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(title page) The Life, Labors, and Travels of Elder Charles Bowles, of the Free Will Baptist Denomination, by Eld. John W. Lewis. Together with an Essay on the Character and Condition of the African Race by the Same. Also, an Essay on the Fugitive Law of the U. S. Congress of 1850, by Rev. Arthur Dearing
(spine) Life of Rev. C. Bowles
Eld. John W. Lewis
286,  p.
Ingalls & Stowell's Steam Press
Call number VC097 S745L (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998
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In offering this work to the public, it is not claimed that all the dates are correct, or that there may not be some inaccuracies in some of the circumstances related; it would be beyond the expectation of the writer that it should be otherwise. The journal of Elder BOWLES was quite limited, and the writer had no personal acquaintance with him as the subject of this work, so that much of the information, concerning his early and latter history, has been obtained by the writer, from those who were acquainted with him; and from Church and Quarterly Meeting Records. But we can assure our readers, that the most untiring efforts have been made to obtain as much information, and to be as accurate as possible. And we are confident in saying, that the Work as a whole, is correct, and may be relied upon, as a fair and impartial History of our beloved Brother BOWLES.
His Origin--Early Life--Enters the Army--Close of the War--His Conversion--Joins the C. Baptist Church--Whitfield's Labors--Withdraws from the C. Baptists and joins the F. W. Baptists.
Elder CHARLES BOWLES, the subject of this Memoir, was born in the city of Boston, A.D. 1761. His father was an African, In the humble capacity of a servant.--His mother was a daughter of the celebrated Col. Morgan, who was distinguished as an Officer in the Rifle Corps of the American army, during the Revolutionary struggle for Independence.
His infancy was spent with his father; but while in his childhood, he was placed under the care of Mr. Jones, of Lunenburgh, Mass. At the early age of twelve, Mr. Jones died, and he was placed in the family of a Tory. But it appears that his young heart, did not readily imbibe the sentiments of "the divine right of kings," neither did he altogether fancy his new situation; for at the tender age of fourteen, we find him serving in the Colonial artillery, in the capacity of waiter to an officer.
He remained in this situation for two years, and then enlisted, a mere boy, in the American army, to risk his life in defense of the holy cause of liberty. He must have learned here, to meet danger with courage and resolution; this was a portion of his life that called into vigorous exercise that courage and perseverance, for which he was ever after characterized. We know very little of his military life, save that he served throughout the entire war. We may well suppose that he saw some hard
service--had many narrow escapes--often moved on to battle amid the roar of cannon, rattle of musketry and death-dealing bayonets. His young heart must have often stood appalled, amid the carnage which strewed many a battle-field, and he must have turned away from such scenes of blood and slaughter, sickened at the horrors of war. But his heart was young, and all awake to the cause of human freedom, which was then writhing in the grasp of the British lion for existence; and he with others, rallied around the flag of his country, and fought on, till with the blessing of God, the British cannon ceased their roar, their serried columns were sent flying before the Eagle of Liberty--and the tide of ministerial aggression rolled back--our independence acknowledged, and the foundation of a great republic laid deep in the hearts of a rejoicing nation.
After the close of the war, and the disbanding of the army, Elder Bowles went into the State of New Hampshire, and engaged in agricultural pursuits. Soon after, he was married to Miss Mary Corliss his cousin, a grand daughter of the above named Col. M. Such was the condition and financial resources of the country, during and subsequent to the war, that those who had so nobly sacrificed their time and strength in the common cause, were obliged to return to their homes unrewarded, save by the pleasing remembrance of the victories they had won--the gratitude of a nation of freemen, and the bright anticipation of the undisturbed enjoyment of civil and religious liberty.
Soon after his marriage, he began to find that he was raising his arm in rebellion, against a mightier king than George the III. He felt that he was living in open violation of the just requirements of the King of Heaven,
who had created and preserved him, and Jesus Christ, who had died to redeem him; and though his efforts at rebellion in one case, had been crowned with success, he now found that he was not only engaged against a mightier Prince, but in an unjust cause. He was led by the power of God's truth to see that his condition was hopeless, and he forever lost, without an interposition of the mercy of God, manifested in Jesus Christ. He began to feel that though he had escaped the dangers of the battle field--though he had trod with fearless soul amid the roar of cannon, the clashing of swords, and had seen the fearful carnage of death all around him, he could not stand before the Throne of his Judge--bear the angry flashes of his countenance, nor endure the awful "depart ye cursed," that shall fall upon the ears of those who refuse to lay down their arms at the feet of Jesus. On the one side he heard the awful thunders of Sinai, threatening death upon every violator of the divine law, and on the other, he heard the hopeful invitations of Calvary, offering peace and pardon to the penitent. After a hard fought contest between the kingdoms of light and darkness, in which the throne of mercy was often besieged, and his obdurate heart completely subdued, that blood, which has been shed for the remission of sin, availed in his behalf, and that voice that stemmed the tempest on Genesareth's troubled bosom, whispered "peace" to his guilty conscience, and bid him sing the song of "dying love and redeeming grace." He was taken from the horrible pit of miry clay, his feet established on a rock, and a new song put into his mouth. His experience was simple, but truthful. His feelings had undergone a change that hold a striking contrast with the parade of the camp, the din of the battle field, and the carnage of the deadly
bayonet. Although the christian's life is a warfare, yet there are far more blessed assurances, than in the martial contest, which stirs up the worst passions of our nature. The one opens all the fountains of human sympathy, breaks down national distinctions and barriers, and looks upon all men as members of the human brotherhood; the other dries up the fountains of humanity, interposes barriers between those whom God has made of one blood, and fills the land with lamentation and woe. Eld. B. now found himself in a new position. He had served under some of the most renowned generals, whose actions live upon the page of history; he had charged fearlessly up on the serried ranks of his countries foes; he had wielded the weapons of slaughter and carnage. He is now called upon to enlist in a moral contest; he is now to fight under thel eadership of the Prince of Peace; he is now to lead God's sacramental host to victory against the ranks of the enemies of Christ's kingdom; he is now to wield the sword of the Spirit, and plant the banners of the Cross upon the ramparts of the enemies' citadel.
Elder Bowles soon after openly professed faith in the Redeemer, by receiving the ordinance of baptism, and uniting with the Calvinistic Baptist Church, in the town of Wentworth, New Hampshire. He then labored in Warren and adjacent towns. At this time, Baptist sentiments were quite unpopular in the State, while Congregationalism exerted the all controlling influence over the public mind; and consequently, the Baptists enjoyed the privilege, which all religious minorities have always enjoyed, of being persecuted and called heretics; and that other privilege too, of enjoying much of the spirit and power of the holy gospel.
And yet, the Baptists soon began to exercise the power
which they were fast gaining. They, like nearly all reformers, were as unwilling to have their errors exposed, as they had been ready to expose the errors of the Congregationalists. Thus it always is; one class of men will make reforms of a certain character, and then in their turn, become the persecutors of the reformers of their own abuses. But the spirit of religious liberty was beginning to kindle in many parts of the country, under the successful labors of the eloquent George Whitfield. The messenger of peace had scarcely reached the shores of Britain, bearing the glad news of amity and reconciliation between the two nations, before the propitious gales of heaven are wafting to our shores, this mighty herald of the glorious gospel of a still more blessed peace; to be obtained with no weapons, but those chosen from the arsenal of heaven--with no other spirit but that of his master, he came to negotiate a treaty between the court of heaven and its revolted subjects. If the booming cannon and rattling musketry, were unable to bring back the revolted colonies to their allegiance to the British Crown, the legate of the court of heaven, was enabled bv the power of the gospel, to conquer the hearts of the colonists. If the divine right of kings, received a mighty overthrow on the plains of Lexington, Saratoga, and Yorktown, the divine right of ecclesiastical tyranny and sanctified oppression, received a mightier overthrow in the pulpits of New England. That spirit which persecuted the Baptists, with Roger Williams at their head, could not brook the freedom with which Mr. Whitfield assailed their traditions and long standing errors. He was not only successful in the conversion of thousands of hardened sinners, from destruction's dangerous path, but equally successful in opening a new religious era in America.
Elder Bowles warmly espoused the cause of the Baptists,
and identified his interests with theirs. But he soon found, that to give vigorous growth to the germ of free salvation, which had been sown in his soul, he must seek some more congenial soil, where the free showers of heaven might water the tender plant of gospel grace. By a careful examination of the scriptures, the great chart of all chrisitian doctrine, and humble dependence upon divine wisdom, he was induced to withdraw from the C. B. Church, and attach himself to the infant denomination of F. W. Baptists, then just springing into existence. He had met with some opposition, in going forward in baptism from his companion, and now to sunder that tie, affected him deeply. But such was his conscientious regard for duty, that every obstacle had to yield to it. Possessing a mind fully devoted to the interests of the gospel which he had espoused, and seeking only to labor for the salvation of his follow men, regardless of frowns and flatteries, he enjoyed a large degree of confidence of his new associates in the gospel warfare. He made religion a practical, every day matter of conscientious business.
His Call to the Ministry--Goes to Sea to Escape Duty--The Subject of a Strange Dream--Leaves the Ship, and Preaches--A Revival Commences, and he Enters the Gospel Field--New Trials.
Soon after his connection with his new associates, his mind was deeply exercised upon the condition of the world around him, and he began to believe that he had been singled out from among his brethren, for the work of the gospel ministry. From such a duty, he at once shrunk; uot from any lack of interest, but he felt his incompetency for such an undertaking. A liberal education was generally considered, at that time, an almost indispensable qualification for the ministry; and although he possessed strong natural abilities, yet his book education was nothing, as his journals will abundantly show. Hence, should he attempt to stand before the people as a public teacher, he would meet with nothing buy coldness and rebukes.
These, and many other difficulties of a pecuniary nature, threw him into deep trials; and he refused, like Jonah, to preach the preaching which God bid him. He heard sounding in his ears, "wo is me, if I preach not the gospel;" his mind was so agitated, that he was unqualified for business, and his temporal affairs began to work against him, and like Jonah, he also "took ship and fled," not to Tarshish, but from duty. Arranging his business as best he could, he made for the sea-shore, and embarked at Boston, on board a vessel, in the capacity of cook. He continued to follow his business for three years.
His sailor's life, naturally led him into wicked society, the consequence of which was he became well nigh backslidden in life, if not in heart; but still unwilling to relinquish all hope of salvation. Amid the scenes into which he plunged, there still pressed upon his mind, at times, the solemn duty which he was neglecting; and when he saw the angry waves lift themselves on high, as they were driven before the furious blast, he felt a more fearful commotion within his own bosom--he dreaded not so much the lashing of the maddened tempest against the sides of his ship, as the silent scorpion stings of a guilty conscience. Thus he continued for about three years, in a state of disobedience. By times, feeling the awful responsibility of his situation, and the fearful doom that awaited him, would again silenc his conscience, and the voice of duty, by joining in the ribbald songs and jest of his rude ship-mates.
During the winter of the third year, of his Jonah's life, and while the vessel was undergoing some repairs, a female, an entire stranger to him, called at the vessel, and, introducing herself, informed him that she resided some thirty miles from that place in the country, and that she had had a singular dream; in which, it had been shown her, that an extensive Revival was soon to commence in that place; and that he had been shown to her, as the instrument in the hands of God, of its commencement and spread. But he had not disposition to lift up his voice in Jesus' behalf; and therefore treated the message with indifference and neglect, and it soon passed from his mind. But he was not long suffered to remain hid like Saul, "among the chaff;" for the woman made her second appearance, accompanied this time by her husband; and again urged him to comply with her strange mission.
By much entreaty, he was at length prevailed upon to send an appointment. At the appointed time he proceeded to the place, which, to him, was new. He began to feel the embarrassment of his situation, the lack of holiness in his own heart, and his unfitness to preach the everlasting gospel to dying men. But he endeavored to fill his appointment as best he could. It seemed rather a failure, than otherwise, and caused him to feel well nigh discouraged. He returned from the meeting with the intention of giving it up; but the woman and her husband had stronger faith in their dream than he; and prevailed upon him to leave another appointment. The time arrived, the people flocked to the house, and there awaited his arrival. On his way he passed through a piece of wood, and turning aside, bowed himself before God, and poured out his soul in prayer; his soul was delivered, and he began to feel the awful condition of the unregenerate. He arose and went to the meeting--the divine power of the gospel took hold of the heart of both preacher and hearer; many cried for mercy, and some six or eight were converted. His doubts now fled like the dew before the rising sun--his duty was now plain--his sea-faring life was abandoned, and he embarked on board the "Old Ship of Zion," bound on a life voyage to the New Jerusalem. He soon after left for his home, to make preparation for his new avocation, with the full determination to "confer no longer with flesh and blood." But as strong as this resolution was, he found it quite shaken when he met the opposition of his wife, and an irreligious world, together with some whose duty it was to encourage him, all frowning in coldness upon his new undertaking.
He found there was a difference between a circle of young converts, and self-righteous Pharisaical professors.
But relying upon the promise, "Lo I am with you unto the end," he ventured forth upon his toilsome mission. Amid all his discouragements, he found some warm christian hearts, who were more interested for the salvation of men, than for mere display and influence; and who encouraged him to go forward trusting in God. Thus, under circumstances to him encouraging, he entered upon his great mission work of sounding salvation to a lost world. Soon after, he received a license from the Conference to improve his gift in public. Although his acquired abilities were small, yet possessing a mind naturally strong, he soon began to make decided improvement in his public administration. And wherever he labored, some new evidence of his usefulness appeared, which continued to give increased confidence to his new brethren.--With them his heart became warm in Christian fellowship, and like Ruth with Naomi, he determined to identify his interest with the Free Will Baptists, to live and die with them; which resolution was strictly kept for more than forty years. At this time there were but few ministers of the F.W.B. order in Vermont, and he felt it his duty to sound the note of Free Grace and Salvation among the Green Mountains. Although he was poor and uneducated, his noble soul lifted to God, now at the beginning, for divine instruction and qualification for the arduous work before him. If in his soul he could exclaim "Who is sufficient for these things?" he could adopt the language and sentiment of the bible, "not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord." Therefore, it is evident that neither a desire for personal ease, or popularity, or pecuniary benefit, induced him to enter the Ministry; but the true motive was to promote the glory of God and the salvation of men, to say with the good Apostle "The love of Christ constraineth me," 1st Cor., 5th, 14th.
Between the years of 1808 and 1817, Eld. Bowles spent some time in Ashburnham, Mass, where he labored with good success. We are not informed, whether a F. W. B. church was then in existence in that place, but the sentiments of the denomination were well received in that region. After finishing his labors in this place, he went to Gloucester in Rhode Island, and labored some in company with Elder Colby; who says in his journal, "after meeting, I went to the south-east part of Gloucester, and preached to two hundred people. This was a neighborhood, where brother Bowles had been preaching for a few weeks before. A number of souls had been brought into the enjoyment of religion, through his instrumentality. I found that there was a great appearance of a glorious revival in that part of the town." Elder Colby speaks of brother Bowles' labors, on some other occasions, and speaks well of him. Elder Bowles spent much of the year of 1813 in this town, occasionally visiting other towns. He saw many converted under his labors in that State; and doubtless, that many shall come up from there, having their "robes washed and made white by the blood of the Lamb," who have been redeemed through the labors of those faithful servants of God. Some may still be living, who can praise God that they ever heard the gospel from their lips. They are dead, but their works still follow them.
There appears to have been some similarity of character between them. They were both earnest and faithful laborers--both, men of deep piety--of strong faith--of unshaken confidence in God--of fearless spirit, in the presence of mob violence, and never quailed while Elijah's God nerved their hearts and fired their souls. Brother Bowles' confidence in God, was put to the test on several
occasions, when assailed by mob violence; and on one occasion in the State of Rhode Island. In a certain town, a hall had been fitted up by an irreligious man, for the accommodation of that class of people who have their brains in their heels, and whose God dwells in their stomachs, and whose zeal is drawn from the demijon, who meet in the night to celebrate the orgies of Bacchus; whom they worship by copious offerings of gold and health. On the death of the owner his widow determined to overthrow the altar and the tables of the money-changers, and drive them forth from the temple which they had desecrated. But this could not be done, without offending the worshippers of the heathen god; and he rallied his devotees to the rescue of his broken altars, and his former temple of worship; for when the first meeting was held for the purpose of dedicating it to the worship of the Christian's God; Bacchus assembled his worshippers from his various altars, their faces burning with zeal, and hearts filled with the spirit of their mission, they seized the minister, dragged him to a pump, and drenched him with water, until he left the place. Soon after, Elder Bowles received an invitation to attend a meeting in the hall; and was also informed of the character of the place, and his probable reception. But always ready, like Paul, to preach the gospel to barbarians as well as Jews, he accepted the invitation. He had entered on a warfare that knew no defeat, no retreat. His motto was onward. The time of meeting arrived--a large concourse of people assembled, and Elder Bowles with the rest. Though he had not come unarmed to throw himself into the dangerous breach; but had chosen his weapons from the best arsenal in the world. He had gone to the armory of heaven, and selected the old and tired armor of Paul; and he
came forth having his loins girt about with Truth; on his black breast shone the breast-plate of righteousness; his feet were well encased with a preparation of the gospel of peace, and over his head he held the shield of faith; on his brow rested the helmet of salvation, and in his hand glittered the sword of the spirit; the whole having been newly burnished by praying always with all prayer. The mob came too, with their hearts nerved with the dark spirit of the pit, bent on deeds of violence. But they knew not the power of that Mighty One, who had commissioned this dark son of Ham, to sound his gospel to dying men.
They vainly supposed, that all they would have to do, would be to enter the town, seize him and bear him away; but this work which was so easily planned, was not so easily done. Brother Bowles requested the brethren to take their stand around him, and lift their hearts in silent prayer to Daniel's God for deliverance. And when the mob entered, there stood that adamantine breast-work of prayer, girt around the object of their fury, who was sending his well tempered blade deep into the hearts of his enemies, while he was defended by a chain of prayers into whose embrace it was dangerous for the mob to enter. They saw at a glance the weapons which they must meet, and their faces blanched, their eyes quailed, their hearts faltered, and their arms palsied; and after hesitating a moment, they retired from the presence of him who had power with God. After service, and taking tea with the family, he took his cane and his overcoat, passed out into the street, and through the mob, they opening to the right and left, as though held in awe by an unseen hand, and he passed on, none daring to do him harm.
It is to be regretted, that brother Bowles kept no journal
of his labors while in Rhode Island. What we gather is detached fragments from those who were acquainted with him while there. On leaving he returned to New Hampshire.
Moves to Vermont--Is Ordained--His Trust in God--A Shelter is Providentially Provided--Is Exposed to a Mob--The Mob Converted and Baptized--Has a Queer Text Given Him.
Some time during the year 1816, he moved to Williamstown, Vermont. July 24th, of this year, he came into Huntington, and preached his first sermon; commencing it by reading the hymn which commences thus:
"With love and pity I look round
Upon my fellow clay;
See men reject the gospel sound,
Great God! what shall I say?"
His labors in this place resulted in the conversion of near an hundred souls. He continued to labor in this vicinity during the summer, with good success. He soon after bought a farm in Huntington, where he lived with three of his children. As his labors had been blessed in this place in the conversion of many, a church was organized in the fall, of the Free Will Baptist Order.
On the 26th of November of this year, the church in Huntington, of which he was a member, called a council to sit with them, to examine, and ordain brother Bowles to the work of the Gospel Ministry. The council consisted of Elders Webster and Maynard. This council, with the church, set him apart to the work whereto God had called him. His trials were severe, and often in his journeys, he knew not where to find a shelter. On one occasion, he started on a preaching tour--it was a cold, dreary winter's day; after riding through the day without food, for he was penniless, he began to think of supper,
and shelter for the night; but where to go he knew not; he was far from home, and among strangers; but he sought Jacob's God, and like him, prayed that God would direct him to some friendly abode. What an object for the protecting care of Him, without whose knowledge, not even a sparrow can fall to the ground! that dark son of Africa, kneeling behind his cutter, upon the cold snow, imploring the Divine protection. But as humble, and dark of skin as he was, within his bosom pulsed as true a heart as ever received the Divine commission, "Go ye into all the word, and preach the gospel to every creature." It was heard and answered. Calmness filled his soul--trust in God cheered him on his way; and giving loose reins to his horse, he proceeded on his uncertain journey, intending to let his horse take his own way.--After passing several houses, his horse turned up to a dwelling and stopped. He alighted and entered, requesting the privilege of warming. While sitting by the fire, a child some five or six years of age, began to weep most sorrowfully; the mother took her into another room, that she might quiet her; but soon returned, surprised and astonished, exclaiming, "Who are you? where are you going? and are you hungry?" He told her his name, and that he was hungry. She soon prepared supper for him, and her husband coming in, he was requested to spend the night with them. There being a meeting in the place, he attended with the family; the appointment was for a Methodist circuit preacher; but it grew late, and no one arrived, some one requested him to preach, although he was not aware that any one knew that he was a preacher. His mind seemed led into the condition of the people, and he commenced the services; but before he had finished the preliminary exercises, the circuit minister
came; but insisted on the previous arrangement. His soul launched out freely into the deep waters of salvation for lost men; and the mighty power of the gospel was felt upon many hearts, which resulted in the conversion of several that evening, and was the commencement of a glorious revival in that place. His success in this place had a powerful influence upon him, in dispelling his doubts, confirming his faith, and preparing him to engage in his great mission work with new confidence.
While laboring in the towns of Huntington and Hinesburg, he met with much opposition, especially at the latter place. His labors had been blessed in the salvation of many, whom he had the delightful privilege of leading down the banks of the beautiful lake in that town, and plunging beneath its placid bosom. And, as the work progressed, and post after post of the enemy's camp yielded to the martialled hosts of Zion, fears were entertained that even the very citadel of the devil was about to yield; the enemies of the cross of Christ began to gather their forces for one grand onslaught upon the ranks of the Prince of Peace. They thought to make their main attack upon brother Bowles, who was the leader of God's host in their recent victories; and if they could silence him, the rest would be so intimidated they would abandon the siege of their camp. But they had not yet learned the character of the man whom they had selected as the object of their hate. They knew him as a man; but not as the dauntless servant of God--they had measured his physical strength; but not the spiritual power with which he besieged the Throne of Grace--they had calculated on the physical weapons which he might use; but not on the spiritual ones with which God had armed him from heaven's arsenal; neither had they ever measured arms
with Elijah's God. But such is the fool-hardiness of some men, that they never stop to think of the power which they are about to assail. It was so in this case. Some dozen or more, banded themselves together, and agreed, if he held any more meetings in the place, to take him as he came out of the meeting, put him on a wooden horse, carry him to an adjoining pool, and throw him in; leaving him to extricate himself as best he might. Such was the determined spirit of those engaged in the mob, that no one even thought of a failure. Among the number, was one young man, who had been somewhat acquainted with Elder Bowles, while laboring in Rhode Island with Elder Colby; this young man was so conscience-smitten, that he could not rest, until he communicated the affair to brother Bowles, so he went to him and informed him of the whole plot. Brother Bowles heard the foul plot in all its details, with perfect composure; and then said to the young man, "go take your place with the rest, and say nothing to any one about the information you have given to me, lest you should suffer for what you have revealed of their plans; and give yourself no uneasiness about me, for God will take care of me; but I shall do my duty though the enemy trample me under their feet." How much this answer sounds like the one Peter gave to the Jewish rulers. He knew but one path, and that was the path of duty; he never, when sure of being in that path, stopped to parley about consequences. His faith in God was unwavering, and he always felt willing to fall, if fall he must, at the post assigned him.
The time at length arrived for the meeting; and while the enemy are preparing the weapons of their warfare, he is fitting himself. Behold him in yonder grove, bowed low before the throne of that mighty Redeemer, in whom
he had learned to trust; with his soul shut up in its own sanctuary alone with God. He feels the weakness of human strength--he has never learned to trust to carnal weapons, and has gone to arm himself with the panoply of heaven, to meet the hate and malignity of a God defying mob. What a noble sight it is, to behold that despised servant of God, bowed there alone in the grove seeking only a preparation or heart to bless his enemies! What a contrast it bears with the object of that band, who are now preparing themselves by whiskey and oaths to effect their malignant purpose! While he is cherishing the kindest feelings for their spiritual welfare, they are steeling their hearts to every feeling of compassion and humanity. God has heard that voice of supplication, which was carried by angels from that forest up to heaven; calmness sits upon his brow, and faith adorns his soul. The time for the meeting has arrived; Elder Bowles is in the desk; the wooden horse is at the door, and the mob painted and disfigured are in their seats in the house.--Elder Bowles has taken his text, Matt. 23, 33 "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" and, in the earnestness of his overcharged soul, is proclaiming the gospel to that audience, just as though nothing had happened, or was in waiting for him; the truth finds its way to many hearts, and causes them to feel its mighty power. He has concluded his sermon, sung his hymn, and is about ready to close his meeting--he arises, but not to pronounce the benediction--all eyes are turned upon him, while he proceeds to address the mob. Said he, "I am informed that there are certain persons in this house, who have agreed to put me on a wooden horse, carry me to the pond and throw me in; and now dear creatures, I shall make no resistance
at all--I am all ready; but before starting I have one request to make. I wish you to put one of your most resolute men forward, because I have another subject from God to preach on the way; and we will have music as we go along, glory be to God, yes we will have music; glory be to God." This was said with his powerful voice, and with such confidence in God, that it went like an electric shock through the congregation, and produced an effect upon the mob, that could scarcely have been equalled had a bolt from heaven fallen in their midst; so completely were they overcome, that they fell prostrate upon the floor, and began to say like some of old, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" The mob spirit was broken, and quite another spirit seized them. The man upon whom they were about to vent their hate, is now sought as the only one capable of affording them assistance in this time of sore distress. They all soon submitted to the Savior, and found "peace in believing, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
A short time after the above narrated circumstances, there might have been seen, one pleasant Sabbath afternoon, a large congregation gathering around a beautiful pond of water, in the town of Hinesburg. If we closely scan that assembly, we shall detect one who appears to be a leader among them, whose complexion bears the mark of Africa indellibly fixed there by nature's own seal, in whom we shall discover the speaker who addressed the mob a few days previously. And on further examination, we shall detect the countenances of some who might have been seen on that eventful evening, bearing a wooden horse toward the place of worship. Both parties are here; but no wooden horse makes its appearance. What can be the object of those men who had threatened to
plunge that son of Ham beneath the very waves that are now murmuring at their feet? Have they come here to accomplish that fell purpose? The case is now reversed, and that colored man, so recently the object of their contempt, is, in obedience to his commission, "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost," now about to plunge them beneath the liquid wave, as an evidence of their separation from the world and union with God. Here was indeed, a mighty triumph of the power of the gospel, worthy even of the days of Paul. Methinks the hymns of praise sung by those happy converts, on the banks of that lake, was caught up by Angels, and rolled o'er the plains of heaven from ten thousand angelic harps. Some of those who composed that baptismal group, have gone home to heaven, to join with brother Bowles in singing the song of redemption, while others are still laboring in the Church Militant, to preach that gospel which they found to be "the power of God unto Salvation," to their own souls.
Having now fully entered upon his work in this region, he preached extensively in Richmond, Duxbury, Waterbury, Stowe, Middlesex, and many other places; in all of which he witnessed much of the power of the gospel, and was instrumental in turning many from the error of their ways to the true and living God. So deeply was he engaged in the work of the gospel, that he seemed always ready to speak in the name of his Master. We find a remarkable instance of this in his journal: On one occasion, he had an appointment near a tavern, in the town of Richmond, in which a gentleman from New York had put up for the night. In the evening the landlord informed him that a colored man was to preach nearby, and invited
him to attend; but he indignantly refused, alleging that the sermon was probably a borrowed one; but on being again urged to go, consented on condition the landlord would give him the following text, and he would preach from it that evening. They went to the house, laid the text on the desk and took their seats. It was Proverbs, 30th chap., 18th, 19th verses; "There are three things which are too wonderful for me; yea four, which I know not. The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid." At first he thought of declining to preach from it at that time; it was a new and difficult subject; one upon which he had never studied, and upon which he was unprepared to preach. Elder Nathaniel Bowles, a white man who had labored much with him, was present with him at this time, and they consulted for some time upon it. At last he determined that brother Nathaniel should read a long hymn to be sung, then make a long prayer, then read another long hymn, so as to give Elder Charles time to prepare his subject. When the last hymn was being sung, the text appeared clear to his mind. He announced his text, and after speaking for a few moments upon the literal meaning, began to make a spiritual application of his subject. Elder Bowles in speaking of this scene says: "The Spirit lifted the big gates of glory, and the power rolled through the congregation; the gentleman who gave the text was cut to the heart, and soon after converted to God."
His manner of preaching was simple and practical, never attempting to make any display either of ignorance or learning, but always endeavoring to get at the plain import of the subject, and urge its claims home upon the
attention of his hearers, and when the gentleman, who had supposed that he declaimed borrowed sermons, come to hear him, he found in the pulpit a plain man, speaking the solemn truths of God's word, which came welling up from the depths of his own experience, instead of a mountebank vending the nostrums of theological quacks. It was the thrilling power of simple truth; uttered in an earnest and feeling manner that produced such an effect upon the congregation which he addressed. These appeals, backed up by a consistent, godly life, made him a flaming herald of Salvation wherever he went.
1817, Renews Covenant--Revival in Washington--Sister Danforth--Attends the Vt. Y. M.--Goes to N. Y.--Returns--Organizes a Church in Hinesburg--Brother Colby Restored from Sickness--Organizes a Church at Duxbury--Organizes a Church at Shelburne--Organizes a Church in Huntington--His Labors During the Year.
January 1st, 1817, Elder Bowles renews covenant with God, and girds on anew the heavenly armor for the spiritual contest before him. He writes at this time, "I feel truly grateful to my heavenly Father for past mercies, and earnestly pray that my heart may be filled with love to him; and with a spirit to labor in his holy cause. I want to feel more for the souls of my fellow men--I want to see more of them turning from the error of their ways--from sin to holiness, and prepare for the enjoyment of Heaven. I thank God for his presence the last year, and hope to meet his approbation during the year to come."
We find him at the commencement of the year, engaged as usual, in his Master's service. On New Year's evening he preached at brother Simon Crock's house in Washington. A deep interest pervaded the meeting, and several backsliders returned from their, wanderings; some of the unconverted came forward for prayer, while some young converts sang the Songs of Deliverance. Thus did some receive indeed, a New Year's Gift worth possessing.
2d Jan., he visited Mr. Ely Sanborn, whose wife had just embraced religion, and found him interested for his salvation; and brother Bowles had great confidence that he would soon join his wife around the family altar. In
the evening he attended a prayer meeting at the house of brother John Thomas. Here the power of the gospel was felt, and the slain of the Lord were thickly strewn around, while many a broken heart was sending to Mercy's ear the cry of "What shall I do to be saved?" Thus did they enjoy a happy commencement of the year. Brother Bowles continued to visit from house to house, encouraging the converts, exhorting the brethren to faithfulness, and warning sinners to flee from the dangers thickly set about their way.
12th, he attended an appointment at brother Chaney's. Several backsliders were reclaimed, while the ungodly felt deeply the dangers of their situation. Brother Bowles writes, "a shout went up front the camp of Israel, which made the kingdom of darkness tremble." He continued preaching and visiting; while God blessed his labors abundantly. He found many cases of deep interest which called forth the fullest exercise of faith and zeal.--Those who appeared affected by the power of the gospel in the meetings, he followed to the family circle; and around many a hearth-stone were gathered a group of anxious souls sending their petitions for pardon and peace. Here the father rejoiced over the conversion of his children; and the children rejoiced over the conversion of the parents--the brother prayed for a weeping sister, and a pious sister saw the conversion of a long prayed for brother. Methinks that amid those happy scenes, our brother's color was entirely forgotten, and they loved to hear the glorious gospel which came all warm from his devoted heart, just as well as though he had been a "Pale Face." If there is "joy in heaven among the angels of God over one sinner that repents," what ecstacy must seize the heavenly host at such scenes as this. Oh! that many
sinners who may read these lines, may be induced to make the heavenly arches ring with the songs of joy over their conversions.
After spending five weeks in this vicinity, and witnessing the conversion of many, he left on the 18th to attend the Strafford Quarterly Meeting, holden at Strafford.--Brother Bowles and brother Spencer preached, and the brethren enjoyed an interesting meeting. From Strafford he went to Corrinth, visited and preached with Elder Nathaniel Bowles and Elder King.
22d, he visited Chelsy Greene in company with Elder Nathaniel Bowles and wife, preached several times, and visited several sick persons. In the evening he enjoyed an interesting prayer meeting; saw one soul brought into gospel liberty; spent the night at brother Worthy's.
23d, he attended a meeting at brother Worthy's. Here he met with sister Clarissa Danforth, a female preacher, who had been converted under his labors, and, believing it to be her duty to warn her fellow men from error's ways, she had been sounding the gospel trump. It was pleasing to him to meet with the fruits of his labors; and especially those who were like him endeavoring to spread the conquests of the gospel. On the subject of woman preaching, Dr. Clark says, "if an Ass could reprove the prophet Balaam, and a barn-yard fowl could reprove Peter, may not a woman rebuke sin?" Although as Mrs. Child says, the classification of women with donkies and fowls, is not very complimentary. Elder Bowles preached on this occasion, and sister Danforth followed in an exhortation. It was a time of refreshing; saints were made to rejoice, backsliders cried for mercy, and sinners began to feel their need of salvation. 25th, attended a meeting at brother Sleepers, with sister Danforth. The
interest seemed to increase. Sabbath 26th, he felt deeply impressed with the responsibilities of his station and the weight of the cause resting upon him. He preached in the forenoon, and enjoyed good liberty. Sister Danforth spoke in the afternoon, and produced a deep impression on the congregation. A colored man and a woman, preaching in the same house on the same day, was rather a novel spectacle; but in the importance of their subject, color and sex were all forgotten, and nothing but man's lost condition, and the abundance of the atonement presented themselves to their view. A prayer meeting was held after preaching; many exhortations and prayers were offered, and it seemed a bethel to many a happy soul. After meeting, he rode seven miles to the west part of the town, although the cold was intense, and met a good congregation at brother Ramsdel's, and preached to them the word of life. The weather continuing stormy and cold, he spent several days with the family in prayer and conversation; many a family still remembers with pleasure the happy seasons which they have enjoyed while he was their guest. How pleasing such past remembrances, to the christian heart; and with what gratitude does the convert, who was thereby permitted to receive instruction, refer to those seasons of spiritual consolation.
30th, went to brother Sleeper's; in the evening he enjoyed an interesting interview with some neighbors, who had called in to listen to his instructions and prayers.
Feb. 1st, he went to Turnbridge to attend the Vermont Yearly Meeting. He met in the Elder's Conference some fourteen ministers, and enjoyed with them an interesting interview. How beneficial may such schools of the prophets be made, and what benefits may they not confer upon every Quarterly and Yearly Meeting? Many of our
brethren too lightly appreciate them; some, who are unwilling to have their sentiments examined, oppose these conferences, on account of the discussions which they are apt to create, by the bringing in contact different opinions; but how much better it would be to present, in a christian spirit our different views, and compare and discuss them in a christian manner, than to stubbornly refuse all discussion, and then denounce from the pulpit all who may choose to disagree from them.
As Elder Bowles was traveling much among the churches, the Yearly Meeting thought best to give him a commendation to the brethren in the Yearly Meeting, and wherever he might be called. Feb. 2d, some twelve hundred people came to hear the word. Brother Scales, from Maine, preached in the morning from these words, "The poor have the gospel preached unto them." Elder Bowles in giving account of this meeting, says: "The preaching through the day was attended with mighty power; the speakers seemed filled with the spirit of their mission, and seemed to feel a fresh annointing from the Holy One; so that the battle went hard against the king's enemies[.] Elder Buzzel got his "new-light" coat on, and he cut his length and breadth, until the devil's kingdom trembled. The evening meeting held until after twelve o'clock at night. Glory to God, we all got happy!"
From the Yearly Meeting, Elder Bowles went on Monday to Chelsea, and heard sister Danforth; she spoke from Rev. 17th, 4th, which led her to expose the man of sin, "who sitteth upon the scarlet beast," "and was made drunk with the blood of the saints." He next visited Williamstown, and preached the word of life in a schoolhouse; where he did not enjoy much liberty; but it appears that he was not discouraged, for he continued laboring
in that region, until by laboring day and night, saints were made to rejoice anew, backsliders came flocking home to Zion, and young converts sung the song of redemption. How cheering are such scenes to the old pilgrim of the cross, who has been laboring for a long time in the midst of discouragement and trials. The winter of coldness is gone, and the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard again in the land. Such a scene is like an oasis in the journey of human life.
On the 13th of March, he bid adieu to those dear friends, with much anxiety for their spiritual welfare, intending to visit some of the lake towns. He passed through Barry to Montpelier, where he found an old friend, with whom he tarried for the night. From thence he went to Middlesex; staid with Elder Brown, and preached in the evening; the people appeared attentive, and the church well engaged.
12th. After praying with the family and commending them to God, he rode to Duxbury, and held a meeting in a school-house, and preached from Isaiah 42d, 11th. Much interest was manifested in the meeting. Here he heard again the songs of the convert, which was his chief delight. He says of this meeting: "God had truly out of the mouths of babes and sucklings perfected praise."--After visiting some sick friends, and one sister in particular, he went on through Bolton and Richmond to Hinesburg, to fill an appointment.
Sabbath, 16th, Elder Dodge preached in the morning from Romans 6th, 22d, and he preached in the afternoon from 2d Corrinthians 12th, 11th. His soul was elevated in the spirit of his work; and all seemed to feel the power of the gospel, which was preached to them from those two faithful servants of God. From this place, he went
to Shelbourne, and held a prayer meeting in the evening.
After spending several days at Shelbourne, Williston, Charlotte and Richmond, he went to Burlington on the 22d, and crossed the lake on to Grand Island, and went to South Hero and stopped at brother Hasketts. 23d, he attended meeting with the Methodist circuit preacher, who preached from Rev. 22d, 1st, and enjoyed a good meeting. He preached in the place in the evening and then went to North Hero. 24th, he crossed over to Plattsburg, and visited the scene where the English and American fleets met in deadly conflict during the last war. Elder Bowles had once girted on the death dealing weapons and stood amid the crashing of cannon balls and the whistling of bullets, had bared his breast to the merciless bayonet, and perhaps, awful thought! sent the death messenger home to some warm heart, and chilled the blood in some veins, and sent some spirit up to its final doom; but he had long since sought and obtained a full and free pardon for all his sins; and now stood beside that battle ground clad in the armor of peace--his weapons all moral--his message all glorious to friends and enemies--his conquest a blessing to the defeated--and his standard the blood stained banner of the Prince of peace, with the Cross of Christ emblazoned upon its ample folds. Success to the ebony leader of God's chosen people.
He spent several days in Clinton County, New York; attended to some business, and preached the gospel to his fellow men as he had occasion. He soon returned to Vermont through Plattsburgh, Hero, and Burlington. He next went to Essex. During this route he spoke often in meetings, aiming always to sound the gospel wherever he had opportunity. Sabbath 26th, he says, "I think that I can say with John the Revelator, "I was in the Spirit
on the Lord's day;" my soul feels happy in God--much solemnity rests upon me as I find many souls under deep conviction--poor backsliders trembling, and christians pointing them to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." He seems to feel much like an ancient one, who says, "I have no greater joy, than that my children walk in the truth." Such a state in the church is certainly encouraging.
April 13th, he attended meeting at the house of sister Irish, in Charlotte, and preached twice. One woman became convicted of her sins and cried aloud for mercy; the interest soon deepened, and backsliders began to confess their rebellion against the government of Heaven, and to seek forgiveness at the foot of the cross. This glorious work was the result of several meetings which he had held in the vicinity. 14th, he went to Mr. Israel Sheldon's, to visit his son who was quite sick. In the evening he attended a prayer meeting. 17th, he attended a prayer meeting again in the place. 18th, he attended the funeral of a young lad; and then went on to Rhode Island Corner, and preached in the evening. 19th, he went back to Charlotte and attended another funeral.--Death was among the people and uttering a fearful admonition in their ears, to prepare for their final exit. In the evening he went to Hinesburg and attended a meeting. Sabbath, 20th, he preached in Charlotte, and again in the evening; when some came forward for prayers; the brethren were encouraged and cried to God for the spread of his kingdom. 21st, he visited a sick brother, quite a number of the neighbors came in and enjoyed a little prayer meeting. Two of the number manifested much seriousness. In the evening he attended a meeting in the place, and some requested prayers. 22d, the interest of
the meeting continued and many were converted. Brother Bowles' soul was baptized anew for the good work, and his spiritual armor was burnished for the contest; and the brethren had got well into the spirit of a revival. He had now been in that vicinity for some time, labored extensively and seen his labors wonderfully blessed.
23d, he took his leave of the brethren, leaving many still inquiring the way to Zion, and went to Rhode Island Corners, intending to organise a church of the Free Will Baptist Order in that place. What was his disappointment when he found some trials existing among them! What these trials were, he does not tell us; but after considerable effort on the part of brother Bowles and some of the brethren, the trials were removed, union restored, and a good spirit took possession of each heart. He then organized a church, called it the First Free Will Baptist Church of Hinesburg. He spent several days in visiting from house to house during the day, and holding meetings in the evening, Sabbath, 27th, he rode several miles in a severe storm, to an appointment--preached twice during the day, and had a prayer meeting in the evening; and staid with brother Wilcox that night. 28th, he visited brother Tyler, and enjoyed a good season in the family, and found several under deep conviction; which caused a deeper interest in his own heart. 29th, went to Williston, and in the evening attended a meeting at John Taylor's; there was a large congregation present, and some interest manifested. 30th, he preached in the evening at Hinesburg.
May 1st, he preached at brother Michael's, in Shelbourne. He spent several days in this vicinity, exhorting and praying from house to house, during the day, and preaching during the evening in this place. Among other
families which he visited, was that of brother Irish, whose wife had just embraced religion. He next preached at Hinesburg Hill, where the mighty power of the gospel was manifested in a glorious manner; some were so intensely affected that they were unable to keep their seats, and in the midst of the sermon they fell upon their knees and cried for mercy; they continued for a long time in this position, when at last they made a full surrender to Christ, and obtained a rich pardon of all their sins. The enemies of the Cross of Christ were dreadfully alarmed about their spiritual condition, and began to fear that an awful retribution awaited them in the judgment; while the old saints began to rejoice and gather new courage in the conflict. Sabbath, he went one mile to his appointment, and met a large congregation, so large that nearly one half were obliged to remain out of the house. He stood in the door and preached, so that the people were enabled to hear out as well as in the house. In the evening be attends a prayer meeting in the same place; the house was full, the brethren were well engaged, and became so interested, that many of the congregation left the house mocking, and saying that it was all wild fire; but they soon returned. Elder Dodge gave an exhortation, and Elder Bowles followed him, and many were deeply convicted of their sins. 5th, he went to Williston and held a meeting in the evenings until the 9th, continuing his visits during the day time. One woman seemed almost in a state of despair; which caused him to earnestly wrestle in prayer in her behalf; he pointed her to the Cross, and urged the necessity of immediate submission to God. He then left them and went on through Richmond to Bolton, and spent the night with brother Webster. 10th, he went to Waterbury, and dined with
Judge Butler; his visit was pleasant and he presented the gospel as the theme of his conversation. Thus we see that some, in high stations of life, are not ashamed to associate with those even of a despised caste. How more honorable and manly, to welcome this representative of a persecuted race, to his social board, than Pharisee-like, spurn him with contempt from his presence, as many of our Northern mushroom aristocracy too often do[.] Thousands who have despised his race, may see the time when they will be glad to be benefitted by the prayer of a black man. Many who would not listen to the gospel as it falls from African lips, may desire, when it is too late, to enjoy the seat of the despised in the Paradise of God. In the afternoon he went to brother Huntly's, in Duxbury, and spent the night.
Sabbath, 11th, he attended meeting at Duxbury, and preached twice during the day, and attended a prayer meeting in the evening; a man and his wife resolved to become christians; and others felt the necessity of reflection. Elder Bowles always found some in this place, like those in Sardis, whose garments were not defiled, and who always found access to the Throne of Grace. He spent the 12th in this place, being quite unwell. The 13th, he went through Middlesex, Montpelier, Bolton, to Waterbury, and spent the night with brother E. Cheney. In the evening many came in to enjoy his society. How often has the christian family circle seemed to those who enjoyed his presence, like that little one in Bethany.--Such a man as Elder Bowles, finds but little time for idleness; if not delivering his message from the pulpit to the solemn congregation, he is imparting the no less needful instruction in social conversation. He spent several days in Washington, Corinth, and Orange
Sabbath, June 1st, he preached at the house of brother Thomas. A powerful effort was produced on the congregation; several came forward for prayers, and some found "Him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote;" while wanderers began to find themselves in a strange land, and well nigh starved with the famine which was sore upon them. The 5th, he visited Mr. Stevens, who was laboring under deep conviction. He found him resolved to persevere to the end; he enjoyed a happy season with him in prayer. The 7th, he went to Wheelock, to attend the Wheelock Quarterly Meeting. He preached the introductory sermon, and enjoyed much of the divine presence. He stopped while here, at brother Randall's. The ministers were in good fellowship, and all seemed intent on building each other up in the holy faith. Sabbath, 8th, Elders Bachelor and Quimby preached the word to the people in power and with the spirit of their mission; Elder Bowles gave an exhortation, and others followed with strong confidence in God.
At the time of this Quarterly Meeting, Elder Colby, whose health had been failing for some time, lay as many feared, at the point of death. Elder Colby says, "My friends soon, however, found that all was in vain; my stubborn cough was not to be checked by the virtues of medicine, nor were my disordered lungs to be healed by the power of it; almost every person now despaired of my recovery. The first week in June, it was evident that I was failing faster than usual; my cough became extremely distressing, which, together with the weakness and pressure on my lungs and uncommon shortness of breath, made it appear and not without reason, that I should soon breath my last." Elder Daniel Quinby began to believe, while thinking of brother Colby's case, the loss of
such a laborer in the gospel field, that the direction givers in the 5th chapter of James, 14th and 15th verses would, so far from being presumption, be applicable to his case. He believed that if Elders Charles and Nathaniel Bowles, Joseph Quinby and himself could visit him, and Elder Charles Bowles, could exercise faith in such a prayer, that Elder Colby would be raised. These views communicated to the above named brethren, all of whom assented to the proposal except brother Charles Bowles, had no faith in the matter, considering him so near the grave that he thought it of no use to make such an effort, which was to all appearance raising the dead. But after considerable entreaty they all determined to go and see Elder Colby; on the 9th of June they started for Sutton. Brother Colby writes, "Sunday evening, June 8th, my father returned from Wheelock Quarterly Meeting, and after relating what a wonderful season they had had, he mentioned over the Elders who attended; they were men with whom I was well acquainted, men who had been made near to me. During the night I reflected that I had tried means to regain my health, by following the directions of one and another, but that I had never followed the direction of James, (in the above named chapter,)--"Is any among you sick," &c. My mind had been much exercised on this subject for some time, and now I resolved to put it into practice. Next morning, my father came into my room, and I told him what I was about to do. He seemed very much rejoiced, and very strong in the faith that it was of the Lord. I asked him whom I should get to go and call for the Elders of the church, and he replied that he would go himself; and while he was preparing, the very four Elders I had selected, came on purpose to pray for my life, as they informed me." The
further proceedings of these brethren are detailed more at length by others, than by brother Colby. When the brethren arrived and found the remarkable coincidence' even then brother Bowles had no faith to pray for brother Colby's recovery; but the brethren began to pray, not for brother Colby, for none had faith enough to pray for him; but all looked to brother Bowles, whose mighty prevailing power in prayer, had been abundantly witnessed by them all, and on too many occasions, now to doubt its efficacy, provided he could get confidence that it was God's will to hear his prayer. These brethren continued to pray for brother Charles Bowles, whose mind remained the same until the last brother had nearly finished his prayer, when brother Bowles began to feel a labor of soul for brother Colby, and could hardly wait until the brother had finished. When he had finished, brother Bowles began to lift his heart to God, in strong confidence, and with the utmost assurance that his prayer would be heard and the sick restored. Their united prayers continued one hour and a half, during which time, brother Colby says, "I felt the power and spirit of the Lord God upon me, and before they had done praying, every pain of body left me; I felt perfectly happy, calm and as free from pain as I ever did in my life. * * * * I believe that I began to amend from that hour, I breathed much easier and my cough began to abate. ["]
This certainly was a remarkable case, and it bears every appearance of a Divine interposition. Remarkable too, that no one had confidence in the prayers of any, save in the son of Ham; that dark Ethiopian, despised and abused as he often was on account of his color, though his influence on earth was small, but in the Court of Heaven, his prayers came up clothed with more than mortal
energy, pressed their urgent way full up to the Divine Throne, arrested the Divine ear and came away with his request. His petitions might be spurned on earth, but they prevailed with God.
9th. After visiting some families, and pointing the poor mourning souls to the Lamb of God, he left in company with Elder Nathaniel Bowles, to go to Sheffield, where they preached with good liberty to an attentive congregation. Several backsliders and sinners came forward for prayers; some four obtained a hope in the Redeemer, after they had unitedly joined in prayer. 10th, they rode to Danville, some 16 miles; Elder Charles Bowles preached with good liberty, and Elder Nathaniel followed him in an affecting exhortation. 11th, they went to Charlotte and attended meeting in the evening. Elder Nathaniel preached with good liberty and Elder Charles followed him in exhortation, and much interest was manifest in the meeting. They then went to Montpelier, and spent the night with brother Wheets; Elder Nathaniel left him at this place and went to Northfield. Brother Bowles now felt quite lonely, and retired to the forest that he might be alone with God, where he could pour his whole feelings into his ear; and he found the same God which Jacob met, and like him obtained a blessing. 14th, he attended meeting in Montpelier. While on his way to the meeting his soul seemed much distressed for the people; he found but little liberty in preaching, and on Monday the 15th, he again retired to the silent grove and sought divine aid. That evening he held another meeting in the place, and began to see some of the effects of his anxieties; so interesting was the meeting that it held until day-light. After resting a while, he went to another part of the town and attended the funeral
of Mr. John Young. He then went to the Four Corners, and met a large congregation. 17th, he visited some families. 18th, he held another meeting in Montpelier; there appeared but little prospect of good there at present.
He went to Calas on the 19th and attended a funeral; he preached in the place in the evening; there appeared some prospect of good in the place, yet his mind was still deeply interested for the people at Montpelier Four Corners. Saturday, 20th, he visited Elder Page and attended a Monthly Conference with the brethren at Calas, and enjoyed a refreshing season. Elder Bowles says, "I felt to cry aloud that Elder Page might be baptized anew with the spirit of his divine mission.["] 21st. With feelings of solemnity he went to Montpelier Four Corners, and preached to a large congregation. The people were attentive and solemn; the congregation increased so much that the people were obliged to prepare seats in the grove. A large congregation heard the word with deep interest. He spent the night with sister Templeton, and enjoyed a pleasant interview with the family. He spent some several days at this place and at Calas. Sabbath, 29th, he preached to about five hundred, he had rather an uninteresting time in the forenoon; but he says, "in the afternoon the waters began to flow, the spirit gave a lift, my soul caught the fire and the wheels rolled easy." July 11th, he took leave of the brethren, with whom he had spent four weeks, and seen many converted and reclaimed, and had had the privilege of baptizing many and joining them to the church. 12th, he went to Middlesex. 13th, he preached twice; brothers Dodge and Huntley attended with him. After the afternoon service he rode six miles and preached in the evening. 14th, and 15th, he spent at Duxbury in company with brothers Irish and Huntley;
much interest was manifested in his meetings in this place. After preaching on the 15th, he organized a Church and established a Monthly Conference; the church was called the "First Free Will Baptist Church in Duxbury," and was composed of ten members.
20th, he preached in Duxbury twice, Elders Manard and Huntley being with him. In the afternoon one person obtained a pardon of sin, and "rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory." After the afternoon meeting he went to Waterbury and spent the night with Judge Butler. 21st, he preached at Duxbury in the evening. 22d, he started on a journey toward the lake, passed through Bolton, and stayed on the night of the 23d. 24th, he attended the funeral of sister Carmel of Richmond, Elder Webster preached and he exhorted; much solemnity rested on the people. He went on to Hinesburg and attended meeting in the evening; having no appointment, his coming was quite unexpected, but he found the brethren assembled in a school-house for prayer meeting, who were greatly rejoiced at his coming.
Sabbath, 27th, two ministers attended with him. In the evening he attended prayer meeting, and enjoyed a refreshing season. 28th, he rode eight miles to Huntington to an appointment, and spent the night with brother Duffee; he and his wife having been somewhat backslidden, were revived, through the influence of brother Bowles. 29th, he visited some families, in company with brother Duffee, and succeeded in awakening some interest in the minds of the brethren; and in the evening meeting, much anxiety was manifest for a revival of the work of redemption. 30th, he went to Shelbourne and preached free salvation to a large assembly. 31st, he preached in Richmond;
the same revival spirit was still alive and burning in the hearts of the brethren.
August 1st, he went to Williston and visited some six or eight families on the road; thereby learning the state of the people and getting prepared for his appointment; arriving at the house, he spoke to the people with much liberty. 2d, he attended meeting at Shelbourne, and established a monthly meeting, and organised a church, in connection with Elder Webster.
Sabbath, 3d, he attended meeting with the new church; a large congregation assembled. Elder Webster preached in the morning, and Elder Bowles in the afternoon; some souls seemed awakened, and one found the Pearl of Great Price. He met here some of his old friends from New Hampshire. In the evening he attended prayer meeting with the brethren; which proved to be a Bethel to many souls; three sought and found the Savior, and sang the song of redemption on the banks of deliverance; while others were heard to utter the cry that fell upon the ear of Paul, from the trembling tongue of the astonished jailor; and the old brethren rent the air with the song that floated in melodious sweetness o'er the plains of Judeah, when the star pointed to the manger, where lay the World's Only Hope. 4th, he undertook to perform some manual labor for brother Irish; but being exposed to a severe rain he took cold, and was obliged to desist. He then went to Charlotte, and visited some families, which appeared to give him as much delight as it did to sound salvation in the public congregation; and if we may judge from his journals, much of his success may be attributed to his private conversation. And this mode of labor must be very useful to all ministers, as it gives them such access to their hearers as they cannot obtain
in the public discourse, and it also gives him a knowledge of the state of his hearers, which affords him matter for his public discourses; and certainly no man can so well benefit his hearers, as he can by knowing just the state of all of their minds. 6th, he attended meeting in the evening, which was attended with much of the Divine power of the gospel; the brethren were thoroughly aroused to a full sense of their obligations in the great work of Salvation; some thirty resolved to seek peace and reconciliation with God; so that all might say with good old Jacob, "The Lord is in this place," but unlike him they were aware of his presence. The interest which had been manifest on this occasion seemed to extend in many directions. He continued his labors here for several days and witnessed a good revival of religion, in which many were reclaimed and converted; which rejoiced his heart exceedingly.
Sabbath, 10th, he went to Huntington and preached twice during the day in a school house, and attended a prayer meeting in the evening at brother Duffee's. Here also some were deeply convicted of their sins, and came forward to be prayed for. He continued his labors in this place some four days, preaching and visiting. In this way he was enabled to sound salvation to many who did not attend his meetings. His labors were constant and unremitting, when he was not employed in one way, he was in another, and like Paul, "he ceased not day or night to warn every man." 14th, he went to Richmond and attended a meeting in which he enjoyed much liberty, and the divine blessing still attended his labors; for in this meeting some were powerfully convicted of their sins, while three found peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. From this place he went to Duxbury, and
as he traveled visited many houses, in all of which he found more or less seeking the way of life. 16th, he attended the Monthly Meeting at Duxbury with Elder Huntley and the brethren, and enjoyed a refreshing season. He spent the night with Elder Huntley, where he enjoyed a praying season with the neighbors.
Sabbath, 17th, he preached in Duxbury in the morning, and Elder Manard in the afternoon; after which they broke bread to the church, and enjoyed much of the heavenly influence of the Savior's dying love, which those broken emblems symbolize in such a lively manner. The monuments of Egypt stood upon their deep foundations, pointing their heads towards heaven, to perpetuate in dumb language, their builders, long since forgotten. But these simple emblems are never seen, but they call, in all their freshness, to our minds, the name and sufferings of the author of our holy religion, and send a thrill through each soul that unites it in a closer affinity with Him whose death they symbolize. It appears that he labored in this place until the 19th. He says, at this time he began to feel anxious about his family, which he had left, to persuade his fellow-men to be reconciled to God.
It appears that, though he labored very successfully in the gospel, the brethren whose spiritual interests he promoted did not see that his temporal wants were supplied, for he has been known to labor all night in the corn field, and then go and attend his appointments on the next day. Too many of our brethren have and still do plead a "free gospel," as a cloak to their covetousness. They will see their ministers toil on in poverty and distress, while they are hoarding up their thousands, and the only answer he receives from them is, "trust in the Lord brother, he will reward you." It is true that God fed Elijah by the
ravens, but did any of those brethren know of his sending to a minister from heaven, a barrel of flour? Why do they not furnish the minister with provisions for family, and trust in God for their pay? Some of them are as Elder John Buzzell said they were, he said on a certain occasion, that "some brethren had rather pray two hours than give a shilling for any cause!" 22d, he went on through Bolton and Richmond to Huntington; visiting as he went, comforting the saints, encouraging the converts, praying with the mourning souls and pointing sinners to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. He preached in the evening at a school house, and spent the night with brother Amos Dike; he found Mrs. Dike under deep conviction, so that new work was before him; he bowed at the throne of grace and plead in her behalf. Thus we find him always ready for the work--always prepared either to preach, exhort or pray, in public or in private. 23d, he went to Shelbourne, and preached in the evening; staid during the night with Elder Reed, and enjoyed a good visit. 24th, he attended meeting at Shelbourne, in company with brother Manard and brother Heath; brother Manard preached in the morning, and brother Heath exhorted in the afternoon; Elder Bowles preached, and after sermon he and Elder Manard administered the sacrament. It was a refreshing time for the church. They held a prayer meeting in the evening, of which he says, "the power of Elijah's God was in our midst; many were deeply convicted, and bowed before God to seek mercy and salvation at His hand."
20th, he, with the two brethren, preached to a large congregation, and baptized five happy converts. Thus he labors on, convicting, converting, baptizing, and organizing churches, being an instrument of much good to the
people where he goes. 26th, he, with Elder Manard visited from house to house; in the afternoon they went to Hinesburg, attended a meeting and baptized six happy souls, as the fruits of his labors in that region. 27th, he went to Shelbourne and attended meeting at the house of sister Irish; the brethren got well engaged in the work, and a good spirit began to animate every heart. He then went to Huntington, and attended meeting in the evening with Elder Thomas, from Stowe. Saturday, 30th, he met the brethren in their Monthly Meeting, and enjoyed a good meeting. Sabbath, 31st, he preached at brother Durfee's, two souls obtained a pardon for all of their sins, and sang the song of redemption. In the evening he attended a prayer meeting at brother Haskins, where the same spirit seemed to characterize the meeting; one soul was brought into gospel liberty. He spent the 31st with the brethren in visiting the families in the place, and searching out those who had been awakened, with whom he conversed and prayed.
September 2d, he went, in company with brother Hewett to hear Elder Beeman a Methodist minister, after which they visited brother Haskins, who lay very sick. They then went to brother Durfee's, and brother Hewett preached to the people. 4th, he preached in the evening at the same place. The 6th and 7th, he spent in Shelbourne, preaching and visiting. Sabbath, 7th, he preached in Charlotte, where the gospel found its way to many hearts; some thirty came forward for prayers, and some of them obtained a pardon of their sins. It must have been highly encouraging to this holy man of God, to have his labors so wonderfully blessed with the conversion of his fellow men. The 9th, he went to Williston and preached the funeral sermon for Mr. Thatcher. He went the 10th, in
company with brother Benson and wife, to attend a Camp Meeting, where he spent some two days with but little profit or satisfaction. He preached one sermon at the meeting, and enjoyed a communion season with a large number of Methodist ministers. 12th, he went to Huntington and attended a meeting; after which, nine brothers and sisters agreed to unite themselves in Church capacity. 13th, he attended meeting in the same place and one more joined the infant church. And the prospect seemed very encouraging for raising up a large church in this place.
14th, he felt resting upon him great responsibility, and felt quite anxious to see his labors successful in the vineyard of the Lord. He went to Mr. Remington's where he preached twice, and saw the conversion of one woman, and four or five backsliders were reclaimed. In the evening he held a prayer meeting at the house of brother Rowe's; many came out to hear the word of truth, from many of the faithful witnesses of Christ. 15th, he went to visit several anxious inquirers, and encouraged and instructed them in relation to the things of the kingdom. He found some who had obtained a rich reward for all their self-denial. All of which seemed to encourage the little church which had been established in this place. In his family visits, he found a warm reception at brothers Hart, Durfee, and many other places.
On the 19th, he went to a school house, and preached to a large congregation in the afternoon, where much solemnity and interest was manifested, and some sought the Redeemer. In the meeting, he received a line from a brother, stating that his wife was laboring under deep conviction, and he feared that she would become deranged. And while the brethren were engaged in prayer, this brother
and his wife came into the meeting, when all with one accord lifted their hearts to the Throne of Grace, and presented their petitions to that God, who "Will not quench the smoking flax, nor break the bruised reed." That God who in the still small voice, as well as in the deafening thunder, and the heaven-jarring earthquake, heard the agonies of those souls bent in prayer, around the mercy seat, and spake the life-giving word, "Thy sins are forgiven thee, go and sin no more." This victory caused a shout to ascend from the camp of Israel, up to the gates of heaven, was caught up by the angelic choir, and rolled in one loud hallelujah full on the Eternal Throne. The awakening influence of divine power was manifest in the meeting, old backsliders began to think of the richly laden hoard, which they had left far away in their father's house--to feel the power of the mighty famine that was beginning to be felt in Babylon--were seen, with their heads bowed down in shame and humility, approaching the once forsaken doors of that home, that had given them so much happiness; the father runs to meet them, in joy and penitence they clasp each other in fond embrace--the fatted calf is slain, and songs of redeeming grace and dying love go swelling toward the city of the New Jerusalem. But there is trouble in the devil's camp--his legions have been sadly defeated--some of his best men have deserted him--he stirs up the rest to deeds of wickedness, and some run from the meeting crying, "wild fire!" It was such fire as their pride and selfishness could not well stand, for the "arrows were sharp in the hearts of the king's enemies, whereby they fell under."
20th, he went to Shelbourne, and spent several days in his usual way of visiting and preaching. Several were converted during his stay. 26th, he preached in Hinesburg;
on the 27th, returned to Huntington, and preached twice to a large congregation. He says, "The great gospel trump was blown, and the brethren began to get ready for the battle of the Lord." In the evening he attended meeting in the same place, and one was converted. 28th, he went to Starksboro, and preached with good success; one was converted. 29th, he went to Hinesburg, to attend a Church Meeting; some difficulty had got into the church; and when danger approached the church, it always touched his heart, and aroused his sympathies.--The peace and prosperity of the church was as dear to him as the apple of his eye; and when discord made its appearance, he was always ready to give council and hush to silence the elements of strife. He found some hardness of feeling existing among the brethren; but after much labor, it was all settled, and peace and harmony restored. He spent the night at brother Titus'.
October 3d, he left Hinesburg, after laboring a few days in setting the church in order, and went to Starksboro, and preached in the afternoon. Some in the house began to cry for mercy, and came to him after meeting and him of their distress of mind, and requested that he should present their cases at the Throne of Divine Mercy. 4th, he went to Charlotte and attended Monthly Meeting with the brethren, where he enjoyed a refreshing season, and found the church well united and laboring together for the salvation of their fellow men. In the evening he went to brother Paris' and attended meeting with brother Beeman, a Methodist preacher. How much better it would be for the world if all christians would lay aside their sectarian prejudices, and labor heart and hand for the spread of the common faith! How much better it would be, if there was less sectarianism preached, and more gospel!
But how often do we find, that when one denomination commences some meetings in a place, and gets up a little interest, another denomination will put in appointments, and endeavor to oust the previous preacher; and two denominations can seldom hold a protracted meeting together, without engendering hard and unkind feelings before the converts are all secured.
5th, being under some trials of mind, he had recourse to that Being who has said, "If any lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth liberally and upbraideth not;" and found peace to his soul. He then went to sister Irish's, and preached twice to a large congregation, with much liberty; and as the fruits of his labors, one soul came into the liberty of the gospel, and four or five bore testimony to the goodness of God, which they had recently witnessed in their own experience. 8th, he went to Huntington, and attended Monthly Meeting at brother Ross'; the brethren appeared much engaged in the cause of God, and thirteen brethren and sisters related their religious exercises, and offered themselves for baptism. Who baptized these converts he does not say, but doubtless they were baptized by brother Bowles.
From this time until the 15th of December, he labored in this region; preaching and visiting from house to house, witnessing much of the divine display of the glorious power of the gospels. During this time near one hundred and fifty souls found redemption in the blood of the Lamb, and were enabled to sing the song which none others can sing. In these labors he was attended by brother Manard, and with him attended eight or ten baptismal scenes, where many happy spirits sealed forever their allegiance to the Prince of Peace. What is more beautiful than to see some score of newly redeemed souls, stand ranged side by side,
near some placid lake, whose gently rolling waves break in music whispers at their feet, inviting them to bathe their consecrated bodies beneath its limpid waters. And beside them stands the servant of the Divine Redeemer, his head uncovered, while the gentle breeze wafts over hill and dale, the holy accents that fall from his lips, and the song of joy which wells up from happy hearts. And to witness that group follow their Lord and Master down into the watery grave, receive the emblem of death to the world, and a resurrection to newness of life.
His labors in that region endeared him to many christian hearts, some of whom have fallen sweetly asleep in Jesus, and some remain until this day. He met with some frigid looks and discouraging words, and some still sterner opposition; but he could say with the Apostles to the Gentiles, "none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." And to the brethren he could say, "I have coveted no man's gold or silver;" and to all, "I have not shunned to declare all the council of God." He labored not for a popular influence, or to lord it over God's heritage, but his aim was to do all the good he could, and aid others to do the same.
December 16th, he went to Hinesburg to visit the little church there, and council and encourage them in the holy warfare. He next visited Duxbury, and spent a few days with the brethren, in preaching and visiting; though he speaks of ill health for some days, but not enough to induce him to lay by the gospel armor. 23d, he is now about taking his leave of this part of the country for a season. The parting scene was truly affecting, the brethren
and sisters gathered around him to take the parting hand; and as they gazed on his dark face, many could devoutly thank God, that he had ever come among them to sound salvation to perishing sinners. And others there were, who had heard his sermons, his prayers, and his exhortations, all unheeded; to them he could not say farewell; for he had no evidence that would be their happy lot. He had now labored seven months in this region, and had organized four churches; one in Hinesburg of nineteen members; one in Shelbourne of twenty-two; one in Huntington of sixty; and one in Duxbury of twelve. And he had seen converted under his labors, more than two hundred souls. He certainly had great cause of rejoicing in the redeeming power of the glorious gospel of the ever blessed God. As an evangelist, he was abundantly successful, and is now reaping his rich reward for all his toils.
24th, he preached in Richmond, and then went to Bolton, where he was warmly received by Elder Huntley and other christian friends. In the evening, he preached in the place, and was greatly rejoiced to find the brethren so warmly engaged in the cause of Christ. 25th and 26th, he attended meetings in the place. 27th, he met the brethren in Monthly Meeting, where he enjoyed a happy season, and had the pleasure of seeing several added to the church. He remained in the place for some days, attending meetings with brother Huntley, and hearing often the cry for mercy, and the song of deliverance from souls made white in the blood of the Lamb. And thus the end of the year, found him still laboring in the gospel field: unwearied and undiscouraged; daily making new conquests over the enemy's hosts, and increasing the power and friends of Zion. How pleasing would be the reflection of every minister, to look over the past year and find two hundred souls converted by their labors.
1818--His Feelings--A Communion Season--Attends the Strafford Quarterly Meeting--The Huntington, Hinesburg and Shelbourne Churches Received into the Huntington Quarterly Meeting--Brother Kimpton begins to Preach--Goes to Washington--Mr. Clark Converted in Answer to his Prayer--Has a Combat with a Christian Minister.
January 1st, 1818, he says, "I felt to day to rejoice in view of the abundant goodness of God, in blessing me so wonderfully during the past year; and I am resolvd to dedicate myself anew to His cause; and to get more of his divine love in my heart, for another year's campaign in this glorious warfare."
Sabbath, 4th, he attended meeting in Duxbury, in company with brothers Manard and Huntley, and after the afternoon service, they administered the Communion to the church, and enjoyed a heavenly season. In the evening they held a prayer meeting, where much of the power of truth was manifested. Here he met Elder Nathaniel Bowles and wife, on their way to Huntington. He says, "The appearance of brother Nathaniel, was like the coming of Titus to his brethren." About this time he was called to part with his wife. Doubtless he felt the bereavement, which had fallen so suddenly upon him, but it was doubtless a relief to him, for she had proved a severe trial to him, not only in the ministry, but in the sacred relation of husband and wife, and given him abundant reason to question her fidelity. He says of this bereavement, "I hope that she has made a happy change."
After attending several meetings with Nathaniel Bowles, they went to Huntington. On the 15th, they attended meeting at brother Gillet's; brother Charles preached and brother Nathaniel gave an exhortation; quite an interest was manifested in the meeting. They stayed that night with brother Shaduck.
Sabbath, 18th, they attended meeting at the school house, where were gathered some three hundred people. Brother Nathaniel preached in the forenoon; after which, they repaired to the water-side, and brother Charles led some converts down into the liquid wave, in imitation of our Divine Redeemer. Brother Charles preached in the afternoon; they then attended to the Ordinance, which our Savior instituted on the evening previous to his crucifixion. Although this Ordinance has been celebrated a hundred thousand times, yet it is never contemplated without feelings of grateful remembrance. The mind always lingers around Calvary with feelings of sympathy, commingled with holy joy, at the scenes which transpired upon its sacred top. The Garden, Pilate's Hall, the rugged nails, the cruel mockery, and the Eloi, Eloi, lama sabbacthani, all rush upon the mind with the same freshness that they did centuries ago.
19th, they left and went to Richmond, and attended meeting; Elder Charles preached and enjoyed much liberty in speaking. They went to Elder Webster's and spent the night. 20th, they went to Waterbury and preached. 21st, they went to Duxbury and attended meeting with Elder Huntley. 22d, he went to Washington, and stayed with brother Sleeper, where he met his son.
24th, he went to Strafford to attend the Quarterly Meeting. In the evening he preached at brother Kimball's. 25th, a large congregation collected, and Elder Bowles
preached; in the afternoon Elder Clark preached; the meeting was quite interesting. He stayed with brother Hacket that night; here he found a sister, who was so deeply convicted six years previously, by hearing him pray, that she never lost the impression until she became a christian. He visited Tunbridge, Chelsea, Williamstown and Washington, in all of which he preached and labored with some good results. 31st, he went to Corinth, where he found the brethren in rather a low state.
Sabbath, February 1st, he and Elder Bachelder attended meeting with the people; Elder Bachelder preached in the forenoon, and he preached in the afternoon. He spent several days in Corinth, in company with Elders Bachelder, and Nathaniel Bowles, who had again joined him in this place; they endeavored to excite an interest in the minds of the brethren, and to urge upon them the necessity of a closer walk with God.
7th, he went to Sutton to attend the Vermont Yearly Meeting. The various Quarterly Meetings, reported some cheering news; some progress in the great moral warfare. Many brethren were permitted to greet each other again in the flesh, and cheer each other on in the heavenly journey. 8th, a large congregation assembled, to which Elder King preached the word of life, in the spirit of the gospel, with a full demonstration of its power. It came upon the people, like clouds full of rain upon the parched fields; the hearts of the people were made glad, and sinners felt their awful responsibility to the God whose mercy they had slighted. His journal does not inform us what other ministers preached at the Yearly Meeting. After the Yearly Meeting, he returned to Corinth, where he labored until the 12th, when he went to Washington, and stayed with brother Sleeper.
14th, he Went to Duxbury and attended meeting with Elder Huntley, Sabbath, the 15th, where he met a large congregation, to whom he proclaimed the word of eternal life. On the 16th, he went to Bolton and spent the night with brother Webster. He spent several days in this vicinity, preaching and visiting. 21st, he attended the Quarterly Meeting. The various reports from the churches, were encouraging. Elder Hacket preached the introductory sermon, and some good degree of interest was manifest in the meeting. Sabbath, 22d, Elder Bachelder preached the first sermon, with much power and liberty. "Elder Buzzell preached in the afternoon," says Elder Bowles, "in his usual powerful manner."
It appears that this Quarterly Meeting was one of great interest; many persons were deeply convicted of their sins, and a goodly number found pardon in the blood of the Lamb. The ministers in attendance were Elders Nathaniel and Charles Bowles, Buzzell, Bachelder and Hackett. They scattered their appointments about the neighborhoods, so that the enemy was besieged on all sides.--Elder Bowles says, "After the battle was over I went to look up the slain and wounded; many of each kind were found on the various fields. We brought them in before the King to obtain a pardon for their acts of rebellion against his government."
23d, the ministers of the Quarterly Meeting attended with him a church meeting at Huntington, to give the brethren there some instruction concerning the doctrine and discipline of the denomination. Elder Webster, of Bolton, united with the church at this time, and Brother Bowles gave him the right hand of fellowship. They then went to Hinesburg, and attended a meeting in a school-house. Elder Hackett preached, and the other
brethren followed in exhortation, after which they gave the church some instruction in discipline and doctrine, and the hand of fellowship.
24th, they went to Shelbourne, and met the brethren at Brother Titus', where they enjoyed a pleasant interview in christian society and worship. They then went to the east part of the town and met the church at the house of Mr. Hill. Here Elder Buzzell preached an interesting sermon, which produced a good effect on the congregation. The Elders then gave the church some instruction and the right hand of fellowship--commending them to God and his mercy. Here the ministers started and returned home. It appears that these brethren were a council appointed to examine, instruct and receive these churches into the Quarterly Meeting. 28th, he went to Richmond, although the snow was very deep. On his way he stopped at Hinesburg, and attended the monthly meeting of the church, where he enjoyed an excellent meeting.
Sabbath, March, he attended meeting in the forenoon with the Rev. Mr. Jones, a minister of the Universalist order. The Elder says that "He preached very well; dwelling upon the love of God to man." In the afternoon Brother Bowles preached. Monday being stormy he spent the day visiting from house to house, which he continued to do with much profit, until the 7th, when Brother Kimpton carried him to Shelbourne, to attend the monthly meeting. Sabbath, 8th, he preached to a large and attentive assembly, and in the evening he met with the brethren in prayer meeting. Several in the Congregation resolved to become followers of the Lamb, and the old saints obtained a new assurance of faith, and were encouraged to press forward, in the heavenly journey.
9th, he left Shelbourne in company with Brother Kimpton, and went to Hinesburg and attended a meeting. As Brother Kimpton had felt it to be his duty to improve in public speaking, Brother Bowles encouraged him to do so. They went to Huntington, and on arriving at the house of Brother Ross, they met a brother from the Chatauque Quarterly Meeting, in N. Y., with whom they had an excellent visit. Thus it is with the christian heart: wherever it finds the spirit of Christ, it finds friends.--Come from what point of the eompass they may, the same spirit and sympathy pervades all hearts. After spending several days in this vicinity, he left Brother Kimpton, and went to Starksboro and held a meeting on the evening of the 21st at Brother Remington's. Quite a number came forward for prayers, with whom the brethren heartily joined in a petition to the throne of divine grace, which, unlike too many petitions, to civil magistrates, found an attentive ear and sympathising heart, and received a glorious answer.
22d, he met a large congregation at Huntington, and the meeting appeared the most solemn of any he had attended for a long time. He attended evening meetings until the 28th. Sabbath, he attended meeting in company witlh Elder Manard. Elder Manard spoke in the morning, and he in the afternoon. The gospel done its work upon the hearts of two, so that they fully resolved to be for Christ, and found peace in the meeting. They had a prayer meeting in the evening, and some ten related the joys of religion, which they had of late found, and one found pardon from sin. 31st, they attended meeting at the school-house. After the preaching two related their experience for baptism. They then repaired to the water-side, where Elder Bowles baptised five, and Elder Manard
four happy souls, who had of late renounced "the pleasures of sin, to suffer affliction with the people of God," having, like Moses, a "respect unto the recompense of reward." They then gave them the right hand of fellowship.
He now began to turn his attention toward the other part of the Quarterly Meeting, (the Corinth,) and after preaching in Richmond, Duxbury and Middlesex, he went to Washington, where he labored and visited until the 15th of April. He went to Orange, it being the day of the Annual Fast; he preached at Brother Clark's, and enjoyed good liberty in speaking. Elder Nathaniel gave an exhortation. He continued his labors in this vicinity for about six weeks, and saw much of the power of the Gospel among the people. Between thirty and forty made the happy choice of coming over on the Lord's side, and casting in their lot with his people. He baptized some twenty, and added them to the church in the this vicinity. Brother Bowles was remarkably successful in his labors, he scarcely ever spent much time in a place without witnessing the conversion of more or less people.
His soul seemed always to be deeply stirred with an interest for perishing man, and he seemed to be almost certain of success. He was hardly ever known to fail of seeing the conversion of a person, for whom his soul was drawn out in prayer. There is an incident related of him during a revival in Hinesburg: A lady by the name of Clark, had manifested a strong dislike toward him; refused to hear him preach, and severely censured others for "going to hear the nigger preach." Brother Bowles called on her at one time; found her in her usual mood toward him. He put some questions to her in regard to her religious feelings, and received a very short and angry
answer. After talking a few minutes, he requested the privilege of praying with her, to which she made answer very ill-temperedly, "I don't care, pray if you want to." But he was not to be repulsed from his object in such a summary manner. The devil had this time, a bold, fearless, and strong enemy to deal with; and one who had wrung many a victory from his iron grasp. Brother Bowles bowed himself before Elijah's God, and standing behind the battlements of God's Eternal Law, aimed the pointed weapons of Truth full upon her stubborn heart. She stood leaning against a window for a while, but the arrows of conviction pierced her conscience so thick and fast, that she soon fell upon her knees, and began to cry for divine mercy, humbly confessing all her sins, and desiring the "Nigger," whom she had so recently despised, to pray for her. Thus was one, who was supposed to be among the hardest, subdued by the power of prayer.--Such faith did he exercise, that he made no calculation on disappointments. He lived, walked and talked with God. We find him constantly laboring in the good cause. No sooner does he finish up his labors in one place, than he is on the wing for another field of labor; and when he arrives, it is not to enjoy the labors of others, but to put shoulder to the wheel and roll on the car of salvation.
June 3d, he left Huntington, and went on visiting and praying, through Richmond and Balton to Duxbury, on his way to the Corinth Quarterly Meeting. In the evening he held a meeting with Elder Huntley and enjoyed much liberty in proclaiming a crucified and risen Savior. After sermon two came forward and told their christian experience, and were received into the church. The next day he preached again, and two more presented themselves for baptism; after which, they retired to the water-side, and he
led them all down into the liquid wave, and buried them as John did our Savior. Some, while witnessing this pleasant scene, were deeply convicted of their many sins. He had labored much in this town the previous year, and now is reaping the fruits of the seed which he then sowed.
But all the fruits of his labors will not be known, until he shall, standing upon some proud eminence in the city of the New Jerusalem, witness the "innumerable host that shall come up out of much tribulation, having their robes washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb;" and hear the glorious song of Moses and the Lamb as it rolls from ten times ten thousand tongues, o'er the plains of the Paradise of God. Then shall hundreds who have been saved from everlasting woe, seize his black hand and thank God for so faithful a servant.
5th, he left Duxbury and went on to Northfield, to attend some appointment there, that he night follow up the labors of the Quarterly Meeting, which had been held there a few weeks previously. But while he was laboring and anticipating some good in this town, work of a different nature was preparing for him elsewhere. He soon received notice of a severe trial in the church at Washington, and an urgent request to proceed immediately to their assistance. He hastened to comply with this request, and soon arrived at brother Thomas', where he met some of the brethren, and learned their matter of trial. A minister of the Christian order had been among them, sowing seeds of discord, and attempting to divide the church. After laboring for some days, he succeeded in removing the trial, and again uniting the brethren in one spirit. 13th, he attended Monthly Meeting with the church, where all agreed to maintain the Free Will Baptist doctrine, and to live in peace and fellowship with each other.
Sabbath, 14th, hemet a large congregation at the house of brother Thomas, in company with Elder Moxley. Elder Moxley preached in the morning, with good liberty, and Elder Bowles preached in the afternoon from Galatians 1st, 9th: "If any man preach any other gospel unto you, than that ye have received let him be accursed." After the evening meeting, he went to brother French's and spent the night in discussing the doctrine of Trinitarianism and Unitarianism. It appears that the debate waxed somewhat warm towards morning, though they parted in good feelings. Elder Bowles says, that he began to fear that he was looking too much at sectarianism, and not enough at the good of souls, and was led to the conclusion that even good christians might honestly disagree.
Elder Bowles spent quite a length of time in Washington and the adjacent towns, sometimes in company with Elder Nathaniel Bowles, and sometimes in company with Elders Bachelder and Carpenter, and saw much good done, several found peace in believing and joy in the Holy Ghost. 27th, he went to the east part of the town and enjoyed a good season, saw some converted, and got his mind free from trials, and took new courage to press on toward the kingdom.
Elder Bowles was but poorly calculated for a life of controversy; he did not like discussion of any kind, and had much rather avoid such conflicts. And, in fact, he was almost wholly unprepared to meet any form of false doctrine. He could do but little more than deny the sentiments of his opponents. But when he fell upon his knees, stubborn sinners and proud atheists would tremble while he laid hold of the horns of the altar, and sent up to the court of heaven his earnest petitions for the conviction
of adamantine hearts. Here was his strong hold; within this powerful influence it was dangerous for skepticism to venture. There is an incident related of him which will forcibly illustrate the power in prayer, which he at times exercised. A sister had been for some time sick, and had been anxious to have the brethren visit and pray with her; but her father was a deadly opposer of religion, and had on several occasions, driven ministers from the house. Brother Bowles was invited to visit her, and accordingly went to pay her a visit. After conversing a while with her, he requested the privilege of praying with her; but she told him that she should be glad to have him pray, but her father was up stairs, and was opposed to having any one pray in the house, and would probably come down and abuse him, if not turn him out of doors. But he told her that he would risk all the consequences. He then went into an adjoining house and called in several converts, told them to kneel down, and lift their silent desires to God, while he prayed; and said he, if the old man comes down, do not arise, but keep steadily pleading at the Throne of Grace. Brother Bowles bent himself low before the throne of divine grace, and commenced, as he says, "With a full head of water on the big wheel, the gates of heaven were opened, and the power of God was manifest in the room. I had not proceeded far when I heard the old man on the stairs, coming down; I seized hold of the altar with a firmer grasp, and cried at the top of my voice, GOD ALMIGHTY STOP HIM, FASTEN THE OLD REBEL ON THE STAIRS!" He finished his prayer unmolested, and left the house. Soon after the old man came down, and inquired, "Who had been there praying?" For said he, "I attempted to come down and turn him out of doors, but when I had got half
way down, I found I could neither get down nor up, and was obliged to stay and hear him through."
His attention was again called to Huntington; but what were his feelings, when
"Duty made him understand,
That he must take the parting hand."
Therefore, on the 30th, he bade the dear friends in this vicinity, farewell, after commending them to the God of all Grace; and passed through Williamstown, Northfield, Roxbury, over the mountain to Westfield. Here he had quite a controversy with an old Calvanistic Baptist, about the "damnation of infants." He says, "God gave me arguments, and turned the victory on the side of truth." Strange, that any should be so blind as to think that God could justly punish beings as innocent as himself! Can they not read that it is against the guilty, and them alone, that his anathemas are thundered? But the old Catechism is still remembered, "In Adam's fall, we sinned all." But according to their theory, it would read, "In Adam's fall, he sinned for all." For certainly, we had nothing to do with his fall, and therefore could not sin; he, of course, must have sinned for us. But, certainly, every candid mind ought to be satisfied with the declaration "For of such are the kingdom of heaven." Calvinism found little favor with him, for he placed the salvation of all whom the bible addressed as responsible beings, upon the ground of their practical obedience to Jesus Christ. He did not constantly fill the ears of his hearers with the discouraging story that "they could do nothing to secure their Salvation;" as though there was actual danger of their doing too much; but he urged upon them the fact that God required from them instant repentance, and required it too, on the ground of their
ability to render it, and threatened a non-compliance with his displeasure.
July 4th, he went to Duxbury, and found the brethren well united, who with Elder Huntley, were laboring together for the salvation of souls. After preaching with them he went to Richmond, Bolton, and Huntington; in each of those places he found the brethren well engaged. Sabbath, 12th, he held meeting in a school-house in Huntington; a large assembly of people collected, who listened attentively to the word of life. 13th, he visited Starkboro and Shelbourne. 14th, he attended meeting with a Methodist circuit preacher by the name of White. Elder White attended to the ordinance of baptism, Elder Bowles united in the service. He was always ready to unite with all christians, where he did not conceive that he must sacrifice principle to make the fellowship. 15th, he held a meeting at brother Durfee's, one woman related her experience in the meeting, and dated her conviction back some three months, to a relation of his experience, which he gave in that place. It turned out better with this woman than with Agrippa, when he heard Paul's experience, for she was more than "almost persuaded to be a christian;" she had been quite so.
17th, he spent the day in settling some difficulties in the church. For this business he seemed to be highly qualified; not by stringent disciplinarian measures, but by making each believe that he had their real interests at heart, which undoubtedly was the case, and thereby inducing them to lay aside their jealousies and hatred, and love each other as brethren. Again, he always sought to heal difficulties as soon as they appeared, which was much easier than after they had been long standing.--18th, he preached at Richmond, and seemed highly blessed
with a mighty display of the power of the gospel. Some eighteen came forward to be prayed for; and others found themselves "almost persuaded to be christians." 19th, he went to Huntington and attended meeting; and spent two or three days in the place preaching and baptizing. 22d, he was about starting eastward again, when brother Benson arrived with a message for him to go immediately to Shelbourne, and settle some difficulty which had arisen in the church. After obtaining Elder Webster to attend his appointments in Duxbury, he left with an aching heart to meet more trials among his brethren. Arriving in the place it was his first business to visit the brethren at their firesides, and get their hearts well warmed with a good spirit, before meeting in church capacity. 24th, they met in church meeting, and after enjoying a season in prayer, they proceeded to examine the difficulties, and settle them; which was not a very difficult matter.
After spending a short time among the brethren, he again started for the east; preaching on the way in Richmond and Duxbury. 29th, he again met the friends in Washington. He found some rejoicing in the liberty of the gospel which they found since he left, and others still seeking Him "of whom Moses and the prophets spake."
Sabbath, August, 2d, he preached with the church in this place, and continued his labors for some time, preaching and praying and visiting, as was his custom. In some meetings, especially on Tuesday evening, he enjoyed much of the manifestation of the divine goodness. Of this meeting he says, "I went to the meeting as Abraham's servant went to Messapatomia, "to seek a bride for my master's son." I had great liberty in opening the meeting. I sat two hours in the meeting crying to God in my soul, while the brethren were giving in their testimonies
When I arose the spirit of God came down over me--I cried aloud--God made bare his arm--it was a little Pentacostical season--some cried for mercy--four souls found peace through faith in Jesus Christ--the poor sinner trembled, and the glory of God filled the house."
Sabbath, 7th, he attended Monthly Meeting with the brethren, and enjoyed a refreshing season; some related their christian experience for baptism, and were received into the church. Elder Nathaniel Bowles preached in the morning, from Revelation 3d, 20, "Behold if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me." And his wife gave a weighty exhortation. Elder Charles Bowles at noon baptized four. He preached in the afternoon and baptized nine more. He labored in the place during the following week, and the work increased; many were inquiring the the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward. But he soon found it necessary to leave the work, and go to the Huntington Quarterly Meeting, for his labors there had resulted in the conversion of several, who now desired to be buried with Christ in baptism.
18th, he preached in Richmond, and baptized several Converts. He spent several days in Huntington and Charlotte, and on the 22d, he left for the Quarterly Meeting held at Randolph. The letters from the churches, as we are already prepared to judge, were highly encouraging; almost every church could report some revival interest. 23d, Elder Sweat preached an able sermon from Hebrews 2d, 3d, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" And Elder Webster preached in the afternoon. In the evening Elder Buzzell preached, and was followed by Elder Hacket in a powerful exhortation. He tarried with brothers Skinner, Kidder and Blanchard, from whom he
received much kindness, and some presents with which to supply his wants, for which he expressed much thankfulness. After the meeting, he went to Washington and baptized several.
31st, he again returned to Randolph; in the evening, preached at the house of Captain Thompson. The revival spirit seemed to be in the meeting, and in fact, wherever he went he was pretty sure of seeing some converted. And, black as he was, the people would flock to hear him, and God would bless the word though it proceeded from a black fountain. Elder Bowles used to say, "If people will be blessed by the water of life, they must be willing to drink it from a brown bowl." After holding one or two meetings in Randolph and Brookfield, he returned to Washington, where he spent the time in preaching and visiting until September 12th, when he left to attend the Huntington Quarterly Meeting, held at Huntington. Here he met a large number of ministers, who had come up from the various parts of the Vineyard of the Lord, where they had been laboring for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom. Here they congregated to enjoy their quarterly feast. Elder King was chosen Moderator of the Conference; the letters bore refreshing news from every part of the moral army; many a victory was reported on Zion's side--many a strong hold of the enemy taken--and many had abandoned his cause, and thrown their influence into the ranks of the Prince of Peace.
Sabbath, 13th, the congregation was so large that they were under the necessity of dividing it. Elder King preached to one, in the forenoon, and Elder Hacket to the other. Elder King preached from Acts 28: 22, "But we desire to hear thee, what thou thinkest; for as concerning this sect, we know that it is everywhere spoken
against." He spent several days in the place endeavoring to follow up the good impressions left by the Quarterly Meeting. 21st, he arrived at Washington; held one meeting, and then went on to New Hampshire far as Springfield, and put up at brother Gilman's, where he was cordially received, in all the warmth of christian affection. He spent nine days here, and preached eight times. On the Sabbath, the meeting-house was filled to overflowing, and the people listened with attention, while he blowed the gospel trumpet that had awakened so many from the dead among the Green Mountains of Vermont. That gospel which had rescued so many from the ways of death began to be felt in the Old Granite State; and before he left some had been redeemed from sin, others had been sorely smitten between the joints of the harness, and were ready to submit to the Redeemer. But he must again be torn from an increasing religious interest to attend the Vermont Yearly Meeting held at Corinth. Saturday, he preached in the evening, and enjoyed a refreshing time; many spoke after the sermon. Sabbath, Elder King preached an excellent sermon in the forenoon; and Elder Fernald followed in an interesting manner in the afternoon. The meeting concluded with evident tokens of good.
5th, he preached at Orange; the same success still attended his labors; many were deeply convicted, and the cry of "What shall I do to be saved?" was heard from many. He continued his labors in this town and Corinth until the 11th, when he went to Washington, and met the brethren in their Monthly Meeting. Sabbath, he preached at brother Sleeper's, and enjoyed good liberty; the people listened to hear the truth. After sermon they met around the table of our Lord, where he invites all his
children to assemble regardless of name and order, and received the divine blessing in so doing. 13th, he went to Williamstown and attended to the ordinance of baptism; Elder Nathaniel Bowles preached on the occasion. After which, he returned to Washington. 14th, he left Washington and went to Montpelier, and preached in the evening; spent the night with Elder Woodworth. 15th, he went to Duxbury and met with the brethren, whom he found in gospel order, and all overjoyed to shake his friendly hand and listen to that strong voice which had called so many dead sinners to life. He spent some time in laboring in this vicinity, and saw some good accomplished.
November 2d, he went to Hinesburg and attended meeting in the Rhode Island school house. 5th, he attended meeting at Huntington. Elder Stephens preached an excellent sermon; after which two came forward and related their experience, were received into the church, and they retired to the water, where he plunged them beneath its limpid waves, as Phillip did the Eunuch. He preached in the evening at brother Agent's. Elder Bowles was destined to meet more opposition in the pursuit of his calling; he must not expect to wage so open and bold a warfare, in the face of a powerful enemy, with impunity, and not be subject to now and then an attack. He met here a person who advocated a disregard of the Sabbath, with whom he had some controversy; but keeping near the Throne of Grace, he was enabled to save the sheep from the devouring wolves. 12th, he preached at Huntington Gore. In the evening he preached at brother Pratt's. A large company flocked to the hear the word; and as it was in the days of Job, so it was with this meeting, "Satan presented himself," in the form of a number of "lewd followers
of the baser sort." They at first disgraced the poor Indians, by assuming their garb, and then disgraced the meeting by appearing in it. Their evident object was to disturb the meeting; but such was the power of the gospel upon their guilty hearts, that they forebore to put in practice their hellish purposes. Several related their experiences, and offered themselves for baptism, which gave a new impulse to the interest.
Elder Bowles had given his whole soul to the work of his Master; and when danger presented, he did not consult personal expediency or safety, but looked only at duty and never hesitated. It was no less his duty to preach the gospel did a mob oppose, than to preach amid the cheering responses of his brethren. He was not commissioned to preach where none opposed, and hold his peace amid the enemies of the Cross; for these were the very men that his mission was intended to benefit. When filled with the love of God, and a sense of the worth of souls, his heart knew no fear--his eye never quailed--his voice never faltered. He knew that at the Throne of Divine Grace he was, through God, more than a match for all his enemies.
14th, he attended Monthly Meeting with the church, and found them all walking in gospel order, and in fellowship with each other. This, especially, rejoiced his heart, as he had recently been called on frequent occasions, to witness a different state of things. 15th, he preached with the church, baptized several converts, and broke bread to them. The evening meeting was advancing with a deep interest, when it was announced that "A woman was lost in the woods." Christ stayed in his progress to Jerusalem, to heal the blind, and they stayed in their worship, to search for the lost wife and mother. The
search continued all night, and in the morning she was found.
We suppose that the greatest stickler for "religious duties," could not find occasion against the abandonment of this religious meeting to rescue that wife and mother from distress and starvation. Why then might not the servant of God, utter one word of sympathy for three millions, who are in a much worse condition? Go on, Priest and Levite, to Jerico, and attend to your religious cant, the Good Samaritan is close at hand. Brother Bowles, whose mind was always fruitful and ready to profit by every favorable circumstance, seized upon this occasion, to impress upon the minds of his audience, that if a woman lost in the woods demanded so much sympathy; how much would not their fellow-men all around them demand, who were lost in an interminable labryinth of woe and misery? Strange as it may seem, it is nevertheless true, that much more thought and effort are bestowed to preserve life, than to obtain eternal life beyond this momentary existence. The horrors of a death of starvation amid the wild beasts of the forest, are terrible to a sympathetic mind; but they are nothing when compared to the death that never dies, as that is portrayed in most fearful colors by Pollock:--
"Fast by the side of this unsightly thing
Another was portrayed, more hideous still;
Who sees it once shall wish to see't no more.
For ever undisturbed let it remain!
Only this much I may or can unfold--
For out it thrust a dart that might have made
The knees of terror quake, and on it hung,
Within the triple barbs, a being pierced
Thro' soul and body both; of heavenly make,
Original the being seemed, but fallen,
And worn and wasted with enormous woe.
And still around the everlasting lance
It writhed convulsed, and uttered maniac groans,
And tried and wished, and ever tried and wished
To die; but could not. Oh, horrid sight!
I tremblingly gazed, and listened, and heard this voice
Approach my ear--This is Eternal Death."
17th, he visited from house to house, and met with some of the opposers of the revival, whom he faithfully warned from error's dangerous road. In the afternoon he attended meeting with Elder Stevens, and heard him preach from Isaiah, 12:6: "Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." Some who had been deeply convicted the evening previous, now personally requested brother Bowles to pray for them; and after preaching they held a prayer meeting, in which two were redeemed from sin, and made "Heirs of the Grace of Life," while many more were brought to consider on their course of life.--In company with Elder Stevens, he visited and preached through the town. The brethren were much strengthened in the ways of holiness and comforted in the Lord.
25th, he went to Richmond aad preached in the evening, and continued his journey on through Duxbury, Middlesex and Montpelier, in all of which places he preached.
December 2d, he arrived at Washington, and although he had preached almost every day for a long time, yet he entered another meeting on his arrival, and again sounded Free Salvation, which was his constant theme and delight. Sabbath, he preached at brother Thomas'; the people listened attentively. He visited and preached during the week at Corinth, Orange and other places. While here, he met with, to him, a severe loss; his horse that had borne him so many miles, was taken sick and died, leaving
him destitute of means to attend his appointments except on foot. We can gather no information how or when this loss was made up to him; all we know is, he was for a time without a horse.
Thus closes another year of his laborious and useful life. He had traveled much, almost incessantly day and nlght--he had met with trials and opposition from professed friends and open enemies; but no opposition had shut the path of duty from his tread--no time-serving expedient had caused him to swerve from the prompt discharge of duty; ever faithful, he had been eminently successful. Amid all his trials he had seen much to rejoice his heart, and strengthen his faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many had been the cry which had fallen upon his ear from the penitent soul, and many the song of deliverance that had swelled up from a soul unburthened of all its guilt; and many had been the happy convert that he had led down into the watery grave.
One more year had passed away, borne on the rapid wings of Old Time, who never returns with the hours he has once borne away, that we may better improve them; and his labors and sermons have all gone up to be entered on the book of the recording angel. But Oh? sinners who have listened to his faithful sermons, have your deeds been as worthy to be entered there as his? Are you willing to be judged by your deeds? If any of you are still alive who listened to his entreating voice and heard his deep drawn groans in your behalf, and still unreclaimed to God, may you heed the warning of his voice still speaking in his godly life.
1819--Attends the Huntington Quarterly Meeting--Labors to Introduce System and Order--Is in Favor of Ministers receiving a Good Support--Brother C. Huntley Licensed--Some Evil Reports Circulated against him--He Receives a Pension--Brother Bachelder Involved in Trials--A Hail Storm--The Conversion of Brother McCallister--Organizes a Church in Stowe.
January 1st, 1819. In looking over the past year, brother Bowles felt much encouraged in the good work of the Lord. He had seen so many unmistakeable manifestations of the Divine power and blessing attending his labors, that to doubt, for a single moment, in regard to the path of duty, would be the most unpardonable infidelity. To doubt the Divine goodness and protection for the future, would be to deny his entire experience in the past, and believe himself a maniac. So he is left no other alternative, than to again renew covenant with God, pledge future allegiance and fidelity to the captain of his salvation, buckle on the armor anew, draw the sword of the spirit and commence again the warfare.
5th, he went to Strafford and attended meeting with Elder Buzzell, and enjoyed a refreshing season; the candle of the Lord shone in their midst. 6th, he attended Monthly Meeting at Corinth, and continued several days in the place, visiting, preaching and praying. Went to Hinesbrug to attend the Huntington Quarterly Meeting. The reports were still cheering, the Old Ship of Zion was still breasting waves of opposition with success, while her crew was yet on the increase. He preached in the afternoon
with much liberty, and was followed by Elders Manard, Stevens, Howard and Hacket in weighty exhortations. In the evening the brethren went to brother Pain's in Shelbourne, and he preached again; his text was, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." And quite a good interest was manifest in the meeting.
Sabbath, 17th, a large congregation met at sister Conger's. The brethren held a prayer meeting at eight o'clock. Elder Stevens preached an interesting sermon in the forenoon. At this meeting, brother Bowles says, "About the middle of the meeting, God appeared in mighty power, and all of our souls were filled; we had a good heavenly shouting time; the voice of the King appeared in the camp of Israel." Elder C. Huntley preached an excellent sermon in the evening; and the Quarterly Meeting closed its session in an interesting manner. After the Quarterly Meeting, he spent a few days at Shelbourne and Charlotte, seeing some interest aroused and good produced. 20th, he baptized some at the latter place, after which he went to Shelbourne, and labored to introduce some system and order into the church. The church established a regular monthly meeting, a church meeting for business and a communion season once in three months.
It appears from brother Bowles' journals, that he began to see the necessity of order and regularity in church government. He found that difficulties and trials were worse to settle after standing for some length of time, than when they first appear. And where there are no regular church meetings, they are more likely to remain umsettled than when regular business meetings are established.--
The church also agreed to raise funds, to defray the expenses of the church, by a tax. It would appear that he was in favor of brethren being taxed to help carry on the cause of God. Neither, was he opposed to ministers having a good support where they labored; and has himself circulated a subscription to procure ministerial labor in the Quarterly Meeting. However honestly past generations have opposed the support of the ministry, we believe the present opposition proceeds more from covetousness than conscience. And if any one doubts it, let them just ask one of these brethren, who is always telling the brethren to "Trust in the Lord for their support," to let you have a barrel of flour, a good horse, or a little money, and "trust in the Lord for their pay," and see where their confidence "in the Lord is!" Not they! they had much rather recommend others to practice this rule than to practice it themselves. We think Cromwell's way of "trusting in the Lord," much better than theirs: upon the eve of a certain battle, his soldiers were, as they were wont to be, engaged in praying and singing, but by the way, they were rather careless of their ammunition, exposing it to the rain that was then falling, said this stern man, "Soldiers trust in God, but keep your powder dry."
It is true, that he opposed a "hireling ministry," but he must have intended only those who preach for nothing but the fleece, and have no care for the flock; or else how could he collect money for the ministry? He was quite worn down, and considerable unwell at this time.
February 28th, though still unwell, he went to Charlotte, and preached and baptized some converts. He spent the time in this vicinity until April 3d, attended three baptisms, assisted in settling several difficulties in the churches, and saw a number converted.
April 3d, he left for Washington in company with brothers George and Rutter of that place; on his way he preached at Duxbury, Saturday and Sabbath. Sabbath evening he went to brother Towl's and spent the night. 5th, the brethren from Washington left him and went home, and he returned to Duxbury and appointed a church meeting; when, after instructing them somewhat in the doctrines and usages of the denomination, he gave them the hand of fellowship and declared them a Free Will Baptist Church. In the evening they met in prayer meeting; some bowed before the mercy seat for the first time, and called upon God to have mercy on them. In their church meeting, they gave brother Calvin Huntley a church license to preach the gospel; and voted that Elder Bowles' ordination credentials be entered on the town records. Passing through Middlesex and Montpelier, he arrived at Washington on the 10th.
Here he was destined to meet some severe trials. Some who professed religion, combined their influence with the ungodly, and put in circulation some evil reports against his christian character. What these reports were, we are not informed, but some of the brethren's minds had come alienated from him, and among others, brother Sleeper, a man very dear to him, and whose house had been his home. Brother Bowles says of this scene, "When I arrived at Washington, I found the brethren in monthly meeting; some were glad to see me; but one and all wept like children. I told them that I was innocent, and requested a Council for the examination of the report, to which they agreed. I then went to the grove and told the Lord all about my troubles, and glory to his name, he heard me, and gave me peace of soul, and an assurance of speedy victory." 15th, a Council, consisting
of Elder Nathaniel Bowles, Deacon Joshua Folsom, Peter Roberson, Joshua George, and E. Cummings, met with the church, and after a careful and full investigation he was pronounced innocent.
May 8th, the church held a meeting to take into consideration the conduct of the sister who had circulated the reports against Elder Bowles, and after a full investigation, the church withdrew from her the hand of fellowship. After which, they heard the experience of several converts, received them into the church, and he then baptized them. In the evening he attended meeting at brother Ramsdales, which was an interesting season. He continued to labor in the vicinity for some time, the power of the gospel made a sensible effect upon the people, and enabled him to experience the truth of Baalam's expression: "Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel." Thus he continued to labor until the 22d of May, when the Quarterly Meeting was held in the place. The Conference was interesting, the reports from the Quarterly Meeting brought good news of revivals in many churches. There were nine ministers of our own denomination, and two of the Methodist, present. The situation of the church in this place still continued to press upon him, and to drive sleep from his eyes, and to render his food undesirable. Amid his anxieties for the welfare of Zion, he utters a wish that he "may never again see Washington."
Sabbath, 23d, Elder King preached a weighty sermon in the morning, and in the afternoon Elder Buzzell spoke from Revelation 10; 6, "And sware by him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things that therein are, that there
should be time no more." In the evening a prayer meeting was held at brother Thorin's, and he says that, "The best of the wine was at the last of the feast," and the Quarterly Meeting closed its session with good interest, producing a salutary effect upon the religious feelings of the church.
About this time he received a pension for his services in the army during the war of the revolution. He now had some certain means of support, aside from that which he received from the contributions of the brethren. He went to Corinth, Bradford and Orange. June 7th, he is called upon to sympathize deeply with brother Bachelder, who was involved in difficulty with some of his neighbors. Having just been involved in trials himself, he knows how to sympathize with those who are thus situated. He went with brother Bachelder to Chelsea, and here left him, and returned to Washington, to prepare to attend the Huntington Quarterly Meeting. After visiting with those brethren, who had stood by him in the midst of trials, he left in company with brother Clements to attend the above named Quarterly Meeting, and went on to Chelsea.
June 9th, they left Chelsea, and, after riding several miles, the sky began to gather darkness, the black clouds began to roll up the western horizon, the storm spirit sent forth the howling winds from their bowels, the thunder uttered its deafening roars, the lightnings leaped from cloud to cloud, and the tempest came driving on, like some angry war-god eager for the fray. The treasures of hail were opened, and poured in fearful blasts upon the earth. The place where they took refuge, it appears, was the retreat of others; and brother Bowles seized upon the occasion to illustrate and enforce the necessity of escaping
the fury of that storm of Divine wrath which is threatened upon the heads of the wicked at the judgment. The storm lasted some forty minutes, and spread its desolating force some ten miles in width, breaking glass, and doing considerable damage to vegetation. He passed on through Montpelier, Duxbury, Bolton and Richmond, and arrived on the 12th at Huntington. Here he met warm friends, who were glad to see him safely delivered from the snares of the enemy, and ready to lead Zion's hosts afresh to the conflict. Elder Woodworth preached the first sermon. Brother Bowles says it came in power, and was followed by many remarks from others, and a deep interest was manifested. Elder Hacket preached Sabbath forenoon, and Elder Woodworth in theafternoon. They held a prayer meeting in the evening at brother Gillet's and the saints obtained a view of the kingdom, and a shout went up from the camp of Israel. He went from the Quarterly Meeting to Charlotte and Shelbourne, and preached in each place. Here he found some of his brethren sick, some quite low. Brother Benson was quite sick with the Consumption, and he did not expect to see him again in this world, but the prospect of meeting in another and better was bright.
24th, he went to Duxbury, and held a meeting in the evening; several came forward for prayers, and some found peace in believing, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 25th, he went to Huntington. During this summer he kept no journal of his labors, but we are assured that he was not idle in the good work of the Lord. October 31st, he went to Shelbourne and attended meeting; a large assembly met, and he preached three sermons and enjoyed good liberty, and the people appeared deeply affected.
November 4th, he went to Huntington, quite unwell in
body, but happy in spirit. Sabbath 7th, he attended a meeting in the school-house; many of the brethren and sisters "came up to the help of the Lord against the powers of darkness." The salvation of God was manifested in a wonderful manner; sinners cried for mercy, and the saints felt the vitalizing energy of the glorious gospel of the Son of God. Each heart was quickened into new activity, and each soul was encouraged for new victories. During the week he preached twice and visited among the people, encouraging and comforting the saints, and warning the sinners. He continued preaching and laboring in this vicinity with some good success, until the 27th, when he left, and went to Duxbury, to attend the Monthly Meeting of that church. He found them well engaged in the good work of the Lord. He preached there in the evening, with good liberty. 28th, he went to Waterbury and preached in the Little River neighborhood; the brethren seemed well engaged in the work of redemption, and he fondly hoped to see some revival interest soon in this region.
30th, he went with brother Lord to Mansfield, and preached in the afternoon, and in the evening he preached in Stowe, at brother Buzzell's. December 2d, this day was set apart to be observed as a day of thanksgiving and prayer. Brother Bowles says that he felt truly thankful for the blessings of the past year. He preached on this day at Little River, and in the evening held a prayer meeting at brother Town's. He continued laboring in the place, being encouraged by the good omens which he had witnessed; sinners and backsliders began to cry for mercy and confess their sins with deep penitence of heart; and even hardened infidels were cut to the heart, their false theories became as flax when touched by fire, and
they were not ashamed to cast them to the four winds of heaven, and seek the more substantial hopes of the gospel.
The case of one Deist, is mentioned by brother Bowles: A man by the name of McCallister, had for some time embraced the gloomy sentiments of Deism, and rejected the glorious hopes of the gospel. He had sacrificed the bright prospects of the christian, for the dark and oblivious hope of an "Eternal sleep," which once disgraced the tombs of infidel France. He had been somewhat forward in his abuse of religion, and religious meetings. He was induced to attend the preaching of brother Bowles, and his attention was soon arrested to the vital question of the truthfulness of the gospel system. It was a fearful struggle; often the power of gospel truth would put to flight all former array of weapons by which he had so long guarded his heart against the truth, and he seemed ready to yield to the religion of the bible; but his old doubts would soon rally themselves again to the contest, and all seemed lost. Thus he stood vacillating between these two contending powers. At length he invited brother Bowles to make him a visit. He went, and found him under deep conviction, he requested him to pray for him, but brother Bowles told him that it would be of no use, unless he would pray for himself. He said he could not, and that he had said that "no man should ever hear him pray." But his agony of soul put to flight the last lingering doubt, and he bowed before the God whom he had despised, and called earnestly for mercy and salvation. That prayer flew with electric speed up to the mercy seat, was presented by the Redeemer, in his own name, a pardon granted, and the late infidel with brother Bowles and angels, joined in a song of redemption over the salvation of one soul.
16th, Elder Bowles attended meeting at brother Smith's, in company with Elder Dodge. 17th, he met with the brethren at brother Manard's; several were deeply convicted, and one found peace. Sabbath, 19th, he went to the West Branch in Stowe, to brother McCallister's; the people came from Mansfield, Waterbury, and the adjoining towns, to the number of near four hundred. Great solemnity pervaded the assembly. He preached with much effect. Brother McCallister spoke in the meeting, confessed his infidelity, and asked the people to forgive him. A deep sensation was felt in every part of the congregation. He held a prayer meeting in the place in the evening; many were deeply convicted, and some five were hopefully converted. 22d, he held a Monthly Meeting at the Branch, and several came forward, related their experiences, and the church received them; after which Elder Bowles led them down to the water, and plunged them beneath its gently rolling waves. Among the number was the converted infidel, who followed his master down into the watery grave, confessing the hopeless delusions from which he had been thus mercifully saved.
25th, he preached again with the brethren; after which he organized them into a Free Will Baptist Church, and gave them the hand of christian fellowship. Several unconverted persons, while beholding this scene, felt deeply the force of gospel truth, and ere it closed were delivered from the bonds of iniquity. Thus, as may be supposed, the hearts of the saints were encouraged, and the converts made glad by new accessions to the praying army. 24th, he was called to witness a solemn scene. He was invited to the bed-side of death; he beheld a child in all the bloom of youth, laying in the embrace of the grim monster of the grave. Friends stood around the expiring object
of their love, waiting and weeping as the cords that bound it to their hearts were snapped one by one. Some were deeply affected, and requested brother Bowles to pray for them.
28th, he called at the house of Mr. Stevens'; there was a party of young people at the house, engaged in a ball. Some of them, learning that he was in the house, came into the room; and he, ever ready to improve such an opportunity, admonished them for spending their time thus foolishly, and exhorted them to spend it in making a speedy preparation for death and the judgment. They left the room, but being troubled, soon returned, when he told them if they would consent, he would be glad to pray with them. They did so, and after a short exhortation, he bowed in their midst , and prayed earnestly that they might be speedily led to seek salvation.
30th, he went to brother Nathaniel Bowles, in Corinth, and spent the night. 31st, although quite stormy, he visited his daughter at Washington, and found that during his absence, she had found the Pearl of Great Price.--How rejoiced is the heart of the parent when it hears of the salvation of the child, the object of its love, the idol of its bosom! Do parents desire such glorious results, let them live as well as pray before their children, that they may be influenced by precept and example. And yet how many parents manifest in the presence of their children a peevish and fretful disposition, giving way sometimes to fits of anger and passion, and then wonder that their children are not converted. "Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap."
Thus another year had rolled into eternity; he had labored and toiled in the vineyard of his master for twelve
months more, since he consecrated himself to the gospel work on the last new year's day. God had abundantly blessed his labors in the conversion of many. He had baptized many, and organized several churches, and seen much of the display of Divine power. His work had now gone up to be registered upon the great book of accounts, to be read at the Judgment, together with the works of those to whom he had preached. God grant that many of them may have a happy meeting with him in the Kingdom of Heaven.
1820--Settles a Difficulty in Waterbury Church--Attends the Corinth Quarterly Meeting--Different kinds of Preachers--Ordination of Elder Samuel Lord--Visits the Grave-Yard--A Communion Season--Goes to the Wheelock Quarterly Meeting--Conversion of Sister Quinby--Ordination of Elder Powers--Ordination of Elder Calvin Huntley--Visits New Hampshire.
The year of 1820 was spent by Elder Bowles, mostly in the Huntington and Wheelock Quarterly Meetings. He was one of the most arduous laborers that ever entered the vineyard of the Lord. His preaching, though frequently every day, and sometimes several times in the day, was but a small part of his work; when he had proclaimed the word in public, he did not leave it to be parched by the sun, choked by the cares of the world, or devoured by the birds of forgetfulness; but his hearers were followed to their homes, and personally labored with and prayed for; and thus he was enabled to secure the fruits of his labors more effectually. He was often called to settle difficulties between brethren, which to him was the most trying of all his labors. He speaks of one difficulty which he was called to settle in the church at Waterbury.
February 22d, it seems that he commenced with this trial, as he was in the habit of commencing with all others, by visiting, conversing and praying with the brethren, from house to house, through the church, but more especially with the disaffected members. And when he had got as good a degree of feeling as possible, then he called the church together, and endeavored to reconcile
the parties. He preached in the evening at brother Town's, and had good liberty in speaking. "Spent the night with brother Town, and labored hard to have the difficulty removed." From this we infer that brother Town was a party to the trial. Such was his anxiety for the church, that sleep departed from his eyes, and he spent the night in lamenting the state of bleeding Zion. 23d, the forenoon was spent in talking over the matter; in the afternoon the brethren met at Deacon Darling's; much hardness was manifested by some of the brethren; but after praying and laboring together for some time, self began to give way in the minds of the brethren, and the spirit of brotherly love to assert its former reign; the cause of Christ again appeared the main object, and all forgot and forgave their trials for His dear name.
26th, he attended Monthly Meeting with the church, where all joined with one accord in renewing covenant to walk together in union of fellowship. 27th, he preached at brother Town's, and broke bread to the church. In the evening he attended a prayer meeting at brother Gaskill's, where the spirit of revival was once more manifest. Three presented themselves for prayers, and one found a pardon for all sin. 28th, he went to Stowe, visiting as he journeyed, as was his custom, thereby scattering the seed the whole length of his journey. He says "As I went on to this place, I felt to cry Lord revive thy work." In the afternoon, he preached at brother Moody's at Stowe; much interest was manifest in the meeting, and one young man related his experience for baptism. They then repaired to the water, and brother Bowles like Philip, plunged the young brother beneath the yielding wave. He attended prayer meeting in the evening, and a still deeper interest pervaded the assembly. Some fifteen
presented themselves for prayers, relating in brief their feelings and determinations. He continued his labors in Stowe and Waterbury, until the last of March, seeing much good accomplished; baptizing quite a number, and enjoying many refreshing seasons with the brethren, who were so near his heart. Doubtless, some of the fruits of his labors are still living, and can refer with pleasure to those scenes of joy in which they found salvation through Jesus Christ.
March 26th, he went to Huntington to attend some appointments which he had there. Brother Bowles spent some weeks in Huntington, Starksboro, Hinesburg and Burlington, preaching, visiting, attending Church and Monthly Meetings, settling difficulties and laboring for the spread of the glorious gospel of the Son of God. He was never satisfied unless he was successfully engaged in the great work for which he had received his Divine commission. Did he behold danger approach to disturb the peace and prosperity of the church, his heart always beat in sympathy for the people of God; and his earnest soul besieged the Throne of Grace to avert the threatened blow. Such was his strong attachment to the infant churches which he had established, that they placed the utmost confidence in his devotion to their interests and consequently sent for him on all occasions of trial.
On the 26th of May, he again took leave of the brethren in this region; and, after invoking upon them the Divine blessing, and commending them to the protection of Him who said, "Fear not, little flock," proceeded on his way toward the Corinth Quarterly Meeting. On his way, he visited and preached in Washington, Duxbury and Richmond, and arrived at Randolph on the 20th, where the Quarterly Meeting was to be convened. The conference
meeting was interesting, and the letters breathed a spirit of revival interest. Sabbath, 21st, Elder Clark preached an excellent and weighty sermon; after which, many warm exhortations were offered. In the afternoon, Elder King preached a very instructive sermon. The meeting was continued on Monday; Elders Clark, King, Buzzell and Bowles remained and took part in the meeting. A good degree of interest was manifest in the meeting, although he speaks of no especial revival.
23d, he visited his daughter, whom he found well and still striving to go to Heaven by the way of the Cross. He labored for some time in Washington, Topsharn and Corinth; visiting and praying in his usual way, and preaching Sabbaths and evenings. And here, as in other places, he found much to do; and here also, his ears were saluted with the sound of new born souls, brought by his influence into the Kingdom.
Sabbath, June 11th, he preached in Montpelier, where he met brother Woodard. Of this meeting brother Bowles says, "In the afternoon, God renewed my commission, and annointed me from the horn of salvation. I drew bow at venture, God directed the arrow, which smote the enemy between the joints of the harness, and wounded many a heart in the assembly, which caused them to cry out, 'You meant me, you pointed me out!' " In the evening he held a prayer meeting, in which one related the dealings of God with his soul during the day.
12th, he left for Duxbury, on his way to attend the Huntington Quarterly Meeting to be held in Stowe, where he arrived on the 17th. He preached Saturday afternoon from Philippians 2:10 "That the name of Jesus every knee should bow." Sabbath, 18th, Elder Allen preached from Matthew 21:44, "Whosoever shall fall
on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall it shall grind him to powder." In the evening they held a prayer meeting. During the Quarterly Meeting, he stopped at brother McCallister's, where he received every mark of christian kindness. 19th, Elder Bowles, in company with Elder Allen, went to Waterbury, and held a meeting in the evening. Elder Allen preached, and brother Bowles and Hacket followed in warm exhortations. The brethren were highly edified and encouraged. 20th, they left and went to Duxbury, where Elder Webster left them, for his home, and the other two attended meeting in the evening, and tarried during the night with brother John Davis. 21st, they went to Huntington in company, where they arrived, and attended meeting in the evening. Brother Bowles says of this day's journey, "I could say with the disciples, on their way to Emeas, did not our hearts turn within us, by the way." Elder Allen preached this evening, and brother Bowles followed in his usual earnest style; much interest was manifested in the meeting. Brother Bowles seems to have been well qualified to produce a powerful effect in an exhortation; he was zealous and would often draw much upon the sympathies of his audience; his powerful voice, united to his deep and practical experience of the dealings of God with himself and others, qualified him to touch the hidden springs of human nature, and open the fountains of the christian heart. His talents were probably better fitted for the exhortation style of preaching, than doctrinal. He was not what is called a sermonizing preacher; he sought more to produce present effect upon his congregation, than to make a regular siege upon any place, by commencing in a systematic course of doctrinal introduction, preparatory to urging a personal compliance
with the requirements of God. Both of these talents are valuable in the church; and one should never be disparaged by the other; neither should the class possessing the one be exalted above those possessing the other. God has chosen them both, and we should never undertake to decide which is the most useful in the church. We doubtless have our preference for the one or the other. Rather let each one make use of all the means in his power to improve his usefulness, as best he can.
22d, they went to Shelbourne; having no appointment, they immediately gave out one, and obtained a good hearing among the people. Brother Allen preached an excellent sermon, and brother Bowles followed in weighty exhortation. 23d, brothers Allen and Bowles parted.--Brother Bowles spent some days in Shelbourne and Charlotte. 25th, he preached at the house of sister Irish, in Corinth, the assembly was large and the meeting interesting. July 3d, he spent in visiting. 6th, he went with brother Allen to Waterbury to attend the ordination of brother Samuel Lord. The council met at brother Town's, and attended to the examination; in the afternoon the ordination was attended to; sermon by brother Allen, from Matthew 10:16, and Mark 16: 15, 16. The sermon was able and interesting. The ordaining prayer by brother Woodward; charge and hand of fellowship by brother Allen; concluding prayer by brother Bowles. The brethren spent the night at brother Darling's. 7th, and 8th, quite unwell, but went to Mannsfield to attend his appointment.
9th, he preached in a school house. In the morning, he had visited the Grave-Yard, and held silent converse with his God, amid the tombs of the sleeping dead. His mind was solemn, as he contemplated the scene that should
transpire, when the angel should come forth, and "Standing one foot upon the sea, the other on the land, proclaim that time shall be no more,"--"When Nature should die, and God and Angels come to lay her in the grave,"--when from each winding sheet, should arise the corpse, which long had slumbered in its cold embrace, and, on wings of ether, fly upward to meet the general doom. And should he stand in that grand assembly, and amid the congregations, which he had so often addressed, hear the sentence of "Come," and "Depart," as it fell on each successive soul? He left that charnel-house of the past, with stronger resolutions to "Declare the whole council of God."
In the afternoon the congregation was so large, that they had to repair to the grove. Here in nature's great orchestra, surrounded by the warbling songsters, beneath the bending heavens, Elder Bowles felt perfectly at home, and his old trumpet was tuned again to the sound of free salvation, and his strong voice sent the glorious news reverberating through the forest. He loved to stand amid such scenes, and picture to his fellow-men the beauties and blessings of that gospel whose joy so enraptured own soul, and sent on angelic wings to feast around the throne of God. 16th, he attended meeting at Middlesex with brother Huntley. Brother Huntley preached in the forenoon, and he in the afternoon.
He now resolved to visit again the Corinth Quarterly Meeting. 17th, he went to Montpelier, and spent the night with brother Woodworth. 18th, he went to Washington, where he visited for some days, during which he was quite unwell for a few days. One would suppose that his constant labor would wear him down, and even fasten disease upon him; for he must have encountered
many storms in his constant travels from place to place. 29th he preached the funeral sermon for a young man who was killed by a falling tree. "Surely in the midst of life, we are in death." Sabbath, 30th, he preached at brother Grant's.
August 3d, he went to Washington and preached in a school-house near brother Stones's. After visiting a few days, he took his boy and left for the Huntington Quarterly Meeting. On arriving at Duxbury, the man who had been keeping his boy arrived and desired to have his boy return with him; to which brother Bowles consented; the occasion of this affair we do not know. He arrived at Huntington on the 5th. He attended Monthly Meeting with the brethren, and preached on the Sabbath. 8th, the friends came to cut his grain for him; for which he expressed much gratitude. 13th, he attended meeting at a school-house in Huntington, in company with brother Webster, who preached in the forenoon, and he in the afternoon. After which they attended to the "Washing of feet," a ceremony then practiced in several of our churches. After which they attended to the ordinance of the supper; in which they enjoyed a refreshing season; the brethren and sisters shouted aloud for joy, while sinners cried for mercy; and two were delivered from the power of sin; so powerful were the recollections which this affecting scene called up from the tomb of the past. Cruel indeed must be that spirit, which shuts many of his reconised followers from the table of our common Lord. In recognising us as christians, and excluding us from the Lord's table, they say, we are fit for the kingdom of heaven, but not fit for a close communion church. Well if we are fit for the former, we will forego the latter; let us commune with Christ and we will not find much fault
though some of his disciples will not own us fit for their table on earth.
20th, he went to Hinesburg, and preached at the Sweet school-house; here the power of the gospel was felt in some good degree. He visited and preached here until the 25th, when he started for the Wheelock Quarterly Meeting, to spend a short time within its limits. On his way he preached at Middlesex and Montpelier, and arrived at Lyndon on the 2d of September.
He speaks at this time of the loss of a friend, Charles Clark, whom he appears to have very highly esteemed. 3d, he preached twice in this place, with the church of which Elder D. Quinby was pastor. 4th, he attended the funeral of the above named Clark, and preached to a large assembly, from Romans 5:21, "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." After the funeral service brother Bowles went home with the bereaved family, and sought to comfort and console them in this sad hour of their affliction. He spent a few days in this and adjoining towns, but saw no marked signs of revival, which induced him to think of returning home again; as he was not wont to labor long in a place without seeing some manifestations of a revival. Although he had seen no signs of success, yet it was with much doubt and misgivings that he started for home on the 8th. He went to Wheelock to an appointment; but on his way met Dr. Mags, who persuaded him to send back another appointment to Lyndon.
9th, he went to Sutton and preached, and then returned to brother Quinby's in Lyndon, and attended a prayer meeting in the evening. This appears to have been a very interesting meeting and to have promised future success
to his labors in this place. Sister Quinby, who had not embraced religion, was converted during the evening, and joined her husband in the heavenly warfare. This was not all; there were some dozen more converted during the meeting. Brother Quinby got up near the portals of glory, and looked over into the heavenly Canaan, and his soul gave full vent to the heavenly bliss that flowed in swelling waves within. The Old Ship of Zion seemed equipped and ready for the heavenly voyage. He spent a few days in the place, and saw much good done; many souls converted, the family altar reared around hearthstones that had never before listened to the voice of prayer; and hearts that had never before tuned the songs of Zion, were now filled with praise to the Redeemer. He received a small compensation for his labors; and on the 14th, he left in company with brother Quinby for the Huntington Quarterly Meeting, to be held at Huntington; where they arrived on the 15th, and met the conference at brother Gillet's at one o'clock P. M., which was quite refreshing; the letters bore good tidings from the outposts of Israel's camp. Sabbath, 16th, Elder G. W. Powers preached in the forenoon and Elder Quiuby in the afternoon; both of which were weighty and to the purpose.
Sabbath, 17th, a prayer meeting was held in the morning; in the forenoon Elder Allen preached an excellent sermon from Luke 14: 22, "The servant said, Lord it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room." After which brother Powers was ordained. Elders Quinby made the ordaining prayer, Woodworth gave the charge, Webster gave the hand of fellowship, and Bowles made the concluding prayer. In the afternoon Elder Bachelder preached from Acts 10: 3, "He saw in a vision evidently, about the ninth hour of the day, an Angel
of God coming to him, and saying to him Cornelius." This was a powerful discourse, and the vast assembly that had been listening all day to the Divine truths, which had fallen upon their ears from the lips of God's servants, began to feel the force of those truths, and many were affected to tears. Strange indeed, that so many will listen so often to an impartial description of their lost situation, and still be careless and unmindful of the fatal consequences that await them in an awful and fast approaching judgement. Men are excited to sympathy, and moved to action by the affecting appeals that arrest their ears and their attention in behalf of human misery, but a faithful and true statement of their exposed situation in reference to their eternal welfare has little or no effect upon them. California's glittering treasures are sufficient to peril health, life, and ferego all the happiness of civilized life; but the priceless boon of eternal life with all the infinite joys of the Paradise of God, are not worth one small effort. Oh! deluded and sin-blinded man, rushing on to eternal destruction and yet all indifferent to the fact so long as the path sparkles with the debasing dust that has cankered so many souls! Pause one moment, and calmly reflect how you are to give an account for the hundreds and thousands of sermons which you have heard, and have disregarded! What are your excuses for thus trampling upon so many Divine admonitions? And what plea have you for abusing so many mercies which the Divine goodness has showered upon you?
Elder Quinby preached in the evening at the house of brother Gillet. And thus the Quarterly Meeting closed its session with a good degree of interest among the brethren. 20th, he attended the ordination of Elder Leland Huntley at Duxbury. Elders Webster preached an impressive
sermon, Lord made the prayer, Bowles gave the charge, Lord have the hand of fellowship and Bowles made the concluding prayer. In the evening he preached at brother Wood's in Richmond. 24th, he went to the Hill neighborhood in Hinesburg, and preached in the evening. This was a season of much interest to brother Bowles and says of it, "I felt happy in the Lord, and could give glory to God for his many mercies."
Sabbath, October 1st, he attended the funeral of Mr. Carnel's child, and preached to a large congregation. In the afternoon he preached at the school-house near brother Ambler's, and then attended the ordinance of baptism. One woman at the water cried, Lord have mercy on my soul. The 22d, he went to hear the Rev. Mr. Colver, Baptist minister preach, and he says, my soul felt tried at his preaching; probably it was too Calvinistic for him; for Free Grace was his theme always; he loved to hold up to a lost world the wonders of a full and free salvation. October 6th, in company with brother Ambler of Huntington, he started for the Yearly Meeting to be held at Vershere. It was to him a pleasant interview to meet with brethren from the Quarterly Meetings, where he had labored. The conference met on the 7th, it was a precious time; Elder Bowles preached in the evening, and God owned the Word and made it profitable to speaker and hearers. On Sabbath, 8th, Elder King preached the Word of Life with power, in the forenoon, and Elder Knowlton in the afternoon, preached a sermon the seemed to melt every heart before the Lord. In the evening Elder Bowles went to visit brother Simond's in Strafford, and enjoyed a family visit. 9th, he went to Washington, to brother Cooke's, and in that and some other families in that community, he enjoyed interesting seasons in prayer
and christian conversation; he found many souls here congenial with his own in the fellowship and labor of the gospel with Christ the Great Head of Zion.
11th, he went to Corinth, and in the evening he heard Elder Moss, from New Hampshire, preach; he says, "I tried to speak a little in exhortation and the Lord helped me, and we all had a good time together; some old backsliders began to tremble; some came out and confessed their wicked departure from God, and the old saints felt on the wing for glory." On the 12th, he went to visit some of his old friends in Hanover, New Hampshire. He attended meeting in the evening at Mr. John Wells' in Hanover, and during the meeting in the evening, one soul found peace through the Holy Redeemer's blood; the presence of the Lord filled the place.
On the 13th, he preached at brother Black's in Canaan. He says, "I felt to cry in my soul for God to make bear His arm in this region." On the 14th, he came back to Mr. Wells' in Canaan, and preached in the evening; another soul came out into gospel liberty. This, with the result of the previous meeting, was a very favorable omen of revival interest getting in among the people. He continued in the place until the 24th, and visited from house to house every day and preached every evening; the power of the Lord was felt among the people in a wonderful manner, and several were converted to God. On the 23d, he baptized several of the converts; it was a happy time at the water, notwithstanding great solemnity appeared on the countenances of the multitude that was present, and God evidently set the seal of His approbation on the ordinance.
On the 24th, he gave the parting hand to the friends in Hanover. He visited some friends in Lyme and Oxford,
on his way to Piermont, and held meetings at brother Norris', Cobourn's and Roberson's. On arriving at Piermont, he found a good home at brother Ephraim Cross. On the 29th, he went to Warren, and preached in the evening, and put up at Mr. Stephen Richardson's. On the 30th, he visited some of his children, who were living there, he also visited some of his old neighbors in the place. He seemed to enjoy a happy time, and yet as he says, "It was a solemn time to me in reflecting what changes the flight of time had made in the society of my fellow-men." He seemed to enjoy the social greetings of his friends in the place, and his was a temperament to enjoy it; he was ardent in his affections as a beloved father, and possessed those social qualities as a friend and a neighbor, and although he had been absent for a soason, friendship still existed.
November 1st, he preached at brother Corlis'. The 2d, he took leave of his friends and his children, and rode to Bradford, Vermont, and in the evening he preached at brother George's. On the 3d, 4th, 5th and 7th, he visited Corinth, Washington, Orange and Chelsea. Visiting during the day, and preaching every night, and encouraging the children in the good way of life. He could say with the good Apostle with a full heart, "I have no greater joy than to see my children walking in the truth." On the 10th, he visited Hinesburg, and spent the night at brother Dow's. He says, "My soul felt happy in God. I could joyfully shout the praise of the Lord my King for His mercy and protection over me during my journey, and my cry is, Lord roll on the victory of thy kingdom."
On the 13th, he went to Shelbourne and preached in the evening at brother Hill's, and on the 14th, he visited among the brethren in Charlotte. Sabbath the 17th, he
preached at the Dike school-house in Huntington; brother Peek preached in the forenoon, and Elder Bowles in the afternoon; a good time was enjoyed, the Lord seemed to own the Word, and accompanied it with the power of the Holy Spirit to the hearts of the people. In speaking of the brethren and the church in Huntington, he says, "No one but God knows the feelings of my heart in anxiety for the prosperity of that dear branch of God's Zion, and no one but God knows the groans and tears and prayers I offer for her spiritual interest." Brother Bowles did not only preach the gospel zealously from the pulpit, he watered it with his tears in the holy, happy communion with God, and when he tells us of the travail of his soul, be sure, dear reader, it is no unmeaning sentence. He says, "On the 20th, I started for Washington, with tears flowing from my eyes, I felt to cry, Lord let me see thy glory, and let my fellow-men bow to the mild sceptre of the dear Imanuel. I took the parting hand, with the deepest feeling I ever before experienced, my poor heart seemed almost too full for utterance."
He went on visiting the brethren and holding meetings in Bolton, Duxbury, Middlesex and Montpelier, the good Spirit accompanying him on the way. At Chelsea, he visited brother Richardson Crook, and enjoyed in the family a cordial welcome; he also spent some time in the family with his little son. He expressed much deep anxiety for his spiritual welfare, he says "I am not satisfied that my children are supplied for their temporal wants, that they are well fed and clothed--my soul groans before the throne of God that it may be fed with the Bread of Life, and clothed with the Righteousness of the Redeemer." He attended meetings and visited constantly, in Williamstown, Chelsea, Corinth, Orange and Washington.
And, Oh! how often Angels had to speed their way to the Court of Heaven to bear the glad news of the triumph of the gospel over the stubborn hearts of men, in the domestic circle or in the public congregation of the people. And how freely did the Recording Angel register into the Book of Life, the names of many dear souls, during this visiting and preaching tour of Elder Bowles, that they may amidst full fruition of Infinite bliss sound the note of redeeming love in the Paradise of God.
On the 15th, he went to Barry and visited some friends, then went and spent the night at brother Woodworth's in Montpelier. On the 16th, he went to brother Barnet's in Middlesex, and preached in the evening. On the 17th and 18th, he held meetings with the brethren in Duxbury, and enjoyed with them a precious season. On the 20th, he attended meeting in the new school-house in Huntington, and preached to a large assembly. In this meeting he was happy in enjoying the aid of brother John Brewster, in a weighty exhortation and in spiritual, faithful praying. Elder Bowles says, "Brother John seemed to enjoy so much of the good spirit and so much holy, living faith, it gave my soul a new life for glory." During the week he found quite a number of sick, and among them, some of his brethren who were dear to his heart. In speaking of his visit among the sick, he says, "At brother Cotton's I enjoyed a weeping time, at the bed-side of some who seemed to be but a little from the grave; I felt sorrow to think of losing them out of the church; and for the sinner, I felt solemn, to think he must come up to the Judgment unprepared, unless saved by the grace of God." After filling his appointments at Huntington, Shelbourne, Charlotte and Hinesburg, he went back into the Corinth Quarterly Meeting, to tend appointments there, and wind
up the labors of the year. He preached every evening up to the last day of the year, in Washington, Corinth, Chelsea, and Orange.
On January 1st, he says, "I look back on the past year, with deep feeling of gratitude. I feel that God has truly been better to me than my fears, and I am satisfied with the verified promise of the blessed Jesus, "Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." He has been with me in the congregation of the people, and in the prayer meeting, and around the family altar, and bless his Holy Name, He has met with me in the grove, where alone with Him, my soul has feasted on Heavenly Manna." And, dear reader, where is there a fitter place to hold communion with the great Deity, than the beautiful grove, amidst the beauty of Nature! Romantic, picturesque and sublime, in harmonious stillness, all the engrossing influences of the world, are shut out! There the soul can become completely assimilated into the Spirit of Gods Holy Attributes. Such a course of preparation of the soul for the work of God, is only in obedience to the holy command of the Redeemer, in his instruction to his Disciples, "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who seest in secret, and thy Father who seest in secret shall reward thee openly."
It is evident that the lack of spirituality in the labor of the ministry, and church at the present day, is the want of more love and interest in secret devotion with our Heavenly Father. And how pleasing it must have been to brother Bowles, at the end of the year, to look back over all the events and incidents connected with his labor, and think of the often communions with God, and the direction the Spirit gave to his mind and feelings to see
clearly the path of duty, and excite in him a disposition to do what is right in the sight of God for the good of men. Oh, may the Mantle of some of those good men, fall on many of our younger ministry, who are coming up to fill important stations in the church of God! It would then be learnt, that the real eloquence that touches the hidden spring of the human heart, is not simply the oratory of the pulpit, in rhetorical splendor, or logical reasoning in literary or scientific dress, but the simple language of the soul, deep and pathetic, in the narration of christian experience, as of Paul before Agrippa, that makes the christian's heart to bound with joy and the sinner to recoil before the power of truth. And in the grove is the best place to learn that eloquence.
Dear Christian reader, may the Spirit of God teach it to us all, as the best qualification for the gospel work. And if it is, as is the oft-repeated remark, that it takes the whole church to preach the gospel, how important that every member should feel his, or her individual responsibility, to be qualified to contribute a proper spiritual influence for the prosperity of Zion, and for the salvation of men. Doubtless, such were the means used in the days of the Fathers in the denomination, that made the Word of God mighty, to the pulling down the strong holds of Sin.
1821--Attends the Huntington Quarterly Meeting--A Case of Suicide--Ordination of Elder Josiah Wetherby--Labors in Brownsboro--Prejudice against Color--Is called to Pray with a Man and his Wife--Educated and Illiterate Ministers--A Preparation for the Ministry--A Tour to the North Part of the State.
In entering upon the duties and labors of another year, he still found trials to encounter, and discouragements to overcome. The christian path, in which he is called to tread, is the same now as ever. The declaration, "If ye will live godly in Christ Jesus, ye shall suffer persecution," is as true now as ever.
January 11th, 1821, he left for Waterbury, taking his little son with him. He the night at Montpelier, with brother Woodworth, where he was kindly received and entertained. 12th, he preached at Middiesex, and then went to meet the Elder's Conference of the Quarterly Meeting convened at that place. The meeting was interesting; the reports were encouraging, and showed that some advance was being made in the holy warfare. Elder Woodworth preached an interesting sermon in the morning; after which, some interesting exhortations were given. In the evening, Elder Bowles preached at the West Branch in Stowe.
Sabbath, 14th, in the afternoon he preached again, and it the evening he went to Little River, in Waterbury, and preached to a large congregation; some were convicted of their sins, and one woman in particular, was much distressed for her own soul's welfare. The brethren engaged
in prayer, and continued their supplications for over two hours. She at length yielded her heart to God, and found peace through our Lord Jesus Christ, and. joined with them in giving glory to God for his dying love and redeeming grace.
15th, he went in company with Elders Webster, Woodworth and Huntley to Duxbury. Here he spent a week, and saw some good done. While here, a young man hung himself in Shelbourne. He had professed religion, got into a backslidden state, and then committed the dreadful act of suicide. From Duxbury, he went to Bolton, Richmond, and Hinesburg, to Huntington.
On Sabbath, February 11th, he preached in Huntington, and enjoyed great blessing in the meeting, in seeing the effect of the Word on the hearts of the people. On Monday he went to Shelbourne, to hear Clarissa Danforth preach, and he says of the meeting, "It was a good melting time; about twenty came forward to be prayed for, and God manifested his power in great glory." Elder R. Allen was with him in this meeting, and in co-operation with Elder Bowles and Allen, sister Danforth was well engaged. The brethren and sisters in Shelbourne and Charlotte were well engaged in the work.
On the 13th, he went to visit the family where the young man lived that hung himself. He was the son of Deacon Bennet of Hinesburg. Elder Bowles in speaking of the subject says, "In the family we had a solemn weeping time, the friends felt greatly afflicted, I tried to comfort them with the consolation of the gospel." Thus we see that Elder Bowles could mingle his sympathies with his friends in the domestic circle, and weep with the afflicted, as did the dear Jesus at the grave of Lazarus, with his sisters Martha and Mary. On the 15th, he went to Huntington,
visiting and praying on the whole route, from house to house, and manifesting the deepest anxiety for the welfare of Zion. On the 19th, he held a meeting in the Thomas school-house in Huntington. He continued to cry in his soul in behalf of poor sinners, and his cry was constantly lifted to Heaven, "O Lord revive thy work." Sabbath, 26th, he preached at the Alderbrook school-house, and in the afternoon, he attended the funeral of a child. In the evening he met in a prayer meeting at the Thomas school-house; the majesty of God's power was manifest in the meeting, and Elder Bowles, with some of the brethren, got into a deep struggle in behalf of the impenitent. The 27th, he went on to Duxbury, and attended meeting in the evening, and in company with Deacon Canada, he spent some little time in visiting the brethren in the place.
March 1st, he went to Stowe to meet a Council to attend to the ordination of brother Josiah Wetherby. Elder Bowles preached the sermon from Matthew 10:16, "Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves." He enjoyed good liberty in speaking, and the meeting closed with tokens of great good. We are not informed who were the others on the Council, but he speaks of enjoying a pleasant interview with them at brother McCollister's in Stowe. On the 2d, he started to go East into the Corinth Quarterly Meeting, but when he had got as far as Middlesex, he felt a burden on his soul to return back to Waterbury, and he accordingly turned to go back, determined to follow the voice of the Spirit. On the Sabbath, 4th, he held meeting at the West Branch in Waterbury. He says, "This morning, my soul felt barren, and I felt the need of looking up to the Throne with more faith. I commenced the meeting trusting in God,
breathing out my soul in prayer; the Lord soon appeared and let me into liberty to pray and preach the Word. One poor soul came out into the liberty of the gospel, and many fell under conviction.["]
On the 6th, he started for the Corinth Quarterly Meeting. He spent the night at brother Bennet's in Middlesex. 7th, he went on to Washington, and for several weeks he labored day and night, visiting and preaching the gospel of comfort to the children of God, and warning to the sinner. A person not acquainted with the nature and power of the gospel, might be led to suppose that a minister would get tired of the work to go over the ground so often. But we assure our readers, that it was not in Elder Bowles to feel a weariness in the discharge of duty to God and his fellow-men, and it is evident that the people did not get weary in hearing him sound the gospel trumpet, and tell of the glories of Paradise. It was pleasant to Elder Bowles to see on every visit he made, that some poor sinner, was led by his influence to bow to the Throne of Grace, and yield obedience to the government of God. He could say with the good Apostle, "For as much as our labor is not in vain in the Lord." During this visit in the Corinth Quarterly Meeting, he speaks of one meeting held at brother Nathaniel Sleeper's, as being attended with mighty power; he says, "It was a mighty slaying time, the strong aim of God was made bear in the meeting; we all got hold by Faith, and God moved the Ark along, in great mercy to us all." In this visit the holy flame of reformation was kindled to such a hight it seemed as if the whole Corinth Quarterly Meeting would be deluged with the glory of the Lord.
On the 1st of April, he attended meeting at the dwelling of Deacon Canada, in Duxbury. On Saturday, March
31st, he was with the brethren in Monthly Meeting, and rejoiced to find them faithful and striving to live in gospel order, and "Contending for the Faith once delivered to the Saints." Elder Bowles could never be satisfied with a mere form in religious duty, or Quarterly or Yearly Meetings merely through custom. Therefore, he began to urge on the brethren in every church to occupy a position like the good Prophet on the Mount, look and watch for the little cloud that they might enjoy an abundance of rain. He now resolved to visit all the churches in the Quarterly Meeting, and by prayerful, faithful labor, aim to get the minds of all brethren fixed definitely on the point, to pray for a general outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to accompany the Word of Life to the hearts of the hearers. And, thank God, he was not unsuccessful in his effort, for he met with brethren in all of the churches who were ready to respond to the call, and second the effort he had begun; and many in all that region, can look back to their youth and beginning of manhood, and rejoice in God that the Holy Ghost ever led Elder Bowles to weep and pray among them; and many in the Heavenly Courts with him, will rejoice to all Eternity, that they ever bowed with him at Mercy's Altar in this life, and gave up their hearts to God, and joined with him in covenant.--But all the results of his labors will not be known until revealed at the Judgement; then if minds can expand and memory be active to enjoy that friendly recognition peculiar to christian fellowship in this life; when the Infinite Judge shall pronounce the happy welcome to enjoy a home with Him in heaven; the joy of so faithful a servant of God will be complete. He can then with the Bard of Israel say, "I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness."
Sabbath, 6th, he preached in Huntington, and after a week's labor in that town, he went to Hinesburg, and preached on the 15th at the dwelling of sister Conger. In the evening he went to Charlotte and preached to a large assembly of people, and during the week he held meetings every night and visited during the days in Charlotte and Shelbourne. On the 19th, he went to a place called Rhode Island Corners, and held meeting in the evening. He says of the meeting, "The power of the Lord came down in a wonderful manner; some poor souls began to cry for mercy, and one poor soul found salvation through the blood of the Redeemer; backsliders began to tremble and weep like Peter as the dear compassionate Jesus looked on them, as he did on him. I began to hear the inhabitants shout from the top of the Rock, and my cry was, Lord roll on the mighty power of thy salvation. I felt that the Lord heard my cry. But a great trial came on my mind in account of some difficulties I saw beginning to get in the church. I began to get down at the foot of the Throne and beg for Zion, and glory to God, he heard my cry, and granted deliverance and kept out the trouble." On the 22d, he attended meeting at Shelbourne, also on Monday evening 23d, and on the 24th, he went to Duxbury and preached.
On Sabbath, the 29th, he preached to a large congregation. On Monday he left Duxbury in company with Elder Bachelder to go to Huntington. It was the time of the great freshet on the Onion River, and the journey was attended with great difficulty and danger, but with his mind intent on the work, they waded through the water and got to their appointments. He says, "The Spirit of the Lord came down in a wonderful manner in power to our hearts. But Satan came also among us in the form of
a little opposition; but God overruled it." From this time to the latter part of June, he was constantly on the move in the work of the Lord, in company either with Elder Webster, Wetherby, Bachelder, or Huntley. He preached every Sabbath, and for the most part of the time every night in the week, and visited to a great extent. It would appear astonishing that one man could be on the way and perform so great an amount of labor, and not break down; but when we consider Elder Bowles' great devotion to the cause of Christ, and the great faith and confidence that always prompted him in the work, we have only to rejoice in the power of that Holy Being who has said, "Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." At Starksboro, Shelbourne, Charlotte, Hinesburg, Huntington, Richmond, Stowe, Underhill, Brownboro, Middlesex and Duxbury, he held meetings. He saw much of the Divine power manifested, and he could say with old Balaam, "Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel; according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and Israel what hath God wrought."
During this tour, he attended the May term of the Huntington Quarterly Meeting, and enjoyed a mutual christian interview with the ministering brethren. He speaks of the meeting with feelings of deep interest, and it could not be otherwise than interesting after so mighty an awakeing among all the churches in the Quarterly Meeting. We look back to the history of those days, and contrast them with the present with feelings of deep anxiety, we cannot suppress the cry in our souls, "O Lord revive thy work, in the midst of these years, in wrath remember mercy." For truly the christians of the present day live too much in theory, and less in holy practice than is important to
roll on victories of the Redeemer's Cross for the conquest of the world. And the great trouble is, "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the Prophets prophesy falsely, and the Priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof." Jeremiah 5th: 30th, 31st.
On the 22d of June, he went to Jerico, in company with Elder Webster; and in the afternoon preached in brother Reed's barn to a large assembly of attentive hearers. Here they found a few of the like faith with themselves. The gospel found its way to many a heart, and the cry of "God be merciful to me a sinner," was heard. In the evening a meeting was held at brother Reed's house, where some indications were manifest of a revival of the work of salvation, and he and Elder Webster were deeply interested to continue their efforts. 24th, they met a large congregation; after an earnest struggle in prayer at the Throne of Divine mercy; Elder Webster preached in the forenoon, and much interest was manifest in the meeting. At noon they organized a Free Will Baptist Church. In the afternoon he preached an excellent sermon, and many were deeply convicted, while two gave all for Christ, and received a pardon of all their sins, and obtained acceptance with God; which enabled them to return home praising God for salvation. In the evening more than a score bowed at the Altar of Mercy, confessing their sins, and imploring the Divine favor and pardon; while four found the Pearl of Great Price. Although this was a new field of labor, yet he found warm friends and welcome entertainment at brother Choate's. After spending a short time with the now church and converts, he left for his appointment in Richmond, where he arrived on the 25th, and attended meeting at the Hildreth
school-house. From Richmond he went to Browsnboro, and held several meetings; where he met with much opposition. The enemies of the truth in the shape of cold professors, old backsliders and the unconverted assailed him with their weapons, which none but such know how to use. But by constant prayer and faithful labor for their reclamation and conversion, the power of their enchantments was broken, and victory turned on the side of truth and righteousness.
Brother Bowles would often on entering a new place, awaken much cruel and bitter opposition; and this from various causes; partly on account of his color. There was then, and now is, a deep rooted prejudice against the mere complexion of a person, which will manifest itself in a variety of forms. Sometimes you will hear professed anti-slavery men making a great ado about a "colored man preaching to a white congregation;" saying that they are "friends to the colored race, but they will do better to go among their own people and preach." Some of the "baser sort" aver that they "will not hear a nigger preach." Where the heart is prejudiced against the race, it will find an embodyment in some form in action. There are some little aristocrats in all of our country villages, who in imitation of city purse-proud nabobs, turn up their noses at a colored minister; when at the same time, in point of intelligence and good manners, the negro is far their superior. One of these cod-fish aristocrats in the shape of a member of a certain church, once invited the compiler of this book to take tea with him; they sat in the parlor conversing until it was served; when he showed his guest out into a back kitchen to a table to sit by himself, while the family ate in another apartment. And this too, a professed disciple of Him who said, "As ye
would that others should do unto you, do ye even so unto them." Shame upon such instances of christianity; they are a stench in the nostrils of humanity to say nothing of religion. But in whatever form this opposition came, brother Bowles was sure to overcome it in a short time; his earnest prayers and faithful preaching made a powerful impression upon stubborn hearts and soon turned many of his enemies into not only his friends, but also the friends of his Master. Thus it was in this place; the opposition was not only overcome, but crowds flocked to hear him, and before he left the place the saints were greatly revived, and many sinners were convicted of their sins. This greatly encouraged him to persevere in the good work of the Lord in which he had been so long engaged.
In July, he went back to Huntington, and spent a few days with the church in that town, visiting, preaching, and praying. Sabbath, 8th, he held meeting at the Thomas school-house. 12th, he started again for Jerico in company with Elder Webster. They found on their arrival, that the good work, so well commenced when they were there before, was still in progress. The brethren were all alive to the salvation of their fellow-men. Several had found peace in the Redeemer. After laboring in the place for a little time, several came forward and related their experience for a baptism. They accordingly adminstered the ordinance and gave them the hand of fellowship and christian love. They then left the place and Elder Bowles returned to Huntington, where his ear quickly caught the sound of the young convert, as it came borne upon the evening breeze from the prayer meeting, where were assembled the saints of the Redeemer. He also heard the groans of the mourner around the temple
gates of Zion, and the shout of the old saints from the camp of Israel.
He soon left for Brownsboro, and there met Elder Webster, ready with him still to face the enemies of Zion. On the 18th, Elder Bowles preached to a large congregation, and found the opposition which had been raised against him was now dead; and what was still better, that many had been converted since his first visit, and others were enquiring the way to Zion's gate, with their faces thitherward. He visited Charlotte during the week, and enjoyed a refreshing season with the brethren. 22d, he went again to Brownsboro, and preached with good liberty, many in the meeting cried for mercy, and the power of the glorious gospel was felt in their midst.--Monday, 23d, he went to Hillsboro, and preached in the evening; he spent the night with a brother Howe, whose grand-daughter was under deep conviction. Elder Bowles with the family spent the evening, and the next forenoon in praying for her, and exhorting her to submit and become reconciled to God. He then left for Huntington. As he journeyed along, he saw a man sitting at the door of his house, deeply distressed on account of his sins, and he begged the Elder to go into his house and pray for him. "I found his wife," he says, "in great distress; I exhorted them both to give their hearts to God immediately, I knelt down with them, they seemed to be determined to give up all for Christ. I started on my way, and in a little while I found another in great distress of mind, at a house where I called. It was a woman; I strove to comfort her; she continued to cry "Lord save, or I perish." I held up the great atonement. I then went on my way to Huntington, but before I got there, I found another crying for mercy. I bowed again at Mercy's
Altar, and before I got up from my knees, this one found mercy and peace from God."
At Huntington, he found many sick; these received his attention and enjoyed the benefit of his prayers. Some, while enduring great pain of body, were happy in soul, and gave glory to God; others in their sins, cried out in great agony of soul. On the 28th, he went to Jerico; he met with a brother Lee, a subject of the revival, who had been a strong Universalist. He met Elder Bowles with warm affection, and after some conversation he wished to be baptized. Some of the brethren hesitated, on account of his former character as an opposing Universalist; but after he gave in his experience, all doubts vanished, and the brethren gave him fellowship, and Elder Bowles baptized him. On Sabbath, the meeting was a time of great comfort to the saints of God. On the 30th, he began visiting again, and in one house he found two women under conviction. He kneeled with them in prayer and before he got through praying one of the women found peace in the Holy Redeemer, and began to sound the praise of the Lord.
During the month of August, he labored in the towns of Duxbury, Richmond, Huntington, and Bolton, and some in adjoining towns. Many an incident of no ordinary nature, served constantly to nerve him up to the great work, in which his whole soul was so ardently and successfully engaged. He never labored long in a place, unless he saw some open manifestations of the Divine power in the conversion of his fellow-men. He was constantly on the wing, from one appointment to another; however there was a constant necessity for other laborers to gather up the dear converts which the Lord had set at liberty through his instrumentality, and also to watch
over the interest of the churches; although Elder Bowles did much of such work.
During his labors in these towns, he often resorted to the silent grove, and there bowed before his Heavenly Master, and poured out his soul in earnest supplication for Divine consolation, amidst all his trials and discouragements. This to him was a favorite place, and one where he often got his old gospel armor newly burnished, and prepared for the heavenly warfare. But whether in the silent grove, or in the study, the true Reformer of mankind, must hold constant communion with his God, directed by the Holy Spirit, through the medium of His word by prayer. The founders of the denomination, were holy, devoted men; they were men who were ready to peril their lives in support of gospel truth; but they owed much to God for what they were as laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, and everything for the success of their work. As men and ministers, they did not enjoy the literary advantages of the present age; but if they were what refined scholarship would term illiterate, they were nevertheless well instructed in a practical sense in the doctrines of the righteous government of the great Sovereign of heaven. It is intimated by some, without foundation in truth, that these holy men, opposed education, and glorified in ministerial ignorance. They did not glory in ignorance; neither did they depend on education simply in its power and accomplishment, or refined elegance, to confound the wise of this world, and carry conviction to the hardened heart of man. They doubtless improved their opportunities as best they could, considering the advantages of their times, in the infant state of the denomination. And if they opposed anything of an educational character in the ministry, it was the arrogance and conceit
fostered in the character of the men who attempted to lord it over God's heritage, and whose interest in the work of the ministry, was controlled by worldly selfishness, rather than God's glory and the salvation of men. For it must be remembered, that what those good men lacked in Academic and Collegiate literary endowments, they enjoyed in a clear practical knowledge of human nature, and with discriminating minds, enlightened by the power of the glorious gospel, and with consciences that would not justify them in compromising God's truth for worldly popularity.
In the name of God, for the honor and glory of His kingdom, and for the good of poor erring man, they by the grace of God, laid the foundation of denominational interest; they labored with untiring and unceasing interest to show to the world the Infinite love of the great Redeemer of mankind, and to respond to he sentiment of the great and good Apostle, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich." In order to lead men to humbly appreciate the Infinite love of the compassionate Redeemer, these good men as fathers of the denomination, were self-denying and grace-depending, and doubtless could say in all their travels, with the Apostle, "God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." And also, "We have this treasure in Earthen Vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." Now such a ministry, rich in faith, and the grace of God, and divinely instructed by the power and Spirit of Him who spake as never man spake, could not be without its influence, and could not with any real degree of consistency be denominated an ignorant ministry. It was
just such a ministry as is needed in any age of popular dependence on literary educational qualification for go great a work.
Now if the present ministry in the denomination, with greater literary advantage, in keeping pace with the educational improvement of the present age, should posses the same living faith, and practice the same holy self-denial, and grace-depending spirit of those good fathers of the denomination, might not their influence be greater in continuing on what they begun? And would not the light of gospel liberty shine greater in all our churches? I venture to say, no one can doubt it. We cannot doubt the importance, and advantage of an educated ministry for the present age, to labor for the successful overthrow of the kingdom of darkness, in all its combined popular influence. The ministry should have a practical knowledge of the moral, and political condition of the world. They should be studied in a thorough knowledge of human nature, and the motives, feeling and influences that impel men to action. And the more thorough his knowledge is, in the field of literary and scientific research the better. It is an age of skepticism and gross error. The human mind is in opposition to the truth of God's holy word; but not in the spirit of mobocratic opposition, as in the days of the fathers. Under the rule of Satanic influence, there is employed the most cunning sophistry and false-reasoning, to dupe the weak and unlearned, and misrepresent the great design of an Infinite God, in the plan and purposes of his Government, for the benefit of the world. The human mind must be convinced in order to be convicted. If the ministry "is set for the defence of the gospel," none can doubt if ministers are to be successful the more they know, and the more they feel, the
greater will be the power of their action in the world. And the greater their knowledge of history, both ecclesiastical and profane, and of philosophy, and law, and the different departments of language, the more efficient they will be in their calling. And if they would fulfil the Apostolic injunction, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," no one would have opportunity to complain of ignorance or inefficiency among the ministry of the present age. It is immaterial whether this knowledge is gained in the Collegiate or Academic halls, or under the discipline of self-culture in the midnight study, or in manual labor, amidst the daily avocations of life. I venture to say if a voice from the silent grave of those holy men of the past could come to our ears, it would justify these remarks in willing approval.
During the month of August, Elder Bowles made a tour to the south part of the State, in company with Elder Bachelder. He visited the towns of Washington, Corinth and Orange, and preached in each place. 23d, he spent the night at brother Whitcher's, in Danville, and enjoyed an interesting visit with the family, of whom he speaks with warm affection, as being kind to him. 24th, they went to Wheelock to attend the Yearly Meeting, convened at that place. The Conference was well attended, but some trials were presented which seemed to render it less interesting, but still the Spirit of Christ seemed to pervade the meeting. He spent the night at brother Elkin's, where he enjoyed a happy season with the family, and the friends who tarried there. 25th, the Conference assembled for business. At two o'clock, Elder Bowles preached the introductory sermon with good liberty, from Nehemiah 2d: 20th, "The God of heaven, He will prosper
us, therefore we His servants will arise and build. But you have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem." The sermon was followed by some weighty exhortations, and a good degree of interest was manifest in the meeting. In the evening the brethren held a prayer meeting at brother Elkin's; it was a solemn, weeping, rejoicing time. A spirit of revival pervaded the meeting, and some good we think was done in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Sabbath, 26th, the Yearly Meeting met at the Meeting House for public worship. Two sermons were preached by Elder Quinby, and Bachelder, which were very interesting and instructive. The Yearly Meeting closed with a good degree of interest, and Elder Bowles left and went to Huntington. On his way, he was called upon to attend and preach the funeral sermon of a child of brother Gross. He had good liberty in speaking, and his soul seemed to launch out into the deep waters of a free salvation. 29th, he went to Waterbury, and stopped at brother Darling's, where he was received and entertained in a true christian manner; he enjoyed a happy visit with this family. 30th, he visited some of the brethren and friends, and then went on to Bolton and Richmond, visiting and praying as he went, endeavoring to comfort and encourage the saints, and warn the sinner.
Sabbath, September 2d, he preached in Huntington, at brother Barrows; a large congregation assembled to hear the glorious gospel once more from the mouth of him, whom heaven appointed, regardless of his complexion, and their hearts were cheered as they listened to the gracious promises which were held out to wretched man. During the week he visited Burlington and drew his pension, then visited at Shelbourne and Starksboro, preaching and visiting as he journeyed. He speaks at this time of
some trials of mind and feebleness of body, but a strong confidence in God, and hope in the Savior. Saturday, 6th, he attended Covenant Meeting in Huntington, at brother Turrill's, where he enjoyed a good refreshing season from the presence of the Lord.
Sabbath, 7th, he preached in Huntington, on Brown's Hill, where some indications appeared of an evident interest in the good work of the Lord. 14th, he went to the Quarterly Meeting at Charlotte, and met the ministers in their Conference in the afternoon. They enjoyed an interesting season together, giving and receiving mutual instruction. Such seasons are pleasant and profitable, where ministers come together in the true spirit of their Master, as brethren and equals, with none of the spirit to "lord it over God's heritage." 15th, the Quarterly Meeting Conference met and enjoyed a good season. The preaching was in power and deeply interesting. In the evening he preached and the power of the gospel was felt upon many hearts; one soul found peace in believing, and joy in the Holy Ghost, and several backsliders were reclaimed from their lost condition.
Sabbath, 16th, Elder Bowles says, "I felt happy this morning in soul and body, and praised God in the fullness of joy." Both husband and wife were deeply convicted, and bowed with him around the family altar, which was erected that morning for the first time, and besought the Divine mercy all and forgiveness on their sin-stained souls. They then repaired to the house for public worship, where a large congregation had assembled; here they enjoyed a an interesting prayer meeting before the preaching; some manifested their desire for an interest in the redemption of Christ. At ten o'clock, Elder Bachelder preached an excellent sermon; it was delivered and felt in power. In
the afternoon, Elder Nathaniel Bowles preached and was followed by many very weighty exhortations, and a deep impression was produced on the audience. At the prayer meeting in the evening several came forward for prayers. For several days Elder Bowles spent his time in visiting from house to house during the day, and preaching in the evening, in the different parts of the town. Several were convicted and converted in these meetings, and his ears were often saluted with the joyous sound of the happy convert's voice in praising God, as also the sorrowing cry of the penitent mourner begging to God for mercy.
September 21st, he held a meeting on Brown's Hill, in Huntington, in company with brother Roberson. He preached a sermon, and after some exhortation from the brethren, he gave an invitation to all who felt a desire to be united in a Free Will Baptist Church, to come forward. Seventeen came for that purpose. He gave them a solemn charge in relation to their duty to God and one another; they all joined hands in token of their union and fellowship as christian brethren. He gave them the hand of fellowship, and in prayer commended them to God, and then declared them a church of the Free Will Baptist order. The little church started with a good prospect in the midst of a glorious revival, and bid fair to become a strong branch of the Zion of God.
23d, he went to Hillsboro and held meeting; the Spirit gave him liberty in the place; he preached two sermons and then attended to the ordinance of baptism at the intermission. The seal of Heaven's approbation rested on the ordinance; the candidates were truly happy in the discharge of duty. God made bear his arm in mighty power. In the evening he held a meeting at brother Elliot's. Quite a number bowed in prayer, one soul came
into liberty and shouted the praise of the Lord. Some personally urged the brethren to pray for them. He now felt that he must leave them in the hands of God. Duties in other places called him away; but he with a heart warm with christian sympathy, commended them to the communion and fellowship of Heaven. After visiting among his friends in Shelbourne and Huntington, he went on the 27th to attend a Church Meeting at Hinesburg, in an affair between Elder Manard and the church. After a meeting of great trial, it was adjourned, and groaning in spirit, he went back to Huntington to arrange for journey to the eastward among the churches.
29th, he left Huntington and went on to Duxbury, and enjoyed a pleasant visit at Deacon Canada's; and without stopping to hold a meeting among the brethren, he proceeded on his way to Corinth, visiting on his way at Middlesex, Montpelier, Barry and Washington. On his whole route it was one continual meeting. The Spirit of the Lord seemed to go on before him, and over him, like the pillar and the cloud before and over the camp of the Israelites, through the wilderness. And he felt the continual presence of the Lord of Hosts. Sabbath, 30th, he says, "I felt a solemn cry in my soul that the God of victory would appear in all his power, and rend Ahab, and tear the Dragon in pieces, and give victory to Zion." He spent several days in holding meetings at Brother Slack's Thorn's, Crook's and others, until the 6th October. He then started on his way to Tunbridge to attend the Yearly Meeting which was to be held near that place. He visited brother Hacket and others, previous to the meeting; they enjoyed a warm and mutual interchange of christian congratulation. It was the Apostolic usage in salutation in these friendly meetings. He spent the night at Elder
Hacket's, and speaks of the visit as peculiarly pleasant to him.
On the 7th of October, he went on to Strafford, where the Yearly Meeting was to convene. In the Conference he met with many of his brethren, both the ministers and laymen. He says, "The Lord appeared at the beginning of the meeting, and it gathered like a cloud of rain."--On the Sabbath, it was judged that about three thousand people met together. In the prayer meeting many hearts were lifted to God; it was a time of great solemnity, the brethren and sisters seemed resolved to lean on the strong arm of the Lord for help. In the meeting for preaching, it was at once seen that the holy cloud rested over the camp. Elders Moss, Allen, and Woodman preached powerful sermons, which were followed by weighty and solemn exhortations from the brethren and sisters. It was a time of the Immanuel's power; the sinner trembled, and the poor backslider felt the alarm. He says, "My cry was, Lord send down enough of the power that the people may all bow to thee. I wanted to see my brethren feel more of the holy reformation power from God, that there might be a travail in Zion." In the evening he went down to Strafford Hollow and preached to a large congregation, with great liberty. The Yearly Meeting closed with good prospects of a good work of grace in the place. On Monday, he visited during the day, and preached in the evening. On Tuesday, he went to Hanover and put up at brother Samuel Will's. He spent one week in Hanover and preached eight sermons, and although he endured some trials, he left the place giving glory to God for His holy and continued presence, in enabling him to proclaim the gospel of glad tidings to his fellow-men. He says, "I knew my heart felt lifted to God, that he
would spread the light of His glory all over this region, that men may bow to him." Many gave up their rebellion and bowed to the Cross in deep penitence.
On the 16th, he took his leave of the brethren in Hanover and returned to Vermont. He visited at brother Sleeper's at Corinth, then at brother Clement's at Vershere. Here he was called to visit a woman lying at the point of death, and in great distress of mind; she had once been a professor of religion, but had backslidden from God. The Elder had a great struggle of soul for her; she seemed to tremble as she stood on the brink of eternity, about to appear before a just God; she cried greatly to God for mercy. He now left the place and wended his way toward Huntington. He visited at brothor Stevens' at Montpelier, then went to Duxbury, Bolton and Richmond, and on Sabbath, 21st, he went to Huntington, and preached to a large congregation. 24th, he went to Hinesburg to attend the Church Meeting, in the difficulty between Elder Manard and the church. After a trying time, the business came to a close, and the matter was settled. Elder Bowles returned to Huntington, and there, and at Shelbourne, Hillsboro, and Charlotte, he spent quite a length of time in his gospel labors, in building up the interest of Zion. He met with some warm and sincere friends, and some severe trials, on account of false friendship. He expressed himself thus on this point, "Lord save me from false and pretended friends; but one thing I have to comfort me, that the honest and sincere will stand, and endure hardness as a good soldier, when the false and deceitful will fail." It was peculiar of Elder Bowles that the opinion of the world, true or false, although it often brought a trial to his mind, never induced him to show himself false, or dishonest
to the cause of God, or falter from the right path. As a man of God, he ever stood ready to do his duty.
November 3d, he attended Monthly Meeting with the new church in Hillsboro. It was to him and the brethren, a precious season; several converts came out to the meeting, and told what God had done for their souls. Two came forward and joined the church. It was the first Monthly meeting the church had held; the brethren seemed encouraged and strengthened. Sabbath, 4th, Elder Bowles went into the grove after the family duties were done in the house where he had spent the night.--There in nature's great temple, the God of Abraham and Isaac, who appeared to Jacob while on his way to Padan-Aram, appeared unto him, to endow him anew for the duties of the day. He says, "I cried unto the Lord to help me, and my mind came out into the clear light. I went to the meeting rejoicing, where my soul felt lifted to the Throne of God. I had a good time in speaking; there was a mighty trembling in the meeting; more than forty brethren and sisters spoke of the power and goodness of the Lord. I believe that God will own this meeting to His own glory, and the little cloud will overspread Zion. A good many in this region have been brought out into the liberty of Jesus; the spirit of reformation is sounding all over this region, glory to God. We have some loving precious families in this community."
Sabbath, 18th, in company with Elders Lord and Huntley, he attended meeting at Huntington, and broke bread to the church. In this, amidst the abundance of his labor, and witnessing its glorious results, he felt truly that his soul fed on the bread of heaven. At brother Dike's, in company with those brethren, he seemed to throw himself into the cause, and gave all the glory to the Redeemer.
And to highten the joy of his soul, he received a letter this day from Warren, New Hampshire, giving him the happy intelligence that his daughter Sarah had just been converted to God, and also his daughter Eunice was under deep conviction, and was seeking the Lord with all her heart. This to him was glad news--his companion had been called away from him by death--his children were scattered abroad in the world, and exposed to temptation--he had recommended them to God, as a kind christian parent, and to see them coming into the fold of Jesus, was to him a delight.
He continued his meeting in the place during the week, until Sabbath 24th. He preached at brother Hill's during the day; the power of God was felt in the meeting. In the evening, among those who came forward to be prayed for, were some who until this time, had not been induced to act at all as enquirers after truth; they now seemed penitent. He says, "This week my soul felt the enlargement of the kingdom of God. I can truly say that in some of our meetings, the inhabitants of the Rock did sing, and those on top of the Mountain did rejoice in the God of our Salvation. I think I never saw the saints of God come up to the help of the Lord better, with strength from God. We have had some good trembling, loving, weeping, shouting times. Glory to God, my soul has been happy on the way, even amidst trials." Elder Bowles could doubtless, say with the good Apostle, "All things shall work together for good, to them that love God."
On Thursday, the 6th day of December, being the Annual Thaksgiving in the State, he preached a sermon at brother Elliot's in Hillsboro. He says, "We felt truly and sensibly thankful to God, that he has crowned
the year with the abundant blessing in the good things of earth, and given us life and health to enjoy it. We felt thankful that his mercy had led us on, to escape so many dangers that so often beset our path, and threaten our safety on every side." It is evident that Elder Bowles was not governed in his feelings of thanksgiving, by the Executive proclamation of the State, but in all things that he did, "whether he ate or drank, he would do all to the glory of God." In the evening the meeting was attended with Divine power; the brethren and sisters got hold on the Holy Altar in living faith; some backsliders felt the power of the Spirit and began to cry out for mercy, and a good number of the impenitent came out before the congregation and begged for the prayers of God's people; two found pardon through the Blood of the Lamb, and gave glory to God. The meeting was held at brother Ewer's in the evening.
On the 8th, he attended Monthly Meeting with the church at Huntington, at brother Turrill's. And on Sabbath, 9th, he preached to all interesting and attentive congregation in the forenoon at the school-house. In the afternoon he attended a funeral in company with Elder Bennet. Elder Bennet preached the sermon, and Elder Bowles addressed the mourners and made the concluding prayer. In the discharge of duty at a funeral, he was able and efficient, and by the aid of the Divine Spirit, always left a favorable impression on the minds of his audience. In the evening he preached at brother Pray's; the solemnity of the day in the public duties had left so deep an impression, it now began to manifest itself with power; the brethren united with him in the services of the meeting with warm hearts; the exhortations and prayers breathed a deep devotion to the cause of God, and deep sympathy for the impenitent.
10th, he went to Hinesburg. He says, "We had a blessed good time. I believe that God is spreading the work in great power, and my cry is, ride on King Jesus, let thy kingdom be glorious." He expresses much gratitude that the people were preparing him some clothing for winter, and truly no man ever labored more deservingly of being made comfortable than he, for he was in the work continually, his whole aim was to benefit souls. He continued in Huntington, laboring constantly until the 27th. He complained of being unwell in body, but in mind he felt sustained by his great Master. He had some interesting meetings in the place and often spoke of the display of Infinite power. He went into many families to comfort the sick, and encourage the mourner to come directly to Christ for mercy; and although he did not meet in every house that cordial christian greeting, he ever acted as a servant of Him who met with contumely and scorn, while in his holy life and labors, he set an example for his followers in righteousness to be accepted of God.
On the 28th, he started for Bolton, and held a meeting in the evening. 29th, he went to Waterbury, and met the brethren in the Monthly Meeting; he preached in the evening. As he returned to his lodging he seemed to feel deeply for the poor sinner, and he was heard to repeat the words of the Poet--
"O! If poor sinners did but know,
How much for them I undergo,
They would not treat me with contempt,
Nor curse me, when I cry Repent."
He spent some days in Waterbury and Stowe, laboring constantly day and night, and attended a Monthly Meeting with both churches. He began to feel a great trial on
his mind especially on Sabbath, December 30th; he had an appointment to fill on that day, and he says, "It seemed as though all the powers of darkness were let loose on my mind. After breakfast I tried to look up to God from the family altar, but it was all dark to me; sisters Amy and Mercy Davis, both knelt with me and the family, and they both lifted me up to the Throne by faith and prayer--the light began to break into my soul--I went to my appointment--my soul was on the wing--I could sing with the Poet--
"I love the Lord, he heard my cry,
And pitied every groan,
Long as I live, when trouble's nigh,
I'll hasten to His Throne."
He spoke with great power in the meeting. His soul appeared to be in the perfect liberty of the gospel; the effect of the meeting was glorious; the babel of darkness began to tremble. Thus we see the effect of prayer. O! if the ministers of Jesus could enjoy the benefit of more praying by brethren and sisters, when they feel the dark clouds come over the mind, they would oftener enjoy greater liberty in presenting to mankind the great truths of Heaven. It is deeply to be regretted, that too many of our churches throw all the responsibility of the work, both of speaking, and praying, and sympathizing, on the ministry. And if they are in the dark, the membership will wait in supineness, until they are in the light and liberty again. But the example of the sisters in prayer with and for Elder Bowles, is worthy of imitation by all the membership of Zion at the present day, that the ministry may enjoy help.
Thus ended another year of his faithful labors, with the same unwavering exertions with which it commenced. To
labor in his Master's cause, was his chief delight, and to see that cause successful was his chief, his highest joy. And indeed when he could discover no visible signs of good in revival power, he was sure soon to leave for a more promising field of labor. That this course is always commendable, we do not pretend. We do not always see things as they are, and we must often "walk by faith, and not by sight." But his gift and manner of preaching was best adapted to an itinerant life. Had he spent his life as a Pastor of some particular church, perhaps he might have seen but small results of his labor. Thus the year has passed off, and with it its labors, to be revealed at the Judgment.
1822--The Death of an Old Saint--His Labors in Huntington--Revival Interest--He Baptizes Several--Attends the Huntington Quarterly Meeting--Preaches at Jerico--Prejudice against his Color--Returns to Huntington--His Visit to the Grove--His Labors in Randolph--A Powerful Revival in Randolph and Brookfield.
1822. Another year is before him, with its duties and responsibilities; but his heart does not falter at their presentation, nor does his faith fail in the God from whom he receives all his hopes. His soul is nerved for new conflicts in the holy cause, and his heart is prepared for other trials. January 2d, he left for Huntington. One of the first duties he was called upon to discharge, was to attend the funeral of an old man of over ninety, a resident of the town of Starksbury. Thus he was admonished at the very commencement of the year, that mortality had fixed its seal upon all mankind, and that every departure of man, serves but to remind us that our time is short in this life, and ought to be improved to the best advantage. This old soldier of the Cross had filled up the measure of his days in usefulness. His death was sudden. But a few days before his death he was at meeting, and exhorted the people, telling them that it was his dying testimony. Thus he had gone from labor to reward. This occasion was improved by Elder Bowles, to give weight to the word preached at this time.
5th, he attended a Monthly Meeting with the brethren at Shelbourne, and enjoyed a good season. Sabbath, he preached at brother Elliott's to a large and solemn congregation,
and broke bread to the church. The communion season was solemn; a deep interest was felt in the meeting. More than fifty were under deep conviction among the impenitent. The church enjoyed a precious season, while five precious souls found peace in believing and joy in the holy ghost. He spent the night in the family of brother Bushnell, where he enjoyed a pleasant visit. 8th, he went to Huntington to attend to some business in relation to his pecuniary affairs. While in the place he visited the brethren, to pray with them and stir up their mind in preparation for the Quarterly Meeting, which was soon to be held in that place; he says of himself at this time, "I never enjoyed more of the love of the Redeemer than now." 11th, he attended the Quarterly Meeting at this place and took a deep interest in the Conference which met on the 12th. The reports from the churches were very encouraging. On Sabbath, 13th, the congregation was so large for the public worship, the brethren were obliged to divide the meeting, as one house could not contain the people. The meetings were deeply interesting; the word was preached in power, and the brethren and sisters came forward with their testimonies with much interest. He spent a few days in the place after the meeting. 17th, he left to attend the Corinth Quarterly Meeting to be holden in Corinth; but before he left, he had a great struggle in prayer for brother Gillet's daughter, where he spent the night. She was under deep conviction, and felt deeply her need of a Savior.
On the 18th, he went to Berlin and spent the night at brother Strong's. 19th, he got to Corinth to attend the Quarterly Meeting. In the Conference it was to him a precious season. Brothers Pope and Robinson related their christian experience and call to the ministry, and
they were received by the Conference for ordination. The letters from the churches bore a good report; the brethren seemed to feel that the strong arm of God was lifting his Zion above the power of the enemy. On Sabbath, 20th, an immense congregation met at the meeting house. Elder King preached the ordaining sermon from 2d Timothy 2d: 15th, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed; rightly dividing the word of truth." The brethren of the council then inducted brother Pope into the office of the gospel ministry by prayer and the laying on of hands. It was a solemn and interesting season. In the afternoon Elder Hacket preached a weighty sermon; it was followed by many weighty and spiritual exhortations from the brethren and sisters, and the meeting closed with much interest. The holy presence of God appeared in the midst of his people. He went from the meeting to Washington, the adjoining town, and for several days he had to watch at the bed-side of his daughter Deborah, who lay very sick, yet still he kept the holy armor on, ready for warfare; he often stood among the people, lifting his voice in the name of Jesus. In every meeting during this tour, he witnessed much of the power of the Lord manifested among the people; his whole soul seemed to cry, Lord roll on the victory of the Cross; send out thy great salvation; let thy saints rejoice in thee.
On leaving the Corinth Quarterly Meeting he visited at Montpelier, Middlesex, Duxbury, and Waterbury, on his way to Huntington. In each place he held meetings, and strove to strengthen and encourage the brethren; he seemed to act as a sort of evangelical pastor, over all the churches within the field of his travel. And why should he not feel an interest in their spiritual welfare? He had
been instrumental in the hands of God, in the organization of the most of them; he had given them the hand of fellowship, in welcoming them into the fellowship of the Free Will Baptist denomination; he had led many of their membership down into the liquid stream, and for many of them he had bowed at the throne of grace, and struggled for their deliverance into gospel liberty. And as it was with the good Apostle, Elder Bowles wept and prayed for them in christian care, and for them he toiled on, amidst storm or calm, cold or heat, to serve them with the bread of eternal life. If for the time being his labors in the Huntington Quarterly Meeting cease, he is off to the Corinth, then to the Strafford, or the Wheelock, the Rutland or Enosburg Quarterly Meetings. The churches in all of these were dear to him by the bonds of chistian love in the power of the redemption of the cross of Jesus. At Middlesex he enjoyed a pleasant home at brother Barnet's; he spent one week there holding meetings every evening at the school-house, at the same place on Sabbath the 10th. On the 11th, on arriving at Duxbury, he felt grieved to find that a trial had sprung up in the church, and his coming among them at this time was most opportune, and gave him the chance to check the difficulty in the bud; he says of his labor here at that time, "I began at once to lift my soul in prayer to God. I felt that we needed the aid of his strong arm to lift us up. Glory to his name, he came in power to save us from a serious difficulty." My readers are aware that Satan often attempts, and too often with success, to get his dividing hoof among brethren, and too often to the weakening the strong hold of Zion; and thank God, nothing can so effectually baffle his wicked schemes as the spirit and power of the gospel, sanctified to the hearts of God's dear faithful children.
On the 15th, he went to Huntington, and met the brethren in the evening; he found some happy in the hope of heaven, and giving glory to God, whom he had left mourning in their sins. The work of reformation was spreading all around; he could say with a gospel heart, "ride on all conquering king, ride on. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Let heaven and earth agree to sound abroad thy worthy name, till all our souls shall be on flame, to rise and reign with thee." On Sabbath, 17th, he preached with the church and broke bread to the brethren and sisters. On the 19th, he met a large congregation and delivered to them the word of life, and then led several happy candidates into the water and buried them in baptism in the likeness of the holy Redeemer. The candidates went from the water shouting and praising God. After he got to the house, one woman began to confess that she had neglected duty; while she was speaking to the people, the power of God came down, she fell to the floor, and lay sometime; when she revived and began to speak she wanted to go forward in baptism; the church gave her fellowship, and Elder Bowles led her down into the water and buried her in baptism, and then gave them all the hand of fellowship into the visible church. He went on Saturday to Starksbury, in company with Elder Robinson, and on Sabbath, 29th, they held meetings together. They found several under deep conviction; they begged for mercy, and the cry sounded loud in the meeting, and the work seemed to be spreading in all parts of the town.
On the 27th, he went to Bristol and attended the funeral of sister Holcomb; it was a solemn time among the people; the revival spirit was spreading, and the solemnity of death had come on the mind while it was yet tender, and the spirit of God seemed to lead them out
into the solem consideration of the judgment. In the evening he attended meeting in the same place; many were anxiously seeking an interest in the Redeemer's blood, and thank God, delivering power came down in the midst of the people, and amidst the cry of the anxious mourners came up the shout of the redeemed from the power of sin and death.
He continued in Bristol until the 2d of March, holding meetings every evening, and visiting during the day; he then went to Starksbury, March 2d, and attended Monthly Meeting with the church; and preached on Sabbath the 3d; the revival continued unabated; he says, "One man came to me in great anguish of soul, and said he felt himself a great sinner, and that there was no mercy for him; he begged me to beg for him at a throne of grace; brothers Holcomb and Bushnel got hold with me by faith, and we laid hold on the strong arm of the Lord, and God heard the prayer of faith and brought deliverance to the poor man, and the dear creature gave glory to God. I believe that God will own that meeting to his own name's glory."
On Monday, 5th, he went to Shelbourne; he says "I went on my way singing--
"Glory to God, that sent his Son,
To die for crimes that I had done,
And made Salvation mine."
I felt well in body and mind, my soul seemed to be lifted on high. O, how sweet and blessed is the way of life and salvation to my poor soul, glory to God." Thus we see him in the confidence and enjoyment of infinite love. In Shelbourne, he visited brother Hill, an old gentleman, and enjoyed with him a happy visit; he also visited several other families from day to day, with the object constantly
before him of comforting the sick, and keeping the mind of the sinner directed to the cross. He went from Shelboume to Burlington, to get his pension from the Government; but on the way he visited and prayed with the people in many families, not willing while in the discharge of temporal duties to lose sight of the great work of gospel labor, this was according to Paul's advice to Timothy, "Instant in season and out of season," and it was true of Elder Bowles, he did "Reprove, rebuke, and admonish, with all long suffering and godliness." He says, "On my way back from Burlington, I got my mind in a revery; I began to sink down into the spirit of the work; my cry to God was, 'O Lord revive thy work, and O pity poor sinful man, bound to the judgment--think of poor Zion in tears and groans--think of the poor ministry , in toil and weariness, and O, think of the dying love of my dear compassionate Redeemier.' My soul got into the deep channel of the gospel, and got hold by living faith in God." Now, dear reader, if all the ministers of the holy Jesus could get into this travail of soul, and the membership of Zion would appreciate it as they ought, what deep toned religious feeling would pervade the church of God. The spirit of the work often fills the heart of God's dear servants with indescribable joy, and amidst bodily afflictions they can say with the good Apostle, "If I must reach glory, I will glory in the things that belong to my infirmity, for they work in me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," and again as the Apostle says, "I live by faith in the Son of God."
Elder Bowles spent some time in Huntington holding meetings, particularly at the Gore, a neighborhood where he took great delight in meeting with his brethren in the prayer and other religious meetings. On Sabbath, he
preached at the Thomas school-house in Huntington. It was a time of great power; he says, "It was a shouting time, many of the brethren got so happy they gave glory to God, until it seemed the very foundation of the kingdom of Satan trembled." He attended the ordinance of baptism--the season was truly solemn--the impenitent trembled and some wept and manifested deep feeling, and said, "Pray for me." During the week, he met with an accident that seemed to impress him more with gratitude at the goodness of God. He was thrown from his horse, though he was not seriously injured, it was a narrow escape; he says, "I went on my way, and my soul was happy as I sung--
"Prepare me Lord, for thy right hand,
Then come the joyful day,
Come death or some celestial band,
To bear my soul away."
A heart that can breathe forth such sentiments as these, can always feel happy in or out of danger, and in or out of meeting, and thank God, it is always one continual meeting to such a soul. He went to Alder Brook school-house and met a large congregation; the presence of the Lord was with him; the spirit of reformation shone forth in great power. He did not get weary in preaching, nor did the brethren get weary in following him up with exhortations, as testimonies in favor of the claims of the Redeemer. And if it is true as is expressed that it takes the whole church to preach the gospel, that declaration was emphatically fulfilled in the co-operation he received from his brethren. If he planted in the name of the Lord, others with him watered. When he labored for the harvest of souls, others entered with him into the labor with a kindred spirit of christian activity.
On Sabbath, March 31st, he preached at Starksboro, in the morning he was in the grove and spent some time in communion with heaven; he went front the grove to the puIpit, with his soul kindled up with the holy fire of God's infinite love. He says, "I felt to ask God to give me some sign that my labors would be blessed in this place, and that I might hear the voice of the sinner crying this day for mercy; and glory to God, I am not disappointed, the begging of poor sinners for mercy and the trembling look of the poor backslider has gone to my soul. O, my blessed Jesus, how I love thy salvation--how I love to point sinners to thy bleeding body and tell of the victories of the cross. I love to hear that voice that stilled the troubled waters, calm the poor sinners soul from fear, and bid him live in thee."
He felt a sore affliction in sympathy with the family of brother Terrill; the old gentleman had been recently removed from them by death. Brother Bowles speaks of them with much affectionate regard, and says "My soul felt to mourn with them; I felt to cry unto the Lord to make up the loss to the afflicted widow and children, by being a husband and father to them." He next went to a house near by, to visit and pray with a woman who was in the agonies of death. He could feel the enjoyment of Jesus' love and sympathy in all domestic affliction. As Jesus wept with Martha and Mary, so could he with compassion; and as one noble characteristic of a good gospel minister, he was not slow in getting to the bed-side of the sick, or to the house of the mourner. Thank God, he felt it to be one part of his great mission to "Comfort those that mourn, and bind up the broken-hearted." During his visits, he found some happy in God, and some mourning for sin and in deep distress. At brother Norton's he found several such.
April 7th, he preached two sermons in the place; he enjoyed good liberty and saw much of the divine spirit manifested in directing the power of the word to the hearts of the people. He says, "Glory to God, the reformation fire still keeps burning, and by the light of it, some are frequently coming to Zion." Our readers will clearly see the bent of his mind, a steady urging the battle on against the king's enemies; and well he might say, "The king's business requires haste." He says, in this part of his diary, "Although my poor body feels about worn down, I love to run in the work of the Lord, if I can only see souls saved." On the 13th, he went to Hinesburg and held a meeting in the evening at sister Conger's. 15th, he held a meeting in the evening at brother Daniel Adgent's; he says, "I had a little contest with a believer in universal salvation; a man came into the meeting and made light of the doctrine of salvation through repentance and forgiveness of sins to obtain eternal life through Jesus Christ. But glory to God, master Jesus came in too, and gave me wisdom and strength to speak, the power of God got hold of the man, so that he gave silent attention." He went to Huntington and stopped at brother Ambler's; here he had reason again to rejoice in the divine and superintending providence of God; he went to pass out of the room, and by mistake went to the cellar door, and fell to the bottom of the stairs; he being a heavy man, it was almost a miracle that he did not lose his life; he says, "I went to my bed with a heart full of gratitude to my God; he saved old Daniel from the jaws of the lions, so he saved me from the jaws of death, to live and see more of his salvation among my fellow-men."
On Sabbath, April 21st, he attended meeting at the Thomas school-house, enjoying as usual a good time. He
continued to visit, preach, and hold prayer meetings.--Sabbath, 28th, he says, "I felt very solemn, my mind seemed to be all shut up; I went to the grove and prayed, but felt no better; I went the second, then the third time, when a gentle voice seemed to say to me go forward in duty, and God, thy God, will be at thy side; I went to my appointment; the Lord appeared in great glory; my soul got into liberty; I preached two sermons and attended baptism, and we went from the water like the Eunuch, rejoicing." On the 29th, he went to Richmond, and in company with Elder Webster, attended a meeting on the 30th, at brother Wood's; he preached two sermons to a large and interesting congregation, and attended baptism.
May 4th, he returned to Huntington and attended Monthly Meeting, and on Sabbath, 5th, he preached to a large congregation and broke bread to the church. Up to the 14th of June, he remained in the place, visiting every day and holding meetings every night. During June, he held meetings in Bolton, Richmond, Starksboro, and Shelbourne; he attended two baptisms and attended several Monthly Meetings and the Quarterly Meeting at Starksboro. Still he does not falter in the great work of the Lord, but apparently every day's experience and toil increases his interest in the work. At the Quarterly Meeting his mind was some disturbed by a trial that came in among the brethren in the conference; but a weighty sermon from Elder Webster, followed by some good testimonies from the brethren and sisters seemed to clear the clouds away, and the Son of God began to shine down into the meeting. On Saturday the meeting was deeply and solemnly interesting. He says, "The wheels began to move in good order." On Sabbath, 16th, the meeting was held in Captain Hill's large barn; an immense congregation
came together--the people were solemn--the brethren were filled with the spirit--the divine cloud hung over the place, as of old over the ancient camp of Israel--two sermons were preached with power, and the ordinance of baptism was attended--a deep impression seemed to be left on the minds of the people. After visiting some, and holding a few prayer meetings to encourage the brethren, he left the place, and on the 21st, he went to Jerico and attended Monthly Meeting. 22d, he attended a Church Meeting with the brethren to settle some business matters; he says of this meeting, "I think God will own it to his own name's glory." 23d, he preached to a large and attentive congregation. Still like all good men, he had his trials; the enemy in constant fear of losing ground, made continual assaults on him from every side; he being a colored man, the deep-rooted prejudice being so rampant in the hearts and action of wicked men, they took hold on that point to oppose the cause of religion, and although God displayed his mighty power through him, as an able instrument in his hunds to shake the empire of sin, there was not found wanting men ready to calumniate, misjudge, and cruelly misrepresent, and constantly endeavor to embarrass his mind; and often his trial on this account was great, not on account of himself, but for the good of the cause of religion; he mourned that the enemy should do wickedly on his account, and yet I do not think that Elder Bowles would for one moment repine that in the providence of God he was a colored man. As an evidence of this, I will here insert a little incident showing the perfect satisfaction of his mind: While laboring one time at Pierpont, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., at the Howard school house, brother Crary, a Wesleyan minister of the place,
speaking in the meeting, was alluding to the American prejudice against color; turning to Elder Bowles in the presence of the audience, he remarked, that no doubt Elder Bowles regretted that he was a colored man. Elder Bowles' countenance lit up with pleasure, as he answered with a strong an emphatic, "No! never. Hundreds have been led to Christ and converted just by my color."
This being scorned and rejected for the cause of Christ and the good of men, and being prompted to do good by christian motives, will not be without its reward. In Jerico a new interest began to appear; the plants that for a time had been withering by adversity, now began to feel the effect of the holy gentle showers of God's heavenly grace; a spiritual prospect hove in view. At an appointment at brother Joy's, he had great liberty; the opposition began to give way; he says, "Some of the brethren and sisters began to reach out for a fuller enjoyment in sanctification." By this time his soul began to lift itself by faith, as he saw the banner of the cross begin to wave over Jerico. He says, "My soul began to sing--
"I glory in my Savior's grace,
And sing my great Immanuel's praise,
My soul now longed to soar away,
And leave her tenement of clay."
In some instances the very men who bitterly opposed him, met him as his warm friends, and loved to listen to his voice. How true the words of the holy bible, "When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord God shall raise up a standard against him." From Jerico he went to Underhill, and held several meetings with good success; the spirit of the Lord accompanying him in his labors in the place.
On the 25th, he went to Huntington and resumed his
labors with the brethren in different parts of the town, especially at the Gore. His time was constantly employed. 31st, he was called on to attend a funeral, and in the morning according to his old custom he went into the grove, to fit his soul and mind for the duty. An immense concourse of people came together; he preached from Collossians 3d chap. 3d and 4th verses, "For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye appear with him in glory." Such events, in tine of religious awakening, if rightly managed, often produce a wonderful effect; it throws a deep solemnity over the mind; it has a tendency to disengage it from the tempting vanities of life; it often humbles the soul, and gives the spirit of God free course in accompanying the word of life to the human mind. No one more fully and candidly improved such events than Elder Bowles; he says of the funeral, "I tried to make all the advantage of it I could, to secure the attention of the people to eternal things."
Friday, 2d of August, he went in company with brother Ambler, to visit Underhill; on the way he held meetings at Jerico, at brother Joy's. 3d, he attended the Monthly Meeting with the brethren at Underhill; he found the brethren well engaged, and several converts came forward and put themselves under the watch and care of the church. On Sabbath, 4th, he attended meeting at brother Choates and preached to a large congregation of people. After the meeting he attended the ordinance of baptism, and broke bread to the church. It was a weeping, joyous time; the old saints shouted aloud for joy, and the kingdom of Satan trembled. In the evening, the brethren held two prayer meetings, one in Underhill and one in Jerico; although they were but a
little ways apart, they were both well attended and the Lord appeared in great glory; joy and gladness ran from heart to heart in the meeting; the brethren seemed to be in the spirit of the work. On his return to Huntington, he went to Richmond and Bolton and held meetings. On Saturday, 10th of August, he went to Hinesburg and attended the Monthly Meeting, and returned in the evening with brother Ambler. Sabbath, 11th, he preached in Huntington; at noon he attended the ordinance of baptism; it was a solemn time, the people wept much at the water. During the week he held meetings every evening and visited from house to house during the days; a deep solemnity seemed constantly resting on the people.
On Saturday, 17th, he went to Richmond and attended Monthly Meeting; he says, "Some poor penitent souls came into the meeting, and after listening to the testimony of the brethren they rose up and begged the brethren to pray for them." It was truly a time of awakening in all parts of God's Zion. On Sabbath, 18th, he held meetings in Richmond, in company with Elder Robinson. In the afternoon Elder Robinson baptized two individuals in the name of the Holy Trinity. Elder Bowles had up to this time been laboring several months in the Huntington Quarterly Meeting; he had attended on an average two Monthly and two Church Meetings each month; he had preached every Sabbath, and almost every evening in each week; he had made many hundred family visits, and prayed, and exhorted in every house; he had attended nine baptisms, and several funerals. He now felt his mind drawn to the east, and he went into the silent grove to give himself anew to the great Redeemer, and to commend his brethren and the churches to the care of God; he could say with the Poet--
"How sweet the hours have passed away,
Since we have met to sing and pray,
How loth we've been to leave the place,
Where Jesus showed his loving face.
O, could I stay with friends so kind,
How would it cheer my fainting mind,
But duty makes me understand,
That we must take the parting hand"
Elder Bowles' natural sociability, united with his warm christian friendship, made him feel an ardent attachment to his brethren and pity for his enemies, and enabled him to enjoy the hospitality of every house where he stopped, and feel it to be a pleasant home.
On the 20th, he left Huntington for the Corinth Quarterly Meeting; he held meetings on his way, at Bolton, Richmond and Duxbury. He visited brother Barnet's at Middlesex, and councilled with some of the brethren. 22d, he went on to Washington and spent the night at brother Cheney's. 23d, after visiting his daughter, and visiting some of the brethren on the way, he went to Stafford Hollow, to meet in the Elder's Conference of the Stafford Quarterly Meeting. He says, "This day my soul is filled with praise to my dear Redeemer, while I listened to the reports as they came in from the churches, they of the brethren being faithful, and love and union among the children of God." On Saturday afternoon, 24th, Elder John Buzzell preached a weighty sermon. Elder Bowles says, "Brother John got out into the deep waters of the gospel; the holy ghost came down in the camp; the brethren brought forward some weighty exhortations, and thank God, we had the power of the king in the camp, and felt that the big gate of glory was wide open so that the waters of life run free; glory to God." On this route he held meetings in Corinth, Washington,
Chelsea, Berlin and Orange, and on the 30th, he preached a funeral sermon at Montpelier. 31st, he went to Duxbury and attended a Church Meeting, and on Sabbath, September 1st, he held a meeting at brother John Canada's in Duxbury. In all his meetings, he felt deep solemnity in prayer for the presence of God to excite the brethren to interest and awaken the atttention of the impenitent to eternal things. He spent some little time in Duxbury, in manual labor by day, and preaching at night; he says, "While my hands have been employed by day, my soul has been lifting to God in sweet meditation. I have enjoyed a full foretaste of heavenly glory." With Elder Bowles, we can all feel an assurance that religion is a constant and faithful companion to all those who love communion with God; it accompanies the servant of God in any and every condition of life, when they will cherish her loving spirit.
On Sabbath, September 8th, he preached in Huntington. On the 13th, he went to Stowe, to sit in the Elder's Conference of the Huntington Yearly Meeting. The public worship of the Yearly Meeting was held with the Stowe and Waterbury churches, they being near together. The reports of the churches came in quite encouraging; this seemed to warm and animate his feelings and enlist his christian sympathies more strongly with the brethren in the Yearly Meeting, to make one mighty effort to wage war on the camp of the enemy. From the Yearly Meeting he went to Huntington, and for several weeks he was engaged in manual labor daily, and holding services in different sections of the town, and on the Sabbaths he preached in Huntington, Charlotte, and Richmond. He in the time attended two funerals, and visited some among the sick. He made the grove his study room, where his
soul studied deep into the great things of God's spirit. In the grove, the falling leaf, the fading foliage, the moss-grown oak, gave to it all a sombre appearance that filled his soul with solemnity in view of the dying condition of men. In that grove, away from manual and intellectual labor, his mind was free to soar aloft; here he could look from the silent grove, away to Olive's Mount, and by faith learn a lesson of vital importance to his spiritual existence; or he could look from that grove away to Tabor, and by faith, view the king in his glory, in his wonderful transfiguration in his kingdom, giving a faint glimpse of an idea of the power and effect of his eternal glory, by the ecstasy of Peter's joy.
On the 7th of November, he left the Huntington Yearly Meeting, went on to Roxbury and held a meeting, visited among the brethren, then pursued his journey on, visiting and preaching at Chelsea, Washington, Corinth, Orange, and Topsham. He saw during this route, much of the power of the great Immanuel, in bringing out the poor backslider into the light. The sick on this route felt the benefit of his prayers, for he was often by their bedside. November 29th, he went on through Tunbridge to Randolph, and joined Elder Pope in a protracted effort; Elder Davis also united with them. The Lord made bear his arm in power. He was kindly received and entertained by the brethren; he says in reference to the state of things in that community, "I believe that God is preparing the way for his work to be revived in power; a solemn weight of heavenly truth seems to hang over, and rest on the mind of the community."
December 1st, he attended meeting at the East village, with Elder Pope; he preached two sermons at the meeting house. On the 3d, he went in company with brother
Thomas to Brookfield, and held a meeting in the evening; the power of the Lord came down on the people, and seven came forward for prayers; he says, "Such was the power and effect of the spirit on the hearts of the people, and the cry for mercy, the brethren began to settle down in the work, and urged God to lay too his helping hand; they remained on their knees in the mighty struggle in prayer about two hours; several poor mourners came into liberty, rejoicing in the Lord." On Wednesday, he attended Monthly meeting with the brethren, and preached in the evening; he says, "The little cloud continued to spread, and the sound of an abundance of rain was heard." On Thursday, December 5th, was the Annual Thanksgiving in the State. He went to the school-house on Ayer's Brook and preached a sermon from Jonah 2d: 8th; he says, "I think God never favored me more in my life than this day; some in the meeting cried out aloud for mercy and poor backsliders came trembling home to their father's house. Glory to God, it was a day of great thanksgiving to my soul." In the evening he preached at the same place; the power of God seemed to increase; between twenty-five and thirty poor sinners came forward for prayers, and the old kingdom of sin and darkness trembled in very deed; his soul seemed to be on the continual rise to the throne. On the 8th, he held meeting at the East village in Randolph, in the meeting-house; he preached in the forenoon, and Elder Pope in the afternoon; they were accompanied by Elder Hacket. The spirit of reformation seemed to be fully roused; God was owning his word daily, in the convincing and the convicting the hearts of poor sinners. On the 12th, the power of God was the most powerfully felt; after a short sermon the brethren and sisters gave in their testimonies;
the reformation spirit went through the meeting to such a degree many cried aloud for mercy, and the brethren continued in prayer until about three o'clock in the morning. Ten souls came out into the liberty of the gospel. He says, "Old Satan's kingdom got an awful shake; we went from the school-house to brother Blanchard's, but as we got into the house, one woman fell on her knees and cried out, "Lord save, or I am lost! O, pray for me;" I dropped on my knees, and with others we struggled about one hour; God came down and set her soul at liberty. But others began to cry for help from God, but my bodily strength had so much gone, I was obliged to retire to rest."
On the 13th, he says, "The whole community is alarmed at what God is doing, so many have been converted, and the converts going from house to house warning their friends of their danger; old difficulties long existing in the churches have been settled by the brethren; the spirit of the Lord leading them in the way of victory." Sabbath, 15th, although he had attended meetings every night for a long time and often been in the struggle for souls the whole night, he preached two sermons to an attentive and large congregation and broke bread. In the evening he attended a prayer meeting, quite a good number came forward and told what God had done for their souls, others came forward to be prayed for. On the 17th, he attended meetings in the afternoon with Elder Pope. Elder Pope preached a weighty sermon; they then repaired to the water and attended the ordinance of baptism. On Wednesday evening, 18th, Elder Bowles again addressed a large congregation; the interest continued to increase; the cry for mercy was loud, and the brethren brought in their testimonies in quick succession. 19th, he preached in the afternoon to a large congregation; after sermon
several related their christian experience in the dealings of God's mercy to them, the church gave them fellowship, and Elder Bowles went down again into the liquid stream and buried them in the likeness of the dear Redeemer. He says, "My soul never felt a better day; the holy dove of heaven came down in very deed, and rested on us; the cry now came up from every quarter, "Pray for us," by those whose hearts had been wounded by the arrows of truth. The penitent now eagerly pressed forward to the mercy seat at every meeting, and some in each meeting found mercy from the hands of God." It was truly a day of joy in Randolph, Brookfield, and the adjacent towns, and the whole community seemed to be in a blaze of reformation glory. On Saturday evening, 28th, fifteen came forward for prayer and several of them found mercy before they left the house. 29th, he met a large crowd of people; he preached in the forenoon, and brother Thomas in the afternoon; and he preached again in the evening. Some thirty-six penitent souls found their way to the altar for prayer; some left the meeting to avoid conviction, but they were stopped on the road and compelled by the spirit of God to return to the meeting and bow before God, and beg for mercy. One proud young woman got some eighteen rods from the house, her heart began to melt, she yielded and returned to the meeting, and gave her heart to God.
And thus the revival spirit continued to the close of the month and the close of the year. This year was began by a deep struggle in prayer by Elder Bowles, in behalf of poor perishing sinners, it closes with joy in heaven and on earth, over the repenting sinner turning from the error of his ways, to the joys of eternal life.
1823--The Revival Continues in Randolph, Brookfield, and Redfield --He leaves to Attend the Huntington Quarterly Meeting--He and Elder Pope Engages in a Series of Meetings--Visits Enosburg-- Meets with Opposition in Wellingford--Organizes a Free Will Baptist Church in Enosburg--Visits New York--Spends the Year in a Glorious Revival in the Enosburg Quarterly Meeting.
January 1st, 1823, Elder Bowles is still found in the field of gospel labor, with his soul bowed like a cart under sheaves. He says, "I this day feel to give glory to God for his great mercy to me. I want to renew my covenant with him, to live more devoted to his cause. Last night I felt truly solemn; I spent the night until 4 o'clock, praying out the old, and in the new year. O, what glory filled my soul in the secret communion with God." In the afternoon Elder Bowles left Huntington to attend an appointment in Roxbury. On the way he visited the families of several brethren, and urged them to renew covenant with God. In his meeting in the evening the holy spirit of God came down; seven poor penitent sinners came bending the knee before God; four souls came into sweet deliverance with Jesus. A new year's gift, indeed. After the joy of these delivered souls had been expressed a little, the struggle began again and lasted some three hours; the children of God gained the victory. He then went to brother Wilcox's to spend the night, and there found three of the family in deep distress of mind, he bowed with them around the family altar; he says, "Betsey was in great distress and begged aloud for mercy.
I went to rest with a heavy heart for her; the next morning I went to the barn and begged before God a little, then went in and joined with the family in prayer, and glory to God, Betsey came into liberty."
3d of January, he went to Brookfield and held a meeting in the evening; the Lord appeared in their midst; several came forward for prayer, and one came into liberty in the meeting. One man rose up in the meeting and acknowledged his guilt in opposing the cause of God; he said that he had tried to prevent his sister from going to the meeting, but God had done so much for his sister, and children, and his father, on coming home from the meeting one night after he had retired to bed, and testified so much of the power of God, he felt compelled to give up all opposition, and come to the meeting and yield his heart to God. He cried for mercy, and God appeared to his deliverance. Elder Bowles finding the work had got well begun, entered into the spirit of it with much energy; he and Elder Pope spent about four weeks in Randolph, Brookfield, Braintree, and Roxbury. About thirty souls were truly converted to God, and scores of poor backsliders were reclaimed, and many more poor mourners lingered at the gospel pool, desiring to be washed from sin. He and Elder Pope baptized a large number of the converts. He now took his leave of the dear brethren, and the dear converts, who had been made nigh to him by the blood of the precious atonement.
9th of February, he started for Huntington to be at the Quarterly Meeting in the afternoon; he arrived at Middlesex and attended Monthly Meeting with the church; here he met Elder Lord and with him and the brethren enjoyed a precious season. On Sabbath, 5th, he attended meeting in company with Elder Lord; Elder Lord preached
in the forenoon, and Elder Bowles in the afternoon from Songs of Solomon 4th: 12th; it was a solemn melting time. They then broke bread to the church. On the 6th, he started on for Huntington, and after saluting the brethren at Duxbury and Richmond, and encouraging them and cheering them with happy intelligence of the work of the Lord where he had been, he arrived at Huntington on the 9th. He says, "I felt in my soul to thank God, that he had spared me and my dear brethren to meet again on earth, to join again in the worship of the Lord." On the 10th, he met in the Quarterly Meeting Conference; much interest was manifest among the brethren in meeting with Elder Bowles just from the battlefield in Zion's warfare. On the 11th, the spirit seemed to hover over the meeting; the meeting seemed to begin with bright prospects of resulting in good. On the 12th, the public meeting was attended by an unusual degree of power; the preaching was in the spirit. Immediately after the holding the Quarterly Meeting, Elders Bowles and Pope began to make preparations for a protracted effort within the bounds of the Quarterly Meeting, by visiting from house to house and urging on the minds of the people the importance of eternal things; and these efforts were not without their effect; good omens began to appear in the church, both in districts of the Ambler and Thomas school-houses. On the 26th, meetings were held in the Thomas school-house; Elder Pope preached in the forenoon, Elder Bowles in the afternoon, and Elder Pope again in the evening. The meeting seemed to be making a good impression. He says, "I began to feel the need of more of the power of the spirit to get hold on the arm of God by faith; I went into the grove to covenant anew with God to be put into the work all harnessed; I think
I begin to hear the sound of abundance of rain." Elder Lord now came on and took hold with them with much heart-felt interest. They visited extensively every day in the week, and held meetings evenings and every Sabbath. Elder Bowles extended his labors into Jerico, Bakersfield, Cambridge, Enosburg and Underhill. He says, "At Bakersfield I put up at Mr. Fay's; I had a long talk with him on the freedom of the will; I think I found my way to the throne; I had good liberty in conversation. At Enosburg I enjoyed a precious visit with my old friend and brother, Asa Ladd; he had been made near to me by the blood of Immanuel; his loving wife had been lately called to her eternal rest, but I am sure our loss is her eternal gain in glory."
Sabbath, March 9th, he held a meeting in the Block school-house in Enosburg; the meeting was as attended with power; sinners began to cry aloud for mercy; some were deeply burdened on account of their sins. In the evening quite a number of people met in a prayer meeting at brother Alpha Ladd's; a solemn weeping time was enjoyed. 11th, he had to turn his attention to another section, he had been in the place nine days and had preached ten sermons, and rejoiced in seeing the work of God revive in the hearts of the children of God; many backsliders were reclaimed from sinful wanderings from God, and quite a number of sinners had been converted to God; his soul had took new courage as he had bowed at the throne of grace. He says "I felt a solemn cry in my soul, that God would ride on in his all-conquering power, and subdue his enemies by the power of his love." At Bakersfield he enjoyed a happy visit at brother Carrol's; he says, "Our souls were filled with the power of God's love as we knelt at the family altar and lifted our souls in
thankfulness to heaven; I felt to cry in my whole heart, let the inhabitants of the rock sing; let them shout from the tops of the mountain; let Zion's king come down, and let there be the sound of his voice in the camp of Israel."
On Sabbath, 17th, he held a meeting and preached at the house of brother Story in Enosburg; the power of God was felt; the penitent began to cry for mercy, and the people of God with a promptness in holy confidence in the Redeemer came up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. God seemed to own the meeting and his spirit gave new courage to his saints, and also to Elder Bowles. Monday evening, 18th, he preached at the house of brother Joy; the spirit of reformation seemed to be on the increase. On the 19th, he held a meeting at Richmond at brother Mitchell's, and enjoyed with the family a happy season in waiting on the Lord. On Sabbath, 23d, he preached in Huntington, and during the week his voice was heard day and night in the meetings and around the family altar. 30th, he preached at the Gore in Huntington, and continued his labors during the week.
April 5th, he attended Monthly Meeting with the church at Huntington. On the Sabbath, he preached and broke bread to the church; during the following week he visited and held meetings in Charlotte, Shelbourne and Burlington. On Sabbath, 13th, he preached in Shelbourne, and Sabbath, 20th, he preached in Starksboro; and the evenings of each week he held meetings in the different neighborhoods in each of those towns, and in all of them he enjoyed much of the divine glory of God. On the 21st, he left Starksboro and visited at Bristol, Middlebury and Salsbury, and in the families of brothers Hubbard, Mason and others, he enjoyed some good refreshing seasons in prayer meetings. He then visited
Lester and Goshen and held meetings; the presence of the Lord came among the people; the spirit of reformation began to sound in the hearts of the saints of God; several church meetings were held, and the brethren began to feel the importance of gospel order in the church, that the word of God might run, have a free course and be glorified.
Sabbath, 27th, he preached at Lester Centre, the people were solemn and attentive and seemed to receive the word of God with joy. 28th, he left Lester, and went to Brandon and held some meetings, then he went to Walingford and sounded the gospel trump; he found many who were willing to let their voice be heard supplicating divine mercy from the Lord. He also held meetings in Dorset; God owned the word also in this place. He held meetings in the barn of a brother Crafft; a great crowd came out to the meeting; in the evening he held a prayer meeting, it was a weeping time, the holy spirit sent home the truth with power. He now directed his efforts to Walingford, where he continued several days proclaiming a free salvation in the name of the Lord. In this place he met with some opposition from the old standing Baptists and the Methodists; he says, "It was a sore trial to my mind to see the conduct of those who profess to be the disciples of the Prince of peace, standing in the way of any one aiming to do good to his fellow-men." But still amidst all opposition in the place from such a source, he had the confidence and suupport of heaven; he did not relax in his christian warfare against the kingdom of Satan. God gave him liberty in speaking and prayer, and constantly stood by his side to strengthen his hands and his heart in the contest, and before he left Walingford he had the happiness to hear the cry of the penitent
sinner for mercy at the foot of the cross. At the last meeting he held in the place, the presence of the Lord was wonderful; he says of the meeting, "I think I never saw more of the glory of God and his heavenly power in all my life; the children of God shouted for joy; the poor backsliders cried out for mercy, and some sinners were converted to God in the meeting. No doubt a deep and solemn impression was made on the mind of the community that will be remembered in eternity."
He now visited Clarrindon and held one meeting, then went to Goshen; he says, "I went on the way crying in my soul that God would go before and prepare the way of Zion for the power of reformation." After spending a little time in the place he went to Benson, and the 28th, he preached at brother Carter's; in this place the power of opposition began to show itself; the power of God came down in the meeting; this made the enemy rage with great fury; he says, "I began to cry in my soul, O Lord revive thy work, in the midst of these years, in wrath remember mercy." He spent several days in Benson, laboring with good success, not only in meeting but in visiting from house to house, warning and praying for the people, and constantly enjoying good liberty in the work.
On June 2d, he took leave of brother Carter and his family and the brethren in the place, with deep feeling for their interest in eternal things; he had enjoyed a pleasant home with them; their hospitality had been freely extended to him, and in the spirit of christian love, their hearts were knitted together. Elder Bowles' next places of labor were Cornwell and Orwell; in both places he held several meetings to good acceptance, God blessed him and gave him good liberty of soul in speaking; he enjoyed a pleasant home at brother Torries in Cornwell.
He now turned his attention homeward to Huntington, and stopped and visited at Starksboro and preached four days in the place, or six sermons; he found the brethren well engaged; after praying with them, he took his leave of them and went to Huntington. He says, "I felt to give glory to God that he had spared me and the dear brethren to meet again; I felt happy in God to see the brethren so well engaged in the good work of God; I can truly say I love my Redeemer with my whole heart." Elder Bowles always felt a pleasure in getting home to Huntington, it was to him a favorite spot, God had conquered it for him, putting down the host of opposition in the powers of darkness; many who were once his bitter enemies had been made nigh by the blood of the Lamb; he had led them down into the liquid stream and buried them in its limpid waves; he felt towards them as a father, his attachment to them and they to him as brethren was mutual, and Huntington was to him as Jerusalem and Mount Zion was to the Jew. He could say with the holy bard of Israel, "For my brethren and my companion's sake I will now say peace be within thee."
June 8th, he held meeting at the Jones' school-house, the people came out in a crowd to listen once more to his voice. During the week he visited from house to house, and on Friday, the 13th, he met in the Elder's Conference of the Quarterly Meeting with the church at Richmond; a good time was enjoyed in the Conference, and in the Quarterly Meeting the power of God came down on the meeting; the preaching was in the spirit and power of the Lord, by Elders Bowles, Hacket, Carter, Pope, and Moxley. God owned the word to the quickening of the saints, many warm exhortations were given and several came forward for prayers. On the 18th, he started in
company with Elder Pope and visited Shelbourne, Charlotte, and Hinesburg; some very good meetings were held; God blessed the word, sinners began to tremble and cry for mercy. 22d, he returned to Huntington and spent a little time among the brethren, holding prayer meetings, and visiting the sick, of which quite a number were then in the place. 26th, he started for the Corinth Quarterly Meeting, he did not spend but a little time in the Corinth Quarterly Meeting at this time, only a few meetings in Chelsea, Washington, Corinth and Orange. 30th, after visiting in Washington, and a few of his brethren, he started to return homeward, he visited and held meetings in several town on the route, and like the good apostle, saluting his brethren from house to house as he went along. At Waterbury in company with Elder Josiah Wetherby he held one meeting, and one in Stowe.
On the 1st and 2d of July, he in company with Elder Moxley, visited and held two meetings in Morristown; then passing on he visited Johnstown and Bakersfield and then went on to Enosburg, and on Sabbath, 6th, he preached in Enosburg in brother Lawrence's barn. He spent the week in visiting and praying with the people during the day and holding meetings every evening. On Sabbath, July 13th, he preached again at brother Lawrence's barn; the way of God in a revival movement seemed all dark to him, his mind begun to be in a struggle in a deep trial, and he began to pray to God for duty to be made plain to him; he says, "I began to wish that I had not come into this region, because I could not feel as thus saith the Lord, as to what was duty; but glory to God, the cloud began to break--my soul was let into liberty--the way began to look clear--I felt happy in my God--some mercy drops began to fall on the people--the car of
salvation began to roll on with power." On the 14th, he went to Berkshire and held some meetings with good success, God seemed to own the meeting by sending home the word of truth to the hearts of some of the people, and deeply convicting sinners of the error of their ways. His next move was at Enosburg at the east part of the town; here the way began to open for the raising up and organizing a new church; his eye got hold by faith.
On Saturday, 19th, he held a meeting at the Block school-house, and preached from Acts 2d: 42d; it was a time of deep interest, several came forward to be constituted into a church. He says, "My soul began to take courage, I felt that the time to favor Zion had now fully come in this place; I felt great liberty from the Lord, and could walk in the sweetest communion with the great head of the church and enjoy the light of his glory." On Sabbath, the 20th, he preached in brother Lawrence's barn, in the forenoon he preached from Malachi 3d: 1st, 2d; he says, "The spirit of the Lord seemed to rest on the meeting--it was a time long to be remembered--my soul was lifted on high." During the intermission he went forward and organized a Free Will Baptist church, (this church consisted of five members, and our venerable father in the gospel, Elder Perley Hall, now of Enosburg, was one of the members; it was the origin of the Enosburg Quarterly Meeting,) giving them the hand of fellowship in gospel order, then gave them a solemn charge, commending them to God in humble prayer. In the afternoon he preached a short sermon, the congregation was interesting and deeply affected. He says, "I now began to see how short-sighted I am; when I came into this region I was full of doubts and hardly knew what to do; but glory to God, he is all-sufficient in every time of
trouble and trial, but I will put my whole trust in him, and ever say--
"Long as I live when trouble's nigh,
I'll hasten to his throne."
O, my heart does pant for a deeper work of grace to fit me better for his work."
On the 22d, he went to Sheldon, and held a meeting with good success, but he says, "I had a great trial on my mind on account of a conversation with a brother about church government, and the use of articles and a covenant to govern the church of Jesus Christ, for I am of the opinion that the bible is sufficient rule, and government, in faith and practice for any christian church." Elder Bowles, like many of his cotemporaries in the gospel work, unfortunately opposed any written articles of faith, or church covenant, as savoring too much of human government in the church. But experience has taught their successors in the great work, that for a church to walk in gospel order and maintain a consistent and mutual discipline, they should embody the principles and sentiments of the bible in a disciplinary rule for the church, whereby there may be a unity among the members.
His labor in Sheldon was attended with good success; the Lord owned the word and made it quick and powerful in the hearts of the people. Notwithstanding his trial of mind, he says, "I enjoyed a precious season with the brethren; the Lord sent his holy approving seal on our meeting." He left another appointment to hold meeting in the place, and by request consented to come and visit around among the brethren and friends. On Saturday, the 26th, he returned and attended the first Monthly Meeting with the new church in Enosburg; he preached a sermon of about one hour's length, from Proverbs 22d:
4th, "By humility and the fear of the Lord, are riches, and honor, and life." The power of God was wonderfully displayed in the meeting; the saints of God were made to rejoice in a glorious manner; many warm testimonies were given in by the brethren and sisters, and some who once professed religion, but had fallen into a backslidden state, came into the meeting and got melted down under the influence of the gospel. Sabbath, 27th, he held a meeting in brother Lawrence's barn; an immense concourse of people came out; he preached from Romans 12th: 1st, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." After sermon. several came forward and related their experience, the church gave them fellowship, and Elder Bowles led them into the water and buried them beneath the limpid wave, after which le returned to the house and broke bread to the church. In the evening he held an interesting prayer meeting with the brethren; it was a day of joy and gladness to him and the dear brethren of the new church. 30th, he went to Berkshire; and in the evening he enjoyed an interesting visit at brother Raymond Austin's, in prayer and christian conversation with some of the friends who came in.
After laboring in Berkshire and Sheldon for a few days, preaching in Sheldon on Sabbath, July 3d, he began to see manifest tokens of good in that region; the people received him kindly and very generously contributed to his wants. 5th, he went to Bakersfield, and visited the brethren and encouraged them in the faith of the gospel. He then went to Underhill, and after spending the week in holding prayer meetings and preaching, on the 9th, he met in a Church Meeting and helped get some little difficulties
out of the way. Sabbath, 10th, he attended meeting in Underhill in company with Elder Webster; both preached during the day. At 5 o'clock Elder Bowles went to Jerico and held meeting with the brethren. 13th, he attended meeting in Richmond, in company with brother Thomas; brother Thomas preached a sermon, after which Elder Bowles went to the water and attended the ordinance of baptism. 15th, he preached in Duxbury. 16th, he went back to Richmond, and attended a Monthly Meeting with the brethren; he felt under some trials before the meeting began, but the deep interest of the meeting soon dispelled all his trials and his soul was lifted in joy and he enjoyed a good season.
On the 17th, he preached in Huntington and attended the ordinance of baptism, his cry was continually, Lord send down thy power and convert poor sinners. This to him was always a duty to secure God's holy will. On the 23d, he attended Monthly Meeting with the church in Underhill, in company with brother Thomas; the power of God was wonderfully felt in the meeting; some fell under the power and laid without strength for a long time. The spirit of revival was felt among the brethren, and the people of God be began to array themselves for the mighty contest with the powers of sin. 23d, Elder Bowles preached during the day, and brother Thomas in the evening. Thus they continued for several days preaching, praying and exhorting and visiting from house to house. He then went to Duxbury and united with a Methodist brother in a reformation effort; in these meetings a loving spirit pervaded their hearts. His spirit was so catholic, and his soul so filled with the divine power, he could always unite with any evangelical christian on gospel ground to oppose the kingdom of Satan and build up the interest of Zion.
He spent several days in Duxbury and Waterbury; he attended a Monthly Meeting with each church. He says, "We began our effort in holding a few meetings in Waterbury and found some of the brethren in great trial with one another, but glory to God, he gave us the victory, the holy spirit began to melt their hearts, and we had a good weeping, forgiving time, every one seemed ready to confess."
Up to August 5th, he was laboring in Waterbury, Stowe, Duxbury, Richmond and Huntington. 7th, he preached in Starksboro, and continued to visit and hold meetings until the 14th; he met in the conference of the Huntington Quarterly Meeting which met with the Starksboro church. On the 15th, and 16th, he met with the brethren in the Quarterly Meeting; he says, "We had a visit from the king of glory in our meeting; souls were converted to God." On the 17th, eight persons were baptized, and nine were united to the church. He says of the meeting that day, "Almost all the unconverted part of the congregation cried out for mercy, and at Charlotte, and Huntington, the reformation influence was mightily felt; the spirit of God is spreading all around a new and glorious state of things; my soul felt encouraged in God; I felt to cry to God for more grace to enable me to preach plainer and better, in the spirit and love of my Redeemer." It was a trait of character peculiar with Elder Bowles, that if his preaching did not effect the hearts of the people and produce good result, attended with the divine power, his mind could not rest satisfied. He made religion a matter of conscience, the foundation of real devotional feeling, both in public and private life.
On the 23d, of September, he left Huntington to visit the churches in the Rutland Quarterly Meeting. On this
route he visited Bristol, Orwell, Bradford, New Haven, and Cornwall. 27th, he crossed the lake to Putnam in New York, and assisted in the recognition of a Free Will Baptist church, as a member of the Rutland Quarterly Meeting. 28th, he preached with the new church, and attended the ordinance of baptism; the power of God was wonderfully felt in the meeting. After meeting he joined with the brethren in a mighty struggle for some three hours, for some poor penitent souls in the meeting; several came into liberty. 29th, he recrossed the lake into Vermont, and preached at Stony Point in Benson. He spent some days in this vicinity, visiting and holding meetings; several were brought into gospel liberty. He then started to attend the Yearly meeting to be held at Corinth within the bounds of the Corinth Quarterly Meeting. In company with brother Thomas, he visited Goshen and held one meeting, then went to Randolph on the 3d of October, and held another.
On the 4th, he met the brethren in Yearly Meeting; he says, "On the way to this place I have enjoyed much kindness in many dear families; O, may God bless them, and now in the Yearly Meeting my soul feels full of joy to meet my dear loving brethren; I have heard to day, my precious brother Elder John Buzzell preach a good sermon, it was given in the spirit and with power; my soul has enjoyed a heavenly feast. The reports came in truly refreshing and encouraging to his saints. Glory to God that he dwells among his people." On the Sabbath a congregation of some three thousand people met for public worship, Elder John Buzzell preached in the forenoon and Elder Bowles in the afternoon, and the Yearly Conference was held on Monday and great harmony prevailed; after its close in the afternoon, Elder Buzzell went
to the water and in presence of a large concourse of people he baptized a number of happy candidates. After Elder Bowles had spent a few days in Chelsea, Washington and Barry. he went on to Huntington, visiting Middlesex, Duxbury, Waterbury and Richmond.
25th, he went into the Enosburg Quarterly Meeting, visiting on the way at Cambridge, Fletcher and Bakersfield, crossed the Missisco River into Enosburg; it was stormy and cold, but his heart was warm in heavenly hope. On Friday 26th, he met in the conference of the Enosburg Quarterly Meeting, and on this day and the 27th he enjoyed a comfortable season. On Sabbath, 28th, he enjoyed the privilege of hearing Elders Manard and Nathaniel Bowles preach the word during the day, and he preached in the evening. The spirit fell like a mighty shower on the hearts of the people, and on Monday evening he preached again in the same place, also on Tuesday evening, the mighty power of reformation began to sound; on the two evenings ten souls came into gospel liberty.
He continued within the bounds of this Quarterly Meeting until the last day of December, 1823. Although for a while great opposition manifested itself, he enjoyed the confidence of his christian brethren, and God made bear his arm in a wonderful manner; many found the pearl of great price, and went with him down into the water. His labors during the whole time would average one sermon a day, besides extensive visiting, and prayer meeting. The ungodly fell before the power of God, like Dagon before the Ark; the work spread into Berkshire and Franklin and into the province of Canada. There were several interesting incidents connected with this revival: in one family the spirit began to move on the heart of the woman of the house; she began to read the bible,
but after a little while she stopped this, and said that the reformation was all delusion; but the spirit continued its striving, one morning her husband arose from his bed and built a fire, when all of a sudden she began to scream that unless she got religion, she should feel the fire of hell; she said she had put the subject off too long, and feared that there was no mercy for her. She begged her husband to pray for her; he dropped upon his knees, and she fell upon the floor and cried for mercy, it was a solemn time, the whole neighborhood was alarmed, and crowded in; the cry was that the power of the reformation was overturning everything. At Captain Ladd's, the Captain in trying to beg for his wife got the burden on himself for his own soul. Elder Bowles says, "It was a time of the great Immanuel's power, parents and children all begging for mercy together. The ungodly all alarmed, while the hopeful christian was lifting the prayer of faith to heaven. The struggle lasted until about eleven o'clock, A. M. Mrs. Ladd came into liberty, shouting the praise of God; the burden left her husband, but he did not feel the joy that his wife did.["]
The following Sabbath, Elder Bowles baptized Mrs. Ladd and five other persons, and the following Sabbath Captain Ladd and several others went forward in baptism. Another incident occurred,--a very respectable man of good morals, came into the meeting often, but seemed tried with the noise of the meeting; the power continued to settle down upon him until he acknowledged that he felt strangely, but continued to oppose the meeting in his feelings. On one evening, Elder Bowles accosted him and urged on him the great importance of immediate submission to God. Soon all the brethren fell upon their knees and began to beg for the power to come down on the
meeting. Soon conviction fastened on the man, he threw himself across a bench for fear that he should fall upon the floor, but the power of the spirit got hold on him, he fell prostrate on the floor and cried to God for mercy, began to confess his opposition to the meeting, and begged the brethren to forgive him, he called his wife to him and confessed to her kefore the meeting, and for several hours he laid in a mighty struggle; it was a time of awful solemnity and power, but God soon appeared and set the man and his wife at liberty.
On the following Sabbath, this man with his wife and several others, came forward and told their experience and were received in baptism. In this revival about one hundred and fifty persons were converted to God; two churches were organized. It was truly a refreshing harvest; those who had "gone forth weeping bearing precious seed, had returned rejoicing bringing their sheaves with them." All opposition had fully yielded to the power of truth. Elder Bowles went from this place to Underhill and Jerico, and attended Monthly Meeting with both churches, and helped set things in gospel order. He also visited and held Monthly Meetings with the churches in Duxbury, Waterbury, Richmond and Hinesburg, consequently he must have been on the wing night and day, going from town to town, seeing much deep conviction and some blessed conversions in every town, and what was comforting to him, the converts were bold and unflinching before the opposers of the revival, and they manifested great readiness to do duty and take up the cross in baptism, for many received this ordinance at his hands. He says in closing the year, "I feel a spirit of joy and gratitude in my heart for the blessing and mercy of God in closing this year; to him be all the glory for what has been done."
1824--His Labors in the different Quarterly Meetings--He goes to Canada--Enjoys a Revival in Enosburg--Organizes another Free Will Baptist Church in that Town.
January 1st, he says, "I feel truly solemn this day, when I think of the great goodness of God unto me. I have had many mourning hours alone in secret over the condition of poor Zion, and I have had many hours in joy and comfort with the brethren; I love to struggle with them for the deliverance of poor sinners. On the whole, I can thank God and take courage in the great contest against the power of sin and Satan."
4th, he left Starksboro in company with Elders Hill and Manard, and brother Mason, to attend a Quarterly Meeting, the name and place not mentioned in his journal; but we think it was the Enosburg Quarterly Meeting. 5th, he attended the conference; he says, "The reports come in encouraging from the churches. On Saturday, Elder Manard preached a comforting sermon. On the Sabbath, they met for prayer meeting, the holy spirit came down among them, filling their hearts with the spirit of labor. At ten o'clock they met in Deacon Carter's barn, Elder Woodworth preached in the forenoon, in the afternoon Elder Bowles preached from Rev. 20th: 11th, 12th, inclusive. In the evening brother Thomas preached; it was a time of power. Elder Bowles now took his leave of the Enosburg Quarterly Meeting for a season, to attend the Huntington Quarterly Meeting at Duxbury. On the
way, he visited several of the churches and rejoiced to see them in travail in the spirit of the gospel. In many families he enjoyed the pleasure of joining in religious family worship; his soul seemed to feel in the ecstacy of joy at the thought that all these dear families will one day unite in one in the holy kingdom, and God even the Father will guide them into the fullness of infinite joy. In the Elders conference he enjoyed a great consolation in hearing the reports from the different churches. And on Saturday, the 12th, in the Quarterly Meeting, the power of God was graciously felt.
Sabbath, 13th, the brethren met at eight o'clock for prayer meeting, and at eleven o'clock A. M., Elder Pope preached a powerful sermon, God sent the power of conviction to the hearts of sinners, a mighty cry went all through the meeting. After sermon the Elders and brethren engaged in prayer, a mighty struggle lasted some three hours and four souls were brought into gospel liberty, and a number of poor backsliders were brought into gospel deliverance from their wanderings. Late in the afternoon, Elder Bowles preached a short sermon, but was interrupted by the cry of the convicted and the shout of the redeemed; it was a time of the power of the great Immanuel. The holy reformation fire had begun to burn to the great astonishment of the host of opposition. On the 14th, he left Duxbury and went on to Huntington, then to Enosburg and spent one week with the brethren in visiting and holding meetings. 20th, he went into the grove in the morning, and there alone he held a sweet communion with God. He says, "I poured out my soul to God for a fresh animating from heaven; my soul seemed to mount up to God." He preached two sermons at the Block school-house, and in the evening he held a prayer
and conference meeting. During the week he preached every evening to large congregations, his soul all the time urging itself near the holy throne.
27th, he says, "I went this morning to my old place in the grove, God as usual met me there and blessed my soul with his holy love; I felt some of the upper river flow down to my soul; I could drink and drink, and still it came down." He preached two sermons at the Block school-house; it was a melting time. On the 28th, he met persecution from a quarter little expected; the Methodist brethren for some cause began to oppose him; he says, "I looked on so much in trial of mind, I began to see that I was getting into a hard spirit; I began to cry to God to help me out of the difficulty; I found it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong, my cry to God was, to forgive them, and me, and fill us all with his spirit; my soul got into the enjoyment of sweet peace in the Redeemer, for I believe the Lord heard my cry." He continued his effort in different parts of the town, the people continually flocking to hear him. The whole community appeared to be under a religious interest.
On Saturday night, July 3d, he spent at his friend Edward Johnson's, to rest for the Sabbath; he speaks of the family with warm affection. On Sabbath, 4th, he attended meeting at the school-house in the south part of the town; some five hundred people came out; the women filled the house; the men fixed seats in the front part of the house, and the Elder stood in the door; it was a solemn time, conviction fell on the heart of the people like rain on the earth; God owned the word. At noon he attended the ordinance of baptism, and at the water the Lord made bear his arm in power. At five o'clock he preached again with great liberty to a congregation at the
house of brother Rice; several poor backsliders were reclaimed, and one sinner was brought into liberty from Satan's power; the saints of God shouted for joy. He says, "I felt this day that I had made a Sabbath day's journey towards the heavenly land."
In the evening, he went to brother Edward Johnson's and spent the night. His soul got into a struggle for three young women there. He exhorted them in the name of the Lord to bow to God and repent of their sins; they began to humble; he requested them to kneel, which they consented to do. A struggle of several hour brought all three of them into liberty. The glory of God filled the place in a wonderful manner; great solemnity seemed to pervade every heart. 5th, he says: "I feel to praise God for his continual goodness to me, for the presence and glory of his power in my own soul, and his divine power in the hearts of the people." He went this day eight miles and attended meeting in Richford; then to Franklin. In this region he spent a number of days in visiting and holding meetings. It was a time of great comfort to him. As he visited from house to house, his soul seemed fired with holy zeal, and he seemed to feel a desire to have the same spirit infused into the hearts of his brethren and all christian friends. A travail of soul continually in the strength of the King of Zion, among the members of the church, always inspired his soul with holy boldness and courage in the cause of truth.
Sabbath, 11th, he attended meeting at the school-house in Franklin, in company with brother Joseph Kimball. 12th, he took his leave of his christian friends, and went to Canada. His first meeting there was of much interest. In Duns Pattent, he spoke from Colossians 3d: 3d, 4th: "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." A great crowd of people came out to hear; he says, "I felt as though I was preaching a funeral sermon for some one in the crowd; the people appeared solemn, the power of the spirit accompanied the word to the hearts of the people in a wonderful manner." He did not spend much time in Canada, his appointments in the States hurried him back. But on the 15th, 16th and 17th, he enjoyed great liberty in preaching on the Pattent. On the afternoon of the 17th, he started back to the States and again began his labor at Richford. The Lord showed some signs of a mighty revival in the place; several found peace in the holy Redeemer, and some were reclaimed from a backslidden state; he attended one immense meeting at the barn of a brother in the place, and on the evening of the same day, he met with the brethren in Conference Meeting at the school-house; the presence of the Lord appeared in their midst. On the 29th, he attended meeting at Enosburg; the power of God manifested itself, many came forward for prayers; the conviction settled deep on the hearts of sinners; the cry was raised in the meeting so deeply from the people, his soul began to feel a mighty struggle in prayer; the kingdom of Satan began to tremble. After meeting he went to the water and led some happy disciples of Jesus down the banks in the example of the Redeemer; the cloud of mercy hung over the place. In all of these meetings he held on by faith in a firm grasp on the promises of God, and seemed to feel like good old Jacob, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." 31st of July, he met an immense congregation of people, and preached to them the word of life; after sermon he was followed by some good exhortations. He proceeded and
organized another church in Enosburg, of the Free Will Baptist order. All at once the spirit of revival seemed to be gone, a dark cloud came over the community. He says, "I went to the grove and spent considerable time in prayer to God; his infinite glory appeared; my soul felt the power of the blessed light."
August 1st, he again preached to the people in the forenoon, and at noon he went to the water and baptized some happy candidates for the new church; the blessing of God attended the ordinance both to the administrator and the candidates; the spirit of God went with them back to the meeting, where he preached again, and then attended to the ordinance of the communion. As the members of the new church, together with other Christian friends came around the sacramental board and received the emblems of the Redeemer's dying love, every heart seemed to unite with the Poet and say:--
"Why was I made to hear his voice,
And enter while there's room?
While others make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come."
The people of Enosburg had now great reason to rejoice that they hard been able to see the great salvation of God. Deep-rooted prejudices had all given way before the power of truth and love; the hearts of christians seemed to warm together, and the whole seemed to open a new era in the life of that community. Elder Bowles was called on in this place to help settle a family difficulty and reconcile the parties; it was between the senior and junior members; the latter being married and living apart from the former, they would not visit one another, nor speak peaceably together. Elder Bowles went with the young man and his wife to the house of the young man's father,
and after exhorting, and hearing from both parties, he bowed in prayer. While at prayer the young people fell upon the floor and began to confess to the parents, the parents to the children; it was a convincing, convicting time; each heart began to melt in love, God came in great power and deliverance and set the mother and daughter-in-law into glorious liberty. It was a shouting time; religion melted and humbled them before God and one another, and brought them into a blessed fellowship together. He says, "All glory to God for what I felt on leaving that house; my soul could leap for joy in the great Immanuel."
During the time up to the 3d of September, he labored in Underhill, Jerico, and Starksboro, attending the Monthly Meetings with each church, and preaching about every evening or holding prayer meetings. He also visited extensively from house to house, among both professors and unprofessors of religion, for he felt with the dear compassionate Redeemer, that he was called to "Seek the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Not a day nor hour was spent by him unoccupied in the cause of God; he was ever abundant in labor, and with him there was always enough to do. If the harvest was truly plenteous and the laborers few, he not only prayed the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into the vineyard, but he ever stood ready in willingness to step in himself and labor with a zeal truly commendable, with an unceasing and untiring effort to promote the interest of men and the glory of God. But notwithstanding all his joy in the prosperity of the cause, he felt a sorrow at this time, at the workings of Satan in some of the churches, particularly at Franklin. But he did not forget his place of resort in secret communion with God. Thus in joy or sorrow, he ever stood ready to obey God in the path of duty.
September 3d, he went to Enosburg, in company with Elders Hubbard, Webster, Davis and others, to attend the Quarterly Meeting. At this meeting nothing of importance took place, yet still they enjoyed an interesting season; the power of the spirit of God filled their hearts; the preaching was in power. 8th, he returned home to Huntington and got ready to attend the Huntington Quarterly Meeting at Middlesex. He enjoyed a pleasant interview with his old associates in the ministry. It was a meeting of great interest; two souls were brought into liberty; the backslider began to feel a trembling to return to the fold of the Redeemer. In the conference much union prevailed; the ministers truly appeared to see eye to eye in the great work of regenerating grace, in securing the spiritual interest of mankind. The Quarterly Meeting left a good influence on the whole community in Waterbury, Stowe, Duxbury and Richmond; the reformation flame began to spread; it was a time of the Mediator's power. Elder Bowles felt no disposition to lay off the armor, but often in the grove in holy communion, he bowed before God to buckle it on closer and get a firmer hold on the sword of the spirit; he would get his eye on the judgment as also on the cross of Calvary; he felt his heart in the spirit of it, and in the language of the good apostle, he could say, "The love of Christ constraineth us, for we thus judge, if one died for all, then are all dead." And being dead in trespasses and sin, the power of the holy atonement alone must save the sinner by his repentance and faith in Christ. This he aimed to urge on the poor sinner. He labored in this revival until the January term of the Huntington Quarterly Meeting held at Huntington. Unwearied in mind and strengthened in body, amidst the excessive toil, he left the field of reformation
in one place, only to labor to kindle up the reformation flame in another place.
In closing the year, Elder Bowles felt, as he says, a heart-felt gratitude to God for his good success during the year, and for his manifest glory in the closing up of the year. Under his ministry during the time, God had, in a wonderful manner, stood by him and warded off every blow of the enemy, that no harm had befallen him, and under his ministry many had been led to the mercy seat, and there met the compassionate Redeemer. The number of conversions during the year had been great. He had baptised many of the converts; he had organized three churches, and had done much in the name of God to strengthen others by prayer and council. He says in the commencement of the New year, "My soul is drawn out more after God. I can say with the good David, 'as the hart panteth after the water brook, so my soul panteth after the living God.' I rejoice to be able again to covenant with my God. O, how I want to be all filled with His holy spirit, and clothed upon with my house in Heaven, so as to be dead to the world. I want to do more for his blessed cause, and see more of his converting power among men." One happy trait in the christian and ministerial character of Elder Bowles, he always felt himself dependant on God, and so much sympathy for poor sinners, he could not stop at the end of the year to rejoice over his glorious victories. The old year left him and the new found him in a position that bespoke the deep language of his soul.
At the Quarterly Meeting in Huntington, the delegates came in with holy reformation flame in their hearts; it breathed out the prayer of faith, and glory to God, the hearts of christians in a time like this formed a blessed
prayer book for those who had to stand upon the walls of Zion and blow the gospel trumpet. The preaching was in the spirit and with power; the exhortations all told that practical religion had formed the possessor in new life, and all could say with the holy Bard of Israel, "One thing have I deserved of the Lord, and that will I seek after that I may dwell in the house of God forever; that I may behold the beauty of the Lord and enquire into his temple." After the Quarterly Meeting at Huntington, he spent the remaining part of the winter in meetings, attended by a deep revival interest in Bakersfield, Sheldon, Enosburg, Franklin, and in the province of Canada. Many were converted to God during this time. He baptized many, and organized one church of twenty members. In April he returned to Huntington to attend to some of his temporal affairs, but in this he did not spend much time, for Israel's happy king could rejoice in Mount Zion, as the place of rest, in its literal glory. Elder Bowles could say with simple truthfulness--
"My soul shall pray for Zion still,
While life, or breath remains,
Here my best friends and kindred dwells,
Here God my Savior reigns."
Elder Bowles continues to labor in the several Quarterly Meetings in Vermont--Sent a Messenger to the several Churches in the Enosburg Quarterly Meetings--A Letter to a Friend--Attends the Enosburg Quarterly Meeting--He bears the Yearly Meeting Epistles to the several Churches--History of Jeffrey Brace--American Slavery--Character of some American Ministers--Death of Jeffrey Brace.
In the last chapter we have written, closes the journal of Elder Bowles. We deeply regret that his education was not such as that he might have been the author of some interesting letters to some of his friends, by which I could gather more of those interesting expressions so characteristic of his life. But few letters were found among his writings, and they are short and on business of one kind or another, and not at all interesting in this work. But several brethren who were much attached to him, and often in conversation with him, remember with lively interest his warm and animated conversation in the family circles, where they would meet together to enjoy the hospitalities of a home, after the toil and fatigue of the Quarterly Meeting Conference. It always seemed to interest him to get a number of young ministers around him, and then rehearse the wonderful power of God in rolling on the victory of the Redeemer's cross.
Our dear departed brother, Elder Samuel B. Padden, often expressed great satisfaction in listening to him. During 1825 and 1826, Elder Bowles continued to labor as an evangelist in the different Quarterly Meetings; and
laboring some on his farm in Huntington, with his children. But whether in the pulpit or in the field, his heart was with the Lord in the greatest and best of works, the prosperity of Zion, and the salvation of men.
In 1827, the Enosburg Quarterly Meeting Conference, found that several of the churches within its limits were losing ground in the spirit of gospel order, and were becoming delinquent in many of the great duties of evangelical church organization. A letter was prepared by vote of the conference, and addressed to them as a sort of admonitory advice, and Elder Bowles was appointed to bear it to the different churches. It was a fitting appointment; he had been among them and dropped the tear of sympathy, in the time of planting the principles of the gospel as good seed in their heart; he had watched with a yearning heart the progress of gospel truth among them, and now if there were erring ones, any getting cold and in danger of departing from their first love, he was the man who could throw around them the arm of love, and by the power of faith take hold on the arm of the Lord and draw them again into the sunlight of the great Immanuel's glory. By a communication of his to a friend, written on the 28th of June, 1827, we may learn some of his feelings. He says, "Last Sabbath I preached at Richmond; it was a very solemn time; although I have been over the ground so much for so many years, still I find much pleasure in the same work. Glory to God, it will never wear out. My poor body often feels worn down, but I feel strength from God equal to my day. Glory to God, he will take care of me in every time of need. I have been looking up to God by faith. My soul feels a wonderful cry, as I have been making my arrangements to leave home to visit the churches, and I have had some
sweet and comforting hours in the grove. I have never intended to put the armor off, still I want to be sure that it is well buckled on in the name of the Lord, and while I am getting things ready for the body, I want to have my soul fed and blessed with the bread of eternal life, so as to rightly fulfil my mission."
We learn by this communication of Elder Bowles, that as was usual with him, the grove was still his preparing place. On the 28th of June he preached at Jerico, and on the 29th at Cambridge. In both places the word was blessed to the hearts of the speaker and hearers. He felt some trials, but his mind was filled with joy, that some of the dear brethren were firm and steadfast in the faith of Christ. On Saturday the 30th he attended the Enosburg Quarterly Meeting, at Fairfield, and preached the opening sermon. In speaking of the occasion, he says, "My soul felt lifted on high; I felt to shout Glory to God to hear the warm exohrtations and prayers from the dear brethren. They all seem like loveing children of a dear family. On Sabbath the preaching and exhortations were in power. Quite a number of ministers were present from several quarterly meetings. In attending the communion of our Lord's Supper, the holy ghost came down and overshadowed the place with God's infinite glory. The shouts of the old saints made the kingdom of darkness tremble mightily. The poor penitent sinner began to cry to God for mercy, backsliders began to tremble." On Monday he preached to the Church again. He says: "We had a good time; the holy, loving Jesus was in our midst; the brothers and sisters present spoke very feelingly. After they got through, I delivered to them the Quarterly Meeting Epistle, and the church voted to receive it. After meeting three came forward for prayers,
and bowed down with us at the throne of grace with deep conviction on their minds. O, may God have mercy on them! I bless God for his all prevailing power to help his servants."
2d of July he went in company with brother Shaw to the east part of Enosburg. Elder Shaw preached a weighty sermon. It was a melting time in exhortation and prayer by the brethren and sisters. The bold hearted and backslider began to tremble mightily, and the good spirit guided the Ark along. Elder Bowles then delivered the Quarterly Meeting Epistle, and it was received by the vote of the church, and the church manifested a good disposition to co-operate with the Quarterly Meeting in good faith. This gladdened his heart, as in his communication he expresses much satisfaction that so many of his brethren were willing to live for God and Heaven. On the 5th he went to North Enosburg, and met a large and interesting congregation. The church came out with much interest. Some of the members took hold with a good degree of zeal and christian spirit, and welcomed him as the messenger of the Quarterly Meeting with christian affection.
At the close of the exercise he presented the Quarterly Meeting epistle. The church voted to receive it, and take the advice of the conference and walk in gospel order, try and induce all of the delinquent members to unite in gospel travail. On the 12th, Elder Shaw accompanied him to Farnham; Elder Shaw preached a weighty sermon, and the brethren and sisters followed it with warm exhortations. Elder Bowles found the church well engaged, though some of the members were on the back ground. He faithfully pointed them to the great Redeemer, setting forth to them the many tokens of his love they had enjoyed.
He then in an affectionate manner presented to them the Quarterly Meeting epistle; the church unanimously agreed to adopt it, and regard its advice. He then attended to the ordinance of baptism; his soul was lifted in the fullness of joy. Sabbath, 15th, he met a large congregation again in Farnham; the meeting was attended by mighty power, and the people manifested a commendable degree of liberality to him, in a collection for his benefit to aid him in his temporal wants. After visiting the north part of the town, and a place in Berkshire called Slab City, the west part of Enosburg, Bolton, Enosburg, Starksboro, Richmond and Stowe, he went on praying to the Lord, and encouraging his brethren in the object of his mission; he everywhere enjoying the co-operation of the churches.
We gather the above items from one of his communications to one of his friends. He manifested in the communication much satisfaction in the accomplishment of the task imposed on him by the Quarterly Meeting. He doubtless could say with the great and good apostle Paul, "I have no greater joy, than to see my children walking in the truth." And thank God, this is a source of the greatest consolation to a humble, faithful minister of Christ. Now an enquirer might be at a loss to know what all this labor would amount to, considering Elder Bowles' literary acquirements could not entitle him to any important, or conspicuous position in the church or society. I answer, the church of God on earth has been, and is now, more indebted to good men, than learned men, for her enjoyment in moral power, and excellence in opposing sin, and being enabled to obey the injunction of the Redeemer to let her light shine before men, that they seeing her good works might glorify our Father in Heaven. For saith the
holy bible as the word of God, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord." It is the spirit of the Lord in the hearts of good men in the church and in the ministry, that has given edge to these sermons and exhortations, that has made infidelity wince under the power of truth. It was this that drew the deep groan and tear from their eyes and hearts--that melted the obdurate heart of the sinner and led him to the Redeemer's cross to obtain mercy. And such a spirit now in the church and among the ministry, accompanied by literary intelligence, will do much to elevate the church in a high state of spiritual and moral excellence.
Although Elder Bowles was a colored man, his manly bearing, his noble spirit, and his amiable christian character, so greatly endeared him to the people of Vermont, he was warmly recognized as a brother. And as Vermont as a State, is identified with the American confederacy, in the great political and ecclesiastical interest of the American nation, God only knows, how far the influence of that man has been felt in revolutionizing the public sentiment of the State, against the abomination of American slavery. But I cannot doubt that it has been, and still has an influence in destroying prejudice against color. And not he alone, as a colored man, for cotemporary with him was another colored man in the State, of remarkable influence as a christian, and a bible scholar, although he was once a slave in New York. I allude to brother Jeffrey Brace. I am acquainted with several brethren, in whose hearts were planted the seeds of Abolitionism, by the simple tale of that man's wrongs, inflicted by the cruel slave power. Said one brother, to hear Elder Bowles preach, and brother Jeffrey Brace talk, was enough to make abolitionists of a whole community.
No doubt many who read this book, and this allusion to brother Jeffrey, have read with pleasing interest a book once published, giving a minute history of that man.--Brother Jeffrey was kidnapped in Africa when a small boy, together with a little sister. They were bathing in a small pond of water near the home of their infancy and parental affection, the dearest spot on earth to them, far more than any spot on this land of legalized heathenism and baptized oppressiion. While there, enjoying all the happiness of youth, and unconscious of danger, the cruel man thief came there, and with a heart seared with crime and cankered with avarice, which the slave buyers and drivers in America had fitted for that business. In a moment he thought of the money they would bring in the land of freedom and bibles. The next moment his tiger grasp was upon them, and the heel of oppression, crushing every tie that bound them to home, where waited in anxious expectation their fond parents. They were soon placed on board the slaver, the death prison of thousands of their fellow countrymen, and with a cargo of their friends and countrymen, to endure all the horrors of the middle passage, they set sail for the land of whips, and chains welded and riveted by the descendants of liberty loving patriots. Men, who themselves, boast of liberty and equal rights to mankind. A land where amidst the loudest professions of christianity, human misery and suffering has scarcely a parallel in the history of nations. On arriving to this land to be exposed at sale in the slave mart, they were plunged in the deepest misery and wanton cruelty by the merciless oppressor. And amidst the reading of the American Declaration of Independence, "That all men are born free and equal," they were legalized into chattels, to endure all the caprice of a master
during their earthly existence, with the scalding tears chasing each other down their youthful cheeks, as they stood among strangers, to meet the bitter scorn. It was a sight to be pitied. Alone in a land of foes, to be used only as avarice may dictate, and lust demand--no doating mother to attend to their wants, and to anticipate every childish wish--no fond bosom upon which to lean their aching heads, after being forced to toil all the live-long day--no strong father to protect them from harm, and guide their unwonted feet in the paths of childhood; but the whips and chains their only relatives, and money the only tie to their master.
But what cares American despotism for the crushed hopes and woes, and rent ties of parental affection. The African slave trade is declared piracy by the American laws, but a trade equally as cruel is sustained and sanctioned by American laws, and religious statesmen and priests, by the forum and pulpit. Of this trade, Thomas J. Randolph, Ex-Governor of Virginia, says:--"Is it better, is it not worse, sir, than the African slave trade? Yes, in my opinion it is much worse. Here, sir, the master tears from the mother's arms, sells into a strange land, subject to cruel task-masters, individuals whom he has known from infancy, whom he has seen sporting in the innocent gambols of childhood, and who have been accustomed to look to him for protection from childhood." Such a sentiment from a Virginian is worthy of consideration.
In one single year, the State of Virginia alone, has sold, and sent from their friends and homes, into the southern sugar plantations, rice swamps, and cotton fields, forty thousand human beings. And during the same year, the four States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas,
purchased more than two hundred and fifty thousand slaves. And this is a necessary part of the system, the whole system as it exists in this American Confederacy. Thousands have an abundance of tears to shed over the foreign slave trade, but none to mingle with those shed by the victims of domestic slave trade. Pulpits resound with well paid declarations against kidnapping in Africa; but cry "steboy" to the vile human blood hounds, who hunt down and kidnap the poor, panting, flying fugitive in America. Among this class may be found many of the Doctors of Divinity of the different religions denominations of the North, and in ecclesiastical affinity with the Rev. Dr. Spring of New York city, who with cool effrontery to the spirit of humanity and bible religion, declared that, "If one prayer of his could set free every slave in the country, he would not dare offer that prayer." Oh, how different this spirit and conduct, to that of the Divine Redeemer whom they profess to imitate. He in the generous spirit of Heaven proclaimed, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, for the Lord hath annointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted; to preach deliverance to the captive, and the opening of the prison doors to them that are bound. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord; and the day of vengeance of our God, and comfort them that mourn." The compassionate Jesus could not pass by the scenes of suffering and misery without an expression of holy sympathy; he did not, nor could not connive at the local or national systems of his day, or wink at the evils therein incorporated. What a contrast this, with the sentiment of Rev. Dr. Parker of Philadelphia, who says, "There are no evils in slavery but what are inseperable from every other relation, in civil and social life."
And with these sentiments and others of a similar stamp, agree Dr. Moses Stewart of Andover, Rev. W. M. Rogers of Boston, W. Crumell of Waterford, and Doctors Taylor of New Haven, Hopkins of Vermont, and Orville Dewey of New York, all men holding important stations in the American church, and some of them at the head of Theological Institutions in the land. These men, together with the two great political parties of the country, exert their combined influence to crush God's poor in the very dust, and consign this nation to perpetual bondage, and heathenism.
But to return to our poor friendless children. It was fortunate for poor Jeffrey and his sister that they both fell into the hands of one man, a circumstance that does not often occur in this land of whips. But this good fortune was soon suddenly rent by the system under which they were doomed to suffer. His sister for some real or imaginary fault, received a severe whipping, which ended all her sufferings in this land of oppression, and her young spirit took its departure for the bosom of a just God, where color does not change justice, and where every slave holder must soon give an account for all their wrongs done to the poor African. This was a sore affliction to brother Jeffrey. He used to speak of it with deep feeling; he says, "When I looked upon her motionless form, I could not comprehend the meaning of her silence, and tried hard to awaken her from her long still sleep; and learning her situation I desired to die with her."
To the poor suffering slave, death is often a welcome messenger; for under the system of despotism, he has nothing to live for in this life. Slavery deprives him of the enjoyment of wife, children, parents, brothers, sisters, the social enjoyments of life. Despotism aims a well
directed, legalized blow on his manhood, and in the language of the Southern Slave Code, "Slaves shall be taken, deemed, and reputed, as chattels personal, in the hands of their owners, executors, assignees and administrators to all intents and purposes whatsoever." After brother Jeffrey had arrived at the age of manhood, he made a profession of religion, and not a mere profession, he was a true christian at heart, as all who knew him could attest. At this point allow me to say, many individuals, and even some professors of religion, often attempt to justify the system of American slavery, and the slave trade, on the ground that "it takes the African away from heathen darkness to enjoy the advantage of a christian country." To every candid mind this will appear a poor apology, to employ the agency of wicked spirits combining all the elements of the dark pit, carried on by men of wicked motives, to accomplish the plan of redeeming love. If the infinite mercy of God does snatch a few of the wretched beings from the darkness of heathenism, by applying the rich blood of the great atonement, no thanks to men or devils. It will not exhonerate them from the guilt and crime of despotism--it will not atone for the devastation and carnage of the wars on the African continent, instigated by the slave trade, and all the demoralizing influences on the millions coming in contact with the nefarious traffic. Shame on any American christian who will attempt to defend the system on such a plea; and shame on the American christian, who will compromise the principle of justice, and eternal right, to support any political organization, that will legalize or justify the heathenizing human beings in a professedly christian land.
Brother Jeffrey, after serving many years in slavery,
was at last set free. But at what time, or by what means I am not informed. As a cotemporary with Elder Bowles, his noble pious character had a powerful influence on the public mind in Vermont. He had a powerful and wonderful memory, a trait characteristic of the African race, and although for many years during the latter part of his life, he was perfectly blind, he had the bible so completely committed to his memory, that he could repeat it chapter and verse from Genesis to Revelations, with an accuracy truly astonishing. One might sit down with him and open the bible in any place, and commence reading in any chapter or verse following, and so continue to do. It has been said of him, that if the bible was lost, and not a copy to be found on earth, if a good writer should sit down with him, he could repeat from memory so that a complete copy could be again produced. At Camp, Quarterly, or Yearly Meetings, Conferences, or associations of all denominations, an interview with brother Jeffrey, was eagerly sought and enjoyed, by ministers and people. Now, kind reader, be assured that two such kindred spirits could not be without their influence in helping shape the mind of the community in Vermont. Truly favorable to the cause of impartial freedom, Vermont now stands among the first of her States in the American Union, in political denunciation of the system of slavery in all its abominations; her Green Mountains have echoed the deep toned voice of a majority of her citizens in her legislative proceedings; while the ecclesiastical proceedings of her religious bodies, especially the Free Will Baptists, have had a great influence in revolutionizing public sentiment. Brother Jeffrey Brace in life, was useful, and in death was happy. It may truly be said of him, "His record is on high."
Up to the 22d of May, 1834, Elder Bowles continued to live in Huntington with his daughter and her children, and occupying his time in farming some, and itinerating in the several Quarterly Meetings. At times the clouds seemed filled, and occasionally a holy shower fell on the churches. He had many precious opportunities to go down into the limpid streams, and bury the happy convert in the likeness of the great Immanuel. He often during this time, enjoyed happy communion with God, and his brethren, in breaking bread to the churches in the several Quarterly Meetings. Religion was his only, his entire theme. No excitement in the community of a secular or political character could tempt him aside from the cause of God. He lived in Vermont at a time when the State was completely convulsed in a popular excitement on the subject of Free Masonry--when the pulpit and press was drawing every man into the whirlpool of excitement. It was said of Elder Bowles, that he turned not to the right or left, if his sympathies were at any time needed, and by him manifested, it was for truth and right, and it was peaceably conveyed to them that needed it.
On the 22d of May, 1834, he broke up house-keeping. By a letter to one of his friends, it seems that it was a solemn time with him, he had lived in Huntington about twenty years with some of his children and grandchildren. And although he was a faithful and laborious minister, doing the work of an evangelist, he was an affectionate father, and as a citizen and neighbor he was much respected. Many any of his friends in Huntington, were warmly attached to him, but he felt it to be duty to go, and he could not confer with flesh and blood, in his own rest and ease. He in company with his daughter Eunice and her children, went to Rutland. On the evening
of the 29th, he enjoyed an interesting prayer meeting. He spent several days in the place holding meetings, and visiting; at first nothing appeared encouraging, but soon there appeared a giving way, and one evening twenty persons came forward for prayers. Then the waters of free salvation began to rise, the cloud began to break, the cry began to be heard in all directions. Through the months of June and July, the Elder's soul seemed to be in a constant travail for Zion in that community. In one meeting, he says to a friend in a letter, "We are having a wonderful time in this place; last evening the power of the Lord came down in great majesty--many cried for mercy--the struggle lasted some two hours--at last victory turned on Zion's side. Glory to God." During the remainder of the year, the Elder attended several protracted meetings in Rutland county. In all of them the power of the great head of Zion was more or less manifested. We do not learn that he went to house-keeping; probably he did not, but his children and grand-children went into different families of his friends to live.
During the years 1835 and 1836, he found a home wherever duty called him to labor as an evangelist. In those two years, he spent much of his time in the Corinth and Wheelock Quarterly Meetings, though he attended the sessions of the Huntington and Enosburg Quarterly Meetings, and labored some with the churches. 1836, was the winding up of his long and faithful labors in Vermont. For thirty years he had been familiar with the mountains, rivers and vallies of the State. He had traveled tthousands of miles, enduring midsummer's heat and the pelting storms of winter; he had wept in many a family circle over the erring wanderer, and the returning penitent prodigal, and could the rocks and trees speak,
they could tell of many groans and tears in the silent grove, that fell from his eyes and heart, in deep sympathy for poor erring man, while the Angel guard watched over him in his solemn hours. He had seen the grave close over many a lovely youth, and manly form, as well as the aged, and in all places, his heart did sympathize like the compassionate Jesus at the grave of Lazarus while he wept with Martha and Mary. In imitation of the dear Jesus, Elder Bowles often wept at the bed-side, and at the grave, with those that wept, and rejoiced with those that rejoiced. The spirit of humanity was cherished there in the sympathies and prayers of a Colby, a Bowles, a Haynes, a Jeffrey Brace, and others, that shows that religion with humanity as its soul living in the heart of the humble, faithful christian, will have an abiding existence somewhere. And it can be said of such men in much truthfulness, in the language of the Poet:--
"It shan't be said that praying breath,
Was ever spent in vain.
This shall be known when we are dead,
And left on long record,
That ages yet unborn may read,
And trust and fear the Lord."
Elder Bowles in leaving his friends in Vermont, could say with the Poet--
"How sweet the hours have passed away,
When we have met to sing and pray,
How loth we've been to leave the place,
Where Jesus shows his loving face.
Oh, could I stay with friends so kind,
How would it cheer my fainting mind;
But duty makes me understand,
That we must take the parting hand."
From 1836 to 1843--He moves into New York--An incident on the way--His Labors in Hopkinton and Lawrence--Several Churches Gathered--The Fulfilment of a Curious Dream--He becomes Partially Blind--Ordination of Brother Baldwin--He Attends and Preaches at the. First Session of the St. Lawrence Yearly Meeting --His Health Fails--His Death.
Sometime during the latter part of 1837, Rev. Charles Bowles 2d, son of Elder Bowles, then Pastor of the Presbyterian church in Hopkinton, New York, came into Vermont to visit his father and friends. Seeing the great good affected by his father's labors in the Eastern States, he urgently solicited him to visit Northern New York, and spend some time as an evangelist. After making it a subject of enquiry and prayer to the Lord, he made up his mind to go, and after making suitable arrangements, as to his temporal affairs, he bid adieu for the present, to his friends in Vermont, and turned away from the Green Mountains with deep feelings, to occupy a new field of gospel labor. He crossed the beautiful Champlain and trod the soil of the Empire State, with a solemn cry in his soul to God to accompany him on his route. Like old Eleasar, he begged for divine assistance to bless him in his journey, and crown his labors with success, and send some Rebecca in his way. In passing on the turnpike by way of the Chataguay woods, he came in the evening to a shanty of wood-cutters, and asked a lodging among them; although a rude set of wicked men, they not only opened their cabin to him, but their hearts were open to give him
a cordial welcome. There in that lonely spot, among strangers, the man of God rested his body, while his soul travailed in pain for them to enjoy the blessing of saving grace. In the morning before he left, he bowed at mercy's altar to lift the voice of prayer in their behalf. Its influence had not effect only in heaven, but in those wicked hearts; several of them were deeply effected and promised him that they would seek the Savior and give their hearts to him, which they afterwards did. It produced a change; the sound of the woodsman's axe in its deep echo in the forest, mingled with the deep toned echo of his voice, in praise to great Immanuel, opened a new era in the scene in the history of that forest living. It was a fitting place to dedicate one's self to God; in the bosom of nature, amidst all her beautiful harmony, where religion could appear natural and send forth its spontaneous out-gushing of a generous nature; it is a perfect emblem of the blessed heaven, where the soul is harmonized with the works of God, and sees God in the existence of the whole. The humble cabin with all its appurtenances, the rugged clift, the sombre appearance of the forest, may all appear uncouth to the eye of popular refinement, amidst the stately edifices of art, but thank God, nature is free from that endless monotony so common in refined society, as everything is instinctive so is it harmonious. In the spring all nature dances and skips in gladsome some merriment, while the tender vine, with all its kindred, springs up and throws its arms lovingly around the sturdy oak, the maple, or the beach, while the little rill warmed by the smiles of spring goes bounding and singing in beautiful harmony with the music of the birds, and all seem to be in love with one another. It seemed quite providential for Elder Bowles, that his journey to
New York lay through the long pathway of the Chataguay, and that poor hut of the woodsman laid on that route.
On arriving at Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties, he found some of his old Vermont acquaintances, and some whom he had led down into the liquid stream in Vermont. This no doubt gladdened his heart anew for the contest. He loved the Free Will Baptists, and in looking over the extent of country from Lake Champlain on the east, to the River St. Lawrence and the Lake Ontario on the west, no organization of that denomination had taken place, either as churches or conferences. The character of the community was not to appearance very flattering in encouraging the organization of another religious sect. People had begun to settle in the country from almost every nation, English, Dutch, French, Scotch, Irish, Germans and Yankees, forming quite a heterogeneous class of community. With almost all kinds of religious opinions of course, there would be no small amount of bigotry and sectarian jealousy; and yet, notwithstanding all this, Elder Bowles' faith in God, that his blessing would attend the promulgation of gospel truth, and make room for free salvation, was so strong, that he predicted he should live to see an organization of Free Will Baptists from Lake to Lake. He soon bought a small farm in Hopkinton, and let it to his son. Rev. Charles Bowles, 2d, situated his children who were dependent on him, so that the proceeds of his farm could afford him some pecuniary benefit.
The first ground he broke in gospel labor was in Dickinson, which resulted in the organization of a church at that part of the town called Burnt Hill. But as most of the members lived within the limits of the town of Lawrence, the church was called the First Free Will Baptist
Church in Lawrence. This was the last of the year 1837. At the September session of the Lawrence Quarterly Meeting, in 1849, its name was changed to the First Free Will Baptist church in Dickinson. Elders Bundy, and D. Colby, were laboring at the same time in the town of Lawrence, and on the 5th of July, 1838, assisted by Elder Bowles, they organized a church in the west part of the town, called the Second Free Will Baptist Church, embracing within its limits what is now the First Free Will Baptist Church in Hopkinton, and the First Free Will Baptist Church in Brasher. The former was set off in organization by Elder Wm. Whitfield, the latter part of 1838, and the latter by Elder Newell, the fore part of 1839. Elders Bundy, Colby, and Bowles, labored some in Moira during the fall, and then the winter session of the Quarterly Meeting was held in the place; after its close, Elders Mores Cole and Stedman Cummins, spent some weeks among the people, laboring in word and doctrine. The community enjoyed a heavenly shower of grace; a number were baptized by Elder Hart, and soon after, Elders Cole and Hart effected an efficient organization of a church.
The Quarterly Meeting though young, was composed of the 1st and 2d churches in Lawrence, 1st church in Mores, 1st church in Parishville, 1st church in Moira, and 1st church in Potsdam. The prospect now began to be encouraging, and the hearts of the brethren began to be gladdened in prospect of an efficient organization. And while Elders Bundy, Colby, Hart, Cole, Whitfield, and others, were laboring among the churches to enlarge the borders of Zion, Elder Bowles went in company with Deacon Willis of Parishville, to visit Pierpont. The people there had no knowledge of the Free Will Baptists,
and the fact of his being a colored man, he drew much attention and created much interest among the people. His first meeting was held in the Howard school-house. He next preached at the Beach Plain school-house. In both places multitudes came out to hear the word dispensed by one of the disenfranchised race of Ham. Still all else appeared discouraging. A powerful sectarian influence sought to crush everything deviating from the sectarian track of ages; as sectarian bigotry and superstition always does, without hearing or investigating. But this hard master whose sting is in his creed, had now assailed the wrong man. He might have looked on this dark son of Africa, and, backed up by all the mountain of prejudice, hanging over him like a mill-stone, and imagined him an easy prey. But he was as much mistaken as was Apolion when he met Christian in the Valley of Humiliation. Brother Bowles was too old a soldier to be easily vanquished; his weapons were not carnal; he like young David, had slain his Lion and Bear in Vermont; he was ready to meet the uncircumcised destroyer of God's holy vineyard. His faith was to be brought into action, and his confidence in his God encouraged him to hope.
But in such an emergency, he went not to councils or synods, but he went to the great head of the church, and all answer to prayer God was pleased to encourage his heart, in a singular dream at brother Merrit Howard's. He dreamed that he was in the barn where brother Howard was threshing grain; that he heard a rustling in the hay, and putting his hand in, took out a squirrel, and then another, and continued to do so until he took out twenty. He interpreted this dream as ominous of the organization of a church of twenty members, and thus predicted it to brother Howard, and told brother Howard that he would
be a Deacon in the church by the representation of the first squirrel he took out. He labored on until a number professed religion, and others were reclaimed and prepared to form a church. The modern Sanballats, Tobiases, and Gersems, appeared in opposition to the works, but the walls of God's spiritual Jerusalem must go up in the name of the Lord. On the 20th of January, 1839, he met the at the school-house. Brother Howard and his wife, with some others from the Methodist church came forward and united with the church. Elder Bowles was partially blind, and the brother who took down the names reported nineteen; Elder Bowles was so influenced by his dream of twenty squirrels, that he exclaimed there is one more, and in his characteristic manner, he said, you, dear creature, if you are in the house, come right forward. A young man at the back part of the congregation rose up and acknowledged that he had been sitting trembling under the cross, and gave in his name. The church was then organized, and brother Howard was chosen Deacon, according to the interpretation of the dream. The church adopted a covenant and a plan for a regular Monthly Meeting, and agreed to walk in gospel order in mutual fellowship, and confidence as a living branch in Christ as the vine.
On the first Saturday in February, Elder Bowles and Bundy met with the new church in their first Monthly Meeting. It was a happy time among the brethren and sisters. All seemed satisfied with bible discipline. At this meeting the church voted to ask admission into the Quarterly Meeting, as a member of that body; which request was granted at the June session of the Quarterly Meeting. Elder Bowles continued his labors with the church until the summer, when Elder N. W.
Bixby, from Vermont, came into the place, and relieved him from his labors there for a while. He then went back to Dickinson, and united with the brethren there in getting the affairs of the church in gospel order. He gave up his farm in Hopkinton, and took a small place in Dickinson, and went to housekeeping with his daughter who had lived with him in Vermont. He then went to Malone and Chataguay, and broke the ground for the gospel seed, and in the latter place, he organized a Free Will Baptist Church. He there enjoyed the co-operation of Deacon Sargent, and found a home at his house, that truly gladdened his heart. He also assisted in the organization of a church in Malone, called the Malone and Constable church; he subsequently did much in building it up in the interest of Zion. Churches had been organized in Mores, West Plattsburg, and Peru in Clinton county, bordering on Lake Champlain, so that it seemed likely his prediction would be fulfilled. Churches had been organized in Stockholm by Elder Hart, and West Potsdam by Elder Cole. Elder Bowles had now quite a field of gospel labor as an evangelist. One thing it will be important here to mention, he had become quite blind in his natural sight, but his spiritual discernment was clear, his memory was good, and he had the bible well stored in his mind; it was his study in which he took delight. He would name the chapter and verse as his text and repeat it; he would name the number of a hymn in the book, and repeat it with as mueh precision as he could with sight, and the book before him. On being introduced to a brother or sister, he would take the tone of their voice in his mind, and ever afterward recognize them by their voice whether in or out of meeting, and call them by name. As a fact on this point, we give an instance, while he was
holding meetings in Pierpont: Elder William Whitfield a licensed minister, then living in Lawrence, (a brother that Elder Bowles had never seen, but only heard his voice,) came into the Howard school-house while Elder Bowles was preaching; after sermon, several brethren and sisters spoke in exhortation. Elder Whitfield, as an entire stranger in the meeting, rose up and began to speak; as soon as he had done speaking, Elder Bowles exclaimed, brother Whitfield, will you come forward and close the meeting. He knew brother Whitfield readily by his voice, though he did not know until then that he was in the town.
It was a great consolation to him and his brethren, that he loved the blessed gospel and loved to preach it, although deprived of that important faculty, the power of sight. Thank God, he had the consolation to know that in the heavenly paradise, the sight will be restored and the enjoyment of life and love will fill the soul with infinite joy. In a clear day, Elder Bowles could discover objects moving before him, and could see a person standing between him and the door or window, but he could not distinguish one person from another. Although Elder Bowles was blind, the brethren and friends manifested a warm christian sympathy for him, and even the youth in every family he visited, esteemed it a great privilege to wait on him and lead him about from house to house, and to his meetings.
On Sabbath, 8th of December, Elder Bowles on a council, with Elders Bundy and Newell, attended the ordination of brother Abram V. Baldwin, at Nickolville, St. Lawrence county. At the same conference, Rev. Joseph Kimball, a minister of the Protestant Methodist church was received as a member of the Quarterly Meeting.
Thus the little band of christian and ministerial strength, seemed to be on the increase. Elder Bowles' heart leaped for joy at the progress the cause of God seemed to be making in Northern New York. At the February session of the Quarterly Meeting at Parishville, the church in Pierpont organized by Elder Bowles, and the church in Chasey organized by Elder Baldwin, were received as members. At the June session of the Quarterly Meeting, Elder Bowles enjoyed the pleasure with his brethren, in welcoming Elders John Davis and George Hacket from the Vermont Yearly Meeting, to help in gospel labor in the Quarterly Meeting for a while. At this session of the Quarterly Meeting, brother Richard Parks was licensed to preach the gospel. Soon he had the happiness to join his brethren in receiving the church of Hermon and Dekalb as a member.
At the eleventh session of the Quarterly Meeting, held at Nickolville, the subjects of temperance, missions, and anti-slavery came up for consideration, and it was recommended to the delegates to lay it before the several churches, calling for an expression of sentiment on the subject. Thus Elder Bowles had lived to see the day when the poor colored man in chains, with whom he was in part nationally identified, pitied by those whom he had been the instrument in leading to the cross of the compassionate Redeemer, to obtain pardon from sin, and the slavery of Satan. At this session of the Quarterly Meeting, his old friend Deacon Carlton McEwen presided as moderator. Deacon McEwen early embraced the cause of liberty, and afterward did much in co-operation with the friends of the African, in annihilating the spirit of unholy prejudice existing against the colored race.
At the January session 1841, held at Mores, Clinton Co.,
he had the joy and pleasure of knowing that two more brethren were licensed to join the Quarterly Meeting. They were brothers Enoch Drew and Loderwick Squire. And at this session a resolution was passed to unite with the Jefferson Quarterly Meeting to organize a Yearly Meeting. The Jefferson Quarterly Meetings were Free Communion Baptists, but had concluded to unite with the Free Will Baptists in forming one body in church organization. At the June session, Elder Bowles took part in licensing brother Alfred Day of the Hermon church, and in the ordination of brother William Whitfield, of the Lawrence church. Soon after this, Elder William Warner came into the Quarterly Meeting, from Vermont, and labored to good acceptance with the brethren. At the June session in 1842, Elders Gilman Sanbon, and Stedman Cummins, from Vermont, attended and received a cordial welcome among the brethren. It was a great consolation to Elder Bowles to know that the little one was becoming strong in the Lord, and gaining favor with the people in Northern New York. In July, the delegates of the Quarterly Meeting met at Fowler. After committing the interest of Zion to God as the great head of the church, and pledging to each other mutual fellowship, the brethren united in organizing a Yearly Meeting, to be known as the St. Lawrence Free Will Baptist Yearly Meeting. So that the prediction of Elder Bowles was literally fulfilled; the organization had extended from Lake to Lake, across the entire Northern New York.
Elder Bowles had now arrived to his eighty-second year of age, and some over forty of his ministry. The giant frame, and powerful lungs, that had sent forth such mighty sounds of gospel salvation, that so often shook the Babel of darkness, began to fail, like the mighty Oak that
had breasted the storm and the tempest. He had some temporal means, by way of his annual pension from the government, the amount of which with some presents from brethren, was sufficient to make him comfortable. In company with one of his daughters, he went to Malone to spend his last days. He bought a small farm of a Mr. Hildreth, and went to house-keeping with his daughter Eunice. He continued to preach with the church, as his age, and feeble health would permit. He doubtless felt to say with the Poet:--
"Happy if with my latest breath,
I may but gasp his name,
Preach him to all, and cry in death,
Behold, behold the Lamb."
In October, 1842, the first session of Yearly Meeting convened at Lawrenceville, in the Congregational meeting-house. Elder Bowles arrived in town, very feeble in health, and put up at brother Luther Whitney's; but notwithstanding his infirmity and feeble health, it was a great day with him; his soul seemed to mount up as in the chariot of Aminidad. Brothers and sisters from Lewis, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Franklin, and Clinton counties, had come in to represent the interest of Zion, within the bounds of Free Will Baptist organization; many of them he had never seen, but knew them by voice, and their hearts were all blended together in the fellowship and communion of the gospel. The business of the Yearly Meeting Conference was done in harmony; the sermons, exhortations and prayers of the brethren and sisters were in the spirit of the gospel. On Saturday, Elder Bundy led Elder Bowles into the pulpit; it was an interesting, affecting and solemn sight; blind and borne down by the weight of eighty-two years, yet bearing up a spirit full
of hope. The scene drew tears from many eyes in the congregation. They were tears of affection and christian sympathy; but many of those who wept, wept not as those who weep without hope. Thank God, they knew by experience, that arm on which he leaned. He rose up and with a strong voice gave out the 820th hymn in the Christian Melody. He named the number, and distinctly repeated the hymn:--
"And let this feeble body fail,
And let it faint and die,
My soul shall quit this mournful vale,
And soar to worlds on high.
Shall gain the disembodied saints,
And find its long sought rest,
That only bliss for which it pants,
In the Redeemer's breast.
In hope of that Immortal Crown,
I now the cross sustain,
And gladly wander up and down,
And smite, and toil, and pain.
I suffer on my three score years,
'Till my deliverer come,
And wipe away his servant's tears,
And take his exile home.
O, what hath Jesus bought for me,
Before my ravished eyes,
Rivers of life Divine I see,
And trees of paradise.
I see a world of spirits bright,
Who taste the pleasures there,
They all are robed in spotless white,
And conquering palms they bear.
O, what are all my sufferings here,
If Lord thou count me meet,
With that enraptured host to appear,
And worship at thy feet.
Give joy or grief, give ease or pain,
Take life or friends away,
But let me find them all again,
In that Eternal day."
After prayer, he rose up and named the first chapter of Romans and sixteenth verse, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, unto every one that believeth."
Although Elder Bowles greatly desired to preach at this session of the yearly meeting, to leave a dying testimony his anxiety of mind was more than his bodily strength. He was not able to finish his sermon, and he called upon Elder Bundy who sat by him in the pulpit, to address the people. It is said to have been an unusually solemn and weeping time. His voice had become much broken by age and long use; still his soul seemed to dive into the deep fountains of God's infinite love. The sympathy and love of every christian heart in that meeting seemed to flow on in holy harmony, in the great channel of gospel liberty. A remark has been made to me by sister Turner of Fowler, who was present at the meeting, that it seemed like a little Heaven on the earth. After meeting Elder Bowles was led back to Brother Whitney's, where many of the brethren and sisters flocked in to take the last earthly look of one about to put off the holy armor. Elder Whitfield remarked to him on shaking his hand, he hoped to meet him again on earth. He feelingly exclaimed: "No, never, Brother Whitfield, in this world, but I hope we shall meet in Heaven." He was fully conscious that his bark was nearing the port of endless bliss. By faith he could look to God and exclaim with good old Simeon, "Now Lord, lettest thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy great salvation, which thou hast
prepared before the face of all people." After taking leave of all the friends, commending them and the interests of Quarterly and Yearly Meetings to the care of Heaven, he went in company with a brother back to Malone. Being infirm, he gave up the place he was occupying, and broke up house keeping. His daughter went into the family of a friend to live, and he employed his temporal means in paying his board in the family of a Mr. Fuller. During the fall of 1842, and first of the winter of 1843, he attended a few meetings, and visited in the neighborhood. His health continuing to fail until the last of January, when he was attacked with the erycipelas in the feet, which began to prostrate him, as it began to work in the blood, and effect the whole system. It soon became apparent to his friends that the disorder was of a malignant character. He failed so fast that it became impossible to move him to a place more convenient for the friends to administer to his wants. It was as his wish to be carried to Brother Walter Hildreths, but Brother H. being very low with sickness, and Elder B., in the opinion of the phyician, too feeble to be moved, it was thought best for him to be kept in the place where he then was. To this he calmly acquiesced. The family was poor, and the house was small, consequently there were not those conveniences his friends wished. But they were untiring in their exertions to do all in their power to alleviate his sufferings, and cheer his passage over Jordan. Brother Samuel Whidden was with him almost constantly. Bro. Hildreth, whom he had baptised, with his wife, in Vermont, many years before, was with him as much of the time as his son Walter's sickness would allow. Other brothers and sisters were often in by his bed side, and his son Charles was with him during the last of his sickness; and
when he could leave his father's bed, he filled some of the appointments made by the Elder before his illness.
A few days before his death, by his request Dea. Carlton McEwen of Lawrenceville, his old friend was sent for and came speedily to his bed side. He was perfectly conscious of the close of his earthly life. But he had no fear to tread the banks of Jordon. The religion that had borne him on amidst scoffs, and tumult, and toil, and life, for forty years, that had been his comfort and consolation in the silent grove, and his joy in the pulpit, now shone forth in his soul, in its power and majesty. Amidst the struggle of disease and death, he could reach out and take hold on the Infinite hand that had lifted him over many a billow in life, and although there were moments when the power of his disease overturned the throne of reason, the genius of Heaven, the power of religion, would right it up again, and thus alternately his disorder and religion would triumph over the poor body, and often he would exclaim, "Glory to God, I am almost home. Bless the Lord my soul is happy!" He could realise the sentiment of the Poet:
"What's this that steals upon my frame?
Is it death? Is it death?
Which soon will quench this vital flame,
Is it death? Is it death?
If this be death, I soon shall be
From every pain and sorrow free,--
I Shall the King of Glory see,
All is well! All is well!"
How true is the language of the poet in reference to the situation of the dying saint in the last great struggle in life!
"Jesus can make a dying bed,
Feel soft as downy pillows are.
While on his breast I lean my head,
And breathe my life out sweetly there."
On being asked if he had any fears of death, he replied with his characteristic earnestness: No, glory to God, all is well. He lingered until the 16th of March, 1843, when the manly form that had stood on many a hard fought battle-field, both in carnal, and spiritual warfare--that had faced so many dangers unharmed, and breasted so many storms in the Redeemer's cause, gave way before the last conqueror, and yielded itself to the cold sepulchral stillness of the tomb. And that spirit whose moral power had held in awe the excited and maddened mob--had won so many victories over the powers of darkness--had been instrumental in extending the cause of truth to thousands of impenitent hearts--and cheering on their way the faltering ranks of the great Immanuel's army--bid adieu to its earthly tenement, and conveyed by bright seraphic messengers, winged its flight to the courts above. There to enjoy an eternity of rest, at the right hand of God, and to participate in all the joyous results of his faithful labors in this life. There, where the cruel, and soul-crushing caste spirit against color, can never thrust its hideous form, for the very reason, that those who profess it, have no inheritance in that place of equality.
Such was the triumphant death of this old soldier of the cross, "Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams." "How cheering to stand in the chamber where the good man meets his fate," and witness the sublime triumph of the gospel in chasing away the gloom of the grave, and lighting up the dark abode with the rays of hope and joy, and its power to bear the spirit safely over the Jordan of death, and land it upon the banks of fair Canaan. Infidelity looks not thus into its grave of endless sleep, whose dark labyrinth sends back no cheering sound of a glorious
resurrection, but one long, long eternity of dreary, lonesome, solitary non-existence, unbroken by the sweet angelic songs, that cheer and enrapture the christian in his passage through its caverns. No! No! Infidelity, we envy not thy death of endless oblivion. But rather let us be cheered by the presence of Him who passed the bounds of the tomb, and wrought out a royal high-way from its cold embrace up to the paradise of God.
The funeral services were attended on the 18th, and although a violent snow storm was raging, a good number of people came together, to pay a last tribute of respect to his memory, and consign his mortal remains to its final resting place. The sermon was preached by Elder William Warner, of New Hampshire. At the next session of the St. Lawrence Quarterly Meeting, he was affectionately remembered, and a short Biographical sketch of his life and labors was placed upon the records of the Quarterly Meeting, and it was voted that a subscription be received to purchase a grave-stone to mark the spot of his rest. And thus the good and useful man, passed from earth to heaven, and hundreds could apply the language of the Poet:--
"How blest the righteous when he dies.
When sinks a weary soul to rest,
How mildly beams the closing eye,
How gently heaves the expiring breath."
Of his family of several children, we cannot learn that but three survived him, viz: Charles, Deborah and Eunice. His son Charles, a Presbyterian minister, late of Pitcairn, St. Lawrence county, N. Y., died in the Fall of 1850, at Pitcairn. Of the daughters, we have now no certain knowledge; nor of his grand-children, excepting the son of Rev. Charles Bowles, now residing at Pitcairn.
I doubt not that many of the friends of Elder Bowles remember with pleasing interest, many peculiar traits in his character. It has often been said of him that he enjoyed a perfect contentment with his lot. His color and identity with the African race, never gave him dissatisfaction with the order of an all-wise Providence. The principle of noble, generous manhood, was interwoven in every fibre of his existence, and human right was written on the whole volume of his human nature. And his noble nature and manhood, subdued and controlled by the spirit and power of Divine christianity, he could easily forget himself in national condition, or humble ancestry, and say in the language of the good apostle, "By the grace of God I am what I am." His sympathy was for the souls of men; for their spiritual welfare irrespective of color, adopting the sentiment in the language of the Apostle Peter, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons, but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." And in view of this trait in his character, how true is the language of the Bible, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." This undoubtedly kept him in the enjoyment of perfect love in the fulness of gospel liberty. Kind reader, may it be ours always to enjoy such patience and contentment in God.
FRIENDSHIP was a decided trait in the character of Elder Bowles; and while he loved his friends, he pitied his enemies.
If his religion led him to seek the repose of his body, and the communion of soul, at the home of some dear christian friend; and if while enjoying their kind hospitality, and kind attentions, and enjoying that interchange of thought and sentiment in fellowship and love, it was not in him to turn with a hatred look from the abode of sorrow and suffering, though that home was the abode of his bitterest enemy on earth. He could reciprocate the friendship of those that loved him, and with a sincere wish for the happiness of every one, he did not confine his frieneship to loving friends only. Such conduct on his part, always gave him the mastery over the prejudices of the people, and the sincerity of the motives of his heart that prompted his friendship, could not be viewed by his bitterest enemies, without at once claiming their respect, and disarming them of all opposition to the gospel. Yet to turn the tide of enmity to friendship, it was not in him to compromise principle, or lower the standard of moral excellence of the Redeemer's cross. With him, no sect of christians had a preference in the enjoyment of his friendship, merely for name or party; his Christian spirit was perfectly Catholic, and his love of the religion of heaven so much a matter of conscience, the first, and only impulse of his heart in christian friendship, was to love them as christians, and not as sects. And thank God, this christian sentiment in friendship does not die with the body, it is of holy, infinite origin, and it will unite souls in infinite bliss in endless joy. No doubt many dear christians on this earth in all the pains and afflictions, incident to mortal life, anticipate the enjoyment of holy friendship, with Elder Bowles in Heaven.
SOCIABILITY, was with him an amiable trait. And this always drew around him those who took pleasure in learning
the history of the past. Often the wakeful youth would trim the midnight lamp, and forget the weariness of the body in want of rest, in listening to him. And with aged, middle-aged and young, in the social or domestic circle, would feel entwining around it a holy influence, as he would often intersperse his conversation with some deep-toned, soul-stirring expression of love and praise to God, for his wonder-working power. In his visits in all the families, the youngest member of the family met his social greeting as cordially as the elder members. In fact, he was the man of the people, for the people's good. Qualified by friendship and social ties, and love for souls, to fulfil the great injunction of Chris to Peter, Feed my sheep, feed my lambs.
ECCENTRICITY OF HABIT was peculiar to himself. It was not a studied effort to be odd, for the sake of being odd. He lacked in acquired literary ability. His logic and rhetoric, was the effect of the spontaneous out-gushing of his noble soul; and it ever furnished him with a good store of ready wit, and a keen perception of everything calculated to give impression. At the time of the organization of the 2d Free Will Baptist church in Lawrence, he in company with Elders Bundy, Newell and Colby, met a large congregation in brother E. Norris' barn. After sermon, arrangements were made to attend the ordinance of baptism. After several had come forward and related their christian experience, there was a pause, a holding back from duty by those whom the Elders knew ought to go forward. During the silence in the meeting, a cock flew up on a beam and crowed; Elder Bowles exclaimed, now the cock has crowed, but do not like Peter deny your Lord and Master. The circumstance and the remark had the desired effect; several came forward in the discharge
of duty. His odd, eccentric wit, was shown on another occasion in Pierpont. After quite an interesting time in baptism by immersion, a pseudo Baptist minister preached one Sabbath at the Howard school-house; after sermon he gave out that on a certain time, he would preach a sermon to prove sprinkling right, instead of immersion, and wished the people each to bring their bibles. Elder Bowles had listend with attention, but chose not to get into disputation; he exclaimed with his usual eccentric manner, the people might as well bring their almanac with them. It was said, this remark accomplished more in the minds of the people, than a long time spent in a theological discussion; it showed them that a prayerful investigation after the truth as they had been doing, would lead them farther into the light to know duty, than all the ministerial discussion that could be got up. A young brother in the ministry once said to him, father Bowles, what would become of me, if I should be as odd as you are? You would go to hell. It was a short and prompt answer, but its true meaning was, the young brother would have to affect, what was perfectly natural and spontaneous with Elder Bowles, and it would turn him off from the simple, genuine spirit of the gospel.
HIS THEOLOGICAL VIEWS were plain and simple, and his fiigures peculiar to himself; and if sometimes there was wit, there was no lack of solemnity, and if by it he gained a victory over an opponent, there was no glorying with him, merely for the honor of glorying. Like the good Apostle he could say, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Jesus Christ my Lord." At one time while in Dickinson, a Methodist minister called on him to enjoy a christian conversation; it turned on the sanctification of believers; the minister contended that after
the sinner is pardoned and justified, a new work of conviction in burden for depravity is begun in the soul, and carried on until it results in sanctification. To this, Elder Bowles objected, and being asked by the minister how long he supposed it was between justification and sanctification, the Elder replied: Bring me a good live maple coal, and I will put a spoon-full of good powder on it, and if you can tell me how long it is between the touch and the flash, I will tell you how long it is between justification and sanctification. This gives his idea of the subject that as justification is completed, sanctification begins, and thus the soul goes on to perfection. As his early christian association was with the Baptists, he early imbibed some of their Calvinistic sentiments, which he ever after retained, notwithstanding ding he became identified with a denomination whose views were strictly Armenian. Still he never came into any unpleasant collision with his brethren, on any point of theological difference; his ready wit and friendly manner, always in a christian spirit, kept him in good fellowship with them.
LIBERALITY was a trait in his character. As far as he had the temporal means, he was always ready to aid the afflicted, and any needing help. It was said of him that if a brother, to his knowledge, was under embarrassment, if it took his last dollar, it went freely to aid him. Not with the intention of usury, for many a dollar of his pension went to relieve others without note or security. It seemed to be his aim and desire to live to do good to men both soul and body, without any selfish interest to control him in his action. But he was rich in faith, and an inheritance of unfading glory. He could truly say with the poet:
"Nothing on earth I call my own,
A stranger, to the world unknown,
I all their goods despise.
I trample on their whole delight,
And seek a city out of sight,
A city in the skies.
There is my home and portions fair,
My treasure and my heart is there,
And my abiding home.
For me my elder brethren stay,
And Angels beckon me away,
And Jesus bids me come."
His faith and confidence in God, was in true religious sentiment. He was bold and fearless, yet not in selfish obstinence. But when he would venture forward and seem to hazard everything of life and safety, it was in trustful obedience to God. At one time, when it was the intention of a mob to injure him, he was earnestly entreated by a young man who was informed of all the movement not to go to his meeting at that place. But without any appearance of faltering, he said, "I shall certainly go and do my duty, and God will take care of me." He did go, and God did take care of him, and made that good man the instrument of the salvation of some of that mob, proving the truth of the Bible that "all things shall work together for good to them that love God.' He "feared not man who after they had killed the body, could do no more,["] but with filial love he "feared that God who after he had killed the body, could cast both soul and body into hell." Would to God that every gospel minister possessed such a humble, trustful spirit.
To conclude this memoir, dear reader, may we not hope that both the writer and reader may enjoy much of that spirit that gave our dear departed brother such a triumphant
passage through life. Doubtless some of the readers of this volume, have breathed a silent desire that they may die the happy death of Elder Bowles, that they might have the same confidence in God, the same assurance of a blessed immortality, and the same blessed views of Heaven as an eternal home. But, dear reader, these blessings are not attained by simply wishing for them. It requires the action of the soul in studious obedience to God in the duties of religion. Balaam exclaimed "let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his," but for the want of right, active obedience, on his part, we have no assurance that his prayer was ever granted, or his desire ever attained. If we would be spiritual and enjoy constant communion with God, we must love to enjoy the works of nature. One writer has said with much truthfulness, "Nature is the best place to exereise the praying spirit. The silent grove, the velvet lawn bedecked with flowers, the shaded brook, the mountain cleft, the works of God, are wonderfully calculated to impress his being and his attributes on the soul of man." If we as christians were as spiritually minded as we are capable of being, we might hold more direct and constant communion with God and good spirits, and they would be our spiritual conductors and companions in secret devotion. What is it but walking with with God as did Enoch, until God took him. What is it but talking with God, as did Abraham! What is it but wrestling with God, as did Jacob! And what is it but walking in the footsteps of the great Redeemer up the summit of Olivet, and bending 'neath the sparkling canopy of Heaven, at Mercy's Altar! Such a course of action now would afford the church the opportunity of enjoying a living gospel ministry.
To the Memory of Elder Charles Bowles, by Mrs. Wealthy W. Stanton,
of Pierpont, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y.
The memory of the just is blest,
Though 'neath the dust his ashes lie,
And memory faithful to her trust,
Turns fondly back to days gone by
I never saw his aged form,
Nor heard his messages of love,
Though dark his brow, his soul was white,
As those who dwell in light above.
Yet I have seen his lowly cot,
Although it now in ruin lies,
And many as they pass that spot,
Will gaze on it with tearful eyes.
It is not in some lovely vale,
'Tis not with moss or ivy crowned,
But where the good man lives or dies,
Methinks it must be hallowed ground.
Beauties of nature as of art,
Can never make a mortal blest,
He had a palace in his heart,
And Jesus was its only guest.
That day will never be forgot,
When to the pulpit he was led,
And stood a monument of grace,
Between the living and the dead.
How often did the tear-drops start,
Unbidden from his sightless eyes,
To think that many a wretched soul,
Would slight the Savior's love and die.
And when that mournful hymn he said,
Tears filled full many a gazing eye,
To think that tall and reverend head,
So soon beneath the turf must lie.
Farewell, my friends, farewell, he said,
My toils on earth are almost o'er,
Full well I know like Paul of old,
That we shall meet on earth no more.
Oft from the beautiful Champlain,
To the St. Lawrence' rolling tide,
Those lovely wilds I've traveled o'er,
And preached the Savior crucified.
But I shall tread those wilds no more,
Bright Angels whisper this to me;
My sightless eyes shall soon unclose,
And I my Savior's beauties see.
Now he has laid his armor by,
And gained his long-sought happy rest,
His spirit stands before the throne,
And sings among the happy blest.
And many a sinner saved by grace,
The offspring of his faithful prayer,
Shall glitter in his spotless crown,
Which then shall deck his forehead there.
On the death of Elder Charles Bowles, by Smith Crary, of Pierpont,
Come all my friends both far and near,
Who loved the man who sought your souls,
Come drop the sympathizing tear,
And weep with me for father Bowles.
For days and weeks and months and years,
He plead with sinners to repent,
While every prayer was wet with tears,
And every sermon as he went,
From town to town, from State to State,
He still kept up the constant cry,
Repent, repent ere 'tis too late,
Prepare my friends, prepare to die.
He preached with power, and always plain,
That made the cold professors quake,
He never preached for filthy gain,
But for the dying sinner's sake.
His sight alas, at length grew dim,
His voice grew husky to, and dry,
He had a son, he sent for him,
To come and see his father die.
The aged Patriarch called his son,
And took his Charley by the hand,
Your father's race is almost run,
And he is near the spirit land.
But Charles when father is no more,
When in the grave his ashes lie,
Tell others that they may adore,--
That father wan't afraid to die.
Bright Angels are from glory come,
And hover round my dying bed,
To take me to my blessed home,
As soon as ever I am dead.
Thus died this holy man of God,
Thus calm he sunk into his rest,
And though he lies beneath the clod,
No doubt he sings among the blest.
A faith like his, gold cannot buy,
Nor all the wealth beneath the poles,
If in such triumph you would die,
Then you must live like father Bowles.
The sentiment uttered by the great Apostle Paul, in his admirable addess to the Athenians, contained in Acts 17th; 26th, "That God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the earth," is worthy the man and the christian. And a corresponding sentiment in the American Declaration of Independence, "That all men are created free and equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuits of happiness," is worthy the patriot and the statesman. But the most absurd idea of the present age, in the minds of many of the human race, is in the sentiment, that the standard to judge a man's ability, and mental capacity to enjoy, and appreciate these blessings supported by self-evident truth, depends on his color or nationality; that one man has a right to throw aside his obligation to universal brotherhood, a proscribe a human being on account of his color, a cause over which he has no control.
It is insisted by American prejudice, that natural instinct In the human character leads one man to hate another
of a different color, as a matter of physical necessity; that the intention of God in the creating and diversifying the human race was to have set up between them a barrier, guarded by absolute hate, and supported by absolute will. This sentiment is incorporated into the theological creed of the American church, into the political system of American democracy, and into the civil jurisprudence of American law, and the social and domestic organization of American society; manifesting a spirit that well might shame the whole range of European Despotism, and aiming to drive the colored man from within the pale of human society. This spirit combines the priest and politician, with all the corruptness of political and ecclesiastical action of this American nation, in an attempt to unman the African race and doom them to a miserable degradation. Thank God, the privilege of man to enjoy "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," is based on quite a different foundation, involving the great principles of infinite right, and demanding finite acquiescence to Divine benevolence.
If the wisdom of God has diversified the human race in complexion, habit, both national and local, his justice holds man responsible only for his moral conduct in the formation of his moral character, and on nothing more in his own existence has he control; and there cannot be any conceivable right under any circumstance in life, for one to prevent another from improving his moral, mental, or physical condition by the exercise of the faculties which God his Maker has given him. The existence of right is coeval with the Divine government, and right is right, God's no more, man's no less. God's right cannot abridge man's right, much less, man destroy his fellow-man's. In the support and administration of the universal
government, God has power to create and destroy; his power is unquestionable. But Infinite justice and Divine mercy stand between his power and my right, and he has no power to destroy my right and the privilege of my manhood, on account of my color, a cause in my existence for which he, and not myself, is wholly responsible.
Government grows out of the wants and necessities of our natures, not by arbitrary appointment, but as a matter of necessity. God proclaimed from Mount Sinai, in all the majesty and glory of his great name, the principles embodying the great organic code of his moral government, and which should be the corner stone of all human governments, whether a Theocracy, a Monarchy, or a Republic, and Christ re-proclaimed the same without taking away any of its obligation on man's part, or lessening the claims of the Divine government. In Matthew 7th: 12th, Christ says, "Therefore all things that ye would that men do to you, do ye also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
My natural rights is a gift of my Maker, growing out of my nature, and my relation to him. I have a right to read, write, work, in that way and department of labor that I like best, and use the avails of my labor in that way which is most satisfactory to my own mind; and go where I please. But in doing all this, I have no right to infringe on my neighbor's rights or withhold amenability the Divine government. If then my fellow-men authorizing government to exercise arbitrary will over me it is a usurped and wicked dominion that is no law, not being founded in justice, and impartial justice demands the trampling such enactments under foot, as being opposed to God and humanity. For no power on earth, acting under any legal authority, can trample down my
right, without stepping over the boundaries of God's dominion. But the attempt to identify the Throne of God with the throne of iniquity, is one prominent feature of American depravity. And the attempt of civil government under a pretended sanction of the Divine authority, to legalize a system of wrong, to make it right, for the convenience of others in arbitrary will, tends to weaken the grand structure of christianity.
Infinite benevolence has always characterized all the efforts of God to benefit the human race, and could I believe that God, after creating me with faculties as a man, and a heart to feel, and a soul to be benefitted by that religion whose author was sung in the rapture of the heavenly host, saying "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will to men;" and then stamp me with a colored skin as a black man, and by an act of arbitrary power despise his own work, and create in a white man, a principle in spirit to hate, abuse and injure me, to gratify his pride, and wicked ambition, it would destroy in my mind at once, all love and reverence to that God as a good being. I should be persuaded to believe, that the christian religion had become greatly corrupted by supreme selfishness and tradition, contrary to the spirit of God; or that God is an unjust, unmerciful, and inconsistent being; or that all things in the universe exist without a God, and are controlled by its own power, independent of Infinite will, and that the God and Devil of this world are combined in one, in the wicked, cruel disposition of men in their control of the governments of the world.--This I feel, and say as a colored man, and as a representative of the African race, and in defiance of a corrupt public opinions. I say it on the truth of eternal right. Human nature is human nature, the world over, in the
black man as well as the white. And in human nature are the elements to form human character, in moral excellence, by the power and exercise of the intellectual and moral faculties in all the different races of men--the opinion of American despotism and American prejudice based on negro-hate, to the contrary notwithstanding.
Now all the base villiany that has attempted to snap the chain of human brotherhood, and involve the human family in hatred, is without the sanction of the God of Heaven. Like good Abraham, in true and fraternal fellowship with his Maker, we can say, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right." Our religious sentiments teach our minds the great idea of right in the Infinite; hence whether we are thrown out of society, like the good John in banishment on the Isle of Patmos, or the multitude of Hindoos around the temple of Juggernaut, or the Indian in the western wild, bending to the Great Spirit, or the Native African, bowing to the serpent, or the many tribes of the earth in the darkness and superstition of heathen mythology, bowing to their uncouth idols, the divinity of the moral government of God, reaches the conscience, and dictates the sentiment of right, however much perverted human nature and the influence of sinful habits may lead them away from the true God.
Truth and justice are intuitive perceptions in the human soul, and even where there is no system of civil government, conscience often enforces these observances. But in coming into the United States, in the nineteenth century, a nation professing to acknowledge the Divine government, and talking of right in Congress, in the Legislature, Southern rights, and Northern rights, rights of Capitalist, of the Mechanic, the Manufacturer, and the Agriculturist, yes every body's rights are talked about,
but nobody's rights are understood properly. A sort of judicial blindness obscures the moral perceptions of the great mass of the people of this nation, because of the supreme selfishness that leads man to infringe on his neighbor's rights, to promote his own purposes; many of the people tread the holy courts of the Lord, and hear read and sung the following lines:--
"Blessed Redeemer how Divine,
How righteous is rule of thine,
Never to deal with others worse,
Than we would have them deal with us.
This golden lesson short and plain,
Gives not the mind or memory pain,
And every conscience must approve,
This universal law of love.
'Tis written in each mortal breast,
Where all our tenderest wishes rest."
Nothing can be more beautifully sublime than the language and sentiment of this poetical exhibition of the golden rule of the Redeemer of the world. And happy would it be for the American nation if it were something more than mere rhetorical flourish, or a splendid theory. This sentiment practically maintained, would abolish war; it would give a death blow to intemperance, and it would raze the citadel of despotism to the ground. It would proclaim this country the asylum, where love, the tenderest plant in Eden's garden, would fill every soul with a fragrance that would give joy to all the inhabitants of Zion. Honestly then every one should say, "One is our Master, even Christ, and all we are brethren. Enjoying one great plan of redemption, justification, and sanctification, through the spirit of the living God; and supporting the noble Apostolic declaration, "Neither
Jew, nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but all one in Christ Jesus." These sentiments are the cardinal virtues and excellences of bible christianity, designed to support the mighty structure of christian benevolence, and fraternity between man and man, of all the human race.
Physical Condition of the African Race, as compared with the other
Races of the Human Family.
It is extremely humiliating to American pride and arrogance, to be obliged to acknowledge the African race as a part of the human family, and in equality, in physical, intellectual and moral goodness, to be obliged by the obligation of universal brotherhood, to sustain fraternity with them as sentient beings. Many are in almost open rebellion with the Divine government of God. And the monopolizing proscription, a legitimate fruit of American despotism, will condemn the sentiment let it come from what source it may, if it dare advocate the equality of the human race, in the right to the enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The honorable position of the Hon. Wm. H. Seward, of New York, in the Senate of the United States Congress, did not screen him from the aspersion of the enemies of freedom, when he dared utter the noble sentiment in that body, that "There is a Law above the Constitution of this Nation.["] It was condemned not only by the dominant political power of the nation, in its base subserviency to Southern slavery. The popular, current religion, and the popular current literature of the whole country, aid in condemning Mr. Seward's sentiment, as dangerous to the interest of the nation, for their pulpit and presses, with unblushing effrontery to the Divine government, have raised the cry of treason, in
concert with the voice of political demagogueism in the country. The Rev. D. D. Whedon, an esteemed Methodist minister, and a popular Professor in the Michigan University, has recently been made to feel the inquisitorial power of the popular, current religion, literature and politics of the country, by an expulsion from his place and standing with the Faculty of that College, for daring to preach the sentiments of the higher law from the pulpit.
It is insisted that there must have been more than one Head or Representative of the human races; that the 800,000,000 or 900,000,000 human beings on this globe, and speaking some 1,200 languages, and also diversified in color, from the blackest African to the whitest European, could not have obtained an existence from one Parental source. But all reasoning on this point is mere speculation, for whatever was as the Parentage of the human race originally, the Deluge left Noah at the head of the human family, from whom the earth is now peopled. So that the oft-repeated declaration that the African race descended from Cain, is absurd. It is said "the unnatural, and wicked conduct of Cain towards his brother Abel, brought down on him the displeasure of his God, and that he was marked by a black skin." But this is begging the question, and stating points without authority; for there is no proof that the original complexion of our first Parents was any nearer the European, than the African race, and if the mark on Cain was the color of the body, it is just as likely to be a white as a black one.
And if an ugly, unnatural disposition is the result of that curse, is not the European on a level with the African? Has not jealousy, hatred and revenge, marked the conduct of the one as well as the other? Has not the pathway of human life of all nations been darkened by
deeds of crime? Has not the soil of Europe, Asia and America, been stained by the blood of murdered brothers, as well as Africa? Has not human nature alike been vitiated by the original transgression of Adam? And, does not the Apostolic declaration of Peter before the household of Cornelius the Centurion, apply to man without regard to color, "Of a truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness is accepted with him."
And as in the bible declaration, man is made but a little lower than the Angels, in his condition as man, whatever be his color, his manhood bears him up in noble dignity above all the other animal creation, and viewed in his mechanical construction he is a mystery to himself. The frame of bones skillfully put together, to be willed into motion, is a master-piece of Infinite wisdom; this frame covered with muscles, forming a part of his existence, is supplied by a beautiful chemical process in himself, in operating the aliment carried into the stomach as the great and well skilled laboratory within him; then the arrangement of the nerves throughout the whole system, as a sort of telegraphic communication to the soul; the blood vessels to convey the vital stream which contains animal life to all parts of the system; the heart, the great reservoir with its hydraulic principle to keep in perpetual motion the pulsation; all fitly and wisely arranged, and this whole system covered with a skin to guard it. Now in viewing this wonderful material construction of the human body, where is there any difference but simply in the covering of the body, an effect that classes and distinguishes the human race nationally; but which cannot add or detract from the perfection of their physical construction. This covering consists of three parts, viz: 1st,
"The cuticle or scarf-skin; 2d, the reto mucorsum, and 3d, the cutis. The 2d lies between the 1st and 3d, and contains the color;" so that it is not in the flesh, blood, bones, or the muscles, of which the human body is composed. Here is a phenomena, truly a philosophical wonder in the human existence. We see the effect, but the cause lies beyond the scope of finite minds. A great Infinite and Eternal God, has wisely arranged all this, and an attack on color or any peculiar diversity in national existence, is an attack on his Infinite prerogative, and the assault must in the end recoil on themselves, and will fix a guilt on their characters which must be answered to at the Judgment.
As the coloring is in the covering of the body, it cannot effect those laws peculiar to human beings, for the great principles of physical law, supported by Anatomy, Physiology, and Phrenology, are alike in all human beings, in natural or original character, irrespective of color. But national or local habits affecting the treatment of the body in its physical condition, will have a controlling influence in the development of the physical man. This, united with the geographical locations, subjecting the body to different atmospheric temperatures, gives different character and appearance to the human system. Not that I would be understood as saying, in my opinion, that this is the whole and sole cause of the difference in complexion of the human race, without Infinite design for purposes fitly adapted to human convenience. But it is argued farther, that "the African is wholly inferior to the European, as his color subjects him to a hot climate, where a natural imbecility incapacitates him to rank with intelligent beings." If this idea be carried to that extent, that the nature and condition of the colored it man, compels
him to a hot climate simply on account of color, I declare it false. I know by experience as a colored man, my physical habits having been formed in a cold and Northern climate, the ability to endure depends on an acclimated life, and if the physical habits of a white and colored man be formed alike in early life, in a tropical climate, they will be equally affected in a frigid climate, and so vice versa.
Another point is important to be well understood. All human bodies are subject alike to the same disease, and the color of the body does not require any variation in medical treatment, that is, in the same locality. I know that the principle of medical science is differently understood by different nations, in different stages of mental improvement, and diseases assume different character according to the different climates and modes of living, on all races alike, where the early habits are formed alike. In the American or European cities, where the population is made up of people of different nations, and forming quite a heterogeneous mass, in refined improvement, the manner of living becomes more complex, and consequently diseases become more complex in the human system, and a complex medical treatment is necessary. In the rural districts of the American or European civilized or enlightened countries, or in the rude and barbarous states of society in all parts of the world, a more simple or natural mode of living, gives to disease a more simple character. Hence where man is alike circumstanced irrespective of color, there are the same physical characteristics, and in whatever state or condition of society they live, all have a system of medical science, and nature teaches all to go to earth's great laboratory either in the mineral or vegetable department, and find remedies for all diseases of the
body. And all the advantage the American or European has over the African or Indian, is, that civilization, and art, combined with native genius, has enabled them to systematize the theory and methodize the practice, in a more tangible manner; and yet they are not always more successful in their treatment.
Now I suppose some will still object to the idea of equality of the races, on the ground that, "they are not equal In strength, in intelligence, and in talent." To convey the idea that the peasant is equal with the prince, the slave with the rich planter, or the weak and imbecile governments of some of the African, Asiatic, or European nations with the more powerful nations of the earth, in moral or physical ability naturally, is absurd in the mind of modern despotism, because aristocracy cannot live without distinction? Well let us examine this point a moment, and see if it cannot be shown by history, that individuals in different nations, at different periods of the world's history, in poverty, obscurity and apparently inferior talent, and looked down upon with scorn and indifference, by their more powerful neighbors, have not by dint of native talent and self-exertion risen to honor and distinction. And I ask, are the Europeans above others in this? I answer, No! What gave Russia the power over the rude Circassian, to hold them as a part of that Empire in such base servility? It was art and civilization, giving the proud Russian intelligence over the Circassian, and nothing in the argument of superior natural ability; for when the Circassian in his turn became intelligent, he dared throw off Russian rule and assert his right as a man. What gave England power over the poor China-man, to band their iron wills to British rule? It was the intelligence of England. So it is in the entire
history of the human race, so that the superiority of one class over an inferior one, is only the result of improved opportunity in becoming intelligent, in the progress of civilization.
But again, the inferiority of the African race, is urged on the plea that they being the descendants of Ham, subjects them to the curse pronounced by Noah on Canaan. This is used in justification of American slavery. I know that Africa is denominated the land of Ham, and the colored man wherever he is met, is called the son of Ham. But to attach a stigma to that, and degrade him in slavery for that piece of history in the transaction in the domestic concerns of Noah, is absurd, and shows a want of knowledge of the peopleing of the earth. That a curse was pronounced by Noah, is not to be denied; and that Ham was the sub-representative from Noah of the African nation is true. But it must be borne in mind, that the curse fell only on one branch of Ham's family by declaration, viz: Canaan, his youngest son. For he had four sons, viz: Cush, Misraim, Phut, and Canaan. After the flood, Noah built a vineyard, and by a singular mishap, became drunk by the wine of it. Ham one of his sons discovered his plight, and in an indiscreet manner, made it a subject of ridicule to his brothers, Shem and Japheth. They by turning their backs on their father's shame, covered him. The history of it is found in the 9th chapter of Genesis, from the 18th to the 29th verse. In the 25th verse it is said, "Cursed be Canaan a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren." In the 27th verse it is said, "God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant." Now why the curse of Noah should rest on Ham's youngest son Canaan, is involved in mystery, and
cannot be accounted for, except on the supposition that Canaan possessed more than the other sons, the disposition of his father--was more than the rest the idol of his father, and that a declaration against him would be a keener affliction to Ham, than if it had been against himself.
The displeasure of Noah with Ham, and the curse pronounced on Canaan, did not disinherit either. For in the division of the earth, between Noah's family, Shem had the East and South of Asia, Ham had Syria, Arabia and Africa, Japheth had the North and West of Asia and Europe. Canaan had eleven sons; he settled them in Asia, in that part called Canaan, after his own name. From them sprang the Jebusites, the Hiveits, the Girgasites, the Amorites, &c., &c. When God called Abraham out of Chaldea, and showed him all this land, he promised it to him and his seed to possess it. Now Abraham was a descendant of Shem, and ninth in generation from him. After many eventful periods connected with the history of Abraham's posterity, God brought them out of Egyptian bondage, by a mighty and strong arm, and gave them the possession literally of the land of Canaan. The Canaanites were mostly destroyed, or brought into bondage by them, in fulfillment of Noah's declaration, and God's covenant with Abraham. But some of the descendants of Canaan, were not in servile bondage to the Jews, but merely tributary to them, and some enjoyed great friendship from the Jews, as did the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon. Sidon was built by Sidon, eldest son of Canaan, and Tyre was built subsequent to it, by Sidon's descendants. Here Hiram, King of Tyre, reigned cotemporaneously with King David, and Solomon, Jewish monarchs. Hiram aided much by men and materials, in
building the Temple at Jerusalem. The Phoenicians sprang from the Canaan branch of Noah's family, and connected with the Tyrean government, and the royal diadem was in Hiram's family until the Phoenicians with one whole Tyrean government was swallowed up in the Chaldean or Babylonian empire. And many of the Canaanites under the declaration of Noah, in bondage to the Jews, were by the proselyte system of that nation, merged into the system of Jewish theocracy, and became eminent in that nation.
The Carthagenians were also descendants of the Canaan branch of Ham's family. For during the sovereignty of Pygmalion, seventh in reign from Hiram, over the Tyrean government, Sichæus, possessing great riches and power, awakened the jealousy of his brother-in-law, king Pygmalion, who by an artful manoeuvre, in one of their ports in the chase, contrived to have Sichæus pierced through with a dart. After his death, Dido his widow, sister to the king Pygmalion, fearing the immense wealth she inherited from her husband might involve her in difficulty with her brother, managed to get her treasury conveyed away from the Tyrean government, and with a colony passed over into the North part of Africa, and laid the foundation of the mighty empire of Carthage, a nation that flourished in splendor until it became merged into the Roman empire.
This was the first and only colony of Canaan's descendants that ever settled in Africa. And the history of some of the mightiest nations on earth, as descendants of Ham, proves that Divine Providence, did not at any time recognize distinction between the Ham, Shem, or Japheth branches of Noah's family. As cotemporaries in civil and ecclesiastical fame, there were some of great renown.
Each contributed an equal share of physical and intellectual strength, in laying the foundation of human greatness. Nimrod, grandson of Ham, laid the foundation, and built the city of Babylon, 2229 years before Christ. Coeval with it, the city of Ninevah, the capital of ancient Assyria, was built by Asher, son of Shem, and 2d cousin to Nimrod, in 120 years after the Babylonian and Assyrian nations were united into one government, by Ninus. And after his death, Semiramis his wife, succeeded him in the government, and ruled the nation with great ability. 2188 B. C., Menas eldest son of Misraim, and grandson of Ham, and cousin of Nimrod, laid the foundation of Egypt, and raised up a powerful government.
The settlement of Ethiopia was by the Cush branch of Ham's family. Their first settlement was on the Persian Gulf. They then spread over India and apart of Arabia, particularly that part laying on the coast of the Red Sea. As they increased as a nation, some of them passed into Egypt, and became somewhat identified with the descendants of Misraim; and finally they settled the country south of Egypt, called Ethiopia, as well as Nubia, and Abyssinia. They became so scattered they were denominated Oriental or Asiatic Ethiopians, and African Ethiopians. They retained a national resemblance, only the former had straight and long hair, while of the latter on going from an Asiatic to an African hot climate, the hair became curly. Xerxes the great Persian monarch, in fitting out his great Grecian expedition, had some of both in his army. They were all called Ethiopians, although there was this continental distinction. The Ethiopians had a Monarchy, and in the 8th chapter of Acts, reference is made to one of the Queens of that country. The Abyssinians were near akin to the Ethiopians, and those
countries contiguous. The Abyssinians embraced the christian religion about the year 300, when Frumentius was raised to a high office in this country by the Queen of Ethiopia. He was ordained Bishop of that country by Athanasias, Patriarch of Alexandria. Their religious creed was that Christ possessed only one Nature, a Divine, and that the Human was absorbed in it. In the triumph of the Saracens, the church of Abyssinia was lost sight of until nearly the close of the fifteenth century; John II, King of Portugal, accidentally got some knowledge of their ancient history, and opened a correspondence with them in behalf of the Catholic faith. Great pains were taken to bring them under the temporal and spiritual rule of the Pope of Rome, but to no avail. The faint glimmering of their primitive faith is seen in the nation, through a correspondence between the late King Atsa Takley Gorges, and the British Consul in Egypt. The way has been opened and a portion of the Holy Scriptures has been printed in the Ethiopian language, by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
Now the proud Anglo-Saxon may turn away in scorn from the descendants of Cush; they may curl the lip in bitter contempt at the sable brow of the Ethiopian or Abyssinian, but thank God, they cannot annihilate front memory a history of the past; and if Shem and Japheth have got to the summit of civilization, and literary fame, Ham is at their heels. If we go back to ancient history, we shall find Euclid in the family of Ham, and one of the most celebrated Mathematicians; at Alexandria, he founded one of the most celebrated Mathematical schools in the world. His writings on Music and Geometry, with his fifteen books on Mathematics are greatly celebrated both in ancient and modern history. Euclid, in the American
or European colleges, is in high repute, and some of his works have gone through numerous editions.
The foundation of Greece, so celebrated in literary fame, was laid by the descendants of Shem; but the Cush and Misraim branches of the Ham family helped elevate it in national prosperity. Sicyon, the first settlement, was made by Egialtes. Other settlements of colonies enabled them in a few years to establish a nation, with a dynasty which lasted about 300 years; but the nation did not flourish. Danaus, an Egyptian, overthrew the first, and established a second dynasty. Cecropes, also an Egyptian, laid the foundation and built the city of Athens, and Cadmus a Phoenician, built Thebes, and introduced into Greece an Alphabet of sixteen letters; afterward eight more were added, making twenty-four; it was about 1519 B. C. Greece could soon boast of a Homer, a Hesiod, Herodotus, and Lycurgus, of the Spartan branch of the nation. Greece was indebted to descendants of Ham for helping the Shem and Japheth posterity to make her what she was in all the glory of literature, and the descendants of Ham are not now in a modern age, without representatives to prove distinguished ability in literature, science, and civil government. Among some of the distinguished divines and writers, descendants of the Ham branch of Noah's family, is Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in Africa. As a scholar and christian he was eminent.
Tertullian and Cyprian, were natives of Carthage in Africa, and Origen a native of Alexandria, were all three celebrated scholars and divines in the christian church. These, with a host of others of the Ham descent, give to the world ample proof that with the descendants of Shem and Japheth, they did much to elevate the inhabitants of the world in civil and ecclesiastical government, and expand
the human intellect in strength by the power of literature and science. But I have not the space in this essay to go into the history of Ham's race with such fullness and accuracy as could be desired, in their distant history of the past; but enough is said to show the proud Anglo Saxon race of the human family, that all of Ham's blood has not run in the veins of the lowest rank of African life, and that it did run in mutual relationship between Ethiopian, Egyptian, Phoenician, Babylonian, Philistian, Colchian, and Sidonian, or with the most poplar nations of Shem and Japheth. I have denied the curse of Cain or Canaan, as resting on the a African, as the cause of their color or degredation. I have also spoken of several nations and individuals, as going out of one family, to show the probability that geographical location and difference of climate, must have had the effect to cause the diversity of the human appearance, as to color and features, for even on the African continent there is a great difference. The jet black Madagascar presents quite a contrast with the white African Albino race. The Moors, the Egyptian, the Hottentot, the Ethiopian of the interior, the Arab, all have peculiar national characteristics, both in complexion and physical appearance, and the laws of hereditary descent has wonderfully maintained those national characteristics peculiar to those nations, in every country where they have been scattered.
In physical endurance and enjoyment, they have shown themselves not inferior to the European race. The colored man has stood beside the white man in toil and hardship, in mid-summer heat, and mid-winter cold, by sea and land, and with him braved the most imminent danger, and his arm has moved the implements of mechanical, agricultural and commercial labor, both to endure and
enjoy in equal capacity with the European. They have been borne down and stigmatized for the last three or four centuries, by a cruel proscriptive spirit, that has instilled into the mind of the present generation, the idea that they are the worst part of the human family; and it would be a wonder if some of the African race should not fall into the idea that they must be as a matter of necessity below the rest of the human family. But this is a fact worthy of consideration, that this country as well as Europe, are indebted to the African race for endurance in physical strength in the cultivation of the soil, and the enriching the nation. And it will be a marvel if at the Judgment of God, in the revealing the 26th chapter and 21st verse of Isaiah, the blood of the poor African does not appear to the guilt of the American nation. Yes! the poor Indian and African, has had to endure much suffering and bloodshed; enough to sink this nation in infamy, and it is a question in the mind of many, why an Infinite God can allow such a violation of human rights, and so much physical suffering, and so much blood-stained soil. I find a great consolation in this selection of the holy bible in 2d Peter 3d: 5th. But while they endure so much in toil, no people on earth enjoy more or are capable of enjoying more physically. The proof of this is seen in their extra exertions in being free from tyranny, and in the exercise of their bodies as free men.
The declaration of some that the African is willing to be in slavery, is false; it is contrary to his human nature. And it is proved false, by oft-repeated cases of absconding from slavery to British soil, to enjoy physical and mental freedom. Such a declaration is one of the mean subterfuges to which the tyrant and his abettors are driven
when pressed by Infinite justice and truth on the great question of right between man and man. God created every man with all the elements and spirit of freedom woven in every fibre of his existence; with human rights written on the whole volume of his human nature. His body is only to bear about his manhood. If by the operation of slavery, one being of the human family whatever be his color, becomes so far reduced in ignorance and forgetful of his obligation to himself, and his God, as to be willing to be a slave, and consent to inferiority, so much the more the guilt of the nation that upholds it. But remove all the evil effects of slavery, as well as slavery itself--strike down its black flag, and unfurl the banner of freedom in the name of humanity--let the pure generous spirit of christian philanthropy prevail, and there is not an African in the nation but would be far happier in the enjoyment of freedom, than in slavery. And I hazard nothing, in saying that this day, the three millions of slaves in bondage now in this nation, in their embittered condition, rendered inferior not by the laws of nature, but by the physical force of arbitrary power, are kept so without their choice, by the combined civil, political and military power of the nation. While the unscrupulous, time-serving, popular American christianity, keeps public opinion continually against them. This corrupt public opinion every colored man of has to feel and endure in almost every turn of life.
The Moral Character and Condition of the African Race.
Mankind, irrespective of National character, or color, the constitutionally moral, and naturally religious.--agree with Fowler, that "piety of some kind, and
religion in some form, have ever constituted one of the leading motives, and one of the all-engrossing pursuits, of mankind." There is no condition of savage or barbarous state of human life, but what history or tradition carries the mind back to the antediluvian age of the world, where an acquaintance with God was more familiar than at the present age. The conceited Chinese, the degraded Ethiopian, the benighted Hindoo, the wild and noble Son of the Forest, all have entered into the texture of their minds the ideas of an infinite God; and the moral faculties are located above all the animal propensities, so that the most degraded savage is not without conscientiousness and veneration, which lead him to love and admire diviner objects in the universe of God. They see a God in the sun, moon, or stars, in the fire, or water, or the polished or uncouth objects of human invention. All excite and interest the human mind. Although so many are involved in Heathen Mythology and Pagan Darkness, in the grossest ignorance, I doubt if there be a nation or tribe on all the continent of Africa, from the most degraded Hotentot, to the more civilized and improved Egyptian, or the half-civilized Moor, but have some intentional motives of right, under the guide of the moral faculties. The fires on the altars of Carthage, Abyssinia, and Ethiopia, kindled by Ciprian, Augustine, Origen, Dyonisius, and others, still flicker, and through tradition reflect some faint rays to the minds of the sable inhabitants, under the control of nature's laws. Now the question is, does the operation of transportation, in all the horrors of the middle passage, and the degrading effect of absolute despotism in a land foreign from their native home, prove a blessing or a curse to Africa? The question is easily answered. It is a curse. For what Paganism begun in the dark age of barbarism
in Africa, American civilization completes. That is the destruction of human dignity, the unmanning man of his manhood; for the tenure by which the African is held in this nation, is, that slaves are not to be ranked with rational or sentient beings, but are to be "deemed sold, taken, and reputed to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners and possessors, their executors, administrators and assigns, to all intents, constructions and purposes whatsoever." I doubt if any portion of Shem or Japheth's posterity, in the same position as the African descendant of Ham, would stand higher in an enlightened world. Bar every door to mental and physical improvement, to the Englishman or American, set in motion the whole machinery of despotism on them, turn the scoff and obloquy of the whole civilized world against them, and thus embitter their condition for four centuries, by turning against them the entire military, political and civil power of the world, and the degraded condition of their ancestors, the ancient Gauls, would be far above them. They would be as low as the most degraded African in this country. And yet, even now, amidst all the power of despotism, with all its legitimate evils, manhood is not destroyed in the African race. In domestic and social life, there is as much virtue, according to their numbers, as among the whites, either North or South.
But in domestic habits of refined life, there is as pure and mutual affection, whether parental, conjugal or affianced, in the pledge of love from sex to sex, as among any class of the whites. It is often that the enraged feelings of a colored man in slavery have clung with desperation to the miserable hut where was the wife of his mutual love, and the children, the pledges of their love. And the tears coursing down his check was a sure indication
that there struggled in the man a noble sentiment of moral worth. And when the unbridled passion and libertine spirit of the slave tyrant, wielding the power of irresponsible despotism over his poor victim, attempted to outrage the innocent female slave, her affianced affection to a kindred spirit in slavery enabled her to resolutely resist the master, and subject herself to the cruel lash. True, they are not all so, neither are the whites. Human nature is human nature, the world over, in all nations, whatever be the color. And when that human nature has become corrupted by immorality, by the predominance of the animal propensities, It becomes vicious and unhappy.
In social life, the African has shown himself mutual and sincere, in friendship. He has gone beyond what many Europeans would do, by consenting to "suffer wrong rather than do wrong;" and often in the wretchedness of slavery has the poor African drawn upon the affection of the younger portion of the slaveholding community by his warm affection in social and domestic life. Let mankind of all colors and conditions into the native element of their existence, open every avenue of the human soul for a spontaneous outgushing of pure, generous nature, and native instinct leads the mind into the enjoyment of the law of reciprocity, and has done much to prove the identity of human existence. But let those laws be trampled down by arbitrary power, to make way for caste, in the element of popular communities, let sociability be theorised and refined and man taken out of his native element, and the exercise of his faculties under the control of wealth, honor or supreme selfishness, and he has no right to complain of God or the colored man, if there is a wide expanse between the races, for it is the work of art
and not of nature, and it is as uncongenial to human nature as it is contrary to the justice of the Divine Law. And it is not a hard matter to show that it degrades the upholder of the system as well as the being it attempts to stigmatize.
The sentiment of hospitality is a noble characteristic in the African everywhere, at home and abroad. Moral sentiment lifts him above selfishness. But in his own native wild, notwithstanding the curse the white man has carried to the very threshhold of his cabin door by the slave trade, the African heart has been open to kindness. The celebrated English traveler, Mungo Park, has given some touching accounts, as also the Rev. George Thompson, Missionary to Africa, by the American Missionary Society. In an exploring expedition to the interior, to urge the principles of christian peace, instead of that cold, misanthropic spirit that a distinguished African would meet at the most of the cities and villages of America, the hearts of Kings, Chiefs, and People, were open in generous hospitality, to comfort and rest him in the toil of his journey. Forgetful of the wrongs of the past, inflicted on their country by the white man, they met him as a friend though a stranger among them. In Africa, or Europe, or America, at the West Indies, anywhere and everywhere, no people have been more generous and hospitable to friend or foe, in sickness or health, in prosperity or adversity. I am speaking of their natural character, the natural moral sentiment. I do not say that all Africans are correct on this point. Neither can I or any man say that all Americans, or all Europeans, are right on it. It is far from being the case. But I beg of proud Americans when they speak of the African on this point, to speak of him truly.
In urbanity and manly deportment in reciprocating the common courtesies of life, colored men and women have shown themselves not inferior. I know that the pro-slavery spirit of the age reports the colored race as low, vulgar, and discourteous. That pro-slavery spirit meets the colored man, woman and child, at every turn in life. The bitter sneer, the coarse, vulgar laugh, is aimed to lower him in the estimation of society, and rank him in inferiority in the world; but the men who cherish such a spirit exhibit in their characters their moral degradation, and no decent, respectable, colored man or woman should notice it, anymore than they would the whining snarl of a barking cur, ever ready to belch out his canine spite at every passer by. If I could speak to the ear of every colored man, woman and child, I would urge them never to forget self-respect, but adopt the noble sentiment to "suffer wrong rather than do wrong." And I assure all friendly readers of this humble work, that the improved and intelligent portion of the colored people, in appreciating the spirit and labor of the anti-slavery enterprise, feel willing to contribute all they can of moral worth and manly deportment to help disenthrall an injured race. It is no doubt the fact that the character of the colored people has a great influence in the progress of the anti-slavery cause in this country. Every indecorous act on their part is used as a weapon by the pro-slavery spirit of the age against the cause of freedom, in trying to show that the colored people are not fit for freedom. But it must be admitted that not a larger amount of immorality and discourtesy exist, according to the amount of population, than among the whites, as the calendar of crime will show in the different States, North and South. Popular prejudice will exaggerate the bad conduct of a colored
man, while at the same time it closes all eyes to the claims of the colored man in moral worth. But from such a green-eyed monster as that, that draws its life from slavery, the vilest of all systems of iniquity, a system that is composed of every ingredient of wrong, the colored man has nothing to hope. It is towards him uncivil and despotic, in whatever latitude he lives in this nation.
A sense of honor is manifest in the natural character of the African race. It is often said that the slaves are a thieving set of beings, and that the colored man in general, North or South, set free from the restraint of slavery, with its kindred associations, would be a pest to society. Popular prejudice creates in the mind of the American people many bug-bear stories of theft, burglary and outrage committed on persons and property. It is not an uncommon thing to hear statements of this kind made in many parts of the North. Now in candor we ask, what is the reason of all this? Why do the people entertain this idea? Is it because there has been found some colored men and women dishonest? If the suspicion is based on this, then we say the white people are to be suspected on the same ground. We do not say that the colored people are any more honest than the whites as a body. Neither can we admit that they are any less honest. Human nature in them is under the same debased, depraved state, under sinful influences. But when in them, as has often been the case, the moral faculties have predominated over the animal or lower propensities of the body, there has stood up the noble specimen of manhood, honorable in intention and action, in the discharge of the duties of life. One of the most beautiful exhibitions of honor, associated with national patriotism, is the conduct of Tousaint Laoverture, the African chieftain, and Washington of Hayti. When
the hopes of that nation rested on him in the most critical moment, when France, her mighty antagonist, could hope in nothing in a fair contest, while Tousaint stood in the front rank of freedom, she attempted by stratagem to bribe him into dishonor to his country, France knew him as intrepid and brave. She knew him as a statesman, but she knew him not as a man of moral worth. His two sons had been placed by him under a tutor in France, to be liberally educated. They were now within the power of the cunning Napoleon. They were sent to him under a truce, holding him bound by an obligation to return them if he would not betray his countrymen to the insolent demand of the planters, under the French government. His position and conduct would do honor to the patriot of any country or age. Though those sons were now within his power, and in his bosom struggled the father's love as he pressed them to his fond embrace, he would not break his pledge to return them, nor yield one point of his own countrymen's interest to the slave power. Tousaint's case is not an isolated one.
There are colored men, as farmers and mechanics, in many communities, in many of the now slave-holding States, where an honorable treatment is manifested towards them. Men in those communities, laying aside the unholy prejudice against color, will admit this fact of honor and moral worth in such colored men; and often, with all their prejudice, they have been compelled, as a matter of fact, to admit it. I do not suppose that all colored people, placed in like outward circumstances, would manifest the same moral deportment. Neither do I believe that all white men, placed in the outward circumstances of Washington, or a Burritt, or Brainard, or a Page, or a Whitfield, would be a like them in honor, patriotism, or moral worth.
Men will be vicious or virtuous, as it happens, white or black, according as the moral faculties or animal propensities predominate, to determine the moral character. Still custom and habit, under the control of public sentiment, have much to do in controlling those faculties and propensities. In Canada, under the English government, where the colored man is assured a right sentiment is towards him, and he is encouraged to enjoy his manhood where humanity bids him welcome and extends to him the hand of friendship, in his transformation from a chattel to a man, his moral faculties have raised him at once to an honorable position in society.
In 1850, Father Henson, a, colored man in Canada, went to England on a mission in behalf of the Canada colored population. He himself had once been a slave. He bore honorable testimonials, and among documents sent by him was one from the Sheriff of the District, showing that in a population of 5,000 colored people, in 15 years not a crime had been committed by any of them requiring an arrest. Now this cannot be said of the same number of the white population in any part of this great American Republic. The colored people of Canada, although most of them are fugitives from American slavery, long exposed to its corruption, have been enabled by their native powers of mind to lay hold on sufficient moral worth to maintain good faith with the Canadian government in mutual friendship.
Industry, economy, and frugality, are important traits in the human character, and so far as the colored people have been able to act in any department of business in life, they have shown a commendable ability to carry out at these important traits. I am aware that there is a lamentable degree of prodigality in some of the cities and large
towns in the United States, in such cases, but a little or no thrift in temporal welfare. I am also aware that popular prejudice exhibits to the world such cases as the general character of the colored race; but it is unjust, unfair, and the effect of meanness on the part of their enemies. But notwithstanding the spirit of negro hate, some have proved themselves worthy of respect, and worthy of praise, for their indominable energy in surmounting difficulties and in earthly comfort, by industry and economy. In the city of New Bedford, Mass., quite a number of colored people have become wealthy. Richard Johnson, a colored man, rose from poverty to a state of affluence. As a man of piety and industry, he gained the esteem of business men in that city. His example was followed by other colored citizens, and his and their influence is felt in that community. In the city of Philadelphia, where exists the most rabid negro hate, more so than in any other city of this nation, the colored people, by industry, economy, and good discipline, manage to enjoy a comfortable living. In one year, by an official report, we learn that the tax on their real and personal estate supported all the colored poor in the city and left a surplus to help support the white poor. In mercantile and mechanical operations, the colored people in that city have done well. Several are excellent artisans, and if they were Anglo-Saxons, with the same ability, would be honorably elevated in society. They have gone on without capital, and no favor from the country. And yet, by industry and rigid economy, they enjoy many facilities for turning their talent to good effect. I doubt whether any class of whites in the same situation could have done better, and made a better living. But the city of New Bedford, or Philadelphia, does not monopolize all the talent and moral worth of the African race.
Let the reader visit some of the colored farmers in the vallies of the Penobscot, Kennebee, or Androscoggin, in Maine, or some in Jefferson, Oneida, and other counties In New York. In truth, in many of the rural districts, in many parts of the non-slaveholding Sates, facts would silence the tongue of slander, asserting that the colored race is low, lazy, indolent, improvident, and debased as a whole.
The spirit of gratitude is a commendable trait in the African character. In no race of men is it more exhibited. The memory of a friend and some friendly act of kindness, is often indelibly stamped on the heart and is borne down to the grave. It is often said by the opposer of African freedom, that to set the slaves free would be to involve the nation in utter ruin, because they would seek revenge on their now cruel masters. The history of the acts of Birney, Thorne, Brisbane, the Grimkies, and others, can easily refute this argument. There is not a portion of the slave or free colored population in the United States, but if, could they enjoy an act of kindness in emancipation and enfranchisement from slavery, and all its consequent evils, they would quickly forget and forgive the injury and injustice of the past, and hold their benefactors in the warmest affection. Divest men of popular prejudice, warm their hearts by the spirit of christian philanthropy, and they will not for one moment doubt it.
It is often asserted by the pro-slavery spirit of the country, that the colored man has no natural intellect, and that he is not capable of appreciating the blessings of freedom, and only acts out in literature and morality,
what he learns from the white man. Such a sentiment expressed is a mere burlesque on human nature, especially as the advocates of this sentiment maintain and support the system of popular education for their own rising generation, in Colleges, and Academical Institutions, and Free School instruction. Webster whose giant mind has grasped the principles of constitutional law and conducted the diplomacy of nations, once sat at the feet of a primary teacher, and from an Alphabetical to a Collegiate education, gained within the venerable walls of old Dartmouth, he learnt what others knew before him. And so it has been with the greatest Statesmen and Divines in this or any other nation. All have predecessors and precedents, whether in law, medicine, or theology. To find a man white or black, that can know everything or anything, in science or literature, without having learned from some one in advance of him, would be a marvel indeed. No one has ever passed from the cradle to the grave, independent. Then to talk of superiority or inferiority must be on some other idea than color, or nationality, seeing that some of every nation, of all colors, have risen to great distinction, while some of each have sunk to the greatest depth of degradation and ignorance.
The African race is capacitated in common with the other races for great and noble actions, connected with the destiny of human life. Now an action in human life is not to be judged of by its nobleness and greatness, in some great physical daring, but the inherent virtue of the act, giving it its intrinsic value. But whether as the world calls great, or great in moral excellence, the representatives of the African race have stood, and do now stand, side by side with the European race, in mental and moral capacity and in intellectual cultivation; under self
government, they have done equally as well as any other race of men. Lewis Wells, a black man, and a slave in Maryland, was taught the letters of the English Alphabet by moon-light, by his old master's son. He managed to economize his time, and besides meeting the exorbitant demands of his master on his services, he gained enough, that through the medium of a friend he got books; escaping the vigilant eye of slavery. He alone, as his own master and student, made astonishing proficiency, and at the age of thirty-eight he bought his freedom, and came forth before the world an eminent chemist and surgeon, and became distinguished for his talents and received a diploma as an M. D. James McEwen Smith, M. D., of New York city, a colored man, was rejected at every College door in this country; he went to Europe and was admitted into one of the first Colleges there, and graduated with honor; went to France and was treated with distinguished respect, as a scholar and a gentleman, as well as in England. Yet on his return to this country, pro-slavery hate proscribes him. Still he has borne himself up like a man. Dr. David Ruggles is also a black man; yet a man of talent, at the head of a Hydropathic institution in one of the New England States. He has proved himself equal with many white men of his profession. In the New York Central College in Cortland Co., Professors Reason and Allen, are both colored men, and under the administration of the Rev. President Grosvenor, they have sustained themselves with ability.
G. B. Vashan, Esq., of Syracuse, N. Y., and Robert Morris, of Boston, Mass., have honorably sustained themselves in the judiciary department of the country, as lawyers, and they are both colored men. Samuel R. Ward and Frederick Douglas, are both colored men, and
yet they are not a whit behind many of the popular and talented editors of the day. The first as editor of the "Impartial Citizen," published in Boston, Mass., the other editor of the "North Star," (the paper has a large subscription list, and now bears the name of Frederick Douglas' Paper,) published at Rochester N. Y. They have been slaves, and Douglas' freedom is only dated back to a few years, and yet he is a writer of merit, and as a speaker, it was once remarked by an American Stenographist of merit, "that Lord Elgin, Governor General of Canada, and Frederick Douglas, were the only two public speakers that he ever listened to, that he could report verbatim and give it to the public without correction." Any member of the American Congress, would consider this a great compliment. Charles B. Ray, Samuel E. Cornish, Stephen Myres, and others, have sat at the editorial desk, and although they are all colored men, they have done much to show that Africans are men of intellect. Rev. James W. C. Penington, D. D., is a colored man, a full blooded African. He is Pastor of the Shiloh Presbyterian church in the city of New York, and was Doctorated in Divinity by the University of Heildenburg in Germany. He was a slave and his freedom was purchased in 1850. His predecessor in the Pastorate of the Shiloh Church, the late Rev. Theodore S. Wright, a black man, was a distinguished Theological scholar. Rev. Peter William, Rector of St. Philip's Church (Episcopalian) of New York city, the Rev. Isaiah De Grasse, Alexander Cromwell, Charles W. Gardner, Amos G. Beeman, and a host of others, that space will not permit me to record, are among the proscribed African race in the United States--men of literary ability. In the West India Islands, some of the most talented journalists and statesmen
are colored men, and one of the distinguished members of the late French Assembly, representing a large constituency in one of the Colonies, was a colored man, and he filled his seat with dignity and honor to himself and the nation.
Let us turn for a moment to the Haytian nation, and behold Tousaint Laoverture, one of the most remarkable men of his age. Born a slave, and reared on the plantation of one of the aristocracy of the colony, he was gifted by nature with a mighty intellect, and a studious mind. At an early age he was learned to read by a young friend, without the knowledge of the slave power. He went on alone, fathoming the rich mines of science and literature, until his mind was elevated in all the grandeur of manhood. Solitary and alone, he sounded the principle of Civil Government. He learned the true merits of patriotism, and calculated on what it would cost to break the yoke of oppression and free his race. He studied the rules and tactics of military campaigns, and with an intuitive mind he unravelled the most intricate questions that lay in his pathway. When the hour arrived, it found Tousaint Laoverture ready for the crisis. He flung off the plantation slave, and stood up a man. The eye of all Europe was looking on him. The oppressed and disfranchised rallied around his standard. But though in power, he was generous. Though he had long been robbed of his rights as a man, he forgot himself once a poor plantation slave, and planned the retreat of his old master and his family, before he struck the first blow for freedom, lest the pillars of the Bastile of Despotism should crush them in its fall. He stood over them as a friend and a brother. But although generous and magnanimous in domestic and social life, both to friend and foe, he was inflexible and
uncompromising in his opposition to the unjust government under which his race had so long groaned. He had started for its overthrow. His noble soul had long been in communion with the spirit of freedom. He had walked in her temple by the silent moonlight. He had examined her most abstruse recesses. And when he drew the sword for freedom, the minions of slavery trembled. France feared the result. By the consummate skill and bravery of Tousaint, he drove the French government, with Napoleon at its head, to see no alternative but to abolish slavery in Hayti or lose the country. France proclaimed liberty to all, and as the best policy she could adopt, appointed Tousaint governor-general and commander-in-chief of the Colonial Government, and for twelve years his administration did much to promote the interest of the country. His dispatches to Napoleon and the Home Government were manly, patriotic and statesmanlike. In his Cabinet his ability was equal to his task. At the head of the Haytian army, his indominable energy inspired his men with so much patriotism that they never feared to meet danger. And truly said an English authoress, Tousaint Laoverture was the master spirit of the age. But Napoleon's brow, now glittering with the imperial diadem of France, determined on making everything bow to his iron will. The monarchies of old Europe trembled at his tread. Kings and courtiers bent suppliantly before him, and even the proud Pontiff of Rome, with his hierarchy, left the Vatican to do him homage. All but the liberty-loving Tousaint and his compatriots yielded to the wishes of the haughty Emperor. They could not do it any farther than he regarded their rights. They were determined if the planters came back to the island to live, they must all live together as freemen, or the blacks would die in the struggle.
General Leclerc was appointed to succeed Tousaint in the government. He came to Hayti with an array of power that would have startled any ordinary man, and he came determined to obey the Home Government, to gratify the wishes of the planters, and reinstate slavery--the greatest act of folly ever undertaken by Napoleon, for after twelve years enjoyment of liberty, in all civil and domestic rights, France might as well have pent up the lightning of heaven as to confine the spirit of liberty in the bosoms of those black men, from acting in defence of their lives, in defending their rights at all hazards. Tousaint exclaimed, on seeing the fleet of France bearing Leclerc and his force to the Haytian shore, "All France has come to Hayti." He retired peaceably from the government, and stood on the defensive, and it was only by treachery and the violation of the national honor of France that they got Tousaint into their power. Yet his countrymen had imbibed too much of his noble spirit to be conquered into slavery. Any man viewing the situation of Hayti in a right light, without prejudice because they are black men, must admit that Tousaint's patriotism and mighty efforts equalled Washington's, and some of his deeds are more brilliant, because he had to operate under greater disadvantages to free his nation. And had Tousaint Laoverture been of the same complexional stamp of Gen. Winfield Scott, his deeds of military valor, under such disadvantages, would have placed him before Gen. Scott in the applause of Americans, but yet, although a black man, his name and the memory of his great deeds live embalmed in the hearth of many impartial philanthropists in all parts of the civilized world. The Haytian government, 1st as a Kingdom under Christoph, 2d a Republic under Boyer, and now 3dly, an Empire under Soloque,
He bearing the title of Fostin I., Emperor of Hayti, though the people of that government have appeared unstable in their civil and political form, it is false in the assertion that it is the result of their African character. Other nations have fluctuated in their government policy as well as the Haytians. If England has not, it is not for the want of a Cromwell and his faithful coadjutors. France has changed from one monarchy to another until it is now a republic.*
* Since this Essay was written, another revolution has taken place in France, under the management and perfidy of Louis Napoleon. It is now difficult to determine whether to call it a Republic or a Monarchy.
Rome, the eternal city, has been changed in its policy, and almost every civil government on earth, whether the descendants of Shem and Japheth, or Ham, have been shaken by military and political excitement, until some of them have become settled in sufficient justice to promote the common welfare of mankind partially.
* Since this Essay was written, another revolution has taken place in France, under the management and perfidy of Louis Napoleon. It is now difficult to determine whether to call it a Republic or a Monarchy.
The African race have not been waning in representatives to adorn the honorable professions of life, and yet the American prejudice, the legitimate fruit of slavery, has stood at the door of Academical and Collegiate Halls, and at the gateway of all the business departments of the country, and leveled its anathemas at the colored man whenever he has dared to approach them for the purpose of benefiting himself or his children. And many a noble-souled colored man has sunk into wretched obscurity and unhappiness, and much valuable talent been buried and lost to himself and to the world, and the Divine Government robbed of an amount of influence that should aid in the accomplishment of human happiness.
It was said by wicked Cain to his Maker, "Am I my brother's keeper?" How solemn and awful was the voice of an infinite God to him in reply. "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth to me from the ground." And now in the solemn controversy between justice and oppression, who of all the American dare say before the God of Heaven, in reference to the poor African, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The blood of the poor Indian and African in the American soil, is an awful witness against the American church and the American nation. The deeds of dark crime and outrage against humanity have blackened their national escutcheon and tarnished their religious character. For if slavery is a creature of law, popular public opinion sustains that law, and the popular religious influence controls public opinion. For on philosophical principles, we cannot expect water to rise above its level at the fountain head. Neither can we the principle of morality to rise above the church. And thank God it cannot rise above the true church of God; but under the monopolizing ecclesiastical rule of the American church, many of the leading sects of religionists make the religion of the membership mere nominal, so that the popular current religion of some of the leading denominations goes directly to sanction and sustain American oppression, with all its consequent evils. And in many instances the men of the world take the lead in that reform that tends to alleviate the sufferings of mankind, and elevate them to their proper sphere in human life. And if a humble few of the disciples of the Holy Jesus dare obey the dictates of conscience and the spirit of God, with his Holy Word to take gospel ground for the reform of the world,
and the enfranchisement of the human race, they are charged in their doctrine with infidelity. True it may be infidelity against the sectarianism and monopoly of the denominational rule and against despotism. But to charge it as infidelity against the cause of God, is often proved false. Although the inquisitorial spirit and action of the American church in proscribing many of its members for conscientiously condemning and opposing the evil system of American slavery, and condemn the aiding in degrading the African race for a cause over which they have no control, does most certainly identify that church with the power of despotism, and involves it in the guilt of oppression, it is folly for her ministry or membership to cry out, "Am I my brother's keeper?" They cannot say in truth that they are free from guilt on this subject, in the face of the fact that they have hoodwinked truth, and made expediency turn the scale of justice to gratify the caprice of the unholy oppressor.
For the truth of this I appeal in candor to a candid community, to view the action of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, in all its operations from first to last, and I ask where has been seen the first act of that body of any appearance of christian philanthropy, to relieve poor bleeding humanity, in the condition of the African race? And does not the popular current religion of the Presbyterian church, tolerate the negro pew, and the most wicked intolerance towards the colored man or woman that enters their temples of worship? Does not the leading influence of the Presbyterian church in America, help support the most abominable cast, while its current religion puts in motion the machinery of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, as well as the Presbyterian Board of Foreign
Missions, taking the price of the souls and bodies of men to pay for the means to convert the heathen world? Thus stepping over and trampling down the noble sentiment of Apostolic religion, that "God is no respecter of persons." What then can we expect from wicked political men, on the ground of humanity, under the teaching of such religion? And is the leading American Baptist, or Methodist, or Episcopalian religion, in their educational, or missionary, or national ecclesiastical operations, a whit better, in its favor of bleeding, suffering humanity, in the condition of the colored man?
When Doctors of Divinity of many of the leading sects, with cool, unblushing misanthropy, employ their pens to argue the divine right of the American people to sustain a system of robbery, concubinage, bigamy, adultery and every violation of the moral decalogue, against the African race, and wicked men constantly echoing the voice of the pulpit in sounding out thsse sentiments to stigmatize and proscribe the colored man, is it a wonder that his condition is no better? And is it not a marvel that so many have risen so high in improvement and moral worth? But as a colored man, I rejoice in God, that all the religion of the country is not under the rule of despotism, and all the christian hearts of the country are not bowed at the shrine of corrupt sectarianism. The angel of mercy can often bear the spirit of christian sympathy to the humble cot of the poor colored man, and a faint glimmer of light from the star of freedom sometimes breaks the gloom over our pathway of life, and the blessed word hope, often lingers in our ears as a source of consolation in God. And if on account of our color, our character will not entitle us to a better condition among our fellow-men on earth, we will try to maintain a sufficiently religious
and moral character, to entitle us to an inheritance with the people of God, in that blessed kingdom, in immortal light, "Where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are forever at rest." Thank God, there is one heavenly equality, for "Neither Jew nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythean, Bond nor Free, but all one in Christ Jesus." I thank my God, that in this the poor colored man can enjoy a glimmer of hope, amidst the toils and the trials of human life.
Dear reader, it is my devout prayer, that you may all enjoy that immortal life. If your sympathies have been pent up from us; if you have either politically, socially, religiously, or domestically, thrown your influence against us, by helping to sustain the system of American slavery, may God forgive you, for with all my heart I pity your condition at that Judgment to which we are all approaching. For be you assured, that Infinite Justice will not be bribed, or turned away from the principles of right, for any purpose whatever. And be you assured that God overlooks not the deeds of the wrong-doer, for he takes cognizance of all human acts in this life, not to be forgotten at the Judgment.
Obedience to the Fugitive Law, is treason to Civil Government. What is the design of this law? It designs to arrest, no matter by what means, the panting fugitive from Southern bondage, and in a forcible manner, drag him back to chains and unrequited toil. And it further designs to compel, by pains and penalties, every Northern citizen, to lend his aid in accomplishing this object. Our object in the discussion of this subject, will not be to discuss the constitutional character of this law, but to show that it is a flagrant violation of every principle of just civil government, as well as divine government. And if this be shown to be the character of this law all christians, at least, are absolved from its allegiance.
Our first object then will be to ascertain the foundation of, and whence arises our obligations to civil government. Civil government in its requirements, is not an arbitrary institution. It does not depend for its authority upon the will of the legislator, nor its position upon the statute book. The legislator may pass upon it his most solemn vote, and the judiciary may give to it the sanction of law; but since neither can impart to it obligation, neither can give to it any validity, no more than the village lyceum.
For if legislators and judges are the sole executors of law, our duties and obligations are placed at the mercy of a fickle, changing multitude, upon whom all officials depend for their elevation in society. Obligations arise to-day, and fall to-morrow, like the dew before the rising sun, ever varying their chameleon form is fast as the multitude changes, that elevates one set of political aspirants, and displaces another. If the arbitrary enactments of legislators, be law, and we under obligation to obey them, then crime may be virtuous, and virtue criminal; even murder to-day may meet the approbation of the multitude, and tomorrow be forbidden under pain and penalties. This, as will be seen, strikes a death-blow at all just government, and makes it the mere arbitrary will of unstable popular opinion instead of the voice of obligation; as all just government is, and ever must be. In vain may the political stock-jobbers of the "lower law" spin out their yarns of cotton logic, to enforce obedience to not only arbitrary, but unjust legislative enactments, crying "vox populi est vox Dei." And in vain may they call us "traitors," all those who refuse to bow down before the god of Southern trade. And the same may be affirmed of every precept that has no authority other than the will of the legislator. Right and wrong are and ever must be the same, legislate as you please; the essential qualities of either can never be changed. As well might you attempt to change the colors of the rainbow by legislation. Right will still be right, and wrong will possess all its essential sinfulness. Though great legislators may "compromise" the one, and nationalize the other, their ipse dixit will never affect the transubstantiation.
But civil government, to have any claim upon the regard of the citizen, must grow out of, and meet the necessities
of, human nature. Before human beings existed, no civil government was established, for neither human relations nor human wants existed. When man was created, human wants, and dependencies upon each other, bound him to his fellow man; from these wants and necessities sprang obligations to mutual respect and protection, so that civil society is not a state arbitrarily imposed upon man, but is the legitimate result of the development of his nature. He is born into civil government as really as he is born into the world; so that the idea that man is born into a state of lawless individuality, and that on entering civil relations, he must "surrender his natural rights for the good of the whole," only to be cherished by tyrants. For the great design of civil government should be, to secure the undisturbed enjoyment of natural rights. Natural rights are to be enjoyed for the good of man instead of being surrendered. So wisely has civil government been instituted, that the highest well being of all its subjects can only be secured by the recognition of all their rights. It is the slave holder that demands that the rights of some shall be surrendered for the good of the whole; and let him practice it personally if he chooses. Thus it will be seen that civil government exists as naturally among men as the family government between parent and child.--Obligation is and must be the very soul of law; the sine qua non of every civil duty.
As civil law or government is but the obligations which grow out of our necessities and relations, so it follows as a matter of course that legislators cannot make or unmake laws, no more than they make or unmake the constructive principles of human nature. As well might chemists
attempt make and abolish the laws of chemical affinity, make and abolish the laws of gravitation, as to make and abolish those rules which govern man in his relation to his fellow man. The chemist enters nature's great laboratory and begins to experiment upon the element which surrounds him, that he may ascertain the precise law by which their several atoms are governed and controlled. This he knows to be the only way by which their chemical qualities can be known. How supremely ridiculous it would appear to every intelligent mind, to behold an assembly of experienced chemists making speeches, and using all manner of intrigue and chicanery, in order to pass a vote that oil and water shall hereafter mix, and to finally "compromise" the matter by declaring that they shall mix "south of thirty-six thirty;" but when great legislators resolve by "compromise" that injustice shall be justice, south of such a line, the exhibition is no less ridiculous. If it is the chemist's duty to examine the mineral world that he may ascertain the nature and qualities of its various substances, and from them deduce its laws, it is the legislator's duty to ascertain the demands of human nature, the relations which bind him to his fellow man, his natural rights, and thence learn the laws and obligations which is enforce upon man. How much those herds of hungry politicians, who gather around our capital with both hands in the public treasury, watching another horde who stand just back, impatiently watching for their turn, have mistaken their calling, vainly supposing that they have come up with their wise heads and empty pockets to make justice and injustice, and encourage industry among the people by keeping the treasury empty. With the idea that law may be made and unmade at pleasure, the great object is to flatter or
frown a majority into their favorite schemes, and it goes forth into the world to be executed by "proclamations," and "all the military at the command of the Executive." As well might the chemists pour water and oil into to a vessel, and upon its refusing to mix, issue a "proclamation" and summon the military with cannon and musketry, and after reading the "riot act," commence pouring in the grape and canister, to "execute the laws and preserve the union.["] The one is just as reasonable as the other. You may as well vote and bring your cannon to compel what shall be physical law, as what shall be morally binding upon the citizen.
Obligations cannot be created or annulled by legislation. It will be seen in the light of this reasoning, that obligations cannot be created or lessened by any enactments which may have received the sanction of human legislation. If law rests upon human obligation, and obligation result from the natural relations bind man to his fellow man, it very evident that these obligations cannot be changed until you can effect a change in the relations existing between man and man; and that these relations cannot be changed so long as human nature remains as it is, and human necessities exist. Could obligations be created or abridged by the acts of constituted governments, then is the serf, who trembles at the approach of sceptred tyranny, under obligation to heed the demands of his oppressor. According to this theory, one government is as heaven-ordained as another, and it is of course wicked to seek its overthrow; and all laws emanating from the legislative authority, no matter how that power may be constituted or sustained, or what may be its character, are to be implicitly obeyed, without mental reservations. On what ground do republicans find
fault with the tyrannies of the old world, but on the ground that all just governments spring spontaneously from those relations and natural ties which bind man in one equal brotherhood, and that those tyrannies disregard and trample upon those natural relations and rights of their groaning millions. They also believe that a republican government is founded in the natural relations and obligations, which exist prior to, and entirely independent of, all legislation. What do we mean when we complain of "bad laws?" If we mean anything, we must mean that the legislative enactments are contrary to natural justice, and disregard the acknowledged relations existing in the human family. These enactments, in order to lay any claim to our obedience, must create an obligation at the same time that they are made, and if there be an obligation to obey, then they cannot be bad; for evidently we never can be under obligation to do wrong, so that if we are under obligation to obey them, they cannot be wrong; and consequently it would be wrong to repeal them. And the Medes and Persians did right in never changing their laws.
If all obligations of a civil character are created when the statute is enacted or the constitution adopted, then a nation destitute of constitutions and statutes, are under no obligations to maintain order and justice among themselves, for there are no obligations binding upon them. There is no legislation creating obligations. And should murder, theft and arson, ride triumphant over the best interests, and prey upon the lives of the community, no guilt would attach to the perpetrators of these deeds, because no legislation had created obligations to refrain from these deeds, if it be true that legislation creates obligation. But if civil government should rest upon
obligations, and not obligations rest upon civil government, then a nation destitute of the forms of government are bound to ascertain and enforce these obligations, in the shape of civil law. To illustrate more clearly,--if murder is wrong because of the relations man sustains to his fellow man, and not because legislation forbids it, then it is the duty of legislators to suppress that crime, as a violation of natural rights, by proper restraints. To make this subject still clearer, if possible, let us take the case of the license law. When a town unanimously vote to grant license for the sale of ardent spirits, men generally consider it right to do so; but when they refuse a license to sell alcohol as a beverage, they generally look upon its sale as a public wrong, and an immoral business. From what source does the traffic and use of ardent spirits derive its character? from the civil statute? or from its effects upon the human system? If from the statute book, abolish all legislation on the subject and the business is altogether innocent. But does human legislation make the misery and wretchedness in our land occasioned by the use of alcohol? or are they occasioned by the natural and legitimate effects of alcohol upon the human system? Why, every man will answer the latter. So then all legislation upon the subject will fail to give the business character until it can change the physical system so as to prevent all injury resulting from its use as a beverage; and thus it is that every law, to have any claim upon the citizen, must rest upon and grow out of some prior obligation.
In the light of this reasoning, and application of the principles, let us examine the condition of the slave. If legislation does not create obligation, then whence arises the obligation which the slave is under to render service
to his master? Does it result from his color? If so, what amount of African blood must one have to be under obligation to hunt him up a master and place himself and posterity under his supreme control? This is a very important question, for we find African blood existing in our population from one per cent. to the full blooded African. Now draw the line where you will, a portion of those who are now in slavery will be liberated, and a portion now free will become enslaved. And what evidence have we that the color of the skin brings a man under obligation to spend his days in slavery? And how do we arrive at the evidence that the negro color, above all others, is the peculiar color proscribed by this law of nature? By what logical process has the fact been determined? Not by one ancient custom, "whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," for the first slaves of the Hebrews were not negroes. Neither were the slaves in the days of Christ and Paul; so that we are at a loss to determine the precise period when it was discovered that nature designed the African race for slaves.
If, then, as we have shown, the whole system is unnatural, and therefore wrong, has not the slave the most undoubted right to escape from this position into which he has been forced in open violation of nature, and contrary to his own will? If no human legislation can impose an obligation upon him to assume such a position, certainly no legislation can make it criminal for him to escape from it. He has an undoubted right, then, to assert his liberty and use the same means to secure it which any man may use to prevent being placed in the same situation; for every effort made to arrest him is an effort to enslave him. Resistance to the slaveholder is the same in kind which Washington made against British aggression and servitude.
Has one man a right to "love his neighbors as himself?" Ought we to "do unto others as we would have them do unto us?"--are questions of the same nature, and may all receive the same answer. Let us test this question by the principles which we have laid down. Suppose there is no legislation on the subject, and the captive is held by mere brute force as the Indian holds his prisoner of war, and has been enabled to escape from that bondage. Are we under obligation to restore him to his enemies? All will answer this question in the negative. Where, then, is the obligation to restore him? But have we not shown that obligations cannot be created by legislative bodies? and if not, whence arises the obligation to restore the fugitive? The Fugitive Act can place us under no obligation, unless it rests upon some natural necessity, unless it is necessary to secure natural rights, unless some good to the human race is to be secured by it. If we are under no obligation to aid in his return, may we stand calmly by and passively see him manacled and carried back to a doomed life of misery and wretchedness? We now appeal to the relations which exist between man and man, for these relations are not bounded by the geography of color, nor determined by the latitude of parentage.
These natural ties call upon us to assist, by all proper means, in protecting the natural rights with which every man is endowed in his very existence, and until he forfeits their enjoyment we may not see him deprived of them, and plead innocence, no more than the Priest and Levite could pass the wounded man, and not mistake the law of brotherly love. The principle which is violated in his arrest and enslavement, is not confined to him, it is the same tenure by which we all hold our title to liberty
and life. If we give our consent to its invasion in one instance, we invite its disobedience in a thousand cases, and we have sanctioned a measure which may enslave ourselves and our children. If the soul stealer and seller may break through the strong obligations of human nature and sieze his victim, and receive our passive acquiescence, he may upon the same principle, again sever the ties of humanity and send us to a life of unpaid toil, and our conduct on the former occasion will tell our friends not to interfere in our behalf; thus we sustain all the tyranny in the world by sanctioning it in one case.
And if we may not stand calmly by and see a fellow-man forcibly consigned to hopeless bondage, are we not under the strongest natural obligations to defend him against lawless violence? For if the act has not natural obligations to sanction it, it must be perfectly lawless. If the slave has a natural right to defend himself, against violence upon his rights, we have the same right to maintain inviolate his rights, as he has, or as we have to maintain our own. If all men are equal, and the life and happiness of one man is as valuable as the life and happiness of another, I am in duty bound to defend the life and liberty of another man, as much as my own. And any other position would make one man's life naturally of more value than another's. If one man's liberty and life may be taken with impunity, a great principle is overthrown, and no man's life or liberty is secure for a single moment. If a slave defends his life, he does not defend it merely because it is his, but he defends the great principle which secures life and liberty to all men; and on this ground we clear that man in law, and do so because we wish to maintain inviolate the natural tenure upon which we hold our lives and liberties.
In defending the slave against the "Fugitive Bill," which does not rest upon justice between man and man, and is therefore no law, because no man is under natural obligation to obey it, but it looks only to physical power for its support, and is therefore lawless violence. We do not trample upon any natural obligation, therefore upon no law; but our resistance is much against legislative violence, and in support of law. We then are the law-abiding people; and all who aid the slave catcher are lawless mobs, and are endeavoring to establish the same system that now holds the groaning millions of Europe in abject slavery. All the thrones of the Old World rest upon this principle, that "the law making power must be obeyed;" and all the sceptres of tyranny are lifted up in its defence. It is for the overthrow of this law of tyrants, that the noble Kossuth has bared his manly bosom to the hired assassins of crowned despots, and is now thrilling England and the United States with the thunder of his eloquence, which is fast rolling a wave of natural justice beneath the thrones of Europe, that shall cause the knees of their kings to smite together like those of Beltshazzar.
If the "Fugitive Bill," should be obeyed, it demands obedience from the fact that it rests upon natural justice, and the natural obligations existing between man and man; and if it rests upon these relations, they exist in Europe as well as in America. And if we are under obligations to return the fugitive from American slavery, we are under the same obligation to return the fugitive from European slavery. Then upon this principle let us seize the fugitive Kossuth, when he lands upon our shores, hand-cuff him, and send him back to his Austrian master. And let every fugitive from European despotism be served
in the same way. Let us for once he consistent with our democracy.
Obligations grow out of natural necessities; no man has a natural right to enslave his fellow-man, therefore when enslaved, he has a right to escape, and if he has a natural right to liberty, every man ought to aid him in regaining that liberty; hence no one violates natural law, when he aids a slave to escape. Thus we reason, and thus we believe. Upon this view of the question what is the duty of every christian?
It must be an acknowledged point that his relations and obligations to his fellow-men, transcend all constitutions, and tramples upon all human legislation that forbids him thus to do. His sacred religion bids him to honor all those relations between man and man, and which are so inseparably connected with human happiness. And that provision of the "Fugitive Bill," which forbids our feeding or clothing the bondman, comes in direct contact with the entire spirit of every natural obligation, and denies to us the exercise of the common sympathies of our nature, thus imposing upon us the most imperative duty to disregard all such inhuman enactments. And the very life and progress of the christian system depends upon the unwavering opposition of the church to all legislation which throws itself in the progress of its heavenly mission.
To whom must poor and bleeding humanity look for protection, if the church is deaf to her entreaty? And from whence shall she look for deliverance, if the arm of the church is paralyzed? Politicians will never recognize the principles of natural justice; they will never endanger their craft by giving to humanity their aid, especially when she is forsaken by her friends, and those who are bound by the principles of their religion to act the part of the good Samaritan.
While writing this Essay, I have been traveling in Pennsylvania, and I everywhere find, not only a hearty co-operation in favor of the Fugitive act, but an increasing feeling to expel the colored population from the State. Where! Oh! where shall the poor persecuted colored man flee? Taken from his native country and consigned to hopeless bondage, and his posterity after him, and despised because they are slaves, and when they attempt to get free, hunted like a partridge upon the mountains, and no where find any sympathy! Just go, gentle reader, in your imagination, into the bosom of the poor flying fugitive; doomed if taken, to spend a life in bondage, constantly subjected to the will of another, and driven on to unpaid toil at the crack of the whip. He has resolved to escape from the cruel state in which he is, and to seek a clime where he may spend his life without the fear of the soul driver and the auction block. Mark his progress: skulking along through the forests and by-paths to elude his pursuers; and equally jealous of every man he meets, for full well he knows that but few of those who bear the human form carry a human heart. He constantly feels that he has no friends, and that any man would again consign him to hopeless bondage for a few dollars, and even at command of public opinion without money. Thus traveling on toward the North star, his mind constantly balancing between hope and fear; he at last meets a man, whom, from his appearance, he judges fills the sacred office, and professes to be actuated by the spirit of his Master. Hope begins to brighten in his eye, and his heart begins to be cheered with the anticipated friendship of a fellow-man in whom he can confide his aching heart. He addresses him as Brother, for he is a member of the same church, and tells him of his forlorn
condition, and entreats protection at his hands. But the supposed friend after speaking of "Abraham's stores," and the "peculiar situation of our Northern brethren," tells him that "he would not make one prayer, if it would liberate all the slaves in the world."
How must the poor man feel, as he contemplates his condition, forsaken as he must feel himself to be by God and man, and left as common prey to the soulless hordes of soul traffickers? If there is any spmpathy in the church for human suffering, let it be manifested in behalf of the poor persecuted and hunted black man. The justice of God will not always sleep; He will arise for his persecuted poor, and then their destroyers shall feel that injustice cannot always hold the sceptre of power. We feel sometimes almost to murmur that the oppressor is permitted to drive the clotted lash semi-diameter deep into the quivering flesh, with impunity. But the cup of indignation against this nation must be filled ere it is drank. When the day of retribution comes, as come it must, wo to the oppressor, "the beam will cry out of the wall," and judgment sure and awful, will be poured wihout mixture of mercy upon the oppressors of this nation.
We think that the position assumed in the commencement of this Essay, has been abundantly sustained; that civil government grows out of natural relations, and that these relations exist alike in all men--are alike sacred to all; and that the obligation to observe them is equally as binding upon one as another. Hence just, civil government is bound to protect the natural rights of every human being under its jurisdiction. To show that we are not alone in view of civil law, let us give a few quotations from good authority:
"That we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and
should render to every one his due, to these three principles is reduced the whole doctrine of law." JUSTINIAN.
"The law of nature, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of validity, if contrary to this, and such of them as are valid, derive all their force and all their authority, mediately and immediately, from this original." BLACKSTONE.
In conclusion, we ask the reader to carefully study the principles we have laid down, and then ask himself the question whether he is under any obligations to pay any heed to the "Fugitive Bill?" And whether he ought not to aid the slave just the same as he would if it had never been placed upon the statute book?
It is evident that the Fugitive Act denies and tramples upon this principle; and should its principles become everywhere prevalent, no just government could exist on the face of the whole earth. Not an advocate of this worse than Algerine enactment would for a single moment incorporate its principles into the civil code that was to govern his own liberties. None pretend that it is just except when applied to the black man or slave. No one would be willing that mere property should be held on any such principles. Should they be incorporated into the frame-work of civil government, tyranny and misrule would everywhere prevail, so that the observance of this act would sap the very foundations of all just government. And in resisting this act, we do not merely resist its effect upon the colored man, but reject it as a palpable violation of every principle of civil government, at war with all the rights of man, and regardless of all the requirements of God.
If we refuse to admit the relations that bind us to one portion of the human race, from what premise shall we deduce our claim to brotherhood with, and protection from, any other portion? Every argument in support of the chattel system, drawn from any other source than the fact that the negroes are slaves, is an argument that will sanction the enslavement of any other race. And the same argument drawn from nature against the African race, may be adduced against many other portions of the race. And if they are to be denied the common rights of manhood on natural grounds, from what source shall we claim our fraternity with the human race? Therefore, when we sever the chain that binds them to humanity, let us remember that we cut our own bark from its moorings, and send it adrift upon the shoreless sea of misanthropy; when we deny to them the common right of humanity, we break up the human family and make every man an isolated fragment, with no common centre around which he may unite in sympathy with his fellow man. To deny the negroes the common rights of man, is to deny that he is a human being; and if he is not a human being, why make laws to punish him for the commission of crime? Every law upon the statute book is an admission of his manhood; and every penalty inflicted for crime binds him in iron bonds to our own fallen and depraved race. Then with the admission of his humanity should come a recognition of all the rights and immunities inalienable to such a relation. For the rights grow out of, and are inseparably connected with, his human nature. And to deny his rights to life, liberty and equality, is to deny his rights to humanity; and to deny his humanity is to deny our own, for both are established and denied upon the same grounds.
It then becomes our duty to establish civil government upon the broad and universal principles of natural justice, which guarantees to every man an unobstructed exercise of all his natural rights, whether he be of American, European, Asiatic, or African extraction, and to impartially punish every violation of this Magna Charta of human liberty and fraternity.