Table Of Contents
Aylett Raines - "Restorationist" Preacher
Conversations With - Sudden Death
Chapter 15. Bentley, Henry, Raines, Hayden
Sketch on A. Raines, Hayden
Directions & GPS Location Of Burial & Photos
Brief Sketch on the Life of Aylett Raines
ELDER AYLETTE RAINS (sometimes spelled AYLETT RAINES) in Spotsylvania County, Va. January 22, 1798 and died September 7, 1881. His wife, Sarah was born June 24, 1814 and died February 3, 1870. They are buried next to their daughter and son-in-law, William S. Giltner, who was the first president of Eminence College 1858-1894.
He was sprinkled in the Episcopal church when four years old. His father moved to Jefferson County, Kentucky, in 1811. In 1814 he bought a farm near Campbellsburg, Henry County, Kentucky. Upon this he lived until his death at the advanced age of eighty-nine.
Aylette began teaching school in his father's neighborhood in 1816, and taught for three years. He then transferred his labors to Crawford County, Indiana. Soon after this he began preaching the doctrine of the final holiness and happiness of all mankind--called a Universalist, or at that time a Restorationist. Extended his evangelistic labors into Ohio. In 1827 Rains, he heard that Walter Scott was preaching near his home. He planned to challenge Scott after his lesson. But upon hearing the message of Scott, Rains was left in silence. Nothing could be found wrong with his preaching. A few months later, after study with Ebenezer Williams they immersed each other for the remission of sins in Sandy Lake at the corners of Brimfield and Rootstown, Ohio. Within five weeks he had baptized 50 people for the remission of their sins. His acceptance in the movement was brought into question at the annual meeting of the Mahoning Assoc., Warren, Ohio, in August, 1828. Many wanted to reject him for his privately held Universalist views. In Memoirs, A. Campbell records that his father, Thomas, stood and said of Rains, "He is philosophically a Restorationist and I am a Calvinist, but notwithstanding . . . I would put my right hand into the fire and have it burnt off before I would hold up my hands against him." He later described Rains as his "Timothy as he was to the apostle, Paul." Rains was described as being 5’ 7" tall, with light hair, penetrating eyes and features expressive of intelligence.
In 1833 he married Sarah Ann Cole, daughter of Judge Josiah Cole. He soon moved, with his bride, to Paris, Kentucky. In 1834 he bought him a home in Paris and lived there until 1862, when his house was burned. After that until his death, in 1880, he lived with his only daughter, the wife of W. S. Giltner, Eminence, Kentucky. In Nov. 1843 Rains, along with Dr. Fishback, "Raccoon" John Smith, and President Shannon assisted A. Campbell in the Campbell/Rice Debate. For several years he published a paper called, Christian Teacher, while preaching at Paris, Kentucky. In 1846 he wrote editorials on Co-operation where he strongly objected to state meetings and organization, saying it was unfounded and without example in Scriptures. Later in the 1850’s he again greatly opposed the addition of the instrument of music into the worship assembly. In his life time he served as part-time preacher for Paris - 28 years, Winchester - 27 years, North Middletown - 26 years, and Providence - 22 years. - A man that should not be forgotten!
Aylett Raines – “Restorationist” Preacher
Aylette Raines is one of the little known leaders of the 19th century American Restoration Movement among the churches of Christ. He was a unique individual with an unusual religious background. He was converted away from "restorationism," which he had preached for five years, by the venerable Walter Scott.
Raines was born in Spottsylvania County, Virginia, near Fredericksburg. Those who have written about him disagree on the date of his birth, but his tombstone says that he was born on January 22, 1798. When he was two years old, his family moved to Carolina County near the Mattaponi River. When Aylette was 14 his family crossed the mountains of the frontier and settled in Jefferson County, Kentucky, near the Ohio River, fourteen miles north of Louisville. Four years later his father bought a farm in Henry County, near Campbellsburg, where he lived until he died in 1857.
The story of the religious experiences of Aylette Raines is indeed a most interesting one. When he was four years old his parents had him sprinkled by "Parson" Boggs, an Episcopal priest, an act that was called christening. Both of his parents were pious religionists in their early days, but it remained for his devoted mother to bring him up in the "nurture and admonition" of the Lord. Raines wrote in his diary, on June 29, 1857, following his father's death, that: "My father, Jessie Raines, lived for the latter forty years of his life a Deist and died in the eighty-ninth year of his life in unbelief."
When Raines was about eighteen years of age, he became exercised over the subject of religion and his personal salvation. He knew little about the Bible but he became disenchanted with Calvinism, which he heard preached among the denominations. He read the Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, which turned him toward deism and universalism. However, he could see little in their fruits to motivate him to better and higher living. Thus, he turned to the Bible for answers to questions which perplexed his mind. As he compared the teaching of the Bible with the doctrine of the Calvinists and the he found himself finding and turning toward the truth.
During his early years, Raines worked on his father's farm and attended school for three years in Kentucky. At the age of twenty-one years, he crossed the Ohio River into Indiana and settled in Clark County, near Bethlehem. He taught in the public schools for a few years, but later turned his attention to the study of “restorationism” which he began to preach. He established a “restoration church” among the Dutch in the community where he taught school.
Raines did not accept Universalism in its truest form but believed that all men would be raised eventually to eternal life. He based his preaching on the Bible passage that says, “For in Adam all men die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22.) He believed that even though some died in sin, God would raise them in righteousness. Raines said it was his opinion that all men would ultimately in some distant period of eternity by saved.”
INTO THE WESTERN RESERVE
Aylette Raines went into the Western Reserve of Ohio preaching the doctrine of “restorationism.” Soon after he encouraged the golden winged preacher evangelist,” Walter Scott. He went to hear Scott preach with the full intent of engaging him in public discussion. However, Scott so overwhelmingly convinced Raines that “he opened not his mouth.” When observing the baptisms of the converts, he was “almost persuaded” to request baptism at the hand of Scott. However, he decided to go and see Ebenezer Williams, one of his closest associates in preaching “restoration,” and talk over with Williams what he had learned from Scott.
Raines and Williams spent many days together with an open Bible discussing the things Raines had heard from Scott. Eventually they were both convinced of the truth which they had not been preaching and went to a nearby lake where they baptized each other. Raines declared himself to be a member of the church of Christ and as a result, he encountered the bitter opposition of his old friends and brethren.
Aylette Raines spent some time with Scott and Alexander Campbell on their preaching tour of the Western Reserve. In August of 1828, Raines accompanied Scott and Campbell to Warren, Ohio, for the annual meeting of the Mahoning Association. The position which Raines had taken on the doctrine of “restorationism” came under attack. Many of the disciples opposed admitting Raines to membership in the association. Scott, Thomas and Alexander Campbell defended the right of Raines to hold his position as a matter of opinion. He was accepted into the fellowship of the Association under the promise that he would hold his position as one of opinion. Raines later said that he became so saturated with the teachings of the apostles that he completely dismissed the doctrine of “restorationism” from his mind.
NOT A VALID COMPARISON
Many of the historians of the Christian Church want to compare the way the Campbells handled the case of Raines with the way they think the churches of Christ should respond to those who use instruments of music in their worship. However, the cases are quite different. The way that some Christian churches regard the use of an organ in worship is not parallel to the way Raines held the doctrine of "restorationism." Raines held his opinion before he was baptized for the remission of sins and never thereafter imposed his opinion upon congregations of the Lord's church. On the other hand, the digressives forced the organ upon individuals and groups who had conscientious objections. These had already been baptized who were asked to accept mechanical instruments as a matter of opinion. I know of no Christian church today which holds to the organ as a matter of opinion but many of their preachers defend the practice in public debates as being scriptural. Raines would not have taken this position in his day.
“RESTORATIONISM” ERASED FROM HIS MIND
Raines wrote to Campbell on April 30,1830, that "I wish to inform you that my 'Restorationist' sentiments have been slowly and imperceptibly erased from my mind by the ministry of Paul and Peter and some other illustrious preachers. The facts of the New Testament have conquered me and will conquer the world."
TWO OF CAMPBELL'S DEBATES
In 1829, Raines attended the Campbell-Owen debate in Cincinnati. Ohio, which strengthened his new found faith. Raines preached in southern Ohio until 1830, when he first visited Kentucky. He attended a meeting at Spencer's Creek, Montgomery County, of those reformers who have separated from the Ninth District Baptist Association where he identified with Thomas Campbell. David S. Burnett and "Raccoon" John Smith. Raines served as a member of the committee which arranged for the Campbell-Rice debate in Lexington, in 1843, at the Main Street Church of Christ. He also served as one of the moderators for Campbell, and Henry Clay presided.
Aylette Raines was married to Sarah Ann Cole of Welmington, Ohio, on July 4, 1833. In 1834, they moved to Paris, KY where they bought a new house. He devoted his time to "monthly preaching" and to conducting "big meetings." He preached in Paris for five years, in North Middletown for 28 years, in Winchester for 27 years at Providence for 22 years, at Millersburg for ten years, and at Clintonville for 12 years.
While Raines lived in Paris he edited The Christian Teacher in which he expressed his deep concern over some of the trends which were developing in the Restoration Movement. He registered his opposition to state conventions which he saw leading to the formation of a national missionary society.
Raines was not a prolific writer or an eminent scholar yet what he did write and publish represented the soundness of his faith and his loyalty to the word of God. He wrote in his diary, on April 27, 1851, how he had successfully opposed and defeated a proposal to introduce an organ into the Millersburg meetinghouse. While living in Dayton, Ohio, Raines wrote a book titled, Hereditary Total Depravity. In 1835-36, John T. Johnson and B. F. Hall edited a journal in Georgetown which they called The Gospel Advocate. It continued for only two years but Raines wrote an article for the first issue on the subject, "Sin and Its Cure." Benjamin Franklin published a sermon which Raines preached in Paris under the title, "Remission of Sins." He also delivered a moving eulogy for John T. Johnson on January 9, 1857.
The house in Paris in which Aylette and Sarah Raines lived was destroyed by fire in 1862. They moved to Eminence, Kentucky, to live with their daughter, Lizzie, who was married to W. S. Giltner. Giltner served as the minister of the Eminence Christian Church which was established in 1831. He also had served as an assistant to Raines while he preached in Paris. Giltner was not only a noted preacher but he was a distinguished Christian educator. He went and took over the small college, in 1858, which was located one mile south of Eminence. He later became sole owner of Eminence College which closed in 1893. Among the students who attended Eminence College were F. G. Allen and J. B. Briney. In 1903, Gilmer wrote the introduction to a publication reputed to be The Recantation of Thomas Paine.
Sarah Ann Raines died of a paralytic stroke on February 3, 1870. Aylette Raines died on September 7, 1881, at the age of 83 years. Both were buried side by side in the Eminence cemetery. The tombstone of Aylette Raines carries the following inscription:
Lifes race is run,
Lifes work is done,
Lifes crown well won,
Now comes rest.
(Basil Overton/Editor's note: I requested of brother Doran that he write the foregoing story. As usual he did his research well and wrote a very interesting story. Many of us are indebted to him for his many good stories on men of faith and courage in the Restoration Movement. Jack Tittle, minister in Rocky Mount, NC wrote a letter of gratitude to brother Doran. Here is a part of it. "Dear brother Doran: I hope this finds all well with you and yours in the Lord. I have been meaning to write for some time now. I just wanted to express my appreciation for the historically significant work you are doing in various articles concerning some of the early pioneers and problems of our beloved body. I have a file, well more than one actually, concerning restoration, liberalism, church history, etc. I try to keep it up to date and a good many of the articles in those files have been written by you. The more I read and study our history the more I am convinced that history is repeating itself. It saddens me beyond words to see it happening. I was "raised in the church" and as I look back I am reminded how fortunate I was to have been bought up in the old Wayside and Sherman congregation in Houston, Texas. Brother Lagard May was the preacher and the elders were solid and sound. Men like brothers Lanier, Sr., Foy Wallace, George DeHoff, and a whole host of other such heroes of faith were seemingly constantly among us during meetings and lectureships, etc. I was able to sit at the feet of those great men, and many more Like them, and hear the truth. I know now what a great blessing and privilege that was. I remember your brother coming to hold a tent meeting for us at least once.")
- Adron Doran, The World Evangelist, October, 1990, page Four
Conversations With-Sudden Death
It was during the winter of 1855-6, Aylett Rains paid a visit to the church at Shelbyville, Ky. He delivered several practical discourses, after which we went into the country not far distant for the purpose of holding a protracted meeting. The brother and sister with whom we sojourned during the meeting were exceedingly kind to us, administering to our temporal wants, while we were engaged in ministering to the spiritual demands of the church and vicinity. We were accommodated with a large room, which was blessed with a large, old-fashioned fire place.
Returning nightly from meeting, and spending a short time in conversation with the family, we usually retired to our comfortable quarters, and, seating ourselves before a large, blazing fire, engaged in conversation concerning other times and other men, until the time arrived for going to rest, which was not infrequently a late hour.
I propounded questions, and Rains, with unaffected ease and pleasure, answered by rehearsing events and incidents which had come under his own immediate observation, and which formed a part of his past eventful life.
In the years 1827-8, he resided in what was then known as the Western Reserve of Ohio, and at that time advocated in all good conscience the doctrine of Restorationism. Then and there he met for the first time the zealous and eloquent Walter Scott, of happy memory.
His Restorationist brethren had fully posted him as to the ability and captivating manner of Elder Scott, and requested him most earnestly to hear him, when opportunity offered, to weigh his arguments and expose his false reasoning, as they felt sure he was able to do.
On a certain occasion he attended one of these great meetings. Thousands had come from near and from afar to hear the new doctrine of the distinguished speaker. There he met numbers of his brethren, who counselled him to take notes of all the discourses delivered. On the first day the preaching was only fair, nothing being presented of a very striking character. It was announced that on the following day the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians would be examined in the forenoon and afternoon. This was glad news to Rains, who was early on the ground the next day, as well as many of his Restorationist friends and brethren. They were in full force and in high glee, for they were confident that their champion, ever ready for the fray, could drive from the field any Sir Knight who might dare to break a lance with him.
Rains was very particular in selecting a suitable place to hear, in the immense assembly, for he must know all that might be said on this memorable chapter. Therefore he sat right before the speaker and near the centre of the audience.
Elder Scott had spoken, perhaps an hour, and in his happiest strain, when he quoted a certain passage of Scripture, and riveted the plain truth of it by clear and convincing argument. This was hurled kindly, but with immense force, against the doctrine of Restorationism. Looking Rains full in the face, and pointing toward him with his hand, he exclaimed at the top of his shrill voice, "Brother Rains, is not this so?" Quick as thought, Rains decided how he must answer. He was afraid to say yes, lest Scott might reply, " Then why not' come over on our side?" He was afraid to say no, lest he might be challenged for a discussion of the merits of the question involved. Therefore, he prudently, avoiding both horns of the dilemma, replied, "I presume it is so." This he regarded as good, and very good indeed, for the time being. On adjournment of the meeting, his brethren and friends gathered round him, more than anxious to see his notes, hear what he had to say, and receive a small amount of comfort, even should it be cold comfort—which was the case. He simply held up a blank piece of paper, remarking, "Here are my notes, all of them." Then he observed, with great deliberation: " I have never in all my life heard just such a speaker, or just such preaching. I am sure the preacher is not inspired, but there is inspiration in what he says. I am not now prepared to deny what he says, nor am I ready to accept all. He interprets the Word of God after a new fashion. I tell you the truth. I have so far been unable to detect the slightest flaw in any of his arguments. I must think on these things."
This was a damper to his dear brethren. They were, of course, crest-fallen and deeply mortified. Their leader, unable to find any objection to this new doctrine, puzzled as to the best course to be pursued, was unwilling to stand before the people and attempt to answer discourses which, at least, the more thoughtful and discerning could see, were as so many guns pointed directly and indirectly against the very citadel of Restorationism. The evening of that day a number of persons were baptized. Rains, walking down the path leadihg to the beautiful stream surrounded on either side by high banks, stood alone, witnessing the imposing scene. The last candidate having been baptized, the benediction was pronounced, and Rains knew not why, but lingered, musing on the strange spectacle that had made such a profound impression on his mind. He stood as if spell-bound. Suddenly looking up, he observed Elder Scott coming in his wet clothes along the path in which he stood-coming directly towards him. When within a few paces of him, he stepped out of the path and turned his back, when Elder Scott rushed upon him, exclaiming, as he embraced him, " Come, Brother Rains, and preach with me the everlasting gospel to the inhabitants of earth." An electric shock could not have thrilled him more. He made no reply. Elder Scott said nothing further, but, going to a house near by, changed his clothes. Never before had so much light been shed on the Christian Scriptures by any preaching he had ever heard.. He beheld the foundation of his doctrine of Restorationism crumbling, and the stately superstructure tottering, ready to fall. His guiding star was Truth; his opinions. And if these opinions were not satisfactory to them they proposed to have no fellowship with him. Rains, hearing of all this, arose and stated that many of his former opinions remained unchanged; still he had no thought of preaching them—they were private property, and should be held strictly as such.
Alexander Campbell, who was himself present at this association, and knew all concerning this matter, thus speaks in the Millennial Harbinger, pp. 148 and 149: "Although a majority of the brethren were satisfied, still a number were not reconciled to this decision. It was repeatedly urged that it mattered not what his private opinions were on this subject, provided he regarded them only as matters of opinion, and held them as private property. I urged this course from the conviction that, if these opinions were not agitated nor discussed, the ancient gospel would cause them to wither away. This was my philosophy then, and, being much pleased with this brother, I had no doubt, from his very handsome address and acquirements, he would be a very useful laborer in the great field. I only heard of him a few times since, but the other day I received the following letter from him, which, I think, proves the wisdom of the course pursued, and goes far to recommend the principles contended for in this article :
"CINCINNATI, April 13, 1830.
"DEAR BROTHER: Being aware that you are often addressed through the medium of letters, and that the multiplicity of engagements which call for your attention render brevity a necessary qualification in your correspondents, I will, in this communication, be as brief as possible.
"'I wish to inform you that my `Restorationist' sentiments have been slowly and imperceptibly erased from my mind, by the ministry of Paul and Peter, and some other illustrious preachers, with whose discourses and writing, I need not tell you, you seem to be intimately acquainted. After my immersion, I brought my mind, as much as I possibly could, like a blank surface, to the ministry of the New Institution, and by this means, I think, many characters of truth have been imprinted in my mind, which did not formerly exist there. I also consider myself as growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ every day, and, as I give myself wholly to the work of an evangelist, I have, within the last twelve months, been instrumental in disseminating the truth extensively, and in removing from many minds some heavy masses of sectarian rubbish. The facts of the New Testament will conquer the world. They have conquered me, and are now conquering thousands of others. The reformation is progressing in almost all parts of the western country through which I have traveled, beyond my most sanguine expectations. My former associates persecute me, I would say, most cruelly. I hope you will not permit them to prejudice your mind against me. I shall have many difficulties to encounter, in consequence of the evil circumstances which formerly surrounded me—or, to speak more plainly, in consequence of having once been a universalist. I, however, hope to rise above the opposition of my quondam brethren, and during the remainder of my days to devote my energies, not to the building up of sectarian systems, but to the teaching of the Lord.
"I should be very happy to hear of the welfare of Father Campbell. I am strongly disposed to reciprocate the kindness of that beloved brother, by declaring that, if I were Timothy, Father Campbell should, in preference to any man, be my Paul. You will not call this flattery. It is a warm, sentimental effusion of my heart". Aylette Raines"'
Aylett Rains and Arthur Crithfield, while on an evangelistic tour through Ohio, came to Jamestown, and at once engaged in proclaiming the glad tidings to the good people, in a meetinghouse belonging to one of the denominations of the day. But the gospel of Christ differs essentially from the gospel as formulated and taught by Martin Luther, John Calvin, John N. Tesley, and others. Very soon the villagers were thoroughly aroused, and very much troubled, by what they heard, for these fearless preachers taught them things which it was not lawful for them to receive, being orthodox. Creeds of human origin, prepared by good men and with no evil intent, are surely condemned by the Word of God. In them may be found a few articles that may be esteemed good, some things bad, others of an indifferent character. The Christian people of Jamestown had, not knowing what else to do, adopted these human creeds in order to be governed thereby in all things appertaining to the discipline and edification of their members. Hence, to accept the New Testament as the only creed of their churches and all-sufficient, would be revolutionary, and could not be tolerated by the Jamestown orthodoxy—no, not for one moment. Such a course of conduct would not only set aside the creeds forever, but would leave their churches, as they supposed, without any bond of union and communion whatever. They would thus be driven on the great sea of time, hither and thither, whithersoever wind or wave might impel them. No chart, or compass, or beacon-light to direct, with no possible chance of reaching port in safety.
Therefore it was deemed absolutely essential to the peace of that part of Christendom that a council be called, in order to determine what should be done with these heretics, for they had brought strange things to the people's ears. The leaders beheld, with deep mortification, their craft in danger. Demetrius, the silversmith, would perhaps be thrown out of business—would not be allowed any longer to make shrines for the goddess Diana—the temple would be vacated, and worship would be discontinued. Consequently, in their pious wrath, the Christian people of Jamestown resolved upon a council, and now and then shouted aloud, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians."
The council was held, was largely attended, was conducted in good order, and the leading purpose for which it had been called was accomplished. It was a grand success, at least so regarded by many; a few conceived it to be a great failure. It was agreed that Rains and Crithfield should be debarred the privilege of preaching any further in any of the orthodox meetinghouses of worship in the town or in the vicinity.
The last night these preachers were permitted to speak in the meetinghouse in which they had held their meetings, the decision of the council was publicly and authoritatively announced, viz.: that all houses of worship in the town and in the vicinity were closed, locked and barred against these heretical preachers.
This announcement, as might have been expected, was well received by some Christian people, while others looked upon the whole procedure as contrary, in letter and in spirit, to the teaching of Christ and his apostles. Non-professors were divided in their views, some thinking it just and right every way; others believing it would result in more harm than good.
There lived, at that time, in Jamestown, a certain Dr. M. Winans, a practicing physician, a man of fine natural ability, possessing a good education, being well-informed on almost all subjects, and withal a man of great popularity and influence among the people at large. But, alas! he was inclined to infidelity; still he was acknowledged to be a moral man—was benevolent and kind.
When the decree of the churches was made public, he arose and spoke, by permission, a few words to the people. He remarked that it was well-known to all persons in that audience that, while he was a churchgoing man, he was a non-professor, by some considered an unbeliever, an infidel, or a skeptic. One thing he did believe in, and that was fair play. Locks, and bars, and bolts, he did not look upon as very good arguments in this land of freedom; that these preachers were welcome to hold forth nightly in his private residence, were welcome to do so as long as they desired, and during good behavior, and that the people were invited to come and hear them. The preachers, with many thanks, accepted the generous offer, and, before adjourning for the night, announced that there would be preaching the following night at the dwelling of Dr. M. Winans. So the meeting continued, and numbers of people crowded to hear the truth.
Crithfield being unable to remain longer, Rains was left to battle alone for the truth, and, if not master of the situation, he was at least equal to the occasion. The circumstances now demanded greater caution and prudence, and he therefore applied himself to the work before him with unusual vigor and energy. Driven from the orthodox churches, looked upon as a heretic, as preaching a false gospel, as attempting to lead the people into ruinous paths,—under such circumstances he resolved to stick close to the one Book, and, if possible, and by the help of God, to preach the primitive gospel in greater plainness and with more power.
An additional consideration determined him to adjust the armor of God about him, and fight more courageously the battles of King Jesus. It was this: He conceived that Dr. Winans was unconsciously becoming interested in the preaching. Hence, he must marshal the best evidence at his command, in favor of the authenticity and genuineness of the Scriptures of the New Testament, especially, and dislodge from his and other minds the demon of unbelief. Often solitary and alone, he would propound to himself the question: "Will Dr. Winans ever become a Christian?"
Will he ever be induced to throw overboard his infidelity, or skepticism, and, believing in Christ, obey him? What a grand Christian he would make! Eternity alone could unfold the amount of good that would inevitably follow such an act as that of surrendering himself wholly to Jesus Christ. How many of his neighbors seem to be watching him closely, are fully convinced of the truth of the positions we have presented, and are only waiting for some one to take the first step! Possibly, a great army, composed of the 'bravest of the brave,' is just ready to enlist and fight under the broad, star-gemmed banner of Prince Messiah." The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was with Rains a favorite theme, and on this he thought best to discourse. He believed that he was able to master all the apparent difficulties connected with this most important subject. In order to make sure work of it, however, he reviewed the whole ground anew, noting with care each step in the argument: He was familiar with the usual objections brought forward and paraded against the truth of the resurrection, and had no fears in being able to remove them out of the way of those at least who were in search of truth. The discourse was delivered to. a large and very attentive audience. One of the most attentive hearers was Dr. Winans himself.
After meeting, Rains engaged in conversation with those who lingered for a time, and, after all were gone, he retired to his place of rest, followed by Dr. Winans, who manifested much more than his usual interest ir. the discourse. Rains sat before the fire musing, while the Doctor was walking the floor, his hands crossed behind him, evidently much agitated, being fully convinced of his duty, and summoning up courage to perform the grandest act of his life, but saying not a word. Finally he came forward and, grasping the hand of Rains, said: "Bro. Rains, will you take my confession that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?" "Certainly," said Rains; "but you have already made the confession, Doctor, but do you believe with all your heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God?" "I do," answered the Doctor, "and now I desire to go forthwith to the water and be baptized." "I have no objection," replied Rains, " to going with you to the water and baptizing you immediately, but your family at this late hour have retired, and so have your friends, who would be glad to see you baptized; besides, you have been a public sinner, and it would have a salutary effect upon your neighbors to witness your public renunciation of sin in being baptized. Let us put the matter off until morning." This was mutually agreed upon, and early in the morning it seemed as if the very birds had carried the news to town and vicinity, for multitudes came flocking along the paths leading to the place of baptism, until several hundred persons were present. After his baptism, on coming up out of the water, he put his hands together and, looking up to heaven, said, gently and with much feeling: "Thank God that I have been permitted to hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." The following day, his wife and daughter, an only child, made the good confession and were baptized. The Doctor stood near the water's edge to receive them as they came up out of the baptismal font. Before the benediction was pronounced, the Doctor, standing close to his wife and daughter put his hands together, as formerly, and, with deep emotion, his face wet with tears, said: " Thank God that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has been introduced into my family." The Doctor and wife lived many years, and were faithful members of the church. They have passed over the dark river, and are at rest forever. A few years ago tile daughter was living in Covington, Ky., a faithful disciple of Christ.
In the year 1829, Alexander Campbell, of Bethany, Va., and Robert Owen, of New Lanark, Scotland, held a public discussion in Cincinnati, Mr. Owen affirming that "all the religions of the world have been founded upon the ignorance of mankind; that they are directly opposed to the never-changing laws of our nature; that they have been and are the real source of vice, disunion and misery of every description; . . . . and that they can be no longer maintained, except through the ignorance of the mass of the people, and the tyranny of the few over that mass." On the contrary, Mr. Campbell proposed to show, from undoubted testimony, that God in the Old and new Testaments has made a revelation of his will to mankind. Much excitement prevailed in parts of the United States because of the "reputation of the disputants " and the momentous questions to be discussed. Many persons were in attendance from New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Daily hundreds were turned away from the door of the large meeting house where the debate was held. Among those who felt compelled to attend this memorable debate was Aylett Rains. As the hour for the debate to begin approached, he walked over and entered the meeting house, and found, to his astonishment, that it was densely packed. He stood in one of the aisles and near Mr. Owen, and therefore had a good opportunity to note the appearance and manner of the man. No one could look at him, even for a moment, without being much impressed with the apparent manliness of the man, with his fine person, well-developed and well-proportioned. And then his hair was cued and powdered according to the custom of the aristocratic portion of society in his native land. His dress was plain and neat, fitting him with remarkable exactness. There was a sort of nobility in his bearing before the great congregation, every movement being full of ease and grace, indicating the well-bred gentleman. In speaking, he was exceedingly cool, very deliberate, and self-possessed in a remarkable degree, possessing not one of the arts or tricks of the would-be orator. He had riot been speaking five minutes when Rains felt fully satisfied that he relied wholly for success on what he conceived to be truth, fact, argument. His first speech contains an account of the causes leading to the debate, general statements in regard to the terrible evils to be found in the social system, together with hints as to the remedies to be applied by him and his co-adjutors in order that virtue, intelligence and perfect happiness shall prevail over the whole earth. Rains listened intently until Mr. Owen had finished his first address, and was about to give place to Mr. Campbell, when he said to himself: "Mr. Campbell will never be able to answer that speech; it can never be overthrown; the arguments are logically faultless—simply invulnerable." Why he said this he could not have told; how he reached such a conclusion is marvelous, because Owen was not, by any means, a close reasoner. Possibly this conception of Rains' was the result of circumstances. The clergy in New Orleans would not meet Mr. Owen—seemed afraid of him. Some conceived that Mr. Campbell had rashly accepted his proposition to debate, while others imagined that Christianity would receive a blow from which it would not soon recover. As these, or kindred thoughts, flashed through the mind of Rains, his heart almost sank within him. He was scarcely able to stand up, so full of fear as to consequences. He said to himself: " What will Mr. Campbell do? What can he do? Must the Bible, which has stood for ages as a monument of truth, defying all the powers of darkness, must this Book of all books go down, and with it be buried forever the most exultant hopes of the human race?"
Standing up in reply, Mr. Campbell held in his right hand a small slip of paper, containing, perhaps, notes of his address. Ever and anon he glanced at this, and then, quick as thought, he would throw his band down to his side. With the forefinger of his left hand he was unconsciously engaged in twirling the hair round his ear. His utterance was very rapid, the interest he manifested far more than ordinary. In regard to Christianity he said: "It offered no lure to the ambitious; no reward to the avaricious. . . It called for self-denial, humility, patience and courage on the part of all its advocates." . . In closing this extraordinary speech he uses these words: "But we cannot sit down without admonishing you to bear constantly in mind the inconceivable and ineffable importance attached to the investigation. It is not the ordinary affairs of this life, the fleeting and transitory concerns of to-day or tomorrow; it is not whether we shall live all freemen, or die all slaves; it is not the momentary affairs of empire, or the evanescent charms of dominion. Nay, indeed, these are but the toys of childhood, the sportive excursions of youthful fancy, contrasted with the questions: What is man? Whence came he? Whither does he go? Is he a mortal or an immortal being? .... After a few short days are fled, when the enjoyments of life are over, when our relish for social enjoyment, and our desires for returning to the fountain of life are most acute; must we hang our head and close our eyes on the desolating and appalling prospect of never opening them again, of never tasting the sweet, for which a state of discipline and trial has so well fitted us? These are the awful and sublime merits of the question at issue.
Shall spring ever visit the mouldering urn?
Shall day ever dawn on the night of the grave? "'
When Mr. Campbell sat down, Rains found that his cheeks were moistened with tears, because of which he was not a little vexed with himself. Putting his hand to his face, he attempted to wipe away the falling, the unmanly tears. "How weak, how childish am I," he said to himself. "I will be a man. I will not stand here before this people and weep as a child. No, no; I will not do so." Just then he looked round over the vast assembly of more than twelve hundred persons. And what a spectacle presented itself to him—everybody in tears. He then said to himself: " I am in first-class company. I have just listened to a greater speech by odds than that delivered by Mr. Owen. Alexander Campbell is henceforth Alexander the Great. He can answer Mr. Owen or any other infidel on earth; he can and will crush infidelity and save the Bible to mankind."
For several years prior to his death, Aylett Rains was not pleased with the tendency of certain matters in the current Reformation, and wrote a number of pungent articles for the American Christian Review, which some disciples still living may recollect having read.
In these "Warnings" he alluded to the fact that there were being introduced into church worship certain innovations, under the mild name of expedients, which were not in harmony with "the Plea," and in direct opposition to the simplicity of the Gospel. He greatly deplored this state of things, and warned his brethren against "innovations," "expedients," and many unwarranted helps, so called.
As a preacher he had but few equals in the current Reformation. Being well informed as to the teaching of the Old and New Testaments; understanding perfectly orthodoxy and denominationalism, he was prepared to present to the people the claims of Christianity, and to overthrow and utterly demolish human theories and human dogma. In opposing error, he had but little mercy on its advocates. At one time he had been in the mist and fog, groping his way in darkness. When he came to see the light, to know the right way, he was by no means gentle in denouncing the conduct of the leaders of the people who were constantly perverting the truth, or darkening the counsel of God. As a logical, scriptural reasoner, he was pre-eminent. I heard President James Shannon say that he heard him deliver eighteen discourses by way of unfolding the great Plan of Redemption as taught by Christ and his apostles, and that, in his opinion, Alexander Campbell had never preached or written anything more clear, convincing or exhaustive. And President Shannon was an impartial and competent judge.
His father had removed to Kentucky, and was living near the Ohio River. Young Rains, being pretty well versed in the common English branches, concluded to teach a school. He crossed the river into Clark county, Ind., and near Bethlehem opened a school. He had preached Restorationism in parts of Kentucky, and it was soon known among his patrons and his pupils that he was a preacher, and now he must hold forth for the people—especially the young people—and set forth his peculiar views as to the salvation of mankind. "Accordingly a stand was erected in a grove near by, and seats prepared to accommodate four or five hundred persons. At the appointed hour a very large audience had assembled. The young preacher felt flattered by the presence of so large a concourse of persons, and was holding the congregation spellbound by his, eloquence upon the infinite love of God, when a young man largely under the influence of liquor, became an interested listener. As his interest increased he became more eager to hear, and gradually pushed his way to the front of the stand, and putting his left arm around a small sapling, leaned forward in rapt attention. He soon became so deeply moved that, not knowing what he was doing, he stretched his free hand in the direction of the speaker, and in maudlin tones exclaimed: "make it out, young man! make it out, young man! If you don't I'm a goner!" This amused the crowd, and disconcerted the speaker, so much so that he never fully recovered his equanimity. This young man, as Bro. Rains afterward confessed, had driven a nail into a sure place. It awakened a train of thought, and excited misgivings as to the truth of the views he was then advocating, which were never altogether allayed, until he became a preacher of the full gospel of the grace of God."
Bro. Rains could not be readily manipulated by the evolutions, or convolutions, of the professional revivalist. Clerical tricks, by whomsoever, he looked upon with supreme contempt. The following speaks for itself: "When the celebrated John Newland Maffitt, whose brief, brilliant, disastrous career excited the `wonder of an hour,' was in Paris, Ky., Bro. Rains went to hear him. At the conclusion of his discourse, Maffitt began the ministerial tactics, so common in that day, of putting his audience through the popular camp-meeting drill. He commenced by asking all who wished God to revive his work in that town to stand up. About half the congregation arose to their feet. He made a second appeal to them to stand up and thus encourage the Lord to revive his work. This time a few more arose. Bro. Rains sat firmly in his place, not far from the speaker. Maffitt made a third attempt to bring his audience to their feet, and looking directly at Rains, said, 'Can it be possible that any man, with the common feelings of humanity in his bosom, is so lost to all interest in and sympathy for his fellow beings that he will refuse to vote for God to revive his work in this community?’ Elder Rains compressed his lips, looked at the preacher defiantly, and kept his seat. After a few more attempts to manipulate his audience Maffitt dismissed his congregation. Sister Eads, one of Bro. Rains' members in the Paris congregation, said to him loud enough for Maffitt to hear, ‘Bro. Rains, why did you not stand up?’ ‘Ah, sister’ he replied, in a sharp, rasping tone of voice, ‘simply because I do not muster in that regiment.’ Maffitt heard him, and colored deeply."
Aylett Rains was born in Spottsylvania county, Va., January 22d, 1788, and died September 7th, 1881, at the residence of his son-in-law, President W. S. Giltner, Eminence, Ky. Bro. Rains had preached for the church in Paris, Ky., 28 years; for the church in Winchester 28 years, and for the church in North Middletown 26 years. He died suddenly. While sitting in his chair listening to his granddaughter, Miss Giltner, read, his head fell upon his breast. She gave the alarm immediately, and as soon as possible he was placed upon a couch, but never uttered a word afterward. For more than fifty years he had been a preacher of the Gospel of Christ. He was true to the Lord Jesus Christ; was a kind and affectionate husband, father and friend. He died as he had lived—strong in the faith.
-Aylette Rains, CONVERSATION'S WITH—SUDDEN DEATH, Recollections Of Men Of Faith, W.C. Rogers, page 30-52
I believe that it was Carlyle who said: "A true delineation of the smallest man is capable of interesting the greatest man." It is difficult to give "a true delineation" even of "the smallest man." However, there is a freshness and inspiration in the study of biography which cannot be had from other classes of literature. Many lessons may be learned from the lives of the most insignificant men, from the world's point of view, who have played an important part in God's great program for the redemption preach, and was charmed by his preaching. He heard him many times. He was honest and had made truth his guiding star. He was searching for the truth. So, when he heard Walter Scott in 1827, he soon recognized that Scott was preaching the truth. He had first gone to hear Scott at the strong solicitation of his "restorationist" friends and brethren. They were anxious for him to refute the strange doctrine that the eloquent Walter Scott was preaching. Rains' friends were confident that he could easily drive from the field any "Sir Knight" who might dare to break a lance with him. Imagine how disappointed they were when Rains said: "I have never in all my life heard just such a speaker or just such preaching. I am sure the preacher is not inspired, but there is inspiration in what he says of man. The subject of this biographical sketch may come in this class.
Aylette Rains was born in Spottsylvania County, Va., January 22, 1788. He lived at a time when educational advantages were meager. His parents were poor, and he was reared under the pressure of stress and strain from childhood to manhood. His parents were members of the Episcopal Church. They had their son sprinkled when he was four years of age. His father moved to Jefferson County, Ky., in 1811, and in 1814 he bought a farm near Campbellburg, Henry County, Ky. Young Aylette began teaching school in his own neighborhood in 1816, and continued this work for three years. He then moved to Crawford County, Ind. Soon after this he began preaching the doctrine of the final holiness and happiness of all mankind. This doctrine was held by a small sect, at that time known as the "restorationists." He soon extended his evangelistic labors into Ohio. The lax morals of some of those who embraced "restorationism" and "latitudinarianism" soon led the young preacher to doubt seriously the doctrine he was preaching. However, he gathered a congregation of about thirty and organized them into a church in that section of the country; and he helped others organize other churches. "Restorationism" was so close to "Universalism" that he soon became, in theory, a "Universalist."
About this time he heard Walter Scott preach, and was charmed by his preaching. He heard him many times. He was honest and had made truth his guiding star. He was searching for the truth. So, when he heard Walter Scott in 1827, he soon recognized that Scott was preaching the truth. He had first gone to hear Scott at the strong solicitation of his "restorationist" friends and brethren. They were anxious for him to refute the strange doctrine that the eloquent Walter Scott was preaching. Rains' friends were confident that he could easily drive from the field any "Sir Knight" who might dare to break a lance with him. Imagine how disappointed they were when Rains said: "I have never in all my life heard just such a speaker or just such preaching. I am sure the preacher is not inspired, but there is inspiration in what he says. I am not now prepared to deny what he says, nor am I ready to accept all. He interprets the word of God after a new fashion. I have so far been unable to detect the slightest flaw in any of his arguments. I must think on these things."
He did "think on these things" seriously, and came to the conclusion that Walter Scott was preaching the truth; but before fully accepting it he went to Ebenezer Williams, a staunch Universalist and one of his most devoted friends, and for four days and nights they went over all of the arguments and Scriptures which Walter Scott had presented. Both Williams and Rains decided that they should submit to the command of God in baptism. "They both went alone to a beautiful pool of water near by. Rains baptized Williams on a profession of his faith in Christ, and for the remission of his sins. Williams then, taking the confession of Rains, baptized him for the remission of sins, and then' they went their ways rejoicing. (Recollection of Men of Faith, page 35.) Rains began at once preaching the truth as he found it revealed in the New Testament.
He continued to hold to some of his views and opinions which he had formerly preached. This presented a very serious problem for the brethren at that time. They did not know whether they should fellowship him so long as he held to some of his former views. He continued to hold to the view that the wicked, after a certain amount of punishment, would be restored and ultimately blessed. This was a phase of Universalism. On a particular occasion the matter of fellowshipping Aylette Rains came up and was discussed in the presence of Thomas Campbell, A. Campbell, Walter Scott, and others. Thomas Campbell was the chief speaker on this occasion, and pointed out the difference between faith and opinion. Alexander Campbell emphasized the distinction which his illustrious father had made. They all agreed that they had nothing to do with regulating the opinions of men, that opinions are private property, and, as long as they are held as such, are not a bar to fellowship. We can never hope to see Christian people united in their opinions about matters, but we do hope and pray for the time when there will be but "one faith." Men can never agree on opinions. Opinion can have no binding authority and should not be made tests of fellowship.
This was a critical period in the history of the great movement inaugurated by the Campbells to return to the New Testament order of work and worship. The Aylette Rains affairs became an example to many others, and the principles which were applied to him became the basic principles of unity. It was clearly pointed out to him that his views were merely opinions and speculations rather than matters of faith. He was asked to hold them as opinions, and consented not to preach anything that would disturb the peace of the church which he did not consider to be fundamental facts and truths of the gospel as revealed in the New Testament. He says: "I shall never, while I retain my memory, forget the magnanimity of Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Scott and several others on that occasion. They acted as men highly elevated above the paltry bickerings of speculative partisans; for though they considered my restoration sentiments as a vagal'y of the brain, they did not treat me with contempt, but with firmness and kindness encouraged me to persevere in the Christian race." He goes on to say: "Had they pursued with me the opposite course, I do awfully fear that I might have made shipwreck of faith and a good conscience and become a castaway; whereas, under the kind treatment which I received from the chief men of the restoration, and the increased means of religious knowledge, to which I obtained access after I had left the Universalists, I grew in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ with such rapidity that in twelve months or less time 'restorationism' had wholly faded out of my mind." He had consented to hold his views as opinions and to preach only the plain, simple truths of the gospel. In his study of these simple truths, which are clearly and definitely revealed, he lost interest in all speculative theories and opinions of men. The surest cure for any and all tendencies toward speculative views ad opinions is an earnest, prayerful study of the plain and simple truths of the New Testament. If all will let opinions remain in the realm of opinions and all others treat with kindness and Christian fellowship those who may hold to speculative opinions, peace and harmony will prevail and truth and God will be glorified.
Aylette Rains soon moved with his bride to Paris, Ky. In 1834 he bought him a home in Paris, and lived there until 1862. He was a fine type of what is termed a "monthly preacher." Churches prospered under his preaching. He preached once a month at Paris for five years, once a month at Millersburg for ten years; once a month at Clintonville for twelve years; at Providence, twenty-two years; at Winchester, Twenty-seven years; and at North Middleton for twenty-eight years. He died on September 7, 1881, in his ninety-fourth year. He lived nearly a century. For several years prior to his death he was not pleased with the tendency of many things in the church and wrote a number of articles for the American Christian Review under the general theme of "Warnings." He alluded to the fact that there were being introduced into the church worship certain 'innovations, under the mild name of "expedience," which were not in harmony with the truth as revealed in the New Testament. He greatly deplored this state of things and warned his brethren against "innovations," "expedience," and many other things. Those who hold to the pattern of sound doctrine today can see the wisdom of his warnings.
-Biographical Sketches of Gospel Preacher, Boles, c. 1932, GA, pages 47-51
CHAPTER XV. BENTLEY, HENRY, RAINES, HAYDEN.
A group of strong men were gathered about Walter Scott on the Western Reserve, Ohio, to whom we owe much. Adamson Bentley was one of these pioneers. He was born July 4, 1785, in Allegheny county, Pa. His father moved while he was yet young to Trumbull county, Ohio. He confessed Christ and was baptized and at the age of nineteen began to preach. With great fidelity he taught Calvinism as the Gospel. He carried this system in his head and the love of God in his heart. At a great yearly meeting in 1837 he said: "I used to take my little children on my knee, and look upon them as they played in harmless innocence about me, and wonder which of them was to be finally and forever lost! It cannot be that God has been so good to me as to elect all my children! No, No! I am myself a miracle of mercy, and it cannot be that God has been kinder to me than to all other parents. Some of these then must be of the non-elect and will be finally banished from God and all good. And now if I only knew which of my children were to dwell in everlasting burnings, oh! How kind and tender would I be to them, knowing that all the comfort they would ever experience would be here in this world! But now I see the Gospel admits all to salvation! Now I can have hope of everyone for eternal happiness! Now I can pray and labor for them in hope!
In 1810, he settled in Warren, and was ordained and took charge of the church. He was an excellent preacher and a man of great social influence. He was present at the formation of the Mahoning Association, and his ability as a preacher, and tact and dignity as a presiding officer, rendered him one of its prominent members during its entire existence. Tall, manly, graceful, dignified, eloquent and honest, he had great power with the people. He traveled extensively in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, crossed the mountains many times in his saddle, and was constant in labors. When the great principles advocated by Campbell began to make a stir he was one of the first to accept them and boldly seconded Scott when he came to Warren, and the whole church adopted the plan of Union contained in the New Testament. In 1831, he moved to Chagrin Falls. He preached until 80 years of age, and no man in Northeastern Ohio possessed the influence wielded by this princely man.
John Henry was another of this group, perhaps the most brilliant and gifted. His ministry lasted only about thirteen years. He was a native of Allegheny County, Pa. It was said of him that he sung tunes when not a year old though he did not talk until four years of age. He was a skillful musician, playing nine different instruments, and composing music with ease. His religious training had been in the Presbyterian faith. The Christian Baptist changed him, he was immersed by Bentley, and in his 31st year gave himself to preaching the Gospel. He was a plain farmer, and among the common people he had great influence. He was full of the divine Word and was called often the "Walking Bible" or the "Bible with a Tongue." Often without any of the studied arts of the orator he moved great assemblies with a mastery that chained attention for two hours at the time. He was tall, six feet and two inches, spare, of sandy complexion and sharp features, quick in his movements and in the operations of his mind, social, kind-hearted, and of a keen and ready wit. Henry's work was felt throughout the Western Reserve. At an early time preaching with A. Campbell near Minerva, many people who had never seen either of the speakers, heard him in the morning and thought it Campbell. After an interval Campbell preached, and many of his hearers said: "We wish that man would sit down and let Campbell get up for he knows how to preach." He was a man of One Book. Mr. Campbell said of him: "As a preacher, of a particular order of preachers he had no equal—no superior. He was not only mighty in the Scriptures as a preacher and teacher, but was also eminently exemplary in the social virtues of Christianity." He died May 1, 1844, universally mourned.
Aylette Raines was born near Fredericksburg, Va., in 1797. He was christened in the Episcopal Church at four years much against his wishes. His parents emigrated to Ohio when he was fourteen years of age. He became skeptical from reading Paine's "Age of Reason," but his mother's pious teachings held him. He went to Indiana and engaged in teaching. There he fell in with the Restorationists and adopted their views. "I got religion," he says. "I underwent a great moral change. There was much of the love of God in it. Shrouded as I was in error, yet there were apertures through which the love of God passed through into my heart and made me inexpressibly happy. I now commenced the study of the Scriptures in good earnest and after two years began preaching."
He came in contact with Scott and others preaching the ancient Gospel. Hundreds were being baptized. He concluded to hear Scott for himself. One object he had in view was to bring Scott into debate. In the first sermon he heard, Scott stated what he called "the six points of the Gospel." Greatly amazed and confounded he feared to oppose him lest he should expose himself. The discourse seemed invulnerable. He said, "I can do nothing against the Gospel preached by Scott unless I should live to disgrace it which the Lord forbid."
The next day Raines heard Scott again. His subject was the resurrection. Again he was amazed. Then he heard him on the two covenants and then on the eleventh of Hebrews. Here he surrendered. Scott convinced him that he should lay aside his philosophy and preach the Gospel as the apostles proclaimed it and he began at once to bear his testimony for the truth. When his case came before the Association at Warren in 1828 it was claimed by some that Raines still held his Restorationist opinions, and should not be admitted. Campbell preached on Rom. 14, defining the difference between faith and opinion. It was agreed that if Raines expressed his willingness to preach the Gospel as the apostles preached it, and to retain his opinions as private property, in harmony with the principles of the Reformation there would be no objection. It gave an example of freedom of thought unknown under the creeds and a striking illustration of the liberality of the basis of Christian union advocated by the Reformers.
After the union of the followers of Stone and Campbell, Aylette Raines went to Kentucky and assumed charge of the united churches at Paris where he remained for twenty years and "by his steady unremitting labors and able advocacy of the Reformation principles greatly extended their influence," says Dr. Richardson.
William Hayden is another of this historic group. Born in Westmoreland county, Pa., on the Lord's Day, June 30, 1799, his family removed to the wilds of the new state of Ohio, in 1804, and settled in Youngstown. He struggled with doubt and Calvinism until sixteen and finally fled for refuge to the hope of the Gospel and was baptized May, 1816, uniting with the Baptist Church. In October, 1821, he heard A. Campbell in Warren. "He was then thirty-three years of age," says Hayden, "the sharpest man I ever saw both in appearance and in intellect. His first sermon was from the text 'Thy Kingdom Come.' I soon saw what he meant to make out and I did not intend to believe him, but I could not help believing him." In 1828 he heard Walter Scott, and his direct method of calling sinners to obedience seemed to him rash and dangerous. Hearing Scott again, his first words were, "There is not a man in this house who believes that God means what he says." Then he went on to show that men came to the Bible with their heads full of religious systems and theories and dared not take the Scriptures in any sense inconsistent with these theories less their religious systems be endangered. He vindicated the authority of God’s Word as against every system and exalted its sufficiency, truthfulness, and trustworthiness, showing the propriety of relying upon the divine declarations alone, in which the terms of salvation were presented to us for our immediate acceptance.
A complete revolution was wrought in the mind of Hayden. The Bible became to him a new book. The Gospel was a simple development of God's love, and the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believed it, and it was no longer a mockery to preach, pretending to offer salvation to all, yet announcing that this was nevertheless reserved for a definite, pre-ordained number known only to God.
Hayden accepted this position and was ordained by Scott and Bentley. His labors from that time were double those of most men, working with his hands as much as other men and yet more in the saddle than most preachers. For twenty-five years he was absent from home 240 days and nights out of 365. He was incessant in preaching, teaching and conversation, public and private; creating openings and occupying them, and when others could be found to occupy them, going forth to break new ground. He, with his brother, A. S. Hayden, projected the Eclectic Institute, now Hiram College, and he had much to do with the origin of the Ohio State Missionary Society. In 1832 he visited New York, and made many tours in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and even Canada. During his ministry of thirty-five years he traveled 90,000 miles, 60,000 on horseback, a distance of twice that of the earth's circumference; preached 9,000 sermons, or 260 a year; and baptized 1,250 persons with his own hands.
He had the gift of song. People would come out to Scott's meetings to hear William Hayden sing. He was full of song and full of songs suited to every condition. Scott said, "Give me my Bible, my head, and William Hayden, and we will go out and convert the world! " He died at Chagrin Falls, April 7, 1863.
-Frederick D. Power, Sketches Of Our Pioneers, c.1898, by J.Z. Tyler, Fleming H. Revell Company, Chapter 15, pages 103-112
Sketch On A. Raines
This gifted man, destined to rise to a conspicuous place in the advocacy of the gospel, was born near Fredericksburg, Spottsylvania County, Virginia, in the year 1797. At the age of four years, he was led up by his father to the altar, where Parson Boggs "christened" him after the forms of the Episcopal church. It was done amidst many tears from the young "convert," but they were neither tears of joy nor penitence, but of fear and apprehension of something awful about to be done to him, in opposition to which his whole nature was roused. But his pious parents, in fulfillment of obligations which they conceived were resting upon them from the vows assumed at his "baptism"—but which, with far more truth, they were under merely as parents—trained him in the principles and paths of strict morality. The pious culture thus obtained, especially from his most excellent Christian mother, was of immeasurable afdvantage to him. He ever bore toward them the profoundest gratitude for the faithful guardianship. From Virginia his parents emigrated, when he was fourteen, to Jefferson County, Kentucky. Hearing different "orders" of preaching, often contradictory, and presuming, as many do, that the Bible sanctions all, he became skeptical. The reading of Paine' s Age of Reason filled him with doubt, and flushed him with conceit. But his mother's pious instructions held him, and finally gained the mastery. He went into Indiana, and engaged in teaching, near Fredonia. His employers being Restorationists, he fell into discussions with them. He felt himself foiled in these contests. Winchester's "Dialogues on Universal Restoration" completed the work, and he came out a thorough and sincere convert to that speculative scheme.
New emotions filled his breast. He obtained the common "evidence" of genuine conversion. He writes:
"I got religion. The sky appeared to be bluer, the leaves looked greener, and the birds sang more sweetly than ever before. I underwent a great moral change. There was much of the love of God in it. Shrouded as I was in error, yet there were apertures through which the love of God passed into my heart, and made me inexpressibly happy."
Persuaded that the numerous friends of Bro. Raines will be delighted with his own statement of his experiences, I continue the recital from his own graphic pen:
"I now commenced the study of the Scriptures in good earnest, and after two years commenced preaching. This, of course, provoked great opposition, and I had a number of debates. In these, one sectarianism was arrayed against another; and those that came plunging and crashing against mine seemed so very frail, and made so feeble a defense, as rather to confirm me in my errors. I preached Restorationism five years. A part of the time I taught school, but the last two years of the five I traveled at large. The expiration of this term brought me to the Western Reserve, where Bro. Scott and others were preaching the ancient gospel. Hundreds were being baptized. Much interest had been awakened in behalf of the gospel, and bitter was the opposition which had been enlisted against it. Misrepresentations—not to use a harsher term—were as numerous as blackbirds in August, and these too, very often by those who professed to be 'ambassadors for Christ,' and who said they were 'the called of God, as was Aaron.' 'Just say you believe, and let a preacher dip you, and there could be no scriptural doubt of reaching—no matter what the life might be subsequently—the heavenly inheritance.' It was strange to me then, and yet passing strange, that good people, when under the dominion of religious prejudice, falsify at a most alarming and extravagant rate. They say that they are 'new creatures;' but if they are, I can not perceive that the new creature is, in this respect, any better than the old!
"After a few weeks I concluded to hear Bro. Scott for myself. He was to speak at night at Bro. Robbins', in the town of Windham, near where I was at that time sojourning. One object that I had in view was to bring Bro. Scott into a debate; for among other things that I had heard, I had been told that he was a very bold man, and at the close of his discourses he challenged objectors to make known their objections. Here, thought I, will be a good opportunity for me! and hence I let a number of my brethren know that I intended to oppose him. Well, we assembled, a compact congregation. Bro. Scott, after singing and prayer, read first Cor. first chapter. He preached it through, not forgetting to state and defend what he styled the six points of the gospel. I was greatly surprised. But when he called for objections I was confounded. I could see the heads of my brethren moving to the right and left, in the crowd, expecting to see me rise to my feet. But they didn't see me rise! The reason was, I felt certain that if I opposed Bro. Scott I would expose myself. His discourse appeared to me, at every point, invulnerable. And so, when we were dismissed, and out in the yard, my old brethren gathered around me and asked, 'Bro. Raines, what do you think of the discourse?' And let me say here that I think my first answer will be my last: 'I can do nothing against the gospel as preached by Bro. Scott; unless I should live to disgrace it; which may our gracious Lord forbid!' Hence I have no sympathy with those who say they can not understand the preachers of the reformation. I understood the first I ever heard a great deal better than I desired.
"The next day I heard Bro. Scott again. His subject was the fifteenth chapter of first Corinthians—the resurrection. Here again I was exceedingly amazed. Germs of truth, and beauties and glories sprang from the bosom of that chapter under the handling of Bro Scott, of which before I had scarcely any conception. 'As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,' I deemed a passage of cardinal importance, and the whole chapter very good in its place; but as I did not understand it, of course I saw none of its beauties, and was superlatively ignorant of the meaning of the scrap just referred to, which was one of the proof-texts by which I attempted to prove the ultimate holiness and happiness of all men. At the close of this discourse I felt profoundly interested in the ministrations of Bro. Scott, and resolved to follow him up for some days longer.
"On the next day his subject was the two covenants; and here again I was amazed, not only in contemplation of the beauty and magnificence of gospel truth, but at my former ignorance, for although I had been a preacher five years, I certainly did not know the difference between the old covenant and the new. I obtained from them a sort of hotch-potch; or rather I made of them a chaos, and preached the darkness that was on the face of the deep!
"In a few days I heard again. His subject was the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. He still bore himself aloft in all the grandeur of the gospel, and in the captivating intelligence of the truth as it is in Jesus. Here I virtually surrendered—not that I was convinced that all men would not be finally saved. Bro. Scott said nothing on this subject, only that it was a philosophy, as was Calvinism, Arminianism, etc., and no part of Christianity. He convinced me that I ought to lay my philosophy aside, and preach the gospel as the apostles preached, making their discourses a model to be accurately copied by me in all my ministrations. This was, so far, a capital conquest, for it terminated in due time in the conviction, in my mind, that Restorationism itself, as much as I had formerly idolized it, is founded in error.
"At this juncture it became necessary that I should part from Bro. Scott for a season, for I had a tour of preaching before me, and must fill my own appointments. I resolved that I would preach as Bro. Scott had done, and as I believed the apostles did, and that at the close of each discourse I would call for objections. And I told my old brethren that I threw myself on their mercy; in other words, that if they believed me to be going astray, in mercy to set me right. This attempt was often made within this tour, but it only served to convince me more satisfactorily that I was right. It terminated at the house of brother Ebenezer Williams, in Ravenna, a Restorationist preacher, a good man, and possessing excellent talents. I submitted to him, at his own house, my views of the gospel. He received them, and we were mutually immersed for the remission of sins. After this, I immediately retraced my steps, and within five weeks I immersed fifty persons, three of them, counting Bro. Williams, talented Restorationist preachers."*
(*Ebenezer Williams, David Sinclair, and Theophilus Cotton.)
A.S. Hayden, History of Disciples on the Western Reserve, pages 150-154
Directions To The Grave Of Aylett Raines
Eminence Cemetery is located north of Shelbyville, Kentucky off I-64 (between Lexington and Louisville). Take State Hwy. 55 north. Just before entering the town of Eminence, the cemetery will be on the right. You will need to turn onto the side road to enter the cemetery. Once in the cemetery bear to the right and proceed to the southern end. As you bear around the southern end of the cemetery, look for a large stone with an angel on it. The Rains are buried behind the large stone.
Note: Lizzie Raine Giltner, with angel, was the daughter of Aylette and Sarah Raine. She was married to W.S. Giltner, president of Eminence College, also buried there beside wife, Lizzie.
Elder Aylette Raines
June 24, 1814
Feb. 3, 1870
Them That Sleep In Jesus
Will God Bring With Him
Elder Aylette Raines
Jan. 22, 1798
Sept. 7, 1881
Life's Race Well Run
Life's Work Well Done
Life's Crown Well Run
Now Comes Rest
The first time your webeditor visited the grave of Aylett Raines, I was with my family on a week's vacation in Kentucky in 2001. Having never been to Eminence, we spent a good bit of time in the Emminence Cemetery looking for the Raines plot. In June, 2009 Tom L. Childers, C. Wayne Kilpatrick and Scott Harp traveled about 3000 miles in one week through parts of Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. During this time we found the graves of 75 church leaders in the Restoration Movement. Chronicling these leaders into websites has been time consuming. Many thanks to Tom and Wayne in helping to take photos, share the driving, and putting up with your web master's slave-driving effort to see as many as we did in the time we had. Their photos as well as some of mine are seen on this site.
*Aylett Raines is sometimes seen as spelled "Aylette Rains." While the grave markers reflect the added "e." on both names, most documentation like the 1840 & 1850 Censuses spell his name "Aylett Raines."