A Short History of the Life of Barton W. Stone
Written by Himself (1847)

[based on the edition in Voices from Cane Ridge, edited by Rhodes Thompson
(St. Louis, Mo.: The Bethany Press, 1954), 31-134.

Transcribed by Paul Woodhouse; HTML by Mike Stewart]









Birth and early education

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

The manners and customs of the people, among whom we resided, were exceedingly simple--no aspirations for wealth or preferment--contentment appeared to be the lot of all, and happiness dwelt in every breast amidst the abundance of home stores, acquired by honest industry. Benevolence, and kindness in supplying the wants of new-comers, as late immigrants were called, were universal. Courts of justice were rare and far distant from us. To remedy this inconvenience, the /32/ neighborhoods selected their best men, whose duty was to preserve order, and administer justice. By them Lynch's law was frequently executed on offenders. Sports of the most simple kind were generally practiced, and friendship and good feeling universally reigned. Religion engaged the attention of but a few. Indeed, our parson himself mingled in all the sports and passtimes of the people, and was what may be termed a man of pleasure.

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

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

The soldiers, when they returned home from their war-tour, brought back with them many vices almost unknown to us before; as profane swearing, debauchery, drunkenness, gambling, quarreling and fighting. For having been soldiers, and having fought for liberty, they were respected and caressed by all. They gave the ton to /33/ the neighborhood, and therefore their influence in demoralizing society was very great. These vices soon became general, and almost honorable. Such are universally the effects of war, than which a greater evil cannot assail and afflict a nation.

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

I was early sent to school to a very tyrant of a teacher, who seemed to take pleasure in whipping and abusing his pupils for every trifling offence. I could learn nothing through fear of him. When I was called on to recite my lessons to him, I was so afflicted with fear and trembling, and so confused in mind, that I could say nothing. I remained with him but a few days, and was sent to another teacher of a different temper, with whom I acquired with facilities the first rudiments of an English education, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Here I must enter my protest against tyrannical and ill-disposed teachers. Such are a curse to any neighborhood in which they may teach. Teachers should be the most patient, self-possessed, and reasonable of men; yet of such firmness as to secure authority and respect. The rod should be rarely used--only in cases of necessity; and then by the arm of mercy. He should act the part of a kind father towards them as his children. Gain their respect and love, and they will delight in obedience, and rarely fail to learn the lessons given to them.

Grammar, geography, and the branches of science now taught in common schools, were then unknown, and not sought after. My old teacher, Robert W. /34/ Somerhays, an Englishman, was considered in our neighborhood, a prodigy of learning. After I had continued with him for four or five years, he pronounced me a finished scholar, and such indeed was I considered generally in the neighborhood. This, with my natural love of letters, fired my mind and increased my exertions to rise to eminence. Being naturally ambitious to excel, the praises lavished unsparingly upon me, swelled my vanity, and caused me to think myself a little above mediocrity.

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

As soon as liberty from the yoke of Britain was achieved, the priests' salaries were abolished, and our parsons generally left us, and many returned to England. Every man did what seemed right in his own eyes; wickedness abounded, the Lord's day was converted into a day of pleasure, and the house of worship deserted. A few Baptist preachers came in amongst us, some of whom I well remember, as Samuel Harris, Dutton Lane, S. Cantrell, &c. They began to preach /35/ to the people, and great effects followed. Multitudes attended their ministrations, and many were immersed. Immersion was so novel in those parts, that many from a distance were incited to come in order to see the ordinance administered.

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

About this time came in a few Methodist preachers. Their appearance was prepossessing--grave, holy, meek, plain and humble. Their very presence checked levity in all around them--their zeal was fervent and unaffected, and their preaching was often electric on the congregation, and fixed their attention. The Episcopalians and Baptists began to oppose them with great warmth. The Baptists represented them as denying the doctrines of grace, and of preaching salvation by works. They publicly declared them to be the locusts of the Apocalypse, and warned the people against receiving them. Poor Methodists! They were then but few, reproached, misrepresented, and persecuted as unfit to live on the earth. My mind was much agitated, and was vascilating between these two parties. For some time I had been in the habit of retiring in secret, morning and evening, for prayer, with an earnest desire for religion; but being ignorant of what I ought to do, I /36/ became discouraged, and quit praying, and engaged in the youthful sports of the day.

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

Enters Guilford Academy--Embraces Christianity among the Presbyterians--Completes his Academic Course

Having determined on my future course, I bade farewell to my mother, brothers, companions and neighbors, and directed my way to a noted Academy in Guilford, North Carolina, under the direction of Doc. David Caldwell. Here I commenced the Latin Grammar the first day of February, 1790. With the ardor of Eneas' son, I commenced with the full purpose to acquire an education, or die in the attempt. With such a mind, every obstacle can be surmounted in the affairs of life. I stript myself of every hindrance for the course--denied myself of strong food--lived chiefly on milk and vegetables, and allowed myself but six or seven hours /37/ in the twenty-four for sleep. By such indefatigable application to study, as might be expected, I passed several classes, until I came up with one of equal application, with which I continued through the whole of our academic course.

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

I now began seriously to think it would be better for me to remove from this academy, and go to Hampden-Sidney College, in Virginia; for no other reason than that I might get away from the constant sight of religion. I had formed the resolution and had determined to start the next morning, but was prevented by a very stormy day. I remained in my room during that day, and came to the firm resolution to pursue my studies there, attend to my own business, and let every one pursue his own way. From this I have learned that the most effectual way to conquer the depraved heart, is, the constant exhibition of piety and a godly life in the professors of religion. /38/

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

The meeting over, I returned to my room. Night coming on, I walked out into an old field, and seriously reasoned with myself on the all-important subject of religion. What shall I do? Shall I embrace religion now, or not? I impartially weighed the subject, and counted the cost. If I embrace religion, I must incur the displeasure of my dear relatives, lose the favor and company of my companions--become the object of their scorn and ridicule--relinquish all my plans and schemes for worldly honor, wealth and preferment, and bid a final adieu to all the pleasures in which I had lived, and hoped to live on earth. Are you willing to make this sacrifice to religion? No, no, was the answer of my heart. Then the certain alternative is, you /39/ must be damned. Are you willing to be damned--to be banished from God--from heaven--from all good--and suffer the pain of eternal fire? No, no, responded my heart--I cannot endure the thought. After due deliberation, I resolved from that hour to seek religion at the sacrifice of every earthly good, and immediately prostrated myself before God in supplication for mercy.

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

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

In February, 1791, with many of my fellow students, I went some distance to a meeting on Sandy River, in Virginia. J. B. Smith, president of Hampden-Sidney College, Cairy Allen, James Blythe, Robert Marshall, and James McGready, were there. On Lord's-day President Smith spoke on these words: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." In his description of a broken and contrite heart, I felt my own described. Hope began to rise, and my sorrow-worn heart felt a gleam of joy. He urged all of this character to approach the Lord's table that day, on pain of his sore displeasure. For the first time, I partook of /40/ the Lord's supper. In the evening the honest J. M'Gready addressed the people from "Tekel, thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." He went through all the legal works of the sinner--all the hiding places of the hypocrite--all the resting places of the deceived--he drew the character of the regenerated in the deepest colors, and thundered divine anathemas against every other. Before he closed his discourse I had lost all hope--all feeling, and had sunk into an indescribable apathy. He soon after inquired of me the state of my mind. I honestly told him. He labored to arouse me from my torpor by the terrors of God, and horrors of hell. I told him his labors were lost upon me--that I was entirely callous. He left me in this gloomy state, without one encouraging word.

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

After a few days stay in Virginia I returned to the academy in the same state of mine. Soon after I attended a meeting at Alamance, in Guilford county. Great was the excitement among the people. On the Lord's-day evening a strange young preacher, William Hodge, addressed the people. His text I shall never forget, "God is love." With much animation, and with many tears he spoke of the Love of God to sinners, and of what that love had done for sinners. My heart warmed with love for that lovely character described, and momentary hope and joy would rise in my /41/ troubled breast. My mind was absorbed in the doctrine--to me it appeared new. But the common admonition, Take heed lest you be deceived, would quickly repress them. This cannot be the mighty work of the spirit, which you must experience--that instantaneous work of Almighty power, which, like an electric shock, is to renew the soul and bring it to Christ.

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

From this time till I finished my course of learning, I lived devoted to God. The study of the dead languages and of the sciences were not irksome but pleasant, from the consideration that I was engaged in them for the glory of God, to whom I had unreservedly devoted my all. During this period a few incidents transpire, which were severe trials of my faith. My expenses for boarding, tuition, clothing, books, &c., were considerable; far more that I had anticipated. My funds were nearly exhausted; my small patrimony had suffered loss. I could not procure decent clothes, or books, or things indispensably necessary. I had serious thoughts of relinquishing my studies, and mentioned it to my good friend and father, Doct. Caldwell. He urged me to go forward, and promised to wait with me, till I should be able to pay him. Encouraged by him, I renewed my application through difficulties great, till I had finished my course of studies. /42/

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

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

In the year 1793 I wish several more of my fellow students became candidates for the ministry in the Orange Presbytery. Samuel Holmes, a prodigy of genius, (afterwards president of the North Carolina University,) and myself put ourselves under the direction of William Hodge, of Orange county, North Carolina. The Presbytery had assigned us particular subjects of divinity to study, as parts of trial, against their next stated session, among which, were the Being and Attributes of God, and the Trinity, with certain theses on which to write. We commenced in high spirits. Witsius on the Trinity was put into our hands. I had never before read any books on theology but the Bible. This had been my daily companion since I became /43/ seriously disposed to religion. From it I had received all my little stock of divinity. It was my life, my comfort and guide. In fact, by my close attention to other studies, I had but little time and opportunity to read any thing else. My mind had remained happily ignorant of and undisturbed by polemic and obscure divinity. The doctrine of the Trinity may have been occasionally glanced at by our preachers, but was never made the subject of a discourse in my hearing.

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

The next session of our Presbytery came on. We with many other candidates attended. Old father Patillo was there, who himself embraced Watts' views on the Trinity. The examination of the candidates on theology was laid on him. When he came to the /44/ subject of Trinity, he was very short, and his interrogatories involved no peculiarities of the system. Our answers were honest and satisfactory. The reasons why he was so short and indefinite on this subject were, doubtless, to prevent debate on the subject in Presbytery, and to maintain peace among its members.

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

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

The Methodists had just established an academy near Washington, under the superintendence of a Mr. Hope Hull, a very distinguished preacher of that denomination. Through the influence of my brothers, I was chosen professor of languages. We commenced /45/ with about seventy students, about the beginning of 1795. I exerted myself to fill the appointment with honor to myself and profit to my pupils, and had the unspeakable satisfaction of receiving the approbation of the trustees of the institution, and of the literati of the country. Men of letters were few at that time, especially in that part of the world, and were regarded with more than common respect. The marked attention paid me by the most respectable part of the community, was nearly my ruin. Invitations to tea parties and social circles were frequent. I attended them for a while, until I found that this course would cause me to make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Though I still maintained the profession of religion, and did not disgrace it by improper conduct, yet my devotion was cold, and communion with God much interrupted. Seeing my danger, I denied myself of these fascinating pleasures, and determined to live more devoted to God.

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

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

In the winter of 1795, I accompanied a number of Methodist preachers to a general conference at /46/ Charleston, South Carolina. Hope Hull was among them. It was a pleasant journey, and our stay in the city was highly agreeable. The road from the Black Swamp to Charleston was surpassed by none in the world for beauty and goodness. It was perfectly levelled and straight. On each side it was beautified with evergreens in the swamps, and with stately long-leaf pines, and pendant moss on the sands and dry ground.

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

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

Having remained at my mother's a short time, I returned to Carolina, and met with my colleague, R. Foster, and having preached together, we proceeded to our destination in the lower parts of the state, where we arrived in a few days, and made our appointments for the Lord's-day following. While we were waiting /47/ for our first appointment, my companion came to the determination to preach no more, and in this purpose he remained through life; for he never after attempted it. His reason was, that he was not qualified for such a solemn work. This was the prevailing argument I had brought against myself; and now coming from one against himself, whom I viewed my superior, I sunk under it, and secretly resolved to leave that field, and seek some distant country, where I should be a perfect stranger. Florida was then in my view. Next morning, while my companion was absent, I mounted my horse and started alone. This was on Saturday, in the beginning of May, 1796.

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

We quickly got into the region of strangers, and wished to remain among such through life--to such a low state had our minds fallen. Having crossed the mountain at the Flower gap, and New River at Herbert's ferry, we were jogging leisurely along the way to Fort Chiswell, when passing a small house on the road side, a man hailed us, and ran out to us. He was an intimate acquaintance, and a pious brother, Captain Sanders, from North Carolina. He was moving his family to Cumberland; but by some accident was obliged to abide where he was for one season. He /48/ constrained us to tarry with him, and said you must preach for us next Sabbath at the Presbyterian meeting house, not far distant. We both refused; but at length consented that he might make an appointment for worship, and we would attend and worship with them.

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

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

The next day I journeyed forward, and at night came to Mr. Thomas's, on South Holstein. I had inquired into the character of the family before I came there. I /49/ was informed that they were a very religious family of Baptists--that the old lady and daughter were very zealous. My horse being put away, I went into the house and sat down in silence. The old lady and daughter were busily spinning, and the old gentleman in conversation with another aged man. One of them observed to the other that discovery had been lately made, that if the logs of a house be cut in the full moon of February, a bed-bug would never molest that house. I was so well pleased with the idea of unhousing these filthy, hateful vermin, that I broke silence, and felicitated the country on this happy discovery. I then asked whether any discovery had been made for banishing fleas from a house. I was answered in the negative. That is a pity, said I; for I have heard of such a place as hell; but if hell be worse than to be bedded with ten thousand fleas, it must be a dreadful place. This, as I intended, roused the mother and daughter. Yes, said the old lady, there is a hell, and if you do not repent, and be converted, you will find it to your eternal sorrow. The daughter zealously sanctioned these awful declarations, and both of them affectionately exhorted me to repentance in many words. For some minutes they gave me no opportunity to respond. At length, I smilingly said, you are Christians, I suppose; Christianity may be a good thing, but, madam, there are strange things in that system, hard to be understood. I heard a man lately preach, that a man must be born again before he could get to heaven; now, do you believe this? Yes, I do, said she, calling me an ignorant Nicodemus. Do, madam, tell me what it is to be born again. She described it well, and really felt for my supposed condition. I stated many common cavils against the doctrine, which she answered with intelligence. Wearied with my supposed infidelity, she ceased to talk. The old man took a candle, and invited me to bed. I observed to him, I wish to hear you pray first, for Christians always pray in their families evening and morning. He was thunder /50/ stricken, and walked the floor backwards and forwards, deeply groaning. The old lady laid the Bible on the table; still he walked and groaned. I then said, if you will not pray, I will try. I then advanced to the table, read, sung, and prayed, and immediately retired to bed. Next morning I rose early, and was met at the door of the stairs by the mother and daughter. They gently reproved me for my deception--apologised for their conduct, and dismissed me with their blessing.

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

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

My two companions were of very different temperaments. One was a West Tennesseean, a large, coarse back-woodsman, and Indian-fighter of great courage; the other was a South Carolinian, the greatest coward I /51/ ever saw. We chose the Tennesseean for our captain and leader. Nothing of any note happened until we had crossed Clinch river. About sunset we discovered fifteen or twenty Indians about a hundred yards distant from us, on the edge of the canebreak. They sprang up. Our leader said to us, follow me--and rode on with a quick pace. We followed with equal speed for several miles, then slacked our gait for a council. It was concluded that the Indians would pursue us, but if they had no dogs, we could evade them. The Cumberland mountain was but a few miles ahead; we knew we could not ascend it at night without danger to ourselves and horses, therefore concluded to turn off the road a short distance at the foot of the mountain, and lie concealed till morning. According to this arrangement, we cautiously rode to the mountain, turned aside into a thick brushwood, tied our horses, and laid down on our blankets to rest. Being much fatigued, I slept so soundly that I did not perceive a shower of rain, which had awakened the other two, and driven them off to seek shelter. At length I awoke, and missed my company. Every thing was profoundly silent, except the wolves and foxes in the mountain. My feelings were unpleasant. I almost concluded that the Indians had surprised them, and that they had fled. I remembered that the same God who had always protected me, was present, and could protect me still. To him I humbly commended myself, laid down again, and securely slept till day, when I saw my companions about a hundred yards off, sheltered by a large tree. I blamed them for leaving me thus exposed to the ravening beasts around.

In climbing the mountain that morning, my horse lost one of his fore shoes. At this I was troubled, knowing that it would be almost impossible to get him to the settlement in Cumberland. He soon became very lame. I applied to the Tennesseean to let me ride his pack-horse, and put his pack on mine. He unfeelingly refused. I trotted after my horse, and drove him along /52/ after the company, till I was overcome by weariness. They neither permitted me to ride their horses, nor slacked their pace, and finally rode off, and left me alone in the wilderness. I traveled leisurely along afoot, driving my horse before me, vexed at the baseness of my company in leaving me alone in this manner.

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

Among other settlements visited by us, was that on Mansker's creek. Here we often preached to respectable and large assemblies, from a stand erected by the people in a shady grove. At the same time a dancing master was lecturing the youth in the neighborhood in his art. This I evidently saw was drawing their attention from religion. I spoke my mind publicly and freely against the practice, and boldly and zealously protested against it. Some of the youth withdrew from his lectures, which highly exasperated the teacher. He swore he would whip me the next time I preached there. I came to my appointment, and so did he with a band of ruffians, armed with clubs, and stood in a half circle before me while preaching, in striking distance. Unappalled at their menaces, I proceeded in my discourse, nor did I forget the dancers, but drubbed them without mercy. The bandit soon saw that the gaze of the congregation was upon them. Like /53/ cowards, they sneaked off, one by one, and disappeared.

At the same place, and at another time, I was publickly attacked by an old deist, immediately after I had closed my discourse, and descended from the stand. He walked up to me, and said, I suppose you know me, sir. No, sir, said I, I have no knowledge of you. I am Burns, the celebrated deist of this neighborhood. Mr. Burns, said I, I am sorry to hear you boast of your infidelity; pray, sir, inform me, what is a deist? Said he, the man that believes there is but one God. Sir, said I, this is my belief, taught me by the Bible. But sir, what is the character of your God? I believe, said he, that he is infinitely good, just, and merciful. Whence, Mr. Burns, did you gain this information? From the book of nature, said he. Mr. Burns, please to show me the page in that book which declares that God is infinitely good. Why, said he, all nature declares it. We see the traces of goodness everywhere; hence I conclude that God, the great governor of the universe, is infinitely good. Mr. Burns, please turn your eye on the opposite page of your book, and see the miseries, and attend to the groans of the millions, who are suffering and dying every moment. You must conclude, from your own premises, that God, the great governor of the universe, is also infinitely evil and malevolent. Your God, Mr. Burns, is infinitely good, and infinitely evil--a perfect contradiction! You must be an atheist, Mr. Burns, not a deist. You said also, that your book taught you that God was infinitely just. Please show me the page in your book that teaches this doctrine. Said he, it is evident from this, that there is a principle of justice in every man: therefore I conclude that God, the Maker of all men, must be infinitely just. Mr. Burns, I can show you in your own book as many men of unjust principles, as you can men of just principles. Then it follows from your premises, that God, the Maker, is infinitely just, and infinitely unjust. Surely, Mr. Burns, atheism is your creed! /54/ But, sir, look here, on this page of your book. Here is a good citizen, a good husband, a good father, acknowledged such by all; yet his whole life is full of suffering, pain, and want. Here also is a bad citizen, a bad husband, a bad father, acknowledged such by all; yet he is free from pain, and wallows in wealth. How can you reconcile this with the infinite justice of God, the great governor of the universe? Mr. Burns's lips quivered; the whole congregation intensely listening. O, says he, just rewards will be given in another world. But, Mr. Burns, your book nowhere teaches this doctrine; you have stolen it from our Bible. Sir, said he, I will see you at another time, and retired in confusion, the congregation smiling approbation at his defeat.

My colleague, J. Anderson, having preached through the settlements of West Tennessee, determined to visit Kentucky. We had our last appointment in father Thomas Craighead's congregation, in which neighborhood we had often preached. As we expected a large and intelligent audience, we endeavored to prepare discourses suitable to the occasion. My companion, Anderson, first rose to preach from these words: "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." I shall never forget his exordium, which, in fact, was also his peroration. Holiness, said he, is a moral quality--he paused, having forgotten all his studied discourse. Confused, he turned with staring eyes to address the other side of his audience, and repeated with emphasis--Holiness is a moral quality--and after a few incoherent words, he paused again, and sat down. Astonished at the failure of my brother, I arose and preached. He declared to me afterwards, that every idea had forsaken him; that he viewed it as from God, to humble his pride; as he had expected to make a brilliant display of talent to that assembly. I never remembered a sermon better, and to me it has been very profitable; for from the hint given, I was led to more correct views of the doctrines of original sin, and of regeneration. /55/

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

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

In Caneridge and Concord I spent the chief of my time, at the request of the congregations. I now learned experimentally, that the rambling course of preaching, which I had taken, was of little profit to society, and ruinous to the mental improvement of young preachers. I received the advice of my friends to become stationary for a while, and apply myself closely to reading and study. I witnessed the good effects of this procedure: for many were added to the churches within a few months; about fifty in Concord, and thirty in Caneridge. I became much attached to these congregations, and was persuaded that the attachment was reciprocal. I at length yielded to their solicitations to become their settled and permanent pastor.

Some unsettled business in Georgia demanded my presence there. By the Transylvania Presbytery I was solicited and appointed to visit Charleston, in South /56/ Carolina, and endeavor to obtain money for the purpose of establishing a college in our infant state. I accepted the appointment, having determined from Charleston to return through Virginia, and visit my mother and relations.

Marauding parties of Indians still infested travelers in the wilderness between Kentucky and Virginia, so that travelers always went in companies prepared for defence. In the fall of 1797, I left Caneridge for Georgia, in company with Henry Wilson, who, with a led horse packed with silver, was going to Virginia on land business. Having repaired to the house of rendezvous for travelers at the Crab Orchard, we learned that a company had just left that place two hours before, with intention to encamp at the Hazlepatch that night. We instantly followed at a quick pace, determined to ride late and overtake them. About 10 o'clock we came to the Hazlepatch, but to our distress we found no one there. My companion being an early settler of Kentucky, and often engaged in war with the Indians, advised to turn off the road some distance, and encamp till day. Having kindled a fire, supped, hobbled our horses, and prayed together, we laid down in our blankets to rest. But we were soon aroused from our slumbers by the snorting and running of our horses. We sprang up, and saw a fire about 150 yards below us, and in a moment it was pulled asunder; as quickly did my companion pull ours apart also. He whispered to me, "they are Indians after our horses." We laid down again, not to sleep, but to consult the best method of escape. We soon distinctly heard an Indian cautiously walking on the dry leaves towards our camp, about fifty yards off. Fearing he might shoot us in our blankets, without noise we crept into the bushes. Becoming very chilly there, and contrary to advice, I returned to my blanket, and was followed by my companion. A short time after we heard the Indian walk off in the same cautious manner. We concealed the bag of money, and most valuable goods, and hung up our blankets /57/ and bags of provision over our camp, and cautiously went towards the course our horses had gone. When it was day, we found their trace and overtook them about 8 o'clock, and rode back very watchfully to our camp. When we came near it, with difficulty we compelled our horses to advance, they frequently snorting and wheeling back. Every moment we expected to be fired upon, but were mercifully preserved. We packed up very quickly, and swiftly pursued the company, and late in the day came up with them. They informed us that when they came to the Hazlepatch the evening before, they found a camp of white people, just before defeated, several lying dead and mangled in Indian style; that they pushed forward, and traveled late at night. We clearly saw the kind hand of God in delivering us.

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

Before I reached Charleston, I passed over Stone river into John's and Wadmelaw islands. There I remained some days, and received the most friendly attention of gentlemen professing religion, living in splendid palaces, surrounded with a rich profusion of luxuries, and of every thing desirable; these pleasures were heightened by free, humble, and pious conversation. But in the midst of all this glory, my soul sickened at the sight of slavery in more horrid forms than I had ever seen it before; poor negroes! some chained to their work--some wearing iron collars--all half naked, and followed and driven by the merciless lash of /58/ a gentleman overseer--distress appeared scowling in every face. This was the exciting cause of my abandonment of slavery. Having preached several times in the islands, I left my horse on the island, and sailed over to Charleston by water. I lodged with Doct. Hollinshead, a gentleman, and preacher of high standing. In the city I met with my former friend and class-mate, Samuel Holmes. It was a joyful meeting. We visited the islands and country round in company. I observed the great change in his former simple manners and conversation. But few men can bear prosperity and popularity, so as to retain the humble spirit of religion. In one of our excursions from the city in a pleasure vessel, a strong gale fell on us, and tossed us about tremendously on high waves. The scene was new to me, and produced very unpleasant feelings. I noticed the sailors, and saw in them no signs of fear. This calmed my fears, and I remained composed. My companion Holmes manifested strong symptoms of fear. One of the sailors, knowing him to be a preacher, looked at him, and with a laugh, asked him if he was afraid to go to heaven by water? I smiled, but not with a good grace.

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

I arrived in safety at my mother's in Virginia, and found her still alive and enjoying health. But many of my relatives and friends were gone, some to the grave, and some to distant lands. When I was in the then far west, I often sighed at the remembrance of the home of my youth, and the former haunts of my boyish pleasures, and longed to revisit them. But how disappointed was I! I felt more of a disposition to weep at the sight of these objects than to rejoice--the old school house in ruins--the old tree under whose shade we used to play, either destroyed or dwindling with age. Those scenes, which had long ago passed away, never--ah! never to return. Vain world! After /59/ remaining some weeks with my mother, I bade a sorrowful adieu, and returned to Kentucky.

In the fall of 1798, a call from the united congregations of Caneridge and Concord was presented me, through the Presbytery of Transylvania. I accepted; and a day not far ahead was appointed for my ordination. Knowing that at my ordination I should be required to adopt the Confession of Faith, as the system of doctrines taught in the Bible, I determined to give it a careful examination once more. This was to me almost the beginning of sorrows. I stumbled at the doctrine of the Trinity as taught in the Confession; I labored to believe it, but could not conscientiously subscribe to it. Doubts, too, arose in my mind on the doctrines of election, reprobation, and predestination, as there taught. I had before this time learned from my superiors the way of divesting those doctrines of their hard, repulsive features, and admitted them as true, yet unfathomable mysteries. Viewing them as such, I let them alone in my public discourse, and confined myself to the practical part of religion, and to subjects within my depth. But in re-examining these doctrines, I found the covering put over them could not hide them from a discerning eye with close inspection. Indeed, I saw they were necessary to the system without any covering.

In this state of mind, the day appointed for my ordination found me. I had determined to tell the Presbytery honestly the state of my mind, and to request them to defer an ordination until I should be better informed and settled. The Presbytery came together, and a large congregation attended. Before its constitution, I took aside the two pillars of it, Doct. James Blythe and Robert Marshall, and made known to them my difficulties and objections. They asked me how far I was willing to receive the confession? I told them, as far as I saw it consistent with the word of God. They /60/ concluded that was sufficient. I went into Presbytery, and when the question was proposed, "Do you receive and adopt the Confession of Faith, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Bible?" I answered aloud, so that the whole congregation might hear, "I do, as far as I see it consistent with the word of God." No objection being made, I was ordained.

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

About this time my mind was continually tossed on the waves of speculative divinity, the all-engrossing theme of the religious community at that period. Clashing, controversial opinions were urged by the different sects with much zeal and bad feeling. No surer sign of the low state of true religion. I at that time believed, and taught, that mankind were so totally depraved that they could do nothing acceptable to God, till his spirit, by some physical, almighty, and mysterious power had quickened, enlightened, and regenerated the heart, and thus prepared the sinner to believe in Jesus for salvation. I began plainly to see, that if God did not perform this regenerating work in all, it must be because he chose to do it for some, and not for others, and that this depended on His own sovereign will and pleasure. It then required no depth of intellect to see that this doctrine is inseparably linked with unconditional election and reprobation, as taught in the Westminster Confession of Faith. They are virtually one; and this was the reason why I admitted the decrees of /61/ election and reprobation, having admitted the doctrine of total depravity. They are inseparable.

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

On a certain evening, when engaged in secret prayer and reading my Bible, my mind became unusually filled with comfort and peace. I never recollect of having before experienced such an ardent love and tenderness for all mankind, and such a longing desire for their salvation. My mind was chained to this subject, and for some days and nights I was almost continually praying for the ruined world. During this time I expressed my feelings to a pious person, and rashly remarked, so great is my love for sinners, that had I power I would save them all. The person appeared to be horror-stricken, /62/ and remarked, Do you love them more than God does? Why then does he not save them? Surely, he has almighty power. I blushed, was confounded and silent, and quickly retired to the silent woods for meditation and prayer. I asked myself, Does God love the world--the whole world? And has he not almighty power to save? If so, all must be saved, for who can resist his power? Had I a friend or child, whom I greatly loved, and saw him at the point of drowning, and utterly unable to help himself, and if I were perfectly able to save him, would I not do it? Would I not contradict my love to him--my very nature, if I did not save him? Should I not do wrong in withholding my power? And will not God save all whom he loves?

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

From this state of perplexity I was relieved by the /63/ precious word of God. From reading and meditating upon it, I became convinced that God did love the whole world, and that the reason why he did not save all, was because of their unbelief; and that the reason why they believed not, was not because God did not exert his physical, almighty power in them to make them believe, but because they neglected and received not his testimony, given in the Word concerning his Son. "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through his name." I saw that the requirement to believe in the Son of God, was reasonable; because the testimony given was sufficient to produce faith in the sinner; and the invitations and encouragement of the gospel were sufficient, if believed, to lead him to the Saviour, for the promised Spirit, salvation and eternal life.

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

Let me here speak when I shall be lying under the clods of the grave. Calvinism is among the heaviest clogs on Christianity in the world. It is a dark mountain between heaven and earth, and is amongst the /64/ most discouraging hindrances to sinners from seeking the kingdom of God, and engenders bondage and gloominess to the saints. Its influence is felt throughout the Christian world, even where it is least suspected. Its first link is total depravity. Yet are there thousands of precious saints in this system.

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

Things moved on quietly in my congregations, and in the country generally. Apathy in religious societies appeared every where to an alarming degree. Not only the power of religion had disappeared, but also the very form of it was waning fast away, and continued so till the beginning of the present century. Having heard of a remarkable religious excitement in the south of Kentucky, and in Tennessee, under the labors of James McGready and other Presbyterian ministers, I was very anxious to be among them; and, early in the spring of 1801, went there to attend a camp-meeting. There, on the edge of a prairie in Logan county, Kentucky, the multitudes came together, and continued a number of days and nights encamped on the ground; during which time worship was carried on in some part of the encampment. The scene to me was new, and passing strange. It baffled description. Many, very many fell down, as men slain in battle, and continued for hours together in an apparently breathless and motionless state--sometimes for a few moments reviving, and exhibiting symptoms of life by a deep groan, or piercing shriek, or by a prayer for mercy most fervently uttered. After lying thus for hours, they obtained deliverance. The gloomy cloud, which had covered their faces, seemed gradually and visibly to disappear, and hope /65/ in smiles brightened into joy--they would rise shouting deliverance, and then would address the surrounding multitude in language truly eloquent and impressive. With astonishment did I hear men, women and children declaring the wonderful works of God, and the glorious mysteries of the gospel. Their appeals were solemn, heart-penetrating, bold and free. Under such addresses many others would fall down into the same state from which the speakers had just been delivered.

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

I am always hurt to hear people speak lightly of this work. I always think they speak of what they know nothing about. Should every thing bearing the impress of imperfection be blasphemously rejected, who amongst us at this time could stand? But more on this subject hereafter. /66/

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

At our night meeting at Concord, two little girls were struck down under the preaching of the word, and in every respect were exercised as those were in the south of Kentucky, as already described. Their addresses made deep impressions on the congregation. On the next day I returned to Caneridge, and attended my appointment at William Maxwell's. I soon heard of the good effects of the meeting on the Sunday before. Many were solemnly engaged in seeking salvation, and some had found the Lord, and were rejoicing in him. Among these last was my particular friend Nathaniel Rogers, a man of first respectability and influence in the neighborhood. Just as I arrived at the gate, my friend Rogers and his lady came up; as soon as he saw me, he shouted aloud the praises of God. We hurried into each others' embrace, he still praising the Lord aloud. The crowd left the house, and hurried to this novel scene. In less than twenty minutes, scores had fallen to the ground--paleness, trembling, and anxiety appeared in all--some attempted to fly from the scene panic stricken, but they either fell, or /67/ returned immediately to the crowd, as unable to get away. In the midst of this exercise, an intelligent deist in the neighborhood, stepped up to me, and said, Mr. Stone, I always thought before that you were an honest man; but now I am convinced you are deceiving the people. I viewed him with pity, and mildly spoke a few words to him--immediately he fell as a dead man, and rose no more till he confessed the Saviour. The meeting continued on that spot in the open air, till late at night, and many found peace in the Lord.

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

On the 2d of July, 1801, I was married to Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of Col. William Campbell and Tabitha his wife, daughter of Gen. William russell, of Virginia. My companion was pious, and much engaged in religion. We hurried up from Muhlenberg, where her mother lived, to be in readiness for a great meeting, to commence at Caneridge shortly after. This memorable meeting came on Thursday or Friday before the third Lord's-day in August, 1801. The roads were literally crowded with wagons, carriages, horsemen, and footmen, moving to the solemn camp. The sight was affecting. It was judged, by military men on the ground, that there were between twenty and thirty thousand collected. Four or five preachers were frequently speaking at the same time, in different parts of the encampment, without confusion. The Methodist and Baptist preachers aided in the work, and all /68/ appeared cordially united in it--of one mind and one soul, and the salvation of sinners seemed to be the great object of all. We all engaged in singing the same songs of praise--all united in prayer--all preached the same things--free salvation urged upon all by faith and repentance. A particular description of this meeting would fill a large volume, and then the half would not be told. The numbers converted will be known only in eternity. Many things transpired there, which were so much like miracles, that if they were not, they had the same effects as miracles on infidels and unbelievers; for many of them by these were convinced that Jesus was the Christ, and bowed in submission to him. This meeting continued six or seven days and nights, and would have continued longer, but provisions for such a multitude failed in the neighborhood.

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


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

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

I have seen very many pious persons fall in the same way, from a sense of the danger of their unconverted children, brothers, or sisters--from a sense of the danger of their neighbors, and of the sinful world. I have /70/ heard them agonizing in tears and strong crying for mercy to be shown to sinners, and speaking like angels to all around.

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

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

The barking exercise, (as opposers contemptuously /71/ called it,) was nothing but the jerks. A person affected with the jerks, especially in his head, would often make a grunt, or bark, if you please, from the suddenness of the jerk. This name of barking seems to have had its origin from an old Presbyterian preacher of East Tennessee. He had gone into the woods for private devotion, and was seized with the jerks. Standing near a sapling, he caught hold of it, to prevent his falling, and as his head jerked back, he uttered a grunt or kind of noise similar to a bark, his face being turned upwards. Some wag discovered him in this position, and reported that he found him barking up a tree.

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

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

I shall close this chapter with the singing exercise. This is more unaccountable than any thing else I ever saw. The subject in a very happy state of mind would sing most melodiously, not from the mouth or nose, but /72/ entirely in the breast, the sounds issuing thence. Such music silenced every thing, and attracted the attention of all. It was most heavenly. None could ever be tired of hearing it. Doctor J. P. Campbell and myself were together at a meeting, and were attending to a pious lady thus exercised, and concluded it to be something surpassing any thing we had known in nature.

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

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

Since the beginning of the excitement I had been employed day and night in preaching, singing, visiting and praying with the distressed, till my lungs failed, and became inflamed, attended with a violent cough and /73/ spitting of blood. It was believed to be a dangerous case, and might terminate in consumption. My strength failed, and I felt myself fast descending to the tomb. Viewing this event near, and that I should soon cease from my labors, I had a great desire to attend a camp-meeting at Paris, a few miles distant from Caneridge. My physician had strictly forbidden me to preach any more till my disease should be removed.

At this camp-meeting the multitudes assembled in a shady grove near Paris, with their wagons and provisions. Here for the first time a Presbyterian preacher arose and opposed the work, and the doctrine by which the work amongst us had its existence and life. He labored hard to Calvinize the people, and to regulate them according to his standard of propriety. He wished them to decamp at night, and to repair to the town, nearly a mile off, for worship in a house that could not contain half the people. This could not be done without leaving their tents and all exposed. The consequence was, the meeting was divided, and the work greatly impeded. Infidels and formalists triumphed at this supposed victory, and extolled the preacher to the skies; but the hearts of the revivalists were filled with sorrow. Being in a feeble state, I went to the meeting in town. A preacher was put forward, who had always been hostile to the work, and seldom mingled with us. He lengthily addressed the people in iceberg style--its influence was deathly. I felt a strong desire to pray as soon as he should close, and had so determined in my own mind. He at length closed, and I arose and said, let us pray. At that very moment, another preacher of the same cast with the former, rose in the pulpit to preach another sermon. I proceeded to pray, feeling a tender concern for the salvation of my fellow creatures, and expecting shortly to appear before my Judge. The people became very much affected, and the house was filled with the cries of distress. Some of the preachers jumped out of a window back of the pulpit, and left us. Forgetting my weakness, I pushed through the /74/ crowd from one to another in distress, pointed them the way of salvation, and administered to them the comforts of the gospel. My good physician was there, came to me in the crowd, and found me literally wet with sweat. He hurried me to his house, and lectured me severely on the impropriety of my conduct. I immediately put on dry clothes, went to bed, slept comfortably, and rose next morning relieved from the disease which had baffled medicine, and threatened my life. That night's sweat was my cure, by the grace of God. I was soon able to renew my ministerial labors, and was joyful to see religion progressing. This happy state of things continued for some time, and seemed to gather strength with days. My mind became unearthly, and was solely engaged in the work of the Lord. I had emancipated my slaves from a sense of right, choosing poverty with a good conscience, in preference to all the treasures of the world. this revival cut the bonds of many poor slaves; and this argument speaks volumes in favor of the work. For of what avail is a religion of decency and order, without righteousness?

There were at this time five preachers in the Presbyterian connection, who were in the same strain of preaching, and whose doctrine was different from that taught in the Confession of Faith of that body. Their names were, Richard McNemar, John Thompson, John Dunlavy, Robert Marshall, and myself; the three former lived in Ohio, the two latter in Kentucky. David Purviance was then a candidate for the ministry, and was of the same faith. The distinguishing doctrine, which we boldly and every where preached, is contained in our Apology, printed shortly after that time, which I desire to be reprinted with these memoirs of my life, affixed to the same volume. From some of the sentiments of this Apology we afterwards dissented, especially on the Atonement, as stated in that book.

The distinguishing doctrine preached by us was, that God loved the world--the whole world, and sent his /75/ Son to save them, on condition that they believed in him--that the gospel was the means of salvation--but that this means would never be effectual to this end, until believed and obeyed by us--that God required us to believe in his son, and had given us sufficient evidence in his Word to produce father in us, if attended to by us--that sinners were capable of understanding and believing this testimony, and of acting upon it by coming to the Saviour and obeying him, and from him obtaining salvation and the Holy Spirit. We urged upon the sinner to believe now, and receive salvation--that in vain they looked for the Spirit to be given them, while they remained in unbelief--they must believe before the Spirit or salvation would be given them--that God was as willing to save them now, as he ever was, or ever would be--that no previous qualification was required, or necessary in order to believe in Jesus, and come to him--that if they were sinners, this was their divine warrant to believe in him, and to come to him for salvation--that Jesus died for all, and that all things were now ready. When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as just awakened from the sleep of ages--they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed, was damning sin.

The sticklers for orthodoxy amongst us writhed under these doctrines, but seeing their mighty effects on the people, they winked at the supposed errors, and through fear, or other motives, they did not at first publicly oppose us. They painfully saw their Confession of Faith neglected in the daily ministration by the preachers of the revival, and murmured at the neglect. In truth, that book had been gathering dust from the commencement of the excitement, and would have been completely covered from view, had not its friends interposed to prevent it. At first, they were pleased to see the Methodists and Baptists so cordially uniting with us in worship, no doubt, hoping they would become Presbyterians. But as soon as they saw these /76/ sects drawing away disciples after them, they raised the tocsin of alarm--the confession is in danger!--the church is in danger! O Israel to your tents!

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

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

In this state of confusion, the friends of the Confession were indignant at us for preaching doctrines so contradictory to it. They determined to arrest our progress and put us down. The Presbytery of Springfield, in Ohio, first took McNemar through their fiery ordeal, for preaching these anti-calvinistic doctrines. /77/ From that Presbytery his case came before the Synod at Lexington, Kentucky. That body appeared generally very hostile to our doctrine, and there was much spirited altercation among them. The other four of us well knew what would be our fate, by the decision on McNemar's case; for it was plainly hinted to us, that we would not be forgotten by the Synod. We waited anxiously for the issue, till we plainly saw it would be adverse to him, and consequently to us all.

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

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

The committee reported to Synod their failure in reclaiming us; and after a few more vain attempts, they proceeded to the solemn work of suspending us, /78/ because we had departed from the standards of their church, and taught doctrines subversive of them. Committees were immediately sent to our congregations to read the Synod's bull of suspension, and to declare them vacant. However just their decision might be with respect to the other four, in suspending them for the crime of departing from the Confession of Faith, yet all plainly saw that it was improper with regard to me, seeing I had not received that book at my ordination, nor ever before, more than any other book, i.e. as far as I saw it agreeable to the word of God. Their bull was "a blow in the air" as regarded me. I am therefore an ordained preached by the imposition of the hands of the Transylvania Presbytery, and as I have not formally been excluded from the communion of that church, I can yet claim it with just right. We insisted that after we had orderly protested, and withdrawn, that the Synod had no better right to suspend us, than the pope of Rome had to suspend Luther, after he had done the same thing. We contended, if Luther's suspension was valid, then the whole protestant succession was out of order, and of course, that the Synod had no better right to administer in the gospel than we--that their act of suspension was void.

This act of Synod produced great commotion and division in the churches; not only were churches divided, but families; those who before had lived in harmony and love, were now set in hostile array against each other. What scenes of confusion and distress! not produced by the Bible; but by human authoritative creeds, supported by sticklers for orthodoxy. My heart was sickened, and effectually turned against such creeds, as nuisances of religious society, and the very bane of Christian unity.

Immediately after our separation from Synod, we constituted ourselves into a Presbytery, which we called the Springfield Presbytery. We wrote a letter to our congregations, informed them of what had transpired, /79/ and promised shortly to give them and the world a full account of our views of the gospel, and the causes of our separation from Synod. This book we soon after published, called The Apology of Springfield Presbytery. In this book we stated our objections at length to the Presbyterian Confession of Faith, and against all authoritative confessions and creeds formed by fallible men. We expressed our total abandonment of all authoritative creeds, but the Bible alone, as the only of our faith and practice. This book produced a great effect in the Christian community; it was quickly republished by the Methodists in Virginia, except our remarks upon creeds.

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

Soon after our separation, I called together my congregations, and informed them that I could no longer conscientiously preach to support the Presbyterian church--that my labors should henceforth be directed to advance the Redeemer's kingdom, irrespective of party--that I absolved them from all obligations in a pecuniary point of view, and then in their presence tore up their salary obligation to me, in order to free their minds from all fear of being called upon hereafter for aid. Never had a pastor and churches lived together more harmoniously than we had for about six years. Never have I found a more loving, kind, and orderly people in any country, and never have I felt a more cordial attachment to any others. I told them that I should continue to preach among them, but not in the relation that had previously existed between us. This /80/ was truly a day of sorrow, and the impressions of it are indelible.

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

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

For your information I insert the Last Will and Testament of Springfield Presbytery. /81/


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


The Presbytery of Springfield, sitting at Caneridge, in the county of Bourbon, being, through a gracious Providence, in more than ordinary bodily health, growing in strength and size daily; and in perfect soundness and composure of mind; but knowing that it is appointed for all delegated bodies once to die; and considering that the life of every such body is very uncertain, do make, and ordain this our last Will and Testament, in manner and form following, viz:

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

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

Item. We will, that our power of making laws for the government of the church, and executing them by delegated authority, forever cease; that the people may /82/ have free course to the Bible, and adopt the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

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

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

Item. We will, that each particular church, as a body, actuated by the same spirit, choose her own preacher, and support him by a free will offering, without a written call or subscription--admit members--remove offences; and never henceforth delegate her right of government to any man or set of man whatever.

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

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

Item. We will, that our weak brethren, who may have been wishing to make the Presbytery of /83/ Springfield their kind, and wot not what is now become of it, betake themselves to the Rock of Ages, and follow Jesus for the future.

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

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

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

Springfield Presbytery,

June 28th, 1804

Robert Marshall,

John Dunlavy,

Richard McNemar,

B. W. Stone, Witnesses

John Thompson,

David Purviance,


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

Their reasons for dissolving that body were the following: With deep concern they viewed the divisions, /84/ and party spirit among professing Christians, principally owing to the adoption of human creeds and forms of government. While they were united under the name of a Presbytery, they endeavored to cultivate a spirit of love and unity with all Christians; but found it extremely difficult to suppress the idea that they themselves were a party separate from others. This difficulty increased in proportion to their success in the ministry. jealousies were excited in the minds of other denominations; and a temptation was laid before those who were connected with the various parties, to view them in the same light. At their last meeting they undertook to prepare for the press a piece entitled Observations on Church Government, in which the world will see the beautiful simplicity of Christian church government, stript of human inventions and lordly traditions. As they proceeded in the investigation of that subject, they soon found that there was neither precept nor example in the New Testament for such confederacies as modern Church Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, General Assemblies, &c. Hence they concluded, that while they continued in the connection in which they then stood, they were off the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, of which Christ himself is the chief corner stone. However just, therefore, their views of church government might have been, they would have gone out under the name and sanction of a self-constituted body. Therefore, from a principle of love to Christians of every name, the precious cause of Jesus, and dying sinners who are kept from the Lord by the existence of sects and parties in the church, they have cheerfully consented to retire from the din and fury of conflicting parties--sink out of the view of fleshly minds, and die the death. They believe their death will be great gain to the world. But though dead, as above, and stript of their mortal frame, which only served to keep them too near the confines of Egyptians bondage, they yet live and speak in the land of gospel liberty; they blow the trumpet of jubilee, and willingly /85/ devote themselves to the help of the Lord against the mighty. They will aid their brethren, by their counsel, when required; assist in ordaining elders, or pastors--seek the divine blessing--unite with all Christians--commune together, and strengthen each others' hands in the work of the Lord.

We design, by the grace of God, to continue in the exercise of those functions, which belong to us as ministers of the gospel, confidently trusting in the Lord, that he will be with us. We candidly acknowledge, that in some things we may err, through human infirmity; but he will correct our wanderings, and preserve his church. Let all Christians join with us, in crying to God day and night, to remove the obstacles which stand in the way of his work, and give him no rest till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. We heartily unite with our Christian brethren of every name, in thanksgiving to God for the display of his goodness in the glorious work he is carrying on in our Western country, which we hope will terminate in the universal spread of the gospel, and the unity of the church. Thus far the Witnesses of the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery Why the work alluded to above, on the subject of church government, never made its appearance, the writer is not advised. Perhaps the Shaker-difficulty, which shortly after this time arose, was the cause; as it is known that Dunlavy and M'Nemar, two of the Witnesses, were carried away with that miserable delusion: and also, that shortly after their defection from the cause, Marshall and Thompson began to look back, and subsequently joined the Presbyterians again. /86/

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

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

I first examined the commonly received doctrine, that Christ as a surety and substitute, died to satisfy the demands of law and justice against us, and paid our debts of suffering in our stead, by which we are justified. This is equally the doctrine of Calvinists and the earlier Universalists, differing only in extent; the former limiting the Atonement to the elect, and the latter, without limitation, extending it to all mankind. They stand upon the same foundation. Now I inquired, what are these debts, paid by the death of Christ? I was answered by the one voice of all, they are death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal; and that these were the demands of the violated law, and injured justice of God. I then inquired, did Christ as a substitute, die a /87/ natural, or temporal death in our stead? If so, why do we all yet die? If the debt was fully paid by him for us, can it be just that we suffer it again? Did he die a spiritual death for us? Why then do all, whether elect or non-elect, suffer this death? All are destitute of spiritual life, are dead in trespasses and sins, have no desire for God, nor delight in him. Could a holy law make such demands? Could the holy Jesus pay such? Impossible. I farther inquired, did Christ suffer eternal death, in our room and stead? Impossible; for he arose from the dead the third day, and is now alive forevermore in heaven. But the common idea was suggested, he suffered what was equivalent to eternal death;--he suffered infinitely in degree, but not eternally. This appeared to me a mere subterfuge, as unscriptural as it is unreasonable; for none but the infinite God would suffer infinitely; and as he cannot suffer, therefore the doctrine is absurd. Besides, eternal punishment has no end, and to eternity the debt will be unpaid, and until this be done justice cannot be fully satisfied, and consequently there can be no justification forever, on this plan.

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

Driven from this foundation, I tried that of the Methodists--that Jesus died to reconcile the Father to us. This I found to be an unscriptural assertion. None of /88/ the scared writers said so. They represent God as unchangeable being. The death of Jesus is never represented as having any effect on God, or his law; but on man the whole effect of it passed for his good. I examined another opinion, now become very common, that is, that Jesus died to open the door of mercy to the world, or to make it possible for God justify him that believed in his Son. This door was represented to be in the breast of God. Justice and truth had closed it against the egress of mercy to save sinners. It was impossible for mercy to get out till the door was opened; and justice opposed its being opened, till satisfaction should be made to its demands. These demands, on inquiry, I found to be as before stated, death temporal, spiritual and eternal. The diction is different, but the sentiments are the same. I saw that the doctrine evidently was not true--that the door of mercy in the breast of God was not closed; for the greatest gifts of mercy, yea, all the gifts of mercy, were vouchsafed to us in the gift of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, before justice could be satisfied by his death. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life." The gift of Jesus was before his death, and this, according to the system, must be before the satisfaction. A door against mercy is in our heart, and it is closed; but the Lord is represented as knocking at that door, and pleading for entrance. When we open, the Lord with his fulness enters, and blesses us.

I farther inquired, did God in his law given by Moses, admit of a substitute or surety to die in the room of the guilty? I found that he did not. For according to the law, every soul was to die for his own sins; even a son should not die for the father, nor the father for the son. The doctrine of suretyship is wrong in civil policy, as well as in religion. It is not an authorized doctrine of the Bible, though contended for with so much zeal by system-mongers. /89

My opportunity to read was very limited, being compelled to manual labor daily on my farm; but so intently engaged was my mind, on this and collateral subjects, that I always took with me in my corn-field my pen and ink, and as thoughts worthy of note occurred, I would cease from my labor, and commit them to paper. Thus laboring till I had accumulated matter enough for a pamphlet, and having arranged the ideas, I addressed them in print to a friend. That edition was soon exhausted, and I could not supply the many calls for it. This gave a pretext for many to say, I had called them in and burnt them. This is not true. They were never called in by me, nor were they burnt in my knowledge. Against this pamphlet, Doct. J. P. Campbell, of Kentucky, a Presbyterian preacher of some notoriety, wrote his Strictures--very severe in language, but his arguments were by me considered weak; yet, as good as his cause afforded him. To these Strictures I replied in another printed pamphlet, to which he made a rejoinder, called the Vindex. It was judged to be too vindictive to merit a reply; and thus this controversy between us closed. One thing I have since regretted, that the Doctor accused me in his pamphlets of being heterodox on the Trinity. My views I had never committed to paper, and for years had been silent on that subject in my public addresses. We had been very intimate, and I had disclosed my views to him as to a brother; not suspecting that I should be dragged before the public as I was. I forgive him. But his disclosure was abroad, and induced me to defend myself, and the doctrine I believed. This I have done in a book called my Address to the Churches, and in my Letters to James Blythe, D. D., the latter designed as an answer to Thomas Cleland, D. D., who had written furiously against me.

The result of my inquiries on Atonement and Trinity, will be found in the pamphlets above named. I called Atonement, according to the true spelling and pronouncement of the word, at-one-ment. Sin had separated /90/ between God and man., before at-one, when man was holy. Jesus was sent to restore that union, or to make the at-one-ment between God and man. This he effects when he saves us from our sins and makes us holy. When this is effected, God and man are at-one, without any change in God, the whole change being in man. This is effected through faith in Jesus, who lived, died, was buried, and rose again. But these things are fully shown in the books referred to above.

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

The brethren, elders, and deacons came together on this subject; for we had agreed previously with one another to act in concert, and not to adventure on any thing new without advice from one another. At this meeting we took up the matter in a brotherly spirit, and concluded that every brother and sister should act freely, and according to their conviction of right--and that we should cultivate the long-neglected grace of forbearance towards each other--they who should be immersed, should not despise those who were not, and vice versa. Now the question arose, who will baptize us? The Baptists would not, except we united with them; /91/ and there were no elders among us who had been immersed. It was finally concluded among us, that if we were authorized to preach, we were also authorized to baptize. The work then commenced, the preachers baptized one another, and crowds came, and were also baptized. My congregations very generally submitted to it, and it soon obtained generally, and yet the pulpit was silent on the subject. In Brother Marshall's congregation there were many who wished baptism. As Brother Marshall had not faith in the ordinance, I was called upon to administer. This displeased him and a few others.

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

The churches and preachers grew and were multiplied; we began to be puffed up at our prosperity. A law of Synod, or Presbytery, forbade their people to associate with us in our worship, on pain of censure, or exclusion from their communion. This influenced many of them to join us. But this pride of ours was soon humbled by a very extraordinary incident. *(See Note, p.64) Three missionary Shakers from the East came amongst us--Bates, /92/ Mitchell, and Young. They were eminently qualified for their mission. Their appearance was prepossessing--their dress was plain and neat--they were grave and unassuming at first in their manners--very intelligent and ready in the Scriptures, and of great boldness in their faith.

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

Many such things they preached, the consequence of which was similar to that of Simon Magus. Many said they were the great power of God. Many confessed their sins to them, and forsook their marriage state; among whom were three of our preachers, Matthew Houston, Richard M'Nemar, and John Dunlavy. Several more of our preachers, and pupils, alarmed, fled from us, and joined the different sects around us. The sects triumphed at our distress, and watched for our fall, as Jonah watched the fall of Nineveh under the shadow of his gourd. But a worm at the root of Jonah's gourd killed it, and deprived him of its shade, and brought on him great distress. So the worm of Shakerism was busy at the root of all the sects, and brought on them great distress; for multitudes of them, both preachers /93/ and common people, also joined the Shakers. Our reproach was rolled away.

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

The Shakers now became our bitter enemies, and united with the sects in their opposition to us. They denied the literal resurrection of the body from the grave: they said the resurrection of the body meant the resurrection of Christ's body, meaning the church. They, the elders, had constant communication and conversation with angels and all the departed saints. They looked for no other or better heaven than that on earth. Their worship, if worthy of the name, consisted in voluntary dancing together. They lived together, and had all things common, entirely under the direction and control of the elders. They flourished greatly for some years, and built several superb villages; but afterwards began to dwindle till they became nearly extinct. John Dunlavy, who had left us, and joined them, was a man of penetrating mind, wrote and published much for them, and was one of their elders in high repute by them. He died in Indiana, raving in desperation for his folly in forsaking the truth for an old woman's fables. Richard M'Nemar was, before his death, excluded by the Shakers from their society, in a miserable, penniless condition, as I was informed by good authority. The reason of his exclusion I never heard particularly; but from what was hear, it appears that he had become convinced of his error. The /94/ Shakers had a revelation given them to remove him from their village, and take him to Lebanon, in Ohio, and to set him down in the streets, and leave him there in his old age, without friends or money. Soon after he died. Matthew Houston is yet alive, and continues among them.

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


*Note--see page 61.--The Shaker difficulty here alluded to by father Stone, is represented as occurring before the question of baptism agitated the Churches. This is a chronological mistake, as doubtless the Shakers came, before the question of baptism was stirred. Father Purviance's account of this matter is accordant with the true chronology of the facts. This, to be sure is a small matter, comparatively. J. R. /95/

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

Soon after this shock had passed off, and the churches were in a prosperous, growing condition (for many excrescences had been lopped off from our body) another dark cloud was gathering, and threatened our entire overthrow. But three of the elders now remained of those that left the Presbyterians, and who had banded together to support the truth--Robert Marshall, John Thompson and myself. I plainly saw that the two former, Marshall and Thompson, were about to forsake us, and to return to the house from whence they had come, and to draw as many after them as they could. They began to speak privately that the Bible was too latitudinarian for a creed--that there was a necessity, at this time, to embody a few fundamental truths, and to make a permanent and final stand upon them. One of those brethren had written considerably on the points of doctrines to be received, and on those to be rejected by us. He brought the written piece with him to a conference previous appointed, in order to read it to them. It was thought better not to read it at that time, as too premature, but to postpone it to another appointment, which was made at Mount Tabor, near Lexington, at which a general attendance was required. /96/

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

These two brothers were great and good men. Their memory is dear to me, and their fellowship I hope to enjoy in a better world. Marshall has been dead for some years. He never could regain his former standing, nor the confidence of the people, after he left us. Thompson yet lives (1843) respected, and a zealous preacher of the New School Presbyterians, in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Not long since I had several very friendly interviews with him. Old things appeared to be forgotten by us both, and cast off by brotherly, kind affection. Hugh Andrews joined the Methodists, and long since sleeps in death. Of all the five of us that /97/ left the Presbyterians, I only was left, and they sought my life.

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

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

October 31, 1811, I was married to my present companion, Celia W. Bowen, daughter of Captain William Bowen and Mary his wife, near Nashville, Tennessee. She was cousin to my former wife. We immediately /98/ removed to my old habitation in Bourbon county, Kentucky, and lived happily there for one year. Then by advice and hard persuasion, we were induced to move to Tennessee, near my wife's widowed mother. The old mother put us on a very good farm, but without a comfortable house for our accommodation. I labored hard at building a house and improving the farm, till I learned that mother Bowen designed not to give me a deed to the farm, and that the right of giving a deed lay solely in her. I could not blame her for this, as the lands of my first wife, by the laws of Kentucky, belonged to her children at her death. She thought it prudent to deed the land on which we lived to her daughter and children. I had before thought the land was left to my wife by the will of her deceased father. As soon as I heard of our old mother's determination, I concluded to return to Kentucky.

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

In Lexington I was compelled to teach a high school /99/ for a support. I taught the English Grammar, Latin, Greek, and some of the sciences. This school exceeded my highest anticipations. Gentlemen of the first class patronized it, and our institution became popular and respectable. We far outnumbered the pupils of the University. I employed an assistant well qualified. In this time I had to visit once a month my old congregation at Caneridge, nearly thirty miles distant, and be back by school hour on Monday morning. I labored in my school to satisfy my patrons, and profit my pupils, and it is believed that I succeeded.

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

The Rittenhouse Academy in Georgetown became vacant, and urgent solicitations were made to me to become its principal. I consented, and moved there, and soon entered upon the duties of my appointment. The number of students soon became large, and many followed me from Lexington. At that time Georgetown was notorious for irreligion and wickedness. I began to preach to them that they should repent, and turn to the Lord. My congregation increased, and became interested on the subject of religion. Soon we constituted a church of six or seven members, which quickly grew to two or three hundred. I was every week baptizing, sometimes thirty at a time, of whom were a number of my pupils, some of whom became useful preachers afterwards. The work of conversion spread a distance round, with but few preachers, and those not very efficient. The harvest was truly great, but the laborers were few. /100/

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

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

I had an appointment of long standing in Meigs county, Ohio, above the mouth of Kenhaway, in order to preach, and to baptize a Presbyterian preacher living there, whose name was William Caldwell. The time drew near, and I had no money to bear my expenses. /101/ I was ashamed to beg, and unable to obtain it. The night before I started on my tour, I had meeting in the neighborhood, and when the people were dismissed, a letter was slipped into the hand of my little daughter by some unknown person. She handed it to me, and I found a ten dollar bill enfolded, with these words only written, "For Christ's sake." I was much affected, and received it thankfully as a gift from my Lord to enable me to do his work. I was much encouraged, believing that the Lord would prosper my way.

I arrived safely and in good spirits at the appointment, where brother Dooly (sic), of Ohio, met me. The separate Baptists, by previous appointment, held their annual association at the same time and place. We agreed to worship together. The crowd of people was great, and early in the beginning of the meeting I baptized brother Caldwell in the Ohio river. This circumstance drew the cords of friendship more closely between us and the Baptists. Great was the excitement produced by our united efforts. The elders and members of the association met daily in a house near the stand, where they transacted their business, while worship was carried on at the stand. I was invited and urged to assist them in their deliberations in the association, and frequently requested to give my opinion on certain points, which I did to their acceptance and approbation. They had a very difficult case before them, on which they could come to no decision. I was urged to speak on it, and to speak freely. It was evidently a case with which they had no right to meddle, and which involved the system of church government. I spoke freely and fully on the point, and showed it to be a party measure, and of course unscriptural. I exerted myself with meekness against sectarianism, formularies, and creeds, and labored to establish the scriptural union of Christians, and their scriptural name. Till Christians were united in spirit on the Bible, I showed there would be no end to such difficult cases as now agitated them. Having closed my speech, I retired to the worshipping ground. /102/

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

A few incidents in my travels, which happened before this time, while I was a widower, and soon after the Conference at Mount Tabor, where Marshall and Thompson left us, I wish to mention for the good of Evangelists hereafter. At that meeting brother R. Dooley and myself agreed to travel in Ohio for some time. We started immediately, and went to Eaton. We commenced operations there on Saturday, and appointed to preach at a house near town next day. After meeting on Saturday, a lady, (Major Steele's wife,) returned home, and found her husband just returned from the West. She told him that two strange preachers had come to town, and she had been to hear them. Nothing more was said on this subject. In the night Major Steele dreamed that he went to meeting--that a man whom he had never seen rose to preach. The features of the preacher were deeply impressed on his mind, and the very text from which he preached, which was, "If God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things." He was very much agitated in sleep, and awoke. He told his wife the dream, and slept again, and dreamed the same things. He could sleep no more that night. Next day he came to /103/ meeting, and after the congregation met, I arose. That moment Steele recognized the very person whom he had seen in sleep the night before. He began to fear greatly. I read my text, the very one he had heard read in sleep. His mind became so affected that he went out, and tried in vain to be composed. He endeavored to shake off the impression by going with a company to the West to explore lands; but all in vain. He returned, and was by us baptized at a subsequent time.

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

We separated awhile, to preach to the frontier settlers, scattered abroad. One day as I was riding slowly along a small track to an appointment at night, I was passing by a small hut, when a woman ran out and called to me. I stopped my horse. She told me she had heard me preach on yesterday; and with a heavenly countenance she thanked God for it; for, said she, the Lord has blessed my soul. Will you stop and baptize me? Yes, said I, gladly will I do it. I dismounted, and walked into the cottage. O, said she, will you wait till I send for my sister, a short distance off. She was with me yesterday, and the Lord has blessed her too. She /104/ wants also to be baptized. O yes, said I, will gladly wait. She quickly dispatched a little boy to call her husband from the field near the house, and tell the sister to come. In the mean time she was busy preparing dinner for me. It was no doubt the best she had, but such as I had never seen before. I never more thankfully, more happily, and more heartily dined. The husband soon came in, and the wife beckoned him out, and informed him of her intention of being baptized. He obstinately opposed it. In tears and distress she informed me. I talked mildly with him of the impropriety of his conduct, and at length gained his consent. Her countenance brightened with joy; and her sister, nobile par, came. We went down to Deer creek, about fifty yards from the house, where I immersed them. They rose from the water, praising God aloud. A happier scene I never witnessed. The husband looked like death.

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

It was a very common thing at that time for many on the frontiers, men, women, and children, to walk six or seven miles to a night meeting. The darkest nights did not prevent them; for as they came to meeting, they tied up bundles of hickory bark, and left them by the way at convenient distances apart; on their return they lighted these bundles, which afforded them a pleasant walk. Many have I baptized at night by the light of these torches. /105/

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

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

Since the union of the Baptist association, as stated in the last chapter, nothing worthy of particular note occurred till the period when Alexander Campbell, of Virginia, appeared, and caused a great excitement on the subject of religion in Kentucky and other states. "Some said, He is a good man; but others said, nay; for he deceiveth the people." When he came into Kentucky, I heard him often in public and in private. I was pleased with his manner and matter. I saw no distinctive feature between the doctrine he preached and that which we had preached for many years, except on /106/ baptism for remission of sins. Even this I had once received and taught, as before stated, but had strangely let it go from my mind, till brother Campbell revived it afresh. I thought then that he was not sufficiently explicit on the influences of the Spirit, which led many honest Christians to think he denied them. Had he been as explicit then, as since, many honest souls would have been still with us, and would have greatly aided the good cause. In a few things I dissented from him, but was agreed to disagree.

I will saw, there are not faults in brother Campbell; but that there are fewer, perhaps, in him, than any man I know on earth; and over these few my love would throw a veil, and hide them from view forever. I am constrained, and willingly constrained to acknowledge him the greatest promoter of this reformation of any man living. The Lord reward him!

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

Just before brother Johnson and myself united as co-editors of the Christian Messenger, Alexander Campbell , of Virginia, had caused a great excitement in Kentucky, as well as in other states, on the subject of religion. He had received a complete education in Scotland, and became a preacher in the straitest sect of Presbyterians. In early life he had immigrated into America, and under conviction that the immersion of believers only was baptism, he joined the Baptists. Not contented to be circumscribed in their system of religion, by close application to the Bible, he became convinced that he had received many doctrines unauthorized by Scripture, and contrary to them, and /107/ therefore relinquished them for those more scriptural. He boldly determined to take the Bible alone for his standard of faith and practice, to the exclusion of all other books as authoritative. He argued that the Bible presented sufficient evidence of its truth to sinners, to enable them to believe it, and sufficient motives to induce them to obey it--that until they believed and obeyed the gospel, in vain they expected salvation, pardon and the Holy Spirit--that now is the accepted time, and now is the day of salvation.

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

Among others of the Baptists, who received, and zealously advocated the teaching of A. Campbell, was John T. Johnson, than whom, there is not a better man. We lived together in Georgetown, and labored and /108/ worshipped together. We plainly saw that we were on the same foundation, in the same spirit, and preached the same gospel. We agreed to unite our energies to effect a union between our different societies. This was easily effected in Kentucky; and in order to confirm this union, we became co-editors of the Christian Messenger. this union, I have no doubt, would have been as easily effected in other States as in Kentucky, had there not been a few ignorant, headstrong bigots on both sides, who were more influenced to retain and augment their party, than to save the world by uniting according to the prayer of Jesus. Some irresponsible zealots among the Reformers, so called, would publicly and zealously contend against sinners praying, or that professors should pray for them--they spurned the idea that preachers should pray that God would assist them in declaring his truth to the people--they rejected from Christianity all who were not baptized for the remission of sins, and who did not observe the weekly communion, and many such doctrines they preached. The old Christians, who were unacquainted with the preachers of information amongst us, would naturally conclude these to be the doctrines of us all; and they rose up in opposition to us all, representing our religion as a spiritless, prayerless religion, and dangerous to the souls of men. They ran to the opposite extreme in Ohio, and in the Eastern States. I blame not the Christians for opposing such doctrines; but I do blame the more intelligent among them, that they did not labor to allay those prejudices of the people by teaching them the truth, and not to cherish them, as many of them did in their periodicals, and public preaching. Nor were they only blameable; some of the Reformers are equally worthy of blame, by rejecting the name Christian, as a family name, because the old Christians had taken it before them. At this, posterity will wonder, when they know that the sentiment was published in one of our most popular periodicals, and by one in the highest standing among us. /109/

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

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

Since my removal to Illinois, you, my children can remember all that transpired worthy of notice. You know that I was stricken with paralysis in August 1841; from which time I have remained a cripple, and must so continue till relieved by the resurrection to immortality. /110/







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

In the latter part of May '43, accompanied by his son Barton and youngest daughter, B. W. Stone commenced his last visiting and preaching tour through the states of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Though near two years before he had received a paralytic stroke which greatly disabled him, he had so far recovered as to be able to walk a little, and again with profit to occupy the pulpit. He seemed to have a premonition that his end was near, and therefore wherever he went, he spoke as a dying man, with all the solemnities of death and judgment resting upon him. Though his speech was much impaired by paralysis, his mind appeared more vigorous than it had been for many years; and he spoke and wrote with the energy of his best days. On the 10th of June he arrived at Noblesville, Indiana, where he met many of the prominent preachers of that state; and with them and the Christians in attendance, enjoyed a pleasant and profitable interview. From thence, going very much out of his way to Kentucky, he directed his course to Preble county, Ohio. There lived, and yet lives, his venerable, talented, and dearly beloved friend and brother, David Purviance, and others of his old and long tried friends. The forenoon of Lord's-day, the 17th /111/ of June, was spent at a meeting, some six or seven miles from New-Paris, to which place, in the afternoon of that day, he resolved to go. He arrived there while a meeting of his old friends and fellow-laborers in the kingdom of Christ was in progress. Alighting from his carriage, he went immediately to the house of worship. His visit was unexpected. And many long years had passed away, since he had seen many of his friends assembled there. As he passed down the aisle, the preacher, recognizing him, descends from the pulpit to greet him.--His old friends, who are about the stand, arise. There is a gush of feeling--tears start in their aged eyes, as they rush into each others' arms. A scene ensues which beggars description. They praise God together for his preserving goodness.--Some of them had been associated as Christians and fellow-laborers in the cause of Reformation, for near half a century. They had stood by it in its darkest hours; and when the mighty hosts of opposers were waging against it a furious and exterminating war, and when some of its first, its strongest, and apparently most devoted friends, were betraying it to its enemies;--these veterans, unmoved by this fearful opposition from without and within, periled every thing for this best of causes. And now, this last meeting, reviving afresh the recollection of their conflicts, their sacrifices, their persecutions, their joys and triumphs in the cause of truth; they seem, in a short interview, to live their lives over again; and they weep and rejoice alternately. But the hour of separation comes. And O! what an hour! They had been wont to meet and part--to meet and part, for the space of more than forty years. But this is their last meeting and parting on earth. What deep and unutterable emotions struggle within! They sing and pray together, and take the parting hand. 'Tis done. Their next meeting will be in the "Spirit land."

From New-Paris he directed his way to Kentucky, and arrived at his son-in-law's, in Fayette county, the 23d of June. Here, upon the scene of his early labors, /112/ and amidst his many old, and younger friends, he spent some two months quite pleasantly and profitably. Every where he was greeted with demonstrations of joy. He was hailed as a Patriarch in the cause of truth and piety, and as a Messenger of peace. No man was ever more universally loved, by those who knew him, than he. The old loved him for old-acquaintance' sake, and more especially for his works' sake. The young loved him because their parents loved him, and especially because of the loveliness and amiability of his character.

But while much interest was felt in his visits, at every point in this section of kentucky, there were peculiar circumstances which gave his visits to Concord, and especially Caneridge, an intensity of interest which could be felt no where else. When he came to Carlisle, (the place where the Concord church no usually meets,) the writer was absent attending appointments and was therefore denied the privilege of attending that meeting, and of greeting his venerable father in the gospel at his own house. Though the appointment was in the week, yet he is informed that it was numerously attended. Here, in the bounds of one of the congregations to which he had first ministered near fifty years before, he met many of his old brothers and sisters in the Lord, who had stood by him in the midst of his severest trials and persecutions, and helped him by their prayers and piety to sustain that cause, so near to their hearts. But they were now to hear him, as many of them felt assured, for the last time. They had seen him in the bloom of youth, in the prime of life, and they now looked upon him bent under the weight of more than seventy years--his locks bleached--his eyes dimmed--his cheeks furrowed--his countenance care-worn: but through every stage of life they had known him the same humble, pious, devoted, amiable, benevolent servant of God, and of the church. Once more they hear his tremulous voice, as he points them to that Saviour in whom he had trusted for half a century, and in whose /113/ service he had almost worn himself out. The thought of parting with one so pious, so beloved, so useful--one they had known so long, was indeed most affecting. Tears flowed plentifully while they listened to his last admonitions and encouragements. They sing and pray together, and with emotions too deep for utterance--they part.

I should say, that several of his old Presbyterian friends attended this meeting, and greeted him with demonstrations of affection and good feeling. During his stay in Kentucky, he was twice at Caneridge. At his first meeting, it was not in the power of the writer to be present. And as the amiable and pious Gano has described that very interesting meeting, in the discourage delivered at Caneridge upon the occasion of the death of B. W. Stone, which will be found in another part of this work, it is not necessary to make farther reference to it. By a special request from the author, he agreed to return to Caneridge, and hold another meeting, embracing the 2d Lord's-day in August, 1843, the last he ever attended on that consecrated spot. The day of meeting arrived--many attended, and especially of the aged. It was the privilege of the writer to attend that meeting,--and there to press to his bosom the venerated Stone, whom he had not seen for a number of years. Many preachers were present, and a deep interest was felt in the meeting throughout. To see the people, at the close of each meeting, lingering in and about the house to greet the beloved Stone, and speak a word with him, or urge him to their homes, bespoke most clearly how deeply he was seated in their affections. This universal attention and respect paid to him, induced a venerable and sensible brother of the Caneridge church to relate an anecdote he had heard of the amiable Mrs. Madison, relict of Ex-President Madison. A distinguished gentleman, upon greeting her, by way of compliment, remarked--"Every body loves Mrs. Madison." She at once responded--"And Mrs. Madison loves every body." So, said he, "Every body loves Mr. Stone, and Mr. Stone loves every body." This /114/ doubtless was as true of Mr. Stone, as it ever was of any other human being. This is no flattery. It is the deliberate judgment of one who, for a quarter of a century, had the best opportunity of knowing the subject of this just praise. But I must approach the closing scene of this meeting. And O! how shall I approach it! How shall I attempt a description of that which defies and baffles all description! It was a scene worthy the pencil of the celebrated Michael Angelo (sic).

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

He opens the New Testament, and reads from the 20th of Acts, commencing with the 17th verse, to the 21st, inclusive:--"And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what /115/ manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility, and many tears, and temptations which befell me, by the lying in wait of the Jews. And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ." Perhaps I do not exaggerate when I say that in reading these few verses his utterance was obstructed by his feelings a dozen times. Tears started in his aged eyes and flowed plentifully down his furrowed cheeks. The effect was overwhelming. His tears spoke volumes--they spoke to every heart and were responded to in tears from every eye, eloquent of the deep feeling of every heart. Who that considers the circumstances of this parting scene can wonder at the deep feeling manifested upon the occasion.

Yes, said the venerable Patriarch, ye know from the first day I came among you, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility and many tears, and temptations. His mind reverts to the memorable winter of '96, when he first occupied the pulpit, in this consecrated house; and in rapid succession, the thrilling and soul-stirring events of his religious life, for near 47 years, pass in review before his mind: and the deep fountain of his feelings is stirred, and finds vent in a copious flow of tears. The audience too, is furnished with ample materials for the most soul-stirring reflections and comparisons. The aged of his friends look back to the period of his first introduction to them, and they contemplate him as he came in and went out before them, in the days of his youth. They think of his auburn locks--his blooming cheeks--his smooth and handsome features--his animated and piercing eye--his dignified and many bearing. But time, all-conquering time, has destroyed these beauties of the outward man. They look upon him now, as for the last time he stands before them. But /116/ O, how changed! His auburn locks are bleached by the frosts of seventy winters--his cheeks have lost their rosy hue, and in them the plow-share of time has made many a deep furrow--his eyes are dimmed by age--and under the weight of years and infirmities he is bending downward to embrace his mother earth. We weep to see the outward man of our venerable father thus decayed and decaying. But our tears are not all "tears of grief." Tears of joy are mingled with them. We rejoice that while his outward man is decaying, his inward man is receiving new accessions of spiritual strength and moral beauty, day by day--that from the first day he came amongst us till the present hour he has proven himself to be a most devoted servant of God, and of the Church--and that by his humility, his deep piety, his Godly sincerity, his zeal for the honor of his Saviour, the purity and unity of the church--the salvation of sinners--his mild and amiable disposition--his soft and engaging manners--his kind, yet uncompromising course as a Christian, and a "Christian teacher"--by the meekness, patience, forbearance and fortitude with which he has borne a great amount of persecution--the sacrifices of property, of ease and honor which he has offered at the shrine of truth; we repeat, we rejoice to know that by these means he has gathered around him, thousands of upon thousands of the most devoted friends--and commanded the respect, and even the love of many of his most inveterate religious opponents: and that he stands before us this day, after a long and laborious life of toil and self-denial, clothed with the beauties of holiness, encircled with a halo of moral dignity and glory, as undying as the Deity. These are some of the considerations which afford us joy amidst our sorrows.

He reads again: "And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more." The effect of this reading is electrical;--the whole audience is convulsed. The subdued tone of the speaker, his /117/ tremulous voice, his utterance often stifled by a gush of feeling while reading this short by most appropriate and affecting sentence;--together with all the circumstances of the occasion, were well adapted to produce the effect which followed. He stands in the midst of venerable fathers and mothers, whom he had intimately known and ardently loved for near half a century, whose children and grand-children present, he had dandled upon his knees. He is encircled by the walls of that ancient house of God which had stood for full half a century, where the ardor of his youth and the strength of maturer years had been expended in the cause of Christian reformation and gospel liberty. He is in sight of the grave-yard, in which lie buried many, very many of his early and devoted friends, and around him stand those venerable trees with which he had been familiar so long. O, how eloquently, how touchingly do these circumstances appeal to the heart of the speaker. We wonder not at the deep-toned feeling of the venerable Stone, that his utterance is much obstructed by it. We rather wonder that he can speak at all, under the circumstances. Indeed it was almost impossible for him to utter the words "ye shall see my face no more." His reflections overwhelmed him. And shall I see this venerable house--that lonely church-yard--the grove that surrounds me--those scenes of my youth and more advanced age, with which are associated so many fond and touching recollections; shall I see them no more! And above all, must I now take by the hand for the last time those aged fathers and mothers with whom I have spent so many happy hours in the service of the Lord and in social intercourse? And shall I indeed see their faces no more! Yes; such appears to be the will of God.

If the feelings of the speaker were too deep for utterance, those of his audience were equally deep and subduing. We loved him most ardently, as a father in the gospel, whose instructions we had been receiving with great pleasure and profit for many, many years. /118/ The thought, therefore, that we should see his face no more, was most affecting.

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

These verses were read with the deepest emotions--with frequent pauses, from obstructed utterance. He acknowledged that he was a poor erring creature--that he had nothing of which to boast before God; yet he appealed to Heaven, that unworthy as he was, he had sought to clear his skirts from the blood of all men--that he had sought to do his duty to the church and to the world--that he had, to the best of his ability, declared the whole counsel of God; and that his hope of acceptance was wholly in the mercy of God, in Christ. He urged upon the teachers of the church present, the importance of taking heed to themselves and their doctrine, that they might both save themselves and those that heard them.--That while it was very important they should know and speak the truth, it was still more important to its success, that they should live it out, and thus show themselves patterns of good works. He reminded them that in all ages the leaders of the people had caused them to err, and that therefore, if they would be the honored instruments of great good to the church and to the world, they must take heed to themselves and their doctrine, and see to it that they feed the church of God with the wholesome provisions of the gospel, and preach the truth as it is in Jesus to sinners:--in a word, /119/ that they should rightly divide the word of truth, giving to saint and sinner a portion in due season. He warned them of the danger of schism--pointed them to the significant and alarming fact, that in all ages of the church, men of corrupt minds had arisen, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them--that grievous wolves, in disguise, had crept into the flock, tearing and wasting it. And that, above all things, he feared such results in the churches, after his departure. That the object of his life had been to unite the people of God upon Heaven's own plan, and that he hoped to die pleading the cause of union upon the Bible. He reminded them, that if they would promote the unity and purity of the church, they must be humble. That pride had been the bane of union in all ages. That under the influence of pride, men become selfish, self-willed, ambitious, resolved to make to themselves a great name--to make a party and stand at the head of it.--That it makes men forget their obligations to God and their fellow men, in their devotion to themselves. that its tendency is always to schism--is always downward. And that, therefore, God's curse is upon it. "He resisteth the proud." That, on the contrary, humility always tends to holy union--that as certainly as pride and selfishness go together, so certainly humility and benevolence belong to the same family. That as pride disposes us to seek our own, so humility disposes us to look after the happiness of others. That while pride prompts us to esteem ourselves better than others, humility disposes us to esteem others better than ourselves. He pointed them to some illustrious examples of humility, and urged the imitation of them.

He spoke of the holy Baptist, who was willing to decrease, that his Saviour might increase--of Paul, who, though the chief of the apostles, was willing to be accounted less than the least of all the saints--nay, to be accounted nothing, that Christ may be all in all. But he especially urged them to imitate the great exemplar, the great model-character, Jesus Christ, who /120/ though higher than the heavens, was meek and lowly in spirit.

He reads again: "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." Yes, brethren, said the holy man, I commend you to God. To whom else should I commend you? Trust not in man--make not flesh your arm. For it is written, "cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and that maketh flesh his arm." Trust not in the riches, the pleasures, or honors of this world--they are fading, dying, evanescent, deceitful things. Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils. But trust in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah there is everlasting strength. They who trust in the Lord shall never be confounded nor put to shame. He will keep them in perfect peace, whose minds are stayed on him. O, if you would be filled with righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, trust in the Lord and do his commandments. Your happiness and security will then be independent of the storm or sunshine of earth. All things work for good to them that love God--to them who are the called according to his purpose. For full half a century I have known amidst the storms and tempests of life the joys and consolations of trusting in the Lord; and now, in the evening of my life, when sinking under the infirmities of age to the grave, let me, as the best service I can render you, once more, and for the last time, "commend you to God, and to the word of his grace." Yes, to the word of his grace, let me commend you. Precious word! It is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among them who are sanctified--able to make you wise to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, and thoroughly furnished to every good work. Clasp it to your bosom, then, as the most valuable boon belonging to your earthly home. O, hide it in your hearts, /121/ that you sin not. Read it and meditate upon it day and night. It is the word of God's grace. O, precious thought! "Grace! 'tis a charming theme!" My only hope--the only hope of perishing man. Yes, it is God's word of grace, as it reveals his grace to sinners, and as it reveals to saints his exceeding great and precious promises.

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

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

But he reads again, and for the last time: "And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him; sorrowing most of all for the /122/ words which he spake, that they should see his face no more."

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

"My Christian friends in bonds of love,

Whose hearts the sweetest union prove,

your friendship's like the strongest band,

yet we must take the parting hand." &c.

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

Shortly after this meeting, he left Kentucky, and returned to his home in the "far West." He was accompanied by B. F. Hall and others to Jacksonville. They held several interesting meetings on the way, and every where it was remarked, that he was greeted with manifestations of enthusiastic devotion, as a father in the cause of the Bible--the cause of truth and righteousness. /123/

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

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

So deeply impressed was the mind of this holy man with the thought that union is of the essence of Christianity, that the great end of our Saviour's mission to earth was and is to unite us to God, and to one another, that he hailed with enthusiastic joy the least indications of a growing spirit of forbearance and brotherly love among the different denominations. For in the /124/ universal prevalence of the spirit of union among Christians he saw the monster, sin, dethroned--the world converted--heaven descending to earth, and infidelity and scepticism shamed and smiled into oblivion.

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

"I. There has been more labor expended in reaping down the harvest, than in preserving it when reaped--there has been more care to lengthen the cords, than to strengthen the stakes (of Zion)--more zeal to proselyte, than to build up in the faith and hope of the gospel." this is most certainly, and lamentably true. And the correction of this evil demands our special attention. But as an apology for this state of things, it may be remarked, that in the commencement of our plea for reformation, in regard to the terms of pardon, it was important these matters should be made prominent; especially the design of baptism. For here we differed with all the sects; and in reference to the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins, we were much misunderstood and misrepresented by them. It behooved us, therefore, to make this point prominent. Besides, the importance of this item, to a proper understanding of the gospel scheme, and to a rational reception of christ, as our Saviour, required that it should be thoroughly investigated. WE perceived that the various denominations were making frames and feelings the evidence of /125/ pardon--that they taught penitents to expect some immediate revelation of their pardon--by the removal of their burden of sin. And we saw most plainly, in the light of the Word, and of common sense, that pardon, being an act of God, is not a matter of feeling, and can only be known by divine testimony. As I can never know by my feelings that s in which I have committed against my neighbor is pardoned, nor in any other way than from that neighbor himself; so I can only know that the sins I have committed against my heavenly Father, are pardoned, by a revelation in words from himself. We perceived too, most plainly, that the opposite view leads to enthusiasm and fanaticism of every grade. We felt it therefore to be our duty to expose this error, and hold up the truth in regard to this important question. But now that the battle has been fought and the victory, to a great extent, won--that thousands upon thousands of converts have been made, many of whom are dying for want of the wholesome and strengthening provisions of the gospel--our teachers still harp upon the first principles. The young preachers who came in among us in the midst of this conflict, entered with great spirit and ardor into the war, and having distinguishing themselves in this warfare, in regard to first principles, and knowing little else, they seem unprepared and quite indisposed to change their course. But it is my deliberate judgment, if we would not convert our great victory into the most overwhelming defeat, we must leave, measurably, the first principles, and "go on to perfection." We must build ourselves up on our most holy faith, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. In the strength of the Lord we have gained much ground, but if we would not lose our reward we must carefully and diligently cultivate it. Let us study practical Christianity, under Christ, as we have studied first principles--let us pray for greater measures of the Spirit, to help us, and the stakes of Zion will be as strong as her cords are long." then let this admonition of the venerable Stone, who sleeps in his grave, /126/ and whose motive in giving it is above suspicion--O let it sink deep into our hearts and be properly improved in our lives.

Let us hear him again.

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

Beloved brethren, this is a grave charge; and as it was made by a beloved Father in Israel, one whose piety, good judgment, and disinterestedness are unquestionable, we should prayerfully consider it. I know that the proper management of our worldly goods, is a question of great delicacy, and considerable difficulty. Yet, certainly, it is one of vast practical importance. We should, therefore, examine it most carefully, in the best lights we have. We are Jehovah's by creation, preservation and redemption; and are therefore bound to him by a three-fold cord, that cannot be broken. And being the Lord's, body, soul, and spirit, all we have, or can acquire of this world's goods are his; and therefore, all must be used to promote his glory, in the promotion of our personal holiness, the purity and unity of the church, and the salvation of sinners. That wealth was the ruin of the great nations of antiquity is most palpable. That it has always been unfavorable to physical, mental, and moral /127/ health, is just as true. Let us, then, endeavor to use this world as not abusing it. Under the influence of Christian principle, let us cultivate a spirit of physical, mental, and moral improvement, and we shall lay up treasure in heaven, not upon earth. O, if the true spirit of Christian benevolence pervaded the hearts of all the professors of Christianity, how soon might the lights of education and of the gospel of peace be carried into every dark corner of the earth!

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

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

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

"TO A YOUNG STUDENT, R----- G-----."

My Son:--You have just graduated at the University of Missouri, at the age of twenty years. You had previously devoted yourself to the Lord, and identified yourself with his people: now you inquire of me what course I would recommend to you, in order that you /128/ may be a profitable preacher of the gospel; for in this you have determined to spend your days. You say what we know experimentally to be true, that your collegiate studies have occupied the most of your time, and left but little to the study of the Bible; of this you are in a great degree ignorant. The subject of your inquiry is of vast importance to you, and to the cause you have determined to advocate; and I will, at your urgent request, give you the best advice I know.

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

II. In the intervals of your Bible studies, read church history; Mosheim's I recommend you to read first; then D'Aubigne on the Reformation; then Dr. Neander on the first three centuries. Take short notes of all important facts. Forget not meditation and prayer--pray always--pray without ceasing--Keep yourself in the love of God. Vain will be your studies without these. /129/

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

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

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

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

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

VIII. You are blessed with a wealthy, pious father, who is able and willing to support you without the aid of the churches. Go then to the destitute, and build on no man's foundation, taking nothing for your services. Many poor preachers have to confine themselves to the churches, or get no help. You will not be under this /130/ necessity. May the Lord go with you, and be to you a father and a helper in every time of trouble. Be humble.


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

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

"In the month of October, 1844, Elder Stone made his last visit to his children, relatives, and friends in Missouri. On the 19th (Saturday) of that month, he reached Bear creek, where the brethren were assembled in annual meeting. Here he had the pleasure of being greeted by many of his old Kentucky brethren and friends. He was quite debilitated, and being in feeble health, he soon left the meeting house, and did not return until Monday, the 21st. He was laboring under his paralytic affection (sic), and was otherwise very feeble: but he took the pulpit and made his last public effort in the cause of God and man. it was, like all his efforts, able and interesting. But appearing firmly impressed with the belief that it was an effort that would close his public career, he was unusually solemn and impressive. He spoke as if tottering over the grave. His comfort and instruction to Christians--his advice and warning to sinners, will never be forgotten. All were weeping around, and hung with breathless silence and profound interest on the solemn and interesting words that fell from this venerable man of God, now almost worn out in the best of all causes. His great age, his whitened locks, his feeble frame, his deep and ardent piety, his pure morality and unblemished character, together with his great ability as a Christian teacher--the presence of /131/ many of his friends, who had known him almost from the beginning--all conspired to make his last sermon unusually solemn. Thirteen additions were obtained, mostly on that day. The congregation, with weeping eyes, and hearts of love for Elder Stone, gave him 'the parting hand,' and bade him a long, long farewell. Thus usefully and interestingly closed the eventful public career of this excellent man of God. He spent a day or two with his son, Dr. Stone, and left quiet unwell for his home in Illinois. He could get no farther than Hannibal, on the Mississippi river, where he breathed his last in peace, at his son-in-law's, Capt. S. A. Bowen's."


The Church of Christ at Caneridge, to the honored lady and respected children of the venerated Elder BARTON WARREN STONE, deceased"

"Highly esteemed Friends:--To you respectively, the church at this place, moved thereto by considerations the most respectful, would hereby tender the tear of sympathy, and of unfeigned solace and sorrow, for the loss you have been made to realize by the death of an affectionate and tender relative. To you, indeed, he was all that is comprised in the terms good and great, and generous and wise. You have lost your best earthly friend and stay. With you, and for you, we sympathize, we mourn--and this is all we poor things can do. The breach that has been made in your family, and in your social relations, by this providential visitation, can never be healed--no, never. But upon this delicate subject /132/ we would lightly touch, for by doing otherwise, we should only open afresh those wounds, which time, the great restorer, alone can heal.

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

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

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

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

To him has been vouchsafed the unspeakable favor of living to see those great, grand, and heaven-inspired principles, for which he lived and labored, take deep and abiding root, and spread and expand themselves through a variety of agencies and instrumentalities, through the length and breadth of this wide-spread republic. Yes, he, thank heaven, has been allowed enough of life and of years to witness largely the /133/ accomplishment of the great objects and ends of his ministerial life and labors or love.

Few of the people of God who lives about Caneridge, at the commencement of this century, by whom Elder Stone was known, and revered, and loved, are now here. Many have gone to the far West, whilst still more have gone to their last retreat--to the land of silence and of rest. A few, however, now greatly advanced, remain, and still continue to linger and linger on, in their care-worn and time-worn tenements, patiently waiting till their change may come. Yes, we must all die. There is not escape. All flesh is grass--surely the people are grass, and wither, and fade, and pass away. The sentence of death has passed upon all--the express declaration of the Lord God Almighty is, "thou shalt surely die."

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

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

But his sun has set, and that voice so long and so familiarly known to all, which so oft and so sweetly fell upon our ears, shall be heard no more till the heavens have passed away. His sun has gone down--and to all it is matter of unspeakable consolation to know, that it declined in a clear atmosphere, and beneath a luminous sky--that in his last, his lingering and dying hour, he could say, "all is well, all is well." Wherefore we sorrow not as those without hope. Faith points to the morn of the resurrection, when the Lord Jesus /134/ shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God--then shall the saints of the Most High shake off the sleep of death, and spring forth as the bounding roe, to meet their Lord in the air; and so forever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

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





Caneridge Church, December 15th, 1844, being assembled in full session, the foregoing letter was publicly read, and unanimously approved.

Attest, WILLIAM ROGERS, Clerk."

1. Based on the reprint edition contained in Voices from Cane Ridge, edited by Rhodes Thompson (St. Louis, Mo.: The Bethany Press, 1954), 31-134.