From Recollections Of Men Of Faith
Chapters IX, X, XI
HIS BIRTH ——— EARLY TRAINING, OR WANT OF TRAINING ——— CONVERSION TO CHRIST ——— WITH REFLECTIONS.
I was born in Clarke Co., Ky., on the waters of the Stoner, some six or eight miles from Winchester, on the 6th of December, 1800. My parents, Ezekial and Rebecca Rogers, were natives of Virginia. My mother's maiden name was Williamson. She was raised in Prince Edward and Charlotte counties, and from early life was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which communion she continued a member until her death, at an advanced age. She was an immersed Methodist. My father was also, at an early period of his life, a very devoted member and class leader in the same church. I have heard my older brother say my father felt it his duty to preach the gospel to sinners, but having a poor education and high conceptions of the importance of the work and the qualifications necessary for it, he shrank from the task, became careless and skeptical, under the influence of the writings of Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason," and kindred infidel works, and thus, in middle life wholly abandoned all pretentions to Christianity. He was a man of vigorous, physical constitution and a strong mind, and scrupulously honest in his dealings. He was a very industrious and neat farmer for his time, and but for the habit of drinking to excess might have secured for himself and family a handsome living. As it was, when in 1810 he died, he left us but little. In the fall of 1801, my father removed from Clarke county, Ky., to Missouri, then Louisiana, and under the Spanish Government. He settled within twenty miles of St. Louis, and about a mile from the Missouri River, and purchased six hundred acres of excellent bottom and uplands, upon which he soon had a very fine farm and was prospering in the world. But becoming involved in difficulties with a certain Moses Kenney, who went from Bourbon county, Ky., to that country, and suffering, as he believed, serious private injuries from said Kenney and his colleagues, he determined to leave Missouri, and in the fall of 1809, sold out and returned to Kentucky and settled on the Brushy Fork of Hinkston, about half way between Carlisle and Millersburg. Said Kenney left Missouri and came to Kentucky the same fall, and when in the spring of 1810, my father returned to Missouri with my oldest brother, Samuel, to close up his business, Kenney followed him there and most cruelly murdered him by scalding him in the face and eyes, and then beating him with a club. My father survived but a few days. In the meantime, Kenney escaped to Kentucky and, though there was a man present and witnessed the horrid murder, yet said Kenney was never brought to justice, as he never could be got back to the Territory where the deed was done. He subsequently married and settled in Harrison county, Ky., and died of cholera in 1833.
I was next to the youngest of a family of eight children, four boys and four girls. My religious opportunities, up to my seventeenth or eighteenth year, were the poorest of the poor. I never remember to have heard a sermon, or felt any interest in the subject of Christianity, until I was some seventeen years old. About that time, in 1817, a great revival took place at Concord, under the labors of Elders Reuben Dooley, James Hughes, Stone and others. My brother Samuel and his wife, two of my sisters and a number of my acquaintances were the subjects of that revival, and united with the church at Concord. My brother Samuel, though he had been a remarkably wild and wicked man, soon commenced preaching, to which he has devoted himself with great earnestness and efficiency up to the present time . Perhaps few men in the State have been instrumental in converting more persons than he. In 1816, my brother indentured me to Henry and Moses Batterton, to learn the cabinet business, in Millersburg, Ky. I was bound for near six years, till I should be twenty-one. This prevented me from being often at their meetings in 1817 and 1818, during the progress of the revival alluded to. Still, occasionally I attended them, and witnessed the disorders of jerking, dancing, swooning, etc. Yet it was palpable to a serious observer that, connected with all these disorders, there was much of piety and deep religious feeling. The spirit of prayer pervaded all hearts. Not only were my religious opportunities, as I have stated, up to my seventeenth or eighteenth year, the poorest of the poor, but my opportunities for mental improvement--my educational advantages--were little better. I could read, and write, and cipher to the rule of three. This was the sum of my learning when I was put to my trade. I had, however, a great thirst for education, and during my apprenticeship, which lasted nearly three years, I occupied much of my leisure time in reading such books as were thrown n my way. Dr. John H. Sanders had just located at Millersburg, as a promising young physician, and, observing that I was fond of books, encouraged me to read, and helped me to such books as he thought would be useful to me. I have a vivid and grateful recollection of his kindness and encouragement. He was upon the point of uniting with the Christian Church about the time I united with it. But his mind took a turn, and he was not associated with any church for many years after. He finally joined the Baptist Church, and subsequently embraced the views of the Current Reformation, and died among us, highly respected as a physician, a man and a devoted Christian. I believe he died in Indianapolis, where his widow, who is also a member with us, still lives .
During my apprenticeship, though I was not a very bad boy, I was forming some habits which might have proved fatal to my welfare, both in time and eternity, had not my religious convictions disposed me to abandon them. Card-playing was common in the family in which I lived. I contracted the habit of playing for amusement, and was beginning to risk a trifle by way of giving interest to the game. I was also becoming fond of playing billiards ——— a game very common about that time, and to me very exciting and fascinating. I sometimes sat up at this amusement till far beyond the turn of the night. I paid my way by making maces for the table. At the time I learned this game, the table was kept by Robert Batson who, at that time, was wild, pleasure-loving and rather reckless. Subsequently, however, He became a respectable Baptist preacher and, in the extensive divisions which occurred in the Baptist Church in Kentucky in the years 1829, '30 and '31, he went with the friends of A. Campbell, and into the union which was subsequently formed between the friends of Stone and Campbell in 1832, he entered most heartily. He did not, however, live long to enjoy the benefits or witness the triumphs of that glorious union. In the first general sweep of that terrible scourge, the Asiatic cholera, over Kentucky in 1833 he, with thousands upon thousands, fell a victim to it. He died in Millersburg, in the prime of his manhood, in the triumphs of the Christian's faith and hope. " Sweet be thy slumbers."
Where these habits of gaming might have led me, but for the favor of God which stopped me in my wild career and turned me about, God only knows.
In 1818, Father Stone and others of our preachers commenced preaching at Millersburg. The Baptists, Walter Warder and J. Vardeman, and several Methodist preachers, also preached there regularly and frequently. I heard all these, and in the fall of 1818, resolved to seek religion, as the phrase was, and I was instructed. Alas ! how little- I knew of the simple method of salvation, as set forth by Christ and his apostles. A number joined the Baptist Church, under the preaching of Walter Warder, who was doubtless a good man and a good preacher for the times. But experiences they related gave me no light on the gospel method of salvation. Indeed, in all the teachings I heard, everything was at loose ends. I was exhorted to pray on, and look up to God for some inexplicable nondescript, palpable, sensible manifestation by which I should know my sins were forgiven. I shall never forget that Lord's day evening, calm and beautiful, in the fall of 1818, while hearing a sermon by a Methodist preacher, I fully resolved to turn to God and try to be a Christian. The deep fountains of feeling within me were broken up and I was all tenderness and tears. I retired to the woods alone and spent the evening in weeping over my sins and trying to pray. Alas! my prayers seemed to get no higher than my head. I returned to town and availed myself of all the religious instruction I could get among Methodists, Baptists, or any that came in my way. I tried to pray regularly twice a day, and fancied sometimes I had made some proficiency in learning how to perform that duty. I attended all the meetings for prayers and preaching, and upon all occasions availed myself of the prayers of the preachers and the people for my conversion. Stone, Warder, Vardeman, Hunt and various others, for months together, received my hand in token of my desire to have their prayers for my salvation. But still that electric shock, or nondescript operation, by which I should know I was a new man know my sins were forgiven-I received not. I went to a Baptist prayer-meeting, at old Father Cress's (the old house is still standing-1861), and after a number of prayers were offered, the congregation joined in singing this beautiful and appropriate hymn, at least appropriate to my condition:
"Sinner, Hear the Saviors call,
He now is passing by;
He has seen thy grievous thrall,
And hears thy mournful cry."
The hymn was all beautiful and appropriate, but the last verse especially attracted my attention, and the truth it contained afforded me much comfort. It reads thus:
"Raise thy downcast eyes and see
What throngs his throne surround.
These, tho' sinners once like thee,
Have full salvation found.
Yield not then to unbelief,
While he says there yet is room,
Tho' of sinners thou art chief,
Since Jesus calls thee, come."
I appropriated the truth of the song, and rejoiced in the divine mercy; and as soon as the hymn was sung I said, " Let us pray." We were all at once on our knees, and the death-like silence that followed paralyzed me with fear, and every idea forsook me. I rallied, however, and did the best I could. A daughter of old Father Cress, who had been a schoolmate of mine, some time after the meeting, joined the Baptist Church, and dated her conviction to that first public prayer I ever made. A short time after this meeting I joined the Christian Church, and was immersed by Father Stone, in Hinkston, in December, 1818. I was about eighteen years old. But why did I-why do many others-seek religion, or seek pardon, for months, without obtaining it, or a satisfactory evidence of it? This is a question of immense practical interest, and a scriptural answer to it, recognized by the different religious parties, and acted upon, would introduce a new era in the history of the modern church. I speak not hastily, nor by blind impulse. I know what I say and whereof I affirm. I have examined this subject in the light of the gospel of Christ for a full quarter of a century. Hear me, then, while I present the simple truth regarding it. My argument shall not be metaphysical nor speculative, but based on facts that may be known and read of all concerned. Facts are stubborn things, and can not mislead.
1. It is a fact that very many who now profess to be Christians, and give clear evidence of piety, were, as they aver, sincerely seeking religion, or the evidence of their acceptance with God, for days, or weeks, or months, or sometimes even years.
2. It is also a fact that although they had the teachings and prayers of the most orthodox and evangelical ministers, still it was long before they found peace, or, as the phrase used to be, "got through," or "got religion."
3. It is also a fact that these persons. even after they obtained comfort, were often thrown into doubt, whether they were not deluded.
4. It is a most palpable fact that orthodoxy encourages the idea, and acts upon it, that penitents are to expect some mystical impulse, or touch of the Spirit, to give them evidence of their pardon. If not, why call them to the "altar," or to the "anxious-seat," and talk to them, and pray to God to speak peace to their souls-to send down power, converting power to baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire, etc., if they do not believe that, in some mystic, inexplicable way, God will give them the evidence of pardon? Dr. Gill, in his "Body of Divinity," on the word "pardon," says: "The Spirit pronounces the sentence of it in the conscience." And hence, we repeat, all this revival machinery is put into requisition to move Jehovah to send his Spirit to speak the sentence of pardon in the conscience of true penitents. What a burlesque upon the wisdom and benevolence of God!
5. It is also a fact that as one false position requires others, so the false positions already stated have given rise to a phraseology, a style of speaking on the subject of our acceptance with God, wholly different from that of the New Testament. The most pious and sober-minded of the sects speak of their "hope;" they hope that God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven their sins. The celebrated, very learned, talented and pious Dr. Macknight thought, as he says, " We shall never know we are pardoned till the last judgment." The very orthodox and pious John Newton thus sings doubt
"'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?"
These five facts show us, with sufficient clearness, the difficulties into which the most approved teachings of the most evangelical sects involves penitents and Christians in regard to the means and evidences of pardon. My third and fifth facts show that orthodoxy leaves the most pious in anxious doubt and uncertainty, and has given rise to the language of dubiety and doubt. I now affirm and will proceed to show:
1. That the Christian style of speaking on this subject is wholly different-is the language of strong, satisfying faith-of moral certainty. The Christians addressed by Paul 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 their sins." Addressing his son Titus, Paul says, "Who hath saved us." Of the Ephesians he says, "By grace are ye saved." Writing to his son Timothy, he says, "Who hath saved us." The Christians in the "dispersion," addressed by Peter, had received "the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls." In his second letter, having urged them to give all diligence and to add to their faith courage, knowledge and all the graces that adorn and perfect the Christian character, he says most emphatically, by way of warning, "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." How could they have forgotten they had been purged from their old sins, if they had never known it?
It is a fact, then, as clear as a sunbeam, from these and almost numberless other portions of Scripture regarding the style of the first Christians, that they were pardoned, and knew it, and rejoiced in it with joy unspeakable, and therefore never spoke in the language of doubt or fear upon the subject. But this fact is directly in the teeth of our facts three and five, and demonstrate most clearly that the most pious of the orthodox parties of our times do not understand and receive the truth in regard to this question as the first Christians did. For certainly the same truths, under the same circumstances, would produce the same effects. They could not produce the full assurance of faith in the one case, and the most distressing doubts in the other-never, certainly never!
It is also shown by a reference to my first and fourth orthodox facts, that penitents are instructed and thus induced to expect some mystic touch of the Holy Spirit to give them a sense of pardon, through their agonizings, and wrestlings, and the prayers of the preachers and the good people, else they would never engage in such a course. Now, then, I aver as my second Scripture fact that, under the reign of Christ and the administration of the holy apostles, from the day of Pentecost, it was not so. Did Peter, on the day of Pentecost, when the "church of Christ was formed and settled," as Dr. Clarke says, invite the three thousand penitents, who were pierced to the heart, to come forward, and they (the apostles) would instruct them and pray for them, and that the Lord in his own good time and way would send down his Spirit and convert them and give them an evidence of pardon, anal that then they would baptize them and take them into the church? Not a word of it! Did any one of the apostles, or evangelists of the New Reign, ever do it? Never-unequivocally never!
Let those who doubt it read the Acts of the Apostles-the Book of Conversions. As, then, the penitents under apostolic teaching were not directed to seek pardon, as the most pious and godly of the orthodox churches teach penitents among them to seek it, is it not perfectly clear that they do not understand and teach the great elementary principles of the gospel as the apostles did? Certainly they do not.
My first and second facts (which for brevity's sake I call orthodox) show that under the most approved evangelical teaching, with all the aids of such teaching and the prayers of such teachers, many sincere penitents go mourning and disconsolate for days, sometimes weeks, months, and even years, before they obtain relief. or "get through," or "get religion," as the phrase is.
Now I am bold to say in the presence and in the fear of God and for his glory, that these evangelical, orthodox facts," are directly in the teeth of one of the plainest and most important practical gospel facts. Evangelical orthodoxy, with all its learning, and eloquence, and piety, and mighty influence, keeps its most sincere and contrite souls, who are "most anxious to be Christians," struggling for days, weeks, months or years before they are relieved.
3. Apostolic orthodoxy gave immediate relief to every sincere penitent, without a solitary exception. Look at the proof. The three thousand, on the day of Pentecost, who were pierced to the heart, said, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter, the man with the keys, said, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus the Christ, for the remission of sins. Then they that gladly received the word were baptized, and the same day were added unto them about three thousand souls." Not one sincere seeker left ! All that sought the way of life found it! Look at the case of the Samaritans : "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Jesus unto them, and when the people believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus, they were baptized, both men and women. And there was great joy in that city." None left to mourn, who desired to be saved, and upon Heaven's terms.
So of the Ethiopian eunuch, the treasurer of Queen Candace. He was a proselyte to the Jews' religion, and was returning from Jerusalem, where he had been to worship, when Philip met him. Anxious to be instructed in the true religion, he desired Philip to take a seat with him in his chariot. He was reading the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, where it speaks of the humiliation and death of the Messiah. With great emotion and emphasis he says to Philip : " I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man? Philip opened his mouth and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way [Philip, in the meantime, no doubt, expounding to him the way of salvation through Christ, showing him how he died for our sins, was buried, rose again for our justification, how, after his resurrection, he commissioned his apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, Gentile as well as Jew, and to say to every one, without distinction, "He that believeth the gospel and is baptized," by way of indicating a death to sin and a putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, and a resurrection from sin to a new life, shall be saved], the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" "Nothing," said Philip, "if your mind and heart are right. If thou believest with all thy heart thou mayest be baptized. And he said, from his heart, " I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more, and he [the saved eunuch] went on his way rejoicing." No trouble here to find the way. Philip made it plain. The eunuch, with all his heart and entire person, entered into it and went on his way rejoicing in the pardon of his sins.
So the Philippian jailer, when he witnessed the overwhelming evidences that Paul and Silas, whom they had treated so rudely, were true men and that their God had interposed in their behalf, he called for a light and sprang in, and came trembling and fell down before them, and brought them out, and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? " Being a pagan, they tell him, first of all, that he must renounce his paganism, his idols, and believe on the Lord Jesus, who had come from the bosom of the Father to reveal to man the way of life; that " there is no name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved" but the name of Jesus. And that he might understandingly embrace the Lord Jesus and rejoice in his salvation, "they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he [the jailer] took them, the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." All is plain and simple here.
So in the case of the Corinthians: "Hearing, they believed and were baptized." So Saul of Tarsus. Ananias is sent to him, after his vision, and says: "Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked upon him. And he he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that just one, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be a witness unto all men, of what thou hast seen and heard. And now, why tarriest thou ? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. And he arose and was baptized, and straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God." We reaffirm, then, that while the history of conversions, under the administration of orthodoxy, shows that the most sincere and earnest seekers are often, with all the helps orthodoxy can afford them, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years, obtaining what they seek, according to their own showing, the Acts of Apostles does not report a single instance of one who desired to be delivered from sin, and had an apostolic teacher to instruct him, that was not forthwith a Christian. Is it not perfectly clear, then, that orthodoxy, so-called, does not present the gospel to penitents as the apostles did? For, most certainly, if the gospel presented to true penitents in the days of the apostles at once afforded relief, the same gospel now, presented in the same way to persons in the same condition, will produce the same results. Will our pious orthodox friends look calmly at these facts, and learn the way of the Lord more perfectly? Lord, hasten the time when thy people shall know the truth and be more perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
6. I have said I united with the "Christian Church" in 1818. I took this step, as a mere youth, because I thought Stone and his compeers occupied the true ground. All my young associates joined the Baptist Church, while I, solitary and alone, against the remonstrances of all my associates and all the sects, who spoke of Stone and his positions in terms of the strongest reprobation, united with that "sect everywhere spoken against."
7. True, at the time I united with the Christian Church, I was not very competent to judge of the correctness of its positions; yet, after the lapse of a little more than forty years, I rejoice today  I took that stand. Although I think I have learned much since that time, I rejoice to believe all my progress in the right direction has been facilitated by my position regarding the Bible as the "only infallible"-nay, as the only rule of faith and practice. But to return from this lengthy digression to the thread of the narrative.
8. As soon as I joined the church I became greatly concerned about the salvation of the world, and especially my young associates. Happy in a Savior's love, happy in the glorious hope of eternal life, I wished all to participate in the same bliss. And perfectly satisfied as I was that "it is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, even the chief of sinners," I was anxious to publish this faithful saying to my young associates, and all sinners, in the hope they would accept it and be happy. But how should I, indentured as I was for nearly three years to come, so young, so ignorant, so poor, and every way so unprepared, attempt so great a work as that of proclaiming the gospel to sinners? But my heart was in the great work and the providence of God opened my way. My brother Samuel, who was my guardian, sold my little patrimony of land for $200 and bought my time from the Messrs. Batterton for $150. I gathered up my clothing, such as apprentices usually had, took my leave of the family in which I had lived for near three years, and in which I had been treated kindly, and went with my brother Samuel to the house of our brother-in-law, John McIntyre. Here our mother lived, and here, on Brushy Fork, near the old Baptist meeting-house where, in my boyhood, Elders John Barnett and Thomas Ammons preached, we stayed all night. Here, before I proceed, I feel like lingering among the the scenes of my youth, in the far-off, shadowy past, along the banks of the Brushy Fork, from its junction with the South Fork of the same name, near the residences of my uncle, Robert McIntyre, and Robert Elliott, and William Victor, and up the North Fork by Samuel Rule's-, Spencer Robbin's mill, up by our residence to the old Baptist meeting-house, the hall of which I believe is still standing, though it has been occupied but little for a quarter of a century. We settled upon the North Fork of the Brushy Fork in 1810, and from that time till I was apprenticed in Millersburg in 1816, the territory I have described was the principal scene of my labors, my follies and sports, and the families named my principal acquaintances and associates. Almost a half century has elapsed since my father settled on Brushy Fork, and now, at this writing , not one of all these families just referred to can be found in Kentucky, save that of William Victor. The heads of all these families have gone to their long homes, save Mrs. Wm. Victor, who still lives upon the same farm, and I believe in the same house in which she lived near' fifty years ago. The farms of the other families have passed into other hands, and their descendants are scattered in other lands. Thus passes the world away. Here upon our little farm I used to labor through the week, and spend my Sundays, sometimes at home, sometimes among the boys of the neighborhood; in the winter, often on the ice; in the summer, often in the creek, or fishing along its banks. In the old house alluded to, I used, occasionally, to attend the Baptist meeting, but a few hundred yards from our residents, not to hear the preaching, for this had no attractions for me, but to play with some favorite associates in the woods till the preaching was over. There was then an attraction, which often brought me from my play and riveted my attention till it ceased. It was the singing, and especially the singing of a certain song, in a certain tune, by a certain female, who was a member of the Baptist Church, then meeting at that old house.
There is nothing, of all that has occurred in the far distant past, that this day more vividly impresses my mind than these incidents of almost half a century ago. I see, as if it were yesterday, that neat, well-looking matron, of middle age, fair complexion, round face, ruddy cheeks, with soft blue eyes and sweet countenance, rather below ordinary height, and a little more than ordinarily heavy, as she stood up in the congregation, in her purest white, and sang with tones as "sweet as angels use," that beautiful old hymn, that will never wear out, whose first verse runs thus
"There is a land of pleasure,
Where peace and joy forever roll;
'Tis there I 'have my treasure,
And there I long to rest my soul.
Long darkness dwelt around me,
With scarcely once a cheering ray;
But since my Savior found me,
A lamp has shone along my way."
But how shall I describe her voice and the effect of her singing? It was shrill, and strong, and peculiarly feminine; it was heard above all the voices of that congregation and, after a lapse of near fifty years, I seem to hear it, peculiarly sweet and beautiful, as it reverberated from the walls of that old house, with all the freshness of yesterday. I learned the tune she sang to that good song, and have loved it and sung it ever since. But where, O where are the voices of that far-off congregation I heard in my youth? And echo asks, Where? Perhaps nineteen twentieths of them are still in death ! But where, especially, is Mrs. Cheney, whose singing so entranced me, who once lived near" Irvin's Spring," and near what, in those days was called "Tull's Meeting-house," and on the place now occupied by Laban Johnson, Jr.? Where is her family? If any of her descendants should ever see these lines, it may call up interesting reminiscences.
Journey to Ohio-First Efforts at Public Speaking-Worked at Trade with D. Radcliffe some Months-In the Meantime Attended all the Meetings I Could, and Prayed and Exhorted as Opportunity Offered-First Tour, Embracing Two or Three Months, Performed on Foot-Became Acquainted with the Doolies, Worley, Kyle, Shidler-Returned in August to Wilmington and Worked for a Saddle and Bridle and got me a Horse-Attended a Camp Meeting near Richmond, Ind.-Met I. P. Durbin on his First Circuit-Attended Conference in September in Warren County, and was Licensed to Preach-License-Met John Hardy at Conference and Other Preachers-Incidents of the Meeting and Subsequent Items.
1. Late in the winter, or very early in the spring of 1819, `we spent the night as alluded to in the previous chapter, and next morning set out, my brother Samuel and I, for his residence in Clinton county, Ohio, some four miles from Wilmington. My old mother gave me her blessing and lent me her horse, and we started on our journey. That night my brother Samuel had an appointment at Kentontown, I think, at the house of the father-in-law of Elder John Powel, who was then just beginning to preach, and who is now dead. There, for the first time in my life, a mere boy, a little over eighteen, I attempted publicly to speak a word in behalf of Christianity. I only distinctly remember that I was very much embarrassed. The next night he had an appointment near Minerva, in Mason county, and again I made another attempt, feeble, of course. After this he had no appointment, I think, till he got home.
2. I went to Wilmington and engaged to work as a journeyman with Mr. Daniel Radcliffe, who was carrying on the cabinet business in the place. I worked for him several months, and in the meantime attended all the meetings I could, night and day, and exercised my poor gifts, as opportunity offered, in prayer and exhortation, and studying the Scriptures. My employer was skeptical-rather deistical-still he was very much of a gentleman, and a Highly honorable man. And it is a pleasure to me, after the lapse of forty-two years (for this April, 1861, forty-two years ago, I was working in his shop), to bear this testimony to his moral worth. He was also a man of good mind and considerable information. He took a fancy to me, and treated me more like a brother or son than a stranger. He called me his preacher. I was very zealous, and having felt the consolations of Christianity myself, I was anxious all others should enjoy them, and especially my employer, who was so kind to me, and for whom I felt so deep an interest. I therefore often tried to get into a conversation with him, in the hope I might remove his difficulties. I was then very ignorant and could not have met the common infidel arguments he could have introduced. Upon one occasion, when I was pressing him for an argument, he addressed me about in these words: "John, I don't want to trouble you with my difficulties. I could introduce arguments you could not answer, but I don't want to do it. I have no doubt you are happier than I am, and I don't want to interfere with your happiness." This was honest and kind. I often think of it and remember my old friend, and deeply regret that he has never become a Christian, so far as I know. I presume he yet lives in Illinois . May he yet become a Christian, and die enjoying its hopes and consolations, and in heaven realize its rewards!
Wilmington at this time (the spring of 1819) was quite a new place; stumps were abundant in the streets. I remember I made a "secretary," as it was called, a piece of furniture like a bureau, with a large drawer above, with small drawers and pigeon-holes inside for papers. The front part of the large upper drawers was hung in such a manner it could be let down. This was the first article of the kind ever made, or perhaps ever seen, in Wilmington. It was made for David Stratton, a Quaker merchant of that place.
3. After having, by a few months' work, furnished myself with the necessary clothing, etc., for a campaign, early in the summer I started with my brother Samuel and others, and spent some two or three months in traveling and attending meetings, principally in the counties of Clinton, Fayette, Greene, Champaign, Clark, Warren, Hamilton, Butler, Preble, Darke, Miami and Montgomery in Ohio, and Wayne county in Indiana. Indeed, I may say, these counties constituted the principal, if not the exclusive, field of my labors until late in the fall. But I chose to divide my labors in Ohio and a small portion of Indiana into two periods, or towns, the first embracing the summer principally, and the last the fall of 1819. The first was performed on foot, and I was dependent on my brethren with whom I traveled to carry my clothing. How I got along in this regard I have wholly forgotten. I know I had no carpet-sack. If they were then in use, I had never seen one to my knowledge. I am sure I owned no saddle-bags. How my clothes were carried, therefore, on this my first missionary tour, my memory is utterly at fault. So it was I got along very well, and was very happy and had no regrets then, nor have I now, that I was not better off. Perhaps I am better off to-day, after the lapse of more than forty years, in many respects, than I would be had I been well off then. Prosperity is more dangerous to progress-true progress-progress in all that elevates and blesses society here, and prepares for the perfection of bliss hereafter, than adversity.
4. During this tour I became acquainted with a number of preachers, among whom the following names come up: The venerable, the pious, the earnest, the laborious, and self-sacrificing and able Elder Reuben Dooley. He died in 1822. He had been a preacher for more than twenty years, and perhaps shortened his days by his excessive labors. He was a most powerful and successful preacher, and died in the triumphs of the faith. His talents were of the exhortatory kind. His mind was pre-eminently practical. His preaching was always exhortatory and practical. He had no taste for human theories in Christianity. No patience with cold-hearted speculatists, who showed more interest in their unprofitable speculations than they did in "judgment, mercy and the love of God." He loved warm-hearted, whole-souled, practical Christians. He could not, therefore, be induced to turn aside from his great work of turning men from darkness to light-from the power of Satan to God-to discuss questions which gender strife and eat out the heart of piety. As an evidence of his feelings in this direction and of the practical characters of his mind, we relate the following anecdote : After preaching, one day, with great fervency and power, as was his wont, and while his thoughts and his heart were full of the great themes of the salvation or eternal damnation of our race, a gentleman present introduced the subject of the eternal salvation of the brute creation, and by the pertinacity with which he sought to lead. Bro. Dooley into a controversy on the subject, greatly annoyed him. He saw at a glance there could be no utility in such a controversy, and therefore in a very decided tone put an end to it after this fashion. Said he : "If you can convince that cat which lies before us that it will be made immortal, you may do it a signal service; but for myself I have no interest in the question whatever, and riot the slightest disposition to agitate it." Thus should all such questions be treated.
I also became acquainted with Moses and Thomas Dooley, one the father and the other the brother of Reuben. They were exhorters, but not regular preachers, though they traveled considerably. Moses Dooley died a short time before his son Reuben. Thomas Dooley I remember as one of the sweetest singers of Israel I ever heard. He had a clear, soft, sweet and most melodious voice. I shall never forget, while memory lives, the deep impression his singing made upon me; there was so much of heaven and complacency in his eye and beaming forth from his countenance. He threw his whole soul into his song. While I write of him, he stands before me in imagination, as he did in reality some forty-two years ago, the embodiment of Christian meekness, gentleness, patience, hope and love. I seem to be looking upon that beautiful, peculiarly soft, placid, heavenly-beaming countenance, as it shone upon me while he sang-as only he could sing-that most beautiful lyric of Dr. Watts', entitled, "Happy Frailty." I remember the tune yet, and many of the words. The first verse runs thus:
"How meanly dwells the immortal mind,
How vile these bodies are !
Why was a clod of earth designed
To inclose a heavenly star ?
Weak cottage where our souls reside,
Earth but a tottering wall !
With fearful breaches gaping wide,
The building bends to fall."
The whole song is in Dr. Watts' best style, full of pathos, of the most soul-stirring thoughts. And although it is more than forty years since I heard it sung, yet sung then to the beautiful tune in the inimitable style of Bro. Thomas Dooley, the impression seems as fresh and vivid as if it were yesterday. I was captivated, charmed, entranced. The Dooleys lived in Preble county, Ohio, not far from Eaton. I spent some little time in their neighborhood, exercising my gifts as opportunity offered. During this trip I also became acquainted with Elder Nathan Worley, who lived near Dayton. I spent some time with him and his very agreeable family. He was a man of superior native talents, and well read in the Scriptures. He, as well as Dooley, at an early period in this century, took his stand with Stone upon the Bible as the only rule of faith and manners. He was a real Boanerges - a man of fine gifts as a speaker and excellent Christian character. He died in 1847. He continued in connection with that portion of the Christian Church which did not go into the Union in 1832, when the friends of Stone and Campbell in Kentucky and elsewhere formed a Union which has never been severed, and I hope never will be, and which has accomplished an amount of good which cannot be computed. The importance of that Union has never been appreciated, and perhaps cannot be yet. It will be hereafter, when we who were the actors in it shall have passed away. It was and is such a Union as the world never witnessed before, nor since. It stands alone in the history of the church. Nathan Worley treated me like a father, and I can never forget his kindness and that of his family. He took me by the hand and encouraged me. I was naturally very timid and always lacked confidence in myself. Was very much given to despondency and to fear that I never could be a preacher capable of accomplishing anything. I therefore needed encouragement, and found it in the pioneers of those times.
On this trip, too, I formed the acquaintance of the good, the gentle, the amiable, excellent and sensible Elder Samuel Kyle, of Miami county, Ohio. I stayed in his neighborhood and made his house my home a short time. I shall never forget his kindness and encouragements. He died in 1836. Though a good man, be never went into the Union of which I have spoken. I traveled considerably with Brethren Worley and Kyle, and would speak and pray as I was encouraged and found opportunity. In the meantime I formed the acquaintance of a young brother, Watson Clarke, who was a few years older than I, and had been preaching a short time upon a sort of a circuit. I traveled with him some time, but I cannot say whether it was upon my first or second tour. I think it was upon my fall tour, as I think we went together to conference in September, 1819.
5. As I kept no journal of my travels this year, I am liable to slight mistakes as to the chronological order of events. But this is of little importance.
After spending some months in traveling on foot, some friends proposed helping me buy a horse. They raised some fifteen or sixteen dollars, and with fifty dollars I had still coming to me in Kentucky from my father's estate, I made an arrangement to buy a horse. But I had no saddle. I therefore resolved to return to Wilmington on foot and work for my former employer and get me a saddle and bridle. I cannot recollect definitely from what point I started, but I remember distinctly it took me at least two days to make the trip. I can never forget an incident on that trip. The first night brought me to Yellow Springs, the seat of what is now "Antioch College," of which Horace Mann was the first president. There was a tavern at the Springs at that time, but who kept it I have forgotten. I stayed all night at that tavern. This was in August, 1819. I was then in my nineteenth year. I was used to praying before I went to bed, and young and bashful as I was I asked the privilege of reading the Bible and praying with the family. It was granted, and I read a chapter and prayed and retired to bed. Next morning I resumed my journey to Wilmington. My old employer gave me work and I soon had a saddle and bridle and horse. An old brother near Lebanon gave me an old pair of saddle-bags that looked like they might have been in the Revolutionary War. I accepted them gratefully, and felt that I was now well equipped.
6. During the summer, or early in the fall of this year (1819), I attended a camp-meeting in the woods on a beautiful bottom on White Water, not far from Richmond, Wayne county, Ind. Richmond was then in the woods, having very few houses. The whole country round about was new and very heavily timbered. I can never forget that meeting. A considerable number of preachers was present, among whom I distinctly remember George Shidler, and I think Nathan Worley. The meeting was continued for several days and nights. The people seemed very unfeeling and at times behaved very badly. No good impression was visible until Monday, the last day of the meeting. The carelessness of the people, and especially the young, took a deep hold upon my heart. On Monday morning, before, the public services commenced at the stand, I retired into the woods and poured out my soul in fervent prayer to God in behalf of his people and for the sinners assembling and assembled there. I returned to the stand, under the influence of deep concern for sinners. Some one preached, and the meeting was about to be dismissed. With feelings unutterable, I arose and spoke a short time with deep emotions and tearful eyes (for my heart was full to overflowing). The effect was wonderful. The preacher and the Christians generally were bathed in tears, and sinners were cut to the heart. I was a beardless boy, not nineteen years old. Doubtless my youthful appearance and deep feeling combined with what I said to produce so great an effect. I came down from the stand, and in harmony with the custom of the times, invited mourners. I never witnessed such a scene. They crowded around me, bathed in tears, and fell upon their knees before God in the dust. I presume not less than fifty came forward and thus prostrated themselves in prayer. I shall never forget the exhortation Bro. Shidler gave me. He embraced me in his arms, exhorted me to be humble and faithful, and study the Word of God, and preach Christ and him crucified. Prayed that I might live long to do good to build up the cause of Christ in the earth.
He was then in the prime of his manhood-a large and noble-looking man. He had been a preacher some ten years. He had a fine person, an excellent voice, and was a good, practical, pathetic and successful preacher-a man of unblemished character. He died in Preble county, where he had lived near a quarter of a century, at the age of fifty-two years, greatly lamented.
An anecdote is told of Bro. Shidler, which ought to be preserved because of the excellent moral it teaches. He was a very modest man-had very humble conceptions of his own abilities. His education was poor, and when in 1810 he was set apart to the work of the ministry he felt that he was very poorly furnished for so great an undertaking. He was, however, able to teach his neighbors, and was being very successful in building up the cause. Connected with the Christian Church of that time was Elder William Kincade. He entered with great spirit and ability into the Reformatory movement in the beginning of this century with Stone and his compeers. He was a self-made man, of fine native talents, considerable learning, and mighty in the Scriptures-a living, walking concordance, and withal somewhat eccentric. About the time Bro. Shidler commenced preaching, Bro. Kincade preached in his neighborhood. Everybody went to hear the great man-Bro. Shidler among the rest. He had never heard such preaching. It seemed to him he knew the Bible by heart-he knew everything and he himself knew nothing. He went home, measuring himself by Kincade, and therefore overwhelmed with a sense of his ignorance and utter unfitness for the work of preaching. He said to himself, "If I could preach like Kincade, I might preach; but ignorant as I am I had better quit it." For near a week he was miserable, under the temptation to quit the ministry, because he could riot preach like Kincade. He mourned, and wept, and prayed before the Lord, and at last was delivered from his trouble thus. Said he "Every man can't be a great preacher-every man can't preach like Kincade-some preacher in the world must be the least of all the preachers, and if it pleases God that George Shidler should be the man, be it so. God helping me, therefore, I will try to occupy my one talent till the Master comes." From this time forward he was happy in doing what he could in the vineyard of the Lord.
What became of the penitents we left weeping on the banks of White Waters ? The great mass of them, doubtless, are in their graves. How many have been saved of those who near forty-two years ago were then inquiring, "What must we do?" How many of them yet live, and where are they, and what are they doing? We ask these questions with interest, but no human being can answer them. Had we been able to say to those penitents who inquired, "What must we do?" in the language of Peter, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins," they might have been delivered forthwith. But our minds were blinded to the simple truth on that subject, and God requires of us according to what we have and not according to what we have not. It is to be feared, however, that in these days many shut their eyes to the truth. To do this is to take a terrible responsibility. To tamper with our convictions, our consciences, is the high road to strong and damning delusions. But thank God we are not the judges in such cases. The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth, and the Judge of all the earth will do right.
7. In the summer, or most likely in the fall of this year, not far from Richmond, Wayne county, Ind., I met plain John P. Durbin, I think upon his first circuit, a mere boy like myself. I presume he was not much if any more than nineteen years old at that time . I attended - his meeting and heard him preach. I don't know that I have heard him since. We were fellow craftsmen. Both of us served a time to the cabinet business in Bourbon county, Ky., he with William Scott, of Paris, and I with the Messrs. Batterton, in Millersburg. He was then as poorly educated, perhaps, as myself. We dined together, and He showed me an English grammar he was carrying in his pocket and studying. He was a very aspiring youth. He spoke in raptures of the great lights of Methodism, especially of Dr. A. Clarke, and seemed to have him before his mind as a model. He spoke of the great number of languages, and the great amount of learning he had acquired by his own industry, and seemed resolved to imitate his example. The Methodists, seeing he had talents and was anxious to cultivate them, gave him facilities for acquiring learning, which he has very successfully improved. He is now a D. D., and stands up among the very first men in that denomination as a writer, an orator and a literary man. I have not seen him for more than thirty years.
8. In the meantime, the conference of the Christian Church for that part of Ohio came on in Warren county, in the neighborhood of Elder Isaac Death's. It was held in the close of September of that year. The strong men of the Connection were there. The following names I remember: Elders David Purviance, David Wallace, John Hardy, Richard Simonton, Samuel Kyle, Isaac Death, and many others whose names I do not remember. The meeting was held chiefly at a stand in the woods. A rude stand was made, some three or four feet high, with a puncheon or slab floor, some ten feet long and five or six feet wide, with a board in front on which to put a book, and behind which the preacher stood. It was covered with a thick layer of green brush. There were three or four rows of seats, with two or more aisles between them leading down towards the stand. For lights we had scaffolds erected all round the seats-some half dozen of them. They were set up on forks, some five feet high and as many square with a bottom of timber thoroughly covered with dirt. Fires were then built in the middle of these scaffolds of dry wood, and thus a good light was afforded to the whole congregation. The stand was furnished with candles. I highly enjoyed the meeting. It was a great pleasure to me to hear the other men, and leaders in the worship, sing and pray, and preach the Word, and also to sit at their feet in the private circle and hear them converse about the things of God-the interests of the cause in which we were engaged. On Sunday night Bro. Watson Clarke and I were appointed to deliver our trial speeches before the conference and the large audience present. Bro. Clarke was to be the preacher and I the exhorter. It was a great trial to me to speak upon any occasion, but doubly so to speak before such an assembly of preachers, several of them men of age, ability and learning. Bro. Clarke preached without, as I thought, much embarrassment. I sat behind him trembling with fear. He closed, and with my heart fluttering with agitation I arose and commenced my exhortation. Very few present had ever heard me. I have no recollection of what I said, as I had nothing specially prepared. I was young, beardless, ignorant, but my heart was full of the great theme of redemption. So it was, I had not spoken long till the whole camp was ablaze of feeling. The first thing I knew David Purviance and David Wallace were dancing behind me in the stand, shouting at the top of their voices. And in a few minutes the entire area before the stand was filled with men and women dancing and shouting. The result was I was silenced and gave place to the preachers and people to carry on the meeting as seemed good to them. I had not attempted to preach, but I received license at that conference to exercise my talents in "such way as God may direct." Does any say, "This was all very disgusting and there could have been no piety there?" This is very hasty and ill judged. The times and views of the people then were very different from what they are now. We have more light on some important practical subjects than they had, but I doubt if we have as much piety or spirituality. If they were upon the extreme of enthusiasm, we are. on the extreme of cold formality. Below you have a copy of my original license to exercise my talents as a preacher or exhorter:
"WARREN CO., OHIO, SEPT. 28, 1819.
"The Conference of the Christian Church to all whom it may concern : This is to certify that our beloved brother, John Rogers, the bearer of this, has been legally encouraged to exercise his talents in publicly administering the Word in such way as God may direct. We therefore recommend him to all where God in his providence may cast his lot, and commend him to God and the Word of his grace.
"Signed by order of the Conference by
"SAMUEL KYLE, Clerk."
9. At this conference I made the acquaintance of Elder John Hardy, and went with him from the conference to a meeting to be held, embracing the first Lord's day of October, 1819, at Burlington, in Hamilton county, Ohio. He was the regular preacher at that point, and as he died on the 25th of October, it is most likely this was the last meeting he ever attended. The meeting at Burlington was protracted for several days, and was a very interesting one. I was with him some ten or twelve days at the two meetings. I never saw him after we parted. I heard him preach several times at the conference and at the Burlington meeting. He was in the prime of his manhood, not quite forty years old. He was a man of very superior natural gifts, and, considering his opportunities, had made great improvement. He had a fine personal appearance, an excellent voice, a logical mind and smooth, engaging manners in and out of the pulpit. I was greatly pleased with him, and think he was one of the best and most promising preachers among us at that time. But he died a few weeks after we parted, of fever, greatly lamented and greatly missed by the church he served so faithfully and acceptably. From this meeting at Burlington, I think I went to Preble county. I may have gone with Bro. Hardy, as he-lived and died near Eaton. I spent some time with Father David Purviance, who lived on White Water, in Preble county. I attended several meetings with him, and was greatly pleased and edified with his conversation. He purposed during the fall to visit Kentucky and see his old friends. I resolved to accompany him, and if possible spend the winter of 1819 and 1820 at the school Father Stone was teaching in Georgetown, Ky.
Tour to Kentucky in the Fall of 1819-Spent the Winter and Early Spring Going to School to B. W. Stone in Georgetown, Ky.-Was Ordained in April, 1820, at Minerva-Located in the Spring of 1820 near Carlisle, and Labored for near, Two Years in this Region-Tour with B. W. Stone to the Southern Part of Kentucky.
-Sermon at Columbia-Became Acquainted with Elder John Mulkey.
1. About the first of November, or late in October, in company with Father D. Purviance, I started for Kentucky. He had quite a string of appointments, which he had sent before him, reaching into Kentucky, and stretching through a considerable period-a month or more.
David Purviance at that time was the oldest of the early preachers of the incipient reformatory movement in which they were engaged, and next to Stone, among the most talented, influential and learned of the Connection. He was a man of sterling integrity, and though unassuming, he was fixed in his principles and independent in their avowal, when duty required it. He was, a very active member of the Legislature of Kentucky, and very influential for some six years-from 1797 to 1803. About that time he devoted himself to preaching, and made that his chief business till his death in 1847, in his 81st year. From 1792 till 1807, he lived in Bourbon county, Ky., and from 1807 till he died, he lived in Preble county, Ohio. He was a good man, and true in all the relations of life. He never entered the Union of which we have spoken, though he was always friendly with us. But to return to our narrative.
2. We took Cincinnati in our route. It was then a small place, containing not more than six or eight thousand inhabitants. Dr. J. L. Wilson then occupied what was called the two-horned church, and almost the entire square around it was open and unoccupied. I think we also held a. meeting at Burlington, some twelve miles from Cincinnati, in the Carnahan neighborhood. We made some stay in Brown county, Ohio, at Liberty, a stone meeting house on Eagle Creek. Here we had a meeting of some days. Elder John Longly was then living in Decatur, some two miles off. He was then preaching for the congregation. He is still living in Lafayette, Ind., at a very advanced age, arid still able to preach . He entered most heartily into "the Union," and has been true to it to this hour. His has been a thorny road through life. I have known him more than forty years and have no doubt he is a good man. He was never a financier, and therefore in early life sometimes involved himself and his friends in pecuniary difficulties. He is now poor. The Lord cheer the evenings of his days with the light of his countenance ! He was originally a Baptist preacher, but very early in this century took his stand with Stone and his followers upon the Bible -and nothing but the Bible- as authoritative in religion. He has been a good and very successful preacher. An incident occurred at this meeting which I have never forgotten. A brother, I presume he was, gave me a piece of money; and then it was done in such a way ! He came blustering up to me to the pulpit, and calling for a light pulled out his purse, and after some time handed me a cut nine pence, or quarter, I am not sure which. It was the first money I ever remember to have received for preaching. It greatly alarmed me, and the impression yet remains. I have never been seriously alarmed in that direction since and am not likely to be. I have, however, thank the Lord, no complaints to make, as I have got along very well.
3. From Liberty we went up the river, and after holding two or three meetings on the way, crossed the Ohio at Manchester and had a meeting at a Bro. Geo. Wilson's, in what is now known as "Wilson's Bottom." We had meetings at Cabin Creek, Flemingsburg, Brick Union and at old Bro. Trimble's, in Fleming county, on Fleming Creek. From old Father Trimble's we made our way to Carlisle, my present residence, and held a meeting in the old court-house Lord's day and Lord's day night. Carlisle was then a new place, only a few years old. This was in the fall of 1816, more than forty-two years ago. Here, in the old court-house which occupied the site of the new one, on Lord's day I preached my first sermon in Carlisle, on these words: They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
4. From Carlisle I went to Georgetown, and was soon boarding at Andrew Robison's and going to school to Father Stone. Bro. Robison was kind enough to give me my board, and Bro. Stone gave me my tuition. Bro. Robison had a son James who had commenced preaching. I spent the winter and early spring in studying the English grammar and other kindred studies. In the meantime, I attended all the meetings in reach and thus improved my talents as best I could. Here I became acquainted with several young preachers and exhorters near my own age, whom Bro. Stone had been instrumental in bringing into the Church, educating more or less, and disposing them to enter the evangelical field. Their names were James Robison, James Hicklin, Hamilton Gray, Harrison Osborne and Marcus P. Wills. James Robison and Hicklin were the two oldest of the five. There was not more than two or three years' difference in our ages. Wills and I were perhaps the youngest. During the time of going to school, perhaps early in the spring of 1820, I accompanied Bro. Stone to a meeting on Cane Ridge. On that occasion I remember he preached at Judge Henderson's, who lived in the stone house not far from Cane Ridge, where Robert Bowler lived, subsequently, many years. There I think I made my first exhortation on Cane Ridge. I had a great desire to acquire a good education, but the harvest was great and the laborers were comparatively few. The Macedonian cry was heard from many quarters, and burning with zeal to be useful as a preacher, I was pushed into the field.
5. The conference of the Christian Churches for the North of Kentucky met at Minerva, Mason county, early in April, and held a meeting of some four or five days. The Baptists were kind enough to allow us to occupy their house. It was a very happy meeting. The congregations were very large and attentive. The preachers present, I remember, were B. W. Stone' Archibald Alexander, Matthew Gardner, and I think John Morrow and his son William, besides several candidates for ordination and licensure. The five following were ordained at that. meeting, viz.: John Shawhan, James Robison, Hamilton Gray, Harrison Osborne and myself. Marcus P. Wills was licensed to preach. James Hicklin would have been ordained, but he was in very poor health. He died the subsequent fall of consumption. He was a talented and most excellent young man. Hamilton Gray was a very well educated and gifted young man, but he died, I think of consumption, in a few years. John Shawhan was near fifty when ordained. He lived in Bourbon county, and died there some ten years ago or more at an advanced age. He was a good man, I think, but never an efficient preacher. Marcus P. Wills became a very useful preacher. He was a man of very respectable ability. He moved to Boone county, Mo., where he preached successfully many years, and died several years ago, much lamented. Three out of the five ordained at that meeting are living-Robison, Osborne and myself. Robison is in Illinois, not far from Bloomington, still preaching quite successfully. Bro. Osborne, some thirty years ago, moved to Morgan county, Illinois, and has been living there ever since. His family is raised and all married, and I think well provided for. He has got along in the world remarkably well, though never well sustained as a preacher. Indeed, none of the pioneers of this movement were well supported as preachers.
Bro. Osborne's early opportunities for improvement were poor. But he was highly gifted as a speaker. He had a superior voice, and a very pleasant, impressive and dignified manner, withal a remarkable memory, and was therefore a very popular and successful preacher. When young, the cares of his family in a new country where our people were few, in his earlier days there, prevented his devoting himself to the ministry as he could have wished. Still, he preached a good deal and with some success. Of late years he has preached considerably and with good success. Some two or three years ago, his wife, a most excellent woman, died. I knew her at least forty-two years ago, when she was quite a girl at her father's, David Castle's.
6. It is proposed to insert here a copy of my certificate of ordination, written by the venerable Stone. The ceremony was performed in a very solemn manner by prayer and the laying on of the hands of the elders or presbyters. The following is an exact copy of the paper:
"The elders of the Christian Church assembled at Minerva, April 10, 1820, have unanimously, ordained our brother, John Rogers, to the ministry of the Gospel, according to the will of God, our Savior, by the commendation of the Christian Church at Georgetown, in which he has lived and labored for some time past.
Signed by the order of the Elders.
"BARTON W. STONE, E. C. C."
Note: The initials, E. C. C., mean Elder of the Church of Christ.
7. After the meeting at Minerva, I came into the neighborhood of Carlisle (which has been my residence, mainly, ever since) and made my home for sometime at Father Moses Hall's, who then owned the farm on which James Arnold now lives, and occupied the same house in which said Arnold now lives , adjoining Carlisle. This was my headquarters for the remainder of the year 1820, perhaps some longer. I formed, by the advice of my seniors, a circuit, embracing parts of Bourbon, Nicholas and Bath counties, perhaps a part of Harrison. The points of my labor were many. The following were the principal: Carlisle, Old Concord, Little Flat Creek, in the neighborhood of Ezekiel Hinton's, Big Flat, Prickley Ash, at Thomas Cartinel's, Elder John Morrow's, on Indian Creek, Leonard Woollen's, old Bro. Robert Snodgrass', on Beaver, Cane Ridge, Rockbridge and Plumlick. My field of labor was large, acid I labored incessantly in it day and night. We had but two or three meeting-houses then in all these bounds. In most places I preached in private houses, and at stands in the woods in warm weather, as no private house would hold the people. I greatly regret that I did not keep an account of my meetings and the results in the early times. But having no such records, I must depend upon my memory. I shall never forget my first visit to Little Flat, near Bro. Hinton's, a few miles from Moorefield. It was late in May, or perhaps early in June, 1820. We met in the woods on the creek, and I preached to a large audience. I think at that time we had no stand, but if we had not, we had soon after, as this was a regular preaching place for a good many years. I was in my twentieth year, a beardless boy, and though recently ordained had never before administered the ordinance of baptism. There were eleven persons to immerse, and some of them quite large, and the water was rather shallow. I need not say it was quite a trial to one so young and: inexperienced as I. But I felt it to be my duty and found little difficulty in its performance. Since that time I have baptized perhaps four or five thousand persons, many of whom have passed away and I hope are in paradise.
8. I spent the greater part of the present year  and the subsequent one at the places embracing my circuit as designated above. It was the custom of the church at Concord, before we had a meeting-house at Carlisle, to hold two big meetings, as we then called them, each year, embracing the third Lord's day of May and September, commencing on Friday and closing about the following Monday or Tuesday. These were big meetings indeed. Many came from the different counties and neighborhoods around, on horses, and in wagons and on foot. Many brought in their wagons provisions and cooking utensils, and even bedding, and slept in their covered wagons, or in the meeting-house. They did most of their cooking on the ground. At these meetings they met in the morning for prayer and singing before breakfast. After breakfast, went to hear preaching at 10 and 11 A.M., then dispersed for dinner. After dinner, met at from 2 to 3 A.M., and heard another discourse, followed with singing and exhortation, and much fervent prayer. The congregation was then dismissed for supper. Many took their meals upon the ground, and many went with the dear neighbors and took their meals with them, and returned to night meeting, when they usually had preaching, exhortation and much singing and prayer.
9. That there were evils incident to these meetings must be admitted. When the sons of God anciently met together for divine worship, Satan was there in his emissaries to do his work. That there were disorders, and a good deal of wildfire enthusiasm, and even in some instances fanaticism, among the professors of these times, may be allowed; still, in very many there existed deep piety, the purest devotion to God and benevolence to man, illustrated in the most animated and heart-searching appeals from the pulpit, the most fervent and earnest prayer for the salvation of sinners, and singing-the most feeling and soul--stirring-all backed by a life of purity and beneficence, presenting altogether quite a contrast with the coldness and elegant formalisms of these times. Those were seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and I highly enjoyed them. I loved in those days to sit at the feet of our good fathers and mothers in Israel, and hear them talk of the things of the kingdom of God and the Dame of Jesus.
10. Allusion has been made to the death of James Hicklin, a promising young preacher. He was buried at Cane Ridge, and a rude head-stone at his grave says he died September, 1819. I know this to be wrong, as I was ordained in April, 1820, at Minerva, and he was present. I know, too, that at our big meeting for September, 1820, at Concord; the news came that James Hicklin was dead. While I live, and memory lives, I can never forget this. The stone, therefore, dates his death one year too soon.
11. Late in the summer, or early in the fall of 1821, I accompanied B. W. Stone on a tour to the Southern part of Kentucky, embracing chiefly the counties of Adair, Barren, Monroe, and perhaps some others. I shall never forget Father Stone's sermon at Columbia, on that tour. It was preached in the court-house, and was most decidedly anti-Calvinistic. A Mr. Robinson, a Presbyterian preacher, was there, and he and Father Stone dined together and had much friendly conversation. I think Robinson was located at Columbia, and that he is the same who was a member of the Synod of Kentucky in 1803, from which Stone and his compeers withdrew. See Biography of Stone, p. 164.
He read, as the basis of his discourse, the Parable of the Vineyard, as recorded in Isaiah, 5th chapter, first seven verses, but made the fourth verse his text.
He showed that God in his dealings with his ancient people, as set forth in this passage of Scripture, as elsewhere, had done all he could do to make them fruitful in all that would render them acceptable to him, and that, therefore, with perfect truth he could say, "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it," to make it produce the proper fruit? And so clear was the case in his favor and against the people that he submits the questions to their own decision, assured of a favorable verdict. "And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard." As if he had said, "I challenge you to give one valid reason why you call evil good, and good evil; why you put darkness for light, and light for darkness; why you put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; why you are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink; why you justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him." Like the man in the gospel without the wedding garment, they were self-condemned, and therefore could make no defense.
12. He showed that what was true of the children of Israel is just as true of sinners under the gospel. That the gospel feast is prepared that all things on the part of God are ready and sinners are urged to come and partake of the provisions and live. That God has loved the world and has given the highest possible demonstration of it by giving up his own Son to die to save it. That the Son has tasted death for every one. That in all sincerity and truth the Spirit and the Bride say, Come! Let him that heareth say, Come; let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will let him take the water of life freely. That the Savior most sincerely wept over the wicked of Jerusalem, though he knew many of them would perish forever; but he knew they would perish because they would not come to him that they might live. He knew that, in the day of judgment, they would be without excuse and have to acknowledge the justness of their condemnation. That the Judge could say in truth, "I called and you refused. I stretched out my hand all the day and no man regarded it."
13. After having thus shown most triumphantly that God has never under any dispensation given a sinner any excuse, much less a reason for sinning; that if under the Jewish or Christian dispensation men were wicked or lost, it was their own fault and they would be dumb and self-condemned in the judgment of the great day, and God in their eyes would be just in their condemnation, he took up the Calvinistic theory, in which he had been thoroughly trained and which he well understood, and discoursed after this fashion: "But now," said he, "while it is perfectly clear, according to the Scripture, that sinners will see and acknowledge the justness of their own condemnation, it could not be so according to the Calvinistic theory. For, according to that theory, every one, in the day of judgment, who shall be found on the left hand, will be found there because from eternity, without any foresight of unbelief or disobedience, as causes moving him thereto, God did, for the praise of his glorious justice, decree it should be so. Suppose, then, Jehovah should, in the last day, challenge the non-elect on the left hand, as he did ancient Israel, and say, ` What more could I have done to save you that I have not done? " they might justly have replied to this effect:
"1. `O Lord, be not offended at us, and we will speak in our defense:. Thou askest, What more thou couldest have done? O Lord, thou couldest have numbered us with the elect, as we were no more unworthy than those thou didst elect.'
"2. 'Thou couldest have sent thy Son to die for us as a sin-offering.'
"3. `Thou couldest have given us faith by the uncommon operations of the Spirit. But withholding, in thy sovereignty, these favors, we perish without any fault of ours.'
"4. 'Thou didst require us to believe the gospel and obey it upon pain of eternal death, and yet, O Lord, thou knowest that from eternity thou didst decree we never should believe it. For, although thou didst send the gospel to us, and urge us to accept it, and gave us some common operations of the Spirit, we never could believe and truly come to Christ. Thou knowest, O Lord, it is no fault of ours that we are not of the elect-no fault of ours that Christ did not die for us, and of course no fault of ours that we could not believe in him, as the Spirit works faith only in the elect.'
"Most certainly the Calvinistic theory is utterly, without support in Scripture or reason. True, it is so modified in these days in many instances as to have lost its most repulsive features. When will the world be content with the simple statements of Scripture on all controverted questions? Lord, hasten the day!"
14. In this town we had many pleasant meetings in the neighborhood of Bro. John Mulkey. Bro. Mulkey (or I might call him Father Mulkey) I think was about the age of Bro. Stone. He had been a popular Baptist preacher, but became satisfied of the correctness of our ground and united with us, and was extensively useful in promoting the cause. He subsequently. made a visit or two to this part of Kentucky, and was with me at Old Concord and Cane Ridge. He was quite an orator. He had a splendid voice, and sang, and preached, and prayed most admirably. He died many years before the venerable Stone. He left behind him some sons, who are still in the evangelical field and doing good service. One or more of them, I think, is in Illinois.
——— From Recollections Of Men Of Faith Containing Conversations With Pioneers Of The Current Reformation Also Numerous Incidents And Anecdotes Of These Heroic Heralds Of The Cross by W.C. Rogers Old Paths Books Club Reprint c.1960 pages 138-186