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Written by Lee Hanks   

The Primitive Monitor, 1886

Introduction (February 1, 1886)

Elder R. W. Thompson and D. H. Goble, Esteemed brethren in Christ: Feeling an impression and after many solicitations to write a sketch of the dealings of God with me a poor ruined sinner, I now make the attempt, praying that the God of all grace may direct my pen, that what I say may be to the comfort of all the dear family of grace. First. I will attempt to give a short sketch of my natural life. Second. A portion of my experience from nature to grace. Third. My call to the ministry. Fourth. A sketch of my conflicts in the ministry.

Birth and Childhood (February 1, 1886)

I was born in Pittsylvania Co., Va., June 13, 1861. My parents' names were William Hancks and Frances Hodges. My father was quite a poor man when I first knew him, and was a hard working farmer, and taught all his children to labor for their support. There were nine boys and three girls, eight of whom are yet living. My father was not able to educate his children, consequently their education is limited. My father died in the spring of 1869. My mother is yet living. Neither of my parents were members of any denomination. I was the youngest of my father's children and after his death mother was unable to keep house, the older children having been married. Shortly after the death of my father I was turned out to make a living as best I could, without any home or any person to supply my necessities. I went from place to place and worked very hard, but received nothing for my labor. I lived with one man several years and labored very hard and went very bare indeed. In winter I had to labor very hard without any shoes to wear. Often the blood would run out of my feet upon the frozen ground while I was working in the snow and ice, then if I did not please him he would whip me severely. I was so scarce of clothes that I did not have clothes suitable to wear in respectable company, consequently I was deprived of going to meeting. He would promise to send me to school, but I had to work all the time, hence I had no time to go to school.

In June, 1874, he became angry with me and struck me in the back with a fence-rail. I concluded I would leave him, but I knew if I left, I had no home, and I was afraid to leave for fear he might almost kill me, for I knew I was a poor orphan and of course orphans have but few friends. However, I thought my condition would not be much worse let me go where I would. So one Sunday morning I arose quite early and put what few things I had, in a little basket which my brother gave me and hid it in the weeds until about noon; then I left, and went a few miles above there and hired to an man for $5.00 per month for one month. At the expiration of which I took the money and gave $2.00 to mother, and I kept the remainder, with which I bought me a hat and a few clothes. That was the first money I had ever had up to that time. About this time a wagon wheel ran over my head which wounded me very much. For some time I was unable to work. I went to see my brother, near Danville, Virginia, and remained till October. My brother gave me a pair of shoes for which I felt very thankful. In October I returned to Franklin, Virginia, and that gentleman, whom I had left in the spring, came to me and wanted me to go back to his house to live again, and said that he would sent me to school five months, and pay me for all the work I did. I went back and remained with him till March, 1875. He only sent me to school eighteen days, and never gave me a thing but an old pair of pants which he had laid aside. He again became so abusive and I was so bare of clothes, I left him and hired to a man near him for one month, at $3.00 per month. I worked for him one month and he would not pay me and I left him and hired to another man till fall, who said he would give me $45.00 and two good suits of clothes. I remained with him until the spring of 1876, but received nothing for my labor except a suit of clothes which cost sixteen cents a yard. In the spring of 1876 I went to Bland Co., Virginia, and lived with my brother till 1877. Up to this time I had been deprived of the privilege of going to school, and I was quite anxious to get an education. In September I went to West Virginia, (I will tell my reason for going to West Virginia hereafter,) and made arrangements to go to school two months in the winter, by working nights, and mornings, and Saturdays. I would rise at three or four o'clock of a morning and feed near a hundred head of cattle, several horses, and get wood for several fire places; of a night I would work till eight o'clock in the rain and snow. Sometimes, it seemed, I would almost freeze, I was so thinly clad. After I would do my chores I would get dry wood to make me a light, and study till very late. Thus I went on working in the summer to get clothes and books, and going to school in winter until I got far enough advanced to go to a normal school. I was not able to pay my board, and I got the gentleman I lived with to go my security, that he would see my board paid. I went several months to school, but was greatly cramped. I was so badly clad he students would often laugh at me on the account of my extreme poverty, but I thought the smiles of the world did not amount to much noway, and I could bear that in order to get an education.

After our school expired I got me a school, and taught four months and made money enough to pay all my indebtedness; for which I feel thankful to the GREAT I AM, for his manifold mercies toward me. About this time I became in such feeble health I was unable to work, and have been badly afflicted ever since with my lungs, and dyspepsia, &c. But I feel thankful that it is even as well as it is. While I am unable to work I can teach school and make a living. I will tell more of my temporal life in the future.
Lee Hancks. 

My Experience From Nature to Grace. (February 15, 1886)

I, like all the rest of the posterity of Adam, was conceived in sin an shapen in iniquity. I was taught in early childhood to live moral, and that there was a place of eternal punishment to which all that did not make themselves Christians by their good works were certain to be doomed. I was taught and believed that God was in great trouble for fear he could not get all to be saved. I imagined that God was standing with outstretched arms wooing and beseeching sinners to come. I suppose that God was quite anxious to save me, because I was regarded as a very moral boy. All the preaching and Bibles in the world could not have made me believe that I was a poor, helpless sinner.

I believed that I could bring God under obligations to save me at my will and time. I had an imaginary God fixed in my mind, and trusted alone in my arm of flesh. I possessed quite a pharisaical principle. I memorized a prayer in my Sunday-school book and trusted in that prayer for my refuge. When I was a child I would often have serious reflections upon the subject of religion. I thought that I would like to be a Christian, not that I liked Christian people; but I merely desired to be a Christian to escape hell. I concluded that at some future time, after I had taken my fill of sin, I would do good deeds enough to overbalance my evil ones, and by so doing, bring God under obligation to save me. I used to be traveling of nights, and would become exceedingly frightened for fear that something would kill me, and I would go to hell. This would cause me to become greatly concerned about my salvation and I would set days that I intended to make the start, and bring the Lord under obligation to save me; but the day for me to get ready to get religion never came. I imagined that I far exceeded many professors of religion, and all I had to do was pray a little and sing a few good songs, and I would be a Christian. I never once thought of a doubt or fear occurring after I had obtained a hope, but I would know I was a Christian, and be such a bright light that my influence would bring others to Jesus. But O, how false. In the summer of 1876, I became greatly concerned about my eternal destiny. I became troubled but I did not know what about. My sins seemed to come up before me to some extent, but it did not seem that I had sinned enough to become so greatly troubled. In the month of September while lying upon my bed, I imagined I saw the whole human family gathered together in one assembly. I seemed that it was the second coming of Christ, and there was a resurrection both of the just and unjust; all had arisen from their graves, and were in that assembly. And I saw the good Shepherd, to wit, Jesus, come and separate them as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, placing the righteous upon the right and the wicked upon the left. I saw the righteous marching through the streets of the New Jerusalem praising God. It seemed that they were the happiest people my eyes ever beheld.

They had fought the good fight, and were now landed on the sunny banks of sweet deliverance. These composed the elect of God, though previous to this I bitterly opposed the doctrine of election. I imagined that by destiny was fixed with those upon the left. I saw Satan in the form of a man come and take charge of me and the rest of the non-elect, and he took us down into a valley, in the midst of which was a dark and horrible pit burning with fire and brimstone; and it was called hell. I saw the devil casting them into that fiery lake to be punished forever and ever. I imagined that it was the final consummation of all things, and I soon had to be banished, or cast into that awful hell, where there is not eye to pity, no arm to save. Oh, if I had one moment of time I would spend it in prayer to God. I thought I should soon be like the rich man, crying for one drop of water to cool my parched tongue. I say that I was a mass of corruption, and all I could do, was to cry justice to my eternal condemnation. Oh, if I had a thousand tongues I could not tell the miserable feelings I had when I saw that I had to be banished from the presence of the Lord. Too late to pray! Too late to ask for mercy, or for him to have mercy upon me.

When I awoke I rejoiced to know that it was not a reality, but I did not know how soon it might be, for I thought that was to show me I would not live long, and when I died I would be forever lost. I could see now that I was a poor, helpless sinner. I felt like I would spend my days in the service of God, for he had given me a warning of my future destiny. I tried to pray but found no relief. During that winter my mind ran back upon the vanities of earth to a great extent. In the month of April, 1877, that trouble came upon me greater than ever before, for I had told the Lord a lie by promising him that I would spend my days in his service, and now I had gone off into vice and folly, it seemed almost as far as ever before. I tried to pray as earnestly as I knew, but it did not seem that my prayers ascended higher than my head, for I did not think that God would hear the prayers of such a wretched sinner as me, for my best performance was a mass of sin and corruption. I often endeavored to read the Bible. I could find sweet and precious promises there for somebody, but none for me. All that I could take to myself was condemnation. I felt like I was forsaken by all on earth; and God, being too pure to behold iniquity, could not be just and save such a poor sinner as me. It seemed that I was the greatest sinner in the world, and that there is a hope for the vilest sinner, but no mercy for such as me.

"Oh, woe is me that I was born,
Or after death have being;
Fain would I be some earthly worm,
Which has no future being.

"Or had I died when I was young,
Oh! what would I have given!
Then might with babes my little tongue
Been praising God in heaven.

"Cries Satan, 'Desperate is your state,
Time's been you might repented,
But now you see it is too late,
So make yourself contented!'

"How I live! how can I rest,
Under this sore temptation,
Fearing the day of grace is past:
Lord hear my lamentation."

I felt like I would have exchanged my condition with the smallest insect, for I had sinned away the day of grace. I went lamenting from day to day; no rest could I find. I went to hear the Arminians preach, and they would tell me I must work in order to appease the wrath of God, but that was no comfort for a poor, heavy-laden sinner like myself, for I had begun to learn by experience that all my righteousness was nothing but a robe of filthy rags, and in me, that is in my flesh dwells nothing but corruption. I felt that my prayers were enough to send my soul to hell if I never had committed another sin. I saw that my heart was deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, being a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. I saw that I was in an horrible pit in the mire and the clay, and could see no way for my escape. I imagined that it was some disease preying upon my body, which would take my life, and I would have to be eternally banished from the presence of the Lord, and if there was anything I could do I wanted to do it. One Sunday I went to see a Campbellite, who had recently joined to make inquiry what to do. He said for me to join the church, then I would experience a change. But Oh, I could never do that, for it would never do for such a sinner as me to attempt such a thing. I went home trying to implore God for his mercy to be extended to me, feeling worse than I did before I went. Hence I tried all manner of physicians, and grew no better, but rather grew worse. I spent all my living, and the mountains became bare, the pools were dried, and rivers were islands. I was in a land of famine, in a waste howling wilderness and a desert land, wandering in a solitary way, and found no city to dwell in. I was hungry and thirsty, poor and naked. I could see the enemy in the rear, and the Red Sea in front, and mountains on either side. "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?"

"Amazed I stood, but could not tell
Which way to shun a moving hell,
For death and hell drew near.
I strove indeed, but strove in vain,
The sinner must be born again
Still sounded in my ear.
When to the law I trembling fled,
It cursed me and pronounced me dead."

When night came on I was afraid to sleep for fear I would wake in hell. If there was anything I could do, I was willing to do it. It seemed that I had done all I could do; worked all I could work, and I was at my wits' end, I could not go forward, neither could I go back. Lord,---

"Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above."

"For drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe,
Here Lord I give myself away.
'Tis all that I can do."

"And if my soul is sent to hell,
Thy righteous law approves it well."

Yet I was never made willing to go to hell, for I felt that if my soul were sent to hell, I would go begging for mercy. One day, about the last of June, I was in the corn-field working corn. About 2 o'clock the earth seemed shrouded. Everything looked gloomy, and all nature seemed to say, "Amen" to my condemnation. I thought I was going to be banished in a short time from the presence of the Lord. I had endeavored to pray in every way I knew how. These thoughts came to me; "I have said all I can say, and worked all I can work, and now if I am saved it is mercy, and if condemned it is just. If I perish, I perish, but I will ask the Lord one more time to have mercy upon me." I cried out in bitterness of my soul, "God be merciful to me a poor sinner." In an instant it seemed as if all my sins were gone, and all nature seemed to be helping me praise God. The trees and little birds all seemed to look beautiful and were helping me praise him. I felt like I loved everybody and everybody loved me, "for the Lord has done great things from me whereof I am glad." I could view by and eye of faith "a foundation opened up in the house of King David for sin and uncleaness." "Bless the Lord, O my soul! All that is within me bless his holy name." "O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and wonderful works to the children of men."

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see."

"Lest a shadow of a spot,
Should on my soul be found,
He took the robe the Saviour wrought
And cast it all around."

I felt that Jesus had revealed himself unto me as the "chiefest among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely." But it came in quite a different way from what I was expecting.

Lee Hanks

The Conflicts of an Orphan. (March 1, 1886)

I thought if I ever received a hope I would know that I was a Christian for the Lord would speak to me face to face, and tell me I was a Christian. But I was sadly mistaken for it came in quite a different manner from what I was expecting. Hence, "The Lord leads the blind by a way they knew not, and in paths they have not seen. He makes darkness light and crooked ways straight. These things he does unto them and will not forsake them." Soon after my deliverance doubts and fears arose, and I prayed for my burden back again that I might receive a brighter manifestation of my hope in Jesus. The Arminians told me they had no doubts and fears, and I thought if I were a child of God I would be good like they were, but I never could get to the place where I had no doubts and fears; hence I thought that it was all imagination and no reality, and I tried to go back with my old associates in order to wear off my bad feelings. So one time I went to a party, and participated, thinking that I could wear off my trouble. But not so, for it seemed like I was only adding fuel to fire, and my troubles grew worse. I knew in my mind that I was not Christian now, for a Christian would not do like I had done. I tried to wear off my trouble, but all in vain. I went to hear the Arminians preach, but could find no comfort. Up to this time I never had lived in a Primitive Baptist section, where there was a Baptist church. I was brought up among the Arminians, and was taught to hate the Primitive Baptists.

In going to hear the Arminians preach, I never heard any touch on anything that I had experienced. They would say, they knew they were Christians and would tell how good they had been, and how long it had been since they had sinned; but this did not agree with my feelings, for I was such a miserable sinner. I could not keep myself one hour without sinning, for when I would do good evil was present, and I knew that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelt no good thing. Thus I went on feeling that my case was an outside one, and I was alone in every sense of the word. I could not go with my former associates for there was not enjoyment with them, neither could I go with their system of religion for there was no enjoyment with them, neither could I go with their system of religion for there was no comfort in that. Hence trouble and sore conflicts pressed me down until I did not feel that I could live in that country any longer, thinking, perhaps, if I would leave I could get rid of my troubles. A strong impression came upon me to go to West Virginia, but being only sixteen years of age and having no acquaintance or relatives living there and having no money to bear my expenses, rendered it quite a cross to go there in the midst of strangers. But, feeling the impression so great, I ran away and went near Hinton, West Virginia, and wanted to go to Hinton but had no money to pay my ferryage. I began to enquire for work and could get none. I went on about six miles and hired to a Methodist. I began to enquire of him what denominations were in that country. He said there were "Missionaries, Methodists, and Old Antes."

I asked him who the "Old Antes" were, and he said that some called them "Hard-shells," "Ironsides," &c., I asked if there were many "Hard-shells" in that country and he said, "a great many." He talked like they were the offscourings of the earth and were hated by almost every body. He seemed to think it was a disgrace for respectable persons to associate with Primitive Baptists. In a short time there was meeting in the neighborhood by the Old Baptists and I went to hear them, and there were six preachers and three of them preached. There were quite a number of members present, all of whom were strangers according to the flesh, but I hope not in the spirit. I thought I could tell every Primitive Baptist there, for they had a different appearance from the rest. I felt like I loved them better than any people I had ever seen before, I could say of a truth they were my people. They went on and preached and I felt that all the preaching from first to last was to me. They told my experience better than I could. I wondered why it was that they could tell my feelings so well, when I never had seen them before. They gave God all the glory and abased the creature. After meeting I tried to get to speak to one of the preachers. I desired to tell him some of my feelings, but I did not think as good a man as he would ever speak to one so sinful as myself. I felt like it would be a heaven on earth to me if I could be worthy of a name among them while I lived, for where they live is where I want to live and where they die I want to die. O if I could be the least among them! It would be enough for me. All the next week I tried to pray day and night for a brighter manifestation of my hope. I could see no comfort for I felt like I ought to be baptized, but I did not feel worthy. I had no idea the brethren would listen to my little experience. But on the next Sunday I went eleven miles to hear Elders Bird and Dobbins. They preached in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. After preaching an opportunity, for those who had a hope, was given to join them, and the first thing I knew I was giving Elder Bird my hand. I went on in my feeble manner and related some of the dealings of the Lord with me, and to my surprise they received me. I was not baptized until the next Sunday. The week after I joined the church seemed a very long week, but I had quite a relief of my mind to think that I had found the church and a sweet home among God's people.

I had trouble all the week about being baptized. I felt that one so poor as I would be a disgrace to the cause of Christ. I did not have but one suit of clothes and I was at a loss to know what to do for clothes to be baptized in, but when the time came the Methodist, with whom I was living, very reluctantly agreed to let me have some clothes for which I felt thankful. On my way to New River church, (where I was baptized.) I was at a loss to know what to do that night, I wanted to stay with the brethren, but I did not have any money to pay for staying. I went to meeting and after preaching the church went into conference. That was the first conference meeting I ever was at. At first I could not imagine for what purpose they had gone into conference, unless they had heard of my imperfections and was going to exclude me. After conference, several brethren, to my surprise, came to me and asked me to go with them home and I got to stay all night with a Primitive Baptist for the first time in my life and did not need a cent of money to pay my way. Next morning I was baptized by Elder Wm. Dobbins at nine o'clock, and there I left a burden which I never have had since. Everything seemed lovely and the brethren looked lovelier than ever before. I felt that I had received the answer of a good conscience. I never regretted joining the church, but many have been the times I have wondered how they could fellowship such a poor dust as I am. After preaching I returned to where I was working. The Methodist with whom I worked said that he did not want anybody to work for him that believed the doctrine that I did. He seemed to think it would be demoralizing to his children to hear one talk that believed "salvation by grace." I would often tell him my experience, but he seemed to regard it as an idle tale. I soon left him and went to work with a Primitive Baptist. O, how comforting to be so greatly blessed to be with on of the Lord's children every day and hear him talk of the goodness and mercy of God. Now I could look back over my past life and say, "Surely goodness and mercy has followed me all the days of my life." "Bless the Lord O my soul! and all that is within me bless his holy name." "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me." No matter where I would go after I was baptized I could see that lovely people dwelling together in unity and I could feel at home among them.

Lee Hancks.

The Conflicts of an Orphan - My Call to the Ministry (March 15, 1886)

It is with fear and much trembling that I attempt to tell of my reasons for trying to preach. How unworthy I feel to claim such an appellation, or to have a hope that God has called me a poor, sinful wretch to such a high position as a servant of God! Not long after I joined the church, I had an impression to go forth and tell of the wonderful works of God to the children of men I felt like I wanted to talk about Jesus all the time, and the impression increased from day to day, and I concluded it was just to join the church. After I joined, the impression came upon me greater than ever. It seemed that I could enjoy the company of the brethren, and loved to be with them. But I concluded that I must be deceived and had deceived the church, and the Lord was sorely chastising me for joining the church when I was not a child of God. My troubles increased so greatly until I was satisfied I was deceived in the whole; hence I resolved to go to the church and tell them I was deceived, and to exclude me from their fellowship, for I was not worthy to remain with them. In February, 1878 I concluded I would go to my next meeting for the purpose of telling them what a poor, deceptive creature I was. On the night before our meeting I got down b y my bedside and tried to pray to the Lord to show me whether or not I was deceived, and what was causing that great trouble. I lay upon my bed, and it seemed that I was carried away into a dark valley-it was about the middle of the afternoon-where I saw before me an exceedingly high mountain, and on the other side was my home. I started on hurriedly thinking that I could reach home before dark. As I arrived at the base of the mountain the sun disappeared, and I was left in total darkness. It seemed that the mountain was full of lions, tigers, bears, etc., which were ready to devour me if I attempted to cross. It seemed that I might have crossed in the day and not have been hurt. But here I am, a poor boy, I can not cross for there is no path and no light. I can not stay here because I am surrounded by enemies.

I smote upon my breast in deep agony of soul, and tried to implore God to give me light to cross the mountain. I looked up and say the heavens open, and, the brightest light my eyes ever beheld descended and shone around me, far excelling the light of the noonday sun. I looked before me and the mountain was divided into two walls, and there was a straight and narrow path which went between the two walls. It seemed that the path was paved with pure gold, and the light shone upon the path and around me, and I was led on by the compelling power of God, and I was enabled to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. It did not seem that I exercised a particle of natural strength, but I was led wholly by the Spirit, and my mouth being filled with words as fast as I could utter them. When I came to myself everything looked lovely, and I could say with Jacob of old, "It is enough, for Joseph" (Jesus) "is alive and has been made known to me." I felt now that I would have to try to preach; but how can I preach? I am too young; and many were the excuses that came up, but none eased my again troubled mind. I now began to read the Bible, and about the first place I found was, "Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel." These words would fill me so full I could read no more. I would lay the book down and when I would open the Bible, I would open to the same words again. I never could read the Bible without reading those words. Oftentimes would I sit, and read, and cry, feeling my utter incompetency in every respect for the very solemn duty which I felt so deeply impressed upon me. In the day my troubles were so great it seemed that my heart would almost break, and of a night I would lay and cry until late, praying for the Lord to take me from time rather than I should try to preach.

My troubles were so great the brethren found out what they were about, and they began to try to get me to exercise, but I could not. I felt to be too poor and unworthy. A lady told me her experience one night after meeting, and I could not sleep for studying about my duty. I felt more deeply impressed than ever to try to preach, and speak a word of comfort to that dear child of God, but the cross was too great. I went home but could not work any, for my natural strength was almost taken from me, and for fear some of the family would ask why I did not work I put a poultice to my head, making out I was sick. I thought if I could see some old preacher it would be quite a relief to my mind. One afternoon I went to see Elder Wm. Dobbins; but when I got there it would have been the last thing I would have told him. I went back feeling cast down in every respect. Thus my troubles increased until February, 1879, when it seemed they were more than I could bear. I would sit up of a night and read until late, and then would go outdoors in some secluded place, and try to pray the Lord to remove that impression. One night after trying to pray I lay down upon my bed whether in the body or out of the body I can not tell, but I was in the midst of the valley with the Lord, and I followed him until we came to two roads, I took the left and he took the right. He looked back and said, "Take up two pebbles and follow me." I did so, and he said, "These are the two talents you are to have."

I went on with a bowed-down head and an aching heart until we came to another road full of logs and brush. There he told me there was a work for me to perform, and as soon as I completed it I would rest from my labors on earth, and be with him, for he dwelt at the other end of the road. He gave me a text, to wit: "Except ye be converted and become as little children you can in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven," and disappeared. When I came to myself again I felt the impression stronger than ever. But how can I go? I am of a slow speech and stammering tongue. I am nothing but a poor boy, only eighteen years old, ignorant and unlearned, and surely the Lord would not call such a sinful wretch as I to stand upon the walls of Zion. I felt that I was such a great sinner that my lips would stain the words with corruption if I were to try to preach. I would often try to work, and the impression grew so strong till my natural strength was exhausted. I would often lie down upon the ground and cry out in bitterness of soul, "Lord, what shall I do?" "I am not worthy of the blessings of life, and not worthy to die." It seemed to me that the Lord was too perfect and holy to even notice a poor sinful wretch like myself, and surely the impression can not be of the Lord, for "I have no qualifications of a preacher whatever. I was reared a very poor orphan; I have no education; I am too young; my acquaintance with the Primitive Baptists is too limited; I have but a very faint knowledge of the Scriptures; I am too extremely poor; I can not articulate plainly enough owing to the weakness in my vocal organs; I am badly afflicted in my lungs. I brought quite a number of excuses like the above, but none relieved my poor troubled mind. I asked the Lord for a sign like Gideon, and these words came with power, "O, wicked and adulterous generation that seeketh after a sign. No sign shall be given but the sign of the prophet Jonah." "How can I preach?" would often arise in my mind. There is nothing I can say; but is not the One that made man's mouth able to fill it? I would go to meeting, but could hardly get back home, feeling that I had not discharged my duty. One day I was hoeing corn, and my natural strength was taken from me, and I lay down upon a pile of wood and began to read these words which I read so often, "Woe is me if I preach not the gospel." I began to pray, and I heard the sweetest music I had ever heard, for about an hour, over my head; and every expression was bidding me to go and preach. I really thought it must be some instrument about home. When I went to the house I asked them if they had heard that sweet music; and they said they had not. When I retired to rest, I thought I saw the prophet Ezekiel preaching to a large multitude of Primitive Baptists, and he looked at me and said, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." I thought I had rather be anything that a preacher, for I regarded it as a very sacred vocation. My troubles kept increasing, and I concluded that I would leave the country and go to Kansas; then I could get red of trying to preach. But I could not get any money to bear my expenses.

I prayed for the Lord to take be from time, rather than preach. Thus I went on in great trouble, feeling that I was like fire shut up in the bones, until September, 1879. I was in a field pulling fodder when my troubles came upon me more than I felt that I could bear. I had prayed all I could pray, and had done all I could do. I thought it was Satan that was causing me so much trouble, hence I made a vow that I would never try to preach. No sooner had I made the vow than I fell helpless upon the ground, feeling that I was dying and going to be banished from the presence of the Lord for my disobedience. I now felt that I was willing to give myself up into the hands of the Lord, to deal with me as seemeth good in his sight. I promised the Lord if he would raise me, I would do the best I could. I arose preaching and shouting praises to unto God, and if the world had been there I would not have been ashamed to have tried to preach. This was September 19, 1879.

Lee Hanks.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 September 2006 )
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Purpose

The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.