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III. More on Baptists and Presby.

Dear Cousins,

 Part III  taken from “The Scotch-Irish” History by

 The success of the Baptiss was phenomenal, not only among Scotch-Irish and
other frontiersmen, but among those who found the older churches cold and
representative of the privileged classes.  The ardor of the Great Awakening
gradually cooled in the East, but it continued to glow at white heat amont
the Baptists.  Late in the 18th century, the Methodist Church reflecting the
zeal of the Wesleys (they had no intentions of founding a new denomination
but simply wanted to revive the Anglican Church) and the far sighted
directions of its first American bishop, Francis Asbury, began to share the
Baptist success. The Baptists and Methodists adoped the “revival meeting”.
By 1802 in Kentucky, the revival had led to the still more fervid and
dramatic “camp meeting.”  The two groups were evangelical ..in a way that no
Protestants had ever been before.
 The Methodists devised one of the truly effective adaptations to frontier
conditions of life, the circuit rider.  (it reminds me of the French Priests
that canoed hundreds of miles from NB down around the shores of PEI and NS).
A minister, instead of being tied to a single church, rode hundreds of miles
each month to visit pioneers on their remote farms.  If there were
neighbors, he would preach; in any case, he could perform all the services
of a pastor to a scattered flock, comforting, counseling, marrying young
couples, burying the dead.  The devotion and indefatigability of these
circuit riders became proverbial; Kentuckians remarked of a day of foul
weather that no one would be abroad in  “but crows and Methodist ministers.”
   After noting the sermons from Thursday through Saturday, with one day of
“fasting, humiliation, and prayer,” this is a description of the Sunday
communion service:
--Tables were placed across the entire width of the building, and often down
the wide centre aisle.  These tables were simply made of poplar boards,
unpainted, about the height of the ordinary dining table, and 15 inches
wide.  They were covered with spotless linen.  Along each side were placed
lower benches for the people to sit upon.  In front of the pulpit stood a
small table on which were placed the Holy vessels with their contents of
unleavened bread and port wine...The morning sermon was called the “action
sermon”, and was always an earnest and elaborate setting-forth of the
vicarious sacrifice of Christ, and usually took a full hour.  This, with the
accompanhying services, required at least two full hours before the
celebration proper began.  Then, after a hymn, and the reading from
scripture of the warant for the service, came what was called the “fencing
of the tables.”  This was a lengthy address stating with great minuteness,
the tests by which people must decide whether they were entitled to come to
the Lord’s Table, and barring those who were not entitled to come.--

 Church services were , unsonscionably long and tedious.  To understand the
persistence of this custom, one must remember the long-standing Scottish
tradition of a Hebraic Sabbath, with no work or amusement permitted; and
also it is useful to recall the comforting experience of being in close
contacet with other people after a week’s isolation on remote farm at hard

 Sunday was a day of strict observance.  All work ceased, and the wold day
was given over to the public and private exercises of religion.  If a
minister was at hand, everyone in the neighborhood went to church, remaining
most of the day for two long sermons and for worship.   As far as possible,
all preparations for the Sabbath had been made beforehand; not even baking
or needless cooking was allowed on Sunday.  Family worship was commonly
engaged in, with the reading of a chapter from the Bible, the singing of a
psalm or hymn clear through, and a comprehensive prayer, all kneeling; on
Sunday the private worship was likely to be extended, especially if there
were no preaching on that day.  Sunday services in the Valley of Virginia
continued from 10:00 until sunset, with an interval of one hour for dinner.

 The sermon--the expounding of the Word--was the central part of the
service.  The customary sermon lasted for an hour and a half, and was by no
means a simple discourse.  From long practice, the congreatation knew what
to expect of a preacher: if he did not develop his points logically and in
order, with a firstly and secondly, and so on until “Finally, my brethren,”
he could hardly maintain respect.  The Bible was read; prayers, sometimes as
long as 3/4 of an hour, with the whole congregation STANDING. were offered
extempore; and hymns were sung.  In the strcter congregations only Rouse’s
metrical version of the Psalms was used, and the number of tunes was very
limited; the only liberal congregations used also Watt’s Hymns and Psalms.
There was NO musical instrument of any kind.  In the absence of psalm and
hymn books, a clerk, from a raised platform, read out a line or two and then
led the congretaion in singing it; thereupon, he recited other lines, and
the singing was continued through all the verses.  It is an evidence of the
conservatism of the people that when it was proposed, in later and more
affluent days, to have hymn books for the congregation, and so eliminate the
“lining out” of the hymns, a tempest was raised in many churches.  The
introduction of a musical instrument was an even more radical innovation,
hotly resisted until the 19th century.

NOTE:  And on Sunday when the Pastor speaks 5 minutes longer and when you
have to stand through 5 verses, please spare me your whining.

 After the 3-hour morning service there was recess, during which the people
ate the lunch they had brought with them.  Here was an opportunity for
sociability and for discussion of community events, crops, illnesses,
weather; for quiet courtships; and for decorous diversion among the
children.  The strictness of Sabbath observance forbade games or noise or
any suggestion of a picnic atmosphere.  After the recess the congregation
gathered once more for an afternoon service, with another sermon as long as
the first, and more Bible reading, hymns, and prayer.  When the hard,
backless log benches grew unendurable, the people were permitted to stand
and even to move about.”

 And much more good information  on worship that you will find informative
for understanding the lives of your ancestors follows all of that.

 “John Knox had stood up to Queen Mary.  His theology, like his character,
was four-square and intellectually impregnable, granted his prmises.  Those
who followed him were trained to have reason for the faith that was in them,
and having done all, to stand.  The inflexible logic of Calvin’s Institutes
could hardly have found a more congenial field than Scotland, Ulster, and
the American frontier.  Calvin’s massive, rock-like stand on religious
issures contributed to the making of moral fiber.  Community control over
wrong-doing began at any early age, when the child accompanied his parents
to church, sat through the long services, learned the catechism and recited
it to the minister, and witnessed the disciplining of church members.  Thus
implanted in his very being before he could effectively resist, his moral
standards, like his stern conscience, was ingrained. Episcopal children of
the Tidewater, by contrast, had a much less rigorous indoctrination in the
home and on the plantation.

 Gosh!  you just have to read all this good stuff about character building.
Didn’t get to the Quakers yet.

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