Elder Vaughn Winslett relays a tour of the Historic Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church and the stories left behind.
The week of July 17th my wife and I spent several days in the Smoky Mountains. The last trip we made before leaving was to the Primitive Baptist Church there in the park. When we arrived at the church a volunteer who was a methodist ( I asked him ) was giving a presentation about the church and the men and women who had worshipped there when the Cades Cove community was a settlement in the wilderness. As the man spoke he told of the old baptist as community leaders both in the government there and as the example they gave in the way in which they lived. The man spoke of the hard life people had in that day, working from dawn to dusk just in order to live and survive. Every man and woman lived through the week looking for Sunday meeting where they would assemble in the little building with no power, lights, or air conditioning and worship the God of Glory. This was where they found peace and joy.
I listened as the man spoke of the saints of God who had lived there. He spoke of men and women who kept the law of God in loving each other. He spoke of today's welfare system and of how it did not exist then, nor was it needed, for if one was without his neighbors would help provide. Men worked hard for their families but were quick to share with one in need, for this was right in the sight of God.
The man spoke of a woman who died and had a nursing child, another woman who already had fifteen children took the orphan child to nurse and bring up as her own. Orphanages were not needed there. Men and women loved and helped each other, this was right in the eyes of God.
Those who were out of line were worked with, praying for repentance, or shunned by the community until their behavior was corrected. They were then joyfully accepted.
Brethren this was not just the church, this was the community.
It made my heart swell with tears to hear one who is not a Primitive Baptist speak so highly of the dear saints of God from so long ago. I hope that we set such an example today.
We are to take care of our own. We are to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, we are to relieve widows that are widows indeed, and if they are our own let each relieve his own that the church be not charged.
I can remember my grandfather, Nute Hartsfield, a poor man but the Lord blessed him all of his life. He stood as a pillar in the Church in my eyes, he was an example to me. There were many others, Aubrey Justice, Paul Culver, men who God touched, men who lived a life of Godliness even though they were sinners because they were the Lord's children. I am not meaning to glorify men, for salvation is of the Lord and by His will. By Gods grace these men and others followed Jesus and were examples to God's children and to those outside the church, as to God's work and how men should live in this world.
I hope that when I am gone that people can say of me that I was a faithful pilgrim and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that even those who do not know me might have something good to say of me, or at least nothing bad. May we be examples of the Lords goodness.
Pray for the church, please pray for me, Elder Vaughn Winslett