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Autobiography: Second Revival at Lebanon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wilson Thompson   


I HURRIED home, and if I have ever felt in the spirit of preaching it was at that time, or if I ever desired to serve the Lebanon church it was then. I reached home a day or two before our meeting-day, and these days seemed a long time to me. At length Saturday came and we met. All seemed about as usual. I saw nothing special among the members. A good congregation was in attendance, and the church was in peace and had been so for a length of time. I went into the pulpit feeling as much like preaching as I ever have, but when I began it seemed that I could employ no words that had weight in them sufficient to reach to the people. I labored hard to reach the hearts of my hearers, but my words seemed so light and small that they failed to express the unsearchable riches of Christ, and I thought could not reach the people. So I labored but could effect nothing. I felt myself to be like a man throwing feathers at a mark against a strong current of wind that would blow them back over his head. I felt my words to be so light that instead of reaching the hearts of the people, they passed off in empty space. This continued through my discourse, and I felt that it was a failure and was greatly mortified. After meeting I went home discouraged and greatly confused.

On Sunday morning my mind was clear of these unpleasant feelings, and was filled with thoughts of the glorious fullness of Christ; and so with the return of my former confidence that God would speedily revive His work in a powerful manner, I went to meeting. A very large congregation had come together, and good order and attention prevailed. But, as on the day before, my words seemed as feathers, too light to reach the hearts of the people, and again I felt that it was another failure and went home with my mind in gloom. I am convinced that my strong desires to see the wonderful displays of Divine power and grace and the assurance that the time was near at hand, made me feel as I did about the lightness of my words, and seeing no special effect among the people made me feel that I had again made a failure. This feeling, that my words were like feathers thrown against the wind, followed me until the work broke out, measurably, without preaching, and then it left me, or rather I was brought to see that the Spirit of the Lord must quicken the dead sinner and then the gospel of the grace of God presents Christ and Him crucified in the promises, as food for the sheep and the lambs, who “as new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby.” The congregation increased in numbers, and a deep solemnity and much feeling began to be manifested. At length two came forward and were baptized. A very visible effect was now manifested both among the members and those who were not.

From this time the work began to spread. At each church meeting some were baptized, and many more were deeply affected. All was still without any noisy excitement, but a deep and solemn feeling prevailed. One Sunday, after baptizing four or five, I went home with one of the members in town and found one of his daughters in great distress. She was handsome and accomplished, and was regarded as the belle of the town. She had been vain and proud and very tasty in her apparel. She now wore a changed countenance; despair seemed to be written upon it.

I said to her: “Mary, it seems that many of your acquaintances are seriously thinking of their latter end and their future state; how is it with you?”

She tremblingly replied: “It is too late for me. I have spent my days in folly and sin, and now it is too late. There is no mercy for me.” She burst into tears and could say no more.

I then spoke to her in a few words of Jesus, saying: “Jesus is the sinner’s friend; He has come to seek and to save that which was lost; ‘It is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ This He can do. His mission was not simply to make the way possible and passable and then offer salvation to the sinner on the condition of good deeds on their part, which would make the whole a failure. No; the angel proclaimed the truth without the possibility of a failure: ‘He shall save His people from their sins’, not try to do so and fail. This Jesus in Whom there is salvation, and in no other, is the only ground of a good hope through grace for a disconsolate, guilty, and helpless sinner.” I then started the hymn: “Jesus my all to heaven is gone,” etc. Before the hymn was finished the parlor was filled with people weeping like children. I tried to talk to them a few minutes about the poverty of the sinner, and the riches and fullness of Jesus as a Saviour. A number of brethren and sisters came in and began to sing. I soon stepped out and went from house to house and talked to those I met with. All were solemnly impressed. Thus the afternoon and evening were spent.

Monday morning came, and although it was morning yet many thought it looked the most solemn of any day they had ever seen. “Surely,” said they, “the presence of the Lord is in this place for the very day shows it, and the people feel it; saints rejoice in the Lord, and sinners mourn and bow before Him.” This peculiar appearance of the day might have been owing to the state of mind in which so many of the people were. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday all bore the same appearance. I still look back upon those three days with solemn but joyful remembrance.

On Monday the members began to gather in the town in their wagons, filled with persons equally as affected as those in town. They would inquire what was going on in town, for their minds were deeply impressed that the Lord was doing some great work there. The very day seemed to show His presence. They could attend to no business on their farms, and had come to town to see what it was. These joined with us, and the day was spent in going from house to house, talking of the good things of the kingdom, praising God in singing songs and hymns; for of a truth the Lord was doing great things for us, whereof we were glad. That day and evening passed in this way.

The next day was spent in about the same way, and on Wednesday, Brother Holegate, who lived in town, requested us to meet at his house. We reached the house about twilight, and directly began singing. Soon all the rooms, the windows, and the doors, were filled, and the sidewalk outside was crowded with men and women. Solemnity was on every face, and many eyes were flowing with tears. After much singing, and conversation on Christian experience and exercise of mind, and the powerful displays of God’s grace among us, Brother Holegate laid the Bible on the center table, and asked me if I did not feel like preaching to the large crowd of anxious listeners in and around the house. I replied that I would read a chapter. I was seated by the table, and remained seated while I read a chapter, and commented on it. I believe I have never seen a more deeply affected people. Sobs could be heard audibly in every part of the crowd, and the impression was deep and solemn. No anxious benches had we to call mourners to, to be prayed for, but many with anxious hearts and weeping eyes were there, who could not conceal their emotions. They were looking up to God, Who alone could do them any good. After I closed my short comment on the chapter, I tried to pray, and return thanks to the Lord for what we now felt and saw of his goodness and power. I then said to the people: “The evening is now far spent, let us sing the evening hymn, beginning with this verse:

The day is past and gone,
The evening shades appear,
O may we all remember well
The night of death draws near.

The people can then retire, and reflect on the past and the present, and also on the hymn.” I started the singing of the hymn, and many voices joined with me till the hymn was sung, and then the people dispersed.

I remembered my promise to Elder Thomas, and wrote to him of the work going on among the people. He came on and was soon with us, richly partaking of “the feast of fat things”, and feeding the sheep and lambs of Christ’s fold. At our next meeting I baptized thirteen, and two weeks afterward thirteen more, and again in two weeks thirteen more. This was remarked as strange, that just the same number should be received and baptized each meeting for three meetings in succession. Elder Thomas was a good preacher. His gift was chiefly on experimental and practical topics. He could trace the windings of the doubting and tried Christian in a very clear and comforting manner. He was sound in doctrine, but not so able in the investigation of deep points as some others. He was one of the highly esteemed elders whose praise was in all the churches. He continued with us eight or ten days, greatly to our comfort and edification. When on his way to Lebanon he had made an appointment at Trenton, in Butler County, Ohio, at the meeting-house of the Elk Creek Church, to fill on his return home. This was about fourteen miles west from Lebanon, on the road leading to Oxford, and was the church which Elder Stephen Gard served.

On Elder Thomas’s return home, I accompanied him to Elk Creek. When we reached Trenton we were informed that the place for holding the meeting had been changed to a private house, about one mile south. This was done by the request of a young man who had been quite sick, and was not yet able to go out to the meeting-house. Elder Gard soon came in and said: “Brethren, you must try to prepare your minds for a very great change of circumstances today. The church here is in great distress, and likely to go to pieces. Some of the members will not even speak to others when they meet. I have labored in vain for some time to promote peace; but matters still grow worse, and I fear the church will rend in pieces. I think you will have but few out to hear you preach.”

As the hour appointed for preaching drew near, the people began to gather in. Here I must relate one of the most singular events that I have ever witnessed: As the people came to the door many of them would burst into tears, and, when seated, would sit weeping on their seats. These strange manifestations continued until the rooms were filled, and there were many out of doors who could find no room inside the building. All was measurably silent in the house, nothing to excite, to alarm, or touch the sympathies of the large crowd that we could see. All was passing strange to us. The time appointed for the meeting came, and preaching began. The emotion of the people increased; sobs and tears were manifest through the congregation, and no one seemed more deeply affected than Elder Gard, who sat sobbing and weeping, so as to be heard through the house. Elder Gard was noted as a man of a firm mind, and was seldom seen to manifest emotions outwardly; he had a good control of his philosophical judgment. To see him so completely overcome surprised all who knew him. He continued weeping during the time Elder Thomas and I were preaching. At the close of the meeting, a general request was made that we should preach in the meeting-house at candle-light that evening, which was agreed upon.

The appointment was published and the people were dismissed. Some of the members remained with us, and the wonderful effect among the people occupied our conversation. Elder Thomas and I gave it as our belief that the Lord was going to visit this church in the power of His spirit and grace, for the gathering in of many of His redeemed children, that the good work was already begun in their midst, and that they would ere long see more of the glorious working of the power of the Most High among them. They said this day looked indeed as though such was the case, but they thought the church must first have a travailing spirit, before she brought forth. Instead, however, of possessing such a spirit, the church was now in a state of confusion, and bitter feelings existed between many of the members. Such being the state of the church, converts would not likely wish to join so distracted a body. I wished them to remember that “one word from our King has calmed the billows of the raging sea, hushed the howling tempest, and brought the ship safe to shore; and then all was well. Our King still reigns in His almighty power and wisdom. He can say ‘peace, be still,’ and your storm will be over and gone, the church will be safely in harbor, and her members, who so short a time before had been desponding, will rejoice and say, ‘the winds and the waves truly obey Him.’ I believe, from what I have this day seen, that the power that is at work among you is of the Lord, and that you will soon realize it, and rejoice that ‘God is the rock and His work is perfect.’ A short time will show whether this is a perfect work or a delusion.”

I have given the substance of the afternoon’s conversation. That evening we met a large assembly at the meeting-house, and much solemnity pervaded the entire congregation. The next morning Elder Thomas started west for his home in Indiana, and I east for my home. The good work went on in Elk Creek Church with great power, and extended out in all the bounds. At their next church meeting a number were baptized, and all the troubles of the church were ended, for all those hard, ambitious feelings were gone; and mutual confessions and forgiveness restored a warm, brotherly fellowship throughout all the church. The work was general, numbers were baptized each month, and large additions were made to that church. When I reached home, I found all well, and the good work of grace still going on.

I must now return to the little houseless minority, who were recognized, as before stated in this narrative. I still attended them monthly—meeting in a barn in warm weather, and in a private house in cold weather. Some very encouraging symptoms had of late showed themselves among the little despised church. For some cause, we knew not what, Elder Mason’s majority opened the door, and invited us to hold our next meeting in the old meeting-house. We accepted the kind offer, and at that meeting two were received for baptism. These were the first received after the division. This day was a day of great power. Especially at the water the effect was great and general. We received no more invitations to hold service in the old meeting-house, but had to return again to the barn and private residences. The good work increased, and spread in the town and adjacent country. Many were added to that little church. They built and completed a good stone meeting-house in the town. Near one hundred were baptized during the progress of the gracious work. Here, on one occasion, I baptized twelve, when my mouth was running from severe salivation, and one of the persons baptized was the mother of an infant not quite three weeks old; yet no harm came to either of us.

An old church called Clear Creek, near the village of Ridgeville, about half way between Lebanon and Centerville, had so dwindled down by deaths, removals, etc., that at last the few that remained talked of dissolving. They had chosen a man who was not a member, but who attended the meetings regularly, and whom they believed to be a Christian, to serve them as clerk pro tem. The church was very small, but in peace. This little body solicited me to hold a regular meeting with them on Friday evening of each month, as I was on my way to Centerville (Sugar Creek Church). I agreed to do so. Soon the good work began there, and a number of very acceptable candidates were received and baptized, and Clear Creek became a strong church. These were happy times. I have often seen our large meeting-house crowded to its utmost capacity, while vast numbers would be outside, around the house, standing in the lot or seated in vehicles, all eager to hear the word of the gospel.

This gracious work continued with great power for about one year, when it began to decline. Still there were some baptized, occasionally, for six months longer, when, suddenly and unlooked for, one of the brethren came to me in a very ill-humor and said that a certain small boy had told him that he had heard a member of the church, a youth of about fifteen years of age, say some very reproachful things about this brother’s daughters, and, said he, “My daughters shall not suffer such a scandal.” I saw that the old brother was very much excited with passion, and was not in a spirit to do anything calmly. I asked him if his wife and daughters knew of the evil report. He said they did. These were all members of the church. I proposed to go with him to the youth who was reported to have slandered his daughters, and know of him if he pled guilty, or what he would say about it. He agreed to do so, and we went and found the youth. Having taken him aside, we asked him if he had heard this rumor. He said he had not, and had not spoken one disrespectful word about these young women, neither had he ever had any cause to do so, and that there were no members in the church that he had any more confidence in or esteemed any higher. He said he would as soon slander his own sisters as them, and if we would go with him to them, he believed all could be fully and satisfactorily settled. I then asked the old brother, who still appeared quite angry, if he was willing to have us all go to his house and privately try to settle this unhappy affair, before it should become public. He hesitated for a moment, and then consented. We three then went to his house, and, together with his wife and two daughters, held a private interview. I stated to them that an ugly rumor had been put in circulation, and that hearing it, we had visited the youth, and he denied it all. “We now wish,” said I, “to talk together, and see if this unpleasant occurrence can not be overcome, and good feeling entirely restored.”

The accused youth and young sisters conversed freely together. The young sisters said they did not, from the start, believe that the young brother had said any such thing as reported, and that they were now fully satisfied and wished the whole matter to be dropped as if it had never been. The old lady said she hoped the young people would still feel the same friendship for each other which they did before, and in the future refuse to hearken to the foolish talk of the little boys about the streets. The old brother still appeared to be angry, but said that as all the rest were satisfied, he would drop it all and say no more about it, and so left the room. I said that I was very thankful to see this matter settled so soon and so satisfactorily to all, and that it was the duty of all parties to say nothing more about it unless it were to some of the members who, having heard of it, might venture to inquire of us, and then we should only tell them that it was all settled amicably and satisfactorily to all parties. I returned home rejoicing that so threatening and distressing a difficulty had been removed.

That evening, however, a young man who was living in this family, a journeyman tailor, and who had joined the church, learning that the parties had been reconciled, told the old brother that he knew much more about the youth’s slanderous talk than what the little boy had said. He then went on to tell of far worse things than what the boy had stated. The old brother, being of a hasty temper, and his former passion not having fully subsided, now became more excited than before. The next day he came to me in a great rage, and told me that all the settlement the day before was now null and void. He then went on to tell me what the journeyman tailor had told him, and wound up by saying: “And now the church must settle it, for I have the gospel testimony, and am determined to prosecute it to the bitter end.” I labored in every way I could to calm his passion, but all in vain. At length I told him that I was truly sorry for any difficulty to come into the church, and especially one that must, more or less, bear heavily upon the moral character of both male and female members of it. But if no other plan would satisfy, he had a legal course to take before the church would hear his complaint.

“If that journeyman,” said I, “knew the guilt of the accused youth, he should have followed the rule laid down in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew. As he has not done so, you must now proceed in the spirit of love to reclaim the offending brother. You say one accuses and the other denies, and there is no witness to prove which of them tells the truth. The journeyman accuses and the youth denies. Now, if you take up the case, you must first talk to each of them privately, and see if it can not be settled privately; and, if it cannot, take one or two others with you, and let them labor for reconciliation; and if this proves unsuccessful, then tell. it to the church and let the church labor with them. Be careful that you keep this matter strictly private until it is brought legally before the church. Then the accuser and the accused will stand on equal grounds before the church, except as the evidence may give to either the advantage of position. My brother, be calm and deliberate; the cause of God and the peace of the church now hang upon your proceeding according to the rules of the gospel. The journeyman has already departed from order in having gone to you instead of going to the young brother with his grievance.

“Christ, our Law-giver, has given us a plain rule in all such cases, and while we follow it, in spirit and in letter, there is but little danger of discord or trouble in the church. But when our evil passions become aroused, and the tongue, that unruly member, is not curbed, it sets on fire the course of nature; and then, ‘behold! what a great matter a little fire kindleth.’ Your duty is to say no more to any one about this matter; it is a private matter between the accused youth and the journeyman, and there it should have remained until all the labor to gain the accused had been exhausted, after which let it come before the church. But this journeyman waited until your passion was aroused, and then he told you; and instead of your reproving him for this error you come to me with it, and so it may go from one to another until the whole church becomes excited and prejudiced, some one way and some another, while, perhaps, the accused is ignorant of what is going on until many of the members of the church are arrayed against him, and his character is reproached in the world.”

The old brother left me, but instead of following my counsel, he went to others, both in and out of the church, telling them that the accused youth was now proved to be guilty of basely slandering his daughters and other females. Directly the town and country around became wonderfully excited, and some of the friends of the parents of the accused youth advised them to send him to some other part of the country, for his life was threatened and he would be in great danger to remain where he was. At the same time I was taken suddenly sick with fever, and lay some weeks so low that my physician and friends despaired of my life. While I thus lay my brethren visited me daily, and told me of the dreadful state of affairs. They had met at different places and sought for evidence against the accused youth but could find none. But the general excitement was so great that the youth must be excluded to maintain the honor of the church. I was too weak to talk much, but I said that when one person affirmed and another denied, the onus of proof lay on the affirmant, and if he failed to prove what he affirmed he lost his case, and the accused stood acquitted for want of evidence to convict him. There was nothing of it as yet brought into the church, and all the proceedings thus far had been in open violation of the laws of Christ and the adopted discipline of the church. Through the imprudence of others the matter was made public in its worst form, and the people of the world had become so much excited that the accused youth must now be excluded to satisfy the world and save the church from public disgrace.

I had never heard of the youth having said one word to make the matter public, only to deny the charge whenever he was accused. All this was the effect of disregarding the authority of Jesus Christ, and unless the church changed her practice her prosperity was at an end. This state of things continued until my health began to improve so that I could sit up a short time each day.

The journeyman came to my house and confessed to me and my wife that he had made all this trouble in the church, and the accused youth was not worthy of censure, so far as he knew. He said he wished the church to know this, and he was ready to confess himself guilty of the whole trouble and to ask the church to forgive him. But as he did not feel like he could be composed enough to make these statements publicly to the church, he wished me to write them down for him and he would hand in the paper at the next meeting. He cried and made such humble confession that I felt truly sorry for him. I told him that I had already sat up much longer than at any one time since my sickness, and was too much fatigued to do any writing that night, but as he wished it I would, if able, write as correctly as I could on the next day the statements he had made, and he could come to my house in the evening and examine the paper, and if he discovered any mistake in what I wrote he could correct it, and when it read as he wished it to, he should sign it in the presence of one or two of the brethren, which he could bring with him, and they should also sign it as witnesses. He agreed to this, and then went home.

The next day I wrote down his statements as near as I could remember them, but in the evening he failed to come. The next day I learned that the morning after he left my house he had quit his employer, and was gone to parts unknown. In a few days after this his affidavit was sent to the father of the two young sisters in which much more was sworn to than had been stated before. This affidavit occasioned quite a talk through the town; and when church meeting came on it was reported to the church. The church took it up, and as it purported to have been made before a justice of the peace in Franklin, a committee was appointed to go there and cite this journeyman to attend the next meeting to give in his testimony before the church. I objected to this course; we had his oath already and that was as strong testimony as he could give, and I was sure that the committee would not find him, for I did not believe that he would face me after stating what he had to me, and then making affidavit to the very reverse. But I was overruled, and the committee was appointed. I told the committee to visit him soon, for if he ascertained that they were coming he would abscond again. They said there was no danger, they would doubtless find him and his personal testimony would be much more satisfactory than his affidavit. The committee, after some delay, went in search of him, but the only intelligence they could obtain was that he had gone west. This was the last we heard from him for more than a year.

The committee had been invested with power to send for witnesses and investigate the case and report the result. I protested against such proceeding as unscriptural. I never had read in the New Testament any warrant for a church to transfer her authority to a committee of members to convict a reported offender. If any such warrant existed either in the New Testament or in the rules of the church, I had not found it, and unless some one could show it to me, I must protest against any such practice. The church had previously appointed another person as moderator, knowing that, as moderator, I would not suffer anything to come into the church until all the preliminary steps had been taken. This has ever been my understanding of the responsibility of a moderator. Much of the troubles and divisions in churches come from taking up business which has not come up in order before them.

The committee held a private session, and on rising, reported that, in the judgment of the committee, the accused youth had used obscene language prejudicial to the character of the young ladies before mentioned. Nothing of a definite character, further than this, was charged. Some objections were made to receiving the report, because it was so vague and indefinite. The committee said it was their judgment, based upon the affidavit, and other circumstances, and they thought the honor of the church required it. A motion was then made and carried, by a majority vote, to receive the report. Another motion was then carried, by a majority vote, to exclude the accused youth, whereupon I arose and said: “I have not cast a single vote in this whole matter. I have, from the first to the last, raised my warning voice against the entire course pursued, believing it to be gross disorder. I did not feel willing to act in the case, but have entered my earnest protest at every step, appealing to the laws of the King of Zion, which I saw were being trampled under foot. I suppose the church is now through with the case, and I feel like I had done my duty, though it has been a painful one; and now, in the close of the matter, I wish to say to the church and hope they will not forget it, that the Lord will visit the iniquities of His people with a rod and their transgressions with stripes. He will cleanse His people and purge His floor. This is often done by divisions and sore trials. This church, I most sincerely do believe, has egregiously offended against her Lord, and has disregarded His authority and laws, and has been led by excitement, blindly, into great errors, and will have to endure sore chastisements. These things, I say, not because I feel any antipathy toward the church, for if I know my own heart I love you all for Jesus’ sake. I cannot forget the happy seasons I have enjoyed with you, and it is with painful regret that I have witnessed your strange departure from the right way of the Lord.

“I have now told you plainly my impressions, and wish you to remember what I have said; and if you are sorely scourged or your candlestick is removed out of its place, look back and remember what I have told you. On the other hand, if peace and prosperity attend the church, as in time past, let that be an evidence that I have been misled and have greatly erred in judgment. The Lord will bless you if you have faithfully administered His laws; if you have not He will visit your iniquities with stripes. And now we will leave our differences to God’s wise and just arbitrament, and let time bring in the verdict.”

A motion was then made and carried to exclude the journeyman tailor. I begged the church not to act so hastily, as no charge had been preferred against him and no preliminary steps had been taken. They had just excluded one, on his affidavit, and that, too, after he had absconded, and now to exclude him for giving that testimony would look passing strange. My remarks were not heeded. About one year from this time I received a letter from the clerk of a Baptist church in the western part of Indiana, stating that this journeyman tailor had come there and professed to be a member of the Lebanon Church. As I was the pastor of the church he wrote to me in order to ascertain if his statements were true. I wrote in answer, giving his character and a statement of the action of the church in his case. This statement I presented to the church, and the church authorized the moderator and clerk to sign it, and forward it to the church in Indiana.

The accused youth attended regularly the meetings of the church, conducted himself orderly, and as soon as the excitement growing out of the reports had abated, many of those who had been active in his exclusion began to regret their action in the case. They asked him if he did not desire his place again in the church. He said he felt very lonesome, like one cast off from his home, and he would gladly return, but he could see no possible way for him ever again to regain his lost privileges. His exclusion was upon a false charge, and he could not, therefore, acknowledge himself guilty. He felt that the door of the church was forever barred against him, and he must spend his days solitary and alone.

They replied: “You need make no acknowledgment. We have seen your orderly walk, and would gladly welcome you back to a place among us. All you have to do is to make the request, and we will grant it.” The youth finally handed a letter to the church, stating his desire to be restored again to the privileges of the church, if the whole church felt free to receive him, without requiring an acknowledgment on his part to the charge upon which he had been excluded, for of that charge he was innocent. He was willing to confess that he was very imperfect in his nature, and that, during the progress of the difficulty, his evil passions had been greatly aroused, and perhaps, at such times, he had spoken harshly, and injured the feelings of some of the members. “Whether I have or not,” said he, “I know that I have, at times, felt a hard spirit, and if the church should not restore me, I feel this acknowledgment is due her.” The church could act in the case as prudence might dictate, and he would try, quietly, to submit to her decision, and hoped that he would have an interest in all their prayers.

The church ordered the letter to be received, and by a unanimous vote of all the members, restored the youth to the full fellowship of the church. He afterward became an able minister, and is still preaching the gospel of the grace of God. The journeyman tailor came back and visited me, making another confession, similar to the first one, and wished to know if I could forgive him, and approve of his restoration to the church. I told him his course had been such as to destroy my confidence; but if the church was willing to restore him I would remain neutral, and hoped he might, by a good deportment, do better in the future. He then applied to the church to be restored, but was rejected. He has, since that time, proved to be a very base character, and notorious for making false statements.

The church, for some time after this, was in a cold state. Many of the members were hurt and burdened, more or less, on account of the disorder that had been practiced by the church in her proceedings, but being in the minority, they could do nothing; so they agreed to forbear, and wait to see the purposes of the Lord. The congregations continued large and attentive, and sometimes many were much affected. But many of the young members married and moved away to other parts of the country; many more, who were mechanics, moved to Cincinnati, Dayton, and other places, and many of the older members sold their farms and moved west, where large sections of new lands had now come into the market at government prices. These changes greatly reduced the number of members in the church. I fain hoped that I might have been mistaken in the degree of error that the church had gone into, but still my mind was burdened. I my apprehensions to myself. At length a revival started, and I baptized about twenty persons in a short time, yet the church did not appear to participate much in the work, and it suddenly died away, and left the church in the same cold state. My love for this church was very great, for it was composed of very valuable, worthy members. There was no apparent difficulty in the church, for those who were hurt were bearing their burdens silently, and dreading the rod of chastisement which they believed must fall upon them. I exhorted them to long forbearance, gentleness, and brotherly kindness, in love, striving for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. I was so much attached to this church that I earnestly sought its prosperity in Christ Jesus.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 November 2006 )
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