Today in Restoration History: 17 June 1810

After a long hiatus, I intend to resume blogging on a fairly regular basis by the end of the summer.  In the mean time, here is a little gem from Herald of Gospel Liberty of Friday morning 22 June 1810, p. 192.


Hymn on Baptism.

The following Hymn was composed by a Brother, in Portland [Maine], and sung at the water side, Lord’s day, June 17, 1810, where 4 were baptized:–

1 Constrain’d by Love we come,
Down to this water side,
To imitate God’s only Son,
The CHRISTIANS only guide.

2 He has commanded us,
To be Baptiz’d with him;
And cheerfully take up the cross,
Renouncing ev’ry sin.

3 Here then we would begin,
His blessed cross to bear,
In token of our death to sin,
We would be Baptiz’d here.

4 Here we would shew his death,
And resurrection clear;
And him through grace while we have breath
We’ll worship, love and fear.

5 O all that love him come,
What now can hinder you;
Here’s water, you believe the Son,
Then be baptized too.

6 Sinners this is the way,
Christ and th’ Apostles faith;
Believe and be baptiz’d to day,
We’re sure you will be bless’d.

7 As servants here we sing,
And that for joy of heart;
We have believ’d, and will obey,
O God thy grace impart.

Horace Busby preaches at Hillsboro Church, April 18-25, 1943

The Apostolic Times carries this ad for the Busby-Neal [sic, Neil] meeting at Hillsboro Church of Christ, Nashville, TN, seventy years ago this week:

Busby, Neal at Hillsboro April 1943

By April 1943 Horace Wooten Busby, age 59, had engaged in full-time ‘meeting work’ for over thirty years.  By 1952 he held 1,000 meetings like this one at Hillsboro resulting in about 18,000 baptisms.  Busby says of himself: “was member of the Presbyterian Church until grown.  Read the Bible and made own decision to leave error.”  H. E. Warlick baptized him in November 1904.  See Batsell Barrett Baxter and M. Norvel Young, eds. Preachers of Today. The Christian Press: Nashville, 1952, pages 58-59.

Robert Gill Neil, age 33, was a beloved teacher and coach at David Lipscomb College.  Though comparatively young, by 1943 he led singing for gospel meetings across Nashville and beyond.  His mentors in song leading were C. M. Pullias and B. H. Murphy (who led singing for N. B. Hardeman’s Tabernacle Meetings in the 1920’s).  While a student at Vanderbilt School of Religion, Neil took courses in church music and sang in the School of religion choir.  But before 1943 ended Bob Neil was no longer employed at David Lipscomb College.  Perhaps more on that story at another time.  See Jim Turner, Brother Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Gill Neil. David Lipscomb University: Nashville, 1997, pages 102-104.

Serving Hillsboro as Minister was Benton Cordell Goodpasture, Editor of Nashville’s Gospel Advocate.

Today in Restoration History: 15 November 1842

.Another gem from The Bible Advocate:


Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 15th 1842.

The Bible cause is gaining ground here.  The labors of our excellent and talented brother Wharton have been truly blessed in this city; and many are coming forward daily and obeying the Lord.  Several Methodists and Baptists have also cast in their lot with us, and are taking their stand on the Bible alone and prepared as valiant soldiers for the faith given to the Apostles.  Brother Jones of Missouri has also been with us about two weeks, and was listened to with much attention by crowded houses and I trust has sown the good seed which will soon yield a plentiful harvest.  During his stay between twenty and thirty, if my memory is correct, made the good confession, and obeyed the Lord.  Some gained from the Baptist at the same time.

On Sunday night, October 30th as Bro. Jones has just commenced speaking from the 19 chapter of Luke, 17th and 23rd verse inclusive, a colored woman in the gallery fainted, and in a few moments expired.  After his sermon was concluded, brother Wharton made a few beautiful and appropriate remarks on the awful event, and of the dread and fearful enemy that had come unseen among us, and this suddenly hurried his victim, without a  moment’s warning, into eternity!  He exhorted the careless sinner to delay no longer, for who could assure him that he might not be the next one summoned hence; and entreated the Christians to keep their lamps trimmed and burning, for they knew not when their Lord would return.–My mind was deeply impressed with the solemn truth of these words:  ‘That in the midst of life we are in death;’ and before I slept I pencilled down the following lines, which I send you at the request of a friend, but fear you will scarce think them worth the perusal,  Yours truly in the Lord, CLARA.

Turn, thoughtless mortal, turn and view

The dangers of delay!

Behold death in the midst of life!

Look on this senseless clay!

This breathless form, a moment since,

Was fill’ed with life’s warm glow!

Death came in silence through the crowd,

And struck the fatal blow!

He loosed the silver cord of life!–

He broke the golden bowl!–[79]

And to its long and dread account

Hath sent th’ immortal soul!

But whither gone? as, who can tell!

Hath heaven received its own?

or hath it sunk in dark despair,

Where mercy is unknown!

And death is passing every where,

With swift resistless pow’r!

He pauses not for list’ning crowds,

Nor waits the silent hour!

Aye, even here in God’s own house,

Where Christians meet to pray,

He came, unnoticed by us all,

And bore a soul away!

Then turn, ye careless sinners turn,

In vice no longer roam;

God, by his faithful servants, calls

His wandering children home.

Then harden not your hearts, I pray–

His mercy’s free for all.–

Behold, he saith, I stand and knock–

On every soul I call.

And, Christian, let thy soul apply,

The warning of this night;

And mind, thy lamp be trimm’d and burn,

With pure and steady light:

That when thy master doth appear,

He may thy walk approve;

And say, Thou faithful servant come,

Reign with thy Lord above!


Sunday night, Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 30th, 1842.

“Progress of the Gospel, News from the Churches, &c.” The Bible Advocate 1:5 (December 1842),

Today in Restoration History: 4 September 1842

Nashville, Tenn. Sept. 4, 1842.

Bro Aden:–There is much interest here upon the subject of religion.  There was eight added to our church to-day who were immeresed, & several to be immersed to morrow; besides, they are coming in daily.

Our bro. Wharton, who is living here is able to compete with our oppenents anywhere, provided they will keep within the limits of the Bible, for out of it he says nothing, as he remarked to-day.  With he Bible we are everything we could wish, and without it, we are nothing.  As ever your bro., J. T. BROWN.

“Progress of the Gospel, News &c.” Bible Advocate 1:3 (October 1842), 46.

Aden is S. B. Aden, who with Gist and Howard, publish The Bible Advocate from Paris, Tennessee.  Wharton is W. H. Wharton, who was one of the teachers of the Nashville church who also travelled around Middle TN with Tolbert Fanning and did considerable preaching.  There were several Wharton’s in the Nashville church through the end of the 19th century; I have not yet sorted them all out.

Barton W. Stone preaches at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Nashville, September 1796

Part fifth (and final installment), a continuation from Barton Stone preaches at Mansker’s Station, August-September 1796, part 2:

My colleague, J. [John] Anderson, having preached through the settlements of West Tennessee, determined to visit Kentucky.  We had our last appointment in father Thomas Caraighead’s congregation, in which neighborhood we had often preached.  As we expected a large and intelligent audience, we endeavored to prepare discourses suitable to the occasion.  My companion, Anderson, first rose to preach from these words: “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”  I shall never forget his exordium, which, in fact, was also his peroration.  Holiness, said he, is a moral quality–he paused, having forgotten all his studied discourse.  Confused, he turned with staring eyes to address the other side of his audience, and repeated with emphasis–Holiness is a moral quality–and after a few incoherent words, he paused again, and sat down.  Astonished at the failure of my bnrother, I arose and prached.  He declared to me afterwards, that every idea had forsaken him; that he veiwed it as from God, to humble his pride; as he had expected to make a brilliant display of talent to that assembly.  I never remembered a sermon better, and to e it has been very profitable; for from the hint given, I was led to more correct views of the doctrines of original sin, and of regeneration.

Thomas Craighead was the first Presbyterian minister in the Cumberland settlements, having arrvied in 1785 from Kentucky.  He settled on the northern bluff overlooking the Cumberland River at the Madison/Opryland/Briley Parkway part of town.  Haysboro, as it was known then, was for a time a rival settlement to Nashborough down the river a bend or two.  Nashville eventually eclipsed the other hamlets, but the little stone church/school built there left an indelible impression on the larger community.  Opened on 25 September 1786, Davidson Academy was not only the first school in the Cumberland settlements but ancestor to the University of Nashville and Peabody College.  The stone building served as meetinghouse for Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, of which Craighead was pastor.  It was here that Stone held forth in the early autumn 1796.

En route to and from work each day I pass by the old Craighead homesite.  For locals, it was located under the Home Depot complex at the intersection of Briley and Gallatin Road opposite the cemeteries as you come into (or leave) Madison.  For a brief article about the home and its demise, click here.  There stood the Craighead place and there stood the little school which helped initiate a reputation Nashville enjoys to this hour: Athens of the South.

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church site, Nashville

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church site marker, Nashville

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church site looking across Gallatin Road/Briley Parkway intersection toward Craighead home site, Nashville

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church graveyard, Thomas Craighead grave looking toward church site. The grave is to the right of the church site.

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Thomas Craighead marker

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Thomas Craighead marker closeup 1

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Thomas Craighead marker close up 2

I wonder if Margaret Brown, then about age 96, was in attendance when Barton Stone preached at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church?

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Margaret Brown marker, age 100

Perhaps also in attendance was Dr. William McWhirter. The James Robertson party was among the first groups to move into Nashville. They constructed Fort Nashboro in the winter/spring of 1780. The Cumberland Compact was the first governmental document drafted and signed in Middle Tennessee.

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, William McWhirter marker, signer of Cumberland Compact