THE BUSINESS OF THE LICK-LOG
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
“It is time to come to the lick-log about this!” One may very well hear this expression in the South. It is quite old, but since it is used in varying contexts, one may wonder just what is meant by the term “lick-log.”
Dictionaries usually give two or three main definitions to cover the main ideas of it. Primarily it denotes a salt-lick, one framed in a log or felled tree which keepers set up for the convenience of cattle.
When growing up in the country community of Jenny Lind, Arkansas, there were usually two or three animals in the pasture. One would be a milk cow, and perhaps a calf or two, and a work horse. Dad always had a large salt block on a post about animal head high. There would be indentations in several areas of the block where the farm animals would occasionally lick it to acquire their needed salt. Of course I could never pass that salt block without taking a lick or two myself. So in that context coming to the lick log meant satisfying a basic craving; hence, resolution of the same.
Some cattlemen who were ethically challenged would feed their cattle lots of salt in their regular feeding times to get them to drink as much water as possible just before sale time. A few more pounds per head meant a fatter check.
In other contexts, “lick-log” is used in legal jargon to indicate the real reason or motive for actions. It has also been employed to mean standing firm or one’s ground. If one is negotiating a decision or a settlement of an issue, “down to the lick- log may mean “close to a resolution.” The term is used to indicate a finality in getting to the truth among so many untruths. In matters of time “Lick-log” may indicate the last second.
In eternal verities that affect the never-dying soul, it must be recognized that all men are sinful mortals, and life on earth indefinite. Moreover there are many ways that appear to be right for a man, but the end are the ways of death. However, there is one way of life, truth, blessings, peace, and that way is Jesus, John 14:6. Furthermore, He forthrightly said, “…no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Allowing this information to sink in, and reside as the ultimate truth is coming to the “lick-log,” set for one’s eternal good by the Creator.
Slavery, an American Tragedy
The issue of slavery in America was doubtless the most divisive issue ever to confront our nation. The matter was many faceted, for it was surely a social and moral problem, but simultaneously it projected itself in the political, economic, and religious arenas as well. Baptists in the South had initially grown among that portion of the population that was in the lower economic class, and these were surely non slave-holders. This accounts for the fact that the Baptists in the Southern states provided much of the opposition to slavery that existed.
Agitation among the Baptists was stimulated by the British brethren after the English Parliament passed legislation to eliminate slavery in the British West Indies. In 1835 British Baptists sent two “fraternal delegates” to the Triennial Convention which was held in Richmond, Virginia.
These brethren . . . were introduced also for the first time, to first-hand information concerning
the American number-one problem — slavery. Dr. Cos, one of the British delegates, preached
in the First Church on the Sunday morning preceding the opening of the Triennial Convention.
On that afternoon he went again to the First Church, where he witnessed with amazement and emotion, the great numbers of colored worshipers present. As this group clasped hands and sang, their bodies swaying in the rhythm of the music, the Englishman’s enthusiasm broke the bounds of traditional British reserve. He asked permission to speak to them; he clasped their hands; he saw with his own eyes the over ruling Providence of God in using the channel of slavery to bring these sons and daughters of Africa the light of the gospel.
Step by step the pressures mounted to abolish slavery, and on May 4, 1843, Baptist abolitionists met in Tremont Chapel (Boston) to organize a mission society which would support both foreign and home missionaries and would be “separated from all connection with the known evils of slavery.” The die was cast, and Baptists, like all other Americans, would be divided and experience the terrible results of the Civil War.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 181-182
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Blessed is the Peacemaker
1880 – BAPTISTS EVANGELIZED THE SLAVE POPULATION IN THE SOUTH AND STARTED THE FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH IN AMERICA – Dr. J. B. Jeter
died on February 18, 1880. Jeremiah Bell Jeter had accepted the call to the 1st BC of Richmond, VA in 1836 and realized that the segregated space for the 1,384 black members was not large enough. After studying the matter for two years he recommended that the congregation give the facility for the First created African Baptist Church, and build a new building for the white folks which they did. He then prevailed on Robert Ryland, President of Richmond College, to be the pastor of the African church. Jeter was born on July 18, 1802, and was saved in an old fashioned camp meeting, and baptized while a teenager, in Dec. 1821. After he was baptized, he gave a public testimony and within a few weeks preached his first sermon, and was ordained May 4, 1824. They say that he was not a great orator but he baptized over 1,000 people in 9 years. The records show that in the 14 years as pastor he baptized another 1,000. In 1842 one protracted meeting lasted for five months which saw 167 members added by baptism. Pastor Jeter was very mission minded and when Adoniram Judson came to Richmond he gave the welcoming address. He served as President of the Virginia Baptist Foreign Mission Society and was on the Board of Managers of the Triennial Convention of American Baptists. After the division took place he served as president of the Southern Foreign Mission Board also. At the close of the Civil War, Dr. Jeter became the editor of The Religious Herald and sought to be a reconciler between the Baptists of the North and South. He served in that capacity until his death.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 67.
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The gospel invades the South
1755 – A small group of Baptists, including Shubal Stearns, his brother-in-law Daniel Marshall, and Joseph Breed invaded the South with the gospel. Until that time little progress had been made by the Regular Baptists but God used these men to change the spiritual climate in that entire territory. The little group totaled sixteen when they arrived at Sandy Creek, North Carolina, but in one year’s time they had 606 members. Almost beyond belief, the Sandy Creek Baptist Church in seventeen years spawned forty-two churches and produced 125 preachers. Stearns was born in Boston, Mass., on Jan. 28, 1706. He had been a Presbyterian but in 1745, through the preaching of George Whitefield, Stearns joined with that group called the “New Lights” or “Separatists.” Though his education was limited he gave himself to reading extensively and became convinced of believer’s baptism and left the pedobaptists, and on May 20, 1751 was baptized by Rev. Wait Palmer, a Baptist pastor in Tolland, Conn. Several months later he was ordained and began to travel and preach. He moved to Berkeley County, Virginia, in 1754 but was not satisfied with the results when he was invited to come to N.C. In 1758 Rev. Stearns visited the nine Baptist churches that had already been founded, and he invited each church to send messengers to form an association of churches which resulted in the Sandy Creek Association coming into existence for the purpose of preaching, singing and reporting as to what God was doing throughout the area. Revival often fell. After 12 years there were 3 associations in N.C., S.C. and VA. [George W. Purefoy, A History of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association (New York: Sheldon and Co., 18590, pp. 292-93. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 622-24.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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The General’s Right Hand Man
Prior to the Civil War there were few black Baptist preachers in the North or the South. But it is a thrill to read of the exploits of those few that existed. “Uncle” Harry Cowan was a slave to Thomas L. Cowan. On one occasion Mr. Cowan was present for a funeral where his servant was to preach, and he was shocked at Uncle Harry’s grasp of the Scripture. This resulted in the master granting “privilege papers” allowing Uncle Harry to preach, marry, and baptize any one who makes a profession of Faith.” In time Uncle Harry’s success caused his master to extend this privilege of preaching wherever his slave had “protection.” The blessing of God was attendant upon this choice servant of the Lord, and literally thousands of both races heard him gladly. His ministry extended from before the Civil War, during that awful conflict, and following it as well. In fact, during the Civil War, Uncle Harry served as Confederate General Joseph Johnston’s body servant. He preached every night during the war, with the exception of May 2, 1863, when General Stonewall Jackson fell in battle. He served General Johnston faithfully until the General’s surrender on April 26, 1865
His young widow continued their faithful ministry
December 19, 1902 – Marilla Ingalls was buried at Thongze, Burma where she had given over fifty years of fruitful, loving ministry. Marilla was the second wife of Rev. Lovell Ingalls whose first wife died as they served in Burma and went with him as he returned to Burma to face the hostile conditions of that country as well as the disappointments of lack of support from the churches at home. Because of the separation of the churches of the North and South over the slavery issue, finances were scarce, thus affecting the ministry in Burma. Lovell Ingalls sent a letter to his mission, “Tell the churches that the missionaries cannot endure what they put upon them. We must come, and build houses and chapels without funds, and beg money, and the churches at home, and every member, and every preacher of the gospel are as much bound to give the gospel to every nation as we are. And God will hold them responsible in that great day.” After 19 years of ministry, Ingalls died at sea between Calcutta and Rangoon. His young widow continued their faithful ministry for forty-six more years. She had returned to the small jungle village of Thongze after returning to America to bring her husband’s daughter home for education. There she began the work of her life. Over one hundred Buddhist priests, the most difficult class in Burma to reach, became the humble followers of the despised Jesus. To the sick and suffering, she has been a doctor and a nurse; to the wronged and oppressed, both lawyer and judge; to pastor and preacher, the faithful theological professor. She left a strong native church, a Christian school, and Christian homes from which earnest pastors and preachers, evangelists and teachers, went out and spread the good tidings of salvation.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 529-31.