Saturday, November 10, 2007

1872 gossip about an anti-Universalist debater

I have a copy of "A Discussion on Universal Salvation and Endless Punishment" (1875 edition) between Universalist Rev. E. Manford and Disciples Rev. J. S. Sweeney.

My copy was owned by a southerner who had glued in various pages from Manford's Monthly. An article about a later debate (1882) between Manford and Sweeney, and an 1887 article about a debate with Rev Thomas Abbott and JR. Now I won't name JR because his grandchildren might still be alive, he had children still alive 30 years ago.

The last line of the article ( actually a debate summary) is thus "(JR) made no reply here, but referred to the vengeance of God, and said it was an attribute of God, which (Abott) could not meet. "Vengeance is Mine and I will repay."

"Nix" is written by the books original owner next to that. "I know that the law of retaliation belongs to God; but how cruel vengeance can be an attribute, I can't see.
(JR) is the man THAT married (VK) and left her and took up with another woman."

JR was born in in 1846 in Tennessee, he married (LK - the V could be a nickname for L)in Feb 1868, when he was 21 and she was 26. They moved to Illinois with her brother a Baptist minister. JR went to college to become a minister, and then got a pulpit in Mississippi. His last child with LK was born in 1871 in Illinois. In 1872 he married ST (who was 10 years younger than LK)in Mississippi. JR and ST moved to various states until they made it to Arkansas, where the debate with Rev Abbott was held in 1887. (I could not find a death date for JR). The previous owner of my book was living in the area where LKs grandparents and cousins lived - I have no proof of his statement, but the facts fit.

Are there morals to this story? Sure, one could be that even with scant clues, someone could find your flaws from 135 years ago. Since JR keep his side out of his official biography, we'd dont know his reasons. LK could have been a horrible person, well worth getting rid of, and the family themselves were upset to get her back.
- but another moral is, that we look at flaws - your sins, as basic ones: you dont make promises that you cant keep, if you are in the ministry or public service, you must be better than normal. It's a cold cruel world (but lots of fun for those of us who like to research - because even your sins will out).

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