Friday, April 8, 2016

The Journal of Joseph Craig - Chapter 7

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.

A Prayer, by said Craig.

Almighty, great and eternal God, we desire to be always looking up to the glorious Majesty for every blessing - for time and for eternity. We desire to thank thee for all the good things thou hast given us, of temporal and spiritual things; that is to say, thy written word, thine own sent ministers and ordinances, and the company and fellowship of thy children, and all the means of thy gospel. For sending thy blessed Spirit to apply the redemption bought with blood! Lord, we thank thee for all the work of that blessed Spirit on us and in us. And still we are beggars, and we pray that thou wouldest increase our faith. Lord we pray give us of thy living bread to eat which came down from heaven; and to drink of that water of life freely, that came out of the throne of God and of the lamb. O Lord, come unto us, and reveal thy love in us, and let us taste and see that thou art our Lord and our God.

O! give us perfect love, that casteth out all fear.

O! satisfy our souls by giving us abundance of thy love. O! satisfy us that thou art our Saviour and Comforter, by giving us strong consolation in our hearts. Yeah, Lord, satisfy our souls that thou art our Saviour and portion, and Comforter; and that thou wilt deliver us from every evil work, and bring us to thy glorious kingdom. Amen

Once as I returned from a meeting in Essex county, I composed the following Spiritual Song:

1. Seven long years I've been a ranging
Up and down Virginia land,
Seeking a bride for my Lord Jesus,
Hoping her love I should obtain.

2. Long time have I greatly desired
Her joyful favor to obtain;
For which I have gone through all weather,
Both hot, and day, and cold, and rain.

3. Through frost, and snow, and frightful rivers,
Hunger and thirst, and wicked hands,
Through midnight air, in lonesome places.
Which often caus'd my heart to ache.

4. All this is but a small trifle,
If I could but her love obtain,
And I enjoy her love and favour,
Thus would my love and joy be full.

5. Sometimes I got into her favour,
Her heart and affections almost won;
But Satan, a wise and great opposer,
My joyful heart he caus'd to mourn.

6. O! might I ever be so happy
To hear my Saviour's bride to say,
Thou art my shepherd, he did send thee
For to guide me along the way.

7. Such declarations of her favour,
And good witnesses of her love,
Would satisfy my soul's desire,
And my full satisfaction prove.

8. Long time have a I greatly desired
Her joyful favour to obtain
And, if I'm ever counted worthy,
I'll mind not heat, nor cold, nor pain.

Another, by the same.

1. O come, dearest friends, let us follow Jesus,
Surely it is he alone that can relieve us;
But, O! consider well how hard to get to heaven.
Of the twelve that follow'd long, there were sav'd but eleven.

2. O! loving Lamb of God, who would not thee follow,
Although it so searing is, and all looks like sorrow:
Yet, if our love is true, it will be a blessed story,
The more we suffer here, the greater will be our glory.

3. But O! consider well how hard to follow Jesus,
And, if we follow true, many there will leave us;
And if we are call'd to die, then go and leave us.

4. Lord, grant us faith and love to bear us safe to heaven,
There to live and reign with Jesus and the eleven;
They that now cowards prove, and, ere long, turn deserters,
When we in heaven reign, shall not there reign with us.

5. Do not you hear of war, and of a dreadful rumor?
Our dearest Lord has said it's a token of the summer;
Let us all follow on, let none turn our deserters,
Jesus has gone before, let us follow after.

6. But O! how hard it is to part with our acquaintance.
And for us to big adieu to near and dear relations;
Yet, Lord, at thy command, we will cheerfully go forward,
Counting not our lives our own, but only just borrowed.
On the road from Bardstown to Frankfort [KY], after nine days meeting with brother Shelton, I composed as follows:

1. Lord, pity a poor soldier, now in his feeble days,
And take him home to glory, or keep him in thy ways;
Half three-score years and better a soldier I have been,
O! take me home, dear Jesus, or keep me from all sin.

2. My faith it is so slender, my courage weak and small,
If Jesus he should call me, I should be at his call.
Where the angels join in battle, and the cherubs swiftly fly,
And the silver trumpet sounding loud, which makes the rebels fly.

3. If thou shouldst chance to take me home, 'twould be a glorious day,
Old Lucifer, his fiery darts no more on me would play;
Twice fifteen years and better a soldier have I been,
Now take me home, dear Jesus, and let me not be slain.

4. For nine long days and better in battle I have been,
And Jesus' word and spirit have spoke my conscience clean;
Now take me home, dear Jesus, and do not from me go,
For to leave me here behind thee, in sorrow, grief, and woe.
A thousand times and better in battle I have been,
Now take me home, hear, dear Jesus, and let me not be slain.

5. But still, if thou deny me, and say that I shall stand,
And face the powers of darkness that rise from hell and land;
This weakness, pain, and sorrow, I'll never mind at all,
If thy right hand uphold me, and make me conquer all.

Another, by the same Joseph Craig

The daughter of a William Woods professed to get religion at one of our meetings, amidst much persecution, and desired me to compose a song on the occasion; which I did as follows:

1. Come all you saint and angel near, Halle Hallelujah
Come, listen a while, and you shall year, Halle Hallelujah
A wonder of Almight grace, Halle Hallelujah
Who set me to sing his praise, sing glory, Hallelujah.

2. My father he did love the Lord, Halle &c
And teach and preach his holy word. Halle &c
Mother and granny loved the same, Halle &c
But my pour soul did dead remain. Halle &c

3. I heard of Jesus many say, Halle &c
Could move a sinner's sins away. Halle, &c
But where to find him I did not know, Halle &c
Or how to meet with him below. Halle &c

4. My flesh did war against my soul, Halle &c
The night were dark, and very cold, Halle &
The meeting saints I could not slight, Halle &
But sought their Jesus day and night. Halle &

5. The scandal of the cross I see, Halle &
That scandal that would fall on me Halle &
But still I thought I did behold, Halle &
I wanted Jesus more than gold, Halle &

6. I laid me down to take my rest, Halle &
Bemoaning of my dreadful case. Halle &
I thought I could for mercy wait, Halle &
And then I feared I'd come too late. Halle &

7. I little thought he'd been so night, Halle &
His speaking made me glad the cry. Halle &
He said I'm come to thee, my love, Halle &
I have a place for thee above. Halle &.

8. This glorious news I did believe, Halle &
My sins and sorrows did me leave, Halle &
My soul enraptured in his love, Halle &
I have a place for thee above, sing glory Hallelujah.

Another composed on the death of my daughter a year old.

1. Friends of the Lord, I pray draw near
Come, think of something now;
Have faith in God, and now come hear
Of what the Lord can do.

1. When I returned from work abroad,
In my dear master's field,
My daughter dear, ag'd about one year,
I found by death was seiz'd.

3. What sorrow then my heart did fill,
Fear came on every side
For oft I fear'd of such as she
In heaven would few reside.

4. We cried to Jesus, our dear friend
With tears, both night and day;
That he would satisfy our souls,
If she was called away.

5. But death he would not be deni'd,
That we did plainly see;
And that her soul to heaven or hell;
Immediately must flee.

6. Now, in the time of great distress,
When such near friends must part,
The glory of the Lord come down,
I felt it in my heart.

7. It came as if I heard him say,
Fear not, I am with thee;
I'll satisfy your souls, and shine [she]
Shall go along with me.

8. Her soul to Christ we freely gave
And, partly, freely bear
Her body to the peaceful grave
"Till Jesus shall appear.

Another, by the same

Come, all young men, of every degree,
Do you ever think of eternity
Eternity you all know very well
Your soul it must be in heaven or hell.

Eternity, I will dare of presume
Without you repent, it will be your doom
Down, down to the damned in wicked estate
O there you'll repent it when it is too late.

O sin, O sin, I know very well,
It led me, in darkness, to the brink of hell;
Until sweet Jesus did open my eyes.
And there I stood wondering in great surprise.

O where could I go, or where could I run,
For I could not answer for what I had done;
All prayers and tears I know very well,
Without an interest in Jesus could not save me from hell.

O Jesus, my Saviour, I fall on thy breast,
If thou shouldest now damn me I know it is just;
O mercy, O mercy, dear Jesus I cry,
O pardon my guilt, or else I shall die.
O I have had part of all kind of sin
The worst creature I think I have been;
I never delighted in any of God's ways,
I want to bemoan it the rest of my days.

Come all you young men and think of your souls
Do you all serve God before you get old;
O cease to do evil, and learn to do well,
And then God will bless you and keep you from hell.

For more:
"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 
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