This is from Chapter IX of the memoirs of Rev. David Rice, which were included in An Outline of the History of the Church in the State of Kentucky, During a Period of Forty Years by Robert Hamilton Bishop and published in 1824.
Mr. Rice soon found that his suspicions concerning the character and situation of those who had put their names to his call, were not without ground. He expected that as soon as he should gave obtained a temporary residence, a number of old professors would have come and made up their acquaintance with him. But he was greatly surprised and distressed to find scarcely any such, a few who had been his old acquaintances and bearers in Virginia excepted. "After I had been here, says he, "some weeks, and had preached at several places, I found scarcely one man but few women who supported a credible profession of religion. Some were grossly ignorant of the first principles of religion. Some were given to quarreling and fighting, some to profane swearing, some to intemperance, and perhaps most of them totally negligent of the forms of religion in their own houses."
"I could not think," continues he, "a church formed of such materials as these could properly be called a church of Christ. With this I was considerably distressed, and made to cry, where am I! What situation am I in? Many of these produced certificates of their having been regular members in full communion and in good standing in the churches from which they had emigrated, and this they thought entitled them to what they called Christian privileges here. Others would be angry and raise a quarrel with their neighbors if they did not certify, contrary to their knowledge and belief, that the bearer was a good moral character. I found indeed very few on whose information I could rely respecting the moral character of those who wished to be church members."
In these perplexities he resolved not to administer sealing ordinances, but preach among the people one year, that he might get better acquainted with them and they with him. This exposed him to much censure from the loose nominal professors and tended greatly to thin his flock; though it was considered by the few solid church members as the best expedient which the circumstances of the case would admit.
At the commencement of the second year all was to begin anew. With a good deal of difficulty, however, a congregation was organized in what is now called Mercer county, with as much formality as their distance from other regular churches, and other disadvantages, would admit.
They had three places of worship, which were known by the names of Danville, Cane-Run, and the Forks of Dick River; and though circumstances were far from being promising, Mr. Rice considered himself as called by the head of the church to preach the gospel and dispense other ordinances within these bounds, and leave the result to the decision of the great day.
|Mercer County, Kentucky; courtesy of FamilySearch Wiki|
To be continued...
I am publishing a chapter of Rev. David Rice's memoirs every Monday.
Rev. David Rice (1733-1816) was my fifth great grandfather.
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: He Moves to Kentucky
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success among the Peaks of Otter
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Scene of His First Labors
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Devotes of Himself to the Ministry
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Introduction of the Gospel into Virginia
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Relief Obtained
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Further Convictions
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: Birth, Parentage, and First Convictions
Pray Together, Stay Together
Apostle of Kentucky