged the night before. A 
pious old lady was there, and knew me. She suspect- 
ed my intentions, and told me plainly that she feared I 
was acting the part of Jonah — solemnly warned me of 
the danger, and advised me, if I disliked the lower 
parts of the state, to go over the mountains, to the 
West. This advice pleased me, and determined me at 
once for the West. In the evening of that day, to my 
surprise, I saw Robert Foster in the congregation. He 
approached me, and gently upbraided me for leaving 
him. I told him my determination to go to the 
West. He immediately agreed to accompany me. 
Next morning we started, without naming to any one 
our destination. 

We quickly got into the region of strangers, and 
wished to remain among such through life — to such a 
low state had our minds fallen. Having crossed the 
mountain at the Flower gap, and New River at Her- 
bert's ferry, we were jogging leisurely along the way 
to Fort Chiswell, when passing a small house on the 
road side, a man hailed us, and ran out to us. He was 
an intimate acquaintance, and a pious brother. Captain 
Sanders, from North Carolina. He was moving his 
family to Cumberland ; but by some accident was obli- 
ged to abide where he was for one season. He con- 


strained us to tarry with him, and said you must preach 
for us next Sabbath at the Presbyterian meeting house, 
not far distant. We both refused ; but at length con- 
sented that he might make an appointment for worship, 
and we would attend and worship with them. 

On Lord's-day a large congregation met at Grimes's 
meeting house, on Reed creek. With great difficulty I 
was prevailed on to ascend the pulpit. While singing 
and praying, my mind was happily relieved, and I was 
enabled to speak with boldness, and with profit to the 
people. I was pressingly solicited for another appoint- 
ment. This congregation, and several more in the 
county, (Wythe, Va.,) were all entirely destitute of 
preaching. I prevailed on my companion to tarry an- 
other week, and afterwards we would push forward, we 
knew not where. I made several appointments for the 
ensuing week, one at Smith's meeting house, near Sam- 
uel Ewen's — an Israelite in whom was no guile — an- 
other at Col. Austin's, the proprietor of the lead mines 
on New River. The urgent and affectionate entreaties 
of the people for me to abide with them for a while, 
prevailed, and I made a number of appointments. My 
companion determined to leave me, journeying to the 
West. On May 23, 1796, he left me. The separation 
was painful, nor did we know where or when we should 
ever meet in this world. 

I continued in Wythe and Montgomery counties, 
preaching frequently, till July. The people were atten- 
tive, kind, and liberal, yet I greatly desired to go for- 
ward to the West, and bade them farewell, never ex- 
pecting to visit them again. That night, according to 
a previous promise, I lodged with Mr. Stonger, a 
Dutch Lutheran minister. I was kindly received and 
entertained. I find in my journal, written at that time, 
these Latin words : Nocte pulices me deturbant, et 
somnum fugant. Tcedet me vitse. 

The next day I journeyed forward, and at night came 
to Mr. Thomas's, on South Holstein. I had inquired 
into the character of the family before I came there. I 


was informed that they were a very religious family of 
Baptists — that the old lady and daughter were very 
zealous. My horse being put away, I went into the 
house and sat down in silence. The old lady and 
daughter were busily spinning, and the old gentleman 
in conversation with another aged man. One of them 
observed to the other that a discovery had been lately 
made, that if the logs of a house be cut in the full 
moon of February, a bed-bug would never molest that 
house. I was so well pleased with the idea of unhous- 
ing these filthy, hateful vermin, that I broke silence, 
and felicitated the country on this happy discovery. 1 
then asked whether any discovery had been made for 
banishing fleas from a house. I was answered in the 
negative. That is a pity, said I ; for I have heard of 
such a place as hell ; but if hell be worse than to be 
bedded with ten thousand fleas, it must be a dreadful 
place. This, as I intended, roused the mother and 
daughter. Yes, said the old lady, there is a hell, and 
if you do not repent, and be converted, you will And it 
to your eternal sorrow. The daughter zealously sanc- 
tioned these awful declarations, and both of them af- 
fectionately exhorted me to repentance in many words. 
For some minutes they gave me no opportunity to re- 
spond. At length, I smilingly said, you are Christians, 
I suppose ; Christianity may be a good thing, but, mad- 
am, there are strange things in that system, hard to be 
understood. I heard a man lately preach, that a man 
must be born again before he could get to heaven ; 
now, do you believe this ? Yes, I do, said she, calling 
me an ignorant Nicodemus. Do, madam, tell me what 
it is to be born again. She described it well, and re- 
ally felt for my supposed condition. I stated many 
common cavils against the doctrine, which she answer- 
ed w^th intelligence. Wearied vWth my supposed in- 
fidelity, she ceased to talk. The old man took a candle, 
and invited me to bed. I observed to him, I wish to 
hear you pray first, for Christians always pray in their 
families evening and morning. He was thunder strick- 


en, and walked the floor backwards and forwards, 
deeply groaning. The old lady laid the Bible on the 
table; still he walked and groaned. I then said, if you 
will not pray, I will try. I then advanced to the table, 
read, sung, and prayed, and immediately retired to bed. 
Next morning I rose early, and was met at the door of 
the stairs by the mother and daughter. They gently 
reproved me for my deception — apologised for their 
conduct, and dismissed me with their blessing. 

I started in the morning early on my journey to Cum- 
berland, and on Saturday night lodged near where Ed- 
ward Crawford, a Presbyterian preacher lived, on Hol- 
stein. On Sunday I attended his meeting, a perfect 
stranger, and determined to remain so till after worship. 
Here, to my astonishment, I saw my companion, R. 
Foster, who had stopped in that neighborhood, and was 
teaching a school. He proposed introducing me to the 
preacher. I declined an introduction till after worship. 
He would do it, and the consequence was, I had to 
preach. On Holstein I tarried several days, and form- 
ed some valuable acquaintances, among whom Samuel 
Edmonson and his brother were pre-eminent. Near 
them is the Ebbing spring, to me a great natural curi- 

I left my companion, R. Foster, whom I saw no more 
for many years. Our last interview was in Tennessee, 
soon after which he died. I journeyed solitarily along 
to Knoxville, and went to the house of rendezvous for 
travelers through the wilderness to Nashville. Traveling 
through the wilderness was yet considered dangerous 
because of the Indians. But two travelers were at the 
house waiting for company. I was overpersuaded by 
them to venture through. Having laid up our provi- 
sion for ourselves and horses, we left Knoxville August 
14th, 1796. 

My two companions were of very different tempera- 
ments. One was a West Tennesseean, a large, coarse 
back- woodsman, and Indian-fighter of great courage ; 
the other was a South Carolinian, the greatest coward I 


ever saw. We chose the Tennesseean for our captain 
and leader. Nothing of any note happened until we 
had crossed Clinch river. About sunset we discovered 
fifteen or twenty Indians about a hundred yards distant 
from us, on the edge of a canebreak. They sprang up. 
Our leader said to us, follow me — and rode on with a 
quick pace. We followed with equal speed for several 
miles, then slacked our gait for a council. It was con- 
cluded that the Indians would pursue us, but if they had 
no dogs, we could evade them. The Cumberland 
mountain was but a few miles ahead ; we knew we 
could not ascend it at night without danger to ourselves 
and horses, therefore concluded to turn off the road a 
short distance at the foot of the mountain, and lie con- 
cealed till morning. According to this arrangement, 
we cautiously rode to the mountain, turned aside into a 
thick brushwood, tied our horses, and laid down on 
our blankets to rest. Being much fatigued, I slept so 
soundly that I did not perceive a shower of rain, which 
had awaked the other two, and driven them off to seek 
shelter. At length I awoke, and missed my company. 
Every thing was profoundly silent, except the wolves 
and foxes in the mountain. My feelings were unplea- 
sant. I almost concluded that the Indians had sur- 
prised them, and that they had fled. I remembered 
that the same God who had always protected me, was 
present, and could protect me still. To him I humbly 
commended myself, laid down again, and securely slept 
till day, when I saw my companions about a hundred 
yards off, sheltered by a large tree. I blamed them 
for leaving me thus exposed to the ravening beasts 

In climbing the mountain that morning, my horse lost 
one of his fore shoes. At this I was troubled, knowing 
that it would be almost impossible to get him to the 
settlement in Cumberland. He soon became very lame. 
I applied to the Tennesseean to let me ride his pack- 
horse, and put his pack on mine. He unfeelingly re- 
fused. I trotted after my horse, and drove him along 


after the company, till I was overcome by weariness. 
They neither permitted me to ride their horses, nor 
slacked their pace, and finally rode ofi', and left me 
alone in the wilderness. I traveled leisurely along 
afoot, driving my horse before me, vexed at the base- 
ness of my company in leaving me alone in this man- 

I had now arrived at the frontier settlement of West 
Tennessee, on Bledsoe's creek, at the cabin of Major 
White. Here I w^as kindly entertained, and rested 
several days, and then proceeded to Shiloh, near where 
Gallatin now stands. Here I joyfully met with many 
old friends and brethren, who had lately moved from 
Carolina, among whom were my fellow students and 
fellow laborers, William McGee and John Anderson, 
the latter of whom agreed to travel and preach with me 
through all the settlements of Cumberland. A length 
of time was not then required to do this, for the settle- 
ments extended but a few miles from Nashville, which 
at that time, was a poor little village, hardly worth 

Among other settlements visited by us, was that on 
Mansker's creek. Here we often preached to respect- 
able and large assemblies, from a stand erected by the 
people in a shady grove. At the same time a dancing 
master was lecturing the youth in the neighborhood in 
his art. This I evidently saw was drawing their atten- 
tion from religion. I spoke my mind publicly and 
freely against the practice, and boldly and zealously 
protested against it. Some of the youth withdrew from 
his lectures, which highly exasperated the teacher. He 
swore he would whip me the next time I preached 
there. I came to my appointment, and so did he with 
a band of ruffians, armed with clubs, and stood in a 
half circle before me while preaching, in striking dis- 
tance. Unappalled at their menaces, I proceeded in 
my discourse, nor did I forget the dancers, but drub- 
bed them without mercy. The bandit soon saw that 
the gaze of the congregation was upon them. Like 


cowards, they sneaked off, one by one, and disap- 

At the same place, and at another time, I was pub- 
lickly attacked by an old deist, immediately after I had 
closed my discourse, and descended from the stand. 
He walked up to me, and said, I suppose you know 
me, sir. No, sir, said I, I have no knowledge of you. 
I am Burns, the celebrated deist of this neighborhood. 
Mr. Burns, said I, I am sorry to hear you boast of your 
infidelity ; pray, sir, inform me, what is a deist ? Said 
he, the man that believes there is but one God. Sir, 
said I, this is my belief, taught me by the Bible. But, 
sir, what is the character of your God ? I believe, said 
he, that he is infinitely good, just, and merciful. 
Whence, Mr. Burns, did you gain this information ? 
From the book of nature, said he. Mr. Burns, please 
to show me the page in that book which declares that 
God is infinitely good. Why, said he, all nature de- 
clares it. We see the traces of goodness everywhere ; 
hence I conclude that God, the great governor of the 
universe, is infinitely good. Mr. Burns, please turn 
your eye on the opposite page of your book, and see the 
miseries, and attend to the groans of the millions, who 
are suffering and dying every moment. You must con- 
clude, from your own premises, that God, the great 
governor of the universe, is also infinitely evil and ma- 
levolent. Your God, Mr. Burns, is infinitely good, and 
infinitely evil — a perfect contradiction ! You must be 
an atheist, Mr. Burns, not a deist. You said also, that 
your book taught you that God was infinitely just. 
Please show me the page in your book that teaches this 
doctrine. Said he, it is evident from this, that there 
is a principle of justice in every man : therefore I con- 
clude that God, the Maker of all men, must be infinite- 
ly just. Mr. Burns, I can show you in your own book 
as many men of unjust principles, as you can men of 
just principles. Then it follows from your premises, 
that God, the Maker, is infinitely just, and infinitely 
unjust. Surely, Mr. Burns, atheism is your creed! 


But, sir, look here, on this page of your book. Here 
is a good citizen, a good husband, a good father, ac- 
knowledged such by all ; yet his whole life is full of 
suffering, pain, and want. Here also is a bad citizen, 
a bad husband, a bad father, acknowledged such by all ; 
yet he is free from pain, and wallows in wealth. How 
can you reconcile this w^ith the infinite justice of God, 
the great governor of the universe ? Mr. Burns's lips 
quivered ; the whole congregation intensely listening. 
O, says he, just rewards will be given in another world. 
But, Mr. Burns, your book nowhere teaches this doc- 
trine ; you have stolen it from our Bible. Sir, said he, 
I will see you at another time, and retired in confusion, 
the congregation smiling approbation at his defeat. 

My colleague, J. Anderson, having preached through 
the settlements of West Tennessee, determined to visit 
Kentucky. We had our last appointment in father 
Thomas Craighead's congregation, in which neighbor- 
hood we had often preached. As we expected a large 
and intelligent audience, w^e endeavored to prepare dis- 
courses suitable to the occasion. My companion, An- 
derson, first rose to preach from these words : " With- 
out holiness no man shall see the Lord." I shall never 
forget his exordium, which, in fact, was also his pero- 
ration. Holiness, said he, is a moral quality — he paus- 
ed, having forgotten all his studied discourse. Con- 
fused, he turned with staring eyes to address the 
other side of his audience, and repeated with emphasis — 
Holiness is a moral quality — and after a few incoherent 
words, he paused again, and sat down. Astonished at 
the failure of my brother, I arose and preached. He 
declared to me afterwards, that every idea had forsaken 
him ; that he viewed it as from God, to humble his 
pride ; as he had expected to make a brilliant display 
of talent to that assembly. I never remembered a ser- 
mon better, and to me it has been very profitable ; for 
from the hint given, I was led to more correct views of 
the doctrines of original sin, and of regeneration. 



Reaches Kentucky, and settles in the close of the year '96, as the preach- 
er of the congregations of Caneridge and Concord, Bourbon county — 
Is appointed by Transylvania Presbytery, to visit the south, to solicit 
funds to establish a college in Kentucky — From Charleston, South 
Carolina, he visits his mother, and returns to Kentucky — In the fall of 
'98 receives a call (which he accepts) from the united congregations of 
Caneridge and Concord — A day is appointed for his ordination — Ee- 
fuses to receive the Confession of Faith without quaUfication — Is never- 
theless ordained. 

Having finished our labors in Cumberland, we start- 
ed for Kentucky. We traveled through an extensive, 
uninhabited tract of barrens, or prairies ; but now, a fine 
timbered country, densely settled by wealthy farmers. 
We continued to preach in Kentucky till the winter set 
in severely. Brother Anderson stopped by invitation at 
Ashridge, near Lexington, and I at Caneridge and Con- 
cord, in Bourbon county. That winter, or early in the 
spring, a letter of importance recalled my companion 
Anderson, to Carolina, whose face I have never since 

In Caneridge and Concord I spent the chief of my 
time, at the request of the congregations. C I now learn- 
ed experimentally, that the rambUng course of preach- 
ing, which I had taken, was of little profit to society, 
and ruinous to the mental improvement of young preach-, 
ers. I received the advice of my friends to become 
stationary for a while, and apply myself closely to read- 
ing and study. I witnessed the good effects of this 
procedure : for many were added to the churches within 
a few months ; about fifty in Concord, and thirty in 
Caneridge. I became much attached to these congre- 
gations, and was persuaded that the attachment was re- 
ciprocal. I at length yielded to th-^ir solicitations to 
become their settled and permanent pastor. 

Some unsettled business in Georgia demanded my 
presence there. By the Transylvania Presbytery I was 
solicited and appointed to visit Charleston, in South 



Carolina, and endeavor to obtain money for the purpose 
of establishing a college in our infant state. I accept- 
ed the appointment, having determined from Charles- 
ton to return through Virginia, and visit my mother and 

Marauding parties of Indians still infested travelers 
in the wilderness between Kentucky and Virginia, so 
that travelers always went in companies prepared for 
defence. In the fall of 1797, 1 left Caneridge for Geor- 
gia, in company with Henry Wilson, who, with a led 
horse packed with silver, was going to Virginia on land 
business. Having repaired to the house of rendezvous 
for travelers at the Crab Orchard, we learned that a com- 
pany had just left that place two hours before, with in- 
tention to encamp at the Hazlepatch that night. We in- 
stantly followed at a quick pace, determined to ride 
late and overtake them. About 10 o'clock we came to 
the Hazlepatch, but to our distress we found no one 
there. My companion being an early settler of Ken- 
tucky, and often engaged in war with the Indians, ad- 
vised to turn off the road some distance, and encamp 
till day. Having kindled a fire, supped, hobbled our 
horses, and prayed together, we laid down in our blank- 
ets to rest. But we were soon aroused from our slum- 
bers by the snorting and running of our horses. We 
sprang up, and saw a fire about 150 yards below us, 
and in a moment it was pulled asunder ; as quickly did 
my companion pull ours apart also. He whispered to 
me, 'Hheyare Indians after ourhorses." We laid down 
again, not to sleep, but to consult the best method of 
escape. We soon distinctly heard an Indian cautious- 
ly walking on the dry leaves towards our camp, about 
fifty yards off. Fearing he might shoot us in our blank- 
ets, without noise we crept into the bushes. Becoming 
very chilly there, and contrary to advice, I returned to 
my blanket, and was followed by my companion. A 
short time after we heard the Indian walk off in the 
same cautious manner. We concealed the bag of mon- 
ey, and most valuable goods, and hung up our blankets 


and bags of provision over our camp, and cautiously 
went towards the course our horses had gone. When 
it was day, we found their trace and overtook them 
about 8 o'clock, and rode back very watchfully to our 
camp. When we came near it, with difficulty we com- 
pelled our horses to advance, they frequently snorting 
and wheeling back. Every moment we expected to 
be fired upon, but were mercifully preserved. We 
packed up very quickly, and swiftly pursued the com- 
pany, and late in the day came up with them. They 
informed us that when they came to the Hazlepatch the 
evening before, they found a camp of white people, 
just before defeated, several lying dead and mangled 
in Indian style ; that they pushed forward, and traveled 
late at night. We clearly saw the kind hand of God 
in delivering us. 

Having passed through the wilderness, our company 
parted; some for Virginia, the rest, with myself, for 
Georgia. After having settled my business, visited my 
relations, and preached through the country for several 
weeks, I started alone to Charleston. Nothing of note 
happened in my journey, except that by my caution, 
and the fleetness of my horse, I escaped a band of rob- 
bers, who attempted to stop me. I had been previous- 
ly warned of the danger in those dismal swamps be- 
tween Augusta and Charleston, and was therefore con- 
tinually on my guard. 

Before I reached Charleston, I passed over Stone 
river into John's and Wadmelaw islands. There I re- 
mained some days, and received the most friendly at- 
tention of gentlemen professing religion, living in 
splendid palaces, surrounded with a rich profusion of 
luxuries, and of every thing desirable ; these pleasures 
were heightened by free, humble, and pious conversa- 
tion. But in the midst of all this glory, my soul sick- 
ened at the sight of slavery in more horrid forms than 
I had ever seen it before ; poor negroes ! some chained 
to their work — some wearing iron collars — all half na- 
ked, and followed and driven by the merciless lash of 


a gentleman overseer — distress appeared scowling in 
every face. This was the exciting cause of my aban- 
donment of slavery. Having preached several times 
in the islands, I left my horse on the island, and sailed 
over to Charleston by water. I lodged with Doct. Hol- 
linshead, a gentleman, and preacher of high standing. 
In the city I met with my former friend and class-mate, 
Samuel Holmes. It was a joyful meeting. We visited 
the islands and country round in company. I observed 
the great change in his former simple manners and con- 
versation. ''But few men can bear prosperity and popu- 
larity, so as to retain the humble spirit of religion.^ In 
one of our excursions from the city in a pleasure ves- 
sel, a strong gale fell on us, and tossed us about tre- 
mendously on high waves. The scene was new to me, 
and produced very unpleasant feelings. I noticed the 
sailors, and saw in them no signs of fear. This calmed 
my fears, and I remained composed. My companion 
Holmes manifested strong symptoms of fear. One of 
the sailors, knowing him to be a preacher, looked at 
him, and with a laugh, asked him if he was afraid to 
go to heaven by water ? I smiled, but not with a good 

Having spent several weeks in the city and vicinity, 
we started together, Holmes, myself, and two others, to 
the North. 

I arrived in safety at my mother's in Virginia, and 
found her still alive and enjoying health. But many 
of my relatives and friends were gone, some to the 
grave, and some to distant lands. When I was in the 
then far west, I often sighed at the remembrance of the 
home of my youth, and the former haunts of my boyish 
pleasures, and longed to revisit them. But how disap- 
pointed was I ! I felt more of a disposition to weep 
at the sight of these objects than to rejoice — the old 
school house in ruins — the old trees under whose shade 
we used to play, either destroyed or dwindling with 
age. Those scenes, which had long ago passed away, 
never — ah ! never to return. Vain world ! After re- 


maining some weeks with my mother, I bade a sorrow- 
ful adieu, and returned to Kentucky. 

In the fall of 1798, a call from the united congrega- 
tions of Caneridge and Concord was presented me, 
through the Presbytery of Transylvania. I accepted ; 
and a day not far ahead was appointed for my ordina- 
tion. Knowing that at my ordination I should be re- 
quired to adopt the Confession of Faith, as the system 
of doctrines taught in the Bible, I determined to give 
it a careful examination once more. This was to me 
almost the beginning of sorrows. ( I stumbled at the 
doctrine of Trinity as taught in the Confession ; I la- 
bored to believe it, but could not conscientiously sub- 
scribe to it. Doubts, too, arose in my mind on the 
doctrines of election, reprobation, and predestination, 
as there taught. > I had before this time learned from 
my superiors the way of divesting those doctrines of 
their hard, repulsive features, and admitted them as 
true, yet unfathomable mysteries. Viewing them as 
such, I let them alone in my public discourses, and con- 
fined myself to the practical part of religion, and to 
subjects within my depth. But in re-examining these 
doctrines, I found the covering put over them could not 
hide them from a discerning eye with close inspection. 
Indeed, I saw they were necessary to the system with- 
out any covering. 

In this state of mind, the day appointed for my ordi- 
nation found me. I had determined to tell the Presby- 
tery honestly the state of my mind, and to request them 
to defer my ordination until I should be better inform- 
ed and settled. The Presbytery came together, and a 
large congregation attended. Before its constitution, I 
took aside the two pillars of it, Doct. James Blythe and 
Robert Marshall, and made known to them my difficul- 
ties, and that I had determined to decline ordination at 
that time. They labored, but in vain, to remove my 
difficulties and objections. They asked me how far I 
was willing to receive the confession ? I told them, as 
far as I saw it consistent with the word of God. They 


r ''concluded that was sufficient. ( I went into Presbytery, 

and when the question was proposed, "Do you receive 

and adopt the Confession of Faith, as containing the 

system of doctrine taught in the Bible ?" I answer- 

V ed aloud, so that the whole' congregation might hear, 

, *' I do, as far as I see it consistent with the word of 

V God." No objection being made, I was ordained. 


His mind is greatly agitated by Calvinistic speculations — He re-examines 
the Scriptures, and cordially abandons Calvinism — Hears of a great 
religious excitement in Logan county, Ky., in the spring of 1801, and 
hastens to attend a Camp-niceting in that county — Ts astonished at the 
wonderful religious exercises — Multitudes confess the Saviour — Returns 
from Logan filled with religious zeal — Under his labors similar scenes 
occur at Caneridge and Concord — Great excitement and religious in- 
terest pervade the community — Married to Elizabeth Campbell, July, 
1801 — Great Caneridge meeting — Description of. 

About this time my mind was continually tossed on 
the waves of speculative divinity, the all-engrossing 
theme of the religious community at that period. 
Clashing, controversial opinions were urged by the dif- 
ferent sects with much zeal and bad feeling. No surer 
sign of the low state of true religion. C I at that time 
believed, and taught, that mankind were so totally de- 
praved that they could do nothing acceptable to God, 
till his Spirit, by some physical, almighty, and mysteri- 
ous power had quickened, enlightened, and regenerated 
the heart, and thus prepared the sinner to believe in 
Jesus for salvation.) I began plainly to see, that if God 
did not perform this regenerating work in all, it must 
be because he chose to do it for some, and not for others, 
and that this depended on His own sovereign will and 
pleasure. It then required no depth of intellect to see 
that this doctrine is inseparably linked with uncondi- 
tional election and reprobation, as taught in the West- 
minster Confession of Faith. They are virtually one ; 
and this was the reason why I admitted the decrees of 


election and reprobation, having admitted the doctrine 
of total depravity. They are inseparable. 

Scores of objections would continually roll across ray 
mind against this system. These I imputed to the blas- 
phemous suggestions of Satan, and labored to repel 
them as Satanic temptations, and not honestly to meet 
them with scriptural arguments. Often when I was 
addressing the listening multitudes on the doctrine of 
total depravity, their inability to believe — and of the 
necessity of the physical power of God to produce faith ; 
and then persuading the helpless to repent and believe 
the gospel, my zeal in a moment would be chilled at 
the contradiction. How can they believe ? How can 
they repent ? How can they do impossibilities ? How 
can they be guilty in not doing them ? Such thoughts 
would almost stifle utterance, and were as mountains 
pressing me down to the shades of death. I tried to 
rest in the common salvo of that day, i. e. the distinc- 
tion between natural and moral ability and inability. 
The pulpits were continually ringing with this doctrine; 
but to my mind it ceased to be a relief; for by whatever 
name it be called, that inability was in the sinner, and 
therefore he could not believe, nor repent, but must 
be damned. Wearied with the works and doctrines 
of men, and distrustful of their influence, I made the 
Bible my constant companion. I honestly, earnestly, 
and prayerfully sought for the truth, determined to buy/ 
it at the sacrifice of everything else. 

On a certain evening, when engaged in secret prayer 
and reading my Bible, my mind became unusually fdled 
with comfort and peace. I never recollect of having 
before experienced such an ardent love and tenderness 
for all mankind, and such a longing desire for their sal- 
vation. My mind was chained to this subject, and for 
some days and nights I was almost continually praying 
for the ruined world. During this time I expressed my 
feelings to a pious person, and rashly remarked, so great 
is my love for sinners, that had I power I would save 
them all. The person appeared to be horror-stricken, 


and remarked, Do you love them more than God does ? 
Why then does he not save them ? Surely, he has al- 
mighty power. I blushed, was confounded and silent, 
and quickly retired to the silent woods for meditation 
and prayer. I asked myself. Does God love the world 
— the whole world ? And has he not almighty power 
to save .'* If so, all must be saved, for who can resist 
his power ? Had I a friend or child, whom I greatly 
loved, and saw him at the point of drowning, and ut- 
terly unable to help himself, and if I were perfectly 
able to save him, would I not do it? Would I not 
contradict my love to him — my very nature, if I did 
not save him ? Should I not do wrong in withholding 
my power? x^nd w^ill not God save all whom he 
loves ? 

These were to me puzzling questions — I could not 
satisfactorily solve them consistently with my faith. I 
was firmly convinced that according to Scripture all 
were not saved — the conclusion then was irresistible, 
that God did not love all, and therefore it followed of 
course, that the spirit in me, which loved all the world 
so vehemently, could not be the Spirit of God, but the 
spirit of delusion. My mind became involved in gloom, 
my troubles rolled back upon me with renewed weight, 
and all my joys were gone. I prostrated myself before 
God in prayer ; but it was immediately suggested, you 
are praying in unbelief, and "whatsoever is not of 
faith is sin." You must believe or expect no good 
from the hand of God. But I cannot believe ; as soon 
could I make a world. Then you must be damned, 
for, "he that believeth not shall be damned." — But will 
the Lord condemn me to eternal punishment for not 
doing an impossibility ? So I thought. I shudder 
while I write it — blasphemy rose in my heart against such 
a God, and my tongue was tempted to utter it. Sweat 
profusely burst from the pores of my body, and the fires 
of hell gat hold on me. In this uncommon state I re- 
mained for two or three days. 

From this state of perplexity I was relieved by the 



precious word of God. -i^From reading and meditating 
upon it, I became convinced that God did love the 
whole world, and that the reason why he did not save 
all, was because of their unbelief; and that the reason 
why they believed not, was not because God did not 
exert his physical, almighty power in them to make 
them believe, but because they neglected and received 
not his testimony, given in the Word concerning his 
Son. ''These are written, that ye might believe that 
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, 
ye might have life through his name." I saw that the 
requirement to believe in the Son of God, was reason- 
able ; because the testimony given was sufficient to pro- 
duce faith in the sinner; and the invitations and encour- 
agement of the gospel were sufficient, if believed, to 
lead him to the Saviour, for the promised Spirit, salva- 
tion and eternal life. 

This glimpse of faith — of truth, was the first divine^ 
ray of light, that ever led my distressed, perplexed mind 
from the labyrinth of Calvinism and error, in which I 
had so long been bewildered. It was that which led 
me into rich pastures of gospel-liberty. I now saw 
plainly that it was not against the God and Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ that I had been tempted to blas- 
pheme, but against the character of a God not revealed in 
the Scriptures — a character no rational creature can love 
or honor — a character universally detested when seen 
even in man; for what man, professing great love for 
his children, would give them impossible commands, 
and then severely punish them for not doing them ; and 
all this for his mere good pleasure? What man acting 
thus would not be despised as a monster, or demon in 
human shape, and be hissed from all respectable socie- 
ty? Shall we dare to impute such a character to the 
God of the universe? 

Let me here speak when I shall be lying under the 
clods of the grave. Calvinism is among the heaviest 
clogs on Christianity in the world. It is a dark moun- 
tain between heaven and earth, and is amongst the 


most discouraging hindrances to sinners from seeking 
the kingdom of God, and engenders bondage and 
gloominess to the saints. Its influence is felt through- 
out the Christian world, even where it is least suspect- 
ed. Its first link is total depravity. Yet are there 
thousands of precious saints in this system. 

As might be expected, many objections arose in my 
mind against the doctrines just received by me, and 
these objections were multiplied by a correspondent, a 
Presbyterian preacher, to whom I had communicated 
my views. I*resolved not to declare them publicly till 
I could be able to defend them against successful opposi- 
tion. In a subsequent part of these memoirs, the decla- 
ration and defence will be seen. 

Things moved on quietly in my congregations, and 
in the country generally. Apathy in religious societies 
appeared every where to an alarming degree. Not only 
the power of religion had disappeared, but also the very 
form of it was waning fast away, and continued so till 
the beginning of the present century. Having heard 
pf a remarkable religious excitement in the south of 
Kentucky, and in Tennessee, under the labors of James 
McGready and other Presbyterian ministers, I was very 
anxious to be among them ; and, early in the spring of 
ISOI, went there to attend a camp-meeting. There, on 
the edge of a prairie in Logan county, Kentucky, the 
multitudes came together, and continued a number of 
days and nights encamped on the ground ; during which 
time worship was carried on in some part of the en- 
campment. The scene to me was new, and passing 
strange. It baffled description. Many, very many fell 
down, as men slain in battle, and continued for hours 
together in an apparently breathless and motionless 
state — sometimes for a few moments reviving, and ex- 
hibiting symptoms of life by a deep groan, or piercing 
shriek, or by a prayer for mercy most fervently uttered. 
After lying thus for hours, they obtained deliverance. 
The gloomy cloud, which had covered their faces, 
seemed gradually and visibly to disappear, and hope 


in smiles brightened into joy — they would rise shouting 
deliverance, and then would address the surrounding 
multitude in language truly eloquent and impressive. 
With astonishment did I hear men, women and child- 
ren declaring the wonderful works of God, and the 
glorious mysteries of the gospel. Their appeals were 
solemn, heart-penetrating, bold and free. Under such 
addresses many others would fall down into the same 
state from which the speakers had just been delivered. 

Two or three of my particular acquaintances from a 
distance were struck down. I sat patiently by one of 
them, whom I knew to be a careless sinner, for hours, 
and observed with critical attention every thing that 
passed from the beginning to the end. I noticed the 
momentary revivings as from death — the humble con- 
fession of sins — the fervent prayer, and the ultimate de- 
liverance — then the solemn thanks and praise to God — 
the affectionate exhortation to companions and to the 
people around, to repent and come to Jesus. I was as- 
tonished at the knowledge of gospel truth displayed in 
the address. The effect was, that several sunk down 
into the same appearance of death. After attending to 
many such cases, my conviction was complete that 
it was a good work — the work of God ; nor has my 
mind wavered since on the subject. Much did I then 
see, and much have I since seen, that I considered to 
be fanaticism ; but this should not condemn the work. 
The Devil has always tried to ape the works of God, 
to bring them into disrepute. But that cannot be a Sa- 
tanic work, which brings men to humble confession and 
forsaking of sin — to solemn prayer — fervent praise and 
thankso;ivino:, and to sincere and affectionate exhorta- 
t.ions to sinners to repent and go to Jesns the Saviour. 

I am always hurt to hear people speak lightly of this 
work. I always think they speak of what they know 
nothing about. Should every thing bearing the impress 
of imperfection be blasphemously rejected, who amongst 
us at this time could stand ? But more on this subject 


The meeting being closed, I returned with ardent 
spirits to my congregations. I reached my appointment 
at Caneridge on Lord's-day. Multitudes had collected, 
anxious to hear the religious news of the meeting I 
had attended in Logan. I ascended the pulpit, and 
gave a relation of what I had seen and heard ; then 
opened my Bible and preached from these words : "Go 
ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every 
creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be 
saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned." On 
the universality of the gospel, and faith as the condi- 
tion of salvation, I principally dwelt, and urged the sin- 
ner to believe now, and be saved. I labored to remove 
their pleas and objections, nor was it labor in vain. 
The congregation was affected with awful solemnity, 
and many returned home weeping. Having left ap- 
pointments to preach in the congregation within a few 
days, I hurried over to Concord to preach at night. 

At our night meeting at Concord, two little girls 
were struck down under the preaching of the -word, 
and in every respect were exercised as those were in 
the south of Kentucky, as already described. Their 
addresses made deep impressions on the congregation. 
On the next day I returned to Caneridge, and attended 
my appointment at William Maxwell's. I soon heard 
of the good effects of the meeting on the Sunday be- 
fore. Many were solemnly engaged in seeking salva- 
tion, and some had found the Lord, and were rejoicing 
in him. Among these last was my particular friend 
Nathaniel Rogers, a man of first respectability and in- 
fluence in the neighborhood. Just as I arrived at the 
gate, my friend Rogers and his lady came up ; as soon 
as he saw me, he shouted aloud the praises of God. 
We hurried into each others' embrace, he still praising 
the Lord aloud. The crowd left the house, and hurri- 
ed to this novel scene. In less than twenty minutes, 
scores had fallen to the ground — paleness, trembling, 
and anxiety appeared in ail — some attempted to fly from 
the scene panic stricken, but they either fell, or return- 


ed immediately to the crowd, as unable to get away. 
In the midst of this exercise, an intelligent deist in the 
neighborhood, stepped up to me, and said, Mr. Stone, 
I always thought before that you were an honest man ; 
but now I am convinced you are deceiving the people. 
I viewed him with pity, and mildly spoke a few words 
to him — immediately he fell as a dead man, and rose no 
more till he confessed the Saviour. The meeting con- 
tinued on that spot in the open air, till late at night, 
and many found peace in the Lord. 

The effects of this meeting through the country were 
like fire in dry stubble driven by a strong wind. All 
felt its influence more or less. Soon after, we had a 
protracted meeting at Concord. The whole country 
appeared to be in motion to the place, and multitudes 
of all denominations attended. All seemed heartily to 
unite in the work, and in Christian love. Party spirit, 
abashed, shrunk away. To give a true description of 
this meeting cannot be done ; it would border on the 
marvellous. It continued five days and nights without 
ceasing. Many, very many will through eternity re- 
member it with thanksgiving and praise. 

On the 2d of July, 1801, I was married to Elizabeth 
Campbell, daughter of Col. William Campbell and 
Tabitha his wife, daughter of Gen. William Russell, 
of Virginia. My companion was pious, and much en- 
gaged in religion. We hurried up from Muhlenberg, 
where her mother lived, to be in readiness for a great 
meeting, to commence at Caneridge shortly after. This 
memorable meeting came on Thursday or Friday before 
the third Lord's-day in August, 1801. The roads were 
literally crowded with wagons, carriages, horsemen, 
and footmen, moving to the solemn camp. The sight 
was affecting. It was judged, by military men on the 
ground, that there were between twenty and thirty 
thousand collected. Four or five preachers were fre- 
quently speaking at the same time, in different parts of 
the encampment, without confusion. The Methodist 
and Baptist preachers aided in the work, and all ap- 


peared cordially united in it — of one mind and one soul, 
and the salvation of sinners seemed to be the great 
object of all. We all engaged in singing the same 
songs of praise — all united in prayer — all preached the 
same things — free salvation urged upon all by faith and 
repentance. A particular description of this meeting 
would fill a large volume, and then the half would not 
be told. The numbers converted will be known only 
in eternity. Many things transpired there, which were 
so much like miracles, that if they were not, they had 
the same effects as miracles on infidels and unbelievers; 
for many of them by these were convinced that Jesus 
was the Christ, and bowed in submission to him. This 
meeting continued six or seven days and nights, and 
would have continued longer, but provisions for such a 
multitude failed in the neighborhood. 

To this meeting many had come from Ohio and other 
distant parts, who returned home and diffused the same 
spirit in their neighborhoods, and the same works fol- 
lowed. So low had religion sunk, and such careless- 
ness universally had prevailed, that I have thought that 
nothing common could have arrested the attention of 
the world ; therefore these uncommon agitations were 
sent for this purpose. However, this was their effect 
upon the community. As I have seen no history of 
these bodily agitations of that day, but from the pens of 
enemies, or scorners ; and as I have been an eye and ear 
witness of them from the beginning, and am now over 
three score and ten years of age, on the brink of eter- 
nity, into which almost all of the old witnesses have en- 
tered, therefore I will endeavor to give a description of 
them in a distinct chapter, for your information. 



An account of the remarkable religious exercises, witnessed in the begin- 
ning of the 19th century. 

The bodily agitations or exercises, attending the ex- 
citement in the beginning of this century, were various, 
and called by various names ; — as, the falling exercise 
■ — the jerks — the dancing exercise — the barking exer- 
cise — the laughing and singing exercise, &c. — The fall- 
ing exercise was very common among all classes, the 
saints and sinners of every age and of every grade, from 
the philosopher to the clown. The subject of this ex- 
ercise would, generally, with a piercing scream, fall 
like a log on the floor, earth, or mud, and appear as 
dead. Of thousands of similar cases, I will mention 
one. At a meeting, two gay young ladies, sisters, 
were standing together attending to the exercises and 
preaching at the time. Instantly they both fell, with a 
shriek of distress, and lay for more than an hour appa- 
rently in a lifeless state. Their mother, a pious Baptist, 
was in great distress, fearing they would not revive. 
At length they began to exhibit symptoms of life, by 
CQ'ing fervently for mercy, and then relapsed into the 
same death-like state, with an awful gloom on their coun- 
tenances. After awhile, the gloom on the face of one 
was succeeded by a heavenly smile, and she cried out, 
precious Jesus, and rose up and spoke of the love of 
God — the preciousness of Jesus, and of the glory of the 
gospel, to the surrounding crowd, in language almost 
superhuman, and pathetically exhorted all to repent- 
ance. In a little while after, the other sister was simi- 
larly exercised. From that time they became remark- 
ably pious members of the church. 

I have seen very many pious persons fall in the same 
way, from a sense of the danger of their unconverted 
children, brothers, or sisters — from a sense of the dan- 
ger of their neighbors, and of the sinful world. I have 


heard them agonizing in tears and strong crying for 
mercy to be shown to sinners, and speaking like angels 
to all around. 

The jerks cannot be so easily described. Sometimes 
the subject of the jerks would be affected in some one 
member of the body, and sometimes in the whole sys- 
tem. When the head alone was affected, it would be 
jerked backward and forward, or from side to side, so 
quickly that the features of the face could not be dis- 
tinguished. When the whole system was affected, I have 
seen the person stand in one place, and jerk backward 
and forward in quick succession, their head nearly 
touching the floor behind and before. All classes, 
saints and sinners, the strong as well as the weak, were 
thus affected. I have inquired of those thus affected. 
They could not account for it ; but some have told me 
that those were among the happiest seasons of their 
lives. I have seen some wicked persons thus affected, 
and all the time cursing the jerks, while they were 
thrown to the earth with violence. Though so awful to 
behold, I do not remember that any one of the thou- 
sands I have seen ever sustained an injury in body. 
This was as strange as the exercise itself. 

The dancing exercise. This generally began with 
the jerks, and was peculiar to professors of religion. 
The subject, after jerking awhile, began to dance, and 
then the jerks would cease. Such dancing was indeed 
heavenly to the spectators ; there was nothing in it like 
levity, nor calculated to excite levity in the beholders. 
The smile of heaven shone on the countenance of the 
subject, and assimilated to angels appeared the whole 
person. Sometimes the motion was quick and some- 
times slow. Thus they continued to move forward and 
backward in the same track or alley till nature seemed 
exhausted, and they would fall prostrate on the floor 
or earth, unless caught by those standing by. While 
thus exercised, I have heard their solemn praises and 
prayers ascending to God. 

The barking exercise, (as opposers contemptuously 


called it,) was nothing but the jerks. A person affect- 
ed with the jerks, especially in his head, would often 
make a grunt, or bark, if you please, from the sudden- 
ness of the jerk. This name of barking seems to have 
had its origin from an old Presbyterian preacher of East 
Tennessee. He had gone into the woods for private 
devotion, and was seized with the jerks. Standing 
near a sapling, he caught hold of it, to prevent his fall- 
ing, and as his head jerked back, he uttered a grunt or 
kind of noise similar to a bark, his face being turned 
upwards. Some wag discovered him in this position, 
and reported that he found him barking up a tree. 

The laughing exercise was frequent, confined solely 
with the religious. It was a loud, hearty laughter, but 
one sui generis ; it excited laughter in none else. The 
subject appeared rapturously solemn, and his laughter 
excited solemnity in saints and sinners. It is truly in- 

The running exercise was nothing more than, that 
persons feeling something of these bodily agitations, 
through fear, attempted to run away, and thus escape 
from them ; but it commonly happened that they ran 
not far, before they fell, or became so greatly agitated 
that they could proceed no farther. I knew a young 
physician of a celebrated family, who came some dis- 
tance to a big meeting to see the strange things he had 
heard of. He and a young lady had sportively agreed 
to watch over, and take care of each other, if either 
should fall. At length the physician felt something very 
uncommon, and started from the congregation to run 
into the woods; he was discovered running as for life, 
but did not proceed far till he fell down, and there lay 
till he submitted to the Lord, and afterwards became a 
zealous member of the church. Such cases were com- 

I shall close this chapter with the singing exercise. 

This is more unaccountable than any thing else I ever 

saw. The subject in a very happy state of mind would 

sing most melodiously, not from the mouth or nose, but 



entirely in the breast, the sounds issuing thence. Such 
music silenced every thing, and attracted the attention 
of all. It was most heavenly. None could ever be 
tired of hearing it. Doctor J. P. Campbell and myself 
were together at a meeting, and w^ere attending to a 
pious lady thus exercised, and concluded it to be some- 
thing surpassing any thing we had known in nature. 

Thus have I given a brief account of the wonderful 
things that appeared in the great excitement in the be- 
ginning of this century. That there were many eccen- 
tricities, and much fanaticism in this excitement, was 
acknowledged by its warmest advocates; indeed it 
would have been a wonder, if such things had not ap- 
peared, in the circumstances of that time. Yet the good 
effects were seen and acknowledged in every neighbor- 
hood, and among the different sects it silenced conten- 
tion, and promoted unity for awhile ; and these blessed 
effects would have continued, had not men put forth 
their unhallowed hands to hold up their tottering ark, 
mistaking it for the ark of God. In the next chapter 
this will appear. 


Hemorrhage of the lungs from excessive speaking, &c. — Attends a camp 
meeting at Paris — Meets with opposition — Frees his slaves — Richard 
M'Nemar, John Dunlavy, John Thompson, Robert Marshall and him- 
self concur in religious views — Revival checked by opposition — Party- 
ism rekindled — M'Nemar tried — Protest against proceedings of Synod 
in M'Nemar's case, and withdrawal of Richard M'Nemar, John Dun- 
lavy, John Thompson, Robert Marshall and himself from jurisdiction of 
Synod — They are suspended — Formed themselves into a separate Pres- 
bytery, called Springfield Presbytery — Apology published — Abandons 
Presbyterianism — Surrenders all claim to salary — Last will and testa- 
ment of Springlield Presbytery. 

Since the beginning of the excitement I had been 
employed day and night in preaching, singing, visiting 
and praying with the distressed, till my lungs failed, 
and became inflamed, attended w^ith a violent cough and 


spitting of blood. It was believed to be a dangerous 
case, and might terminate in consumption. My strength 
failed, and I felt myself fast descending to the tomb. 
Viewing this event near, and that I should soon cease 
from my labors, I had a great desire to attend a camp- 
meeting at Paris, a few miles distant from Caneridge. 
My physician had strictly forbidden me to preach any 
more till my disease should be removed. 

At this camp-meeting the multitudes assembled in a 
shady grove near Paris, with their wagons and provi- 
sions. Here for the first time a Presbyterian preacher 
arose and opposed the work, and the doctrine by which 
the work amongst us had its existence and life. He 
labored hard to Calvinize the people, and to regulate 
them according to his standard of propriety. He wish- 
ed them to decamp at night, and to repair to the town, 
nearly a mile off, for worship in a house that could not 
contain half the people. This could not be done with- 
out leaving their tents and all exposed. The conse- 
quence was, the meeting was divided, and the work 
greatly impeded. Infidels and formalists triumphed at 
this supposed victory, and extolled the preacher to the 
skies; but the hearts of the revivalists were filled with 
sorrow. Being in a feeble state, I went to the meeting 
in town. A preacher was put forward, who had always 
been hostile to the work, and seldom mingled with us. 
He lengihily addressed the people in iceberg style — its 
influence was deathly. I felt a strong desire to pray as 
soon as he should close, and had so determined in my 
own mind. He at length closed, and I arose and said, 
let us pray. At that very moment, another preacher of 
the same cast with the former, rose in the pulpit to 
preach another sermon. I proceeded to pray, feeling a 
tender concern for the salvation of my fellow creatures, 
and expecting shortly to appear before my Judge. The 
people became very much afiected, and the house was 
filled with the cries of distress. Some of the preach- 
ers jumped out of a window back of the pulpit, and 
left us. Forgetting my weakness, I pushed through the 


crowd from one to another in distress, pointed them the 
way of salvation, and administered to them the com- 
forts of the gospel. My good physician was there, 
came to me in the crowd, and found me literally wet 
with sweat. He hurried me to his house, and lectured 
me severely on the impropriety of my conduct. I im- 
mediately put on dry clothes, went to bed, slept com- 
fortably, and rose next morning relieved from the dis- 
ease which had baffled medicine, and threatened my 
life. That night's sweat was my cure, by the grace of 
God. I was soon able to renew my ministerial labors, 
and was joyful to see religion progressing. This happy 
state of things continued for some time, and seemed to 
gather strength with days. My mind became unearthly, 
and was solely engaged in the work of the Lord. I 
/had emancipated my slaves from a sense of right, 
I choosing poverty with a good conscience, in preference 
jjvto all the treasures of the world. This revival cut the 
j bonds of many poor slaves; and this argument speaks 
1 volumes in favor of the work. For of what avail is a 
\ religion of decency and order, without righteousness.'* 
There were at this time five preachers in the Presby- 
terian connection, who were in the same strain of 
preaching, and whose doctrine w^as different from that 
taught in the Confession of Faith of that body. Their 
names were, Richard McNemar, John Thompson, 
John Dunlavy, Robert Marshall, and myself; the three 
former lived in Ohio, the two latter in Kentucky. Da- 
vid Purviance was then a candidate for the ministry, 
and was of the same faith. The distinguishing doc- 
trine, which we boldly and every where preached, is 
contained in our Apology, printed shortly after that 
time, which I desire to be reprinted with these me- 
moirs of my life, affixed to the same volume. From 
some of the sentiments of this Apology we afterwards 
dissented, especially on the Atonement, as stated in that 

The distinguishing doctrine preached by us was, that 
/ God loved the world — the whole world, and sent his 


Son to save them, on condition that they believed in 
him — that the gospel was the means of salvation — but 
that this means would never be effectual to this end, 
until believed and obeyed by us — that God required 
us to believe in his Son, and had given us sufficient 
evidence in his Word to produce faith in us, if attend- 
ed to by us — that sinners were capable of understand- 
ing and believing this testimony, and of acting upon it 
by coming to the Saviour and obeying him, and from 
him obtaining salvation and the Holy Spirit. We urged 
upon the sinner to believe now, and receive salvation — 
that in vain they looked for the Spirit to be given them, 
while they remained in unbelief — they must believe be- 
fore the Spirit or salvation would be given them — that 
God was as willing to save them now, as he ever was, 
or ever would be — that no previous qualification was 
required, or necessary in order to believe in Jesus, and 
come to him — that if they were sinners, this was their 
divine warrant to believe in him, and to come to him 
for salvation — that Jesus died for all, and that all things 
were now ready. When we began first to preach these 
things, the people appeared as just awakened from the 
sleep of ages — they seemed to see for the first time that 
they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use 
the means appointed, was a damning sin. -^' 

The sticklers for orthodoxy amongst us writhed un- 
der these doctrines, but seeing their mighty effects on 
the people, they winked at the supposed errors, and 
through fear, or other motives, they did not at first pub- 
licly oppose us. They painfully saw their Confession 
of Faith neglected in the daily ministration by the 
preachers of the revival, and murmured at the neglect. 
In truth, that book had been gathering dust from the 
commencement of the excitement, and would have 
been completely covered from view, had not its friends 
interposed to prevent it. At first, they were pleased to 
see the Methodists and Baptists so cordially uniting 
with us in worship, no doubt, hoping they would be- 
come Presbyterians. But as soon as they saw these 


sects drawing away disciples after them, they raised the 
tocsin of alarm — the confession is in danger! — the 
church is in danger ! O Israel to your tents ! 

These sticklers began to preach boldly the doctrines 
of their confession, and used their most potent argu- 
ments in their defence. The gauntlet was now thrown, 
and a fire was now kindled that threatened ruin to the 
great excitement; it revived the dying spirit of party- 
ism, and gave life and strength to trembling infidels and 
lifeless professors. The sects w^ere roused. The Meth- 
odists and Baptists, who had so long lived in peace and 
harmony with the Presbyterians, and with one another, 
now girded on their armor, and marched into the deathly 
field of controversy and w^ar. These were times of distress. 
The spirit of partyism soon expelled the spirit of love 
and union — peace fled before discord and strife, and re- 
ligion was stifled and banished in the unhallowed strug- 
gle for pre-eminence. Who shall be the greatest, 
seemed to be the spirit of the contest — the salvation of 
a ruined world was no longer the burden, and the spirit 
of prayer in mourning took its flight from the breasts 
of many preachers and people. Yet there were some 
of all the sects who deplored this unhappy state of 
things ; but their entreating voice for peace was drown- 
ed by the din of war. 

Though the revival was checked, it was not destroy- 
ed ; still the spirit of truth lingered in our assemblies, 
and evidenced his presence with us. One thing is cer- 
tain, that from that revival a fountain of light has 
sprung, by which the eyes of thousands are opened to 
just and proper views of the gospel, and it promises 
fair to enlighten the world, and bring them back to God 
and his institutions. 

In this state of confusion, the friends of the Confes- 
sion were indignant at us for preaching doctrines so 
contradictory to it. They determined to arrest our 
progress and put us down. The Presbytery of Spring- 
field, in Ohio, first took McNemar through their fiery 
ordeal, for preaching these anti-calvinistic doctrines. 


From that Presbytery his case came before the Synod 
at Lexington, Kentucky. That body appeared gener- 
ally very hostile to our doctrine, and there was much 
spirited altercation among them. The other four of us 
well knew what would be our fate, by the decision on 
McNemar's case ; for it was plainly hinted to us, that 
we would not be forgotten by the Synod. We waited 
anxiously for the issue, till w^e plainly saw it would be 
adverse to him, and consequently to us all. 

In a short recess of Synod, we five withdrew to a 
private garden, where, after prayer for direction, and a 
free conversation, with a perfect unanimity we drew up 
a protest against the proceeding of Synod in McNemar's 
case, and a declaration of our independence, and of our 
w^ithdrawal from their jurisdiction, but not from their 
communion. This protest w^e immediately presented 
to the Synod, through their Moderator — it was altogether 
unexpected by them, and produced very unpleasant 
feelings ; and a profound silence for a few minutes en- 

We retired to a friend's house in town, whither we 
were quickly followed by a committee of Synod, sent to 
reclaim us to their standards. We had with them a 
very friendly conversation, the result of which was, 
that one of the committee, Matthew Houston, became 
convinced that the doctrine we preached w^as true, and 
soon after united with us. Another of the committee, 
old father David Rice, of precious memory, on whose 
influence the Synod chiefly depended to reclaim us, 
urged one argument worthy of record, it was this — 
that every departure from Calvinism was an advance to 
atheism. The grades named by him were, from Calvin- 
ism to Arminianism — from Arminianism to Pelagianism 
— from Pelagianism to deism — from deism to atheism. 
This was his principal argument, which could have no 
effect on m.inds ardent in the search of truth. 

The committee reported to Synod their failure in re- 
claiming us; and after a few more vain attempts, they 
proceeded to the solemn work of suspending us, be- 


cause we had departed from the standards of their 
church, and taught doctrines subversive of them. 
Committees were immediately sent to our congrega- 
tions to read the Synod's bull of suspension, and to 
declare them vacant. However just their decision 
might be with respect to the other four, in suspending 
them for the crime of departing from the Confession 
of Faith, yet all plainly saw that it was improper with 
regard to me, seeing I had not received that book at 
my ordination, nor ever before, more than any other 
book, i. e. as far as I saw it agreeable to the word of 
God. Their bull was *' a blow in the air" as regarded 
me. I am therefore an ordained preacher by the impo- 
sition of the hands of the Transylvania Presbytery, 
and as I have not formally been excluded from the 
communion of that church, I can yet claim it with just 
right. ( We insisted that after we had orderly protested, 
and withdrawn, that the Synod had no better right to 
suspend us, than the pope of Rome had to suspend 
Luther, after he had done the same thing. We con- 

I tended, if Luther's suspension was valid, then the whole 
protestant succession was out of order, and of course, 
that the Synod had no better right to administer in 
the gospel than we — that their act of suspension was 

This act of Synod produced great commotion and 
division in the churches ; not only were churches di- 
vided, but families ; those who before had lived in 
harmony and love, were now set in hostile array against 
each other. ,' What scenes of confusion and distress! 

/^not produced by the Bible ; but by human authoritative 

creeds, supported by sticklers for orthodoxy. My heart 

was sickened, and effectually turned against such creeds, 

as nuisances of religious society, and the very bane of 

V^Christian unity .J 

Immediately after our separation from Synod, we con- 
stituted ourselves into a Presbytery, which we called 
the Springfield Presbytery. We wrote a letter to our 
congregations, informed them of what had transpired, 




and promised shortly to give them and the world a full 
account of our views of the gospel, and the causes of 
our separation from Synod. This book we soon afterN 
published, called The Apology of Springfield Presby- 
tery. ( In this book we stated our objections at length 
to the Presbyterian Confession of Faith, and against all 
authoritative confessions and creeds formed by fallible 
men. We expressed our total abandonment of all au- 
thoritative creeds, but the Bible alone, as the only rule 
of our faith and practice. This book produced a great 
effect in the Christian community ; it was quickly re- 
published by the Methodists in Virginia, except our re- 
marks upon creeds. 

The presses were employed, and teemed forth pamph- 
lets against us, full of misrepresentation and invective, 
and the pulpits every where echoed their contents. 
These pamphlets and harangues against us excited in- 
quiry and conviction in the minds of many, and greatly 
conduced to spread our views. The arguments against 
us were clothed with such bitter words and hard 
speeches, that many serious and pious persons, dis- 
gusted and offended with their authors, were driven 
from them, and cleaved to us. 

Soon after our separation, I called together my con- 
gregations, and informed them thatfl could no longer 
conscientiously preach to support the Presbyterian 
church — that my labors should henceforth be directed 
to advance the Redeemer's kingdom, irrespective of 
party — that I absolved them from all obligations in a 
pecuniary point of view, and then in their presence tore 
up their salary obligation to me, in order to free their 
minds from all fear of being called upon hereafter for 
aid. j Never had a pastor and churches lived together 
more harmoniously than we had for about six years. 
Never have I found a more loving, kind, and orderly 
people in any country, and never have I felt a more 
cordial attachment to any others. I told them that I 
should continue to preach among them, but not in the 
relation that had previously existed between us. This 



was truly a day of sorrow, and the impressions of it are 

Thus to the cause of truth I sacrificed the friendship 
of two large congregations, and an abundant salary for 
the support of myself and family. I preferred the 
truth to the friendship and kindness of my associates in 
the Presbyterian ministry, who were dear to me, and 
tenderly united in the bonds of love. I preferred hon- 
esty and a good conscience to all these things. Having 
now no support from the congregations, and having 
emancipated my slaves, I turned my attention cheerfully, 
though awkwardly, to labor on my little farm.. Though 
fatigued in body, my mind was happy, and "calm as 
summer evenings be." I relaxed not in my ministerial 
labors, preaching almost every night, and often in the 
day time, to the people around. I had no money to 
hire laborers, and often on my return home, I found the 
weeds were getting ahead of my corn. I had often to 
labor at night while others were asleep, to redeem my 
lost time. 

Under the name of Springfield Presbytery we went 
forward preaching, and constituting churches ; but we 
had not worn our name more than one year, before we 
saw it savored of a party spirit. With the man-made 
creeds we threw it overboard, and took the name Chris- 
tian — the, name given to the disciples by divine appoint- 
ment first at Antioch. We published a pamphlet on 
this name, written by Elder Rice Haggard, who had 
lately united with us. Having divested ourselves of 
all party creeds, and party names, and trusting alone in 
God, and the word of his grace, we became a by-word 
and laughing stock to the sects around ; all prophesying 
our speedy annihilation. Yet from this period I date 
the commencement of that reformation, which has 
progressed to this day.') Through much tribulation and 
opposition we advanced, and churches and preachers 
w^ere multiplied. 

For your information I insert the Last Will and Testa- 
ment of Springfield Presbytery. 

barton w. stone. 51 

The last Will and Testament of Springfield 

For where a testament is, there must of necessity be 
the death of the testator; for a testament is of force af- 
ter men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength at all, 
while the testator liveth. Thou fool, that which thou 
sowest is not quickened except it die. Verily, verily 
I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the 
ground, and die, it abideth alone ; but if it die, it bring- 
eth forth much fruit. Whose voice then shook the earth ; 
but now he hath promised, saying, yet once more I 
shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this 
word, yet once more, signifies the removing of those 
things that are shaken as of things that are made, that 
those things which cannot be shaken may remain. — 


The Presbytery of Springfield, sitting at Cane- 
ridge, in the county of Bourbon, being, through a gra- 
cious Providence, in more than ordinary bodily health, 
growing in strength and size daily ; and in perfect sound- 
ness and composure of mind ; but knowing that it is ap- 
pointed for all delegated bodies once to die : and con- 
sidering that the life of every such body is very uncer- 
tain, do make, and ordain this our last Will and Testa- 
ment, in manner and form following, viz : 

Imprimis. We will, that this body die, be dissolved, 
and sink into union with the Body of Christ at large ; 
for there is but one body, and one Spirit, even as we are 
called in one hope of our calling. 

Item. We will, that our name of distinction, with 
its Reverend title, be forgotten, that there be but one 
Lord over God's heritage, and his name one. 

Item. We will, that our power of making laws for 
the government of the church, and executing them by 
delegated authority, forever cease ; that the people may 


have free course to the Bible, and adopt the law of the 
Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. 

Item. We will, that candidates for the Gospel min- 
istry henceforth study the Holy Scriptures with fervent 
prayer, and obtain license from God to preach the sim- 
ple Gospel, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, 
without any mixture of philosophy, vain deceit, tradi- 
tions of men, or the rudiments of the world. And let 
none henceforth take this honor to himself hut he that is 
called of God, as was Aaron. 

Item. We will, that the church of Christ resume her 
native right of internal government — try her candidates 
for the ministry, as to their soundness in the faith, ac- 
quaintance with experimental religion, gravity and apt- 
ness to teach ; and admit no other proof of their authority 
but Christ speaking in them. We will, that the church 
of Christ look up to the Lord of the harvest to send 
forth laborers into his harvest ; and that she resume her 
primitive right of trying those who say they are apos- 
tles, and are not. 

Item. We will, that each particular church, as a 
body, actuated by the same spirit, choose her own 
preacher, and support him by a free will offering, with- 
out a written call or subscription — admit members — re- 
move offences ; and never henceforth delegate her right 
of government to any man or set of men whatever. 

Item. We will, that the people henceforth take the 
Bible as the only sure guide to heaven ; and as many as 
are offended with other books, which stand in competi- 
tion with it, may cast them into the fire if they choose ; 
for it is better to enter into life having one book, than 
having many to be cast into hell. 

Item. We will, that preachers and people, cultivate 
a spirit of mutual forbearance ; pray more and dispute 
less ; and while they behold the signs of the times, look 
up, and confidently expect that redemption draweth 

Item. We will, that our weak brethren, who may 
have been wishing to make the Presbytery of Spring- 

*** BARTON W. STONE. 53 

field their king, and wot not what is now become of it, 
betake themselves to the Rock of Ages, and follow Je- 
sus for the future. 

Item. We will^ that the Synod of Kentucky examine 
every member, who may be suspected of having depart- 
ed from the Confession of Faith, and suspend every 
such suspected heretic immediately ; in order that the 
oppressed may go free, and taste the sweets of gospel 

Item. We will^ that Ja , the author of two 

letters lately published in Lexington, be encouraged in 
his zeal to destroy partyism. We will, moreover, that 
our past conduct be examined into by all who may have 
correct information ; but let foreigners beware of speak- 
ing evil of things which they know not. 

Item. Finally we will^ that all our sister bodies read 
their Bibles carefully, that they may see their fate there 
determined, and prepare for death before it is too 

Springfield Presbytery^ ? T ^ 
June 2Sth, 1804. ^ ^' ' 

Robert Marshall, 

John Dunlavy, 

Richard M'Nemar, 

B. W. Stone, 

John Thompson, 

David Purviance, 


The Witnesses' Address. 

We, the above named witnesses of the Last Will and 
Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, knowing that 
there will be many conjectures respecting the causes 
which have occasioned the dissolution of that body, 
think proper to testify, that from its first existence it was 
knit together in love, lived in peace and concord, and 
died a voluntary and happy death. 

Their reasons for dissolving that body were the fol- 
lowing : With deep concern they viewed the divisions, 


and party spirit among professing Christians, principally 
owing to the adoption of human creeds and forms of 
government. While they were united under the name 
of a Presbytery, they endeavored to cultivate a spirit 
of love and unity with all Christians ; but found it ex- 
tremely difficult to suppress the idea that they them- 
selves were a party separate from others. This diffi- 
culty increased in proportion to their success in the 
ministry. Jealousies were excited in the minds of other 
denominations ; and a temptation was laid before those 
who were connected with the various parties, to view 
them in the same light. At their last meeting they un- 
dertook to prepare for the press a piece ^titled Obser- 
vations on Church Government, in which the world 
wall see the beautiful simplicity of Christian church go- 
vernment, stript of human inventions and lordly tradi- 
tions. As they proceeded in the investigation of that 
subject, they soon found that there was neither precept 
nor example in the New Testament for such confede- 
racies as modern Church Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, 
General Assemblies, &c. Hence they concluded, that 
while they continued in the connection in which they 
then stood, they were off the foundation of the Apos- 
tles and Prophets, of which Christ himself is the chief 
corner stone. However just, therefore, their views of 
church government might have been, they would have 
gone out under the name and sanction of a self-consti- 
tuted body. Therefore, from a principle of love to 
Christians of every name, the precious cause of Jesus, 
and dying sinners who are kept from the Lord by the 
existence of sects and parties in the church, they have 
cheerfully consented to retire from the din and fury of 
conflicting parties — sink out of the view of fleshly 
minds, and die the death. They believe their death 
will be great gain to the world. But though dead, as 
above, and stript of their mortal frame, which only served 
to keep them too near the confines of Egyptian bond- 
age, they yet live and speak in the land of gospel lib- 
erty ; they blow the trumpet of jubilee, and willingly 


devote themselves to the help of the Lord against the 
mighty. They will aid the brethren, by their counsel, 
when required ; assist in ordaining elders, or pastors — 
seek the divine blessing — unite with all Christians — 
commune together, and strengthen each others' hands in 
the work of the Lord. 

We design, by the grace of God, to continue in the 
exercise of those functions, which belong to us as min- 
isters of the gospel, confidently trusting in the Lord, 
that he will be with us. We candidly acknowledge, 
that in some things we may err, through human infirmi- 
ty ; but he will correct our wanderings, and preserve 
his church. Let all Christians join with us, in crying 
to God day and night, to remove the obstacles which 
stand in the way of his work, and give him no rest till 
he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. We heartily 
unite with our Christian brethren of every name, in 
thanksgiving to God for the display of his goodness in 
the glorious work he is carrying on in our Western 
country, which we hope will terminate in the universal 
-spread of the gospel, and the unity of the church. 
Thus far the Witnesses of the Last Will and Testament 
of the Springfield Presbytery. Why the work alluded 
to above, on the subject of church government, never 
made its appearance, the writer is not advised. Per- 
haps the Shaker-difficulty, which shortly after this time 
arose, was the cause ; as it is known that Dunlavy and 
M'Nemar, two of the Witnesses, were carried away 
with that miserable delusion : and also, that shortly af- 
ter their defection from the cause, Marshall and Thomp- 
son began to look back, and subsequently joined the 
Presbyterians again. 



Atonement — Change of views — Baptism ; is himself immersed — Fanati- 
cism makes considerable advances — The Shakers come — Some of the 
Preachers and people led off. 

In 1804, my mind became embarrassed on the doc- 
trine of Atonement. I had believed and taught that 
Christ died as a substitute or surety in our stead, and 
that he died to make satisfaction to law and justice for 
our sins, in order to our justification. From these com- 
monly received principles, it would seem to follow that 
all must be saved, and that Universalism must be the 
true doctrine. If all were not saved, then it would fol- 
low that Christ did not die for all ; and then Calvinistic 
election and reprobation must be the true doctrine. I 
indulged no doubt in my mind, that each of these two 
systems was condemned by the Scriptures. I studied 
the system of Andrew Fuller, but was obliged to con- 
clude, that it was only a subterfuge and a palliative of 
the two former systems of Calvinism and Universalism. 
The growing intelligence of the world must, and will 
see it in this light. I determined to divest myself, as 
much as possible, of all preconceived opinions on this 
subject, and search the Scriptures daily for the truth. 

I first examined the commonly received doctrine, 
that Christ as a surety or substitute, died to satisfy the 
demands of law and justice against us, and paid our 
debts of suffering in our stead, by which we are justi- 
fied. This is equally the doctrine of Calvinists and the 
earlier Universalists, differing only in extent ; the for- 
mer limiting the Atonement to the elect, and the latter, 
without limitation, extending it to all mankind. They 
stand upon the same foundation. Now I inquired, 
what are these debts, paid by the death of Christ ? I 
was answered by the one voice of all, they are death, 
temporal, spiritual, and eternal ; and that these were 
the demands of the violated law, and injured justice of 
God. I then inquired, did Christ as a substitute, die a 


natural, or temporal death in our stead ? If so, why 
do we all yet die ? If the debt was fully paid by him 
for us, can it be just that we suffer it again? Did he 
die a spiritual death for us? Why then do all, wheth- 
er elect or non-elect, suffer this death ? All are desti- 
tute of spiritual life, are dead in trespasses and sins, 
have no desire for God, nor delight in him. Could a 
holy law make such demands ? Could the holy Jesus 
pay such ? Impossible. I farther inquired, did Christ 
suffer eternal death, in pur room and stead ? Impossi- 
ble ; for he arose from the dead the third day, and is 
now alive forevermore in heaven. But the common 
idea was suggested, he suffered what was equivalent to 
eternal death ; — he suffered infinitely in degree, but not 
eternally. This appeared to me a mere subterfuge, as 
unscriptural as it is unreasonable ; for none but the in- 
finite God could suffer infinitely ; and as he cannot suf- 
fer, therefore the doctrine is absurd. Besides, eternal 
punishment has no end, and to eternity the debt will 
be unpaid, and until this be done justice cannot be fully 
satisfied, and consequently there can be no justification 
forever, on this plan. 

Again: I viewed the substitute or surety, and the 
person with whom he is connected, as one in law. If 
the surety pays the debt, it is considered as paid by the 
person for whom he was surety. Is this a justification 
by grace, or of debt? Is it pardon or forgiveness? I 
was overwhelmed with astonishment to see the founda- 
tions of all the popular systems built upon the sand, and 
tottering, and falling at the touch of truth. The just- 
ly celebrated and eloquent Universalist preacher, Mr. 
Bailey, of Kentucky, acknowledged that the foundation 
of Universalism had never been moved or touched till 
these arguments appeared ; and from that time till his 
death he ceased to teach the doctrine, as I have been 

Driven from this foundation, I tried that of the Meth- 
odists — that Jesus died to reconcile the Father to us. 
This I found to be an unscriptural assertion. None of 


the sacred writers have said so. They represent God 
an unchangeable being. The death of Jesus is never 
represented as having any effect on God, or his law; 
but on man the whole effect of it passed for his good. 
I examined another opinion, novN^ become very com- 
mon, that is, that Jesus died to open the door of mercy 
to the world, or to make it possible for God to justify 
him that believed in his Son. This door was represent- 
ed to be in the breast of God. Justice and truth had 
closed it against the egress of mercy to save sinners. 
It was impossible for mercy to get out till the door was 
opened ; and justice opposed its being opened, till satis- 
faction should be made to its demands. These de- 
mands, on inquiry, I found to be as before stated, death 
temporal, spiritual and eternal. The diction is differ- 
ent, but the sentiments are the same. ''I saw that the 
doctrine evidently was not true — that the door of mer- 
cy in the breast of God was not closed; for the greatest 
gifts of mercy, yea, all the gifts of mercy, were vouch- 
safed to us in the gift of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, 
before justice could be satisfied by his death. "For 
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, 
but have everlasting life." The gift of Jesus was be- 
fore his death, and this, according to the system, must 
be before the satisfaction. A door against mercy is in 
our heart, and it is closed ; but the Lord is represented as 
knocking at that door, and pleading for entrance. 
When we open, the Lord with his fulness enters, and 
blesses us. 

I farther inquired, did God in his law given by Mo- 
ses, admit of a substitute or surety to die in the room 
of the guilty ? I found that he did not. For accord- 
ing to the law, every soul was to die for his own sins ; 
even a son should not die for the father, nor the father 
for the son. The doctrine of suretyship is wrong in 
civil policy, as w^ell as in religion. It is not an author- 
ized doctrine of the Bible, though contended for with 
so much zeal by system-mongers. 


My opportunity to read was very limited, being com- 
pelled to manual labor daily on my farm ; but so in- 
tently engaged was my mind, on this and collateral 
subjects, that I always took with me in my corn-field 
my pen and ink, and as thoughts worthy of note oc- 
curred, I would cease from my labor, and commit them 
to paper. Thus laboring till I had accumulated matter 
enough for a pamphlet, and having arranged the ideas, I 
addressed them in print to a friend. That edition was 
soon exhausted, and I could not supply the many calls 
for it. This gave a pretext for many to say, I had call- 
ed them in and burnt them. This is not true. They 
were never called in by me, nor were they burnt in my 
knowledge. Against this pamphlet, Doct. J. P. Camp- 
bell, of Kentucky, a Presbyterian preacher of some no- 
toriety, wrote his Strictures — very severe in language, 
but his arguments were by me considered weak ; yet, 
as good as his cause afforded him. To these Strictures 
I replied in another printed pamphlet, to which he made 
a rejoinder, called the Vindex. It was judged to be 
too vindictive to merit a reply ; and thus this contro- 
versy between us closed. One thing I have since re- 
gretted, that the Doctor accused me in his pamphlets 
of being heterodox on the Trinity. My views I had 
never committed to paper, and for years had been si- 
lent on that subject in my public addresses. We had 
been very intimate, and I had disclosed my views to 
him as to a brother ; not suspecting that I should be 
dragged before the public as I was. I forgive him. 
But his disclosure was abroad, and induced me to de- 
fend myself, and the doctrine I believed. This I have 
done in a book called my Address to the Churches, and 
in my Letters to James Biythe, D. D., the latter de- 
signed as an answer to Thomas Cleland, D. D., who 
had written furiously against me. 

The result of my inquiries on Atonement and Trinity, 
will be found in the pamphlets above named. I called 
Atonement, according to the true spelling and pronun- 
ciation of the word, at-orie-ment. Sin had separated 


between God and man, before at-one, when man was 
holy. Jesus was sent to restore that union, or to make 
the at-one-ment between God and man. This he ef- 
fects when he saves us from our sins and makes us 
holy. When this is effected, God and man are at-one, 
without any change in God, the whole change being in 
man. This is effected through faith in Jesus, who lived, 
died, was buried, and rose again. But these things 
are fully shown in the books referred to above. 

About this time the subject of Baptism began to ar- 
rest the attention of the churches. On this I will state 
what took place while I was a Presbyterian preacher. 
Robert Marshall, one of our company, had then become 
convinced of the truth of the Baptists' views on this 
subject, and ceased from the practice of pedobaptism ; 
and it was believed he was on the eve of uniting with 
the Baptists. Alarmed lest be should join them, I wrote 
him a lengthy letter on the subject, laboring to con- 
vince him of his error. In reply, he wrote me another, 
in which he so forcibly argued in favor of believers' 
immersion, and against pedobaptism, that my mind was 
brought so completely to doubt the latter, that I ceased 
the practice entirely. About this time the great ex- 
citement commenced, and the subject of baptism was 
for awhile, strangely, almost forgotten. But after a few 
years it revived, and many became dissatisfied with 
their infant sprinkling, among whom I was one. 

The brethren, elders, and deacons came together on 
this subject ; for we had agreed previously with one 
another to act in concert, and not to adventure on any 
thing new without advice from one another. At this 
meeting we took up the matter in a brotherly spirit, and 
concluded that every brother and sister should act freely, 
and according to their conviction of right — and that we 
should cultivate the long-neglected grace of forbear- 
ance towards each other — they who should be immers- 
ed, should not despise those who were not, and vice 
versa. Now the question arose, who will baptize us ? 
The Baptists would not, except we united with them ; 


and there were no elders among us who had been im- 
mersed. It was finally concluded among us, that if we 
were authorized to preach, we were also authorized to 
baptize. The work then commenced, the preachers 
baptized one another, and crowds came, and were 
also baptized. My congregations very generally sub- 
mitted to it, and it soon obtained generally, and yet 
the pulpit was silent on the subject. In Brother Mar- 
shall's congregation there were many who wished 
baptism. As Brother Marshall had not faith in the or- 
dinance, I was called upon to administer. This dis- 
pleased him and a few others. 

The subject of baptism now engaged the attention 
of the people very generally, and some, with myself, 
began to conclude that it was ordained for the remission 
of sins, and ought to be administered in the name of 
Jesus to all believing penitents. I remember once 
about this time we had a great meeting at Concord. 
Mourners were invited every day to collect before the 
stand, in order for prayers, (this being the custom of the 
times.) The brethren were praying daily for the same 
people, and none seemed to be comforted. I was con- 
sidering in my mind, what could be the cause. The 
words of Peter, at Pentecost, rolled through my mind. 
*' Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and 
you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." I thought, 
were Peter here, he would thus address these mourners. 
I quickly arose, and addressed them in the same lan- 
guage, and urged them to comply. Into the spirit of 
the doctrine I was never fully led, until it was revived 
by Brother Alexander Campbell, some years after. 

The churches and preachers grew and were multi- 
plied ; we began to be puffed up at our prosperity. A 
law of Synod, or Presbytery, forbade their people to as- 
sociate with us in our worship, on pain of censure, or 
exclusion from their communion. This influenced many 
of them to join us. But this pride of ours was soon 
humbled by a very extraordinary incident. *Three mis- 
sionary Shakers from the East came amongst us — Bates, 

* See Note, p.64. 


Mitchum, and Young. They were eminently qualified 
for their mission. Their appearance was prepossessing 
— their dress was plain and neat — they were grave and 
unassuming at first in their manners — very intelligent 
and ready in the Scriptures, and of great boldness in 
their faith. 

They informed us that they had heard of us in the 
East, and greatly rejoiced in the work of God amongst 
us — that as far as we had gone we were right ; but we 
had not gone far enough into the work — that they were 
sent by their brethren to teach the way of God more 
perfectly, by obedience to which we should be led into 
perfect holiness. ' They seemed to understand all the 
springs and avenues of the human heart. They deliv- 
ered their testimony, and labored to confirm it by the 
Scriptures — promised the greatest blessings to the obe- 
dient, but certain damnation to the disobedient. They 
urged the people to confess their sins to them, especi- 
ally the sin of matrimony, and to forsake them all im- 
mediately — husbands must forsake their wives, and 
wives their husbands. This was the burden of their 
testimony. They said they could perform miracles, and 
related many as done among them. But we never 
could persuade them to try to work miracles among us. 

Many such things they preached, the consequence of 
which was similar to that of Simon Magus. Many said 
they were the great power of God. Many confessed 
their sins to them, and forsook the marriage state; 
among whom were three of our preachers, Matthew 
Houston, Richard M'Nemar, and John Dunlavy. Sev- 
eral more of our preachers, and pupils, alarmed, fled 
from us, and joined the different sects around us. The 
sects triumphed at our distress, and watched for our fall, 
as Jonah watched the fall of Nineveh under the shadow 
of his gourd. But a worm at the root of Jonah's gourd 
killed it, and deprived him of its shade, and brought 
on him great distress. So the worm of Shakerism was 
busy at the root of all the sects, and brought on them 
great distress ; for multitudes of them, both preachers 


and common people, also joined the Shakers. Our re- 
proach was rolled away. 

Never did I exert myself more than at this time, to 
save the people from this vortex of ruin. I yielded to 
no discouragement, but labored night and day, far and 
near, among the churches where the Shakers went. By 
this means their influence was happily checked in many 
places. I labored so hard and constantly that a profuse 
spitting of blood ensued. Our broken ranks were once 
more rallied under the standard of heaven, and were 
soon led on once more to victory. In answer to con- 
stant prayer, the Lord visited us and comforted us after 
this severe trial. The cause again revived, and former 
scenes were renewed. 

The Shakers now became our bitter enemies, and 
united with the sects in their opposition to us. They 
denied the literal resurrection of the body from the 
grave : they said the resurrection of the body meant the 
resurrection of Christ's body, meaning the church. 
They, the elders, had constant communication and con- 
versation with angels and all the departed saints. 
They looked for no other or better heaven than that on 
earth. Their worship, if worthy of the name, consist- 
ed in voluntary dancing together. They lived together, 
and had all things common, entirely under the direction 
and control of the elders. They flourished greatly for 
some years, and built several superb villages; but af- 
terwards began to dwindle till they became nearly ex- 
tinct. John Dunlavy, who had left us, and joined 
them, was a man of a penetrating mind, wrote and pub- 
lished much for them, and was one of their elders in 
high repute by them. He died in Indiana, raving in 
desperation for his folly in forsaking the truth for an old 
woman's fables. Richard M'Nemar was, before his 
death, excluded by the Shakers from their society, in a 
miserable, penniless condition, as I was informed by 
good authority. The reason of his exclusion I never 
heard particularly; but from w^hat was heard, it appears 
that he had become convinced of his error. The 


Shakers had a revelation given them to remove him from 
their village, and take him to Lebanon, in Ohio, and 
to set him down in the streets, and leave him there in 
his old age, without friends or money. Soon after he 
died. Matthew Houston is yet alive, and continues 
among them. 

Their doctrine was, that the Christ appeared first in 
a male, and through life was preparing the way of sal- 
vation, which he could not accomplish till his second 
appearance in a woman, Anne Lees, who was now the 
Christ, and had full power to save. They had new 
revelations, superior to the Scriptures, which they called 
the old record, which were true, but superseded by 
the new. When they preached to the world, they used 
the old record, and preached a pure gospel, as a bait to 
catch the unwary; but in the close of their discourse 
they artfully introduced their testimony. In this way 
they captivated hundreds, and ensnared them in ruin. 
Their coming was at a most inauspicious time. Some 
of us were verging on fanaticism ; some were so dis- 
gusted at the spirit of opposition against us, and the 
evils of division, that they were almost led to doubt 
the truth of religion in toto ; and some were earnestly 
breathing after perfection in holiness, of which attain- 
ment they were almost despairing, by reason of remain- 
ing depravity. The Shakers well knew how to accom- 
modate each of these classes, and decoy them into the 
trap set for them. They misrepresented our views, and 
the truth; and they had not that sacred regard to truth- 
telling which becomes honest Christians. I speak ad- 

* Note — see page 61. — The Shaker difficulty here alluded to by father 
Stone, is represented as occuring before the question of baptism agitated 
the Churches. This is a chronological mistake, as doubtless the Shakers 
came, before the question of baptism was stirred. Father Purviance's ac- 
count of this matter is accordant with the true chronology of the facts. 
This, to be sure is a small matter, comparatively. J. R. 



The churches had scarcely recovered from the shock of Shakerism, when 
Marshall and Thompson became disaffected — They endeavor to intro- 
duce a human Creed — But failing, they return to the Presbyterian 
Church — Their character — B. W. Stone's only son dies, 1809 — His 
wife, in May, 1810 — Her pious character — Breaks up house- 
keeping — In October, 1811, was married to Celia W. Bowen, 
and removes to 'J'ennessee — Returns to Kentucky — Teaches a high 
school in Lexington — Studies the Hebrew language — Appointed prin- 
cipal of the Rittenhouse Academy in Georgetown — Preaches in George- 
town, where he founded a church with a numerous congregation — Is 
persuaded to resign his station in the Academy, and devote his whole 
time to preaching — Teaches a private school in Georgetown — Goes to 
Meigs county, Ohio, where a Baptist Association agrees to assume the 
name Christian — Remarkable dream — Travels in Ohio, preaching to 
multitudes and baptizing many. 

Soon after this shock had passed off, and the church- 
es were in a prosperous, growing condition (for many 
excrescences had been lopped off from our body) ano- 
ther dark cloud was gathering, and threatened our entire 
overthrow. But three of the elders now remained of 
those that left the Presbyterians, and who had banded 
together to support the truth — Robert Marshall, John 
Thompson and myself. I plainly saw that the two for- 
mer, Marshall and Thompson, were about to forsake us, 
and to return to the house from whence they had come, 
and to draw as many after them as they could. ('They 
began to speak privately that the Bible was too latitudi- 
narian for a creed — that there was a necessity, at this 
time, to embody a few fundamental truths, and to make 
a permanent and final stand upon them.^ One of those 
brethren had written considerably on the points or doc- 
trines to be received, and on those to be rejected by us. 
He brought the written piece with him to a conference 
previously appointed, in order to read it to them. It 
was thought better not to read it at that time, as too 
premature, but to postpone it to another appointment, 
which was made at Mount Tabor, near Lexington, at 
which a general attendance was required. 


I made but little opposition then, but requested him 
to loan me the written piece till our general meeting at 
Mount Tabor, that I might in the interim study his 
doctrines accurately. To this he willingly consented, 
and I availed myself of the permission, and wrote a 
particular reply to his arguments, which was the foun- 
dation of my "Address," afterwards published. The 
general meeting at Mount Tabor came on, numerously 
attended. The piece written by brother Thompson 
was read publicly, and brother Hugh Andrews read also 
a piece of his own composition on the same side of the 
question. I read mine also, and brother David Purvi- 
ance, in the same faith, spoke forcibly. Marshall, 
Thompson, and Andrews labored hard to bring us back 
to the ground from which we had departed, and to form 
a system of doctrines from which we should not recede. 
This scheme was almost universally opposed by a large 
conference of preachers and people. Those brethren, 
seeing they could effect nothing, bade us farewell, and 
withdrew from us. Soon afterwards, Marshall and 
Thompson joined the Presbyterians, receiving their 
confession again professedly ex animo ; and charity 
hopes they did as they professed. They became our 
most zealous opposers; Marshall was required by the 
Presbytery to visit all our churches, where he had for- 
merly preached his errors, and renounce them publicly, 
and preach to them the pure doctrine. 

These two brothers were great and good men. Their 
memory is dear to me, and their fellowship I hope to 
enjoy in a better world. Marshall has been dead for 
some years. He never could regain his former stand- 
ing, nor the confidence of the people, after he left us.' 
Thompson yet lives (1S43) respected, and a zealous 
preacher of the New School Presbyterians, in Crawfords- 
ville, Indiana. Not long since I had several very 
friendly interviews with him. Old things appeared to 
be forgotten by us both, and cast off by brotherly, kind 
affection. Hugh Andrews joined the Methodists, and 
long since sleeps in death. Of all the five of us that 



left the Presbyterians, I only was left, and they sought 
my life. 

In the winter of 1809, my only son, Barton Warren, 
died ; and in the spring following, May 30, my dear 
companion Eliza, triumphantly followed. She was 
pious, intelligent and cheerful, truly a help-meet to me 
in all my troubles and difficulties. Nothing could de- 
press her, not even sickness, nor death itself. I will 
relate an incident respecting her of interest to me, and 
may be to her children. When my mind began to 
think deeply on the subject of the Atonement, I was en- 
tirely absorbed in it, yet dared not mention it to any, 
lest it might involve other minds in similar perplexities. 
She discovered that something uncommon oppressed 
me. I was laboring in my field — she came to me and 
affectionately besought me not to conceal, but plainly 
declare the cause of my oppression. We sat down, 
and I told her my thoughts on the Atonement. When 
I had concluded, she sprang up and praised God aloud 
most fervently for the truth. From that day till her 
death, she never doubted of its truth. 

At her death, four little daughters were left me, the 
eldest not more than eight years old. I broke up house- 
keeping, and boarded my children with brethren, de- 
voting my whole time gratuitously to the churches, scat- 
tered far and near. My companion and fellow laborer 
was Reuben Dooley, of fervent piety, and engaging ad- 
dress. Like myself he had lately lost his companion, 
and ceased house-keeping, and boarded out his little 
children. We preached and founded churches through- 
out the Western States of Ohio, Kentucky and Tennes- 
see. Occasionally we visited our children. All my 
daughters when young, professed faith in Jesus, and 
were baptized. The youngest, Eliza, has long since 
triumphantly entered into rest. 

October 31, 1811, I was married to my present com- 
panion, Celia W. Bowen, daughter of Captain William 
Bowen and Mary his wife, near Nashville, Tennessee. 
She was cousin to my former wife. We immediately 


removed to my old habitation in Bourbon county, Ken- 
tucky, and lived happily there for one year. Then by 
advice and hard persuasion, we were induced to move 
to Tennessee, near my wife's widowed mother. The 
old mother put us on a very good farm, but without a 
comfortable house for our accommodation. I labored 
hard at building a house and improving the farm, till I 
learned that mother Bowen designed not to give me a 
deed to the farm, and that the right of giving a deed 
lay solely in her. I could not blame her for this, as 
the lands of my first wife, by the laws of Kentucky, be- 
longed to her children at her death. She thought it 
prudent to deed the land on which we lived to her 
daughter and children. I had before thought the land 
was left to my wife by the will of her deceased father. 
As soon as I heard of our old mother's determination, I 
concluded to return to Kentucky. 

I communicated this to my companion, who appro- 
ved of my course. In a few days I started back to 
Kentucky, if possible to get back my old farm I had 
sold. I had sold it for $12 per acre ; but the price of 
lands had greatly risen, and I could not get my farm 
again for less than $30 per acre. I was unable to repur- 
chase it, or any other at these prices. While I was in 
Tennessee my field of labors in the word was very 
much circumscribed, and my manual labors took up 
much of my time in fixing for living comfortably. Let- 
ters from the churches and brethren in Kentucky were 
pouring in upon me, pressing me to return to them. 
Finding myself unable to repurchase my old farm, I 
yielded to the strong solicitations of the brethren in Lex- 
ington and the neighborhood, to settle amongst them. 
They immediately sent a carriage for my family, and a 
waggon to move us up. They had rented me a house 
in Lexington, and promised to supply my family with 
every necessary. But I then learned a lesson, and learn- 
ed it better afterwards, that good men often make prom- 
ises which they forget to perform. 

In Lexington I was compelled to teach a high school 


for a support. I taught the English Grammar, Latin, 
Greek, and some of the sciences. This school exceed- 
ed my highest anticipations. Gentlemen of the first 
class patronized it, and our institution became popular 
and respectable. We far outnumbered the pupils of 
the University. I employed an assistant well qualified. 
In this time I had to visit once a month my old congre- 
gation at Caneridge, nearly thirty miles distant, and be 
back by school hour on Monday morning. I labored 
in my school to satisfy my patrons, and profit my pupils, 
and it is believed that I succeeded. 

While teaching there, a Prussian doctor, a Jew 
of great learning, came to Lexington, and proposed to 
teach the Hebrew language in a short time. A class 
was soon made up of a motley mixture of preachers, 
lawyers, and others. He taught by lectures ; and in a 
very short time we understood the language so as with 
ease to read, and translate by the assistance of a Lexi- 
con. This was a desideratum with me, and was of ad- 
vantage ever after in reading and understanding the 

The Rittenhouse Academy in Georgetown became 
vacant, and urgent solicitations w^ere made to me to 
become its principal. I consented, and moved there, 
and soon entered upon the duties of my appointment. 
The number of students soon became large, and many 
followed me from Lexington. At that time Georgetown 
was notorious for irreligion and wickedness. I began 
to preach to them that they should repent, and turn to 
the Lord. My congregation increased, and became 
interested on the subject of religion. Soon we consti- 
tuted a church of six or seven members, which quickly 
grew to two or three hundred. I was every week bap- 
tizing, sometimes thirty at a time, of whom were a 
number of my pupils, some of w^hom became useful 
preachers afterwards. The work of conversion spread 
a distance round, with but few preachers, and those not 
very efficient. The harvest was truly great, but the 
laborers were few. 


The churches, without my knowledge, met together, 
and determined that it was proper to engage all my 
time and services in preaching th gospel ; and in or- 
der to release me from the Academy, they agreed to 
pay my debt, which I had contracted for a small farm 
near the town, oo ^^hi<-'V> j j^^d moved my family. The 
only way I had to pay this debt was by the profits of 
the Academy. They had also agreed to supply myself 
and family with a comfortable support. A deputation 
of brethren was sent to inform me what was done, and 
to confer with me on the propriety of yielding to their 
wishes, and to evangelize steadily among the churches. 
I yielded, and resigned the charge of the Academy, 
and gave up myself to the work of the ministry. The 
remembrance of these days, and of the great and good 
works which were effected by my humble labors, will 
cause many to shout the praises of God to eternity. 

The time drew near when my debt must be paid. 1 
became uneasy lest I might fail, and named it to my 
brethren. Fair promises kept up my spirits ; but at last 
I had to borrow a good part of the money and pay 
the debt myself. And to add to my trouble, the 
money borrowed was to be repaid in specie, which 
I had to buy with Commonwealth's depreciated pa- 
per, two for one, yet had been by me received at par 
with silver and gold. I was compelled to desist from 
evangelizing, and proposed to teach a private school in 
Georgetown, (for the Academy was supplied.) I had 
soon as many pupils as I desired. By this means I was 
enabled to pay the borrowed money and the interest, 
and had something over. By such constant application 
to study, my health failed. I gave up teaching entirely, 
and turned to hard labor on my farm, in order to sup- 
port my family. 

I had an appointment of long standing in Meigs 
county, Ohio, above the mouth of Kenhaway, in order 
to preach, and to baptize a Presbyterian preacher living 
there, whose name was William Caldwell. The time 
drew near, and I had no money to bear my expenses. 


I was ashamed to beg, and unable to obtain it. The 
night before I started on my tour, I had meeting in the 
neighborhood, and when the people were dismissed, a 
letter was slipped into the hand of my little daughter 
by some unknown person. She handed it to me, and I 
found a ten dollar bill enfolded, with these words only 
written, "For Christ's sake." I was much aflected, 
and received it thankfully as a gift from my Lord to 
enable me to do his work. I was much encouraged, 
believing that the Lord would prosper -my way. 

I arrived safely and in good spirits at the appoint- 
ment, where brother Dooly, of Ohio, met me. The sepa- 
rate Baptists, by previous appointment, held their annual 
association at the same time and place. We agreed to 
worship together. The crowd of people was great, 
and early in the beginning of the meeting I baptized 
brother Caldwell in the Ohio river. This circumstance 
drew the cords of friendship more closely between us 
and the Baptists. Great was the excitement produced 
by our united efforts. The elders and members of the 
association met daily in a house near the stand, where 
they transacted their business, while worship was car- 
ried on at the stand. I was invited and urged to assist 
them in their deliberations in the association, and fre- 
quently requested to give my opinion on certain points, 
which I did to their acceptance and approbation. They 
had a very difficult case before them, on which they 
could come to no decision. I was urged to speak on it, 
and to speak freely. It was evidently a case with which 
they had no right to meddle, and which involved the 
system of church government. I spoke freely and fully 
on the point, and showed it to be a party measure, 
and of course unscriptural. I exerted myself with 
meekness against sectarianism, formularies, and creeds, 
and labored to establish the scriptural union of Chris- 
tians, and their scriptural name. Till Christians were 
united in spirit on the Bible, I showed there would be no 
end to such difficult cases as now agitated them.. Having 
closed my speech, I retired to the worshipping ground. 


The mind of the association was withdrawn from any- 
farther attention to their knotty cases, to the considera- 
tion of what I had said. The result was, that they 
agreed to cast away their formularies and creeds, and 
take the Bible alone for their rule of faith and practice 
— to throw away their name Baptist, and take the name 
Christian — and to bury their association, and to be- 
come one with us in the great work of Christian union. 
They then marched up in a band to the stand, shouting 
the praise of God, and proclaiming aloud what they 
had done. We met them, and embraced each other 
with Christian love, by which the union was cemented. 
I think the number of elders who united was about 
twelve. After this the work gloriously progressed, and 
multitudes were added to the Lord. 

A few incidents in my travels, which happened be- 
fore this time, while I was a widower, and soon after 
the Conference at Mount Tabor, where Marshall and 
Thompson left us, I wish to mention for the good of 
Evano^elists hereafter. At that meetinoj brother R. 
Dooley and myself agreed to travel in Ohio for some 
time. We started immediately, and went to Eaton. 
We commenced operations there on Saturday, and ap- 
pointed to preach at a house near town next day. Af- 
ter meeting on Saturday, a lady, (Major Steele's wife,) 
returned home, and found her husband just returned 
from the West. She told him that two strange preach- 
ers had come to town, and she had been to hear them. 
Nothing more was said on this subject. In the night 
Major Steele dreamed that he went to meeting — that 
a man whom he had never seen rose to preach. The 
features of the preacher were deeply impressed on 
his mind, and the very text from which he preached, 
which was, "If God spared not his own Son, but de- 
livered him up for us all, how shall he not with him 
freely give us all things." He was very much agitated 
in sleep, and awoke. He told his wife the dream, and 
slept again, and dreamed the same things. He could 
sleep no more that night. Next day he came to meet- 


ing, and after the congregation met, I arose. That mo- 
ment Steele recognized the very person whom he had 
seen in sleep the night before. He began to fear greatly. 
I read my text, the very one he had heard read in sleep. 
His mind became so affected that he went out, and tried 
in vain to be composed. He endeavored to shake off 
the impression by going with a company to the West to 
explore lands ; but all in vain. He returned, and was 
by us baptized at a subsequent time. 

We preached and baptized daily in Eaton for many 
days. No house could contain the people that flocked 
to hear. We had to preach in the open streets to the 
anxious multitude. At night, after service, the cries 
and prayers of the distressed in many houses around, 
were truly solemn. Almost the whole town and neigh- 
borhood were baptized, and added to the Lord. We 
left this place, and preached and baptized in many other 
places. We were poorly clad, and had not money to 
buy clothes. Going on at a certain time through the 
barrens, a limb tore brother Dooley's striped linen pan- 
taloons very much. He had no other, nor had I another 
pair to lend him. We consoled ourselves that we were 
on the Lord's work, and he would provide. He tied 
his handkerchief over the rent, and we went and preach- 
ed to the people. That night we lodged with brother 
Samuel Wilson, whose wife presented brother Dooley 
a pair of home-spun linen pataloons. 

We separated awhile, to preach to the frontier set- 
tlers, scattered abroad. One day as I was riding slowly 
along a small track to an appointment at night, I was 
passing by a small hut, when a woman ran out and call- 
ed to me. I stopped my horse. She told me she had 
heard me preach on yesterday; and with a heavenly coun- 
tenance she thanked God for it ; for, said she, the Lord 
has blessed my soul. Will you stop and baptize me ? 
Yes, said I, gladly will I do it. I dismounted, and 
walked into the cottage. 0, said she, will you wait till 
I send for my sister, a short distance off. She was with 
me yesterday, and the Lord has blessed her too. She 


wants also to be baptized. yes, said I, I will gladly 
wait. She quickly dispatched a little boy to call her 
husband from the field near the house, and to tell the 
sister to come. In the mean time she was busy pre- 
paring dinner for me. It was no doubt the best she 
had, but such as I had never seen before. I never 
more thankfully, more happily, and more heartily dined. 
The husband soon came in, and the wife beckoned him 
out, and informed him of her intention of being bap- 
tized. He obstinately opposed it. In tears and dis- 
tress she informed me. I talked mildly with him of 
the impropriety of his conduct, and at length gained 
his consent. Her countenance brightened with joy ; 
and her sister, nohile par^ came. We went down to 
Deer creek, about fifty yards from the house, where I 
immersed them. They rose from the water, praising 
God aloud. A happier scene I never witnessed. The 
husband looked like death. 

I proceeded to my appointment at brother Forgue 
Graham's. The house was full to overflowing. I 
preached, and great was the effect. After preaching I 
invited such as wished to be baptized to come forward. 
A good number came forward, among the first of them 
was the husband who had just before so obstinately op- 
posed his wife's baptism. He had walked seven miles 
to the night meeting. The house was near the bank of 
the same creek — the moon shone brightly. We went 
down to, and into the water, where I baptized a num- 
ber of happy persons. It was a solemn scene. With 
reluctance the people retired home late at night. 

It was a very common thing at that time for many on 
the frontiers, men, women, and children, to walk six or 
seven miles to a night meeting. The darkest nights did 
not prevent them ; for as they came to meeting, they 
tied up bundles of hickory bark, and left them by the 
way at convenient distances apart ; on their return they 
lighted these bundles, which afforded them a pleasant 
walk. Many have I baptized at night by the light of 
these torches, 


One day, after having preached, I started alone to 
another appointment. On my way, a gentleman who 
was returning home from the same meeting, came up ; 
we rode on together. I introduced the subject of re- 
ligion, which I found not to be disagreeable to him, 
though he was not a professor. I urged him by many 
arguments to a speedy return to the Lord. His mind, 
I saw, was troubled, and vascilating as to his choice of 
life, or death. At length we came to a clear running 
stream ; he said, " See, here is water ; what doth hin- 
der me to be baptized ?" I instantly replied in Phil- 
ip's language, " If thou believest with all thine heart, 
thou mayest." He said, " I believe that Jesus Christ is 
the Son of God," and am determined hereafter to be his 
servant. Without any thing more we alighted, and I 
baptized him. We rode on in our wet clothes till our 
ways parted. 


A Campbell appears — Visits Kentucky — His character and views — In 
1826 Elder Stone commences the publii ation of the Christian Messen- 
ger — In 1832 John T. Johnson became associated with Elder Stone as 
co-editor of the Messenger — Continued in that connexion till B. W. 
Stone removed to Illinois — They succeed in uniting the Churches in 
Kentucky, whose members had been invidiously called Stoneites and 
Campbellites — In 1834 B. W. Stone removes to Jacksonville, Illinois- 
Effects a union there between those called Christians and Reformers. 

Since the union of the Baptist association, as stated 
in the last chapter, nothing worthy of particular note 
occurred till the period when Alexander Campbell, of 
Virginia, appeared, and caused a great excitement on 
the subject of religion in Kentucky and other states. 
*' Some said. He is a good man; but others said, nay; 
for he deceiveth the people." When he came into Ken- 
tucky, I heard him often in public and in private. I 
was pleased with his manner and matter. I saw no dis- 
tinctive feature between the doctrine he preached and 
that which we had preached for many years, except on 


baptism for remission of sins. Even this I had once 
received and taught, as before stated, but had strangely- 
let it go from my mind, till brother Campbell revived 
it afresh. I thought then that he was not sufficiently- 
explicit on the influences of the Spirit, which led many 
honest Christians to think he denied them. Had he 
been as explicit then, as since, many honest souls would 
have been still with us, and would have greatly aided 
the good cause. In a few things I dissented from him, 
but was agreed to disagree. 

^ I will not say, there are no faults in brother Campbell ; 
but that there are fewer, perhaps, in him, than any man 
I know on earth ; and over these few my love would 
throw a veil, and hide them from view forever. I am 
constrained, and willingly constrained to acknowledge 
him the greatest promoter of this reformation of any 
man living. The Lord reward him ! ^\ 

In the year 1826, I commenced a periodical called 
the Christian Messenger. I had a good patronage, and 
labored hard to make the work useful and acceptable. 
After continuing the work for six years, brother John 
T. Johnson became united as co-editor, in which rela- 
tion we continued harmoniously for two years, when the 
editorial connexion w^as dissolved by my removal to Il- 
linois. The work I still continued in Illinois, with 
short intervals, to the present year, 1843. 

Just before brother Johnson and myself united as co- 
editors of the Christian Messenger, Alexander Camp- 
bell, of Virginia, had caused a great excitement in 
Kentucky, as well as in other states, on the subject of 
religion. He had received a complete education in 
Scotland, and became a preacher in the straitest sect of 
Presbyterians. In early life he had immigrated into 
America, and under conviction that the immersion of 
believers only was baptism, he joined the Baptists. 
Not contented to be circumscribed in their system of 
religion, by close application to the Bible, he became 
convinced that he had received many doctrines unau- 
thorized by Scripture, and contrary to them, and there- 


fore relinquished them for those more scriptural. ' He 
boldly determined to take the Bible alone for his stand- 
ard of faith and practice, to the exclusion of all other 
books as authoritative. (He argued that the Bible pre- 
sented sufficient evidence of its truth to sinners, to en- 
able them to believe it, and sufficient motives to induce 
them to obey it — that until they believed and obeyed 
the gospel, in vain they expected salvation, pardon and 
the Holy Spirit — that now is the accepted time, and 
now is the day of salvation. 

These truths we had proclaimed and reiterated 
through the length and breadth of the land, from the 
press and from the pulpit, many years before A. Camp- 
bell and his associates came upon the stage as aids of 
the good cause. Their aid gave a new impetus to the 
Reformation which was in progress, especially among 
the Baptists in Kentucky; and the doctrme spread and 
greatly increased in the West. The only distinguishing 
doctrine between us and them was, that they preached 
baptism for the remission of sins to believing peni- 
tents. This doctrine had not generally obtained amongst 
us, though some few had received it, and practised ac- 
cordingly. They insisted also upon weekly commu- 
nion, which we had neglected. It was believed by 
many, and feared by us, that they were not sufficiently 
explicit on the influences of the Spirit. Many unguard- 
ed things were spoken and written by them on this sub- 
ject, calculated to excite the suspicions and fears of 
the people, that no other influence was needed than 
that in the written word; therefore to pray to God for 
help was vain. The same thing had been objected to 
us long before, and with plausibility too ; for we also 
had been unguarded in our expressions. In private 
conversation with these brethren our fears were re- 
moved, for our views were one. 

Among others of the Baptists, who received, and 
zealously advocated the teaching of A. Campbell, was 
John T. Johnson, than whom, there is not a better man. 
We lived together in Georojetown, and labored and 


worshipped together. We plainly saw that we were 
on the same foundation, in the same spirit, and preached 
the same gospel. We agreed to unite our energies 
to effect a union between our different societies. This 
was easily effected in Kentucky ; and in order to con- 
firm this union, we became co-editors of the Christian 
Messenger. This union, I have no doubt, would have 
been as easily effected in other States as in Kentucky, 
had there not been a few ignorant, headstrong bigots 
on both sides, who were more influenced to retain and 
augment their party, than to save the world by uniting 
according to the prayer of Jesus. Some irresponsible 
zealots among the Reformers, so called, would publicly 
and zealously contend against sinners praying, or that 
professors should pray for them — they spurned the idea 
that preachers should pray that God would assist them 
in declaring his truth to the people — they rejected from 
Christianity all who were not baptized for the remission 
of sins, and who did not observe the weekly commu- 
nion, and many such doctrines they preached. The old 
Christians, who were unacquainted with the preachers 
of information amongst us, would naturally conclude 
these to be the doctrines of us all ; and they rose up in 
opposition to us all, representing our religion as a spirit- 
less, prayerless religion, and dangerous to the souls of 
men. They ran to the opposite extreme in Ohio, and 
in the Eastern States. I blame not the Christians for 
opposing such doctrines ; but I do blame the more in- 
telligent among them, that they did not labor to allay 
those prejudices of the people by teaching them the 
truth, and not to cherish them, as many of them did in 
their periodicals, and public preaching. Nor were they 
only blameable ; some of the Reformers are equally 
worthy of blame, by rejecting the name Christian^ as a 
family name, because the old Christians had taken it 
before them. At this, posterity will wonder, when they 
know that the sentiment was published in one of our 
most popular periodicals, and by one in the highest 
standing among us. 


It is not wonderful that the prejudices of the old 
Christian church should be great against us, and that 
they should so unkindly upbraid me especially, and my 
brethren in Kentucky, for uniting with the Reformers. 
But what else could we do, the Bible being our direc- 
tory? Should we command them to leave the founda- 
tion on which we stood — the Bible alone — when they 
had come upon the same ? By what authority could we 
command? Or should we have left this foundation to 
them, and have built another? Or should we have re- 
mained, and fought with them for the sole possession? 
They held the name Christian as sacred as we did — 
they were equally -averse from making opinions the test 
of fellowship — and equally solicitous for the salvation 
of souls. This union, irrespective of reproach, I view 
as the noblest act of my life. 

In the fall of 1834, I moved my family to Jackson- 
ville, Illinois. Here I found two churches ; a Christian 
and Reformers' church. They worshipped in separate 
places. I refused to unite with either until they united 
together, and labored to effect it. It was effected. I 
never suffered myself to be so blinded by prejudice in 
favor of, or against any, that I could not see their ex- 
cellencies or defects. I have seen wrongs in the Re- 
formers, and in the old Christians ; and in candor have 
protested against them. This has exposed me to the 
darts of both sides. I have patiently suffered from both, 
but the day is at hand, when all errors shall be dis- 
closed, and the righteous justified from every false im- 

Since my removal to Illinois, you, my children, can 
remember all that transpired worthy of notice. You 
know that I was stricken with paralysis in August 1841 ; 
from which time I have remained a cripple, and must 
so continue till relieved by the resurrection to immor- 






B. W. Stone visits Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky for the last time — Visits 
Carlisle and Caneridge — Returns home. 

In the latter part of May '43, accompanied by his son 
Barton and youngest daughter, B. W. Stone commenced 
his last visiting and preaching tour through the states 
of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Though near two 
years before he had received a paralytic stroke which 
greatly disabled him, he had so far recovered as to be 
able to walk a little, and again with profit to occupy 
the pulpit. He seemed to have a premonition that his 
end was near, and therefore wherever he went, he spoke 
as a dying man, w^ith all the solemnities of death and judg- 
ment resting upon him. Though his speech was much 
impaired by paralysis, his mind appeared more vigorous 
than it had been for many years ; and he spoke and wrote 
w^ith the energy of his best days. On the 10th of June 
he arrived at Noblesville, Indiana, where he met many 
of the prominent preachers of that state ; and with them 
and the Christians in attendance, enjoyed a pleasant 
and profitable interview. From thence, going very 
much out of his way to Kentucky, he directed his course 
to Preble county, Ohio. There lived, and yet lives, 
his venerable, talented, and dearly beloved friend and 
brother, David Purviance, and others of his old and 
long tried friends. The forenoon of Lord's-day, the 17th 


of June, was spent at a meeting, some six or seven 
miles from New-Paris, to which place, in the afternoon 
of that day, he resolved to go. He arrived there while 
a meeting of his old friends and fellow-laborers in the 
kingdom of Christ was in progress. Alighting from his 
carriage, he went immediately to the house of worship. 
His visit was unexpected. And many long years had 
passed away, since he had seen many of his friends as- 
sembled there. As he passed down the aisle, the preach- 
er, recognizing him, descends from the pulpit to greet 
him. — His old friends, who are about the stand, arise. 
There is a gush of feeling — tears start in their aged eyes, 
as they rush into each others' arms. A scene ensues 
which beggars description. They praise God together 
for his preserving goodness. — Some of them had been 
associated as Christians and fellow-laborers in the 
cause of Reformation, for near half a century. They 
had stood by it in its darkest hours; and when the 
mighty hosts of opposers were waging against it a fu- 
rious and exterminating war, and when some of its first, 
its strongest, and apparently most devoted friends, were 
betraying it to its enemies; — these veterans, unmoved 
by this fearful opposition from without and within, 
periled every thing for this best of causes. And now, 
this last meeting, reviving afresh the recollection of 
their conflicts, their sacrifices, their persecutions, their 
joys and triumphs in the cause of truth ; they seem, in 
a short interview, to live their lives over again ; and 
they weep and rejoice alternately. But the hour of 
separation comes. And ! what an hour! They had 
been wont to meet and part — to meet and part, for the 
space of more than forty years. But this is their last 
meeting and parting on earth. What deep and unut- 
terable emotions struggle within ! They sing and pray 
together, and take the parting hand. 'Tisdone. Their 
next meeting will be in the " Spirit land." 

From New-Paris he directed his way to Kentucky, 
and arrived at his son-in-law's, in Fayette county, the 
23d of June. Here, upon the scene of his early labors, 


and amidst his many old, and younger friends, he spent 
some two months quite pleasantly and profitably. Every 
where he was greeted with demonstrations of joy. He 
was hailed as a Patriarch in the cause of truth and piety, 
and as a Messenger of peace. No man was ever more 
universally loved, by those who knew him, than he. 
The old loved him for old-acquaintance' sake, and more 
especially for his works' sake. The young loved him 
because their parents loved him, and especially because 
of the loveliness and amiability of his character. 

But while much interest was felt in his visits, at every 
point in this section of Kentucky, there were peculiar 
circumstances which gave his visits to Concord, and 
especially Caneridge, an intensity of interest which 
could be felt no where else. When he came to Car- 
lisle, (the place where the Concord church now usually 
meets,) the writer was absent attending appointments 
of his own, which he could not with propriety neglect, 
and was therefore denied the privilege of attending that 
meeting, and of greeting his venerable father in the 
gospel at his own house. Though the appointment was 
in the week, yet he is informed that it was numerously 
attended. Here, in the bounds of one of the congre- 
gations to which he had first ministered near fifty years 
before, he met many of his old brethren and sisters in 
the Lord, who had stood by him in the midst of his 
severest trials and persecutions, and helped him by their 
prayers and piety to sustain that cause, so near to their 
hearts. But they were now to hear him, as many of 
them felt assured, for the last time. They had seen him 
in the bloom of youth, in the prime of life, and they 
now looked upon him bent under the weight of more 
than seventy years — his locks bleached — his eyes dim- 
med — his cheeks furrowed — his countenance care-worn: 
but through every stage of life they had known him the 
same humble, pious, devoted, amiable, benevolent ser- 
vant of God, and of the church. Once more they hear 
his tremulous voice, as he points them to that Saviour 
in whom he had trusted for half a century, and in whose 


service he had almost worn himself out. The thought of 
parting with one so pious, so beloved, so useful — one they 
had known so long, was indeed most affecting. Tears 
flowed plentifully while they listened to his last admoni- 
tions and encouragements. They sing and pray together, 
and with emotions too deep for utterance — they part. 

I should say, that several of his old Presbyterian 
friends attended this meeting, and greeted him with de- 
monstrations of affection and good feeling. During his 
stay in Kentucky, he was twice at Caneridge. At his 
first meeting, it was not in the power of the writer to 
be present. And as the amiable and pious Gano has 
described that very interesting meeting, in the discourse 
delivered at Caneridge upon the occasion of the death 
of B. W. Stone, which will be found in another part 
of this work, it is not necessary to make farther reference 
to it. By a special request from the author, he agreed 
to return to Caneridge, and hold another meeting, em- 
bracing the 2d Lord's-day in August, 1843, the last he 
ever attended on that consecrated spot. The day of 
meeting arrived — many attended, and especially of the 
aged. It was the privilege of the writer to attend that 
meeting, — and there to press to his bosom the vener- 
ated Stone, whom he had not seen for a number of years. 
Many preachers were present, and a deep interest was 
felt in the meeting throughout. To see the people, at 
the close of each meeting, lingering in and about the 
house to greet the beloved Stone, and speak a word 
with him, or urge him to their homes, bespoke most 
clearly how deeply he was seated in their affections. 
This universal attention and respect paid to him, in- 
duced a venerable and sensible brother of the Cane- 
ridge church to relate an anecdote he had heard of the 
amiable Mrs. Madison, relict of Ex-President Madison. 
A distinguished gentleman, upon greetingher,by way of 
compliment, remarked — " Every body loves Mrs. Madi- 
son." She at once responded — " And Mrs. Madison 
loves every body." So, said he, " Every body loves 
Mr. Stone, and Mr, Stone loves every body." This 


doubtless was as true of Mr. Stone, as it ever was of 
any other human being. This is no flattery. It is the 
deliberate judgment of one who, for a quarter of a cen- 
tury, had the best opportunity of knowing the subject 
of this just praise. But I must approach the closing 
scene of this meeting. And O ! how shall I approach 
it! How shall I attempt a description of that which 
defies and baffles all description ! It was a scene wor- 
thy the pencil of the celebrated Michael Angelo. 

During the progress of the meeting the venerable 
Stone spoke but little, as he was feeble, and as there 
were several preachers present. But on Monday, the 
last day of the meeting, all expected from him a parting 
address. While memory lives, I can never forget that 
day. The circumstances of that parting scene are in- 
delibly engraved on the tablets of my heart. With staff 
in hand, the venerable man limps into the pulpit, and 
takes his stand before a numerous and eager audience. 
What must be his feelings while he reflects that he oc- 
cupies for the last time the pulpit which he had so often 
filled for near forty-seven years ! His feelings may be 
imagined, but cannot be described. The silence of death 
pervades the audience ; and all are leaning forward 
with intense interest to hear the last instructions, admo- 
nitions and exhortations of their father in the gospel. 
'Tis no blind devotion to a man that has caused the 
thrilling interest of this hour. True — they love him. 
But they love him for the truth's sake — for his works' 
sake — for Christ's sake. They love him as the imbodi- 
ment of those social, domestic, and Christian virtues, 
which are the glory of human nature, and which pre- 
sent him, in the ecclesiastical heavens, as a star of the 
first magnitude. 

He opens the New Testament, and reads from the 
20th of Acts, commencing with the 17th verse, to the 
21st, inclusive : — "And from Miletus he sent to Ephe- 
sus, and called the elders of the church. And when 
they were come to him, he said unto them. Ye know, 
from the first day that I came into Asia, after what man- 


ner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the 
Lord with all humility, and many tears, and temptations 
which befell me, by the lying in wait of the Jews. And 
how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, 
but have showed you, and have taught you publicly and 
from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and 
also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith 
towards our Lord Jesus Christ." Perhaps I do not ex- 
aggerate when I say that in reading these few verses his 
utterance was obstructed by his feelings a dozen times. 
Tears started in his aged eyes and flowed plentifully 
down his furrowed cheeks. The effect was overwhelm- 
ing. His tears spoke volumes — they spoke to every 
heart and were responded to in tears from every eye, 
eloquent of the deep feeling of every heart. Who that 
considers the circumstances of this parting scene can 
wonder at the deep feeling manifested upon the occa- 

Yes, said the venerable Patriarch, ye know from the 
first day I came among you, after what manner I have 
been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all 
humility and many tears, and temptations. His mind 
reverts to the memorable winter of '96, when he first 
occupied the pulpit, in this consecrated house ; and in 
rapid succession, the thrilling and soul-stirring events of 
his religious life, for near 47 years, pass in review before 
his mind : and the deep fountain of his feelings is stir- 
red, and finds vent in a copious flow of tears. The au- 
dience too, is furnished with ample materials for the 
most soul-stirring reflections and comparisons. The 
aged of his friends look back to the period of his first 
introduction to them, and they contemplate him as he 
came in and went out before them, in the days of his 
youth. They think of his auburn locks — his blooming 
cheeks — his smooth and handsome features — his ani- 
mated and piercing eye — his dignified and manly bear- 
ing. But time, all-conquering time, has destroyed these 
beauties of the outward man. They look upon him 
noWj as for the last time he stands before them. But 


O, how changed ! His auburn locks are bleached by 
the frosts of seventy winters — his cheeks have lost their 
rosy hue, and in them the plow-share of time has made 
many a deep furrow — his eyes are dimmed by age — 
and under the weight of years and infirmities he is 
bending downward to embrace his mother earth. We 
weep to see the outward man of our venerable father 
thus decayed and decaying. But our tears are not all 
"tears of grief." Tears of joy are mingled with them. 
We rejoice that while his outward man is decaying, his 
inward man is receiving new accessions of spiritual 
strength and moral beauty, day by day — that from the first 
day he came amongst us till the present hour he has 
proven himself to be a most devoted servant of God, 
and of the Church — and that by his humility, his deep 
piety, his Godly sincerity, his zeal for the honor of his 
Saviour, the purity and unity of the church — the salva- 
tion of sinners — his mild and amiable disposition — his 
soft and engaging manners — his kind, yet uncompro- 
mising course as a Christian, and a ^'Christian teacher" — 
by the meekness, patience, forbearance and fortitude 
with which he has borne a great amount of persecution 
— the sacrifices of property, of ease and honor which 
he has offered at the shrine of truth ; we repeat, we 
rejoice to know that by these means he has gathered 
around him, thousands upon thousands of the most de- 
voted friends — and commanded the respect, and even 
the love of many of his most inveterate religious oppo- 
nents : and that he stands before us this day, after a long 
and laborious life of toil and self-denial, clothed with 
the beauties of holiness, encircled with a halo of moral 
dignity and glory, as undying as the Deity. These are 
some of the considerations which afford us joy amidst 
our sorrows. 

He reads again : "And now, behold, I know that ye 
all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom 
of God, shall see my face no more." The effect of 
this reading is electrical ; — the whole audience is con- 
vulsed. The subdued tone of the speaker, his tremu- 


lous voice, his utterance often stifled by a gush of feel- 
ing while reading this short but most appropriate and 
affecting sentence ; — together with all the circumstances 
of the occasion, were well adapted to produce the ef- 
fect which followed. He stands in the midst of vener- 
able fathers and mothers, whom he had intimately known 
and ardently loved for near half a century, whose child- 
ren and grand-children present, he had dandled upon 
his knees. He is encircled by the walls of that ancient 
house of God which had stood for full half a century, 
where the ardor of his youth and the strength of maturer 
years had been expended in the cause of Christian 
reformation and gospel liberty. He is in sight of the 
grave-yard, in which lie buried many, very many of 
his early and devoted friends, and around him stand 
those venerable trees with which he had been familiar 
so long. O, how eloquently, how touchingly do these 
circumstances appeal to the heart of the speaker. We 
wonder not at the deep-toned feeling of the venerable 
Stone, that his utterance is much obstructed by it. We 
rather wonder that he can speak at all, under the cir- 
cumstances. Indeed it was almost impossible for him 
to utter the words "ye shall see my face no more." His 
reflections overwhelmed him. And shall I see this 
venerable house — that lonely church-yard — the grove 
that surrounds me — those scenes of my youth and more 
advanced age, with which are associated so many fond 
and touching recollections; shall I see them no more! 
And above all, must I now take by the hand for the last 
time those aged fathers and mothers with whom I have 
spent so many happy hours in the service of the Lord 
and in social intercourse ? And shall I indeed see their 
faces no more! Yes; such appears to be the will of 

If the feelings of the speaker were too deep for ut- 
terance, those of his audience were equally deep and 
subduing. We loved him most ardently, as a father in 
the gospel, whose instructions we had been receiving 
with great pleasure and profit for many, many years. 


The thought, therefore, that we should see his face no 
more, was most affecting. 

Again he reads : — " Wherefore I take you to record 
this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For 
I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel 
of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to 
all the flock over which the Holy Spirit hath made you 
overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath 
purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that 
after my departing, shall grievous wolves enter in among 
you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves 
shall men arise, speakmg perverse things, to draw away 
disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember 
that by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn 
every one, night and day, with tears." 

These verses were read with the deepest emotions — 
with frequent pauses, from obstructed utterance. He 
acknowledged that he was a poor erring creature — that 
he had nothing of which to boast before God ; yet he 
appealed to Heaven, that unworthy as he was, he had 
sought to clear his skirts from the blood of all men — 
that he had sought to do his duty to the church and to 
the world — that he had, to the best of his ability, de- 
clared the whole counsel of God ; and that his hope of 
acceptance was wholly in the mercy of God, in Christ. 
He urged upon the teachers of the church present, the 
importance of taking heed to themselves and their doc- 
trine, that they might both save themselves and those 
that heard them. — That while it was very important 
they should know and speak the truth, it was still more 
important to its success, that they should live it out, 
and thus show themselves patterns of good works. He 
reminded them that in all ages the leaders of the people 
had caused them to err, and that therefore, if they would 
be the honored instruments of great good to the church 
and to the world, they must take heed to themselves and 
their doctrine, and see to it that they feed the church of 
God with the wholesome provisions of the gospel, and 
preach the truth as it is in Jesus to sinners : — in a word, 


that they should rightly divide the word of truth, giv- 
ing to saint and sinner a portion in due season. He 
warned them of the danger of schism — pointed them to 
the significant and alarming fact, that in all ages of the 
church, men of corrupt minds had arisen, speaking per- 
verse things, to draw away disciples after them — that 
grievous wolves, in disguise, had crept into the flock, 
tearing and wasting it. And that, above all things, he 
feared such results in the churches, after his departure. 
That the object of his life had been to unite the people 
of God upon Heaven's own plan, and that he hoped to 
die pleading the cause of union upon the Bible. He 
reminded them, that if they would promote the unity 
and purity of the church, they must be humble. That 
pride had been the bane of union in all ages. That 
under the influence of pride, men become selfish, self- 
willed, ambitious, resolved to make to themselves a 
great name — to make a party and stand at the head of 
it. — That it makes men forget their obligations to God 
and their fellow men, in their devotion to themselves. 
That its tendency is always to schism — is always down- 
ward. And that, therefore, God's curse is upon it. 
" He resisteth the proud." That, on the contrary, hu- 
mility always tends to holy union — that as certainly as 
pride and selfishness go together, so certainly humility 
and benevolence belong to the same family. That as 
pride disposes us to seek our own, so humility disposes 
us to look after the happiness of others. That while 
pride prompts us to esteem ourselves better than others, 
humility disposes us to esteem others better than our- 
selves. He pointed them to some illustrious examples 
of humility, and urged the imitation of them. 

He spoke of the holy Baptist, who was willing to 
decrease, that his Saviour might increase — of Paul, 
who, though the chief of the apostles, was willing to 
be accounted less than the least of all saints — nay, to 
be accounted nothing, that Christ might be all in all. 
But he especially urged them to imitate the great 
exemplar, the great model-character, Jesus Christ, who 


though higher than the heavens, was meek and lowly 
in spirit. 

He reads again : " And now, brethren, I commend 
you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able 
to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among 
all them which are sanctified." Yes, brethren, said 
the holy man, I commend you to God. To whom else 
should I commend you ? Trust not in man — make not 
flesh your arm. For it is written, " cursed is the man 
that trusteth in man, and that maketh flesh his arm." 
Trust not in the riches, the pleasures, or honors of this 
world — they are fading, dying, evanescent, deceitful 
things. Cease from man, whose breath is in his nos- 
trils. But trust in the Lord forever : for in the Lord 
Jehovah there is everlasting strength. They who trust 
in the Lord shall never be confounded nor put to shame. 
He will keep them in perfect peace, whose minds are 
stayed on him. 0, if you would be filled with righteous- 
ness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, trust in the 
Lord and do his commandments. Your happiness and 
security will then be independent of the storm or sun- 
shine of earth. All things work for good to them that 
love God — to them who are the called according to his 
purpose. For full half a century I have known amidst 
the storms and tempests of life the joys and consolations 
of trusting in the Lord ; and now, in the evening of my 
life, when sinking under the infirmities of age to the 
grave, let me, as the best service I can render you, once 
more, and for the last time, " commend you to God, and 
to the word of his grace." Yes, to the word of his grace, 
let me commend you. Precious word ! It is able to 
build you up, and give you an inheritance among them 
who are sanctified — able to make you wise to salvation 
through faith in Christ Jesus. It is profitable for doc- 
trine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in right- 
eousness, that the man of God may be perfect, and 
thoroughly furnished to every good work. Clasp it 
to your bosom, then, as the most valuable boon belong- 
ing to your earthly home. O, hide it in your hearts, 


that you sin not. Read it and meditate upon it day and 
night. It is the word of God's grace. 0, precious 
thought! "Grace! 'tis a charming theme !" My only 
hope — the only hope of perishing man. Yes, it is God's 
word of grace, as it reveals his grace to sinners, and as 
it reveals to saints his exceeding great and precious 

The systems of men, for full fifteen centuries, have 
furnished the professors of Christianity with questions 
of endless strifes and debates, and have led to wasting 
persecutions. The present condition of Christendom, 
cut up into hundreds of parties, exhausting their ener- 
gies in party conflicts, speaks volumes against the evil 
influence of humanisms in religion. To the word of 
God's grace, then, let me commend you. To the Bible, 
the Bible alone! This is the religion of protestants. 
This, under God, can make you perfect — perfect in 
faith, perfect in feeling, in word, in deed, in heart and 
life ; in union and communion with God and one an- 

He reads again: "I have coveted no man's silver, or 
gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these 
hands have ministered to my necessities, and to them 
that were with me. I have showed you all things, how 
that so laboring ye ought to support the weak; and to 
remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it 
is more blessed to give than to receive." Both the 
speaker and the hearers were deeply affected by this 
reading. All present, who intimately knew the vener- 
able Stone, could testify that his whole life was a prac- 
tical commentary upon the verses read ; that he had 
demonstrated he was superior to covetousness — a man 
of great benevolence, devoting himself most assiduous- 
ly to the interests of the church, without reference to 
pecuniary reward. 

But he reads again, and for the last time : "And when 
he had thus spoken, he kneeled down and prayed with 
them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's 
neck, and kissed him ; sorrowing most of all for the 


words which he spake, that they should see his face no 

The closing scene which followed, cannot be de- 
scribed. Never while reason holds its empire can his 
biographer forget that hour. Memory lingers about it 
with a mournful pleasure. A parting hymn is sung — 

"My Christian friends in bonds of love, 
W hose hearts the sweetest union prove, 
Your friendship's Hke the strongest band. 
Yet we must take the parting liand." &c. 

The venerable speaker leaves the stand, and meets 
his brethren on the floor. Tears flow plentifully, while 
they take the parting hand, and clasp each other fondly 
to their bosoms. The song ended, he kneeled down 
and prayed with them all — prayed most fervently for 
the church and for the world — for the brethren and sis- 
ters present especially — that they might be faithful unto 
death, and meet in heaven to part no more. And truly 
those present ^'wept sore, sorrowing most of all for the 
words which he spake, that they should see his face no 
more." The meeting dismissed, supported by two 
brethren, he walked to the house (near the place) where 
he had put up. On their way, when they had got to a 
certain point, he stopped them. Said he, '^about this 
place stood the stand, from which, near half a century 
ago, I used to preach to the people." He turned round 
and looked earnestly at the old meeting-house, the grave 
yard and the surrounding grove, and with emotion he 
said — "I shall see this place no more." 

Shortly after this meeting, he left Kentucky, and re- 
turned to his home in the "far West." He was ac- 
companied by B. F. Hall and others to Jacksonville. 
They held several interesting meetings on the way, and 
every where it was remarked, that he was greeted with 
manifestations of enthusiastic devotion, as a father in 
the cause of the Bible — the cause of truth and righte- 



Mr. Stone's account of his visit to Kentucky — Finds much to approve — 
Some things to disapprove — Advice to a young preacher — His last 
preaching tour ui Misz^ouri — Last public discourse — Death. 

Upon returning home, he thus writes in reference to 
his tour, in the September number of the Messenger for 
1843. *'The senior editor, B. W. Stone, has just re- 
turned to his post, after an absence of several months 
in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. His health is greatly 
improved. He designs to continue in the faithful dis- 
charge of his editorial labors in the future. He was 
greatly pleased to meet with many of his old Christian 
brethren; some like himself, pressed down with the 
weight of years, and attendant infirmities, and standing 
on the eve of time, soon to hear the summons, ^Come 
up hither.' He is happy to state, that bigotry and 
party spirit, are fast receding and dying in the hearts of 
Christians of all denominations. In their brotherly em- 
braces I was cordially received as a brother, and as 
cordially did we unite in w^orship without one hard 
speech, act, or thought. 0, that this temper and con- 
duct might universally prevail among Christians ! It 
would be a blessing indeed to themselves, and to man- 
kind — it would recommend religion to the acceptance 
of the world, and hurl the soul-destroying monster, sin, 
from his long usurped throne in the human heart. God 
and his truth would be glorified, heaven would descend 
on earth, and shame infidelity and scepticism, and 
smile them from existence. What but bigotry and 
party spirit prevent these glorious events." 

So deeply impressed was the mind of this holy man 
with the thought that union is of the essence of Chris- 
tianity, that the great end of our Saviour's mission to 
earth w^as and is to unite us to God, and to one another, 
that he hailed with enthusiastic joy the least indications 
of a growing spirit of forbearance and brotherly love 
among the different denominations. For in the univer- 


sal prevalence of the spirit of union among Christians, 
he saw the monster, sin, dethroned — th.^ world convert- 
ed — heaven descending to earth, and infidelity and 
scepticism shamed and smiled into oblivion. 

As the venerable Stone in his tour noticed some 
things amongst us which in his judgment tend to check 
the progress of religion, and as his deep religious 
knowledge and piety, his long experience, his disin- 
terestedness, entitle his judgment to great weight, I 
bespeak for his admonitions a very attentive and grave 
consideration. "Religion, where I have been, is on- 
ward in its march, but not so triumphant as I fondly 
anticipated to find it, from the vast numbers who had 
recently professed the faith of Christ in these countries. 
Several things of a serious nature, conspired to check 
its progress, in my opinion. These I will expose in 
brotherly love, hoping that the exposure may be profit- 
able to all." 

"I. There has been more labor expended in reaping 
down the harvest, than in preserving it when reaped — 
there has been more care to lengthen the cords, than to 
strengthen the stakes [of Zion] — more zeal to proselyte, 
than to build up in the faith and hope of the gospel." 
This is most certainly, and lamentably true. And the 
correction of this evil demands our special attention. 
But as an apology for this state of things, it may be re- 
marked, that in the commencement of our plea for re- 
formation, in regard to the terms of pardon, it was all 
important these matters should be made prominent ; es- 
pecially the design of baptism. For here we differed 
with all the sects ; and in reference to the doctrine of 
baptism for the remission of sins, we were much mis- 
understood and misrepresented by them. It behooved 
us, therefore, to make this point prominent. Besides, 
the importance of this item, to a proper understanding of 
the gospel scheme, and to a rational reception of Christ, 
as our Saviour, required that it should be thoroughly in- 
vestigated. We perceived that the various denomina- 
tions were making frames and feelings the evidence of 


pardon — that they taught penitents to expect some im- 
mediate revelation of their pardon — by the removal of 
their burden of sin. And we saw most plainly, in the 
light of the Word, and of common sense, that pardon, 
being an act of God, is not a matter of feeling, and can 
only be known by divine testimony. As I can never 
know by my feelings that a sin which I have committed 
against my neighbor is pardoned, nor in any other way 
than from that neighbor himself; so I can only know 
that the sins I have committed against my heavenly 
Father, are pardoned, by a revelation in words from 
himself. We perceived too, most plainly, that the op- 
posite view leads to enthusiasm and fanaticism of every 
grade. We felt it therefore to be our duty to expose 
this error, and hold up the truth in regard to this impor- 
tant question. But now that the battle has been fought 
and the victory, to a great extent, won — that thousands 
upon thousands of converts have been made, many 
of whom are dying for want of the wholesome and 
strengthening provisions of the gospel — our teachers 
still harp upon first principles. The young preachers 
who came in among us in the midst of this conflict, en- 
tered with great spirit and ardor into the war, and 
having distinguished themselves in this warfare, in re- 
gard to first principles, and knowing little else, they 
seem unprepared and quite indisposed to change their 
course. But it is my deliberate judgment, if we would 
not convert our great victory into the most overwhelm- 
ing defeat, we must leave, measurably, the first prin- 
ciples, and 'go on to perfection.' We must build our- 
selves up on our most holy faith, perfecting holiness in 
the fear of God. In the strength of the Lord we have 
gained much ground, but if we would not lose our re- 
ward we must carefully and diligently cultivate it. Let 
us study practical Christianity, under Christ, as we have 
studied first principles — let us pray for pjreater measures 
of the Spirit, to help us, and the stakes of Zion will be 
as strong as her cords are long." Then let this admo- 
nition of the venerable Stone, who sleeps in his grave, 


and whose motive in giving it is above suspicion — let 
it sink deep into our hearts and be properly improved 
in our lives. 

Let us hear him again. 

''II. Another thing which checks the work of reli- 
gion every where, but especially in Kentucky, is ex- 
travagance in worldly things. Thousands of brethren 
there are wasting the Lord's goods. They seem to have 
forgotten, or never have been taught, that they them- 
selves are living sacrifices to God. If they are Chris- 
tians, their whole soul, body, and spirit are his, and all 
the substance they possess. They are but the Lord's 
stewards, to manage to his interest and glory what he 
has entrusted to them, and to render a just account to 
him in the day of judgment. Dare we then waste it, 
or spend it in the pride of life, and to please the lusts 
of the flesh and of the eye ? 0, what an awful reck- 
oning there will be at the last day! There must be a 
reformation here, else all our labor will be lost, and the 
work put into more faithful hands." 

Beloved brethren, this is a grave charge; and as it 
was made by a beloved Father in Israel, one whose 
piety, good judgment, and disinterestedness are unques- 
tioned and unquestionable, we should prayerfully con- 
sider it. I know that the proper management of our 
worldly goods, is a question of great delicacy, and con- 
siderable difficulty. Yet, certainly, it is one of vast 
practical importance. We should, therefore, examine 
it most carefully, in the best lights we have. We are 
Jehovah's by creation, preservation and redemption ; 
and are therefore bound to him by a three-fold cord, that 
cannot be broken. And being the Lord's, body, soul, 
and spirit, all we have, or can acquire of this world's 
goods are his ; and therefore, all must be used to pro- 
mote his glory, in the promotion of our personal holi- 
ness, the purity and unity of the church, and the salva- 
tion of sinners. That wealth was the ruin of the great 
nations of antiquity is most palpable. That it has al- 
ways been unfavorable to physical, mental, and moral 


health, is just as true. Let us, then, endeavor to use 
this worhl as not abusing it. Under the influence of 
Christian principle, let us cultivate a spirit of physical, 
mental, and moral improvement, and we shall lay up 
treasure in heaven, not upon earth. 0, if the true spirit 
of Christian benevolence pervaded the hearts of all the 
professors of Christianity, how soon might the lights of 
education and of the gospel of peace be carried into 
every dark corner of the earth ! 

'' III. Another thing that has, without doubt, checked 
the growth of religion, is, that brethren have too greedily 
followed in the wake of the world, by conforming to its 
spirit and practice. By this means many have involved 
themselves and friends in debt, and have failed to pay 
their law^ful contracts, to the ruin of themselves and 
others. This is a source of great distress in societies, 
and has almost destroyed confidence in one another." 

God help us to improve the caution here given. In- 
stead of aping the world, and conforming to its maxims 
of extravagance and folly, should we not as Christians 
set the world an example of honesty, punctuality, tem- 
perance and moderation in all things ? 

The venerable Stone continued in the regular dis- 
charge of his editorial duties till within a very short 
time of his death ; and it was remarked generally, that 
his pieces, from the time of his paralysis, possessed an 
energy and clearness beyond what they had exhibited 
for years before. The last article he wrote for the press 
was addressed to a young man who had graduated at 
the Missouri University, and asked his advice as to the 
best course to pursue to prepare himself to be useful, 
as a preacher of the gospel. Here follows the piece. 

" To A Young Student, R G ." 

My Son: — You have just graduated at the University 
of Missouri, at the age of twenty years. You had pre- 
viously devoted yourself to the Lord, and identified 
yourself with his people : now you inquire of me what 
course I would recommend to you, in order that you 



may be a profitable preacher of the gospel ; for in this 
you have determined to spend your days. You say 
what we know experimentally to be true, that your col- 
legiate studies have occupied the most of your time, 
and left but little to the study of the Bible ; of this you 
are in a great degree ignorant. The subject of your 
inquiry is of vast importance to you, and to the cause 
you have determined to advocate ; and I will, at your 
urgent request, give you the best advice I know. 

I. Retire to your study in your father's house, and 
make that room a proseuche, or place of prayer. Take 
with you there a large polyglot English Bible, with 
the Septuagint translation, and Griesbach's Greek Tes- 
tament, with Dr. Parkhurst's and Greenfield's Lexicons, 
and Greenfield's Greek Concordance. Read the Old 
Testament regularly from the beginning, with the Sep- 
tuagint before you, by which you will be better able to 
understand the writer. Should you find any thing dark 
or unintelligible, note it down on a small blank book, 
and take it to your near neighbor. Elder T. M. A., who 
will gladly assist you to the right understanding of the 
passage. When you read the New Testament, have 
Greisbach's Greek Testament open before you. Should 
difficulties occur, examine the translation by Parkhurst's 
or Greenfield's Lexicon, and more especially by the 
Greek Concordance. This is the safest and most cer- 
tain method of finding the true meaning of the words. 
Take short notes of all the important things you may 
find in your reading. Forget not to mingle prayer to 
your God for direction into all truth, and that the wis- 
dom from above may be afforded you. 

IL In the intervals of your Bible studies, read church 
history; Moshiem's I recommend you to read first; 
then D'Aubigne on the Reformation ; then Dr. Neander 
on the first three centuries. Take short notes of all 
important facts. Forget not meditation and prayer — 
pray always — pray without ceasing — Keep yourself in 
the love of God. Vain will be your studies without 


III. When you have read your Bible through care- 
fully, not hurriedly, turn back and read it again, with the 
commentary of Henry, and others, lately collated for 
the Baptist Society. Have by you also Dr. McKnight 
on the Epistles ; and consult these commentaries on all 
dithcult passages. I do not recommend a general read- 
ing of them ; as this would consume much time to little 
profit. Commentators generally labor to make the Scrip- 
tures bend to their peculiar systems, and to speak the 
language of Ashdod, or some other barbarous dialect. 
Hence the danger of becoming too conversant with 
them. Yet continue in prayer. 

IV. During your studies, let your seat be always filled 
in the house of God every Lord's-day, and other days 
appointed for divine worship. Pray and exhort pub- 
licly among the brethren. This will prepare you for 
future operations. Many fill their heads with studied 
divinity, and when they go forth to preach, know not 
how to speak, and have to supply the lack by reading 
a discourse written, or committed to memory. Remem- 
ber, my son, reading is not preaching. 

V. Keep yourself, as much as practicable, from too 
much company and irrelevant conversation. These too 
often intrude upon your studies and devotions. 

VI. When you are by your brethren sent forth to 
preach, confine your ministration to practical subjects. 
Young preachers are too fond of polemic divinity, and 
abstruse subjects. Vanity is at the bottom, and will 
ruin them, it' not checked by an humble spirit. 

VH. Let the glory of God and the salvation of souls 
be your polar star ; then will your labors be blest in the 
world ; and a crown of righteousness be given you at 
the coming of the Lord. 

VIII. You are blessed with a wealthy, pious father, 
who is able and willing to support you without the aid 
of the churches. Go then to the destitute, and build on 
no man's foundation, taking nothing for your services. 
Many poor preachers have to confine themselves to the 
churches, or get no help. You will not be under this 


necessity. May the Lord go with you, and be to you 
a father and a helper in every time of trouble. Be 
humble. B. W. Stone." 

Now, while we would not claim for this article any 
extraordinary exhibition of intellect, yet all must ad- 
mire that spirit of benevolence and piety which it 
breathes, as well as the general correctness and excel- 
lence of its teachings. 

On the 3d day of October, 1844, this excellent man, 
with his wife and youngest son, started on his last visit 
ing and preaching tour. Brother T. M. Allen, who 
knew him long and intimately, and loved him ardently, 
thus feelingly describes the closing scene of his public 

" In the month of October, 1844, Elder Stone made 
his last visit to his children, relatives, and friends in 
Missouri. On the 19th (Saturday) of that month, he 
reached Bear creek, where the brethren were assembled 
in annual meeting. Here he had the pleasure of being 
greeted by many of his old Kentucky brethren and 
friends. He was quite debilitated, and being in feeble 
health, he soon left the meeting house, and did not re- 
turn until Monday, the 21st. He was laboring under 
his paralytic affection, and was otherwise very feeble : 
but he took the pulpit and made his last public effort in 
the cause of God and man. It was, like all his efforts, 
able and interesting. But appearing firmly impressed 
with the belief that it was an effort that would close his 
public career, he was unusually solemn and impressive. 
He spoke as if tottering over the grave. His comfort 
and instruction to Christians — his advice and warning 
to sinners, will never be forgotten. All were weeping 
around, and hung with breathless silence and profound 
interest on the solemn and interesting words that fell 
from this venerable man of God, now almost worn out 
in the best of all causes. His great age, his whitened 
locks, his feeble frame, his deep and ardent piety, his 
pure morality and unblemished character, together with 
his great ability as a Christian teacher — the presence of 


many of his friends, who had known him almost from 
the beginning — all conspired to make his last sermon 
unusually solemn. Thirteen additions were obtained, 
mostly On that day. The congregation, with weeping 
eyes, and hearts of love for Elder Stone, gave him 
*the parting hand,' and bade him a long, long fare- 
well. Thus usefully and interestingly closed the event- 
ful public career of this excellent man of God. He 
spent a day or two with his son, Dr. Stone, and left 
quite unwell for his home in Illinois. He could get no 
farther than Hannibal, on the Mississippi river, where he 
breathed his last in peace, at his son-in-law's, Capt. S. 
A. Bowen's." 


As several notices of the death of this great and good 
man were published soon after his decease, I will here 
insert the most prominent of them, to show how calmly 
and triumphantly, through grace, he closed his earthly 
career ; and how deeply his loss was felt by his friends. 
The following is taken from the Christian Messenger, 
Vol. 14, No. 7. 


"Died, on Saturday morning, at 4 o'clock, November 9th, 
1844, atllie residence of Captain Samuel A. Bowen, in Han- 
nibal, Missouri, Barton Warren Stone, an Elder in the 
Church of Christ, and Senior editor of the Christian Messen- 
ger, at the advanced age of 71" years, JO months and 16 days. 

"It is seldom we are called upon to record the death of one 
so much beloved, so highly gifted, or so eminently pious. It 
is not indeed possible to determine the immense number 
whose hearts will mourn at the annunciation of this dispen- 
sation of the providence of God ; and who will stop to shed 
a tear over the memory of the departed. Although beloved, 
revered and admired, he has gone to that bourne from whence 


no traveler returns. Death knows no tender tie, and values 
no earthly veneration. The lofty and the low, the gifted and 
the rude, the righteous and the wicked, the philanthropist and 
the misanthrope, the sire and the son, alike must bow to the 
king of terrors, and go down 'to the house appointed for all 

"It is vain to speak of the character of Barton W. Stone, 
in this short sketch. History, faithful to her trust, will fill 
full many a page with his golden deeds, while to eternity will 
be left the task of unfolding in many volumes the richness of 
his untarnished character. 

"It would be useless here, to sketch his biography, or 
schedule his many virtues as a father, as a friend, as a Chris- 
tian. None stood more conspicuous, in every relation, and 
in every walk of life. 

"His entire life has been made up of tenderness, amiabil- 
ity and love. As a husband he was fond, indulgent, kind. 
As a father, he was mild, affectionate, impartial. As a brother, 
faithful ; as a friend, ardent and unwavering. 

"During his entire maturity, it might truly be said, 'he 
went about doing good.' The cause of his Saviour was 
nearest his heart, in youth, manhood, and old age. Chris- 
tianity was his theme in life — his comfort in death. 

"A short time before his decease, he was on a visit to his 
children in x\Iissouri, in company with his wife and youngest 
son. He visited many of the churches, and preached with 
the force and zeal of youth. As if foreseeing his speedy 
dissolution, he W'ould take the last farewell of his brethren, 
to meet no more 'till setting suns conclude in endless day.' 
These partings were made the more solemn, because of his 
faithful warnings and heartfelt exhortations. 

"As he was returning home, his last illness was induced 
by the inclemency of the weather, and for many days he 
sufTered the most intense pain, without a murmur; and altho' 
his sufferings were so intense, his mind never wavered, but 
remained firm and unimpaired. Although well assured that 
death was rapidly untying the chords of life, he conversed 
most freely of his change, with the composure of a Christian 
philosopher. On Friday the 8th, he was visited by Elder 
Jacob Creath, of Palmyra, Missouri; and when asked by 
him, if he feared to die, — he replied 'no, my religion has not 
been the result of mere excitement, nor am I now excited ; I 


Know in whom I have believed.' He then said, 'Lord Jesus, 
into thy hands I commit my spirit.' He remained perfectly 
composed until tlie last moment, and although he suffered the 
most excruciating pain of body, no inappropriate reply, or 
expression, indicative of an unbalanced mind, ever passed his 

"He called his family around him, and admonished them 
individually, as he had been accustomed when in health, to 
fill the various relations they occupied, with honor to them- 
selves and to the glory of God. He told his bosom compan- 
ion 'not to grieve, but to go home and show the world, how a 
Christian mother could bear such a heavy loss.' He told her 
'never to neglect family prayer,' and fartlier said to her, 'tell 
my brethren their religion is of no avail, unless it leads them 
to the family altar.' 

"He urged his daughters, Amanda, Polly, and Catharine, 
to set good examples before their families, and bring up their 
children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

•"He was known to weep only when his son and daughter 
arrived, at separate times, during his illness, from Jackson- 
ville, Illinois. He spoke to his son Barton, urging him most 
afVeclionately, and in tiie most solemn manner, never to aban- 
don the ministry, but to continue faithful unto the end, and 
warn sinners to prepare for a dying moment. 

"To his son 8aniuel, he said, 'my son, may the blessings 
of Abraham's God be upon you, for your tenderness to me.' 
He then solemnly warned him, and exhorted him to obey tlie 
Lord Jesus, and prepare to meet him in heaven. 

"All the friends around him were addressed individually as 
their conditions would appear to require, with the solemnity 
of the eternal world. 

"Brother D. T. Morton (his physician) remarked to him, 
♦Father Stone, you have been much persecuted on account of 
the peculiarities of your teaching. Are you willing to die in 
tlie faith you have so long taught to others?' He replied, 'I 
am. Dunng my long life, I may have had some errors on 
minor points, but in the main, I conscientiously believe I have 
taught the truth, and have tried to live what I have preached 
to others. But it is not by works of righteousness that I 
have done, but according to his mercy he saved me, by the 
washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy 
Spirit, which he shed on me abundantly through Jesus Christ. 


It is of grace, it is all of grace.' There was then sung for 
him a favorite song, Avhich he so often sung with brother J. 
T. Johnson: 

'Farewell, vain world, I'm going home, 
My Saviour smiles and bids me come ; 
Bright angels beckon me away, 
To sing God's praise in endless day.' 

"While the song was being sung, a heavenly serenity was 
on his countenance. He gazed on the upper world, as if he 
saw the Son of God at the right hand of the Father, and was 
listening to the angels tuning their voices and joining the 
eternal choir, and then most distinctly repeated the verse: 

*Why should we start and fear to die ? 

What timorous worms we mortals are ! 
Death is the gate to endless joy. 

And yet we dread to enter there.' 

"He then called for his son Barton to come to him, and in 
a few minutes breathed his last, with his head leaning on his 
shoulder, without a struggle or a moan. 'Blessed are the 
dead that die in the Lord.' 

♦Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee, 
Tho' silence and darkness encompass the tomb ; 

The Saviour has passed thro' its portals before thee, 
And the lamp of his love is thy guide thro' the gloom. 

Thou art gone to the grave, we no longer behold thee. 
Nor tread the rough path of the world by thy side ; 

But the wide arms of mercy are spread to enfold thee. 
And sinners may hope, since the Saviour has died. 

Thou art gone to the grave — but its mansions forsaken ;— > 
Perhaps thy tried spirit in death lingered long; 

But the sun-shine of heaven beamed briglit on thy waking. 
And the song which thou heardst was the seraphim's song. 

Thou art gone to the grave, but 'twere wrong to deplore thee, 
Since God was thy ransom, thy guardian and guide ; 

He gave thee, and took thee, and soon will restore thee. 
Where death hath no sting since the Saviour hath died.' 


Yes, God 'gave thee' to the world — to the Church. 
And having faithfully served thy generation, He has 
taken thee from toil and suffering to thy reward, and 
soon will he restore thee to thy pious friends from whom 
death has separated thee for a time. And then, O, 
glorious thought, we shall separate no more forever. 

Two days after the death of the venerable Stone, 
Elder Jacob Creath, Jr., wrote an accountof his decease 
to brother Campbell, which appeared in the December 
number of the Harbinger, for 1844. We have great 
confidence in this account, so far as it presents the state- 
ments of this venerated man in his last interview with 
brother Creath. It does honor alike to the head and 
heart of the writer. The following is the notice refer- 
red to, with A. Campbell's remarks prefixed and ap- 

"I had just been reading a very feeling obituary notice 
from the pen of our brother Jacob Creath, of Missouri, of 
the decease of our most amiable and venerable sister Johnson, 
consort of Major Johnson, of Mississippi, whose excellent 
memory is to me most precious, when I received from him 
the following notice of the death of our much admired and 
beloved Elder Bartc«i W. Stone. Brother Creath, I presume, 
had not seen the obituary notice of sister Johnson, copied 
into our September number, from the graphic pen of our 
much beloved brother Matthews ; which of course supercedes 
the necessity of the very apposite and impressive notice he 
has kindly sent us. But we give way to the very detailed 
notice of the last moments of this venerated and venerable 
Editor." Thus far, A. Campbell. 

Palmyra, Nov. 11th, 1844. 

Bro: Campbell — On Saturday morning, the 9thinst.,at 
4 o'clock, departed this life, our venerable and beloved 
brother Stone, at Hannibal, on the Mississippi river, 
in Marion county, Missouri, at the residence of his son- 
in-law, Capt. Samuel A. Bowen. He had been to the 
annual meeting in Boone county, near Columbia, Mis- 
souri, and was returning home. While at meeting he 
was attacked, but was able to preside on Monday, and 
deliver a discourse, which he regarded as his last 


discourse. Indeed, from the time he left home, he ap- 
prehended that he would never return. His complaint 
was inflammation of the bowels. He sent for me on 
Thursday, the 7th, to visit him. Being confined to bed 
through indisposition, I did not see him till the 9th.* 
He suffered much without murmuring. He was quite 
rational, though evidently dying, when I saw him. 
After prayer and singing a hymn, I asked him if he felt 
any fear at the approach of death. " O, no, brother 
Creath," said, he, *' I know in whom I have believed, 
and in whom I have trusted ; and I am persuaded he 
is able to keep that I have committed to him. I know 
that my Redeemer lives. All my dependance is in God, 
and in his Son Jesus Christ." He quoted sundry pas- 
sages, and commented on them. But, said he, " my 
strength fails, but God is my strength and portion for- 

He exhorted his friends and the family to live like 
Christians — to obey the Saviour, and prepare to meet 
him in eternity. I observed that I almost envied his 
situation, and desired that my last end should be like 
his. "Brother Creath," said he, "if so great and so 
holy a man as Paul was afraid that he might be a cast- 
away, may not so frail and poor a man as I fear too ? 
But my God is good and merciful, and my Saviour is 
strong and mighty to save me." He continued in the 
same strain till his strength failed, and I had to leave. 
Bidding him farewell, he said, " God bless you, my 
brother. I hope to meet you in heaven." 

Kindly and faithfully attended by his relatives, friends, 
and physicians, he continued to converse with them ; 
and when asked by Dr. David Morton what he thought 
of the doctrine he had been preaching, he promptly re- 
sponded that he believed it to be true. " We may, 

* This notice represents brother Creath as visiting father Stone on the 
9th of November : but as he died on the morning of the 9lli, at 4 o'clock, 
it is most likely it was on the 8th that he was with him. The first or 
preceding notice says it was on the 8th. This, to be sure, is a small mat- 
ter, stiil accuracy is desirable. 


indeed," said he, " hold some erroneous opinions, but 
in the main, we are right — for to err is the lot of frail 
humanity." In a little time after I left, he requested 
to be placed in an arm chair, where, after smoking his 
pipe, and conversing on the love of God, on reclining 
his head on the shoulder of his son Barton, he fell asleep 
in the Lord. 

Thus expired, as he had lived, this decided, intelli 
gent and devout Christian, who had for forty years [full 
fifty] professed the Christian faith. He was interred in 
his own locust grove, where repose his remains till the 
morning of the resurrection." Thus far Elder Jacob 
Creath, junr. 

The following are brother Campbell's remarks, ap- 
pended to the obituary written by brother Creath : 

" Elder Stone's history we hope will yet be given at 
considerable length. Though much engaged in con- 
troversy, and much opposed, he seems never to have 
lost a good and persuasive spirit: and while represented 
as very heterodox, on some vital matters, by his quon- 
dam Presbyterian brethren, his good character and benev- 
olent spirit extorted from them the confession that " his 
life was sound, though his doctrine was not." In the 
heat of controversy he may, indeed, like most other 
men, have been carried too far on some points; still he 
was the honored instrument of bringing many out of the 
ranks of human tradition, and putting into their hands 
the Book of Books, as their only confession of faith and 
rule of life, and will no doubt, on this account, as well 
as others, long continue to be a blessing to those who, 
by his instrumentality, have already been, or may here- 
after be, translated into the fullness of the blessings of 
the gospel of Christ." A. C. 

We shall next present the reader with the excellent 
letter of Dr. D. T. Morton, the attending physician of 
the venerable Stone, in his last illness. The writer has 
not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with the 
doctor, but this letter certainly does great credit both 
to his good sense and good feeling. The following is 


a copy of the letter. Christian Messenger, Vol. 14, 
No. 8. 

Hannibal, Mo., Dec. 4, 1844. 
Brother Henderson: — I have thought for several 
weeks of writing you, concerning the departure of that 
time-worn and heaven-honored saint, your associate 
editor. Elder Barton W. Stone, who fell asleep in 
Christ, on Saturday morning, the 9th of last month, at 
4 o'clock, at the residence of his son-in-law, Capt. S. 
A. Bowen, of this town. 

I esteem it as one of the greatest privileges of my 
life, to have been permitted to witness the bright dis- 
play of faith and hope, patience and resignation, mani- 
fested by him during a series of painful paroxysms, 
more lingering and acute than ordinarily falls to the lot 
of expiring mortals. Notwithstanding his body was 
racked with torturing pain, his mind was calm and un- 
beclouded to the last moment of his existence, and 
seemed constantly communing with God, or breathing 
forth in accents of love to the numerous friends who 
surrounded his bed, such exhortations as I have seldom 
heard, and hope never to forget. 

I had much conversation with him, and among the 
many questions asked him, the following is one : — Fa- 
ther Stone, you have been much persecuted on account 
of the peculiarities of your teaching — I now ask you if 
you wish to die in the same faith in which you have lived.'' 
He replied distinctly and audibly, " I do," and added, 
" that we may have errors I will not deny ; but in the 
main, I am satisfied we are right," and exhorted us to 
continue faithful. 

Conformably to his wish, we were often permitted to 
join with him in prayer. I was struck with the fact 
that music seemed to soothe his pain, for usually, while 
we sung, he appeared to enjoy a respite from his suf- 
ferings. He lectured all around him — his children and 
grand-children — his brethren and friends — his physi- 
cians shared liberally in his kind advice and wholesome 
instruction. Though in obedience to the laws of mor- 


tality, he fell — he fell covered with glory, yea, he tri- 
umphed in death. 

I saw his body the morning after his pious spirit had 
returned to God who gave it, and his countenance pre- 
sented the aspect of composure and resignation in death, 
which marked his temper through a long, laborious, and 
useful life. But he is gone, and we are left to mourn 
on our own and the world's account, that such a man 
should ever die. 

While beholding his sufferings, the question involun- 
tarily suggested itself to my mind — Why does our kind, 
heavenly Father, in whose service he spent his life, 
permit his aged and faithful servant thus to linger in 
torturing pain to the close of life ? The next mo- 
ment perhaps found me enraptured with admiration at 
his patience and resignation — thus furnishing to myself 
an answer to the query. For had not Abraham believed 
the word of the Almighty, and father Stone not died 
with lingering pain, we could never have been exhorted 
by the faith of the one, nor encouraged by the patience 
of the other, when surrounded by similar trying circum- 

But he rests in peace, and may our heavenly Father 
enable us all to live in peace, that the God of peace 
may bless us with every needed good. And may you, 
my dear brother, be abundantly blessed in your work 
of faith and labor of love, is the sincere prayer of 
yours, in the hope of a heavenly inheritance. 

David T. Morton. 

The following is an extract from a letter to D. P. 
Henderson, from Thomas M. Allen, written shortly after 
the death of B. W. Stone, and with reference to that 
event and other matters connected with it. 

Thomas M. Allen was one of father Stone's oldest, 
most decided, influential and devoted friends. He 
loved B. W. Stone with the affection of a warm-hearted 
son, and indeed in the gospel he was his son. His love 
was reciprocated. For, in his esteem he stood perhaps 
first, certainly among the very first in the list of his 


very numerous and devoted friends. But I will not 
detain you longer from the extract. 

Boone County, Mo., Dec. 5th, 1844. 

Brother D. P. Henderson: — -Our beloved father Stone 
has gone to heaven. Dear old brother — he was truly 
one of the excellent of the earth. I doubt whether 
there ever was a purer, better man than Elder B. W. 
Stone. His entire life was little else than a practical 
commentary on the pure faith and morality of the gos- 
pel he professed. While many have denounced him 
for heresy, all, I believe, concede the fact, that the 
meekness of his temper, quietness of his spirit, his hu- 
mility and morality were those of a Christian. Well, 
that is enough. For, only a good man out of the good 
treasure of his heart could bring forth such good fruit. 

He is now in eternity, and has to do with a Being 
whose ways are not man's ways, and will reward all 
according to the deeds done in their bodies; and if 
brother Stone was not prepared for the plaudit, " Well 
done good and faithful servant," I question whether 
there lives a being on earth who is. 

Those who are now pleading for the union of Chris- 
tians upon the Bible alone, are as much indebted to 
Elder Stone, if not more so, than to any other man. I 
regarded him as the uniting link between the old and pre- 
sent state of things. Truly do I sympathize with his 
wife and family, and his numerous brethren and friends 
throughout this great nation. For well may it be said 
of him, that he was great in goodness. But ten such 
sheets would not be sufficient for me to give vent to 
my feelings and judgment, in doing justice to the mem- 
ory of brother Stone. 

My principal object in this communication is to as- 
certain whether brother Stone left a memoir of his life, 
or any thing for the press, to be published after his 
death. I have understood he did ; and if so, whether 
that embraces copious extracts from his numerous pro- 
ductions on the many important subjects on which he 


wrote. From brother Stone's extreme modesty, I fear 
he has omitted much that ought to go in a work of that 
kind. In that event, I am anxious to have it supplied 
by a large appendix. 

I want it seen that his object has ever been truth — 
the union of Christians — the salvation of sinners — and 
not the founding and building up of another sect. 

Your brother, T. M. Allen." 

Below you will find a letter to D. P. Henderson, from 
T. J. Matlock, on the death and character of B. W. 
Stone. I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaint- 
ance with brother Matlock, but his letter gives me a 
good opinion both of his head and heart. It is an effu- 
sion from a warm heart and clear head. 

QuiNCY, Illinois, Nov. 28, 1844. 
^' Dear Brother Henderson : — I arrived at this place 
on Saturday night last, with my family, where I expect 
to labor for the brethren for one year, and perhaps for 
life. I came full of hope. The brethren at this place 
and in Lewis county, Missouri, have kindly offered me 
a generous support, and a prospect of being able to 
devote my time entirely to the service of the church, 
made me feel more happy than I have done for some 
years. But, brother Henderson, when I heard of the 
death of our lamented father in Israel, my heart sunk 
within me. I know, indeed, he had lived to a good 
old age, had faithfully served his generation, and we all 
ought to have been prepared for his departure. But 
how shall we dispense with his labor of love ? Who 
is to fill his place in the great congregation composing 
this reformation ? Who can so successfully reprove 
our errors as preachers, and from whom will we be dis- 
posed so patiently and readily to receive the needed 
reproof? In a word, I know of no one that can do us 
so much good as preachers, and people, as could our 
departed father Stone. I do not mean to detract any 
thing from the merit of our many talented editors and 
preachers. We have many men of whom we are proud. 


both on account of their talents and piety; but in my 
humble judgment, not one that can, in any respect, 
fill the place of brother Stone. I have for a long time 
regarded him as the moderator of this whole reformation. 
His talents were acknowledged by all ; his piety was 
worthy the imitation of all ; and his holy soul, whether 
he wrote or spoke, seemed to diffuse itself into the 
minds of all who came under his influence. But per- 
haps r suffer my feelings to run too high. I acknow- 
ledge I loved him from my heart, and I hope, if life 
lasts, long to cherish the happy impressions that the 
effusions of his pen made upon my mind. 

I know that in speaking of him I speak of your co- 
editor, and here I am reminded of the moments of plea- 
sure you have enjoyed in his society, when you have 
taken sweet counsel together for the good of the cause. 

The sweetness of his temper — the wisdom of his 
counsel, and his entire devotion to the good of others, 
you have experienced. But you are bereaved. I speak 
not of the bereavements of his family. These are too 
tender and impressive for my pen. I leave them to 
abler hands. I sincerely sympathize with you. Allow 
me, brother Henderson, fraternally to say, your head is 
taken from you. But like Elisha, you have his manth 
(editorial) and his spirit, and my prayer to Elijah's Go( 
is, that you maybe able to retain both, and that through 
you, as brother Stone's successor, "the light of the 
glorious gospel of Christ" may continue to radiate our 
religious hemisphere, until we shall rejoin our departed 
brother, bearing our sheaves with us, where death shall 
never come. Yours in the Lord, T. J. Matlock." 

Shortly after the death of B. W. Stone, the Church 
of Christ at Caneridge, Bourbon county, Kentucky, at 
the instance of William Rogers, senr., a prominent and 
aged member of said church, prepared and forwarded 
a letter to the bereaved widow and children of the ve- 
nerated Stone, expressive of their deep sympathy with 
them, in view of their mutual, irreparable loss. The 
letter was written by William Rogers, Esq., one of the 



long-tried and devoted friends of B. W. Stone, and one 
of the most respectable and sensible farmers of Bourbon 
county, and a worthy member of the church. 

Below you have the proceedings of the church in 
regard to this letter, together wdth the letter itself. It 
was published in the March number of the Messenger, 
for 1845. 
^'On the 2d Lord's-day in December, and 8th of the 
month, in the year 1844, the church being assembled 
at Caneridge, that ancient house of God, for Christian 
worship, at the close of divine service it was motioned 
to appoint a committee, on behalf of the church, to 
prepare and forward a letter of condolence to the wid- 
owed lady and bereaved children of the venerable El- 
der Barton Warren Stone, on the occasion of his death, 
which occurred on the 9th of November, 1844, at Han- 
nibal, Missouri. The motion was seconded, and unani- 
mously adopted. Whereupon William Rogers, James 
Houston, John M. Irvin, and William P. Payne were 
appointed as the committee aforesaid." 


The Church of Christ at Caneridge^ to the honored lady 
and respected children of the venerated Elder Barton 
Warren Stone, deceased: 

^'Highly esteemed Friends : — To you respectively, the 
church at this place, moved thereto by considerations 
the most respectful, would hereby tender the tear of 
sympathy, and of unfeigned solace and sorrow, for the 
loss you have been made to realize by the death of an 
affectionate and tender relative. To you, indeed, he 
was all that is comprised in the terms good and great, 
and generous and wise. You have lost your best earthly 
friend and stay. With you, and for you, we sympathize, 
we mourn — and this is all we poor things can do. The 
breach that has been made in your family, and in your 
social relations, by this providential visitation, can never 
be healed — no, never. But upon this delicate subject 


we would lightly touch, for by doing otherwise, we 
should only open afresh those wounds, which time, the 
great restorer, alone can heal. 

Thus far the loss pertains to yourselves, and in this 
respect is chiffli/ your own. But when contemplated in 
the relations he sustained to the church of Christ, in 
this our favored land, in all its length and breadth, the 
loss is ours, in common with yours, and the vast Chris- 
tian community, of which we are but component parts. 

To the church atCaneridge, Elder Stone was, indeed, 
peculiarly dear. For here it was, that, near the begin- 
ning of the present century, he, with a few others, in 
the face of great opposition, constituted a church upon 
the " Bible alone," and in honor of Christ the great 
head, and in pursuance to apostolic example, called it 
the Christian Church, or Church of Christ. Here it was, 
also, on the 28th of June, 1804, that Barton W. Stone 
proclaimed to the church and to the world, that he took, 
from that day forward, and forever, the Bible alone as a 
rule of faith and practice, to the exclusion of all human 
Creeds, Confessions, and Disciplines ; and the name 
Christian, to the exclusion of all sectarian or denomi- 
national designations or names. 

These are truths common and notorious ; and as such 
they will be transmitted to posterity, by the page of 
faithful history. 

The course of this great reformer, from that epoch 
to the time of his demise, has been uniform, consistent, 
and progressive. Hence his great force of character, 
in the great and glorious reformation, now for more than 
forty years in successful progress. 

To him has been vouchsafed the unspeakable favor 
of living to see those great, grand, and heaven-inspired 
principles, for which he lived and labored, take deep 
and abiding root, and spread and expand themselves 
through a variety of agencies and instrumentalities, 
through the length and breadth of this wide-spread re- 
public. Yes, he, thank heaven, has been allowed 
enough of life and of years to witness largely the accom- 



plishment of the great objects and ends of his ministe- 
rial life and labors of love. 

Few of the people of God who lived about Caneridge, 
at the commencement of this century, by whom Elder 
Stone was known, and revered, and loved, are now 
here. Many have gone to the far West, whilst still 
more have gone to their last retreat — to the land of si- 
lence and of rest. A few, however, now greatly advanc- 
ed, remain, and still continue to linger and linger on, in 
their care-worn and time-worn tenements, patiently 
waiting till their change may come. Yes, we must all 
die. There is no escape. All flesh is grass — surely 
the people are grass, and wither, and fade, and pass 
away. The sentence of death has passed upon all — 
the express declaration of the Lord God Almighty is, 
" thou shalt surely die." 

Yes, ministers of the gospel, however good and great, 
must put aside the ministerial garment and function for 
the habiliments of the tomb. 

Yes, our Stone — great, and good, and loved though 
he was, is gone. But no vicissitude of life — no change 
of fortune — no incident in the history of his long and 
eventful life, has, in the slightest degree, tended to 
lower him in the estimation of the church or of the 
world. To his personal polish and amiability of man- 
ners, were superadded a strictly pious and holy life. 
These combined, gave to him a weight of character 
far in advance of most of his cotemporaries and co- 
workers in the great work of reformation. 

But his sun has set, and that voice so long and so 
familiarly known to all, which so oft and so sweetly 
fell upon our ears, shall be heard no more till the hea- 
vens have passed away. His sun has gone down — and 
to all it is matter of unspeakable consolation to know, 
that it declined in a clear atmosphere, and beneath a 
luminous sky — that in his last, his lingering and dying 
hour, he could say, " all is well, all is well." Where- 
fore we sorrow not as those without hope. Faith points 
to the morn of the resurrection, when the Lord Jesus 


shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice 
of the archanojel, and with the trump of God — then shall 
the saints of the Most High shake off the sleep of death, 
and spring forth as the bounding roe, to meet their Lord 
in the air ; and so forever be with the Lord. Where- 
fore comfort one another with these w^ords. 

And now, dear and honored friends, lest our reflec- 
tions on this mournful subject should leave your minds 
under an unpleasant gloom, we will come to a close. 
Praying that the good Lord, who made the venerated 
Stone what he was, and all he was — that so connected 
his labors with the church, as has been shown — may he, 
our kind, beneficent Father, who reigns in heaven, bring 
yourselves, and the church at Caneridge, and all peo- 
ple, in all places, that love and serve Him, to dwell in 
His eternal kingdom. Amen. Done in behalf of the 

William Rogers, 
James Houston, 
John M. Irvin, 
W. P. Payne. 
Caneridge Church, December 15th, 1844, being as- 
sembled in full session, the foregoing letter was publicly 
read, and unanimously approved. 

Attest, William Rogers, Clerk." 

The following just and beautiful tribute to the m.ejn- 
ory of B. W. Stone, is from the pen of Elder A. Rains, 
whose praise is in all the churches, as a clear headed, 
nervous, pithy, laconic and forcible writer. It is taken 
from the Christian Teacher, Vol. 3, No. 8, p. 204. 



wife, his children, his brethren, will see him here no 
more. He has gone from his labors, to his rest — from 
his sufferings to enjoyments forevermore in heaven. 

He was a good man. Goodness was his chief great- 
ness. He was great besides his goodness ; but goodness 
was its crown — his glory was goodness. It was his 


breast-plate and strength. His bitterest opponents were 
constrained to say, '■'-his moral character is unblamable.^'' 

His motto was '-'Christian union and the Bible, and 
the Bibh alone.'''' His Banner was the Cross j gemmed 
with Bethlehem's Star! His employment was like that 
of his Master, to do good to the souls and bodies of men. 
Kindness sat smiling on his brow. Many loved him, 
because he first loved them. Thus has he embalmed 
himself in the warm, pure affections of a great multi- 
tude ; and aided in originating, and giving impulse to 
a reformation wave, whose onward roll shall be com- 
mensurate and co-extensive with eternity. He was a 
disciple beloved of Christ; and who died, as he lived, 
leaning on the bosom of his Savio\ir. Speculative 
errors he might have held ; but let the faultless, in this 
respect, cast at him the next stone! And let those 
whose errors are, perhaps, greater than were his, be 
sparing of invectives and misrepresentations ; remem- 
bering, that *'with what judgment we judge, we shall 
be judged, and with what measure we mete, it shall be 
measured to us again." 

Take him, all in all, his like, we fear, we shall not 
shortly see again. But he rests from his toils, and per- 
secutions, and his works do follow him. Farewell! 
excellent spirit, till we meet in the Spirit-land ! Fare- 
well ! philanthropist, and benefactor of thy race ! !" 

The following is an extract from a private letter, from 
Francis R. Palmer, to B. W. Stone, Jun. Elder P. was 
one of Father Stone's long-tried and devoted friends. 
He lived much about his house, and had the best oppor- 
tunity of knowing him thoroughly. If I mistake not, 
he acquired a knowledge of the learned languages under 
his instructions. He might be said to be the son of B. 
W. Stone, in the gospel. He was associated with him 
as a fellow-laborer in the gospel for more than thirty 
years. He was extensively useful in Tennessee, Ken- 
tucky and Ohio, when he labored in those fields, and is 
now exerting a good influence in the far West, by his 


example and teaching. He is a man of considerable learn- 
ing, of great force and decision of character — of a clear 
head, and discriminating judgment. As a speaker, he is 
nervous, argumentative, forcible, laconic, and always 
pointed. His honesty, his integrity, his candor, his love 
of truth, his piety, are above suspicion. 

The testimony of such a man maybe relied on. Let 
us then hear what he has to say of the venerable Stone. 
His letter is dated : 

Independence, Mo., Dec. 22, 1844. 

*'I look back, and contemplate the many happy days 
your good father and I have spent together, and also, 
the many advantages I derived from his piety and 
knowledge. I often think of the warm reception I al- 
ways met from him and your mother, at a time when I 
needed friends. I had heard of your father's illness, 
and was listening to hear of his change. His sun has 
gone down without a cloud. I look forward to a happy 
meeting above, where death comes not, and friends part 

"I have always considered your father one of the 
best men of the age, and the best specimen of a gospel 
minister. One who had done more than any other I 
have ever known, to advance the cause of truth, all 
things considered. 

"I have my doubts w^hether he has done himself 
justice in what he has written concerning himself. He 
was remarkable for modesty and humility." 

Below you have a brief extract from a letter written 
by Elder Thomas Smith, of Fayette county, Kentucky, 
addressed to B. W. Stone, Jun. Elder Smith is one of 
the oldest preachers in Kentucky, and for talents and 
piety, he occupies a very enviable position. He knew 
B. W. Stone, intimately, for forty years, and of course 
knew him well. He says : "It has been some forty 
years since I first knew your father, and I can say, I 
never knew a man, dead or alive, who uniformly sup- 
ported a better Christian character." 


The following is an extract of a letter from brother 
James E. xMatthevvs, dated Jackson, Mississippi, August 
1845, addressed to B. W. Stone, Jun. I have not the 
pleasure of a personal acquaintance with brother Mat- 
thews ; I have, however, heard a good account of him 
as a Christian, and a teacher of Christianity. This let- 
ter shows him to be a man of good sense. In the close 
of his letter he thus speaks of B. W. Stone: 

"I cannot close this communication without express- 
ing my deep sympathy with you, at the loss you, and 
the w'orld have sustained, in the death of your vener- 
able father. From my youth, I entertained the most 
profound respect for his character ; and his unaffected 
piety, his holy zeal, his deep knowledge, yet child-like 
simplicity of manners evinced during my short personal 
acquaintance with him, impressed upon my mind the 
conviction, that he possessed in an eminent degree, all 
those attributes that constitute true greatness. While 
with you, and the church generally, I mourn his loss, I am 
happy to be assured that he has received his great re- 

The follow^ing extract is from a letter written by Love. 
H. Jameson, of Indianapolis, to B. W. Stone, Jun., and 
dated January, 1845. Brother Jameson is a very ami- 
able, pious and sensible preacher of the gospel, who 
knew B. W. Stone intimately, and loved him ardently. 
Of that venerated man of God, he thus speaks: 

"We feel that we have lost a father in Israel. We 
feel that his place cannot be filled. We feel what is 
harder to bear than all the rest, that the Bible has lost 
an advocate, w^ho for half a century, or nearly so, has 
lifted his voice in the maintenance of its all-sufficiency 
as a rule of faith and manners. And we feel this last the 
more sensibly for the reason, that from all we can dis- 
cover, the cause of the Bible now needs every advocate 
The w^arfare is growing more and more severe ; and 
we feel that one of our most faithful file-leaders is taken 
away. But why should we complain.'' He fought long 


and hard, and died with his sword in his hand. The 
great Captain of our salvation has only called him out 
of rank, to rest till the victory is won. He has taken 
his place among the witnesses who compass the saints 
about, while running with patience the race set before 
them, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of 
the faith. He has run his race; he has finished his 
course ; he has kept the faith ; and from henceforth 
there is a crown of righteousness laid up for him, which 
the Lord the righteous Judge shall give him at that day. 
Wherefore, let us comfort one another with these 

The following incidents, connected with the early 
history of B. W. Stone, have been furnished by request 
by Elder D. Purviance, of Preble county, Ohio ; and it 
is proper to say, this paper was prepared without a 
knowledge of what B. W. Stone had written in his 
manuscript on the same subjects. And as many of the 
facts referred to reach back some forty years, of course 
it can excite no wonder if there should be some slight 
discrepancies in their accounts. There is none, how- 
ever, we are sure, which involves any point of import- 

David Purviance, the writer of this article, is now 
near fourscore years old. He was associated with B. 
W. Stone in the Presbyterian church ; and after his 
secession from that church, was associated with him in 
the ministry in his reformation efforts. He is a man of 
considerable learning — great firmness and decision of 
character, and has done much for the cause of truth 
and righteousness. His candor, his piety, his sound 
judgment, his humility, are unquestioned and unques- 
tionable. But we give way to this venerable man to 
speak for himself and for B. W. Stone. 

"In compliance with the solicitations of some friends 
and brethren, I shall proceed to recite a few particulars 
respecting Elder Barton W. Stone, deceased, in the 


early part of his ministry. In the year 1707, I was a 
member of the Presbyterian church, or congregation at 
Caneridge, Bourbon county, Kentucky — adjoined there- 
^to was the congregation of Concord. Those congrega- 
tions were at that time vacant, their former pastor hav- 
ing been displaced. They were large and respectable, 
and were visited by several preachers that were unset- 
tled. Of them, B. W. Stone was most generally ap- 
proved, and was invited to settle, and employed by those 
congregations in conjunction, as their preacher. He 
was young, but his preaching was correct and interest- 
ing : and his deportment was amiable, pious, and un- 
assuming; so that he secured the affections and esteem 
of the people generally. In general, he believed and 
preached the Presbyterian doctrine, but he was liberal, 
charitable, and inoffensive. In the year '98, he received 
a call from those two congregations, to take charge of 
them as their pastor. He was then a licentiate, and 
soon after a session of the Presbytery was appointed to 
be held at Caneridge, when his ordination was expected. 
He was a Presbyterian, and disposed so to continue, 
but he possessed an independence of mind and a freedom 
of thought, which could not be bound. Upon exami- 
nation he could not receive the Confession without re- 
serve, agreeably to the form therein prescribed. Of this 
I speak certainly, because near the same time I was chosen 
as a ruling Elder, and to be ordained also ; and we con- 
versed freely on the subject. In general, we believed 
the doctrine of the Confession, and wished to remain 
Presbyterians, but we could not, in good conscience, 
adopt any system as infallible truth, v/hich was formed 
by uninspired and fallible men. Finally it was so modi- 
fied, that he did adopt the Confession, so far as he be- 
lieved it contained the system of doctrine taught in the 
Holy Scriptures. He was a man of research, and en- 
deavored to preach the truth, as he found it in the Bible; 
but he was sparing of the feelings of others — he seldom 
made any allusion to, or direct attack on, the sentiments 
or doctrine of those who differed from him. In his 


public preatjhing, the first deviation from the Calvinistic 
system which I recollect, was on the subject of faith. 
He showed that faith was the act of the creature simply 
believing God's word — that it was the first thing requi- 
site — that it preceded regeneration. Soon after, a good 
old man, an Elder, mentioned the subject to me. He 
could not receive it. Faith before regeneration would 
never do. I had little to say. Stone's preaching ap- 
peared to be straight and scriptural, and yet it was in 
my mind, faith is the gift of God, and wrought in the 
heart by the Spirit of God. However, I went home, 
and proceeded to search the Scriptures. I soon lighted 
on the text — " Born again not of corruptible seed, but 
of incorruptible by the word of God," &c. I perceived 
at once that the word must be believed in order to pro- 
duce the effect, consequently faith must precede regen- 
eration. But still I could not see clearly. The idea 
that faith must come from God — that it is wrought in 
the heart by the Spirit, made a puzzle. 

Soon after this the great revival commenced in Ten- 
nessee and Kentucky. As I expect brother Stone has 
been particular on this subject in writing his biography, 
let it suffice for me to say, that I entertain no doubt that 
it was a glorious work of God. Christians who had 
been languid and lukewarm were stirred up, and became 
fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. They abounded in 
love — they flowed together in one — they united in their 
prayers and breathings of soul for the salvation of sin- 
ners, and many were converted to God. Sectarian 
names and principles seemed to be forgotten. I admit that 
some enthusiasm and even fanaticism did prevail. But 
as respects that, brother Stone was clear. He was faith- 
ful, zealous, and spiritual ; yet sober and temperate, 
holding fast the faithful word. Some talked of extra- 
ordinary views and spiritual illuminations. I mentioned 
that matter to Stone. He replied — " I cannot rely on 
any teaching from God, otherwise than through his 
word." The preachers and people who were truly 
engaged in the work, appeared to have no use for their 


peculiar creeds ; and especially the Calvinistic doctrine 
of election, &c., could not live in the fire of gospel 
truth and Christian love. Stone moved steadily along, 
but not rashly ; he preached the gospel to every crea- 
ture full and free, but for a considerable time did not 
show the contrast between the Scriptures and the Con- 
fession of Faith. And when he came out clearly, show- 
ing that faith came by hearing the word of God — that 
it depended on testimony — and that God had given suf- 
ficient testimony, he was charged with denying the op- 
erations of the Spirit. This was not true. He believed 
and taught that the gospel was adapted to mankind, in 
their lost estate — that they were capable of hearing and 
believing and calling on the name of the Lord, and that 
God will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. 
There were a few members of his congregations who 
were like the elder son, who was in the field, and never 
appeared to partake of the spirit of the revival. But 
the main body of his people gladly received his word, 
and rejoiced in the glorious liberty of the gospel of 
Christ. It appeared that some w^ere truly his enemies ; 
but " they hated him without a cause." His doctrine 
they might think was evil, but as to his Christian char- 
acter and conduct, they could have no evil thing to say 
of him. "A bishop must be blameless." This indis- 
pensible trait of character he did possess ; his enemies 
themselves being judges. He was a man, and liable to 
err ; but he was honest. In proof of this I will state 
one fact. After his settlement in Caneridge, he visited 
his friends in Virsfinia. He brouo^ht from thence two 
negroes, which I understood he obtained by inheritance, 
and could have had money in lieu of them ; but phi- 
lanthropy and good conscience were more to him than 
gold ; therefore he brought them to Kentucky, broke 
the yoke, and set them free. 

It is unnecessary for me to detail particulars respect- 
ing the separation from the Synod of Kentucky. Those 
preachers who became separate, namely, Marshall, 
M'Nemar, Dunlavy, Thompson and Stone, having con- 


stituted as a Presbytery, received me forthwith, and set 
me forward as a fellow-laborer with them. The congre- 
gations of Caneridge and Concord were declared vacant 
by order of the Synod ; but the main body of the people 
adhered to Stone, and desired him to continue as their 
pastor. Soon afterwards he proposed to them to receive 
me as a co-partner and fellow-laborer with him ; to which 
they agreed, which is another proof that he was not actu- 
ated by worldly interest, and the love of pre-eminence. 
From that time till the year 1807, when I removed from 
Kentucky to Ohio, we lived and labored together in 
perfect harmony and brotherly love. His manner and 
talent and mine, were somewhat different. He would 
preach the word and substantiate the truth, but seldom 
directly attack the opposite error. When error appear- 
ed to stand in my way, I was inclined to expose it; and 
upon a review, I think I was sometimes faulty in not 
being as tender of feelings as I ought to have been. 
At least I was not as much so as I am now in my old 

Stone and I once attended a meeting of days together 
near Lexington. On Saturday I preached ; I took for 
my text. Acts x. 34. — "Then Peter opened his mouth 
and said, I perceive of a truth that God is no respecter 
of persons." In the discussion of the subject, I 
handled Calvinism without gloves. Next morning 
Stone said to me, that he thought my preaching yester- 
day was too hard ; (said he) I met a certain woman after 
meeting, who said she would go home — she would not 
stand such preaching. After we had left the meeting, 
I said to him, that I would not repent for that sermon, 
for it was the truth, and I believed the Lord helped me. 
Well, said he, I suppose it was right, for that woman 
could not stay away ; I saw her back again. More than 
a year afterwards, the woman met me at another big 
meeting. She reminded me of that sermon, and said 
she never got over it till she gave up Calvinism. Se- 
verity is sometimes needful. Saul spared Agag, but 
good old Samuel hewed him to pieces. For sometime 


after the separation we believed in the Calvinistic plan 
of Atonement ; we only differed as to its extent. Cal- 
vinists hold that Christ, as surety for an elect number, 
satisfied all the demands of the law, and that they all 
(and not one more) must certainly be saved. We held 
that he satisfied law and justice in the room and stead 
of all men. They argued that if the debt was paid for 
all, Universalism must be true. We answered that un- 
belief, or the rejection of the proffered salvation, was 
the condemnation. They argued that if Christ died 
for all sins, of all men, unbelief must be atoned for as 
truly as other sins. Finally, we were led to question 
and examine the doctrine of vicarious suffering. When 
the subject was first talked of among us. Stone appeared 
to be slow and cautious. He felt the weight and im- 
portance of it, and being a man of deep study and re- 
search, he outwent the rest of us. 

The first sermon he preached clearly on the plan of 
free grace, without payment, was at a big meeting at Con- 
cord. He preached from Rev. v. 9. — " Tliou art worthy : 

' Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by 

thy blood." He showed that sinners were alienated 
and lost from God. That God loved them and sent his 
Son to redeem from sin, from death, in one word, from 
all evils, and bring them home to God in heaven. To 
me it was as clear and vivifying as the morning sun ; 
and the people appeared to be universally delighted 
with the discourse. I was glad to see them pleased ; 
but thought few of them perceived that the doctrine 
would Lip-root their scheme of vicarious suflerings, 
for he said nothing directly on that point. We all con- 
tinued rather on the reserve, until Stone's letters on the 
Atonement were pul^lished in the year 1805. On that 
doctrine he has been tried as with fire, and I thank God 
that he has been sustained through it. I have read his 
writings on the Atonement, and also those on the oppo- 
site side, and my deliberate belief is, that his arguments 
have never been refuted or fairly answered. He has 
been assailed with reproachful epithets, and his doctrine 


misrepresented ; but it stands and lives, while his body- 
sleeps in the ground. 

Early in the year 1805, 1 went to North Carolina, and 
was absent from home nearly two months. During that 
time the Shakers from New York came into our settle- 
ment. Before I came home, they were gone to Ohio. 
I found our people in a commotion ; some of my best 
friends and brethren were much shaken. They repre- 
sented those Shakers as a very sanctified people ; filled 
with wisdom and godliness. Others believed they were 
impostors, and were warm in opposition to them. I 
hastened to see Stone. They had been at his house; 
he had examined them calmly and deliberately; he said 
they spoke with great confidence — that they were in- 
sidious and artful, but he was confirmed they were im- 
postors. He said many people had the notion that they 
were possessed of superior wisdom and talent, and that 
we could not compete with them. But, said he, we 
must not be afraid of them — we can confute them. 
They came among us several times afterwards, but 
Stone was firm, and had fortified me. We withstood 
them to the face. Some complained that we were intol- 
erant; but being convinced that they were not building 
on the sure foundation, we were decisive in our testi- 
mony against them, both in word and deed. And the 
churches there sustained very little injury from them. 

The case was diflferent in Ohio. Two of our preachers, 
viz: Richard M'Nemar and J. Dunlavy, were carried 
off by those seducing spirits, and their congregations 
much injured. The shock was severe, and our adver- 
saries seemed to expect our entire overthrow. But 
some good resulted to us from the disaster. M'Nemar 
and some others had become somewhat wild and fantas- 
tic ; their hearts were puffed up before they were caught 
in the Shaker snare. We took warning to watch and 
pray, and cleave to the Holy Scriptures ; realizing that 
Jesus was our king and law-giver, and that trusting in 
him and abiding in his doctrine, his church could not 


In the midst of our trial with Shakerism, some of us 
became convinced that infant baptism was not taught in 
the Bible. We had so many trials and so much oppo- 
sition to encounter, that we were cautious in speaking 
on the subject. With some confidential brethren we 
conversed privately, and found that there was a diver- 
sity of sentiment among us. John Thompson, who was 
a leading and very influential preacher, was a strenuous 
advocate for infant baptism. Many others believed 
with him. However, we rested quietly till in the year 
1807, a young woman, who professed faith in Christ 
and joined the church, applied to Stone for immersion. 
In pursuance of which he published a meeting at a cer- 
tain water on a day future. At the time and place ap- 
pointed, a large congregation assembled. Reuben 
Dooley preached, and afterwards Stone immersed the 
young woman, and one or two more. I had not a 
thought of being baptized on that day when I went to 
the place; but during the exercises of the day I realized 
that it is a command of God, and I am bound to obey. 
I called Stone and Dooley aside, and made known my 
mind to them, and asked Stone to baptize me ; to which 
he consented. I remarked to them that the way of duty 
appeared plain, but I was sorry to hurt the feelings of 
the brethren. Dooley said the best way to please breth- 
ren is to please the Lord. I then addressed the congre- 
gation publicly. It was the first time the subject had 
been publicly named amongst us. We went to the 
water: before we went in, Dooley said to me quietly, 
as soon as you are baptized, I shall want you to put me 
under the water. Accordingly, as soon as I was on my 
feet, Dooley came forward, and a number more follow- 
ed, whom I baptized before I came up out of the wa- 
ter. Stone was not baptized on that day. None of us 
urged the matter. We exhorted the people to search 
the Scriptures, and act according to their faith, and to 
forbear one another in love. And, in general, peace 
and harmony continued to prevail. Stone studied the 
peace of the church ; and his character for candor and 


honesty was so well established, that by pursuing a pru- 
dent course, he preserved the people in the unity of the 
Spirit, and retained their confidence. In some churches 
there was opposition, and some prejudice appeared. 

In the month of September, 1807, 1 emigrated from 
Kentucky to Ohio. John Thompson was the leading 
preacher in Ohio, and though he was adverse to immer- 
sion, he and I associated and labored together. I had 
full confidence in him, and no suspicion that he was in 
the least degree disaffected. But from a review of cer- 
tain occurences, I now think that from the time some of 
us were immersed, Thompson and some others began to 
look back. The first point of much importance he men- 
tioned to me was, in speaking of the Atonement, he 
said he thought we had been wrong on that subject. I 
had so much confidence in his wisdom and goodness, 
that I was ready and anxious to hear all he had to say 
on the subject. I found afterwards, that he and Robert 
Marshall were working together on that subject, and by 
their influence the main body of the preachers were 

And had it not been that Stone remained firm and 
unmoved, and was able to maintain and defend the 
truth, the consequence must have been disastrous. I 
became much embarrassed. I was led to think there 
was something penal pertaining to the sufferings and 
death of Christ. But there were objections to the doc- 
trine of vicarious sufferings which I could not get re- 
moved. For instance : If Christ bore the full penalty, 
in the room and stead of Adam and his posterity, why 
did Adam suffer death, and why must we all die ? If 
full satisfaction was rendered, the debt fully paid, what 
room remains for forgiveness ? Jesus says, Therefore 
doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, 
&c. He never speaks of bearing the wrath of God. 
Other objections I might mention, but I desist. How- 
ever, I was earnestly engaged to find the truth, and after 
months of labor came out decidedly with Stone, and 
more confirmed and established than I had ever been 


before. I had uniformly looked to Thompson as my 
superior, and paid great deference to his judgment ; but 
I learned that I must call no man master. Marshall and 
Stone were the oldest and leading preachers in Ken- 
tucky ; Thompson and I, in Ohio : — and of necessity, I 
must withstand him to the face. I appeared to be set 
for the defence of the gospel ; and the Lord being my 
helper, I found the task not difficult. The yoke was 
easy. I still respected and loved Thompson, but after 
he drew back, his locks were shorn — his influence was 

Thompson once said to me, that we had become so 
diversified, we had better dissolve and join the differ- 
ent sects, as we could be best suited. And I have no 
doubt that the aim of Marshall and Thompson was to 
abolish the Christian Church (so called.) And it was a 
happy circumstance that Stone and I had become sepa- 
rated, he in Kentucky, to defend the truth and guard 
the church against Marshall's influence ; and I to do 
the best I could in Ohio. Upon the whole, they effected 
but little. Barton W. Stone has been much reproached 
for the name of Christ, but I have no doubt that he is 
happy, having entered into the joy of his Lord. It 
is known that difficulties have existed, and some divi- 
sions have taken place in the church, in the latter part 
of his life ; but I verily believe if all the preachers had 
been endued with as. much of the wisdom that cometh 
from above as he possessed, a separation could not have 
been made. I have differed from him on some points, 
but while I have a spark of true religion, I cannot be 
separated in heart, from as good a man as Barton W. 

June 5th, 1845. David Purviance. 


The substance of a discourse, occasioned by the death 
of Elder B. W. Stone, delivered before a vast audience 
at Caneridge meeting house, June 22d, 1845, by El- 
der Jno. a. Gano. 
Respected Friends and Fellow Citizens : — 

We have assembled on this sacred spot, hallowed by 
so many fond and endearing recollections, to honor our 
Lord and Saviour, by honoring his devoted servant. 
To offer, in connection with our worship to God, a pub- 
lic tribute of respect and heartfelt affection to the me- 
mory of one who truly loved the Lord Jesus, and whose 
life was a lucid and impressive practical commentary 
on the religion he professed. A mighty father in Israel 
has fallen ; the spirit of the pious and excellent Barton 
Warren Stone is gone to mingle with the spirits of the 
dead in Christ; his body rests in the grave, until aroused 
to immortality by the omnipotent voice of Jesus, to sleep 
no more. I conceive that on such an occasion as this, 
a more efficient and acceptable service cannot be ren- 
dered to the cause of Christ, than briefly to recount 
some of the more deeply interesting incidents of a life 
devoted to the Lord ; to hold up to your view some of 
those grand and effective Christian principles, which so 
powerfully operated on the mind, and heart, and life of 
the great and illustrious man, whose death we so deeply 

Elder Stone was by birth a Marylander. At that 
most interesting period in the history of the Western 
world, when the agitations of the political elements be- 
tokened the rapidly approaching storm of the Revolu- 
tion, he commenced his eventful life, in the year 1772. 
Bereft in early life of his father, we find him by the re- 
moval of his widowed mother, in the providence of God, 
hid away in his tender years, in Pittsylvania, Virginia, 
from the storm of war and death. While yet a child, 
he evinced a fondness for books ; and fortunately for 
society, for Kentucky, for Christendom, he in early life 
resolved to acquire a liberal education, intending to 
practice law ; but heaven designed otherwise. Scarce 


had he reached his early manhood, when we behold him 
struggling with poverty ; in his pursuit of knowledge 
his patrimony was soon expended. But his was not, by 
many thousands, the only gifted spirit, destined in its 
earthly career, to contend with adversity. None know 
so well how to sympathize in after life, as those who 
have thus suffered. His first religious impressions, 
worthy of notice here, were those made in his eighteenth 
year, while at Guilford academy. North Carolina, under 
the labors of the distinguished James McGready. This 
institution, and the preachers he heard, were of the 
Presbyterians. His mind became very soon greatly 
distressed by the Calvinistic speculations to which he 
listened ; nor was he relieved, but by the words of in- 
spiration, " God is love." This truth, viewed in the 
light of divine revelation, afforded him rest and joy. 
He became a candidate for the ministry, when about 
twenty-one years of age. While a student of theology, 
in Orange county. North Carolina, he experienced the 
timely assistance of his friend and father in the hour of 
want, Dr. Caldwell. Vividly and gratefully, to the day 
of his death, did he carry the remembrance of this gen- 
erous hearted man, and of his great kindness to him. 
How wondrous are the ways of God. I am now strongly 
impressed with this fact in the history of our beloved 
Stone. I know it — many of you know, that no man in 
Kentucky, in his circumstances, aided in educating and 
rearing up so many poor young men for the ministry as 
did he. How many of them now live to be extensively 
useful ! Well did he endeavor then to repay that debt 
of gratitude to the benefactor of his early life, and to 
God, the benefactor of all. 

Pressed by his pecuniary embarrassments, he visits 
Georgia, and being chosen, accepts the chair of profes- 
sor of languages in a Methodist academy, near Wash- 
ington. Having filled this chair with honor and credit, 
in 1796 he resigned his professorship, returned to Or- 
ange county. North Carolina, and applied to the Pres- 
bytery for license to preach. When the day arrived, and 


the form of licensure was being attended to, the Bible, 
(and not the Confession of Faith,) was handed the can- 
didates, the venerable father Patillo saying, " Go ye into 
all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." 
How strangely prophetic this circumstance, in view of 
some of the most important events in his after life. 

We soon find this ardent and youthful proclaimer of 
the gospel laboring in the field assigned him, in the 
lower part of the state of North Carolina. Dissatisfied 
with his situation, he determined to travel to Florida ; 
but heaven overruled, and by a seemingly very trivial 
circumstance, his course was entirely changed, and he 
resolved to come to the west. He reached Knoxville, 
Tennessee, in August, 1796, and through great difficul- 
ty and danger arrived at Nashville, then a small village. 
Having tarried here awhile preaching, he proceeded to 
Kentucky, and as the winter of 1796 — '97 set in, came 
to this neighborhood ; being about twenty-four years of 
age, the prime of his early manhood. Yonder ancient 
and venerable log meeting-house was then standing, 
probably in the fourth year of its existence. Near half 
a century has passed away, and still it stands, the be- 
loved house of God — the place of worship for many 
hundreds. True, its clap-board roof has been succeed- 
ed by one more costly, and your kindness has sheltered 
its firm logs from the peltings of the storm ; but 'tis the 
same building in which, more than forty-eight years ago 
was first heard the sweet voice of the youthful stranger, 
the beloved Stone, as with accents mild he pourtrayed 
the love of God to man. Can we other than feel im- 
pressed, with the providence of God, as most manifest 
in thus guiding from Carolina, through dangers and 
toils, direct to this spot, this peculiarly gifted and ex- 
cellent man ? To this very ground, destined in after 
life to become the theatre of so many great events, 
deeply thrilling and interesting to his own, and the 
spirits of so many thousands. I feel it to be peculiarly 
appropriate that on this day we are called, by the affec- 
tion of Caneridge congregation for the departed, on 


this very ground, and in this sacred and lovely grove, 
in view of that venerable edifice, to pay this public tri- 
bute of respect to the memory of one, loved by all who 
knew him. But to return. 

Soon after his arrival, Elder Stone was invited by 
Caneridge and Concord churches to become their pastor. 
He accepted their kind invitation, and entered upon the 
discharge of his duties. But already had his zeal, in- 
telligence and moral worth pointed him out to his asso- 
ciates in the ministry, as one well suited for important 
undertakings. We accordingly find him about this 
time solicited by Transylvania Presbytery to visit the 
South, and make collections for the purpose of estab- 
lishing a college in Kentucky. He consented to do so, 
and on this business visited Georgia and South Caro- 
lina, and before he returned, was led by filial affection 
to see once more his mother in Virginia. I would here 
remark, that the efforts just alluded to, are believed to 
have been the first of those which resulted in the es- 
tablishment of Transylvania University, which has since 
become one of our most highly endowed colleges, and 
enjoyed largely the fostering care of our commonwealth. 

In the fall of 1798, Caneridge and Concord churches 
having called him, a day was appointed by Transyl- 
vania Presbytery for his ordination. We have now 
reached a period in his history when another trait in his 
character became strikingly manifest. I mean his can- 
dor, or moral honesty. His scriptural investigations had 
left his mind in serious doubt as to the truth of some 
things contained in the Confession of Faith. As an 
honest man, he made kn^wn these difficulties to two 
prominent preachers, who were to act at his ordination. 
He was urged by them to submit to ordination, and re- 
ceive the Confession, so far as consistent with the word 
of God. To this advice he yielded, and when asked 
in his ordination, whether he received "the Confession 
as containing the system of doctrine taught in the 
Bible," said, "I do, so far as I see it consistent with 
the word of God." His mind was now led to observe 


closely the practical effects of religious speculations — 
particularly those more prominent and clashing, as set 
forth by opposite religious parties, as of divine author- 
ity. The more he saw and heard of the strifes and ani- 
mosities they engendered, the more he became disgust- 
ed with them, and the more devoted to his Bible. 

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, many 
causes had conspired to produce throughout the Union, 
but especially in the West, a state of apathy on the 
subject of religion; not only in the world, but in the 
church — a death-like indifference, on this most vital sub- 
ject, bound as with a mighty magic spell the minds of 
men. But it was only the stillness which preceded that 
unprecedented agitation or movement of the public 
mind, which soon ensued. At the beginning of the 
present century, intelligence was received in this sec- 
tion of the country, of a remarkable religious excite- 
ment that prevailed in Southern Kentucky, and in some 
parts of Tennessee, under the labors of the celebrated 
McGready, and other Presbyterian ministers. Early in 
the year 1801, Elder Stone visited the favored region, 
and attended a camp-meeting in Logan county, Ken- 
tucky. For a particular account of the exciting scenes 
he there witnessed, and the effect produced on his mind 
by them, I refer the audience to a vivid description 
from his own pen already given to the public. He imme- 
diately returned to Caneridge, and his first sermon was 
from the great commission — "Go ye into all the world, 
and preach the gospel to every creature." He made 
known to his audience what he had seen and heard; as 
also at Concord, his labors*were greatly blessed, and 
soon the same scenes, the same excitement began to be 
realized in these congregations, and many were induced 
to turn to the Lord. 

In July he was married to the pious and amiable Eliz- 
abeth Campbell, daughter of Col. Wm. Campbell, of 
Muhlenburg county, Kentucky. Soon after his marriage 
he hurried to this place to attend a protracted meet- 
ing, appointed to commence the Friday before the 2d 


Lord's-day in August, 1801. This was the memorable 
meeting since called " the great Caneridge meeting," 
and of which Elder Stone thus writes : 

" The roads were literally crowded with wagons, 
carriages, horsemen, and footmen, moving to the solemn 
camp. The sight was affecting. It was judged by 
military men on the ground, that there were between 
twenty and thirty thousand collected. Four or five 
preachers were frequently speaking at the same time, 
in different parts of the encampment, without confusion. 
The Methodist and Baptist preachers aided in the work, 
and all appeared cordially united in it — of one mind 
and one soid, and the salvation of sinners seemed to be 
the object of all. We all engaged in singing the same 
songs of praise — all united in prayer, and all preached 
the same things — free salvation urged upon all by faith 
and repentance. A particular description of this meet- 
ing would fill a large volume, and then the half would 
not be told. The numbers converted, will be known 
only in eternity." 

We are now, dear hearers, on the same ground, 
where, near half a century ago, those deeply interesting 
scenes occurred ; here it was those living and mighty 
masses of men then moved and acted. A new era had 
with a new century dawned on the religious world, and 
men perceiving the beauty and freedom of the gospel, 
dared to enjoy its liberty. Aged errors, called by those 
who held them, orthodoxy^ writhed under the influence 
of heaven-born truth, fearlessly presented. Let us not, 
then, be astonished to learn, that the most successful 
proclaimers of the gospel of God were soon singled out 
as objects of the most embittered persecution. And 
why? Because they ceased to teach human specula- 
tions. During that memorable meeting just alluded to, 
none labored more constantly, efficiently, or zealously 
than the talented Stone. From his excessive labors 
he was seized with hemorrhage of the lungs, which 
threatened his speedy decline and death. But his 
work on earth was not yet done. Heaven in mercy to 


US spared him, and soon we find him quite restored to 

Among the Presbyterian preachers, who at that time 
labored in the proclamation of a free salvation offered to 
all men on the same conditions, were Stone, Marshall, 
M'Nemar, Thompson, and Dunlav)^ At the risk of 
arresting the good and glorious work of conversion 
they were effecting in the land, war was declared against 
them by the system-mongers. The Presbytery of Spring- 
field, Ohio, first carried M'Nemar through its fiery or- 
deal, for his anti-calvinistic preaching. His case was 
ultimately brought before Synod, at Lexington, in the 
fall of 1803. During the proceedings in this case, 
Stone and his associates, perceiving a blow aimed at 
all of them, drew up a protest against the proceedings, 
and declaring their freedom from their authority, with- 
drew from the Synod. Several unsuccessful efforts 
were made to bring them under the yoke of bondage. 
Synod then proceeded to suspend them, and declare 
their places vacant. These protestants formed them- 
selves into a separate Presbytery, called Springfield, 
and addressed a circular letter to their churches, inform- 
mg them of what had occurred. Did Caneridge and 
Concord churches, who had taken the beloved Stone 
to their bosoms — for whom he had labored, and who 
knew him best, at this trying moment forsake him ? Did 
they regard the act by which he was nominally suspend- 
ed ? No, fellow citizens ; they nobly stood by him and 
the cause he advocated ; en masse they resolved with 
him to be free. The wide-spread influence exerted to- 
day in all this region — the garden of the world — by the 
noble stand they took in that eventful period, speaks 
volumes in his and their favor, and more in behalf of the 
cause for which they suffered. Why are so many thou- 
sands assembled on this most solemn occasion? It is 
most forcibly to express their respect, their esteem, 
their love for one who, in faithfully serving his God, 
nas rendered society essential service ; for one who has 
truly benefited mankind. 


Soon after their separation, these protestants published 
a book, styled the Apology. In this were set forth the 
causes which led to the separation; their objections to 
Confessions of Faith of human origin, and particularly 
that of the Presbyterians ; and a declaration of their en- 
tire abandonment of all authoritative human creeds^ and 
their adhesion to the Bible alone, as the only rule of faith 
and practice in religion. 

This was the first public declaration of religious free- 
dom in the Western Hemisphere ; the first in the world 
since that of the intrepid Luther was nullified by the 
yoke of bondage framed at Augsburg. This was the 
beginning of that vast and mighty moral revolution, 
connected with the present age, and which has since 
been turning and overturning in its onward progress, 
and promises such glorious results under the guidance 
of Him who overrules all the grand events of time. 

Elder Stone voluntarily relinquished all claims to his 
salary, as a Presbyterian preacher, and determined to 
promote the Redeemer's kingdom, irrespective of party. 
Under the name of Springfield Presbytery they contin- 
ued only about one year. They soon perceived that 
their name and organization savored of a human party; 
and ^' with the man-made creeds," says Elder Stone, 
" we threw it overboard, and took the name Christian.'''' 
In this neighborhood they met in solemn assembly in 
June, 1804, to counsel each other, and then and there 
drew up the Last Will and Testament of Springfield 
Presbytery, a part of which we will read : 

" Item. We will that our name of distinction, with 
its reverend title, be forgotten, that there be but one 
Lord over God's heritage, and his name one. 

" Item. We will that this body die, be dissolved, and 
sink into union with the body of Christ at large, for 
there is but one body and one spirit, even as we are 
called in one hope of our calling. 

" Item. We will that the people henceforth take the 
Bible as their only sure guide to heaven ; and as many 
as are offended with other books which stand in com- 


petition with it, may cast them into the fire if they 
choose ; for it is better to enter into life having one 
book, than having many, to be cast into hell." 

The first churches planted and organized since the 
grand apostacy, with the Bible as the only creed or 
church book, and the name Christian as the only family 
name, were organized in Kentucky in the year 1804. 
Of these Caneridge was the first. Let us here pause 
for a moment, to contemplate the high, the holy, the 
exalted stand taken by those pioneers, in the cause of 
gospel truth and liberty. As if breathing the same spirit 
which animated the primitive saints, we see them rising 
superior to the traditions of ages, and losing sight of all 
humanisms in religion, their eyes fixed on God's holy 
w^ord, they pant for the divine order: under the gui- 
dance of heaven-born truth, they are led to original, 
to primitive, to holy ground : having tasted of the good 
word of the Lord and been made to drink into his Spirit, 
made free indeed, they desire to see others blessed. 
Can we wonder for a moment, to see them tired and 
sick of the religious strifes and feuds about opinions, 
which prevailed around them ? Are we astonished at 
the zeal they manifested ? Let us remember, such were 
the first fruits of our holy religion — a religion of love, 
and peace, and joy. With the Bible in their hands, 
its truths deeply impressed on their minds, its spirit in 
their hearts, and rallied under the nam.e of their glori- 
ous leader and Saviour, if faithful they must triumph. 
But as there were those who anciently forsook the Apos- 
tle to the Gentiles, so there were some who forsook our 
beloved Stone and the great principles he advocated, 
in the darkest hour of trial and conflict through which 
they were called to pass. 

Shakerism from the East came with its blighting in- 
fluence upon the religious community. Many in the 
various denominations becarae the unfortunate victims 
of this sad delusion. M'Nemar, Dunlavy, and some 
others were carried away. Constant and laborious 
were the efforts of Elder Stone, to save the people from 


this deadly scourge. Day and night, and from house 
to house he labored, showing the people from the word 
of God, the dangerous character of this new delusion. 
The great body stood firm and unmoved, and were led 
only to mourn deeply, in view of the sad examples be- 
fore them ; the frailty and folly of some, where even 
learning and talents had lent their aid and promised a 
better result. But another severe and sad stroke was 
soon to fall on this holy man of God, and the noble but 
persecuted band around him. 

The loss of salary, of popular favor, and personal 
ease, in order to gain truth, with persecution, and pov- 
erty, and personal toil, is a change of affairs well cal- 
culated to test the most of men. Add to this, the use 
made by their enemies, of the apostacy of two of the 
little band of preachers, and we conceive the causes 
are fairly before us, which led, in connection with their 
early prejudices, to the recantation of two others. 
Stone now stands alone, against a host. Was he alone ? 
No, God was with him. Firmly he stood, and although 
numberless shafts were hurled at this humble and de- 
voted servant of God, he was unmoved ; they all fell 
harmless at his feet ; and undaunted he went forward in 
the advocacy of the great principles avowed. From 
one scene of success to another he advanced, until a 
host are gathered with him around the one-starred flag 
of Bethlehem, stained with the precious blood of Christ. 

In 1809, he was bereft of his then only son, and soon 
after of his pious, intelligent and beloved wife, who 
died most triumphantly. She entered fully and cor- 
dially into his religious views, and was while living a 
great helper and comforter to him. The brethren and 
sisters took care of his four motherless little daughters, 
while in company with the pious and zealous Reuben 
Dooley, he traversed the land, laboring gratuitously far 
and near in building up the churches, and in planting 
many others. Great and salutary was the work effected 
through his ministrations at this period of his life. 

In October 1811, he was married to Celia W. Bowen, 


our now bereaved and widowed sister, and again set- 
tled near this place. After a year's residence here, he 
was induced to remove to Tennessee. The churches 
in Kentucky, unwilling to give him up, soon prevailed 
on him to return, and settle in Lexington ; from which 
place he removed to Georgetown, to take charge of the 
Academy. The responsible station of an instructor of 
youth he ever filled with ability and satisfaction. No 
one I presume ever governed the young more effectu- 
ally, or advanced his pupils more rapidly, imparting 
sound knowledge and learning. And yet, all was done 
by love ; w^hether entreaty, advice, persuasion or re- 
proof were resorted to, his love was manifest. If he 
wept or grieved at the misdeeds of any, the evil-doer 
generally wept with him, while the language of con- 
demnation fell in deep tones of sorrow from his lips. — 
When he smiled, all rejoiced, for dearly every scholar 
loved him. I speak from experience. Yes, it was he, 
who first led my youthful mind to contemplate and ad- 
mire the beauties of some of the more gifted of the 
Latin poets. His deportment impressed me with the 
reality of religion ; and after years had gone, he it was 
who directed my erratic spirit to the book of God. He 
fixed his residence on a farm near the town, sometimes 
teaching school, and at others preaching the gospel. 

In the year 1824, Elder A. Campbell paid a visit to 
this state. While at Georgetown he and Elder Stone 
became acquainted. They conversed freely together, 
and were mutually led to love and highly esteem each 
other as brothers in the same heavenly family ; soldiers 
of the same blood-stained cross; advocates of the same 
great and glorious principles, and expectants of the same 
blissful immortality. They had been and still were 
pleading for primitive faith and practice ; for a return 
to original, apostolic, Bible ground ; and in order to 
this most desirable state of things, urged upon all Chris- 
tians to take the Bible, as the only rule of their faith 
and practice — to cultivate its spirit, and to yield im- 
plicit obedience to all its precepts. Having the same 


holy volume, loving the truth, and desiring to know the 
truth, how could they, or those associated with them, 
remain separate or divided ? Union and liberty, was 
their motto ; not union without love, or liberty without 
light — or either without implicit faith in, and devotion 
to the Lord Jesus. Such principles, advocated by El- 
der Stone with voice and pen from the year 1804, and 
more fully in the Christian Messenger from 1826 onward, 
and by Elder Campbell, since soon after his landing in 
this country in 1809, and more fully and perfectly since 
1823, in the Christian Baptist and Millennial Harbinger, 
ultimately led the many thousands who had sincerely 
and cordially embraced those principles, into one happy 
and glorious brotherhood. This flowing together upon 
the one foundation commenced in Lexington, Kentucky, 
in 1832 — Elder Stone was present with his heart and 
voice to sanction that for which his great Redeemer 
prayed and died — the union of believers. Oh ! how 
it must have cheered and warmed the heart of that 
veteran soldier of Christ, to see that for which he had 
so long labored and toiled — the union of God's dear 
children upon the Bible, begin to be so happily effected. 
Whether formerly styled Christians or Disciples mat- 
tered not, they are now one in Christ — all, if truly 
learners under the great Teacher, are disciples — all, if 
they implicitly obey him, are Christians. May this 
union never cease ; may it never be interrupted. May 
freedom of opinion be guarantied to all, our spirit one, 
our faith one, our hope one, our Lord one, and our 
Father in heaven one. Brethren, let us faithfully preach 
the word, and leave speculations to others; then will 
union increase, and long, long bless the world. 

During Elder Stone's residence near Georgetown, in 
1827, my mind became deeply impressed with the im- 
portance of religion. I appealed to him in my distress 
for religious advice. Never can I forget the lessons 
which fell in deep and solemn tones upon my ear and 
heart, and which, with the blessing of God, aided in 
bringing me under the guidance of his word and Spirit. 


Elder Stone continued his labors through the Christian 
Messenger, and as a preacher of the gospel in Kentucky 
until the fall of 1834, when he removed to Jackson- 
ville, Illinois. Many were the tears shed when he left 
as in his old age, to seek a residence in the far West. 
He thought it best for his family that he should do so : 
but it was hard to part from one we all so deeply loved. 
In Jacksonville he still continued the publication of the 
Christian Messenger, and also labored extensively in 
word and doctrine, both in Illinois and Missouri. In 
August, 1841, he became paralytic ; but so far recov- 
ered as again to resume his labors as a preacher and 
editor in 1842. 

In the summer of the following year, 1843, he paid 
his last visit to Kentucky, the theatre of his early labors, 
and of his greatest efforts in his Master's cause. Warm 
and frequent were the greetings he met wherever he 
came. Many, very many were the friends, both old and 
young, who stood ready with smiles or tears of joy to 
welcome him to their hearts and homes. This spot, 
dearer to him than all others on earth, he longed to 
visit. It was my privilege to be with him here. Some 
few of the hoary-headed, time-worn veterans, who had 
suffered with him in the cause of truth in other days, 
still lingered here, on the shores of time, as if waiting 
for this last interview. Oh! how deeply did we feel, 
as they fondly embraced, and a crowd of holy recollec- 
tions rushed upon their minds and choked their utter- 
ance. The children of many loved ones, who had 
crossed the Jordan of death, came around him ; those 
children, now grown to man and womanhood, had been 
dandled in their infancy upon his knees. But while we 
record the joy of the aged Houston, and Lucky, and 
Rogers, and others, we cannot omit to mention the deep 
and heartfelt joy of that pious and venerable old servant, 
brother Charles. Largely did he share in the blessed- 
ness of that meeting, for none loved more sincerely than 
he did. 

It was during that meeting, which lasted several days, 


that the afflicted little son of brother Colcord desired 
to hear the aged father preach. Borne upon his couch, 
he was placed directly in front of the pulpit, so as to 
face the preacher. When Elder Stone closed his dis- 
course, the lovely and youthful Thomas made known 
his wish to confess the Saviour. Oh, it was a sight on 
which the angels might look with delight. Pale and 
emaciated lay the meek and amiable boy, nei^er known 
to complain, a heavenly smile upon his countenance, (it 
was always there,) the dark locks thrown back from his 
pale forehead, and his soft black eye beamJng with in- 
telligence, as he nobly declared his faith in Jesus of 
Nazareth. His father, though unused to speak, could 
not contain himself. In strains of eloquence, such as 
we have rarely heard equalled, did he pourtray the love 
of God, pointing the audience to the manger at Beth- 
lehem, the cross of Calvary, and the tomb of Joseph. 
His allusion to the sainted and happy spirit of his be- 
loved wife, recently torn from his fond embrace, but 
then in glory, whither her afflicted child was soon to 
follow her, with a touching appeal to all to prepare to 
meet their God, were well calculated most powerfully 
to impress the audience. Scarcely could a dry eye be 
found that day in the large assembly. 

I spent a night with brother Stone at brother William 
Rogers's. The morning came, and after many happy 
social hours together, we were soon to separate ; again 
with the family we bowed in prayer ; this being ended, 
Elder Stone sat beside the stand on which lay the Book 
of God, his long-tried companion; with that familiar 
inclination of the head forward, he asked us to sing 
that good song, " The Family Bible that lay on the 
stand." Some excellent singers were present, and 
while the song was being sung, I observ^ed his hoary 
head bowed upon the stand, and his hand resting on the 
Bible ; while the tears gushed from his eyes, he ex- 
claimed, " Blessed, blessed, much neglected Book." 
Oh he loved, dearly loved the Bible. None, I presume, 
studied it more closely, constantly, or prayerfully. Be- 


fore he left Kentucky, he returned again to Caneridge, 
to worship for the last time with the brethren, on this, 
to him, consecrated ground. After a very happy inter- 
view and much religious enjoyment, came the final 
parting scene. I am informed that, as he left the meet- 
ing house, supported by his son Barton on one side and 
brother Colcord on the other, they walked towards bro- 
ther C's residence ; as they approached the gate, he 
suddenly halted, struck his cane to the ground, and re- 
marked, "here was my stand," meaning doubtless the 
stand from which he preached during the great meeting 
in 1801. He turned and gazed anxiously around upon 
the scene, as if conscious he should behold it no more ; 
his eye became suddenly suffused with tears, then turn- 
ing away, he hurried to his carriage, and set out for 

Oh, who can tell or adequately describe what must 
have been the emotions of his noble and excellent spirit 
as there he stood and looked for the last time on the fa- 
miliar scene before him. The forest thinned, but like 
his aged friends, not all gone ; that earth once covered 
with the seared leaves, now carpeted in green; how 
many of his former and bosom friends repose beneath 
that sod ! Where now were the many thousands who 
had heard him there, more than forty years before.^ 
Gone, the most of them, gone to eternity. With all 
their cares and anxieties, their love and hatred, pre- 
pared or unprepared, gone to render their solemn ac- 
count. And he who in God's name addressed them, 
stands again, after the long lapse of years, where, with 
warning voice, he addressed that vast throng. But 
where are his former associates in the ministry — those 
with w^hom he started ? Fallen, fallen into the tomb. 
How solemnly impressed must his mind have been, if 
such were his thoughts! How natural that his eyes 
should be dimmed with tears while indulging these pain- 
ful reflections ! I once heard him say, that nothing 
enabled him to bear up under his separation from his 
old fi'spnds in Kentucky, but the belief, that if faithful, 



they should soon meet in heaven. He is now gone; 
let us press on, and soon we shall be with him. 

Having in safety reached his family, with improved 
health, he resumed his editorial and other labors. Early 
in October, 1844, he set out on a visit to Missouri, de- 
siring to attend the annual meeting at Bear-creek. Sev- 
eral of his family accompanied him. He reached the 
meeting, and of his preaching while there, brother T. 
M. Allen, who was present, thus writes, under date of 
October the 22d. '' He (brother Stone) can preach well 
yet. But he looks like time had marked him as a victim 
for eternity. He is certainly one of the excellent and 
precious of the earth." This seemed almost prophetic; 
for on his return from that meeting, about the first of 
November, at the house of his son-in-law, Capt. Bowen, 
in Hannibal, he was taken to his bed, and after more 
than a week of the most intense and acute pain, on Sat- 
urday morning, November 9th, 1844, he fell asleep in 
the arms of Jesus, having nearly completed his seventy- 
second year. 

Of his last moments his co-editor, brother Henderson, 
thus writes — "During his illness he remained perfectly 
patient and composed. He murmured not, although 
suffering such agony. He had frequent paroxysms, 
caused by the acuteness of the pain ; and while suffering 
the most, he would talk fluently on some passage of 
Scripture. He would give the Greek of any passage, 
and its correct translation. Singing soothed him into 
calmness, and he awaited the call of his Lord. He re- 
mained calm and composed to the very last moment, in 
the perfect exercise of his mind, and left the strongest 
testimony a mortal man could give of the complete vic- 
tory he had won over death." 

"Triumphant smiled the victor's brow, 
Fanned by some guardian angel's wing, 

His spirit free, in glory now. 
Exultant hears the ransomed sing." 

To our beloved sister, the truly bereaved widow, and 



to SO many of the family relatives and friends of the 
deceased, as are here on this occasion, I would particu- 
larly say — remember that your loss is his eternal gain. 
Does the recollection of his intense suffering in his last 
illness, still agonize your hearts, reflect for one moment 
that suffering is now over forever. Are we tempted to 
ask why one so excellent in his life, should have been 
permitted thus to suffer, let us bear in mind, that the 
Divine Father, after so bright a display of the many 
Christian virtues and graces in his life, may have per- 
mitted him thus to suffer in the close of his earthly pil- 
grimage, that in his death might also be exhibited most 
forcibly, that patience and resignation^ which so beauti- 
fully adorned his character, and which when thus se- 
verely tried failed not. His pains are now exchanged 
for pleasures unalloyed ; his sufferings for celestial glory. 
^'Sorrow not, even as others which have no hope — For 
if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so 
them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with 

him." "For the Lord himself shall descend from 

heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, 
and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ 
shall rise first : then we which are alive and remain, 
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to 
meet the Lord in the air : and so shall we ever be with 
the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these 

barton w. stone. 147 

Introduction to the Apology of the Springfield 

By the request of B. W. Stone, as expressed in a pre- 
vious part of this wock, the Apology of the Springfield 
Presbytery is made a part of his Biography. This was 
the first publication ever made by the original five, viz : 
Robert Marshall, John Thompson, John Dunlavy, 
Richard M'Nemar and B. W. Stone, who withdrew 
from the Synod of Kentucky. It will be seen by refer- 
ence to the Apology which follows, that this withdrawal 
took place in Sept. 1803, and by a reference to the Last 
Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, that 
it bears date June 28th, 1804. As then this Presbytery 
was constituted after September 1803 ; and as it was 
dissolved in June 1804, and as the Apology was pub- 
lished, by that Presbytery, of course it must have made 
its appearance late in 1803, or early in ,1804. That 
part of the title page of the Apology which contained 
the date of its publication being lost, the writer can 
only fix its date as above. As a historical document "the 
Apology" must be regarded as very valuable, as it sets 
before us fully and clearly that reformation-movement, 
that began to develope itself in the beginning of this 

This work, it will be seen, is divided into three parts. 
The first part was written by Robert Marshall, the sec- 
ond by B. W. Stone, and the third by John Thompson, 
the only survivor (1846) of the original five. 

An Apology for renouncing the jurisdiction of the 
Synod of Kentucky. To which is added, a compendi- 
ous view of the Gospel, and a few remarks on the Con- 
fession of Faith. 

By the Presbytery of Springfield. 

Whereas we have promised to give a fair statement 
of the causes of the late separation from the Synod of 


Kentucky, and many have expressed their anxiety to 
see it ; we propose in the following sheets, to give a 
brief history of the circumstances which, in a gradual 
chain, contributed to bring the matter to that issue. 
The history shall be principally composed of authentic 
documents, extracted from the mintites of the Washing- 
ton Presbytery, and the Synod of Kentucky. 

It will be generally granted, that true religion consists 
mainly in a feeling sense of divine truth; and discovers 
itself by corresponding actions. With truth, religion 
ever has revived, and both die together. It flows from 
God as rays of light from the sun ; stop the communica- 
tion of light, and the world is instantly in darkness. All, 
who are acquainted with revivals of true religion, know 
the doctrme under which they generally commence, is 
simple, plain, practical and pointed to the conscience. 
They also know what usually stops the gracious work; 
a lusting after forbidden food, and loathing the manna of 
simple truth. Thus began the late extraordinary work of 
God ; and thus, we fear, it will terminate with many. 
Christians, in the lively exercise of religion, generally 
agree respecting the simple truths of the Gospel; and 
while their attention is fixed on these, nothing stands in 
the way to prevent their union and communion. Their 
hearts burn with mutual love, and a kindred zeal unites 
their efforts in promoting the common cause. 

At the commencement of the present revival, preach- 
ers in general, who were truly engaged in it, omitted 
the doctrines of election and reprobation, as explained in 
the Confession of Faith, and proclaimed a free salvation 
to all men, through the blood of the Lamb. They held 
forth the promises of the gospel in their purity and sim- 
plicity, without the contradictory explanations, and 
double meaning, which scholastic divines have put upon 
them, to make them agree with the doctrines of the Con- 
fession. This omission caused their preaching to ap- 
pear somewhat different from what had been common 
among Presbyterians ; and although no direct attack 


was made on these doctrines, as formerly explained ; 
yet a murmuring arose because they were neglected in 
the daily ministration. This murmuring was heard in 
different parts of the country ; but, notwithstanding, 
preachers and people treated each other with toleration 
and forbearance, until a direct opposition to the new 
mode of preaching took place in the congregation of 
Cabin-creek. This appears from the following com- 
plaints and charges, dated November 3, 1801, and laid 
before the Presbytery of Washington, met at Springfield. 

" The Rev. Presbytery: — As we expect some accounts 
of the unhappy situation of our congregation have reach- 
ed you and excited anxiety, and as we consider our- 
selves under your care, and look up to you for counsel, 
and interference between our pastor, Mr. M'Nemar, and 
us, who were members of his session, together with a 
great part of the people ; we take the liberty to give 
you a brief account of our differences, from their first 
commencement to the present time. 

Some time last winter he began, as we believe, in 
his preaching, to deviate from the doctrines contained 
in the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian church, 
which we believe to be perfectly consistent with the 
word of God ; an account of which we enclose to the 
Rev. Presbytery. Some of us then privately conversed 
with him on the subject, but to no purpose. We then 
as a session collectively, conversed with him, but the 
consequence was, that the difference in our opinion was 
augmented. We continued frequently as individuals to 
deal with him on those points ; but to no other purpose 
than to make him more zealous in propagating thobe 
sentiments which we opposed. And although we en- 
deavored to keep those differences private from the 
people, yet he frequently made use of such language, 
when on those points, as naturally led the people to 
understand that there was a difference between him and 
us, and repeatedly misconstrued our conduct and prin- 
ciples, ridiculing us from the pulpit; though not by 


name, yet in such language as to convince every atten- 
tive person present, who and what he meant. Our in- 
fluence was hurt, and deviations in doctrine and church 
discipline increased to such a degree that we could do 
little or no business in session ; and the people, over 
whom we considered ourselves guardians, were some 
of them sucking in those ideas, which we believed to 
be dangerous and pernicious. Others of them, from a 
sense of those dangers, were urging us to take some 
measures to prevent the people from being imposed 
upon. In this situation we were, and the time of the 
meeting of that Presbytery, to which we designed to 
apply for redress, being far distant, we applied to a 
neighboring Bishop for advice ; and finally concluded 
on a week day meeting, publicly to vindicate that cause 
in which we were engaged ; and to show wherein Mr. 
M'Nemar's doctrine was inconsistent with the doctrine 
and discipline of our church ; and after informing him, 
before a number of witnesses, of the measures we were 
going to adopt, and he remaining obstinate, we proceed- 
ed to the disagreeable though in our opinion necessary 
task. And ever being desirous of accommodating the 
unhappy difference, we lately proposed to Mr. M'Nemar, 
in the presence of the Rev. John Dunlavy, and Messrs. 
James Baird and John Donalson, two of his elders, that 
if he would profess to believe in the doctrines contained 
in the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian church, 
and that he would propagate and defend the same, and 
no other in contradiction to them, and be ruled by the 
book of discipline, that we would then bury all our 
former differences ; that we would return and go hand 
in hand in countenancing and assisting him, as far as in 
our power, in his ministry among us. But he replied 
that our proposals were improper, and that a compli- 
ance would be attended w^th bad consequences. And 
further added, that he would be bound by no system 
but the Bible ; and that he believed that systems were 
detrimental to the life and power of religion. 

Thus we have given to the reverend Presbytery a 


brief account of our situation, and submit the business 
to your superior judgment, praying that you will take 
such measures as in your judgment will best establish 
that faith, once delivered to the saints; and promote 
the interest and peace of Christ's kingdom among us. 
The charges contained in the enclosed statement can 
be fully substantiated. We are, with due submission, 
yours, &c. Joseph Darlinton, 


RoBT. Robinson." 

"A statement of such doctrines as have been ad- 
vanced and advocated by Mr. Richard M'Nemar, which 
are considered to be inconsistent with the word of God, 
and the constitution of the Presbyterian church. 

1. He reprobated the idea of sinners attempting to 
pray, or being exhorted thereto, before they were be- 
lievers in Christ. 

2. He has condemned those who urge that convic- 
tions are necessary, or that prayer is proper in the sin- 

3. He has expressly declared, at several times, that 
Christ has purchased salvation for all the human race, 
without distinction. 

4. He has expressly declared that a sinner has power 
to believe in Christ at any time. 

5. That a sinner has as much power to act faith, as 
to act unbelief; and reprobated every idea in contra- 
diction thereto, held by persons of a contrary opinion. 

6. He has expressly said, that faith consisted in the 
creature's persuadinghimself assuredly, that Christ died 
for him in particular ; that doubting and examining into 
evidences of faith, were inconsistent with, and contrary 
to the nature of faith ; and in order to establish these 
sentiments, he explained away these v/ords — Faith is 
the gift of Godj by saying it was Christ Jesus, the ob- 
ject of faith there meant, and not faith itself; and also, 
these words, "No man can come to me, except the Fa- 
ther who hath sent me draw him," by saying that the 


drawing there meant, was Christ offered in the Gospel; 
and that the Father knew no other drawing, or higher 
power, than holding up his Son in the Gospel." 

With respect to this petition, Mr. M'Nemar states, 
that previous to bringing it forward, the petitioners, with 
the advice of a neighboring Bishop, had engaged in a 
public vindication of the Confession of Faith ; in which 
they undertook to prove, that the general call of the 
Gospel was inconsistent with the Westminster doctrine 
of Election, and Reprobation, and Faith. These doc- 
trines, as explained by the Westminster Assembly, be- 
ing brought to public view, contributed much to the 
unhappiness of the congregation, and tended to check 
the glorious revival which had taken place. When 
these charges were brought forward, and Presbytery 
refused to take them up, (as wdll appear hereafter,) Mr. 
M'Nemar asked liberty to make a few observations upon 
them, as explanatory of his ideas; which he said he 
would not have done, if the Presbytery had thought 
proper to investigate them, to institute a prosecution 
upon them. 

Upon the first charge, he observed, that faith is the 
first thing God requires of a sinner; and that he had no 
idea of him praying but in faith : "For how shall they 
call upon him in whom they have not believed." — Rom. 
X. 14. 

On the second, that the question in debate was, 
whether any other convictions are necessary to authorize 
the soul to believe, than those which arise from the 
testimony of God, in his word. 

On the third, that Christ is by office the Saviour of 
all men. 

On the fourth, that the sinner is capable of receiving 
the testimony of God at anytime he heard it: for "faith 
comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." — 
Rom. X. 17. 

Upon the fifth, that the sinner is as capable of believ- 
ing as disbelieving, according to the evidence presented 


to the view of his mind: for *' if we receive the wit- 
ness of men, the witness of God is greater." — 1 John, 
V. 9. 

The first part of the sixth charge he declared was 
wholly groundless. 

On the second, which respects doubting and self-ex- 
amination, his ideas were, that doubting the veracity of 
God, and looking into ourselves for evidence, as the 
foundation of our faith, is contrary to Scripture ; which 
represents the promises of the Gospel as the only sure 
foundation, and that self-examination has respect to the 
fruits, and not to the foundation of faith. 

On the third part, viz : explaining away those Scrip- 
tures, he replied, if that was explaining them away, he 
had done it. 

The reader will observe, that the foregoing observa- 
tions, not being reduced to writing at the time, we now 
attempt to give the general sense of them only ; and for 
a more full explanation, he is referred to what will be 
said in the sequel. The decision of Presbytery, upon 
the foregoing petition and charges, you see in the fol- 
lowing extracts from their minutes, dated Springfield, 
November 11, 1801 : 

"A letter, with certain other papers, from three of 
the former elders of Cabin-creek congregation, contain- 
ing certain charges respecting doctrines, against the 
Rev. R. M'Nemar, was presented to Presbytery. Pres- 
bytery having taken into consideration the papers from 
Cabin-creek, concluded it irregular to take any further 
notice of them ; as no person, at present, proposed to 
substantiate the charges stated in them." 

This wise and prudent measure of Presbytery had a 
happy tendency to quench the flame of opposition : the 
contending parties became more and more reconciled ; 
and finally came to an agreement on the 20th of March 
following, to bury all former difTerences, and unite in 
communion for the future : which agreement took place 


in the presence of the Rev. John E. Finley, and with 
his approbation ; a copy of which is here inserted : 

"Whereas, a difference has existed for some time 
between the Rev. R. M'Nemar of the one part, and 
Joseph Darlinton, Robert Robb, and Robert Robinson, 
ruling elders in the congregation of Cabin-creek, of the 
other part, upon certain points of doctrine, which has 
threatened much evil to that branch of the church : — 
We, having met, and entered into a free and full con- 
versation on the subjects in controversy, do now mutu- 
ally agree to pass over all past altercations, and-cordially 
unite in communion for the future. In witness whereof, 
we have hereunto set our hands, this 6th day of March, 
1802. Signed by J. Darlinton, 

R. Robb, 
RoBT. Robinson, 

Testis, John E. Finley. R. M'Nemar." 

After the matter was thus settled, and the spirit ot 
toleration restored, Mr. M'Nemar was called to take 
charge of the congregation at Turtle-creek, where, 
through the blessing of heaven, his ministrations in the 
Lord were abundantly successful. The people here 
were cordially united ; not a dissenting voice among 
the members of the church, nor a single sentiment call- 
ed in question, until Mr. Tichner, one of the elders, 
began to object to the doctrine in general, under the 
vague phrase of Free-will. As Mr. Tichner, for several 
months, expressed himself not only a friend to the re- 
vival, but also to the doctrine under which it was pro- 
moted, there is very good reason to believe that he be- 
came disaffected to both through the instrumentality of 
his particular friend Mr. Kemper. We have it from his 
own mouth, that this person, early in the revival, en- 
deavored to prejudice his mind against the work. A 
letter from the same quarter was handed him on one of 
the preparation days of the sacrament, which was read 
by several members of the congregation, but afterwards 


suppressed ; which letter was evidently intended to 
irritate his mind against some of the leading members 
of the congregation, and draw him off from the ap- 
proaching communion. By whatever means the change 
might have been produced in Mr. Tichner, he took a 
very unfriendly method to manifest it. Without ever 
stating a single objection to Mr. M'Nemar, in private, 
he gave the first notice of his disaffection to a surround- 
ing crowd of careless sinners, in the interval of public 
worship. On this imprudent step, he was seriously and 
affectionately dealt with by the session : and advised to 
state his objections to the doctrine, if he had any, and 
lay them regularly before the Presbytery. This, how- 
ever, he declined ; as it appeared evident he had no 
accurate ideas that any thing specifically erroneous had 
ever been advanced. He likewise declared, that it 
never w^as his intention to complain to the Presbytery on 
the occasion. The small disturbance which his impru- 
dent conduct had excited was amicably settled, and the 
scandal which it had brought on the church removed, 
and matters at least externally restored to their former 
train. This took place a few days before the meeting 
of Presbytery at Cincinnati, October 6, 1802. When 
Presbytery met, nothing existed as a ground of prose- 
cution : nevertheless, an elder of Mr. Kemper's congre- 
gation, being a member of Presbytery, arose, and entered 
a verbal complaint against Mr. ^I'Nemar, as a propagator 
of false doctrine ; and desired Presbytery to look into 
the matter. This elder declared that he had it only by 
hearsay ; having himself never heard Mr. M'Nemar 
preach. He mentioned Mr. Tichner, who was then 
present, as being capable of giving Presbytery informa- 
tion. Mr. M'Nemar then opposed the measure, insist- 
ing that it was out of order ; and informed Presbytery 
of the only method in which charges could regularly 
come before them, that is to say, in writing. Never- 
theless, Presbytery proceeded to what they call an ex- 
amination of Mr. M'Nemar, on the fundamental doc- 
trines of the sacred Scriptures. This, the Synod after- 


wards calls, ^^a previous orderly examination," and 
some of the members, " a friendly conference." It will 
hereafter appear to the unprejudiced reader, whether it 
was either a friendly conference or an orderly examina- 
tion. The examination^ or what may more properly be 
called, the Presbyterian Inquisition^ was closed with the 
following minute : 

"Whereas, it has been reported for more than a year 
past, that the Rev. R. M'Nemar, held tenets hostile to 
the standard of the Presbyterian church, and subversive 
of the fundamental doctrines contained in the sacred 
Scriptures : and, whereas, these reports have daily be- 
come more clamorous, notwithstanding Mr. M'Nemar 
has from time to time been warned of these things, both 
privately and more publicly, both by private persons, 
and members of Presbytery, separately and jointly : 
therefore. Presbytery have thought it necessary to enter 
into a more particular and close examination of Mr. 
M'Nemar, on the doctrine of particular election, human 
depravity, the atonement, the application of it to sin- 
ners, the necessity of a divine agency in the application, 
and the nature of faith ; upon which examination had, 
it is the opinion of this Presbytery, that Mr. M'Nemar 
holds these doctrines in a sense, specifically and essen- 
tially different from that sense, in which Calvinists gen- 
erally believe them ; and that his ideas on these subjects 
are strictly Arminian, though clothed in such expres- 
sions, and handed out in such manner, as to keep the 
body of the people in the dark, and lead them insensi- 
bly into Arminian principles; which are dangerous to 
the souls of men and hostile to the interests of all true 
religion. * 

* What! Arminian principles dangerous to the souls of men ! hostile 
to the interests of all true religion ! And yet Arminians recognized by 
Presbyterians and Calvinists in general, as orthodox Christians, as agree- 
ing with them, in all the essentials of religion, and worthy of a place at 
their communion tables ! ! Although their principles are hostile to the in- 
terests of all true religion! ! How is this? J. R. 


"Ordered, that a copy of this minute be forwarded 
by the clerk, as early as may be, to the churches under 

With respect to the foregoing minute, we state the 
following facts : — When this minute was introduced and 
carried in Presbytery, it was on the last day of the ses- 
sion. Presbytery met that morning upon its own ad- 
journment; the Moderator being absent, a new one was 
then chosen : Mr. Wallace, being sick, was absent; he 
had not attended during the examination. Mr. Kemper 
moved for an adjournment to his house, as it was cer- 
tain, without his vote, this illegal minute would not 
have received the approbation of the majority. As the 
members were not aware of the intrigue, his motion 
succeeded. When Presbytery met at Mr. Wallace's, it 
was moved that they should proceed to the considera- 
tion of Mr. M'Nemar's examination ; upon which he 
was put out of the house, by the casting vote of the 
new Moderator. After he had withdrawn, a message 
was sent, directing him to retire to the meeting-house, 
and preach to the people, it being on Saturday, previous 
to the administration of the Lord's supper. Mr. Kem- 
per then brought forward a written copy of the forego- 
ing minute, previously prepared in private, which after 
some altercation, and perhaps a little amendment, was 
adopted. It is farther worthy of notice, that beside the 
then Moderator, Messrs. Kemper and Wallace were the 
only stated members present, who voted in favor of this 
extraordinary minute. About sunset in the evening, 
Mr. M'Nemar returned. Presbytery was then at the 
point of adjourning, when the minute was read to him. 
He declared it was not a fair statement of his senti- 
ments ; and expressed his desire that it might be refer- 
red to the more respectable decision of Synod ; which 
was to meet at Lexington on the ensuing week. As to 
regularly appealing, he conceived he could not do it ; 
because there had been no regular trial, nor judgment; 
and the members expressly declared that he was not 


under judicial censure ; but that they had only barely 
expressed to the public their opinion of his sentiments. 
He saw no way, therefore, in which he could carry it 
before Synod, without bringing forward a charge against 
his Presbytery, w^hich he felt no disposition to do. He 
expected notwithstanding, that it would come before 
them, through the minutes of Presbytery, or in some 
other way. And in this expectation he remained every 
day, during the session, till Synod moved an adjourn- 

On what is here stated, the reader will observe, that 
in the above procedure, there was no regular statement 
of charges, nothing reduced to writing, but the minute 
of condemnation ; no witnesses cited, none called, none 
examined ; no conviction of guilt, no confession made ; 
and yet without precedent, and contrary to all law, hu- 
man and divine. Presbytery ordered the above minute 
to be published as early as possible throughout the 
churches. And what is more extraordinary, at the 
same time, directed Mr. M'Nemar, with all his senti- 
ments though '"''hostile to the interests of all true religiony^^ 
to preach in the vacancies until their next stated ses 
sion; as you will see from the following minute. "Mr. 
M'Nemar" [was appointed] "one half of his time at 
Turtle-creek, until the next stated session : two Sabbaths 
at Orangedale ; two at Clear-creek ; two at Beulah ; 
one at the forks of Mad-river ; and the rest at discre- 

Those who are unacquainted with the circumstantial 
facts, would conclude from the foregoing minute, that 
the members of Presbytery had taken much pains to 
find out his sentiments, and set him right ; but Mr. 
M'Nemar states that it was far otherwise : he was uni- 
formly treated with shyness, and the principal warnings 
he received, were of the threatening kind ; and better 
adapted to affright the dupe of a civil establishment, 
than to fix a mind at liberty to think for itself. It is 
easy to conceive what impressions the publication of the 
above minute was calculated to make upon the minds 


■of the people; some were grieved to the heart; others 
rejoiced, and the opposers of the revival had now full 
icope given them to express their opposition at pleasure. 
The conduct of the Presbytery in taking up and exam- 
ming Mr. M'Nemar, on the verbal report of an indivi- 
dual, set a precedent for any to come forward, who chose 
to act in the same, or a similar way. 

Accordingly a petition was preferred to their next 
session at Springfield, which was held in April 1803, 
praying Presbytery to re-examine Mr. M'Nemar ; and 
not content therewith, directing them to include Mr. 
Thompson also, in the same examination. The brethren 
who had succeeded so well in the former examination, 
appeared anxious to go into the present one, upon the 
prayer of the petition, which occasioned considerable 
debate upon the subject; but finally, it was rejected, 
as you will see in the following extract from their 
minutes : 

"A petition from a number of persons, in the con- 
gregations of Beulah, Turtle-creek, Clear-creek, Beth- 
any, Hopewell, Duck-creek, and Cincinnati, praying the 
re-examination of the Rev. R. M'Nemar on the funda- 
mental doctrines of religion ; or on what the petitioners 
call free will or Jirminian doctrines ; and also that the 
Rev. JohnThompson undergo the like examination. The 
petition was taken up, and Presbytery determined that 
it was improper to go into the examination of Mr. 
M'Nemar and Mr. Thompson, on the prayer of said 
petition, as being out of order.^^ 

At the same session a call from the congregation of 
Turtle-creek, signed by about sixty persons, for the 
whole of Mr. M'Nemar's time, was presented through 
the Presbytery, which he accepted. This was the place 
of his residence ; these the people among whom he 
chiefly labored, and who were best acquainted with his 
doctrines and manner of life ; and therefore were more 
competent judges than those who lived at a distance, 


who seldom or never heard him, and whose knowledge 
of him was founded chiefly on vague report. Against 
the proceedings of Presbytery, two of the brethren, with 
their two elders, entered the following protest : 

" Messrs. Kemper, Wallace, Reader, and Wheeler, 
protest against the proceedings of Presbytery, in the 
case of the petition of Wm. Lamme, and others, pray- 
ing the re-examination of Mr. M'Nemar, and also the 
examination of Mr. Thompson ; because the people 
cannot be deprived of the right of proposing to the 
Presbytery for discussion, such difficulties respecting 
the doctrines taught them, as cannot be settled by the 
session ; and especially because Mr. M'Nemar's prin- 
ciples, in particular, now stand condemned by the last 
meeting of the Presbytery, as Arminian. The above 
named members also protest against the proceedings of 
Presbytery, in the case of the call of Mr. M'Nemar 
from Turtle-creek for the above reasons; and especially 
because the Presbytery now refuses to pay any attention 
to Mr. M'Nemar's principles or doctrines, notwithstand- 
ing the proceedings had at the last Presbytery, as they 
stand upon our minutes." 

On the subject of the foregoing petition, it will be 
necessary to observe, that it might be thought, that be- 
cause you see so many congregations named in the min- 
utes of Presbytery, it was a congregational business ; 
but this was not the fact. The petition originated some- 
where, and took in an extent of about fifty miles, and 
in the whole found fourteen subscribers, not acting in 
behalf of their congregations, but as individuals ; and 
in several congregations there was not more than one 
to each of them. But few of these petitioners had 
heard either Mr. M'Nemar or Thompson since the last 
session of Presbytery at Cincinnati, and it is probable 
some of them had never heard them. From the face 
of the above minutes you perceive there was a differ- 
ence of sentiment in the members of Presbytery'; some 


were for going into the examination on the prayer of 
the petition ; a majority were of a different opinion, 
which gave rise to the protest. It is also worthy of 
remark, that Mr. M'Nemar and Thompson, and those 
of the same sentiment with them, were a majority of 
the Presbytery; and had they proceeded to the business, 
it must have been by way of self-examination, and the 
result must have 'been very different from that of the 
preceding session. Hence another publication would 
have gone out through the churches, contradicting the 
former, and declaring the brethren now orthodox, al- 
though they had not changed their sentiments. The 
Presbytery therefore waived the examination at that 
time, not only because they judged it illegal, but also 
hoped it would tend to the peace of the church. 

During this session of Presbytery, the Lord's supper 
was administered at Springfield. The evident displays 
of divine power, on that occasion, carried sufficient 
evidence that our ministrations in the gospel were not 
injurious to the souls of men ; and we still hoped that 
those of the contrary part would desist, lest haply they 
should be {onnd Jighting against God. 

We felt ourselves under the patronage of heaven, and 
could sensibly bless the Lord that our souls had escaped 
as a bird out of the snare of the fowler. By circum- 
stances unforeseen, a Presbytery was there providenti- 
ally formed, to cover the truth from the impending storm, 
and check the lawless career of opposition. We con- 
sidered it formed by a gracious God, in answer to ten 
thousand prayers: as such it then existed, though one 
of our present members was absent in body ; it now 
exists substantially the same ; and such it will exist till 
He who formed it sees fit to pronounce its dissolution. 
From this time the minutes plainly represented two 
Presbyteries, one at Cincinnati, the other at Springfield. 
This took place without any intention in us to counteract 
the proceedings of the last session of Presbytery, but 
we felt ourselves bound in conscience to act according 
to truth and good order. Had Presbytery acted upon the 


petition of Lamme and others, they must have contra- 
dicted the proceedings at a former session at Springfield, 
November 11, 1801, in rejecting the petition of Robb 
and others, which proceedings the Synod approbated. 
If the doctrines preached were of such dangerous ten- 
dency, there was time enough to have obtained regular 
charges against the session in April, 1803, at the same 
place. But no charges coming forward, according to the 
book of discipline, we were in duty bound to counteract 
the irregular mode of proceedhig at Cincinnati. Thus 
existed two Presbyteries in one ; and it remained with Sy- 
nod, when the business came before them, to say which 
should be retained in its bosom. In the interval be- 
tween the meeting of Presbytery and that of Synod, no 
pains were taken by the disaffected members to obtain 
information from M'Nemar and Thompson respecting 
their sentiments, or bring about an accommodation; al- 
though they had declared in open Presbytery their wil- 
lingness at any convenient time, publicly, or privately, 
to give a candid statement of their ideas on those sub- 
jects, and any satisfaction in their power. 

When the business came before Synod, we had de- 
vised no method of defence. We felt ourselves at the 
disposal of Him who hath the key of David ; Him that 
openeth and no man shutteth., and shutteth and no man 
ojjsneth. We rested on the name of the Lord as our 
strong tower, and possessed our souls in patience. 
Through the committee of overtures, the matter was 
brought before Synod. The documents to which the 
attention of Synod was called, were the minute of con- 
demnation issued at Cincinnati, the petition of Lamme 
and others, the protest against the Presbytery at Spring- 
field, together with several other petitions, praying the 
examining process to be carried on against the free-will 
preachers, as you will see in the following attested ex- 
tract from, the minutes of Synod : 

" Lexington, September 7, 1803. The committee 
of overtures report, that certain petitions, with sundry 


other papers, came before the committee relative to the 
Rev. Messrs. M'Nemar and Thompson, as to doctrines 
delivered by them; which petitions and papers the 
committee think it their duty to overture, and lay before 
Synod. These being read, were ordered to lie on the 
table for the consideration of Synod. 

" On motion, resolved, that Synod enter upon the 
consideration of the report of committee, relative to 
Messrs. M'Nemar and Thompson, on the subjects stated 
in the report of the committee of overtures relative to 
Messrs. M'Nemar and Thompson. Synod were of 
opinion, that the business contained in the papers lying 
before them, will regularly come before them, through 
the report of their committee, who are appointed to 
examine the book of Washington Presbytery; and or- 
dered that said committee be prepared to report early 
to-morrow morning. The committee appointed to ex- 
amine the Washington Presbytery book, report as fol- 
lows : 

'We, your committee, report that we have gone 
through the minutes of Washington Presbytery ; we 
found nothing worthy of remark, except one omission, 
(page 48) till we came to the session of April 6, 1803, 
at Springfield, (pages 78 — 81.) We, your committee, 
think the Washington Presbytery acted contrary to the 
constitution of our church, and the interests of religion, 
in casting the petition of Lamme and others, under the 
table, and taking no farther notice of it, seeing said pe- 
tition implicated a charge of a most serious and impor- 
tant nature. If the charge were false, the Presbytery 
ought to have investigated and found it so, and have 
dealt with the complainants according to the calumny, 
or imprudence of their conduct. This appears to us to 
have been necessary, in order to have complied with 
the book of discipline, and also, necessary to clear 
Messrs. M'Nemar and Thompson from the odium cast 
upon their characters. But on the other hand, as it ap- 
pears from a previous orderly examination of Mr. 
M'Nemar, that he held Arminian tenets, Presbytery 


ought, as guardians of the churches under their care, 
to have entered upon an inquiry into those important 
matters laid before them. Your committee also report, 
that we think it was irregular in said Presbytery to pre- 
sent a call to Mr. M'Nemar, whose religious opinions 
stood condemned on their minutes.' 

"On motion made and seconded, the question was 
put, shall the Synod approbate the proceedings of the 
Presbytery of Washington, in that part of their minutes, 
which respects the examination of Mr. M'Nemar. The 
yeas and nays being called for, were as follows : Yeas, 
Samuel Finley, Archibald Cameron, Matthew Houston, 
Isaac TuU, James Blythe, Joseph Howe, John Lyle, 
Robert Stewart, Samuel Rannels, ministers ; James 
Henderson, Joseph Moore, William Nource, John Hen- 
derson, James Wardlow, John McDowell, Charles 
McPheeters, William Connel, Elders. Nays, Robert 
Marshall, James Welsh, Barton W. Stone, William 
Robinson, ministers ; David Purviance, MalcomWorley. 
Elders ; non liquet — Samuel Robinson. 

"On motion, resolved, that the Synod now take up, 
and determine this question, viz : whether the Presby- 
tery of Washington were in order, in publishing to the 
churches, under their care, that the doctrines Mr. 
M'Nemar held, were of dangerous tendency, and con- 
trary to the constitution of our church ; which question 
being called for, was carried in the affirmative. 

"On motion, resolved, that the Synod take up and 
determine this question, viz : was the Presbytery in or- 
der in making appointments for Mr. M'Nemar, at the 
same session, in which they had taken a vote of censure, 
on some of his tenets. The yeas and nays being called 
for, were as follows : Yeas 7 — nays 10 — non liquet 4. 

"The Synod went on further to consider the report of 
their committee, relative to the conduct of Washington 
Presbytery. It was moved and seconded, whether that 
Presbytery were in order, when they rejected the peti- 
tion of Lamme and others. After mature deliberation, 


the question was determined in the negative. Nays 18, 
ayes 5; non liquet 1." 

"It was then inquired, whether that Presbytery were 
orderly in presenting a call to Mr. M'Nemar, while he 
lay under a vote of censure, by a preceding session, 
and determined in the negative." 

Before we proceed farther, we will make a few re- 
marks upon the extracts now before us. You will ob- 
serve, that in the estimation of Synod, all things wxnt 
right in the proceedings of Washington Presbytery, 
until the meeting at Springfield in 1803, except that 
they gave M'Nemar appointments to preach, after they 
had taken a vote of censure on some of his tenets. For 
they tell you they find nothing worthy of remark, on 
their minutes, until the time of that meeting, except 
one omission, (page 48) which was only of a single 
word. Is it not strange then, that they could not see 
in the same minute, a plain contradiction, not in words 
only, but in actions ? In the proceedings of this Pres- 
bytery, you will see that when the petition of Mr. Robb 
and others from Cabin-creek, stating charges against 
M'Nemar, was introduced, it was rejected, because no 
person in their opinion, had undertaken to substantiate 
these charges ; yet this same Presbytery at another meet- 
ing, with far less legal foundation, went into an exami- 
nation, and condemnation of the same man. The Synod 
passed over this contradiction, as not worthy of notice, 
but at the same time approbated the examination, as 
stated by their committee to be orderly. The Synod 
also tell you through their committee, and by an express 
vote, that the Presbytery acted contrary to the constitu- 
tion of our church, and the interests of religion, in 
casting the petition of Lamme, and others, under the 
table, and taking no farther notice of it; and again, that 
Presbytery ought to have investigated it, in order to 
have complied with the book of discipline ; and as guar- 
dians of the churches under their care, to have entered 
upon an inquiry into those important matters laid before 


them. If we have a right to inquire into those rules 
by which we are to be governed, and our actions tried, 
we can see no reason why the petition of Lamme should 
be treated with more respect than that of Robb ; and 
why the same observations were not made on the 
former proceedings of Presbytery, as on the latter. But 
if there be a sovereignty in government into which it 
is unlawful to pry, by v/hich the conduct of some men 
is approbated, and similar conduct in others reprobated, 
the solution is plain, "reason not, but resign." The 
readiest way, no doubt, to account for Synod passing 
over the proceedings of Presbytery, November 11, 1801, 
their approbation of those of October 6, 1802, and their 
reprobation of those of April 1803, is to resolve it into 
their sovereignty. 

We are perfectly of the same mind with Synod, in 
considering Presbyteries as guardians of the church ; 
that they not only have the right, but it is incumbent 
upon them, to inquire into, and decide upon all matters 
respecting the church, which come legally before them. 
The difference then between the Synod and us, is not, 
whether a Presbytery has a right to watch over their 
members, and censure them with impartiality, when 
necessary, and when the matter comes orderly before 
them; but whether the case under consideration ever 
came legally before them. According to Scripture, we 
know of no legal process without a charge, and wit- 
nesses to support it. "Against an elder receive not an 
accusation, but before two or three witnesses." 1 Tim. 
V. 19. According to the book of discipline, we know 
of but two methods of bringing forward charges : chap. 
2d. sec. 3. "Process against a gospel minister shall 
not be entered upon, unless some person or persons 
undertake to make out the charge, or when common 
fame so loudly proclaims the scandal, that the Presby- 
tery find it necessary to prosecute and search into the 
matter for the honor of religion." 

In this case no person had undertaken to make out 
and support the charge, which the book of discipline 


requires. These petitioners could not be warned, ac- 
cording to chap. 2. sec. 7, "that if they failed to prove 
the charges, they must be censured as slanderers of the 
gospel ministry." They did not come forward as pros- 
ecutors ; they did not undertake to support charges; 
they appeared only by petition, and not in person. 
Presbytery could not therefore, take it up upon the first 
mode as a regular charge ; neither could they take it 
up upon the second, in compliance with the petition in 
a judicial process. In atrial by common fame, a spe- 
cific charge must be exhibited, and the Presbytery be- 
come the prosecutors. They are to search into the mat- 
ter, but where are they to search ? Are they, in the 
first place, to search the heart of the suspected person, 
or put him on the rack to make confession himself? 
This was indeed the method the High priest took with 
Christ, when he asked him of his disciples and his 
doctrines ; and who will dispute the propriety of our 
Saviour's answer: "I spake openly to the world ; I ever 
taught in the synagogue, and in the temple whither the 
Jews always resort, and in secret have I said nothing. 
Why askest thou me ? Ask them who heard me what 
I said unto them ; behold, they know what I said unto 
them." — John xviii. 19, 20, 21. If then an accused 
person is not obliged to bear witness against himself, 
where is the Presbytery to go to find it, but to the pub- 
lic, where common fame originates? And as in the 
present case it was a charge of false doctrine delivered 
by them, the inquiry must have been of those who heard 
them. The Presbytery itself must institute charges, 
and from the public they must bring forward testimony 
to support those charges. The accused must be fur- 
nished with a written copy, with the names of the wit- 
nesses — have time and opportunity allowed them to 
confront the witnesses — to defend themselves, and if 
they can, to prove a negative; chap. 2, sec. 5. Could 
all this have been done at the meeting at Springfield? 
It could not. We see, then, that the matter could not 
have been taken up at that time, and proceeded in as a 


trial by common fame. To have complied, therefore, 
with the prayer of the petition, and the wish of the two 
protesting brethren, would have been disorderly. It 
may be plead in favor of proceeding immediately against 
M'Nemar and Thompson, that the interests of religion 
required a speedy check to be put to the growing errors. 
But is it not astonishing, where so great a zeal for or- 
thodoxy and good order abounded, that something 
could not have been collected, in so great a lapse of 
time, to lay a foundation for a regular process ? 

Synod seems to have taken it for granted that Mr. 
M'Nemar was regularly accused, convicted, and con- 
demned ; and on this presumption they have censured 
Presbytery for appointing him supplies, and presenting 
him the call from the congregation of Turtle-creek : but 
as we have shown above, that examination was not or- 
derly, he was not under judicial censure, and therefore, 
the Presbytery was in order, in presenting the call. These 
observations not only show the impropriety of the con- 
duct of Synod in condemning the proceedings of Pres- 
bytery at Springfield, but also in approbating those of 
the previous meeting at Cincinnati. 

Synod having condemned the Presbytery at Cincin- 
nati, for giving M'Nemar appointments to preach ; and 
also that at Springfield for presenting him the call, did 
thereby implicitly declare that he was already suspended 
from the functions of his ministry. We evidently saw 
that the way was now prepared to censure any minister 
of the gospel, without charge, witness, or prosecution, 
through the short medium of presbyterial inquisition. 
These proceedings did not involve the fate of M'Nemar 
and Thompson alone, but also of us all ; as we were in 
the same strain of preaching, and were viewed by Synod 
in the same point of light. We saw the arm of eccle- 
siastical authority raised to crush us, and we must either 
sink or step aside to avoid the blow. 

Under these circumstances we retired, during a short 
recess of Synod, to ask counsel of the Lord, and con- 
sult one another. When we came to consult on the 


subject, we found it had struck each of our minds in 
the same light, without any preconcerted plan. To 
appeal to the General Assembly, so long as human 
opinions were esteemed the standard of orthodoxy, we 
had little hope of redress. We therefore determined to 
withdraw from the jurisdiction of Synod, and cast our- 
selves upon the care of that God who had led us hith- 
erto in safety through many trials and difficulties ; and 
who, we believed, would lead us safely on to the end. 
We then concluded to draw up and enter our protest 
against the proceedings of Synod. While we were 
doing this, the Synod were debating as to the propriety 
of proceeding in" the new inquisition, as will appear 
from the following extract : 

"Whereas, the Synod have taken into consideration 
certain petitions and papers respecting the conduct of 
Washington Presbytery at Springfield, &c., which con- 
duct this Synod have said was out of order, &c. On 
motion, resolved, that Synod now enter upon the exam- 
ination or trial of Messrs. M'Nemar and Thompson, 
according to the prayer of the petitions, and the charges 
therein stated ; and also, that this Synod resolve the 
questions of doctrines, seriously and reasonably pi oposed 
in their petitions." 

''While Synod were deliberating on the propriety of 
adopting the above resolution, Messrs. Marshall, Stone, 
Dunlavy, M'Nemar, and Thompson, appeared in Synod, 
and having given their reasons for not attending sooner, 
they presented a paper, through Mr. Marsnall, which 
that gentleman stated to be a protest against the pro- 
ceedings of Synod, in the affair of Washington Presby- 
tery, and a declaration that they withdrew from the ju- 
risdiction of Synod. This paper was read, and is as 
follows :" 

" To the Moderator of the Synod of Kentucky. 

^^ Reverend Sir: — We, the underwritten members of 
Washington and W. Lexington Presbyteries, do hereby 


enter our protest against the proceedings of Synod, in 
approbating that minute of the Washington Presbytery 
which condemned the sentiments of Mr. M'Nemar as 
dangerous to the souls of men, and hostile to the inter- 
ests of all true religion, and the proceedings therewith 
connected ; and for reasons which we now offer, we 
declare ourselves no longer members of your reverend 
body, or under your jurisdiction, or that of your Pres- 

1. We conscientiously believe that the above minute, 
which you sanctioned, gives a distorted and false rep- 
resentation of Mr. M'Nemar's sentiments, and that the 
measure was calculated to prevent the influence of truths 
of the most interesting nature. 

2. We claim the privilege of interpreting the Scrip- 
ture by itself, according to sec. 9, chap. i. of the Con- 
fession of Faith; and believe that the Supreme Judge, 
by which all controversies of religion are to be deter- 
mined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient 
writers, doctrines of men and private spirits, are to be 
examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be 
no other than the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures. 
But from the disposition which Synod manifests, it ap- 
pears to us that we cannot enjoy this privilege, but 
must be bound up to such explanations of the word of 
God, as preclude all further inquiry after truth. 

3. We remain inviolably attached to the doctrines of 
grace, which, through God, have been mighty in every 
revival of true religion since the reformation. These 
doctrines, however, we believe are in a measure dark- 
ened by some expressions in the Confession of Faith, 
which are used as the means of strengthening sinners in 
their unbelief, and subjecting many of the pious to a 
spirit of bondage. When we attempt to obviate these 
difficulties, we are charged with departing from our 
standards — viewed as disturbers of the peace of the 
church, and threatened to be called to account. The 
Droceedings of Presbytery have furnished the world 
with ample encouragement, in this mode of opposition : 


and the sanction which those proceedings have now re- 
ceived from your reverend body, cuts off every hope 
of relief from that quarter from which we have at least 
faintly expected it. We, therefore, feel ourselves shut 
up to the necessity of relieving you from the disagree- 
able task of receiving petitions from the public, and 
ourselves from being prosecuted before a judge (Con- 
fession of Faith) whose authority to decide, we cannot 
in conscience acknowledge. 

Rev. Sir: — Our affection for you, as brethren in the 
Lord, is, and we hope shall be ever the same: nor do 
we desire to separate from your communion, or to ex- 
clude you from ours. We ever wish to bear, and for- 
bear, in matters of human order, or opinion, and unite 
our joint supplications with yours, for the increasing 
effusions of that divine Spirit, which is the bond of 
peace. With this disposition of mind, we bid you adieu, 
imtil, through the providence of God, it seem good to 
your reverend body to adopt a more liberal plan, re- 
specting human Creeds and Confessions. 

Done in Lexington, Kentucky, September 10, 1803. 

Robert Marshall, 
John Dunlavy, 
R. M'Nemar, 
Barton W. Stone, 
John Thompson." 

The introduction of the above protest put a sudden 
check to the examining system. The protest was read, 
and shortly after we retired from the house. Synod 
then appointed a committee to converse with us, as you 
will see by the following extract from their minutes : 

" On motion, resolved, that Messrs. David Rice, Mat- 
thew Houston, and James Welsh, be a committee, seri- 
ously and affectionately to converse with Messrs. Mar- 
shall, &c. — to labor to bring them back to the standards 
and doctrines of our church, and report Monday morn- 
ing. On motion, resolved, that Mr. Joseph Howe be 


added to the committee appointed to converse with 
Messrs. Marshall, &c." 

The result of this conference you have in the report 
of the committee, as follows : 

^' The committee appointed to converse with Messrs. 
Marshall, &c., report as follows, viz: — That the afore- 
said gentlemen agree that they will confer with Synod, 
on points of doctrine, in the following manner, viz: — 
They will answer any questions proposed to them by 
Synod, which may be stated in writing — in w^riting 
again ; and that they are ready to" enter upon the busi- 
ness, as soon as they may receive notice for that purpose. 
N. B. The whole of the questions shall be given in at 

To this committee we further stated, that we were 
willing to return, and be considered under the care and 
jurisdiction of Synod, as formerly, provided they would 
constitute us into one Presbytery ; and if they had any 
charges to bring against us, with respect to doctrines, 
or otherwise, let them come forward in an orderly man- 
ner, according to the book of discipline — criminate us 
as a Presbytery, and bring our sentiments to the word 
of God, as a standard, and we were willing to stand 

To these proposals we received no answer. It ap- 
pears that Synod had considerable debating among 
them, whether they would comply with the proposal, 
contained in the report of the committee, in conferring 
with us in writing; and that there was a diversity of 
opinion on that subject. A resolution being introduced 
for that purpose, it passed in the negative, 12 to 7, as 
you see in the following minute : 

''On motion, resolved, that Synod do accede to the 
proposal of Messrs. Marshall, &c., in examining them 
on their tenets. The yeas and nays being called for, 
were as follows: — Yeas, M. Houston, J. Welsh, J. 
Howe, and W. Robinson, ministers : J. Henderson, J. 


Wardlow, and C. M'Pheeters, elders : Nays, A. Came- 
ron, J. Tull, J. Blythe, J. Lyle, R. Stewart, S. Rannels, 
J. Kemper, J. Campbell, S. Finley, ministers: J. Moore, 
John Henderson, and T. Bennington, elders." 

Why Synod did not agree to the proposal we could 
not then tell, for they sent us no answer. However, 
one of their reasons, as we afterwards understood, was, 
that the whole of the questions must be given in at once. 
The weight of this reason we leave to the reader to deter- 
mine. We were not only willing, but anxious to have 
our sentiments fairly and fully investigated, provided 
we were put in a situation to have a fair hearing. This 
we knew we could not obtain, while the leading mem- 
bers of Synod were in their present spirit. We did not 
expect to have the privilege of discussing the subjects 
before Synod, in the capacity in which we then stood ; 
and were unwilling to bring our necks again under a 
yoke which we had so lately shaken off. The only fair 
way, then, to prevent quibbling and misrepresentation, 
was to do it in writing ; as we could not do it in any 
other way, unless we revoked our protest, and came 
again under the jurisdiction of Synod. But the Synod 
had another objection to our proposal, viz: They could 
not confer w4th us as a body, because they could not 
acknowledge the legality of this body. Time has a won- 
derful power in legalizing bodies ! A few years have 
legalized the self-created bodies of Luther, Calvin, and 
all the different sects of Christians, since the reforma- 
tion ! A few more years may legalize our self-created 
body, in the estimation of Synod, when we hope they 
will condescend to confer with us, and unity be restored. 

Though we had withdrawn from the jurisdiction of 
Synod, it was of necessity, rather than of choice. We 
found we must forsake them, or what we believed to be 
the truth : the former were dear to us, but the latter was 
dearer. Under these circumstances, we again commit- 
ted ourselves to God, and constituted ourselves into a 
Presbytery, as you will see from the minutes of our firs* 


"We, the above named Robert Marshall, John Dun- 
lavy, Richard M'Nemar, Barton W. Stone, and John 
Thompson, having entered the above protest, and with- 
drawn from under the jurisdiction of the Synod of Ken- 
tucky, and of the Presbyteries to which we formerly 
belonged, do now formally unite in a body, as a Pres- 
bytery, to be known by the name of the " Presbytery 
of Springfield." After constituting with prayer, and 
choosing a moderator and clerk, we proceeded to 
draught a circular letter to the congregations formerly 
under our care, which is as follows: 

Dear Brethren : — By the time this letter shall have 
reached you, you will, no doubt, have heard that a sep- 
aration has taken place between us and the Synod of 
Kentucky, and the Presbyteries to which we formerly 
belonged. The reasons which induced us to withdraw, 
you see in the above copy of our protest, which reasons 
we intend more fully to unfold, as soon as we can obtain 
the minutes of Synod, and those of the Washington 
Presbytery, which are referred to in said protest. But 
lest you should form an improper opinion of the nature, 
or kind of separation, we take the liberty of giving you 
a short statement of it. We do not desire, nor do we 
consider ourselves to be separated from the Presbyterian 
church, as Christians, whether ministers or people ; we 
still wish to continue united to them in the bonds of 
love : we will admit to communion as formerly, and de- 
sire to be admitted. It is not our design to form a party. 
We have only withdrawn from the jurisdiction of those 
bodies with which we stood connected, because we 
plainly perceived that, while that connection subsisted, 
we could not enjoy the liberty of reading, studying, 
and explaining the word of God for ourselves, without 
constant altercation and strife of words to no profit. 

We pass no uncharitable censures on those reverend 
bodies for their strict adherence to their standards ; but 
as we are accountable to God for ourselves, so we must 
act for ourselves as in the sight of God ; and can own 
no standard of faith but the word of God ; and we 


desire ever to look to him for his spirit of wisdom to 
lead us into all truth. Brethren, we wish to pay all due 
deference to the Confession of Faith, and other writings 
of our pious fathers; but w^e plead a privilege, which 
is granted in the Confession of Faith, chap. 1. sec. 9, 
10, as we mentioned in our protest ; that the infallible 
rule of interpreting Scripture, is not the Confession of 
Faith, nor any human writings whatever, but the Scrip- 
ture itself On this ground we have attempted, and 
still mean to proceed, to hold forth the word of life, 
peace and pardon to sinners, through the blood of the 
everlasting covenant. But as we are, by some, suspec- 
ted of having departed from the true doctrines of the 
gospel, we design as soon as convenient, to explain to 
the public our views of the gospel. In the mean time, 
we are determined, by the grace of God, to preach the 
gospel, and administer ordinances as formerly. 'And 
now brethren we commend you to God, and to the word 
of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give 
you an inheritance among them that are sanctified.' 

Late in the evening, after our adjournment, the fol- 
lowing resolution was handed us from Synod: 

"On motion, resolved, that Messrs. Rannels, Hous- 
ton, and Kemper, be a committee to wait upon Messrs. 
Marshall, Dunlavy, M'Nemar, Stone and Thompson, to 
inquire of them, what objections they have to our Con- 
fession of Faith, or to any part of it, which they have, 
in their remonstrance declared they could not submit 
to be judged by; and that they transmit said objections 
to us in writing, to-morrow morning, or before the Sy- 
nod rises." 

As several of our members were under a necessity of 
leaving town that nio-ht, we concluded to meet next 
morning, to take into consideration the above resolution. 
The result of which meeting you will see by the follow- 
ing letter, addressed by us to the Moderator of Synod : 


^^Reverend and dear Sir : — We receired your resolu- 
tion, from a member of your committee, requesting us 
to give you a statement of our objections to some parts 
of the Confession of Faith. We have taken the mat- 
ter into consideration, and resolved to comply. But it 
is out of our power to state them to you, as soon as you 
require ; but will, without fail, give you a statement, at 
your next annual session. A party is not our aim ; and 
this we hope to evince to you, and to the world, at your 
next session. In the mean time, we design to proceed 
no farther, than circumstances may require. Brethren, 
you are in our hearts, to live and die with you ; our 
hearts are bound to you in love. We hope your inten- 
tions, in doing what you have done, were good ; but 
we still believe as stated in our protest. In the mean 
time let us unite our prayers to our common Lord and 
Father, that he would in his kind providence, heal our 
divisions, and unite us more closely in the bonds of love. 
We remain, dear brethren, as ever, united to you in 
heart and affection. 

Robert Marshall, 
John D unlaw, 
Richard M'Nemar, 
Barton W. Stone, 
John Thompson." 

This letter was sent forward to Synod as soon as pos- 
sible, on the same day of our meeting ; but they did 
not wait for an answer, for before its arrival, they had 
passed a vote of suspension ; an account of which you 
will see hereafter. Shortly after our return home, we 
were followed by heralds proclaiming our suspension 
from the ministerial office. In some of our congrega- 
tions, the minute containing that extraordinary act was 
publicly read, and handed to us; which is as follows : 

^'On motion, the following resolution was introduced, 
and on a vote being taken, was carried in the alhrma- 
tive. Whereas, Messrs. Robert Marshall, John Dun- 
lavy, Richard M'Nemar, Barton W. Stone, and John 


Thompson have declared themselves no longer mem- 
bers of our body, or under our jurisdiction, or that of 
our Presbyteries; and, whereas, it appears from their 
remonstrance, laid before Synod, that they have sece- 
ded from the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian 
church, and no more wish to be united with us until we 
adopt a more liberal plan, respecting human creeds and 
confessions ; and whereas, a committee has been ap- 
pointed seriously and affectionately to converse with 
the above members, in order if possible, to reclaim 
them to the doctrines and standards of our church, 
which committee has proved entirely unsuccessful ; 
moreover, whereas, said gentlemen came into Synod 
and informed us, that they had constituted themselves 
into a separate Presbytery, and have refused to comply 
with every solicitation to return to their duty, but per- 
sist in their schismatic disposition: Therefore, resolved, 
that Synod do, and they hereby do solemnly suspend 
Messrs. Robert Marshall, John Dunlavy, Richard M'- 
Nemar, Barton W. Stone, and John Thompson, from 
the exercise of all the functions of the gospel ministry, 
until sorrow and repentance for their schism be mani- 
fested ; leaving it however, to the several Presbyteries, 
to which the above members may have belonged, to re- 
store them as soon as they give satisfactory evidence of 
repentance ; and their congregations are hereby declared 

"On motion, resolved, that commissioners go to the 
several congregations where Messrs. Marshall, Dunlavy, 
M'Nemar, Stone and Thompson have statedly preached, 
to declare those congregations, not before vacated, now 
vacant; and state the conduct of Synod, respecting 
those men, and exhort to peace and unity ; and that the 
commissioners be as follows, viz: Messrs. Shannon and 
Lyle, to Bethel and Blue-spring; Messrs. Rannels and 
Howe, to Caneridge and Concord; Mr. Blythe to Eagle- 
creek ; Mr. William Robinson to Springfield and Tur- 

A true copy, James Welsh, S. C. S. K." 


Here it is worthy of our most serious attention, to 
observe that the Synod had no legal grounds to proceed 
farther against us, after our withdrawing from under 
their jurisdiction. For, if the power of suspension is 
not legally vested in a Synod, their assuming and ex- 
ercising it, must appear an empty flourish. We would 
humbly inquire upon what ground they proceeded ? 
Their standard affords no pretext for such a step ; the 
power of Synod is limited to certain bounds, which you 
will see, Form of Government, chap. 10, sec. 2. You 
see not a word there of suspension ; their highest au- 
thority is to advise the Presbytery in such a case. Form 
of Proc, chapter 2, section 11.] It is unnecessary to 
prove a negative. We say they had no such authority 
from the word of God, or the Form of Government. — 
But seeing much has been said in support of their au- 
thority in that case, it is necessary that we should pay 
particular attention to the subject. If our suspension 
be orderly, and according to the will of God, the con- 
sequences are serious indeed. We are bound on earth 
and bound in heaven — cast out of the vineyard as 
fruitless, withered branches ; in no better circumstances 
than heathens and publicans ; running unsent ; and all 
that bid us God speed, must be partakers of our evil 
deeds. On the contrary, if we have been called of 
God to minister in holy things, and have done nothing 
to forfeit that authority ; and if any man, or set of men 
should rise up and command us to be silent, and forbid 
the people to hear us ; the consequences may be serious 
to them in the end. It is certain Synod had no autho- 
rity from the book of discipline to suspend us; their 
authority then must have been either from the word of 
God, or from such existing circumstances, as required 
them to dispense with order. 

It is difficult to find from the minute, what was the 
real crime alleged against us. They tell you, that we 
had seceded from the Confession of Faith ; that they 
labored in vain to bring us back to the standards and 
doctrines of the church ; that we persisted in our schis- 


matic disposition, &c. It is thought necessary, even in 
a regular charge, that such crimes be alleged as appear 
from the word of God, to merit the censure of the 
church. What part of the above mentioned conduct 
does the word of God criminate? Does it bind us to 
any human Confession of Faith, as a standard? Does 
it absolutely condemn every man, as unworthy to preach 
the gospel, who cannot be brought to that standard, or 
its peculiar doctrines ? If all who differ from them in 
this matter, are bound to cringe to their authority as sa- 
cred, why do they not level their anathemas at others, 
as independent of their standards as we ? They will 
grant that their authority does not extend to preachers 
of other persuasions; we ask, then, how it could possi- 
bly extend to us, when we declared we were neither of 
their persuasion^ nor under their jurisdiction ? Because 
their committee failed to reclaim us to the standards 
and doctrines of the church, is this crime of such a na- 
ture, as to warrant suspension ? How did Synod know 
that their committee had used arguments sufficiently 
powerful to answer this end ? Because we had consti- 
tuted ourselves into a separate Presbytery, is this crime 
of such magnitude, that Scripture authorizes such to be 
suspended ? If so, they have no right to preach, in 
the sight of God. To suspend us for constituting a sep- 
arate Presbytery, is not this to cut off at a blow, every 
minister since the Reformation ? Luther and his follow- 
ers constituted a Presbytery, separate from the church 
of Rome ; Calvin separated from Luther, and with his 
followers constituted a separate Presbytery ; and so 
have the various sects of Christians ever since. Have 
these, therefore, no right to preach, according to the 
word of God ? If not, the Synod, in their act of sus- 
pension, have virtually suspended themselves, and every 
minister of the reformation since Luther. They say we 
could not be prevailed upon to return to our duty. — 
They take it for granted that it was our duty to return and 
follow with them ; and for the neglect of this duty they 
pass their act of suspension! We have the judgment 


of Christ in a similar case. John, in the name of his 
brethren, lodged a verbal complaint against a certain se- 
ceder, whom they had taken under a "previous orderly 
examination," and silenced, because he followed not 
with them. But Jesus said, " forbid him not ; for there 
is no man, which shall do a miracle in my name, that 
can lightly speak evil of me ; for he that is not against 
us, is on our part." Can it be a crime to withdraw 
from those with whom we cannot remain in peace ^ 
No ! it is the inalienable right of every moral agent, 
to withdraw from that society, when the rights of 
conscience are invaded. If the Presbyterian church, 
deprives its subjects of this privilege, it must be tyran- 
nical. But there is not a sentence in that book to crimi- 
nate any person for renouncing its authority. Its com- 
pilers were too w^ell acquainted with the rights of man, 
either to deny the privilege of withdrawing, or to in- 
flict censure on any for doing it. For proof of this, 
read attentively their introduction to government and 

It may, however, be alleged, that there was some- 
thing criminal in the manner of our withdrawing. The 
book of discipline admits it to be proper to suspend a 
minister for contumacy^ which is a refusal to attend 
Presbytery, after being three times duly cited, to answer 
for atrocious crimes, of which he is accused. (Forms 
of proc. chap. 2, sec. 8.) This appears to be the only 
kind of contumacy noticed in the constitution of the 
Presbyterian church. It may be supposed that a minis- 
ter thus cited, may not only refuse to appear, but may 
withdraw from under the jurisdiction of Presbytery. 
This step is by some called declinature^ a higher degree 
of contumacy. But does this apply to our case? What 
was the atrocious crime laid to our charge ? Where 
was the due citation ? There was no such thing in the 
case, and therefore contumacy or declinature is by no 
means applicable to our case. If any suppose we with- 
drew, lest we should be charged with atrocious crimes, 
not yet stated ; then our withdrawing could not come 


under the charge o^ declinature^ seeing there was nothing 
to decline. Besides, the only thing of which we were 
ever accused, and which could give occasion for a fu- 
ture charge, was never determined by the protestant 
church to be an atrocious crime. 

If we wished to decline any thing on the occasion, it 
was vain jangling and strife of words to no profit, on 
those subjects about which the wisest and best have 
differed. All judicial authority which any society has 
over an individual, is in consequence of a voluntary 
compact, tacitly or explicitly made, by which he is con- 
nected with that society and under its laws. When 
such compact is dissolved, which may be done at any 
time, by the voluntary act of the individual, the authority 
ceases of course. Our voluntary act, in putting ourselves 
under the care of the Presbytery, put it in their power 
to license, ordain, watch over, censure, suspend, or de- 
pose, so long as we stood in that connection ; but when 
we voluntarily withdrew, being under no judicial cen- 
sure, it may be properly said we withdrew from them 
all that power over us which we had given them. 

When the church is satisfied that any person is called 
of God to preach the Gospel, it is their duty to encou- 
rage and forward him to the work. This they may do 
by their Presbytery, as representatives of the church, as 
is common in the Presbyterian government ; or they 
may do it in a church capacity, as is done by the Inde- 
pendent and Baptist churches. When the church, or 
their representatives, take a candidate on trial, it is not 
with a view to call and authorize him to preach, but to 
inquire into the validity of that call and authority which 
he professes to have received from God. If they ap- 
probate his profession, they express it by the act of 
licensure. The candidate is then to m-^Ve full proof 
of his ministry^ whether it be from heaven or from men ; 
and when the church is satisfied, they manifest it by 
ordaining him. In all this the church confers no power, 
human or divine ; but only the privilege of exercising 
the power and authority in that particular society, which 


they believe he has received from God. This privilege 
the church may recall ; the candidate may forfeit, or 
voluntarily resign. 

But neither the refusal of the church, his own forfeiture, 
nor resignation of that particular privilege, can disannul 
the original call of God, nor the obligation of the candidate 
to obey. These principles are confirmed, both by the New 
Testament and church history. Those who can consult 
Dr. Doddridge's paraphrase on the New Testament, 
Moshiem's Church History, and Dr. Watts's Constitu- 
tion of a Christian Church, will see that the practice 
of the primitive church, in such matters, was exceed- 
ingly simple ; and according to the principles of com- 
mon sense, as stated above. Some have supposed that 
the legal authority, for transacting church business, 
wholly independent of the spirit of grace, has been 
committed to the rulers of the church ; so that the 
transactions of those thus authorized, and those only, 
are legal. Now, upon this principle, none have legal 
authority to preach, administer ordinances, &c., unless 
he has received it through regular succession from the 
Apostles. This regular succession has been so often bro- 
ken, that it is impossible ever to get into order again, un- 
less we make the Church of Rome the standard, and return 
into uniformity with it. For every division and subdi- 
vision from that has shared the same fate of suspension, 
or deposition. This was the case with Luther. " He 
was commanded (says Dr. Mosheim) to renounce his 
errors within sixty days, and cast himself upon the 
clemency of the Pope, on pain of excommunication. 
At first he purposed to appeal from the sentence of the 
lordly pontiff to the respectable decision of a general 
council : but as he foresaw that this appeal would be 
treated with contempt at the Court of Rome ; and that 
when the time prescribed for his recantation was elapsed, 
the thunder of excommunication would be leveled at 
his devoted head, he judged it prudent to withdraw 
himself voluntarily from the communion of the church 
of Rome, before he was obliged to leave it by force ; 


and thus to render the new bull of ejection a blow in 
the air, an exercise of authority without any object to 
act upon. At the same time, he was resolved to exe- 
cute this wise resolution in a public manner, that his 
voluntary retreat from the communion of a corrupt and 
superstitious church might be universally known before 
the lordly pontiff had prepared his ghostly thunder. 
"With this view, on the 10th of December, in the year 
1520, he had a pile of wood erected without the walls 
of the city of Wittemberg, and there, in the presence 
of a prodigious multitude of people, of all ranks and 
orders, he committed to the flames, both the bull that 
had been published against him, and the decretals, and 
canons relating to the Pope's supreme jurisdiction. 
By this he declared to the world he was no longer a 
subject of the Roman pontiff, and that of consequence 
the sentence of excommunication, which was daily ex- 
pected from Rome, was entirely superfluous, and insig- 
nificant.* For the man who voluntarily withdraws 
himself from any society, cannot, with any appearance 
of reason, or common sense, be afterwards forcibly and 
authoritatively excluded from it. However, he only 
separated himself from the Church of Rome, which 
considers the Pope infallible, and not from the church 
considered in a more extensive sense ; notwithstanding, 
in a month after this noble and important step had been 
taken by the Saxon Reformer, a second bull was issued 
against him, by which he was expelled from the com- 
munion of the church, for having insulted the majesty, 
and having disowned the supremacy of the Roman 
pontiff. He was also condemned the next year by the 
Diet of Worms, as a schismatic, a notorious and obsti- 
nate heretic ;. and the severest punishments denounced 
against those who should receive, entertain, maintain, 
or countenance him, either by acts of hospitality, by 

* The Pope might have published to the churches that Luther was no 
longer connected with the JSee of Rome, and thus have warned them 
against him. This is all that Synod could have done, respecting us, with 
any appearance of reason or common sense. 


conversation, or writing. And his disciples, adherents 
and followers, were involved in the same condemna- 
tion." — Moshei?n^s Eccl. History^ Vol. 4, pp. 51, 52, 
55. Against this edict the reformed party protested, 
by which they got the name of Protestants. 

Synod were of a different opinion from Dr. Mosheim, 
as they have acted on the very same principles with the 
lordly pontiff : and to justify their arbitrary proceedings, 
and consequently those of the Pope with respect to 
Luther, they adduce the example of the General As- 
sembly in the case of Mr. Birch. (See Cir. p. 21.) 
But any one who will read the minutes of that reverend 
body, will see that they acted on very different princi- 
ples. Mr. Birch had never been a member of their 
body, but was only entering on the trials necessary for 
a foreign minister. By his conduct he forfeited a right 
to their protection or encouragement, and became liable 
to judicial censure, or suspension, if he had belonged 
to their body. This not being the case, they only de- 
termined to have no more to do with him, and declared 
to their churches a plain fact, that he had no authority 
from them to preach the gospel. (See the minutes of 
1803, p. 14.) " Resolved, that in consequence of his 
conduct, and also of his never having been in regular 
communion with the Presbyterian church in the United 
States of America, the General Assembly decline all 
further proceedings with Mr. Birch, and declare to the 
people, and to the several Presbyteries in their connec- 
tion, that he is a person henceforth possessed of no au- 
thority derived from our church to exercise any part of 
the ministerial functions." It is pitiful for Synod to 
misrepresent and disgrace the proceedings of that re- 
spectable body, to justify their illegal and unreasonable 

On the above extracts from Dr. Mosheim, we also 
observe that Luther was guilty of the crime of declina- 
ture. He declined the jurisdiction of the Church of 
Rome, when charged with an atrocious crime, to avoid 
excommunication. He was afterwards excommunicated 


by the high court of that church. His sentence was 
not for false doctrine, of which he was before charged ; 
but for insulting the majesty, and disowning the supre- 
macy of the Roman pontiff; and also for schism. And 
yet he did not withdraw from the church in a large 
sense, but from that part of it only, which considered 
the Pope infallible. In like manner, we have not sepa- 
rated from the Presbyterian church at large ; but from 
that part only, which considers the Confession of Faith 
infallible, that is, as the standard of the church. How 
easy it is to see the similarity between Luther's case 
and ours ; and yet he never suspected that he had lost 
his authority to preach, nor has any Protestant since his 
day called it in question. 

Synod takes it for granted that we received all our 
authority from them to exercise the ministerial functions, 
and as they have taken it away, we therefore have none. 
Let us apply this to the case of Luther : if he received 
his authority from the Church of Rome, and this au- 
thority was taken from him, through what medium, 
then, has it been transmitted to the Synod of Kentucky? 
We would be glad to see authentic testimonials of their 
spiritual genealogy, proving their orderly descent from the 
Apostles of Christ. Or if this cannot be done, we must 
considerthem as illegitimate as ourselves. It is common- 
ly used as an apology for the Saxon Reformer, that the 
church from which he separated was so corrupt that her 
suspension was wholly invalid. Let this be granted, 
and what will it argue ? Certainly, that her power of 
ordination was also invalid. This proves at once that 
the ordination, not only of Luther, but also of Calvin, 
and every other Protestant minister, is null and void ; 
seeing they all received their ordination from that cor- 
rupt church. Therefore, if the filthiness of the Church 
of Rome is taken to plaster the character of our reform- 
ers, it will render the apostolic authority of our synodi- 
cal brethren not only suspicious, but absolutely a blank. 

As the proceedings of Synod were evidently arbi- 
trary, and unauthorized, we need not wonder that we 



are represented to the world under the odious name of 
schismatics, without any fair statement of the crime, or 
evidence to support it. A schismatic is one who aims 
to divide the church into sects and parties ; not only by 
separating from its communion, and drawing away dis- 
ciples after him, but also, hy loving the pre-eminence in 
the church, receiving not the brethren, forbidding them 
that would, and casting them out of the church, as did 
Diotrephes — 3 Epis. of John. 

We have before proved, that merely forming a sepa- 
rate association is not schism; provided that association 
be not intended to dissolve the union and communion 
of the church. 

But the Synod takes it for granted that a separation 
from their reverend body, is a separation from the 
church ; thus implicitly declaring, that they are the only 
true church on earth. We would hardly have thought 
that a body of men, so liberal in their principles as to 
admit Christians of other denominations to their commu- 
nion, would exclude those of their own for merely 
renouncing what others never acknowledged. Is it not 
confessed by all, that a schismatic spirit and a party 
spirit is the same ? If so, let the reader judge on which 
side the party spirit operated through the whole of this 
business. Was it a party spirit that induced the preach- 
ers at first to lay aside those points of controversy which 
had been a means of keeping the children of God apart } 
What spirit prevailed in Fleming county when the late 
revival first commenced; when Dr. Campbell and Mr. 
Northcut, a Methodist preacher,' .gathered their flocks 
together, and fed them at the same table ? It was justly 
confessed that heaven smiled upon the union. Was it 
not under the same spirit of union that the flame spread 
to the east and to the west? Let bigotry blush and be 
ashamed at the recollection ! But when former things 
were thus forgotten, and former differences laid aside, 
was it a spirit of union or a party spirit that prompted 
some who were spectators only of this glorious work, to 
bring forward those speculative opinions, which, at that 


time were neither publicly disputed, nor combatted, 
and involve the church in a controversy ? This may 
be emphatically said to he dangerous to the souls of men ^ 
and hostile to the interests of all true religion. 

We neither felt nor expressed a wish to leave our 
own society, nor proselyte others to follow us : but on 
this ground we could not long remain in peace. The 
Bible doctrine was too simple for those who had been 
accustomed to solve riddles, and reconcile contradic- 
tions. Read attentively the complaints laid before 
Washington Presbytery, 1801. If you can discern be- 
tween your right hand and your left, you must see that 
the creed of a party is preferred to the Bible. For 
what was this party creed introduced ? To establish 
doctrines which we think no denomination of Christians 
on earth holds. Such as this : that it is proper for a 
sinner to pray without faith, &c. , &c. Any person of com- 
mon sense knows that such are not the Catholic prin- 
ciples of Christianity. Consequently all that divide the 
church in support of such notions must be schismatical 
When these extraordinary sentiments were prudently 
cast under the table, peace and union were the conse- 
quences ; no separation, no expulsion was threatened, 
till the meeting of Presbytery at Cincinnati, 1802. 
Whether it was a party or catholic spirit that influenced 
tjie proceedings of that body, let the humble followers 
of the meek and lowly Jesus say : let them take the 
most favorable review of their publication against 
M'Nemar, and say what spirit it breathes : no sentiment 
there laid open to view, or its dangerous tendency 
showed ; but party names raised from the dead to set 
Christians at variance. Was there no schismatic design 
in this "^ W^as there no expulsion intended ? And under 
what pretext ? Not for a deviation from the plain prin- 
ciples of Christianity, but because the suspected person 
would not be bound to fight under a party standard, and 
wound his fellow Christians around him with the arrows 
of disputation. Were these measures (painful and al- 
most insupportable as they were) ever resented in any 


way to produce schism ? Instead of forming designs to 
effect a separation, the spirit by which we were influ- 
enced, led us to form a concert of prayer for those, who 
we believed had despitefuUy used us, and fatally stab- 
bed the cause of our divine Master. When the fairest 
opportunity was offered us, at Springfield, of rendering 
evil for evil, and railing for railing, did we accept it? 
No, we were for peace, "but when we spoke, they 
were for war." — (p. 120-7.) What cause of offence, 
or separation did we give? None but what our breth- 
ren had given in the same place before ; and which ex- 
perience had confirmed to be for the peace of the church. 

If our measures tended to unite, the protest of Messrs. 
Kemper and Wallace, certainly was intended to divide. 
It not only proved its intention in the end, but the au- 
thor of it, Mr. Kemper, actually began the schism, a 
few weeks after, at Beulah. He was appointed by 
Presbytery, to assist in the administration of the Lord's 
supper, in that place. He attended, but publicly re- 
fused to administer or partake; and drew off as many 
disciples after him, as he could, from the commu- 
nion of the church. Thus he not only protested against 
Presbytery, renounced its authority, but voluntarily sep- 
arated himself from the communion of the Presbyterian 
church. He not only began the schism, but incessant- 
ly promoted it, from that time forward ; traversing thp 
country to get petitioners against us ; and finally, as an 
independent, voluntarily separated from us. If there 
is a division in our communion, let Mr. Kemper be con- 
sidered as the author of it. If the Synod choose to 
join in the communion of Mr. Kemper, and shut the 
door against Presbytery, they have their choice. We 
mean to abide in the same principles expressed in our 
protest. We neither separate from their communion, 
nor exclude them from ours. 

With what face, then, can Synod publish to the 
world, that we are the schismatics, the partizans, the 
dividers? The churches know too well, that we have 
been, and are in the habit of a general communion, and 


that nothing has appeared to contradict those principles ; 
and it is notorious in the place where this scene has 
been transacted, that the person who has headed the 
separation, is a stickler for the peculiarities of a party; 
and we are confident the reader will need no other 
proof, than to turn back and read the minute from his 
pen, at Cincinnati. The Synod, in following the above 
schismatic, have again raised their standard, which for 
three happy years had been gathering dust. The lines 
will probably now be cleared ; the enemies of ortho- 
doxy, however pious, be driven out of the pure church, 
drowsy bigots recalled to arms, and another bold push 
made to Calvinize the world. May heaven prevent the 
furious onset, and revive in the breasts of Christians, a 
spirit of forbearance and love! And may we, while 
we go under the name of scJdsmatics, be ever kept from 
the thing. It is not uncommon to give the blow, and 
raise the cry. We are brought up to public view, pro- 
nounced as the leaders of a party, thundered against by 
the bull of suspension, and our congregations declared 
vacant ! Could the Synod imagine that we would be 
silent ? No. The measures carry too strong marks of 
ecclesiastical tyranny, to influence us farther than we 
are driven. Were we sticklers for what some call order, 
we might enter upon a fair and candid proof, that the 
Synod of Ky. are partisans, headed by Mr. Kemper, and 
that our protest was simply declining to follow them in 
their career of separation. We are confident that in 
the nature of things, it remains with the General As- 
sembly to say, whether we, or the Synod, belong tc 
their body ; as much as it did with Synod to say, 
whether the Presbytery of Cincinnati, or that of Spring- 
field, should be taken into its bosom. 

From the friendly intercourse, and plans of union 
which exist between the General Assembly and other 
churches, we cannot suppose that reverend body con- 
siders the Confession of Faith, in the same point of 
light, with our Synodical brethren ; and we are the 
more confirmed in this persuasion by the following ex- 


tract from the minutes of their last session : "Resolved, 
that the Revs. Drs. Blair, Tennant and Green ; the 
Rev. Messrs. Irvin, Milledoler, Linn, Pott, and Jane- 
way, be a committee to take into consideration the ex- 
pediency of publishing a new edition of the Confession 
of Faith, &c., of this church; to consider whether any, 
and if any, what alterations, ought to be made in the 
said Confession of Faith; and to make such prepara- 
tory arrangements, on this subject, as they shall judge 
proper; and report to next Assembly." If any inquire 
why we did not appeal to the General Assembly ? We 
answer, it appeared to us unnecessary ; because the 
business must naturally come before them, through the 
minutes of Synod. David did not immediately go to 
his father-in-law to learn his disposition towards him, 
till the flying arrows determined his doom. If we learn 
from the minutes of the Assembly, that they are for 
peace, we are near at hand, and ready to obey the sig- 
nal; but if otherwise, our empty seats must so remain. 
We have stated notorious facts, and now let every 
impartial friend to order, judge for himself If the 
prosecution was unprecedented, and disorderly, from 
first to last, let the candid reader say, whether it was 
not an orderly step for us to Vv^thdraw. We have said 
in our protest, that we only withdrew from the judica- 
tories with which we stood connected, and not from the 
church ; we say so still. They have beaten us uncon- 
demned, being Presbyterians, and then would cast us 
out of the church. Nay, their letter of suspension will 
not do. We must again call for order, and desire that 
body to produce authority, not from the annals of the 
church of Scotland, but from the word of God, or at 
least from the constitution of the Presbyterian church 
in America, to justify their proceedings. If they have 
suspended us without authority, the General Assembly 
will have to say whether they were in order or not. So 
long as we believe their proceedings were out of order, 
that belief will bind us more firmly to the church. — 
The hireling may flee when his congregations are de- 


clared vacant, and his salary called in ; and set out in 
search of another benefice ; but we pledge ourselves, 
through the grace of God, to stand fast in the unity of 
the spirit, and without respect of persons, endeavor to 
gather into one, the children of God, who have been 
*''• scattered in the cloudy and dark day.'''* 


" Search the Scriptures." — John. 

Having given a short history of the various circum- 
stances, which have gradually contributed to bring 
about our separation, from those bodies with which we 
formerly stood connected ; and the consequences result- 
ing from them ; we now proceed according to promise, 
to state our views of the gospel. 

Here it will be necessary to inform the reader, that 
the short bounds we have prescribed for the present 
publication, will not allow us to enter into a full and 
particular statement of the various things which we con- 
ceive to be comprehended in the gospel. 

We are aware that every sentence of this short treatise 
will be viewed with a jealous eye. By some we shall 
probably be considered as Antinomians ; by others, Ar- 
minians. Should we attempt to evade the censures of 
the critic on either side, we would wander from our 
purpose ; which is to satisfy the inquiries of Christians, 
and prevent misrepresentation. 

In order to do this, we shall consider human deprav- 
ity, regeneration, the means by which it is effected, in- 
cluding faith, and answer objections. 

That mankind are depraved, is a lamentable truth, 


abundantly attested by the word of God, and confirmed 
by universal experience and observation. To quote 
the many passages of Scripture which prove this point, 
would be to transcribe a great part of the Bible. Let 
it suffice to say, that Jews and Gentiles are all under 
sin ; destitute of the image of God, and dead in tres- 
spasses and sins. This death consists in being carnally 
ninded ; for to be carnally minded is death. This car- 
nal mind is enmity against God ; for it is not subject to 
the law of God, neither indeed can be. All are in 
want of what they were made to enjoy, which is God ; 
and have a propensity to satisfy that want with meaner 
things. Hence arise the busy pursuits, the incessant 
labors, and the universal cry of a distracted, disap- 
pointed world. Who will show us any goo dl^ 

Such is the sinful, ruined, miserable state of the 
world. Yet, though man be thus alienated from God, 
and prone to evil, he possesses rational faculties, capable 
of knowing and enjoying God. If not, he has ceased 
to be a moral agent, and consequently is no longer a fit 
subject of moral government. He is a machine, inca- 
pable of rational happiness. But this we believe none 
will assert. Still, though a moral agent, yet he is de- 
praved. The crown is fallen from our head : — w^o unto 
us that we have sinned. 


That mankind must be regenerated before they can 
see the kingdom of God, is a truth as evident from the 
word of God, as human depravity ; and is acknowledg- 
ed by the generality of Christians. See John iii. 3 — 
" Except a man be born agam, he cannot see the king- 
dom of God. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye 
must be born again." — lb. 7. To be born again, is to 
be renewed in knowledge, righteousness, and true holi- 
ness, after the image of God. Col. iii. 9, 10 — " Lie 
not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old 
man with his deeds ; and have put on the new man, 
which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him 


that created him." " That ye put off the old man, 
which is corrupt, and that ye put on the new man, which, 
after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness." 
— Eph. iv. 24. It is sometimes described by being 
"reconciled to God." — Rom. v. 10. Sometimes by 
being " made partakers of the divine nature." — 2 Pet. 
i. 4. Sometimes by having received " divine life." — 
1 J. V. 12. But it is more fully explained in 2 Cor. iii. 
IS — " But we all, with open face, beholding as in a 
glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same 
image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the 
Lord." It may here be inquired. Who is the author of 
this great work, or change ? We answer — God. " For 
we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto 
good works." — Eph. ii. 10. And " Of his own will 
begat he us." — James i. IS. This work can no more be 
effected by human wisdom and power, than the "Ethi- 
opian can change his skin, or the Leopard his spot. " — Jer. 
xiii. 23. It may be further inquired, By what means 
does God effect this work in the soul ? We answer, 
by, or with " the word of truth." — Ja. i. IS. But be- 
fore we answer the inquiry fully, we shall consider our 
next proposition. 


The gospel is " Good tidings of great joy which shall 
be to all people." — Luke ii. 10. An epitome of which 
is found in these words. John iii. 16 — " God so loved 
the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that who- 
soever believeth on him, should not perish, but have 
everlasting life." The love of God is the spring, or 
moving cause of all the benefits of the gospel. His 
love to the fallen world is absolute, and must be so de- 
clared to mankind. To say that God loved us, on con- 
dition that we should love him, would destroy the very 
idea of the gospel. "We love him, because he first loved 
us." — 1 John iv. 19. And " herein is love, not that we 
loved God, but that he first loved us." — 1 John iv. 10. 
The world, the whole world of mankind, is the object 



of God's love, and to which he has given his Son. But 
lest the light of this glaring truth should shine too 
brightly, some have artfully cast a veil over it, asserting 
that it was the elect world that God loved, and to whom 
alone he gave his Son. Of such a world the Scripture 
no where speaks ; but declares that the application of 
the term world, to the elect, is highly improper. John xv. 
19 — "If ye were of the world, the world would love his 
own ; but because ye are not of the world, but I have 
chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth 
you." But that the whole world is the object of God's 
love, and that Christ is given to all, without exception, 
is evident, from the following arguments : 

1. Because Christ is constituted the Saviour of the 
world. John iii. 17 — " For God sent not his Son into 
the world to condemn the world, but that the world 
through him might be saved." John xii. 47 — '^ I came 
not to judge the world, but to save the world." John 
vi. 32, 33 — " But my Father giveth you the true bread 
from heaven. For the bread of God is he that cometh 
down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." 
1 Tim. iv. 10 — "Who is the Saviour of all men, espe- 
cially of them that believe." 1 John iv. 14 — " We 
have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent the Son 
to be the Saviour of the world." From these, and 
similar passages, we conclude that Jesus Christ is, by 
office, the Saviour of the world ; and therefore, as such, 
was given to the world. 

2. This truth is farther evident, from the many invi- 
tations, calls, and intreaties to all mankind to believe on 
him, and come to him, as their Saviour, and freely re- 
ceive his offered gifts. Isai. xlv. 22 — " Look unto me, 
and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth ; for I am God, 
and there is none else." Mat. xi. 28 — "Come unto me, 
all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give 
you rest." Isai. Iv. 1 — " Ho, every one that thirsteth, 
come ye to the waters," &c. Rev. xxii. 17 — "And 
the Spirit and the bride say come, and let him that hear- 
eth say come, and let him that is athirst, come ; and 


whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." 
Luke xiv. 17 — "Come, for all things are now ready." 
Now how can we account for these invitations and offers 
made to all, if Christ be not given to all? How could 
we reconcile the conduct of a prince or sovereign, who 
should propose terms of pardon and peace to his rebel- 
lious subjects, when at the same time substantial reasons 
existed why he could not accede to his own proposals? 
If Christ be not given to the whole world, that part to 
Avhich he is not given have no right to any thing in him, 
more than the fallen angels ; and cannot be invited to 
receive Christ or his benefits in truth and sincerity. 
Besides, how can their punishment be aggravated for 
rejecting Christ, when he never was, nor can be offered 
to them in sincerity and truth ? 

3. But that Christ is given, and can be sincerely of- 
fered to the world, is farther evident, because " He 
died for all." "For the love of Christ constraineth us, 
because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then 
were all dead : And that he died for all, that they which 
live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but 
unto him that died for them."— 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. "Who 
gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time. " 
— 1 Tim. ii. 6. " But we see Jesus, who was made a 
little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death 
crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace 
of God, should taste death for every man." — Heb. ii. 9. 
" But there were false prophets also among the people, 
even as there shall be false teachers among you, who 
privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying 
the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves 
swift destruction." — 2 Peter ii. 1. " Behold the Lamb 
of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." — John 
i. 29. Many glosses have been put upon these and 
similar passages of Scripture ; yet the light will beam 
forth. Many veils have been drawn over them, yet can- 
dor will strip them off. 

It is a truth, that all mankind are given to Christ, the 
mediator. "All things are delivered unto me of my 


Father."— Mat. xi. 27, and Luke x. 22. " The Father 
loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hands." 
— John iii. 35. " The heathen are given to him for an 
inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a 
possession." — Psalm ii. 8. 

That Christ died for all, is still farther evident, be- 
cause sinners who hear the gospel, shall finally be con- 
demned, for not believing and obeying it. " He that 
believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth 
not, is condemned already; because he hath not believed 
in the name of the only begotten Son of God." — John 
iii. 18. " The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from hea- 
ven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire ; taking 
vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not 
the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." " He that re- 
jecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that 
judgeth him ; the word that I have spoken, the same 
shall judge him in the last day." — John xii. 48. " So 
speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by 
the law of liberty." — James ii. 12. "And this is his 
commandment, that we should believe on the name of 
his Son Jesus Christ." — 1 John iii. 23. All to whom 
the gospel is preached are, therefore, required on pain 
of damnation, to believe in Christ for righteousness and 
salvation. But how can this be required of those for 
whom Christ never died to procure salvation ? If such 
are required to believe, they are required to believe an 
untruth, (see remarks on the Confession,) and can we 
think that the judge of all the earth would condemn his 
creatures for not believing a lie ? God forbid ! There- 
fore, as all to whom the gospel is preached, are required 
to believe in Christ, on pain of damnation, it follows, 
that he died for all ! If Christ died exclusively for a 
part of the human race, unbelief follows of course. 
The scheme furnishes no proper foundation for any one, 
to make an application of the promises to himself And 
no one, holding this system, will believe until his mind 
is drawn ofi'from it, and his attention fixed on the word, 
the promise of a faithful God. Under the influence of 


this principle, he must remain for ever in unbelief. He 
can have no evidence that Christ died for him, and if 
he should attempt to believe on him, it would be pre- 
sumption. But if he take God to mean what he says, 
that he has no pleasure in the death of the sinner — that 
he is not willing any should perish, and therefore gave 
his Son a ransom for all, then every sinner is one of the 
number, and has a sufficient warrant to believe. For 
these and similar reasons, it is evident that Chiist died 
for all, and therefore is given to all. " That whosoever 
believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting 
life." Thus we see the general proposition, that Christ 
is given to the whole worlds sufficiently established. And 
as Christ is given, so with him is all his fulness given, 
or all that is in him. For we have no authority to be- 
lieve that a partial Christ is given, or offi^red to any. 

Christ is not divided. "He that spared not his 
own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall 
he not with him also freely give us all things?" — Rom. 
viii. 32. In him is fulness of salvation, pardon, eter- 
nal life, grace, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, 
and redemption, the fulness of the spirit ; in a word, all 
the benefits he procured by his death, and which he 
afterwards received as gifts for men, even for the 
rebellious, when he ascended in triumph to his Father. 
— Psalm Ixviii. 18. 

That there is complete salvation in Christ is a glorious 
truth, which his very name imports. Mat. i. 21 — 
"Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his 
people from their sins." A truth evident from his office, 
he was sent to be the Saviour of the world, from his 
promise. "He that believeth shall be saved." "Nei- 
ther is there salvation in any other." — Acts iv. 12. 
Pardon of sin is given in Christ. " But that ye may 
know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive 
sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) arise, take 
up thy bed, and go to thine house." — Mat. ix. 6. " Him 
hath God exalted — to give repentance to Israel, and 
remission of sins." — Acts v. 31. Eternal life is in 


Christ, and given with him. " This is the record, that 
God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his 
Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath 
not the Son of God hath not life." — 1 John v. 11, 12. 
" In him was life, and the life was the light of men." — 
John i. 4. " I am the resurrection and the life ; he that 
belie veth on me,thoughhe w^ere dead, yet shall he live." 
— John xi. 25. " This is the true God, and eternal life." 
— 1 John V. 20. In him is the fulness of grace. " And 
the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us — full of 
grace and truth." — John i. 14. "And of his fulness 
have all we received and grace for grace." — John i. 16. 
Wisdom, righteousness, sanctilication, and redemption, 
are in Christ — 1 Cor. i. 30, and given wdth him to the 
world. " I will give thee, for a covenant of the people, 
for a light of the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes," &c. — 
Isai. xlix. 6. "That was the true light, which lighteth 
every man that cometh into the world." — John i. 9. " I 
am the light of the world ; he that followeth me shall 
not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." 
— John viii. 12. " In whom are hid all the treasures 
of wisdom and knowledge." — Col. ii. 3. "He is the 
Lord our righteousness." — Jer. xxiii. 6. The fulness 
of the spirit is in Christ, by which we understand his 
enlightening, quickening, and sanctifying influences. 
"In him dwelleth all the fulness of the God-head bodi- 
ly." — Col. ii. 9 ; John iii. 34. "Therefore being by the 
right hand of God exalted, and having received of the 
Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed 
forth this which ye now see and hear." — Acts ii. 33. 
The gifts which Christ received from the Father, were 
for men, even for the rebellious. — Psalm Ixviii. 18. 
" Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized 
every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and 
ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the 
promise is unto you and your children, and all that are 
afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." 
— Acts ii. 38, 39. These are the provisions of the gos- 
pel, equal to our most enlarged capacities, boundless as 


our desires, and infinite as our wants. They are all 
treasured up in Jesus, and with him are given to a lost 
world, as we have just seen. They are freely and ab- 
solutely given, suspended on no condition whatever. — 
They are represented by a feast, which was prepared 
for sinners. See Prov. ix. 1 to 5. — "Wisdom hath 
builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars ; 
she hath killed her beasts, she hath mingled her wine ; 
she hath also furnished her table ; she hath sent forth 
her maidens ; she crieth upon the high places of the 
city ; whoso is simple let him turn in hither ; as for him 
that lacketh understanding, she saith to him, come eat 
of my bread, and drink of my wine, which I have 

Here you see that the feast was absolutely prepared, 
and offered freely. Those who were invited, had no 
hand in preparing the provisions. All were ready fur- 
nished, before the guests were invited — before they 
heard of it ; consequently could have had no hand in 
it. They were bidden, and were only to come and re- 
ceive what was so freely given, and prepared for them. 

In Luke xiv. 16-25, we have the same truth taught 
us by our Lord himself. "A certain man made a great 
supper, and bade many, and sent his servants at supper 
time to say to them that were bidden, come, for all 
things are now ready." This great supper was abso- 
lutely provided ; and when the servants went out to call 
those that were bidden, they expressed no doubt re- 
specting the provision, no uncertainty ; they held up no 
condition, they required no qualification, as necessary 
in the guests. They declared absolutely and unequivo- 
cally, that all things were 7iow ready. The appetites of 
the guests, did not create the benevolence of the giver ; 
their believing the report of the servants, did not set 
one dish on the table; nor did their coming give the 
food its nourishing quality. All things remained the 
same, whether they came and partook, or staid away. 
So, we cannot be beforehand with God, in any of his 
dispensations of grace. The Lord Jesus requires no 


distinguishing qualifications to bring us within the reach 
of his Almighty arm. He saves freely and voluntarily. 
He delights in the work of saving sinners. His very 
heart breathes forgiveness, and he rejoices over them, 
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. In this respect 
every sinner stands upon equal ground ; there is no differ- 
ence between the king and the beggar. He lays down 
before he takes up, and strews before he gathers. — ■ 
Neither does he require the help of his helpless crea- 
tures ; his own arm brings salvation ; we are his work- 
manship. He does not divide the work, nor take a sin- 
ner in hand to finish what he had begun. He calls all 
the ends of the earth to look unto him, and be saved; 
saved, not in part, but in whole, from beginning to end. 

The gospel contains facts in themselves, which re- 
quire nothing from us, to make them true. It is a fact, 
that the great supper was prepared, whether those invi- 
ted believed it or not ; or whether they came and par- 
took of it or not. Their believing the fact, could not 
make it more true. So it is a fact, that God has abso- 
lutely given his Son to the world, with all his fulness ; 
whether we believe or disbelieve ; whether we receive or 
reject the gift. To insert any condition in the gospel, 
on which its truth should depend, would be to destroy 
its very nature ; or to cover it with such a mist of dark- 
ness that no one could see its reality. Thus to say, 
that Christ died for us, on condition we should believe 
in him, is to cast a veil over the truth ; for we should 
then have no certain end of his death, and therefore no 
foundation for our faith. 

The absolute freeness of the provisions in Christ, is 
represented by the manna provided for the Israelites 
in the wilderness — John vi. 32. The manna was given 
to all, without exception, to those who loathed it, as 
well as those who loved it. For the same reason 
the provisions of the gospel are very frequently repre- 
sented by water; as in Isaiah Iv. 1. "Ho, every one 
that thirsteth, come ye to the waters ; and he that hath 
no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea come and buy 


wine and milk without money, and without price." — 
"The Spirit and the bride say, come ; and let him that 
heareth, say, come ; and let him that is athirst come ; 
and whosoever will, let him take the water of life free- 
ly." — Rev. xxii. 17. Water is free to all, and no 
money or price is required to purchase. So are the pro- 
visions of the gospel. No good works, no qualifications 
are previously required ; no time is allowed to obtain 
them. But all are exhorted now, immediately to come : 
^^ For, behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day 
of salvation." And, "To-day if ye will hear his voice 
harden not your hearts." Whatever the situation of 
the sinner may be — though his sins be like crimson, 
and for multitude like the sand on the sea shore ; yet 
has he a sufficient warrant now to believe the gospel, 
and receive its provisions. For if the gospel does not 
authorize him now to receive its provisions, it does not 
suit him now ; and while he goes to seek for qualifica- 
tions, death may put a final period both to the means 
and the end. Besides, if the gospel require previous 
qualifications, while the sinner is seeking them he is 
obeying it ; and should death in the mean time carry 
him off, he could not be condemned on the principles 
of the gospel. Nor could he be saved ; for he is yet 
without the provisions of the gospel, and therefore des- 
titute of spiritual and eternal life. These qualifications, 
by whatever name they may be called, are legal ; and 
instead of preparing the soul to receive the gospel, they 
are turning it away from Jesus Christ. 

The gospel then invites all to come now, and at no 
other time. Therefore it bids all welcome, just as they 
are. But lest any should, after all, be discouraged, 
God proclaims his disposition to sinners in such lan- 
guage and in such a manner as to remove every doubt 
and fear. "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no 
pleasure in the death of the wicked ; but that the wick- 
ed turn from his way and live ; turn ye, turn ye, for why 
will ye die?" — Ezek. xxxiii. 11. "The Lord is long- 
suffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, 


but that all should come to repentance." — 2 Peter iii. 9. 
*'Who will have all men to be saved, and come to the 
knowledge of the truth." — 1 Tim. ii. 4. "He waits to 
be gracious." — Isaiah xxx. 18. "God was in Christ, 
reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their 
trespasses unto them." — 2 Cor. v. 19. "God is love." 
— 1 John iv. 16. 

God sits upon the mercy-seat to dispense" grace and 
mercy to a lost race. None but sinners need mercy ; 
therefore none but sinners have any business at the 
mercy-seat, and no other character does God receive 
there. The rich he sends empty away — Christ came 
not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. — 
The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 
This man (Christ Jesus) receiveth sinners, the poor, the 
maimed, the halt, the blind, the chief of sinners. If Christ 
receiveth sinners only, then every attempt of the sinner 
to make his condition better, before he comes to Christ, 
is an attempt to throw himself out of the reach of 
Christ, and of mercy. As long as he remains out of 
Christ, he remains out of the way^ the truth, and the life. 
This we conceive to be that gospel, which Christ com- 
missioned his apostles "to preach to every creature, in 
all the world." — Mark xvi. 15. " To as many as they 
should find."— Mat, xxii. 9. 


We now proceed to prove that the gospel is the 
means of regeneration. This truth is abundantly man- 
ifest from the following Scriptures : "Being born again, 
not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the 
word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." — 1 
Peter i. 23. The word of God is the seed of regener- 
ation, called incorruptible seed. "Of his own will begat 
he us, with the word of truth." — James i. 18. "The 
law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me 
free from the law of sin and death." — Romans viii. 2. 
"In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gos- 


pel." — 1 Cor. iv. 15. "Now ye are clean through the 
word, which I have spoken unto you." — John xv. 3. 
"Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." 
— John xvii. 17. " Having therefore, these promises, 
dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthi- 
ness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the 
fear of God." — 2 Cor. vii. 1. "Whereby are given 
unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by 
these ye might be partakers of the divine nature." — 2 
Peter i. 4. "But we all, with open face, beholding as 
in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the 
same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit 
of the Lord."— 2 Cor. iii. 18. "Ye shall know the 
truth, and the truth shall make you free." — John yiii. 
32. ^'Thy word hath quickened me." — Psalm cxix. 
50. "The entrance of thy word giveth light, itgiveth 
understanding to the simple." — v. 130. "The ingraft- 
ed word which is able to save your souls." — James i. 21. 
From these and similar passages it is evident that the 
word of truth is the means of enlightening, quickening, 
regenerating and sanctifying the soul. But how does the 
gospel effect these mighty works ? We answer, through 
faith. The gospel or "word of God, is quick and pow- 
erful, sharper than any two-edged sword." — Heb. iv. 
12. It is living and abiding — it endureth forever. — 
1 Peter i. 23. It is spirit and it is life. — John vi. 
63. These are essential properties of the gospel. To 
an unbeliever, the gospel is weak and produces no ef- 
fect. No means whatever, will produce its effect with- 
out application. So God never appointed, that the 
gospel should regenerate the human heart, without ap- 
plication. Faith is applying the means or admitting 
the truth into the heart. When the sinner believes it, 
he is quickened, renewed and sanctified. When it is 
received, it is like the seed sown in good ground, which 
sprang up and brought forth fruit. — Mat. xiii. 23. It is 
that which breaks up the fallow ground of the heart. 
For "it is the power of God to salvation, to every one 
that believeth."-— Romans i. 16. "It pleased God by 


the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe." 
— 1 Cor. i. 21. "For this cause thank we God, without 
ceasing, because when ye received the word of God 
which ye heard of us, ye received it, not as the word 
of men; but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which 
effectually worketh also, in you that believe." — 1 Thes. 
ii. 13. Here we find the word of God worketh effectu- 
ally in believers ; but it cannot work in unbelievers, 
because of unbelief For the word preached does not 
profit, when not mixed with faith in them that hear it. 
■ — Heb. iv. 2. It may remain in the Bible till the day 
of our death ; unless we believe, it will no more effect 
a change in our hearts, than seed w411 grow while it lies 
dry in the garner. God does not operate upon us as 
upon dead matter. He might speak a stone into an 
angel, but he will not do it. He deals with man as a 
rational creature. The strongest motives are presented 
to our understandings ; but they cannot move, excite, 
or influence us, unless we believe : in other words, they 
are no motives at all, without faith. 

God has revealed himself to us in his word ; but he 
IS invisible ; he cannot be seen with mortal eyes ; nor 
can we have any true knowledge of him, until by faith 
we receive the testimony he has given of himself in his 
Word. Then we have evidence that God is always 
present with us : in Mm we live, and move, and have our 
being— i\i2L\. he is infinitely holy— that he hates every sin 
—that he searches the hearts and tries the reins of the 
children of men— that he is gracious and merciful— 
that he is unchangeable :— what he has spoken once, he 
speaks always. His word is his power to salvation. 
By it he spoke all things into being, and by it he up- 
holds all things. It is the voice of his Spirit now, and 
always addressing us. It is as a^re and hammer ; and 
the sinner who receives it feels its powerful efficacy. It 
is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 
The testimony of God being now admitted as true, the 
sinner discovers how unlike he is to God ; the more he 
sees of God, the more he abhors himself. His fears 


may be awakened by the thunders of Mount Sinai ; but 
it is only a view of the holiness, goodness, love,— and 
the free, unmerited grace and mercy of God, which 
produces true conviction and true repentance, and which 
humbles the soul, slays the enmity of the heart, and 
makes him willing to depart from all iniquity. He 
adores the riches of divine grace, which is extended to 
such a poor polluted worm of the dust. He hates sin, 
and laments over it, because he sees it is committed 
against a God of infinite holiness, condescension and 
love. He devotes himself to God, to be for him, and 
not for another. But all these effects are produced by 
the belief of divine truth, or by the evidence of things 
not seen, received through faith. 


Having shown how the gospel effects regeneration, 
by being believed, we are naturally led to speak of faith. 
We have already shown that the word of God is the 
foundation of faith ; but it will be necessary to say 
something further on this subject. "These are written 
that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son 
of God ; and that believing ye might have life through 
his name."— John xx. 31. " That your faith should not 
stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." 
— 1 Cor. ii. 5. "So then, faith cometh by hearing, and 
hearing by the word of God." — Rom. x. 17. " When 
he (Christ) shall come to be admired in all them that 
believe (because our testimony among you was believed) 
in that day."— 2 Thes. i. 10. " How shall they believe 
on him of whom they have not heard ?" — Rom. x. 14. 
*^ Howbeit, many of them that heard the word, believ- 
ed." — Acts iv. 4. "After that ye believed, ye were 
sealed." — Eph. i. 13. " And many of the Samaritans 
of that city believed on him for the saying of the wo- 
man, who testified, he told me all that ever I did." — 
John iv. 39. "As he spake these words, many believed 
on him." — John viii. 30. " Neither pray I for these 


alone, but for them also, who shall believe on me, 
through their word." — John xvii. 20, &c. 

The word of truth is not only the foundation of faith, 
but it has sufficient evidence in itself to produce faith. 
(See Deut. xxx. 11, and John xx. 31.) Faith can have 
no existence without testimony. "A man can receive 
nothing, except it be given him from heaven." — John 
iii. 27. If a fact be stated to us, which is accompanied 
by sufficient evidence, we believe it. Faith does not 
depend on any disposition, whether holy or unholy ; but 
on the strength of the testimony. No Christian will 
deny that there is sufficient evidence in the word to pro- 
duce faith. For if there is not, God cannot require us 
to believe it, nor condemn us for not believing, when 
it is impossible to believe. But many say, though the 
evidence be sufficient in itself, it can have no access to 
the mind in its natural state. To this we answer, that 
evidence, under such circumstances, is no evidence. 
The word, or testimony of God is to be believed, in the 
same manner as we believe the testimony of one another. 
This is evident from 1 John v. 9 — " If we receive the 
witness of men, the witness of God is greater:" and 
therefore can, and ought to be received, by all who 
hear it. 

As faith is a simple idea, we cannot give any defini- 
tion of it, that will make it plainer than it is already. 
And it would have been happy for the church, if no 
definition had ever been attempted. But if the reader, 
according to custom, must have one, we say, it is ad- 
mitting testimony upon the authority of the testifier. Or 
it is simply believing the testimony of God. Many elabo- 
rate treatises have been written, to explain what faith, 
or believing is, with no better effi?ct than to destroy its 
signification. A child of a few years old understands 
the meaning of believing, as well as a doctor of divinity. 
Some have defined it — coming to Christ — trustmg in 
him, &c. These, however, are not faith, but manifestly 
its fruits. For none will come to him or trust in him, 
till they believe in him, as able and willing to save 


them. Some have distinguished it into various kinds, 
as the faith of credence, historical, temporary ; — the 
faith of reliance — assurance, of miracles, and saving 
faith. (See remarks on the Confession.) But all these 
are one and the same act of the mind, believing 
various truths, as God has revealed them. 

The Apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews, expressly 
describes the nature, fruits, effects, or consequences of 
faith, as he does also in his other epistles, sometimes 
directly, sometimes indirectly. In chap. x. 38, 39, he 
tells us it is that by which the just shall live ; and it is 
believing to the saving of the soul. Chap. xi. 1 — "It 
is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of 
things not seen." It is giving credit to the divine tes- 
timony, respecting the creation, as related by Moses. 
*' Through faith we understand the worlds were framed 
by the word of God." Verse 6 — It is believing that 
God is, and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him ; and the consequence is, coming to God. But 
we cannot know these things, in the first instance, in 
any other way than by faith, which is the evidence of 
things not seen ; and is opposed to experimental know- 
ledge, which is the evidence of things seen. It is be- 
lieving the testimony of God, as in the case of Noah, 
Abraham, &c., verse 7, 8, &c., without any other evi- 
dence ; nay, the evidence of sense, in both these cases, 
was against the accomplishment of the word of God. 
Yet Abraham and Noah believed. It signifies the same, 
respecting the dividing of the Red Sea, and the Jordan, 
and the passage of the Israelites through them, the fall- 
ing of the walls of Jericho, &c. Now the act of be- 
lieving, in all these cases, was the same, though the 
objects were various, and just as various were the effects. 
Faith influenced Enoch to walk with God : Noah it 
moved with fear. It caused Abraham to leave his 
country. It influenced the Israelites to venture into the 
midst of the mighty waters : to surround the walls of 
Jericho. See its wonderful effects described at large 


throughout this chapter, and elsewhere frequently in the 
word of God. 

We see, then, from what has been said, the simple 
nature of faith, and its use in regeneration. If, there- 
fore, the gospel believed, or faith in the gospel, produces 
regeneration, it necessarily precedes it. This is as evi- 
dent, as that the means precedes the end. But as this 
is an important point, we will add some further proofs 
to the many already mentioned. " For ye are all the 
children of God by faith.'' — Gal. iii. 26. If we become 
children, by, or through faith, w^e were not children, or 
born again, before faith. ^' But as many as received 
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, 
even to them that believe on his name." — John i. 12. 
Therefore, before they believed, they were not the sons 
of God. " But to him that worketh not, but believeth 
on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is -counted 
for righteousness." — Rom. iv. 5. Here we see the un- 
godly are the persons who are justified ; as God justifies 
none but believers, therefore the ungodly believe ; and 
of course faith precedes regeneration. 

To assert that regeneration precedes faith, is to destroy 
the very foundation and nature of the gospel. No un- 
regenerated person, would then have any w^arrant to be- 
lieve. Upon this plan the gospel ceases to be glad 
tidings to sinners ; for sinners have no right to any thing 
the gospel reveals. 

In the great supper already mentioned, the faith of 
those who partook of it did not depend upon the pro- 
vision they ate, nor the sight of the w^ell furnished table; 
but upon the report of the servants who invited them. 
So the faith of those who partake of the gospel provi- 
sions, does not depend upon their partaking, but upon 
the divine testimony furnished in the Scriptures. We 
grant, that partaking the provisions of the gospel, 
strengthens their faith. It adds to the testimony of 
God, that of experience. Then w^e know experimen- 
tally, that the report of the servants is true. Should 
those invited, reply to the servants, that they could not 


believe there was such a supper provided for them; 
they would not act more foolishly than those, who say 
they cannot believe in the gospel, till they partake of 
its provisions. The very act of taking, or receiving the 
provisions of the gospel is, an exercise of faith ; and there- 
fore, faith necessarily precedes receiving them. As, 
therefore, faith precedes partaking of the provisions of 
the gospel ; so it cannot depend upon the reception of 
them for its foundation. Now, as we before proved, 
that salvation, pardon, eternal life, divine light, wisdom, 
righteousness, sanctification, redemption, the fulness of 
the Spirit, &c., are the provisions of the gospel, and 
that faith precedes the reception of them ; therefore it 
follows, that faith does not depend for its existence on 
partaking any of them, but necessarily precedes all. 
Will any say, that faith depends upon salvation ? No ; 
for the Scripture every where asserts, that salvation 
follows faith. "He that believeth — shall be saved, and 
he that believeth not shall be damned." Will any one 
assert, that it depends on pardon, or justification ? No, 
for we are justified by faith. Does faith depend on 
spiritual life for its existence ? No ; "for these things 
are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the 
Christ, the Son of God ; and that believing ye might 
have life through his name." Does it depend upon the 
Spirit's powerful, enlightening, quickening and sanctify- 
ing influences? No; for we receive the Spirit through 
faith. Gal. iii. 14 — " That we might receive the 
promise of the Spirit through faith." "In whom, after 
that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit 
of promise." — Eph. i. 13. 

Faith does not depend upon grace ; for by faith we 
receive grace. "By grace are ye saved through faith." 
"By whom also we have access, through faith into this 
grace, wherein we stand." — Romans v. 2. As, there- 
fore, faith precedes the reception of the gospel provi- 
sions, it cannot be a part of those provisions, in any 
other sense, than as it is a medium of divine appointment, 
through which we receive them. If it belongs to the 


provisions of the gospel, then it is absolutely out of the 
creature's reach. And would God damn a soul for not 
having faith, when he had it in his own hand, to give or 
withhold, at sovereign pleasure ? With equal propriety- 
might he damn an individual for not creating a world. 
For, according to this theory, the one is as much above 
his power as the other. Faith is no where promised, 
but always represented as that through which the prom- 
ises are received. Thus, according to promise, we 
have given you a brief view of the gospel ; and we de- 
sire that you will not take these things merely on our 
word, nor the contrary upon the word of any other per- 
son ; but search the Scriptures daily, with humble de- 
pendence on God, for the necessary aids of his Spirit, 
and see whether these things are so. 


We proceed to answer some objections, for the satis- 
faction of honest inquirers. There are some passages 
of Scripture, which at first view seem to contradict our 
ideas of faith ; yet upon a fair examination they are 
perfectly consistent. These passages w^e will first con- 

Obj. "There are many passages of Scripture, in 
which faith is represented as the gift of God ; as Eph. 
ii. 8; Phil. i. 29 ; Heb. xii. 2 ; Rom. xii. 3 ; Acts xvi. 
14; and xviii. 27; Gal. v. 22." Eph. ii. 8.— "By 
grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of your- 
selves, it is the gift of God." 

Jins. When Cushi told David, that Absalom was 
slain, David believed it. Now^ who was the author and 
finisher of David's faith? Without doubt, Cushi was. 
But how did Cushi give David faith? By reporting 
the fact. He did not, strictly speaking, give David 
faith, but gave him that which produced it, viz : the 
testimony that Absalom was slain. In this way God 
gives us faith. He does not give us the act of faith, in 
any other sense, than as he gives us all believing powers, 
and upholds them ; for the act of faith all agree is the 


creature's. God gives us that which is the foundation of 
faith, viz : his gospel. Hence the gospel, is frequently 
called the faith; as the faith once delivered to the saints. 
— Jude V. 3. The faith to which many of the Priests 
were obedient. — Acts vi. 7. The faith from which 
Elymas, the Sorcerer, sought to turn away the deputy. — 
Acts xiii. 8- This is the faith which is the gift of God 
directly. Faith, as an act, is given indirectly. The 
objectors themselves acknowledge that the word of God 
is the foundation of faith, and that faith is the creature's 
owm act. Therefore they must acknowledge with us, 
that faith, as the act of the creature, is not properly the 
gift of God. We hold faith to be the gift of God, in 
the same way, with this difference. They say the mind 
must be enlightened by the spirit, in some secret, mys- 
terious way, to see and approve the truth, before the 
sinner can believe it. We say, the truth which the 
spirit speaks, is that which enlightens the mind ; and 
which cannot produce this effect until it is believed. 
*'The entrance of thy word, giveth light; it giveth un- 
derstanding to the simple." — Psalm cxix. 130. This 
Dr. Watts beautifully expresses in his paraphrase: 

"When once it enters to the mind, 

It spreads such light abroad, 
The meanest souls instructions find, 

And raise their thoughts to God." 

Ohj. Phil. i. 29 — '^For unto you it is given in the 
behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also 
to suffer for his sake." 

Ans. The manner in which faith is given, we have 
just seen. But it is farther worthy of observation from 
this text, that faith is given in the same way as suffering. 
Now suffering for Christ is not the gift proper ; but that is 
the gift which produces it, viz : true religion. "For 
all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer per- 
secution." — 2 Timothy iii. 12. This is a confirmation 
of our ideas of faith, as the gift of God. 


Obj. Heb. xii. 2. — " Christ is the author and finish- 
er of faith." 

A?is. This has been answered already. He is the 
author and finisher of that which produces faith, viz : 
the gospel. 

Obj. Col. ii. 12. — "Buried with him in baptism, 
wherein also ye are risen with him, through the faith of 
the operation of God, who hath raised him from the 
dead." " 

^ns. This does not relate to the existence of faith, 
operated in the creature mechanically, but barely to 
that faith, or belief in the operation of God, in raising 
up Christ from the dead. By this operation, or energy 
of God, in the resurrection of Christ, he "was declared 
to be the Son of God with power." — Rom. i. 4. And 
this was sufficient evidence (and an evidence on which 
the Apostles much insisted among Jews and Gentiles) 
to produce faith in the creature, by which he rises w^ith 
Christ. This operation was not wrought on the Colos- 
sians, but on the buried Saviour, in raising him from 
the dead. See Dr. Doddridge — in loco. 

Obj. — Acts xviii. 27. — "Who (Apollos) when he 
was come, helped them much, who had believed 
through grace." Therefore it is concluded thatgraceis 
received before faith. 

^ns. By grace, in the text, we must understand the 
gospel. Y or faith cometh by hearing, and is produced 
by the gospel, as before proved. Salvation by the free 
grace of God, or through faith in the gospel, is here put 
in opposition to the works of the law, by w^hich the 
Jews sought to be justified. — See Romans ix. 32. This 
sense is confirmed by Acts xviii. 28 — "For he mightily 
convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the 
Scriptures, that Jesus was Christ." The gospel is 
sometimes called grace ; because it is the revelation of 
the grace of God to a lost w^orld, Titus ii. 11, 12. — 
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath ap- 
peared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodli- 
ness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righte- 


ously, and godly in this present world." To talk of 
receiving grace before faith, is absurd ; for receiving is 
a fruit of faith, and consequently cannot be before it. 
Grace is among the provisions of the gospel ; or, if we 
take the word in an extensive sense, it includes all the 
provisions of the gospel ; but as these are all received 
by faith, therefore grace cannot be received before faith, 
consequently faith does not proceed from grace, in any 
other sense than as it is called the gospel. 

Obj. Acts xiv. 14. — The case of Lydia, "Whose 
heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things 
which were spoken of Paul." Hence it is concluded 
that the Lord immediately operated on Lydia's heart, to 
enable her to believe. 

Jins. It is declared in the same verse, that Lydia 
was a worshipper of God, before she heard Paul preach ; 
and therefore was a believer in God. "For he that 
Cometh to God must believe that he is, and is a reward- 
er of them that diligently seek him." The Scripture 
history abundantly testifies, that in the primitive ages of 
Christianity, there were many pious Jews, and Gentile 
proselytes, who did not believe in Christ already come, 
for want of opportunity ; hence the words of our Sa- 
viour, John X. 16 — "Other sheep I have, which are 
not of this fold ; them also I must bring, and they shall 
hear my voice ; and there shall be one fold, and one 
shepherd." It is strange that Lydia's case should be 
put into the list of objections, when there is not a word 
about faith in the text. The Lord opened her heart 
through the truth preached by the Apostle, but this was 
done through faith ; if not, it was a mechanical opera- 
tion, of which the Scriptures give us no account. 

Obj. Romans xii. 3. — "According as God hath dealt 
to every man, the measure of faith." 

Jins. The context shows that the Apostle is talking 
about the various offices in the church, called gifts or 
measures of faith. To see this, it is only necessary to 
quote a few of the following verses. "For as we have 
many members in one body, and all members have not 


the same office ; so we being many, are one body in 
Christ, and every one members one of another. Having 
then gifts differing, according to the grace that is given 
to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to 
the proportion of faith ; or ministry, let us wait on our 
ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he 
that exhorteth, on exhortation," &c. — Rom. xii. 4 — 8. 
You perceive then that the Apostle is speaking of gifts, 
of measures of faith conferred upon believers, or 

Ohj. Gal. V. 22.—" The fruits of the Spirit are 
love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, 
faith," &c. 

Ans. Faith here signifies, fidelity^ or faithfulness. 
This is the explanation of all the Commentators, to 
whose works we have had access. In this sense it is 
applied to God, in Rom. iii. 3 — " For what if some 
did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of 
God without effect ? God forbid ; yea, let God be true, 
but every man a liar." Because faith produces refor- 
mation, and consequently fidelity, by a very common 
figure of speech the cause is put for the effect — faith, 
for fidelity. 

Ohj. *'The sinner is dead, and cannot believe." 

Ans. He is quickened, or made alive by faith, as 
we have abundantly proved. " But these are written 
that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son 
of God, and that believing ye might have life through 
his name." — John xx. 31. "He that believeth on the 
Son hath everlasting life ; and he that believeth not 
the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth 
on him." — John iii. 36. 

Ohj. "The carnal mind is enmity against God, it is 
not subject to his law, neither indeed can be." — Rom. 
viii. 7. Therefore those who are in this state cannot 

Ans. It would be hard to tell what degree of friend- 
ship we must have to God, before we can believe him, 
if faith depends on friendship. But the objection is 



founded in mistake. It supposes we must love truth, 
before we can believe it, — that we must be regenerated, 
before we have faith. But how is our enmity destroyed, 
— how are we reconciled to God ? The Spirit of God 
does it, through the gospel believed ; for reconciliation 
and regeneration are the same thing; and as. faith 
precedes regeneration, so it must precede reconciliation. 

Obj. *'The creature has natural ability, but no 
moral ability." 

Jins. It is astonishing that men of sense, should 
make this objection. What produces moral ability, 
but motives? And where are these but in the gospel.'* 
God told Noah, he would bring a flood of waters upon 
the earth, and destroy its inhal3itants. Noah believed. 
What was the effect ? He was moved with fear ; and 
prepared an ark, to the saving of his house. If Noah 
had not believed, he would have had no motive or 
moral ability : consequently could not have acted. So 
God speaks in his word to all, that he will punish the 
wicked with everlasting destruction. If they believed 
God, they would be moved with fear. Again: God 
offers salvation to all ; if they believed they would be 
moved to fly to him for relief. To say that a man must 
have moral ability before he can believe, is to say he 
must be born again before he believes ; the fallacy of 
which we have already proved. Therefore faith pre- 
cedes moral ability, consequently does not depend on it. 

Obj. John vi. 44, 65. — " No man can come unto 
me except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him. 
Therefore said I unto you, no man cometh unto me, 
except it were given unto him of my Father." 

Ans. How is a sinner drawn unto God ? Not by 
physical force, but by motive ; God sets before the soul 
the strongest motives, eternal life — eternal blessedness 
— displays his glorious character, in the gospel of 
Christ, and gives the greatest encouragement to sinners 
to come to him. The sinner believing, is drawn to the 
Saviour for pardon and life. 


Obj. " This scheme is inconsistent with the doctrine 
of Election and Reprobation." 

Ans. Not with the scriptural doctrine of election 
and reprobation : For the Scriptures always represent, 
and describe the elect as believers, and the reprobate, 
as unbelievers. The characters of the elect are such 
as these. They " cry unto God day and night." — Luke 
xviii. 7. They are justified persons. " Who shall lay 
anything to the charge of God's elect .^ It is God that 
justifieth .''" — Rom. viii. 33. They have bowels of 
mercies. "Put on therefore, holy and beloved, as the 
elect of God, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness 
of mind, long suffering." — Col. iii. 12. The Apostle 
Peter gives a very particular description of them. — 
1 Epist. i. 2,9. They are "Sanctified, and sprinkled 
with the blood of Christ. — Begotten again to a lively 
hope. They are kept by the power of God to salva- 
tion." They "greatly rejoice." "Believing, they 
rejoice in Christ, with joy unspeakable and full of 
glory, receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of 
their souls." They are the true church of Christ. — 
1 Pet. V. 13. They are true saints. — 2 John i. 13. These 
and various other portions of Scripture, describe the 
elect as true believers and saints. The character of 
reprobates is described in Scripture, as unbelievers, and 
unholy persons; persons who have rejected God, and 
the methods of his grace. See Jer. vi. 30; 2 Cor. xiii. 
5, 6, 7 ; 2 Tim. iii. 8; Tit. i. 16. As we know of no 
personal reprobation, before unbelief, so we know of 
no personal election before faith. We are chosen, or 
elected " through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief 
of the truth."— 2 Thess. ii. 13, &c. 

Obj. This scheme robs God of his glory, and puts 
the crown on the creature's head. 

Ans. It is evident that they, who make this objec- 
tion, do not understand what the scheme is: For what 
have we, that we have not received ? We hold that 
God has given us all things, and only requires that we 
believe and receive them. He has also fixed the time. 


" Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the 
day of salvation." — 2 Cor. vi. 2. Whether do we 
glorify God most, by believing his word ; or disbeliev- 
ing, and making him a liar? Saying in our hearts, 
Behold now is not the accepted time ; behold now is 
not the day of salvation. Some to evade the difficulty, 
boast much of free sovereign grace, which has never 
made them free. Their scheme appears to be, to let 
God alone, as long as he lets them alone ; or at best, 
to be found in the use of means (without faith) in 
order to be in readiness ; if peradventure God may 
show them a sign from heaven, to give them faith, 
when his time shall come. But is it putting the crown 
upon our heads to say, '^ It is not of him that willeth, 
nor of him that runneth ; but of God that showeth 
mercy?" If so, we acknowledge we do it. 

Ohj. Some say, that they have always believed the 
Scriptures, but they do not influence them. 

Ans. The Jews had the same opinion of their faith 
that you have of yours. "We are Moses' disciples," 
said they, '' we know that God spake unto Moses ; but 
as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is." 
—John ix. 28, 29. But Christ told them, chap. v. 46, 
47 — "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed 
me : for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his 
writings, how shall ye believe my words?" A man's 
works is the proper test of his faith. " Show me thy 
faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith 
by my works." — James ii. 18. 

Ohj. If the gospel has sufficient evidence in itself 
to produce faith, why do not all who hear it, believe ? 

Ans. Our Saviour answers the question, John xii. 
39, 40 — " Therefore they could not believe ; because 
Isaiah saith, he hath blinded their eyes, and hardened 
their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, 
nor understand with their heart, and be converted, ana 
I should heal them." These passages are explained by 
the Apostle in Acts xxviii. 27. — Referring to the same 
part of Isaiah's prophecy, he says, " Their eyes have 



they (themselves) closed, lest they should see with their 
eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with 
their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal 
them." The Apostle had been holding out the light, 
and evidence of truth to the Jews, as you will see in 
the context, which they must have seen, had they not 
closed their eyes ; which they must have understood, 
had they not hardened their hearts ; and had they seen 
and understood, they must have been converted. Clo- 
sing their eyes to the light was a voluntary and unnat- 
ural act. If a man be in a dungeon, and light be 
immitted, he must see, if he does not shut his eyes 
against the light. So when the gospel is preached in 
the spirit, the light beams upon sinners in darkness, 
and were they not to resist the light, or shut their eyes 
against it, they would see, and believe without a 
previous mechanical operation, to enable them to 
believe. It is evident from the context, in both the 
places quoted, that Christ and Paul, were proving that 
Jesus was the Son of God ; the one by miracles, the 
other by prophecy. Some believed, and some believed 
not. The reason why some did not believe is plainly 
declared : " because they shut their eyes," &c. "And 
in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah." — Mat. xiii. 
14. The prophet, in the spirit having foreseen these 
things, spoke of them as what would come to pass 
through the unbelief of the Jews. " These things, 
said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him." 
To say they could not believe because the Spirit of God 
did not work faith in them, is to take the sinner's part, 
and condemn Christ : For he marveled because of 
their unbelief. But if he knew they could not believe 
without the pow^erful influences of his Spirit, to enable 
them [which influences he withheld] he had no cause 
to marvel. 

Obj. Many great and good men have preached and 
written differently, and their labors have been abun- 
dantly blessed. 


Jlns. History, observation, and experience, suffi- 
ciently prove that the blessing of God, does not 
accompany those objections; but the truths of the 
gospel held out in their simplicity. The preacher, or 
writer, in the forepart of his discourse, may hold out 
the glory of the gospel in such a manner, that before 
he attempts to prove that sinners cannot believe it, his 
hearers may be beyond the reach of his soul-stupifying 
arguments. Great effects may be produced, and many 
may be converted. But this will not prove the whole 
of the discourse to be true. 

Obj. The word is a dead letter ; what advantage 
can there be, in a sinner's believing it ? 

^715. The objection is founded in unbelief and 
error, and can be solved in no other way than by prov- 
ing its falsity. " The words that I speak unto you, they 
are spirit, and they are life." An unbeliever is no 
judge of the virtue and power of divine truth. The 
physician is the best judge of the quality of his own 
medicines. It would display the ignorance of the 
patient to object against the tartar that it was dead^ or 
the cordial that it had no spirit. Let him swallow 
them ; and if the one does not work, and the other 
cheer him, then let him say they are dead. " Thy 
words were found, and I did eat them ; and thy word 
was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart." — 
Jer. XV. 16. 

Ohj. We are commanded to pray for all men, but 
on this scheme we cannot pray for sinners.* 

* This is a strange objrction to come from a Calvinistic quarter. It 
may be turned directly against them. Let us see. They believe *' Christ 
died for all the sins of some men:" and that none else can be saved. 
That many to whom the gospel is preached, are among the number for 
whom he did not die. That consequently to pray for the salvation of 
sinners universally, where the gospel comes, would be to oppose the pur- 
poses of heaven, — would be in efl'ect to pray that Heaven's will might be 
thwarted, not done. But we are commanded to pray for all men. — Paul 
prayed that Israel might be saved. But this he could not have done, had 
he known that God had decreed the unconditional damnation of a great 
part of the nation. The objection therefore is against the objector. — J. R. 


Ans. We pray for sinners after the example of 
Christ, that they may be spared a little longer ; and that 
space and opportunity may be given them for repentance. 
— Luke xiii. 8, 9. Christ prayed for believers directly^ 
and for sinners indirectly. John xvii. 20, 21 — "Nei- 
ther pray I for these (the disciples) alone ; but for them 
also who shall believe on me through their word ; that 
they all may be one ; that the world may believe that 
thou hast sent me." He does not pray absolutely that 
God would save unbelievers ; for this is contrary to the 
plan of the gospel. "He that believeth shall be saved, 
and he that believeth not shall be damned." But he 
prays indirectly for them that shall believe on him thro' 
their word. He also prays indirectly for the world, 
that through the unity of believers, they may believe. 
We pray for sinners, but do not prescribe to God the 
particular means by which he shall bring them to faith 
and repentance. But we are sure the means are his 
word, read or preached by his ministers, or shining in 
his people, or particular providences, which are the 
means of bringing divine truth before the view of the 
mind. Zion, or the church of God, "is the mother of 
us all." — Gal. iv. 26. When she travaileth, she bringeth 
forth her children. — Isa. Ixvi. 8. But how does Zion bring 
forth her children ? By shining in the glory of the 
Lord, and "holding forth the word of life." "Then shall 
the Gentiles come to thy light," and sinners shall "come 
flying, as clouds and as doves to their windows." — Isa. 
Ix. 3, 8. When their light shines forth before sinners, 
"they see their good works, and glorify God, who is in 
heaven." — Matthew v. 16. Then is the sinner con- 
vinced of all, he is judged of all; the secrets of his 
heart are made manifest; and so falling down on his 
face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you 
of a truth.— 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. 

Let all Christians, therefore, unite in prayer, that God 
would send forth faithful laborers into his harvest ; that 
the word of the Lord may have free course and be glori- 
fied ; that his Spirit may be poured out upon his minis- 


ters and people; that through them he may ^'reprove 
the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." 
That he would collect and unite into one his scattered 
flock, that the whole world may believe in Christ the 
Saviour of sinners. "That the light of the moon may 
be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun sev- 
en-fold ;" " that it may no longer be day and night, but 
one day known to the Lord, when the Lord shall be 
king over all the earth." 

To most of the above objections, we might have 
waived a direct answer, as they have been answered 
indirectly, in the preceding view of the gospel. — 
But as they are objections which have been directly 
made, by one, or another, we concluded to state, and 
answer them in a direct way. As to other objections 
that may be in the minds of any serious Christians, the 
truths already illustrated and proved, are sufficient to 
remove them. But as for those who are prejudiced 
against the truth, we cannot hope to satisfy them. If 
Christ, who spake as never man spake, could not satisfy 
the Jews, it would be the height of folly in us to imagine 
that we can satisfy those, who are not open to con- 
viction. But we do hope that honest inquirers will re- 
ceive and rejoice in the light. We have stated truths, 
which are clear to us, and are the foundation of all our 
hopes and comforts. And we leave it with every read- 
er, who shall peruse these sheets, to take heed how he 
reads and receives; to try every thing by the law and 
the testimony. For if we have not spoken according 
to this word, it is because there is no light in us. But 
if we have, it will be dangerous for any to reject, and 
oppose ; lest peradventure they should be found fighting 
against God. 




"To the law and to the testimony ; if they speak not according to this 
word, it is because there is no light in them." — Isaiah. 

Before we enter particularly on the remarks on the 
Confession, we have a few previous observations to 
make. From the foregoing view of the gospel, which 
supports the life of the humble Christian, it appears that 
we hold those doctrines, to which every believer can 
bear witness, in the hours, when he enjoys sweet com- 
munion with God. These truths we have not adopted 
as a system of notions formed in the head ; but we have 
received them as the words of God, which lie at the 
foundation of all our hopes. We have not made them 
barely the subject of occasional discussion ; but the 
ground-work of all our pulpit exercises. For as they 
administer life to our own souls, so they lie near to our 
hearts ; and as we are anxious that others should enjoy 
the same life, so we are constantly endeavoring to im- 
press them on their minds. 

But although we hold those doctrines, in which all 
Christians are united, when they enjoy the life and 
power of religion ; yet we wish not to conceal that our 
views on many points are very different from that system 
which by some is called orthodox. This difference lies 
not so much in holding what they would call positive 
errors^ as in leaving out of view, and indeed forgetting 
as far as we can, several things which they think neces- 
sary to complete the system. 

But in our judgment, the ideas we lack, so far from 
being necessary, are real obstructions to the life of grace. 
And though some prize them highly, we desire forever 
to be ignorant of them ; because we conceive they veil 
the beautiful simplicity of the glorious gospel. 

On this account our preaching is very different from 
what it was some years ago ; and it equally differs from 
that of some of the brethren at present. But notwith- 


standing this, we were willing to bear, and forbear, as 
though no such difference existed ; seeing those things 
which cause others to differ from us form no part of the 
[true] orthodox faith ; but are only notions floating in 
the head. We have therefore in good faith, often en- 
deavored to maintain, that we held the same orthodox 
faith with all real Christians ; because we believe those 
notions, which are superadded, never enter into the re- 
ligion of the heart. On this ground we have desired, 
and sometimes expected, the same forbearance from 
other Christians which we were disposed to exercise 
towards them. 

We shall now proceed to enumerate some of those 
sentiments, which are not found in our preaching; the 
absence of which, has exposed us to the charge of ma- 
king innovations in the Christian faith. 

1. You have seen already, that w^e believe all men to 
be dead in trespasses and sins, by being descended from 
the first Adam, and connected with that dead stock ; that 
none can convert themselves, or perform one holy ac- 
tion, without the Spirit of Christ. No arm but the 
Lord's can bring deliverance. But we do not hold with 
some, that sinners cannot believe the gospel until they 
are regenerated, or experience some power exterior and 
distinct from the word. On the contrary, we view men 
as fit subjects of the gospel dispensation; capable of 
believing the word, and in the strength of this faith, 
able to come to the throne of grace, and persevere in 
incessant cries for mercy, until they receive the Spirit 
of Christ, which creates all things new. Because we 
lack this idea that the sinner cannot believe in Christ, 
and come to the throne of grace, we are charged with 
denying original sin. 

2. We hold with all those, who feel the power and 
sweetness of dying love, that the Atonement of Christ 
is of infinite value, sufficient for the salvation of the 
whole world ; that he sincerely offers to all who hear 
the gospel the blessings he has purchased ; calls them to 
come, and pledges his veracity to give them eternal life ; 


swears he has no pleasure in their death ; and with all 
the earnestness of God, and meltings of infinite love, 
cries out "why will ye die ?" These things we believe 
simply as they are spoken ; that they are addressed to 
every man's conscience as they stand ; and that all men 
will be judged in the last day, according to the recep- 
tion they give them. But we find they need much 
dressing before they will suit the model of scholastic 
divinity. A number of things are added as explana- 
tions, which we neither understand, nor believe. Such 
as these : That although Christ's Atonement is sufficient 
for the whole world, yet it is provided and designed for 
a few only, to whom it will certainly be applied, and 
cannot possibly be given to any other. That the gener- 
al call is not designed to gather in the elect, who are 
scattered among the common mass, and unknown to the 
preacher. That none ought to believe that God is ad- 
dressing them, until his Spirit brings it home with power. 

Hence according to these sentiments, the truth is, 
that although God in his word offers freely to all men 
all the blessings of eternal life, with every appearance 
of sincerity, yet he has nothing provided for any but a 
few chosen ones. To prove all this, the general expres- 
sions of Scripture must be explained away ; they must 
mean something very different from what they speak. — 
The whole world must be surnamed the whole elect world; 
all men must mean all the elect. And the will of God 
must be divided, and subdivided, lest mankind should 
think that God pitied them, and was willing to save 
them. Thus they tell you, that although God by his 
commanding will, which always enjoins what is right, 
would have all men to be saved, yet by his approving 
will, he can save none but the elect. 

Again : They divide his will into secret, and revealed; 
and unfortunately set the one against the other. Thus 
his revealed will, makes great and liberal offers to all 
men without limitation : but when his secret will is 
consulted, those inestimable blessings offered to all, are 
confined to a few, for whom they were designed. 


None therefore, must, or can believe, that Christ died 
for theip, according to the plain word of God, or hath 
purchased any spiritual and eternal blessings for them, 
until that faith is wrought in them by the irresistible 
energy of the Holy Spirit. Now, we are wholly igno- 
rant of these subtle distinctions, and explanations, 
which tend to keep sinners from believing the revealed 
will of God ; and harden their hearts in unbelief. We 
are simple enough to take God at his word ; believing 
it is his will, that all men should be saved, and come 
to the knowledge of the truth. Therefore, we proclaim 
the good news to all men, wherever we come, that 
God, for Christ's sake is willing to save them ; and 
urge them speedily to fly to the arms of his mercy. 
Conscious that we have not wisdom enough to mend 
the word of God, we hold up his precious promises to 
sinners, as the foundation of their faith, just as he has 
spoken them. And blessed be God, some believing 
that he is in earnest, have made the experiment, and 
found that he will give his Holy Spirit to them that ask 
him. Preaching, which gives the promises of God as 
they stand in the Bible, will be very different from that 
which explains them all away ; as different as noonday 
is from midnight. The want of these contradictory 
explanations, has given us the name of heretics. These 
subtle explanations, savoring so much of the jargon of 
the schools, have always bewildered plain Christians ; 
have been a yoke, ^^ which neither we nor our fathers 
were able to bear." According to them, the gospel is 
good news to nobody, seeing no one knows that God 
has any good thing for him until he actually possesses 
it. We know that God is a sovereign, but we neither 
understand nor believe many things which are said on 
that subject. We cannot believe that he is such a 
sovereign, that he can offer what he has not to give, — 
deceive his creature, by telling him in his revealed will, 
that he has no pleasure in his death, and confirming his 
revelation with an oath, as I live, saith the Lord God ; 
when, at the same time, it is his secret will and 


pleasure to pass him by in his sins, that his justice may 
be glorified in his condemnation. Neither do we 
believe he can mock his misery by offering relief, 
which the poor wretch cannot possibly receive, and 
then condemn him to eternal misery, for not receiving 
what he could not; and what God himself upon prin- 
ciples of law and justice, could not give him, being 
wholly, and exclusively provided for others. 

3. Because, then, we cannot attribute to the best, 
and most merciful God, those properties of a most 
wicked and merciless tyrant, we are charged with 
denying divine sovereignty. This kind of sovereignty, 
we desire never to know ; because such knowledge 
would destroy that sweet warmth, and melting of soul, 
we feel by viewing the glorious and amiable character 
he gives of himself in his plam revealed will, as alto- 
gether love; (1 John iv. 8, 16,) and punishing from 
necessity only those, who reject and despise his love. 
It is not strange if the adepts in this kind of divinity 
possess a religion as cold and melancholy as their 
sentiments. But some run this sovereignty so far as to 
destroy the connexion between the means and the end. 
With them it is no proof that a minister preaches the 
truth, when his labors are blessed, and sinners come 
daily flocking to Christ. For, say they, God is a sove- 
reign. Another may lie in a deep sleep of carnal 
security, all his life, preaching to a people in the same 
situation, and never suspect he is to blame, though he 
has not one seal to his ministry: for, says he, God is a 
sovereign. He may do all he can to crush the revi- 
vings of religion among others, and then plaster over 
his conduct by saying, "If it be the work of God, such 
a poor creature as I cannot stop it. God is a sovereign ; 
if he means to convert sinners, he will do it, let me 
preach as I may." These ideas of soverei'gnty we do 
not understand ; nay, we exclude them, as having no 
foundation in the divine nature. 

4. We believe God has an elect^ a chosen people, on 
the earth, and by examining their character in Scripture, 


we find they are the same with believers j who have the 
Spirit of, Christ. But others speak of an elect number, 
who are yet strangers to Christ, dead in sin, and ser- 
vants of the devil. Now we are wholly ignorant of these 
elect people. We believe the word, when it says, "if 
any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." 
— Rom. viii. 9. And if Jesus Christ be not in us, we 
are reprobates. — 2 Cor. xiii. 5. As we believe that 
persons are elected through sanctification of the Spirit, 
and belief of the truth, so we call upon all to come to 
Christ, obtain his Spirit, and make their calling and elec- 
tion sure. 

5. We believe with all Christians, that the Holy 
Spirit, speaketh in the Scriptures. That the gospel is 
the power of God to salvation to every one that believ- 
eth. That those, and those only who believe the plain 
testimony of God, and through faith are drawn to the 
throne of grace, by that spirit which speaketh in the 
word, are created anew. And thus they are " born again, 
not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word 
of God, that liveth and abideth forever."' — 1 Peter i. 
23. Thus faith, though it has no holiness or merit in 
it, becomes a motive ; and is the proper means of di- 
vine appointment, in drawing sinners unto God, to re- 
ceive righteousness and true holiness. On this view of 
the subject, we see man a rational creature, a fit subject 
of moral government; we see the influence of motive, 
the word of God believed, which is the power of God, 
in drawing the soul into conformity unto God ; and all 
this effected by means of the divine testimony admitted 
into the heart, as true. We, therefore, consider faith 
as a simple idea, and as one and the same thing in 
every case; though its objects are as various as the 
things revealed in the Scriptures. 

But some talk of many different kinds of faith ; as his- 
torical faith, the faith of miracles, a temporary faith, and 
saving faith. Some again, have the faith of credence, 
(which by the way is all that is properly faith) the faith 
of adherence, the faith of reliance, the faith of assur- 


ance, &c. &c. By these distinctions they confound 
faith and its consequences ; which the Apostle calls the 
sealings of the spirit. Eph. i. 13 — ^'In whom after 
that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit 
of promise." Now, we neither know these distinctions 
of human invention, nor care any thing about them. — 
We do not bewilder the minds of our hearers with these 
subtle distinctions, which have no foundation in truth ; 
but we call them to come to God, believing that he is, 
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him ; that they may receive that unction from the holy 
One, whereby they may know all things. Some tell us 
that the word of God is a dead letter, until it is accom- 
panied by some exterior power. But we are assured, 
that Christ speaks truth, when he says, "The words that 
I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." — 
John vi. 63. Men do not receive the truth of the word 
or as it is indeed the word of God ; therefore it has no 
effect upon them. But when sinners believe it, we 
find it has power to make them cry aloud for mercy. 
6. A Christian is not of this world, he is born from 
above ; belongs to the family of Christ, is possessed of 
his spirit, and can be distinguished from the man of the 
world, by those properties only, which he has received 
from Christ, and in which he resembles his Divine Mas- 
ter. When, therefore, we describe true religion, we 
describe the various operations of the Spirit of Christ, 
in causing the soul to pant after God, rejoice in his love, 
follow holiness, resist the devil, overcome temptations, 
fight against all sin, joy in tribulations, cheerfully en- 
dure persecutions for the name of Christ, and in a word 
whatever are the genuine fruits of the Spirit of God. — 
In this description we pronounce those, and those only, 
the blessed of the Lord, the elect, &c., who have the 
Spirit of Christ. Other preachers will mention the 
same, as evidences of a Christian. But when they have 
done this, they do in effect destroy it all by bringing 
into the account the works of the flesh, as making part 
of the same character. When they describe the actings 


of grace, hypocrites and backsliders are brought to 
tremble, saying, if this only he religion^ we have none. 
But the preacher, who probably himself is in a declin- 
ing state, soon relieves their just distress, by a plaster 
of untempered mortar. A Christian, says he, may be 
dead, lifeless, cold and languid; God may leave him to 
his corruptions to humble him ; thus his unbelief, doubts 
and fears, may be according to the will of God, &c. — 
The hypocrite now takes courage, for though he has 
none of the genuine actings of grace, he abounds in the 
fruits of unbelief and the works of the flesh, which he 
hears also belong to the Christian. The backslider also 
takes encouragement to lie still in his sins. In these 
things we differ from many preachers ; for we cannot 
acknowledge any thing as belonging to the Christian, 
but what he receives from Christ. Other things come 
from the devil, to whom he must give no place. They 
are the works of the flesh, and not the fruits of the 
Spirit; and the soul that performs them, has its state 
plainly decided by the Apostle. Rom. vi. 16. — Know 
ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to 
obey, his servants ye are, whether of sin unto death, or 
of obedience unto righteousness. 

We might have proceeded farther to show, that this 
duplicity runs through all that system, which by some 
is called orthodox ; and have also pointed out the plain- 
ness and simplicity of the w^ord of God on these sub- 
jects. But these few observations are sufficient to show 
w^herein we differ from our brethren. This appears also 
in what has been said in the foregoing history and view 
of the gospel. For the charge of preaching false doc- 
trine arose at first from the want of that double-meaning, 
w^iich systematic writers have put on the plain doctrines 
of the Bible ; and from the neglect of these explana- 
tions of the precious promises of the gospel, which en- 
tirely destroy their signification. 

In the early stage of this business, those of us who 
w^ere in this strain of preaching, went on in the high- 
way of the Lord, where the way-faring men, though 


fools, should not err. The truths, which we believed 
and felt, we were willing at all times to illustrate, and 
enforce, for the instruction and satisfaction of our hear- 
ers. But we were backward to say any thing on those 
subjects we had neglected, lest we should be involved 
in controversy. But those who were fonder of dry 
doctrines than of the glorious work which God was car- 
rying on among us, being grieved that their favorite 
sentiments were neglected, dragged us, however unwil- 
ling, upon controverted ground. We were charged, as 
you have seen already, with endeavoring artfully to un- 
dermine these doctrines. And indeed we were not 
careful what became of any doctrine, which hindered 
sinners from coming to Christ. Our great concern was 
to follow the simplicity of the word, and to state the 
plain truth, as it is in Jesus. To avoid raising a flame 
of controversy, we said as little as possible concerning 
the Confession of Faith. But its vigilant friends could 
not bear to see some of its peculiar tenets neglected; 
while the Scripture doctrine of free salvation, through 
the blood of the Lamb, was proclaimed aloud to all, 
and drunk down by many, inflaming their hearts with 
the love of God, and demolishing the strong holds of 
Satan and of sin. They arose to preserve their belov- 
ed book, and its peculiarities from destruction. For by 
this time it began to be pretty evident, that if the 
wonderful work of reviving went on, it would soon 
sweep away the foundation on which the building stood, 
and overwhelm it in the ocean of redeeming love. — 
Their exertions awakened the attention of many, who 
were walking in the light and liberty of the gospel ; and 
they soon perceived the strain of these doctrines, and 
their contradiction to the spirit of the revival. Thus 
the conduct of the warm friends of the Confession, 
served only to expose its nakedness in the noon-day of 
gospel light; and excite the lovers of the revival to 
make direct opposition to it. For, however good the 
intention of its compilers was at first, it was brought 
forward at this crisis, as a weapon against the growing 


revival, which some thought was come to torment them 
before the time. But, blessed be God ! "wo weapon that 
is formed against Zion shall prosper, and every tongue 
that shall rise against her in judgment, she shall con- 
demn." And so we see in the case of this book. We 
bore wnth it, until we found it would be bound upon 
our consciences, and then we bid it adieu. 

That the reader may see we had solid reasons for 
slipping our necks out of the yoke of human tradition, 
we will proceed to state a few of our objections to 
creeds and confessions in general, and to the Westmin- 
ister Confession in particular. 


Through the subtilty of the enemy, the Christian 
church has long been divided into many different sects 
and parties. Each has a creed^ confession of faith or 
brief statement of doctrines, as a bond of union among 
its members, or rather a separating wall between itself 
and other societies. This is generally called the stand- 
ard of such a church. If the word standard has its 
true and usual signification, it imports that such a book 
is the pillar which supports it ; the foundation on which 
it stands ; or the rule by which it is formed, or regula- 
ted, both as to doctrine and practice. This sets aside 
the word of God, or at least binds the members of that 
particular society to imderstand the Scriptures as stated 
and explained in the Creed^ on pain of being accounted 
unsound in the faith, or excommunicated from the church. 
This is indeed bringing the w^ord of God to that stand- 
ard. The people have the privilege of reading the 
Scriptures to prove the standard to he right; but no priv- 
ilege to examine it by Scripture, and prove it to be 
wrong. For if any should do this, he forfeits his priv- 
ilege in that church, and must be cast out as a heretic. 
Or, if he chooses to withdraw, he must be excommuni- 
cated as a schismatic ; and all men warned to guard 
against him as a dangerous person. 


It is an established maxim, that when any law, or 
rule of conduct is authoritatively explained, the explana- 
tion is the law ; and we are necessarily bound to 
understand the original according to the explanation. 
A creed, or confession of faith, is considered both as a 
summary of the doctrines taught in the Bible, and an 
explanation of them. If it were left in its own place, 
to occupy the low ground of human opinion, it might do 
some good. But the moment it is received and adopted 
as a standard^ it assumes the place of the Bible ; it is 
the explanation, according to which we must under- 
stand the original law, the word of the living God. 
If such a church is founded on the Scriptures, it is not 
immediately ; but by means of this standard^ or pillar. 
But if there is a mistake in the business, and any part of 
the pretended standard^ or pillar should not be founded 
on the rock, will not the whole church tumble to the 
ground ? Is it not better to clear away all the rubbish, of 
human opmions, and build the church immediately on 
the rock of ages, the sure foundation which God has 
laid in Zion? 

But some, to avoid the odium of setting up their 
creed, in place of the Bible, call it an impei'fect standard. 
This is a contradiction in terms ; ?i foundation, that is 
unsound, and not to be trusted ; a pillar which is shat- 
tered and will let the building fall, unless it has some- 
thing else to support it; a rule which is imperfect, and 
consequently no rule at all ; because every thing which 
is made by it will certainly be wrong. If God had not 
given us a perfect rule, we might have some excuse for 
working with a crooked one of human make. But is 
it not strange that this standard, confessedly imperfect, 
should be set before the Scriptures, which are perfect? 
so that if any should happen to understand tJiem differ- 
ently from it, he must go out of the synagogue. 

If it is imperfect, we must see the pefect word of 
God differently from it, or be in error. Would it not 
be better, to commit this book, which has been so long 
idolized, to the moles, and to the bats ; and take the 


infallible word of God ; ask and obtain his Spirit to 
understand and practise it? Others again more modest, 
call creeds and confessions, Helps. But strange and 
unnatural as it may appear, the help stands first in point 
of orthodoxy. For a rnan may be permitted to explain 
many passages of Scripture differently from his fellows ; 
but if he rejects the common acceptation of one article 
of this help^ he is at once proclaimed a heretic^ without 
ever trying his doctrine by the word of God. God has 
not recommended any help to understand the Scripture, 
but his Spirit of wisdom, which he gives liberally to 
them that ask. Recommending a help^ implies that the 
Scriptures are not sufficiently plain, and that men can 
remedy that defect ; — that God will not give his holy 
Spirit, or that it is easier to obtain help from man, than 
from God. And indeed, many seem to have acted upon 
this principle ; for human authors have been gathered 
up, and constantly consulted; while the Bible has been 
laid by as almost useless. Many have thought that by 
such helps they could enter into the spirit of the Scrip- 
tures. But this is a mistake. Spiritual things can 
never be understood, until we submit to the teachings 
of God, by believing in Jesus. Then the Spirit of 
Christ leads the soul, experimentally into those heavenly 
truths, and gives him ideas, which he could not obtain 
otherwise ; even though he had all the creeds, and 
confessions in the world to help him. These helps^ 
while they endeavor to make those understand the 
exercises of religion, who never experienced them, 
generally explain away the spirituality of the Scriptures, 
to accommodate them to carnal reason. If a man 
learns the words of the help^ and can converse well on 
the subjects of which it treats, he is pronounced ortho- 
dox. And the votaries of such helps will receive him, 
as sound in the faith, though he give no satisfactory 
evidence of real, living religion : while one confessedly 
pious is rejected, because he cannot subscribe that 
particular creed. Thus these creeds, help to split the 
real church of Christ, keep asunder the truly pious, 


and prevent that union, which would otherwise take 
place among the real lovers of religion. That real 
Christians would be united, if human creeds were laid 
aside, is evident ; because we find, that such do agree, 
on practical religion, when they enjoy the Spirit of 
Christ. And wherever this revival is going on with 
life and power, as in Cumberland, and some other places, 
there Christians of different societies, losing sight of 
their creeds^ confessions^ standards^ helps^ and all those 
speculations which enter not into the religion of the 
heart, flock together, as members of one body, knit by 
one spirit. And thus assist, and encourage each other, 
in their common pilgrimage to the heavenly Canaan. 

But these human aids fail to attain the end designed 
by them, that is unity. For people soon begin to 
dispute as much about the meaning of their creeds, as 
about the Scriptures. And any unity which they do 
preserve, is like its source, human, barren, unsavory; 
not like that sweet union of soul, which is produced 
by the Spirit of God, living in his people. Indeed 
they are only sorry shifts, to supply the want of "the 
unity of the Spirit, and bond of peace." Say, ye that 
love the Lord, what is it that unites you together? Is 
it a creed^ or the living Spirit of the crucified Jesus? 

Some think it not possible for a church to subsist, 
without a confession of faith. But we think they betray 
their ignorance, of the uniting, cementing power of 
living religion. They will tell you, if Christians had 
always the Spirit of Christ in plentiful effusions, they 
would not need those aids, which are so necessary, in 
times of deadness. But we answer, Christ never 
allowed his church to be without his Spirit, which he 
gives liberally, and upbraideth not. Therefore he has 
made no provision for such a scarcity of his Spirit, as is 
caused by the indolence of professors. He provided 
no armour for the back, because he never allowed his 
followers to turn their backs to the enemy, but to go on 
from conquering to conquer. The Roman Catholics 
say, they use their images only as helps, to enliven 


their faith. But we believe they are a hindrance, 
instead of a help, and keep the soul away from God. 
Thus we conceive that confessions of faith, keep the 
soul away from the word of God. These things we 
know by experience. That book never helped, but 
hindered our faith. When we neglected it and 
followed the Spirit of God, in his word, our minds 
were enlightened, and our souls were quickened. But 
when we compared this light, with the confession, they 
would not agree. We could not withstand God. We 
chose to hearken to God, rather than men ; and there- 
fore, have taken our leave of that book. 

The preceding remarks make it evident, that if the 
book in question, were as perfect as it could be formed 
by men, it should be rejected as a standard. Or, in 
other words, that no such standard should be adopted. 
But we conceive it is very defective, and ought not to 
be received, even if the practice of owning and sub- 
scribing human creeds, were right and Scriptural. We 
shall now proceed to mention a few of those defects. 


1. The whole tenor of Scripture shows that man is 
made as the mouth of creation, to glorify God in an 
active manner; that knowing his nature, perfections, 
and astonishing works, he should render due praise to 
the divine name ; and employ all his powers of body 
and mind, in doing the will of God. And it is also 
evident, that as he is to serve God, so he is made to 
enjoy him forever ; and that nothing whatever, can fill, 
or satisfy the mind, but God himself. So say the 
larger and shorter catechisms: Quest. 1. "The chief 
end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever." 
As every wise man, when he forms or executes any 
plan, has some suitable end in view ; so God proposed 
this glorious end, when he made man. And thus we 
see the folly and madness of sin, in opposing the plan 
and will of God ; robbing him of his due, and render- 
ing miserable, the noblest creature of his hands. 


But in contradiction to this Scriptural and rational 
view of the matter, the Confession asserts, chap. 3. 
sec. 1, that '^God, from all eternity ordains whatso- 
ever comes to pass." All sinful thoughts, words, and 
actions come to pass ; therefore they were ordained 
from all eternity. Again, in chap. 6. sec. 1, it says, 
*' This their sin (the sin of our first parents) God was 
pleased, according to his wise, and holy counsel, to 
permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory." 
We see here that God permits sin ; that it makes a part 
of his purposed plan. For if he had any plan in view, 
surely his own glory must constitute a part of that plan. 
He purposed, then, according to the Confession, from 
all eternity, to ordain sin to his own glory. Therefore, 
from all eternity, sin made a part of his ordained plan. 
Again, he permits sin, nay more than permits it, accord- 
ing to chap. 5. sec. 4 — "The Almighty power, &c., 
of God, extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all 
other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare 
permission, — ordering and governing them — to his own 
wise and holy ends." If then sin be permitted ; if it 
be ordained from all eternity, how can it oppose the 
purpose, end, and design of God, in making man ? It 
makes a necessary part of his plan ; for he ordained it 
before it took place. It must therefore be in confor- 
mity to his will. If sin be ordained, its consequences 
are ordained also. And this we find expressly declared 
in chap. 3. sec. 3, 4 — ** By the decree of God — some 
men are foreordained to everlasting death. These men 
thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly 
and unchangeably designed," for that very purpose. If 
then a number of men, and a great number too, were 
eternally and unchangeably foreordained to everlasting 
deaths this w^as certainly the design and end of their 
existence in time, and they could not be created to 
glorify and enjoy God. For this would be a design 
and end contrary to their eternal predestination. Here 
then are flat contradictions, wholly irreconcilable. As 
therefore, we believe the former, that God made man 


to glorify and enjoy him forever ; so we must deny the 
latter; nay we reject it with abhorrence, as destroying 
the difference between good and evil ; and as setting 
the most holy God at the head of all the sins committed 
in the world. For, unchangeably to ordain a wicked 
action, and not be in some sense the author of sin, 
appears to us, utterly impossible. The Confession tells 
you. Shorter Cat. ques. 8, that " God executes his 
own decrees.''^ We grant that God ordains whatsoever he 
brings to pass. But he does not bring sin to pass. 
Therefore, he does not ordain it. Neither did he ever 
permit, but expressly prohibited sin, and that under the 
penalty of death. He foresaw sin; for there is nothing 
hid from his omniscient eye. But his foreknowledge is 
not the rule of his decrees. He decrees nothing 
because he foresees it, but he decrees righteous judg- 
ment. He can only decree to do what is right : for 
wickedness is an abomination to the Lord. It is right 
that virtue should be rew^arded, and vice punished. 
Therefore he decrees to reward the one and punish the 
other. He decreed to reward the obedience of Adam, 
with the enjoyment of himself, if he had stood. And 
the happiness of his posterity would have followed of 
course, as the consequence of his obedience. He 
decreed to reward the obedience of Christ, and all who 
believe in him, with everlasting happiness. But these 
things were not decreed because he foresaw they 
would take place. For the contrary in the case of 
Adam was foreseen. But they are decreed, because it 
is fit and right, in a perfect God, the Governor of the 
Universe, so to act. 

God foresaw that man would fall, through the temp- 
tation of the devil. But, as we have seen already, he 
did not decree it, but straitly forbid it, under the sever- 
est penalty. He foresaw one thing, and decreed ano- 
ther. He foresaw the fall, and decreed to send his Son to 
die for man, that whosoever believeth on him, should 
not perish, but have everlasting life. He foresaw that 
many would reject Christ, through unbelief; and he de- 


creed to send them to perdition ; he that believeth not 
shall be damned. 

2. We are commissioned, and authorized to go into 
all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 
Mark xvi. 15. To offer Christ and all the blessings of 
the new covenant, to every sinner we find ; to assure 
them that all things in Christ are now ready; that God 
is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not im- 
puting their trespasses unto them ; and to beseech them 
in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God, &c. 

This plain Scripture doctrine, which is the sum of 
the whole gospel, is signified in the Confession. Chap. 

7, sec. 3 — "He freely offereth to sinners life and salva- 
tion by Jesus Christ." And chap. 10, sec. 4 — "Others 
not elected — may be called by the ministry of the word," 
&c. But notwithstanding the sincere offer of salvation, 
which God makes in his word, to all who hear the gos- 
pel, this same Confession declares, that all these bless- 
ings were provided for a certain numbe?' only, to whom 
they are, or shall be certainly applied ; and cannot pos- 
sibly be given to any other, although they are offered to 
all in the most plausible and friendly manner. See chap. 

8, sec. 1 — "It pleased God to choose the Lord Jesus 
■ — unto whom he did — -from all eternity give a people 
to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, call- 
ed, justified, sanctified and glorified." And sec. 5 — 
*'The Lord Jesus by his perfect obedience, and sacrifice 
of himself, which he through the Eternal Spirit once of- 
fered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of his 
Father, and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an 
everlastinoj inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for all 
those whom the Father hath given unto him." And 
sec. 8 — "To all those for whom Christ hath purchased 
redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and 
communicate the same^ And chap. 3, sec. 3, 4, 5, but 
especially section 6 — "They who are elected, being 
fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually 
called unto faith in Christ, by his Spirit working in due 
season; are justified and adopted, sanctified and kept 


by his power through faith unto salvation. JYeither are 
any other redeemed by Christ, Sfc, but the elect onlyy — 
And "Their number is so certain and definite (not mere- 
ly in the foreknowledge of God, but in his decree) that 
it cannot be either increased, or diminished." Now let 
any serious mind, which has not from infancy been pre- 
possessed in favor of this contradictory system, say 
what is the meaning of the general call and offer of sal- 
vation, to those not elected, nor redeemed ; to those 
eternally passed by, and unchangeably foreordained to 
dishonor and wrath'? Is it not a mere sham, insincere, 
and useless? Let God be true, but every man that con- 
tradicts him, a liar. 

We are not the only Presbyterians who view the doc- 
trine of Atonement different from the Confession. — 
We know a number who believe, that Christ's satisfac- 
tion is as extensive as the requirements of the law. So 
that God can consistently with law and justice, extend 
mercy to all indiscriminately, who hear the gospel, upon 
their compliance with the terms of it. Because Christ 
has removed every legal obstruction out of the way ; 
which is the same thing as to say, "he gave himself a 
ransom for all, and tasted death for every man." But 
with what consistency they can differ from the Confes- 
sion in so important a point, and yet hold it to be a 
standard, we leave for others to determine ; and also 
how they can reconcile eternal election and reprobation 
with general redemption. 

3. The whole tenor of Scripture declares, that man- 
kind are in a state of trial in this world ; life and death 
being set before them, they are called to choose which 
they will have. God addresses them in such language 
as this — "Turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye 
die } " They who believe, are saved by free grace ; 
but they who disbelieve are condemned for rejecting 
that salvation so richly provided, and so freely offered 
them in Christ. And there is an approaching judgment, 
when all believers shall be caught up to meet the Lord 
in the air, and to celebrate the praises of him, "who 


loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own 
blood." But stubborn unbelievers shall be banished 
into "the blackness of darkness forever," there to la- 
ment their folly and madness in refusing that life, which 
was so freely and so abundantly offered. 

We who administer in holy things, are called of God 
to warn sinners of their danger, and exhort them to 
prepare for that awful crisis. The Confession of Faith 
expressly declares the same thing; chap. 33, section 1. 
"AH persons that have lived upon earth, shall appear 
before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of 
their thoughts, words and deeds, and to receive accord- 
ing to what they have done in the body, whether good 
or evil." And yet the same Confession positively de- 
clares, chapter 3, section 5 — "That the final state of all 
men was irreversibly fixed from all eternity, before they 
had a being; one part being given to Christ from eter- 
nity, redeemed by him, and made meet for heaven in time. 
Nay, they were 'chosen in Christ' from eternity "unto 
everlasting glory, without any foresight of faith, or good 
works, or perseverance in either of them." But the 
other part was passed by in their sins, and ordained to 
dishonor and wrath ; left in their hopeless state, without 
any provision made for their recovery. They were 
born under the curse, and no possible way to remove it. 
Sinners by nature, who could do nothing but sin. For 
according to chap. 9, sec. 3, they have "wholly lost all 
ability of will to any spiritual good, accompanying sal- 
vation." And again, chap. 5, sec. 6 — "From them 
he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they 
might have been enlightened in their understandings, 
and wrought upon in their hearts, but sometimes also 
withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth 
them to such objects as their own corruption makes 
occasions of sin ; and withal gives them over to their 
own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power 
of Satan." And it further tells you, chap. 3, section 7, 
that he does all this, "for the glory of his sovereign 
power over his creatures." For there is no cause, say 


some divines, why one is taken and another left, but the 
sovereign will of God. This fixes the point at once. 
Men are no more in a state of trial in this world ; nay, 
there never was one of the human family, in this state, 
not even Adam and Eve. For the fate of all was eter- 
nally and unchangeably fixed before they had a being. 
The human family, therefore, are only brought upon the 
stage to show what God will do in them, with them, 
and by them. All fill up the place assigned them, and 
act the part which God designed for them. There can, 
therefore, be no proper judgment in the last day. It 
will only be a pompous show. There can be no trial, 
no condemnation. For no cause can be assigned for 
acquitting one, and condemning another, but the sover- 
eign will of the judge : because each one has filled up 
the secret will and determination of God respecting 
him. Where shall we end, if we follow this scheme 
of sovereign arbitrary wrath'^ But the Scriptures give 
us a very different statement : " Because I called and 
ye refused ; I have stretched out my hand, and no man 
regarded," &c. — Prov. i. 24, &c. Is it not right to 
beg off from being tried by such a crooked rule as this? 
A. composition of contradictions. 

4. According to this book, sin is a necessary part of 
God's plan, ch. 5. sec. 4. and ch. 4. sec. 1. He permitted 
the fall, and all other sins of men and angels. But, as we 
have observed already, the Scripture says he did not per- 
mit the fall, but forbade it by the severest penalty. The 
word permit must be taken in a very unnatural sense, 
or else the assertion is absolutely false. But it further 
adds, chap. 5. 5 — "That God doth oftentimes leave his 
own children to the corruptions of their own hearts, to 
chastise them for former sins, humble them, make them 
live near the Lord ; and for other holy ends. Sin then 
is not so dreadful a thing, nor so hateful to God as the 
Scripture represents ; seeing it is oftentimes the Lord's 
instrument in carrying on his work of grace, in the 
hearts of his own children. We may, then, lie down 
in unbelief, deadness, hardness of heart, coldness, a 



worldly spirit, or w'hatever else is the effect of the 
corruptions of the heart let loose; and believe it is the 
will of God we should be so, though in the sense of 
Scripture, we are reprobates, not having the Spirit of 
Christ. We believe many do so ; we know it by our 
own experience, and have seen others in the same 
situation, who had lost their first love, and were drag- 
ging out a dying life, without the present exercises of 
religion. But through divine grace, many such have 
seen that they were opposing the will of God, and 
acting according to the will of the devil. Having earn- 
estly addressed the throne of grace, they have found the 
piece which was lost ; and have called their friends to 
rejoice with them. Some are yet in that dreadful state 
of declension, preaching up that heaven will be so 
much the sweeter, when they arrive there, by how 
much the less they have of it here ; and are sheltering 
themselves from guilt under this lying pretext, that it is 
the Lord's will they should be so. " My soul, come 
not thou into their secret ; unto their assembly, mine 
honor, be not thou united!'' 

5. The Confession declares, larger cat. quest. 32. 
That " God freely provideth, and offereth to sinners a 
Mediator, requiring faith as the condition, to interest 
them in him ; promising and giving his holy Spirit to 
all his elect, to work in them that faith'''' &c. And 
chap. 7. sec. 3 — "He freely offereth unto sinners life 
and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith 
in him, that they may be saved ; and promising to give 
unto all those that are ordained unto life his holy Spirit, 
to make them willing, and able to helieve.^"^ Chap. 10. 
4 — " Others not elected, although they may be called 
by the ministry of the word, and may have some com- 
mon operations of the Spirit ; yet they never truly 
come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved." And 
larger cat. ques. 68 — " All the elect, and they only, are 
elFectually called ; although others may be and often 
are outwardly called by the ministry of the word, and 
have some common operations of the Spirit ; who for 


their wilful neglect and contempt of the grace offered 
to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never 
truly come to Jesus Christ.'' These are extraordinary 
passages, considered in connection with the above sys- 
tem. Life and salvation are offered to the iion-elect ! — 
The gospel is preached to them, and faith in Christ re- 
quh'ed of them ! ! 

What does God require them to believe } That 
Christ died for them ? This were to require them to 
believe a lie, according to the Confession ; for he died 
only for the elect. Are they to believe that God is will- 
ing to save them, and not willing they should be lost? 
Certainly not. For his secret will and deter raination is, 
and has eternally been, that they should be passed by in 
their sins, and perish. But it may be said they do not 
know this secret will of God. But they are informed 
he has this secret will, in opposition to the general pro- 
clamation of grace. They hear there is mercy for the 
elect only ; and they cannot possibly believe it is for 
them, until they kno^y they are of that number. There 
is no proposition they can possibly believe, but that 
Christ died for somebody, but for whom, the Lord only 
knows. To creatures under the influence of these sen- 
timents, faith is impossible. It is impossible to believe 
without testimony, and it is impossible to influence the 
human mind without motive. This doctrine therefore, 
believed, renders the gospel of the grace of God, in 
vain. Or, if by faith they mean trusting in mercy, 
this is as impossible as the former. The sinner is told, 
that God offers him mercy. I cannot trust in it, says 
he, unless I know I am one of the elect. For God only 
intends it for them. But, says the Calvinist, you have 
no business with his secret wall ; take his revealed will 
and trust in his mercy. . The sinner replies, you tell 
me, as the revealed will of God (for if it is not revealed 
you know nothing about it) that he has mercy only for a 
certain number. If this be true, the offer you call his 
revealed will, must be a sham — there must be some trick 
in it — the Lord does not mean just as he says. He 


might as well have required the Tion-elect to create a 
world, that they might be saved, as to believe in Christ 
on these principles ; seeing there is no evidence on 
which such a faith can be founded. And indeed those 
divines grant, that the non-elect cannot believe, because 
God gives them only the common operations of the 
Spirit, while he promises and gives his Holy Spirit to 
the elect to make them able and willing to believe. Thus 
God suspends the eternal all^ of poor sinners, upon an 
impossible coiidition ; withholds the grace from them, 
which could enable them to fulfil it; and damns them 
eternally for not believing a lie ! ! 

May God keep such horrid jargon from the ears of 
poor sinners, until they have made their calling and 
election sure, by believing in Jesus! And through the 
aid of that Spirit, which he gives to all who ask in 
faith, may they add to their faith, virtue, knowledge, 
temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and 

When we set before sinners the plain testimony of 
God, that he hath given us eternal life, and this life is in 
his Son ; that Christ hath made a complete Atonement; 
that the divine law and justice are satisfied, and through 
the blood of the Lamb, God will save all, who come — 
their faith is easy. It has for its foundation the word 
of a God that cannot lie. The sinner who believes, 
and incessantly addresses the throne of grace, has the 
veracity of God pledged, that he shall receive his Holy 
Spirit, and be saved. "For whosoever shall call on 
the name of the Lord shall be saved." 

We might have proceeded to make other remarks on 
the Confession of Faith ; but those we have made may 
serve as a specimen. The reader will perceive that, in 
our opinion, we had good reasons for rejecting it as our 
judge ^ and for appealing to the word of God. But we 
neither did, nor do we now, make the exceptionable 
parts of it, a term of communion. We are sensible 
that many of the pious have adhered to it, and do still 
adhere. But we believe that it will not much longer 


bear the increasing light of the gospel. We doubt not 
but it will be given to tlie moles, and to the bats, for 
fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. But 
notwithstanding we view this book, so exceptionable, 
in present circumstances, we would have borne with it; 
provided its warm friends would have borne with us. 
This however, they were not willing to do. It was cried 
up as the standard of the church, and we were urged 
to give our objections against it. This we have now 
done, and we leave it to the impartial reader, to judge 
whether they are well or ill founded. It may appear to 
some, notwithstanding what we have said, that our op- 
position to human creeds and confessions, is expressed 
with a view to make way for one of our own. We 
shall, therefore, the more openly and candidly address 
ourselves to Christian brethren, of every society, who 
may peruse this publication. 

Brethren, we are conscious to ourselves, that we have 
not written these things to draw away disciples after us. 
We are willing that every man should abide in the same 
church, in which he was called ; and that we strive 
together for the faith of the gospel. We have been, 
and expect to be censured for changing our sentiments 
— represented as unsteady and wavering in our princi- 
ples. But we know him who hath said, "Prove all 
things — hold fast that which is good." 

The sentiments we oppose we have fully tested, and 
are convinced they stand not in the power of God, but 
in the wisdom of men. Whenever religion revives, the 
church is inclined to forget them. And if Zion's watch- 
men were universally to partake of the reviving spirit, 
they would not only lose sight of them, but soon de- 
sert them. The lively Christian wants a scheme of 
doctrine, that will always set the Lord before his face, 
and afford him matter of continual joy and praise. The 
first breathings of divine life are often checked by those 
who are fond of system., in order to preserve uniformity 
in the church. Thus the living must be slain, that they 
may hold communion with the dead. You will be told 


it is dangerous to indulge your feelings too long, lest 
you run into dangerous errors. You must be indoctrin- 
ated, in order to become steady Christians. You must 
learn the system, and when you have done it, where 
are you.'' In doubts, fears, and difficulties. You now 
perceive, that in many things you were mistaken, in the 
exercises of your first love. You now presume, you 
were then fools. And yet strange as it may appear, you 
would give the world to be such fools again. When 
you felt the love of God shed abroad in your hearts, by 
the Holy Spirit, you thought grace was infiiiitely free to 
the world ; and were astonished that every one did not 
see and feel it ; that all were not praising God and the 
Lamb. But now you see that you were mistaken ; grace 
is a partial thing. When you were a fool, you wonder- 
ed at the unbelief of sinners ; were distressed that they 
rejected the Saviour; — were certain if they perished, 
they were wholly to blame. But now you are more 
consistent ; you can excuse them a little. "Poor things, 
they are dead, and cannot perform one vital act;'' " they 
are blind and cannot see," &c. And now if any hard 
thoughts are to be indulged, they must be turned against 
the God of love. Thus as far as you apologize for the 
careless sinner, you grow shy of God, and imbibe the 
spirit of the railing thief, "If thou be the Christ, save 
thyself and us." 

We have now gone through what we intended in this 
publication. And tho' we have endeavored to express 
our ideas clearly ; yet it is probable, on some points, 
they are not so clear as to remove all difficulties from 
the minds of some, who are sincerely desiring to know 
the truth, and who may in general, agree with us, in 
sentiment. We are sensible that our ideas on the im 
portant doctrines of the gospel, are somewhat different 
from those of many of our brethren, whom we love in 
our Lord Jesus Christ. As we have already said, they 
have censured us, and probably will continue to censure ; 
but we bear it patiently. We endeavor, and ex- 
hort others, to exercise charity and forbearance. We 


have this consolation, that those who have the Spirit of 
Christ, yet love us ; and have the same end in view, 
viz: That God may be glorified, and truth universally 
prevail. Let us not be wise in our own conceit. Let 
us search the Scriptures with humble dependence on 
God, believing that the truths necessary for us to know 
are therein contained ; and that it is certainly the will of 
God we should know the truth, and that the truth should 
make us free. Let us unite our prayers for the univer- 
sal spread of the glorious gospel ; and for the building 
up of the kingdom of our Redeemer. Let us ask in 
faith, nothing wavering ; for he is faithful who has 
promised, who also will do it. 

Now to him that is able to keep us from falling, and 
to present us faultless before the throne of his glory, with 
exceeding joy ; to God, our Saviour, be glory, honor, 
dominion, power and praise, now, and forever. Amen. 




His character — as a Husband — Father — Neighbor — He was just — gentle 
— Disliked controversy — Loved peace. 

1. B. W. Stone possessed all the elements of a truly- 
great and good man. In the domestic and private 
■walks of life, where men act under least restraint — 
"where they develope their true principles, there he shone 
with peculiar lustre, as the imbodiment of every private 
and domestic virtue. As a husband, he was kind, de- 
voted, tender, obliging, faithful ; as a father, he was 
fond and attentive ; he lived to promote the happiness 
of his family. Never man loved the domestic circle 
more than he. He carefully brought up his children in 
the nurture and admonition of the Lord ; night and 
morning asking the divine blessing upon his family, and 
committing and commending himself and them to the 
care and protection of the Heavenly Father. His ^vas 
truly a house of prayer — his a Joshua's Resolution : "As 
for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The 
"writer of this sketch was much about the house of the 
venerated Stone, for many, many years ; and it affords 
him peculiar pleasure to say, he never heard him speak 
a harsh or unkind word to any member of his family ; 
nor does he remember to have seen him angry, during 
an acquaintance of a quarter of a century. In patience 
he possessed his soul. He had learned in the school 



of Christ the invaluable art of self-government. For 
he knew that *'he that hath no rule over his own spirit, 
is like a city broken down, and without walls;" already 
almost ruined by the violence of his passions and ap- 
petites : and constantly exposed to utter destruction : 
while "he who ruleth his own spirit, is better than he 
who taketh a city." Yes, infinitely better. For while 
the great military chieftain may imbody and direct the 
physical courage and power of a people to deeds of 
noble daring and glory, as the world would call them, 
and his name may be emblazoned in letters of gold in 
the highest niche in the temple of fame ; may be re- 
corded by the first historians on many a bright page of 
his country's history, and sung in loftiest strains of the 
most gifted poets, still he may be the slave of unhal- 
lowed ambition, tossed upon the raging billows of his 
passions ; and in Heaven's estimation, no better than a 
robber and murderer on a large scale : so true is it, that 
that which is highly esteemed among men, is often an 
abomination to God. 

2. B. W. Stone, as a neighbor, was universally loved. 
On this subject the writer speaks advisedly. If he ever 
had a personal enemy, he knows it not. The goodness 
of his heart, the sweetness of his manners, his cheer- 
fulness, his quiet, peaceable, and obliging deportment, 
greatly endeared him to those amongst whom he lived. 

3. He was scrupulously just in his dealings. His 
motto was, " Owe no man any thing."*^ And though 
from necessity he was sometimes obliged to go in debt, 
he did it cautiously. He felt that as a man, as a Chris- 
tian, and above all, that as a preacher, he would feel 
himself disgraced not to make every possible eflTort to 
meet every promise : nor is it believed he ever failed, 


in a long life, to meet every engagement to the satis- 
faction of all concerned. In this respect, he was a 
model for preachers and all others. If, as has been 
beautifully sung, "An honest man's the noblest work 
of God," then, to the fullest extent, all this nobility at- 
taches to the subject of this sketch. Would to heaven 
that the preachers, young and old, and all others, could 
be induced to imitate the example of this venerable man 
of God, in this cardinal virtue ! Alas ! what multitudes 
disgrace themselves, and ruin, or greatly injure their 
influence, for want of it. 

4. He possessed a gentle, meek, and quiet spirit, 
which, in the sight of God, is of great price. The law 
of love was in his heart, the law of kindness was on his 
tongue. He exhibited in all his social intercourse, an 
ease, a suavity and an elegance of manners which be- 
speak the perfect Christian gentleman. That gentleness 
of which we are speaking, and which shone so illustri- 
ously in the life of our beloved Father in Israel, (to 
adopt the language of an elegant and solid writer of the 
last century,) "is to be carefully distinguished from the 
mean compliance, and fawning assent of sycophants. 
It renounces no just right from fear. It gives up no 
important truth from flattery. It is, indeed, not only 
consistent with a firm mind, but it necessarily requires 
a manly spirit, and a fixed principle, in order to give it 
any real value. It stands opposed, not to the most de- 
termined regard for virtue and truth, but to harshness 
and severity, to pride and arrogance, to violence and 
oppression. It is properly that part of the great virtue 
of charity which makes us unwilling to give pain to our 
brethren. Compassion prompts us to relieve their 
wants. Forbearance prevents us from retaliating their 


injuries. Meekness restrains our angry passions ; can- 
dor our severe judgments. Gentleness corrects what- 
ever is offensive in our manners ; and by a constant 
train of humane attentions, studies to alleviate the bur- 
den of common misery. 

*'I must warn you, however, not to confound this gentle 
wisdom which is from above, with that artificial courtesy, 
that studied smoothness of manners, which is learned 
in the school of the world. Such accomplishments the 
most frivolous and empty may possess. Too often they 
are employed by the artful as a snare ; too often affected 
by the hard and unfeeling, as a cover to the baseness 
of their minds. We cannot, at the same time, avoid 
observino: the homao^e which even in such instances the 
w^orld is constrained to pay to virtue. Virtue is the 
universal charm. Even its shadow is courted, when 
the substance is wanting. But that gentleness which is 
the characteristic of a good man, has, like every other 
virtue, its seat in the heart. And, let me add, nothing 
except what flows from the heart, can render even ex- 
ternal manners truly pleasing. In that unaffected civility 
which springs from a gentle mind, there is a charm infi- 
nitely more powerful than all the studied manners of the 
most finished courtier. 

" True gentleness is founded on a sense of what we 
owe to him who made us, and to the common nature 
of which we all share. It arises from reflecting on our 
own failings and wants ; and from just views of the 
condition and duty of man. It is native feeling, height- 
ened and improved by principle. It is the heart which 
easily relents ; which feels for every thing that is hu- 
man ; and is backward and slow to inflict the least 
wound. It is affable in its address, and mild in its de- 


meanor ; ever ready to oblige, and willing to be obliged 
by others ; breathing habitual kindness towards friends, 
courtesy to strangers, long-suffering to enemies. It 
exercises authority with moderation ; administers re- 
proofs with tenderness ; confers favors with ease and 
modesty. It is unassuming in opinion, and temperate 
in zeal. It contends not eagerly about trifles ; slow to 
contradict, and still slower to blame ; but prompt to 
allay dissension and restore peace. It delights, above 
all things, to alleviate distress, and if it cannot dry up 
the falling tear, to soothe at least the grieving heart. It 
seeks to please, rather than to shine and dazzle ; and 
conceals with care that superiority, either of talents or 
rank, which is oppressive to those beneath it. In a 
word, it is that spirit, and that tenor of manners which 
the gospel of Christ enjoins, when it commands us to 
hear one another^s burdens ; to rejoice with those who re- 
joice, and to weep with those who weep ; to please every 
one his neighbor for his good; to be kind and tender- 
hearted ; to be pitiful and courteous ; to support the weak 
and to be patient towards all men^ 

I need scarcely say that, had the author of this beau- 
tiful extract known the subject of these remarks per- 
sonally, he could not have delineated more graphically 
than he has here done, this feature of his character. 

5. He disliked controversy, and delighted in peace 
and practical godliness. This I know is disputed. He 
has been represented as fond of controversy — a man of 
war from his youth up. Never was a charge more un- 
founded. True, he was considerably engaged in con- 
troversy — but the long and intimate acquaintance of the 
writer with him, forces upon him the conviction, that he 
engaged in it only from a sense of duty ; that it was 


always repugnant to his very kindly and social disposi- 
tion. He was overwhelmed with the conviction that 
the church can never harmonize upon any human plat- 
form — that all her efforts for fifteen centuries to promote 
unity and uniformity, by means of human tests, have been 
worse than useless ; utter abortions ; nay^ promotive of 
the very evil they were intended to remove. He, there- 
fore, from a sense of duty, went against all human tests; 
and contended earnestly for that faith and piety, once 
delivered to, and enjoyed by the saints, as the only true 
grounds and means of Christian union, and universal 
peace. Not from a love of controversy then, did the 
venerable Stone engage in it, but from a sense of duty 
to God — to the church — to the world ; from the love of 
truth, and an ardent desire to bring about universal 
Christian union and peace. 

I appeal to his controversial writings as a witness for 
me here. Let the spirit in which they were written, be 
compared with the spirit in which they were met by 
his opponents ; and the contrast is most palpable. 

Attacked, as he was, from every quarter, and loaded 
with almost every opprobrious epithet, that knowledge 
could muster, or bad faith apply ; denounced from the 
pulpit and the press ; on the high-way and by the so- 
cial hearth, as an Atheist, Deist, Heretic, Schismatic, 
Disorganizer, Arian, Socinian, Pelagian, Agent of Hell, 
Minister of Satan — the seed of the Serpent; his teach- 
ing the doctrine of devils — damnable heresy; he had 
every possible temptation to indulge in bitterness of 
feeling and language towards his opponents ; and he 
must have been more than mortal, never to have retort- 
ed upon them. Yet any one who will read his contro- 
versial writings, cannot fail to discover that a spirit of 


candor, of kindness and good feeling greatly abounds 
in them. The rising generations know little of the trials 
and difficulties that good man had to encounter. Well 
does the writer remember, the efforts that were made, 
near 28 years ago, by professors of religion, whom he 
loved, and to whom he looked up for direction, to pre- 
judice his mind against that good man. He was told 
that B. W. Stone was a Socinian — made Christ a mere 
man — that he denied the Atonement — considering the 
blood of Christ of no more avail than the blood of a 
chicken, or a goat. That these sentiments were stated 
in his writings. These things staggered him. In the 
mean time, hearing of these misrepresentations of his 
views, B. W. Stone sent an appointment to preach in 
our village in explanation and vindication of them. — 
To his astonishment, those who had given him such a 
fearful account of his heresy, were not disposed to hear 
him, and did what they could to prevent the writer from 
going. They said, you will certainly be taken in — that 
he is a very plausible and insinuating preacher — that 
you will be sure to be pleased ; for said they, he keeps 
back his true principles ! Such were the weapons used 
to destroy the influence of that holy man. ^*The presses 
were employed (says B. W. Stone) and teemed forth 
pamphlets against us, full of misrepresentation and in- 
vective, and the pulpits every where echoed their con- 
tents. These pamphlets and harangues against us, ex- 
cited enquiry and conviction in the minds of many, and 
greatly conduced to spread our views. The arguments 
against us were clothed with such bitter words, and 
hard speeches, that many serious and pious minds were 
disgusted and offended with their authors, and were 

An anecdote 


will show the spirit in which many opposed B. W. 
Stone. An old gentleman belonging to a very respect- 
able and popular sect, whose employment was to sell 
books, gave me a call. I proposed giving him some 
of Mr. Stone's writings, for some of his books. He 
was offended, and said in great excitement, ''Mr. Stone's 
books ought all to be put in a pile, and burned, and he 
in the middle of them." What a sentiment for an 
American, a Republican, a Christian ! How utterly un- 
worthy this country, and this age ! Worthy the worst 
men, and the worst times of Papal ignorance, corrup- 
tion and persecution ! Many such spirits, however, had 
our Reformer to encounter, in the beginning of the 
present century. But, for proof of the bitterness of the 
opposition he had to encounter, and the Christian-like 
manner in which he met it, I have appealed to the 
pamphlets written against him, and to those he wrote in 
his defence. True, much that was written against him, 
is forgotten, and buried in oblivion, as unworthy to be 
remembered or preserved ; yet enough remains to sus- 
tain my positions. Let us see. The last public oppo- 
nent of B. W. Stone, worthy of notice, was Thomas Cle- 
land, D. D. His last pamphlet I believe was published in 
1822. It is now before me, and shall speak for itself. 
The author of it is a highly respectable Presbyterian 
preacher. Perhaps B. W. Stone encountered no oppo- 
nent, among the Presbyterians, whose talents were su- 
perior to Dr. Cleland's. The production proves both 
the talents and bitterness of the writer. 

"Many false prophets are gone out into the world." 
— John. — ''Satan himself is transformed into an angel 
of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers 
also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness." 


— Paul. Reader, would you believe it! This is the 
motto of Dr. Cleland's book, against B. W. Stone! By- 
looking a little farther, we shall perceive that this motto, 
which appears upon the title page, is a true index to the 
spirit of the book. 

In his "Introductory Observations," he says of Mr. 
Stone's "Address to the Churches," "Your miserable 
performance does not deserve an answer." "Your having 
likewise assumed to yourself the title of Elder of the 
^Christian Church ;' and the guardianship as it would 
seem, of the Christian body in the states of Ohio, Ken- 
tucky, and Tennessee ; together with the lofty appear- 
ance of a Biblical critic, all combine to bestow upon 
your labors, by association, a consequence, which 
(barely) rescues them from present neglect^ though cer- 
tain it must be, it cannot operate to secure them from 
future oblivion." "The work that we now have under 
consideration, presents itself to the world, as a ^second 
edition' of your 'Address' to those churches over which 
you preside, as their ecclesiastical head, and only learn- 
ed champion. They swallow down your writings, it 
seems, with great avidity, and after going through a 
seven years process of digestion, they cry to their Elder 
again for more, which to him is so gratifying, that he 
speedily sends forth another portion, 'corrected' in its 
quality^ to make it more palatable, and 'considerably 
enlarged,' in its quantity^ that they may be more amply 
supplied." "You have, in your zeal, to complete the 
work of destruction, invented doctrines, and made sen- 
timents for your opponents." "That this may not appear 
a groundless censure, take the following instance out 
of many. You make us say, 'that God has not lost his 
right to command, though we have lost our right to 


obey.' " The word right is a misprint, a typographical 
error, and should be power. Yet this mistake in the 
printer, is made the ground of the serious charge of 
making sentiments and inventing doctrines for his oppo- 
nents ! Comment is needless. "I am not of those op- 
posers, of what I believe to be damnable doctHneSy who 
can reason without earnestness, and confute without 
warmth." " Truly, sir, there is not a single fundamental 
doctrine of our creed, against which you have not level- 
led all your artillery, and industriously endeavored to 
demolish the only foundation of our hope. " " There is no 
pleasure in being under the necessity of rebutting at 
almost every step, the sophistries and misrepresentations 
of an unfair and disingenuous antagonist." This must 
suffice, as a specimen of that spirit and style in which 
even doctors of divinity attacked B. W. Stone. 

Let us now look at the other side of the picture, and 
see the spirit in which B. W. Stone met this opposition. 
Having quoted Dr. Cleland's motto, let us notice, in 
contrast, B. W. Stone's. I must, however, premise, 
that B. W. Stone's Letters in reply to Dr. Cleland, 
were addressed to Dr. James Blythe. The bitterness 
of Dr. Cleland is given as a reason for it. But to the 

" While we wrangle here in the dark, we are dying 
and passing to the world that will decide all our con- 
troversies ; and the safest passage thither is by peaceable 
holiness. " — Baxter. 

" For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness 
of God." — James. 

How like the mild, pacific Stone, the spirit of this 

Let us now open the book, and see if the same spirit 


does not pervade it. In Letter 1, you find the following: 
"My charity for Mr. C. has imputed to an honest, 
though not a well direfted zeal, all that obloquy, bitter 
invective, and personal abuse which he has imposed 
upon me. In every age poor erring men have thought 
that the surest method to put down supposed error, was 
to detract from the good name and character of its prop- 
agators. In the investigation of the subjects in debate, 
I shall pass over in silence the personal abuse and bitter 
invective with which his book abounds ; feeling no dis- 
position to render evil for evil, nor reviling for reviling. 
The Bible points me a different course — a course from 
"which my inexperience and want of charity may have 
sometimes caused me to err, but a course which I hope 
to pursue through the remainder of my life." 

"Permit me, sir, to introduce an excellent sentiment 
from E. Cogan. ' Men grow furious only for error and 
absurdity. A concern for virtue has never yet shown 
itself in deeds of violence ; it has never made any in- 
roads on the peace of society; it has never trampled 
upon the rights of conscience, or wielded the sword of 
persecution ; it may have wept in silence at the corrup- 
tion and depravity of man ; it may have prayed and 
toiled with earnestness to reclaim ; but it has never 
burst forth in acts of hostility against even the most 
corrupt and depraved." " In the close of his Letters in 
reply to Dr. Cleland, on page 153, he thus writes: — 
" God knows I am not fond of controversy. A sense 
of duty has impelled me to advance to it. In the sim- 
plicity of truth is all my delight. To cultivate the be- 
nevolent affections shall employ my future life. May 
God grant that you and I may be numbered with his 
saints in the kingdom of glory at last!" In regard to 


the efforts made by his opponents to cast odium upon 
him, by misrepresenting his true position, and charging 
upon him sentiments he never believed, he thus speaks: 
" Why cannot men of respectability do me justice ? It 
is all I can expect — I have a right to expect it, especi- 
ally from such as profess the holy religion of heaven. 
But for mercy and forbearance I have long been taught 
not to hope from my opposers. My dear sir, bear with 
me while I adduce but a few more instances from the 
publication of Mr. Cleland, to confirm the sentiment 
just advanced. In my Address is contained this sen- 
tence — ' God has not lost his right to command, though 
we have lost our right to obey,' page 84. The words 
our right ^ should be our power. It is a typographical 
error, or an error not designed, and never observed by 
me till noticed by Mr. C. It is a well known position 
of Calvinists against us ; and my reasoning in reply to 
it, on the same page, must convince any candid mind 
that this was my meaning. For this one typographical 
error, he charges me with inventing doctrines^ and maJdng 
sentiments for my opposers! page 7." 

On page 162, towards the close of his Letter to Dr. 
Blythe, he has these remarks — "I shall now draw to a 
close. But I must first observe, that if I am rejected 
from the class of Christians, and am considered by them 
as a heathen man or a publican, yet Christians and min- 
isters of righteousness should not unjustly injure me, 
but imitate the modest Archangel, who said, ^ The Lord 
rebuke thee, Satan.' Christians should lay aside all 
bitterness, and wrath, and clamor, and evil speaking, 
with all malice, lest they should be suspected of being 
no better than others, and their influence on society be 
lost. The best doctrines in the Bible, unless they form 


the heart and life to humility, gentleness and love, will 
never give an entrance into heaven." 

We could add indefinitely to the evidence of the po- 
sition, that B. W. Stone was opposed to strife — disliked 
controversy — was a lover of peace, but enough for our 
purpose has been said. 



He was given to hospitality — Was respected by all who knew him — 
Loved by many of his religious opponents — Good moral character 
awarded him by all — Instances — He was grave and dignified in all his 
deportment, whether in the pulpit or out of it. 

6. He was given to hospitality. This qualification 
of a Christian teacher, B. W. Stone possessed, in an 
eminent degree. He was mindful of the injunction, 
"Be not forojetful to entertain strangers." The poor 
and helpless found in him a friend and helper. His 
house and his table were always free to such. His 
hospitable mansion was the resting place and the home 
of his friends and the friends of his Master. And 
although he had a great amount of company, and 
because he received little for his labors as a preacher, 
he was often unable to accommodate his friends, as he 
could have wished, yet he was not the man to murmur, 
or apologise. He had learned, with Paul, in whatso- 
ever state he was, therewith to be content. He knew, 
from experience, both how to abound, and to suflfer 
need. No man living more gratefully received and 
acknowledged a kindness, than B. W. Stone ; and 
none with more Christian dignity, patience and forti- 
tude, suffered neglect. He knew in whom he had 


believed ; and through Christ strengthening him, he 
could do all things. His table was always furnished 
with the substantial of life ; yet, it was not as well 
furnished at times, as he and his good lady could have 
wished. And sometimes sister Stone, would, (as 
ladies are wont to do) apologise for the fare. In such 
circumstances, we have often known the venerable 
Stone, when about to help his guests, with a bright 
and smiling countenance, thus address them : " What 
of all these good things shall I help you to?" While 
we write, we seem to be at the table of our beloved 
father in the gospel, and hear him in his kind and 
familiar tone pronounce these words, so oft repeated 
by him ; and we seem at once to be carried back more 
than a quarter of a century, to the period when we first 
witnessed these exhibitions of his cheerfulness, and 
contentment, in circumstances not very favorable to the 
exercise of these virtues : and we only regret we have 
not profited more by his Christian example. We do 
not mean to say that B. W. Stone was never low- 
spirited, or gloomy. He was the subject, at times, of 
severe spells of melancholy. Yet, in general, he was 
cheerful, and had the happy art of inspiring all about 
him with cheerfulness. Easy in his manners, and con- 
tented in his disposition, all around him felt at ease. 
He always had something suitable to say to persons of 
all ages, and characters ; and he said it in such a spirit, 
as almost invariably, to conciliate, and make a good 
impression. Hence, his company was courted — and 
his house a place of great resort. Never, while memory 
lives, can we forget the happy seasons, of social. 
Christian intercourse, we have enjoyed, at the house 
of our beloved father Stone. Never can we forget his 


kind instructions, and faithful admonitions, so seasona- 
bly given ! 

How often, in the days of our youth, and inexperi- 
ence, when traveling to and fro, preaching the gospel, 
fatigued and often discouraged, have we been cheered 
by the hearty welcome we have received, to his hos- 
pitable mansion ! We see him in imagination as he 
comes to meet us, with spectacles upon his venerable 
forehead — with that quick and dignified step, which 
characterized his movements — with a smile of compla- 
cency playing upon his benevolent face, and with his 
hand extended to greet us, and welcome us to his 
house ! Alas ! he will greet his friends, and welcome 
them to his house no more! 

7. He was respected by all, who knew him, and 
even loved by many, for his amiable qualities, who 
were greatly opposed to his religious creed. He had 
a good report of them without. Dr. Joshua L. Wilson, 
of Cincinnati, upon the trial of Dr. Beecher for heresy, 
refers to B. W. Stone, as one of the most decided 
errorists of modern times, yet he says, for the last thirty 
years, his morals had been of the most exemplary and 
unimpeachable description. " Trial and acquittal of 
Lyman Beecher, D. D.," page 30. This trial took 
place in Cincinnati, in 1835. This is quite a compli- 
ment, from this talented, and highly esteemed quondam 
brother of father Stone. *' By their fruits shall ye know 
them." The Dr. was compelled to concede that the 
character of B. W. Stone was unimpeachable. A great 
many years since, some ladies in Paris, in presence of 
a Presbyterian lady of some distinction, who knew 
father Stone, intimately, were expressing their great 
confidence in him, and affection for him as a Christian, 


and Christian teacher. Said she, " Mr. Stone is a per- 
fect gentjeman, but a very heterodox Christian!" 

During father Stone's last visit to Ky., (1843,) some 
ladies who had long and intimately known him, and 
were members of the same religious association, were 
speaking of their great love for him : when an aged 
and respectable Presbyterian lady, who also had known 
him from his youth, but who was a most decided 
opposer of his views, remarked — ^'I don't care how 
much you love Mr. Stone, / love him as much as any 
of you." 

Even those, whose prejudices disposed them to dis- 
like him, were compelled to bear testimony to his good 
character. The following anecdote will show this. 
Some sixteen years since, (1845) an energetic brother 
was doing some work for a Presbyterian preacher, who 
now stands high in that very respectable denomination 
in Ky. A young preacher of the same church, was at 
his house ; and entering into conversation with this 
brother, asked him, " Of what church he was a mem- 
ber." He replied— "The Christian Church." Said 
he — "What do you mean by the Christian Church?" 
" I mean (said he) just what I say." Said the preacher, 
"Do you mean the New Light Church?" Said he, 
" Some call us New-Lights by way of reproach ?" 
" Well," said he, " B. W. Stone has done more harm 
by his good conduct than by all his preaching and 
writing: because (added he) he has lived so much 
like a Christian, that the people take him to be one ; 
and are deceived, and led into destructive error." 

"Well," said our brother, " Mr. W ., how are 

we to judge of a man's Christianity? By his good or 
bad conduct?" " O (said he) a man's conduct must 


be good ; but if he is unsound in his faith, he cannot be 
a Christian!" This anecdote, not only shows that the 
character of B. W. Stone was unimpeachable, so that 
his bitterest opponents could say no evil thing of him, 
but it shows in a strong light, that false standard of 
Christian character, which orthodoxy (so called) has 
established. The character is measured by the creed. 
'Twould be much safer as a general rule to determine 
the creed by the conduct. For I maintain that, he 
whose conduct evinces reverence and love for the 
divine character — obedience to Jesus Christ, and who 
adds to his faith courage, knowledge, temperance, 
patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, 
demonstrates to all who know him, that he must be 
sound in the faith. He proves the strength of his con- 
fidence in Jesus Christ, and the soundness of his creed, 
by his works. Alas I what myriads of martyrs has this 
false standard of Christian character, made ! And with 
what multiplied millions of hypocrites, has it filled the 
so called church of God ! 

The following incidents will show, not only how 
B. W. Stone stood, in the estimation of men of the 
w^orld, but also the violence of the opposition he had 
to encounter. 

Some twenty-four years ago, (1845,) a gentleman of 
high respectability and great independence of mind, was 
doing a job of carpenter's work for a talented Presby- 
terian clergyman, of Paris, Ky., who now sleeps with 
his fathers. He asked the gentleman who was work- 
ing for him, *'If he ever heard B. W. Stone preach? 
and what he thought of him?" "Yes," said he, "I 
know him intimately, and have often heard him preach ; 
and I regard him as one of the best preachers, and best 


men I ever knew." Said the clergyman, with emo- 
tion, " Stone has no more religion than my horse." 

" Well," said he, "Mr. Mc d, I am not a professor 

of religion, but sir, I am worth about two thousand 
dollars, and I would willingly give it all for the differ- 
ence between B. W. Stone's chance for heaven, and 

Some twelve years ago, (1845,) in a promiscuous 
company, in Bourbon county, Ky., some one who was 
a professor of religion, commenced speaking reproach- 
fully of B. W. Stone. A gentleman present, who was 
not a professor of religion, said, with emphasis : *^ Gen- 
tlemen, all the men in the world could not make me 
believe that B. W. Stone is not a Christian ; I went to 
school to him some years; and I look upon him as the 
best man I ever knew. And, gentlemen, if he fails to 
get to heaven, there is no chance for you." 

The following testimony to the good moral character 
of B. W. Stone, from William Phillips, we consider 
valuable. Mr. Phillips was raised, and lived, and died 
within the range of B. W. Stone's operations, and had 
an opportunity to know him well. He was a Metho- 
dist preacher, quite above mediocrity, as to talents. 
He was assistant editor of the 'W^estern Christian 
Advocate,' and stood very high as a writer among his 
people. His numbers, first published in the " Western 
Christian Advocate," against, what he was pleased to 
style "Campbellism," were so popular among the 
Methodists, as to be called for in the form of a book. 
C. Elliott and L. L. Hamline, in an advertisement pre- 
fixed to the book, say, " The Ohio Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, at its last session held 
in Chillicothe, September 28th, 1836, unanimously 


requested our book agents to publish the Strictures on 
Campbellism, as they are presented in this volume, 
now before the reader." They add — " The work pos- 
sesses real merit." Mr. Phillips died in August 1836, 
a few months after his Strictures on Campbellism were 
finished. He had the best opportunity of knowing evil 
of B. W. Stone, if any thing of the sort could be justly 
laid to his charge ; as he was, of course, more intimate 
with his religious enemies than friends. Yet, Mr. 
Phillips, without solicitation bore witness to his good- 
ness. It was in a casual conversation with A. Raines, he 
spoke so favorably of the character of father Stone. The 
following is brother Raines' account of the interview, 
taken from the *' Christian Teacher," Vol. 5, No. 6. 

" Several years ago, being on my way to an appoint- 
ment at Old Union, in Fayette county, Ky., I arrived 
at a place at which the road forked. As I was a stran- 
ger, I was at a loss, not knowing which road would 
lead me to the place of my destination. Just at this 
moment a gentleman overtook me, who told me he was 
going in the direction of the meeting-house for which I 
had made inquiry. We rode on together; and after 
some formal civilities, in regard to the weather, &c., 
he said he " supposed my name was Raines." I of 
course answered in the affirmative. He then asked me 
'^whether I did not agree in my religious sentiments with 
B. W. Stone?" I answered, "I presumed we agreed 
in all essential matters ; but that it was probable we 
differed, to some extent, in opinions." He then re- 
marked, "he had read a book, entitled 'A Refutation 
of Hereditary Total Depravity,' of which I was the 
author ; and that he had concluded upon reading that 
book, that I agreed in my religious sentiments with 


B. W. Stone." I virtually answered him as before. 
Now follows the remark on account of which, I have 
undertaken to write this article. *'Well," said Mr. 
Phillips, " whatever may be said against the religious 
sentiments of B. W. Stone, I believe that nothing can 
be said in truth against his moral character." 

But why attach importance to this case ? Because 
Mr. P. being a warm, if not a bitter opposer of brother 
Stone's religious views, cannot be supposed to have 
given him a character to which he was not entitled. 
After all that he had heard and known of that good man, 
he was constrained to believe in his heart, and with 
apparent freedom and pleasure to declare with his lips, 
that his morals were not only unimpeached, but unim- 
peachable ! It w'ill perhaps give weight to this docu- 
ment, to inform the reader, that this Mr. Phillips was a 
Methodist preacher; and not only a Methodist preacher, 
but a preacher, and poet of such respectable standing 
and talents, as to be the author of a poem, entitled 
" TVie Learned Camel; or Gospel in the Water ;^^ — a 
poem w^hich was circulated by thousands, if not tens of 
thousands! which was carried from meeting to meeting 
for distribution, by a multitude even of the clergy ! and 
by how many others, it would be almost incredible to 
tell ! and which was read with great avidity and edifi- 
cation by all orders and conditions of sectarians ! Fur- 
ther this deponent saith not. A. Raines." 

Incidents of this description, illustrative of the esti- 
mate put upon the character of B. W. Stone, by his 
most decided religious opposers, and by those who 
were members of no church, could be multiplied 
indefinitely ; but a sufficient number, as a specimen, 
have been adduced. 


8. He was grave and dignified in his demeanor every 
where, but especially in the pulpit. He was too deeply 
impressed by a sense of the worth of souls, and the 
responsibility of his position as a Christian minister, to 
indulge in levity in the pulpit. He filled that sacred 
place with the grave, the judgment, and the eternal 
destinies of a world full in his view. Any effort at wit, 
or exhibition of lightness, therefore, in the sacred desk, 
always met his decided disapprobation. The writer 
never saw him smile in the pulpit. He filled the char- 
acter of a preacher as described by Cowper in his 
*'Task." We do not approve of every word the poet 
has used in his description, but the main ideas we 
admire. His words are the following : 

" He that negotiates between God and man, 
As God's ambassador, the grand concerns 
Of judgment and of mercy, should be ware 
Of lightness in his speech. 'Tis pitiful 
To court a grin, when you should woo a soul: 
To break a jest, when pity would inspire 
Pathetic exhortation; and to address 
The skittish fancy with facetious tales. 
When sent with God's commission to the heart! 
So did not Paul. Direct me to a quip, 
Or merry turn in all he ever wrote, 
And I consent you take it for your text, 
Your only one, till sides and benches fail. 
No : he was serious, in a serious cause, 
And understood too well the weighty terms. 
That he had ta'en in charge. He would not stoop 
To conquer those by jocular exploits 
"Whom truth, and soberness assailed in vain." 
True : the venerable Stone would not stoop to con- 
quer those by jocular exploits, whom truth and sober- 
ness assailed in vain! He ardently desired the con- 
version of sinners, but he wanted them converted by 


heaven's own instrumentalities, that the work might be 
genuine and lasting. The same poet still further 
describes the character of B. W. Stone, as a preacher, 
in these beautiful and forcible words : 

" Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul, 
Were he on earth, would hear, approve and own, 
Paul should himself direct me. I would trace 
His master-strokes, and draw from his design. 
I would express him simple, grave, sincere ; 
In doctrine uncorrupt, in language plain, 
And plain in manner ; decent, solemn, chaste, 
And natural in gesture; much impressed 
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge. 
And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds 
May feel it too; affectionate in look, 
And tender in address, as well becomes 
A messenger of grace to guilty man." 
But the subject of these remarks, was not only grave 
and dignified in the pulpit, but he was so in the family 
and social circles. The writer does not mean to say, he 
was morose, or austere ; not at all. He was cheerful, 
and sometimes even facetious. He was a man of con- 
siderable wit and humor ; but he never so indulged in 
either as to lose his dignity and gravity. Some preach- 
ers are grave and dignified enough in the pulpit, but let 
themselves down exceedingly, when out of it. So did 
not the venerable Stone. Hear him on this subject, in 
an address to " Elders and Preachers," found in the 
June number of the 'Messenger' for 1843. 

*' I have seen preachers in the earnestness and pathos 
of Demosthenes in the pulpit, and as soon as they had 
left the sacred desk, they left also their zeal and gravity 
— they mingled with the people, and engaged in vain, 
light, and sportive conversation on trifles ; and even on 
noisy politics ; and this too, on the Lord's day! By 


such conduct they destroyed all the good impressions 
they might have made in the pulpit — watered the germ 
of infidelity — sunk their own influence — and hardened 
sinners against the fear of God." Would to God, our 
young preachers, and we who are more advanced, 
would imitate the example and follow the advice of our 
venerable father in the ministry ! We will close this 
chapter with one other brief extract from the address 
to "Elders and Preachers," alluded to above. It is 
perfectly characteristic. "Be humble, be heavenly; 
be zealous in the cause of your Master — seek not to 
please men, but God — live in love and submission one 
to another, and in kindness to all men — beware of 
jealousies and evil surmisings — avoid gossiping and 
tale-bearing, and frown upon such disturbers of the 
peace. Remember yours is the ministry of reconcilia- 
tion — therefore, be peace-makers, and not peace-break- 
ers, both in the pulpit, and out of it. Beware of the 
love of filthy lucre, and the wish to live in the style, 
and pomp of the wealthy. Preach the word, and avoid 
as much as possible the angry controversies of this age. 
Remember — ' He that goeth forth weeping, bearing 
precious seed, shall doubtless return again with rejoic- 
ing, bringing his sheaves with him.' Farewell, says 
your old brother; — Farewell, again, it may be the last." 

B. W. S. 




His candor and honesty in matters of religion — His humility and mod- 
esty — Strong personal attachments — Was greatly devoted to his family 
— Was supremely devoted to the interests of the Church and salvation 
of sinners. 

9. B. W. Stone was a man of great frankness and 
honesty, in his religious course. This^ the entire his- 
tory of his life demonstrates. And hence, it over- 
whelms me to know that Drs. of divinity have ques- 
tioned his ingenuousness! I am not here to vindicate 
the religious opinions of B. W. Stone. Indeed I could 
not advocate every opinion of that great and good man ; 
nor would I, if I could. But when his character for can- 
dor and honesty is assailed, I must and will repel every 
such charge, from whatever quarter it may come. I knew 
the man ; — I knew him intimately, — was much about 
his house — read all his writings — heard hundreds of his 
sermons, during a period of some twenty-six years ; 
and I am deeply penetrated with the conviction, I never 
knew a man, more scrupulously honest and conscien- 
tious, in every thing, and especially in matters of reli- 
gion, than B. W. Stone. But really, to vindicate such 
a man, from such a charge, would seem to be a work 
of supererogation. Methinks I hear, upon the first 
whisper of such an insinuation against the venerable 
Stone, from thousands upon thousands of his friends, 
the indignant exclamations — "What! B. W. Stone 
disingenuous! a dissembler! How perfectly ridiculous 
the thought ! How despicable the charge ! His long life 
was but a continued display of frankness, ingenuousness, 


and open-heartedness." 'Tis strange that those who 
knew him longest, and most intimately, should never have 
detected in him any want of candor I I intend no quarrel 
with the accusers of B. W. Stone ; nor would I make to 
them the most remote allusion, could I do justice to the 
subject of these papers, without it. Nor do I intend to 
question their motives. I know not the heart. They be- 
lieved, I doubt not, that they were doing God service. 
Hence I conclude they did the venerated Stone as much 
justice, as their great devotion to a party, and iheir pecu- 
liar position to him^ would allow them to do. Men great- 
ly devoted to any cause, are apt to regard with feelings 
of peculiar distrust, and hostility, those who were once 
associated with them, in the defence of it, but who 
have abandoned it. Family quarrels are always the 
most bitter and unrelenting. But we need not press 
this investigation. The character of B. W. Stone for 
candor and honesty, is above suspicion. I will how- 
ever, relate an incident, which has been communicated 
to me from the most undoubted authority, bearing upon 
this subject, and showing the sort of spirits, with which 
B. W. Stone had to do. Many years since, the son of 
one of father Stone's quondam brethren, in the ministry, 
was engaged in selling books for his father ; who, by 
the way, was very hostile to Mr. Stone as a religionist. 
In passing through the country, he drove up to Mr. 
Stone's, late in the evening. Mr. Stone came out, and 
finding that the youth was the son of one of his former 
associates in the ministry, he pressed him to stay all 
night, and treated him with the most marked attention, 
and kindness. This young man, many years since, rela- 
ted this incident, to the highly respectable gentleman who 
detailed it to me, as an evidence of the hypocrisy and 


dissimulation of B. W. Stone ! ! He knew the feelings of 
his father were bitter towards Mr. Stone, and no doubt, 
he had imbibed the same feelings of hostility to him, 
which his father indulged: and judging Mr. Stone by 
himself, he supposed his friendship and kindness must 
be pretended ! And thus the very kindness, open-heart- 
edness, and ingenuousness of this good man, are made, 
through prejudice, or something worse, an argument to 
prove his dishonesty! ! But we are perfectly willing to 
leave the vindication of the character of this excellent 
man, to the multitude of his friends, who knew him 
best, assured as we are, that ample justice will be done 
to it. 

However, for the sake of those who may be preju- 
diced against him, through ignorance of his true posi- 
tion, we will state a few facts. 

Having been accused of smuggling himself into the 
Presbyterian ministry, by deceiving his bosom friends 
who licensed and ordained him, he thus vindicates him- 
self from the charge, in a letter to Dr. James Blythe, 
who was one of his accusers — ''You have said in your 
letter to Mr. Cleland, p. 166 [of Cleland's Letters to 
Stone,] 'What that gentleman [B. W. Stone,] hopes 
to profit by publishing to the world that he has never 
changed his opinions, I cannot conceive.' 

" Here, sir, is an evident mistake. Did I ever publish 
this to the world? You, my dear sir, have never seen 
it in any of my publications — you have never heard me 
publish it in any way. — No person ever did. In my 
first 'Address' I casually remarked 'that on the subject 
of the humanity of Christ (meaning his pre-existence) 
my mind had not wavered for nearly twenty years past.' 
p. 13. This is but one opinion, but your impression is 


that I have published to the world, that I have never 
changed any of my opinions, which I have lately 
avowed, but always held them. For in the same letter 
you say, ' Nothing could induce me to believe, that the 
Presbytery of Orange ever would have licensed any 
man, holding such abominable sentiments as Mr. Stone 
has recently avowed, and now says he always held.^ 
In this, sir, you are again mistaken. Have I, in any 
publication said, that I always held the same sentiments 
I have recently avowed ? . Have I written one word, or 
sentence, that can be construed to signify this? No, 
sir. If you will please to examine my publications, 
you will doubtless find your mistake. Your attention 
to your professional engagements, probably caused you 
too slightly to examine my publications, and for this 
reason you may have made these inaccurate statements. 
Or probably, the reason why you erred was, that you 
might have had Mr. Cleland's book in manuscript, prior 
to its publication, and have implicitly received his state- 
ment ; for there you may have seen the same incorrect 
statement, page 165, where he says *From your own 
declaration you held the odious sentiments before, and 
at the time of your ordination, which a few years after- 
wards you published to the world.' 

"I assure you, sir, I am sorry that such erroneous 
statements are made to our injury. In the hurry of 
thought you might have drawn your unqualified expres- 
sion from this sentence of my last book, [Address, 2d 
edition,] when speaking of the pre-existence of the soul 
of Jesus, I observed 'that I had received this doctrine 
when a student of divinity,' p. 32. But surely, sir, 
one moment's reflection will convince you, that this is 
infinitely different from my saying that ' I always held 
the sentiments which I have recently avowed,' 


"Now, sir, on these two mistakes, you, with Mr. 
Cleland, have charged me with having deceived the 
Presbyteries that licensed and ordained me. Truly 
your conclusion would be just, were the premises true. 
Had I always held the doctrine I have recently avowed, 
and then at my licensure and ordination, professed sin- 
cerely to receive the Confession of Faith, I should not 
only have been dishonest, but a very monster in wick- 
edness. I should be unworthy of your friendship, and 
should have no reason to wonder that you had with- 
drawn your friendly regards from me — I should have 
merited the harsh treatment — the bitter censures — the 
hard names — and the cruel defamalion unmercifully 
imposed on me by many. They, in acting thus, no 
doubt think they are doing God service. But a future 
day will determine all things. 

"In order to set this subject in its true light, I will 
state a few facts, which you will not deny. The doc- 
trine of the pre-existence of the soul of Christ, I 
received, when a student of divinity, from reading Dr. 
Watts' "Glory of Christ." This was the very doctrine 
of a part of that Presbytery by which I was licensed. 
The venerable Henry Patillo, a member of that Presby- 
tery, taught this doctrine, and published it from the 
press, prior to my licensure. By Mr. Patillo I was 
examined in Presbytery. You know he was honored 
and respected by every member of Presbytery, and was 
not considered by them as having departed from the 
Confession, for having received this doctrine. If the 
Presbytery disapproved this sentiment, I never knew it. 
I did not think it then contrary to any article" in the 
Confession ; for the doctrine of that book is, that the 
second person of Trinity took to himself a true body, 


and a reasonable soul. But that book no where says 
that this soul did not pre-exist. Mr. Patillo, who taught 
us this doctrine, was a firm believer in the doctrine 
of Trinity; and so, I think, was considered by all who 
knew him. From infancy I had never been taught any 
system of religion, and I knew none, till I commenced 
the study of divinity, under the direction of Orange 
Presbytery. I was at that time very young, and had 
not thought so deeply on the peculiarities of religious 
opinions as I have since. I had never read a page in a 
Unitarian author, unless Dr. Watts and Patillo be called 
such. The doctrines of Atonement and Faith, as recent- 
ly published by me, were entirely unknown to me 
before my licensure. These are facts. Where then 
can be seen deception, or dishonesty in my receiving 
the Confession of Faith at my licensure? The all-wise 
God knows there was none designed ; and the impartial 
world will not find one character of deception in the 
whole case. 

" I proceed now to clear myself from the imputation 
of deception and dishonesty in my ordination. The 
doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul of Christ, 
which I had received when a student of divinity, I 
still believed and preached till I was ordained. This 
I have proved by certificates of many in high standing 
as men of piety and knowledge. [See ^ Address,' 2d 
edition, p. 32, 3, 4.] In 1798 a call from the united 
Congregations of Caneridge and Concord was presented 
to me. I accepted it. The time for my ordination was 
appointed by Presbytery. I now began more seriously 
to examine the Confession of Faith, knowing it would 
be proposed by Presbytery for my adoption. On the 
personality of Trinity my mind became confused. 


Sometimes I was inclined to think the three persons 
meant three distinct and intelligent persons, or beings 
in one God. This I thought was little different from 
Tritheism. Sometimes my mind inclined to consider 
the three persons as three distinctions, appellations, or 
relations, in the one God. This opinion rather prepon- 
derated in my mind, yet I was unsettled. At the same 
time I so far doubted the propriety of the phrase Eternal 
Son of God, that I could not receive it as an article of 
faith. I began now seriously to hesitate with respect 
to receiving the Confession. In this state of mind was 
I when the Presbytery met to ordain me. I perfectly 
well remember, that I took you [Dr. Blythe] and Mr. 
Marshall aside, and communicated to you my difficul- 
ties. We conversed together a considerable time ; but 
my mind was not relieved. I felt determined not to 
receive ordination at that time. You, or Mr. Marshall 
then asked how far T could go in receiving the Confes- 
sion ? I answered, I would receive it as far as I saw it 
consistent with the word of God. You both agreed 
that was sufficient. On this ground I consented to 
receive ordination. We went into Presbytery; and 
when the question was proposed in Presbytery by Mr. 
Marshall ^ Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Con- 
fession of Faith,' &c., I answered aloud to be heard by 
a large assembly, 'I do, as far as I see it consistent 
with the word of God.' This I have proved in my 
last book by the certificates of a number of men of 
high standing in religious society, p. 32, 3, 4. Now, 
my dear sir, does this whole transaction bear one char- 
acter of deception.^ If I meant to deceive, why should 
I reveal my difficulties to you and Mr. Marshall, the 
leaders in Presbytery } Why speak so loud that the 


whole congregation, as well as Presbytery, might hear 
me ? If Presbytery were dissatisfied with my answer, 
why did they proceed to ordain me? Had not their 
silence a direct tendency to confirm my mind in their 
approbation of my answer ? " Letters to James Blythe, 
D. D., pages 155-6-7-8. 

Can any one read this vindication of the venerable 
Stone, from the charges of deception and dishonesty, 
and not be overwhelmed with the conviction, that the 
writer of it was a truly honest man ? I think not. Foi 
certainly the whole affair bears not one mark of decep- 
tion, or dishonesty. Here then, we leave this matter. 

10. He was a man of great humility and modesty. 
These traits of his character were known and read of 
all men. They were prominent in his words, his ac- 
tions, and his numerous writings. He had very humble 
conceptions of his talents, his learning, and of the value 
of his ministerial labors. He esteemed others better 
than himself. He did not think more highly of himself 
than he ought. In his heart he was strongly opposed 
to sectarianism. He scorned the idea of making a 
party ; and hence he took the common name, and creed, 
in which all Protestants profess to glory. He was 
determined to occupy common ground, where all might 
unite. But we deem it unnecessary to say much on 
these traits of his character, so universally recognized, 
and acknowledged by all who knew him personally, 
and so apparent in all his writings. We will, however, 
close this paragraph with a fragment from his pen, 
found among his papers, as a specimen of his humility, 
and modesty. It was written not long before his death, 
but never published so far as I know. It is addressed 
to his brethren in the ministry. He had noticed a 


spirit of strife springing up among the public Teachers, 
and especially among the Editors, and knowing the 
great evil that would result from the operation of such 
a spirit, and always desirous to promote peace and good 
will among brethren, he wrote the following word of 
advice and admonition, which deserves to be published 
to the ends of the earth; to be engraven upon the mem- 
ory, and written upon the heart of every christian, and 
especially of every christian Teacher and Editor. 

*'A word to my brethren in the ministry. — My dear 
brethren: — Permit an old man, now about to leave you, 
to speak plainly to you. We have a superabundance 
of hard speeches against us by our sectarian neighbors, 
without our adding to the number of them. ' Let us 
love one another ; for love is of God.' Not long since 
I read an address of an Elder to his preaching brethren. 
It was short, but to the very point, in these words: 
*Be humble, — Be humble, — Be humble.' 1 adopt 
the language and sentiment with application to you. 
We may get a name among men ; but the grave will 
soon bar us from the enjoyment of it — eternal things 
will eclipse all the dim splendors of time. Avoid all 
reproachful, irritating language ; it genders strife, and 
cools brotherly love ; and may, from small beginnings, 
end in an exterminating war. We are all poor igno- 
rant, imperfect creatures, and liable to err. If we are 
wise, we know our ignorance, and therefore can bear 
the infirmities of a weak brother. Co-operate heartily 
together, in the great work of saving souls, and of 
building up Zion. Are you editors ^ Say and do 
nothing to the injury of a fellow editor, nor admit into 
your columns any offensive communications. It will 
neither add to your celebrity nor interest. 'Finally, 


brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, 
be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and 
peace shall be with you.' B. W. S." 

11. He was a man of strong personal attachments. 
He ardently loved his friends, especially his old and 
long tried friends. A few extracts from his letters will 
show this. In '34 he removed to Illinois, compara- 
tively among strangers. In the fall of '36 he had a 
severe attack of sickness, from which he was not ex- 
pected to recover. When he was convalescent, im- 
pressed with the belief that he had settled in a sickly 
country, and separated from his old friends, his mind 
seems to have been under a gloom. He thus indulges 
his feelings, in a letter to T. M. Allen, of Mo. 

*' Jacksonville, Nov. 8, 1836. 

My dear Bro. Allen: — I am now supported on my 
bed, where I have been confined three or four weeks. 
I have just escaped so far, the jaws of death. But 
little hope was entertained of my recovery, by any body. 
— My brethren here, whom I love, are about to scatter 
every where. — I have no tie here. I wish retirement 
among a few old friends and brethren. My days are 
full of sorrow. I did hope this last sickness would 
have closed the scene ; but I yet live. 0, that I could 
live among a few old friends, supported in the simplest 
style, free from care, distressing care ! Are you perma- 
nently settled? If not, tell me. I will never move 
again to be severed from friends. I have a thousand 
things to say, but am so fatigued I can write no more. 
I love you all. — I am happy in the prospect of * Jeru- 
salem, my happy home.' — To you I send the dictates 
of a warm heart. Farewell, my kind and dear brother. 
May no obstruction be thrown in the long and deep 


stream of christian love and friendship, but may it flow 
on as free as ever. B. W. Stone." 

Another extract shall close this branch of our subject. 
The following is taken from a letter of father Stone to 
the writer. In his visit to Kentucky the time before 
the last, the writer did not get to see the venerable 
Stone. After his return to Illinois, he addressed him a 
letter, to which father Stone replied. The following 
extract is taken from that reply. 

"Jacksonville, Sept. 14, 1840. 

My dear Bro. Rogers: — Your kind letter I received 
in due time. I was truly glad that you had not forgotten 
me. O, how was I disappointed in not seeing you in 
Kentucky I I felt like Paul, in not finding Titus. To 
return to Kentucky is in my heart ; but my days are 
nearly numbered, and another state speedily awaits me. 

My good friends in Missouri and here, have overper- 
suaded me to recommence the Messenger. Bro. T. M. 
Allen and Jacob Creath were urgent, and have become 
co-operators in the work, without which aid I should 
not have attempted it. 

I am now almost past labor, yet have to exert my 
little remaining strength to help on the farm. I can yet 
edit a paper, with the aid of the brethren. A paper we 
greatly need, if only to keep the peace. 

Religion in this country, in a sickly state, has been 
nearly stifled with the dust of politics — now she begins to 
breathe more freely, and gives us hopes of her recov- 
ery and triumph. My dear brother, I sympathise with 
you and yet rejoice that you sink not. The Lord will 
support you, if on him you rely. How is your daughter.^ 
I am anxious to know. Do let me hear from you shortly. 


Be uncompromising for the truth ; lift your voice, and 
exert your strength in its defence, fearless of man. 
But let all be done in moderation, and in the meekness 
of wisdom. Let this be the motto of your life, * Do I 
seek to please men, or God?' Farewell my dearly 
beloved — farewell affectionately says your old brother, 

B. W. Stone." 

12. The venerable Stone was greatly devoted to his 
family — his domestic affections were very strong. And, 
although we have already spoken briefly of his char- 
acter as a husband and father, we will introduce here 
an extract of a letter to his family, which we think 
deserves to be preserved, as exemplifying his domestic 
feelings. The letter was written from his Son-in-law's 
C. C. Moore's, when last in Kentucky. This is the 
extract : 

''At C. C. Moore's, Ky., August 22d, 1843. 

My dear Celia: — To-morrow I start for your house in 
the far west. This will reach you before we shall. 
With difficulty I break away from hundreds of weeping 
friends. They say we must return with you. A dep- 
utation from Caneridge followed me to Antioch to urge 
us back to them. I will tell you much when I shall 
see you. 

I often think of home, sweet home ; and hope soon 
to enjoy it with my family. I have been of late uneasy, 
for not having received but one letter from you since I 

My dear Samuel, what shall I say to you ? I have 
purchased you a small library, and wish you to spend 
your time to come, in acquiring an education, and 
above all in laying up treasures in heaven. My son 
William, I would have written to you and Virginia, but 


thought you were from home. My Loyd and Polly, 
and my little children at home, at William's, and your 
house — I love you all, and will, if spared, see you 
shortly. Farewell, my darling, — Farewell, says your 

B. W. Stone." 

13. He was supremely devoted to the interests of 
the Church and the salvation of sinners. His entire 
life and labors may safely be appealed to, in proof of 
this. But we propose only publishing two original 
letters, in illustration of these traits of his character. 
One of these letters was addressed to the Church of 
Christ at Caneridge, and not only shows the interest he 
felt in the general cause, but the special interest he felt 
in the prosperity of that Church — and also the depth of 
his gratitude to its members for their kindness to him. 
It is a complete specimen of christian courtesy, piety, 
humility, modesty and good feeling. But we will let 
the reader judge for himself. I must further premise, 
that it was written shortly after father Stone's return 
from his last visit to Kentucky, and about a year before 
his death. 

"Jacksonville, III,, Oct. 26, 1843. 
" To the Church of Christ at Caneridge — 

My dearly beloved brethren: — * Grace, mercy, and 
peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus 
Christ, be with you always.' I yet linger on the eve 
of time, and as long as I retain my memory, I cannot 
forget you. Your great love and unbounded kindness 
to your servant and brother, always, and especially 
when I was last with you, will bind me to you, in closer 
ties to all eternity. You are the children of my 
brothers and sisters of olden times. Their image you 
bear corporeally and spiritually. Though they lie low 


in the grave, yet in their children they live and shine. 
May your children copy from you the same spirit, when 
you shall be joined to your fathers and mothejs beneath 
the clods of the grave! 

Be faithful unto death, and you shall receive a crown 
of glory. Love one another, live in peace, and He shall 
be with you in life, to smooth the rugged paths you 
tread, and in death to cause you to triumph over the 
last enemy, and to enter into the rest, — the everlasting 
rest of the saints. 

My beloved brethren, — I feel unworthy to be remem- 
bered by you ; yet do remember me in your prayers. 
I have shortly to grapple with the fell monster death : 
O, pray for me, that I may gain the victory. I have 
cheering hopes of immortality. This sustains the grow- 
ing infirmities of age. Without these hopes life would 
be a burden, not desirable. Lay up large stores of 
grace against old age. They will then be needed by 
you. My prayer is, that whenever we may be called 
from earth, we may joyfully answer the call. May we 
all — all — old and young — black and white, meet in our 
Father's house above, and be forever with the Lord! 
Farewell, dear brethren, farewell says your old brother, 

B. W. Stone." 

The second letter was addressed, by father Stone, to 
a young lawyer, who had just joined the church, and 
shows conclusively how ardently he loved the church, 
and desired the salvation of sinners. But it shall 
speak for the departed Stone. 

*^ Georgetown, Sept. 10, 1833. 

My dear brother and friend: — 1 rejoiced greatly when 
I heard you had confessed and obeyed the Saviour. 
God speed you ! In that friendship I have long felt for 


you, I wish to unbosom the thoughts of my heart on a 
particular subject. As a beloved brother, I am per- 
suaded you can bear with me. That you have talents 
of no ordinary number committed to you, I have believ- 
ed ; nor am I alone in this belief; nor can you, with all 
your humility, deny, that this belief is based upon good 
evidence. This is not designed to excite vanity; for 
your good sense will immediately check its rising by 
this reflection. What have I that I have not received.? 
You are left by a deceased father in easy, if not in afflu- 
ent circumstances, with regard to the good things of 
life. You are not under any necessity to continue at 
the bar for support, or to devote your time to the prac- 
tice of law. Now I ask my brother seriously, for what 
purpose are those talents and blessings conferred on 
you? Are they to be buried in the earth, or concealed 
under the rubbish and transient things of time? 

Does your Master expect nothing more of you ? Does 
he not say, ' Occupy till I come ? ' 

What will you answer him in the great day of final 
accounts, if you neglect to improve the talents commit- 
ted to you ? Can you plead not guilty ? Look around 
you and see what a field — how wide — how long! — of 
souls formed for eternity — souls sunk in ignorance of 
the way of salvation — blindly attached to destructive 
systems of human device — obstinately opposed to refor- 
mation to right — and millions in the way of ruin and 
death. Can you view the scene, and feel no concern 
for them? Can you suflfer the ignorant to be ignorant 
still ? Feel you not the bowels of Jesus? 

You may now ask, What do you mean? What 
would you have me do ? In answering this, I shall give 
vent to the burden of my heart. The fields are now 


white for harvest — a great crop may be gathered in, 
but laborers are wanting — for want of such laborers, 
millions are perishing. What would you have me do ? 
— Help — O, help to gather in the harvest. Your 
reward is sure. Had you ever saved a drowning man 
from death, at your own hazard, the reflection to you 
would be always agreeable and happifying. — But how far 
excelling that happiness the reflection of having saved 
souls from eternal ruin! In each case the saved would 
feel eternal obligations to you ; and the Father of mer- 
cies would eternally reward you, for plucking one of 
his poor perishing children from death. And what will 
you lose in the work ? Probably the smiles of a few 
fellow worms — a little worldly ease — a little worldly 
honor — a little metallic wealth. — But what are these 
losses to your gain? — the smiles of heaven — the appro- 
bation of conscience — divine honor — eternal pleasure 
and immortal wealth? The salvation of souls? Step 
forward my dear brother ; help us bear the cross for 
Christ's sake. Help us bear the burden and heat of 
the day. Help us to stand against the rapid flood of 
opposition to the truth. help us to w^in souls to 
Jesus. Take the sword of the spirit, — the sickle of 
divine truth, and gather in sheaves for the Lord. Some 
of us are grown old, and must soon yield to death — our 
strength fails — we are no longer able to perform the 
work of youth. Can you see our gray heads and age- 
trembling hands, still feebly laboring, and you — you, my 
brother, idle? You, in the vigor of manhood, not 
touching the burden with a finger? O, for my Lord's 
sake, step out, — for precious soul's sake — for truth's — 
for bleeding, distracted Zion's sake, O, step forward 
to the \vork! Your dear companion will say. Go. 
She loves the truth, and its author — she loves poor 


ungodly, dying sinners — and therefore will encourage 
you in the work. May the Lord of glory bless you, 
and your companion, and children. Farewell, says 
your old brother, who feels eternity near. Once more 
farewell. B. W. Stone." 



The piet}' and benevolence of Barton W. Stone, as illustrated in his 
position and practice in reference to the question of Slavery — He was 
a man of great independence of mind — Of great firmness and decision 
of character — Was unaspiring — Superior to envy and jealousy — His 
position and character as a reformer — Poetry. 

14. The piety and benevolence of Barton W. Stone, 
as illustrated in his position and practice in reference to 
the subject of Slavery. That he was decidedly oppo- 
sed to slavery, as it exists in this country, is confirmed by 
all he ever said, or wrote, or did in reference to it for 
near fifty years. For although a Marylander by birth, 
and though raised and educated in Virojinia and North 
Carolina, and finally settled in Kentucky, where he lived 
near fifty years, nevertheless, he was always opposed to 
slavery. True, he was no abolitionist, in the modern 
sense of that term. He did not indiscriminately con- 
demn slave holders, for he lived some forty years in 
churches in which slave-holders w^ere members. He 
did not therefore make it a test of christian fellowship. 
Would to God that our brethren of the north, whom we 
want to love and fellowship, would imitate the example 
of the pious Stone in this particular! Believe me, dear 
brethren, your ultimate object, in reference to the Afri- 
can race, will much more likely be accomplished by 
such a course, than by the one you are pursuing, (I re- 


fer, of course, to modern abolitionists.) Do once more 
prayerfully examine the New Testament, and see if it 
does not require you to imitate his example in this re- 
spect. But to return. After this short digression we 
proceed to show briefly what Barton W. Stone thought, 
in reference to this exciting question, and what he did, 
and to answer both these questions we quote the follow- 
ing from "The Christian Messenger," vol. iii, pages 
198, 9, and 200. It is headed 

"An Humble Address to Christians on the Coloniza- 
tion of Free People of Color," and was written in 1828. 

" While the greatest and most influential statesmen 
and politicians of our nation, have their approving 
eyes and hearts turned to the Colonization Society, 
while they are laboring to advance its interests, while 
they are attempting to do justice to our long oppressed 
brethren of color, by removing the free ones to the land 
of their forefathers, while they thus act, influenced only 
by the principles of sound policy and benevolence, 
shall christians be idle spectators, and not unite their 
efforts in this holy cause ? Heaven forbid ! All who 
know me, well know that for more than thirty years I 
have advocated the cause of liberty, and opposed unmer- 
ited, hereditary slavery. My honesty has been tested. 
For all in my possession I emancipated ; nor did I send 
them out empty. A few are yet with me, not under my 
control, but entailed a curse upon my children by a de- 
ceased relative. They who are unapprised of this cir- 
cumstance, have branded me as a slaveholder. I have 
named this circumstance to remove any impression which 
might prevent the good effect designed by this address. 

The question is no longer now as thirty years ago — Is 
the slavery of Africans right or wrong? It is settled in 
the nation that it is wrong, both politically and morally. 


The light of truth and intelligence has removed our 
doubts. No man of intelligence now presumes to justify 
it, whether he be a politician, moralist, or christian. He 
would blush in the attempt. The nation has confessed 
her conviction of the wrong, by sending her armed ves- 
sels to suppress the slave trade. Continually are those 
vessels cruising along the coast of Africa, to protect 
the liberty of that nation from the grasp of an unprin- 
cipled, avaricious banditti of worse than piratical mon- 
sters. The more free nations of Europe have engaged 
in the same laudable work. Shall we as a nation, shall 
we as christians approve of this course of protecting 
and so expensively guarding the liberty of Africa, and 
not regard her children among us at home ? No. Such 
a contrast has made America — has made her free-born 
sons blush for very shame. The able statesman, the 
profound politician, the philanthropist, the warm-heart- 
ed christian, all say, what shall we do ? What can be 
done to relieve them? They have proposed and exam- 
ined many plans by the principles of policy, philosophy, 
and religion. But every plan has been found defective 
but that which we now advocate, the plan of settling 
the free people of color in Africa. To free them and let 
them live among us, is impolitic, as stubborn facts have 
proved. Were those now in slavery among us to be 
thus emancipated, I would instantly remove to a distant 
land beyond their reach. Yet, had I a thousand slaves, 
I would gladly give them up to the Colonization Socie- 
ty to transport them to Liberia. 

How many christians have I heard groaning — and 
what real christian does not? How many have I heard 
lamenting their situation because they had slaves in their 
possession and knew not what to do with them. To 
emancipate them, and turn them upon the public, they 


could not — existing facts of the evil forbid it. I could 
not advise this course, nor could I adopt it were I in a 
similar situation. But now every christian, every 
man who is conscientious on the subject, may free him- 
self from this distress by giving up his slaves to the be- 
nevolent Colonization Society, which will joyfully re- 
ceive them, and transport them to a fertile and pleasant 
land, to the enjoyment of liberty, religion, and all the 
comforts of life. Where is the christian that will with- 
hold his aid and influence in support of this society ? 
What philanthropist ? — what republican will ? None, 
none, I hope. 

"The time has been when professed christians were 
blind to the evils of slavery. I have known some t\'ho 
have professed to be humble disciples of Christ, buy and 
sell their fellow-creatures for gain, as they would a herd 
of cattle ! But the era of darkness is past, no man now 
bearing the sacred name of religion, is engaged in such 
a traffic. Am I correct in this statement? Or is there yet 
one, a professed christian, so blinded by the god of this 
world, and so lost to the truth of heaven, and so destitute 
of human and divine feeling, and so regardless of chris- 
tian character, and so callous to the sufferings of humani- 
ty, and so careless about his eternal destiny ? Can a pro- 
fessed christian yet be engaged in such a horrid traffic.-* 
If one, tell it not in Gath, — publish it not in the streets 
of Askelon, lest the wicked, scoffing world rejoice, and 
reproach the name of Christ : that one bearing his name 
and professing his religion, has done what their infideli- 
ty would blush to do. Let every christian frown indig- 
nantly on such a practice. Let them show the world 
their abhorrence of it by banishing it from among 
them. Let the practice be confined to those who fear 
not God, nor regard man. Once more I entreat all 


christians — all the benevolent — all to aid the Coloniza- 
tion Society. Let us associate in every church, in 
every town, and in every neighborhood, as auxiliaries 
to the mother Society, in Washington. Your reward 
will be certain. Editor." 

Another brief quotation or tw^o will show the strength 
of his feelings, in regard to this question. Having 
published an address on colonization, he makes the fol- 
lowing remarks in reference to it: 

"To these sentiments my heart responds «men. O 
that the spirit which runs through every vein of this 
oration, were more generally felt by the children of 
America! O, that my eyes might be blessed with see- 
ing, and my ears with hearing, tens of thousands of our 
countrymen engaged in this benevolent plan of forming 
societies for colonizing the free people of color in 
Africa ! Thousands of the benevolent who weep at 
the sight of oppression, but know not how to free them- 
selves from the evil, would find an asylum in the Colo- 
nization Society, and into its bosom roll the burden of 
their hearts." C. Messenger, vol. 3. p. 165. 

In vol. 5 and page 10, of the Messenger for 1831, 
father Stone thus writes, on the subject of slavery: 

" For a long time, I have suppressed the grief of my 
heart on this subject. That the slavery of the Africans 
is wrong, needs not argument to prove. To emanci- 
pate them, and turn them loose among us, is an evil 
both to themselves and to society. This is a fact not 
disputed. Seeing this, I knew not what to do, nor 
what to advise my brethren to do. But I feel thankful 
that providence has opened the way for christians to 
emancipate their slaves from bondage, and themselves 
from the more intolerable bondage of keeping them. 
Let us, dear brethren, avail ourselves of this opening 


in providence to free ourselves from one of the blackest 
sins which pollute our land, and disgrace our profes- 
sion of civil liberty and holiness to the Lord. The 
sacrifice is great, but the reward will be greater." 

These few extracts sufficiently show the views and 
feelings of the subject of these papers, on the question 
of slavery. As he states, in the first extract, the blacks, 
he inherited from his mother's estate, he freed. This 
occurred shortly after his secession from the Presbyte- 
rian Church. Of this fact he, and father Purviance 
both speak, in other parts of this Biography. Father 
Purviance states a fact connected with the freeing of 
the blacks of B. W. Stone, which exhibits in a strong 
light his conscientiousness. He says father Stone could 
have had money, (as he understood) from his mother's 
estate, instead of the negroes; but, though poor, he 
preferred to take the blacks, and bring them to Kentucky, 
and free them. And although subsequent observation 
convinced him, that as a general thing, that something 
called freedom which the free blacks have, is a curse 
both to them and the whites, still his freeing his servants 
demonstrated his honesty, and conscientiousness. And 
though, when he saw that the blacks were not benefitted 
by freedom among us, he felt constrained to suppress 
the grief of his heart, in reference to their condition, 
not knowing what to advise in the case ; yet as soon as 
he was apprized of the existence of the Colonization 
Society, he took hold of it with all the ardor of his soul, 
and urged his brethren every where, to relieve them- 
selves from the curse of slavery, by giving up their 
blacks to it, and by assisting its operations, by their 
funds. We must here express our strong conviction, 
that had the abolitionists of the North, given their 
influence to this benevolent institution, instead of oppo- 


sing it, its condition would have been very different to- 
day from what it is. True, it has done a good work, 
and done it well, but with the aid of those who have 
opposed it, it might have done much more. God grant 
that we may all, North and South, see the true policy 
and pursue it, in regard to this momentous question! 

We shall close our remarks under this head, by rela- 
ting an incident, showing the benevolent feelings of B. 
W. Stone, towards the African race, and the goodness 
of his heart. In an extract just made from his writings, 
he informs us that a few blacks were still with him, 
"entailed a curse upon his children by a deceased rel- 
ative." It is well known by the personal and intimate 
friends of B. W. Stone, that to get away from those 
slaves entailed upon his children, and from the influence 
of slavery around him, were the chief causes of his 
removal to Illinois. Kentucky was exceedingly dear to 
his heart, and on his last visit to Caneridge, the scene 
of his early labors, in the gospel, he said, he wished 
his bones to be laid there. He often said, before his 
removal to Illinois, in reference to those blacks entailed 
upon his children, that as he could not free them, he 
would free himself from them, by leaving the country. 
But to the incident referred to. It was furnished by 
Dr. A. Adams, of North-Middletown, a man of good tal- 
ents and undoubted veracity. 

^'■Bro. Rogers — Dear Sir : — There are many little in- 
cidents in the history of a man's life which aid very 
much to develope his true character, and the principles 
of his heart. And as I am informed you are about to 
write and publish the Biography of the late venerable 
B. W. Stone, I have thought the following circumstance 
would develope much of the goodness and heavenly- 
mindedness of that good and great man.* As you are 
* See Note on page 404. 


already informed, there were some servants entailed to 
his children ; consequently he had no power to emanci- 
pate them. But, (to use his own words,) he deter- 
mined to free himself from them. And this he did 
by removing to Illinois, and leaving them. If I mis- 
take not, in the year 1838, when I was living in 
Georgetown, old father Stone was on a visit to Kentucky, 
and spent a night at my house. The servants he had 
left were living in Georgetown as a family of free per- 
sons. The old brother hastened to visit them; and it 
was my happiness to accompany him. Had he stood 
in the relation of father, the meeting could not have 
been much more interesting. After full inquiry con- 
cerning their temporal and spiritual welfare, and af- 
ter much religious conversation, advice, and encour- 
agement, he proposed prayer. All present bowed down 
before God, while his tremulous voice and feeling heart 
went up to God in devout supplication. Tears flowed 
from all eyes. The parting scene was truly affecting. 

0, that all masters that profess the christian religion, 
were thus prepared to unite affectionately in the wor- 
ship of God with those over whom they exercise au- 
thority. Your brother in Christ, 

JVorth-Middletown, June 15th, 1845. A. Adams." 

15. B. W. Stone was a man of great independence of 
mind — of great firmness and decision of character. A 
few facts, in the history of thi« great man, will illustrate 
these traits of his character. In the fall of '98, he re- 
ceived a call from the united congregations of Cane- 
ridge and Concord, to become their settled pastor. A 
day was appointed for his ordination by the Presbytery 
of Transylvania. Knowing that at his ordination, the 
Confession of Faith would be proposed for his accept- 


ance, as eontaining that system of doctrines taught in 
the Bible, he determined, as an honest man, to re- 
examine it. He stumbled at the doctrine of trinity 
as taught in the Confession of Faith ; and also at the 
doctrines of election, and reprobation, and predestina- 
tion, as taught there. In this state of mind the day for 
his ordination arrived. He had determined to tell the 
Presbytery the state of his mind, and to request them 
to defer his ordination till he should be better informed 
and settled. Before Presbytery was organized for busi- 
ness, he took aside Dr. James Blythe and Robert Mar- 
shall, the pillars of the Presbytery, and revealed to them 
his difficulties, and that he had determined to decline 
ordination at that time. They labored in vain to remove 
his difficulties. They finally asked him how far he was 
willing to receive the Confession ? He told them, he 
could receive it as far as he saw it consistent with the 
word of God. They concluded that was sufficient. 
They went into Presbytery, and when the question was 
proposed to him, " Do you receive and adopt the Con- 
fession of Faith, as containing the system of doctrine 
taught in the Bible ?" He answered aloud, so that the 
whole congregation might hear, " I do, so far as I see 
it consistent with the word of God.'' No objection 
being made to his answer, he was ordained. These 
facts will be found substantially stated by B. W. Stone, 
on pages 29 and 30 of this work. And the fact that he 
objected to the Confession, as stated above, is proved 
by many witnesses of the first standing, on pages 33 and 
34 of ^'An Address" to the Christian Churches, 2d edi- 
tion, which see. Dr. Cleland, not aware, it would 
seem, of the fact so notorious, that, at his ordination, 
B. W. Stone had objected to the Confession of Faith, 
in a publication against him, represented him as having 



sincerely and without reserve, adopted the Westmin- 
ster creed. This called forth the certificates referred to, 
which prove that he did not receive the Confession 
without reserve. 

Now I ask, if these facts do not prove the candor, 
the independence of B. W. Stone? Contemplate his 
situation in the light of these facts. He is a young 
man, not 26. He finds in his mind insuperable objec- 
tions to the Confession of Faith. He knows if he re- 
veals his objections to it, he is liable to be rejected, 
disgraced, and even excluded for heresy, and thus put 
under the ban of one of the most respectable, most 
learned, and most influential denominations of the 
country. He loved the Presbyterians, having embraced 
religion among them, and among them formed his re- 
ligious attachments and associations. But none of 
these things moved him. For although he saw himself 
exposed to the loss of dearest friends, of the means of 
present usefulness, of securing a comfortable living, and 
liable to be disgraced and persecuted by a powerful 
party, he determined to be honest at the hazard of 
every thing. Though B. W. Stone was a man of great 
modesty, and paid great deference to the judgment of 
others, nevertheless, he tried the decisions of others at 
the bar of his own judgment, and, in view of all the 
light he had, decided for himself, and acted accord- 
ingly. Though he would not enter into an angry strife 
with any one, on any religious question, preferring to 
award the palm to such angry debatants, to the risk of 
losing his religious enjoyment, yet never man possessed 
more independence of mind, or more firmness of pur- 
pose than he. 

The honesty, independence, and firmness of Barton 
W. Stone not only appear in his conduct at his or- 


dination ; — they are equally conspicuous soon after his 
withdrawal from the Synod of Ky. Let B. W. Stone 
state the facts in his own way. " Soon after our sepa- 
ration, I called together my congregations, and informed 
them that I could no longer conscientiously preach to 
support the Presbyterian Church, that my labors should 
henceforth be directed to advance the Redeemer's king- 
dom, irrespective of party — that I absolved them from 
all obligations in a pecuniary point of view, and then in 
their presence, tore up their salary obligation to me, in 
order to free their minds from all fear of being called 
on hereafter for aid. Never had a pastor and churches 
lived together more harmoniously than we had for about 
six years. Never had I found a more loving, kind, and 
orderly people in any country, and never have I felt a 
more cordial attachment to any others. I told them I 
should continue to preach among them, but not in the 
relation that had previously existed between us. This 
was truly a day of sorrow, and the impressions of it are 

"Thus to the cause of truth, I sacrificed an abun- 
dant salary to support myself and family. 1 preferred 
the truth to the friendship and kindness of my associ- 
ates in the Presbyterian ministry, who were dear to me, 
and tenderly united in the bonds of love. I preferred 
honesty and a good conscience to all these things. 
Having now no support from the congregations, and 
having emancipated my slaves, I turned my attention 
cheerfully, though awkwardly, to labor on my little farm. 
Though fatigued in body, my mind was happy and 
**calm as summer evenings be." I relaxed not in my 
ministerial labors, preaching almost every night, and 
often in the day time, to the people around. I had no 
money to hire laborers, and often on my return home, I 


found the weeds getting ahead of my corn. I had 
often to labor at night, while others were asleep, to 
redeem my lost time." See pages 49 and 50 of this 

These simple, but unquestionable facts, related in 
the simplest manner, present in the strongest and clear- 
est light, the sincerity, independence and firmness, and 
we might add, the piety of B. W. Stone. Here we see 
a man for conscience sake, expatriating himself, as it 
were, from a people, whom he loved most tenderly, — 
giving up an abundant salary, emancipating his slaves, 
exchanging the fairest prospects of respectability and 
competence, for persecution and poverty ! Can any 
one doubt the independence and conscientiousness of 
such a mind? We think not. But time would fail us 
to speak particularly of all the evidences of these traits 
of character, in the beloved Stone. 

A few years after his secession from Synod, the Sha- 
kers came, and made fearful havoc in some Churches. 
McNemar and Dunlavy of Ohio, and Houston of Ken- 
tucky, among the preachers, were carried away with 
this miserable delusion. The independence and firm- 
ness of B. W. Storie were put to a severe test. And 
well did he bear the trial. He labored incessantly to 
check the progress of this delusion ; nor did he labor 
in vain. But how great must have been the trial of 
the venerated Stone! Three of their strongest men 
fallen into the Shaker delusion! And the sects tri- 
umphing in hope of their downfall! Yet, none of 
these things moved him. Conscious that he had taken 
the true ground, he could not be driven from it, by the 
violence of opposition from without, nor the treachery 
of professed friends within. 


By his independence, and firmness, and perseverance, 
aided by a few noble spirits, the Churches soon recov- 
ered from this shock. But they were scarcely recov- 
ered from it, ere they were called to experience another, 
and one that was peculiarly trying to the feelings of B. 
W. Stone. Two of the original five, who took their 
stand on the Bible alone, had abandoned the good cause, 
and two others, Marshall"^ and Thompson, began to 
waver, and finally, in 1809 or '10, they returned to the 
bosom of the Presbyterian Church. Stone was now 
left alone, so that he often appropriated to himself these 
words of Elijah, ' I alone am left, and they seek my 
life to take it away.' Now again the enemies of the 
reformation, plead by B. W. Stone and those with him, 
triumphed, and hoped soon to see their cause prostrate. 
But their triumph was short. — Stone stood firm and 
unshaken ; and said by his conduct, * Though all men 
forsake this cause, yet will /not forsake it ; — the Church, 
in the purest and most triumphant period of her his- 
tory, during the first centuries, stood upon the word of 
God alone ; and that word, with the blessing of God, 
will yet displace all humanisms, in religion, and bring 
the Church back to unity, and pure Christianity. How- 
ever, therefore, I may be forsaken and persecuted, for 
the position I occupy: whatever sacrifices of friend- 
ship, — of property, — of honor, I may be called upon 
to make to maintain it, I cheerfully submit to it all, and 
rejoice that I am worthy to suflfer for the truth's sake.' 
But enough is said on this head. The firmness and 
independence of B. W. Stone are unquestionable. 

16. B. W. Stone was an unaspiring man, free from 
envy and jealousy. Though he was a fine scholar — 
deeply learned in the Bible ; and in consequence of 
his various learning, his deep piety, and popular man- 


ners, wielded an immense influence upon society, yet 
he was unconscious of his own strength, and seemed 
always disposed, modestly, to take the lowest seat. He 
was deeply imbued with that humility that disposes us 
to esteem others better than ourselves. In this par- 
ticular he was a model for all great men. He never 
sought to shine — he sought not the honor that cometh 
from man. Though he stood at the head of a great 
reformation-movement, — of a rapidly increasing reli- 
gious community in the West, yet he never seemed to 
realize that such was his position, and he abhorred the 
idea of being the leader of a party. His great eflfort 
was to harmonize all parties under Christ; and for this 
effort, this most benevolent and christian effort, to ac- 
complish, by Heaven's own means, this unspeakably 
important object, his name will be honored and handed 
down to posterity as one of the greatest reformers and 
benefactors of his race. The great misfortune with al- 
most, if not all reformers, both political or religious, 
has been, that, though they may set out with correct 
views and purposes, yet when they have established 
themselves in power, they have generally settled back 
upon the same principles of tyranny and oppression, 
(though in other forms,) against which they raised their 
voices and directed their influence. Politically the 
world has had many Cesars, Bonapartes, and Bolivars; 
but only one Washington. So, religiously, we have 
had many Luthers and Calvins, but only one Stone. 

In taking this position the writer is aware that he 
subjects himself to the sneers and biting sarcasms, and 
severe criticisms of the Orthodox, so called. He is how- 
ever prepared for it all, and disposed if it comes, to take 
it patiently. He speaks his convictions, and all-trying 
time will decide the truth of them. He believes most 


devoutly, that the great fundamental principle of all true 
reformation, that " The Bible alone is sufficient to regu- 
late the faith and practice of the whole christian world,'' 
first successfully and consistently plead in the West, by 
B. W. Stone, is destined to work a religious revolution, 
such as the world has never witnessed since the great 
apostacy. And that therefore the name of the venerable 
Stone, will gather glory as time advances, as the great 
pioneer of this great renovation, in the great West. 
And because he never sought, nor expected this honor, 
but so richly deserved it, it will be awarded to him, by 
posterity. A notorious fact in the history of this good 
man, will show most conclusively, his unaspiring dispo- 
sition, and his superiority to the low feeling of envy and 

Whenbro: A. Campbell and others commenced their 
reformation efforts, taking their stand upon the Bible 
alone, and pushing their investigations in a direction in 
which his mind had not been turned, — discovered 
great practical truths, which had been hid under the 
rubbish of ages, and which are working, and destined 
to work a mighty renovation in society, B. W. Stone, 
though far advanced in life, was among the first, in the 
West, to perceive the importance of these discoveries, 
and to receive them, and act upon them himself, and 
recommend them to the acceptance of others. Nor did 
he hesitate to acknowledge that from A. Campbell and 
others, he had derived important, practical religious 
knowledge. True, he and A. Campbell had several 
friendly discussions, on several subjects, but they were 
mostly of a speculative character, and on subjects on 
which B. W. Stone laid but little stress. This fact, 
however, only shows the great candor, and honesty, and 
I may add independence, of B. W. Stone. Where he 


could not see evidence of the truth of any of A. Camp- 
bell's positions, like an honest man he opposed him, — 
but opposed in a dignified, christian manner. But when 
he saw that his positions, though new to him, were 
nevertheless true, he would have been untrue to his po- 
sition as a Reformer, not to have received them. And 
he would have proved himself to be a mere religious 
partizan, and demagogue, if he had rejected them, be- 
cause he himself had not discovered them. He was 
ready always to receive instructions from persons of the 
humblest capacities. The following testimony to the 
character of B. W. Stone, from A. G. Comings, will not 
be out of place. 

" One prominent trait of the piety, and Christ-like 
love of the late beloved, and lamented Barton W. Stone, 
was, that he sacredly respected the reputation and char- 
acter of his opponents. Envy may endeavor to detract 
from his merits ; but his real greatness is manifest in his 
rising above all grovelling ambition. His virtues will 
live in heaven. With him ^Charity covered a multitude 
of sins,' instead of magnifying every fault, and publishing 
it to the world. I have heretofore said that I regarded 
him as the greatest of the Christian reformers of this 
century, because he was great as a Christian. 

A. G. C." 

We shall close what we have to say under this head, 
by an article from the pen of A. Crihfield. Although 
we do not approve of every expression of this article 
from our talented bro: Crihfield, yet it sets the charac- 
ter of B. W. Stone, as a reformer, in its true light, as 
also his unaspiring, and unenvious disposition. Though 
it contains other matters of interest illustrative of the 
character of B. W. Stone, but not falling exactly under 
the head, under which we are writing, yet we wuU beg 


the indulgence of the reader, to introduce it here. It 
will repay a careful perusal. 

*' The first time I had the pleasure of seeing Barton 
W. Stone was in 1829, atMayslick, in Kentucky. He 
had been to Ohio, and was returning, and I was going 
to the neighborhood of Carlisle. I did not at that time 
become further acquainted with him than what arose 
from a very casual introduction. Our next meeting was 
just ten years afterwards at Indianapolis, that is, in 1839, 
in the following way. 

" At this last date, Elder Stone was living in Jackson- 
ville, Illinois, and I was in Logan County, Ohio. The 
Indiana brethren had resolved to hold a great meeting 
at Indianapolis, in May, I think, of that year, or early 
in June, and specially invited Elder Stone and myself 
to attend. We did so. I arrived on Friday evening, 
and brother Stone the next day. Towards the hour of 
meeting on Saturday morning I was walking with Elder 
John Longley, and when we came into the enclosure 
of the meeting-house, brother Longley remarked with 
great emotion, " Yonder is brother Stone : come, let 
me introduce you to him" — for he was standing in the 
same enclosure conversing with a friend. So soon as 
my name was announced, the venerable man grasped 
me with both hands in the most affectionate manner, 
exclaiming, *' Brother Crihfield, is this you ? From your 
writings I had expected to see a little ugly, black-head- 
ed, dark-skinned, ill-natured fellow; but if this is you^ 
behold I am mistaken ! for I see a genteel looking man !" 
His words, his manners, his whole bearing, were so 
kind, so conciliatory, and so perfectly unaffected, that 
the impression made upon me was deep, and as lasting 
as deep. Though the first thing he said, in the gush of 
his warm benevolence, was a reproof for that sharpness 


with which I am supposed to write, I felt that I loved 
him only the more, and that I sincerely thanked him for 
his fatherly advice. 

" I did not have the pleasure of hearing Elder Stone 
preach on the Lord's day of that meeting; for the congre- 
gation was divided, and while I occupied the Christian 
Chapel, he went by invitation to the Methodist church, 
and preached at the same time. Both houses were over 
filled with intently listening hearers. On the next 
morning it was my lot to address the brethren again, and 
brother Stone sat before me. Before he took his posi- 
tion he said to me privately, " You know I am deaf — 
Speak loud — I want to hear every word." My subject 
that morning, I think, was justification by faith, as de- 
scribed by Paul in the opening of the fifth chapter of 
Romans. I took occasion to speak of the power of faith 
as well as of that special class of feelings which origi- 
nates in the heart of him who truly believes. Setting 
this subject in its true light, rather in opposition to cer- 
tain cold and chilly speculations in which some indulge, 
I became somewhat excited in proceeding; and when 
I had reached a favorite climax, elder Stone advancing 
with me in every step of the subject and partaking of 
all my feelings, shouted out aloud, " Glory he to GodP^ 
I was unprepared for this, and it confused me. Obser- 
ving my embarrassment, he said smilingly, "Go on, 
brother, go on!" I resumed the subject and went 

" During this meeting Elder Stone delivered several 
discourses, all of a practical character. At intervals he 
intimated to me that he saw a great disposition in some 
of the preachers, especially the younger ones, to preach 
strong and fine discourses, rather than good ones ; 
in short, to preach themselves rather than Christ Jesus 


the Lord. Hence tnany of his public remarks during 
the meeting were made to the preachers, especially to 
the young and inexperienced. This he did in such a 
mild and fatherly way, that I doubt not his words were 
a blessing to many who heard them. 

"The next year, September 1840, by special invita- 
tion of the brethren, I visited Springfield, Illinois, 
where again, and for the last time, I met with brother 
Stone. We had a pleasant meeting of five or six days. 
By this time his hearing had become so dull that he did 
not fully enjoy the society of the saints. He labored 
but little through the whole meeting, but the very pres- 
ence of such a man was most cheering to all lovers of 
the good cause. I never looked upon him when pres- 
ent, or thought of him when absent, without feeling a 
strong desire to be as good a man. In him most emi- 
nently was exemplified the power of a holy example ; 
and saints and sinners, however disunited and dissimilar 
in other respects, in this agreed almost without a dis- 
senting voice in the wide sphere of his acquaintance, 
that he was not only a great but a good man — one that 
had the glory of God and the best interest of men sin- 
cerely at heart. May the Lord raise up many more such 
in this age of selfishness and fortune-hunting, to defend 
his cause by labors as efficient and by lives as holy! 

The great redeeming idea which more than any other 
perhaps, possessed his mind, was that which distin- 
guished him for many years both as a writer and 
speaker, namely: that the sacred scriptures alone 


THE PEOPLE OF GOD. Bible uamcs for Bible things ap- 
peared to be his motto. He threw himself out upon this 
basis, and labored with all his might and for many 
years — with success. Thus was laid, about the begin- 


ning of the present century, the foundation of a great 
moral reformation, which, having passed through many 
stages, now finds advocates in various parts of the world. 
It is but just, however, to the characters of others 
that I state, there were others, in other parts of this 
country, who about the same time called public atten- 
tion to the Scriptures as the only divinely authorized 
Creed or Confession of Faith. It must appear evident 
too, that this principle is rudimental in religion — it 
must lie at the very basis of every attempt at reforma- 
tion. This, then, was the great master-thought of El- 
der Stone. Contending incessantly for this redeeming 
principle, he soon gained efficient co-laborers : many 
were the preachers (in those days soubriquetted "New- 
Lights,") that passed in all directions throughout the 
great valley of the Mississippi, preaching with the zeal 
of apostles, and suffering with nearly the fortitude of 
martyrs, till the public mind became, in a good degree, 
prepared for other questions and features of reform, up- 
on the same foundation, and for the labors of other men. 
There is a certain length to which certain investiga- 
tions may be carried, when the public mind, as by 
instinct, says, "It is enough." It seems thus to demand 
enlargement by the admission of other subjects and 
arguments. The wisdom of Providence is thus dis- 
played in arranging the plan of great reformations, so 
that no one man shall claim exclusive honors and 
prerogatives. One is not the strength of all, nor are 
all exclusively indebted to one. We are members 
one of another. 

"Elder Stone and his co-laborers cleared away the 
rubbish of human creeds, — particularly in the West- 
ern States; and to their zeal in this cause they added 
an unfeigned piety. The congregations established 


were made up for the most part of pious and devo- 
ted men and women. But the great subject of con- 
verting the world was not fully understood — how the 
evangelist should proceed, in this important matter, 
was not well defined. Another man, at a later day, 
practically restored the gospel, in this respect, to its 
primitive position and honors. This great and good 
man came in with another great central thought in 
his mind, viz: that "Jesus of Nazareth is the Son 
OF God, and that there is a way, definite and plain, of 
coming into his kingdom.'*' Standing upon the precious 
truth, " We have no creed but the Bible," he went 
about more particularly to understand his creed in 
reference to the design of baptism, and how that in- 
stitution should be practised, or where it should be 
placed among the principles of christian doctrine. 
And he practically and gloriously succeeded; and the 
result has astonished mankind. Several eminent 
writers and speakers, besides, have pushed on the 
cause by the influence of their names and talents, to 
which may be added a host of faithful preachers in 
all parts of the land — all helpers of the truth — and 
all necessary in their places to this great moral re- 

"These remarks bring me to an attribute of Elder Stone's 
character which, in my estimation, is none ofthe least of 
his virtues. Possessed of very great influence on ac- 
count of his learning, piety, and very great affability of 
manners, when further advances in reformation were 
made, when several points of doctrine were developed 
which he had not, in so many words, advocated, there 
was room for one less pious and devoted to erect him- 
self into a leader or head of a party. So far from at- 
tempting or even wishing this, Elder Stone gave his 


heart and hand most cordially to his new co-laborers ; 
and if in any thing he had been behind, he wished to 
come up, trusting also that if at any time or in anything 
his fellow-reformers had run past Jerusalem, they would 
return to the city. The foundation being really the 
same, why should brethren stand aloof from each other? 
why form parties, or maintain them, where no adequate 
cause existed ? So reasoned brother Stone, and so he 

"The name of this great and good man must descend 
to posterity endeared to the hearts of thousands. He 
has gone to his rest in heaven. May we imitate his vir- 
tues, and with him reap the harvest of immortality ! 

Arthur Crihfield. 

Covington, Ky. July 10, 1846." 

17. Though B. W. Stone made no pretensions to the 
character of a poet, yet he has left some pieces which 
we think, not only exhibit much piety, and good sense, 
but also considerable poetic talent. The pieces will 
speak for themselves. The first we shall introduce is an 

Elegy on the death of Eliza Stone, consort of B. W, 
Stone, who died May 30, 1810. Mistress Eliza Stone 
according to all accounts we have of her frora those who 
knew her intimately, was very pious, and amiable in all 
the relations of life. 

In ancient days, the Scripture says, 
The prophets tuned their mournful lays, 
And did their voice in music raise 

In songs for friends departed. 
King David did his mantle rend, 
And, in his grief, the story penned. 
Of Saul and Jonathan his friend 

Who fell on Mount Gilboa. 



For victories too, with bloody hue, 
Gained o'er a proud, oppressive crew, 
They raised their songs in triumph new 

To celebrate the glory. 
Thus Deborah and Barak told 
In songs, their victories gained of old 
O'er Jabin's mighty hosts and bold. 

By Israel's valiant children. 


If God approved such anthems then, 
Sung to his praise by fallen men. 
Who did in notes their praises pen. 

Will he reject my story ? 
If Prophets did such victories swell, 
A greater victory I'll tell 
Gained o'er the powers of death and hell, 

E'en by a feeble woman. 


Death's cruel art prepared a dart, 
Which pierced Eliza's peaceful heart; 
And twelve revolving months the smart 

Had stripped her blooming vigor. 
Her soul in patience she possessed, 
Still panting for the promised rest; 
And tho' with helpless weakness pressed. 

Yet shouted praise to Jesus. 


To increase her woe the cruel foe 
With envious rancour drew his bow. 
And pierced her smiling infant too — 

Her only son and darling. 
His spotless soul flew up to rest — 
His lifeless corpse fell from her breast. 
She dropped a tear and him embraced, 

Then praised the God of glory. 

Ten days before her prison door 
Was opened, death with furious store 


Came rushing in and seized the poor, 

The helpless, dear Eliza. 
He cast his iron fetters round — 
But her free soul could not be bound ; — 
For Jesus near her still was found, 

And death was forced to leave her. 

Each following- day, without delay, 
Grim death returned and seized the prey ; — 
But still she shouted him away, 

In praises to King Jesus. 
The last, the mournful day rolls round. 
When she must quit this mortal ground ; 
Her heart with joy did leap and bound 

To enter into glory. 

Her loving eye, most wishfully. 
Fixed on her brother standing by. 
For him she prayed in agony. 

That he might find redemption. 
Your hands to me did succor lend. 
To me you've been a faithful friend. 
But now dear brother do attend 

To seek your Lord and Saviour. 


Her little dears, in boding fears. 
Stood round her dying bed, in tears ; 
She tried to soothe their rising cares 

Then cast them on her Saviour. 
Her weeping husband she embraced. 
And thus in mournful words addressed ; 
Go on, my darling, to your last. 

Warn sinners of their danger. 


Her sisters too, who stood in view. 

She called : they weeping near her drew, 

Around her feeble arms she threw, 

And pressed them to her bosom. 


Her heart and voice to heaven did raise ; 
She prayed the Lord to give them grace, 
And cause their tongues to speak his praise, 

Then prayed them seek salvation. 
Her neighbors stood, the kind and good. 
And poured their sorrows in a flood, 
And wondered at the grace of God, 

Which caused her thus to triumph. 
With loving smiles, and language sweet, 
Both old and young she did intreat, 
To mark the steps of Jesus' feet, 

And follow Him to Canaan. 
A brother dear, who was not there. 
Pressed on her mind with anxious care ; 
O tell him, sister, to prepare 

To meet me in sweet glory. 
Just come, she saw a loving friend. 
Who to her wants did long attend; 
Her purple hand she did extend. 

Farewell, I soon shall meet you. 
Then turned her eyes up to the skies. 
Her feeble voice in praise she tries. 
The last we heard that did arise. 

Was Glory, Hallelujah ! 
Before death could inflict one sting. 
Her happy soul was on the wing. 
By angels borne up to her King, 

To dwell with Him forever. 
O let me fly, mount up on high. 
And hear the anthems of the sky. 
And see Eliza drawing nigh. 

Unto the throne of Jesus : 
Her Parents first their daughter meet, 
And welcome her in accents sweet. 
And shout along the golden street, 

Salvation unto Jesus. 



From them the sound spreads all around, 
The dead's alive, the lost is found ; 
Another saint has left the ground 
Of sorrow and confusion. 
Salvation to the King of Kings ! 
Through heaven's high arches music rings i 
And every happy spirit sings, 

Salvation unto Jesus I 
While glories blaze in every face. 
And every tongue is filled with praise, 
Eliza stands in sweet amaze 

All lost in pleasing rapture. 
A brighter form attracts her eyes. 
Away her happy spirit flies. 
Low at the feet of Jesus lies, 

O'erwhelmed with joys celestial. 
At Jesus' feet I see her sit. 
In silent wonder, pleasure sweet. 
Then prostrate fall before his seat. 

And thus begin his praises : — 
O, Jesus ! why such love to me I 
So worthless ! — yet thy grace so free ; 
But O ! thy praise eternally 

I'll shout ! but ne'er can equal ! 
But mortal tongues can't speak the songs, 
To saints immortal this belongs, — 
I'll now forsake those shining throngs 

And leave my dear Eliza. 
A mansion too for me is there. 
Soon with Eliza I'll appear. 
And with her, in the banquet share. 

And part no more forever. 
Come brothers, sisters, children dear, 
O, dry your sorrows ! banish care ! 
And seek, with me, to enter where 


Eliza now is feasting. 
To Canaan's happy land I go, 
Where streams of pleasure ever flow ; 
Soon shall I quit this vale of woe 

And dwell in bliss forever. 

The following are some hymns he made during the 
great revival, near the beginning of the present cen- 
tury. They exhibit, in a clear light, the piety as 
well as the poetic talents of the author. The fol- 
lowing hymn is founded upon Ezekiel's vision of the 
waters, chapt. 47. 

1. The Lord is the fountain of goodness and love, 
Thro' Eden once flowing in streams from above, 
Refresh'd, every moment, the first happy pair, 
Till sin stopp'd the torrent and brought in despair. 

2. O, wretched condition ! what anguish and pain ! 
They thirst for the fountain, but cannot obtain; 
To sin's bitter waters they fly for relief. 

They drink, but the draught still increases the grief. 

3. Glad tidings ! glad tidings ! no more we complain, 
Our Jesus has opened the fountain again ; 

Now mingled with mercy, enriched with free grace, 
From Zion 'tis flowing on all the lost race. 

4. How happy the prophet ! how pleasant his road ! 
When led down the stream by the angel of God ! 
Tho' shallow at first, yet he found it at last 

A river so boundless it could not be passed. 

5. Come sinner, poor sinner, 'tis boundless and free. 
You're welcome, take freely, 'twas opened for thee ; 
The Spirit invites you, the bride calls you too. 

Come call all your neighbors, they're welcome with you. 

6. Come all ye dead sinners, here life you will find, 
Come all ye poor beggars, ye halt and ye blind ; 
This water has virtue to heal all complaints, 
Come drink ye diseased, and rejoice with the saints. 


7. Say not " I'm a sinner, and must not partake ;" 
For this very reason the Lord bids you take, 
Say not " too unworthy, the vilest of all ;" 

For such, not the righteous, the Lord came to call. 

8. Make not your complaints an excuse to delay, 
Let not your transgressions affright you away ; 
Tho' bad your condition, you're welcome, draw near, 
Come, come on, poor sinner, and cast away fear. 

9. Come Christians, let's venture along down the stream, 
The shallows are pleasant, but O, let us swim ! 

Let's bathe in the ocean of infinite love. 
And wash, and be pure as the angels above. 

10. Too long have we dreaded to launch the great deep. 
And loved near the threshhold of Zion to keep ; 
But Jesus now calls us ; arise, let us go, 
0, glory, transporting ! — 'tis heaven below. 


1. The gloomy night of sadness. 
Begins to flee away. 

The red'ning streaks of morning- 
Proclaim the rising day ; 
That welcome day of promise 
When Christ shall claim his right, 
And on the world in darkness 
Pour forth a flood of light. 

2. Now truth unveiled is shining 
With beams of sacred light, 
The mourning pilgrims wonder. 
And leave the paths of night ; 
Their glowing hearts in rapture 
All filled with love divine. 
Burst forth in shouting glory. 
And like their Master shine. 

3. Now love unites the children, 
And tears away the bars ; 
They lay aside their weapons, 
And cease from strife and wars ; 
All with united voices, 


All join with one accord, 
Ascribing free salvation 
And glory to the Lord. 

4. The beams of truth revealed, 
Pervade the sinners' heart, 
Aghast, they fall and tremble, 
As pierced thro' with a dart. 
Their earnest cries for mercy 
Sound thro' the parting skies. 
The gracious Saviour hears them, 
And smiling, bids them rise. 

5. Now Satan roars with anguish, 
His servants quake with fear. 
His boasted kingdom totters, 
Its fall we soon shall hear : 
Go on, victorious Saviour ! 

Go on, Almighty King ! 
O, chain the woful dragon. 
And cause the world to sing ! 

6. Come, let's begin the anthems. 
And join the choir above. 

To praise our blessed Jesus, 
And bless the God we love. 
All glory, glory, glory ! 
Salvation to our God ! 
Hosanna to our Jesus ! 
Who washed us in his blood ! 

7. The courts of heaven are ringing. 
With songs of highest strains. 
And ceaseless praise is rolling 
Along the flowery plains ; 

O, could we rise triumphant, 
And join with those above. 
And shout and sing forever 
Free grace and dying love ! 

8. There sits our smiling Jesus, 
In light and glory crowned ; 
There gazing hosts adore him, 


In blazing circles round. 

Come quickly, come, Lord Jesus I 

Come quickly, come Lord, come! 

O, take our longing spirits 

To our eternal home. 

HYMN m. 

1. Behold the love, the grace of God, 
Display'd in Jesus' precious blood ; 
My soul's on fire, it pants to prove 
The fullness of redeeming love. 

2. Our God is love — O, leap, my soul! 
Let warm hosannas gently roll ! 
Love gave his Son to save our race, 
And Jesus died tliro' sov'reign grace ! 

3. What love has done, sing earth around ! 
Angels prolong the eternal sound ! 

Lo, Jesus bleeding on the tree ! 
There, there, the love of God I see ! 

4. I look — I gaze — my rebel heart 
Feels its own hardness soon depart; 
Repenting tears begin to roll. 

And love in streams flows through my soul. 

5. The cross I view — wondrous love ! 
My sins expire, my fears remove ; 
My native enmity is slain 

I'm reconciled — I'm born again. 

6. By faith in Jesus' bloody cross. 
The Devil's kingdom suffers loss; 
Crowds on their way from sin to God 
Have overcome thro' Jesus' blood. 

7. O, that the world would turn their eyes, 
And view this bleeding sacrifice; 
Almighty love therein displayed 

Would bruise and crush the serpent's head. 

8. O, how I long to see the hour 

When sin and death shall lose their power ! 
When all the world, both great and small, 
Shall own thee sov'reign Lord of all ! 


9. Thou bleeding Lamb — thou mighty God ! 
O, spread thy conquests far abroad ! 
Thy kingdom come, exalt thy fame, 
■ Let all the world bow to thy name ! 

10. Shout, Christians, shout, the Lord has come! 
Prepare, prepare to make him room ! 
On earth he reigns, we feel him near ! ^ 
The signs of glory now appear I 

The following beautiful and touching lines were 
composed by B. W. Stone, on the Weeping Willow 
that overhung the grave of his dear Eliza and her 
infant son. 

Beneath this grassy turf lie innocence and love ; 
The willow bends its flexile boughs above : 
Nor is her son, deep-sleeping by her side, 
Forgotten by the mourner, far-spread wide ; 
It waves its boughs o'er his infantile head. 
And sweeps the tomb, and murmurs o'er the dead. 


A brief history of the Union, which took place in Ky, in 1832, between 
B. W. Stone, and those associated with him, and those associated vvith 
A. Campbell. 

Of all the subjects relating to the interests of the 
Church of God, that of the Union of Christians, on 
Heaven's own terms, was dearest, and nearest to the 
heart of the pious Stone. Most sincerely, most indus- 
triously, most consistently, and most successfully, did 
he advocate this doctrine, for forty years. It was to 
him a most pleasing and delightful theme. He loved, 
most ardently, the Church of God, and he wished to 
see her harmonized, that she might realize the fullness of 
gospel blessedness. He loved a world lying in wicked- 


ness, and he longed to see the church united, that it might 
be converted. Hence, he hailed with peculiar pleasure, 
and most sincerely encouraged, every effort, which in 
his judgment, tended to a consummation so devoutly to 
be wished. Therefore, when A. Campbell, and those 
with him, came forward to advocate a return to primitive 
Christianity, in faith and practice — to lay down the sim- 
ple terms of christian union, as found in the scriptures, 
and sanctioned by common sense, the humble and ami- 
able Stone, and those with him in Kentucky especially, 
were delighted ; and hailed them as brethren and fellow 
laborers, in building up the waste places of Zion ; and 
rejoiced in anticipation of a happy union, at no distant 
day. Thank Heaven! our anticipations were realized. 
We had good ground to anticipate this blessed result 
from the terms of union, advocated by brother Campbell. 
As these terms are, in our humble judgment, clearly 
scriptural, and at the very foundation of the great refor- 
mation movement of the 19th century, and as all re- 
formers, when they become numerous, and popular, are 
prone to forget and forsake first principles, and thus be- 
come mere sectarians, we think we cannot do a better 
service, to this generation, than to bring them forward, 
and urge a conformity to them. Hear then, the plan of 
Union, proposed by A. Campbell, to heal all the dis- 
sensions of Christendom. The very thought of uniting 
distracted Christendom, is a grand, a divine conception ! 
— The effort, a glorious christian enterprise! We quote 
from the " Christian Baptist," vol. 4, No. 8, from an 
article headed, " Purity of Speech." 
''If all christians " spake the same things," they would 
doubtless be of the same mind. Yes, but says the phi- 
losopher, if they were all of one mind, they would all 
speak the same things. Grant then, that speaking the 


same things is the effect of thinking the same things ; 
and yet, perhaps, it might be true that speaking the same 
things might in its turn be the cause of thinking the same 
things. For example : William and Mary thought the 
same things of John Calvin — they spake the same things 
concerning him to their children ; and their sons and 
daughters thought the same things of him. This is true 
in general. 

It is no uncommon thing, in the natural world, for an 
effect to be the cause of another effect, and the last ef- 
fect to be similar to its cause. For example ; there is 
a chain of seven links. A person with a hammer 
strikes the first link. The motion of the first link is the 
effect of the stroke of the hammer ; but the motion of 
the first link becomes the cause of the motion of the 
second, because of the impulse it gives it ; and the mo- 
tion of the second becomes the cause of the motion of 
the third, and so on to the end of the chain. In each of 
these effects, so far as they become causes, there -is some- 
thing similar to the first cause. Now it is much more 
obvious that, in the world of mind or thought, this 
similarity exists to a much greater degree than in the 
world of matter. The reason is, men cannot think but 
by words or signs. Words are but embodied thoughts, 
the external images, or representatives of ideas. And 
who is there, that has paid any attention to what passes 
in his own mind, who has not perceived that he cannot 
think without something to think about, and that the 
something about which he thinks must eij;her assume a 
name, or some sort of image in his mind, before his 
rational faculties can operate upon it ; and moreover, 
that his powers of thinking while employed exercise 
themselves in every effort, either by terms, names, or 
symbols, expressive of their own acts, and the results 


of their own acts ? Now as men think by means of sym- 
bols, or terms, and cannot think without them, it must 
be obvious that speaking the same things and hearing 
the same things, though it might be alleged as the effect 
of thinking the same things, is more likely to become 
the cause of thinking the same things, than any natural 
or mechanical effect, can become the cause of a similar 
effect. This much we say for the employment of the 
speculative reader : but -for the practical mind it is 
enough to know that speaking the same things is both 
rationally and scripturally proposed, as the most sure 
and certain means of thinking the same things. On this 
view of the matter I would predicate something of great 
consequence to the religious world. Perhaps I might 
find in it something of more real importance to all chris- 
tians of every name, than all the fabled powers of the 
philosopher's stone, had they been real. Perhaps in 
this one view might be found the only practicable, and 
alone-sufficient means of reconciling all the christian 
world, and of destroying all partyism and party feelings, 
with all their retinue and trains of evils, which have 
been more fatal to christian light and liberty than were 
all the evils which fell upon human bodies, from the 
opening of Pandora's box to the animal enjoyments of 
this world. But how shall we all speak the same things 
relating to the christian religion ? Never, indeed, while 
we add to, or subtract from the words which the Holy 
Spirit teacheth. Never, indeed, while we take those 
terms out of •their scriptural connexions, and either 
transpose them in place, or confound them with terms 
not in the book. If I am not greatly mistaken (and I beg 
to be corrected if I am) the adding to, subtracting from, 
the transposition of, and mingling the terms of the Holy 
Spirit, with those of human contrivance, is the only 


cause why all who love the same Saviour, are disunited. 
Now every human creed in Christendom, whether it 
be long or short, whether it be written or nuncupative, 
whether it be of " essentials or non-essentials," whether 
it be composed of five, or fifty articles, either adds to, 
subtracts from, or transposes the words of inspiration, or 
minpjles things ofdivine and human contrivance together. 
No such volume, no such articles can be the form, or a 
form of sound words. Every Creed is a new mould of 
doctrine ; and into whatever mould metal is cast, when 
moulded it must assume the size and impress thereof — 
Paul uses the figure — " Ye have obeyed from the heart 
that mould of doctrine into which you were delivered." 
Rom. vi. 17. New translation. We have but one apos- 
tolic mould of doctrine in the world, and all the sons of 
men cannot make a mould of doctrine like it. 

Let, then, but one mould of doctrine be universally 
adopted of standard weight, image, and superscription, 
and every christian will be one in every visible re- 
spect, and then, and not till then, will the kingdom be 
visibly one. There will be one king, Dei gracia, on 
every crown ; and that crown, if of genuine metal, will 
pass current through all the king's dominions. It 
is admitted there may be some pewter or brass pieces 
whitewashed; but the former will soon grow dim, and 
the latter, when rubbed a little, will show a baser 

It may be asked, how does this correspond with 
speaking the same things? I will tell you, it is but 
a figure illustrative of the same thing. The same 
image and superscription engraven in the mould an- 
swers to the same thing spoken to the ear and conveyed 
to the mind. The same impression will as certainly, 
not mechanically, nor instantaneously, be made upon 


the mind as upon the metal. And, did we all speak 
the same things, we would be as visibly one as all the 
pieces of coin which have been cast into the same 
mould. I again repeat, that this unity never can he ob- 
tained while any other creed than the sacred writings is 
known or regarded. And here, I invoke all the advo- 
cates of human creeds in the world : — 

Gentlemen, or Christians, whosoever or whatsoever 
you be, I will now consider your attempts to disprove 
this position a favor done to me and the christian world. 
None of you have ever yet attempted to show how 
christians can be united on your principles. You have 
showed often how they can be divided, and how each 
party may hold its own ; but while you pray for the 
visible unity of the disciples, and advocate their visible 
disunity, we cannot understand you. But to come to 
the illustration of how speaking the same things must 
necessarily issue in thinking the same things, or in the 
visible and real unity of all disciples, on all those 
topics in which they ought to be united, I will select 
but one of the topics of capital importance, on which 
there exists a diversity of sentiments. For example : 
The relation existing between Jesus Christ and his 
Father. This is one of those topics on which men 
have philosophised most exuberantly, and on which 
they have multiplied words and divisions more than on 
any other subject of human contemplation. Hence have 
arisen the Trinitarian, Arian, Semiarian, Sabellian, Uni- 
tarian and Socinian hypotheses. It is impossible that all 
these can be true, and yet it is possible they may all be 
false theories. Now, each of these theories has given 
rise to a diction, a phraseology and style of speaking 
peculiar to itself. They do not all speak the same 
thing of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But all 


who do speak the same things belong to one theory. 
Scripture words and sentences are quoted by each of 
the theorists, and to these words are added expositions 
and definitions which give a peculiar direction to the 
words of the Holy Spirit. Some portions are consid- 
ered, by each theorist, as peculiarly favorable to his 
views, while others are not often quoted, and if quoted 
at all, are clogged with embarrassing explanations. 
Not one of them will quote, with equal pleasure, or 
readiness, every thing said on this subject; and, had 
they the liberty, they would trim and improve the 
apostles' style to suit their respective theories. They 
would do, as I heard a preacher do this week, quote 
the Scriptures thus : "If any come unto you, and bring 
not the doctrine of the absolute, unoriginated and infi- 
nite divinity, the doctrine of the eternal filiation and 
generation of Jesus Christ, receive him not in your 
house." They do not speak the same things of the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Now, suppose 
all these would abandon every word and sentence not 
found in the Bible on this subject, and, without expla- 
nation, limitation or enlargement, quote, with equal 
pleasure and readiness, and apply, on every suitable 
occasion, every word and sentence found in the 
volume, to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy 
Spirit, how long would divisions on this subject ex- 
ist? It would he impossible to perpetuate them, on this 
plan. I ask the world if it would not.-* But, says an 
objector, there would be as many opinions, under any 
other phraseology, as the present. This might be for 
the present generation, but they could not be perpetu- 
ated. As to any injury a private opinion might do to 
the possessor, it could, on this principle, do none to so- 
ciety. Again, could not men believe in, obey, love, 


fear, and rejoice in Jesus Christ, as readily and to as 
great a degree, by speaking and hearing all the words 
and sentences in the volume, as they now do in all the 
variety of their new nomenclature ? Let them then be 
cast into the same mould : that is, speak and hear the 
same things, and there would not be a Trinitarian, 
Arian, Semiarian, Sabellian, Unitarian, Socinian, or 
any thing else but a christian on this subject, or an infi- 
del in the world. It would be so on all other topics, 
as that instanced, if the same principle were to be 

Men would, on this principle, learn to appreciate and 
love one another, and to estimate human character, on 
the real standard of piety and moral rectitude. Un- 
feigned obedience to the Lord, and guileless benevo- 
lence to all men, and pure christian affection to the house- 
hold of faith, would be the principle of appreciation 
of human character. Not our wild reveries, our ortho- 
dox jargon, or our heterodox paradoxes, would be of 
paramount importance. Never can this state be in- 
duced, till ^pure speech be restored — until the language 
of Canaan be spoken by all the seed of Abraham. 

Our Confessions of Faith, our additions to, our sub- 
tractions from, our transpositions of, and our extractions 
out of the book of God, are all in open hostility to the 
restoration of a pure speech, and are all under the 
curse, and we are punished with famine and sterility on 
account of them. I have seen a Confession of Faith 
all in Bible terms, extracted and transposed, like put- 
ting the eyes, and ears, and tongue, in the right hand. 
Now I object as much to a creed in Bible terms, trans- 
posed and extracted, as I do to worshipping the Virgin 
Mary instead of Jesus Christ. 

JYo man is to be debarred the christian church, who 


does not deny^ in word or workSy the declarations of the 
Holy Spirit^ and no man is to be received into the 
christian community, because he expresses himself in a 
style, or in terms not found in the christian books; 
which must be the case when a person is obliged to 
express himself in this corrupt speech, or in the appro- 
priated style of a sectarian creed in order to his admis- 
sion. Editor." 

We make another extract or two from A. Campbell, 
by way of showing his position, in regard to the ques- 
tion of Trinity, about which there has been so much 
unprofitable controversy. The article is found in the 
Christian Baptist, vol. 7, No. 9, and is headed 
''The Trinity.^' 

"I have been asked a thousand times, ' What do you 
think of the doctrine of the Trinity? — what do you think 
of the Trinity?' Some, nay, many think that to falter 
here is terrible; — that, to doubt here, or not to speak 
in the language of the schools, is the worst of all errors 
and heresies. I have not spent, perhaps, an hour in 
ten years, in thinking about the Trinity. It is no term 
of mine. It is a word which belongs not to the Bible, 
in any translation of it I ever saw. I teach nothing, I 
say nothing, I think nothing about it, save that it is an 
unscriptural term, and, consequently, can have no 
scriptural ideas attached to it. But, I discover, that the 
Trinitarians, Unitarians, and simple Arians, are always 
in the field upon this subject, and that the more they 
contend, the less they know about it." [True enough.] 
*' This is one of those untaught questions that I do not 
discuss, and in the discussion of which I feel no inter- 
est. I neither affirm nor deny anything about it. I only 
affirm, that the whole controversy is about scholastic 
distinctions, and unprofitable speculations, and to be- 


lieve that " God so loved the world as to send his only 
begotten Son, into the world, that whoever believeth on 
him might not perish, but have everlasting life,' is 
quite another and a different thing from believing any 
system of Unitarianism, Trinitarianism or Arianism, in 
the schools. Editor." 

One more quotation from A. Campbell, will give 
us a fair specimen of what he has said upon the terms 
of Christian Union. It is taken from the Christian 
Baptist, vol. 1st., No. 9, and headed 
"TAe Foundation of Hope and of Christian Union. ^"^ 

" Messiah is born in the city of David, in the awful 
crisis alluded to, in the first essay in this number. Sci- 
ence had proved itself systematic folly. Philosophy, 
called morale had exhibited its utter incompetency to 
illuminate the understanding, to purify the heart, to 
control the passions, to curb the appetites, or to restrain 
the vices of the world. A scepticism that had left 
nothing certain, a voluptuousness that knew no restraint, 
a lasciviousness that recognized no law, an idolatry that 
deified every reptile, and a barbarity that brutalized 
every feeling, had very generally overwhelmed the 
world, and had grouped those assimilated in vice, under 
every particular name characteristic of every species 
of crime. 

^'Amidst the uncertainty, darkness, and vice, that over- 
spread the earth, the Messiah appears and lays a foun- 
dation of hope, of true religion, and of religious union, 
unknown, unheard of, unexpected among men. The 
Jews were united by consanguinity, and by an agree- 
ment in a ponderous ritual. The Gentiles rallied under 
every opinion, and were grouped like filings of steel 
around a magnet, under every possible shade of differ- 
ence of thought, concerning their mythology. So long 


as unity of opinion was regarded as a proper basis of 
religious union, so long have mankind been distracted 
by the multiplicity and variety of opinions. To estab- 
lish what is called a system of orthodox opinion, as the 
bond of union, was, in fact, offering a premium for new 
diversities in opinion, and for increasing ad irifinifum, 
opinions, sects and divisions. And, what is worse than 
all, it was establishing self-love and pride as religious 
principles as fundamental to salvation : for a love regu- 
lated by similarity of opinion, is only a love of one's own 
opinion, and all the zeal exhibited in the defence of it 
is but the pride of opinion. But the grandeur, sublimi- 
ty and beauty of the foundation of hope, and of eccle- 
siastical or social union, established by the author 
and founder of Christianity, consisted in this, that the 
belief of one fact, and that upon the best evidence in the 
woild, is all that is requisite^ as far as faith goes ^ to sal- 
vation. The belief of this one fact^ and submission to 
one institution, expressive of it, is all that is required of 
Heaven to admission into the church, A christian, not 
as defined by Dr. Johnson, nor any Creed maker, but 
by one taught of Heaven, is ^ one who believes this one 
fact, and has submitted to one institution, and whose 
deportment accords with the morality and virtue taught 
by the great Prophet.' The one fact is, that Jesus the 
JVazarene, is the Messiah. The evidence upon which 
it is to be believed is the testimony of twelve men, con- 
firmed by prophecy, miracles and spiritual gifts. The 
one institution is baptism into the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Every such 
person is a christian in the fullest sense of the word the 
moment he has believed this one fact upon the above 
evidence, and has submitted to the above-mentioned 
institution. And, whether he believes the five points 


condemned, or the five points approved by the Synod 
of Dort, is not so much as to be asked of him. Whether 
he holds any of the views of the Calvinists or Arme- 
nians, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Bap- 
tists or Quakers, is never once to be asked of such a 
person, in order to admission into the christian com- 
munity called the church. 

"It must strike every man of reflection, that a religion, 
requiring much mental abstraction, or exquisite refine- 
ment of thought, or that calls for the comprehension or 
even apprehension of refined distinctions, and of nice 
subtleties, is a religion not suited to mankind in their 
present circumstances. To present such a creed as the 
Westminster, as adopted either by the Baptists or Pae- 
do-Baptists — such a creed as the Episcopalian, or, in 
fact, any sectarian creed, composed, as they all are, 
of propositions, deduced by logical inferences, and 
couched in philosophical language, to all those who are 
fit subjects of the salvation of heaven, — I say, to pre- 
sent such a creed to such, for their examination or 
adoption, shocks all common sense. This pernicious 
course is what has paganized Christianity. Our sects and 
parties, our disputes and speculations, our orders and 
casts so much resemble any thing but Christianity, that 
when we enter a modern synagogue or an ecclesiastical 
council, we rather seem to have entered a Jewish san- 
hedrim, a Mahommedan mosque, a Pagan temple or an 
Egyptian cloister, than a christian congregation. Some- 
times, indeed, our religious meetings so resemble the 
areopagus, the forum, or the senate, that we almost 
suppose ourselves to have been translated to Athens 
or Rome. Even christian orators emulate Demos- 
thenes and Cicero ; christian doctrines are made to as- 
sume the garb of Egyptian mysteries, and christian 


observances put on the pomp and pageantry of pagan 
ceremonies. Unity of opinion, expressed in subscrip- 
tion to voluminous dogmas, imported from Geneva, 
Westminster, Edinburg or Rome, is made the bond of 
union ; and a difference in the tenth or ten thousandth 
shade of opinion, frequently becomes the actual cause 
of dismemberment or expulsion. The New Testament 
was not designed to occupy the same place in theo- 
logical seminaries, that the carcasses of malefactors are 
condemned to occupy in medical halls — first doomed to 
the gibbet and then to the dissecting knife of the spir- 
itual anatomist. Christianity consists infinitely more in 
good works, than in sound opinions, and while it is a 
joyful truth, that he that believes and is baptized shall 
be saved, it is equally true, that he that saith, * I know 
him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar and 
the truth is not in him." Editor." 

This is not a tithe of what we could collect, to the 
same purpose, from the various volumes of our very 
learned, very talented, and very worthy brother Camp- 
bell. These, however, are sufficient to show that the 
venerable Stone, and those with him, might well re- 
joice in hope, even at this early period when these ar- 
ticles were written, of a union with brother Campbell 
and those with him. 

[The reader will perceive, by consulting the dates 
of the above articles, that they range from the year 
1823 to 1830.] 

True, B. W. Stone had been led far into the fields 
of speculation on the question of Trinity, the Son of 
God, and kindred questions of a very unprofitable, nay, 
of a very injurious character ; and he often regretted, 
in the latter part of his life, that he ever allowed him- 
self to be turned away from the simplicity of the truth, 


— in which was all his delight, — to follow his op- 
ponents into the mazes of mystic theology. It is, how- 
ever, but doing justice to the character of B. W. 
Stone to state, that he felt himself compelled, with 
the light he then had, to vindicate himself from the 
aspersions of his opponents, by presenting his views 
plainly on these controverted questions. At the time 
Dr. J. P. Campbell wrote his Strictures on ' Two 
Letters' of B. W. Stone, on Atonement, Stone, so far 
as I am advised, had written nothing on the question of 
Trinity and Sonship, from which it might be inferred, 
that he occupied any other ground on these questions, 
than when in the bosom of the Presbyterian Church. 
Yet his talented opponent and quondam brother, Mr. 
Campbell, in his Strictures, accused him of denying the 
Lord that bought him, of being an apostate, as uniting 
with errorists and deists of every age, to destroy the 
sheet-anchor of the christian's hope. In his motto on 
the title page of his pamphlet, he applies these words 
of Cowper to the pious Stone : 

"They now are deemed the faithful, and are praised, 
Who, constant, only in rejecting thee, 
Deny thy Godhead with a martyr's zeal." 

These were fearful charges, and well did the beloved 
Stone know it. He knew, that if his opponent could 
persuade the people, thathe denied the Lord thatbought 
him, — that he was bringing in damnable heresy — that he 
was laboring to destroy the hope of the righteous, — that 
he was an apostate, — nay an infidel, under the mask of 
Christianity, — his influence must be destroyed. And 
believing as then advised, that the course he took was 
necessary to prevent a result so ruinous, he took it. 
'Twas a great mistake of a good man ! Could he have 
anticipated the consequences, he never would have made 


it. True, he never made his speculations a test of 
christian fellowship ; he merely presented them, in self- 
defence, to show that he did not deserve to be classed 
among damnable heretics — Deists and Atheists — that 
he did not deny that dear Lord and Saviour who bought 
him with his own precious blood, and in whose cross 
only he trusted for salvation. Not a few who were Trin- 
itarians, and who held to what would be regarded as 
Evangelical sentiments, lived in our communion, in the 
most perfect harmony with those who differed from them 
in matters of opinion. But, if he, and those with him, 
had never speculated upon those subjects, had resolved 
to use scripture phraseology on all those deep, and 
difficult subjects, much as they accomplished for the 
cause of truth, they would have done greatly more. 

We gave the Orthodox, so called, a decided advan- 
tage of us, by putting it in their power to render us 
odious in the eyes of the christian community. But we 
had taken the true ground of reformation — the Bible, 
and the Bible alone. We believed most cordially that 
Christians could unite upon the Bible, but nowhere else, 
and therefore we determined to have no other platform. 
We knew from history, and observation, and the word 
of God, that every sectarian party is the result of a de- 
parture from this divine platform. That the Church ori- 
ginally was complete in Christ, but that she had been 
" spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit, after the 
tradition of nien, after the rudiments of the world, and 
not after Christ." And that therefore, she can never 
be complete again, but by a return to original ground. 
These were our great first principles, according to which 
we sought to shape our course. And hence, we were pre- 
pared to prove all things, and hold fast that which was 
good. We had no human creed or party-name to fetter 


US. Hence, when bro : A. Campbell and those with 
him, commenced their reformation efforts, we were ready 
to hear them, and learn from them, (as we confess we 
did on some important subjects) the way of the Lord 
more perfectly. Let us now notice, a little more fully, the 
position of B. W. Stone, and those with him, shortly be- 
fore the Union occurred, that the similarity of the ground 
upon which the two people stood may appear. We 
quote from a Discourse on Civil and Religious Liberty, 
written and published in 1828. 

'^ We take this divine rule as the measure of the 
Christian. ^ Whoever acknowledges the leading truths 
of Christianity, and conforms his life to that acknowl- 
edgment, we esteem a christian.' Such a man, 
however he may differ, in matters of opinion, from his 
brethren, will never interfere with the liberties, the peace 
and harmony of the children of God. But here is the so- 
phism, which our opponents attempt to impose upon us ; 
(mark it well, my friends, for it is an all important 
point ;) they assert, and we assent to it, that there is a 
necessary connexion between faith and practice. They 
then present us with their explanation of scripture doc- 
trine, their dogmas, and gravely tell us, " here are the eS' 
sentials of religion, to which you must subscribe, or he 
damned ! ."' Here is the point where all the mischief 
begins ; — this is the fatal rock on which thousands have 
split ; in passing it, therefore we would again beseech 
you to be cautious, — to have your eyes fully opened. 
For if we would steer correctly here, we must carefully 
distinguish between believing fundamental scripture truths, 
and any explanation of them- by fallible men. For instance, 
to come to some specifications on the subject : — 

"1. We all believe in the fundamental proposition, that 
there is one only living and true God, possessed of all 


possible perfection. But who does not see the manifest 
difference between believing this scripture proposition, 
and believing tliis or that explanation of it. 

'*No man, we are well assured, can lay any claims to 
Christianity, who denies this fundamental truth ; but who 
will be so presumptuous as to say this of a man who de- 
nies a particular explanation of it ? But if we must be- 
lieve some explanation of this proposition, pray what is 
that explanation ? Which of all the various and contra- 
dictory explanations, is the right one ? Here we are 
more at a loss than ever. We need a Daniel to instruct 
us. Every explainer presents his view, as having the 
best claims to our belief. But every explanation^ in ref- 
erence to this point, may he wrong ; while, on the con- 
trary, it is certain but one can he right. If then we miss 
that right explanation, we are as wide of the mark, as 
if we had received none, and contented ourselves with 
a belief of the naked proposition as all believe it. Now 
what do all the differences on this point amount to, but 
to different explanations of the mode of God's exis- 
tence? And we maintain that none of those different 
views are essentially important, or essentially injurious 
while they are merely held as matters of opinion, and 
not set up as tests of christian character : satisfied as we 
are from observation, that there are christians who take 
different sides of this controversy, while they all rejoice 
in the glorious truth that there is one only living and 
true God. 

" It is a fact, that during the first two centuries, the 
church presented herself in great simplicity and purity, 
by strict adherence to the word of God ; — that no meta- 
physical reasonings, niceties, or distinctions were intro- 
duced as means of explaining the word of God in those 
hale and undegenerate days of the church ; that as those 



rules of human wisdom were introduced, and the simple 
primitive method of presenting the truth to the people 
was supplanted by them, Christianity degenerated from 
its primitive and divine simplicity ; — that in those days 
none thought ' of collecting into a regular system the 
principal doctrines of the christian religion,' as a test 
of orthodoxy, to shackle the consciences of men. * As 
long as they [the scriptures] were the only rule of faith, 
religion preserved its native purity ; and in proportion 
as their decisions were either neglected, or postponed 
to the inventions of men, it degenerated from its primi- 
tive and divine simplicity.' Mosheim's Eccl. History, 
vol. 1, p. 18. Again, on page 98 of the same vol. he 
says : — ' The method of teaching the sacred doctrines 
of religion, was, at this time, most simple, far removed 
from all the subtle rules of philosophy, and all the pre- 
cepts of human art.' As, then, the method of teach- 
ing the sacred truths of God, in primitive times, was 
* most simple,' we are certain nothing could have been 
said about the mode of God's existence ; for every one 
knows that teachings upon this subject, so far from being 
'most simple,' are most mysterious. The reason and 
nature of thinsrs forbid that controversies relatin"^ to the 
mode of God's existence should ever be profitable ; for 
they leave out of view those perfections of the divine 
being, without the presentation of which all our preach- 
ing is useless. * The goodness of God, leads to repen- 
tance,' ' We love Him because he first loved us.' But 
what do we hear in those dry, speculative and meta- 
physical discourses, on the mode of God's existence, 
of the goodness and love of the Heavenly Father ? Scarce 
any thing at all. As, therefore, all scripture, all history, 
all experience, all observation, all common sense and 
reason, condemn the setting up of any explanations of 


the mode of God's existence, as tests of christian fellow- 
ship, for Heaven's sake, my friends, let us bow to their 
just decision. 

" 2. All who lay any claims to Christianity, admit the 
doctrine of human depravity. This also is an essential 
point. The entire scheme of revelation is based upon 
the assumption that man is a sinner. For, indeed, if 
we were not depraved, we should have no more need 
of that salvation which the mercy of God proposes than 
the angels who have kept their first estate. Upon this 
truth also is based the humiliation, the sufferings, the 
death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This is a doc- 
trine, therefore, which the Scriptures every where teach 
directly, or by implication ; and to which we may add, 
all observation and experience bear testimony. But 
here we must not forget our important distinction 
between believing a scripture truth, and any fallible 
explanation of it. For, in this doctrine, is found the 
essence of christian liberty. Now we know, that upon 
this point, there are various opinions ; but will any one 
say while the truth that man is a lost sinner is admitted, 
any explanation of it as to the causes and extent of his 
sinfulness is essential? Surely not. One man has 
as good a right to set up his theory, on this subject, as 
essential, as another. But all cannot have this right 
because they diflfer. And it is just as true that no one 
has it, for no one is infallible. Nothing more is neces- 
sary to induce a man to apply to a physician, whom he 
knows can cure him, than to be sensible he has a dis- 
ease, which, if not soon removed, must take him spee- 
dily to his grave. So, we conceive nothing more is 
necessary to induce a sinner to apply to Jesus Christ, 
the great Physician, than to be fully convinced that he 
is a sinner, and that unless he is soon cured of his sins, 


by the application of the blood of Christ, he must die 
eternally. Now, however christians may differ in their 
explanations of the doctrine of human depravity, all 
admit that man is depraved and must be saved from sin 
— must be born again, or be damned. Let christians 
then abandon these useless, and worse than useless con- 
troversies on this subject, and while they all believe 
the melancholy truth that they are depraved creatures, 
let them seek rather to be saved from sin than dispute 
about their theories of it. 

" 3. There is another leading truth in Christianity 
which is essential to salvation, viz: * That Jesus is 
the Christ, the Son of the living God.' This is a truth 
which none dispute. It is so plainly stated that none 
can deny it. ' He that denieth the Son, hath not the 
father.' 'He that believeth not the Son shall not see 
life.' *He that rejecteth me, rejecteth him that sent 
me.' No man, therefore, can be saved who does not 
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living 
God. But here, if we would maintain our christian 
liberties, and not be the slaves of men, we must 
take the distinctions already made between believing a 
religious truth, and any human explanation of it. For 
who can enumerate the various explanations of this 
simple Scripture proposition, that Jesus is the Christ.'' 
Or who can tell which is the right one ? Or whether 
any be right? None, I am sure. Assuredly, then, none 
of them can be essential. For, in the first place, if any 
explanation of this point were essential, is it not im- 
possible to admit, without reflecting on the goodness 
of God, that he would have left us w^ithout such expla- 
nation ? So it seems to us. But, in the second place, 
Jesus pointedly declared to Peter, that upon his confes- 
sion, concerning him, that he was the Christ, the Son 


of the living God, he would build his Church, and that 
the gates of hell should not prevail against it. Observe 
it is not said upon the orthodox explanation of it, I will 
build my Church. In the third place, persons w^ere 
admitted to baptism in apostolic times, upon an ac- 
knowledgment of this truth without any explanation. 
^ I believe,' (said the Eunuch,) ' that Jesus Christ is the 
Son of God.' Upon which he was immediately bapti- 
zed. He does not, as some of our moderns would do, 
stop to propose puzzling questions to him : such as 
these, ' Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the second 
person in the Trinity ? Do you believe he is very God 
and very man, and yet but one person?' To these or 
similar questions thousands, in the present day, answer, 
who have no just conceptions of what they say. And, 
indeed, how should they have, when even the propoun- 
ders of the questions resolve them into mystery! Yet 
we must subscribe a form of words which they them- 
selves cannot explain, or be denied christian fellowship! 
O, shame! where is thy blush! 

" But thank heaven, no such questions, in relation to 
this subject, were proposed by the apostles, or any of the 
primitive teachers, and set up as tests of orthodoxy. It 
was enough then to believe that Jesus was the Christ, 
the Son of God ; — that he was an all-sufficient Saviour; 
— that all power in heaven and earth, was given to 
him ; — that he was the brightness of the Father's glory, 
and the express image of his person ; — that God had 
exalted him to be a prince and a Saviour— that he was 
head over all things to the Church. Now all this I be- 
lieve, and every thing else, which the Scriptures say 
about my Saviour. I can express my faith as fully, and 
as clearly on this subject as I could wish, in the lan- 
guage of the Holy Spirit. Here then, I would rejoice 


to meet the christian world, upon the word of truth, be- 
cause this is God's own foundation. 

" 4. Another essential point is the doctrine of recon- 
ciliation to God, through Christ. The New Testament is 
full of this doctrine. * We are reconciled to God by 
the death of his Son.' 'We joy in God, through our 
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the 
Atonement or reconciliation.' ' How much more shall 
the blood of Jesus, who, through the eternal spirit, 
offered himself without spot to God, to purge our con- 
sciencies from dead works.' ' In whom we have re- 
demption through his blood, even the forgiveness of 
our sins.' ' Who gave himself for us, that he might re- 
deem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a pecu- 
liar people, zealous of good works.' Here, then, is 
the great leading truth upon this question to be believed, 
clearly stated in Scripture language, without the belief 
of which none can be saved. But, as to the hows 
and wherefores of this doctrine, there are various 

*' But, w^hile all maintain the great essential truth, that 
salvation — that all the blessings of the New Covenant, 
flow to us through Christ, why should we fall out about 
our speculative opinions on this question? 

" Would you think it important that a sick man, who 
had an infallible remedy prepared, should understand 
all about the component parts of that remedy, and the 
particular process by which the physician prepared it, in 
order that it might cure him ? Certainly not. The ap- 
plication is easy. It is enough for us to know that 
Christ, the great Physician, has prepared an infallible 
remedy in the gospel for us all, and that if we receive 
it we shall be healed of our moral disorders and fitted 
for the service of God. What would you think of two 


physicians, who being called upon to visit a patient, 
and having an infallible remedy to cure him, who, 
nevertheless, instead of administering it to the dying 
man, engage in a long and angry debate about the man- 
ner in which the remedy was prepared, and the how of 
its operation, in effecting the cure, until the patient 
should die ? You would say they acted foolishly and 
wickedly. Such is precisely the conduct of many who 
profess to be sent to preach the gospel to sinners. 
While sinners are dying all around, instead of ad- 
ministering to them that sovereign remedy which 
heaven has prepared, they are spending their time 
in curious and subtle disquisitions about the nature 
of the remedy I 

*^ From all the evidences, therefore, which are now 
before us, we think the following point is clearly es- 
tablished. That no man^ or set of meuj have a di- 
vine warrant to set up their explanation of Scripture 
truths, as tests of christian character. If we have 
established this position, we have gained our point ; if 
not, we have done nothing. If we have not estab- 
lished this position, and it cannot be established, then the 
Protestant cause is lost, and we ought all to return 
forthwith to the mother Kirk. For, in this position, 
is- contained the very life's blood of the Protestant 
cause, — the very essence of religious liberty. But, in 
the opposite position, that men have a right to in- 
terpret the Scriptures for us, and impose their expla- 
nation upon us, as essential to our salvation, is contain- 
ed the life's blood of the Roman Catholic cause, — the 
essence of religious bondage, the source of religious 

Having now introduced a number of extracts to 
show the relative positions of the two people, let us 


pause and look carefully over the ground over 
which we have traveled. And, in this survey the 
following will appear to be capital positions of A. 
Campbell : 

1. That the belief of one proposition, viz : that 
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is all that is neces- 
sary to salvation, so far as faith is concerned. 

2. That the belief, with the heart, of this one truth, 
and submission to one institution expressive of it, are 
all that is required to admission into the church. 

3. That this one, this all comprehensive truth, is to 
be believed on the testimony of twelve men, confirm- 
ed by prophecy, miracles, and spiritual gifts. 

4. The one institution is baptism into the name of 
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 

5. He is not to be required to believe either in the 
five points condemned, or the five points approved by 
the Synod of Dort, or in any thing peculiar to Armini- 
ans or Calvinists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Metho- 
dists or Baptists, in order to church membership. 

6. That Christianity consists infinitely more in good 
works, than in sound opinions. 

7. That the Bible alone is an all-sufficient rule of 
faith and practice for the entire church. 

8. That if christians would be united, they must 
cease to speak the language of Ashdod, and adopt the 
pure speech of Canaan. That by speaking of the 
Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, and every other 
subject of religious controversy, in the language of 
the Holy Spirit, divisions could not possibly be per- 

9. For, adopting this course, all the unscriptural 
phraseologies, which the almost numberless theories of 
Trinitarianism and Unitarianism have given rise to, 


would at once disappear and soon be forgotten, and if 
we, by this course, did not come to think the same 
things, our successors would. 

That thus, Trinitarianism and Unltarianism, which 
are to be regarded as worse than useless speculations, 
would cease to divide and distract the church. 

10. That no man is to be debarred the christian 
church who does not deny, in words or works, the 
declarations of the Holy Spirit. 

Such were the capital positions of A. Campbell and 
those with him. It is scarcely necessary to say, what 
is so palpable, from the extracts already presented, and 
others that might be made, that father Stone and those 
with him occupied substantially the same ground. 

Of course, therefore, a union might be expected. 

Now then, let us call up before us the local positions 
of the parties, as well as their religious relations. 

In the year 1828 there were great religious excite- 
ments among various denominations in Kentucky, but 
especially among the Baptist Churches. Hundreds and 
thousands were immersed among them, in the north 
of Kentucky, principally by those preachers who were 
very much under the influence of the views of A. 
Campbell. Their converts, of course, were under the 
same influence. In about the years '29 or '30, the 
Baptists, in this part of Kentucky, took a very decided 
stand against A. Campbell, and those who stood with 
him. The consequence was, many were separated 
from them and forced to set up for themselves. 

Here, then, were the parties in the field, living in the 
same neighborhoods and villages, and occupying, re- 
ligiously, very similar ground. 

We were mutually teaching the same great truths, — 
telling the world that christians ought to be one — that 


human creeds were among the great causes of division 
— that to believe with all the heart, that Jesus is the 
Christ, and to put ourselves under his government, 
were the only requisites to church membership ; that 
subsequently to speak of the Father, the Son, and Holy 
Spirit, and all other matters of useless controversy, in 
the language of Scripture, and to live soberly, right- 
eously, and godly, in this present world, are the only 
requisites to the continued enjoyment of church fel- 
lowship here, and a place in the church triumphant 

We could not then keep asunder but by unsaying all 
we had said, and undoing all we had done. Father 
Stone and J. T. Johnson are to be regarded as the 
prime movers of this good work. Speaking in refer- 
ence to it, B. W. Stone says: "Among other Baptists 
who received and advocated the teaching of A. Camp- 
bell, was J. T. Johnson, than whom there is not a better 
man. We lived together in Georgetown, and labored 
and worshipped together. We plainly saw that we 
were on the same foundation, in the same spirit, and 
preached the same gospel. We agreed to unite our 
energies to effect a union between our different societies. 
This was easily effected in Kentucky ; and in order to 
confirm this union, we became co-editors of the Mes- 
senger. This union, irrespective of reproach, I view 
as the noblest act of my life." Biography, pages 

Thus we are informed, by B. W. Stone, how this 
union originated, and what is the estimate he put upon 
it. It occurred first in Georgetown, in the close of the 
year 1831. A meeting of four days was held there, 
embracing the Christmas of 1831, and another at Lex- 
ington, of the same length, embracing the New Years' 


day of 1832. The writer had the happiness to be in 
attendance at both those meetings. 

At these meetings the principles of our union were 
freely canvassed, which were such as we have stated. 
We solemnly pledged ourselves to one another before 
God, to abandon all speculations, especially on the 
Trinity, and kindred subjects, and to be content with 
the plain declarations of scripture on those subjects, on 
which there had been so much worse than useless con- 
troversy. Elder John Smith and the writer were ap- 
pointed by the churches, as Evangelists to ride in this 
section of Kentucky, to promote this good work. In 
that capacity we served the churches three years. 
Thousands of converts to the good cause was the re- 
sult of the union and co-operation of the churches, and 
their many Evangelists during that period ; and I look 
back to those years as among the happiest of my life. 
No one ever thought that the Reformers, so called, had 
come over to us, or that we had gone over to them ; 
that they were required to relinquish their opinions, or 
we ours. We found ourselves contending for the same 
great principles, and we resolved to unite our energies 
to harmonize the church and save the world. Such are 
the simple facts in the case. 

The good results of this union have been most pal- 
pable. An impetus has been given to our cause which 
has carried it forward beyond the most sanguine antici- 
pations of its friends. 

It is known, that in Kentucky, and elsewhere, there 
was considerable dissatisfaction, among the friends of 
B. W. Stone, on account of the reference to him and 
them, by brother A. Campbell, in the Debate with Mr. 
Rice. The reference will be found on pages 864-5 of 
the Debate. Two letters were published in the Har- 


binger, addressed to brother Campbell from Kentucky, 
on the subject of that reference. We shall present so 
much of those letters as relates to this point, and to the 
union of which we are writing. These letters are 
found in the Sept. No. of the Millennial Harbinger, for 
1844, and found on pages 414-15-16. The following 
is the extract from the first, relating to the points in 

''Kentucky, July 15, 1844. 
" Brother A. Campbell : 
" Dear Sir — Permit us to say, in all candor and affec- 
tion, that we regretted to see that some of your re- 
marks, in the discussion of the last proposition with 
Mr. Rice, as published to the world, are calculated to 
make a wrong impression, in reference to those, (now 
your brethren in Kentucky,) who were once slander- 
ously styled New-Lights, Arians, Stonites, &c. See, 
for instance. Debate, pages 864 5. Now as we under- 
stand this matter here, where the union between the 
Reformers and the Christians (or as they were invidi- 
ously called Campbellites and Stonites,) first commen- 
ced, you were not regarded as saving brother Stone, 
and his associates, or they as saving you, or yours ; nei- 
ther esteemed the speculations of the other as of a 
damning character. It was rather an equal, a mutual, 
and a noble resolve, for the sake of gospel truth and 
union, to meet on common, on holy ground — the Bible; 
to abstain from teaching speculations or opinions; to 
hold such as private property, and to preach the gospel 
— to preach the word of God. Neither considered the 
other as holding views subversive of christian faith and 
practice ; and having for a length of time previously 
advocated publicly, the same great principles — the all- 
sufl[iciency of the Bible, as a creed-book and directory 

' Evangelists. 


— the right of private judgment, and the necessity of 
implicit faith, and unreserved obedience in every mem- 
ber of the body, how could we remain divided? 

It was not your joining brother Stone as a leader, nor 
his joining you as such; but all rallying in the spirit of 
gospel truth, liberty and love, around the one glorious 
centre of attraction — Christ Jesus : thus out of two, ma- 
king one New body, not Campbellites nor Stonites, but 
Christians ; and so making peace. May it long continue 
to bless our land ! Amen ! 
John Rogers, 
S. G. Marshall, 
W. Morrow, 
J. A. Gano, 

George Williams, an Elder in the Church at Union 
Joseph Wasson, James A. M'Hatton, 
James M'Millan, Paschal Kirtley, 
T. H. Stout, James Annett, 

J. D. Ward, Lewis Coppage, 

Elders and Deacons in the Church at Leesburg, Ky. 

It may be proper to say that the above letter was 
written by Elder John A. Gano. The extract below is 
from the pen of Elder J. T. Johnson, whose praise is 
in all the churches, on the same points. 

'-^ Georgetown^ Ky. July 8, 1844. 
" A few words more, before I close this epistle: I 
was one of the actors at Lexington, when the union 
took place, so far as one was effected, between brother 
Stone, and those friends who were identified with him, 
in contending for primitive Christianity, as set forth in 
the Bible alone, and those friends who were identified 
with you, in the same great cause. The union was 
not a surrender of the one, or the other ; but it w^as a 


union of those who recognized each other as christians. 
The union was based upon the Bible, and the terms 
therein contained — a union of brethren who were con- 
tending for the facts, truths, commands and promises, 
as set forth in the divinely inspired record, the Bible 
alone ; with the express understanding, that opinions 
and speculations were private property — no part of the 
faith delivered to the saints — and that such matters 
should never be debated to the annoyance and to the 
disturbance of the peace and harmony of the brother- 
hood. I have mingled much with those brethren, and 
I think I can truly say that you have no better friends 
on earth — and that they have redeemed the pledge 
made at Lexington, as faithfully at least as those with 
whom they united — perhaps to the letter. Many of 
them do honor to the christian ministry, and constitute 
as able, intelligent, and learned and pious persons, as 
any engaged in this reformation. Many of our oppo- 
nents seem to derive special pleasure from misrepre- 
senting them ; and to esteem it a merit to denounce old 
brother Stone ; whilst their piety and goodness in com- 
parison with his, would sink into insignificance and 
contempt. I have often heard him preach, and I have 
read much of his writings; and in my judgment, he 
neither denies the divinity of the Saviour, nor the virtue 
of the atonement, so called. I have heard him affirm 
the divinity of the Saviour, as well as the obligation to 
worship him, and deny the charge of holding Christ was 
a created being. And if I am not grossly deceived, he re- 
gards the virtue of the death, burial, and resurrection of 
Christ, as essential to salvation — the sine qua non. Our 
enemies would feast with delight upon any discord or 
internal dissension among us. But I trust in God that no 
such disaster will ever occur. We are upon the Rock 


of Ages; and if true to the cause we cannot be moved 
by all the tornadoes of earth. Faith, yea, unshaken 
confidence in Christ — love, yea, unbounded love to 
him — aad obedience, yea, implicit obedience to him, 
will insure us a safe passport into the haven of eternal 
rest and joy. Most affectionately yours, 

J. T. Johnson." 

From our heart we say with brother Johnson, we 
trust in God that no such disaster as that of division 
shall ever befall us. Nor can it, as he has justly added, 
if we are true to our cause. Let the principles of 
union, as set forth in this chapter, as stated and advo- 
cated by our great and good brother Campbell, be ad- 
hered to, and division can never come. While we re- 
pudiate all speculations as tests of christian fellowship, 
and only require a recognition of the facts and truths of 
Christianity, as proposed in the language of the Holy 
Spirit, and a course of life corresponding with the mor- 
ality and piety of the New Testament, in order to church 
fellowship, and conform in practice ourselves to these 
holy principles, we can never be moved. 

God grant that we may so understand and practice 
the truth, as that we may be greatly blessed — and be a 
great blessing to Christendom and to the world ! O 
may we be the humble instruments of harmonizing thy 
people, who have been scattered in the dark and cloudy 
day, and of saving a world from perdition ! Amen, 
and Amen. 



Preliminary observations — History of the exercises, or bodily agitations 
under the ministry of Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Buel — Among 
the Baptists in Virginia — Those strange affections countenanced and 
encouraged by Wesley, Erskine, Watson, Whitefield, Edwards — 
Professor Hodge regards them as the offspring of natural causes, and 
not the result of any divine influence — In a great majority of cases they 
affect the ignorant and imaginative — Are infectious — Proved by various 
examples — Are no evidence of the divine favor — Tt can never be shown 
that they arise from genuine christian feeling — No such results follow- 
ed the Apostles' preaching — The cases referred to by their apologists 
not in point — The testimony of Scripture directly against them — Exam- 
ples — These exercises not the offspring of any thing peculiar to any 
form of Calvinism or Arminianism — Therefore cannot be pleaded in 
proof of any thing peculiar to any of them — Mr. Wesley regarded thera 
as a sort of miraculous attestations of the truth of his preaching — In- 
stances — Genuine Christians and even the talented sometimes have been 
subject to them — Yet generally they affect the ignorant and nervous — 
W^here these exercises have been encouraged, they have greatly pre- 
vailed — Where opposed, they have not — The case of the Penticostians 
peculiar — No justification of such irregularities — They promote fanati- 
cism, censoriousness, &c., exemplified in various cases — These extrava- 
gances in religion may be traced to the operation of false notions of the 
means of enjoying pardon upon persons of nervous temperaments^John 
L. Waller's mistakes corrected. 

As the bodily agitations which have appeared in as- 
sociation with Christianity, in various periods of the 
history of the church, have been the subject of much 
speculation; and as the early history of B. W. Stone 
is intimately connected with these strange exercises, (as 
they were called,) as they appeared in this western 
country in the beginning of the present century, I have 
concluded to devote a chapter to this subject. I am 
the more disposed to do this, because the facts in the 
case have been misrepresented ; and especially because 
an effort has been made to cast odium upon the refor- 
mation efforts of B. W, Stone, on account of their 


connection with these strange developments, as if they 
were new things under the sun, and were to be regard- 
ed as the legitimate offspring of what his opposers con- 
sidered the wild vagaries of B. W. Stone and his co- 
adjutors, in what they have been pleased to denominate 
their crusade against creeds, party names, &c. And I 
will add to these a still more important reason for wri- 
ting this chapter, and that is, the practical importance 
of this question. I wish to present the christian com- 
munity with an epitome of all the light that can be 
furnished in regard to the history, origin, nature and 
tendency of these strange exercises. For if they be of 
God, they should be encouraged; if not, and their ten- 
dency is evil, they should be opposed. I begin with their 
history in the days of Wesley and under his ministry. 

1. " Saturday, 21st April, 1759. At Weaver's Hall 
a young man was suddenly seized with a violent trem- 
bling all over, and in a few minutes, the sorrows of his 
heart being enlarged, sunk down to the ground. But 
we ceased not calling upon God till he raised him up 
full of 'peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.' " Journal, 
vol. 1, p. 28. This was a clear case of what has been 
termed *' the falling exercise." 

2. On pages 130-1 we have an account of a Mr. J. 
H., a weaver, a very steady sort of man, who was a 
member of the Church of England, and greatly op- 
posed to all Dissenters. Hearing of the strange exer- 
cises among certain religious people, he determined to 
see and judge for himself. His seeing disposed him to 
regard it all as a delusion of the devil, and as such to 
oppose it with all his influence. *' It seems (says Mr. 
Wesley,) he had sat dow^n to dinner, but had a mind 
first to end a sermon he had borrowed, on ' Salvation 
by faith.' In reading the last page he changed color^ 


fell off his chair, and began screaming terribly and 
beating himself against the ground. The neighbors 
were alarmed, and flocked together to the house. Be- 
tween one and two, I came in, and found him on the 
floor, the room being full of people, whom his wife 
would have kept without; but he cried aloud, 'No; let 
them all come, let all the world see the just judgment 
of God.' Two or three men were holding him as well 
as they could. He immediately fixed his eyes upon 
me, and stretching out his hand, cried, * Ay, this is he, 
who I said was a deceiver of the people. But God has 
overtaken me. I said it was all a delusion, but this is 
no delusion.' He then roared out ' thou devil ! yea 
thou legion of devils, thou canst not stay ; Christ will 
cast thee out. I know his work is begun. Tear me 
to pieces, if thou wilt; but thou canst not hurt me.' 
He then beat himself against the ground again ; his 
breast heaving at the same time as in the- pangs of death, 
and great drops of sweat trickling down his face. We 
all betook ourselves to prayer. His pangs ceased, and 
both his body and soul were set at liberty." 

3. On page 135 we have this account. "Another 
person dropped down, close to one who was a strong 
asserter of a contrary doctrine. While he stood aston- 
ished at the sight, a little boy near him was seized in 
the same manner. A young man who stood up behind, 
fixed his eyes on him, and sunk down himself as one 
dead ; but soon began to roar out, and beat himself 
against the ground, so that six men could scarcely hold 
him. Except J. H. I never saw one so torn of the evil 
one. Meanwhile many others began to cry out to the 
* Saviour of all,' that he would come and help them, in- 
somuch that all the house (and indeed all the street for 
some space,) was in an uproar. But we continued in 


prayer ; and before ten the greater part found rest to 
their souls." This case nearly comes up to Mr. J. L. 
Waller's graphic and elegant description of what some- 
body has told him, was termed " a New-light Stir." 

4. On page 140 Mr. Wesley says, while he was 
preaching, "some sunk down, and there remained no 
strength in them ; others exceedingly trembled and 
quaked : some were torn with a sort of convulsive motion 
in every part of their bodies, and that so violently, that 
often four or five persons could not hold one of them. 
I have seen many hysterical, and many epileptic fits; but 
none of them were like these in many respects." Here 
we have a description of that exercise, which in this 
country has been called ihejeiics. 

5. On page 158, we have the following: "Soon 
after, I was sent for to one of those, who was so strange- 
ly torn by the devil, that I almost wondered her relations 
did not say, 'much religion hath made her mad.' We 
prayed God to bruise Satan under her feet. Immedi- 
ately we had the petition we asked of him. She cried 
out vehemently, * He is gone, he is gone!' and w^as fdl- 
ed with the spirit of love, and of a sound mind." Alas! 
poor human nature! 

6. On page 161 we find the following astounding 
narration. " At eleven I preached at Bearfield to about 
three thousand, on the spirit of nature, of bondage, and 
of adoption. Returning in the evening I was exceed- 
ingly pressed to go back to a young woman in Kings- 
wood. (The fact I nakedly relate, and leave every man 
to his own judgment of it.) I went. She was nineteen 
or twenty years old ; but it seems could not write or 
read. I found her on the bed, two or three persons 
holding her. It was a terrible sight. Anguish, horror, 
and despair, above all description, appeared in her pale 


fece. The thousand distortions of her whole body, 
showed how the dogs of hell were gnawing her heart. 
She screamed out as soon as words could find their way, 
' I am damned, I am damned ; lost forever. Six days 
ago you might have helped me ; but it is past ; I am the 
devil's now. I have given myself to him. His I am. 
Him T must serve. With him I must go to hell. I will 
be his. I will serve him. I will go with him to hell. 
I cannot be saved. I will not be saved. I must, I 
will, I will be damned.' She then began praying to the 
devil. We began, Arm of the Lord, awake, awake ! 
She immediately sunk down as asleep; but as soon as we 
left off, broke out again, with inexpressible vehemence; 
*Stony hearts, break! I am a warning to you. Break, 
break, poor stony hearts ! Will ye not break ? What 
can be done more for stony hearts ? I am damned, that 
you may be saved.' . . . She then fixed her eyes on the 
corner of the ceiling, and said, 'There he is ; ay, there 
he is ; come, good devil, come. Take me away. You 
said you would dash my brains out ; come, do it quick- 
ly. I am yours — I am yours. I will be yours. Come 
just now. Take me away.' We interrupted her by 
calling upon God again ; on which she sunk down as 
before ; and another young lady began to roar out as 
loud as she had done. My brother now came in, it be- 
ing about 9 o'clock. We continued in prayer till past 
eleven ; when God in a moment spoke peace into the 
soul, first, of the first tormented, and then of the other. 
And they both joined in singing praises to him who had 
' stilled the enemy, and the avenger.' " 

7. On page 26 of Mr. Wesley's Journal, vol. 2, for 
May, 1759, we have the following: — " Immediately 
after, a stranger, well dressed, who stood facing me, fell 
backward to the wall ; then forward on his knees, wring- 


ing his hands, and roaring like a bull. His face at first 
turned quite red, then almost black. He rose, and ran 
against the wall, till Mr. Keeling and another held him. 
He screamed out, ' what shall I do, what shall I do ? 
for one drop of the blood of Christ.' As he spoke 
God set his soul at liberty ; he knew his sins were 
blotted out ; and the rapture he was in, seemed too 
great for human nature to bear." 

8. On page 36 of the same vol. we have the follow- 
ing narration : " Some of those who were pricked to 
the heart, were affected in an astonishing manner. 
The first man I saw wounded, would have dropped, but 
others catching him in their arms, did, indeed prop him 
up, but were so far from keeping him still, that he 
caused all of them to totter and tremble. His own sha- 
king exceeded that of a cloth in the wind. It seemed 
as if the Lord came upon him like a giant, taking him 
by the neck, and shaking all his bones in pieces. One 
woman tore up the ground with her hands, filling them 
with dust, and with the hard tr<5llden grass, on which I 
saw her lie with her hands clenched as one dead, when 
the multitude dispersed. Another roared and screamed 
in a more dreadful agony, than ever I heard before. 
Some continued long as if they were dead, but with a 
calm sweetness in their looks. I saw one who lay two 
or three hours in the open air, and being then carried 
into the house, continued insensible another hour, as if 
actually dead. The first sign of life she showed was 
a rapture of praise, intermixed with a small joyous 

9. Page 38, vol. 2, Mr. Wesley says: "I had long 
been walking round the multitude, feeling a jealousy 
for my God, and praying him to make the place of his 
feet glorious. My patience at last began to fail, and I 



prayed, * King of glory, break some of them in pie- 
ces ; but let it be to the saving of their souls !' I had 
but just spoke, when I heard a dreadful noise on the 
further side of the congregation ; and turning thither, I 
saw one Thomas Skinner coming forward, the most 
horrible human figure I ever saw. His large wig and 
hair were coal black ; his face distorted beyond all de- 
scription ; he roared incessantly, throwing and clapping 
his hands together with his whole force. Several were 
terrified, and hasted out of his way. I was glad to 
hear him after awhile pray aloud. Not a few of the 
triflers grew serious, while his kindred and acquain- 
tance were very unwilling to believe even their own 
eyes and ears. They would fain have got him away ; 
but he fell on the earth, crying * my burden ! my bur- 
den ! I cannot bear it!' Some of his brother scoffers 
were calling for horsewhips, till they saw him extended 
on his back at full length. They then said he was 
dead ; and indeed, the only sign of life was the work- 
ing of his breast, and the distortions of his face, while 
the veins of his neck were svvelled as if ready to burst. 
His agonies lasted some hours, then his body and soul 
were eased." 

10. On page 39, Mr. Wesley speaks of the exercises 
of a man, who he says, was a mild good-natured Phari- 
see, who never had been awakened ; but he was now 
thoroughly convinced of his lost estate, and stood for 
a time in utter despair, with his mouth wide open, his 
eyes staring, and full of huge dismay. When he found 
power to speak, he cried out, ' I thought 1 had led a 
good life ; I thought I was not so bad as others ; but I 
am the vilest creature upon earth ; I am dropping into 
hell! Now, now ; this very moment!' He then saw 
hell open to receive him, and Satan ready to cast him 


in ; but it was not long before he saw the Lord Jesus, 
and knew he had accepted him. He then cried aloud 
in an unspeakable rapture, ' I have got Christ ! I have 
got Christ ! ' For two hours he was in the visions of 
God ; then the joy though not the peace abated." Thus 
far these strange bodily agitations as they appeared in 
Mr. Wesley's time, and under his ministry. Let us 
now look into their history among various other reli- 
gious denominations. Mr. Whitefield, speaking of his 
preaching at Nottingham, in Pennsylvania, in 1740, 
says : " I believe there were near twelve thousand 
hearers. I had not spoken long, when I perceived 
numbers melting, and as I preached the power increas- 
ed, till at last, both in the morning and afternoon, thou- 
sands cried out, so that they almost drowned my voice. 
Never before did I see a more glorious sight. O, what 
strong crying and tears were shed, and poured forth 
after the dear Lord Jesus ! Some fainted ; and when 
they had got a little strength, would hear and faint 
again. Others cried out in a manner almost as if they 
were in the sharpest agonies of death. I think I was 
never myself filled with greater power. After I had 
finished my last discourse, I was so pierced, as it were, 
and overpowered with God's love, that some thought, 
I believe, that I was about to give up the ghost." 
This is taken from a late work, entitled ^ The Constitu- 
tional History of the Presbyterian Church in the United 
States of America,' by Charles Hodge, Professor in the 
Theological Seminary, Princeton, New- Jersey. Part 
2, pages 41-2. On page 49 of the same work, the 
author, speaking of these bodily agitations as they oc- 
curred under the notice and ministry of the celebrated 
President Edwards, of Northampton, Mass., says: "It 
was no uncommon thing to see a house, as Edwards 


expresses it, full of out-cries, faintings, convulsions, 
and the like, both from distress, and also from admira- 
tion and joy. The work continued much in the same 
state until February, 1742, when Mr. Buel came and 
labored among the people, during a temporary absence 
of the pastor. The whole town [Northampton] was in 
a great and continual commotion night and day. Mr. 
Buel remained a fortnight after Mr. Edwards' return, 
and the same effects continued to attend his preaching. 
There were instances of persons lying twenty-four 
hours in a trance, apparently senseless, though under 
strong imaginations, as though they went to heaven, 
and had there visions of glorious objects." 

11. Mr. Benedict, in his Abridgment of the History 
of the Baptists, on page 345, speaking of the great re- 
vival that began among them, on James River, in 1785, 
says: " During the progress of this revival, scenes were 
exhibited somewhat extraordinary. It was not unusual 
to have a large proportion of the congregation prostrate 
on the floor, and in some instances they lost the use of 
their limbs. No distinct articulation could be heard, 
unless from those immediately by. Screams, groans, 
shouts, hosannas, notes of grief and joy, all at the same 
time, were not unfrequently heard throughout their vast 
assemblies. At associations and great meetings, where 
there were several ministers, many of them would ex- 
ercise their gifts at the same time, in different parts of 
the same congregation ; some in exhortation, some in 
praying for the distressed, and some in argument with 
opposers. At first many of the preachers disapproved 
of these exercises, as being enthusiastic and extrava- 
gant. Others fanned them, as fire from heaven. It is 
not unworthy of notice, that in those congregations 
w^here the preachers encouraged them to much extent, 



the work was more extensive, and greater numbers 
were added. It must also be admitted, that in many 
of the congregations, no little confusion and disorder 
arose, after the revival had subsided. Even then, 
among the old fashioned Calvinistic Baptists of the Old 
Dominion these strange bodily agitations obtained ; and 
many of the preachers ^'fanned them as fire from hea- 
ven;" and the excitement and confusion that pervaded 
their vast assemblies, well nigh fills Mr. J. L. Waller's 
measure of a "New Light Stir" in Kentucky. 

We will now notice the opinions of various eminent 
persons in regard to these exercises, and then give the 
result of our own observations and reflections upon the 
whole subject. 

1. Mr. Wesley says, " To one who many times 
wrote to me on this head, the sum of my answer was 
as follows : The question between us turns chiefly, if 
not wholly on matter of fact. You deny that God does 
now work these effects ; at least that he works them in 
this manner. I affirm both, because I have heard these 
things with my own ears, and have seen them with my 
eyes. I have seen (as far as a thing of this kind can 
be seen,) very many persons changed in a moment 
from the spirit of fear, horror, despair, to the spirit of 
love, joy and peace, and from sinful desire, till then 
reigning over them, to a pure desire of doing the will 
of God. These are matters of fact, whereof I have 
been, and almost daily am an eye or ear witness. What 
I have to say touching visions or dreams, is this ; I 
know several persons in whom this great change v/as 
wrought in a dream, or during a strong representation 
to the eye of their mind of Christ either on the cross, 
or in glory. This is the fact. I will show you him 
that was a lion till then, and is now a lamb ; him that 


was a drunkard, and is now exemplarily sober; the 
whore-monger that was, who now abhors the very ^gar- 
ment spotted by the flesh.' These are my living argu- 
ments for what I assert, viz : ' That God does now, as 
aforetime, give remission of sins, and the gift of the 
Holy Ghost, even to us and to our children; yea, and 
that always suddenly, as far as I have known, and often 
in dreams, or in the visions of God.' If it be not so, I 
am found a false witness before God. For these things 
I c?o, and by his grace I will testify." 

'^ Perhaps it might be because of the hardness of our 
hearts, unready to receive any thing unless we see it 
with our eyes, and hear it with our ears, that God, in 
tender condescension to our weakness, suffered so many 
outward signs at the very time when he wrought this 
inward change, to be continually seen and heard among 
us. But although they saw * signs and wonders,' (for 
so I must term them,) yet many would not believe." 
J. Wesley's Journal for May, 1739. 

"While I was preaching at Newgate, (says Mr. Wes- 
ley) on these words, ' He that believeth hath everlast- 
ing life,' I was insensibly led, without any pre^dous 
design, to declare strongly and explicitly, that God will- 
eth ^all men to be' thus 'saved;' and to pray, that if 
this were not the truth of God, he would not suffer the 
blind to go out of the way; but if it were, he would 
bear witness to his word. Immediately one, and an- 
other, and another, sunk to the earth ; they dropt on 
every side as thunderstruck. In the evening I was 
again pressed in spirit to declare, that ' Christ gave 
himself a ransom for all.' And almost before we called 
upon him to set to his seal, he answered. One was so 
wounded by the sword of the spirit, that you would 
have imagined she could not live a moment. But im- 


mediately his abundant kindness was showed, and she 
loudly sung of his righteousness.'^ J. Wesley's Jour- 
nal for April, 1739. 

2. The following extract of a letter from Mr. Ralph 
Erskine, to Mr. Wesley, in answer to one from him, 
giving an account of the strange exercises he had wit- 
nessed, discloses the views of that eminent Scotch di- 
vine on this question : 

'^ As to the outward manner you speak of wherein 
most of them were affected, who were cut to the heart 
by the sword of the spirit, no wonder that this was at 
first surprising to you, since they are indeed so very 
rare that have been thus pricked and wounded. Yet 
some of the instances you give seem to be exemplified 
in the outward manner, wherein Paul and the jailor 
were at first afTected ; as also Peter's hearers. Acts ii. 
The last instance you give of some struggling as in 
the agonies of death, and in such a manner as that four 
or five strong men can hardly restrain a weak woman 
from hurting herself or others, is to me somewhat more 
inexplicable ; if it do not resemble the child spoken 
of Mark ix, 26, and Luke ix, 42 ; of whom it is 
said, that 'while he was yet a coming the dcA'^il threw 
him down and tare him.' Or what influence sudden 
and sharp awakenings may have upon the body, I pre- 
tend not to explain. 

*' All the outward appearances of people's being af- 
fected among us, may be reduced to these two sorts: 
One is, hearing with a close, silent attention, with 
gravity and greediness, discovered by fixed looks, 
weeping eyes and sorrowful or joyful countenances. 
Another sort is when they lift up their voice aloud, 
some more depressedly, and others more highly ; and at 
times the whole multitude in a flood of tears, all as it 


were crying out at once, till their voice be ready to 
drown the minister's, that he can scarce be heard for 
the weeping noise that surrounds him." J. Wesley's 
Journal for June, 1739. 

3. In Mr. Richard Watson's '* Observations on Mr. 
Southey's Life of Wesley, we have his views on this 
subject thus expressed, pages 118-119. 

*' Of the extraordinary circumstances, which have 
usually accompanied such visitations it may be said, 
that if some should be resolved into purely natural causes, 
some into real enthusiasm and (with Mr. Southey's 
leave) others into Satanic imitation, a sufficient number 
will remain, which alone can be explained, by consider- 
ing them as results of that strong impression made upon 
the consciences and affections of men, by an influence 
ascertained to be divine, though, usually, exerted through 
human instrumentality, by its unquestionable effects 
upon the hearts and lives of its subjects. Nor is it either 
irrational, or unscriptural to suppose that times of great 
national darkness and depravity, (the case certainly of 
this country, at the outset of Mr. Wesley and his col- 
leagues in their glorious career,) should require a strong 
remedy ; and that the attention of a sleeping world should 
be aroused, by circumstances which could not fail to be 
noticed by the most unthinking. W^e do not attach pri- 
mary importance to secondary circumstances; but they 
are not to be wholly disregarded. The Lord was not in the 
wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the 
* still, small voice ;' yet that still, small voice might not 
have been heard, except by minds roused from their 
inattention, by the shaking of the earth, and the sound- 
ing of the storm." 

4. Whitefield countenanced and encouraged these 
exercises. Professor Hodge, in his History of the Pres- 


byterian Church, pages 85 and 86, says : " What could 
be expected of Whitefield and others, who at this time 
passed rapidly from place to place, neither making, nor 
being able to make, the least distinction between the ef- 
fects of an excited imagination, and the exercises of 
genuine religion. That they would test the experience 
of their converts by its fruits, is not denied, but that 
they considered all the commotions that attended their 
ministrations, as proofs of the Spirit's presence, is evi- 
dent from their indiscriminate rejoicing over all such 
manifestations of feeling." 

"The manner in which Whitefield describes the scenes 
at Nottingham and Fagg's manor, and others of a simi- 
lar character, shows he did not disapprove of these agi- 
tations. He says he never saw a more glorious sight, 
than when the people were fainting all around him, and 
crying out in such a manner as to drown his own voice." 

5. The celebrated Jonathan Edwards, the elder, at 
one time, perhaps during the whole of his life, favored 
these exercises. Professor Hodge says, on pages 86 
and 87, " Edwards took them decidedly under his 
protection. He not only mentions, without the slight- 
est indication of disapprobation, that his church was of- 
ten filled with outcries, faintings, and convulsions, but 
takes great pains to vindicate the revival from all objec- 
tion on that account. He says, ministers are not to be 
blamed for speaking of these things, 'as probable tokens of 
God's presence, and arguments of the success of preach- 
ing, because I think they are so indeed. I confess that 
when I see a great outcry in a congregation, I rejoice in 
it much more than merely in an appearance of solemn 
attention, and a show of affection by weeping. To re- 
joice that the work of God is carried on calmly and 
without much ado, is, in effect, to rejoice that it is car- 


ried on with less power, or, that there is not so much of 
the influence of God's spirit.' In the same connexion 
he says, that when these outcries, faintings, and other 
bodily effects attend the preaching of the truth, he did not 
' scruple to speak of them, to rejoice in them, and bless 
God for them,' as probable tokens of his presence." 

6. We will close these extracts on this subject, by pre- 
senting the reader with the opinion of Professor Hodge, 
of Princeton Theological Seminary, who in his History 
of the Presbyterian Church, has written a long and 
able article on this difficult subject. He says, "that 
such bodily agitations owe their origin, not to any di- 
vine influence, but to natural causes, may be inferred 
from the fact that these latter are adequate to their pro- 
duction. They are not confined to those persons, 
whose subsequent conduct proves them to be subjects 
of the grace of God ; but to say the least, are quite as 
frequently experienced by those who know nothing of 
true religion. Instead therefore of being referred to 
those feelings which are peculiar to the people of God, 
they may safely be referred to those which are common 
to them and to unrenewed men. Besides, such effects 
are not peculiar to what we call revivals of religion ; 
they have prevailed in seasons of general excitement 
in all ages, and in all parts of the world, among pagans, 
papists, and every sect of fanatics which have ever dis- 
graced the christian church. We are, therefore, not 
called upon to regard such things with much favor, or 
to look upon them as probable tokens of the presence 
of God. That the bodily agitations attendant an revi- 
vals of religion are of the same nature, and attributa- 
ble to the same cause as the convulsions of enthusiasts, 
is in the highest degree probable, because they arise 
under the same circumstances, are propagated by the 


same means, and cured by the same treatment. They 
arise in seasons of great, and especially of general ex- 
citement ; they, in a great majority of cases, affect the 
ignorant, rather than the enlightened, those in whom 
the imagination predominates over the reason, and es- 
pecially those who are of a nervous temperament, rather 
than those of an opposite character. These affections 
all propagate themselves by a kind of infection. Phy- 
sicians enumerate among the causes of epilepsy, ^'see- 
ing a person in convulsions." This fact was so well 
known that the Romans made a law, that if any one 
should be seized with epilepsy during the meeting of 
the comitia, the assembly should be immediately dis- 
solved. This disease occurred so often in those exci- 
ting meetings, and was propagated so rapidly, that it 
was called the morbus comitialis. Among the enthusi- 
asts who frequented the tomb of the Abbe Paris, in the 
early part of the last century, convulsions were of fre- 
quent occurrence, and never failed to prove infectious. 
During a religious celebration in the church of Saint 
Roche, at Paris, a young lady was seized with convul- 
sions, and within half an hour between fifty and sixty 
were similarly affected.* 

"A multitude of facts of the same kind might be ad- 
duced. Sometimes such affections became epidemic, 
spreading over whole provinces. In the fifteenth cen- 
tury, a violent nervous disease, attended with convul- 
sions, and other analogous symptoms, extended over a 

* Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales, Article Conmtlsionnaire. In this 
same article it is slated that a young woman affected with a spasmodic 
and continued hickup, producing a noise very similar to the barking of a 
dog, was placed in a hospital in the same room with four other female pa- 
tients, and in a few days they were all seized with the same nervous dis- 


great part of Germany, especially affecting the inmates 
of the convents. In the next century something of the 
same kind prevailed extensively in the south of France. 
These affections were then regarded as the-^ result of 
demoniacal possessions, and in some instances multitudes 
of poor creatures were put to death as demoniacs. 

" The bodily agitations attending the revival were 
in like manner propagated by infection. On their first 
appearance in Northampton, a few persons were seized 
at an evening meeting, and while others looked on they 
soon became similarly affected ; even those who came 
merely out of curiosity did not escape. 

" The various bodily exercises which attended the 
western revivals in our own country, in the early part 
of the present century, were of the same nature, and 
obeyed precisely the same laws. They began with 
what was called the falling exercise ; that is, the per- 
son affected would fall on the ground helpless as an in- 
fant. This was soon succeeded in many places, by a 
species of convulsions called the jerks. These exer- 
cises were evidently involuntary. They were highly 
infectious, and spread rapidly from place to place; 
often seizing on mere spectators, and even upon those 
who abhorred and dreaded them. 

" Another characteristic of these affections, whether 
occurring among pagans, papists, or protestants, and 
which goes to prove their identity, is, that they all yield 
to the same treatment. As they arise from impressions 
on the nervous system, through the imagination, the 
remedy is addressed to the imagination. It consists in 
removing the exciting causes, that is, withdrawing the 
patient from the scenes and contemplations which pro- 
duced the disease; or in making a strong counter im- 
pression either through fear, shame, or sense of duty. 



The possessions, as they were called in the south of 
France, were put a stop to by the wisdom and firmness 
of certain Bishops, who insisted on the separation and 
seclusion of all the affected. On another occasion a 
strange nervous agitation, which had for some time, to 
the great scandal of religion, seized periodically on all 
the members of a convent, was arrested by the Magis- 
trates bringing up a company of soldiers, and threaten- 
ing with severe punishment, the first that should mani- 
fest the least symptom of the affection. The same 
method has often been successfully resorted to. In like 
manner the convulsions attending revivals have been 
prevented or arrested, by producing the conviction that 
they were wrong or disgraceful. They hardly ever 
appeared, or at least continued, where they were not 
approved and encouraged. In Northampton, where 
Edwards rejoiced over them, they were abundant; in 
Boston, where they were regarded as ^ blemishes,' they 
had nothing of them. In Sutton, Massachusetts, they 
were * cautiously guarded against,' and consequently 
never appeared except among strangers, from other con- 
gregations. Only two or three cases occurred in Eliz- 
abethtown under President Dickinson, who considered 
them as ' irregular heats,' and those few were speed- 
ily regulated. There was nothing of the kind at Free- 
hold, where William Tennent set his face against all 
such manifestations of enthusiasm. On the other hand, 
they followed Davenport, and other fanatical preachers, 
almost wherever they went. 

"In Scotland they were less encouraged than they were 
here, and consequently prevailed less. In England, 
where Wesley regarded fhem as certainly from God, 
they were fearful both as to frequency and violence. 
The same thing was observed with regard to the agita- 


tions attending the western revivals. The Physician 
already quoted, says : ' Restraint often prevents a par- 
oxysm. For example, persons always attacked by this 
affection in churches where it is encouraged, will be 
perfectly calm in churches where it is discouraged, 
however affecting may be the service, and however 
great the mental excitement.' The characteristic now 
under consideration did not escape the accurate obser- 
vation of Edwards, though it failed to disclose to him 
the true nature of these nervous agitations. ^ It is evi- 
dent,' he says, * from experience, that custom has a 
strange influence in these things. If some person con- 
ducts them, that much countenances and encourages 
such manifestations of great affections, they naturally 
and insensibly prevail, and grow by degrees unavoida- 
ble. But afterwards when they come under another 
kind of conduct, the manner of external appearances 
will strongly alter. It is manifest that example and 
custom have some way or other a secret and unsearch- 
able influence upon those actions which are involunta- 
ry, in different places, and in the same place, at differ- 
ent times.' Thoughts on the Revival. Works, vol. 4, 
page 232. 

" It is also worthy of consideration," says Professor 
Hodge, "that these bodily affections are of frequent oc- 
currence at the present day among those who continue 
to desire and encourage them. 

"It appears then, that these nervous agitations are of 
frequent occurrence in all times of strong excitement ; 
it matters little whether the excitement arise from su- 
perstition, fanaticism, or the preaching of the truth. 
If the imagination be strongly affected, the nervous 
system is very apt to be deranged, and outcries, faint- 
ings, convulsions, and other hysterical symptoms are 


the consequence. That these effects are of the same 
nature, whatever may be the remote cause, is plain, be- 
cause the phenomena are the same ; the apparent cir- 
cumstances of their origin the same ; they all have the 
same infectious nature, and are all cured by the same 
means. They are, therefore, but different forms of the 
same disease ; and whether they occur in a convent or 
a camp-meeting, they are no more a token of the di- 
vine favor than hysteria or epilepsy. 

"It may still be said, that although they do some- 
times arise from other causes, they may be produced, 
by genuine religious feelings. This, however, never 
can be proved. The fact that undoubted christians 
experience these effects, is no proof that they flow from 
a good source. This view of the subject is greatly 
confirmed by the consideration that there is nothing in 
the Bible to lead us to regard these bodily affections as 
the legitimate effects of religious feeling. No such re- 
sults followed the preaching of Christ or his Apostles. 
We hear of no general outcries, faintings, convulsions, 
or ravings in the assemblies which they addressed. 
The scriptural examples cited by the apologists of these 
exhibitions are so entirely inapplicable, as to be of them- 
selves sufficient to show how little countenance is to be 
derived from the Bible for such irregularities. Refer- 
ence is made, for example, to the case of the jailor at 
Philippi, who fell down at the Apostles' feet; to Acts 
ii. 37, (' Now when they heard this they were pricked 
in their heart, and said, men and brethren, what shall 
we do?') and to the conversion of Paul. It is, how- 
ever, too obvious to need remark, that in no one of 
these cases was either the effect produced, or the cir- 
cumstances attending its production analogous to the 
hysterical convulsions and outcries now under consid- 


" The testimony of the Scriptures is not merely nega- 
tive on this subject. Their authority is directly op- 
posed to all such disorders. They direct that all things 
shall be done decently and in order. They teach us 
that God is not the God of confusion, but of peace, in 
all the churches of the saints. These passages have 
particular reference to the manner of conducting pub- 
lic worship. They forbid every thing which is incon- 
sistent with order, solemnity, and devout attention. It 
is evident that loud outcries and convulsions are incon- 
sistent with these things, and therefore ought to be dis- 
couraged. They cannot come from God, for he is not 
the author of confusion. The apology made in Corinth 
for the disorders, which Paul condemned, was precisely 
the same as that urged in defence of these bodily agi- 
tations. We ought not to resist the spirit of God, said 
the Corinthians ; and so said all those who encouraged 
these convulsions. Paul's answer was, that no influ- 
ence which comes from God destroys our self-control. 
'The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.' 
In the case of direct inspiration and revelation, the 
mode of communication was in harmony with our ra- 
tional nature, and left our powers under the control of 
reason and the will. The man, therefore, who felt the 
divine afflatus, had no right to give way to it under cir- 
cumstances which would produce noise and confusion. 
The prophets of God were not like the raving Py- 
thoness of the heathen temples, nor are the saints of 
God converted into whirling dervishes by any influence 
of which he is the author. There can be little doubt 
that Paul would have severely reprobated such scenes 
as frequently occurred during the revival of which we 
are speaking. He would have said to the people sub- 
stantially what he said to the Corinthians. If any un 


believer or ignorant man come to your assemblies and 
hears one shouting in ecstacy, and another howling in 
anguish ; if he see some falling, some jumping, some 
lying in conv^ulsions, others in trances, will he not say 
ye are mad ? But if your exercises are free from con- 
fusion, and your discourses addressed to the reason, so 
as to convince and reprove, he will confess that God is 
among you of a truth." History Presbyterian Church, 
by Professor Hodge. Part 2, pages 87, 88, 89, 90, 
93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98. 

I have quoted thus largely from Professor Hodge, 
because I find much to approve, in what he has said 
upon this subject; and because many of the facts, w^hich 
he has stated, in reference to it, as well as much of his 
reasoning, founded upon them, agree precisely with my 
own observations, and reflections upon this question. 
The reader who wishes to obtain still further information 
on this subject is referred to the 4th chapter of the above 

Having now presented the reader with a number of 
facts, together with the opinions of several eminent men 
on the subject of these bodily agitations, I proceed to 
make some reflections upon the premises. And, 

1. In the first place. These exercises cannot be re- 
garded as the oflfspring of anything peculiar to Calvinism, 
Arminianism, Congregationalism, Presbyterianism,Bap- 
tistism, regular or irregular, Methodism, Old New- 
Lightism, or what Mr. Waller would call New-** New 
Lightism :" for persons of all these diflferent creeds and 
parties have been the subjects of them, and have ap- 
proved, and encouraged them. Here, for instance, are 
such men as the celebrated Edwards and Wesley, per- 
fect antipodes in faith, and yet they both countenanced, 
and encouraged these agitations. 


2. In the second place, seeing they are not peculiar 
to any religious denomination, (even if they were ad- 
mitted to be of divine origin) they cannot be regarded, 
with any sort of propriety, as proof of any proposition 
peculiar to any party. This is most palpable. And yet 
the pious and learned Mr. Wesley seems to have regard- 
ed them as vouchsafed to him on particular occasions, 
in attestation of the truth of his doctrine ! As already 
quoted, he says, ''While I was preaching at Newgate, 
on these words, ' he that believeth hath everlasting life,' 
I was insensibly led, without any previous design, to de- 
clare strongly, and explicitly, that God willeth ' all men 
to be' thus * saved ;' and to pray, that, ' if this were not 
the truth of God, he would not suffer the blind to go out 
of the way; but if it were, he would bear witness to his 
word.' Immediately one, and another, and another, sunk 
to the earth. In the evening I was again pressed in spirit 
to declare that ' Christ gave himself a ransom for all.' 
And almost before we called on him to set to his seal, 
he answered. One was so wounded by the sword of the 
Spirit that you would have imagined that she could not 
live a moment. But immediatelyhis loving kindness was 
showed, and she loudly sung of his righteousness." 
Here then, Mr. Wesley is moved to declare strongly 
and explicitly, that Christ gave himself a ransom for all 
in his sense of these words ; and he asks God, if what 
he preaches is true, to bear witness to it. And almost 
before they call upon him to set to his seal, he answered. 
Several fall and are converted. These cases then were 
not only tokens of the divine favor, in the estimation 
of Mr. Wesley, but special proofs of the truth of the doc- 
trine he preached at Newgate. How exceedingly ab- 
surd such a conclusion ! Mr. Whitefield, Mr, Edwards, 
Mr. Davenport, Mr. Erskine, and a host of Calvinistic 


divines, could prove the contrary sentiment by the same 
evidence ! 

3. In the third place. While it is granted that gen- 
uine christians have been, in many instances, subjects 
of these strange agitations, this cannot be admitted as 
proof, that they are the offspring of proper influences : 
for no such cases occurred under the preaching of 
Christ, and his Apostles. And we cannot doubt that 
under their ministry, all proper influences were brought to 
bear upon their hearers. The conclusion therefore can- 
not be avoided, that the gospel, preached as it should be, 
never produces such results. 

4. The personal observation of the writer requires 
him to say, that some of the most pious, and devoted 
persons he has ever known, have been the subjects of 
these exercises. Their elevated morality, their ardent 
practical piety, maintained through a series of years, 
confirmed by their triumphs in death, justify our conclu- 
sion. He has also, known some persons of a high or- 
der of intellect, of unquestioned piety, who have figured 
in our halls of legislation, and in the pulpit, who have 
been the subjects of these bodily agitations. Still, that 
same personal observation requires him to say, with Pro- 
fessor Hodge that, " in a great majority of cases [they] 
affect the ignorant, rather than the enlightened, those in 
whom the imagination predominates over the reason, 
and especially those who are of a nervous temperament 
rather than those of an opposite character." 

5. The observation of the writer justifies him in say- 
ing, nay requires him to say, that where these exercises 
were encouraged, and regarded as tokens of the divine 
presence, there they greatly prevailed. But where they 
were looked upon as manifestations of enthusiasm, and 
fanaticism, and therefore, opposed, they did not prevail. 


So it was, as we have seen, in Scotland, in England, 
and New-England, as well as in this Western Country. 

6. We have seen that no such disorders attended the 
preaching of the Apostles, unless the case of the Pente- 
costians be regarded as an exception. But let it be con- 
sidered this was a peculiar case — that a similar one 
never occurred under the Apostles' administration. The 
go^el kingdom is about to be set up — The Lord Jesus 
is received up in glory — is crowned king upon the holy 
hill of Zion — The day of Pentecost is fully come — The 
Apostles are at Jerusalem waiting for the promise of the 
Father — The Holy Spirit descends — They are endued 
with power from on high — are fully qualified to go into 
all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature — 
Outward symbols of the divine presence appear — The 
Apostles speak with new tongues as the Spirit directs — 
The multitudes assembled from every nation under 
heaven, come together, and are amazed and confounded 
because every man hears them speak in his own lan- 
guage wherein he was born ; whether he was a Parthian, 
a Mede, an Elamite, a Mesopotamian, a Cappadocian, a 
Phrygian, a Pamphylian, an Egyptian, a Lybian, a 
Cyrenean, and stranger of Rome, a Jew or proselyte, a 
Cretian or an Arabian, he hears him speak in his own 
tongue, the wonderfuLworks of God. All is anxiety 
and suspense — and the inquiry runs from one to another, 
"What meaneth this ? Others mocking, said, these men 
are full of new wine." 

Peter arises with the keys of the kingdom, and un- 
locks the mysteries of this case, and opens to them the 
door of faith. He shows, that what they saw and heard 
was the fulfilment of a prophecy of Joel, one of their 
own prophets — That, him whomthey had crucified as an 
impostor — whom they had taken by wicked hands and 


nailed to the tree, God had raised from the dead — 
That David, their much loved and honored king, had 
foretold his resurrection a thousand years before, and also 
his coronation at the right hand of God, to rule till his 
foes were made his footstool. And in view of all this 
testimony, he concludes his overwhelming argument 
thus : " Therefore let all the house of 'Israel know as- 
suredly that, God hath made that same Jesus, whom you 
crucified, both Lord and Christ." When they heard 
that he, whom they had regarded as an impostor, and 
crucified as such, was both Lord and Christ — that he 
would rule, till his foes were made his footstool — that 
the miracles they saw and heard, were so many eviden- 
ces of the truth of what Peter said ; overwhelmed with 
the conviction that they were the enemies of Jesus ; and 
filled with terror at the thought that he would crush 
them as such ; they are pricked in their heart, and in 
the anguish of their spirit, they say, ' What shall we do ! 
Is there any way of escape! is there any hope for us I' 
They knew not that Jesus had died for them — that 
God, on any terms, would save them. The case, 
therefore, was peculiar. 

But waiving any advantage that may be derived from 
this view of the subject, I assert, it was not at all ana- 
logous to many of the cases which occurred under the 
preaching of Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards ; or to 
many cases which have come under the writer's own 
observation. When the inquiry was made, what shall 
we do? Peter's reply was, ''Repent, and be baptized 
every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the re- 
mission of sins." And we are told that " they that gladly 
received his word were baptized, and the same day 
there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 
And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doc- 


trine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and m 
prayers." Here, the most perfect good order perva- 
ded the assembly, so far as the three thousand were con- 
cerned. No intimation of their beating themselves 
against the ground, tearing it up with their hands — run- 
ning against a wall — praying to the devil, and calling 
upon him to dash out their brains — to take them to hell 
— no such ravings and evidences of mental derange- 
, ment, or the most pitiable fanaticism as these. Nor 
did they fall into trances, or ecstacies, exclaiming, 
" He's come, he's come !" " I've got Christ — I've 
got Christ!" Neither did Peter nor the rest of the 
Apostles encourage such extravagances, by calling the 
penitents together, and asking God to send down power 
— to baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire — 
that they might know their sins forgiven. This case 
then, cannot be regarded as giving the least counte- 
nance to such affections. 

7. It is not only true, as we have seen, that no such 
scenes occurred under the teaching of the Apostles, 
but they have in effect, most strongly condemned them. 
" God is not the author of confusion." " Let all 
things be done decently and in order." These are 
authoritative declarations of heaven, given to regulate 
the public worship of churches. Until it can be shown 
then, that dancing, jerking, falling, screaming, shout- 
ing, clapping the hands, singing, praying, preaching, 
beating one's self against the ground, praymg to the 
devil ; — we repeat, until it can be shown that all these, 
going on at once, can be reconciled with decency and 
good order, these scriptures sternly frown upon, and 
utterly forbid all such extravagances. 

8. The writer is opposed to these excesses, because 
their tendency is decidedly evil. Look mto their his- 


tory, and it will be seen that those who have encoura- 
ged them most, whether preachers or people, have been 
remarkable for a bitter, censorious, enthusiastic, and 
even fanatical spirit, and for spiritual pride. They have 
gone to great lengths in encouraging the idea of spe- 
cial illuminations of the Spirit — of immediate divine 
impulses. They have not hesitated to denounce per- 
sons opposed to these extravagances, however regular 
and orderly in their conduct, as cold formalists, having 
a name to live, while dead ; and if they were preach- 
ers, they have been stigmatized as dumb dogs — as 
blind leaders of the blind — as standing in the way of 
the work of God. Meetings in which these exercises 
were not experienced, were regarded as cold, formal, 
and uninteresting — while those in which there was 
much noise and confusion, much of these bodily agita- 
tions, were regarded as spiritual, and very profitable. 
The writer has known pious men, under the influence 
of this fanatical spirit, (which always grows up in the 
midst of these exercises,) to start on a long journey to 
preach, from what they regarded, as a special impulse 
of the Spirit — to go into the woods and get upon their 
knees, when they had lost their horses, and ask God 
to stop them, and direct them, so they might find them 
— and even to attempt the working of miracles. In 
these matters the writer speaks that he does know, and 
testifies that he has seen and heard. And, indeed, very 
much more of the same extravagant character, that has 
come under his notice, he might testify. That persons 
of poor opportunities for learning and information, 
should be thus carried away, seems strange enough: 
but how passing strange, that such men as Wesley and 
Whitefield should give themselves up to be led by im- 


Mr. Wesley, with all his learning and piety, seems 
to have been fearfully under the influence of this fan- 
atical spirit. In his Journal for October 25, 1739, we 
have the following case: "I was sent for to one in 
Bristol, who was taken ill the evening before. She lay 
on the ground, furiously gnashing her teeth, and after a 
while, roared aloud. It was not easy for three or four 
persons to hold her, especially when the name of Jesus 
was named. We prayed ; the violence of her symp- 
toms ceased, though without a complete deliverance. 
In the evening, being sent for to her again, I was un- 
willing, indeed afraid, to go ; thinking it would not 
avail, unless some who were strong in faith were to 
wrestle with God for her. I opened my Testament on 
those words; ^I was afraid, and went and hid thy tal- 
ent in the earth.' I stood reproved, and went imme- 
diately. She began screaming before I came into the 
room ; then broke out into a horrid laughter, mixed 
with blasphemy, grievous to hear. One, [Mr. Wesley 
means himself, I judge,] who from many circumstances 
apprehended a preternatural agent to be concerned in 
this, asked, ^ How didst thou dare to enter into a chris- 
tian?' was answered, SShe is not a christian. She is 
mine.' Q. ^ Dost thou not tremble at the name of 
Jesus ?' No words followed, but she shrunk back, 
and trembled exceedingly. Q. * Art thou not in- 
creasing thy own damnation?' It was faintly answer- 
ed, *Ay, ay;' which was followed by fresh cursing 
and blaspheming. My brother coming in, she cried out, 
* Preacher! Field-preacher! I don't love field preach- 
ing.' This was repeated two hours together, with 
spitting and all the expressions of strong aversion. We 
left her at twelve, but called again about noon, on Fri- 
day 27th, and now it was that God showed he heareth 


prayer. All her pangs ceased in a moment ; she was 
filled with peace, and knew that the son of wickedness 
was departed from her." 

This is but one, of a great variety of cases of a sim- 
ilar character that might be taken from Mr. Wesley's 
Journal ; but this^ with others that have been quoted, 
exhibits a spirit of fanaticism, to my mind, the most 
marked. He is disinclined to visit this lady the second 
time, and is reproved for his disinclination and unbe- 
lief, by opening his Testament upon a passage of Scrip- 
ture ! He apprehends from a variety of circumstances 
she is possessed of a devil, and under this conviction 
he severely rebukes the evil spirit that possessed her ; 
and finally he, and his brother succeed, in the name of 
the Lord, in casting out the demon ! And she is filled 
with peace, and knows that the son of wickedness is 
departed! In another case already referred to, while 
Mr. Wesley is walking round an immense audience, 
where a great work is going on, and witnessing the 
conduct of opposers, his patience is exhausted, and he 
prays, ''0 king of glory! break some of them in pie- 
ces ; but let it be to the saving of their souls !" Im- 
mediately he hears a noise, and looking, he sees one 
Thomas Skinner, a ring-leader of the opposers, dash- 
ing from an opposite side of the congregation, the most 
horrid looking human figure he ever saw, roaring, 
throwing his hands, and clapping them with all his 
force ; at length he falls to the ground as if dead. Here 
Mr. Wesley, if he means anything, means to say, that 
in answer to his prayer, to break some of the scoflfers 
to pieces, God had, by a special agency, broken this 
Thomas Skinner, after the fashion he describes ! This 
looks like fanaticism, if not presumption. 

In another case to which we have referred, he says, 


while preaching at Newgate he was insensibly led to 
declare strongly and explicitly that God willeth that all 
should be saved, and to pray that if this were the truth, 
he would bear witness to his word. In answer to his 
prayer, which he plainly intimates was the result of a 
divine impulse, numbers fall, as if thunderstruck, and 
are soon converted through their prayers. And thus, 
Mr. Wesley is moved by a divine, insensible impulse 
to preach that God willeth all to be saved ; and to pray 
for a confirmation of it ; and many fall, and are con- 
verted as divine attestations of its truth ! On the even- 
ing of the same day, he tells us, he was again pressed 
in spirit to declare that " Christ gave himself a ransom 
for all." And almost before we asked him to set to his 
seal, he answered. One was so wounded by the sword 
of the Spirit, that you would have imagined she could 
not live a moment. But immediately she is relieved, 
and loudly sings of his righteousness. And thus the 
Lord confirmed Mr. Wesley's call to the ministry, and 
the truth of his doctrine ! But when Mr. W^hitefield 
preached the opposite doctrine, being strongly moved 
thereto by some impulse, and persons fell and were 
converted, would Mr. Wesley allow these conversions 
to be divine attestations of the truth of Calvinism ! ! 

One more case from Mr. Wesley, and we have done 
with him for the present. In his Journal for April 21, 
1741, he says, "I explained in the evening the 33d 
chapter of Ezekiel ; in applying which, I was suddenly 
seized with such a pain in my side that I could not 
speak. I knew my remedy, and immediately kneeled 
down. In a moment the pain was gone ; and the voice 
of the Lord cried aloud to sinners, why will ye die, O, 
house of Israel?" These cases speak for themselves; 
and show most clearly that a spirit of fanaticism attends 


these strange, and disorderly agitations in religious as- 
semblies ; disposing those in the spirit of them to rely- 
too much upon impulses, and a sort of special revela- 
tions. And it would be very easy to show, from Mr. 
Wesley's Journal, that great disorders, fearful declen- 
sions, and numerous apostacies, followed upon the heels 
of these excesses. But let us look at this spirit of fan- 
aticism and censoriousness as it appeared in the history 
of the celebrated Whitefield. 

Professor Hodge, in speaking of the great revival 
about 1740 in New-England, and other sections of the 
United States, says : " There was from the first a strong 
leaven of enthusiasm manifesting itself in the regard 
paid to impulses, inspirations, visions, and the pretend- 
ed power of discerning spirits. Whitefield was, espe- 
cially in the early part of his career, deeply infected 
with this leaven. He had such an idea of what the 
Scriptures mean by the guidance of the Spirit, that by 
suggestions, impressions, or sudden recollections of 
texts of the Bible, the christian's duty was divinely 
revealed, even as to the minutest circumstance, and 
that, at times, even future events were thus made 
known. On the strength of such an impression he did 
not hesitate publicly to declare, that his unborn child 
would prove to be a son. Gillies' Life of Whitefield, 
p. 63. ^ An unaccountable, but very strong impres- 
sion,' that he should preach the gospel, was regarded 
as a revelation of the purpose of God respecting him. 
Whitefield's account of his own life, p. 11. The 
question whether he should return to England was set- 
tled to his satisfaction by the occurrence to his mind 
of the passage, 'when Jesus was returned, the people 
gladly received him.' Journal from Savannah to Eng- 
land, p. 28. These few examples are enough to illus- 


trate the point in hand." Professor Hodge's History 
of Presbyterian Church, pages 99, 100. On pages 
109 and 110 we have the following account of the 
fearful tendency of this fanatical spirit, as further de- 
veloped in Mr. Whitefield's course. 

** It is impossible," says Professor Hodge, " to open 
the Journals of Whitefield without being painfully 
struck, on the one hand, with the familiar confidence 
with which he speaks of his own religious experience, 
and on the other, with the carelessness with which he 
pronounces others to be Godly, or graceless, on the 
slightest acquaintance or report. Thus he tells us, he 
called on a clergyman, (giving the initials of his name, 
which, under the circumstances completely identified 
him,) and was kindly received, but found ' he had no 
experimental knowledge of the new birth.' Such inti- 
mations are slipped off, as though they were matters of 
indifference. On equally slight grounds he passed 
judgment on whole classes of men. After his rapid 
journey through New-England, he published to the 
world his apprehension, ^ lest many, nay most that 
preach, do not experimentally know Christ.' New-Eng- 
land Journal, page 95. After being six days in Bos- 
ton, he recorded his opinion, derived from what he 
heard, that the state of Cambridge College for piety 
and true godliness was no better than that of the Eng- 
lish Universities, which elsewhere he says, ^ were sunk 
into mere seminaries of paganism ; Christ, or Christian- 
ity being scarce so much as named among them.' Of 
Yale he pronounces the same judgment, saying of it 
and Harvard, ' their light is now become darkness, 
darkness that may be felt.' A vindication of Harvard 
was written by the Rev. Edward Wigglesworth, a man 
* so conspicuous for his talents, and so exemplary for 


every christian virtue,' that he was unanimously chosen 
the first Hollis Professor of Divinity in the College. 

" The president of Yale, at that time, was the Rev. 
Dr. Clap, an orthodox, and learned man, * exemplary 
for piety,' and zealous for the truth. Allen's American 
Biographical Dictionary. Whitefield was much in the 
habit of speaking of ministers as being unconverted, so 
that the consequence was, that in a country where ' the 
preaching and conversation of far the bigger part of 
the ministers were undeniable, as became the gospel, 
such a spirit of jealousy and evil surmising was raised 
by the influence and example of a young foreigner, 
that perhaps there was not a single town, either in Mas- 
sachusetts or Connecticut, in which many of the people 
were not so prejudiced against their pastors as to be 
rendered very unlikely to be benefited by them." Let- 
ter to the Rev. George Whitefield by Edward Wig- 
glesworth, in behalf of the Faculty of Harvard Col- 
lege, 1745. " This is the testimony of men, who had 
received Mr. Whitefield, on his first visit, with open 
arms. They add that the effect of his preaching, and 
of that of Mr. Tennant was, that before he left New- 
England, ministers were commonly spoken of as Phari- 
sees and unconverted." Ibid. p. 60. 

We may now notice the operation of this spirit in 
others, as set forth on pages 100, 101, by the same 
author: ** In Whitefield there was much to counteract 
this spirit, which in others produced its legitimate ef- 
fects. When Davenport was asked by the Boston min- 
isters the reason of many of his acts, his common reply 
was, * God commanded me.' When asked whether he 
was inspired, he answered, ^ They might call it inspi- 
ration, or what they pleased.' The man who attended 
him, he called his armor-bearer, because he was led to 


take him as a follower, by opening on the story of Jon- 
athan and his armor-bearer. He considered it also as 
revealed, that he should convert as many persons at a 
certain place, as Jonathan and his armor-bearer slew 
of the Philistines." Chauncey's Seasonable Thoughts, 
pages 196-8. 

*' This was only one of the forms in which this spirit 
manifested itself. Those under its influence pretended 
to a power of discerning spirits, of deciding at once 
who was, and who was not converted ; they professed 
a perfect assurance of the favor of God, founded not 
upon Scriptural evidence, but inward suggestion. It is 
plain, that when men thus give themselves up to the 
guidance of secret impressions, and attribute divine 
authority to suggestions, impulses, and casual occur- 
rences, there is no extreme of error or folly to which 
they may not be led. They are beyond the control of 
reason, or the word of God. They have a more direct 
and authoritative communication of the divine will than 
can be made by any external and general revelation. 
They of course act as if inspired and infallible. They 
are commonly filled with spiritual pride, and a bitter 
denunciatory spirit. All these results were soon mani- 
fested, during this revival [about 1740.] If an honest 
man doubted his conversion he was declared unconver- 
ted. If any one was filled with great joy, he was pro- 
nounced a child of God. These enthusiasts paid great 
regard to visions and trances, and would pretend in 
them to have seen heaven or hell, and particular per- 
sons in the one or the other. They paid more attention 
to inward impressions than to the word of God." If 
then, such men as the pious and learned Wesley, White- 
field and others, believed so strongly in visions, dreams, 
impulses, suggestions of the spirit, need we wonder at 


the exhibition of this spirit in the wildest forms of fan- 
aticism among the more ignorant on camp-meeting oc- 
casions and others, where such spirit is encouraged and 
sought after ? And should we wonder at the marvel- 
ous accounts that have so often been related, (in former 
years more especially,) in the shape of religious expe- 
riences, in which the subjects of them imagined they 
saw Christ, and heaven and hell — heard voices &c ? 
Certainly not. 

In view then of the fanatical, bitter, and censorious 
spirit which often associates itself with these bodily agita- 
tions, and is highly promotive of them, the writer is 
decidedly opposed to them. 

Having now given a brief history of these strange 
bodily agitations, as they have appeared in association 
with Christianity, both in the Old World and the New; 
having given the views in regard to them, of -such men 
as Wesley, Whitefield, Erskine, Edwards, Richard 
Watson, and Professor Hodge; and having presented 
several reasons why we are opposed to them, we come 
now to a most important practical inquiry, viz: the 
true source of these exercises, as associated with reli- 
gion. We have seen that Wesley, Whitefield, Erskine, 
Edwards, Watson, and others, have countenanced them 
as tokens of the divine favor. That Professor Hodge 
takes a decided stand against them, as the offspring of 
natural causes, and as wholly resolvable into an "infec- 
tious nervous disease ;" as injurious to the best interests 
of religion, and discountenanced by the plainest teach- 
ings of the Scriptures. We have seen that enthusiasm 
and fanaticism, in their wildest shapes, have attended 
them — that jealousy, envy, hatred, evil surmisings, bit- 
ter revilings, heart-burnings, unholy schisms and strifes, 
have followed close in their train — that spiritual pride, 


censoriousness, a Pharisaic disposition, and a spirit that 
trusts too much in suggestions, impulses, and conse- 
quently, that underrates the word of God, is often 
associated with them. We have seen that to regard 
them as tokens of the divine favor, is of the essence 
of fanaticism — that to suppose they are divine attesta- 
tions of the truth of any dogma, is the most consum- 
mate nonsense, not to say presumption. We have also 
seen, that the gospel as presented by the Apostles never 
produced such results ; and that consequently, the gos- 
pel, presented as it should be, will never produce them. 
But as they have been superinduced by the preaching 
of Calvinists and Arminians of almost every sect, may 
it not be, that there is some capital error that is com- 
mon to them all, which is suited, in favorable circum- 
stances, to produce them ? 

This is our decided conviction. And we now with 
all plainness, assert, that in our judgment this error re- 
lates to justification, or the doctrine of pardon. We 
would not be misunderstood here. We do not mean 
to say, that what is called orthodoxy on this subject, is 
at fault, as to the grounds of pardon. So far as it teaches 
that, without the shedding of blood, there is no remis- 
sion — that we are justified freely by his grace, through 
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus — that we have 
redemption in his blood, even the forgiveness of sins — 
that the blood of Jesus purges the conscience — cleanses 
from all sin — it occupies the true ground. But we do 
mean to assert, most distinctly, that it is seriously at 
fault, as to the means of enjoying an assurance — scrip- 
tural assurance, of that great blessing. Every thing in 
orthodoxy, whether Calvinistic or Arminian, is out of 
joint here. All is at loose ends — nothing definite. Pen- 
itents are taught to strive, and seek after some undefined 


and undefinable influence or operation of the Spirit, by 
which they may know they are pardoned, and accepted 
of God. Their imagination is addressed and set at work 
to conjure up, what that something they are in search 
ot may be ; and what they may, or may not regard as 
proper evidence of pardon. Suppose from a clear view 
of His goodness, they feel that they love God because 
he first loved them, — and that they love the Saviour 
who has died to redeem them ; — this alone can be no 
satisfactory evidence of pardon — for pardon is not love, 
nor is love an evidence that they who possess it, are 
pardoned. What is called regeneration, or a change of 
heart, is no evidence of pardon, for it is wholly distinct 
from it, and always goes before it. Indeed so far from 
its being an evidence of pardon, it is only a preparation 
for it. True penitents then, under orthodox teaching, 
have no definite criteria by which to assure themselves 
of their pardon. They have no better evidence, than 
strong impressions, impulses, suggestions, feelings, or 
the agreement of their exercises of mind, with those of 
others, and thus trusting to such uncertain evidences, 
" measuring themselves by themselves and comparing 
themselves among themselves," they have no rational or 
scriptural assurance of pardon, and by apostolic authority 
are pronounced unwise. Here then, in this vague, un- 
defined, and undefinable notion of orthodoxy, where ev- 
erything is left to conjecture, to impulse, to mere feeling 
to imagination, we have found an adequate cause of all 
these extravagances of which we are speaking : and that 
therefore we may not wonder that persons of fervid im- 
aginations, and nervous temperaments, under the influ- 
ence of this notion become the victims of every vagary, 
every strong impression, or impulse of the mind — and 
are led by an ignis fataus through all the marshes and 


swamps, and quagmires of religious enthusiasm, and fan- 
aticism in their strangest and wildest forms. Here we 
have found a fountain opened, in the land of orthodoxy, 
from which flow out, in various districts, these evil 

Does any one say we are doing orthodoxy (so called) 
injustice ? Heaven knows, we intend it not. We would 
scorn to do injustice to any one. We have no quarrel 
with the friends of orthodoxy. We will learn of them 
when we can, and we would on this question, if possi- 
ble, teach them the way of the Lord more perfectly. 
We write not for victory. We would write in view of 
the grave, and of the judgment seat of Christ. We 
would write for eternity. Let us see then, if we have 
done orthodoxy injustice. Does it assert that such as 
believe on Christ are not condemned, are pardoned ? 
Admit it ; and what then ? Is there anything definite on 
the question of pardon here? It will not do to build a 
theory upon a sentence in itself vague, taken from the 
connexion of Scripture. I ask then, how is a man to know 
by mere faith that God has pardoned his sins ? How can 
he decide that he has just faith enough to authorize him 
to appropriate the promise of pardon ? Orthodoxy affirms 
that the language, " he thatbelieveth on him is not con- 
demned," is so clear, in proof of the position, that be- 
lievers are pardoned without baptism, that no criticism 
can evade it. 

Let us see what can be done. This same John, who 
has recorded the text which asserts that " he that be- 
lieveth on him is not condemned," has also, in chapter 
xii, 42, 43, spoken these words : " Nevertheless among 
the chief rulers also many believed on him, but because 
of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they 
should be put out of the synagogue ; for they loved the 


praise of men more than the praise of God." Here the 
inspired writer affirms that many of the rulers believed 
on Jesus; and orthodoxy affirms that '' every believer in 
Christ, is pardoned." Then these rulers were pardon- 
ed I Yes, orthodoxy affirms they were pardoned, though 
they loved the praise of men, and refused to confess the 
Saviour, and though the Saviour has declared, he will 
deny those, before his Father, who will not confess him 
before men I ! But if orthodoxy, to avoid this dilemma, 
asserts that the faith of the rulers was not of the right 
stamp, the position that faith is the evidence of pardon 
is abandoned: for this view of the subject requires that 
we look after, and be able to distinguish the true crite- 
ria of the right sort of faith : and among these, baptism 
might find place. The question of pardon, then, is still 
involved in uncertainty. For we repeat, according to 
orthodoxy, no man can satisfactorily decide whether he 
has the right sort of faith, and enough of it, to entitle 
him to appropriate the promise of pardon. 

But to show still more clearly that orthodoxy is out 
of joint here, and that we do not misrepresent it, we ap- 
peal to facts. A few matters of fact, Avell established, 
in regard to any question, are worth more than a thou- 
sand plausible theories. 

1. In the first place. It is a fact, that under the most 
approved teaching of orthodoxy, persons, w4io have 
given the most unequivocal evidence of their sincerity, 
have struggled for days, weeks, and sometimes years, 
before they have got through, as it is styled, or before 
they obtained what they were willing to regard as an 
evidence of pardon. 

2. It is also a fact, that under apostolic direction it 
was not thus. There is no evidence that any, who had 
apostolic instruction, in regard to the way of salvation, 


and who sincerely desired to be saved, even went one 
day without the blessing of pardon. Witness those on 
the day of Pentecost, who were pierced to the heart, 
and said unto Peter, and to the rest of the Apostles, Men 
and brethren, what shall we do ? They are told what to 
do — they do it, and rejoice in the pardoning mercy of 
God. The Samaritans, when they believed Philip 
preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, 
and the name of Jesus Christ, were baptized both men 
and women ; — and there was great joy in that city. 

The Ethiopian, though he was quite ignorant of the 
Jews' religion, and consummately ignorant of Christianity, 
yet after hearing one discourse from Philip, says : See 
here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized ? And 
Philip said. If thou believest with all thine heart, thou 
mayest. He said, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son 
of God. 'Tis enough ; the chariot stands still — both 
Philip and the Eunuch descend into the water, and 
Philip baptizes him, and when they were come up out of 
the water, the Eunuch goes on his way rejoicing in the 
assurance of pardon. The licentious Corinthians, we 
are told, hearing, believed, and were baptized. Saul of 
Tarsus, though he had been the chief of sinners, yet 
when Ananias is sent to him, to tell him words whereby 
he might be saved, might enjoy pardon, arose, and was 
baptized, and washed away his sins, calling upon the 
name of the Lord. The Philippian jailor, havingheard 
one gospel discourse after midnight, is baptized, he and 
all his straightway, and rejoices in the assurance of par- 
don, with all his house. These palpable facts show that 
under orthodox teaching persons have much more diffi- 
culty, in obtaining an evidence of pardon, than they had 
under the instructions of the Apostles. The conclusion 
therefore, is fair, that orthodoxy does not present this 


subject in the same simple, intelligible style as did the 
Apostles. Orthodoxy, because of its obscurity and 
vagueness on this question, keeps penitent persons strug- 
gling for months together, for that, which the gospel be- 
stows at once. 

3. Our third fact is, that the means commonly used 
by the orthodox to bring persons into the enjoyment of 
a sense of pardon, prove, that they believe, God in some 
mystical way gives the penitent a secret touch of his 
Spirit, by which He speaks peace to his soul, or by some 
strong impression, or by applying some Scripture season- 
ably to his case, gives him deliverance. 

Dr. Gill says, in his ' Body of Divinity,' on the word 
pardon, " The Spirit pronounces the sentence of it in 
the conscience." Hence, when persons become con- 
cerned about their salvation, at the meetings of the lead- 
ing parties, they are invited to come to the altar, or anx- 
ious-seat, and exhorted to pray for a manifestation of 
the Spirit, an evidence of pardon — to look up to God, 
to be delivered from their burden — to listen for the still 
small voice of the Spirit to speak peace to their souls. 
And while thus engaged for themselves, they hear their 
teachers, it may be, praying to God to send down pow- 
er, converting power — to baptize them with the Holy 
Ghost and fire — to show them the worst of their condi- 
tion — that they are *' hair hung, and breeze-shaken over 
hell" — to give them the Spirit to witness with their 
spirits that they are the children of God — that their sins 
are forgiven — to apply, by the Holy Spirit, the blood 
of Christ to their consciences, to take away their sins. 

Now we ask, if the scenes of this character, which are 

witnessed upon camp-meeting occasions — and even 

among the more orderly Presbyterians and Baptists, upon 

occasions of great religious excitement, do not all pro- 



ceed upon the notion, that the penitent is to expect some 
mystic, undefinable touch, or impulse of the Spirit, by 
which he may know, his sins are forgiven ? Do they 
not continue in prayer for the salvation, the deliverance 
of the mourners for hours together ? But why do this, if 
there is no sense of pardon to be obtained in this way ? 
If this view of Justification, put forth, and acted upon, 
as it often is, upon camp-meeting occasions, where there 
is great excitement, is not the hot-bed of religious en- 
thusiasm and fanaticism, we have no adequate concep- 
tions of the subject. We have said, that the orthodox 
sects, in common, hold this notion of pardon, which, in 
favorable circumstances, is promotive of all sorts of ex- 
travagances, in religion. But it is not hence to be infer- 
red, that we regard them as all alike enthusiastic or fa- 
natical. In this respect there is a wide difference be- 
tween modern Baptists and Methodists — and perhaps 
some considerable difference between the Baptists and 
Presbyterians — and a still greater difference between 
these, and the more stern and rigid sects of Associate 
Presbyterians and Associate Reformed Presbyterians, 
and others of like stamp. Now while these last hold 
the notion of Justification, in some mystic way, yet their 
peculiar notions in regard to the use of means, together 
with their scriptural views of decency and good order, 
in their public assemblies, save them from the excesses 
of which we speak. 

So among the Baptists and Presbyterians, this notion 
of pardon is modified in its influences by their views of 
order, and good behavior, in the house of God. But to 
return from this digression. We have said, in effect, 
that the means employed by the popular sects, to bring 
penitents into the enjoyment of the blessing of pardon, 
prove that they wholly misapprehend the subject. They 


speak of it, as if it were something to be known by feel- 
ing, or impulse. Now we affirm, that the Apostles never 
used such means, because they took no such view of 
the subject. Let me not be misunderstood here. We 
believe most sincerely in praying for all men, and cer- 
tainly for penitents. But we deny that the Apostles ever 
called penitents together to pray that their sins might 
be remitted — that they might receive the evidence of 
pardon by some mystic influence of the Spirit — or, that 
they ever taught penitents thus to pray. They taught 
the three thousand to repent and be baptized, for the re- 
mission of sins — the Samaritans upon believing, are 
baptized forthwith — so of the Ethiopian — of the Corin- 
thians — the Jailor and his household — there was no 
waiting for a dream, a vision, an impulse, a mystic 
touch of the Spirit, — no falling into trances and convul- 
sions, and coming out shouting — nothing of all this, 
which has so naturally attended the common notion of 
justification, where the common machinery of revivals 
is brought to bear. No. — But as soon as they were told 
what to do, they obeyed, and rejoiced in the pardoning 
love of God. 

4. It is a fact, that orthodoxy uses a phraseology on 
this subject very different from the style of the New- 
Testament ; which shows that it gives no satisfactory as- 
surance of pardon. The most pious among them can 
only hope they are pardoned. They speak much of 
their hope that God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven their 
sins. The very orthodox, and pious John Newton (I 
think,) thus sings his doubts : 

" 'Tis a point I long to know, 

Oft it causes anxious thought ; 
Do I love the Lord or no ? 

Am I his, or am I not 1 


If I pray, or sing-, or read, 

Sin is mixed with all I do; 
You that love the Lord indeed, 

Tell me, is it thus with you 1" 

This is the true spirit of orthodoxy, and this is the best 
it can do for its votaries. We do contend, therefore, 
that the good old-fashioned Baptist who talks of his 
hope of pardon, is much more consistent with ortho- 
doxy than those, w^ho, while they lay the foundation of 
doubting, speak confidently of their pardon. This being 
true, it is not at all strange, that many pious persons who 
take this ground should regard doubting as one of the 
strongest evidences of evangelical faith !! Enough, we 
think, has now been said in regard to the phraseology 
of orthodoxy on the subject of pardon, to show that it 
gives no satisfactory assurance of that great blessing. 
But we have also said, that it uses a style of speaking 
very different from New-Testament style. 

Let us now look at the proof. The first christians 
speak of their justification — their salvation, in the lan- 
guage of certainty. They never speak, or are spoken 
of, in the dubious style of orthodoxy. They are said 
to be "made free from sin," — to be "justified freely by 
his grace," — to be saved — to have "redemption in the 
blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of sins." Ad- 
dressing his son Titus, Paul says, "according to his 
mercy he hath saved us." Of the Ephesians he says, 
"by grace are ye saved." Writing to his son Timo- 
thy, he says, "w^ho hath saved us." The christians in 
the dispersion, addressed by Peter, had received the 
end of their faith, " the salvation of their souls." They 
are urged by Peter, in his second Letter, to add to 
their faith all the graces that adorn and perfect the 
christian character, that they may not be slothful, nor 


unfruitful members of the church. But he tells them 
at the same time, if they fail to make these additions 
to their faith — if they lack these things, they will be- 
come blind, and forget that they were purged from their 
old sins-. 

The first christians then were pardoned, and knew 
they were pardoned ; and therefore never spoke in the 
style of uncertainty on the subject. Now then, we 
have seen that while the votaries of orthodoxy use a 
style of speaking, in regard to their acceptance with 
God, and in reference to the pardon of their sins, which 
shows they are left in doubt, the first christians under 
Apostolic instruction speak in the language of joyful 
certainty on this subject. This conclusion then is inev- 
itable, that orthodoxy does not present this subject pre- 
cisely as did the Apostles. 

5. Once more. It is a fact that orthodoxy makes 
the assurance of pardon to depend upon an emotion, an 
impulse, a feeling, an inward impression, a dream or 
vision, or something of the sort. Is this disputed. 
Let facts speak. An individual presents himself to the 
Session of the Presbyterian Church for membership ; or 
to the Baptist Church, as the case may be. He is ex- 
amined after this fashion. "Have you seen and felt 
yourself to be a great sinner, exposed to the wrath of 
God ? Have you been led to mourn over and deeply 
repent of your sins? Have you renounced all depend- 
ance upon yourself or any thing you can do, and have 
you thrown yourself wholly on the mercy of God for 
salvation, through the blood of the Atonement — the sac- 
rifice of Christ? Do you hate sin, and love holiness? 
Do you love God, his word, his people ? And do you 
hope your sins are forgiven ?" Now I ask, if such 
questions as these are answered affirmatively, is the 


applicant regarded as a pardoned person ? Certainly. 
But on what, I beseech you, better than an emotion, a 
suggestion, an impulse, a feeling, a dream, or a vision, 
does his assurance of pardon rest? Does it grow out 
of his deep sense of guilt before God ? This is a feel- 
ing. Does it originate from a consciousness that he 
loves God, because of his great love to him ; — a con- 
sciousness that he loves holiness, loves the word of God, 
and his people? This is feeling. Does he rest it in 
that deep poverty of spirit, that utter helplessness of 
which he is conscious, or a spirit that disposes him to 
cast himself upon the mercy of God for salvation. 'Tis 
all feeling. If you ask him on what he bases his hope 
of pardon, he tells the exercises of his mind — how 
deeply he felt the burden of his guilt, and how sensibly 
he felt it removed ; and how happy he felt afterwards. 
So that his experience amounts to a mere recital of his 
feelings, good and bad. 

But in opposition to the notion that a satisfactory as- 
surance of pardon can be obtained by feeling, we af- 
firm, and will undertake to prove, that the thing is im- 
possible. What! a man know he is pardoned by 
feeling ! If a man loves, or hates — is envious, or ma- 
licious, he knows it by feeling. If he is filled with 
peace and joy, or grief and heaviness, he knows it all 
by feeling. If he believes in Jesus Christ, he is con- 
scious of it. If his heart is changed from the love of 
sin to the love of holiness, he knows it by feeling. All 
these are matters that may be known by feeling. But 
to suppose that one can know his sins forgiven by feel- 
ing, implies a misapprehension of the whole subject. 
What is pardon ? Is it a feeling ? good or bad ? Is it 
something done in a man, that he may know it by feel- 
ing ? Certainly not. Pardon is an act of God's free 


grace, in which he blots out all our sins and accepts us 
into favor, through the redemption that is in Christ Je- 
sus. To illustrate : — Suppose I have committed some 
flagrant offence against a good neighbor. I am deeply- 
affected in view of the impropriety and wickedness of 
my conduct in the case. I know my neighbor is a man 
of great goodness of heart — that he is ever ready to 
forgive an injury. But will all my sorrow for my sin, 
my love for my neighbor on account of his amiability, 
and my confidence in his readiness to forgive me, afford 
me assurance that he has pardoned me ? Certainly not. 
The thing is absurd. I can never know that he has 
pardoned me, only by his own word to that effect. Nor 
can we know that God in Christ hath forgiven our sins, 
only by divine testimony. But where is that testimony 
to be found ? He speaks no more in visions or dreams, 
or by Urim and Thummim. He speaks no more by 
Prophets, his Son, nor by Apostles, personally. How 
then are we to hear his voice on this subject? The 
answer is — in his word — the New Covenant, sealed 
with the blood of Christ. Here is fully developed that 
glorious scheme, in which God is just, as well as mer- 
ciful, when he pardons him who believes in Jesus. 

But is the penitent left to mere feelings and frames to 
determine this most important of all questions, the for- 
giveness of his sins? Is every thing uncertain and 
doubtful here ? What a reflection upon the divine wis- 
dom and benevolence to think it ! Nay verily — the way- 
faring man, though a simpleton, need not err. The 
Apostles have used great plainness of speech upon this 
subject. Let us see. Faith is necessary to pardon. 
But is faith all? How then is a man to know when he 
has the right sort of faith, and enough of it? Is it not 
rather faith, as it works by love — faith which shows the 


penitent the holiness of God, and his own pollution — 
as it displays to him the boundless love of God in the 
gift of his Son, and as it kindles in his heart a flame of 
love to his Heavenly Father who made him — to his 
Saviour, who died to redeem him ? Surely this is not 
faith alone. But to know his sins forgiven, he must not 
only thus believe, but he is required to confess with his 
mouth the faith of his heart. ** If thou shalt confess 
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy 
heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou 
shalt be saved ; for with the heart man believeth unto 
righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made 
unto salvation." But is it still insisted that he who be- 
lieves with the heart — who has experienced the change 
which orthodoxy denominates regeneration, is pardon- 
ed ? We ask where is the authority for such a conclu- 
sion ? A change of heart is not pardon, nor is it an 
evidence of pardon. Was not the heart of the prodi- 
gal son changed in regard to his father, when he said, 
*' How many hired servants of my father have bread 
enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger? I 
will arise and go to my father, and say. Father, I have 
sinned against Heaven and in thy sight, and am no 
more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of 
thy hired servants?" Most certainly his heart was thor- 
oughly changed. With a very different heart, indeed, 
bad he left home ; but he came to himself. But though 
his heart is changed, and he loves his father, and under 
the influence of that love is resolved to return, is he 
pardoned? Certainly not. His change of purpose 
and heart disposes him to return to his father, that he 
may be pardoned. For without the favor of pardon he 
could not hope, even for the place of a servant. 

To have gospel assurance of pardon then, the peni- 


tent must be baptized for the remission of his sins — 
calling on the name of the Lord. We are not here ar- 
guing the question of baptism for remission. We are 
rather taking it for granted ; satisfied as we are that 
there is not a plamer proposition in the New-Testament. 
We wish merely to state the doctrine, and show that it 
gives satisfactory assurance of pardon ; and that under- 
stood and acted upon, it would rid the church of the 
chief, if not the only cause of enthusiasm and fanati- 
cism. Does a penitent believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ ? He is conscious of it. Does his faith work 
by love ? He is sensible of it. Are old things done 
away, and all things become new.'* He realizes the 
chanjre. Does he confess with his mouth the Lord Je- 
sus, believing in his heart that God hath raised him 
from the dead ? He knows it. Is he baptized for the 
remission of his sins, calling on the name of the Lord 
for pardon ? He knows it all. He is just as certain 
therefore, that his sins are forgiven, as he is that God 
is true. He does not believe he is pardoned, because 
he feels it ; but he feels it, because he believes it, upon 
the authority of God's faithful word of promise, '' He 
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." ^'Be 
baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, 
for the remission of sins." No room for the operation 
of enthusiasm or fanaticism here. No encouragement 
to persons to look into themselves for the evidences of 
their pardon — to try to make themselves better by their 
prayers and tears. They are simply told what they 
must do to be saved. In good faith they obey, and 
God pardons and accepts them, through Christ. 'Tis 
all of grace. "Not by works of righteousness which 
we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, 
by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the 


Holy Spirit." No struggling for pardon here for weeks, 
and months, and years; but on the same hour of the 
night or day, they that gladly received the word were 
baptized, and rejoiced in a sense of pardon, believing 
in God. 

Having already said more in regard to the history, 
origin, nature, and tendency of the strange bodily agi- 
tations, which have appeared in association with Chris- 
tianity, in different periods of the Church's history ; 
and having set forth what we conceive would be a rem- 
edy for the chief, if not all of these extravagances, we 
will conclude this lengthy article by correcting some 
statements of Mr. John L. Waller, in regard to this and 
other subjects. We quote from an article from his pen 
in the " Western Baptist Review," found in vol. 1, 
No. 4, and headed, "An Explanation of the use of 
Creeds among the Baptists." In this article he says, 
" There exists quite a party in the West arrayed against 
all Creeds, and that our readers may see the origin of 
this opposition, we crave their indulgence while we 
record a few historical matters. About the beginning 
of the present century, scenes, called religious, were 
enacted in Kentucky, that defy all the powers of pen 
and pencil to describe." Page 129. "At one of their 
camp-meetings it was not uncommon to see hundreds 
under the influence of what was called the rolling exer- 
cise^ which consisted in persons being thrown down by 
some invisible agent, and turned over like logs, amid 
dust or mud, or whatever else chance placed in the 
way. There was also \he jerking exercise. 

"The human frame under this influence was common- 
/y so transformed and disfigured, as to lose every trace 
af its natural appearance. Sometimes the head would 
oe jerked right and left, to half-round, with such vio- 


lence and velocity, that not a feature could be discov- 
ered ; but the face would appear as much behind as 
before, and the man would seem to be transmuted into 
some other species of the animal kingdom! Then 
there was the harking exercise. Many persons, and 
even some of considerable distinction, it was said, in 
spite of all efforts to the contrary, were forced to per- 
sonate dogs. They would move about on all-fours, 
growl, snap the teeth, and bark in so natural a manner, 
as to set the eyes and ears of the spectator at variance. 
In some neighborhoods it was no uncommon thing to 
hear persons on their way to meeting, barking like a 
flock of spaniels, and sometimes during meeting, they 
would start suddenly up in a fit of barking, rush out, 
roam round, and in a short time come barking and 
foaming back. Associate in imagination, with these, 
shouting, screaming, shrieking, groaning, singing, clap- 
ping of hands, praying, preaching, jumping, dancing, 
&c., &c., all going on at once, and then you may have 
a tolerable idea of what in those days was termed a 
'JYew- Light Stir.' " 

Mr. Waller tells us next of the " Kentucky divines," 
" who perceiving in these exercises the dawning of a 
brighter day," withdrew from the Synod of Kentucky, 
and took their stand upon the Bible, and the name 
Christian, in June 1804. And adds: "It was not in 
western Virginia then, but in Bourbon County, Ken- 
tucky, where was manufactured that most wonderful 
panacea for curing all the distempers of Christendom, 
by simply purging from the body religious, all creeds 
and sectarian names! ... So much by way of render- 
ins: honor to whom honor is due. Mr. Stone was left 
the sole executor of this important will, [meaning the 
Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, 


to which he alludes, and which, see in another part of 
this work.] Mr. Marshall, in the course of a few years 
returned to the bosom of the Presbyterian Church. 
Messrs. Dunlavy, M'Nemar and Purviance, united 
with the Shaking Quakers, where they could enjoy, to 
the utmost, the liberty of dancing, barking, jerking, 
&c., &c., which began to grow unfashionable in tJie 
world. But Mr. Stone persevered, and carried out 
those items of the ' will ' which recommended one 
name, and the destruction of creeds, with great zeal 
and industry. He formed quite a respectable party. . . 
But his career seemed to be run, and his party on the 
w^ane, when it was taken under the supervision of Mr. 
Campbell ; and the reformation in Kentucky, and the 
West (in many instances the most valuable part of it,) 
is composed of the materials gathered by Mr. Stone. 
Indeed, it is most certain, that so far as creeds and sec- 
tarian names are concerned, the Reformer of Bethany 
has built upon the foundation of Mr. Stone. It was in 
1804 that the glorious era dawned, which is to witness 
the regeneration of the world. Mr. Stone and his 
companions commenced their campaign upon creeds 
among the Presbyterians. They felt oppressed by their 
Confession of Faith ; and could not get along with their 
strange exercises, cramped by a creed so staid and an- 
tiquated as that of Westminster." Pages 131-2. 

On these extracts w^e remark: 

1. That no such exercise as Mr. Waller designates 
the rolling exercise ever existed in the West ; so my 
own observation testifies as far as it goes ; and so tes- 
tify the aged, who witnessed these strange agitations in 
every form they assumed. But perhaps by the rolling 
exercise he meant what was termed the falling exercise. 
That was very common forty years ago. And it is very 


probable, those who fell sometimes rolled over. Still 
Mr. Waller's account is very highly colored. 

2. In the second place, we remark, that no such ex- 
ercise as that called the '^ bar/cing exercise^'' ever existed 
at all ; and that his representation of this matter is 
worse than a caricature. This I know, to a great ex- 
tent, by observation, and from the unanimous testimony 
of those who are the only proper w^itnesses in the case. 
I know that persons who had the jerks, would, some- 
times, from the violence with which the head w^as 
thrown back, make a noise similar to the barking of a 
dog. But that they were forced to personate dogs, to 
go on all-fours — to growl, and snap with the teeth, 
and bark like a flock of spaniels — or that they did 
these things at all, by constraint, or voluntarily, is not 
true. I do not say Mr. Waller meant to misrepresent 
the matter. But men should be careful on what author- 
ity they commit to record matters of history. 

3. But suppose Mr. Waller's account of all these 
strange matters were just as he states — that a " New- 
Light Stir" was all that he has represented it to be, 
what has all that to do with the question as to the use 
of creeds among the Baptists? Would it all prove that 
creeds are not bonds of union among the Baptists? (By 
the way, I would rejoice to see that position proved, 
and acted upon among the Baptists, for we should then 
be united on that question, as that is our position.) 
Certainly not. What then was his object ? We assert, 

4. It was to cast odium upon the current reformation, 
and especially the reformation efforts of B. W. Stone, 
and those associated with him. He tells us that " Stone 
and his companions could not get along with their new 
revival measures, and strange exercises, cramped by 
the Westminster Creed." And therefore they threw 



it off. He speaks of all these strange exercises, as as- 
sociated with the labors of Stone and his companions. 
He gives a most horrible account of a "New-Light 
Stir," as made up of the ingredients of falling, rolling, 
jerking, barking, growling, snapping the teeth, foam- 
ing, rushing out on all-fours, roaming round, persona- 
ting dogs — shouting, screaming, shrieking, groaning, 
singing, clapping of hands, praying, preaching, jump- 
ing, dancing, &c., &c. These are some of the com- 
ponent parts of a "New-Light Stir." And all these 
evidences of enthusiasm and fanaticism, he would seem 
to wish his readers to believe, were peculiar to Mr. 
Stone and his people — that they grew out of their new 
views, and " special illuminations." And, that as a 
matter of course, if Mr. Stone's peculiar views gave 
rise to such fearful extravagances, his reformation is 
little worth. 

Now, if this is what he means, we must tell him with 
all distinctness, that it he does not, he ought to know, 
that these extravagances all are the legitimate offspring 
of orthodoxy — that they appeared in Kentucky early 
in 1801, among the Presbyterians — that the Baptists 
shared in them — that they have appeared, in various 
periods of the church's history — that they were very 
common in the eighteenth century, under the labors of 
such men as Wesley, Whitefield, Erskine, and even the 
celebrated Jonathan Edwards, president of Princeton 
College. That they appeared among even the regular 
Baptists of Virginia in 1785, on James River. — That 
nothing peculiar to Mr. Stone's reformation, therefore, 
gave rise to these excesses — That, as we have already 
shown, false views of the means of enjoying a sense of 
pardon, may be regarded, as the legitimate source of 
these extravagances. — That orthodoxy therefore is the 
father of them all. 


5. But Mr. Waller tells us, that in regard to creeds 
and sectarian names, Mr. Campbell has built upon the 
foundation of Mr. Stone. That Mr. Stone and his 
friends, manufactured the wonderful theological panacea 
for curing all the distempers of Christendom, by simply 
rejecting all human creeds and sectarian names. — That 
this was done too while Mr. Campbell was enveloped 
in the mists of Mystical Babylon, with the yoke of the 
Westminster creed upon his neck. And all this he tells 
us, he states by way of rendering honor to B. W. Stone ! ! 
We understand him. He would disparage Mr. Stone's 
reformation, by representing it, as a system of the gross- 
est error associated with the wildest fanaticism. This is 
rendering honor to the pious, departed Stone, with a 
vengeance! Mr. Waller, I presume, would not like to 
have such honor rendered to him, after his decease. 
But having rendered Mr. Stone's reformation efforts as 
contemptible, as his sneers, and caricatures, and false 
glosses, and inuendoes, and biting sarcasms, could make 
them, he would degrade Mr. Campbell, by representing 
him as building on Mr. Stone's foundation ! 

6. But Mr. Waller says, Mr. Stone's career seemed 
to be run, and his party on the wane when it was taken 
under the supervision of Mr. Campbell. Mr. Waller will 
permit us to say with all emphasis, that he has commit- 
ted two very great mistakes here. It is not true, that 
when the Union between Mr. Stone, and his brethren, 
and the friends of Mr. Campbell, took place, what Mr. 
Waller is pleased to call Mr. Stone's party, was on the 
wane. In my judgment, (and I think I ought to know- 
as much about this matter as any man in Kentucky) we 
were never enjoying as great, or greater prosperity, 
than about that period. I think I am within the bounds 
of truth, when I say, that at the time of the Union the 


people called Christians, associated with B. W. Stone, 
numbered from eight to ten thousand, in Kentucky. We 
were not on the wane then, but greatly on the increase. 
But it is still a greater mistake to say Mr. Campbell has 
taken us under his supervision. May the Lord grant us 
a more faithful historian, than John L. Waller ! 

7. But once more, and we have done with this disa- 
greeable subject. Mr. Waller tells his readers, as a 
matter of fact, — of history, that David Purviance 
united with the Shaking Quakers, where he could enjoy 
to the utmost, the liberty of dancing, barking, jerking, 
&c. &c. David Purviance, a Shaking Quaker! Do, 
Mr. Waller, study your subject, before you write history 
again ; especially the history of those you regard as 
great errorists: For men are very prone to take up evi' 
reports upon such, and upon very insufficient testimony 
to believe them. 

David Purviance is now about 80 years old ; and one 
of the firmest friends of the Bible cause. He is a man 
of talents, and unquestionable piety. If Mr. Waller 
knew the good old patriarch, he could not help admiring 
his.cliaracter. Since 1803, he has stood fast upon the 
great protestant position, that ^'the Bible, the Bible 
alone, is the religion of protestants." 

(Note, See p. 293.) Another incident, illustrative of the character of 
B. W. Stone, and of his position in regard to slavery, will close what we 
have to say under this head. A negro boy, by the name of Hampton, one 
of those entailed upon his children, concluded, when about grown, to leave 
home, and be free indeed. Some time after he left, a friend suggested to 
father Stone, that the boy could, no doubt, be easily recovered. Do you 
think you could find him ? said the benevolent Stone. Yes, was the 
reply. Well, said he, I wish you would try, and if you succeed, give him 
ten dollars for me, and I will pay you ; for, said he, I expect the poor 
fellow is in want, before this time. This occurred more than twenty years 





1. I have just read, with great interest, the above named w^ork. It is a large, 
handsome, and well written volume, of near 400 pages, published by Carter, oi 
IMew York, in 1847. 

Having just published the Biography of the lamented Stone, the writer, as 
might be supposed, was very anxious to know what a Presbyterian Doctor had 
to say of that great and good man. 

In looking over the preface, he was pleased to find the followng declaration: 
" Truth has been his object; and his aim, to hold an impartial pen." It is the 
imperative duty of tlie biographer of the venerated Stone, to notice some of the 
evidences which Dr. Davidson's work affords, bearing upon the questions of his 
impartiality and love of truth. 

On page 157, the Doctor, giving an account of the extravagances and fanat- 
icism of the Revival, says : "In these disorders. Mr. Stone was the ringleader." 
Reader, would you not conclude from this statement, if you knew^ nothing of B. 
AV. Stone, iVom any other source, that he was a great enthusiast, that he led the 
w^ay and participated in all the extravagances of dancing, jerking, laughing, 
jumping, shouting, &c.? Certainly, you could draw^ no other conclusion, for, -'In 
these disorders he was the ringleader"! ! And yet it is a notorious fact, as all 
the aged, who w^ere associated with him tlirough the great Revival testify, that 
in these exercises he never participated at any ti?ne, nor U7ider any circutnstances. 
The writer knew him intimately from 1S18 till the time of his death, and he never 
saw him greatly excited about anything. A short time since he was conversing 
with one of Father Stone's early acquaintances, in reference to the extravagances 
of the old Revival ; and one who was with him much through the whole course of 
it. and who is very remarkable for accuracy and fidelity in detailing facts, and his 
testimony is, that he never saw him clap his hands, or heard him shout glory, or 
stainp his foot, or strike his Bible, or the board before him with his hand — that he 
never was the subject of the jerks, or any of the bodily exercises, as they were 
called. That B. W. Stone placed no great value upon these exercises, appears 
from a quotation which the Doctor makes from a private letter he addressed to 
Marshall, in which, speaking of the '-Christian Ctiurclies," he says. "They are 
led away too much by noise." p. 210. I do not think that the views of B. W. 
Stone, on the subject of the exercises, were altogether correct, yet they were 
such as the system in which he was educated suggested, and such pretty much 
too, as his quondam brethren in the Presbyterian Church entertained. 

On page 139, Dr. Davidson says of Father Rice, Ely the, Stuart, Lyle, and 
Campbell, that when they first witnessed the exercises, and the effects of the 
great excitement that prevailed, judging trom the opening pages of Mr. Lyle's di- 
ary, their feelings might be compared to those of the pious Jews, who saw the 
paralytic healed by a word, and '• were amazed, and glorified God, saying we 
never saw it on this fashion." "These good men, (he adds) had long mourned 
the deep declension of the church, and they almost hoped that Providence was 
pleased to permit these strange spectacles in lieu of miracles, to arrest attention, 
and thus gain access for the power of the truth." 

2. On page 218 he tells us that Stone was an enthusiast, and made his feelings 
the criterion of truth. And one of his evidences to prove this charge is curious 
enough. It is this : '• He [Stone] decided against Calvinism, because, on a com- 
parison of the spirit in him, with the word of truth, he could not doubt that it was 
the spirit of truth." And pray, good Doctor, by what standard would you have 
a man try his spirit, but the word of truth ? '-Try the spirits whether they be of 
God." It strikes the writer, that if the Doctor had tried his spirit by the word of 
truth, as did the venerable Stone, his impartiality and love of truth would have 
been more palpable. 

On page 219 he speaks of Stone as "a pitiable spectacle, tossed for a series of 
years, upon the fluctuating sea of doubt." True, while Mr. Stone was attempting 
the more than Herculean task of reconciling the contradictory positions of Cal- 
vinism with themselves and the word of God, his mind was tossed, to use his 
own language, "upon the waves of speculative Divinity." But when he aban- 


doned all human theories oi' Christianity, and came to the word of God, and with 
prayer for direction, searched the Scriptures to know the truth, lie soon became 
settled and happy, and so continued till his death, some forty years afterwards. 
The reverence of B. \V. Stone for the Bible, was a prominent trait of his charac- 
ter. "My reason (says he) shall ever bow to revelation; but it shall never be 
proslrated to human contradictons and inventions." Address. 2d ed,t:on, p. 12. 
Where are the evidences ihen. that he was a ringleader in the disorders of the 
Revival, or that he was an entluis. ast ? 

3. But we come now to matters of a more serious character. On page 21.3 w^e 
find these words : "In this essay [Dr. Cleland's pamphlet against Stone] a state- 
ment of Mr. Stone was commented upon with some pungency. He had declared 
that his views on the subject of the Divinity of Christ had not wavered for twenty 
years. Yet only sixteen years bclbi-e. at his ordination by the Presbytery of 
Transylvania, October 4, 1798, he had expressed his sincere approbation ot the 
Confession of Faith. Thus, on three several occasions, his Licensure, his recep- 
tion by Transylvania, and his ordination, Mr. Stone laid himself open to a seri- 
ous charge of dishonesty.-' 

AVhen I first read this foul charge in the Doctor's book, perceiving that he re- 
ferred to Dr. Cleland as authority, I concluded that he had never seen Father 
Stone's triumphant refutation of it. But upon read ng further, I found that he had 
seen the evidences of its falsity, as given by men of the first respectability, and 
at least two of them men of high standing in the Presbyterian Church, and 
greatly opposed to Father Stone's religious views ; and, that notwithstanding all 
this, he deliberately penned this contemptible lalsehood, as a historic verity ! I 
Of course I do not mean to say that tlie Doctor regards this charge as false. But 
who can easily exaggerate the evils of a party spirit, which so blinds, infatuates, 
and intoxicates otherwise great and good men. as that they are led to believe 
that to be true, which is most palpably false I Father Stone never did say, as the 
Doctor has it, that his views as to the Divinity of Christ had not wavered for 
twenty years. He had casually remarked, in his first address, that for nearly 
twenty years his mind had not wavered in regard to the doctrine of the pre-exis- 
tence of the human soul of Christ. And this innocent and veritable statement is 
made the ground of the grave charges of disingenuousness. dishonesty, deceiving 
his hosom friends, smuggling Imnself into the Presbyterian ministry, Sec. For the 
sake of setting the character of the departed Stone, in regard to this censure, in a 
proper light, I v^rill here subjoin the certificates which prove, first, that he did be- 
lieve and preach, while a Presbyterian, that the human soul of Jesus pre-existed; 
and second, that at his ordination he ret\ised to receive the Confession of Faitli 
without reserve. To save room, the four certificates will be put in two. 

" We, the subscribers, certify that we heard B. W. Stone, at le^st twenty years ago. preach that the human 
soul of Clirist existed before ihe foundaiitm of the world. Witness our hands this 20ih of Deceniber, 1818. 
John Hopkins, Thomas Nesbit, Moses Hall, James Foster, Robert Caldwell, Uavid Kiiox, John Eward, Samuel 
M. Waugh, David t^urviance, John Adams, Peter Fleming, James Fleming, Elijah Mitchell." 

Samuel M. Waugh was an elder in the Presbyterian church at Old Concord, 
and John Hopkins a member of the same church. This settles the point as to the 
truth of his nearly twenty years belief. 

" We. the subscribers, do certify, that we were present at the ordination of B. W. Stone, at Caneridge, 
by the Transj-lvania Presbyterv :— That when the question was asked by the Presbytery, 'Do you receive 
and adopt the Confession of Fa'ilh,' Sac, the said Stone answered aloud, ' I do, so far as I see it consis'ent 
■with the word of God.' Witness our hands this 20th of December, 1818. Moses Hall, John Snoddy, David 
Knox, John Hopkins, John Adams, James Ireland." 

To these certificates. Father Stone appends the following declaration: "I 
could procure scores to certify these facts, but these are sufficient." See Address, 
second edition, page 32-3-4. Here is a most palpable contradiction between 
these witnesses and the Doctor. He asserts roundly, and in the face of testimony 
to the contrary, that " at his ordination B.W. Stone expressed his sincere approba- 
tion of the Confession of Faith." &c.. while the witnesses declare he did no such 
thing ! Dr. Cleland, in his letters to B. ^V. Stone, admits that he excepted to the 
Confession of Faith at his ordination. His words are on page 167. "You need 
be at no trouble to prove what I most cheerfully admit, namely, that you excep- 
ted to the Conlession of Faith at your ordination." Still Dr. Davidson avers that 
he " expressed his sincere approbation of it " ! ! Doctors, it would seem, will differ. 
When I first read the charge of dishonesty against the venerated Stone. I confess 
it affected me deeply, and 1 could not hide my excitement. It grieved me to the 
heart to think tliat men of high standing should so stoop from the dignity of the 
Christian profession, as to try to fix a stain upon the character of one of the best 
men that ever lived, and tha"t not content with their efforts to injure him while 
alive, they must pursue him when he is no more here to speak in his own defence. 
A friend of mine, and of the venerable Stone, who perceived my agitation, said 
to me, " Never mind it— it is ri^t worth notice— no one will believe it. It reminds 


me (said lie) of an anecdote of a certain miller of Bourbon cotmty, Kentucky, 
whose character for honesty was above suspicion. A trifl.iig scamp accused him 
of takings his corn. When the miller put on his bag. he said to him, 'now don't 
you go away and say I stole your corn, for (said he) if you do, the people won't 
believe you.' So (sa^d he) Stone's honesty is above suspicion, and if Dr. David- 
son, or any one else, says he is dishonest, the people won't believe him — the 
charge will reijound upon his own head." For a further relutation of the charge 
of d.shonesty, see pages 271 -2-0-4-5-6-7-8, and also pages 294-5-6 of this work. 

On page 219, speaking of what he is pleased to call the New Light schism, the 
Doctor thus-w^rites : " In all the affairs connected w^ith the schism, the organiza- 
tion of the Springfield Presbytery, and the subsequent formation of societies 
knowu under the various natiies of New Lights, Christians, Arians, Aiarshalites, 
and Stoneites, he [Stone] was the leading spirit, until they were merged in the all- 
embracing vortex of Campbellism. The desertion of Houston, Dunlavy and Mc- 
Nemar to Ijhe Shakers, and the return of Marshall and Thompson to the Synod 
gave his cause a death-blow tVom which it never recovered. Unable to maintain 
a flourishing society permanently in any one place, he frequently changed his 
residence and the scene of his operations, till at last, shorn of that infiuence and 
popularity which had formerly attracted thousands, and elated his heart with 
vanity, he died in Indiana, in 1844, a melancholy beacon to unstaijie and schis- 
matical spirits." 

This is too bad I O, Doctor! where was your love of truth and impartiality 
when you penned the above extract! It would seem difficult for any one in a 
smaller compass to do greater violence to the facts of history and the reputation 
and character of B. W.Stone, than Dr. Davidson has done in this brief extract. 
'' The return of Marshall and Thompson to the synod gave his cause a death 
blow from which it never recovered "II And have you yet to learn, that Stone 
had no cause to support but the cause of Christ — of the Bible ? " To sect or party 
his large soul disdained to be confined." His cause, therefore, can )iever be in- 
jured only in so far as true religion is injured — can never die while .lesus lives 
and reigns. But we understand you Doctor, as meaning to say that, from the 
time of Marshall and Thompson's return to synod, the friends of Stone, and those 
who stood by him in pleading for the Bible as the only standard of religious 
truth, and the only true basis of christian un'on — decreased. I know that Father 
Bishop, in his memoirs of Rice, has represented us as numbering less than 500 in 
Kentucky, at the t me he wrote, while to my certain knowledge, two congrega- 
tions could be named, that numbered nearly or quite that many ; and although it 
would be impossible to asceria'n our precise numbers, at the time [1S24] referred 
to. as we were more intent to induce the people to be christian.s, than to number 
Israel, yet I hazard- nothing in saying we numbered at that time at least 5000 in 
Kentucky. I shall never forget a conversal on I heard, bearing upon the ques- 
tion of our prosperity, at a conference in Ohio, in the fall of 1S19. At that 
conference, 1 was licensed to preach, with several others. In the course of the 
conversation among the preachers, the subject of the defection of Thomp.son and 
Marshall came up. Old Father Purviance remarked, that ''not long before iMar- 
shall left us. he heard him in a sermon, in one of his happiest moods, in reference 
to the great principles we advocated express him.self to this effect : -We (said he) 
may forsake these principles— we may prove recreant to our profession — /may 
abandon this ground; but (said he) the is God"s, and it must, it will pre- 
vail, in sp'te of opposition.' And (sad Father Purviance) this Marshall spake, 
not of himself but be ng high priest that year he prophesied." This venerable old 
brother related th's incident, in view of the great success which was attending 
our edbrfs. to show the prophetic character of what Marshall said. 

But we have further, and slill nice coi elusive evidence n( Ihe reckle?Fness of ihe Unclor's assertion, that what 
he is pleased to call our cau^ie received a dei'h bluv upon Ihe return of Marsliall and Thompson 'o the symd. 

In Ihe Christian Messenger for '26 7, vol. 1, p. 168, I see Ihe number of preachers in the conference, in' the 
north 'f Kentucky, se' down a- 2S. In a letter from brother W. D. lourdon, from Tennessee, to B. W. -tone 
(see C. M. Vol. 1. p. 2l«) ue learn that in a few months, from three to four hundred persons had been added to 
the 'hriFtian church in the nei»hborhnod of Sparta. In the Christian Messenger, vol. I, pages 21-2, «e are 
told that the Chri,tian bretiir.-n met in Tonference In Aue;us las', (1826.) near Murfreesborousrh, Te nessee, and 
enjoyt-d a most refreshing season, some thirty persons bei^ e immersea. The names of the preachers belongin" 
to that conference at that time were about fifty. On pa'^e 252 of the same volume, I see i stated upon the au° 
thority of K. I). Moore, a preacher of Alabama, that the Chris'ian Conference in that .Stale, meeting near Flo- 
rence in 1827, was composed of sirne twenty one preachers, and that during the meeting ihiny persons were im- 
mersed. In Ihe second volume of the Messenger, on jiage 21, we find it stated bv Elder John Secrist, that in 
the bounds of his labors, (iirincipally in Belmont and Monroe couniies iu Ohio,) he and those who labored with 
him, had, in oneseasDn ( 1827) immersed one thousand | ersons. 

We could almost fill a volume wUh accounts of the success of our ciuse, githered from the volume-^ of the 
Christian Messenger for -26, V7. •28, '29, '30, and '31, embracing in their ample scope the s'ales of Kentucky 
Tennessee, Alabama, Maryland, fennsvlvania. Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. But we have 
Bot room here. An extract or two must sufHce on the score of statis'ics. At a meeting of the Christian Con- 
ference for the north ot Kentucky, at Anijoch, Bourbon county, an account of which is given in the Messenger, 



vol. 3, pages 22-3-4, if is stated that communications were received from thirty churches, "which (it is added, 
and the writer knows the statement to be correct') embraces nnlhing like Itie number of cliurches in the limits 
of this North Conference of Kentucky." The writer of this account adds : "Not twolhirds of the churches 
above named, stale specifically their increase, but the additions made to such as did state, thai is eleven [churclies] 
are upwards of 800 since our last meeting [in ltr27.] Never had the friends of christian liberty greater cause 
to rejoice than at the present n)Onienl." The conference met again at Berea, in Sepleniber, 1829. See ('. Mes- 
senger, vol. 3, jiages 2S3-4-5-6. T. M. Allen, the secretary of the conference, says : "A more interesting 
meeting I seldom if ever attended. " It was thought that from five to seven hundred persons pariook of the 
Lord's supper. •' But few of the churches gave eitfl r their increase or strength ; but from the few that did, we 
learn that sixty nine have been added to the Church at Cabin Creek, I'ortv-one at Republican in Bath, twenty- 
five at Republican in Fayette, twenty- five at Carlisle, (or ( oncord,^ twenty-two at Cyuthiana, f fteen at Union, 
Fayette, filteen at Paris, fifteen at .Newcastle, &c., &c " The church at Carlisle is upwards of three hundred 
in nunil)er ; at Republican Fayette, upwards of two hundred, and many o'hers upwards of one hundred. During 
the last year [29] seven excellent brick meeting houses have either been finished or commenced by our brethren, 
and the cau^^e of the Redeemer is rapidly spreading and prevailing in our country." 

But ihe Doctor says of Stone : "Unable to maintain a flourishing society permanently at any one place, he 
frequentlv changed his residence and the scene f his operations, till, it last, shorn of that influence and | opu- 
larity wliich had formerly attracted thousands, and elated his heart with vanity, he died." Wha are Ihe facts 
of the c ii-e ? B. W. stone was the pastor of the Caneri i<e and Concord coniregati )ns, we may say from the 
winter of 1796 till Ihe fall of |gl2. In the spring of 1810 his first wife died, and in the fall of 1811 he married 
his second wife, and to please her and her mother, he conscn'ed to remove to Tennessee. During his connection 
with the Caneridge and Concord congregations, thev flourished, and to 'his day, these coneregations stand firmly 
established on Ihe great principles nf true protestantism, so ably and successfully pleaded by the venerable 
Slone, more than forty years ago ; and they regard him as their father in the Gos el, nor did any man ever rival 
him in their alleciions. And while the Presbyterian church I Caneridge is extinct, and very feeble at Con 
cord, these churches of Christ number near 500 souls. We dislike to make such references, and we do it, not 
by way of boasting, but to repel 'he unkind charge that rur venerated Father was shorn of his influence. 
But to'pnceed wi^h our narrative : He was but a short time in Tennessee. The chuches of Ky. poured in 
requeslj, ujxm him to return, and having ob'ained hisconsen', they sent a carriage for his family, and wagons, 
and removed him to Lexington. There he preached and lauslit scho ■! successfully for a lime, and from Ihence 
removed to George own, where he located on a farm and lived near twen'y years universally respected and 
beloved. He established a church there a short time after he settled, with some six menibers, which, under 
his labors, by the blessings ( f God, grew to be a large and flourishinj; church ; and as such tie left it in Ihe fall 
of '34. These re facts that may be known and read of all men. He left Kentucky to rid himself and family 
of 'he curse of slavery. His mother-in-law had entailed some slaves to his wife and ctiildren, over w|iom he 
had no coiMrolj and he was of en heard to say, tha', as he could not fne them, he was resolved to emancipate 
himt Ij from them, bv removing to a free State. How bas-lt-ss and cruel then. Ihe charge that he oflen re- 
moved and changed the scene of his opera'ions. for want of influc ce and popularity ? 

But once more ; "He died, in In liana, in 1844, a melancholy beacon to uns'alde and schismatical spirits.''* 
Gracious Heaven : And could Dr Davidson fi d it in his hea't to pen these dreadful words t Did not y >ur 
hand tremble, Dr., when you wrote them ? And had you no api rehei sions 'hat you were doing injustice lb the 
deiar'ed Sione? Did you know no tie'ier? Vou tell us that with -'Sci't and Alison you travelled in search 
of truth, and that with Froissart, you conversed with Ihe acors. in the great drama of the pas!;" but sir, you 
travelled in the wrong direction and conversed with the wrong persons to ascertain the truth in reference to 
Stone and his co-adjutors. Alas: poor human nature. How humiliating the though!, that parly prejudice 
oflen so blinds 'he minds and misguides the jiil^nienl? of great men. as thai they cannot speak the truth. 
Barton sj'one died in Indiana! 1 e died in Haiinibil, .Missouri. But he '-died a nielancholy beacon to unstable and 
schismatical spirits." Wha' will jiersons conclud -, in reference to the last hours of B. W. Stone, who know 
nothing of his characer and death bu' what they learn from your boik ? Certainly they could come to no other 
conclusion than that he died miseably, a "melancholy beaicn '' And yet, the truth is, no man lived more 
piously, or died more triumphantly. ' In the -'C. Messengc-aiid Bible Advocite" for January. 1847, we find a 
piece entitled "The list h"urs nf F.ld. B. W. Slone ;" and signed "Christ iaims." From 'Ahis well written 
article we make the f'llloiving extract: "When 1 entered the room where the dying Wan lay, it was 
well filled v\ith his chil iren. jrand-children, relations, and particular friends, who were gazing with the 
inr<st intense interest, and the deepes' anxiety, upon the face of this emine; t saint. H he looks, the tears, the 
sighs, the prayers, were all characteristic of the scene, and sp 'ke lou ler than words couM do, the feelings of 
the assembly. When he heard my name pronounced, he turned his face towards me, he lifted his hand, and 
with if his voice, and exprassed his grati'ude to God that he was permitted to see nie once more before he left 
Ihe world, and that I had come 'ime enousrh to see him before he died, and to pray and converse with him, 
which privilege he feared he should not have enjoyed. Never can I forget the impressions that were then 
engraven upon my mind, which were produced by the intelligence, the calmness, the sweetness, the ex 
pressive smile of his s' ul speaking and beaming through his face— which was peculiar to him — while the 
tears silen'ly stole down his furrowed cheek. After clasping my hand fast in his hands, he commenced 
conversation upon his great and absorbing theme — 'the love of God to man.' And after conversing for some 
time, and quoting a number of the exceeding great and precious promises of the Bible to the pious, he said, 
"my pain is great ; my breath and strength are almost gone ; Oh 1 that I had strength to preach and exhort 
all around me to live like christians, to adorn their professions. My heart and my strength fail me; but 
God is the strength of my heart and mv portion forever Whom have I in neaven but Thee, and there is 
none upon the earth in comparison of Thee. Thou shall guide me with thy ''ounsel. and afterwards receive 
me to glory — 'Mark the perfect man. and behold the upright, for the end of that man is ^eo^f.' As was sai I of 
Woses, he was meek above all men that were upon 'he face of the earth. — so was he remarkable for his kind- 
ness, patience, humility, and charity. Few men were more nidely liufTeted in his day, and no man bore it with 
more equanimity and fortitude than he did." Yes, the meek and pious Stone was rudely bi.fleted while he 
lived, and his charac'er is rudely assailed now that he is dead. But these assaults will be abortive. His 
record is on high, and his memory is enshrined in Ihe he.arts "f thousands, and while piety has a home on earth 
the nanjeanl character of B. W. Stone will be vene-^ted. For a further refu'a'ion of the charges male against 
Mr. Stone, by Dr. Davidson, the reader (and esoecially the Dr.) is referred to his Biography, in general and 
to the I3'h Chapt. of part 1st, and to the Is', 21, 31 and 4ih Chapters of part 2d, in particular. The writer 
could wish for himself and Dr. Davidson no greater blessing than that they might, by the grace of God, 
be prejiared to die as calmly and triumphantly as did the venerated Stone. That the truth, as it is in Jesus, 
may triumph over error, and Christians be united upon it, and the world converted to it, is the sincere 
prayer of the ATTTunn 

Carlisle, Ky.April 3d, 1847. ^^ ' """• 

* "It is worthy of remark, that within a few hours of the arrival in Paris of Dr. Davidson's ' History,' in 
which he so unkindly and unwarrantablv attacks the reputation of the departed Stone, his mortal remains 
■were borne through its streets bv the aflection and benevolence of his long-tried friends, to be deposited at 
Caneridge, the scene of bit labors of love fer near half a century." 


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