The Baltimore Association was held in May at Harford, Maryland, and we learn from brethren who attended that the season was pleasant and refreshing. It was not our privilege to meet with them, as we had intended, but we rejoice to learn that the churches and brethren are steadfast in the faith, and in peace and harmony among themselves.
We were permitted to attend the Delaware, at Bryn Zion, Delaware, where we enjoyed a refreshing season from the presence of the Lord. No discordant sound was heard during the meeting. The churches are generally small, but composed of members who, like those John saw with the Lamb in Rev. 18, are, “Called and chosen, and faithful.” Brother Thomas Barton, who has labored long and faithfully in the bounds of this Association, though pressed with age and infirmities, was able to attend, and in his preaching and conversation, seemed to still retain the “dew of his youth.” Elder Ephriam Rittenhouse is doing good service among these churches. His views of divine truth seem to be clear and vivid, and his gifts manifestly of the Lord. He is in the vigor of life, and gives evidence that he prefers Jerusalem above his chief joys. These two devoted servants of God comprise the ministry, and their time is divided among the several churches.
From the Delaware Association we came through Philadelphia, where there is a small church of our faith and order, who meet regularly on the first day of each week, like the Primitive saints, in a large upper room, and devote the time to prayer and praise, speaking to themselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs. They have no settled pastor, but occasionally receive visits from ministers of Jesus, as they pass through the city, or as they visit them expressly for the purpose. Passing through that city, we visited Southampton church. We spent two or three days in the company with Elder Daniel L. Harding, who has been sorely afflicted with disease for a long time, and has had to endure several surgical operations on his person. We were pleased to find his general health somewhat improved. He has been able to fill most of his regular appointments in the church; but unable, from the nature of his complaints, to travel abroad much. He has been graciously supported in his painful afflictions, and we hope and pray that he may be restored to health, if it be the pleasure of the Lord; for we esteem him as a precious brother, whose gifts are highly appreciated in the church, and among our churches generally. We spent the Sunday with him at the Southampton church, preached twice on that day at their meeting-house. Their meetings are well attended, the church is large, and the brethren and sisters seemed to be dwelling together in love and unity. With the brethren of that church we came on, being brought on our way by the kindness of our dear brother, Deacon J. V. Willard, to the Delaware River Association, which was held with the Second Hopewell church, at Harberton, N.J.
This meeting was well attended, and the season was delightful. All the brethren and sisters seemed to enjoy it. At present there are but four churches in this Association, but the aggregate number is about four hundred members. The First Hopewell church contains two hundred and eight members; the Kingwood, sixty-nine; Southampton, eighty-six; and Second Hopewell, thirty. Elder P. Hartwell is the pastor of the First and Second Hopewell churches. His ministry among them has been remarkably blessed, not only in the great ingathering of members, but more especially in edifying, instructing and confirming the saints in the truth. Elder Conklin is pastor of the Kingwood church, and his labors are abundantly blessed to the church, especially in his faithful and unremitting labors in word and doctrine. His general health has been much better for the last six or eight years than for many years previous to that time. Elder D. L. Harding, as we have already mentioned, is with the Southampton church. These three previous brethren supply faithfully the four churches, and as far as they have opportunity extend their labors in traveling abroad, comforting and confirming the churches generally.
Our own, the Warwick Association, was held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, after the first Sunday in June, with the New Vernon church. The first day of our session was very rainy, but on the second and last days of the feast, the assembly was very large for our country. We were favored with the attendance of a goodly number of our brethren in the ministry from abroad; all of whom came to us in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of peace, and with one accord preached Jesus Christ and him crucified, greatly to the comfort and edification of all the saints.
The next Association we were permitted to attend was the Chemung. This was held with the Chemung church at Waverly, in a very pleasant and commodious meeting-house, very kindly offered for our use by the New School Baptists of that place. The churches of this Association are generally small. All the old ministers have been called from their labors on earth to their crown in glory, excepting our venerable and dear old brother, Elder Joseph Beaman. But God has not left himself without witnesses in that part of his vineyard. Within a few years past, two brethren of promising gifts have been raised up and set apart to the work of the gospel ministry in their bounds, namely, Elders Chester Schoonover, of Asylum, Pennsylvania, and P. W. Doud, of Mainsburgh, Pennsylvania. Elder John Donaldson and Elder K. Hollister also supply, a portion of the time, some of the destitute churches. This meeting was well attended, and was principally devoted to the preaching of the word, and all seemed to regard it as a precious season. From Chemung, we went on in company with Elders G. Conklin and W. Housel, and attended a meeting on Monday with the little church near the Horse Heads, where we were joined by Elders Beaman and Smith, and on the day following, proceeded on our way by railroad to Hornellsville, where we were met by brethren and teams to convey us to the Conference of Western New York. This meeting was held with South Dansville church, which is under the pastoral care of Elder N. D. Rector. This conference is chiefly composed of the brethren scattered abroad in the Western and Northwestern parts of this State, many of whom are living remote from any regularly organized church of our order, who seldom have the opportunity of social intercourse with their brethren. Elders Beaman, Smith, Conklin, Housel, and Beebe were present with Elder Rector, and we enjoyed a pleasant and interesting time.
At all of these meetings Christ and his cross was all our theme. Although our country is involved in a merciless and cruel war in which thousands and even hundreds of thousands of the flower of our country are being sacrificed on the bloody altar, not a lisp of any thing of a political character was heard from any of the pulpits, nor during the discussions of those meetings. Peace and harmony prevailed, over all the clamor of war; and the spirit of “Peace on earth, and good will toward men” seemed to pervade the hearts of all the saints. Earthly thrones may crumble to the dust, and the very best forms of human governments may be uprooted, nations, kingdoms and states may be dashed to atoms, but of the increase of the government and peace of the Wonderful Counsellor, there shall be no end. (Isaiah 9:7) “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom that can not be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28,29)
July 1, 1862.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 212 – 215