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Home arrow 50 Yrs Among The Baptists arrow My Fifty Days' Tour In Indiana and Illinois
My Fifty Days' Tour In Indiana and Illinois PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sylvester Hassell   


The Gospel Messenger—November 1892  

In accordance with invitations from brethren in Indiana and Illinois, I left North Carolina August 7th to visit some of their Associations arid churches, and returned September 16th. Three days before starting I received a check from a friend in Indiana, which nearly paid my railroad fare to my first appointment—my friend, though not a member of any church, saying that he noticed that I was coming to his State, and he wished to help me on my way, and that he believed that, wherever I went, I would preach the religion of Jesus.

 I visited seven Associations—the (1st) White Water, at Green­field, Ind.; (2d) White Water, near Connersville, Ind.; Lebanon, near Fairmount, Ind.; Conn’s Creek, near Southport, Ind.; Danville, near Bainbridge, Ind.; Sandy Creek, near Wenona, Ind.; and the Salem, at Owensville, Ind.; and thirteen churches— Salem (Wayne county, Ind.); East Lebanon (Henry county, Ind.); Rensselaer (Jasper county; Ind.); Antioch (Hamilton county, Ind.); Crawfordville (Montgomery county, Ind.); Mt. Zion (Hendricks county, Ind.); Mt. Tabor (Boone county, Ind.); Salem (Marion county, Ind.); Bethel (Johnson county, Ind.); Pimento (Yigo county, Ind.); and Bethlehem, Bethany and Big Creek (all in Posey county, Ind.); and I spoke in eight towns— Greenfield, Hagerstown, Rensselaer, Crawfordville, Bainbridge, Pimento, Cynthiana, and Owensville (all in Indiana). I tried to preach forty-eight times, including ten times at night. I was asked and attempted to conduct family worship three times—at Franklin and Pimento, and near Cynthiana, Ind. I met with about sixty of our ministers, of whom I heard thirty-eight preach, and eight others pray, or make public remarks.

I was received and treated with the utmost kindness every­where, and felt very unworthy of the esteem manifested for me by my brethren and sisters. The contributions voluntarily made to me were much more than sufficient to defray the expenses of my trip. Our members In Indiana and Illinois are blessed, in general, with a competency of earthly goods, and delight in dispensing the most unstinted hospitality towards all the friends of truth who visit them at their religious meetings.

The State of Indiana, in which I traveled mostly, and of which I therefore speak the more particularly, is highly favored with a deep and fertile soil, excellent water, extraordinary healthfulness, admirable roads, fine stock, few dogs (because of a tax on them), and many sheep, improved agricultural machinery, an abundance, in some sections, of natural gas well adapted for lighting, heating, and cooking purposes, and for running machinery, good schools, and noble charities, both private and public, for the afflicted poor.

 On August 21st, 22d, and 23d, I visited the Columbian Expo­sition at Chicago—no doubt the most magnificent collection ever made of the natural glories of the world, many of the innumer­able and wonderful works of God, and many specimens and works of His greatest earthly creature, man, who, even in his darkness and degeneracy, considers his closest imitation of the works of God his own most perfect work, but who, for the most part, pros­titutes his God-given powers to the idolatrous service of self and sin, not thanking, obeying, or honoring his Divine Creator, Pre­server, and Benefactor. The Lord Jesus was able to put away all the Satanic and ruinous temptations of worldly glory (Matt. iv. 8-10); and may we, and all His followers, be enabled, by the power of His Spirit, always, in the same way, to rebuke the deceitful and destructive god of this World, and to worship and serve only the Lord our God. In the Anthropology Building the momentous fair was most impressively to be seen that the latest and highest science of the world arranges the fossils of the animal creation in the same order as that given in the first chapter of Genesis, and, like that chapter, makes man the last and highest product of creative power—thus proving that Moses, the author of Genesis, was, 3,400 years ago, divinely inspired to know and describe these great truths that have been ascertained by the intelligent research of men only during the present century. And in the building made to resemble “St. Peter’s Cathedral,” at Rome, the chief religious edifice of Roman Catholicism, the uniformed and panoplied Swiss Guards, the golden throne of the Pope, the red cloth lining all the inner walls, and the grim swords and halberds (battle axes) hanging against the inside walls, formed a most startling commentary on the seventeenth chapter of Revela­tion, and proclaimed the fulfillment, in the Roman Catholic so-called “Church,” of the divinely-inspired prophecy of “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth,” “arrayed in scarlet and decked with gold, and drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus “—identified, in the last verse of that chapter, with Rome, “the great city which,” when the book of Revelation was written, “reigned over the kings of the earth.” Thus the great lesson to be learned from the World’s Fair was the Divine and infallible inspiration of the first and last books of the Bible, and, by conse­quence, of all the books between them; that the Divine Author of the Bible is the Omniscient God, who knows all the past and all the future, and who is the holy, omnipotent, and eternal Crea­tor, Sovereign, and Judge of the universe.

 On account of the benefit that I had providentially derived, during the last two years, from the use of the Electropoise (manufactured and sold for $25 by the Atlantic Electropoise Co.. 1405 New York avenue, Washington, D. C.), and my desire to benefit other sufferers, just as Christ and His Apostles attended to the healing of the diseased body as well as that of the diseased soul, I took an especial interest in the department of Medical Electricity at the Exposi­tion. As is well known by intelligent and well-informed physi­cians, electricity, which very closely resembles life, is of great value for rapidly curing or relieving both acute and chronic diseases which seem beyond the reach of medicine, especially pain, weak­ness, and affections of the nerves, sleeplessness, diseases of the eye, ear, head, throat, lungs, heart, spine, liver, stomach, uterus, bowels, and kidneys, and for painless and bloodless surgical operations Among the electro-medical appliances that I found at the Exposition, used and recommended by physicians, were Dr. H. P. Pratt’s Pocket Electrical Battery and inhaler (for headache, toothache, earache, neuralgia, nausea, eczema, la grippe, catarrh, deafness, asthma, and insomnia—sold for $5 by the Pratt Electro­Medical Supply Co., Room 610, Masonic Temple, Chicago, Ills., who make also, for physicians and patients, nearly all other electro-medical appliances); and Dr. A. Owen’s Electric Belts and Ap­pliances (for the cure or relief of nearly all diseases—sold for from $6 to $30, by the Owen Electric Belt and Appliance Co., 201 State street, Chicago, Ills.) And I found, in use and in great esteem, among some Primitive Baptist ministers’ families in Indiana, Prof. Wm. C. Wilson’s Actina (Pocket Battery) a gene­rator of ozone, the most powerful and purifying of gases (an instrument both chemical and electrical—for all diseases of the eye, ear, throat, and head, catarrh, hay fever, asthma, neuralgia, and bronchial troubles, and dispensing with the use of spectacles; sold for $10, by the New York and London Electric Association, 1021 Main street, Kansas City, Mo.); and Wilson’s Magneto-Conservative Garments (for all diseases; claimed, with the Actina Battery, to have 500,000 patrons in Europe and America; sold at from $38 50 to $158 50 by the same Company). Descriptive circulars may be had of these parties, on application.

 On September 20th and 21st 1 had a very pleasant visit, at Evansville, Ind., with my step-brother, Mr. B. E. Jewett (son of my step-mother, Mrs. M. M. Hassell, and her first husband, Eld. Daniel E. Jewett, of New York, who published the Christian Doctrinal Advertiser and Spiritual Monitor from 1831 to 1843), and his wife arid two daughters. He has lived there as a Book­keeper twenty-five years I was rejoiced to find additional reasons for believing that he is in possession of the same unfeigned faith in the Lord that dwelt in his godly father and grandmother, and that dwells in his devout mother (2 Tim. i. 5), a possession of infinitely more value than all material things.

 I was glad to learn, from some figures of the census of 1890 given me by Eld. I. N. Vanmeter, of Illinois, that, as compared with the census of 1880, the Old School or Primitive Baptists, instead of dying out, are increasing considerably in nearly all the States; so that the friends who are kindly waiting to preach our funeral will probably have to postpone their benevolent services for some time to come.

 In 1889 a majority of the members of Mount Tabor Regular (or Primitive) Baptist Church, in Boone county, Ind., decided that the preaching of the gospel is a means of quickening dead sinners into spiritual life; and when the minority protested against this departure from the Primitive Baptist faith, and were sus­tained in their protest by two Councils of Churches and also by the Danville Association (of which Mount Tabor church is a mem­ber), the majority assumed to exclude the minority from the church, and to form a new Association called the “Mount Tabor Association” To settle the question as to which party was entitled to the church building and ground, the case was taken to the courts; and the Supreme Court of Indiana, in accordance, as they show, with the uniform decisions of the highest courts of England and the United States, decided, March 15th, 189.3, that a church, no more than a corporation, has any right, without the consent of all its members, to divert its property from its original purpose, and can not, unless by a unanimous vote, change its original faith and practice, and still retain its property; and that the majority in the Mount Tabor church had departed from the original faith of Regular (or Primitive) Baptists, and was there­fore not entitled to the property of the church; but that the minority occupied the original doctrinal position of the Regular Baptists, and were therefore entitled to the property. This inter­esting and valuable decision has been published, and is sold for 25 cents, by Eld. Lemuel Potter, of Fort Branch, Ind. The liti­gation has been extremely expensive and burdensome to the minority in the Mount Tabor church, who were induced to go into it by the advice of other brethren; and, while principles should never be abandoned, I found a strong sentiment prevailing among many of our most esteemed members in Indiana, as among Primi­tive Baptists generally elsewhere and heretofore, against the entrance of any of our churches into litigation (Matt. v. 38-42; 1 Cor. vi. 14; James iii. 13-18).

 In regard to religious debates with representatives of other denominations, I was glad to find that not only many of our mem­bers, but also some of our ministers who have been unwillingly induced to take part in them, doubt their usefulness. The preach­ing of the gospel to sinners seems to me far more scriptural and important than disputations with enemies of the truth. Such controversies have a natural tendency to degenerate into carnal contentions for victory, and may embitter more than they edify. So far as I am aware, we have no public oral controversies on religious subjects in the Atlantic States.

 In the Salem Association, in Southern Indiana, I was informed that our churches, as well as those in some of our Associations in Illinois, have occasional meetings continued a week or ten days, but without any excitement or anxious benches or call for mourners; and that the same scriptural truths are preached by our ministers then as at other times.

 I was unspeakably rejoiced to find all our ministers whom I met in Indiana and Illinois contending earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints, without any additions thereto or sub­tractions therefrom, utterly repudiating all the new theories and all the new inventions of men, not philosophizing or explaining the Scriptures away into airy nothingness or delusive fables, under the pretense of spiritualizing them—fully believing and uncom­promisingly advocating the great fundamental Bible truths of God’s sovereignty, His unconditional predestination and election of His people to eternal life, the total depravity of the natural heart, the necessity of a regenerating change in the sinner by the Spirit of God, salvation by grace alone, the heart-felt obligation of the believer to adorn the profession of his faith with a godly life and conversation, the final perseverance of the saints to glory, the second, literal, personal, visible coming of Christ to this world, the resurrection of the bodies of all the dead, both of the just arid the unjust, the solemn, general, and final judgment of the great day, the everlasting punishment of the wicked, and the ever­lasting happiness of the righteous.

 During the last five years our churches in Indiana have been providentially and graciously delivered from the small Arminian­ element (Missouri philosophy, which bases the salvation of the sinner on human means) on the one extreme, and the small fatal­istic element (Kentucky philosophy, which does not or scarcely saves the sinner at all) on the other extreme, which have long troubled them; and they are now in a condition of greater peace and love and fellowship than they have been in about fifty years before. And I am delighted to be able to add that even our Two-Seed brethren (of whom there is but one Association in Indiana, and two in Illinois) are rapidly losing their half a century’s pre­dilection for the men-made, unscriptural, obtuse, conflicting, uncomforting, and sensual theories of an eternal Devil and his eternal seed (Tennessee philosophy), and are seeking to revive a fraternal correspondence with our sound and orderly Associations.

 May our heart-felt thanksgiving ascend to the God of Israel for these many blessed evidences of His gracious presence with His people in Indiana and Illinois. SYLVESTER HASSELL.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 September 2006 )
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