Lexington, Ky., April 18, 1879.
ELDER G. BEEBE & SON: - I had thought I would not ask you to publish my reply to Elder Joel Hume’s communication published in the Baptist Watchman of the 4th of January last, in which he has given what he calls a conversation he had with me nearly thirty years since, out of which he seems to think he can make capital to my prejudice at this late day. I chose rather to ask of the editor of the Watchman, in whose columns Elder Hume’s letter was published, the liberty of replying through the same medium. I wrote to Elder Stevens three or four weeks since on the subject, and hearing nothing from him since, I take it for granted he does not intend opening his columns to my reply. From the reluctance he has heretofore shown to correct misrepresentations wantonly made of my brethren and myself, when he had been furnished with a refutation of those misrepresentations, I doubted whether he would publish my reply to Elder Hume. Nearly two years since he published three letters over the signature of R.B. Gunn, Egypt, Miss, in which were gross misrepresentations of the late Elders Trott and Leachman, and Elders Beebe, Johnson and myself. I wrote a reply, which did not appear in his columns for near three months. Some twelve months since, he published a communication from Big Harpeth Church, Wilson County, Tenn., making an unprovoked attack on Elders Beebe, Patman, Licking Association and myself, to which I transmitted a reply, dated the 12th of July last, and that reply appeared in his issue of Nov. 2nd – nearly four months after, with the date and a supplemental note suppressed.
Elder Hume’s memory has been so much at fault, and his imagination so fruitful, that I feel it due to the cause of truth and myself to ask the insertion of the enclosed in the SIGNS. As ever, most truly your friend and brother,
Thomas P. Dudley.
P.S. – In my letter to Doctor Stevens, editor of the Watchman, I reminded him, as a practicing physician and surgeon of the necessity to the safety of the patient, where poison is thrown into the system, the antidote should follow as speedily as possible. In the delay he has shown in publishing refutations of the defamatory articles against the brethren, he has given reason to conclude that he intended the poison should do its full work before the antidote was applied in arrest.
Lexington, Ky., March 24, 1879.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE BAPTIST WATCHMAN: - I received from a friend, a few days since, a part of your issue of the 4th of January last, who called my attention to a communication, a letter over the signature of Joel Hume, the inaccuracies of which I feel it due to myself and the subject to correct.
I have a distinct recollection of the topic on the last night he spent at our house, but not the slightest recollection that on that night, nor on any other occasion, the words passed between us on the subject of the christian warfare; and I am very confident I should have had no difficulty in explaining the two texts he tells us he put to me, and pretty strongly insinuates I could not explain in perfect harmony with the views I entertain. I will here inform him that I explained these texts thirty years since, in print, where they are now to be seen. But he seems to assume that, if my views are correct, he knows nothing savingly of the christian religion. In this conclusion I sincerely hope he is mistaken.
I propose to present dates and facts, which will show clearly the improbability, if not impossibility, of his statement being correct. My wife and myself were married on the 24th of October, 1848, and removed to my farm the last of November, or first of December, 1849. The circular on the Warfare was printed in the month of February, 1849, in pamphlet form, and one thousand copies immediately circulated. The stronger impression on my mind is that a copy was forwarded to Elder Hume, and I do not think I ever saw the manuscript after the proof was examined. Yet, Elder Hume says I read the manuscript to him at my house the last night he spent with me, and that I asked what he thought of it. Further, as my recollection serves me, Elders Hume and Conrad had an appointment and preached in this city on Wednesday preceding the fourth Sunday in November 1849, and accompanied my brother James to his house. On Thursday they preached at Bryans, where Elder Hume attempted to disabuse himself of the charge of two-seedism, which had been made in some quarters. From Bryans they accompanied my wife, myself, and I think, a brother of the church at Bryans home. Here I remark that Elder Conrad, who accompanied Elder Hume to our house, was fully and publicly committed to the belief of the doctrine taught in the circular on the Warfare. The topic of conversation at our house I think Elder Hume will remember, on his memory being refreshed, was the split in the church at Sardis, in Boone County. At the session of our association in September 1848, two letters were presented, each claiming to be from the church at Sardis. At the proper time the letters were referred to a committee, on whose report the association rejected both letters, declaring the church was in disorder. Notwithstanding this decision, Elder Conrad, who was a member of our association, and Elder William Hume, for whom I entertained warm christian regard, had an appointment for [I think] a three days meeting with one of the disorderly parties, towards the close of which they administered the Lord’s Supper to them. I pronounced this gross disorder on the part of the Elders engaged. This led to a long conversation, in which Elders Joel Hume and Conrad attempted to justify, and I to condemn the disorder. After a great deal being said, I recollect distinctly that Elder Joel Hume asked, “If my uncle were to visit you, as you think he is in disorder, would you invite him into your pulpit to preach?” To which I replied. “If I did, I should partake of his disorder.” What influence this plainness on my part had in causing Elder Conrad’s subsequent opposition to the circular on the Warfare, I know not, or what influence, if any, it had in causing him subsequently to be opposed to the circular, I know not. I am confident I had no knowledge of his opposition until subsequent to that night’s conversation. On the following morning I accompanied those Elders to their appointment at my nephew’s, Elder S. Dudley. On taking leave of them that afternoon, Elder Hume gave a pressing invitation to visit the churches to which he had been preaching, and preach for them. The next I heard from Elders Hume and Conrad was the day after we separated, the fourth Saturday of November, 1849. They attended the meeting at Stoney Point, and are believed to have participated in bringing out that extraordinary and mischievous document purporting to be “a joint manifesto of the churches of Stoney Point on Friendship,” in which they denounce the circular on the Warfare as “the worst kind of heresy,” without regard to the divine admonition, “An heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject,” and declared non-fellowship for three sister churches, without giving either of them, the slightest information that they had anything against them, in disregard of the divine direction.
The next we hear of Elder Hume is contained in a letter from Elder B.B. Piper to me. Elders Hume and Piper attended an appointment in Boone County, at which Hume severely denounced someone for preaching terrible heresies, and warned the brethren against the heresies. They were invited and accompanied brother E.H. Parrish home, and I here give Elder Piper’s account of what passed: “Parrish asked Hume, Who did you allude to in your discourse today as preaching such terrible heresies? Hume replied, I alluded to Thomas P. Dudley. Parrish said, Are you certain that brother Dudley holds and preaches those heresies? Hume replied, Yes sir, I am certain he does. Parrish said, Be certain that you are right. Hume said, I am certain I am right, and if I had his Circular on the Warfare I would prove that I am right. Parrish said, Are you certain that you could prove that Dudley holds and preaches these heresies, by the circular on the Warfare? Hume replied, Yes sir. I am certain I could. Parish absented himself from the room a short time, and returned with the Circular, which he handed to me [Piper] to read. When I had read it carefully through. Parrish asked Hume, Now where is the proof? Hume seemed, and evidently was confounded. After a considerable pause, Hume said, I got it from him in private conversation.” On my first interview with Parrish subsequently, he confirmed in every essential particular Piper’s letter to me. The veracity of no man in the communities in which he had lived was less questioned than that of Edmund H. Parrish.
Elder Hume seemed to conclude that if the Circular on the Warfare was published, it would play havoc in splitting, dividing, and disturbing the peace of churches. But what does the sequel prove? Where will he find a parallel? Fifteen churches scattered over an area eighty or more miles north and south, and about the same east and west, which have enjoyed uninterrupted peace, union, harmony and warm christian fellowship for eight or nine and twenty years, which has been the good fortune of Licking and her eleven corresponding sister associations? But this is not all. The Salem Association, of which Elder Hume was a member in troublesome times, and whose members he warned against my heresy, being misinformed by one of her ministers, telling a majority of them [as I was informed] that Licking Association was in disorder, [which was not true] induced them to put in their letters a request to suspend correspondence with Licking. When the subject came up in Salem Association, and the suspension was warmly opposed, the same minister interposed, saying, “The churches are sovereign, and a majority have in their letters suspended. We must obey the churches.” Thus the suspension was brought about. In a very short time these churches being informed of the error practiced on them, came back with acknowledgements and asked a renewal of the correspondence with Licking, which was agreed to. Substantially the same may be said of Mount Pleasant Association. Licking dropped from her correspondence Ketocton Association, because of her opening correspondence with a people for whom we had no fellowship. Tates Creek took some steps toward renewing the correspondence, but Licking declined. The only remaining association which from false information suspended was Red River. I visited and preached several times at that association, many of whose members did not hesitate to say I had been slandered; that the doctrine I preached was what they believed.
With regard to the churches of our association which withheld correspondence, with or without cause. Elder Hume may understand that several of them have since become extinct, the candlestick being removed, and among the churches to which the Moderator of the meeting which issued and published that mischievous document, the “joint manifesto,” I take sincere pleasure in saying that I paid him a visit, shortly, before his death, and he made such atonement as I cheerfully received.
I now submit to the readers of this response to determine whether the quotation made by Elder Hume, and which he would have applied to me; namely, “Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine ye have received, and avoid them,” applies with stronger force to him, the accuser and defamer of the brethren, or I, who in all the controversies to which I have been a party, always acting on the defensive, but never the aggressor.
Thomas P. Dudley.
I propose now to give what I understand to be the true exposition of the texts which Elder Hume seemed to conclude I could not reconcile with my views as published in the Circular on the Christian Warfare. If he will consult his lexicon, he will find the prime import of the word “quicken” is to “give or impart life.” In no case is it used to change the life had. The words quicken and impart life, are used interchangeably or synonymously in the book of God. For example, “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Again, “And hath quickened us together with Christ.” “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” Again, “That he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given them. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” I presume Elder Hume will not deny the necessity of possessing eternal life, as indispensable to a knowledge of God and the discharge of any spiritual or gospel duty. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Now, it was the possession of this eternal life which enabled Paul’s brethren at Ephesus to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. But allow me to remind you that this eternal life given them did not change or destroy their Adamic or natural life.
The terms soul and man, or men, in the scriptures is to be interpreted man or men, as the eight souls saved in the ark, and the three thousand souls added unto them on the day of Pentecost.
Now, concerning the other text, Elder Hume quoted, “Confirming the souls of the disciples,” &c. Can Elder Hume suppose the apostles expected or intended to confirm the souls, literally, when they elsewhere so abundantly show the incapacity of men in nature to understand the things of the Spirit of God? What then is the meaning of the text? Undoubtedly, confirming the “new man, after God created in righteousness and true holiness;” the man born of the Spirit. But enough. I sincerely hope Elder Hume may be led to understand the fitness of things in accordance with the divine word.
Thomas P. Dudley.