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Thus far, we repeat, the Baptist churches in Kentucky appear to have been in a state of uninterrupted and increasing prosperity. But external prosperity, even with respect to churches, is not always an evidence of increasing strength. "I said in my prosperity I shall never be moved; thou didst hide thy face and I was troubled." In the midst of this prosperity the Baptists of Kentucky were cherishing among themselves trouble, and discord, and disgrace, and had it not been for a superintending providence, which makes even the wrath of man and the follies of man praise him, it would have been destruction.
These evils are detailed at considerable length by their historian. They were substantiantially these:
1. The Arian controversy, which eventually deprived Elkhorn Association of one or two of its preachers, and perhaps three of its churches, which have since ceased to exist.
2. A dispute about the lawfulness of christians holding slaves, which ended in the friends of emancipation separating entirely from the communion of their slaveholding brethren.
3. A personal dispute between one of their most popular preachers and an influential member of his church, in a bargain respecting the exchange of two poor slaves. After a variety of attempts to reconcile the parties and their friends, a respectable minority of the Elkhorn Association declined meeting with their brethren at their annual session, and soon afterwards erected themselves into a new establishment, by the name of the Licking association. And,
4. The union with the Separate and South Kentucky Associations was not followed with the confidence and co-operation which had been expected. It soon appeared that in the southern department of the old Separate community there were a number who had gone far into doctrinal errors. Arminianism, in all its extent, even to that of Universal Restoration, had been held and preached among them. The result was, "the Association became divided into two contending parties, and what was still worse, the greater part appeared on the side of error. At its session in 1803, some ministers publicly declared themselves no more of the Association, and withdrew." "This," adds the author, "is the mode of dissolving fellowship in Kentucky,"
The sum total of the Baptists in Kentucky, accord ing to Benedict, was in 1810-12, thus:
The Emancipating Society of Baptists were estimated in 1805 to contain 12 churches, 12 ministers, and 300 members.
This Society has, we apprehend, from death and removals, declined very much since that date. Of their leader, who is since dead, Benedict thus speaks:
"About this time David Barrow published a pamphlet with this title, 'Involuntary, Unmerited, Perpetual, Absolute, Hereditary, Slavery, examined on the principles of Nature, Reason, Justice, Policy, and Scripture.'
This piece is written in a grave and a manly style, and with those nice discriminations, those candid and weighty reasons, which certainly deserve the attention of all who are concerned in slavery, and is worth the perusal of all those who are desirous of making inquiries on the subject. The author is a native of Virginia, where he commenced his ministry in 1771, and where he also imbibed his emancipating principles, and in consequence of which freed a number of slaves. Having long been distinguished in his native state for piety and abilities, he removed to Kentucky in 1798, and settled in Montgomery county."
We only add—that the division in the Elkhorn Association, which is said by Benedict to have originated in a private difference between two individuals, is now widened and strengthened by a diversity of opinion on a variety of doctrinal articles. The two parties occupy the same territory, and in some cases occupy alternately the same places of worship, and are distinguished by their belonging to the Elkhorn or Licking Association.
It is foreign to the nature of this work to go into any detail of these doctrinal differences, though we were more minutely acquainted with them than we are. Suffice it to say, that they appear chiefly to relate to the nature of election-the ground and the extent of the call of the gospel-the work of the Spirit, and the use of means to the unconverted-and that upon each side we find good men and good women, and faithful and useful preachers, who, while they agree on the nature of church government and on the article of Baptism, cannot, on account of a diversity of opinion on some or
on all of these matters, walk together in church fellowship.
The Rev. Luther Rice's visit to Kentucky in 1815, forms an æra in the history of the Baptist churchesMr. Rice was a son of the Andover Institution, Massachusetts, and was one of the first four Missionaries whe were sent by the American Board for Foreign Missions into Africa. In the holy, and wise, and good, and extensive arrangements of providence, when Mr. Rice arrived in India, his sentiments respecting Baptism underwent a revolution. He was accordingly immersed by the Baptist Missionaries at Serampore, and returned to America in order to enlist the Baptists of the United States in the cause of Missions.
He was indefatigable in his labours. He succeeded in forming a Baptist Foreign Missionary Society upon a large scale, and as the agent of the Society he visited oftener than once almost every county in the Union.
He was in Kentucky three or four different times, and succeeded in infusing into his brethren here a considerably portion of his own Missionary spirit, which we trust will be preserved, and cherished, and perfected, till the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ.
In reviewing the state of religion, as connected with the history of the Baptists of Kentucky, we find that they are men of similar passions as ourselves. We have here, as in a former case, to lament over,
1. A great deal of unhallowed controversy. dispute about the emancipation of slaves was an impor tant controversy-but from the accounts which we
have seen of it we are disposed to believe that it was far from being conducted by either party with that calm ness and piety which the importance of the subject demanded.
2. By looking back to the reflections of father Rice, page we will find him lamenting over the moneymaking and speculating spirit among the Presbyterians. The facts which have been brought before us in the history of the Baptists render it extremely probable that genuine religion has suffered much among them from a similar spirit. A private difference between a preacher and a leading member of his church about the exchange of two slaves convulsed the whole Elkhorn Association, and ended in a permanent separation of brethren who had before walked together in unity. The first pastor of the church at Washington, one of the first and one of the largest churches in the state, lost his character and property by land speculation. And farther, Benedict makes the remark, "The churches do but little for their preachers-very few receive to the amount of a hundred dollars a year for their services; but few of them, however, are very poor. They have from necessity found the means of supporting themselves. Many of those who settled early in the country have become wealthy."
We mention these things not with the spirit of triumph, but with the spirit of lamentation. God in his providence admonishes, as we think, all christians, and particularly all ministers of every name, by these facts. Nor was it without reason the apostle warned his son Timothy in these words:-"But they that will be rich