Life of Elder Walter Scott
(Cincinnati: Bosworth, Chase, & Hall, 1874)
ELDER WALTER SCOTT
SKETCHES OF HIS FELLOW-LABORERS,
WILLIAM HAYDEN, ADAMSON BENTLEY,
JOHN HENRY, AND OTHERS.
C I N C I N N A T I :
BOSWORTH, CHASE & HALL, PUBLISHERS,
180 ELM STREET.
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For some years after the death of WALTER SCOTT, the writer felt that it was sad that one to whom we, as a religious people, are so much indebted, should have no memorial from which the generations to come might learn how great and good a man God gave us in him. Still later, in looking at his work, and the great changes which he, under God, was the instrument of effecting, this neglect began to look like ingratitude on the part of those whom his labors had blessed.
A short tribute to him from my pen, without my name, a few years since, wakened dear memories of him in many hearts; the sketch was deemed faithful, and more in the same vein was asked, and when the writer became known, he was, by many, deemed fit for the work of preparing his biography, and urged to undertake it. Upon consenting to do so, I learned why it was that the work had been neglected so long. This was an almost entire lack of material for such a work -- not in his life; and the labors in which he was so abundant -- but he had left little material for a biography save what could be found in periodicals scarce and widely scattered, and in the memories of those who knew him who yet remain. He had lived so much for others that he had little thought or care for himself. Perhaps, too, death came suddenly; and although it did not find him unprepared, yet there had been so little decay of his powers that the end did not seem so near; hence, no preparation of what a biographer needs was made.
Providentially, the writer was thrown into the very community in which SCOTT'S first successful attempt to restore the primitive
gospel was made, some were still living who heard that gospel from his lips at a time when it seemed strange and new, and who also received baptism at his hands; and much that was needed for a work like this, and that soon would have been lost, was gathered.
In every instance in which it has been possible the dead has been permitted to speak -- his views are given in his own words, and the effort constantly made to make him his own biographer. When this has failed, the best recollections of those who knew him best have been used; to those, without whose aid this book could not have been written, our thanks are due, and to one and all are warmly given.
Much that would have been worthy of record has gone beyond recall, but something, we trust, has been saved that is worth the saving; and though the writer feels, as none other can, how imperfect his book is, yet he feels that what has been done has not been done in vain.
Imperfect as these details are, he who reads them will feel that he is in communion with a great and gifted man, and what is better still, with a pious, God-fearing one. He will think better of his race, and, we trust, be led to see the beauty of a life of trust in God, and a devotion to his truth, such as has seldom been surpassed.
An introductory chapter has been deemed needful, that the reader may see by the contrast between what has been, and what now is, the great change that has been wrought in a great measure by the labors of him of whom we write. May God's blessing attend both book and reader is the prayer of the AUTHOR.
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CHAPTER I.29 Birth -- Ancestry -- Education -- Singing in the street at midnight -- Emigrates to the United States -- Goes westward on foot -- Employed as teacher -- Is baptized
CHAPTER II.41 Becomes Principal of an Academy -- Sudden death of Mr. Forrester -- An important document -- Gives up his school -- Visits New York -- Disappointment,
CHAPTER III.56 Returns to Pittsburg -- And resumes teaching -- Sketch of Pittsburg Church -- Meets with Alexander Campbell and his father,
CHAPTER IV.69 Conversion of Samuel Church -- Marriage -- Extracts from his essays in the Christian Baptist -- Need of the Ancient Gospel perceived,
CHAPTER V.82 Removal to Steubenville--Visits the Mahoning Baptist Association -- Mr. Scott chosen as Evangelist -- His field of labor -- Religious experiences -- The three brothers,
CHAPTER VI.95 Favorable omens -- Articles of faith of the New Lisbon church -- Scott begins his work -- Preaches at New Lisbon -- The gospel offer accepted -- Baptism for the remission of sins restored,
CHAPTER VII.109 Great Excitement -- Mr. Amend's letter -- Assailed by preachers -- Wesley's experience -- Testimony of the church standards
CHAPTER VIII.127 Visits Warren -- Cold reception -- John Tait's conversion -- Sketch of Elder Bentley,
CHAPTER IX.140 Meeting at Austintown -- A. S. Hayden a convert--Church organized -- John Henry -- Death of Joseph Gaston, . .
CHAPTER X.155 Scott's views misunderstood -- Bishop Hobart's views of baptism -- Thomas Campbell visits the scene of Scott's labors -- Meeting at Sharon, and results,
CHAPTER XI.168 Deerfield -- Scott's visit -- Amos Allerton the skeptic -- Conversion of Aylette Raines,
CHAPTER XII.181 Changes wrought -- Anecdotes -- Toad sky-high -- Neither for God nor devil -- Meeting of the Association -- Scott re-appointed -- William Hayden given as a fellow-laborer,
CHAPTER XIII.194 Sketch of William Hayden -- Early doubts -- Meets with Scott -- Musical talent -- Education in the saddle -- Specimen of his style -- Extent of his labors,
CHAPTER XIV.211 A pleasing incident -- Bentley and Bosworth appointed as helpers -- Dissolution of the Mahoning Association -- Scott's inflexibility of purpose -- Campbell moved by his eloquence -- Death in his family -- Replies to Robert Dale Owen,
CHAPTER XV.232 Removes to Carthage -- The little Sunday-school girl -- The village reprobate -- Great success -- A remarkable meeting,
CHAPTER XVI.246 Abundant labors -- Hospitality -- Liberality -- Teaching the Scriptures in his family -- Washes a brother's feet -- Tribute to B. W. Stone -- Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell -- Treatment of young preachers -- Good news from other fields,
CHAPTER XVII.260 Discourse on the Holy Spirit -- Extracts from the Discourse -- Opinions with regard to its merits -- Review of the Rev. S. W. Lynd's pamphlet,
CHAPTER XVIII.281 Crooked things made straight -- The prominence he gave to human responsibility -- In what respects his work differed from that of other reformers -- Apostrophe to the Bible,
CHAPTER XIX.294 Social qualities of Elder Scott -- Trip up the Ohio River, and pleasing incidents connected with it -- Letter from one of the ministers whose acquaintance he made on the voyage,
CHAPTER XX.308 Visit to Kentucky -- Effects of first and second sermon -- Visits Henry Clay and Col. R. M. Johnson -- Meets the widow of Alexander Hamilton -- Visit to Bethany, Va., Pittsburg, Pa., and Warren, Ohio -- Letter from Elder Bentley,
CHAPTER XXI.323 His ideal of a preacher -- Exordiums -- Themes for the ministry -- Success attending his preaching -- His labors at threescore,
CHAPTER XXII.338 Scott and Campbell compared as preachers -- Dr. Humphrey's estimate of Campbell -- Scott's description of the second coming of Christ -- of the transfiguration -- Sermon at Georgetown, Kentucky,
CHAPTER XXIII.352 His views on the great questions of the day -- Opposed to the position of Soame Jenyns, M. P. -- Position on the temperance and slavery questions -- Views on education -- Address before the College of Teachers at Cincinnati,
CHAPTER XXIV.370 Discussions growing out of Scott's plea -- His own distaste for controversy -- Debate between Hayden and Hubbard -- A short controversy -- The crawfish hole argument -- Hartzell and Waldo's discussion -- The farmer and scholar meet,
CHAPTER XXV.388 His plea for the name Christian -- Visit to the East -- Views on Millerism -- Removal to Pittsburg -- Labors as a colporteur -- Description of the great fire,
CHAPTER XXVI.404 Chosen Elder of the Allegheny Church -- Extracts from his diary at this period -- Marriage of two of his children -- Death of his wife,
CHAPTER XXVII.417 Admirable essay on Christian Union -- Encomiums bestowed upon it -- Visits Bethany -- Death of Samuel Church -- Letters,
CHAPTER XXVIII.431 Deeply concerned at the prospect of disunion -- His argument for union -- His great grief at the prevailing troubles,
CHAPTER XXIX.443 The end at hand -- The news of the fall of Fort Sumpter -- Taken suddenly ill -- Visited by Elders Rogers and Streator -- Death -- A. Campbell's tribute to his memory,
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Every religious Reformation has brought before the public some great, pure, and unselfish men; men who loved the truth not only more than lucre, but more than the praise of men, than place, than title, and we doubt not had they been put to the test, more than life itself. Who doubts that the intrepid Luther would have sealed his testimony with his blood, had the sacrifice been demanded, or that Wesley, who again and again serenely looked into the faces of the infuriated throngs that raged and howled around him, would have died as calmly and nobly as Polycarp, if not as triumphantly as he who said, "I am ready to be offered; I have fought the good fight?" There is equally good reason for believing that many who are yet living, and especially the venerated dead who have been prominent in the great religious Reformation of the present century, would not have counted their lives dear to themselves had they lived in an age when violent death was the proof of fidelity. The true martyr spirit has been displayed by many whose blood never was shed, as really as by those who have died at the stake, or whose life current stained the sands of the arena. Long lives of patient toil, amid scoff and scorn, of glorious labor amid privation and neglect; of poverty while
bearing to others the true riches, point out the men of whom the world was not worthy, and whom God will crown, as truly and clearly as Stephen's early painful, triumphant death. The long trial proves the heart as well as the short, sharp pang; and long endurance, as well as short fiery trial, makes the man of God perfect through suffering. It is true that the reformer of our times has not to brave the anger of a Nero as did Paul, or of a Pope as did Luther; and yet for a man of pure and elevated feelings, desiring the highest good of his race, the brand of heresy, religious ostracism by complacent orthodoxy, and misrepresentation akin to that which attributed the kind deeds of the merciful Christ to Satanic power, are neither easy nor pleasant to bear. The circle of Luther's and Wesley's influence is still widening; both are now better known and appreciated than in their own times, or at any period since then; and though the snows of few winters have rested on the grave of Walter Scott, his works are widely known and his memory fondly cherished. As truly as Wesley and Luther he forsook all for Christ; a man of as pure life, of as brilliant genius, as abundant in labors; as true a lover of God and man as they. "Though dead he still speaks;" and he will be one of the remembered ones in all succeeding time.
But to understand his life and work, it is necessary to know something of the times in which he lived, and the religious views then prevalent; a brief review of these, we doubt not, will demonstrate the necessity and magnitude of the reformation in which he acted so distinguished a part. In addition to this, our very prosperity as a people affords a strong reason for such a retrospect; for as the Israelites, who fed their flocks in the vale of Jordan, or sat under the vines and fig-trees of the land which God had given to their fathers, knew nothing, save by tradition, of the Egyptian
yoke or the journey through the desert, so the Disciples of Christ of the present day, rejoicing in their religious liberty and unexampled prosperity, know little of the conflict through which a generation, almost departed, has passed; or the price which was paid for the spiritual freedom and blessings which they enjoy. Fifty years ago the people known as Christians, or Disciples of Christ, were unknown. Here and there a few individuals in the various religious parties, by a slow and painful process, had, in a measure, thrown off the yoke of creed and sect, and committed themselves to the word of God as their sole guide in matters pertaining to the soul's welfare. In most cases, however, this was done in utter ignorance of the fact that there were others in almost precisely the same condition with themselves; and, without any sympathy, concert, or even acquaintance with one another, each one felt somewhat as did Elijah in the day of Israel's apostasy, when he cried out, "Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars, and I am left alone."
This did not originate in a spirit of fancied superiority in knowledge or holiness; but having drunk deep into the spirit of the Holy Scriptures, by making them their exclusive authority in religion, they could not but perceive that there had been numerous and sad departures from their teachings, and that in following human reason and earthly guides, vast multitudes had forsaken, or been led away from, the fountain of living water, and were vainly striving to quench the thirst of their souls from cisterns, broken cisterns, that could hold no water. Looking into the word of God, they saw the way of life clearly, simply, and beautifully set forth; looking over the religious world, they beheld darkness, mystery, conflict, and contradiction everywhere. When they looked at the primitive church walking in the fear of
God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and being greatly multiplied; and then at the differences, discords, and divisions of those claiming to be followers of the meek and lowly One, the contrast was sad and striking, and the questions would rise unbidden: Are these the fruits of the teachings of him who came to save a lost world? Did he intend that his followers should pursue such different paths? Did he not teach that a house divided against itself can not stand? Is what we see right, and the word of God false? These questionings were sore trials to their faith; they were not anxious to find their religious friends and neighbors wrong, and themselves right; on the contrary, the love of souls led them to desire that the multitude should be found right; those whom they held most dear were attached to the views they felt compelled to question; many learned and godly men had believed and taught them; the early friends and guides of their youth had gone to the grave cherishing as true what they felt obliged to reject; nay, they had themselves once held the same views without any question or misgiving; but now the clear and solemn teachings of the word of God would rise before them and condemn so plainly much of the religious teaching and practice of the day, that there was no other alternative but to say, "Let God be true though every man be found a liar," or to abandon their own faith in God.
Their condition was one of perplexity; they saw the wrong, and yet scarcely trusted themselves to call that the only true path which the Scriptures seemed to point out so clearly; their own souls had just struggled into the light, and the first effect of that light was to dazzle and bewilder. They needed a leader who, like themselves, had once wandered in the darkness of error, and, having longer enjoyed the bright beams of the sun of righteousness, could better
express than themselves what they felt must be true. Such a leader was found in Alexander Campbell, who, through the Christian Baptist, poured new light upon their path, and confirmed them in what they had long tremblingly believed. But even he did not shake off the fetters of human tradition by a single effort, nor reach soul-freedom at a single bound, but he yielded slowly and painfully whatever he found the word of God did not warrant, and step by step advanced in the knowledge of the truth, until he reached that sublime determination, that he would commit himself to the word of God as his sole guide in religion, and follow wherever that word should lead. To speak what he found in the word of God faithfully and fearlessly, and to be silent where the word of God was silent, was thenceforth the rule in all his efforts for the salvation of his race; and the blessings by which those efforts were attended, eternity alone will disclose. The impression made by the first number of the Christian Baptist was deepened by each subsequent issue; the Bible, where it circulated, ceased to be regarded as a sealed book, and was studied with a zeal and zest unknown before; great numbers from the various religious parties embraced the new views which were set forth with such marked ability; and among them many who proved to be earnest and efficient helpers; and the new movement assumed such proportions that its opposers saw fit to give it a name; that name was Campbellism. Among those helpers and fellow-laborers, the first place in zeal and ability must be awarded to Walter Scott. Up to the time of his connection with this movement, the efforts of Alexander Campbell had been mainly directed against the errors prevalent among those professing godliness, with a view to the promotion of union among them; but Scott perceived that in addition to the evils of partyism in the Church,
that there was an equal defect in the presentation of the gospel to the world, to the remedy of which he addressed himself with signal ability and success. Making the apostles his model, he went before the world with the same plea, urging upon his hearers the same message, in the same order, with the same conditions and promises, and inviting instant compliance with its claims. The position of Campbell in taking the word of God as the only rule of faith and practice necessarily led to the new and bold step taken by Scott; nor was he slow to second it in his public addresses, as well as by his powerful pen. They were true yoke-fellows in the same glorious cause; and when with tongue and pen they exposed long-cherished errors, and brought to light long-forgotten truths, many from the various religious parties were ready for what they had to offer, and were attracted to them as particles of steel to the magnet; and even from the world those who had well-nigh lost all faith in God through the false and contradictory views of religion which they had heard, and the discords which prevailed among those who professed to be the followers of the Lord, came and embraced and rejoiced in the truth; of which truth many of them became able and successful advocates and defenders.
But many difficulties attended this republication of the Ancient Gospel and return to the practice of the primitive church which it is necessary to notice. The first of these was the religious teachings of that day in regard to what was necessary in order to the conversion of a soul to God. In primitive times nothing was plainer, simpler, easier, to be understood. An apostle delivered his message in a style and manner suited to the capacity of his hearers; those who were convinced of the truth of what they heard, and showed their sincerity by an abandonment of their sins,
and obeying the instructions which fell from his lips, were received into the favor of God and the fellowship of the church. The instructions given to a nobleman, traveling in his chariot, by one of the primitive teachers of Christianity, not occupying perhaps more than an hour or two, resulted in his conversion. An apostle found a company of pious women assembled at a place of prayer by the river side not far from a pagan city; they had an acquaintance with the law of Moses, but never had heard the glad news of the Messiah's corning, of his death for sin, and the glorious offer made to all, both Jew and Gentile, through his gospel. This he made known; some of his hearers gladly received it, and immediately entered into the enjoyment of the favor of God, through faith in, and obedience to, the Lord Jesus; and, stranger still, in that same pagan city, a man brought up in idolatry was brought in contact with the apostle and his fellow-laborer, and under their instructions, between the going down and the rising of the sun, he learned enough to renounce idolatry, and to gladly and intelligently become a Christian.
Every-where during the ministry of the apostles, the conversion of sinners to God was brought about by the same instrumentality: the preaching of the gospel--the simple scriptural statement of one case is the model for all. It is said "many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized;" none of these elements were absent in any case of conversion which took place under the labors of the apostles; and one of the chief of these, in reviewing his labors, says: "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Forty or fifty years ago, instead of being guided by these plain scriptural teachings, and making the cases to which we have referred models, the utmost
most obscurity and confusion prevailed with regard to the way in which a sinner must come to God; so much so, indeed, that it is doubtful whether any view could have been presented that would have been so generally rejected, as that a sinner could be saved by reading and obeying the instructions contained in the New Testament. The most prevalent idea with regard to this matter was, that the conversion of a sinner was an exercise of miraculous power on the part of God, which the sinner could neither so control as to bring himself under its influence, nor resist when he was subjected to it. A favorite mode of expressing this view was, that the sinner had no more power to turn to God than Lazarus had to raise himself from the dead; and no more ability to resist the power of God when it came upon him, than the dead Lazarus had to resist the call of the Son of God. No uniform view of the law of Christ, or of the power of his truth, seemed to be present to the minds of preachers when addressing the people. Conversion was as much a mystery to them as to their hearers; they might be converted instantaneously or after a long season; the most careless and indifferent might be made to yield when they neither expected nor desired to do so; while others, sincere, earnest, weeping penitents, might seek the same blessing, yet seek in vain; thus causing the inquiry to rise in many hearts, Why should God be favorable to those who neglect and even resist his grace, and yet be deaf to the tears and beseechings of those who seek his face sorrowing? The following scene, witnessed by the writer, not forty years since, will serve to illustrate the point before us, and is by no means an exaggerated picture of the state of things at the time of which we write. A revival meeting was in progress, and a large number of persons were at the altar of prayer, and the ministers and some of the leading members
were giving the seekers, as they were termed, such instructions as it was thought their condition required; but all their efforts seemed of no avail; the penitents were evidently willing to be saved, but the blessing they were seeking, and which their spiritual guides taught them to expect, was denied. One of the ministers was called on to pray for the mourners, and, after entreating heaven earnestly and fervently on their behalf, thus concluded his prayer: "O Lord! here are sinners desiring to be converted; Lord, they can not convert themselves; O Lord, we can not convert them. No one, O Lord, can convert them but thyself;" and then, changing his tone of voice, added: "and now, Lord, why do n't you do it?" While it is true that expressions like that with which he closed his prayer were uncommon, the feeling expressed in the previous part of it with regard to the sinners' inability, and the inefficiency of human instrumentality, the feeling that the conversion of sinners was to be effected by something beyond their own power was almost universal.
The thought that a man had the power to turn to God in obedience to the teaching of the Scriptures, or that ministers, bearing in their hearts and on their tongues the divine message of mercy, had power to turn their fellow-men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, by presenting the facts, motives, and conditions of the gospel, would then have been as strange and startling as if it had been presented for the first time, instead of having been the rule in all the conversions which took place under the ministry of the apostles. In their day no one was converted until he heard the gospel preached, and those who heard the glad message, believed it, and obeyed the instructions given by those whom Christ sent forth to convert the nations; were made free from sin, and happy in their
obedience to the truth. Under their ministry, to hear, believe, and obey the gospel was to be converted. Conversion consisted in having mind, heart, conduct, and state changed by a belief of, and obedience to, the truth; every man was active in his own conversion, and was urged to be so by apostolic authority, in such language as, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." "Repent, and turn, that your sins may be blotted out." "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins."
But at this time, man was regarded as passive in conversion; he was not required to do any thing; could do nothing; the work was God's alone. How many are there who yet remember the state of things we have described; those who attended for years the ministry of eminent preachers in the various denominations; who felt themselves to be sinners, but never were able to learn, from what they heard, what they were to do to be saved; that was in the hands of God, and was as much a matter of uncertainty as the next drouth or the next shower, and one over which they had as little control. It was an age of marvels. God was expected to act as if he had revealed no plan of salvation, as if the great commission were no longer in force; conversions were as various as the temperaments of different individuals: those of persons of quick sensibilities and lively fancies were bright and clear, sometimes excelling even the most striking cases of a miraculous age; while persons of calm, thoughtful habits were so far from reaching such raptures that they were almost reduced to despair. Nor was this confined to one denomination or the more ignorant portion of the community, as the following instance, by no means a rare one, will show. A very learned and pious bishop, who dated his conversion at the time of
which we write, gives the following remarkable account of it: "While in a retired place, praying, the witness of the Spirit was vouchsafed to me. A voice spoke, saying, Thy sins which are many are forgiven thee. I looked up and around, and every thing wore the garb of beauty."
This is a more wonderful case than any recorded in the sacred volume, surpassing even that of Saul of Tarsus, for even in his case the Savior did not utter the words of pardon, but directed him to go to Damascus, where it should be told him what he must do; and the instructions he received show that he was not released from any duty enjoined on the humblest disciple. But in the case to which we have referred; the Spirit is made to utter the words of pardon, which it is never represented as doing in the word of God. But at the time to which we refer, the wonderful was common; a dream, a light, a voice, the creature of an exalted or excited fancy was deemed better evidence of the favor of God than to obey the teachings of the Bible, or to imitate the example of those who were converted under the teaching of the apostles themselves. In a word, a dim and mysterious speculative theology was dispensed from the pulpit, and substituted for the plain and simple teaching of the word of God. Nay, the word of God was commonly spoken of as a dead letter; nearly every thing was made to depend on an influence of the Spirit, separate and distinct from the written Word; and the feelings, frames of mind, and the emotions were supposed to be the operations of the Holy Spirit on the heart, even when these were often in direct opposition to the declarations of the Scriptures of truth. A man, for instance, would admit that neither Moses nor Christ had said any thing with regard to infant baptism, that the Old and New Testament were alike silent with regard to it, and yet prove it to be right, to his
own satisfaction, at least, by saying that the Holy Spirit had written on his heart, in letters of fire, that he ought to have his children baptized. What a man felt was deemed better evidence than either the silence of Scripture or a positive thus saith the Lord. Ministers, very generally claimed to be specially called, qualified, and sent to preach the gospel, claimed to be "called of God, as was Aaron," although that language is used with reference to the Savior himself; claimed to be embassadors of Christ, and yet often wonderfully mystified their hearers, who could not very clearly understand why it was that men who claimed to be called and sent of God, and embassadors of Jesus Christ, should present such different messages; and why one embassador should, by divine authority, be pulling down what another embassador was endeavoring to build up. The credentials of this high office were sometimes as singular as the claims were great; one minister, regarded as the foremost man in his denomination, placed great confidence in a dream he had in regard to this matter. In his dream he was carried to Palestine, and, in a room full of people arrayed in the costume of the Orientals, he saw one who seemed more than mortal; this personage singled the dreamer out from the rest of the throng, approached him, and, in a voice of singular sweetness, said to him: "George B-------- feed my sheep;" and he knew that it was the Savior of men that spoke. The claim to a special call, however, was maintained with the greatest pertinacity by those who were distinguished by nothing save an utter unfitness for the sacred office; and the oracles uttered by these unlettered ones were frequently of the most astounding nature. Professors of religion, as a general rule, were much better acquainted with the tenets of their particular party than with the Bible. Conformity to party views was the test of orthodoxy; and to deny the
teachings of the Church Standards, whether Creed, Catechism, or Confession of Faith, even though the Bible were silent in regard to such matters, was quite as heretical and dangerous as to deny the clearest and most explicit declarations of Holy Writ. Many of the religious parties regarded each other as the Jews and Samaritans formerly did; and the union of Christians, for which the Savior prayed with almost his dying breath, and when nearly in sight of the cross, was regarded not only as unattainable, but even undesirable. In view of the state of things which then prevailed, we are able now to place something like a proper estimate upon the work of those men by whose labors such a great and blessed change has been effected--a change quite as deserving of the name of a reformation as that which was wrought by Luther or Wesley.
Nay, the movement of which we write resulted in a change deeper and more radical than that effected by either Luther or Wesley; and, without the least disparagement of these great and good men, we may say, with truth, that their work was only preparatory to the reformation of the nineteenth century, which has carried out into practice, truths which those earlier reformers only dimly and partially perceived. Luther's work in the main was a protest against the grosser and more evident corruptions of the Church of Rome, and Wesley's a protest against the formalism, want of spirituality, and lack of zeal for the welfare of the souls of men by which the State religion -- Episcopalianism -- was characterized. The poverty and abundant labors of the apostles, contrasted with the wealth and ease of the higher orders of the clergy of his day, stirred up his soul to an exhibition of zeal, self-denial, and labor truly apostolic; for no man ever demonstrated better than he what should be the life of a preacher of the gospel -- not a life of lettered
ease, droning out a few theological platitudes once or twice a week to a drowsy and listless auditory, and spending the rest in the library, at the luxurious feast, or amid the coarser joys of the chase or the revel; but a life of incessant toil, visiting the sick and in prison, teaching the ignorant, relieving the distressed, preaching in churchyard, field, and moor, wherever opportunity offered; preaching especially to the poor, and showing how the servant may imitate the example of the master by going about doing good. It is no part of our purpose to undervalue such lives and labors as these; truth, purity, and goodness should be honored wherever they are found; and such men as Luther and Wesley belong not to a sect or party, but to humanity, and we institute a comparison not between men, but principles, when we say that the Reformation of our own times contemplates a greater work than the reforms of any preceding age. Contemplates, we say; we do not claim that all is done that needs to be done, and that must be done, before the church of Christ shall appear before a scoffing world, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with triumphant banners. We claim, however, that the right path has been entered upon, and the right principles discovered, which, if persevered in and carried out to their legitimate issue, can not fail to promote the purity and spread of our holy religion and the union of all who love our Common Lord. The Bible can not lead any faithful and earnest soul astray who sincerely desires to come to the Savior; and as surely as that word is the sinner's best and safest guide, so surely is it the only platform on which all true believers can stand. There can, then, be no misgivings as to the correctness of our course when we point sinners to the Lamb of God in the very terms which the apostles employed for that purpose, and
when we propose the Bible in the place of any and all creeds as the basis of Christian union. The Reformation, then, of which we speak, may, with greater propriety, be called a Restoration, or a return to primitive and original ground. That such a course is possible is evident from the fact that the state of things to which we aim to return once existed. And that such a course is best must be evident from the fact that the religion of Jesus Christ, as presented in the New Testament, is as far beyond the power of man to change or improve as the laws of the material world; as incapable of being improved as the air that we breathe, or heaven's own sunlight.
That such a view of things should ever have been lost sight of is indeed astonishing; but that all the confusion and strife which has arisen in the religious world had its origin in a departure from the word of God, and substituting human reason and expediency in its place, no one can, with truth, deny. How sad and wide this departure was may be gathered from the history of those times. Men seemed to have forgotten that Christ himself is the Head of his own church, its only rightful and true Lawgiver; that the Father gave him this position when he gave him all authority in heaven and earth, and constituted him head over all things to the church, all of which was indicated when God broke the silence of the transfiguration scene with the solemn and impressive words, "This is my beloved Son; hear ye him." The fact that all this had been forgotten, and, in a great measure, departed from, as proved by the general prevalence of creeds, and a corresponding ignorance of, and departure from, the Bible; the preferring of modern human names to the scriptural ones, Disciple and Christian; the strifes, discords, and divisions which existed; the different and conflicting views with regard to
nearly every important element of faith and practice; all indicated that a Reformation, or return to original ground, was needed; the times demanded it, and the men were not wanting to enter upon the work, which in their hands was attended with such glorious and abundant success. And now that the Disciples have a name, an influence, and a history such as makes them a power in the religious world, what we have said in regard to their views and aims may seem to be a needless repetition of those things which are most surely believed among us, of which few among the hundreds, nay thousands, of our churches, and the tens of thousands, nay hundreds of thousands, of their members are ignorant; but our purpose is to show the many ten thousands of our brethren who have been gathered into the fold of Christ during the past twenty or thirty years, that the scriptural views to which they have always been accustomed, and which they can hardly conceive could ever have been lost sight of, were regarded, in the times to which we have referred, by the great majority of religious people, as the greatest and worst of heresies; and by those who first had their attention arrested and hearts won by them as having almost the freshness, and giving the joy of, a new revelation. We wish our brethren also to realize something of the care, the toil, the anxieties, the persecutions and misrepresentations endured by such men as he whose life we propose to lay before them; into whose labors so many have entered -- the great fight of afflictions through which they passed in order to establish those views and principles which we wonder could ever have been a matter of doubt, much less of bitter and violent opposition. Having, under the blessing of God, from feeble beginnings become a multitude, we should never forget those great and godly men whose labors have brought to us such
blessings, and whose example should ever lead us to guard well the precious trust they have committed to our hands. A graceful, loving, and elaborate tribute has been made to the memory of Alexander Campbell, and one that shall long endure to instruct and delight, by one whose pen adorns whatever it touches. Ten years and more have passed since his life-long friend and devoted fellow-laborer fell asleep, and the tribute which all feel to be his due has not been offered; that duty has fallen upon me, and did not my heart urge me on my hand would falter; and, therefore, if with feebler powers than many others, yet at least with equal love I present the following humble offering to the memory of Walter Scott.
[ 28 ]
[ 29 ]
Walter Scott was born in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, on the 31st of October, 1796. He was of the same ancestry as his world-renowned namesake Sir Walter Scott, whose poems and historical novels created such an interest in the reading world in the early part of the present century, and which have given him such a distinguished and permanent place among British authors. In the veins of both ran the blood of the heroes of the famous border feuds, among whom Wat. of Harden held so notable a place for deeds of daring not so honorable now as then; but blood will tell, and the spirit which made Wat. of Harden the most chivalric and fearless of raiders, under different and more benign influences, made one of his descendants the foremost author of his day, and another, one of the chief movers and promoters of the greatest religious Reformation of modern times. The immediate ancestors of the subject of these memoirs were John Scott and Mary Innes, who were the parents of ten children,
30 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
five sons and five daughters, of which Walter was the fourth son and the sixth child. His father was a music teacher of some celebrity, a man of considerable culture and agreeable manners. Both were strict members of the Presbyterian Church, in which faith all their children were diligently instructed. His mother was deeply and unfeignedly pious -- a woman full of kindness and sympathy, sweet of speech and fruitful in good deeds. She was, moreover, of a deeply sensitive nature, of which her death afforded a striking and melancholy proof. Her husband was taken ill in the neighboring town of Annan, and died very suddenly. The shock was so great to her sensitive and loving heart that she died immediately after hearing the sad tidings; and they were both buried at the same time in the same grave. At a very early age Walter gave such evidence of decided talent, that his parents determined to give him every advantage for its development; and though at that period a collegiate education was in the reach only of the sons of the wealthy, the moderate resources of the family were so husbanded and economized as to enable him, after the necessary academic preparation, to enter the University of Edinburgh, where he remained until the completion of his college course. In affording him these opportunities, it was the wish and prayer of his parents that he should devote himself to the ministry of the church of which they were members. With these wishes and prayers his own feelings were in full accord, and all his preparations had that end in view. During his stay in Edinburgh he made his abode with an aunt who resided there, and pursued his studies with a zeal and success that
fully met the predictions of his friends and the hopes of the family. Although of a cheerful disposition and fond of social pleasures, he happily avoided the follies and dissipations into which many of his fellow-students were drawn; and he even made his recreations not only agreeable but improving. He had naturally a good voice and a fine ear for music, both of which had been cultivated at home, under the instructions of his father.
The talent and skill of Walter in this respect attracted the attention of an eminent musician in Edinburgh, who had formerly been leader of a military band in the expedition to Egypt, in which Sir Ralph Abercrombie lost his life. This gentleman, admiring the talent of young Scott, volunteered to give him instructions on the flute, and such rapid progress did he make that he soon surpassed his teacher, and was acknowledged to be the most skillful performer on that instrument in the whole city. While attending the University an incident took place which is specially note-worthy from the fact that it was eminently characteristic of the man in all his after life -- small in itself, yet one of those key-notes to the whole life and conduct ever to be found in the lives of the great and good. Among the Scotch great importance is attached to the individual who first crosses the threshold after the clock has struck twelve at midnight on the 31st of December, or who, as they phrase it, is the "first foot" in a house after the new year has begun. The first visitor or "first foot" stamps the "luck" of the house--the good or evil fortune of its inmates for the year. Hence, every house at that season has its company passing the evening in a
32 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
pleasant way, enlivened by song or story, and among one class by what they misname good liquor. As soon as the hour of twelve has struck all present rise, shake hands, and wish one another a happy New Year, and not a few drink the health of each other, with some such sentiment as "May the year that's awa' be the warst o' our lives." But whether there be the drinking or the more temperate greeting and good wishes, in all companies is heard the question, "I wonder who will be our first foot," or, as we would say, our first caller in the New Year. In consequence of this custom the streets at midnight on the last night of the year are as densely crowded as they usually are at midday, the throng, too, a happy one, each one intent on being "first foot" in the house of some friend, each one hoping to bear with him good luck. On one of these nights Walter, then about sixteen years of age, in company with his brother James, went over the old Edinburgh bridge to put "first foot" in the house of some friend. Having accomplished their object, they went forth on the still crowded streets, and after recrossing the bridge Walter was suddenly missed by his brother, who, supposing that something had for a moment attracted his attention among the crowds they had been constantly meeting, hastened home, expecting to meet him there. Walter, however, had not come, and, after waiting until his fears began to arise, he went to the bridge where he had missed him. Here he found quite a crowd assembled, and from the midst of it came the sound of the clear sweet voice of his brother, singing one of the sweetest of Old Scotia's songs. Wondering what could have so suddenly converted his youthful
SINGING IN THE STREET. 33
and somewhat bashful brother into a street minstrel at midnight, he pressed his way to the midst of the throng, and found a scene which told its own story. The young singer was standing upon the stone steps of one of the shops near the bridge, and a step or two below him stood a blind beggar holding out his hat to receive the pennies which ever and anon in the intervals between the songs the crowd would bestow. All day long the blind man had sat and begged, and, knowing that the street would be crowded that night even more than it had been during the day, he hoped that night would yield him the charity which he had implored almost in vain through the livelong day. But the crowds were intent on pleasure and friendly greetings, and few responded to the appeal of him to whom day brought no light, and whose night was no darker than his day. Young Walter drew near, and his heart was touched by his mute imploring look, which had taken the place of the almost useless appeal, "Give a penny to the blind man." He had neither gold nor silver to give, but he stopped and inquired as to his success, and found that few had pitied and relieved his wants. His plan was formed in a moment; he took his place by the beggar's side and began singing, in a voice shrill and sweet, a strain which few Scotchmen could hear unmoved. The steps of nearly all who passed that way were arrested; soon a crowd gathered, and when the song ended he made an appeal for pennies, which brought a shower of them, mingled now and then with silver, such as never had fallen into the blind man's hat before. Another and another song was called for, and at the close of each the finger of
34 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
the singer pointed significantly, and not in vain, to the blind man's hat; and thus he sang far into the night; and when he ceased, the blind beggar implored heaven's richest blessings on the head of the youthful singer, and bore home with him the means of support and comfort for many a coming day. This story came from the lips of his brother, who is still living, and who found him engaged as already described; but were its truth less clearly established, all who knew him in after life would readily believe it; they would say it is true -- it is just like Walter Scott. Martin Luther is said to have sung and begged for the brotherhood of monks to which he belonged. He sung because he was sent in the interest of the lazy drones of the monastic hive; it was with him a duty, and doubtless a painful and degrading one; but the youthful Scott sang from the fullness of a sympathetic heart in the interest of suffering humanity.
Not long after he had completed his education a sudden and unexpected turn in his history took place, which, without being intended as a prelude to the part he was to act in life, proved to be in reality one of the most important steps in his whole career. That event was his coming to the United States, a matter which had not entered into his own plan of life, or been contemplated by his friends and family. His mother had a brother, George Innes, in the city of New York, who had years before obtained a place under the Government in the custom-house. Such was his faithfulness and integrity that he retained his place through several successive administrations; and having succeeded well himself, he was anxious to further the interests of his relatives still in his native
GOES WESTWARD ON FOOT. 35
land. He, therefore, wrote to his sister to send one of her boys over to this country, promising to do all in his power for his advancement. The proposal was very agreeable to the family, and, as Walter was best fitted by his superior education for the emergencies and opportunities of a new country, it was decided that he should go, and accordingly he sailed from Greenock in the good ship Glenthorn, Capt. Stillman, and arrived in New York on the 7th of July, 1818, and on his arrival was kindly welcomed by his uncle, through whose influence he soon obtained a situation as Latin tutor in a classical academy on Long Island.
In this position, however, he did not long remain. He had made some acquaintances in the city of New York, and from them heard glowing reports of the West, as all the region beyond the Allegheny Mountains was then called; and he resolved to see for himself the land of which he had heard so much. On foot, with a light heart and a light purse, with a young man about his own age as a traveling companion, he set out, not dreaming that in that far land he would find a home, and without a suspicion of the part he would be called upon to play in the great religious movement then in its incipiency through the labors of the Campbells, father and son, but of which at that time he was in total ignorance.
This journey of Scott and his young comrade, though a long one, was far from being wearisome and tedious. Each day's travel brought new scenes, and each night new society, and the lessons drawn from nature and human nature were not without their worth in after years. Our young collegian, having passed much of his life in the city of Edinburgh,
36 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
had never seen a forest until he visited this country; and it was indeed a new world to him when he passed through the rich and varied forest scenery of the Atlantic slope, the great pines of the Allegheny Mountains; and gazed with wonder and admiration from their summit at the then almost unbroken forests of the West. What a contrast, too, he found between the mode of life, the comforts of civilization, and the society to which he had been accustomed in Edinburgh and New York, and the manners and customs of the dwellers in the humble abodes where he found shelter for the night; but it mattered not to him whether nightfall found him at some wayside inn, amid a throng of hardy yet somewhat rude teamsters, who then did all the carrying trade between the seaboard and the West, by the camp-fires of an emigrant family, or the log cabin of some recent settler, or the more comfortable farm-house. Youth, high spirits, and active exercise gave zest to every scene, and made whatever society he found enjoyable. Often during that journey did the travelers beguile the hours with songs that had never wakened echoes in those forests before; and as the evening shades drew on, mindful of the home scenes from which they were parted, they lifted up their voices in the solemn yet joyful psalm. Every night's sojourn gave them an unfailing subject with which to lighten the next day's travel; and the memories of that journey were cherished long after its close, and were sweeter than the experiences of after years in passing over the same route in coach or car.
Reaching Pittsburg on the 7th of May, 1819, he began to seek for some employment, and soon had
BECOMES A TEACHER. 37
the good fortune to fall in with Mr. George Forrester, a fellow-countryman, and the principal of an academy, by whom he was immediately engaged as assistant in his school. Somewhat to the surprise of the young teacher, he soon made the discovery that his employer, though a deeply religious man, differed very much in his views from those which he himself had been taught to regard as true. Mr. Forrester's peculiarity consisted in making the Bible his only authority and guide in matters of religion, while his young friend had been brought up to regard the Presbyterian Standards as the true and authoritative exposition and summary of Bible truth. Differing as they did, they were, nevertheless, both lovers of the truth, and the frequent and close examinations which they made of the Scriptures resulted in convincing Mr. Scott that human standards in religion were, like their authors, imperfect; and in impressing him deeply with the conviction that the word of God was the only true and sure guide. Often, after the labors of the day had closed in the school-room, they would prosecute their examinations of the Scriptures far into the night, not in the spirit of controversy, however, but with an earnest desire to know the will of God, and a determination to follow wherever his word, the expression of his will should lead. Mr. Scott now felt that he had discovered the true theology; the Bible had for him a meaning that it never had before; that is, it now meant what it said, and to devoutly study it in order to reach its meaning, was to put himself in possession of the mind and will of God. It was no longer a repository of texts, from which to draw proofs of doctrines of modern or ancient origin, which could not be
38 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
expressed in the words of Scripture, but a revelation, an unveiling of the will of God--the gospel was a message, and to believe and obey that message was to be a Christian. He was not long in making the discovery that infant baptism was without the vestige of a divine warrant; that wherever baptism was enjoined, it was a personal, and not a relative duty; that it was a matter that no more admitted of a proxy than faith, repentance, or any other act of obedience; and as he had rendered no service, obeyed no command, when he had been made the subject of that ordinance as taught and practiced by Presbyterians, he had not obeyed the command, "be baptized."
How must this command be obeyed? next engaged his attention, and his knowledge of the Greek language and a careful examination of the New Testament, soon enabled him to discover that sprinkling and pouring were human substitutes, which required neither the going down into, nor the coming up out of, the water, of which the Scriptures speak when describing this ordinance. The modern modes also failed to agree with the allusion in Scripture to baptism as a burial, and were singularly unlike the baptism of Christ by John in the river Jordan; and, in accordance with his convictions that there was but one baptism taught in the word of God, he was immersed by Mr. Forrester, by whose instrumentality the change in his views had been effected. After his baptism he united with a small body of baptized believers, which had been gathered together and formed into a church by the labors of Mr. Forrester; and in their society he found that peace and joy to which his mind had been a stranger during the period that
IS BAPTIZED. 39
the change we have described was going on. To this little congregation Mr. Scott proved a very valuable acquisition; his superior education, his gifts, zeal, and piety rendering him not only useful but causing him to be greatly beloved. Realizing what the gospel had done for him, in freeing his mind from narrow sectarian prejudices, admiring its beautiful simplicity, and rejoicing in the assurance which walking in the truth imparted, he found himself possessed by an irresistible desire to bring others to that Savior whose truth had made him free. Having given up so much that was dear to him, but having gained a truth for every error that he had yielded, he supposed that all who were holding error, sincerely regarding it as truth, would gladly, like himself, be undeceived. He devoted himself earnestly to the instruction of such, in many instances with success; but found in, alas, too many cases that time honored and popular errors were cherished as if they were saving truths. He had not, however, at this time the remotest idea of any thing like a great religious reformation; the position he had taken, it is true, was in opposition to much of the religious teaching of the day; but he was like a traveler who had just entered upon a new and untried path, not knowing whither it would lead. But truth is always revolutionary, and the clearer the truth became to his own mind, the greater need there seemed of a bold and fearless advocacy. Had he seen this at first, he might have shrunk from the labor and the opprobrium which such a course would inevitably bring; but for the present he felt only as most young converts feel: a sincere and earnest desire for the welfare of the souls of his fellow-men; and with a very
40 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
humble estimate of his abilities strove to do good to all within his reach as he had opportunity. The little company of believers, with whom he had associated himself, were diligent students of the word of God, humble, pious people, mostly Scotch and Irish; greatly attached to Forrester, their religious teacher and guide, whose life was in full accord with his teachings, and among them Mr. Scott found a nearer approach to the purity and simplicity of the primitive church than ever he had seen or expected to find on earth. Amid such surroundings, giving his days to the instruction of his classes, and his leisure hours and much of the night to the study of his Bible, the time glided swiftly and sweetly away; a quiet, peaceful, useful, but humble life seemed all that the future had in store for him, and more than this seems not to have, at this period of his history, entered into his thoughts; but he who called David from the sheepfold to the throne had a greater work for him to do, and the events which led to that work, began rapidly to unfold.
BECOMES PRINCIPAL OF AN ACADEMY.
A change in the plans of Mr. Forrester made it necessary for him to give up his school, and as Mr. Scott had proved himself to be admirably qualified for the position, the entire management of it fell into his hands. The superior advantages in point of education which he had enjoyed, and a natural aptitude for imparting instruction, made up for his lack of experience; and in addition to these he possessed the rare faculty of so attaching his pupils to himself that he soon was regarded by them as a warm, personal friend; and the result was that the prosperity of the school was increased by the change. His method of teaching was original, his manners pleasing; politeness and morality were marked features in his school, and as the necessary result he became daily better known and appreciated; his labors were well remunerated, and had success in his career as a teacher been his great object he might have been satisfied.
But few things, however, were less in his esteem than worldly prosperity; the more he studied his Bible the greater became his concern for the spiritual welfare of his fellow-men; and as he himself obtained
42 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
broader and clearer views of the plan of redemption, his desire for wider usefulness increased. The admirable powers of analysis and classification which he had hitherto applied to the sciences and languages, he now began to apply to the Holy Scriptures, and with such happy results that at times he felt a joy akin to that of the ancient philosopher, who, when a great scientific discovery flashed upon his mind, cried out in his ecstasy, "Eureka! Eureka! I have found it! I have found it!"a
It is not intended by this to claim that Mr. Scott discovered any new truths; that in the nature of the case was impossible; but he discovered relations which the truths of revelation bore to each other that had for a long time, in a great measure, been lost sight of, and in consequence of which, confusion and darkness had usurped the place of order and light. He observed that the advocates of religious systems, as opposite as Calvinism and Arminianism, claimed that their respective views were taught in the word of God--both claiming to be right and each asserting that the other was wrong; but to his mind the thought that the inspired volume taught views so contradictory was most abhorrent. In nature he saw order and harmony and an invariable relation between cause and effect, and he concluded it could not be otherwise in the plan for the recovery of our lost race. In the word of God he found precepts, duties, ordinances, promises, blessings, and between these a proper relation and dependence; that the duties, in the nature of things, could not precede the precept, or the blessing the promise, or the ordinance the commandment by which it was enjoined. Nothing,
HIS SCRIPTURAL DISCOVERIES. 43
to his mind, seemed more reasonable than that precepts should set forth what duties must be performed, what ordinances obeyed; that promises should serve as a motive to obedience; that blessings should follow the doing of that which precept made known as duty, to which promise was the encouragement and blessing the reward.
This order he found had been lost sight of to a greater or less degree by the various religious parties, by some of them to the absurd extent of placing an ordinance first, before the subject could possibly have any knowledge of the precept by which it was enjoined, or capable of the preparation necessary to make submission to the ordinance an act of obedience, and, of course, before the blessings connected with it could be recognized or enjoyed. In the Scriptures he found a profession of faith preceding baptism, but in the practice of his times the baptism preceded the profession of faith by many years, and in numberless cases the profession of faith never followed the ordinance; but those who unwittingly were made the subjects of the ordinance, and taught in after years that by that act they had entered into covenant with Christ and were made the children of God, frequently lived and died as regardless of the claims of God upon them as if they had passed their lives in a land where God's word had never been known. That faith should precede obedience seemed as clear to his mind as that a cause should precede an effect; but much in the religion of the times he found to be as unphilosophical as it was unscriptural. If the gospel were not a variable and changeful thing, he drew the conclusion that its various parts or elements must
44 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
bear a fixed and definite relation to each other, in order to produce a uniform result, just as the letters which compose a certain word must occupy a certain relation to each other in order to form that word; or, as he frequently instanced in after life, in the word gospel no other arrangement of the letters would give the word; and so he argued in the plan of salvation, only one fixed and definite arrangement of its facts, precepts, duties, ordinances, promises, and blessings was allowable; that the derangement of the order would be the destruction of the plan, just as the change in the relative position of a single letter in the word gospel would give, not merely another word, but one without any significance whatever. In pursuing his investigations he was cheered and strengthened in his views by their harmony with the Scriptures, and this could scarcely fail to be the case since they were but inductions from the word of God after long, careful, and prayerful reading.
The conversion of a sinner to God had long been a subject that perplexed him, on account of the mystery thrown around it by theological writers; but when he read the accounts given in the Acts of the course pursued by the apostles in turning men to God, he found that all mystery fled; that those who heard, believed, and obeyed the glad message, which it was their mission to make known, were filled with joy and peace in believing. His noble and candid nature, and his profound regard for the truth, led him to examine carefully all the common or orthodox views in which he had been brought up, and which he had long entertained without a doubt as to their correctness; from these he eliminated to be held
DEATH OF MR. FORRESTER. 45
sacred all that was clearly taught in the unerring word, and rejected all he had heretofore cherished for which he could find no divine warrant. Clearness of vision, ability to separate the true from the false, does not come in a moment; the influence of early habits and associates; the instructions he had received without question in his early years; his course of reading and study when looking forward to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church, with the strong convictions of a deeply religious nature, which rendered him sincere even when in error, made the change of necessity a very gradual one. But he had discovered the true path; his Bible he felt must be a safe guide; and though much of that path had yet to be explored, every step brought deeper conviction and a serener joy.
In the meantime, his intimacy with Mr. Forrester, his religious friend and guide, continued to be of the most pleasant and endearing nature; and the little congregation under his care, which met in the court-house, were his most valued associates. With the former he was accustomed to walk to the place of worship in company, and then to sit meekly at his feet as he expounded the word of God; and with the latter to engage in the service of God as brethren beloved. But a sad and unexpected change came. Mr. Forrester was drowned while bathing in the Allegheny river, and Mr. Scott was deprived of his dearest friend and the little flock of its beloved and faithful shepherd. This calamity brought upon him new duties and responsibilities: to comfort and assist the widow and orphans of his lost friend, and to care as best he could for the spiritual welfare of the stricken
46 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
and bereaved church. To these duties he addressed himself manfully; the boy who sung at midnight in the streets of Edinburgh to help an unknown blind beggar, now that he was a man, could not be wanting in sympathy and helpfulness to the widow and orphans of one that he had, while living, so esteemed and revered; and the wants of the church soon called into activity those gifts for teaching and preaching for which he afterwards became so distinguished.
He now began to feel more deeply than ever that there were thousands as sincere and earnest as himself who were yet under the bondage of the system from which he had been emancipated, and he desired that they should, like him, enjoy the freedom those enjoy whom the truth makes free. Under the pressure of such thoughts the duties of the school-room became burdensome. What was the enlightening of the minds of a few youth, and leading them up the difficult yet pleasant steeps of literature and science, compared with the work of rescuing humble, earnest souls from the spiritual darkness in which they were groping, and of turning sinners from Satan to God.
At this juncture a pamphlet fell into his hands, which had been put into circulation by a small congregation in the city of New York, and which had much to do with deciding the course he should pursue. The church alluded to was composed mainly of Scotch Baptists, and held many of the views taught by the Haldanes, and were, in many respects, far in advance of the other religious bodies. The pamphlet mentioned was published by this congregation in 1820, and was intended to set forth the views which they entertained. The publication was quite a remarkable
AN IMPORTANT DOCUMENT. 47
one for the times, as it set forth, with admirable simplicity and clearness, the teaching of the Scripture with regard to the design of baptism, which had been almost entirely lost sight of, and the practical value of which even its authors did not seem to realize. The careful reader will find in it the germs of what was years afterwards insisted upon by Scott in his plea for baptism for the remission of sins, and also by Alexander Campbell in his celebrated Extra on Remission. The same production fell into the hands of A. Campbell soon after it had been read by Scott; but while both these, and, stranger still, the very authors of it, recognized the matters therein set forth as true, they saw them as the man whom Jesus healed of blindness at first saw the passers by -- men as trees walking. But they saw they were true, nevertheless, even if they saw them but dimly. They had heretofore been wholly blind to them, and it was long before they appeared to their spiritual vision in all their significance and beauty.
A few extracts from the work will here not be out of place.
ON BAPTISM."It is not intended, in this article, to discuss the import of the term baptism, as -- that term is well known to mean, in the New Testament, when used literally, nothing else than immersion in water. But the intention is, to ascertain what this immersion signifies, and what are the uses and purposes for which it was appointed. This can only be done by observing what is said concerning it in the Holy Scriptures.
"One of the first things that strike our attention in this inquiry, is, that the Lord Jesus entered upon his ministry by baptism, as he arose out of the water, that he was first publicly acknowledged as the Son of God. Matt. iii. 15, 17. This is very remarkable, and should be well remembered.
48 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
"The baptism of John is spoken of thus: 'John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins.' And of those who came to his baptism, it is said, they 'were all baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.' Mark i. 4, 5.
"John himself seems to connect this baptism with an escape from the divine wrath; for I when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?' Matt. iii. 7.
"The Lord Jesus, discoursing with Nicodemus respecting the nature of his kingdom, and giving him to understand that no Jew would be taken into it in virtue of his having been born a descendant of Abraham, observed, that, 'except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God.' John iii. 5.
"In the account given by Mark of the gracious message delivered to the apostles, and to be by them conveyed to all nations, it would seem, at first view, as if baptism was connected with salvation; 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.' Mark xvi. 16.
"To the same effect was baptism spoken of in the discourse of the apostle Peter to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. He seems to have viewed it as connected with the forgiveness of sins. 'Repent,' said he, 'and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.' Acts ii. 38.
"Paul, relating to the Jews how he had been brought to confess the Lord Jesus, and speaking of what had occurred after he went into Damascus, described Ananias as coming into his lodging, and, among other things, saying to him, 'And how why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' Acts xxii. 16.
AN IMPORTANT DOCUMENT. 49
"The same apostle, writing to the church at Rome, and pointing out the efficacy of the doctrine of Christ, and the powerful motives which that doctrine furnished, for enabling the believers of it to walk in holiness and righteousness of life, speaks of baptism in the following manner: 'Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Rom. vi. 2-11.
"In the epistle to the churches of Galatia, the apostle, showing that men become sons of God, not by adhering to the law of Moses, but by the faith of Christ, drops the following remarks: 'For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.' Gal. iii. 26-28.
"In some of the exhortations addressed to the church at Ephesus, we observe an allusion to baptism too striking to be passed over: 'Husbands, love your own wives, even
50 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for her; that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her with a bath of water and with the word; that he might present her to himself, glorious, a church not having a spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that she might be holy, and without blemish.' Eph. v. 25, 27.
"In another part of the epistle to the same church, the apostle, exhorting them to preserve 'the unity of the Spirit,' describes this unity as follows -- 'One body and one Spirit even as ye are called in one hope of your calling -- one Lord, one faith, ONE BAPTISM, one God and Father of all, who is above you all, and through all, and in you all.' Eph. iv. 4, 6. When we see a place so exalted as this assigned to baptism, we may infer that baptism is a matter of no inconsiderable moment.
"The same apostle, warning the church at Colosse against the crafty ways of Judaizing teachers, and assuring them of the perfection of knowledge and of righteousness which they had by Christ Jesus, reminds the brethren of their baptism in the following manner -- 'Being buried with him in baptism, in which also ye have been raised with him, through the belief of the strong working of God, who raised him from the dead. For you who were dead on account of trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he hath made alive together with him, having forgiven us all trespasses,' etc. Col. ii. 12, 13.
"In the epistle of Titus, there seems to be an allusion to baptism, which deserves particular notice. The apostle desiring Titus to inculcate obedience to magistrates, and other excellent duties, says, 'For even we ourselves were formerly foolish, disobedient, erring, slavishly serving divers inordinate desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hated and hating one another. But when the goodness and the philanthropy of God our Savior shone forth, he saved us, not on account of works of righteousness which we had done, but according to his own mercy, through
ON BAPTISM. 51
the bath of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior.' Titus iii. 3, 6.
"One other passage shall be noticed, where baptism is introduced and spoken of, by the apostle Peter, as the antitype of the water of the flood, whereby Noah and his family escaped death. 'To which water,' saith he, 'the antitype baptism (not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), now saveth us also, through, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.' 1 Pet. iii. 21.
"From these several passages we may learn how baptism was viewed in the beginning by those who were qualified to understand its meaning best. No one who has been in the habit of considering it merely as an ordinance, can read these passages with attention, without being surprised at the wonderful powers, and qualities, and effects, and uses, which are there apparently ascribed to it. If the language employed respecting it, in many of the passages, were to be taken literally, it would import, that remission of sins is to be obtained by baptism, that an escape from the wrath to come is effected in baptism; that men are born the children of God by baptism; that salvation is connected with baptism; that men wash away their sins by baptism; that men become dead to sin and alive to God, by baptism; that the Church of God is sanctified and cleansed by baptism; that men are regenerated by baptism; and that the answer of a good conscience is obtained by baptism. All these things, if all the passages before us were construed literally, would be ascribed to baptism. And it was a literal construction of these passages which led professed Christians, in the early ages, to believe that baptism was necessary to salvation. Hence arose infant baptism, and other customs equally unauthorized. And, from a like literal construction of the words of the Lord Jesus, at the last supper, arose the awful notion of transubstantiation.
52 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
"But, however, such men may have erred in fixing a literal import upon these passages; still the very circumstance of their doing so, and the fact that the meaning which they imputed is the literal meaning, all go to show that baptism was appointed for ends and purposes far more important than those who think of it only as an ordinance, yet have seen.
"It is for the churches of God, therefore, to consider well, whether it does not clearly and forcibly appear from what is said of baptism in the passages before us, taken each in its proper connection, that this baptism was appointed as an institution strikingly significant of several of the most important things relating to the kingdom of God; whether it was not in baptism that men professed, by deed, as they had already done by word, to have the remission of sins through the death of Jesus Christ, and to have a firm persuasion of being raised from the dead through him, and after his example; whether it was not in baptism that they put off the ungodly character and its lusts, and put on the new life of righteousness in Christ Jesus; whether it was not in baptism that they professed to have their sins washed away, through the blood of the Lord and Savior; whether it was not in baptism that they professed to be born from above, and thereby fitted for an entrance into the kingdom of God, that is, the church of God here on earth; whether it was not in baptism, that they professed to be purified and cleansed from their defilement, and sanctified and separated to the service of God; whether it was not in baptism that they passed, as it were, out of one state into another; out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's Son; whether if any were ever known or recognized as having put on Christ, who had not thus been buried with him in baptism; whether, in fact, baptism was not a prominent part of the Christian profession, or, in other words, that by which, in part, the Christian profession was made;
HE VISITS NEW YORK. 53
and whether this one baptism was not essential to the keeping of the unity of the Spirit.
"And if, on reflection, it should appear that these uses and purposes appertain to the one baptism, then it should be considered how far any can now be known, or recognized, or acknowledged as Disciples, as having made the Christian profession, as having put on Christ, as having passed from death to life, who have not been baptized as the Disciples were."
After such a clear expression with regard to the matter in hand, it is difficult to imagine of how little practical value those views then were. We know of no more strongly marked instance of theory outrunning practice; the reason, doubtless, is to be found in the fact that nearly the entire religious world had lost sight of both primitive teaching and practice in this matter; and those whose attention had been called to those long-neglected truths were not able to regard them as practical in the face of almost universal custom to the contrary.
The reading of this tract had much to do with the subsequent course of Mr. Scott; he thought that a visit to the people holding the views which it set forth would add greatly to his Christian knowledge, and at the same time give him a favorable opportunity for making known the views which he had adopted, and for the spread of which he had such an anxious desire. Dismissing, therefore, all thoughts of personal interest, and considerations of gain, he abruptly brought his school to a close, and set out for New York, to engage in labors and studies which he deemed more important, and, therefore, more congenial. The result of his visit, however, was a
54 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
sad disappointment; he found the practice of the church far in the rear of what he had been led to expect from the publication which had led him to seek a more intimate acquaintance; nor did there seem to be any disposition on their part to fall in with his views, which began to look in the direction of a radical reform.
He remained there but three months, long enough, however, to discover that the simple and self-evident truths of Christianity, which he fondly hoped would be accepted as soon as made known, were not to achieve the triumph he had anticipated. His hopes had seemed reasonable; he had only the word of God in all its primitive simplicity to present; he had invented no new creed, advocated nothing that the Bible did not sanction; he had sacrificed as much in his abandonment of sectarianism as he asked at the hands of others; he felt that the happiness of all professors of religion would be enhanced by laying aside every thing that savored of party; that the cause of Christ would be immensely benefited by the healing of all unseemly divisions; and to find such an unwillingness to enter on a course that promised so much happiness to man and glory to God filled him with sorrow and despondency.
In the meantime, his loss was deeply felt in Pittsburg; the patrons of his school found that his place as a teacher could not be filled, and a vigorous effort was made to induce him to return. Mr. Richardson, whose son Robert had been one of Mr. Scott's most promising and affectionate pupils, proposed the engagement of Mr. Scott as a private tutor for his own and a few other families. This
HIS DESPONDENCY. 55
plan met with warm approval, and a handsome salary was pledged. Mr. Richardson made the proposal to Mr. Scott, who was still in New York, and earnestly urged his acceptance. The interest manifested in him at a time when suffering under keen disappointment caused him to regard the offer favorably, although he did not positively accept it. He left New York, however, and visited Paterson, New Jersey, and found there a few professors of religion in a disorganized condition, but nothing to encourage him to labor among them. From thence he proceeded to Baltimore, and found a small church in a very low condition, but kept alive by brethren Carman and Ferguson. Then learning that there was a small body of worshipers in Washington City, to whom he might possibly be of some advantage, he says: "I went thither, and having searched them up I discovered them to be so sunken in the mire of Calvinism, that they refused to reform; and so finding no pleasure in them I left them. I then went to the Capitol, and, climbing up to the top of its lofty dome, I sat myself down, filled with sorrow at the miserable desolation of the Church of God."
LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
In this spirit of dejection he continued his travels on foot to Pittsburg, a distance of nearly three hundred miles, and reached there weary and travel-worn; but the warmth of his welcome on his arrival did much toward dispelling the gloom with which his late disappointments had filled his mind. He made his home in the family of Mr. Richardson, who was mainly instrumental in inducing him to return, who fitted up a room in his own house for the accommodation of the few pupils to which his school was restricted; and he devoted himself with such zeal and success to the advancement of his pupils that he gained a reputation such as no other teacher in that city had ever enjoyed. His pupils were regarded in the light of younger companions and friends, and while he led them in the various pathways of science and literature, he strove at the same time to mould their manners and improve their hearts. He possessed great tact and an almost intuitive perception of character, which enabled him to adapt himself to the different dispositions and capabilities of his pupils, and to make study more of a pleasure than a task. His roles were few and might be summed up in the words obedience, order, accuracy; and the
A PUPIL'S TRIBUTE. 57
result in after years was, that some of his pupils ranked among the finest scholars and most useful men in the State. Among them were Chief Justice Lowrey and the eminent author and professor, Dr. Richardson, who, in his biography of Alexander Campbell, nearly a half a century after, thus writes of his beloved teacher and friend:
"I would sometimes invite him to walk out of an evening to my father's garden in the vicinity of the city; but his mind could not be divorced, even amid such recreations, from the high theme which occupied it. Nature, in all its forms, seemed to speak to him only of its Creator; and although gentle and affectionate as he was, he sought ever to interest himself in the things that interested others. His mind would constantly revert to its ruling thought; and some incident in our ramble, some casual remark in our conversation, would at once open up the fountain of religious thought, which seemed to be ever seeking for an outlet. Thus, for instance, if I would present him with a rose, while he admired its tints and inhaled its fragrance, he would ask, in a tone of deep feeling, 'Do you know, my dear, why in the Scriptures Christ is called the Rose of Sharon?' If the answer was not ready, he would reply himself: 'It is because the rose of Sharon has no thorns;' and would then go on to make a few touching remarks on the beautiful traits in the character of the Savior. Then, in the exercise of his powers of accurate perception and his love of analysis and object-teaching, descanting on the special characteristics of the flower, and calling attention to the various elements which, by their assemblage, produced such a charming result -- the graceful, curving lines that bounded the petals and the foliage, so much more beautiful than the straight and parallel edges of the blades of grass or maize; the winding veinlets, the delicate shadings
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of carmine, and their contrast with the green foliage; the graceful attitude assumed by the flower, as, poising itself upon its stem, armed with thorns, it shone resplendent in queenly beauty; he would pass, by a natural and easy transition, to dwell yet again upon the infinite power and glorious perfections of the Creator -- the Lord that 'was God,' that 'was in the beginning with God,' and without whom nothing was made that was made. Nor did he neglect, even amidst the daily duties of the school-room, to lead the minds of his pupils to similar contemplations, so that they might be induced to 'look through nature up to nature's God.' The revelations of God in the Bible, however, formed his chief delight, and, in accordance with his feelings, he took especial pains to familiarize the students of the ancient tongues with the Greek of the New Testament, for which purpose he caused them to commit it largely to memory, so that some of them could repeat, chapter by chapter, the whole of the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Greek language. It was also his invariable practice to require memorized recitations of portions of the ancient classic authors, as well as written translations of them. These tasks, irksome to those of feeble memory, and exacted, perhaps, in some cases, with too much rigor, tended, nevertheless, to improve the pupils in taste and accuracy, and to store their minds with charming passages for use in future life."
His return to Pittsburg was highly gratifying to the little flock that had been gathered by the labors of the lamented Forrester, whose place, in a measure, they hoped this promising young convert would supply. The members of this church, in which he was afterwards to act so distinguished a part, were all diligent readers and students of the Holy Scriptures;
SKETCH OF PITTSBURGH CHURCH. 59
and in their desire to, conform to primitive usages in every respect pressed, perhaps, too far some matters which had their origin in the social life of apostolic times, the spirit of which can be manifested by different acts in our own day. They read, for instance, the apostolic injunction "salute one another with a holy kiss," and they carried it out in practice, and in consequence came to be known in the community as the "Kissing Baptists;" but while it was true that such was the practice of the primitive church, they did not take into account the fact that it was not enjoined on the church as a custom to be practiced for the first time, but that it was the usual mode of salutation among the orientals, and only gave a higher significance to an established custom, just as the shaking of hands now, our common mode of greeting, becomes more significant when Christians meet and clasp hands as members of the family of God. The washing of feet was also practiced by them, not, however, as a church ordinance, but an act of brotherly kindness and Christian hospitality. But this, as well as the former practice, soon fell into disuse, doubtless from the fact, that to have insisted upon it would have obliged them, in order to be consistent, to have revived the use of sandals and the style of dress prevalent in the primitive age, which Christianity did not originate and was not designed to perpetuate. But their regard for these unimportant matters by no means rendered them negligent concerning the weightier matters of the law: reading and committing to memory the holy oracles; bringing up their families in the fear of God; social and family worship; and all the sweet charities of a Christian life were cultivated in
60 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
that little church, and in its bosom were found men and women as pious, devoted, and useful for their means and opportunities as the world has ever seen. The Darsies, Erretts, McLarens, and many others, who have proved such blessings to the world, and promoters of the cause of Christ in the earth, were members of that little band, and where the influences that were set on foot there will end eternity alone will disclose.
The following incident will show the spirit that prevailed among them -- a spirit noble as it is rare. One of the members had in some way injured and deeply wounded the feelings of Mr. Scott and Mrs. Darsie; and as the aggressor showed no disposition to repair the wrong he had done, Bro. Scott went to Mrs. Darsie, and said: "We have now an opportunity of praying the Lord's prayer; let us go and forgive him who has trespassed against us;" and together they went, and assured him of their free and full forgiveness of the wrong he had done them, and in such a kindly spirit did they perform their mission that the offender burst into tears, confessed his fault, and a perfect reconciliation was effected.
It was not long after Mr. Scott's return from New York, in 1821, that his mind became possessed by what proved to be the great thought of his life; namely, that the great central idea of the Christian religion is the Messiahship; that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; a proposition around which, in his esteem, all other truths revolve as planets around the sun. To prove this he regarded as the great aim of the evangelists in the four Gospels, and which certainly was the avowed purpose of John,
THE "GOLDEN ORACLE." 61
for, near the close of his life of Jesus, he says, in reference to all he had put on record: "But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name." John xx: 31.
In his biblical studies he received great aid from some valuable theological works, which he found in the library of his lamented friend Mr. Forrester. The most noteworthy among these were the following: Benson on the Epistles; Macknight's Harmony of the Gospels; Knatchbull's Notes; Haldane's works; Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity; Macknight on the Epistles; Carson's works, with those of Wardlaw, Glass, and Sandeman, with many other useful works on ecclesiastical history and prophecy. His chief delight, however, as he himself says, was in the Holy Scriptures, a portion of which he committed to memory daily, and after the labors of the day had closed in the school-room. Midnight often found him engaged in the study of the sacred volume; and he made a solemn vow to God, that if he, for Christ's sake, would grant him just and comprehensive views of his religion he would subordinate all his present and future attainments to the glory of his Son and his religion. Seldom was ever more solemn promise made; seldom was one ever better kept than this; for the theme which then took possession of his thoughts was ever uppermost, was ever after his chief delight; and no one certainly ever devoted a life so earnestly and persistently to the elaboration and illustration of a single truth as he did, to what he was wont in after years to call the "Golden Oracle" -- that Jesus is the Christ.
62 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
The reader, however, must not infer from this that he paid little regard to other constituent elements of Christianity, such as faith, repentance, obedience, the ordinances, prayer, praise, good works, and all that pertains to a true and pure life. All these he regarded as growing out of the great central truth, and deriving all their importance from the fact of being enjoined by that most illustrious personage of whom the eternal Father said: "This is my beloved Son; hear ye him." He ever regarded the nature of Christ as above his work; not divine because he had power to work miracles; but he wrought those wonders because he was divine, and of that divinity they were but the proofs. Had he been but a man, a prophet -- nay, the greatest of the prophets -- his teachings would have been fallible, his example imperfect, his death but a martyrdom that would have no power to cleanse from sin; all his promises would, in that event, have been insecure, the final reward doubtful; but being divine, his teachings must be infallible, his example perfect, his death a sacrifice, his promises sure, the reward of the faithful certain; and he himself be an object that men might not only obey and love, but whom it would not be idolatry to adore.
His mind had long been perplexed with the question, "Is there more than one way of preaching Christ?" The practice of the day and the different and even contradictory views set forth from the various pulpits favored the affirmative; but with the Bible as the standard, and the apostles as models, he soon settled down in the conviction that while there might be many false or imperfect ways, there: could be only one true way of preaching the way of life and salvation,
HIS REPUTATION AS A TEACHER. 63
and that way, of necessity, must be that pursued by the apostles in making known to both Jew and Gentile the gospel offer.
His reputation as a teacher, in the meantime, continued to increase; his school, as already intimated, was select, the number of pupils being restricted to fifteen; but when he gave public examinations the proficiency of his pupils and the superiority of his method of instruction was so apparent, that many of the principal citizens urged that his school should be thrown open, that a larger number might receive the benefit of his instructions; and as soon as this was done the number ran up to one hundred and forty. The only difference which took place between his patrons and himself was in regard to the nature and extent of religious instruction in his school, he being in favor of the New Testament being read daily, and they, who were mainly Presbyterians, preferring that the Westminster Catechism should be taught. Against this he took a decided stand, and gives as his reason, that even at that early date of his religious profession he was thoroughly convinced that in regard to Christianity it was his duty to teach it, not as found in creeds and party standards, but just as it was written. Being unable to agree upon the matter, a compromise was made; all catechisms were laid aside, and a chapter in the New Testament allowed to be read every Saturday. For the good of his pupils he determined to make the most of this, and having, as he says, had his whole soul aroused, and astonished by the views of Christ which were unfolded to him during his intense and prayerful study of the gospels, he determined that the lessons should be drawn from the four
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evangelists; that Christ should be the theme of each Saturday's lesson; and that the great point might be kept before the minds of his pupils during the week he wrote with chalk, in large letters, over the door of his academy, in the inside, the words "Jesus is the Christ."
It was in Pittsburg, while thus engaged, in the winter of 1821-22, that he first met Alexander Campbell, with whom his own history and efforts in the future were to be so intimately blended. Mr. Campbell, who was nearly ten years his senior, had been well educated, and, like himself, intended for the Presbyterian ministry; but being of an original turn of mind, a bold and independent thinker, he found, at an early age, that he could not be limited by the narrow bounds of a party creed, but desired to explore for himself the ocean of revealed truth. He did not commit the common yet fatal mistake of rejecting the Bible on account of the divisions and contradictions existing between the various religious sects and parties: these, he perceived, did not have their origin in the Word of God, but rather resulted from a neglect or departure from it; and though he had unconsciously imbibed many errors in early life, when too young to question and discriminate, he dismissed them one by one without a sigh and scarcely a struggle when he found them without foundation in the Word of God. For that Word he had always cherished the deepest reverence, and when in early manhood he was in imminent peril by shipwreck he made a solemn promise to God that if delivered from the threatened peril he would devote his life to the work of preaching the gospel. It was at once a
MEETS WITH ALEXANDER CAMPBELL. 65
surprise and a pleasure to those two men, on meeting, to find that they occupied common ground, when each had heretofore regarded himself as almost alone in his views of the Christian religion and of the remedy for the divisions and party strifes by which the religious world was agitated. That remedy was the abandonment of all creeds, confessions of faith, and party standards, and a return to the Word of God as the only rule of faith and practice. Peace and unity, they knew, had prevailed as long as that Word was regarded as the only safe rule and guide; and though it had been widely departed from, still they did not doubt that a return to it would result in blessings untold to the church and the world.
But the reader must here be reminded that though they had found the right path, they had by no means explored it; they had discovered what was a sure and safe test of religious truth, but, save in a few instances, they had not applied it; they were like mariners with perfect confidence in the chart on which their course was marked out, but as yet had not seen all the rich islands which gemmed the bosom of the deep, over which they must sail before the safe, quiet harbor of their hopes was gained. They were reformers, but reformers only in embryo or promise -- reformers like Luther, when he first found, opened, and read the Bible; like Wesley, in his little prayer-meeting at Oxford -- reformers with their work before them, with its extent and importance but imperfectly realized; but the work was still to be done.
In regard to this meeting with Mr. Campbell, Mr. Scott says: "When my acquaintance with him began, our age and feelings alike rendered us susceptible of
66 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
a mutual attachment, and that was formed, I trust, on the best of principles. If the regard which we cherished for each other was exalted by any thing purely incidental, that thing was an ardent desire in the bosom of both to reform the Christian profession, which to each of us appeared in a state of the most miserable destitution." Both of them had at one time been highly Calvinistic in belief; and while they saw and deplored the distracted condition of religious affairs, it seemed as if all efforts toward an improvement would prove unavailing; but when they were freed from the incubus of a party theology, they felt that the Word of God, so far from producing the state of things which had caused them such sorrow, really condemned them and contained in itself all the elements necessary to a cure. Mr. Scott's meeting with Alexander Campbell naturally opened the way to an acquaintance with his father, Thomas Campbell, between whom and his gifted son there existed the most perfect sympathy of feeling in their religious views and efforts.
At that time there were few, if any, better educated ministers in America than the elder Campbell; and he was not less remarkable for his perfect courtesy of manner and well developed Christian character, than for his natural ability and literary culture; and looking at the trio, Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, and Walter Scott, as we now can in the light of their finished lives and work, it may be said truthfully that they were not surpassed in genius, eloquence, talent, learning, energy, devotion to the truth, and purity of life, by any three men of the age in which they lived.
THE THREE FRIENDS. 67
The esteem which Mr. Scott and Thomas Campbell soon learned to entertain for each other was afterwards strengthened by much personal intercourse and united labor in presenting to the world the views which they held in common, and to the spread of which they contributed so much, so that their natural affection and regard seemed like that of father and son. In regard to this intimacy, the elder Campbell wrote thus to Scott many years after: "I think I should know you, and that you also should know me. We have participated in the most confidential intimacy, and I know of nothing that should abate it. Our mutual esteem and unfeigned attachment to each other have been to me precious items of comfort and satisfaction, the privation of which would inflict a serious wound, more especially because it is so intimately connected, I had almost said identified, with my feelings in relation to the promotion of the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom within the limits of our mutual co-operation."
Alexander Campbell, nearly twenty years after they first met, thus writes to Scott: "We were associated in the days of weakness, infancy, and imbecility, and tried in the vale of adversity, while as yet there was but a handful. My father, yourself, and myself were the only three spirits that could (and providentially we were the only persons thrown together that were capable of forming any general or comprehensive views of things spiritual and ecclesiastical) co-operate in a great work or enterprise. The Lord greatly blessed our very imperfect and feeble beginnings; and this is one reason worth a million that we ought always to cherish the kindest feelings, esteem,
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admiration, love." This feeling was fully reciprocated on the part of Scott.
And now, having brought together these three men of such great and varied talents, animated by a purpose at once great and good, the reader can not fail to discern the hand of Providence in the matter; and now that the instrumentalities are prepared and brought together, it will not surprise us to see the work to which, in the providence of God, they were called, spread and prosper.
CONVERSION OF SAMUEL CHURCH.
During the lifetime of Mr. Forrester, the position of Mr. Scott in the church was that of a pupil; having been brought into it by the labors of his friend, he had ever looked up to him with an affection and respect that almost might be termed veneration, and, though having a wider range of thought and a much higher degree of cultivation, he felt all the meekness and humility of a child at the feet of its teacher. But when that teacher and guide was so unexpectedly removed, he was placed in a new relation to the little community for which his departed friend had labored so long and faithfully. He became now a teacher where he had lately been a pupil; but being thus thrown on his own resources his natural diffidence soon gave place to self-reliance, and his remarkable abilities developed rapidly. He not only strengthened the church by his admirable method of teaching the Scriptures, but he also increased its numbers by convincing and persuading others to obey the truth. Prominent among his early converts was Samuel Church, whose labors were afterwards made such a blessing to multitudes, and whose memory is so precious still. His early training was among the Covenanters, but he afterwards became a member of an
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Independent church, of which Mr. John Tassey was the pastor. He was a close student, however, of the Bible, and its truths made a much deeper impression on his mind and heart than the peculiarities of his church; and at a very early age he was one of the most active workers in one of the first Sabbath-schools of the city. Having made the acquaintance of Mr. Scott, he soon became deeply interested in the then novel views which he advocated. These views, he was not slow to perceive, had a resemblance to his Bible readings, and a closer examination satisfied him that they were identical; for he found that Mr. Scott was able to do what he himself found impossible -- namely, to express his views in the very language of the Holy Scriptures. The conflict was not as formerly between the views of the Covenanters and Independents, the comparative merits of differing creeds, but between a human theory supported by texts of Scripture often sadly misapplied, and the uniform and consistent teaching of the Word of the living God. He soon discovered that Infant Baptism was not only inferential, but that the inference was wholly unwarranted, and that the mode of baptism, as then practiced, was wholly unlike the teaching of the New Testament upon that subject. In a word, the whole gospel plan had now a plainness, beauty, and simplicity which the theology under which he had been brought up had, in a great measure, obscured, and he felt that the pearl of truth for which he had long been diligently seeking was found at last. He accordingly made a public profession of his faith in the Lord Jesus, and was immersed by Mr. Scott. He was at that time about twenty-three years of age, extremely
A GREAT BIBLE STUDENT. 71
engaging in his appearance and pleasing in his manners. In his heart the good seed found a rich and genial soil, and brought forth in his subsequent life an abundant harvest. His education was limited, but his mind was enriched by various and careful reading, so that he was able to express his thoughts with great force and clearness; he was, moreover, endowed with rare wisdom and common sense, and a kinder heart never beat in human breast. His knowledge of the Bible, by long and close study, became remarkable, indeed wonderful; he was a diligent student of it from his early youth, and at the age of forty he had read the New Testament through one hundred and fifty times, and the Old Testament half that number. By this means he made the thoughts of the sacred writers his own, could quote accurately from any portion of the sacred record, and had such an admirable knowledge of its scope and the relation of its various parts that Alexander Campbell, in the height of his power and success as a defender of the Christian religion against attacks from all quarters, said that he would rather trust Samuel Church in the discussion of any subject that could be settled by the common version of the Bible than any other man within his knowledge. He always carried with him a small copy of the Bible, that he might read it whenever or wherever an opportunity occurred -- in the intervals of business, on his travels, or, where he was often found, by the bedside of the sick and the dying.
One or two instances of his love for the Bible may be mentioned. One evening he went to prayer-meeting, but in consequence of a severe storm no one but himself was there; but he spent more than the allotted
72 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
time in reading the entire gospel by Luke. Indeed, the writer has never known any one who devoted so much of his life to the reading and study of the Word of God as did this good man; it was near and dear to his heart all his life, and he asked, when dying, that it should be placed beneath his pillow.
Another congregation was established in Allegheny City, over which Mr. Church presided for nearly thirty years, with such success that it soon outnumbered the church in Pittsburg, and became one of the most noted and influential churches in the movement called the Reformation. A very warm attachment sprung up between Mr. Scott and his amiable and earnest young convert, which grew and increased until death severed them for a season.
On the 3d of January, 1823, Mr. Scott was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Whitsett, at that time a member of the religious body known as Covenanters; she afterwards united with the church then under the care of her husband, to whom she proved to be a faithful and affectionate helper, who shared without murmuring the toils and privations incident to such a life as his labors and sacrifices made it necessary to lead. "He was at this time about 26 years of age, about the medium height, slender and rather spare in person, and possessed of little muscular strength. His aspect was abstracted, meditative, and sometimes had even an air of sadness. His nose was straight, his lips rather full, but delicately chiseled; his eyes dark and lustrous; full of intelligence and tenderness; and his hair, clustering above his fine ample forehead, was black as the raven's wing." Such, doubtless, he appeared then to his favorite pupil, to whom we are
THE CHRISTIAN BAPTIST. 73
indebted for the above description. But it must be remembered that the teacher is often an object of reverence and awe to the pupil, and this may have rendered the picture less attractive than it would have been if drawn by another hand. The writer knew him well in after years, subject, at times, it is true, to hours of depression, but in the main, genial and even mirthful; abounding in anecdotes and brilliant flashes of wit and repartee, and especially delighting in, and delightful to, the young. His entrance into a room full of young people, instead of checking or clouding their mirth, served only to increase it; and was like the letting in of additional sunshine.
It was in this year that his friend A. Campbell projected his first publication, which afterwards became so famous; but before issuing the work he consulted Mr. Scott in regard to it. He intended to name his paper "The Christian;" but Mr. Scott suggested that it might disarm prejudice and secure a wider circulation were he to call it "The Christian Baptist," especially as it was expected to circulate mainly among the Baptists, among whom the elements of reform had for some time been slowly and silently spreading. Mr. Scott's suggestion met his approval, and the periodical, which produced the greatest revolution in religious thought in this century, was issued in August, 1823, under the name of "The Christian Baptist."
From the time of his first meeting with Mr. Scott, Mr. Campbell had felt that he had met with no ordinary man, and having discovered, he was not slow to acknowledge, his ability, and urged him to set forth his views through the medium of the new periodical to which he had given a name. In accordance with this
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invitation he prepared an article for the first number, with the caption, "A Divinely Authorized Plan of Teaching the Christian Religion." Mr. Campbell himself had an article headed the "Christian Religion;" and his father contributed an essay on the "Primary Intention of the Gospel."
The publication of this paper marked a new era in religious literature; the novelty of the views, the extraordinary ability with which they were set forth, the reforms for which they called, and, above all, their evident truth, created an interest and an inquiry such as has seldom been equaled.
Mr. Scott continued his Essays on the theme above mentioned through four numbers of "The Christian Baptist," and in them he says or suggests all that is needed on that subject. They are, in a word, exhaustive, embodying, as they do, the earnest and prayerful reflections of years; and in vigor of style and felicity of expression they will not suffer by comparison with the finest productions of the present day.
A few extracts from these Essays will bring before the mind of the reader the needs of those times, and justify all we have said concerning them:
"Were a vision vouchsafed us for the single purpose of revealing one uniform and universal plan of teaching the Christian religion, would not every Christian admire the goodness of God in determining a matter on which scarce two calling themselves Christian teachers now agree? Would not every teacher feel himself bound in duty to abandon his own plan and to adopt the plan of God; to study it, to teach it, and, in short, to maintain its superiority and authority against all other schemes, how plausible soever in their configuration, how apparently suitable
ESSAYS IN CHRISTIAN BAPTIST. 75
soever in their application? The writer has not been favored with any vision on this matter; moreover, as he deems it unnecessary, he of course does not expect any; and surely, if his plan be authorized by the example of God himself; by the Lord Jesus Christ; by the Holy Spirit, in his method of presenting the truth to all men in the Scriptures; if the apostles taught the truth on this plan; and if missionaries in teaching idolaters feel themselves forced to the adoption of it, then there is no need of angel or vision. Times out of number we are told in Scripture that the grand saving truth is, that 'Jesus is the Christ.' This is the bond of union among Christians -- the essence -- the spirit of all revelation. All the Scriptures testify and confirm this simple truth, that 'he that believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God.' 1 John 5:2. For he who believeth it sets to his seal that God is true. Such a one, John says, loveth God, and Christ, and the brethren; keepeth his commands, and is purified from all his sins, and overcometh the world, and shall be saved. Christ declared, when departing into heaven, that he that believeth not shall be damned. The grand truth, then, being that 'Jesus is the Christ,' let us attend to those Scriptures which are written for the express purpose of establishing this proposition. These are the writings of the four evangelists, which at once show us in what manner God would have us to learn this truth; in what manner the Lord Jesus taught it; how the Holy Spirit has been pleased to present it to mankind; how the apostles wrote of it, and, of course, taught it to the world. This is the beginning of the plan authorized of heaven, and every teacher of the Christian religion should commence by unfolding to his hearers the matter of the four evangelists. 'These things,' says John, 'are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ; and that believing, ye might have life through his name.'
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"Now, what definition soever the Holy Scripture has given of one evangelist, that is the definition of them all, for each of them contains a history of that marvelous evidence by which Jesus proved that he was the Christ: by which his pretensions to the Messiahship were so amply confirmed among the Jews. The perfection of Christian intelligence is a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and no Christian is intelligent but as he knows the Scriptures. The desideratum, then, is a plan for teaching them to the people. By commencing with the four evangelists, and abiding by them until they are relished and understood, we learn, chief of all things, that Jesus is the Christ; and while the number, magnitude, variety, sublimity, and benignity of his miracles delight, astonish, and instruct us, they, at the same time, carry irresistible conviction to the heart, purge it, elevate it, and fix our faith in the mighty power of God. By and by, as we become familiarized to the miraculous evidence, we become reconciled and even strongly attached to it, losing all suspicion of its reality, and, of course, of the reality of our holy religion; because we come to perceive that these things were not done in a corner, but in public, and under the inspection of men who were both able and forward to decide upon their truth and certainty; men who, in point of intellect, reason, and character, might have vied with the choicest of our modern skeptics; men, in short, whose abilities to detect were equaled only by their readiness to pervert.
"In the writings of the evangelists we behold that power which created man and all things exerting itself with all possible unaffected pomp and majesty; tempering, untiring, and clothing itself with all goodness and philanthropy; and so entirely at the will of the Holy One, that it accompanies those who accompany him. It sparkles, it flashes, it shines, it heals, it renovates, it creates, it controls, it rests, it leaps, it flies, it kindly raises up the bowed
ESSAYS IN CHRISTIAN BAPTIST. 77
down, or hushes into silence the swelling and reluctant storm; it flies forth with the breath of his mouth; it operates at the tuft of his mantle, at the tip of his finger, or at the distance of a hundred leagues; now it is in the air with a voice like thunder; it shakes open the nodding tombs, or it rends the crashing mountains around Jerusalem; always marvelous, it is always harmless, and mostly benevolent. True, there is nothing conciliating; apart from goodness, we always choose to inspect it at a distance; but if joined with malevolence we fly from it with horror and affright. Power is formidable and even terrifying in the tiger, because in him it is a mere instrument of cruelty; but the same power becomes amiable in the horse, because all the thunder of his neck, all the glory of his nostrils, the strength of his limbs, and the fierceness of his attitude, are continually held in check by that beautiful docility which so eminently characterizes this noble animal, and by which his very will is identified with that of his rider. In the evangelists we behold the everlasting, the unexpended power itself, revealed in the form of a servant, and with more than a servant's humility, the strength of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the harmlessness of the Lamb dwelling together in the same one."
"The ultimate design of these papers on Christianity is to exhibit a plan of preaching Christ to mankind, having for its authority the example of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, together with that of the apostles and others, who in the beginning were commissioned to promulgate the new doctrine. The design, indeed, may at first sight seem as adventurous as it is novel; but what of that? Christian pastors are not to be startled at the apparent presumption or novelty of my attempt. Their principal concern must be about the reality of what I propose. Is there one way, and only one, of preaching Christ to sinners,
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and is that one way supported by the above authorities? I answer in the affirmative, there is but one authorized way of making Christ known to men, in order that they may believe and be saved; and now it is my business to show, by Scripture, that this is the case. The reader will remember that it has been shown, in a former paper, that Jesus having died for sin and arisen again to introduce the hope of immortality, the great fact to be believed, in order to be saved, is that he is the Son of God; and this being a matter-of-fact question, the belief of it as necessarily depends upon the evidence by which it is accompanied as the belief of any other fact depends upon its particular evidence. No one thinks of accrediting a mere assertion. Our blessed Savior scrupled not to tell those among whom he alleged his divine authority, that if he alone said 'he was the Messiah,' his testimony was not to be regarded, and then reminded them of the testimony given by John the Baptist, whom they held to be a prophet; the testimony of the Father, too, and of the Holy Spirit, and of, the Scriptures; and we shall see by and by that to preach the gospel is just to propose this glorious truth to sinners, and support it by its proper evidence. We shall see that the heavens and the apostles proposed nothing more in order to convert men from the error of their ways and to reduce them to the love and obedience of Christ.
"I am not ignorant that there are thousands who suppose that there is something else far more necessary than this. They are ready to say that everybody believes Jesus to be the Son of God, and to have been put to death for sin. To this it may be proper to reply, that not a single soul who attends the popular preachers has ever been convinced of this fact, that 'Jesus is the Savior,' by its proper evidence. Clergymen do not preach the gospel with its proper evidences. They proceed in their annual round of sermonizing on this capital mistake: that the audience have
ESSAYS IN CHRISTIAN BAPTIST. 79
believed Jesus to be the Savior; so that their very best harangues, generally denominated gospel sermons, seldom deserve a better name than rants about the everlasting fire that shall consume the despisers of the offered salvation. But every body who has read the New Testament must have observed that the Scriptures never propose the rewards and punishments which are appended to the belief and rejection of the gospel as a proof of its truth; and every one who knows how the apostles preached the gospel, must know also that they never did so; that they never produced the sanctions of everlasting burning in order to secure the faith and obedience of their hearers. If, indeed, their hearers were sometimes refractory, and would even dare to despise the gospel when set before them with its proper evidences, the gifts, the miracles, and the prophecies, then, indeed, the apostles made known the terrors of the Lord, not the terrors of the law. Then, indeed, they made it known that the Lord should be revealed from heaven to take vengeance by fire on them that obeyed not God -- i. e., believed not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; but this way not to prove that Jesus had been put to death for sin, and was the Son of God, but only to warn those who might be disposed to despise or neglect that splendid evidence of gifts, miracles, etc., which proved their gospel to be true, which proved Jesus to have been crucified for sin, and to be the Son of God. In short, the apostles proceeded thus: they first proposed the truth to be believed; and, secondly, they produced the evidences necessary to warrant belief; and, thirdly, if any seemed to despise the gospel, or resist the Holy Spirit -- i. e., the evidence afforded by the Holy Spirit in gifts, miracles, and prophecy -- then they warned these despisers of the consequences, and thus freed themselves from the blood of all men."
Such essays as these, from which we have quoted, and the powerful articles from the pen of the editor
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in each number, soon created a profound sensation. In many of the communities in which "The Christian Baptist" circulated the foundations of religious belief were carefully and earnestly re-examined; and the result was that many of its readers, to whom religion, as popularly taught, was a mysterious and altogether unintelligible affair, now saw in it, as set forth in the Scriptures, a beautiful harmony and simplicity, and began to spread among their neighbors the light which they had received; and being of necessity placed on the defensive, they were obliged to maintain by an appeal to Scripture the views they had espoused. In some instances entire churches with their pastors were led to lay aside their creeds and much of their theology and to accept the Word of God as their only guide. The publication of this remarkable sheet continued for seven years with increased interest and a largely augmented list of subscribers, and only ceased to give place to a larger and more widely-circulated monthly called "The Millennial Harbinger." During the existence of "The Christian Baptist" Mr. Scott was a frequent contributor to its pages, and his numerous articles under the signature of "Philip" gained him a reputation scarcely inferior to that of the editor -- A. Campbell himself.
Up to this time nearly all the efforts made by these advocates of reform were confined to the correcting of evils and abuses in the church, and comparatively little was done for the conversion of sinners; and the result, of course, was, that while many were led to adopt the views set forth with zeal and vigor, there was but little growth in the churches as far as numbers were concerned. They had not, as yet, clearly
THE GOSPEL AGGRESSIVE. 81
perceived the distinction between the original order of the church and the original gospel, and were so occupied with an attempt to reform the church and unite the various conflicting parties, that they did not at first perceive that there was an equal necessity for urging the original plea, as made by the apostles in their addresses to the world. The reformation thus far was ecclesiastical, but the aggressive element of the gospel was wanting; the few that united with them from the world had, as it were, to take the kingdom of heaven by violence; but the necessity of going before the world with the gospel message of entreaty and invitation soon became apparent to the mind of Scott, who, as we shortly shall see, soon began to realize what was needed in this respect, and began to invite and compel men to come to the gospel feast.
LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
Mr. Scott remained in Pittsburg teaching his academy and instructing the church until sometime in 1826, when he removed to Steubenville, Ohio. It was in the summer of this year also that he made his first appearance at the Mahoning Baptist Association, within the bounds of which he afterwards became so famous. The association met on the 25th of August. Mr. Scott was not a member of this body, but is mentioned in the Minutes simply as a teaching brother, but was by courtesy invited to partake in its deliberations; and probably from the fact of his being a stranger was, by a similar act of courtesy, invited to preach on Sunday, at 10 o'clock A. M., the hour usually occupied by the best talent. His sermon, based on the 11th chapter of Matthew, was a powerful one and made a deep impression. A. S. Hayden, then quite a youth, was present, and saw and heard Scott for the first time. He says that his fancy, imagination, eloquence, neatness, and finish as a preacher and a man attracted his attention, and fixed him forever on his memory. Alexander Campbell, whose reputation was already great, was present, and many who had been attracted to the meeting by his fame supposed that they were hearing him while
ATTENDS THE ASSOCIATION. 83
listening to Scott, and when he closed left the place under that impression. The Association met the next year, 1827, at New Lisbon, Columbiana County, Ohio. Alexander Campbell had been appointed by the church of which he was a member, at Wellsburgh, Va., to attend as its messenger, and on his way he stopped at Steubenville and invited Mr. Scott to go with him. He was somewhat disinclined to do so, as he was not a member of the body, or of any church represented in it; but being urged, he went. This seemingly unimportant event proved to be one of the most important steps of his life, as the sequel will show; and as it is doubtful whether there is in existence a single printed copy of the Minutes of that meeting, the entire proceedings are presented below, which form a very important and valuable portion of the history of the times:
MINUTES OF THE MAHONING BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
2. Read the letters from the following churches, and took an account of their numbers:
B = Admitted by Baptism; L = Admitted by Letter; D = Dismissed;
E = Excommunicated; X = Died; T = Total
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B = Admitted by Baptism; L = Admitted by Letter; D = Dismissed;
E = Excommunicated; X = Died; T = Total
3. Bro. Jacob Osborn was chosen Moderator, and Bro. John Rudolph, Jr., Clerk.
4. The following teaching brethren being present were invited to a seat in the council: Walter Scott, Samuel Holmes, William West, and Sidney Rigdon.
5. Brethren A. Campbell, D. Gaskill, and A. Bentley were appointed a committee to arrange business for to-morrow. Adjourned till to-morrow morning, 9 o'clock.
Bro. Sidney Rigdon delivered a discourse in the evening on John, 8th chapter.
6. Met pursuant to adjournment; opened by praise and prayer.
7. Voted to take up the request from the Braceville church, which is as follows: "We wish that this Association may take into serious consideration the peculiar
MINUTES OF THE ASSOCIATION. 85
situation of the churches of this Association; and if it could be a possible thing for an evangelical preacher to be employed to travel and teach among the churches, we think that a blessing would follow."
8. Voted that a person be appointed for the above purpose.
9. Invited Bros. J. Merrill, J. Secrest, and Joseph Gaston to a seat with us.
10. Voted that all the teachers of Christianity present be a committee to nominate a person to travel and labor among the churches, and to suggest a plan for the support of the person so appointed.
11. That Bro. A. Campbell write the corresponding letter for this year.
12. That a collection of $6.91 be paid over to Bro. A. Campbell, for the printing and distribution of the Minutes of the Association.
13. That Bro. William West be continued Corresponding Secretary, and Bro. John Rudolph Recording Secretary, and Bro. Joab Gasket Treasurer.
14. That our next Association be held at Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio, on Friday preceding the last Lord's day in August; public worship to commence at 1 o'clock P. M.
15. That a circular letter be written on the subject of itinerant preaching for the next Association by Bro. A. Campbell.
16. That Bro. A. Campbell deliver the introductory discourse for next year, and in case of failure Bro. Jacob Osborne.
17. The committee to which was referred the nomination of a person to labor among the churches, and to recommend a plan for his support, reported as follows: "1st. That Bro. Walter Scott is a suitable person for the task, and that he is willing, provided the Association concur
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in his appointment, to devote his whole energies to the work. 2d. That voluntary and liberal contributions be recommended to the churches for creating a fund for his support. 3d. That at the discretion of Bro. Scott, as far as respects time and place, four quarterly meetings for public worship and edification, be held in the bounds of this Association this year, and that at all those meetings such contributions as have been made in the churches in those vicinities be passed over to Bro. Scott, and an account of the same to be produced at the next Association; also that at any time and in any church, when and where Bro. Scott may be laboring, any contributions made to him shall be accounted for to the next Association."
18. Voted that the above report, in all its items, be adopted. Bro. Secrest delivered a discourse in the evening from John's testimony, 3d chapter. Met on Lord's day, at sunrise in the Baptist meeting-house, for prayer and praise, and continued till 8 o'clock. Met again in the Presbyterian meeting-house, Lisbon, where, after public worship, Bro. Jacob Osborne delivered a discourse on Hebrews, 1st chap. He was followed by Bro. A. Campbell, who delivered a discourse on Good Works, predicated upon the last paragraph of the Sermon on the Mount and the conclusion of Matthew, 25th chapter. A collection of $11.75 was then lifted for the purposes specified in the report of the Committee. After a recess of a few minutes and the immersion of some disciples in the creek, the brethren met at the Baptist meeting-house and broke bread, after which they dispersed, much comforted and edified by the exercises of the day.
JOHN RUDOLPH, JUN., Clerk.
Clerk for the Association.
CHOSEN AS EVANGELIST. 87
In regard to the proceedings of the Association, as given above, it will be observed that Mr. Scott was again invited to a seat. This might have been expected; but is it not very remarkable that when a committee was appointed composed of preachers who were members of the Association, and also of those who were not, to choose an evangelist to travel among the churches, that one should be selected who was not a member of the body, and who neither agreed in his religious views with marry of those who selected him for so important a task, nor took any pains to conceal this difference? Nor could the choice have been made on the ground of peculiar fitness in consequence of great success in the evangelical field, or greatness of reputation; it was not a matter of necessity -- a choice of a giant from among pigmies. Bentley was known and esteemed throughout the entire Association; Campbell's great and admirable talents were well known and acknowledged; Rigdon had the reputation of an orator; Jacob Osborn gave high promise of future usefulness; Secrest and Gaston were popular and successful evangelists; and yet by the voices of all these, and others of less note, Walter Scott was unanimously chosen for the most important work that the Association had ever taken in hand.
He proved to be, however, as we shall see, the man of all others for the place and the work -- a work which neither he nor they who called him to it had the remotest idea that it would result, as it did, in the dissolution of the Association and the casting away of creeds and the unexampled spread of clearer and purer view of the gospel -- nay, a return to it in its primitive beauty and simplicity.
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Having now before us the man and his work, this seems a fitting place to introduce a notice of the field in which he was providentially called to labor -- namely, the bounds of the Mahoning Association. This body was formed at Nelson, Portage County, Ohio, on the 30th of August, 1820, and was composed of some ten Baptist churches. Its belief was set forth in ten articles of faith, in which a belief in the Trinity, eternal and personal election to holiness, total depravity, particular redemption, and the irresistible power of the Holy Spirit in conversion was insisted on. Each church in the body had its own articles of faith, some of them equaling in number those of the Association, others with as many as eighteen or nineteen articles, and still others with but eight or nine. In several of these church creeds, which all affirmed the doctrine of the Association, there were to be found additional articles; as, for instance, the following: "We believe in the laying on of hands on baptized believers to be an apostolic practice, and as such we observe it;" and some, in addition to the articles common to all the rest, had one which read thus: "In short, we receive a book called the Baptist Confession of Faith, adopted by the Philadelphia Association, Sept. 25th, 1742, as generally expressive of our views of the great doctrines of revealed religion." One church says of the same Confession of Faith: "We agree to adopt it;" and another, after enumerating various points of doctrine, concludes by saying: "For further particulars we refer to the Baptist Confession of Faith."
The number of churches Confession the Association at first was ten, which was afterwards increased to about
RELIGIOUS APATHY. 89
double that number, seventeen appearing on the list at the meeting at New Lisbon in 1827. These churches were mainly in that portion of Eastern Ohio lying adjacent to Pennsylvania and between the Ohio River and Lake Erie, called the Western Reserve, which was mainly peopled by settlers from the New England States. One of the churches was in Virginia -- that of Wellsburgh.
The name of Adamson Bentley, who was the leading man in the Association, appears in the Minutes of every meeting from its formation to its close; that of Alexander Campbell does not appear until 1825. Walter Scott's name appears in the Minutes for 1826 and 1827 simply as a teaching brother. Although there were within the bounds of the Association some pious and devoted men, such as Bentley, Osborne, the Haydens, and others; still, in consequence of their creeds, by which they were cramped and confined, and the chilling influence of the ultra Calvinistic views then prevalent, religion was at an extremely low ebb. The monthly meetings had become cold and formal gatherings, the reading of church constitution, covenant, and articles of faith -- for some had all these -- had, in a measure, usurped the place of reading the Scriptures, of prayer and praise. There was but little growth in true piety, little enjoyment, and but few conversions. At the Association in 1827 fifteen churches reported only thirty-four baptisms, and of these eleven were at Wellsburgh, from which church A. Campbell was the delegate. The report of the previous year was still worse, only eighteen baptisms within the bounds of seventeen
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churches, while the exclusions and deaths for the same period were twenty-three.
In 1825 seventeen churches reported but sixteen baptisms. The greatest number reported in any one year was one hundred and three, from ten churches, of which fifty-six, or more than one-half of the entire number, was at Warren, under the labors of Elder A. Bentley, whose love for dying men made him often overstep the narrow limits of his creed.
Great stress was in those days placed upon what was called a religious experience -- more reliance, indeed, upon the feelings and mental exercises of the penitent than upon a change of conduct and obedience to the plain teachings of the Word of God; indeed, it was by no means uncommon to hear the Word of God spoken of as powerless and inefficient; but any unusual agitation of the feelings was regarded as the direct influence of the Holy Spirit upon the sinner's heart. Dreams and visions of a grand or gloomy nature were thought to indicate the anger or favor of God, and to persons of warm and lively imaginations these were seldom wanting; and those who could relate the most wonderful stories in regard to the soul's enjoyments or conflicts were regarded as favorites of heaven, while the equally earnest and sincere, yet more sober-minded, were thought to be in a far less hopeful condition.
Were we to regard as true many of the religious experiences of those times we should have frequently to admit the appearance of Christ to earnest seekers, speaking to them words of comfort and blessing, as when he was here in the flesh, or be horrified by their encounters and conflicts with the Prince of
THE GOSPEL AGGRESSIVE. 91
Darkness, which, however, generally ended in his defeat and flight. Much of this, doubtless, is to be attributed to the fact that John Bunyan was more read by a certain class than John the Evangelist, and was by many Baptists regarded as a kind of patron saint; and the nearer their experiences resembled those of the "Wonderful Dreamer" the safer did they feel, and the sounder were they in the faith.
A few of the visions and experiences of the famous author of the "Pilgrim's Progress" will show where the type of much of the supernatural in the religion of these times is to be found. Once he dreamed he saw the face of the heavens, as it were, all on fire, the firmament crackling and shivering as with the noise of mighty thunders, and an archangel flew in the midst of heaven sounding a trumpet, and a glorious throne was seated in the east, whereon sat one in brightness like the morning-star; upon which he, thinking it was the end of the world, fell upon his knees, and, with uplifted hands toward heaven, cried: "O Lord God, have mercy upon me! what shall I do? the day of judgment is come, and I am not prepared!" when immediately he heard a voice behind him exceeding loud, saying, "Repent!" and upon this he awoke, and found it but a dream. At another time he dreamed that he was in a pleasant place, jovial and rioting, banqueting and feasting his senses, when immediately a mighty earthquake rent the earth, and made a wide gap, out of which came bloody flames, and the figures of men tossed up in globes of fire, and falling down again with horrible cries, shrieks, and execrations, while some devils that were with them laughed aloud at their torment; and while he
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stood trembling at this sight, he thought the earth sunk under him, and a circle of flame inclosed him; but when he fancied he was just at the point to perish, one in white shining raiment descended and plucked him out of that dreadful place, while devils cried after him to leave him with them to take the just punishment his sins had deserved, yet he escaped the danger, and leaped for joy, when he awoke and found it but a dream. Again, when playing ball on the Sabbath, a voice suddenly came from heaven into his soul, which said, "Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven, or have thy sins and go to hell?" Greatly amazed, he says: "I looked up to heaven and was as if I had with the eyes of my understanding seen the Lord Jesus looking down upon me, as being very hotly displeased with me, and as if he did severely threaten me with some grievous punishment for my ungodly practices."
At one time he would regard himself as having committed a similar sin to that of Peter when he denied his Lord, and at another time his sin was no less than that of Judas. He saw Christ on the cross, and his soul was in an agony of sorrow and love at the sight. He met Satan both as a roaring lion and an angel of light,but sent him howling away or eluded the snares he had set for his soul. These and a thousand other kindred instances had much to do with shaping the religious sentiment of the days of which we write, and those who were not under the influence of them, to a greater or less degree, were fewer far than those who were. Men even of education and more than ordinary natural ability were known, after seeking the path to God by reading the
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record he had given to men, to ask in prayer a sign or token of their acceptance; and many, feeling that God had denied to them what he seemed to have granted so lavishly to others, gave up the search in hopeless despair. One of the most common and at the same time one of the most hopeful experiences was a conviction of sin so deep and pungent that the penitent was willing to suffer the pains of eternal death for the glory of God. It was comparatively easy for the sinner to believe and say that he deserved eternal damnation, but only the grace of God, it was thought, was able to render him willing that such a fate should be his, that God might be glorified.
As illustrative of these times we might mention the case of three brothers, two of whom still survive. They were all religiously disposed, and all brought up under the severe Calvinistic teaching then so common among the Baptists. One of them for years was desirous of the favor of God, but for years sought it in vain, and was consoled by being told that he must wait for God's good time and way; all the time of his waiting the difficulty was not on his part; he was willing and anxious to be saved, but, according to the doctrine, the Lord was not. It was a long season of doubt, of darkness, and only after years had passed was he able, after a long struggle and earnest prayer, to draw some comfort from the words of Scripture: "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." The other brother seemed signally favored; he saw signs in the heavens and heard voices which he could not doubt were celestial; at one time he saw a coffin passing through the air, and heard at the same time a voice of solemn warning. An unusually violent
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thunder-storm he deemed was sent as a special warning; and while his elder brother could scarcely, after years of seeking, find a ground of hope, he had many and wonderful proofs of the interest felt in his salvation, in the sights and sounds to which we have referred. The other brother was a calm, meditative man; heaven did not seem averse to his desires, as in the case of one of his brothers, nor was he favored with the sights and sounds which alarmed or assured the other. He carefully read the Scriptures and thought upon the mercies of God: this awoke gratitude in his heart, and he felt that the goodness of God should lead him to repentance, and by such motives was led to dedicate himself to the service of God. The wonderful experience, however, was generally regarded as the best, and sights that were never seen and voices that were never heard, which had no existence save in the imagination of the individual, were stronger proofs of the divine favor than a life and walk in accordance with the Word of God.
The preachers taught human inability, and the people generally gave full illustrations of their belief of the doctrine. "Wait and not work" seemed to be the favorite motto, and thousands under this delusion waited, alas, too long. There was, however, a vague impression that something was wrong, and a desire to find out that wrong and its remedy; and it was this feeling, doubtless, which led to the desire to have an evangelist in the field, which resulted in the unexpected selection of Walter Scott for the work, for which his success proved him to be eminently qualified.
In view of the state of things set forth in the preceding chapter, the field of labor for the newly-chosen evangelist was rather an unpromising one; but it must be remembered that he himself had for years been perplexed by the doctrinal difficulties prevailing among the people to whom he was sent, and therefore the better prepared to show the evils of a partisan theology, and to point out a more excellent way. Here and there, however, in the various churches of the Association, were to be found individuals dissatisfied with the popular orthodoxy of the tomes, who needed only a leader in order to throw off the yoke of human creeds and to unite upon the one foundation on which the followers of Christ first stood. These were mainly the readers of the "Christian Baptist," by whose bold and startling articles a spirit of deep and earnest inquiry had been aroused. They were, though few in number, the thinkers, the earnest and honest-hearted of the various communities in which they were found, and their views, like leaven, were slowly and silently making their way. Indications of this appeared as early as the year 1823. In that year the church at Hubbard sent to
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the Association the following question: "Is it the opinion of this Association that any church has the privilege, according to Scripture, of holding communion without an ordained elder, or to administer other gospel ordinances?" This was answered in the negative. In the same year the following was submitted by the Nelson church: "Is it an apostolic practice for churches to have confessions of faith, constitutions, or any thing of the like nature, except the Scriptures?" This was a blow aimed at the practice of every church in the Association. To answer the question in the affirmative would have made it necessary to prove what did not admit of proof; to have given a negative answer would have condemned what was universally practiced. Action upon it was, therefore, postponed until the next year, and even then it was deemed most politic to pass it by in silence. In 1824 the Nelson church had two more questions to propose for the consideration of the Association. They were: 1. "Will this Association hold in its connection a church which acknowledges no other rule of faith and practice than the Scriptures?" 2. "In what manner were members received into the churches that were set in order by the apostles?" Plain as these questions were, it was deemed best to postpone the answers until the next year, at which time the following replies were made. To the first: "Yes; on satisfactory evidence that they walk according to this rule." To the second: "Those who believed and were baptized were added to the church." These answers were condemnatory of the almost universal practice of the Baptist Churches at that time, as they did not recognize any
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church unless it had articles of faith corresponding to their own; and such was the universal demand for an "experience," that persons who had been baptized on a simple profession of faith in the Lord Jesus were denied membership with them.
In the same year, from the New Lisbon church came the query: "Is it scriptural to license a brother to administer the Word and not the ordinances?" to which the answer was: "We have no such custom taught in the Scriptures." Also the following from the Nelson church: "Can Associations, in their present modifications, find their model in the New Testament?" to which the answer was: "Not exactly."
In 1825 the Youngstown church sent up to the Association the following: "Was the practice of the primitive church an exact pattern to succeeding ages; and is every practice to be receded from which was not the practice of the primitive saints in their peculiar circumstances?" The reply was; "It is the duty and privilege of every Christian church to aim at an exact conformity to the example of the churches set in order by the apostles, and to endeavor to imitate them in all things inimitable by them."
From the occurrences just related it will be perceived that light was increasing, and the questions from the Nelson church especially indicate that there were within it the elements of reform; and that those who held the sentiments set forth in the queries noticed were desirous of throwing off the creed which they regarded as a yoke of bondage. But of all the churches in the Association, that at Hiram, Portage County, had taken the roost advanced ground. This congregation at one time had its church covenant,
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church articles, church constitution, and in addition to these held to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith; and it was not unusual to have all the three former read at a single church meeting. Of this dreary repetition the church clerk grew weary, and thought that the time could be better employed in reading the Scriptures. In this view several others shared; the matter was canvassed in nearly every family, and at length, at their monthly meeting, in August, 1824, it was proposed to renounce all--covenant, articles, constitution, and the Philadelphia Confession -- and take the Word of God as the only rule of faith and practice. A few objected, on the ground that without their articles and church covenant they would be like a barrel without hoops, with nothing to keep them together, as without them they could neither receive nor exclude members. Two recent occurrences, however, favored those who advocated the rejection of the offensive documents in a practical way. A short time before, two members had been received without the laying on of hands after baptism, which had previously been regarded by some as much a gospel ordinance as baptism or the Lord's Supper; this was done in consequence of their minister, Rufus Freeman, refusing to lay hands on the converts, as he did not regard it as enjoined by the Scriptures; and so the articles of faith which made it necessary had the effect of making trouble instead of keeping it away. A refractory member had also been brought up for trial, but as the offense was one not specified in the church articles, and she beyond all question guilty and yet unwilling to confess her fault, she was excluded on scriptural ground.
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An aged German brother, highly esteemed for his godly life, but who had never spoken in a church meeting before, arose, and after alluding to the above case, said: "Brethren, that trial was conducted without the use of the church articles; we have found that we can exclude disorderly members without them; if the Bible is a good rule by which to exclude evil-doers, it ought to be a good rule for right-doers to live by. I think we can do without the articles."
The longer the discussion continued the stronger grew the party which stood up for the Bible alone, and when the motion was put that all their church rules and standards save the Bible alone should be renounced, all save three voted in its favor. One of the three, a lady, rose and said she had not voted on the motion from the fact that she had never accepted the documents which had been rejected, and for that reason could not renounce them; another gave a similar reason, leaving only one in the opposition. But this was a rare case in those days; most of the churches stood by the creed, articles, and covenant, and their opposers were generally regarded as troublers of Israel.
As the articles of faith so often referred to expressed the views entertained at that time, and were given up with reluctance after a severe struggle, those held by the church at New Lisbon are given below, as generally expressive of the sentiments of the churches in the Mahoning Association:
ARTICLES OF FAITH held by the Baptist church at New Lisbon. Constituted May 31, 1806:
ARTICLE I. We believe in one God, the Creator of all the worlds, the only living and true God; a being of infinite
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perfections, whose essence can not be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure Spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, who is infinite in all his perfections, and most holy in and of himself.
II. We believe that in this being of infinite perfections there are three subsistences or persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity; each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence or nature undivided. The Father is of none neither begotten nor proceeding. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father. The Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and Son, all infinite and without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several particular relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God and comfortable dependence on him.
III. We believe the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice in religious things.
IV. We believe in the eternal and particular election of men and angels to eternal glory.
V. We believe man to be a fallen creature and in a fallen state, and in his present state he is not able in and of himself to recover himself to a state of happiness.
VI. We believe in a particular redemption of a definite number of persons to eternal life by the death of Christ.
VII. We believe in a free justification by the righteousness of Christ imputed, and efficacious grace in regeneration, and the final perseverance of the saints in grace to the end.
VIII. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, both of the righteous and ungodly, and the general judgment
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to come, and that the saints shall forever enjoy the glory of heaven, and that the unrighteous shall be sent to eternal misery to remain forever without hope or deliverance.
IX. We believe that baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament; and that believers are the only subjects of it, and that this ordinance ought to be administered by dipping the body all over in water.
X. We believe that laying on of the hands (on baptized believers as such) is an ordinance of the gospel.
XI. We believe that the Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the gospel church.
Some of the churches had more and some fewer articles than the above, but these will serve as a fair specimen of what all the Baptist churches in that region regarded as a necessity; and their fate was one which finally overtook them all.
When the principles of the Reformation had been imbibed by some members of that congregation; at one of their monthly meetings, after the reading of the articles, one of the brethren asked that the third article be read again, which was done; it reads as follows: "We believe the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice in religious things." He then asked: "Brethren, do we believe that article?" "Certainly, most certainly," was the reply from several. "What, then," he continued, "is the use of the rest if the article just read be true, and the Word of God is the only infallible rule of faith and practice?" Another brother who saw the point, rose and moved that the articles of faith be abandoned; some, however, insisted that time for reflection was needed, and were in favor of delaying the vote until the next
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monthly meeting. The next meeting came, but the articles were not read as usual, nor was the matter called up then or ever after.
From this somewhat long but necessary digression it will be seen that, while there were, many things calculated to discourage the most sanguine, there were at the same time some hopeful indications; the light was dawning, which soon brightened into a glorious day.
But to return to the newly-appointed evangelist. No one, perhaps, was as much surprised at his appointment as himself. He was at that time engaged in teaching an academy, and was making an arrangement to publish a new paper, to be called "The Millennial Herald;" he was preaching also for a small congregation in Steubenville; and wife and children demanded his care; but the call to the new field of labor so unexpected and providential he regarded as imperative, and dropping the bitterest tears he ever shed over his infant household, and abandoning all his other employments and projects, he threw himself heart and soul into the work before him.
And now we come to the most eventful period in the life of Walter Scott. He had studied the Word of God long, earnestly, faithfully, and prayerfully. He had drunk into its spirit, and had become so fully convinced of the weakness and inefficiency of modern systems, so sick of sectarian bigotry and party strife, that he resolved to try the bold and novel experiment of preaching the gospel according to the New Testament model, as set forth in the labors of the holy men to whom Jesus had given the message of salvation to be heralded to a perishing world. He
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made his first efforts beyond the bounds of the Association, and though a nobler purpose was never formed, the very novelty of his course almost created, in his own mind, a doubt of its propriety; and the great issue at stake, and anxiety as to the result created at times misgivings and fears. To his hearers his preaching was like the proclamation of a new religion; so different did it seem from the orthodoxy of the day, that they regarded the preacher as an amiable, but deluded, enthusiast, and he excited wonder, pity, and even scorn. His efforts, however, were not wholly fruitless; with every discourse his own convictions became stronger, and he felt assured that he had found the true path; and instead of yielding to discouragement under what seemed to be failures, he said to himself, this way is of God, and ought to succeed, and with his help it shall; and his courage and zeal rose with the difficulties he encountered until his labors were crowned with success.
The scene of his first practical and successful exhibition of the gospel, as preached in primitive times, was at New Lisbon, Columbiana County, Ohio, the place at which he was appointed as traveling evangelist a few months before. The Baptist Church at that place had become acquainted with him at the Association, and received with pleasure an appointment from him for a series of discourses on the ancient gospel; and the citizens were glad to have a visit from the eloquent stranger. On the first Sunday after his arrival every seat in the meeting-house was filled at an early hour; soon every foot of standing room was occupied, and the doorway blocked up by an eager throng; and, inspired by the interest which
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prevailed, the preacher began. His theme was the confession of Peter, Matt. xvi: 16: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," and the promise which grew out of it, that he should have intrusted to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The declaration of Peter was a theme upon which he had thought for years; it was a fact which he regarded the four gospels as written to establish; to which type and prophecy had pointed in all the ages gone by; which the Eternal Father had announced from heaven when Jesus came up from the waters of Jordan and the Spirit descended and abode upon him, and which was repeated again amid the awful grandeur and solemnity of the transfiguration scene. He then proceeded to show that the foundation truth of Christianity was the divine nature of the Lord Jesus -- the central truth around which all others revolved, and from which they derived their efficacy and importance -- and that the belief of it was calculated to produce such love in the heart of him who believed it as would lead him to true obedience to the object of his faith and love. To show how that faith and love were to be manifested, he quoted the language of the great commission, and called attention to the fact that Jesus had taught his apostles "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." He then led his hearers to Jerusalem on the memorable Pentecost, and bade them listen to an authoritative announcement of the law of Christ, now to be made known fur the first time, by the same Peter to whom Christ had promised to give the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which he represented as meaning
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the conditions upon which the guilty might find pardon at the hands of the risen, ascended, and glorified Son of God, and enter his kingdom.
After a rapid yet graphic review of Peter's discourse, he pointed out its effect on those that heard him, and bade them mark the inquiry which a deep conviction of the truth they had heard forced from the lips of the heart-pierced multitudes, who, in their agony at the discovery that they had put to death the Son of God, their own long-expected Messiah, "cried out, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" and then, with flashing eye and impassioned manner, as if he fully realized that he was but re-echoing the words of one who spake as the Spirit gave him utterance, he gave the reply, "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." He then, with great force and power, made his application; he insisted that the conditions were unchanged, that the Word of God meant what it said, and that to receive and obey it was to obey God and to imitate the example of those who, under the preaching of the apostles, gladly accepted the gospel message. His discourse was long, but his hearers marked not the flight of time; the Baptists forgot, in admiration of its scriptural beauty and simplicity, that it was contrary to much in their own teaching and practice; some of them who had been, in a measure, enlightened before, rejoiced in the truth the moment they perceived it; and to others, who had long been perplexed by the difficulties and contradictions of the discordant views of the day, it was like light to weary travelers long benighted and lost.
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The man of all others, however, in that community who would most have delighted in and gladly accepted those views, so old and yet so new, was not there, although almost in hearing of the preacher, who, with such eloquence and power, was setting forth the primitive gospel. This was Wm. Amend, a pious, God-fearing man, a member of the Presbyterian Church, and regarded by his neighbors as an "Israelite indeed." He had for some time entertained the same views as those Mr. Scott was then preaching in that place for the first time, but was not aware that any one agreed with him. He was under the impression that all the churches -- his own among the number -- had departed from the plain teachings of the Word of God. He had discovered, some time before, that infant baptism was not taught in the Bible, and, consequently, that he was not a baptized man; the mode of baptism seemed also to him to have been changed, and he sought his pastor, and asked to be immersed. He endeavored to convince him that he was wrong, but finding that he could not be turned from his purpose, he proposed to immerse him privately, lest others of his flock might be unsettled in their minds by his doing so, and closed by saying that baptism was not essential to salvation. Mr. Amend regarded every thing that Christ had ordained as being essential, and replied that he should not immerse him at all; that he would wait until he found a man who believed the gospel, and who could, without any scruple, administer the ordinance as he conceived it to be taught in the New Testament.
He was invited a day or two before to hear Mr. Scott, but knowing nothing of his views, he supposed that
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he preached much as others did, but agreed to go and hear him. It was near the close of the services when he reached the Baptist church and joined the crowd at the door, who were unable to get into the house. The first sentence he heard aroused and excited him; it sounded like that gospel which he had read with such interest at home, but never had heard from the pulpit before. He now felt a great anxiety to see the man who was speaking so much like the oracles of God, and pressed through the throng into the house. Mr. Dibble, the clerk of the church, saw him enter, and knowing that he had been seeking and longing to find a man who would preach as the Word of God read, thought within himself, "Had Mr. Amend been here during all this discourse I feel sure he would have found what he has so long sought in vain. I wish the preacher would repeat what he said before he came in." Greatly to his surprise the preacher did give a brief review of the various points of his discourse, insisting that the Word of God meant what it said, and urging his hearers to trust that Word implicitly. He rehearsed again the Jerusalem scene, called attention to the earnest, anxious cry of the multitude, and the comforting reply of the apostle, "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." He invited any one present who believed with all his heart, to yield to the terms proposed in the words of the apostle, and show by a willing obedience his trust in the Lord of life and glory. Mr. Amend pressed his way through the crowd to the preacher and made known his purpose; made a public declaration of his
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belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and his willingness to obey him, and, on the same day, in a beautiful, clear stream which flows on the southern border of the town, in the presence of a great multitude, he was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
This event, which forms an era in the religious history of the times, took place on the 18th of November, 1827, and Mr. Amend was, beyond all question, the first person in modern times who received the ordinance of baptism in perfect accordance with apostolic teaching and usage.
The baptism of Mr. Amend occasioned no small stir in the community. No one had ever seen any thing in all respects like it, and yet it seemed to correspond so perfectly with the teachings and practice of the apostles that few could fail to see the resemblance. Mr. Scott continued his labors during the following week, and many others who had been unable to accept the popular teaching of the day had their attention arrested by a gospel which they could understand, and with the conditions of which they could comply, and the result was, that by the next Lord's day fifteen others followed the example of Mr. Amend by publicly confessing their faith in Jesus as the Son of God and being immersed.
Of course, much opposition was aroused. One man went so far as to threaten to shoot Mr. Scott if he should baptize his mother, who had sought baptism at his hands; but threats and scoffs only served to increase the zeal of the preacher; and it was found, moreover, that all the converts were able to give such reasons for the course they had taken, that no one that admitted the Bible to be true could gainsay. Another very happy result was, that nearly the whole community began to search the Scriptures, many in
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the spirit of the Bereans, to see whether these things were so; others with no higher object than to find objections to the new doctrine, and many of these were forced to the conclusion that if it were false the Bible could not be true, as the chief feature of the new doctrine was that the preacher could tell every honest inquirer his duty in the very language of Holy Writ.
It was a most fortunate circumstance, too, that the first one to come out in favor of the new teaching was a man of undoubted integrity, and of more than ordinary intelligence and remarkable for his scriptural knowledge, which was far beyond that of most men in his condition of life. He had not hastily adopted the views of the preacher as soon as presented, but, on the contrary, he had reached the same conclusions before hearing him, from a careful study of the Word of God; and he knew not until he heard Mr. Scott that there was another man on earth who held views similar to his own. Indeed, he could not strictly be called a convert to the views of Mr. Scott; he had long held them, and was prepared for immediate obedience to the law of Christ as soon as the opportunity was given. With this humble, God-fearing man there is now connected an interest that is historic; he was the first to afford an example of strict conformity to the design of an ordinance of the church of Jesus, which had so long been lost sight of as to become almost meaningless. In him we see that ordinance restored to the place designed for it by its divine Author -- restored, we can not doubt, beyond the possibility of ever being perverted or forgotten again.
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Some years after this event, Mr. Scott was called upon to give the circumstances which attended this restoration of the ordinance of baptism to its primitive place; with rare wisdom he called upon Mr. Amend to relate the circumstances which led to his baptism. He introduces Mr. Amend's letter with the following remarks:
"Dear Sir: The republication of the gospel in the style and terms of the apostles was attended with so extraordinary an excitement as to cause us to forget and sometimes overlook matters and things, which, on common occasions, would have been accounted very singular.
"It was thought, sir, it might minister to your pleasure to read a letter from a person who first obeyed the faith as now preached in the Reformation. It is inserted here accordingly. After vexations not to be mentioned, it was resolved to make a draft upon the audience, that it might be known why the preacher spoke and wherefore they came to hear. Accordingly, bursting away from prejudices and feelings almost as strong as death, and thinking of nothing but the restoration of the gospel, it was proposed to ascertain immediately who would obey God and who would not. The confusion of all, the preacher not excepted, was indescribable. A person whom I had seen come into the meeting-house about fifteen minutes before the end of the discourse came forward. This, as often as I thought of it, had always appeared to me wholly unaccountable, for it was most certain the man could not have been converted to Christianity by any thing which he heard during the few minutes he was present. His letter explains the matter, and will enable you, sir, to judge whether this whole business, as well on the side of the hearer as on the side of the preacher, is not resolvable into the good providence
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of our Heavenly Father, to whom be the glory through Jesus Christ:
"BELOVED BRO. SCOTT: I received your letter of the 21st, and was happy to hear you were well; myself and family are in good health at present, our youngest child excepted. I should be very happy to see you. You request me to write the time of my baptism, my feelings, and the causes why I accepted the invitation. In order to show these things aright, I must go back a piece. I was at that time a member of that strait sect called Presbyterians; taught many curious things, as election, fore-ordination, etc.; that belief in these matters was necessary; that this faith resulted from some secret impulse; and worse, that I could not believe; and finally, that I must hope and pray that God would have mercy upon me! In this wilderness I became wearied, turned about and came home to the Book of God; took it up as if it had dropped down from heaven, and read it for myself just one year.
"This inquiry led me to see that God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believed on him might not perish but have eternal life. I then inquired how I must believe. Paul said faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God; also that faith was the substance of things hoped for -- the evidence of things not seen. Peter spoke of election, saying, Save yourselves. Paul said I must be dead to sin and buried, and raised with Christ Jesus to newness of life. The Savior said I must be born again if I would enter the kingdom of God.
"Now, here it was I discovered myself to stand in the garden of nature and not in the kingdom of heaven, but I learned that of this kingdom Peter received the keys, and I was anxious to see what he would do with them. Jesus said proclaim the gospel to all the nations; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, etc. I then moved a little forward till I found these words: 'Now when they heard this they were pricked to the heart, and said to
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Peter and to the other apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Peter said, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,' etc. To this scripture I often resorted; I saw how Peter had opened the kingdom, and the door into it, but, to my great disappointment, I saw no man to introduce me, though I prayed much and often for it.
"Now, my brother, I will answer your questions. I was baptized on the 18th of Nov., 1827, and I will relate to you a circumstance which occurred a few days before that date. I had read the 2d of the Acts when I expressed myself to my wife as follows: 'Oh, this is the gospel -- this is the thing we wish -- the remission of our sins! Oh, that I could hear the gospel in these same words -- as Peter preached it! I hope I shall some day hear it; and the first man I meet who will preach the gospel thus, with him will I go.' So, my brother, on the day you saw me come into the meeting-house, my heart was open to receive the Word of God, and when you cried, 'The Scriptures no longer shall be a sealed book. God means what he says. Is there any man present who will take God at his word, and be baptized for remission of sins?' -- at that moment my feelings were such that I could have cried out, 'Glory to God! I have found the man whom I have long sought for.' So I entered the kingdom where I readily laid hold of the hope set before me.
"Let us, then, dear brother, strive so to live as to obtain an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming -- there to join with the heavenly throng in a song of praise to God and to the Lamb forever and ever. Amen.
"I remain yours, etc. WILLIAM AMEND."
It may interest the reader to know that Mr. Amend is still living at Hiawatha, Kansas, at the age of nearly fourscore; his mind is still clear and vigorous, and he
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can read ordinary print without the aid of glasses. He has never for a moment swerved from the faith he professed some forty-five years ago, and in patience and hope he is waiting the Master's call.
Mr. Scott, after the events narrated above, paid a visit to several points on the Western Reserve, and in three weeks again returned to New Lisbon. He found the interest awakened by his first visit undiminished, and seven more were added to the number already baptized. His labors were now in great demand, calls from various quarters poured in upon him, and night and day found him engaged, wherever opportunity afforded, in the Master's work. He soon visited New Lisbon again, and over thirty more joyful and willing converts were made. The members of the Baptist Church received the Word gladly, and almost to a man accepted the truth which he presented with such force and clearness, and resolved that thenceforth the Word of God should be their only rule and guide. In this visit Elder Scott was accompanied by Joseph Gaston, a minister of the Christian connection, who had heartily embraced the truth, and who by his tender and pathetic exhortations greatly aided in promoting the success of the gospel.
The excitement consequent upon the great religious changes in New Lisbon soon spread through the county, and Scott and Gaston were urged to visit East Fairfield, a village some eight miles distant. The community was composed mainly of Quakers and Bible Christians, many of whom accepted the gospel as presented by the new preachers, and the result was, that after a meeting of three or four days a large congregation, including several of the most
ASSAILED BY PREACHERS. 115
influential people in that locality, was established upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.
Returning to New Lisbon, Elder Scott found the truth to be advancing, but as of old, also, some contradicting and almost blaspheming; the ordinance of baptism was ridiculed; opprobious names were given to those who accepted the new doctrine, which was stigmatized as heresy, a Water Salvation, as worse than Romanism -- the opposers, in their zeal, forgetting that faith, repentance, and a new life were as much insisted on by the Reformers as those who differed from them in other respects. Chief in the opposition were the Methodist and Presbyterian ministers who, during his absence at Fairfield, assailed both Scott and his teaching from their respective pulpits. Of this he was informed, and on the first evening after his return a large audience gathered to hear him. Just as he was beginning his discourse the two ministers came in, and as soon as they were seated Scott said: "There are two gentlemen in the house who, in my absence, made a man of straw and called it Scott; this they bitterly assailed; now if they have any thing to say the veritable Scott is here, and the opportunity is now theirs to make good what they have said elsewhere. Let us lay our views before the people and they shall decide who is right; for my part, I am willing at any time to exchange two errors for one truth. Come out, gentlemen, like men, and let us discuss the matters at issue." His reverend assailants showing no signs of accepting his invitation, he called them by name, and, addressing some young persons on the front seat, said: "Boys, make room there. Now, gentlemen, come forward." The
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ministers, however, felt that the man and his teachings could be more safely assailed in his absence than in his presence; they therefore rose, and arm in arm left the house, leaving behind them the impression that they felt unable to make good their charges of heresy and false doctrine.
A report was also set on foot derogatory to the moral standing of Mr. Scott. This attack on his character called forth much sympathy in his behalf. A number of the citizens undertook the investigation of the matter, which resulted in covering his revilers with shame, and adding to his already great influence in the community. A handsome purse was also made up and presented to him by those who were indignant at the base and unfounded charges which had been made against him.
Not long after, another Methodist minister announced that he would review and expose the new doctrine. A large audience assembled to hear him, and among them Scott himself. The preacher addressed himself to his task in an unlovely spirit; introducing the services by reading the hymn:
To thee for help we fly;
Thy little flock in safety keep,
For oh! the Wolf is nigh;"
THE WOLF IS NIGH. 117
manner so kind and gentlemanly that the audience were as deeply impressed with the Christian spirit he exhibited as they had been disgusted with the coarseness and rudeness of his assailant, to whom they thought the epithet wolf belonged more properly, than to him it was intended to apply.
Such were some of the circumstances which attended the restoration of the ordinance of baptism to its proper place in the gospel scheme; and it is somewhat difficult in this day to realize how it could have caused such excitement and aroused such bitter opposition. The ordinance, beyond all doubt, had a design, and the setting forth that design in the language of Scripture, and making practical that which was misunderstood and useless before, constituted the great peculiarity of Mr. Scott's teaching upon this subject. In connecting it with the remission of sins, no thought of its possessing any merit or cleansing power entered into his mind. Christ was the Savior, and in him all saving power was centered, and baptism was but one of the conditions necessary to the enjoyment of the salvation which his death had made possible. On the part of the sinner believing on the Lord Jesus with all his heart, feeling his sinfulness and need of pardon, baptism was the open and public avowal of his state of mind and heart, and an acceptance of the offer made in the gospel to those who truly believe and heartily repent; and on the part of Christ it was a solemn assurance that his submission was accepted; that his past sins were forgiven; that he was received into the divine favor and adopted into the family of God.
Mr. Scott's opposers regarded him as substituting
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baptism for faith in the Lord Jesus, and a change of heart; while he ever taught that faith in Christ and a changed heart brought the believing penitent to baptism as a solemn act of obedience, which proved the sincerity of his faith, and the reality of the change in his heart and affections. He regarded it as the instrument by which Christ gave assurance of pardon to those who by obedience entered into covenant with him; the act by which the transition was made from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God's dear Son; the marriage ceremony, by which the believer was united to Christ; the law of naturalization, by which those who had been aliens and foreigners were made citizens of the kingdom of God. With him it was the point at which forgiveness was realized by actual submission to the law of Christ; for as forgiveness must be realized before peace and joy could take possession of the heart, and as forgiveness could take place only before obedience, or after obedience, or in obedience, it seemed more reasonable, as well as scriptural, that it should be found in obedience, rather than before it, or be delayed after obedience was rendered.
This view alone rendered the Scriptures intelligible. In the commission, as given by Mark, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," in some way connected being "saved" with the conditions of belief and baptism. Christ had said before that, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he can not enter into the kingdom of God." The language of Peter, Acts ii: 38, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins," indicated
HIS VIEWS OF BAPTISM. 119
some connection between baptism and pardon. The language of Ananias to Saul, "Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins," seemed to point to the same thing. "As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ," seemed to mark the entering into a new relation to Christ by baptism; and the language of 1 Peter iii: 21, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ," was in some way associated with being "saved" in some sense, and also with the obtaining a "good conscience."
These he felt it neither safe to ignore nor possible to explain away; to teach them was the only course that remained. This he did, but not to the neglect of any thing else enjoined in the word of God; and yet this was the head and front of his heresy. In teaching this he restored one of the long-neglected conditions of pardon to its proper place, and thus brought order out of confusion, and substituted light for the darkness upon this subject, which long had reigned.
Before the restoration of this neglected element of gospel obedience -- this missing link -- assurance of pardon was, by the great majority, made to depend upon the simple exercise of faith; that is, the proof or evidence that an individual was pardoned depended on his faith that such really was the case. But here was the difficulty; if an individual, who was conscious of being in an unpardoned state, was required to believe that he was pardoned in order that he might be, he was likely to reason as follows: "If
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I believe I am pardoned now, am I not believing that which is not true? the pardon must be granted before I can believe it." It seems like teaching that all men are in a pardoned state, but all do not enjoy it because they do not believe it; it is like telling the sick man you are well if you only believe it, while he would feel like replying, "I can not believe I am well until such is really the case." Very many made their feelings the test of their standing in the sight of God, and, in striving after what they deemed the proper state of feeling for pardoned persons, fell into many extravagancies. Dreams and visions and any unusual occurrences were regarded as tokens of God's favor; not a few could be found ready to testify that they had heard from above the words, "Thy sins be forgiven thee;" others, after having their minds filled with terror, and being brought very near to the pit of despair, would regard the calm which followed as the smiling of God's face; and still others would for years realize all the alternations of hope and despair, at times feeling assured of God's favor, at other times writhing under his frown.
No fixed and definite way of coming to God and receiving an assurance of his favor seemed to be known; each effort to that end was an experiment, and none knew whether it would result in joy or despair. Penitents earnest and sincere, for long periods sought pardon, but their prayers and tears seemed of no avail; in sorrow and anguish of spirit they were compelled to give up the search without finding heaven disposed to be gracious to their souls. We know not how to better illustrate this state of things
WESLEY'S EXPERIENCE. 121
than by giving the experience of John Wesley upon this very point of assurance of acceptance with God. One of his biographers thus writes:
"John Wesley is now thirty-five years of age. Thirteen years have passed since he began to seek the salvation of his soul by trying to keep the law of God. These years have been spent in such earnest work as few men ever perform. His eye has been steadfastly fixed on the grand object of his pursuit. He has, with rare force of will, made every thing in and about him subserve his high purpose. Though uncertain of divine favor, he has heroically persisted in doing the divine will, so far as he has understood it. He meets with a good Moravian brother, named Peter Bohler. They talk of religion with burning hearts. Peter soon discovers that his learned friend is prevented from enjoying peace of mind, because of certain errors of opinion; and looking very tenderly into his serious face, he says, feelingly: "My brother! my brother! that philosophy of yours must be purged away.'
"They part. Wesley thinks deeply on the questions raised by Peter, until going to Oxford some days later to see his brother Charles, who was supposed to be dying, he meets Peter Bohler again. Their conversation is renewed, until Wesley, with genuine humility, confesses: 'I am clearly convinced of unbelief, of the want of that faith whereby alone we are saved.' Then his highly-sensitive conscience smites him, and presses this question upon him: 'You must leave off preaching. How can you preach to others, who, like you, have not faith?' This inquiry troubled him, and, with his wonted openness, he stated it to Peter, and asks: 'Should I leave off preaching or not?' With sound good sense, Peter rejoins: 'By no means.' 'But what can I preach?' urges the distressed Wesley. 'Preach faith till you have it, and then because you have it, you will preach faith.'
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"They separate. But meeting Bohler again, he is told that 'Dominion over sin, and constant peace from a sense of forgiveness, attend the exercise of saving faith.' He is amazed at this statement. He has never supposed that a sense of forgiveness was his privilege. But he promises to search for the doctrine in his Greek Testament. He does this with much prayer. Light breaks in upon his mind, and when he meets Peter, a month later, he confesses to have found the blessed doctrine in the sacred Word, very much to his friend's satisfaction, and to the increase of his own hopes. And now Peter renews his astonishment, by declaring that the blessing of pardon and of a new heart is graciously given to a penitent the moment he trusts in Christ! 'Impossible!' cries the still incredulous Wesley. 'Search the Scriptures and see,' replies Bohler. Again is our scholar confounded by the simple word of God. He finds scarcely any other than instantaneous conversions recorded in the sacred page.
It is now the 24th of May, 1738. At five in the morning he opens his Greek Testament, and these words meet his eye: 'There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be partakers of the divine nature.' BR>
"This encourages him. On going out he opens his Testament again, and is comforted by the words, 'Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.' In the afternoon he attends divine service at St. Paul's, where the anthem encourages his hopes. In the evening he goes to a little society meeting, in Aldersgate Street. Behold him seated, with sad expression, among a few poor, earnest seekers of his Lord, listening to a man reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans! About a quarter before nine, the speaker describes the change which God works in the heart through faith. In a moment his heart is 'strangely warmed,' and sends up a spontaneous prayer for his
WESLEY'S EXPERIENCE. 123
enemies -- the first gush of the love begotten in him by the Holy Spirit.
"Very soon the speaker stops. Wesley rises, his face radiant with heavenly light, and says: 'I now, for the first time, feel in my heart that I trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation. I have an assurance that he has taken away my sins; even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death!'"
This is, doubtless, a true but a sad picture of an earnest soul seeking after God -- willing to be saved, yet seeking God's favor in vain for thirteen long years. Was Wesley insincere or God unwilling to save? Neither; Wesley was seeking without any clear apprehension of the plan of salvation, at one time seeking the advice of a friend who was a blind leader of the blind, learning after years of mental suffering that a "sense of forgiveness was his privilege."
Opening his Testament at random; looking for what he needs now in an anthem; again at a little society meeting; and when the assurance does come, it is a marvelous if not miraculous affair, and totally unlike any of the cases reported in the Word of God. Has God taught then to seek thus without telling them where they may find? did the gospel offer point out no path by which peace and pardon might be found?
Every case of conversion after the gospel was first proclaimed on Pentecost shows that obedience was always followed by the joy of pardon. One of the great elements restored by Scott was, that all who felt as did the multitude who on Pentecost cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" by
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obedience to the instructions there given in the words "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit," might, like them, "gladly receive the Word," and feel an assurance that the promise was fulfilled to the joy of their hearts.
It is true that Wesley's case was before the times of which we write, but myriads of cases, more or less like his, were to be found at that time, and to them it was the greatest jay their hearts had ever known to be pointed to Pentecost as the model for all time.
It is worthy of note that Wesley himself afterwards, whether he perceived the precise relation of baptism to the forgiveness of sins or not, expressed himself as if he both understood and believed it. His language is: "Baptism, administered to real penitents, is both a means and a seal of pardon. Nor did God ordinarily in the primitive church bestow this (pardon) on any unless through this means." Indeed, it is a somewhat remarkable fact, that nearly all the creeds of the various religious parties at that time associated the remission of sins with baptism, and yet they all united in casting Scott's name out as evil because he taught and practiced in accordance with their own creeds, which in this instance were not at variance with the Word of God.
As proof of this, we give quotations from the creeds of some of the largest and most popular denominations. The Episcopal Prayer-book uses the words "washing away of sins," and teaches that "God will grant them remission of their sins" who come to the ordinance of baptism in faith, truly
CALVIN'S VIEWS. 125
repenting. The Methodist Discipline uses similar language. The Presbyterian Confession says: "Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life; which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world." The Baptist creed says: "Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized a sign of his fellowship with him in his death and resurrection, of his being ingrafted into him, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life." The Roman Catholic and Greek Church say: "We believe in one baptism for the remission of sins." Calvin, the great Reformer, says "Baptism resembles a legal instrument, properly attested, by which he assures us that all our sins are canceled, effaced, and obliterated, so that they will never appear in his sight or come into his remembrance, or be imputed to us. For he commands all who believe to be baptized for the remission of sins."
"Therefore, those who have imagined that baptism is nothing more than a mark or sign by which we profess our religion before men, as soldiers wear the insignia of their sovereign as a mark of their profession, have not considered that which was the principal thing in baptism, which is that we
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ought to receive it with this promise:" "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;" and, indeed, there is no single item of religious faith and practice in regard to which the various church standards give such a united and uniform testimony as baptism for the remission of sins, yet with almost equal unanimity the various parties deny and discard what those standards so unequivocally affirm. Scott's plea, then, was a strong one, and one, moreover, that could not be treated as a new and unheard of view of the case, and one which he could present in the very words of Holy Scripture.
In order to be nearer the field of his labors, Mr. Scott now removed to Canfield, on the Reserve; and, elated by the remarkable success which had attended his labors at New Lisbon, and not doubting but that the divine blessing would accompany the Word when faithfully proclaimed, he paid a visit to Warren, on the Western Reserve, at which place was the largest and strongest church within the bounds of the Association. This congregation had enjoyed for many years the labors of Adamson Bentley, to whose ministry, in a great measure, its prosperity was due. No Baptist minister was better known or more highly esteemed than he in all that region. He sympathized with Mr. Campbell in his views as set forth in the "Christian Baptist," and had, in a great measure, under these enlarged views of Bible truth, outgrown the limits of the narrow creed of the religious body with which he was identified, and had, moreover, expressed in public the same views in regard to the design of baptism as had recently been turned to such practical account by Mr. Scott.
Some months before this time, in company with Jacob Osborne, a minister of great promise, he had
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gone to Braceville to hold a meeting, and during its progress, while speaking with regard to baptism, he stated that it was designed to be a pledge of the remission of sins. After meeting, on their way home, Mr. Osborne said: "Well, Bro. Bentley, you have christened baptism to-day." "How so?" said Mr. Bentley. "You termed it a remitting institution." "Well," rejoined Mr. Bentley, "I do not see how this conclusion is to be avoided with the Scriptures before us." "It is the truth," said Mr. Osborne, who was a great student of the Bible, "and I have for some time thought that the waters of baptism must stand in the same position to us that the blood of sacrifices did to the Jews. The blood of bulls and of goats could never take away sins, as Paul declares, yet when offered at the altar by the sinner, he had the divine assurance that his sins were forgiven him. This blood was merely typical of the blood of Christ, the true sin-offering to which it pointed prospectively; and it seems to me that the water in baptism, which has no power in itself to wash away sins, now refers retrospectively to the purifying power of the blood of the Lamb of God."
Mr. Scott, not long after, fell in with them, and all three went to Howland together; the discourse of Bentley at Braceville came up, in course of conversation, and Scott expressed his agreement with the view he had taken of the subject. Mr. Osborne preached at Howland, and in his remarks advanced the idea that no one had the promise of the Holy Spirit until after baptism. The remark seemed to strike Mr. Scott with surprise, and after meeting he said to Mr. Osborne: "You are a man of great
ELDER BENTLEY FEARFUL. 129
courage;" and, turning to Mr. Bentley, he added: "Do you not think so, Bro. Bentley?" "Why?" said Mr. Bentley. "Because," said he, "he ventured to assert to-day that no one had a right to expect the Holy Spirit until after baptism."
These events took place before the occurrences at New Lisbon, and, doubtless, being fresh in the mind of Scott, he naturally expected not only a warm welcome from the church in Warren, but also the earnest co-operation of its pastor, Elder Bentley, and Mr. Osborne, who was teaching an academy there, as they both held the views which he had been so ably and successfully advocating. In this, as far as Elder Bentley was concerned, he was at first disappointed; the views which he had expressed at Braceville, with regard to the design of baptism, were his views still, but he never had thought of making them practical or operative, as they recently had been made by Mr. Scott, the report of whose doings at New Lisbon had preceded him to Warren, and had made the impression on the mind of Bentley that his course was one differing widely and dangerously from Baptist usage, and indeed from the practice of all other churches, and in consequence he could not but regard him with suspicion.
Immediately after his arrival, having met with Elder Bentley, Scott asked concerning the condition of the church, and was told in reply that it was getting on much as usual; whereupon Scott intimated that he was pursuing a course very different from that usually taken, but, as he thought, in perfect accordance with the teaching of the New Testament and the practice of the apostles. He, moreover,
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frankly told him that the views he entertained were such as would unsettle the minds of the brethren, and if adopted would lead to the giving up of many things which they as Baptists held dear, but that the result would be a purer and more useful church. "I have," said he, "got the saw by the handle, and I expect to saw you all asunder" -- meaning by this, that their creed and church articles must give way before the truth of God, which he proposed to insist upon as the only rule and guide for the church.
Bentley did not enter into the spirit nor catch the enthusiasm of the ardent evangelist; the course proposed seemed to him revolutionary -- one in which there might be great danger, and for which he did not feel prepared, and when Scott urged that an appointment be given out for him to preach that evening in the Baptist church, he intimated that he thought it best for him not to begin his labors just then--wishing, no doubt, to learn more of the course he expected to pursue before he gave it his help and approval. Scott felt, however, that the King's business required haste, and insisted that an appointment should be made, and, after they parted, sent a note to Jacob Osborne, then engaged in teaching, requesting him to give notice through his pupils that there would be preaching that night at the Baptist church, which was done. On learning this, Elder Bentley gave orders that the meeting-house should not be opened that night, in consequence of which Scott procured the use of the court-house, and had the people notified that he would address them there. An audience, mainly of young people, assembled, and he addressed them in such a manner as to make a
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most favorable impression, and at the close of his discourse he requested them to make it known that on the next night he would tell all who might favor him with their presence something they had never heard before. This, of course, was the means of letting every one in the town and vicinity know that something out of the usual order might be expected.
The next day Scott met with Bentley and Osborne, and Bentley withdrew his opposition, and agreed that the meeting should be held that night in the church instead of the court-house. A large audience gathered, and the zeal and eloquence of the preacher carried his hearers by storm. He presented Christianity in virgin robes of truth and purity, as when she descended from her native skies -- and sectarianism in every form suffered by the contrast. The religion of the New Testament, in all its beauty and simplicity, stripped of the difficulties with which human teaching had encumbered and disfigured it, was shown to be perfectly adapted to human wants and woes, and the fullness and freeness of the salvation which it offered, contrasted with the narrow partialism of the prevailing Calvinism of the times, made it seem like a gospel indeed -- glad tidings of great joy to all people. The next night brought a still larger audience and an increased interest. The prejudices of Bentley gave way under the luminous exhibitions of the gospel, and he soon embraced heartily the truth which Scott presented with fidelity and power. With some of these views, as we have seen, he had for some time been familiar, but until now he had never realized their practical significance, nor had they ever brought
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such joy to his heart before. Soon, too, the unconverted portion of the audience began to yield to the claims of the gospel; and as they inquired anxiously, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" they were met with the same answer which was given to the same question in the days of old. Baptism on a simple confession of faith in Jesus as the Son of God speedily followed, the newly baptized were added to the church, and what was said of Samaria after the preaching of Philip was true of Warren -- "there was great joy in that city."
Scott spent eight days in all at that visit, during which time twenty-nine persons were baptized, and the entire Baptist Church, with one or two exceptions, accepted the new order of things, which had so long been forgotten.
The work, however, did not stop on the departure of the preacher -- the truth wrought mightily in the community, the Bible was read and searched as never before, members of other churches were led to examine the new doctrine, as it was called, and this led them to see the weakness of partyism, and resulted in the conviction that it was true, and led them to abandon their old and long-cherished associations and unite with those who had taken the Word of God alone as their guide. Among the converts during the first visit of Scott, was John Tait, a man of great stature and strong will; he was a Presbyterian, warmly attached to the faith of his fathers, and when his wife, who had attended on Scott's preaching, resolved to confess Christ and be baptized, he opposed her bitterly, and even went so far as to threaten violence to the preacher if he should baptize her.
AN ANGRY HUSBAND. 133
The preacher, not in the least intimidated, gave him to understand that, if his wife wished, to be baptized, he would baptize her even if he, her husband, should stand with a drawn sword to prevent it. The wife, fully convinced that it was her duty to render this act of obedience to her Lord, notwithstanding the violent opposition of her husband, was determined to be baptized. Almost frantic with excitement, he called on Scott, and found him in company with several preachers who were attending the meeting, and forbade the baptism of his wife. Scott and Bentley attempted, but in vain, for a time to reason with him, urging that his wife was acting in accordance with her convictions of duty as set forth in the Word of God, and that in a matter of such moment she ought to be allowed to decide for herself. It was long before he could be calmed sufficiently to reason upon the subject, but the mildness and gentleness with which Scott treated him caused him in a measure to relent and listen to what the Word of God, for which he professed a deep reverence, had to say upon the matter. As the examination of the Scriptures proceeded, and the light began to dawn upon his mind, his manner and feelings underwent a great change, and, deeply moved, he said to Mr. Scott, "Will you pray for me?" "No, sir," said he, "I will not pray for a man who will so rudely oppose his wife in her desire to do the will of God, but perhaps this brother will pray for you." The brother named did so, with great earnestness and fervor, and Tait was so melted during the prayer that, when they rose from their knees, he, in a very humble manner, asked to be baptized. His request was granted, and among the new
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converts there was none happier or more earnest than John Tait. Not long after his baptism Mr. Tait met with his former pastor, and entered into conversation with him with regard to the change in his views and church relationship. The Scriptures were appealed to, and Tait urged upon him that he should, in accordance with their teaching, be baptized for the remission of sins. "What!" said the minister, "would you have me to be baptized contrary to my conscience?" "Yes," said Tait. "Were you, Mr. Tait," he replied, "baptized contrary to your conscience?" "Yes," was the reply, "I was. My conscience told me that sprinkling in infancy would do, but the Word of God said: 'Be baptized for the remission of sins,' and I thought it better to tear my conscience than to tear a leaf out of the Bible."
This interview made a deep impression upon the minister. The more he looked at the Bible in regard to the matter, the more he doubted his former teaching on the subject, and he soon abandoned his pulpit; he felt that he could no longer preach as before, but he lacked the courage to say that he had been preaching a human theory, and to preach thenceforth only what was taught in the Word of God.
The interest awakened by Scott's first visit did not prove to be a short-lived one; on the contrary, it continued to deepen and widen; the entire community was stirred and aroused. Many of the congregations in the adjacent towns partook of the prevalent spirit, and the entire winter was characterized by a religious zeal and success such as never had been known in that region before. All the new converts had to defend the faith they had embraced. And, with
BENTLEY'S LIFE AND LABERS. 135
the Bible in their hands, they fully proved their ability to do so, and numerous additions were made to the church at Warren.
Bentley and Osborne followed up the work which Scott had begun with great zeal and success. The return of Scott on several occasions within a brief period, added to the prevailing interest, and in five months the membership at Warren was doubled, the additions amounting to one hundred and seventeen. The most important result of Mr. Scott's visit to Warren was the enlistment of Elder Bentley in the adoption and advocacy of his views of the ancient gospel. His untiring and successful labors rendered him one of the most useful men of the time, and no one contributed more than he to the spread of the Reformation over the Western Reserve, and also by means of his numerous converts through the Great West. No permanent record with regard to him has been given to the world, and this seems a fitting place to give some connected account of his life and labors.
Adamson Bentley was born on the 4th of July, 1785, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and early in life removed to the Western Reserve, at that time almost an unbroken forest. Of course his advantages were but limited, as is the case in all new settlements; yet he, in a measure, made up for the lack of schools and teachers by private study, and thus qualified himself for the useful and honorable positions which he occupied so long and so well. When but a youth his thoughts were attracted to the subject of religion, and he was not slow to carry out his convictions of duty. He became a member of the Baptist Church,
136 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
and his zeal and piety, as well as his gifts, soon marked him out as one well fitted for the responsible position of a preacher of the faith which his life adorned. He began to speak in public when about nineteen years of age, and some five years after was ordained to the ministry of the Word. In about one year after this he was called to the pastoral care of the church at Warren, which, under his labors, soon became the strongest church in that portion of the State. To an easy and polished delivery was added a fine personal appearance and most engaging manners; he was by nature a gentleman -- manly, graceful and dignified, the peer of the best, and yet so affable and kind as to win the esteem of the very humblest. The religious system which he adopted was that of rigid Calvinism, as taught in the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, which, at that time, was the generally received symbol of the Baptist body. It was hard for a frank, generous, benevolent nature like his to accommodate itself to such a harsh and narrow creed; nay, it was impossible for him to be thus cramped; hence, though he held in theory the doctrine of particular election and a limited atonement in practice, his heart full of the love of Christ and perishing sinners, led him often so to present the mercy of Christ through the gospel as to bring many to repentance. At that period of his life he did not doubt the doctrine of his creeds and often made the common yet unsuccessful effort to reconcile the "decrees" with free agency; yet he loved to make the offers of mercy to lost men in the terms he found in the Bible, his feelings and practice thus often getting the better of his theology.
FEARS FOR HIS CHILDREN. 137
Some of his mental exercises at this time were of a most painful character; and years after, when describing how he came to be emancipated from his chilling creed, he thus refers to them: "I used," said he, "to take my little children on my knee, and to look upon them as they played in harmless innocence about me, and wonder which of them was to be finally and forever lost!" "It can not be," he continued, "that God has been so good to me as to elect all my children, before time began, to be saved, and to dwell with him in love forever! No, no! I am myself a miracle of mercy, and it can not be that God has been kinder to me than to all other parents. Some of these little ones are, then, of the non-elect, and to be finally banished from God and all good. And now (and his paternal heart swelling with unutterable emotions), if I only knew which of my children were to dwell in everlasting burnings, Oh how kind and tender would I be to them, knowing that all the comfort they would ever experience would be herein this world! But now I see the gospel admits all to salvation! Now I can have hope of every one for eternal happiness! Now I can pray and labor for them in hope!"
His prayers were heard, his labors blessed. Years before his departure he enjoyed that greatest bliss of a pious parent's heart -- he saw all his children walking in the truth.
He was present at the formation of the Mahoning Association, and his ability as a preacher, and tact and dignity as a presiding officer, rendered him one of its most prominent members during its entire existence. His name appears on the records of every meeting; he was often chosen Moderator, and
138 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
delivered the opening sermon at its meeting at New Lisbon, in August, 1827, when Walter Scott was chosen and sent out on what proved to be such an important mission. Owing to the fact that he soon came to have clearer views of the plan of salvation than most of the Baptist preachers in that region, as a consequence his public labors were attended with greater success. At one of the meetings one hundred and three conversions were reported in the bounds of the Association, and of these, fifty-six, or more than half the entire number, were reported by the Concord church at Warren, of which he was at that time pastor. When perfectly free from the shackles of a gloomy and depressing system, he labored with far greater freedom and more abundant success. It was to him a great deliverance to be able to offer, without any misgiving, the gospel of life and peace to all; and how earnestly and effectually he did so thousands can tell. He waited not for opportunities to preach this now no longer terrible but glad gospel; but burning with zeal, sought and made them -- in school-houses, barns, and private dwellings; or, as was frequently the case, in the forest shades, with a wagon-bed for a pulpit, and an audience swelling at times to thousands, with all the simplicity and earnestness of the men of Galilee, he preached the same message which they first heralded to the world. "As a preacher, like all men who leave their impression on society, he was like no one else, and no one resembled him. He usually began slowly, with simple and plain statements of his subject, rambling not unfrequently, till, warming in his subject, he broke the shackles of logic, and swept on like a swelling tide, bearing his
BENTLEY AS A PREACHER. 139
audience away with the pathos and vehemence of his earnest and commanding oratory. On such occasions his voice became full, sonorous, and powerful. When the shower was passed, the people not caring to analyze the sermon, or to trace their emotions to logical sources, were delighted and edified, and departed with marked and decided respect for the preacher, and a far higher reverence for the adorable Son of God, whom he preached and whom he served. He never trifled in the pulpit. His message was solemn, and seriously and earnestly did he urge it." But it was not in the pulpit alone that his influence was felt; his spotless integrity and pure walk in life gave force to his public ministrations, for his audience knew that they were listening to an upright and good man. We need not here mention the various places at which he labored, nor the results by which those labors were attended, as these will appear in the course of the narrative.
His powers suffered no sad eclipse, but his sun came to a golden setting; his erect form bent but slightly when on the verge of fourscore, and to the same extreme old age he was able to preach with clearness and vigor. Nearly his last words were, "I rely not on myself; my full and only hope and trust is in the Rock, Christ Jesus, which was cleft for me!"
LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
The year 1827-28 proved to be a year of battle and of victory. Great success in one field was the harbinger of triumph in the next, and after the successful issue of the meeting at Warren, Scott was so well assured of the power of the primitive gospel to subdue the heart, that wherever he went he now preached without the least misgiving, and boldly called on his hearers to submit to the claims of Christ the Lord. He had by this time also several true and earnest fellow-laborers, who entered into the work with all the zeal of new converts, and wherever these preachers of the ancient faith appeared, the truth ran through the community like fire through dry stubble. Chief among these helpers was Elder Bentley, of whom an extended notice was given in the preceding chapter. He was a tower of strength to the infant cause; the weight of his character, in addition to his fine pulpit talent, rendered his presence greatly desirable wherever the leaven of the new doctrine was beginning to work, especially in Baptist communities, where he was well and favorably known, and who were anxious to learn from his own lips the reasons which had led him to give up the cherished convictions of a lifetime.
JOHN HENRY BAPTIZED. 141
Scott was a stranger; his fiery zeal to some seemed wild enthusiasm, and his entire absorption in his theme made him at times eccentric; but the Baptists had ever looked on Bentley as their safest and best man; no one imagined that he could be turned hither and thither by every wind of doctrine: and hence, from his known integrity and soundness of judgment, he was heard without that prejudice with which Scott, as a stranger, had every-where to contend. The visits of Bentley would most admirably prepare for the coming of Scott; and when the former had disarmed them of all prejudice, the latter would join him and take entire communities by storm. Thus it was at Austintown. Bentley sent an appointment in the latter part of February to preach at a school-house there, in which Wm. Hayden, who afterwards became so famous, was then teaching. At the close of his first discourse a young man presented himself for baptism, which created quite a stir. As the school-house was occupied during the day, preaching was announced for the next day at a private house in the neighborhood. A large number assembled, and nine converts were made, among whom was one who soon became a successful advocate of the truth which he that day received. This was John Henry. His wife was baptized at the same time.
Such a favorable opening having been made, it was thought best to follow it up, and Scott therefore sent an appointment for March the 19th -- which was about the middle of the week. The preacher came, and was greeted by a fine audience; and at the close of the discourse--which was in the day-time -- five persons came forward for baptism, among them the now
142 LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
well-known and much beloved A. S. Hayden, and an elder brother. The discourse, as yet well remembered by Bro. Hayden, was a highly practical one; the speaker knew that he had some fine material before him, and he drove right at the hearts of his hearers. His chief points were, that God was ready to receive sinners; that he had ever been willing, and that this willingness was made known through the gospel, which was fully proclaimed on the day of Pentecost, and that the door was there opened which none can shut. He urged instant obedience, declaring that God was ready and willing to meet and receive the sinner the moment he was ready to accept his offered grace. He preached again at night, and the house was densely crowded; he called the young converts -- five in number -- to the front seat, and addressed them earnestly and tenderly with reference to the obligations they were about to assume in making a profession of religion and entering upon the duties of a new life. The next day, with heart all aflame, he again preached, if possible, with increased zeal and energy, invited others to obedience, and immersed twelve persons. The interest grew and increased; many converts were made; some opposition was excited, but the meetings were continued for a week or more, and the results of those days and nights of faithful and earnest toil no tongue can tell. The youthful Hayden, who was one of its first-fruits, soon began to point others to the Savior. Scores and hundreds have been won to Christ by his earnest and faithful labor; and though more than forty years have fled since then, he is still effectively pointing sinners to the Lamb of God.
A PRIMITIVE SCENE. 143
About the middle of June of the same year, Elders Scott and Bentley returned, and from the material gatherer in by their previous labors, and the Baptists who were willing to take the Bible as the only guide, they constituted the church at Austintown. The whole number was one hundred and ten, of whom about two-thirds were new converts. The exercises at the organization were marked by great impressiveness and primitive simplicity. Under the bright June skies, with the green of earth under them, and the blue of heaven above, this company of true and happy believers, taking each other by the hand, formed a large circle, in an opening of which of about ten feet stood the preachers, under whose labors they had been brought to the knowledge and obedience of the truth, who counseled and exhorted them, as they had received Christ to walk in him; and while the converts gave themselves to the Lord and to one another, with prayers and tears, the preachers commended the infant church to God and to the word of his grace.
Sweet were the songs of that day; earnest and tender the exhortations; fervent and soul-moving the prayers: and dear memories of it yet linger in the minds of those who formed that company, and their hearts were never more glad than then.
Under the teaching of Wm. Hayden the congregation grew and prospered, and in a short time one of the early converts developed powers which soon ripened into a life of glorious toil and usefulness. This was John Henry, whose name is to this day a household word all over the Western Reserve. He was a Pennsylvanian by birth, having been born in
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Washington County, in that State, in 1797. He was brought up under Presbyterian training, but never realized the power and beauty of Christ's gospel until he heard it presented by Elder Bentley; his heart was won by it at once, and it never ceased to exercise its power over him until his end came in peace.
He was at the time of his conversion a plain, industrious farmer; distinguished, however, by a ready natural wit and a musical talent, which was truly wonderful. On wind and stringed instruments he was a ready player, and sang with fine taste and feeling; and even composed music with ease. When the Bible was substituted for creed and catechism, he eagerly devoted himself to its study, and with such success that few men ever became more familiar with its language. His knowledge of it was so full and accurate that he was said to have committed the whole inspired volume to memory, and was commonly spoken of as the Bible with a tongue in it, or the Walking Bible; one thing, however, is certain, he could quote, without the least hesitancy or mistake, all the passages upon any given subject, at the same time giving chapter and verse, and could recite at will chapters from the Old or New Testament, from the Gospels, Epistles, Prophets, or Psalms, with the greatest facility; and, in addition to this, he seemed to have a clear conception of the scope and meaning of the whole. He was quick at repartee, and the object of it had never to weary himself to find the point of the retort -- that was always felt.
On one occasion some rude fellows made a disturbance at a baptism when he was present, and he
THE FARMER PREACHER. 145
felt impelled to reprove them, which he did with such force and vigor, that many who were present discovered in him the elements of a successful public speaker; the result was, that he was called upon to speak at the meetings of the church, and in a short time his success exceeded the most sanguine hopes of his friends. He did not seem to have thought himself possessed of any such ability; but as soon as it became evident, he lost no opportunity of usefulness. He supported himself by the labor of his hands; and when his labors were demanded in the gospel field, he only required that a man should be put in his place to do the customary work on the farm, and he, in the meantime, would labor quite as faithfully in the pulpit and from house to house.
His utterance was exceeding rapid, and yet at the same time perfectly distinct; and the great power of his oratory was the clearness with which he set forth his views, and the deep and unaffected earnestness of his manners. He was well acquainted with the various religious systems of the day, and in his exposure of departures from the Word of God and the substitution of human inventions, he often reminded his hearers of the prophets who reproved the Israelites for their departures from the law of their God. His powers rapidly developed with exercise, and his services were demanded to an extent beyond his utmost exertions -- he was obliged, in a measure, to give up his farm life and devote himself to sowing the food seed of the Kingdom, which he did so successfully that many in whose hearts the good seed fell, to this day thank God for his faithful and earnest labors.
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In person he was tall, spare of flesh, and angular, but possessed of wonderful powers of endurance; his garb was always of the very plainest, suggestive, indeed, of apostolic simplicity; he was untiring in his labors, quick to decide, and prompt to act; his influence on the church and community was very decided; and even now, though he has gone to his rest nearly thirty years ago, the surviving members of the church at Austintown still say, when special counsel and action are needed, "Oh! how we miss John Henry!"
He showed eminent ability in his conduct of the big meetings over which he at times was called to preside; under his management an audience of from five to eight thousand would be kept in perfect order: a general could not have held his forces better in hand than he did the masses that would gather on those occasions. Nothing was omitted, nothing was forgotten: preserving order, singing, preaching, exhorting, filling appointments in every available place in a circle of ten or fifteen miles -- all was dispatched with ease. He spoke, and it was a word of command, and seldom failed in eliciting cheerful obedience.
Time was precious; no opportunity was given for apology or excuse. At one of these meetings, when thirty or forty preachers were present, and it was desirable to have a few words from as many as possible, one who was called on began by saying, "Well, brethren, I do not know that I have any thing to say." "Very well," said Henry, "take your seat, brother," and called out for another, who was careful to avoid the rock of apology on which the other was wrecked.
In preaching, he had a rare and happy command
HENRY'S MENTAL AND MORAL TRAITS. 147
of his resources; he could generalize rapidly; and this power, with his astonishing memory, enabled him to bring together from the various parts of Scripture, all that was said on a particular topic: and, indeed, his discourses often consisted almost exclusively of Scripture, in which the various passages were brought together in such a way as to produce a very striking effect. He made the Bible its own interpreter; and if he needed an illustration, the same volume furnished him with one admirably suited to the case in hand.
On several occasions he took part in public debates, in which he was very skillful and successful -- his success was doubtless brought about by the fact that he arrayed before his hearers all the Scripture evidence on the point in dispute -- leaving nothing more to be said; as to dispute his positions, would be to deny the sacred record. His mental and moral traits were all positive; the sincerity of his profession was proved by his sterling integrity and purity of life. Among the common people, of whom he always regarded himself as one, he was held in the highest esteem; they delighted to hear a man from their own ranks speak to them of the soul's interests in a manner plain, simple, and earnest, and which was the more powerful from the fact that he lived continually under the influence of those truths which he so earnestly urged upon them. He died in his prime, in the midst of his usefulness, there being but an interval of a few days between his active and efficient labors in the cause of his Master on earth and his rest and reward above.
From this period for some time to come, it will be impossible to preserve the strict order of time in
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consequence of the many changes in fields of labor, which were often as varied as the passing day. Morning often found the tireless Scott at one point, and evening at another, miles away. It was not uncommon for him to occupy the court-house or school-house in the morning at the county seat, address a large assembly in some great grove in the afternoon, and have the private dwelling, which gave him shelter, crowded with neighbors at night, to hear him before he sought his needed rest. Sometimes the interest would be continued until midnight; and in those stirring times it was not unusual for those who, on such occasions, felt the power of the truth, to be baptized before the morning dawned. For months together nearly every day witnessed new converts to the truth; several ministers of various denominations fell in with the views which he presented with such force and clearness, and these in turn exerted their influence over their former flocks, and led them to embrace the views which had brought such comfort and peace to their own souls.
While preaching at Hiram, Portage County, a Revolutionary colonel, eighty-four years of age, rose up in the midst of the congregation, and pointing with his finger to the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, said to Mr. Scott: "Sir, shall I receive a penny? it is the eleventh hour." "Yes," was the reply, "the Lord commands it, and you shall receive a penny." The audience was greatly affected, and the venerable soldier was forthwith enrolled in the army of the faith.a
Another gentleman, still living, whom the writer met but a short time since, says, that though a
A MEETING IN THE WOODS. 149
Bible-reader, he had sought in vain for a church that taught as his Bible read. But riding along the public road one day, he saw a number of horses tied in the woods, a great crowd gathered and some one addressing them. Without being aware of the character of the meeting, curiosity led him to turn aside and see; when he came nearer he found that it was a religious meeting, and that the preacher was setting forth the gospel just as it had ever seemed to him in his readings; and before the speaker, who was none other than Walter Scott, had closed, he determined that that people should be his people, and their God his God, and to that resolve he has been true more than forty years.
In several of his meetings about this time, Scott was helped by the presence and labors of Joseph Gaston, a preacher of the Christian connection, who was present at the Association the previous summer, and gave his voice in favor of the appointment of Scott as general evangelist. He was a young man, quite tall, with dark hair and eyes, and agreeable features, with a heart full of sympathy and a voice of great power. He and Scott were mutually attracted to each other, and their acquaintance resulted in a deep and strong attachment, which was only broken too soon by his early death. He was gentle and retiring in his manners, yet bold and earnest in setting forth the claims of his Master. He was highly gifted in exhortation, and his prayers seemed to be the natural outpouring of a warm and pious heart. Differing in his religious views from Scott when they first met, he soon learned to regard the teaching of the Scriptures in the same light as his gifted friend,
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who excelled most men of his time in a knowledge of and reverence for the sacred record. The beauty and order of the arrangement of its truths were made clearer than ever before; and this new light he gladly accepted and rejoiced in the truth.
Scott's acquaintance with Gaston often brought him into contact with the religious body of which he was a member; and great numbers of them, sometimes nearly entire congregations, at once accepted his views, for which they were already prepared by an abandonment of creeds, the rejection of all party names, and the adoption of the name Christian as expressive of their allegiance to Christ. This religious body, it may be well to state, was not an offshoot of any one of the various religious parties of the day, but one composed, originally, of those who had broken off from the Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists, and united under the one name Christians, by which the followers of Jesus were anciently known. The acquaintance of these two men proved a great blessing and furtherance to the cause, but it was not of long continuance; the career of Gaston proved to be a short one, but the end was in great peace. Elder Scott, after hearing of his death, thus wrote of him:
"Joseph Gaston was a very remarkable man on several accounts. His innocence and sweet disposition endeared him to all his acquaintances; and his strong faith and excellent talents made him a most acceptable minister in the church when his health permitted the exercise of his various gifts, for he had the gifts of teaching and exhorting in an eminent degree; and was, until he was seized with hemorrhage at the lungs, a very good singer.
"When he opened the Evangelists or Epistles and
SCOTT'S ESTIMATE OF GASTON. 151
poured himself out on their sacred pages, no man of equal education excelled him; but exhortation was his forte, and in this I never knew any man who equaled him. He exercised the most powerful influence over the congregation when he remonstrated, and with much variety of thought his exhortations were distinguished for unity in their subject.
"He accompanied me in 1827, soon after the restoration of the true gospel, and shared with me for about three weeks in the labors and difficulties of the onerous business of introducing to public notice the gospel of Christ as now held by this Reformation.
"The circumstances which made him acquainted with the ancient gospel at chat time are a little singular and worth relating. He visited Carthage about two years ago, and entertained Bro. Rogers' family one evening with a recital of his conversion to it, and brought again to mind things that had almost escaped recollection.
"I had appointed a certain day in which to break bread with the Baptist Church at Salem. Bro. Gaston was a resident of Columbiana County, and was at that time in the vicinity of Salem. The Baptist brethren regarded him as a good than and a true disciple; but he was a Christian or Newlight, and contended for open communion -- things which they greatly disliked. Before meeting, the principal brethren requested me to converse with him on the subject, saying they were sure I could convert him.
"Accordingly I took him out in presence of them all; but he gave me no time, being as impatient and undoubting on open communion as they were then on close communion. I told him, however, that the brethren had commissioned me to convert him to their opinions, and smiled. He said he had come to convert me to his.
"I then set before him the terms of the ancient gospel as I had arranged teem, and told him that their dispute about communion was silly and unprofitable. He heard
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me with delight. I appealed to the Scriptures, and he smiled; and soon, with a laugh, he exclaimed, 'It is all true! and I believe every word of it, and will take you to a Christian brother who will receive it in a moment!'
"After meeting I accompanied him to the house of said brother, living a mile and a half from the village; and the man and his wife hearing it, and examining the Scriptures, received it with all readiness that same night; so that on that day were brought over to the side of the gospel two excellent men, both laborers among the 'Christians.'
"Bro. Gaston accompanied me to New Lisbon, and two or three other places; but his health failed him at the end of about three weeks, and his place was supplied by James Mitchel, who accompanied me to Warren, where the gospel greatly succeeded.
"Thus Bro. Gaston was the very first Christian minister who received the gospel after its restoration, and who argued for the remission of sins by baptism. His enfeebled health, however, never permitted him to labor much. He was immersed for remission at a general meeting held at Austintown two years after. He now rests with all the just until the resurrection. His life was righteous; his death was glorious."
The closing scene of this good man is thus described by one who was present:
"BELOVED BRO. SCOTT: Few persons will hear the circumstance which I am about to relate with emotions such as you must feel. I grieve for a departed brother in the Lord; you for a companion and fellow-laborer in the gospel, one who stood by yon under circumstances the most trying and impressive, at a time when you alone, amidst all opposition, faced a frowning world. I allude to Bro. Joseph Gaston -- he sleeps in peace -- his sorrows are no more!
DEATH OF JOSEPH GASTON. 153
"Being aware of his approaching dissolution, he requested me to inform you of it. The sensations which his departure produced in me and all present can not be imparted to others, nor can they ever be forgotten. It was, indeed, singularly impressive.
"He was, as you know, predisposed to hemorrhage from the lungs; his last illness commenced in this way. I was with him from Thursday, 4th, until his death, which occurred on Saturday.
"Before day I was called to his bedside. His glazed eye, cold extremities, laborious breathing, and feeble pulse, assured me that the lamp of life was nearly extinguished. He lay in this situation a length of time unable to speak, or lift his hands. While we expected every breath to be his last, suddenly, to the astonishment of all present, his countenance lighted up by a placid smile; he began to raise his cold and lifeless hands to heaven, and exclaimed 'Glory to God! O my Savior, thou hast delivered me!' His eyes, which were set in death, sparkled with joy, and beamed with an expression which language can not describe. After continuing these exclamations a few minutes his breathing became free, and his voice shrill and loud. He then addressed us thus: 'My friends, a dying man could not do as I am doing; this strength is not my own; the hand of the Lord is in this matter: he has enabled me in this last extremity to bear testimony to the truth. The devil tempted me and tried me, but the Lord vanquished him and gave me the victory. This night I'll be with Jesus. Some people have called me a mud-dabbler, but that matters not to me; judgment belongs to the Lord: he will recompense them. I plead for baptism -- for the remission of sins in my lifetime, and I plead for it in death.
"'O sinners! tremble for that which awaits you if you do not obey the Lord ! Let not tradition deceive you. I
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tried it, but found it to be a delusion. My eyes were opened by reading the Word of God. It means what it says; believe and obey it, for nothing else will save you. Repent and be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, or God will sweep you off with the besom of destruction. Young people, tell your parents these things, and parents tell them to your children; tell the neighborhood; tell the territory.' He then exhorted us to try, by some means, to get the people out to hear the gospel. He continued his speech in a loud and clear voice, during twenty minutes, using his hands with freedom, and speaking with more animation than ever I heard him do in his usual state of health. When he ceased, his children were brought to him, whom he embraced affectionately. His hands fell powerless by his side, his breathing became laborious as before, and he expired in ten minutes."
SCOTT'S VIEWS MISUNDERSTOOD.
As might have been expected, the labors and success of Scott aroused great inquiry and opposition, and the wildest rumors were circulated with regard to the course he pursued, the great peculiarity of which was, that it differed widely from that which had hitherto been the rule in all attempts at conversion. Many supposed that, in connecting baptism in some way with the remission of sins, that he attributed to water a virtue kindred to the blood of Christ, and therefore concluded that all the sinner had to do was to be immersed, while he really regarded it as an act of obedience expressive of perfect trust in Christ for pardon, as an acceptance of the offer made in the gospel to all who truly believed and turned away from their sins.
The Anxious-seat of the Presbyterians, the Mourning-bench of the Methodists, and the Experience of the Baptists, all had the same object in view, and had usurped the place, in a great measure, of Christian baptism. This was admitted very near the times of which we write, by the Rev. Dr. Finney, an eminent Congregationalist, in urging the necessity of the anxious-seat to bring the mind up to the acting point, in the following language: "The Church has always
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felt it necessary to have something of this kind to answer this purpose. In the days of the apostles baptism answered this purpose. The gospel was preached to the people, and then all who were willing to be on the side of Christ were called on to be baptized. It held the precise place that the anxious-seat does now, as a public manifestation of their determination to be Christians." The Rev. Doctor, with singular unconsciousness of the destructive nature of his argument, condemns those who would stand up, or lean their heads on the pew before them, to signify their willingness to be Christians, as attempting to evade their duty by substituting these acts for that of coming to the anxious-seat, forgetting that he had made the admission, virtually, that coming to the anxious-seat was an evasion of baptism, which was required under the teachings of the apostles.
Elder Scott, some time after this, explained his views of the nature of baptism in some remarks made on the following extract from Bishop Hobart, of New York, in regard to this matter. The words of the Bishop are:
"In this church the body which derives life, strength, and salvation from Christ its head, baptism was instituted as the sacred rite of admission. In this regenerating ordinance, fallen man is born again from a state of condemnation to a state of grace. He obtains a title to the presence of the Holy Spirit; to the forgiveness of sins; to all those precious and immortal blessings which the blood of Christ purchased.
"Wherever the gospel is promulgated, the only mode which we can be admitted into covenant with God;
BISHOP HOBART'S VIEWS. 157
the only mode through which we can obtain a title to those blessings and privileges which Christ has purchased for his mystical body, the church, is the sacrament of baptism. Repentance, faith, and obedience, will not of themselves be effectual to our salvation. We may sincerely repent of our sins, heartily believe the gospel; we may walk in the path of holy obedience, but until we enter into covenant with God by baptism, and ratify our vows of allegiance and duty at the holy sacrament of the Supper -- commemorate the mysterious sacrifice of Christ -- we can not assert any claim to salvation."
Upon which Scott comments as follows:
"The excellent Bishop makes baptism the rite of admission to the Christian church, regeneration, a title to remission and the Holy Spirit, and to all the precious things of Christ. He says it is the only mode of covenanting with God; the only mode of obtaining Christian blessings and privileges, without which we can not assert any claim to salvation. Now, in all this where is it that the Bishop is at fault? Is not baptism the rite of admission? Or are men in the Christian church antecedently to their baptism? Does not the Son of the Eternal protest that, unless we are 'born of water and spirit' we can not enter into his kingdom? And is this regeneration which the Bishop speaks of a higher and more sacred mystery in the Christian institute than 'being born again?' Or are they not the same thing? Surely they are the very same thing. Does any one know any other mode appointed for poor sinful, fallen man, to covenant with his God, and obtain a right to the privileges of Christianity? We know none; and believe that, when preceded by faith and repentance, baptism is all that the Bishop says it is; and with the bishop we also believe, that without it faith and repentance do not warrant a man in the presence of God 'to assert
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any claim to salvation.' Moreover, we believe that baptism without faith and repentance is just as unavailing and useless as faith and repentance are without it. These three things God has joined together, and no man may put asunder or disorder them."
And yet for teaching what the great majority of the Christian world admit, in theory at least, and what is taught in the Word of God most clearly, he was represented as the author of an hitherto unheard-of and soul-destroying heresy. These rumors reached the ears of his friend and fellow-laborer in the cause of religious reform, Alexander Campbell, who fearing that Mr. Scott might have been carried by his enthusiastic nature beyond the bounds of prudence, sent his father, a man of rare wisdom and judgment, to find out the true state of the case. This venerable and pious man visited the scene of Scott's labors in the spring of 1828, and, after carefully observing the course he pursued, sent the following account of it to his son:
"I perceive that theory and practice in religion, as well as in other things, are matters of distinct consideration. It is one thing to know concerning the art of fishing -- for instance, the rod, the line, the hook, and the bait, too; and quite another thing to handle them dextrously when thrown into the water, so as to make it take. We have long known the former (the theory), and have spoken and published many things correctly concerning the ancient gospel, its simplicity and perfect adaptation to the present state of mankind, for the benign and gracious purposes of his immediate relief and complete salvation; but I must confess that, in respect to the direct exhibition and application of it for that blessed purpose, I am at present for the
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first time upon the ground where the thing has appeared to be practically exhibited to the proper purpose. 'Compel them to come in,' saith our Lord, 'that my house may be filled.'"
With regard to Scott's mode of obtaining and separating disciples, he added:
"Mr. Scott has made a bold push to accomplish this object, by simply and boldly stating the ancient gospel, and insisting upon it; and then by putting the question generally and particularly to males and females, old and young. Will you come to Christ and be baptized for the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit? Don't you believe this blessed gospel? Then come away. This elicits a personal conversation; some confess faith in the testimony, beg time to think; others consent, give their hands to be baptized as soon as convenient; others debate the matter friendly; some go straight to the water, be it day or night, and upon the whole none appear offended."
Fully approving all that he heard and saw, the elder Campbell spent several months in Scott's field of labor, and most heartily co-operated with him, and contributed much to his success, as will appear in the sequel.
The next scene of the evangelical labors of Elder Scott was at Sharon, a small village in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, situated on the Shenango River, and almost on the line between that State and the portion of Ohio in which the principles of the Reformation had lately spread so rapidly. The Baptist Churches at Warren and Hubbard, only a few miles distant, had embraced the new views almost in
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a body, so generally, indeed, that both houses of worship passed quietly into the hands of the Disciples; and in the case of Warren, as previously noted, not only the greater part of the congregation, but the preacher also accepted the truth so ably and eloquently urged by Scott, and became himself an earnest and successful advocate of the same. Some of the Sharon Baptists had heard of the great change which had taken place in the two sister churches; some of the members had even gone so far as to visit them, and could find no well-founded objections to what they had heard stigmatized as heresy; nay, it seemed to them strangely like gospel truth; and some of them went so far as to sit down at the Lord's Table with those self-same heretics.
Prominent among these was John McCleary, at that time verging upon three-score and ten. He had been a member of the church at Tubermore, Ireland, which so long had enjoyed the labors of the widely-known Alexander Carson, as was also his son George, who was accustomed to teach the Scriptures publicly. His son Hugh, a clear-headed and honest thinker, had united with the Baptists in this country, but held views greatly in advance of theirs. Such an element in the church of course soon made itself felt. The Scriptures were closely searched, and the light began to spread. Suspicion was aroused -- was the hated heresy about to break out among them and destroy their peace? The McClearys, father and son, with several others, were soon marked men; the views they held were assailed and loudly condemned under the odious name of Campbellism, when some one suggested that, as it was not the custom to
SCOTT AND BENTLEY INVITED TO PREACH. 161
condemn without a hearing in ancient times, they had better send for the public advocates of the new doctrine and learn the best or worst at once. This counsel prevailed. It was decided to invite Scott and Bentley to preach at Sharon, and as soon as it was decided, Hugh McCleary mounted his horse and rode to Warren to deliver the invitation and to urge its acceptance. The preachers came; in a day or two Bentley returned, leaving Scott to continue the meeting, who preached every night for three weeks. Curiosity was aroused, but soon a deeper interest began to prevail. Some of his hearers having the Word of God presented more clearly than they had ever heard it before, began to inquire, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" The inspired answer was given, and, in response to the gospel invitation faithfully and affectionately given, several persons presented themselves and were immediately, on the simple profession of their faith in Jesus as the Son of God, immersed in the Shenango River.
This was a new and unprecedented course for that place and time;, and yet the preaching, which was mainly from the Acts of the Apostles, seemed so much like the reading of that book, and the practice of Elder Scott in immersing forthwith those who confessed their faith in the Savior, was so accordant with the examples found in the inspired volume, that no one seemed to think strange of what the Word of God seemed so clearly to warrant.
After Elder Scott had left, the church made the discovery that the converts immersed by him, although they had obeyed the express teachings of Scripture, had failed to conform to the usages of the Baptist
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Church; they had not appeared before a church-meeting; they had given in no experience, and it was decided that they could not be received into the church.
But there was another serious trouble that could not be so easily disposed of. They could keep out the new converts, who had never been formally admitted to the church; but what was to be done with those already in the church, who had received with gladness the preaching of Bro. Scott as the truth of God. Some of these were the most influential members, and, moreover, were tolerant of the views held by the church. As they had formerly held the same, they desired, of course, that the rest should see as they did; but they did not attempt to force their views upon the church; they desired to be permitted to hold them in peace, however, but at the same time did not want to be bound by the creed and church articles. The truth had made them free, and it was impossible to submit to such yokes of bondage. All this class sympathized with the new converts, who had been refused admission into the church. In their view, if the Lord, as they believed, had received them, why should the church reject whom be had accepted?
Those who were still attached to Baptist views were of a different spirit; those who had embraced the new views, which, in their esteem, were rank heresy, must either yield them or depart: the same church could not be the home of those who differed so widely. This seemed to them a better alternative; and while they were in doubt what course they were to pursue, measures were taken to drive them to the
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course they were anxious to avoid. As a last resort, it was determined to send for Elder Thomas Campbell, whose age, experience, and truly Christian spirit, it was hoped, would be of great service in allaying the troubles by which the church was distracted. He came a week or two before the meeting of the Association, or the June meeting, as it was called. With apostolic zeal, tenderness, and affection, this godly man labored for peace, urging the reception of the new converts, who had deemed they were obeying God when they had yielded to his truth, and pleading with the church to let the Word of God, and not the Articles of Faith, be the bond of union. For three weeks he expostulated, besought, and prayed them to be reconciled, but all in vain.
On the Thursday on which the June meeting began, a number of preachers, mostly opposed to the views held by Scott and his fellow-laborers, were present, at a church-meeting, for the purpose of deciding all the matters at issue. The case of the new converts was brought up, and it was decided not to receive them; and then followed the case of those who had favored the new teaching. Among these, George Bentley, brother of the pastor of the Baptist Church at Warren, who, with most of his flock, had discarded the creed and church articles and come over to the Bible ground, and the younger McCleary, were most prominent, and the propriety of excluding them was discussed.
The elder McCleary was mentioned as having identified himself with the obnoxious party, but it was concluded to spare him on account of his age and the influence he possessed in the community, as all
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parties regarded him as a good man. They said: "Father McCleary, we regard you as a good Christian man; and though you have, in a measure, adopted the views, and even broken bread with those who have departed from the Baptist faith, we regard you as having been led away by your son and some younger men; but we want you to stay with us: we have confidence in you yet." The old man arose, and said, with great emotion: "Brethren, I can not accept your offer; if you reject my brethren I must go with them, for they are better men than I am."
On Friday they met again, the venerable Thomas Campbell urging them to bury their differences and live together in peace, but the breach could not be healed; and on the next morning all who went to the church saw over the door the inscription, "Let no Campbellite put his foot over this threshold!" and all felt now that the crisis had come. Those for whom the notice was intended wisely forbore to enter, as that would only be to inflame those who were already too much excited; and yet to be thus rudely thrust out of the house in which they had worshiped for years, was hard to bear; but they remembered that it was all because they had stood up meekly, yet firmly, for the Word of God in its purity, and they were comforted.
In the meantime Elders Scott and Bentley had arrived, and, as their friends had been virtually excluded from the house of worship, they felt that it would be imprudent for them to intrude.
The matter soon was noised abroad in the community, the greater portion of which sympathized
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with those who had been so rudely treated; and this sympathy soon assumed a definite form.
Mr. Daniel Budd, not a member of any church, had a large barn which he fitted up and seated on Saturday, and offered for the use of Scott and Bentley. On the following day a large concourse of people gathered to hear them, and the circumstances by which they were surrounded inspired the preachers with even more than wonted zeal and earnestness.
They met again on the following day, and a new congregation was organized, consisting of seventeen or eighteen persons, who had been members of the Baptist Church, and of the new converts who had been baptized by Scott at his first visit -- in all, making nearly thirty. To these, additions were made rapidly, so that in a very short time the new church had a membership of one hundred; so that the persecution which they had endured turned out to the advancement of the gospel.
No sooner, however, had they effected an organization than the Baptist Church formally excluded all who, from among them, had entered into the new interest. After the separation the bitterness of the Baptists increased, and they exercised a jealous watchfulness over their members lest any of them should become tainted with the new doctrine. They were not long in finding occasion for the exhibition of their intolerant and persecuting spirit.
Benjamin Reno and James Morford were among the most prominent members they had left, the former a deacon, the latter the clerk of the church. The wives of both of these had met with the Disciples at Hubbard, and had participated with them in the
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Lord's Supper. This was too grievous to be borne, and at the next church-meeting the case of the offending parties was brought up. Such a flagrant departure from Baptist usages and views admitted of no excuse, and a resolution was passed to exclude from their fellowship all who should commune with the Disciples. James Morford, the clerk of the church, threw down his pen and declared that he would make record of no such ungodly act; and the deacon, Benjamin Reno, arose and declared that he could no longer remain with them after such a wicked and unchristian course, and left them and united with the Disciples, who received him on the ground of his well-known character and well-ordered life.
James Morford, however, remained, determined, if possible, to obtain a letter of dismission from the church; but when they found that he, too, was resolved to leave them, they not only refused him a letter, but excluded him from their fellowship. This threw him into great trouble, as he regarded it as a great disgrace to be excluded from the church, and feared, moreover, that his exclusion would prove a barrier to his uniting with the Disciples. As he was on his way home, greatly dejected at the turn which matters had taken, he was passing the farm of James McCleary, one of the Disciples, who was at work near the road, and hailed him, and desired to know what had been done at the church-meeting. He told his story, and the injurious treatment he had received at the hands of his former brethren; but as soon as he came to his exclusion, McCleary cried out, "James Morford, fall down on your knees and give thanks to God that you are set free from such a
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people!" He found his exclusion to be no barrier in the way of his reception by the Disciples, as his character was known to be blameless, and his exclusion to be the result of religious bigotry.
The new church continued to grow in the favor of God and the people, who knew that they had been called to suffer for the truth's sake. They continued to meet for some time, like the ancient church, from house to house, the Lord adding frequently to their number. Elder Scott, who had been with them in the day of their trouble, visited them in their prosperity, and greatly strengthened them by his earnest and efficient labors, and was himself greatly encouraged to see their growth in numbers and the fear of the Lord, so that he could adopt the saying of the beloved apostle, "I have no greater joy than to see my children walk in truth!" Nor was the effect of his labors a transient one, for though his voice has long ceased to be heard on the banks of the Shenango, and many of those whom he called into the kingdom of Christ have departed in glorious hope, the cause he pleaded is still alive and flourishing.
Before his death a commodious and substantial brick chapel was erected by the congregation which he aided to organize in the barn of a non-professor. Very many of its members have removed to the West, as many as fifty having left in a single season; but they have carried with them the truth and planted it wherever they have gone: and even now some of its members are faithfully and successfully advocating the claims of the religion of Jesus, and bringing many into the fold of the Good Shepherd!
LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
Deerfield, Portage County, was noted for the spirit of earnest religious inquiry which prevailed there for years before Scott visited that place and gathered so rich a harvest. This was the home of Jonas Hartzell and many others, who afterwards aided so much to spread the truth in that region.
As the result of the investigation of religious matters in that community, a little society was formed for the express purpose of examining the Scriptures, and, if possible, arriving at something like common ground. This little band was composed of Cornelius P. Finch, who was a Methodist preacher, and his wife; Ephraim P. Hubbard, an active Methodist, and his wife, who was a Baptist; Samuel McGowan, a Baptist, and his wife, who was a Presbyterian; Peter Hartzell, a Presbyterian, and his wife, a Baptist; Jonas Hartzell, a Presbyterian, and his wife, a Methodist; and Gideon Hoadly, an active and venerable member of the Methodist Church, and a few others. Differing, as they did, scarcely any two of the same family being of the same religious faith, they all agreed that the New Testament was right, and that it was safe to receive whatever was recorded there. The sadly divided state in which they at first found themselves was soon discovered to be the effect of partyism, and
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the measurable unity which they soon attained from an honest examination of the Word of God, they attributed rightly to the power of the truth.
The questions examined by this little company were of vital importance -- such as the intelligibility of the Scriptures, their all-sufficiency for the purposes of enlightenment, the government of the church, the conversion of the sinner, and the perfection of the saint. They soon reached the conclusion that the Scriptures were intelligible, for they could not conceive how they could be a revelation from God unless they were adapted to the common intelligence of mankind; and, if thus adapted to man's wants and capabilities, they felt that in them they had an infallible and all-sufficient guide. Having settled upon this, they were soon able rightly to decide other questions of importance growing out of the divided state of the religious world, such as, "How does faith come?" "Which is first in order, faith or repentance?" "Can the sinner believe and obey the gospel without supernatural aid?" "Is the Mosaic dispensation still in force?" "Who is a proper subject, and what the mode and design of baptism?" "Should the sinner be baptized on a confession of his faith in Christ, or an approved experience?" These were questions of grave import, when the different and conflicting teachings under which they had severally been brought up, are taken into the account; but the old chart led them to a safe, quiet harbor.
In the various families composing this little band, Finch and his wife were the only ones who agreed; but when the "old paths" were found, it was easy for all to walk and dwell together in peace and unity.
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One of the members -- Ephraim Hubbard -- had stipulated, on uniting with the Methodist Church years before, that he should not be bound by the Book of Discipline; but baptism by immersion had been denied him by several ministers, on the ground that it would amount to a denial of sprinkling, to which he had been subjected in infancy. Hearing that a baptism was to take place some miles distant by what he deemed to be the only scriptural mode, he took a change of clothing and started for the appointed place; on reaching it he found his brother, who was a Methodist preacher, there, and informed him of his purpose; his brother said, "You can not be more dissatisfied with your baptism than I am with mine; and if I had a change of clothing I would go with you." That want was soon supplied, and when the invitation was given for the candidates to present themselves, the two brothers were the first to do so.
He still retained his membership in the Methodist Church, but the change which was continually going on in his mind in consequence of increasing light, soon led the preacher who was over the small charge of which he was a member, to declare that Hubbard and all those who agreed with him were not Methodists, as they acknowledged no other rule of faith and practice save the Holy Scriptures; and when his congregation -- about eighteen in number -- were present, he drew the line between those who sympathized with him and the church and those who had adopted the views entertained by Hubbard by asking all who were Methodists to rise; five did so, and thirteen stood up for the Word of God.
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These, of course, had the sympathy of all in the community who had become dissatisfied with the teaching of the various religious parties with which they were associated; and the way having been prepared by the meetings previously described, and the discussions and investigations which had taken place among them, they met to see if some way could not be devised by which they all could be united in a New Testament church. The chief difficulty was that they had no model among them that they could safely imitate; but having heard that there was a church at Braceville on a strictly Bible foundation, Hubbard and Finch paid a visit to the church there, and, to their great joy, found that it was true.
They invited Marcus Bosworth, who was the teacher of the congregation, to visit and preach to them; he came, bringing with him Adamson Bentley, who, with his congregation at Warren, had but a short time before accepted New Testament views, and abandoned all human creeds; and, under the teaching of these godly men, all who had not been immersed received that ordinance and were organized into a gospel church; and Finch, who had preached among the Methodists, was formally set apart to the work of the ministry.
This little band grew and prospered rapidly. Nearly all the men became public speakers; among them was Jonas Hartzell, who became a most zealous and efficient public laborer both with tongue and pen; and it was a current saying through the Western Reserve that all the male members of the Deerfield church were preachers.
The visit of Elders Bentley and Bosworth opened
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the way for a visit from Scott, which was attended with great success and permanent results.
More than forty years after that visit these lines were penned at the scene of these labors amid those who never will forget him, who threw so much light on their pathway, and who expect, at no distant day, to meet him in the better land.
A sister Allerton had been at Canton, Stark County, for some time for medical treatment, and on her return home was informed by her sister of the religious changes which had taken place during her absence. She told of the few disciples who had begun to meet there, and said: "I have been to hear them, and O sister! they reminded me of the twelve who followed our Lord when on earth; they are plain, pious men; they talk just as the Bible reads: they surely are the people of God!"
One of the most prominent persons in the community was Amos Allerton, a natural ruler of men, tall, erect, sinewy, of strong mind and clear judgment, which, in a measure, compensated for lack of educational advantages; a man of noble impulses, kind and helpful, yet severely just. In religious matters he was skeptical, rendered so by the discords and conflicting views of the various religious bodies; he could not imagine how a system could be divine which abounded in contradictions; how God could send men, as was then claimed, to preach doctrines subversive of each other: he supposed that the Bible must teach what the preachers of various denominations claimed that it did, and hence rejected the Bible the had attempted to be religious according to the popular theories of the day, but they did not
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satisfy either his mind or heart; he could not endure to walk in doubt or darkness, or rest his hopes upon transient feeling or a peradventure; he desired to feel the rock under his feet; but the human theories to which he was directed were as uncertain and unsafe as the desert sands.
It was noised abroad that Walter Scott would preach at a private house in the vicinity, and, as his fame had preceded him, a large concourse assembled to hear him; among the throng was Amos Allerton, not at all favorably impressed by what he heard of the preacher and his new doctrine, but on the contrary, disposed to criticise and cavil. He had been told that Scott preached a water salvation (as his views of baptism for the remission of sins were termed), and on that bright morning on his way to hear the strange preacher, he had stopped at a clear brook to quench his thirst, and as he did so, he said in scorn and disdain: "Can this element wash away sins?" Reaching the appointed place, he found in the preacher not a glib and noisy religious polemic, but a meek, earnest, and gifted advocate of the pure and simple gospel of Jesus Christ, which he unfolded with a clearness, tenderness, and earnestness that he had never witnessed before. His skepticism yielded before the array of truth which was presented, and his heart was touched with the love of Him who came to save a lost world. He saw that the gospel call was not to baptism only, but to an abandonment of sin to an earnest, true, and pure life. He listened for hours, which scarcely seemed more than minute, every sentence convincing his judgment and appealing to his heart. The preacher closed with an appeal to those
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who believed the truth to avow their faith publicly in the Son of God.
Allerton started forward; Ephraim Hubbard, a faithful and earnest disciple, saw the movement and trembled, thinking that he was advancing to make some disturbance; but as he came nearer, he saw eyes not flashing with the light of rebuke and controversy, but melted to tenderness and tears, and with a shout of joy he welcomed him gladly. With profound earnestness he confessed his faith in the Savior of mankind, and was the same day buried with Christ by baptism; and the sun on that day set on few happier men than Amos Allerton. Nor was this change a transient one, but a change of the entire current of his thoughts and life; he soon began to teach others to walk in the way upon which he himself had entered. His rare, clear sense and spotless integrity soon made his influence felt, and a little practice sufficed to enable him to present his thoughts with a vigorous, common sense, and an earnestness that it was difficult to resist.
Grateful for his own escape from the dominion of doubt and chilling unbelief, he began to point out the way of emancipation to others. The cross and its bleeding Victim to move the heart, and the teachings of Jesus to direct the life, were used with wonderful power. His fame spread; large audiences gathered to hear the plain farmer, so suddenly transformed into a preacher of righteousness; and the curiosity which brought them to hear was, in many cases, changed into a deep and abiding interest in the great themes he presented; and scores and hundreds were, through his labors, brought to a knowledge of the
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way of life. Though destitute of the aids of learning, he was a vigorous and original thinker. His Bible was his theological library; and from nature and society he drew illustrations which all could understand; while his zeal, his earnestness, and his life, all rendered his teaching searching, impressive, and convincing.
Living yet in a vigorous old age, the moisture will gather in his eye, and his voice tremble with emotion as he speaks of Scott, who, nearly half a century since, helped him out of the perils of infidelity, and pointed out the true pathway on which the true light shineth, even the light of God.
Another incident connected with Scott's first visit to Deerfield is worthy of a place here. He presented himself first at the residence of E. Hubbard and offered to preach if a suitable place could be procured. He immediately went to consult Finch, who was not in favor of Scott's preaching, saying it would ruin them. This was in consequence of the rumors that were afloat with regard to his eccentricities and the misrepresentations of his teachings. Hubbard insisted, however, that Scott must preach, and the Methodist church was procured. Finch was present, and Scott had not completed his discourse before he was convinced that he could sit at his feet in matters pertaining to a knowledge of New Testament Christianity. Hubbard himself soon became a public teacher; and so prudent and careful was he, that a Lutheran minister of fine abilities and education, after listening to him, said, "Mr. Hubbard, I came here to criticise you and point out your errors." "Why do you not do so then?" he asked.
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"Because," he replied, "you have said nothing but that which I feel compelled warmly to approve." And it was not very long after that this same minister gave up his place as pastor of a large congregation, his salary, reputation, and all that could bind a man to a powerful and influential religious party, to receive baptism at the hands of a plain farmer who, with the Bible in his hands, could teach Christianity as it came from the apostles of the Lamb.
Hubbard, after a long, honorable, and useful career, still lives at the age of fourscore, the days of his active usefulness past, but waiting patiently for his change in glorious hope, trusting to say with his latest breath, "Thanks be to God that giveth us the victory!"
Daniel Hayden, now living at Deerfield, traveled much with Scott in those stirring times, retains many vivid and pleasant recollections of him. When he first saw him, though entirely ignorant as to who he was, he set him down as one who could make good a claim to greatness. Scott was a rapid rider, and when remonstrated with on the matter justified himself by the plea that the King's business required haste. As they rode along one day, he said: "Bro. Hayden, I was a grown man before I ever saw a full-grown forest tree. I was brought up in the great city of Edinburgh and knew nothing of the country and forest, and the various kinds of trees; and now, brother, I want you to tell me the name of that noble tree by the roadside." "That," said Hayden, "is a white-oak." "Hold my horse," said Scott -- and, leaping to the ground, ran to the tree, and in a little while marked all its peculiarities, plucked one of its leaves,
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imprinted its form on his memory, and that species was known forever after. This was frequently repeated when he saw a tree with the name of which he was unacquainted, and as Hayden was an expert woodsman he made rapid progress, and was soon as able to distinguish and name the different growths as his instructor.
In the freedom of their social intercourse, Hayden once ventured the remark that his charity was too profuse for one of his limited means, and that it should never be carried to the extent of causing inconvenience to his own household. At this he winced a little, for it was true--his kindness of heart was apt to make him forget all considerations of prudence; for, though no man could love his family more tenderly than did he, yet he could not help giving whatever he had to the nearest needy object, leaving himself often in as great need as the object of his benevolence lately had been. In a word, the needs of others ever seemed to him greater than his own. It was not in his nature to say no when he had a dollar in his purse or a garment beyond what he had on, when others needed one or the other or both. Well knowing this weakness, if weakness it were, Hayden said: "Bro. Scott, you ought not to handle a dollar; whatever means you have ought to be in the hands of some one with less sympathy and more judgment than yourself, to manage for you, and see that your own are well cared for before others are helped." Instead of becoming offended, he replied pleasantly: "Bro. Hayden, I believe you are right; you are a good manager, a man of thrift and prudence -- will you do me this service?" "I will," was
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the reply. "You are the very man for the work," said Scott, "and I will hold you to it."
While Scott was on a visit to Father Hayden's, near Youngstown, it was announced that Lawrence Greatrake, a Baptist preacher, notorious for his opposition to the Disciples, would preach in the vicinity. Scott determined to go and hear him, but fearing that he might be provoked to a reply by a man who was coarse and rude in his assaults, the family persuaded him not to go. He started off, but at parting told them to be sure to go and hear the Great Rake. After going some distance he changed his mind, rode to the place of meeting, and instead of going in went to an open window in the rear of the building, close to the pulpit. The preacher took the pulpit, and in his prayer, as preparatory to his meditated onslaught on the Disciples, said: "O Lord, do thou restrain or remove those wolves who are going about in sheep's clothing, scattering, the flock and destroying the lambs." At this point Scott, in a voice that could be heard by all present, uttered a hearty "amen," which so disconcerted the preacher that it was with difficulty that he could finish his prayer.
It was in the early part of the year 1828 that Aylette Raines, a Universalist preacher, a young man of fine abilities, formed an acquaintance with Scott, the result of which was the abandonment of his former views and embracing and successfully advocating those set forth by his new and gifted friend. Raines had heard of the new preacher, and also the current but distorted rumors with regard to his teaching, and his curiosity being aroused he sought an opportunity of hearing him, intending, if possible, to draw
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him into a discussion, supposing the views of Scott to be as vulnerable as those of other religious bodies, which, on account of their partial, one-sided, and even contradictory nature, he found but little difficulty in overthrowing.
The first discourse he heard from Scott was in his best vein, clear, convincing, scriptural -- so much so that Raines saw in it much to admire and nothing to condemn; and when at the close, as was his custom, he invited any one present to make any remarks he might think proper, Raines arose and expressed his great pleasure and warm approval of all that he had heard. After this he went to hear Scott frequently, not to cavil but to learn, for he soon perceived that he had no particular system of religious philosophy to advance, but set forth Bible truth with a vigor and simplicity that was entirely new.
The system advocated by Raines did not deny the future punishment of the wicked, but set forth that it would be limited in duration, and that the subjects of it would finally be made holy and happy. This view Scott described as a gospel to get people out of hell, and that which he preached as designed to prevent them from going there -- the one adapted to this world; the other, even if true, adapted only to the world to come, and consequently that it was useless to preach it here.
Soon the views of Raines underwent a marked change, and he sought his friend Ebenezer Williams, the ablest advocate of Universalism in that region, and laid before him the change which had taken place in his mind and the reasons for it. These
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were heard and carefully canvassed. The two friends spent many of the hours usually devoted to sleep in an earnest and candid examination of the Scriptures, and the result was that Williams was soon as firmly convinced of the truth of the views held by his amiable and gifted young friend, which he had learned from the lips of Scott, as he was himself; and together they went down to a small lake near at hand and mutually baptized each other in its clear waters. They then threw themselves with the utmost energy into the work of preaching the gospel as distinguished from human systems, and with great success.
The first fruits of the labors of Raines alone, within a few weeks after his baptism, was the conversion of about fifty persons, including three Universalist preachers. Hundreds have been turned from their sins by their united and earnest labors, and Universalism has never received heavier or deadlier blows than those dealt with the sword of the Spirit in the hands of Ebenezer Williams and Aylette Raines. Nearly half a century has passed, and each succeeding year has only proved that they abandoned destructive error for saving truth. Williams not long ago departed to his rest; Raines still lingers on the shores of time, his work nearly done, his reward not distant.
For months the scenes at New Lisbon, Warren, Deerfield, and other points already noted, were repeated with but slight variation at various other places. Such a change as took place within the bounds of the Mahoning Association under the labors of Scott has seldom been equaled. Apathy and indifference vanished, the dry bones in the Mahoning Valley were clothed with flesh and blood and stood upright, professors were roused to a new and unwonted zeal, and every-where sinners became deeply concerned. The Bible was read with new interest, for the people had learned that it was not a dead letter, but the living word of the living God. The new views were canvassed in every village and almost every dwelling. Men from forest, field, and workshop gladly heard and willingly obeyed a gospel which was but a republication of that first preached in Judea; and many of these, in turn, told to others the story that had won their hearts by its sweetness and simplicity.
The beautiful Mahoning became a second Jordan, and Scott another John calling on the people to prepare the way of the Lord. Every-where among the
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new converts arose men earnest and bold as the Galilean fishermen, telling, too, the same story, calling their neighbors to repentance, and baptizing them in its clear waters. The small lakes within the same district became distinguished for baptismal scenes; and frequently by the blaze of torches or the moon's pale beams individuals and families, like that of the Philippian jailer, were baptized at the same hour of the night.
Those scenes had a strange significance, and looked so much like those described in the Word of God, that the simple administration was more powerful than argument to convince bystanders that this was the true gospel baptism.
The changed lives of the converts, their love for each other, their zeal for the welfare of their neighbors, and the signal ability with which ignorant and unlearned men, armed with the truth of God alone, could silence opposers who had all the advantages of libraries and learning, made upon those who saw and heard a deep and lasting impression.
The strange captivating eloquence of Scott drew crowds whenever it was known that he would preach, and he was not slow to make, as well as to embrace, opportunities. In the groves, which have been well called God's first temples, he would discourse with rare eloquence and power during the day, and at night in barn, school-house, or private dwelling he would discourse to smaller but still more deeply interested audiences, consisting not of those who were drawn together from mere curiosity or from admiration of his wonderful powers, but of those upon whose hearts the truth had made an impression, earnest
HELPERS FOUND. 183
searchers after the right ways of God, who followed and listened, and sought not in vain.
Alone at first he labored, but soon he found earnest and faithful helpers, not only among those who had been teaching the way of the Lord yet imperfectly, and who gladly accepted the truth as he presented it; but, in addition to these, many of his converts to whom the popular theories were contradictory and distasteful, as soon as the truth, harmony, and consistency of the gospel was presented, received it gladly, and with great plainness and power urged upon their neighbors that which had brought such comfort and blessing to their own souls.
Nor were instances rare of skeptics abandoning their skepticism and becoming the advocates, not of modern but New Testament Christianity. Men eminent in various professions saw a truth and beauty in the simple gospel and yielded to its charms, and even many who had publicly opposed it from the pulpit not only ceased their opposition but became its advocates. Nearly every convert became a preacher either in public or private; the New Testament was studied by day and meditated upon by night; scarcely a Disciple could be found without a small copy of the Sacred Oracles in his pocket as his daily companion; numbers had their minds so stored with its truths that they could readily quote from memory whatever the occasion demanded--so much so that they were known as book men, the men of one book, and in a few cases as "walking Bibles."
Wholly absorbed, as Elder Scott was, in making known the truths which to him and thousands who heard him possessed the charm almost of a new
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revelation, it is not a matter of wonder that such unwonted zeal and devotion should lead him into what to cold and undemonstrative natures seemed as enthusiasm and eccentricity. This, indeed, took place in many instances when the preacher could say with truth, "I speak the words of truth and soberness"--and his fire, and zeal, and earnestness were regarded as eccentricity only because they were so unusual.
He realized the danger of his fellow-men more vividly than they did themselves, and the torpor and indifference of professed Christians led him often to such a course as was well calculated to alarm and arouse those that were at ease in Zion. His enthusiasm was always an enlightened one, and his frequent singularity of manner never led into extravagancies that involved the substitution of mere human appliances for the teaching of the Word of God; indeed, his eccentricities arose from the fact that he possessed a deeper sense of the importance of the truth he had in charge than most men of his time. Many instances illustrative of this peculiarity are current. One of the most notable is the following:
Riding into a village near the close of the day, he addressed himself to the school children who were returning home from school, in such a way that he soon had quite a circle of them gathered round him. He then said to them: "Children, hold up your left hands." They all did so, anticipating some sport. "Now," said he, "beginning with your thumb repeat what I say to you: Faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit -- that takes up all your fingers. Now, again: Faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit.
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Now, again, faster, altogether: Faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit" -- and thus he continued until they all could repeat it in concert, like a column of the multiplication table. They were, all intensely amused, thinking that he was a harmless, crazy man. He then said: "Children, now run home -- don't forget what is on your fingers, and tell your parents that a man will preach the gospel to-night at the school-house, as you have it on the five fingers of your hands." Away went the children, in great glee, repeating as they went, "Faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit" -- and soon the story was rehearsed in nearly every house of the village and neighborhood; and long before the hour of meeting the house was thronged, and, of course, not a few of the children were there, all expecting to have great sport with the crazy man.
The preacher rose, opened his meeting, and entered upon a plain and simple presentation of the gospel. But, alas! most of his hearers were Baptists of the ultra Calvinistic school, who would much rather have heard a discourse upon total depravity or unconditional election than the theme in which the speaker was endeavoring to interest them. They, perhaps, like the children, had anticipated some sport, but, whether it was from indifference or disappointment, they paid but little attention, and many of them fell asleep.
Sad, too, was the disappointment of the little people who had crowded to the front seats to enjoy the anticipated sport, for they discovered that he was not a crazy man after all. They were getting tired, too, and, like the older ones who were awake, wished that the speaker would close.
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But soon the scene changed. Addressing himself abruptly to the little boys, who were getting restless, he said: "Boys, did you ever play toad sky-high?" They all brightened up in a moment. Now, they thought, the fun is coming at last. "Well, boys," he proceeded, "I'll tell you how we used to play it in Scotland. First, we caught a toad, and went out into a clear open place, and got a log or a big stone, and across this we laid a plank or board, one end of which rested on the ground and the other stuck up in the air. We then placed the toad on the lower end, and took a big stick and struck the upper part of the board with all our might. The other end flew up, and away went the toad sky-high." At this the boys all laughed, and the sleepers rubbed their eyes and looked round to see what was the matter -- and the speaker went on: "But, boys, that was not right; that toad was one of God's creatures, and could feel pain as well as any of you. It was a poor, harmless thing, and it was wicked for us boys to send it thus flying through the air, for in most cases, when the toad came down the poor thing would be dead -- and, boys, we felt very badly when we saw the blood staining its brown skin and its body bruised and its limbs broken, and lying motionless upon the grass through which it had hopped so merrily a few minutes before."
The boys began to feel very serious at this; but when he went on and described the enormity of such thoughtless wickedness, which ended in taking a life which could not be restored, many of them were moved to tears at the sad fate of the poor toad. Then turning to his audience, who had become aroused and
A STRANGE AUDIENCE. 187
interested, he burst upon them with words of bitter and scorching rebuke, asking what they, professed Christians, thought of themselves, going to sleep under the story of a Savior's death and a Savior's love, while the hearts of the children were melted, and their tears flowing at the recital of the sufferings of a poor toad.
Soon his hearers were as much interested as the children lately had been; and though the preacher remained for quite a season in their midst, he never again addressed a listless and sleepy audience; the interest increased with every evening, and many had reason to be grateful to God that they had ever heard the preacher, who made the children circulate his appointment by sending them home with the gospel on their fingers.
On another occasion he was requested to preach one evening in a school-house near Warren, and, judging from the nature of the invitation, he fully expected to meet a good audience; but on reaching the place he found but few assembled, and concluded that he would not preach. After waiting until it was evident that no more would come, he rose and remarked that being a stranger to them, and they strangers to him, he had not sufficient knowledge of their views, feelings, and wants, to adapt his address to them without some further information. He then asked all who were present who were on the Lord's side to arise. As he anticipated, no one got up. He then asked all who were in favor of the devil to rise, but no one responded to the invitation. After looking at them for a few moments, he said that he had never seen such an audience before; if they had stood up
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either for God or the devil he would have known how to address them: as the matter stood, he would have to study their case, and try, if possible, to meet it, and that he would be back the next evening at the same hour to give them the result of his reflections. He then took his hat and departed.
The next evening, as might have been expected, the house was not large enough for the audience, for all who were present on the previous evening spread abroad the appointment, and thus excited the curiosity of the entire community; nor did the meeting close until curiosity yielded to a deeper feeling, and the truth achieved a victory.
In such labors as these the months went by until August, the appointed time for the meeting of the Association, which this year met at Warren, and proved to be a most interesting and joyful occasion. For years before the attendance had not been large, and chilling reports of the want of success had saddened the hearts of its members. The increase of numbers by conversion scarcely replaced the ravages by death and vacancies by reason of apostasy and exclusion; but now a great and delightful change had taken place -- the number of converts far exceeded that of the entire membership of the Association at the beginning of the year when Scott entered upon his labors; some of the churches had doubled their numbers; new churches had been formed; the converts were distinguished by unusual zeal and activity, and many of them were present to add to the gladness which prevailed and to partake of the joy. Not far from one thousand new converts had been made, and a new life had been infused into the churches,
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and, as a consequence, great joy prevailed, and the routine of business for a season gave way to mutual congratulations on the success of the gospel, to prayer and praise.
Among the converts were those from different religious bodies, and also several preachers who had abandoned their various creeds, and it now became a serious question whether all those various elements could be harmonized and unite upon the common basis of the Word of God.
It was well known that Aylette Raines, who had heretofore been a zealous Universalist, still retained his opinions with regard to the final restoration of the entire race to the favor of God, and it was feared that it would work injuriously were he not required to make a public recantation of the obnoxious sentiments, and quite a number of the members of the Association were unwilling to receive him unless he should do so.
When it is remembered that nearly all present had been reared under one or the other of the various party creeds, and that the Association had been long committed to the doctrines set forth in the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, this will not be wondered at -- the wonder will be rather that they were able to rise above the influences of early teaching and long-confirmed habits of thought, and to take the advanced scriptural ground which they finally did.
When the case of Raines was formally brought before the Association, the Campbells -- father and son -- both advocated his reception as a Christian brother; the former, on the ground that Mr. Raines' Restorationism, like his own Calvinism, was a
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religious speculation or theory; the latter, on the ground that Mr. Raines' view on the final restoration of the wicked, was merely an opinion or inference which was nowhere set forth in the Word of God, and insisted that unity in matters of faith, plainly taught in the Scriptures, was necessary, and not perfect agreement in matters of mere opinion concerning which they were silent. All he thought to be necessary in the matter was for Mr. Raines to preach the gospel as it was delivered to us by the apostles, and retain his opinions on the subject in question as private property, and not attempt to make them binding upon others. Were he to pursue this course he did not doubt but that the truth would soon deliver him from his philosophy, by making him see that, to base salvation on acceptance of the gospel offer was the safer ground, and that his theory would be useless to all that did so.
With the sentiments advanced by these brethren, Walter Scott, who had struggled long and hard with difficulties growing out of his own early religious education, perfectly agreed, as matters derived from creed and catechism, once held dear, had faded from his own mind under the increasing light of truth, so he doubted pat it would be with Mr. Raines, his son in the gospel.
As views and opinions cherished for years can not be renounced by an effort of the will, Mr. Raines could not in a moment abjure what he had long cherished, yet he cheerfully pledged himself to preach nothing beyond what he found clearly set forth in the Word of God, and, as he had for some time preached no doubtful matters or opinions, but the gospel in its
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ancient simplicity, by a large majority he was accepted as a Christian brother. This course demonstrated the feasibility of Christian union, on the broad ground of agreement with regard to matters universally held to be clearly revealed, and mutual toleration in regard to those things for which there was no scriptural authority.
The principle thus settled was one of immense importance and of great practical value, as it led to the abandonment of all the human elements in the conflicting party creeds, and brought thousands together upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and united and harmonized them as the truth only can.
The result in the case of Mr. Raines was such as was foreseen, and in about two years after he thus wrote to Mr. Campbell in regard to the change which had taken place:
"I wish to inform you that my 'restorationist' sentiments have been slowly and imperceptibly erased from my mind by the ministry of Paul and Peter; and some other illustrious preachers, with whose discourses and writings, I need not tell you, you seem to be intimately acquainted. After my immersion I brought my mind, as much as I possibly could, like a blank surface, to the ministry of the New Institution, and by this means, I think, many characters of truth have been imprinted in my mind which did not formerly exist there. * * * I hope, during the remainder of my days, to devote my energies, not to the building up of sectarian systems, but to the teaching of the Word."
This purpose Mr. Raines has fully accomplished in a faithful and most efficient ministry of more than
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forty years, and recently he thus refers to the cherished remembrance of "the great kindness and magnanimity with which," says he, "the Campbells and Walter Scott treated me after my baptism, and before I was convinced of the erroneousness of my restorationist philosophy. They used to say to me: 'It is a mere philosophy, like Calvinism and Arminianism, and no part of the gospel.' They made these isms of but little value; and therefore not worth contending for, and they did not put themselves in conflict with my philosophy, but rather urged me to preach the gospel in matter and form as did the apostles. This all appeared to me to be reasonable, and I did it, and one of the consequences was, that the philosophy within me became extinct, having no longer the coals of contention by which to warm, or the crumbs of sectarian righteousness upon which to feed."
The result of Elder Scott's labors did not leave the matter of his re-appointment in the least doubtful. The judgment of all was that he should be continued in the position for which he had shown such admirable fitness. The work, however, had become too great for the labors of any one man, and he therefore requested that a helper should be appointed for the succeeding year, and, as William Hayden had shown great zeal and ability for some months past, he asked that he should be his companion in toil. This proposal met with general approval, and was followed by some discussion as to the bounds of their labors, some thinking that they should be confined within the bounds of the Association, and others, that the evangelists should be free to go wherever a favorable opening should present itself.
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Scott's spirit was stirred within him, and with that grace and earnestness by which he was distinguished, he rose and said: "Brethren, give me my Bible, my head, and Bro. William Hayden, and we will go forth and convert the world!" A minister rose and moved that his request be granted, and the motion was passed with enthusiasm, and forth they went into a field white for the harvest, ready for the reaper's gathering hand. Well and faithfully did they toil, rich and abundant were the sheaves which rewarded their labors; nor shall they be forgotten when the Lord of the harvest shall come!
LIFE OF ELDER WALTER SCOTT.
Very fortunate was Scott in having such a man as William Hayden for a fellow-laborer; companionship in his work he long had needed, and in him he found one ready to share in his toils and worthy to share his success. Their lives were long blended in sweetest unison, their abundant labors created no jealousy, but mutually endeared them to each other; a nd, though, in after years, Scott had other helpers amid other scenes--men whose talents, virtues, zeal, and sacrifices will never be forgotten -- yet none of them ever reached that degree of intimacy, or found a place so near his heart as did William Hayden.
He was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, on the 30th of June, 1799. Four years after, his father, Samuel Hayden, removed to Youngstown, Ohio, then almost an unbroken wilderness, and William grew up among the hardships and privations of a frontier life. He was an unusually reflective boy, grappling, even in childhood, with the highest problems of human duty and destiny. Before reaching his twelfth year he had passed through the various phases of unbelief, from the mildest form of skepticism to absolute atheism. Having reached the deepest
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darkness a reaction took place -- the struggle back to light. He came to the conclusion: "That if nothing had eternally, or rather, primarily existed, nothing could have arisen, or been originated; hence, a cause uncaused is self-evident." He then reasoned that if God made us we are not too insignificant for him to govern and judge, and he became a believer in Divine Revelation. In his seventeenth year he made a public profession of religion, being baptized by Elder Joshua Woodworth, and united with the Baptist church, of which his parents were members, on the 19th of May, 1816. For one of his original and independent turn of mind the limits of the creed of the Baptist church were too narrow, the deep and broad foundations of the Bible alone satisfying the craving of his mind and heart; hence, when the plea for a return to the Word of God was advocated in the "Christian Baptist," he accepted it as the expression of the conviction he had long cherished. As yet, however, he had only admitted it as a principle by which it was safe to be guided, not knowing whither it would lead; but that principle became the pole star of his life, which increased in lustre until its close. He was mot quick and impulsive, but rather bold, and yet cautious -- cautious in examining any thing new that was offered, but bold to adopt and advocate it when satisfied that it was true.
Up to the year 1827 he was greatly cramped by the prevalent Calvinistic views which were every-where taught among the Baptists, and when he first heard Walter Scott calling sinners to repentance and instant obedience, it was so contrary to the teaching and practice in which he had been educated, that he
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was disposed to regard it as a modern innovation, and as such, to be opposed, rather than a return to the purity and simplicity of the primitive age.
Hearing that Walter Scott was to preach near Canfield, he rode eight miles to hear him; the school-house where the appointment had been made was thronged when he reached there, and the first words which fell from the lips of the preacher had a most startling effect. The words were: "There is not a man in this house who believes that God means what he says." To a Bible man like Hayden, this had the air of arrogance, and he felt like rising up and saying, as he truly felt, "there is, sir, at least one man here who does believe that God means what he says," but there was something in the manner of the speaker which lead him to retain his seat and listen to the proof of the daring statement. Scott then proceeded to show that various and conflicting theories of religion were taught, as all present well knew, and that the advocates of each made the Bible bend to their own peculiar system; that they could not express their views in the language of Holy Scripture without submitting it to some unseemly mutilation; and that men really believed their own version or interpretation of the Scriptures which was different from and even contradictory to the Word of God. He maintained that Bible questions admitted of Bible answers, and showed that modern preachers gave answers to Bible questions greatly differing from those given to the same questions by the apostles of Jesus Christ, and that if men believed that God meant what he said they would believe and act upon what they admitted to be the Word of God. This admitted
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neither of doubt nor reply, and the sincere and honest hearted Hayden felt that he had not heretofore believed "that God meant what he said," but he resolved that he would do so from that hour. He realized now, for the first time, that the human theory which he had been preaching was not only useless but dangerous; that it made those who believed it feel that their lot was fixed for weal or woe before they ever came into the world, and, therefore, if true, useless, as no change was possible; and if false, dangerous in the extreme by leading men to inaction when life and salvation depended on action. He felt that the gospel he had been preaching was a false alarm, trying to make the elect feel in danger when there was no danger, and that the offer to the non-elect was a mockery, as no provision had been made for their rescue. He saw now that the gospel was no false alarm, that men were in danger of perishing; he saw, too, that the gospel offer was not a pretense but a reality, made in good faith to all who would obey the glad message and live. The scales fell from his eyes, he understood the Bible no longer by the light of tradition and usage, but as its own interpreter, bidding all to come and take of the water of life freely. From that day his spiritual horizon was greatly enlarged, and though he had not learned all the truth, he had learned that the Word of God was the great treasure-house of saving truth, and from its rich stores he largely and freely drew. An offer of salvation to all, now meant all, and when a trembling sinner or believing penitent came with the earnest cry "What shall I do?" he directed them not to a church committee, or the judgment of their fellow-men, but
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to the answer which was given to the Philippian jailer, or that which Peter on Pentecost gave to the heart-stricken Jews. With great point and simplicity he gives an account of his spiritual growth both before and after the period to which we have alluded above, and we give it in his own words.
"At a meeting of the preachers of the Mahoning Baptist Association, got up for mutual improvement, I was quite startled by the following saying: 'The true disciple of Christ is he who will follow the truth wheresoever it leads.' Thought I, a bold idea. Is it a safe one? Where will it lead? Shall I adopt it? It might make me something else than a Baptist, and thought it would not be my choice. But, thought I again, follow the truth; where can it lead but to God in heaven? Dare I follow any thing else? In a moment it was resolved to subscribe the principle with all my heart. Now, said I to myself, what is truth? During the same meeting, the same individual, who uttered the former sentiment, expressed the following: 'You will find, by reading the Apostles' preaching, as contained in the book of 'The Acts,' that in preaching the gospel, they never preached the doctrine of Election.' From this point the affair progressed until I became alarmed for my old Calvinistic creed, and my own salvation too. I concluded, however, not to abandon Christ nor the Bible. But our old-fashioned, sectarian way of reading the Bible was now found a great hindrance to our progress in search of truth. At New Lisbon, at a similar meeting, the chief subject up was, the true principles of interpretation of the Scriptures. It was easily perceived the book was to be read like other books, i. e., first, find who speaks, who it is spoken to, what is the subject, what is the object, and what is the context. Then every passage and every word in it has but one meaning, and the classical
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meaning is the theological meaning. We thus found the Bible was a self-interpreter, and every diligent student of it could be a self-taught disciple. From that time the Bible was studied as a new book, and oh, what a change it made! It is better remembered and felt than told.
"Having learned the distinction between the Old Testament and the New -- that Judaism and Christianity are not identical; that while the Jewish scriptures contained the religion of symbols and types, and the prophecies, the Christian Scriptures contained the facts, the substance, the fulfillment -- the gospel. We set about learning what the gospel is, and its efficacy. It was, by and by, found that the 'gospel' is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes it; that it is the word or ministry of reconciliation, the ministration of righteous men. It was found that the Holy Spirit is not to be expected to convert nor sanctify any person but by the gospel. This led to inquire what the gospel is, and what it is not. It was discovered that the clergy were in the habit of preaching the traditions, speculations, and opinions of former times, contained in creeds and bodies of so-called divinity, for the gospel of Christ. These things, sometimes by themselves, sometimes mingled with more or less of the facts, precepts, and promises of the gospel, or, perchance, of the Jewish religion, were taught as Christianity; not relied on, however, to convert men, but invoking the Divine Spirit to enter the sinner's heart, to change it and give him a new motive, that he might understand the heterogeneous mass of sectarian and blind theology. Thus, it was not uncommon to find thousands of honest people bewildered and in painful suspense, waiting for they knew not what -- some mystic power that they might be converted, not knowing where to go, whom to believe, or what to do. Thousands, discouraged, disgusted, and turned into infidelity, and perishing for lack of knowledge; while the Christian
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community was divided into factions and full of strife and fierce contentions and rivalries. Oh, sad sight indeed!
"The need of reform was manifest to all who had eyes to see and a heart to feel for a guilty and perishing world for whom the Savior died and rose again.
"Arduous was the work in which the brethren had engaged, and wind and tide against them. Misrepresentations and unkindness in a thousand forms, and from those who ought to have been friends and fellow-helpers; together with much self-denial and sacrifice, had to be endured.
"Still the work went on. God had put them on the trace. They had the infallible directory of Heaven, and the true key of knowledge, and an immortal crown to cheer them on."
In choosing Hayden as his fellow-laborer Scott was influenced not only by his preaching ability but also by his fine musical powers; said he, "there is not a man in the Association that can sing like him." He had a voice of great depth and compass, at one time sweet and melodious as the south wind's sigh, at another, swelling out into tempest tones. He instructed his hearers by his speech, but he melted and moved them by his songs, and all who knew him remembered him as the sweet singer.
Thrown into the field of labor with such a gifted spirit as Scott, he made rapid improvement in preaching, which became his life work. His educational opportunities had been limited; books were then comparatively rare, and he found it of immense advantage to be in the society and enjoy the instruction of Scott, who was at that time one of the most accomplished scholars in the West, and who was delighted with a pupil of such parts and promise. Except
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when preaching, almost all the time in the saddle, visiting the various points at which their labors were needed, they enjoyed fine opportunities for conversation in those rides which else had been long and tedious; and when the place of labor was reached the pupil had a fine opportunity for studying the rich and admirable style of the tutor, while he in turn, with equal pleasure, had the opportunity to mark the improvement of his beloved pupil.
Their intercourse was respectful, tender, and affectionate, and at the same time free and unrestrained. Scott's learning and genius was not chilling and awe-inspiring, but as a father instructing a son who delighted to learn, so he instructed his younger companion, whom he affectionately called "Willy." Hayden would sometimes spend so much time on his introduction as to shorten his discourse so much as to throw it out of proportion and symmetry, which Scott would correct the next day as they rode together to another appointment, by saying, "Willy, did you ever know a fish to be all head?" followed by instructions that were never forgotten. Occasionally, too, he would be impelled by his feelings to exhort his hearers at the opening of his discourse, and the result would be that the sermon would all run to exhortation, of which Scott would playfully remind him, on the first suitable occasion, by saying, "Willy, did you ever see a fish all tail?" Hayden was an apt pupil, seldom were the same instructions needed twice, and his admirable good sense, and strong, though somewhat uncultivated, powers, soon gave him a mastery over an audience which but few have been able to attain. Being in almost constant
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communion they exchanged thoughts on all matters connected with their work. The inquisitive turn of Hayden, his quick insight and profound penetration, was a fine stimulus to the richly-stored mind and glowing fancy of Scott, while he in turn was benefitted by the solid judgment and keen native good sense of his younger companion. Together they traversed the Reserve, performing an amount of labor that now seems incredible, often, too, amid reproach and opposition, but always with most cheering success; and, though, in after years, welcome and glad greetings hailed them in the scenes of their early and arduous labors, the days of toil and conflict were sweet to remember.
After two or three years of such intercourse as we have attempted to describe, Scott left the Reserve for other fields of labor, but Hayden, who had become by that time a man of acknowledged power, remained and carried on to greater perfection the work which they together had begun. Each year for more than twenty found him a stronger man than the year before, and he never visited a place in which he could not find a warm welcome whenever he returned. No preacher was ever more widely or favorably known within the bounds of the Western Reserve than he; for thirty-five years he there labored zealously and faithfully for the glory of God and the welfare of his fellow-men, and many, very many, will be the stars in his crown of rejoicing.
After their separation they seldom met, but no estrangement grew out of long absence; the teacher never forgot his beloved pupil, and the pupil never ceased to cherish the warmest affection for his
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teacher. In different parts of the vineyard they labored for the same Lord, bearing the same burden and heat of the day; partners in toil here, they are partners now in the rest that remaineth for the people of God.
In stature, Hayden was not over medium height, but well knit and capable of great labor and endurance. His eyes were gray, complexion dark, and rendered more so than was natural by almost constant exposure; a warm heart within gave a kindly expression to his features, and when before his audience there was that in his face that impressed his hearers with the thought that they were in the presence of an earnest, honest man; and his faithfulness in pointing out their duty and danger only served to deepen the conviction which his appearance suggested.
His discourses were severely thought out; he was a safe preacher, never speaking at random; his views were reached by careful examination and seldom needed a change; he was, moreover, a natural logician, with the rare power of moving to action, by his exhortations, those whom his arguments had convinced.
He seldom committed his thoughts to paper, and when he did so, much of the inspiration of his spoken discourses was wanting; the sentiment, however, was always pure; and the following, we doubt not, will be prized by those who knew and loved him.
"'And there was a strife also among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.' Luke xxii: 24.
"False ambition has, perhaps, been productive of more
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evil to the human race, than any other cause. It is nothing else than supreme selfishness. It sometimes assumes very specious names and appearances. When it strives for the mastery in the political world, it styles itself patriotism. Then you hear the demagogue eloquently pleading the interests of the 'dear people,' the honor of his country, while denouncing his competitors as enemies to both. When it seeks for pre-eminence in the church, it shows itself in zeal for orthodoxy, for long established usages. Or, perchance, it grows dissatisfied with all these, and would throw society into a ferment and proclaim 'reform,' 'progress with the spirit of the age,' placing itself at the head of parties, armies, and nations, or if disappointed in this, turning misanthrope, finds fault with every thing and complains of the ingratitude of mankind. In the church, the individual no longer able to endure, or fellowship the corruption and hypocrisy of brethren, leaves the church and concludes he can best serve his God (i. e.), his own pride and envy alone. Such persons are very zealous Christians so long as they can be put forward and have things in their own way. If an individual is suspected of possessing more of the confidence and esteem of the brethren than himself, he can never hear without pain, such brother commended; but to ease his mind with as good a grace as may be, he will admit there are some good qualities in the brother, 'but' he has certain faults, which ought to be known in order to form a just estimate of his character.
"Doubtless many deceive themselves into a notion that their motives are pure, that it is the glory of God, and the interest of his cause they have at heart, when pride, envy, and jealousy lie at the bottom of all they say and do. Even the pure in heart will have enough to do to keep themselves pure. The religion and morals of Paganism were quite consistent with, nay encouraged and patronized this love of pre-eminence, insomuch that 'a strife for the mastery,' in all their games and pursuits in peace and war, was
SERMON ON HUMILITY. 205
most manifest. Their historians and poets, their painters and sculptors, published and extolled, celebrated and gave a sort of immortality to the successful aspirant, which in turn inflamed the ardor and fired the ambition of others. The consequences were, that pride and all the warring passions of their nature were let loose and stimulated to the utmost; the very gods were, indeed, supposed to be delighted with the contest, insomuch that envy, rage, malevolence, with all their consequences, filled the world.
"The world could not possibly be reformed without a religion essentially different, which should cut off the very root of all those principles of action and institute others, which should implant, cherish, and cultivate to perfection the opposite of the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride or ambition of the world.
"Christianity is the only system of religion and morals that can bless the human race. Instead of pride, humility; instead of envy, esteem for others; instead of hatred and revenge, gentleness, brotherly kindness, and benevolence. The gospel reveals to us the true state and condition of mankind, all guilty before God. With all their boasted attainments, discoveries, and improvements, their wisdom, learning, arts, pleasures, and religion, all wrong, ignorant, false, vain, destructive to man, offensive to God, without God, without hope, lost. At the same time, the compassion of the everlasting God, his truth, justice, and mercy revealed in the sacrificing for our sins his only begotten Son, the humbling, repenting, and submitting of ourselves to him, the infallible assurance of forgiveness, of resurrection and eternal life, and the eternal condemnation of all who neglect the gospel, the whole sustained by miracles, signs, wonders, and prophecies, addressed to the senses and reason of mankind, calling for immediate submission. Such a proclamation honestly heeded, could not fail to reform the human race. Nothing else could do it. Hence the gospel, and nothing but the gospel, is 'the power of
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God to the salvation of all who really believe it.' 'Tis this and only this that makes man to know himself -- his origin, destiny, nature, relation, wants, wounds, sorrows, and remedies. The value his Maker sets upon him, the variety of the world and all its ambition and pomp, how empty and foolish its pleasures, how good and gracious is the Lord, how kind and gentle the Savior, how dignified, majestic, powerful, rich, and glorious, till his heart delighted, and his soul enraptured with the love and philanthropy of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he is reconciled in feeling, and obeys from the heart the gospel; being then free from sin, he is a child of God, an heir of glory; his spirit is full of joy, abounding in all compassion to man his fellow.
"True Christianity makes true Christians, corrupt Christianity makes at best imperfect Christians. In the latter case, however sincere, partyism and all its attendant evils, will more or less prevail; in the former, union, humility, love, peace, and good will, and all moral excellence, must be the fruit.
"The first thing Christ said, in his sermon on the mount, was, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.' Instead of extolling pride, ambition, and turbulence, which have filled the earth with carnage, crimes, and tears, he condemns them all, and inculcates those principles which, however, despised by heroes, poets, orators, statesmen, are the only principles, that can promote 'Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will among men.'
"But alas! How slow to learn, how slow to practice the pure religion, the Holy Gospel of the Redeemer! And the disciples making their boasts of the Bible alone, how far from appreciating, honoring, and exhibiting pure Christianity. Have we not seen envy and strife, insubordination, jealousy, rivalry, and recklessness? 'Which of us shall be accounted the greatest.' I am not sure that
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this demon has not pursued at times persons of all stations, the most obscure and private disciples, deacons, overseers, preachers, exhorters, editors. 'My sacred honor' is too often mistaken for the honor of Christ and his cause. It is true, while we are clothed with mortality we shall be liable to faults and imperfections of character. We see such things every-where, even in 'the twelve,' before they received power from on high. It is also to be lamented that men of the world choose rather to look at the imperfections of Christians, than at the perfections of Christianity and its glorious author. But we can not prevent it; they will not look at the religion of Christ, but through its advocates; and, therefore, the Savior said, 'Let your light so shine before men, that others seeing your good works shall glorify your Father which is in heaven.' And an apostle said, 'So is the will of God that with well doing you put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.' And in no other way can we open the way to the human heart. Therefore, how pertinent all the exhortations of the apostles to purity, humility, peace, and love.
"I would not be understood, however, to say there is no ambition to be cherished by the gospel, or that there is no true greatness to be aimed at by the Christian. Far from it. But the ambition and greatness here is free from envy, and is compatible with the most pure and sincere esteem for all, even those who excel us. Christ said whoever wishes to be great must be servant. Now suppose a brother superior for talent, education, or property. That brother is not haughty nor over-bearing; but gentle, kind, condescending, full of liberality, and all goodness; affects no superiority in apparel, style, or manners; seeks not applause; rather diffident than assuming; delighting in the happiness of others; taking pleasure in doing all he can to happify all around him, in his family, neighborhood, the church, and the world abroad. Who can envy him? A man whose only superiority
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consists in goodness, can not be envied by any man, saint or sinner, scarcely by a hypocrite.
"Goodness, supreme goodness, no man can hate. No matter how much worth, talent, learning, or fame be connected with it, if these be subordinate to goodness, and directed by wisdom, they will command the admiration and affection of the human heart. Therefore, it is that we love God. Therefore, it is that certain men will have an influence in society beyond others and are not envied but beloved.
"So, also, the good man can not envy any one. He can not envy the rich brother while himself is poor, if the rich one is governed by goodness. And if the rich, or learned, or talented be he not a good man, though he be famed and admired, and have an influence beyond what moral worth gives him, still his fame and influence must have an end, and his pride will have a fall; consequently, he is not to be envied.
"The greatest man in the world, then, is he who is most like the Savior of men; who lays all his honors, gifts, or attainments at the feet of Jesus, and gives him all the glory. It is he who abounds in all goodness, purity, and godly fear. It is he whose soul is moved at the wretchedness of mankind, and is only concerned to see men redeemed and God glorified through Jesus Christ. It is he who has the least taste, and is least attracted by the things admired and pursued by the giddy, gay, ungodly world of mankind, while he glories in the Lord."
As already stated, he was chosen by Scott himself as a fellow-laborer, and the choice was confirmed by the unanimous vote of the Association, in August, 1828, and in October, of the same year, he was formally ordained to the gospel ministry by Elders Scott and Bentley. "From the time of his selection and
HAYDEN'S ABUNDANT LABORS. 209
ordination, preaching the gospel was his chief business. During his ministry of near thirty-five years, he traveled nearly ninety thousand miles, full sixty thousand of which he made on horseback; that is, by this latter mode of travel, more than twice around the world! These travels extended from Syracuse, New York, on the east, to the Mississippi River on the west, and from the Provinces of Canada to Virginia. Yet his labors were mostly performed on the Western Reserve and its borders, in north-eastern Ohio, where he planted many churches. The baptisms by his own hands were twelve hundred and seven, about seven hundred of whom were females. He preached over nine thousand sermons, which is two hundred and sixty-one discourses per annum for every year of his public life. He once preached fifty sermons in the month of November alone. Besides all these pulpit services his private labors were abundant and incessant. The people gathered about him for the instruction and edification of his conversation; few excelled him in this kind of power. He had a peculiar turn for winning attention, and imparting instruction in the social circle, mingling the humor that charms with the experience that imparts information. Few could relate or relish an anecdote better, or apply one mare appropriately for the purpose of illustration. Yet he never indulged in recitals of any in which the adorable Name, or any of the titles of the Most High, were even playfully, much less irreverently, introduced; a practice against which he bore frequent and forcible testimony.
The mental powers of William Hayden were most rapid and energetic in action. His method of
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reasoning tended to generalization, embracing great variety in subject and method. Though not favored in early life with an extensive education, his taste, discernment, and industry very fully supplied this lack of opportunity, and stored his mind with much general information and critical historic learning. The master quality of his mind was his almost matchless memory--memory of history, incident, event, and chronology. In all his temporal business, of which he transacted considerable all life-long, he kept no book account. He made no memorandum of his sermons, and he could report at any time, promptly and accurately, the number of his sermons, baptisms, miles of travel, and multitudes of incidents connected with all these matters, and all without pen or pencil to aid him! It were vanity, perhaps, to assign him in this behalf a place with Macaulay or Johnson; but all who knew him, wondered at his power -- a power which was at his command, with undiminished force, up to the hour of his death. In his character were chiefly discernible firmness, inflexibility, affection, and qualities eminently social and hospitable. His religion was conscience and reverence; his humanity, a tender and systematic benevolence." He gave largely for humane, religious, and educational purposes, and left behind him an example worthy of imitation.
A PLEASING INCIDENT.
The year 1829 was very fruitful in results; wherever Scott and Hayden went large crowds assembled, and hundreds yielded to the truth and were gathered into the fold. Among the places visited were Palmyra, Deerfield, Windham, Mantua, Braceville, Bazetta, and, indeed, nearly every place of importance on the Reserve. During this, the first year of the joint labors of himself and William Hayden, an incident of great interest to Bro. Scott, and one deeply and intimately associated with the interests and success of the work in which he was engaged, occurred.
The reader will, doubtless, recall a favorite pupil of Mr. Scott's, while engaged in teaching in Pittsburg many years before, named Richardson, under the roof of whose father the teacher found a home. This pupil had now become a man, and was fulfilling the promise of his early youth; in addition to fine literary training, he added a course of medical study, and was now engaged in the practice of medicine near Pittsburg. He was, moreover, a deeply religious man, a member of the Episcopal church, and was confirmed by the Rev. William White, the venerable
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Bishop of Pennsylvania; his pastor was the Rev. J. H. Hopkins, afterward Bishop of Vermont; and such were his attainments and piety that he was urged to enter the ministry of the church of which he was a member. It was a pleasant surprise to him when his old teacher, then living at Canfield, Ohio, who had never ceased to feel a deep interest in him, most unexpectedly paid him a visit. Mr. Scott, full of the theme which had for the last year or two fully occupied his mind, gave the doctor an account his labors on the Western Reserve, and the excitement which had been aroused and the success which had attended them; the doctor felt that he was a pupil still, and, with the deepest interest, listened to what he considered one of the most important matters that had ever engaged his attention. The following is a full account of the interview and its results, from the Memoirs of Alexander Campbell: "During the interview he related many interesting incidents connected with his labors on the Reserve, which excited much surprise on the part of the doctor, who had as yet remained quite uninformed in respect to the character of the religious movement in which Mr. Scott was now engaged, and was still a member of the Episcopal church, though at the time in communion with the Presbyterian church in his immediate neighborhood. The statement that the Christian institution was quite distinct from the Jewish, and had a definite origin on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii.), and that penitent believers were their commanded to be baptized for the remission of sins: seemed to him as a new revelation, accustomed as he had been
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to the confused ideas of the different parties on these subjects.
"Upon searching out the import of the word baptism, after Mr. Scott's departure, he soon found it to be immersion, and perceived that, from trusting to human teachers, he had been previously deceived in regard to it. Resolving, therefore, from thenceforth to be directed by the Bible alone, he began a careful re-examination of it. Reflecting that whatever might be urged about 'apostolic succession,' there could be no flaw in the credentials of the apostles themselves, and that they at least knew how to preach the gospel, he was convinced that had he and the whole world been present when Peter said, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins,' all would have been equally bound to obey, and that the case was in nowise different now with those to whom this word of salvation came. There could be no danger of deception or mistake in trusting to the words of one who 'spake as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance,' and he therefore felt it to be his duty to submit to the divine requirements. Setting out accordingly, he, after a three days' journey, found Mr. Scott holding a meeting at a barn in Shalersville, on the Reserve, which he reached about two o'clock on the Lord's day, just after the audience had been dismissed. Six persons had come forward, and were preparing for baptism at the farm-house, and the doctor, pressing through the crowd, greatly surprised and delighted Mr. Scott by informing him that he had come to be baptized. After the immersion the meeting was resumed, and William Hayden addressed the people, his
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discourse being the first the doctor heard from any preacher in the Reformation; nor had he, before going down that day to the banks of the softly-flowing Cuyahoga, ever witnessed an immersion, having been led by the Word of God alone to take a solitary journey of one hundred and twenty miles in order to render the obedience which it demanded, and to find in that obedience the fulfillment of the Divine promises, and a happy relief from the illusive hopes and fears, based on frames and feelings, which for several years had constituted his religious experience."
The adoption of his views by one so capable of judging of their truth, and so able to defend them was, of course, highly gratifying to Mr. Scott, and the zeal and ability of the new convert soon showed that he was a more valuable accession than even his partial friend and tutor had supposed.
Soon after his baptism, his pastor, the Rev. Dr. Hopkins, addressed him a letter of remonstrance and regret at the course he had taken, which called forth a reply, which, in a striking manner, set forth the weakness of a religion with much of a human admixture, and the power of the simple and unadulterated truth; or the weakness of a creed in comparison with the plain teachings of the Word of God.
It was a happy circumstance that Mr. Richardson was so soon called upon to defend his faith, as it opened the way to a career of great usefulness; for, since that time his pen has been almost constantly engaged upon many of the most important religious questions of the day; and among all the writers who have used their pens in the advocacy of the "Reformation" he is not only the most voluminous, but the
BENTLEY AND BOSWORTH APPOINTED. 215
most polished and graceful. He has been more closely identified with the movement set on foot by the joint labors of Campbell and Scott than any other man in our ranks, and will go down to posterity as the historian of one of the greatest religious movements of modern times. His whole life has been spent in literary, religious, and scientific research. For eighteen years he was Professor of Chemistry in Bethany College, and at the same time co-editor of the "Millennial Harbinger," one of the ablest exponents of modern religious thought. The doctor also aided in the organization of the University of Kentucky from 1859 to 1863, and now, in the retirement of Bethphage, over-looking Bethany, he is still actively and usefully employed, ever and anon giving to the religious world, through the press, his best thoughts on the best of themes. May he be spared yet many years, and may his sun come to a golden setting.
The report of Scott and Hayden to the Association of their labors during the year was highly encouraging; and, as the work was constantly growing, and demands for preaching far above their ability to meet, Adamson Bentley and Marcus Bosworth were appointed to aid in the work. The latter had been led into the truth by hearing Scott at Braceville in 1827 or 1828, and proved to be a very successful preacher. He was a man of true piety and deep feeling; the condition of lost sinners and the love of the Savior were themes that he could seldom touch without weeping, and, as a natural consequence, his unaffected tenderness would move his audience to tears. Of Elder Bentley we have already spoken at length
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as a pure man and an able minister, and certainly, in modern times, no four men ever produced such a revolution in public sentiment as did these in the field of their labors.
The year passed by and the Association met, as it proved, for the last time as an ecclesiastical body, at Austintown. Over one thousand converts were reported; a wide-spread and earnest religious interest had been awakened; many of the new converts, full of love and zeal, were present, and all were full of joy and hope. Several Associations, especially those of Redstone and Beaver, had pursued a very arbitrary course, with regard to churches and individuals who could not accept fully all that was required by the Creed and Articles of Faith; and the members of the Mahoning Association, fearing that such bodies might work much evil, brought up the question as to the scripturality of such organizations. Mr. Campbell thought such meetings under proper limitations might be useful, although opposed to them as church tribunals, and as the churches of which the Mahoning Association was composed had been enlightened so far as to lay aside all human standards of faith and practice, he thought they were in no such danger as those who still retained them. A large majority, however, were opposed to the continuance of the Association; so much tyranny had been exercised recently by bodies bearing that name, that it was felt necessary to have some decisive action on the matter. John Henry, who had been among the first to enter the ranks of reform, and was already quite influential, moved "that the Mahoning Association, as an advisory council, or an ecclesiastical tribunal, should
THE MAHONING ASSOCIATION CEASES. 217
cease to exist." This was in accordance with the general feeling, but Mr. Campbell thinking the course proposed too precipitate, was on the point of rising to oppose the motion, when Walter Scott, seeing the strong current in favor of it, went up to him, and, placing a hand on each of his shoulders, begged him not to oppose the motion. He yielded; the motion passed unanimously; and it was then determined that, in the place of the Association, there should be an annual meeting for praise and worship, and to hear reports from laborers in the field of the progress of the good work. The first of these meetings was held at New Lisbon in the following year, and proved to be both pleasant and profitable, and they still continue with a like result.
The action taken at Austintown may be regarded as the formal separation from the Baptists; up to this time the Association was a Baptist body, and the members of it Baptists, although many of their peculiarities had been abandoned in consequence of a better understanding of the Scriptures. Those Baptists who had embraced the new views, together with the new converts made, were called Campbellites, and by many Scottites; but after the dissolution of the Association which was really brought about by the efforts of Scott, they were called Disciples.
The wisdom of the course pursued in this has been questioned by some since then; who thought, no doubt, that it would have been better to have remained with the Baptists, and leavened that body with their views; but Scott ever regarded it as the wisest course, and assumed whatever responsibility there might be in the matter, claiming that it was at
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his instance that John Henry introduced the motion, and that his own personal appeal to Alexander Campbell, prevented him from using his influence in opposition to the action, which really made those who had accepted the primitive gospel a new and distinct people.
This was one of the marked eras in Elder Scott's career. His first step was to fix upon the divinity of Christ as the central and controlling thought of the New Testament, and which he afterwards demonstrated and illustrated with a strength and felicity that has never been surpassed. Next, he arranged the elements of the gospel in the simple and natural order of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Remission of Sins, and Gift of the Holy Spirit; then made Baptism the practical acceptance of the gospel on the part of the penitent believer, as well as the pledge or assurance of pardon on the part of its author; and, in the course pursued at the last meeting of the Association at Austintown, freed the Disciples from the last vestige of human authority, and placed them under Christ, with his Word for their guide. In this we see one of the most remarkable traits of Elder Scott's character, namely, his inflexibility of purpose. In minor matters affecting only some passing interest he often seemed wavering and weak of purpose, but in matters involving the truth of God, the salvation of the sinner, or the perfection of the saint, he knew not what it was to yield his convictions, but pressed on to his purpose with a determination and perseverance that has seldom been equaled. One who knew him well -- the amiable Challen -- thus notices this peculiarity, to which the attention of the reader has
SCOTT'S FIRMNESS OF PURPOSE. 219
been directed: "In some things he was a perfect child, and again there was a loftiness and grandeur about him that struck the beholder with awe. He had, with a high-strung nervous temperament, as much moral courage as any man I have ever known; and, therefore, he often did what other men would not dare to do, and was rarely defeated or successfully baffled in his purposes. He had in him the spirit of the ancient prophets, and felt as if he had some great work to do in these latter times." The assaults of Luther upon the errors and corruptions of Rome were not more startling and bold than those of Scott upon the errors and evils of modern sectarianism; the opposition aroused was as wide-spread in the latter case as the former, and a few centuries earlier would have exposed him to no less danger than that which threatened the German monk. As it was, there was much with which he had to contend, the most unscrupulous misrepresentation and distortion both of his preaching and character. Communities were warned against him by ministers of all denominations, as if he were spreading the most destructive heresies, or madly endeavoring to destroy all faith in God and his Word, while really he was making Christ and him crucified his theme, and presenting to dying men not a dry, mouldy, and unsatisfying theology, but the bread of life as offered to men in the very terms used by those whom the Savior commissioned to bear his glad gospel to the world. This opposition, however, awakened no anger in his breast; it only served to increase his zeal and influence, and fire his tongue with a warmer and diviner eloquence. He remembered how the Master had
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suffered at the hands of those whom he came to enlighten and bless, and he felt sorrow and shed tears over those who were treating the servant as others had treated his Lord.
Never was man more thoroughly absorbed in his work than he at this period of his history; stimulated alike by wonderful success as well as by bitter and unrelenting opposition, he at times seemed almost transported to the heaven to which he was pointing his hearers. Not long since, the writer met an able and useful preacher, and asked him if he had ever seen and heard Walter Scott; with a shade of sadness in his manner, he said, "Yes." "What did you think of him?" I pursued. "Ah," said he, "for one hour and a half, I was nearer heaven than ever before or since."
R. R. Sloan, who was present at the time, relates the following: "Walter Scott, about 1829 or 1830, paid a visit to Western Virginia, and on one occasion preached in the woods between Wellsburg and Wheeling; the audience was large, the preacher more than usually animated by his theme; near him sat Alexander Campbell, usually calm and self-contained, but in this case more fully under the influence of the preacher's eloquence than he had ever been of mortal man before; his eye flashed and his face glowed as he heard him unfold the glories of redemption, the dignity and compassion of its author, and the honors that awaited those who would submit to his reign, until so filled with rapture and an admiration, not of the speaker, but of him who was his theme, that he cried out, 'Glory to God in the highest,' as the only way to relieve the intensity of his joy." Mr.
DEATH IN HIS FAMILY. 221
Campbell was naturally not very demonstrative, and this was perhaps the only case in which his feelings so completely carried him away.
Early in the next year, 1831, Elder Scott returned to Pittsburg, and, soon after his arrival there, death, for the first time, entered into his family and bore one of the little flock -- now five in number -- away. This was his fourth child, and second daughter, Sarah Jane, then in her fourth year; her loss was a great grief to her father, who was passionately fond of his children; but he was consoled by the thought that she was in the keeping of him who, when on earth, loved and blessed little children, and, though now seated on his throne of glory, loves them still.
In May of the same year he visited Cincinnati for the first time, and remained there three months, preaching to the congregation which up to that time had enjoyed the labors of Elder James Challen, under whose ministry it had greatly prospered. Although at this time in the prime of life, Elder Scott, in consequence of his severe and unremitting labors for the previous four years, almost broke down, being greatly afflicted with dyspepsia and its attendant, great depression of spirits. His pulpit efforts during his stay were very unequal and generally far below those with which he had stirred the multitudes all over the Western Reserve; the fame of these efforts had preceded him, and he failed in a great measure to meet the expectations which had been awakened; he lacked, too, the inspiration of the presence and songs of the hundreds of converts that were often at his meetings on the Reserve, and audiences which often swelled to thousands, and more than all; the success
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which heretofore had attended his labors. Sometimes, when but few were present, he would give a discourse of startling and overwhelming power. This would lead those who were present to use such efforts as would bring the elite of the city to hear him, but, on such occasions, greatly to the mortification of those who had exerted themselves to get such an audience together, he would disappoint expectation, or wholly fail to do justice to himself or subject. Strange, however, as it may seem, these failures did not seem greatly to affect him. On one occasion an Elder of the church said to him, "How is it, Bro. Scott, that when we don't expect any thing from you, you go beyond yourself, but when our hopes and wishes are the highest, you fall so low?" "Oh," said he, "I don't know how it happens, but I feel that if I can not get it out of me at times, it is in me nevertheless." And this perfect consciousness of power seemed to satisfy him.
Elder Challen was then engaged in preaching in Louisiana, and up to that time had never met with his successor in the pulpit, and he was deeply affected on receiving from him an urgent and affectionate letter desiring him to return. "The flock," said he, "are sighing and pining for their former shepherd; you must come back, you alone can satisfy them. I can not and will not consent to remain with them as long as there is any hope or prospect of your return." Such courteous, Christian, and unselfish treatment won Challen back, and gained for Scott a firm and life-long friend.
The evidences of power which he now and then gave were not without results, and in the following
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year he removed to Cincinnati, and remained there and in its immediate neighborhood for about fourteen years, and amply confirmed all the hopes that his most ardent friends had indulged with regard to him.
Being aware that the state of his health rendered his public ministrations quite variable, he determined to speak to the public through the medium of the press, knowing that in this way he could render permanently useful the great thoughts by which his heart was stirred, but which, when before an audience he could not always utter. Accordingly, he began the publication of his renowned monthly, the "Evangelist," in which was discussed and settled many of the religious questions of the day; many of the essays which appeared in its pages were republished, not only in this country, but also in the old world; and few writers have had the satisfaction of seeing their views so widely spread and so generally adopted as did he.
Soon after the issue of his first number of the "Evangelist," the celebrated socialist, philosopher, and skeptic, Robert Dale Owen, visited Cincinnati, and delivered two lectures, both of which Mr. Scott attended, and though he had but a few hours in which to prepare a reply to the carefully prepared addresses of Mr. Owen; he succeeded not only in rebuking his scoffs and sneers, but in a most masterly manner turned the tables upon him by directing his own arguments against himself. Mr. Campbell, but a short time before, had met Mr. Owen, Sen., in public debate, with signal success, and Mr. Scott now met the son, not, it is true, in a long-contested battle like that to which we have alluded, but it was,
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nevertheless, a short and brilliant passage at arms, in which the Knight of Unbelief and Unreason went down at the first onset under the well-directed lance of the Red Cross Knight.
We give Mr. Scott's account of this meeting, which is as remarkable for the fair statement of his antagonist's views, as for the vigor of his own exposure of their fallacy. "On the evenings of the 5th and 6th of March, Robert Dale Owen read two discourses in the Court-house of this place to crowded audiences. The first on 'Free Inquiry,' the last on 'Religion.' We attended in the hope of hearing the great objects of human research, nature, society, and religion, set forth, separated, and defined after a manner suited to the title of his discourses; in this, however, we were completely disappointed. The second lecture was, in our estimation, at least, devoid of dignity, and consisted chiefly in vulgar raillery concerning those whom he styled the 'Reverend Clergy.' No line of demarkation at all was drawn between simple Christianity, as it came from the hands of its author, and the enormous corruptions to which, in the lapse of time, it has been subjected. Paul and the Pope were equally the objects of his rebuke, innuendo, and scorn. The excellent Watson, of Landaff, says, 'That a philosopher or inquirer after truth forfeits all reputation with me when he introduces railing for reason, and vulgar and illiberal sarcasm in the room of argument.' As it was the season of 'Free Inquiry,' we could not help standing up, and reading a few things relative to the logic of some points of his first discourse; we intended to give a review of the whole of it, but lacked both time and opportunity of
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doing so, the manuscript being left but a few hours in our hands. We read as follows: Mr. Owen, I was present last evening when you spoke on 'Free Enquiry.' I had then some observations in preparation, and should, perhaps, have spoken them, but such was the bustle excited by the draft you made on the national and religious feelings of certain individuals present that I deemed it most proper to be silent; I thought I perceived, too, an unwillingness among the 'Free Inquirers' to admit of free inquiry into the merits of what had been spoken. After you had finished, I took the liberty to introduce myself, and requested the favor of your manuscript; you very politely acceded to my wishes and gave me the discourse. I have written strictures on certain portions of it, which with your liberty and that of the audience, I shall now read. 'All inquiry, whether fettered or free, must terminate ultimately on Nature, Society, and Religion; but who are the great masters here? who have inquired most freely into Nature, into Society, into Religion? who are the great fathers of the philosophy of Matter -- the philosophy of Mind -- the philosophy of Religion? were they men who despised Religion, who sneered at the believer? Mr. Owen would have us believe there is virtue in great names. I ask again, then, who are those that have inquired most freely into Nature, Society, and Religion? Natural science claims as her peculiar ornaments, Sir Isaac Newton, Ferguson, Bacon, Boyle; Moral Science is adorned, by the talents of Locke, Berkley, Reid, Stewart, and Brown; Religious Science chimes the homage of all these,
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and more, too: Milton, Young, Cowper, Spencer, Johnson, Rush, Berkley, Mead, and Warburton.'
"The following, in the conclusion of Mr. Owen's speech, was peculiarly emphasized: 'And be one thing remembered, when men talk of the heartlessness and demoralizing tendency of skepticism; when they cry out about the licentious influence of unbelief; when, in sweeping phrase, they denounce all heretics as profligates, mischief-makers, disorganizers, and wicked men; then, then, in the hour of assault and abuse, be it boldly said, be it faithfully remembered, that Jefferson, that Franklin, that Adams, that Monroe, that Washington, were all skeptics, heretics, infidels, whichever of the meaningless terms Orthodoxy may be pleased to select; and that when honest dissenters from popular creeds are thus denounced as the children of the Devil, Americans, the Revolutionary Fathers! her best, her bravest, her noblest, are expressly included in the denunciation!' It is a poor rule that does not work both ways. In humble imitation of the rhetoric of Mr. Owen, then, allow me, of your clemency, my fellow-countrymen, to say, Be one thing remembered, when men, as he does, talk of the heartlessness and demoralizing tendency of religion; when they cry out about the licentious influence of belief; when, in sweeping phrase, they denounce all such as profligates, mischief-makers, enemies to free inquiry, and wicked men! then, then, in the hour of assault and abuse, be it boldly said, be it faithfully remembered, that Newton, that Locke, that Boyle, that Bacon, were believers, Christians, orthodox priests, or whatever of the meaningless terms skepticism may be pleased to select; and that when honest
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dissenters from the skeptic's creed are thus denounced as the children of the devil; that is, the skeptic's devil, Americans, the fathers of mankind, the fathers of all true light in Nature, Society, and Religion, are expressly included in the denunciation.
"Mr. Owen observes, 'That simple argument is the means, and the only means, which one man ever ought or ever need to use, to correct the sentiments of another. Truth disclaims every support.'
"Now, Mr. Owen's discourse is entitled 'FREE INQUIRY;' I would ask, then, what simple argument calculated to correct the sentiment of a believer who knows any thing of proof and proposition; what argument related even to his own proposition is there in his dastardly appeals from all manhood to manlessness; from the great and honorable virtues of reverence and veneration for the Maker of the heavens and earth, to a blind, bending, beggarly oblation of all reason and common sense, which he would insinuate is the indissoluble concomitant of religious belief? To be led by some one is to man perfectly natural, and skeptics know it, too; it is a part of the constitution of things under which man makes his entrance upon the stage of time. We first have fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, relatives, friends, acquaintances, fellow-citizens, and fellow-men; then come our school teachers, also, for skepticism has led some of them as far away from his works, as it has led others from his word; then come the remoter and higher relations of general government for the full-grown man; so that there is nothing in our natural and social constitution of things to render the idea of a guide or instructor abhorrent to
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us. It never startled me to hear of instructors in Nature, Society, and Religion. Nature led me strongly to desire such aids, and I sought them greedily; but, mark me, fellow-citizens, the man who solicits my attention now; the personage to whom I shall now give my hand, or head, or heart, for tutorage, must be of grave consideration; not a boy, not a raw youth -- a true man, who, by his labors in nature, society, and religion, has demonstrated to my fellow-men, and to me, that he understands himself what he affects to teach others; not one neither, who shall anticipate with a sneer my 'free inquiries' into any of these high matters; not one who shall take for granted what he ought first to prove, and follow me, like the man with the birch in his hand, brandishing over my unenlightened reason the terrors of a contemptible petitio principio. Listen to what follows:
"'And it (inquiry) must be fearless. The disciple of free inquiry works not out his salvation in fear and trembling, but in boldness and self possession. Fear may be the friend of orthodoxy; it is the foe of truth. Before the throne of heaven we may kneel, our eyes closed and our reason prostrated; before the throne of truth we must stand erect, our eyes open and our judgments awake. As believers, we may tremble and submit; as inquirers, we must arise and examine!'
"What a worse than trembling, what a painful and oppressive apprehension is communicated here of that religion whose very first essay on the heart is to fill it with that love of God and man which casteth out fear! truly the interpretation is one of a thousand! And so Locke, and Bacon, and Newton, did but bow
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to God in the absence of light, and reason, and boldness, and self-possession, and all other virtues which attach to man! The apostle censuring some of the believers for entertaining too little respect for their fellows, and for a confident and, perhaps, pharisaical feeling (for believers, like unbelievers, can be pharisaical), tells such to work out their salvation with reverence and trembling; gentlemen, ought we not to reverence the rights and characters of one another; ought we untremblingly to arrogate superiority over our fellow-men and despise them? I think not; surely you think not; and the Bible says not! and the weak and unworthy attitude which is here given to the apostle's words only demonstrate how nearly a prejudiced heart is associated with an unbelieving head.
"Mr. Owen says: 'It boots not curiously to inquire when and how man first sprung into being, or why he is destined thus faithfully, and gradually, to emerge from the night of error and ignorance; enough that he now exists.' Enough, indeed. What means this term enough? Enough of inquiry! This is strange, 'tis passing strange to me! Does Mr. Owen recollect Mount Athos; does he recollect the anecdote of Xerxes and the Hellespont; the story of Canute, his courtiers, and the ocean? if he does, then let him also remember, that the mind is a Mount Athos, which no despot can hew down and cast into the sea, be it ever so audacious; it is a Hellespont, whose waves may be scourged, but can not be shackled or confined by chains; it is an ocean, whose tides rise irresistibly, whether the sovereign set his chair on the beach or not!' Christianity knows
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nothing about 'enough' of inquiry. In this life man presents himself as a centre-point to all the relations of the past and future, and his very life and happiness lies in the contemplation of things that are behind and things that are before; the present is with him a mere stepping-stone from the first to the last, and from the last to the first, of these regions of thought. He likes not always to look before, he likes not always to look behind; but to both of them he will look, and to dare to cut him off from either is to do violence to human nature; it is to make a schism in the mind, and, in folly, can be equaled only by him who, by dividing and subdividing a board, would hope, finally, to obtain a rectangular figure, with one side, with one surface, What! prevent man from inquiring into the past with a reference to his origin? as well might you forbid him to look ahead to his final destiny. 'It boots not curiously to inquire when and how man first sprang into being, etc.;' be it so; but as well may Mr. Owen tell the lovers of science, 'It boots not curiously to inquire into the sources of the Nile; and with as fair prospects may he hope to see the time when men will sit down and take no care for the future, as to hope the time is at hand when men will forget to inquire, and to believe, and to rejoice, in the past as respects their own origin.'"
He then carried the war into the enemy's country, by showing what skepticism had done for the world in ancient times by filling it with false gods, and pointed to its results in infidel France, when the guillotine did its fearful work, until the gutters of Paris ran red with the blood of its best citizens. He vindicated Christianity from the charge of persecution,
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showing that the religion of Jesus taught its followers to suffer, and not inflict suffering -- to be martyrs, and not to make them -- and that it was free from the blood of all men.
After the discussion, Mr. Scott addressed a letter to Mr. Owen, asking the question, "Are not the maxims of our blessed Redeemer wholly at variance with the absurdities and abuses which you rebuked in your lectures?" To which he made the manly and honest reply: "To your question regarding Jesus' approval of priestly encroachment, I answer, without hesitation, that I conceive him to be as much opposed to it as any Reformer of the present day;" in substance, admitting that it was not Christianity, but its abuses that he was attacking; and to these abuses Mr. Scott was not less hostile than himself.
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In his 1999 contribution to Mark G. Toulouse's Walter Scott, A Nineteenth-Century Evangelical, essayist David Edwin Harrell, Jr. offers this insightful observation:
Scott's restored gospel was a distinctly left-brained alternative offered to a population enthralled by the blossoming of science and rational thought. In 1827 he was the right man in the right place with the right message.
It may well be true, that Elder Walter Scott "was particularly upset by defections to Mormonism," but if that was the case, it is rather remarkable that his biographer has nothing at all to say about the 1830-31 appearance of Mormonism among the ranks of Scott's co-religionists in Ohio. A close reading of early "Reformed Baptidt" and "Disciple" literature confirms the suspicion that William Baxter and other writers of past history have all but totally excised Elder Sidney Rigdon from memory in the Campbell Reformation Movement. When and where he is mentioned, the references are generally superficial ones, which do little to flesh out Rigdon's role amongst such 1820s worthies as Walter Scott, the Campbells, Adamson Bentley, etc.
Elder Scott supplies a rare mention of Rigdon and Mormonism in the July, 1839 issue of his Evangelist, where he reports:
When "Mormonism" made its appearance in Ohio, we threw ourself into our saddle, and in company with our son in the common faith Dr. Richardson, rode 100 miles in the dead of winter to examine it, and to defend the churches which groaned under or lay in the immediate vicinity of its baleful, blighting influence. Rigdon the shameless impostor, spoken of in the above letter, had anterior to this been a Baptist minister, but hearing by his relative Mr. B[entley], of the true gospel of Christ, he visited our field of labor, and voraciously seized upon my reasonings of the gospel of Christ, and engrafted them on the abominable imposition to which soon after he joined himself. This accounts for the success of the ministers of Mormonism, for the Golden Bible, the book in question, is never once spoken of till the very statement of the gospel for which our own Reformation is now remarkable, is first submitted. The converts being thus made by a veritable proclamation of the gospel, are then taken and declaratively immersed for the remission of their sins and the spirit of Christ; that these people first state the gospel in its original terms, and afterwards introduce their imposition of the Book of Mormon, is known to every one who has attended with care to their procedure, and that Rigdon filched from us that elementary method of stating the gospel, I will cite for witnesses Rigdon's Brother-in-Law, the excellent Mr. Bentley, also Wm. Hayden, Dr. Thomas Wright, and the brethren of Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, who probably will as long as they live recollect Rigdon's visit to their town.
Sidney Rigdon paid numerous visits to Warren, Ohio during his career as a Baptist preacher, but no doubt the particular visit Elder Scott here refers to occurred in March of 1828, after Rigdon had become the settled "Reformed Baptist" pastor in Mentor, Ohio. Rigdon's recent biographer, Richard S. Van Wagoner, provides the following depiction of that event:
Rigdon visited Scott on a trip to Warren in March 1828. Although Rigdon had been with Scott on former occasions and had fully adopted his method of calling awakened and penitent believers to an immediate obedience of their faith for the remission of sins, he held to the Calvinist assertion that baptism, a symbol of acceptance of Christ, did not remit sins: such remission was connected to faith alone. Scott accepted converts on a simple confession of repentance to God and faith in the Lord Jesus after which they were baptized for an immediate acquittal from sins through the blood of Christ and for the Holy Spirit. His baptismal formula was: "For the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, I immerse you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!" "The missing link between Christ and convicted sinners seemed now happily supplied," Hayden added, "Rigdon was transported with this discovery."
Elder Scott published one additional commentary regarding Sidney Rigdon's having "filched" from the Campbellites their "elementary method of stating the gospel," and that was in the Evangelist of Sept. 1843: "It is well known that the Mormons preach the true gospel and plead for immediate obedience to it on the part of the hearers, as the advocates of original Christianity do.... A few of their leaders took it from Rigdon, at Euclid, on the Western Reserve... Rigdon, we were perfectly aware, had possessed himself of our analysis of the gospel and the plea for obedience raised thereupon..." Scott, whose study of the Book of Mormon must have been somewhat prefunctory, was under the impression that Rigdn, as a Mormonite convert, preaching from the first Mormon scriptures, made no reference to the Campbellites core tenet, baptism for the remission of sins. He says: "This was not an original measure of Mormonism; for, indeed, baptism for the remission of sins is a phrase not found in their book." To this Scott adds: "Sidney Rigdon accompanied brother Campbell to the M'Calla debate in 1823 and must have heard what was said on baptism on that occasion, and forgot it.... But neither Rigdon nor any other person who has seen me baptize for remission, could possibly forget the import of the ordinance."
Walter Scott was wrong about the Book of Mormon and Rigdon's earliest Mormon preaching not including baptismal remission: it was key doctrine of both the book and the man. On the other hand, Scott may not be far off in his guess, that Sidney Rigdon first contemplated baptism for the remission of sins "in 1823." Shortly before accompanying Alexander Campbell to Kentucky, to participate in "the M'Calla debate in 1823," Sidney Rigdon's status as a supposedly orthodox, regular Baptist minister at Pittsburgh, was assailed by a group of his parishoners there, who charged him with heresy. The Rev. Samuel Williams, a later replacement is Rigdon's pastor's office at the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, supplies the following enlightening information:
During the interim, between his exclusion from the Regular Baptist Denomination and the time of his avowal of Mormonism, he propagated the doctrines of Alexander Campbell, and circulated his books and periodicals. In fact, he was the first leading man, converted, from Baptist doctrines to those of Mr. Campbell. The doctrine of baptismal regeneration, or baptism for (to procure) the remission of sins was the leading error of Mr. Rigdon. -- (Mormonism Exposed, 1842, page 3.)
From Rev. Williams' recollections, it appears that Sidney Rigdon was out in advance of both Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott, in the Campbellites' preaching of baptismal regeneration. Rather than forgetting this innovative doctrine during his 1826-27 tenure in Ohio, Sideny Rigdon may have simply downplayed the importance of the biblical tenet, much as most Christian preachers had down for centuries -- then, with Elder Walter Scott's prominent articulation of the regeneration principle in 1827-28, Rigdon was inspired to incorporate Scott's successful gospel "restoration" into his own preaching at Mentor and elsewhere on the Western Reserve. Obviously Scott, who was present both at Rigdon's dismissal by the regular baptists in 1823, and again during Rigdon's Campbellite preaching in Ohio, knew much about the man that he might have disclosed to the public, had Scott cared to publish such an exposure of the Mormon convert. As thing worked out, however, it appears that Elder Walter Scott was inclined to forget most of he knew about the erratic Sidney Rigdon, and to take what secrets he yet recalled, locked inside of his own mind, quietly with him to the grave.