Tallahassee, Fla., Dec. 1, 1879
DEAR BRETHREN BEEBE: – Having some money to send to you for the SIGNS, I will also send you a little account of my present southern tour for its columns.
Being warmly solicited by the brethren of Alabama to visit them, I arrived at Tuscaloosa, Ala., the first Saturday in September, and attended two yearly meetings in that county, ending the first and second Sundays. At the last one, held with the Nazareth Church, two followers of the Lamb were buried in baptism by dear Eld. T. J. Norris, the pastor. His two brothers, Elders W. S. and G. W. Norris, also belong to this church, and were present, together with Elders Abernathy and Wimberly. All these approved ministers and their many brethren abide in the love of the Spirit, notwithstanding the warlike efforts of some would-be leaders to sow discord amongst them. Moreover, I am happy to say in this connection, that in all six associations and many Primitive Baptist Churches that I have now visited in Alabama, Georgia and Florida, embracing many of the most excellent ministers of the south, and several editors and able writers, the ecclesiastical decrees of Big Harpeth, Camden and Oakland Churches, calling for wholesale excommunication and division, have not affected them, only to bind them closer together in the love of the brotherhood. And it seems to me that if some men only knew in what light they are viewed by the large body of Primitive Baptists, and what an unenviable notoriety they are making for themselves, by their unblushing, wholesale and unmerited accusations of Arianism, Two-Seedism and heresy, they would be reminded of the Master’s word, “First cast the beam out of thine own eye.” On the other hand, how watchful and prayerful all should be to use “sound speech which cannot be condemned.”
It was my happy privilege to visit the homes of Elders Baxley, Mitchell and Hurst, of east Alabama, and to be at their large and pleasant association, the Beulah, embracing the third Sunday in September, and held with the Hephzibah Church, where the Lord is reviving his work, and our dear young brother Hurst, the pastor, is greatly cheered. Here, at a meeting on Wednesday after, where our beloved brother Mitchell followed me and spoke briefly, a sister, and then her husband, both gave comforting evidences of the work of grace in their hearts, and were received. Our precious brother, Elder W. M. Mitchell, is favored in having four approved sons in the ministry, familiarly called his boys, namely, Elders Henderson, Baxley, Hurst and Whatley.
I attended also the Upatoie, Primitive Western, Harmony, Union and Ocklocknee Associations, in Georgia, all of which were good meetings and happy seasons to the many assembled saints. These are all large bodies of churches, and at all were many good ministers of Jesus Christ, and such vast numbers of our dear and lovely kindred in Christ, that the sight of them greatly cheered my heart. I was pleased to see many youthful faces in our ranks, Ruths and Timothys, and the priests may despair of ever officiating at the burial of the sect everywhere spoken against, for here omnipotent GRACE reigns, and the victory is ours. It seemed remarkable to me to meet dear brother Durand at the Upatoie Association, without our previous knowledge, living almost a thousand miles apart, and being nearly as far from our homes in the east and west. His preaching was good and comforting to the dear children of God. Dear Elder Mitchell was also at this and the Primitive Western Associations, and his preaching was so peculiarly good and his company so excellent that I wish I could hear him every week, and I parted with him with tender regret.
The present month I have spent with the churches of middle Florida, in attending some yearly and many other meetings, and in all, yes, all, there has been sweet harmony, comfort and love, and we have all been built up and edified by our mutual faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. At the Mt. Zion Church dear Elder Groover baptized a brother and sister. And in many of the churches in Alabama, Georgia and Florida the silent but effectual work of the God of grace is going on in the hearts of penitent sinners, to whom “our gospel comes, not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” How excellent and glorious is the work of the Lord in the salvation of his people, and in bringing them to Zion. “When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.”
I have not taken time nor space to mention by name all the many dear ministers, brethren, sisters and friends who have so kindly received and ministered to me, both in spiritual and material comfort, as they are very many; but God is not unrighteous to forget their work and labor of love. Let me say, for the southern brethren and people, that they are generous, hospitable and warm-hearted, and I love them dearly. Still my heart years for the loved saints in my colder northern home, and I hope to return and see them, when I have finished my travels and work here.
In love to all the saints, your brother,
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Volume 48, No. 1
January 1, 1880