F I R S T   P E R I O D .




In the woodlands rang their axes,

Smoked their towns in all the valleys.


The country called Cumberland on the accompanying map lay partly in Tennessee and partly in Kentucky. Its southern boundary was the dividing ridge between Cumberland and Duck rivers, in Tennessee; its northern boundary was the Green River, in Kentucky. When the Presbyterian Church divided one of its large presbyteries, assigning one portion thereof to Cumberland, it gave the name of the country to the new presbytery. When this presbytery was engaged in exciting controversies with Kentucky Synod about the revival of 1800, the people called the revival party "Cumberland Presbyterians." When a new church grew out of the revival party, the name which the people had already given was neither repudiated nor formally adopted, but it clung to the new organization. The map belongs to a period a little earlier than the great revival of 1800. The shade lines include the white settlements, while all the rest of Tennessee and Kentucky was claimed by Indians.

There was constant warfare with these savages. No treaty could bind them. To this day, Indians claim that a treaty with their chiefs does not bind any one except the individuals who sign the treaty. Lands bought from them were still claimed by those who did not sign the deed--claimed and fought for, too. Hence, all these white settlers were soldiers. Men carried guns with them [2] to church. When two men met and stopped to talk, they stood back to back, to watch both directions for the lurking Indian.

Men still wore hunting-shirts and moccasins. They still wore a belt in which were carried a large knife and a hatchet.

Their skill with the rifle was unsurpassed, but they reserved their display of it for living heads. At a later day, when powder and ball were not so precious, it is said they would throw up two apples and put a hole through both of them with one bullet, when they crossed each other's path in the air.

There were men and women, too, in all the settlements, who had been scalped by the Indians and left for dead but had afterward got well, and lived to pay back the debt of blood.

Two such, who afterward were actors in the great revival, were described to me by an aged member of their family long ago. Their father was named Daviess, uncle of the Joe Daviess for whom Daviess County (Kentucky) was named. He had built his house a little distance from the fort which then stood at Gilmore's Lick, in Kentucky. The Indians surprised him at night, and took his two little children, son and daughter, prisoners. He escaped in his night-clothes, and with his utmost speed ran to the fort.

Colonel Donnelson, of Cumberland, was then visiting the fort

When he saw Daviess coming in his night clothing, he knew too well what that meant. He sprang instantly to his rifle, calling on the men in the fort to join him. Before Daviess had time to tell the whole story, they were all in hot pursuit, Daviess still in his robe de nuit. Donnelson knew that if the Indians discovered their pursuers they would instantly kill the prisoners, so he and his comrades tried to slip up on them. The barking of a dog gave the savages warning, and instantly they killed, as they supposed, and scalped the two children. The baby girl was taken by the heels and dashed against a sapling, her scalp was torn off, and the Indians fled. Colonel Donnelson took off his own shirt, and bound up the wounds of these children; and, though they suffered long, they ultimately recovered. There were, at that day, many such people among the sons of Cumberland and Kentucky.

All the women knew how to shoot, and not only knew how, but most of them had put their knowledge to practical use in self [3] defense. The memoir of Mrs. Margaret Hess, one of the early Cumberland Presbyterians, who lived to great age, tells how her mother and other ladies used their rifles in three different bloody struggles against the Indians. Wounded women were no uncommon thing in these settlements.

All the first generation of our preachers had been in the Indian wars. People who had been prisoners among the Indians, and afterward either escaped or were ransomed, entered into the general mass of material out of which the Cumberland Presbyterian Church grew. Colonel Joe Brown, who was a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher, had for a whole year been a prisoner in the hands of the Indians. Nor was the schooling of these pioneers confined to fighting Indians. Privations and hardships helped to sharpen their wits. The first generation of children were brought up without "store goods." There were no shoes. All the people, men and women, wore moccasins made of untanned hides. Dresses were made of thread spun from buffalo wool for the filling, and the lint of the wild nettle for the chain.(1) There were no steamboats, or railroads, or steam factories, then, in the world. As to these settlements on the border, there were no stores, no mails, no good wagon roads, only blazed pathways. All the books or other luxuries they owned had been carried on pack-horses over the mountains, through the wilderness. Salt was worth sixteen dollars per bushel. Iron was equally dear. The country was nearly without trade or money. There was no South then to buy mules and hogs. That South belonged, in part, to the Indians, and, in part, to the Spanish. There were no white settlements in what is now West Tennessee. The buffalo grazed quietly where Memphis now stands.

The only possibility for any trade at all was either by packhorses to Philadelphia, or by flat boats to New Orleans. The latter avenue was not always open, whimsical Spaniards closing it sometimes, and always, when it was open, charging an enormous toll on every flat boat. These flat boats could not be brought back. The traders sold them for fuel, and walked back through the Indian country. Forty years ago these old boatmen abounded both in Tennessee and Kentucky, and the stories of their adventures held [4] many a group of children listening around the happy hearth-stones in these then peaceful and prosperous homes.

One incident, given in a manuscript history of the Presbyterian Church in East Tennessee,(2) illustrates the mail facilities. Union Presbytery was about issuing a circular letter to its churches, when it received, for the first time, a copy of a circular letter issued by the General Assembly on the same subject more than two years before.






"By heaven, and not a master, taught."--Pope.

                                                                    "His passage lies across the brink
                                                                    Of many a threatening wave,
                                                                    And hell expects to see him sink,
                                                                    But Jesus lives to save."

There have been highly educated men who could not read. In times and countries where education in the schools was impossible, strong native intellects learned from men, from events, from nature. Daniel Boone wrote, "Cilled a bar," and perhaps never in his life knew any better orthography; but if a profound knowledge of military strategy, if lightning-like grasp of resources for military emergencies, if a far-seeing anticipation of the enemy's movements, whether that enemy were Indian, French, or English, if an intellect that never made a mistake in any of the myriad military emergencies in which it was called to act, entitle a man to rank high among thinkers, then very few of the sons of West Point have ever been his equals.

This education without books, so common among a people who had no possible chance of schooling in the regular way, is never found at all in a country where schools are accessible to everybody. The thriftless laziness which will not avail itself of all the resources in reach, neither in old countries nor new ones, ever rises to the rank of a thinker. All the first settlements in Kentucky and Tennessee were for a while without schools. Circumstances made schools impossible. There were very few books. Among the treasures packed on horseback through the wilderness was the family Bible. It made the reading book. There were no novels. A few families had a tear-blotted copy of the Sacred League and Covenant, handed down for generations.

The first school in Cumberland was opened in Craighead's church, [6] six miles from Nashville. It was called Spring Hill Academy, and was taught by a Presbyterian minister.(3) Among its early pupils were Finis Ewing, Samuel King, Samuel McSpeddin, and Robert Bell, all of them Cumberland Presbyterian ministers at a later day.

There is, it is said, a stone situated in the three States of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. A man seated on that stone on Sabbath morning, June, 1773, might have seen below him in the valley the first meeting-house ever erected on the soil of Tennessee.(4) That church was erected by that hardy and glorious race, the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. The church was of logs, 40 by 80 feet. It was covered with clapboards. These Scotch-Irish settlers had profound respect for the Sabbath. Peep into their cabins. Every child is in its seat, reciting the catechism. This is that race of whom the Irishman said, that when the potato crop failed "they lived on the Shorter Catechism and the Sabbath." Peep into their cabins later in the morning. The male members, and in some cases the female members also, are taking down their rifles, preparatory to starting to church.

One hundred and thirty-eight heads of families had united in calling the Rev. Charles Cummings to come and settle among them as their pastor.(5) He ministered to these same people thirty-nine years. This man Cummings was the first man who ever preached in what is now Tennessee. His first years in this wild frontier were tracked with the blood of Indian battles. He fought often, and had many narrow escapes.

Farther north, in Kentucky, the first preacher was also a Presbyterian. The father of "Tippecanoe Joe Daviess" went back to his old home in Virginia after a preacher, and brought back with him the Rev. David Rice. He gave Mr. Rice the hire of a Negro woman for two years, and helped build him a cabin.(6) But it appears from Dr. Davidson's history that Rice received very poor compensation for his services in after years.

[7] The Rev. Thomas B. Craighead was the first pastor who settled in Cumberland; though his first steps were not cold before the Rev. Benjamin Ogden, of the Methodist church, was proclaiming free salvation on the banks of the Cumberland River.

In this sketch of preachers and congregations my inquiries run in Presbyterian channels, since our church was of Presbyterian parentage. It would be obiter dictum if I discussed other churches.

Orthodoxy, the catechism, a deathless attachment to principles and to ecclesiastical rights, a holy horror of any innovations on the traditional methods of work, singing Rouse's Psalms, and hearing sermons three hours long on election, made up the religion of many among the best citizens.

There seems to have been no great amount of dishonesty. The Nashville jail was a log cabin, fourteen feet square. But after the revolution, mainly through the influence of the French soldiers who had aided us in that struggle, infidelity swept over all this western frontier, and threatened for a while to carry all the population. All the historians are agreed in their testimony to this vast prevalence of infidelity. Some say nine tenths of the people were infidels. The general lack of regular preaching, and the bad character of many who did preach, helped to sweep faith away from the country. According to the testimony of the Rev. David Rice, the first Presbyterian minister who settled in Kentucky,(7) and of the Rev. Dr. Davidson, the historian of the Presbyterian Church in that State, most of the ministers of that church, in Rice's day, were bad men. Drunkenness, wrangling, licentiousness, and heresy brought the most of them to grief sooner or later.(8)

The lives of unconverted preachers, elders, and members make a woeful chapter in the history of this period. Of the church members in this country who, after being in the church for years, finally discovered their ruined condition, and made a profession of religion, there are several names whose prominence in our history justifies their introduction here. They are Richard King, Elder Hutchinson, Robert Guthrie, Samuel McSpeddin, Finis Ewing, together with their wives, and very many others.

The case of Richard King is interesting. He had been edu [8] cated for the ministry. His father, Robert King, was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and one of those who opposed the revival. His brother, Samuel King, was he who made one of the three to organize our first presbytery. Although "Rich" had been educated for the ministry, he would not preach; but poor Sam, who had no education, when he felt that he was called of God to preach the gospel, would pray, "O Lord, send Rich!"

Men picked out and educated for the ministry, and thrust into the holy office without any conscious internal call to the work, made one of the troubles between Old Side and New Side in 1741. Dr. Charles Hodge's defense of Old Side views on this subject is a chapter which his reputation could easily spare from his writings.

The Rev. Samuel McSpeddin's testimony about the kind of preaching in the Presbyterian pulpits of that day is given at length in Dr. Cossitt's Life of Ewing. The substance of it is that they never said any thing to rouse the conscience; that they never discussed the new birth, or any conscious experience in grace; that people who by any means became uneasy about their religious state, and went to their pastors for help, were told that if they had been baptized, and believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, they need not trouble themselves about any conscious experience.

McSpeddin and Ewing both are specially severe on Craighead's preaching. Nor are these strictures by Cumberland Presbyterians any more severe than some occasionally found in Davidson's history of his own church. One of Craighead's sayings, handed down by tradition, was, "I would not give this old handkerchief for all the experimental religion in the world."

A curious statement is made by the Rev. James McGready, who was a Presbyterian minister in what is now Logan County, Kentucky, about one of the preachers of his own presbytery. It is that this preacher (the Rev. James Balch) in his sermons ridiculed the doctrines of faith, of repentance, and of regeneration. And although this preacher was finally brought to trial(9) for his heresies, it was not till he spent years traveling among the churches [9] of Cumberland, where the great revival prevailed, and doing his utmost to oppose the revival and check its progress. Nor were his efforts without success in some places.

The Rev. James McGready had entered the ministry without any religion. God led him to see his ruined condition, and he sought and found conscious salvation. He was then in Pennsylvania, but soon went to North Carolina. His preaching there was as much changed as he was himself. It aroused the conscience; it awakened unconverted church members; it was used of God to promote precious revivals of religion. These revivals in North Carolina were bitterly opposed by church members, and McGready was fiercely persecuted, even to the extent of endangering his life. There was also there, as there was at a later day in Cumberland, a strong revival party which sympathized with him, and worked heartily in his meetings.

A large number of McGready's North Carolina neighbors moved to Cumberland. Through their solicitations, in 1796, he changed his field of labor, and took charge of these scattered sheep in the wilderness. There were three small congregations to which he ministered, whose only preaching before his arrival had been from such men as Craighead and Balch. These churches were called Red River, Gasper River, and Muddy River, located in what is now Logan County, Kentucky. It was a strange contrast, these dead preachers and McGready. The result of his introduction into this mass of dead formalism belongs to the next chapter. His churches were located in the country then called Cumberland, but called at a later day the Cumberland and Green River Settlements. "Cumberland" was partly in Kentucky, but when this history opens the dividing line between the two States had not been run. Tennessee's first capital was east of the mountains.





Why should we crave a hallowed spot?

                                                                  An altar is in each man's cot.

What share other churches had in the beginning and progress of that work of grace known as the revival of 1800, is not here discussed. Our origin was in the revival in the Presbyterian Church. That revival had some very striking antecedents in 1797. The year preceding its beginning was marked beyond all others for official calls to fasting and prayer by presbyteries, synods, and General Assembly--fasting and prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Ohio Presbytery held a monthly fast-day all through the year 1796, to pray for a revival. The Synod of the Carolinas had appointed a synodical fast-day, in which all its congregations were to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. A large number of the congregations in western Pennsylvania had drawn up written covenants to pray for a revival. Accounts of these covenants and their precious fruits were afterward published in the Western Missionary Magazine. It is an item of interest to Cumberland Presbyterians that the very congregations which afterward called for our preaching were among those who joined in these solemn covenants to pray for a revival. The General Assembly also appointed a fast-day to be observed in all its churches--repentance, humiliation, and prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit being specially mentioned. McGready drew up a very solemn covenant for his congregations. Every Saturday evening, every Sunday morning, and one whole Sabbath of each month, for a year, were to be observed as a season of special prayer [11] for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Logan County, Kentucky,and throughout the world. To this covenant he obtained the signatures of his church members.

It was not to sensational evangelists, but to God's Holy Spirit that our spiritual ancestors in the Presbyterian Church looked for deliverance from the triumphant infidelity of the times. Nor did they look in vain. In Gasper River congregation, at McGready's regular sacramental meeting, in May, 1797, the grand work began. All through the preceding year McGready's church members had been coming to him about their spiritual condition. His preaching had opened their eyes to the fact that they were resting on a false hope. Finally, one of these--a lady--found the sure Rock, and was so filled with God's Spirit that she could no longer sit silent at home while so many of her friends were in the prison from which she had just escaped. She immediately visited her neighbors from house to house, and awakened among them a deep interest about their souls.

The next year a more general awakening occurred. After a solemn sacramental service in July, the profound claims of immortality followed the people to their homes. Secular business was forgotten, and men under deep conviction spent the days alone in the woods, weeping and praying. Groups that met in the houses talked of eternity, and wept together over their ruined condition. Thus for weeks, while there was no public preaching, God's Spirit was at work in the private houses. Godless church members talked together about the startling discoveries which they had made of their unconverted state.

In September, 1798, McGready held his sacramental meeting at Muddy River. God's power was there also. All over the field to which McGready ministered the home work became general. Surpassing any thing of the sort in all history was this revival without preaching, without public meetings, without any high pressure methods. The houses and the deep forests of Logan County rang with the prayers of souls in distress. While so many awakened souls were in solemn prayer, it is remarkable that deliverance was to most of them delayed. One who lived among them at that time has left his testimony, that in going from house to house all through [12] McGready's congregations he heard only one theme talked of If he came upon a group of old people, they were weeping and talking about their souls. If he encountered the young people, either singly or in groups, they were in tears, and spoke only about their souls' salvation.

The next year (1799) the interest was still deeper, especially in Gasper congregation, but this year more of the burdened souls found salvation. The sacramental meeting was a time of victory to some. At this meeting began what was considered so strange then, though it had often occurred in the revivals of former generations. Men under overwhelming convictions fell to the floor, and though they were entirely conscious, as they afterward testified, yet they remained prostrate and motionless for hours. When they rose, it was with the shouts of victory on their tongues. This strange exercise drew vast crowds to McGready's meetings. A family who had recently moved to Kentucky from North Carolina heard of these strange things, and heard, also, that a sacramental meeting was soon to occur. Not having friends near the place of meeting, they resolved to go in their wagons and camp beside them, as they had done in their journey from North Carolina. This they did. At the next sacramental meeting their example was followed by several families, and most of the converts of that meeting were the campers. This meeting was at Red River, in Kentucky.

It is rather strange that mere conjectural accounts of the origin of camp-meetings should be extensively published, when we have the most reliable accounts from eye-witnesses. One of these accounts was written at the time by Captain Wallace Estill, who then lived in Kentucky, and was present at all these meetings. While he gives the date of the meeting at Gasper, soon to be described, he does not give the date of this Red River meeting, though he speaks of it. There is some conflict of authorities about the date of this meeting. The Rev. John McGee, of the Methodist church, who was present, places it in 1799, and there is traditional confirmation of this date. Smith, Estill, and others place it in 1800, with circumstantial confirmation.(11)

[13] This by some people, John McGee among them, is called the first camp-meeting in Christendom. It was at least the forerunner of the first camp-meeting, for the good results which McGready saw follow this spontaneous camp-meeting caused him to publish far and near that his sacramental meeting at Gasper, in July, 1800, would be a camp-meeting. The public responded fully, and campers with their wagons encircled all the place when the meeting began. This meeting at Gasper was the first meeting in Christendom that was appointed and intended for a camp-meeting. Estill calls this the first camp-meeting in Christendom. The grand revival flame kindled Saturday, while some pious women were talking about religion. It soon spread through all the gathered hosts. Among those attending this meeting at Gasper were several members of Shiloh church, Sumner County, Tennessee. The Rev. William Hodge, their pastor, who was a fast friend of the revival, was also present. At this meeting five of the regular members of Shiloh congregation became convinced that they were in an unconverted state, and, after a bitter struggle, made a profession of religion.

The elder brother of the Rev. Samuel King was one of these five members. The story of his conversion as told by the widow of the Rev. J. M. McMurray, Mrs. Elizabeth McMurray, of Lebanon, Tennessee, whose family were akin to the Kings, is here given. The father of this Richard King (Robert King) was an elder in the Shiloh congregation, and a Presbyterian after the straightest pattern. Before this Gasper River meeting, some members of the Shiloh church, while visiting one of McGready's sacramental meetings, had been converted, and had returned home shouting the praises of God. Robert King said it was all "fox-fire." "I'll send Rich; they can't fool Rich." It will be remembered that "Rich" was not only a member of the church, but had been educated for the ministry. It was to this grand meeting at Gasper, in 1800, that Rich was sent. It was there that he discovered the necessity of a change to which he had hitherto been a stranger. It was there, too, that his soul was set at liberty.

When he and the other Shiloh people returned from Gasper and met their friends, they rushed into their arms, shouting and telling what wonderful things God had done for their souls. Fire in dry [14] stubble were these returned converts among their neighbors. The private houses rang with the cries of poor sinners who were now awakened to their ruined condition. Nor were their soul struggles protracted to the extent that others had been the previous year in McGready's field. Shouts of new converts were soon heard in these pioneer cabins. A nephew of Richard King, a little boy, was among those who were stricken down under deep conviction when all these rejoicing converts returned from the Gasper meeting. His friends sent for his grandfather, Robert King. Here was a situation for the old elder. His neighbors carried away with "fox-fire;" "Rich," whom he had relied on to ferret out the delusion, now carried away with it like the rest; and worse still, he himself sent for to play revivalist, and instruct a prostrate victim of the delusion. He, the anti-revivalist, Robert King! He took his lancet and his camphor, and went to the boy's relief, but a better Physician had preceded him. On his arrival he found the boy shouting the praises of God.

There were twenty conversions in the Shiloh neighborhood after the return of "Rich" King before there was a single sermon preached. Then they had a camp-meeting, and there were one hundred conversions: this, too, in that sparsely settled region.

The first. camp-meetings were without tents or other shelter except the wagons. Later, people built double log-cabins, which were still called tents, for their families and visitors. So far as possible people cooked the provisions before they left home, and they moved to camps expecting to remain during the meeting. All who attended the camp-meeting were fed freely. Campers would go out into the crowd and make a public invitation for all to come and eat. The camps were supplied with straw, both on the ground and on the bed scaffolds. One tent was used by the ladies, and another by the gentlemen. A field of grain with a stream of water in it was secured, and the horses of the visitors were turned into it. A vast shelter covered with boards was built and seated for a preaching place. This, too, had an ample supply of clean straw for a floor. In the intervals between public services it was their universal custom to go alone, or in small groups, to secret prayer in the adjacent forest. The north and south line [15] divided the grounds for retirement and prayer, and gentlemen were not allowed to go upon the ladies' grounds.

In all the early days, before railroads came along, these meetings were not only as orderly as any other kind of meetings, but they were generally seasons of unparalleled solemnity and unequaled moral grandeur. A Scotch traveler, who had seen most of the countries of the world, has left his written testimony that he had nowhere seen any thing to equal the moral grandeur of the great camp-meeting. No correct idea of these early camp-meetings can be formed from the so-called camp-meetings of modern times. They belong to a different economy. I have seen both, and I recognize in the modern one scarcely one single feature of those early gatherings of a pioneer people to worship God.

Although Craighead opposed the revival, his elders did not; and they determined to have a camp-meeting, and have some of the revival preachers attend it. They did so, and a precious meeting it proved to be; but the pastor gave it the cold shoulder.(12) This meeting was at the church near Nashville, in which Dr. Brooks, mentioned heretofore, was teaching a school.

Camp-meetings now became the order of the day. The Methodists especially took them up, and had grand victories in many of their meetings. Tennessee and Kentucky were transformed.

The dear old Beech church, in Sumner County, Tennessee, had that staunch friend of the revival, the Rev. William McGee, for its pastor. Its camp-meetings furnished surpassing displays of the Holy Spirit's power.

God's Spirit used the distant visitors to these camp-meetings to spread the revival, not only throughout Tennessee and Kentucky, but many other States. Foote's History of North Carolina(13) and his History of Virginia give us thrilling accounts of revivals started in these two States by people just returned from McGready's meetings.

Dr. Speer(14) tells us of revivals similarly started in western Pennsylvania. The Rev. James Gallagher, of the Presbyterian Church, gives a most impressive account of its spread into East Tennessee. [16] He says its awful solemnity made people think the day of judgment was at hand.(15)

An old claim, thoroughly refuted when first published,(16) has been recently revived. It is that the revival in McGready's churches was due to the preaching of John McGee, a Methodist. The sole foundation for this claim is that John McGee visited McGready's churches in 1799, and preached in them. McGee himself says his first visit to McGready's churches was in 1799.(17)

But the revival in McGready's churches began in 1797, before McGee moved away from North Carolina, and, at the meeting which McGee first visited, it was in full power before he ever took any part.

No one denies that both Methodists and Baptists had grand revivals about this period; but the claim that the particular revival out of which our church sprang originated with the Methodists has not the shadow of a foundation. The evidence on which the history usually given by our church rests is all that could be desired. The testimony of the pastor and various other actors in these events, all published right at the time, and in the midst of the people where these events occurred, remained unchallenged for twenty years. To this must be added the testimony of the several church judicatures in which these events became the theme of angry discussions. Official records of presbytery, synod, and Assembly speak of the revival which originated under McGready's preaching. Several official circulars(18) sent out by the actors in these events give the same history.

When the Rev. James Smith published his history, our General Assembly appointed a committee of eleven persons, most of whom had been eye-witnesses of these great events, to examine into its accuracy. Their report endorses the accuracy of this portion of the history in every particular.(19)

[17] Besides all this, John McGee set up no such claim. He knew,1 better. Even his letter to Douglass, out of which men tried, after he was dead, to establish such a claim, itself disproves this claim. There were precious revivals among Presbyterians before the Methodist church was born.

There is in my possession a manuscript autobiography of the Rev. Robert Bell. He was present at all McGready's sacramental meetings from 1797 to 1800. Among the things which occupy a prominent place in this autobiography is the trouble he had over the doctrine of reprobation. He was under deep conviction in 1799 and 1800, but feared he was not one of the elect. The doctrine of a general atonement had never been preached in his hearing prior to his conversion, September, 1800. SO far is it from being true that the doctrines preached in McGready's churches before the revival were Methodist doctrines, that many of McGready's people who regularly attended all his services, had never heard a general atonement preached in their lives. Robert Bell read and endorsed the Rev. James Smith's history of the great revival. We have a brief account of this great revival written by the Rev. Samuel McSpeddin.(20) He was an eye-witness. He says the revival began in Kentucky under McGready's preaching in 1797; that it extended in 1800 to Tennessee, and was heartily welcomed by the Methodists, who afterward became the chief agents for spreading it over all of Tennessee. He says the first Methodist preachers to aid in this revival work were John McGee, James Gwinn, and Bishop Asbury. Afterward McKendree came to this field, and, of course, entered heartily into the revival.

McSpeddin calls attention to the fact that there was a Cane Ridge church in Tennessee, which had been confounded with the Cane Ridge in Bourbon County, Kentucky, where the New Lights originated; and this fact, perhaps, helped to create that long-lived error which represents "New Lights" and "Cumberlands" as the same. McSpeddin points out several other minor errors in the published histories. He says, as do all the historians, that McGready had revivals in North Carolina before he came to Kentucky; that [18] soon after his arrival in Kentucky 1796), revivals began under his preaching there. He also says: "McGready was the great instrument, under God, of the commencement of the great revival, called the revival of 1800."

McSpeddin says that Shiloh and DeSha's, so often mentioned in our early history as churches in Sumner County, Tennessee, were one and the same, and that Dry Fork church, in the same county, was composed of the revival party of both Hopewell and Shiloh. {See Banner of Peace, No. 15, Vol. xii.}

There was a controversy between "Uncle" Joe Brown and McSpeddin about the dates in McSpeddin's history, but the accuracy of these dates was thoroughly and triumphantly established by McSpeddin and acknowledged by Brown. His dates make it almost certain that John McGee's first visit to McGready's meetings was in 1800. One feature, however, of McGready's meetings at a later day was clearly due to McGee, who ran through the church shouting and telling the people to shout, until he succeeded in producing quite a tumult. The Presbyterians generally condemned shouting, and this feature of McGready' s meetings, after McGee's visits, was one of the grounds of their bitter complaints. So it is probable that the "shouting," once so common, now SO rare, among Cumberland Presbyterians was of Methodist parentage.

It is amusing to read the Rev. Dr. Fergus Ferguson's account of the shouting by one of our good sisters at our General Assembly in 1874, when he and Dr. Morrison were on their visit to America.(21) It really seems, from his account, that he had never heard any such thing before, and did not know what it was. I wonder if the Methodists of Scotland never shout.

It was, perhaps, through the brothers, John and William McGee--one a Methodist and the other a Presbyterian--that what was called "the union" was accomplished. Before that "union" it was not at all customary for different denominations to commune together at the Lord's table or work together in meetings--least of all for Methodists and Presbyterians to commune together.

[19] The history of "tokens"(22) is a strange one. Dr. Blackburn, liberal and progressive as he was, refused to admit Joe Brown to the communion table because Brown had communed with the Cumberland Presbyterians. It was this which drove Brown out of the Presbyterian Church. "Fencing the table" was a more rigid thing than any of our Baptist brethren now practice in their "close communion."

"The union" formed in the time of the McGees was nothing more than a written contract to commune together and hold meetings together--union meetings.





"He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."


Not all so-called revivals are genuine. Was this one a genuine work of God? The testimonies here introduced are from that class of witnesses entitled to the greatest respect. They are conclusive, if human testimony can be conclusive in such a matter.

The Rev. David Rice, who visited McGready's churches during the revival, preached a sermon before his synod in reference to this wonderful work. This sermon was preached in 1803.(23) He says:

This revival has made its appearance in various places without any extraordinary means to produce it. ...

The revival appears to be granted in answer to prayer, and in confirmation of that gracious truth that God has "not said to the house of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain," when he says he will be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them.

As far as I can see, there appears to be in the subjects of this work a deep, heart humbling sense of the great unreasonableness, abominable nature, pernicious effects, and deadly consequences of sin; and the absolute unworthiness in the sinful creature of the smallest crumb of mercy from the hand of a holy God. ... Jesus Christ, and him crucified, appears to be the ALL IN ALL to the subjects of this revival and the creature nothing, and less than nothing.

They seem to have a very deep and affecting sense of the worth of precious immortal souls, ardent love to them, and an agonizing concern for their conviction, conversion, and complete salvation.

Neighborhoods, noted for their vicious and profligate manners, are now as much noted for their piety and good order.

Drunkards, profane swearers, liars, quarrelsome persons, etc., are remarkably reformed. ... A number of families who had lived apparently without the fear of God, in folly and in vice, without any [21] religious instruction or any proper government, are now reduced to order, and are daily joining in the worship of God, reading his word, singing his praises, and offering up their supplications to a Throne of Grace.

Parents who seemed formerly to have little or no regard for the souls of their children, are now anxiously concerned for their salvation, are pleading for them, and endeavoring to lead them to Christ and train them up in the way of piety and virtue.....

The subjects of this work appear to be very sensible of the necessity of consecration as well as justification, and that without holiness no man can see the Lord; to be greatly desirous that they and all that name the name of Christ should depart from iniquity. ...

Now, I have given you my reasons for concluding the morning is come, and that we are blessed with a real revival of the benign and heaven-born religion of Jesus Christ, which demands our grateful acknowledgements to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Five years later, when the revival preachers had been placed under the interdict of a commission of synod, this same David Rice again testifies: "That we had a revival of the spirit and power of Christianity(24) among us, I did, do, and ever shall, believe ... but we sadly mismanaged it; we have dashed it down and broken it to pieces."

How far the Presbyterian Church suffered from its treatment of the revival preachers, he and others of his comrades had begun keenly to feel, and have left us clear testimony. Dr. Davidson tries to lay the blame for this injury to the Presbyterian Church, in Kentucky and Tennessee, on the revival. Mr. Rice knew where to lay it. He says, "We have not acted as wise master-builders who have no need to be ashamed."(25)

From the beginning of this work, in 1797, for a series of years the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church gave its testimony to the precious fruits of this revival. In 1803, it adds to its former testimony many precious words about the revival in other parts-of the field and then notices our field as follows:

In many southern and western presbyteries revivals more extensive

and of a more extraordinary nature have taken place. It would be

easy for the Assembly to select some very remarkable instances of the [22] triumphs of divine grace which were exhibited before them in the course of the very interesting narratives presented in the free conversation-instances of the most malignant opposers of vital piety being convinced and reconciled; of some learned, active, and conspicuous infidels becoming signal monuments of that grace which they once despised; and various circumstances which display the holy efficacy of the gospel. ... In the course of the last year, there is reason to believe that several thousands within the bounds of the Presbyterian Church have been brought to embrace the gospel of Christ. ... The Assembly consider it worthy of particular attention, that most of the accounts of

revivals communicated to them stated that the institution of praying societies, or special seasons of special prayer to God for the outpouring of the Spirit, preceded the remarkable displays of divine grace with which our land has been blessed. In most cases, preparatory to signal effusions of the Holy Spirit, the pious have been stirred up to cry fervently and importunately that God would appear to vindicate his own cause. The Assembly see in this a confirmation of the word of God, and an ample encouragement of the prayers and hopes of the pious for future and more extensive manifestations of the divine power. And they trust that the churches under their care, while they see cause of

abundant thankfulness for this dispensation, will also perceive that it presents new motives to zeal and fervor in application to that throne of grace from which every good and perfect gift cometh. The Assembly also observe with great pleasure that the desire for spreading the gospel among the blacks and among the savage tribes on our borders has been rapidly increasing during the last year. The Assembly take notice of this circumstance with the more satisfaction, as it not only affords a pleasing presage of the spread of the gospel, but also furnishes agreeable evidence of the genuineness and the benign tendency of that spirit, which God has been pleased to pour out upon his people. On the whole, the assembly can not but declare with joy and with most cordial congratulations to the churches under their care, that the state and prospects of vital religion in our country are more favorable and encouraging than at any period within the last forty years.

There was a long letter written by the Rev. George Baxter to Dr. A. Alexander, which I desire to introduce here. Dr. Baxter was for many years President of Washington College, in Virginia. At the time of his death he was Professor of Theology in the Union Theological Seminary, Virginia. He wrote from Kentucky, January 1, 1802. His statements, when published, were attacked by the anti-revival party. He defended them. Dr. Davidson says if [23] he had lived long enough he would have corrected some of his statements. Well, it is not likely that he would have contradicted his testimony to facts. He says:

I will just observe that the last summer is the fourth since the revival commenced in those places, and that it has been more remarkable than any of the preceding, not only for lively and fervent devotion among Christians, but also for awakenings and conversions among the careless; and it is worthy of notice that very few instances of apostasy have hitherto appeared. As I was not myself in the Cumberland country, all I can say about it is from the testimony of others; but I was uniformly told by those who had been there, that their religious assemblies were more solemn and the appearance of the work much greater than what had been in Kentucky. Any enthusiastic symptoms which might at first have attended the revival had greatly subsided, while the serious concern and engagedness of the people were visibly increased.

Dr. Baxter then gives us many strong statements about the precious fruits of the revival in Kentucky, where he was then visiting. He says: "In October I attended three sacraments; at each there were supposed to be between four and five thousand people, and every thing was conducted with strict propriety." Dr. Baxter takes up the charge of enthusiasm made against the revival and denies it. He says:

Never have I seen more genuine marks of that humility which disdains the merits of its own duties, and looks to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of acceptance with God. I was indeed highly pleased to find that Christ was all in all in their religion as well as in the religion of the gospel. Christians in their highest attainments seemed more sensible of their entire dependence upon divine grace, and it was truly affecting to hear with what agonizing anxiety awakened sinners inquired for Christ as the only physician who could give them any help. Those who call these things enthusiasm ought to tell us what they understand by the spirit of Christianity. In fact, sir, this revival operates as our Savior promised the Holy Spirit should when sent into the world--it convinces of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, a strong confirmation, to my mind, both that the promise is divine and that this is a remarkable fulfillment of it.

Again he says in the same letter:

I think the revival in Kentucky among the most extraordinary that have ever visited the church of Christ, and, all things considered, pecul [24] iarly adapted to the circumstances of that country. Infidelity was triumphant and religion on the point of expiring. Something of an extraordinary nature seemed necessary to arrest the attention of giddy people, who were ready to conclude that Christianity was a fable and futurity a dream. The revival has clone it. It has confounded infidelity and vice into silence, and brought numbers beyond calculation under serious impressions.

Dr. Baxter, in a letter quoted in Davidson, p. 186, tells of the wonderful reformation in morals and manners and the general religious solemnity which the revival produced over all Kentucky. He says, "I found Kentucky the most moral place I had ever seen." And this was in that same frontier where he tells us that only four years before infidelity had been triumphant.

I am for the present excluding inside testimony. McGready and Hodge were actors in the revival, but the Rev. Gideon Blackburn ought to be accepted as good outside testimony. In 1804 he wrote a long letter to a friend in Philadelphia, in which he describes what he had seen of the revival, and defends it from the charges made against it. He says:

I am constrained to say that I have discovered far less extravagance, disorder, and irregularity than could be expected in so extraordinary an awakening, especially when part of it took place among persons settled in the back parts, and entirely destitute of the means of grace. If crowded audiences, earnest praying, practical preaching, and animated singing may be considered irregularity, if crying out for mercy, if shouting glory to God for salvation are disorderly, then there is some disorder, but I presume not more than there was on the day of Pentecost.(26)

The Rev. David Nelson's testimony is given in the Western Sketch Book. In speaking of the charge that the Kentucky revival ran into Shakerism, he says:

When God has been pleased graciously to visit a people with the quickening power of his Spirit, and many have been turned from sin to holiness, and from Satan to God, is it not marvelous that good men can be so deluded by the wiles of the great adversary as to become evidently eager to impute all the wrong things that may appear in that [25] community for ten or twenty years afterward to the influence of the revival? With as much propriety you might charge the apostasy of Judas to the Ministry of Jesus Christ.

It is true that one of the preachers who co-operated with McGready afterward joined the Shakers. It is true, too, that one of the apostles who traveled along with Jesus afterward sold his Master. While one of the revival party did go at last to the Shakers, it is true, also, that the wealthiest and most influential acquisition which the Shakers of that day made in that community was an anti-revival Presbyterian. It is true, also, that no Cumberland Presbyterian joined them. But what does all that amount to ? The Shakers neither originated there, nor prospered in that field to the extent they did in fields where the Presbyterian Church had no revival. Nor did any men stand firmer against these heresies than the preachers who afterward composed the first presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The Rev. James Gallagher says of these same heresies:

Certain it is that no men more regretted any departure from sound doctrines than did these good men whose labors were so abundantly blessed in that dispensation of the Holy spirit by which the West, in its infancy, was consecrated to the service of God. Nor do I believe that now, after fifty years, there is in any part of the several evangelical denominations more of that religion which God approves than in the region visited by the revival of 1800.

He also speaks of the Cumberland Presbyterians thus:

This body of Christian people began their organized existence during that great divine visitation.(27) There are among them many strong men: workmen that need not be ashamed. And their blessed Master has been with them in every part of that wide field where they have labored, and has made his gospel the power of God unto salvation to many thousand believing souls. From my inmost soul I honor these men, and will speak of it in the presence of the church of my God. ... I have no hesitation in declaring my belief that during the last forty years no body of ministers in America or in the world have preached so much good efficient preaching, and received such small compensation That church now stands before heaven and earth a monument of God's great work in the revival of 1800.

[26] Testimonies from Methodists about the revival could, of course, be produced; but these here quoted are all of them from that church in which the revival had such bitter opposition. It never had any opposition from the Methodists. Bishop Asbury and Bishop McKendree both visited the Presbyterian Churches where it first prevailed, and both gave it their hearty endorsement.

The history of this revival, by Dr. Speer, is published and endorsed by the Presbyterian publishing board at Philadelphia, and on the cover the board say, among other things of like import, that their object in publishing the book is to "inspire the church to efforts for another great revival from on high." The whole book is one of unqualified endorsement of the revival: and except one paragraph, is, I believe, a correct history. That the revival of 1800 quickened into new life all the enterprises of the Christian Churches is abundantly proved by this little book.

That revival in Tennessee and Kentucky, under God, rescued those two States, and, through them, the West and South, from French infidelity. Going out into a broader field, and studying the fruits of the revival in its whole broad extent over America and Europe, Dr. Speer shows that this work in the West was only a part of a grand forward movement of the kingdom of our Savior throughout the world.

Out of this grand movement sprang the Bible societies, the missionary boards, the tract societies, which have so wonderfully blessed the world. In a remarkable little book, by Dr. Rochester, on Christian progress, he gives us a diagram of progress. In missions, the line which shows that progress runs nearly parallel with the horizon till it reaches 1800, then it ascends at an angle of about sixty degrees.

For such a time as this are we come into the kingdom.





"Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?"

                                                            Awake, O spirit, that of old
                                                        Did'st fire the watchmen of the church's youth,
                                                            Who faced the foe, unshrinking, bold;
                                                        Who witnessed, day and night, the eternal truth;
                                                            Whose voices through the world are ringing still,
                                                        And bringing hosts to know and do thy will.

'Evun uvµiv x `u ous.--Luke xxiv. 49.


It is a truth too often forgotten that the gift of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost was the beginning of what was henceforth to be the distinctive privilege of the new dispensation. The Holy Spirit had always been in the world, and every genuine conversion had been his work; but the Paraclete was that Spirit in a new office, and with new and abiding power on the believer. The Old Testament saints had the Spirit in occasional manifestations. Some who live earnestly, and are true Christians, have only these occasional or Old Testament gifts; but the Paraclete is an abiding power. "He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." It is a precious gift to be specially sought, as it was by the apostles after the ascension of Christ.

The object of this chapter is to show that the chief actors in the revival of 1800 had this New Testament baptism of the Holy Ghost. The first proof of this fact is found in the abiding nature of their spirituality. They all advocated daily communion with God as an attainable experience. In Finis Ewing's lecture on sanctification he uses many strong expressions on this subject, and adduces, as evidence of a low state of grace in some Christians, the fact that "they are not expecting daily communion with God, daily access to the throne, a daily or abiding witness that they are born of God."

[28] Besides advocating the theory, their works show plainly that they had this abiding presence and power of the Holy Spirit with them, and knew the fact, and were made fearless by it. The Rev. H. A. Hunter, who knew them all, gave it as his opinion that the chief difference between them and modern preachers lay in their consciousness of God's abiding presence.

An anecdote of Ewing illustrates the truth that these men had abiding spiritual power.(28) A gentleman went with some wicked associates to hear Ewing preach. As he had never heard Ewing, his comrades offered to bet him twenty dollars that he could not go into the church and sit through the sermon without going to the mourner's bench when Ewing made the inevitable call for mourners. He took the bet, sat through the sermon, resisted the call for mourners, going, instead, out to his comrades, saying, "Gentlemen, I have won the bet, but I want none of your money. From this hour on, as long as I live, I shall not rest till I find salvation." It was not long until he was among the happy converts, and he long ornamented the church in which he cast his lot.

There is no part of Cumberland Presbyterian history of greater practical importance than the subject of this chapter. The danger in modern times is that men will forget to seek this new anointing from the Holy Spirit. Moody's testimony on this subject has been extensively published. "You lack the power," the ladies said to him. He sought the power. God gave it to him, and it abides with him. He said:

Eight years ago I was anxious for ministers and workers to see this truth and seek for this power. I remember that dear man, Rev. James Robertson, of Newington, telling me that when the work began in Edinburgh he could only preach once a week. He was suffering from heart disease. He prayed-and the Spirit of God came upon him; he seemed to be anointed for his burial. "And now," said he, "I have preached eight times a week for a month, and enjoy better health than for years gone."

I can myself go back almost twelve years, and remember two holy women who used to come to my meetings. It was delightful to see them there. When I began to preach I could tell by the expression of their faces that they were praying for me. At the close of the Sab [29] bath meeting they would say to me, "We have been praying for you."said, ' Why don't you pray for the people ?" They answered, "You need the power." "I need the power!" I said to myself; "why I thought I had power." I had a large Sabbath-school and the largest congregation in Chicago. There were some conversions at the time. I was, in a sense, satisfied. But right along these two godly women kept praying for me, and their earnest talk about "anointing for special service" set me to thinking. I asked them to come and talk with me, and we got down on our knees. They poured out their hearts that I might receive an anointing from the Holy Spirit, and there came a great hunger into my soul. I did not know what it was. I began to cry as I never did before. The hunger increased. I really felt that I did not want to live any longer if I could not have this power for service. Then came the Chicago fire. I was burnt out of house and home at two o'clock in the morning. This did not so much affect me; my heart was full of the yearning for divine power. I was to go on a special mission to raise funds for the homeless, but my heart was not in the work of begging. I could not appeal. I was crying all the time that God would fill me with his Spirit. Well, one day in the city of New York--O what a day! I can not describe it; I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say, God then revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand. I went to preaching again I did not present any new truths. The sermons were not different, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you would give me all Glasgow--it would be as the small dust of the balance. I tell you it is a sad day when a convert goes into the church, and that is the last you hear of him. If, however, you want this power for some selfish end--as, for example, to gratify your own ambition--you will not get it. "No flesh," says God, "shall glory in my presence." May he empty us of self and fill us with his Spirit.

Brought in to be a live factor in the grand progress of Christ's kingdom, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church stands in wonderful relations to God. Her first ministers were flaming fires. Wherever they went there were revivals. When they stopped all night at a private house or at wayside hotels, there were. professions of religion. They left homes and families and every earthly interest to go and preach Jesus to perishing souls. My father gave me an incident of Robert Donnell which illustrates the ever-abiding pres [30] ence of God's Holy Spirit with these men. Father was traveling in the South and stopped at a wayside inn. Soon after another traveler put up at the same house. When the innkeeper proposed to take his guests to bed one of them said, "If you have no objections, I should like to have prayers with your family before I go to bed." The family were gathered. After the prayer the hotel keeper and his wife were seen to be weeping. The traveler labored with them that night till they both professed religion. The traveler was the Rev. Robert Donnell.

Another incident is here given to illustrate the same abiding presence of God's Holy Spirit with the preachers of that great revival. Many years ago I was traveling in the mountains of Tennessee. Passing by a large framed meeting-house, a gentleman who lived in the neighborhood, and had fallen in with me on the route, said to me: "That church has a strange history. Late one Saturday a stranger stopped at my father's to stay all night. After supper he told my father that he never traveled on Sunday, and would like to have religious services at his house on the Sabbath, if there were no objections. Next morning the neighbors were gathered in and the stranger preached. The very heavens came down to earth. Men fell to the floor crying for mercy. Before that stranger left the neighborhood the new converts were organized into a Cumberland Presbyterian Church. That stranger was the Rev. Thomas Calhoun. That church grew until it was able to build the house of worship which we have just passed."

The next proof of this New Testament gift upon our fathers is found in the extraordinary power of their preaching. It was not learning or talents, but spiritual power. I have tried in vain to obtain a copy of a letter published by the Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller, of Princeton, New Jersey, in regard to this power in the preaching of H. F. Delany. The letter was often spoken of in my boyhood, and my recollections of the case are endorsed by several persons with whom I have compared notes, and the son of Delany(29) among them.

Dr. Miller had written some very bitter things against the Cum [31] berland Presbyterians, being, as he afterward acknowledged,(30) wholly misinformed about them. He was traveling west and stopped over Sabbath. There was a Cumberland Presbyterian camp-meeting in the neighborhood, and Dr. Miller went. The Rev. H.F. Delany preached. Dr. Miller found his prejudices melting away, until he was all overcome at last with the simplicity and power of the gospel as Delany preached it. Dr. Miller wrote and published a glowing account of the sermon, declaring his conviction that the mighty power of God's Holy Spirit was on that preacher.

An old brother who had known Robert Donnell well attended the Chautauqua Assembly. I asked him what he thought of Chautauqua. His reply was: "If Robert Donnell could come back to earth and preach at Chautauqua just one such sermon as I have heard him preach at the camp-meetings it would set the whole vast thing on fire, until only the cries of lost sinners and the shouts of new converts could be heard. "

At Cave. Spring camp-ground, Overton County, Tennessee, the Chapman presbytery was in session. Some ordinations were appointed for the Sabbath. The camp-meeting was unusually large. Not only the shelter, but the whole lot was filled with people. When the presbytery gathered around the candidates for the imposition of hands, the congregation rose to their feet to see the ceremony. The prayer was offered by the Rev. Thomas Calhoun. His pleading with God for the Holy Spirit's power to be given to those young men impressed my boyish heart, as I listened, with new and grand ideas of the divine mission of the gospel ministry. Then the prayer shed a startling flash of light on a holy partnership and union between a truly spiritual preacher and God. Then came another flash sweeping out over the dark masses of fallen men to whom God was sending the gospel. O the gospel! how that prayer revealed and transformed it to my young eyes. The prayer went on, and people standing near the preacher sank down sobbing to the earth. The prayer went on, and others who stood next sank in like manner to the ground. Burning sentences, [32] thrilling with the power of God's Spirit, went up from the preacher's heart to God, and the next circle of by-standers sank to the ground, sobbing and groaning. Finally, all under the shelter were alike bowed to the earth. Still the thrilling prayer seemed to gather more power. When at last it closed, not only under the shelter, but out to the fence and all around, and back even in the camps, men lay upon the ground weeping and praying.

Nobody rose when the amen was uttered. The remaining ceremonies were performed in choking, sobbing whispers. Then there was a pause. O that pause! Then the old man, the grand survivor of the revival preachers of 1800, uttered one little sentence: "Ye called of God, to your work!" and, leading the way, he and the other preachers went among the prostrate crowd, telling the lost what to do to be saved.

Our venerable and beloved brother, the Rev. W.H. Baldridge, who was a pupil first and afterward a fellow-laborer of the Rev. James B. Porter, gives me many precious facts about Porter's wonderful spiritual power. Although Brother Baldridge heard all our first preachers, being now eighty years old, he does not hesitate to pronounce Porter the most powerful one among them. One of the facts which he so kindly furnished me is as follows: The Rev. James Bowman, of the Presbyterian Church, resolved to hold a camp-meeting in his congregation; but his brethren, in his presbytery, were nearly all Old Side, and would have nothing to do with camp-meetings. The few favorable to the revival had other engagements. Bowman could get no help. The ecclesiastical authorities of the mother church had forbidden its people either to recognize as ministers the preachers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, or to commune with its members.(31) Notwithstanding this, Mr. Bowman invited James B. Porter to assist him in his camp-meeting. This was a new departure. Porter agreed to assist on two conditions. First, that he should be allowed to preach his own doctrines. Second, that there should be no tokens used at the communion service, but all Christians be allowed to participate. His conditions were accepted. While Porter preached [33] (text, "Turn, ye prisoners of hope"), the mighty power of God swept over the vast assembly. Sinners fell like men slain in battle. Going home was postponed one day after another. There were one hundred and twenty-five professions. Fifteen of the converts became ministers of the gospel.

Another proof that these spiritual heroes had this higher baptism is found in their lofty faith. What a difference Pentecost made in the faith of the apostles! The men of 1800 often announced results beforehand, because God had given them assurance in answer to their prayers. In Bird's life of Alexander Chapman, p. 178, is an incident illustrating this point. At Mount Moriah, in Logan County, Kentucky, after hours spent in the woods in solemn prayer, Chapman began his sermon with the words, "You shall all feel before I am done." The results vindicated his assurance. Not only feeling, but many conversions there were there that day.

There is an incident from Calhoun's ministry illustrating this point. He was at a camp-meeting at Rock Spring camp-ground, in Overton County, Tennessee. On Sabbath morning at breakfast some one told him that two desperate young men had bound themselves by a solemn oath to break up the meeting that day. Calhoun replied, "We'll see." Immediately after breakfast he went to his usual retreat, the woods, and there remained in prayer till time to commence the eleven o'clock sermon. Then he entered the rustic pulpit and announced his text. Then he stated what had been told him at breakfast, adding: "I am a preacher called and sent from God. You shall this day see, and know, and acknowledge that God is with me, and is able to give me the victory over all the opposition of men and devils." At that moment the two desperate young men before spoken of rose to their feet, and, with loud oaths, began cursing the preacher and the meeting, and moving through the crowd with noisy efforts at disturbance. Calhoun went on with his sermon. No human voice could keep his from being heard. The piercing power of his sentences made people forget all disturbances. That eagle eye of his held the eyes of the congregation. People were weeping. Hearts were lifted to God in prayer. The poor, silly young men who were trying to [34] disturb the worship could not help hearing those wonderful sentences. No one could hear them without feeling the burning fire of God's Spirit which was in them. Presently one, then the other, of these two would-be disturbers of God's worship fell, like Saul of Tarsus, prostrate to the earth. They both were converted that day, and one of them became a minister of the gospel, and died proclaiming salvation to the lost. My parents were present at this meeting and gave me the incident. I knew the men.

Another proof that the men of 1800 had this Paraclete baptism is seen in their real, practical consecration to Christ, much like the consecration after Pentecost. Solemn covenants of consecration were written by some of them after their conversion, and were carried out in such a manner as to show that they were in earnest. From a long written covenant of consecration which was entered into by Robert Donnell, I make a brief extract: "And now, O Lord, I consecrate myself, ... my talents--whether one or five--my time, influence, all to thee."

A few years afterward when his little daughter died, he was absent in Alabama holding a camp-meeting. Writing to his wife, on receiving this sad intelligence, he says: "But for my appointments to preach, I would set out immediately to see my dear, afflicted wife. I have, however, given myself to the Lord to serve in his vineyard, and am not at liberty, like men of the world, to leave my Master's work."(32) Ah! consecration was no empty sound in such a life as that. {See Ezekiel xxiv. 16, et seq.}

Take one more case. When Samuel King was in his sixtieth year the General Assembly asked him to make an evangelistic tour among the feeble churches of the frontier. Without hesitation he mounted his horse and made a grand tour through Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Missouri. He was absent from his family, on this tour, nearly two years. Do you say he did not love his family? I answer that you who say that do not know what real practical consecration to Christ, the King, means.

I find that written covenants of consecration were the rule, their [35] absence the exception. But this covenant is often made in words, while the after life shows there was no real consecration in deeds. The lives of all these heroes of 1800 show consecration in deeds.

When this higher baptism was given on the day of Pentecost, there followed grander answers to prayer than the apostles had ever known before. The men of 1800 had answers to prayer of such a nature as to provoke incredulous smiles when described in modern times.

About the year 1814, the Rev. William Harris was very sick with winter fever. It was thought he would die. The family stood round him weeping. He turned his face to the wall and prayed. At length he told his wife to cease weeping because the Lord had given him the clear assurance that he should recover from that sickness. He lived thirty years after that. The life-long friend of Harris, the Rev. Alexander Chapman, having heard of this dangerous illness of his fellow-laborer, called together the Little Muddy congregation, of which he was pastor, and notified them that the special object for which he had assembled them was that they might join him in praying for the recovery of Harris. It was at the same hour in which they were engaged in this prayer that Harris announced to his wife that he was going to get well.(33)

Thirty years ago all this country abounded with similar traditions of wonderful answers to prayer.

The wife of the Rev. W.W. Hendricks, D.D., witnessed the following incident and furnished me a written account thereof The Rev. Thomas Calhoun was preaching the funeral sermon of the Rev. Robert Donnell. Vast crowds of people were present. A heavy rain was seen to be approaching. People began to be restless. Calhoun raised his hands to heaven and prayed God not to allow the rain to disturb the solemn worship. Then, turning to the congregation, he assured them that God would not allow the rain to come upon their saddles. The cloud parted, and it rained all around, hard and long, but none fell either on the camp-ground or on the multitude of horses which stood with saddles on them in the adjacent grove.

[36] Many years ago, some ladies, in Kentucky, who witnessed the following incident, gave me, substantially, this history thereof. There was a severe drought. Chapman called his congregation together to pray for rain. He lead the first prayer. At first the prayer was very earnest pleading, then the prayer turned into thanksgiving for the rain which God had assured him was coming. It began raining abundantly that same day. O well, people laugh at such things now, and they who laugh go without any such answers to their prayers. Every one of our first preachers has left us proof that he believed that God healed the sick in answer to the prayer of faith. I am prepared to substantiate this assertion, if need be. Dr. Beard, in noticing this faith of our fathers, indorses and defends it. See biographical sketch of Harris. He gives his testimony, too, to the facts which I have been laboring to prove about this Paraclete power on the men of 1800. Hear him:

The first generation of Cumberland Presbyterians were the most intensely spiritual people that I have ever known. It is charged, I know, that old men look back and magnify the past, while young men look forward; but I can not be mistaken on this subject. Those people lived nearer heaven than ordinary Christians do now."(34)

The earnest advocacy of this Paraclete baptism, as a distinct blessing, after conversion, is found in many of the writings of our fathers. The McAdow MSS. before me contain two sermons devoted specially to this subject. One of them argues the general question; the other discusses the absolute necessity of this divine baptism in order to ministerial success. Some points in Mr. McAdow's arguments will be here condensed. He says: The gift of the Holy Ghost, in conviction and conversion, is not all its gifts. This is shown by the Holy Spirit giving messages and prophecies to unconverted men, like Balaam. It is shown by the gift of the Spirit to King Saul, not for his own sake at all, but for the sake of God's people over whom Saul was ruler. It is shown by the gifts of mechanical skill to Bezaleel, that he might construct cunningly the vessels of the sanctuary. It is shown by the gift of wisdom to Solomon that he might govern God's people wisely. It [37] is shown by all the special "ascension gifts" mentioned in the New Testament--gifts suited to each special sphere of duty, in which men had their special callings; gifts conferred after conversion, fitting each recipient for some special service.

The other sermon takes the ground boldly, and argues it, that after a truly converted man is called of God to preach the gospel, and has received all the education which the schools can give, he may still be destitute of this New Testament baptism, and he is utterly unfit for his work in the gospel ministry until he does receive this super-added gift of power from the Paraclete, specially fitting him for the work of preaching the gospel. In this sermon Mr. McAdow argues the perpetuity of the order to tarry at Jerusalem till endued with the power from above. He insists that no one should go out to the preacher's work until this baptism of power has been conferred upon his soul. He shows that no amount of learning or professional training can give this power. Even the three years which the apostles spent traveling with Jesus failed to furnish it. He says: "I have no doubt but that there are men in our day who have received a genuine call to preach the gospel, ... but have never yet received that unction of the Holy Ghost." Again he says: "O that all our dear brethren who are looking forward to the ministry would heed the admonition of Christ to his disciples, and tarry at Jerusalem till they obtain this seal of their commission!"

The Rev. James Gallagher, a precious minister of the Presbyterian Church, who witnessed some of the scenes of the great revival, discusses this very subject in "The Western Sketch Book," which he edited. He gives wonderful descriptions of the special gifts of prayer bestowed on some people. He insists that these were special endowments of power from God's Spirit. He says, while discussing the "bodily exercises:" "Of the professors of religion who were in this country when this revival began, perhaps one half became the subjects of this bodily exercise. These were invariably baptized with that spirit of prayer. The bodily exercises did not continue long, but that marvelous power of prayer was lasting as life." He goes on to describe the wonderful transformations of dull and formal and stupid church members by this baptism. He [38] says many, personally known to him through a period of thirty years, whose prayers had always been cold and lifeless, when they received that divine antimonide of power, "would at once rise above and beyond themselves--yea, above all I ever heard. This extraordinary power in prayer continued with them through their life." Again he says of this new power in prayer: "The man who has been acquainted with that strain or manner of prayer will know it in a moment whenever or wherever he may have the opportunity to hear it again."

Dr. Bird, in his life of Chapman, page 350, says he "valued the anointing of the Holy Spirit above every thing else. ... Grace, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, was every thing to him."

Every one of these men whom I heard preach in my boyhood--Donnell, McSpeddin, Barnett, Calhoun, Harris, George Donnell, and many others of the next generation--laid special emphasis on this baptism of power from the Holy Spirit. This they did in all their preaching and their prayers.

Men try to apologize for the lack of this spiritual power now by pleading that the preachers of 1800 had uneducated, primitive, excitable people to preach to. Some of them cite the impulsiveness and inflammability of the colored race as a proof that the grand results of 1800 were due to similar conditions, instead of a superior spirituality. I ask, Was the Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller ignorant and excitable? Was the Rev. James Gallagher, of the Presbyterian Church, or the Rev. Dr. Bird, or the Rev. Dr. Beard, or the Rev. Dr. H.A. Hunter, of our own church, ignorant and excitable? No, no! Let us turn to the stronghold and seek the divine gift for our own souls.







It is hard to be impartially just in writing this chapter. There is no doubt but that the manner in which the revival was managed gave some just grounds for complaint; neither is there any ground to doubt that most of the complaints made were undeserved. All genuine revivals are committed to human management, and stir up both just and unjust complaints.

Before McGready came to Kentucky his revivals stirred up opposition, even to the extent of threatening the preacher's life. A letter written in blood was sent to him warning him to leave the country.(35)

When, in his Kentucky field, the revival made its appearance, the Rev. Mr. Balch, of McGready's own presbytery, visited McGready's churches for the special purpose of preaching against the revival, and ridiculing what McGready had taught about faith, repentance, and regeneration.(36) Balch's preaching caused a vast amount of mischief. Nor did he stop with pulpit ministrations, but also visited the converts from house to house ridiculing their experience.(37) Nor was this preacher the only one who opposed the revival. In the same field were four others who opposed it. They were Craighead, Bowman, Templin, and Donnell. Balch made the fifth; just half the Presbyterian preachers in that field. Those who favored the revival and worked for it were McGready, [40] Hodge, McGee, McAdow, and Rankin. The opposition was not confined to the ministry. King, with his lancet and camphor, going to minister to a soul seeking salvation, was only a sample of what many a church member was.

Before any other question arose between the two parties this one had split the churches asunder. The Muddy River church, in Kentucky, divided, and the revival party formed a new church called Liberty.

In 1801(38), the difficulty on this account in the Shiloh congregation, Sumner County, Tennessee, was brought before the presbytery. It had, of course, occurred before that date. The same year the revival part of Spring Creek church,(39) in Wilson County, Tennessee, having for a considerable time been locked out of the meetinghouse, withdrew and built them another house, which they called Bethesda. This church still exists.

The Gasper church(40), in Logan County, Kentucky, was closed against the revival party, and for years they held their meetings in the grove near the church. At a later day they built at Pilot Knob, in Simpson County. Their meeting place was in the adjacent grove when the Commission met at the church. This explains what Dr. Davidson says about Mr. Rankin's addressing the people in the grove while the Commission were at Gasper.

The Red River church,(41) in Logan County, Kentucky, was locked against the revival party, and McGready stood on the door steps and preached. One day while he or some other revival preacher stood there gesticulating violently, a backward stroke broke the lock, and the house was never locked against the revival party afterward.

There were several cases in which this opposition to the revival amounted to personal violence. The Calhoun MSS. give an account of one man who used a stick to enforce his views. The McAdow papers make several allusions to this personal violence. So do the Kirkpatrick MSS. In this opposition infidels and church members made common cause. A very wicked man saw [41] his wife go to the mourner's bench. In a rage he rushed to the place and dragged her away, cursing the revival as he went. While he was on his way to her horse a tree fell on him and killed him. The corpse was brought back to the shelter, and then and there McGready preached the poor sinner's funeral sermon. This was at Shiloh.(42)

Opposition to revivals per se is an exotic plant in Presbyterian gardens. Its importation began in the Established Church of Scotland, when state authority thrust unconverted men into the pastorates. We have already seen that unconverted preachers were common in McGready's day, according to the judgment of their contemporaries. Such men are generally opposed to revivals per se. But a far better class of Presbyterians have always opposed "revival measures." All honest hyper-Calvinists are logically opposed to such things. A recent writer in The Southern Presbyterian Quarterly, in arguing against our modern revivals, puts ultra-Calvinism in its legitimate expression when he says: "In the conversion and sanctification of the elect, the Almighty appoints a bound, and there is no margin for improvement. ... A faithful proclamation of the glad tidings is all the machinery that is needed in the salvation of those who are ordained to eternal life."(43) The same writer declares his conviction that all the modern revivals have been a disadvantage to the churches.

There were in 1800 many rigid notions among the churches which seem strange to us now. Singing hymns instead of psalms was one of McGready's offenses. The day for opposition to fireplaces or stoves in church was gone, but other things as unreasonable still held sway among the descendants of the Covenanters. Night meetings were considered scandalous. In the catalogue of "new measures" which the "Old Side" party objected to, were protracted meetings, night meetings, calling in other ministers to aid in meetings, inquiry meetings, propositions calling for action of any kind, weeping in the pulpit, great fervor in exhortation, itinerant preachers, evangelists both lay and clerical, singing hymns, all noise--shouting, groaning, or crying out for mercy; to all of [42] which was added another long list after camp-meetings and the mourner's bench came into use. The Presbyterian Church was at first divided about half and half on these questions, but the Old Side party today is everywhere in the minority. It counted the heaviest pens of the church from 1740 to 1800. Some of Dr. Samuel Miller's complaints against the revivals in which these new measures were used are very severe,(44) but scarcely less so than Dr. Charles Hodge's.(45)

There were in 1800 many ministers who believed the revival genuine, but objected to many of the measures used, and objected to such an extent that they were often classed with the anti-revival party. David Rice was one of this class. It was new measures which many good men conscientiously opposed. The revival preachers of the Presbyterian Church, all the better class of them, admitted the necessity of caution in times of great popular excitement, and acknowledged the worthlessness of man-made revivals; but they said as God uses human beings in all genuine revivals, so will there always be human imperfections accompanying them. They illustrated the constants and the variables of Christianity by the art of printing. The truth was a constant, printing a variable, and not mentioned in Scripture; yet by its use the unchangeable truth could be carried to many who could never see a copy of the Bible by the old method. There is but one way of salvation, but the agencies by which that way may be taught and impressed are multiplying and improving every year.

The mourner's bench is one of the variables. The advocates of new measures presented strong arguments in its favor, such as these: It commits the sinner publicly to seeking salvation; it touches the hearts of his comrades; it enlists the prayers of Christians for him; it mortifies his stubborn pride. But the mourner's bench has been abused. Perhaps other methods are to take its place.

As for itinerant preaching it is willful blindness to call it a new measure. Christ and his apostles used it, and the commission was "go," not "stay."

The New Side showed that the revival on the day of Pentecost [43] was one of excitement and noise, so much so that men said the apostles were drunk; and yet that great revival neither destroyed nor hindered the ordinary services, but souls were "daily added" to the church after the meeting. There was new life in those ordinary regular services. There was a consecration of men and money to Jesus far beyond what the ordinary services produced.

Then they turned the tables on the objectors. They showed what a routine of stagnation and death the ordinary services had reached before every one of the great revival periods. Men were taken into the church without conversion; unconverted men were taken into the ministry; infidelity, too, crept in under this cloak of lifeless forms; and vast multitudes were sweeping away to hell under a godless ministry.

If Dr. Miller's ninth letter is appalling, the answers to it are still more so. One of the writers (himself a Presbyterian)(46) asks: "Are any of these able men who are writing against the way we conduct our revivals themselves experts in revivals? Did any single one of them ever have a revival, either genuine or spurious, under his ministry?"

We are successful watch-makers. We have sent out thousands of good time-pieces, none of them faultless, but all serviceable. Up yonder in the college observatory is an able astronomer, and he sets himself to writing against our watches, and denouncing them for lack of that ideal perfection which, from his mathematical training, he sees in them. We ask him, Sir, did you ever make a watch?

There is a history by Dr. Robert Henderson, quoted in the McMullin MS., which seems in place here. Dr. Blackburn was holding a revival meeting on the New Side programme. Dr. Henderson, who was Old Side, and had no patience with Dr. Blackburn's meeting, was present. So he gathered a part of Dr. Blackburn's congregation into another house, and held an orderly meeting for them. Although some of Dr. Blackburn's most excitable followers were present, yet there was no noise or confusion of any sort at Dr. Henderson's meeting. It also comes out, incidentally, that there were no conversions there.

[44] In 1852 an earnest Methodist was holding a revival meeting in the church just opposite a great Catholic church in Philadelphia. Day and night for a hundred days the meeting swept on like a tempest. Finally the priest called on the Methodist preacher and inquired if there was no way "to have a stop put to that nuisance." The answer was, "Nothing easier, sir; you just come and preach in my pulpit and all the noise will stop." No doubt Dr. Henderson could produce order out of Dr. Blackburn's excitable materials, but Dr. Blackburn had thousands of seals to his ministry.

The reader will please look at the map. Kentucky Synod took in both the Cumberland settlement and the upper Kentucky settlement. A wilderness lay between them. None of "the Cumberland party" lived or preached in "upper Kentucky." Four Presbyterian ministers in upper Kentucky preached some wild doctrines, and used many strange methods at their meetings, all of which the Cumberland party earnestly condemned. Years before the "Cumberland schism" originated there was a schism in upper Kentucky, and those engaged therein were called Stoneites, after the name of their leader, the Rev. Barton W. Stone. The wildest and most wonderful of their meetings were at Cane Ridge, where miracles, prophesies, and other such wonderful things were said to take place. Afterward, when the Cumberland party sprang up in "Cumberland," some of the Stoneite preachers came to that field, but in every case "the revival party" of Cumberland Presbytery refused to allow these Stoneites to preach in their meetings. Ewing and others preached against the heresies of the Stoneites. Yet for years, and even now, "the anti-revival party" of the mother church holds up the Cane Ridge meetings and Stoneite theology as samples of what the meetings and doctrines of Cumberland Presbyterians are. Several writers who confounded McGready's meetings and the Cumberland meetings of a later day with these wild meetings in upper Kentucky, afterward discovered and corrected their mistake. Others have promised to correct theirs also. It is far more important to them than it is to us that they should do so. "An outrage," says Cervantes, "injures him who gives it, not him that receives it."

[45] An illustration of these misrepresentations is seen in the published letters of Dr. Samuel Miller. He had so often heard and read the charge that the Stoneites, Shakers, and Cumberland Presbyterians were all branches of one tree, and all alike in their revival meetings, that he repeated the charge in his publications. He afterward published the following recantation; "I am now convinced that in representing the `New Lights' or `Stoneites,' the `Shakers,' and the Cumberland Presbyterians as exfoliations from the same disorderly body, and of about the same time, I wrote under a misapprehension of the facts."(47) Again, in the same letter, he says: "Neither the Stoneites nor the Shakers ever made constituent parts of that body. The Stoneites and Shakers, I am now aware, were separated from the church several years anterior to the departure of the Cumberland Presbyterians."

Another sample is taken from the Presbyterian, 1847. After making some grave charges against us, the editor proceeds to prove them, thus, quoting from the Assembly's digest:

But we will give a brief extract in their own words, as these Minutes are accessible but to a few. "When we withdrew," they say, "we considered ourselves freed from all creeds but the Bible; and since that time, by constant application to it, we are led further from the idea of adopting creeds and confessions as standards, than we were at first. We feel ourselves citizens of the world; God our common Father; all men our brethren by nature, and all Christians our brethren in Christ. This principle of universal love to Christians gains ground in our hearts in proportion as we get clear of particular attachments to party. We therefore can not put ourselves in a situation which would check the growth of so benign a temper, and make us fight under a party standard." Although these men had just denied the faith, rent the church, and set up a party standard, yet, with this high sounding language, they attempted to beguile the public, and said to the assembly, "Let us pray for more of the uniting, cementing spirit, and treat differences in lesser matters with Christian charity." They were ready for a reunion, but only on the terms that the whole church should give up its creed and descend to their level. Thus it was upwards of forty years ago in our own church; let the church now, as then, stand up for the maintenance and defense of its precious distinctive doctrines.

[46] To which Milton Bird made the following reply, addressing himself to the Presbyterian:

By referring to Davidson's late history of Presbyterianism in Kentucky (pp. 197, 198, 200,), in connection with the Minutes from which you quote, you will find that you have mistaken the "New Lights" for the Cumberland Presbyterians. The two have no more fellowship with each other than night and day. The "Separatists," or "New Lights," to which these Minutes refer, soon disbanded without adopting any creed. Three of them joined the Shakers, two united again with the Presbyterian Church, and the sixth, Barton Stone, joined the Campbellites.

Then the Presbyterian made the following statement:

A CORRECTION.--We incidentally referred in some remarks on distinctive Presbyterianism, to the schism of the Cumberland Presbyterians as illustrative of the views we were expressing, and quoted a document found in the Minutes of the General Assembly, which we attributed to the members of this presbytery. In this we erred. The sentiments we quoted were chargeable to the "New Light Schism" in Kentucky, and not to the Cumberland Presbyterians, who did not come on the stage until several years afterward.

How carelessly that editor read the Minutes of his own Assembly! There are still those who reiterate the old slander, perhaps really believing it. Thus Dr. Speer (1872), in his little book entitled "The Great Revival of 1800," represents "Cumberlandism" as originating out of the Cane Ridge furor, while he holds up in contrast the more orderly meetings in McGready's field in Logan County.(48) Dr. Speer wrote me that he would make some corrections when he published his next edition. It is not the purpose of this history to expose and refute the unfounded and bitter charges which the anti-revival party of that day made against the revival, and afterward against the church which took its rise from that revival. In most cases these bitter charges were never indorsed by the bulk of the Presbyterian Church. Their refutation was given at the time. Let that suffice.

One of the foci of fury where opposition to the revival rallied was "the jerks." Of these strange matters a few words must be written. In many countries, both in the Old World and the New, [47] and in many meetings, and especially Presbyterian meetings, not only in 1800, but in previous revivals, these bodily exercises made their appearance. Their first appearance in the revival of 1800 was not in McGready's churches, but in Gideon Blackburn's, in East Tennessee. The first person to have them in this western field, was the Rev. Dr. Doak, a graduate of Princeton, New Jersey; and a thorough Presbyterian. These exercises have been investigated scientifically and often. All parties agree that they were involuntary. A curious story was current in my boyhood about a Presbyterian minister who came into Tennessee and was preaching against these bodily exercises, when he was himself seized with them in the pulpit and violently jerked about.

Dr. Blackburn, Dr. Baxter, McGready, and Hodge, and a host of others, all Presbyterians, and eye-witnesses, were fully persuaded that these strange manifestations were the direct work of God's Holy Spirit, sent to silence and convince the gainsayers of that day. Others thought them only the result of nervous excitement. Dr. Blackburn quoted Scripture to show that they were the legitimate work of the Holy Spirit. James Smith ("Scotch Smith," as our people called him) took the nervous view of the matter. So did Dr. Charles Hodge and Dr. Davidson. It is absolutely certain that these strange exercises made a deep and solemn impression on those who witnessed them. Proofs are in existence of the conversion of many an infidel through the agency, under God, of these strange manifestations. Advocates of the nervous theory were put to practical confusion at Gasper River at the first appearance of these wonders there. They plied medical remedies to those who fell prostrate and lay like dead men. The lancet was used to such an extent that the place was covered with bleeding bodies like a battle-field,(49) but no good ever came from this medical treatment; and no harm to life, limb, or reason ever came from the mysterious exercises. Dr. Charles Hodge's effort to connect these bodily exercises with nervous epidemics, whose origin had no connection with religion, is, it seems to me, a total failure.






                                                                            "Shall we to men benighted,
                                                                            The lamp of life deny?"

There was a vast field almost destitute of the means of grace. Most of the settlers had been accustomed to church privileges in their former homes, and were clamorous for them in their frontier cabins. Those who attended the camp-meetings returned to spread the religious interest in their neighborhoods. A sufficient supply of preachers could not be secured. The case was one of extreme urgency. The Rev. David Rice visited McGready's field, "and being informed of the destitute state of most of the churches, and the pressing demands for the means of grace, earnestly recommended that they should choose from among the laity some men who appeared to possess talents and a disposition to exercise their gifts publicly to preach the gospel, although they might not have acquired that degree of education required by the Book of Discipline. This proposition was cordially approved by both preachers and people. ... What still more clearly convinced them of the propriety of this measure was that in almost every congregation that had been blessed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there were one or more intelligent and spiritual men whose gifts in exhortation had already been honored by the Head of the church

in awakening and converting precious souls. Accordingly three zealous, intelligent, and influential members of the church--viz., Alexander Anderson, Finis Ewing, and Samuel King--were encouraged by the revival preachers to prepare written discourses and to present themselves before the Transylvania Presbytery at its session in 1801. All these persons had previously been under serious impressions that it was their duty to devote themselves to the ministry, but as they had not enjoyed the advantages of a [49] collegiate education, and were men of families and somewhat advanced in life, they had been laboring under difficulties. At the meeting of Transylvania Presbytery, in October, 1801, the case of these brethren was brought before that body, from some of whom they met with warm opposition. However, after a protracted discussion, it was agreed by the majority that they might be permitted to read their discourses privately to Mr. Rice."(50) They did so, and Rice reported favorably. They were then sent out as exhorters to the vacant congregations, and instructed to prepare written discourses for the next meeting of the presbytery.

In the spring of 1802 Anderson was received by a majority of one vote as a regular candidate for the ministry, and the others by a majority of one vote were retained in the category of catechists. In the fall of 1802 they were all licensed to preach.

Here was the second ground of complaint. The question was not then, nor is it now, about the great importance of a classical education, but it was, and still is, whether after we have done our utmost in educating men for the ministry, we may supplement the supply by licensing judicious men of piety and promise to work among the perishing, even when these men have not a collegiate education. Inasmuch as there was opposition, Mr. Rice, by direction of the presbytery, addressed a letter to the General Assembly on the subject. Here is the answer:(51)

A liberal education, though not absolutely essential, has been shown to be highly important and useful, from reason and experience and the prosperity of the Presbyterian and New England churches. But, whatever might be the Assembly's opinion, the standards are explicit on the subject. As to the apprehension of schism in consequence of rigid views, the reply must be that the path of duty is the path of safety, and events are to be committed to God. Parties formed under such circumstances would be neither important nor permanent. Notwithstanding, when the field is too extensive, catechists, like those of primitive times, may be found useful assistants. But great caution should be used in selecting prudent and sound men lest they run into extravagance and pride. Their duties should be carefully defined and subject to frequent inspection. They should not be considered stand [50] ing officers in the church, but, if possessed of uncommon talents, diligent in study, and promising usefulness, they might in time purchase to themselves a good degree, and be admitted in regular course to the holy ministry. {Italics mine.}

This advice of the General Assembly accords in every possible particular with the views then taken by the revival party. On those views they acted, and against them the other party planted themselves. Every Cumberland Presbyterian would consent to have all the licensures by Cumberland Presbytery tried by this rule. So, too, may the licensures of Ewing, King, and Anderson by the Transylvania Presbytery be tried. Though not fully up to the requirements in the classics, these three men were all men of respectable attainments in scholarship. Ewing had considerable classical knowledge. There were catechists sent out at a later day who never expected to become regular ministers. As a considerable number of these catechists were employed, it is not a matter of surprise that a few of them disappointed the expectations of the presbytery.

But, of all those whom the revival party licensed to preach, there is not one single name which is not held in the profoundest veneration to-day in all the field where they labored. Not one of them left a reputation tarnished by heresy, apostasy, or defection from the church and services of the Lord Jesus. They all died with their armor on after a noble warfare. Such things can not be said of those who constituted the other party of the Cumberland Presbytery.

At a later day the revival party sent a history of their action at this time to the General Assembly. An extract from that history is here given. The history is too long to quote in full(52) but it is all interesting, and is in perfect accord with the history of the revival given in this book, especially as to when, where, and how the revival originated.

After describing the origin of the revival and its wonderful spread over the whole country, they say:

Now, truly, the harvest was great and the laborers few. Unable to [51] resist the pressing solicitations from every quarter for preaching, with unutterable pleasure we went out, laboring day and night, until our bodies were worn down, and after all we could not supply one third of the places calling upon us for preaching. While thus engaged, and while the gracious work was still going on, we observed what was very remarkable, that in almost every neighborhood there was some one who appeared to have uncommon gifts for exhortation and prayer, and was zealously engaged in the exercises thereof, while the Lord wrought by him to the conversion of many. Viewing the infant state of the church in our country, the anxious desire for religious instruction, the gifts, diligence, and success of those we have mentioned, and the scriptural authority for exhortation, we were induced with almost every member in the presbytery, to open a door for the licensure of exhorters, well knowing it was a liberty that was, and would be taken; and concluding if taken by presbyterial authority it might prevent disorder and weakness. It was now agreed that any of those who might be licensed, and who manifested extraordinary talents and piety, should be considered as candidates for the ministry; also, that for their improvement they should have subjects appointed, on which they were to be heard at our stated sessions of presbytery; that if, by their improvement, piety, and usefulness, they purchased to themselves a good degree, they might be set apart to the holy ministry. Accordingly, several made application, who were examined on experimental religion, and the motives inducing them to public exhortation. Those we judged qualified were then licensed. The first were all men of families, and somewhat advanced in years. Out they went, leaving wives and children, houses and lands, for Christ's sake and the gospel; suffering hunger, cold, and weariness, for weeks in succession, but the Lord was with them and made them happy instruments in helping on his work in the conversion of many. After a long trial of those men in different parts of our country, there came forward to our presbytery several petitions for their licensure to the ministry, signed by hundreds of the most moral and religious characters where they had labored.

From our personal knowledge of those men's good talents, piety, and usefulness; from the numerous warm petitions of the people at large; from the example of many presbyteries; from the silence of Scripture on literary accomplishments; from your own declaration in answer to Mr. Rice's letter, viz.: "That human learning is not essential to the ministry;" from the exception made in the Book of Discipline, in extraordinary cases; we humbly conceived, that it would not be a transgression either of the laws of God or the rules of the church, to license men of such a description. We therefore did license them, and a few others at different times afterward; some of them with, and some with [52] out, literary acquisitions; but all men of gifts, piety, and influence, having spent years previous in exhortation, before they were admitted to the ministry. Several were licensed to exhort, whose names are on our Minutes, whom we never had a design of admitting to the ministry. Now the work of the Lord went on. Numbers of young and promising congregations were formed. ... So that in a few years the wilds of our country echoed with the praises of the Lord. Savage ignorance was changed into a knowledge of God and his dear Son; and savage ferocity into the lamb-like spirit of Jesus."

James Hutchinson, Esq., of Montgomery County, Tennessee, gave to Dr. Cossitt a statement which will illustrate the circumstances under which these men were first sent out. He says:(53)

We emigrated from Virginia in 1796, and settled where we now live, in 1797. Both my Sarah and I had been religiously raised and accustomed to read our Bible. Away from all our friends and in this then solitary place, we felt that we needed an Almighty Protector. We sought the one thing needful as for goodly pearls. In 1800 we trust we both embraced that holy religion which has been our guide and comfort up to the present hour. The country was filling up rapidly, but there was no one to break to us the bread of life. O how we did long to hear the blessed gospel preached! We joined with David Beaty and Henry Anderson in a petition praying Transylvania Presbytery to send us a preacher. We were rejoicing in hope, but hungering for the word of God. We were Presbyterians, so far as we understood ourselves, and wanted to cast our lot with that people among whom God was carrying on his glorious work. The field was wide, the harvest plenteous, and the laborers few. A preacher could not come to us. We wept, we mourned, we prayed; we could take no denial. We petitioned again without success. Still we believed God would hear and help us. We could not be discouraged, seeing that God could, in answer to our prayers, incline the presbyters to favor us, if only a little. No mortal man can conceive our anxieties unless he has been placed in a like situation.

We could hear of other places within ten, twenty, thirty miles where the people, like us, were petitioning for a preacher. Some of them had attended the great meetings in Kentucky or higher up in Tennessee, and had returned glorifying God. We asked, Would not a God of love take care of his own cause and feed his own flock? ... We called to mind his precious promises and said, Surely he will.

There are two periods in my life which I never can forget while I [53] remember any thing. One is when I found the Lord precious; the other is when, in answer to all our prayers, he sent his faithful servant to minister to our spiritual necessities. I often call to mind, as if it were but yesterday, the evening when a traveler, an entire stranger, as I supposed, rode up to my log-cabin. This house, built of stone, was not here then. His eyes were red with weeping, and the tears were scarcely dried on his cheeks. He inquired for James Hutchinson. On being informed that I was the man he seemed overjoyed. He said, "I have so long traveled this Indian path without seeing a house that I seriously feared it would be my lot to lie out this night and take my chances with the wolves. I have cried and prayed the Lord, my helper, ... and he has brought me to this hospitable home." I was filled with surprise and joy. I saw he was a man of genteel appearance, and, better still, his language savored of grace and piety. I had seen but few religious persons since I professed, and I greatly rejoiced that a pious traveler had done me the favor to call and spend a night with me at my cabin in the wilderness. ... He soon took occasion to let me know his business in these parts, and that his name was Finis Ewing. ... "Sarah, Sarah," I called. She was out preparing supper. Stepping to the door I said, "The preacher has come!" Sarah came in shouting, while I was crying for joy. God had answered our prayers and sent us a preacher!

When we had become a little composed, Mr. Ewing modestly observed, "Do not mistake me, my friends; I am not a preacher, but have been sent in the place of one. I am authorized publicly to exhort, expound the Scriptures, and, according to my ability, give all needful instructions, without the formalities of a sermon." Being mere babes in Christ, we cared but little for the formalities of a sermon. ...

We had long felt that we were in the midst of a people who were living without hope and without God in the world, actually perishing for lack of knowledge. Without the gospel, without schools, and almost without a Sabbath, we shuddered at the thought of raising our children in such a state of society.

Mr. Hutchinson gathered in his neighbors and Ewing preached and left another appointment. Hutchinson then accompanied him to other destitute neighborhoods. He speaks in strong terms about the great power of Ewing's sermons at all these places.

As for the other lay exhorters, each in separate fields, the one claiming attention next to Ewing is Samuel King. Like Ewing, he had been taken into the church while still unconverted; and, like Ewing, he had been truly converted afterward. Then he [54] immediately began to exhort sinners. It is the general testimony that his exhortations were greatly blessed. While he had a circuit regularly appointed around which he traveled, he seems often to have wandered beyond its bounds. From the very first his heart yearned over the most destitute. Nor did he stop with the white settlements. An incident of his work among the Indians will be given here. It was furnished originally by his son, Judge R.M. King. King was addressing, through an interpreter, a large crowd of Choctaw Indians. The interpreter became so powerfully convicted that he could proceed no further, but like the sinners at McGready's meetings, he fell to the earth and began to cry for mercy. The preacher knew not what to do. He could speak none of their language, yet they were weeping all around him. He knew, though, that God could understand him. He fell to his knees and began to pray. While King prayed the interpreter was converted. Then the preacher had a new tongue. His sermon was blessed to the salvation of many souls before he left the place. To the visits of King to the Choctaws can be traced the conversion of our first native preachers among that people.(54)

But, returning to King's circuit, the indications are that it reached the wildest and sparsest portions of the field. He swam rivers; he slept often in the forest with his saddle-bags for a pillow; he preached under the trees, where there was no house of worship. Thomas Calhoun testified that King was the first man in all the West to take his stand against whisky.

All these men rode vast circuits on which they preached every day, besides riding from twenty to fifty miles on horseback. Riding, too, when there were no bridges, ferry-boats, or even good wagon roads. It took them four months to make one round on these circuits. To many of the new settlers visited by them these circuit appointments, once in four months, were their only dependence for the gospel. Even the daring pioneers of Methodism had not then reached some of these regions.

Alexander Anderson had gifts, in some particulars, superior to all the others. One who knew him well gave a long written statement to Dr. Beard(55) testifying to his spiritual power. Speak [55] ing of his selection by the presbytery he says: "They knew their man. They knew what he could do in prayer, exhortation, and other religious exercises. Nor were they disappointed." He says there were still living a few who remembered Anderson's sermons and could repeat whole paragraphs of them, and still wept at the mention of his name, after he had been in heaven fifty years. It is reported of him that he foresaw the schism which was threatened in his church, and prayed God that he might be taken home before it came. His prayer was answered.

Colonel Joe Brown gives this incident, as related to him by the father of the Rev. James B. Porter: "The Rev. Dr. Thomas Hall, while on his way to Natchez, where he had been sent as a missionary, stopped to rest a while in Sumner County, Tennessee. There he heard about these lay exhorters. He expressed himself in strong terms against the measure, and said he would see to it that the Presbyterian Church should not be disgraced by lay preaching. That same night he attended a prayer-meeting at which Alexander

Anderson exhorted. Dr. Hall was amazed. He said that man must-preach. The Lord had some great work for him to do." {See Banner of Peace, March 16, 1856.}

As for Ephraim McLean, he is not in the same category as the others. While he was received as a candidate in 1802, he was not willing to be placed on the list of exceptions to the educational requirements. What little he lacked of coming up to those requirements he believed he could make up by private study while on the circuit. It is this that explains the omission of his name in the passage quoted from Smith's history. But in all the list there was no truer hero for Jesus than McLean. When he professed religion he had a wife and four children, and was living in a floorless cabin built of round poles. When he felt himself called to preach the gospel, his heroic wife urged him on, both in his preparation for the work of the ministry and in the discharge of its sacred duties afterward. He went out on his circuits, year after year, preaching to people where no other minister came. He received no pay. His wife raised the wool, spun the thread, wove the cloth, and made the clothing which he wore on his circuits. The anti-revival party sneered at his rough garments, but [56] they will not sneer in the day of judgment, when they see him wearing a crown studded with many stars. His was not a long career. He fell just after the new church was organized, but his work lives on. He had two sons who were in the national Congress afterward, one a Senator. He has a grandson now in the ministry in our church, the Rev. E.G. McLean, of California.

Some idea of the way in which the revival spread, and how God pointed out to the presbytery what men to select as evangelists, may be received from the following incidents:

James B. Porter had educated himself for a physician. At Shiloh camp-meeting, in Sumner County, Tennessee, 1801, he found the Savior. Soon after the meeting his mother took him with her on a trip to South Carolina. At every house where they stopped on their journey, Porter told about the wonderful grace of God to his soul, and commended his Savior to the people. There were conversions all along the journey. On the return trip Lorenzo Dow had a public meeting in which he made Porter exhort, and God greatly blessed the exhortation.

The case of Alexander Chapman is similar. Soon after his conversion he went on a visit to his uncle in Virginia. On his arrival he found the family about starting to their weekly prayer-meeting. He accompanied them. After two or three prayers the way was opened for any one to read, or pray, or make remarks. Chapman, who had been brought up in the neighborhood, and whose profession of religion was unknown there, rose and gave an exhortation. A revival began at once, and spread over the community until more than one hundred persons professed faith in Christ. Among these were several of his cousins, who lived many years to adorn the profession which they had made. The Rev. Mr. Robinson, the pastor in that community, gave his hearty indorsement to the young man's zeal and usefulness.(56)

Owing to the great distance between the two settlements which belonged to Transylvania Presbytery, the synod divided it, and created the Cumberland Presbytery. This presbytery embraced all the Green River and Cumberland settlements, and all that portion of the synod in which those grave differences of opinion had [57] arisen, out of which, at last, "the Cumberland schism" sprang. As the Transylvania Presbytery had received into membership a Methodist by the name of Hawe, and as he resided in the bounds assigned to Cumberland Presbytery, the revival party, by his aid, had a majority of one. The new presbytery ordained Anderson, Ewing, and King. That gave the revival party a decided majority.

Against all these measures in which men were employed as exhorters or preachers without a classical education, the anti-revival party took a decided stand. Their protests in several instances were entered on the Minutes of the presbytery; but the revival party were in the majority, and had things their own way for a season. The synod, however, came at last to the relief of the minority.

This question about the Westminster standard of ministerial education being made a sine qua non for the pulpit, is a live question yet. So, too, is the question about how to conduct revival meetings. Three out of the four questions of that day are still debated; though with a growing majority in all three in favor of the views then taken by the revival party. On the fourth question (the ecclesiastical one), all parties concede now that the founders of our church were right.

While we believe the course pursued by the revival party was wise and scriptural, we believe also that it has been abused by many of our presbyteries since. Three errors have prevailed. One, in overlooking "aptness to teach" and spirituality, which neither education nor the lack of it can ever supply. Another is in attributing the wonderful spiritual power of Calhoun and his associates to their lack of education. If lack of collegiate education gives this wonderful spiritual power, why is it that all the army of uneducated ministers in our church, and in other churches, to-day do not have it? The third error is in calling Ewing and Donnell and their comrades uneducated men, and holding up their example as an excuse for laziness and stupidity, as, alas! so many of our presbyteries have done. True, these men were not graduates of any college, and what scholarship they had was not obtained according to regulation methods, but for all that they were educated men and profound thinkers. Their education came as Daniel Boone's did. They availed themselves of all the facilities in their [58] reach. They carried text-books in their saddle-bags and studied at night. They studied men, and profoundly studied their English Bibles. Most that colleges do for men is to teach them how to think; these men had that lesson, no matter how they obtained it. Between these men and the lazy boy of to-day who has it in his power to secure a college education and will not do it, there is no similarity at all, and their example is a rebuke rather than an apology to all such.

Akin to this error of some of our own people is a slander from some who do not understand us. "They went out of the Presbyterian Church because they were opposed to education," is a threadbare slander still circulated. Many times utterly refuted, this slander is still peddled out as the most effective way of injuring our church. The real issue is not about the inestimable value of education, but about the propriety of allowing exceptions to the requirement of a classical education in cases of great pressure, like those of Ewing and King, when clearly demonstrated usefulness on the part of the aspirant combines with a very great demand for his special services on the part of the destitute. Whether it was better to allow whole vast areas of destitute settlements to remain without the gospel entirely, or to send them sound teachers who loved souls and knew the way of salvation, though they did not know either Latin or Greek--that was the question.

Neither the fathers of our church nor their sons failed to appreciate an educated ministry. It requires considerable grace patiently to argue such a proposition at this late day, but I think God will give me grace to do it.

Proof 1. Ephraim McLean was one of the fathers of our church. When he was ordered to prepare for ordination along with Ewing and King, he said: "Give me a little more time and I shall be able to come fully up to the standard. I am fully up now in every thing but Greek, and am working hard at that."(57) They granted his request, but with the understanding that he should pursue his studies on the circuit. This he diligently did. They cared for souls, but they cared for scholarship too. McLean then had a wife and six children, and was preaching without any compensa [59] tion whatever. His wife and boys made their support on their Kentucky farm, and his wife with her own hands spun the thread and wove the cloth for his clothing. Our fathers thought it was worth while to endure trials that the perishing multitudes might have the gospel. Nor is this all in McLean's case. When his boys were old enough to go off to school he discussed the case with his noble wife, and fell upon a plan for their education. His wife took charge of the farm herself, and by heroic struggles and sacrifices supported the family and kept her boys at school and her husband on the circuit. Was that husband opposed to education?

Proof 2. All the men who took part in the organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church left the strongest possible testimony that they held a thorough education in the highest esteem.

Finis Ewing left his testimony in several forms. He spent large sums of money in establishing a classical school near his home in Kentucky, and that before the organization of our first synod; and when this school was established he would have none but thorough classical teachers in it. This was the first classical school in all that portion of Kentucky.(58) Afterward he sent his own son, who was then looking to the ministry, to college and gave him a thorough education. When he moved to Missouri he set to work to establish a school for the classical and theological education of the ministry in Missouri, and he filled his large house full of young preachers going to school, to whom he gave gratuitous boarding.

Still further, when our first college was proposed, and the practicability of establishing both a classical and theological college, with ample endowment, was under discussion, Finis Ewing made a speech in favor of the enterprise which Dr. Cossitt, a graduate of a New England college, who heard it, pronounced the ablest of all the pleas for an educated ministry that he had ever listened to. To his dying day Dr. Cossitt maintained, and published, and reiterated his declaration that he had heard no plea for an educated ministry equal to Ewing's great speech. Ewing wrote for the college some of the ablest pleas I ever read. When I was president of Cumberland University, and struggling hard to lift the institu [60] tion up from the wreck where the civil war had left it, the most telling appeal I made to our people in behalf of our college was made by republishing some of Finis Ewing's pleas for old Cumberland College.

Samuel King traveled as agent for the endowment of our first college. Thomas Calhoun had a son who entered the ministry. He sent that son to college and afterward to a theological school. He nearly all his life was aiding some young preacher to obtain a college education.

Samuel McAdow was himself a graduate, but his infirm health prevented his taking any very active share in any kind of work after the organization of the new church.

Robert Donnell traveled as agent for our first college, at his own expense, and published many earnest pleas for it. He delivered a course of lectures to the theological class at Lebanon, Tennessee. He declared a thoroughly endowed theological school to be a necessity of the church. He himself gave large sums to that endowment. In discussing the necessity of a thoroughly endowed college he says, in a letter published in the Banner of Peace, "Without it we cannot prosper as a body."

All the first numbers of our church papers teem with earnest articles from those men who planted the church, urging the importance of thorough education.

Proof 3. Early ecclesiastical action. The council formed by the revival preachers before the organization of our first presbytery addressed a letter to the General Assembly, in which they say: "We never have embraced the idea of an unlearned ministry. The peculiar state of our country and the extent of the revival reduced us to the necessity of introducing more of that description than we otherwise would. We sincerely esteem a learned and pious ministry, and hope the church will never be destitute of such an ornament."(59)

The first presbytery of our church thought proper to place itself on record also. The very first year of that presbytery's existence it addressed a circular letter to the churches under its care, in which it told those churches, and all the others concerned in the [61] case, to have no fears of any laxness in educational requirements; declaring its purpose to require a classical education in all cases where that was practicable, and when, in exceptional cases and emergencies that was dispensed with, in no case to dispense with a thorough English education.(60)

Our first presbytery, the first year of its existence, commenced raising money to educate its young preachers. It instructed those who came as candidates, while still young enough to secure an education, to go to school first. Philip McDonnold was a poor boy, who had shown his eagerness for an education before he applied to presbytery to be received as a candidate. Presbytery determined to receive him and defray the expenses of his thorough education, and it carried out this determination. This was the first year of that presbytery's life and its first official act about education. The official records of our first three presbyteries abound in strong declarations of the great importance of an educated ministry, and declare it to be "absolutely necessary for us to have a college of our own."

A convention of delegates from the presbyteries met in 1822 to consider the question of a college for the church. See Minutes of Elk Presbytery, and other minutes. Three years before we had a General Assembly, those founders of our church, who traveled in homespun clothing made by their wives, and carried text-books in their saddle-bags while they went seeking the lost among the pioneer settlements, established, through the General Synod, a college for the education of young preachers. Our later work need not now be mentioned.

A curious fact of history deserves now to be noticed. It is this: During the first twenty years of our existence, what was called "the anti-revival party" of the mother church strenuously denied that lack of classical education was one of the charges against us.(61) Heresy and disorderly conduct in revival meetings were then asserted to be the offenses. Our church had, at first, no theological literature, and it was an easy matter to make people who knew us not [62] believe that we held horrible heresies. Not only were we charged privately and publicly with the grossest heresies, but also with the most abominable practices in our meetings. Good and true men who lived where we were unknown believed these reports which appeared in pamphlets and newspapers, and repeated them in dignified volumes. The Rev. J.L. Wilson, D.D., who was one of the commission, and who never ceased to pursue and persecute "the Cumberlands" till he was called to his final account, wrote a long article for his church paper in 1832, taking the same ground, and declaring the statement in Buck's Theological Dictionary about the educational issue to be a falsehood. David Lowry, then editing our church paper, replied to Dr. Wilson, and argued that education was one of the issues. {See Religious and Literary Intelligencer, April 5, 1832.}

How the winds do change! Now the cry is that the question of ministerial education was the real cause of the schism, and the doctrinal difference is ignored or denied altogether. Once we were charged with denying the atonement, denying original sin, denying imputation,(62) and with various similar heresies. Now it is asserted even by the New York Observer that practically, and in our pulpits, "there is no difference." It would not be hard to point out the reason for this shifting of the winds, but it would not be edifying. No harm comes to us from these charges. The taunts about education have done us good. Let us go on our way trying to please God, and pay no attention to any misrepresentations which men may make of us or our doctrines.

The main question stands today about where it did in 1800. Many millions are perishing for lack of the gospel. It is a modern thought, revived from New Testament examples, after a long sleep, that the gospel is to be carried with the utmost zeal and speed to every perishing human being. To shut it up in a select circle, and deliver it officially from stately pulpits with learned illustrations and elegant diction before cultivated audiences, may suit the tastes of ambitious ecclesiastics; but there is a far more stirring view of its solemn mission which is beginning to break in upon the vision [63] of modern churches. The appalling spectacle of a city on fire presents no such stirring appeals for sympathy and assistance as do the millions of our fellow-men who are now perishing in their sins. There is no time to lose. Our generation will be beyond the reach of the gospel when we pass away,

God is dealing with the churches of this day. While lay evangelism has been abused, it is manifest that God is in it. Educate? Yes, to the utmost. Let all secure the best training possible. When good men have spirituality and aptness to teach, and feel it to be their duty to proclaim salvation to lost men, but have no opportunity to secure a classical education--hold them back? No, never.

Who would blot out the record of Moody's work? Ah! even Mr. McCosh, at staid old Princeton, gives Moody a hearty welcome to those classic seats; and God uses Moody even there. Yes, and uses him at the grand old colleges of England, too.

The Southern Presbyterian Church, which has been so wonderfully conservative, is seriously considering the propriety of changing its standard on this subject. A standing committee has been appointed to investigate the question. A long circular has been sent out by one of that committee, ably advocating the change. This circular shows that the ratio of increase in a hundred years between the Presbyterian and Methodist churches is as 47 to 1051. It shows that "aptness to teach," which is a Bible qualification, is not proved by the possession of a college diploma, which is not. Indeed, there is no essential connection between the two. It shows that the evangelization of the masses was not in the plans of the Westminster Assembly.

The one great question which the awakened Christianity of today has to settle is how best to evangelize the masses. This one great work will require the diligent use of all the church's forces. We have not a man or a woman to spare. In some sphere or other all are to help. Men, women, and little children are all to share in this activity for Jesus. God will lead each trusting soul, and indicate to each one who is pliant in his hands just what work to do. Consecrated workers in still greater numbers, we trust, are coming up to give heart and life, tongue and pen, to the service of the [64] King. Ecclesiastical courts may advise and help, they may pray for and defend them; they may and they will soon be forced to provide a place in their ecclesiastical machinery for this uncanonical army, which cares a thousand times more for souls than it does for church canons and rubrics. The churches which refuse to do so will go into the same category with the Jewish church after it rejected its own Messiah.

One measure which is both scriptural and canonical needs to be revived by all the presbyteries: that is the policy of licensing catechists or exhorters. If that had been diligently followed, many of the embarrassing questions of the present day would have been forestalled.

Another step will have to be taken. God in his providence has sent us back to learn over again the teachings of his word about woman's sphere in helping on the gospel.

When Mrs. Ranyard, unaided by any ecclesiastical recognition, by the simple prayer of faith secures the necessary means and employs two hundred Bible-women to labor all the time for Jesus among the outcast portions of London; and when God blesses these labors to thousands of perishing souls, what church court would dare come in with its ecclesiastical gag to stop these women's mouths?

When Elizabeth Clay, leaving her aristocratic home among the high-churchmen of England, goes to heathen India, and year after year makes a regular circuit of a thousand miles preaching Jesus to the women of heathendom, and God uses her in leading many to salvation who never heard the gospel from other lips, shall any mitered churchman dare interpose his ecclesiastical gag, and say to this devoted woman, Stop! this is not canonical?

One of the bitter complaints against the revival methods of 1800 was that women would "get happy," and even dare to exhort sinners in church and in public. It was to one such exhortation that the church and the country owes, under God, the conversion of that holy servant of Jesus, the Rev. James B. Porter. Would that we had more such women now.

What, in my estimation, is needed in ecclesiastical courts is to provide for and lead this lay activity, and not sit still and be led [65] and superseded by it. For lack of fatherly direction (not suppression), it has run into many hurtful errors, and may yet become extensively mischievous; while with proper direction it may yet be the church's right arm of power. In saying this it is not intended to reflect upon or set aside the regular ministry, but rather to stir up their pure minds by way of remembrance.





The wages of sin is death; the gift of God is eternal life.

Nell' mezzo del cammin.(63)--Dante.


The young men, when licensed by the Cumberland Presbytery, made reservations in adopting the Confession of Faith. They thought that a particular and limited atonement and unconditional election amounted to fatality. They were willing to take the book "for substance," after precedents which could be cited in great numbers, but they are of no value to us now. If the traditional system of Calvinism, without any modern liberalizing, is to be maintained at all, then no reservation in the adoption of the book should be tolerated for one moment. Reservation is a leak in the dykes of Holland. The whole vast sea of modern thought presses on the barriers. "If the book were not in existence, there is no modern church which would ever produce it."(64) The one lingering hope is to hold the anchorage to "the time-honored standards." How long that anchorage will hold time will reveal.

There are meanings to the word fatality which all know do not attach to the Westminster Confession. There are others which many people still think apply to that book. Webster defines fate to mean, among other things, "A decree or word pronounced by God;" "A fixed sentence by which the order of things is prescribed;" "inevitable necessity." These are the popular and common ideas of what fatality means: the doctrine of inevitable necessity. It carried the chief thinkers of the world once. Its reign took in the purest and best men of another age; but "Ilium fuit."

I quote here an illustration of the doctrine which our fathers [67] called fatality. The quotation is from grand old John Bunyan. "Is there ever a time in the life of a sinner, who is not one of the elect, when it is possible for him to repent and be saved? To this I answer emphatically, No."(65) This is the doctrine from which modern thought shrinks shivering away. If this doctrine be not in the Westminster Confession, then there are some very unfortunate paragraphs in the book which greatly need to be changed.

Our fathers believed that no man is sent to hell without having a chance to be saved. They preached the doctrine of a general atonement, and the operation of the Holy Spirit on all men.

And now I come to a vital part of this history. The one supreme difficulty which could not be reconciled, and which still stands an insuperable obstacle to a reunion, is this doctrinal difficulty.

Dr. Davidson, in his history of "the Cumberland schism,"(66) says: "It was not the want of classical learning, but unsoundness in doctrine, the adoption of the Confession with reservations (charge second, as already alluded to), that created the grand difficulty; and the removal of this would have wonderfully facilitated the accommodation of the other."

Samuel Hodge was one of "the young men." His literary qualifications were much lower than Ewing's or Anderson's, but when he agreed to adopt the Confession without reservation, he was taken back, and allowed to continue his ministry. All the young men who were involved in this difficulty, after some delay, made an offer to the Transylvania Presbytery that they would yield on all other points, and come back in a body,(67) if they might still be allowed to make this reservation about fatality; and their offer was rejected.

Two charges were brought officially against these preachers by the commission of Kentucky Synod: (1) That they were illiterate; (2) That they held erroneous doctrine.(68) In the apology for their proceedings, made by the members of Kentucky Synod to the Gen [68] eral Assembly, they stated explicitly that unsoundness in doctrine constituted the chief difficulty; and they deny that the lack of classical education was the greatest difficulty.(69)

The General Assembly, in 1814, gave a deliverance about the Cumberland Presbyterians, in which the following words were used: "The grounds of their separation were that we would not relax our discipline and surrender important doctrines.(70) {Italics mine.}

The members of the council, after the Assembly gave its final decision against them in 1809, sent two commissioners to negotiate with the synod for a reconciliation. The terms laid down by the members of the synod, on which they were willing to be reconciled, included an unconditional adoption of the Confession of Faith.(71)

In 1811 there were three other ecclesiastical deliverances about this doctrinal difficulty. The West Tennessee Presbytery and the Muhlenberg Presbytery (Presbyterian) undertook to secure a reconciliation. First, they addressed, through an unofficial letter, some inquiries to the General Assembly about what terms could be accepted. The answer was, among other things, an unconditional adoption of the book.(72)

This doctrinal difficulty stands today the main barrier between the Cumberland Presbyterians and the mother church. Proof of this assertion can be found in the negotiations for organic union in 1866 and 1867 with the Southern church, and 1873 and 1874 with the Northern church. In both of these negotiations (neither of which originated officially with the Cumberland Presbyterians(73)), the Cumberland Presbyterian committees offered to surrender every existing difference except the doctrinal one. I have all the documents before me, but need not make extracts now. In the platform of union submitted by the Cumberland Presbyterian committee to the Southern church was a new creed, which contains about as much Calvinism as we ever hear in Presbyterian pulpits in modern times, but that platform was not accepted. It went as far as it is possible for us to go. That platform proposed to take the West [69] minster Confession entire, except the third, fifth, and eighth chapters, for which it offered the following substitutes:

Chapter III.--Of God's Eternal Decrees.

Section 1. God did from all eternity adopt the whole plan of his creation and providence with a full knowledge of all the events which would transpire therein, including the sins of men and angels. These events he determined either to bring to pass by his own direct and absolute agency, or to permit them to come to pass in view of the results which his bounding and overruling providence would bring out of the whole plan.

Section 2. According to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, he did from all eternity elect to salvation all true believers in Jesus Christ. This election was perfectly definite as to the persons elected, and also as to their number: and God did in like manner from eternity reprobate to eternal perdition all that finally reject Jesus Christ, and this reprobation was also definite as to person and number.

Section 3. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of mere free grace and love, all to the praise of his glorious grace.

Section 4. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation.

Section 5. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men attending the will of God revealed in his word and yielding obedience thereunto, may from a certainty of their vocation be assured of their eternal election; so shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.

We make the same references which are made in the Presbyterian Confession of Faith, with the addition of I Peter 1:2, and Romans 8:29.

Chapter V.

We offer the following modification for section fourth:

Section 4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself not only to those acts which God absolutely decrees, but also to those which he permits, joining with it a most wise and [70] powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing them in a manifold dispensation to his own holy ends.

Chapter VIII.

We offer the following as a substitute for section eight:

Section 8. Although Jesus Christ tasted death for every man, according to the Scriptures, yet the benefits of this death are savingly applied to those only who are chosen unto life through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; but to all those thus chosen these benefits are so applied as to insure their eternal salvation.

We offer the tenth chapter in the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith, instead of the tenth chapter in the Presbyterian Confession of Faith.

In chapter seventeen we offer this change in section second: substitute for the phrase "not upon their own free will," the phrase "not upon their own ability or merit."

Finally, we propose to modify certain expressions in the Catechisms so as to make them correspond with the changes indicated in reference to the Confession of Faith.

As far as possible the wording of the old book was retained, even when it required some explanation to fit that wording into the general scheme. The tenth chapter, on effectual calling, in our book differs from the old in the meaning put on the word "calling." Whether the hard places in the Westminster Confession be justly called fatality or not, they are too hard for us. We believe the doctrine of grace, but we think it needs to be restated.

One fact most clearly pointing to this necessity is that there are no Calvinists now of the type which composed the majority of the Westminster Assembly. Leaving Supralapsarian and Infralapsarian questions all out of the discussion, it is plain to all who study the writings of the Westminster divines that many of them believed, as Calvin before them did, that there are infants in hell. No modern Presbyterians believe any such a thing. No man dare preach any such a doctrine now.

In the first draft of Westminster doctrines, the majority stated their creed, "elect of infants." The liberal party objected. To compromise matters, the statement was so modified that both parties might claim it, but with a very decided advantage given to the interpretation which the majority wished to put on the deliverance: "Elect infants" are saved. So of other places. The creed is a [71] compromise, but always with an immense advantage given to the views of that hyper-Calvinistic majority.

In modern times it is the hardest surviving type of rigid Calvinists who insist on an unconditional adoption of the creed. The liberal party insist on the phrase, "for substance." Robert Shaw had easy sailing in interpreting the book according to the hard old traditional Calvinism. Dr. Morris and Dr. Schaff have a hard time of it trying to fit the liberal system to the book. True, it can be done; but the process by which it is done is itself objectionable.

A genuine Calvinist of the liberal school gave utterance to this same view of the case while advocating before his presbytery a change in some of the hard places in the book. This Calvinist was the Rev. Dr. MacCrae, of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. His speech was made in 1876, and reported by the press. He says:(74) "I am aware that every doctrine in the book can be defended or explained away. But some of the casuistry employed for this purpose is as discreditable as the doctrine it is used to defend. For instance, the Confession says `elect infants' are saved. The other side of the doctrine obviously is that non-elect infants are cast into hell. This was not only, in former days, admitted and preached, but within the memory of fathers and brethren in this presbytery, one of the most eminent ministers of our church was like to have been brought before the church courts for denying it."

When the Synod of Diospolis arraigned Pelagius for heresy, one of the charges brought against him was that he taught that unbaptized infants dying in infancy are saved. It is vain to deny that the world, including the Calvinists, has been drifting slowly away from this and other hard doctrines since Pelagius.

Another proof that some of the hard expressions of the old book need to be changed, is found in the outburst of protest against it coming from real Calvinists whenever the spirit of evangelism comes upon them. To quote all these protests would fill many a volume. As Dr. Phelps (speaking of these stern doctrines) says: "A preacher ... finds them to be incumbrances upon the working power of the pulpit." Whenever his heart grows warm [72] with the gospel he begins to feel that something is wrong in the creed. Thus Dr. Chalmers breaks forth:

The commission put into our hands is to go and preach the gospel to every creature under heaven, and the announcement sounding forth to all the world from heaven's vault was, Peace on earth, good-will to men. There is no freezing limitation here, but a largeness and munificence of mercy, boundless as space, free and open as the expanse of the firmament! We hope, therefore, that the gospel, the real gospel, is as unlike the views of some of its interpreters as creation in all its boundless extent is unlike the paltry schemes of some wretched scholastic of the middle ages. The middle age of science and civilization is now terminated; but Christianity also had its middle age, and this, perhaps, is not yet fully terminated. There is still a remainder of the old spell, even the spell of human authority, and by which a certain cramp or confinement is laid upon the genius of Christianity. We can not doubt that the time of its complete emancipation is coming, ... but meanwhile there is, as it were, a stricture upon it, ... and by virtue of which the largeness and liberality of Heaven's own purpose have been made to descend in partial and scanty droppings through the strainers of an artificial theology, instead of falling, as it ought, in a universal shower upon the world.(75)

That stanch leader among modern Calvinists, Dr. Philip Schaff of Union Theological Seminary, says of the Westminster Confession: "Predestination to death and damnation ... ought never to be put in the creed or Confession of the church, but should be left to the theology of the school."(76) Again, he says of the seventh section of the third chapter: "This seventh section is or dark spot on the Confession, and mars its beauty and usefulness."(77) He has many other expressions showing that he holds the doctrine of grace in much the same sense that Cumberland Presbyterians. Many conscientious men who hold about the same views which are preached by men like Dr. Schaff are, nevertheless, too conscientious to adopt the Westminster Confession. One of our men was with a modern Calvinist, when the latter said to him, "Why, you preach as much Calvinism as I do. You would have no difficulty in our church." The answer was, "O the ministry in your church is like a bottle: there is room enough when you get in, but there [73] is such a narrow neck to pass through before you get in." Yes, that is the trouble.

Cumberland Presbyterians believe pretty much the same doctrines that the liberal modern Calvinists preach, but they can not get through the neck. They believe in total depravity. They believe that man is utterly unable to come to Christ till he is drawn by God's Spirit. They believe that all the initiative steps toward salvation are from God. They believe that even infants need regeneration. They believe the theory of justification by faith alone. They believe in the imputed righteousness of Christ. They believe that the Christian's legal standing is in Jesus and not in works. They believe that God's overruling providence extends to everything, but is not the author of every thing. They believe in the perseverance of the saints, but they can not take that third chapter of the Westminster Confession. They would have no difficulty in accepting the doctrinal declaration(78) of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, if it were not for the book to which it is appended.

One trouble with all of us is that we want our creeds to be theodicies. When man knows all that God knows then he may write a theodicy, and not till then. As Dr. Schaff says, the Westminster Confession attempts to give deliverances on matters that ought never to go into a church creed. As Dr. Phelps says, that book contains doctrines which we can not use in our work for Jesus. While the Cumberland Presbyterians aimed at making a working creed, it is a pity that they still exhibited some of the old penchant for making a theodicy. In the main, though, theirs is a creed for the pulpit and the mission.

A typical fact exceedingly significant, is found in the debates of the Belfast council of Presbyterians about the admission of our delegates. A precious Presbyterian missionary to the heathen was the mover and the advocate of our admission. A Presbyterian preacher who, it is said, has charge of no congregation--a scholastic Calvinist--was the chief opponent to our admission. Both he and Dr. Worden, of Philadelphia, in their remarks, betrayed [74] the profoundest ignorance of the transactions of their own General Assemblies, and provoked Dr. Morris, of Lane Seminary, to give them a whack over the shoulders which was heard clear across the Atlantic.

Workers, wherever we find them, who have their hearts set on the salvation of lost men, extend to Cumberland Presbyterians the most hearty cooperation. Even at a time when the ecclesiastical bitterness which "the Cumberland schism" produced was still a burning fire in Kentucky, the Presbyterian missionaries then in Mississippi Territory passed resolutions inviting the Cumberland Presbyterian Church to send more preachers among them, and indorsing those already there.(79) Yes, this is our place, our fields, our mission, beside those live workers who are struggling for souls. God never called us to scholasticism. Writing theodicies is not in our commission. Working for souls with all our forces is.

Side by side with every man that loves Christ more than all other things, to struggle for the evangelization of the world, is the high calling which God has given to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. With all our forces used, whether more or less learned; with all our creed, practical and available for the pulpit, to take our places in the solemn, thrilling struggle for those now perishing, is the mission to which God calls us. If aught in our policy or in our creed fits not into this mission, let it be abandoned. With sweet confidence to go wherever there are lost men, and without any "freezing limitations," to preach Christ, not theories about him, not works, not doctrines, but a personal divine Deliverer who will save all that accept and trust him--this is our first mission.

Our second mission is also Christ--to preach him to the Christian; Christ dwelling in us; realized by faith, as the way of victory over all evil habits, as the way of sanctification. To preach, not works, not self, not some imparted power, not some second conversion, not theories about sanctification, not growth, but that "same Jesus" who dwells in us, trusted for victory over sin's power, just as he was trusted for victory over sin's penalty, and [75] this also without any "freezing limitation"--this is our second


Our third mission is also Christ--to preach the indwelling God, not some imparted thing, but Christ in us, realized by faith as the way of all power for service, with no "freezing limitation." Not human attainments, but Christ accepted and installed as King within, and his presence realized by faith, and his promise, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," clung to and believed in, in spite of all failures, not on account of the dead covenant of works, but on account of the everlasting covenant of grace--ah, this made our first preachers a race of invincible heroes! In this work, and with a faith like this, we can never make a failure.

In all three of these missions both the extremes between which we steer our way present "freezing limitations." If works are to be relied on in either of the three, then the limitation comes from he rottenness, and imperfections, and uncertainties of all human works. If the "unalterable necessity" of "unconditional" theology be the iron fence that bounds our hopes, then the "freezing limitation" in all three of these missions comes from that iron fence.

Our theology is belief in the boundless divinity of the Redeemer, able, ready, and willing, in each of the three missions, on the simple condition of trust and nothing else to give us the victory. No preparation is necessary, no human scaffolding up to salvation or other blessings, but Christ trusted just as we are. Our starting point is not God's eternal and unrevealed decrees, nor man's will nor man's powers, but Christ and his divine power, and his dying love, and his unfailing promises, and his gracious invitations. This is the tried cornerstone of our system.

Christ is the truth as well as the way. A theological school may cover a student all over with theories about Christ, and hide a personal Savior from his eyes so as to send him out at last a mere proclaimer of theories. Or it may be an institution conducted by men who are themselves filled with all the fullness of God; who not only know the power of the indwelling Savior, but have experience and success in leading others to that knowledge; and they may lead their pupils on and up in the blessed experience of the [76] divine life till those pupils, when they go out into their life-work, will be an army filled with divine power. The latter is the only type of a theological school which will ever fit into the Cumberland Presbyterian system, or be in harmony with Cumberland Presbyterian antecedents. From all others may the good Lord deliver us.






The two parties in Cumberland Presbytery got further and further apart. The "anti-revival" party was in a hopeless minority in the presbytery, but it had a large majority in the Kentucky Synod. In 1805 that synod appointed a commission of ten ministers and six elders to meet at Gasper River meeting-house and investigate the proceedings of Cumberland Presbytery and take such action as the case required. This commission was composed of all the men in the "anti-revival" party of the synod who had rendered themselves most obnoxious to the other party. Whether justly or not, the revival party believed that the work aimed at by the commission was not the correction of abuses, but the suppression of the revival. All the preachers and probationers for the ministry belonging to the revival party of Cumberland Presbytery received a regular citation to appear before this commission. Most of them obeyed. The commission met December 3, 1805.

I have before me a full copy of the proceedings of the commission, taken from the record book by Lowry and Smith, while they were editing the church paper. The words of the charges are these:

They did license a number of young men to preach the gospel, and

some of them they ordained to preach the gospel and administer ordinances in the church, contrary to the rules and regulations of the Presbyterian Church in such cases made and provided; and, whereas, these [78] men have been required by said presbytery to adopt the said Confession of Faith and Discipline of said Church no further than they believe it to be agreeable to the word of God, etc.

These charges are repeated, in substance, three times in the records of the commission, and are, in substance, just what Dr. Davidson makes them. The General Assembly paraphrased the charges thus: "Licensing and ordaining a number of persons, not possessing the qualifications required by our Book of Discipline and without explicit adoption of our Confession of Faith. "

No prosecutor was named. No specifications were made, but on these general charges the commission required the Cumberland Presbytery to submit all its probationers for the ministry, and also four of its ordained ministers, to the commission for re-examination. To this requirement the majority of the presbytery refused to submit, claiming that the constitution of the church made the presbytery the sole judge of the qualifications of its own probationers, and that no other church court had a right to arraign and try one of that presbytery's ordained ministers.(80) It was not a case of appeal or of reference. No charges had ever been brought against these four ordained ministers in their own presbytery. Neither the synod nor its commission had any right to originate process of trial in these cases.

The commission then appealed to "the young men," as the accused were called, to come forward and submit to the examination. The young men asked leave to retire and pray for divine direction. Their request was ridiculed, but a telling speech by a layman in favor of granting the request turned the current, and they were allowed to retire. Each went alone to the woods for silent prayer. Each returned alone. Each one separately declined to submit. Then the commission forbade all of them to preach by virtue of any authority received by them from Cumberland Presbytery. Ewing and King, however, did not receive their licensure from Cumberland Presbytery. Of course that fact was forgotten by the commission. The other young men placed under the interdict were numerous, including several mere catechists who never aspired to the work of the ministry; but those whose names [79] are of special interest to our people were Robert Guthrie, James B. Porter, David Foster, Hugh Kirkpatrick, Thomas Calhoun, Robert Bell, Ephraim McLean, Alexander Chapman, and William Moore.

But the commission had no right to originate process against a minister, nor to suspend or depose a minister. Its action was illegal, unconstitutional, null, and void. Precedents away back in the state church of Scotland are quoted, but there is not one of these precedents that does not reek with the odors of state tyranny, overriding and subduing the lawful church courts. Riding committees, high courts of commission, and popery all go together.

There was a written constitution in the Presbyterian Church in America. No matter what was done in Scotland. No matter if the Westminster Assembly itself did ordain men to preach. In the constitution of the American Presbyterian Church the sole and exclusive right to ordain was placed, where the Bible places it, in the hands of the presbytery.(81) Nor is there one single word in all the book giving that right to any other court.

As to trial of a preacher, the constitution fixes that beyond all dispute. "Process against a gospel minister shall always be entered before the presbytery of which he is a member." (Discipline, ch.v. 2.)

What then is the synod's redress when a whole presbytery goes wrong in its ordinations? It can dissolve that presbytery, and attach its members to some other.(82)

That intensely partisan history of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky, written by Dr. Davidson, has this remarkable concession about this commission: "Thus terminated one of the most interesting and important convocations ever known in the American church; without precedent, and, thus far, without imitation." {Italics mine.} It seems to be the accepted policy of the Presbyterian Church now to obey the constitution, and restrict the right to originate process against a minister to his own presbytery. {See McPherson's Hand Book, pp. 141, 144, 146.}

One significant fact is brought to light by Dr. Crisman's valuable little book, "Origin and Doctrines," pp. 77, 78, and that is that [80] the very year in which the first presbytery of our church was organized, the General Assembly of the mother church pronounced the assumptions of a synod to try a minister when there was no appeal --that is, to originate process of trial against a minister--unconstitutional. When asked the next year to reconsider the deliverance of the preceding year on this subject, the Assembly declined to do so, and adhered firmly to its former decision. {See Baird's Digest, pp. 447, 448, 468.}

The General Assembly of 1807 disapproved this assumption of authority by the commission of Kentucky Synod, and if it had not been for the doctrinal trouble, an appeal to that Assembly would have settled all the difficulty.

But no matter what the Assembly did or would have done, the revival party stood on their constitutional rights when they refused to submit to the commission's demands. In doing so they gave a check to popish usurpations in the Presbyterian Church so decided, that there has been no effort since to repeat them in that particular way.

Along with the traditions and written testimonies about this meeting of the commission at Gasper River church, come up two conflicting multitudes of angry voices, both, however, agreeing in two things: First, that "the young men" who were arraigned were prayerful, dignified, and firm. Second, that the chief manifestations of bitterness against the commission were made by the people, and not by the revival preachers. To this Mr. Rankin, who never joined the Cumberland Presbyterians, was the only exception.

For the popular feeling it would be easy to find an apology. The object of the commission was looked upon as one more effort to put a stop to the great revival. It was put in the same category with the visits to McGready's churches and McGready's members in 1798 by Mr. Balch, who went from house to house and from church to church, ridiculing the revival, and trying to embarrass the young converts.

The place of meeting was unfortunate. The revival party had been shut out of that meeting-house, and had established their place of worship in the adjacent grove. Among the members of [81] the commission were men who had been the fiercest partisans against the revival. Mr. Lyle, who had succeeded in winning preeminence as an unscrupulous enemy of the revival and who had traveled among the revival churches, as they thought, "in the capacity of a spy," preached the opening sermon--if a harangue three hours long against the measures of Cumberland Presbytery may be called a sermon. Mr. Rankin, the most excitable of the revival party, harangued the people on the other side of the question, going for that purpose to the grove where the revival party had established their place of worship.

The popular feeling of the neighborhood had been roused against "Mr. Lyle and his commission" to such an extent, that none of the people near the church out of which the revival party had been locked, would open their houses to the commissioners. Mr. Cameron, who had also won the title of "the spy," was present with these commissioners. Joshua L. Wilson, who to the day of his death pursued "the Cumberlands" with a malignity which would have disgraced a Romish priest in the days of Martin Luther, was also one of the commissioners. But Rice and other conservative men of the synod were not on the commission.

The revival party complained much of the haughty and dictatorial language used by the commission in all its demands upon them. It often reminded them that they were no longer where they were in a majority, and could have things their own way, but were standing at the bar of their masters, arraigned for trial.

Ah! well; we have had enough of that. God rules. The actors in that scene have all long ago gone before a tribunal which never makes any mistakes. One thing we do know. God still used the revival party in leading poor sinners to their Savior.

1. Life of Mrs. Hess.

2. This MS. was written by R.B. McMullen, D.D., and was loaned me by J.H. Bryson, D.D., of Huntsville, Alabama. It is a very valuable MS. What a pity we have not a history of the Presbyterian church in the rest of the State!

3. This minister was the Rev. Dr. Brooks. For reasons unknown to the writer his name never appeared on the roll of the Kentucky Synod, in whose bounds he lived.

4. MS. History of Presbyterian church in East Tennessee, by Dr. McMullen.

5. Dr. McMullen's MS., p. 6.

6. Memoir of Mrs. Hess.

7. Memoir of Mrs. Hess.

8. Davidson's History, pp. 103, 129, 130.

9. He had been tried and suspended before he came to Kentucky, and was restored to the ministry by a different presbytery without the consent of his own presbytery. He was a disturber of the peace wherever he went.--Dr. McMullen's MS.

10. McGready, Hodge, Ewing, Calhoun, Smith, Speer, Foote, and others, are my authorities for this chapter,

11. John McGee's statements were written from memory, twenty years after the

events, and contain internal proofs of inaccuracy in other matters.

12. Several of his hard sayings on that occasion are preserved in the Kirkpatrick MSS., and in others.

13. Foote's North Carolina, pp. 64-73.

14. Speer, Rev., 1800, pp. 24, 43, 48, 84.

15. Western Sketch Book.

16. Revivalist, Feb. 13, 1833.

17. There is good reason to believe that he was wrong in the date. He describes events which seem to belong to the next year. He wrote from memory long after the events.

18. See appendix to Life and Times of Ewing, Dr. Frizzell's semi-centennial pamphlet, and Revivalist, 1832, for these circulars.

19. Assembly Minutes, Vol. I., p. 117, et seq.

20. See McSpeddin's papers, filed in Cumberland University Library; also Banner of Peace, September 8 and October 26, 1853.

21. From Glasgow to Springfield, by Fergus Ferguson, D.D.

22. An explanation of what "tokens" were and what "fencing the table" was will be found in another chapter.

23. Quoted from Dr. Speer.

24. Italics his.

25. Bishop's Memoir of Rice, p. 367.

26. From the Western Sketch Book, published in East Tennessee by the Rev, James Gallagher, of the Presbyterian church.

27. The revival of 1800.

28. Conversations with Old Kentuckians.

29. Judge W.S. Delany, Columbus, Texas.

30. See Revivalist, 1833.

31. This prohibition was revoked in 1825.

32. Lowry's Life of Donnell, pp. 43, 45

33. Beard's Memoirs of the Rev. William Harris, p. 138.

34. Dr. Frizzell's semi-centennial pamphlet, pp. 57, 58.

35. Smith's History, p. 563; Foote, p. 50.

36. Smith, p. 567, et seq.; McGready's Posthumous Papers

37. See Mrs. Williamson's letters in Bird's Chapman.

38. Minutes of Transylvania Presbytery, 1801; Revivalist, April 16, 1834.

39. Lowry's Life of Donnell, p. 26.

40. Bird's Chapman, p. 70.

41. Conversations with Old People at Red River.

42. John McGee locates this incident incorrectly.

43. Southern Quarterly, 1868, p. 155.

44. See his ninth letter to Presbyterians.

45. See his History of the Presbyterian Church in America.

46. See New York Evangelist, 1833.

47. Revivalist, June 13, 1834.

48. See pp. 38-40.

49. Hugh Kirkpatrick's MSS.

50. Quoted from Smith's History.

51. Quoted from Cossitt's Life of Ewing, p. 346.

52. See Revivalist, May 14, 1834. See also appendix A, in Life and Times of


53. Life and Times of Ewing, pp. 70-77.

54. Beard's King.

55. Beard's Anderson.

56. Bird's Life of Chapman, p. 35.

57. Incidents furnished by his son, Finis E. McLean.

58. Incidents reported by Hon. F.E. McLean.

59. Smith's History, p. 624.

60. Dr. Frizzell's Semi-centennial Pamphlet, p. 14.

61. See "The anonymous pamphlet of Kentucky Synod;" J.L. Wilson's letter in The Standard, 1832; Religious and Literary Intelligencer, April 5, 1832, etc.

62. See Dr. Wilson's charges quoted in Religious and Literary Intelligencer, February and April, 1832. See also Pittsburgh Herald, 1835, passim.

63. In the middle of the track.

64. Dr. James H. Brooks said this in substance, if not ipsissimis verbis.

65. This quotation is given from memory.

66. Davidson's History Presbyterian church in Kentucky, p. 255.

67. Ibid., p. 256.

68. Davidson's History Presbyterian church in Kentucky, p. 239, where the Minutes of the Commission are quoted. "Not only illiterate, but erroneous in sentiment," is the wording.

69. Davidson's History Presbyterian church in Kentucky, p. 255.

70. Digest, p. 157.

71. Smith, pp. 635, 681.

72. Baird's Digest, pp. 157, 645.

73. Presbyterian General Assembly Minutes (South), 1866, p. 30. Presbyterian General Assembly Minutes (North), 1873, p. 485.

74. Quoted from the Evangelical Repository, March, 1877.

75. Inst., Vol. II., ch. vi.

76. Creeds of Christendom, Vol. I., p. 791.

77. Creeds of Christendom, Vol. I., p. 792. Note.

78. Declaration of 1879. I have a copy in the handwriting of its author, sent me

by Dr. Ferguson, of Glasgow.

79. Revivalist, April 17, 1833.

80. Discipline, ch. v. sec. 2.

81. Form of Government, ch. x. sec. 8.

82. Ibid., ch. xi. sec. 4.

 Table of Contents  Second Period

 Historical Foundation