Church and Family History Research Assistance for Suffolk County, New York




"Southold, Suffolk Co., N. Y., Sept. 5, 1833. BROTHER BEEBE:- When your prospectus was first handed to me, (said I), "I wonder they are not discouraged sending their newspaper-religion to me." I had frequently received Baptist papers with solicitations to obtain subscribers, but I had uniformly found in them the mark of the Beast. I threw yours aside, under the impression that it was like all the others I had seen, not worth the attention of those who are called with an holy calling. But a few days after as I was passing through my house, as one of my family was reading the paper audibly, my attention was drawn to the sentiments advanced, which struck a string that vibrated to my heart, and created a disposition once more to read a religious newspaper, by which I found that which I had long desired to see, viz: that the visible church of Jesus Christ would resume her new Jerusalem platform, set up her banners in the name of the Lord, and stand fast in the liberty of the Gospel against all religious inventions of men. While viewing the dreadful declension of the Baptist church in general, I have often wondered why those who had not gone after the error of Balaam for reward (if there were any), did not openly withdraw their fellowship from all who had. I had no doubt however but that there were some who stood on the ground of truth, for God never left himself without a witness. But I did not think they were so numerous as I find by the "Signs of the Times" there are. I can assure you, Brother Beebe, that your paper came to us in an accepted time, and the communications from Brethren in different places, through that medium have been from time to time like the coming of Titus. We have waded through fiery trials, for five or six years past, and all caused by Baptist ministers, who have proved to be Wolves in sheep's clothing. About 18 months ago (the Lord having delivered the church from the influence of society religion, and set our feet in a large place where we could act independently, the church unanimously resolved not to receive and fellowship any minister to preach for us, nor any one into the church who should hold fellowship with any religious Society except the Church of Christ, and consequently we have had no preaching since, except Bro. A. B. Goldsmith, when on a visit here. Excuse the freedom I have used, although we are not precisely acquainted, I trust we are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens, &c. As a misrepresentation of our difficulties has gone out to all the churches in the New York Association, I propose, if the Lord will, to publish the facts, and with your consent, through "The Signs of the Times." Yours in the bonds of Brotherly love, ELDER ASA MAPES."

"Southold, Suffolk Co., N. Y., Nov. 28, 1833. BROTHER BEEBE:- The following narrative of facts relative to the late difficulties of the Baptist church in Southold, was written and included in a letter to Elder William Parkinson, pastor of the First Baptist church in the city of New York, who had already been informed of our former difficulties which arose in the fall of 1826, and continued until the Association of 1828, and as he had knowledge of our trials up to the spring of 1828, allusions and references to former transactions, intelligible to him and to those acquainted with our difficulties, from the beginning, would seem to require some explanation for those who have not before had knowledge of all the proceedings. Some time in the fall of 1826 appeared among us, a man by the name of Thomas Miller, from the state of Ohio (as he said), and bearing credentials from churches in that region, who was shortly ascertained to be a Campbellite, and is now preaching in this town for the Universalists. Soon after the commencement of his labors here with the Baptists, some of the Brethren discovered him to be a Socinian, and from thence our trials commenced, still he retained the confidence of a large majority of the acting portion of the church, and he being aware thereof, began more boldly to oppose the doctrine and faith of the church, urging an alteration of our church articles, alledging that they were not scriptural, that he did not believe them; that the church could not grow while adhering to such doctrine, &c., &c., our trials, and contentions continued and increased until by the good providence and grace of God, the Miller party (the adherents and advocates of Mr. Miller) agreed in his absence to take their dismission from the church; afterward repented and refused to acvcept their dismission and finally were excluded from the church, although they persisted in their rebellion and opposition to the ancient standard, and doctrine of the church, they still claimed to be the church and consequently two letters were sent to the Association in the spring of 1827. The Association appointed a committee to investigate our affairs, the committee came to Southold and fulfilled the duties required, and at the Association of 1828, it was decided that WE (not the Rocky Point, or Miller party) who stood upon the old platform, were the church, and placedus as such on their minutes.

INTRODUCTION. Until recently I have had no intention of submitting the following narrative to the public, but being assured that false representations have been made and promulgated, adding to the grief of many and some of my particular friends and Brethren, and also as Mr. James has reported and continues to report, that the Southold Church is dissolved and thereby attempting to stigmatize and lower down the character of the little few who composed that little church (adhering to the doctrine of their Fathers and sanctioned by the God of their Fathers) placed as aforesaid on the minutes of 1828, and because they chose to dwell alone and not to be reckoned among the anti-christian societies of the day, and because the truth I feel myself constrained to make known to those who love the truth the particulars of our difficulties, I am aware that I shall incur upon myself the curses of Mystery Babylon, but if by the exhibition of plain ungarnished truth, error is exposed so apparently that some of the dear children of God, who have wandered from their Father's house in the rubbish of anti-Christ's kingdom, may be enabled to discern betwixt him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not, my object and the desire of my heart will be attained.

Southold, Suffolk Co., N. Y., Feb. 19, 1833. RESPECTED BROTHER PARKINSON:- I have long hesitated whether it would be useful fo rme to answer your friendly letters, the one dated 1st Feb. 1830, and the other June 6, 1832; when I read your first letter it gave me inexpressible sorro, not because it was bad counsel and reproof, coming from an enemy, but because it was wrongly applied and came from a friend whom I love in the truth, and the more grievous because you were under a wrong impression, and that from a man who I had previously been convinced, was not only aiming to destroy the old standards of the church in Southold, but was an enemy, and filled with prejudices towards you as well as me, and who has appeared to me to be the most deceptive, cunning, crafty man, with whom I have ever been acquainted. And now as I have concluded once more to write to you, I aim to inform you of many well known facts, and some, which until lately, I had never intended to relate; partly because I thought in themselves they did not deserve notice, and I did not wish to trouble you with them, and partly because I hate flattery, and dread the least appearance of it in myself. But most of all because that among the many evils which are in the world, and cause so much discord, that of tale-bearing stands among the first in my abhorrence, perhaps because it is so nearly connected with lying and deception, through which I have suffered so much for five or six years past; but I think a discerning mind will readily discover (in the sequel) that I am necessarily driven to defend myself with the weapons of truth against the cunning, crafty, deceptive insinuations as well as the bare-faced falsehoods of that generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother; that is, that you may see (if you have confidence in my assertions) that he who has cunningly managed to install into you mind the unfavorable opinion which you have of me and the old church in Southold, is a deceptive character, and in consequence not to be depended on. There is one thing I wish you to keep in mind while reading the following narrative, viz: the proceedings and decision of the Association, with regard to the two parties, each claiming to be the Baptist Church in Southold. I shall first proceed to give you a short sketch of the situation of the church when Elder James came into the place. The church was at a very low ebb, so that there was no meeting kept but our monthly church meetings, there was not any difficulty in the church when he came, otherwise than being harrassed with the misrepresentations and false reports of the Rocky Point party, and now and then there would be a letter from that party, addressed to the Brethren at Sterling and Cutehogue, disclaiming (indirectly) any idea of our being a church, and sometimes offering to call a council and to abide the decision of that council, and sometimes threatening that if we would not comply with their requirements, they would injure us by making known to the public, &c.; professing at the same time great regret to be obliged to do so, when in truth they were and for some years had been trying to destroy the church, and particularly my character, by their false reports, in order to build themselves up. O, Elder Parkinson, if you had known the accursed spirit by which this party has been led for four or five years past, you would not have written to me as you did. But the church often informed them (both before and after Elder James came into the place) that she stood with open door to receive them, one or two, or more, who would give satisfactory evidence to the church of their christian meekness; and this the church was unanimous in, with the exception of one women, who never attended a church meeting after she was restored to the church, and who stood as an outlet to the church for about two years, and a tool for the Rocky Point party to work with, and for Elder James after he came here, and who ought to have been called to account for her not attending church meeting long before; was winked at on account of her husband's requesting to let her alone, hoping that she would see better of her own accord; but I was aware that she was doing the church an essenial injury all the time she stood so; but it was evident that nothing would answer the purpose of that party and their counselors, but for the church to give up the idea of being a church and fall upon equal ground with them, and in so doing acknowledge that we were all in equal wrong together, (all which we could not in conscience do), and then the majority would have the power to build up just such a church, on just such ground, or faith as they wished for, which Elder James, by his cunning has partially done, and where then would the minority have been? They could not have joined them as you will see in the sequel. But notwithstanding all the bad council of Arminian MInisters from New England and private members of the same cast, who moved into the neighborhood together, with all the false reports and misrepresentations against us, and particularly against me, there were four restored to the church from the Miller party, and I believe if it had not been for bad counsellors, that the christians among them would have now been in the church. I have already stated that the church was unanimous in their faith with regard to the spirit and form, through which they had ought to be received into the church, but all the blame of the refused of the church to submit to their request as above stated was laid to my charge. Hence to all strangers that came into the place, I was represented as one having a hard, unchristian, unrelenting and unforgiving spirit, (as you very tenderly hinted to me in one of your letters) and that the church as altogether ruled by me, and that they (the Rocky Pointers were very anxious for the cause of God, and to have all the old difficulties healed, and all be united again. Now is it not trying to nature? I have borne all this and much more, year after year, and said nothing about it except to a few confidential friends. Oh the deception of the fallen unrenewed heart, "who can know it," and who can know the effect but those who have experienced the like; I have thought I could have borne it all if it had not been for the effect which it had upon the church, not to turn them against me, but to dishearten and discourage them, insomuch that they could not keep up the worship of God on the Lord's days. Hence the discipline of the church in a great measure relaxed and consequently barrenness and unfruitfulness appeared to be growing upon the church; on that account I felt myself sinking in my spirits more and more, until I was under fearful apprehensions, that for our ingratitude as a church, in our not remembering our great deliverance from the Miller influence and neglecting to render that praise and thanksgiving to our deliverer, regardless of the enemy in acts of obedience to his will that the Lord was about to spew us out of his mouth. I often mentioned it to the Brethren without much, if any effect, and finally after groping along with but little prospect for perhaps the most of a year, I concluded it was best for me not to be forward in any business in church meeting, but to let others go forward, and stand myself simply on the ground of submission with but little if any hopes for anything better for the church, otherwise than the circumstances of our expecting a Minister from that quarter where our trials were understood by some. THus, I have given a very brief relation of the situation of our affairs, when and befor Elder James came into this region. I think we might have had good reason to expect that the Association, which had took upon them to look into our affairs, and in the end pronounced us the church, declaring that we had ought to have a place in their minutes, and accordingly placing our names there, and also the Mission Society connected with it, into which, we the church had cast our mite, would have sent a minister to help us. But, alas, when Elder James arrived at this place, we soon found that his aim was not to build up the church upon its old foundation, but to pull it down; hence, he took no notice of the church as such, but went directly among the Millerites, who were excommunicated members, made his home at Mr. Truman's (who is one of that party) and spent the most of his labors among them, and asking those to pray at the close of his meetings, and fellowshiping them who were excommunicated from the church, which he was sent to assist and build up. This appeared to us a paradox indeed - I inquired of Elder James, the propriety of his asking one to pray who was excluded from the church - he died that he did, but said that he was in the habit of asking in general terms some of the Brethren to pray, and that he was not accountable for who it was, and that he did not come here to take sides with either party, but to try to get the parties to settle their difficulty; at other times he would say that he had not found any church, that he did not know any church in this place, and that so long as there were two parties, we could not be built up, but that we must go down, and so he went on, not appearing to take any more notice of the church (as a church) than he did of Presbyterians or Methodists. He was told at different times that there was not any particular difficulty in the church otherwise than a low state and discouragement, and that we had hoped that if the Association would send a spiritual minded skillful minister, that it would be a means of the encouragement and prosperity of the church, and also that we thought it was the minister's duty to labor in the church, and to administer the ordinances, and that those who were without (if they had any life) when they saw the church walking in her church capacity, would probably unite with it. But he would frequently say, That he could not break bread to us as we then stood; that the first thing to be attended to was for the two parties (meaning Miller's party and the church) to settle their difficulties, and intimating that his business was to preach the Gospel; and that if there was no prospect of the two parties coming together, he should leave the place, knowing that he had got the affections of most of the church, and was received as a good preacher by most, if not all others; things went on this way for a long time and the church sinking lower and lower, until I was almost lost in astonishment, taking into view what had transpired with the church and Association, relative to our affairs. Sometimes, I was nearly ready to believe that it was a contrived plan of that society which sent Elder James here (or of some of them) and at other times I attributed it to an uncommon thirst in him for popularity and to build up a church for his own support in one place, and also to a want of understanding of the government and discipline of the church of Christ; but some of the Brethren (although they were fed with Elder James's preaching) were grieved by his fellowshiping excommunicated members, but perhaps for want of better understanding of the rules of discipline they would try to overlook and get along with Elder James, and attribute it to the cunning of the Rocky Point party, but it plainly appeared to me, that whatever might have been the case, Elder James was determined to destroy the church which the Association had approbated and publicly acknowledged, but as I had already passed through such scenes of trials, and had to bear the brunt I dreaded another contest, and as before stated, had made up my mind to stand simply on the ground of submission, and most of all, because I feared the Lord had left us to the wish of our enemy. I concluded to let Elder James do wht he pleased, not to interfere more than to speak my own mind occasionally, and after a long time I observed to him again, that I thought it was the duty of the man who was sent to assist the church to be more active than he had hitherto been. Said I, you have been in the place a number of months, and you have not attended any church meetings nor taken any notice of us as a church (or to the same import and much more). He said he had not had any invitation to attend church meeting. I said that I did not wish to dictate him or the church, but that I should be glad if he would request the church to appoint a church meeting, to give Elder James an opportunity of inquiring the reason why we were not more active, etc. This he readily fell in with, and after the lapse of one month or two, (and it was evident at the meting) after he had got his cunning crafty plan laid to his mind, he requested the church to appoint a meeting, which they did, and there and then this sister attended for the first time, after she was restored to the church, who I have observed was an outlet or a tale-bearer. It would be almost endless for me to undertake a minute detail of the circumstances attending, what I wish to bring to light; therefore I must cut short, and only say, that instead of encouraging us to walk according to our covenant engagements to the Lord and to each other - the most of the time was spent by Elder James persuading and driving {and threatening in case of failure) us to give liberty for S. Webb to join what is called a Temperance Society; this was the first time that there was ever a word of Temperance Society mentioned in church meeting to my knowledge, and that same Brother, S. Webb, had acknowledged to me (before Mr. James came into the place) that it was a breach of one article in our Covenant, and had taken his name from that Society, and had given it up, not willingly, but he said on my account; but I believe because I told him that I must carry it before the church, and that after I had for months labored with him, persuading him to carry it before the church and examine the subject in church meeting; but he knew that it was contrary not only to our written articles but to the faith and view of all the Brethren unless it was that Sister which was the outlet, and if it had not been for Mr. James, I presume it never would have troubled the church to this day. I went to this meeting resolved not to oppose the proposition of Mr. James, even if they were for the church to fall upon equal ground with the Miller party, but to leave my Brethren to their own voluntary judgment - that Mr. James might know their mind without mine; but I had no expectation that he would introduce Temperance Societies, and he would say that S. Webb introduced it, I will grant it, but it was the contrivance of Mr. James, when he put the question, "Will you give Bro. Sandy liberty to join the Temperance Society?" I declined to answer, but soon observed that I would submit it to the Brethren, under the impression that they would be all against it, but did not consider the effect that the presence of the great Mr. James, from Wales, would have upon their minds, neither the weight which my shoulders had borne, but I very soon saw to my sorrow, and repented in dust and ashes. I saw I was snared with the words of my mouth. Mr. James persuaded and drove the thing for most of the afternoon, telling them that it was not contrary to our covenant (but it has been proved and now appears that our articles and covenant are contrary to his mind) and intimating that the church must go to nothing if we continued to stand so stiff, and also, if we would not submit to such requisitions he should leave the place; the truth of it is, Mr. James was determined on one point from first to last, and he had intimated to me repeatedly, that if the two parties would not unite together in one, and also submit to (what I call) society Religion, he would have nothing to do with us as a church, but to return. After a long time he got them to give consent, directly or indirectly, for Sandy to join the Temperance Society, but much against the minds of the greatest part, and then he put another question, viz: can you go to the Communion Table with him, and after they had hesitated for some time, I observed that I could not have an inward fellowship with him so long as he possessed the mind which he appeared to have, whether he joined the Temperance Society or not, for he had appeared to be as barren as the fruitless fig-tree ever since he had been infatuated with that Society, and after a long time persuading, they answered in the affirmative, and then a letter from the Rocky Point party was read - the contents of which amounted to about the same old proposal, or request, i. e., for us to give up the idea of being a church, and all unite together. After Mr. James had made some proposition for answering their letter, and for another church meeting for the Rocky Point party to have an opportunity of meeting with us, we dispersed, but not the least appearance of Mr. James wishing to build up the church upon its old foundation, in all this long meeting, but to the contrary. I came home with a heavy burdened heart, not on accouont of what Mr. James had said or done, for I had long seen that nothing but the total destruction of the Old School would answer his purpose; but because I had myself done wrong and cast a heavy burden on some of my Dear Brethren, in saying that one word, that I would submit it to the church, i. e., the question, "Will you give Bro. Sandy, liberty to join the Temperance Society." After groaning under the burden for a week or two, I made up my mind to make a confession to the church, which I did, as follows: I told them I had done wrong and wounded my own conscience, in submitting a matter of conscience, without giving to the meeting my mind upon the matter - but as I had brought the burden upon myself, I would bear it as my own burden, and go along with them if they could with me. They said they could, and that they thought it was proper for me to do so, (that is, to bear my own burden). Mr. James being present, gave his mind with apparent pleasure in accordance with the church. But to return to the appointed church meeting above mentioned, where Mr. James professed to have been convinced, that the church was right, and that the Rocky Point party was wrong; he then appeared to be altogether with the church - this was the only time that Elder James ever deceived me, then the time drew near when he must attend the Association, and give an account of his stewardship. He had not yet brought about his purposes, neither had he time to do it before the Association set, and therefore, there were none to assist him, or recommend him to the Association, but the church - and they in view of his past conduct could not render him any service in that respect; consequently he professed to be fully in favor of the church, altogether convinced as above stated; he appeared to be entirely satisfied with the standing of the church, and decidedly against the conduct of the Rocky Pointers. He agreed to break bread to the church the second Lord's day after that. He did return from the Association and appeared to be very anxious for the church to express their mind in a letter to the Association, whether they wished for him to continue on Long Island or not. He also reminded me that he had heard me say, that I had some thoughts of writing once more to Elder Parkinson. he repeatedly urged me to write, I did write, and I wrote according to the impression I then had, I verily believed that Elder James was honest in his profession, or prejudice from the representation of the Rocky Pointers, and others perhaps before he came into the place, but mostly to a lack of understanding the government and discipline of the church of Christ, and this may now in a degree be the case, for surely no one that ever saw God's building the beautiful situation of Zion, with all the rich provision which was given in the will of the Father, treasured up and reserved in covenant engagement in Jesus Christ the only Saviour, and the only Lord and Law-giver, and which provision to be all the laws and rules of Government, all ordinances, all the doctrine of the Gospel which comprehends completely the revealed character of the Great Eternal I AM! and which are brought to light and made manifest by the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; for the heirs of promise, for their growth in grace, and in the knowledge of the true character of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the nourishment and growth of the body, for the edifying itself in love, until we all come to the the perfect stature of (not as it is generally expressed in prayer, "men and women," but a man, &c. I say, could any one having thus realized, conduct as Mr. James has conducted in our affairs; with regard to his preaching I never heard him preach any thing contrary to truth, and when I used to hear him I called him a good preacher, but I have not heard him much since he came from the Association in 1831. But I turn to the narrative - when he returned from the Association in 1831, we expected to have the Communion - I mean the old standard - but Mr. James never said any thing to me about it after he returned, until I went to the church meeting which was the day before the the Lord's day which was appointed for the Communion, and which was some weeks after he returned from the Association, and when I came to this church meeting I was entirely innocent and ignorant of any thing that could break the peace of the church, neither any suspicion, except that I thought it strange that Elder James had not mentioned it at any time to me about the Communion, or anything relative to the church, but I found that Mr. James and those who were his tools, had met at Father Harris's at an early hour; they were conversing very engagedly before I went in, but when I entered there was a silence for a time, at length Father Harris observed to Elder James as follows, "Ask Bro. Mapes, what the thinks about it." This appeared to put Elder James to a nonplus, but after a while he recovered himself, and observed that they had been conferring whether it was best to have the Communion on account of their being so few that knew of it. Now Mr. James at his own request, had the Communion season appointed the second Sunday after he returned, that he might have an opportunity to see all the members, (now suffer me again to digress). Mr. James objected to the Communion on account of the members not knowing of it, when it appeared afterwards that he had been to the most of them, but said nothing to them about Communion, (as I have ever learned,) but to notify them that the church was to meet, and to some he intimated a dissolve, and to some others he said that they were about to let all the difficulties go and begin anew. Now it is evident that not one of the old standard understood what they were going about, and perhaps Mr. James did not mean they should. I had scarcely time to observe that I did not know that our being few ought to hinder Communion, but if the Brethren thought best to postpone it until more or all could be together, I would not object. Upon this, that disorderly sister (sometimes alluded to in this history) broke out upon me in a very unchristian and abusive manner, declaring that she could not fellowship me because I could not fellowship Temperance Societies, &c.; this wounded my feelings, because that to which she alluded was settled at a former church meeting, and I had agreed under the approbation of the whole church to bear it as my own burden - it is evident that Mr. James was at the bottom of this transaction, for she appeared to have her faith and confidence in his wisdom, and it can be proved that long before that time, yea, before he went to the Association in 1831, that he said he meant to dissolve the church. On the morning of the next day, I went to see this sister, and when she was aside from the family I introduced the subject, by telling her that she had hurt my feelings the day before, &c., and was about to explain to her, that the matter was settled in a previous church meeting satisfactorily to the church and to Elder James, and that too before he went to the Association, but she broke out upon me in a boasting and arrogant manner, so that all the house could hear (one of their boarders came in), saying that I had ruled the church long enough, and telling me what this and that person had said about me, and said she, "I will never go to another church meeting, and Elder James says, that he shall not break bread to the church, and Sandy said that he should not come any more to church meetings, and there is a number of Baptists from New England, moved into the place who cannot join the church so long as things are so, &c." Now from what I have heard of these Baptists who have moved into the place, they are popular Arminian Baptists - although I got neither satisfaction nor reconciliation between the sister and myself, yet I learned from the conversation together with the proceedings of the day before in church meeting, that Mr. James had deceived the church in professing to be in union with them, and that when he agreed to break bread to them, he never intended so to do; but he had determined to destroy the church, and then in professing a wish to build up the church he intended only to get the church to recommend him to the Association. (If inspiration has cvursed the deceiver and all his justifiers, let the redeemed of the Lord say, Amen.) I have had no fellowship with Mr. James since, and that is nearly two years ago. I returned to my home resolved not to oppose, but to watch the course Mr. James should pursue, and at the return of the month when our church meeting should be, I went again, not expecting any meeting and there was none; but our Brothers and Sisters Harris came together, and appeared to be entirely unaware of the plan which was laid, and of what was going on by Mr. James, and the Rocky Point party. I did not explain my apprehensions to them on this subject, but just as I was coming away, Brother Silas Webb came running from his Store to meet me, and said he had just learned I was in the place, and said he, "What shall we do - it will not do to have things so, there is a number of Baptists moved into the place, who want to join the church, and they cannot as things are. I think (said he) that we had better have one more meeting and agree upon something, if we can not agree to walk together, we had better agree to dissolved." This was the first time that any one said anything to me about dissolving; now as I had already made up my mind to stand on the ground of submission, I replied to him as follows: I will submit to anything which the church wishes with the exception of one thing, and that is the rights of my own conscience before God (or words imputing the same). I also assured him that whenever he would inform me that a church meeting was appointed for that or any other purpose I would attend it. I came home, which as you will recollect is about eight miles from Sterling, and neither said or heard anything about it, until about six weeks after, when I received a billet from Brother Silas Webb, informing me that a church meeting was appointed at Father Harris's, for the purpose of trying to regulate our affairs, except, I once in the time, asked Mr. James if they expected to dissolve the church. He appeared to not know or care much about it; he said, however, that he heard the thing mentioned. When I attended this last church meeting (which is commonly called dissolving meeting), I suspected the Baptist church was coming or had already come to a close, for I was well aware of the determination, deception and ingenuity of the man who was at the helm of these affairs, and I was also of the opinion that the Lord had withdrawn his saving influence from the church; therefore I was and had been waiting to see, and standing on the ground of submission, what would become of the city. At the same time I was well aware that if they could see the deception of their leader, and where he was leading them, that all the old members (I mean those who never followed Miller) would flee from him as from a deadly poison, but I had no confidence in anything that I could say in counsel if it were in opposition to the counsel of Mr. James, for he was leading them steadily on with his object, it being entirely out of their sight as will presently appear. My convictions being thus at this time, I fully resolved to keep my own feet straight, or in other words, maintain a good conscience between my Lord and Saviour, and my own soul. Now I shall endeavor to give you a minute and accurate account of the conduct of the meeting; after the meeting was opened and business commenced, I proceeded to communicate what was in my own mind, and to discharge my duty for myself and not for another. I advised in the first place, that whatever should be done at the meeting might be done in moderation and candor (for I dreaded any addition of abuse to that which I had formerly received) and stated that I would submit to anything they desired with the exception of the violation of my own conscience (or words to the same amount). And when they proposed to dissolve the church, I remarked, "It appears that the life, and activity, an union of the church is already dissolved, and it appears that the Lord has forsaken us as a church, and if so our legal obligations remain only to be dissolved, and if it be really so, we had better dissolve than to have a name to live while we are dead. And, said I, I do not wish to hold anyone who desires to dissolve their legal obligations with me, but (I added) the church cannot dissolve, unless every member will agree. When I covenanted with my brethren before God, angels and men, I did it in good faith, I considered it a good cause and the only pathway of the christian's duty; I enlisted for life, and I consider the cause as good now as I did then. And I neither wish nor see any just cause to be released from my covenant obligations in it; yet I do not desire to bind the Brethren against their minds, or to be united by legal obligations; therefore it was that I said I would submit to dissolve with all who wish to dissolve with me - but if there is one or more of the brethren here or elsewhere (for a number were not at the meeting) who wishes to walk with me according to their covenant engagement, I am bound to walk with them." But I did not expect at that time that there would be one who would have strength and confidence enough to bear the Cross, yet I made these statements to them for the purpose already mentioned, that I might have a plain and straight path to walk in, and also, that Mr. James and others might not have reason to blame me for what they did themselves.


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