Having now lived a little upward of half a century in this world of sin and sorrow, meeting with more than common opposition in my course of the ministry, to what has been the lot of other preachers, I have thought it my duty to let the public know something of the cause why it is that I am what I am. This work coming so near a close, at which time I expect to lay down my pen, I regret that much excellent matter now before us is crowded out, perhaps to lie buried in silence forever. I hope my correspondents will excuse me. I have done, and still must do, what I, think to be the best.
My father's name is John Parker, (he is still living,) my mother's maiden name was Sarah White. (She is gone home,) I was born in Virginia, Culpepper County, the 6th day of April, 1781. When but a small child, my parents moved to the state of Georgia, where I was raised without an education, except to read in the New Testament, but very imperfect, when quite small, and to shape letters with a pen, and indeed to this day I have never examined the English grammar five minutes, neither do I understand even one rule in arithmetic.
I do not name these things to boast of my ignorance, but for truth's sake, and that God may have the glory of what little he has done by and through me, and not the wisdom of this world.
My mother being a God-fearing woman, she would often talk to us, her children, and when I was about eight years of age she one day told us very plainly the great danger of sin, our need of a Saviour, and that we should fear and worship God. This left a lasting impression on my mind, to dread sin, for fear of the wrath of God, and torment of hell, but not being converted to hate sin and love holiness, my object was to find something to rest on to ease my conscience. At length I settled down on this conclusion, that if I am to be saved, I shall; that if I am not to be saved, I shall not, therefore I need not trouble myself about it.
When about seventeen years of age elder Moses Sanders, in preaching, precisely stated the grounds of my conclusion as the resting place of some, and then declared it to be among the most wicked, presumptious thoughts under heaven. These words were attended with so much power, that my foundation was taken away to be rebuilt no more. I then wandered in distress, but so much in love with sin that I still gave latitude to my youthful vanity until in my one and twentieth year. Through the course of this time, my rack of conscience, caused me to resort to several plans of relief' of mind. Sometimes I would conclude that half the world would be saved, and when dividing the world of man, in my mind I flattered myself that I stood with the better half, but this to me being doubtful, I would often think that if these were three places to contain the human family, I should be safe and satisfied. Seeing nothing desirable in religion, heaven, nor the worship of God, and much dreading the torments of hell, I should have been well satisfied with a middle place. At other times, supposing that if I did as much good as evil, I should be saved, I would often after being guilty of some particular act of wickedness, engage as thought, in solemn prayer to God, in order to make me as good as I was before, and keep up my account of good acts, to rather overbalance my bad ones, still promising that when the time of youthful vanity was over, I would then turn in, and become a big shining christian indeed, being so ignorant of what I was as a lost sinner, and what it is to be saved by grace, I thought it was my duty, and in my power to make myself so good that God would save me.
In this way I wandered on until, imperceptible to my understanding, as to how the thing took place, the iniquity of my own heart was opened to my view. I then saw that my wicked heart was the cause of all my wickedness, in word thought and deed, and view the prayers which I had presented to the Lord as payment for my wickedness, to be the product of such a wicked principle and heat, and such an aggravating nature before God, that they were the most presumptious sins that I ever had committed, and that now if I should attempt to pray, it would be an act of the same abominable hypocrisy, for which God would consume me as in a moment. This left me so near in despair, that I viewed my case irrecoverable, as the Saviour has turned his back upon me, and I was deprevied of an access to a throne of grace.
Through this course of things, I was brought to view sin in such heinous colours, it being so God-dishonoring and soul-destroying, that my very soul abhorred it, while heaven, the worship and glory of God, appeared so desirable and attracting to my soul, that I well remembered the solemn inquiry which arose in my soul as to what would constitute a hell to me, (the fears of torment in hell having almost left my mind,) I could readily answer, that to be banished from God, the saints, angels, Jesus Christ, that lovely friend of sinners, and all that was good, would be a hell too intolerable for me to bear.
I kept my feelings and views concealed from all mortal beings; it never once entered my mind that I might be under conviction, and that the Lord was preparing me to partake of his love. But instead of this, viewing the justice of God so complete in my condemnation, I saw no way that God could be glorified and my soul saved, believing at the same time that it was better for me to sink to woe, and God be glorified, than to be saved, and his dignity bear a blemish, in saving me at the expense of truth and justice, while I viewed that Christ could reach the case of others, but not mine as it was a singular case beyond the reach of mercy. I now viewed myself not only as a sinner, but such a lump of sin and corruption, that it was not presumptious wickedness in me to ask God for mercy, yet the breathings of my soul were, Lord save. If mercy can be vented to my case, and thy name glorified; but if I sink to woe, just and right because I have sinned against thee, the best of all beings, and upon whose mercies I have lived, whilst rebelling against thy government.
In all this my mind was calm, cool and deliberate, with awful weight of distress and guilt before God, my judgement decided on my situation but with little rouse of feeling sensation. In the situation I started alone to an evening meeting some four or five miles. My meditations on the way were on my awful situation: not one gleam of hope appeared to me, my wicked heart was open to view, none like me on earth, though some others may have been worse in practice, (as I had never used profane language, or particular out-breaking acts of wickedness,) yet none had a heart like mine. My sins all appeared to my view, those acts that I had though but civil mirth, now appeared as pointed daggers to my soul; my very feeling acknowledged the justice of God in my condemnation. In this situation I reached the place of worship; elder Wm. Denmon, while preaching, (in the house of a Mr. Smith, in Franklin county, state of Georgia,) pointed out the exercise of ray own mind so plain, that I felt to my soul that I was the man, and did verily believe that he was pointing out the character that was beyond the reach of mercy. He then paused until I had time to reflect, he will now pronounce my sentence. But instead of meeting my expectation, he declared, this is the way that the Lord brings sinners to the knowledge of truth, (or words to the same import.)
I felt in my soul the truth of the declaration, and reflected that had the words been declared by an angel from heaven, there could not have been more truth in them. My weight of distress was gone; no particular agitation of feeling; my mind was left calm and serene. The first thing I recollect, I was viewing the glories and beauties of the Saviour and his religion with astonished admiration; I felt that there was not the smallest particle of envy in me against a being on earth; my mind was immediately caught to some members of The church, who had formerly stood very low in my esteem. I looked upon them as the most lovely people that I had ever beheld, because the image of Jesus appeared in their countenances. Enquiries arose in my mind thus: Are you determined to serve God? To this I answered, I am. Are you ashamed to let your old companions in sin know this thing? I answered, I am Not. If you knew that hell would be your portion when you die, what life would you live in this world as a matter of choice? To this I answered, Lord, let me live a religious life in thy service, let what will become of me when I die. I saw that God was worthy to be loved, adored and worshiped for what he was in himself, without any view to what I might receive from him; thus my soul desired to be in his service while in time, let God dispose of me as he might in eternity.
Through all this, it had not once occurred in my mind that the Lord had been at work with me, to bring my soul to repentance, and had delivered me from the power of darkness. When worship was over, and I had started home, I began to reflect in my mind on the same subject which had engaged it when on my way to the meeting, supposing that I was the same guilty sinner before God, but to my surprise I could not find even one sin standing against me, nor one particle of guilt and condemnation on my mind, for any or all the wickedness I had ever committed. It appeared clear to my view than the Saviour had put my sins all away; they appeared as buried out of my sight and no more to me than if another person had committed them. Now, for the first time, it struck my mind, and opened to my understanding that the Lord had been at work with me, brought me to repentance, and put away my sins. I now felt as in a new world, a world in glorious wonders, all engaged in praising God. I felt as if I was an entire new creature, filled with astonishment at the change of things, while viewing God's works and way in saving me a poor sinner, which had been so far out of my sight, and my soul could say the Lord's way is perfectly right. I then lived adjoining an uninhabited wilderness, where I had for something like five years, ranged the woods as a hunter, nearly as much in company with the Indians as with the whites. The next day my attention was called into the wilderness in the persuit of runaway horses, where I spent the day, the ensuing night, and the next day, alone from all mortal beings, and have often thought that they were the two happiest days that I ever spent on earth. Guilt and condemnation, were removed from my mind; I thought my troubles were gone; everything looked pleasing and praising God; my soul united in the glorious theme. The bar was taken away which has stood between me and a throne of grace, and thought that an access to a throne of grace was one of the greatest blessings ever bestowed on man. (But I now with shame confess that I have since much abused that privilege.)
Soon after I returned home my mind become dark, my heavenly views and happy feelings gone, and I concluded that I was a poor deceived wretch, that my case was now worse than ever, as I had been under conviction, but did not then know it, and had taken the shadow for the substance, but now lost my conviction and had nothing to show in place of it. O! thought I, if I had but known that it was the Lord's work on my soul, convicting me for sin, I would not have let it gone that way; and if I could but again get my weight of sin and condemnation on my mind, I would watch it close, and never let it go without having an interest in the Saviour.
I felt as though I would rather lie under my burden at the feet of The Saviour all my days than to be deceived in so great a matter. Thus I wandered for about two months in this distressed situation, not debarred from the privilege of prayer as before, yet my prayers appeared an empty sound of words falling to the ground, while my wicked thoughts troubled me, and argued that I was not a saint, but I could not get my weight of guilt as before. The day that I met relief from this situation, I had been mixing with some of my neighbors, and heard them conversing respecting the universal doctrine which had been recently preached among them, with which some seemed well pleased. My mind was struck with a solemn feeling, on viewing their delusion, and I ventured to remark, that such a doctrine might do them but it could not do me. On my way home, about the setting of the sun, I was deeply meditating on my lost state, and on the delusion of the universalian doctrine, that could never reach my case. (O! shall I ever forget that spot and moment of time?) The first thing that I was capable of recollecting, was about forty yards from the spot, walking fast, rubbing my hands together and praising God, I believe, with a vocal voice, for salvation by grace. About one hundred and fifty yards further on my way, was the place that had previously concluded to pray, as it would be about the time I generally retired for that purpose.
When I came to the spot, it struck my mind, and I knelt down, and soon found that I could not pray, because I had everything that I wanted. I felt more like praising God than praying; at the same time that these words were running through my mind: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethern." At length they were applied with such power to my soul, that I arose to my feet, and cried out, I do not know that I love the brethern.
I then thought that I never should doubt again, and that I wanted to tell everybody about the goodness of the Lord, but before I met with any person, I had so got out of that notion, that I held my peace.
I have not room to say anything on this subject, but my reader, these are some of the particular reasons. I have to believe that God by his spirit, has made my dead soul alive, and sealed me as an heir of immortal glory, and the devil might as well try to make me believe that religion is all a cheat, and the Bible false, as to endeavour to convince me of the experimental religion in the soul by the work of the divine spirit, and that of man's feeling the love of God shed abroad in his heart, with the evidence of the free pardon of his sins, before he is baptised, is all enthusiasm, and vain imagination. If I am deceived in these things, I am a deceived creature in toto. If I never felt the love of God, nor the forgiveness of my sins before I was baptized, I have never felt these things in my life, nor ever expect to, and it is hard for me to believe that a man who has felt the power of God on his soul, can ever deny the reality of the work of the spirit on the hearts of sinners, although he may often doubt his own interest in the Saviour. The Bible opened all but as new to me as though I had never seen it before, the promises mine, and the name of Jesus sweet to my soul where ever I found it, and my delight was to obey and follow the Saviour, because I loved him, his word, ways and people, and I hated sin because it was God dis-honoring.
My experience with the word of God teaches me that salvation from beginning to end is wholly of the Lord.
That my condemnation as felt by me, in consequence of my sins, was a truth, as I stood related to Adam, my natural head, without a Saviour; that the everlasting love of God which my soul felt in the free pardon of my sins, was a truth, as I stood related to Christ, my spiritual head, husband, and shepherd.
I will now, in answer to all enquiries made of me, take room to remark, that God, in my experience, having given me such an evidence of the falsehood of that doctrine, it has never since troubled my mind, and I have latterly thought that God had a particular purpose in that thing, for when my mind was involuntarily brought to examine into the subject of the "Two Seeds", I often found my mind on the universalian plan, labouring to overthrow the doctrine of the "Two Seeds", as presented to my view in the Bible, and that of my experience would occur to my mind. Thus I was preserved from the universalian errors, and God was pleased to give me the understanding of the bible in, and show me the glorious beauty of the doctrine of the Two Seeds, which in itself destroys the Universalian's plan, as well as the Arminian's doctrines.
The want of room forbids me to say but few things respecting my call to the ministry. My mind became immediately weighted with a sense that it was my duty to engage in preaching the gospel. I thought that it was impossible for me to do so great a work for the glory of God. I had been raised without an education, in an uncultivated part of the world, and (I think) had then, never seen a newspaper in my life, and was unable to have a written letter to a friend. Now viewing where the ability of preaching the gospel lay, with this view of things, I shrank back from so great a work, and plead with the Lord to send some other one, (believing that I was more unfit for the work than any other converted man,) or let me alone until I was by age and improvement better qualified for the work, but all my objections were answered in my mind, and the weight increased, and I had a view that it was the Lord's work, and the help was in him, that he was my strength, and that he would be with me, and do his own work by or through me.
Thus I became willing with trembling, to enter in the work, without my mind ever once being directed to a theological institution for qualifications to preach. I did not become willing to engage in the ministry by arriving to so high an opinion of my abilities, that I thought that I could preach, but being convinced that I could not, and then being; brought to see and believe that God could send and do his work by whom he would, and that he had made it my duty to engage in the work of the ministry, securing to me that he would be my helper. I submitted to venture depending on him, for all divine aid, (and so I have continued for nearly thirty years.)
Through the course of this travel of mind, I kept myself as much concealed as I could; but did not come to the church do my duty there, until the weight of mind to engage in the Lord's work, and a view of gospel order, was the most particular cause which brought me there, and indeed I had laboured hard, to reconcile my mind, never to let it be known, that I had any pretentions to religion, under a view that I could live as clear of sin out of the church as in it, and I being young, and seeing that many young people, brought a great reproach on the Redeemer's cause, to the distress of saints, and finding by this time, that I had a desperate wicked heart to grapple with, which often made me doubt, fear, and tremble, and to believe that no one was more liable to sin than I, myself, and viewing of the cause of religion so dear and precious, that I felt in my very soul that I would rather die than to disgrace it, and thus I tried to think it best t save the cause by not making a profession of religion. Jut this was not the Lord's way.
Having been received into Nain's Creek Church, in Franklin county, Georgia, I was baptized on the third Lord's day in January, 1802, and in a short time engaged in the ministry. So I have to say that there were the internal impresions made on my mind by some spirit, to engage in the work of the ministry, that I was unable to resist it. Thus I ventured into the work, with a feeling dependence on the Lord for divine aid; and when I hear a professed preacher of the gospel deny the aid of the divine spirit in the work of the ministry, know that he or myself one, is a deceived wretch, and of course must be an instrument of the devil.
But a short time after I engaged in the ministry, in a very clear and surprising manner, it was presented to my mind, the course the Lord designed my labor to be spent in his cause; though at that time I had no intention of moving, neither had I the least knowledge where the course would lead me to. About this time I married, and became concerned in the cares of a family. Not long after this, I had a severe spell of sickness, and to human appearance it seemed that could not live; and I discovered that my wife and mother were very much alarmed. I told then need not be scared, for I was not going to die then. They asked me why I said so, observing at the same time, that it appeared as if I could not, live. I replied, (feeling at the same time an evidence of the fact,) that I was confident the Lord had a work for me to do, and that I should not die, until I had done it, and in some other particular cases of apparent danger, my mind was immediately relieved by a forcible evidence, that death could not reach me until I had done the work the. Lord had appointed. Although these impressions and views of things were on my mind, yet I was for a considerable time, insensible of any intention or wish in me to remove from where I was, but very unexpected to my view of things, it so turned round, that on the 2ed. day of June, 1803, I started with my little family, in company with several other families, to the state of Tennessee, and on the 2ed. day of the ensuing August, I stopped at Turnbull's Creek, then a wilderness, now in Dixon County, Tennessee.
Soon after I started my moving route, the course, which I so well recollect, the place where I was when it struck my mind, and appeared almost as plain to my view as the sun to my natural eyesight, struck my mind with such force, that it was in my view nearly the whole route on my way to the strange country, to which I was going. When the company, with myself, took what was called the Caney Fork road, on the west side of the Cumberland mountains, instead of the road that lead to Waltan's ferry, at or near the mouth of the Caney Fork, I sensibly felt that I had left my course, and I think, before I had traveled one mile, being under a deep concern of mind, I, as it were, unthoughtedly named to my mother, (she being one of the company,) that I was going wrong. She asked me why I thought so? I having never yet named my views on this subject to any person, it struck my mind to keep the thing to myself, and I merely replied to her that perhaps had taken the wrong road, and left my course, without explaining anything further to her.
I remained on Turnbull's Creek upward of three years. In this time had been instrumental in collecting the now existing church, called Turnbull. In this church I was ordained on the 2pth day of May, 1306, by elders Garner McConnico, John Record, and John Turner. Through the course of this time, the exercise and distress of my mind under a conviction that was not in my proper lot, or station, was more than tongue or pen could describe, and the want of room forbids me to notice the particular impressions of mind, and remarkable turns of providence, all uniting to confirm the fact, that I was not in the place to which God had appointed me to, while the views I had when in the state of Georgia, were plain in my mind, uniting with my then views, directing me where God had designed me to go.
Still my rebellious nature refused to obey, being well pleased with the country where I was, my worldly interest, (to my view the natural ties of affection to my relations, and friends, with my love to my brethern, and their apparent respect for me, all united to keep me in disobedience. I often wandered in the dark, under violent temptations that I was no christain; that God had never called me to preach; that I was but a poor deceived soul, deceiving myself and others, and that I had better stop preaching; but a view to the honor to the cause of God would still forbid me to stop, except that I could be secreted from the world; sometimes I was made to cry, O! that I was unknown to the world, while my heart's desire and prayer to God was to kill me, and take me out of the world, rather than to suffer me to dishonor his precious cause. At other times, my mind was clear, and the duty plain before me, and I would promise the Lord that I would soon attend to it, but at length a feeling of resignation took place to the will of God. I felt willing to be God's everything, and anything that he might please to make me, and to go at his command, wherever he might please to send me, nothing doubting, wholly depending on him, with a feeling assurance of his protection, so long as I was in my duty. I now became as perfectly willing for the sake of doing my duty in the gospel of Christ, to leave all that had attempted to bind me where I was, as ever I was made willing to give up my sins for the religion of the Saviour, and since that I have often thought and sometimes said, that if I had an evidence that God required me, and had made it my duty to any nation or people, to preach the gospel, let the prospect be what it might, I should not hesitate one moment in starting, and depending on him to provide for me, without looking to any human society or invention for support or protection. If I had a purse, I would take it, but if I had not, I would not stop to hunt one. (But to return to the subject.) Becoming reconciled for the Lord to be my God, and myself to become his servant. I went as directed by the divine spirit, to a strange part, where I knew not a man woman nor child, and soon found my field to labour in, in Sumner county, state of Tennessee>, and surrounding parts.
Here I found a little church called Hopewell, on Bledsoe's Creek, to which I became a member, and extensive bounds without a Baptist preacher in it, and through which they very rarely passed. Here I felt myself at home, tho in very low circumstances as to this world's goods. I had a wife and two small children, and my wife in very low health, near lying in with the third; had a horse and little or no money soon paid for a cow by my labour, and provided bread and meat for my family, and though I then had no prospect of ever owning a home for my family, I felt a calm serenity of mind, believing that I was doing my duty, and that the Lord would provide for me. Within these bounds there were a great many preachers of the Methodist order, more or less of whom were in the habit of attending the Baptist meeting before I came, and as the Baptist had no preacher, the Methodists would take something like the same privileges they would at their own, and after my lot was cast there, they still pursued a similar course.
I had until this time, been altogether raised and traditionized to the back woods, or frontier country, having no learning and being rough and course in my language and manners, I made but a poor appearance as a preacher, and those Methodists at first appeared as if they thought me hardly worth notice, but at length they, by their conduct, seemed to think that it might be better to put me out of their way, before I did them much harm, and so they engaged in war against me.
This placed me in a desperate situation in mind, to know what was my duty to do. Here I must take room to state something of my former ignorance. When I first engaged in trying to preach, and for some considerable time after, I had no knowledge of the distinction of doctrines between the different sects, and was unable to point out what the baptist faith was, and what was still more strange to me, I never could learn or understand any point of doctrine by hearing a man preach it, be it good or bad. For some purpose, such was the dark state of my mind. It is true that I could hear men preach and talk about this, that, or the other point of doctrine, and know the name by which they called it, but not to understand anything of its merit or consistency.
All I knew, was what little I was taught in the Bible by my experience, in teaching as trust, by the spirit of God in my own mind. This taught me that salvation was wholly of grace. The way I came to be what I now am in doctrine, my mind would first become weighted with some particular point of doctrine, feeling a weight and deep interest in knowing the truth on the subject, my mind would be drawn out to the Lord and his word was for instruction. The instant the thing was made plain to my understanding, I would then see and understand it wherever it was preached or taught, and with that I could as plainly understand the erroneous point of doctrine which stood in opposition to the truth, and thus I was brought from point to point, or thing to thing, in my mind distinguishing between truth and errour, until I am what I am; and I am confident, that had there been no other man on earth, holding the principles I do, that I should have been just what I am, for I never received these principles from man, that makes me an old predestinarian Baptist.
When the Methodists commenced the attack on me as before named, I found that one of three things I was compelled to do. I had either to quit preaching, or acknowledged that I believed and preached a doctrine that was unable to defend, or otherwise draw the sword and fight. To quit preaching, my weight of mind and sence of duty forbid. To acknowledge that I believed and preached a doctrine that I was unable to maintain and defend, looked to me as reproaching the God I professed to worship particularly as I has professed to believe that he had called and sent me to preach his gospel.
To undertake to draw the sword and fight, seemed to me as impossible for such an unlearned, ignorant being as I was to engage in war with any hope of success to the glory of God, against such formidable host of wise learned men. Thus I was in a strait; I knew not what to do; it became a subject of solemn inquiry of the Lord for about three months, to know what My duty was in that case, and if I am not a decieved creature, the Lord gave me to see and feel that it was my duty to draw the sword of truth, go forth in his name, and fight for truths of the gospel, against the antichristain errors, with a feeling assurance that he would be with me.
This is the way I became a man of war, and thus I entered into the war, first with the Methodist, under a solemn sense of duty that the Lord required it at my hands. This war lasted in perpetual motion more or less, for about seven years, in which time the christain society (so-called) came in among us, and had to take their part of the war as it came, for I did not sheath my sword to let any error pass that came in the way, but with what I called my old Jerusalem Blade, which had two edges, and cut every way, I laboured to cut off every thing that was aiming to touch the crown on the Redeemer's head, or remove the rights and foundation of the church of God.
It was not uncommon for a number of Bibles to be opened under my view, at the same time, and perhaps as many men preparing to be writing, but feeling, that God and his truth were on my side, I was undismayed.
The natural make of my mind, is to have great regard for the friendship and feeling of mankind, and sometimes at the commencement of this war, when hard sentences would be presented to my mind, I would, to save the feelings of some of my hearers, use softer expressions than those presented to my view. Whenever this was the case, my sermon over, and I came to reflect on what had been doing, a gloomy guilt was on my mind, as not having been faithful to my trust and duty. This warned me to regard the Lord more than the feelings of mortals, and when I had delivered the truth, as it appeared to be handed to me, I felt a peace of conscience as having done my duty to the cause of my God, and to the mortal beings to whom I was preaching.
Numbers have told me how to preach, so as to get the applause and good will of my hearers; but I thought the Lord knew best how to teach me to preach to answer his purpose, so I chose to follow his directions. I soon saw the impropriety and the advantage the enemy would take of inviting men to preach and worship God with the baptists, with whom the Baptists were unwilling to come to the communion table, and from that time to this, at my own appointments, I am unwilling to invite any to preach with me, or at my house, except Baptists sound in the faith, and in good order in the Baptist union.
Through the course of this war, mush was said and done, of which I have not room to speak. The Devil got mad, and poured out his flood of persecutions, and lying wonders, in sigmas and reproaches upon me, but all in vain; many of the captured sons and daughters of Zion, among the Methodists, were brought home to the fold of God, but none taken from the Baptists to the Methodists in all my bounds. At length I was called on by a Methodist, to meet him, each to preach a sermon on baptism. We met, and as he had no scriptual evidence on his side, it was a fatal time on infant baptism. He stopped at that. Sometime after I was met at one of my meetings, something like thirty miles from home, by Mr. Samuel King, who was then considered the champion of the Methodist side of the question in all, that country, and who for some time had been threatening me, and after some controversy between him and myself, he urged me to meet him in public controversy, particularly on the subject of baptism. I tried to avoid it, but he still urged me harder. When I found nothing would do but a surrender of the cause of truth or a battle in its defence, I agreed to meet him.
Including the present interview, we met five times before we were done, three times out of which, regular order was observed, each one speaking his limited time, and nearly every point of doctrine on the subject of religion coming under our notice before we were done. After I had engaged in this controversy, knowing that Mr. King was considered a man of talents, and of considerable information, and feeling myself to be so ignorant, knowing that I was without information, except what little I knew in, or of the Bible, I felt fearful that the cause of truth would suffer in my hands, and having some few pamplets on the subject of baptism, I concluded that I must examine them carefully, that I might be prepared against the day of the battle. In doing this, my mind appeared to be in a dark distressed situation. I could not tell what was the matter; as I believed the pamplets declared the truth, I thought it strange that I should feel distressed while reading them. This set me to inquiring after the cause of my unhappy state of mind.
In a short time it appeared plain to my mind, that though these pamplets might be true, yet if I received the truth from them, I would only have it second handed and that would not do me in fighting the battles of the Lord. That if they were true, the authors had got the truth from the Bible; and it was still in the Bible, and as free for me as for them, and that to the Bible I should go to know the truth. With this view of things, I had a feeling resignation to the bible, determined to live or die on the word of divine truth; if the Bible killed me let me die; if it saved my life, I should live. So to the Bible I went, having no use for any other book to teach me the truth, in matters of religion, and indeed I soon found it to be the proper source of wisdom. It afforded me information on every point I needed, being open with light and power to my understanding, so that when the day of action came on, I felt secured in having the Lord and his word on my side. With undaunted feelings I met Mr. King. The battle was attended with considerable severity from time to time, at the close, the victory was so clearly manifested to be on the Lord's side, that I felt distressed, fearing that the people would say that Parker had done this or that, instead of giving God the glory.
I wished my name to be forgotten in this thing, for I sensibly felt that the Lord had done the work, through me a poor earthern vessel, and that he was entitled to the glory. This controversy ended the war between the Methodists and me, in that country, from that time they let me alone.
A few remarks on my temporal concerns, through the course of this time, may be of some use to the reader. I got a little spot of poor land on what is called the Ridge, near the head of the Cany Fork on Drake's creek, having no improvement on it. I laboured when at home, often at night, to get time to preach in the day, my calls to preach being extensive, and the weight on my mind great. Though I believed it right that the Lord's ministers should receive help in their temporal concerns, yet I felt so unworthy to be counted one of them, that I discouraged my brethern in attempting to help me. (In this I thought that I did wrong, and I find it not a hard thing to stop the Baptists from doing their duty to their preachers.) Farming was my only way to make a support. I avoided everything like trade or traffic for speculation, lest should bring a reproach on the tender cause of God.
Sometimes it really appeared as if my family must suffer. I had but one horse to do all my work and riding, and I well recollect using him for two years in that gravelly country, without a shoe on his foot, because I was not able to get him shod without going in debt. I was afraid to do that, and was too proud to beg, often going on foot fifteen or twenty miles to my appointments, my wife having to shift for her little children as she could, attend to her business in the house, and mine out of doors in my absence, being deprived of the common necessaries of life, (perhaps not one pound of coffee in a year,) escept that of substantial food, and that at times appearing so course that she at length, (for the only time in her life,) observed me, that she thought that I would have to take in my appointments, or we should certainly come to want. I replied that I hoped not; if we have meat and bread there is no danger of suffering, and I will try to keep that, but indeed it seemed so much out of my power to do that thing, and continue my appointments, that I felt so much like she had expressed herself, that I fell under severe trials of mind, to know my duty. I felt it my duty to go and preach, and also that it was incumbant on me to support my family, and being confident that two duties never came in the way of each other, the great question with me was, how shall I know when it is my duty to go and preach, and when it was my duty to stay home and work?
At length it struck my mind forcibly that the Lord had yet provided for me; and it was still my duty to rely on him, and the way to decide the doubtful case in my mind, was to continue my appointments until my family was actually brought to suffer, regardless of all the gloomy appearances that might be presented; not to stop, tho' want should appear at the door, while the Lord was able in a moment to relieve them; but when they did come to actual suffering, then I might know that I had gone too far, and it was my duty to stop, and stay more at home, for the benefit of my family. So I became satisfied in mind, on the great question, continued my appointments, and while I have learned that all a christain should want, is to know and to do their duty, making their religious duties their first object, I can say in praise in the Lord's name, that he has so wonderfully provided for me and my family, that I have never yet been obliged to take in my appointments, to supply their temporal wants, though we have passed through many trying scenes.
The war now being ended between the Methodists and myself, I concluded that I should now live in peace. But alas! the worst had not yet come. The reports of the mission subject, and their proposed object (in part) in a short time reached us. At the first view I was wonderfully pleased with the prospect of the gospel being extended with such rapidity, but having learnt in the time of my Methodist war, that nothing but Bible truth would stand the test, my mind was directly turned to my Bible, to see if the plan proposed by the mission principle was the Lord's way of sending the gospel and christainizing the world; so as I came to a knowledge of the mission plan, I compared it with the Lord's way of doing business, and I was sorry to find that they did not fit or work together. I tried hard to reconcile the scriptures with the mission plan, but there was something in me, and in the bible, that said that there was too much difference between the word of God and the mission principle, for them to be reconciled together. While I became internally convinced that there was evil in the mission principle, my mind was much weighted with the subject. I viewed it a great something, either a great good or a great evil; (and truly I find, since it has so far unbosomed itself, that I was not mistaken,) yet I lay silent on the subject.
The thing through the association was referred to the churches, although by this time I had become internally convinced that there was something dangerous in the mission principle, still held my peace, viewing it so great a something, and fearing that I might be wrong in opposing it. I thought that I should be better satisfied in my mind, when the churches gave their votes. I then attended three churches and one arm. All the acting members in my bounds, with the exception of about three, voted against it. A large majority of the churches in the association voted against it.
The association was compelled to throw it out, though the struggles on the parts of its friends to save its life and credit, began to open something of its corruption to my understanding. At the next association, Luther Rice attended. Here for the first time, I took a public and pointed stand against the mission principle and its objects. This was a hard time, and I became more fully convinced of the corruption of that principle.
Until this time, I had lived in perfect peace with the Baptists, all in love, fellowship and union; but from that time until now, the greatest enemy I ever had in human shape is the mission spirit or principle, by men who called themselves Baptists, because I remained where they left me, and will not sacrifice the faith of God's elect.
After the war was over between the Methodists and myself my mind became entirely relieved from the weight which had led and confined me to that particular part of the country. Before this, the world could not have produced a temptation to remove me from that part; I felt no weight of mind to go elsewhere to preach, but a great change took place in my mind, instead of feeling confined to that section of the country, I felt entirely relieved from it, as if I had done my particular work there, and my mind was roving in the defence of the truth against error, and where error was prevailing most against truth, there was the place I felt like I ought to be, and though I often felt too mean and worthless to say I was one of the Lord's preachers, yet sometimes felt as if something like the care of all the churches lay on my mind, and that God required of me to defend the cause of truth, particularly on the doctrinal part, against error of every description, and to maintain the rights of his church, not having the mission errors particularly in view.
In this situation of mind, I visited the Wabash country several times, and finding that the errors of the christain society (so called) were taking deep root there, and the truth of God in the Baptist cause was not fully maintained in some parts of that country. I thought that I might be of as much use there as any place that I could go, and believing that I could do better for my family by going to a new country, I accordingly moved there in December, 1817, and instead of having knowledge that there was the place where the Lord designed me to fight the hard battle on the mission subject.
I was flattering myself that I was getting out of trouble; but I soon found out my mistake, and that nothing but war would do, to save the truth and rights of the church. Elder Isaac McCoy, one of the old leading preachers of the country, about this time, came into the employment of the board, and soon began to try to bring the Baptist into some arrangements to approve and assist in the mission objects. I felt in duty bound to my God, his cause, and his church, to withstand him, and the war immediately commenced, which will not end but with my natural existence. I soon found the spirit of the error to be beyond the reach of conviction to repentance, and that it sought for every advantage, regardless of truth, or christain feelings. Little as I had heretofore thought that any of my writings would even appear in print, my mind became so deeply weighted with defending the truth against the mission errors, that in 1820, I published a piece entitled, "A Public Address to the Baptist Society, and Friends of Religion in General, on the principle and practice of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, for the United States of America." This caused more of the iniquity of the mission principle to abound.
The overthrow of my public standing as a pracher, and my life in the church, appeared to be an object. Charges were exhibited in a sister church against me, founded on some parts of my pamplet, something like five months before 1 heard of them, and when presented to the church where I stood a member, were rejected on a point of order, (but afterwards tried in order, but fell for want of merit.) I now found that death, or a surrender of gospel truth and church rights was determined, and though it was high time for me to be at work, to save my own life and relieve the church of such corrupting errors. I presented charges in gospel order, against two members of the same church, where the charges had been exhibited against me, who had united with a mission society, formed auxiliary to the Board, for holding to and justifying the principles and practices of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. That church refused to act upon the charge or take it up. This terminated in a course of discipline with that church, and finally in relieving the Wabash District Association of all that defended and supported the principle and practice of the Board of Foreign missions, through the course of which I was engaged in the publication of other pamplets, in which I gave a more full account of many of those things that I now have room for, while the iniquity of the mission principle or spirit was so clearly manifested, that I could as soon believed that the religion consisted in envying designed falsehood, with the spirit, wisdom, and wealth of the world, as to believe that the mission was from the Lord.
Something twenty years past, my attention was called to the doctrine of the Two Seeds, by a few remarks made by an old brother. I rejected it as heresy, and sharply reproved the brother for expressing such ideas. The other being a man of but few words, the thing stopped at that as to its progress among the brethern, but when I would be examining the Bible to know the truth, as to the doctrine of salvation by grace, and the glory of God, in the condemnation of the wicked, many parts of divine writ would unfold themselves to my view, expressvive of that doctrine, but seeing no beauty in it, nor how God could be glorified by it, I strove against the forcible evidences presented, and did all I could to reconcile the word of God to his glory, on some other views of things.
Thus I laboured for a number of years on the subject of the Two Seeds, sometimes forced to acknowledge in my mind the truth of the doctrine, at other times rejecting it with all the power that was within me, until at length, imperceptible to my understanding, as to the manner in which the thing took place, the beauty, glory, and God-honouring doctrine of the Two Seeds opened to my view, witnessed by my God's word all through the Bible, appearing so plain, that I warn astonished at, my former ignorance, and wondered that 1 had not seen it before, while I saw that the doctrine of the Two Seeds had been either employed or expressed in every gospel sermon which I had delivered. The Subject now seem to lay so directly and plain before me, that it was as impossible for me to defend the cause of truth against error without a view of the Two Seeds, as it was to preach the way of life and salvation without a Saviour. Although I might not name the doctrine nor the congregation have any idea that I was preaching it, yet I saw and felt what I was doing and as I seldom felt as if I had done my duty, when I had even preached the truth, and yet left the congregation without knowing by name, what that truth was, I would sometimes name that it was the doctrine of the Two Seeds.
This brought the subject before the people; some would say one thing and some another, until my mind became so weighted with writing on the subject, that I felt as if I could not leave the world reconciled in mind, without so doing, believing it my duty to proclaim on the housetop, that which had been revealed to me in secret. This is the cause why I wrote my views on the Two Seeds, and when some of my brethern appeared to be greatly distressed in consequence of the doctrine which I had advanced, I re-examined my Bible again and again, with prayerful attention, (if I am not deceived,) that if I was in error, I might prove the doctrine wrong, retract, and relieve the truth and my brethern, but the truth of the doctrine was still more and more confirmed to my view, and finding that I could not, in truth, retract, and that some few of my brethern appeared as if they could not bear it, I then sought for the best way to save the truth of the church and cause of Zion, regardless of what might become of me, and finally concluded that it might be best to make no defence, lie silent, and let the church and those disatisfied with it, do as they saw proper; if the church called for my credentials, give them up; if she admitted me to a silent seat, accept of it; or if she excluded me, submit to it. I wandered for some time under this view of things, in a dark distressed situation, having as I believed, at the same time, sufficient cause to believe that the opposers of my views were engaged for the overthrow of the doctrine of the union or relationship in Christ, to or with his church. One evening, while solemnly reflecting on the state of things, knowing from every appearance that death somewhere must be the result, and striving to become reconciled in mind to die, rather than cause a distress in the church.
The whole course of my ministry seemed open to my view. The truth for which I had so long been contending, particularly the doctrine of the union, appeared so glorious, that I felt as if I would as soon surrender the Bible as the truth, while it appeared equally plain to my view, that it was not only myself nor my views on the Two Seeds, that must fall, but that those presious truths must fall with me, (as so intended by my opposers,) and if I submitted to these things without bearing testimony in defence of truth against error, that I should be guilty of denying the Lord, and prove a traitor to his cause, and that I had better never preached a sermon in my life, than now to surrender all, particularly as I at the same time felt secured in that, the Bible and the constitution of the church both were in my favor, and it was my duty to claim their protection, and defend the cause of the gospel.
My mind soon became settled as to my course; I felt that if God would support me by his grace, I would choose to die even at the stake, rather than to surrender his cause.
To save my brethern with the truth, became my next object, but felt no more like surrendering the truth than the brethern. While viewing the desperate situation my brethern had fallen into an opposition to truth, a solemn inquiry arrested my mind, why is it so? Why has the Lord suffered his children thus far to differ to such distress? It appeared to my mind that the Lord had a purpose in suffering it to be so; that I had not yet done all that he designed me to do on the doctrine of the Two Seeds, and that this was the way to bring me to accomplish his further purpose.
At that time I saw nothing more that I could do; I became engaged with the Lord, to know what more there was for me to do. The subject of my Second Dose, &c. opened to my view, and a weight that it was my duty to lay it before the public. At this I shrank back, and concluded that I could not; that the work was too great for me, and that my present state of calamities in distress and controversy would not admit it, while I feared that I would make the matter worse, and perhaps dishonor the cause of the Redeemer; but such was the sense of duty, that I felt as if I should do more in defence of the truth, by publishing what the Lord had laid on me to do, provided that I should never preach another sermon while I lived, than if I lived to be old, and preached every day, and yet failed to do my duty.
Another difficulty arose in my way. I had spent a considerable sum of money in printing in which I had not realised for the work, and it really appeared to me as if my circumstances in life would not permit me to pay the printer without bringing my family to suffer, as I was then in debt, and had little time to attend to temporal business; but at length I was brought to feel, that myself, with all I had, was the Lord's, and that if it even took the house and home from my family to pay the printer, let it go; I would, through grace, do what the Lord required. So I engaged and wrote under as solemn an obligation not to add one sentence but what appeared as if the Lord had presented to my mind, not to leave out one that he did present, as if I knew that I should enter into eternity the next moment after I closed the work.
These are the causes why I wrote my "Second Dose of Doctrine on the Two Seeds," &c. Although I am not much in favor of religious periodicals, yet finding so many errors ingeniously circulating through that medium, against which I felt it my duty to set up the truth, and viewing that I could not do so in a desirable and extensive way by travelling and preaching, I engaged in publishing the Church Advocate.
Being well convince that if the doctrine of the Two Seeds, as brought to view by me, be a Bible truth, that God gave me to see the truth, (as well as made it my duty to publish it,) I can well bear with my brethern, who have not yet been taught to see the scriptural beauty of the doctrine. It never has been my design to make it the standard of fellowship, so long as the gospel doctrine was acknowledged and maintained.
Those who are protesting against the doctrine that evil or iniquity exists in itself, or existed the opposite to the perfections of God, have set up a new item of faith as a standard of christain fellowship. Well brethern, as you have come thus far, we hope that you will not stop until you tell us what it is that you do believe on the subject, and that we may know where to meet your fellowship. This is certainly your duty, as you are drawing a new line of distinction, which evidently excludes you from a large portion of the old predestinarian Baptists.
Will you say that evil or iniquity does not exist anywhere? Surely not. In what then does it exist? and in what will it exist, when time shall be no more? Did not iniquity exist before sin and death came into the world? If so, in what way did it then exist? And if this corrupting evil existed before sin got into the world, and did not eternally exist in itself, do tell us who was its author, and all about these things. As you have raised that bar by your protests on this subject, should you fail to let us know your views on these things, it will really appear as if you are destroyed for want of knowledge.
Those who protest against the doctrine, that say that all or any part of the human family are not, in some way, the creatures of God's power, in being brought into action in the world, are protesting agains that which is not contended for by any man, (to my knowledge;) but if they intend to protest against the doctrine that says, the serpent's seed, tares, or generation of vipers, were not created in Adam, in the image and likeness of God, by and for the Saviour, then while they are raising an article of faith which was never before known in the Baptist standard of fellowship, they would do well to let us know by what authority they are contradicting the Saviour, in the parable of the good seed and tares, and it now devolves on them to let us know what it is they do believe on this subject. Come brethern, tell us plainly, are we to understand you as believing that the great dragon, that old serpent, called the devil and satan, Rev. XII.9. the serpent's, the generation of vipers, Matt.XXIII, 33. Pharoah, king of Egypt, the great dragon, that lieth in the midst of his rivers, Ezek. XXIX.E. The Prince of the kingdom of Persia, Daniel, X,QE. and the prince of this world, which hath nothing in Christ, John, XIII.30. &c. &c. were all created, by and for Christ, in the image and likeness of God, for the purpose of damming them? and is God the author of iniquity, corruption, sin and spiritual wickedness? or how are those things? Do tell us, that we may know the difference between you and ourselves, and take conviction, should you have truth on your side. I have nothing to gain by being on the side of error, I have evidently been under the irresistible influence of some spirit, good or bad.
But the same spirit that taught me to hate sin, led me to the Saviour, to trust and rejoice in him, I was called, qualified, and taught to fill the lot which I have occupied in the ministry, to the distinguishing between truth and error. I view man but the instrument by and through which invisible and uncreated spirits are manifestd, and the war eternally maintained and manifested between the power of darkness and the God of divine light, and if I have been the instrument of divine light, and God, by his spirit, has spoken by me, just so certain the present mission spirit is of the world, or devil, and its advocates are instruments of spiritual wickedness, and I believe, will soon be found to be instruments of cruelty to the church of God, like their kindred spirits in former ages, and indeed they have already proven themselves to be instruments of falsehood, to the abuse of truth slanders of God's faithful watchmen, and sowing the seeds of discord among brethern, in the abounding of iniquity, while the love of many is waxing cold, and I may not say in the spirit of gospel truth, O! full of all subtility and all mischief, ye children of the devil, ye enemies of all righteousness, will ye not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? Acts, XIII.l0. College preachers, not taught of God, are but the devil's ministers, and its religion but the religion of the world at war with Christ, his spiritual religion, faithful ministers, and reign of grace.
If sin, one of the Lord's ministers, Messrs. Chambers and Peck, by lying against the truth, to the support of error, have offended one of God's little ones. I am not offended because they differ from me in opinion, in some cases, but because they resort to false measures to the abuse of truth for the support of falsehood, and corrupting iniquity, neither do either of them support the predestinarian doctrine on the same principles heretofore maintained by the Old Baptists and church of God, nor can it be done by the mission people.
All the good done by means and ways, which God has not directed, is not to the glory of God, but by his overruling providence while the actors therein are guilty of rebellion against God, Joseph's brethern, the devil, and murderers of Christ were as praiseworthy for what they did, as the supporters of the mission principle and plans, for the wonders they are doing, seeing that God was nowhere directed then in their ways.
It is but the devil's religion and worldly charity that can keep the poor slaves in bondage, filch from them their reasonable food and raiment, deprive them from reading the sacred volume, and worshiping God when and where they please, and then take the product of their labour to make up missionary funds for the benefit of others. This is such a perversion of judgement, and grinding the faces of the poor, that that God's wrath will ere Long wake against it; (let charity begin at home.)
Perhaps I have done what the Lord designed by the Advocate, and therefore he has suffered necessity, if nothing else, to compel me to close the work, not having received anything like enough money to defray this year's expenses, yet complain not. I have not done my duty, and feel as if I have left the world without excuse, (let the blind lead the blind,) yet my very soul often mourns when viewing the world left without a religious periodical, but is warped off in to the popular current of the world. Poor Zion must mourn a little while longer in her sackcloth. I have often thought that if the old predestinarian Baptists would say, Parker, we have no more use of your labours, that I could stop my labourous course with a clear conscience. The daughters of Babylon may rejoice at the close of the Advocate, in having the periodical world at their command, but the resurrection of the two witnesses will put a stop to their glorying, while the groans of God's afflicted children under their oppression, will no doubt unite with those souls under the alter in calling for vengeance on their persecutors.
My readers, I must bid you adieu until eternity decides all disputes, and though a narrow bound be my circle, yet through grace I shall mourn with the afflicted children of Zion, regardless of all the abuse I may receive from the enemy, rather than exchange the glories of the cross of Christ for the honors of the world, or give the work of the divine spirit for the wisdom of the world, believing that God's word is a better instructor than the plans of mortals, and his spirit a better guide than the college teachers, and that every plan made to improve the ministry by human aid, is but supporting deism, adding to the affliction of Zion, and darkening the true light of the gospel. With this view of things, I am willing to meet my God in eternity.
My day of trial will soon be over. I freely forgive all my enemies for their trespasses against me, but their wickedness against the Lord, his church and truth, is between them and the God with whom they have to do. The envy of my enemies who have exaggerated on my character and talents on the one hand, and the applause of my friends who have run to an extreme on the other, but leave me unmoved by threats or applause. In myself, poor and helpless, and prone to wander, but in Christ complete, while all the good it may have done has been the spirit of God through Christ, which strengthens me, in finishing my testimony, against error, in defence of truth, I have a clear conscience towards God and man, leaving all those without escuse who, for fear of meeting the frowns of the wisdom and wealth of the world, are drawing back, from the self-denying, world-losing, God-honoring, Bible truths of the doctrine of the cross, brought to light through me a poor earthern vessel, and though I may have been ranked with other periodicals, as purse-plunderers yet I regard it not. I have precisely met what I had anticipated in my outset, abuse from the religion of the world, and enemies of the truth. But my very soul should thank God, that I have succeeded in driving out from among the Baptists in the bounds of the Wabash District Association, and her correspondence, (which is now very extensive) all the supporters of the corrupting mission principle, Arminian stuff, &c, so that we all 'speak the same thing', and Zion's watchmen lift up their voices together like a trumpet, (not Trumpets).
Feeling much relieved in mind, as having done my duty, and having spent much time and money in defence of truth, it now appears to be my duty to turn more of my attention to the benefits of my helpless family, while I occupy a moderate bound in the ministry, in the peaceable circle from whence the enemy is driven, leaving those who are saying depart from me, as blind guides to fall into the ditch with their followers; yet should require anything more of me; all I am, and all I have is at his call; and indeed it looks as if I may yet have something to do at hone, for Zion need not to expect to rest long in peace, until the war is over.
The many periodicals now engaged in the defence of the worldly religion, with the many plans made by men and devils in the depth of iniquity, to push its success, has an alarming appearance, and the preaching manufactories of the east appear to be engaged in sending hirelings to the west, and should any of these man-made, devil-sent, place-hunting, gentry come into our country, and tread in our palaces, we shall likely raise against them seven shepherds, and eight principal men, so we shall have something still to do, for these who feel the cause of Zion more precious than lire itself, cannot give back.
My very soul is often made to rejoice that I am counted worthy to suffer persecution for Christ's sake, in this day of trial. I am well apprized, that by report or rumor, at a distance, I have been charged with almost with every kind of capital crimes, and that, even of late, a missionary (in principle, in Georgetown, Kentucky, perhaps Mr. J. M. Peck himself) has circulated slanderous reports against me. Suffice it to say, in reply to all, that I now stand connected as a member, or by a direct correspondence with the churches composing eight associations, and I have personally visited each of these associations within a little more than a year past, where I have, at each one, met a warm brotherly reception.
Let the public judge if this would have been the case, had the missionary or Arminian tales been true? I have made it a point to challenge no man to a public contest in religious controversy, but to establish truth, in the defiance of all opposition, and if challenged on fair grounds, not to refuse. This I say in contradiction to those cowardly men who are circulating that I have refused to meet them. Perhaps Mr. J. M. Peck is waiting for the close of the Advocate, that he may publish old missionary records and reports, which have long since been proven false.
The doctrine of the Bible is evidently expressive of the facts, that there are two spiritual powers engaged in war with each other, and that there are two families or seeds in the World. The divine writers well understood these things, which fact appears in almost every page. This knowledge well prepared them to bear up under their many trials, and so my brethern, the same understanding of divine truth will prepare you for your christain warfare in this time, when such floods of iniquity are abounding; yet we should not consider this subject of the Two Seeds, or two families embracing in its view the existence of spiritual wickedness to be the gospel which we are sent to preach, but by a correct knowledge of the bible truth in this thing, we are better prepared to understand what the gospel is, -- the reason why it should be preached in all the world, and the objects of its divine author, while we are better guarded against false doctrine of every kind. Thus we should not make this subject the theme of our preaching further then to keep the truth of God's view, as the permanent basis upon which the gospel of Christ is predicted, remembering, that to preach the gospel is one thing, which is the peculiar gift to some men and to make the proper distinction between truth and error, is another thing, which appears to be the particular work, given to some other men; thus the church is edified and guarded by the gifts of the spirit through the several members of her body. My dear reader, with a few more short remarks, I must bid you adieu. The man untaught by the spirit and word of God, is prone to look to the highest set fame for a sample of the christain religion.
Thus the religion based upon the wealth and wisdom of the world, with but the name of Christ and his word, is well calculated to make infidels of the honest minded naturalist, because such a religion does not fill the description given in the Bible, and the natural man, not discerning the things of the spirit, is incapable of looking through this imposition, to the humble, contrite spirit of true religion which fills the character of the christain religion, and is set at nought by the world. Let us never exchange any part of the gospel truth for the friendship of the world. A religion that cannot forego the enmity of the world, need not expect to meet the approbation of heaven. The supporters of the religion which is seeking after the wealthy honors and applause of this world, will be found enemies of God to be slain before him. The religion which has only reached the animal petitions, and not informed the judgement, nor settled the heart in truth, will leave its subects on the side of error, in the day of trial. The religion which moves by fear and fails to draw by the cords of divine love, will leave its subjects to knock for entrance, when the door of Heaven will be shut against them. Those are in the call of bitterness and bond of iniquity who think that the gifts of the spirit are to be obtained by money. Truth and the God of Zion is her strength, and not the number of members which she may appear to possess. The way to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, is to keep those out of the church whom God has not converted to know and to love the truth, and then let saints live, walk and talk as christains should do. Having this far done my duty in, leaving the world without excuse, I now bid you all farewell, with an humble confidence that I shall meet you, my christain reader, when mourning time is over, to part no more.
-- Daniel Parker
(Finished typing this on the 13th day of February, 1923. -- Ben Hardin Irwin.)