Friday, March 11, 2016

The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 3

One of the great byproducts of the Internet and the digital age is its working in saving great books in history that are at risk of being lost. In my effort to research my ancestors who were ministers like myself, this work has become even more prescient to me. One of my ancestors (a Great uncle) was a man named Joseph Craig who was among the Travelling Church who came to Kentucky in 1781 fleeing Anglican persecution in Virginia. In the coming weeks, I want to offer his journal which gives a personal and unique insight in pioneer American Baptists life. Thanks to the Internet, is story is being preserved for future generations.


The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 1
The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 2
The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 3 

Chapter 3

The journal of Brother Waller and myself, as his assistant, over the great mountains. [John Waller, imprisoned with Lewis Craig in Spotsylvania for preaching in 1768.]

As we lived in Virginia [in Spotsylvania County, west of Fredericksburg], below the great mountains, our journey over two ridges and back would be two hundred miles, the way we went.

After we got over the Blue Ridge, as it was called, we sat on the bank of the river Shannandoah [Shenandoah], while brother Samuel Harris administered the Lord's Supper to about one hundred communicants. After which Waller and myself went up between the river and said mountains about thirty miles, with a brother preacher (by the name of Coons) where we were invited to dine. We went in, and before we were done dinner, brother Coon said, these brothers thought to get horses of thee, to go over to Smith's Creek, to do some business there.

Brother Mocks said he was hauling stone. I observed, that we thought to have forgotten horses would carry us. After awhile, we went out, and he had saddled his horses, and said we might ride them. We got to the church, and staid part of two days, and preached, and came back to the white house, near where brother Mocks lived. He met us there. One or both of our horses he had shod, and in his hand he had a dollar. He said one sister told him to give us that and we must cut it in two between us, and desired it might not be known who she was!

We never said a word about living by the Gospel; but, in private, the brethren would sometimes contribute a small sum, amounting to about one shilling a day, while we were out and sometimes none. When we got back to the white house, we examined who was the minister there; but, as the church was divided between brother Coons and brother Murfit, we could ordain none, according to our customary rule; but baptized four persons. We communed in a large upper room, prepared for meeting by one Coffman, who had built it for that purpose. We had a happy time there, and much love and union appeared among us during the time of our meeting.

When we were set off, one young woman said, weeping, she wished she had never seen these men.--she added she should never see them again, which was the cause of her weeping. The night we staid there, brother Waller said, he had no objection against traveling with me, but I would not let him sleep. After leaving this place, we found in our bag, a first-rate large cake, and we were traveling along, about twenty of us, eating the large cake. We lay that night at a Dutchman's. We left there the next day, and crossed the Blue Ridge at Milan's path--we were told it was seven miles to the top--nearly half that seven miles was so steep that it was very hard to ride; and when we got to the top, the trees were not much larger than apple trees, and the air was quite strong. And here it was the brother Waller composed a spiritual song. That night we got down on the head waters of the Rappahannock, to one brother Joel Earley's, where we preached and washed feet. The rich Earley stood near the door. Then we parted, full of love, and peace and joy, in believing. And brother Waller said, before the fire died, he composed another spiritual song, the first time of which is "come let us take a humble view."

Here the song both follow-first, the one composed on the mountain by brother Waller.

1. Let me but hear by lovely Saviour
Bid me but comfort his lovely spouse;
Saying, she is dear to me, I'll have her,
Though wicked men and hell oppose.

2. The blessed message, so transporting,
O! I would run to Zion's door.
And knock and sound a loud salvation,
To the half-starved hungry poor.

3. The flock of Jesus, how I'd feed them.
In pleasant groves, there they should rest;
Into fat pastures I would lead them,
To lean upon their shepherd's breast.

4. There I would leave them with my master,
And should his spirit bid me go.
Over a mountain or deep river,
I'd run and let poor sinners know.

5. I'd baptize every faithful follower,
Who did repent and did believe,
Who did resolve to be a soldier
Of Jesus Christ and him to serve.

6. The greatest profit, prince, or honor,
That after all I'd wish to have,
Should be to serve my Lord and master,
'Till I'm committed to my grave.

Waller's Second Song.

1. Come let us take a humble view
Of Jesus Christ, our dearest friend,
When going to the place he knew
The wicked Jews his life would end.
Hosannah to the loving lamb of God,
Who bought poor sinners with his most precious blood.

2. Most steadfastly his head he set,
Toward Jerusalem to go;
Resolv'd to pay our dreadful debt,
And take on him the curse of sinner's law,
Hosannah. &c

3. The Scribes, the Pharisees, and Priests,
Resolv'd to stop our dead Lord's breath,
Barrabas, they chose to be releas'd,
While their sport was to see Christ's death,
Hosannah. &c

4. On him a crown of thorns they put,
And smote thereon with reed and staff;
Blindfolding him, his cheeks they cuff't,
Then ask'd him who did smite the last.
Hosannah. &c

5. In token of mock majesty,
With purple robes then he was drest;
Saying, hail, king, they bow'd the knee,
Then, with his cross, his shoulder prest.
Hosannah. &c

6. His cross up Calvery's Mount he bore,
Then being stript, thereon was laid;
His hands and feet were nailed through
And fasten'd to the fatal wood.
Hosannah. &c

7. Then, reared up betwixt two thieves,
Three hours hung in bitter pain,
'Till, with loud cries, death him releas'd,
From all that wreck he so complain'd,
Hosannah. &c

8. The sufferings which his body bore,
Were trifles when compar'd to those;
The hiding of his father's face,
When time shall end, the saints shall know,
Hosannah. &c

9. Two Jewish rulers did inter
Our dearest Lord in a new tomb,
Where he did sleep 'till the third day,
Then rose to heaven, his native home.
Hosannah. &c

10. Sinners, behold your sacrifice,
See all your sins upon the cross;
Believe and sing redeeming love,
And give the Lord of life your praise.

Hosannah to the loving lamb of God,
Who bought poor sinners with his most precious blood.


For more:
The Traveling Church: An Account of the Baptist Exodus From Virginia to Kentucky in 1781 Under the Leadership of Rev. Lewis Craig and Captain William Ellis
"Esteem Reproach" by Harper & Jacumin: A Review
"Baptists and Persecution in Virginia": A Lecture by Steve Weaver
Elijah Craig: A Biography Written By James B. Taylor 
"Baptists and Persecution in Virginia": A Lecture by Steve Weaver
"Esteem Reproach" by Harper & Jacumin: A Review
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