designed by the authors thereof to mili tate against its character as a church, and its progress in the world, I have been in duced to write this history, so as to disa buse the public mind, and put all enqui rers after truth into possession of the facts as they have transpired in relation both to myself and the church, so far as I have such facts in possession.
In this history I will present the vari ous events in relation to this church, in truth and righteousness, as they have transpired, or as they at present exist, being now the eighth year since the or ganization of the said church.
I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, state of Ver mont. My father , left the state of , and moved to , Ontario, (now Wayne,) county, in the state of New York, when I was in my tenth year. In about four years af ter my ’s arrival at , he moved with his family into , in the same county of Ontario. His fami ly, consisting of eleven souls, namely: My father, , my mother, , (whose name, previous to her marriage was Mack, daughter of ,) my brothers, , (who is now dead,) , myself, , , , and my sisters, , , and . Some time in the second year after our remo val to , there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became gen eral among all the sects in that region of country, indeed the whole district of coun try seemed affected by it, and great mul titudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “lo, here,” and some “lo, there;” some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyteri an, and some for the Baptists. For, not withstanding the great love which the converts for these different faiths expres sed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respec tive clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have eve ry body converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet, when the converts began to file off, some to one party, and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real, for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued; priest contending against priest, and convert against convert, so that all the good feelings, one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words, and a contest about opinions.
I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My ’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, snd four of them join ed that church, namely, my mother , my brothers , , and my sister .
During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflec tion and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often pungent, still I kept myself aloof from all those parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit: but in process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them, but so great was the confusion and strife among the different denominations that it was impossible for a person young as I was and so unacquainted with men and things to come to any certain conclusion who was right, and who was wrong. My mind at different times was greatly exci ted, the cry and tumult was so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists, and Metho dists, and used all their powers of either reason, or sophistry to prove their errors, or at least to make the people think they were in error: on the other hand the Bap tists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous to establish their own te nets, and disprove all others.
In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself, what is to be done? Who of all these parties are right? Or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right which is it, and how shall I know it?
While I was laboring under the ex treme difficulties, caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth unto all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given [p. 727]