Page images

ing them of the successful steps they had taken, and recommending the same to them, with earnest desires ibat their endeavours might prove successful. But the set time for this desirable event was not yet come. The union was ardently desired by many individuals of both parties, and the bodies at large appeared favourably disposed towards the attempt; but they knew not by what means to accomplish it, nor could they agree on the terms on which they should unite. The Separates were afraid of being bound and hampered by Articles and Copsessions, and the Regulars were unwilling to voite with them without something of the kind. A geBeral convention of delegates met on the business, and overtures were made on both sides; but both parties being too tenacious of their favourite maxims to make sufficient abatements, their endeavours at that time proved unsuccessful.

A similar attempt was made in 1793, which, like the ather, terminated without accomplishing the desirable object. In this year, five churches being dissatisfied with the Separate Association, respecting their proceed. ings in this affair, and also in some other natters, withdrew, and formed the Tate's Creek Association.

But in the time of the great revival, the outpourings of the Divine Spirit, and its softening influence on the minds of the saints, prepared the way for that recônciliation and union, which all their weighty arguments and assiduous endeavours had not been able to accomplish, This astonishing work, in the year 1800, and following, prevailed most powerfully amongst the Separates as well as the Regulars. The churches and

members were now much intermixed. All were visited and refreshed by the copious, and abundant rain of righteousness which was poured upon the land; and, regardless of names, they unitedly engaged in enjoying and forwarding the precious and powerful work. By this means, those little party asperities, which had uo. happily prevailed, were much mollified and diminished, their cold and indifferent charity for each other was inflamed ;-and with most of them their notions of doctrine were found to be not so different as they had supposed. An union was now. proposed in earnest, and soon effected with ease. Both Associations had become large, containing together between seven and eight thousand members. Committees were appointed by both bodies to confer on the subject of an union, who, after mature deliberation, agreed to the following terms:

*Terms of Union between the Elkhorn and South Kentucky,

or Separate Associations. “We, the committees of the Elkhorn and South Kentucky Associations, do agree to unite in the following plan. .

*1st. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the infallible word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice. 2d. That there is one only true God, and in the Godhead or Divine Essence, there are Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 3d. That by nature we are fallen and depraved creatures. 4th. That salvation, regeneration, sanctification, and justification, are hy

the life, death, resurrection, and ascension, of Jesu Christ. 5th. That the saints will finally persevere through grace to glory. Cth. That believers' baptism by immersion is necessary to receiving the Lord's sup

7th. That the salvation of the righteous, and punishment of the wicked will be eternal. 8th. That it is our duty to be tender and affectionate to each other, and study the happiness of the children of God in general; to be engaged singly to promote the honour of God. 9th. And that the preaching Christ tasted death for every man, shall be no bar to communion. 10tb. And that each may keep up their asssociational and church government, as to them may seem best. 11th. That a free correspondence and communion be kept up between the churches thus united. “Unanimously agreed to by the joint committee.

"Ambrose Dudley, Daniel Ramey,
John Price,

Thomas J, Chilton.
Joseph Redding, Moses Bledsoe,
David Barrow, Samuel Johnson."

Robert Elkin, Matters being thus prepared, a general convention, composed of delegates from all the churches in both Associations, met, October, 1301, at Howard's Creek meeting house, in unanimously acceded to the terms of union, which their committees had prepared, and agreed to lay aside the names of Regular and Separate, and to travel together in future in communion and fellowship as united brethren.

This was the last body of the Separate Baptists, which relinquished the appellation by wbich they had been distinguished for almost fifty years.

In 1802, the year after this union took place, the Association having become very extensive in its boundaries, found it convenient to make a division; and, as nearly an equal number of the churches were situated on both sides of the Kentucky river, that river was fixed upon as the dividing line, and the two divisions were called the North and South District Associations. These names were assumed merely for the purpose of distinction, as there were no geographical or civil departments of the country to which they referred.

Thus far the Baptist churches in Kentucky appeared to be in a state of uninterrupted and increasing prosperity, and during the period of their history the followiug additional Associations were formed, viz.

1. Bracken Association,-organized in 1798. Most of the churches, of which this body was composed, were dismissed from the Elkhorn Association. The church at Washington was the centre of this Association, and this was one of the oldest and largest in the state, haying been constituted in 1785. It was originally under the care of William Wood, who lost bis character and fortune by land speculation.

2. North Bend Association. This was formed in 1802, of churches which were mostly dismissed from Elkhorn Association. Its territory is in the couuties of Campbell, Pendleton, and Boon, along the Licking and Ohio rivers

3. Long Run Association,-being a division of Salem, and embracing the country between Salt and Kentucky rivers. It was organized in 1803.

4. Green River Association--- formed in 1800, and containing at first nine churches, eight ministers, and about three hundred and fifty members. In 1804 it had increased to thirty-eight churches, which embraced one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six communicants.

This Association was now become so extensive that it was thought proper to divide it into three, whose boundaries do not appear to have been very well defined.

In the great religious excitement of 1800 and 2, the Baptists appear also to have had their share, It is described by their historian as having been upon the whole a genuine work of the Spirit, among all the denominations, but disgraced, towards the close, by some extravagancies and errors.

Among the Baptists it began in Boon county, on the Ohio river, and in its progress extended up the Ohio, Licking, and Kentucky rivers, branching out into the settlements adjoining them. It spread fast in different directions, and in a short time almost every part of the state was affected by its influence. It is computed that about ten thousand were baptized and added to the Baptist churches in the course of two or three years. Many of their ministers baptized in a number of neighbouring churches from two to four hundred each. And two of them are said to bave baptized about five hun dred a piece in the course of the work.

« PreviousContinue »