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Full text of "Minutes of the fifty-ninth anniversary of the Broad-River Baptist Association: held with Gilead Church, Union District, S. C.; Friday, October 14th, 1859, and days following"

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1859- 

The Introductory Sermon was preached by Elder W. Hill, from 
Psa. 27 : 14. 

After a short intermission, the Delegates met, and prayer was 
made by Brother Barnett. 

Letters were then read from the churches composing the Body, 
the names of their Delegates enrolled, and the state of the Church- 
es minuted. 

Elected Elder W. Hill Moderator, and M. C. Barnett Clerk. 

1. Gave an opportunity to churches wishing to become mem- 
bers of this Body ; when the Mt. Zion church, in Gaston County, 
N. C , applied by her letter, and delegates T. H. Mullinax, and T. 
R. Wellman, and was received. 

2. The following committees were appointed : 

On the Business of the Association — Brethren J. G. Kendrick, 
D. Scruggs, J. S. Ezell, with Moderator and Clerk. 

On Preaching — B. Bonner, A. M. Smith, A. Bonner, E. Thomp- 
son, and H. G. Gaffney, with the Eldership of this church. 

On Finance — J. Byers, T. Roundtree, and D. Ray. 

On Correspondence — T. Davis, E. Barnett, and T. J. Campbell. 

On Sabbath- Schools — J. S. Ezell, W. Curtis, and J. G. Kendrick. 

On Union Meetings — J. Mullinax, J. Black, and L. Ferguson. 

On Obituaries — B. B. Foster, M. C. Barnett, W. Curtis, J. G. 
Kendrick, and J. S. Ezell. 

3. Called for correspondence from sister Associations, and re- 
ceived from the 

Tyger River — Elders J. C. Green, and D. Hilliard. 

Salem — Brother I. G. McKissick. 

Moriah — Elder P. Nicholson. 

Bethel — Elders S. Head, J. Gibbes, and brother J. Guinn. 

Reedy River— No correspondence. 

Green River — None. 

4. Invited Elders P. R. Elam, L. M. Berry, and J. W. McCraw 
to a seat with us in conference. 

Brother Scruggs prayed, and the Association adjourned until 
Saturday morning, 10 o'clock. 



Prayer by brother Hilliard. 

5. Read and adopted the Report of the Committee on the Busi- 
ness of the Association. 

6 Considered the 19th Article of our last year's Minutes, and 
decided that we will continue the practice of writing letters of cor- 
respondence, as heretofore. 

7. Appointed Brother B. Bonner to write to the 

Tyger River Association — Himself, B. B. Foster, A. M. Smith, 
W. Allen, D. Scruggs, J. H. Cooley, M. C. Barnett and C. P. 
Petty, messengers. 

Green River — A. M. Smith, write; W. Hill, D. Scruggs, B. 
Bonner, T. Davis, M. C. Barnett, M. Mullinax, H. G. Gaffney and 

C. P. Petty, messengers. 

King's Mountain — T. Davis, write ; B. Bonner, T. J. Campbell, 

D. Ray, W. Hill, E. Lipscomb and J. Mullinax, messengers. 
Salem — B. B. Foster, write; W. Curtis, messenger. 

Moriah — J. S. Ezell, write; himself, T. J. Campbell, W. Neal 
and W. P. McAfee^ messengers. 

Bethel — D. Scruggs, write; J. G. Kendrick, J. S. Ezell, W. G. 
Moorehead, D. Ray, M. Mullinax and D. Scruggs, messengers. 

Reedy River — M. Mullinax, write ; A. M. Smith, W. Allen and 

E. Barnett, messengers. 

8. The Circular Letter, prepared by Elder J. S. Ezell, was read, 
and adopted. 

9. Resolved, That the Committee on Obituaries be requested to 
procure the Biographical Sketch of the Life of our lamented Broth- 
er, Rev Dr. Curtis, read by Dr. Manly, at Limestone Springs, 
last Spring, on the occasion of his Funeral Sermon; to be printed 
with these Minutes. 

10. Considered the 12th Article of last year's Minutes, and de- 
cided that we continue the practice of writing Circular Letters, as 

Recess one hour 

11. Elected Brother M. C. Barnett to preach the next Introduc- 
tory Sermon, and Brother Scruggs, his alternate; at the same time, 
elected Brother Wm. Curtis, LL. D., to write the next Circular 
Letter; Subject: ''•Systematic Benevolence in Spreading the Gos- 

12. Elected Elder D. Scruggs to preach the next Missionary 
Sermon, and Elder Hill, his alternate. 

13. The Committee appointed to nominate a Missionary Board 
for next year recommended the following, viz: D. Scruggs, Chair- 
man, J. S. Ezell E. Thompson, J. G. Gaffney, J. Byers, A. Bon- 
ner, E. Lipscomb; H. G. Gaffney, recording secretary; W. Cur- 
tis, corresponding secretary; and C. P. Petty, treasurer. 

14. Report on Sabbath-Schools. — Your Committee on Sab- 
bath Schools respectfully report: The history of the past has abun- 


dantly tested the value and blessedness of this institution. We 
would that our Brethren knew some of the glorious results of Sab- 
bath-School labors. These interests have never flourished as much 
as we could desire in our midst. Even now, there is not, perhaps, 
a flourishing Sabbath-School in our bounds. Dear Brethren, does 
it not become us to inquire, why this sad deficiency ? Doubtless, 
many of our Brethren lack information in this matter. Informa- 
tion is needed in reference to the best manner of organizing and 
conducting Sabbath-Schools. To this end, your committee recom- 
mend the following: ''The Children's Friend," a periodical devo- 
ted to Sabbath-School interests, published at Nashville, Tennessee, 
should be patronized by us. Books suitable for Sabbath Schools, 
and Sabbath-School laborers, may also be had directly from our 
Southern Publication Society, located at Charleston. The Board 
of Sabbath-Schools of the State Convention propose to send out an 
agent to visit all the churches in the State, and labor for the pro- 
motion of Sabbath-School interests. We should invite this agent 
into our bounds. 

15. The Committee on Union Meetings recommended Union 
Church as the place for the next Union Meeting, to commence on 
Friday before the first Sabbath in July next ; Elders J. S. Ezell, 
D. Scruggs and W. Hill to attend it. 

J. MULL1NAX, Chairman. 

1:6. The Committee on Corresponding Minutes report : We find 
nothing special to bring before the Association, and nothing wor- 
thy of recording on our Minutes. T. DAVIS, Chairman. 

17. Resolved, That our next Association be held with the Lime- 
stone Springs Church, at the usual time 

Brother Kendrick prayed, and the Association adjourned until 
Monday morning, 9 o'clock. 

Sabbath. — Brother J. C Green preached, followed by Brother 
J. S. Ezell, (missionary sermon,) immediately after which a collec- 
tion was taken up among the congregation, amounting to 864.79. 

Afternoon. — Brother W. Curtis preached, and Brother L. M. 
Berry closed the services of the day by exhortation and prayer. 
Judging from the seriousness of the congregation, (which was very 
large,) the word of truth so faithfully exhibited will be productive 
of much good. 


Prayer by the Moderator. 
18. The Missionary Board reported as follows: 
Dear Brethren : In making to you this our annual report, we 
cannot but mourn with you over the irreparable loss at present 
that we suffer, in that it has pleased the Great Head of the Church, 
as being best in His sight, to take from us our beloved and vener- 
able Brother, and presiding officer ; constantly associated with him 


in this Body, we may well bear tribute to the expanded benevo- 
lence, greatness of faith, uninterested energy, and love for the souls 
of men. with which he has impressed our plans and exertions to 
spread abroad the saving knowledge of the truth, as it is in Christ 
Jesus. Greatly in consequence of this, our meetings have not been 
held as regularly as they otherwise would have been. We ap- 
pointed, however, our Brother Suttle to labor in the York Mission 
half of the year; he has only been able, however, to give a portion 
of this time, that is one Saturday and Sabbath a month, at Union 
Church; preaching generally on Sabbath evenings at Sardis, be- 
sides holding a series of meetings with both these churches : their 
meetings, notwithstanding, have been greatly blessed with the Di- 
vine favor. Brother Suttle has received and baptized seven con- 
verts at Sardis, and thirty eight at Union. We trust the good 
work is still going on ; let us thank God, and take courage. A 
commendable liberality has also been shown by the Brethren and 
friends there ; especially at Union, as will appear by reference to 
the report of the contributions given to the Financial Committee. 
As the accommodations at Union are too limited, we are hap- 
py to learn and report to you that they are seriously talking 
of building a suitable meeting house, and that generous contribu- 
tions for this purpose have already been offered them. 

We have still a want of means in carrying on the great work, 
to the watchful care of which you have appointed us. We want la- 
borers : prayer is wanted for laborers ; the fields are white, ready 
for the harvest. The Treasurer's Report, herewith submitted, will 
show that we have on hand a balance of $90.70, to meet our in- 
debtedness to brother Suttle for his labors, without receiving any 
of the contributions that we are glad to see are being so liberally 
made by the churches, at this present time. We forward $108.70 
for Foreign Missions, and trust the time may not be far distant 
when there will be a reformation of our churches ; laboring as a 
faithful minister of Christ, sent out and supported by us, and re- 
turning his constant and stimulating reports of God's blessing on 
his labors, shall be found both in the home and foreign field. 

Your Board is greatly encouraged by the feeling and interest 
manifested and growing among our churches ; and they confidently 
believe, that in sustaining their missionary, in fostering and direct- 
ing Sabbath-School laborers, and in distributing books, and espe- 
cially the best of all Books, and in wisely considering how the 
spiritual wants of our colored population may be properly and ful- 
ly met, a greater work, and one more sure immediately to reward 
your labors than you have been permitted heretofore to enter up- 
on, is before you for the ensuing year. 

H. G. GAFFNEY, Secretary. 


19. C. P. Petty, Treasurer, in account with Broad-River Asso- 
ciation, October 19, 1857 : 

Dr. — Collection on Sabbath, $43.70 

Churches, Home Mission, 14.15 

" Foreign " 38.00 

Mr. Wallace, 75 

October 15, 1858 : Antioch Church, 9.00 

Limestone Springs, 43.60 

E. Thompson, 1.00 

Collection on Sabbath, 49.20 

Cr. — By money sent Foreign Mission by Dr. C, 108.70 

Leaving a balance of $90.70 

The above is the direct report of the treasurer to the Associa- 
tion. C. P. Petty, Treasurer. 

20. The Committee on Obituaries report : That the Association 
is called upon to pay an affectionate tribute of respect to the mem- 
ory of our departed Brethren, Deacon R. Coleman, of the church 
with which we are now meeting, Deacon R. Vaughan, of Friend- 
ship, and Deacon E. Turner, of Buffalo Church ; they were all 
men who filled the office of a Deacon well, and purchased to them- 
selves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith. 

Following the example of the first Christians, while we would 
sympathize with those who weep over their loss, it becomes us 
thoughtfully to recollect that the dove, the laurel, and the crown 
are now the fitting emblems to be inscribed against their names ; 
and that God has graciously, in his good time, delivered them from 
the sins and sorrows of this present evil world forever. 

The direct action of your Body, in adding to our Minutes a 
more extended account of the life and labors of our beloved and 
venerated father in the Gospel, Rev. Thomas Curtis, D. D., is re- 
ferred to as sufficient aud appropriate in this matter. 

B. B. FOSTER, Chairman. 



Thomas Curtis was born at Wisbeach, Cambridgeshire, Eng- 
land, May 10th, 1787. He was the son of a substantial yeoman 
of good property. In early life he showed intellectual vigor and 
a fondness for books which his father cultivated, and thus he ob- 
tained a good school education. While at school he was competi- 
tor for a prize essay, and was successful. By this he would have 
been entitled to a presentation to the University of Cambridge, 
but he could not accept it, not being able, conscientiously, to sign 
the "Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England." The death 
of a sister, and of the venerable Baptist clergyman, Dr. Fisher, 
under whose ministry he sat, early impressed his mind with the 
importance of religion, and led to his conversion and baptism while 
a youth. Henceforth he devoted himself to study, labor and use- 
fulness for the Church of God. Mainly self-instructed at this pe- 
riod of life, he acquired a good knowledge of Latin, Greek and 
Hebrew. The Baptist Church of which he was a member put him 
forward as a preacher, and availed themselves of his services for 
some time. 

He was married to a Miss Reynoldson, June 15th, 1809, a lady 
of attractive endowments and sweet and gentle temper, and then 
settled in London. Fond of books, he engaged in the book busi- 
ness, which, as a commercial enterprize, was driven with energy 
and a successful pecuniary result. But his father-in-law (the father 
also of the late lamented Rev. John Reynoldson, of Virginia, so 
well known among our churches) dying at about this time, he was 
called to succeed him in the Pastoral care of the church in the city, 
and withdrew from active participation in secular business. His 
literary labors, however, were uninterrupted, and he became one 
of the Editors of the first parts of the "Encyclopaedia Metropoli- 
tana." His chief coadjutor in this great work being S. T. Cole- 
ridge. This position led them to call forth the services and labors 
of a number of eminent men, and to enjoy intimate intercourse 
with most of the choice spirits of the day. Charles Richardson's 
English Dictionary and Whately's Logic and Rhetoric, with many 
other invaluable treatises, were thus first written for this work. 
After some years, another Book-selling House having undertaken 
to publish the London Encyclopaedia at the extraordinary rate of 
an octavo volume a month, brought his valuable services to their 
aid at a very flattering rate of compensation. This he conducted 
in three years and a half to a successful issue. Such also was his 
acquaintance with the condition of the text of our English Bible, 
that he was employed by the Oxford University in correcting an 
edition for their press. He pointed out at that time no less than 
ten thousand errors of the press in alteration from the standard 


editions of 1611. This work though completed, the fruit of much 
labor and care, has not been published. The authorities becoming 
alarmed for the results, suddenly withdrew their sanction to fur- 
ther proceedings, and, thanking him for his ability and courtesy, 
abandoned their design. The manuscript is still among his papers. 

To set forward his children, and prompted perhaps by a love of 
our institutions, he emigrated to America. The voyage ended in 
shipwreck and loss to himself and almost all the passengers of their 
worldly goods, but their lives, with difficulty, were saved. Thus, 
in 1834, he began his residence in the United States, settling first 
in Bangor, and afterwards, for a short time, in Augusta, Maine. 
Boudoin College testified her sense of the value of his labors by 
conferring upon him the title of Doctor of Divinity. But the cli- 
mate being too rigorous for his family, under the advice and influ- 
ence of Bro. Holmes Tupper, then of Savannah, he, about the year 
1838, went to Georgia, accepting the call of the Macon Church, and 
settled there for a few years. The friends of Mercer University 
then desired he should move to Penfield, but after a short stay at 
that place, he was urged to take charge of the Wentworth-Street 
Baptist Church in Charleston, S. C, and moved there in 1841. He 
was present and made an address at the laying of the corner-stone 
of their house of worship, and publicly opened it when ready for 
use with a sermon that will long be remembered. Here he labor- 
ed with the eminent appreciation of his services by all who had the 
privilege of enjoying them even but occasionally, till his removal 
to the last sphere of his constant labors at Limestone Springs in 
the Fall of 1845. At this place, in conjunction with one of his 
sons, he began the enterprise of a Female High School in the 
mountain districts, bringing to this doubtful problem all the ener- 
gy of youth with the matured wisdom and experience of a man- 
hood spent amidst the most elevated of religious and literary asso- 
ciations. He set the tone of education high at once. Care was 
taken as is fit to cultivate the mind to the point of refinement and 
even of elegance, while cheerful fondness, prompt obedience, order 
nearly perfect, and thorough accuracy characterize his pupils. 
These were the fruits of the rich instruction both in morals and 
religion that he poured forth as well in the class-room as the pulpit. 
He attained the happy art of influencing to his high purposes with- 
out alone depending on the sternness of simple authority, and he 
has bequeathed a noble array of daughters to elevate and adorn 
our race, many of whom rise up in every district and the most of 
our Southern States to bless his memory. 

In his ministerial labors in this part of the country the public knew 
him more as an Evangelist than as a Pastor, and in this capacity his 
presence was everywhere hailed with satisfaction amounting to de- 
light. He made our public meetings glad when he appeared in them, 
and Zion's waste and desolate places rejoiced often in those rich 
and vigorous ministrations which, like the fountain in his own 
beautiful grounds, emitted the same refreshing fullness whoever 
was there to enjoy them. He gave his mind freely and fully to 



Bible themes as the basis of his discourses, dwelling mainly on 
subjects that he could connect with the Sovereignty of God in 
Providence and Grace — the Divinity of our Lord, His Atone- 
ment, the influences of the Holy Spirit, and the fullness and free- 
dom of Grace. His preaching, original and striking, did more 
than fill the mind of the hearer ; it quickened all his powers and 
was peculiarly suggestive, inspiring reflection and inquiry that fre- 
quently led off into trains of thought previously unexplored. His 
last sermon was in the Central Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New 
York, from Mark i : 17 — " Is it not written my house shall be 
called of all nations the house of prayer." "With great clearness 
and power, 1 ' says the Pastor of that Church, "he showed what is 
real prayer, and that such prayer must underlie all that is done in 
the House of God or it answers not the purpose of its appoint- 
ment." Such was the effect of his discourse, his manner all life, 
and singularly impressive his voice, strong and full, and his own 
soul deeply absorbed, that the congregation while returning were 
observed to move in clusters, expressing the desire to return and 
hear the message repeated. 

During his entire journey to the North and homew r ard, the ex- 
ercises of his mind in the pulpit, the prayer meeting and in the 
families of his friends, even beyond former examples, attracted no- 
tice, and evince that he was being prepared for his departure. 

Suddenly called home, by what in the last letter he wrote he 
terms " the unimpeachable voice of God in death" in his son's 
family, he was on board the ill-fated steamer North Carolina, pass- 
ing from Baltimore to Norfolk on the 29th of January, 1859, and 
perished in the flames that consumed her. Though in his seventy- 
second year, neither his natural force of body nor of mind was 
abated — he did not decline amid the feebleness and senilities of a 
worn-out life. His sun went down in its full splendor. The call 
was sudden, but he was not unprepared. The Master came, and 
he opened to Him immediately. The presumption is that he pass- 
ed away without conscious pain, suffocated, without awaking, by 
the smoke and ga>ses that so quickly filled the room. He had 
spent the evening conversing of his Master, and the last that was 
seen of him was as he was reading his Bible at his berth, prepar- 
ing thus either for duty below or for heaven, as the Master should 
please. He died like Moses, apart and alone, and " no man know- 
eth of his burial place unto this day." In this mournful dispensa- 
tion to his relatives and the churches, we have but another example 
of that upon which Dr. Curtis so often insisted — the peculiar sov- 
ereignty of God in the death of man. 

In his character there was uprightness, honesty and firmness, 
conjoined however with great ingenuousness and a glowing affec- 
tion for every one and everything that was good. Though earnest 
in all things, it was the earnestness of love. Everywhere, in all 
circles, whether elevated or humble, his visits were welcome. It 
was only wished that he would stay longer and come again. His 
generous neighbors and the church to which he belonged at home 


say truly " they who knew him best loved him most." His plans 
in life were as to all things of a conservative turn. His views of 
whatever he considered or undertook were rapid, comprehensive 
and discriminating, and he had that one most important quality of 
genius — the power to make and sustain great efforts. While his 
plans were philosophical and extended to the principles of things, 
they were not revolutionary. He knew it was much easier to de- 
stroy than to build up, and prudently avoided untried movements 
and sudden sweeping changes. His attainments were as extended 
and remarkable as his ability and his associations. He was a Chris- 
tian scholar among Christian scholars. In his piety there was 
much devotedness. It was a saying of his, "that he could not 
always live in company," and his retired hours were especially- 
prayerful. Finding himslf a poor sinner, he went to God alone, 
for he had private business with Him that could not be done in a 
crowd. He evidently desired to live, realizing the true doctrine 
of death, that he has himself most happily expressed in one of his 
letters to his most intimate friend, thus writing : " We overrate 
death sometimes as a ' change.' It will be but a continuance of our 
better life. The essential change was our regeneration to God. 
Death is a greater apparent, than the greater real change. John, 
v: 24. Paul therefore speaks of the former as only a removal 
from one habitation to another. 2 Cor., v : 1. Changing houses, 
not persons or natures — nor character." 

21. The Committee on Finance reported moneys sent up for 

printing Minutes, $43.85 

For Missions : Limestone Springs Church, 42.63 

Collection on Sabbath, 64.79 

Union Church paid for Home Missions, 17.68 
Pledges from Members of Union Church for Home 

Missions, 43.50 

Making in all $212.45 

JOHN BYERS, Chairman. 
There was $17.85 paid by individuals for printing Minutes, 
above what was sent by the church for that purpose, making in all 

22. The Brethren who wrote letters of correspondence to sister 
Associations, read them before the Body ; all of which were 

23. Resolved, That the Clerk superintend the printing and dis- 
tribution of as many copies of these Minutes as the money paid in 
for that purpose will procure, after reserving $10 for his services. 

24. Resolved, That we unite our efforts to revive the Sunday- 
School spirit in all our churches ; and, as a means of this great 
work, that we invite Brother J. O. B. Dargan to act as Agent, and 
that we earnestly recommend to the churches to do a liberal part 
for his support. 

25. Resolved, That this Body appoint the number of Represent- 



atives to which they are entitled, to represent them in the next 
Annual Meeting of the Baptist State Convention ; whereupon, the 
Association appointed Eiders D. Scruggs and Wra. Curtis, their 
Delegates, and J. S. Ezell and M. C. Barnett, alternates. 

26. Resolved, That it be recommended to the Ministers, and 
Deacons especially, as well as to all the members of our churches, 
to appropriate the 2nd and 5th Sabbaths in next year, commencing 
on Friday before, to a Minister's and Deacon's Meeting, for the 
consideration of such truths and practices, to which as Christians it 
is most profitable to direct their attention. 

Resolved, further, That Brethren B. B. Foster, E. H. Smith, and 
M. C. Barnett be appointed a committee to assign a suitable topic 
on which a discussion be held, and also some persons to open the 
discussion, and also some Brother to preach an introductory ser. 
mon on the occasion. 

The subject which the committee proposes for discussion is. 
" The Importance of the Faithful Administration of Church Discip- 
line." Elders D. Scruggs and T. J. Campbell, to make the open- 
ing speeches. Elder Wm. Curtis to preach the introductory ser- 
mon; Subject, "The Illuminating and Saving Influence of the 
Church on the World." Matthew 5 : 13, 14. The place of meet- 
ing is Elbethel Church, Union District, five miles East of Grindell 

27. Resolved, That the thanks of this Association be tendered to 
the Brethren and friends of this community, for their kindness in 
the entertainment of this Body during its session and stay with 

Brother Ezell prayed, and the Association adjourned to the time 
and place before appointed. WADE HILL, Moderator. 

M. C. Barnett, Clerk. 

Names of Ordained Ministers in the Association. — W. Hill, 
D. Scruggs, F. W. Littlejohn, T. B. Justice, J. C. White, B. Bon- 
ner, J. Lee, J. S. Ezell, W. F. Lee, J. G. Kendrick, W. Curtis, T. 
J. Campbell, M. Mullinax, M. C. Barnett. 

Licensed. — D. *Ray . 



The Broad-River Baptist Association 

To the Churches in Union — Greeting : 

Dear Brethren : — According to an arrangement made at our 
last Annual Meeting, we address you this year upon the subject of 
Personal Piety. But in directing your attention to a subject of 
such high magnitude, and to the consideration of a subject of such 
vast importance, we have great reasons to fear that, in a short let- 
ter, we shall be unable to do it that justice to which it is so emi- 
nently entitled. For when we take into consideration the stress 
that is laid upon it in the Word of Go$, both as respects the man- 
ner in which it is stated, and the frequency with which it is enjoin- 
ed, sufficient is proven to show us the powerful influence it has in 
the Christian Church ; for it is spoken of, and known to be one of 
the best proofs of the truth of Christianity, and one of the best means 
for converting the world. That none are truly pious but the truly 
converted, is so plainly taught in God's Word, that it does not ad- 
mit of cavil : For " a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit." 
"As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself," says Christ, "except it 
abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me : without 
me ye can do nothing." 

The belief that men are saved by grace, are justified by faith, 
" are saved by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the 
Holy Ghost," has always obtained among the true followers of 
Christ : For the Scripture saith, " Abraham believed God, and it 
was counted unto him for righteousness." "Now to him that 
worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt ; but 
to him that worketh not, but believeth en Him that justifieth the 
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." But as causes 
produce effects, so "faith produces works; yea, without works faith 
is dead, being alone !" " What doth it profit," mv Brethren, 
"though a man say he hath faith, and hath not works ; can faith 
save him V It is said of Abraham " that faith wrought with his 
works, and by works was faith made perfect." James 2 : 22. 

That believers are required to exemplify in their lives the relig- 
ion they profess, is clearly taught, we think, in the following beauti- 
ful precepts : " Ye are the light of the world ; a city that is set on a 
hill cannot be hid ; neither do men light a candle and put it under 
a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in 
the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see 
your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." 
"The grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all 
men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we 
should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." 
"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, ab- 


stain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul : having your con- 
versation honest among the Gentiles, that, whereas they speak 
against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which 
they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. ' This I 
say, then walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the 
flesh; if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." In 
this form of language, the Holy Ghost teaches us the great value 
of practical religion ; here He commands us to exhibit in example 
our piety, for the sake of its saving effects on others. Piety con- 
sists in a firm belief, and right conceptions of the Being, Perfec- 
tions, and Providences of God ; with suitable affections to Him, 
resemblances of Him in His moral perfections, and a constant obe- 
dience to His will. 

Two important truths are here suggested to our minds : the one 
is, that none should ever profess, who do not possess religion. We 
have heard it urged upon men, that they should come into the 
Church in order to their becoming Christians, when nothing is 
plainer taught by Christ and His apostles, than that the Church is 
to be composed of those who have been, and not those who are to 
be converted. " One of the great missions of our denomination," 
says Mr. Tyree, " as distinguished from others, is to proclaim and 
require personal regeneration, as indispensably necessary in order 
to membership in the earthly Kingdom of Christ." 

The other is, that all who possess are bound to profess regenera- 
tion. To profess without possessing it, is either hypocrisy or self- 
deception. To possess without professing it, is treason against its 
Author, and infidelity to ourselves and the world. There are some 
who seem to think, that, as religion is an individual transaction be- 
tween God and the soul, it should be retiring and concealed ; but 
such a notion is rebuked not only by the teachings of the Scrip- 
tures, but by all the works of God. Had all the lovers of God 
been of the opinion of some, Je>us Christ would never have had 
in our world a Church or a martyr. The truth is, the New Testa- 
ment as much requires us to appear religious as to be so. The 
same Authority that enjoins belief with the heart, requires confes- 
sion with the mouth. 

In the foregoing, we think we have set forth the teachings of the 
New Testament, showing that it is justify inor faith, preceding and 
prompting profession and practice, and profession and practice fol- 
lowing, evidencing and recommending faith : thus setting forth a 
complete definition of Scriptural, personal, saving religion, thereby 
causing the world to " glorify our Father which is in Heaven." 
The true Christian, first by repentance, faith and love, turns to 
Christ — " The Sun of Righteousness" — and catches from Him the 
" light of life," and turns to a world darkened by sin, shedding 
there the light caught from the brighter Sun and higher Sky, and 
thus inducing others to become religious. 

The self-sacrificing Apostle of Jesus Christ was much embold- 
ened, and was very confident of success, because of the striking pre- 
sentations of the truths of the Gospel which he preached, as exem- 


plified in the lives of the Corinthians. " For ye are our epistles," 
said he, " written in our hearts, known and read of all men ; For- 
asmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistles of Christ, 
ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the 
living God ; not, on tables of stone, but on fleshly tables of the 

Having premised thus much, we will now more definitely state 
our position, which is this : A high standard of Personal Piety is 
the best proof of Christianity, and the best means for converting the 

Brethren, why are there so few Christians in the world 1 Why 
in the v ' broad way" are there so many, while in the " narrow way" 
you find but here and there a traveler 1 Not, we suppose, that the 
world doubts our religion in record. " In the way of historical 
proofs and documentary arguments, Christianity has fought her 
battles, and been victorious: in the way of debate, infidels of ev- 
ery grade have been driven from the field, with broken and dis- 
mantled shields." The mighty apologies of our Editors, Authors, 
and Defenders of the Christian Religion are now quite absolute, 
"Why then with this mighty array"* — "this redundancy of exter- 
nal and logical proofs ; is Christianity making such slow headway 
in the world 1 Why, with such mighty appliances, are htr con- 
verts like Angels' visits? Mainly, we solemnly believe, because 
of the type of piety with Christians. More are kept from Christ 
by this, than by all other causes. In theory, in creeds, in forms 
and professions, the woi Id has long seen religion without being 
made any better by it. The grand desideratum to make mankind 
not only almost, but altogether Christians, is a more thorough, liv- 
ing, striking piety in the professed friends of Christ." 

We will attempt, first, to describe that piety for which the world 
stands in crying need ; and then ascertain (if we can) how it has 
this effect. Let us describe it. 

1. There must be a transformation and purifying of our own char- 

Not that we are to reach a state of sinless perfection" in this 

world ; that is not found this side of Heaven. 

u Defects through Nature's best producrious run — 
The saiuts have spots, au-.l spots are in the suil" 

But in the Christian they must not be "spots" of habitual sins. 
The death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, the descent 
of the Holy Ghost, and the preaching of the Gospel, are all de- 
signed not only to produce in man's state and heart, but in his life 
and character, a change for the better. No man is acknowledged, 
either by the Bible or the world, as a Christian, unless with him 
" Old things have passed away, and all things have become new." 
The great concentrated purpose of God towards man is, to make 
him holy. The atonement, revealed truth, and the Spirit's influ- 

* The writer does not hesitate to use the language of his able and esteemed 
brother, Elder C. Tyree, of Virginia, 


ences, are but means for the production of this end. Conversion 
is the commencement of holiness, and Baptism a solemn declara- 
tion of an intention to aim at holiness in all things till death. 

Now, the religion to meet the exigency in question, must be 
displayed by infusing purity into our tempers — in restraining us 
from all wrong — disposing us to beneficence — to forgive when 
wronged — inspiring us with cheerfulness and submission under 
afflictions, and exciting in us sympathy for the needy, and to sacri- 
fice for the good of others. And when, throughout all the ranks 
of our visible Zion, our religion shall appear in making the proud 
humble, the intemperate sober, the covetous liberal, the revengeful 
forgiving, the prayerless devout, the repining patient, and the indo- 
lent active, its evidences will be like the sun's meridian beams. 
The light which thus shines before " men," will not shine useless- 
ly ; it will both illuminate and melt. 

II. The Piety we need, and for which we plead, should, be preem- 
inent ; it should be our highest aim to know and do the will of God. 

The Psalmist prayed, "Teach me, O Lord, the way of Thy stat- 
utes, and 1 shall keep it unto the end." A Christian must be, and 
must appear to be a person of one idea — one all-engrossing pur- 
pose of saving himself and others. Paul, defining godliness as his 
only concern, says, "this one thing I do," everything else must be 
secondary and subservient to it; "Seek ye first the Kingdom of 
God, and all these things shall be added unto you." If either in- 
terest must be neglecred, it should be time and the bodv ; not re- 
ligion and the soul. " One thing," said the Psalmist, " have I de- 
sired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the 
house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of 
the Lord, and to inquire in His temple." 

By a godly walk and holy conversation, we should impress the 
world that our religion is our one, all-important, grand business of 
earth, to which every other interest gives place; that it is first 
with us in time, first in attention, and first in everything, and we 
will do more in diffusing abroad the conviction that Christianity is 
Heaven born, than would the preaching of an Angel. 

IH. Uniformity must be observed. 

We are pained to find in all of our churches, (more or less) 
those who are fitful, partial, and irregular in their religious devo- 
tions ; they are only religious in times of revivals; those seasons 
over, they have another master to serve. Some are prayerful in 
sickness, but prayerless in health; meek and humble in adversity, 
but proud and worldy in prosperity. They are like certain 
streams, that only flow during rains ; or like comets — they attract 
for awhile, and then are only known or thought of as "things that 
have been." Christians of this type do much to provoke the ridi- 
cule of the bad, and to diseourage the good. 

VVe want a Piety that flows from fixed principles — that ; s bril- 
liant in all the variations of human conditions. Our churches 
should be composed of those, and those only, who are " steadfast, 
immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord :" " who 


are like the stream flowing from the perpetual fountain, which, 
though increased by the rains and diminished by the droughts, 
flows on constantly, with sparkling beauty and increasing fertility ; 
or like the fixed stars, which, though sometimes obscured by 
clouds and tempests, yet shine on steadily, sending down their 
rays on a darkened world." Christians of this kind are "the light 
of the world and the salt of the earth." 

IV. We want a 'piety harmonious and minute. 

"The Christian should make everything bend to his religion, and 
allow religion to bend to nothing." — (Jas.) We must be strictly 
pious in all the relations and conditions of life. It must be work- 
ed, as a golden thread, into the entire web of life : our Piety must 
sufluse itself over the whole character, nowhere gathered into un- 
seemly blotches, but shed everywhere the hue and bloom of spir- 
itual life. In the healthy child there is an expansion of all the 
parts and members of the body — one part is not invigorated while 
others decay — the arms must not grow while other parts remain 
stationary. So with the Christian character ; to be lovely and in- 
fluential, it must develop itself in the conscientious performance of 
a llduties — small as well as great. Some professors seem to have 
much religion in the aggregate, but little in particular ; in great 
things, and on great occasions, they are very religious, but in small 
matters are very irreligious. And what we want you to observe, 
is, that this inequality in your religious deportment, like the " spot 
in the sun," will be noticed by the keen-eyed world, and made the 
occasion of stumbling. Nay, more ! you may serve God in nine- 
ty-nine particulars, and yet, by sinning in the hundredth, exert a 
bad influence. 

Hence, the great importance of harmony and minuteness. We 
are led therefore to inquire, of whom does the Lord require this ? 
Ah ! of whom does He not require it ? For He saith " Let every 
one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity." But 
let us particularize: first, of Ministers of the Gospel, it is reauired 
that they shall in all things show themselves patterns of^good 
works : in doctrine, showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound 
speech that cannot be condemned ; that he that is of the contrary 
part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of them. (Tit. 
2: 7,8.) "For a Bishop" or Minister, "must be blameless, as 
the Steward of God." " A Bishop," or Minister, " then, must be 
blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behav- 
ior, given to hospitality, apt to teach ; Not given to wine* no strik- 
er, not greedy of filthy lucre ; but patient, not a brawler, not cov- 
etous? &c. 1 Tim. 3 : 2, 7. 

But let us inquire, how does this type of ministerial character 
and dignity compare with the piety of some of Christ's professed 
Ministers ? Ah ! how do " men of the world" excuse their intem- 
perance, and ^inordinate love of money, while they witness the 
same in those who are to be " teachers of good things." But we 


* The italics in this quotation are my own. 


But, secondly J The Deacon (the appointment of which was to 
relieve the Ministers, that they might give themselves continually 
to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word,) is to be of a specified 
character. The Deacon must " be grave, not double-tongued, not 
given to mu-h wine, not greedy of filthy lucre: holding the faith 
in a pure conscience," &c. With this description of a " Deacon," 
no Church (it seems to us) can fail to see the impropriety of plac- 
ing and continuing in the Deacon's office, a man who is not only 
"given to much wine," but to the making and vending of " strong 
drink ;" for the Scripture saith " Be ye clean that bear the vessels 
of the Lord." But, thirdly : It is required of all who compose the 
visible Zion of God, that they walk worthy of the vocation where- 
with they are called ; for in every condition and relation of life, 
the Word of God imposes certain obligations, and lays certain re- 
strictions. It requireth " that the aged men be sober, grave, tem- 
perate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience." The aged women, 
likewise, are to " be in behavior as becometh holiness ; not false 
accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things." The 
young women it requireth " to be sober, to love their husbands, to 
love their children ; to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, 
obedient to their own husbands ; that the Word of God be not 
blasphemed." Servants it requireth " to be obedient unto their 
own masters, and to please them well in all things ; not answering 
again, not purloining, but showing all good fidelity ; that they may 
adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things." To the mas- 
ter, He saith "give unto your servants that which is just and 
equal, knowing that ye also have a Master in Heaven." To wives 
He saith " submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the 
Lord ; for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is 
the Head of the Church," and it is required of the husband, " that 
he love his wife even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave 
Himself for it." He saith to children, " obey your parents in the 
Lord ; for this is right." " And, ye fathers, provoke not your 
children to wrath ; but bring them up in the nurture and admoni- 
tion of the Lord." " For the grace of God that bringeth salvation 
hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness 
and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly 
in this present world." We, to be happy and useful, must descend 
to minuteness. There are nameless little things in which we must 
act christianly. To attract the notice, and win the hearts of those 
without, there are several spheres in which men must be able to 
read in us — as the " living epistles of Christ, written not with ink, 
but with the Spirit of the living God" — the truths of Christiani.y. 

1. They should be able to read them in us in the Church sphere. 

As we emerged from the entombing waters of Baptism, we lit 
up the lamp of profession ; every time we partake of the Lord's 
Supper, we " trim the golden flame." But we should appear the 
Christian in the discharge of all Christian or Church duties as well 
as Church ordinances, by assembling to hear the Truth, and for 
Church or prayer meetings ; by giving of our substance to sup- 


port the Gospel at home and abroad ; in line, by prayers, trials, 
self-denials, and anxieties for the prosperity of the Church and the 
conversion of sinners, let our attachment to Christ and His cause 
be known and read of all men. 

2. In the domestic sphere. 

" When we remember how early and how constantly childreu 
behold the example of their parents — how lasting and mighty the 
influence which grows out of that relation — how it blends and be- 
comes interwoven with the rudiments of their nature — it is mani- 
fest that the parent, more than any other creature being, has the 
moulding of his offsprings destiny for both worlds." " No being, 
save God himself, can do as much as the parent, to purity the foun- 
tain of existence before it widens into the stream. In the family 
are daily and casually put in motion influences that will go on 
harming or benefitting, blasting or blessing through all time ami 

Hence the importance of family religion. Parents, you need not 
be positively irreligious in your families: just conceal your light, and 
without the invincible grace of God, you will give rise to trains of evil 
that will survive death and the shock of the Arch Angel's trum- 
pet. Let there be merely the absence of religion in your house- 
hold, and we would not take your place at the judgment-seat for a 
thousand worlds. But, on the contrary, let your domestics see as 
well as hear religion — display before them the charms of a relig- 
ious example — commence, carry on, and close the day with a con- 
sistent Piety, and you will deposit in the virgin soil of their souls 
the good seed of the Kingdom, which being warmed by the life 
giving beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and refreshed by the 
dewy influences of the Holy Spirit, will, if not in your lifetime, 
after you are gone, produce the golden fruit of conversion and use- 
fulness. Live thus, ye professing parents, and you will do more 
for the prosperity of this Republic than all of our armies, navies, 
and laws. In this way your households will become nurseries for 
the Church. My Brethren, for the sake of Christ's honor, for the 
sake of the Church, of your Countrv, of your children's deathless 
weal, and for your own sake, by all means, exhibit religion in your 

3. Men should be able to read in ns the truths of Christianity in 

* » 

the social sphere. 

Here lies the fatal rock against which many professors, and es- 
pecially young professors, are making wreck of their religious 
characters. The truth is, in this progressive age, public opinion is 
fast excluding religion from the social circle; and with the present 
proclivity — the frequenting of the horse-race, the gaming-saloon, 
the ball-room, the circus, and theatre — unless bold-hearted Chris- 
tians take a stand against this growing evil, practical godliness will 
be just as effectually bnnished from the ordinary converse of soci- 
ety as, by the edict of Claudius, a profession of it was banished 
from Rome. Brethren, hear us. while we speak our solemn con- 
viction, that no professed Christian can attend the horse-race, play 


games, dance, &c., without impairing his religious character and 
lessening his influence for good ; for the temptations here, to com- 
promise wiih the world and conceal the light of example, are nu- 
merous and potent. And here it is that we, like Peter, who sat 
down among the enemies of Christ, are tempted to deny our Lord, 
and thus surrender one of our Lord's out-posts to the prince of 
darkness. This were a treason that no true lover of Christ will 
commit. Rise up ! then, to the precious singularity of being man- 
ifestly religious in all your social movements ! Do you ask how 
you can do this without subjecting yourself to the charge of sancti- 
moniousness 1 I reply, you can do it in nameless little things. 
By speaking evil of no one ; by putting away all foolish talking ; 
by never ascribing to others a bad motive, while you can impute 
good ones to them ; by discouraging the tattler, talebearer and 
slanderer ; by seeking to heal breaches between neighbors ; by dis- 
countenancing all unnecessary, dissipating amusements ; by being 
simple, sincere, and tender-hearted ; by giving to conversation a 
religious turn ; and by speaking out, on all suitable occasions, of 
Christ, His Kingdom, His religion ; of sin, its evils ; of hell, and 
of Heaven. In this, or in like manner, you will shine as lights in 
the world, will exhibit amid those without, the winning sweetness 
of a holy example, and thereby not only impress men with the 
fact that your religion is an emanation from Heaven, but that it is 
both practicable and desirable. But space fails me to tell of its 
importance in all the business and civil transactions of life. The 
great error of many is, that they regard religion as something sep- 
arate from the common duties of life : it is difficult to say whether 
more harm has been done to the cause of Christ by separating 
what He has joined together, or joining what He has separated. 
He has joined with the injunction " Not slothful in business" the 
command " fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Now, what num- 
bers have wounded Christ in the houses of His friends, by keep- 
ing apart these two duties ; and acting on the anti-Scriptural max- 
im, " business in its place, and religion in its." Especially has this 
been the case in pecuniary and commercial transactions — some 
make promises to meet their dues only to break them ; some take 
advantage of their neighbor's necessities to increase their gains ; 
others show a disposition to take advantage in bargains ; others 
fail in business, when there is ground to suspect that falsehood and 
fraud have attended the whole transaction ; others borrow money 
never to return it ; others show an overreaching and an underreach- 
ing, bordering on dishonesty. Verily, there must be a reformation 
here, or the Church will never effectually carry out her high mis- 
sion. Civil government is as much an ordinance of God as Bap- 
tism — " The powers that be are ordained of God." Christians are 
deeply interested in civil affairs, from the fact, that civil necessari- 
ly includes religious liberty. They too have bodies, families, char- 
acters, and property to protect. Hence, against an enlightened, 
calm concernment in political matters on the part of Christians, we 
say not a word ; nay, but we urge it. 


Having described the kind of Piety necessary to evince the 
truth of Christianity, let us in the next place show how it has this 

The judgment of the irreligious is thereby convinced. 

Which, after all, Brethren, is the best argument in favor of the 
Christian religion ? Is it that several hundred prophecies have 
been fulfilled, as the current of time has swept along? Is it that 
many miracles have been wrought in its attestation 1 Is it the 
wonders of the cross % the mysteries of the resurrection 1 Is it 
the rapidity with which it has spread, till it is heard and spoken in 
more than two hundred languages of the earth 1 These, though 
mighty, are not our crowning proofs. Our highest evidence, our 
most unanswerable, efficacious argument is Personal Piety, after 
the primitive pattern. The best commentary on the Bible the 
world has ever seen, is a holy life. This is the " living epistle" 
that all can read, all understand, and that convinces all. 

In vain may we put in the hands of infidels our best books upon 
the evidences of Christianity, who are acquainted with professing 
Christians that travel on the Sabbath, patronize sinful amusements, 
and sometimes drink half way to drunkenness ! The inconsisten- 
cy of their professions will, with these infidels, neutralize all the 
arguments in favor of Christianity they ever hear or read. How 
can we hope the conversion of that young man whose professing 
mother and sisters are as gay, proud, and pleasure-loving as the 
multitudes going away from God and Heaven. 

But, let all of our sceptics live among neighbors who act out 
their religion in all things ; let the rising generation have parents 
who reflect the image of Christ in their daily deportment, ; let hus- 
bands have wives who, by a meek and benevolent and prayerful 
spirit, adorn their profession ; let Pastors have Churches " zealous 
of good works," poor and ignorant though they be ; in fine, let all 
the visible Zion of God tear the veil from their eyes, rend the 
world from their hearts, and rise up to the New Testament stan- 
dard of life and action, and there will be diffused abroad a deep 
and practical conviction that the Gospel is divinely true, and is the 
" one thing needful." 

If we had space, we would show that it removes objections, wins 
esteem, and instrumentally converts ; but our limits are exhausted. 


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