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Frankfort Church
Chapter 9
By John Taylor

[p. 133]
Frankfort, the same month, January 7, 1816, that I took a letter from Big Spring, after being a member there ten months. We met in Frankfort, to go into a new church establishment, several ministering brethren were with us, and Silas M. Noel the acting moderator -- perhaps the number who were constituted into a church were seventeen, male and female -- and it is probable that no Baptist church ever came into existence exactly in the same style. We met in the Assembly Hall, and there became a church, of the humble Lord Jesus, with all the rich paintings around us -- at that time the town of Frankfort, as to stated public worship, was an entire blank. This was some inducement with us, to become a church there. A Presbyterian minister came into the Hall, while we were at the business of constituting -- and though invited to take a seat with us, he declined using that privilege, but sat and looked on. Passing through Frankfort a very few days after this, I was informed, that six or seven hundred dollars had been subscribed in these few days for a Mr. Smith -- who had
[p. 134]
some time before preached in Frankfort, but was now at the distance of several hundred miles. It was said also that almost every man in Frankfort, had been invited to put his hand to paper. It was thought by some, that on account of our constitution, the Presbyterians were thus led to bestir themselves. Be that as it may, so it was Mr. Smith did come, and has set up a congregation, in and about Frankfort, and where he continues to this day. Between these two congregations, there has not always been that harmony that could have been wished for. The Baptist church in Frankfort, progressed but slowly, indeed among some of her own members there was not that hannony, that makes religious society desirable. During my stay there, in a church way, I had never been so poorly shipped in my life -- when I would set out from home, even at a monthly meeting, it was often unknown where it would be held, till we got to Frankfort -- sometimes in the Assembly Hall, Senate Chamber, or Court-House; and sometimes neither of the places could be gotten. Then we had to seek a bye-corner somewhere else -- my preaching also seemed of but very little benefit among them; then thought I, woe is me that I ever came to Frankfort. The church at length invited Mr. [Henry] Toler to preach for them, which he did, and though with much acceptance for one year, there was yet but little increase in the church; after Mr. Toler, Mr. [Jacob] Creath, served the church in Frankfort statedly for two or three years, under his ministrations, the church began to move, and there were additions, both by Baptisms and other ways; so that their number grew up to perhaps upwards of fifty. Since Mr. Creath has declined preaching there, the church has chosen as their pastor Mr. Silas M. Noel, they now bid fair, to be more interestingly served for the future -- there are also two other men, of sprightly preaching talents, who are members of the church at Frankfort; a Mr. Philip Fall, and Mr. Porter Clay. The Baptists
[p. 135]
also, have now in Frankfort, either by compromise or law, a partial use of a house called the church, which is alternately used by them and the Presbyterians -- The Methodists have also gotten foothold in Frankfort.

When I united in the constitution at Frankfort, I did not conclude, that my continuance there would be very long -- one reason was I did not consider myself calculated for a town preacher. My restlessness became so increasing as to my church state, that I contemplated an escape, when the church was well provided for, under the ministrations of Mr. Toler. A number of brethren, near neighbors of mine within the Forks of Elkhorn, had for several years contemplated a church there for their own convenience. After some individuals naming this thing to me, it met with my full approbation -- and after holding a council on that subject, we made arrangements, to go into a constitution. I therefore applied to the church at Frankfort, for dismission. I became much afflicted, when I discovered great backwardness in my brethren to give me up, to leave them. This I had not looked for, thinking my service so very small among them -- but I had gone into agreement with my brethren in the Forks, and, like Jephthah, having opened my mouth, I could not go back. I then thought of visiting the brethren at Frankfort, more than I have had it in my power since -- they not being able to deny what was my right, I took leave of the church in Frankfort, having been a member there two years.

I was never fond of an old musty worm-eaten letter of dismission; when such letters come to market where I am, it is no great recommendation to the bearer of them, for whether through over carefulness or carelessness, it is about the same with me -- some foolishly fancy if they have a letter of dismission, they are now free and belong to no church. This is over-carefulness of number one -- I mean their poor little selves. Some are so careful of their
[p. 136]
letters that they will not take them to market, for fear they will not get into as good a church as they came from, and that they may be imposed on by a ministry, a little inferior to the good old orthodox preacher they left behind; they must have a very nice cooked dish, or they cannot eat at all, and they had rather the worms should eat their letter, than to run these risks, poor, nice, careful things -- they ought to remember that jealousy, as other things, begets its own likeness, and is the destruction of confidence between man and man. Besides, there is a little Pharisecism [sic] in this thing, or why should a man think another not as good as himself[?] A man is always interested in the friendship and confidence of the people, among whom he lives -- and if a man is so superior, that others can do him no good, why should he be so churlish, as not to be willing to do others good, and not wrap up his little musty letter, as the man did his talent, and not put it to usury, in that heavenly commerce that the Lord has directed, between one Christian and another? besides, a man keeping up a letter of dismission, his name is known nowhere, for the church who dismisses him, has taken his name from their book, except by accident he is brought back by complaint, having joined no other church. Such a man as this, as to society, or church membership, is what Paul speaks of the man without charity -- he is nothing -- he much resembles a mere cypher, a little (0,) putting a hundred of them together would not make one, without another figure. Among these over careful ones, who keep up letters, there are careless ones who have letters, if they have not lost them; who are too much of libertines to use them, except something is to be made by them. Sometimes a revival of religion will bring forth their letters, and like the ancient cowards in Israel, fight hard when the enemy is running. As my usual custom has always been, when I had a letter of dismission to embrace the first opening -- I took mine from Frankfort to Buck Run in one week after I had gotten it.

[From John Taylor, A History of Ten Baptist Churches, 1823; rpt. 1968, pp. 133-136. - jrd]

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