The time alluded to in page eighty-one, when this cry was heard at Clear Creek ("Lord revive us") was about Christmas 1821, and about four months after Mr. Toler had left them — soon after this circumstance, a respectable brother informed me, that the Clear Creek church in her present destitute situation, he much feared, would loose [lose] her constitution, or cease to continue as a church, for that he expected a number of the members would follow Mr. Toler — at this news I was much afflicted in mind; perhaps I felt as Nehemiah did in his first chapter, when the report came to him in Babylon, of the distressed state of the Jews in Jerusalem — but the same barrier lay in my way that had done twenty-seven years back when I left Clear Creek, which had prevented my visiting that place for many years. By apparent accident, at Christmas, on a visit with my wife to some friends in Woodford, I had appointed a night meeting at Col. Singleton's, very near to Clear Creek meeting house; at the Christmas named above, Brother Edmund Waller, who had long served the church at Hillsboro, and who had been much concerned for the state of Clear Creek church, hearing of my
meeting, came to it; perhaps about thirty people attended, and chief of them of the younger class — our exhortations, and prayers among them that night seemed to so arrest the attention of the youth, that after meeting broke, Brother Waller so expressed the tenderness of his feelings, that he hoped the Lord would revive his work in that place — brother L. Sullivan tarried some time conversing on the longing desire of his heart for the Lord to revive his work among the rising generation, for that but few of them now professed religion in the whole settlement — his invitations were warm to repeat our visits; a few nights after I had a meeting at brother J. Graves', and though the weather was severely cold, the house was crowded with people, who gave great attention to the word — when we set out for home next morning, sister Graves grasped my hand with great seriousness, intreating me to pray to the Lord for herself and children — this affected me much, with this resolve, that if the Lord would I would soon visit the place again. The request of this sister followed me almost continually, day and night, with an uncommon awakening of prayer in my heart; a few weeks after this, I had a peculiar dream — I had went to a church meeting at the north fork of Elkhorn, the third Saturday of January, very cold weather, I stayed all night at a brother Sinclair's, slept in a small upper room, when I dreamed I was fishing with another man, in very clear water, about middle deep; we saw a number of large fish which we endeavored to take with a gigg; though they seemed gentle we caught none of them; a number of small fish began to skip out of the water and using their fins as wings, came flying over our heads in abundance; when we became anxious to catch some of those very small fish, striking at them with my hat, I only caught one of them, the fins of this little captive looked the colour of silver, and while fluttering, being entangled in the lining of my hat, I awoke —
being very drowsy, I turned over and soon dropt to sleep and as soon got to fishing again, and several others with me; being very intent on success, we came to a water wherein was a vast number of very large fish, being very gentle, they were basking under a dark skum that was on the water, only their tails could be seen waving near the surface of the very clear water — I grasped two of them near the tail fin in both my hands at once, and their weight was such that my whole strength could scarcely draw them out of the water — laying them by I prepared for another draft, laying holt [hold] of only one, I now found it more difficult to draw it out of the water, owing to a number of smaller ones connected with it, all of which came out together; though my comrades were engaged in other places, I said to one of them near me, when I had made the last haul, these small fish will make a fine fry, the idea was, the others were for future use — I awoke from this second dream with feelings very different from the first; I sprang from the bed with an agonizing tremor through my whole soul and body, I could scarcely hold a joint still, the place seemed as dreadful as when Jacob saw the ladder — a while I would walk the room, and a while be on my knees or sitting weeping out my soul in prayers to God for a revival of religion among us; Habackuks [Habakkuk's] prayer, 3rd chapter, seemed peculiarly adapted to the language of my heart — Sister Graves's last tearful request revived afresh in my mind, and 1 know not whether I was ever more solicitous for my own salvation than to see a revival of religion at poor old Clear Creek church; all my prayers seemed to run particularly to that point. The pressing severity of the air, in a room without fire, compelled me to cover up in bed again, after about one hour hoping for a revival of religion, and that the Lord would make use of me some way as an instrument in it, for I had not experienced such encouraging impressions as now for the space of twenty
years, the balance of the night was spent in awful anxiety and joyful hope — but this began to flag when day light appeared — I began to reflect on many things as to myse1f; first, my time of life — now in my seventieth year — everything seemed out of repair; my lack of recollection through age — my fractured lungs, having been vigorously engaged for near fifty years in the ministry, and now incapable to speak but little; for 1 found that a tour of preaching would soon break me down with hoarness [sic] — again where my greatest desires ran (Clear Creek) embarrassments were in the way, so that I began to seriously believe, that all my hopes respecting my own usefulness, was built on vanity and presumption — this sunk my spirits low, and sealed my lips for a number of months, naming it to no flesh living; the encouragement I had received the night of which I have been speaking. This did not prevent my almost constant prayer to the Lord, to revive his work by what instruments He pleased at Clear Creek — concluding that myself would visit there as a kind of auxiliary, and preach at private homes. About two weeks after those dreams spoken of, brother William Rice, a licensed preacher at Clear Creek, came to my house one evening about dark — hearing him conversing with my wife in another room, I was struck with awful impressions, that he had some serious message to me, and though I upbraided myself for the unlikely foolish thought, I yet felt an uncommon tremor of mind — almost the first thing he said to me was, that the church at Clear Creek with united voice, requested me to preach among them — that a letter had been written to that purport, but that he failed to get it when he left home, I agreed to attend their next monthly meeting, which was in February, and prevailed on brother James Suggett to go with me, hoping that his attention would be turned to the destitute church at Clear Creek — after hearing the church record relative to myself, I
informed them that I had never attended statedly at any church but where I was a member, but as I saw their situation, I would be with them when I could make it convenient, till they could be otherways supplied; of this loose agreement, the church made a record. In one respect all the desire of my heart was accomplished, now a free opening to express and communicate all the tender feelings of my soul for the salvation of the dear young rising race — I now began to contemplate the harmony of providence, in this apparently accidental thing — I was just writing the history of Clear Creek church, with the number of revivals that had been among them (and in which I had great interest) when the report reached me of their forloun [forlorn] situation; all this awakened my heart afresh. The first night after the churches [sic] call for me to preach among them, I had the night visions I have been speaking of about fishing; a number of my beloved preaching brethren, in the prime of life, with cheerfulness agreed to give agency to my Clear Creek enterprise. The barriers I dreaded at Clear Creek, melted away like the mountains before Zerubbabel, Zech. 4th chap. 7th. verse. In three meetings, brother Suggett and myself had, the effect became visible among the people; when we left the place, I appointed three other meetings, brother Edwards cheerfully went with me, brother Waller was with us at all those meetings; the effect was such among the people that no doubt was left with Waller and Edwards, for they thanked God in their prayers as seeing a revival; with myself there was more doubt, for I feared the news was too good to be true — soon after this I had a number of meetings with brother Waller in several of the churches he attended, as also about old Clear Creek, where we saw the effect greater among the people than we had seen before — we had a meeting at an old, respectable widow sister Arnold's, where I have seen many happy meetings. This text was taken that night — "The effectual
fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" — when preaching closed, a number of old professors rose up, male and female, and in a flood of tears, desiring prayers to be put up to God for them and their children. This seemed to run through the people as an electric stroke — and while prayer was performed the tears and groans of the people were not unlike the pangs of child-birth — "when Zion travaileth she bringeth forth."
I now believed unhesitatingly, that the Lord was at work among the people; at the April church meeting, none offered to the church, though I had heard that some had obtained hope in the Lord. At the May church meeting at Clear Creek, was among the most pleasing days of my life, for while we were sitting hearing experiences, I recollected that just that day fifty years ago, I had related my own experience, and been received into the church. This I named to the people, with much satisfaction; that after trying the religion of the Saviour, fifty years, it was now, as precious to me as any day of my life. The same thing I named next day at the water; that just fifty years after myself was baptized, I Baptized five choice young men, and one young lady; another thing was the more consoling, they had all lately obtained hope in the Lord Jesus. Another very agreeable thing, brother Abraham Cook from Shelby county, was with me at this time, we had a tour of preaching through Franklin, Woodford, and Jessamine counties; but the most of our labours, were about Clear Creek. This precious servant of the Lord preached with great effect among the people — some souls will remember what he said in this, and the world to come. The people about this time turned out abundantly to meetings, and their looks on their way are as those going to the funeral of a friend, Chief of the old Baptists about Clear Creek, seemed now to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, I pray that
they may continue in this harmony of soul till they die.
There were pleasing prospects, at their June Church meeting, seven were received and Baptized on the Lord's day, the most of these were females, only two males among them, one of whom was a black man. Some of this old forsaken church began to canvass the 54th chapter of Isaiah, and as that chapter begins with, sing O barren thou that didst not bear; they are ready to go through the whole of it as a heavenly ditty, or divine poem. While they lengthen their cords, may they strengthen their stakes, by good discipline. It has been stated at their first baptizing in May 1822, six were Baptized -- at their June meeting seven, at their July meeting, thirteen, at their August meeting eleven, at their September meeting, fourteen — at their October meeting, eighteen — seventy in all, taking in six baptizings. Of which about thirty were white males, all of them young men, though a number of them had families. About twenty-seven of them were white females, and thirteen blacks, male and females. Mr. Whitefield once said, whoever goes to heaven, will see seven women for one man, but in this case the males are a little ahead. At this last baptizing, prospects are obviously promising for a continuance of this blessed revival — many of those young converts, both male and female, are delightful singers; the songs of Zion they can now chant forth without a book, seem in a manner endless. The poor blacks, whose voices generally exceed the whites, have learned many of those precious songs; they are now abundantly stirred up to a devotional spirit; they flock together, and in the dead time of the night, you may hear them at a distance praying to, and praising God with charming sound. And as you travel the road in day time, at their business, you hear them singing with such heavenly melody that your heart melts into heavenly sweetness — while many in solemn pause
say, "O happy day's long looked for, the comforter is come." I have almost forsaken my home, at fifteen or twenty miles distance, to be among them. — Another arrangement, those young converts have gone into with each other is prayer meetings among themselves — Meeting alternately at each other's houses; it is pleasant to be in some of those crowded meetings, twice a week is now in practice; their custom is to begin with singing and then prayer, and from three to five or six, perform this service; and it is usual to sing about two songs between one prayer and another — the style of their prayers are, that the Lord would keep and preserve them, as young professors of His name. That his gospel and converting work may spread far and wide, and by the means, himself may appoint — and that he would particularly bless the family where they are; will not God hear his own elect, who cry to him day and night? Yea, says Christ, he will answer them speedily.
This happy work seemed rather to begin at Clear Creek; there, as yet, the most have been Baptized — neighboring churches, are partaking of the same benefit. Edmund Waller has baptized upwards of forty at Hillsboro Church — Samuel Jessee has baptized a number at Grayer's [Griers] Creek Church — some also have been baptized at Versailles Church. It may be remembered, that all these churches were included formerly in the bounds of old Clear Creek Church, and may be esteemed her daughters.
[Editor's note: The following is about Corn Creek. — jrd]
On the evening of this baptizing at Clear-creek, I set out on a tour of about seventy miles, to Corn Creek Church in Gallitin county, where I had formerly lived for many years; on Friday night I had meeting at an old brother Jessee Connell's, the text was, "It is high time to wake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer, than when we believed." A number of the people after preaching, tarried — perhaps for the purpose of conversing on their religious impressions.
One woman in great seriousness, related her hope in Christ — the next day being church meeting at Corn Creek, she was received for Baptism. The church set again at night, when a crowded assembly came out, and three more received for baptism — agreeing to set again at 10 o'clock on Sunday morning , two more were received. This morning the neighborhood flocked out early; in relating these experiences, the people seemed much affected, for the candidates, (though females,) spoke so as to be heard all over the house; and gave such evidence that God was in them of a truth, that joyful tears flowed profusely from the deciples [sic] of Christ, while those destitute of religion, appeared solemn as death. The church at Corn Creek has been without an ordained minister for several years; though the voice of the church has been united for the ordination of George Kendall. As yet he has declined being ordained, esteeming himself unqualified for so great a trust — for this cause baptism had not been performed here for a long time, except one man myself had baptized last spring; our old baptizing place at Corn Creek, had become filled up with drift — and the whole assembly seemed anxious to see Baptizing again; that we all progressed on down the creek through the brush and fallen timber a long distance, before we found suitable water. One of the women failed to come forward to baptism, who had been received, perhaps on account of her husband; here I baptized five of my old acquaintances, whose salvation I had long prayed for, while my heart was filled with paradisiacal peace and joy. This afternoon bore the appearance of a revival of religion among the people — how it will terminate is only with the Lord to know. The respectable old brother Connell, (now in his 75th year, and has been a Baptist about fifty years,) remarked to me with great joy of heart, as we were going to the water, "Now I see why it is, I did not die sooner" — for all the people now received in the
church were his own connection and offspring; to-wit: one son-in-law, one daughter-in-law, three daughters and one grand-daughter.
[Editor's note: Mr. Taylor returns to his Clear Creek account. — jrd]
About this time, the revival at Clear Creek, began to spread more among the black people, than it had done before; for at the Church meeting in November, twelve were received, and no white person among them. A great many blacks attended the baptizing on Sunday, they, in a manner, took possession of the shore, and of the thirteen that were baptized, only one was a white person, who had been received a month before. The exulting joy among some of the blacks on that day, went a little beyond moderation; for my own part, I do not recollect that I ever enjoyed such a heavenly feast among the black people before. For the sake of convenience I took two or three of them into the water at once, and when I would return them to the hundreds of their black friends on the shore, with tears of joy, their friendly hands and arms would grasp them to their bosom, the air would ring with their thanksgiving and praises to God for His wonderful works of grace on the hearts of poor sinners. When I brought out the last of them, and got fairly on land among them, I partook with the utmost pleasure, their manifestations of good will and Christian love — while I felt thankful that our God was no respecter of persons. I now remember a prophecy of David in 68th psalm 31st verse, "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God" — one of these poor black men, by the name of Essex, soon as his head was raised above water began to praise God aloud, and enquired for his dear master, who was then weeping on the shore. He wanted to give him his hand, which he soon did; here master and servant meets on perfect equality; James says, "let the brother of low degree, rejoice in that he is exalted — and the rich, in that he is made low," — Jack and Harry or Essex, has a master in the shop or on the farm, but not so in the church of Christ, —
there they all have a master, and only one master, Jesus Christ — and there they are all Christs free men, and on perfect equality with each other. There as in the grave, the servant is free from his master, and the oppressors voice not to be heard; there call no man master or father on earth, there conscience is free.
This is January 1823. At the last church meeting of Clear Creek, seventeen had been received for baptism — six white persons, and eleven blacks; four of the white persons received, some from sickness, and some from other causes, put off their baptism till another time. So that we now had in a manner, another negro baptizing, and though this was a day of very cold rain, and only two days from Christmas, the people in great abundance attended on the shore; among the eleven blacks baptized on this day ten of them were males. From some estimate now made at Clear Creek, within eight months, and taking in eight baptizings, ninety-seven have partaken of that ordinance, and four yet to be baptized. It seems about one third of this number is blacks; thus ends to Clear Creek Church the happy year of 1822.
This to me has been a year of great variety of sensation — if there is such a thing as sweet hearted painful anxiety, this has been my experience throughout the past year — for it will be remembered that the dream I had about fishing, was early in January, and the very night after the church gave me the call to attend them, of which call I had no knowledge till afterwards; the prayerful anxiety of my soul when awaking from the latter part of this double dream, has been expressed before. When nothing would pacify this expanded desire, but an answer something like this — you shall catch men; this would often occur with sweet delight, not only at the time of the dream but through the year afterwards. Perhaps my feelings about this time, were not unlike Ezekiel's roll, in chapters, 2d and 4th, which he was to eat and
fill his bowels with, and afterwards speak to the people — or like John, Rev. 10 chap. when he was directed to eat the little book, that was sweet as honey in his mouth, but bitter in his bowels; after which he was again to prophecy to the people. Those kind of feelings can only be understood by those who have felt the same; chief of the enjoyments of life, in a manner lost their relish through the course of this year's anxiety. For weeks together, I did not sleep perhaps more than four hours in twenty-four — and food itself seemed but a small object. One painful thing to myself, through the course of the year, was my preaching seemed more barren than common, though I practised as often as in any year of my life, it seemed to me like mere sounding brass — so that I was both ashamed and sorrowful when I closed. And could scarcely believe my own ears,when I heard anything about its utility — from some hints I have heard at times, I fmd some are much mistaken as to my instrumentality in the revival at Clear-creek. I am not considered either by myself, or perhaps any other person, a man of much timidity or affectation, and am therefore the better capable to judge in this affair. Other ministers, have been instrumental from what has been made manifest by the experiences that have been told to the church — as Jacob Creath, Edmund Waller, Abram Cook, James Suggett, William Rice, and John Edwards -- my being the only administrator of baptism, at Clear Creek, has probably produced the mistake, as to my usefulness. But the truth is, God's set time to favor Zion was come, and he seemed to use other means besides preaching to carry on His own work. The several baptizings, and especially the first one, seemed to be the greatest medium of awakening sinners in this revival. This is often seen in other places, and is one evidence in favor of believer's baptism, by immersing the whole body under water, it is a usual thing for infant sprinklers to take up from three to
five hours in preaching on gospel baptism. But I do not recollect that I have spent ten minutes at anyone time for seven years past on baptism — to a man with the New Testament in his hand, the best proof that can be given on gospel baptism, is to see a man rise up, and hear him declare his faith in Christ — and that moment for a proper adrninistrator to lead him into water of a proper depth, and lean him back to figurate a burial, and in the name of the triune God solemnly immerse his whole body under water. This reduces the doctrine of baptism to practice before his eyes; in this the Baptists have the advantage of all the sectaries in the world, in the article of gospel baptism — and to this is much owing their success in the world.
Another subject bore with much weight on my mind, this was the fifieth year of my ministry, and seventieth year of my age, and though I had no certain evidence that this was the last year of my life, the probability of it had its weight with me. Before I was twenty years old, and the day that my glimmering hope in Christ became confirmed. I had a desire, and perhaps prayed the Lord to take me away at once, that I might be with Christ; it occurred to me with strong impression of thought, that I was to continue on the earth fifty years longer. I now remember what trouble of mind it gave me, and how often that day I looked at the slow motion of the sun, saying to myself, how many days does it take to wear off fifty years. And though that part of the exercise of that happy day, had in a manner been long forgotten by myself. It now revived afresh, hoping with awful weight upon my mind, that this was to be the last year of my life; but the year is gone, and I find myself here yet, in good health writing what I now do. As to living longer or dying this moment I have but little choice — I have but one hope either in life or death, this being the chief cornerstone, Christ Jesus, the Lord. Paul says for him
to live was Christ, and to die was gain; if I can but live to Christ, and for Christ on earth, my days may speed their way to what length the Lord pleases.
I am just now pausing, and reflecting with thanksgiving to the Lord for the happiness of the past year. This has been a year of great mortality, and while some preachers have died, and a number more by disease has been brought to the gates of the grave. I have mingled with diseases, travelled, and laboured much, and through all kinds of weather, without one hour's sickness; and though my fractured lungs through fifty years labour in the ministry, have this year been often reduced down to a mere whisper while speaking — I have recovered to as good plight as I was at the beginning of the year. In fifty years past I suppose I have traveled at least an hundred thousand miles, and chiefly on the business of preaching, this would take me about four times round the globe on which we live. Had I have had no success in preaching before, what has taken place at Clear Creek, and other places through the course of the past year, more than compensates for the travels and all other distresses that I have met with through life, though my services, as stated before, at Clear-creek have been but partial.
If all this seems foolish to the reader, he is very welcome to his own thoughts -- I expect very soon to see Jesus Christ. My preaching, as stated before, through the course of the past year, seemed very far short of what I wished it be; to supply that lack, I made it a point to visit the people at their own houses, to converse with them about the state of their souls; those visits were so cordially received by the people, and so much confidence manifested, that they would generally converse with me freely. So that it was a rare thing for an experience to be related to the church but I had heard it before, of course very few that offered were rejected, in those domestic visits, I think, lay my best services.
If an old brother or sister would give me their hand in tears,(which was often the case,) saying, pray for me and mine, it made an opening for a visit. If I saw a young person, male or female weeping at meeting, my sympathy began to flow, and with heart yearnings, desire to mingle my tears with theirs, and would pay them a visit; if I heard of any that were offended, or speaking reproachfully of me, if I thought I could do it without giving greater offence, I would pay them a visit. Some one or more of the brethren, would often go with me on those visits, and I think we shall never forget the happy little tearful, family meetings we had; when it was requested or appeared seasonable, we went to prayer, otherwise the time was spent on Godly subjects or singing praises of the Lord.
Clear Creek Church has at present two teaching gifts, William Rice and brother Offutt [Wafford] — Offutt has lately joined the church, neither of them is yet ordained. They have also three black teachers, two of them is the property of old brother Castleman, their names are Marlock and James, they mostly teach among their own colour. In their meetings at times I hear there is much noise, but we have lately heard a number of good experiences from the blacks, as the fruit of their labours. Another black man, respectable both in looks and character; his age is perhaps fifty, he is styled both by black and white Uncle Phil — he is tall, his countenance comely and solemn as the grave, his preaching talents are such, that for some time back, by the help of the people, he has obtained his freedom, he travels considerably, and his preaching acceptable wherever he goes.
Some circumstances a little uncommon in this last revival at Clear Creek will now be attended to. — More than thirty seven years past, I Baptized a number of men and their wives at Clear Creek — their children were then very young, in the course of last year, I have Baptized a number to the third generation,
old Mr. Joseph Collins and wife were two Baptized that long ago, they have kept their place in the church for this long time; he is now in his eightieth year, of a spare texture, and can travel about in a manner, like a boy, his old lady, something younger than himself, also of spare habit, can trip across the fields and along the roads a foot and seldom fails being at meeting, and her zeal in the cause of religion is such in her own circle, she preaches away in whatever company she is in -- their children were three daughters, they were all married, one is dead, the two surviving ones, are the wives of those useful men in the church of Christ, Lewis and James Sullivan -- one of those surviving daughters I have lately Baptized and some of the grand children from all their daughters — also John Arnold and his wife were Baptized about the same time of Collins and his wife — I have lately Baptized some of their children and grand children. Brother John Arnold after keeping a respectable standing in the church of Christ in the world and in his own respectable family for more than thirty years, with great confidence of hope in Christ departed this life a few years past — this man, being a very near neighbor of mine at the time of his conversion laboured long under despairing conclusions that there was no mercy for him — being raised under the light of the gospel he concluded he had some way committed the unpardonable sin — and that was the reason why his heart was so hard and wicked — his deliverance took place when by himself and riding along the road — when he concluded all the world round him was changed, while the comforts of love were vibrating in his soul as he rode along, he began to ask himself, whether it was possible that John Arnold — hell deserving John Arnold was converted — while his conscience answered, O yes, hell deserving John Arnold is born again, and will never more see any trouble; and looking at his hands he really fancied they were not the hands
of the old John Arnold, but of the new; after Baptizing him, I lived long with him in Clear Creek church, while he gave good evidence that this change was reality — old sister Arnold is yet living, I remember she told a most interesting experience to the church, and has long manifested a warm regard for the cause of Christ, and though she is now a widow, and has lost one of the best of husbands, she is far from being sunk into the mopes — her natural strength of judgment, has great weight with her children as a counsellor, her masculine fortitude bears her up under the most trying scenes — her great aptitude to converse on things of religion, and seeing her zeal for the blessed cause, being in her company would give you pleasure — you would perhaps say to yourself, is not this Deborah the prophetes[s] risen from the dead — she is truly a mother in Israel.
At John Arnold's in old times we had many happy meetings, in my early visits last winter, one of the night meetings had been appointed at the widow Arnolds; when I got to the place I could not forbear fixing my eyes on the old house, where the Lord had done such wonders in former days, and naming that circumstance to the old sister, she replied with apparent strong emotion of mind, "yes, brother Taylor God has converted many sinners in that old house," expressing her prayerful desire that the Lord would again be merciful to poor sinners, the conversation ended. That very night her prayer was answered, for a number of sinners hopefully converted since, profess their first awakening at that meeting — a niece of hers, Arrieny, daughter of James Arnold, was among the number; James Arnold with his wife have long been Baptists, though some of their children had been Baptized before — the conversion of their daughter Arrieny, proved a great blessing to the family; it is a pleasure to visit this now happy family; you will fmd three or four fme girls, among the best of singers, the old people with their son Garrard,
a young man, all professing the Lord's name and joining in the heavenly melody — before you were aware, you would think surely I am in paradise; about three months after this night meeting at the widow Arnolds, her son Thomas, a choice looking young man, (unexpected to his mother) stept forward to relate to the church his hope in Christ, which he had obtained, only the evening before, this being on Sunday forenoon; the house was much crowded — the relation was so much to the purpose, and the young man so much affected while giving it, that a general weeping took place through the great assembly, and especially when the old sister and her respectable looking daughter, Mrs. Rice came pressing through the crowd, with joyful tears, to give the hand of fellowship — while the one could only say, O, my son my son! and the other, O, my brother! my brother! This gave fresh tide to the feelings of sympathy among the people — and especially when the old sister turning from her son, reached out her hand to me, exclaiming loud enough to be heard all over the house — "O, brother Taylor, God has answered our prayers" — I confess my passions were wrought on above measure — This was the beginning of days with many — this being the first Baptizing in this revival, thousands attended at the water; the persons Baptized were William Singleton, Thomas Arnold, James Jesse, Washington Jesse, Edmund Roper, and a respectable young lady Miss Hazard, all those young men were of respectable family, Singleton had been received into the church by experience at the March meeting, myself not present — at the April meeting, others had obtained hope, but none came forward to join the church; when I asked Singleton if he would now be Baptized, he was so confident that the Lord was working among the people, his reply was, "I will wait for company" — at the May meeting, he had the company I have just been speaking of, and himself took the lead and was first Baptized.
I have been talking of parents, children and grand children, I have one more instance; the widow Scarce [Scearce], her husband James Scarce had been Baptized in Virginia before I was a Baptizer — she is now a widow of a great age — I Baptized her in my early days of Baptizing in Virginia, and nearly fifty years ago — in this Clear Creek revival have Baptized some of her children, and grand children, a grand daughter of hers, Martha Scarce, is the daughter of Mr. William Scarce — though he has many children Patsey is his only daughter and the youngest child — perhaps parents cannot be more deservedly attached to a child than in the present case; I had Baptized Patsey's mother before she was married. Mr. William Scarce lives in high style, and looks as independent as any man in Kentucky, though he is a friendly man, he seems to take but little pains to please anybody, it is probable he is a religious man, but himself thinks he does not always give the best evidence of it; being well acquainted with him from a child, my visit seemed acceptable to the family; after some friendly conversation with Mr. Searce, Miss Patsy and her mother walked into the room where we were, to take share in the conversation — though I had never known the young lady before, the solemnity of her countenance bespoke the Lord is there; her consent was soon gained to relate her hope in the Lord Jesus — after sitting down for that purpose, the tears for some time began to flow from her comely eyes, and though her father mildly chid her childish weakness when she began to talk, his strongest phylosophy could not bare him up, big as he was he retired from the room though not out of hearing, that he might give vent to the tender emotions of his own heart — this is perhaps one evidence that himself has felt religion. I remember the purport of her experience — at a meeting where Edmund Waller had preached
from this text — "Martha? Martha? thou art cumbered about many things, but one thing is needful."
Perhaps her own name being Martha, made the text and preaching the more striking to her; reflecting she had never done anything for the Lord in all her life — but to serve herself had been her whole object; she determined now to try to seek the Lord — her first attempt was prayer to God, in the first effort this part of the scripture occurred to her — "He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth." This proved a killing word to her, for in all her cries for mercy — that killing word "whom He will he hardeneth" would strike her dumb, for there was no mercy for her — when she read the Book of God, it all justly condemned her, for she was hardened and helpless, she had no rest day or night, for about one week, when walking abroad, to meditate and condole her lost state, these words applied to her mind with sweet relief; "Fear not little flock it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom" — returning to the house in peace, love and joy, and picking up the Book of God, not knowing that these blessed words were there — by apparent accident she soon opened to the very spot — Luke, 12th. chap. 32d. verse; finding these to be the words of Christ to his disciples — the whole plan of salvation opened up to her — from her own statement in joyful tears she pressed the open book, (where this cordial of her heart lay) to her palpitating bosom, saying in her soul this beloved Saviour is mine, and I am his forever; very shortly after this, she was Baptized in the month of July with many others. The very clear deliverance of Patsey's conversion proved a discouragement to a number of other young converts, whose evidences were not so clear.
John Adkins and family — This subject I would touch with some delicacy; Mr. Adkins, a worthy man and a licensed preacher, being much attached to the late pastor at Clear Creek, [Henry Toler], who had left the
church there and joined the church at Greyer's Creek, Adkins had applied for a letter of dismission at Clear Creek, to join where the old pastor had gone — this favor was denied at Clear Creek; the causes of this denial was — whether by the influence of the old paster or some other cause, the church at Greyer's Creek had assumed a new style, calling themselves particular Baptists, by which if not expressed, fully understood, a denial of the general union of Baptists in Kentucky. The church at Clear Creek concluded, they could not legally dismiss their members to join a church, by which they immediately went out of their own communion; Adkins considering himself a free man, joined this church at Greyer's Creek without this legal dismission. The church at Clear Creek, though much attached to Adkins, made record that this conduct of his did not correspond with good order — this was virtually exclusion — Adkins's wife being a member at Clear Creek, did not choose to go with her husband. The Lord in great mercy broke in on Adkins' family, and without doubt converted four of his children; their eldest daughter married to a Richard Barnes, their son Jonathan a young man, their daughter Polly a fine looking girl, free spoken and very ready witted, and a pleasant well favored younger daughter the name of Martha. Those children being very desirous to unite among the people of God, the question was, where shall they join, the church where their father was a member or at Clear Creek, where their mother's membership was — this produced a little halting, but in a family council among themselves, and leaving it to the children, they came on to Clear Creek, the parents and the three eldest children. There was no delay when the door was opened to hear experiences — the youngest of them (Polly) came forward first — the solemnity of her looks, her readiness of expression and the whole at times mingled with tenderness of tears; without doubt, putting all together placed the relation
on an equality with any I ever heard related to a church — perhaps the whole of the assembly, numerous as they were, heard this interesting statement distinctly, which their contenances and eyes manifested; in turn the other two children immediately followed, and it is a rare thing for three such experiences to be told a church together at any time — Martha was Baptized sometime afterwards. This was one of our happiest days at Clear Creek, both at the meeting house and at the water — O happy parents! My soul overflows with pleasure while writing. I have said that one of those daughters was the wife of a Richard Barnes, as he is connected with the family of Adkins, I shall make some statement of him and his brother Washington Barnes. — The first time I ever saw Richard Barnes to know him was at his own house — his brother Washington then lay sick of a fever, in conversing with these two brothers I believed they were not far from the kingdom of God; at the time of the Baptizing of Mrs. Barnes I believed Richard to be a converted man — but finding his mind under great anxiety I forbore to give him my opinion thinking the Lord had something more in store ready to be revealed to him in a short time — which came to pass for when I saw him again, he informed me of a very Clear deliverance he had received; but the poor man was now ruined, for he had lost it all again, and found with all the comfort he had felt, he was yet a sinner, which would not be the case if he was born again; I now encouraged him to come forward to the church; this he concluded would be presumption, the church sat at a private hause [sic] about one hour after this conversation, he sitting very near to me I asked him by name to relate to the church what he had done to me about an hour before, he replied, O sir! I cannot do that here, for it would be offering myself to the church, and I am too great a sinner to be among the people of God, thus saying, he burst out into a flood of tears, after
asking him a number of questions, the brethren left their seats to get round him to give their hand of fellowship with the greatest cordiality.
Washington Barnes had been sick with fevers, he would recover a little and relapse again; when I first saw him the fever of his mind under a sense of the guilt of his sin seemed the greatest distress he had, but relief came, soon after his brother was received by the church; he attended the September church meeting — he looked in a manner pale as a corpse, after a number of others had related their hope in Christ, he rose up from a remote part of the meeting house, his deliberate slow movement towards the table arrested the attention of the crowded assembly, while they with great intenseness looked on a young man more than six feet high, who barely looked like a living man, whose countenance seemed solemn as if he had just risen from the dead — those who could, strove to get nearer, but they need not have done that, for when he began he spoke loud enough to be heard all over the house, I do not recollect seeing an assembly more attentive to any address made to them than when this young man was telling his experience, no part needful seemed to be left untouched, so that there was no need for any church to ask one question — when he was received some brother with great warmth began to sing, "Come we that love the Lord" — and indeed it was a time of love — when the song ended another young man came forward, the name of Harrison, who had been under distress of soul about two months and having conversed with him a few hours before, he then professing no hope — I asked him when he had obtained his hope, he answered just now while they were singing — he was received and Baptized the next day with many others; This instance seemed a little more like the day of Pentecost, than any thing I had seen before; (those two Barnes,) my own belief is that Richard had as good an experience as Washington, but lack
of confidence in the evidence God gave him threw Richard in the back ground, and can only be received by extorted answers to questions; while Washington is received without one question; both these brothers were Baptized the same day, while Richard seems as much comforted as Washington; Washington's long and obstinate fevers would alternately change to the fever and ague; the day he was Baptized he took a relapse, and his ague came on just before he went into the water; but his zeal to do his duty pushed him on, and while under a violent ague I put him under the water, leaving that entirely with his conscience and the God he served; I had once Baptized others when myself had the fever and ague, but till now had not Baptized a man shaking with the ague. I was immediately called off on a long tour and did not hear from my shaking young brother for several weeks, but I often thought of him with great solicitude; when I enquired after Washington by his brother he replied, he believed I had cured him by Baptizing him, but I think he relapsed again several times, till Capt. frost, under providence, was his doctor.
Two females deceased — Those departed friends were Polly Rice and Hannah Graves -- these, being sisters were the daughters of Mr. Richard Cave, he lived long in the gospel ministry, and his labours at times very useful, some years past he was taken away by death; I have said something elsewhere of his biography; their mother was a sister of the old preaching Craigs; has been a Baptist more than fifty years, and now as a mother in Israel is a member at Clear Creek; her daughter Polly, both small and handsome, was married very young to Mr. Richard Rice; soon after becoming a mother, she became alarmed of her awful danger by sin; this awakening was by the preaching of Thomas Ammon, always a mighty son of thunder; he had been a great practical sinner, his conversion was as visible as his wickedness
had been; he began to preach in the time of hot persecution in Virginia, was honored as many others were, with a place in Culpeper prison for the testimony of his [D]ivine [M]aster; he died some years past in Kentucky. Mrs. Rice was long under great anguish of soul about her lost and helpless state, all her prayers and tears left her justly condemned before a just and holy God; at length concluded there was no mercy for her, for the sinfulness of her own prayers condemned her; at a night meeting at Dudley Mitchums, this text pressed on her mind; "We know that God heareth not sinners, etc." Lewis Craig being at the meeting, it occurred to her in the time of preaching, that he and myself were worshippers of God, and that He would hear our prayers for her; therefore, with great appearance of contrition she requested our prayers, and while prayer was thus offering up to God, she obtained a happy deliverance, which she openly professed, and was soon afterwards Baptized. She soon manifested her great zeal and sprightliness in the cause of religion.
It was not long, till she requested her husband, (who had been a Baptist before he married her) to worship God in his family; this being declined by her husband, she seriously proposed, with his consent, to do it herself. This was yielded to for awhile, and perhaps would have been more sufferable, if company did not come; her mode was to read the scriptures, sing and pray with her husband, little children, and servants. Whether from the reproaches of his own conscience, or some other causes, we cannot say, but it seemes [sic] he threw discouragements in her way; yet nothing could prevent her earnest prayers to God for her little children. It is said she would leave her bed, and kneel down in the dead time of night by the beds of her sleeping children, in tearful prayers to God to save them. Her oldest son, William, now an ordained preacher at Clear Creek, says when a small
boy, his mother would lead him out to a secret place, to pray for his salvation. There was no visible evidence that her prayers were answered, before her death, at which time none of her children was grown, and herself, though the mother of eight children, bore the appearance of a girl not grown, or that had never been married — her death was very unexpected, and much lamented by her acquaintances. To converse on religion, seemed to be the theme of her soul, and with the utmost freedom expressed her mind, though it might differ from all that were around. In company nothing seemed to escape her piercing eye, and in any dereliction from correctness, either in action or opinion, you might expect to hear from her, and though in great pleasantness, her reproofs would reach the quick like a sharp needle. Shortly before she breathed her last, a neighbor on a visit remarked to her friends, that he thought it improper to flatter her about a recovery, that she had but little time to stay, and he would be faithful to warn her, to use that little time the best way she could, to prepare for eternity. She overhearing what passed, calmly replied with a smile, calling him by name, I am not afraid to die, and as to preparation for eternity, it was not with her but in the Saviour, whom she had trusted long ago; and that it was rather her choice to depart and be with Christ, which was far better. No doubt she thus went to her beloved Lord and Saviour; she left eight children, an equal number of sons and daughters, her husband has since died, and left those children without living parents. The most of the children are since married, and in good families — all her children are hopefully converted, and joined the Baptist church, her prayers are answered after her death.
Hannah Graves, was baptized about the time her sister Rice was, and then about fourteen years old. She had a very intimate companion, about her own age, and both of them under deep distress of soul at
the same time. This companion was Polly Woodfork [Woolfolk], the daughter ofCol. Sowel Woolfork, yet living. The revival of religion was so universal at Clear Creek at this time, that meetings were progressing day and night — these poor distressed girls were generally together, and when after long setting [sic] up at meetings, in bed together, they would weep and converse together chief of the night; and if one should drop to sleep, the other with bedewing tears, raising her warning voice, would say, how can you sleep, when every drawing breath may terminate in eternal destruction. Those dear girls continued a considerable time in this distressed state — Hannah obtained deliverance first, at a meeting where old sister Arnold now lives, in the same old house spoken of before where many sinners had been converted. These girls setting together, and Polly, seeing something unusual in Hannah's countenance, exclaimed what ails you — receiving no answer, she then replied, Hannah, you are converted! O Hannah, you are converted!! Joyful Hannah, after a little, replied something had taken place, she could not well account for — but hoped it might be that great blessing. This sunk poor Polly into deeper horror and despair than ever, concluding the Lord had cast her off forever. This proved the killing blow to this dear girl; it seems they did not meet again for several days, soon after this Polly received deliverance, and the tide of joy having not subsided, could say, dear Hannah, I have found the Lord at their next meeting. To the best of my recollection, they were baptized on the same day — I remember the church sat at my house when Polly told her experience. The relation of her hope in Christ was of the most striking kind — to see a comely virgin about fourteen years old, from one of the most respectable families in the county, rise from her seat with all the apparent solemnities of heaven, set forth by the tender feelings of heart, in the presence of a crowded, attentive assembly, with all the
judgment of mature age, relate her hope in the Lord Jesus, which she had obtained the day before. It is no wonder that the whole assembly was much affected, I remember a respectable old lady broke out aloud with tears and trembling, exclaiming the Lord is doing such wonders for children, what is to become of me? there is no mercy for me. Her sorrow seemed not to subside through the whole day's meeting; though this was in the dead of winter, about 26 were baptized the next day. Ice or snow in those days were no barriers to the young deciples [sic] -- and though all this was betwixt thirty and forty years past, I yet retain it with sweet recollection.
A few years after this, both these girls were married — Polly Woodfork was married to a respectable young man Benjamin Garnett, she has been the mother of many children and is yet living in Shelby county. Hannah Cave married the well known John Graves of Woodford county -- Hannah Graves, from the time of her conversion, always manifested a warm attachment to the cause of religion — She was the mother of six sons and daughters; She was a fine singer, and to praise the Lord was her daily delight. What belonged to gay appearance, she esteemed painted folly, but was among the most provident wives — she possessed much shrewdness of mind, what may be called plain sailing in all her conversation. The Bible and Hymn book she most resorted to for information; she had gained a considerable understanding in the scriptures, so that she was a nice critick [sic] on preaching, and a good judge of Christian experience. Flattery was no trait in her character, she never sought friendship at that expense, and yet possessed a sympathizing benevolent soul. To see religion revive, and sinners come to Chnst, was the delight of her heart — if she had any favorite preachers, she esteemed those highest, whom the Lord most used that way. This was a pretty good rule to go by, a small appearance of a revival would
fill her with such prayerful anxiety, that she almost foresaw what was coming to pass. This was exemplified some months before her death; the church of which she was a member had in rather a declining state, which some of her brethren naming to her, expressed a fear that their church would come to nothing; she with great confidence affirmed to the contrary, and she hoped to soon see better days — she was among the very first who gave evidence of the forebodings of the late happy revival at Clear Creek. Her blount dealings with preachers at times, seemed as if she ran some hazzard [sic] of violating a saying of God himself, "touch not mine annointed [sic], and do my prophets no harm."
One instance, among many others, was not long before her death; a minister who had served the church several years, where she was a member, had declined his service any longer, she asked him if he was going to prove that he was only a hireling, seeing he fled when the wolf came, and seemed not to care for the sheep; while at the same time she esteemed this man among the best of preachers.
As age advanced she grew very infirm, and was often struck with heavy sickness; that of which she died, was a complication of disease; she was happy to see her predictions as to a revival come to pass — by day and night she would attend meeting, and perhaps by that means exposed herself too much; she was not happy enough to attend anyone of the baptizings. The first baptizing was in May, at which time, she was confmed in her bed; where she continued near three months before she breathed her last. When she was able to bear it, we often had meetings where she was; notwithstanding her rack of misery it was entertaining to be in her company. The solidity of her conversation, on her then pains; death itself, as a useful medium to be better understood another day — the grave as a house of rest, much to be desired. The resurrection and blessed immortality
beyond the grave, in which she had the strongest confidence; all of which she seemed as familiar with, as with us who sat around her bed. In some of her fainting strangling spasms, in which we would think she was gone, when recovering she would say, I wonder 1 cannot die, as I desire it so much. Her whole trust seemed to be in the Lord Jesus in this trying hour, being reduced to a skeleton; her husband asked her, if it would not be her choice to be restored to health again. With all the apparent deliberation of a judge making up his decision, she replied it was her choice to go now, and soon after did go — thus died Hannah Graves.
Having gotten to 1823, at the January meeting at Clear Creek, fifteen were received for baptism, and all them black people; some having offered on Sunday morning, and not being prepared, only ten were baptized. This being a day of cold rain, without intermission, our clothes and heads were much sprinkled before we went into the water, we do not give in to that prodigious whim, that sprinkling is gospel baptism; though the sprinkling came in a shower from heaven; though we had much better evidence that we were sprinkled that day, than the Hebrews had in the Red Sea. For as the water was congealed in the sea when they passed over, as expressed in Moses' Song, immediately after. There could come no sprinkling from congealed water; and as the cloud spoken of, was always a pillar of fire at night, this being in the night, had there been any sprinkling it must have been fire and not water. We are not left to such poor dark makeshifts for gospel baptism — and it is if possible a greater incongruity, to administer gospel baptism in any mode whatever to unconscious babes. Those who have any use for those scraps of Popery, are very welcome to them, as we have no use for these Childish play things.
Among the fifteen named above, received the last meeting, two were black children, the property of old
brother Castleman; one of them was about ten years old, the other about eight, what they related to the church could not be objected to. Their mistress being a member of the church, in whom great confidence was placed, and being present, the children were received for baptism. When the Church convened next morning, some hesitation was expressed about the reception of those children the day before, fearing they might some way have picked up what they stated to the Church. Their baptism by the unanimous voice of the church, was deferred till they could be re-examined, the mode fallen on for that purpose was, two ministers in whom the church confided, with as many other brethren as chose to attend on a day then named, to meet with the family where the children lived — and altogether make up a decision whether they should be admitted to baptism. Thus far the church at Clear Creek, is careful in the reception of their members; Jemima, sister of the above named children, had been baptized one month before this time. She is about fourteen years old, by her good old master and mistress, she has been learned to read; this perhaps gave her some advantage, in relating her experience, but it is very uncommon, for any age black or white, to give as interesting a statement of a hope in Christ, as this poor black girl did in her relation to the church.
O happy family! This old brother Castleman and his companion have been together perhaps fifty years -- soon after they embraced religion, were both baptized together. They have raised many children, a number of them are in the Baptist church, also their grand-children in different parts of our Commonwealth. The family at home, is a pretty respectable church among themselves; they have many black people, a number of them have been lately baptized. Two of their black men, Marlock and James, can not only read but have been preacher's [sic] for a number of years. The old gentleman has long
kept a great Tannery; his apprentices have been numerous, many of them have become professors of religion, so that this family, has been a great nursery to the Baptist church for near half a century. The old lady being truly a mother in Israel, and a fine tutress [sic] of children, we have the best hopes, that these poor black children spoken of above, will be taught the way of the Lord.
But their baptism is put off, till we see what another day may bring forth. At the February  Church meeting at Clear-creek, a very deep snow had fallen, and such a mighty freeze ensued, that baptizing could not be performed; and as only two were now received by experience, we fear the revival is declining at Clear-creek; but close at hand in the Versailles church nine were ready for baptism, but the freeze prevented.
We are now come to the March meeting at Clear-creek. About two weeks past, I had a night meeting at Mr. Martin Naul's, about four miles from home; by a heavy fall of rain, I got very wet going to the meeting. But few people attended, the night being dark, I sat [sic] out for home before nine o'clock — after riding about three miles and on a hill side, my horse fell into a gully about two feet deep. His first fall was on one of. my legs; in his struggling to rise, and falling back, he dashed me into the bottom of the gully, and himself on me. Not being yet alarmed at my danger, having a small switch in my hand, to make him rise, I gave him a few stripes; but the situation of the ground prevented his rising, and with every effort he made, he fell back on me, and with his head it seemed as if he would knock out my brains; for both of our heads lay in the same direction, and down the hill. By this time I was buried in mud and water, as deep as his weight could sink me — so that my naked head (for I soon lost my hat,) was buried in the soft mire, till my ears and mouth were filled with mud. This old workhorse, about sixteen
hands high, and very heavy, was thus fixed on me in a gully about large enough to receive us both. I lay somewhat on my side, his breast and fore legs, lay across under my arm-pit, his greatest weight was on my hips, my legs lay under his hips and thighs. My lungs were so depressed that I only could respire as with a dying breath, a house being a few hundred yards from where I lay, I now hallowed with what strength I had, but none answered or came to my relief. Perhaps what noise I made, bore but little resemblance of a human voice, for I found that I could I could articulate nothing plain — though a number of houses were in sight of where I lay, all was silent as the grave, only the blowing of the wind and blackness of the clouds foreboding a storm at hand; I now silently composed my mind the best way I could and think a little before I died.
I was as perfectly collected, as to my thoughts as I now am — I thought of my time of life, now more than seventy years old — that it was now time to die — that I had no hope for eternity, but what I had been preaching to men for more than fifty years, and that all those labours bore no part of the ground of my acceptance with God; the obedience unto death, of the Saviour Christ Jesus, his glorious resurrection, and intercession with the Father for me, was the only ground of my hope for Heaven; with these thoughts I could that moment breathe my last, but another thought occurred — to-morrow I am to set out on a ten days tour of preaching, about Versailles and Clear Creek; a number of people there had been received and not yet Baptized; I had anticipated pleasure, by an interview with my young brethren and old ones too, also those who were enquiring the way to Zion — but all this said I to myself, is over, for here I must die; indeed my thoughts were, this is my destiny, God has appointed it; but not knowing fully the will of God, I put up a very short, broken and doubtful prayer to Him, about to this amount
"O Lord I beseech thee, suffer me not to die in this gully — about this time I felt strength to draw my feet from under the horses hips, and by the help of my feet worked my hips a little from under the heaviest weight of the horse, my thought then was, if he attempted to rise and fell only one foot lower down the hill (which was most likely) my breath would be stopped in a moment — or with his knees or feet, if he could even get up, he would tread me to death, for through weakness and depression, I could barely now breathe — my right hand was the only limb through the course of this struggle, that I had the use of, that being a little below the horses shoulders as he lay on me; with my little whip I began to crack the horse again; when he began to struggle, I thought, now death is coming; it was so dark I could not see the horse, but reaching out my hand to feel, I found he was gone, when I examined further he was standing where my feet had lain — though I do not ascribe this to miracle, it was surely the most striking interposition of providence in my favor of any other in my life — I lay there a while to rest and thank God — and then with much struggle got out of the mud, with the help of the fence I got on my horse, leaving my hat, saddle, one shoe and a mitten in the mud, and got to my son-in-law French's about eleven o'clock — from estimation I must have been one hour at least under the horse; a great part of the next day I kept my bed, the greatest injury I seemed to have received is in my hips, which will perhaps never be restored.
On Friday morning I set out on the tour of preaching, and unexpectedly fell in with the beloved brother Absalom Graves, who attended with me on this late happy tour; and though at the February meeting, I feared the work was declining, seventeen were baptized last Sunday. Though this blessed revival has been progressing more than twelve months at Clear-creek; and in which a hundred and between twenty and thirty have been baptized. We hope the
Lord is yet converting sinners in this place; if there is joy in heaven, by angels, and the inhabitants there, with what pleasure must angels, for a year past have been hovering over the south-west corner of Woodford county?
Only for something like this, or to be some way useful in the church of Christ; do I desire to live longer on earth? It is possible for something of this kind, the Lord suffered me not to die, in the gully spoken of above. I say possible, for I do declare, that when I look at myself, what a poor worn-out weak and sinful old man I am; it does not appear probable, that the Lord would use me as an instrument in his work, but his footsteps none can know. He often uses the most unlikely instruments, to fulfill His great designs — only for this, I should sink into hopeless despondency.
I have said, that there are three neighboring churches to Clear-creek, that may be called her daughter; Hillsborough, Gray's Creek, and Versailles. Hillsborough is about four miles from Clear-creek, she has existed as a church, for more than twenty years — except some trouble in her beginning, about emancipation, she has been a very properous church — a number of preachers have served this church in a temporary way; but her most permanent servant has been Edmund Waller. Under his administrations, she has had several precious revivals — one of them has been in the course of the past year. In the course of ten months, about eighty have been baptized; her number now, is between two and three hundred members.
Greyer's Creek Church, (about five miles from Clear-creek) was originally called Buck Run; Buck Run, by contention, lost her existence; with the same old materials of Buck Run, and some additions, Greyer's Creek was constituted, by Joseph Craig, Robert Asher, and Isaac Crutcher. The only platform of this constitution was the scriptures of the
Old and New Testament[s]. In process of time, Brother Samuel Jessee, a respectable minister, living convenient, took his membership in Greyer's Creek Church; at which time they made an addition to their constitution, or rather an explanation of certain doctrines of grace, understood by themselves, as plainly drawn from the scriptures. Though no confession of faith is named in those articles; all who saw, or heard them read, considered the divinity as sound, as if coming from head quarters itself (Philadelphia.) Brother Jesse, through infirmity, cannot preach much, of course much of the supply, that way comes to Greyers-creek from abroad; when brother Toler left Clear Creek, he was invited to take his membership at Greyer's-creek — which, it seems he agreed to do, provided they would make some further addition to their constitution. All the items of the proposed amendment, I do not recollect; but the main one was that for the future, they would go under the appellation of Particular Baptists. To get one of the most interesting preachers in Kentucky as their pastor was such an object with the church, that they carefully submitted to all of the proposed amendment — and brother Toler becomes their pastor.
This change gave such offence to some of the members, that about five of them took letters, and joined at another place; but to be under the care of this favorite pastor, six or seven members left other churches, and joined at Greyer's-creek, not being able to obtain letters for that purpose how far the churches were wrong, in not giving those letters, and how far the church at Greyer's Creek was wrong in receiving members without letters, the reader will judge for himself. I'm only giving facts in the history of Clear Creek and her neighboring daughters; it seems it was expected that Greyer's Creek, would leave Franklin association, and join Licking association, who had before styled themselves "Particular Baptists."
But when it came to the trial, the church chose not to leave Franklin association; and moreover they struck from their records, that part of their amended constitution which distinguished them as particular Baptists, and chose to stand as they had done before, united baptists; upon which the old pastor, and chief of his brethren, who had joined at Greyer's Creek on his account, immediately took letters of dismission, and set themselves afloat, as to any church station. This left Greyer's Creek in a prodigious crippled situation; their whole number perhaps never exceeded thirty members, they had lost five for calling themselves particular Baptists — and now for saying, they would no longer be of that particular order, they have lost their pastor, and chief of their male strength — perhaps from four to six is all the free male strength they have, but if God be for us, who can be against us? For one month after this explosion, seven were received by baptism; perhaps more than that number have been baptized since, others have joined by letter. Brother John Edwards preaches for them statedly, brother Jesse also, is much more capable to perform ministerial service, they have an elegant new brick meeting house to worship in; that I suppose Greyer's Creek church was never so prosperous as at the present time — the Lord preserve his little vine.
Versailles. I consider this church the youngest daughter of Clear Creek; they have existed as a church six or seven years — the well known Jacob Creath, [Sr.], was constituted with them, and his membership there still — they have had no other pastor from the beginning; they were but few in number when constituted. They progressed but slowly for some time; worshipping God in the courthouse or some other shelter, as they could find. They now have a large well finished brick meeting house, where the people attend in crowded assemblies, to worship the Lord in solemn devotion. The truth is, God is converting sinners here — the Gospel now sounds here
with sweet invitation to every sinner to seek the salvation of his soul — a considerable number have been baptized quite lately in this place. The greatest conflict this church has had, has been about particularism; more members went from this church to join the particular Baptists, than from any other neighboring church. And since Mr. Toler took his leave of Greyer's Creek, he has constituted a little church of particular Baptists in the Baptist meeting house at Versailles. The reason I understood for using this freedom is, some of the members with him, have paid pretty liberally for building the meeting house; where this kind of thing will end, time will better explain. But the reader will judge for himself, how two baptist churches set up in one house, who will not commune together at the Lord's table, and in many instances, not so friendly together, as wicked men generally are; and it is the more to be lamented that this is not the only case in Kentucky. Of this, I should incline to say nothing, but it is interwoven in the history of the churches I am writing. What ever other object particularism may have in view, with some there is no doubt, that the destruction of the general union of Baptists in Kentucky is its main object. If so, let it be remembered that in 1801 when the baptists were in better order, than they ever were before or since in Kentucky, Elkhorn association appointed a committee of five men, to make the first advances for a union with the separate baptists; the men were David Barrow, Ambrose Dudley, Joseph Reading, John Price, and William Payne; those men were well chosen. They made the advances, obtained the hand of the separate brethren, on terms now extant — in 1802 this committee made their report, Elkhorn was now at its Zenith, forty-six churches, including between five and six thousand members; in this great body consummating this union, there was only one dissenting church, (Town Fork.) Means were used to pacify this church without a murmur.
We had enjoyed this happy union for about twenty years, until personal jangling took place with a few preachers — this jangling came to public view, in preaching introductory sermons. The first was at Hillsborough, in the year 1817 — the second was at the Big Spring in the year 1819 — the third was at the Great-Crossing in 1820. And especially in the two last cases, no men perhaps ever preached more personal without calling names -- shall the baptists to gratify a few imprudent men, tear themselves asunder. The first we hear of particular baptists in Kentucky, was by a respectable preacher from New England, a brother Trott — his question in Licking association was, "That we hold to particular redemption, particular election, and particular calling," he thought it proper to be known in future, by the appellation of "Particular Baptists." It was soon agreed to by the association, but with this generous reserve, that it should not affect the correspondence they had gone into, with the brethren of the general union — however innocent this thing appeared at the beginning, in its progress, its features look more alarming. At a distance, when a corresponding Licking brother, presents his letter to be read in the association, under the new style of a particular baptist, many are at a loss to know its meaning, while others who know more about it, smile with contempt. Were they to call themselves regular baptists, they would be better understood — and then it would be wondered at, seeing all names of distinction are lost in the general union. If we look at it nearer home, every spectator will judge for himself, whether particular baptist recommends itself to any but its own votaries; should we survey it in Woodford county, to what advantage does it appear there to saint or sinner, though its professors are equally respectable (as men,) as any in the county — should we take notice of it at South Elkhorn, has it done good there? The first church on the north side of the Kentucky, and one of the
most prosperous in the state — what has rent it in twain? not the general union, for that serves to unite in place of pull asunder — compare the situation of that dear old prisoner of the Lord now, to what it was when under the sunshine of the general union — from what I can hear, how is he locked up as in the cage of death, far more distressing to himself, than when preaching through iron grates in Virginia prisons, and when at liberty Baptizing his hundreds, both there and in Kentucky — O my God rerstore this man again to the children of his ministry, and let him die in peace — perhaps the Licking brethren can solve one doubt that rests on the minds of many — It is well known that one of the greatest barriers, to a union with Elkhorn, by the Licking people for many years, was the recognizing the minorities of the churches at Bryants and Dry-Run, as genuine churches of those places, and admitting them as such, to a seat in Elkhorn association -- the doubt is, whether the disorder is not equally as great, in the Licking association, recognizing and admitting the churches at friendship, and South Elkhorn to seats in Licking; or does being a particular Baptist, sanctify every action that is done.
I had closed the history of South Elkhorn church last year, and some of the things named above having transpired since I thought proper to add what is said above; there is no doubt the once flourishing church at South Elkhorn is divided, about fifty with the old pastor, and more than three times that number on the other side, (now served by Jacob Creath): perhaps to be each others tormentors, 'till some of their greatest warriors die. The church I have been writing of at Gilbert's Creek, was swallowed up, partly by Craig's members moving away, and partly by a separate church settling there under the care of old Mr. Joseph Bledsoe, and though the old gentleman is dead it seems the church yet exists, and has succeeded for
near forty years, and has been alternately served by a number of different preachers.
I have this day returned from the April monthly meeting at Clear Creek — I had a tour of preaching about one week while there, and a painful time it was with me, for I was stricken with a severe pain in my hip the night before I left home; so that from first to last of my meetings, I was not able to stand up to speak, but did the best I could sitting down — my greatest burden was on the Lord's day, having no ordained brother with me to assist at the Lord's table, including preaching; the whole service continued about three hours, at the clbse of which, I felt very much broken down; I suppose more communicants surrounded the Lord's table this day, than I had ever seen at one time, perhaps there was more than three hundred, and by accounts from the Deacons, very few kept back from partaking. This was esteemed a precious season; to see that number of people after solemnly sitting and communing with their dying Lord, (and many from floods of tears) rise to their feet as one man, with sonorous melody and many of them, with all the warmth of young converts, sing the closing hymn, was pleasant indeed.
A brother lately from Virginia, said to his friend on that occasion — I have not been at so happy a meeting for more than two years. For more than twelve months, no complaint had been brought into the church at Clear Creek — but in this meeting, two complaints were brought against transgressors, and both of them men who had been baptized last year — when new armies are raised we are to look for some deserters as a thing of course; but three more came forward with new experiences — their Baptism was put off for want of time.
I have lately returned from the May monthly meeting at Clear Creek, on the day of business there were some sorrowful things, while we were treating with these young deserters spoken of above, some were
restored; while two others are still suspended with design to labour further to reclaim if possible — several painful hours were spent on these subjects of discipline; the great harmony of the church somewhat sweetened this cup of sorrow; but the best of all came afterwards, for a number of late Heaven born experiences were told in the church — while a tide of Heavenly joy flowed from heart to heart, and many could say with David, "my cup of joy abundantly runeth over." The next day eleven were Baptized. this is just one year since we began to Baptize in this revival.
The Ropewalk Gang. About midway between Versailles and Clear Creek meeting house, Mr. John Mitchum has a large Rope-Walk; the people around this place, though respectable, had scarce a professor of religion among them; James Mequry [McQuiddy] and wife, were among the first converts in this place — having heard of a lady of that name, who had obtained hope in Christ, James having several brothers, and from lack of acquaintance, I knew not one from the other, and being in company with James, and a friend coming in, I asked which of the Mequry's wives had obtained this hope of conversion, who replied, this is the man; turning and conversing with him on that subject — though a bold man, he seemed stricken with concern for he had not heard of it before; on his way home he began to reflect on what he had just heard, and call up into recollection the many instances of distress, he lately had seen in his wife, and the means he had used in flouting her on that occasion — his former life of sin, with this late addition of unpardonable guilt, his heart being soon uncovered to him, with the depth of its corruption, he began to think there was not so bad a man as himself in the world — and that God had so justly set him apart for destruction, that he ought in righteousness, immediately to
go to hell. That night he scarcely slept at all, and for several days in a mighty whirlwind of distress, and his deliverance equally uncommon — in less than one week from the beginning of this conviction, he was ranging among his neighbors and warning them in tears to flee from the wrath to come. The effect was such, I suppose that thirty of his near neighbors has since been Baptized — those young converts soon began to meet together among themselves for the purpose of praise and prayer. Their older brethren at a distance, with great pleasantness has given them the appellation of the Rope walk gang. The zeal and good order in their meetings are such, that the church last winter took up the subject and by way of encouragement, nominated four of them to lead on in their meetings, of which a church record is made — I very lately attended one of their Sunday evening meetings, perhaps two hundred people came out — their mode is alternately to sing and pray, should any of them have a word of exhortation, to speak to the people, they rise up and say on -- great effect appears at times in their meetings.
Among the number last Baptized at Clear Creek was a very small boy, under twelve years old, his name is Benjamin Shouse — the great solemnity and intelligence, with which this youth related his experience, drew more tears from the assembly of both old and young, than we have seen here for many days. This lads sister, a little older than himself was Baptized the same day — some time back, their grandmother, the wife of Mr. Lewis Perry, and two of her daughters were baptized; so here is three generations of the same family Baptized near together — this looks a little like the old business of household Baptism.
At the June church meeting at Clear Creek, four were Baptized, and a few days after they had obtained hope in the Lord Jesus — This happy revival at Clear Creek, began about eighteen months ago, and
in a little more than one year about a hundred and forty have been Baptized. This is the thirty ninth year since Clear Creek Church was constituted; while she lengthens her cords, may she strengthen her stakes, by well directed, and wholesome discipline, that in generations to come, Gods name may be worshiped here, is my prayer for Jesus sake.
======== [John Taylor, A History of Ten Baptist Churches, 1823; rpt. 1968, pp. 147-190. — jrd
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