Newton County, GA., Nov.18, 1857.
DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: - Thinking a brief sketch of my late journey to the Northern and Eastern States, might be of some interest to the readers of the MESSENGER, I have ventured to submit an account of it for publication. For the sake of brevity, I shall omit the names of numerous brethren that I saw, with whom I have been acquainted for years, and some whose acquaintance is more recent. I shall mention the names of such brethren as I may have particular occasion to refer to in the account of my journey.
Your readers are aware that I was originally from Maine, and resided a few years in the State of New York, before I came to Georgia. After taking up my adobe in this State, I was disposed agreeable to previous arrangements, to journey to the North. Accordingly my wife and myself left Covington on the 6th of June last, by Railroad, and after journeying three days and nights, arrived in the city of New York. After stopping one night in the city, we proceeded on to the Warwick Association, held with the Middletown and Wallkill church, Orange Co., New York. We failed to arrive in time to attend the first day of the Association, but were present the two following days. Here I met with a large number of brethren and sisters with whom I have been acquainted for years. I also met with brother E.A. Meaders, of Mississippi, with whom I had formed a pleasant acquaintance in Georgia. This Associational meeting was one of the most agreeable I ever attended. It was truly a season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. We stopped at Middletown with brother G. Beebe and other brethren, one week. Meanwhile I preached at Ramapo, Rockland Co., N.Y., one Sunday. We then journeyed to Lexington Co., N.Y., via Newburg and Catskill, where we remained from the 18th of June to the 10th of August. Meanwhile I preached for the Lexington Old School Baptist church every Sunday, but one, and baptized six willing disciples. My wife being sick of the bilious fever, detained us nearly four weeks longer than we intended at Lexington. The church at this place, was under my pastoral care, before, and at the time I came to the South, and upon my return I formally resigned. In substance it had been done before, as I was providentially hindered from returning at the time I contemplated, and had written to that effect. I took the care of that church agreeable to their unanimous invitation, in the first place, and resigned with feelings of mutual christian love, and fellowship. Those brethren and sisters I shall long remember. I had not the care of any other church during the time I resided at Lexington. The church was large, and demanded all of my service. August 10th we started on our journey to Maine, and arrived at the house of my father at Richmond, on the 13th. We passed through Catskill and Hudson, N.Y., and Springfield, Worcestor, and Boston, Mass., and Portland, Maine, on our way. I found my folks all well, and felt the earnest ties of natural consanguinity in meeting with them. The Sunday following our arrival, I preached, by request, at the Congregational meeting house in Richmond village, and had a very attentive congregation. I preached the next Sunday for the Bowdoinham church where I am a member, about eight miles from my father’s. I visited the O.S. Baptist church at Jay, Maine, which church I used to supply in former years. I stopped two Sundays with those brethren. The former pastor of the church, Elder J. Macomber, who for some years was superannuated, died while I was there, and I preached at his funeral. I had known him for years to be a firm, consistent O.S. Baptist. There have been additions to the Bowdoinham and Jay churches within one year by baptism. We attended the Maine O.S. Baptist Conference at North Berwick, and had a pleasant meeting. Brethren P. Hartwell, of N.J., L. Cox, of Mass., J.A. Badger, Wm. Quint, and J. Steward, of Maine, were present, with numerous private brethren. We next attended the Maine O.S. Baptist Association at Bowdoinham village, forty miles beyond Portland. The above mentioned brethren were present, with the exception of P. Hartwell and J. Steward. The meeting was one of interest. I had to part with brethren and sister with whom I had been conversant for years, who knew me before I began to preach, with whom I had enjoyed many pleasant seasons together in christian fellowship and brotherly love. Some of them with myself had passed through the fiery ordeal which necessarily arose when the principles of gospel truth were assailed and misrepresented, and divers doctrines and practices had been introduced by those who are now called New School or Missionary Baptists.
For one I can say that the principles of the New School Baptists, and those of the Primitive or Old School Baptists, never can harmonize and come together. The principles of fraternization do not exist between the two classes of people. Whoever desires a compromise, had better go over to the Missionaries at once, and let the old Baptists alone. We have no use for such people. And if there are any persons among the New School Baptists, who desire to live with the Old Baptists upon gospel principles, and are heart-sick of the principles and practice of their old associates, and will come to us in a gospel way, we are ready to receive them. Whosoever supposes that the two classes of people can unite while each is governed by principles entirely at anti-podes with the other, is certainly led by a blind infatuation. And to suppose the Missionaries are reforming and coming to us, is a mistake, and to indirectly charge the Old School of Antinomianism is a mere feint for the purpose of tricking the simple and unwary, and to operate against the cause of truth. And ideas and views of gospel truth which may be sound in the abstract, are calculated to deceive, where there is a virtual denial of the life-union of Christ and the Church. In this way the enemies of the truth will endeavor to sap the foundation of the believer’s hope. I am not altogether unacquainted with the double-dealing course of such persons.
I will return to my narrative. On Tuesday, September 22nd, we left Richmond, Maine, on our return to Georgia. We came on to New York City, via Boston, Mass., Providence, R.I., and Stonington, Ct., where we stopped three days at the house of brother J. Gilmore. His house seemed like one of my homes, having spent much time there in former days when I supplied the Mt. Zion church in that city. We continued on to Washington D.C., where we stopped from Saturday morning, Sept. 26th until Thursday night. On Sunday I preached for the Shiloh O.S. Baptist church in that city, and had the privilege of witnessing the ordinance of baptism administered to a colored sister by my cousin, brother Wm. J. Purington, the pastor of Shiloh church. The season was one of special interest. In company with brother Wm. J. Purington and wife, we journeyed to the Kehukee Association, N.C., passing through Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, and Weldon, N.C., to Rocky Mount. We attended the Association one mile from Rocky Mount, at the Falls of Tar River, Nash County, North Carolina. Here we met with brethren G. Beebe, of N.Y., P. Hartwell, of N.Y., R.D. Hart, C.B. Hassell, and numerous ministering and private brethren. Brother B. Temple, the editor of the Primitive Baptist was also present. The congregation on Sunday was estimated from five to seven thousand persons, of which number, more than two thousand were negroes. After parting with the brethren on Monday evening, October 5th, in company with brother G. Beebe, we left Rocky Mount on our way to Covington, GA., where we arrived on Wednesday. We arrived at home in safety and found all well. We had been absent from home four months and one day, and journeyed by railroad, steamboat, and other conveyance, about thirty three hundred miles. The next day after our arrival, I left home by private conveyance for the Oconee Association, at Black’s Creek, Madison County, about seventy miles distant. Several brethren accompanied me on the way, and also on my return. We had a pleasant meeting at the Oconee, and everything passed off harmoniously. I stopped at home one night, and then went on by public conveyance, via Atlanta and West Point, to the Primitive Western Association, at Mount Moriah, Harris County, Georgia. Brethren G. Beebe, W.L. Beebe, D.W. Patman, and D.L. Hitchcock, who were at the Oconee, accompanied me. At this Association I met with several brethren with whom I had formed an acquaintance one year ago. I also met with some whom I had never seen before. I met with brother Wilson Thompson of Indiana, with whom I had formed an acquaintance, and heard preach more than ten years ago in the Northern States. The preaching at this Association, so far as I could judge was in perfect unison, and according to sound doctrine. I returned home the way I went, and accompanied by the same brethren. The united testimony borne to gospel truth, at each of the Associations I have attended this year, was soul-cheering and refreshing. I am now at home, eight miles south of Covington, and have as much contentment, and peace of mind as I ever expect to enjoy in this vale of sorrow, and wilderness of sin. I will close these few lines which are imperfectly written, hoping that grace, mercy, and peace may abound towards you and all the saints for Jesus’ sake.