« ZurückWeiter »
BAPTIST CHURCHES IN KENTUCKY. 281
fine education, handsome address, and promising talents. The churches of Danville and the Forks of Dick's riv. er, which had just been left without a pastor by the removal of father Rice, had their eye upon him as his successor. He preached one sermon in each of these places--when He whose ways are often unsearchable, called him from time into eternity,
He had, it is believed, sincerely devoted himself to the work of the ministry, and was willing and anxious to spend and to have been spent for Christ—was willing to undergo, if necessary, the labour and the hardships of every kind of forty or tisty years. His Lord and Master accepted of the will for the deed—dispensed with his services, and took him home to his Father's house.
SKETCH OF THE BAPTIST CHURCHES OF
KENTUCKY.-(Facts chiefly furnished by Benedict's History of the Baptists, published 1813.*)
In the year 1786 the following ministers, viz. Lewig Craig, Joseph Bledsoe, George S. Smith, Richard Cave,
*By David Benedict, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, 2 Vol. uimes, octavo.
The work was undertaken in 1802. The facts were colo
James Smith, James Rucker, Robert Elkin, John Tay.. lor, William Taylor, John Tapner, John Bailey, Joseph Craig, and Ambrose Dudley, had taken up their residence in different parts of the Kentucky woods.
A flood of Baptist emigrants, mostly from Virginia; poured into this country at the close of the Revolutionary war, and by them a considerable number of churches were soon established, and as early as 1785, three associations were organized, which were known by the names of Elkborn, Salem, and the Separate and South Kentucky Associations.
1. Elkhorn Association. This body at its constitution contained only the three churches of Tate's Creek, Clear Creek, and South Elkhorn; all of which were formed in 1785, the same year in which they were associated. Some churches were gathered the same year, and a number shortly after, which united with this establishment; so that in seven years it had' increased to twenty-three churches and 1700 members.
The bounds of this Association were for many years very extensive, as it comprehended all the churches north of the Kentucky river, and some of those which were south of it—the church at Columbia, in the state of Ohio, and a church in the Cumberland settlements in the state of Tennessee. It has also contained from the very first a number of very large and flourishing
lected by visiting all the states in the Union, and opening a correspondence with all the leading men among the Baptists. He was in Kentucky in 1809.
churches, which have sent forth many preachers. The churches of South Elkhorn, Clear Creek, Bryant's Station, and the Great Crossings, are among those which have been the most distinguished for numbers and prosperity.
2. Salem Association.
This Association was formed of four churches, ie 1785. The four churches were Severn Valley, Cedar Creek, Cox's Creek, and Bear Grass. Its first ministers were William Taylor, Joseph Barnet, and John Whita ker. Its first meeting was on Cox's Creek, not far from the place where Bardstown now stands. The four churches did not all contain more than 130 members: And so slow was its progress, that fourteen years after the number of members belonging to the Association was a little less than five hundred-but in the four fol. lowing years, viz. in 1799-1800, &c. they received the addition of upwards of two thousand members, and the Association became so large that it was necessary to divide it.
These two Associations were from the beginning rigidly Calvinistic, and adopted the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, which was a transcript of the Savoy Confession, England, which was word for word with the Westminster Confession, save in the article of infant baptism.
3. Separate or South Kentucky Association. This name was given to an Association which was forned on the south side of Kentucky river, and which
remained on its first foundation about sixteen years. Robert Elkin, Joseph Bledsoe, and James Smith, were some of the principal instruments of gathering the churches of which it was composed. The preachers as well as the first members, emigrated principally from Virginia, and were amongst the earliest Baptist adventurers to the attracting wilderness of Kentucky. The Baptists in Virginia, at the time they began to send forth such populous colonies of their brethren to the western country, were divided into Regulars and Separates, although the Separates were much the most nu
The Regulars were professedly, and some of them very highly Calvinistic; but the Separates were far from being unanimous in their doctrinal sentiments. A majority of them, however, were Calvinists, and of the rest a part were much inclined to the Arminian side of the controversy; and some of the most distinguished among them, in opposing the 'bigh strains of Calvinism, which were incessantly, and, in many instances, dogmatically sounded by their orthodox brethren, had gone nearly the full length of the doctrine of Arminius. Others, with different modications of the objectionable articles of both systems, were endeavouring to pursue a middle course. Such was tbe state of the Virginia Baptists, with regard to doctrine, at the period under consideration, and some of all these different classes were amongst the early emigrants to the fertile regions of the west; but a majority of them were Separates in their native state. But the same people who had travelled together before their removal, so far at least as it respected their associational connexion, pursued a differ
ent course when settled in Kentucky. The Calvinistic Separates united with the few Regular Baptists amongst them, and established the Elkhorn Association, which, at its commencement, adopted the Philadelphia Confession of Faith; while those, who inclined to the Arminian system, as well as those who adopted some of the Calvinistic creed in a qualified sense, united with the Association' whose history we now have under con: sideration.
Thus the names of Regular and Separate were transported beyond the mountains, and two separate interests were established in the neighbourhood of each other.
This Association, like the rest in the country, was small in its beginning, but its course was generally prosperous, and no special event occurred uniil 1789, four years from its commencement, when there was an unsuccessful attempt to abolish the names of Regular and Separate, and effect a union and correspondence betwen this and the Elkhorn Association. This measure was attempted in consequence of recommendations of the United Baptists in Virginia, whose advice the Kentucky brethren were generally inclined to receive, and whose examples they generally imitated. The Regulars and Separates in North and South Carolina had united before, and in 1787 a happy reconciliation was effected between these two parties in Virginia, both of which had at that time become very numerous. And having found that a reconciliation was practicable and pleasant, the United Baptists in Virginia sent let ters to the Elkhorn and Separate Associations, inform