INTRODUCTION- page 5
MODERATOR'S SERMON - Rev. J. T. Barbee - page 13
TENTING ON THE OLD CAMP GROUND - Rev. J. S. Hall, page 27
CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIANISM DEFINED - J. L. Goodknight, D.D., LL.D. - page 38
A DISCOURSE ON THE ORIGIN AND DOCTRINES OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH -
Rev. A. C. Biddle - page 49
SOME THINGS THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT - Rev. J. W. Duvall - page 63
PAUL'S ESTIMATE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST - H. Clay Yates, D.D. - page 83
OUR NEEDS AND OUR ABILITY TO MEET THEM - Rev. J. D. Lewis - page 129
THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM - Mrs. Bessie Copeland Morris - page 151
THE IMMORTAL TRIO - Rev. J. W. Duvall - page 177
HISTORICAL REVIEW OF PUBLICATION OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH -
R. L. Baskette - page 189
HISTORY OF THE BOARD OF MINISTERIAL RELIEF OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH -
J. W. Wyckoff - page 243
HISTORY OF SUNDAY SCHOOLS AND YOUNG PEOPLE'S WORK OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - Rev. Thomas Ashburn - page 253
HISTORY OF THE WOMAN'S BOARD OF MISSIONS - page 259
SPIRITUAL PROGRESS - Rev. J. L. Hudgins Rev. T. C. Newman - page 285
The Sermons and Historical narratives contained in this volume, were delivered before the Eightieth General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which convened at Dickson, Tenn., in May, 1910. This occasion was the Centennial Anniversary of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which was organized by Rev. Finis Ewing, Rev. Samuel King and Rev. Samuel McAdow in Dickson County, Tennessee, on Sunday morning, February 4, 1810. A short statement of the events that preceded the organization of this important branch of the Church of Jesus Christ, would not be out of place here.
In 1796 Rev. James McGready, a minister of the Presbyterian Church, emigrated from North Carolina to Logan County, Kentucky. He became the pastor of three small congregations, or "societies" as they were called in that day and time. The names of the three societies were Gasper, Red River and Muddy River. After his arrival Mr. McGready found that there prevailed throughout the Cumberland country, a great spiritual dearth. Worldliness, drunkenness and atheism were in full sway. This humble backwoods preacher set himself to check the sway of sin, and combat with satan for supremacy. He found a faithful few in Gasper church, who had not bowed to the great Baal of sin, and who were ready to join with him in an effort to shed the light of the gospel in the wilderness. Mr. McGready formulated a covenant, for his faithful followers to sign, and it was as follows:
When we consider the word and promises of a compassionate God, to the poor lost family of Adam, we find strong encouragement for Christians to pray in faith to ask in the name of Jesus, for the conversion of their fellow men. None ever went to Christ, when on earth, with the case of their friends that was denied, and, although the days of his humiliation are ended, yet for the encouragement of his people, he has left on record, that where two or three agree upon earth, to ask in prayer, believing, it shall be done. Again, whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. With these promises before us, we feel encouraged to unite our supplications to a prayer-hearing God, for the outpouring of his spirit, that his people may be quickened and comforted, and that our children and sinners generally, may be converted.
Therefore, we bind ourselves to observe the third Saturday of each month, for one year, as a day of fasting and prayer, for the conversion of sinners in Logan County, Kentucky, and throughout the world. We also engage to spend one-half hour every Saturday evening, beginning at the setting of the sun, and one-half hour every Sabbath morning, at the rising of the sun, in pleading with God to revive his work.
To this beautiful covenant, Mr. McGready and his little band affixed their signatures, and thus solemnly pledged themselves to God and each other, with an humble reliance on the promises of the heavenly Father; both preacher and people betook themselves to humble and fervent prayer. At this time Mr. McGready began to preach what was believed to be a new theology, repentance, faith and regeneration. However, the belief was erroneous, for nearly two thousand years before, a lowly Gallilean, preached the same doctrine for the first time, to a sin-cursed world. A favorite subject with Mr. McGready was from Daniel 5:27: "TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting." An enlightening influence of the Holy Spirit, attended his discourses, and many members of the Church became secretly convinced, that their hope was that of hypocrites, which shall perish. In the spring of 1797, during a sacramental meeting at Gasper church, a lone woman, was savingly converted. History has failed to record the name of this daughter in Israel. She went from house to house, and from community to community, telling the people the joy of salvation, and holding prayer meetings. Following this there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, on the three congregations.
From this beginning, resulted the great revival of 1800, which spread over the entire Western country. While the revival was in progress, it was bitterly opposed by what was known as the "anti-revival party" which was composed of straight-laced Presbyterian preachers, who only knew and believed the horrible doctrines of predestination and reprobation. A few years later Cumberland Presbytery was set up by the Synod of Kentucky. There was great need of ministers to preach to the scattered churches, the harvest was plenteous, but the laborers were few. Then Cumberland Presbytery commenced to ordain men to the ministry, who were lacking in the knowledge of the dead languages, and who adopted the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., only so far as they believed it to be in conformity to the Holy Scriptures. They specially excepted to the doctrines of fatality.
For this, charges were made before the Synod of Kentucky, and the members of the presbytery were cited for trial. The synod demanded that the men who had been ordained be turned over to them for examination, thus abusing and violating the constitutional rights of the presbytery. The revival ministers refused to accede to these illegal demands, and for so doing, Cumberland Presbytery was dissolved and the ministers prohibited from preaching the Word of God. But these men received their call and commission to preach a free salvation, from a higher authority than the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A.
They continued their labors, and their efforts were owned and blessed of God. For five years they endeavored to get the church courts of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., to review and reverse the illegal action of Kentucky Synod. Their efforts for a redress of wrongs and for a reconciliation were unavailing. They ceased to meet as a presbytery, but held their meetings as a "council." At a meeting of the council at Ridge Meeting House, in Sumner County, Tennessee, in the fall of 1809, it was seriously proposed that they constitute a presbytery. However, at this meeting some of the leading spirits deserted the council, among them was Mr. McGready. The council adjourned with the understanding that they would convene again at the Ridge Meeting House, in March, 1810, and that unless three ministers had constituted a presbytery before that time, that the council would be dissolved. One of the leading spirits in the great work of spreading the gospel in the wilderness, was Rev. Finis Ewing. He was a man filled with the Holy Spirit, and one of those indomitable characters, who knew not what defeat meant. In February, 1810, Ewing realized that the time was near at hand for the meeting of the council, and that unless the presbytery was constituted before that time, that all hope would be gone.
On Friday, February 2, 1810, Ewing left his home near Russellville, Ky., and set out for the home of Rev. Samuel King, one of the revival preachers. He laid his plans before Mr. King, and that day the two proceeded to the home of Ephraim McLain, a young man who had been licensed to preach by the dissolved presbytery. They spent the night with young McLain, and explained to him the nature of their journey. Young McLain readily agreed to accompany them, and lend all the assistance possible. On the morning of February 3, they saddled their horses and started for the home of Rev. Samuel M'Adoo, in Dickson County, Tennessee. They reached the home of Mr. M'Adoo about sundown, and stated the nature of their visit. They were in conference and prayer until late at night. Mr. M'Adoo said he could not make up his mind as to what would be right to do, under God. They agreed to separate, and each one to go off into the forest and pray alone for light and guidance. Ewing and King soon obtained the light for which they sought, and returning to the humble log cabin which was the home of Mr. M'Adoo found young McLain at the door, engaged in prayer. The three waited through the long hours of the early Sabbath morning, for the return of Mr. M'Adoo. The air was crisp and frosty and as they paced to and fro to keep warm, they saw Mr. M'Adoo approaching rapidly. The glow on his face told the story. As soon as he reached them, he said: "I have received light and guidance, and am ready to constitute a presbytery." After a frugal repast they assembled in the south room of the house, and with prayer and earnest supplications constituted the first presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. After this was done, young McLain was ordained into the full work of the ministry. Then these faithful men of God started forth to bear the message of a "whosoever-will" gospel to a dying world. Nearly two thousand years before, on an April Sabbath morning, the lowly Gallilean, who first preached the doctrines that Cumberland Presbyterians believe, arose from the grave, and sweet, faithful Mary Magdalene, became the messenger to bear to the world the story of a risen Christ.
The record made by some historians, to the effect that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized as a result of a schism in the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., is untrue. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was never at any time a part of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. The men who organized it under the influence of the Holy Spirit, were not at that time connected with any denomination. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was born of God, for a special purpose, and that purpose will not be fully accomplished, until the redeemed in Christ assemble round the great white throne, and join the hosts of heaven in songs of thanksgiving and praise to Jehovah.
It was, therefore, proper that in the good year 1910, Cumberland Presbyterians should come together near the spot where their church had been organized, to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary, of one of the most blessed branches of the Church of Jesus Christ. A perusal of these pages will show that Cumberland Presbyterian preachers can still preach with the same zeal and power, that made such a glorious record for the fathers and founders of the Church.
To the memory of that noble band of men and women of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church, who have gone on before, and who now bask
in the sunlight of God's love, over beyond the broad, dark river,
this volume is dedicated.
R. L. BASKETTE.
Nashville, Tenn., 1911.