Elder Wilson Thompson

Autobiography

Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Ancestry, Birth, Early Childhood, and Education
  3. Early Religious Impressions:
    ("Line of accountability"; fears and then self-satisfaction; difficulty with the phrase "passing from law to grace"; conviction of sin)
  4. From Law to Grace – and Baptism:
    (Despair under his burden; lifting of the burden; fear that he was calloused; seeing the church beautiful; the glorious view of his Redeemer for the first time; sharing his hope with others; his baptism in 1801)
  5. Impressions to Preach and First Public Exercising:
    (Taken by the plague, near to death; resolution to preach if he recovered; first speaking in the church; the incident of the two sisters who had a quarrel, and the mulatto member's counsel to the church concerning them; beginning of teaching music schools; the effect of his speaking to his scholars; his vision of the man who instructed him concerning preaching; the ensuing struggle of mind; counseling with Elder Beal; advice from the New York couple; liberation by the church)
  6. First Months of Preaching:
    (First sermon, John 10:2,3; subsequent preaching; marriage in 1810; message on the "little flock")
  7. Journey to Missouri:
    (Impressions concerning laboring in Missouri territory; the journey by boat; his wife's near-drowning; arrival in Missouri; the journey by foot to Cape Girardeau; crossing the "big swamp"; saving the lives of his hosts; getting his goods and his wife; a description of "cordelling")
  8. First Eight Months in Missouri:
    (Financial situation; letter placed in Bethel Church; description of the loose morals of the Territory; teaching school; an open threat against his life for preaching predestination, and his lack of fear; apathy to religious things on the part of the people)
  9. A Trip Back to Kentucky:
    (Birth of first child in 1811; horseback journey back home, preaching on the way; kindness of strangers along the way; joy at seeing the brethren at home; persistent feelings concerning a work to be done in Missouri; an awful night in an inn, on the return to Missouri)
  10. Back in Missouri; The Clouds Break:
    (A lucrative offer for teaching school; concern and travail; a clear assurance from God for the future of Bethel Church; the move near Bethel; the earthquake of 1811; the Holy Spirit's work manifest; Elder Thompson's message on Romans 6:23; the remarkable ingathering)
  11. The Revival in Missouri:
    (First realization of preacher jealousy; trip to New Madrid in winter; falling through the ice on the trip home; another earthquake)
  12. The Revival Continued in Missouri:
    (Bethel Church acknowledges Elder Thompson's ordination of God; an account of the life and death of an old brother who had been imprisoned for his Baptist beliefs; Elder Thompson's description of his study; the baptism of Dick, the Negro slave; many baptized)
  13. Conflict and Deliverance:
    (Elder Thompson's conviction that his work was done and he was to be laid aside; his agony and struggle; his deliverance and preaching; his change of understanding about Thomas; his message on believing)
  14. Churches Added in Missouri:
    (The Caldwell Settlement church started with a meeting at a mill; the protest over the use of the block-house; the offer of an unbeliever and use of his property for the meetings; the case of the sister whose husband refused her baptism; the beginning of the Johnson's Settlement church; Saline Settlement church beginning)
  15. Trial in Sickness:
    (Sickness of Elder Thompson's wife; poverty, loss of livestock, and sever trials at home)
  16. The Decision to Leave Missouri and Labor in Ohio:
    (A trip back to Kentucky for his wife's health; a preaching tour in Kentucky and Ohio; circumstances keeping Elder Thompson in Ohio the winder of 1814; indecision about staying and resolution; the trip back to Missouri; the incident of the raging blacksmith; return to Ohio and settling there; letter moved to Pleasant Run Church; tour into Tennessee, Alabama, and Indiana Territory)
  17. Labor in the Ohio Churches; A Revival:
    (Labor in Springfield, Mill Creek, and Pleasant Run churches; serious illness and long recuperation; death of Elder Thompson's father; ministry at Elk Creek and constitution of Mt. Pleasant Church; incident of the one-handed rebel; ministry at Brown's Run, and neighboring churches)
  18. Another Tour; First Contact with Missionary Concept:
    (A preaching tour in Kentucky and Indiana; the Indian mission station; Elder Thompson's turmoil of mind concerning preaching to the Indians; a direct answer from the Scriptures, after prayer, settles the matter for him; his understanding of what the Scriptures teach about preaching the gospel)
  19. More Labor in the Ohio Churches; Lebanon Church:
    (Tapscott, Elk Creek, Pleasant Run, Westfork, Mill Creek, and Springfield churches in revival; the call from Lebanon Church; association with Elder Daniel Clark; the incident of the Presbyterian minister's daughter; incident of the stranger who wanted to "get religion")
  20. The Controversy at Sugar Creek Church Concerning Conditional Salvation:
    (After the division, Elder Thompson's taking the church)
  21. Full-Time Labor in the Ohio Churches:
    (Elder Thompson's published writings, and the persecution they evoked; "cold Wednesday"; the dream concerning the forthcoming persecution; incident of a Sunday School teacher's coming to Lebanon Church; ministry at more Ohio churches)
  22. Experience at an Association:
    (Charges against Elder Thompson read; his critics fail to accomplish evil against him)
  23. Sermon on Jesus' Eternal Nature; Elder Thompson Vindicated:
  24. Impressions to Leave Ohio and Reasons for the Move:
    (Effect of the attacks from within; forced debate with Methodist minister at Lebanon; attack on historical statements through a newspaper; debate with a Universalist preacher; tour of preaching in Indiana)
  25. Second Revival at Lebanon:
    (Impressions concerning Lebanon Church; marvelous work of God in Lebanon; preaching from house to house; meeting at Trenton Church; Sugar Creek Church built up; Clear Creek Church revived; the incident of the accused youth in Clear Creek Church)
  26. Concern for the Church; The "Revival" in Cincinnati:
    (Elder Thompson's impressions to leave Ohio; investigation of the Cincinnati "revival" (Conclusion of Elder Thompson's own writing); substance of his sermon on predestination at the seminary in Newport)
  27. The Move to Indiana:
    (Labor in Lickcreek, Second Williams Creek, and Fairfield churches; controversy with Elder John Sparks concerning means; his reasoning on means; tour through Virginia; North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey)
  28. Last Ministerial Labors and Death:
    (Visit to Antioch Church, Wabash County, Indiana; his last sermon (1 John 5:1,2); his final illness; his last hours; his daughter's account of her last visit with him; his death)
  29. APPENDIX:    A Funeral Discourse Delivered by Elder Thompson in 1859: