Dr. John Tomline Walsh
The Life And Times
John Tomline Walsh
Biographical And Historical Sketches
Contemporary Men And Things
A Member of His Family
Standard Publishing Company
Copyright, 1885, by Standard Publishing Company
Chapter 1. Ancestors And Birth
Chapter 2. Early Youthful Habits
Chapter 3. His Educational Advantages
Chapter 4. Teaches School - Begins Preaching - Changes Ecclesiastical Status
Chapter 5. Unites with Missionary Baptists - Reflections on Methodism
Chapter 6. The Disciples - The Baptists - Andrew Broaddus - Alexander Campbell - The "Christian Baptist" - "The Religious Herald
Chapter 7. First & Second Marriage - Death In The Family - Evangelical Labors
Chapter 8. A Marriage - Sad Parting Scene - Col. John B. Cary - Other Labors
Chapter 9. Pioneer Preaching In Virginia - Co-Laborers: A. Campbell, T.M. Henley, Others - The Dover Association
Chapter 10. Medical Matters In Philadelphia - Return to Richmond - Call In N. Carolina
Chapter 11. Pioneer Preachers In N.C. - John Dunn, T.J. Latham - Labors Of Dr. Walsh & Others
Chapter 12. Additional Evangelical Labors In North And South Carolina
Chapter 13. Dr. Walsh Visits Worcester, Mass. - O.A. Burgess, John F. Rowe - Other Labors In N.C.
Chapter 14. Brief Personal Mention - Deceased Preachers - Living Preachers - Among The Churches.
Chapter 15. Dr. Walsh As A Poet - Selections From His Writings
Chapter 16. Dr. Walsh As An Author - His Numerous Works.
Chapter 17. Dr. Walsh As An Editor And A Controversialist
Chapter 18. Evangelizing At The Age Of 70 - Other Matters - Conclusion
Grave Location & Photos
TO MRS. JOSEPHINE ALICE BELL, THE ONLY SURVIVING CHILD OF MY FIRST MARRIAGE; AND TO MRS. ELIZABETH J. WALSH, MY PRESENT BELOVED WIFE; AND TO OUR CHILDREN, ELLA B. WALSH, MOLLIE B. WALSH, DAVID G. WALSH, JOHN T. WALSH, JR., LOGAN W. WALSH, JOSEPH F. WALSH, THIS WORK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED BY THE HUSBAND AND FATHER, John Tomline Walsh.
THIS work, "The Life and Times" of Bro. Walsh, is a plain, simple narrative. There is no attempt to embellish, but the whole book is a childlike biographical and historical account of Dr. Walsh's life and times. It is not his life and writings, but his "Life and Times," including sketches of contemporary men, measures and things, with some brief reflections and incidents.
The materials, etc., have been collected and arranged by himself, and edited by a member of his own family. It covers ground heretofore unoccupied, and may serve as a basis on which some other writer may work up a history of things in North Carolina. It may also serve to perpetuate the names of those godly pioneers, now dead, as well as the names of many living laborers in the cause of Christ, which otherwise might be lost to memory in coming years.
It will doubtless give pleasure to Dr. Walsh's family and numerous friends, brethren and sisters throughout this broad land, where his name, for years, has been a household word.
It is thought it might be an acceptable offering to insert his portrait, and to add a phrenological chart given by Mr. Wells, of New York, by whom this chart was written out from two pictures, representing a bust and a profile view of his head and face, and sent to him some years ago by the eminent and distinguished phrenologist and publisher, Mr. S. R. Wells.
PHRENOLOGICAL CHARACTER OF DR. JOHN TOMLINE WALSH.
This gentleman has a large brain for one of his size, and the tendencies have always been toward mental activity. He has a fine-grained organization. His feelings are keen, and his thoughts clear. His mind is active and intense, and he has always inclined to over-work. His large perceptive organs are indicated by the prominence of the brow, and the length of the head from the opening of the ear, forward. Few men pick up knowledge so rapidly, and not two in a thousand remember with such clearness as he.
He has very large Language, and he can put his thoughts into words with remarkable freedom and facility, and recall his knowledge with readiness and accuracy. If he had devoted himself to the law, he would have carried the library in his head—or all that was worth carrying; and his power of criticism, and his love of argument and ability to debate would have made him a very successful advocate and debater at the bar. He has the common sense which would make a jury see the case in a plain, practical light. He has the power of analysis and logical criticism which would enable him to present the case in its philosophic form to the cultivated and the sound thinkers. He has strong scientific tastes, and as a physiologist or student in natural history he would be particularly skillful. His literary ability qualifies him for any field of effort where talking and writing are required.
He has strong religious susceptibilities, and his Veneration is large enough to make him decidedly devotional. His Benevolence is sufficient to make him susceptible to the wants of the world, and very kindly in his intercourse with mankind.
His large Firmness and rather large Self-Esteem qualify him for a leader and make him exceedingly determined, and direct, and earnest in all his efforts. He has the power of Continuity, the ability to hold his thoughts to a given line of action. He has independence enough to strike out a course of his own, to act above partisanship; yet when he believes himself to be in the right and to have the truth on his side, he holds it with remarkable tenacity; and though he has a respect for tradition, he is too conscientious and too independent to follow the beaten track, unless it accords with his judgment and conscience.
He is very fond of home; is domestic in his spirit. He loves children devotedly, which makes him acceptable to them wherever he meets them. He is frank to a fault, speaks his mind, often without remembering that some people have more personal sensitiveness than they have reverence for the truth. He strikes error if he can "under the fifth rib," without regard to the person who holds the error. He is tender and gentle as a child in the field of sociability, and especially towards the sick, the young and the ignorant; but brave defenders of error will find him a difficult opponent to deal with, because he has dignity, determination, conscience, reverence for the truth, and not much for tradition, and that clear, sharp, incisive method of analysis and criticism which few men are able to meet; and then he remembers everything, can talk to the point, and has his knowledge where he can avail himself of it in a moment.
He loves the polemic so well that the law and statesmanship would have been a very natural field for him. He has such literary taste that he could write or teach, and his strong religious convictions, his ardent sympathy for the human race, and his love for truth would make him a very effective preacher. He has such love of scientific knowledge that medicine would have been a good field for him. He has a singular combination of tenderness and strength, of fact and philosophy, of persuasion and force, of affection and dignity, which enables him to play upon the human heart in nearly all its ranges.
He will live to be old, unless he breaks himself down by overwork. There is in him a certain tenacity of life and constitution not easily exhausted. We advise him to sleep more than he inclines to, and eat nutritious diet, so that his system may be built up and sustained under the exhaustive excitements of mental labor.
John T. Walsh is of Scotch-Irish descent. It is not known at what time his ancestors came to America, but it was some time before the Revolutionary war. There were at least four brothers of that name, all of whom settled in Virginia, some of whom, however, subsequently removed to other States.
The grandfather of our subject had four sons, Dickerson, Abner, James, and William Walsh, the latter of whom was the father of John T. Walsh. Mr. William Walsh, the father, married a Miss Susan M. Higgason, whose mother's maiden name was Stanley. By this marriage Mr. Walsh had eight children, three daughters and five sons, John being the eighth child, and the fifth son. The names of the daughters were Mary, Lucy, and Sarah.
Mary married a Mr. Fleming, Lucy a Mr. Collins, and Sarah a Mr. Spicer. The names of the sons were Harden, Edward, Joseph, William, and John, the last being the subject of this biographical sketch. Harden removed to Missouri, married, and died there, leaving, I think, no children. Edward never married, but died in Virginia. William became a Methodist preacher, and joined the Virginia Conference, and when this conference was divided, he was transferred to the North Carolina Conference. He married a Miss Styron, on Portsmouth Island, by whom he had five or six children, only four of whom grew up to manhood. The names of these were Edward, William, Henry, and Theodore. All these boys died of consumption, inherited from the mother. Two of these died, and are buried in North Carolina, at Lenoir Institute, Lenoir County. The other two, with the mother, died in Maryland. Their father, at the close of the war in 1865, removed to Baltimore, and united with the Baltimore Conference, and was on a circuit in West Virginia at the time of his death. He left a widow, having married after the death of his first wife, but no children. He died childless. His son Henry became a preacher, but died young.
I make these collateral statements, because they are closely connected with the subject of this biography.
John Tomline Walsh was born on the 15th day of February, 1816, in Hanover County, Virginia; his father having died four days before, consequently he never saw him. His father had fallen asleep before he saw the light. The earth was snow-clad, and the sad mother had not yet even ceased to wipe the bitter tears from her eyes, when the pains of child-birth were upon her. What fears and hopes rested upon her, with reference to her new-born son, I do not know; but we may rest assured her heart was deeply burdened, fluctuating between the sorrows of a lost husband, and the joys of a new-born son!
Mr. Walsh had died of hemorrhage of the lungs. The child was small and delicate, and the mother exceedingly feeble. For some months the young life of the child was uncertain, and he continued, as he slowly grew up, to be very frail. The mother was too frail to nurse him, and a colored woman became his nurse. Time passed on and he grew up to boyhood, then to manhood; but he always had a delicate constitution. He was specially devoted to his mother and his youngest sister, whom he generally called "mama-Sallie." He was her special pet, and often screened him from the threatened lash for his many pranks. His mother early taught him to pray. She was a pious, godly woman, and conducted family prayers, after the death of her husband, until some of her sons grew up, embraced the Christian faith, and took her place in this matter. She was a Methodist, and her husband had been a class-leader. It was a praying family. The subject of this narrative remembers to this day, how he kneeled and laid his head on his mother's lap, while she taught that prayer, which seems to be known wherever the English language is spoken:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take:
And this I ask for Jesus’ sake.
Such were the influences under which he grew up. He was early taken to the Sunday-school and the Church, and soon learned to read the Scriptures as well as to pray. Having an active and retentive memory, he soon learned to repeat by rote verses, paragraphs, and whole chapters. He, with his elder brother William, made it a rule to read the Scriptures daily, and to commit portions of them to memory. They would go out into the woods, and hold prayer-meetings, one or the other praying aloud. John soon began to exercise himself in public tasks. He would go into the forest, take a text, and personifying different characters by the different kinds of trees before him, preach to them as if addressing a mixed audience. He would do the same thing when walking or riding alone along the road, and not unfrequently meet persons, and suddenly stop, feeling abashed.
But I am anticipating my narrative, to some extent, and will here close my first chapter.
There was nothing unusual in the youthful days of our subject, except, perhaps, his entire freedom from dissipation, profanity, and other habits or vices to which many youth become addicted. Perhaps the chief reason of this was, he was never allowed to associate with bad company! His God-fearing mother, sedulously guarded this point. He was never known to visit any family in the neighborhood, nor to associate with any boys without first asking the permission of his mother. When not going to church, he, with some of the rest of the children, found pleasure in remaining at home, and reading the Scriptures. He and his next elder brother would go out in the fields, look up scattered pine knots and bring them home to make light by which they might read night and morning. He often arose before day, and would read, and commit large portions of Scripture to memory. Indeed, he was a very great reader, very fond of poetry, as well as the older authors in theology, logic and rhetoric. Having been raised under the influence of a Methodist mother, his mind was, at first, chiefly directed to Methodist literature, and he read all, or nearly all, their standard works. Among them may be mentioned Wesley's Sermons, Fletcher's works, Clark's Commentary, Benson's Commentary, Watson's Institutes, besides many other smaller works too numerous to mention.
If he could not get poetical books to read, he would resort to the old hymn and psalm books. He was very fond of Charles, and John Wesley's hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs; and specially partial to those of Dr. Watts. The fame of Dr. Watts, as a writer and poet, was everywhere known in England, and on one occasion at a large gathering, one of the ladies, belonging to the royal family, expressed a desire to see him, as she had been informed he was present. The gentleman to whom she addressed herself replied that Dr. Watts was then standing near by, at the same time pointing him out to her. She turned to look at him, exclaiming, "What! that little man?" Dr. Watts was so close to her, he caught the words which fell from her lips, and replied impromptu—
"Were I so tall to reach the pole,
And grasp the ocean with a span,
I should be measured by my soul;
The mind's the standard of the man!"
I presume the lady was satisfied that it did not require a very large body to hold a large mind; and that it is not unfrequently the case the rule is reversed. Persons are not put up alike; some are of a fine texture, like silk; others are made to resemble rag-carpet material, and though having large bodies and large heads, mental power is not there. Neither is it all culture; some will educate themselves in spite of untoward beginnings and surroundings; while others, with many advantages, never excel in letters —"never climb the hill of science."
When about fourteen years of age, John T. Walsh professed faith in Christ, at a prayer-meeting, at the residence of Rev. Edward Tomline Rowzie. His brother William professed faith the same night. Both began to exercise their gifts in public, John, however, though the younger, taking the lead.
He remembers now the first time he ever attempted to preach. The text was, "Quench not the Spirit." He does not know how he divided it, if he did so at all; nor how he handled the subject. He believes, like many others—indeed, most other young preachers—he thought he had done splendidly! Over-confidence is a fault which is manifested by a majority of young preachers, which, in some, is so prominent as to be disgusting; if, however, they can be taught, trained, and properly controlled by older and more experienced brethren, this element of self-confidence may become one of success.
Returning to the early traits of young Walsh's character, it may be truthfully remarked that, in moral purity, he was an exception to many, and, in this regard, a model to all. He was never known to use a profane oath, nor an obscene word. He never danced, nor witnessed one in parlor, ball-room, or elsewhere. He never played cards, and does not to this day know one card from another. He never tasted of any kind of ardent spirits until fifteen or sixteen years old; and his whole life has been marked by sobriety and temperance in eating and drinking. Though having a full share of firmness and self-esteem, he also had large veneration, and entertained a high regard for the aged and for preachers of the gospel; he highly appreciated their visits to his mother's house, and would sit silently for hours listening to their conversation.
He was very confiding, never distrusting the truth of what he was told, until, by sad experience and observation, he learned that men did not always tell the truth.
The one being on earth he loved and honored most, was his mother. She was his moon by night, and his morning star by day; and he was ever ready to obey her calls to duty. The girl that loves her mother and father, will almost certainly make a good wife; and the boy that loves his mother, other things being equal, will make a good husband.
When quite a small child, young Walsh began school. A Mr. Stuart, who was generally regarded as an excellent teacher, taught in the neighborhood. He was an expert in his profession, and enjoyed the confidence and patronage of the entire community. As the other children were going to school, little John being at home alone, it was concluded to send him with the rest. He had not yet put on pants, but wore dresses like a little girl, and what, I believe, they called a "a long-eared bonnet." The reader, perhaps, will laugh at this, but he must remember this was over sixty years ago, in the country, and before mothers began to dress their children like dolls, only to be looked at and admired. In those days, a home-spun dress, and home-made shoes out of home-tanned leather, were the fashion for little boys as well as girls.
With this out-fit young Walsh started to school, with the promise if he would go, and be a good boy, he should have a new out-fit of the same sort! So off he went, and learned the alphabet the first day. This, he thought, was doing pretty well, and so did his fond mother. But he was timid at school that day; there were so many large boys and girls, he was afraid of them; and lest some one might take his bonnet, he put it on the bench, and sat on it! He continued to attend school, learned rapidly, and was soon able to repeat the alphabet from A to Z — or Z to A, either way, by rote. He continued going to this teacher for eight years, made rapid progress, and excelled in several of his studies, particularly in spelling, reading and grammar, geography, etc. He never liked arithmetic, but excelled in the use of language. And this he cultivated by reading daily, and in public speaking, until he became quite a little orator.
He subsequently attended a full course at an institution known as Humanity Hall Academy, under the management of Prof. E. G. Hanes, a very superior scholar. In this institution he took a full course, and laid the foundation on which, by personal effort, he has built up what literary and classic merit he has. But he was never content with whatever laurels he may have won at school. He never thought a man's education was finished or completed when he had passed through the curriculum of the schools, and left the walls of the college; but simply, that now the foundation was laid upon which a life-time structure must be raised by individual toil. This was the feeling he had, the views he held, and the purpose which nerved him to continue his studies as though he had everything yet to learn.
He began to distrust the claims of men, and would only give them credit for what he knew they possessed. He read books and remembered what he read. He became specially fond of anatomy, physiology, and medicine. The new science of phrenology had special charms for him. He read and studied Gall, Spurzheim, Coombe, and all the great masters of the science, and made himself quite an expert. He was a general student. But in all his studies, he never lost sight of the Bible. That was his Book of books, and a life-time study. Hence it is not strange if he excelled in theology and biblical literature. He did not confine his investigations to beaten paths, but leaving the "old ruts," so to speak, he branched out into new fields, and reexamined old issues. It is not wonderful, therefore, that he often found himself differing from his contemporaries, and taking independent views of things. These independent views sometimes led him to differ widely from some of his brethren, and, in more than one instance, to change his ecclesiastical status. Still, he never rejected nor accepted things by the wholesale. He could differ in one thing, and agree in another; indeed, he did this in many things. This independency of mind has characterized his whole life, and can be seen to this day in his writings, speeches and sermons. He has been called "a natural critic," and deems nothing too sacred to be investigated. He thought a man had better blunder in search of truth, than to float along on the "dead sea" of ignorance; and, perchance, wake up in another state, and know nothing as he might have known it!
While attending Humanity Hall Academy, he occasionally went home to see his mother, and on one of those occasions he arrived at what was then known as "Louisa Court House," the county-seat of Louisa county. It was a very small, dirty, dissipated place, with one small hotel. It was court week, and night had come on. He went to the hotel, and found it filled with drunkards, gamblers and swearers; and he at once made up his mind not to stay there. His old friend and brother, Thomas B. Humphreys, was then doing business in the village, and he went over to see if he could get lodging with him. Here he was told that his house was full, and he regretted very much he could not accommodate him. So young Walsh had his horse put up at the hotel, and walked down the road (it could not be called a street), about the fourth of a mile. Here he found a farm-yard with several straw-stacks, and he resolved to stay here all night, rather than to stay at the hotel, where he knew he would not sleep at all. He went to one of the stacks, pulled out the straw, making a large hole; and having on a large circular cloth coat, wrapped it around him, and crept into the hole he had made, adjusting the straw between him and the outside world, and so went to sleep! Did he sleep? Yes, fully as well as Jacob did with his head on a stone for a pillow; but he did not dream as Jacob did, for he slept soundly all night, and was awakened next morning by the barking of a dog, which, perhaps, got on the scent of him. So he arose from his bed of straw, put the straw back into the hole, went up to the hotel, attended to his horse, and made ready to leave. His preparation to leave consisted in the purchase of a quarter-pound of loaf sugar; and so, mounting his horse, he traveled all day on the strength of his sugar until three o'clock P. M., when hecame to a house of "Private Entertainment," kept by a widow lady, whose name is now forgotten. Here he stopped for the remainder of the day and night. Everything was clean, quiet and inviting. It was to him a little paradise. The good lady had his horse fed, and soon got him up one of those impromptu dinners of bread, fried ham and eggs, with smoking coffee; made him welcome, and he thought of his mother and felt at home! Having rested well, the next morning he arose refreshed, and went on to Humanity Hall, in Buckingham county, Virginia.
During his ride the previous day, he remembers having passed a very small place, not even worthy to be called a village, called Cuckoo. Perhaps there may have been a store or small shop there, and one or two dilapidated houses, but there was nothing inviting about it. Now it is quite a town, with considerable business; and it is the place of publication of the Atlantic Missionary, the organ of the disciples in Virginia. So the "voice of the cuckoo is heard in our land!" Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
Having concluded his studies at Humanity Hall, he associated teaching and preaching together, making teaching his business, and preaching as opportunity offered. He taught school in Essex county, Virginia, in Fredericksburg, and many other places; but he never liked it, preferring preaching to teaching. He preached in many places in the counties of Hanover, Caroline, Spottsylvania, and other places. In a short time he was recommended to the Methodist Quarterly Conference, to be examined and licensed to preach, a preliminary necessary to entering the Annual Conference. He passed a flattering examination (so the presiding elder, H. G. Leigh, said), and was recommended to the next Annual Conference for admission. He and a cousin of his, whose name was David Wood, were appointed to Lunenburg circuit, Wood being in charge, and H. G. Leigh presiding elder.
Soon after going on the circuit, a dark cloud arose on his path. He was late in reaching one of his appointments, near which lived a local preacher, Rev. John G. Claiborne, a man of considerable weatlh and influence in the community. Just before reaching the church, he passed a store which was open on Lord's day morning, and a crowd, chiefly of negroes, were there, who seemed to be drinking and carousing. He made a special note of it, not knowing whose property it was. Arriving at the church, he found a large audience assembled. Mr. Claiborne was there. Mr. Walsh was conducted to the pulpit and preached, taking the first Psalm for his subject. His exposition of the Psalm led him to make some very scathing remarks touching what he had seen that morning on his way to church, still ignorant of the name of the proprietor. This was the beginning of trouble. The services over, Mr. Claiborne invited him home with him. He went, but never visited him any more.
Mr. Walsh continued his rounds on the circuit, and often spoke of the desecration of the Lord's day which he had seen. He soon learned that Mr. Claiborne was the proprietor of the place he had passed. He was astonished! He had never before imagined that a Methodist, and especially a Methodist preacher, would either in person or by proxy engage in anything of the kind on the Lord's day, and he was amazed! Quite a youth as he was, if he had not had more than ordinary firmness and moral courage, his lips would have been thenceforth sealed; but they were not. He even then, at that tender age, manifested a courage, a firmness, and a boldness for which he has been noted ever since.
Things went on until it was determined that Mr. Walsh should be brought to trial. Mr. Claiborne's influence, and that of his friends, was against him, and young "Mordecai must not sit in the gate!"
In the meantime, another report, more damaging than the first, went out. Mr. Claiborne's overseer reported that he (Mr. Claiborne), had whipped one of his servants to death, or that the servant had died from the injuries received. This was spread abroad, and Mr. Walsh was charged with giving it circulation, although he heard of it for the first time when thirty or forty miles away from the place of its occurrence, if, indeed, it ever occurred at all.
A trial was appointed acording to the rules of the Discipline, and all the parties met except Mr. Claiborne. He did not attend. Why he did not, Mr. Walsh never knew. Of course no trial was had, and another place nearer Mr. Claiborne's residence was appointed. All met again, except Mr. Claiborne. Rather than not have a trial now, Mr. Claiborne was sent for. He came, and some sort of a trial was gone through with. Mr. Walsh was to leave the circuit, though some were in favor of dividing it, putting him on one part, and Mr. Wood on the other. But the final agreement was, Mr. Walsh was to leave the circuit, and was requested to attend the next Annual Conference.
This was a sad time to Mr. Walsh. He was not conscious of having done any wrong to Mr. Claiborne or any one else; and was slow to believe that any one could or would seek to do him an injury. And yet, an injury had been done, and he must bear it as best he could. He remembers that one old brother, a local preacher, came to him after the so-called trial was over and said to him: "Brother Walsh, go home, give yourself to reading and prayer; go up to the next Conference, and all will be well. This is no trial at all." Thanking him for his kindly sympathy, Mr. Walsh left the circuit, and went to that home where he knew there was one heart that was ever open to receive him — the heart of a mother!
Here he remained for some time, thinking over the past, and not determined as to the future. He felt he had been unjustly humiliated, and that he had suffered for doing right. And that, if wrong-doing was to be justified, when associated with pride and power; and humble innocence crushed, to protect and screen the guilty, he must now trust in God, and look out for himself. In the meantime, he received certificates from several parties, completely exonerating him from all criminality in either originating or circulating the reports, concerning the whipping of Mr. Claiborne's servant. He was really not implicated in that matter at all, and does not know to this day whether it was true or not. These certificates were given by a Mr. Niel and a Mr. Henry Hardy, the latter a class-leader in the M. E. Church. They were lost during the war, or they would appear here.
His brother, Rev. Wm. M. Walsh, then a member of the North Carolina Conference, also made him a visit, and tried to heal the deep wound that had been made in his heart. He urged him to go to the next Conference, assuring him he believed that all would be well, and work right. But it was too late! The love he had for the church of his mother, had received a terrible shock, and he felt as if he could not go back.
His mind had been exercised on the subject of Infant Baptism, for which, he thought, he could find no Scripture. While investigating this subject, he wrote several articles on it, which were published in the Religious Herald, Richmond, Va. At one time he thought he would take membership in the Methodist Protestant Church, but infant baptism was now in his way. He finally made up his mind to unite with the Missionary Baptists, but before making any application for membership, he went to his old friend, neighbor and brother, Rev. Edward T. Rouzie, told him of his purpose, and who warmly commended him to them, testifying to his uniform moral and Christian character, from his childhood to that time. Mr. Rouzie had known him from his infancy up.
Some readers, perhaps, may think this chapter an uninteresting one, and that it had better been left out; but a faithful biography required its insertion, and hence it appears, though it takes Mr. Walsh away from his early associations, the church of his youth and of his mother, whose prayers never ceased to follow him while she lived. And, on his part, he ever loved and cherished her whose memory lingers around the bowed form and the hoary head; and often, in imagination, he visits the spot where she rests from her labors of love.
Having resolved to join the Missionary Baptists, he did not go away from home to execute his purpose, but went to one of the nearest churches to his mother's residence, about ten miles, where he and his family were known — Burrus’ Meeting-House, Caroline Co., Va. Here, on a Lord's-day, he presented himself for membership. Elder Rufus Chandler was the pastor of the church, and conducted the examination. He was very kindly in his manners, and handled Mr. Walsh tenderly, though his questions were numerous and searching. Mr. Chandler asked for no "Christian experiences," as they were then called; but his questions had reference to expositions of Scripture, and practical Christianity. Among other questions, he asked Mr. Walsh "if he had any idea of originating a new religious party?" to which he replied with a very emphatic, "No, that he thought there were too many already." He was also asked "if he thought the privileges of the church belonged to the unbaptized?"—alluding, no doubt, to the question of communion.
To this he replied in the language of Christ to Nicodemus: "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he can not enter the kingdom of God;" and that those who were out of the kingdom, or church (as he then understood it), had no rights or privileges in the kingdom. This pleased Mr. Chandler, and he ceased to question Mr. Walsh. He was received for baptism, and a week later was baptized by Rev. Wm. I. Chiles, a young Baptist preacher, and took membership with the church. The Rubicon was now passed, and, being duly authorized to preach, he went at once into that work. He was not yet twenty years of age, so that the events recorded in this and the previous chapter took place while Mr. Walsh was yet in his teens. He was, indeed, "a man of war from his youth."
And, now, as to the ecclesiastical system he had left, it is proper to say a few words. Mr. Walsh had not changed his faith in Christ. He was his trust and hope. The Scriptures were his rule of faith and practice; and while he had suffered from an ecclesiastic system, he never ceased to love many of his Methodist brethren, who, at least to him, manifested a Christian spirit. He loved them for their zeal and devotion to what they believed was correct. The itinerant plan worked well, and gave employment to all classes of preachers, the learned and unlearned, the young and the old. The organization provided for the old, the sick, and the superannuated preachers, their wives, widows, and children. This is one of the highest commendations that can be given to any church, calling itself Christian.
A church which neglects to care for its poor, its aged and faithful preachers, and those who are dependent on it, has few claims to that Christianity taught by Christ and His apostles. Making special provision for these things is one of the redeeming traits in Methodism, and it is here recorded to their honor. Would they were as near the right in all other things!
Touching the question of baptism, Mr. Walsh knew that thousands and thousands of Methodists had been immersed on a profession of their faith in Christ; and he thought, believed, and often spoke it, that, if Mr. John Wesley, at first, had discarded sprinkling and pouring as baptism, and had incorporated immersion into his system as the only scriptural baptism, with the itinerant plan, he would have swept Christendom, if not the civilized world! As it is, the M. E. Church, with others not necessary to mention here, has aided in perpetuating the controversy concerning sprinkling and pouring to the present day; a controversy that should never have arisen in the Christian world, seeing that the scholars of all ages and all religious parties concede that immersion was the primitive practice; and not until they all return to this practice, will the denominations be united, if even then, or ever; for there are other causes which separate them, and perpetuate the present divided condition of Christendom. And the probability is that these divisions will continue until the Lord comes in person and reigns supreme as Lord of lords and King of kings.
"Ye different sects, who all declare,
Lo, Christ is here, and Christ is there;
Your stronger proofs divinely give,
And show me where the Christians live."
Reformations in theory have, no doubt, accomplished some good; but theories have largely taken the place of practical duty, piety, and love. Parties held together chiefly by an agreement in theory, are held by weak cords, and easily broken. There must be the three-fold cord of love; love to God, love of the truth for the truth's sake, and love of the brethren.
Men who disagree in some things often hate each other for party's sake, and keep their disagreements very prominent, or in the foreground, all the time. This should be reversed as far as possible. Magnify your agreements; make them prominent; hold up Christ as the great Magnet, and who said: "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." He was lifted up on the cross for us all. "He died for our sins." Let us all gather around His cross, and true allegiance and loyal obedience ever render to Him! Let your light shine brightly and broadly."Say, is your lamp burning, brother?
THE DISCIPLES—THE BAPTISTS—ANDREW BROADDUS—ALEXANDER CAMPBELL—THE "CHRISTIAN BAPTIST"—THE "RELIGIOUS
Mr. Walsh's union with the Missionary Baptists had brought him face to face with the controversy then going on between them and the Disciples. At the time spoken of he was teaching school at a Mr. Robert Noel's, in Essex county, Virginia. Mr. Noel was a Baptist, but a constant reader of the Christian Baptist, then edited and published by Mr. Campbell. Mr. Noel called Mr. Walsh's attention to this work, and told him "if he read it he (W.) would become a Campbellite," speaking at the same time in very high terms of Mr. Campbell as a writer and preacher. Mr. Noel had both heard and read him. This Mr. Noel was a brother of the celebrated Silas M. Noel, D.D., of Kentucky, who in after years was one of Mr. Campbell's theological opponents, and figures conspicuously in the early volumes of the Harbinger.
Mr. Walsh read the Christian Baptist, and began to see some things in a new light. Still he was quiet, although he would frequently converse freely and candidly with Mr. Noel, who was evidently quite partial to Mr. Campbell, though he never left the Baptists.
There were two things in which Mr. Walsh never agreed with the Baptists, viz., "Predestination," and "final perseverance of the saints." He rejected both these dogmas, but said little or nothing on these subjects. Time moved on and he learned more and more of his Baptist brethren; and the preachers and members evidently esteemed him very highly and encouraged him in the ministry. He remembers the first time he met with the learned, talented and eloquent Andrew Broaddus, one of the first (if not the first) Baptist preachers in Virginia. Mr. Broaddus was a gentleman of the "Old Virginia School," dignified, humble, pleasant and affable. He was easily approached, and often had a sparkle of wit and humor in his conversation, making him very companionable. The reader who has read after Mr. A. Campbell, will remember the kindly and Christian spirit manifested by Mr. Broaddus. Mr. Walsh's associations were chiefly with the following preachers of that time: Elders John Byrd, Philip Montague, John Montague, Richard Montague, Geo. W. Trice and some others, whose names have faded from memory. He met Elder Wm. F. Broaddus and Dr. J. B. Jeter a few times only. He frequently visited the office of the Religious Herald, and was well acquainted with its founder and editor, Mr. Wm. Sands, and contributed frequently to its columns.
These were transitorial times, as between the Disciples and Baptists. "Many," so to speak, "were running to and fro, and knowledge was on the increase." Mr. Walsh participated in the excitement, and strongly leaned towards the Disciples, and openly espoused that side of the controversy. He had been in a state of unrest for a few years, and now began to feel that he had found a rock-bottom, on which he could safely and securely rest. This change was made not because he loved the Baptists less, but because he loved the truth more, and believed the Disciples held more of it than the Baptists. Indeed, if the Baptists had accepted the principles of the Disciples, as advocated by Mr. Campbell and his co-laborers, the Disciples and Baptists would have continued one, but as they refused to do this a separation was made, and the two parties have worked independently ever since, though at times and in many places approaching each other so closely as to "go in and out, and find pasture."
In the meantime thousands of Baptists and hundreds of Methodists, as well as many from the other denominations, have identified themselves with the Disciples; and these, with thousands who have obeyed the gospel under their preaching, have swelled their numbers to largely over a half million in the United States, besides the thousands in Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England, Australia, Tasmania and other places far off among the other nations of the earth. At the same time the Baptists have greatly increased in numbers, zeal, intelligence and a wider influence everywhere. The Disciples have done them good, though they may never acknowledge it. They have fought their chief, if not all their battles on the subject of baptism, while the Baptists have largely, if not equally with the Disciples, reaped the fruits and enjoyed the victory! Well, God bless them for their love of civil liberty, and for all the truth they hold, preach and defend unto the ages!
The truth is, the plea of the Disciples has impressed itself upon all Christendom! It has served to modify, change, mold, and in many ways to elevate, and to bring nearer together the various sects of Christendom. In this let us all rejoice and be glad in the God of our salvation, and in even the partial success of the truth!
There is one point which, perhaps, should not be passed in silence. It is well known that many Baptists have contended for what may be termed a baptismal succession, from the days of the apostles to the present time; and that those not in this line of succession have not been scripturally baptized, nor are they properly qualified to baptize others; and, hence, they have been in the practice of re-baptizing all who went to them from other religious parties without regard to any previous baptism or immersion. This extreme view of this question is not held by the better informed and more learned among them now; but still there are not a few who reject those who have been baptized by the Disciples, unless indeed they will submit to be re-baptized by a Baptist minister.
Baptismal succession is on a par with "apostolic succession," and if one holds good so does the other. Consistency should accept or reject both.
It is quite a rare thing for a Disciple to join or re-join the Baptists, but some few cases have occurred. But nothing of this kind should ever have taken place, with regard to any one who had been baptized by Mr. Walsh, who, as already stated, was baptized by Mr. Chiles, a regular Baptist preacher! And this is true of all other preachers among the Disciples who came out from the Baptists, not excepting Mr. Campbell himself! All this, however, is nothing but a stumbling-block in the way of that Christian union for which Christ prayed, and for which all Christians should pray and labor. When will all immersed believers acknowledge—
One God and Father of all?
One Lord Jesus Christ?
One Spirit? and,
Lord, hasten the day!
Mr. Walsh was married twice. His first wife was Miss Eliza Ann Beazley, whom he married on the 6th day of June, 1838. He was then in his 22d year. By this union he had eight children, five sons and three daughters, the names of whom, according to their birth, are as follows: James, William, Susan, Josephine, John Richard, John Walton, Charles, and Rosa. William and Susan died in Essex county, Virginia, John Walton died in Philadelphia, and sleeps in Greenwood cemetery. John Richard died in Richmond, Virginia, and was buried there. James, Robert, Charles, and Rosa, died in North Carolina, and were buried in the cemetery at Kinston, where their mother sleeps in the hope of the resurrection of the dead.
The only surviving child by his first marriage is Mrs. Josie A. Bell, of Tarboro, N.C. Mrs. Eliza A. Walsh, as already intimated, died in Kinston, N.C., June 28th, 1857. The following brief obituary was prepared by Mr. Pinckney Hardee, a brother of the Baptist Church:
"Departed this life, in this place, on the night of the 27th ult., at 12 o'clock precisely, after a protracted illness of some three months, ELIZA, the beloved consort of the Rev. John T. Walsh, in the forty-first year of her age. She was born in Essex county, Virginia, on the 23d of October, 1816; was married the 6th of June, 1838; united herself by baptism, with the church worshiping at upper Essex, in 1839; has been the mother of eight children, seven of whom have preceded her to the tomb, the last one of which seven, an infant of some five or six weeks old, only a few weeks before her departure; but she has gone to the enjoyment of a more perfect union of kindred spirits, in that glorified state, where parting will be no more known forever. Her funeral was preached by the Rev. John P. Dunn, and the mortal remains conveyed to their final resting-place on the 29th ult., amidst a large number of deeply sympathizing neighbors and friends. May the Father of all mercies, and the God of all grace, bless, comfort, and sustain the deeply afflicted husband and bereaved orphan through life, and at the last admit them to the society of the loved ones who preceded them, and to the full fruition of that rest which remaineth for His people."
As the golden chain of domestic life had been broken, and finding "it not good for man to be alone," Dr. Walsh, the year after the death of his first wife, began to look around him for one to fill the chair which death had made empty. He soon found one, a sister in Christ, who, he believed, would fill the eyes, heart and place which the tyrant Death had left dark and desolate. This was the amiable and beautiful Miss E.J. Green, of Jones county, N.C., whom he baptized into Christ in 1853, and married April 13th, 1858. The fruits of this marriage were six children, four sons and two daughters. Beginning with the first-born, they stand in the following order: Ella, David, Logan, Mollie, John and Joseph. All are living, and all are members of the Church of Christ, except Joseph, who is, as yet, too young to obey the Gospel.
Here it becomes necessary to go back to an earlier period in the life of Mr. Walsh. His chief evangelical labors in Virginia began soon after his first marriage. At first he was employed in York and adjacent counties. He labored in York, Warwick, New-Kent and Matthews counties. He preached in the town of Hampton, near Fortress Monroe, with considerable success. Also in Yorktown, Williamsburg, and elsewhere. His evangelical labors, in subsequent years, were extended to the counties of King - and - Queen, King William, Hanover, Louisa, Essex, and adjacent places.
While residing in York as an evangelist, he spent much of his time in the families of Dr. Frederick Power, the grandfather of our brother F.D. Power, of Washington City, and Elder John Curtis, who fell in the pulpit at Grafton while preaching, and expired. Brother Curtis was a fine looking, portly man, and died, it is supposed, of heart disease. Dr. Power and family excelled as high-toned Christians, and their domestic relations and surroundings were as pure as they were lovely.
Many other family names are remembered, such as the Wynnes, Nelsons, Tabbs, Whitakers, and Piggotts, all of whose memories are cherished Christianly, though rising up in the shadowy past. Here too, in the city of Williamsburg, the seat of William-and-Mary College, lived the redoubtable and eccentric Baptist preacher, Scervant Jones. It is said he entertained at one time the whole Dover Association at his own expense; that, on one occasion, all the preachers present were sitting at his table, and on turning their plates, each one found a fifty-dollar bill under his plate! The truth of this is not vouched for, but it is like him. He was a man of large means, and quite liberal.
At a dining on one occasion, as an illustration of his eccentric wit, a Mr. Owle having dined at the first table, and Mr. Jones at the second, he was requested to ask a blessing, and did so in the following style:
"Good Lord of Love,
Look down from above,
And bless the Owle
That eat this fowl,
And left the bones
For Scervant Jones."
Those who dined at the first table must have loved chicken, as most preachers, especially Methodist preachers, are said to do, and left the bones bare, to have given such an inspiration to the gustatory muse of Mr. Jones.
A young preacher, John D. Ferguson, was in Virginia a while, and attended, for a short time, William-and-Mary College, boarding at Mr. Jones’, who was very kind to him, and took quite a fancy to him. Mr. Walsh preached several times at this old seat of learning, and on more than one occasion President Dew was a hearer. He was a very learned and popular professor, and would have been an honor to any institution.
On one occasion, Mr. A. Campbell had an appointment to preach there in the Old English Church. The people were aroused far and near, anxious to hear him. And among the number was a Mr. Coke, an unusually tall man. To be certain of getting a good, comfortable seat, he went early; but, sad for him, he was so very comfortable as to fall asleep before Mr. Campbell entered the house! Mr. Campbell came, the house was filled, but Mr. Coke slept on! Mr. Campbell preached, concluded the services, and Mr. Coke was only aroused from his slumbers by the departing congregation. Being thus aroused, he arose hastily, and went rapidly for the door, but, being tall, he upset a lamp hanging over the aisle; this hastened his steps, and, before reaching the door, he overturned another, the oil running down over his shoulders, and richly anointing his garments! He thus escaped from the house, provoked with himself, and greatly disappointed in not having heard a word of Mr. Campbell's great discourse!
While Mr. Walsh was evangelizing in that field, his wife being then at her mother's, in Essex county, he, after preaching one day, left for home. It was late when he reached York River, here formed by the junction of the rivers Pamunky and Mataponi, about four miles wide. The river was so wide as to require a white flag to be run up on a pole, to attract the attention of the ferry-man on the opposite side, as a signal for him to come over. The flag was run up, but no ferry-man came, it being too dark for him to see it. Here was a large plantation, cultivated by a large number of negroes, with a solitary overseer, and he a rusty, crusty bachelor! Mr. Walsh requested to stay all night, after explaining the situation; but the overseer refused! Mr. Walsh told him if he would allow him to stay in the house, he would sit up, and not disturb his slumbers; but no, he could not stay.
It was now getting well into the night, and Mr. Walsh found there was no alternative but to retrace his steps. It was a very dark night, no moon nor starlight, and he had to go back through a dense forest. He could not see his hand or horse before him; so, committing himself to God's care, he started back, a distance of five or more miles. He passed safely through the forest, and in a short time discovered a house on the right on a high hill, with light streaming through the windows. He thanked God and took courage, and resolved to go up to the house and see if he could find any hospitality there. He went up and called. A middle-aged gentleman came out. Mr. Walsh asked him, after explaining matters, if he could take care of him for the night? "Yes," was the quick and hearty reply. "Get down and let me take your horse," calling a servant for that purpose. He soon conducted Mr. Walsh into the house, and made him welcome and at home. His wife had retired, but was soon up, actively moving about. She very soon had a nice supper prepared, and Mr. Walsh sat down and ate heartily, with a thankful heart. Supper being over, and the hour late, the kind gentleman had his unexpected guest to retire, telling him, however, that he was going fox-hunting in the morning; that he would blow his horn at an early hour for his hounds and be off; "but," said he, "you sleep on as long as you please, and stay as long as you wish. My wife will take care of you."
Mr. Walsh thanked him for his kindness; told him he must leave in the morning, and asked him what he charged him. The reply came as quickly and as cordially as at the first: "Nothing, sir, nothing but to call on us again." Thanking him for his unexpected kindness, Mr. Walsh retired, went to sleep, sleeping soundly, not even hearing the noble fox-hunter's horn! But, in his own mind, he strongly contrasted these two men; one an old, dry bachelor, living for nothing and nobody; and the other a married man with a good, loving wife, and a house full of children; and the hearts of husband and wife largely expanded by all the domestic and noble affections.
Next morning, Mr. Walsh went on to the ferry again. The flag was run up, the ferry-man came, and Mr. Walsh passed over homeward bound.
There was a stopping-place on the opposite side of the river, which, if Mr. Walsh could have reached the over-night, he would have found exceedingly pleasant. This was the residence of Mr. James Christian, the father of the late Mrs. John F. Wooten, of Kinston, N.C. She also had an half-sister, Miss Emeline Christian, very generally known in eastern Virginia, as a great belle, and a great disciple. It was said she had rejected many suitors! But she finally married Dr. Trible, and, I believe, our brother J.M. Trible is a son of this marriage.
West Point, at the junction of the Pamunky and Mataponi, is now quite a town, and a railroad terminus; then it was a man-abandoned place, covered with flies, gnats and mosquitoes in warm weather, to the great annoyance of man and beast, filling the air, ears and eyes.
Mr. Walsh landed at this point several times, and found it as described, to the great annoyance of himself and horse.
In the course of Mr. Walsh's ministry, he often visited the county of Matthews, where lived many disciples. Among these was the family of Col. Hudgens, himself a Baptist, and three lovely daughters who were disciples. The eldest of these had married a Mr. Todd, the others were then in the spring-time of youth and beauty. A friend and brother in Christ had won the hand and heart of Miss Columbia, and the time drew nigh for the consummation of the nuptials. She was espoused to a noble-hearted and intelligent gentleman — John B. Cary, of Hampton, Va. Mr. Walsh remembers when Mr. Cary came over to a neighboring house in a sleigh, the ground being covered with snow, to take him to the place of marriage, and to celebrate the matrimonial rites.
Mrs. Todd was preparing to leave for the State of "The Lone Star," Texas, her husband having preceded her to that State, and she was going to join him. We were all assembled in the parlor, and the marriage ceremony was already begun. Mrs. Todd stood weeping bitter and copious tears. She was about to part, perhaps forever, from a loved sister, and her tears flowed freely. The bride, Miss Columbia, also broke forth in tears, and there they stood weeping! weeping! the bride, if anything, more beautiful for her tears, until, having to pause in the ceremony, Mr. Walsh felt the tear-drops tremble in his own eyes, and thought he saw these dew-drops of the heart also trembling in the eyes of the noble bridegroom. The pause being over, Mr. Walsh proceeded with the ceremony, and the twain were made one flesh. Mrs. Todd left that morning for the West, and the bride with her husband for Hampton, Va.
And, if the reader is curious to know what has become of that couple, he may find them in the city of Richmond, Va., in the persons of Col. John B. Cary and his wife, two disciples well known to our brotherhood everywhere in the "Old Dominion."
Those having in charge the evangelical work of Eastern Virginia, desired him to take for his next field what was known as "The Northern Neck," a narrow slip of country embracing the counties between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. Mr. Walsh, to carry out this purpose, deemed it best to remove his family with him into this new field, and he located at Westmoreland C. H. Here he found a few disciples to coöperate with him, a brother Hazard, a brother Andrews (who was a lawyer), and some others. A small congregation was formed at this point; but after Mr. Walsh left, and some of the members were scattered, it ceased to exist.
In this field Mr. Walsh labored for over a year, doing much good, and winning quite a number of souls to Christ. In visiting different parts of this field, Mr. Walsh occupied such church-houses as he was permitted. At one point, where he had preached several times, the Baptists refused him the use of their house any longer. This aroused the community, and they resolved to erect a stage for the purpose of hearing preaching independently of the Baptists. This they did, and Mr. Walsh continued to preach in the open air with good results.
A remarkable incident occurred in this community. Mr. Walsh was requested to marry a couple. The bride and groom, and the witnesses, assembled. The groom and bride were both dressed in pure white. Mr. Walsh married them, and the bridal party at once repaired to the water, and Mr. Walsh baptized the newly made husband and wife into the Lord Jesus Christ! They were married to each other and to Christ the same hour of the day! While in this field of the Northern Neck, Mr. Walsh, by special request, visited the city of Alexandria, Va., and preached several times, with what results he never knew; but he enjoyed the trip up the Potomac on the steamer, and had the pleasure of seeing Mt. Vernon, the home of Washington, where sleep the ashes of the Father of his country.
The time came when Mr. Walsh must leave this field, and return to his former home in King William county. To this end he packed up, secured wagons, and prepared to start with his family and household goods. He had arrived at the Rappahannock River, at the place of crossing. The wagons were unloaded, discharged, and returned home. In the meantime the wind had shifted to the northwest and was blowing furiously, causing the river to be very rough. It was growing colder every moment. The ferry-man was on the opposite side of the river, and could not cross on account of the wind; and night was approaching. What now to do, was the problem. The situation was treeless, cheerless, and cold.
Along the river bottom was a large plantation, under the management of an overseer. He and family lived about a mile from the river. Mr. Walsh had no corn or fodder to feed his horse. Holding a council with Mrs. Walsh, it was determined to send the servant girl to the house, and, first of all, to see whether the gentleman would take them in and lodge them for the night; and, if not, to buy food for the horse. The servant girl went, returned, and reported. The overseer inquired of the servant who they were, and on being informed Mr. Walsh was a preacher, wanted to know what sort of a preacher. The unsophisticated servant, not knowing what else to say, told him Mr. Walsh was a "Campbellite"! This was enough. There was no room for "Campbellites." It is really a wonder he sold Mr. Walsh provisions for his horse.
It was clear he had to remain there all night, and he went to work to prepare for it. Taking the bedsteads, bed-covering, and chairs, he very soon constructed a rude tent, kindled a fire of sticks, cooked a scanty meal, and then lay down to rest, Mr. Walsh and the servant girl keeping watch alternately through the night! Next morning the ice was plentiful, but the wind had subsided, and the river was calm. Very early the ferry-man came over, and the boat was loaded. But, in trying to get the horse aboard, it being covered with ice, Mr. Walsh's feet slipped, and he fell into the river! Nothing daunted, he got aboard again and left his horse for a second trip of the boat. There were a few houses on the opposite side of the river, and Mr. Walsh dried himself as best he could, while the ferry-man recrossed the river for his horse. Friends with their teams had met him here, prepared to remove him to his destination. In trying to get the horse on board the boat, the animal was crippled for life. But, once across the river, all hands started, Mr. Walsh's clothes still wet upon him.
One other incident, before finally leaving the Northern Neck, deserves a brief mention. A young lady desired to obey the Gospel. It was about a mile to the water. The parties walked to the water, and found it frozen to the thickness of an inch and three-quarters. The ice was broken, and the lady baptized. On coming out of the water, she had a sister present who desired to be baptized, but she had no change of clothing. She put on her sister's wet clothing, Mr. Walsh having on his wet clothing all the time, and he baptized her, returning over the snow-clad earth to the house.
If any evil results ever followed this transaction, they never came to the ears of Mr. Walsh. Certainly none came to him, thus showing the truth of Elder John Leland's words:—
"If your heart be warm, Ice and snow can do no harm."
PIONEER PREACHERS IN VIRGINIA—CO-LABORERS,
A. CAMPBELL, T. M. HENLEY, AND OTHER
THE DOVER ASSOCIATION.
It is deemed proper at this point to speak of some of the pioneer preachers in Virginia, and of those who were co-laborers with Mr. Walsh, and other distinguished evangelists and brethren who deserve honorable mention.
Among the pioneer preachers in Virginia, meriting special mention, should be named those men who were ostracised by the Dover Baptist Association. These, if memory fails not, were James M. Bagby, Peter Ainslie, Uriah Higgason, Dr. John DuVal, and a Bro. Atkinson. If there were others, they are not remembered.
These were all strong men, fully prepared to explain and defend the truth. Mr. Ainslie was drowned on his way to an appointment, when crossing the Pamunky River. He was a tower of strength, and a great loss to the cause. Uriah Higgason had determined to move west, and died on the route. Mr. Atkinson did not live many years, but died at home. The rest lived for many years, and did good service in the Master's cause.
James M. Bagby was a good logician, and often eloquent in his appeals to sinners, many of whom he won over to Christ.
Dr. John DuVal was a very popular preacher, winning in his manners and captivating in his address. He was a native of North Carolina, born in Jones Co. He also had a brother, living at Trenton, in the same county, who was a physician, but not a preacher.
Dr. DuVal's face was generally wreathed in smiles, and often when preaching on some pleasant, joyful subject, tears and smiles were mingled together, resembling the rays of the sun coming through a light cloud, and sparkling in the rain-drops!
Thomas M. Henley was like the sturdy oak, plain, forcible, and as firm as a rock. He did fully as much (if not more) than any other preacher of his time to establish the reformation in old Virginia. He was a regular correspondent of the Millennial Harbinger, and preached extensively in the Old Dominion.
Very soon other preachers came to the front—such men as R. L. Coleman, James W. Goss, Silas Shelburne, Henry T. and Albert Anderson, Peter Ainslie, Jr., James Henshall, an Englishman by birth, who accompanied Mr. A. Campbell in his tour to England, Scotland, and Ireland, when he was imprisoned so unjustly and wickedly at the instigation of a Mr. Robinson, "whose heart was not right in the sight of God."
R. L. Coleman was an able preacher, and did good service in the cause of the Master. He started and edited the Christian Intelligencer, first in Richmond and then in Charlottesville, Virginia.
James W. Goss was a true yoke-fellow of Mr. Coleman. They often labored together, and Mr. Coleman associated him with himself in the editorial management of his paper.
Mr. Goss was one of the most eloquent preachers in Virginia, and, when he visited the city of Richmond, drew together audiences nearly or quite as large as Mr. Campbell himself. It was a feast to listen to his sacred oratory. He captivated both mind and heart, and carried the affections by storm!
Henry T. Anderson is known chiefly as a translator. His brother Albert was as mild as May, and as tearful as April showers. He was emphatically a good man and a good preacher. There were others whom Mr. Walsh met, besides the venerable Shelburne and Mr. Ainslie. Cephas Shelburne, Dr. Bullard, A. B. Walthall, W. K. Pendleton, R. Y. Henley, and others. R. Y. Henley and W. K. Pendleton both married daughters of Mr. Campbell, and both spent much of their time about Bethany, Va. Mr. Pendleton, after the death of the lamented Campbell, became President of Bethany College, which position he has filled ever since with dignity and honor.
The name of Geo. W. Abell must not be omitted. He was an evangelist for many years, a successful preacher, and a good man. He died with his gospel armor on, and bequeathed his wife and children to God and the church. He was one of God's noblemen.
Dr. Wm. H. Hughart, who subsequently visited North Carolina and spent a few years there, was an able preacher and a logical reasoner.
In Richmond Mr. Walsh often heard the eloquent and logical Campbell. He heard him time and again in the old Sycamore Church, on Broad Street. He listened to his soul-stirring and mind-convincing discourses, as he addressed a sea of upturned faces as still as the ocean quietly sleeping, and even the fall of a pin could be heard!
Here, too, for the first time, Mr. Walsh met that ripe scholar, Dr. Silas Shepard, the eloquent evangelist, David S. Burnet, and that prince of editors, then quite a young man, Isaac Errett, of the Christian Standard.
In after years Mr. Walsh met R. L. Coleman and Isaac Errett at a meeting of the General Christian Missionary Convention in Richmond, Va. These brethren, Coleman and Walsh, had not seen each other for years; and on meeting embraced each other with gladness. And on parting, when the meeting closed, these two brethren, Errett and Walsh, embraced each other, perhaps for the last time on earth, and wept like children. Oh, how sweet is Christian love!
Going back to where the previous chapter ended, about the year 1845-’6, we find Mr. Walsh located in the city of Richmond, attending to secular business.
In the congregation at the old Sycamore Meeting-House, there were some pure spirits and noble Christians. The following names among the number are recalled: Thomas J. Glenn (one of the elders) and wife, the family of T. B. Humphreys, Logan Waller, Joel Bragg, Wm. H. Clemmitt, and others. Some of these have passed over the dark river, while others, like Mr. Walsh himself, are going down the declivity of human life, where the evening shadows gather.
Having remained in the city until 1848, Mr. W. removed to Philadelphia, for the purpose, in part, of prosecuting his medical studies, to which he had for years given special attention with a view of making it his profession. And here we leave him for the present, and will, in the next chapter, follow him to "the City of Brotherly Love."
On the arrival of Mr. Walsh and family in Philadelphia, he was in a strange place, with strange people; but he soon made the acquaintance of a goodly number, and was invited to preach in several of the churches in the city, besides preaching in several public halls prepared for religious services. Having gone there chiefly for medical purposes, his first attention was given to that. In the meantime, while looking around for a home, he gave some phrenological lectures, and formed and taught a class to aid him financially, his means being small. He visited the interior of the State of Pennsylvania, and preached in several towns.
Dr. Thomas Cook solicited him to get up a petition asking the legislature, then in session, to grant a charter to establish "The Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania," to which he consented, lending his aid for that purpose, he himself becoming one of the trustees, orincorporators. The legislature, without a dissenting voice, granted the charter, and pretty soon the college was organized by the election of its officers, and the appointment of its professors. A suitable building was secured, and Mr. Walsh was requested by the board of trustees to prepare the first annual address to the public, which he did. It was approved, and published to the world, setting forth in strong language the claims of the new institution. One among the first things the board did, after being duly organized, was to unanimously confer on Mr. Walsh the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine. This, as he was a comparative stranger, was considered a very high compliment both by him and all concerned, as well as by the public generally who knew of the facts in the case. The chair of anatomy and physiology was still vacant, and the board at once appointed Dr. Walsh to it, which he filled until leaving the city, in 1850.
This college flourished for several years, but Dr. Walsh having resigned, and Dr. Cook, the leading spirit of the institution, having died, it soon began to wane. There was an Eclectic Medical College in Cincinnati at the same time, in quite a flourishing condition, and eclecticism seemed to be the order of the day. But the new school of homœopathy was rising rapidly, and very soon over-shadowed eclecticism. Besides, the new school had received many able recruits from the regular school of medicine; indeed, at first the homœopaths were generally, if not entirely, from the old school; and as they used, for the most part, the same medicines, though in much smaller doses, the transition was both easy and pleasant, especially to the patients, who were opposed to the use of drugs and large nauseating doses of physic, converting the stomach into an apothecary shop!
Eclecticism is now quite a thing of the past, while homœopathy is constantly growing in favor, and can boast of many colleges of high repute throughout the civilized world.
While Dr. Walsh sojourned in Philadelphia, the Asiatic cholera visited that city as an epidemic the second time; but the mortality was not so great as at the first time. He witnessed cases in almost all stages of the disease, from the first attack, to the final state of collapse and death. Here, too, he witnessed one of the largest fires he ever saw. The fire originated in a warehouse on Delaware river, and consumed at least five-hundred buildings, mostly brick, and large. It began about one o'clock, P. M., and burned till late in the night, lighting up the heavens for many miles around and away, and burning shingles and other light materials were wafted by the winds miles away from the burning district.
In 1850, Dr. Walsh determined to return to Richmond, Va., and practice medicine, which he did, locating on Broad street, and having an office in the basement of Thos. J. Glenn's residence. He practiced medicine two years, and bid fair to make it lucrative.
About this time, Elder John P. Dunn, of North Carolina, wrote a letter to Elder R. L. Coleman, editor of the Christian Intelligencer, asking for an evangelist. Dr. Walsh read the appeal, and opened a correspondence with Elder Dunn, the result of which was, that in March, 1852, he, with a young brother, H. Wicker, made a visit to North Carolina, stopping at a small village called Kinston. Goldsboro was then a small place, and there was no railroad from that place to Kinston. So, taking the stage, Dr. Walsh and Mr. Wicker went on to Kinston. This was Monday, of court week. They stopped at the Caswell House, kept by a polite Virginia gentleman, Dr. Thomas Woodly, who received and treated them very pleasantly.
After dinner they inquired for Gen. Cox's residence, which was pointed out to them, and to which they repaired and found a comfortable home. It being court week, they found Elder Dunn in the town, made his acquaintance, and promised to visit him soon.
In a few days Elder Dunn sent his carriage for them, and took them to his house, about nine miles from Kinston. They found him a very pleasant, courteous, Christian gentleman, and spent many days with him. On the next Lord's day, which was the third Lord's day in March, 1852, the morning opened brightly, but it had been snowing, though the foliage was unusually large for the season; and the green leaves covered with a light snow, flooded with the bright rays of the sun, made a beautiful picture. Elder Dunn soon had his carriage in readiness, and he, Dr. Walsh and H. Wicker were off to Elm Grove, Pitt county. Dr. Walsh preached, and all returned to Elder Dunn's that evening.
During this brief sojourn in the "Old North State," Dr. Walsh preached at many points. Rose of Sharon, Lenoir county; Chinquepin Chapel and Pleasant Hill, Jones county; Wheat Swamp, Lenoir county; Hookterton and Oak Grove, Greene county, and elsewhere.
The result of this visit was an agreement that Dr. Walsh should return to Richmond, Va., and bring his family out with him, and engage regularly in the work of evangelizing.
He returned to Richmond, and made preparations to remove to North Carolina. Taking his family with him, he came via Goldsboro, and arrived a little after night at the home Mr. Jacob Parrott, on the stage road, about six miles above Kinston. Here he and family met with a hearty welcome, and made it their home for several months. He continued to board with different Christian families for about two years, when he concluded, if possible, to buy a house and lot in Hookerton. A Dr. R. Hooker, living there, offered to sell to him; but how he was to buy, was the difficulty.
While pondering over this matter, he made a visit to a Mr. Benj. Streater, in Pitt county, a gentleman of large means, and a disciple of Christ. Dr. Walsh told him he and family were weary of boarding, and that he would buy a home, and go to housekeeping; but he had not the means, and did not see his way open in the matter at all. Without any hesitation, this noble and generous hearted Christian handed Dr. Walsh five hundred dollars! Dr. Walsh wished to give him his note for the amount, but he would not accept it! This was the most large-hearted act of generosity Dr. Walsh ever experienced. Though he has, in the course of a long life, found many liberal-hearted brethren, he has never found one whose liberality was equal to this, and, in Dr. Walsh's esteem, in this act Mr. Streater built a monument more durable than the hills!
How strongly does this contrast with the many whose hearts have never expanded with a single generous emotion; whose hands clutch the last dollar, and who practically proclaim on all occasions, "I am not my brother's keeper."
Fifty or more years ago Thomas Campbell, the father of Alexander, passed through this State, preaching the old Jerusalem gospel. He came into the State by way of Norfolk, Va., riding on horseback. This was his usual method of traveling in those days. He preached at Edonton, Greenville, and other points, making a deep and favorable impression wherever he preached. Among the preachers who were strongly impressed with the truth as presented by Mr. T. Campbell were General Clarke, of Greenville; Thomas J. Latham, of Pantego; John P. Dunn, of Lenoir county, and several others.
The records which have reached the knowledge of Dr. Walsh date back as far as 1831, February 2 and 3, in connection with a church in Lenoir county, not far from Kingston, and it is believed, was subsequently transferred to the village, and constituted the basis of the present congregation there. The name of that church was the "Little Sister." At the date indicated a meeting was held there, and delegates appointed, representing a number of churches, which are here reported:
Old Ford, Beaufort county; Tranter's Creek, Smythewick's Creek, Grindale Creek, Rountree's, Pitt county, and Little Sister, Lenoir county. The following delegates reported: John P. Dunn, O. Canfield, A. Congleton, John Leggett, Edwin Gorham, B. F. Ebron, Wm. Clarke, Charles J. Rountree, Willie Nobles, Isaac Baldree, Walter Dunn, A. Tull, James S. Desmond.
The above meeting was held in the early part of the year 1831, and the writer does not know of any meeting earlier than this in the history of the Disciples in North Carolina.
In 1851, the year before Dr. Walsh came to the State, Elder J. P. Dunn and others had protracted a meeting at Tyson's M. H., Pitt county, with considerable success; and this fact, it is thought, had much to do in arousing additional interest in the cause, and prompted Elder Dunn to call for help from abroad. Added to this, two of the few preachers who had been laboring jointly with Elders Dunn and Latham, had fallen asleep in Christ.
These were Robert Bond and G. B. Gaylord, both workmen not to be ashamed, "rightly dividing the word of truth." They are spoken of as able preachers of the gospel, and as having done much good. Their memories are cherished now, specially by the older Disciples in Lenoir, Craven, and adjoining counties; and they, though dead, yet speak to many of those living in eastern Carolina.
Robert Bond died and was buried at his home in Senoir county; John B. Gaylord died in Kinston, and was buried in the rear of the Christian church, near the river Neuse. The church has been removed to a more central locality, and the old lot sold and under cultivation, including the spot where the man of God reposes in the slumber of death.
There are two extremes among up us which are noteworthy. One is to crucify men while they live, and glorify when dead. The other is to magnify them when living, and to cast them forth when dead, neglected and forgotten.
Should not the memories of the preachers of the gospel, while living and laboring, receive greater consideration, and their remains, when dead, more respect?
In the place of these two fallen servants of God, and perhaps in the same year, God raised up two others to take their places. These were George Joyner and Josephus Latham, of whom something will be said hereafter.
Dr. Walsh, on coming to "the old North State," immediately engaged in the work of evangelizing, part of the time alone and part of the time having Elder Gideon, of Marlboro, Pitt county, as his associate. They preached together in Johnston, Sampson, and Wayne counties, meeting with more or less success everywhere.
Elder G. Allen was not a man of learning, nor was he an eloquent preacher; but he was a plain, practical, and good preacher, took well with the masses, and "the common people heard him gladly."
In the course of Dr. Walsh's ministry in North Carolina, he had the charge of several churches for a number of years. The following among others, may be mentioned: Oak Grove, Greene county (now called Corinth, Pitt county); Hookerton, Greene county; Wheat Swamp and Kinston, Lenoir county; Bethany, Pamlico county, and several other churches for shorter periods of time.
A few years after locating in the State he held a meeting at Hookerton, and baptized between thirty and forty persons. He also conducted a protracted meeting at Wheat Swamp, and baptized in that year of his pastorate about seventy persons. On one occasion, on a Lord's day, he preached there to a large congregation; and at the close of his discourse he extended an invitation to all who accepted Christ as their Saviour to come forward and confess their faith in Him; and fourteen young ladies arose simultaneously and came forward! There were few dry eyes in the house on that occasion; every heart seemed to be melted, and all eyes suffused with tears.
On another occasion, when preaching at this same place, there was a good Sister Barrow, whose lot it was to have quite a number of small children; and, she being a zealous Christian, always selected a prominent seat in front of the pulpit. On the occasion referred to, to keep her children quiet during the services, she took the precaution of taking along a well-filled basket of gingerbread; and, while it lasted, all was quiet, but when the bread gave out, the children began to cry. They cried lustily, and Dr. Walsh, in order to be heard, raised his voice higher, and the competition between him and the children waxed warmer and warmer, higher and higher, until at last the children triumphed, and he sat down utterly defeated! This incident, the Doctor thought, taught one of two lessons, either to take more bread along for the children or leave them at home; or, better still, to fill them before starting.
Dr. Walsh also protracted a meeting in Kinston, preaching every night for a month, assisted, a few times, by Elder John P. Dunn. This meeting resulted in the baptism of over thirty persons, some of whom are still living in and around Kinston, and are worthy members of the Church of Christ.
He also had charge of the congregation at Bethany, Pamlico county, for thirteen years, and during the time never lost a single appointment. If he failed at any time to meet his regular appointment for any cause, he made it up at some other time.
The congregation here was piloted over several difficulties, which threatened to destroy it, giving proof that Dr. Walsh was a good disciplinarian.
He only preached for this church quarterly, and never, during his pastorate, held a protracted meeting; but he preached two or three times every visit, and baptized at one visit as many as eighteen persons. When he began to preach for Bethany, the church numbered not over twenty-five persons, and when he resigned it numbered over a hundred and twenty-five. Its subsequent history has not been as prosperous and as pleasant as its former.
Besides having charge of several other churches, he organized a congregation at White Oak and Deep Spring, Jones county. He traveled extensively through the eastern part of the State, preaching generally, and specially in the counties of Greene, Pitt, Martin, Washington, Tyrrel, Beaufort, Hyde, Carteret, Edgecombe, Wilson, Wayne, and Onslow. He made a special visit to Middleton, in Hyde county, and held a meeting of days. He left New Berne on board a steamer, and reached Middleton late in the night. Having landed, he inquired for the residence of a brother, G. M. Silverthorne, and, on reaching it, he called at the gate, and was soon answered from within, "Who is that?" And on giving his name, Bro. Silverthorne soon lighted a lamp and invited him in. Remaining here several days, there came on what the citizens called "a tide-storm," and the town and streets were covered with water, and the citizens had to use small boats to get about from place to place. This was all new in the experience of Dr. Walsh. But, stranger still, while in bed at night, the winds howling and the lightning flashing, he was amazed to see the frogs climbing up the walls and windows of his room; and he thought to himself, This land is akin to Egypt! But the waters subsided, and he continued his meeting, realizing reasonable success, baptizing among others a Mr. Gibbs, and the wife of Mr. Silverthorne, Elder Henry D. Cason, however, officiating as the baptizer, who, by the way, was a good exhorter, and prayed with much freedom and fervor of spirit. During this visit Dr. Walsh, assisted by Elder Cason, ordained Bro. J. S. Henderson to the work of an evangelist.
In 1854 Dr. Walsh made a tour through the Chowan Baptist Association. He traveled by railroad via Goldsboro and Weldon on the Wilmington & Weldon road, then on the Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad as far as Boykin's Depot. At this point he met a Bro. Darden, a Baptist, who was conducting a female school at his residence, called Elm Grove, a few miles below the town of Murfreesboro, where there were also two female colleges—one belonging to the Baptists, and the other to the Methodists, both in a prosperous condition.
Mr. Darden took charge of Dr. Walsh, and passing through Murfreesboro, took him to his own house. In passing, Mr. Darden pointed out the residence of a Dr. Wheeler, who, in a short time wrote to the Biblical Recorder, at Raleigh, inquiring who Dr. Walsh was, and warning his brethren against his plausible preaching and teaching. But this note of alarm did not seem to disturb any one seriously, and Dr. Walsh continued his tour, all the Baptist churches along his route being thrown open to him, and very large congregations attending at every point. Dr. Walsh remained at Mr. Darden's several days, and preached in his school-room.
In a few days he was met by Elder Q. H. Trotman, one of the ablest preachers in the Association; and he accompanied him to the end of his tour, but Dr. Walsh did the preaching. Having been joined by Elder Trotman at Mr. Darden's, he set out on his journey, preaching first at Mt. Tabor, a church of which Mr. Trotman was the pastor; then to Winton, the county-seat of Hertford county, where he met Mr. Moore, the moderator of the Chowan Association; then to Gates Court House, where he preached several times, and where, for the first time, he had the pleasure of hearing the eloquent Trotman, on a funeral occasion.
Leaving Gates C. H., he went to Mr. Trotman's house, and remained there a week or more, and they had many pleasant and profitable talks in relation to the great things of the gospel. Mr. Trotman and Dr. Walsh were one in sentiment, and the charge of "Campbellism," which many of his brethren made, was not alarming to him.
From Elder Trotman's he next visited Sandy Cross church, Elder Trotman being pastor. The name of the next church visited by Dr. Walsh was Rocky Hock, Chowan county. Here he met with an old brother, by the name of Nixon, a very venerable old gentleman and a preacher.
The next point was a church called Ballard's Bridge, a church of which D. V. Etheridge had charge. Here he met a very large congregation. The house was large, and the congregation more than filled it. At Ballard's Bridge, Dr. Walsh had the pleasure of meeting with Bro. W. Leary and Elder J. B. Webb, and spent several days with Elder D. V. Etheridge, with whom he was much pleased. This Bro. Etheridge is the father of Captain J. W. Etheridge, of Roanoke Island, the superintendent of the life-saving stations on the Carolina Coast, a very efficient officer, whose services have resulted in doing much good, in saving much property and many lives.
From Ballard's Bridge Elder Leary took Dr. Walsh in his carriage to his own residence, where he spent a few days. He also spent one night with Elder J. B. Webb. At this point the Biblical Recorder had arrived, containing, as already stated, a warning respecting Dr. Walsh, and urging the churches to keep out "Campbellism." What might be the effect of this warning on the churches Dr. Walsh could not tell; but his appointments were made and he intended to fill them, if he could.
Leaving Elder Webb's, he was taken by this estimable brother to Macedonia, a church of which Elder Leary was pastor. The warning of the Recorder had no effect here. He met with no opposition, but kindness and a welcome from all.
Having spent the night with an amiable Sister Bonner, the next morning her son carried him to Yeoppim, five miles below Edenton, of which church Elder Thomas Waff was Pastor. He found Elder Waff an "Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile."
Having a day and night with Elder Waff, and one night with a Bro. Benbury, he was taken to Bethel, of which Elder Trotman was pastor. Here he had a large audience and a good hearing. The congregation meeting at Bethel was a large and wealthy one. To this church the Fleetwoods, Skinners, Bonners, and many other wealthy families belonged.
So far as Dr. Walsh could learn, no objection was made to his preaching anywhere, or by any of the preachers who heard him.
A year or more after this, Dr. Walsh made a second visit to Bethel, and jointly with Elders Trotman and Etheridge, held a protracted meeting for a week or more, Dr. Walsh doing the larger part of the preaching. The result of this meeting was, that between forty and fifty persons were baptized at its close by Elder D. V. Etheridge. It was a grand occasion, and a happy meeting. Joy, peace and love prevailed!
In the year 1876, Dr. Walsh made a trip to South Carolina, and visited Hodges and Newberry. Brethren Rowlett, of Hodges, and Angel, of Newberry, from Virginia, had been residing at these points for several years, and very earnestly desired to have preaching, and, if possible, to establish churches at both places.
His first appointment at Hodges was on a Lord's day, so he had one day to rest, having reached there on Friday. He began a series of meetings on Lord's day morning in a hall kindly tendered to Bro. Rowlett by Messrs. Vance and Mosely, the proprietors. Here he preached nine discourses, and baptized eight persons, and received four others who had been baptized. A church of thirteen members was set in order, with Dr. Williams and Bro. Rowlett acting as elders.
From Hodges he went to Newberry, where Bro. Angel resided, and held services eight times, preaching seven discourses, and holding a prayer-meeting once. He met with sectarian opposition at both places, but especially at Newberry. But notwithstanding this, much good was accomplished. At Newberry Dr. Walsh baptized four, viz.: Dr. Bruce, his daughter and two sons. Here he met with Sister Kingsmore and her two daughters, all of whom were members of the church at Augusta, Ga., making eight members, who, also, agreed to meet regularly and worship in a hall which they had rented for the purpose.
It is due to Brethren Angel and Rowlett to say that they had been working privately, and, to some extent, had prepared the way for the full reception of the truth.
A few years after, Dr. Walsh made the second visit to these points, and added several others to the little flocks at Hodges and Newberry. This visit was partly under the auspices of the General Christian Missionary Convention, of which, at that time, Bro. F. M. Green was Corresponding Secretary, the missionary board contributing $50 for the purpose.
At Hodges Bro. Rowlett extemporized a baptistery by excavating the ground near the railroad tank, constructing a large plank box, and placing it in proper position, and then filling it with water from the tank. It answered every purpose.
When Dr. Bruce was baptized, at Newberry, there was a small stream running through the town, with a tannery above. The tanner was spoken to, and agreed not to turn out the owse that morning; but it seems he forgot it, and the Doctor's baptism had to be deferred; for although bapto, as critics say, means to dye, Dr. Walsh did not wish to dye his candidate, but to immerse him in clean water into Christ!
In 1871 the church at Worcester, Mass., through Elder W. A. S. Smythe, one of the elders, invited Dr. Walsh to attend their annual or yearly meeting, an invitation which he accepted.
O. A. Burgess was generally known as an able preacher of the gospel. He was a Boanerges or son of thunder, and, while attending the meeting in Worcester, preached some very able discourses.
Bro. Rowe was, also, an able preacher, but his delivery was not so good. He seemed to have a nasal trouble, which injured his voice; what he said was good.
Bro. Burgess was to have delivered an address before the Young Men's Christian Association on Friday night of the meeting, but not arriving in time Dr. Walsh was requested to fill his place. He accepted the invitation, and selected for his motto the following passage: "I have written unto you young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one" (I John ii. 14).
The audience was large, and the verdict was, that Dr. Walsh delivered a splendid address, very suitable for the occasion. Bro. A. Wilcox was present, and, years after, wrote to Dr. Walsh commending the address, saying he should not forget it.
Dr. W. spent the most of his time while in Worcester, with the very kind and amiable family of Bro Smythe, but visited several others, only some of whose names are now remembered, such as Brethren Wood, Bent, etc., Bro. Bent remarking, "My name is Bent, but I am not crooked."
Indeed the Doctor found no "crooked" Disciples there. Take it altogether, it was one of the most pleasant meetings Dr. Walsh ever attended. The services were continued all day and at night, the good brethren and sisters providing dinner and supper in the basement of the church, to which all were invited. The food was rich in quality and quantity. The finest apples, pears, peaches, and other fruits were there; and the most enjoyable part, perhaps, was the fact that you could eat your fill, just before retiring at night, and sleep soundly, experiencing no trouble from an overloaded stomach.
The services of the entire series of the meeting closed with what they called a "farewell meeting." This was held early in the morning; the house was filled, and love, mingled with sadness, filled all eyes. It was opened with reading the Scriptures, singing and prayer; followed with alternations of singing an appropriate stanza or two, then a brief exhortation, and then a prayer.
It was one of the best and happiest meetings Dr. Walsh was ever in, and made an impression on his mind and heart which will never fade out while memory lasts. And, then, too, Bro. Smythe paid all expenses to Worcester and back to New Berne, N.C.
Perhaps the reader will say, "Yes, Bro. Smythe was rich, and could afford to do it." True, he was wealthy and liberal towards his brethren and the cause of Christ; but not all rich Disciples of Christ are liberal to the same extent as Bro. Smythe. He loved the Lord much, and gave much to his cause.
While in Worcester Dr. Walsh had the pleasure of attending a fruit fair in Mechanic's Hall, a large room filled with the finest and most luscious fruits he ever saw.
There he saw two large winter squashes, one weighing 250, and the other 300 pounds, with a written paper on each, "Take one!"—knowing, of course, that no one could, or would do it!
As an illustration of the large-hearted liberality of the Worcester congregation, the brethren at Swampscott wished to erect a church-house, and had asked help from the Worcester brethren; and they had promised to give $1,000. On a certain occasion, one of the elders informed the congregation that the Swampscott brethren wanted the money; and said he, "I shall expect to find it all in the boxes at the close of our services to-day." These boxes were for the usual fellowship on the Lord's day, and lettered, "The Lord's Treasury."
"Now," said Bro. Smythe to Dr. Walsh, "how much do you suppose was the amount of the contribution that day?" Dr. Walsh could not even imagine the amount, and replied, "I do not know." "Well," said Bro. Smythe, "there was $1,600 in the Lord's Treasury, all placed there that day!"
Dr. Walsh never heard of a single contribution equal to this. In apostolic times the Disciples may have made such large contributions, but in modern times nothing like it has ever been reported among the churches of Christ, not even when aided by festivals, concerts, oyster suppers, including all the modern inventions of our churches for the purpose of raising money for the Lord.
On Dr. Walsh's return home, he stopped in the city of New York with a Bro. Gould, an elder or deacon of the congregation. Remaining over Lord's day, he preached for them morning and evening to good audiences. Bro. Gould took him around the city, and gave him an opportunity to see the chief places of attraction, the beautiful parks, and public buildings. Having fulfilled his mission in that direction, he returned to New Berne, feeling greatly stimulated and cheered by this Northern tour, which was not marred by a single political or bitter remark.
In 1882, Dr. Walsh was appointed a general evangelist by the Official Board of the Annual Conference of the Disciples of North Carolina, to fill the place of Dr. H. D. Harper, who had resigned. He at once entered the field, and, during the remainder of the year, traveled and preached extensively without any stipulated salary, relying on God and the brethren to sustain him. He received something over one hundred dollars for his services.
The incidents of one of his tours are worthy being recorded here, and may be of interest to the general reader.
He, in company with Bro. N. D. Myers, of Kinston, N.C., took the steamer Shenandoah at New Berne for Nag's Head, a famous old watering-place or summer resort on the coast of North Carolina. They had a very pleasant trip down the river Neuse and over the waters of Pamlico Sound to Nag's Head, enjoying a good view of that historic place known as Roanoke Island, on which resided their mutual friend and brother, Captain J. W. Etheridge, the superintendent of the Lifesaving Service for this coast, who had promised to meet them at Nag's Head, and take them over to the island to his hospitable home. The Shenandoah reached the wharf at Nag's Head about 6 A. M. It was very calm, and the Captain was not there; but, on looking over the placid waters, a boat was seen in the distance, moving sluggishly along, which Dr. Walsh thought was the boat of Captain Etheridge. In the meanwhile, the twain went to the hotel, and climbed up one of those "sand hills," for which this region is famous, overlooking the hotel and the Sound, and enjoyed the beautiful scenes around them. In a short time they were satisfied the Captain was, indeed, about to land at the wharf; and so returning they met Captain E., entered his boat, and, in a short time, were welcomed by his wife and daughters and his aged father, Elder D. V. Etheridge, at their pleasant abode.
Nag's Head did not come up to the expectations of Dr. Walsh. There was little or nothing inviting about it, except the beautiful waters of the Sound, and the bass voice of the old Atlantic, as its waves of surf fell on the shore.
Dr. Walsh and Mr. Myers remained on the island over a week, the Doctor preaching day and night during the stay, and visiting among the citizens.
He had not been on the island long before the evangelist for the Coast District, Elder J. L. Burns, arrived, and continued with him to the end of his tour. Dr. Walsh visited the chief historic points of interest, Fort Raleigh, the spot where Miss Virginia Dare was born, the first white child born here, and perhaps in the State, if not in America.
On the island are several of those magnificent "sand hills," or mountains, which resemble, in the distance, those banks of white clouds piled up against the sky, and looking like floating palaces of newly ginned cotton. These sand hills, each succeeding storm from the northeast, are evidently moving southward, and may, in time, drive the inhabitants from the island, as they have done citizens, in some cases, from their homes.
The Alantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound are slowly encroaching on the land. A graveyard more than a hundred yards from the western shore of Pamlico Sound has been invaded, and coffins may be seen with their ends now projecting into the water, while others have been washed out into the sea, and have disappeared.
Among acquaintances formed while on the island may be mentioned, besides Captain Etheridge, Captain Brinkley, Bro. Goodwin, and Bro. and Sister Dough.
Leaving the island, in company with Elder Burns, Dr. Walsh took a steamer for Powell's Point, where he was to hold a series of meetings.
Here he was met by Brethren Harrison and Tillett. Powell's Point is famous for its quantity and the superior quality of its watermelons. The fields were covered with them, and they were delicious to the taste, and seemed to be filled with sugar.
Leaving Powell's Point, Dr. Walsh and Elder Burns went on board a steamer bound for Hertford, Perquimans county, for the purpose of holding a series of meetings at a new church, called Bethlehem, near to Bethel, a Baptist church at which Dr. Walsh and Elder Q. H. Trotman held a protracted meeting, previously spoken of in this narrative. Here he met with Bro. J. W. Trotman, the son of Q. H. Trotman, who is also a preacher, besides several others whom he used to know, the Fleetwoods, Suttons, Whites, Feltons, etc., etc. This meeting resulted in adding some to the congregation, and in establishing others in the faith.
The time had now come for Dr. Walsh to return home. So, remaining all night at Hertford, after preaching in the C. H., the next morning he entered the cars and went to Elizabeth City. Here he again met Bro. Myers, who had made a hasty trip to Norfolk, Va. Going aboard the steamer Pamlico, bound for New Berne, they expected to have started early in the day; but she was loading until nearly 6 o'clock P. M. It began to rain about noon, and the storm continued to increase till night. The steamer got aground at the mouth of Perquimans River, just before it enters into Albemarle Sound. She remained fast eight hours, the storm, in the mean time, increasing every hour. But few passengers undressed that night, but, after a while, Dr. Walsh fell asleep, and when he awoke the steamer was in the Sound, and all seemed to be going well. But about 8 o'clock A. M. the steamer was aground again near Croatan Light House, and the wind still blowing a gale, seemingly driving the steamer ashore. Here she remained for eight hours more, but was finally pulled off by a friendly steamer belonging to the same line.
Having got afloat, the steamer soon passed out of Croatan into Pamlico Sound, and made pretty good headway. But as night come on the storm again seemed to increase. The steamer rolled, the angry waves struck the sides of the vessel with a sound like thunder, but the passengers slept some. In the morning they found they were in Neuse River; and by 8 o'clock would be in New Berne in time, perhaps, for the railroad train. In this, however, they were mistaken. They were near enough to hear the whistle of the locomotive, but too late to take the train for Kinston. So Dr. Walsh went at once to the telegraph office and sent a message by wire that all were well, and that he would be at home on the next train.
Arriving safely, he found his family well, though they had been greatly alarmed for his safety, after an absence of over thirty days, having traveled at least 1,500 miles, preached many times, and encountered perils by land and sea!
Having already spoken of the pioneer preachers of North Carolina, they are only referred to again in order to speak of them more particularly.
Elder John P. Dunn was one of the most prominent preachers in the State when Dr. Walsh came into it, March 16, 1852. He was a gentleman of considerable wealth, a preacher of pleasing address, and very popular among the people. Perhaps he was one of the most effective evangelists in the State at the time referred to, and a very successful preacher.
Thomas J. Latham stood next to Elder Dunn. He was milder in his manner, less demonstrative in his style, and somewhat less effective in his appeals to sinners. Both were good speakers, and were regarded as leaders among the people.
Elder Henry Smith was not an educated man, but he was popular among the common people, and accomplished much good in his day.
Elders Bond and Gaylord have already been spoken of.
Elder J.H. Dillahunt was a plain, practical preacher, a good, pious man, and was useful in his day and generation. And what has been said of him was also true of Elder Benj. Parrott, who sleeps with his fathers. The same remarks are also true of J.J. Coltrain, S.L. Davis, J.G. Gurganus and J.M. Gurganus, all of whom were good men, and merit special notice for their works of faith and labors of love.
Elder Amos Battle came to the Disciples from the Missionary Baptists. He was of a noted family in North Carolina, had a very respectable education, and was a good worker. He was the father-in-law of Rev. J.H. Foy, A.M., D.D., LL.D., who was associated with the Disciples for several years, both as a teacher and preacher. He was a good teacher and his pupils loved him. As a preacher he was more brilliant than solid, more oratorical than logical, and was by no means a Biblical critic. Fond of titles, his self-esteem and vanity exceeded his sober judgment, and, following the bent of his ambition, he left the Disciples and united himself with the Episcopalians. This, as a free man, he had a right to do, and the final issue of right or wrong is with God alone, who will by no means clear the guilty.
Men have the right to change their views, and these changes are commendable if made in the right direction. Life is a succession of changes from infancy to old age. Men learn to live, and live to learn; and the chief question to be determined is whether they are moving on an up-grade or a down-grade. If they rise to a higher plane of purity, holiness and divine knowledge, it is well; but if they fall to a lower plane in all the elements of pure Christianity, it is to be deplored. Not intending to sit in judgment on Dr. Foy's course, he is left to the final adjudication of "the Judge of the living and the dead." While Dr. Foy is living, this notice of him is placed here among the deceased preachers, because to us he is numbered among the departed.
Among the preachers of less note may be mentioned John Dupree, John L. Clifton, W. R. Fulsher, Abram Congleton, Dr. John A. Leggett, Seth H. Tyson, and perhaps some others, whose usefulness is not forgotten by those who knew them best while they lived and labored in the Lord, though of a few of them it may be said that their sun went down in a cloud. The Lord will reward all of them according to their works.
John R. Winfield, who is living at this writing, is a mild, rather gentle, and a somewhat persuasive preacher, but rather sluggish in manner, and not what people would call a "son of thunder." Elder Winfield is a good man, and stands well in the esteem of his brethren.
Elder George Joyner who had recently commenced preaching when Dr. Walsh came to the State, and who is still doing good service in the Lord's cause, was educated at Wake Forrest College, a Baptist institution of considerable note. He prepares all his discourses well, writes them carefully, and is an excellent reader. His style is rhetorical, and his elocution compares favorably with the best. He has been more active in the ministry of late years than formerly. He is rather inclined to be retiring in his manners, and needs to be pushed to the front, as he has never pushed himself. He is now the President of the North Carolina Missionary Convention of the Disciples of Christ.
Moses T. Moye is a graduate of Bethany College, W. Va. He is an excellent preacher, a good scholar, and a logical reasoner, but like Bro. Joyner, is rather retiring, and does not seek places of eminence or distinction, but is content, if need be, to be "a doorkeeper in the house of God." He is one of the purest and most unselfish preachers among the Disciples in North Carolina. It has been a matter of regret that Bro. Moye has not been more active in the gospel ministry than he has, but this is apt to be the case with men of superior worth. Men of less ability push themselves ahead, and in some cases ride over the heads of modest men, who are their superiors in every thing except "brass."
Indeed, it is a fact that some people mistake brass for brains, and with the uneducated pass for more than they are worth, while others less pretentious but more worthy are held at a discount.
Elder Peter E. Hines is another of those modest men, who, while having all credit for purity and goodness, has never been estimated according to his true worth. The feeble health of both these men, Moye and Hines, may have had, however, something to do in making them less active in the Lord's work than they otherwise would have been.
It is to be feared that some of the preachers whose names have appeared and do still appear on the minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Disciples in North Carolina, have been rather "dead-heads" than otherwise, and can not by any means be regarded as representative men
The Disciples have not been careful enough in selecting and ordaining men to the work of evangelists, and hence some unworthy men have been ordained who were wholly unqualified for the work, and in some cases have brought contempt on the Lord's cause.
Preachers of the gospel should be as well educated as other men in the community, and it is not wise for any one, under the influence of large self-esteem, to rush into the gospel ministry wholly unqualified in head or heart.
Never having heard several of the preachers on the list, Dr. Walsh is not prepared for an attempt to fix or state their status as preachers, but supposes, as a ministerial examination is had every year at the Annual Meeting, and their names retained, they must be all right. And, on this basis, makes honorable mention of the following: W. M. Davis, Jno. W. Gurganus, James B. Parsons, S. W. Hardison, D. H. Miller, George W. Jackson, T. Roebuck, and last, but not least, Stanley Ayres, who has the reputation of being a useful man and a reputable preacher of the gospel.
Of the preachers in the western part of the State he knows little or nothing, except Virgil A. Wilson, who from pleading law turned to preaching the gospel. By some he has been regarded as eccentric, but when he is in the spirit he is a preacher of power.
Henry D. Cason is one of the older preachers, is a good exhorter, and prays as fervently as the most zealous Methodist. His life has been useful, and it is believed his reward will be great.
Elder Gideon Allen has been spoken of elsewhere. He came to the Disciples from the Free Will Baptists. He has presided at our Annual Meetings a number of times.
Dr. W. H. Cobb, Stanley Ayres (mentioned before), Irvin Jones and A. C. Hart are good men, good exhorters, exert a healthy influence and fill places of usefulness.
Josephus Latham has been preaching for many years. His preaching is more logical than rhetorical. He is very respectably educated, and preaching and teaching have been his chief work. He is not exhaustive, and hence needs more concentration of mind. He has always been zealous and enthusiastic in his preaching, makes faith, repentance and baptism for the remission of sins very prominent on nearly all occasions, and perhaps has baptized more persons in North Carolina than any other preacher among the Disciples. He has done a large amount of good, often at a pecuniary loss to himself, and deserves well at the hands of his brethren.
Henry Winfield, who has been preaching for a number of years, is a close student, a deep thinker, and rather independent in his thoughts and views. He is not inclined to go into the ruts which others have dug out, but to think and act for himself according to his own judgment. He is a very acceptable preacher, and when aroused is a "son of thunder."
Augustus Latham is the grandson of the pioneer preacher, Thomas J. Latham. He is an acceptable preacher and has been successful in his evangelical labors. He has the credit for possessing considerable will power, and acts independently without consulting his brethren, resting upon his own judgment rather than the judgment of others.
There are several other preachers who have arisen and come to the front since Dr. Walsh came to the State. Of these honorable mention is made of J. J. Harper, Dr. H. D. Harper, N. B. Hood, J. L. Burns, H. C. Bowen, Isaac L. Chestnutt, A. J. Holton, C. W. Howard, D. W. Davis, J. T. Davis, E. L. Sowers, A. O. Warren, R. W. Stancill and some others of less note among the brethren.
J. J. Harper ranks with the most popular preachers in the State among the Disciples. While he is plain, he is a polished speaker, always logical and sometimes eloquent. Though not a politician, he has been a member of the Senate of North Carolina, elected to fill that office by the citizens of his native county, Johnston. He now fills the position of Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Convention of the Disciples in North Carolina.
Dr. Henry D. Harper, his brother, is not perhaps as mild as his brother John, but he is fully his equal in ability as a preacher. He has not been preaching as long as his brother, and it may be has given himself more to secular business, but he has a native ability which when directed in any given line will make him efficient and effective in any capacity. Being a dentist by profession, he has not the time for study that his brother has, who leads a farmer's life. But his mind is very quick and active, and give him a short time and he will make up a discourse worthy of being heard. His style of preaching is expository rather than textuary, and the expository method, in Dr. Walsh's opinion, is the best and true method. Exposition requires deep thought, while the textuary requires more imagination. He is the best preacher who gives the people something to think about.
J. L. Burns, having begun later in life, has not been preaching very many years. Dr. W. assisted in his ordination at Corinth, Piatt county, North Carolina. Bro. Burns has made preaching his life-work, and hence he has rapidly improved since he began to preach. With a strong and commanding presence he combines a strong voice, and can be heard by the largest audience. He reasons well, is more logical than rhetorical, and mingles force, power, and efficiency with tenderness and tears! He teaches and preaches as one having authority, and not as one seeking to please the thoughtless multitude.
N. B. Hood is a very modest preacher, of a mild temperament, and deals mainly in the practical things of the gospel.
Isaac L. Chestnutt, a grandson of Wiley Nobles, mentioned elsewhere, one of the pioneer preachers in North Carolina, is a young preacher of fine ability, and if his habits of study continue will advance rapidly in Biblical knowledge, and soon distinguish himself as a representative man. He presides over the Farmville Academy, combining teaching with preaching. If the Disciples would do their duty, there would be no necessity of this. Preaching, to be a complete success, should be a life-work, but in North Carolina among the Disciples poverty would be the result.
C. W. Howard is another young preacher who merits special and honorable mention. He was at one time connected with the Kinston Collegiate Institute, but resigned, moved into the country, and is a successful farmer. Being studious in his habits, he has improved rapidly as a preacher, and now exerts a wide influence among his brethren. As a preacher he is logical, plain and practical, and as an evangelist he is successful.
H. C. Bowen, another young evangelist, is remarkable for his working ability, no matter in what sphere he may be placed. Idleness is no part of his composition. Work he will and work he must. If he can not do one thing he will do another. He has executive ability, has much zeal and vim, and preaches well. He is a man who will fill honorably any position within his ability.
J. T. Davis is a smooth, plain preacher, makes no pretensions to learning or eloquence, but presents the plain truth in a plain manner.
D. W. Davis is a young preacher of native ability, who if properly trained, and if he will always keep on hand enough ballast for his sail, will become a useful preacher, one who is not ashamed, "rightly dividing the word of truth."
E. L. Sowers is a preacher for the common people, who hear him gladly. He is not estimated according to his worth.
A. O. Warren, another young preacher, divides his time between preaching and teaching. He has considerable ability, a fair education, and if his health does not fail will make an efficient evangelist.
A. J. Holton, of Pamlico county, is an able preacher of the gospel, and has been for a number of years a successful evangelist, having done excellent service in the fields he has cultivated. And if he had received that culture he desired, with his love for the Bible and his studious habits, ere this would have been a first class Biblical scholar. His ability is unquestionable, and his fidelity to the truth abiding. In speaking of A. J. Holton, it may be as well in this connection to mention the fact that he has two brothers whose names stand on the list of preachers, Jesse and Isaac. Jesse has preached for many years, in his humble, honest and earnest way, and has done great good in his field of labor, and deserves honorable mention here for his labors of love. Isaac has not been active in the gospel ministry.
R. W. Stancill, a young brother who attended the Bible College, Ky., and who enjoyed the teachings of such competent scholars as brethren McGarvey, Graham, Loos and others for so long a time, ought to prove a success; and yet it is a fact that but few, if any, thought he would succeed, much less excel as a preacher. But he has disappointed his most sanguine friends in his efforts to be a preacher! Being a hard student, with perhaps less natural ability than some, he pressed onward and upward, for which he deserves much credit. He is now preaching for the congregation at Troy, N. Y., and has verified the old maxim: "If your ax be dull, you must strike the harder!" May all the young preachers be like David, the stripling, who, when the army of Israel was defied, slew his gigantic enemy with a small stone from the brook!
J. L. Winfield's name has been reserved to the last, because it will necessarily reappear in a chapter on Dr. Walsh's editorial life. The Winfield family has been fruitful of preachers, hence we have John, Henry and James, besides William O., of whom Dr. Walsh knows but little, but of whom he has heard favorably. When Bro. Winfield united with the Disciples, like Bro. Stancill, he did not give much promise of becoming an able preacher. Some predicted "he would be a failure," and others that "he would yet make his mark." He possessed quite a share of will power and self-approbation, and these elements of character gave him force and determination of purpose which impelled him forward. He attended the Bible College, Kentucky, for a time, which aided him much. As a preacher he is sermonic or textuary, rather than expository. In his mental constitution he lacks concentration, and hence does not seem to have trained his mind to make close and nice distinctions between things that differ, which is the case with all public speakers and writers who are deficient in concentrative power. Still he is a popular preacher, capable of doing much good, and deserves credit for his attainments and success.
A few things among the churches will close this chapter.
Some congregations pay better and more promptly than others; indeed it is sadly true that perhaps a majority of them fail to pay all they promise. The idea seems to prevail that congregational obligations are less binding than individual. The preachers among the Disciples in North Carolina have been generally poorly paid, not receiving enough to support their families, much less to exempt them from the necessity of secular business or manual labor. To the honor of those who have done all, and more than all, they promised (and there may be others not known to Dr. Walsh), may be mentioned Eden, Greene county, North Carolina; Bethel, Pamlico county, North Carolina. These, within the knowledge of Dr. Walsh, to their honor be it recorded, have paid the last dime covered by their promises. Wheat Swamp, Lenoir county, has always done well, and several others might be mentioned; but as a rule, in a majority of cases, a few members bear the chief burdens of any given congregation. The reason of this is, the members do not give as the Lord prospers them, or else the Lord does not prosper them, judging by what they give.
But there are noble and generous Christian brethren and sisters in all the congregations. Dr. Walsh does not wish to make any invidious distinctions, nor is it any reflection on others who, perhaps, did what they could, for him to state that in his late effort to secure a home for his family, JOHN T. DALY and NOAH ROUSE, both of the Wheat Swamp Church, exceeded all others in their liberality. Indeed, but for the extra efforts made by John T. Daly, he would now in his old age have been houseless and homeless. May these worthy brethren, Daly and Rouse, and all others interested, have "a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens!"
It is not claimed for Dr. Walsh that he ever was a poet of the first class, but that he had considerable poetic talent has been demonstrated by his many eloquent outbursts and appeals from the pulpit, winning for him the not uncourteous name of "the old man eloquent," a designation sometimes applied to John Q. Adams.
Poets are born, not made by culture only. Indeed, it may be said of all men who excel in any department of life, that the talent they possess is innate. Of course, the talent, whatever it may be, may be cultivated, but you can not cultivate that which has no existence.
As an illustration of Dr. Walsh's early poetic fire, the week after he had united with the Baptists he was staying with Elder Rufus Chandler, and a young lady present asked him for a specimen of his poetry. Without waiting a moment, he wrote the following lines, and handed them to her:
LOVE. Love is a passion of the heart; It is the sting of Cupid's dart; And far from pathos hearts must be, That can not feel some love for thee!
She received them in the midst of deeply blushing smiles, and nothing more was said about poetry!
The following one was written while editor of the
The Watchman on the Tower
Appeals to one and all,
While sin and error lower,
And darkness like a pall
Spreads o'er the people wide,
To rally unto Zion's wall,
Pressing closely side by side.
Close up the ranks, and forward march,
King Jesus leads the way:
Your front be like a solid arch,
And win a brighter day.
The following, on The Mother, speaks the tender and deep love he had for his mother:
Of all the fair flowers on earth
That shed their fragrance on the air,
The most beautiful gives us birth,
And leads us to the gates ajar.
Enchanting graces round her play,
Like sparkling rays of radiant light,
Scattering darkness far away,
And lead us in the path of right.
Her voice is music soft and sweet
As that which floats on lake serene;
Man loves and bows before her feet,
And turns away from all that's mean.
Her eye is bright, her heart is love,
Her manner full of queenly grace
Reflected from the fount above,
And wreathes her brow and lovely face.
Sweet woman, wife and mother dear!
God's first best gift to lonely man;
Without her earth is sad and drear,
And man without her—is not man!
May richest blessings on her rest,
In time, in death, at last in heaven,
And may she be with angels blest
When earthly ties are torn and riven.
Here is a beautiful
Gracious Master, heavenly King,
Help me thy glorious name to sing;
Help me to praise Thee day and night,
And live uprightly in Thy sight.
And when the night of death is o'er,
And time itself shall be no more;
May I appear in heaven with Thee,
From sin and sorrow ever free.
Here is a piece, written at a time when he felt his responsibility very deeply, and from the depth of his soul poured forth the following thoughts on
THE TRUE GOSPEL PREACHER.
It will be observed that nearly or quite all of Dr. Walsh's poetry breathes a devotional and pious spirit. Here is another piece on
Help us, O God, thy name to love:
To love Thy church and cause:
With holy zeal from heaven above,
Help us to keep Thy laws.
Help us to wipe the widow's tears,
The orphan's cries to still;
To lift from weary hearts their fears,
Their hands with good things fill.
Help us to help each other, Lord,
To walk in Thine own light;
To live according to Thy word,
Which shines on us so bright.
"What is a Watch-Tower?" do you ask?
To answer I essay the noble task:
It is a lofty pile, a turris grand,
Whose foundation rests not on the shifting sand;
It stands alone just like the sturdy oak,
Nor heeds the fitful storm the fierce winds woke.
Its base is on the solid rock,
And stands unmoved the mighty shock
Of all its armed and hated foes,
With fury strong as earthquake throes.
It towers far above the clouds,
With which it's wrapt like ghostly shrouds,
Nor heeds the lightning's angry flash—
The roaring thunder's mighty crash.
Its foes in vain assail its walls,
It's proof against their leaden balls,
And stands a monument of power
Before which craven cowards cower.
From its lofty summit high,
Tow'ring upwards towards the sky,
Fly thick and fast the polished darts,
Transfixing dark and vengeful hearts.
Our Watch-Tower! See it there,
Shining like a brilliant star;
Based upon the "Rock of Ages,"
Guarded well by Christian sages.
But who is that on turret high,
With his clear and flashing eye?
He seems a youth of hoary age!
And dwells upon the living page.
He fears not man, but God alone,
Who sits upon His great white throne;
And with a soul unawed by foes
Sheds gospel light where'er he goes.
In pain or want, he still stands there,
Though pseudo-friends no burdens share;
With cheerful face, and heart on God,
He walks beneath the chast'ning rod.
He lives above earth's atmosphere,
And knows that God is ever near;
On Him he casts his many cares,
And wears with grace his Christ-like scars.
Shall we forget his gospel toil,
And seek, O shame! his name to soil?
Or shall we like good Christians dear,
Our bounty with him ever share?<
Yes, this is right, for truth he fights,
And battles strong for Christian rights;
We will divide with him our mite,
Because it's pleasing in God's sight.
Let every one these lines who reads,
Think of the faithful brother's needs,
And send a token of good cheer,
Before the close of this glad year.
Hold up his hands while he is here,
The tide of death will soon be near,
And when he goes to rest above,
We will embalm his name in love.
And when we meet beyond the river,
Bound by ties that naught can sever,
We'll stand upon the heavenly towers,
And sing and praise beneath God's bowers.
And looking back on earth's dark main,
Free from all care and every pain;
We'll have a consciousness of right.
And be accepted in God's sight!
Here are a few lines on "Christmas," as a papal festival. The poet ridicules the idea, and holds it up to the contempt of better informed people:
The birthday of Christ is wisely concealed,
For had it to mortals been clearly revealed,
They would have more honored the day than the KING,
Whose praises the angels united to sing.
He was born! enough for mankind to know;
Of a virgin as pure and as white as the snow;
And shepherds and wise men bowed at His feet,
But never the birthday of Christ did they greet.
Like the body of Moses, the day of his birth
Is hid from the knowledge of men upon earth,
That mankind, to idolatry so prone,
Might not worship the day BUT THE SAVIOR ALONE.
The day we call "Christmas" is only "Christ's mass,
And is no more sacred than "Nehustan" or brass;
And yet we observe it abroad and at home,
And so follow the example of Catholic Rome.
As this is a poetical chapter, the following selected pieces, for which Dr. Walsh had a special fondness, are inserted:
THE MONEYLESS MAN.
Is there no secret place on the face of the earth,
Where charity dwelleth, where virtue hath birth?
Where bosoms in mercy and kindness will heave
And the poor and the wretched shall "ask and receive"?
Is there no place on earth where a knock from the poor
Will bring a kind angel to open the door?
Ah! search the wide world wherever you can,
There is no open door for the moneyless man!
Go, look in yon hall where the chandelier's light
Drives off with its splendor the darkness of night;
Where the rich hanging velvet, in shadowy fold,
Sweeps gracefully down with its trimming of gold,
And the mirrors of silver take up and renew,
In long lighted vistas, the ’wildering view—
Go there in your patches, and find if you can,
A welcoming smile for a moneyless man!
Go, look in yon church of the cloud-reaching spire,
Which gives back to the sun his same look of red fire;
Where the arches and columns are gorgeous within,
And the walls seem as pure as a soul without sin;
Go down the long aisle—see the rich and the great,
In the pomp and the pride of their worldly estate—<
Walk down in your patches, and find, if you can,
Who opens a pew to a moneyless man!
Go, look to yon judge in his dark flowing gown,
With the scales wherein law weigheth equity down;
Where he frowns on the weak, and smiles on the strong,
And punishes right, while he justifies wrong;
Where jurors their lips on the Bible have laid,
To render a verdict they've already made—
Go there in the court-room, and find, if you can,
Any law for the cause of a moneyless man!
Go look in the banks, where Mammon has told
His hundreds and thousands of silver and gold;
Where, safe from the hands of the starving and poor,
Lies pile upon pile of the glittering ore;
Walk up to the counter—ah, there you may stay
Till your limbs grow old, and your hairs turn gray—
And you'll find at the banks not one of the clan
With money to lend to the moneyless man!
Then go to your hovel; no raven has fed
The wife who has suffered too long for her bread;
Kneel down by her pallet, and kiss the death-frost
From the lips of the angel your poverty lost;
Then turn in your agony upward to God;
And bless, while it smites you, the chastening rod;
And you'll find, at the end of your life's little span,
There's a welcome above for a moneyless man.
PEOPLE WILL TALK.
You may get through the world, but't will be very slow,
If you listen to all that is said as you go;
You'll be worried, and fretted, and kept in a stew,
For meddlesome tongues will have something to do,
For people will talk.
If quiet and modest, you'll have it presumed
That your humble position is only assumed;
You're a wolf in sheep's clothing, or else you're a fool;
But don't get excited—keep perfectly cool—
For people will talk.
And then, if you show the least boldness of heart,
Or a slight inclination to take your own part,
They will call you an upstart, conceited and vain;
But keep straight ahead—don't stop to explain—
For people will talk.
If threadbare your dress, or old-fashioned your hat,
Some one will surely take notice of that,
And hint rather strong that you can't pay your way;
But don't get excited, whatever they say,
For people will talk.
If you dress in the fashion, don't think to escape,
For they criticise then, in a different shape;
You're ahead of your means, or your tailor's unpaid:
But mind your own business—there's naught to be made—
For people will talk.
Now the best way to do is to do as you please,
For your mind, if you have one, will then be at ease.
Of course you will meet with all sorts of abuse,
But don't think to stop them—it ain't any use—
For people will talk.
How softly on the bruiséd heart
A word of kindness falls,
And to the dry and parchéd eye
The moist'ning tear-drop calls!
Oh, if they knew who walked the earth
Mid sorrow, grief, and pain,
The power a word of gladness hath,
’Twere a paradise again.
The weakest and the poorest may
The simple pittance give,
And bid delight to withered hearts
Return again and live;
Oh, what is life if love be lost?
If man's unkind to man—
Or what the heaven that waits beyond
This brief and mortal span?
As stars upon the tranquil sea
In mimic glory shine,
So words of kindness in the heart
Reflect the source Divine;
Oh, then be kind, whoe'er thou art,
That breathest mortal breath,
And it shall brighten all thy life,
And sweeten even death.
"ASHES TO ASHES."
"It is sown in corruption,
it is raised in incorruption;
it is sown in dishonor,
it is raised in glory."
Tread lightly o'er the hallowed mound, for sleeping
The Christian's dust lies there,
Mingled with sordid earth, but in God's keeping
Guarded with jealous care.
Tread lightly, ’tis the lifeless clay reclining,
Wrapt in its burial sheet; ’Twill stand in regal robes, mid seraphs shining,
A form for glory meet.
Tread lightly, those pale lips you pressed in sorrow
Will breathe sweet words of love,
And those sealed eyes will wake on some glad morrow,
In blissful light above.
Tread lightly, he who is the Resurrection
Will loose this fettered clay;
Risen in him, his own, ’neath his protection,
Shall rest secure for aye.
Tread lightly, he who is the Life, victorious,
Has triumphed o'er the grave,
And his belovéd in the mansions glorious,
Shall sing his power to save.
And as Dr. Walsh fully believed in "the coming and kingdom of Jesus Christ," to be manifested on a regenerated earth, the following is deemed appropriate to be inserted here:
MESSIAH IS COMING.
Messiah's coming! joyful tidings! let it echo far and wide;
Sound it in the distant valleys, speak it on the mountain side;
Earth has never seen such glory as shall rest upon her then,
When her King shall dwell in Zion, and throughout her borders reign.
Messiah's coming! and the prophets who foretold his glorious reign,
From the quiet sleep of ages then shall wake to life again;
Some from earth's secluded caverns, some from ocean's depths will come,
All the holy and the ransomed at his voice will leave the tomb.
Messiah's coming! and Mount Zion, long by heathen feet profaned,
Yet again shall be exalted, and in g orious beauty stand;
’Tis the place the Lord hath chosen in his majesty to dwell,
And from thence the law shall issue that shall rule the nations well.
Messiah's coming! and in mercy he has promised to restore
The long-scattered sons of Jacob to their fatherland once more;
They will come with songs and gladness, with their treasures from afar,
Gathered to his holy mountain, to receive his blessing there.
Messiah's coming! at his bidding wars in every land will cease;
Right and justice then will triumph, and the earth be filled with peace:
All the kings shall bow before him, all shall hear his righteous law,
All the nations shall obey him, serving him with reverent awe.
Messiah's coming! priceless blessings to a suffering world he'll bring;
Eyes long sightless he will open, and the dumb his praise shall sing;
He will heal the sick and helpless, and the deaf his word shall hear;
And the lame with gladness leaping shall his wondrous works declare.
Messiah's coming! joyful tidings! let the heavens and earth rejoice;
Let the hills break forth in singing, and the sea lift up its voice;
Let the whole creation welcome him who comes to set it free
From the bondage of corruption, peace and joy thenceforth to see.
They tell me I am dying, mother,
That this night to me will be the last Of earth.
It must be so, I read it in
The shadow of your brow, which tokens
Deeper shadows of the heart.
Dying! I can not grasp the awful thought
To leave this bright and glorious world
So full of love and gladness, and to be
Hidden in the cold and narrow tomb,
To lay off all the precious jewels I have
Loved so dearly, and the gorgeous robes
Which have been my pride, since first
I sought to stifle conscience with the
Syren song of pleasure. I can not die,
There is so much for me to do.
You say, dear mother, "Heaven is just;"
Beyond I do not see its jasper walls,
Its pearly gates, its golden streets, and
Tree of life; and, if I did, what have
I done to gain an entrance there?
I have not loved my Master as I should,
Nor served him as I ought.
When first I named the holy name of Jesus
And vowed to love and serve him,
I could have marched unfaltering to
A martyr's death. I did renounce the world
With all its pomps and vanities,
The flesh, with all its vain desires
And pleasures, and left the kingdom
Of the Prince of darkness for the realms
Of Him, to whom all creatures must
Bow down and worship. The tempter came
And found a ready ally in my heart;
Slowly I yielded to the fascinating call
Of pleasure's vice. Not by sudden wrench,
But inch by inch, I retrod the path from
Heaven to earth. In my heart I came
To love the world far better than the
People of my Lord, and often when
They met for prayer, I sought, with
Eager feet, the gilded halls of pleasure,
And drowned all thoughts of a hereafter
In the voluptuous whirl of the intoxicating dance,
The halls decked with rich tapestry
Or garlanded with flowers. The rich
Swell of the bewildering music as it rose
And fell upon the perfumed air,
Was far more fascinating than the
Humble room where the true worshipers
Met to pray, and I can almost count
Upon my hands the times that I knelt There.
But now, oh God, the scene is Vanished.
I see the gorgeous tapestry changing
Its bright hues to the dark draping of The tomb.
The flowers hang dead upon
The grey cold wall, and their sickening
Fragrance stifles my fast failing breath;
The gay and thrilling music has drifted
Into a sad and solemn funeral march,
And the giddy revellers are treading slowly
To its measured cadence.
In their pale Faces is no light, no hope, no joy for me,
Nor do they seem to miss me, or to know
That one they loved so well is drinking
Bitter waters with no one to help.
Perchance, had I been true to God
The evil had been far less.
But I have shed darkness where I should
Have spread the light; I have scattered
Ashes where I should have kindled fire;
I only am to blame; mother, you would
Have held me back, even by prayer
And supplication. But I heeded not
Your supplications; they fell on ears
Open only to the syren song of pleasure.
You told me that, to touch the world
Would spot the soul; that concord
Could not dwell between our Master
And Belial; and, that one who loved
The world so well could never love
The Father. How shall I meet in judgment our
Good and gentle pastor? How often
Has he warned me of the dangerous
Path in which I trod! but all unheeded;
I spurned his admonitions, and resented
All his pleadings, saying, When I have
Drained the cup of pleasure to its dregs,
Then, at a more convenient season,
Will I call for thee! With what zeal would
I now serve My Master. I would not grudge him
One poor pitiful hour of the week,
As I was wont to do; but every day
And every hour should be his.
But't is too late; I'm lost, lost, lost!
Not for one idle hour of pleasure,
But for a life-work for the world.
To-night I'm face to face with death,
And there is no arm can save me,
No helping hand clasps mine. The
Deep, dark waters chill my weary feet,
My life, my soul. Slow creeps the shadow
On my vision, and phantom forms flit
Round me in the Stygian gloom.
You tell me I must pray. Nay, ’t is
Too late. I oft have prayed before this
Hour. But, mother, prayer can ne'er
Redeem a wasted life. I never thought
Of death nor anything beyond this
World of ours. Its pleasures, all its vanities
Were mine, and my poor soul was satisfied
With husks. Hope! There is no promise.
The shadows deepen; mother, is it night?
I scarce can trace your well-loved features
By the fast fading light. Hold fast
My hand! I can not feel its grasp on yours;
The cold, dark waters rise around me,
And I can see no light to guide me o'er
The tide. ’T is night, so dark. "Almost, but lost."
As an illustration of the above, we will insert
"THE NEW BONNET."
A foolish little maiden bought a foolish little bonnet,
With a ribbon, and a feather, and a bit of lace upon it;
And that the other maidens of the little town might know it,
She thought she ’d go to meeting the next Sunday just to show it.
But though the little bonnet was scarce larger than a dime,
The getting of it settled proved to be a work of time;
So when ’t was fairly tied, all the bells had stopped their ringing,
And when she came to meeting, sure enough, the folks were singing.
So this foolish little maiden stood and waited at the door;
And she shook her ruffles out behind, and smoothed them down before.
"Hallelujah! hallelujah!" sang the choir above her head,—
"Hardly knew you! hardly knew you!" were the words she thought they said.
This made the little maiden feel so very, very cross,
That she gave her mouth a twist, her little head a toss;
For she thought the very hymn they sang was all about her bonnet,
With the ribbon, and the feather, and the bit of lace upon it.
And she would not wait to listen to the sermon or the prayer,
But pattered down the silent street and hurried up the stair,
Till she reached her little bureau, and in a bandbox on it
Had hidden safe from critic's eye her foolish little bonnet.
Which proves, my little maidens, that each of you will find,
In every Sabbath service but an echo of your mind;
And that the little head that ’s filled with silly little airs,
Will never get a blessing from sermon or from prayers.
And as there are "Scandal Lanes" in every city, town and village, we will insert here the lines:
It is not on the signboard, sir;
Go search both far and wide,
Or in the town directory,
The map or railroad guide;
And if you pump your neighbor, sir,
You pump, alas! in vain,
For no one e'er acknowledged yet
He lived in Scandal Lane!
It is a fearful neighborhood,
So secret and so sly;
Although the tenants oftentimes
Include the rich and high.
I'm told they're even cannibals,
And when they dine or sup,
By way of change they'll turn about
And eat each other up!
They much prefer the youthful, sir,
The beautiful and rare;
They grind up character and all,
And call it wholesome fare!
And should the hapless victim wince,
They heed not cries of pain—
These very bloody cannibals
That live in Scandal Lane!
If you should chance to dine with them,
Pray never be deceived:
When they seem most like bosom friends
They're least to be believed.
Their claws are sheathed in velvet, sir,
Their teeth are hid by smiles;
And woe betide the innocent
Who falls beneath their wiles!
When they have singled out their prey,
They make a cat-like spring;
Or hug them like a serpent, ere
They plant the fatal sting!
And then they wash their guilty hands,
But don't efface the stain—
These very greedy cannibals
That live in Scandal Lane!
Here we might close this chapter, although there are several original pieces not introduced, some of which have been lost or mislaid; besides some selections superior to some of these, which the reader will find inserted from Dr. Walsh's Scrap Book, and there are enough in it to fill a volume, many of which are very fine and appropriate.
But there are a few other pieces, the insertion of which will close this chapter:
PRAYER I DON'T LIKE.
I do not like to hear him pray
Who loans at twenty-five per cent;
For then I think the borrower may
Be pressed to pay for food and rent;
And in that Book we all should heed,
Which says the lender shall be blest,
As sure as I have eyes to read,
It does not say, "Take interest."
I do not like to hear him pray,
On bended knees about an hour,
For grace to spend aright the day,
Who knows his neighbor has no flour.
I'd rather see him go to mill,
And buy the luckless brother bread,
And see his children eat their fill,
And laugh beneath their humble shed.
I do not like to hear him pray,
"Let blessings on the widow be,"
Who never seeks her home to say,
"If want o'ertakes you, come to me."
I hate the prayer so long and loud,
That's offered for the orphan's weal
By him who sees him crushed by wrong,
And only with his lips doth feel.
I do not like to hear her pray
With jeweled ears and silken dress,
Whose washerwoman toils all day,
And then is asked to "work for less."
Such pious shavers I despise—
With folded hands and face demure,
That lift to heaven their "angel eyes,"
Then steal the earnings of the poor.
I do not like such soulless prayers—
If wrong, I hope to be forgiven;
No angel's wings them upward bears,
They're lost a million miles from heaven!
The following tells so sweetly of the good time coming, it must find a place here:
Where the faded flower shall freshen—
Freshen nevermore to fade;
Where the shaded sky shall brighten—
Brighten nevermore to shade;
Where the sun-blaze never scorches,
Where the star-beams cease to chill,
Where no tempest stirs the echoes
Of the wood, or wave or hill;
Where no shadow shall bewilder,
Where life's vain parade is o'er;
Where the sleep of sin is broken,
And the dreamer dreams no more;
Where the bond is never severed—
Partings, claspings, sob and moan,
Midnight waking, twilight weeping,
Heavy noontide—all are done.
Where the child has found its mother,
Where the mother finds her child;
Where dear families are gathered
That were scattered on the wild;
Where the hidden wound is healed,
Where the blighted life reblooms,
Where the smitten heart, the freshness
Of its buoyant youth resumes;
Where we find the joy of loving
As we never loved before—
Loving on, unchilled, unhindered—
Loving once, forevermore.
We close with Bishop Heber's grand prize poem, slightly changed:
And who is he, the vast, the awful form,
Girt with the whirlwind, sandalled with the storm,
A western cloud around his limbs is spread,
His crown a rainbow, and the sun his head.
To highest heaven he lifts his kingly hand,
And treads at once the ocean and the land.
And hark! his voice amidst the thunder roar,
His dreadful voice, "Delay shall be no more!"
Lo! thrones are set, and every saint is there;
Earth's utmost bounds confess their awful sway,
The mountains worship, and the isles obey;
Nor sun nor moon they need, nor day nor night,
God is their temple, and the Lamb their light.
And shall not Israel's sons exulting come,
Hail the glad beam and claim their ancient home?
On David's throne shall David's offspring reign,
And the dry bones be warmed with life again.
Hark! white-robed crowds their deep hosannas raise,
And the hoarse floods resound the sound of praise.
Ten thousand harps attune the mystic song,
Then thousand thousand saints the strain prolong—
"Worthy the Lamb, omnipotent to save,
Who died, who lives triumphant o'er the grave."
At an early age Dr. Walsh accustomed himself to committing his thoughts to paper—a habit which would be profitable to most young men, and especially to those who aspire to be public speakers, lawyers, preachers or editors. He wrote many articles for the newspaper press long before he attempted to write a book, tract or pamphlet.
The first book he wrote was "The Nature and Duration of Future Punishment," published by J. W. Randolph, Richmond, Va. This was regarded as a strong argument in favor of endless punishment. It is now out of print. About the same time he wrote and published a small work with the title of "Immortality: A Review of Rev. Luther Lee."
In this work he took the position that, according to the Scriptures, immortality is conditional. He did not confound the survival of the spirit, after the death of the body, with the question of the immortality of the man himself. He believed that both immortality and eternal life, as presented in the word of God, were to be sought after and obtained "by a patient continuance in well doing." (Rom. ii. 7.) This work is also out of print.
He wrote a pamphlet with the title of "Salvation from Sin; or, What Must I Do to be Saved?" This tract has been the means of converting many to Christ. It is one of the best tracts for general distribution, and many thousands of copies have been sold and distributed all over the United States, and especially in the West. It has been twice stereotyped, and is for sale by all our publishers and booksellers.
His next work was "A Book of Sermons." This work was highly commended by the religious press, a few extracts of which will be given, and yet, financially, it was a failure to both the author and printer. Booksellers sometimes make money, while the authors of the works they sell utterly fail to make any. Novel writers often coin money, while the writers of good, instructive works remain very poor. Dr. Walsh's "Book of Sermons" was highly complimented by The American Baptist, New York; The Christian Monitor, Indianapolis, Ind.; The Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio; The American Christian Review, Cincinnati; The Christian Pioneer, Chillicothe, Mo.; The Christian Examiner, Richmond, Va. And yet, notwithstanding all these commendations, its sale was rather slow, and, as already stated, it never paid. Newspaper commendations have become so common and so profuse, they have well nigh ceased to attract attention.
"Universalism Exposed from the Inner Temple," is another tract written by Dr. Walsh, and, in point of logical argument, has not been excelled by any similar treatise on that subject. It has had a wide circulation, and has never been answered, though some lame attempts have been made to do it.
"Feet-washing in Patriarchal, Jewish and Christian Times," is another tract, large quantities of which have been sold. It is regarded as a complete refutation of feet-washing as a church ordinance.
"Moody's Theology Examined," is a small work written by Dr. Walsh, of which Isaac Errett, the distinguished and able editor of The Christian Standard, thus wrote:
"This is a kind but searching inquiry into Mr. Moody's teachings concerning the terms of salvation, designed to show that said teaching is imperfect and contradictory. Full credit is given to Mr. Moody for teaching much gospel truth with great plainness and power; but when tried by the teaching of Christ and his apostles, his teaching is seen to be seriously defective. It is good reading—good in its aim—good in its spirit, and good in its freshness and piquancy."
Dr. Walsh also wrote and published a pamphlet on "Free Masonry." This passed through two editions. It is not his purpose to reöpen the discussion of this question in this narrative of his life; indeed, it is his desire that it should be as free from controversy as possible; but a faithful history of his life requires that something be said in relation to this matter. His position on this subject was greatly misunderstood, and consequently gave rise to, or was the occasion of, much prejudice in some quarters, particularly among his own brethren, the Disciples. Outsiders seemed to understand and appreciate his position better than many professors of Christianity.
Dr. Walsh thought the Church of Christ was enough for Christians; that there was no occasion to join other societies to do good to our fellow men, however much good they themselves might obtain in that way from others. He never made it a test of gospel fellowship; but, apart from his arguments, met and treated all his brethren as Christians. Still there was much bitterness of feeling towards him, and hard speeches often uttered.
This tract was reviewed by "A Craftsman," supposed to be Judge Reid, of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and his review was rereviewed by Dr. Walsh. In this replication to Judge Reid, Dr. Walsh, perhaps, was over caustic and very satirical. As a logician he proved himself exceedingly hard to manage in an argument. He also had a slight skirmish with John Augustus Williams, President of Daughters’ College, Kentucky, first in his own paper, The Banner of Christ, and then in The Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dr. Walsh had read up all the mysteries of Babylon, Egypt, Phœnicia, Greece and Rome, besides many works of later date, published by the Masons themselves, to say nothing of others, and was so well informed on the matter as to be suspected of having been a Mason; but he never was. He was influenced by principle, and not policy. He has long been convinced that had he been governed by policy instead of principle, in a financial point of view he would have been better off; but he was too conscientious for that.
Having once fully delivered himself on the subject, and the controversy ended, he has no disposition to reöpen it; but will leave all the sisues involved between him and the brotherhood, to the adjudication of "the Judge of all the earth, who will do right."
Another pamphlet by Dr. Walsh was called "Anastasis; or, A Review of a Discourse on the Resurrection from the Dead," by J. S. Lamar. Of this review it has been said to be the best refutation of Elder Lamar's position published.
A more recent work of Dr. Walsh is his "Looking Down the Ages from a Prophetic Standpoint."
Perhaps this is the most elaborate and profound work Dr. Walsh has written. It is a work in which all Christians and Bible readers should be interested. In it Dr. Walsh does, indeed, look down the ages, and beholds the grand events yet to be unfolded and realized on this earth.
Of it the editor of The Christian Standard thus wrote:
"This neat volume contains the ripest judgment of a life-long student of the Bible, on the general drift of prophetical teaching and the present outlook from a prophetic standpoint. The author believes in a pre-millennial coming of the Lord Jesus, and His personal reign on earth. The ‘first resurrection’ in Rev. xx., is a literal resurrection of the saints. With this view the leading prophecies that point to the future are harmonized.
"It is not a book of extravagant fancies, or of dogmatic interpretation. The writer keeps ever in view the most approved canons of interpretation, and reasons closely. Whether the reader shall agree with him or not, there is a sweet vein of devotion throughout the treatise that will prove refreshing to him, and a force of reasoning that will wake him up to a more earnest study of the Scriptures. The personal coming of the Lord has not the prominence in our pulpit teaching that was once given to it, and that its importance demands. Without endorsing all the interpretations of the writer, we can honestly commend his book as a timely contribution towards the understanding of the prophetic interpretation of the Scriptures, in a spirit and with an ability that challenge respectful attention."
The following extracts are taken from The Evangelist, a Presbyterian paper, St. Louis, Missouri:
"In thirty-four chapters it presents in a logical, lucid order, an almost exhaustive array of Scripture passages, with brief, pointed, and in our judgment, generally correct expositions of them, bearing upon eschatology in general, and the signs of the second coming; the restoration of Israel; the reign on the earth; the new heavens and earth, and other kindred matters, somewhat in detail.
"There are several features of the work with which every earnest inquirer after truth must be pleased. The few canons of interpretation prefixed are eminently sound and safe. The views of the author are presented with moderation, candor and earnestness; the Scripture considered is in the main quoted in full, and left to speak for itself on all the doctrines of grace. The book is thoroughly orthodox and outspoken, and everywhere a most profound reverence for the divine word is evinced.
"Upon the whole, while not professing to endorse every detail of the work, we can and do cordially commend it to the prayerful study of all such of our readers as feel themselves drawn to an examination of a subject which year by year must assume increasing interest and importance."
The American Christian Review, Cincinnati, Ohio, gives the following outspoken and commendatory notice of the work:
"This is another attempt to ‘discern the signs of the times,’ and is declared to be ‘the result of a long and careful examination of the Scriptures, touching matters of which it treats.’ It contains many well considered and just interpretations of Scripture, and is worthy of careful study. The end to which the discussion tends is that this earth is to be renewed, and fitted to be a dwelling place of the saints; and that finally—a day not far distant—the Lord Jesus will himself come and take up his abode here, making this the throne of his kingdom. The views of the writer are well sustained, and commend themselves to the calm consideration of his readers, even though they may not be able to agree with all his conclusions.
"Evidently this book is the result of a long life of close study and search. We know Bro. Walsh, and know that he is capable of writing a very good book, especially on the subject indicated by the above title. Though somewhat advanced in years, he still possesses a clear and vigorous mind. He has great reverence for God's word, and loves the divine testimonies above all the honors and wealth of the world. So conscientious is he in regard to the faithful interpretation of God's word, that he would not pervert a single truth for the jeweled crown of a prince. It is a book that will richly pay perusal. It will quicken thought, and invite deep meditation."
The Religious Telescope, Dayton, Ohio, gives a long and commendatory notice of "Looking Down the Ages," and closes with the following words:
"The discriminating and thoughtful Bible student and Christian will find much in this book that will be helpful and inspiring."
Let us now hear the National Baptist, of Philadelphia:
"This is a thoughtful and reverent work on prophecy. The author has been a careful Bible student, and he gives us not only the results reached, but the processes by which he arrives at them. While the age is crying out for practical instruction in duty, there is danger of neglecting certain parts of Scripture, and to make doctrine a secondary thing, as though doctrine and practice were not as soul and body to each other. And the doctrines respecting the future are as potential upon character as any. The fact that God has seen it wise to give us in his word instructions respecting the future, compels us to recognize its importance and our duty to learn what we can respecting uufulfilled and fulfilling prophecy."
The Lutheran Observer, Philadelphia, says:
"The author shows amazing knowledge of the word of God. Some chapters are entirely made up of quotations from the Scriptures, while his own opinions and theories are kept in the background. Some of the topics presented are unfolded with great interest and clearness, and yet it is apparent that the author has a purpose. It all looks in one direction—the restoration of the Jews, and the personal reign of Christ on the earth. After copious quotations from the Bible, bearing on the Destiny of the Earth, he says: ‘These pages show a great change, political, social, moral and spiritual, as well as physical. They show the passing away of old things, and the introduction of new things; the inauguration of a new age, the manifestation of God's glory on earth, the exaltation and glorification of the saints, and a Messianic reign of peace and righteousness.’ The whole drift of the book may be seen from some of the topics: The New Jerusalem, The Coming of the Lord, The Reign of Christ on the Earth, and The New Heavens and Earth. "
We will next hear Elder J. L. Winfield, editor of The Watch Tower, New Berne, N.C.:
"There is no preacher among the Disciples that has given the prophecies longer, harder and more systematic study than the author of this book. We can also say, that none of our preachers are better prepared to write on the past and future ages than Dr. John Tomline Walsh. A man of good scholarship, well versed in the literature of the day, all combined with broad and comprehensive views of all subjects, he is the right man to handle what are dark and apparently speculative subjects. "Looking Down the Ages" is a new book just issued from the press of Bro. John Burns, which we spoke of in our last paper. The book contains 260 pages, and is divided into thirty-four chapters, beginning with the Lord's Land and ending with the Testimonies of Authorities. What commends it to our admiration more than anything else is, that each chapter is short and confined to the subject matter of investigation. Nothing superfluous or unmeaning can be found in a single chapter. There is a vein of great veneration for the word of God running through each paragraph.
With the author God's word is precious as ointment, and more to be honored and cherished than gold. The book shows that the author has given his ripest thoughts and best energy to make it free from objections. It is a work that will be read with admiration and edification by advanced thinkers. We must confess that the pious vein which runs through the pages brings us nearer and still nearer the cross. We feel like taking up our tent and moving it one day nearer home. This is a book that all our readers should have in their library, and we advise all who desire to understand and venerate the prophetic writings to purchase a copy without fail."
Elder R. K. Hearne, editor of The Free Will Baptist, Fremont, N.C., shall now be allowed to speak:
"Dr. Walsh is an able writer on theology, and this book surpasses any of his theological writings that we have read. For depth of thought on the prophecies it has no equal, and, unlike other writers, taking one passage of Scripture and giving their views on it witbout proof, he interprets Scripture by Scripture, connecting them together so that they are their own interpreter.
"This book is not sectarian, but one that can be read by all Christians with profit. It is a mine of wealth from the fountain head, and a book of instruction for inquirers."
I will now insert an extract from a review of the work from the pen of Richard H. Lewis, M.D., A.M., President of Kinston College, taken from The Kinston Journal, Kinston, N.C.:
"The book shows the remarkable condensing powers of the author. He has taken all the scattered rays of light, both of the ancient prophets and of commentators, and concentrated them into a brilliant focus. And it requires no magnifying glass to see clearly and grasp easily the truths so laid before the reader.
"Some of the good points are:
"It incites to a more careful study of the Bible.
"It compares Scripture with Scripture throughout and persistently.
"It arouses an interest in religion.
"It excites to good deeds and a careful looking after of our ‘daily walk and conversation.’
"It gives remarkably clear ideas of our Savior's work on earth and what we may expect from Him in future.
"It refers to so many passages in the Bible that the reader can very readily see for himself and prove the truth of any statement.
"It excites pleasant thoughts in the minds of Christians and presents to them beautiful pictures of the future.
"It is a good commentary—a bright light to illuminate dark portions of the prophetic writings.
"It must have taken much time, a great deal of patient and toilsome thought, extensive research and untiring industry, to have written such a work."
The reader will see from the foregoing that Dr. Walsh has been the author of nine or ten distinct books, tracts, etc., besides his editorial writings. Indeed, if all his writings worthy of being preserved, had been published in book or tract form, they would have made not less than twenty or more volumes.
His life has not been an idle one, but one of uniform and constant mental as well as physical activity; and now while his advanced age renders him physically feeble, his mind is still active and as inquiring as ever, searching into "the deep things of God."
The first paper Dr. Walsh began to publish was called The Scripturalist. In this form it was discontinued after a short time. He then published the Southern Review, a literary monthly magazine. This, after awhile, was merged into The American Son of Temperance, and continued to be published a number of years, first by Dr. Walsh, then by a Mr. Thomas Evans, and then by a Mr. Sturdivant, all strong temperance men.
Dr. Walsh (Mr. Walsh, as he was then known) became an active temperance lecturer, lecturing in the city of Richmond, Va., and in the counties of Chesterfield, Powhatan and Amelia; also in Petersburg and Norfolk. He was a zealous advocate of temperance, and at one time was identified with the order known as "Sons of Temperance," and the " I. O. of Rechabites."
He was for a few years associate editor with George Storrs, of The Bible Examiner. Mr. Storrs was a materialist, and he and Dr. Walsh not agreeing, they separated, and Dr. Walsh began the publication of a monthly called The Herald of Truth, but on returning to Richmond from Philadelphia, he discontinued it. This was the end of the first part of his editorial life, which was confined to Richmond, Va., and Philadelphia, Pa.
Coming to North Carolina in 1852, in June, 1853, he began a monthly religious magazine called The Christian Friend. As the editor, Dr. Walsh, was not yet settled or permanently located, the first numbers of the paper were issued from Wilson, N.C., and it was afterwards issued from Goldsboro, N.C., the place of publication being determined by the place of Dr. Walsh's sojourn.
The Christian Friend was merged into the Friend and Unionist, then into The American Christian Preacher. It was published one year under the auspices of the Conference of the Disciples in North Carolina, as the Disciples’ Advocate. Afterwards, by Dr. Walsh himself, as The Christian Baptist.
His editorial work was suspended during the war, but resumed after its close.
In 1876, in the month of June, Elder J. J. Harper commenced the publication of a monthly sheet, called The Christian Visitor. This was published two years, and then was discontinued. Bro. Harper made a good paper, being conservative and conciliatory in his editorials, and wise in the general management of his monthly.
The Convention of the Disciples in North Carolina, in 1874, thought we should have the Watch Tower issued at least semi-monthly, and appointed Elder Moses T. Moye, of Wilson, its editor. He published it one year at two dollars per annum, and gave it up after the expiration of the third volume.
Bro. Moye made a good, live paper, and conducted it with ability; but the brethren did not give him that material aid necessary to its liberal support, and he gave it up, as before stated, after one year's management.
As the Watch Tower originated with Dr. Walsh, and was in point of fact his property, he took hold of it again, and conducted it as a monthly magazine until the last year of its management by him, when it was published in newspaper form.
In 1879, having become weary of editorial life, he concluded to offer the Watch Tower to some brother who would conduct it in the interest of the cause of truth; and, first of all, offered it to J. J. Harper, of whose editorial ability he had some knowledge from his conduct of the Christian Visitor. He declined it, chiefly because he lived so far from the printing office that he could not properly superintend the publication.
He then thought of J. L. Winfield, as a young man of rising ability, possessed of vim and energy, and one who could, if he would, make a good, useful and, he trusted, a successful editor.
Having completed the volume for 1879, Dr. Walsh, without asking any remuneration, passed the Watch Tower into the hands of Bro. Winfield, who has conducted it ever since. He has made a readable paper, and as few mistakes, perhaps, as most young and inexperienced editors would have done; and with more age and experience, and, perhaps, less policy and a more unselfish management, he will become what all religious editors should be, a grand, dignified, and an able exponent and defender of the truth of the gospel, both in theory and practice.
It is a very common fault with young preachers and editors to launch out into the deep waters of controversy, and sometimes to get beyond their depth; or, having more sail than ballast, to be capsized and drowned.
There are some subjects, as Mr. Campbell once said, which should not be discussed except on one's knees; but the tendency of this age is to levity and frivolity in style and manner, and that, too, without regard to the nature, sublimity, or importance of the subject.
Much of the preaching and writing of the present day have no tendency to raise the standard of Christian piety, zeal or gravity. Levity among preachers is the rule, and gravity and mental sobriety the exception. A reformation in these things is much needed everywhere, and among all classes. The admonitions of Paul to Timothy are not out of place now, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." "Let no man despise thee," is also an admonition of importance, especially to preachers, whose lives should be pure, and whose conversation should be marked by gravity, kindness, and every Christian virtue.
The Watch Tower now purports to be published by what is called The Watch Tower Publishing Company, of which Dr. Walsh is only an honorary member, and knows not who participates actively in its management. He thinks it well for each State, that is able to do so, to have and to sustain a paper of its own; and he trusts the Watch Tower may be so conducted, no matter into whose hands it may fall, in such a manner as to reflect honor on its editor, whoever he may be; and that its management may be such as to advance the cause and do credit to the Disciples as a people in coming years.
Dr. Walsh thinks he has done all that, and perhaps more than, could reasonably have been expected of him in this regard, having lost, directly and indirectly, not less than $2,000 while editing papers in North Carolina.
The brotherhood have not taken hold of the publications intended to build up the cause, defend the truth, and spread abroad the light, as they could and should have done; nor are they doing it yet. But it is hoped they may never see the time when the voice of the press in North Carolina will be silent, nor a man fail them to stand on the Watch Tower to guard the interests of the cause of Christ in the "Old North State."
Notwithstanding Dr. Walsh had labored so long, and sacrificed so much in the past thirty-three years in North Carolina, in October, 1884, he commenced the publication of the Living Age, a monthly magazine, which he hoped would aid him, in his advanced age and declining physical strength, in supporting his family. He thought that, perhaps, the brethren and sisters had learned to be more liberal, and that, in consideration of past labors, they would now rally to his new magazine, and give him that support which he needed; but envy, prejudice and hate are never wanting in objects of displeasure, and some who should have known better, looked on the new enterprise as an antagonistic measure to the Watch Tower, and not only talked against it, but also withheld their support, as if a magazine could antagonize a newspaper! But human nature, if not totally depraved, is very crooked, and hence the facts are as recorded.
These things are a part of the history of the times, and are here written both as a warning and an admonition to all who may come after, and not be hasty in their conclusions, nor look chiefly on their own things, but also on the things of others.
As a writer and controversialist Dr. Walsh has figured conspicuously for many years. His writings, as elsewhere stated, have been numerous. As a writer he has always been plain, forcible and logical. He has the faculty of condensing his thoughts and expressing himself clearly in a few words. His power of concentration is great, and all his reasoning converges to the point in hand. This is also the style of his preaching, though when fully absorbed in his subject he is eloquent, forcible and full of pathos.
He never had many oral debates, and those he had were of short duration, not exceeding a day in length. His first encounter of this sort was in Matthews county, Virginia, with a Dr. Glasscock, a Baptist minister. His second one was with a Mr. Thompson, a primitive Baptist from the West, of one day's duration, at Tyson's Meeting-house, Pitt county, North Carolina. The subject was Predestination. Mr. Thompson lost his temper during the discussion; but at its close, as Mr. Thompson was leaving the pulpit without bidding Dr. Walsh farewell, he called to him, shook hands with him, adding the remark, "I hope we shall meet in heaven." Mr. Thompson shook his head, and expressed some doubt about their meeting there!
Dr. Walsh had a written discussion of certain questions with Dr. W. B. Harrell, a Baptist minister, of respectable attainments and ability, which was published in the Watch Tower, volume two, 1873. This discussion related to baptism, the remission of sins, and the operation of the Holy Spirit, and embraced five letters, three by Dr. Walsh and two by Dr. Harrell. It would be both pleasant and profitable to make quotations from this correspondence, but the size and character of this volume forbid it. The correspondence itself may be found in Watch Tower, volume two, pages 41-62, 1873, to which the reader is referred.
In the same volume may be found a discussion with John Paris, D. D., of the Methodist Protestant Church, on the subject of baptism. Dr. Paris had made an attack on what he called "Campbellism," and this called forth an invitation from Dr. Walsh to him, to meet him and discuss the questions at issue. This dr. Paris refused to do in any formal manner, but made appointments at different points to preach on the subject. One of these was made at the Temple Meeting-house, in Edgecombe county. North Carolina, and Dr. Walsh attended; and after the close of Dr. Paris’ discourse, asked permission to reply in the same house, and before the same audience. This reasonable request was denied, and Dr. Walsh was forbidden to use even the grounds belonging to the church, and Dr. Paris left the house, and rather sullenly, as Dr. Walsh thought, moved off home with a few kindred spirits.
Dr. Walsh then repaired to the public road, mounted a buggy, and addressed all who remained and were disposed to hear.
Dr. Paris made a second attack on the Disciples in his denominational paper, published at Greensboro, to which Dr. Walsh replied in the Watch Tower, and handled him without gloves. This whole discussion would make interesting reading matter, but for the reasons assigned in the case of Dr. Harrell can not appear here. This discussion may be found in the Watch Tower, volumes two and three, 1873-1874. This was a spicy discussion, and Dr. Walsh displayed strong logical power, using "the sword of the Spirit" with much adroitness, and giving home-thrusts with almost every word, certainly with every sentence. It was marked on the part of Dr. Paris by sophistry and trifling arguments, if arguments they could be termed; and on the part of Dr. Walsh with logical astuteness, irony and satire. As an illustration of the manner in which Dr. Walsh handled Dr. Paris, the following is introduced.
Dr. Paris had stated that "the baptism of the hosts of Israel, with their children, in the Red Sea, was proof enough for him of the correctness and truthfulness of infant baptism." Then said Dr. Walsh, their "flocks and herds" with a "mixed multitude," were also "baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea," and this ought to be sufficient proof to Dr. Paris that not only should infants be baptized, but also our herds and flocks, and the strangers, the "mixed multitudes" in our midst, and why does not Dr. Paris do this? He insisted that the cloud which overshadowed the Israelites, was a rain cloud, and poured down water. Then, said Dr. Walsh, how did they pass over "dry shod"? And how could Israel be " refreshed " by such a rain? Has Dr. Paris forgotten that it sometimes rained something besides water? Did it not rain hail, manna, quails, etc., sometimes; and was not Israel more likely to be "refreshed" by these than a torrential rain?
But we have not the space to refer to or to quote more largely from this discussion. Perhaps, in some future volume, Dr. Walsh's controversial writings may be published; but, if not, they may be found scattered through his editorial works.
He also reviewed a pamphlet on "Immortality" by Mr. Clayton, a Universalist preacher, with whom he had an occasional skirmish, but no regular discussion.
He had a friendly correspondence with Elder Rufus K. Hearne, editor of the Free Will Baptist, besides other brethren, some of whom were members of the Church of Christ, or Disciples, of which it is not necessary to speak particularly. He has been charged with being fond of controvery, and loving to debate; but this is not correct. True, he never shrank from defending the truth, as the Disciples understand it, but has always been ready to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," as he understood it; but he never sought debate or discussion for its own sake, or simply because he loved it.
That for thirty years and longer, in North Carolina, he has stood in the fore front, and met all the opponents of the cause boldly and bravely, is not to be disputed. The opponents of the plea of the Disciples have found in Dr. Walsh "a knight worthy of their steel," and have rather shunned than sought to encounter his "Damascus blade."
At the Annual Convention, in 1884, Dr. Walsh was appointed an evangelist at large, with the privilege of going when and where he could, as his heath and circumstances might permit.
In January, 1884, he had a slight attack of paralysis of his left side, involving the whole side, from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet; and, though considerably improved, it gave him a limping gait, from which he has never recovered.
In February, 1885, he had a severe attack of acute bronchitis, lasting about two months, and leaving him in feeble health. But as spring opened, and the weather became milder, his general health improved, and he began to preach again occasionally. He attended several Union meetings, and preached one or more times at each.
In June he was invited to attend a Union meeting in Hyde county, at Middleton, a point visited years ago, and an account of which the reader will find in this work. On this last occasion, taking the steamer Elm City, at New Berne, he reached Hyde Saturday afternoon, the meeting having commenced on Friday.
Judging from the schedule in the newspapers, he thought the steamer would put him off at Lake Landing, but she could not reach that point, and so discharged her passengers and freight in Wysocking Bay, about three miles from the Lake.
Of course he was disappointed, but making the best of it he could under the circumstances, he entered a small boat and went up a canal of the same name as the Bay (called by the boatman a ditch!) and after awhile found himself at a landing where there was a store and residence occupied by a Mr. Tunstill. Here he rested and dined. After dinner, a Bro. Pugh, whose daughter Mr. Tunstill had married, took him to Bro. G. M. Silverthorn's, where he met with Bro. John R. Winfield, the evangelist for that district. Here he learned an appointment had been made for him at night, conditioned on his arrival, as he was behind time. Dr. Walsh preached Saturday night and Lord's Day morning and night to large audiences.
Here he met with that old veteran, H. D. Cason, and these three, Cason, Winfield and Walsh, were all the preachers present at this Union meeting. Dr. Walsh intended to have remained in Hyde until the following Friday, but when Monday morning came he determined to return home. So Bro. Silverthorn, one of the chief Disciples in Hyde, carried him to Lake Landing Canal, where he found a boat going out to the steamer with freight. He went aboard, and for awhile all went well; but at the mouth of the Canal, the tide being low, the boat stuck into the mud, it being seven or eight feet deep! The boatman pushed and pushed, but the boat was fast. And here, for two or three hours, under a burning sun, Dr. Walsh sat, while the boatman waved his hat and shouted at the top of his voice for help; but no one seemed to heed his signals. Finally, however, a boat was sent from the steamer to his aid, and Dr. Walsh reached the steamer a short time before her departure for New Berne.
This Lake Landing Canal extends from Matamuskeet Lake to Wysocking Bay. Matamuskeet Lake is the chief lake in Hyde county, and its waters are filled with a peculiar kind of black mud in solution, which is very sticky. When the waters of the lake reach the salt water of Wysocking Bay, this mud is precipitated to the bed of the canal and obstructs navigation. The canal is being dredged, and it is hoped will soon be made navigable for large boats and even steamers up to the lake. This would be of great importance to the citizens of Hyde, for besides draining the lands, it would give them an outlet for their produce.
On returning from Hyde, Dr. Walsh made a hasty trip to Pamlico county, the district of Bro. J. L. Burns, the evangelist. This district comprises seven churches, besides other stations at which Bro. Burns preaches occasionally. This noble brother has his hands and heart both full, and ought to have the hearty cooperation of all the brethren and sisters in Pamlico county.
Dr. Walsh visited and preached for all the churches in the district, except one called the Star. Bro. Burns filled this appointment, and gave the audience a telling discourse on What Shall I Do to be Lost? It was a flank movement, and seemed to take the audience by surprise.
Thus it will be seen that Dr. Walsh, in his seventieth year, is as active in evangelical work as his age and feeble health will permit. And it is probable this activity may continue a year or more longer. But he is conscious of failing strength and vigor, and realizes that his work will soon be done.
A few miscellaneous things, not noticed before, will now be introduced. And the first of these is a brief, personal mention of the Hon. J. B. Respess. His name, and these remarks, should have appeared in another place, but proper space forbade it, and hence they are inserted here.
Mr. Respess, at one time, was a preacher of considerable promise among the Disciples in North Carolina. He did not have the advantage of a first class education, but his natural ability was above the average, and had he made preaching his life-work, his influence would have been felt throughout, if not beyond, his native State. As a preacher he lacked that gravity of which Paul speaks in his epistles to Timothy and Titus.
Influenced by causes known to himself, he entered into the arena of politics, and in a few years seemed to forget his high calling as a preacher and a Christian. His influence as a Christian was lost in the whirlpool of political life. Had he been loyal to Christ, true to his high calling, and steadfast in the ministry of the gospel, he would have been a giant in the land, and in the church!
Whatever others may think, Dr. Walsh has never thought it well for Christians, and especially Christian preachers, to mingle in partisan politics, and, unfortunately the politics of this day and generation are all partisan. Statesmen are few, but politicians are as numerous and almost as pestiferous as the flies and frogs of Egypt.
Very few Christians go into political strife, and come out without the smell of political fire on their garments. Dr. Walsh has known but few instances, if any, where they did not come down to a lower plane in spiritual life and zeal for the Lord's cause. Political Christians are not eminent for their deep-toned piety, and their love of and devotion to the cause of Christianity.
And as for political preachers, it is very difficult for them to pass through the cesspool of politics and not contract an odor that is life lasting. Is it possible for them to "keep their garments unspotted from the world"? The world, the flesh and the devil, one or the other, or all, are very apt to capture them.
The honor that cometh of men is not worth the seeking nor the having, as between it and the honor that cometh from God.
And it may be true, after all, as Judge Clarke, of North Carolina, once remarked to Dr. Walsh, that the great and beloved President Garfield would not have been assassinated had he not missed the mark, and departed from that line which God, in his providence, had laid out before him. He was a Christian, possessed of all the elements of manhood, and had he continued in the work for which he was so amply qualified, that of preaching Christ and Him crucified, he, in all probability, would have been the peer of ALEXANDER CAMPBELL himself in the cause of primitive Christianity, and not have fallen a victim to the deadly bullet of a demonized assassin. True, the ways of God are mysterious, and his providence inscrutable, but one can not help thinking it might have been otherwise. God's thoughts are not like our thoughts, nor his ways like our ways.
But, be the above remark true or otherwise, here is a lesson for all the ambitious that— "Too low they build who build beneath the stars;" and that good men, at least, can not expect to shine in two worlds. Dives had all his good things in his lifetime, and Lazarus all his evil things; but after death all this was reversed.
The dignified and Christian statesman is a very different person from the demagogue and mere partisan politician. While the former may be necessary for the good of the people, the other chiefly serves to stir up strife, breed contention, and demoralizes the people.
The advice of Dr. Walsh to all Christians, and especially to all Christian preachers, is to exercise their personal liberty, ignore party politics, vote quietly, retire from the polls, and go home. "Let the potsherds of the earth strive with the potsherds of the earth;" but let them stand apart from all the contamination of the world, and follow closely in the footsteps of Jesus the Lord.
Dr. Walsh is in his seventieth year, and he realizes that he is going down the hill of life. The shadows are growing longer. His steps are not firm. His gait is unsteady, but his faith is steadfast. He may often doubt himself, but he never doubts the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has believed, and in whom he still trusts, and hopes to trust to the end.
This narrative covers a period of nearly or quite seventy years. All is not written that might have been written. All the details of an eventful life are not given. These are left to be filled up hereafter, if needful, by another hand.
This little work completes all he deems it necessary now to leave on record. But one chapter more is necessary, and that, if ever added, will be written, it is hoped, by some other member of his family, or by the hand of some loving brother or sister, who will record the last scenes of this earthly life—
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes,
Until the resurrection morn."
He asks no monument to be placed over his dead body. God will watch over his dust. Jesus will never lose sight of it, and "will raise it up at the last day!"
And when family and friends may gather around him in the chamber of death, may the last rays of his setting sun be bright as gold, blending all the colors of the rainbow,
"God's glowing covenant."
Directions To The Grave of Dr. John T. Walsh
Dr. J.T. Walsh is buried in Kinston, Lenoir County, North Carolina. He and his family are buried in the Maplewood Cemetery. Kinston lies about 50 miles southeast of Raleigh. Take I-95 to Smithfield, Exit #95/Hwy. 70 and head east. You will go through the towns of Princeton and Goldsboro. The next town will be Kinston. Continue on Hwy. 70 until you turn left on Hwy. 259/S. Queen Street. Take the first right on Broadway St. Then turn left on Sasser St. The cemetery will be up on your right.
GPS Location of Cemetery
or D.d. 35.255394,-77.576212
Photos by Josh Waller, Glenn Fields, Jane Garner & Diane Siniard March 2008
Courtesy of Scott Harp