Jacob Creath, Jr. Biographical Sketches of Elder Wm. Creath (1866)



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

OF


ELDER WM. CREATH,

A Calvinist Baptist Preacher,


OF MECKLENBURG COUNTY, VA.,


A N D   H I S   F A M I L Y,

BY HIS SON,

JACOB CREATH, of Palmyra, Mo.



Price Fifty Cents.


Saint Louis, Mo.:
T. W. USTICK, PRINTER, No. 79 LOCUST STREET
1866.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

      ELDER WILLIAM CREATH, of Mecklenburg Co., Virginia, was born on the twenty-third day of December, 1768, on the Sea, on the passage of his father and mother from Dublin, Ireland, to Nova Scotia, or New Scotland. His father, Samuel Creath, and his mother, Susan Creath, were both from Dublin, in Ireland. They had four sons, William, John, Samuel and Jacob, and no daughters. His mother's virgin name was Susan Moore. They were both Presbyterians by education and profession. His father died a member and an elder of that sect. His son William was educated in the faith of that sect, and lived in it until about the year 1787, when he was immersed, upon a profession of his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God and the Saviour of sinners, by Elder Henry Lester, and united himself to a Baptist congregation, in Granville Co., North Carolina, then under the care of Elder Thomas Bass.

      The way he received his first impressions from the Baptists, was this: A Baptist preacher came preaching through the country; he was refused admittance in the meeting houses, as they were [3] called Anabaptists in that day, which signifies rebaptizers, and even regarded as heretical in sentiment. He preached in a tobacco barn, in an open field. My father asked permission of his father to go and hear him preach; this permission was refused on the ground that it would be a violation of the Sabbath to hear a heretic preach on that day. My father however being of a bold and independent turn of mind, which was characteristic of him through life, ran off and heard him preach, by lying on the ground on the outside of the barn, as he was afraid to go into the barn, for fear the people would see him, and inform his father of it. The preacher convinced him of the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ, before immersion, and of the necessity of immersion after faith, instead of infant rantism, and he followed his won sense of duty in opposition to his education, and had no cause to regret it through life. This act was so unpopular at that time, and so offensive to my grandfather, that he drove him from his house, and disinherited him, and never became reconciled to him for it, until his death. He considered that in his renouncing the religion of his ancestors, and espousing that of the heretical Anabaptists, he had disgraced his family, and ruined his won character, and this was unpardonable in his son.

      After his immersion, he went to live with Elder John Williams, of Charlotte County, Va., a Cal- [4] vinistic Baptist preacher, from whom he imbibed his Calvinism, and with whom he read and studied, preparatory to his future usefulness, for two or three years. Even in those days young preachers were taught that it was not necessary to study beforehand; that it would be given them in that same hour, by the Holy Spirit. I heard my father say the old preachers told him this, and he tried it several times, and it was not given him as he expected, and he found he could always speak best on those subjects he had matured beforehand in his own mind. Thence he gave up the idea of being inspired to speak after he went into the pulpit. In Brother Williams he found a warm friend, and a pious and talented man, of whom I heard my father speak in terms of affection, gratitude and esteem.

      Before I proceed further with this narrative, I must give a short account of my grandfather's sufferings in the cause of American Liberty. At the commencement of the American Revolution, he was living in Nova Scotia, a British province. As soon as war was declared, he declared himself a friend to America. For this offensive declaration, he was arrested, bayoneted, and dragged two hundred miles to Halifax in that condition and thrown into jail, where he remained seven years, fed upon fourteen ounces of mouldy bread and bad water, until the conclusion of the war, when he was liberated from the prison, and [5] allowed twenty days to make his escape from the province, or be hung as a rebel and a traitor. In the time allowed him, he escaped to New York, and left five hundred acres of rich land on the river St. Lawrence, which was confiscated to the British government for his rebellion; and all his other property was confiscated. During my grandfather's seven years incarceration in the Halifax jail, my grand mother was left with four small children, unprotected and uncared for; often have I heard her say, while lying in bed with her children, the British officers would threaten to cut her head off, brandishing their swords over her "the damned rebel's wife."

      Before my grandfather's imprisonment, he had the presence of mind to put some guineas in the waistband of his pantaloons, and with these he purchased provisions while in prison, which saved him from starvation. His pockets and boots were examined to see if he had any money. This was a part of the price he paid for the liberty of himself and his posterity, and now the writer of these memoirs, is not permitted to preach the Gospel of Salvation in one of the American States, without taking an unjust oath. "Sic transit mundi gloria," so passes the glory of this world.

      My uncle, Jacob Creath, senior, who died in Lexington, Ky., in 1854, was born shortly after my grandfather's imprisonment. On one occasion [6] just before his birth, the British came to drive away my grandmother's cattle, and she attempted to prevent it, and they took her up and threw her away like a log in her helpless condition, and there she lay in the snow, until some French women found her and carried her home, and cared for her, and nursed her, until she came to her reason again, and they saved her life. All these things they suffered for one political expression, probably an imprudent one under the circumstances. He was a bold, impulsive and magnanimous man, fearless of consequences. It is said that Providence favors the brave. God gave him favor with the jailor, as he did Joseph. During these transactions my father was in his boyhood; they made a deep impression on his mind.

      From New York my grandfather moved to Cheneys Valley, in the State of Pennsylvania, and remained there some time, and then moved to Granville County, North Carolina, which lies on the south side of the Roanoke river, opposite Mecklenburg County, Va., where he remained until his death. After the death of my grandfather, my grandmother came to live with my father, and remained with him until her death, which was in 1815. My father immersed her when she was seventy-five years old. She said she had obeyed every commandment God gave her in the Bible, except immersion, and she did [7] not wish to die before she obeyed that one. I saw her immersed. My father preached on the occasion from 1 Peter, 3 chap., and 21, 22 verses: "The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us."

      My father and mother had sixteen children, the names of whom are as follows:

      The first born was Elizabeth Roffe Creath, born on the fourth of March, 1792, and died when two or three years old. My maternal grandmother was a Roffe.

      The second child was Samuel Creath, the first born son, born November 15, 1794. He was named for his paternal grandfather and his uncle, Samuel Creath. He married Mary Waller, of Mecklenburg County, Va., and moved to Tennessee, and died; his wife is also dead. After his death, she married a Mr. Jones, by whom she had two sons, whom I saw in Memphis, Tenn. My brother had two sons; one of them was named James; and was a planter in Louisiana, before the war; the other lived near Memphis, Tenn.

      Their third child was Susan Moore Creath, born April 1, 1778. Our paternal grandmother was a Moore, before her marriage. Susan Moore Creath married John Gregory, of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and they had three daughters, and moved to Tennessee, and died there. Two of their daughters married Holts; one lived [8] before the war, in Memphis, Tenn., and had grown sons; one of whom, John was in one of the banks. The other daughter married a Holt, and lived in Heampstead County, Ark., not far from Washington, the county seat. I was there in 1859, and staid several days with the family. She had grown children.

      The fourth child of William Creath and his wife Lucretia Creath, was Jacob Creath, jr., the writer of these pages, born on the seventeenth of January, 1799, in Mecklenburg County, old Va., on Butcher's Creek, six miles for Boydtown, the county seat, seventy or eighty miles southwest from Petersburg.

      The fifth child was William R. Creath, who was born December 20, 1800; he married a Miss Gee, and died, and his widow and one son, William, moved to Mississippi, near Middleton. I was there and staid several days, some ten or twelve years ago.

      The sixth child, Thomas Brome Creath, born January 23, 1802, and is a Baptist preacher and lives near Jarrott's Depot, Sussex County, Va., not far from Petersburg. I do not know who he married. He has a large family of children, a number of whom are grown and married.

      The seventh and eighth children of my father and mother, were Harriet Pettis and Eliza Simpson Creath, two twin sisters, born November 18, [9] 1804, and died in infancy, and were buried together.

      The ninth child, the second Harriet Simpson Creath, was born December 20, 1805; she married Mr. John Clayton, a worthy and good man, of Brunswick County, Va., and her children were grown, married, and living in that section before the war.

      The tenth child was Eliza Hopkins Creath, the second of that name, was born January 41, 1807, and married a Yankee named Finnell, and she lives near the old homestead, in Mecklenburg County, Va., and her children are in that section of the old mother State, the greatest and noblest State on earth. I love my native State next to my own mother. I feel proud to think that she is my mother State. She was named for Queen or virgin Elizabeth, one of the greatest Queens of England or of earth.

      The eleventh child was Joseph Warner, Dossey Creath, born February 3, 1808. He was named Warner, after my mother's only brother; Dossey, after a very popular Baptist preacher, who traveled very extensively with my father when young who married a Miss Autlaw, of North Carolina, and moved to Society Hill, South Carolina, and from thence to Alabama, and died there some years ago, while I visited that State. My brother Joseph is a Baptist preacher of eminence, and lives at Cold Springs, Polk County, Texas, and [10] was at the head of a Baptist Seminary of Learning, in that State, before the war. His first wife was a Miss Calhoun, a relative of John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina. His second wife was the widow of the brother of Mrs. Samuel Houston, of Texas. Her name was Lee.

      The twelfth child was Lewis Lunsford Creath, born February 17, 1811. He was named for a celebrated Baptist preacher, in Va., called "the wonderful boy," who lived in the lower part of old Virginia. He, if alive, is somewhere in the State of Louisiana, or the Southern States. He came to see me in this place, in 1843, and I immersed him.

      The thirteenth child, George Whitfield Creath, was born December 23, 1813. He was named for the celebrated New Light, or Methodist Calvinistic preacher, of England, the co[n]temporary of the Wesleys. My brother George came to see me in Kentucky, and died there in Fayette County, and was buried some six or eight miles from Lexington, Ky. He died of cholera in September, 1835.

      The fourteenth child was Melancthon Luther Creath, born February 21, 1816. He was named for two of the greatest men of the sixteenth century, two celebrated Saxon or German reformers. My brother, M. Luther, was a Baptist preacher, and died early and unmarried, in old Virginia; he was a young man of piety and much promise. [11]

      Servetus Addison Creath, was born April 19, 1818; he was a Baptist preacher, and moved from Virginia to Marion County, Alabama, and had two or three children; he has lately died there, as I learned by letters from my daughters in that State. He lived some time in Marion, Alabama, and was highly esteemed by the Baptists of that State. He was named for Michael Servetus, a Spaniard and learned Baptist, born in 1509, in Villanueva, in Arragon; was educated at Toulouse, and took his doctor's degree in medicine, at Paris, in France. He was seized as he was passing through Geneva, where John Calvin had an Inquisition, and was condemned to the flames by Calvin, in 1535. I have seen it stated in the course of my reading, that Calvin gave him his Institutes to read, and asked his opinion of them. He criticised his "infant sprinkling" too severely, and therefore he burnt him at the stake for it. He was as learned a man as Calvin, and a better one. He was acquainted with the circulation of the blood, if he was not the discoverer of it, and not Harvey, as is generally supposed. The Arabian physicians knew of it, in the seventh century. (See Life of Calvin.)

      Moses is the first writer who said the blood was the life of beings. Calvin could never learn that other men had as good a right to think wrong, as he had to think right. The system of Calvinism is tyrannical. My father was a great Baptist, and [12] therefore named his fifteenth child and youngest son, in honor of this celebrated, pious and martyred Baptist, and to perpetuate his name, his memory, his virtues, and his fate, as far as he could. I never could see why Baptists should have such love for Calvinism. His wife was an Anabaptist. My youngest brother, also bore the name of Addison, one of the authors of the Spectator, one of the finest writers in the English language, a gentleman and a Christian, who sent for a skeptic when dying, that he might see how a Christian could die; he also assisted in editing the Tattler and the Guardian.

      My father's sixteenth and youngest child was Lucretia Jane Creath, born May 13, 1821. She was married to a Mr. Love, from Western Virginia, near Barbersville; and after his death she married a Doctor Seashols, a very honest, gentlemanly man, who lives in Tayes Valley, Putnam Co., Virginia.

      After my father's death, my mother left old Virginia, and went to live with her youngest daughter, and remained with her until death. My father's daughters were all what the Bible calls fair or beautiful women. Having spoken of the ages and number of his children, I shall now speak of the last interview I had with him, in December, 1821. I had been at school in Milton, North Carolina, with Brother Abner W. Clopton, a Baptist preacher, and at Chapel Hill together, [13] some two or three years, and was then on my way to the Columbia College, D. C., and went by to see him and the family. When I left for Washington City, he rode with me some three or four miles; when the time came for us to separate, we alighted from our horses; he embraced me in his arms; he kissed me; he prayed for me; he blessed me; he wept upon me, until he saw we must part; he then let me depart, both of us weeping.

      It has been a great source of consolation to me, in my wanderings over this world, to reflect that I have the parting benediction of both of my parents, which I esteem above gold and the riches of this earth, and next to the blessing of my God and Saviour. If any child should choose to read these lines, when I am sleeping with my father, let me entreat you, my dear child, so to live--so to love, so to obey and honor your parents--that you may merit and enjoy the dying blessing of your parents. Those children whose history is recorded in the Bible, who received their parents' blessing, always died well. If you have godly parents, who have set you a good example, who have taught you to love, worship and obey God--next to God, love, worship and obey your parents. But few persons know what an inestimable blessing pious parents are to children. The reason assigned by God for this is, [t]hat it may be well with you, and that you may [14] live long on the earth. Not many disobedient children ever do well in this world. Paul says: "Let children learn to show piety at home, to requite their parents." The following are the names of dutiful children in the Bible: Shem, Japhet, Joseph, Samuel, Ruth, Daniel, Timothy; and above all, our blessed Saviour was an obedient child. (Luke ii., 51) The sons of Jonadab were dutiful sons. (Jer. xxxv., 8 to 18.) The Law of Moses says: "Cursed is he that sits light by his father or his mother, and all the people shall say Amen." (Deutr. xxvii., 16)

      We all once lived together under the parental roof, and enjoyed the prayers and instructions of our father. Now, out of the nine sons and seven daughters, there are but five of us left--three sons and two daughters. I am the oldest of the survivors. How solemn I feel while reflecting on these past events! Father used to tell us, at the hours of devotion, that we should all of us soon be in eternity. The few of us that are left are scattered over this wide world. Shall we all meet in that world of rest, of peace and happiness? God grant that we all may obtain eternal life in that day!

      I have thought proper to preserve these memoirs of my father and his family; they may serve as a connecting link to some other events past and future. Before the death of my father and brothers and uncle, there were seven men named [15] Creath who were preachers. I ascribe the piety of their children to the great care they took to raise us in the fear of God. My mother kept a Sunday-School in her own house, before one of the popular institutions was in existence, more than fifty years ago. It is a common remark, that preachers' children are worse than other people's. If this is so, there are reasons which may give countenance to the remark. The first reason which I shall assign is, that generally speaking, preachers are more careful to marry rich, fashionable, worldly-minded beautiful women, than pious, prudent and good housewives and mothers for their children. Mothers have a vast deal to do in forming the minds and characters of children, and children receive a stamp from them which is never erased. A second reason is, most preacher are not provide for by their congregations, and as they have to travel and preach, their children's training is either neglected or else committed almost entirely to the mothers; and if their mothers are irreligious, the children are so too. A third reason is, that preachers' children are more narrowly observed than other children; their faults are magnified. In my father's family there was an exemplification of the truth that infant baptism does no good--does not increase the affection or obligation of parents for their children. [16]

      I have thus hastily drawn up these few sketches in two very cold days (January 5th and 6th, 1864), in the hope that they may be serviceable to plain, honest, pious people, and not for critics nor vain, worldly people, and with but little concern how they may be regarded by light-minded people.

JACOB CREATH.      

      PALMYRA, Mo., January, 1866.


      I have half a dozen letters or more, which I received from my father while at school in different places, after I left his house and after I was free, all of which I would like to insert if I had time and space. I will insert the following letters, which I received at Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina, while I was at school there, as a sample of the others. He was on one of his tours, preaching in that State, when he wrote them, as they will show.



LETTER I.

CAMDEN COUNTY, N.C., July 10, 1819.      

      MY DEAR SON JACOB:--I am not at Colonel Lamb's[;] Bro. Hall informs me he intends to go up to Chapel Hill next week, which opportunity I embrace to send you a few lines. I have enjoyed common health since I left home; except a pain in my side and breast, which is occasioned by constant preaching. However, I do not wish to count my life dear to me, so [17] that I may win souls to Christ and finish my course in the ministry with joy. I have been favored with large and solemn congregations, and the Lord has granted me much liberty in preaching to them, for which I desire to thank and praise His holy Name. I have not heard one word from my family since I left you and them. I am anxious to hear from them; but know not when. Oh, Jacob, this is a gloomy vale. I am tired of self and sin. However, I wish to await my Father's time, and try to do His blessed will on earth, until He pleases to call me home, where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest. Here we have no abiding city; but we seek one to come, which has foundations whose Builder and Maker is God; and as we are pilgrims and sojourners, as all our fathers were, we ought not to think it strange concerning the fiery trials which we meet with, as thought some strange thing happened to us, but rejoice, inasmuch as we are made partakers of the sufferings of Christ; knowing that they who suffer with Him shall also reign with Him. Oh, my son, I sometimes think I see you on your knees praying for your old father that his faith fail not. I trust our petitions often meet at the throne of grace for each other. Remember your brothers and sisters in your prayers. I want to hear from them very much. I hope you are much with the Lord in prayer. Let no man despise your youth. Remember you are but a youth; be humble to your superiors, kind and affectionate to your equals. Teach by example and precept. Let your moderation be known to all men. Deny yourself; take up your cross; be patient [18] in tribulation; endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ--the warfare will soon end. Write to me. Give my best love to Elder Clopton, Bro. Patterson, and all the brethren and friends.

            I remain your loving father,

WILLIAM CREATH.      



LETTER II

OXFORD, N.C., May 6, 1819.      

      MY DEAR SON JACOB:--I left home last Saturday, and your mother, brothers and sisters were all well; I enjoy the same blessing. I accomplished my tour to the North in the time I expected. I had to pleasure to meet large congregations, and I hope the Lord was with me. I baptized six persons on the tour--Sister Smith, the spouse of Mr. John Smith, of Prince Edward Co.; Mary Eggleston and Sally; Kelly Waddell, and Mrs. Lewis, a Methodist lady; also a colored woman. The work of the Lord appears to prosper at Laurel Hill, Lunenburg Co., and at the Brick Meeting House, as also in Jamestown. I was disappointed in not visiting you and preaching in the vicinity of Chapel Hill in April, as I expected. However, your mother and myself spent eighteen days in North Carolina, and at our Association in Greeville Co., Va., where we had a good time. On the last day of the feast, many appeared to be deeply affected. I saw Elder F. Hill, who told me he had received a letter from you and was glad to hear from you. The friends in Lunenburg Co. and at Jamestown are anxious to know when you can come home. They [19] would meet you at Wilson's Meeting-House; and if you would send on an appointment, you would be gladly received by your acquaintances. I sent you a letter dismission by brother Bowden. I received Elder Clopton's kind favor of the 22d of March, for which I wish you to present him my sincere thanks. Tell him I received it as an instance of his unmixed love and esteem, but regret I have not had time to answer it as yet. I am appointed to attend our General Meeting in Petersburg in June. I have received a letter from your uncle Jacob Creath, in Kentucky, and he wrote very pressingly for you to go to Kentucky and go to school. I trust the Lord will make you as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove. Study to show yourself a workman approved of God, that need not be ashamed. I have many trials; pray for your affectionate father,

WILLIAM CREATH.      



LETTER III.

MECKLENBURG CO., Va., April 3, 1821.      

      MY DEAR SON JACOB:--Pray come to our Association, which is the 22d inst. The object of our oppressed Church, will be a review of the business as respects myself. Should it be denied, tyranny must prevail for a while. But God forbid it should always prevail. My love to Elder Clopton and all the friends.

            I remain your affectionate father,

WM. CREATH.       [20]


LETTER IV.

MECKLENBURG CO., Va., May 5, 1821.      

      MY DEAR SON JACOB:--I attended our Association, and the unpleasant difference between myself and the Association was amicably settled. We are now in union and fellowship, as ever. But the grand questions between this Church and the Association are yet undecided. First--Has an Association a right to adjourn from place to place, and meet and transact business under the same election, or not, as the letters of authority designate the time and place of meeting? Second question--Is an Association a proper tribunal before which to hackle, harrow and try any member of any Church in the Association, and that member have no previous notice of any brother having aught against him? Third--Has any committee a right to rend any minister from his Church without the consent of that congregation of which he is a member and pastor? Fourth question--Is it according tot he letter and spirit of the Gospel to publish a brother's faults in the public prints? Fifth question--Has an Association any more power over a minister of the Association than over any other member of the Association? And what is the extent of the power of the Association over either minister or member of any Church in the Association? As you can have easy access to brother Jenkins' paper, I wish you to institute an investigation of these questions in his paper, as they will be subject of future investigations between our Church and the Association. I hope the great Head of the Church will direct a proper discussion of these questions, as much--yes, very much-- [21] of the future prosperity of the Baptists depends on a satisfactory decision of these important questions. It is easier to keep error in the land then to root it out when fully grown. Experience has taught the moral world this truth and it is high time for the friend of Original Truth to awake, when we see tyranny threatening our borders and showing her baneful head in our palaces. Little did I think, thirty years ago, to live to see such stride for power among the Baptists. Oh, my son, let us keep close to the truth of our Lord and Master, and learn of Him, who is meek and lowly, and find rest to our souls.

      Your mother and the children join me in love to you and Elder Clopton and all inquiring friends.

            I remain your affectionate father,

WM. CREATH.      

      P.S.--A great many versions have been had on the difference between the Association and myself. The brethren Jeffresses, and others, have come and made open acknowledgments to us of the improper conduct of the Association, and expect others will do the same.

WM CREATH.      

      When I am done making extracts from the letters, I will notice these questions again.



LETTER V.

MECKLENBURG CO., Va., Jan'y 8, 1822.      

      MY DEAR SON JACOB:--Your kind favor, enclosed in two printed proposals for publishing in Washington City the Columbia Star, together with a printed detail of the names of the Professors of said College, [22] and what is proposed to be taught in said College, with the addition of the President's letter in favor of all the objects expressed in said letters, is now before me. Your trials on land and water have not equaled old Father Paul's, nor your own earthly father's, who has been often in perils by sea and land and amongst false brethren--the last of which is the reason you heard that "I had apostatized." True, the last Minutes of our Association, by Joseph Sanders, is enough to make human nature shudder and even a Turk recoil. But I assure you, my dear son, so far from my feeling the least wish or disposition to apostatize, I hope and pray and cry to be nearer and nearer to the feet and cross of my blessed Jesus, whom, unseen, I wish with all my heart to adore, and whose cause I want to love more than my life. If thirty-five years poor labor could be any witness to men that I love the Lord, it is not wanting. But, alas! my heart accuses me more and more than they would or can; every hour I feel more of my unworthiness. When Satan allures me, I think it is because he knows I do not wish to love him or the ways of sin. When the world says, and has said for upwards of thirty years, "We have caught this man Creath again," I tremble, and am afraid of my wicked heart, lest I should be seduced. But when Baptists in print publish such abominations as are now afloat, I stand and wonder, and in my solemn hours say, Who is on the Lord's side, "Let him come to me." Surely my trials have been great, and my enemies many. But hitherto the Lord has helped me, and in Him I trust. I hope He will be your refuge and [23] Father in a strange land. Neither your earthly father nor mother have forgotten you; our sympathy, our prayers, our tears, our hopes, and our faith, I trust, are still moving in your behalf. Young as you are, you have an ancient guide--He who laid the foundations of the earth and spread abroad the heavens. I trust He will be your guide even to death. As to my being an enemy to learning, it is as false as other things which have been said of me. Ignorance is one of the pillars of the Devil's kingdom, and Wisdom is one grand support of Immanuel's cause. My ardent wish is that success may attend the Institution (the Columbian College in the D. C.), and I pray it may be a nursery for babes in the ministry and the heralds of the ever-blessed Immanuel. Should the wisdom of the Managers of that Institution think my feeble aid of any advantage, their communications on this subject will ever be received with joy, and be attended to with all the promptitude in my power. Please tender my best respects to my dear brother Rice, and to brethren Kerr, Crudup, Brown, and all the friends and brethren.

            I remain your affectionate father,

WM. CREATH.      

      N.B.--Please write to me, and to your uncle Jacob Creath in Kentucky; and tell those men [the Johnsons--Richard, John T. and Col. James Johnson--were all in Congress at that time,] that notwithstanding Joseph Sander's prints, I have not "apostatized," and I hope God will pardon the author of this slander.

WM. CREATH.       [24]


LETTER VI.

MECKLENBURG CO., Va., Feb'y 18, 1822.      

      MY DEAR SON JACOB:--Your kind favor to your mother, as also your letter to me, by our good friend Major Gholson, is before me. I rejoice at your acceptance at the Columbian College. Surely the Lord has done great things for you, whereof you ought to be glad. My dear brother Rice's note of the 6th inst. is also before me. Mr. Blackwell, the Postmaster at South Hill, informed me yesterday, at Wilson's Meeting-House, that there were six copies of the Columbian Star and Latter-Day Luminary in his office for me; brother Rice says, at your request they were sent. My son, you may rely upon it, that I will endeavor, with all the little talents I possess, to promote the interests of the Columbian College. I do hereby authorize you to say to the Mangers of said Institution, that they have my short remnant of time and my small talents at their disposal. I have not long to be with men on earth. Upwards of thirty-two years of the prime and vigor of my days have been devoted, as I hope, to the advancement of our great Redeemer's Kingdom. I have done but little. Oh, that I could do more for the honor of Him who has done so much for me! My son, let all your studies eventuate in the Cross of Christ and the Kingdom of our exalted Lord. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, and His dominion must extend from sea to sea and from the rivers to the ends of the earth. Could you or your poor father, or any of your family, (you have many brothers--eight,) be the [25] honored instruments of spreading the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour to dying men, our time on earth would be well spent. While tyrants and conquering kings of the earth reign for a short time, and politicians are seen at the helm of governments founded on different bases, I wish me and mine to be on the Lord's side. Let others do as they may, I hope we will try to serve the Lord.

      I returned home, day before yesterday, from a tour of preaching in the counties of Brunswick, Greenville, Southampton, Sussex and Surrey. We had wet weather, but a glorious time. Many cried for mercy, while others shouted for joy.

      Your mother, brothers and sisters, join me in Christian love to you, Dr. Stoughton and brethren Rice and O. B. Brown.

            I remain your affectionate father,

WM. CREATH.      


      I have other letters from him, written to me while at school at Chapel Hill and Milton, N. C., and at Washington City. These letters were written more than forty years ago, without the least expectation on his part that they would ever be printed. They were written a short time before his death; he died in 1822. If they do not breathe the spirit of a New Testament Christian, then I am no judge of such a spirit. Independently of his being my father, I can say that I never knew a man who more sincerely and ardently loved God, his Word, his Kingdom and [26] his people, than he did. He had his faults and his sins, like other men, but a more ardent and zealous man I never saw. He was a thoroughgoing Baptist of the old school of Virginian Baptists. He devoted his time, his talents, his energies of body and mind, for thirty-five years, to the promotion of the Baptist cause, which he believed to be the cause of God and truth; and I may add, he devoted his property to the same cause, as he left but little property.

      The brother Joseph Sanders he speaks of was unfriendly to him from some cause, and pursued him and did him injustice and wrong. My father and uncle were both of a forgiving disposition. They are therefore both forgiven, because they forgave others.

"Teach me to feel another's wo,
    To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
    That mercy show to me."

      My father was never at school six months in his life; yet few men used stronger and better language than these letters contain. I have heard him say he only went to school at night six months, after laboring hard all day. He began the world without learning or property, raised a large family, and but few men ever attained greater distinction among the Baptists in Virginia and North Carolina than he did. His contemporaries as Baptist preachers and his co-laborers [27] were Robert B. Semple, Andrew Broaddus, Fristoes, Wallers, Courtney, Shelburne, Watkins, Clay, Bennetts, Burtrie, Ross, Spiany, Reed, McCabe, Roberts, Bacons, Robert T. Daniel, Dabbs, Picketts, Atkinson, Mercer, and many others, too numerous to mention. He was an industrious and honest man, a truthful and upright man, a just and benevolent man; he had a penetrating genius, a strong and retentive memory, natural and simple manners, integrity of heart, fidelity in friendship, ardent and sincere devotion, unwearied, indefatigable and flaming zeal, great firmness and invincibility of purpose, and the most ardent attachment and devotion to God and his friends. His enemies were the most bitter and unrelenting, and pursued him as did Paul's enemies, even to death. A more ardent, devoted and unalterable friend, a man never had; and more bitter enemies, more unrelenting and vindictive, no man ever had. His friends saw no evil in him, and his enemies saw no good in him. He had a host of friends and enemies. It was his nature to be warm and ardent in his attachments and in his antipathies, and he could not avoid it.

      I promised to say something respecting the Baptist Associations and the questions my father propounded to me in one of his letters recorded in these sketches. Baptist Associations, my father said, were as unscriptural as Catholic conventions or papistical bulls. They are unscrip- [28] tural and therefore anti-Christian. They are unknown to the New Testament and to the purest and best days of Christianity. When John closed the Canon of the New Testament Scriptures in 95 or 100, he addressed each congregation separately (see the three first chapters of Revelations). Some of these seven congregations were in a good state, some in mixed condition, and some in a bad condition. Yet they were addressed separately and independently. No Associations, no Conventions, no Missionary Societies, no Conferences, no Quarterly Meetings, no Synods, no Presbyteries, no General Assemblies, no clerical meetings of any description, then existed. All these meetings are unscriptural, and consequently, all their acts are as unauthorized as the Pope of Rome. They are all unknown to the New Testament and to the purest and best days of Christianity. Their tendency is evil, and only evil, continually, from their inception to their death. History is against them. History is philosophy teaching by example. They are religious despotisms; not an exception, so far as I know. All religious sects have used them as engines to oppress and destroy good men and to crush the truth. They are slaughter-pens, to murder good men, such as oppose the reigning superstitions and errors and vices of the different ages. The best way, therefore, to dispose of my father's five questions, is to destroy and annihilate all such anti-Christian, popish, clerical assemblies [29] as those enumerated above. They are one of the most powerful and successful engines of Anti-Christ employed against such as Wickliffe of England, Huss and Jerome of Bohemia, Luther of Germany. Old brother Jeremiah Vardeman, of Kentucky, called Baptist Associations "popish calves," and said he would whet his knife and cut that calf's throat, the Elkhorn Association, in August, 1827; and if the Baptists did not allow him to do it, he would leave them. This declaration he made in the presence of his father-in-law, Thos. Bullock, Jacob Creath, senior and junior, and Albert G. Creath, in October, 1826. When the Baptist Associations first originated, they were harmless things seemingly: they met to sing, pray, preach, exhort and love each other, in Virginia. But, as my father says to me, little did he expect to live to see such strides of power as they had made in thirty years time. They at last became scenes of strife, wrangling, debate, hatred, divisions, questions of debate, &c. If a preacher became more successful or popular than others, that was the place to halter him and slaughter him. My father and brother Clopton are both witnesses for the necessity of reformation among the Baptists. They were both orthodox, prominent and disinterested witnesses.

      I will now introduce my venerable and beloved father's last conflict with the last and greatest enemy of man--Death, the king of terrors, and a [30] terror of kings. He died on the field of battle, in his Master's cause, away from his family two hundred miles. He fell with his face toward heaven. He was carrying the blood-stained colors of his Leader when he fell a victim to the last enemy.

EDENTON, N.C., August 12, 1822.      

MRS. LUCRETIA CREATH:

      Dear Sister:--On opening this letter, I expect your heart will be filled. O, my sister, the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord. I am requested by brother John Blount to write these few liens to you; in whose house your dear companion and our brother, Elder William Creath, took his departure to the World of Spirits last evening, at half-past nine o'clock.

      Elder Creath arrived in this place on the 8th, and put up at brother Blount's, observing that he was quite unwell, and had been attacked with a bilious fever on the 3d inst., but had taken some medicine at Mr. John Nixon's, where he stopped after preaching at Bethel on the 1st inst., and remained there until he left for this place. He preached a short sermon in this place, and after taking a little refreshment at brother Blount's, he said he felt very unwell and would lie down; and had a return of fever. Brother Blount called in a physician the same afternoon, who paid every attention; but it appeared that the disease had taken such a hold on his system that no medical aid could answer any purpose. And, my sister, it appeared to him, soon after he was confined to his [31] bed, that he was not to recover again, and expressed that he felt very thankful that he was with friends. He felt no anxiety for himself, for he knew in whom he believed. All that bore on his mind was his "dear family" and the Church of Christ. He rejoiced on receiving your letter on his arrival here. He lamented your absence in his short illness, but was attended by several of the sisters, as well as the brethren, who paid every possible attention to him. His body will be interred in the family burying-ground of our ancestors, near this place, and a funeral sermon will be preached on the occasion, the first Lord's-day in September.

      Your loss, my sister, is his gain. May our blessed Lord support you and your dear family under this heavy affliction. He has promised to lay no more upon us than he will give us strength to sustain.

      The sisters, brother Blount and family, and Mrs. Hoskins, desire their love to you.

            I remain yours, sincerely,

EDMUND HOSKINS.      

      This letter contained heavy tidings to my mother and her five or six small children. I was at home when the letter arrived, it being vacation in our school at Washington City. Never shall I forget the distress and grief which this letter occasioned to my mother and her children. I was exhausted by a long and fatiguing session of hard study of six or seven months, and then a long journey of two hundred miles or more in the hot sun, and had, in that feeble, emaciated state, to go two or [32] more hundred miles, to water the grave of my departed father with my tears for the last time, in that hot season. I shall never forget the reflections and sensations which I had in going and returning from Mecklenburg Co., Va., to Edenton, N. C. The last time I parted from him was in December, 1821--near South Hill, four miles from his residence. In going from Milton, N. C., to Washington City to school, by stage, I stopped in Prince Edward Co. and procured a horse and saddle, and rode seventy-five miles to spend a few days with my father and mother and brothers and sisters. When I left his house to return to Washington City, he rode with me four miles; and when the time arrived for us to part, we alighted from our horses, and he embraced me in his arms and bedewed by face with his tears, and kissed me, and pronounced his farewell benedictions and prayers upon me; and we parted, to meet no more till we meet upon the shores of Immortality and in the Rest that remains for the pilgrims of God. Even now, while recording these lines, I cannot restrain my tears from flowing, although it has been forty-three years since these things transpired. Who can help from being affected at the uncertainty and shortness of human life--the uncertainty of meeting our loved ones when we separate from them?

      What a great and unspeakable blessing to have religious parents to bring us up in the knowledge [33] and fear of God! I can now recollect the pious lectures my father gave us at morning and evening devotions, besides the example of bowing before us himself in person. He reminded us of the shortness of time, of the vanity and uncertainty of all sublunary things, and of the duration of Eternity. How soon, said he, shall we be done with this world and all things here below! This was complying with Deuteronomy, 6th and 11th chapters--"Thou shalt speak of these things when thou sittest in thine house," &c. I hope God may raise us all up from the dead and give us eternal life, at the resurrection of the just, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

      Bro. Blount told me he spent his time, while at his house, his last hours, in citing a great number of the most remarkable passages of Scripture, from both Testaments, and comments on them, and in prayer, thanksgiving and praise. The ruling passion, devotion, was strong in death. I believe he was as devout and zealous a man as David. He was a man of a warm, ardent, generous and impulsive temperament. I have a number of his manuscript Journals and Notes--from 1802 to the time of his death in 1822. He commences these Journals by saying--"After committing and commending my family to God by prayer, amidst tears and sighs, I left home" on such a day and year; as, indeed, I know he did. He saluted his family when he parted and when he returned, and [34] was always glad to find us alive when he returned after an absence of six or eight weeks, two or three times a year. Here is a specimen of the manner in which he commenced his Journal:--"Friday Morning, March 14, 1817.--After commending my family to God in prayer, I parted with my dear spouse and children, except my daughter Harriet Simpson, who accompanied me on a circuit of forty days in the lower parts of North Carolina and Virginia." These Journals are notes of where he tarried all night, how he was entertained, where he preached each day, the texts he preached from, the effects of the preaching, the numbers received and baptized, and the numbers who came forward to be prayed for, &c.

      My father was a deadly foe to infant-sprinkling and to Armenianism, and never failed to attack and expose them; and this course brought him in contact with the ablest advocates of these systems, wherever he traveled. He held many debates with the ablest men on these questions, as the following letter will prove:

ORANGE COUNTY, N. C., July 30, 1812.      

ELDER ROBERT T. DANIEL:

      Dear Bro.:--After maturely deliberating upon the impolite and ungentlemanly attack made on me by Mr. Wm. Hill in Raleigh, last Sunday night, in the Methodist Meeting-House, I think it expedient to spread on paper the following statements, which you are at liberty to use as you think proper. [35]

      First statement--I pledge myself to prove, at a convenient time, that the said Hill did make an attack upon me in the Baptist Meeting-House, in Portsmouth, Va.

      Second statement--That I offered him, at the same time and place, the benefit of the Baptist pulpit, and my readiness to reply, and he refused to do it.

      Third statement--That Mr. Hill did pledge himself to reply to my sermon, on the same evening, in the Methodist Meeting-House, and that I told him I would attend and hear him, which I did, and Mr. Hill did not comply with his promise, for he did not attempt to answer my sermon that evening.

      Fourth statement--That after Mr. Hill finished his sermon, I asked leave to speak ten minutes in the Methodist Meeting-House, and was denied the privilege of doing so.

      Fifth statement--Mr. Hill did, then and there, publish that he would reply to me on Wednesday evening, and that he was informed by a gentleman present that I could not attend, because my appointments were published at Shoulder's Hill, on Monday at Suffolk, Wednesday at Branch's, forty miles distant from Portsmouth.

      Sixth statement--That I waited on Mr. Hill at his lodgings, and took several gentlemen with me, and requested Mr. Hill to postpone his reply until I could be present; stating, at the same time, that if the glory of God and my conviction, and the instruction of the people, were the motives which induced him to reply, no disadvantage could arise from my being present--for, if I was in an error, he could not lead [36] me out of it unless I heard his arguments; which he refused "because," said he, "I have given my word to reply on Wednesday evening." I told him, he who forfeited his word once could do it again; that he had given his word to reply to me on Sunday evening, and had failed to do it.

      Seventh statement--He said he was instructed not to talk with me; that he was informed that Mr. Dossey and myself were sent out by the Conference in Tarborough to break up the Societies; he charged me with baptizing several of his members, below Washington, on Blunt's Creek. To which I replied, that neither Mr. Dossey nor myself were under any imperious bishop, or awful despot, to drive us here or there--we went where the Lord directed us. The people said they were convinced of the reason he would not reply when I could hear him.

      Eighth statement--I do, in the most positive and unequivocal terms, deny that I said infants were as vipers wrapt in honey, and can prove that I did not say so; though Mr. Hill asserted boldly that I did say so.

      Ninth statement--I shall pay no attention to any challenge given, or that may be given, by any of Mr. Francis Asbury's dupes or underlings--First, not because I fear their superior genius, intrigue or learning; but because they have brought some of their greatest men against me, and the result of their attack I leave to those who were present to determine. Secondly, because I believe it is the design of Mr. Asbury, through his instruments, to [37] divert my mind away from the work in which I am engaged, in preaching the Gospel. Thirdly, if I were to conquer one dozen of Mr. Asbury's dupes, he has more who, I expect, would be sent on to attack me, either in print or otherwise, to injure my character, and prevent the people form hearing me preach. Fourth, because all the Episcopal Methodist preachers are only the breath of Mr. Francis Asbury. Fifth, I am of opinion that Mr. Hill was sent to Raleigh to attack me and, if possible, to undermine the doctrine preached by the Baptist ministry at the General Meeting. If Mr. Asbury and his confederates are so anxious to conquer me, I am willing to meet them at any place near the center of Old Virginia, if they will give me timely notice. And I will spend a week with them in investigating the important points in which we differ--and that shall end the attacks of his servants on me.

            I remain yours in Gospel bonds,

WM CREATH.      

      Remarks on this letter.--First, it was written more than fifty years ago. It shows that he came in contact with some of the most celebrated advocates of Sectarianism of that day, such as O'Kelly, Nolly, Dan[,] Hill, Earley, and many others. The Dossey named in this letter was a Baptist preacher, who spent much of his time at my father's house, and in traveling with him and preaching. He married a Miss Outlaw in North Carolina, moved to Society Hill in South Carolina, and lived there many years; and moved from [38] there to Alabama, and there died, at an advanced age, some years ago. He was a popular and celebrated preacher in his day. Third--My father had a work, written by one of the early Methodist preachers, called "William Guiry's Life of Asbury," which gave the history of Mr. Asbury and the early Methodist preachers, which was not very flattering to them. It gave the history of Messrs. Asbury, Wesley, Coke, O'Kelly, and others, for the priority and the superiority of these men over Methodism in America. I once owned the work, but loaned it out and lost it. It stated, among other things, that Mr. Asbury lay concealed in White's garret, in Baltimore, during the Revolutionary War, and refused to swear allegiance to America until the war closed, as did most of the preachers of that order and day refuse to do the same thing. They were so directed by Mr. Wesley. It stated that Wesley and Asbury were like Pompey and Csar--one would have no equal, and the other no superior. It is a severe work. It would be well to reprint it, if a copy could be found. It stated that Mr. Asbury with fourteen preachers expelled James O'Kelley with twenty-eight preachers. They were intriguing for the Bishop's office.

      But I have probably said enough. A least, I have said more of my father than is recorded of Elisha. It is recorded, Elisha died, and they buried him. I will now insert a few lines from a letter from my brother Thomas B. Creath, of Sussex Co., [39] Va., respecting the last moments of my venerable and beloved mother on earth:

SUSSEX CO., Va., May 4, 1853.      

      DEAR BROTHER JACOB:--It becomes my painful duty to inform you that our dear old mother is no more. She died about 3 o'clock, p. m., at brother John Clayton's, her son-in-law, in Brunswick Co., Va., on the 17th of April, without a struggle or a groan; like a lamp or a candle, she expired almost imperceptibly. When brother Clayton saw the change in her, he asked her if she wanted anything. Se said, she wished to be with her Saviour. After bidding them all farewell, with the solemn injunction to meet her in heaven, her faltering lips, in rather indistinct tones, were heard to say--"Sweet, sweet Saviour!"

      Thus died one of the great and good women of this earth, as all would testify who knew her laborious, prudent, devoted, long and pious life. She feared, worshiped, loved and obeyed God, above many of her co[n]temporaries. Her children, her works, and her brethren, all praise her. The best history, eulogy and tribute which I can pay to the great moral worth, piety and singular virtue of my departed and venerable mother, is that character of a woman of genuine worth laid down in Proverbs, chapter xxxi., from verse 10 to 31, which reads as follows:

      "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of [40] spoil. She will do him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is yet night, and gives food to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considers a field and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night. She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretches out her hand to the poor; yea, she reaches forth her hand to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes herself coverings of tapestry: her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes fine linen and sells it; and delivers girdles to the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty vain, but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." [41]

      I believe my mother filled this picture of a great and good woman completely--so do those who knew her the most intimately. My mother, at the time of her death, lived with her youngest daughter, Mrs. Lucretia J. Seashols, in Teayes Valley, Putnam Co., Western Virginia. She and her daughter Seasols were on a visit to see her children and grandchildren in Brunswick Co., Old Virginia, at the time of her death. She died May 17, 1853.

      My father for the last twenty years of his life, traveled extensively in the middle and lower parts of Virginia, and North Carolina, and Mary[l]and, and preached the Gospel, and he kept a journal of his travels, with dates, places, persons and facts, and I much regret that I have not his journal to furnish me with materials for the biography of one who was so generally, and so highly esteemed among the Baptists; of one who was so zealous, so useful, and so instrumental in turning hundreds to righteousness. He was the contemporary and colaborer of Robert B. Semple, of Virginia; they were nearly of the same age; baptized the same year; married the same year; began to preach the same year; and were often together; and he was also the colaborer with Andrew Broddus, senior, of Elder Courtney of Richmond, Va., of Benjamin Watkins; of Ely Clay; of John Kerr; of Richard Dabbs; of Robert T. Daniel; of James Shelburne; of David [42] Barrow, A. W. Clayton, Lewis Lunsford, and many others too numerous to mention. He had the religious frien[d]ship and confidence of all these celebrated Baptist preachers. He was powerful in argument, mighty in the Scriptures, and in his exhortations he was pathetic and irresistible, and sometimes overwhelming in his appeals. He would speak from two to two-and-a-half, and three hours, with great earnestness, power and zeal. A deist once said there were but two things that could make him cry, one was shaving with a dull razor, the other was hearing William Creath preach. I once heard a congressman observe, that he was the only man he ever heard, who could speak three hours, and speak good sense all the time, and rivet the attention of an audience all that time.

      He was five feet ten inches high, and weighed two hundred and twenty pounds. His complexion was florid; his eyes were black and full, of fire and animation; and a lady once remarked, they looked like they were fixed upon wheels. His hair was black as a raven, and in the latter part of his life his locks were grey. His memory was retentive. His great forte as a speaker was facts, arguments, scripture earnestness, zeal, pathos. In his person he was a perfect model of symmetry. He measured two feet across his breast. He had great muscular strength and indomitable energy. His temperament was ardent, sanguine and Irish. [43] He was warm, affectionate, devoted and confiding in his attachments, and violent in his resentments. His friends were of the same character with himself. He had a host of powerful and almost idolatrous friends who saw no fault in him. His enemies, the Armenians and Pedobaptists, saw no good in him; they were abusive and slanderous, because he showed them no quarter. His enemies persecuted and pursued him most unrelentingly as Saul's enemies did him. There was no medium in his character; those who knew him were either his friends or foes. There was magic in his name to his friends, and there was death in it to his enemies.

      Some ten or twelve years ago, I was preaching in the State of Alabama, a gentleman from North Carolina, was traveling through the State and heard of me, and called upon me, and asked me if I was a son of William Creath, of Va. I told him I was; he told me he knew my father well; that he had often been at his house; that he loved him, and his name, and everything akin to him.

      In October 1826, the writer of these memoirs was traveling to Mississippi, and incidentally fell in with a gentleman in the Indian Territory, named Nathaniel Barrow, of La., formerly of North Carolina, and after traveling some distance he asked me my name, and when he heard I was a son of William Creath, he rejoiced as if he had [44] met with an old acquaintance, and as evidence of his friendship, he insisted on paying my expenses to the end of our journey.

      These incidents will serve to show the warm devotion which his friends felt towards him.

      In his creed he was a Calvinist, out and out; a thorough going Calvinistic-Baptist preacher of the Gillite school. He believed it with all his heart, and preached it that salvation was by Calvinistic grace. With him it was grace or works, and with him it was once in grace, always in grace. Granting his premises, no Armenian could withstand his batteries; he swept it like a tornado; he literally tore it up root and branch. He was most uncompromising and unflinching in his opposition to it in all his discourses. He entered the contest in all the ardor of his Irish nature, and with him it was "victory or death." He asked for no quarters, and he gave none to Pedobaptists and Armenians. He had studied the questions well and he was master of them. When he would preach in Richmond, Va., at the Baptist Associations and other large meetings, they almost idolized him, and were ready to carry him away on their shoulders, they were so transported with his eloquence. He was no half way Baptist. He was a believer in old Dr. John Gill's Calvinism, the learned Baptist commentator, and the preceptor of the immortal author of Paradise Lost--John Milton. The twelve articles of whose [45] creed may be seen on the eighth page of the first volume of his Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.

      The five points of Calvinism are "the eternal, personal and unconditional election, or predestination of a certain and definite number of the human race to eternal life from all eternity. Second article--The total hereditary depravity of these eternal elect persons. Third--That Christ died for these elect persons, and for no others. Fourth article--That the Holy Ghost operates on these eternally elect persons only before faith, to produce faith, or to regenerate them without the Word, that they may repent, then believe, then be pardoned by faith alone, then be baptized because pardoned; and Fifth--That these elect persons will all persevere, and not one of them will ever be lost or go to perdition.

      It will be asked, as it has been asked, why I do not believe and preach these dogmas of my father? To which I reply, that I did believe and preach them until I examined them, and renounced them for the following reasons: Not one of these dogmas, however true, can be found in the Gospel preached by our Saviour, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; therefore they are not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He understood and preached his own Gospel as truly, or better than did Paul or Peter, or Luther and Calvin, or any other man [46] who has lived since his death. This one reason is sufficient, if there were no other reason. My second reason is, that Christ and the four Gospels are the foundation of the Christian Institution, and not the epistolary writings from which these dogmas are extracted or distilled--especially Paul's Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians, in which he proves the admission of the nations into the Church of God, by faith and obedience without circumcision, equally with the Jews. My third reason is, there is no salvation in these dogmas. Whether true or false, I can believe them all and be damned, and I can disbelieve them all and be saved. Therefore they are nothing in the salvation or damnation of any person. God has nowhere in the Bible said, if I believe these dogmas I shall be saved, or if I disbelieve them I shall be damned. But he has said, he that believes the Gospel--which is, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, that he died for our sins, was buried and arose from the dead--and is baptized, or obeys the Gospel, shall be saved. (Mark xvi., 16; 1 Cor. xv., 1 to 5.) Peter says there is salvation in no other being. (Acts iv. 12.) There is no salvation in doctrines or churches, but in Jesus Christ and the Gospel. My fourth reason is, that the primitive Christians of the three first and purest ages, or centuries of Christianity, did not believe nor teach these dogmas, and were saved without them; therefore we may [47] be saved without them. Dr. James McKnight, a Presbyterian and the Prolocutor of the General Assembly of Scotland, thus testifies: "The controversy agitated in modern times, concerning particular election, was unknown in the primitive Church." (Vol. 4, page 19, of his bound Commentary on the Apostolic Epistles.) Dr. Martin Luther says, page 188: "What a shameful act of temerity it is, therefore, to load Paul with the unmerited imputation of his having taught the doctrines of the decretum absolutum, or absolute decree of predestination or reprobation--a doctrine, at the recital of which every human heart recoils with horror, and at which the common sense of mankind revolts,"--and much more to the same effect. He said that the doctrine of election and reprobation was the doctrine of the very Devil. Dr. Lawrence Mosheim, the ecclesiastical historian, says: "And every one knows, that the peculiar doctrines to which the victory was assigned at the Synod of Dort, were absolutely unknown in the first ages of the Christian Church." (Vol. 4, page 94.) Moses, our Saviour, and the Apostle Paul, say that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every thing is to be established.

      Thus I have not only proved that these dogmas are not in the four Gospels, but that they were absolutely unknown to the first ages of Christianity. There were no persons in eternity to elect. Adam was the first man God made, and he made [48] him after he made this earth, and not in eternity. Purposes and decrees are not persons. There is not one unconditional blessing enjoyed by man in nature, providence or grace: not one--not even sleep.

      My fifth reason for rejecting these dogmas is, that the doctrine of special operation of the Holy Spirit on unbelievers, in order to produce faith, is false. There is not one instance in the Bible of God giving his Spirit to an infidel to produce faith in him; and this is the backbone of Calvinism and Sectarianism. Our Saviour taught that a man must be born of the water and the Spirit. This was said to an adult believer. (John iii., 8.) He said that they that believe on him should receive the Holy Spirit. (John vii., 37, 38.) He said that the world, or unbelievers, could not receive the Holy Spirit. (John xiv., 17). Peter and all the Apostles taught the same thing. Peter said to the Jews, "Repent and be immersed for redemption, and you shall receive the Holy Spirit." (Acts ii., 38.) Peter said again, that God gives his Holy Spirit to those who obey him. (Roms. v., 5; 1 Cor. iii., 16, vi., 16; Gallatians iii., 14, iv., 6.) "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Father, Father." (Ephs. i., 12, 13.) "After that you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." (Acts xix., 2.) Have you received the Holy Spirit since or after you believed? There is [49] not one exception to this rule in the New Testament. God gives his Spirit to believers, and not to unbelievers, as Calvinists, Armenians and all Sectarians teach. Calvinism is the gospel of the Council of Dort, which sat in Holland in 1618, and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ nor the Apostles. To put the Epistles before and above the four Gospels and Jesus Christ, is as great a perversion and reversion of the Gospel as to put unbelievers in the place of believers, and sprinkling in the place of immersion. To make a gospel from the Epistles is as great an error as to put Peter at the bottom, and Christ on Peter. It is as great an error in religion as the politicians commit who place Federalism at the bottom, and the States nowhere. When I was young the people believed that they and the States were the pillars and creators of the Federal Government, and that the Federal Government was the servant and agent of the people. But times change, and the people change with the times.

      I claim the same right, to choose for myself, that my father did for himself. Few men of his day better understood, and could more ably defend, the baptismal controversy, than he could. He debated with leading Pedobaptists in his day, such as O'Kelly, James Nolly, and others. He was bold to declare, on all occasions, and to prove it, that infant rantism had no reason nor Scripture to support it. He believed and taught [50] that infant baptism was the ground and pillar of Popery. He was well versed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, in Church history and in religious polemics. Brother James B. Taylor, of Richmond, Va., in his History of the Virginian Baptist Preachers, says, on page 328: "He was, according to Semple, the means of originating the churches called Allen's Creek and Wilson's, and for some time supplied Malone's--all in Mecklenburg County, Va. These churches, even though in his immediate vicinity, did not to any great extent prosper. He was in the habit of making lengthy tours through different parts of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. For many years he was scarcely employed in any other way than as an itinerating preacher. It could have been wished that he had occupied a more circumscribed sphere, and been more regular in his circuits, as in this way he might have shed a more effective influence on the cause of Christ."

      My remarks on the above histories: First--Bro. Semple obtained his information from hearsay, as he was never in my father's neighborhood--never nearer than Richmond, which was eighty miles from my father's; and brother Semple lived below Richmond some fifty miles. Second--Allen's Creek was twenty miles or more from my father's, and Malone's was six miles below my father's house. Third--He preached for these churches occasionally; he was not their pastor. [51] His being little at home shows that he was not their regular preacher. Fourth--An itinerating preacher could not be the regular preacher of churches. Fifth--In traveling and preaching, he obeyed the command of our Saviour, "Go and preach the Gospel." Sixth--Then he did more good by traveling, and it was more in accordance with his gift and talent.

      Brother Taylor continues: "He was in many respects qualified, as a public speaker, to command the attention of auditors, and generally called out, wherever he preached, large congregations.' That some idea of his talents and manners may be obtained, the following testimony from the pen of Elder Semple is introduced. Mr. Semple, being well acquainted with Elder Creath, was qualified to give a correct judgment. Referring to Wilson's Church, he says: "This Church was planted by the labors of Elder William Creath, while he was pastor at Allen's Creek. At first they were but small; but in 1802 God sent them a time of refreshing, when about forty persons were baptized. Since that time there have been deaths, removals and expulsions sufficient to counterbalance their additions; so that their number at present is only fifty-four. Although they have not for some years past been blessed with a revival, yet under the care of their active and laborious pastor, they enjoy peace, love and good order." [52]

      My remarks on the above history: First--While he preached at Allen's Creek, he lived in the lower part of the county; while he preached for Wilson's Church, he lived in the lower part of the county. This made a difference. My father was poor and had a large family to educate and support, and, like most of the Baptist preachers of that day, he received but very little for preaching. Second--Brother Semple says he was active and laborious, and that he added forty persons to this Church at one time, which proves that his preaching was blessed to them.

      On page 329 of brother Taylor's history, quoting from Semple's History of the Virginian Baptists, written in 1809 or '10, Semple says: "Elder Creath is a man of strong mind and deep research in matters of divinity, and were his manners equal to his matter, he would be among the greatest of preachers. He is thought by many to be too fond of polemic points; so as to lessen his usefulness by exciting unnecessary prejudices. One thing is certain--that in subjects of dispute there is a time to speak and a time to be silent; and when we speak unseasonably, and especially if it should be intemperately, we damage the cause we profess to espouse. But with this, (if this be so,) Elder Creath is a very useful man. He seems willing to spend and to be spend for the honor of his Master."

      Remarks on the above history: My father's manners were his own; they were natural to [53] him--he did not assume them; he could no more avoid the manners that were peculiar to him than he could his peculiar cast of mind. Natural manners last the longest, and are always more pleasing to sensible people than affected manners, however pompous or plausible.

      He was superior enough to ordinary preachers, with his natural manners, to excite their envy, as this history proves; and if his manners had been equal to his matter and mind, he might have been too superior, and would have excited more envy than he did among the preachers. We might with as much propriety say, that if some men's matter and mind were equal to their manners, they would be great too. Aping others, or putting on manners, is always an evidence, or a consciousness of the person who assumes them, of his inferiority, or he would not borrow other men's manners, and appear as awkward with them on as David did with Saul's armor on. Every person has his peculiar gift from God, and no two persons are alike any more than two leaves of trees or two human faces. Few men have the strength of mind or boldness of character to tread the thorny paths of controversy, and to ward off the blows aimed at the cause and Master they serve. My father's cast of mind would not allow him to tread in beaten paths, or to believe a thing because others believed it; he investigated and thought for himself on all subjects, and he allowed others to do the same. Every good and great man whose history is recorded in the Bible was a controversialist, from Job to Paul. They all had enemies--even our [54] Saviour, who was the only perfect character that ever appeared on this earth. As soon as merit was born, envy appeared. My father had his faults, sins and enemies, like other men, and he had his virtues too. It is acknowledged by both of these historians that Elder Creath was active, laborious, zealous, useful and willing to spend and be spent in his Master's service. What more could be said in praise of any man? It was said, as giving the highest praise of David and of Christ, that "the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." (Psalms lxix., 9; John ii, 17.) When you say a man is a zealous and "warm-hearted Christian, willing to spend and be spent for his Master," you have said as much as can be truthfully said of a frail mortal man as we all are. He gave the highest evidence of his devotion and zeal to his Master by spending the last twenty years of his life in preaching, day and night, in three States, and by dying two hundred miles from home, fighting the battles of his Master, and by dying triumphantly and gloriously, falling with his face towards heaven, as the following account of his death proves.

      The following account of his death and of the closing scenes of his zealous life is taken from the Latter-Day Luminary, a Baptist periodical published in Philadelphia, Penn., in 1822:

      "He left home on the fourth day of July, 1822, on a tour of preaching in the lower parts of Virginia and North Carolina. From this journey he was never permitted to return. On his way home he was arrested by an inflammatory fever, and was confined at the house of brother John Blount, in Edenton, [55] North Carolina. He died on the ninth of August, 1822, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. It was said by those who had heard him preach for a number of years previously, that they had never heard him preach with so much power and zeal as he did on his last tour. He spoke as though he knew it was the last battle he was to fight, and in full confidence of victory. The last time he preached, he seemed to be in full view of heaven, and observed, as he arose, that he could scarcely stand; but as he firmly believed it was the last time he should preach, he was more anxious to gain a triumph than he had ever been before. That was on Thursday; and on Saturday following he fell asleep in Jesus Christ, his Saviour. In the whole of his illness he manifested a noble indifference to himself, with the most tender and sympathetic concern for his dear family and for the Church of Christ, and with great fervor he poured out his affectionate petitions for them. The day he died, he tried to preach, to all that came to see him, from these words--'Thy Kingdom come'; and when he could not preach, he prayed. The following are a few of the many passages of Scripture he quoted or repeated, with comments on them: 'I know that my Redeemer lives;' 'Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none on earth I desire in comparison of Thee;' 'I have fought a good fight, I know in whom I have believed;' 'It is a faithful saying, and worthy of universal acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;' 'O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory!' 'Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!' His fortitude was unbroken, [56] and his faith strong to the last breath. He spent his last days, hours and minutes in repeating the Scriptures and in prayers and exhortations. Without a struggle, he reclined his head on his Saviour's breast, and breathed his life out sweetly there. And just before his spirit took its joyful flight, he repeated this verse:

"'Farewell, vain world! I'm going home--
My Saviour smiles, and bids me come:
Bright angels beckon me away
To realms of everlasting day,' &c.

      "He left an affectionate spouse, who assisted him in his ministerial labors, and thirteen children, all of whom became members of the Church, and five of whom became preachers."

      So much for the Latter-Day Luminary. I came home from school at the Columbian College, D. C., in the vacation, and while at home the letter came, announcing the melancholy news of his death. It was indeed heavy tidings to my mother and her fatherless children. I went to Edenton for his horse and buggy and clothes and books. Never can I forget my sensations and tears, in going and returning home on such an errand. May my last end be as triumphant as his was.

      He was an industrious, honest and hospitable man. His house was the travelers' home for the Baptists and Baptist preachers, from Maine to Georgia, and for all his acquaintances, and for all who called on him. He kept an open house, free of charge. He had a large farm; he made an abundance to eat, and he and his family and friends consumed it; as we [57] were far from the nearest market, Petersburg, (sixty-five miles,) he sold but little of anything except tobacco.

      There was no funeral sermon preached over him, as he had always requested us not to preach over him, assigning as a reason, that there was none preached over Christ or the Apostles, or martyrs, or primitive Christians. He was a religious and devout man. He maintained family devotion twice daily, morning and evening, constantly and regularly, by reading the Scriptures, singing and prayer, and be catechising us. The following were some of his favorite hymns:

"What various hindrances we meet,
In coming to a mercy-seat;
Yet who, that knows the worth of prayer,
But wishes to be often there," &c.

"Jesus, my all, to Heaven is gone,
He whom I fix my hopes upon," &c.

"Jerusalem, my happy home,
O how I long for thee," &c.

"How firm a foundation, you Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word," &c.

      He had a great abhorrence of dancing and dancers, and gave as one reason, the tragical end of old John the Immerser. [58]








      NOTE.--During the preparation of this Biography for the press, the Publisher and the Printer were one hundred and fifty miles apart. To this fact the reader will please attribute such inaccuracies as may be apparent in the work. [59]








  1/19/78
[Compiled by] Betty Creath
8421 East Albion Place,
Tucson, Arizona 85715-4403.

Index to Biographical Sketches of Elder Wm Creath, A Calvinist Baptist

    Preacher, of Mecklenburg County, Va, and His Family by his son,
    Jacob Creath of Palmyra, Mo. T. W. Ustick, Printer, No 79 Locust St,
    Saint Louis, Mo. 1866.

Adam, 48
Addison, 13
Antlaw [sic, Autlaw]/Outlaw, DOSSEY*, 10
Asbury, Francis, 37, 38, 39
Atkinson, 28

Bacons, 28
Barrow, David, 43
Barrow, Nathaniel, 44
Bass, Thomas, 3
Bennetts, 28
Blackwell, 25
Blount, 31, 32, 34
Blount, John, 55
Bowden, 20
Broaddus/Broddus, Andrew 28, 42
Broddus/Broaddus, Andrew 28, 42
Brown, 24
Brown, O. B. 26
Bullock, Thos, 30
Burtrie, 28

Caesar, 39
Calhoun, CREATH, 11
Calhoun, John C, 11
Calvin, John 12, 46
Clay, 28
Clay, Eli [sic, Ely], 42
Clayton, A. W., 43
Clayton, Harriet Simpson (Creath)* 10, 35
Clayton, John, 10, 40
Clopton, 19, 20, 22, 30
Clopton, Abner W., 13
Coke, 39
Courtney, 28, 42
Creath, Albert G., 30
Creath, (Calhoun), 11
Creath, Eliza Hopkins FINNELL, 10
Creath, Eliza Simpson, 9
Creath, Elizabeth Roffe, 8
Creath, (Gee), 9
Creath, George Whitfield, 11
Creath, Harriet Pettis, 9
Creath, Harriet Simpson CLAYTON, 10, 35
Creath, Jacob, 3, 6, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 30, 40
Creath, Jacob, jr, 9, 30
Creath, James, 8
Creath, John, 3
Creath, Joseph Warner Dossey, 10
Creath, (Lee), 11
Creath, Lewis Lunsford, 11
Creath, Lucretia, 9, 31
Creath, Lucretia Jane LOVE SEASHOLS, 13, 42
Creath, Mary (Waller), 8
Creath, Melancthon Luther, 11
Creath, Samuel, 3, 8
Creath, Servetus Addison, 12
Creath, Susan (Moore), 3
Creath, Susan Moore GREGORY, 8
Creath, Thomas Brome, 9, 37
Creath, William, 3, 9, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 31, 38, 43, 44, 52, 53, 55
Creath, William R, 9
Crudup, 24

Dabbs, 28
Dabbs, Richard, 42
Daniel, 15
Daniel, Robert T, 28, 35, 42
David, 34, 54, 55
Dossey, 10, 37, 38
Dossey, (Antlaw [sic, Autlaw]/Outlaw), 10, 38

Earley, 38
Eggleston, Mary, 29
Eggleston, Sally, 29
Elisha, 39
Elizabeth, Queen, 10

Finnell, Eliza Hopkins (Creath), 10
Fristoes, 28

Gholson, Major, 25
Gill, John, 45
Gregory, John, 8
Gregory, Susan Moore (Creath), 8

Guiry, William, 39

Harvey, 12
Hill, Dan, 38
Hill, F., 19
Hill, Wm, 35, 36, 37, 38
Holt, (Gregory), 8
Hoskins, Edmund 32
Houston, Samuel, 11
Huss, 30

Japhet, 15
Jeffress, 22
Jenkins, 21
Jerome, 30
Job, 54
John, 29, 46, 49, 55, 58
Johnson, Col James, 24
Johnson, John T., 24
Johnson, Richard, 24
Jonadab, 15
Jones, Mary (Waller) CREATH, 8
Joseph, 15

Kerr, 24

Lamb, Col., 17
Lee, CREATH, 11
Lester, Henry, 3
Lewis, Mrs., 19
Love, Lucretia Jane (Creath) SEASHOLS, 13, 42
Luke, 46
Lunsford, Lewis, 43
Luther, 30, 46
Luther, Martin, 48

Mark, 46, 47
Matthew, 46
McCabe, 28
McKnight, James 48
Mercer, 28
Milton, John, 45
Moore, Susan CREATH, 3
Moses, 12, 15, 48
Mosheim, Dr. Lawrence, 48

Nixon, John, 31
Nolly, 38, 50

O'Kelly, 38, 39, 50
O'Kelley, James, 39
Outlaw/Antlaw [sic, Autlaw], DOSSEY, 10, 38

Patterson,, 19
Paul, 46, 47, 48, 54
Peter, 46, 47, 49, 50
Picketts, 28
Pompey, 39

Reed, 28
Rice, 25, 26
Roberts, 28
Roffe, 3
Ross, 28
Ruth,15

Samuel, 15
Sander, Joseph, 24
Sanders, Joseph, 23, 27
Saul, 54
Seashols, Doctor, 13
Seashols, Lucretia Jane (Creath) LOVE, 13, 42
Semple, 51, 52, 53
Semple, Robert B., 28, 42
Servetus, Michael, 12
Shelburne, 28
Shelburne, James 42
Shem, 15
Smith, John, 19
Spiany, 28
Stoughton, Dr., 26

Taylor, James B., 51, 52, 53
Timothy, 15

Vardeman, Jeremiah, 30

Waddell, Kelly, 19
Waller, Mary CREATH, 8
Wallers, 28
Watkins, 28
Watkins, Benjamin, 42
Wesley, 11, 39
White, 39
Wickliffe, 30
Williams, John, 4, 5


* Surnames in CAPITALS indicate a woman's married name, surnames in parenthesis indicate a woman's maiden name.


Acknowledgments:

      Typed to disk by Patti Reitan, Lutz, Florida, 1998
      Special Thanks to Betty Creath, Tucson, Arizona, for a copy of this document from microfilm.
      Proofread by Stanley N. Helton, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1998.

      Send corrections or comments to Stanley N. Helton, godsman@ix.netcom.com

      Send Creath-family genealogical inquiries to Betty Creath, rcreath@azstarnet.com


Jacob Creath, Jr. Biographical Sketches of Elder Wm. Creath (1866)

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