Crawfordsville, Ind., Nov. 1,1899.
Beloved Editors: – In compliance with numerous requests to send a report to the Signs of my recent visit to churches in Ohio and West Virginia, this is written. By request of Elder J. G. Ford and other members of the Sugar Greek church in Ohio, to attend their meeting on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7th and 8th, it was my privilege to be with them, and to participate with them in the blessed spiritual feast that the Lord gave us the two days and nights. Monday morning the company of believers in Christ repaired to the river side, and by the requests of sister Post and her father, Elder Ford, it was my sacred privilege to bury her with Christ in baptism, she having given a touching evidence of her saving faith in him. After an early dinner, she and brother and sister Ford and old brother Rymer went with me to Celina, Ohio, forty miles, where we were pleasantly met by a goodly band of the followers of Jesus at the commodious home of Elder Henry and sister Hole, near the town, including the church in their house, (for the church meets in it) Elder Newton Peters, their pastor, with them; and that night and Tuesday morning we had truly heavenly meetings, and realized that the Lord was in our midst, so that our joy was full. That afternoon Elders Hole and Peters, brother Rymer and myself, went twenty miles in buggies, to the home of old brother and sister York, and had meeting in their village at night. The next day our company drove on through rain twelve miles to the home of dear old Elder John Peters, who resides with brother and sister Light, (his daughter) where we had a double happy surprise and a night meeting, for just at dark a company of brethren whom we did not expect, came in, among them dear Elder Ford and sisters Post and Hole, and after the preaching by myself and brother Ford, brother Henry Peters talked to the church, and was joyfully received, and baptized by brother Hole the next morning. His dear wife, a sister, was almost overcome with joy, and his aged father, with all of us, rejoiced to receive his last child into the church, so that his is a believing household.
The next morning (Thursday) I left for Grafton, W. Va., by request of Elder J. S. Corder and the brethren with him, to be with them at their two three days meetings, ending with the third and fourth Sundays in October, where I arrived at break of day Friday, and he came up on a train from Philippi at nine o’clock that morning, and we rode out in a carriage five miles to the Amnon church-house, on top of a high hill, for the convenience of the membership, who reside on each side of the high divide. This meeting of three days was largely attended, and deep was the interest, for the presence and power of the Lord were joyfully realized. Elders Bartlett, Gainer and Cross, and brother Cleavenger, a licentiate, were with Elder Corder and myself, and took a part in the ministry. An aged sister, eighty-one, and two brothers, gave a relation of their hope in Christ, and brother Cross baptized them.
Monday, brother Corder took me to his pleasant valley home, a hospitable Virginia home, and dear sister Corder and their daughter at home, sister Semma Corder, are meek and excellent Baptists. Wednesday night Elder Corder and I held a meeting in the Philippi courthouse, and were warmly entertained by the two brethren Thompson and the dear family of Deacon Thompson.
The next Friday to Sunday night a host of dear Old School Baptists were gathered with the Clear Creek church, far up the Tygart’s Valley River, which was like another associational meeting in numbers, and the blessed Lord again poured out the spirit of grace and love and gladness upon us. Here dear Elder Murphy, the pastor, Elders Corder, Bartlett, Cole and brother Cleavenger were with me, and very many visiting brethren and sisters, and we all felt that it was good to be there, and to join in praising him who saved us and called us with an holy calling, that we should glorify the riches of his grace. Elder Bartlett is Elder Corder’s son-in-law, and the youthful Elder Cole is his grandson, and the beloved old Elder is blessed in these two sons in the ministry, as fellow-helpers.
Our last meeting was with the home church of brother Corder, Mt. Olive, on the next Wednesday, near his home, where brethren Bartlett and Cleavenger again met us, sister Bartlett and her dear mother and sister, with many of the Corder family, including a younger and older brother of the old Elder, the elder one eighty-six, who rode nine miles on horseback, making a triplet of good old soldiers of the cross, and a goodly company of dear kindred in Christ besides, with Christ in our midst, who came down and blessed us, and we rejoiced in his salvation. Here we all bade each other farewell, hoping to meet again. At all those three churches the members and visitors and friends, with the ministers, are sound in the faith of God’s elect, and they rejoice in Christ and in the truth as it is in him. They are very hospitable, sincere and kind, and their liberality abounded. While it was my first visit to them, and not one of them had I ever met, it was among the dearest and best in all my extended ministry, and they all are very dear to me in the Lord, and with tender love and sadness I left.
The next evening I arrived again at the home of dear brother and sister Hole, on the western side of Ohio, where I enjoyed a needed rest. On Friday the visiting brethren and sisters began to arrive, not a few from long distances, from Ohio and Indiana, among them Elder and sisters Ford and Post, brother Rymer, brother and sister Benjamin Ford and her father, brother Myers, and more came on Saturday, including Elder Newton Peters. And in this dear Baptist home we had good and pleasant meetings Friday night, twice Saturday and three times Sunday, and comfort and love and peace abounded. The interest here in the cause of Christ is very comforting, and believers will be added to the church, no doubt. These also are kind and liberal and good Baptists, as in Virginia, and I was closely drawn to them in love. Our meetings were seasoned with very much singing of spiritual songs, and making melody in our hearts unto the Lord.
Sunset Monday, Oct. 30th, I was thankful to be at home again, finding my lonely wife well and glad for my safe return. She joins in love to all our dear, loving kindred in Christ in Ohio, and Virginia, and everywhere.
The sufficient grace of the precious Christ be with you all.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 67, No. 24.
DECEMBER 15, 1899.