By Ben Winslett
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes… ~ Daniel 9:3
Dear MTZ readers,
The following are quoted from History of the Church of God, more commonly known as Hassell’s History, by C.B. and Sylvester Hassell. I am posting this in love for my brethren and sisters across the nation, who may feel as some, perhaps many, that the Primitive church is in a time of spiritual drought. The following association (Kehukee) had experienced several situations by which they were saddened (the lack of laborers being raised, declining memberships, coldness and barrenness among the churches, a civil war which shut out fellowship with brethren across the border, etc). Below is the way they chose to handle the situations. Rather that pointing fingers at other brethren or other orders, creating modern attractions, changing the doctrine to fit the culture, etc, they chose to humble themselves and have prayer and fasting, so that God peradventure would heal their land. It may not have been all of the solution, but it was the beginning to the solution of the problem: humble repentance.
I do not know the problems that face the church you attend, if there even be any. I do know that of the seven churches of Asia in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 each had a different problem to overcome (or in some cases a sin to repent of). The church at Galatia had fallen to a heresy. The church at Corinth had several errors. Problems are very individual, however the first step towards healing and blessings seems to be very stationaryâ€¦humbleness in the sight of the Lord.
Could we learn a lesson from our brethren of yesteryear? I pray the following excerpts will find a place in your heart. I submit them unedited as they appears in Hassell’s History, with page reference.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
Excerpts from Hassell’s History of The Church of God
5. The (1 John 5:16) reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and (2 Tim. 4:2; Luke 8:18) hearing the word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19) the Lord, as also the administration (Matt. 28:19, 20) of Baptism and (1 Cor. 11:26) the Lord’s Supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to Him, with understanding, faith, reverence and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, (Ester 4:16; Joel 2:12) with fasting and thanksgiving upon (Ex. 15:1), etc.; (Ps. 107) special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner. (Page 687)
(1785 A.D.) The (Kehukee) Association, at this time, being oppressed with a sense of coldness and barrenness among the churches, appointed a day of fasting and prayer, wherein God was to be implored for a manifestation of His loving kindness to Zion, and a revival of His work of grace among the churches. Three churches were added to the number at this session, viz.: One at South Quay, Va.; one at Bear Creek, in Dobbs County, N. C.; and one on Morattock Creek, in the upper end of (then) Tyrrell County, N. C. Some of the churches called ‘Regular,’ yet standing aloof and separate from the Association, Elder John Meglamre and Jesse Read and brethren Charles Champion and Thomas Gardner were appointed a committee to meet the Regular Baptist Brethren in conference and endeavor to effect a reconciliation with them. Four ministers were appointed to preach on Sunday of this associational sitting, viz.: Elders David Barnes, Lemuel Burkitt, John Meglamre and Jonathan Barnes. (Page 704)
(1843 A.D.)The last Saturday in November was designated as a day of fasting and prayer, to be observed by the churches composing this Association, wherein all the members thereof were requested to beseech Almighty God, if consistent with His will, to visit them in their destitute situation, and cause It revival of pure and undefiled religion in the hearts of His people. (Page 782)
(1847 A.D.) The Association recommended the churches to set apart Friday before the third Sunday in November ensuing as a day of fasting and prayer to God, supplicating Him at a throne of grace for an outpouring Spirit to revive His work of grace in the hearts of His people throughout the borders of Zion’s support truth and overthrow and send forth more faithful laborers in His vineyard, cause love to flow from breast to breast, and also cause many who in darkness to sec great light. (Page 787)
(1861 A.D.) The matter of continuing the Kehukee History was taken up and debated, and it was agreed to defer the subject for the present. The war between the States, called the great Civil War in America, began in April, 1861, and was at the time of the sitting of this Association assuming large proportions and causing much distress in the land. A military line was drawn between the North and South, beyond which citizens from either side were not suffered to pass. Communication by mail and ingress and egress were entirely cut off. Maryland and all North of her were held by the Northern Power, or Federal Army, while Virginia and all South of her were held by the Southern Power, or Confederate Army. The brotherly intercourse that had for so many years existed between Baptists North and South was prohibited, and not one of the faces of the Northern brethren was seen at the Kehukee Association this year. Their feelings, affections and sympathies, with a trifling exception, were with their Southern brethren during the whole continuance of the war, and the same was proven to be true immediately after the cessation of hostilities by the eagerness and devotion with which they came together again. While Primitive Baptists thus held together in affection and faith, as the undivided church of God should have done throughout all that bloody struggle, other denominations of professed Christians were torn asunder and engaged in the unhallowed work of defaming and butchering each other, which clearly proved them not to be the church of Christ.
By reason of this great calamity, the Association at this time adopted the following resolution, viz.:
â€œResolved, That in view of the present oppressed and distressed condition of our country, brought about by the existence of war in our midst, we do recommend to the churches that the second Thursday in November next (being the fourteenth day of said month) be observed as a day of fasting and prayer to Almighty God; and that the members of the churches meet at their respective places of worship on that day for religious devotion. (Page 800)
(1862 A.D.) â€œResolved, That in view of the present distressed and disturbed condition of our country, brought about by the existence of war in our midst, we recommend to the churches that Friday before the second Sunday in November next be observed as a day of fasting and prayer to Almighty God; and that members of the churches meet at their respective places of worship on that day for religious devotion.
This intention was not carried into execution, by reason of the presence of a large Federal army occupying the country where many of the churches were situated, carrying dismay into the hearts of the people and destruction in their progress, during the week preceding the contemplated meetings of the churches. (Page 801)