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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

Experience of Grace

Elder Isaiah Guymon

 

     My  grandfather, Isaiah Guymon (for whom I  was named), was left an orphan, and was raised by a  man  named Curry, and was known by that name until grown,  and  about to be married to a Miss Elizabeth  Flynn,  when  it  became necessary that his proper  name  be  known.  From this union there sprang ten children  -  four  sons  and six daughters.  My  mother's  maiden  name  was Sarah Gordon, and from the marriage of  my  father  and mother there sprang eleven children,  of  whom  there  were six sons, Isaiah  (myself),  John,  William,  James,  Noah and Martin.  I  was  born  in  Stokes county, North Carolina, February 15th,  1810.   I  am now in my 76th year since February  15th,  and  have been trying to preach Christ and him  crucified  for  over  forty years.  The first  Baptist  I  ever  heard  preach  was before I was six years  old;  his  name was Thomas Oliphant, and his text was Isaiah 7:  25.   In  the fall of my 7th year my  parents  moved  from  North Carolina to the south part of  Kentucky,  near the north line of Jackson county, Tennessee, in  which they subsequently purchased a small farm,  and  remained in this county ten years.  During this time  there was much religious interest amongst the people  in  that  part of the country, which  was  then  and  there  known as "new lights," under whose  influence  my  youthful  mind became much  impressed  with  the  great  necessity of serving God in order  to  obtain  salvation   from  sin,  and  also  to   obtain   the  approbation  of  good  people,  and  especially   my  parents   and   neighbors,  in  whom  I   had   much  confidence.   Though  I was what  was  considered  a  moral  and an obedient boy, I was conscious  that  I  fell  far short of perfection.  In my 17th  year  my  father  migrated to Illinois and settled  in  Edgar  county,  and  I was then hired out to  a  man  named  Hicklin, whom I thought much of; he was also of  the "Christian"  order (for so they were now called). 

     I  now  became impressed with the necessity of being  a  Christian, which I thought I could be by doing  good  and abstaining from evil.  And when thus covenanting  before  God  to do, in a very short  time  I  became  convinced   that  I  fell  short  of  the   law   of  righteousness; and when in this there were  repeated  failures,  I became uneasy, and anxious to know  why  it  was  that I could not keep my  promise  to  God.    These failures were by an increase of conscious  sin  and  condemnation  to  me,  and  the  blackness   of  darkness covered me.  In this state I tried to  seek  God,  praying  to  him to have mercy  upon  me.   It  seemed  to  me that I would have given  anything  to  have been a bird or a beast, or had never been born. 

     I  would  go to meeting, but no relief could  I  get  there;   I   felt  condemned,  but  could   not   do  righteousness.  The preachers would say, "Give  your  heart to God; repent and turn to God; seek God; pray  to God,"  and such like exhortations, which  I  had tried  to do but could not, until I was  ashamed  to  offer  God  such a deceitful heart, or so  sinful  a  prayer.  And to repent, or turn away from my sins, I  would have given the world to have done; and to seek  God,  I knew not where to go, or what to do.   While  in this condition I went to a meeting of these  good  people  (to  me), and while there I saw  my  brother  John much affected, and the thought went to my heart  that he could be saved, but that I was lost forever.   Just  then I lost consciousness of what I  did,  and  the  next  thing I recollect was  something  saying,  "Praise the Lord."  My feelings were  indescribable,  and  to  me  all nature was dressed  in  a  glorious  order;  I  loved every thing I saw  or  my  thoughts  centered upon.  The heavenly illumination  gradually  passed  away, and I became calm in my feelings:  the  burden of guilt and condemnation was gone, and I did not  know how or why, but after a while I  began  to  question  with  myself what does this mean?  have  I  seen  a  vision in which the heavens and  the  earth  were  glorious? and am I yet deceived? if so,  Lord,  undeceive  me; give me to know the real state of  my  case.  My friends exhorted me to join the church and  be  baptized to which I consented, and was  immersed  (after relating my experience) by Calvin  Kimbrough,  a minister of the then Christian order, as they were  called.   Being now identified with them, I  was  in  regular  attendance at their meetings, and  becoming alarmed at what they preached as prerequisites  unto  salvation  obligatory on the sinner, because  I  had  not  done them, I tried to throw away my  experience  as  a  delusion; for I supposed that they  knew  the  truth,  and understood the scriptures, which  I  had  read but very little, as I was no scholar, and could  scarcely  read  at all.  In such  a  state,  between  their  preaching  and  my  experience  I  was  truly   miserable,  so much so that I quit going to  meeting  and betook myself to reading the New Testament, with  the   expectation   of   finding   their   teachings  sustained;  but to my surprise and comfort  I  found  "that  God,  for the great love wherewith  he  loved  poor  sinners,  even when they were  dead  in  sins,  quickened them together with Christ (by grace ye are  saved), and hath raised us up together, and made  us  sit  together in heavenly places in  Christ  Jesus,"  &c.,  &c.   This  with many  other  like  scriptures  relative to the desired end, killed me to a trust in  creature  merit,  and gave me consolation  and  good  hope through grace.  Thus I became separated from my  Christian friends, but where to go I know not, for I  knew  nothing  of the Primitive  Baptists,  but  had  heard unfavorable remarks made of them, religiously;  so   I  concluded  to  live  alone,  and  make   the  scriptures  my  counselor.  I will  now  state  that during the year before, I had made the  acquaintance  and became married to a Miss Hannah M. Martin,  with  whom  I was living happily, and who is  yet  living,  and  is the mother of twelve children, six sons  and  six  daughters, seven of whom are  yet living, (five  sons and two daughters) she being 74 years old  past  since  the 10th day of last October, being  born  in  1811.

     I   now  return  to  where  I  left  off.    In  continuing  to read I increased in the knowledge  of  God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in counsel,  purpose  and  promises; their fulfillment  by  Jesus  Christ, until I would have given more to have  known  who  of  all  (if  any) of  the  professors  of  the  Christian  religion held and preached it,  than  for  anything else; and moreover, if I ever had an ardent  desire  to preach the gospel, I then had it.  So  it  went  on  in  this way for a time, until  I  had  to  opportunity of hearing an old Baptist preach, whom I  supposed  knew  nothing,  but, to  my  surprise  and  comfort,   he  preached  the  glorious  doctrine   of  salvation  by grace.  Yet I did not suppose that  it  was  common with them, and wondered what they  would  do  with him; but to me, he was the  only  religious  brother  I  had  in the  world.   But  upon  further  acquaintance,   I  found  that  this   (religiously)  despised  people held that doctrine in  common,  for which  they were evil spoken of; but I  loved  them,  from  which I took encouragement that I  had  passed   from death unto life, for I was confident that  they  were  the  called  of  God,  according  to  his  own  purpose, given them in Christ Jesus before the world  began.   But the impression to declare these  things  continued with me, but how to do it I knew not,  for  ignorance and diffidence both opposed, and I  cried,  "Lord,  lay  it  on  the  wise  and  prudent."   The  doctrine  (among other things) of the unity  of  the  Trinity became a subject of deep interest to me, and  in  contemplating it upon my bed I fell asleep,  and  dreamed that I was in the woods of an old deadening,  and was  standing on the trunk of  a  large  fallen  tree,  with  my face toward to south, and  saw three  suns  of equal size and glory; and in  contemplating  the  wonder, I saw those two on the right  and  left  verging toward to central or noonday sun, until they  entered  into  it,  and  became  one body;   neither  increased  in size or glory; moreover, I beheld  all  the stars, in their brightness, then verging  toward  the sun  and entering into  it,  without  increasing  either  the size or glory of it; and to my  mind  it  was  said  in my dream this is the  mystery  of  the unity  of the Trinity; and I awoke, and  behold,  it  was a dream.

     Dear  brother, when I contemplate the  glorious unity   as  set  forth  by  Jesus  Christ   in   the seventeenth  chapter  of  John, I am  made  to  cry,  "Glorious oneness" (thou shalt call his name  Jesus,  for  he  shall  save his people  from  their  sins.)   After the things above mentioned, I moved from Edgar  county  to Coles county, Illinois, and settled in  a  Baptist neighborhood, and was a regular attendant at  their  meetings,  and  desired  to  live  in  church  relation  with them, but my baptism was in  the  way  for a time, until I came to the conclusion that they  who  preached  not the gospel  are  unauthorized  to  administer  baptism.  Then I went to the church  and  told  the same experience that I had related  to  my  Christian friends, and was received and baptized  by  Elder  William Martin.  After remaining here  a  few  years  I moved to Hancock county, Illinois,  in  the  fall  of 1836, and lived one year  without  offering  our  (myself  and  wife's)  letter  to  the  church.   During  this year I got my left shoulder put out  of  place  in an epileptic fit, of which I had  of  late  become  the subject, without knowing the  cause.   I  remained  in this condition six weeks and four  days  before  getting my shoulder righted; after  which  I  hired  to one of my wife's uncles to plow,  which  I  performed  with  one hand, carrying the other  in  a  sling.  After this, but before my shoulder was well,  I  was  attacked with bilious fever.  I  now  became  dependent  on the mercy of the people, my dear  wife  doing  all  she could.  After recovering  from  this  (though occasionally afflicted with epileptic fits),  and  being without a home, through the  intervention  of my wife's uncle, I obtained one hundred and sixty  acres  of land in Hancock county, which I  afterward  paid  for and improved, by the help of my  wife  and  kindness of my neighbors; but being without a  team,  and  becoming tired of imposing on my  neighbors, 

     I  purchased a pair of oxen from Elder J. G.  Williams,  of  Adams  county, on time, for  which  I  afterward  paid.  I now became more encouraged,  though  still  afflicted  with fits; but the impression  to  preach  Christ  Jesus  and  him  crucified  had  never  been  abated;  the  cause for which I left  Coles  county,  hoping  to  be excused, and also why I had  held  my  letter in secret until I should become settled.  But  the  time  had now come that I could not  stay  away  from  meeting; so my wife and I went to New  Harmony  Church  meeting,  of which Elder George  Walker  was pastor.  After  preaching  the  church   commenced  business,  and  when  the door  as  opened  for  the  reception of members I offered our letter, which  was  read, and a motion made to receive us,  pon which  I  arose and said: "Brethren, you see from the date  of  letter  that I have held it for a year or so,  being  unsettled; and if you wish additional information, I  will  try  to  answer any question you may  wish  to  ask."   I volunteered a little history of the  time,  after  which  a  motion was seconded,  and  we  were  received.  On the next day Brother Walker called  on  me to conclude the meeting; this was a severe trial,  but I complied as best I could.  At the next meeting  he  called on me to open by prayer, and I felt  like  it was impossible, but how to refuse I did not know, and  consequently submitted.  Thus it went on for  a  time,  in  which I sometimes  would  forget  myself; after  which I would feel much mortified, and  think  that  I would never do so again, but as often  fail, until the brethren moved that I be liberated by  the church   to   exercise  in  public,   to   which   I  remonstrated,  with feelings of deep  emotion.   But   they   said   that  the  privilege  would   not   be  compulsory,  and that I would feel more at  liberty;  so  I  went  on,  until the  church  called  for  my  ordination,  which, I think took place in  the  year  1840,  and  the ministers composing  the  presbytery  were Thomas H. Owen, of Middle Creek Church; Joel G.  Williams,  of  New  Providence  Church,  and  George  Walker, of New Harmony Church, all of which churches  belong   to  the  Salem  Association,  between   the  Illinois  and  Mississippi rivers.   Those  churches  bore   the   appellation,   "Regular   Old    School  Predestinarian  Baptist."   After my  ordination  my  ministerial labors increased.  Being very poor,  and  having  no horse to ride, I would walk when  it  was  not  too  far;  otherwise would borrow  of  my  good  neighbors,  who  were very kind to me.   About  this  time  one of my oxen died, and so I was  again  left  without  a team.  I did not know what to do, but  my  good  neighbors advised me to go to a sale  and  bid  off a mare that was to be sold, and have her to ride  to  meeting and to plow, and after my crop was  laid  by, sell her and pay the sale debt, which I tried to  do,  but failed.  So I borrowed the money at 10  per  cent to pay the debt, which I repeated two or  three  times  before I got it paid.  In the year  1840  our oldest  daughter died, which very much  grieved  us.   In 1845 I sold out and moved to Adams county, and in  1846, we lost our third daughter.  In this county we  joined the New Providence Church (by letter), and in  1849,  we  lost our fourth daughter,  and  we  again  moved (but only a few miles), and joined the  Little  Flock Church (by letter)  and remained there until I   oved  to  Missouri in 1857, and joined  the  Siloam  Church  in 1858.  I have remained on the same  place  ever  since,  and  have  seen  much  affliction  and  trouble, but thanks be to God, who delivereth us out of them all.